Khaira realized something was terribly wrong as she and her companions descended from the temple of Cyndicea. She watched in horror as the hobgoblins closed in around them. Clutching her club, she prepared herself for the fight that would surely come. She prayed for a miracle...just someway to survive these overwhelming odds. Muttering under her breath, she cursed the traitorous priest of Helm, who had put them in this situation. She glared at his retreating form through anger narrowed eyes. Some way, somehow, she swore he would pay for the foul deeds he had committed.
Her eyes widened with uncertainty as two score elves sprang up out of the sand. They attacked the hobgoblins with an intense ferocity. She had never seen anything like it. She stood in awe, watching as the elves laid waste to the attacking horde.
With the carnage all around her, Khaira gasped as one wild elf walked toward her. She tried to run again, but her legs betrayed her. She found she could not move, try though she might. So it was him. He'd finally caught her.
"I have found you. You shall not run away from me again, Khaira," he said with a stern expression on his handsome face.
"Karowyn," Khaira replied, thanking the fates for saving her from certain death. It was their choice of savior though that made Khaira grimace. She didn't want to be grateful towards the man she had run away from.
"I have caught you and now you will be my bride," he repeated, confidently.
Khaira looked him over warily. True, she had known nothing about him when her father had told her about the betrothal. It pleased her that he was quite attractive. She didn't want to admit to him she found him to be so attractive. She longed to be defiant and refuse him, but deep down she knew it was futile to resist.
"So I am caught," Khaira replied, with a shrug of her shoulders. "What pray tell do you have in store for me next? Torture?"
She caught the look in his eye and backed down somewhat. What was wrong with her? Chiding the very man who had just saved her life. Khaira regressed, opting for a sweeter tone of voice as she spoke her next words. "Torture aside, I would like to thank you for saving me and my companions from certain death. I feared we would die out here and no one would be the wiser. It is a shame that you and your men couldn't have been in the temple with us when we encountered three owlbears. We were ill prepared to deal with their savagery. Three of my companions perished. I almost didn't survive. I would not be alive if it weren't for my elven companion, Himo. I do believe we are in need of a temple to have our dead raised."
"It is my pleasure to save you, my lady. I have chased you a long way. You will come with me. I have waited too long to claim you as my bride," Karowyn replied.
Khaira glared at him, a flash of momentary defiance lingering in her blue eyes. "Cool off," she quipped, haughtily as she cast a create water spell which dumped eight gallons of water over his head, drenching him thoroughly.
Karowyn threw back his head and laughed at her...a haunting laughter that made Khaira bristle with indignity. She flashed him a haughty look. She nodded and circled him, taking stock in her future husband. She ran her fingers over the wet strands of his light brown hair. Then her fingers skimmed down his spine. A wicked shiver coursed through him. Khaira smiled as she realized he could feel her light touch through his wet studded leather armor. She grinned wickedly before lightly slapping his nicely shaped ass.
Karowyn spun around to face her, catching the wicked grin she wore. "Now that you have looked me over, my lady, what shall your answer be? Will you be my bride?"
"I will give you my answer soon, my lord, after I have had the chance to become acquainted with you. I do think I shouldn't have run away in the first place. I ran because I knew nothing about you and my father told me nothing about you. I realize arranged marriages are quite common and I should have faced my fate. Forgive me for my mistakes and for the trouble I have caused."
"There is nothing to forgive. We should leave soon. Already the dead hobgoblins are beginning to smell."
"Where are we going?" Khaira inquired.
"Daggerfalls is a short journey. There you will find a temple."
"Yes, I know. I have been to Daggerfalls." Khaira replied. "I have seen much in the months since I left home."
"I am aware of it, Khaira. How do you think I was able to track you down?" Karowyn replied.
Khaira stared at him, dumbfounded. How had he tracked her down?
The journey to Daggerfalls took a little less than a full day. Khaira spent her time with Karowyn, getting to know him. It surprised her just how wrong she had been about him. If only she'd known him...she wouldn't have run from him. She wouldn't have gotten into the mess she was in now, but she felt certain her marriage to Karowyn would change all of that. She felt he would surely protect her.
