Ogres and Ogresses Ch. 15bystubborn_dreamer©
Chapter 15: Used
Zyra stood in shock as she was embraced by the blonde traveler.
"I heard the call 6 days ago," he said pulling back from her.
She blinked owlishly as she took him in. He looked less slight, more muscled, healthier. He still possessed his sharp faerie like angles and his moonlight paleness. His face was still devoid of any stubble, but for some reason, he seemed more masculine. He was stronger, she was sure.
Had he always been taller than her?
"What call?" she asked finally. She wrinkled her nose to change her dazed expression.
He pulled up his sleeve to reveal on his hand the marking that mimicked her own. It was small in comparison but still shone with the same strange metallic light.
"But why would you be called?" she asked surprised. "They said you were a replacement. That you would only be needed if I failed."
Rell shrugged and looked over at Kail whom was waiting impatiently.
"I don't know. I only know that it began to tingle and I knew that I had to return here. You are about to go back are you not?"
She nodded gravelly, wondering why he would be needed. And why did he feel only a tingle? She didn't wish him ill, but that wasn't fair. Another dreadful thought occurred to her.
"Where is your brother?"
Rell's pinkish lips upturned into a smirk.
"Back at the village. He did not accompany me on this journey."
Thank the Maker.
"You sound relieved," he said in an amused tone.
She frowned. "Is it so obvious?"
"Very much so."
It was then that Kail cleared his throat. She saw him watching her impatiently. Rair looked expectant. Nodding in acknowledgement to his silent demand she turned back to Rell.
"Rell do you need to rest?"
He shook his head and walked up to join the group.
"No, I am fine." He gave her a brilliant smile.
"You were right, I am stronger now."
He proceeded to bow his head to Rair, then to Kail. He looked at Kail curiously.
"Have you been adjusting well?"
Kail wrinkled his mouth. "Well enough I supposed."
"Wait, you know he can speak?" Zyra asked incredulously.
"Yes, he spoke to me while you were recovering."
"He did...and you didn't tell me?"
Rell's eyes widened.
"I-i wasn't aware that it was a secret."
Zyra narrowed her eyes at Kail and tried to fight off her indignation. Of course he had spoken to Rell. He had only played games with her. Then when he was done fucking with her mind he would try to fuck her.
Classic, Classic Kail.
Kail looked a bit taken back by the venom in her eyes. He had sworn that this issue had already been resolved. Besides, he was trying to change. It seemed that Rell was an ill omen. He was a character of the past, and with him he brought past problems. It was annoying to say the least.
Kail glanced at the male who physically would not appear to be the slightest challenge to him. Kail was very much the alpha male in this combination. Nevertheless, Rell was in reserves for a keromedio. While he would not have Zyra's abilities he would inherit the same amount of magic, just over a slower period of time. In time, Rell could be quite formidable. Hm, perhaps his animosity was personal. Rell was the first male he had seen in months. Threatening or not, the testosterone that pumped through his veins was unsettling. Seeing his arms wrap casually around Zyra with her acceptance did not make him happy either.
"Rell this is Rair, a fellow huntress of mine," Zyra announced turning to Rair.
"Pleased to meet you," Rell said smiling at her.
She didn't return his smile, but she nodded her head.
"Are we ready?" Kail asked, trying hard to avoid sounding irritated.
Zyra let out a sigh and ushered them forward.
The pace she set was brisk, but they kept up easily. Before nightfall they were at the edge of the border. Zyra was about to propose that they make camp when the air in front of them began to ripple.
Zyra extended an arm out, automatically pushing Rair behind her. Rell grabbed her arm as though he intended to do the same.
Strange, thought Zyra.
"Relax," Kail snapped, glaring at Rell's hand. "They are coming."
They stared in wonder as the air in front of them began to warp and widen like a burn. A thin sliver of translucent colorful light stained the edges of the hole and they flinched when a pale feminine hand reached through the opening. The disembodied arm swayed up and down and the burn widened until a slender cloaked body stepped through. Behind her another figure stepped forward, the gap behind them undulating like a gasping mouth. Horrible.
"Zyra! My darling!"
Zyra winced as Etaceh ran to her and scooped her up in her arms.
"Oh my baby! How I've missed you."
With a growl Zyra shoved the witch off and took a step back.
"Back off Etaceh, I don't have time for your games."
