Rescue Ch. 10byJohnEvans©
Karina headed towards the walled town of Woodgate. Behind her, she fancied she heard the hoof beats of the unicorn that brought her here. Karina smiled as she looked down at the parting gift he had given her.
The six inch long end of his horn seemed to shimmer in her hand. He had broken it off in her hand and she had seen it regrow right in front of her eyes. The horn was needle-sharp, spiraled and of a silvery-white color. Karina wrapped it in a cloth and hid it between her breasts inside her padded armor.
She entered the town through the east gate. The three guards there looked at her full figure appreciatively, but made no move to stop her. Karina went past them for about ten feet before turning around and going back to them.
"I've become separated from my friends several days ago," she told the guards. "We were attacked by slavers. I was wondering if you might have seen them."
"What do they look like, miss?" asked the oldest guard, who had stripes on his tunic sleeve. He was about twenty-five years old with brown hair and eyes.
Karina described her five friends. The guards looked at one another and shook their heads. She felt pangs of disappointment and despair.
"I'm sorry, miss, but we haven't seen them," said the oldest guard. "We've been chasing a group of slavers throughout these mountains for the past eight months. They have wards and charms that keep us from magically finding their hideout and there are too many places to hide in the hills. Will you tell me what happened? I'll make a report of it to my captain. Maybe it will give him the lead he needs to find the slavers and rescue your friends."
Karina told him what she knew and also did not see any gleam of hope in his eyes. She mentally kicked her depression aside and resolved to find her companions after she had found Nesbra.
"Right now I need some rest," she stated. "Can you recommend a good inn?"
The guard now appraised her, not for her looks, but for what she may be able to afford. "Try the Crockery Inn," he said. "It's quiet and not expensive. It's up the street to the first square. Take the second street to the right off of that."
"Thank you..." and Karina left her sentence hanging.
"Zutz, Corporal Zutz," he replied.
"For you and your friends when you are relieved," said Karina, pressing a silver coin into his hand. "If you see any of my friends, will you tell them where I am or let me know?"
Zutz smiled at her and said, "Of course and we'll check around town to see if they came in another way."
Karina left the guards and found the Crockery Inn. It was old, but well maintained. She was not worried about the price because she had a stash of coins and gems in her saddlebags. She bathed in the bathhouse to the rear of the inn and went right off to sleep, after telling the innkeeper that she did not want to be disturbed.
The next morning, Karina left her armor and sword behind and put on her best dress. She smiled as she looked at the saddlebags. They had been a gift from Tenan and magically enhanced to carry five times their normal amount with no increase in weight. She placed several gems and the piece of the unicorn's horn inside the dress's pockets and after inquiring directions from the innkeeper, headed towards the prison.
The large, tall, bleak gray stone building was impossible to miss. Karina went up the front stairs and inside the entrance. Two bored guards were sitting behind a tall wooden desk.
"May we help you?" one of them asked Karina tiredly.
"I'd like to see the warden."
The other one sat up slowly with a little animation coming to his face. "About...?" he asked.
"It's personal business," replied Karina. "I would like to see the warden if he is free."
"Your man in here?" asked the first guard with a smile that made Karina uneasy. "I'm sure the warden will be able to see you. Come with me."
Karina followed the guard through a steel bar door, which clanged loudly behind them. After going through another door, the guard led her down a silent hallway. At the end of the hallway were two wooden benches. The guard indicated for Karina to sit and he then knocked on a door. A muffled voice told him to enter and Karina was left out in the hallway alone.
The door soon opened and an elegantly dressed man walked out of the office. He was a little over five feet tall with a slender build. His blond hair was perfect, but the warmth of his smile was not matched in his blue eyes.
"I'm sorry to keep you waiting," he said in perfect diction. "I am Warden Beckdom. Please, come in."
Karina walked into his office. The fine furniture glowed in the sunlight. Several exquisite paintings adorned the walls. Karina was so taken by the opulence that she almost missed seeing the guard leave and shut the door behind him.
"I feel like apologizing for my office each time someone new comes in," stated Beckdom. "It is my one refuge against the bleakness of the rest of the prison." He guided Karina over to a chair and then sat down behind his desk. "What can I do for you?"
"I understand you are holding a woman named Nesbra here," said Karina. "I would like to see her."
Beckdom opened a folder and shuffled through the stack of papers inside. "Nesbra... Nesbra...Oh, yes, here she is. I remember her now. We do have her here. Sentenced to thirty years for smuggling."
