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DarkFyre Chapter Nineteen

Rael and Silmaria travel to The Reach and share a passionate and emotional night.
Never had the sun shone so bright and warming north of The Teeth before spring had even come. The breeze was chilling and sharp as it rolled off the mountains and swirled along the rise and fall of the open hilly country, but next to a lifetime of winters in the North, the breeze here was but a refreshingly cool caress.

The wind touched everything. It combed through the flat plains to the south, teasing patterns from the high, dense grasses. Ripples and waves, and the constant, minute movements of the face of an ever shifting and changing sea. The breeze ruffled through the leaves of tall and twisting trees both solitary and crowded together, like fingers stroking through a lover’s hair.

The plains were not as frantic with life as they would be in the spring of course, even south of The Teeth. But there was still plentiful plant life to forage for, and enough wild things scurrying about in the tall browning grasses to hunt and trap. Small birds with vibrant orange plumage at their throats flitted between trees. They tittered shrill rebukes when the pair passed under their treetop perches.

Rael stood at the precipice of a hill that sloped steeply down toward the grasslands, and took a long drag from his water skin. The day was pleasantly balmy, the sky clear and vastly blue as it stretched expansively overhead. Aside from a few small puffs of cottony clouds, the sky was empty, an immense void of azure space broken only by the fiercely radiant disk of the sun streaming light and warmth over all. The great Johake plains stretched out at his feet, wide and open, an enticing spread of brown and green grasses flowing and undulating under the wind’s playful sway. The promise of the horizon was unbroken except for a few clusters of trees spread here and there, and stretched out to meet the blue of the sky with wide and welcoming arms. The Teeth towered in their harsh splendor at his back, a wall between worlds built of sterner stuff than anything mortal hands could conceive.

Their journey was arduous. Food and clean, fresh water were always a concern, and while predators were rare and not much of a concern, his encounter with the cave bear left him acutely aware of the wild things they shared the land with. More pressingly was the concern of the Haruke. It was rare for them to venture into the hilly regions at the feet of The Teeth. They instead preferred the flat and expansive lands of the plains further south in the Grasslands, especially near the fresh water sources where the grass was shorter and hunting more plentiful. Still, there was always the possibility that some small nomadic tribe would venture farther north than their usual migration, or some hunters would strike out into a new area to find game.

Despite these fears, Rael was enjoying himself. The weather was lovely, the land bountiful, and the views unfamiliar and beautiful.

Best of all, of course, was the company. Sharing the road with Silmaria was joy itself. As they journeyed on, the pair continued to explore and become comfortable in their new intimacy. It was a fine and precarious thing, balancing the serious and somber needs of the journey and their still quite dangerous situation with the moments of tenderness and smiles, playful conversations and sharing moments of new found love.

Rael knew he was not always easy to cope with in times of stress and danger. The Knight became sharply focused on the gritty and unpleasant business of surviving in untamed lands, trying to guide their way forward, and being wary of any possible dangers and hazards in their way. He was sure there were times when he was not as kind as he should have been.

Silmaria weathered his moods well. She understood his need for seriousness and practicality. Moreover, she learned from him and adapted, and seemed to do her best to shape herself to his moods and moments of focus, something that he was sure was no easy task. For his part, Rael did his best to remember to be tender, and patient, and to remind her of his appreciation for her efforts.

And truly, her efforts were important. Silmaria worked hard not to hold Rael back or be a detriment, but even contributed many useful skills and talents that made their journey easier. Silmaria learned from him all the time, and knew how to set up and run camp as well as he. Though Rael was well versed in cooking in the wild and took his share of that duty, Silmaria had worked with Cook back at the Manor long enough to make their food more flavorful and enjoyable, even out in the wild with little resources at her disposal.

One of her biggest contributions were her senses. Silmaria’s eyes and ears were much finer than his own, and it was she that went scurrying into trees to get the lay of the land, look for land marks, and spot any sign of other people in the area. Likewise, though they both hunted, Silmaria’s sharp senses gave her a natural advantage in tracking prey.

Silmaria continued to work with the longbow, getting more proficient with it. Her aim and accuracy developed rapidly, though she continued to struggle with draw power. Still, the more she practiced, the more strength she was building, and it did not exhaust her the way it once did. Rael made his own makeshift bow, carving out a supple and strong branch and twining together a string. It didn’t have the power or range of the longbow, but it gave them two bows to hunt with instead of one. Between the traps and snares they set and the both of them hunting regularly, they wouldn’t be going hungry anytime soon.

