Sarlene's Touch Ch. 26byFuinimel©
Vardala stepped warily into the back room of the inn, closing the door carefully behind her, as she had been instructed. The room was dark, heavy shutters closed across the only window. Outside, the sun would already be dipping towards the horizon, but the intent was not just to keep light out but to stop passers-by from looking in.
The rogue made out a shape standing next to the unlit fireplace, and could sense its eyes on her. She said nothing, waiting for the figure to make the first move. After a long silence, it did so, reaching forward across a low table to pull back a shutter from some metal object placed there.
A whitish-blue light spilled across the table, shining into her face. She had seen such things before; a metal box with a narrow shutter at one side, and a rod inside enchanted with a long-lasting light spell. It was safer than a regular lantern, and almost never needed refuelling. Because of its shape, the light poured out in only one direction, and the figure standing behind it was more in the shadow than ever, now that her eyes could not adjust to the darkness.
"The prodigal returns," said the figure, his voice calm, with a rich timbre.
She could just about make out that he was wearing a cloak, further obscuring his shape, and, perhaps more significantly, that he was, like her, a gnome. Not that it mattered, for she recognised the voice, knew that this was, indeed, the man she had come to meet.
"I haven't betrayed the Guild," she said, defiantly, trying not to squint too obviously in the light directed at her. "I work outside the city now."
"As an adventurer, yes; I well recall that. Are you not ever tempted to return to your old ways? To rejoin the fold?"
"I don't need to. I have enough."
"Enough to abandon us?" the voice was stern, critical, "It seems it must be so, since this is the first time you have entered Guild premises in... what, over two years now? I am sure you remember the date as well as I. Or was it not important to you?"
"It's not an abandonment, merely a change. I haven't done anything wrong, not by the Guild's laws. I have just taken a different path."
"One that means you no longer need us," the voice was sharply critical, and Vardala began to wonder if she had done the right thing in coming here. Clearly there were deeper wounds over her departure than she had thought. In retrospect, that should perhaps have been more obvious.
"So, you no longer need the family that helped raise you, from your teenage years, at least. The family that taught you the skills you know rely on, whether within our purview or not. The Guild is a lifelong commitment, not just something you pop in and out of at your convenience. Had you forgotten that?"
"I'm not here to offer my services."
"But you need us for something, don't you? Something has brought you back to us again. What I am trying to establish is why you should think we have the slightest interest in helping you."
"Because I have money. Which is, in the end, what the Guild is about acquiring, isn't it?"
"Oh, money?" the voice sneered, and its owner leaned forward, resting his hands on the table, and allowing some of the light to spill onto his cloak, though still leaving his face in shadow, "What makes you think I'd be interested in that, from you?"
"Because I know you, Shadow-knife," she used the assassin's codename, the one she had employed to get access to this private room, to get audience with the man.
"Perhaps I've changed," he said, sounding a little defensive for the first time, and leaning back out of the light. "None of us stays the same forever. The Guild has moved on without you, you know."
"But you haven't, have you?" she said, taking a step forward, emboldened as she saw that she might be getting beneath the other rogue's cool exterior. "That's what this is all about, isn't? These shadows and your attempted intimidation? I can tell you now that it isn't going to work, not with me."
"Everything isn't always about you!" snapped Shadow-knife, banging the table and leaning forward into the light again. This time, she could see more of his face, the sharp nose and neat little goatee, a flash of his teeth as he all but snarled at her.
"But it is this time, isn't it? You're still pissed off. Well, whatever -- you should just get over it. I've had enough of being messed about. All I want is a little information, and I'm willing to pay for it. Are you going to help me, or not?"
"You couldn't pay what I'd want!"
His voice was raised, sounding dangerous, and Vardala wondered if she'd pushed him too far. He was a skilled killer, after all, and a trusted official of the Guild. But her frustration at the way he was acting, when she so badly needed vengeance for what that inhuman thing had done, overwhelmed her common sense.
"You don't know what I've got to offer!" she snapped back, "so stop being such a bloody child about it."
"You know exactly what it is I want," he growled, and stepped out from behind the table, lunging for her.
She raised her left hand instinctively to ward him off, her right reaching for her concealed knife. But he was too quick, and took her head in both hands, kissing her passionately on the lips.
