330: On Edge

on December 15, 2008 in Book 12

In Which Steff Cuts And Runs

If I’d done anything crazy or especially demonic or otherwise untoward in my afternoon lab on Thursday, Professor Rankin seemed content to let it pass unmentioned. I spent the entire class period waiting for him to say something, but the closest he came to it was to say that I seemed “a bit on edge” the third or fourth time I jumped out of my skin as he came up the aisle behind me.

It was in its own way as tense and uncomfortable an hour and a half as the one I’d spent with Professor Bohd staring at me.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I knew I wouldn’t have to spend my last class of the day in the agony of suspense. I knew what had happened in Mixed Melee on Thursday and it simply wasn’t Callahan’s style to let that kind of thing pass.

Steff’s absence at lunch had been a little unusual, but she caught me just as I was leaving the main campus for the field.

I mean she literally caught me… she came running up as swift as the wind and a lot more silent, grabbed me by the wrists, and yanked me off the path towards some trees before I could even properly register it was her. It was only my poor reflexes, slow thinking, and lack of any appreciable self-defense skills that prevented me from seriously fucking her up.

Once I worked out what was happening, though, I let her drag me along… she nearly gave me heart attack, but oh my fuck, did she get my heart pounding at the same time.

I thought I heard her giggling as she spun me around and slammed my back against a tree trunk. It wasn’t quite as sexy as when Amaranth had first shoved me against a tree… I couldn’t really feel the rough texture of the bark through my coat, and I was moving kind of fast so my head kind of whipped back and smacked against it hard.

“Ow, careful,” I said.

“Hey there,” Steff said, pressing in against me and holding my arms at my side. I forgot the annoying pain immediately and found myself swimming in the much more pleasant aftereffects of it. She was wearing a powder blue jacket which was a lot thinner and tighter than mine, and had the effect of making her look more feminine than usual in her fighting togs.

“Uh, hey,” I said. I could feel her erection poking me in the stomach. It wasn’t the only thing… she had something else that was hard and wrapped in cloth, tucked into the front of her belt. “What’s… um… up?”

“Not much,” she said. She wriggled against me. It might have been hotter if there had been fewer layers between us. I could feel her, but there just wasn’t enough purchase to get the full effect. She was sliding off of me as much as she was sliding against me. “Were you really going to walk into Callahan’s class like that?”

“Like what?” I asked.

“Like… unarmed?” she said.

Oh, right. That. I’d been getting used to not having to carry a weapon… but of course, even if I was registered as a fierce creature a weapon proficiency class still required me to have a weapon to be theoretically proficient in.

“Shit,” I said. “I don’t have a weapon right now.”

“It’s okay,” she said. She released me and took a step back. “I knew you wouldn’t think of that, so I borrowed you one.”

She pulled the bundle out of her belt and unwrapped, revealing a long dagger with an iron handle and an irregular blade that looked like it was made from smoothly polished black rock. She gave it a toss, sending it spinning up into the air and then caught it by the handle before flipping it around in her hand and holding the hilt out towards me.

“You borrowed this from where, exactly?” I asked, keeping my hands at my side.

“Relax, I didn’t steal it, if that’s what you mean,” Steff said.

“That’s a little reassuring, anyway,” I said, still eyeing the handle dubiously.

“Not from anybody who’s going to notice, I mean,” she clarified.

“What do you mean, exactly?”

“Well, I have to help with the filing and shit in the vaults sometimes for, you know, course credit,” she said. “And when they bring somebody in, their effects get stored in the backroom, and usually they get processed and claimed or turned over to somebody, but this dagger has been in there forever… nobody knows who it belonged to or how long it’s been there, and so…”

“Steff,” I said, cutting her off.


“I just got done being possessed by an evil pitchfork,” I said. “I’m not touching a mysterious jet black dagger that was abandoned in the necromancy vaults for longer than anybody can remember.”

“No, look, it’s okay,” Steff said. “It’s only black because the blade is made from glass from the heart of a volc… okay, you’re right, it’s probably evil,” she said. She grinned sheepishly. “But probably not as evil as a cursed pitchfork with part of a demon in it. It could maybe make you, you know, a little more badass without making you go all ‘grr’… and if you did, we know Callahan can handle it, right?”

I glared at her. She wrapped the blade back up.

“Okay… so… I’ll just go put it back, then?” she said, tucking it back into her belt.

