The Barmaid and the Barbarian
In the middle of her shift, a barmaid turns into a handsome wolf barbarian. Oh no! Explicit.
Rosemary never spilled a drop of ale if she could help it. She knew the tables of The Red Hart so well she could weave between them with her eyes closed, and had a hand so steady that she could have been an archer or a craftsman, if either had been acceptable jobs for a young woman. So the full flagon she had upended over the wolf-kin’s head was entirely on purpose.
“Oh, I’m sorry, milord,” she said, to make it clear she wasn’t sorry at all.
She tugged a gray cloth from her belt and tossed it over the wolf’s snout, then turned sharply and walked away, leaving him to mop the ale out of his dripping fur and braided beard.
She heard the other wolves cackling and growling in delight: “Haw, that maid’s got steel between her legs!” “More steel than Wulfric’s got, that’s sure.” “You bend over and lift your tail like that for all the humans, or just the pretty ones?”
Rosemary’s cheeks were tinged pink. In the back of her mind, she wondered if she might have been mistaken, whether she really had felt those claws digging into her chest, trying to sneak a handful while she was bent over the table. She knew enough not to listen to that voice, though.
As she stepped behind the bar, she set down the flagon rather loudly and said, “Molly.”
The other barmaid lifted her cheek from her hand and turned to look at her with a curious but blank expression, as if she had no clue what Rosemary might want with her.
“Stop making doe eyes at the beast-kin,” Rosemary said. “There’s other tables to serve.”
Molly sighed. “Isn’t it exciting though? A whole pack of barbarians, right here in our tavern.”
“If by barbarians you mean Northerners and by exciting you mean a lot of work, then yes,” Rosemary said. She fetched a couple of mugs from behind the counter, and set them pointedly next to Molly’s arm. “The table by the fireplace has been asking about their mead.”
The mugs clinked together as Molly picked them up, then leaned in close and lowered her voice. “What if one of them wants to take me back to his room and fuck me like an animal? And then he carries me off to his longhouse to dress me in furs and make me his bride...”
Rosemary said, “Well, until that happens you’re still on your shift, so get to it.”
She herself was only a few years older than Molly, but there was a world of difference between the two of them. You could stick Molly at the bottom of a well and she’d find a boyfriend and a couple flings down there, while Rosemary had never had much luck with boys. Still, she could remember being nineteen and foolish, even if her particular foolishness been more wanderlust than the regular kind.
After the spate of excitement with the wolf-kin, the night eased back into a familiar pattern. Fetching mugs, filling them back up, weaving around chairs and feet (and tails, thanks to the beast-kin), tossing coins into the till, and mopping up the inevitable spills with a fresh rag fetched from the back room. The night might have passed by, full of candlelight and the smell of drink, one more night in the long fabric of her life, if it hadn’t been for the strange look one of the regulars had given her while paying his tab.
“Er, miss,” he said, “You’ve got something...here.” He rubbed his chin with his thumb and pointer finger.
Rosemary ran her hand over her face. Small coarse bristles tickled her fingers. For a moment she struggled to place the feeling but then, ah—! The miller’s son had tried to court her once. He’d kissed her and the roughness of his unshaven face had made her blush and pull back. It was the feeling of stubble, but this time, it was on her own face.
“Oh,” she said. “Excuse me.”
With her face smothered in her hand, her eyes low and her head down, she made a beeline for the storeroom behind the bar. Her cheeks glowed warm against her fingers and her ears burned. She didn’t think anyone was staring, but the paranoia bubbling up in her gut told her they were.
In the back room, there was a basin and mirror for washing up, as well as shelves stocked with assorted provisions. Rosemary shoved her way through the door, hurried up in front of the mirror, and slowly drew her hand away from her face.
Stretching from one side of her jaw to the other was a dusting of pale blonde hair, like a young man who had gone a few days without shaving. She wasn’t mistaken; she had a beard. She poured herself a handful of water from the jug beside the basin and splashed it against her face, but it didn’t help at all. If anything, by the time she was done drying off with the sleeve of her blouse, her beard had grown thicker. It would have been comely, even handsome, if it hadn’t been on her own face.
A razor. She needed a razor. Or a knife, or anything with a blade she could use to cut back her facial hair. She rummaged through the shelves, finding straps and stirrups, combs and pieces of soap wrapped in sackcloth, until finally she found a straight razor, tucked into a leather sheath to protect the blade.
A sharp creak accompanied a sudden pressure wrapped around her chest. She doubled over and caught herself against she shelves, grimacing and letting out a tight grunt. Her bodice had a stranglehold around her ribs—but how was that possible? It had fit just fine until now.
