tagSci-Fi & FantasySarlene's Touch Ch. 36

Sarlene's Touch Ch. 36


Dolrim's axe was already in his hand, and he stepped forward, shifting into a battle stance as the red-haired woman shouted out in alarm... and then, a moment later, slumped to the floor as Almandar's spell hit her. Anyone else could be around the corner, perhaps the demon himself, or at least the more competent of his remaining slaves.

"Let's..." began Tarissa, and then her voice cut off as everything went black and the world seemed to spin around them.

"One of you cast a light spell!" grunted the dwarf when, after a few seconds, neither of the magicians had done the obvious.

There was no reply. The spinning had not disoriented him, and he had thought at first that the physically weaker magicians had been affected differently. But no, they were not here, and Dolrim was on his own. He wasn't even sure he was in the same part of the complex. For all that his eyes could adjust easily to the dim light of a dwarven cave system, nobody could see in the complete absence of light.

Unless, perhaps, they were a demon. He froze, straining his ears to catch any hint of what was around him -- although he was blind, Sashjant might not be. He could hear, somewhere in the distance, Tarissa's voice, muffled by walls of the fake stone, its texture just a little too regular to be the real substance, but otherwise similar in its properties. He took a step in the direction of the paladin's voice, but then stopped again as he heard a quiet footfall.

There was somebody else here. Someone behind him. Dolrim span about, whirring his axe through the air at what should be the waist level for a human, finding nothing but empty air.

"You deign to attack me physically? How crude!"

The voice was deep, masculine, and dripping with disdain. This was clearly the demon himself, and Dolrim was blind and alone. Yet, unable to make out any route by which he might escape, his only choice was to fight. Fortunately, Sashjant's voice had clearly given away his location, and the dwarf strode forward, swinging his axe.

The weapon hit something, eliciting no more than a grunt of surprise from his opponent. He could feel it bite into flesh, yet it did not feel right as he jerked it loose for a second swing. Something was not right here, but he did not have time to reflect on what, or even to deliver that second blow, before something slammed into his chest, pushing him backwards a few feet to crash into the wall, his armour clanging against its solid substance.

"I cannot be hurt by mere weapons, you fool!" spat the demon as Dolrim lunged in his direction again.

Something else hit him before he could reach his target, something that wrapped around him, trapping his arm and twisting a leg from under him so that he fell, helplessly to the floor. With shock he realised it was a net, and he struggled to bring the axe to bear against its strands. Yet, every time he moved, the strands of the net pulled tighter... they had to be magical, some kind of weapon he was unfamiliar with.

His left arm was tied to his side now, and his right barely free to move. As he tried to jerk the axe, hoping to cut some of the constricting threads, it pulled sharply against him, jerking his elbow into his body, reducing his leverage. As his legs kicked, the net pulled against them too; the more he exerted his strength, the more it pulled back, fighting against him with its own magical power. He was trapped, helpless.

"Time to end your life, you impertinent worm," sneered Sashjant.

A sickly greenish glow appeared in the air above the captured dwarf, a magical light surrounding a human-looking hand, yet illuminating nothing around it. It was a spell, and surely a deadly one -- if none of his companions arrived in time, Dolrim realised that he was staring death in the face.

"There are others?" hissed the voice, sounding surprised, although not as surprised as the warrior was to discover the demon could apparently read his thoughts. The glow vanished, returning everything to darkness. "Tell me about them!"

Dolrim said nothing, forcing his mind to think of stones and underground passages.

The demon snorted. "I can get around such paltry attempts to hide your knowledge. But not now. I will return for you, little dwarf, but I sense there are others I must deal with first."

Dolrim felt the net jerk around him, although his armour protected him from what he suspected would otherwise be a painful constriction. A moment later he sensed, rather than saw, a flash of red energy engulfing him, his body spasming in response... just before he slid into unconsciousness.


The first thing he realised when he began to come round was that he was sitting down on a hard surface, propped up by something pressed against his back. He tried to move his hands, and discovered they were tightly tied behind him. He was not only disarmed, which he had expected, but divested of his armour, too, making him doubly helpless.

