The Long Road to Ruin Ch. 15byLady_Blackhawk©
Disclaimer: This fanfic is based off the Neverwinter Nights community module by the name of "A Dance with Rogues" created by Valine. I fell in love with this story and felt compelled to write something that compliments it. This story is rated Mature (NC-17) for explicit content and graphic violence. All characters except Shiloh, Bastian, Rhys, Nicca, Narev and Essex are property of Valine.
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Time Heals All Wounds
Sleep swept Shiloh into its gentle embrace, pulling her into the world of pleasant dreams. She found Rhys there, his big hands caressing her ever so tenderly. He took her to the highest peaks of unadulterated bliss. It was in the dreams that Shiloh felt completely free and unburdened by the hell that was her reality.
As another week passed, she remained in the room in which she'd been cared for and was recuperating nicely. She saw Master Nathan on a daily basis as he came in to check on her. Chella hovered over her like a mother hen. Shiloh could see the questions that burned in Chella's eyes, the ones she longed to ask. She could never tell Chella or Master Nathan the truth. She hadn't seen Vico since the day she had awoken. He hadn't come anywhere near the Bear Pit.
It pleased her greatly when Chella brought Caron in to see her. He sat by her side and held her hand softly. Compassion filled his eyes and warmed her heart. She longed for a few moments alone with him, but it was not to be as Chella declared to Shiloh she still needed her rest and ushered Caron out of the room. She sighed heavily. She wanted to talk to Caron. Determined to heal faster, Shiloh forced herself out of the bed. Her muscles groaned and ached as she began to stretch them. She started with her legs, working the knots out of her calves. She massaged them and rubbed them before doing careful stretches to return them to their once limber state. She hadn't lost much of her agility and suppleness. She knew it wouldn't take much to get herself back in shape.
And by the time she was declared healed enough to leave the bed, she was ready to return to her lessons. It was then that Chella broke down and asked the question she had so longed to ask.
The motherly woman looked her straight in the eyes, "My sweet little Shiloh, I feared I had lost you. I am so relieved that you are well, but I have to know, dear. Did Vico do this to you?"
Shiloh gasped, her eyes growing wide. How can I look Chella in the eye and not tell her the truth? She knew she had to, though. For the sake of all of them, she had to. "I told you, Chella. I don't know who did this to me. I never saw a face."
Chella nodded at her. Something still didn't feel right, but she couldn't place what it was. "I only want to best for you. We all want to protect you, dear."
"As far as I'm concerned, Vico saved me. He's always been there to save me." A smile crossed her lips as a blush colored her cheeks. "One day I shall repay him for all he's done."
Despite the smile, Shiloh's words sounded cryptic. Chella noticed a momentary flash of coldness in her bright blue eyes and filed it away with everything else that hadn't sat right with her.
"And are you ready to face the world again?"
"Yes, I long for some fresh air. I have one lesson left to complete as well. I am looking forward to doing so. I have lain in bed long enough. Now I think I'd like to take a bath and don a fresh dress and face the day."
Chella nodded and left her to do so. Shiloh was happy to be up and about. The bath she took felt wonderful and left her feeling so relaxed. She dressed in her tight black dress with the matching boots and knew she'd have to replace the purple one that had gotten destroyed that night at the Old Wharf. Gathering what she thought she'd need in her backpack, Shiloh exited her room and walked out into the kitchen. Both Wally and Denny greeted her fondly, inquiring to her well being. She smiled, letting them know she was doing well. Only Trissa sent a nasty look her way.
Shiloh had had enough. In a fit of anger, she grabbed hold of the older girl's long brown pony tail. Trissa squeaked and struggled to break free as Shiloh dragged her into her bedroom. She slammed the door and wedged a chair under the handle so they wouldn't be disturbed. She was about to have it out with Trissa once and for all.
"Let me go, you crazy bitch!" Trissa demanded as Shiloh continued to yank on Trissa's hair.
"Not on your life, whore!" Shiloh growled, pulling her over to the tub she'd just bathed in. Shiloh hadn't drained the water. "You are going to cool off one way or another. I am sick and tired of your nasty looks and nasty lies. I have had all I can stomach of your whore ass running to Vico every time Caron speaks to me. And furthermore, Trissa, I am sick and tired of being beaten by that asshole. By the gods, it stops here and now."
