The Long Road to Ruin Ch. 18byLady_Blackhawk©
Disclaimer: This fanfic is based off the Neverwinter Nights community module by the name of "A Dance with Rogues" created by Valine. I fell in love with this story and felt compelled to write something that compliments it. This story contains explicit content and graphic violence. All characters except Shiloh, Bastian, Rhys, Ni'as, Nicca, Narev and Essex are property of Valine.
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But That Was Yesterday
Three days passed before Vico let Shiloh out of his sight. It was three days full of lust and passion. Neither of them could simply get enough of the other. Then a late night messenger interrupted their private rendezvous. Shiloh watched as Vico grimly donned his blackened plate mail and sheathed his deadly sword at his side. She longed to ask what was wrong, but she could tell by the distant look about him that he would offer her no explanation and as he turned to leave the look in his eyes sent shivers down her spine.
It reminded her of the look of a man who had nothing left to lose. She had seen it many times before as she recalled some of the prisoners her father had hung for crimes against the Crown. Was it fear? Or something else? Was it so bad that he didn't think he'd be coming back?
Shiloh knew better than that. His battle prowess was greater than anyone she'd ever encountered. Vico's skill transcended anything worldly. He was an anomaly to behold. She eyed him thoughtfully before springing from the bed and launching herself into his arms. She kissed him with a desperation she couldn't quite explain and watched as he unbarred and unlocked the door.
A tear slipped down her face. She wasn't quite sure why it was there. Shiloh hastily brushed it away and took a seat in front of the fire. She mulled over his expression in her head. She didn't know what had happened or why it all seemed so grim. Shiloh had faith in Vico's abilities. She knew in her heart he would return and he would need her. She smiled at that thought.
Taking along look back upon their tumultuous relationship, Shiloh knew if anyone from The Family suspected what was going on between they would surely think she was insane. To be in love with the man who had violated her in such a ruthless manner was certainly unheard of, but she did not care at this point. She needed him. He had become an addiction and she knew it was certainly not good for her, but she was powerless to resist it. Her thoughts plagued her. Certainly she could not go on this way. The need for him was all-consuming. Yet she knew there were things she had to see through. She knew she should get some rest, but the job she had promised to do for Jacia wouldn't get done if she were resting and waiting for Vico to return.
Returning to the bedroom, she slipped into her black dress and thigh high booties. This looked appropriate to enter an establishment such as a dockside tavern. She knew not what awaited her in a place like The Swordfish, but she hoped it would be nothing bad. She hoped to be able to sneak in and sneak out after delivering the macabre kitten's head in the leather sack that Jacia had given her. She would show Jacia. She had the guts to do it. She would do it.
Shiloh grabbed her haversack and donned her cloak over her clothing then headed to the door. She opened the panel and stepped out into the hallway, closing it behind her. She could hear the raucous music coming from the hideout up the stairs. It sounded like things were in full swing. She smiled and headed out into the sewers, catching the look of surprise that Mick flashed her.
"Where did you come from? I haven't seen you in days?" He questioned. "I don't recall seeing you upstairs."
"Then you didn't look hard enough," Shiloh smirked at him.
"Ah, quite coincidental that I hadn't seen Vico in oh...three days...either until he just left earlier," Mick pressed the issue.
"Then it is merely coincidence," she brightened her smile and turned away from him, merrily skipping along and humming a happy tune.
Kasha and Gina walked over to Mick. "So what did she say?" Kasha beamed. "Tell us!"
"She denied being with Vico. Claimed she'd been upstairs this whole time. Likely story. I guess that's why Caron came looking for her and didn't find her up there," Mick shook his head. "I don't get it. As beautiful as she is, why is she messing with someone like him? She's too good for him. I mean, we all know how he parades his women around like trophies and how he bragged about being the first one to get under her skirts. What does she see in him?"
"Methinks Mick has a crush on Shiloh," Gina giggled.
"And methinks you are wrong," he retorted with a scowl. "I wouldn't want her after she's fucked him."
Kasha laughed. "So you say. I guess that's why every time you see her you follow her every move and your pole stands at attention."
Mick's scowl darkened. He shook his head. "Resume your positions, stupid wenches."
