Author: jessara40k <Jessica.Robertson[at]>

Response to Alan P's offer to write more of one of his stories for a given crossover - I'd like Esoteric or Xander Inverse.

Crossover with Forgotten Realms, (Swords and Songs)

Rating: R

Summary: Waterdeep has been invaded and conquered by a strange race. Danilo and Arilyn lead the resistance, but they are losing and badly. Danilo has a plan, to bring a saviour, but it requires the help of Elaith Craulnober, a broken slave of the Malevein conquerers.

Meanwhile, post-Chosen Xander is fuming that the Slayers won't let him out to 'hunt', and jumps at the chance to help people and fight monsters.

Latest addition

Chapter 1

" that's the plan." Danilo concluded looking mostly at Elaith Craulnober, this briefing had been mostly for the Moon Elf's benefit - everyone else present had already known about the spell, it was the entire reason the resistance had rescued the elf from the ruler of the Malevein who had taken over Waterdeep and much of the surrounding countryside. The Bard felt guilty about that, Elaith had got warning of what was coming long before any other had, he'd even taken it to the Masked Lords and been ignored, but still he'd stayed in an effort to convince Danilo and Arilyn to flee so as to be able to fight later, from a position of greater strength, and been captured for his pains. Captured, enslaved, crippled and sexually abused, in ways Danilo didn't care to imagine - and yet Danilo had only thought to help him when he could be useful, and worse Elaith had understood and accepted that.

"You plan to bring someone here against their will and force them to aid us?" Elaith sounded shocked and he nibbled at his lip in discomfort. "Would not that render us as bad as those monsters who took Waterdeep and cut us off from our gods?" Then the elf flushed deep blue and bowed putting his forehead to the ground. "Forgive me, I did not mean to be insolent."

"It's alright Elaith." Danilo crouched to stroke Elaith's silver hair, it still shocked him when he realised that a scant six months ago this broken submissive creature had been one of the most notorious and cold-blooded killers in Waterdeep. And that Elaith was the only one who'd considered how their summoning would affect the summoned, who cared about the means, not merely the end of throwing the Malevein scared the golden haired bard. "It was a very good question. It wouldn't do for us to summon someone only to find he wouldn't aid us, so the spell will only bring someone who is willing to come here and help."

"You must rival Elminster himself, to cast a spell that will let someone who can help us in another world know about our situation and ask his consent before bringing him here." The elf had calmed and now sat back on his heels, looking up at Danilo from lowered lashes with awe in his amber eyes. "What must I do?"

"Just kneel here, and stay still." Danilo guided Elaith to kneel at the centre of an arcane design he'd scribed on the floor. He carefully let the elf believe that his spell required informed consent from their hoped for saviour, it didn't, all it required was a wish to leave whatever situation the subject was in and a willingness to help people who needed it, but there was no reason to trouble Elaith with details.


Xander paced restlessly in the confines of his bedroom, the predator that always lurked at the back of his mind coming to the fore in a need for some physical action if he couldn't hunt his chosen prey. But he was caged by a promise he'd made after Willow had awakened all the potential Slayers, a promise that he wouldn't go on patrol without a Slayer until Giles had trained at least ten other Watchers. When he'd made that promise he'd never imagined it would be used to chain him to books, to research and to teaching the Slayers what he could of how to survive their calling, but no Slayer would take him to hunt with her, they all wished to keep him safe, save for Faith, and when they realised she would hunt with him she was sent to 'search out other Slayers'.

So now, rather than enjoy the thrill of hunting worthy prey that was one of the reasons no efforts to shake him from slaying had worked he was expected to sit quietly where it was safe and do research, moreover research that anyone could do, not the tearing apart of old spells to analyse and improve them theoretically that was the other reason he stayed. Helping and protecting people had come to lie only third in his priorities, for all that it was the first reason he aided Buffy. But he couldn't entirely blame them for assigning him such mind-numbingly boring projects, he'd hidden his understanding of magic for too long, convinced that because he could only manage the smallest of spells in his own right there was no point in showing the others that his theoretical understanding of magic exceeded Giles', let alone poor ignorant Willow's. He'd survived her magic on Kingsman's Bluff by the use of one of the clever little spells he'd designed that absorbed magic directed against him and redirected it into other channels, transmuting it into harmless forms as it did, one that was powered by the atmospheric magic of the Hellmouth and hostile magic such as Willow's. He had fully as many kills as even Buffy did, although she did not know it, no-one did, but he was denied the joy of the hunt, of being able to help fight for humanity.

*Do you want to go somewhere you can help? Where people are dying and being enslaved by monsters, and you can make a difference?* Xander knew better than to give the simple unqualified 'yes' that was his first response, instead he questioned the strange voice.

*What sort of people? And what sort of monsters?*

*Ordinary people, some good, some bad, more good than bad on the whole, inhabitants of a city ruled mostly well and by good men and women. Monsters that invaded, cut off their victims from all contact with any closer hope of help, and enslaved half the population and killed most of the other half.*

*I'm in.* Xander set up his baseline defensive spells and grabbed a cross he'd been wearing for almost seven years whenever he left wherever it was he called home at the time before stepping through the opening portal in front of him.


Elaith watched from beneath lowered lashes as a portal formed in front of him and a strange room appeared through it. A tall human grabbed a chain with some sort of amulet hanging from it and stepped calmly through the portal. The human had brown hair and eyes, no eye, he was missing his left eye and had some sort of artificial replacement, he was a bit taller than Lord Thann, as much taller as the mage was taller than Arilyn, and he was wearing the strangest clothes; black shoes of a type Elaith had never seen before, black trousers of some strange material with metal rivets set into them and a close fitting black tunic of some type. His calm could only come from vast experience with things like this and great power or skill, enough that he had no need to fear whoever had summoned him - not that he would have in any case as the mage was totally exhausted from powering the spell, barely on his feet, supported by his beloved. Elaith bowed to the ground in obeisance, hoping to pass unnoticed by the man who could well be their saviour, attracting the attention of the powerful was dangerous, not something he'd care to risk again. It proved to have the wrong effect.

"Who is that, and why is he bowing down that way?" Shock coloured the man's voice and Elaith barely resisted cringing in fear.

"He's called Elaith Craulnober, and he was enslaved by the bastards who took our city. He also knows the most about them, from some things he learned before they got here, and from being raped by their leader for six months. they did a lot of damage to him, and he's pretty badly broken. My name is Danilo Thann, and this is Arilyn Moonblade, the other elf is Kirinel Sunstar." The gold elf had been set to kneel opposite Elaith and the two of them had acted as the foci for Lord Thann to create the portal, elves being more tied to the magic of this world than humans. "Who are you if I might ask?"

"Call me Xander." The man's voice was absent, and Elaith could tell that he was moving to crouch in front of him through the confusion whirling through his mind. Hadn't the spell Lord Thann cast told Lord Xander about their situation? Why mention the pitiful scraps of knowledge Elaith had managed to gather? The rest of the resistance had made it all too clear that they weren't enough to compensate for the men they had lost in rescuing him, nor was his participation in Lord Thann's spell, although they had decided not to touch him until it was done they'd made their plans for him afterwards clear, he had no other use than to relieve the stresses of valuable members of the resistance after all. And he had no reason to believe anyone would protect him, not after he'd learned that Danilo and Arilyn wouldn't, unless he had caught Lord Xander's interest, he could only hope it was so, and that the human would be gentle - one was a better choice than many, at least if that one wasn't exceptionally cruel. "Look at me please, I won't hurt you." His voice was gentle and Elaith slowly pushed himself back up to kneel back on his heels, fixing his gaze on the man's chest.

"What is your wish Lord?"

"Don't!" Lord Xander kept his voice quiet, but he couldn't keep the word from coming out harsh. "My name is Xander, I'm not a lord of any kind. Can you tell me about these creatures that have conquered your city?"

"If it pleases you I will serve you in any way you choose." Elaith didn't mention the protection he was hoping to get, he knew better than to presume that way.

"Thanks. I'm going to need that information, and a guide to this new world for that matter. Unless you need him urgently for something else Danilo?"

"No, of course if you wish his service you can have it. I'm sorry, but this spell wiped me out. I'll show to your room, then I need to get to sleep, we can start working on things when we wake up."

"I want Elaith there as well when we make our plans, for the information he has if nothing else." Lord Xander's voice was suddenly weary and Elaith was left behind. He crawled over to a corner, hoping he could pass unnoticed, he knew Kirinel would not try to protect him, the other elf despised him, for his race, his history, and the fact that he had been crippled by his master, so he could not try to escape.


Xander had been feeling uncomfortable about just leaving the pale, scared elf behind and immediately after Danilo left him in his room he turned around to go back to make sure Elaith was alright. It was just as well he did, when he arrived he found some thug leaning over the fragile creature, stripping him of the rags he was wearing and opening his own trousers - and Elaith was cringing away as best he could.

"Never touch him again!" Xander stepped forward and pulled the man off Elaith, bringing the hyena forward for strength and throwing him into the wall. "Elaith Craulnober belongs to me, and anyone who hurts him will answer to me!" Xander blinked as he realised that claim had come straight from the most primal part of himself, the part that had hosted the hyena. He glanced away to let the elf dress himself with the rags left nearby, returning his attention to him once he was decently covered. He knelt in front of the shivering elf and reached out a hand, stopping just short of touching him. "Are you alright? Did he hurt you?"

"No, he didn't hurt me. I know better than to fight back, and anyway you saved me before he had a chance to get started. Thank you, I am very grateful. I..." Elaith hesitated, looking down at the ground for a moment "I can show you just how grateful if you want?"

"No!" Swift negation, Xander would never take advantage of anyone like that, sleeping with Elaith now would be no different to rape, and besides... "I prefer my lovers female, and I swore never to sleep with someone after I rescued them again after I lost my virginity to a girl I rescued from Jhe demons, only to have her try and kill me later when I tried to talk to her about something else."

"Then how am I to serve you if I am yours?" The uncertainty and fear in the elf's voice were palpable.

"To guide me through your world and culture, to tell me about these invaders you need my help with, to help me figure out how the magic of this world compares to that of mine - at least if you know a little of the magic here?"

"A bit my lord." Elaith was calming from Xander's words and actions, so he didn't address the matter of the title he'd been given and didn't want. "But..." and now he was nervous "unless I am with you at all times, or in your room the men will try to use me, at least at first."

"Then I'll keep you with me, except when you're with someone who'll keep you safe." Elaith's story was giving Xander doubts that he should help these people, but...this was wartime apparently, only the toughest would survive, and the hard times would be stripping away their scruples. Xander stood and held out a hand to help the silver haired elf to his feet.

"I can't stand, not without support, and I certainly cannot walk by myself my lord." He sounded ashamed of that, but Xander just lifted him into his arms, carrying the surprisingly light elf to his room.


Elaith felt a frission of fear when Lord Xander dropped him on his bed and sat beside him, but the human had refused to use him sexually, he'd said he was only interested in females after rescuing him, and had promised his protection. Elaith knew he was in trouble, he was rapidly falling in love with this strange man who was sensitive to his fears, who acted as if a pleasure slave could still feel modesty. It wasn't just gratitude, he was certain of that, being around Lord Xander gave him a peace he had only ever felt around Princess Amnestria, or occasionally her mother Queen Amlaruil. He'd never felt the same peace around Arilyn, his one time betrothed's daughter, for all that he'd once thought to court her, for the resemblance as much as anything.

"The first thing I need to do is check that I can still access my dimensional pocket." Elaith understood every word that his master said, but he didn't understand the sentence as a whole. It didn't matter, his master did something with the amulet he'd brought, a cross-shaped piece of metal with the bottom arm longer than the other three, and began pulling out spellbooks, weapons, both hand weapons and something else that still looked like a weapon, clothes, mostly black leather, but there was a vest made of something else, something strange. "Kevlar," Lord Xander explained when he saw Elaith looking at the vest and reaching hesitantly to touch it. "it's designed for use against guns, but it turns a knife-point too, and it should work more or less against arrows and quarrels." Then he handed one of the spellbooks to Elaith. "This contains some minor spells, the useless ones to be honest. I want you to read through it, if you can read my language and tell me how well they fit into the magic system here. If you've got the power you can try to cast one if you want, they're harmless too, only useful to see how my magic works here when cast by someone else."

"Then you have no problems using it yourself?" Elaith was uncertain he had the right to question his new master, but this one at least seemed primarily interested in his mind, rather than using his body as his previous masters had, and he would no doubt desire proof that he could think.

"Yes and no. What I could cast back in my world I can still cast, but I have limited reserves of power and I cannot cast the really useful spells, not at the moment." Lord Xander bit his lower lip as if uncertain for a moment. "The spell I'm thinking of as being most useful is something I plan to use to get more magical ability, possibly including the ability to heal you, at least if I remember correctly. The spells I normally use are low on power, but they can draw on ambient magic to maintain themselves if necessary, and they are versatile, I designed them that way."

"Our spells can be versatile in the hands of a master, but not really when an amateur uses them." Elaith made the comparison quietly, thinking about how much skill his master had to have to speak casually of creating his own spells. He found a problem as soon as he opened the book. "Forgive me, my lord, but I cannot read your language. The portal spell Lord Thann used to summon you must have given you our tongue, well Common anyway."

"Ah, yes I see. I hadn't thought about it." There was a frown on his master's face, and he had a distant look, almost as if he were meditating, or something similar. "One of my spells will exchange knowledge of languages, if you trust me."

"Of course I trust you my lord. I am under your protection am I not? And, being around you gives me a sense of peace." Elaith was perfectly serious, so he didn't understand why his master laughed at that. But Lord Xander accepted his inadequate words as consent and picked up a knife, cutting his own hand across the palm, and then taking Elaith's hand made a matching cut there. Finally he laid their hands together and said a few words - and Elaith could understand all the strange languages that his master could - including more than one that would be spoken by demons. But he was puzzled by his master's actions. "Do you keep such an obscure spell in your mind at all times my lord?"

"I created it, I can use it at any time. Are you saying that spellcasters here can only cast a spell once before they have to study it again?"

"Yes my lord. Perhaps it will be different with your magic." And Elaith returned to his task, studying the first spell in the book, an equivalent of faerie fire.


Xander concentrated on sorting through his survival kit for the things that would be most useful here while his new pack member studied what he termed 'the display spells', flashy things that had little to no practical use, and could be cast with a minimum of energy. His guns were of minimal value here he decided, magic was a far more important ranged weapon, and besides the ammunition was probably irreplaceable in this world, so he returned them through his cross. He'd never attained more than minimal proficiency with crossbows, or the more conventional bow, of any sort, so he'd never bothered to store them, but he did keep out a bandoleer of throwing knives that he was pretty good with, besides an axe - he couldn't really use a sword after he'd lost his eye. The rest of his weapons, and most of his spellbooks went back into the dimensional pocket, leaving only the book Elaith was studying from. His motorcycle leathers would work well enough as light armour, adding in the kevlar vest would make it even more effective, so he left them out along with a change of clothes, but he didn't need the jewels he'd collected as a fallback cash reserve - profits from looting vampire and demon lairs.

Finally he looked up at Elaith, to find the elf seemingly stuck on one page, going over and over a single spell obsessively.

"What seems to be the problem Elaith?"

"I can understand the basis of the spell more or less, but it doesn't 'feel' right, I can remember what the spell requires, but there's no sense of power there, and normally when we memorise a spell there is a sense of power, ready for us to use it when we need it, at least in the system of magic I'm trained in."

"Oh. It doesn't work that way with my spells. Just try casting it cold, if that doesn't work there's one more thing I can try. I really need it to be possible for people here to be able to use my spells, as one of them will give people I trust a considerable power boost, but I don't have the power to cast it myself."

"But, if you teach the spell to another how can you be certain he will not use it empower people you do not trust?"

"I'll have Danilo cast it on me first, to give me a large power reserve, among other things - at least if you think he is trustworthy. Then I'll use another spell or something similar to make him forget it. Besides I've put certain limitations in place on the variant I'm going to teach him, and he won't know exactly what they are. One benefit of this spell is it might give me the ability to heal you."

"Thank you my lord." The elf bowed his head, and it looked as if he was trying to cast the spell Xander had seen him try to memorise, but he failed. "Forgive me, I cannot master your spells." Almost all of Xander's spells only required words to cast them, and possibly blood, he far preferred that to relying on components that might not be there in an emergency situation, but the spell he'd privately labelled 'Halloween' relied on the subjects wearing the appropriate costumes, and knowing who they were supposed to be - and a lot of possibilities were ruled out in his spell.

"It's alright. We'll exchange knowledge of magical theory, although not spells. If that works I can do the same with Danilo. At least," Xander suddenly realised Elaith had failed to answer his earlier implied question, "is he trustworthy?"

"Yes, he is most trustworthy in most things." Elaith shrugged. "But he successfully kept most of Waterdeep, this city, convinced he was a useless fop, when in truth he is a Harper, an agent for Balance, for years."