Shiloh shoved Trissa's face down into the now cold dirty water, submerging her head completely. Trissa kicked and struggled to get loose, but Shiloh was relentless. She harnessed every ounce of fury she possessed and channeled it into keeping the older girl in the water.
Then she yanked her up and laughed. "What's wrong, Trissa? Can't breathe?"
Trissa coughed and sputtered out curses. "I'll kill you for this," she threatened as she renewed her struggles against Shiloh.
"You can try, but I'm pretty hard to kill," she whispered as she shoved her head back into the water. A sadistic urge tore through her. She straddled Trissa's back, forcing her full weight onto the girl and pulled the girl's skirt up around her waist and ripped her panties off. Trissa kicked and flailed, struggling to break free and lift her head out of the tub. Grabbing a stick of kindling from beside the stove, Shiloh gripped it in her hands and smiled an evil smile. She brought in down on Trissa's bare upturned bottom.
Trissa screamed and gagged as water rushed into her mouth. Shiloh hit her a second time harder than the first and yanked her up out of the water. "How does that feel, bitch?"
By this time, Trissa's screams had caught the attention of the kitchen staff who was trying to break through the door. But Shiloh didn't care. Extracting revenge was on her mind and that's all that mattered. She forced her head back into the water and hit her with the stick several more times before Trissa all but ceased her struggles.
It was then that Shiloh stopped and yanked her out. Trissa gasped frantically for air. Shiloh pulled the poisoned short sword that Alfons had given her and held it to Trissa's throat as she straddled her body. "Hear me well, bitch. It is none of your business what I do. You will not continue to inform Vico about everything I do. It is none of your concern if I talk to Caron. You will not meddle any further. Do you understand me?"
Trissa sobbed pitifully beneath Shiloh. "I swear I won't."
"Do you swear it on your life?"
"Yes, I swear it.... on... my ...life. Don't kill me, Shiloh, please. I beg you."
Shiloh sneered at her. "I've killed before and I'll kill again if you break your promise."
Standing up, she sheathed her sword and removed the chair from the door. She glared back at Trissa. "And by the way, not a word."
Chella yanked the door open and stormed in, a furious look on her face. "What is going on in here?"
Shiloh turned to Chella. "I'm sorry, Chella, but I had to teach Trissa a lesson. She's the reason Vico spanked me so many times. Every time he'd come around, she'd feed him lies about what I was doing. It's because she wants Caron all to herself. I only wanted to be friends with Caron, but he liked me more than that. After all I've been through, I couldn't take any more of her nasty looks. I'm sorry it had to be this way, but I thought turn about was fair play. I spanked her!" Tears coursed down Shiloh's cheeks.
"My little dear," Chella's eyes went soft as sympathy flooded into them. "You should have told me before this. I'll make sure it doesn't happen again."
Shiloh flashed a sweet smile before leaving the room. Satisfaction coursed through her as she exited the kitchen and stepped into the hallway. Her smile widened as she caught sight of Caron. She rushed over to him and threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly. He returned her embrace.
"Shiloh! I am so happy you are better. I was so worried about you." He pulled back and gazed down into her luminous blue eyes. Then he kissed her ever so softly. He lifted her and swirled her around, bringing a giggle to her lips.
"Caron! I have missed you, too." She smiled, "Say, I have a few errands to run. Would you mind going with me?"
"That's the best offer I've had all day. I'd love to." His eyes twinkled as he offered her his arm.
Shiloh took it and allowed him to lead her out of the Bear Pit. They walked together through the Marketplace until they reached Igor's Smithy. Caron cocked an eyebrow at her. "Hatori gave me a suit of leather armor when I completed his lesson, but I hadn't been able to get over here to have to fit so now seems like a great time to do so. Especially after I was attacked."
Caron looked at her with uncertainty in his eyes. "Did Vico do that to you?"
"No, I don't think so. I don't know who did. Vico saved me." Shiloh smiled back to Caron and opened the door into the smithy. "Just like he always does."
Caron watched her closely and nodded. A part of him did not believe her. Something in his gut told him she wasn't telling the truth. He looked away from her. Why would Shiloh protect Vico? He didn't understand, but he would find out the whole truth. Caron followed Shiloh into the smithy's shop.
He joined her, standing by her side while she waited for the smithy to finish pounding on the molten piece of steel he had on his anvil. After a few moments the blacksmith looked up and smiled. "How can I be of service to you today?"
"Are you Master Igor?" Shiloh asked him as she dug the leather armor from her pack.
