tagSci-Fi & FantasyEsa's Story Ch. 03

Esa's Story Ch. 03

bySinisterinfant©

The view from the base of the mountain was spectacular. The top of the mountain seemed to glow red, competing with the dying oranges of the falling sun. The rocky body of the peak appeared almost purple here on the shadow side. No trees or shrubs grew along the incline to the top, but around the mountain a great forest outlined the land. A deep clear running river snaked around the east, terminating into a dark cave. The locals called it "Daralon's Asshole" because it belched sulfur and steam at regular intervals. Aaron had traveled many days to be here, and now that he'd arrived he felt a little cheated. He had lived with Xia, the witch of the barrow, for months. He knew what magic felt like, and this place, though a wonder of nature, held nothing of Xia's promise of destiny.

He stood at the entrance to the cave listening to the gurgle of the flowing river and trying not to smell the things coming from deeper within. He was cloaked in his shadow garb. The black outfit, a gift from Xia, could mold itself to the darkness of night, and obscure his form in the shadows of dusk or dawn. Now it served only to keep him warm in the chilly evening of the mountain air.

"She wouldn't have sent me here for nothing, and I doubt there are many other mountains this close to the sea. Courage lad. Destiny awaits."

Aaron walked into the darkness of the cave. He walked until the light failed him. With no light to see he slipped into the chilled and dwindling river. The flowing water was his only guide to the contours of the black and stinking cave. As the width and depth of the river suddenly decreased he saw a glimmer of light that soon resolved itself into a circle of light at the end of the river. There the water circled and spun into a slight whirlpool. The light at the bottom of the whirlpool illuminated the cave and he saw that the cave ended here and the stinking gas came from the back walls. There the cave bled yellow and black smoke which trailed along the top of the cave in a reverse flow to the river.

Seeing no other course but forward, Aaron dove into the swirling waters. In an instant of blinding light he was suddenly vomited out into a huge cavern. He had been ejected from a waterfall, which fell from a great height, into a boiling pool in a corner of the cavern. From this height the whole of the cavern was laid out before him. To the right were boiling pits of sulfur and fire that sent plumes of gas, which swirled in many colors, into the ceiling. There it collected, until some unseen source set them ablaze and illuminated the whole cavern as clearly as daylight. If daylight pulsed like a great heartbeat, that is.

The cavern's left was a collection of lava pools each with a little hut adjoining the pool. The huts looked disturbingly like Xia's, yet they were constructed of shale and limestone instead of wood and straw. He saw no one moving but he felt they were inhabited. He wondered if all of them held bounty as great as Xia's hut. The thought made his mouth water.

Directly opposite him was what could only be described as a fortress grown from the living stone. The many towers, walls and spires were all made of volcanic glass that gleamed in the pulsing light of the explosive cavern lights. The castle seemed to be all of one piece with the windows and doors like acid etched holes in the black glass. It spoke of power and time. It was the epitome of the lord of these fiery lands. The world of Daralon Onyx, Lord of the Deep Lands, King of Earth and Fire lay out before Aaron the Rogue and took his breath away. Or perhaps it was the thousand foot fall he was in the midst of that accounted for his lack of respiration?

He hit the water below with a deafening crash and fell into unconsciousness as the boiling water washed over him. He thought this must be the stupidest way to die after coming so far. His last thoughts were of Xia, and how disappointed she must be. A tear escaped his eye even as the boiling liquid stole it away. Oblivion stole away Aaron's mind.

He awoke in a warm bed of brown furs and feather pillows. His skin was prickly tight on his bones. He brought a hand to his face and felt dry skin and damp hair. He was obviously not recent from his fall into the boiling water but how much time had elapsed. The hut he was in was likely one of the shale hut's he'd seen at the height of the waterfall. The inside was well lit by sconces on the walls and only a single window, on his right, let in the pulsing light of the cavern outside. The furnishings were few but ornate. The bed he was in had four thick posts at each corner and had a large amount of silk draped between and around them. There was a wardrobe that acted as a separator between the bed and the rest of the dwelling. It was huge and made of oak, or something like it, for it was hue of red not found in any oak tree he knew of. The doors and handles were all inlaid with gold which swirled in fanciful designs and illustrations. There was a small circular table that could accommodate no more than two people. The table was furnished with a stark white table cloth and a silver candelabra that held no candles. The small kitchen at the far side was stocked with meat and supplies for five men. The bounty represented there made his mouth water and stirred him to action.

