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A Heartbeat Without Harmony

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Estinien Wyrmblood was no longer entirely an Elezen. 

Twas a simple enough thing to dismiss it as mere delusion, in the beginning, when first he lay weary and broken from the strenuousness of his ordeal within the Congregation’s infirmary, being fussed over by Whitecape’s chirurgeons and Gisele by turns. A flicker within steely blue eyes staring back at him from a pane of glass, a betimes ravenous hunger, the warm, sweet scent of Aymeric’s tea filling his senses from another floor entire, the methodical scraping of a whetstone upon a blade yalms and yalms away, in the armory…all these things, he may have and did consider little more than the self-deceptions of a wounded mind as it mended itself together again after enduring yet more trauma. 

Then came the night he dreamed of Ferndale, of smoke upon the horizon, of running and running through the greenest of valleys till his knob-kneed legs burned with exertion and ash filled his lungs, of the roar which vibrated through his bones and rattled his head till he collapsed. It was nothing new, of course, for it was the selfsame vision of destruction which had plagued him from childhood. But that night, when he awoke from it, the soft karakul fleece which had blanketed him was shredded--as if by claws. 

One does not cast aside the vengeful shade of the First Brood’s strongest so easily, it would seem, not even with the abiding love of faithful comrades.  

At the last, twas why he kept his distance from them all in truth, slipping away quietly into the chill of the early Coerthan dawn the very next morning, staying only long enough in the city to see Aymeric set it upon a new, golden path before walking away from it all. Aye, he could no longer bear the sight of Gae Bolg, or the bloodstained mail which had served him so well and for so many years of butchering Dravanians without mercy. Not knowing what he did now, the long-buried truths that Ysayle and Gisele’s gifts had dragged into the cold light of day. Not having known an eon of unfathomable pain writ into his very flesh. How could he possibly remain the Azure Dragoon, after such a thing? What need did Ishgard have for such a butcher, when the Holy See laid down her arms at last, and opened yet more to dragonkind? He’d said it plain, to Aymeric: his hunt was at an end. 

But he no longer knew who Estinien Wyrmblood was, either—not this misbegotten creature, the Wildwood and the wyrm. The memory of Nidhogg lingered as yet upon his very soul, within every onze of his once-stolen flesh. Echoes reverberated when least expected. He did not trust himself, he did not know himself—and he could not bear the thought of placing those he held so dear in yet another untenable position, of causing them any more pain than he already had. He could not bear to see the guilt in Aymeric’s eyes, or the tears in Gisele’s and Haurchefant’s, or the fear in Ysayle’s and Alphinaud’s, knowing he was the cause of it. He could not bear the thought of losing control of himself again. 

And so he left, and knowing not what to do, retraced the steps of the queer and remarkable journey which had so irrevocably changed him, for good and for ill. Like a pilgrim, mayhap, driven by a different manner of dire necessity than the first time he traversed that long road, did he wind through the ancient forests and scorched, rocky plains of Dravania once again, searching for answers to questions he could scarce put to words. And mayhap it was simply to remember: to remember the man he once was, to see once more with eyes wide open the wonders he had dismissed in so singular a focus which had consumed him. 

Twas when he came upon the very glade where they had made camp, the four of them awaiting the shifting of the winds, that he resolved to take his rest, for he did not wish to intrude upon Hraesvelgr as the hour grew late. Estinien stoked the flames of the fire pit which once bubbled merrily with Ysayle’s rustic trapper’s stew. He closed his eyes then, savoring the memory of it, and the long buried memories it evoked from deep within, his one-time enemy all unawares. It was a comfort to him, more than she could have ever known, and mayhap it was when his hardened heart began to soften toward her—aye, he was sure of it, as he stared into the dancing flames and remembered. How they bickered so upon that journey; he realized, too late perhaps, that they were but reflections of one another, each seeking justice in their own way, each stubborn to a fault. 

