Hidden Magic Ch. 16bymadam_noe©
Two hours later I could not tell if this had been a good or a bad idea. Three hours later I did not care. Four hours later I forgot my own name, lost to the feel of him.
It was at that point Tomass became the aggressor. I could only lay there helplessly as his lips, teeth, tongue, and fingers glided over me. There was not a nerve left untouched, not a patch of skin left unattended.
It seemed impossible, I had long ago lost count of my peaks, but a simple nibble on my inner thigh, or quick lick upon a nipple seemed to bring the pleasure to a crashing climax.
I would be swept over like hungry plains under a pounding rain, and then his fingers and lips would find my most sensitive part and slow. I ached, throbbed, and craved more and more. His energy seemed to grow with each peak while I felt I was leaving my body, becoming spirit more and more.
Selectively he entered me as I most desired, sparing his own peaks with careful measure. In that dark of night after deep, pressing fingers and his nimble tongue had wrung another screaming orgasm from me, he crossed a line I could no longer see nor cared about.
He turned me onto my stomach and kissed and nibbled all of my back, from my heels to my scalp. I was crying out with need, mad with it. I did not think my body could reach another climax but I needed him inside me again. I had to feel we were as one, and reach that shimmering place of pleasure together.
He lifted me onto my hands and knees like an animal. Never had I taken a man like this! In this way I would only take him inside me, he would be the taker. It was not seemly, not even paid pleasurers did this. It was forbidden, and the dark temptation only increased my need.
"Yes, please, Tomass, please!" I begged.
He knelt between my legs, thick thighs pushing mine apart. One large hand smoothed down my back, and then I felt his cock at my entrance.
He slammed inside with great ease, for my body still gushed my own juices and held his from earlier bouts. I had never felt so full, and he went so deep his cock seemed to bump into the end of me. It was a small pain, and immense pleasure.
I cried out, peaking again, groaning to do so alone. He cursed and muttered as I fluttered in contractions, then finally began to move.
I nearly swooned from it, and then one hand clamped onto my hip and his other brushed my sensitive folds. I screamed and he came with me tumbling over the edge. The world did not exist for a long blissful moment. And when I was done all the aches and pains seemed to shimmer, and my muscles gave out.
I collapsed and he remained kneeling, pulling out. "Minn?" He turned me over and laid next to me, gathering me in his arms. "Minn, are you all right?"
"I think I died and came back."
He chuckled and kissed my scalp. "I am sorry my sweet. But undoing the spell of a dark sorcerer takes great power. I had to do this."
"If I had the strength, I might strangle you."
He chuckled again and let a finger trace on puckered nipple. "That is why you screamed my name again and again, and begged me not to st-"
I clamped a hand over his mouth. "Sleep, I need sleep."
"All right, my love." He pulled the cool sheet over us but kept me pressed against him. I felt warm in his arms, sheltered. An unusual but most welcome feeling.
I had never felt so...vulnerable. Me, a woman who had passed reforms affecting the whole land, who had commanded an entire army. One young man was all it took to unravel the steel threads long ago wrapped around my heart.
"I love you."
He turned my face and kissed me softly. I tasted him and my own juices deeply and sighed into it, a perfect blending of us.
"I love you too."
The next thing I knew it was late morning, and I heard Tomass' voice. I could barely move, I was so deeply exhausted.
He came back and the bed dipped. I murmured and reached for his thigh, visible through the parting of his more modest robe.
"I am sorry my sweet. Breakfast is here. I will help you, and our bags are packed, but soon we must leave for Plaindand."
I groaned and buried my head in the pillow. Without looking I could feel his frown, and he left to make clattering sounds on the breakfast tray.
Calling up all reserves of energy that had saved my life in battle more than once I managed to move to my feet and stumble into the garderobe. I had to draw the bath laying inside it, I felt far too weak. There was a cost to raising energy, that I had not known.
Awkwardly Tomass had to help me with the most basic things: he crushed the mint and wet a cloth to rub against my teeth and keep them clean. He scrubbed me until I was clean, and inexplicably would not let a maid assist me with my hair, he did it with magic. He gifted me with a small boost of energy and a sheepish look.
