Chapter 98: Nailah
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“Lia, Brom wishes to speak with you.” Amelia said. “He says he wishes to surrender.”

Lia dropped the book she was holding in shock. “What?” She exclaimed. “Was his visit really that demoralizing?!”

“I don’t know.” Amelia said. “He just wrote a letter saying he wished to discuss the terms of his surrender, and for me to call him as quickly as possible.”

Lia nodded, standing up. “Well, I’m not going to complain.” She said. “Please, call him.”

“On it.”

A moment later, the figure of a very weary Brom appeared, sitting in his chair. “Queen Lia,” he said, “I have come to swear an Oath of surrender. I know you do not trust Oaths, but the Goddess of Law has given me her word that this one Oath she will not harm you with, as a last kindness to me.”

If she lies here, she’s going to be in enormous trouble, so the offer’s valid. Just wanted to make sure you knew.

Thanks, Connie. Lia said, then continued her conversation with Brom. “I understand. What terms do you ask of me?”

Brom sighed. “Few, and those that I have will be made outside of the Oath. Meg wanted to ask that you convert my family personally, to strengthen them. Is this something you find acceptable?”

“No problem at all.” Lia replied. “Anything else?”

“I just would ask that you treat our civilians the same as you treat the ones in your capital.” Brom asked.

“You have my word.” Lia said seriously. “Brom, I hold a lot of respect for you as a ruler, and as a person, and I would officially like to extend the offer for you to serve as my advisor on this matter. If you feel your subjects are being treated unfairly, tell me, and I will do my utmost to fix the issue.

“Furthermore, I will name you Duchess of the Glens, allowing you to keep authority on policy within the Glens, so long as you are willing to implement the practices and laws I will have everyone implement, and allow me to veto a law you create should I find it unjust. Aside from those things, however, I will attempt to remain as hands-off as possible with regards to your territory, with the exception of sending aid to areas that need it.”

“I…thank you, Queen Lia.” Brom said. “Those are my only conditions. Otherwise, our surrender is unconditional. If I may, I would like to dictate the terms of the Oath now, stop me at any time if you feel it is unacceptable.”

“I understand. Please, begin.”

Brom took a deep breath. “I, Brom, King of the Glens, will offer my kingdom’s unconditional surrender to the swarm. Our citizens will let themselves be converted without any attempt to fight or flee, and travel outside of the country is prohibited until this Oath is invalid. All rights of governance are transferred to the swarm, and the swarm is not to be restricted in any way by these terms.”

He paused, and Lia gave him a nod of approval. “This I swear as an Oath under the Goddess of Law.”

“I, Lia, Queen of the Swarm, find these terms acceptable, and swear them as Oath under the Goddess of Law.”

Brom sagged, a flurry of emotions crossing his face. “If you could, please leave me for last; I am not sure if the Glens will be considered part of your empire if I am converted, and I would like the Oath to remain in place for as long as possible, so my people do not hurt themselves.”

You may be converted immediately with the rest of your family. The Goddess of Law said wearily, her voice digging down in Lia’s soul and leaving Lia with the undeniable knowledge that it was her speaking. I will consider the Oath valid until the last citizen of the Glens is converted. Lia, I do not approve of you or your methods in the slightest, but I will tentatively trust you to treat the citizens of the Glens right. Do not make me regret this decision.

“I won’t.” Lia promised. “I want to better this world, not become a tyrant.”

There was no response from the Goddess of Law, so Brom gave a nod. “Convert me at the same time as my family, then.” He said. “When do you think we can begin?”

Lia shot a glance at Amelia, who nodded. “Now.” Lia said. “I’ll have Amelia send me over in a moment. Does your family have any requests? We can bring over stuff from here if you need.”

“I will need to check with Meg.” Brom said. “I left her in charge of that.”

Please have him gather the relics of the Glens. Alisha requested. I wish to absorb them.

After we convert the palace staff. It’ll be easier then, and there’s no rush. Lia told her, then turned her attention back to Brom. “I’ll head over now.” She said. “We’ll get your requests figured out and then kick this thing off.”

