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Detective Erica Vargas wore her gender like a uniform. She looked at the younger woman across the table. The faint gulp told as much as the perky yellow sweater with bright greek letters. The best tell was the makeup marred from a night in a cell. Detective Vargas judged the younger woman exhausted, in over her head, desperate, and tired.
“Sarah?” Detective Vargas said. “You’ve had quite a night haven’t you?”
The late morning sun had begun its climb in the sky, though there was no window in this room. Detective Vargas liked it this time. No other officers bothered to watch interrogations at around 9:45am. The young woman silently nodded.
“Your boyfriend, Cory?” began Detective Vargas. “He’s not telling us where he got the MDMA. Smart boy, Cory, right?”
“Yeah,” said Sarah with a cautious breath.
“Says you’re not involved.”
“That’s right. I didn’t know he was selling shit,” she added.
Detective Vargas liked it when captives lied to her.
“So you wouldn’t know where he got it?” Detective Vargas added. “Because I think you do.”
Sarah said nothing and looked away.
“You live on campus, right?” said Vargas.
“What do you care?”
“Just wondering if you went home for the summer,” said Vargas. She flipped through a smartphone idly.
“Yeah, I sure did,” said Sarah.
“No summer organic chemistry lab?” said Vargas stopping on a photo of Sarah’s social media. It showed the young woman proudly smiling in a lab coat. Vargas held the phone like a poker hand. Sarah looked away again.
“Can’t I just go home?” said Sarah.
“Yes,” said Detective Vargas. “But what’s with your storage unit though?”
Sarah looked at Vargas for a guilty second and then looked away. Next her sharp exhale and tightening of her lip made Vargas smile. Closing for the kill, Vargas stood at her height and looked down at Sarah. She only crossed her arms over her chest.
“Not sure what you need a storage unit for,” said Vargas. “Since you didn’t leave campus this summer.”
She stepped around the table and stood next to Sarah.
“Should we search it?” smirked Vargas. “Find out more? Or should we let you go home?”
“I don’t know anything,” repeated Sarah. “I’m waiting for a lawyer.”
“We can get you one, or you can go right now,” said Detective Vargas. “I need something before you leave though.” She placed a hand on Sarah’s shoulder, massaging the tense cold muscles. Reacting in disbelief at Vargas’ gentle fearlessness, Sarah only looked up in fright. Vargas brushed Sarah’s disheveled hair aside and whispered into her ear.
“Give me a few nice licks,” she said and then raked her tongue over Sarah’s lobes.
“What the fuck?” Sarah said. “Who are you?”
“I’m Your way out,” cooed Detective Vargas, as she held Sarah’s face. “The last gate to get through before your bad dream is over.”
“Fuck you,” Sarah stammered, her voice too tired and the night too long for her to be angry. “I want my lawyer.”
Detective Vargas unbuckled her belt.
“Lawyers take time,” she said. “If we’re doing it that way, I’ll search your storage unit.”
She dropped her belt to the ground with a clatter.
“But this other way out, Isn’t it so much easier?”
Sarah looked up and down Vargas’s body, then her eyes rested on her pelvis. She rolled her lips.
“If I do this,” she said. “We’re done? I’m out of here?”
“My solemn promise.”
Vargas shoved the interrogation table back, sat on its edge, and opened her legs. Sarah took a resigned breath and then handled Vargas’s pants. A button and zipper came undone under Vargas’s leer. Shifting her hips encouraged the cornered little suspect to hurried compliance. Sarah hefted down the jeans and the plain underwear. Vargas opened her knees and showed her trimmed, demanding, pussy.
Sarah took one more look at the detective. That glossy dissociation in her eyes entertained Vargas. The looks of spite and surrender turned her on like no other. Her sex moistened and warmed. Sarah’s first gentle pinches at the outer lips built a savory sensitivity. Vargas knew for certain then that Sarah had done this before. Then again, these college brats almost always had.
Sarah fondled the pussy and responded to the sighs and whispered commands. Vargas’s clit was plucked by dainty fingers and then suckled by defeated lips. The heavy smooth feeling delighted as much as the captive’s reluctance. After all, a resentful finger penetrating her pleasured as well as lover’s nails. A desperate tongue lavished as well as one from a seduced partner. Any emotion had its utility, though Vargas enjoyed using some more than others.
“Keep at it, bitch,” she groaned. “Get that dirty tongue all over. Drink all my juices.”
Sarah complied, her eyes closed and her gaping mouth covered so much of Vargas’s pussy. The ravishing grew more hurried, more fierce, and more determined. Energy built up inside Vargas. She reached down and grabbed the back of Sarah’s messy hair. Holding tight, she kicked her legs open wide and rubbed herself onto Sarah’s face. Vargas exhaled in sharp huffs. A drug-like wave of pleasure enlivened her muscles. When the dizziness hit her head, Vargas laughed and let Sarah’s hair go.
Sarah pulled away. She wiped her mouth on her sleeve and glared up at Vargas. It was an expression Vargas knew and felt for one the moment: humiliation. One more suspect humiliated made Vargas feel as alive. It had her heart beating as fast as when she once hunted suspects.
“You going to let me go now?” muttered Sarah.
“Oh yes, Sarah,” she said. “Think we’ll cross paths again?”
Sarah said nothing.
“Yeah whatever,” said Vargas. “Don’t get caught okay?”
It had been good for everyone and Vargas knew it. A boyfriend would get a good lawyer and probably plea out for a six month stint. The lawyer would get a nice paycheck. Sarah would probably move her little chemistry project somewhere else, or maybe dismantle it. She got herself a get out of jail free card from this whole fiasco. Detective Vargas had had her fun. She even collected cash from a colleague who bet that Sarah would insist on waiting for a lawyer. No lawyer talked better than Vargas and she proceeded on with her day buoyed on the victory from the morning.
Her less dull duties passed quickly too. She reexamined a double homicide from two nights ago. A body had been shot twice in the chest. It was a male. Blood pooled around it and the face looked up at the ceiling in rigor mortis. Some bystander, maybe another customer, took a bullet in the stomach as he had come out of the restroom. Blood in that case pooled around his side as if he napped. He closed his eyes before he died. Vargas wondered why some bodies closed their eyes before they died and others kept them open. Some things she would never know, but she knew -thanks to her morning victory- that she’d solve this case before Shales and Rosingar tried to one up her again.
It took only one letter to sink that mood.
“Vargas?” said Jarod. He was a handsome younger officer with nice biceps and bright brown eyes. Vargas loved a San Jose summer.
“Letter for you,” he said. He held a yellow envelope in his hand. “Looks personal.”
Vargas held the letter and scanned it with her eyes for imperfections. Nothing from the glue to the stamp looked out of place. The return address was Los Angeles county.
“LA?” she said out loud. “Hey did this get cleared by security?”
“Of course,” said Jarod. “Issue?”
“I don’t know anyone in Los Angeles. This is a little random is all,” smiled Vargas. “Thanks for the note. Got anything else to give me?”
“Maybe after tomorrow’s shift is up,” Jarod said nodding back. “Got time to hit up Marshall’s High Top bar?”
“That one? What about the dive called Spyder’s? Heard your team arrested two perps there last week.”
“Oh you looking for action, Detective?” said Jarod.
“Then I insist on Marshall’s High Top,” he said. Vargas considered biting back.
“Marshall’s it is. I’m out of here at half past five.”
“See you then.”
She eyed Jarod and touched a pen to her lips. It got a reaction. She liked it. Maybe she’d tease him later, get his pants down sometime, take his dick into her mouth and take a bite. Yes, that’s the great thing about getting those parts on the inside, one chomp down and its blood. Amazing how much people trust each other. Yet that officer only cracked a smile back. Vargas watched his thighs as he left.
With hands in white gloves, Vargas read the letter. Hand written? That was unusual. Who does that? She read lines and shivered. “Erica, I miss you so much,” it began. “I hated how things ended, because I can’t stop thinking about how good we were together in Silver Lake.” Silver Lake? No this didn’t make any sense. It sounded like Zoey. That’s Zoey Howers the news podcaster until some years ago. Years before that, she was Erica Vargas’s Silver Lake neighbor, frequent fuck buddy, and eventually lover. Things hadn’t ended well. Erica Vargas slept with one of Zoey’s exes and for some reason that made Zoey upset. Erica couldn’t forget that, she had said that her fingers and mouth could please Zoey as well as any other. What was it Zoey had said right then after that? It was written in this letter, “You’re more than a collection of parts, animated by cravings, Erica. I know that now. You could be so much more.” No, this didn’t make any sense. Who else could’ve known those exact words? Did someone get Zoey’s journals? Did Zoey share that in a message? Maybe Zoey had shared it with a therapist. That would be most probable.
After all, this letter couldn’t have been from Zoey. Zoey Howers had died three years ago.
No one makes a fool of Detective Vargas, and she would have a chat with whoever sent this. They were idiots to hand write it. That meant skin cells, patterns in the slopes of the pen, even the kind of paper might be a clue. Detective Vargas handed the letter to the forensics team who agreed to look at it.
That night, though, she watched a video of Zoey Howers on her phone. Zoey, god it had been several years since she’d spoken. Zoey had been the one of the few women to end things with Vargas before Vargas got bored, or maybe Vargas had been bored, but she wasn’t bored of Zoey. No Zoey had all the attachment to Vargas as a dozen other casual lovers, yet somehow she banished Erica from her life. That burn to the ego ate at Detective Vargas, but she loved having Zoey around too. What’s the deal with people and exclusivity? It’s not like random partners tainted your body or something. Bodies were just that, things that could communicate and have affect on other people, like Zoey Howers was doing on her laptop screen right then. She had her mic between her and two student activists from UCLA discussing gentrification. Zoey and the students had taken part in a downtown Los Angeles tenants’ strike and a march at city hall demanding expanded rent controls. It was one of the last podcasts Zoey Howers recorded. Less than two weeks later, Zoey danced at one of the clubs she and Vargas had attended, and was cut down in a blast of gunfire from a domestic terrorist. What was the name of the place? It was the Blue Bumble, Vargas remembered.
The shooter was chased into a blind alley, and Vargas enjoyed the body cam footage. Three officers shot him six times. It’s quite a rush seeing police in action, or anyone really.
When Vargas returned to work the next day, the forensics team shared their conclusions. Not a trace of skin had been on the paper, which was common notebook paper that could have been purchased anywhere. The ink in the letter? From a 0.5 art pen, equally common.
“What about the hand writing?” Detective Vargas asked her colleague.
“We’d need some other samples to be sure,” said the lab coated tech.
He turned his computer screen around and displayed the side by side samples for Vargas. It displayed a 92% likely match.
The social ritual of the date provided more than pretense for Vargas this time. The light drinks and the over priced tapas of Marshall’s High Top bar provided a needed distraction. Furthermore, she had learned throughout the years that humans enjoyed the repetitions, and the chats, and the light laughter that came with a nice dinner. Still, when it came time to end the night she was happy to follow Jarod home.
Back there, Jarod clearly wanted Detective Vargas on her knees. She preferred him on his back. Through a feverish make out, they contended with each other. Each slight button undone and each bit of cloth removed displayed their strength and yet also their vulnerability. Only one would win. Pecks on his neck summoned moans of satisfaction. Vargas prevailed in that moment. Jarod fell to his bed and Vargas stripped more naked. Firm mounds of his muscle resisted her squeezing. She dug her nails into his pectorals until that handsome officer begged for mercy.
That’s when Vargas rewarded him. She opened her mouth, and swallowed that rigid, prone, cock. A smooth tongue made the man hers, but a simple chomp and she could destroy him. Vargas had thought that many times with many partners. Once again, with this groaning sex toy at her mercy, and that salty hot dick in her mouth, she fantasized about blood exploding onto her face. Oh it would be so hot. This though, wouldn’t be the time she could get away with it. Even more, her own blood pumped into her pelvis and the living sex toy in her mouth had so many uses.
Vargas straddled him. There, she aimed the cock up into her pussy. Riding him controlled his body until his face tightened, and his head rolled to the side. It was like watching him gasp, or choke, or die. That’s why she enjoyed the top position so much. He came inside her too. People come when they’re connected, and she liked the connection with him. Only then did she allow herself to be taken like a whore on all fours. Once positioned, Jarod fucked her hard, and she fondled her own clit until she climaxed.
It electrified her body, and then filled a void she always forgot she had. Writhing in submission connected Erica to her fuck buddy and even to herself. So overwhelmed with pleasure, detective Vargas became more than a body and an ego. The orgasm from someone had touched her and she felt what he felt. Damn, that sensation of pride, pleasure, and a soul wreaked havoc on her nerves. She’d never wish to be seen like this, for reasons she never understood. She tended to fuck to dominate and orgasms like those gave her something beyond that. She craved the sublime experience of full and complete humanity.
As she cuddled with Jarod, that sensation faded as it always did. Vargas lost that strange inner state that humans have. She was a collection of fearless organic parts once again.
Erica Vargas’s cell phone chirped at three in the morning. She rolled away from Jarod and gazed in to the spectral blue screen glow.
“Erica? Did you get my letter?”
Erica shivered. The text message came from, a bunch of random characters? It wasn’t a number. It wasn’t blocked. It was indecipherable. This stalker had gone out of the way to bother her. Vargas was up to the challenge.
“I don’t know who this is, but it is literally my job to find people like you,” she texted back. Turning the phone face down and ringer off let Vargas protect herself. She cuddled next to Jarod’s warm body. The phone buzzed again.
“It’s me, Zoey,” the text message read. “I miss you. I want you. Come find me.”
“You are going to REGRET IT when I find you,” texted back Vargas with angry thumbs. “Zoey is dead. You’re not her.”
She shoved the phone away again. Jarod muttered something as she rolled next to him. A droning synth wave and metronomic bass hits emanated from her phone. A floaty feminine voice hypnotized in verses.
