City Life 

by Strega
Story Copyright (C) By: Strega
 2002 - All rights reserved.

Story not to be reprinted, or redistributed, 
without author's Permission.

If you wish to use the stories, or 
anything copyright by me, please e-mail me.
I'll also forward any mail to the author.


City Life
By Strega
Dec 11, 2002

"Are you asking if I've ever been eaten? Well, it has happened a few times."

The black-furred falaness was stretched out on a polar-bear rug that'd been a gift from a dear friend. His own pelt, removed and padded so to serve as her bed. Not some gruesome trophy but a gift, and her favorite sleeping-spot.

She had many things that could be considered 'trophies' -- woven-fur hangings, the mass of dragon scales formed into a huge beanbag, mounted antlers, horns and beaks, and of course the shelves full of jars, each labeled with a different name and containing some number of regurgitated and carefully cleaned furballs. But she only had only one bed-pelt.

Her muzzle rested on a pink-padded forepaw, and her eyelids drooped over eyes black as wet obsidian. She was clearly vain enough to like the contrast between her dark fur and the yellowish white pelt. Her own white stripes broke up the image of sleek blackness; from a certain angle her stripes seemed to connect to her bed, turning her into a jigsaw.

Her guest spoke after a moment, and she tilted her head a bit to the side.

"Hunted? I think you mean have I ever been chased down, grabbed, and eaten against my will? Not really. There was one time when I feigned resistance, though. Would you like to hear about that? I haven't much variety to offer -- only two people have actually eaten me, before I realized how much it bothered me afterward."

Her whiskers flicked up and down unconsciously between smile and frown as she pondered this thought: It bothered her that she couldn't bring herself to let others eat her as she ate them. It seemed unfair, somehow.

It also occurred to her that to someone unfamiliar with the places she frequented and the people she knew her statement would have been incredibly funny.

Her guest seemed disappointed, and her whiskers went back neutral. "But there have been times when I was hunted, and things happened against my will. Most of them wouldn't interest you, but there was one time…."


Strega padded along the edge of the street, staying on the wooden sidewalks. Even here there was the occasional mess: mud, spilled food or drink or the final product of food, but it was nothing like the flagstones below, where the cart-animals left their droppings. Here she could avoid the worst as she threaded her way through the crowd.

Emerging from a building's shadow, she paused to look up. To the left past a bell tower was a cliff wall with several great slashes through the rocks. These artificial half-caverns had expensive homes built there: Building space was at a premium in the narrow valley that held the city. To the right was the central plateau with the massive fortifications of Lord Grey's castle. Around her was the city proper. Two- and three-story homes; businesses; warehouses; city guard towers; whitewashed and redbrick buildings and gray stone ones too; buildings with half-exposed timbers and bright tile roofs.

Ahead, filling the square and spilling down the side streets was a market of bright tents and shouting vendors. Brighter clothes flashed; linens, dyed silks, delicate elven weaves. There was the clutter of hundreds of bodies and faces as varied as the clothes. Just past the square was the street she wanted, and she padded forward, stepping to the side to make room for a team of ponderous ogres engaged in hefting a yard-thick log down the road.

The smells were as assaulting as the sights. Two weeks here and she still wasn't used to them. Mud and mould, dung old and new (though mostly new, as the kobold street sweepers were admirably quick about removing it), spices, traces of blood and decay, the reek of the sewers coming up from the storm drains, sweat from a dozen species. This plus food of so many types that even if it all appealed to her she doubted she could sample it all in a year.

Her belly rumbled eagerly, and she licked her whitefurred chops as she anticipated her coming meal. It would, unfortunately, be less tasty than most of what was offered here -- her sense of taste was so weak that only such strongly flavored things as the vendors offered surpassed the bland.

But the meal promised to have an entertainment value beyond its flavor. And it would probably agree with her more than the vendor's wares.

As always she was astonished at how little attention she attracted. Her harness glittered with the favors of two noble houses, telling all who knew what to look for that she was not to be trifled with. But she was not so much avoided by the passersby as simply ignored, and that was the surprise.

She looked like nothing so much as a sleek, tiger-sized and mostly black weasel with two extra legs; her steps were a delicate dance of all six paws, carrying her along at a tireless if moderate pace. Her fangs were sharp and her many claws clicked on the stones and wood. Yet people would give her one incurious look and then go back to talking. She'd have to push past, often getting a knee in the ribs for her trouble. For her part, her low-slung body and many paws made it easy to 'accidentally' trip the more obstinate of them.

In a city where dragons and giants and other strangenesses came and went, a falaness was nothing special. At least, that was her theory.

