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Estragon was copy writer for this story years ago but I have made some changes so if there are errors don’t blame him.
The Dragon’s unease makes my spine tingle. Caution, wariness, and mistrust, almost to the point of paranoia, are leaking from her mind. Though I know it is not aimed at me, it still instills a bit of fear, fear for those who would attempt to harm us.
I know now, exactly what this woman riding ahead of me is capable of, and I would be lying if I said I did not fear it. I also know without doubt if she ever finds out what I did while she was sleeping she will hate me forever, if not kill me outright. When she woke after our love making and asked why I cried and what I was singing, I lied.
I must say, in my own defense, that I did what I did in order to help her. I told her I cried for joy and that I was singing an old lullaby. In truth I was weaving a bond, and the only way to break this bond is death.
I should probably have never plundered her mind as she slept in my arms, but the temptation was irresistible. I’ve heard so many bards’ tales and songs about her. No one really knows where she came from or how she learned her skills. I just had to do it. Now, I wish I had not.
I thoughtlessly, leaped into the darkest recesses of her memory, expecting to find happy memories of a loving mother and a proud father. Instead I found that horror. Abuse, shame, and agony reigned.
Playing in the forest alone, with an old branch, she learned the basics of swordsmanship. Defending against the viscous attacks of two older and larger brothers taught her to fight. The beatings from her drunken mother and worse still from her perverted father taught her to still her mind and leave the pain and her body behind. She endured and prepared. She grew stronger in body and in mind.
She was a young woman of 18 years when it all exploded. I shudder still and nearly retch at that memory. The mother passed out by the fire, the father and brothers drinking and determined to have her. Have her they did, but when it was over something fractured in her soul and the violence was unleashed.
They cornered her in the barn where she was caring for the horses. Afterward, they slept in the hay snoring like drunken louts. She took up her father’s sword and she had her vengeance. When that was done she went to her mother. Her mother screamed and cursed her, blaming what they had done on her, so she’d killed her as well.
She felt no joy or triumph as she stood and watched it all burn. In fact she felt nothing but emptiness and determination. An emptiness of caring for anyone or anything, and a determination that nothing would ever harm her again and live.
She had taken from the house what little had been of value to sell, the horses and her father’s sword. From what the sale brought, she had purchased armor, a new sword without memories attached, and a horse. She had named the horse Bore because, until she taught him manners, he had certainly acted like one. Together she and Bore had joined a mercenary band and the Dragon was born.
I have to say I am proud of her, proud, because there has been much healing in the many years since that horrible night. The fracture yet remains though, and if she should come across the wrong evil that evil would have her in an instant. So I have formed a bond based on my own love for her and the tiny, budding, spark of love I found in her for me. Using that spark I will try to heal the fracture and can try to defend her soul if that evil should find us.
The hair on the back of my neck rises, and I feel uneasy. Ames must feel it too because she rides behind me silently. We ride, leading the horses carrying the bodies of our fallen comrades to the town where they came from. We have cached our shares of the gold and the Cat guards them for us. I will give their shares to their families, if we make it there. I fear ambush or worse from the three men that left us to fight shorthanded.
Bore’s ears twitch repeatedly as we near a pass in the ridge line and my right hand goes to my sword. I use my left to signal Ames that something is amiss and continue on, wondering what is about to happen.
We round a bend and they are upon us. Two hit me from opposing hillsides attempting to pull me from Bore’s back and another throws a blanket over Ames from behind as her hart rears and screams. I am unable to draw my sword but my left hand goes to my calf where my throwing knives reside, one of them goes down clutching his throat but the other succeeds in pulling me from Bore’s back and we go tumbling across the ground.
As I struggle on the ground with the ringleader, he has me on my back, my knife hand pinned. Suddenly there is a great snapping sound as Bore’s hooves hit him where neck meets shoulders. I heave to get his bulk off me just as I hear a piteous keening from the man assaulting Ames. I turn and see that he is holding his eyes, and blood pours as she wins free of the blanket, then he collapses, silent and dead as she rattles off bahis firmaları an incantation.
