Nine Iron Void, Part One

(A Love Story in the Deeps)


She didn't have a name. Most mariliths didn't. They weren't much known for playing at happy families or being particularly social, after all. Oh, sure, some of the more powerful ones had their slaves and retainers, but they'd just be Mistress to their servants. To others, often "Bitch" would suffice.

So she was trying to think up a name for herself. This was because she was bored, more than anything else. Missing that last opportunity to break out of the Abyss was a real disappointment; surely it'd be more fun out there on the surface. Of course, she hadn't been close enough to do much more than just feel that something powerful had happened; the power had faded long before she could get up to a point where she could exploit it. Well, no use cursing the darkness...best to while away the long hours somehow.

Or perhaps she could go look for an equally bored incubus and have some fun. That was always an option.

In fact, wasn't that an incubus falling down her way?

She slithered through the emptiness, tail undulating behind, and reached out to snag him. That done, she quickly turned around to retreat back to her little corner of the Abyss--some old insignificant ruin that had fallen here probably ages ago--and take a look at her catch.

He was in a bad way, though, eyes closed tightly, face looking pale even for a local. He seemed to be whispering something that she couldn't understand, shivering a bit, and was bruised. There was a sword at his hip; there was something strange about it, which she couldn't place without further study. A fixer-upper, it appeared. But, again, she was bored, and this was something new. And he was really cute.

Just as she reached her home, such as it was, her prize let out an incoherent shout and opened his eyes. This startled but did not frighten her. "Take it easy, there," she said soothingly, then added a slightly crooked grin. "I'm not going to hurt you. Unless you want me to."

He stared at her, uncomprehendingly. "Mitsune?" he said, voice hoarse. "You found me?"

She frowned slightly, but then smiled. "That's right, I found you. Relax. I'll take good care of you. Just--"

She was cut off by him lunging forward to crush his lips against hers hungrily. No warmth, no tenderness, just raw desire and need. Shocked, she instinctively kissed back for a few moments, then withdrew.

"Whoa, big boy, I don't think you'rewoooo!" His hands and mouth had found her breasts, and he was really...rather skilled. Especially what he was doing with his tongue to her nipple.

Well, maybe it would calm him down. She could see what was wrong with him afterward. Besides, when was the last time she'd had someone so enthusiastic, even for an incubus?

---

"Wow," she said.

Speech was probably the only kind of that movement she was capable of at the moment. He was insatiable. Utterly. How many hours had it been? How many times did they do it?

"Wow," she repeated, and forced her neck muscles to move enough to look down at her lover. He'd passed out several minutes ago. Somehow, she hadn't.

This fellow...something was definitely wrong with him. His pain, whatever the source, was palpable, and it had seemed like he was on the verge of crying the entire time.

"So your name is Moriya," she murmured, slowly lifting up a hand to stroke his crimson hair. "But who exactly is this Mitsune?"

The marilith sighed softly and shifted about, trying to make herself comfortable without...well, no, she wouldn't disturb him in a hundred years, from the way he'd just finally collapsed at the end. She summoned her reserves of energy and gingerly lifted him up to lay him down beside her on the wendigo skins. That done, she turned to study him intently, lying on her stomach with her chin pillowed on her arms. He seemed at peace, mostly, though there was still a touch of strain to his brow, if she looked closely enough. Very handsome features, yes. Which was not unusual among incubi, of course, but there was something particularly appealing about him.

Then again...hm.

She reached over to touch his brow, and just as gently touch his mind.

She screamed.

---

Consciousness was disorienting. For some people, it is always like this--waking from sleep being a very trying proposition.

The marilith stared dumbly at the inky darkness that made up her existence, trying to remember who she was. Because she had no name, this made the exercise a little more abstract to begin with. Being able to fill in something unique after "I am..." is usually helpful.

She finally remembered: I am a marilith, I am in the Abyss like always, and I got my brains screwed out by.... "Moriya?"

She looked to the side, where the red-headed man lay, still unmoving.

Yes. Man. As in, human. Not an incubus, but instead a surfacedweller wearing the skin of an incubus.

Oh, the poor dear. This thought was only slightly sardonic.

Oh, my poor head, she added a moment later, wincing. Touching the mind of someone completely mad was not a good thing to do. Flashes of some horrible fight still echoed. Her own mind was pretty strong, and his wasn't that much to talk about, from what she could dimly remember, but she had been exhausted by a whole lot of sex. And he was very, very mad. It still rattled her now; her kind was not normally inclined toward sympathy, but this had been very bad.