"May I meet her?" asked Karina.
"Are you a relative?" asked Beckdom.
"I've never even seen her before," said Karina. Beckdom's brow furrowed and she hastily added, "She helped my son once and I owe her for that."
"Ah, a debt," commented Beckdom with understanding. "Unfortunately, she is ill and can not be brought here to see you."
"Can I go to see her?" asked Karina.
"It must have been a great debt," said Beckdom. "You can, if you wish, but it will be unpleasant."
Beckdom led Karina out of his office and down the hall. They were soon walking down another hallway lined with cells on both sides. Cries of anguish, pleas for mercy, catcalls and lewd suggestions reverberated off the walls. Karina was surprised that all of it was directed to her. No one asked anything of the warden. Beckdom stopped in front of one cell and nodded to a guard to open the door.
Inside the cell on a straw bed lay a young woman. She shivered constantly and her body was covered in sweat. Her black hair was matted and she looked at the open door with dull brown eyes. The combined smells of urine, vomit and feces gagged Karina, but she still went in and knelt beside the woman.
"Are you Nesbra?" she asked. The woman stared at her and then nodded. "I'm Per's mother."
Nesbra's eyes widened and then she shook in a racking cough. Karina looked around and accepted a wooden bowl of water from Beckdom. Nesbra took several sips and then settled back tiredly on her bed.
Karina turned to Beckdom. "May I speak with you privately?"
"Of course," and he led her out of the cell and back to his office.
"I am unfamiliar with the laws in your country," said Karina after they sat down in Beckdom's office. "Nesbra won't last out a year here, let alone thirty. Is there some way to get her released?"
"You mean you want to take her place?" asked Beckdom incredulous.
"No, I mean, can I have her released into my care? I owe it to her. I can pay any fines, damages, or other expenses she has incurred."
Beckdom steepled his fingers in front of him and stared at Karina for several seconds. "The woman has no value to us, so if she dies, it is of no great loss. However, she obviously is worth a great deal to you. I'm extremely wealthy, so any money you offer for her...fines...would be a pittance to me."
"You mean there is no way for me to get her released?"
"No, my dear, what I am saying is there is a way."
Karina inhaled sharply as she grasped Beckdom's meaning. "You want to have sex with me for her release?" she asked, stunned at his boldness.
"Oh, no, my dear," he laughed. "Nothing so...messy. I am a voyeur. I like to watch. I want you to undress and pleasure yourself on top of my desk until you orgasm."
Karina fought to keep her face neutral, despite the loathing she felt for this man and said, "I'll let you know tomorrow."
"I am afraid the terms are only good for here and now," said Beckdom seriously. "Don't try to resort to blackmail or slander. Others have tried and ended up in these cells themselves. Of course, it is your decision."
Karina took in a deep breath to calm the anger she felt as she leaned over to take off her shoes and stockings. Beckdom nodded to her and cleared off the top of his desk. Karina took off her dress; careful not to dislodge the horn or gems she had inside. She stripped off her undergarments and turned to face Beckdom.
"Magnificent!" exclaimed Beckdom, admiring her nude body. "Sit on the desk facing me. Don't," and he wagged a finger at her, "fake your orgasm."
Karina sat on the desk. Her face did not betray the loathing, hatred, and a little fear she felt for the warden. Her need for Nesbra outweighed her desire to split him open across the stomach. Karina brought her feet up spreading her legs wide apart and exposing her pussy to him. Beckdom smiled at his superiority and dropped his pants.
Karina averted her eyes and barely managed to keep a straight face as her emotions ranged between loathing, pity and cruel laughter. Beckdom's penis was pitiful. Barely three inches long hard, Karina knew she would seal her and Nesbra's fates if she commented on it.
As Beckdom sat down in his chair, not four feet away from Karina's open legs, Karina closed her eyes and visualized Tenan standing naked in front of her. She sucked on her middle finger, coating it with her saliva and reached down between her legs.
Thinking of Tenan, Karina sighed as her finger hit her button. Slowly, gently, she rubbed her clit around and around. She dreamt it was Tenan's finger rubbing her and she began to feel her body respond. Karina's nipples puckered and became hard. Her temperature rose and she sighed again as she felt her juices start to flow.