Making her way past a group of irate-looking dwarves (in her experience, there was no other kind) and a priest with a solar disk atop his head, she paused to sniff again. So many people, so many types of people! It was stunning. She'd never seen more than a hundred people at one time before coming to this world, and of course they had all been falan. Her clan was one of the larger ones, but scarcity of prey compelled falan to live spread out. And then she'd come here, to see this unfathomable mob.

The crowd parted ahead, leaving someone more room than she was ever granted, and two high officials of the city guard came down the walk. Two of the odder ones even for that strange assortment of warriors. A massively muscled and armored zelas'-tiger captain and his tiny but reputedly deadly kobold rider in full plate. The latter was no less a personage than one of the three colonels of the city guard -- a position directly beneath Lord Gray himself.

She pressed against the building to let the ziger by, and he passed close enough to brush flanks. He and his rider looked her over -- the kobold with seeming disinterest, seeing her merely as a novelty. His mount, though, gave her a yellow-eyed gaze that communicated a certain feral interest. The last time she'd been looked at like that…was it possible he was interested in mating with her?

She wrinkled her chops in a grin, flicking her whiskers at him then pretending to lose interest. Her people had only a short mating season, and outside it she was cool to such advances. He was attractive though, in his blocky, muscular feline way.

She'd also seen him gape his jaws over a terrified robber, gather the man up into a ball, and dispatch him down in one ravenous, neckfur-rippling gulp. Thinking about the swaying belly-bulge he'd carried off that day preyed on her mind in idle moments. That more than any other reason was why she didn't instantly dismiss his interest. And why she'd maybe let him have his way, sometime.


Pausing her narration, she gestured with a paw. "Coming to that world was an eye-opener for me. It was a while before I realized that with some males, my shape didn't matter. They liked me, and unlike a falan male, they might grow sexually interested at any time of the year. Yes, I did eventually meet with the ziger, and he would probably have been the first non-falan I coupled with, except for certain circumstances. And no, I didn't eat him. My limits were lower and I couldn't bring my meals back, then. The last thing I would have wanted was to eat someone I genuinely liked…."


She shook off the distraction, ignoring the feline eyes on her rump (and the curse of his rider as the ziger walked into the priest) and padded around the edge of the square. There, as she'd hoped, were four youngsters: two humans, a halfling teenager and a Praka raccoon-man cub less than three feet tall. They saw her coming and held up their brushes, and she smiled a whisker-smile and stepped onto the shabby rug that was their business.

"The usual, your ladyship?" Nodding, she settled to her belly, and they set to brushing her flanks and neck and tail. From what she'd seen these four made a fair amount of coins polishing shoes, armor, and brushing the furry sorts who happened by. They were quite good at it. Closing her eyes, she leaned into he brushing, letting her mind wander as they nudged her to roll onto her side. Her hide was so loose and longfurred that lying down, she flattened out; she had to roll in order for them to get at all of her.

The two humans were twins, and lived only a house or two away. She'd first seen them the day after she arrived, and had become almost a daily visitor to their stretch of sidewalk. They did most of the talking, soothing her as they brushed her belly as though she might be unhappy with their attentions. She thought about the gnolls and bugbears that must number among their less pleasant customers and understood their caution. The catfolk hestans visited them as well, by the smell of it, and the two other species of larger catfolk whose race-names she hadn't learned yet. Not to mention the city's Weres.

One ink-dark eye cracked open when the halfling sloshed a vial of fur oil, but she shook her head as the clock tower chimed six bells. She got her paws beneath her and rose hastily, putting down a silver coin. "Next time I will have the oil." They nodded enthusiastically (as well they should, for she paid well) and waved as she padded off.

One last pause, in the edge of the square. Four muscular, sweating orcs in slave collars and loincloths supported a sedan chair, one of those enclosed types with curtains and walls. A pale, dissipated-looking young man was looking out, past her and at the children.

She bristled. Catching his eye, she glanced back at the four, then showed him her every fang. He blinked and said something under his voice to the orcs, who carried him off.

This wasn't her world, and she tried to be broad-minded, but there were limits. After all, who would brush her fur?

She was in a narrow street now, padding toward the next square -- the larger one that was right up against the park. Lord Grey's castle loomed overhead. Once there to the square she'd have to climb the stairs to the next step in the city's terraced districts, and her destination.


Strega interrupted her narrative once more. "I was very young then, about twenty of my people's years; this was before the Uplift and the war. I was young and maybe too enthusiastic, especially since I had just been given an ability I'd dreamed about my entire life. And I wasn't nearly paranoid enough."