She bit her lip, considering things. He was not whole, only a fragment of a person. Whoever Moriya was, he was more than this. Now, considering that he had managed to beat an incubus and take over his body in such a state probably meant that Moriya was quite formidable when he was whole.

She'd liked to have met Moriya while he had been complete, certainly....

But what to do about him now? She wasn't exactly a doctor of any sort, especially of the mind. Binding a cut, she could do that. Bandaging a soul....

And the Abyss was not really the best convalesence home. Humans who survived getting stuck down here had a tendency to go insane from being trapped in the Pit and its lack of just about everything. Then again, he was already mad. Maybe that wouldn't matter.

Putting him out of his misery might be just the best thing to do, really. That she could handle; she'd killed without a second thought in the past. And the piece of his soul inside might make a good wall decoration.

On the other hand, the sex had been pretty incredible.

Besides, a wall hanging would get boring after a while, whereas having Moriya around would probably continue to be interesting.

He'd opened his eyes. She was watching him, and now he was looking at her, meeting her gaze. Somehow, she hadn't noticed.

"Hi," she said, intelligently.

Moriya was much calmer now, though something told her it was mostly because he hadn't the energy to be raving like earlier. "Hi," he whispered back.

"How are you feeling?"

"Bad." He paused. "But..."

"Hm?"

"Better. Because you're here."

This made her smile.

"Mitsune."

She stopped smiling. "I'm not Mitsune," she said as gently as she could.

He seemed to consider this. "But you felt like her. And you sound like her." He squinted slightly. "But...you don't look like her."

She wriggled a little closer to him. "Who is Mitsune?"

"The one I love."

"I'm sorry."

He closed his eyes again. Perhaps, she thought, this might be a little harder than expected. Must be losing her mind to bother with something like this. She leaned over to kiss him softly on the forehead, and got up to see what she could find to make his stay here more comfortable.

---

It had been several cycles, and Moriya hadn't woken again, either in her presence or according to the minor servitor creatures she'd bound to watch over him during her occasional trips out. His vital signs were steady, but the marilith was not about to probe his mind again, not after what happened last time.

Mistress Yani had told her not to worry. Sometimes, humans just retreated into their own minds for a while to recover. His soul was still in there, anyway.

Mistress Yani had also told her that this Moriya was apparently a prince of a powerful kingdom called Amber, from very, very far away. Had a reputation for being an excellent swordsman and a fine poet; he might actually be useful. More than that, she would have to discover for herself. Yani's network of information was decent, not spectacular. There were rumblings about Amber having committed some horrible atrocity in the Abyss recently, but not much beyond rumors had made it over to this part yet. Still, it might be a good idea to keep things about Moriya quiet for now.

Beyond that...well, her resources were a little limited, so she hadn't been able to gather that many supplies yet. A few extra wendigo skins, some food that would hopefully stay down easily for when he woke up, and some reading materials.

This really was rather fun. She'd owned a few lesser Abyss demons as pets, but they had stupidly gotten themselves killed off or ran away. They weren't good conversationalists either. Moriya, on the other hand, wasn't going to be a pet. Well, hopefully. If she succeeded in repairing his broken mind, anyway. Which she was sure she would.

At the very least, even if he remained in that state, he'd been really good lay. She could get used to that.

Presently he stirred, the first time since losing consciousness, and she hurried over to his side. "Moriya?"

Moriya's eyes opened, and they swiveled to look at her. There was confusion evident there. Not much else. No recognition. But then, he couldn't be expected to remember her, not really.

"Are you hungry? Thirsty?"

He reached out and grabbed her arm and pulled her close. She blinked, and found herself being kissed again intensely.

"Hungry," he murmured against her throat, which he then licked.

The marilith giggled lightly. "But for what?"

He showed her. It took a little while, and it was good thing that she liked it rough.

Moriya did not press all the way to complete exhaustion this time, though he did collapse rather wearily against her when they'd finished. He panted quietly, still stroking her breasts as she enfolded him in her arms. "Mitsune," he said, suddenly.

She sighed, and said, "I told you, I'm not Mitsune. Though I suppose you might not remember that, not right now."

He tilted his head, looked at her. "You called me...Moriya?"