Both Kasha and Gina snickered bawdily and high-fived each other before returning to their respective assigned spots. They knew Mick was lying and they both knew no matter what he said that he desperately wanted what Vico had.
Up through the ruined house and down River Road was the route she took to the docks. As she passed through the alley formerly inhabited by Rick Cars and his gang, she stopped long enough to listen to a conversation between two members of the Dhorn Patrol.
"Haven't seen ol' Rick in a while?" The bald one mentioned to his dark haired companion.
"I think someone finally done him in," the dark one chuckled. "I miss the money he used to throw our way. It was nice not having to solely rely on drawing pay from the barracks."
"Maybe someone will come along to replace him and give us a share as well," the bald one spoke up after a few moments of silence.
"That's the dumbest thing I ever heard."
Shiloh continued on her way, mulling over in her head what she'd heard about them drawing pay from the barracks. She thought back to the conversation she had overheard in the sewers between the Dhorn and the other man. The Dhorn had told the other man to take the writ he had given him to the payroll office in the barracks. It had to be the same place. She smiled wickedly as she thought of fleecing the Dhorn of their pay. After all they had done to her family and city, it felt like poetic justice to rob them of their money and livelihood. She wandered how easy it would be to break into the barracks. She knew she would have to scope it out and formulate a plan.
By the time she reached the docks she had solid plan in her head, though she wasn't sure of the sanity of it. She knew she could possibly summon Bastian again and recruit his power to help her, but she knew that would anger Vico. The thought of that surely didn't interest her, nor was she interested in feeling the bite of Kinslayer's blade. Something told her to leave well enough alone.
Shiloh headed down to the end of the docks and opened the door of The Swordfish. She coughed as the heavy tobacco smoke lingering in the air filled her lungs. She perused the rowdy tavern, taking in the raucous music, the swearing, the talking and the bawdy laughter of the many gruff patrons. There was not a woman in sight, either. Perhaps this was not the kind of place a woman would frequent? Or at least the decent sort of woman? She took in a deep breath, coughing again and headed in the direction of the back of the tavern. That was where Jacia said she would find Captain Ters, in a side room at the rear of the establishment.
She reached the tables and began to navigate her way through the crowd. A patron staggered towards her, grabbed her by the hips and drew her flush to his body. She let out a startled squeak and attempted to extract herself from his grasp. Ignoring her struggles, he started singing a vulgar song in a off-key voice. He swung her around, fondling her bottom roughly. Another drunken man joined them, pulling her into his embrace. He joined in on singing the song and initiated a lewd dance with her. Shiloh smacked his hands away and pulled away from him.
"Ah, come on sugar, dance with me. I'll give ya'a silver to make it worf yer while," his speech slurred as he swirled her around.
Another patron joined them. "Hey ho, purty girl, dance with me."
She giggled happily at the rough looking man with intense green eyes. "Sure, as soon as I'm done here!"
More men surrounded her. "She'll dance with me!"
"No, she'll dance with me next."
"That's what you think. When she gets a taste of what I can give her, she'll only dance with me." A swaggering dark eyed stranger with brown chin length hair boasted. His brash attitude reminded her of Vico.
Shiloh pulled away from her current dance partner and moved into the arms of what could have been Vico's twin. She smiled, batting her lashes at him, as he initiated the bawdy dance. He swung her around, away from the other men.
His possessiveness didn't save her, though.
"No way, she'll dance with me!" A bearded man grabbed her, pulling her out of her partner's arms.
Shiloh kicked the shins of the bearded man, hearing the startled 'oomph' that came out of his mouth. He frowned at her and gripped her tighter.
A bald man with tattoos covering his head yanked her from the bearded man's arms and swung her in another direction. His hands cupped her bottom, squeezing them roughly. He laughed as she attempted to pull away, struggling to remove herself from his grasp. She cried out as he smacked and pinched her bottom.
"Stop!" Shiloh growled at him and tried to break free.
Several more patrons crowd around, tugging her one way or another, laughing loudly as their play turned violent, shoving her around and groping her heaving breasts. She could feel their hands all over her as they all fondle her body. Panic gripped her, paralyzing her momentarily. It took her a moment to regain her composure. She had envisioned being dragged to the dirty floor while all these filthy men took turns on her. She couldn't relive that. It had taken her long enough to put what happened the night of the Dhorn stormed the castle behind her. She had forgiven Vico. With a scream, she kicked as many of the men as she could, but it was not enough to repel them completely. Others viciously grabbed her arms and legs. Her heart pounded rapidly. She felt like a wounded animal in the midst of a pack of wolves. She knew they had to have sensed her fear and were now closing in for the kill.