She'd turned into an alley without thinking, taking a shortcut to the stairs. It was like a thousand other garbage-strewn alleys, narrower than she was long, twisting around shanties and decades-old stone buildings and past fire-blackened brick ones. It was a good short cut to the stairs -- good enough for someone to predict she'd take it.

A scraping sound above was the first warning, and she stepped closer to the building on that side, sure it was a loose roof tile about to plummet to the dirty flagstones. The eaves would cause it to miss her. But then two burly bugbears emerged from a side alley. Pausing for a fateful second, she heard the scrape again, followed by a whisper of air. Suspicious at last, she scuttled backward…and something soft and light and clinging dropped on her from above.

It was a net of twisted spidersilk light as a breeze and strong as steel chains, weighted at the edges with small lead weights and just exactly her size. The weights wrapped it down over her, and she had no idea how to deal with the thing. Her instinctive forward leap only made things worse, tumbling her to the cobblestones more bound up than before. She twisted, still only half caught, and the bugbears leaped in. The grabbed at the mesh and yanked with all their strength, using their weight to roll her over so the net wound around her sleek form like an exotic cloak. She was nearly as large as both of them together, and managed to claw one across the calf, but her 'finger' claws were blunt from walking on stone and the wound was slight. In a moment she was wrapped like a mummy and they stepped back, grinning and fingering their knives.

Breathing hard, she tried one huge spasm of effort to see if she could break any part of the net. She only fished about on the grimy stones. Her 'finger' claws, caught in the mesh, were suddenly a disadvantage, and she collapsed when she realized she could hardly even move a paw. Panting, wriggling on the stones and unused to being trapped, she panicked.

Far from claustrophobic (falan tended to dig and live in ice tunnels) and used to being pushed around by larger creatures (she was a small falaness ) the one thing she couldn't deal with was to have no control at all. Used to being the smallest, she had developed a dominant personality to compensate, and she snarled and spat, bit at the net and thrashed while the bugbears elbowed each other and grinned.

It only took a few seconds of panic for her to exhaust herself. Soon she lay panting, chilled by her terror. Then two things happened. The first, as she pawed at the net helplessly, was the feeling of warm metal between two toes. The metal of the magic ring her master -- employer, rather , she thought -- had lent her. She'd only used it once; to make sure it worked. It stored several changes of a teleport spell that would take her back to the Maker. The bugbears almost certainly did not know she had it. Some of her fear left as she realized she had a way out.

The second thing was the wolf. Greyston had a thriving werewolf population, and unlike many such packs, they weren't shy about mixing with other species. Some of the resulting children were humans (or whatever), some were Weres, some simple wolves…and some were like this one.

He was a wolfman. He was at least seven feet tall, black of fur, lean of leg and powerfully muscled of arm and chest. He dropped from two stories up and landed on footpaws and one palm, and the chainmail shirt that was his only garb jingled.

Rising to his feet, he put his hands on his hips and looked down at her. He towered over the falaness, his clawed footpaws only a couple of feet from her muzzle, and she glared up at him as he grinned. She could see right up under the shirt; this wolf hadn't bothered with a loincloth, and little experienced as she was with local males she knew what the black furry sack between his thighs was. She knew what the ridge along his belly was, too, though it was half-concealed by the chainmail.

"Am I supposed to be impressed?" She cast a glance at the bugbears, who were staring and muttering to themselves. The wolf noticed the look, and dug into his pouch, throwing them a gold Wheel each -- and at that she was a bit impressed. That was a lot of money to pay a simple mercenary for a job like this.

"No. No, you aren't." He knelt down by her head, careful to stay out of snapping distance, and reached down to rub her foreleg through the net. "You have pretty fur. Coarse, not soft like a cat's, but pretty. And unique. It'll fetch a good price."

Her fangs showed as she snarled. "Is that what this is all about? Do you know what will happen to you when you're caught?" There was a place called the Meat Market: only the worst criminals were sent there, and not to be put in jail. She herself had bought one there last week, a human female, and the woman had lived exactly as long as it took to get home.

He grinned again, and rubbed his padded palm along her side. "But I won't get caught. No one knows you are here, I bet, and when I have your pelt, well, there are ways to dispose of the rest of you. I can even make money that way. There are certain…connoisseurs."

He was to her rump now, and was stroking the fur that bristled through the net. Craning her head around, she watched reach for the long dirk at his side. "Aren't you worried that I will call for help?" She rubbed the ring between her toes, ready to use its magic.