Brom, Ki – Duchess of the Glens, sat in his chair, staring at off-white cocoon in front of him. “Did you really need all of that space?” He asked, looking up at Queen Lia.

“Yes?” Lia replied. “The monster we used was decently large, so between that and the gear we ended up with this.”

“Monster? I thought you were just grabbing beastmaster’s equipment.”

“Well, we could, but after Rose and I talked it out we decided using a monster that was already in that sort of role would amplify the result. You did say that whatever we felt would make you strongest was fine.”

Brom frowned. “What monster?”

“It was the leader of a pack of wolf monsters Ophelia had been keeping an eye on.” Lia said. “We thought it would be a perfect fit for you.”

“So…I’ll be a wolfkin, then.” Brom said slowly.

“Is that a problem?” Lia asked curiously. “If it is, we can take the monster out, it just means you won’t be as strong afterwards.”

“No, I suppose not.” Brom said. “It was just…surprising.”

Lia shrugged. “That’s the way we do things around here.” She said. “We don’t much care what race someone is, in the end, we’re all just people, and that’s all that matters. Anyway, here’s the list of stuff we put in there for you, look it over and let me know if you want anything changed, okay?” Lia handed Brom a piece of paper, then sat down on one of the couches, giving Brom time to read.

The monster aside, it was all stuff he had expected, though the effects were all significantly stronger than he had assumed they would be. In fact, he had assumed that they would be using regular gear, not magic items like they had brought. And, furthermore, these items appeared to be part of a set of some sort, their effects all working together and building off of each other. “Where did you get these items?” Brom asked curiously.

“Amelia made them for me.” Lia said nonchalantly. “Same with everything else we’re using for your family. I figured it’s the least we could do for you.”

“I…see.” Brom said. “I have no complaints, then. Please, let’s get this over with.”

Lia gave him a sad sort of smile, standing up and walking over to him. “I’m sorry it has to be this way, but it’s for the best.” She said, raising a hand and placing it on his forehead. “It’ll be over before you know it.” A cool, claylike substance emerged from her palms, quickly flattening and racing to cover his body. Brom stayed still, letting the material cover him as his vision went dark.

Brom’s eyes flew open, the remnants of his cocoon already vanishing into nothing. It felt like no time at all had passed since the Queen had encased him, but the clock in his office showed that it was exactly one hour later. Hesitantly, he held out his hand, looking at the slender, youthful arm that, despite that fact that he was seeing it for the first time, felt undeniably his, like he had had it his whole life.

He got up from the bed he was on, heading over to the mirror that had been hung on the room’s wall. Reflected therein was a wolfkin woman that couldn’t be older than twenty, her hair, fur, and eyes a dark blue. She was wearing what appeared to be an approximation of a beastmaster’s gear, the thickly padded leathers traded for a light cloth shirt and shorts that were patterned so as to vaguely resemble them.

Brom instinctively knew that it was because it was monster armor; though the look and feel of the armor was different, it nonetheless provided coverage over the whole body, a small convenience of becoming like this. Still, looking back at his reflection, Brom noted that he lacked any of the normal tools that would be used by beastmasters, such as whips, leashes, or the like.

As he thought about that, he instinctively held out his hand, and a collar and leash appeared within, only to vanish the moment he willed it away. In fact, he could conjure basically anything so long as it was related to beasts; whips, saddles, even a spear or bow and arrows for hunting were available at only a thought.

A quick scan of his Skills revealed that he had quite a few, but he didn’t have a traditional “taming” Skill; instead of taming a monster or beast, instead he had a Skill that allowed him to subdue one for easier conversion and then form a bond with the target after it was converted, functioning similar to a normal beastmaster’s bond and allowing his other Skills to work.

Those other Skills were…significantly stronger than most beastmaster Skills. He could have an active bond with more creatures than even most high leveled beastmasters, and that Skill was only level one. Furthermore, he could share senses with his bonded creatures, access portions of their Skills, boost their stats to a significant degree while around them, and understand their needs from a glance.

His stats, though not nearly as high as Ophelia’s, were nothing to sneeze at, and he would be able to level and evolve much quicker, as well. All in all, it was a rousing success, everything he had asked for and more, there was just one last issue that needed to be addressed.