From there, mayhap it was inevitable that his mind would turn to the gunpowder-choked skies above Azys Lla, seemingly so far from this idyllic glade in the Churning Mists, and how his softened heart felt like leaden shot within an altogether too tight chest as she fell from those skies. How cold, implacable fear threatened to choke the very breath from him, that night, when he saw Gisele leap from the Enterprise Excelsior and thought her a besotted fool, for she was no dragoon, but a mage gliding entranced upon the Dreadwyrm’s ethereal wings to the broken woman’s rapidly descending form, and she inevitably faltered in the skies when even her own prodigious aether gave out. He ran to the starboard rail without a moment’s thought, barking orders to Master Garlond as though he were captain and not the famed Garlean engineer, and caught both women in his arms when the ship lowered into position. 

Somewhat in him changed that night, when he gazed down upon them, and Gisele frantically clung to Ysayle’s body upon the wooden deck, weeping until Mistress Rhul snapped her out of her hysterics, and they worked their healing arts in tandem. While they did, Estinien had reached Aymeric by linkpearl without being asked, knowing what must be done—even knowing the gravity of what he asked of him, the impossibility of it, but trusting that his Lord Commander would do what was right, and damn the consequences, as he always did. Swift and decisive, Estinien had always been; such as that terrible day at the Vault, when he spirited a near-mortally wounded Haurchefant to the care of the Hospitaliers with the swiftness and precision that only a master Dragoon could, leaping faster than any man could hope to run. It proved the difference, then, such decisive action. As it did over Azys Lla, for Ysayle and Gisele. He shuddered to think of how near a thing it had been, that he may have lost them both—as he nearly lost Haurchefant. He knew, of course, that death could come for them at any time; Estinien knew this all too well, and better than most. But against all odds, and his own protestations, had they each become dear to him in ways he could have scarcely imagined…ways he could scarcely acknowledge, still, for the thought of losing any of them made that fear return like naught else on life. Ferndale’s fear, ever lurking at the darkened corners of his mind, primordial and all consuming should he turn his inner eye to it. 

He could not lose a single soul more. 

Estinien was no man of faith, not like Aymeric or Haurchefant, but still he silently wished that Ysayle were well, left in the care of the Hospitaliers. Mayhap in leaving he would be spared the thought of what fate might await her, now that all the Holy See knew the notorious Lady Iceheart yet lived, and all because she ad Haurchefant soared upon Vidofnir’s back to swoop down and aid Gisele and Alphinaud in saving him from the Eyes. If she perished at the Inquisition’s hands, it would surely be yet more blood staining Estinien’s calloused hands, he supposed. But Gisele would stand surety for her beloved if the worst should come to pass, as Aymeric and Haurchefant surely would in their gratitude--and none amongst the Holy See would dare gainsay the Warrior of Light, she who liberated his homeland from a thousand years of suffering and fear and death. Not even the Tribunal. He prayed it would be enough. 

Upon these things, and so many others, did Estinien brood over long, until the sun began to sink lower upon the horizon, painting the sky with magnificent hues of amber, ochre, and violet, and the fire before him flickered lower with it. Twas then, as the shadows grew, that a familiar path made itself known. An old cutter’s trail, long overgrown and forgotten, but still there were traces of it beaten into the earth. In the shadows did he remember it, for it was one he followed away from the camp that night what seemed a lifetime ago, deeper into the copse of trees, to ruminate upon the unsettling truths made plain by those ancient ruins. There in the Churning Mists, where the long forgotten remnants of a bygone era towered into the very Sea of Clouds in majestic, crumbling spires and monuments of bleached stone surely fashioned by Elezen hands, Estinien could no longer could he dismiss Ysayle’s tales as the lies of a misguided heretic. No longer could he deny the truth she so fervently believed and preached to her followers, as little more than hollow justifications for treason from a woman who had turned upon her own people. 

Estinien had wandered away from her—from them all—to brood upon what it all meant, to make sense of the nonsensical, to reconcile the contradictions which tormented him and he could no longer ignore. Then, Gisele had followed him, as was her wont, and forced him in her maddening way to confront his feelings in more ways than one. They had lain with each other for the first time, for she would no longer be denied what was hers, what they both wanted in truth from the moment they first laid eyes upon one another in the Intercessory of Camp Dragonhead. That night, within this selfsame Dravanian grove, his fears no longer mattered to him, not with everything he had ever known put to the most dire doubts, with the warmth of Gisele’s warm body rocking against his own. Surely she must have known the insatiable hunger of an Ishgardian lover, having been Haurchefant’s mistress for weeks by then, but Estinien showed her the truest measure that night in the wilds of Dravania, when he poured months of repression and frustration upon her, and left her breathless and full of his pleasure. 

