Rescue Ch. 03byJohnEvans©
Per was waiting outside the walls of the Capitol. After reuniting with Melinar and Nyrandurril, the three of them had defeated a sadistic lord and Per had witnessed the abduction of Queen Shara, his sworn enemy. Per could not go to the authorities without revealing himself to the assassins she had hired to kill him. Likewise, he could not just sit still without suspicion of his involvement in the kidnapping. The only course Per could see was to try and rescue Queen Shara.
Per had been shown a secret way out of the city by Dareen, the statuesque blond manager of Melinar's brothel. Dareen had convinced Per that Queen Shara was probably taken out of the city because her husband, the Overlord, would tear the city apart to find her. Per knew that the search would not be for love, but to maintain the stability of the kingdom. Queen Shara's family was one of the most powerful in the land.
Per rested in a small wooded area while waiting for the sun to rise. He had braved the dangers of coming to the city because he was certain that the friends he had made during his travels had been lured here. Melinar had started a search for them, but there had not been time to get any results. Per hoped that Melinar would find them and that they would be safe.
The sky was beginning to lighten so Per set aside his worries and concentrated on the task at hand. He started searching for fresh tracks, heading off to his left around the city. Time ticked by quickly as he painstakingly went over the ground.
Per had gone about a quarter of the way around the city when he found horse tracks on the ground. Per looked at them closely and saw that there were tracks of several horses. He followed the trail into the woods and determined that there were six horses in the group. He mounted up and started after them.
Per had gone no more than a mile before he heard bugles blowing from behind him. The sound resonated with a particular urgency. Per did not wait to find out what the bugles meant, although he could guess at the discovery of Queen Shara's disappearance.
Per knew that the kidnappers had gotten several hours of a head start on him. The trail led due south towards no major town that Per knew of. A smart move since imperial messengers would be enroute to those towns to inform the garrisons. Unfortunately, this did not help Per figure out where the kidnappers were heading. The only thing he could do was to follow after them.
It was late in the afternoon before Per rode into the yard of a small farm. The trail he was following led him right to it. The farmhouse was ramshackle and the barn had seen better days. As Per approached, two men carrying spears came out of the barn and another, who was holding a sword, came out of the house.
Per glanced around as he rode up. His body was tense and his senses screamed danger warnings to him. His eye caught the slight movement of an upstairs barn shutter. Per nerved himself as he stopped before the three men.
"Afternoon," he said to the three of them. The barn window was to his back and Per felt an uncomfortable sensation beginning between his shoulder blades. "I was wondering if I could water my horse and mule. If you have it to spare, I would like to buy some feed."
"Where are you heading?" asked the man with the sword. He was about six-feet tall with brown hair and a beard. He was about forty years old and the other two were in their twenties. All of them were trying to act casual, but Per could see the tenseness and apprehension in each one.
"Any place, but the Capitol," answered Per. "I thought I'd go see Dosser."
"Why not the Capitol?" asked the man.
"I had a run-in with one of Queen Shara's relatives," said Per, feeling his way along the conversation. He had a good feeling that these men were involved with her abduction. "She took exception to that and has tried to get me killed. This is as close as I want to get to her."
Per saw the men visibly relax.
"No lost love for her then?" said the man with a smile.
Per spat on the ground. "My only hope is that the Overlord comes to his senses and has her beheaded!"
"My name is Ferris," stated the man. He nodded to the other two and they left. Per was sure that the man in the barn window had not moved, so he sat perfectly still. "Water trough is over there. We have room if you want to spend the night."
"No, I'll bring trouble to you if I'm caught here," said Per. "Besides, I've been too much on my own to rest easy with other people about."
"At least stay for dinner," countered Ferris. "It'll be ready in an hour."
Per silently cursed at the delay, but knew he could not get around it without making Ferris suspicious.
"I'd be happy for the meal," said Per with a smile he did not feel. "If you can spare the feed, I'd be grateful."
Per got down off his horse and led it over to the trough. There were numerous tracks around the trough, but Per could not be certain if they belonged to the group he was following.
Ferris had gone into the barn, so Per tied up his horse and went in after him. Per saw Ferris over by a feed bin filling up a sack and the fourth man was walking out the back door of the barn. Per walked over to help him. In the dim light, Per saw that there were ten stalls inside the barn and six of them had horses corralled there. The horses did appear to be lathered as if they had been ridden hard. Per tied up the sack when Ferris finished filling it and carried it back outside.
