You’ll have to forgive me if I’m ~12 hours late with the delivery on the entire novella, but I did push the “publish” button on Magdalena and the Beasts on Valentines Day, for what that’s worth.
So there has been a big influx in followers over the past couple of months and I’ve been pretty wrapped up in my mother’s death. The content here is about 95% philosophical, even when I’m not grieving. But there’s this other side of my writing life that is adult dystopia and erotica. I haven’t been paying much attention to the fiction as of late, but I’m trying to get back to some semblance of normal, which means finally publishing a little erotic novella that I’ve been playing with for the past two years. My apologies if my writing adventures come as something of a shock, but if you are horrified, please feel free to skip to the next post. My ratio of philosophy to fiction on the blog isn’t changing, this is just one of the five-in-a-hundred posts that has to do with fiction.
Now that’s out of the way, let’s start with the fact that it is a naughty little book for the 18+ crowd. There is magic and shape-shifting and gender-bending… There’s also a bit of subversion of the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale. You can read more scholarly commentary on the social function of fairy tales, but it’s enough for my purposes to point out that Beauty and the Beast was initially used as a parable for young women forced into marriages with older gentlemen. The underlying message was “look, he ain’t cute, but if you give it some time, you might learn to love him” all in service of solidifying business relationships or land consolidation or building alliances.
There is no particular purpose to subverting the story. It’s just my favorite fairy tale – I’ve read the Robin McKinley version repeatedly – and I wanted to play. So I did.
The kindle version of the book is here. I’m also posting my reading of the novella, three chapters at a time, on a Soundcloud Playlist. I’ve also posted the first three chapters below for the curious.
Magdalena is the youngest princess in a land beset by beasts. Instead of finding the beasts frightening, Magdelana befriends one. When she takes him as her first lover, she discovers the trick to unraveling the magic that created him in the first place. She also discovers that she’s developed a taste for monsters…
Once upon a time in a far distant land, there lived a King named Leoban. King Leoban ruled over a country known for the sweetness of its mead, the arrogance of its sons, and the vindictive nature of its women. This latter fact was a particular problem for King Leoban, as he was in possession of nine daughters, no sons to be had.
In the years since the first daughter reached marriageable age, the Kingdom had lost too many men to the pique of his girls, who were in the habit of expressing their displeasure by cursing their swains. Indeed, Leoban’s Officer Corps and Ministries were peppered with beasts of all shapes and sizes, damned by his daughters for infractions too varied and petty to enumerate. Leoban had resigned himself to quietly promoting the beasts to remote outposts and missions that took them far from the royal reception hall.
Eventually, he had come to the conclusion that he must marry his troublesome daughters off to foreign-born princes or risk every good man in his employ, and had done exactly that. His traditional enemy watched the procession of marriages with growing alarm, and became convinced that canny old Leoban was building up alliances for a future attack. This was not the intent, but being over-estimated did make Leoban’s life easier.
Leoban was down to his last and least troublesome daughter, Magdalena. Though he treated her no differently than her older sisters, secretly Leoban thought to himself that he and his wife had pushed their luck too far. Had they stopped at seven, just to be sure, then they would not have used up the last of the genetic material that produced stunningly cute babies that grew into ravishingly beautiful women. Unfortunately, their eighth daughter Marissa was the last of Leoban’s infamously attractive offspring.
Magdalena, well, Leoban had grown to accept that he had one daughter who would never marry. He had even begun to take pleasure in her company, for she was quick-witted and perceptive. Indeed, Leoban occasionally discussed matters of state with her over his dinner of mutton and mead.
Magdalena knew she was homely—had she not had most of her seventeen years to compare herself to perfect sisters, each with their own arresting beauty? Matea, with her almond eyes and perfectly straight teeth; Mala and her slender back and shapely shoulders. Mala had driven men to jump from towers with a single backwards glance over those shoulders. She had certainly besotted a man named Jakob. Magdalena was at the right age for her first schoolgirl crush when Jakob was busy worshiping Mala’s angular scapula and scraping his teeth across the tendons in Mala’s neck. She’d spent hours imitating the tilt of Mala’s head and only earned a hated nickname for her troubles. Loppy, they’d called her, for the lopsided way she’d walked around, her head perpetually off-kilter.
Madera had hair as dark and intoxicating as her namesake wine; Marguerite had rosy cheeks and a bosom that inspired sonnet after sonnet, each one more ardent than the last. Mara carried herself like a sea-creature. Her walk reminded one of floating, and her feet never seemed to touch the ground. Why should they? She was buoyed by the admiration of every man she passed.
Martine had lips so full and red that a man couldn’t help but think of sinning—Magdalena had overheard Martine’s lover say that as she was embroidering in her favorite window seat. Martine had later turned him into a creature with a bear’s head, a boar’s chest and smell, and a bull’s hindquarters. Poor grammar, as Magdalena recalled. Poor swain.