"And who else do you think can be trusted with the power this spell can give?"

"Only Arilyn his beloved." Elaith sounded as if there was something about Arilyn's name that upset him, but Xander pushed that aside and cast the spell to exchange knowledge of magical theory - almost identical to that for languages, with a slight change in mindset and wording. Elaith was able to cast Xander's spells easily then, due to the sheer amount of magical theory he'd studied, whereas Xander got the short end of the deal, as Elaith's abilities were minimal. But then he had benefited more from the language spell, as all the tongues Elaith knew were in use in this new world.

"Good. Now lie down and get some sleep." Xander swiftly stored his things and cast a ward on them then pulled Elaith to lie inside his protective embrace, protecting a weaker pack member.


Chapter 2

Danilo woke slowly in Arilyn's embrace, a bit confused about what had happened the day before, but he gradually remembered meeting Xander, through the headache of the backlash from reaching across the planes and searching for a hero who could save the city, and probably the rest of the world too. From what Elaith had said the Malevein in Waterdeep were an advance scout unit, if they were wiped out the rest of the Malevein would stay away, if they managed to destroy the whole resistance and start expanding their territory a full colonial effort would follow. The benefit to the Malevein in the scout unit was pretty high rank in the new colony if it was successful, especially for their leader, the Malevein who'd ended up owning Elaith.

"What time is it Arilyn?" He hoped that he'd be able to function by the time he needed to meet with Xander and explain things, although getting Elaith to do a lot of that would help.

"Just after dawn." He'd cast the spell to summon Xander at noon the previous day, so he'd been out for a long time. Danilo hadn't really understood just how much power he'd need to cast that spell, but it was brought home to him now, with a vengeance, he really didn't think he wanted to try casting another spell for a week at least and he'd be in pain for the next two or three days. Unless Xander specifically forbade it the rest of the resistance could continue their normal operations while Danilo recovered, and their hero made his plans - Danilo knew that his spells didn't work too well against the Malevein, so he'd mostly been restricted to property damage and a distraction. His magical contribution had been far from essential in any of the raids he'd participated in, what he'd supplied was the leadership and the planning needed, and he'd worked out who they needed to successfully destroy the invaders.

"What happened with Xander?"

"I don't know." It sounded as if it stuck in her craw for Arilyn to admit that. "I stayed here with you all the time you were sleeping." He knew that his elven lover hated the human vermin who made up most of the resistance, and the few elves and dwarves involved weren't much better, but she would have felt it her duty to take care of their guest, even though he had to be more than capable of looking after himself and she had agreed to let Danilo draw from her to power his spell if he needed to. One reason they hadn't tried to rescue Elaith before this was that he'd been crippled by the time the resistance was organised enough to do so, and rescuing him would have just meant taking him from one place where he was being raped, to another, with different rapists. Unless they claimed him as their property, and were vicious enough in defending their exclusive rights to him that no-one else would dare touch him. And neither Danilo or Arilyn had it in them to be that vicious - or rather they did, but they didn't trust themselves to control that viciousness if they let it out, and were afraid that they'd hurt him even more. They'd both found themselves growing crueller and colder since the Malevein had killed Laeral and Khelben 'Blackstaff' Arunsun and Khelben had transferred much of his power to Danilo in desperation. It was even harder for Danilo to keep control because of the sudden new power he had access to - but the mere fact that spellcasting had become so limited in its use had helped to keep him in check.

"Then would you go and check please?" Danilo sat up slowly and painfully. "I'd do it myself, but I really don't feel up to it." Arilyn was in much better condition than he was, but then she'd just supplied power, he'd been casting the spell.

"Of course Dan." She didn't need to go far, one of the fighters was waiting outside their door, with a message from Xander, who had already exerted his influence over them all somehow.

"Lord Thann, Xander asks if you could meet him at noon, or sunset if noon would be inconvenient for you."

"Sunset would be better." Danilo knew better than to outright say that he needed more rest, or even to imply it in front of one of his men, so he pulled Arilyn into an embrace instead, and the man retreated. "I'm sorry for using you like that, but..."

"I understand, we can't show weakness. I need to sleep for a while now, I didn't dare without you awake, or wards. Can you stand guard for awhile?"

"Yeah, I don't need to sleep, just to rest, and perhaps meditate, to try and control the pain." Danilo stood, leaving the bed to Arilyn and pushed a chair in front of the door, to act as a crude but effective alarm before he started to meditate.


Elaith emerged from reverie wrapped in someone's protective embrace. For a moment he wasn't sure whose, or why, and stiffened in fear, but then he remembered that his new master had told him to share his bed, and promised not to take him, at all, had in fact expressed a total lack of desire for him. He relaxed, and realised that his master was already awake and aware of his reactions.

"Master?" Elaith trembled at his presumption in addressing Xander first, any of his prior masters would have beaten him for doing so, he knew that Xander wouldn't do something like that, but his actions still scared him. He'd been conditioned to submit to his master, and remain almost passive, only acting as they wished far too well to throw it off easily, and he needed to have a master now, at least to some degree. It had shocked him that the Malevein had managed to break him so easily, but he'd been crippled physically almost right off - after all a bed slave doesn't need to be able to walk, just move pleasingly when he's fucked - and then his first master had cast some sort of spell that ripped most of Elaith's magical ability from him, using the power to condition him to respond as he wanted him to, and taking a lot of his knowledge of magic too, replacing it with some of the skills a bed slave should have. The spell hadn't changed his sexual orientation for some reason, either because he didn't have a strong gender preference, although he normally preferred females slightly, or more likely because his first master hadn't cared about whether Elaith was comfortable sleeping with another male or not.

"What do you mean 'master'? I'm not your master. Where did you get that idea from?" Xander's voice was harsh, and he sat up pulling away from Elaith. Shivering he rolled onto his back to address his master, carefully not meeting his eyes.

"You said that I belong to you, so that makes you my master doesn't it?" Elaith couldn't understand why that form of address displeased his master so much, but he tried to explain how he felt as best he could. He knew he was just clinging on to the first person who'd really been nice to him since he'd been captured, but he couldn't help it. "I can't think of you as anything else but my master, the one who owns me. I...the first Malevein to own me, he ripped a lot of my magic out of me. Before that I was a lot more powerful, not truly spectacular, but powerful enough that I could use my magic in a fight if I needed to, and I warded all my houses myself. And he made it so that I'd need someone to own me, using my own magic to do it."

"Oh! We'll try to find some way to reverse the damage he did to you as soon as I can then. And the spells that give me a magic boost can give you one too." Lord Xander reached down and stroked Elaith's hair soothingly, Elaith barely managed to keep from purring - he couldn't keep from leaning into his master's touch.

"Th-thank you, but you don't need to do that. I've come to terms with how I've been changed, I don't want my problem to distract you from helping us with the Malevein. And besides I feel safe now, belonging to you, I haven't for at least fifty years, I don't want to lose that. Also, I think all the spell did to me was accelerate the effects of living as a slave, they would have broken me even without magic, just not so fast, so there isn't any spell for you to reverse. After you have dealt with the Malevein will be soon enough, unless my behaviour displeases you?" He realised that even though his master had been so kind to him his dependency might be making him uncomfortable.

"Not that much. And you're right, it can wait until after the Malevein are defeated." Lord Xander paused, as if he was uncomfortable with the next topic. "If we fail to defeat them, do you want to live, as their slave, or die by your own hand or mine? I would choose death myself, but I won't question your choice whatever it is."

"I...don't know. Might I think about it?" Elaith realised how stupid it was of him not to have considered that after he'd been rescued by the resistance, but he'd been too scared to really think straight, he kept expecting his last master to try to get him back, Drachar had been very possessive of him after all.

"Of course you may. It's good to put as much thought as you can into stuff like that." Lord Xander smiled down at Elaith, and the elf felt a sense of warmth in his stomach. "I discussed something similar with my lover a few years back, where I lived was overrun with vampires and we discussed whether we wanted to be turned and cursed with a soul if we were dying or not. I didn't want to, but Ahn did. Do all elves sleep with their eyes open?"

"It isn't exactly sleep my lord, it is called reverie, I do not know how to explain it." Elaith felt ashamed at being unable to convey such a basic tenet of elven life to his master, but he tried not to let it show and kept basking in the attention his master was showing him.


Xander smiled down at his pack mate as the elf revelled in the attention he was showing him, he couldn't help but wonder what had happened to Elaith to make him so desperate for touch. The elf had whimpered in loss earlier when he'd woken first, perhaps three hours before dawn and grabbed one of the four men hanging around outside his room, sending him to tell Danilo when to meet him - after they'd attacked him in a group, and Xander had used the skills bought fighting vampires and demons to knock the others out. He hadn't dared leave his new pack mate any longer, and Xander had spent the rest of the night holding Elaith to comfort and reassure him, and meditating as best he could until he felt Elaith wake up, interrupted once by the messenger returning to give Danilo's answer. It was just as well that he hadn't still been aroused, because that would have scared the poor creature no end, or made him think that he needed to relieve Xander of his arousal to 'earn' his protection. The fact that elves here didn't need to sleep was fascinating, something he hadn't heard of before, and he hoped this 'reverie' was enjoyable, he wished he could find out for himself, but he knew that was out of the question.

Reluctantly he stopped petting the elf, it soothed him as well, but he had work to do and this was a distraction. But first, he sniffed the air discretely, realising that Elaith was filthy, probably an attempt to make the men here reluctant to use him, and to avoid being vulnerable while he was bathing, or washing himself, or whatever was available here. But Danilo, Arilyn and that other elf had looked pretty clean, so he was betting that there were some sort of washing facilities at least.

"Do you want to get yourself clean? I'll guard you while you bathe, or whatever it is you can do here. But you do need to show me where we can go for that." He resisted the urge to just lift the older male, knowing that it would make him feel powerless and controlled rather than protected.

"Please." Elaith lifted his arms, reaching out for Xander with total trust. "There hasn't been anyone willing to take me to the bathing chambers, well no one I'd trust, and most of the men here don't really care about staying clean." So he was wrong about the reasons for Elaith's current condition. Xander smiled again and lifted him, cradling the elf to his body as he walked through the halls, once very well appointed, now badly damaged most likely by the current inhabitants. "Just down this corridor. This used to be one of my businesses, an inn, until the Malevein arrived. They've ignored it because it's not that impressive on the outside, it catered to criminals, and other supposed undesirables, such as rebel drow."

"Drow are undesirables?" Xander wasn't entirely certain what drow were, but he wanted to know.

"Yes and no my lord. Drow are elves with black skin and white hair, mostly they live below the surface and worship an evil goddess, and they have a reputation for being evil, one that is well earned. But the ones who rebel against their society are not always evil, some worship a good goddess, and are no more evil than surface elves, normal surface elves are, others just don't like being abused by the priestesses and are morally no different to criminals of any other race. This is the bathing chamber my lord. I just hope the spell maintaining it wasn't disrupted."

"What sort of spell?" Xander was looking down at Elaith as he entered the bathroom, so he didn't really notice what it was like until he looked up, and whistled in awe at the pool set into the marble floor.

"A spell that keeps the water constantly circulating and replaced by clean water. It looks as if it still works my lord." And it did, Xander could see from the way the surface moved that the water wasn't just still below the surface.

"Do you need to take a piss or anything before you get clean?" Xander'd used the pot he found beneath the bed when he woke up, and had the first of the men he'd knocked out to wake up empty it for him.

"Please my lord, yes." Elaith refused to look at him, keeping his head bowed, but he did point out the toilet, hidden behind a screen. Xander gave the elf privacy to relieve himself before picking him up again and carrying him to the pool.

He lowered Elaith to the floor by the pool and turned his back so the elf could undress in some semblance of privacy. "You do not need to do that my lord. And I thought that you wanted to bathe yourself, why not join me?" The elf shivered noticeably. " not certain I am capable of bathing by myself any longer. The Malevein have some soldiers, people of the city who joined them willingly, or at least serve them willingly now, and they were sometimes rewarded by being ordered to bathe me, that or my master bathed me himself as foreplay."

Xander stripped, then knelt to remove the rags Elaith was wearing, lifting him and carrying him into the pool before laying him down and offering him some soap. They bathed in silence, Xander ignoring the times Elaith seemed to be aroused and helping him as he needed. Then he got out and dried them both off, repressing the slight arousal he felt from the way Elaith rubbed up against his groin unconsciously. Glancing around nervously he noticed a pile of robes lying in one corner and snagged two of them, one for Elaith and one for himself, at least to get them back to his room.


Elaith lay back on the bed in his master's room, wrapping the robe he was wearing tightly around his body. He didn't feel too happy about wearing just a robe, it made him feel too vulnerable, but he was sure Lord Xander would have thought of that and would tell him what to wear.

"Shit! You don't have any decent clothes do you?" Elaith opened his mouth to answer, but his master forestalled him, answering his own question. "Of course you don't, or you'd have been wearing them. Give me a few minutes and I'll let you pick from some of my clothes."

"Thank you my lord." Elaith kept his eyes cast down submissively as his master pulled out more of those strange trousers and tunics, the trousers blue this time, and the tunics many colours, and then some looser, soft black trousers and a loose black shirt. "My lord, unless you wish to wear these I would prefer them to your other clothes."

"Of course you can wear them. I prefer my jeans anyway. Any reason in particular you prefer these?" Lord Xander was putting the rest of the clothes away as he spoke, looking down into Elaith's eyes, rather than even glancing at his body.

"They are softer, looser, and I might be able to dress myself in them without aid. It has been too long since I was permitted to dress myself, except in things that display more of me than they hide." The rags he'd been wearing before were the remnants of the last outfit Drachar had put him into, and the uniform of the guard Danilo had killed while rescuing him.

"I see. I won't look at you then." And Lord Xander immediately turned away from him, waiting patiently for Elaith to change into his clothes. Elaith had pretty much given up on retaining any sense of modesty a month into his captivity, but it had still made him feel dirty every time he was dressed in something that made his purpose obvious, and the stares everyone here but Danilo and Arilyn directed at him, even the only other elf, made him feel even more soiled. It was all too obvious that the only thing they thought he could possibly be good for now was sex. Everything Lord Xander did was making Elaith fall deeper and deeper in love with him, and he cursed the fact that he was male, meaning he had absolutely no chance to be with his master. The joke was that before he'd met Lord Xander he would have been grateful to be in just this situation, under the protection of someone strong, and not required to offer his body in exchange, and now he wished Lord Xander would demand his services in bed. It was a bit of a struggle to get into the trousers, but he did manage eventually.

"I'm dressed my lord." Elaith had not considered how good he would look in the clothes his master lent him, but he did think that they suited him, making him look more fragile, and hopefully making his master more protective, which was positive attention at least. His master didn't seem to notice his appearance, not consciously anyway, but that didn't matter, as long as it did not anger him.

"You can keep those, but you need some more clothes, stuff that fits you properly." As he spoke Lord Xander dressed himself, totally lacking the modesty he attributed to Elaith, who kept his eyes cast down throughout, although he did sneak glances from time to time. "Is there any easy way to get them, or will I have to make a raid to steal them?" It sounded as though the man was seriously considering leading a raid against the Malevein just to get decent clothes for his property. "I've got some jewels, and that sort of thing if I can buy them without raising suspicion."

"About half of the Malevein's slaves have some degree of freedom, no a bit more than half. You could probably pass for one of the guards assigned to the lesser harems, the ones kept to reward trusted native servants, if you tried, and 'requisition' clothes for an elven pet. They would probably assume you wanted to have a more responsive toy when you enjoyed the privileges of guarding a lesser harem and thought decent clothes might get you that." Elaith bit his lower lip and finally allowed himself to look up. "If you could show me what you have as trade goods I might be able to pick out something suitable for you to use to bribe whoever you get the clothes from to stay quiet, as if you didn't want the Malevein, or anyone else, to know there was one bed-slave you were interested in particularly."

"Ok." Lord Xander sat down beside Elaith on the bed, lifting his cross and pulling jewels and jewellery from it somehow - Elaith knew that at one point he'd understood in theory how to do that, at least in outline, but he didn't now. Most of the things his master laid on the bed Elaith immediately dismissed as being too valuable for his master to possess according to the cover story he'd come up with, and certainly too valuable to waste on a bribe for a storekeeper. The jewellery was almost all gold, from '18 carat' to '24 carat' some standard of purity from Lord Xander's world, and Elaith dismissed that out of hand, as he did the loose jewels. But there were a few silver pieces, almost pure silver, and eventually Elaith picked out a heavy silver bracelet that would work.

"This is the sort of thing a guard of that rank might have, and be willing to give away to keep a seduction quiet. But the clothes you are wearing will not work. they are too exotic, and possibly too expensive and well made for a guard to plausibly be wearing them. Some sort of armour would work, mercenaries buy the best armour they can afford, so the higher quality of what you have wouldn't be out of place. And they get their armour from all over, so no one will think twice about it being exotic, that is if you have any armour."

