Aelia in the Kingdom of Farran Ch. 01byNayeli©
She paused for a second, catching her breath and took a sip of green tea sweetened with honey from the aluminum bottle which rested in the side pocket of her black and red backpack. The weather was warmer than normally expected that season and she was glad she'd worn the light, summer pants instead of the thicker gore-tex ones; spring was always tricky in these mountains, one could expect anything from a snow storm to the wonderful temperature she was enjoying.
Most of the snow had melted but Aelia was sure that some was still left in the shaded valleys above the 2000 m altitude, so an ice axe was strapped to her backpack and the sharp 12-point crampons were packed inside. She was no stranger to difficult treks, but this route was new to her and unmarked, so she needed to be extra cautious; every experienced mountaineer would advise against trekking solo, but then again, she knew, they were all doing it every now and then; the lure of the mountain was just too strong to resist.
Pushing a few strands of dark red hair that had escaped her braids out of her face, she tucked away the bottle. She needed to get going and push harder if she was going to make it to the cabin by nightfall; she usually enjoyed night treks, but this trail was barely visible in daylight, and the last thing she needed was to get lost; in all her years of hiking she'd never had to call a rescue team. Well, not for herself, anyway... Aelia frowned as the memory of her best friend sliding down the icy slope towards the sharp cliffs 300 m below briefly washed over her. He had just stood still once he slipped, eyes wide, looking at her as if he couldn't believe what was happening, not making a single move to use the ice axe to secure himself to the frozen snow and stop the slide. She shook her head trying to get the image of his horribly broken body out of her head and quickened her pace.
A few hours and a good use of the ice axe and crampons later, she had almost reached the remote cabin that was her destination for the day, when the sky suddenly went dark; grey clouds took over in a matter of minutes and an ominous wind began to send shivers to her bones despite the warm polar fleece jacket she was wearing. She stopped to put on her windstopper jacket and took out the headlamp from the top of her backpack. The rain began to pour even before she could put a raincover over her backpack; she quickly put it back on her shoulders and set off. The storm was now raging as she had never before encountered and she was literally running uphill; the trail had already left the forest, where it was easy to distinguish between the trees, entering an open area of pastures and juniper trees; here, she could only rely on her trusted GPS to guide her through the rest of the journey. But when she took it out she found that, although it seemed to be functional, there was no signal from any satellites, as if there were none left in space. Since that couldn't be the case, she cursed modern technology and tried to make some sense of the compass she hadn't had to use in years. Today was definitely not her luckiest day, as the compass too seemed to have gone mad: the needle was spinning out of control, as if it were surrounded by half a dozen magnets.
She cursed again and pondered on the next step. She could try to set camp here and wait out the storm, but she was familiar enough with the meteorological features of these mountains to know that it would go on for at least another two hours, and by the time it would end, it would be too dark to find the way to the cabin. Also, the wind was getting stronger by the minute, and she was afraid it would blow away her small tent with her inside.
She looked around for anything that could be used as a shelter, a sheep-fold or at least a larger rock to use as a shield against the wind and rain. There was nothing, at least not within her visibility range, which was now reduced to less than two metres; she couldn't stand there any longer, the chill was already inside her bones and she started to walk again in the direction she assumed was right. The wind was hitting her from every direction and lightening bolts were flying around, creating the most amazingly terrifying spectacle she'd ever seen. She could feel the electricity circling her, hairs were lifted from her braids and the headlamp on her forehead began to blink. She felt unbelievably tired all of a sudden, as if the intense display of nature's power around her was using her energy to achieve even higher levels of greatness.
Just as she was on the verge of lying on the ground and letting the elements decide her fate, she bumped into a large, hard mass. She reached out and felt a ragged wall of stone; another lightning revealed the entrance to what appeared to be some sort of cave. Without another moments' thought, she entered and moved a few metres inside, away from the wind and rain. She sat on a slab of stone, leaning on her backpack and catching her breath.
She was calm now, the situation no longer looked desperate. The storm was still raging outside, but she was well equipped to pass a few hours, even a night, in such surroundings. She rose and started to explore her new lodging: the cave started with a small corridor, about two metres both in height and width, and about ten to twelve metres long; at the end, Aelia found herself in a wide hall, at least 100 metres long and immensely tall. It reminded her of a concert hall, and it was filled with rock formations of various and wondrous shapes and sizes. She found some space near one of the walls and set up her tent. She took out some energy bars and sandwiches and checked her mobile phone; not quite surprisingly, it was out of signal range; "It's ok", she thought, "I won't need to be rescued tonight after all".
When she woke up, a delicate light was entering the cave from an opening in the ceiling; for a moment she wondered why the same hole hadn't allowed the rain water to flood the cave the night before; come to think about it, she hadn't even noticed it until now. Not wanting to delay her departure any longer, she packed her tent, ate some energy bars and went through the corridor that was leading outside, to see if conditions had improved enough to let her continue her trek.
To her horror and surprise, the entrance was completely blocked; what was even more puzzling was that this wasn't the result of some rock avalanche, but it seemed as if the entrance had never existed; the corridor was now only two metres long and ended in a thick, smooth stone wall.