I rush to her side, afraid that she has been hurt and she looks at me with panic, backing away a little. “Ames? Are you OK?” Why is there fear in her eyes? I try to touch her with my mind and I am repelled. I look down and realize I am still holding the knife and I am covered in blood. I drop the knife and hold out my arms and she comes to me at last.
Eraat peers from the bushes and revels in the blood and the pain. Master did not tell it that there would be so much fun this early. Master just sent it to wreak vengeance for the death of his pets and find out where the wizard went with Master’s stone. Master must have his stone back!
Eraat chuckles as he sees the mage back away. The plan is already working. To take the warrior would be easy, but not the mage. So Eraat will work and eventually the mage will kill the warrior and when she realizes what she has done, she will kill herself. Master will have a bright and vibrant new soul. Perhaps Master will allow Eraat to play with that soul before he makes it his own.
As Eraat watches the warrior and mage collect themselves and make ready to move on, he eases back further into the bushes and runs for the town. Eraat has been working hard, and there will be lots of fun.
I regret that there is no way to take the bodies with us but the horses cannot carry the weight. I know they meant to kill us, still, they were men, and I hate to leave the corpses for the scavengers. There is not enough stone here to cover them though and to bury them would be a waste of time. Animals are proficient at digging. I also regret there is no place or time to bathe. Ames seems to crave bathing; maybe that is why she seems to avoid me. We will stay at the town Inn tonight and I will pay to have their largest tub filled with steaming water! We will bathe together, and love each other till dawn.
As we near the town I can hear a crowd. I guess it would not be unusual for the town to gather to welcome warriors home from battle, yet I still feel uneasy. Ames cries out to me in warning. We are surrounded by bowmen. I cannot fight for fear of them shooting her, yet it hurts me sorely to allow them to take my weapons. One of them has gagged her and her eyes are wild with panic. I can do nothing as they lead us to the front of the crowd.
A magistrate sits atop a stool, on a platform, wearing stained velvet robes. We are lead before him and forced to kneel.
“See! See my men? I have told you the murderers would come. Look at them, women, yes, women who think they are above men. Look at them now, helpless and cowed before me as all women should be before men.”
I struggle to try and rise and begin to yell “We are not murderers! These men were killed in battle with the Guardians of the cave!” I am knocked back to my knees and my head reels. I look over to see Ames’ mouth moving beneath the gag and her hands twitch in her bonds. I know she is working magic but a man comes behind her and raps her on the head with the butt of a spear, knocking her unconscious.
“Arrogant woman! Who lead our men, our sons, to that battle? You killed them. Aye, you killed them! In the morning you will pay for that, both of you. There will be hangings in the morning, men! All women will know that men rule and women serve as is right and proper!”
The crowd of men cheers as we are dragged away to a small stone building and taken to a cell. I am left bound and my bonds affixed to a hook high on the wall, stretching my arms painfully. Ames, my beautiful Ames, is thrown to the floor still bound and gagged, among the filth and excrement of many past prisoners. My heart breaks for her and my mind boils with rage. I am helpless for the first time since I was a child and I seethe. I begin to focus inward, blocking the pain and the anger, inward, ever farther from this reality that I cannot bear to face.
I am awakened by the cold slap of icy water in the face. Before me stand two women, a young woman with a bucket and an old crone in hooded robes. The young woman with the bucket bows to the crone and makes to leave but is called back.
“But mother! She is dangerous!”
The crone cackles, “She cannot harm me, daughter. Unbind her and leave us.”
I am cut free and rush to Ames, picking her up from the floor as best I can with numb and screaming arms. She is limp and unresponsive, her head bleeds and I fear she may never wake. I tear away her bonds and the gag, crying.
“I can help her, warrior. I can bring her back to us, but if I do you must swear to help us rid this town of the evil that has overtaken it. It started at dawn yesterday, when you and the wizard took the stone. You have a part in this evil somehow warrior, both of you, and you must help us.”
“Anything! I will do anything, old Mother! Help her please! I cannot lose her, not now, not ever!”
“Be careful with your pledges, warrior, there are those that would take advantage kaçak iddaa in this world. I feel your love for her grow even as we speak, but you must ward your thoughts now, for evil lurks here. I will only say that I sense your paths will be together for some time, though rocky and fraught with trouble.”