"Will this do?" Lord Xander held up some leather clothes, all in black, with some metal on, but not enough to make it too noticeable. "And I'll need to carry a weapon won't I? An axe would be best."

"I think I need to see it on to really judge, but it looks right." His master stripped off and pulled the leathers on immediately at his words, and he looked dangerous wearing them. On receiving Elaith's approval he changed back again, and it looked as if something had just occurred to him.

"Can I leave you safely with Danilo and Arilyn?"

"I think so yes."

"Good." Lord Xander lifted Elaith into his arms. "I need to pick up the clothes I was wearing, and wash them too for that matter. Direct me to their room."

Danilo was sitting meditating when Lord Xander knocked on the door, he'd also given one of the men they'd passed orders to bring some food to his room in about an hour. "Take care of Elaith, I'll be coming to pick him up inside of an hour." The gentleness with which Lord Xander laid him on the bed contrasted with the brusqueness of his words and he only waited for the mage's agreement before leaving.

Chapter 3

Danilo was still telling Xander that yes he would look after Elaith for him when the man just walked out. He stared after the man stupidly for a moment, then he turned to Elaith.

"Why did he want me to look after you?"

"Lord Xander believes I would not be safe from the men if he left me alone, so he asked me whether he could trust you to protect me." Elaith kept his voice low, trying not to disturb Arilyn, and his eyes downcast in an effort to avoid attention.

"You don't quite understand. I was asking why he cares about keeping you safe. Has he decided to give you his personal protection for some reason?" Danilo just hoped that Xander wasn't going to abuse Elaith as a condition of protecting him, but even if he was he couldn't do anything about it, he couldn't afford to, and it might even be better for Elaith to just have to answer to one man.

"Yes. he came back for me after you showed him his room, one of the men was trying to rape me, I hate being so weak, but he would have succeeded too, and Lord Xander pulled him off me and threw him into a wall. He's very strong. Lord Xander said that I belong to him, and anyone who hurts me will answer to him." The Moon Elf was smiling at the memory, but Danilo wasn't certain whether that was because he was happy to be Xander's, or because he had enjoyed seeing one of the men who'd threatened him with rape thrown into a wall.

"Has he...forced you?" Danilo was reluctant to bring the subject up because of the guilt he felt he bore for what had happened to Elaith already, but he had to know if the saviour he'd summoned was as bad as the Malevein, if someone evil was the only person willing and able to help. That guilt was the only reason he said what he said next. "If he is abusing you I'll try to find a way to stop him."

"No!" Elaith looked shocked at the idea. "Even if he was abusing me, which he isn't, it would be a small price to pay for getting rid of the Malevein. We have to destroy or defeat them all before they've been here five years, or the whole world is doomed. Lord Xander is only interested in females anyway, he told me that when I offered myself to him after he rescued me, and he said even if I was female he wouldn't take me under those circumstances."

"Then he's protecting you just because it's the right thing to do." Danilo felt small and ignoble when he came to that realisation - he'd left Elaith to be raped, broken and abused because it was too much effort to protect him and keep from becoming a monster himself, and here a stranger was protecting him just because he needed it.

"Yes, I think so, all he's asked of me so far is to tell him about our world, and the Malevein. He acts as if I could still be modest after what I've done, he gave me these clothes, and he's planning to make an individual reconnaissance and get me some clothes that fit at the same time. From what he's said the first part of his plan needs you to be at full power, because that will let him get a power boost, and the three of us too. He said he might be able to let me walk again if it works right too. But he can explain this all far better than I can." There was a faintly dreamy look on Elaith's face, the sort of look you only saw on a man in love. Danilo just hoped he wouldn't get his hopes up too high if Xander was never going to return his feelings.

"How can we - never mind, I'll be meeting him at sunset so I can find out then." Danilo started to ask about the power boost Elaith thought he could get, but he realised that the elf would probably refuse to answer. Still, did he mean that Danilo, Elaith and Arilyn would receive a power boost as well as Xander, or someone else. "You said that the three of us could get a power boost, did you mean me, you and Arilyn?"

"Yes Lord Thann." Elaith paused as if uncertain whether or not to continue. "He asked me who I thought could be trusted with power given by a spell, you two were the only ones I could think of."

"I don't know if I can be trusted, but it will take a week for me to be able to cast spells again. Why doesn't he just cast this spell?"

"He doesn't have the power yet." Elaith's head lifted and he turned towards the door suddenly. "Lord Xander is on his way back."


Xander dumped his wet clothes in his room before returning to pick up Elaith, he couldn't carry the elf and his clothes at the same time, so he'd decided to bring the clothes first, and give his pack mate a chance to speak with the mage. Besides which he couldn't leave the elf alone, he was too vulnerable at least at the moment. Even if he couldn't heal Elaith after Danilo cast 'Halloween' while he was dressed as Laphiji from 'Vampire Game' Xander was planning on dressing Elaith as High Lord Dharinel, an Elven Magus Major from Mercedes Lackey's 'Urban Elves' books, and that would give him raw magic power and skills from a different type of magic again, so he wouldn't be helpless.

Elaith was still on the bed next to Arilyn where Xander had left him, and he was watching the door, as if he knew that Xander was just coming. Perhaps he did at that, for all Xander knew elves had better senses than humans, superior enough to detect Xander's approach and recognise him.

"Hello Elaith. Are you ready to come back with me, or do you want to speak with Danilo for a while longer?"

"I wish to return with you. I have yet to give you the information you need on the Malevein, and I am somewhat hungry my lord." Elaith held out his arms to be lifted with a total trust that Xander found slightly humbling.

"I'm sorry. I totally forgot about eating earlier, truthfully I'm not sure why I wasn't hungry before, I usually am. If you need something in future tell me." Xander bent to lift the elf as he spoke, turning back to the mage. "Danilo, if I need to leave Elaith with you before I can heal him, if I can heal him, will you be willing to take care of him?"

"Yes, of course, but I won't be able to use my magic for a week at the very least."

"You mean you won't have the strength to cast any spells for that long?" Xander frowned slightly, then shrugged. "It doesn't matter, I'll need to work out which characters would give the best ability sets for the circumstances, and prepare information on them, and you'll all need to study that information."

"I do not understand."

"Neither do I." Arilyn had just woken and she lifted herself to lean on one elbow.

"Nor I my lord. Is this in some way related to the spell you mentioned?"

"Yes, it lets people access the abilities of others from another universe, but those others must fall within certain parameters, and are shaped by the way whoever the spell is cast on views the one donating abilities. For instance if two people in my universe dressed as you, but one was thinking of you more as an eccentric noble, and the other as a Harper then the one who thought of you as a Harper would get the skills you used to hide, as well as the ones you let your peers know about, while the one who just thought of you as a noble would only get the abilities you displayed in that act."

"So the more we know about the people we're dressing as the more powers we'll get?" Arilyn sounded curious at that.


"I don't want any magic, I refuse to dress as a magic user." He hadn't expected that adamant response, but he could deal with it.

"Fine, but you will dress as martial artists capable of controlling their ki, and generating enough of it to produce ki-blasts. And also a blademaster, I'm not sure how much he will add to your skill, but he will add something, even if the style will be different."

Xander didn't wait for her reply, instead he turned and walked out taking Elaith with him.


Elaith looked at the food laid on the table with a desperate hunger he'd learned to keep hidden in the presence of his master. Even if Lord Xander didn't think of himself as the elf's master, Elaith considered him to be so and would treat him as such. He was grateful that the human had thought to feed him, but he knew better than to take the food without permission, he'd gone longer than the twenty-four hours it had been since he last ate without food before because of his master's whims, he just hoped he wouldn't have to do so too often again.

"What are you waiting for Elaith?" Lord Xander sounded half curious and half angry that he had to ask the question.

"My previous masters did not allow me to eat until they gave permission. And since Danilo rescued me I've only been able to eat when someone thought to bring me food, so..." Elaith trailed off, hoping against hope that he wouldn't have to explain any further.

"I'm sorry," Lord Xander was apologising to him? "It just slipped my mind in coming here. From now on if you are hungry tell me, and I'll have someone get you something to eat, or do it myself."

"Thank you my lord. I will do as you have said." Elaith kept his eyes cast down as he ate slowly, knowing better than to hurry and risk throwing up. He stopped before he'd eaten all that he wanted to, knowing that if he ate any more he'd probably throw up, and perhaps there would still be food available later. "What do you wish me to tell you about now my lord?"

"How many of these Malevein are there, and how are they organized?"

"There are one hundred Malevein. They consist of perhaps fifty who primarily use magic, forty who primarily fight and ten who do administrative work - although they all have some skill in fighting and in their magic. They are led by my last master Drachar, and he has two principal subordinates, one in command of the magic users and one in command of the fighters - the administators report directly to him.

"Of the fighters ten are assigned permanently to him as bodyguards, supplemented by those slave guards they find most trustworthy and skilled - about twenty of those. There are usually two Malevein and four natives guarding him at all times. Five of the fighters are assigned to his second for the magic users, to use as he sees fit, five to guard the magic users who power the shield and the other twenty, including the second for the fighters, keep order and try to destroy the last of the resistance.

"Twenty of the magic users work with them, one magic user paired with one fighter, except for the pair including the second for the fighters the magic user is in charge. Another twenty constantly maintain the shield cutting the city off from the outside world, including our gods, working in groups of four at a time, for six hours each, although the changeover is staggered, so a different magic user leaves and joins the group every hour and a half. The remaining ten magic users, including the second for the magic users, are a floating force more or less, and do whatever needs magic.

"The administrators do just that, administrate, making sure their laws are followed by the conquered. Except for Drachar they are all weak in both fighting and magic, he's as strong as his seconds in each of their fields. The seconds are both unbalanced, only really good at their particular fields, the second for fighters has comparatively weak magic, and the second for magic users can't fight very well. Some of their subordinates have equal skills in both areas, but they aren't as good as the seconds." As he was speakng Elaith realised that he'd learned more about the Malevein than he'd thought, and he began to believe that perhaps his knowledge was enough to repay his master, for now anyway.


Xander frowned at the comprehensive description that Elaith had given of the organisation of the Malevein, something he hadn't expected. It was a bit short on details, but he hadn't realised just how much access Elaith must have had, that or how much he'd been passed around, and disregarded. "Were Drachar's subordinates really titled 'second in charge of fighters' and 'second in charge of magic users'?" Those titles sounded a bit clumsy to him. "And how did they refer to their magic users, not just as 'magic users' surely?"

"I never learned what their titles were, just what they did, because of what I overheard when they did their business with Drachar while he was...using me. And their term for magic users was something like 'mrrr'tcht', barely pronouncable."

"Oh, I see." It made sense to Xander that an alien language might not be easy to translate, or pronounce, and after hearing the sound that the Malevein had used to describe their magic users he couldn't blame Elaith for just using that term, rather than anything else. "Now, do you know what makes them immune to your magic? Is it inherent in them, or do they have something to protect them from it?"

"Once a week they'd do a group casting, about sixty of them working together, that was the only time I could ever sense my type of magic around them, so I think it's a spell they do to give them protection from the native magic - I suspect if I had any clerical magic I'd have sensed that as well."

"Good, so it probably isn't inherent. That means that alien types of magic would work against them, so the more types of magic we master the greater our advantage. This makes 'Halloween' - the power boosting spell - even more important. I might have to change my plans for that a bit. Originally I planned on making sure that I always had the advantage in power and skill for each magic system I allow Danilo access to, but now it might be better to diversify."

"If you are going to give me magic power again then could we not cast 'Halloween' on each other, or at least I could cast it on you to give you a power advantage my lord?" Elaith sounded nervous, almost as if he thought he would be punished for making the suggestion, but it was a good one.

"Thank you Elaith. That's a very good idea, actually there's a more powerful variant, we can use that on each other as well if I can trust you not to betray me."

"I belong to you, I can never betray you, and if you have some spell you wish to use to ensure my loyalty I will consent to that without question."

"I'm not sure, some of the spells that would enforce loyalty would also interfere with your ability to think for yourself, and I don't really want that. I'll think about it. Now, Arilyn and Danilo love each other do they not?"

"Yes, they do my lord." Xander had started to get used to that honorific, at least enough that he wasn't shocked every time he heard it.

"Then what is the lifespan of a half elf? With one of the costumes I'm planning for them the lifespan isn't defined in cannon, so I can make it up." Then it occured to him that one of the costumes he planned for Danilo would make him immortal, so he could choose Arilyn's third costume to do the same thing. "Forget it, I've just realised I don't need to know, I can make them both immortal."


"Hello Danilo, Arilyn." Danilo watched as Xander carefully put Elaith down in a chair, before turning to greet them.

"Hello Xander. What do you want to discuss first?"

"I want to explain what the first stage of destroying the Malevein is. Have you actually managed to kill any of them?"

"No, they heal too fast, I'm not even sure how to kill them, because the normal fatal wounds don't work." Danilo let Arilyn answer that question, he hadn't faced enough of the Malevein to answer it.

"That means that we have to use spells, or other abilities, that will destroy their bodies totally. Unless, Elaith, do you know if they have any particular vulnerabilities?"

"Not to my knowledge my lord." Elaith glanced up from beneath his lowered lashes, and Danilo couldn't help but notice how pleased he seemed to be that Xander had asked him something.

"But magic doesn't work on them, I should know I've tried, and Uncle Khelben did too, before he died giving me his magic - and Laeral with him, one of Mystra's Chosen." Danilo laughed bitterly. "Her spells didn't work either."

"Elaith, what does it mean that Laeral was one of Mystra's Chosen?" Danilo blinked in shock at that, he'd forgotten that the saviour he'd summoned would not know just what it meant for a wizard to be chosen by Mystra.

"It means that she was incredibly powerful, my lord, and had the favour of the Goddess of Magic, so she could cast spells more easily, and with more power, than other wizards and learn new spells faster."

"But she would still use magic the same way that you did, or Danilo does?"

"Mostly, but she would also have used clerical magic, magic calling upon Mystra's power, or she might have."

"If Waterdeep hadn't been cut off from everything, including your gods."

"Yes," Danilo was impatient now. "But it has been cut off from everything, and if the two most powerful wizards in Waterdeep couldn't hurt the Malevein with spells how do you expect us to?"

"They were using the wrong type of magic." Danilo couldn't belive how coldly Xander could tell him that his uncle had been useless when it came to this threat. "You see every week the Malevein cast a spell that protects all the Malevein from the magic system you use. If you learn a different type of magic, my magic, and the magic you'll be learning through this spell they'll be affected by it."

"They will?" Hope rose in Danilo for the first time since his uncle had died.

"Yes. Now first I need to cast a spell so that we can exchange knowledge of our magic systems - to let you cast this spell." Danilo flinched when Xander brought out a knife. "The spell requires that we exchange blood - a lot of my spells are blood based." He held out his hand when Xander ordered it, and gasped in shock at the magic system Xander used.

"Here's the spell you need to cast. I'm sorry, but I won't teach you anymore of my spells - and I want to take the knowledge of how to cast it from you afterwards."

"But, your magic system is so...elegant. Why can't you teach me more of the spells you use?" Danilo coudn't help the loss in his voice at Xander's decision.

"You can retain the knowledge of my magic system that you have now, but I will not allow you to retain such a potentially dangerous spell. As for why I won't teach you more of my spells, my belief is that a magic user should create his spells for himself, not rely on the spells others have created. I have all the knowledge about how to create spells, and I will leave that with you."

"I see. What else do we need for now?"

"These. They have information on the people whose abilities you will gain. Arilyn," Xander handed a sheaf of papers over to the half elf as he spoke, "you'll be changing into Vegeta, a martial artist who can throw ki around, enough to destroy a planet; Darres, one of the best swordsmen in Pheliosta, and Kelsenellenelvial gil-Ravedy, an elven blademaster, he's immortal, but his only real magic is an inherent ability to see through illusions. Danilo," and again Xander handed a sheaf of papers over, "you get Vegeta in Super Saiyan form, which will make you as tough as Arilyn; Vord, a prince who is skilled in the holy magic of Pheliosta, and Kall-Su, an immortal sorcerer with a particular affinity for ice magic, powerful enough to face an army by himself."

Danilo couldn't stop himself whistling. "Impressive. What are you and Elaith dressing as?"

"You'll cast the spell on us first, I'll be dressed as Laphiji, also a prince, adopted brother to Vord, better than him at both magic and swordsmanship, in part because he was made into a living piece of magic as a child by his birth family and Elaith will be dressed as the Master Magus Dharinel. Elaith will also dress as Yujinn, also called Yuujel, another Pheliostian prince, better than Vord at holy magic, but not so good and powerful as Laphiji and Prince Herb of the Musk Tribe, another expert martial artist who can throw ki around, and use it to fly. My other two costumes will be Goku, a martial artist more powerful than Vegeta, and Dark Schnieder, Kall-Su's teacher and adoptive father, primarily a fire mage, he can't cast even the simplest of ice spells to save his life, but he is the oldest sorcerer, and the most powerful. No single sorcerer has ever defeated him."