“Yeah, you should probably do that,” I said. “Unfortunately, there’s no way I can walk into class without a weapon, so it’s probably best if I just…”

I thought my ear had been bitten, Steff’s fingernails closed in around it so quickly.

“Eee!” I cried.

“Nuh uh uh,” Steff said, shaking her head and tweaking the trapped bit of lobe. “You don’t skip melee for anything. Amaranth’s orders, remember?”

“But if I show up unarmed Callahan will probably boot me for good,” I said. “And that doesn’t help…”

Steff gave my ear a painful twist and yanked down and forward, bending me over.

“You’ll take my knives,” she said. “I’ll find something else to do with my… ahhh.”

It was a mix of a gasp and a cry. She let go of my ear and stumbled back. I straightened up and looked at her. She was clutching the side of her leg, where the black knife had cut through the cloth and her fighting tights. There was a surprising amount of blood.

“Oh, wow,” she said, pulling the wicked knife out of her belt. “That’s… wow.. weird rush.”

“Shit, Steff, you have to get that healed,” I said.

“No, it’s… it’s gone,” she said. She wiped the blood away from the exposed bit of thigh and then moved the material around to show nothing but unbroken skin. “I felt the dagger biting and then there was a… pull… and then it felt like I’d slammed a shot of healing potion.” She held up the dagger in front of her eyes and stared at it. “This thing… it makes self-healing wounds.”

“What, like some culture’s version of a mocked weapon?” I asked, feeling better about the dark-seeming knife now that I knew it was designed to do no permanent harm. “A practice weapon for fighters?”

“Yeah… a practice weapon,” Steff said.

She wasn’t looking at me, but at her hand. She poked a fingertip with the point of the dagger.

I watched as the flesh dimpled and then broke, producing a bright red spot. I realized I could smell Steff’s blood, I could taste the heavy tang of her long-lost innocence and the exotic traces of her elven ancestry mixed in with the more nutritive human. I took a step back. Steff shuddered and shook like she’d just had a cold chill, then wiped the blood off her finger and inspected the undamaged tip.

“You have to try this,” she said, cutting a line in her palm.

“Steff, you probably shouldn’t be fucking around with that,” I said. “What if it has limits? What if you burn through its charge”

“Then I’ll go to the healing center,” she said. “That’s why I’m not cutting out my pancreas or anything.”

She dug at her palm a few more times, cutting lines and watching them disappear, fascinated. I was starting to wonder if that wasn’t the curse on this particular weapon, or if this was just Steff’s personal morbidity at work.

“Steff, you’re losing blood,” I said, taking a couple more steps back as more of the red stuff flowed out. The cuts she was making now were fairly deep.

“Do you want it? I can feel it replenishing,” she said. “Fuck, Mack, this is awesome. You have to try it.”

Before I could answer, she had reached out and slashed at my cheek with it. The volcanic glass blade was cold, and it left a line of ice in its passage. I felt my already frozen face going even more numb. It was like tiny barbs were threading their way inside me from the bottom of the cut, digging their hooks into me, and then there was the pulling sensation Steff had described.

“A rush” was not the words I would have used to describe the sensation.

Steff, though, seemed to have got an even bigger thrill than she had from cutting herself. She moaned orgasmically, writhing in place.

“Ow, oh, shit, Steff… I don’t think it’s healing,” I said, slapping a hand to my head. Painful as it was, the cut didn’t seem to be that deep… just a graze, a scratch. There was only a bit of blood on my fingers. “I told you you’d burn it out… unlimited healing items are really rare, and I don’t know why somebody would waste that kind of power on something that only undoes…”

“No, wait, I’ve got it!” she said. “It’s not self-healing wounds, its a life drinking weapon. Here, you just have to cut me back and it’ll heal.”

“Then you’ll be the one with an unhealed wound,” I said. “Just take it back to the necromancy department and I’ll go to the healing center.”

“You have to go to class,” Steff said.

“I can go after I heal,” I said. “Or I’ll just go after class. I think I read somewhere that facial wounds always seem worse than they actually are, and this one doesn’t seem too bad.”

“Or you can cut me back,” Steff said, holding the blade out towards me. “Just a little cut, Mack… I promise you, it’s the most incredible thing I’ve ever felt.”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. “I’m not touching that. Go put it back.”

“I just want you to feel…”

“Steff, no,” I said.

“I want to share…”

“No,” I said again.

“I could order you to,” she said.

“That isn’t why Amaranth told me to obey you,” I said.

