(Author's note: Warning for violence and disturbing imagery. Reader discretion advised.)
Carcarak laired in the open-roofed, pillared throne room of Lord Revonos, a zealous and fanatical guard to his master's seat of power. His chain, half-phantom though it was, rasped across the red sandstone floor like whispered doom. He prowled like a viper seeking prey. Where he stalked, damned souls and hellcreatures alike fled, in terror of the living cataclysm. The lucky ones felt only his icy breath. The unlucky, or the foolish, were enveloped in a wrathful whirlwind of shredding fangs and rending claws second only in destructiveness to the fury of Lord Revonos himself. True, they would eventually regenerate- the oblivion of unconsciousness was far too easy an escape to be allowed in the Sixth Hell- but the Lord of Rage often found himself amused by how many and how widely scattered were the pieces from which Carcarak's victims had to renew themselves.
Not that the Beast of Revonos was doing much stalking or rending at the moment. His master's latest experiments in magical enhancement had not only ripped the war wolf open while holding him fully conscious, but the rat's-nest tangle of prototype magics had literally twisted him inside out in a fountain of blood and splintering bone. Regeneration had only repeated the experience. Lord Revonos had finally had to skin the beast completely out of his pelt to remove the malfunctioning enchantments and start over from scratch. This involved shaving and re-tattooing nearly every square inch of the beast's hide, and not a single one of those enchantments included a resistance to pain. Endurance was to be earned, never gifted.
At least he had gotten a brand new, gleaming white pelt out of the bargain once it regenerated. Given his well-earned reputation among the denizens of the Sixth Hell, and his known penchant for a volcanic ill temper after his master's "treatment sessions", the horse-sized dire wolf stood a fair chance of keeping it white for a whole hour before some denizen of hell worked up the nerve to test the Beast's newest "gifts".
That chance died a quick death when Suspira, daedra goddess of lust, arrived with a hellhound bitch in tow. "Oh, cousin!" she called. Carcarak's keen ears locked onto the intruders' location in an instant, nose twitching, but he kept his eyes shut. They hurt, too, and he didn't need them to track her. The scent of leather and cinnamon was more than enough. Mmmmm...
Suspira smiled, admiring the lustrous coat she'd first set her covetous eyes on back at the Celestial Court. "Oh, that definitely wants breeding," she purred, then called again, quieter and with a devious twinkle in her eye. "Oh, cousin! Lover!" Quieter still, "Are you here?" She listened, her smile twisting into a smirking grin as she eyed the war wolf. "Looks like it's just you and me and this lovely bitch here," she crooned, her voice sliding like satin into Carcarak's ears and brain. "Such a poor, poor beast, all chained up and deprived. Don't you think he looks deprived, dear Jazelle?" She stroked the hellhound by her side, caressing its head between the ears, and the creature shivered as a short, eager whine jerked from its throat. "I knew you'd agree," Suspira purred. "Sure, he's a little big, but I'm positive you'll manage." She reached out slowly, savoring the moment, taunting the mortal beast with the inevitability of her plans. "Revonos isn't here at the moment, toy, so that makes you mine. Do what I want, and it might even be pleasurable." Her fingertip brushed an ear.
In the time it took Suspira to blink, her hellhound bitch exploded in a spray of blood and gore. Its severed head bounced away into the shadows, ripped out at the spine, pieces of shattered rib still attached to a few of the vertebrae. As Suspira recoiled in shock, a heavy weight slammed down on her back from behind. Massive, white-furred forepaws latched around her waist, pulling backward, and bloodied jaws closed hard on her neck.
That was as far as Carcarak got. Suspira teleported and rematerialized halfway across the room, her flame red hair disheveled and her eyes sparking with fury. Far more angry about being balked than either the attempted rape or the beheading of her prize hellhoud, she snarled, "You insolent whelp! You dare defy me?" Her whip leaped from her belt to her hand as if of its own will, and the goddess lashed at the beast with its bladed tip, aiming squarely for those glowing golden eyes. "Know your place!"
Carcarak sidestepped, open jaws tracking and then snapping shut on the whip-blade. With an audible crackle, rime ice coated the blade, and Suspira had a moment for an incredulous gape- he bit and held the blade of the weapon of a god and didn't lose his face?!- before the beast planted his feet and heaved.
Even in her surprise, Suspira was too experienced to fall for such a trick. Using the beast's own strength against him, she flipped over his head and landed on his other side with a clack of her sharp-heeled leather boots. "You're in need of some discipline!" With a flick of her wrist, the whip coiled, snakelike, an anaconda trying to wrap itself around Carcarak's neck and throttle him. "I'll teach you to behave!"