Madalyn had golden curls and a laugh as clear and infectious as a spring morning. Another overheard compliment, though Madalyn was less particular with regards to mixed metaphors, so long as they were complimentary. Marissa, as previously mentioned, was equally lovely. Tall and slender, her hair was the color of honey, her skin lightly freckled, and she had the ability to look at a man and make him think of slaying dragons simply to earn her gratitude.
Magdalena knew she did not fare well by way of comparison, though she occasionally thought that, if taken as an individual instead of one of the tribe of sisters, she wouldn’t fare so poorly. Her skin was not translucent and bright, but it was clear enough. Her hair was straight and dark and dull, but she had plenty of it. Her hips did not flare dramatically but her bottom was high and round. Her breasts were rather decent, she thought. At least they were of a goodly size. Sizeable enough to be troublesome on her daily ride. Only her crooked teeth were prohibitive. Otherwise, Magdalena was certain that, as an only child and a commoner, a husband would not have been a hope too far.
As it happened, Marissa had requested something foolish—an orchid made of gold, though she had no idea what an orchid looked like, never mind one made of gold. However, the request had been made and Rolf, her then-suitor, had refused. Marissa immediately pointed her long slender finger at him, spoke the well-worn spell used by her sisters, and turned him into a beast. Not an ill-shapen beast, at least when compared to the other unlucky lovers, but a beast nevertheless. When he had stopped twisting and writhing with the pain of transformation, he had raised himself slowly from elephant’s feet and lion’s knees and turned the grave eyes of a great gorilla on Marissa, who turned and fled.
Rolf’s shame might have been easier to hide had he not also been the head of the King’s personal guard. He was reassigned, of course. A King cannot have a bodyguard such as Rolf was, misshapen and stumbling as he learned to walk again with an elephant’s inflexible feet. And those eyes… Foreign dignitaries and their silly wives were frightened. So instead of standing by the King’s throne, Rolf spent his days lurking about the castle listening to the courtiers gossip and the servants chatter. A lonely Magdalena befriended him, for her father only spoke to her at dinner and her sisters were now gone.
They spoke in the corridors and laughed at the courtiers and their obvious ploys to earn the King’s favor. There was nothing more between them, and neither considered the other as more than a fellow refugee from the ranks of the beautiful.
At least it was perfectly platonic until the day Rolf got a sliver from the unwaxed banister on a disused staircase. Magdalena tucked his thick forearm between her elbow and rib, her back turned to Rolf’s body, and his paw unfurled into the sunlight. Rolf had not previously considered Magdalena any further than easy company and an asset belonging to the King. But with her breast resting heavily on his arm and her bottom brushing against the wool of his uniform, Rolf reconsidered.
Though his tastes had not altered in his transformation, his eligibility had. As a handsome man, he would not have considered Magdalena, not when he’d sampled unblemished fruit. However, with the face that peered back at him from the mirror, Rolf was realistic. Magdalena was a solid choice for one in his position.
Magdalena lifted the splinter out and held it up so Rolf could see. He only moved his paw in response, closing it around Magdalena’s breast. She had opened her mouth to speak before his heat enveloped her, but gasped in surprise instead. Rolf had always been a favorite of hers, even when he had been Marissa’s. He’d had a seriousness then, a seriousness which was magnified in his new form. But she’d never thought of him in any but the most sisterly of ways.
It wasn’t that he hadn’t been attractive before. It wasn’t that she didn’t find his current dignity compelling. He was and she did. However, she also felt shabby and small standing next to him, even now. She didn’t know what to say. Perhaps he’d made a mistake, perhaps he hadn’t intended the intimacy.
He fought the urge to extend his claws and imprison her nipple, relaxing his grip on her digit by digit instead. Magdalena released his arm and he withdrew it.
“Thank you,” he said. The words rumbled in Magdalena’s chest and provided just enough of a catalyst to break her paralysis and she ran. Rolf cursed the risk he’d just taken. If the girl told her father, Rolf stood to lose his job.
Magdalena fled to the stables and ordered the stable master’s daughter to saddle her horse. For being on the verge of her 18th birthday, she was wholly innocent. As-of-yet unkissed, she had imagined a hand on her body but her imagination didn’t stretch far enough to put a name to the hand, let alone someone’s face. Her previous fantasy adventures carried out in the dark of the night with her hand between her legs did not include the heat. Oh God, that heat. She’d imagined how a mouth would feel on hers, extrapolating from the sensation of having her own mouth on the skin at her wrist, but she hadn’t considered the phosphorus burn of another’s body glowing on her skin. Magdalena rode until the rocking rhythm of the horse’s gallop soothed her racing heart and her skin was glazed in a thin layer of sweat.