As he stared into the smoldering flames, he remembered it...all of it: the taste of honey sweet mead upon her tongue, the soft, lush curves of a voluptuous body made for sin, how it seemed fashioned by the Fury Herself to be worshiped by him. His powerful thighs spread, unbidden, and Estinien swooned a little, growing lightheaded as his racing blood rushed down through a body blooming with heat that had naught to do with the flames of the campfire before him. His hand drifted to his leather breeches, to the bulge straining hot and rigid against them, and he cupped himself hard as he thought of Gisele’s massive breasts and how soft and supple they were when he hefted them into his strong hands, how her dark nipples hardened between his lips and teeth. Would that he could suckle them again, the way her own pouting lips suckled his cock, he thought feverishly, and hardened yet still against his palm. Of a surety was he hard as stone with the memory of her mouth and how it milked him dry, to the last drop of seed, before he ravaged her cunt. She was hotter than wyrmfire and wet as a gushing river, and his cock twitched to recall it. 

Seeking a bit of needed respite, Estinien unbuckled his suddenly far too tight breeches, unraveling the laces, and made to turn down the band of his thick cotton smallclothes, only to discover his finger was caught in the fabric somehow. But when he tugged it free— 

Twas a claw. 

Estinien slowly unfurled the rest of his long, thick fingers, calloused from a lifetime of spear grip, and twas as his thumb: each and every one on both hands was crowned by a thick, curved black claw, curling at the tips of his fingers, where his nails should have been. He stared down at them with widening eyes, turning them over and back again in disbelief. But twas when he freed his straining cock that his eyes grew yet wider, and wild, for in the soft glow of the firelight did he chance to spy scales of the darkest obsidian hue, where once was flesh. He reached down with a trembling, tentative hand, fingering them with his full lips parted, his jaw tense as his mouth was agape at the sight of them: they were flat and overlapping, glistening a rainbow like dark oil slick, and smooth but for the thick ridges half an ilm or so apart. Estinien’s eyes narrowed as he palmed his new shaft in amazement, for while his enormous length and thick girth remained, it bore a curve it never had; aye, he was more a glaive now than a ranseur, and the blunt tip of his head had grown mildly thicker, though it was still pierced through by the gleaming mythrite ring. Estinien swallowed down the lump that formed in his throat, his mouth suddenly dry, but when he did, he chanced to brush against sharpened fangs where his canines and incisors once were, and at last swore a string of colorful Ishgardian sacres so darkly profane it would have sent him to Witchdrop in the old days on mere principle. 

By the Fury, what had become of him when that vengeful wyrm’s shade claimed his flesh? Twas most fortunate indeed he had chosen to leave Ishgard. For all he sued for peace with dragonkind, how could he ever deign to face Aymeric again this way? 

Pinning him face down and thrusting this scaled cock inside him til he screams for mercy I shall not give him.

But a single fleeting thought, and Estinien’s blood fair boiled in his veins, the sudden distress which seized him burned away by smoldering desire. Was he still as strong as he was, then? He had only felt the echo of it, as if in a faded painting, when he was as yet held prisoner within his own body. Estinien had honed his strength well over the years, but it was naught like unto that which suffused his well-muscled limbs when the wyrm’s shade did. Aye, t’would be simple enough to hold Aymeric down, to smother him with the weight of his body, spread him wide and ravish his cleft til he begged. Twas curiosity and hunger by turns that made Estinien spit into his hand, and guided it to slide down the rigid scales of his cock, his clawed fingers shamelessly stroking the dark, ribbed curve of his shaft as he idly wondered what those ridges might feel like when buried deep within Aymeric’s perfectly muscled ass. Who would feel the greater measure of pleasure as they stroked his inner walls?  

And what of Haurchefant? Strong as he was, Estinien would subdue him just as easily with his draconic strength, and cock hungry as Haurchefant was, he would care naught whether or not he was plowed by flesh or scales, so long as it was hard and fierce. Estinien’s clawed fingers gripped his scales tighter at the thought of how Haurchefant would writhe beneath him like the eager whore that he was, pleading to be fucked, taking his scaled cock deep, and Estinien pumped it in his clawed fist, licking his thick lips as it unfolded in his vision. 