“Fuck!” grunted Vargas grabbing her phone. With sweaty palms, she fumbled to turn it off while the unforgettable song droned on.
“Vargas?” said Jarod sitting up. “What the hell? What is it?”
“It’s ‘Cursed’,” snapped Vargas referring to the song’s title.
“And nothing,” panted Vargas. It was only a song. Only one of hundreds in Zoey’s playlist. Any particular song could have been picked at any moment. It was only a coincidence that ‘Cursed’ played the first time Erica ate Zoey out. Sure, Zoey climaxed to the haunting beauty of this song, but that didn’t make it special. It never had to be a special song. Vargas had the phone off at last, and would smash it if it bothered her again. She reached down to Jarod’s dick and found it a dangling rope. It hardened for her.
“Got energy for another late night fuck?”
“Just answer, yes, Jarod.”
The following morning, Detective Erica Vargas looked across her chief’s desk at a skeptical superior.
“A leave of absence?” he said.
“Only one week. That’s all I need.”
“Vargas, we had you on that double homicide because you asked for it. Now you want to leave. Why?” he said. “You wanted the laurels for solving this one. I put you on it because I thought you could.”
“I think Shales and Rosingar can handle it now,” she said, gulping because she hated to lose to them on this too. The chief crossed his arms.
“You’re not handing this case over to your favorite colleagues,” he said with clear sarcasm, “because the investigation of the scene was a dead end are you, Vargas? Want someone else’s name on a cold case? Is that it?”
“Chief,” she said sitting and feigning submission. “Let me be honest: this is personal. It’s about the Blue Bumble okay?”
The chief nodded in a ‘go on’ sort of way.
“I had a friend that was one of the victims,” she said. “It’s been years since it happened. I can’t say I’ve dealt with it.”
That convinced him.
“I can’t promise you’ll be back on this case in a week,” he said.
“I understand, sir.”
“Alright then Vargas,” he said. “I’ll make the changes today. Take all the leave you need.”
Erica Vargas drove five hours south to West Los Angeles where she found herself a boutique hotel. She visited the LAPD, flashed her badge, and asked for some department to department favors. Hardly any cops wanted to talk about the Blue Bumble shooting. Though when Erica played the role of a grieving detective on a mission, they opened up to her. She was promised access to crime scene photos, autopsy reports, and anything she’d need when she returned on Monday.
With little to fill her time Erica considered driving all the way out to Silver Lake, and maybe haunt some of the places that she and Zoey visited. Though it wouldn’t do much good there to prove that Zoey had in fact died, and maybe her anonymous harasser expected that. Instead, Zoey chose someplace public to scope out: the Blue Bumble itself. It was a Saturday evening, and the club was filled with reveling Hollywood hopefuls. All of them worked hard to stay beautiful, and Erica enjoyed the eye candy. She even enjoyed flirting with another woman, while she waited for other friends.
The Blue Bumble had a memorial at one of the booths. Pictures of the victims hung in frames, among them was Zoey. A short epitaph read “Activist. Journalist. Fur Mom.” Vargas looked away at the empathetic, photogenic, smile, and distracted herself with the beautiful dancing bodies. There were no signs in this club of bullet fire or blood. It amazed Erica how much those things could get cleaned up. If it wasn’t for those photos, no one would even have to remember. Maybe it was only a matter of time before the next lonely bigot opened fire on happy people. Zoey suddenly felt exposed without her gun, and kissed her unexpected date good night.
While Vargas slept, she heard the voice of Zoey. “Miss you…” Those soft words could not be mistaken. Erica ignored it. Yet it only persisted and called to her again. Vargas clicked out the lights and coiled her bedsheets tighter around her. Despite that, the hotel sheets slipped off her shoulders, exposing her arm and neck. The cool air touched her skin, and then it became warm. “Miss touching you…” Zoey’s voice whispered. Vargas’s night time tank top rolled up from her belly. Something hooked around her panty’s waistline and tugged them down.
“Stop it,” said Vargas slapping her hand to her underwear. “You’re not real. You’re not here.”
A heavy, smooth, and warm sensation coiled around her wrists like a snake. Vargas’s arms flailed against the invisible force, and it only got stronger. Something pinned her wrists together above her head. Her tank top was yanked up and pulled off.
“Always wished to be the top…”
“Stop it!” cried Erica.
A slithering spiraled around her legs. Vargas couldn’t kick. Her panties slid down her legs and then something pulled at the thighs and opened them.
“Am I?” came that voice. A touch followed. Was it lips? Fingers? No, that couldn’t be it. Erica couldn’t be feeling that irresistibly skilled caress at her pussy. This had to be a memory. Erica Vargas had taught Zoey to please her like this. Zoey loved nothing more than doing it. Bewildered by pleasure, and confused at what she couldn’t see, Vargas succumbed.
“Do more like how I told you, Zoey,” she breathed out. “Lick me like I taught you.”
A fluttering of tongue whipped Erica’s clit. A hard tendril entered her wetness.
“Fuck… How?!” sighed Erica accepting the pleasure. Bliss overtook her mind and her body quaked against her unseen restraints. Heedless, Erica bucked her hips against what pleased her. An explosive climax broke her last line of resistance, releasing buried memories of Zoey into consciousness. Zoey missed Erica. Now, Erica craved for her lost friend and lover as well.
“I will have you. We will be together,” the voice whispered. Vargas was released from her bounds and her eyes closed in satisfaction. When the sunlight hit her eyelids, and awoke her, Vargas found herself naked upon messy sheets.
Monday came. Erica glanced over the mortician’s photos. The corpse had eyes closed and the straight hair had been slicked back. She examined the eyebrows, the lips, and slight jut of the chin, and saw no flaws. The bloodless face in the photos had to be Zoey. Still, suppose someone had reconstructed the face of another. Perhaps it was a fake corpse placed there by a mad conspiracy. How about that tattoo? Yes, the other photos showed the antique compass that Zoey had on her shoulder. Erica examined the chest next. That’s where those exit wounds were. So Zoey had been shot in the back. Speaking of the back, Erica examined that part next. Zoey had a mole on her lower right latissimus dorsi. Erica found the same mole, unmistakably dark against the corpse’s skin on the morgue photos. Futhermore, Erica’s examination of the original crime scene photos revealed nothing different. Zoey’s body had been photographed with fastidious care, and the entrance wounds on her back matched what Erica saw on the mortician’s photos. Not even the red pools of blood around bodies showed anything suspicious.
Her phone pinged to life.
“So nice to touch you last night… did you like it, Erica?”
Vargas texted back.
“I’ve been looking at some photos of a body, recognize it?”
She took a snapshot of the mortician’s photo and sent it.
“I know I’m dead, Erica. You don’t have to remind me.”
“You’re not a ghost. I’m going to find you.”
“I want you to find me. I can prove I’m me. You’ll see.”
Vargas was about to type out another annoyed response, when she stopped. The number it came from was no longer a scrambled string. It began with a 323, a local area code in Los Angeles. “Holy shit…” gasped Vargas. “You idiot. I have you.” Mere hours later, Vargas was in the back of a police SUV. She watched with detached satisfaction as cops exited a squad car in front of her, issued an arrest on a resident, and pulled him into the car. Vargas sized him up quickly. Early twenties. Caucasian. He had the thin yet muscular build and a motorcycle club patch on his jacket.
She considered questioning him right that night, but restrained herself. Erica Vargas insisted the LAPD do her one last favor, and allow her to interrogate him first thing in the morning. As he was chained to the table, he did nothing but stare at her. She only stared back, counting the seconds and savoring the moment.
“How do you know me?” Vargas said at last.
“You fucked up. We traced your cell phone. You lost. I got you,” she said. “So, how do you know me?”
“Are you crazy?” he said. His head cocked to the side.
“Okay…” smirked Vargas. She plopped copies of Zoey’s morgue photos and Blue Bumble crime scene pictures in front of him. His nostrils scrunched in disgust. His hands pulled at the table restraints.
“Take a good look. How did you know her?”
“Listen lady… I don’t know what you’re…”
“Look!” cried Vargas. She grabbed his hair and slammed his face down onto the photos. A surge of adrenaline spiked in her veins. “You tell me now! I caught you! It’s over!”
“What the fuck!? I dunno! I dunno!”
Vargas screamed. She held his hair tight and slammed his head against the metal table again and again.
“Vargas!” shouted a voice in the intercom. She relented. The terrified prisoner cried reaching for his bruised forehead. Vargas stepped outside the interrogation room where another cop handed her a phone.
“You wanna calm down in there? It’s your chief.”
“What?” blinked Vargas. “What about?”
The cop pointed to the hapless prisoner in the room.
“We ran prints on that poor asshole. Looks like they matched a crime scene up in your metro.”
Vargas had lost control. That made her hand tremble as she raised the phone receiver to her ear.
“Detective, you wanna tell me why you insisted this was ‘personal time’ when you were chasing a lead on that double homicide?”
“No.. Not like that,” insisted Vargas. “It was… good intuition?”
The chief snorted in the phone.
“Vargas, I’ve known you for five years and I know you don’t have intuition of any kind,” he said.
“It’s…” Vargas winced.
“Oh this is new,” said the Chief. “You see I figured you ran some scheme to humiliate Shales and Rosingar. Now, I’m actually not sure.”
Damn, that would’ve been a great story to spin.
“You got me. I’m working the case,” began Vargas.
“Whatever lead sent you down there,” the chief cut her off. “You have 48 hours to get back up here, understand?”
“Chief. No. I swear…”
“Forty Eight hours,” he said. “That suspect will be up here not later than that.”
Vargas power walked out of the station and into her car. Her phone buzzed her once more.
“I gave you a gift. Did you like it?”
The number was scrambled again.
“FUCK YOU!!!” Vargas texted back.
“I fuck. I fuck you like we did in Silver Lake. Or that time in Arizona. Or at the Austin Festival.
Vargas growled. She squeezed the phone tightly in one hand, and reached for her baton. As soon as she opened the door, that familiar song played from it once more. She bumped her head in the car in surprise and the phone clattered to the ground.
Erica Vargas picked it up. She sent one more text.
“You are dead. I saw your body. You’re not alive.”
“You saw pictures, Erica. You never saw my body.”
Vargas grabbed her baton and pummeled her phone to splinters on the asphalt.
Zoey Howers had been interred at Hollywood Forever cemetery. Erica Vargas waited until night, and then waited longer. Late night road construction would cover the noise. Zoey’s casket resided in a small mausoleum. Heavy bolts of brass held the polished granite seal. With a drill she’d borrowed out of the cemetery’s office, Vargas undid the bolts. The whirring of the drill and the cracking of stone echoed off the polished walls. Next, the seal fell down with a thud. A dusty casket lay within and Erica dragged it out.
“You found me.”
Zoey’s voice whispered from behind, as Vargas was hunched over the floor with the casket halfway out. She didn’t want to turn around. She knew nothing could be there.
“You’re dead, Zoey,” said Vargas. She dragged the casket out further. “Dead people can’t talk. There’s a body in here. I know it’s yours.”
“I am dead, and I still miss you,” the voice spoke so clearly now, angering Vargas. She spun around determined to prove to the nothing that nothing could be there, and instead confronted a billowing apparition of black smoke. It had the face and torso of Zoey. It had her particular chin, her jaw, the alluring almond shape of her eyes. Her chest and shoulders couldn’t be mistaken either. Vargas remembered too many nights pressed against that petite body, and so many evenings of caressing those nipples. Erica looked down, curious about the legs, and saw only a flowing black cloud.
“What are you?” said Vargas to it.
Zoey’s lips parted in desire. Lithe arms stretched towards Vargas who stumbled back. Colliding against a wall, she could only look back at Zoey’s apparition. The hands touched her cheeks with unexpected warmth. Zoey drifted in, and her lips touched Vargas. Erica kept her eyes open in shock. Then her mouth opened in concession. She shared a kiss with Zoey which put her into a trance. It had only been Zoey who could ever do that.
“Why?” Vargas said. “You were the only one who ever rejected me.”
The ghostly figure smirked in sudden supremacy.
“Here I am. I’m dead. Still reaching out to you, and you’re worried about why I rejected you?”
Tendrils spiraled around Vargas’s legs. The sudden constriction quelled confusion.
“Maybe in death I’ve learned not to care,” said Zoey. “Or maybe I don’t care who you cheated on me with. Or maybe there is something only I can give you.”
“You can’t give me anything, Zoey,” muttered Vargas. She didn’t believe it. The void that orgasms filled yawned ever more hollow within. For the first time Vargas could not ignore that empty space. She needed to come right then to fill it up, to make the empty part of her soul whole.
“Remove your shirt, Erica,” whispered Zoey.
Erica Vargas lifted the tank top over her head and unclasped the bra beneath. She stood there, with her heart pumping and nipples hard and erect. Vargas liked being missed, and Zoey had clawed back from the dead to reach her. Now, she expected to be adored, like she had so many times before. Yet Vargas had never known that huge hollow place inside her. It was as if she was skin and bones stretching over nothing. The voluminous spectral cloud enshrouded her, and Vargas wanted it within.
Warm breath from Zoey brushed her neck. The sensation, so long forgotten, of her chest pressed to Vargas. She reached out into the air, wrapped her arm around Zoey’s neck and drew her close. The mouth that met hers warmed as they kissed. Zoey’s tongue pushed harder, deeper, and shockingly strong. Like a heavy whip, it pressed down into Vargas’s throat making her groan at the subjugation.
“Did you like that, Erica?”
“I’m glad you liked it,” purred Zoey. Tendrils of smoke changed to heavy tentacles which tightened down on Vargas’s limbs. Then, Vargas found her arms tightened stretched out to her sides and her ankles likewise restrained.
“I love you, Erica,” whispered Zoey. Smaller tentacles undid Erica’s pants and pulled them down. “As cold as you are, I still loved you. Soon, I will fix you.”
