"There must be a spot here somewhere...Ah! Here's one!" Kerion shouted. "Quickly, Claire. Stand up. I've found your exit."
She nodded, trying her best to maneuver around the demon's hoard of children. They stayed put, still competing for attention. Their tiny legs pawed at her skin, begging for more love.
Kerion turned his head, hissing at his brood. "Not now! The girl must leave if she is to survive. She can't stroke you if she'd dead!"
With a collective squealing sigh, the mass of tiny spiders crawled off her skin, slinking back into the shadows of their home.
Free of her now hoard of fans, Claire hauled herself to her feet and carefully made her way over to Kerion, stepping lightly to avoid any stragglers. She stopped a foot from the demon's side, watching him expectantly.
"Shadow-walking itself is very simple. You just need to let the shadows take hold of you; they're the things that take you where you need to go. Once they've got you, just imagine your destination and they'll take you straight there."
She nodded, still watching him intensely.
Kerion pulled away from the wall, watching her. "You're welcome here any time you need a place to hide. My home is always open to you, and my children will provide you with a defense."
She smiled at him in the darkness. "Thank you so much." She stepped towards him, the hesitated.
"What is it?" Kerion's voice was concerned.
She chewed her nails, planning her next move. "I'd hug you, but I'm not sure how."
"Ah." Kerion crawled forward and wrapped his two front legs around her back, pulling her against the side of his head. She smiled and buried her face in his soft hairs, wrapping her arms around his head as best she could.
Seconds later, Kerion pulled back, one leg pushing her towards the wall. "Go now. Find your hosts and tell them Tarrin has returned somehow. They must know, Claire. Something must be done before he tries to steal you away again."
She nodded vigorously, taking a deep breath before stepping forward to the wall. Kerion moved back, watching her. Tentatively, she reached out and felt for the stones, feeling the slick tendrils of shadow wrap around her arms immediately. She fought back the fear she always felt at their touch and refocused her mind. She imagined the main hallway, the balcony looking out towards the Capitoris, the three demons who loved and cared for her.
"Take care, my dear." Kerion slunk back into the shadows to follow his children home.
The threads of darkness began to pull her into the wall, the cold stone seeming to liquefy around her flesh. She stepped forward, letting the shadows guide her in. The melted rock now caressed her belly, barely brushing the tips of her breasts.
At the last second, she turned her head toward the dark corridor. "Kerion! Thanks again!"
With a final tug, the shadows pulled her out of the web-filled corridor and into the dark.
The stepped out into the main hallway, spinning around to see the thin vines of shadow receding into the wall. She smiled at the strands of dark, then turned to face to open hall again.
The corridor was empty, save for a tiny gust of wind that whipped around the hall. Wrapping her arms around her, she turned and began to walk down the hallway, looking over her shoulder every few seconds incase Tarrin had followed her. She hoped in her heart that she'd eventually run into her lovers, or that someone would recognize her and take her somewhere safe. But the hall remained empty, and she continued to walk in silence.
After endless minutes of feeling helpless and alone, Claire began to doubt her own judgment. Had she picked the right place? Had she even picked the right world? This one seemed brighter than she was accustomed to, so much quieter. Tears welled in her eyes, the fear of being alone making her stomach turn.
"I swear to fuck this is where she disappeared."
Silthos' voice snapped her out of her melancholy, reigniting her pervious hopes of being found. Perked up by the sound of one of her lovers, Claire began to race down the hall, delighted that she was finally safe.
"Then where the hell did she go?" Thaltos' voice drove her onward, nearly making her shriek with joy.
"We saw someone take her. He pulled her through the shadows."
The sound of Darrow's voice fired up her afterburners. She rocketed down the hall, barely avoiding the columns of marble as she neared the voices.
She rounded a corner, spotting them clumped together at the point of her disappearance. All three were inspecting the wall, still clearly horrified by her capture. They clawed at the stone, trying to find an entrance to her hellish prison.
With a joyous screech, she raced towards them. Darrow had just enough time to turn towards her before she plowed into him, wrapping her arms around his body as they fell to the ground. She buried her face into the warm red skin of his chest and cried, hauling in deep, strangled breaths as she tried in vain to contain her joy.
"Holy fuck! Claire!" Silthos wheeled around, a look of pure relief on his face.
Thaltos turned to face her as well, exhaling a heavy sigh.
She continued to cry into Darrow chest, relieved to have found her lovers. Elated to see her and with the breath knocked out of him, Darrow did his best to comfort her. He wrapped his arms around her, holding her close to him as she wept. His thin tail, an asset of his she'd nearly forgotten about, curled around her leg to lock her in place.