Namely, the mental changes he could already feel pushing against his mind, demanding he cave and accept them. He had no intention of resisting for long, he knew there was no way he could hold out forever, but he at least wanted to survey them with his old mind before he let them in, just to feel how bad they “really” were.

To his slight surprise, they weren’t as bad as he had been expecting; yes, there were bits about unconditional loyalty to the Qu – to Lia, but he had been expecting…more, to be in a state where he could never question her actions or so much as conceive of her ways as being anything but perfect. While he knew that if she truly pushed for something he wouldn’t be able to say no, he could also see that he would be able to push back and offer alternatives.

There were also changes that pushed him to accept his new body and new sex, to prefer them, but those were…acceptable. If his form was to be always changing and evolving, he would prefer to like his new forms if at all possible. They also forced him to accept the forms of other members of the swarm, no matter how they looked; they were part of the swarm, and that was all that mattered. That change was likewise fine; Brom hated discrimination, and this change would help eradicate the last subconscious parts of himself that saw things related to monsters as repugnant.

And, finally, there were the most egregious changes, ones that changed his morality and the way he perceived the world. They demanded him to acknowledge that it was the natural state of things for Lia to rule, for all people to be part of the swarm. They said that converting people was acceptable, as natural as a wolf eating her prey; the prey would, of course, call that act wrong, but for the wolf, it was her way of life.

It was the one change that Brom truly disliked, but…he had no way of avoiding it forever, so he closed his eyes, and let the changes in. The instant he let his guard down, the feelings overwhelmed him, quickly rooting themselves deep in his psyche and becoming as much a part of her as everything that was there before.

Brom opened her eyes, smiling as she saw her reflection again. The sight of her body brought a thrill to her mind, excitement filling her as she thought of the endless opportunities for growth and change she now had. But, before anything else, with her new body she deserved a new name, and she knew just what she wanted; she had always liked the name Nailah, something about its simple elegance spoke to her, and she had been planning to use it if she had another daughter, but she was more than happy to take it for herself.

She twisted and turned, admiring her new form in the mirror for a few moments longer before leaving the room and heading towards the room where her wife was converting. The Queen had thoughtfully ordered the conversions so that Nailah would finish first, followed by her wife and then their children from oldest to youngest, and Nailah was thankful for it; it meant she would be able to be there to help her family adjust to their new forms.

As she opened the door, she caught sight of the Queen down the hallway, sitting in a couch and reading a book. She hesitated for a moment, unsure if she should greet the Queen before heading to her wife, but thankfully the Queen took notice, setting the book down and walking over with a smile on her face.

“Brom, you look great.” She said. “How do you feel?”

“I feel fantastic, my Queen.” Nailah replied. “And I have chosen Nailah as my new name, so please, do not call me Brom anymore.”

“It sounds lovely, Nailah.” The Queen said. “And, please, call me Lia; I would like to be friends, and standing on ceremony will get in the way of that.”

“As you wish, Lia.” Nailah said. “How soon do you think my family will be finished?”

“Titania should be done in…” Lia paused, turning around to look at a clock down the hall, “about two minutes.” She finished. “Leonardo will finish five minutes after that, Mordecai five minutes after him, and Mist yet another five minutes later. Please, don’t let me keep you any longer; go be with your family, I’ll fetch Meg.”

“Is she not here?” Nailah asked. “I was sure she’d want to stay and watch over us.”

“She’s helping oversee the conversion of the palace staff.” Lia explained. “And she wanted to give you and Titania a bit of alone time after your conversions finished, so it worked out perfectly. Now, hurry to your wife; if we take any longer, she’s going to finish before you get there.”

Nailah nodded, giving Lia one last smile before entering the room opposite the one she had been converted in. Within was the cocoon of her wife, composed of the same off-white substance that Nailah’s own had been made of. Her instincts told her the substance was called modeling wax, and that she, too, was capable of producing and using it; she just had to eat things, and then they would turn into modeling wax, which she could secrete from her palms.

