Sufferance Ch. 01byEtaski©
Author's Notes: This story is erotic fantasy written by Etaski. I reserve the right to be listed as the author of this story, wherever it is posted. If found posted anywhere except Literotica.com with this note attached, this story is posted without my permission. © Etaski 2012
Sirana's story continues here from "Sisterhood" and "Subterrane." While there will still be plenty of the darker sexual themes, I wanted to focus more on story going forward, and showing more about this incarnation of Drow and of the Red Sisters.
As before, my goal is that you need not have read the previous two stories to understand this one--but knowing the backstory in more than summary might be more enjoyable. :)
Thank you for reading.
"Who are you watching, Thall?"
Reluctantly I turned my gaze away from the cliff and from practice drills taking place down below us and toward the quiet whisper. I tried to focus on Jaunda as my eyes switched from the vision in light to deeper shadows. I could still tell she was smiling.
She was a ranking Red Sister known simply as a Lead, who answered directly to an Elder, and she was one of my primary trainers. Other than being a Sister, I didn't have a specific rank myself. Almost in response to that, Jaunda had taken to calling me by my former House's name, Thalluen. Later she'd truncated it quite intentionally, perhaps as a joke or perhaps to test my reaction—it sounded so much like a reference to magical slavery with which we Drow were quite familiar.
I hadn't had a reaction; that would have been unwise and I'd overcome impulsive violence in reaction to name-calling years ago. But if one name was as good as another, then she was just as pleased to use it as I was neutral to hear it.
The important thing now was that I answered to it, but only from her. She understood it to be deference to her rank; I understood that she liked having a pet name for me which no one else used. Thus, it made me "one of hers."
She didn't have to know that we did not agree on this.
Elder D'Shea had been correct about Jaunda, however; she was straightforward and easy to predict though not lacking in brains. She was also physically more powerful than most other Red Sisters, indeed most other female Drow, and delighted in knowing all the smallest jabs which caused the most pain. She was nothing if not tenacious with a grudge, preferring a hundred smaller paybacks to one or two larger strikes, and like so many of us she had a long memory. I'd heard, but had not seen, however, that if one threatened her outright, triggered her legendary temper, she would only stop short of killing another Sister. Anyone else would be dead.
I had come to realize that she was a good example of the Red Sisters as a whole; a larger-than-normal appetite for brutal testing both physical and mental, for endurance, and for dominance that took any number of forms, far from the least of which was sex.
To me it made sense and set the bar over which to try to leap, though I knew the majority of Nobles really didn't want this type of physical threat in their own Houses or even between rivals, certainly not the ruling females. If their bodies were their own temples in their minds, they didn't want them desecrated, violated. That was only supposed to happen to underlings, males, and slaves.
It provided me insight as to why the very first tests of any potential candidate were sexual, whether they could withstand a rape by a Draegloth and male Drow and recover quickly, before facing some other test of something they feared... and only _then_ pushing them out into the wilderness to press their bodies to the limit. Why waste the time testing a warrior's physical prowess if their mind broke at the first violation?
It made Jaunda and the other Sisters very interesting to me in spite of myself, in spite of everything they had done to me thus far.
Some of their responses I'd seen day to day...small paybacks in the time and manner of one's own choosing was something I could understand. For Jaunda, they were nearly all physical retribution translated into mental, and after a while, I observed that the pain avoidance would become pure reflex in those she targeted and a visible warning to others.
I understood this well—my eldest, deceased sister could make me flinch on numerous occasions with a motion—and I had taken steps to avoid having such a "trained" response to Jaunda. My upbringing had made it necessary to learn more mental tricks and spiritual resilience, and I didn't tend to rate the physical as the "ultimate" payback, unless I decided to kill them.
However I quickly learned, like some other Sisters, that Jaunda would protect her territory, and it made my initiation into the Sisterhood following my time in the wilderness a little smoother than it might have been otherwise.
Elder Rausery had been the most painful test—many had warned me it would be—but few others cared to get Jaunda's hackles raised by dogging the youngest Sister's heels well beyond the point where they'd taken her measure and found her worthy. I let them jostle with each other and accepted the "protection" from Jaunda, for now.