More importantly than any of that, Silmaria gave him companionship, trust, understanding, and love. She was a constant source of reinforcement. There were times he wondered and doubted, as anyone would, if he were following the right path. Were there answers at the end of this journey? Would there be vengeance, and redemption at the end of this mad trek to the south? Silmaria was there, then, placing her small hand in his and looking up at him with absolute faith in her eyes.

In those moments, looking into those beautiful slitted emerald eyes, Rael knew his path was right and true.

The Nobleman grunted in surprise as something thunked into his skull from overhead. He rubbed the top of his head, bent to retrieve the offending object, and rolled the small, hard apple in his palm.

“Woops,” Silmaria grinned down at him, and her soft laughter was joy itself, a melodious tune to write songs of. Rael smirked up at her and arched a brow.

“It slipped,” she explained, laughing again from where she stretched out among the branches and scant leaves in the great old tree atop the hill. From her tone and the impish glint in her eyes, Rael felt sure that, whether it had truly slipped or not, Silmaria was not displeased with the result.

“Anything of note?” he asked her.

“Besides the apples?” Silmaria asked cheekily.

“Besides the apples,” Rael confirmed, and caught several more that she passed down to him.

Silmaria sat astride the branch, her legs dangling, and bit into one of the apples. Her brow furrowed with thought. “I’m not sure. I see… something, way off in the distance. Right on the edge of the horizon. It’s so far off I can’t tell what it is.”

“Try,” Rael returned, his eyes suddenly deathly serious. “Is it a settlement? A camp?”

“I can’t tell. They’re smudges and what looks like… wait…” The Gnari squinted and peered off into the distance, and then her eyes widened a bit. “What the hell? That looks like smoke! I’m not sure… but I could swear it is, rising up from those shapes on the horizon!”

Rael pressed his lips into a tight, thin line, then gave a curt nod. “Cooking fires. Probably a tribe of Haruke nomads.”

“Are they insane?” Silmaria shook her head. “There’s chest high grass as far as I can see! They could put the whole Grasslands up in smoke!”

“They’ll have cleared a wide area of any grass where they’re making camp right now,” Rael explained. “The Haruke are very conscious about the dangers of uncontrolled fire.”

“Well that’s reassuring,” Silmaria muttered darkly. She looked down at Rael with a look of concern. “Do you think they know we’re here, Master?”

“No,” Rael shook his head. “If they knew we were here we’d know. To let us go unchallenged, even for a moment, would be unthinkable for them.”

“So what do we do?” Silmaria asked, struggling to keep the nervousness from her voice.

“Continue on our way,” Rael said with a nod. “But carefully, and quietly. We have the mountains at our backs, so we won’t stand out against a horizon when we take to high ground, so that’s good. We keep our eyes and ears more open than ever.”

Silmaria dropped down from the tree. Real reached up and caught her, gripping the slender woman in his arms and lowering her to the ground.

She smiled up at him lightly. “My eyes and ears, you mean.”

“Yes,” Rael nodded, not even attempting to deny it. He bent to kiss her, briefly but deeply, a hungry, loving kiss that stole her breath and left her up on her tip-toes searching for more.

The Nobleman brushed a thick strand of black curls from her eyes, and then gently rubbed her pointing feline ear with affectionate fingers. “We’ll have to be very careful about fires from now on. No more during the night. And only very small and brief ones during the brightest part of day to cook any food. Preferably if we can find somewhere in the land to give us good cover.”

“That’s alright,” Silmaria murmured with lips still happily tingling from their kiss. “It’s warm enough for us to go without fire anyway if we get good and warm under the blankets. And your cough seems to be gone, for the most part.”

“Thank the gods,” Rael said grimly as they gathered up their apples and resumed their march east.

“You don’t believe in the gods,” Silmaria reminded him as she laced her fingers with his. “You believe in the sword, remember?”

“I never said I don’t believe in the gods,” Rael countered. “I just don’t believe the gods, or the god, or whatever is out there, isn’t what people believe them to be. Anyway, I’d sound the fool thanking and praying to a sword, wouldn’t I?”

“You would,” Silmaria laughed, “But it would be pretty entertaining, at least.”

“Is that what I am, then? Your entertainment?” Rael said, teasing her.

“No, of course not. You’re my wonderful Master and love. I would never imply less of you, would I?”

The smile she flashed him was of endearment and utterly unconvincing feigned innocence.