His fevered mind, sick with desire, turned once more to Ysayle. Aye, Estinien had dreamed of Ysayle squirming beneath him before, though he never spoke of it in the waking, and buried the truth in the darkest corners of his mind, for it shamed him to think of her that way and he never permitted himself to do it consciously. But his blood ran too hot to care, now, and those illicit dreams were naught compared to the fantasies his fevered mind conjured as his scales grew yet stiffer within his firm grasp. She claimed it was true, that Saint Shiva had indeed lain with Hraesvelgr, that it was not merely propaganda meant to fill the faithful with fear and disgust toward the so-called Whore of Dravania that they might cling all the harder to the Church’s comforting arms, as Aymeric believed in the wake of her revelations. She’d seen it through the power of the Echo, as she had seen so many other forbidden truths. And Ysayle had believed herself the saint reborn, till the great wyrm himself shattered her delusions of grandeur with the gravest indifference not yalms from where he sat this night. She’d called him “beloved”, even.  

Estinien wondered then just how far her so-called heresy went. Did Ysayle yearn to fuck dragons, as her goddess had? To feel claws scratching down her spine as she was mounted by a scaled cock like unto the one he stroked so licentiously? Estinien bit back a soft moan as the scales grew yet more rigid in his grasp, and he twisted his clawed hand up and down the black, ribbed shaft, desperate for friction. Did she soak her pantalettes to think of it? He wondered if her cunt burned as hot as Gisele’s, and how it would feel to sheathe his hard scales inside her. Or would she ride him, grinding down upon it with all she was, taking him in desperate hunger? Would she beg for release, as Gisele did? 

His breath hitched, and it grew heavy and labored with the quickened pace of his clawed hand; he leaned back, sinking upon his bedroll to rest his head upon the rolled up blanket which served as his pillow, and sprawled out with his thick and strapping thighs spread wide, stroking his scales yet more feverishly at the thought of Gisele again, the woman who had consumed his every waking thought not devoted to the destruction of Nidhogg from the day he first knew her. And his blood sang still, racing hot as ever for her. How flushed would her dark skin grow to see him this way? Would she still beg him to fill her with his cock, were it scaled? Then again, if any might crave a scaled cock inside them, it would be his Warrior of Light, she who craved so much and without a solitary onze of shame, he thought with a lascivious smile. How might it feel, he mused as he stroked himself feverishly, should he rub his hard scales between her luscious breasts, till he sprayed her neck and face with his seed? Estinien’s hips rose up of their own volition, thrusting up into his clawed hand as it furiously jerked up and down his scaled cock. He had never been so hard, so desperate for release in his life. By turns he entertained increasingly depraved visions of losing himself to draconic fury and fucking each of the ones he wanted most, bestial and primal, and snarled, clamping fangs down upon his lip, until milky drops emerged from the tip—far more than the seed pearl’s worth that was customary, but he was nowhere near climaxing. Estinien twisted his hand upon it, smearing it across his ridges for more slip as he stroked himself, but then curiosity’s sake drove him to circle a claw around said ridges, wondering what sensation it might evoke. 

A low growl strangled within his throat, and a bolt of pleasure shot up his cock, up the whole of his spine as though he were struck by a thamaturge’s lightning. Then, he was not so cautious as he held his curved shaft in a vice grip, and deliberately ran his claws up and down the scales as his hand yanked and pulled, smeared with the faintest hint of his own seed. He was close, so deliciously close, his ass risen up off the bedroll as he thrust up into his own hand. Aye, so close he could taste it... 

Until the winds shifted, that is, carrying the floral scent of roses upon the gentle twilight breeze, to fill his heightened senses. Estinien’s heart nearly stopped, he collapsed hard back onto the bedroll, and with trembling hands did he fumble with the laces of his breeches, tangling them in his newfound claws in his haste, and glanced up with urgency at the direction from which he detected that all too familiar scent. Outside the haze of bestial lust, the coolness of the night breeze, it was another matter entirely to be seen this way, as somewhat other than Elezen, as— 

“I knew it was you.” 