“Isn’t it?” she asked. “You’re injured and it’s the fastest way to heal, and I promise you, it feels incredible… if we both do it, it’ll become an intimate exchange. I’m not seeing the downside.”

“Steff, if you order me to do this, I’m only going to have one thing to say,” I said. “I’m not touching a vampiric dagger you found in a crypt.”

“Vault,” Steff corrected. “And it wasn’t even in the vault, it was in a room full of filing cabinets off the vault… but fine. You’re the boss.”

She lifted the blade up and licked the blood off the sides of it.


“What? I can’t put it back all bloody, and anyway, it’s mostly mine,” she said. “I’ll see you after class.”

“You aren’t going to come back?”

“Nah, I’m going to have things to take care of,” she said, looking downward. Her dick seemed to have swollen to new heights. “This is what we call ‘elven heartwood’. It’s not easy to get rid of.” She gave me a longing look. “It’s too bad you have to go to class…”

“You could always just punish me for not going,” I said, feeling hopeful… I’d take a romp with Steff over one with Callahan any day of the week. Yeah, my winter coat didn’t exactly make for a good time, but we could always go someplace warmer.

“Sorry, hon… Amy’s orders.”

“But when she’s not here I’m supposed to follow your orders,” I said. I walked closer to her, putting my hands on her shoulders. “And she’s not here.”

“Oh, Mack…” she said, then burst out laughing.


“It’s bad enough when you try to be sexy and you’re not wearing that damn coat,” she said.

“Hey, I like this coat,” I said, irritated. “It keeps me warm.”

“Anyway, I’ll be telling Amy you tried to ditch, of course,” she said, undoing her weapon belt and holding it out to me. “I’m going to ask her to let me punish you.”

“Fine,” I said. It was my turn to be sullen. Steff would steal a weapon, she cut classes herself all the time, but I try to skip one class and she got all lawful on me? It had to be sour grapes because I’d invoked my safeword when she’d wanted to order me. “Just make sure you leave that thing in the vaults when you do.”

“Yeah, I will,” she said. Her eyes were back on the blade. “I totally will.”


“What?” she said, jumping a little. She hastily wrapped it back up, though her eyes stayed on it. “Take good care of my babies, okay?”

“I will,” I said, buckling her belt on. “Am I going to see you before the party?”

“Party?” she asked, tearing her gaze away from the bundle in her hand. “Oh, Two! That party. Yeah. Um, I’ll probably be busy up until then.”

“Okay,” I said. “Just… don’t forget.”

“Like I would forget my favorite pseudo… whatever’s… anniversary thing.”

Her eyes were practically glazed over now.

“Steff, put that fucking thing in your bag!” I said.

“Huh? Oh, okay,” she said, and she did. “Um… I should probably…”

She didn’t finish, but started walking backwards towards the path, then turned and broke into a run. I was more than a little concerned about her still, but there was no way I could catch her.

I headed for the field at a trot, but class had already begun. Any hope I had of sneaking in and joining the exercises was quickly dashed… Callahan was on the lookout for me, and her gaze locked on as soon as I drew near the group.

“You’re late, Emo Kid,” she called, striding over. Her eyes flicked to my wounded cheek and the knife belt. “You’re late and you’re wounded, but at least you’re armed today. Did you kill Johnson?”


“Then Johnson’s absent,” Callahan said. “Get with your group.”

Was she really not going to say anything about it?


“What?” she asked.

“Didn’t I… try to kill you?” I asked.

“Did you?” she asked.

“I thought so,” I said.

“Really?” she asked. “When?”

“Last Thursday?”

“Huh. Can’t say I noticed,” she said. “Get to it.” She turned and headed back to her section, bellowing as she went. “Hey, Princess, Johnson’s fucked off again… looks like today’s your lucky day!”

Whoever she was yelling at, I didn’t envy her at all.

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4 Responses to “330: On Edge”

  1. pedestrian says:

    define luck

    Current score: 0
    • Jackie says:

      Well there’s bad luck as well as good luck, and “jilly” Didn’t specify which.

      Current score: 1
  2. Anthony says:

    Urgh. More of Steff being a moron…

    Current score: 0
    • MentalBlank says:

      Why do you insist on the epithets? She’s not a moron, she has an addictive personality and a morbid fascination with mutilation of herself and others. Have a little empathy rather than assuming people that don’t think the way you expect them to are deficient.

      Current score: 9