"The one and only. How can I help you?"
"I have a suit of armor here that doesn't fit me. Could you alter it so I can wear it?" Shiloh smiled sweetly.
His eyes flicked over her and then Caron. "Heh. And of course you just found it on the streets by chance, and did not steal it, did you?"
Shiloh frowned at him. "I didn't steal it, no."
Igor eyed her dubiously. "Hm. If you say so."
She sighed in exasperation. "Master Hatori gave it to me."
"Hatori? Now did he?"
"Yes, he did. Hatori trained me in combat, if you have to know. Now, will you help me, or do I have to tell you the story of my life, first?"
Igor chuckled. "You are one sassy little girl, now aren't you? But I know for a fact that Hatori already has a student. Don't lie to me."
"She isn't lying. Master Nathan sent her to Hatori," Caron spoke up, helping her out. "This is Shiloh."
"Well, hello Caron. I thought that was you. I tell you what, sassy little Shiloh. I will alter this armor for free then. And I'll make it so that you look really good in it, too!"
"Thank you, Master Igor!" Shiloh beamed a bright smile at him and handed him the armor.
"Hmm, let me see." Igor looked it over and scratched his chin. He grinned at her as he looked back over at her, eyeing her shape. "It's going to be difficult to make it fit around your chest. No offense."
"I'm sure you'll do your best," Shiloh smirked. She caught Caron's guffaw and punched him playfully in the stomach. "No comments from the peanut gallery."
A small 'oomph' slipped from Caron's lips and he laughed. "Sassy girl!"
Igor chuckled at their antics before turning his attention back to the piece of armor. He studied it again, and placed it on his anvil, carefully cutting it in two. He took one piece, made Shiloh hold it to her front side and put down marks on the material indicating the areas he had to change around her shape. Working diligently for a good while, Igor cut the armor into smaller and smaller pieces, and then slowly began to put the parts together again. Once he had finished with it, he handed it to her. "All done, sassy Shiloh. I have a room back in there you may use to try it on. I hope you like it."
"Thank you, Master Igor."
She skipped off to the room and slipped out of her black dress. She wiggled into the tight leather bottoms and tied the laces tightly before she pulled on the leather bodice. She giggled as she noticed how it split down her chest, displaying her plunging cleavage. It fit her nicely. She dashed out to Caron and modeled it for him.
"How do I look?"
His eyes perused her slowly. "Absolutely beautiful," he smiled.
"Thank you!" She preened. "Come."
He laughed and followed her out the door. "Where to next?"
"Wanna spar with me? I need to get back into shape after being confined to a bed for all that time. Please, Caron."
"Sure, but where?" He asked as he followed her.
She gave him a pensive look as she considered their options. "Hmm, perhaps one of the dockhouses down at the harbor. Or maybe inside The Wildcat? Or maybe somewhere in the sewers?"
"Let's go into the sewers. I know a room we can use." Caron replied as he took hold of her hand. They headed through the streets to the same sewer grate he'd taken her down into before. But this time they went another way, walking through endless tunnels for what seemed like hours, fighting off rats and spiders until they came to a locked door. Caron picked the lock and ushered her inside. He lit a torch and placed it in a sconce. Shiloh smiled in awe as she looked around her.
"How did you find this place?" The room was full of combat dummies and weapon racks.
"Do you not know where we are?" Caron asked, smiling widely.
She shook her head. "No."
"We're in the catacombs beneath the castle. There's a concealed door over there that leads further up into the castle cellars. Last time I checked through, the main passageway had been walled up. Probably by the Dhorn. But I think this must have been left over from King Aurelius's war days."
"Why do you say that?" Shiloh asked, noting that Caron still didn't believe that she was Princess Shiloh Aurelius.
"I found some ceremonial weapons that had the royal crest on it," he replied.
"Do you still have them?" Shiloh asked. She hoped that he did. She desperately needed to see a link to her past.
"No, I don't. They sold for a nice price."
Shiloh glared at him and pulled her short sword out. "How could you? How could you sell a part of my father's legacy?" She lunged at him, striking swiftly. Her blade nicked his arm.
Caron immediately went on the defensive, pulling out his own sword to parry her attacks. "Shiloh, calm down. Why would you care about that evil bastard's legacy?"