Her deep bronze skin gleamed in the firelight as she stepped forward from the shadows, crossing the distance to the fire even as Estinien retreated deeper into the shadows. His vision was clear, in the night; hers was not, and he prayed that there were as yet enough shadow to conceal his…deformity. 

“What on earth are you doing out here?” Estinien demanded, though perhaps more accusatory than he intended, and he winced as soon as he heard it leave his fanged mouth. 

She tilted her head at him, a single hand placed upon her hip.  

“I returned Hraesvelgr’s Eye to him,” Gisele began softly, “and his sire wished to speak with him anon. They take counsel as we speak, he and Midgardsomr, and I left them to reminisce of days past. I intended to press upon the hospitality of our mischievous little friends at Moghome, but it grew late, and I spied the fire in the distance. But if I am not welcome, then I shall take my leave after all—”   

“No!” Estinien growled, nearly choking upon the word. “Please.” 

Gisele nodded, then took but a single step forward, to circle around the campfire, sashaying toward him with that signature swivel of her hips. 

“Don’t come any closer,” Estinien warned.  

Exasperated, Gisele placed both hands upon her hips, shaking her head to set the glinting gold which dangled from her pointed ears to shake in kind. “Merde, man! Do you wish me to stay, or to go? By the Fury, you truly are worse than a cat…”  

Estinien was silent, helpless to respond. The whole of his body trembled beneath the weight of her stare, and his heart beat swiftly within his ears. His arousal had not ceased by any means, despite his fear. His very thoughts were clouded by it, still, as his eyes were transfixed upon her décolletage, and the plunging neckline of her bodice, then traced the curve of her wide hips, down her pleated and typically short skirt and the thick thighs beneath them. Such yearning was like a fever in his very blood, but beyond that, he longed for the simple comfort of her embrace, of her soft body against his own. And Estinien had never known Gisele to pass a word of judgment, for she was the most generous and compassionate person he had ever met. Did she not fall in love with him in the first place, despite his utter lack of social graces?  

Still, he could not—she could not see him this way, he was— 

Undaunted by his silence, Gisele continued to cross the distance between them, despite his protestations, and loomed over him a long moment in the darkest shadows nearest the fire. “His aether yet lingers within you, does it not?” she asked, when at last she gingerly crouched down beside him, upon the blankets. 

Estinien blinked. “How did you know?” 

Gisele chuckled softly. “Oh, Estinien. Have you forgotten my mastery of the arcane arts? I have always been sensitive to the flows of aether, perceiving them in all their subtleties…I need no Sharlayan device to do so. And I sensed it within the infirmary, even before you awakened,” she said. 

He swallowed hard, and nodded, but his words choked within his throat, as he struggled in vain to consider how he might explain just what that lingering aether had done to him, and how he feared it. 

Of a surety, he did not have to, for Gisele reached down to gently take his carefully concealed hands into her own, lightly stroking his claws by turns with her thumbs. She could never leave well enough alone, where he was concerned, and never had. Estinien would have had to meet his match in sheer stubbornness, but he suspected he was even bested in it. Still, there was naught for it now. 

“Is this why you left?” Gisele asked quietly. 

“Aye,” he said, with a gravelly, defeated sigh. “Among other reasons.” 

She withdrew her hands from his, then, to gently cradle his sweat-damp face within them. The tenderness of her touch, so unspeakably soft and warm, was something against which Estinien had utterly no defense, no manner of armor or paling; he crumbled within it, as he always had. He sank into her hands, nuzzling them with his cheek, her touch ever a balm upon his weary soul. His senses thus heightened, the warm, floral scent of roses which clung always to her skin bloomed with a heady intensity, and it too was a comfort to him in ways he could scarce describe. The fear that choked his heart seemed to melt away, and he inhaled deeply of her scent. 

“I do not fear you, Estinien,” Gisele assured him, her thumbs stroking the line of his jaw. “And there is naught that could ever cause me to do so. There is naught on life that could ever turn me from you, or cast you from my heart—you have dwelled there from the moment we met, of a surety. I trust you with my heart, my soul, every onze of me. I only ask that you so trust me in return.” 

Estinien glanced up sharply at her. “I do so trust you, with all that I am. But I no longer trust myself,” he said, with characteristic bluntness.  