A woman about Ferris' age was standing outside the door to the farmhouse. Her dark eyes betrayed a hardness and bitterness within her. She stared at Per suspiciously as he and Ferris walked towards her. Her face turned ugly when she caught sight of his violet eyes.
"So they're sending out non-humans now," she sneered maliciously.
"I beg your pardon?" asked Per, uncertain as to what to say.
"Ooo, manners," she sniped. "Dinner's ready. You'll have to eat outside. We don't have chairs big enough for the likes of you." The woman turned around sharply and went inside.
"I'm sorry," apologized Ferris. "She's been this way ever since her brother died six months ago."
"Don't worry about it. It's happened before," said Per. "How did her brother die?"
"He was moving cattle from one pasture to another," stated Ferris. "An uncle of Queen Shara and his retainers were passing by and thought it would be great fun to scatter the herd. Unfortunately, my brother-in-law's horse was spooked and threw him. He didn't get trampled, but a bull gored him. Queen Shara bribed the two hired hands to say that the stampede started before her uncle got there. The uncle stated he rode up to offer assistance after the accident. We found out later what the truth was."
"Someone should really kill that bitch," said Per. "I was going to be kept as a slave by one of her cousins. Luckily, I had a mentor who knew the Overlord. The cousin was sent to Grunstom Keep as punishment. Ever since then, I've been on the run. Assassins have made two attempts on my life and I don't want to give them a third opportunity."
"Let me go in and get you a plate," said Ferris, who went inside the house.
Ferris soon returned with a heaping plate of food and jug of cold cider before he went back in again. Per could hear voices inside the house, but could not make out what they were saying. Per moved around the house until he found a window he could look in. He saw Ferris, his wife, and the three other men inside at the dinning room table. The window was opened a couple of inches at the bottom, so Per sat down to listen.
"You should have killed him when he first arrived!" snarled Ferris' wife.
"And if he's not following them?" asked Ferris. "...if he's only here by accident? You'd still have me kill him?"
"To get my revenge...YES!"
"What if his story is true?" asked Ferris. "He's one of us then."
"You know," said one of the men. "Baron Cedric of Dosser was stripped of his title and sent to Grunstom Keep about a year ago. I never got the entire story, though."
"Chas, backtrack him and see if he is following the others," the woman ordered. "Ferris, delay him until Chas gets back. We'll then decide what to do with him."
Per got up silently and hurried around to the front of the house. He grabbed up the sack of feed and just had time to secure it to the mule when Ferris came out the door. Per swung up into his saddle and tossed the plate to Ferris. Ferris barely managed to catch the plate and stared at Per in astonishment.
"Thanks for the dinner, but I've got to be going," said Per as he tossed some coins to Ferris. "As I said, I don't want my trouble to catch up with you."
Per quickly reined his horse around d and rode off. He headed east until he found some rocky ground where he could hide his tracks. After laying down a couple of false trails, he went southwest to find the kidnappers' trail. The light was fading from the sky when he found it.
The nest morning, Per started after Queen Shara's captors again as soon as there was light enough to see. He found their camp about five miles from where he spent the night. Their trail was now heading south-east, paralleling a river.
Per followed after them for two days, at which point the kidnappers crossed the river and headed south again. Per, still pursuing, did not seem to be gaining any ground and guessed he was still a day and a half behind them. A day after crossing the river, Per spotted several horses ambling through a pasture and found a makeshift corral hidden in the woods. He concluded that the kidnappers had changed horses again.
The chase was moving out of civilized lands and into rougher hilly terrain. Unable to anticipate the kidnappers' final destination, Per dogged their trail at first light every day and stopped only when he could not follow it because of the darkness of night.
It was a little over two weeks since Per started the chase when he was riding through a rocky gorge. He was picking up fresher signs which meant he was getting closer.
"Per, look out!"
Per whipped his head around at the shout and something clanged against his helmet. The world tilted and blurred before it went dark.
* * * * *
"Thank you, Helga."
"Will there be anything else tonight, milady?"
"No, thank you."
