Sarlene's Touch Ch. 39byFuinimel©
Author's note: This episode, unusually, focuses on the villains of the story, and is therefore somewhat darker than my usual style. These characters are not, after all, meant to be very sympathetic or likeable! I don't know whether that's a good thing, or a bad one, but either way, Sarlene's Touch will be back to its more typical self from episode 40.
"...and with that," Yelvann was saying, "the temple of Pardror will be crippled until it is far too late for them to interfere with our plans. By the time any of them are able to look around, the ceremony will already have been completed, and the Presence will reign supreme."
The skinny necromancer stepped back, into the ring of hooded conspirators, the Presence's chosen disciples and future rulers of Haredil. Eristacia found her suggestion, involving as it did a horde of undead, rather distasteful, but it was all a means to an end. The most important end of all, the Presence was whispering in her mind, worth whatever it takes. The Presence did not speak to her directly, not in words, the way it apparently did to Lady Amloth, but she could feel its urgings, expressed in emotions and concepts, always at the back of her mind, pushing her forward. Right now, it was telling her that everything was assured, that its triumph – and hers – were close at hand.
Eristacia turned to face the drow, standing not far from her in the ring, her jet black face and keen amber eyes peering out from the hood of her long cloak. As always at these meetings, she wore the same black hooded robes over her regular clothing as did all the other conspirators, although she added a silver chain around her shoulders, and, somehow, her robes always seemed more figure-hugging than anyone else's.
"Thank you, Yelvann," said Lady Amloth. "Now that that is in place, we are fully prepared. In two days time, my agent will deliver the censer from its safe-keeping, and Domand," she nodded in the direction of the priest, "will deliver the sacrifice. The night after tomorrow, we will all gather in the agreed upon place, except for Yelvann, of course, who will be directing the attack."
"Won't that be a problem?" It was Tenik who was speaking, a captain in the city guard, "Don't we all need to be there to perform the ceremony? I mean, I know we can all take part in the actual sacrifice through the mental link... but before that, don't we all need to...?" He left the words dangling, the meaning obvious.
"To gang rape the sweet little novice nun?" asked Amloth, with a flash of white teeth against her black lips, "I think you misunderstand that part of the ceremony. The ceremony demands that the sacrifice be the victim of a terrible betrayal. That Domand, her priest and mentor, a respected follower of her god, is going to deflower her and then hand her over to the rest of us as a plaything. That is how we satisfy the condition of betrayal, but no more. The betrayal does not have to be sexual in nature, I simply chose that method because it will be fun. There is no need for us all to be involved; a trusted guardian and role model letting you be sexually tortured by eleven people, besides himself, is hardly less of a betrayal than if it were twelve."
She waved her hand dismissively, "Yelvann is needed elsewhere, and that is all there is to it. The ceremony works just as well if she is not physically present with the rest of us. I trust there are no further questions?" There was silence from the assembled conspirators. "Everybody knows what they have to do?" They all nodded.
"Then," the drow said, smiling again, "we are all agreed. This will be our last meeting before the ceremony. In just three sunrises' time, we will be ruling Haredil in the Presence's name. Demons shall walk the streets at our command, and the full power of the Presence will be unleashed. We shall be lords and ladies of unparalleled power, and have vengeance over all those who have wronged us. All of our hearts' desires shall be ours. All praise the Presence!"
"All praise the Presence!" echoed twelve voices, Eristacia's among them.
"Go now, and prepare yourselves."
The meeting was at an end, and the assembled conspirators began to file out of the hidden underground chamber. Eristacia stood for a moment, her heart beating rapidly with the excitement. They were so close! Her family, who had so unfairly cut her from her inheritance, who had kept her marginalised and out of power, would soon suffer terrible ignominy for their betrayal. She, Eristacia, would govern the new court, and they would be nothing, her prisoners to play with as she wished. Most of them would have to die, of course, begging for mercy that would never come, but she would like to keep some alive, just as toys for her amusement.