"In other words you don't really trust us, and you're making sure that you'll be more powerful than us in everything." Danilo covered his fury at that attitude quickly, but as much as he hated it he could understand why Xander didn't trust him or Arilyn, if for no other reason than that they had failed to protect Elaith, whom Xander seemed to have imprinted on in a weird way. He sighed and stood. "Is there anything else you want us to do?"

"Could you take care of Elaith tomorrow while I do a recon run? And this will give you two totally alien forms of magic, plus ki abilities, so we should be able to deal with the Malevein using that, if we have to I can repeat the spell with other forms of magic."

"Yes, we'll take care of Elaith, and we do appreciate what you ae doing for us." Arilyn intervened, trying to keep the peace and calm Xander, before she left with Danilo.

Chapter 4

Elaith kept his eyes lowered in respect as his master delivered him to Danilo the next morning. He couldn't quite believe how generous Lord Xander was being, not only had he fed Elaith every time he was hungry, he had given him two sets of clothes from his own pack, helped him to bathe again today, and washed out the clothes Elaith had worn yesterday himself - and now he was going out to buy new clothes for Elaith from one of the Malevein's collaborators! Admittedly Lord Xander was doing recon at the same time, but he didn't need to risk being discovered by trading for clothes for him, and he was going to do it anyway.

"Make sure that you feed him whenever he is hungry, and do not allow anyone to harm, or even touch him." And his master was giving specific orders to make sure Danilo cared for him properly, Elaith knew just how lucky he was to belong to someone like Xander, it was something he'd never dreamed he'd have, safety, someone who would care for him despite his many faults, without any requirement for him to be perfect in any way. When he had been younger, before his Moonblade rejected him he'd always felt the need to fit perfectly into what was expected of him, so he would be worthy of the Craulnober Moonblade, the Royal Family he'd been born to serve, and later worthy of the Princess he was to marry. And when his Moonblade rejected him, his first love had broken their engagement on the strength of that and he'd fled, the lifestyle he had fallen into left him no room for caring, or being cared for. Then after the Malevein arrived...he'd thought that he would spend the rest of his life as their slave, they'd broken him totally. He knew that on some level that had to be affecting him too, influencing his adoration of Lord Xander, but that didn't really matter, he would be forever content to be nothing more than Xander's friend if that was all the human would give him.

"He...he acted as if you were just an animal, a pet, not a person capable of making your own decisions!" Arilyn sounded outraged, but Elaith couldn't understand her interpretation of Lord Xander's actions at all.

"That is not so Princess Arilyn. I was a slave, and a very thoroughly trained slave at that, Lord Xander is just trying to counter the effects of the training I've been through. I do not think I could defend myself from an attack or an attempt at molestation, even if I were not too badly damaged to do so. And I've been trained not to mention my needs, unless I am specifically ordered to." Elaith knew that he wasn't supposed to contradict his betters, but he just couldn't bring himself to sit by and let his master be insulted.

"And if you're willing to speak up against Arilyn for his sake he must be good for you." Danilo concluded, seeing hope for Elaith where the elf himself could barely percieve it.

"Thank you Lord Thann. Is there anything you wish to do while I am under your protection?"

"Talk to us about these people we're going to be dressed as. Why are all of my characters male?" Arilyn seemed to be a little insulted, and Elaith couldn't entirely blame her for that, although he didn't say anything on that subject.

"Lord Xander picked characters from fiction in his world, and used a common fan interpretation of each, or his own interpretation. In his world most cultures are male dominated to some degree, so the strongest characters are always male, unless they have magic. He chose Vegeta for his ki abilities, as if you won't use magic you need something that will let you destroy bodies entirely. Darres was intended to possibly boost your skill with a blade, so I suggest you assume that he is better than you at swordplay. And Kelsenellenelvial, as you heard is a blademaster and also immortal, but he was mainly intended to make sure both you and Danilo live forever. I think Lord Xander believes it is important for lovers to have vaguely similar lifespans."

"Arilyn, it isn't as if you haven't played a man before." Danilo smiled at the half elf, flirting to calm her. It seemed to work, and the two of them appeared to almost forget Elaith's presence, so he crawled over to the corner where they were less likely to notice him.


Xander walked through the streets of Waterdeep with the confidence in his own strength and ability to handle himself that he'd gained painfully through his encounters with vampires and demons over the past seven years, despite he fact that they were all stronger than him he usually managed to win, to kill his enemy if he wasn't too badly outnumbered, or unarmed. It seemed to work well enough to keep people from bothering him - most of the people around stepped out of his way, of course they also stepped out of the way of anyone armed, swiftly enough to show that it was done without thought. And that was a little worrying, it was the sign of a society where anyone armed could hurt anyone unarmed without any penalty, yet more evidence that the Malevein were bad news, as if he needed it after seeing what had happened to his new pack mate.

There was only a single street where you could buy the little luxuries that people who lived above the poverty line took for granted, from what Elaith had said food distribution was centralised, supplied by the Malevein to their slaves - and they were careless in a way, just assuming that anyone who walked Waterdeep were their slaves, with no way to track them, or keep any sort of records. That was a good thing, that they were carelessly arrogant inside Waterdeep, despite the almost paranoid precautions they took to keep the city cut off from the rest of the world and native magic suppressed, but there was the nagging worry that perhaps it was justified.

Xander shook his head sharply, dismissing those thoughts and slid easily back into the mindset of a low level fighter, assigned to guard a harem and hoping to get one of the concuines in bed willingly with a few treats. Not that he had a problem with rape, it was just one hell of a lot easier not to have to explain to the Malevein why one of the pretty sluts was all roughed up. At least that was the impression he needed to give, seeing as only people who had little sense of morality were trusted enough by the Malevein to walk around armed.

"You!" He casually walked into a clothing shop as if he owned it. The clothes here were pretty, slightly encumbering to the wearer, and of medium quality, nothing expensive, or really revealing, but they'd probably flatter whoever wore them if chosen right, just the sort of thing to give a harem slave who wanted to have the option of covering his body, and very much not the sort of thing a fighter would wear in a situation where the appearance of strength was all important.

"Yes sir? How might I serve you?" The storekeeper looked about fifty or sixty years old at least to Xander's eyes, but he could quite well be older or younger, depending on what sort of lifespan humans normally had in this world - and that was if he was as human as he looked.

"There's a silver haired fuck toy I want to buy some clothes for. Advise me."

"Yes sir. If I might ask, how tall is she?" The man was almost cringing, Xander got the impression that he didn't think Xander was likely to even pay for the clothes he took, and was just hoping to avoid violence.

"He is about six foot tall, elven, so his shoulders aren't that broad, you know how those pretty things can't put on muscle mass whatever they do. The slut doesn't have anything to be embarrassed about, but he keeps on trying to hide his lovely body beneath the bedcovers."

"And you don't want him to do that." The storekeeper laughed slightly, carefully as if he didn't want to offend Xander, but had recognised the cruel humour Xander had put into his voice.

"No, I don't, so find something that will let him cover up - but not too much if you know what I mean?" Xander let his voice roughen, with arousal forced from the memory of hunting with a Slayer, better, with Faith since she always let him enjoy the aftermath with her - and she didn't kick him out after they'd had fun, at least not anymore.

"Yes, of course sir. Will these suffice?" He was holding up a tunic and loose trousers in thin silk, just heavy enough that you couldn't see through it and a rich golden brown in colour.

"Do you have it in any other colours?"

"Yes sir." In the end Xander took three sets, the golden brown, a set in black and a set in a rich deep green, ordering the storekeeper to wrap them up, and tossing the bracelet he'd decided on as payment on the table as he left.


Danilo looked over the clothes he'd gathered to use for his costumes. He didn't have anything suitable for this 'Vegeta', but Kall-Su's armour was simple enough to fake, and Vord's outfit was boring in comparison to what he normally wore. He would have to use some illusions to help those two costumes along, but not many, just enough to make his hair look shorter, and make Kall-Su's armour look real as well as give him Vord's tan.

"I think I can manage the costumes apart from Vegeta. Elaith, do you think Xander can help me with that?"

"I do not know, Lord Thann but I doubt he would choose those characters if he did not believe the appropriate costume was possible. Lord Xander is not so foolish as that. And he knows that he will have to provide all of the costumes for me." The elf was curled up in a chair, with food waiting on a table beside him. He hesitated, biting his lip in palpable worry, before continuing. "Princess Arilyn, if I might ask, do you have your costumes planned and prepared? At least as much as you can manage?"

"For Kellsenellenelvial I can adapt one of my standard disguises using my Moonblade, the one I use to disguise myself as a Gold Elf, and for Darres I can adapt one of the disguises I used to look like a human. Vegeta's the only problem for me too."

"Then if I might ask have you fixed what you expect of the characters you are portraying in your minds?"

"Not fully. We're working on it though. And what about you?"

"Dharinel is actually a Bard, and he is rather disdainful of humans, at least in general, he has come to accept that some humans are worthy of respect and he spent twenty years or so training a human Bard who accidentally set monsters loose in a human city. At first that was mostly so the human wouldn't do any more damage, but as I say he did come to respect the human in question, and the lover he shared with one of the youngest of the elves on that continent."

"And the other two?"

"Yuujel is a manipulator. He fell in love with the future Queen of his land when he was thirteen and she was six, then when he was adult he disguised himself and came to her court to try and teach her magic, so he could court her under the table so to speak - ending with him falling in love with her bodyguard. He manipulated a woman who was in love with him into marrying a childhood friend of his, Ashley, because Ashley wanted her, and he didn't care about what she wanted, as long as she wasn't chasing him any more. He's probably just a little better at spellcasting than Vord, he certainly has more finese, that's what he offered to teach him when Vord came and shared the future Queen's magic lessons."

"And what about Herb?"

"As Lord Xander said he's a martial artist. He is skilled, but not as powerful as Vegeta or Goku, his particular speciality is Ki attacks but he doesn't have as much of a Ki reserve as the two Saiyans. On the other hand he uses what he has better than Goku for certain, possibly better than Vegeta too, because he has less power to call on." Danilo noticed that Elaith was shivering slightly, but he wasn't quite sure why the elf was reacting so badly to the way he and Arilyn were alternating questions. He was reluctantly impressed that Elaith had managed to learn so much about the characters he was assigned to portray so quickly, but then he'd spent just about all his time with Xander.

"What is going on here?" Xander sounded furious, and Elaith was looking up at the one-eyed man as if he'd been rescued from a torture chamber.

"We just wanted to know how well Elaith was prepared for this spell of yours." Arilyn protested and Danilo was glad he didn't have to, he didn't know what it was, but something about Xander was very intimidating.

"You scared him. Get away from him!" Danilo obeyed, shocked at how badly he'd been treating Elaith without even realising it. Xander moved to kneel in front of Elaith, taking his hands into his own. "Are you alright Elaith? What scared you so badly?"

" felt as if Lord Thann and the Princess were interrogating me. It brought up...bad memories."

"I see. Come on, I'll take you back to my room and you can see what I brought back for you." Xander stood and pulled Elaith into his arms.

"Wait, before you go, will you be able to help Arilyn and me with the costumes for Vegeta?" Danilo wasn't sure whether he would have a chance to ask before he cast the spell, he had the feeling that Xander was going to spend a lot of time taking care of Elaith in the near future, and might not trust him with the elf either.

"Yes of course. Now get out of my way."


Elaith watched Lord Xander in adoration. He knew that it was a sign of how broken he was that he considered Lord Xander his master, but he didn't care. The man laid him gently on his bed and stepped away to pick up a parcel.

"Here, you can open this. That is, if you aren't hungry?"

"No my lord, I am not hungry. Lord Thann and Princess Arilyn made sure that I had food while I was with them." Elaith began opening the package as he spoke, Lord Xander wouldn't punish him for doing as he'd been told - hadn't punished him at all so far, which puzzled him as much as it relieved him, he was sure he'd already displeased Lord Xander, seen the man grow angry a time or two, but that anger had never been turned on him. He gasped at the sight of the clothes inside. "Thank you my lord." He'd never thought that his master would bring back more than one outfit for him, if he was lucky, he certainly hadn't expected to be given three beautiful outifts that were almost prctical. And now that he was under Lord Xander's protection it didn't matter if people desired him, they couldn't take him, except of course for Lord Xander himself. And no matter what he wanted Lord Xander wouldn't take him, not as long as he was male.

"Will they be comfortable for you to wear?"

"Oh yes my lord."

"I'd planned to go on at least one raid with the men before we cast Halloween, but now I don't think I can trust Danilo and Arilyn with you." Lord Xander sat beside Elaith on the bed and he felt guilty that his fears had made it harder for his master to do his duty.

"My lord," Elaith placed a trembling hand on Lord Xander's arm as he spoke, he knew it wasn't his place to initiate contact with his master, but it might make him feel better, "they can and will protect me, they were simply overeager in trying to find out what they wished to know."

"Will you be comfortable in their care?"

"Yes my lord." Bowing his head Elaith tried to hide his blush at the care his master was showing for his needs. The automatic, unthinking care and consideration Xander gave to him, to everybody really, was yet another factor deepening his love for the dark haired man. "They brought up something that I had not thought of my lord." That was as far as he could bring himself to go in bringing up a new topic and in asking for something.

"What did they bring up?" A firm hand lifted his chin and Elaith smiled up at Lord Xander.

"That I do not have any suitable costumes for the characters I am intended to portray."

"We can probably adapt one of the outfits I just got you for Master Magus Dharinel, and supplement it with a little illusion. After that we can probably find a way for you to ken the costumes you need, and possibly for Danilo and Arilyn too."

"Yes my lord. Should we try to adapt one of the outfits now? So that we know what we need to make up with illusion?"

"That is a very good idea." Lord Xander agreed and they began to put his plan into action.


Xander had packed a black wig in his dimensional pocket, along with the face paints he would need to add the symbol on Laphiji's forhead marking him out as a living piece of magic, other than that he was dressed very plainly for a prince. Elaith was wearing more elaborate clothes, but the important thing was his instrument and the contact lenses that gave him green eyes with slitted pupils, as Dharinel's customary garb had never been described in the Bedlam's Bard series. He'd gone out on a raid with some of the men who were fighting the Malevein, but it had been a shambles, they'd had to flee with the food and other supplies they had stolen, cementing Xander's determination to get access to power so they could destroy the invaders.

"Cast the spell." He didn't quite realise how arrogant his blunt order to Danilo sounded until he saw how quickly the wizard obeyed. This time Xander was aware of Laphiji's mind overlaying his, and he almost felt as if he could take control, if he just tried to, he didn't, but he did try to calm the prince, although he was fortunately naturally phlegmatic. Dharinel was a bit shocked to find himself somewhere he had never heard of, but Xander had briefed Danilo and Arilyn enough that they were able to calm him for the short time the spell lasted.

Immediately Xander turned to Elaith. "I think I can heal you now, but first I'm going to need to replicate the original damage as much as I can. Do you want someone else here to help, or shall I take you to our bedroom, for privacy?"

"I would prefer privacy my lord." Xander swept his friend up in his arms, carrying him back to his bedroom and laying him down on the bed. He hadn't been entirely certain about what Laphiji's style of magic was capable of, and so his assumptions had been somewhat vague, but he had believed it was capable of healing the sort of damage that had crippled Elaith. Unfortunately it seemed that unconsciously he had assumed it required the wounds to be fresh. He'd considered the possibility and left a spell he'd created, effectively for torture, that would open any old wound as if it were fresh, without permitting the injured party to die by his bed. Xander knew the spell, but he felt much more comfortable reading over it again, before he tried to cast it.

Putting the spellbook aside Xander laid his hands on Elaith's back, whispering calming words and envisioning the way his back must have looked when the Malevein bastard who first owned him decided to cripple him to prevent efforts at escape and cast the spell, his will focused purely on recreating the wounds. Then he released his control on Laphiji's memories, losing himself in the prince's mindset, until he could remember what the best spell would be to start, to base his casting on. Before he resorted to the outpouring of raw power that might result in unexpected effect he cast 'Wings of Mercy'. And the body beneath his hands changed, oh Elaith was healed, at least partially, but he didn't look right. Xander panicked and used his new nature as a conduit for magic to make sure that Elaith finish healing perfectly, before he stepped back, silently.

"My lord, is something wrong?" Elaith rolled onto his, no her, side, looking up at him with that strange adoration in her eyes. He knew that she'd realised she was healed, but she hadn't seemed to realise that she'd been changed.

"I screwed up. I tried to use a spell to start the healing off, a spell that Laphiji knows, but he's a living piece of magic, so he tends to draw on it directly, rather than use spells except sometimes in combat. And if you mess 'Wings of Mercy' up in a particular way you get a gender-reversal spell, not a healing spell. I can reverse it for you, if I miscast the spell again in the same way I'll turn you back into a man, but it raises issues."