"I took more than you could give. I am sorry, I was caught up-"
"Shhh." I placed a finger on his lips. "This is new to us both. Mistakes will be made but as long as our hearts mean well there is nothing to apologize for. Now, let us eat. You raise your magic with...well, I raise mine with food." For the first time I found myself feeling shy about discussing sex in the light of day.
He blushed too as we sat to eat the typical country breakfast I lovingly remembered from childhood. "Today we ride and we must keep our numbers small. There are dangers to consider, so I ask you do not dress in our house colors nor in the customary black of a sorcerer. I will not wear colors nor a sigil of my house nor will our guardswomen. I will guard our papers, but we must travel as regular people."
"Why do we need to hide?"
I raised my brow at him. "There are bandits on the pass, there are soldiers still trying to get home desperate for the money a ransom would bring, and who knows what spies Serinne and M'Graough control?"
He had the good grace to look sheepish.
We dressed in the plainest clothes we could, I borrowed an outfit from one of the women bound for Plaindand in a husband search, who was of my stature. Sooner than expected the two soldiers who had fought with me in the war would return to the main city, and my new captain of my guard would assume her role.
For speed we selected fresh horses, not our familiar ones, but smaller ponies. Two guards would accompany us and we would travel as mercenaries joined by a man. No one would pay us any mind, or at least I hoped.
M'Graough was slow to action, but a cautious mind would only aid a powerful dark sorcerer. He could control the queen now but could not risk killing her until his child was born. If Serinne took the throne she could easily be killed and as a widower with no child, M'Graough would have nothing. By the path of their marriage he wouldn't have a right to even her wealth or properties, would never keep his title.
We had time, but from what I knew of magic every day we delayed the queen would fall deeper and deeper under his spell.
So urgently we left with minimal supplies. I felt deep longing as we rode down the packed earth drive, the weeping willows blowing in the salty breeze. The forest in the back of the house was alive with the croaks and calls of the animals already navigating the swamp, sounds from my childhood.
Ahead us the steep hills, gracefully called mountains, rose into the clear blue sky, bright in the afternoon. We'd been back such a short time, and past the mountains I knew lay the city, the smoggy air, the crowds of dispirited people, the things I longed never to face.
If we were successful in wresting the queen from M'Graough's grasp I hoped we could return. I have my businesses to maintain and wanted time alone with my husband before I would have to return for the official council sessions. I wanted Thomas trained in my businesses and holdings so he could manage them while I was at council.
So may dreams and plans filled me now, hope I had never known. Before the war I had lived only for pleasure; during the war I had lived every moment as my last, fully expecting each one to be so. Now with Tomass at my side I could see children, laughter, prosperity, and security in my future, and above all, happiness.
In the way of all things the darkness had to be burned away before the light could shine.
We didn't make the mountains by night and decided not to press too far for safety.
"I don't like this. I can feel his dark force this far away. He's waiting, but waiting only gives him time to build power."
"Well perhaps this only means he's managed to get Serinne to consent to fucking him like a most energetic bunny."
He stared off at the dark hiss, purple in the dusk of sunset. "That is not how M'Graough builds his power."
I left the small fire I was attempting to build and walked to him. Wrapping my arms around his waist I pressed my face against his shoulders and held him tight. Tomass' entire body was taut, almost vibrating.
I glanced around the small copse of trees we'd found for shelter. The ground cover was good, thick with ferns and it was very peaceful. The two guards were off collecting water and more wood for fire, seeking dry sticks, a difficult job in the tropics.
"We have some time before they return. What say you we raise your magic?"
"I am not is sure my mood is conducive to that."
"Can you raise it only with pleasure you bring?"
He turned in my arms and kissed my forehead. "That better be the case."
I laughed lightly and punched his arm playfully. "I would seek no other, but I do know how to bring forth my own pleasure."
He smiled softly. "I do not know...but it is worth a try. I warn you; I am not sue I can just watch without being carried away."
I backed up, heading for a more private area of the shallow woods. "That's what I'm hoping for."
There was little mirth on the journey. Our guards did not know our purpose, but they knew it was grim and dangerous. The queen could not make so radical a decree in a vacuum; her decisions had to be backed by the high council and any decrees that affected the public had to be supported by the general council. At least 3 out of 5 members of the High Council would have had to approve of her decision to name Serinne heir which meant Serinne and M'Graough had powerful allies.