Forgetting the knife, she took a step back and slapped him as hard as she could across the face.
The sound of the slap seemed to echo across the room; it had been a really good one. Shadow-knife staggered back a pace, almost bumping into the table, reaching out a hand to steady himself.
"Damn -- that really hurt," he said, making no further movement, "shit! Vardala, you pack a mean hand, these days." He gave a bitter little laugh, "I guess you haven't changed so much."
"Well, you deserved it, Skort."
He winced slightly at the use of his real name, but then seemed to relax, all his thunder and bluster gone. "Yeah, I guess," he muttered at last, leaning back against the table, and rubbing his cheek, the hood of his cloak pushed back slightly to reveal his close-cropped black hair. "Where did we go so wrong?"
"You couldn't accept that I had my own life. Looks like you still can't."
"Hey, that's not fair. I had a lot of things to do when I moved up in the Guild. I could have done with some more support, too. It's not like it was one sided."
She shrugged, "perhaps. But I couldn't be there all the time. Like I said, I have my own life now."
Skort adjusted the magical lantern, widening the aperture so that more light spilled into the room, although it still wasn't much.
"You look the same as ever," he commented, "as if it was yesterday. You shouldn't have left me."
"You said it yourself a moment ago -- nobody stays the same forever. We were over, it wasn't working. I thought you'd have learned to live with it by now. It's been two years."
"Yeah, it has," he said, rubbing his face and staring into the darkness of the ceiling, "But it was good while it lasted... I mean, it was, wasn't it?"
"Yeah... yeah, it was."
He sighed deeply, "well... you wanted to ask me something," he said eventually, "You might as well go ahead."
"Somebody stole something from me," said Vardala, "and I want to know who that is." She didn't add that she wanted revenge on that person for hurting Horvan, for nearly killing him. That would just complicate what was already an awkward meeting even further, Especially since she still hadn't quite worked out what she felt for the manservant.
Skort gave a short barking laugh, "I'm hardly going to rat on one of my fellows! Gods, you know the Guild as well as I do, how can you even ask?"
"Because it's not somebody from the Guild."
"A freelancer?" he looked interested, his expression quizzical. "Anyone good enough to steal from a bunch of adventurers probably isn't a freelancer, and even if they were, it pretty much goes without saying that they'd also be good enough for us not to know about them."
"The thing that stole from us wasn't a person, at least not in the normal sense. It was a demon."
"A demon?" his eyebrows shot up, "you mean a tiefling? There's a..."
"No, not a tiefling. I know what a tiefling looks like, and this sure as hell wasn't one of them. We're talking a full-on demon, huge horns, glowing eyes, the lot. Could have been an illusion, but that seems unlikely. But no, so far as we can tell, this was an honest-to-goodness demon, the kind that somebody summons. Know anything about that?"
"Uh, no, why would I? We're not magicians."
She sensed the brief hesitation in his voice, noted the shifting in his eyes as he looked away from her when he spoke. He might be good at lying to others, but not to her. He did know something, and she just had to find out what it was.
"Demonologists need illegal goods to cast their spells. If they don't get them from you, you'd probably know where they would get them. There's a pretty good chance you'd at least have heard rumours. And since you're not magicians, whoever did this is outside the Guild, and, really, you're not breaking any trust by telling who they are. Or who you suspect they are."
"I don't know any demons. Or demon-summoners. I'm sorry, Vardala, I just don't know anything."
She stepped up to him, looking him squarely in the eyes. "You're lying. Why?"
"Uh, no I..." he seemed to sense it wasn't working, and swore under his breath, trying to avoid looking at her. "Hell, Vardala. You don't understand this. This is... this is just not something I can tell you, okay?"
"What's your price?"
"Damn it, I don't have a price! I'm telling you, this is really... just walk away from it, all right?"
He sounded concerned, genuinely worried by something, but Vardala was not going to stop there. She had to do something to strike back for Horvan, no matter what it meant. The demon's attack had made it personal, and she wouldn't forgive it for that. That thought was even more important to her than her concern about the city's fate. For Horvan, she was willing to do whatever it took.
