One Last Battle
Title: One Last Battle
Disclaimer: Wholly original work.
Summary: Ko'al James is needed for one last battle. General Daryn doesn't expect the tables to be turned when he goes for a visit. Year 265. If that doesn't seem important, The Northland takes place in Year 268.
Notes: 'Character: Daryn' plotbunny card.
Daryn couldn't help rolling his eyes at how ridiculous everything had become. The main unit of his army, the Great Army of the Northland, was about to fall. Their mages were exhausted and their fighters battling both fatigue and injury after a days-long seige keeping them inside what was left of the high-ground stronghold of Lotah. Most of the town had burned, residents either dead or suddenly stripped of everything they had.
Already their opponents held clear south to where the river Dlew cut her course to the ocean, to the land rightfully called the East, not the Northland. Already their opponents were gaining ground.
The next battle, though, between the bedraggled and the quiet, watching destroyers now camped surrounding Lotah, that battle would decide it all. Daryn couldn't help the situation, either. The two branching units of troops were both too far away to serve as reinforcements, even if they hadn't been locked in skirmishes of their own.
He had the ability to move quickly on another plane, the one his mother's priestesses used to collect the souls of the dead, and he had let them know anyway. His two other generals knew that likely the Northland had fallen, in one battle that would decide the war that hadn't even been fought yet.
In his haste, or perhaps too embarrassed to admit his failure, Daryn had nearly forgotten the last stop he had considered making as he raced about the whole of the north of the continent in the realm of wandering souls.
Pulling himself into the corporeal world, Daryn gasped for breath, his chest tight for a moment before he completed the spell in a rough whisper. He sank to his knees, shaking as he tried to adjust. Already he'd forced himself between realms during the last few hours an amount equal to a normal year.
"Lord General Daryn."
Daryn was surprised at how curious the voice sounded, as if indeed the outside world stayed the outside, unaffecting the only man capable of turning the battle in his favour. Perhaps it did. Daryn may have been familiar with the non-corporeal realm, but he admittedly had never been dead and having to go along with all of what death entailed.
"Ko'al," Daryn said, shaking his head as he stumbled to his feet. His midsection was bandaged and healing steadily after injuries that would have killed a normal battalion and he found himself not able to even his breathing right away.
"I would offer you tea, but I have none to offer," Ko'al said, circling around Daryn to rest on a low sofa, nondescript and sterile, a strange thing for the strange world Ko'al was calling home.
"Live," Daryn demanded, taking in the different form that Ko'al was using, that of a human instead of that as a fox-man. "Ko'al, I need you to live!"
"I believe my current situation doesn't allow for that," Ko'al replied, making Daryn want to punch the most charismatic and insanely powerful warrior-mage that the world had so far produced and then stupidly taken away.
"I'll talk to Mother," Daryn pleaded, dropping to his knees again and grabbing at the dark robes Ko'al was wearing. "One day. One battle. The Northland needs Ko'al James!"
"I will not be a god in their eyes," Ko'al said, shaking his head. "I will not."
"My body is yours," Daryn said, reaching to unbutton his jacket. "My power... Anything."
"Do I look as though I need any of that?" Ko'al asked, looking down at Daryn, his blue eyes warmer than his tone of voice.
"You never needed any of that," Daryn replied. "But you never complained about it either. Besides, you don't need to be you..."
"I can change my appearance, not my voice," Ko'al stated, reaching to grab at the collar of Daryn's jacket, pulling at it enough to strain the next button still buttoned. "You're injured."
"Yes," Daryn admitted, letting himself be pulled upward to sit beside Ko'al, treated as an equal for a rare moment. "And as an injured, beaten man I would like you to perhaps..."
"I failed," Ko'al said, shaking his head. "Where did I fail? You are an immortal child of two gods, powerful both physically and magically. What army could stand against you alone?"
"I protected my mages from death," Daryn said, unbuttoning his jacket to show the bandages beneath. "They will heal my men before they heal me."
"Idiot," Ko'al muttered, reaching to touch a hot palm over the center of the bandages. Daryn gasped at the sensation, ill at ease about having forgotten the power raw within his former commander. "You could have healed this yourself. I'd almost think you've done this for one more battle. One last battle after the Last Great Battle for Torpona."
Had he? Daryn wasn't sure.
"You'll fight?" he asked, reaching to pull away the bandages, eager to see something beside the raw regrowth of tissue he'd been greeted with each morning for the last week.
"If I give you one last battle..."
"I will win your war," Daryn finished. "I will protect your Northland."
"Good," Ko'al simply said, pushing Daryn's hands away and tearing the bandages as though they were no stronger than mist. Daryn shivered, just beginning to sense the raw power Ko'al had now, since he'd passed to death's realm.
But Daryn was not expecting the touch of Ko'al's mouth, unnervingly human against his skin. He could understand that he did not want to be recognized even in death, but Daryn had not given it much thought.
Pressed backward into a recline, Daryn couldn't help but want to curse Ko'al for being much too perceptive for his own damned good.
Ko'al's fingers were too smooth as well, tracing a line down what would be a lingering scar on his abdomen before a hand pushed down into his pants, grasping an erection he didn't think it was fair to have. He hadn't touched even the most beautiful of his soldiers, male or female, since the first battle for the city. And now they lay in a trap already sprung while he moaned under the knowing hands of their battle god.
Was this his sacrifice?
He let Ko'al pull his pants down, baring more of his body for a thorough inspection. Even as Ko'al stroked his arousal there was a running commentary about his scars. But Ko'al's voice, just that voice as Daryn squeezed his eyes shut as that hand moved faster, pulling him towards release so long denied, that voice was enough. No wonder he feared even a soujourn to the living. Daryn would know him anywhere by that alone.
"One last battle," Ko'al hissed softly, leaning down to nearly cover Daryn's body with his own, the cloth of his robes ghosting over Daryn's skin. And that hand, stroking fast and gripping in a way well-practiced, it dared him to come. It dared him to return to his decadent youth of battles won and festivals unlike any he could remember for the last decades.
Ko'al at his side...
Gritting his teeth and trying to stay quiet, Daryn grasped one more time at his tension, pulling it to him as Ko'al pulled it from him. If he hadn't already died and been reborn a half-dozen times that day, Daryn would have sworn his orgasm was death, bliss beyond words as Ko'al held him at climax. He could feel himself empty, his semen slicking the last motions of Ko'al's hand.
"Ko'al..." Daryn reached for the warrior mage, but already Ko'al was on his feet, effortlessly transforming his robes into the outfit of a Northland mage.
Ko'al shook his head as he turned to pull a blade from the air around them and let it rest at his side.
"After," Daryn said, pulling up his pants as he watched Ko'al effectively become someone else, a mute warrior-mage just recruited, perhaps. "After the battle we will celebrate. Like we used to."
And finally, a nod. With a sigh, Daryn began the spell to let his body drop into the realm of wandering souls. He felt wild, unrestrained.
It would be one last battle for the ages.
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