In a violent yank, Vargas’s knees were spread open. Her pussy, left prone, received a heavy smack. It ignited such arousal, that she gasped and shouted. It hurt, and she loved it. Zoey beat her again with other stray tendrils. All the while Vargas looked to Zoey’s beautiful face hovering above her. As Vargas panted and shouted at the sudden pain, Zoey watched and read every tremor in the body in her possession.
Vargas would have taken more. She knew she could take more. What she wasn’t ready for was Zoey’s torture of tenderness, as her hands and tentacles rubbed her body. She shook against the bounds that held her, only for Zoey to reflect her strength.
“Make me come, Zoey,” she begged.
A tentacle pushed its way into Vargas’s slick sex, and throbbed there. Then another curled around her clit and squeezed.
“Yes!” cried Erica.
“I missed you so much, Erica!” cried Zoey. She embraced Vargas once again. With their chests together, and Zoey’s arms holding tight, Erica was lifted into the air on a thick mass of flowing muscle. Constraining her even more, layers of tendrils wrapped around her arms at her back. Vargas loved it. Zoey’s tender lips, mighty smacks, and persistent penetrations filled the hollow inside her.
“You will come for me, Erica,” Zoey said. “Then you’ll come again.”
“Yes!” panted Erica. She spasmed against Zoey’s unyielding bounds as a juice spilling orgasm made her dizzy. She found herself spinning once again when Zoey shifted, turned, and otherwise controlled her. Erica took another thrashing at her back as Zoey suckled at her nipples in her front. The unreal and unrelenting passion cursed Erica into depravity that she had never known. Bound, controlled, and at another’s mercy could not possibly break her. Despite that, she wished it too. Another violent orgasm electrified the nerves of her body and she wept. Lost to Zoey’s machinations, Erica could not even beg for more.
Erica Vargas awoke as the cool morning mist crept through the mausoleum. Her bare skin rolled away from the smooth granite. For the first time, Erica shivered. She was naked, and trembled as if the chilling had never touched her before. Would someone see her? What had transpired? Erica remembered the night. She remembered how Zoey lowered her, in a loving cradling down in a corner of the mausoleum. She remembered Zoey covering her as if a tent filled with pillows.
Zoey was dead. Oh god, why did Zoey have to die?
Too many thoughts and feelings screamed in Erica’s mind. Covering her chest she sat and ordered those trespassing anxieties to silence and to submission. Unruly and obstinate, they still demanded something of her. Erica looked over at the casket. She closed her eyes and lifted the lid. Inside, the thinned, bloodless, and decayed visage of Zoey rested, eyes closed in a morbid peace. Vargas touched the corpse’s cheek and found it as cold as stone. She jerked her hand back in grief, and retreated away. Huddling to the corner, she wondered if death itself touched her hand. That’s not how bodies work, and that was still Zoey’s in there. Zoey wasn’t supposed to be cold and decayed. Gulping down the shock, she crawled to the casket and knelt over it. Detective Erica Vargas looked at a corpse and cried.
The following morning was Saturday and I got call that my car was ready. The mechanic, Cedric of Cedric and Cousins Auto shop, showed me the bill. Only sixty dollars.
“Why? What’s wrong, was something missed?” I said.
“Nothing wrong we could find,” said Cedric.
“Look,” he pointed to several blank lines in the invoice. “We’re not charging you for nothing. The car was fine when we tested it last night. Checked again this morning too.”
“But it wouldn’t start?” I said. Still elated from the day before, I didn’t get that mad that he didn’t believe me, only a little annoyed.
“We spent four hours checking everything we could,” he said. “I had one mechanic check the other’s work. I didn’t believe it either. Your car is fine, miss. Labor only, with a discount.”
“Okay,” I said relaxing.
I paid him and took my car off the lot. I called Marley and we met at my apartment. I opened a bottle of red and toasted to my car and to “integrated empowerment.”
“Ahh so you went, huh?” said Marley.
“I did, indeed,” I said. I shared my experience with the amazing Illaria. Definitely something that I would repeat. She shared a little of her experience too, including the top of her breasts where red lines marked her skin.
“She cut you?” I said in shock.
“Scratched,” said Marley. “Blood.”
My eyes widened in surprise. It’s unsafe and Illaria never did that with me.
“I’ve always had a fetish for bleeding,” added Marley. “Illaria brought it out of me.”
“So she’s a pro tormentor?”
Marley shook her head.
“She’s everything she says she is,” said Marley. “Let’s pour another toast. For Chicago.”
I had almost forgotten the reason for Gray Temple to begin with.
“I’m not short listed yet,” I said. There had not yet been any evidence that the contract I signed last night was real.
“You will be,” said Marley. Her arm wandered over and her fingers ran through my hair.
“That’s… surprisingly nice,” I said. She inhaled, raising her cleavage. It caught my eye. She caught me looking.
“Yeah?” Marley cooed. She pushed her glass aside. “You seem extra sensitive right now too.”
Her other hand took mine. My heart palpitated in excitement.
“And loose,” she said. “Did Illaria give you the second best orgasm you’ll have this week?”
“Second best?” I giggled.
“Second to one I’m going to give you today.”
Marley and I were unclothed and uninhibited only a few minutes later. Tumbling around together in my bed, we took turns penetrating the other and tasting bare skin. Marley came first, while I had my vibrator pushed inside and my lips around her nipple. Her arm wrapped around me, squeezing me hard as she did. Her fingers dug into my back. Would I too learn to like the pain of broken skin and blood too as she did? Yet after she recovered I contended myself to our next level of play. Marley improvised a flogger out of her belt and brought it down hard on my bare ass, thighs, and even my chest. Then Marley fulfilled her promise. She toyed with my pussy for what felt like days, pulling my brain into a thick miasma of pleasure. I came for my first time that day, shaking all over the bed. That only excited Marley further. We played with each other on and off for the rest of that afternoon. God, the sex was so amazing. Nothing is healthier than falling asleep next to a partner after you’ve had that much group exercise.
Monday arrived and I made my rounds at the hospital ward. One of the nurses interrupted me and indicated that my duties for later the afternoon had been rescheduled.
“Why?” I said startled. I’d been caring for the same round of patients for the last week. This isn’t something that would be taken from me.
“You’re going for an oncology spot in Chicago right?” she said.
I answered nothing. The nerves inside me wouldn’t let me move. I had to think myself out of it.
“Okay yes,” added the nurse. “You have an informative meeting? Like an interview?”
“Interview?” I exclaimed.
“Well no not really. We set up a video conference for you though..”
That had been enough talk. At the scheduled time I entered a video conference with several leads of the Chicago Adventist Oncology department. They had added an opening, had seen my resume, heard of my work, and examined my application. I suppressed my excitement and tremendous trepidation while we discussed the practice of medicine in the most professional manner. There would be a follow up of course. There would need to be a last minute in person interview. All of which would happen quickly as their need was quite sudden.
I called Elliot first. He didn’t pick up and I left an excited and fast speaking message into his phone. We might both be heading to Chicago together, finding a cure for cancer, and be able to continue our fucking. Marley I called next.
“Hey Marley!” I said. “I can barely believe it, but it worked!”
“Ahh, so are you a believer in Grey Temple and integrated Empowerment?” she teased.
“Believer?” I said. That’s not a word I used. Taking steps back mentally, I considered the dangers of confirmation bias. Yet, I hadn’t exactly had any bias to begin with. There had been an agreement. But how did Grey Temple do this? Did they have some connections? Some people?
“What is Grey Temple?” I said. “I mean really? They’re not wellness consultants, are they?”
“The Grey Temple? They’re making the world better. One client at a time.”
“I know that. What I mean is how?”
“That’s all something isn’t it?” said Marley. “I’m not legally allowed to explain. I can promise, Illaria will be happy to meet with you again.”
I don’t call myself a believer. I don’t call Marley and evangelist. Yet there we were.
“Doctor McSweeney?” came the nurse with urgency.
“Yes?” I said holding my cell phone from my ear.
“It’s Elliot,” she said. “You should know…”
Elliot slept in a medically induced coma. I’m not his physician. I can’t know everything about his record, but he had been transported to the same hospital we had worked in. Stitches marred his beautiful face. His left arm was in a cast. Blankets covered his legs and he was immobilized. I asked around for what had happened. A big rig on the highway buckled after a tire blew out. That caused a three car pile up with Elliot involved. No deaths? From everything I’d known about accidents like these there was always at least one fatality. That’s just statistical probability after all. Thousands of cars pass big rigs every day. Statistically, there would be at least a few accidents like these.
But not Elliot. Why? If he was in a medically induced coma, we would not know when he would come out. If that happened, then he couldn’t go to Chicago. If he couldn’t go to Chicago then…
I refused to consider it. Correlation does not imply causation. This is as true for diagnosing patients as it is for years of research to cure polio. There was no way that I could handle what I was looking at right now. Not at Elliot. If I kept looking at him like this I would definitely start foolishly thinking that correlation implies causation. That’s psychology, and I’m not immune to it. There didn’t have to be a reason why this tragedy happened. I knew this also, its easier and often more important to falsify a theory than to confirm it.
I knew how to falsify.
I chanted ‘correlation does not imply causation’ as I drove to the temple. I bumped over a curb as I parked my car and then entered the temple. I observed the receptionist. I walked past her and entered Illaria’s office. Despite my brashness, she gave me an attentive look.
“Jeri,” she said. “Hey there. Why don’t you take a seat.”
“Falsification criteria does not require that I sit.”
Illaria cocked her head to the side.
“Jeri, is something wrong?” she asked.
“Elliot was in a car accident. Did you do that?” I asked.
“Oh Jeri,” she spoke like melting chocolate. I sat down and Illaria reclined near me.
“Now Jeri you’re not worried at all about your position in Chicago. You’re maybe worried about how it happened,” she began. “Is that right?”
“The Old One of the Temple makes things happen,” she began. “We influence the fate of others. We use that to fulfill our contracts within the best and most holistic ethical practices.”
I didn’t know which sounded more nonsensical, ‘the Old One’ or that she said this was holistic and ethical.
“Think of it like this: your future work on cancer will save thousands. Perhaps hundreds of thousands over the course of your lifetime. What’s a few months or a few years in a coma compared to all that?”
“He might not be able to walk again,” I said. “You’ve sacrificed one person’s utility for another.”
“The contract stated that Grey Temple fulfills its part at its own discretion, Jeri,” she said. “The Old One guides those decisions.”
I stood up. I didn’t want to hear anything about an Old One anymore.
“I’ve had enough. Whatever you did, I’m seeing the police about it. You’re not a business. You’re a dangerous cult,” I declared. I headed for the door.
“Would that help Elliot at all?” Illaria spoke, halting me. She had a point. Even if I went to the police, found a good prosecutor, pried their secrets through investigations, Elliot still suffered.
“What exactly do you think you could do? This is medicine,” I said.
“Well, we may be a cult. But we’re a real one,” said Illaria. She rolled up her loose long sleeve. Her left forearm glowed under the light. Then it changed. It morphed. It transitioned like puddy into a long single rust red and white tentacle. She curled it around a nearby vase and lifted it up, demonstrating the strength. I had to have been seeing things, but then this tentacle touched me. A warm, fleshy, weight landed on my skin and I knew it instantly. It had touched me before. It had been inside me. It wanted to return and I, shocked and aroused at once, wished that to be so. “The Old One is real. He whispers to me,” continued Illaria. “Perhaps one day he will whisper to you.”
I cannot deny what I see with my own eyes or touch with my own skin. Still, I stepped away from that frustratingly erotic appendage. I wanted to know everything that was going on this time.
“You said the contract let you do what you want? Okay. So be it,” I said. “Now I’d like another one.”
“For Elliot’s speedy recovery and good health?”
We hashed out several terms. I wanted the Old One to not harm Elliot. In fact, I wanted Elliot in Chicago with me. Furthermore, no more unwilling parties to this deal. I didn’t want to later learn that the Old One killed a doctor so that the two of us could cure cancer.
“You drive a shrewd and specific request, Jeri. The Old One requires more in payment. You must accept a geas, for a term of six years.”
“You will live unbothered. Yet there will be times when the Old One summons you. You will be compelled to return here, and make prostrations,” she said. She looked me in the eye, emphasizing the last point. “You will not be able to refuse the summons any more than you could refuse hunger or sleep. You will come and be ready for the master.”
“That also depends on you,” said Illaria. “The Old One seeks more supplicants. If you introduce us to another client, summons will be less frequent.”
Marley. It clicked in my head. My broken car that wasn’t broken and Marley’s flexible schedule had started all this. I’d been drawn in, but there was no pulling out now. Not if I wanted Elliot to be okay. Hell, things would be better than okay if I made this deal.
“Marley’s a good lawyer,” I said. “Did she write a contract involving this geas?”
“It’s our standard template,” said Illaria smiling. “Let us get it.”
A contract was written. Another pair of signatures were added. In that office, I removed some clothes. I knew what Illaria expected of me. She took me down to the basement. The chains and pillars were ready, but Illaria ignored them.
“Disrobe completely,” she said. Her voice was irresistible. “Now stand in this circle.”
Obeying again, I shivered there. The room darken and Illaria stepped around me, running her tentacle over my flesh. She chanted. The friendly warmth in her voice faded into a dirge. My mind knew this was wrong. A tiny wrong that would produce years of good for the world. I needed to endure for only so long.
And I craved to supplicate.
“Do you wish to know the Old One? To accept his geas? And his touch?” said Illaria. “Of your clear and uncoerced mind?”
“Yes. I do.”
The tiles in the basement shoved aside with the sound of grinding stone. They were pushed away as writing mass of thick, heavy, and long tentacles crawled from the ground. A pair wiggled towards me, twisting around my feet, my calves and upwards. Warm. I found them so unexpectedly warm. Other tentacles wrapped over my arms and torso in a paradoxical, binding of possession and protection. I loved it. I lusted for the Old One as soon as I was hefted into the air.