She realised that Amloth had approached her as she was thinking. Domand was with her, a tall and imposing presence, long dark hair brushed back beneath his cowl. "Eristacia," said the drow, her voice purring, "would you like to join us for a drink and a little night time entertainment? There are still a couple of days to go, and no reason that we cannot get ourselves in the mood a little. And I realise that you and I have not had the pleasure..." she paused, suggestively, before concluding, "...of each other's company. As one noble to another, I think it is time we rectified that, don't you?"
The human woman hesitated. Lady Amloth was a drow, which was effectively the same thing as an elf, and she had made it quite clear before that she drew no distinction between men and women when it came to her bedchamber. Yet Eristacia herself just could not see the attraction in coupling with another woman... which it seemed was what the leader of the conspiracy was suggesting. She was human; no matter what the drow thought should be the case, she just didn't find other women attractive. It was why she had tried to insist that the sacrifice should be a man, albeit to no avail.
"I am sure Domand here will also be stimulating company," said Amloth, apparently seeing the source of her reservation.
That changed things. Domand was a handsome man, only a few years older than herself, with a broad chest and strong shoulders. She had never particularly thought about it before, but if he was going to be involved... well that was an entirely different matter.
"I accept, of course," she said graciously, "as one noble to another, as you say."
She glanced at Domand, eyeing him up. Oh, yes, this might well be enjoyable.
Eristacia was somewhat disappointed to discover that she and Domand were not the only ones that her ladyship had invited back to her home. Tenik's attendance did not particularly concern her much; as a guardsman he was athletic and fit, a younger man who felt that he had been passed over for promotion. He was fairly good looking, with a short haircut and an erect bearing that she found quite attractive. If, by some chance, Amloth was to choose Domand as her partner for the night, Tenik would make an acceptable consolation prize.
The other guest was a different matter. Scaggs was somebody high up in the Thieves' Guild, an institution consisting entirely of the lower sort of person. His hair was lank and a little balding on top, but more to the point he was unshaven, cheaply dressed and had the sort of appalling diction and ignorance of proper grammar that seemed so common among the lower classes. She understood that his connections and even his skills were useful to the conspiracy, but that did not mean she wanted to socialise with the distasteful little oik.
But here they were, the five of them, sitting in plush velvet-lined chairs in a meeting room decorated with a most... indecorous tapestry. Some of the acts depicted on it were quite shocking, although she supposed she might as well get used to the idea, considering what she would be taking part in in just a few days' time. In fact, she reflected, they could give her some ideas for what she might do to a few of her inconsiderate relatives when she had them at her mercy.
Her younger sister, for example, had always been her father's favourite, showered with gifts, despite her giggly, rather vapid, personality. Eristacia might enjoy watching... no, better yet, she would enjoy making her father watch while his sweet daughter was stripped naked and then fucked by a well-endowed demon in front of a jeering crowd. The thought, she had to admit, made her rather excited.
The conversation so far had largely been about the wine, which was certainly good. She supposed that such quality would still be available after they had turned Haredil into a demon-haunted city, with themselves as the rulers. After all, surely they could import what they wanted to live their lives of luxury? The Presence would reward its most loyal servants, that was the whole point.
They had discarded their hooded cloaks, and both Domand and Tenik turned out to be well dressed under theirs, with the priest wearing informal, but smart, clerical robes, and the guardsman's dark jacket bearing the badge of his office. The less said about Scaggs the better, but Amloth... well, she was wearing clothes that were quite daring.
The drow's skirt, if you could call it that, consisted of two long strips of indigo material hanging from a belt, a narrow strap of black cloth the only fabric over her rounded hips, and that all but invisible against the similar colour of her skin. Her upper garment rose from the belt as two strips of soft purple cloth, running over her breasts, where two triangular wings were held together across her cleavage by a sapphire and gold clasp, to pull over her shoulders and meet somewhere behind the nape of her neck. Apart from that, a number of silver bangles, and a pair of knee-high black leather boots, the drow wasn't wearing anything at all.