It was better for the time being that I be "one of hers" and service her the way she wanted only on occasion, rather than to resist her and be caught in her web or anyone else's, to be jabbed at daily. I was still "The New One", still at the bottom, so being someone's favorite made no difference to me—except that the lessening of demanding, horny slits mashed to my face when I wasn't enduring D'Shea's lessons gave me some spare energy to observe wherever I was taken around the City.
I had come to realize I'd been too narrow in my focus while still a Noble; I didn't know enough of what really went on outside of Court and it was a disadvantage. I didn't abide by a disadvantage once I became aware of it. Not if I could act on it.
Jaunda was showing her teeth in a smile; I could detect the dull gleam from the torchlight far below us. "Well?" she prompted.
*The army,* I replied in a silent gesture, choosing our sign language over a verbal conversation. The torchlight affected our Dark Vision, blurring our expressions slightly, but we could see each other's outlines just fine.
She gestured smartly back. *I didn't ask what. I asked who.*
Like I said, Jaunda wasn't lacking in brains.
*No one specific.*
*Of course.* She might have smirked, but the tilt to her head told me she was waiting for more.
I looked back down at the drills. Good quality armor, gleaming weapons, surprising grace and a lack of wasted effort that I wouldn't have guessed such a large group of Drow could attain. There existed all-female units, of course, but also a fair number of all-male. They tended to keep them separate, for good reason.
The one below us was all-male.
Jaunda watched me a little longer then tapped my shoulder to gain my attention again. *You are searching for someone.*
I smiled without showing my teeth. *I am.*
*You won't find him here, the soldier from your trials.*
Jaunda's skepticism caused me to grit my teeth a bit, though my smile stayed as it was. *Why is that?*
*Because he is not one to keep his silence.*
I thought on that, first picturing the fighter who'd been instructed to overpower me during my first trials, the pawn who had joined up with one of the wizards from the Tower in subjugating me in the secret chamber.
Even though he'd had no choice except to force himself into my body and rut it as, under normal circumstances, no male Drow could ever hope to do and live... even though I knew perfectly well the source of that directive had been the Red Sister Prime herself, I also knew he'd enjoyed it. That alone made me want to find him and kill him, to slit his throat just as I had the Duergar I'd met in the Underdark.
I knew Jaunda had to be right however. The fighter wouldn't be free to live among the other males; he would certainly talk of the Red Sisters. Fortunate that I hadn't wasted a lot of time on this; it had just been an opportunity today, and it wasn't as though I had learned nothing new from watching our army regardless. Oh, I had.
Perhaps the Sisterhood had already killed him for me. I would have to find out.
The angry wizard who'd partnered with him would still be alive, though, and he would be at the Tower with the rest of the male magic users. That wizard had used multiple tactics, testing my will, trying to dominate me and make me ask for more of what they'd done to me. A time or two, I'd been concerned he would succeed, though ultimately he did not. The last thing I remembered of him was the way he'd thrust into my netherhole as brutally as he could as they held me down, slamming into me over and over until he'd left his seed there. Spiteful, bitter seed.
Unlike the fighter, however, the wizard would know how to keep his mouth shut; his very training in the arts of magic all but guaranteed it. The Red Sister Prime and the Valsharess would let him live to continue studying magic as he inherently had more worth. They might even use him in such a way again if he didn't betray the Sisterhood. Perhaps I hadn't been his first "initiate" and there were other Sisters who had known him.
Yes, it should be the wizard for whom I searched anyway.
*Was he executed?* I signed to Jaunda of the fighter. I saw no reason not to try the direct route first with the most direct Red Sister.
Unfortunately Jaunda just smiled wider and made no reply. I knew what that meant: another test.
I shook my head slowly, arching an eyebrow and whispered aloud, "I've mentioned before you're all spider-bitten sluts, haven't I?"
