Surfacing Ch. 38


"I can tell," Mourn said. "Vic's recognition of the marks on you and Sirana may have as more to do with the age of the To'vah who placed his mark."

"And just how old *is* your Sire?" Jael asked with exaggerated slyness, crossing her arms.

Mourn smiled at her.

"Fine. If you can't say, is it safe to think he's of an age or older than the Tilabil?"

"That would be safe to think, Daratrix."

"Jeeesh, and my Mother is younger than you!" Jael sighed in mock annoyance, and I enjoyed watching her think over all this as she was animated doing so. "How would you describe the difference between Jaunda's mark and the other two? You mentioned 'passive.'"

"Most simply, Vic and Halena wear their marks as a messenger's tunic," Mourn said, "while Jaunda has forged a sword and shield with hers."

My young Sister contemplated that along with me. "Huh. And...that wasn't Lethrix's choice?"

"No more than your decision to take up Blade Song was mine, Daratrix."

She looked skeptical. "Harder to buy that. None of those three were mages, they wouldn't be able to do anything to resist him."

Mourn shrugged. "Neither would most mages. A Dragon can break any mortal's will if he truly wishes during sex, but he would destroy them in doing so. If he does not break them, then how they adapt to his attentions is subject their will."

"Is it permanent? The marks, I mean."

Mourn half-smiled. "Good question. I am not old enough to know exactly what to expect."

"Drider shit."

"It is true. As Elves I am far your senior, Jael, but as a To' my Sire is to me, you and I are more of an age than it would appear. I am very young still."

"Meaning...." Jael glanced at me and I smiled back, encouraging her to continue. "Meaning you could get to be older than Phaelous in Elf years and still be more like Shyntre in Dragon years?"

He weighed that comparison and nodded his head. "If I am not killed, then yes."

Jael breathed out at that. "Damn..."

I was thinking this over during their exchange, frowning a bit as something returned to me. "I should tell you..."

They both looked at me at once.

"I should tell you that Jaunda asked me if I'd like to fuck one more time before I left...and I did agree."

Mourn and Jael exchanged a glance and waited for more, no strong reaction surfacing, which was a relief. I continued.

"It was an impulsive exchange when we were taking out the Elder Mind's last defense, but if she wanted to, I still would. However I just thought now...with the sex marks, would you consider it to be an indirect challenge from Lethrix to you, Mourn? He did say he envied you being able to 'have' me without killing Ionne."

The hybrid looked surprised for a moment but considered this. Ultimately he shook his head. "In Vic or Halena, perhaps. In Jaunda...I do not see it so."

"Why not?" Jael asked, simply curious.

"Vic and Halena have no bond to Sirana and a stronger one to Lethrix for the moment. However," he looked at me, "there was a bond between you and the Lead prior to her meeting my Sire. Was there not?"

I nodded immediately. "Yeah. A strong one. We'd fucked a lot. When Kerse kidnapped me, she believed Shyntre that I was in trouble and led the mission to save me."

"Then it would be just her will and yours, Sirana. It is no more likely than Vian laying claim on your Priests just because Eallo found an agreement with them this eve."

*Oh...* My gut had grown hot really fast at the reminder. Did that ever refresh my awareness of the lingering scent in the room! We were close to the bed, too. Unconsciously I smiled.

"Perhaps you can talk with Jaunda," Jael suggested to me. "Figure out if she can get the Drake's attention for Rausery. Might be better than risking Mourn falling into Sleep on us, although if it doesn't work we can try Auslan and Shyntre next."

Mourn nodded in agreement, even if I frowned thinking about that "Sleep" of his which Ionne's aura was disrupting. I met his golden eyes.

"Just when are you planning to Sleep, merc?"

"Ideally," he answered soberly, "once outside of the Underdark."

We were interrupted before we could talk more, as the time had come to decide what to do about Kennitha and the running of the Household, and our conversation had to stop there for the moment as we rejoined D'Shea and Auslan with Shyntre.

Over the next few cycles and with all the shifting around and further talking, I grew to understand that Mourn did want his Sire to take responsibility for the Aurenthin family bargain, as that was a weight not easily borne by any population and we couldn't stay to try and aid them. We needed to find the best way to call on Lethrix while avoiding Mourn Sleeping in the Underdark. I agreed to talk to Jaunda as soon as we could manage to reach her and ask her to help us get Lethrix's attention. That Xalli would be with him—or at least that she should be—wasn't far from my surface thoughts.