Rosemary tugged at the laces, trying to squeeze more slack into them. Every breath she took only pulled them tighter, until they were as taut as bowstrings. She attacked the laces with the razor, back bent and teeth clenched. Fabric strained and stitches popped as she sawed away, until with a loud snap the laces split apart and the bodice fell to the floor at her feet.
For a few moments, she just breathed. Her blouse rose and fell with each breath. But it rose a little too far, and didn’t fall far enough, and the sleeves clung to her arms, and her shoulders pulled the collar taut against her neck.
Razor in hand, Rosemary hurried back to the mirror. It dawned on her that she didn’t know how to shave, as no one had ever taught her how. But as she looked at her reflection, shaving became the least of her worries. There was a strange face staring back at her. But strangest of all wasn’t the strong jaw line and firm cheeks, or the blond beard, or even the big black nose stretching outward from the plane of her face. The strangest part was that she could look at that face in the mirror and immediately recognize it as herself.
But that was wrong. She looked nothing like this broad-chested, dog-nosed—
A sharp knock came from the door. It opened just a crack, letting light and noise from the tavern spill in.
In a sudden panic, Rosemary ducked her head down into the basin, so that if anyone looked inside, they would only see her backside bent over the sink.
“Rosemary, you in there?” Molly called into the room. “Those beast-kin want another round, and I figured you’d get upset if I started getting friendly with them...”
Rosemary began to say, “No, that’s—” but her voice cracked, so she cut herself off with a cough. A warm rumble now resonated from her chest whenever she spoke, like a soft growl had made its home in her throat. She hoped she just sounded hoarse. “That’s all right. I’m— ahem!—not feeling great. Go ahead and serve ‘em.”
The whole while she spoke, she watched her nose, spreading wide and inching further from her face second by second. A prickling itch broke out across her chest; she was desperate to scratch it, but didn’t want Molly to get a glimpse of whatever was happening to her.
“Okay! Might be staying late tonight, then.” At least the sing-song tone of her voice suggested she was still oblivious.
Rosemary let out a sigh of relief once the door had swung shut. Straightening up again, she wriggled her shoulders and started scratching at her chest. The prickling had already spread across her shoulders and down her stomach, though, and no matter how hard she dug her nails in, it refused to ease up. Scratching became clawing, then with a snarl that surprised even her she ripped the blouse clean in half. A broad splash of white fur stretched across her bare torso. Gray tufts had sprouted along the backs of her palms and fingers. And her snout, longer and broader and recognizably canine, had filled in around her beard with gray and white fur.
“By Borr’s beard,” she swore under her breath, then shook her head. Why was she talking like one of those Northern warriors? “I’m turning into a wolf-kin.” She managed to sound more like herself that time, though her voice was still deep and bassy.
Gingerly, she explored her body, from the fluffy ears tugging up on either side of her head, to the beard thick enough to comb her fingers through, to her chest and shoulders, broad and firm and bulging with muscle. Though it would be hard to argue that she had breasts at this point, she still felt self-conscious about her chest being so bare and open. She shrugged her shoulders and wrapped her arms around herself, running her hands slowly along her thick upper arms. She met her own gaze in the mirror, then flushed and averted her eyes.
This was wrong. Yes, she had to admit that her body looked handsome, but what would someone think if they saw her like this?
The back of her skirt flicked ot one side, then the other. Reaching behind her back, she fished out her new tail, allowing it to swing freely behind her. Even her hands had now given over to padded paws, and it was only by quick thinking that she stripped off her shoes and stockings before her feet went the way of her hands too.
From head to toe, she now looked the part of a handsome young wolf-kin. Thick muscle slid smoothly beneath her fur, and her snout was both lupine and masculine in equal measure. She looked into the mirror again, and didn’t shy away this time. Slowly, she dropped the arm that covered her chest and even let a shy smile come to her lips. She’d thought about men who looked like this before, but she’d never imagined what being one would feel like. There was even a guilty pleasure to it. Her ears folded against her head as she lifted an amr to feel the sinew tightening as it flexed.
And then, just as she was reluctantly starting to enjoy herself, she felt a throb between her furry thighs. Her eyes widened and her smile fell. Her legs squeezed together. She leaned against the basin with her hands balled into fists. It came again: a throb, a quick jolt, a reflexive flinch of her hips.
No, come on, she thought, don’t do this.
Each new pulse came with a surge of pressure. Her undergarments were already snug across her bulkier hips and couldn’t hold much more. Soon enough, they slipped down and allowed her swelling shaft to slide free. A rush of brand-new sensations hit her all at once. She clutched the front of her skirt, eyes rolling back, letting out a whine from deep in her throat. The throbbing became more deliberate and more regular. Before long she was panting, braced against the basin with one hand while humping the other. This new kind of pleasure cut through her thoughts like a white-hot knife. She couldn’t stop, and didn’t even want to.