“Why?” 

“Because I no longer know myself,” he replied. “My lady, tis more than claws I grow when my blood becomes fevered, when my thoughts turn hot with anger--or aught else.” 

“Aught else…?” 

Gisele lowered her violet eyes, then, perhaps inevitably to his still unlaced breeches, and they widened and grew a bit dazed. Her hand reached down from his cheek, to lightly touch the hollow of her throat, and her breath hitched imperceptibly as the fullness of her succulent lips parted in a tiny gasp. But it was not a single onze of fear Estinien sensed in her faltering breath; warmth poured from her body in waves, and she swallowed hard, fingers spreading across her décolletage with a mild tremor. Her other hand, she withdrew from his cheek, and lowered upon the curve of his shaft—boldly curious, with none of the tentativeness he himself felt when first he noted his affliction. And Estinien choked back a moan at the sensation of her bold hand stroking the scales of his cock, swirling a single red lacquered fingernail about one of the ridges, for the jolt of pleasure it sparked down its length made him gasp and nearly choke upon his own tongue.  

Gisele,” he did moan then, biting down his lower lip with one of his fangs.  

Estinien,” she breathed, as her fingers curled about his ridges, gripping him firmly. “Did you fear this?” 

“I fear what I have become,” he hissed low and soft, through clenched teeth, grinding his fangs even as his chin trembled, and his throat swelled with thickness. The warmth of her hand as it caressed his scaled shaft drove his heart to thundering, his pulse quickened to beat in his pointed ears, and as he inhaled a ragged breath, the scent of her desire bloomed musky and hot to fill his senses. His claws pierced the blankets, ripping the karakul fleece as his fists clenched upon the soft fabric and he desperately tried to temper the searing heat of the blood burning in his veins. 

“Why?” Gisele whispered, and leaned forward, pressing her soft body against him as her hand idly slid up and down his scaled cock.  

“I cannot lose control,” Estinien snarled, even as he bit back yet another moan, choked within his throat. 

Gisele’s hand tightened, into a vice grip upon him, and her teasing caresses turned firmer, more insistent with every stroke of his scales. “Don’t you wish to, love? Were you not pleasuring yourself before I arrived?” 

Helpless within the hot grasp of her stroking hand, Estinien grew lightheaded, his breath heavy and labored, and he leaned into her, desperate for friction, rolling his hips upward that he might thrust harder against her hand. “Aye,” he confessed, as he grinded against her hand. 

“Did you think I would flinch from a scaled cock? From sharp claws and fangs? I, who crave the kiss of the lash?” Gisele breathed into his ear, even as her fist twisted up and down his ribbed shaft, her thumb fingering the mythrite bead of his Prince Haldrath ring, pressing it against his scaly tip. His feeble protests seemed so distant and nonsensical then, when measured against this manner of pleasure. She loved being punished, did she not? 

“Crave this, do you?” Estinien growled, pumping her fist with a snarl. 

Gisele pressed tightly against him, slipping her hot tongue between his lips near to the back of his throat, and it was then he at last surrendered to his burning need, for the sweet taste of her upon his own hot tongue, writhing hard against hers, opened a veritable floodgate inside him. He tore his mouth from hers only to hungrily kiss his way down the length of her neck, grazing trails with the sharp points of his fangs, and nipped at her hot, dark skin. He clamped down hard upon it, but not so hard to pierce, as his hands clawed down her back, ripping the back of her blouse, then clawed around her waist. He dragged a single hand down the front of her bodice, slicing it open with his sharp claws--the black brassiere with it--to reveal her buxom chest. He squeezed it hard, hunching down to tease her nipples with his claws before hungrily sucking them between his lips by turns, till they hardened upon his firm tongue, tugging at the ever present golden hoops which pierced them with his fangs. She leaned into his mouth, arcing her back with a wanton moan that served to stoke the smoldering flames within him that much more. He kissed his way back up to her neck. 

“Your word,” Estinien grunted, into the hollow of her throat, all while he humped her hand. “Tis Mythal, still?” 

“Yes,” Gisele moaned, her voice soft and quivering with need. 

“Scream it if you must. And pray this fever in my blood shall heed it.” 

