Though she was a prisoner she was allowed to stand on the parapet. She looked out over what was once her homeland, and now belonged to HIM. The Demon Lord, the Nightmare of Worlds, the Dark Lord. Her eyes were filled with tears. She had failed them. Been seduced by his words. She knew that today was the day, her last day maybe. But she meant it to be HIS as well.

The mage watches the guards watching her. They think she is weak, not realizing that just being outside lets her recharge herself, build up her power, but she hides it, masks it. She will bring him down. She failed once, she will not fail again. She cannot fail again.

She looks back to the court, through the large windows. She can see so many she knows milling, then they part and HE makes his way to the head of the grand hall, moving to the throne that was once Gold's own. His beautiful but cold face accepting the oaths of allegiance from the minor nobles. Around him were his boot-lickers, the traitors that brought him here, and his few advisors.

The court was slowly filling, with the toads, the courtiers, the harlots of a hundred different lands and worlds. He rises, paces like a caged beast. His body tense, looking for enemies. She can see that as she watches him from the parapet.

The courtiers and traitors fawn at his feet. She can see the look of disgust on his face, the loathing. Then his eyes meet hers, and she shudders, how he calls to her soul, even at this distance she can see the conflict in his eyes. This man will decide if she should live or die, and he terrifies her.

He looked out the window to one of the Parapets. She was there, the only person here who had actually dared to fight him. He shakes his head. He wonders if he should get rid of her, this woman who fascinates him so. Compared to most of the women in his court she is plain, her dark brown eyes and reddish hair do not make her stand out. He doesn't know why he is so attracted to her. She isn't half the beauty Gold is. Then it comes to him it's the fact that she has not yet given up.

He sighs as he looks at the long list of mice he will need to deal with. Some he will kill, others he will spare, they are too useful to him not to. He hasn't yet made his mind up about the earth-mage, whatever he said in their fight. She is a challenge to his rule, and he really doesn't need challenges, yet he finds her fascinating. Even his rape of her hasn't yet broken her. Then again, was it rape? She had said she wanted him before he took her. Was that why he wanted her? That is one question that disturbs him greatly.

The evening breeze does little to cool the hall; so many are here to see HIM vested with the crown of the Sovereign. Gold has fallen, that is now clear to everyone. She knows her friend is beaten. She's seen it, even when Gold begs her to destroy the Demon Lord. The mage knows that her friend will never again rule with the sure hand, the Queen is a broken woman.

She looks at the fellow members of the court, not one of them would stand at her back now. Beaten dogs, frightened innocents, and the many traitors, so many traitors. She feeds off the emotion power, the slowly rising earth-power. Keeping it hidden, remaining kneeling, even as her body shakes under the whip blows of the slave-masters. She doesn't waste a bit of power healing herself, not yet. There will be many more blows she knows this.

They form two lines in the court. Those who's humiliation and oath taking are to be public. Those who are to be publicly enslaved and those who will have to lick the boots of the Conqueror if they want to stay free.

She knew that many of her friends would die here if she didn't strike quickly. Luckily she was highly placed in the order, the second female to go, the first being Gold. It gave her a chance, a slim one. When she was called up…she would be more charged than when she faced him the first time. The storm she called was rolling in. A deep and powerful storm, she could feel the lightning gathering in the clouds, so many different and varying powers there. Cloud to cloud, cloud to ground, ground to cloud, and ball lightning. Then the hailstones growing to the size of a man's head. She would have many weapons

She looked at him. Hating herself, he had touched her soul in the fight. He had promised her pleasure, something she had so little of in the court. She dared not take any of the nobles to her bed. Only Gold knew of her ability to turn pleasure into power, and how helpless she was to stop anyone from taking that power with a single kiss. And as for power. Diamond was not one to cross lightly.

But he had done more than just take her power, he had filled her with such pleasure that even now, days after, she still tingled from his touch. She was even harnessing that power. She had to take him down. She had to harden her heart to him.

He moves past both lines. His eyes like granite, cold, hard, unreadable. She trembled as he went by her praying he wouldn't notice the power she had so carefully horded and hid in her soul. She waited with all of them for the command to stand. Even though her body ached, her knees hurt from kneeling on the cold hard stone. She dared to let out the thinnest trickle of healing magic, to make herself ready for her move.