She raised an eyebrow. "You don't remember your name either, now?"

He frowned. "No. I remember...."

She waited patiently.

"Fire. And pain. And Mitsune. Only...."

"Only?"

The frown deepend. "I...I can't remember," he said, voice tightening. "I know Mitsune, I know I love her, and she...loves me, but I don't know who she is. Or myself. Or...anyone. What happened? Where am I?"

She recognized the rising panic in his voice, and tried to hold him more securely. "It's all right. We're in the Abyss. Not the nicest of places, but it's safe--"

"Stop, stop that! Let go of me, let...my arm, my arm, it burns--"

Bewildered, she started to let go of him, then held on more securely, realizing that if he ran off he might never be found again. But he struggled and thrashed, and was starting to scream. "Moriya--Mori--stop--"

In desperation, she reached out to touch his mind again, because there wasn't much else she could think to do that wouldn't hurt him any worse.

It was still a mess. Forewarned, she was prepared. Fragments of thoughts, because he was only a fragment of a soul. There was fire, and pain, as he said. A battle over a dark pit--The Pit, in fact. He didn't know then. Faces, faces...Mitsune, one of them. It had to be, she could feel the love (and raw lust). Reached for the image, trying not to get tangled among the shards, took it in her hands, made it a mask as she pulled away, put it over her own self....

Many Abyssal demons could look like whatever they wanted. Mariliths did it mostly with their powerful illusions. She was experienced in using illusion; she had been since birth.

But something was different here...though she couldn't figure out what...no time, no time, must withdraw before the madness begins to burn again.

"Moriya," she said again, with Mitsune's face.

His screams cut off, as if a switch had been thrown, and he gaped. "Mitsune?"

She smiled uneasily, then nodded. "I'm here, Moriya."

A few more moments of silence, before he lunged forward to grab her in a crushing hug. "Oh, gods, you're here, you haven't left, you've come to be with me--"

She silenced him by kissing him, to which he readily responded. And expanded on, as his hands started to roam down again....

But he soon slumped against her, drained. She'd been expecting this, and was not disappointed. Well, not much.

Again, she lay him on the wendigo skins and stroked his cheek absently, trying to think about all of this. One thing was now clear--this piece of his soul was largely his sex drive. No wonder he'd been at it like that the first time. There was enough of his old personality here too, she could tell, so that he wasn't merely a slavering libido. Most of the memories were gone, though, which was why....

She shook her head, and rose to prepare some food for him when he awoke. He probably wouldn't be out nearly as long this time.

She also tried not to think about the fact that she was avoiding looking at herself in the obsidian slab--what passed for a mirror down here in the Abyss-- while she worked.

---

He called her Mitsune, and she allowed it, though it didn't feel right. Nothing against the name itself; in fact, it seemed like a nice name. Unfortunately, she knew where it came from and what it meant to him.

A marilith with a conscience. How very odd.

It helped him, though, so she did not argue.

Moriya's physical strength was never much in question, though he did tend to use up a lot of it on the sex. Which was understandable, given what piece of his old self he was, mostly.

His mind, though, was much less sure. Probably why they had so much sex, because then, he didn't have to think about much except giving her pleasure and gaining it in return. But if he was to heal....

"Moriya...ah!" She gasped, as he started nibbling on her ear one day, while he stood behind her. "Moriya, we need to...we've already done it twice today!"

"Your protests are oddly half-hearted," he murmured, as one hand strayed down to massage her breast. He was right, too. No matter how often they did it, he seemed to come up with new ways, little ways, to make it just a bit different and still exciting.

Nevertheless, a girl had her...pride. That was the word. It was hard to remember words when he did that. "Mori...ooh." She grit her teeth and pushed aside the fact that his fingers were dancing across her stomach, creeping toward her thatch of blond hairs below. "We need to...talk about some things."

He paused a moment. "What things?" he asked airily, though she could detect his unease.

"About who you really are."

He was still for a moment, then said, "I'll make a deal."

"Deal?"

"We can talk. If you can manage to talk while I do...this."

His fingers fluttered over her entrance as his teeth nipped at her skin, right over her collarbone. She felt her knees start to give way (she was in her human form now) and only barely caught herself. "O...okay." She took a deep breath.

"Well, then." He pressed a kiss to her neck, and gently pushed her down to sit on the bedding. She complied, and leaned back against him, spreading her legs to let him touch her.