"My lord, if you remember that Dark Schnieder is the most powerful wizard ever, powerful enough to go head to head with a god and win, and to defeat the most powerful Fire Elemental with it's own element, and the most skilled as well and that Goku is the most powerful martial artist ever born then you shouldn't have a problem."

"I appreciate your faith in me. And I'll try to live up to it." Xander smiled at Elaith and prepared to cast 'Wings of Mercy' with a single mispronounced sylable.

"My lord, please, I would rather stay like this."

"But why?" Xander couldn't imagine wanting to live out an immortal life as a woman. He respected women of course, most of the best fighters he knew were women, but he wouldn't want to live as one in his world, let alone in this world - he had gotten a feeling that in general prejudice against women was even more rampant in this world than in his own.

"I felt dirty before you cast that spell, as if I'd been stained, but now I don't, as a woman I feel clean again for the first time since the Malevein arrived. And I think I love you, when I was much younger I loved a Princess, and I was to marry her, she was called Amnestria and I have never felt the way I did around her around any other save you."

"If you want to stay like that I won't force you to change, but I will not take advantage of you."

"I know, but may I still stay with you? For safety."

"Of course." Xander slid into bed with the beautiful woman before him, steeling himself not to respond to her body against his.

Chapter 5

Elaith instinctively snuggled closer to Lord Xander's warmth when she emerged from reverie, enjoying the protective way he was wrapped around her. She liked being female, at least now her master would be able to see her as desirable, he had made it all too clear that he did not find males desirable. The only difficulty left in gaining his acceptance was convincing him that if he took her to his bed he wouldn't be taking advantage of her weakness. It might be easier if she felt capable of dealing with life in the resistance by herself, but she didn't, she was too scared that the way she'd changed and the training she'd been through would let others take advantage of her.

Lord Xander was aroused, he'd been aroused about half the time he woke up with her in bed but she'd never done anything about it before. This time she would, but subtly, without making an issue of it. She slid her leg between his, and rubbed carefully. After a while she stopped, she didn't need to do any more because he was thrusting against her in his sleep. He woke slowly shortly after he climaxed and Elaith smiled up into his face.

"Good morning my lord. Pleasant dreams?" Her new voice was a husky contralto, and carried sensuality no matter what, so she was perfectly ready to take advantage of it. And Lord Xander wouldn't see anything suspicious about the positioning of their legs, they'd awoken in similar positions before.

"It seems like it. I'm sorry about this." And a hand gestured to the mess between them.

"There's nothing to be sorry about. You can hardly keep from being hard in the morning, or climaxing in your sleep if you have the right - or wrong - dream. And it isn't as if you hurt me or anything. I'd prefer it if you were awake, but you truly didn't trouble me." Elaith glanced down at the bedsheets with a frown. "Still, can you get one of the others to change the bedding, it might help them remember that I'm under your protection."

"Has anyone been giving you trouble?" Lord Xander put a hand underneath her chin and lifted her head until she was looking him in the eye.

"Nothing important, just comments, about what I do for you, and why there hasn't been anything like this. If they see this then they'll assume you planned to turn me female, and were waiting for that to have me pay for your protection. I don't mind, as long as they recognise that you can and will protect me if I need it. I will try to stand up for myself, but it can be hard."

"Hard how? Because they make it hard on you if you stand up or...?" Lord Xander's concern was warming and she smiled again.

"No, not really. If I seem too difficult a target, or boring enough they give up, it's just I've been trained not to stand up for myself, and that has its effect. But I will try if it will please you, and help to show that I can be strong enough to be your partner, to be an asset to you, not merely a dependent." She could see he approved of her determination, and that just deepened it. If she could prove that she was strong enough to be useful to him then he might be willing to see if she was attractive to him, or not, rather than just thinking of her as something to be protected.


Xander was torn between being grateful that a change of gender had somehow given Elaith enough confidence to start making an effort to stand up for herself, and cursing that now he was finding it even harder to deny how much he was drawn to her. She was spectacularly beautiful, just under six feet tall, silver hair falling to her ass, those exotic amber eyes glowing with her emotions, a delicacy to her bone structure despite her height and subtle curves on a lean muscled body. And the fact that he'd had a wet dream about her hadn't helped - a wet dream he seemed to have actually acted out in his sleep as it hadn't involved penetration.

"I know you're strong enough to be an asset, you just need to be willing to apply that strength, and I'm glad that this seems to have helped." Xander bit his lip slightly, releasing Elaith's chin. "There's just one thing, I'm not sure if you want to keep your name as it is, or change it, I'm not familiar enough with the names of your culture to know whether or not Elaith is an appropriate name for a woman."

"It isn't." Slowly Elaith sat up as Xander did the same, they both realised at the same moment that they were wearing the clothes they'd put on the day before and mutually agreed to strip. "Would you give me a new name, a new full name, as the Craulnober name is pretty much disgraced by my activities?"

"I'm honoured by the invitation. How about Silverhair as a surname? It suits your colouring, and it comes from the same books as Dharinel does."

"Yes, that would be good, Dharinel's memories include some very impressive warriors and mages by that name. And that family line seems to carry a degree of immunity to Cold Iron, so it's appropriate in other ways - even if we elves don't have an allergy to iron." They each slid a robe on, and Elaith gathered both of their clothes before Xander could object. She'd taken over laundry duties for them both during the past week, often taking on Danilo and Arilyn's laundry as well, arguing that since she couldn't fight she might as well do something useful. There were always men hanging around outside their bedroom door now, and Xander noticed the doubletakes as he walked out with a beautiful woman, even as he snagged one of them to change their bedding.

"And as for a forename, how about Elaira? It's similar to your old name, so you might not have too much difficulty remembering it."

"That sounds good." Elaira replied as she knelt with an innate grace to clean their clothes before she would bathe herself. "Does it have any meaning?"

"Yes, it's a combination of small and grace. The grace aspect is certainly appropriate for you."

"Thank you, my lord." She blushed beautifully too. "Something just occurred to me, how will I be able to dress appropriately for my other two characters?"

"Herb was put under a curse at one point, and he switched between looking like a woman and like a man, you can just disguise yourself as him in female form. And as for Yuujel, you can bind your breasts enough that they won't be noticed beneath the loose outfits he wears."

"I see, my lord." Elaira started as Xander came up behind her and began drawing a comb through her hair while she worked on the clothes.

"Just go on, I'll just comb out your hair while you're working, it gives me something to do anyway." And it seemed to make the hyena aspect of his soul more content, that he was grooming a pack mate. He let his work act as a sort of meditation until Elaira was finished with hers and they both slid gratefully into the pool.


Danilo paced anxiously around his bedroom. It was getting to the time they'd agreed he would cast the spell for the second time, on Arilyn and Xander, dressed as the 'Saiyans' and he hadn't heard from Xander since he took Elaith off to heal him. Arilyn had done as much as she could to look like this Vegeta, including binding her breasts, putting contact lenses in that turned her eyes black, using make-up to darken her skin and getting him to cast a spell to make her hair stick up in a flame shape, but they didn't have the spandex bodysuit she needed for the costume.

Xander finally arrived, just ten minutes shy of being late, wearing a hideous orange 'gi', with a strange female moon elf following him, carrying Arilyn's costume. Arilyn ignored her to grab the costume and change into it, but from the look she gave him Danilo knew that he was expected to question Xander about this stranger.

"Xander, who's that? You know we can't just bring someone we haven't had a chance to check out thoroughly into our hideouts."

"This is Elaira Silverhair," Xander took her hand and drew her out from where she was trying to hide behind him, "she used to be Elaith Craulnober, until one of the spells I used to heal her went awry, and I think you've already had a chance to check her out thoroughly."

"Elaith!" That explained the nagging familiarity he'd felt. "By Mystra, what happened to you?"

"Lord Xander has already explained it to you. He offered to turn me back, but I declined, I would rather live my life out as a woman than a man, and he renamed me at my request."

"You're really happier like this, Elaith?"

"Yes, I feel clean as a woman, I didn't before, not after what the Malevein did to me." Elaith swallowed, obviously uncomfortable about something. "Please, call me Elaira, I'm not Elaith anymore. And is Arilyn ready for you to cast the spell?"

"Yes I am. I would have been ready earlier if I'd gotten this in time."

"Sorry about that." Xander gave a cocky grin. "It took a while before Elaira managed to ken it successfully, and we did have a few distractions along the way. We should have scheduled this transformation later, I wasn't thinking right."

"At least you're honest about it." Arilyn stood waiting for Danilo to cast the spell, and he did, wishing as he did that he hadn't agreed to let Xander take the knowledge of this spell away from him, because it was beautiful, far more intricately designed than any other he knew.

"Kakarrott, where are we?" It wasn't Arilyn speaking now, it was Prince Vegeta, and Danilo had to leave him there for at least ten minutes.

"I'm not Kakarrott, but I'm not Goku either. It seems I've been possessed so many times that I can override the possessing persona. And it doesn't matter where we are Prince Vegeta, you were summoned to imbue your power into a warrior whose race doesn't have the potential for power that the Saiyan race does, or any true understanding of ki techniques. If you will be gracious enough to show some patience then in ten minutes the wizard can dismiss the spell and we can return to our own dimension."

"I can be patient, I waited to try and kill that lizard, didn't I?"

"Yes Prince Vegeta." And after that it was simply a matter of waiting until he could dismiss the spell.


Elaira followed Lord Xander as he led her to Danilo's bedroom, slightly awkward in her formal robes. She was all too aware of what the men were saying about her relationship with her lord, but she didn't entirely care, as long as it didn't disturb Lord Xander she would accept it. She wished it were true, that she was sharing Lord Xander's bed for more than rest, but he'd combed out her hair yesterday, and she had the feeling that it had been a form of intimacy equally great, if of a different nature.

"Is the slut a good lay?" It was Kirinel, contempt for her open in his voice as he spoke to Lord Xander.

"What did you just call Elaira?"

"Elaira? That's what you're calling Elaith now? He's a slut, he just rolled over and spread his legs for those bastards, then we have to go and rescue him, probably because he was spreading his legs for Lord Thann too, when it would have been far easier to snatch an elf out of one of those harems they've got set up."

"The way I heard it, from Danilo and Arilyn is she was caught, and tortured into submission because she tried to get them out of this mess, and she was chosen for the spell to summon me because she had more information on the organisation and tactics of the Malevein than anyone alive. Now get out of my sight you cowardly piece of trash." And Lord Xander raised his hand, letting power gather around it, reabsorbing it into his aura when Kirinel fled.

"Th-thank you for defending me like that, my lord. Lord Thann is the only other person ever to defend me on principle, and I had to almost beg him to prove my innocence."

"I just told the truth." Lord Xander smiled down at her and opened the door to let her into Danilo's bedroom. "Danilo, are you ready for me to cast the spell?"

"Yes, more than ready." Danilo was dressed as Vord, and came to stand beside Elaira calmly and without any sign of discomfort. When Lord Xander cast the spell the world changed around Elaira, and she was suddenly someone else, just as she had been last time.

It must have been ten minutes, because Elaira was herself again, but now she knew ways of fighting that she'd never even considered before, she'd always thought of unarmed combat as making yourself vulnerable and foolishness, now she knew that she didn't have to rely on weapons, or on spell components the way she used to before, and it was a relief.


Xander looked appreciatively at Elaira as she stripped off her costume, there were new muscles underneath her skin now, and he'd always liked that. He really shouldn't be surprised that he found her so desirable, she was a capable fighter, even if she tended to be too submissive for it to show. She pulled on loose cotton trousers and a tunic that she'd kenned herself and turned to him for approval.

"Good, do you want to do a bit of sparring? Working strictly on the physical level, no ki use except for whatever you use unconsciously to boost speed and strength?"

"Yes, please, my lord." Xander led Elaira out to the yard the resistance had been using for training, noting with pleasure the number of men already out there, sparring in pairs, or one against two. They'd have an audience of about twenty men, reinforcing his decision to throw the match to Elaira if he had to, although he suspected she would be skilled enough that it wouldn't be an issue unless they started to manifest battle auras, or use ki blasts, where his larger ki reserve would come into play. But seeing her fight against him, especially when she did well would make an impression on them, and hopefully make the predators back off a bit more. He could easily back them off himself by being more alpha than any of them, and scaring them away, but he didn't really want Elaira to be dependent on his protection.

Elaira attacked as he was getting into stance, only the speed advantage of Saiyan genetics let him dodge her kick, but after that she dropped into a defensive stance, letting him attack and dodging with as little effort as she could. He approved, it would be her skill that let her win rather than anything else, and she needed to conserve her strength, as she didn't have his stamina any more than she had his speed or strength. They were getting an audience, Xander smiled at that, especially when he heard quietly placed bets - mostly on him, not on Elaira, although she did have a few supporters. The fight itself was just getting more and more spectacular, but he decided it was time to put an end to it when Elaira used a wall to jump off in one of the few attacks she made. The next time he attacked he left the smallest opening he could, just enough for her to turn his momentum against him and flip him to the ground. She capitalised on her advantage, pinning him to the ground as well as she could, and putting her hand to his throat.

"Do you yield?"

"Yes." Xander smiled as he answered her, before standing, lifting her by the waist, making the point that he could have gotten out from beneath her without too much difficulty without words. "We were only playing to first fall, nothing more interesting after all." Elaira returned his smile, and followed him back to their bedroom without saying anything more.


Danilo smiled in pleasure at how beautiful Arilyn looked disguised as the swordsman Darres. She'd flatly refused to cut her hair short enough to fit in perfectly, but even so she made a remarkably convincing man, even before she used her Moonblade's magic to add an illusion. This would be the last time he cast the spell Xander had given him, and he knew that Xander would take the knowledge of it away from him afterwards, he had agreed, before he understood what he'd be giving up - the spells he'd tried creating in Xander's style of magic were all clumsy inefficient things, and he just hoped Xander would be willing to teach him some lesser combat spells even if he didn't trust Danilo with such an incredibly potent potential weapon as this particular spell. And, reluctantly, Danilo had to admit there was no reason Xander should trust him with it, he hadn't proven to Xander that he was capable of dealing with this level of responsibility. And the way he'd treated Elaith - no he was calling himself, herself, Elaira now - and allowed her to be treated was nothing short of disgraceful. Xander had taken an unexpected liking to the moon elf, he hadn't expected the hero he summoned to be so drawn to a former criminal, and he was very sensitive to how she was treated.

His musings were cut short when Xander arrived, dressed as Dark Schnieder, complete with long silver hair - although that almost certainly came from a wig. He seemed to have either used an illusion to hide the loss of his left eye, or gotten Elaira to replace it the way he'd healed her - probably the former as his eyes now looked to be a pale ice blue, and you couldn't get brown eyes that colour with contact lenses. Elaira was following behind him and there was a new confidence in the way she moved, he knew it had to have come from the spar he'd heard about earlier today. Apparently it had been...spectacular to say the least, even if rumour had it that Xander had thrown the match to her.

"You ready, Danilo?" Xander managed to cut off that line of speculation quickly and easily, leaving Danilo scrambling to return his thoughts where they were supposed to be.

"Yes, just about. Arilyn?" The half-elf came to stand beside Xander and he cast the spell rapidly, but as well as he could. Then he had to join Elaira in calming the panicking human guard who replaced Arilyn, and particularly convince him not to draw his sword - although it was interesting to hear him cursing his refusal to learn holy magic.

When it came to time for him to break the spell Danilo did it with a mixture of eagerness, to get his Arilyn back, and reluctance because he knew he was going to lose knowledge of how to cast it. But trying to avoid that by not breaking the spell would be useless, Xander was in control, not Dark Schnieder. Xander stepped up to Danilo as soon as the spell was finished, and took hold of his chin, before doing something, and then Danilo couldn't remember how he'd been casting that spell for the past few days.


Xander hated the look of almost betrayal that had been in Danilo's eyes after he removed 'Halloween' from his memory, but he couldn't risk having that particular spell in circulation. It could all too easily be used for evil purposes, like summoning monsters that didn't exist here, but had been invented by bards or minstrels who had good imaginations, and some of the things people had made up back in his world could all too easily end it - and he'd spent far too much time and effort averting apocalypses to risk starting one now.

"I can't believe he had the nerve to act as if I was betraying him or something. I told him that he couldn't keep the spell, it's far too dangerous, I mapped out the possibilities and even that watered down version is capable of creating people strong enough to destroy worlds. If this spell was used too often, and in front of the wrong people then there's always the chance that someone else will come up with their own version of it, a version that is as dangerous and uncontrolled as the original." He found that he was explaining himself to Elaira as he paced in his bedroom. For a moment he wondered why he was doing that, but then he decided that it didn't matter, he needed to talk it out, reassure himself that he was doing the right thing, and if she was willing to listen all the better.