Just as a deep, animal part of her was thinking that she could go on like this for hours, her body cut itself short. Her hips gave a few short, forceful thrusts before her knees buckled and threatened to give way. A thick wet stain welled up from the tip of her tented skirt, drooling down the front and leaving her hand soaked and sticky.
Panic set in before she had even finished her new body’s first orgasm. Erection still quivering between her legs, she splashed her hand with water and scrubbed it vigorously, then repeated the process, and still she couldn’t seem to get it all off. She shimmied out of her skirt and kicked it away, then looked down at her half-erect penis, seeing it in full for the first time.
A dry gulp rolled down her throat. Was she still a woman? Still human? She didn’t know. The more important question for now was how to make it out of the tavern without making a scene. Who and why and what could wait until later, once she’d had time to calm down and collect herself.
Rosemary cleaned off as best she could, then hunted through the shelves for some spare trousers and a belt. They fit snugly against her legs and weren’t baggy enough to hide the new passenger between her thighs, but they ought to do well enough to keep her decent. She’d found a spare tunic as well, but it was a tight fit across her brawny chest and shoulders, and made her feel constricted to wear it. She would have to get used to leaving her chest bare, for now.
She opened the door to the tavern just a crack, leaned in to peer through, and bumped her nose against the door. She bit back a swear, rubbed her smarting snout, and cocked her head to one side to keep it out of the way this time.
Molly was out serving one of the tables. She’d get suspicious if she saw some stranger behind the bar, but if Rosemary made it out onto the floor, she couldn’t imagine anyone would bother to stop her on the way out.
Just try to look natural, she told herself.
Holding her breath, Rosemary strode out of the back room. She fixed her eyes on the front door and tried not to think about whether people were looking at her or not. Her paws didn’t know the way around the tables as well as her feet had, though, and there was more more of her now. Despite a couple stumbles and bumping into a chair or two, she might have made it for the door, if it wasn’t for a furry arm flung around her shoulders and dragging her away.
The ruddy red-furred wolf-kin who’d grabbed her bellowed, “Hrodric! Where are you scurrying off to? Not trying to ditch your shield-brothers, are you?”
Rosemary could hardly will herself to speak, and even then her voice sounded fake and clumsy, like she was pretending to sound like a man. “I, uh, no, of course not! I was just stepping out...”
“Come now, you’ve hardly had anything to drink! The ale’s not bad, for a Southling town.” Grinning, he settled back into his seat at the table and pulled Rosemary down to sit beside him. She might have been strong enough to fight him off if she tried, but the last thing she wanted was to get into a fight—even if she could beat flea-ridden Yngvar any day.
Wait, had she just thought that? She assumed she’d overheard that from one of the other wolves. Where did that come from? She was too confused to object to the tankard of ale shoved into her hands and tipped up against her lips.
Knowing they would only insist if she refused, she began to drink it down. The fur on the back of her neck bristled as she tensed. She’d never been a fan of strong spirits, so she expected to gag and sputter any minute. But that never came, and without that reflex to stop her, she wound up drinking until the last drop had fallen onto her tongue. Surprised, she set the tankard down, then covered her mouth with the back of her hand and let out a small urp.
Out of nowhere, Yngvar slapped her back and a sound halfway between a bark and a belch erupted from her mouth. The whole table burst into snickering and howling. Rosemary was glad no one could see her blush, though her ears folded back against her head all the same.
Yngvar hollered for more ale. Rosemary deliberately avoided looking at Molly as she came over, sure that she would give herself away. She was hyper-aware of her bare chest and the presence of her penis, and no amount of quiet wriggling could squeeze her package into a more comfortable position. So she welcomed the next big tankard of ale pushed into her hands and drunk it down. Maybe the alcohol would at least dull her self-consciousness.
After her second drink, things got hazier. One of the wolves said her hair was a mess, then leaned over, combed it all back behind her head, and bound it up into a topknot. Another said the same about her beard, and deftly wove it into a pair of braids dangling from her chin. She had to put down her third (fourth?) mug of ale because Yngvar insisted she get out of those ridiculous Southling pants and into some proper fur breeches. She couldn’t bring herself to protest against any of it, and soon she looked as though she fit right in with the rest.