Only the thick coating of ice spreading up the whip baffled the attempt, and Carcarak hastily dropped the blade as Suspira sent hellfire slashing down the weapon's length. The ice exploded in a spray of razor-edged fragments, a shrapnel bomb that scored deep, bloody wounds into Carcarak's face and limbs. The war wolf ignored the cuts and charged, blitzing past Suspira in a blur of magically augmented speed. Teeth flashed.
Though she dodged, Suspira still felt a tug on her right thigh at the hamstring, and immediately teleported away. Reappearing out of reach atop one of the roofless pillars, her mouth opened in an 'o' of astonishment as her hand felt a chunk missing from her prized leather boots. She watched as, below, Carcarak chewed with brazen relish, licking his chops for more. "You hit me," she breathed in disbelief, transposing in an instant into delight as battle fire lit in her eyes. "You actually hit me!" Where could he possibly have gotten the speed and strength to- Suspira broke out in a laugh of admiration as realization finally dawned. "Revonos, you sneaky devil... You're not a toy- you're a weapon!"
Carcarak wagged his tail. Once. His golden eyes scanned over her and the pillar she stood on, his body tense for action.
"Oh, you really think you're that good, to take on a god? You still want to play, do you?" Suspira purred, finally deigning to take a measure of this surprising little upstart. Her smile deepened into a malicious grin as her whip uncoiled, hellfire coursing down its length like water. There would be no more whip-grabbing tricks. "I'll be happy to oblige. What shall I cut first?"
Carcarak dodged between the two pillars at the far end of the line from the one on which Suspira stood, just outracing a slash of the whip and a sheet of fire. Immediately, he started blasting the base of the closer column with his icy breath, and the two elemental extremes warred with each other with the steaming fury of raging dragons. Another sheet of flame boxed him in, trapping him between the two pillars, but he ignored it. The fires were not his target, and he continued to pour ice as cold as the frozen halls of Oblineth against the blood-red stone.
"Hiding won't help you!" Suspira taunted over the war of fire and ice. Her whip curved around the pillar like a living being and laid open Carcarak's ribcage to the bone. Though he wasn't sure his idea would work, the beast knew he was out of time. He leaped against the pillar, adamantite-coated claws digging deep into the stone. Then, with a twist and a lunge, he leaped across to the pillar behind him, hooking tight in a shower of pulverized rock, then rebounded back to the first higher than he'd been before. In this manner, he climbed upwards, each bound putting more and more pressure on the frozen base of the column. The whip cracked below him, where Suspira assumed he still cowered. A much louder crack echoed back as Carcarak slammed against the top of the pillar and, heated by fire and frozen by ice, snapped it off at the base. It started to fall, smashing into the next pillar in line with a thunderous BOOM! Like gigantic dominos, the pillars toppled one after the other, shaking the palace like the tread of a wrathful Titan. BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
Suspira gaped as the far columns began to rock, then crack, then topple toward her. "What are you- How did you- Aagh!" She leaped just ahead of the final collision, backflipping away from the collapsing catastrophe. Pulverized red sandstone rose in a choking cloud around her. Amidst the chaos, she spotted Carcarak falling, legs flailing as the column he'd been riding down cracked apart unexpectedly beneath him. No more underestimating this beast, she swore. Playtime is over. Her whip cracked twice, and two blooms of crimson stained the fur of Carcarak's chest just below the shoulders. He hit the ground in a crashing sprawl, floundering as severed muscle refused to support him.
Suspira landed neatly on her feet, whip coiling again for a strike, but she saw it wouldn't be needed. Stalking over to the downed beast, she pinned its neck under her foot, her heel grinding into its spine. "Those were my favorite boots, you wretch," she snarled, her hand shaping into hooked dragon's talons. "I'll have your eyes for ruining them." The beast shut its eyes and whimpered, ears and tail pinning down in submission, but she allowed it no mercy.
An iron grip seized her wrist from behind, wrapped in an ornately wrought black steel gauntlet. "That's enough," Lord Revonos commanded, his dark hair falling across his eyes in the disarray of a hasty arrival. "I've put too much work into that beast for you to go ripping him up... unpaid-for."
Suspira spun within his grip with the easy suppleness of a dancer, her mood reversing with equal facility. "Why, hello, lover. I was just looking for you!"
