tagSci-Fi & FantasyChronicles of the Black Swords Ch. 04

Chronicles of the Black Swords Ch. 04


Chapter 04

Stolen Souls

"I hesitate to put ink to parchment with this tale. Like no other of the Hell swords are the stories of this unholy thing. It should have been lost forever and never found. Though in truth that can and should be said of all of them.

But this one? Not a single mention of it is given where thousands do not perish. The blood cost of this one blade may surpass all the others... save one.

That one I will not write of since it involves my own family.

If not for the love I bear my king, and how well known to the world the central character in this tale is, I would burn every reference I have and destroy this record unfinished. No mention I think should ever be given...of Shandrell, the Seducer of Souls."

Albreth Ravenclaw, King's Chronicler

The swamp mud clings to my boots threatening to pull them from my feet with every step. Yet for all of that I do not stop running through the muck. I can still hear the hounds baying behind me. They have chased me for half the day.

All for a deer.

I know that poaching on the Lord's land is a crime, but his actions make it necessary. He has had his huntsmen in the wood making noise,driving all the game in the nearby land towards his estates. If I didn't poach I wouldn't eat. I wouldn't have the furs I sell for the coins I need. The coins for the ale I drink and for the comforting use of the tavern keepers daughter. At the time I was hunting it had seemed worth the risk.

Now? Not so much.

A hidden root sends me into the muck for the hundredth time in the last few hours. My clothes hang wet, like dead skin upon me, as I try to rise. Spitting mud from my mouth, I pull my hand up wrapped around a stick. Whipping mud from my eyes on my sleeve I see differently.

The old bone falls from my hand and sinks back into its watery grave while I retch. It was a leg bone and decidedly human.

It's the hounds, those relentless hounds that drive me to my feet. Stumbling I make it all of maybe thirty feet then I'm soaked again. In the warm stinking ooze my hand finds a piece of metal.

"Eye holes?" I say spitting muck from my mouth. Sitting up I pull the old helm from the water. For only seconds do I hold it before the skull inside drops out! Black eyeless holes look up at me, accusingly, for a few seconds then the water slurps the skull back into the muddy depths. I get to my feet shaking and stumble off into the swamp.

Deeper, ever deeper into this marsh I'm driven. The hounds drive me with their howls. Hour, after hour, after hour I stumble through the wet. The grasses clinging to me, the slime coating me. My nose filled with the rotting smell of the mud that I now know comes from the bodies of what must be thousands. More and more often now my hands find rotten bits of leather, rusted things that could have once been weapons,....and bones. Stained, cracked shards of men long dead. They move under my hands when I fall, but I no longer pull them above the water.

I've heard the rumors of this place my whole life. Some say a great battle was fought here long ago It's said that in the very heart of the marsh the survivors planted a tall black cross. Some say the body of the enemy lord was hung from it.

Black Cross Mire is its named. Drunken rumors spread over too much ale. That's what I always held them to be.

Now? Not so much.

Those same rumors have it the place is haunted.

Never believed those either. As I pull my foot up out the sucking mud for the thousandth time I think I would rather be chased by ghost than by these damn hounds. A ghost would likely be less persistent than the lord and these retched hounds.


I slowly come to a halt standing knee deep in the water. I look down at the dark green sludge then back the way I have come. How are hounds tracking me? I've been wading through water for hours now. I can smell like nothing else but this swamp. Not even the nose of the best hound could track me by scent. The sick smell of this rotten, flesh ridden mud is far too strong!

Looking back, I can see a long way through the twisted blackened trees that sit, like hunched nightmares, above the water. I can see almost for a mile! The hounds bay with a fury sounding all the closer for my pause. The tone changes ...they have the target in sight!


Turning to the west I see to my horror how much time has passed. The sun sits near the water! I have but a short time till I lose the light.

The hounds bay even closer than before!


The sound of them grows in both volume and fury! My heart enters my throat and I swallow as it flows around me in waves of growling and snarling. Then their baying is an echo coming back to me from behind me. Then, as I stand shivering from the growing cold, there is a sudden quiet that is far more frightening than anything that came before it.