He opened his eyes, and shook his head to clear it. He was in a room, lighted, unlike the corridor, tied securely to what felt like a table leg, his ankles also bound together. He wore only his undershirt and his knee-length pants -- they had even taken away his boots.

He glowered angrily at the person sitting in front of him. At least it wasn't Sashjant, but all of the slaves were so thoroughly under his power that he doubted he had any chance of persuading her to free him. He would have to get free himself, or else hope that the other adventurers had had more luck than he.

"I see you are with us again," said the woman, an icy tone in her voice.

She was sitting on a small bed, nothing you would call luxurious, and from what he could see around him, he was in a workshop, with carpentry tools hanging from the wall. The stone of the floor, what he could feel of it beneath his fingertips, was fake, which meant that he was still inside the magical maze. Not that he had expected otherwise.

"Who are you?"

"My name is Geska," she said, "a craftswoman in service to the great lord Sashjant. More importantly, who are you, master dwarf?" He said nothing, not wanting to give away even that much. She snorted, "just like a dwarf, always keeping secrets, even when it doesn't matter."

"What is that supposed to mean?"

"I know all about your kin, master dwarf", she said, standing up from the bed and beginning to pace. "I come from the southern lands, not far from one of the mountain homes of your people. I am a craftswoman, I could have learned much from the dwarves. They could have taught my family much, if they had wanted. But no, they all had to keep their secrets, the precious secrets of dwarven smithying."

Her southern ancestry was obvious when he looked. Humans might all be tall and soft, but it was easy enough to tell them apart. Geska's blue eyes and pale skin both marked her homeland out, for such things were rarely seen here in Haredil. She wore a long dress that almost reached her ankles, made of some pale grey fabric. He approved of the cut, with its high collar and long sleeves, a design that did its best to hide her ample bosom, more demure and respectable than seemed to be the norm among humans. A cold native climate probably encouraged that sort of sensible thinking.

By the standards of humans -- which, admittedly, was not saying much -- she was reasonably attractive. Her face was broad, her body not too willowy, and the pure blue of her eyes would have been almost fetching, had she not been glaring at him with such ill-disguised hostility.

"I am not a smith," he said, defensively, "it is not I who has kept those secrets from you." Although, from what she had said, her original home could not be far from his own birthplace, and it could well be his clansmen she was talking about. Dwarves were less numerous than humans; they had to keep their secrets as a matter of practicality, even were it not also a matter of pride, a part of their racial identity.

"Yet here you are, still keeping secrets. My master will read your mind, once he has dealt with your friends. So you might as well tell me now, to save yourself the torment. How did you get in here, where is Mei-Xing, how many of you are there?"

So Sashjant had not read enough to know how many of the adventurers there were. Since Geska was in here, that left three other women in the complex, in addition to Sashjant himself, and one of the women was unconscious. The numbers were even, and, aside from the barbarian, he doubted many of the slaves were very formidable. That gave them the advantage, and it perhaps gave the some of the adventurers the opportunity to escape detection for a while, and strike back at the demon.

It would, of course, help if he could keep Geska talking in here.

"Why should I tell you? I don't see anything in it for me." There; that was better than an outright refusal.

"You're saying you could be bribed? I doubt it, from what I know of your people. Don't think we didn't try, the people from our village. Wealth would not convince you to give up your crafting secrets, I know that much. You probably had too much of your own, with your mines and your unequal trade deals. What else could I bribe you with? I can hardly offer you power, and human things are of little value to the oh-so-skilled dwarves. You aren't interested in magic, you didn't want to trade in knowledge, and when a few women from my village got desperate enough to try offering their bodies, you made it perfectly clear that dwarves don't even talk about such things."

He flinched at the crudity of the last thing she had mentioned. Dwarves most certainly did not talk about such things, and in Dolrim's case, he had a secret shame that he really did not want to think about.

"I can see you don't even want me to talk about that," she said, sneering, "well, tell me, what do you claim to be interested in? Do you just want to live? Are you frightened?" He said nothing, unable to think of a response. "No, you would never admit that. Not a dwarven warrior. You're not frightened of anything. Well, apart from..."

