tagSci-Fi & FantasySufferance Ch. 11

Sufferance Ch. 11

byEtaski©

Author's Notes: This story is erotic fantasy written by Etaski. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this story, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Etaski 2013

And so more pieces reveal themselves. They can only spell trouble in the end. ;)


*

The urgent feeling I'd had to get out of Auslan's room and back to the guest wing was not justified when I arrived. At Wilsira's quarters I had listened, heard nothing, and let myself in quietly as possible. Neither she nor Kerse were present. I was suspicious, wondering what else she was up to—and given that I had been up to my own plot, it was a given that she was doing the same.

Shyntre was in the room, however, and he still slept. Perhaps I'd underestimated how much of a toll this trip was taking on him as well, for him to still sleep even now. I'd known him to be in reverie when I'd left the Priestess and Draegloth at the room—and they must have left soon after, not to have woken him.

I weighed going out as well to see if I could find the Priestess and her son—I needed to for multiple reasons, but.... Perhaps...perhaps not before taking this opportunity to study Shyntre in reverie.

I drifted slowly toward the bed, lowering my weight gently so as not to jostle him. Only when I got close enough did I sense with the help of my bracers that he'd placed a "touch ward" on himself. If anyone with intent to make contact with him came close enough, he'd wake up suddenly no matter how deep he'd been in dreams. It was a good thing I'd only intended to watch him or his eyes would be open right now.

I smirked but could not deny the necessity of the ward, from his point of view. The only one he was willing to admit that he feared was Kerse, but he had no liking of either me or the Priestess as well. He truly did not want to be touched.

Now I had the best of all possible guesses why.

With his face relaxed and his eyes closed, the typical hostility and tension gone for the moment, I was careful not to assume that I'd seen his face before in another. His eyes—when they'd been open— were most similar in color to Rausery's, the darker crimson versus the brighter, coppery red, but absolutely nothing else about him looked like her. He had the features of a Noble at Court, the finer bone structure with hints of past beauty breeding that I could recognize.

I did not see his mother in his face, however. None of my living Sisters revealed themselves there. He may simply favor his sire much more, and the chances that I might've ever seen Shyntre's sire were similar to the chances I had ever danced upon the spider webs in the Garden at Court and not realized it. That is to say, unlikely.

Still, I wondered if...or, no, perhaps I simply wanted his face to seem familiar. I had been searching to see that face for months before, following my initiation. The mind could play its tricks and I couldn't really trust it now because my desire to know which Red Sister had last spent time with the Priestesses was too strong. I had to let it go for now.

I sighed softly, enjoying a rare moment of quiet. Thinking about my visit with Auslan delayed my leaving to find Wilsira a little more, as I considered the very last subject we'd discussed—the one of his choosing.

Fertility magic. An "extremely adept" Consort could also have done the same healing magic that Lelinahdara had on me during Lolth's Threshold? But using it on a healthy womb could have the reverse effect, could make a Drow sterile...and he'd been wondering whether the Sisterhood had "sterilized" their recruits that way, hence why there hadn't been more children since Shyntre.

It carried its own efficient logic, despite the fact that it had twisted at my sensibilities. Auslan had not put the possibility past the Sisterhood, which only supported our own reputation.

And what had I told him? No, it was individual to me. He could have thought that either that they had sterilized *only* me... or that they had chosen to heal my womb. One or the other. The truth was the Sisterhood hadn't chosen, the Priestess Lelinahdara had. But that wasn't important at the moment.

I considered what Auslan himself knew, what he'd witnessed...and nodded to myself. He would know for a fact that I'd been healed from a barren womb. Gaelan had demanded to know whether he'd loosed his seed inside me, even once, before she got there. He knew what happened when Red Sister became pregnant, so he would understand why she demanded an answer—at least in retrospect later, when I'd returned wearing the uniform.

Why had he pushed that subject with me so hard, then? He had recognized the magic in me, and he had answered Gaelan's question. He should have known why. Subject closed. Why think it was being used on a larger scale in reverse? I didn't really know. I'd have to talk to him again.

It was very interesting to look back now, knowing that Auslan had fought so hard because of that magic he sensed. He'd said his own would only "make it worse" for both of us...