The crone begins to chant and lays her hands upon Ames’ forehead. I feel her stir in my arms! She is coming back to me! She opens her eyes and the crone staggers back, yelling.
“Daughter, bring her water!”
Ames sits up, recoiling from the mess on the floor and looking up at the crone.
“What? Where? Oh!”
“Just relax, sister in magic. You have had a blow to the head. It will come to you in a moment. Rest and recover.”
As Ames slowly recovers herself, aided by the fresh chilled spring water handed to her, the crone begins to speak with her of the evil and how to best fight it.
“It is strongest in the magistrate. It began, I think, with him. He has the rest of the men in thrall. If we can cleanse the evil from him the rest should follow easily.”
“It is a magic like I have never seen, Old Mother. I am not sure what we can do.”
“The magic is demon born and fueled by hate, fear and pain. Something evil is near and it feeds on suffering. If we can but shut it out, away from the magistrate for a short time, they should all come to their senses. I have the knowledge and the skill but not the strength to do it. If the warrior can get us close enough to the magistrate and you can lend me your strength for a time we can do it.”
As soon as Ames is able to stand without staggering, the crone gives use both black hooded robes like she crone wears, to aid us in moving about concealed in the dark. Now it is time to do my part. First I must deal with the two guards outside the building. Ames must save her strength to aid the Old Mother, so I must do this alone.
The others hover behind me as I sneak to the door and peer cautiously around the corners. One of the guards is asleep, which helps, because both must be silenced quickly before either can call for aid. I spring from the doorway and up behind the one that is awake, grabbing him by the head and twisting with all my might. There is a sharp crack and he falls soundlessly to the ground, his neck broken. The other is sitting leaned up against the building asleep. He opens his eyes gasping as I drive the heel of my foot into his throat. He struggles around trying to breathe for a moment and then expires. I take both their knives and one of the swords. I doubt being able to use the sword, but the knives are silent and quick.
Across the town square we three scramble, clinging to shadows as we can. The Magistrate’s house is two corners down, and we hurry to avoid any patrols. I begin to notice women here and there through the town, watching. It seems the crone has recruited them all as watchers, and distractions if needed.
We reach the back of his house without incident and a woman of middle years lets us in the back door, pointing upstairs with one finger before her lips to caution us. Up the stairs we go as a group. As we near his bedroom, I hear feminine crying and whimpering.
As I burst through the door I see that he is naked, and on the bed is a woman bound spread eagle. The bastard has been abusing her! I leap upon his back, putting a knife to his throat.
“Silence, old man, or you die, and your throat will not be the first thing I cut!”
Ames rushes to free the woman on the bed, as the crone tears linens from the bed into strips for me to gag and bind him. Once he is bound to the bedpost, standing, both Ames and the crone begin to chant and I ease outside the door to guard as they work.
I realize it is working when I begin to hear women yelling, and men groveling. All over the town things are changing quickly. The screeching and cursing begins to be painful to the ears and as both Ames and the crone step from the room exhausted, the woman who let us in the back door is going in. I decide to leave him bound to the bed post. She can free him when she finishes screaming at him, if it pleases her to do so. I cringe when I see her take up the whip he was about to wield when we burst in the room. I think she is going to enjoy this.
As we exit the house, the crone fades away into the darkness without a word and her daughter turns beckoning us to the Inn. Our horses are tied to the rail outside and I remove our packs, slinging them over my shoulders. Ames walks as if she is very weary. A very timid stable boy unties the horses to lead them to the stables in back. I wonder that he is not being berated by some female as well, but I guess he is too young to have done much to offend any of them.
I have to laugh at the sight we behold as we walk into the common room at the Inn. The Inn Keeper and a cook are tied to chairs before the fire as bar wenches and maids take turns yelling at them. When they notice us come in they turn to us, one of the wenches taking charge.
“Welcome Ladies and thank you! kaçak bahis Are you hungry? Do you wish a meal brought to your rooms?”
“We will just need one room thank you, but first a couple of mugs of hot water for my Lady to make her tea and baths! We need to bathe very badly.”