"My lord." Elaira's quiet voice interrupted him as he paused.

"Do you have some light to shed on this?" Xander turned a smile on the elf, enjoying the fact that since he'd been possessed by Dark Schnieder his lost eye had regenerated and he could now see her from both eyes.

"Yes, my lord. Danilo has been trying to develop spells in your style of magic, but he has been failing miserably, at least in his opinion. He considers the spells he created to be clumsy, inefficient and underpowered. Not only in comparison to the single spell you let him know and the one you let him see, but also to the spells he is used to in his style. I believe that if you were to teach him some of the lesser of your combat spells he would accept that and be satisfied."

"He's really been finding it that hard?" Xander was stunned, and he realised he'd forgotten just how difficult he'd found it to design spells in the early days of his studies. "Why didn't he just tell me he was finding it so hard. Didn't it occur to him that I might change my mind about refusing to teach him my spells if I knew about his difficulties in coming up with his own spells?"

"I believe it might have been a matter of pride, my lord."

"Come on, we can go through my spellbooks and find the spells that will be safest to give to him, as well as most effective." And it was an excuse to sit close to Elaira, taking in her scent, a part of his mind whisered to him, a part he recognised as the hyena.

Chapter 6

"Here." Xander tossed a book at Danilo as he entered the room. Danilo caught it by reflex, noting absently that Xander's missing eye had regenerated somehow.

"What?" He didn't understand, until he began leafing through the book, reading the spells Xander, or perhaps Elaira, had recorded there. "You're giving me these spells? Why? I thought you said I'd have to come up with my own spells in your style of magic."

"I did. But I'd forgotten just how hard that was when I first started, and I guess I thought that since you have my understanding of my style of magic you would be able to create decent spells yourself. I figured giving you my spells would be giving you a crutch, and reduce your ability to come up with your own spells. When Elaira explained that the spells you'd come up with didn't work very well I decided to find some of my less dangerous spells that would help in combat. Well those and some of the spells that are pretty much useless, only good as party tricks, and the knowledge exchange spell-variants."

"Th-thank you!" He'd hoped for Xander to teach him perhaps one or two combat spells, and he'd known it was a distant hope at that, he'd never dared to hope for an entire spellbook to study from. And he would never have dared to actually ask for the spells, he'd been too ashamed of his failure to explain about it to Xander, and without that he wouldn't understand why Danilo needed Xander's spells. "Thank you, Elaira."

"It was more for my lord's sake, he didn't understand why you were so upset about the loss of 'Halloween'." Elaira was almost cross-dressing today, having bound her breasts, what little there was of them, and tied her hair in a braid to play Yuujel.

"I'll miss that spell even with these wonderful new spells you've given me, but I do understand your reasons to keep it to yourself. What sort of spell did you use to wipe it from my memory?"

"One of the spells I learned by sharing knowledge with Elaira just before you cast 'Halloween'. I'm going to have to repeat it of course to teach, on second thoughts, after you've been possessed by Kall-Su why don't you study the knowledge exchange spell and cast it to give her knowledge of that style of magic. You can trade it for the style she gained from Dharinel if you want."

"I don't think I'll be able to do that yet, but if I study up on it I can cast the spell before you cast 'Halloween' for the last time."

"You do that. Now, put the book down and let me cast the spell." Danilo smiled and obeyed Xander's command. He could feel his sense of self slipping away as the spell took effect, it was the same thing he'd felt last time, and he really didn't like it. He also didn't particularly like the personality taking over form his, he could feel the weakness of Kall-Su's personality, the willingness to give his body, thoughts and very self over to another's control, just to avoid the responsibility of making his own decisions. But at least it meant Kall-Su was unlikely to go against Xander, not at first, and he wouldn't be around long enough for it to be an issue.

Returning to his body seemed to be even more disorienting this time, he shook his head, and tried not to stagger as he guided Xander and Elaira out, then he let himself fall on his bed, once the door was closed and no-one but Arilyn could see his weakness.


Elaira shivered slightly when Lord Xander handed her a copy of 'All Hallows Even', it was the upgraded version of 'Halloween' and she wasn't sure she wanted to try casting that, let alone this.

"My lord, why do you wish me to study this first? I thought you knew of sufficiently high powered creatures that had human form, and could be simulated by 'Halloween'?"

"Sufficiently high powered people, actually, and only if the person dressed up as them actually knows that they're that high powered. Arilyn didn't realise that Vegeta was capable of blowing up a planet, so she cannot, and Danilo will not be able to either. 'All Hallows Even' works differently, you don't have to know who you are dressed up as, or what they are capable of, only the spellcaster, or the one who empowers the costume needs to know, and the beliefs of the one who empowers the costume wins out if there's disagreement. And 'Halloween' might be watered down in a way, but it is less controllable because it relies on the subject's beliefs, not those of whoever prepares the costume."

"I see." She bit her lower lip, glancing down at the paper on her lap. "I'm not quite sure why you decided to have Danilo use the less controllable form then."

"Because at first I didn't have the power reserve you need to empower the costumes. It means putting some of your own personal power into the costumes, and I just didn't have enough for that."

"Oh, and you didn't want to let him see both versions. It's just, I don't really feel up to casting either of the spells, I don't want to risk messing it up and hurting you." Elaira shivered again, glancing up at Lord Xander, letting him see the fear in her eyes. He immediately sat by her on the bed, gathering her into his arms, letting the spell fall to the floor. She shut her eyes, luxuriating in the feel of his hands on her body, even if it was just brotherly, or possibly fatherly, but not sexually, unfortunately. He was petting her to calm and soothe her, not to arouse her, or as a prelude to seducing her, he didn't even seem to notice the way her breasts were pressed to his chest, or that she was straddling his lap, or at least if he did he wasn't aroused by it. She nuzzled into his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his chest, and letting him touch her wherever he wanted, even if he did keep to her back, her arms and her hair, resolutely non-sexual.

"Listen to me." Lord Xander stopped petting her, pushing her to sit back a bit, and lifting her chin until she met his eyes with one hand, while the other resumed petting her. "You are capable of casting any spell you wish to. But even if you weren't 'All Hallow's Even' is a more forgiving spell that 'Halloween', it demands less in the way of precision on the spellcaster's part, because of the preparation done in advance. If you are that unhappy you can try some of my minor spells, or perhaps 'Spellshield', which require much greater precision than either of those spells and won't be dangerous if they don't work."

"Thank you my lord." Elaira smiled up at Lord Xander, gratitude in her eyes, and he bent his head to kiss her gently. She didn't know why, but she responded to his hesitant caress, submissively.


Suddenly Xander realised what he was doing, he'd started kissing a woman who'd been sexually, physically and emotionally abused for six months, and put under spells that multiplied the effects to the point where it might as well have been for years. A woman who he'd rescued from being raped and put under his protection, and who'd interpreted that as meaning that he owned her. A woman whose first response after he rescued her was to assume that he wanted sexual gratification as the price of his protection. A woman who was too scared and submissive to be left alone, who had to be kept with someone who could and would protect her from other people. A woman who only a week ago wouldn't mention it when she was hungry, would just wait until her master thought about her needs.

"I'm sorry!" He blurted as he pushed Elaira back, holding her at arms length.

"What for?" There was a puzzled frown on her face, but despite that she looked content, for lack of a better word.

"Kissing you, trying to take advantage of you like that." Inexplicably her face brightened at that, the frown falling away, leaving a look of radiant happiness on her face.

"You weren't taking advantage of me, my lord. I know that you wouldn't hurt me if I said 'no', I didn't want to say 'no', I wanted you to kiss me. I know that you'll protect me as long as I need it, and you won't ask me for anything else in return. You're a good man, I know that. And I responded to your kiss." She had, almost shyly, and without trying to take control in any way, but she had been responding, even if Xander hadn't realised it while he was kissing her. "My previous masters all preferred it if I didn't respond. They wanted me totally submissive. If it was just my conditioning kicking in then I would have been totally passive beneath your lips. I wanted your kiss, just as I wanted your touch. Please do not deny them to me."

"I won't." Xander promised the woman in front of him confidently. He was a tactile person anyway, he didn't think he could stop touching Elaira casually, but he wasn't so certain about continuing the way he had been, about taking advantage of what had to be a crush she had on him, or a bad case of hero worship. He brushed her hair back from her face as he cast about mentally for a distraction, finding one as he caught sight of the paper on the floor. "Now, do you feel ready to go back to studying 'All Hallow's Even' or would you rather try one of the other spells?"

"I'd prefer one of the other spells, my lord. Might I try 'Spellshield'?"

"Of course." He put 'All Hallow's Even' away, taking out 'Spellshield' instead and handed the new spell to Elaira, moving away, so he wouldn't distract her from the spell.


Danilo had been wrapped up in reading through the spellbook Xander had given him since he'd become himself again. It was incredible, just about every spell in the book was lower energy for the same effect than any other spell of the same type he'd heard of. There were only five actual combat spells, one that was effectively a fireball spell, another that apparently released a beam of pure light which had to be directed and would cut through anything, a spell that caused a type of lightening strike, one that drained all the magic from someone and a final spell that would boil the blood in someone's veins. And Xander apparently considered these weak combat spells. Then again not one spell would affect more than one person, and they took more power for their effect than the other spells in the book. What if these were some of Xander's early efforts at combat spells, from before he became so good at designing spells? That would explain why he felt that they were 'safe' to give to Danilo, and why they seemed a bit clumsier than the other spells. Even so they were much better than the spells Danilo had tried to create himself. There was one other spell that he really liked, but it looked as if it would be harder to cast than the first spell of Xander's he'd seen. It was called 'Spellshield', and it was low power, you only needed to use a little power to get it up, then, unlike all the other shielding spells he'd heard of it sucked magic out of the air, and any attacks, to sustain itself, it wasn't a constant drain on your power reserves. It was in short precisely the sort of spell a weak magic user would love, but it took more precision and concentration than he'd have thought possible. More than that spell he couldn't remember how to cast, a lot more. And yet he had the feeling that Xander cast this particular spell a lot, he wasn't sure where he got that idea, but he was sure it was true.

"Danilo, are you finished playing with your new toy?" Arilyn sounded half amused, half angry.

"No." He flushed as he realised that he'd been neglecting the spell Xander had asked him to study. "I haven't really looked at the knowledge exchange spell." He turned quickly to the section where he'd seen that spell - and half a dozen variants on it. "Beshaba's Bosoms!"

"What's wrong?"

"There's half a dozen different ways to cast the spell, and they're going to be hard to cast. It took me a weeks study before I felt ready to cast at the precision for that other spell, and these, even the easiest need even more precision. I'm going to have to explain that I can't do it."

"Then put the book away and come to bed." Danilo sighed, and accepted Arilyn's words.


Danilo looked guilty. That was the first thing to strike Xander when he came to cast 'Halloween' for the last time. Why he looked guilty wasn't apparent.

"Danilo, the power signature of Vegeta in Super Saiyan form is too noticeable. I'm going to prepare a containment ward. You can exchange knowledge with Elaira while I do that."

"There's a problem. I won't be able to cast the spell. It requires too much precision for me to use it without a lot more study."

"And Elaira was studying 'Spellshield last night. If I'd realised you'd have difficulties I'd have had her study the knowledge exchange spell instead." Xander still set to work as he spoke to them.

"Did she master it then?"

"Not quite. 'Spellshield' isn't the sort of spell that either works or doesn't, if you aren't precise enough what happens is either the shield starts failing after an indeterminate ammount of time, or it doesn't absorb and redirect all magic, instead letting a percentage through, or both. It depends on where and how badly you fail in precision. Elaira's efforts all showed a failure to absorb all magic, I'm not sure about timescale as I had her take them down after testing." As he spoke Xander was painting a design on the floor, using red paint Elaira had kenned for him, with some of his blood mixed in. "Step into the ward before I seal it." Danilo obeyed and Xander finished off the design with a single line.

Xander took a breath and let his mind drift into the patterns required for 'Halloween'. For a second he was tempted to cast the spell merely by guiding his power along the correct pathways in his mind, disregarding the use of the words that Danilo had needed to focus his power, but he resisted the temptation and cast the spell.

"Prince Vegeta, Kelsey, please, do not attack. We intend no harm to either of you, and you will return to your homes in ten minutes, but we needed your skills, and by bringing you here for a short while we were able to imbue two of our warriors with your gifts." He spoke swiftly, the elf seemed to have calmed down when he heard that, but Vegeta ignored him and attacked the wards holding him prisoner until Xander dismissed the spell.

"Danilo, I'll exchange knowledge with you, so you can learn Dharinel's style of magic, and I'll copy Kall-Su's knowledge of magic for Elaira, as I think she is better suited to Ice magic than Fire." Xander suited actions to words, and took Elaira back to their bedroom to teach her the magic she needed.


Elaira shut her eyes as she absorbed the knowledge that Lord Xander had given her. She was acutely aware that she wouldn't be as good in this form of magic as Lord Thann would be, or even as good as Lord Xander would be if he could work with the same elements as Lord Thann now could, but her elemental affiliation was the same as Lord Thann's, not Lord Xander's. It would have been better for her if she'd been able to perform the knowledge exchange directly with Lord Thann, but she couldn't as she hadn't had the chance to prepare the spell. On the other hand she seemed to be doing better at Lord Xander's style of magic, possibly because he was here ready to coach her as required.

"Thank you my lord." She opened her eyes and smiled up at him. "Should I work some more on 'Spellshield'?"

"That's a good idea. You'd gotten up to blocking about 35% of the magic directed at you. You should be able to make ten to fifteen attempts tonight. We can test for duration on the last time you try it, if you get high enough for my tastes."

"Yes, my lord." Elaira frowned for a second before asking the question on her mind - Lord Xander had made it clear he cared about her opinions and he wanted her to ask questions. "How well do I need to do before you think I'm good enough to see if it holds?"

"If you last fifteen attempts then you can leave the shield up. I tend to renew my 'Spellshield' once a week, but quite frankly I've had it last a month or more. I don't take the old one down when I put a new 'Spellshield' up around the old one, so I've usually got about six layers of it, getting weaker as they get closer to my skin. Since I've been letting 'Halloween' affect me I took them all down, so I don't really have those shields at the moment." Elaira knew that her shock was showing at that, then Lord Xander shrugged. "But I can put the first one up now. Watch me, see if the demonstration helps." Lord Xander always took a single breath just before he cast a spell, and his eyes tended to unfocus a little, but then Elaira had never seen him cast combat spells, and perhaps it only looked as if he lost a bit of the attention he was paying to his surroundings. It was good to see how 'Spellshield' was supposed to be cast, and she resolved to try harder.

When she'd made her attempt at 'Spellshield' Xander tested it, by throwing a minor spell at her, one that made her skin sting, as if someone had brushed stinging nettles across it. The way he watched her she knew he was checking how much of the spell got through her shield, she never merited the same intensity in her own right.

"37, maybe 38% this time. You can dismiss it and try again." She repeated the process until she'd managed fifteen attempts, and she was almost crying when he tested the shield the last time.

"Very good. You've done a lot better than I expected, you managed a full 75% blockage." Lord Xander pulled her into his arms to comfort and soothe her. "Leave the shield up." She nuzzled into his shoulder a bit for comfort. "If you want to cry go ahead, I'll hold you, and protect you." Given permission she let herself cry at just how much she was hurting, and at the fact that Lord Xander still only saw her as someone to protect, nothing more, despite kissing her just a day before.


Xander exerted all the control he could muster to keep from responding to the beautiful woman in his arms. He liked Elaira, a lot, in fact he had the feeling he could easily fall in love with her, but he would be taking advantage of her vulnerable state if he got involved with her. He already felt guilty for having a wet dream about her, and humping her while he was asleep until he got off, he wasn't going to add to his guilt. Instead of kissing her again the way he wanted to he focused on petting her - grooming her, the hyena whispered to him, to be resolutely ignored, just as he ignored all the signals she was giving him that said she desired him. He knew that she could only be interested in him because she saw him as a protector, and she thought that warming his bed was the price for his protection, even if he had told her it wasn't so she'd been abused too long to believe that just yet. After all what other reason could she possibly have to want him?

Elaira seemed to calm down a little after a while, and her head lifted until her lips met his in a shy, nervous kiss. He couldn't help but compare it to the other kisses he'd had. Cordelia had kissed confidently, fully expecting him to respond to her, Faith had demanded his co-operation with rough dominating kisses and Anya had never really considered kissing important for its own sake, only as a prelude to sex, so her kisses were always businesslike, perfunctory, spoiling half the fun. The other women he'd kissed had usually been under a spell, or something, or it was a 'first date' type kiss, closed mouth, no passion. Elaira licked gently at his lips, as if she was begging for permission and consent, she nibbled lightly at his lower lip, but she did not try to force her tongue into his mouth, or even deepen the kiss of her own initiative when his lips parted. Instead once she'd got him to respond to her she seemed content for him to set whatever pace or level of intimacy he wanted. He began justifying his response, however lukewarm, in his head as he slid his tongue into her mouth, and ran the tip up behind her top teeth. She shivered against him, and he came to a decision. He'd make sure she enjoyed herself, she deserved that, but he wouldn't go beyond kissing her, on her lips, or on her face or neck. With that decision made he settled in for a good make-out session, the sort he'd had with Cordelia in closets through half the third year of high school and part of the last year, and he let his hands move to arouse instead of soothe. Suddenly she stiffened against him, and he realised that she'd climaxed, just from what they were doing.