...and I hadn't even realized that he was magical. I hadn't sensed it, and that detail had not been something well known amongst the Nobles. Beautiful, yes, and guaranteed to be fertile, yes. But...fertility magic? I suppose only if that was what they had always meant by "Blessed Grandson of Lolth." Was it very different from the divine magic, or a relative of it? Again, something else to make sense only once it was known, but the Priesthood and the Consorts had been very subtle about it with the public. Or again, maybe I was just too focused on myself to notice.

I had another thought on the darker side then, one I would never have considered before that the pretty, coveted prizes could even be involved. But say that an "adept" Consort could, if given the order, remove the fertility from a given House. The Consort would not be blamed for the lack of children because he was "blessed" by Lolth, everyone knew it. The Noble female would be the one who lacked Lolth's blessing. Such a waste. Such a shame. Such a curse.

And it would be true. I'd heard, only once in a long while, a Consort would stay a decade or more with a family and there would be no children from it. It was usually the first sign of a House's final downfall. Lolth's will, of course, to grant no children.

By Lolth's tits...

Again, underestimating all the males I'd ever known. Those elder, female Drow with power and pulling more strings already knew which males needed to be in their control. They already knew how to best use those males to their advantage.

Those Drow certainly weren't those among ruling the Houses, much as they wished it so.

The "lesser sex," indeed! Every female who bought into that possessed a major vulnerability... which in a way it was exciting to me now. I could still watch from behind the scenes, smiling as powerful females made the same errors over and over.

Had I remained fertile through my young life, had Juarinia not scarred me the way she had, I may have been the same. I would never have learned to appreciate the pleasure and deviant variety far beyond any desire for reproduction. That had been one of the qualities that had caught the Sisterhood's attention.

I compared that to my own birth mother. The Matron of House Thalluen, as far as I knew and I had looked into it, had not publicized the sire of her yet unborn child. It had been private, whomever she had chosen. I had to wonder if that was showing more wisdom on her part...had she become skeptical of accepting consorts recommended, traded, or chosen for her, or asking the Priestesses to be considered for a Bred Consort?

My late sisters and I hadn't shared the same sire, and none of our blood mother's consorts had stayed around for long. I knew my sire had come from a slightly higher House, Eleventh at the time, and had been a grandson of a Bred Consort—likely where I'd received the blue eyes, if not from somewhere deeper in my former Matron's line. At the time, she had been trying to form an alliance which ultimately fell through.

But she had me. After that, she had withdrawn from the fiercest competitions, working more defense and protection of what she already had. I never knew why and until now had never been curious. I'd always blamed for her being too cautious and weak, not enough offense.

I wondered now about what she knew and her motives, however...exactly when I wasn't supposed to care anymore.

The wizard shifted and drew in a deeper breath, his eyelids fluttering at last and I turned my head. Grinning, I waited until his eyes had opened completely before I leaned down and planted my mouth on his.

"Mmfgh!" he exclaimed as his body jolted hard and he tore his lips away, rolling off the bed. He had expected me to lunge for him, and when I didn't, he had too much momentum going to catch himself. He landed on the floor with a thump.

Oh, I hadn't had a good, hard laugh in quite a while! I enjoyed it so that my sides were starting to hurt.

"Sirana..." he growled, looking around the room and seeing only the two of us. "What in Lolth's name are you doing here?"

"Seeing how long I could watch you and not trip that 'touch ward,' Shyntre," I chortled. "Ample time to blow a poisonous dust over your face. I see what you mean about wards not being your specialty. You might want to work on the sensitivity of that spell."

He muttered something unintelligible which still communicated his bad mood.

"If I may say, you look well rested, sleeping beauty," I said.

The wizard shot me a scowl. "And what may I do for you this grand eve, oh vigilant one clearly lacking her Priestess?"

I ignored the bait and tapped my cheek thoughtfully. "Hm. Strip down nude for me?"

"Ha. Funny. No."

"Smear your endowment with glaze and let me suck it off?"

He wrinkled his nose slightly. "No!"

"I promise you'll get a taste after we're done. Please?"

He gave me the oddest look for a second before he got it. "Wha—NO!"

I sighed melodramatically, getting to my feet. "Ah well. Another time, then."

The mage rubbed his face hard and mutter again. "Lolth damn all Red Sisters..."