Over the next several weeks, Magdalena looked for Rolf everywhere. When she arranged an unexpected encounter, they gradually progressed from hesitating, accidental touches to lingering contact. From proximity to full body press. From that one paw on her breast to a broom closet, her head tipped back against his chest, her spine arched to press her ass into his groin, and his claws pricking through her bodice to the nipple hidden behind her corset. Magdalena no longer walked, she slid. The moisture between her thighs lubricated every step, imbuing her gait with an ease and the knowing of a woman, though the deed was as of yet undone. Every day, Magdalena understood a little more what her body was for.
On the eve of her 18th birthday, Magdalena had her maid unlace her stays, brush her hair and tuck her into bed. Once the serving-woman extinguished the light and closed the door, Magdalena slipped out of her bed, shimmied into a pair of purloined trousers and a dark cloak, and escaped the castle. She scurried to the barracks, using the cloak as a facsimile of the darkness around her, praying she wouldn’t get caught. They had made no prior arrangement or agreement, but Magdalena was certain of her welcome.
She knocked lightly and hid in a shadow. His heavy pachyderm feet punched holes in the silence as he approached the door. Rolf opened the door and Magdalena stepped in.
Once inside, with the firelight dancing across his terrible features, Magdalena’s uncertainty flowered bright and sharp in her throat. He looked at her from behind his old, primate eyes. She looked down at the floor and shoved her hands into her pockets. She heard him move and looked up again only to find herself staring at the undone buttons of his shirt.
Magdalena pressed her forehead against Rolf’s chest and inhaled. He smelled of clean linen, clove, and something both old and wild. Rolf placed his paws on Magdalena’s shoulders and slid them down to her waist. The layers of clothing blunted the sensations coming through the pads of what used to be his fingers. He unfurled his claws and tore at the fabric. The clasp of her cloak broke under the pressure and it fell away. The remaining tatters of her chemise were insufficient barrier to his rough touch. Magdalena shivered.
Rolf’s mind turned to all of the ways he could take her. In his old life, he would have insisted on the light for his own visual access to the woman he was fucking. Now, it seemed to Rolf that she might not be so taken with the picture he could offer—grey legs like tree trunks, his variegated torso with a lion’s angled cock, and a leathery face. He decided she’d be better if he took her from behind. Not romantic for a maiden’s first time, but kinder under the circumstances.
Rolf turned her and placed one paw on her neck. His claws made little indentations in her skin as he propelled her to the table. He swept the remains of dinner to the floor and pushed Magdalena down until her breasts were pressed against the rough wood.
“Remove them,” he commanded. Magdalena complied, releasing the drawstring at her waist and allowing her trousers to drop to the floor. Rolf took in the view, watching the firelight pool in the hollow of her spine. He drew the sharp edge of his claws across her back, leaving low welts in her skin. He dipped a paw into the crevice between her legs, drew it up to his mouth, and licked it with a startlingly human tongue.
With uncertainty in her eyes, Magdalena started to draw herself up onto her forearms.
“Down,” Rolf growled. Magdalena obeyed.
He undid his own trousers and released his erection. It dropped heavily against Magdalena’s ass. A hybrid of his human organ and a lion’s penis, he lacked the barbs characteristic of his feline counterpart. Instead, the barbs had become rounded nubs slightly angled back towards his body. Secretly, Rolf was pleased with this one aspect of his transformation, though equally distressed that he had not had the opportunity to use his new tool. Rolf now rubbed his dick against the skin on her back as if offering a benediction. Magdalena thrust her hips backwards and Rolf smiled. He drew his cock down the crack of her ass and into the dampness of her pussy. He gestured slowly with his hips, sliding the nubs forward to tease her clit and lubricate the full length of his shaft. He repeated the gesture twice more, then pressed the head of his cock to the tight entrance of Magdalena’s pussy.
There was no other answer, now that they were there. Rolf broke through the fricative resistance and impaled Magdalena on the full length of his erection, then halted to allow her time to accept the weight and heft of his invasion. It hurt until it didn’t anymore. Tentatively, she moved first and Rolf followed her lead with slow, methodical strokes taking care not to push too hard or too fast. Under him, Magdalena bit her lower lip, at first from the sting of her broken hymen, and then to hold her moans and cries in check.
Over the past few weeks, she’d gone to bed and slid first one finger and then two inside of herself, trying to imagine what it would feel like to have a man there. She’d cum for herself like that, every orgasm pushing her further and further toward this, but this was nothing like that. She’d not been able to reach such depths, nor discover the weighted pleasure of being so full. Alone, it had been wonderful. With Rolf, she couldn’t gather her pleasures together fast enough to make sense of them. The hard, cold wood against her breasts, his fur pressed against her ass, and that cock throbbing and sliding against the walls of her pussy. She bit her lip to keep from howling, or moaning, or laughing with the delight of it.