She was happy to see the town of Daggerfalls. Though she was a druid and loved the wilderness, she longed for a bath, a hot meal and a comfortable bed...perhaps one that Karowyn would share with her. A wicked grin crossed her face at that thought. She looked at Karowyn, her eyes taking a walk down the length of his body, a carnal hunger pangs coursed through her. It had been too long since she'd felt wanted and needed.
Karowyn glanced over at her. He had felt her eyes upon him. By the look in her brilliant blue eyes and the wicked grin she wore upon her lips, he knew what she was thinking. Desire was clearly written all over her face. She blushed and looked away, knowing he'd caught her staring. A smile crossed his face. So his headstrong bride to be had been entertaining lustful thoughts about him. As he drew in a deep breath, he swore he could smell her heady scent. It pleased him in a deep and carnal way. He couldn't have hoped for a better turn of events.
Karowyn had waited for her for many years. He had longed for her. He loved her beyond all reason. It pleased him that she was so receptive to him. It was not what he had expected. He expected her to continue to be headstrong and defiant. Karowyn soon realized he was more than eager to get her alone. He fought his desire, though. He mustn't seem too eager. He didn't want her to know how she affected him, that her very presence held more power over him than the mightiest sword. He called upon the intense training and discipline he'd learned over the years and focused upon that strength to guide him. He mustn't seem too hasty.
He had admired her courage and spunk. To see the fire in her eyes as she doused him with water...it had been so hot in the desert. He could have kissed her that very moment. Had they been alone, he would've done more. After all, she was his for the taking and it seemed that she would not mind one bit.
Khaira was struck by his smile and the look in his eye. His desire mirrored hers and it would only be a matter of time before they reached an inn. Khaira stifled a soft moan. His very presence there beside her was almost too much. It was heady and palpable. He had only to look upon her and she turned into a quivering mass of flesh just waiting to be molded and sculpted by his glorious hands.
She stopped to confer with her companions about their choice of an inn. The one they chose was moderately priced with a bathhouse. Khaira agreed to procure their rooms while Squib and Lorna took Malanere and Viet's remains to the temple of Helm. After paying for their rooms, she opted to shake the dust of Anauroch off her body. She sought the bathhouse. Several of Karowyn's men accompanied her. She raised an eyebrow at that. Were they guarding her to keep her safe or guarding her so she wouldn't run away? Khaira scoffed at them. She had no intention of running away. Not now. Not this time. She'd decided to accept her fate and marry him. Yet she pouted because Karowyn had not accompanied her himself. He should be with her. He should be the one to watch over her. He had told her he had things to take care of that concerned his men. All she knew was they were camped near the waterfall the town had been named for. But Khaira had other ideas.
The water felt good as she settled her aching body into its heated depths. She luxuriated in the feel of the water soaking into her tired muscles. Perhaps a massage was in order. Even better if Karowyn performed the task on her body. She moaned as she thought of his strong hands working her tight muscles. Heat coursed through her and settled deep inside her, enflaming her already potent need for him. She smiled, a plan forming in her head.
She stepped out of the bath and grabbed a drying cloth that had been left there for her use. Draping it over her body, she opened the door and poked her head outside. She cleared her throat.
"I am in need of someone to wash my back. Can one of you strong men help a lady?" Khaira purred as batted her eyelashes.
She saw the shocked looks on their faces as she turned and lowered the drying cloth down her back. "I can't reach this spot right here," she pouted.
A look of lust crossed one of the men's face and he stepped forward. "Aye, lady, it would be my pleasure."
Another pushed him away. "Nay, lady, I shall give you a better scrubbing than he. He is not known for his gentleness."
A third male wild elf cleared his throat. "Are you mad?" he asked, "She is Lord Karowyn's betrothed. He would punish you for even thinking of touching her. You, my lady, should think twice before asking for such favors. You do not want to incur Lord Karowyn's wrath."
Khaira bowed her head and flushed, yet on the inside was enjoying the attention immensely. She knew such outward wantonness had to be a sin, but in that moment she didn't care. "I merely wished for someone to wash my back. I had thought since you are all Lord Karowyn's men that one of you would leave your post and bring him to me. I wish for my future husband to be the one who attends my bath and sees to my needs. I did not mean to imply that one of you attend me," she blushed. "So please, can you bring him to me?"