“Yes, yes, wonderful,” he smirked. “And don’t forget to add dashingly handsome in there, too.”

“I dunno,” Silmaria said, and then laughed as she stepped in front of him. She stared up at him, smiling her impish, wicked smile, and reached up to tug at the bright coppery red growth of his beard. “You might be handsome. If I could see a face under all these wild whiskers of yours.”

“They’re keeping my face warm at night,” he complained.

“It’s not cold anymore, and we’re not in the mountains, so there’s no more need for a mountain man beard,” Silmaria countered.

Then she smirked challengingly up at him. “Besides, oh Master of mine, your beard may be keeping your face warm at night, but it’s itching the hell out of me when your face is between my legs. I think I’m at risk of developing beard burn. I’ve heard that can be pretty debilitating to a girls sex life.”

By the next morning, Rael’s beard was gone.

***

For near three weeks they traveled through the hilly country at the feet of The Teeth on the northern border of the Johake Grasslands. Their days were peaceful, but tense; they never did see any further sign of Haruke near them, but that initial scare was enough to keep Rael vigilant and wary the rest of their journey. By extension, Silmaria’s own mood was somber. She constantly felt eyes following her every movement. They traveled quickly, and carefully, sticking to the shadows and always making for the cover of trees or tall grasses when able. The weather was fine and the breeze held the promise of spring come early, the smell of new life and green things. It carried notes of a land that yielded to the warmth of a strengthening sun instead of fighting it, and the tantalizing prospect of easy hunting in the days to come.

Yet neither of them enjoyed it, really. Their eyes were turned ever southward, watching and worrying.

The land changed gradually and all at once, like a runner slowly building its pace before launching into a full out sprint. The Teeth fell away to the north, circling up to meet SkySpear, the mountain range that formed the east border of the Dale. The gentle rolling hills and spacious flatlands of The Grassland’s yielded to the short, squat rocky crags and red veined valleys of The Reach.

The Reach was a hard land full or rock and stone. There was none of the lush, tall grasses and vegetation’s of Johake’s vast plains.

Oh, but there was life, certainly. Green things lurked, timid but hardy. Vines crept and snaked and spiraled out between the abundance of rocks all around The Reach, entwining their way up cliff faces, finding purchase in every crack and fissure, in the stones. The vines were undeterred where there were no cracks or fissures to hold to; centuries of patience and persistence yielded their own special crevices to make their home. The vines creeped and crawled, sprawling out in a vast network of greens and browns and knotted tendrils and stiff, broad little leaves. There were bushes, too, dense little hardy underbrushes in varying states of green and brown, dressed or undressed with small, thickly clustered leaves. Perhaps, in a few weeks or days or moments, when spring truly took hold, there would be eager little flowers blooming, a riot of colors on a backdrop of brown cliffs and red clay and smudges of struggling green.

For even in The Reach, there was vibrancy. In the red clay of the earth, bright and startling and thick as blood, and as beautiful. The dusty browns of the rocks and crags, muted and complimented by the dark greens of the dense scrawl of vines and bushes covering everything and creeping over the rocks, an unrelentingly patient tide slowly overwhelming the very stones.

There were trees, too, most of them dotting the deeper valleys between the rocky formations and plateaus, but also spread along the slopes and sides of the great rocks all throughout The Reach. They clung to whatever spot they found purchase, small bands of brothers and loner’s alike. All standing testaments of stubborn, enduring strength. The trees were withered, knotted fellows with bare, twisting limbs stretching forth in all directions, searching. They gripped at their companions with bony reaching fingers in struggle, or perhaps embrace. Those separate and alone led a solitary, longing existence, and they reached most desperately of all.

What they yearned towards, only the trees knew. And trees, as everyone knows, are the very best keepers of secrets.

Rael led them several miles east into The Reach. It was further than strictly necessary, but he had no desire to chance an encounter with any Haruke skirting the edge of The Grasslands. Journeying through The Reach was different from traveling the Grasslands, and often strenuous; there was nothing remotely resembling a road in The Reach, for two reasons. Firstly, as the ancestral homeland of the SkyRacers, roads had been largely uneeded in The Reach for many centuries. The winged folk had little use for roads. And second, even after GroundBorn began to live in The Reach in greater numbers, the lay of the land with its frequency of rocky ranges and formations and deep, cleaving valleys made any practical road a near impossibility.