Wistfully I glanced at the pass to the secret waterfall when we wound our way through the mountains. Once back to the south the land was flat, rolling fields, the trees thicker, taller, and fewer. The sun shone as bright but the air lost the tang of ocean.
We could have pressed on to Plaindand late on the third day but decided to stay the night in an abandoned cottage. We did not risk a fire and it was cool enough I was glad to be wrapped in the warmth of Tomass that night.
"What is our specific plan?" Tomass asked as we breakfasted on dried berries, bread, and fresh water in the morning.
"Ladies, I want one of you with the Earl at all times, is that understood?"
"Yes. I'll draw up a schedule, but what about you?"
"I'll be fine. I survived the war just as you did."
"I can hire more if you like," said the elder, my unofficial as-yet captain, Lucianne.
"I'll keep that in mind. Tomass, first we must find out who is with us and who is against us. As such we're going to contact someone I trust to investigate the members of the high Council." This was met with profound silence, but I pushed on. "I'll need your help as we gather information on Serinne and M'Graough, but we will not take rash action."
"I can take him."
I patted his hand. "Even if the amount of magic he was raising was not a concern, the queen's edicts still stand. Neither of us may call them on a duel until heirs are produced. We know Serinne has issue, but I will not know for another week."
He frowned but seemed to acquiesce. I was learning his moods better and knew I would have to keep an eye on him.
"Filtin," I addressed the younger guard, "I want you to go to Rue McCarta and ask for a Madam Bischart, tell her she may call upon us here." I wrote address on a scrap piece of parchment and passed it to her. When she read it aloud Tomass growled.
"I understand, my young, fine husband, but we are in hiding. No one would think to look for us there."
"Minn! Tomass!" Anderank opened the door and recognized us even hooded.
"Shh!" I pushed inside and he let us, closing the door after us. To my shock and Tomass' he gifted my husband with a tight hug and then me, stepping back only at Tomass' rumbling growl.
"Why are you back in town so soon?"
"Anderank, we need a place to stay, and no one is to know we're in town."
"I do love a good intrigue. Come in, come in, you'll need refreshments and a change of clothes."
"Our clothes are fine," Tomass ground out as Anderank took our cloaks and hung them on pegs.
"They're easier to hide us. No need to go around town proclaiming our status. Food would be wonderful, we've been subsiding on trail rations."
"Come, come, I have only a snack now, I'll need to buy more groceries."
"Do not buy too much, no one is to know we're here. It's just for the night, I'll have better accommodations for our purpose tomorrow."
We followed him to his kitchen and sat at the table. The wine was good and sweet and he had cheeses ranging from buttery and soft to crisp and sharp. There was fruit and good sweet buns from a baker's down the road, and to my delight small chocolates left over from a party.
Even Tomass could not remain so glum over the meal, and when he tried chocolate in its solid form his beautiful face broke into a wide grin, his blue eyes dancing.
"I'm very pleased with the progress of your wedding portrait," our host said, keeping the mood light. I knew I could count on Anderank not to press us or ask too many questions.
Over the course of an hour I worked into conversation and gossip questions about the high council. There was nothing to note except all had been invited to a party held by Serinne and her groom in celebration of their marriage just the night after our wedding.
Apparently M'Graough was the talk of the town. Two women of high birth had taken sorcerers for husbands; M'Graough was, by accounts given to Anderank, a very charming and engaging man. His air of danger complimented that which Serinne had carried from birth. Now that she was in line for the throne and he her consort the gossipmonger had turned him into a romantic hero.
It was harder to ask about disappearances. If M'Graough was working hard to raise death magic, people must be vanishing. But with thousands traveling through Plaindand coming from the war, and those passing through to make money off the migration keeping track of the shifting population was nigh impossible.
My contact would have the information I wanted, and I'd have to be patient.
Tomass didn't brighten again until after the repast when Anderank announced he had to travel for a sitting with a client. He showed us to a guest room and then left us to our own devices.
"That's a surprisingly large bed."