"I...I'm sorry, my lord." She was shaking as she apologised.

"What for?" Xander kept petting Elaira, soothing her, rather than arousing her.

"I came, and you aren't even hard."

"I only wanted to satisfy you. I'm perfectly capable of taking care of my own needs if I want to, but I don't, my dick doesn't rule me." Xander broke off with a yawn. "Why don't you get undressed and we can go to sleep?" Elaira nodded and obeyed, snuggling up against him as they went to sleep.

Chapter 7

Danilo wondered just how the rest of the resistance was going to react to the way Xander had come in and ignored everyone except him, Arilyn and Elait - no Elaira, he still had difficulty remembering that she went by a different name now, and that he wasn't going to consult the other leaders about his battle plan. Not that there was much in the way of leadership other than 'do what the most dangerous person says', so perhaps he couldn't blame Xander for that.

"Danilo, Arilyn." Xander nodded to each of them as he came in. He was carrying a sheaf of papers and Elaira was walking beside him, an adoring look in her eyes, but she wasn't clinging the way she used to, and something about her looked as if she'd gotten laid, even if Xander didn't look the same way. She was certainly smiling about something, and if not that then what?

"Hello Xander. What plan did you have beyond giving us all power boosts like this?" Danilo didn't want to take the chance of having to listen to information on their sex life - not that it was likely, but by putting things on a war footing he could distract them.

Xander spread the papers out on the table before he said anything. "There's two real options that I can see. Elaira tells me that the Malevein who hold the shield keeping help from getting to Waterdeep and their guards all live and work in this building." Xander pointed out one of the noble family mansions. "And Drachar works from this building," a similar mansion, within ten minutes walk, "along with the administrators. The...for lack of a better term, police, the twenty pairs of Malevein that help keep order, work from this barracks, and the rest of the Malevein all live in this mansion."

Xander paused there, as if he was getting his thoughts together. "The first option is that each of us takes one of those buildings and destroys it, simultaneously, killing everyone within. This will have the disadvantage of also killing all the slaves and collaborators in those buildings as well, but it will kill a high proportion of the Malevein swiftly: at least sixteen in the barracks, an equal number among the shield holders, Drachar and likely twenty others in his headquarters and probably five in the final building, which will leave them with insufficient magic users, or Malevein of any type at all to perform the spells that keep them immune to conventional magic, and most likely bring the shield down as well, getting us more conventional aid."

"My lord, do you realise how many slaves the Malevein keep in those buildings?" Elaira was the one to speak up against the plan, which surprised Danilo, and seemed to surprise Xander too - pleasantly judging from the smile it put on his face.

"Are there equal ammounts of slaves in each of the buildings?" Xander sounded encouraging, and he put a hand on her shoulder as he questioned her.

"No, my lord, just a few 'pets' such as I was stay with those working on the shield - and that building has the best defences of them all, mostly magical, I noticed that every Malevein who works on the shiel adds to the defences of the manor when he comes off-shift. But there is a harem attached to the barracks, and one housed in each of the other buildings, this in addition to the working slaves. The building where the Malevein work on the shield is staffed by collaborators."

Elaira bit her lower lip, as if she was unsure of whether or not to speak further. It was fascinating to see how quickly one of the most dangerous men in Waterdeep had adapted to using feminine wiles, and flirting with every sign of pleasure with a very dangerous, almost feral, man.

"What else is there, Elaira? I'm glad that someone had the common humanity to actually think about the sort of collateral damage my first suggestion could cause." Xander was petting Elaira now, trying to give her the confidence to speak perhaps? Almost as amusing as Elaira's behaviour was the fact that Xander had obviously fallen for her, but didn't seem to realise it.

"I don't think I could destroy one of those buildings. I don't think I have enough power."


Xander had been surprised it was Elaira who objected to his first suggestion, not because he thought she cared any less for the lives of others - and he would never have made that plan if he'd realised there were more than a few slaves kept as pets in those buildings - but because she considered him her owner, and he hadn't expected her to dare speak up against him. It impressed him a lot that she did, and even more when she admitted her own perceived weakness.

"I see." He frowned, thinking about how to build this into his plans. He'd been sure Herb was powerful enough to destroy a building, but if Elaira didn't have the confidence that she could it was far to dangerous to risk it. "Well, that leaves the other option. You said that of the twenty pairs of Malevein who patrol only four do so at a time. The first thing we need to do is see if we can perceive a distinctive enough ki-signature to recognise the Malevein and pinpoint their location. From there each of us, with one of the resistance as back-up can eliminate a pair in our first strike, attacking any other Malevein we encounter if necessary, although for preference we will disappear once we've eliminated our assigned targets. After that we will repeat these assassinations whenever there are few enough Malevein together to give us an oportunity - ideally we will each take out our targets simultaneously. From what you've just said this should persuade them to move to the shield mansion, and turn it into a fortress, and then, we can destroy that with a relatively clear conscience - at a time when doing so will reduce Malevein numbers to below sixty."

"Why do we need back up?" He noted that the fighter, Arilyn, sounded a little offended, as if she suspected his words were a slur on her ability, or her refusal to learn any form of magic. He actually respected it, that she refused to take the easy route to power, he, Danilo and Elaira had all earned their magical ability, and worked for it, even if Elaira's skill had been stolen.

"Depending on what spell system we choose to use we might have difficulty paying enough attention to threats while we're caught up in spellcasting, and I won't send you out alone while we all have back up. Also we might be able to hide among the normal people better in pairs, or by splitting up and one person act as a decoy if necessary. But there might be one problem. Elaira, are there any of the men in the resistance you'd be willing to pair with as back up?"

"No, my lord, I'm sorry to be so much trouble, but I'd be more worried about them hurting me than anything else."

"Don't apologise. I'm not entirely sure I trust them in anything other than combat, or where they can see that pissing me off would be a bad idea. Arilyn, would you mind pairing with Elaira then, and working with her to take two pairs out?"

"Why me? Why not you, or Danilo?"

"You've only got one method to destroy the Malevein, I've got three, as does Danilo. I understand your reluctance to use a shortcut to learn magic, and I admire you for it, but it still means you have fewer options than us, and Elaira doesn't have the ki-senses to find the Malevein, you do."

"It would mean we'd have to take one set out, then move to take the second pair out, as quickly as we could."

"Yes, and contingent on the Malevein having a distinctive ki-signature you'd be assigned the two pairs closest together."


Elaira smiled up at Lord Xander gratefully, she hadn't really expected him to be so understanding about her fears, she'd expected him to tell her to just shape up and deal with one of the men in the resistance as back up. And she'd fully expected to be slapped down when she objected to his first plan on humanitarian grounds; either for actually caring about the slaves who were forced to serve the Malevein, or for not mentioning the different numbers of slaves in the buildings earlier. Princess Arilyn still looked a little displeased at being assigned to 'babysit' her, but she did seem to have accepted it.

"Did you originally want us to take all four pairs out simultaneously?" Elaira suspected that Lord Xander might have wanted to do that from what he'd said about his first suggested attack plan. "And if you did how were we going to do that?"

"Yes, I did originally want simultaneous attacks, but you said that they patrol independently, totally independently, so we won't lose too much that way. I was planning on using a telepathy spell to connect us all and allow simultaneous action, but that won't be necessary if we don't have to make our kills at the same time." Elaira didn't know any telepathy spells, she supposed that was one of the spells that belonged to Lord Xander's style of magic.

"I'm not sure I like that idea anyway." Elaira glanced over at Princess Arilyn when the half elf commented on Lord Xander's plan, she could understand being nervous about sharing thoughts with others, but she had a feeling that the Princess was overestimating how much access the telepathy spell would give.

"I wouldn't have used it without your consent anyway. Now, after we've made our first set of kills things will become more difficult. They'll know that there are people about capable of taking them out, and they could respond in one of two ways, either pull their people in, and reduce the number of patrols, or beef the patrols up and have them done in fours, or possibly threes. Do any of you see any other way they could respond?" Lord Xander had enough confidence in his plans to ask for advice, and in himself to take it if it was good. And he didn't seem to realise that he was petting her as he talked, much to her pleasure.

"Not in the initial reaction, but your plan seems to be based on the assumption that they'll gather together in the most defensible building they have, what if they decide to scatter instead? that would make it a war of attrition, and I'm not sure we could win one of those." Lord Thann showed that he had tactical skills of his own, even if he did tend to hide them a lot.

"If they scatter we can still track them by their ki-signature, and they will probably be committed to maintaining their shield. They will certainly continue to meet in sufficient numbers to ensure their immunity to your first style of magic. And in the worst case scenario we will probably be able to use that to kill off a majority of them. Elaira, how long did the group casting that gave them immunity to magic take?"

"Nearly half an hour..." Elaira trailed off as the implications of that became clear to her. "More than long enough for us to track them down and destroy them."

"Indeed." Lord Xander yawned and stretched. "Shall we meet again tommorrow, around mid-morning to find out if the Malevein have a distinctive ki-signature?"

"And if they don't we'll need to work out another plan." Lord Thann stood, nodding his agreement with Lord Xander.


Xander looked at Elaira with his mystical senses, noting that her Spellshield was still up, although he couldn't tell if it had significantly degraded.

"Elaira, before we do any fresh work on your Spellshield I want to check if it's degraded at all. Mine degrade at a rate of about 5% the first week, 10% the second, 15% the third, 20% the fourth, and by the time the sixth week starts they're down to absorbing just 25% of the overall magic reaching them. That's why I layer them. It's up to you how much degradation you consider acceptable, but if this Spellshield hasn't degraded too much I'd prefer you to put your practice efforts up around it, rather than taking it down to replace."

"I suppose acceptable degradation depends on how often I'm willing to put up a new Spellshield around the old ones, and on how many layers of protection I have. But you said that one of your Spellshields lasted a month, and implied that it lasted that long at full, or at least high blockage?" Elaira made her last sentence into a question with her tone of voice.

"Yes, in that case it had been supercharged by a high powered witch throwing raw energy at it, I don't know exactly how it happened, but sometimes magic can be unpredictable." Xander shrugged indifferently, before casting his 'test spell' at Elaira. The results were a pleasant surprise, since he'd been expecting much higher degradation.

"It's down to 71%. Unfortunately degradation accelerates, but still it's better than I expected. As long as you still had anything above 50% blockage I was going to recommend that you keep it up while you work on an outer layer, and we should be able to fit in say twenty efforts today?" Xander wasn't sure how Elaira would feel about being expected to do so many repetitions of the same spell, he knew that in the system she was used to generally you knew if a spell was going to work right because you could feel it in your head before you cast it.

"And see how high I can get it? As you wish my lord. Do you wish me to drop my current Spellshield before I do the last repetition?" She was very smart, Xander hadn't mentioned how much easier it would be to test the blockage of the last Spellshield she put up tomorrow if there wasn't anything beneath it.

"Yes, if you would. If you'd rather not, if you want to keep the extra protection, then you can shift to just putting another Spellshield up every day for now."

"No, my lord, I want to keep working on this spell, unless you'd prefer me to study 'All Hallow's Even'?"

"If this has given you the confidence to believe you are capable of learning 'All Hallow's Even' you'll be able to learn how to cast it within a day. This spell is more directly useful, so if you want to study it now I'm happy to help." By the time they were ready to go to bed Elaira had reached a blockage of 90%, more than enough in Xander's opinion to defend her adequately from spells, especially if she layered her Spellshields. This time she didn't initiate sex, just curled up in his arms and slid into reverie.


Elaira slid out of the bed, doing her best not to wake Lord Xander, and succeeding, to her pleasure. She was going to fetch his breakfast for him, and deal with any of the men who got in her way, it was a small thing, but perhaps it would be enough to win her a bit more participation from Lord Xander, the next time she tried to initiate something, instead of him sitting there and letting her use him as a living sex toy. That had begun to disturb her while she'd been working on the Spellshield with Lord Xander last night, and she would not do so again. She also thought she could duplicate the spell he'd used to test her Spellshield, the one that had felt like stinging nettles against her skin, she'd seen it often enough, and it would work well to warn the men off her if need be.

None of the men guarding Lord Xander's door interfered with her, beyond reminding her not to leave the building, and to come back to Lord Xander quickly, they'd been easy to appease with the explanation that she intended to get a meal for her master. It wasn't until she was halfway to the kitchen that she was accosted, a group of four men surrounding her, one grabbing hold of her wrist.

"The foreign lord's slut left her bastard master's protection I see." He leered at her, while one of his friends reached to grab at her breasts. She was still wearing the silk tunic and trousers her master had first got for her, the golden brown set that came close to matching her eyes in colour and for a moment she cursed the fact that she'd never bothered kenning anything more...modest. But then she dismissed that as irrelevant, and rather than bother with spells when her hands were free, threw the one holding her wrist into one of his friends, knocking them both into the wall, then used a paralysis point on the man about to grope her (it would wear off in twenty minutes or so), before finally using a leg sweep and a blow to the side of the head to knock out the last man. Then she continued on her way, after fighting off the urge to run back to Lord Xander's protection.

Elaira took a steadying breath once she was inside the kitchen, out of sight of the men, as she couldn't afford to show weakness. Then she set to work preparing a light breakfast that wouldn't be spoiled as it cooled while she brought it back to Lord Xander's bedroom. Fruit, juice, rather than the light wine she was tempted to bring - if she had the chance she'd come back for that later and drink it with Lord Xander one evening - biscuits, dark bread and cheese would work well enough.

She was stopped again, perhaps a third of the way back, this time by just two men. She'd try to talk her way past first.

"I'm bringing his morning meal to Lord Xander, the one summoned from another world to destroy the Malevein, and he gave me his protection, let me past."

"No. He isn't here. And he can't be that special, elven slut." So it was magic then. She cast the spell at the two men, foolish enough to stand together blocking her way. They yelped in pain as it worked on them.

"Step aside, and out of my way. I have more dangerous spells, and will warn you only once." They obeyed quickly, and she went unmolested the rest of the way.


Xander refused to panic when he woke to find Elaira was no longer beside him. He would give her five minutes before he went looking for her, she was his to protect, and they were in a nest of vipers, but she could defend herself, so long as she had the will to do so, a will she seemed to lack far too often. He didn't need to go after her in the end, one of the men guarding his door opened it for her, and she stepped inside, carrying a tray with breakfast things, slumping against the door and trembling violently once it was closed.

He stood, moving quickly to take the tray from her, laying it on a table, and more importantly take her into his arms, to pet and murmur soothing words to until she calmed, pulling her to sit on the bed as he did so. It didn't take too long before she pushed away from him, sitting back reluctantly.

"You were gone when I woke up Elaira, why?" Xander was careful to keep any hint of censure from his voice.

"I wanted to fetch breakfast for you, my lord, after all I am in your service. And if I cannot stand to walk through this building by myself, how can you trust me not to freeze up when I must face the Malevein?" It was a rhetorical question, Xander knew better than to try and answer it. "But I did not do so well if I had to take refuge in your arms once we were alone together."

"The key words there are 'once we were alone together', you held yourself together until it was safe to break down, and you recovered quickly enough. What sort of troubles did you have getting this meal?" Xander lifted the tray to the bed as he spoke, picking up a biscuit to nibble on.

"When I was going to the kitchen four men surrounded me, one grabbed hold of my wrist, and another of them started to grope me. I decided to use what I learned from Herb, rather than spells, as I had my hands free. I threw the one at my wrist at one of the others, knocking them both into the wall, and used a nerve point to cause temporary paralysis on the one about to grope me. With the last man I used a leg sweep and knocked him out. I didn't want to hurt them too seriously, they might still be useful in fighting the Malevein." Xander smiled at Elaira, impressed that she would think about that.

"What about on your way back, did you have any trouble then? I already know my guards didn't trouble you."

"Two men tried to block my way back to you, my lord. I couldn't talk them down, so I used the spell you've been using to test my Spellshield-" Xander couldn't help interrupting then.

"You mean you managed to learn 'Nettle' just by watching me repeat it? That was very well done Elaira. You are proving to be an apt pupil."

"Well, I did see it some forty-five times while I was learning to cast Spellshield, my lord. I am glad to have pleased you with my progress though." Elaira was blushing slightly at the praise now. "After I cast Nettle I told the men that it had been a warning shot, and ordered them to step aside."

