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IRON split the air the throne


Beauty is Iron

by Cobalt Jade (


They called her the Iron Empress.

For twenty years she had ruled over Thorzaan and the Twenty Kingdoms
from a throne of cold-wrought iron forged into whirls of sharp spikes,
hissing dragons contorting among them. No velvet cushions, no gilded wood,
for in the part of the world she ruled iron was rarer than silver, rarer
even than gold, and far more precious, for whoever controlled the iron
controlled the implements of war. The proud troops of Duke Stonebridge,
her would-be assassin, had worn only leather armor and wielded wooden
shields. Which was precisely why the Duke had died and his daughters were

The Iron Empress frowned as she looked down upon her captives. They
brought to mind a pair of bookends, for they were identical twins, in
identical positions...both kneeling submissively on the cold metal floor of
the throne room, bound hand and foot with tightly wound wire cables. The
rough, dull finish of the wire contrasted sharply against their pampered
ivory limbs, which of late had been wearing bracelets of silver and anklets
of gold. Lately. General Hartherzig had divested them of such finery when
they had been captured. Now they were nude, the better to display their
charms. They kept their pretty heads down as if shamed, their dark red curls brushing the floor. But the Empress knew it was only an act, for
defiance still flashed in their tear-reddened eyes.

It was now her job to sentence them, and erase that defiance forever.

She gave a warm sigh of anticipation, leaning back into her throne. Her
court waited in a semicircle below the dais, keeping a healthy distance
from the twins as if afraid their disgrace would contaminate them. The
Empress knew some of them harbored assassination plots themselves, for she
was neither a beloved ruler or a popular one.

But she was a powerful one, and that was why she had kept her throne.

She raised her hand in a sharp gesture. "Councilor, read the charges."

"We of the Royal Court of Thorzaan are gathered here today, on the
twenty-third date of the month of Winterbirth, to witness the sentencing of
Lady Aemil Stonebridge and Lady Cillwyn Stonebridge, daughters of Lord Lugh
Stonebridge, for their seditious activities against the throne. Such
activities included attempts on the life of the Iron Empress, appropriating
monies from Imperial tax collectors, holding public meetings in violation
of Imperial Edict Number four two three..."

The charges were meaningless, she knew. The girls had not participated
in any of the acts. But they would serve well as camouflage for putting
them at her disposal.

Cillwyn--the left-hand twin--whimpered a bit as the charges were read,
but proud Aemil gave no sign. The Councilor finished and re-rolled his
scroll. "You have heard the charges," the Iron Empress spoke. Her voice
was strong yet harsh, with a metallic ring to it. "How do you respond?"

"They are all false," Aemil said in a low voice, her gaze still fixed on
the floor. "But what is that to you? You wish to punish us, and here we
are, as flies caught on a sheet of gummed paper."

"Yes, they are false," Cillwyn echoed, her luscious round bottom
squirming on the iron tiles of floor, trying to find relief from the
tightness of her bonds.

The Empress frowned. They were trying to trick her, show her as a
tyrant, by disguising their fear with righteous nobility. She had expected
tears and screams, cries for mercy, anything to avoid her wrath. For the
Iron Empress was also a metalmage, the last of her line.

She had paid dearly for it. In her youth, when testing and
strengthening her magical powers, an accident scarred her face and body.
Not with the sharp clean cuts of glass or metal blades, but debilitating
burns that melted the very flesh off her bones, warping it into shiny
creases, obscene puckers. Even her eyelids had been burned away. Once as
comely and nubile as the twins, she was now a warped caricature of
femininity, an angry red demon with hands like claws.

She had her power, but at what cost?

By sorcery she forged herself a suit of jointed armor. Its cold iron
curves fitted perfectly over her disfigured arms and legs, giving her the
semblance of a shapely feminine form. Being made of magic it was
marvelously flexible at the joints, and marvelously light; she relieved its
somber blackness with engraved designs in silver, enlivened by diamonds and
other clear sparkling stones. On her head she wore an iron helm with a
full head of black hair spun from ultra-fine silk thread. A visor that
covered the upper half of her face with slitted eyeholes so she could see
out, though none could see in. Her nose, cheeks and mouth she left
exposed. They were the only parts of her that had not been scarred.