Karina slicked up her fingers and eased one inside her with a moan. Her breathing became heavier as she slid her finger in and out of her cunt, rubbing it directly over her clitoris. Karina shoved in another finger as she pictured Tenan's cock pushing into her vagina. She pumped her fingers in and out even faster at the thought.
Karina was soon panting as her fingers squished in her hot, wet pussy. Licking her dry lips, Karina hefted one of her large breasts up to her mouth and sucked voraciously on her nipple.
Her passion rose quickly and her tit popped out of her mouth as she shoved both fingers deep into her cunt. Her orgasm overtook her and her body shook in response as her juices flowed out over her fingers. Her eyes flew open and she gasped for breath as her throes subsided.
Beckdom's nostrils were flared and his hips were arched off the chair as his hand stroked his cock. Cum spurted out and flew for about a foot before it landed on the floor. His butt then crashed back onto his chair. They both stared at each other, panting, while trying to catch their breath.
"Excellent," huffed Beckdom, standing up and pulling up his pants. "I will get the magistrate here tomorrow to sign for Nesbra's release."
"Tomorrow?" asked Karina, a little suspiciously.
"The magistrate has to sign the release. Otherwise, she would be a fugitive," explained Beckdom, extending a hand to help Karina off the table. She managed to take it without flinching. "Return here tomorrow at noon and the paperwork will be ready."
Karina did not like it, but kept silent as she redressed. Beckdom was courteous and genteel as she dressed. He escorted her out of the prison and bade her farewell.
Even though he had not touched her, Karina felt dirty as she made her way back to the inn. She went directly back to the bath and made the water as hot as she could stand it. Even scrubbing did not remove her feeling of uncleanliness. Karina went upstairs to bed, but it was a restless sleep she had that night.
The next morning she asked the innkeeper and his wife what they thought of the warden. They told her that the entire city thought he was wonderful. He helped the poor. He was always kind and considerate, never angry or mean. He worked hard to help the prisoners change or, if they would not listen to reason, he made sure they remained locked up for everyone's safety.
Karina, listening to them, realized that she would never be believed if she spoke out against Beckdom. He had built up a façade that was impenetrable. Just prior to noon, Karina bucked up her resolve and headed back to the prison.
The same two guards were at the front desk. She was slightly surprised when both stood up and greeted her cordially. One of them escorted her back to Beckdom's office. A short, fat man was sitting in the office with the warden.
"Please, sit down," said Beckdom, greeting her. "This is his Honor, the magistrate. I've related to him your desire to free and care for Nesbra. He has only one concern. He would like for you to repeat the excellent show you put on yesterday."
"WHAT?" cried out Karina, standing up so quickly that she toppled over her chair behind her.
"Do what you did yesterday or Nesbra does not go free," said Beckdom, nonplussed.
"But you promised yesterday..." argued Karina with a little fear and anger in her voice.
"And I am perfectly willing to uphold my end, but the magistrate has his own...needs," replied Beckdom.
"I...I have to think this over," stammered Karina.
"No, you have to decide now. Remember your debt."
Karina took in a deep breath to calm herself. "My debt was paid yesterday. She may not be worth the price you are asking me to pay. Give me a day to decide. I'll meet you here tomorrow at noon."
"Of course, till tomorrow," said Beckdom, recognizing that if he pushed it, Karina may balk altogether.
Karina was despondent as she trudged back to the inn. All she could see was endless rounds of sex games played by Beckdom and the magistrate without Nesbra ever being released. Once in her room, Karina flung herself on her bed and cried.
A soft knock tapped on her door.
"Go away!" yelled Karina.
"Miss, it's me, Corporal Zutz," came a response from the other side of the door. "I have some news for you."
Karina got up and dried her tears. She quickly made herself presentable and opened the door. Corporal Zutz's mouth dropped open in appreciation of Karina's figure in her dress, but her mouth also dropped open as she saw Octavia, Cendri, Helga, Ivin and Gedda standing behind him.
Everyone remained frozen for a second and then yelled out in happiness as they rushed to hug one another. Corporal Zutz danced off to one side to get out of the way as the women greeted one another. They all started talking at the same time.
"Hold it! Hold it!" cried Karina, tears of joy streaming down her face. The others quieted down and she turned to Zutz. "Thank you, you don't know what this means to me."
"Please call me Mikal and it was my pleasure."
"How did you all get here, Octavia?" asked Karina.