"I assume you want to avoid Sleeping down here again because of Sirana's pregnancy advancing?" Vian asked, as she and her closest crew were sharing updates and, fortunately, had some time to visit.

"That is a large part of it," he told her. "I have been Awake through a growth. The next Sleep may last longer than it has been before."

"Buuuuut?" Jael nudged. "Large part. What else?"

He exhaled and pursed his lips, weighing the act of answering even as all his former squad leaned in to hear.

"Where I Sleep has a true effect on how I change," he admitted. "My last several Sleeps have been on the Surface and...there was a..." He paused to choose his word. "An ongoing progression I would like to continue."

We exchanged glances.

"Where you nap matters," Eallo repeated with a bit of wonder.

Mourn nodded. "A quality of To'vah-krav, as the Dragons are closely tied to Miurag."

"Your physical changes?"

"And metaphysical. Magical. More..."

No one could deny he looked far different now than how he'd started out, especially listening to Vian's description of him as a child when Jael asked.

"No wings, obviously, but also no white spines along his back, no horns in his hair, about two heads shorter than his current height and less than half his weight," the Commander ticked off when Jael asked out of curiosity. "The tail started out barely a stubby limb that didn't even reach his knees,"

We had stared some at him, trying to picture that. It wasn't easy.

" looked more male Drow overall," my younger Sister mused at him.

Eallo, Saida, and Jahn all nodded, with the female mage added, "Or like a particularly handsome Draegloth lacking a mane."

"Though no one could mistake the eyes," Eallo commented. "Metallic sheens aren't seen among any Drow we've met, and no Draegloth at all."

Saida studied Mourn in concentration. "Yes. Now you look like your Sire more than ever. Kind of an odd thing if you're saying the last several Sleeps on the Surface changed your appearance in ways you might not have down in the Underdark. You look like an Underdark Dragon with Elf ears."

Mourn could only shrug at that. "I am the Son of my Sire, yes. That is all I can really say. Sleeping down here is still not ideal."


"Ease up, Saida," Vian murmured. "Mourn's always had instincts and senses we don't."

"Wait, you've met Lethrix?" I asked the squad, surely a distraction but also because I wanted to know. "I thought he was Asleep while Mourn was raised in Vuthra'tern."

This former Sergeant smiled wryly. "Lethrix was in Sleep, yes, and we never really met him, no. He showed up periodically in our reverie over the last few centuries, watching us. He always took a form similar to how Mourn looks now, and that is what Saida means."

"If Mourn was gone," Jael began slowly, "why would Lethrix reach out to you?"

"We were constantly moving either through or close to his territory," Eallo answered. "And he remembered us and what we'd been to his son. He may have been Dreaming but we still had to negotiate passage, same as anyone. We did because he never asked for more than some treasure and some pleasure in seeing us."

"Literally," Vian picked up with a wry grin. "Part of what made it easy for us to find sanctuary when we needed it was that Lethrix had made it clear to me he was a voyeur. We'd take rest near him, have sex as a group, and the old creature was Dream-watching every time."

"Sometimes he spoke to Vian, too," Jahn volunteered, and his Commander shrugged.

"Sometimes cryptic, sometimes casual, but always generally genial," she confirmed.

"Well, of course! You were his Son's adopted Mother, for all intents and purposes," Saida added. "It was good to see the Dragon held some respect for that."

Vian chuckled. "Respect? Well. I'll grant between the willing show and leaving the gold behind for him, he never made it difficult for us. I think my Company is among the few that could take the shortcut to wherever we were headed next."

"Yeah, Lethrix wasn't exactly situated out of the way," Eallo said with a smirk. "He chose his lair well. His territory is near enough to three major passages to draw in travelers in general, and after we'd explored enough we realized going near his lair—without every actually finding it, mind you—would cut off whole cycles or a week of travel than going all the way around."

"Lucky us," Jahn murmured quietly, exchanging a familiar and knowing look with Eallo, who grinned playfully without apology.

Having sex as a group. I felt my gut warm some, picturing them doing that. Maybe less what I knew from the Sisterhood, of many on one, but something with more similarity to what happened after the sacred pool at Manalar was cleansed; Krithannia and myself coaxing Tamuril into sensual pleasure without pain, as Jael and Mourn joined us as well.