The iron-hard curves of her torso followed those of Amori Sumi, the
goddess of love. Her breasts were large and proud, with nipples hard
enough to bore holes through two planks of wood.

Her subjects did not question why their Empress, who had conquered
Thorzaan and made it an empire, concealed herself inside a metal skin. It
was not wise to question the habits of such a powerful being.

Powerful...and singular. Since her accident, she had been celibate.
Her magic could keep her eternally young and healthy, but it could not give
her beauty where beauty had been destroyed.

She glared through her visor, through lashless, lidless eyes, at the
helpless, naked twins.

"You two seem to be very sure of your innocence," she said sharply,
robbed of the amusing drama she had been anticipating. "Yet you do not beg
for your lives. I can be merciful if it pleases me."

"Mercy, from you?" Aemil spat. "You killed our father!"

"You play with us," Cillwyn said in a smaller voice. "Apply your
justice, whatever it is. You will get no tears from us."

"So I shall," the Empress said grimly. She looked at her court.
"Leave, all of you. Death is too good for these two insolent churls. I
will deal with them in private!"


"What does she plan to do to us?" Cillwyn whispered when the court had

"I don't know," Aemil said. She knew how vulnerable they were, not only
to sexual violation but more conventional kinds of torture. "Be strong

A tear fell from Cillwyn's face on the dull metal tiles of the throne
room. Aemil could not see her face, but knew she wept. They were miles
from rescue, miles from anything here in the Empress's fortress-keep, which
was as black and impenetrable as the iron armor she wore. Iron tiles
patterned the floor, dark grays and lighter grays in alternation, and the
curtains and carpets echoed this scheme: black and gray and pewter. No
flowers graced the high, cold halls, nor the warm tones of gold, or the
flash of colored jewels. All was dull and lifeless.

Sharp metal clicks echoed off the walls as the Empress rose from her
throne, drawing sparks from the tiles with her bootheels. Aemil winced as
they flashed under her nose. She struggled vainly in the metal cords that
bound her.

"Kill us, if you want," she said. "Flesh may die, but our souls will
fly free...forever free, in the Ninth Tier of Paradise."

"Paradise?" the Empress said amusedly. "I think not. You two are a
gift sent from the gods; why should I kill you? I have a more practical
fate in mind."

Aemil winced as the Empress lifted her chin. Her visor hid the upper
part of her face, but the slanted eye-slits gave her the predatory look of
a cat or eagle. Even so, Aemil couldn't tell what color the Empress's eyes
were, or even if she had eyes at all.

"Yes, you are two beauties, aren't you," the Empress chuckled. "Faces,
hair, bodies...perfect. How old are you? Seventeen? Eighteen?" Aemil bit
back her revulsion as the Empress's jointed metal hands began to knead her
breasts. The touch was cold and repulsive, yet somehow arousing.

"Ah, but age doesn't matter. What matters is the body." The iron
fingers pinched her nipples, and to Aemil's shame a discharge of fluid
creamed down the inner walls of her sex. The pressure increased; it was as
if her nipples were caught in a pair of tongs. She bit her lower lip, not
wanting to give the Empress the satisfaction of hearing her cry out.

The Empress lifted her nipples, pulling her breasts up, then let them go
so they bounced softly against her chest. She moved on to Cillwyn.

Cillwyn stared at her with a glazed look like an animal caught in a
trap. She had always been quieter and less bold than her twin. "Now now,
I'm not going to hurt you," the Empress chuckled. Cillwyn trembled like a
deer, shifting from knee to knee in vain effort to turn her tightly bound
body away. It was no use. The metal-gloved hand penetrated Cillwyn's sex,
gently pumping up and down. Cillwyn whimpered and struggled, but
eventually her struggles settled into a rhythm, and Aemil realized in
horror her twin was cooperating in her own rape.