Gold and Diamond, they were the first two he had to dispose of. For now Gold would go to the harem. By taking her, he took her kingdom, both by right of arms and by right of….well he couldn't call it marriage, but it was close enough for him. Diamond would be sentenced to death, there was really no need to keep the arrogant old mage around, and his only use was in tapping the power of Diamond's cadre of female mages. And he didn't need the old fool for that; he could tap their power himself.

Then there was the Magess; strangely, no one in the court knew her name. He knew that many there called her Mica. Because she was lowborn and common in a court where most were noble born and named for precious metals or jewels.

He found himself wondering what she was really called. She was a mystery and he loved a good mystery. Still he needed to dispose of the prisoners. She was the only one up in the air at the moment. He couldn't decide if he should play it safe and eliminate her, or take a risk and keep her. What she did when he called her would determine her fate.

They milled around like animals for the most part. Waiting to see what would happen to their nobles. The peasants were fearful, uneasy, and tense. They had been a simple and peaceful people, protected by the rare few with mage gifts. Now their greatest guardian had fallen, their queen stood in chains.

The conqueror stood at the foot of the golden throne, his face hard as stone. The nobles were arranged by rank, except one. The one everyone called Mica; she was out of place just behind Gold and Diamond. Why the lowborn Queen's healer should be ranked before the nobles of the court was confusing.

HIS eyes swept over them, the contempt in his face obvious. He moved like a predator, like some mythic beast of nightmare. He stopped before each person forcing them to look into his strange green glowing eyes. One by one they dropped their gazes before him, all but one. Mica held his gaze calmly, seemingly unafraid. A smile graced the conqueror's lips. The first words out of his lips were, "Ah, you still have some fight in you. Good."

The magess simply smiled then, "You think I wouldn't Demon?"

The hand that went to the woman's face was gentle, even tender, "No, I didn't think so. You are to wild a thing to tame that easily. But you will be tamed Mica the magess. Believe me you will be tamed." And with that he fisted her hair in his hand and forced the woman to her feet, kissing her before the court, the mage moaned softly in his arms. Her body obviously weak, everyone could see her knees trembling.

He lets her fall back to the floor, then ascends the dais and takes the throne. Looking at the former queen. "Gold, sometimes called Goddess. You have been a thorn in my side for weeks now. However I wish to… Reward you … for the challenge you have given me. You will be joining my harem."

The queen shrunk in on herself. The once proud and vivacious woman a shadow, a beaten dog. But the monster wasn't finished, "And to prove your loyalty to me, your first command. Kill Diamond."

It was then that the magess surged to her feet, "NO. Leave Diamond alone. He can't do ANYTHING to you."

The demon-lord looked at the young woman who spoke out of turn, "But who else could have formed the shields that kept me and my men out for so long. He is the chief mage of this kingdom."

This was IT! The moment HE had been waiting for. He KNEW the girl had known who made that damned shield. Then suddenly the room grew bright. He had to shield his eyes.

"Diamond couldn't shield a dead skunk. I was the one who held the shields."

And he felt his face go still, his mind racing. She held the shields. SHE held the shields. And he felt something re-awaken in his heart, something he hadn't felt since HIS pawn died.

Everyone gasps, Diamond's eyes were wide. This girl, this magess from a small village, a ruined village, the girl Gold took pity on. THIS was the woman who had held that monster at bay, not Diamond?

The look on the Demon-lord's face is a study in contrasts. Hatred, desire, admiration, disgust, and other emotions to dark to name. "You! A female, you held me off for that long?"

The light around the mage intensified as she called up her shields and summoned her full power to her, "Yes it was I who did it. Now are you ready for our second dance Demon?"

There was joy on that merciless face. "you many not be Kchronean, but I will enjoy dancing with you." And the demon-lord called his favorite blade to him. "And when we are done dancing you will scream my name in extacy girl."

"No, Demon-Lord, this time you will be pushing up flowers as we celebrate your destruction."

The smile on that demon's face turned many in the hall's blood to water. A large circle opened up for the two. The demon's eyes were bright with passion, "You, my dear girl remind me of water, if I lessen my grip on you at all, you are trying to slip between my fingers. But if I hold you properly you will never escape me."