The lack of roads and being forced to navigate around and often across the ungentle terrain was not their only hardship; hunting was less abundant in The Reach. There was game to be found, but it was more difficult to come by than in Johake. Water, too, was hard to find. Rationing their water became a necessity, and they were constantly looking for a small stream or a shallow pool of water in the valleys or spilling in a gentle trickle from a natural spring between the great rocks.

It took Silmaria time to adapt to the new land, but adapt she did. The Reach was as different from Johake Grasslands as The Dale was different from both of them. It was strange to be traveling through these different places. Strange and hard, and wonderful. She had only imagined these lands, only envisioned what a truly mild climate could be like. How could she have ever thought she would spend all of her life in the North?

How could she have let all this pass her by? But for heartache and tragedy and treachery, she would never have known the dance of the grasses like the ebb and flow of the ocean waves undulating as high as her head, waiting to drown her. Nor the depth of crimson in the clay of The Reach’s hills and valleys. Or the sharp, harsh beauty of its rock formations, all jagged stone lurching in pointy brown surges, hard and fearsome. The formations were ever, imperceptibly changing, like angry ponderous giants shifting at the speed of centuries.

Never would she have known these wonders if she hadn’t left the North.

The journey was as hard and harrowing as it ever was, and Rael’s pace was unforgiving. But somehow, Silmaria couldn’t bring herself to care. She was with the man who held her heart in a grip dangerously strong and kind.

And, gloriously, she was out in the world, exploring lands ever shifting under her stride with the wind sweet on her tongue.

Free.

***

Rael came awake immediately; he was and always had been a light sleeper, and even minor disturbances would rouse him to alertness.

In this case, the not-so-minor disturbance came from Silmaria, sitting upright beside him. One small hand rested on his chest, and the other slipped under the waist of his pants, searching. She was lit by the silvery light of the full moon. Her eyes were wide, staring down at him. Her breathing was coming quick and shallow, her ample bosom heaving. The Gnari girl looked unsettled and there was a desperate air about her.

“Sil?” Rael asked softly, watching her.

Her slender fingers wrapped around his cock, and a shudder ran through her. “The Stirring, Master,” Silmaria panted quietly. Her fingers ran along his dick, and already Rael’s flesh stirred and thickened under her sensual, longing caress.

“It’s bad… gods, it hurts… I ache so… please, Master, I need you,” she practically whimpered. Rael stared up at her, taking in her stricken face. It had been so long since she was last struck by Stirrings that he’d near forgotten about them. Now they were returned with a vengeance it seemed, and the intensity of the girl’s need left her shaking and unsteady.

Rael reached up and cupped her face, his thumb brushing at her cheek as he stared into her wide, pleading eyes. “Tell me what you need.”

Silmaria’s hand was sliding along his cock now, pumping the thick, engorged flesh with her small little fist. Her fingers spread around the fat, throbbing girth of him. She stared into her Master’s face, her slitted green eyes nearly swallowed by the black of her pupils, giving her eyes an almost trance-like fervor.

“Use me, Master,” she said, her voice thick with lust. Her hands worked at his pants, and then she had his heavy cock out and exposed, and she had eyes only for the flesh she yearned for most just then. “Use me however you want, and use me hard, I beg you! Make it stop!”

Those words spoken, Silmaria slipped down and pressed the broad flat of her tongue firmly to Rael’s cockflesh. She ran her tongue from the base of his cock upward in a long, firm lick, dragging as slowly as she could stand to go. His taste flooded her, spreading on her tongue, strong and musky and masculine and distinctly, unmistakably him. Silmaria had tasted more than a few cocks in her years, and none made her mouth water quite the way the flavor of her Master did. By the time she reached the swollen, bulbous plum of Rael’s cockhead, saliva was dribbling from her full, lush lips and slipping down the impressive length of his meat.

A long, ragged moan dragged from her throat at the simple act of tasting him. She was trembling, quivering as she shifted to lay between his slightly spread legs. Her big, wide eyes stared up into his face, holding her Master’s gaze as she opened her plump, plush lips and plunged his proudly erect cock into her mouth. She took him deep, her lips and jaw stretching wide to accommodate his thickness as her supple mouth filled with cock. Silmaria’s tongue worked along the fleshy muscle of Rael’s meat even as she drew more and more in.