As the shadows lengthen, I turn and stumbling with exhaustion make my way to a small cluster of twisted trees. My hands touch the wood just as the last light dies around me. Climbing out of the water, I cling to the warped and soggy wood. The swamp pulling at my feet almost like it's reluctant to give me up. The branches give me no solid purchase so a many a time I slip back into the waters. Waters that now seem, if anything, warmer. I shiver from the cold night air as a faint breeze blows up. I watch the moon lift it's from the edge of the swamp and drift upwards. It's huge face giving a pale white light to the lands around me.

A sick color shimmer on the top of the water under this light. I follow it to where it starts and gasp when I see the rise. A place out of the water!

Should I go there?

The nub of a broken branch trying to work it's way up my ass decides the issue for me. I try to move and the wet wood slips under my hand dropping me a half dozen feet back into the swamp. The water is warmer than the night air. I rake mud from my face and start for the rise. At first when I see them poking up I think I'm see scraggly trees on the rise. Trees draped with moss. It hangs in tatters from the straight branches. But then...as I close the distance I see they are in fact banners! What they once displayed is long since lost to time and weather but tatters of cloth hangs from them dancing wisp like in the night breeze. The wind increases as I step onto the pile of stones. The banners move back and I see it. A large black cross standing in the center of the rise!

Nay not a rise...a cairn!

The trees with their hard branches suddenly seem a much better place to spend the night.

Turning around, I see the moonlight fade. Looking up I see the moon pass behind a rolling cluster of clouds. They cross its face in long streamers almost like.... my eyes go to the shredded banners hanging behind me. I turn away and start for the trees more by guessing than by sight.

"Who's there?"

I turn sharp at the sound of a woman's voice. I see her when the clouds break away from in front of the moon for a few brief seconds. She's huddled near the cross clutching at what may be the largest rock. She's watching me her eyes glowing almost in the moonlight. Her clothes, look to be in the same state as my own.

"Who are you?" she asks in a voice that quavers with fear.

"Just a man, lost. I'm Simon...called the Wanderer by many. The Poacher by others. I mean the no harm, good lady. I am, just as lost out here as yourself."

I see her nod.

"Yes, I am lost. Though it would seem that now I am found. I'm Shandrell. Called many things but few of them are pleasant. Even poacher would be better than what some call me."

Moving forward the moon breaks just as I near the cairn again. In it's pale light I can see her face. Under the caked on mud there is dried blood...and maybe other things as well. I can see her arm hangs limp at her side with a twist near the elbow that shouldn't be there.

"Did you hurt yourself here in the swamp?" I ask, concern driving the fear I felt earlier away.

She looks to her arm, then shakes her head.

"No, not here. This wasn't done here."

When I move forwards a bit too fast she quickly stand and backs away. I see then that her clothes are worse than my own. They are shreds.

And under those shreds she is covered in round bruises.

"I've seen wounds like those before. On a body. The man was stones to death for Adultery. Did someone try to kill you like that, my lady?" I ask my hands held wide and opened.

She gives a nod after a few second, then stumbles. Her hand catches the black cross as she falls. I see then it's true size.

There is no way that a man was hung from it. It's top it barely six feet off the ground!

She sinks to the stones and starts to cry.

"I give up. Do to me what you will, sir. Just, I pray you, end my life when you are done so that I may suffer no more."

My heart turns to lead at her words. I feel again the hunted feeling that drove me here. I know what it must have been like for her. To be lost in this swamp, driven here by people that wished her dead.

"I will not harm you. In fact I will do anything I can to keep you safe. I pledge you this."

She does not respond . She lays curled up on the ground crying and shivering from the now terrible cold that sends chill through the sodden cloth on my back.

I move over to her and lay myself down next to her. I gently snuggle up next to her and hold her to me.

"It's alright my lady. I'm here now, you're safe."

She turns then. Turns in my arms and buries her face into my chest, crying.

The moon rises higher into the sky as I hold her, hearing tears fade to a steady breath that I soon take to mean she has fallen asleep. Sleep tugs at myself then too. She is so very warm against my chest . As I drift off I notice without caring that the moon is casting a shadow of that the black cross across us both.