Karina watched as the brown-haired girl placed the brush she had been using on Karina's hair back on the dresser. Helga turned, bowed and left the room. Karina looked around the bedroom. Over a year had passed since her husband, Tenan, had been given the title of Baron of Dosser, married Karina and had moved into the castle.
"More than a year since I've seen Per," thought Karina. "Only sketchy reports to let me know he's still alive. Damn Queen Shara! Damn her to hell!"
Karina stood up from the stool she had been sitting on and flopped down on the bed, angry and out of sorts. Tenan had been gone for a week and would not return for another three or four days. Karina always felt frustrated when he was away. She missed his hard body and strong hands.
Thinking of Tenan's body, Karina's hands moved up and over her flat stomach, bunching her nightgown upward. Her hands traveled to the huge mounds of her breasts. Karina closed her eyes and sighed as her fingers pinched and rolled her nipples into hard buds, igniting a flame down between her legs.
Karina's legs squirmed back and forth as her hands massaged and kneaded her tits. Her breathing became heavier and she pulled down the straps of her nightgown to her waist, exposing her lovely breasts.
Karina's left hand continued to play with a nipple as her right hand slid down between her legs. Karina hiked her nightgown up to her waist and then reached down to part her pussy lips open. She gasped as her fingers encountered the moist interior and came into contact with her clitoris. Her breathing was labored as her hands caressed both her breast and clit respectively. Karina moaned as she sank two fingers deep into her pussy. She pulled her left breast up to her mouth and sucked voraciously on the nipple as her fingers pumped rapidly in and out of her cunt.
Karina moaned and her tit popped out of her mouth as her passion flared. She dreamed that it was Tenan's hard cock in her cunt instead of her fingers. With only final hard shove, Karina buried her fingers into her wet pussy as she orgasmed with a gurgled cry. Her cunt spasmed around her fingers as her juices flowed out over them.
Karina laid there on the bed panting, with her fingers still inside her, for a long time. As her breathing returned to normal, she pulled her night gown down, rolled over and fell fast asleep.
Karina awoke the next morning, bathed and then dressed. As she was finished getting dressed, there was a rap on the door and Helga entered carrying a tray. Helga had been at the castle when Baron Cedric had governed the province. Karina had hired the blond-haired, pixie-faced girl as her maid and had never regretted it. Helga was a devoted servant. The only thing that bothered Karina was that Helga never talked about her prior service or the former baron. Karina had not pried as she sensed that Helga had built a thick wall around her emotions.
"Milady, there is a man here with a note from Rolph," said Helga as she set out Karina's breakfast. "The note is here beside your plate."
Karina ignored the fruit in front of her and tore open the letter from Rolph. He and Dagmar ran the farm that Karina owned. Before she started reading, Karina made a short prayer to the gods that it contained word of her son, Per.
She scanned the short missive and then read it again. Her face took on a puzzled look as she sought to comprehend and understand what it read.
"What is it, milady?" asked Helga, seeing the expression on Karina's face.
"Gar wants to see me tomorrow at the farm," replied Karina absentmindedly, staring at the letter.
"Who's Gar?" asked Helga.
Karina shook herself back to reality and said, "He's Per's father. I'll have to leave immediately if I want to make it there before nightfall. Helga, please lay out my riding clothes and pack an extra set of clothes in a saddlebag. I'll tell the steward where I am going."
Karina went and informed the castle's steward of her departure and returned to her suite to change. She was surprised to see that Helga was just beginning to lay out her clothes and even more surprised to see Helga dressed in pants, blouse and cloak like Karina's riding outfit. Helga had spun around to face her and was waiting silently.
"Well, Helga, do you want to explain?" asked Karina.
"I...uh...You need someone to accompany you," stammered Helga.
"Helga, this is not a trip for fun nor is it a trip to satisfy your desire to see an ogre. Gar is dangerous...very, very, very, very dangerous. He could quite easily kill all of us at the farm on a whim."
"But you're the mother of his son!" exclaimed Helga.
"Which means nothing to an ogre," stated Karina dryly.
"I'm...I'm not going with you to see an ogre," said Helga. "I just want to accompany you."
Karina sighed and said, "Alright, girl, go get your things together while I change. We need to get a move on."
"I already told the stable hands to saddle two horses and pack food for a couple of days," said Helga as she turned to finish packing Karina's clothes into a saddlebag. "They should be ready by the time we get down there."