Jumping from then to now, I still hadn't asked my "details" of Eallo with Shyntre and Auslan, either; there had been too much to do and even Shyntre had left already to go to the Wizard's Tower while Auslan remained almost Second Hand next to Gaelan and my Mother while Kennitha was gone.

I considered whether it would be rushing it to ask Vian's fighter about it now, or in front of everyone—? Because that would be something different I had never done before. Or I should just continue to be patient? Was privacy better in this case, or had Eallo already told his entire squad the lurid details and he'd be just repeating it with me? For that matter, did Mourn and Jael even want to know as I did?

Vian's Second was watching me, still smiling from flirting with Jahn but a little more subdued, and he held my eyes boldly until I eventually realized it was an invitation to "speak" to him. I gave it a try, reaching out to form a mindlink.

*Can you hear me, Eallo?* I tested.

His eyes widened just a smidgen, perhaps taken aback how the link felt, but refocused with admirable speed. *I can, Sirana. Do you have need of me now?*

I understood the meaning behind the thought for what it was despite how that could have sounded in "tongue-speak." It was simply a clear reassurance that his offer was still good: the details were mine if I wanted them.

*Yes, Eallo, I do,* I decided.

I saw his mental nod. *I am willing, if you'd please ask my Commander for my leave first.*

Multi-century loyalty. It was hard to describe to myself how that felt coming from a full-blooded Drow. In a half-blood or Noldor, among the Wilder or even Dwarf, I had long grasped the concept. I had never felt this from a pure male Drow over five hundred years old, and for a single female, yet also embracing a rare and mature freedom...

Of course, part of the problem was that I knew very few male Drow over five hundred in any regard, and none of them free. Even Auslan as House Itlaun's Consort had once told me he didn't expect to live longer than another fifty years. Reaching three hundred had been an admirable goal for any pet beauty: he'd sire plenty of offspring and still leave a pretty corpse.

*That has to change.*

Eallo blinked and took a breath, understanding my thought all too well. *Yes. I agree. It does.*

"Sirana?" Vian asked, and I blinked, gently cutting the mindlink.

"May I ask you and Eallo for some of his time, Commander?" I said aloud. "In private? I won't keep him long, I just want to ask a few things."

Vian smiled at me, knowing exactly what this was about, and she nodded her head. "Of course. Any chance we could have someone keeping lookout for you?"

Mourn somehow drew my attention and I looked at him, and he nodded agreement.

"I'll keep watch, Commander," Keya volunteered with a raise of her hand. She was one of the youngest in the committed group though still older than me, and she operated as a solo addition more than any other individual in Vian's squad—which seemed exactly what she wanted.

Vian accepted, getting both Mourn's and my approval as well before Eallo stood up and walked with me to find a place to stand and talk, Keya unobtrusively following behind. We couldn't really go unnoticed anywhere; too many bodies going from place to place and I was getting much easier to recognize for many of them. But we walked like we were on patrol as Eallo was recognized as well and all went about their business without stopping us even if I saw a few who might be Jael's cousins.

I didn't want to talk out in the open, I could admit, simply because I wanted to concentrate on Eallo without being stared at, with staring being the most *harmless* thing about having others know I was focused on one thing. Plenty more could be harmful if someone didn't agree with Vian that I was a figure to admire after the Palace's power crumbled, or if one was an Aurenthin getting impatient waiting for news of their Matron. Not the least of which was that I had a baby to protect.

We found a less-used, temporary shed close to a stone rise, holding piles of scrap metal not yet repurposed, and took ourselves behind it to talk while Keya found her place out of sight to stand guard. Eallo was a little taller than me, but not much, I realized; it was his presence which sometimes made him seem larger.

"We could be exceedingly quiet if you wish to continue mind-speak as before," he suggested in a very low voice.

"So eager, are you?" I asked with a quirked brow.

Eallo shrugged with a small smirk. "I caught some astonishing honest thought even in that brief link, Sirana. It's intriguing in a female so young, and exactly what I'm trained for to stand against Illithids. I don't fear Truth between Drow; at least you know where you stand. And if you want Truth of my time with your committed sires, and time for which I thank you once again, I will share it with you. You only need the guts to see and listen, and I already know you have them in abundance."