It was obscene, yet Aemil couldn't tear her eyes away. Cillwyn's eyes
shut, her lips parted; her breasts jiggled up and down like ivory pears
bouncing on a tree. Her nipples hardened, her nostrils flared. The
Empress's other hand cupped the back of Cillwyn's head, winding in her
dark, rosy curls, then drew Cillwyn's lips to her own. Aemil was suddenly
afraid of what that slash of dark scarlet would do. She looked away as the
Empress kissed her sister, their tongues meeting outside of their mouths,
wrapping about each other like snakes.

The Empress broke off the kiss. Cillwyn aimed a tortured glance at her
twin, then bit her lip and hung her head in shame. Scarlet flushed her
skin, and Aemil knew beyond a doubt that her twin had been as wet and
aroused as she was. What was this evil witch doing to them?

"I was right," the Empress said. "You two are unpicked blooms, hothouse
flowers, both of you. Virgin, yet ready not to be! I can tell."

Aemil flushed. The Empress was right; she hadn't had a lover as yet,
though plenty of young men had been interested. She was wrong about
Cillwyn, though; she had lost her maidenhead three months ago to her
father's stable-boy.

"Too bad you will remain virgin forever," the Empress said. "Except to
each other, that is."

The metal cables suddenly unbound them. They were free, yet remained
crouching on the floor, restrained by some unseen force.

"Look at your sister," the Empress commanded, speaking to both of them.
"See how pretty she is? Look at her breasts, her hard little nipples.
Don't you want to kiss them, suck on them? Her lips are so soft, so
inviting. Her flesh waits for your touch, she is aching for you."

Sorcery rippled through the air. Aemil stared at her twin, unable to
break her gaze away. The hollow drone of the Empress's voice penetrated
her mind, overriding her will. Her limbs unlocked and she crawled to where
Cillwyn crouched. Cillwyn in turn crawled over to her.

No! She thought. This is wrong, we can't be made to do this...but her
hands were moving of her own will, caressing Cillwyn's warm, creamy flesh.
Her sister stared into her face, a reflection in a mirror...same full lips,
same slanted amber eyes, same delicate jaw. Her features were taut with
the same compulsion that affected Aemil's own. Trembling, her mouth tried
to form words. "No...we can't..."

"I'm sorry," Aemil gasped, but her hands continued to stroke.

Cillwyn gritted her teeth, sweat beading on her forehead. Helplessly,
Aemil felt her hands skim over her sister's rear, tracing circles on her
buttocks with her fingertips. Cillwyn sat rigidly at first; then her head
began to move, in little jerks, toward Aemil's right breast. With a sudden
motion she grasped the nipple in her mouth and sucked hard, with a palpable
shudder, as if the last of her resistance had broken inside her.

"Oh..." Aemil moaned. It felt wonderful, wonderful enough to ignore the
fact her sister was the agent of her pleasure. Her fingers moved of their
accord to her twin's sex. Her pubic hair, fox-red like her own, was damp
with sweat and sexual juices. Aemil stroked the moist lips, then found her
twin's stiffening love-button. She flicked it with her fingers. Cillwyn
gasped like a woman in childbirth, neglecting the nipple she still held,
and squirmed between Aemil's dripping fingers.

"Don't stop!" The Empress's voice was stern as iron. "Keep going. Let
the passion grow between you, let it burn and take its course..."

Aemil brought her other hand up to manipulate her own left nipple,
pinching and pulling. Deep gasps erupted from her mouth, as if rolling up
from the very depth of her being. Something clenched, relaxed, then
clenched deep inside her, a muscle that begged to be exercised, a cavity to
be filled. Cillwynn's breasts were now bobbing before her, very large and
round, and she knew she wanted her mouth on them, sucking and champing as
if they were two balls of marzipan tipped with candied cherries. So soft
in her mouth, the nipples so helpless under her mouth and

"Yes, keep it up!" the Empress said gleefully.