Helga was true to her word. The horses and food bags were ready when they walked down to the stables. Karina and Helga mounted up and were quickly out the gate, heading towards the farm.
It was a fine summer day and the two women made quick time through the countryside. Tenan's rule had made the county a safe place to live and travel through. It was about an hour before sunset when Karina and Helga rode through the front gate of the farm. Rolph, Dagmar and a woman Karina had not seen before stood at the front door to the farmhouse.
"Karina! What brings you to this neck of the woods?" shouted Dagmar laughing. "Just kiddin'. C'mere and give me a hug."
Karina slid off her horse and went over to hug both Dagmar and Rolph.
"You're looking well, Karina," said Rolph.
"She looks terrific, you old stick in the mud," exclaimed Dagmar, "and she's brought us a comely wench to meet and play with."
"This is my maid, Helga," said Karina sweetly. "If you trifle with her, Dagmar, I'll reach up your ass and pull your heart out. You will behave, won't you?"
Helga almost laughed as Dagmar's asscheeks tightened and his face took on a horrified look.
"You'll be safe," chuckled Rolph as he approached Helga to help her down. "We know Karina well enough to know she would do it, too. I'm Rolph. The embarrassed one is Dagmar and this is Dorthea. Dorthea, this is Karina, the owner of the farm, and her maid, Helga."
"The owner?" asked Dorthea. "You mean you're Per's mother?"
"You've met my son?"
"Some time ago," said Dorthea. "My husband disappeared and I was trying to run our farm by myself. I was going downhill fast and your son convinced me to come here. I've been working as a cook for Rolph and Dagmar ever since I arrived here. I...uh...guess I really work for you."
"I hope you're a better cook than either one of those two," said Karina with a smile. "I pity you if you had to eat their cooking. I'm glad to meet you."
"Same here...come, dinner is on the table."
They all went inside and sat down to a meal of lamb, potatoes and green beans. As Karina tasted the food, she knew that Dorthea knew her way around a kitchen. The spices and flavors changed the food from ordinary to exquisite. Even the baked custard dessert was out of this world.
"By the Gods, I'm stuffed," sighed Karina at the end of the meal. "How'd you like to come and work at the castle, Dorthea?"
"Thank you, but no," replied Dorthea. "I'm happy where I am. I think there'd be too many people in the kitchen at the castle and I feel more at home on a farm."
"And I don't relish eating Dagmar's stew again," stated Rolph. He then turned serious. "Karina, Gar wants to meet you at the clearing by the bridge in the woods. He said to come alone, but I don't like it. Dagmar and I are ready to come with you."
"No, I'll go alone," said Karina, thinking over the matter. "It must be something important for Gar to leave his tribe and come here. We'll know what it is in the morning. Right now, I need a bath and then bed."
"We remembered your fondness for baths, so the water is already," stated Dagmar. "We'll bring it right up."
Karina went upstairs to her old room. It was unchanged since she had left it a year ago. Rolph and Dagmar had promised her that it would always be her room. Karina morbidly wondered if she would come back to haunt this room when she died.
Karina changed out of her clothing and put on a robe. She opened the door to the bathroom and saw that the men had not forgotten a thing. The bathtub was three-quarters full of hot, steaming water. Karina quickly shed her robe and eased herself into the tub.
Her aches from riding and her worries drifted away with the steam as Karina soaked in the hot water. She was vaguely aware that someone had entered the room across the hall and speculated that it might have been Helga. The hot water dissolved any further speculation as Karina lost herself into the warmth of the water.
Karina slowly brought herself back to reality. Her eyes opened as she realized that she had fallen asleep and that the water had turned cold. Karina hopped out of the tub, sloshing water on the floor and reached for a towel. She noticed that her fingers looked like prunes as she dried off. After she was dry, Karina looked around for another towel to wipe up the water on the floor.
"It figures," she thought. "Trust a man to put only one towel out."
Wrapping her towel around her, Karina ventured out into the hallway to get an extra set of towels from the linen closet. As she picked up the towels, she heard a door latch click and then heard a door open downstairs. Karina tiptoed to the stairs and looked over the railing down into the living room. She saw Dorthea, dressed in a cloak, crossing the living room from the first floor back bedroom. Dorthea padded quietly across the room and the carefully and silently opened the front door and went outside.