"Yes, my lady, I will deliver the message that you request Lord Karowyn's presence at your bath." Daedlyn replied. "I must impress upon you that you remain in the bathhouse. You draw far too much attention to yourself. It would be wise to step back inside while you await Lord Karowyn."
Khaira shot him a haughty look before shutting the door in his face. Daedlyn shook his head. That one may prove to be more trouble than Lord Karowyn bargained for. Daedlyn walked through town, leaving it behind, and headed toward the camp site Karowyn had chosen near the waterfall. He could see many of his friends cavorting in the falls and the water below it. He sighted Karowyn speaking to a few of his best men.
Daedlyn approached. "Lord Karowyn," he spoke up, as he went down to one knee.
"Yes, Daedlyn, why have you left your post?"
"Your betrothed, I believe, sought to trick those of us whom you posted at the bathhouse, my lord. She came out and asked for someone to wash her back. The drying cloth she swore covered very little of her body. I interjected while Reis and Gunnar fell all over themselves to assist her. When I voiced for discretion, she changed her tune, asking for you to attend her and see to her needs." Daedlyn reported.
Karowyn nodded, "I see. Keep an eye on her for further behavior from her. You may return to your post."
"What should I tell her if she asks why you have not come to her?"
"I will attend her soon." Karowyn replied.
Daedlyn nodded and bowed before heading back in the direction he had come. Khaira awaited Karowyn's arrival impatiently. She wondered what was taking him so long. Ringing a bell, she waited for fresh warm water to be brought to her. Climbing out of the cooling bath water, Khaira draped a drying cloth over one of the benches and lay down upon it. She let out a groan and stretched before resting her head on her arms. Tiredly, she closed her eyes. Just as sleep was about to claim her, she jumped at a knock came at the door.
"Come in," she called out sleepily and remained on the bench, expecting it to be someone bringing the water.
"You should be more careful who you allow in here." Karowyn admonished as he closed the door behind him.
"I rang for more water. I thought it was them bringing it," she said as she stretched, but remained on the bench.
"I see." Karowyn nodded. "Now that you have me here, my lady, how shall I attend you?"
"Surely you were told why. I am in need of someone to wash my back. The water grew chilly while I waited for you." Khaira replied, sweetly.
"Then why pray tell did you ask my men to do this for you if you meant for me to attend you? Why not ask one of them to bring me to you directly? What mischief are you up to, my lady?"
Khaira flashed him an innocent look. "I did not want to seem too demanding of your time. I knew you were busy. I merely required someone to help me. I did not mean to imply they join me. I am not up to any mischief."
"So you are not attempting to cause dissention amongst my ranks of men."
"No!" Khaira bristled. "And I should not have to ask for someone to wash my back. You should have been here to attend me in the first place. After all, it is you seeking my hand in marriage, not the other way around. Why must you place your men as guards? I have no intention of running again."
"Khaira, I know you are headstrong and were not happy about this betrothal, but I promise you I will be a good husband to you. I had matters to see to first. I thought you would rather have your bath alone, but I see I am mistaken. I can not always be at your beck and call, but I will do my best to see to your needs."
Another knock came at the door and Karowyn answered. This time it was the water being delivered. The cool water was thrown out and the warm water poured in. Khaira climbed back in and smiled as the heat seeped in and enveloped her whole body.
"Mmmm... This is heaven. Would you like to join me, my lord? There is room for us both." Khaira offered, coyly.
Karowyn smiled, wondering if this was the kind of getting acquainted she meant when she said she would give him an answer after she got to know him.
"As much as I would like to take you up on that, I must decline. We can do that another time," he replied and noticed the look of disappointment cross her lovely features. "I will, however, wash your back. Let it not be said that I would not attend my bride to be."
Khaira pouted and handed him the sponge. She leaned forward, allowing him access to her backside. "Once I am finished bathing, would you be so kind to give me a body rub? I have procured some rubbing oils that I am quite fond of."
"Yes, Khaira, it would be my pleasure."