"Look at 'er now, the bitch's a little shy all the sudden! Whass sa matter, whore? Can't take us all?" The bald one guffawed as the others taunted her. Their hands had begun ripping and tearing off her clothes, displaying her bountiful breasts to the crowd around her. Hoots and loud cheer followed as Shiloh desperately tried to cover herself and wriggle out of their clutches.
It was not to be as more of the men reached out for Shiloh and forced down her skirt, stockings and boots. Another big cheer roared through the tavern as one the men shouted, "Lay the bitch out on that table. She's wantin' my big bone!"
Still struggling to break free, she felt herself being hoisted off her feet and tossed onto a wooden plank table. She cried out as the roughness of it chafed her tender skin.
Hands descended upon her, touching her all over. Groping her breasts, sliding between her legs.
"STOP!" Shiloh cried out, kicking a few of them.
"Come to daddy, sweetling!" The brown haired Vico look-alike pulled down his pants, rubbing his member up and down over her lower lips.
"NO, PLEASE LET ME GO!"
She felt him begin to push himself into her while others continued to grope and fondle her breasts. Their foul comments about her large breasts and fat bottom made her cheeks burn red with indignation. She screamed louder and kicked the men holding her legs open, slapping and clawing at their faces.
"LET ME GO!"
The noise in the room suddenly stopped as several Dhorn soldiers walked into the common room. It became so quiet that she swore she could have heard a pin drop.
A heavily decorated officer with blonde hair stepped into the midst of the men. His eyes raked over the situation before him. "What's this uproar!? And what's she doing in here?!"
The crowd quickly began to disperse as they made room for the soldiers. The brown haired patron who'd poised himself to thrust into Shiloh quickly jerked away from
her and refastened his trousers. "Uh, nothing, officer...," he muttered, avoiding eye contact.
"Is that so? Nothing? It does not look like nothing to me," he raised his eyebrows questioningly.
Shiloh scrambled off the table, sobbing as she gathered her clothes.
"I'm waiting for an explanation." The blonde officer tapped his foot.
"We... uh... this merely was some innocent fun...," the bald tattooed man shrugged before resuming his seat.
"You call that innocent? A naked woman, spread on a table, surrounded by a crowd of drunkards!?" The officer growled at him, his voice going hauntingly cold. He watched as the men lowered their eyes and slunk back into their chairs, like a bunch of whipped dogs with their tails between their legs. "Go back to your chairs! Now! And be glad that I don't arrest you all!"
Shiloh had hoped he had forgotten about her, but it was not to be. He eyed her coldly. "Now you. What were you doing in here?"
She gulped nervously. What was she to say? "It was just a misunderstanding, officer... It's not what you think. I'm not a whore. May I please leave?"
His gaze bored into hers. He nodded. "You are aware that prostitution is a capital crime? I could have you put to death for it."
"But I'm not a whore. I would just like to leave now. I feel very dirty," she lowered her eyes dutifully and studied her feet.
He inclined his head, studying her thoughtfully. She didn't seem nor look like the blatant type of whore he'd encountered since they'd invaded this wretched place. Yet he knew very well how looks could be deceiving. "Not so fast. Before I dismiss you, I need to know if something illegal was about to take place. What was your business here?"
Shiloh looked up at him very sweetly. She trembled and covered her charms with her hands. "I was looking for somebody," she replied, lowering her eyes once more.
"A customer, perhaps?" His voice dripped with accusing venom.
Her eyes snapped up defiantly. She glared at him and growled. "I am not a whore! I was sent in here to deliver a message to one of this foul establishment's patrons. I did not come in here because I wanted to be attacked by these ruffians. They attacked me and prevented me from doing what I was ordered to do by a member of my family."
The officer rubbed his chin, taking in her furor over his accusation. Either she was telling the truth or was a skilled actress. He couldn't be sure which one. "Women of your age should stay at home all the time. It is no wonder that you caused such an uproar. Consider yourself warned. If you are caught entering this establishment once more, I will personally see that you are put to justice."