She reached down with a hand and gently cupped Skort through his trews. "You sure there's nothing I can offer you?"
He squirmed as she began to rub him, a bulge definitely beginning to form beneath her fingers. "I... uh... no. I don't want that. And I can't tell you anything." She began to undo the fastenings. "Heck, Vardala, don't be ridiculous. You said it was over."
He'd been eager enough when he'd been the one taking charge, she thought, as she caressed a growing erection that was giving the lie to his denials of interest. "It is," she told him, "but that doesn't mean I can't make an exception tonight."
"Look... there's a Guild connection. That's why I can't say anything."
"But not a formal one," she said, kneeling, "or you'd have mentioned it earlier. Who's got you scared?"
"Nobody! I'm not scared." He seemed affronted by the suggestion. Good.
She eased his swollen cock out of his trews, running her hand along its length, then bending forward to kiss the tip.
"Vardala!" he cried, "this isn't going to work on me." She slipped his cock briefly into her mouth, running her lips around the head, and then pulling it out again. "Uh, well, not in that way. I'm not going to tell you about Mr. Scaggs."
"He's the Rake's number two man, isn't he?" asked Vardala, before pulling him full into her mouth, first tickling his glans with her tongue, then pushing her head forward into his groin, easing his balls out with a free hand and gently rubbing them.
Skort gasped, his hips pushing slightly forward into her face. She raised her eyes to look at him, enjoying the look of pleasurable torment on his face, and then began to suck him more vigorously, sliding him in and out.
"Uhh... yes... all right... Scaggs has some friends. Some very powerful friends... oh, yeah... he's been acting kind of weird, even the Rake senses it. But we... oh, Goddess... we don't have any proof of anything. There's been whispers of magic rituals, demons and bad stuff like that. But nothing we know for sure."
She released him, leaning back onto her haunches, his erection, slick with her saliva, throbbing just inches from her face. "I need names. Who are these friends?"
"I don't know... magicians, I guess."
Vardala undid her tunic, pulling it off, followed by her shirt. Looking up at Skort, she deliberately fondled one of her breasts, then leaned over to suck and nibble at his balls, gripping his cock with her other hand.
"Names," she said, again,
"Yes you do. You're bad at lying to me, remember?" She ran her tongue up his shaft and swallowed him again, continuing to massage her breast as she did so.
"Uhh... Lady Amloth. She's the ringleader. She's a drow, poses as a merchant, but drow are all demon-worshippers or something, aren't they? Oh, yes... Vardala..."
"Is that all you know?" she asked, pulling him out of her mouth again.
"Yes, that's it! But, I swear, you'd better not stop there -- my balls are aching."
She evaluated his expression. He seemed sincere this time. "Yeah, I believe you. The part about not knowing any more, I mean."
"Dammit, Scaggs can't find out I told you any of this! He's higher in the Guild than I am, and the Rake's hardly going to back me up for spreading rumours about his deputy."
Vardala stood up, and unfastened her own trews, dropping them to the floor with her panties. Skort watched her, wide-eyed, as she stepped over to the table beside him, and leaned across it, spreading her legs apart.
"Then you better persuade me not to tell," she informed him, "I could do with some really good persuasion right now."
Skort gave an almost feral grin, and she wondered briefly if her approach might have been a bad idea. But it had worked, and that was all that had mattered. The truth was, it had made her horny. It wasn't so much that she enjoyed giving oral sex, which she was happy to do, but was never particularly exciting in itself. No, it was...
Actually, what the heck was it? She had certainly had no intention of bedding Skort when she had come here; she had just wanted information from him, and had assumed, at the most, that she might have to pay for it with gold. Yet things had progressed since then, not least because of his refusal to let go of the past, which she hadn't really expected. It had felt good to make him squirm, but now she needed a release, to make up for the tension that Horvan's injury and near-death had instilled in her.
She couldn't fuck Horvan, but she could take out her frustration on her former lover, and clear her mind with some wild sex. Hopefully, he wouldn't take it the wrong way. Yeah, some chance there, she thought ruefully, but it was too late now, for either of them.