"I heard that."

"Good, I'm gla—wait! Oof!"

I loved a straight-up tackle sometimes. I grinned down from atop him as we lay on the floor, before I leaned to bite him on the neck. He struggled mightily but had never really learned any martial tricks to get out of a physical hold. I sucked on his skin hard, intending to leave a marking bruise there.

"Stop!" he cried. "Sirana...Kerse will see...!"

*They're back?* I lifted my mouth off and glanced at the still-closed door.

That had worked really well as a distraction. Bravo.

The wizard had time to flatten his palms against me and I felt a strong shock of energy burst out. Another of those damned short evocations.

"Owww!" I groaned, my right shoulder going numb as my heart seemed to tremble and skip in my chest, and I reached with my left hand to snatch hold of a nerve point in his side, pressing on it mercilessly.

"AUGH!" he blurted, his body jolting again as when I'd kissed him. "S-stop!"

"A-apologize first."

"You m-marked me first!"

I chuckled, shifting to another nerve point, pressing hard and growling, "You really think you're going to win this one, wizard? You won't get another chance to focus on an incantation."

He groaned as I caused as much pain as possible without breaking anything in his body. He said through gritted teeth, "O-okay, get off...just don't—I apologize for th-the shock!"

I got off him then, only now recalling this was exactly how Wilsira had walked in on us the last time... Rausery would be whipping me now for having such poor self-control. I rubbed at my shoulder, finally starting to regain some of the feeling in it.

Maybe this wasn't such a great thing. The wizard I'd once hated so much...was growing to be nigh irresistible. He even smelled good now. Not as good as Auslan, but still...

Shyntre rolled and got unsteadily to his feet. A bit of sweat showed on his forehead as he caught his breath, likely from the stress of the pain. He looked a bit unsteady as he looked at me. "That spell normally paralyzes for a brief time."

I cocked a brow and smirked. "Well, it did hurt, if that's any consolation, mage. Just not enough. You must have fucked it up somehow."

He shook his head, and I caught something glimmering at his chest.

"You're not..." He paused as I kept staring. "What? What are you looking at?"

I was looking at his pendant which had tumbled out of his robes in our scuffle, now hanging and visible. It was glowing, a soft iridescent blue. Shyntre looked down and saw it as well, and he gasped softly. It was a surprise to him, too, apparently.

The wizard clutched the gem tightly in his hand and backed up a step in case I was about to lunge for it again.

"Is that normal?" I asked instead.

He narrowed crimson eyes at me. "No...it was inert when given to me."

"You've been fretting over a blue stone that normally has no function except to look pretty?"

He shrugged and snorted. "You all do the same over the Consorts."

I chuckled. That was especially funny because only a short time ago, I would have agreed with him about Auslan's only function being to look pretty.

"What did you do to it?" he asked, accusing.

I shrugged, considering whether that information was worth trading. "Nothing intentional, but I have a guess. How about that earlier guess you wanted to trade me?"

"Deal," he said immediately without haggling. "My *guess* is that Wilsira wanted to see the third daughter of House Peniel. I overheard the Maton say the girl has had 'another vision' from Lolth, and this apparently interests the Priestess even though it could just be bunk. There is a regular selection of such claims."

I nodded. "When did you overhear that?"

"While you were fucking the Draegloth, most likely."

I grinned. "Very well. My *guess* is that your gem was changed when a psionic fist struck it during a battle. It saved my heart from some of the ravages of the power, I'd wager, although it left a nasty bruise."

Shyntre stared at me for long moments. "Psionic fist? ...Illithids or...?"

"Duergar, actually."

He seemed to relax a tiny bit at that, but he still hooked his thumb on the leather thong to pull up the sapphire and peer at it closely. It had reverted back to its usual appearance while we'd been talking. "So why would it glow now only to stop?"

"I have no idea, wizard."

Again I could see his mind chewing at this change in events. He was fascinated and afraid at the same time. "The gem had been pressed between us when my spell went off...I recall feeling something different, but not...." He shook his head thoughtfully.

"Not pain?" I filled in.

He shook his head.

"It blunted the spell, perhaps?" I suggested.

His mouth twisted in irritation but he shrugged. "I don't know. Psionic energy is different from arcane energy. I don't see why one would affect the other just being present."