Once he had finished scrubbing her back, he handed her the sponge. She accepted it with one hand and took hold of his hand with the other. She lifted her face, pursed her lips, and pulled him closer to her. Though she had thought he may resist, he didn't. She nuzzled her face in the crook of his neck and inhaled his scent. Masculine and heady, Khaira let out a soft moan and began to lightly nibble on the lobe of his ear. A wicked shudder coursed through him. She had found one of his weak spots, one of the few he had. Karowyn whimpered and slowly pulled away. But Khaira proved to be relentless. She took hold and suckled, her tongue flicking to and fro across the lobe. Karowyn unleashed a carnal growl. She left out a soft giggle and pulled herself away. She planted a soft kiss on his neck, hearing another moan from him. Khaira smiled and moved away from him. She rose from the bath and grabbed her drying cloth. After drying her body, she laid upon the bench.
"I am ready for my massage, my lord. Show me how strong your hands are." Khaira purred, flashing him a come hither smile. She stretched her lithe body then felt him straddle her buttocks. He placed her hands upon her shoulders. She groaned loudly as she felt his hands kneading her tired muscles. He massaged her slowly, working the muscles until their tautness had gone. She felt it deeply. Khaira closed her eyes and relaxed her body completely. It was the first time she'd gotten to do so in longer than she could remember. She gave herself over to Karowyn's capable hands. He felt the change in her instantly. It was as if she'd become putty in his hands. He skimmed his hands down over her buttocks to her slender calves. He worked each with gentle pressure.
Karowyn glanced over her naked backside, indulging in the pleasure of committing every inch of her supple flesh to memory. He found a beauty in her that stirred his loins and pulled at his heartstrings. With a light pat on her firm round bottom, he let her know he was finished.
"Aah," Khaira sighed, "Who knew that hands who wield a sword so savagely could be so gentle? You are surely amazing, my lord." Khaira sat up, exposing her entire body to him once more.
"Sometimes tenderness balances savagery. It's like dark and light, day and night. Everything has its own opposite." Karowyn replied.
Khaira smiled, her face aglow with pleasure. "Am I your opposite?"
"No, my love, you are the other half of me that makes me whole."
Khaira melted at his words. They left her speechless. She would have never believed that words so sweet could fall from his lips. She blushed sheepishly. Her look pleased him.
"Shall we go?" he asked.
"I sent my clothing out to be laundered. I had hoped they'd be finished by the time my bath was through."
"Have you nothing else to wear?"
"Just a robe. It will do long enough for me to make my way to my room," she replied.
"My lord?" Khaira asked, as she turned her eyes onto him.
"Where do we go from here?" she asked.
"If you are hungry, I will see to a private meal for the both of us."
"No, I don't mean that, my lord." Khaira shook her head. "I meant on a personal level."
"It depends on you, my love. I have caught you and you know what I want. I want you to be my bride," he replied. "Have you acquainted yourself with me well enough to give me an answer?"
"Yes, my lord, I believe I have," she smiled. "I have been thinking about us very much. I was wrong to run away. You say you will be a good husband. I feel you have proved that by how attentive you have been to me. I look forward to sharing a lifetime with you enjoying that attention. You shall have my answer, my lord, and my answer is yes. Yes, I will become your bride. I am honored that you chose me."
"You honor me, my lady, by making the right decision. You honor me by saying you will become my bride," he replied, and drew her into his arms. Karowyn held her tenderly, running his hands over her body. Then he sought out her lips and captured them in a stunning kiss. Khaira moaned as she wrapped her arms around him and leaned back, pulling him down to lay upon the bench.
He deepened the kiss as Khaira wound her fingers into his hair. She shuddered as he skimmed his hands down her sides. Pulling her lips away from his, she sought one of his ears. She nibbled and suckled, flicking her tongue back and forth across the sensitive point. Karowyn groaned and pulled himself away when he could stand no more.
He looked at her through passion glazed eyes. "You do not make telling you we should wait very easy. I can already tell our life together will be anything but dull."
"Why must we wait?" Khaira panted. "I have said yes. We feel the same way about each other. I do not understand why you are being so hesitant."
"Khaira, surely you know why. You ran away from me. I had to chase you down and getting an answer from you has been akin to pulling teeth. I could give in to our mutual passion and desire for each other, but I fear you will run again once you have gotten what you want. Show me I can trust you, my love."