Rosemary even found she could chuckle and joke along with the other wolf-kin. It wasn’t too hard, once you got used to how loud and forward and swaggering they could be. Some part of her, lurking beneath her conscious mind and emboldened by the gentle buzz spinning about her ears, didn’t want to leave. Even if she was only playing a role, she felt comfortable like this.
What if she just...went with them? Or would that push it too far? Did they really think she was one of them, or were they just humoring her?
As the night wore on, the tavern grew quieter. Regulars stumbled on home, and travelers retired to their rooms. The band of beast-kin warriors were some of the last still left in the tavern as the fire burned low in the hearth.
“Y’know what your problem is, Hrodric? You’re too shy,” Yngvar said, poking her thick chest.
She snapped back, “Just cause I don’t stick my snout in as many asses as you do...”
Yngvar snorted. “No, I mean, look at you! You oughta have girls lifting their tails for you left and right. When’s the last time you had sex?”
That question hit hard enough to knock Rosemary right back out of character. She began to regret not taking an opportunity to excuse herself earlier. Perhaps she wasn’t as good an actor as she had thought. “Ah well, I mean...let me think,” she said, her ears plastered bashfully back against her head.
“Hey, what about that barmaid?” Wulfric asked, leaning in.
Another of the wolves piped up: “The one who gave you a bath?”
“The other one, idiot. The one that’s been swooning whenever she comes by.”
If being asked about her sex life had given Rosemary cold feet, the mention of Molly was like being hurled bodily into a snow bank. Her guts clenched, her paw pads began to sweat, and she gripped the tankard until her claws dug into the pewter. But she couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough. Yngvar had already waved her over.
Rosemary had seen Molly almost every day for months now, ever since she’d started working at The Red Hart. She knew what she looked like, but she’d never realized how the long skirt danced across her hips or how her cheeks glowed in the lantern-light. Or maybe she’d always known but had chalked it up to jealousy instead of realizing that she was attracted to her.
If she could have, she would have crawled under the table or made a run for the door, but she was rooted to the seat, like she’d swallowed a lead weight. No amount of squeezing her thighs together could keep her erection from tenting the front of her loincloth.
She had far too many things on her mind right now to deal with her feelings toward Molly.
“You seem like a...spirited lass,” Yngvar told Molly, rubbing his beard as if pretending to ponder something. “And Hrodric here has never had a Southling woman before.”
A firm shove from behind pushed Rosemary up onto her feet in front of Molly. She grinned shyly down at her; she must have been at least a foot taller than her by now. She gulped and said, “Hello. I’m, ah, Hrodric.”
“Molly. Nice to meet you.” She closed the distance between them and reached out to run her fingers through the fur on Rosemary’s chest.
Her tail was wagging. Why did her tail have to wag? And why did she have to be touching her chest? Her nervous smile grew tighter.
From his seat at the table, Yngvar looked between the two of them. “Don’t mind the boy, he’s a bit shy around pretty maids. Once he gets going, he’s like a wild beast.
Rosemary wanted to protest, but the best she could manage was a plaintive look back at the table as Molly took her by the arm and led her toward the stairs. She winked up at her and said quietly, “Don’t worry, it’s my first time with a beast-kin too.”
There had to be some way to excuse herself without hurting Molly’s feelings. She wasn’t really going to—no, she wouldn’t—
After taking her to one of the unoccupied rooms, Molly turned, tugged Rosemary’s snout down to her level by the chin braids, and kissed her. It was a clumsy and approximate kiss, as neither was used to a canine snout, but the warmth and the closeness sent Rosemary’s heart pounding.
Molly broke away from the kiss and said, “Oh, someone’s excited.”
Rosemary followed her gaze down to her loincloth, which sat perched on the stiff, jutting shape of her erection. “I-I’m sorry. You’re a fair maid and all but I just...”
She raised her eyes again, only to find them falling on Molly’s bare breasts. She tossed her blouse to the ground, then bent down to slide her skirt down off of her hips. The smooth expanse of her skin, stretching from her shoulders down to her thighs, hit harder than any drink she could serve. Her mouth went dry. Her chest rose and fell. All she could think about was that white-hot glow of pleasure she’d felt not two hours ago, humping her hand until she spilled her seed down the front of her skirt. All she could think about was capturing that feeling again, this time with the girl she had a crush on.
With her last stocking kicked off, Molly tumbled back onto the bed and then propped herself up on her hands. “If you want to warm up a little first, I don’t mind...” she said.
Rosemary didn’t know what to do, but she did know what Hrodric would do.
“Turn over. On your hands and knees.” She only realized she was speaking aloud halfway through. The rumble in her voice made her shudder. Giving into the role a little bit only made her want to give in more. The momentum carried her along. Her hands went to her waist to pry open the leather belt. Her cock slipped free as the fur fell about her ankles. The temptation to grasp it and start stroking was there, but instead the momentum drove her toward the bed and toward Molly, who had done just as she asked.