Revonos snorted. "Sure you were," he scowled. "Here's a hint: I'm not inside the dog."
Suspira laughed, a trilling, musical chortle. "So clever!" But her smile slid slowly down into a hurt little moue when she saw her charm bouncing ineffectively off of Revonos' stony frown. "Oh, don't be like that," she pouted. "Of course I was looking for you! I just... saw a chance for a little fun while I waited. Don't hold that against me!" Closing the distance between them and tickling her fingers under his stubble-laden chin, Suspira flashed a suggestive smirk. "Not when there are so many other more interesting things to hold instead..."
"I'm not lowering the stud fee."
"Forget the stud fee," Suspira retorted, twisting her hand free of his grip so she could grab him by the armor with both and pull him down for a hard, hungry kiss. "That was one of the best challenges I've had in a century. I feel fantastic. You, me, bedroom, now."
Carcarak stayed exactly where he lay, knowing what was coming eventually. He didn't have to wait long. A steel boot slammed into his injured side, smashing two ribs, and he took it without complaint as his due.
"What was that for?" Suspira protested, more in surprise than in any faint glimmer of compassion.
"Whimpering. You beg to me, dog. No one else."
Carcarak's eyes snapped open as Suspira sat down in his master's throne. In spite of crippled forelegs and broken ribs, he lurched upright with an outraged roar. Hackles rose all the way down his spine, teeth bared to their roots, and claws dug into the floor in perfect wrath. How dare she! How dare she!!
Revonos reacted just as quickly and just as furiously. "Hey! Get out of my chair!"
"Oh, relax. I'll only be a moment." Suspira leaned down, not-so-accidentally flashing both males with a deep view of her cleavage, and started peeling off her damaged boot. Flaunting perfectly sculpted legs, she slipped off her left boot as well and tossed the pair to Carcarak. To Revonos' and Carcarak's astonished stares, she replied, "They're ruined, and he's earned them, if he can keep them. I certainly can't regenerate them."
"Why not?" Revonos asked as his war wolf warily drew the boots close, investigating them with his nose as one might probe a nest of hornets.
Suspira rose and offered Revonos her arm. She smirked. "They're deva leather."
Multitudes of hungry eyes opened in the shadows, coveting the boon, while Revonos broke out in raucous laughter. "You skinned an aedra servant and made her into boots? Ha! What'd you do with the wings?" he asked as he led Suspira off.
The sound of stampede heralded their exit from the throne room.
Sometime later, rumpled and disheveled but satiated, Suspira and Revonos returned... to find the throne room nearly buried in frozen, shattered, mangled, disemboweled, dismembered, and decapitated bodies. On top of it all, still crippled and dripping blood and gore from every hair, reposed the Beast of Revonos triumphant. Very little of that blood was his own. The war wolf bowed his head to his lord, tipping it slightly to display the blackened Mark of Akkala, before returning his attention to savoring another bite from the unmolested boots between his forepaws.
Revonos laughed and clapped his hands with unmistakable pride. "That's my boy."
Suspira gaped in disbelief, first at Revonos, then at the Beast. What was going on here? No mortal had that kind of strength, speed, and endurance! Then a memory sprang to mind, ancient even for her, and she whirled on the Lord of Rage with wide, astonished eyes. In her shock, her usual guile deserted her for a moment, and the realization slipped past her lips before she could contain it. "I don't believe it! He's not a weapon, he's a-"
Revonos' hand clamped over her mouth, hand tightening in warning when she started to teleport. All mirth vanished from his face as he glared into her eyes. "Not one word. Not even one. You do not want to cross me on this." Suspira shook her head slightly, all the movement that Revonos allowed, and he let her go. "Good."
Suspira rubbed her cheek, feeling a bruise trying to form, and she magicked it away before it could mar her perfect face. "I wouldn't dream of it," she finally purred once she'd gotten her control back, "but I want something in exchange."
Revonos fingered the dagger at his side, black eyes narrowed. "What?"
"If you win-"
"When I win."
"Of course. When you win, I want that beast chained up in the kennels for a whole year of studding. I expect to be buried in white-furred hellhounds."
"You know that still won't work."
Suspira scoffed. "Do you think I came here with my prize hellhound bitch if I didn't know how to make it work? The enchantments were in place the moment I touched him, and if you're doing what I think you are, they've already sunken in permanently. He'll be a viable stud all right. I guarantee it. So... deal?"
Carcarak's jaws worked slowly, savoring the taste of aedra flesh, while inside his mind a fading light dimmed just a little bit further.