“The Old One whispers. He is pleased with you, supplicant,” said Illaria. “We will bless you.”
A tentacle emerged before me. Its tip changed to the most wonderful phallus I’d ever seen. I opened my jaw for it and it filled me. I loved sucking it. I knew that I pleased the master. Each pulsating constriction intensified as I sucked it down. Strong cum spurted out and choked me.
“The prostrate must swallow,” intoned Illaria.
Keeping my lips tight the tentacle pulled out, I retained the cum. I suppressed my reflex to spit, chortling against sealed lips instead. I gulped once and then twice. I took the cum down.
“I will have my way with you prostrate,” spoke Illaria for the Old One. “What you have consumed is only the first of many.”
That’s when the beating began. The Old One stretched my limbs as Illaria had only days before. This time, the agonizing strikes came in heavy flurries. The thuds made me shout. I whimpered for mercy, only to be punished again with more wet fleshly lashes. The pain pleasured me so much it messed with my mind, driving further into places that I hadn’t known. A vile seed in my soul germinated. Its roots spanned out into my brain and soon became part of it. Part of me.
The tentacles need not restrain me then. I would have submitted to any whimsy. Yet, I loved the helplessness I had been put into. My clit was tickled by a tentacle tip, and another slid its way in and played with me.
“Fuck!” I roared out. “Please! Please fuck me like that.”
“The slave does not need to speak,” answered Illaria. The cock tipped tentacle entered my mouth and cut off my cries. My pussy grew wet as the tentacle penetrated me more, pumping in and out of me. My eyes closed and my muscles tensed so tight I cried at the pain. Is this what the Old One could do? Could the god get so deep into my mind and soul that my orgasm would be denied? I did not think long on that. I didn’t think on anything. A sudden gush of harrowing pleasure cascaded through me. My orgasm subsided, but it did not stop. It echoed once more. Only the cradle of my new god prevented me from falling to the ground. A mess of cum shot in my pussy and another into my mouth. Prepared this time, I consumed more of the blessing he gave me.
So continued my first prostration. Illaria spoke for the Old One again while I was nothing more than a delirious plaything. I wished for more even when the tentacles sank away lowering me to the ground. Only when they disappeared completely could I reflect on the metaphysical perversity of what had happened. Nothing had made sense in this temple, and I loved every degrading minute of it.
“You may be a person again,” said Illaria speaking for herself. Her tentacle pet my shoulder. “Unless you have enough energy to play with me.”
I wished I could, yet I was so spent. The muscles in the body can only take so much adrenaline before they exhaust themselves. I would no doubt feel the same strain as a mean hangover tomorrow. I needed water.
“My clothes,” I sighed. “I need to head home.”
“Pity,” said Illaria. She retracted her tentacle.
“Will it be like this? Every time?” I said as I stumbled up.
“Sometimes like that. Sometimes longer. Sometimes with several supplicants,” she said. “No one knows.”
“It whispers to you,” I added.
“The Old One whispers, yes. I understand what he wishes. It is not for us to ask why,” she said. “Come let me get you some water.”
I slept well that night, better than I had in ages. After all, for all the manipulation, dense contracts, and humiliations, Illaria would keep her bargain. I could relax with the knowledge that a position at Chicago Adventist Oncology was mine.
Miraculously too, Elliot came out of his coma. I visited him the day after he awoke. We talked for hours of a future in Chicago. I confessed to have missed him for several days, and he pressed if I had found anyone else to play with. Blushing, I admitted that I had.
He was released two weeks later and I wasted no time and took him to bed. He slept naked beside me, I lay watching him contended on the bliss of sex. Then, I heard the whispering. The Old One desired something. Did he want me? No, he desired something of me. It would not be long before I, like Marley, would bring another supplicant to his temple.
My uncle, a doctor, hoped I would be a minister. A strange thought. You see, he spent much of his life in the developing world on a religious mission to eradicate polio. He saved lives and brought happiness to the world. He also prayed for those who suffered.
I’m different. I had given myself fully to the practical and not the spiritual. Ethics, after all, isn’t really all that metaphysical. You reduce pain. You increase happiness. It’s quite that simple. People ask if doctors must ever consider moral costs. Well yes, I recognize that animal testing is required in research. That is a serious amount of suffering. Now I ask you, as a rational person, what amount of utility has been gained by that? If it could be quantified, it would be infinite.
My devout uncle delivered vaccinations to the masses. Soon, I’d make my contributions too. I’d give so much more than I could as a minister.
Oh, I’d almost forgotten, my name is Jeri McSweeny. Yes, like the macabre musical. I’ve heard it all before.
Now there’s one thing about the medical profession: we take our health and our stress level quite seriously. I don’t mean that we need to be on our feet and away from a soul crushing desk. I don’t mean only nutrition. What I mean is our emotional and physical health requires extra care. There is one thing above all that gets that done as efficiently as a flu shot.
I fuck. Specifically, I fuck Elliot Crooker. Elliot Crooker had a dick that exceeded average size and stuffed me better than any of my penetration toys. His other great asset? His shoulders. You see, Elliot got into the medical field after working as a young EMT. He developed the kind of body that once waded into turbulent flood waters, retrieved an exhausted woman clinging to a tree branch, and carried her to safety. Not since that time had he once let his stamina and muscular physique go. Not even through six years of school.
I experienced that stamina for myself after our usual dinner date. Elliot had me bent over his bed, exposing my vagina. The first penetration stung with that stretch. Then, I couldn’t do anything other than relax and accept that euphoric insertion.
“Fuck me harder,” I stammered.
He spanked me. The sensation went right up to my head.
“Yes! Like that!”
Slap. Slap. Elliot’s palm thudded. My pussy was so damn wet at that point and he slipped out from me.
“You’re all warmed up now,” he said while his fingers found my clit. I moaned for it. Ahh, it was so good. An entire day’s worth of tension evaporated with a simple caress there. Interesting historical fact: did you know that doctors provided that as a professional service in the years of Victorian prudes?
“You ready for a ride?”
“Fuck yes,” I said.
Cow girl never gets old. I mounted Elliot, taking his girth up inside my cunny. Oh let me tell you how much I enjoyed looking down on him. His pectorals and shoulders widened out as he relaxed. His face? He had these hot blue eyes underneath dense eyebrows. Something about his stubble always made sex better too. It shaded the contours of his jaw and his cheekbones like an airbrushed model on a billboard. He could’ve been one.
“Take it!” he said shoving himself up into me. I winced and gasped. Then, I thumped my pelvis up and down on him. Taking control, I pleasured myself on his shaft as he watched my body shake. After resting, he tried to roll over, but I held him down and possessed his cock once again. It’s fun when he climaxes.
I curled my body next to Elliot post consummation. The sex was good. It always was.
“Hell of a day for you, huh?” he said.
“What do you mean?”
“Oh I can tell, Jeri,” he chuckled. “It’s the way you orgasmed that second time. That, and how we got right to it after dinner.”
I thought about it. Yes, he’d been right. It’s strange when you’re in the middle of doing work of medicine that you forget exactly how it drains you. The nervous systems still knows though. That must be what Elliot noticed.
“Today was more stressful than normal,” I added. I wondered how he felt as I stroked his chest. Was it possible for nerves to sense each other like this? Perhaps someday I could understand his nervous systems too.
“You are, extra happy today?” I guessed based on his smile. It looked prouder and more relaxed than the usual.
“Chicago Adventist Oncology,” he said.
“What?” I half jumped out of the bed. Chicago Adventist was a top ten Oncology institute in the country. Well funded. Well staffed. They had developed a new way to detect liver cancer. That technique was pending peer review, but it was promising. “What about it?”
“I’m on the short list for a residency there,” he replied.
“Chicago Adventist. Amazing Elliot.”
I cuddled close with him again. To get short listed for a position there was already an honor. One that I had hoped for myself. Treating cancer is something that I’ve wanted to do since my uncle’s work had eliminated polio in an entire country. You see, the medical community should ever rest on our laurels. There will also be a new disease to eradicate. Cancer remained one of the most persistent.
I am to be a doctor. I will do my part to make things better.
We spent the night, though my sleep was inconsistent. In the morning, Elliot and I showered in an efficient manner and he drove off to the university. Me? I headed to my car and it opened with the familiar chirp.
I turned the ignition. There wasn’t a click or a sputter. It was a nothing. For almost the last decade, I’d studied to make human organs work together. Yet the metal oiliness under the hood of my car remained a mystery. Also, why had the interior dome light popped like that? Was that a cause or an effect? Correlation does not prove causation.
I called a tow and waited forty five minutes. Dammit. I sent several e-mails and text messages, apologizing for appointments I’d missed that day. Including Marley, my drinking buddy and occasional lover.
“What do you mean you’ll have to cancel the lunch?”
“My car,” I muttered from the inside of the tow truck. “I can’t meet you at 12:30 like we planned.”
“Well what about 1:00 or 2:00?”
That surprised me.
“Aren’t you working?”
“I’m working for myself now. New law firm, didn’t I tell you?”
“What happened to Allegiant Business Law?”
“Wasn’t for me,” said Marley. Yeah, that was true. The bags under her eyes and her frequent sighs spoke enough. She never cared for that position, but Marley doesn’t quit either.
“So what are you doing now?”
“Nothing today,” Marley continued a laid back tone. I hardly believed this was the woman who was on her third vodka cranberry when I met her. “Text me where the mechanic is. I’ll pick you up.”
Marley took me to our favorite bar, and we shared overpriced vegetarian tapas. Her anticipated new position was in immigration law. That’s a bold move, and one that would produce much positive utility. Every successfully settled migrant reduced suffering of at least one person. Yet it paid less. Marley had law school debts to pay. The corporate world helped with that. Work that might as well be pro bono could not.
“It’ll be fine. Really,” she said. The new position pays only about ten thousand less than what I’m earning now.”
“Only ten thousand?” I said.
“Plus the loan forgiveness after four years,” she explained.
My eyes opened wide.
“I had help getting it,” Marley added. “Ever heard of Grey Temple Career Wellness?”
“Yes,” I said with skepticism. They advocated company sponsored yoga, proper ergonomics, and encouraging office employees to make sand sculptures. Grey was fitting for their name. They occupied the strange area between evidence based health practices, and new age practices that -to be perfectly precise- had not yet been supported by peer reviewed research.
“They’re more than new age mumbo jumbo, Jeri.” She read my mind. Lawyers. They’re so good at body language. “Here.”
She handed me a card for Grey Temple. It displayed a confident, beautiful, and professional woman with a bold light sparkle to her eyeshadow. Illaria Cortez.
“Have some consultant time,” Marley encouraged.
“Because your car is broken,” she added. “Because your schedule is messed up. You might as well fill the time.”
Hard to argue with that, but I could at least manage to catch up on some studies. I might need to clean up my apartment too. Wait, no. This was the week I had finally broken down and hired cleaning services. I yanked out my phone. My critical tasks had been pushed back another day. Now, without having to travel across town to the hospital, I had a three hour gap in my day. It had been empirically verified.
“Okay, Marley. I’ll see her this afternoon.”
My ride share took me out of downtown and to a neighborhood in rapid transition. New construction surrounded me. That’s a healthy sign even as it meant that people had to relocate. When a depressed area of a city is revitalized with new construction, a city can be better planned. This means more taxes for the common good and ultimately more benefit for everyone, including those who were forced to move as the older buildings were torn down.
Besides, those old buildings probably contained lead.
There was one building that stood out among the others. Grey bricks and arched windows made up the most of it. It had high steeples and arched doorways. Stained glass? It had that too. Though I could see some of the glass was new. A sleek modern sign out front proclaimed “Grey Temple Career Wellness.” They must’ve taken their name from the bricks.
Inside, it had been remodeled. Hallways had been added, cubicles had replaced pews, and bright stained glass windows overlooked a lobby. After waiting, I recognized Illaria as soon as she greeted me. Her outfit is what you would get if a sari made a baby with a CEO and then took his job.
“I’ve been expecting you,” she said. Her voice soothed as it projected around the room.
“How could you?”
“I’m Jeri. Pleased to meet you.”
“Charmed. Come into my office,” she began.
Illaria reclined on a comfortable couch and asked me to sit on a nearby armchair. Her desk was tucked away in the corner. She asked several questions such as how I knew Marley. Before long, we slipped into the taboo subject of workplace romances. I let slip that I’d been sleeping with Elliot, and apologized for bringing my sex life into a work consultant conversation.
“Oh it needn’t be so taboo,” said Illaria. “We needn’t spend everyday of our lives doing constant risk assessment, cost benefit analysis, when it comes to our empowerment.”
She stressed the word empowerment. Illaria had a strong sense of making the world better. Empowerment -specifically the term ‘integrated empowerment’- was the word she used to connect sexual life, career life, relationship life. Everything was drawn together for her.
“Now what is the next step for you?” she asked.
“The next step? I need to finish my residency.”
“And then?” She leaned back dangling her arm comfortably over the edge of the couch.
“Chicago Adventist Oncology,” I said. I went on, explaining what it was and how Elliot had been short listed.
“Grey Temple would like to make that happen,” she said. Illaria’s eyes glinted.
“How could you possibly help me?” I asked.
“I didn’t say help. I said we could make it happen,” she continued. She said still reclining,and looking right at me. “Like we did for Marley. The price is only one evening of service. No more than we asked from her.”
I leaned in towards her, and checked the sensations in my body. I discovered it unexpectedly horny. Okay, so that might be fun.
“We can draw up a contract. It’s pretty standard,” she continued with utter professionality.