"What...what do you remember?"

His other hand, on her breast, squeezed for a moment, almost painfully. "I've told you. Fire, pain, a fight. And you." He ran a finger lightly against the edge of her labia, making her shudder.

"Nothing...before that?" She reached backward, brushed against his waist, moved downward toward the source of heat there.

"Well...." He fell silent, as he gently eased the finger into her passage and stroked the wetness. "No, not really."

She frowned, forgetting his intrusion for a moment. "Moriya," she said warningly. "If you remember something, tell me."

"I don't." He pushed another finger into her, more roughly this time. "Really."

She gasped quietly and wriggled a bit, even as her questing hand found his manhood and started to stroke lightly. "Are you sure?"

He took a deep breath in response to her touch. "I...do see...."

She nodded, looked over her shoulder with an encouraging smile. "What do you see?"

"A great forest. Huge. Ancient. Trees that blot out the sky."

"This forest...was it important to you?" She knew what trees and the sky were. Vaguely.

He did not answer for a while, only pulling her closer and kissing her, up and down the side of her neck, while he continued to work on her body below. She was growing very wet now, and it was going to be hard to keep her thoughts focused on this.

But she had to. As good as it felt, she wasn't going to let this go.

"The forest...was like another home to me."

"Mmm...another?"

"Yes. But I don't...."

"Don't remember your first home? Ah!" She yelped slightly as he suddenly fell on his side, bringing her down with him, and rolled her onto her back. She let go of him, but reached up with her other hand to touch his hair. "Tell me, Moriya."

"Please," he whispered, almost agonized, as he moved to position himself between her thighs. "I promise, we can talk after this. But please, just let me forget for now."

"No. Show me the forest. Make love to me, but show me this place. Remember it. I'll help you. But you need to remember."

He stared at her, then slowly, nodded, even as he leaned down to kiss her.

She felt him enter, sink deeply into her body, bringing pleasure with the movement as his shaft slid past her silken folds. With care, she enveloped his mind with her own, just as she wrapped her legs around his waist.

Green. Green and brown. The first color, rare in the Abyss, the second just a little more common. This was the forest. High above, blue and white too, though it was hard to see them through the branches....

She used her power, and instead of the inky darkness, they now lay on the rich earth beneath a towering ash tree. Moriya stopped in mid-thrust, staring around him.

"Like this?" she asked, panting for breath, smiling a little.

He looked down at her, closed his eyes. "Arden," he said, quietly.

Then she flexed her muscles around him, reminding him of the task at hand. He grinned at her, in a way that made her gulp quietly.

He lunged forward again, driving into her harder, faster. More images flowed from his broken memories, and even as she raised her hips to meet his, she placed them into the landscape. Foxes. Deer. A pond. Something that was known as a rose, dark red in color, sprang into being and hovered next her face. It was beautiful.

She moaned, and he shivered, and they rolled about on the dirt. She ended up on top of him, so she braced her hands on his chest and lifted up on her knees, only to drop back down onto him with a whimper as her body hummed with pleasure. He grasped her hips, shoved upward in time with her movements, and when she cried out, she was echoed by a great bird, soaring above the branches. An eagle, it was called.

He abruptly sat up, grabbing her tightly and kissing her deeply as she straddled his lap, then pushed her back down without any gentleness. He rose to his knees, lifting her up at the waist, making her back arch high in response so that only her shoulders rested on the ground, to thrust into her tightening core again, and again; she bit down on her knuckle, trying to muffle her gasps. All around them, Arden became alive.

She felt her climax overtake her like a river--and now there was one beside them--the release washing through her spasming body and mind. Dimly she heard Moriya call out her...no, not her name, she had no name, but Mitsune's name, and felt his warmth flood into her body as her inner walls rippled around his hardness. He fell heavily on top of her, breathing hard. Gently, she eased him out, then changed into her marilith form, twining her tail around him in a full- body embrace.

"You called this place Arden," she murmured.

"The greatest of forests," he whispered, kissing her cheek. "A place where I spent much of my time."

"It's so pretty. I've never seen anything like it before."

"I'll...."

"Hm?"

"I'll bring you to see it for real some day."

"You will?"

"I promise."

She smiled.

"I'd like that."

They fell asleep, and the memories dissolved away quietly. For now.

End part one.