Rolf bent over her, keeping their bodies close, the golden fur of his chest caressing Magdalena’s shoulder blades, his hot breath in her ear confirmation she was not alone in her pleasure.
“Touch yourself, sweeting,” he whispered in her ear. She complied. He ran the razor edge of his claws down her side, stopping at her hip to tilt her to his liking. But with the shift in angle, Rolf’s willingness to control his own need dissipated. He gripped her more fiercely and drove every thwarted urge since his changing deep inside of her. Magdalena met him thrust for thrust, as hungry as he was to have him deeper, harder, there.
“Cum,” he commanded. “Cum for me. Now.”
There was no denying him. The orgasm began as a shudder in her pussy muscles which, upon finding something to grip in their spasms, gripped and sucked at Rolf’s cock all the harder. Rolf exploded with a stifled roar and collapsed on top of Magdalena.
They were insatiable. Three times that first night, then in the same broom closet, her skirts pushed up around her waist, her face pressed against the wall. There was barely room to turn around, but there was room enough for this. He took her hard and fast, not bothering to ask if she was ready. She was ready—she had been every time he’d caught her eye from across the room and they’d discovered a new castle closet. Her skin was a pincushion, pocked by welts where he’d grabbed her, his claws unfurled carelessly in his need for relief. She loved it. She loved the sharpness against her nipples, his barely contained violence, the way he devoured her heedlessly. Once was never enough, though they spent their days ducking from closet to closet, shirking their respective duties and fucking madly. Even so, she still found herself skirting the shadows between the castle and his barracks after her maid saw her to bed.
Her clothes were discarded before Rolf could even close the door and Rolf had her in every way imaginable—even face to face when the fire burned low. His resistance to being seen was slightly baffling to Rolf. Magdalena had not complained nor shown any revulsion, but still he preferred the low lights. Perhaps to shield her from a face he loathed, perhaps because he had not yet resigned himself to fucking someone who fared so poorly when compared to his previous lovers in beauty, if not in enthusiasm.
“Let’s look at you in the light,” Magdalena’s dressing maid cajoled on the seventh day of her debauchery. Magdalena stepped into the light gingerly. It could have been worse, had she not been accustomed to riding. Still, riding a horse is not fucking a man and her hips were slow in recovering from all of the ways her legs had been spread in the past week. Magdalena’s maid pulled back her lips like she were a horse at market. “Whatever have you been doing, child?” The maid exclaimed. “I believe they are straightening out of their own accord.” Magdalena rushed to the mirror and parted her lips. Yes. There where her left canine had projected insouciantly from a jagged line of teeth, it now sat in a perfectly ordered line.
After the second week of their unrepentant fucking, one of Rolf’s colleagues commented that the sloped bridge of his nose was gathering itself back up into an old familiar shape. Rolf didn’t dare to hope, but the thick silky pelt of fur that covered his torso was falling out in clumps. The skin under was healthy and human-pink.
In the third week of their rabid coupling, Magdalena found herself in what seemed very much like love. The orgasms, the ferocious way Rolf devoured her, the way he held absolute power over her, all conspired against her. She was young and formerly innocent.
So there she was, once again pinned to the table by the superior strength of a molting Rolf. Her thighs had parted for him easily, and just as easily Rolf was hard and climbing her body. She might have noticed the differentiation in thickness between his heel and his calf—a graduation that had not been present just last night—had she not been so absorbed in answering Rolf’s carnal demand.
Her head was tipped back, the crown of her skull resting on the table as her spine made a bridge, and her eyes were closed. She couldn’t see his face, which was no longer 100% Gorilla. Neither was it 100% human, but some evolutionary plateau between. His face didn’t matter, not to her anyway, not right then. He was inside of her and on top of her and she had given herself over to the animal in her throat. It mattered to him, but there had been enough of a transformation that fear of her horror in his features was defeated by his need to own her.
Her heel was pressed into the small of his back as she strained upward for release. Rolf felt his balls tighten in response. For a moment, he forgot himself. Forgot his promises not to impose too far on her sensibilities. Fucking but no kissing, for example. There was no need to bring her face to face with the creature, which was what he called the thing looking back at him in the mirror. No need to risk the rejection.
But he forgot himself and his promises as he came. He dropped his head and took her lower lip between his teeth briefly, then kissed her as he’d never kissed anyone before. He drank from her mouth deeply, as if he meant it. His orgasm hit her like dragon fire, which she caught and internalized, then exploded herself.
Gradually, she regained awareness of her surroundings. Yes, his quarters were exactly as they had been. The sharp angles of his rough-hewn table familiar, but the weight of his body over hers was not the same. Redistributed. She tested her pussy muscles against his spent cock. That was different too. She gathered her arms back from where they had fallen and clasped them around his waist. But where there had been a feline’s fur under the gesture, there was now skin.