"Yes, it is. Anderank often hosts sittings in his studio here, sometimes the clients spend the night." I leaned in the doorway watching as Tomass circled the room. Aside from the bed there were only two tables on either side and a small bench under the window overlooking the garden.
He lifted the bench to see what was inside and quickly shut it. "You never...in here..."
"Never what? Slept? Never." Not in this house but before the war this had been Anderank's main bed in his old studio. I had done more than sleep in it.
Tomass peered at me as if he could open me up and learn all my secrets.
"I think a nap is in order. I truly wish my days of sleeping on the ground could be forever behind me, and this bed does look awfully soft."
He pushed the feather mattress with his fingers and they sank in as if he was touching a cloud. "It looked firm to me, but indeed it's soft."
His jealousy had been cute and flattering at first, but now I was too tired to indulge in baiting him. "I am in desperate need of a nap. Being in town means a late schedule and tonight we meet with my contact, and then we begin our work."
I pushed past him and stripped out of my clothes, lifting the blankets I let my body sink into the mattress, the ropes swinging gently beneath it. Tomass was silent so I sighed and opened one eye.
My dark husband was leaning so close his handsome face filled my vision. "I knew it! Well, when I'm through with you the only memories you'll have of this bed are of me!"
I didn't get the rest I wanted, but my unnaturally bold husband proved himself quite right.
"What is this place?"
"Somewhere you are never to come to alone," I grumbled now. "And pull your hood down!"
Filtin ran an establishment on the wrong side of town. I had some hope; in the years I'd been gone this neighborhood had come up. The cobblestone streets were still perpetually damp but the stink of toilet water of was less; and the houses thrown together like matches after a rain were still old and run down, but the small boxes of flowers at windows were bright and orderly, and no common tramps huddled in doorways, no whores called from the alleys.
Filtin's was a gaming hell on the ground floor; in the upper rooms some of the finest pleasurers worked. Tomass was a good man, honest, a bit headstrong compared to what I was used to, but still innocent in many ways. Had reservations about bringing him here but I would worry too much leaving him alone with Anderank. I thought it was also wise he know everything I did; it would be foolish to hide it.
"Minn!" Filtin waved to me from a side door of her establishment, the one that led to her office directly.
"Filtin, good to see you!" I was grateful for the consideration as I ushered Tomass in, bypassing the den of vice.
In the past 7 years she had changed little; a few lines at the corner of her brown eyes, a few grey hairs mixed in with the red. She was slightly thinner but still well-fed, and squeezed into a gown style that had been popular in her great-grandmother's day allowing her to squeeze her middle and plump up her cleavage and ass to a ridiculous degree.
"And this delicious young man must be your new earl."
"Tomass meet Filtin, an old friend."
She took his hand but her eyes devoured him, lingering on his blush. "Speak for yourself, honey, I'm not that old."
"We've known each other many years." I added.
"Oh? Did you meet in school?"
I glanced away from his eyes, thinking. I'd gambled half my family's fortunes liberally on her tables and spent most of my time deep in my cups while a student, and after university I had found most of my pleasurers in her rooms.
"Something like that," Filtin said with a knowing smile.
"So you've come for information. That I have in spades. Have a seat, can I get you a drink?" She settled her canny bulk behind her heavy desk and indicated the decanters on one corner as we sat.
"My usual, if you remember."
"What is that?"
"Sweetened grain alcohol with a twist of limon," I replied.
"That sounds good. May I as well?"
"You won't like it."
"Oh, he doesn't seem so delicate to me, Minn."
I gave her a hard gaze. "Water it and add sugar."
She mixed the drinks quickly and sure enough Tomass coughed after drinking a small sip too fast. "Serinne. The queen. How'd she do it?"
Filtin sat back and steepled her fingers. "Beats me. There was a private audience for Serinne and her new husband. Right after the Queen made the announcement, before even consulting the High Council.
"The best guess is he or she has some sort of blackmail. The best theory has to do with that nasty business at the treaty signing, but you wouldn't know anything about that, would you?"
I gave her a quelling look. Known to those of use who'd spent any time in government service as The Shadow, it was hardly surprising she'd know something of a secret known to only 3 living people...4 if the queen truly knew I'd killed Gravin to save her life.