There was no way her little wellness group could possibly guarantee such a thing. Why was this Illaria so confident? Yet, I guess there wasn’t much I could lose. Besides, after todays rough and tumble with my car, I needed a healthy orgasm. Elliot would be on shift and Illaria enticed more than a dildo.
“What’s involved in this service?”
“Whips. Chains. A blindfold. Full disclosure Jeri, it will hurt a bit,” she smirked. “Pain comes first. Deeper, more intense orgasms to follow.
“Oh…” I exhaled.
“Shall I draw up that contract?”
I agreed to it. She printed out a contract. It said things like “The SUPPLICANT agrees to be a sexual slave for no less than one hour to a maximum of four hours for the exclusive pleasure of the MASTER” et cetera. Simple. Straight forward. I was already hot, but made sure it explicitly stated what kind of Oncology Ward I would be accepted to. “To be fulfilled in a manner at the discretion of the MASTER” it said.
Before I knew it, I had followed Illaria into the basement. I stripped myself and Illaria affixed cuffs to my wrists and ankles. Chains held my limbs out, and were tethered to two posts to my left and right. Perfectly immobilized, I was stuck in a position like an anatomy text book. I hadn’t known how much I liked it.
“Is the supplicant happy?”
“Yes, master,” corrected Illaria holding my jaw.
“Good. Look upon my toys now, supplicant,” she said.
Illaria presented a collection on top of a table. There was a vibrator with enough ribbing for a rough insertion. Another dildo was smooth and made of glass. There were other types too. Including one shaped like a tentacle and another in a curving spiral. She looked over a scourge and paddle next to several leather clamps. There were three different types of gags.
Illaria took up a pair of floggers and flung them back and forth. Approaching me sent a breeze over my naked skin. My nervous system responded, sending blood to the surface, which caused my skin to warm. Then the beatings began. Breasts are so sensitive and my nipples had been out and erect since upstairs. I’d never been struck except for those frequent hand slappings at my ass. This was that many times over, and I cried out at the unexpected hurt over my body.
“Does the supplicant enjoy the beatings?”
“It hurts, master,” I winced.
“I know it does,” said Illaria. “Can you not answer a simple question?”
Several more slaps struck my body. Illaria took her floggers to my ass next. Oh that was a familiar and wonderful feeling.
“Yes. I love it, master,” I said.
“That’s more like it,” said Illaria. The beating continued. She alternated between floggers and paddle. Each strike was exploratory and curious. She was getting to know my body and learning my reactions. The greatest shock was when she flapped her flogger upwards between my legs, slapping my pussy with feline playfulness. Tears happened. It took me a moment to realize it, but the pain was so wonderful that I cried. Endorphins coursed through my bloodstream.
Illaria gagged me and then held my weeping face towards hers.
“You’re taking the pain well, supplicant,” she said. “Yet you have asked for so much. You’ll be expected to take much more.”
Illaria turned her back and examined the toys in her collection. She pulled out a plug and lubed it up.
“You ever had one of these shoved in you?” she said only to ignore my muffled answer. She pressed into my anus. A spiraling sensation of surprise pleasure ran up my spinal column. My hair was yanked back while Illaria wiggled the toy in.
“Dirty little slut,” she said. “I bet you’ve had more than one cock back there.”
Her fingers rubbed my sopping pussy, searching for the clit. I groaned when she found it.
“I bet you’ve had cocks in both ends at the same time, whore.”
Abruptly, she let off. So close. She had denied me one orgasm and I shook against my bounds for her to return. I needed to come, but Illaria only covered my eyes with a blindfold.
“Can you see?” she mocked. I shook my head. “Quite good then.”
Petting, grabbing, and playful scratching marauded me. I took a sustained pinch at both nipples. Clamps, was all I could guess. Then the beating returned. This time, she struck with something like a fat thick tail. The thuds came heavy over my back and stomach, leaving them tingling each time.
At last, a dildo was stuffed inside me. Cooing for it, I relaxed my muscles and tilted my hips. Illaria rammed me with the smooth glass first, prodding around in a search for the right spot. She found it and I moaned into the gag, but she didn’t let me orgasm. Illaria jabbed me with another. This one could be either the ribbed one or the spiral one. Fuck, it felt so damn good. She continued on and on like that, not saying a word and occasionally swatting the clamps at my nipples. I must have been penetrated with every single dildo she had.
But it was that latex tentacle that got me off. I can’t remember the last time I came that hard. Not with my own toys and not even with Elliot. The pulsations from that orgasm had me pulling so hard I could’ve broken those beams. Once it was all done, I hung my head forward and drooled through my gag, heedless to my own debasement. I can’t believe it, but I wanted Illaria to do that to me again.
She tugged the plug out, and released the clamps at my nipples. The rest of the gear except my wrists came undone as well. That was good. I needed something to hang on to. Once I opened my eyes, I saw redness on my body and looked over at Illaria’s toys. She had wrapped her dildos in a thin towel which my juices had dampened. The dry, latex, tentacle stood proud over them all.
“Your payment has been accepted, Jeri,” said Illaria. She unbound my wrists. “You may be a person again.”
“Thank you,” I said. Did I thank her for the sex or for the contract? It was definitely at least for the orgasm. Could Illaria actually make things work? “Did you do this with Marley? Is this how she paid?”
“I don’t discuss my other clients,” said Illaria. “Though I’m sure she can describe many things for you herself. How do you feel?”
“Loose!” I exclaimed.
“As you should,” said Illaria. She gave me time to redress myself and pick up a ride hail. I hugged her good bye and thanked her. “The pleasure was all ours, Jeri. Good luck in Chicago!” she said as I left.
This Story takes place just after the events of “Wrath of the Lich King” and on the alliance side. Please support more work like this because there are more. Become a Patron!
It’s good to have friends who are smugglers. Getting out of Stormwind hadn’t cost me much, and they even had equipment they were eager to part with. They saw us as far as the roads between Stormwind and Goldshire, and cautioned us of guard patrols there. Guards who wouldn’t turn their eyes away from a freed orc, not when there had already been a bounty on his head.
Buntaro and I cut through the woods themselves. One evening, I sat near a small fire, roasting a pair of rabbits. Wolves howled to each other in the distance. Hooting came through the trees. Buntaro returned after setting some traps near our hiding space. He looked wild in that sleeveless whelp scale shirt the smugglers gave him.
"Come here, handsome," I said. I made space for him on the blanket. Buntaro cuddled next to me, and Tsali lay at our feet. We shared our catch together.
"Delicious," said Buntaro. He chomped down on the meat, and chewed it slowly. "I haven’t eaten a real meal in weeks."
"You haven’t eaten one yet. This is only to start," I said. I took my own share of the rabbit.
"Oh?" he teased. "Is this the appetizer? You have the servants coming with our next meal? Is it duck and pea soup?"
"No, silly," I said. I tossed Tsali some. He gobbled up the meat. "But tomorrow night? We will be at the Goldshire inn. You know what Innkeeper Farley cooks? Roast pig spiced with cloves and orange peels."
"Hmmm, that does sound good," said Buntaro. He tossed Tsali a share of the rabbit.
"He serves it on top spiced red potatoes," I added. "Then you wash it down with the beer, brewed out in the country side."
"Oh my that does sound good!" said Buntaro. He devoured his share of the rabbit.
"You can see why I stay there for so long," I said. In our trip, I had long since shared with Buntaro why I stayed employed there, and what I did. Buntaro knew of my lovers, and my dances. He craved to see it himself. "My room upstairs will be safe. It will be comfortable."
I snuggled closer to him, rubbing my hands up his back, touching the great muscles beneath the scaled armor. I undid the first of its buckles. Buntaro’s breathing grew heavier.
"The sheets I have? Comfortable, warm silk. I have a fur blanket to keep us both warm at night," I said. "We can stay there as long as we need."
I removed his chest piece. His warm chest simmered at my touch. Then I laid him out on his back, and rolled on top of him. He pulled my face to him, and we kissed. I stripped myself of my own clothing, and then undid his pants. I wrapped my hands around his erection, pumping it up and down. I’d never forgotten the sounds he made when I pleased him so. Hearing them, out here under the stars, reminded me of our nights in Northrend. I leaned down and teased his shaft with my tongue until he became as hard as rock. Then I mounted him, and took him into myself.
"Kolapi!" I moaned as my pussy sank down onto his shaft.
"Yasmeen…" he said looking me in the eyes.
I rode him next to the fire that night. Our grunts and moans joined with the sound of howls and chirps in the dark air.
Goldshire’s western side stood unsuspecting of two travelers off well of the road. It neared dusk as we approached, and there, we came upon Lyria and one of her recruits. It was the big guy, who still walked with pain from where the gnoll injured his thigh in the attack weeks ago. I called out to Lyria. She and her militiaman came towards us. She peered through the late sunset at us both. She stopped for a moment when she saw Buntaro, standing and proud.
"So it’s true, Yasmeen," she said. "You rescued an orc from the stockades."
"What?" I said. I had told no one.
"We had a visitor," said Lyria.
"The hunter," said the militiaman. "He came through here again."
"What has he done?" I said.
"Easier to show you," said Lyria. "Both of you come."
"The orc too, ma’am?" said the militiaman.
"Yes, the orc too," said Lyria. "He travels with our healer and the best fighter this village has ever seen, or did you forget how you got that scar on your leg?"
The militiaman stammered.
"I just mean what if the hunter comes back?" he said. "He’s going to hurt people again, and we don’t need no more trouble."
"Someone will get hurt if he comes back," said Buntaro in a calm menace.
"Ahh right," said the militiaman.
We were led to the inn. Farley had set up two cots in a spare room. On one lay Rhombur. His face looked a tint of green, and his skin had a clear fever to it. He had bandages on two limbs. On the other, lay Isabelle, who looked so much worse. Her face, already pale and icy, looked aged. Her eyes had sunken back, and dark circles surrounded them. Her lips had a blackened color to them. Still she looked alert, sitting half up, and crossing her arms over her chest in protection.
"What happened?" I said to Lyria.
"After word got out that the great orc Buntaro had been busted from the stockades, and a Draenei may have helped him, Jondreas returned, and asked questions." Lyria began. She told me that Jondreas sneaked into the village, and prowled between buildings. Rhombur had been the first to catch him and confront him, and became a victim of a poisoned dagger. Still, he rang the alarm and the rest of the militia went after Jondreas. They found him outside of town, with Isabelle as his captive. He had her hands bound in one of his contraptions, and she screamed in pain as he tormented her with another gadget. He had been chased off, they went on his trail, but lost him
I examined Rhombur first. I know nothing of diseases or magical curses, or poisons. I’d only seen something like the green tint of his skin his blackened veins among soldiers who fought ghouls too closely in Northrend.
"Yasmeen," he said.
"Hold still a moment," I said. I placed my hands on him, and called on the power of the Naaru once more. Light glowed over his body, healing him. Yet I knew that I could only do so much.
"Do you feel better, Rhombur?" I said. His skin had turned back to a healthy color, though his skin burned to the touch.
"I do," he said.
"You’ll need to find someone to get you to Northshire Abbey," I said. "Tell the priests there you were stricken with the ghoul flux. They can remedy you completely."
"How did I?" he said. "Was Jondreas a ghoul?"
"No," said Buntaro. "He’s an alchemist who will turn any disease into a weapon. He doesn’t care how much pain it may cause. Count yourself lucky it didn’t spread."
Rhombur glanced back and forth between me and Buntaro. Buntaro squatted near Isabelle, who pulled away in fright.
"Please, let me just look at your hand," he whispered kindly. She extended her hands out to him.
"By the light, Yasmeen," said Rhombur. "Are monsters like Jondreas everywhere outside Elwynn forest? Is that what it means to adventure? To be at the mercy of people like him?"
I had no answer for him. I turned over to Isabelle and Buntaro.
"Look here," said Buntaro. He pointed to the scarred and purple skin around Isabelle’s wrists. "Marks from spell shackles. It’s a torture device the Burning Legion uses."
"As soon as he clamped those on me, I could not cast a thing," said Isabelle. "It hurt so, but not like what came next. Not when he demanded things from me."
She showed us elsewhere on her body where it had been pierced. The wounds looked like bites.
"He mana burned you, didn’t he?" I said.
"He kept asking about you when he did," said Isabelle. "Had a message for you. Said he was heading eastward."
"All that injury because of me and Buntaro?"
"I’m not as bad as I look," said Isabelle. "Mana has been trickling back to me. I’m going to recover, and then I’m going after him."
Lyria shook her head.
"You’ll be barely in condition to ride with us, Isabelle," she said. "What good would you be when we find him?"
Isabelle raised her chin high.
"This is my village as much as it is yours."
"You left when you were twelve!"
"Shut it!" said Isabelle. "I will be there when we capture him. I will see him suffer for what he did to me, and to Rhombur, and to every one else who is here."
"Isabelle…" said Lyria in a tense calm.
"Lyria," I said, changing the subject. "What’s this about a march?"
Lyria, glad for the distraction, shared what would happen next. She planned to head to Stormwind the next morning and appeal to Marshall Dugan himself. He knew he owed Goldshire a favor after the complete disaster weeks ago, and mounted knights would be the minimum she would ask for. The militia? They knew the forest well enough. Besides, Jondreas had departed on his cart. Fresh wagon tracks would be hard to miss.
"We’re joining too then," said Buntaro.
"Kolapi…" I began.
"What?" he said.
Lyria looked nervous, as did Rhombur and Lyria. This wasn’t Northrend, where the need to survive and fight for a common purpose overrode the bad history between the orcs and humans. This was Goldshire, a place where humans picked their allies with their fears.
"You’re still an escaped prisoner," I said choosing my words carefully. "I can’t protect you from the entire city guard. Buntaro, please I don’t want to see you in a cell again."
Buntaro nodded with frustration.
"Yes, I see," he muttered.