Estinien pulled away from her only to shoved her face down against the blankets, flat on her stomach and roughly yanked her up onto her knees; she spread her thighs wide in invitation, her voluptuous ass prone. His trembling hands slid up the back of her skirt, hoisting it up her thick thighs, and with a single claw fingered the thin layer of sodden lace between him and what he so desperately craved. With but a flicking swipe did he slice the delicate pantalettes free, tearing them from her body and discarding them in one swift motion, before teasing her slick folds open with his talons to reveal her aching hole, and the swollen pearl he caught between his fingers, lowering his mouth open it to lick her from behind, his fangs ghosting across her nether lips. He lashed it with his tongue until her knees wavered, and she mewled and simpered wordlessly begging for yet more.

Artlessly, without grace and only with primordial need, did Estinien pierce her deep with his scaled cock, burying the whole of it inside her til he was sheathed to the rigid hilt, and with the greatest of ease--so deep was her hunger for him. He groaned as his body trembled with pleasure, his cock engulfed by her quivering walls, so slick and burning upon his scales that his cock pulsed against them. His clawed hands gripped her waist tightly, talons digging into her flesh, and he slowly withdrew from her, ilm by scaled ilm, only to roughly pull her back against him, and he thrusted up with his curved shaft deep inside her, causing her to cry out wordlessly. Again and again he pounded her in a ferocious rhythm, the night breeze kissing his sweat-soaked skin, but noted naught of the forest around them, for the whole of his world then was Gisele’s throbbing cunt, wet as the sea and aye, hotter than wyrmfire, and all he longed for was to pump her full of his hot seed.

Of a surety was she hotter than he had ever been, and his feral snarls as he pounded her only seemed a goad to her pleasure; no matter how bestial he became, growling low and dark as he fucked her, Gisele grew hotter and wetter, grinding back onto his scaled cock in wanton abandon, taking his punishing thrusts eagerly. He gripped her all the tighter, digging his claws into her hips, drawing the faintest hint of blood as he scratched her, her thick cheeks quivering as his rippling thigh muscles slammed into them. Estinien hunched down over her back, spreading them wide, and snatched up her arms by the wrists, pulling them over her head and pinning her to the blankets as he savagely thrust his scaled cock into her without mercy, pounding her hard and fast, her cries of pleasure sweeter than any dragonsong. He snarled, claws digging into her wrists as he ravaged her, tension and friction building deliciously through the whole of his ribbed shaft, until at last the whole of his body tensed and he threw his head back with a long and ragged groan from deep within, gushing a hot, never-ending torrent inside her as he unraveled. 

But even as he panted, still inside her, Estinien was still inexplicably hard as stone. When he withdrew from her, the black scales of his curved shaft dripped with seed, coating his mythrite piercing; indeed, twas the only evidence he had climaxed, for all the pleasure that washed over him when he shot inside her. 

Estinien pushed her down, roughly manhandling her onto her back, and Gisele stared up at him, dazed and shamelessly rubbing her pearl with her thighs spread wide, even as his seed dripped down them.

When she spoke to him, with a breathless voice fair choked by lust, it was in the tongue of dragons. “Fill me, my lord. Use me for your pleasure,” she breathed, delirious with need, and it burned all other thoughts from his fevered mind. 

Estinien straddled her face, prying open her panting mouth with his claws before shoving his enormous, scaled cock between full and luscious lips, smeared with carmine. And Gisele moaned like she never had, licking her own juices from the glistening black scales of his cock, her hands clutching at the waist of his leather pants to pull them down. She gripped his muscular ass like a vice, as he thrust hard and deep, to the back of her raw throat, till he grunted and shot a second time down it, staining her lips white. Yet still, it was not enough to sate him. He lunged forward, forcing her legs over his shoulders, half folding her as he hunched down and drew his arms beneath her back, clutching her shoulder with his claws, and thrust his scales deep inside her pussy again, jerking upward with his hips as his fangs found her throat, biting down hard enough to draw pricks of blood that time. Estinien lost himself in it, in her, so much so that he lost count of how many times she clung to him crying out in ecstasy, his enflamed body driven by raw, primal need, relentlessly grinding into her with wild, untamed thrusts. 