She watched the blood red lips of dark eyed woman quiver as though she were about to cry.
"But...but Zyra. You're my keromedio. You're mine now. I'm practically your mother. We're practically sisters..."
"I have a mother. And a sister," Zyra snarled, watching as Rair regarded the witches with both awe and suspicion.
"I don't want nor need you."
"But think of what I've done for you!" Etaceh shrieked mournfully. "Even after you left I..."
"Etaceh," Caligula hissed. "Stop it."
They watched as Etaceh roughly internalized her feelings. She appeared to swallow them back and they caught once, like a large lump was stuck in her throat. When it was gone, she became the sinister, jovial witch that had enjoyed torturing them.
"Oh Caligula, you're no fun."
Caligula didn't look at her, his eyes were instead focused on Kail.
"You know you cannot go with them," he said firmly.
"I know this," Kail said easily. "But I would ask to have a word with you."
Caligula's face remained stoic and he peeled his eyes away from Kail long enough to looked at the others.
"You seem to have grown," he said to Rell. "Good, you're more useful then."
"I thought you did not need him unless I failed," Zyra uttered, glaring at him.
Caligula smirked in amusement.
"We don't. We need you, but Etaceh wanted to make sure that the call was strong enough to summon the both of you. Should you ever fail, we now know that the magic is well embedded into Rell."
"So this was a test?" Rell said in disbelief. "I travelled for 6 days for a test?"
Caligula's smirked widened, but he did not answer him. Instead he looked at Zyra.
"Why is your arm bandaged? Are you injured?"
Zyra looked at her arm. She had covered it again out of habit.
"Then take it off," Caligula said frowning.
"It is our mark you bear," he said, his voice no longer amused. "To cover it means it shames you. This shames us, take it off.
Zyra stared at him for a moment then began to undo the knot that held the bandages together.
"Here, let me help you!" Etaceh said gliding forward.
Zyra held her breath as the witches red fingernails twisted furiously to unwind her bandage. They moved so furiously it looked like two spiders were scratching and drawing blood on her arm. She shivered. When Etaceh had pulled it from her she looked up at Rair who was slightly behind her.
"Well...hello there," she said warmly. "I don't recall having seen you before. What a pretty thing you are." She took a step towards her, a hand outstretched.
Zyra stepped back from Etaceh, leaving the bandage in her hand. She immediately placed herself in front of Rair.
"Leave her alone," Zyra said firmly.
"What are you?"
They both looked at Rair who had spoken for the first time all day. Etaceh and Caligula looked at one another before Etaceh laughed.
"We are witches," she said smiling at Rair. "We are the ones whom Zyra has told you about."
"She hasn't spoken about you."
The witches turned their attention back to Zyra.
"She hasn't?" Caligula said curiously.
An awkward silence followed until Etaceh clapped her hands.
"Well, you'll learn plenty about us on your...visit young Rair."
Both Rovians flinched when they heard Etaceh say Rair's name. They had never told her Rair's name. She had been toying with them. She knew exactly who Rair was. Rell looked equally as pained.
"What do you want then?" he asked, glancing back at them. "Should we return to our villages?"
"No you are needed."
"But I thought you said."
"All that will be explained inside of the Marble Tree," Caligula declared. He turned back to Kail. "Now go."
Etaceh pointed to the rippling void. Peeking inside Zyra saw that it was a portal directly to the inside of the Tree. All they had to do was step over the border and through the hole.
She looked at Kail and swallowed hard. She wanted to touch him, to say something that would take that stricken look off his face. His yellow eyes burned into hers.
"Do whatever you must to return," he gritted firmly. "Whatever you must. Promise me."
"I will," she replied.
She took a step towards him to say goodbye, but Caligula's back was suddenly blocking her way. He glanced over his shoulder, his purple eyes slitted. Dejected she turned from Kail and took Rair's hand.
"Hold on," she said to the calm level headed woman.
For a village huntress, she was taking this all rather well. Rell took her other hand and together, they stepped through the void.
Etaceh disappeared behind them and the void contorted, twisting and turning until it sealed closed.
Kail watched as Caligula's eyes narrowed, his lip upturning to a grin.
"So, you have seduced our keromedio? Have you bedded her yet?"
"What are you planning?" Kail said gruffly. "The magic inside her in unstable. It hasn't even been a year. Why couldn't you have waited?"