Lyria rode off that night. Isabelle, for all her determination stayed in her bed. Sadly, we had a few mana potions in the village. Though she could take them only slowly. Mana burn scars so deep it slows the rejuvenation process. Inkeeper Farley prepared a meal for all of us, and insisted that Buntaro eat in the common room with us all. Buntaro ate everything. The villagers were slow to open up to him, but when he discussed how he had been captured by Jondreas they listened. Even Rhombur, still recovering, sat respectfully before Buntaro’s stories of combat in the frigid north of the world. Yet more than a few cautious, and nervous eyes diverted from him. I retired upstairs with Buntaro after our meal. There, in my chambers, Buntaro paced back and forth. Annoyed that he had been snubbed for his chance to chase down the hunter who had so wounded him, he grimaced.
"Knights?" he said. "Men on horses thundering away through trees? They might as well announce themselves with trumpets."
"The same knights would pursue you," I said.
At that Buntaro gave me a look. I knew what it meant.
"Buntaro, we are not in Northrend. We are among simple people," I protested. "They do not see you as I see you."
"Neither did…" he began before stopping himself.
"Neither did Taluv see you as I see you in Warsong Hold’s great Hall," he said with a sigh.
I crossed my arms. We stewed in our frustration.
"I wish they would accept you, as your people accepted me," I confessed at last.
Buntaro waved his hand and grunted.
"Your innkeeper," said Buntaro. "He accepted me at least. So what do we do now?"
Standing up, I made myself as confident as I could.
"Let’s forget all this, Buntaro," I began as if reciting a speech. "We can travel to Booty Bay in two weeks and be on the other side of the world in two months. I have enough gold to get us a caravan for what little I care to carry."
Squinting first, Buntaro shook his head.
"Yasmeen, you know that you’re a bad liar," he chided. "Come on, you don’t want any of that right now."
"No I don’t," I pouted.
"Jondreas hurt me," Buntaro said gesturing to himself. "Now? He’s hurt your people. People who were your friends, and people who respect you. You would not let this go would you?"
He spoke the truth.
"No, that Gilnean captured you. He tricked me. He set gnolls upon our own village," I grumbled. "I have to do this."
"We both do," said Buntaro. "We head out tomorrow, ahead of knights and their noise. I bet he left tracks in his cart. Shouldn’t be hard to find."
"Because he’s laying a trap," I added.
"Oh I know!" declared Buntaro. "I don’t care. He won’t catch me again."
Walking towards my kolapi, I opened up to his arms. I would fight for him, and with him, in ways that I knew I could not within my own village. It would be madness to go after Jondreas, but he was still only one hunter. We were two, and we were angry. Jondreas would fall, and then? I would never again leave the side of my kolapi in peace or in battle.
The morning arrived and Buntaro and I set out for the road, dressed for tracking and the skirmishes as he had so many times before. Down stairs, we found the inn’s hearth blazing. Innkeeper Farley looked at us both.
"Yasmeen," he said.
"Farley," I added.
"You look dressed for danger," he said.
"I am," I said.
"You’ll be coming back? Staying again?" he said. "Ah no.. You won’t will you? No matter what happens, you’ll be moving on at last."
Having been understood, nothing needed to be said..
"Tell no one that we departed, Farley," I said. Can you do that?"
"Never saw you," said Farley. "Come back alive though. One last time? We can say good byes proper then."
"Thank you Farley," I said.
With that, Buntaro and I sneaked out of the inn. Jondreas had left a deliberate trail, one so obvious that Buntaro grew even more suspicious. Thus, we diverted away from the main road and into the woods. It lengthened our trek, but it allowed Tsali to sniff the air, the soil, and anything else that could indicate traps that Jondreas had no doubt set. In the evenings, Buntaro would set a perimeter as he often did. Only on the coldest nights did we create a fire. Our food consisted of dried rations. Still, it warmed our bellies and sustained us.
One morning on the roadside, our fire had long since burned out to ashes. Tsali paced around the edge of our camp. His chest out and his ears forward. Buntaro squatted on the ground near me. He drew his kukri and sniffed the air.
"What is it?" I whispered.
"Their fur. I can smell it," he said. I slipped out of my bed roll and hefted my shield and sword as softly as I could. We put our backs against one another, and rotated around. Tsali barked towards the north east. Then we heard a cold metal snap to the west. A gnoll yipped in pain. Both Buntaro and I turned to it. Then Tsali yelped and there was a thump. Tsali was caught in a net and being dragged away.
"No!" cried Buntaro. He ran after the net. Only then did the yaps and howls of gnolls break through the morning fog. They revealed themselves to us. Each one clad in hide armor, stuffed with branches, twigs, and leaves imitating the brush of Elwynn around it. Preparing for a fight was our only natural reaction. Uncertain, I stood my ground as a gnoll approached us. Barking and order to his comrades, he sized us up likewise. Growling ceased as our foes relaxed their weapons. This gnoll’s arm had lost patches of fur, and in their place were scabs and tiny boils.
"I am Snarg," the gnoll spoke. "I want peaceful talk."
"I am Buntaro. I want my worg."
"Gnolls do not injure our cousins," said Snarg. He looked to me. "Who are you? Why are an orc and a she-devil wandering our forest?"
"I am a draenei!" I said. "My name is Yasmeen, the name of who shall kill you if you harm Tsali or Buntaro."
Barking resounded. Snarg yapped and the gnolls calmed down. One spoke in their own language to Snarg. Snarg’s ears perked backwards, and he responded, keeping his eyes on me.
"Okay, Yasmeen," he said. "Share a story with me. Tell me about traveling north from the forests south of the river. You had a human."
"What?" I stammered.
"Speak, she-devil," he sighed.
"I traveled with a human yes. It was there we encountered a gnoll corpse tied to a tree. We took it down and covered it with leaves."
"My scout watched this," he said. "Why did your people kill my kin and disgrace his body?"
"We had nothing to do with that!" I declared. "We seek the one who did. Jondreas, a hunter from Gilneas. He is not from my village."
"This Jondreas," he said. "he fights with a lion, wears glass eyes, and fires diseases from his cross bow. Yes?"
"He uses a rifle," I said. "His glass eyes are yellow."
Snarg’s expression relaxed at last.
"I healed many in Goldshire," I added, indicating towards his diseased arm. "I can heal that too."
"First, tell me why you seek this man," said Snarg, pulling away his wounded arm.
"I’ll tell you why," began Buntaro with indignation. He told Snarg the tale of getting captured in Stranglethorn, and of Jondreas abuse of the people of Goldshire. I added how Jondreas had antagonized the gnolls, and endangered our village. I told the gnoll chief the truth. Snarg listened.
"I warned cousin Hogger not to attack," sighed Snarg. "Now, this Jondreas has taken his head. We will remove his in repayment. My scouts tracked his stink eastward."
"Then we want the same thing!" I said. "Let me heal you and allow us to leave."
"If you can," said Snarg. He extended his diseased arm.
"Release my worg first!" grunted Buntaro.
Snarg barked an order to the other gnolls. Tsali was returned back in his net and placed in front of Buntaro. Buntaro cut the ropes and Tsali leapt out and came to heel. Snarg held his hand arm out. I sheathed my sword and invoked the power of the Naaru. Golden light swirled around his arm, and the boils and scabs disappeared. His armed cleansed, Snarg rubbed his bare skin.
"Are we free to go?" I said.
Motioning us to sit, Snarg himself sat upon a stump. He offered Buntaro’s trap back to him. It had been sprung, with no trace of blood or injury upon it at all.
"The Gilnean does not hide his trail," said Snarg. "He expects us to come at him with full force. For days, we have tracked this hunter. I have always sent only two or three to follow him."
"He sets a trap as we wait here," said Buntaro.
"Yes!" said Snarg. "Which is why we wait, outside this cave he hides in, until he wanders out. I am not my cousin. I am patient."
"And you risk less of your people in doing so," I added.
"Let us go," said Buntaro. "Show us this cave. We will flush him out for you. Do what you wish after."
"What will you do with him?" I said.
His shrugging replied first.
"Kill him. Eat him," he continued. "All in good time though. He can’t stay in the cave forever."
"You might not have time," I said. "A contingent of knights are gathering in Stormwind right now. Do you think they’ll miss that trail anymore than you or I did?"
"What? No!" said Snarg, shocked. I nodded at him. He discerned I spoke the truth.
"Let us fight with you," said Buntaro. "You can have his head, liver, spleen, for all I care. I only want to know he pays before I leave Alliance territory, for good this time."
Knowing for certain that invading the cave would be a trap, and knowing also that there may never be another chance, Snarg still shook his head in dismay.
"Are you better at spotting traps than setting them?" said Snarg. He gestured to Buntaro’s trap. "We will enter first. All three of us. Together. Yes?"
"Agreed," I said. Buntaro gave a stern salute.
We moved with the entire company of gnolls, with haste, eastward through Elwynn. We arrived at the edge of Redridge, where the trees were sparser and rocks more prevalent. Snarg pointed out to Buntaro the locations of several scouts, and we all saw Jondreas’s cave as plain as the sky. The mouth of the cave looked large enough for both a man and horses to pass through, and his cart was parked next to it. Smoke came out of the cave’s mouth. Snarg had told the truth. The trap was obvious.
Nonetheless, we trudged into the cave. Buntaro kept Tsali close. He waved a torch near the floor, and near the dangling stalactites at the cave’s ceiling. Rope was illuminated in its orange flickering. Buntaro squinted in suspicion.
"You smell it, Snarg?" he said.
"Sleep petals," said Snarg. "They smell like tulips and honey."
"Yeah they do don’t they? " said Buntaro. Following the rope with his eyes and fingers, Buntaro came to a wall. He found the trigger mechanism, and then it led to glass bottles filled with a concentrated pink fluid. The vials had a tiny crack near where the corks stuffed into them.
"Huh.." Said Buntaro.
"What is it?"
"They’ll make good throw weapons," said Snarg. "Let’s split them among us."
And so we did and proceeded further down into the cave, following the scent of smoke.
Deeper within, that’s when we heard the yapping. I hefted my shield. Buntaro readied himself. Snarg? Snarg looked afraid.
"Torch!" said Snarg. "Light my torch now."
Buntaro did. Snarg creeped around the cavern walls and we spotted a group of gnolls devouring one of Jondreas’s horses. They huddled away from a campfire. Snarg tossed the torch towards them. The gnolls jumped away from it. Their mouths frothed with blood and foam. They looked terrified of the fire, and growled towards us. Near them, broken bottles dripped out toxic liquid.
"Run!" cried Snarg.
"What?" I said.
"They’re rabid!" he said. "Go!"
Buntaro hurled one of the vials in the direction of the gnolls. A cloud of pink haze burst out in the firelight. The gnolls inhaled it in, dazed, but not sleeping. I grabbed my kolapi and Tsali and we rushed out the way we came. Barking echoed behind us. How many? I could not count. Their foul sounds terrified us all the way into the open light. Snarg shouted at his warriors. I saw the fear flash across their faces, and then I saw the courage of their charge. Their crude shields crashed against the onslaught of at least a dozen ravenous, clawed, and biting enemies.
Buntaro, feared too much for Tsali. Having cleared distance, he readied a bow and fired arrows at our enemies. They struck the mad brutes but didn’t phase a single one. Intoning retribution I charged into the melee. Arcs of holy fire struck each furred monsters when they assaulted our allies. One brute grabbed hold of my shield. Clawing and biting tried to rip it from my grip. I could not get a clear swing at him. Howling remorsefully, a gnoll warrior speared him in the back. I pushed him aside and made ready to engage the next enemy.
Charging hoof beats pounded the ground behind me. I looked behind me and saw Marshall Dugan and several Stormwind knights ride. Behind them the Goldshire militia waited.
"No! Stop!" I screamed. Snarg’s gnolls yelped a retreat, struggling to clear themselves of the onslaught. In the confusion, I tossed one of the sleep potions towards the galloping knights. The wind carried away the gas. Buntaro fired arrows at the incoming calvary, and an arrow struck Dugan in a shoulder plate. Yet he persisted. One knight passed me and skewered a rabid gnoll. He drew his sword and pursued the others. Right as Marshall Dugan and the other knight made their way, I shouted and consecrated the ground. A great flash of yellow fire flared around me. The horses, pain searing their undersides, reeled back. Controlling their steeds proved difficult for them all. One knight fell from his saddle.
"Yasmeen!" Marshall Dugan shouted. "What in the nine hells are you doing?!"
"I said stop!" I waved my arms frantically at the militia archers. "All of you stop!"
When the dust cleared, I found Buntaro wetting his daggers on the last of the rabid gnolls. Snarg’s warriors had dismounted and cornered the zealous knight, and aimed their weapons at him. I broke up the confusion and sent the knight back towards the militia. It was then I noticed Lyria Du Lac commanding them. Isabelle rode with them too, her face was still gaunt and weak from the mana burn. Injuries abounded among the gnolls. A few of them were killed. At least one had the tragic death of dying beneath a charging warhorse.
It took all my patience to gather Snarg, Marshall Dugan, and Buntaro together. Lyria joined too, as did Isabelle.
"Alright?" said Dugan. "What’s going on? We tried to save you from these mongrels, and now you say you’ve been working with them?"
Isabelle glared coldly at Snarg.
"Watch your tongue, human," said Snarg. "I hear every word."
"It speaks!" exclaimed the Marshall. "What about you, orc?"
"Watch it, ser!" I said. "You will speak to my companions with respect."
"How’s your shoulder?" chided Buntaro. Dugan rolled his eyes, and pulled the arrow out. It released cleanly. Dugan raised his palm to his shoulder and healed himself.
"Fine, thanks for the concern," he said flatly.
"Be thankful!" added Buntaro. "I don’t barb them."
Conversing did not go comfortably. Everyone, in the heat of anger, simply wanted to fight. Still, once the rush of combat subsided in us all, our heads became cool enough to deal with the task at hand. We made for an agreement. The marshal went back to his militia, and Snarg to his warriors.