He tried to rise from his but found that his arms and legs were bound to each other. Thinking himself a prisoner he struggled against his bonds, but the motion was enough to break them apart. He saw then that his bounds were in fact bandages that had been bound around his hands and feet. His shoes had been removed and shirt sleeves and pants legs rolled up around his knees and elbows respectively. He pulled at the bandages and freed his extremities. The skin of his hands and feet were pink and soft like that of a child. It felt tender also and hot to the touch. He gingerly put his feet on the ground of the hut, and found that he could stand. He marveled at the cool planked wood of the floor. It was cut to an exacting size that precisely fit the confines of the stone hut. It was something reserved for the truly epically rich, and here it was in a stone hut at the bottom of the world.

He found his boots under the sill of the solitary window. He slid his feet into them, feeling the comfort of the well-worn apparel. He wiggled his feet around and looked out the window into the Deep Lands. Outside the window there was a little stretch of cave lined with various lichen and fungus, almost like a little garden. Just beyond that was a burning lake of molten rock. It bubbled and stewed through various shades of yellow and orange. The occasional stubborn rock floated to the surface only to eventually dissolve in the heat of that hell. As he stared into the outside looking for signs of life he almost didn't hear the slight creak of the opening door. Moving with practiced stealth and speed he slipped into the adjacent wardrobe and waited for an opportunity to escape this luxury cage.

He heard someone come into the room and move to the kitchen at the far end of the hut. There was a grunt and the sound of a heavy load being dropped to the planked floor. The grunt sounded feminine to him and was soon followed by a woman's voice.

"Hmm. Now then just a little water and we'll have everything...Oh dear. It seems I've lost my guest."

The voice was of someone very young. Her voice was musical and seemed rather lighthearted for such a burning hell as the Deep Lands. He cracked the door a little in hopes of getting a look at her. A figure passed in front of him cloaked in white linen. She leaned down and took the discarded bandages into her hands.

"It seems that my little butterfly has finally hatched from his cocoon. I wonder...?"

She pulled the white hood down and her red hair unrolled from the neck. It wasn't the red he'd seen on women in the world above. This red burned and glowed with the fire of the Deep Lands. It was fire itself wrapped up in the waist long braid of the woman before him. The light from the hair pulsed in time with the illumination from the cavern outside. She turned away from him as she began to walk back to the kitchen side of the room. She was almost skipping as she went. Aaron felt a little ashamed at his natural response to such innocence. Only a little though. The young woman began to talk to herself as she paced around the room.

"He couldn't have wandered to far....maybe much closer than one might THINK!"

With her final words the whole of the wardrobe was pushed over long ways so that it fell covering the window, but leaving the door facing out into the room. The sudden shifting motion threw Aaron from his hiding space. He wound up sprawled on the floor in a pile of women's clothing. Most of it the same white cotton with gold trim as the cloak the woman was wearing. Feeling the fool, he sat up and pulled some of the clothing from his shoulders and lap. The last piece he pulled from his head and came away with a garment he didn't recognize. It was a silvery silk material. There were holes, like for legs and yet the garment was not symmetrical in the way that pants would be, and entirely too small. Small....almost as if...

"Those are my small clothes and not for you, my little drowned rat."

A hand reached out and snatched the garment from Aaron. He looked to its owner and almost gasped. She was maybe a hand shorter than his two stride. She dressed all in white starting with the white cloak with gold designs hanging from her shoulders, and closed by a gold and silver pendant in the shape of a turtle. The cloak covered her only other piece of clothing. A green material, like the color of the sea, was cut into a tabard and embroidered with silver. The garment did little to cover her and left the sides of her body exposed if not for the cloak. The neck line of the tabard also showed a delectable amount of cleavage from two large breasts beneath. On the chest of the garment was sewn the symbol of the turtle, but this turtle also had the shape of a candle inside its shell. None of this is what took Aaron's breath away. The woman herself was the cause of his loss of respiration.