Caligula snickered, his purple eyes raking over Kail with disdain.
"Why? Not as easy as the other ones? Needed more time with this one?"
Kail's hands balled into fists. "Why are you doing this?"
Caligula raised a hand and examined his nails. They were black like his heart.
"I noticed you crafted her a weapon."
"Was that not allowed?"
"No, it's good. Necessary even. Did you instruct her in it?"
Kail's eyes narrowed. "Why would a keromedio need it?"
Caligula let out a sardonic laugh and waved a hand as though swatting Kail's question away.
"These are troubling times indeed Kail. If you knew the truth of the keromedio you would know that these are things that not even I have the answer to."
"Then tell me," Kail protested. "Let me understand so that I can instruct her. Tell me what she needs."
"Do not worry Kail," Caligula exclaimed waving a hand.
The air began to burn as the void reopened.
"You'll have your chance with her. She will return."
"That's not why I'm asking!" Kail snarled. "What are you planning? Why..."
He froze as Caligula's head snapped, his eyes cold.
"You lost your right to ask me questions Kail Shashanen Shyla."
Caligula took a step forward his whole being humming with old volatile magic. The force of the hum struck down his core, making him grunt in pain. The magical animal inside of Kail quivered, begging to back down to the superior strength. Trembling, Kail held his ground.
"You know why I did what I did," Kail wheezed, sweat beginning to gather at his temple.
Caligula made a wide circle around him.
"Of course I do," he mused. "I was there remember?"
"Then...why have you..punished me so?"
"You know the law," Caligula barked. "You should be dead for what you did. It is by the skin of your teeth that you were spared."
He touched a finger to Kail's chest.
"Do not forget that."
When he pulled away Kail let out a surge of air and fell on his knees. Relief from the strain filled his body.
"You are alive because you prove to be useful," Caligula said heading towards the void. "It is in your best interest to be useful."
"And how will I do this?" Kail seethed. "By teaching Zyra how to fend for herself and when you ask to stab her in the back?"
"She is far too valuable to be disposed of," Caligula said rolling his eyes.
He put one foot inside the void.
"I'm surprised you even care. If you truly care for her as you appear to Kail it is your best interest to obey us. She will need armor. I suggest you craft some while you wait. Be a good boy and get to it."
Then he was gone, leaving Kail wondering why a keromedio would need armor.
And if what he had done had truly been so wrong.
Zyra gulped as the cold chill of the Marble Tree overtook them. She could feel Rair shaking, her eyes wide as she silently took in the perpetual cold night that was the Tree.
"Where are we?" Rair asked her quietly.
"The Marble Tree at the end of the Valley of Magic," Zyra said tensing. Memories of the suffocation and the chants of her offering flashed before her. She fought hard to push them back. Her breath made a cloud of white in front of her. It was cold, but for some reason she didn't feel it. Rair however, did. She could see her shivering beside her.
Rell's hand slipped out of hers and she watched curiously as he took off his pack. Setting it down he began to ruffle through it. Near the bottom he found what he had been looking for.
Pulling it out, he produced a woolen shawl. He passed it to Zyra who in turn passed it to the shivering Rair. She looked at it longingly but shook her head.
"No my Huntress."
"Take it Rair," Zyra said firmly to her. "Me and Rell are less vulnerable than you."
"...because of your marking?"
"Because guest, you are the only one not getting a brand new fashionable outfit! Courtesy of mwa."
They looked back and saw Etaceh twirling out of the hole with unnecessary flair. Arms extended like she was dancing, she glided in front of them and headed towards the center of the room. The pristine white marble fount stood in center, mocking her with its innocent appearance. Its proximity made Zyra nauseous.
"Do you know what I realized?" Etaceh said reaching to a shelf.
She picked out a magenta colored liquid and a green one before tearing off a piece of her cloak and tossing it into the fount. The water in the fount turned blue as she uncorked the vials.
"You humans have no fashion. I mean, you used to be such creative things."
She dropped two drops of the green one in.
"Granted some of your creativity nearly destroyed us all, but your clothes! They weren't for survival they were for...expression. Oh I don't suppose I'll ever get over the loss of them. Especially New Gucci."
The startled humans watched her work.
"You mean...you used to wear human clothes? From the old world?" Zyra asked in shock.