She turned away from him suddenly, a slight smile of realisation on her face, and let out a barking laugh. "Apart from the one thing I mentioned that got a reaction from you," she said, partly to herself, not even looking at him. She turned back to face him, a calculating expression on her face that Dolrim was beginning to find worrying. "I may not be able to offer you much, but perhaps I can threaten you. What worries you, master dwarf?"

She knelt down on the floor, out of reach of his legs, should he have decided to kick her, although, tied up as he was, even that would have been difficult. "No answer? Well, let me tell you: intimacy. Dwarves always dress so heavily, and you, you're normally hidden in your armour. It probably embarrasses you just to be seen half-dressed as you are now."

"What are you going to do?" he asked, a note of real concern beginning to creep into his voice. He could cope with regular threats, but this was something else, something reminiscent of Raylana, a woman he really did not want to remember. At least there was no aphrodisiac this time.

"I'm going to do this," she said, reaching out a hand and sliding it under the hem of his vest.

Geska's fingers rubbed over the taut muscles of his belly, stroking him. "Don't touch me!" he barked.

"Oh, wrong thing to say," replied the human woman, "I think I've found your weakness." Her hand pushed further up, brushing against his thick chest hair, one fingertip running over a nipple.

"Stop that -- I won't tell you anything."

It was impossible to avoid thinking about Raylana now, and what they had shared. It was not en event that he had dared recall until now, and still he hated himself for it, hated what the aphrodisiac had forced him to do. Yet now, as the memories of the tall merchant's naked body came to the surface, he found himself aroused, and he had to shift his position, lifting his knees up so that Geska could not see the effect she was having on him. He had to resist.

"If you won't tell me anything, then I won't stop," she informed him, lifting his vest up with both hands, bunching it under his armpits to show off his bare chest and abdomen. She rubbed both hands over him now, caressing him, ruffling his chest hair, moving down to his muscular flanks with slow movements. Her skin was calloused, the hands of a craftsman, not those of a typical human, and he was ashamed to realise that that thought pleased him.

"It is not fit for a human to look at a dwarf's body," he informed her, "it just isn't natural."

"Then tell me what I want to know!" When he said nothing, she huffed angrily, then gripped his shirt, trying to rip it apart with her bare hands.

"No! Unhand me, you human hussy!" The fabric tore with a loud sound, shredding apart as Geska angrily pulled it, leaving nothing but shreds around his arms.

"Difficult for anyone not to look at your body now, master dwarf."

"You pervert! Don't think you can tempt me."

She actually laughed at that. "I'm not trying to tempt you. I'm trying to humiliate you, punish you for what your people did to mine -- or rather, failed to do." She snorted with derision, "I'm not interested in your stunty little cock!"

"It's as large as any human's!" he blurted out angrily, recalling something Raylana had told him, "which I think means that your people are the ones under-equipped."

Geska laughed again, "as if you could possibly know!" She leaned closer, a determined and cruel look on her face, "of course, if you don't want me to prove you a liar, you had better start talking."

Too late, he realised what he had just taunted her into doing. "No!" he said, genuine fear beginning to grip him for the first time. If she saw his current state, he could never live down the shame. "No, no..."

"Then tell me about your friends," she hissed triumphantly.

"I can't betray them... but you mustn't..." he tried to think desperately of anything to say to her, "listen... no, don't do that..."

Geska yanked hard on his trews, forcing him to slide down the table leg, his back nearly flat on the floor, his arms stretched out painfully behind him. She pulled them down around his ankles, then looked up at Dolrim's naked body, his semi-erect penis now fully exposed.

The blonde woman jumped to her feet, a hand flying to her mouth as her eyes widened in shock. "By the gods..." she said, an actual giggle escaping her lips, "you're turned on by this! You're actually turned on." She burst out laughing, slapping a thigh in merriment, "and you call me the pervert! Ha ha ha!"

"I don't see anything funny," he snapped in reply, trying to pull himself into a sitting position again, and moving his thighs back to try and hide his shame -- although it was far too late now.