"And did they obey? Or did you have to hurt them more seriously?" It would affect Elaira's state of mind, but that was all that meant anything to Xander.

"Yes, they stood aside. The spell isn't that painful, I hadn't really expected them to obey just because of that, and I planned to use one of the combat spells you sent to Lord Thann if it didn't work, but I did hope it would work."

"You shouldn't have to rely on hopes. We can work on combat spells instead of 'All Hallow's Even' if you want today."

"Please, my lord." Afterwards there wasn't anything important to say, and they chatted as they ate breakfast, switching between the languages that Elaira knew, so that Xander would get used to speaking them.

Chapter 8

Danilo had tried to sense the kis of the people of Waterdeep, and he'd found it surprisingly easy. Arilyn had too, and they'd both noticed that there were exactly one hundred kis that were very different to any other. They'd talked about it, and decided that those must be the kis of the Malevein. He wondered if Xander had had similar success in distinguishing the Malevein's kis from those of the normal citizens of Waterdeep, and if he'd had any better success in actually telling where they were in relation to him. If they couldn't locate the Malevein, as well as detect them then they would have to find another plan, well that or rely on that 'telepathy spell' Xander had mentioned earlier, an idea that gave him, and Arilyn the creeps.

"Hello Danilo, Arilyn." Xander was wearing the strange black leather armour he'd worn to do his 'recon run', and on the raid he went on, with the men who became his personal guard. But now there were enchantments layered into it. Elaira was wearing the same sort of armour, lacking only the enchantments. "Have you had any success in detecting the Malevein by their kis?" He swung his chair around, positioning it so he could see Danilo, Arilyn and the door when he straddled it, so that his stomach was to its back.

"Yes, and no." Danilo expanded further when Xander just raised an eyebrow at that. "We can both sense the Malevein, there are exactly one hundred kis that are totally different in nature from the others, but we cannot tell where they are. Have you done any better?"

"Well, yes, sort of. What you need to do is sense where they are in relation to you, we don't need to be able to convert what we sense to a map, does that help?"

"Yes! It helps a lot." Danilo was startled at the fervor of Arilyn's words, even if he did agree. But then she'd taken their inablity to find the Malevein by their kis a lot more personally than he had.

"Good, now do you think you can locate the Malevein from their kis?" Xander frowned for a moment as he seemed to think. "If you can convert what you sense to a map then that would be good, but like I said you don't need to for now. I can, but using an illusory map rather than a paper one, and it's a longer process than I'd like." Danilo felt a flash of envy at that, Xander was good enough to complain about how long it took him to make a map showing the Malevein's kis, he just wished that he was.

"Yes, we can locate the Malevein from their kis so long as we concentrate on where they are in relation to us." Danilo knew that the smile he'd just put on his face was cruel, and he didn't care. "But if you can create a map showing their location why don't you show us?"

"Not here. I want to set the illusion up in a room with more open floor space, and leave the city part up permanently, then it will be a lot easier to add the Malevein's kis when we need to see them, rather than starting from scratch each time."

"Then come with me. Do you want to go out now, or at night?" Danilo began leading Xander to another room that fit his requirements.

"I'd prefer night, and we can use the day to decide who we're working with."


"By the way, how are you doing with the combat spells I gave you?" Xander glanced at Danilo as he asked the question, hopefully he'd be able to recognise a lie. The room Danilo had brought him to was eight feet by eight feet, and he'd use all of the floorspace to create the illusory Waterdeep.

"I think I'll be able to cast the fireball spell, the lightning spell and the blood boiling spell. They're a lot easier to learn how to use than the spell I can't remember was."

"Yes, they would be. The first spells I came up with required much less in the way of precision, and all my combat spells are more forgiving than the other spells I use. Stand back please." Xander replied absently, trying to work out where the best place to stand was. He finally decided to start in the center of the room, then move until the illusion was in the right place. Shutting his eyes he let his senses wander across the city, power flowing from him in subtle waves to take measure of all the buildings there, until finally the illusion snapped into existence, centered on him. Opening his eyes he moved, and the illusory city moved with him until it was all inside the room.

"Elaira, toss me the key point." He'd had her ken the model of their headquarters in copper, and added a spell that he could use to alter the size until it fit into the illusion. He held the illusion in position while he positioned the key point and tied the illusion to it. It had taken him nearly half an hour just to get the basic illusion up, but now he wouldn't need to do any more work on it.

"I don't see the Malevein on that illusion." Danilo sounded ever so slightly mocking, obviously Xander had been a bit indiscrete when he explained that it took too long for his taste to create an illusory map that would show the Malevein's locations.

"I told you it was a longer process than I'd like. But I can add the kis now, it's accurate enough as long as I'm in the building, but the illusion will revert to just the city, as it is now, once I leave the building. It should be a quicker process to update the physical aspect of the map in the future, if I need to. By the way, the spells are all in the book I gave to you, so you should be able to duplicate this in the future if you want, and if you can figure out how to put the spells together."

"You won't tell me I take it?" There was a measure of resignation in Danilo's voice, and Xander felt a momentary urge to just tell him, but if he'd paid attention he'd have already got a few hints, and he wouldn't learn if Xander spoon fed him.

"No, I won't, but I'll give you a clue, think about the spells that allow you to sense things, spells that can feed information from one other spell into a third, and illusion spells for the first part. Then think about anchoring spells properly. Now if you'd be silent for a moment?" That got him the quiet he needed to set the more important part of the map up. He used a spell to feed the information about the Malevein's location in relation to him that he got from his ki-senses into creating lights on the map where they were, lights that could be seen even through any building they were inside. "We'll come back here at dusk and decide who gets which pair then." With those words he dismissed Danilo and Arilyn, taking Elaira back to their bedroom.


Elaira reluctantly moved to stand by Princess Arilyn's side as they met to decide who would take which targets. She was still wearing the armour she'd kenned that morning, copying Lord Xander's, and she'd cast a second Spellshield around her older one, after Xander had assessed the blockage of the first Spellshield as at 86%. She would have to work at improving the precision for that, but that could wait, for the moment there wasn't a problem with casting a new Spellshield every day. There were eighty-nine Malevein who were gathered in various buildings, three others who were walking around Waterdeep by themselves, and four pairs, patrolling. One pair was near the docks, a second was in the inland outskirts of the city, and the other two pairs were patrolling the areas where the Malevein had set up, and kept most of their slaves.

"Elaira, Arilyn, you get the two pairs patrolling the inner city. Danilo, would you prefer the docks, or the outskirts?"

"The docks please, better for Ice magic, you know."

"Very well. One last thing, if you run into a single Malevein afer you've completed your assignment you may kill it, if you wish and have the energy, avoid them before you kill the pair assigned to you. Move out." Elaira followed Princess Arilyn, letting the half elf lead her, she'd learned that deference went a long way to appeasing her betters and those more powerful.

"Might I kill the first pair, Princess Arilyn?"

"Why do you think you deserve that honour?" It was almost a snarl, Elaira found herself reminded that the princess had been changed by the Malevein's occupation of Waterdeep, and not for the better.

"I do not, but I'd rather not tire you when it is your senses that will lead us to the second pair. I realise it would not be a significant loss of ki for you, but still it would calm my fears." Hopefully that would convince the princess to indulge her.

"Very well." Elaira was careful not to wince at the comtempt in the Princess' voice, not to show that she'd been offended in any way - she didn't have that luxury, and she knew it. "The first pair is just about to come around this corner now. I'll cover you as needed."

Elaira shivered and began speaking in the arcane tongue she'd gained from dressing as Yuujel, using the holy magic of Pheliostia. The spell she was casting would work as a fireball spell, she didn't have the strength to destroy them this way without a spell as Lord Xander could, but the fire spell would destroy them, burn their bodies to ashes.

"Come!" Princess Arilyn took hold of her wrist to pull her along once the Malevein were burning well, forcing her to match the half elf's speed. But it got them to the second pair of Malevein swiftly, and she watched in awe as the princess used a devastating ki-blast to kill the two Malevein - taking out the house behind it as well. She just hoped that Princess Arilyn had checked to make sure the house was empty beforehand, although she feared that she had not. Then she had to support Princess Arilyn as they made their way back to their base, and she knew she wouldn't have the chance to check the ruin that the princess had left for survivors.


Xander could sense it as Danilo used some of Kall-Su's spells to destroy the Malevein pair near the docks and decided to emulate him. He didn't want to use too much of the overkill that had been Dark Schnieder's trademark, so reluctantly he rejected Helloween - although he would use it the first time he had to destroy a building. Instead he decided to go for one or two lower powered spells. He stepped out into the street, showing himself to his targets.

"Halt!" It was apparent that the silent Malevein was preparing a spell of some sort, that was then the primary target.

"Fiery Power Blast of the DAMNED!" The spell didn't do enough damage to the secondary target to take him out totally. But it had done enough damage to keep him down while Xander repeated the spell - even if he was tempted to use a different spell it would dangerously increase the chances of the Malevein learning to counter this style. Hellfires Arshes Nei had found a spell that would nullify all magic.

He did run into one of the Malevein on the way back to headquarters. He wasn't sure who exactly it was, but considering that it cast a spell at him he assumed that it was one of the more magically inclined Malevein. But the spell was mostly absorbed by his Spellshield, and that gave him time to cast a spell of his own.

"Slayer, Slayer!
>"Oh, Lightning of Balmor's Dark Mists!
"Balvolt! Thunderous Blast!!!"

The lightning he called down to strike his enemy seemed appropriate, since the Malevein had tried to blast him with lightning. And both of those spells would combine to cause at least a little storm, particularly since it was already drizzling with rain.

Arilyn and Elaira were already back at the inn when he got there, but Danilo had yet to arrive. Xander hadn't sensed any more spells from him, so he thought that the older man was just taking his time getting back to headquarters, making sure he wasn't followed or anything. Still, if he wasn't back in an hour or so Xander would go out looking for him.

"How did your attack go, Xander?" Elaira was quiet, letting Arilyn demand answers, as she left the half elf sitting alone and came to press herself against Xander. Before he did anything else Xander nodded to his guard, dimissing the man, to go and tell the others about what they'd been doing that night.

"Not yet. We can have a group debriefing once Danilo gets back. That way we won't have to repeat ourselves." Xander took a seat as he spoke, and this time he didn't protest when Elaira sat on his lap, grinding her hips against his groin - it was the effects of battle, he knew that, and if it would help make her more confident it was worth it.

As it happened Xander didn't need to go out searching for Danilo, the blond made it back ten minutes after him. At that point Xander led the others to the illusion map.

"I took one of the Malevein out on the way back as well, so lets see how we've done." With those words he added the Malevein to the now static map. There were just ninety-one now, the eight assigned targets had all been eliminated, as had one target of opportunity. "Did anyone experience any difficulty in elimination their assigned targets?"

"No, my lord."

"I took out the house behind my targets, I think I overpowered the ki-blast a bit. But there wasn't anyone living there to start off with." Arilyn was quick to justify her use of overkill, and he had the feeling that it was a lie, but Xander wasn't going to object, he didn't believe in the concept of 'acceptable losses', but he did understand that collateral damage was inevitable in any war, and at the moment challenging Arilyn's word would cause too much conflict on their side.

"I needed to use more than one spell to get them both." Danilo seemed to be a bit upset by that. "And then I had to dodge one of the Malevein on the way back."

"Yes, I needed to repeat the spell I used to kill both of my assigned targets. Then on my way back I ran into another Malevein. He cast a spell at me, but my Spellshield absorbed most of it, and that let me cast a longer spell at him." Xander frowned for a moment. "All in all I'd judge our first attack a success. Do you feel up to trying to take out the next patrols tonight, or would you rather rest and wait for the Malevein's response?"

"Please, I would rather rest, my lord."

"Same here."

"I'm not up to another attack tonight either." Arilyn sounded as if the words were bitter in her mouth, but she was willing to go to bed when they broke the meeting up, and agreeded to meet back in the illusion room at noon the next day.


Elaira reached up, sliding her arms around Lord Xander's neck. She wanted to be with him, to share his bed for more than just rest, she had for awhile, she just didn't know how to convince him to go along with it, and to enjoy himself, instead of just getting her off. She licked his lower lip, gently persuading him to allow her tongue entry. He'd responded more when she showed any form of aggression, even so little a thing as initiating a kiss, which had been forbidden to her before. And this time she could already feel him hard against her, probably more from the fight he'd just been in than from any interest in her, but she would take anything she could get.

She backed off a bit when he began kissing her back, if she didn't then he might well pull the same trick on her he had before, bringing her off without taking his own pleasure, and she didn't want that. She had the perfect excuse to avoid that too, and it even had the advantage of truth.

"This armour is...somewhat uncomfortable, my lord." She bit her lip, hopefully Lord Xander wouldn't be too angry at her uncertainty. "At least it is for me, and I am not entirely comfortable with this form of fastening. Would you be generous enough to help me get out of these clothes? I'd be happy to return the favour?" The little hint of insecurity was real, and it might help to sway her master.

"You don't need to do that. I'm happy to help you." And Lord Xander began to undress her, carefully, as if she were a delicate ornament, something to set on a shelf somewhere and admire, and not touch with anything but the greatest care. It was so different to anything she had experienced before that it made her heart ache. Even with Princess Amnestria she knew that she would never have had this, never have felt safe and protected, but then she might well never have needed it if she'd remained male, living his life out as the princess' husband.

"Please, I want to." Elaira started by unfastening Lord Xander's jacket, with any luck doing something so innocuous would make him a bit more amenable to letting her finish undressing him. For some reason he laughed, but he did let her remove the armour he was wearing. She left the trousers for last, and, still kneeling from removing his boots, reached up to open the zip at his groin. She rubbed her cheek against his groin, hoping it would inflame him enough to take some pleasure with her, she didn't care how.

"You do understand that you do not have to do this? I don't expect it, and I won't be angry if you change your mind." Lord Xander seemed to retain enough presence of mind to push her back by her shoulders, and offer her an out.

"Yes my lord, I understand. But how can I heal if you try to shield me from this, even though I wish to be with you?"

"You have a point." Lord Xander frowned for a moment. "What do you want then?"

"To share your bed for pleasure for both of us, nothing more." Elaira knew that passion roughened her voice as she spoke. It seemed to move Lord Xander, he let her finish stripping him, and removed the silk undergarments she wore to protect her skin, then pulled her to the bed.

"I will not risk giving you a child, it would be too dangerous for you at the moment. Can you bear to take me into your mouth now, or do you wish to keep that for sometime after we have bathed?"

Elaira immediately moved until she could bury her face in his groin. "You smell good at the moment." She murmurred the words, before begining by licking him. She loved it that he cared enough about her to refuse for her sake. Lord Xander reached for her and positioned her with her groin near his face, but she didn't realise what that meant until she felt his tongue on the lips of her sex. Afterwards he pulled her into his arms, and she hoped that it meant he would accept her as a lover from now on, even though she knew she could not be his beloved.


Danilo could see that Arilyn was angry about something as they made their way back to their bedroom. He wasn't too happy himself - the spells he'd chosen had nowhere near the destructive power he thought they should have, perhaps Xander had deliberately underpowered Halloween when he cast it, to keep Danilo weaker than him. Whatever the reason it had taken three successive spells to destroy even the magic user of his pair, and another two to deal with the fighter. He never had believed that any magic could be as devastating as Xander claimed, and this had just proved him right.

"Did something go wrong, Arilyn? Did Elaira have problems making her kills that she tried to hide?"

"No, the little bitch did just fine. But she whined at me about that house from the moment we got back here until her precious Xander returned. Then he had the gall to refuse to tell me how his attack had gone until you got back."

"She only started whining when you got back? Well, at least she had the sense to wait until then." Danilo knew it wasn't wise to laugh, but he did anyway as he pulled Arilyn to the bed and began stripping her. "Not that the ridiculous armour she wears shows any sense."

"I...I was exhausted after one ki-blast, she had to practically carry me back here. I knew it wasn't that easy for people to throw fireballs about without magic. And then she started whining about the 'innocent lives' that could have been lost because I had to destroy the house behind my targets. She used to understand the concept of acceptable losses. What difference does it make if we kill off a few weak slaves in the process of freeing our city?"

"None, but Xander obviously disagrees, remember how he changed his plans when Elaira pointed out that his first idea risked some slaves' lives? And you bothered to lie to him about making sure the house was empty first, so you must have realised that."

"Yes. I didn't bother to check with my ki-senses, it wasn't as if whoever was in there could matter. But I didn't want to bother with all the fuss that the little bitch would make so I lied. Funny thing, I think he knew that I was lying, and just didn't want to call me on it, or didn't care."

"So either his concern's just for his pet's sake, or he thinks it's not worth calling you on little lies just yet. Still, perhaps a weaker ki-blast might have been better? That way you'd still have been able to walk back by yourself."

"I'll try, but for now..." And Arilyn jumped on him, kissing him hard and pulling his clothes off.