I awaken slowly, the bed under me too soft. The pillow too firm. I breath in the scented air taking in deep the smell of lavender, sandal wood and roses. The scented smoke nearby rises in gentle spirals as I open my eyes. Turning my head, I look out the billowy curtains of silk at the tall towers that surround this place. Their tops of polished gold shine in the morning sun.

Sitting up, I look around me then. I blink away the crusty feeling from my eyes and lick my sleep gummed lips.

I see her then.

Shandrell. She rises from a circular pool covered in rose petals. The water running slowly down her naked body. In places the petals cling to her skin hiding a bit here or there, but other than flower petals she is so gloriously bare. I feel myself begin to harden even as I go to stand.

"Where are you going my lover? Surely just a few hours sleep in my arms is not enough for you." Her hand brushed petals from off her breast uncovering a dark red almost black nipple. "Stay, I have a... need... for you. A need you would not wish left... unsatisfied."

Under the pressure of her hand, I fall back onto the bed. It's now just firm enough. The sheets feel cool under my bare skin.

I notice then what I didn't before that I am also naked. I'm about to ask when her mouth is driven into my. I'm pushed to the bed with a strength no woman her size should have. She holds me pinned as she kisses me. Her hands then dig into my wrists as she nibbles her way up from my mouth to my neck. Her teeth are leaving little marks of blood I am sure as she give my skin little bites.

Then her mouth is going lower. Her hands leave my wrists and travel down my arms to my chest as she kisses ever lower.

The little biting nibbles continue all the way to the sparse growth of hair just under my navel.

Looking down I see her eyes looking up at me. A tongue impossible long begins to slowly lick around the dimple of my navel. Then I shiver when it plunged into it.

She looks up and grins.

"Do you like such pleasures? They can be your forever...you simply have to make me yours. Come."

I watch the naked curves of her as she walks from the side of the bed. Rolling off the bed, I follow her. At first very concerned that I am naked but I soon stop caring given that we seem to be alone. As I watch she walks to a pair of tall marble columns that stand supporting a ceiling of glass. Her hands lift and set a pair of silver manacles to swinging on their chains.

Then I see the small table set behind one of the columns. Upon it lays a multi-strand whip of knotted leather.

She turns and stands between the columns

"This is your test my lord and lover. I give myself not to just any that come to me but to those that can be truly the Master of me. I allow no other hands to touch me. Can you be that, can you be a Master to me? I am not weak. It is no light hand that will tame me," she glances up towards the chains. "There is a second option though. I can be the Master if you wish. Some have, over the long years. I leave it to you... my lover for the night... my slave till you die... or my Master forever. Chose."

Panting, I look at her. My eyes go to the whip. I've felt such before, my flesh revolts at the very idea of feeling it again.

I look then at her. That body so very pleasing to the eye, it promises pleasure the like of which I have never felt.

But for one night...?

Greed turns my eyes back to the chains and the whip. My breath becomes faster as I picture what she asks. Could I? Could I hold the whip and apply it to such a delicate bit of flesh? I have certainly no wish to. Oh to hold her tight and use her with a bit of force might be fun. Done in play.

But to whip her.

"How many lashes?" I ask looking back to her face.

"Till I submit. It will not be a few."

I swallow a bit of bile at the very idea. I move forwards then to take her into my arms to hold her flesh to mine. To have her for the one night then to have her in memory only for the rest of my life.

Then she kisses me.

My hands take up her body, so very soft and yet there is a firmness to flesh that promises endurance in the bed. I struggle to hold onto her as she kisses me with a such passion I can hardly keep her in hand.

Then she parts us.

"Will you taste but one night of my lips, lover? That seems a pity."

Greed wins out.

I catch her hand in a strong grip and lift it towards the hanging chains. Suddenly It taking all the strength I have to force her arm to lift. She has strength, she has power...incredibly perhaps even more than myself!

The manacle clicks home with a sound that is horrifyingly permanent.

Her free hand claws at me then, racking down my side drawing four deep rivers of blood from my skin. I catch it with a snarls o f pain. Suddenly the idea is not so repugnant. I fight that hand up over her head and to the chain.

With a click it is done.

I step back, fingers going to the scratches and just watch her.

She looks up at the manacle with a cool air.