Rael’s powerful hands slid into the curling tumble of the Gnari’s black hair, gripping at either side of the finely pointed feline ears atop her head. Newly awake, he nonetheless responded almost immediately to his love’s surging need. Silmaria took him in deeper, deeper still, stubbornly and hungrily sliding down until his cock was plowing its way into her supple, clutching throat. Inch after bloated inch of dick disappeared past the tight ‘O’ of her lips. Silmaria stared into his eyes all the while his cock lodged down her throat, even when she began to softly gag and choke and the muscles of her throat constricted roughly around his shaft.

Her head began to bob and sway, rising and falling rapidly. She slurped wetly and her lips and tongue voraciously worked at Rael’s sensitive flesh, drawing him in and out. She feasted on him. She gorged on him. All her senses were deliciously overwhelmed, her whole world full of Master Rael’s cock. The taste of it, the smell of it, the rigid, iron hard flesh under the soft, pliant skin, the warm pulse of it throbbing deep in her throat. Silmaria moaned and whimpered and gurgled, the vibrations of each noise vibrating along the length of Rael’s pulsing shaft.

The Knight gripped Silmaria’s hair in his clenching fists, and he thrust his hips forward, hard, burying his cock down her throat roughly. He pressed forward, deeper, deeper still, until Silmaria was choking and gagging on his cock while he fed his flesh down her spasming throat. He pressed in until her lips trembled around the base of his shaft. Finally, he gave her some slack, letting her head jerk up so she could gasp in a breath with only the bulbous, distended head of his cock in her drooling mouth.

As soon as she drew in that shuddering gasp of air, Rael yanked her head back down. His hips lunging upward to fill her throat once more. He stared down into her face, watching her, his eyes glinting with a cruel love that made Silmaria’s belly clench into a tightly balled knot.

Her love and Master began fucking her face hard, working his powerful hips to drive his cock in and out of her pliant, welcoming throat. She slurped and suckled, her tongue wildly sliding along his plunging cock, stroking him, pleasuring him as he took what he wanted from her. She gave all she was to him gladly, knowing he would demand more, and she could deny him nothing. Her lips trembled, puffy and bruised from the force of his thrusting cock. Saliva ran in sticky, glistening rivlets from her stuffed mouth until it hung in messy ropes from her chin.

Silmaria didn’t care. She didn’t care how wicked and depraved she must look. She didn’t care that her scalp hurt where he gripped her hair or that her throat was raw with use or that she got lightheaded as he held her face down, her nose pressed to his pubic bone with his heavy cum-filled balls warm and weighty on her chin. She didn’t care, because this was what she craved, what she needed, what she wanted with a desperation she didn’t even fully understand. She needed him. She needed his use. She needed to service him unreservedly.

Unreservedly, yes. But not unselfishly. Oh, no. There was nothing unselfish about how potently and perfectly she got off on the abusive way he claimed her mouth. Nothing unselfish about the deep satisfaction she reaped in having him use her throat as his own personal fucktoy.

She was his love, and he was hers. He was her beloved Master, and right then? He was using her mouth without mercy or tenderness, as roughly and completely as he would any common whore on the street.

And there was absolutely nothing unselfish about how deeply it scratched the unrelenting need of her Stirring.

Silmaria swirled her tongue along his flesh, feeling a distended vein throb along the side of Rael’s sizable cock. He buried deep in her throat, holding his cock down her gripping gullet, and he was so huge, so very hard and fat. It felt like he went on forever, an endlessly delicious cock she forcibly swallowed. He held her there, his fingers cruel and demanding in her hair.

Her lovely Master choked her with his big, powerful cock, and she could do nothing but drool helplessly on his flesh as she suddenly and violently came, thrashing, her cunt contracting and milking desperately on emptiness while her screams came out as wet gags and slurps. Primal, primitive, whorish sounds that just served to make her pussy explode even harder.

The sensation of Silmaria roughly cumming while impaling her throat on his cock was too much to bear. With a loud, satisfied growl, his muscles rippling and contracting, he grit his teeth together and thrust forward, plunging his cock down the Gnari’s vibrating throat as he came.

Silmaria let out a sputtering moan as her Master filled her throat with thick ropes of hot, sticky seed. Burst after gooey burst splashed down into her belly, warming her. Her thighs clenched hard and she tugged her head back to keep just the head of Rael’s erupting cock in her mouth. She slurped loudly, moaning and whimpering as he emptied himself into her willing mouth. Rope after rope of jism splashed sloppily in her mouth, coating her tongue in the rich flavor of his potent seed. She swallowed again, sucking hard, slurping down his plentiful load until that coil in her belly was wound tight once more, and then for a second time, violently snapped.