"Do you see the stone near your head?" She blinked, and looked at the little thing; a yellow gem the size of one of her smaller claws. He must have set it where when he knelt. "It makes silence. No one more than fifteen feet away can hear any of this. A useful magic, for a thief." The dirk was out, sliding under the mesh of the net, and he parted several strands with a quick tug.

Expecting him to start on her, she gripped down on the ring. The dagger slid into its sheath rather than into her fur, though, and he reached down with both hands, pulling her tail aside and reaching under it.

"You must be …hsss, joking." His roughly padded fingers found her slit, and his eyes widened as he felt how wide it was, or perhaps because it was horizontal. He pushed a claw in, then two fingers, and finally his whole hand, entering the outer chamber that led to the two inner sexes. His fur tickled. If it'd been mating season it'd even have been arousing.

"Joking?" He felt deeper, fingers pushing into the softness of the sexes. He smiled as he realized what she was like. There were places like a wolf or human woman's sex, even on her. When he pulled his hand out, the fur was glazed with her juices and with a slick, almost waxy sheen. He ignored it and reached for the hem of his chain shirt.

"You have no idea how much you are going to regret this," she hissed furiously. It was far from mating season, and he was hardly a falan male. For one thing, he would have only one member. So would the ziger, but unlike him she hadn't the slightest interest in crouching for the wolf.

He had her bound, though, at his mercy.

He chuckled roughly as he peeled up his shirt, pausing to gesture at the bugbears. "Be back at seven bells." The bulky humanoids shrugged and slouched off; apparently they didn't find the prospect of him mounting her interesting.

The chainmail shirt lifted away from his groin as they vanished around a corner, and she had a good long look at his sheath. He was the first wolf she has seen, but judging from the local males she had examined before feeding he was very well endowed. There must have been a foot of sheath, and it hung thick and heavy, its weight stretching the fold of fur that held it to his belly. He only had to lean down a bit to fit the furry end of it -- and the slick pink tip that'd just appeared -- into her.

"I wouldn't do that if I were -- hssss!" He had put his hands on her flank, and with a violent hip thrust he pushed in. The central 'divider' of her sex guided his cock into her right side vagina, and she felt the stretch as he entered her. She winced; it wasn't mating season and he didn't seem to care that she was dry and unready. It didn’t help that he was almost as large down there as a falan male.

"Didn't like that? Well, maybe you'll like this." Fingers curled into her fur, and his tail bobbed as he humped. She could feel his ballsac rubbing her tail, and caught glimpses of the purple-red cock the brief times he pulled back that far. There was something happening to the base of his shaft, a rounded swelling, already as big as a man's fist.

Swollen wolf penis moved through her, forward and back, uncomfortably thick in her dry state and not, to her, the tiniest bit interesting. She couldn't fight, but her panic had already left her: All that remained now was a cold anger.

"No, I…sssss, didn't like that, and you are not going to like it either soon." She squirmed in the net, but her claws were still well caught. She tried clenching down her sex to deny him entry, or at least to make it uncomfortable, but all her antics merely excited him further. He snarled down her flank at her, grinning.

"When I, hrr, get done with, hrrr, you, you won't be in any condition to make me unhappy, weasel-bitch." He grinned, growled, and laughed at her whine -- he had just forced the swelling into her outer chamber, and was doing his best to push it further. She'd loosened up enough that his cock didn't hurt any more, but the knot was much too large for a comfortable fit. He forced it in anyway, and he was the one that was panting now.

She lunged at him, eyes squinted nearly shut with rage, but fell back to the stones with a thump as the net kept her from bending far enough around. Growling, she tore at the net with her claws…and only then realized that it was just finger claws that were caught. Her thumbclaws, sheathed and not the least blunted by walking on stones, were not. She felt the ring between her toes, the net against the slits in her 'thumbs', and even with the painful knot in her she smiled. The wolf was in for a truly unpleasant surprise.

"Do you know," she breathed at him, "I was supposed to meet a gnoll tonight. He didn't say it, but I know he was positively eager to do to me just what you are doing now. And I was ready to let him do it, too." The wolf was swaying now, his tongue lolling, and she smiled as she realized how much trouble he was in. He just didn't realize it yet.

The wolf humped against her slit, the knot well caught in her and throbbing now, and growled inarticulately as things began to happen down below. She could feel the lump of the knot tensing, swelling, and then a hot, watery gush inside her as he ejaculated. He howled low in his throat, throwing back his muzzle, and shuddered as he slumped over her, his seed spending itself deep inside.

He lay panting across her rump, grinning as he continued to ooze seed into her…and then the grin went away as she moved her forepaws. Her flexible, harmless-looking 'thumb' toes -- two per paw -- slipped through the mesh and their retractile claws came out. Even spidersilk wasn't tough enough to resist their carefully honed edge.