The woman had skin like he had only ever seen on Xia. Smooth like a new born child with no hair to speak of. Pale and white like new fallen snow. Aaron wanted to taste and feel at every joint and bend. On her head was the glowing red hair. It ran from her crown down to some unknown length behind her in a single braid. What brought him up short were the legs. Oh gods above and below her legs. Like living porcelain they started on the earth and ascended to hidden heights. Fit and tight, but with some slight jiggle, her body floored him.

Her feet were bare and wriggled on the wooden floor in her fury. The wriggling set the tendons and muscles of her ankles and calves to flexing causing Aaron's own body to flex. The tabard covered the blessing between her thighs but it was not wide enough to cover the expanse of her wide hips or the mirror of the silken garment that had previously anointed Aaron's head. His eyes couldn't seem to get past that beautiful line of silver on her exposed hip and he craned his head a little to see if he could catch a glimpse of rump that might be behind those thighs. Then there was a pattering sound. He glanced down to see the beautiful little foot tapping on the ground.

"Little drowned rat can't seem to meet my eyes? Up here if you please vermin?"

Aaron tore himself somehow from hip and leg to look up into the stormy eyes of the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. The mixture of blue, green and gold suspended in the solid white of her eyes dazzled him. The piercing gaze pulled the best smile he could manage in his current condition. Her face was almond shaped which gave her slight chin more point than expected. Her lips were full and red, painted by some means unknown to Aaron. Her nose was thin and with only a slight upward turn. The stormy eyes were large in their settings left and right of the nose all of which held a youthful glow in the pulsing light of her red hair.

"What are you looking at? Fresh from your sick bed and it seems you've already have thoughts of over exerting yourself."

"My lady might I ask your name?"

"Oh what's this? He speaks and has some manors about him, if meager. When I fished you from the Water's Fall you spoke little but murmurings of madness about stealing fire from the Deep Lands."

"Aye my lady, if I was silent in our first meeting it was only because I was stunned by your beauty, and I would not speak of thievery when I am the guest in the home of my savior."

She smiled at his response, and the sternness of her face slipped a little. She stopped her tapping foot. She extended her hand to him and helped him to his feet. As he stood she took a moment to look him up and down. She took one of his hands and held it up to her face. She turned it around and looked at the sensitive skin.

"My word it seems you have healed. When I pulled you from that boiling water you were all burns and blisters from foot to crown. Now it seems that you are all but healed. Just a little flush to the touch. Are you a child of Daralon Onyx? You wear his colors." She indicated the black clothing which was Xia's parting gift to him.

"Nay, my nameless lady, these were a gift from someone whom I have long been parted. I am no kin to the King of Earth and Fire. If you pulled me from the boiling water then I wonder if you yourself call him kin?"

"In a way. I am his sworn concubine. All those who dwell among these burning lakes are. Though I am...un-bedded. I have become 18 years of age two days gone. On the morrow he will come to me and I will be wedded to him body and soul."

"You seem well cared for my lady." Aaron spoke carefully, feeling that they were speaking of a sensitive issue.

She looked at him then with anger in her eyes. She whispered her response, "Yes. The prize calf in a field of cows."

"I'm sorry my lady I did not catch your words."

"My lord Onyx sees after all his...possessions with great care."

"You do seem well cultivated Lady of Mystery."

She turned back to him with none of the sadness or hopelessness from her previous statement. "You do bandy words rogue. What brings you so far from the realms of men?"

He was glad to return some humor to her, but hearing her call him rogue made him ache for Xia. A hard thing to yearn for something that could never be his again. Xia. His Barrow Witch. Her forest eyes. His rescuer tipped his head up to gaze into her stormy eyes. Who was this woman, he thought.

"Are you truly well black rogue?"

"Truly, my lady. Not all wounds are seen on the body."

"Perhaps some food will restore this wound to your spirit if my company is not enough."

"Am I to go a whole meal and not know my hostess's name?"

"Very well. I am Esmer."

"I am Aaron, your humble servant, Mistress Esmer.