She was a whimpering, mewling, quivering mess. The second orgasm was so overwhelming, heightened by the Stirring and the intense focus of his roughness, that Silmaria was lost for a moment, unaware of anything but the throbbing surge of blood in her veins, pounding in her temples and between her legs as her vision dimmed and blurred.

Rael drew his cock from her thick, full lips with a wet pop. He took a deep, shuddering breath. His cock still jerked slightly and his body was slick with pleasure-sweat. Silmaria slumped forward, sagging against him, her forehead resting against his hip as she heaved and panted, lost somewhere between the exhaustion of his rough usage and the jarring intensity of her release.

But he knew, no matter how fulfilling and pleasurable she may have found servicing him to be, there was entirely no way that was enough to slake the debilitating need of her Stirring.

With sure hands, Rael grasped the shaking Gnari and shifted her. He efficiently removed the clothes from her unresisting body, leaving her exposed to his roving eyes and wandering hands. Silmaria’s eyes were distant, as if she had gone… elsewhere.

His lips at her achingly stiff pink nipples, followed by his teeth, brought her firmly back.

Silmaria let out a strangled gasp, her back arching violently as she pressed her plush, heavy breasts into Rael’s face. He tugged her stiff nipples with his teeth, stretching them lewdly. Silmaria openly yielded to him, basking in the sharp edge of his pain that cut so perfectly through the haze of her Stirring. Rael’s tongue ran along her nipple, one and then the other, tasting her flesh as he yanked Silmaria’s pants down her shapely legs. His lips suckled at one hard little nub, and then the other, and the Knight’s insistent hand slipped between his wicked love’s splayed thighs. Her cunt was dripping with wetness, slick sticky honey spilling down to stain her thighs and coat his exploring fingers.

Rael relished her pleasure, and her pain. She moaned, then practically screamed as he switched breasts, and firmly sank two thick fingers into her hot, gripping core. He pumped his fingers deep into the hungry wet sheath of Silmaria’s needy cunt, working them back and forth as the Gnari girl bucked and thrashed for him, hips undulating wantonly.

“You are so shamelessly desperate, my lovely one,” he growled into her ear after letting her heaving tits fall from his lips. Rael’s fingers worked deeply inside her, curling upward to press along the roof of the girl’s cunt to find that sweet, spongy spot that would be her undoing.

He knew when he found it. Silmaria lurched, yelping, and her fingertips gripped the corded muscle of Rael’s forearm, even as she frantically pressed her sopping pussy into his hand and nodded furiously. “Yesss, yes I am, Master, I’m desperate and shameless! Oh, fuck, please!”

Rael’s blood pounded wildly. It surged through his veins, alive with her, with the feel of her arousal, with the gasp and moan and sob of her need and the smell of her hungry cunt. Every yelp of pain, ever scream of pleasure fed his need, his want, his consuming drive to take her and possess her. To own her completely. His thumb found the hard, hypersensitive nub of her clit and began to work it in tight, purposeful circles as his fingers thrust and drove deeply into her, mercilessly dragging along the tender flesh of her gspot.

He watched her, gauging her intently, and just as Silmaria’s pants and gasps of pleasure reached a crescendo, Rael leaned down over her and bit firmly on the delicate flesh of her slender throat.

“Oh gods! Oh gods no, no, Master… oh, fuck yes!” Silmaria screamed as she came violently, her hips tilting upward. Her taut, strong thighs went painfully tense and began to quiver heavily as Silmaria squirted, her girlcum and abundant honey spilling and splashing out uncontrollably. She was sobbing, then, her jaw gritting as she rode out the violence of her orgasm, her release overpowering her senses.

Not allowing her a chance to catch her bearings, Rael rose up over her, holding her legs apart and leaving her plump pink cunny wide open and vulnerable. He lined up with her quivering hole and thrust forward, hard, lunging down onto her and burying his bloated cock into her. The hot, slippery, gripping warmth of her delicious cunt cradled his cock, swallowing his length voraciously in a desperately needy embrace. Rael grit his teeth and surged forward, driving, pounding into her and setting immediately into a powerful, claiming rhythm that left Silmaria rocking helplessly beneath him.

Silmaria felt her cunt split wide around Rael’s violently stabbing cock and screamed. She clung to him, her arms flailing, small fingers gripping at the bulging muscles of his broad back and shoulders. Rael’s hips slammed down into hers as he fed his engorged length into her welcoming slit. Silmaria felt full to bursting, her insides stretched until her pussy ached fiercely. The fullness was incredible. Pain layered on top of pleasure on top of pain, and on, an endlessly delicious cycle of agony wrapped in ecstasy.