"So choice is made. Now you must prove yourself my Master...or less than a slave will you be." There is a cold fire to her eyes when she looks down at me. Suddenly fear chills me to the very marrow bone.

"What do you mean?'

She smiles and I feel cold shivers run up my spine at the look in her eyes.

"You don't truly wish to know...beside you're the Master are you not?'

Swallowing, I nod. When I walk around her my eyes take in that beautiful length of unmarred skin from the nape of her neck to the under curve of her ass. That sweet valley parting them. I lift the whip between myself and her. The idea of damaging something this beautiful with this thing is sickening.

At the same time though I feel a powerful lust for her. It's been rising in me from the moment I woke. Nay before that. In the swamp when she was so ragged, hurt... helpless.

My eyes go back to her ass even as I feel my cock rise. A deep throb of need is making it twitch out from my belly.

"Well?" she says after a moment of my standing there just looking. It's the sound of contempt that seems to be growing in her voice that decides my action.

The whip falls to the floor from nerveless fingers as I grab her hips in both hands. The little lift brings a surprised sound from her. Then a screech rips it's way from her throat as I part her ass cheeks with my cock and drive my bare cock it into her ass as deep as I can!

"By the Maker's Hand!" she yells towards the ceiling as I thrust into her again. I let her weigh slip from my hands impaling her on the length of me then. My hands slide up her body to her breasts to cup them firmly. Only for a second do I support them just long enough to give them a squeeze. Then I take her by her nipples and give them both a terrible twisting.

My breath is a hot pant near her neck, as I pull her too me closer and thrust into the incredibly tight heat that encompasses my cock.

"You are mine. Not because I can break you with a whip but because I desire you," I say by her ear in a hot pant. I thrust into her as hard as I can driving from her lips a horribly pain filled cry. "Yes?"

When she doesn't answer I again apply pressure to her nipples.

"Yes?" I ask even as I thrust again.

"Yes...oh yes. Ah! Yes my...lord...my Master."

My hand slips from one of her breast to her throat and I apply pressure to her delicate neck.

"Mine, not for a night but forever?" I ask gripping her tighter and driving every inch of me into her.


My hand leaves her throat and come round to catch at her hair. I wrench her head to the side and place a hard kiss into the straining skin. I can feel her pulse under my tongue as I taste her just under her chin.

"If you're mine then you should know something." With a suddenness that brings a cry from her I pull myself from inside her ass and spin her around.

Her eyes are large her cheeks tear streaked.

"I don't damage things that I own, Shandrell."

Dropping to my knees in front of her I bury my face into her sex. The heady scent of it overwhelms my nose as my lips part thick hair. I catch her under her thighs and lift her holding her legs wide as I let my tongue plunge into her.

Dark and smoky the flavor of her comes into my mouth.

"Oh, Yes!"

I smile into her sex as I hear her scream. I work her hard, my tongue finding the nub and then flogging it. Cry, after cry leaves her as I devour everything under my mouth. I hear her pulling at the chains that shackle her hands. The metal links clicking and clattering with every thrash.

A different scream leaves her then. A deeper sound, more guttural. I feel her whole body trembling as I suck hard on the nub, then scrape it with my teeth. Again she screams that almost pain filled moan.

Letting one thigh rest on my shoulder I drop my hand to the floor and fish around till I find the discarded whips handle. Standing up I lift her by her thighs. When I look up her eyes are on my face, wide with lust. I smile as they widen when my cock parts her lips.

"Yes!" Her head drops back as I run the full length of me into her. I clutch her tightly then move back pulling her out on the chins.

Her eyes pop open and come to my face. I look at her breast rising and falling with her panted breath.

"I don't damage things I own...unless they ask for it."

Her legs tighten around me, catching some of her weight as I bring one arm out from under it. The whip's appearance seems to be a shock to her.

When the strands lash across her breast though I smile at the sound she makes.

Gone now are any thought of pity or remorse at hurting her. They have faded under the overpowering lust that's tearing it's way through my body. Sexual need like I have never felt in this life I feel it now. Burning, ripping, shredding it's way down every nerve I feel it. Like a red flame I feel it now. The need. The need to make her moan and then beg and then scream. It's overpowering and terrifying. Terrifying that I have not the means to slake it with more than my cock and this whip.

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