She prepared a simple meal of meat and vegetables. She put two candles into the candelabra on the table. The lit instantly. Aaron and Esmer ate at the table and spoke of their lives. Aaron meant to hold back his life of thieving and his troubles with women, but her stormy eyes beguiled him and he spoke the truth without thinking. Xia was all he could hold back. He still told her of the barrow witch and the many trials she set him on. He did not speak of love, or of long nights by the fire in her arms. Looking across at her, he thought she must sense something of his heartbreak. Her eyes had become...well he would say smoky if it weren't so on the nose as it were. He realized that his story might be the first word of the world outside this cave she had heard in years. Maybe the first ever. She was beautiful and lonely. Aaron loved that in his women.

She took hold of the conversation. She spoke of being born in the world of men to a simple woman. A healer who lived in the forest, and could do miraculous things with herb and clean water. She had ministered to the surrounding villages and taught Esmer all that she had to teach, both of magic and the land. In her thirteenth year they had one and only visitor. Daralon Onyx knocked on their door like a guest come for tea.

A man in form and yet not. His skin is the crystalline black of volcanic glass. His body is hairless with a sprig of green emerald coming from his chin to make a goatee. He wore a single red tunic of velvet. His fingers were all adorned with rings and a crown of some glowing metal adorned his head. His wrists and ankles held silver bracelets. When he came to the door, Esmer had screamed until her mother came running to her side. After quieting Esmer, her mother greeted the King of Earth and Fire like an old acquaintance. She served him dinner in their little hut, and held conference with him over things great and small. When they were done her mother took him to her bed. There was nowhere for Esmer to go, so she was hustled outside to sleep under the stars. She heard her mother crying out his name, and moan for more long into the night.

In the morning, the Lord of the Deep Lands came out into the light holding his tunic. His glistening black body was awe inspiring. He was perfection carved in black glass. Even his manhood was titanic. Her body responded with desire even though she was too young to really understand what she was feeling, but it was mixed with dread. He turned his black eyes on her.

"You have bled? As a woman does."

The thirteen year old Esmer nodded truthfully to the living god.

"We leave in one hour. I will wait at the river."

Esmer ran into the hut to find her mother naked, and crying into her black furs. Esmer could see the hair on her arms and legs curling away to ash.

"Mother I don't want to go with him. I want to stay here with you, in the forest."

"Esmer. I'm so sorry. Last night I bought you five years. Five years to live in peace, though it will be in his land. I made a deal long before you were born, that I would give him my body for a piece of his power. I didn't know that our union would bear fruit, let alone a daughter who I would love so dearly. I have spent these thirteen years trying to find some way to save you, but this is all I have."

"If he is my father then, why? Why would he want to take me?"

"All his "wives" are his own progeny. It makes him stronger somehow. He fills them with his power and then takes it back after it has grown and germinated inside him. He gives with a kiss. He takes with his manhood. Remember the rules Esmer. I promise, I won't ever stop trying to save you."

Esmer went to the river and found the black King steaming there. He was dressed in his red tunic and letting the water run over him. It splashed into steam almost immediately. She walked to him. Stood in the river next to him. He bent down and kissed her. She didn't fight him. She wanted the power. She let it fill her. It burned her from the inside out, and she saw the hair on her arms burn away. She felt it burn away from under her arms and between her legs. Then she saw the hair that hung in front of her face begin to pulse with light. She felt that pulsing in her heart and felt it mirrored in the body of the King of Earth and Fire. That was the first day of the last five years.

At the end of her story Esmer had the beginning of tears in her stormy eyes. Those tears were enough for Aaron. A rogue he might be but the crimes of the Lord of the Deep Lands put even him to shame. Aaron needed to think. To find some way to hurt a god. Esmer went to the window and righted the wardrobe with one hand. Aaron took note that he needed to avoid angering his new mistress's prodigious strength. Aaron also hadn't noticed the light from the sconces slowly fading leaving them in almost total darkness, if not for the pulsing light her hair. Esmer looked outside. The pulsing light of the exploding gases from before was gone, and only a deep blackness could be seen. The light from her hair hadn't stopped, but the intensity of the glow had decreased.

Report Story

bySinisterinfant© 2 comments/ 6071 views/ 2 favorites

Share the love

Report a Bug

Next
2 Pages:12

Forgot your password?

Please wait

Change picture

Your current user avatar, all sizes:

Default size User Picture  Medium size User Picture  Small size User Picture  Tiny size User Picture

You have a new user avatar waiting for moderation.

Select new user avatar:

   Cancel