Nailah anxiously awaited her wife’s conversion, and after another minute or so, she finished. Titania’s cocoon melted away, revealing a woman who looked…much the same as she had before, if younger and more fit. It appeared Titania had chosen to lean into her old Job, that of a front line melee combatant; she had her same brown hair and eyes, but was slightly taller than she used to be, her muscles a bit more defined. She was wearing what had clearly used to be heavy armor, though the metal now looked more like leather and the area it covered had shrunk to just the torso and legs. And, to complete the look, a massive great sword and spear were strapped to her back.

She got up from the bed, looking around before catching sight of Nailah. “Brom?” She breathed, a hungry light growing in her eyes. “You…you look fantastic.”

“You as well.” Nailah said, walking over and giving her wife a kiss. As Nailah moved to pull away, Titania’s strong arms pulled her back in, trapping her and forcing her to continue the kiss. But, eventually, Nailah was able to wiggle free, forcing herself out of the blissful embrace of her wife.

“I’m going by Nailah now.” Nailah informed her, panting slightly. “And as much as I would love to continue this, our kids are going to be done converting in a couple of minutes, so we can’t get too into it.”

Titania nodded. “Seems like you’ve decided to fully commit, then?”

Nailah nodded. “There wasn’t any point to resisting for long, so I let it happen. What about yourself?”

Titania blushed, looking away. “I…lost control during the kiss.” She admitted embarrassedly. “I couldn’t keep myself focused enough, but I also wasn’t trying very hard for much the same reason as you. But…how are you feeling?”

“Great.” Nailah replied. “Young, full of vigor, ready to face the new world. Though…I’m probably going to take a break for a while, slowly ease Leonardo into the job of ruling this place. If he does well, I’ll probably shift my focus to helping out back at the capital.”

“Speaking of, he should be finishing soon, right?” Titania asked.

“In a minute or two.” Nailah confirmed, holding out her arm for her wife to grab. “Shall we?”

The couple moved over to the room where Leonardo was converting, and were joined by Meg shortly thereafter. Meg, of course, gave delighted squeals as she beheld her parents’ new forms, rushing over for hugs and asking all about the specifics of their transformations. As they were in the middle of explaining, Leonardo finished converting, so they stopped to give him some time to adjust.

He had chosen to become more proficient in magic, and as such was wearing an archmage’s robes, the fabric having changed color to the same blue as Nailah’s hair, a blue that Leonardo’s hair had become as well. Physically, he looked much like Nailah imagined she would have looked like if she had been a woman in her teenage years, though in some places Nailah could easily see Titania’s influence. Leonardo took a minute or two to get adjusted, and a minute or two more before deciding to take the name Lucia. Once they were satisfied that Lucia was comfortable, the four left for Mordecai’s room.

Mordecai had opted to follow in his mother’s footsteps, though instead of being a heavily armored warrior, he had chosen to be a light and nimble duelist, wielding two swords. He was the spitting image of Titania when she was younger, and after a short discussion, settled on the name Marcia. She acclimatized remarkably quickly, so they soon found themselves in Mist’s room.

Mist had chosen to forgo any sort of combat prowess in the short term, instead focusing on the idea of being a student. She wanted to explore her options more, and so she figured that a being a dedicated student would allow her to better learn about all the new things she could do without limiting herself in the future. Much like Marcia, she looked like a much younger version of Titania, though it seemed she had also inherited Nailah’s new hair and eye color.

And, with the family all together again, Nailah couldn’t help but smile. This wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting things to be like after conversion, but she was glad that it wasn’t. Their familial bonds were as strong as ever, and really, that was all that mattered.

...Would you believe me if I said it was an accident that Brom ended up with the name of the wolf queen from Radiant Dawn? I didn't even realize until a bit after when I was deciding the other names, Nailah was just the name that sounded best in my mind.

Brom being made into a wolfkin was also a rather spur of the moment thing. I wanted his transformation to be more...drastic than the others, and a wolf pack leader seemed rather fitting for a beastmaster.

Anyway, that's it for me, next time we're going to probably get those relics and reveal to Nailah that Alisha's already been converted, so...look forward to it!

And, as always, thanks for reading!