"So you have an unknown valuable, now. You should thank me."

"No, I shouldn't," he said bitterly. "A Red Sister will be visiting me at some point, after you've made your reports, and I will lose the gem again. They won't let me keep it now that it is changed and *you* know I have it."

"Fair points," I conceded. Embarrassingly, he was ahead of me. Not only was it impossible to leave the gem out of my reports because D'Shea had known I'd taken it with me, despite her strong suggestion to leave it with her, but if I came back without it then she'd know Shyntre had gotten it back anyway.

The mage pursed his lips until nearly all the blood left them, and I was mildly impressed that the next thing out of his mouth wasn't an attempt to bargain me to change my future report.

"Here, take it back now."

He removed it from around his neck and tossed to back to me. I caught it more out of reflex as, until he'd actually done it, I thought he would hesitate or change his mind. He didn't.

"It's better this way," he murmured, even though there was a clear regret there.

I looked at the pendant in my palm. A sapphire cradled by a moon. "Better, why?"

Shyntre gave me an ugly look. "You see the reactions of others when one of your kind shows up to seize something from them; a possession, a confession, a life...and you ask why?"

I certainly remembered Kaltra's reaction most clearly. I shrugged. "Of course. My apology, mage. In actuality, this was not my intention."

He blinked in surprise at my words. Slowly I put the gem back around my neck and tucked it beneath my armor.

I didn't really want it back myself...it was useless to me in that I still didn't know what it meant to him, and the chances he would ever tell me now were...well, only improved by the very interrogation methods he was trying to avoid in giving it back to me. Knowing what I knew now from Auslan about him...I didn't see the benefit in betraying his gesture now at the expense of what more I might learn from him later.

It was now a gem I had no use for but could potentially be coveted by others for reasons beyond its beauty. Sort of like those rare Consorts born every so often who possessed visions from Lolth: the gem could end up more trouble for me than it was worth.

I wanted to give it back to Shyntre...but I would have to lie to D'Shea to make it viable to do so.

I didn't like the choice. I'd keep it...for now, but I knew it had an expiration date.

"Shall we go find the Priestess?" I suggested.

From Shyntre's expression, this trip could not be over soon enough for him, but he nodded nonetheless. "Yes."

****

It did not take long before the wizard and I split up in our search; we each had our methods to call the other if needed, and having space between us was helping us both to focus.

I'd swept most of the House and was outside in the gardens when I had begun to wonder if the Priestess and her son were even still on the estate. Then my instincts told me I was about to enter a tense space, and my senses followed that gut response immediately. I paused, cautious in my approach to this part of the garden.

I heard unintelligible but harsh whispers before I spied two forms facing off in a well-concealed bit of foliage. I took my time sliding forward, my silence my priority.

My eyes widened when I saw it was Auslan and Shyntre. The Consort stood straight with arms crossed and appeared the calmer of the two—no surprise, really—while the wizard had his hands fisted at his side, his stance hunched slightly as if he might physically attack the Consort.

The mage had his back to me in a three-quarter turn so I couldn't read his lips, and Auslan...again, not surprisingly...knew how to whisper while making it very difficult to read his. I could only read their body language and Auslan's expression—if he had one. Right now, he looked proud and curious, unintimidated in the face of whatever the wizard was hissing with teeth bared. The Consort replied serenely.

"Again n-...-r business...!" Shyntre hissed a bit louder in his anger.

It seemed his given response to everyone. None of their business.

Auslan still kept his lips stretched tighter with minimal movement as he replied, although now he looked more annoyed while trying his next tactic. Whatever it was, Shyntre flexed his hands as if he wanted to lose a spell on the other male but knew he couldn't.

"How...you know..." Some demand, and he was very irritated.

Auslan shrugged and looked smug in his reply. *I'm trained to notice....* I thought I read on his lips.

My gut instinct wove a fairly mundane exchange into a thought of whether Auslan was trying to find out more about me, or maybe just more about a Red Sister's presence (an understandable curiosity), or maybe even the wizard's connection with me. I myself had just had a similar exchange with the Consort and, after looking around me again, it was not an impossibility that Auslan had seen Shyntre out here from one of the windows and came down to intercept him.

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