"I told you he was my father! I told you that I am the royal princess. I told you and you didn't believe me. Damn you, Caron. Damn you. I hate you! I hate you! I never want to see you again. You can fuck that two bit slut Trissa all you want from now on! I know about your romantic little dinner on the rooftop with her that Vico set up. Did he pimp you out to her or did you go willingly?" Shiloh screamed at him and swung at him once again. This time she missed as Caron sidestepped her. He blocked her next thrust.
"You are one to talk, Shiloh. I did what I had to do to keep peace. You've been fucking everything that moves, including Vico." Caron retorted, "How dare you accuse me of something you are more than guilty of? I had dinner with her, but I did not sleep with her afterwards."
Shiloh slashed at him recklessly, missing him each time. It gave Caron the opportunity to knock the sword from her hand. She screamed out and went after him with her hands. He captured them and forced her to the ground. Holding her arms above her head, he straddled her waist. "Calm down, Shiloh," he soothed her softly. "I don't want to hurt you. You have been hurt enough."
Her chest heaved from her heavy breathing. She stopped struggling against him and began to sob. He released her arms and cradled her in his arms. "Shh, it's okay. Don't cry. I could never hurt you."
Shiloh nuzzled her head into his neck. "I'm sorry, Caron. I don't know what came over me."
"You have been through so much pain. I am sorry how what I said about your father. I didn't want to believe that's who you really were. I am sorry I never believed you," he softly whispered to her.
She nodded and embraced him. "Am I forgiven?"
"There's nothing to forgive, Shiloh. We all do what we have to do. Now are we going to spar or not?" Caron stood up and helped her to her feet.
"Of course we are."
After an intense work out session, Caron and Shiloh parted ways when they made it back to the sewer grate. It was satisfying that she could hold her ground against a stronger opponent. He'd given her no mercy and she'd asked for none. It delighted her that she had finally been able to best him in their last match. She rubbed her sore limbs. Despite the fact that they'd wrapped their blades with cloth to avoid mortal blows, the impact of steel on flesh still hurt. He should be massaging her hurts away, she thought as they went their separate ways. Caron returned to the Bear Pit while Shiloh headed towards the docks. She felt the need to see Rhys.
It had been so long since their last meeting. She hoped he hadn't forgotten his promise to her. She strolled along, humming a happy tune as she passed by The Wildcat. Rhys hadn't been at the smaller dock nor was he down near The Swordfish. She frowned and headed back to the long pier. There was no sign of him. Where could he be?
Looking around, she noticed Ashur down at the end of the pier. She started walking toward him. He would know where Rhys was. Ashur smiled as she approached. "Where ya been, little slut?"
"It's a long story. I was injured. Where is Rhys? I need to see him. It's very important," Shiloh replied softly.
Ashur cocked an eyebrow at her. "Come with me. We need to talk about that."
Shiloh nodded and followed him into the dockhouse. He led her to the rear of it out of view of the doorway. She hopped up onto a crate. "What happened to Rhys? I noticed he was missing the last time I was through here almost two weeks ago. Tell me, Ashur."
"His cover was blown and he was taken into Dhorn custody." Ashur replied, "We managed to rescue him from that foul pit they were torturing him in, but it had taken its toll on him. A ship took him home to Illeria. I highly doubt he'll live very long."
Shiloh's face paled, "No!"
He nodded at her, his eyes going cold. "It's your fault, little slut. You brought this on. If he hadn't been concerned about saving your ass and what he'd get from being the hero, he wouldn't be where he is. Do you have any idea what they did to him? Do you, little girl? They chained him in a large furnace and burnt his flesh. They smashed every bone in his hands and feet and then reset them, healing him... only to do it all over again. They cut his flesh, stripping it down to the muscle. And again they healed him and began to slice into his bowels. The screams where the most horrible screams I have ever heard in my life. He suffered for you."
Shiloh broke down in wracking sobs. It was never her intention for Rhys to get hurt. "I... I... didn't know. I was attacked and left to die. Ashur, please, you must believe me."
"Who knew about your rendezvous with him? Who, slut? Tell me!" He barked at her, bringing another sob from her lips.
"Just Vico. I don't know how he found out about Rhys. He always knows what I do," she replied.
"Just Vico, huh? Are you sure he's the only one? Think!" His growl came from somewhere deep and primal.
Shiloh wiped her cheeks, burying her face in her hands. She found it hard to focus on the question at hand as her mind was assailed with thoughts of the harsh tortures Rhys had endured. "Just Vico..." she repeated, "I don't know what you want from me!"