"Oh, no you…urg." He straightened, trying to pull out. His knot was wedged in her, though, and he reached for his dirk instead. His furry hand shook so badly as he fumbled at it that he wasn't able to draw, and his expression was comically confused as he slumped across her rump again. "What…what's happening?"

Strega grinned at the wolf as he struggled to even speak, much less threaten her. "What's happening is…do you know what I do for the Maker?"

He managed to push off her rump, and fell heavily to his side with a grunt, his knot still tying them together. He could do little but watch helplessly as he thumbclaws severed strands of net. "You're a guard…like all the falan he made."

She flicked her eye-whiskers appreciatively as her muzzle came free from the damaged net. "I'm impressed that you know my people's name, but you're wrong on two counts. One, he didn't make us, and two, I'm not a guard. Have you figured out why you can't move, then?"

His eyes widened as her muzzle came around; most of her was still netted, but he'd seen her fangs. "Don't tell me…you had something in your sex?" He was putting on a brave front; he hadn't even tried yelling for the bugbears. Perhaps he remembered that they would not hear.

"I told you I was going to meet with a gnoll tonight. He's been a problem for my employer, and I was going to make that problem go away." As she pulled free of the net her pink nosepad approached his footpaws. "But with your lust-stink all over me, he'll never be interested tonight, and you wasted all the drug I had put in myself.

"The gnoll will not be happy I missed our 'date' tonight; I may not be able to get him in private again. Which leaves me…" She sniffed at his claws, now. "Unhappy with you. Most unhappy. And hungry."

"Hungry?" His eyes widened, and his weakened voice almost broke. "Remember the meat market. The bugbears know I'm here, and if they find bits of me strewn about you might end up on the block yourself."

"Strewn about…hsss. Why would there be anything strewn about?" She yawned, showing him her maw, and he saw the nine serrated fangs at the front of her jaws -- five above, four below -- fold against the roof and floor of her mouth. She yawned again, and the pink maw stretched wide…as wide as two wolfpaws.

"Now wait just a minute! Look, look, I can pay you. Let's just forget this happened and I can pay you well." His knot finally pulled out of her as he squirmed, but he hadn't the strength to lift himself…and her muzzle had just gone around his feet.

The falaness was listening, but she didn't heed. The wolf's feet filled her muzzle entirely, bulging out her cheeks, and she tasted the leathery pads with little, teasing licks. He struggled to pull away from her, but it took all his strength just to raise his head and watch. Her tongue did its work slowly; she had at least ten minutes before the bugbears were due back, and she took her time tasting the sweat and fear. Given her poor taste-bugs, what she enjoyed was the idea of taste, rather than the flavor itself. She licked, appreciating his feeble efforts to pull his paws away.

And then she swallowed.

The wolf whimpered as her tongue pushed against his heels, forcing his toes past the back of her jaws. There'd been the hope that she was bluffing, torturing him in revenge for the rape. As his feet slid easily into her throat, he knew she wasn't. That gullet stretched to accommodate his feet with terrible ease; each of his footpaws would nearly have covered a man's head, but the throat allowed them in. More, as they slid in it gripped down, sucking his paws down into itself and pulling his ankles after. The falaness' neckfur bulged and rippled as his feet vanished, and she took a step forward to get at his calves.

He whimpered again, trying desperately to pull his feet back, but she simply stepped forward and swallowed a second time. Smooth, strong muscle rippled over his heels, forcing his feet deeper, and with a simple push of her muzzle she engulfed his calves. She wasn't teasing now; she was gulping as fast as her muzzle could work, and her tongue touched his fur only enough to dampen it for swallowing. He was up to his knees in hot, slick weasel throat.

She couldn't talk now, and she wasn't trying. The nearer eye looked at him, wet obsidian in the surrounding white fur, and he knew she wasn't just doing this for revenge. She was hungry. She had planned to consume some hapless gnoll (perhaps the guard lieutenant gnoll he'd met?) and most gnolls were as large as he was. She was determined, hungry, and if a gnoll would fit in her gut then he would, too.

He rolled onto his belly and clawed at the stones, trying to pull away. The soft, slippery throat moved around his knees, but if he could just delay her…or better still, if he could alert the bugbears! The glowing yellow stone was there, only a yard away. If he could get to it!

Inch by inch, he pulled himself toward the stone. It took all his strength, all his determination to even move his arms, much less pull his lead-heavy body toward his goal. He ignored the weaseless, though her maw was stretching unnaturally to take in his thighs now, and reached for the stone. So close!