Skort had stripped off, the bluish light casting a dark shadow from his glistening erection over his firm, flat belly. His build was muscular for a gnome, with brawny arms and strong thighs, the dark hair on his chest contrasting with pale skin. A familiar tattoo, showing a blade and some writing in gnomish script, decorated his left shoulder. He moved behind her, as she lay face forward on the table, arms gripping the far side. He gripped the inside of her right thigh, pinching it slightly and shifting it aside, then using the fingers of his other hand to spread her pussy lips apart, gazing at her exposed cunt for a while.
"Oh, fuck," he groaned, "you don't know how much I've thought about this."
He thrust his cock into her forcefully, partially lifting her hips up off the table, and making her grunt in satisfaction. He began taking her with hard, urgent thrusts, groaning loudly with each new movement, his body pounding into hers. She had to admit that it felt good, just what she needed right now, although she tried to keep her own voice down -- it was unlikely anyone was listening outside, but they were in the backroom of an inn, and if either of them got loud enough, that might not make much difference.
She looked back at him, still gripping the table with her own hands, watching his bare chest moving, and the shadow cast by his body against the wall. He was taking her forcefully, his cock slamming into her cunt over and over, filling it, his head thrown back and teeth bared. When they'd been together before, he'd never fucked her this hard, and the sensations were overwhelming. He must have noticed her gaze on him, for he looked down at her, seeing the lust burning in her eyes, the need to be satisfied. If only he realised that it wasn't really him she was thinking of.
"You like it rough?" he asked, "you didn't use to."
With a sudden wicked grin, he slapped her across the buttocks. It stung a little, but was nothing against the more pleasurable feelings that his rapidly pounding cock was inducing in her.
"That's for slapping me earlier," he informed her.
"Is that all you've got?"
He slapped her again, much harder this time, reddening her buttock, then gripping it with his fingers as he thrust into her again, pushing her forward on the table, and lifting her feet off the floor. A second, hard slap followed, on the other side this time, enough to hurt. "Fuck you!" he snarled.
She pushed back against the table, forcing him backwards, making him stumble so that his cock slid out of her as she regained her feet, still standing with her back to him. He gave a surprised and frustrated cry, but she grabbed for him, finding his slick and wet erection and pushing it back inside again.
She ground her body against his, feeling his hard muscle against her back, lifting a leg to give him easier access. He wrapped a muscled arm around her waist, almost lifting her off the ground as he continued to fuck her. His free hand gripped one of her breasts, and he pressed his face into the hair at the back of her neck, groaning loudly.
She kicked one of his legs out from under him, making him stumble and swear, releasing his grip on her to steady himself. But she hadn't finished with him yet, and climbed up onto the table, knocking over the magical lantern, so that its light cast crazy rocking shadows against the ceiling.
Skort climbed onto the table after her, his silhouette looming over her as she rolled onto her back. He grabbed for her arms, and they wrestled, each trying to get the upper hand. Skort's face glowered with a mixture of anger and lust; she was playing with him, but wondered how seriously he took the game. Their bodies slid against each other as they grappled, hands wandering, legs entwining, and he was obviously trying to force her down, to show his mastery... well, two could play at that game.
With one hand she yanked on his cock, making him yelp, and his grip suddenly relaxed, giving her the opportunity to flip him over onto his back. Quickly, she straddled him, back towards his face, gripping his legs with one hand as she used the other to guide him back inside her.
She humped him vigorously, thighs and hips working as his balls smacked against her groin and his hard cock pumped in and out of her aching pussy. She let out an exultant whoop, forgetting her earlier resolution to remain quiet, and savoured the feeling as she continued to ride him.
Skort's fingers gripped her back, trying to knead her heaving buttocks, but finding little purchase against sweat-slick flesh moving with such urgency. He groaned, louder than before, calling her name, and she threw her whole body into an arc, head thrown back, one hand squeezing a breast as the speed of her motion increased.
Her partner cried out again, a desperate, almost sobbing sound, as she felt his cock finally release its seed inside of her. With a few more thrusts, she joined him, letting out a passionate shout as her body erupted with pleasurable release and her cunt contracted around his still spasming member,
Skort was panting, his hands by his side now, as she clambered off him, and slid down from the table. She looked at him there for a moment, his chest heaving, struggling to regain his breath. Then she began to gather her clothes.