He turned to his men momentarily before he spoke to her again. "You three will oversee this place from now on. I don't want this to happen again. Understood? And you... You'll leave this place at once, wench. And, dear Gods, put some clothes on!"
He dragged Shiloh out to the street after he watched while she hastily pulled her clothes back on. "Officer, sir....," She began as he wrenched her arm painfully. She yelped and panted before continuing. "Who are you?"
He arched an eyebrow at her, "My name is Arto Benthur. Now, you are dismissed. If you haven't taken heed to my warning yet, listen good, wench. My men will arrest you immediately should they catch you entering this tavern again. Good night!"
Shiloh whispered his name to herself before she ran off to hide in the shadows of Drago's Warehouse. She watched as he headed back up the street, stopping to speak to another patrol. She tapped her foot against the cobblestones, taking note of the increase in the number of men patrolling the streets. She chuckled to herself as she wandered if they'd found the patrolmen whose blood she had sacrificed to Bastian.
Sneaking back to The Swordfish, she entered behind a tall man who reeked of fish. This time she kept to the shadows, moving as quietly as she could. She let out a sigh of relief as she reached the room that Captain Ters occupied. Peaking in, she noted that he sat at the end of a rather large table with his crew sitting around him.
Shiloh stepped out of the shadows and approached him, gingerly touching his shoulder. He looked at her with a bored expression upon his weather-beaten face. "Yeah, wench?"
It was time to get down to business. With an extremely neutral look on her face, she handed him Jacia's leather beg. "Captain Ters, I presume? This is for you. The people for whom I work do not play around. Pay tribute or pay the consequences."
Ters glared at her before opening the bag. His face grew pale as he recognized the bag's content. "I... you...! How dare you!? Foul wench, be gone, and tell your guild to go to hell."
"Does that mean we have come to an accord and you will indeed pay tribute?"
His shoulders sagged somewhat beneath her haughty stare and he sighed in utter frustration. "Your guild makes me sick, but yes, I shall pay tribute. Tell them I understand and send this as a token."
He reached into a pocket and pulled out a sack of coins and gems. "Now be gone from here, foul wench."
Shiloh hissed at him and turned away, slinking back into the shadows. She crept back to the door and made her way into Drago's Warehouse. She smiled to herself as she tore her dress and scratched up her skin, formulating a plan in her head. She ran to the cellar door and pounded on it furiously. "Drago..." she squealed frantically, poking herself in the eyes to make the tears appear. She pounded on it until she heard a muffled voice coming from the other side asking for the password.
"To hell with the password!" Shiloh screeched. "It's Shiloh. Let me in. I've been ... attacked."
The door swung open. She collapsed into Drago's arms, sobbing wildly. He slammed the door quickly and carried her down into the cellar where he could get a good look at her. "What happ'ned, honey?" His voice slithered over her like silk.
"I was attacked.... in The Swordfish," she hiccupped and sniffled.
"What in th' name of the Hells where ya doin' in that place?" He asked, incredulously.
"I had to deliver a message and the drunks jumped me. They nearly raped me, but I managed to get away from them. I ran as fast as I could, but I can't be sure if someone followed me or not. I was so scared...," she snuggled into his larger body, soaking up the heat his body produced.
He stroked her hair and soothed her, whispering to her that everything would be just fine. Shiloh wiped away her tears and flashed a watery smile at him. "I am so glad you were here this night. I don't know what I'd do if they had caught me outside of that wretched place."
"Where will ya head when ya leave here?" Drago asked.
She trembled. "Uh...umm...the hideout. I have to take this to Jacia along with the message that captain gave me," she pulled the heavy pouch from inside her cloak.
"Would ya like me to go wit' ya?"
"Oh, would you?" She beamed at him. "I mean, that would be nice. Do you happen to have any clothing here that I could change into? I really don't anticipate walking back into the guild house with my charms displayed."
"Perhaps, may I see the tribute bag?"
Her brow furrowed as she handed it to him and watched as he looked through it. He pulled out a square cut gem then walked over to a crate. He tossed her a black form fitting silken catsuit. "Courtesy of the good captain. Don't worry, Jazz will never know the difference. You may change back there behind that teakwood screen that I recently received."