The mage sends a bolt of lighting at the demon, forcing him back, painful burns appearing on the monster's body, even as he brings his sword down with enough force to split a boulder in twain. "You don't know how hard water is to hold.."

The demon-lord chuckles low in his throat, "OH that was good girl, do it again. I love it when you rip the flesh from my bones." And the monster's body glows green, the burns healing, the cuts and gashes closing before her eyes.

"I know that. But you might not enjoy what's coming next." And under the demon's feet the ground opens up, causing him to fall into the foul smelling gash in the floor and it attempts to close in on him. He cants in some horrific tongue and the earth around him crumbles and he climbs out.

"OH yes girl, so beautiful, so powerful, so deadly, show me more, my lovely, show me MORE!"

The mage's eyes look uncertain for a moment then she smiles, suddenly the very sky opens up, lightning strikes again, and again. Rain and hail strike friend and foe alike, the very stones of the palace break apart and hit the demon before her. And he strikes back, sending his power in great leven-bolts at her, causing the ground under her feet to rot and crumble like old books.

Around them screams of the injured and dying can be heard. The mage's eyes growing more and more hurt and desperate. The demon sports huge gaping wounds yet he will NOT go down, he forces himself to his feet time and time again. Lightning, lava, stones, sharpened spikes of ice, hurricane winds. His own men dying by the dozens. None of it affects him as he pushes attack after attack.

The two of them circle. The mage's shields keeping her from serious harm, though her face is smudged with smoke and there is a burn mark where the demon's blood touched her cheek. Both of them are more wary now. The look of pure lust in the demon-lord's eyes causing many women in the crowd to stand there like paralyzed birds before the serpent.

The mage, though, she seems immune, her stance resolute, her eyes hard and black. "Surrender beast, you soon will not have an army left."

The demon shakes his head, "I do not surrender girl. EA couldn't make me surrender. And that pawn of his could not either. Why would I surrender to you?"

The mage nods slowly, "I was afraid of that." And her eyes go pitch black, black as night, black as death, "Diamond, shield EVERYONE NOW!"

The Demon doesn't know what was happening, but the mage charges him, forcing him back. And he can hear SOMETHING screaming behind him. He doesn't know what it is and he turns towards it. Even as he turns he feels something slam into him, burning agony takes over, and he can hear the mage screaming too.

It was hellfire fury outside Diamond's shields those fools who didn't shelter near the old mage were burned bodies, broken husks laying against what was left of the walls, or smears on the floor from where the rocks had fallen.

Diamond gasps as he looks at the raw carnage in what was one Gold's throne room. Where the two combatants stood there is now a crater. Laying at the edge of it, her body broken and bleeding is Mica. At the bottom of it, his body a torn and bloody lump of smoldering flesh is the demon-lord.

Both sides move timidly towards the hole in the middle of the floor, over 60 feet across, the bottom still glows with red heat. The smell of burning demon flesh makes both sides uneasy. Diamond moves to the fallen woman, "OH sweet gods, she's still alive."

The Demon-Lord's fighters look uneasy, then suddenly an unholy moan comes from the bottom of the pit, "DAMN that HURT." And the Demon-Lord rises.

With that the Demon-Lord's soldiers gather their courage and push the crowd back. One of them lifts his blade meaning to end the woman life, a low growl freezes the soldier in his tracks "She is MINE. Is that understood. She is to be locked in the room next to mine. Chained to the bed. The best healer in the land will look after her."

Both sides look at him, his flesh literally hangs from his bones, and many of them are raw and broken. "I said take her to the room next to mine and chain her there. I told her that when we were done with the dance I would make her scream my name in ecstasy, and I mean to do just that."

The demon-lord looks up to the crowd around him. Suddenly he doesn't want to deal with them, the mage calls to him. "Enslave all of the prisoners. If any of them show merit I will free them, if any disobey they are to be slain."

The creature slowly climbs out of the pit his body healing, he makes his way to what little is left of the throne-room and the throne, sitting down there, "Someone bring me wine. I will need my strength for when she is better. It will be most useful when she is crying my name and at my beck and call."