The elder Red Sister laughed loudly in a sudden burst, projecting her voice on purpose and causing it to bounce off the ceiling of the cavern. I noted the sudden tension and lack of focus in the unit below as a few of them looked up and saw us. One of them pointed up just as a rod cracked down on his hand for the trouble.
"You most of any of us, Thall," she purred, leaning and brushing my hair to the side. She nipped my ear then bit my neck. Not only did I let her do this but felt a genuine stab of pleasure when she did.
What did I think of that? Well, it was better than the alternative.
"Come," she said, and I followed.
I'd been well-tested so far, but still had a lot to learn.
The Palace and Court were positioned on a rise to look down on the rest of the City; it was both symbolism and practicality. Grand, lovely architecture of smooth stone rose up to mimic the massive stalagmites of the Underdark, built with sweat and magic, glorified with decorated balconies and moulded windows. The dwellings possessed graceful curves, organic in nature despite the polished finish to the outside that made it difficult for anyone to climb up from the outside in their natural state.
Within the multi-spired Palace and centered in clusters of smaller Court houses were spider gardens and Underdark groves, each decorated to the taste of their Mistress. This was where I'd spent the past fifteen years before the Sisterhood had chosen me; likely they'd been watching the whole time, from within these very walls and from viewpoints I never knew had been there.
I'd gone looking for secret passages before, in and around the Palace and the array of stately structures that made up the main population of the Court. It amazed me how little I'd found, but then I hadn't known what to look for. I did not understand how to see past the glamour set to "encourage" someone to pass over a suspiciously clean wall or to ignore the slight draft at their ankles. I knew now that I should be grateful Lolth hadn't been playful one day and allowed me to "find" one.
There were several types of wards protecting the doors to hidden passages, and I had been shown only one so far: the easiest, I was told, those leading to secret passages, and where I had only to stare as though seeing in my periphery and mutter a banal word for the switch to reveal itself.
"Best remember to disarm it as well," Jaunda had said, almost in passing, as she demonstrated.
Even with seeing past the glamour and disarming the trap, I knew the passageways still saved us time getting from point to point, and more importantly they allowed me to see behind the scenes than I ever would have as a mere Noble.
Spy slits were ubiquitous in this hive of treachery, most of them used by the Nobles or servants of Priestesses, but there was also a second maze. The brief nausea I felt passing into them suggested that we'd shifted in space, something called a "pocket dimension," I'd been told. Simply put, we had our own underground system in which to watch what went on a Court.
These tunnels were smaller than the wider, straighter passages of dressed stone that I'd seen during my escort from the initiation chamber of candles to the hidden sacrificial altar. The smell was closer and oddly sterile. There was just enough height to stand and turn around, but most martial moves would be restricted in the tight space. There were intersections, but no internal rooms or alternate doorways until one exited to the Red Sisters' quarters, and one could easily get lost in the maze long before reaching that point if they weren't supposed to be there.
Most of our spy slits looked down into a room from a higher vantage point. One didn't have to glance in every spy slit, but I had found the temptation compelling at first. Every time I had slowed Jaunda's pace with my curiosity, however, it always resulted in some molestation on her part in the close darkness, and no matter what she did, I had to remain silent. This she made clear. Magical glyphs near each slit dampened sound, so even if my will should waver and I uttered a cry, it would still be swallowed up in thick darkness. I didn't find the experiences to my liking—too much like the early abuse of my childhood of which I literally couldn't speak for decades. Soon I found it in me to ignore the spy slits while following Jaunda...
...unless she stopped first. Then it meant she wanted me to witness something.
*Hold,* she gestured now, leaning to peer down into a slit, squinting a little and then grinning widely. She motioned for me to come closer. *As I've shown you.*
As she had "shown me" was a comfortable stance either standing or kneeling before the spy slit. I was to place naked hands upon one of two sets of glyphs, which would glow dimly once warmed by life-heat. I pulled off my gloves now, tucked them at my belt, and chose to stand, my feet comfortably placed, with my hands covering the higher set of glyphs. The hair at my nape rose slightly as I felt the magic slither over my hands and bond with them, connecting securely, unbreakably, until the release word was uttered.