Cillwyn moaned, her hands buried in her own crotch, her hips rocking
back and forth.

"Both of you, on the floor. Lay mouth to bush, bush to mouth, that's
it. Open the place between your legs to the mouth of the other. Lick,
suck. Put your tongues inside each other, as if eating a honeycomb."

No! Aemil's mind screamed. But she couldn't stop abetting this obscene
display with her sister. She lay on her back and Cillwyn straddled her,
her twin spreading her legs over her face. Aemil devoured the swollen pink
organs she found there, stabbing with her tongue as if she would go mad.
Cillwyn did the same to her, sending shrill jolts of pleasure coursing
through her belly, her upper thighs, even her arms.

"Keep licking!" the Empress commanded.

Helplessly, Aemil continued to lick, her face buried in her sister's
musky crotch. Her hands rose to encircle Cillwyn's buttocks, kneading the
firm globes like two loaves of bread.

"Oh yes," the Empress hissed. "Oh, yesssss...." She unlatched a
discretely hinged door at the crotch of her armor and revealed her sex,
then plunged a shiny steel phallus between her pubic lips. Her mouth
stretched in a grimace of ecstasy, caught between pleasure and pain.

"No..." Aemil moaned as Cillwyn's tongue continued its work, the excited
love-dance of her hips mashing her nipples. "No, Cill, stop! She's an
evil witch, a tyrant, and she's making us do this for one of her spells!
Stop it, Cill, stop...."

Her voice faded to whimpers as the orgasm grew, crested, then broke.
The Empress threw back her head and screamed like an animal, shrilling the
words of a spell:

"Iron is beauty, and beauty is iron.

"Transmute, transform, transgress;

"Flesh to metal, and metal to flesh."

Aemil quaked, her insides vibrating like a tuning fork. The thunderous
spasm went on forever. Her breath left her, as did her thoughts. She was
flying up to heaven on silver wings, dizzy with the steepness of her climb.
Flying...flying...flying...then the tension released her, allowing her
body, her soul's package, to claim her again.

A loud crack split the air of the throne room.

With great effort Aemil refocused her vision. The Empress stood by the
dais, legs and arms spread wide...a black iron X that had split in two, the
crack running up her armored torso from crotch to neck. White-hot fire
showed through the thin jagged line. A second series of cracks spiraled
across the Empress's arms and legs, the silver-chased gauntlets showing
seams of intolerable brightness. The iron armor fell to the floor with a
clang, drawing sparks from the cold metal tiles, and the glow became
intolerable, the heart of a star, a nova, a fiery furnace. Aemil's vision
turned to black.

When she could see again the Empress stepped over the shattered shell of
her armor, standing revealed in all her naked glory. Her body was whole
and perfect, not deformed as the stories said, breasts large, round, and
firm, the salmon nipples erect and trembling with excitement. Her skin
gleamed like pale ivory and her long curly hair was the shade of blood.
Aemil gasped. The Empress looked just like herself, like her sister...a
twin to the twins, a merciless changeling who had stolen their flesh.

The Empress shook out her curls, smiling, and ran her hands over her
body. "It worked," she whispered. She cupped her breasts in each hand,
then smoothed her palms over her hips. "It worked...!"

What worked, Aemil thought. And why do I feel so...heavy? Where's
Cillwyn? Her arousal came back, a raw and shameful hunger. She needed to
feel Cillwyn's sweet nipples mashed against her own, Cillwyn's silky mouth
feasting on her sex. But she felt so lethargic! Why couldn't she move?

She glanced out of the corner of her eye. Cillwyn was not there.
Instead Aemil saw a life-sized black statue of a female nude posed in a
sphinxlike position on her hands and knees, her breasts thrust out before
her. Her eyes were wide and blank, her lips pursed and slightly parted.
The texture of the statue suggested cast iron rather than stone. Another
glance, and terror exploded in Aemil's soul. The statue had her sister's

Her face...

Which meant that she, more than likely, was a similar statue herself.

She tried to scream, but no sound came from her throat.