Just how old was Etaceh?
As though hearing her thoughts Etaceh sucked her teeth.
"Child I am not amused by your doubt. Besides, you have hurt my feelings most recently. I don't believe you deserve an answer."
Zyra felt her blood boil with Etaceh's accusation.
"How? How did I hurt your feelings? After what you did to me how could you feel offended?"
"I'm warning you child."
"Really?" she shouted. "What more can you take away from me?"
Etaceh's eyes narrowed as she looked at her. Smiling she waved a clawed hand. Before Zyra knew what was happening all her clothes fell from her body in shreds.
She gasped as she felt the chill on her skin. Rell's eyes widen. Covering herself insufficiently in stunned silence, she stood mortified as Rair pulled the shawl off of her body and pulled into onto hers. It was not quite long enough to cover certain parts of her, so she stuck her arms through the top where her neck was supposed to be. Then she pulled it down to the top of her chest.
"Another word and I shall put a charm on Rell that will not allow him to come down from erection until he beds the both of you."
"Etaceh are you really so ill behaved?"
Caligula's arrival shouldn't have made Zyra relieved, but it had. Unlike Etaceh he could be trusted to act with some form of sense, though he had his own agenda as well. He looked at her and frowned. He waited a bit longer than she suspected he needed. Then with a wave of his hand her lengthened the shawl into a dress and gave her sleeves.
"She insulted me!" Etaceh whined, stirring the fount with her finger.
"Etaceh she owes you nothing," Caligula snapped. "Remember that."
Etaceh's lips thinned but with a flick of her wrist she had Rell's body sliding towards the fount.
"Fine. You are first my dear boy," she said smiling.
His clothes fell from his body in tatters and she and Rair looked away as his pale pink bottom was bared to them. Etaceh watched brazenly between his legs.
"Oh...I didn't expect that my... dear boy,"
Etaceh giggled, her tone lewd.
"Fine, fine. I understand."
They heard a peculiar splash, then a bunch of shuffling.
When the sound stopped Rell said, "You can open your eyes now."
Pulling her hands away Zyra saw that Rell was now dressed from head to toe in white. He wore white leg pants with a white vested tunic. A braided gold belt was fastened around his waist and with it a strange obsidian dagger. He wore a gold circlet around his head and white boots on his feet. Zyra didn't know boots could be dyed white. Well with magic anything was possible.
Despite looking extremely harassed, Rell's finery was well suited to him, and he looked quite handsome.
"You're next my sweet," Etaceh said with a sickening grin.
Her shredded clothes floated from the floor and dropped into the basin. Looking at Caligula she hesitantly stepped forward.
"Shall I dye your shawl?" Etaceh asked.
"No thank you."
Etaceh snickered and the fount began to change colors. She frowned until it settled on green. Etaceh reached a bony fingered hand into the fount and pulled out a pair of pants and a tunic.
"If you will," Etaceh said ushering to hand over the shawl. She glared at her and took off her boots so that she could pull on the legs pants. As soon as they were off her feet they flew into the fount.
"Oh well, these things have a mind of their own," Etaceh chirped gleefully. She turned to Caligula who simply shook his head. His hand pulled her clothes away from Etaceh and into her hands. Quickly she changed under the shawl. The clothing was dry.
The leg pants were tight fitting, forming right against her body. They stretched and felt warm despite the thinness of the fabric. Good for running.
"I need a chest wrap," Zyra mumbled blushing.
Caligula's chuckle rolled like a finger over her skin.
"Just put on your tunic."
Sighing she obeyed and was shocked to feel it possessed some kind of binding as well. Her breasts fell firmly in place. The tunic possessed only one sleeve, her tattooed arm remained exposed. It was then that she realized that Rell's sleeves were above his wrist. His tattoo was also visible.
She pulled off the shawl and her boots came back to her the color black. They seemed harder and sturdier, resting just below her knee. The wraps that were her breast bindings suddenly floated out of the fount. They had formed a black hood and floated into her hand.
"What is the meaning of this?" Zyra asked frowning.
"You are to wear this whenever we summon you," Caligula said briskly.
"Your outfits have purposes, one of which is to distinguish you as loyal to us."
"They also will not embarrass you in front of the monokero," Etaceh added.
Zyra dropped the hood.
"A unicorn? We're...we're going to meet a unicorn?"