“Oh, I can do much better than just a bath in a tub! Ladies, follow me please; I will have mugs of water brought to you in the bath house. Bring your packs.”
She giggles and leads us out the back through the kitchen to a tall stone building at the back. I notice the stable boy hitching two small ponies to a turnstile beside the building as we enter it. Inside the whole building is one big room with a balcony around the wall serving as a second floor. The floor of the lower room is smooth stone, with a big hole in the center. As the ponies began to turn the stile water begins to flow and run off a dip in the edge of the balcony above. The wench begins to explain how this works.
“The cold water runs continuously from the power of the ponies turning the stile. Those big copper pots up there have small fires beneath and when you move this set of levers it opens them and adds hot water to the cold. Soap and drying cloths are on the rack over there and ah yes, here are your mugs of hot water now. Please relax and enjoy yourselves. You may pull this bell rope if there is anything else that you need.”
I lay our packs out on a bench in the dry corner of the room and Ames begins adding herbs to the mugs. I wrinkle my nose in anticipation. It seems to me that if she can make a brew to take away aches, pains and exhaustion she should be able to make it taste good but, no, even Ames has limits.
Ames smiles at me as she hands me the mug and those beautiful green eyes are glowing again. I feel a surge of desire from her and wonder that she is able after all this day has held. We drink down the brew and walk together to the stream of water flowing from above. I play a bit with the levers, making it as hot as I can stand it.
We come together under the water, wrapping our arms around one another, laying heads on shoulders and just letting the heat steam the pain and exhaustion from us. After a few minutes she stirs and I turn to take up the soap, stepping behind her to begin washing her hair. She moans and leans into me as I massage her scalp. I finish with her hair, and begin to move down her shoulders, soaping and massaging as I go.
She turns and pulls me into a kiss that grows hotter and more passionate as our breasts rub together. She begins to move against me and I realize she is soaping me with her body. Oh, what a wonderful way to get clean! Her hands push down on my shoulders guiding me to kneel before her and she begins soaping my hair as I lean forward to tease her slit with my tongue. She leans back slightly spreading her legs for me and the water cascades over my head, washing away the soap and forcing me to hold my breath for a moment. I delve deeper with my tongue and reach up to cup her breasts as she moans softly.
Plunging my tongue as deep into her as I can, I rub the tip of my nose back and forth across her clit causing her to gasp and I feel her body begin to tense. Her walls begin to clench on my tongue and she floods me with sweetness, thighs twitching, as her orgasm over takes her. As she begins to relax, I move my tongue up to her clit and thrust two fingers into her, deeply thrusting them, and swirling my tongue wildly. Her entire body locks up, and she squeals as she floods my hand, and then sags forward, almost falling.
I guide her to the stone floor that is warmed by the flowing water, taking her in my arms and holding her. Stroking her wet hair and wondering how in the world I would live if she was ever taken from me. She is the Lady of My Heart and I know now that there will never be another to hold my heart as she does. She surprises me, rising up above me and straddling my waist.
“Sh, no, rest love, you are tired.”
“I am no more tired than you, besides there is not a thing wrong with my tongue, lover.”
She ends her words in a kiss and I moan as she plunders my mouth, making my nipples harden and my thighs clench. She nibbles my ear and I tremble as she bites my neck and I feel wetness gush down my thighs. She works her way down, kissing and nipping as she goes to my breasts and my back arches in pleasure. She suckles strongly and swirls her tongue over first one crest and then the other and I begin to shake uncontrollably.
The muscles in my stomach rise before her as she works her way to my center. I am racked with spasms as her tongue finds my clit, swirling and flicking and dancing across and around it. She enters me with her fingers and my hips rise from the floor, my heart pounding as I groan out my approval. Sucking my clit between her lips she grips it gently with them as she shakes her head I explode screaming in passion.
Eraat makes its way to the back of the building, high on all the anger and humiliation that is running through the town this night. As he draws nearer he is repulsed by what he feels radiating from inside. Love, lust, devotion and trust, no, this cannot be! He retches from the emotions he feels and runs far from the building.
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