"Flesh to metal, and metal to flesh," the Empress said in a sweet
girlish voice that was a blend of both Aemil's and Cillwyn's, yet with an
uncanny metallic ring. "I knew carnal magic would work if I used pair of
twins. Iron becomes beauty, and beauty becomes iron. My arousal spell
gave you two more than a little encouragement, I'm sure." Her smile was
maleficent, triumphant; yet sweet as a girl's. "I have your beauty, and
you have my...iron."

The twins could only stare from their sphinxlike positions on the floor.
"Yes, you will continue to have naughty feelings for each other. They
will never go away, I'm afraid. But that will hardly matter to a pair of
garden statues. You will be a perfect addition to my country home,
flanking the gate to the conservatory. My court will ride through in their
fine carriages, and some may pause to admire you. In time, moss will grow,
vines creep, and you will get a beautifully weathered rustic look. I hope
you enjoy living in the country. You will be there for a long, long, time.
Or at least until another metalmage transforms you back. But don't get
your hopes up. A true metalmage comes along only once in a century. And
I've no wish to be a deformed cripple again, so I will make sure you
stay...ironic?" She laughed again, finding it amusing.

Aemil moaned, though again no sound was produced. To be statues?
Forever? And not even pretty ones of marble or gold, but rough-textured
iron black as coal! To spend every day, every night, in the same position,
feeling this shameful desire for her sister, and being unable to fulfill
it...she would go insane! She sent a swift prayer to the gods, but no
divine thunderbolts came to her rescue. Nor did any winged avatars with
invincible swords.

The Empress suddenly narrowed her eyes. "But on the other hand..." She
pulled a large lever at the side of her throne.

A section of floor before the statuefied twins slid away, revealing a
long ramp with a slowly moving conveyer. It led to the subterranean
workshops where the Empress's finest creations were forged. More
specifically, to the giant furnace where raw metal was smelted.

The Empress shook her head, a mocking smile on her lips. "Sorry. I
just can't take the risk." She pulled another lever, and the former Aemil
and Cillwyn began to trundle, ever so slowly, down the conveyer. The doors
of the furnace opened wide to admit them, revealing its roaring, white-hot

No! Aemil screamed. The evil witch can't do this to us! Dear gods,
help us!

But no matter how frantically she prayed or tried to move, her heavy
iron limbs remained frozen. She was only a helpless iron statue, not a
girl who could shout or run for help. At this realization fear became
panic became an all-consuming scream, a shrill whistle on the edge of
hearing...if any of the metalsmiths had bothered to hear. But they heard
nothing above the roar of the furnace, the clank of forged metal. And they
saw nothing but two iron statues designated as scrap...comely and unusual
statues, yes, but still only iron, and still only scrap. Not a one glanced
up from his work as the twins glided by.

But if any had looked, he would have been impressed by the frozen terror
in their eyes, which were very, very wide, and very, very trapped...


The Empress watched as first Aemil, then Cillwyn, disappeared into the
crackling orange flames. The heavy furnace doors closed with a clang. The
two would be smelted with all the other scrap, their identities lost
forever as their essences mingled...a ghoulish echo of the incestuous
passion her magic had made them share. Mixed with former hair pins and
battered cookware, they would emerge from the furnace as liquid metal, to
be processed into shiny new objects, useful ones like swords and spears,
practical ones like nails and cauldrons. An appropriate fate for those who
defied the Iron Empress. A horrible fate, when the Empress thought about
it, but she liked her new body too much to risk losing it.

She pulled the lever again and the floor panel slid back into place.

"Poor children," she whispered. "Beauty and iron have one thing in
common. They are both cruel."

Stretched languorously, she walked from the throne room to find more
appropriate garments, running her hands over her hard young body.


(The tale of the Twins is continued in Part Two, Vengeance is Steel.)

This work is copyrighted 2000 by Cobalt Jade ( This
work may be be freely distributed over electronic media provided no fee is
charged for its use. Charging a fee for this story, or publishing without
author credit or this notice violates my copyright.


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