""Not to you, perhaps. Although," she admitted, still smiling, "I guess you weren't lying." She took a moment to steady herself, before putting on a somewhat more serious face. "But this opens up all sorts of new possibilities."

"It does?"

"Of course. You want me, but can't have me. Even if you won't speak, I can at least torment you with that."

"But I don't want you! The room is just warm, that's all it is."

"No, it isn't. Oh, and the fact you won't admit it, even to yourself: that just makes it more fun. At least, it does for me, if not for you."

He glared at her, but she just bent down to pull off her shoes. "What... what are you doing?" he asked, worried that he already knew the answer.

"You want me, master dwarf," she said, turning around so that her back was towards him, and then looking over her shoulder to fix her blue eyes on him. "You want to take me, to feel me, but you can't do that, because you're tied up down there, and I have no intention of giving you anything. But I will show you what you're missing, and make you face up to your desire."

"I keep telling you," he growled, "I don't desire you. You're human, and I'm not. Why should I be interested in such a... such a long-legged, willowy, attenuated, flabby-muscled..." he spluttered in indignation.

"You tell me," she said as she began to undo the ties on the back of her dress, slipping her arms out of it, "because you clearly are," she nodded in the direction of his groin, presently concealed by his raised thighs.

Geska's long skirt pooled around her ankles, and she stepped out of it. As Raylana had done, she wore a shorter dress underneath, of thinner fabric, and almost sleeveless. Under that, he knew, she would be wearing indecently short panties, not the modest thigh-length ones of dwarven women. The thought brought another stirring to his loins, and he had to force himself to remember that he was not attracted to human women.

Last time, it had been the aphrodisiac in the air. That was the only reason for it. For all that Raylana had claimed it could not change desires, only weaken the resolve to ignore them, he did not believe her. It had been a trick, there was no way he would ever have done such a thing with her otherwise. He had to focus on that thought, and show Geska that she had no power over him. Even among dwarves, women were never dominant, and he knew deep down, that what she was doing was wrong.

He could resist it. He would resist it.

Geska turned round to face him again, running a hand seductively down one side, smoothing down the light fabric, stepping out of her dress. "You want this to be your hand, don't you? Come on, admit it."

He didn't dignify that with a response. Geska took another step forward, hitching up one side of her shift, showing an expanse of creamy thigh. Her legs were longer and slimmer than those of any dwarven woman, and there was little hint of muscle underneath. So why did that rounded shape, that smooth, pale skin, look so enticing?

"Like my legs? Want to kiss them? I bet your beard tickles." He turned away, staring fixedly at the wall. He had to stop thinking like this. "Well, that's the first time you've stopped looking, master dwarf," she pointed out, stepping closer, "but we can't have that."

She knelt down beside him, but he refused to acknowledge her. "Look at me," purred the blonde, "you know you want to. Look, but not touch. It must be driving you mad." He ignored her, still staring at the wall, pretending she wasn't there. There was little else he could do, at the moment, to show her how wrong she was about him.

"Oh, but I can touch," she said, placing her hands on his chest again. He still didn't look at her. "Come on, not a glance?" He shook his head, mutely, as her hands slid down his flanks, below the base of his ribs, down to his hips, thumbs rubbing the dark hair there. He squirmed as they slid further back, running down over his buttocks, cupping them, holding them, squeezing them. They moved from there to his thighs, first the outside, then the inside, moving up inch by careful inch.

"I don't care what you deny," she said, "your cock shows you a liar. You're as hard as you could possibly be, aren't you? It shows what thoughts are really going through your head."

"Are all human women so shamelessly lustful?" he snapped, turning to shoot an angry look in her direction.

"What," she said sarcastically, "you have some other human to compare me with?"

"No... no, of course not," he spluttered, turning red as an image of Raylana's long thighs flashed before him.

"By the gods, this just gets better!" cried Geska in amazement, moving away from him, and rising to her feet. "You really are a lousy liar, aren't you? How in the name of the gods did that happen? And it's as if you won't even admit it yourself! I've got to know, did you actually fuck her?"

Dolrim closed his eyes and gritted his teeth, banging his head in frustration against the table leg behind him. If only he could get away from this madwoman!

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