Rael reached down to grab her wrists and pin them beside her head. She couldn’t move. She was helpless, at his mercy, and he gave her none. It was too fucking delicious to bear. In the delirious throws of passion and need and want and insatiable fucking depravity of her Stirring, Silmaria relished every second of his control, every moment of being unable to do a thing but be taken and claimed and fucked by the man she loved most in the world. Rael held her down and used her, his cock spreading her cunt wider with every brutal downward thrust, and Silmaria came and came and came again, her cunt splashing out her lust and release as she yielded to his power.

Rael growled, biting her neck again, his sharp teeth giving focus to her pleasure.

“Please, Master, oh please, hurt me more! Hurt me! Make that dark ache go away!”

Rael drew back slightly, staring down into her eyes. He gazed into the Gnari, and she knew he saw through her, down into the dark and twisted depths of who and what she was. It frightened her; it shook her to her core. She couldn’t hide from him. She couldn’t cover her ugliness, not from him.

She wanted him to look away. She needed him to look away. He saw too deeply and too truly, and she would give anything, would pay any price, for him not to see the filth of her.

Silmaria thought she had long ago accepted herself for who and what she was, and the things she craved, and the deeds she’d done. And on some level, for the most part, she had. Yet there it was. In the deepest, darkest corners of her, she was wretchedly wicked in a way she could never fully forgive. In a way she never wanted anyone, ever, to know.

And he was looking right at those darkest of places, the parts of her she hated deeper than she could even acknowledge.

No man should see a woman so plainly.

The Gnari stared into the same places. Into the dark carnality of Silmaria that she never dared to gaze on too long, lest she lose herself. Looking left her on the precipice of utterly shattering into a madness of self-hatred and shame-fueled regret.

All it would take was the right turn of the wind, and she’d be undone.

Rael’s hand reached up to cup her cheek. His palm pressed warm and strong to her, and his fingertips cradled her head up toward her hairline. His touch was a tether, a bastion offering sanctuary from the overwhelming storm of her emotions. The Nobleman’s hand was gentle, and infinitely patient.

Silmaria met his gaze with glossy eyes. Her chin quivered. “Master… I’m sorry. So sorry.”

“Hush now,” Rael said. His voice was soft and warm, and brooked no argument. His big hand shifted down to her chest. He placed his palm on her breastbone, and his fingers fanned out wide. Silmaria could feel her heart jumping violently against his palm.

“All I need to know is here. All I want is here. And there is nothing here that I do not love or accept. Nothing that is not beautiful and wondrous and precious to me. I am not afraid of what is here. You shouldn’t be, either.”

Tears spilled down the Gnari’s cheeks. She couldn’t say which ones were of joy or sadness, relief or regret, love or shame, but she certainly had more than a few of each.

“I don’t deserve you, Master.”

Rael brushed her tears away, and his smile was small but sincere. “I’m exactly what you deserve, little one. No more, and no less.”

Silmaria stared up into his eyes, studying him. She struggled inside. She was too raw and overwhelmed by too many emotions and sensations to even know what against.

Whatever it was, her struggle came, and then just like that it was done. She gripped him tight and leaned up to kiss him deeply. She drank him in through that kiss, deeply and hungrily, as if that kiss were the very essence of her bond with him, and that bond was all in the great wide cruel world she had left to cling to. Rael returned her kiss fervently, his lips strong and confident, his hands gripping her, and he was once again her steadfast anchor in the mad tempest of her passions.

Silmaria drew back, breaking the kiss as the Stirring came roaring back to the forefront, overwhelming her once again. For the briefest moment, she was disgusted with herself. She hated that she could go through such a wild array of near crippling emotions, just for her blind, potent libido to overpower her again.

Then Master Rael’s hands gripped her arms, hard. She gasped, the pressure of his fingers bringing her back to the present. He stared down at her, eyes full of knowing.

She didn’t question it anymore; he understood her. He accepted her. She could try to do as much.

“Make it stop,” she pleaded softly. “Hurt me. Please.”

So he did.

***

Silmaria pressed her face into Rael’s chest and let out a slow sigh of exhaustion. Rael pulled her in closer, his arms wrapped around her tightly. His embrace was near crushing, but she didn’t complain. She needed that. The sureness of his strength.

“Didn’t anyone ever tell you to avoid crazy women like me?” she asked, but her tone was light.