"You'll have to ask Ivin," said Octavia. "She and Helga rescued us. The rest of us were too drugged to know what was going on."
"It was Gar who rescued all of us, but that is a tale for later," stated Ivin. "Tell us, did you find Nesbra?"
"Yes, I found her. She's at the prison and very sick."
"Will the warden let her go?" asked Cendri.
Mikal snorted in disgust.
"What?" Cendri asked him. "Is there something about him we should know?"
Mikal licked his lips and looked around anxiously. "Nothing you can put your finger on. He seems to be the perfect nobleman and the people love him. You have to be familiar with the prison to know something is not right. I have heard some rumors and I know of one person who has disappeared after spreading one of those rumors."
"What rumors?" asked Gedda.
"He, um, likes to watch," said Mikal, now very red-faced. "He, er, preys on women forcing them into, uh...er...abusive or perverted practices."
"Have you got rooms for the night?" asked Karina quickly to cut off this line of conversation. "No? Then let's get some rooms lined up and have some dinner. We can discuss what we need to do over a good meal." Karina turned to Ivin. "Can you stay for a minute? I'd like to hear about Tenan and Gar."
"Only Gar was there," said Ivin curtly. "Tenan wasn't."
"Stay here," said Octavia to Ivin as she ushered everyone else downstairs. "I'll get your room for you."
"I'm guessing from your reaction that parts of the rescue weren't pleasant," said Karina, shutting her door after she and Ivin entered her room.
"Helga was hysterical when you went over the cliff," said Ivin softly. "I was too busy trying to get away that I did not see what had happened. I managed to get the two of us away from the slavers, but the other three were captured."
Karina looked at Ivin closely. Ivin was braced and tense as if she was afraid of Karina. She could not look her in the eye and Karina knew what the problem was.
"You blame yourself for my going over the cliff," said Karina. Ivin winced at those words and Karina reached over to hold Ivin's hands. "It was not your fault. We would have all been captured if you had not reacted. We're safe now and I don't blame you."
Ivin looked up with tear-filled eyes and, and with a sob, hugged Karina tightly as she cried out her guilt and gratitude. Karina let her cry and then led her over to the chair.
"Thank you," sniffed Ivin. "I've been so miserable since it happened. We thought you were dead until that guardsman told us you were here."
"I've had my share of guilt also,' stated Karina. "I left you all to come here and get help. I've second-guessed myself so many times, I'm still not sure I did the right thing, but that's all over now. How did Gar come to rescue you?"
"He told us that a unicorn came to him and Tenan as they were trekking through the wilderness, if you can believe that,' said Ivin. "He came to rescue us and Tenan went on to find the nomads."
"The unicorn!" exclaimed Karina astonished. "How did he find them?"
"You mean the unicorn was real?" asked Ivin, her eyes widening in surprise. "I thought it was just miscommunication between Gar and me."
"Wait a minute," said Karina as she sat on the bed. "I'm a little startled and need to think this out."
"Karina, there is a way you can see and feel what I saw and felt ever since we became separated," said Ivin. "It's a spell that transfers thoughts between people. It's faster than talking, but I will also be able to see what happened to you during that time. I understand if you don't want to do it."
Karina shook her head. "It might be better if you do and then you'll know what problems we face here."
"Most thoughts and impulses should remain private," said Ivin. "I'm guessing you've met the warden and the rumors are true. I'm willing if you are. What we see will remain just between the two of us."
Karina nodded. Ivin muttered an incantation, touched her forehead with one hand and Karina's forehead with her other.
Karina was taken back to the ambush site, but was now seeing it through Ivin's eyes. She saw the first nets come down and felt Ivin's fear. Without thinking, Ivin grabbed the nearest reins and charged off down the valley. She scarcely heard Karina's horse neigh in fright or Helga's yell of alarm.
A man jumped out of the bushes at her and Karina felt Ivin's arm swing. A mace crunched against the side of the man's head and he fell away as the two women rode past. Karina could feel Ivin's fear increase as shouts and curses echoed behind them. Helga was crying hysterically and Ivin rode on to get away from the slavers.
This was strange for Karina. She was reliving Ivin's memories as Ivin, but knew she was Karina. Ivin finally stopped when it was too dark to see. Despair gripped at her. Four companions lost and in unfamiliar territory with slavers trying to capture them. Ivin managed to get Helga off her horse and wrapped up in some blankets. Exhausted, Ivin laid down and went right off to sleep.