A sudden gulp pulled him up short, and his hand missed the thing by the length of a finger. Heat was pressing in on his legs now, his thighs almost entirely in her jaws, his feet well down her throat and surrounded by the wet, greedy flesh. The more of her she swallowed, the more her throat gripped, and each successive gulp was more powerful as her gullet found more and more of him to take hold of. He could feel her long, stiff whiskers on his rump now and her nose against his tailroot.

Again he grabbed for the gem. All he had to do was toss it aside, and he could shout. Surely his mercenaries would hear! They would be just around the corner, waiting to be called so they could help in the grisly work of skinning his prize and carting off the body.

She swallowed just as he was about to snatch the stone. The powerful gulp tugged his upper thighs into her jaws, and the rippling muscle of her gullet sucked his feet even further down her throat. His claws missed the stone by an inch and he reached for his dirk. He'd recovered a little strength and if he could just slow her feeding for a moment, he would have the stone.

But his dirk was gone. He glanced back over his shoulder as he felt for the knife…and found her staring back at him, the sheathed blade in one forepaw. The dark, dark eyes in their white mask looked back at him expressionlessly, then narrowed in amusement as she swallowed once more.

She was working her jaws over his hips now. His feet, far down the slick tunnel of throat, were constricted by what must be her ribs. Soon his ankles felt that tightness to, and his calves, as he turned for another attempt at the stone.

This time she didn't pretend to not know what he was after. With an amused hiss -- not from her nostrils, with a throat full of his legs, the hiss came from further down her body -- she tugged him backward, leaving his fingers to just miss the stone for the third time.

He would not get another chance. She took a short step back, lowered her head, and forced his chest against the stones. His chain shirt scraped on the cobbles, keeping him from sliding forward as she pushed, and with that resistance to hold him in place she slid her jaws completely over his rump. Her throat swelled to accept his hips, and she gave his sheath a long, teasing lick as his balls fell down into her gullet. Powerful, muscular gulps pulled his belly and sheath in after, and he found himself draining downward into her muzzle, taken in by inches with each gulp.

As his belly vanished, and his chain-armored muscular chest began to follow, he gave up hope for the stone and howled. A long, mournful alarm call, crying out for help. He fumbled backward at her head as he howled again, and looked back to see his hand hiss her cheek and slip into her jaws. In an instant, her tongue forced his fingers to the back of her jaws, and his hand slid into the wet throat next to his hip.

No howl replied to his; it had sounded normal to him, his despairing cry, but it was weak. And even had it not been, the cursed yellow stone lay not six feet away. He watched her low-set ears flip to and fro as she assured herself that no one would come to help him. After all, she no doubt reasoned, he might have bluffed about the stone.

But it was not a bluff, and his howl trailed off into a whimper as he was taken to the armpits in her jaws. He reached back over his shoulder with his one remaining hand and pushed at her cheek, trying to stop her. Perhaps the bugbears would come, after all; it had to be close to seven bells now, and they could still save him.

His arm was being pushed closer and closer to his cheek as he told himself that. His armpits were being pulled into her maw, scraping over her side-teeth. Six feet of his height was in her throat, and the next gulp grabbed him so firmly that he slipped in, shoulders and all. His chin flopped down on her folded front fangs, and he felt her cheeks pressing the sides of his head, her palate flattening his ears. His arm hung out still, partly blocking his view, and past his furry forearm he could still see that cursed yellow stone.

All six of her paws shifted as she stretched, pulling her legs far apart to widen the space between her ribs. He could feel her move, felt the strong muscles in her weaselly torso slide over one another as she prepared to swallow him down. Far down the tube of throat, his feet popped loose into a horribly wet and clinging space, and his pawpads instantly stung as the stomach juices attacked them.

Garzoul reckoned himself as seven foot, one inch tall, not counting his ears, and his lean muscular frame and long wolfish legs weighed him in at two hundred and eighty pounds. This creature -- this Strega -- was probably about twice his weight. If he had not seen -- felt -- her do it, he would never have believed she could swallow even a small woman in one gulp. Much less a werewolf.

The cheeks slid forward over his own as she stretched further, and a horrible sinking sensation overcame him as she swallowed. The throat walls gripped down, rippling and squeezing, and the moving waves of muscle pulled him slowly and surely inside her. His chin slid backward over her tongue, and his arm pressed against his cheek as her muzzle shut. More and more of his legs were being pushed into her stomach, and he felt the wetness permeating his fur as her digestive juices sloshed. He was up to his knees in weaselly stomach when his feet found the bottom.