"You’re going to have a rough time explaining me, aren’t you Yasmeen?" said Buntaro.
"What’s there to explain?" I said. "Would they even understand?"
"They might," he said. "We did just stop them from killing every gnoll in Redridge."
"I don’t know."
Arriving for us all began with Snarg. Dugan returned after I did, Rhombur was with him this time.
"He’s got an idea if you want to hear it," the Marshall said.
"Used to play in these caves as a kid," said Rhombur. "That one? Sure as I stand here has a long tube you can crawl through."
"He’s right," said Snarg. "I noticed it when we entered there. Where does it exit?"
"Not far," he said.
"But Jondreas could be anywhere in this valley by now," I said.
"Only two ways out," said Marshall. "I can have the patrols monitor the river. The other way out is the pass towards Blackrock territory."
He turned to Snarg.
"I think your people know these mountains better than ours," said Marshall Dugan. "Can you track him?"
"We will not," said Snarg.
"What?" I said.
"My people were bitten," said Snarg. "Bitten by rabid gnolls and the disease will spread. We will go to our witch doctors. We cannot, and will not fight."
Snarg squinted at Dugan.
"Neither will we risk more warriors to the fury of men on horses."
Snarg and his gnolls saw to their own dead. They bound their fallen warriors in blankets and carried them away. How gnolls handled their deaths I could never learn, but it could not be cannibalism as is so common a story among humans. The diseased gnolls, they did not touch. Preparing a pyre remained our sad duty. Furthermore, we could not expect the gnolls to touch the poison bottles that Jondreas had left behind. Spreading that strong distillation of rabid disease could only bring ruin on us all. We burned those bottles with the fire. That disgusting smell brought with it terrible memories. I distracted myself and joined with Dugan and Isabelle as they examined a map. The redridge valley had only two exits. A pass leading towards the Blackrocks, and the over the rivers towards Elwynn or Duskwood.
It was too much to patrol without the gnolls. In the end we knew we had something. We had Buntaro. Jondreas would not leave this valley until he had him, and that meant we had bait. Marshall Dugan divided his men into squads to cover the passes and the rivers. That left little for us. Only Isabelle, myself, Buntaro and Lyria remained.
We knew we could not stay near the pyre. Not even for the night. Jondreas had set a trap, and we dodged it. Lyria led us up a path to an abandoned, and partially collapsed mine. There we warmed ourselves near a fire and contemplated our next step.
"The valley is too damn big," Isabelle still shivered in pain. She tried nonetheless to conjure a scrying bowl to search for our enemy.
"Isabelle you’re going to faint again," said Lyria.
"She’s right," said Buntaro.
"Don’t tell me what I can’t do," snapped Isabelle.
"Not her," said Buntaro. "I mean you. You’re right that this valley is too large. I could track for weeks and not catch up with him."
Isabelle blinked, suddenly chagrin at her own temper.
"Then you know I must scry," she said. "No matter how much it hurts. I’ll find him if it kills me."
"Isabelle," sighed Lyria. "You can’t…"
Before Isabelle snapped at her I motioned Lyria to quiet.
"Look we’re going to help you scry," I said. "There’s one thing we have to do first."
"What’s that?" said Isabelle.
I described the mana tide totem. I told her how it worked, and what we would do to ignite the flow of refreshing mana. After the battle, I needed it too. Buntaro held me close as if protecting me from Isabelle’s moral gaze.
"Harlot magic? With him?" she said. "Never have I encountered such in my studies."
"You can trust it," I said. "I’ve fought with Buntaro. This is truth: I’ve done it more times than I can count. Even arcanists benefit."
"But shaman magic and sex?"
"It’s no more taboo that what we’ve done," said Lyria calmly. She looked over to Isabelle with vulnerability I had never seen on her. Isabelle’s ice blue eyes opened as wide as saucers. She stammered to say something, but could not.
"These two are about to fuck before us and you think we have some secret we can still keep?" said Lyria.
"Oh my," whispered Buntaro.
"How long?" I asked.
Isabelle spoke choosing every word with effort
"First time was when I visited after six years of mage training," she spoke. Her arms uncrossed and her breathing steadied. "After that, it was anytime I returned."
"Until that night Hogger killed Jacob," said Lyria. Her words were full of pain. "That was the last night we spent together. At my home."
Isabelle turned away and tears began to dripped down her pale cheeks.
"He went out that night to look for me," Isabelle stammered. "I know it. I was supposed to be setting wards at his ranch that night… but I hadn’t seen Lyria in so long…"
She let out a little quiet sob in catharsis.
"He scoured the woods thinking I was taken. That’s when Hogger got him. Because of me," she said.
We sat there in silence for a time. Hogger had slain Isabelle’s childhood friend. No wonder she could never leave the Elywnn after that.
"You can’t blame yourself," said Buntaro. "Hundreds of decisions are made in any conflict, including the enemy’s decisions."
"My decision was love over duty," said Isabelle.
Grieving was upon Lyria’s face. It hurt her to hear these words.
"Isabelle, love is why we do our duties. Love is why we fight," I said. I came out from Buntaro’s wide arms and held her hands. I then took Lyria’s and placed them into Isabelle. "Let me show you what I learned in Northrend."
Moments later, the blue glow of mana illuminated the room from the pool of the Mana tide totem. Buntaro and I were upon each other, moaning and growling while we removed our clothes. Overpowering me after a struggle, my kolapi had me on my back and underneath his arms. I loved how we exchanged kisses together like that, already the tide bubbled as my breasts engorged and pressed against him. I looked to Lyria. She held Isabelle’s head in her arms, caressing her white hair. Isabelle’s eyes still glistened from tears, yet already she looked warmer. Lyria lifted Isabelle carefully up and began to untie the top of her clothes.
"Wait…" said Isabelle. She looked scared.
"For what?" said Lyria, unbuckling her own armor and casting it aside. She removed her top, and displayed her breasts towards Isabelle. "If you really mean you don’t need this, I’ll get dressed again."
I was riding Buntaro now. My hips writhed on top his cock. It was good, yet my heart fluttered in fear that what needed to begin would not. Oh Isabelle, do not be afraid. She gulped down, and leaned up towards Lyria, their lips touched, and Isabelle melted into Lyria’s embrace. Soon, she was undoing her mage’s robe as if it burned her body. Blue light of mana and the orange glow of the fire glowed on her porcelain skin. Lyria pressed close to her, and her free hand touched between Isabelle’s legs. Never had I heard such cries of relief and joy from them before.
Our sex imbued the tide totem. Its streams of mana gushed forth and flooded our small cave. Isabelle and Lyria asked to touch me as well, and touch me they did. Exploring me, their hands grew incessant and curious. Isabelle, growing reckless and bold after her orgasm, begged me to change partners. I was filled with pride at her courage, and grew even prouder when she climaxed with my kolapi. Lyria? Her lust for me knew no bounds either. Her lips tasted of the juices of her long missed lover. "Thank you, Yasmeen," she whispered. Then, kissing stimulated between my legs.
I had never seen Isabelle without clothes covering her shame. Though there, while all of us were nude and relaxed in that stone cave, Isabelle stood tall and near the fire we built. She recited a spell, and her eyes glowed into a solid yellow. Glyphs of magic rotated around her head as she moved her arms like one swimming through a fog.
"I see him," she said.
"Jondreas?" Lyria asked.
"Yes," she said. "I see where he is. I see what he wants. Oh we will have him."
The divination trance held her still for several minutes more. The glow in her eyes intensified, and her mouth curled into a feline smile. When it ended, the magic faded and her eyes returned to their pale blue. She was with us again.
"I know what we can do," she said. "I see… I see us capturing him. Here is what we must do."
It had been weird, uncomfortable, when Isabelle demanded that Buntaro and I remain in the cave for one more day. It made little sense to me, or to Buntaro. Both of us had nothing but Jondreas’s bloody head on a pike in our minds. Yet she insisted that we must not only stay, but must not leave the confines of the cave. All we could do was watch the sun move, as she had instructed us, while she and Lyria marched away.
Then our part came. Buntaro drew his dagger and wet it with his own blood. We marched through the woods together, leaving faint drops of his wound on rocks, on trees. We went through the thick brush until at last we arrived at a fallen tree before a boulder. Tsali yapped loud. We knew our quarry was near. Setting a frost trap was Buntaro’s first in ages. Then we continued along the mountain side.
A snap of a trap and lion’s pained roar broke the silence of the wood. A bullet whizzed past my horns, and I raised my shield. Notching an arrow, Buntaro leapt behind a tree. Another bullet crashed into its branches, sending splinters around.
"Can you see him, kolapi?" said Buntaro. Buntaro growled beside me.
"No," I said peering through the woods. "Wait…"
A flash of light, as unmistakable as a mirror in a desert sun, flickered near some brush.
"Yes I do," I pointed discretely.
Buntaro drew an arrow with an explosive at its head.
"Okay, this is going to be loud," he said.
"I won’t fear it."
Buntaro muttered an order to Tsali. He bounded off to the right, and I to the left. We charged towards Jondreas’s position. Several more shots whizzed past me, and other collided with my shield. Tsali growled as he dashed madly through the trees and brush. Then, a friendly arrow flew past my flank in a great red streak. I raised my shield as flame and sulfur exploded. Upon lowering my shield, I saw the singe bushes where Jondreas had been, he arose, in a soot covered sneer.
"Damn you!" I roared.
Jondreas flung a glass vial, and a stinking cloud of brown gas billowed out. My eyes began to tear in resistance, and dammit, I tried to charge through it anyway. A bullet struck my armor, penetrating through and wounding my shoulder. I fell back and Tsali ran towards me. His jaw gripped my collar and dragged insistently at me.
"Yes, yes! Fine," I protested as I inched my way back. Shootings continued over our heads. Buntaro fired more arrows in return.
Buntaro met me, covering his mouth against the fumes, and we moved around the cloud, towards a hill overlooking a field.
"She did say not to charge," coughed Buntaro.
"I know," I said. "I don’t care."
"We do our part, they do theirs," said Buntaro. "Come!"
We crawled on our bellies until we could safely over look the clearing. Jondreas was on the run. My kolapi, he had a clear shot. I had seen him make so many kills at such shorter distances. His eyes squinted down, for I knew too that he wanted this shot to be his.
Running fir the coverage of a grove, Jondreas didn’t see the trap. As he stepped, a large green glyph appear before his feet. A pillar of flame erupted from the ground, and Isabelle appeared from her hiding. Jondreas tumbled back and rolled down a hill side. Firings of frost streaked towards Jondreas. Still, he evaded most, until an arrow struck him in the calve.
Jondreas screamed in pain. From behind a stone, Rhombur revealed himself. He notched another arrow, and shot a flare skywards. Marshall Dugan galloped in, followed by the rest of the Goldshire militia. Jondreas raised his rifle to fire again, only to be struck in the chest by another of Rhombur’s arrows.
"Good shot, that one," said Buntaro.
Hearing him say that warmed my heart, as much as it excited me to see Rhombur act as brave -and as skilled- as he did.
With no escape, Jondreas dropped his weapon. Still, the militia regarded him with caution. Marshall Dugan dismounted and exchanged words with Jondreas. I could not hear them, though only knew that Dugan spoke with the dour dignity worthy of every Paladin before a cornered enemy. Isabelle though? She broke the calm with words harsh and spiteful. Marshall Dugan shook his head, and motioned for her to calm. Tugging her away, Lyria comforted Isabelle as best she could.
Jondreas said something else that made Isabelle shout at him anger. Dugan stood between Jondreas and a glaring Isabelle, wise enough not to turn his back on one like Jondreas. Sulking became Isabelle’s last resort.
"By the Naaru," I said. "The light’s justice will have its day in the stockades."
Buntaro grunted in disapproval.
"Yasmeen…" he began. A roar of flame burst through the air. We looked, and witnessed Isabelle. Tendrils of fire burst from her hands, and immolated Jondreas as he screamed. Screaming never lasts long like that. My heart beat in shock, terror, and though I wished it were not so, satisfaction in what I witnessed. Dugan slammed his face into his gauntlet and then cried out in frustration. Yelling back, Isabelle’s words were loud enough for me to hear: "You said, ‘deal with him as you see fit’ marshall!"
Caught in his words, and tired of our chase, Dugan shook his head. He mounted his horse called to his knights and rode away.
Two days later, veiled in my silks, I once again prepared myself behind the stage curtain. The music broke through the night and clapping welcomed me in. Sauntering out to the stage, with a flow of silk behind me, I was lusted after by Lyria, Isabelle, and above all my Buntaro. My short dance of Booty Bay harlotry inspired the crowd to share a few coins, and I bowed for them. Many of them were militiamen, including my Rhombur. He looked healthy now, fully cured of the ghoul flux.
"Who threatens our village and lives?" I called to the crowd.
"No one!" chanted the militia.
"Who raids our fields, or assaults our merchants?"
"No one!" they chanted again. Lyria tossed me a singed pair of goggles.
"No one! Indeed!" I said, holding it up in the air. "Now let us celebrate all together."
Lyria and Isabelle cuddled close together. Already Lyria’s hands rubbed her lover’s body. Sharing my breasts with them delighted me and all. Stripping myself of clothes, spinning in a sensual dervish, made me wetter. That’s when I began the orcish chant of victory. Buntaro joined with me in a deep throated vowels. I egged on Lyria and Rhombur to follow along. From them, the rest of the militia followed. They knew not what it meant, no more than I did that first night so long ago. They need not know the words to know it was right.
I brought my Buntaro up to the stage, and he hefted my nakedness into the air to thrill chanting crowd. He brought out his cock and fucked me in a standing position before the humans. Orgasming had never been stronger here than with him. I wailed in victory, and then saw Lyria and Isabelle in their thorough of lust.