She remained in his arms for several minutes, relief washing over her in waves. The good news was that she made a new ally during her time with Tarrin. The better news was that since she was with Darrow and the others, Tarrin probably wouldn't come charging around looking for her. The best news was that she was reunited with her lovers after what felt like an hour of pure hell. Not too bad after the shit she'd been through.
Gently, Darrow pushed himself up and rested his back against a column, still holding her in his arms. She could hear his sighs of relief and she smiled through her tears. That single sound reminded her that, despite his angry and brutal demeanor, Darrow did care for her.
Claire, where were you?" Silthos knelt down next to them. "What the fuck happened."
Taking deep breaths, she calmed herself enough to pull away from Darrow's tight grasp. She maneuvered to sit in his lap, his arms still wrapped gently around her. Claire dropped her gaze, turning her head to look at Silthos. Thaltos had taken a seat beside him, both demons staring at her with wild eyes. She refused it make eye contact with Darrow; she couldn't find the courage to say she'd seen his backstabbing friend to his face.
She swallowed hard, choking back a fresh wave of tears. "Tarrin," she whispered.
Darrow's body went rigid, his arms tightening around her possessively. She looked up to see his ink-black eyes scanning the hall excitedly, seeking any trace of the creature that had turned on him so long ago.
Silthos sat back on the floor as Thaltos let out a long breath.
"Well, that certainly changes things." Thaltos rested his chin on his fist. "Now that he's back, there's sure to be a riot. The Council will shit themselves."
"You have to give him credit, though. The man's got cajones the size of Florida to come back here." Silthos spat, equally upset.
Darrow's claws raked against her skin, his deep growl rumbling in her ears. One of his hands released her, reaching up to cup her face. He turned her head so she could look at him. His mouth was turned down in a tight scowl, his eyes cold and unfeeling.
"Did he harm you?" His voice was low, angry...deadly.
She shook her head slightly. "He did try to eat me, though."
Darrow growled again, whipping his head to the side so he could glare out into the misty world of souls. His anger was palpable and terrifying, but she didn't dare ask to be released. If she pulled away, she risked him thinking she had turned on him as well. Besides, she felt safer here in his arms than anywhere else.
"Claire, how did you get out of there?" Silthos' voice caught her attention, and she turned to look at him. He stared at her in fascination, his twilight eyes fixed on hers. "I saw him pull you into the wall. How did you get away from him?"
She smiled lightly. "I shadow-walked back here."
His brows went up. "By yourself?"
Smiling wider, she nodded, pride now swelling in her heart.
Silthos let out a sharp laugh and smacked Thaltos on the arm. "And you were worried that she'd be scared! Ha!"
"I did have help," she started. "Kerion pulled me away from Tarrin and dragged me into his nest to hide."
Thaltos let out another long sigh, followed by a soft chuckle. "That damned spider. I knew he'd turn out alright."
"I met his children, too. They're actually pretty cute." She shrugged, smiling innocently.
"Good," Silthos jumped to his feet. "That means we have someone to count on if Tarrin decides to make another grab at you."
Thaltos nodded silently. Darrow continued to stare out into the mist.
Without warning, Darrow shot up and turned on his heels, still holding her in his arms. He maneuvered her so she way lying against his chest, her face pressed against his skin. Thaltos and Silthos stood up behind him, watching from a safe distance.
"Should we tell the Counsil about this?" Silthos asked.
"Later," Darrow snapped. "I want her in bed first. And cleaned. I won't be able to sleep tonight knowing she's covered in his spit."
Honestly, I don't think I'll sleep tonight.
She reached up and wrapped her arms around his neck, seeking the comfort and safety of his touch.
He carried her down the hall, his footsteps echoing off the slick stone, Thaltos and Silthos followed close behind, though they gave their friend a wide berth out of respect and caution. She understood why: Tarrin was Darrow's past issue, not theirs. Out of all of them, he had the greatest right to be fuming. And with his old opponenet back, there was a risk of him lashing out at anyone.
Darrow turned suddenly, storming towards the shadows that rested on the wall. He carried her through the darkness, not giving the small threads of the shadows time to lead them in. They entered their room a heartbeat later, the flames still shining as brightly as before. The food on the table was still steaming and fresh, the smell making her stomach turn in hunger.