The clothing, unsuitable though it was for most purposes, undoubtedly suited the dark elf, showing off her curvaceous body, flat belly and slender arms. The skirt, which decorated more than it concealed, allowed Amloth to show off her thighs, and jewellery offset the rest of her clothes perfectly. Eristacia supposed that she too, would have to worry nothing about convention once the Presence had triumphed. But even so, such clothing would not be for her; if nothing else, she preferred to entice men by what she concealed, rather than with what she showed off.
The drow's hair was down tonight, falling in pure white waves over her shoulders, complementing and enhancing the deep black of her skin. That skin was darker than that of any Jalibian, or of any other human she had ever heard of. Even the darkest of Jalibians had a hint of brown in their skin, but here there was no trace of that at all, as if Amloth were painted all over with a pure black ink.
"I find it strange," said the drow at one point, out of the blue, "that humans limit themselves so much in their desires. Even my light elven kin do not act in such a way, as if procreation were the sole purpose of sexuality. How strange it must be to look upon another person of the same sex, understanding intellectually that they are attractive, yet feeling no personal desire for them." She looked pointedly at Eristacia as she spoke, and the human felt herself blushing slightly.
"Not all humans are like that," pointed out Tenik, "I even know a few in the guard. They just keep quiet about it."
"Oh, true, but even so, it does not seem to be the norm among your kind. Why, I would imagine that our little sacrifice will be doubly shocked to discover that women will be taking part in her torment."
Domand nodded, "the novice I have chosen is, I believe, both innocent and naïve. I doubt she would even have conceived of such a thing. Gods," he added with a grin, "I am really going to enjoy parting those sweet little thighs of hers."
"Hmm..." said Amloth thoughtfully, taking a sip of wine and running her pink tongue around her lips. "I am curious, though, exactly what it is you intend to do to her, Eristacia. We all know that you would have preferred a man."
"Well, quite," she said, trying to keep the pique out of her voice, and not quite succeeding, "although I dare say there will be enough time for such things afterwards."
"So?" prompted the drow, her voice more curious than anything else, "for myself I have a particularly large strap-on that I have not yet had the chance to try out, but what of you? You must have something in mind."
Eristacia shifted slightly in her chair, the conversation making her feel a little uncomfortable. "Well, yes, of course, I have an idea," she snipped, glancing about at the men. Domand and Tenik looked intrigued, while Scaggs was just leering. At Amloth's silent urging, she went on, "if you must know, I had a suitably sized implement carved from ivory, and engraved with an image of the Sun God. I shall make her fornicate with a representation of her own deity."
Both Domand and Amloth laughed at that. "You see," said the drow, "I told you she was inventive! What a delightful idea. But now," she said, downing the last of her drink, and placing the goblet on the floor, "I do believe it is time for some entertainment. Eristacia, my dear, as a first time visitor here, why don't you begin?"
The noblewoman raised an eyebrow, looking at the other four, all of whom were smiling with anticipation. "Very well," she said, "what... well, how does this work?"
"Oh, I think you can begin, my dear," said Amloth, "with a striptease. I am sure we would all enjoy watching that? Everyone?" she glanced around, as if seeking confirmation. All three men nodded eagerly, which Eristacia supposed was hardly a surprise.
The noblewoman opened her mouth and then closed it again, unable to think of anything to say. She was being asked to strip in front of the others, like some sort of dancing girl? She had never done such a thing in her life, and certainly not with an audience. She would not mind, perhaps, doing so for Domand, or even Tenik, but, of course, she had assumed that the night of passion she had been led to expect would involve a private room.
Thinking back, she should have realised that was unlikely. They were, all of them, planning to take part in a mass orgy in a few days time; something that Amloth had recently admitted was simply her idea of fun. As soon as she discovered that the drow had invited three men over, in addition to herself, she should have known that a smaller scale version of the same event – albeit without an unwilling victim – was what she had had in mind. She might well want to spend a night with Domand, for instance, but in just two days time she was going to be standing there watching him have his way with another woman. You could hardly call that romantic.
She was surprised to find, though, that she was beginning to find that, despite her initial reaction, the thought of stripping off in front of the other four was a little exciting. Perhaps it was the Presence, at the back of her mind, urging her on, overriding her natural inhibitions. But she had already agreed to do much worse, so what did this matter? Or was that the Presence speaking too?