No. He would not go! With all his remaining strength he stiffened. His pads pushed hard against the stomach wall, his legs went as straight as he could make them, and even the arm trapped in her gullet clenched its fist and pushed against his side, helping him straighten.

And he stopped. Stretched out in her throat, he felt the swallowing muscles tug at him, but they did not move him. A few inches of his thighs slipped into her stomach as that fleshy sac stretched, and the pain of her gut's acids was approaching agony. But he did not relent. Stiff and straight in her throat, he stood proudly. The uncomfortable sounds she made as she swallowed a second, then a third time were his reward: she couldn't swallow him as long as he stayed straight!

Strega examined the hand that protruded from her lips. The fist was clenched tight, like the rest of the wolf's muscular frame. She stretched experimentally, feeling her body move around this rigid obstacle, and made as if to bend back on herself.

She stopped at once. Normally she could curl into the most ornate positions; she often slept with her cheek against her rump. But normally she did not have a wolf stretched out in her throat, pressed against her internal organs from the inside. She took a breath through her side breathing-slits and considered.

One of his hands was trapped to his side and no threat. His feet were in her stomach, pressed hard (and uncomfortably) to the lower wall. Their claws were no threat; he had no leverage. His muzzle was wrapped in her throat, his fangs unable to gather in the fold of throatskin he'd need to find in order to do any damage.

So what she had was a harmless, if annoying obstacle to the completion of her meal. The wolf showed no signs of weakening, but eventually he must. His feet and lower legs had to be burning in her belly, and she was sure her throat was unpleasantly hot. Eventually he would weaken. Eventually she would swallow.

She took a moment to gather the dirk, pouch, and the yellow stone. The pouch was heavy with coin, and the stone would no doubt prove useful in the future. As an afterthought she bundled up the torn net, holding it against her swollen flank with a forepaw. A last glance: Except for a few wet pawprints, there was no trace left of either of them.

With the stone in her paw, she could hear the bugbears approaching. She turned the ring on her 'finger' and was gone.


Chula looked up from his book as something appeared on the rune-carved stone platform. The dais had been packed to the city and set up here in the Maker's temporary home because its magics allowed for perfectly accuracy teleportation. Normally, there was some risk of landing high or low. Not with the dais to guide the 'port, though.

It was Strega, the smallest of the falan working for the Maker, and the darkest of fur. Her white stripes made her look vaguely like a skunk, he'd always thought. And at the moment, a furry hand protruded from her muzzle and she was…swollen, for lack of a better word…over her whole length. Her normally loose pelt was taut, her neckfur was bulged, and even her long torso looked oddly lumpy.

Chula tilted his ears. He had seen her eat people before, but this meal seemed stuck. "Strega? I take it the mission was a success, but do you need any help?"

"Mffle. Hh um…ssssss." Her head shook fractionally, as much as she could manage with the gnoll (?) jammed in her throat, and she waddled rather uncomfortably for the door. Her ears flattened with each step, and the foxman held his tongue as he opened the door for her.


Each step brought new agonies for the werewolf. His feet must be down to bones now, he thought, and even the bones were burning in the caustic belly juices. The pain had spread up his calves, over his knees, until he swore his legs were on fire. And still he held himself rigid. Somehow she was still breathing, and her double heartbeats were strong. Each pulse throbbed through him, jarring him as much as her walk. To the pain of his dissolving legs was added the growing agony of muscles locked in one place for too long. He dared not relax for an instant, lest he be swallowed down. And so he lay, stiff and pained, gritting his fangs. He would not give up! If she were to have him, it would be an inch at a time, as his lower parts dissolved.


Two Gul and a Praka were in the main room when Strega waddled in, and she glimpsed a falan just leaving. Chula had gestured her to wait until she could enter without another falan seeing her.

'If it thinks it is not food', her people's mantra went. The dichotomy was that any falan would kill to protect itself and if the dead being were a thinking one, still they would feed on it. Even a falan dead of old age or injury was eaten by its comrades. But to hunt a thing that thought -- to plan to eat the flesh of a thinker -- this is what she did, that would make her an outcast if they found out.

She felt the living werewolf shift in her gullet and thought it was worth the risk.

The Maker entered, and sat on his armless chair. A short, dark-skinned, bald man with tattoos on his scalp, he smiled as he saw the hand that poked from her lips. "So, my sneaky friend, I see the gnoll is dealt with. Stubborn, was he? Or should I say, is he?"

The time had come to end this game, however much she enjoyed it. She held up a forepaw, one 'finger' extended, and sucked her lips tightly shut around the werewolf's wrist.