I had refused to touch the Glyphs the first time, until Jaunda had explained more and told me the release word. She'd laughed but seemed pleased with my forethought. I didn't know as much magic as some, but basic survival taught me to be cautious about touching runes that sparkled in darkness without knowing more about them.
I knew now that those imbued carvings amplified my hearing and sight just enough that I would be able to hear even a whisper in that room below and to see as if looking through a viewscope. I might even be able to read a missive or map held at the right angle; I could certainly study faces in minute detail.
My first glance now revealed that there were three individuals down below, the door was closed and probably warded. I had to study the most prominent face for I did not know it.
She was a Priestess, no doubt, an older one with a black spider crown holding her blonde-streaked hair back and swept up into a partial scalp lock. Her gown was royal purple and cut in a classic design that I had seen often, but her silver belt was unique. The decorative end made of many tiny chains looped and draped around each other to nearly cradle her left hip in ornate shining metal against a dark backdrop. If that belt wasn't an heirloom or a status symbol, I'd swallow dwarf piss.
She sat looking dignified with her back straight, though it was in a rather small, grey, fiberstalk chair that looked more useful for its portability than its grandeur. Next to her was a small table, again made of fiberstalk, round and decorated with ritual props familiar to me thanks to a blood sister hoping to become a Priestess, though the quality here was much, much better than hers had been.
One prop that was already being used was the black candle with the red dots marking each hour; the single candle gave enough light to see by, and allowed us to see all colors. The room itself was rather small and sparse, like an interrogation room with only the bare minimum furnishing. It seemed odd to me for a moment that an elder Priestess wouldn't be in a more comfortable room to have a meeting.
My eyes next drifted to the figure nearest her and I felt a very real shock; my mouth opened in a silent gasp as my heart seized hot for a moment before the sensation spread through the rest of me. It was Kerse, my first test during my trial; the Draegloth with whom I'd sparred and coupled with on the glassy floor of the candle chamber.
Every Priestess gave birth to one Drow-demon hybrid, conceived during her final test to become a holy guardian for Lolth. If her control of her magic and will was strong enough, she survived coitus with a member of the Abyss. Then if she survived the birthing, she had a Lolth-blessed servant for the life of her service, and her House gained power by association—though the Draegloth were by no means a popular dream among most Drow, due to their appearance. I'd known some who would rather ignore a Draegloth's presence in a room, if at all possible, status symbol or not.
Like any Draegloth, Kerse could be used for anything his mother saw fit, and though I'd never met her, she'd seen fit to loan him to the Red Sisters to test me. I'd evaded and resisted him, actually interacted with him until I had coaxed his name from him. Armed with that knowledge, I'd fucked him gleefully...and reveled in a very memorable orgasm, if the flush that speared through my body now was any indication.
Now I understood why Jaunda stopped at this slit; this had to be Kerse's mother, the one I had been warned would be unhappy with the way I had bargained a deal with her son. My deal—trading his name for a deep, willing dip into my sex—conflicted directly with his mother's own command, which had been to force-fuck me regardless of my will. It was a challenge to her authority and maybe a confusing chink in his loyalty to her.
I'd wondered once or twice before if he had been soundly punished for the mistake he made with me. I could not see any physical evidence of anything permanent. Even crouched by his dam, he was taller than her, powerful, monstrous. With black skin, yellow eyes, and a white, shaggy mane of hair that sprouted along his spine to his middle back, he possessed an ugly, toothy muzzle, bestial face, and large, intimidating talons on his strong hands. Unlike the first time I'd seen him, a simple dark green wrap circled his groin and hid his endowment from view. I was rather sorry for that.
I became aware of Jaunda standing very close behind me, too close for my peace of mind, to tell the truth. With one hand she swept my cloak to one side and slid her other hand directly between my legs, reaching around from the back. I jumped and wanted to turn, but felt her clasp her arm around my waist and tighten her grip on my sex through my leathers. The stiff leather covering her chest pressed into the same covering my back, and her mouth was right next to me ear.
"Still and silent, Thall," she hissed.