"Flatterer," I accused, though without any bite. I was only still weighing the risk. "Mindlinks with me can get intense, Eallo, depending on the form it takes. Sometimes it's almost like you're living the memory again but from a slightly different view."

He smiled at the challenge. "If I cum in my uniform, I'll just have to clean up after."

"Would that upset your Commander?"

"Nope. She likes you, admires what you've done, and *really* likes you as a companion for her big son."

I had to suppress my smile for the moment. "What about....if it hurts you at any point? I will make every effort not to, of course, but... You just came out of a psionic concussion and she was afraid you were gone."

Eallo shook his head slowly, at least having the grace to look more somber. "Better to get back in the saddle after falling off the lizard, Sirana, and you aren't a hostile psion. I consider it a good opportunity to check if my own guts are still there. I suppose the short answer is, 'Yes, I'm eager to mindlink again.'"

Now my mouth twitched. "Alright, then. At least we're clear."

We ended up in a loose embrace to support each other, my belly snugly pushed into his abdomen as he kept his hold light at my flanks, my own bare hands touching the sides of his neck. We held eyes, and the rekindled link was as before, with our minds' voices "speaking" with that authentic undercurrent of emotional understanding supporting it.

*I was most concerned about Shyntre,* Eallo began without preamble. *He wasn't ready to stand aside entirely as you were. He wanted to be included and he knew he'd agreed but he still wasn't sure how he'd react to see me touching his lover, much less potentially penetrating him, riding, and cumming inside him.*

I felt my body flush with heat at the description and the experience underlining it. *Oh? How did you know this was what he feared? Good guess?*

*Sure, it's a natural place to start, but I also got him to say it out loud before we even undressed, so Auslan, Saida, and Jahn could hear it. It wasn't easy, but it was the first big step.*

*You didn't just start stripping once they agreed to go to the room with you?*

*That would have been a mistake given Shyntre's tension.* Eallo chuckled ruefully. *Actually, I've been there before. Wasn't pretty. I'd like to think I learned something since then.*

*But you didn't have all eve to get started. You might not have gotten anywhere.*

*True, and that's something you have to accept or don't, and swallow the consequences after the fact.*

*What do you mean?*

*I wasn't going for quantity, Sirana. One good cum would be enough as long as everyone was at ease, especially Shyntre. If I didn't get to try every position known to Elf on the healer, so what? I wasn't going to force his closest partner to jump a chasm he didn't have the experience to judge if he could make it or not. We'd go at the sorcerer's pace or not at all, and I made sure he understood that.*

I felt gratitude rise and I let it flow over to Eallo so he could feel it. I thought, *Saida and Jahn said it went well. Shyntre wasn't angry when I kissed him awake. You treated him well.*

Eallo's eyes were smiling, and he squeezed me gently with his arms. *I'm alive, I'm with my squad again and I know them as well as I ever have. Auslan acknowledged his attraction—something that surprised me, by the way—and you were open to letting the two of them experience something they never had before. What reason have I to treat either of them poorly, Sirana? Especially if it would only enrage you, Oh Slayer of Queens and Elder Minds.*

I chuckled, liking how his arms felt; comfortable, at ease, honest...trusting. *Wasn't me that slayed the Queen, but I might claim a fourth of the Drider Mistress.*

Eallo winked and didn't argue my humility.

*So what happened after a surprisingly frank talk?* I asked, adjusting one of my hands from the side of his neck to his jaw, caressing a bit.

*We lay down, fully clothed, Shyntre in the middle, and talked some more. The idea was to get used to being close, smelling each other, exploring a bit. Auslan was hard almost immediately and let Shyntre feel it as he cuddled on his side, reaching for both of us, but I kept my prick off the sorcerer until he reached for it.*

*And he did?*

*Eventually. He was checking, given that the healer's teasing and his strong aura had all three of us breathing hard. Shyntre might've been getting uncomfortable sporting his own.* Eallo's arms adjusted, holding me a little closer still as I had tensed to imagine this. *Hmm. Your breasts are very hot, Sirana.*

I smirked. *Blame Ionne and the exploding shards for that one. My tits have been hurting for months, not even worth mentioning to myself anymore.*

*Ah. And here I thought you might be one who could climax just from breast manipulation...*

*Not me. Try another female. And get back to the part where Shyntre's checking you for a hard-on!*

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