It didn't matter; she wasn't going to back down. Eristacia stood, and began to undo her belt.
"Put some movement into it," that was Scaggs, "let's see yer dance, darlin'."
She cast him an icy look. She was not going to be ordered about by the likes of him! He flinched slightly in response, although his leering grin only faltered a little as he did so. Eristacia tossed her hair and turned her back on him, the other three moving their chairs slightly to get a better look. Well, at least they were interested, and more polite than the scruffy ruffian now sitting behind her – and seemingly too chastised to change his position now.
Or perhaps the thief liked looking at women's rears. If so, that was none of her concern, at least she wouldn't have to watch him feasting his eyes on her, even if she was well aware that was probably what he was doing. Lady Amloth's evident interest was a little disturbing, to be sure, but she could still focus her attention on the other two men.
She ran her hands down her flanks, smoothing the dress, no longer gathered up by the belt. It was expensive, of course, although by no means the most valuable she owned. She was still reasonably slender, although not so young as she once had been, and it gave her a little thrill to see how intent on her Tenik and Domand were. She could make men desire her, and that was good.
She raised her hand to her pearl necklace, but Amloth shook her head. "Oh no, my dear, leave that on. It's so you."
She smiled slightly, at what she took to be a complement, and let go of the jewellery. Instead, she reached down to pull off her shoes. It was a little awkward, doing so standing there, and she doubted there was anything much sexual in her movement. But then, what did they expect? She was a daughter of an influential noble house, not a common dancer who had been trained to do such things.
Nonetheless, she raised the hem of her skirt slowly, giving a slightly wiggle of her hips as she did so; she could at least try, after all. Domand licked his lips, although she could not help noticing that it was Lady Amloth who looked most appreciative. How that was going to turn out she didn't know, and rather than thinking about it, she continued to move her dress upwards, pulling it over her head with a little difficulty, bearing in mind the necklace she still wore.
She dropped the garment to the floor, standing there before the three of them, bare arms wrapped around herself, thighs held together and calves slightly apart. As was the current fashion among the wealthy, she wore a corset over her shift, which was itself decorated with rather expensive white lace. One by one, she began to pull at the ties of the corset – it did up at the front, which was fortunate – and tried to ignore the fact that Tenik had pushed his hands down the front of his trews. He, Amloth, and Domand all looked enrapt as she continued to remove the heavy item, eventually taking it off and resting it beside her dress.
"So, what do you think?" she said, raising her arms above her head, and moving in what she hoped was a sinuous motion. The Presence continued to whisper in her mind, tempting her to go further, and she was already beginning to feel a flush of warmth in her loins, anticipation burning from what was, for her, quite daring behaviour.
"Looks lovely, darlin'. Yer got a great arse." It was Scaggs' voice, suddenly standing right behind her, spoiling her mood. Before she could say anything, he had wrapped his arms around her, grabbing and squeezing her breasts through the thin fabric of her shift. "Smashin' knockers, an' all," added the thief.
She gasped in shock, and pulled away from him, whirling round to glare at the obnoxious ruffian. The indecency of his leer was, if anything, even more irritating than before. "I must ask you to keep your hands under control, my good man!" she said, in her most imperious tone.
"My 'ands is perfectly under my control," he said with a grin, "and that ain't the last place they'll be goin', neither."
"Well, really! I think you should learn some manners, Mr. Scaggs."
"Come on, yer know what we're going to do."
"Don't think you'll be so lucky. You are not the only man here, you know, and you are most certainly not the top of my list."
"I'll have yer screamin' out my name in passion before we're done, darlin'."
"I really do not think so!"
"Is that a bet?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Oh yes," said Amloth, leaning forward, "I like the sound of that. I'll bet ten gold coins that Mr. Scaggs here is correct."
"He most certainly is not!"
"Then we are agreed on the wager," said the drow.
"What?" Eristacia's mind was whirling... had she actually just agreed to something? "No, I didn't..."