Instead of letting her eat, Darrow carried her to the row of beds and deposited her on the largest one. He turned sharply and walked toward the table, dragging a chair out and collapsing into it. He tossed his head back and closed his eyes, taking long, cleansing breaths to calm himself.
Seconds later, Thaltos and Silthos stepped into the room. Silthos walked towards Darrow, hoping to comfort his friend; Thaltos made his way to her, lifting her off the bed and to her feet. Silently, he undressed her, taking her clothing over to the racks and tossing them on the floor to be dealt with later. He returned to her side, beckoning her to sit as he knelt at the end of the bed, slipping his hands between her thighs. Thaltos parted them gently, spreading her legs so he could inspect her.
He looked over his shoulder at the others. "Darrow, maybe you should do this. It was you who Tarrin fucked over, not us."
Darrow shook his head, never opening his eyes. "No, you do it. I can't stand the scent of that creature, let alone the taste."
Thaltos nodded and refocused his gaze on her. His eyes flicked to her, the slate-grey color darker in the firelight. "This will only take a moment, Claire. We need to get his scent off you before someone mistakes you for being his."
She smiled at him and nodded, carefully leaning back so she could lie on the bed. The bush of his tongue came quickly -- slow, gentle strokes that cleansed her body and offered tiny traces of pleasure. His tongue dipped into her pussy, sweeping around inside to wipe away any trace of Tarrin's touch.
Claire closed her eyes and let her lover wash away any memories of her torment. Thaltos' tongue gently danced around her pussy, cleansing her of every molecule of her attacker's existence. She moaned quietly, twitching against his touch. His teasing wasn't enough to bring her to climax, but it was more than enough to kick start her fire.
He pulled away too soon, leaving her deprived of a much needed orgasm. She whimpered quietly, begging for any of them to finish what Thaltos had started. She pushed herself up onto her elbows, watching in anticipation for one of them to join her.
The head demon walked over to the table, stopping just short of Darrow and Silthos. He reached out an arm, clasping his hand over Darrow's muscular shoulder.
"She's clean now. I got ever trace of the bastard out of her." His eyes flicked to her for an instant. "But I think she needs more than a bath, Darrow."
Darrow nodded silently, pushing himself out of his chair. He came towards her slowly, his eyes fixed on her own. His face was expressionless, no doubt trying his best to hide his anger from her. He sank to the floor in front of her, hands resting on her thighs and black eyes empty.
"Are you mad at me?" She whispered, bracing herself for any answer.
His head snapped up, his eyes suddenly alight with apology. "No, Claire. Not with you. Just with the fact that he took you from me."
She smiled, relieved not to be the focus of his anger. She reached out, cupping his cheek in her hand. "Will you sleep with me tonight? I'm not sure I feel safe dreaming by myself."
He offered her a warm smile. "Of course." He dipped his head, dragging his tongue along the seam of her pussy.
Claire tossed her head back, closing her eyes as pleasure washed over her. She settled back into the bed, hooking her legs over his shoulders to bring him closer. Darrow's tongue did wonders to her body and her soul. The sparks of fire racing up her spine brought her close and closer to climax; his very presence soothed her anxiety and made her feel safe. His teasing never ceased, the licks and gentle nips informing her that he was hell-bent on making her fears fade away.
She climaxed quietly, no screaming of names or breathless gasps for air. Instead, a subtle warmth spread for her belly to het her toes and fingers as her body exploded silently. The warmth melted her bones and filled her heart with adoration. All three men cared for her and loved her, she knew. And now, as she'd just found out, they we willing to fight for her.
Darrow stood, lowering her legs off his shoulders, he scooped her into his arms, flipping back the sheets of the middle bed and placing her into the soft mattress. He joined her, pressing his body close and wrapping his strong arms around her waist. She curled into him, letting the horrors of the day fade away as sleep crept into her mind.
Tarrin would be dealt with -- she hoped quickly and ruthlessly -- later. For now, rest and safety took precedence. She fell asleep in Darrow's arms, surrounded by two more strong demons who would also fight tooth and nail for her. Here, in this small room occupied by demons who owned her, was comfort, safety and love. A haven for her damaged soul, a place where she could always go to feel at home.
Because this was her home, now, and they were her family -- a family she'd kill to save and die to protect.
Yes, I know. There's very little sex in this chapter, but this part is important to the story. Don't worry, we'll get to the good parts, I promise. Have patience, my loves.
Irony alert: Despite the kindness Claire shows to Kerion and his family here, I'm terrified of spiders. I probably would have killed them.
Coming soon...Chapter 6 - Havencaller