But then Gisele screamed into the night sky, her eyes clamped hard, the whole of her body shaking uncontrollably, and her inner walls clamped down hard about him with her climax; she soaked the blankets beneath them both, but Estinien was implacable, and pulled out from her only to pierce the puckered entrance beneath it, and roughly shoved his scaled cock—still slick with her juices—between her thick cheeks, thrusting hard and deep. Her breath was stolen at last and she was reduced to whimpering as he fucked her up the ass, tight and hot and straining with the girth of his scaled shaft. And as he did, he reached down with a clawed finger, rubbing her slick nub in firm circles in time to his thrusting. He could not tear his eyes from her, either, for she was deliriously panting with her mouth agape, lips stained with his seed, and it only goaded him to fuck her harder, rutting into her like the beast he was. At last, after a glorious age of fucking her raw, Estinien snarled and reared back roaring a final time, pumping her ass full of his pleasure in a final gushing torrent. 

When he withdrew from her, finally sated, his seed dripped trails down her thighs, from both entrances, in milky white rivulets against her gleaming dark skin. He had never climaxed like that before--so many times, so quickly, so much—and it startled him to see the extent of it. Not least of which because Gisele lay limp and still upon the blankets, her body pushed to its limits. Estinien gathered her up into his arms, holding her tightly against him, whispering endearments to her as he stroked her disheveled white curls again and again, soothing her as best he could, planting tiny kisses upon her sweat-soaked brow. Whatever consumed him, he felt purged of it, and he longed to give her the same manner of comfort. She clung to him, as they lay down together.

“Are you well, love?” Estinien asked her softly, still stroking her curls.

“I shall be, after a night’s rest. But it was worth it,” Gisele replied, nuzzling her nose against his neck.

It was then he noted the fingers which coiled within her curls no longer bore claws; a glance downward, to his groin, confirmed there was naught but the familiar jewelry piercing a decidedly Elezen cock, limp and sated. He sighed in relief, and yet..some small part of him grieved it, inexplicably. But he was far too tired to question or even consider it, after such exertion, and exhaustion would claim them both sooner rather than later.

Thus entangled in each other’s arms, they drifted off to sleep, to the sound of their labored breaths not long after. 

When Estinien awakened some few hours later, shortly before the first steely light of dawn pierced the clouds of the Churning Mists, the whole of his body was trembling and soaked with sweat, mind still racing with the memory of what transpired. He turned over upon his bedroll, then, to see Gisele slumbering beside him, her lush body rent by claw marks. She healed quickly, she always insisted, for it was a quirk of her gift from the Mothercrystal. Still, he swallowed hard at the sight of scratches lacing her bare back, even as it set his blood flowing south. He shuddered then, and gently disentangled himself from her arms, to find the bubbling stream nearby and bathe.

Mayhap it was not so terrible a thing, in truth, to be so cursed, he thought, for he could not deny how thoroughly he enjoyed surrendering to the dragon within, even if it still mildly terrified him. Still, for all the pleasure the night brought him in his explorations, Estinien needed to learn himself anew, to find the balance between Elezen and the dragon slumbering within; that place where Nidhogg ended and Estinien began. For he shuddered to think of what might happen if he could not. Nidhogg’s demise did not bring with it any measure of peace, only yet more questions, yet more uncertainty regarding what should become of him. 

What might become of Gisele, and Aymeric, and Haurchefant should he not find the answer haunted Estinien yet more than any pain, even the pain of leaving his warm beloved upon the bedroll. He would slip away quietly, aye, and though it would grieve her, he would not bear her tears, or drown in the guilt that came with knowing he had caused them. 

Mayhap he was every onze the coward Nidhogg once claimed he was, when the shade taunted him as he was locked away in the vaults of his own mind. 

It mattered not, in the end. Estinien dressed himself once more, gazing out into the distance as he slipped his boots back on, staring at the enormous structure in the shape of enfolded wings that marked Hraesvelgr’s roost. If there were answers, it was the one place on life he thought he might find them.

He turned then, crouching back upon the bedroll, and stroked Gisele’s hair a final time. “I love you, my sorceress of light. I shall return, someday,” Estinien whispered softly, kissing her slumbering brow, before rising back to his feet, and venturing forth to meet his destiny.