Everything locked together perfectly. Her knees straddling Molly’s legs, her body bent over Molly’s back, her hands gripping Molly’s hips. In the face of how right this felt, her self conscious worries eased away. She felt free, like she could do anything she wanted.
And right now, more than anything else, she wanted to be Hrodric.
“Careful, little Southing,” he growled. “We wolves bite.” His sharp breath blew against Molly’s back as his snout trailed from the crook of her shoulder blades up to the nape of her neck. His paw pads nudged between her legs and rubbed with a slow, careful touch. At the same time, he pinched the skin of her neck between his teeth and tugged—hard enough to ache, but not hard enough to draw blood.
A warm gasp came from Molly’s throat and her back arched. Hrodric rumbled as he loomed over the smaller woman, keeping her hanging there between his fangs and his claws. Once her breathing had grown deep and desperate and his fingers were slick with her juices, he loosened his jaw and let her slip free.
What would someone like Hrodric do now? Maybe he’d say... “Beg.”
“Gods, please, I need you,” she gasped, and other things too. A mess of moans and words flowed from her lips like a freshly-tapped keg.
He could hardly wait any longer himself. Sitting up, he wrapped his hands around her hips, and pressed himself easily into her pussy. Oh, yes, that was good. His grip tightened as he began to hump: quick, rhythmic thrusts, rocking her whole body along with his. His lips curled into a grin as his tongue tumbled from his mouth and dangled between his fangs.
Molly seemed so small beneath him, and her weight was like nothing. He played rough with her, growling and letting her feel the bite of his claws across her skin, just enough to give her a taste of savage rutting. He didn’t have to hold back much; she was broad and sturdily built, as if she were made for this sort of thing.
“Say my name,” he told her.
Between Molly’s gasps she said, “Ah, ah...Hrodric!”
Not half an hour ago, that name would have made him wince and turned his cheeks pink with embarrassment. Now it sat across his shoulders like a proud fur cloak.
With his teeth bared and a growl rumbling deep in his chest, he picked up the pace. He could feel her shuddering beneath him, and the cool sheen of her sweat against his hands. His chest heaved and his tongue hung from the side of his mouth. “Howl for me,” he said.
Molly’s eyes fluttered as she stammered out, “Ah, wh-what...?”
“I said howl!” He punctuated his growl with a firm thrust of his hips.
Molly bucked beneath him. Her muscles seized and clenched. But before she was completely overwhelmed, she tipped her head back and went, “A-aah...ah-ahhh-AROO!”
“Good girl,” Hrodrick said. He wasn’t far off now himself. He had slowed again, savoring the feeling of her body shuddering against him. His growling and snarling caught in the back his throat. Before he knew it, he was belting out an ecstatic howl of his own. With each jerk of his hips came a hot rush of his seed, until he was done and the afterglow swallowed him up.
Though he wanted nothing more than to keep going, he felt utterly spent. He slouched over onto his side, one arm draped around Molly, pulling her with him. His hot breath rolled across her shoulders as he nipped at the side of her neck, tasted the salt on her skin, and rumbled softly. She sighed and leaned back against him.
They may have fucked a few more times that night, but everything after that blurred into the warm laziness of sleep.
In the morning, Rosemary rolled onto her back and cracked her eyes open. Blinking up at the unfamiliar rafters, she blearily rifled through her memories. What had happened last night? There was a whole thing with...a wolf? That had to be a dream, though; it didn’t make sense at all. At least as she came to her senses she could tell she was in one of the rooms at The Red Hart, and naked to boot.
Better than waking up naked in a completely strange bed, she supposed.
Rosemary rolled out of bed, then began to hunt around for her clothes. All she could find, though, were a pair of belted fur breeches with a long loincloth, like some Northern beast-kin might wear. Wait a minute...
The memories of the previous night came rushing back all at once. The sudden embarrassment as she realized it hadn’t been a dream was so intense she thought she might melt through the floorboards. Not only had she done all that (and with Molly, no less) but she had actually liked it. What if someone found out? What if Molly found out? She’d see her at work again that evening. She’d have to bring up last night as tactfully as she could, see what she remembered.
At least whatever had happened to her seemed to have fixed itself.
After sneaking down into the back room and fetching her rather beat-up old outfit, Rosemary scurried on home, holding her blouse together and keeping her head down, hoping that she only came off as the normal sort of mess. So preoccupied was she that she didn’t even notice the gray fur sprouting along the backs of her hands again.