The sudden lack of air was almost a relief, he considered. However she breathed with her throat full of him, it wasn't via her mouth or nose. Now her mouth was shut, and he breathed in the same air he exhaled. There'd been little enough of it before to take in, there in the wet throat, but now each breath was less sustaining than the last.

The terrible pain in his calves ebbed as he weakened. As his stubbornly straining muscles finally went slack, he felt the throat tense and pulse. His knuckles rapped her folded fangs as his hand slid in, and his legs folded in her belly as the gulp carried him downward. Slippery gulletskin kissed him as he was squeezed downward into her stomach, but he no longer felt its touch.


Two armored Gul, one Praka armed with nothing more threatening than a pen (the coon-femme was acting as the 'court recorder'), Chula the foxman (the Maker's familiar), and Alias the Maker watched Strega swallow. Rich black fur rippled and bulged as what was plainly a muzzled head and broad shoulders broke loose from its spot in her neck and torso and was pushed downward. Her belly had already carried a slight bulge, obviously the gnoll's feet, and as she stretched herself, the new tightness of her muscles and ribcage forced her meal into the only looseness left: the slack pelt between her ribs and her hind legs.

In moments her belly was heavily bulged and still swelling. Pelt grown taut showed the shape of a knee, then a hip, and soon the rapid entry of her meal had bulged her gut down and to the sides until it was a tight oval. Even her long black fur couldn't blunt the shape of the curled-up humanoid with the muzzled face.

Her pelt twitched a time or two, growing used to its new (but familiar) tightness, and she yawned. All present had seen her fangs unfold and lock back into place before, and no one was surprised that the first thing out of her lips when her jaws closed was a cross between a hiccup and a belch.

"Lord." She bobbed her weaselly head to the Maker. "That was not the gnoll."

'Truly?" The man on the chair tilted his head, unconsciously mimicking one of her gestures. "I assume it was not some random meal that diverted you."

"No, sir. A werewolf -- who clearly knew I was to be out tonight, and who may even have been informed of my destination -- ambushed me. He took certain…liberties with my person that made it impossible for me to continue on with my mission. With that option gone, and him subdued by the drug intended for the gnoll, I took the opportunity to avenge myself upon him." As if on cue, a more potent belch bubbled up out of her. Slowly she turned her head.

The Maker followed her gaze and found the little Praka woman creeping backward into the shadows. It took the merest gesture to direct one of the alert Gul warriors after her, and in a moment she was squeaking wordlessly, her scruff in the bulky wolverine-man's hand.

"How very interesting. I will, of course, question her. You and I and Chula were the only ones who knew, after all." It went without saying that the foxman familiar was above suspicion. He and the Maker were closer than brothers, to the point of nearly sharing the same mind. "I am certain that my friends here," he gestured lazily at the two Gul, who had an eager light in their eyes, "Will be able to motivate her to tell all."

Strega nodded. "I will try for the gnoll when I am recovered. I will pen a letter apologizing for missing tonight's meeting. I will say that I have a stomach ache." Her whiskers flicked in her smile.

"Surely." The Maker waved her off, losing interest as the swollen falaness waddled off to digest her meal. Two more Gul had appeared to replace the original guards, and those lucky first two were removing their armor as they kept the hapless little raccoon-woman trapped between them. "I think you will not be the only one to have troubles this evening. And, I think, not even the only one who will go to bed fattened."


In the cool, dark-walled room, the falaness stirred on her polar-bear bed. "It turned out one of Ruhollah's…the Maker's…rivals had tried to have me disposed of on the simple basis that I seemed an important aide to the mage. The gnoll had nothing to do with that plot, and circumstances eventually delivered him into my clutches. The little Praka lady, too smart for her own good…I can guess what happened to her, but it would just be a guess. I never saw her after that night."

On her feet now, she took a lazy pace closer to her guest. "Out of my small assortment of stories, you can guess why I told you that one."

In the dimly lit room were several items of furniture. Some were meant for guests, like the softly upholstered easy chair. Some were mostly for her, like the polar bear bed. And some could serve nearly any shape of visitor, or her, equally well.

The beanbag was one of those. Soft but strong felt enclosed a great volume of foam chunks. While it needed to be rolled and fluffed from time to time, it made a comfortable resting spot for a curled-up falaness or visiting biped.

Like nearly everything else in her lair it was a trap. In the case of the beanbag, an internal mechanism could cause it to extrude tentacle-like arms and grip anyone who sat on it. The arms were, at this moment, holding her guest quite firmly.

The werewolf, grayer of fur than her long-ago meal and larger, tested the restraints once more as he watched her muzzle approach his feet.

"Yes, Strega. I can guess."

The End