"Your turn, Lyria," I said crawling towards them.
"Huh?" she said taking her lips off Isabelle.
"This is the Koh’stagig," I said. "You two shared in the victory. Now share in the celebration."
Isabelle’s pale eyes glistened with want.
"You mean? You want us to…" she said.
"Shame is the last enemy to die," I encouraged, caressing her cheek.
"Yes. Yes you’re right," said Isabelle. She brought Lyria up to the stage and they were upon each other like a pair of wild foxes. I reclined with Buntaro, excited with what we saw. Lyria, always strong and confident, showed no difference in her sex. Bringing Isabelle to her back and getting her completely nude happened as fast as an ambush. Isabelle threw her hands over her head and accepted Lyria’s kisses on her lips, and the bites at her skin. When Lyira pushed fingers into Isabelle, the penetration was announced with a cry of passion. All the while the chant of victory continued. We were alive. We had done our duty. We had saved what matters in the world.
I spent my remaining days saying my good byes, and arranging for a cart to carry my few possessions. My clothes? Oh I knew I could not carry all of them. I shared some with Isabelle, who wore my silks with faint embers of sensuality growing within her. I would miss them all, and hoped to see them someday again. Buntaro and I took to our cart, with Tsali riding in the bed behind us.
While we finished a meal by the roadside, Tsali’s ears perked forward and chest puffed out. He sniffed the air and pointed with his nose and Buntaro peered towards the brush.
"Buntaro," I whispered, indicating upwards to a tree. There, crept Jondreas’s mountain lion, fur standing up high and ears flat.
"Well there he is," said Buntaro.
He watched the animal closely as he walked along the branches near us. Without any certainty, it simply crept back and forth in the trees. Buntaro readied his Kukri. I picked up a piece of the chicken we had been eating. Waving it in the air capture the lion’s attention. I tossed it away from us. The lion hopped between branches, then to the ground and devoured the hunk of meat.
"Okay let’s go," I said.
Buntaro sheafed his Kukri and ordered Tsali to stand down.
"Just watch," he said.
As he stepped for the cart, the lion approached us. Ears up and fur down, it let out a quiet roar.
"Large cats?" said Buntaro. "They make no noise unless they want to."
The lion stepped closer towards the food, and towards me.
"He…" I began.
"She’s yours now," said Buntaro. "Give her a little more food. She’ll eat out of your hand this time."
Trembling, I offered a chunk of salted pork to the lion. She sniffed it, then consumed it. Her rough tongue grazed at my palm. The rough scraping felt somehow tender.
"What now?" I said.
Buntaro mounted up on the cart with Tsali. I took a seat beside him. The lion looked up at us all, then jumped up and sat down near me. Buntaro cracked the reins, and we went at last towards our new adventures in Booty Bay.
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We marched, Giles, Soyora, and I, right up to the entrance of the stockades. We all dressed in the arms of Stormwind foot soldiers. There we produced one of Soyora’s clever forgeries to the guard there: a summons for an orc named Buntaro to appear before the courts of Stormwind. The guards held it, and looked at it in confusion.
"Did they forget our situation here?" he said. "We’re in no condition to retrieve anyone right now."
He gestured to the rows of wounded guards laying on bedrolls.
"The three of us will get him out," I said.
"You can’t be serious?"
"Duty calls!" said Soyora. "Will you obstruct us in our charge?"
"We’re not coming in after you," said the guard. "Those are our orders."
"You won’t need to," I said.
With that the guard opened the gates and into the prison halls we went. The rowdiness of prisoners, and the sounds of fighting echoed through the halls. No prisoners met us to start, but we drew our weapons and marched into the halls. For mere habit, I muttered a chant of battle I had so many times recited. It felt rote, empty, and no blessing of the Naaru came upon me. No aura glowed from my feet, and I could offer my comrades no magical protection. Yet my chant must’ve have been loud enough to hear. For a gang of humans exited their cells and blocked our path. They carried simple clubs and crude daggers. Some had even cruder bandages upon their bruised and bloodied bodies. We were confronted by their leader. He stood with courage, before his men. Respecting him did not mean I relaxed.
"Thought we made it clear, The Dreadspikes control this block of the stockades now," he said. "Guards aren’t welcome."
"I’ve fought walking abominations, blue dragons, and necromancers," I taunted. "How do you think the eight of you will match to me?"
Giles raised his sword ready to fight.
"Oh my," said their leader. "Petty girl of the watch got herself delusions of grandeur."
Before I could charge, Soyora held out her arm to stop me.
"We’re not here for you, Dreadspikes," she said. She pulled off her helmet, "Hell, I’m not even a real guard, laddies."
They all looked to her, measuring her accent. She pointed to the three masted ship tattoo on one of the prisoner’s bare chest.
"Oi you there," she said. "What’s the name of that frigate?"
"She was called the Wicked Seahorse," he said.
Soyora took a sharp inhale. Then looked at the prisoner in the eye.
"Terrible fate, that ship," she said in a near whisper.
"Aye," he said stone faced.
Soyora turned to the leader.
"Listen here for a moment: my friend here’s got rage as hot as a Tarnassis noonday, and she’s not lying about what she’s fought. I’ve seen it myself."
She hefted out a pair of potions, a medical kit, and a skin of wine.
"But we’re not here for the Dreadspikes," she said. "We’re not even here for Stormwind. So take a few gifts and leave us in peace, aye?"
She popped the cork of the wineskin and poured some into her mouth.
The leader looked to the bare chested pirate, who nodded.
"What is your business here then?" said their leader.
"Not your concern," I said.
The leader glared at me.
"Oh, did I say we’ll inevitably kill a few black rocks?" interjected Soyora.
The leader took the wine. Other members took the potions and healing kits. Motioning us deeper into the Stockades, they returned to their cells.
The Blackrock prisoners were not quite so open to diplomacy. As we approached their end of the stockades, a group of their brutes charged us. In truth, I relished the chance to wet my sword upon them. I took a hit to my back from one of their clubs. I spun around, swung my sword, and grazed his arm sending a streak of blood on the wall behind. The Blackrock stumbled and dropped his club. I gave him a solid kick in the chest.
"Duck!" cried Giles.
I dove down and a bolt of fire singed above my head. An imp, chattering down the hallway, conjured another bolt. Giles held his shield before him and charged forth. The imp sent a flamebolt that exploded onto Giles’s shield.
The Blackrock I tussled with stood up, and was dazed. He reached for his club. As soon as he turned his head, Soyora kicked him in the face, and he fell over unconscious. Soyora’s hair stuck to her skin underneath her helmet. Her sword was bloodied, and a dead Blackrock lay behind her. Another lay wounded before me. I saw in his face terror, and grief.
"You want to die here today?" I said with a sigh in Orcish.
"You speak?" he stammered with blood in his mouth. "How do you speak?"
"Thrall’s Orcs taught me," I said. I knelled down next to him. I reached out my hand to his wound. Frightened, he tried to push it away. Then I touched his wound, and healed it.
"The true horde always kills wounded enemies," he said.
"I am no Blackrock," I said, pointing to the humans’s side of the stockade.
"Run there and hide," I said. "But first, where is Thrall’s orc?"
Giles stepped in looking over the recently healed Blackock. He held an imp’s head in his hand.
"Third cell to the left," the orc said. "Master Sargok wishes to turn him."
"Run," I said.
The Blackrock stumbled up and retreated into the shadowy halls of the stockade.
Further down the hall way, more Black rocks shouted about the commotion. We hurried to the third cell door, opened the lock and I bust through.
"Buntaro?" I shouted.
"Who’s asking?" he said from behind me. I turned and saw him grimacing back at me, holding a quarterstaff. He look tired, hungry, but determined.
"Kolapi?" I said. I lifted up my helmet.
"Yasmeen?!" he exclaimed. He dropped his quarter staff and embraced me. His oily hands touched my face in disbelief that I could be there. I took hold of him, and kissed him deeply.
"What are you doing? Why are you here?" he said.
"We’re getting you out," I said. "Come on."
We dashed out of the cell. Giles held up the imp’s head before a red eyed orc warlock. The orc screamed curses and began a spell. Buntaro yelled an orcish curse, and then tossed a heavy stone towards the warlock, striking him dead in the chest. The spell caster stumbled back. Another orc flung a rock back at us from a sling. The stone went towards Buntaro, and then deflected away in the middle of the air and ricocheted to the stone wall. I gasped, then looked to my feet and saw the faint glow of a blue glyph. My aura had returned. The Blackrocks cried their word for ‘knight’ at me, and charged.
"Time to go!" cried Soyora. She tossed a stick of dynamite back at the Blackrocks, who fell back for cover. We ran the opposite way. In our wake, an explosion and smoke burst.
"Ha ha!" cheered Buntaro. "I told those Blackrock fanatics I’d never be one of them! Never!"
"That’s my Kolapi!"
"Yeah? Did you notice the warlock had a black eye? Gave him that," he said. "Didn’t like me too well after."
We ran down the halls. We reached the human side and heard the sound of sea shanties and dancing. Though more Blackrocks were on our tail. The humans let us pass, and then the confronted the Blackrocks. A brawl ensued behind us. Half drunk sailors engaged the Blackrocks in a fight the sounded like a party. We made it past the gate, and locked it for safety.
"Oh that was fantastic!" Buntaro said. "Yasmeen, your gods are still with you!"
"Uhh… maybe?" I said. My aura still hung in the air. I brushed Buntaro’s braided hair. He smiled back at me. "It’s a long story, Buntaro."
"Oi that it is, said Soyora. She held up a pair of shackles.
"Captain!" said Buntaro saluting.
"Hey mate," she said. "We’re going to sneak you past the actual guards now? Maybe best if you act the part of an orc meanie rather than be all lovey dovey with Yasmeen for a bit?"
"Oh right," said Buntaro. "You got it."
With Buntaro in chains, we walked him out of the stockade. We were surrounded by wary faced Stormwind regulars. Buntaro had on his war face, and exaggerated it.
"I like kittens and picking tulips!" he roared in orcish. The stockade soldiers stepped back from his war cry. I bit down laughter.
"You’re mother is a very nice lady!" he growled into the face of a recruit who held a quivering spear. I suppressed a giggle and jerked at Buntaro’s chains.
"Foul monster!" I stuttered. "Silence your tongue!"
Buntaro pulled against me as if an angry mule. He shouted again. The tired stockade soldiers took steps back in terror.
"Dabo! Zub-zub!" he howled. "It’s been such a great visit to this great city!"
I dragged him out at last, thankful that the Stockades doors shut, so that none could hear my snickering. Once we got out of earshot of any other guards, we approached a prison cart that Giles had prepared for us. Buntaro stopped dead in his tracks, and trembled at it.
"Kolapi," he said. "I do not wish to enter that."
"We must," I said. "It is part of the escape."
"I will enter first," I said. I opened the cell door and sat inside. I motioned for Buntaro to follow. He winced, and then entered after me in a bravery I’d never seen in him. Soyora latched the bolts on us from the outside. Buntaro’s eyes darted around looking for escape.
"Kolapi," I removed my gauntlet and offered him my hand. "Be safe with me."
The horses galloped off and the cart bumped along the ground. I held my quivering Buntaro.
"Do you remember the song they used to sing in the Warsong Infirmary?" I began.
"Ahh.. Yes," he said.
I started the first line of the old orcish song. Buntaro joined with me, then he trembled no more.
Once we made it to old town, we hid in an alley. Soyora loosed the horses from their reins. She broke open the locks outside of the prisoner cart. Buntaro could not exit fast enough. Soyora handed us a key and directed us to the back entrance of one of our smuggler’s safe houses. Giles and Buntaro shook hands and we took a short respite from our adventure.
"You’re still keeping your station after all this then?" said Soyora.
"That’s the idea," said Giles.
"Giles, I don’t have words to thank you," I said.
"It was the right thing to do, Yasmeen," he said. He turned to Soyora. "Make it look good, eh?"
Soyora punched him in the face. She kicked him in the stomach, and scratched his armor with her blades. Panting, Giles raised his hands that he’d had enough. Soyora handed him a tiny vial.
"Once you sniff it, you’ll be out for five minutes. Ten max," she said. "Then tell the guards whatever you want about what happened here."
"So long and good night!" said Giles. "Until we meet again."
He sniffed the vial and fell unconscious to the floor of the alley. Soyora turned to the horses.
"They’ll block all ships until we’ve been searched," she said. "Then we’re off to Booty Bay. Bit of a job there, we have. We’ll be staying in port. Don’t be long though."
When we said our goodbyes and then Buntaro and I made it to the safe house. There, Tsali waited for us and leapt with joy up into his master’s arms. The three of us snuggled together, enjoying our short victory. We knew well that we could not leave the safe house for at least a day, and then would need to sneak out under the stars. Farley too, knew of our plans, and would allow me to house Buntaro.
Our safe house was little more than an abandoned warehouse and we had little more than floor mats to sleep on. Still though, I shed my armor in haste once we secured the door behind us.
"Yasmeen," said Buntaro. "I’ve missed you."
I dashed naked into his arms. The sweat and grime of the day’s battle slipped off our skin. Too long had it been since my Kolapi held me to him, and too long had it been since we touched our tongues to one another in passion. Far, far too long had it been since I was made so wet in the protection of Buntaro’s arms. I undid his ragged prisoner’s clothes, and Buntaro shoved me down upon the mat. He took his place on top of me, and I wrapped my legs around him.
He penetrated me, and I cried out for him.
"Yes.. I missed you too," he said looking at me.
Buntaro grunted and growled into my ear. His cock slipped in and out. He pleased me as if to put me into a spell, and kept me on the edge of my orgasm for so long. I clenched on his cock, my legs tightened around him. We climaxed together, in shouts and cries, uncaring for anything beyond our pleasure. The world would be ours again soon, as soon as we arrived at Booty Bay.