“Mostly I’ve been told all women are crazy, so there’s no real avoiding it,” he returned.

Silmaria smiled against him and burrowed deeper into his arms. “I think I’d be offended, if it weren’t true.”

Rael reached down to gently roll one of her soft ears between his thumb and forefinger. “Understand, my lovely one. Everyone is nutters. Everyone. We are, each and every one of us in this world, well and truly crazy. Damaged. Flawed. The world is too ugly and hard a place not to be, and people in general are too wretched and toxic to not make each other warped. You’re crazy, love. And I’m crazy, too.”

“You could’ve warned me,” she muttered into him.

“You wouldn’t have listened,” he smirked, then looked thoughtful. “Loving someone is a new experience to me. But I’ve always thought that loving someone isn’t about finding someone who isn’t crazy. It’s about finding someone who is right enough for you to make the craziness bearable.”

Silmaria looked up at him as he spoke, studied the play of moonlight over his strong features. She quirked a brow at him when he’d finished, and her lopsided smile was charmingly impish. “You know, I’m beginning to think you led a battalion of philosophers at the warfront as opposed to actual soldiers.”

Rael snorted softly. “Not far from it. Soldiers were the first philosophers, after all. Too much time to think about death and life and the plight of humanity before and after battles. It’s wax philosophical or crack your brother’s head in with a rock as a way to cope with the stress. Waxing philosophical tends to win out.”

Silmaria traced a fingertip along the grooves in his shoulder. “So which do you keep sharper, hmm? Your pen, or your sword?”

“Depends on which is going to do more damage at the time,” Rael grinned. He shifted and rose to his feet.

“I’ll be back in a moment, I need to take a piss,” he said.

Silmaria rolled her eyes and, grinning, said, “Glad to see the toils of traveling haven’t dampened any of your charm.”

Rael chuckled as he pulled on his breeches. “At least I don’t just drop trou without a word three feet from you and let go.”

Silmaria shot him a glare. It was half-hearted at best, but all the glare she could really muster just then. “Hey! I was holding it for miles, and you kept pushing to keep moving! I couldn’t take it anymore!”

Rael laughed and gave a playful grin, then stepped away from the soft glow of their small fire and into the night to go urinate.

Silmaria smiled to herself and rolled onto her side, curling up in their blankets and bedrolls as she stared into the softly shifting flames of the fire. She was sore all over, and filled with a deeply satisfied achy feeling. The man knew how to hurt, and hurt good. She was glad of that; it was rare for her Stirrings to be quenched so well, though it had taken several hours to do it. But here she was afterward, spent, exhausted, wonderfully used and sated. Best of all, most of her doubts and fears were gone with the Stirring.

Most. But that was more than she usually hoped for, anyway.

She still didn’t understand how she got so lucky. Most men, upon getting so much as a hint of her dark and twisted ways, either condemned her as a worthless whore, or saw her as nothing but an object for their gratification. And getting off on her own wantonness and wickedness was well and good…but at some point, she needed love and tenderness and comfort as much as the next girl.

Or perhaps just a bit more.

This was a concept she’d long ago given up on men understanding. To the point she’d thought it futile to even think on anymore. Master Edwin had been a rare exception. But then, even he hadn’t seen to the depth of her that Master Rael had.

She wondered if she could ever look into herself the way Rael did, and not see something wretched and horrible.



So wrapped up in her moment of self-reflection, Silmaria didn’t notice the soft steps of the men striding on near-silent feet until they were upon her.

Even in only the moonlight she could tell their skins were sun-blasted a dark, swarthy bronze. Their ebon hair was tied into rows of braids all flowing down their back. Their garb differed from man to man, but were mostly of cloth, supple leather and animal pelts. Charms and tokens were tied into their braids and beards, animal bones and fine feathers and claws and tusks, and the finger joints of slain men. Eerily, their trinkets made no noise when they walked, and they moved with unnatural quiet for such large and powerful men. Coal black eyes peered at her as dark as the night surrounding them. Their weapons were crude and rudimentary, but the men held them with the air of competence that suggested the weapons had already spilled blood amply.

Memories of tales about their treatment of women flared up in her mind. She’d never seen men of their kind before, but there could be no mistaking who, and what, they were.

Somehow, despite being long gone from their lands, the Haruke had found them.

***

Well, hell, that ain’t good.

Thank you as always to my patient and loyal readers, more shall be coming soon so tell me what you all think!

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