She returned to the great hall and began to explore it, looking for another way out. She went around the walls several times, carefully inspecting every crack but there was no other way out. Sighing, she looked up and examined the smooth wall; the ceiling was arched, and the opening that was allowing the sunlight to enter was right in the middle of it. She was carrying rock climbing gear in her backpack, but it was only in case of dire need, as it wasn't her favourite activity and she wasn't very experienced at it. "This definitely qualifies as dire need", she decided, and started to get ready.
Aelia slowly made her way up the wall, making full use of the stash of pitons she had carried along; she slipped a few times and the backpack was adding extra weight, but half an hour later she was making her way up the narrow fissure. Much to her surprise, she found herself standing on a completely different landscape than she'd taken refuge from the night before. She was now on a small clearing, surrounded by a thick forest; in the distance she could hear shouting and the sounds of a fight. She checked the compass and noticed the needle had settled down and appeared to be working properly. The phone, however, was still out of signal range; she turned it off to save battery and packed the ropes. She decided to move towards the sounds, as she was certain that it could only be a skirmish between poachers and mountain rangers. Once the thieves were taken into custody, she would accompany the rangers to the foot of the mountains and back to civilization.
As she made her way through the trees, she was stunned to see that the several dozens of men fighting at the edge of the forest were by no means mountain rangers; for one, they were wearing nothing of the red and black uniform she was used to seeing on these trails. Instead, they were clad in black leather and chain-mail and carrying huge steel swords... "Wait, what?!!" She ducked behind a tree and pinched her arm: she wasn't asleep. Maybe she was still in the cave, hallucinating from the strong electrical charge of the atmosphere?
She took another careful look from behind the tree; the battle was almost over and she could see some of the combatants fleeing the scene. The victors were rounding up their wounded and securing the prisoners with ropes. Her eyes fell on the man who seemed to be their leader and she felt her lower body warm up: the guy was by far the sexiest she'd ever seen.
He seemed to be in his late twenties or early thirties; like the others, he was dressed in black leather, a long cloak made of dark fabric hanging on his back and down to the back of his knees. His breeches hugged his hips in the most enticing way, and the knee-high boots were attracting attention to his perfectly carved thighs. He wasn't wearing chain-mail, and the white shirt underneath the black leather vest was slightly undone, exposing the upper part of his well built chest. He was wearing his raven hair cropped short and his face was all sharp angles; his full lips seemed to be made for touching and kissing, contradicting the hard look in his deep blue eyes as he was giving short orders to his men. Yes, she was definitely hallucinating, this man couldn't be real; they didn't make them like this anymore, oozing masculinity, this guy seemed like he'd stepped off the cover of some cloak and dagger novel.
Aelia continued to stare, mesmerized, at the handsome figment of her dirty imagination; she didn't notice that one of the soldiers had seen her and was moving towards the tree she was now more leaning on than hiding behind. The man grabbed her shoulder and, in one quick move, she reacted by throwing him to the ground; she had been trained in martial arts from an early age and the skills had come in handy more than once in the shabby neighbourhood she'd grown up in. The man left out a loud moan which attracted the attention of his comrades who started to run in her direction. She knew she couldn't outrun them and threw her backpack to the ground, preparing herself for the attack.
Two of the men plunged forward and they were soon joining their mate on the ground; another one jumped at her shaking his sword and shouting in anger, and she managed to kick the blade out of his hand. However, more attacked her at once and in a matter of minutes they had her pinned to the ground; she could see a blade dropping steadfastly towards her chest. In one swift move, the man's arm was caught before it pierced her jacket. She heard someone bark an order of which she could only make out "alive" and she was hurled to her feet, arms still held tight by two soldiers.
She was now standing before the guy she'd been drooling over for the past few minutes, who seemed to be the leader of the group. He was staring at her in disbelief and she realized that her appearance must look as strange to him as his did to her. He motioned to the men holding her to let go, and circled her, inspecting her clothes closely. He then looked straight into her eyes, obviously used to his gaze intimidating people and expecting her to lower her head to avoid it. However, he hadn't counted on her experience in dealing with the harshest managers in the business: she held his eyes intently. In truth, she was scared out of her wits, but she didn't want to let him know. His blue stare was deep and as she tried to read it she could see arrogance, cruelty and curiosity. He was overly confident, a natural born alpha male and, though she usually hated his type, she found herself strangely drawn to him.
Before she could try to reason with him, he was already motioning to the men to take her along with the prisoners. Another man took her backpack and they set out through the forest. They didn't tie her down, though, as they had done with the enemy prisoners, and she was grateful for that.
They had been walking for about fifteen minutes when she saw her chance for freedom; she had stopped fighting the men who were holding her, so they thought she was tamed and loosened their grip. As the man on her right broke off from the group for a minute to relieve himself, she slid her hand in the pocket of the polar jacket and retrieved the pepper spray she was carrying for emergencies. She swiftly sprayed the other man's eyes and made a run for the trees, leaving him shouting in pain. She heard the others chase after her, but she kept going. She had always been a fast runner and the earlier fight hadn't taken much of her energy.
She could hear that her pursuers were lagging behind and was already feeling relieved, when something knocked her down; she managed to kick the man in the shin and her knee made its way towards his private parts. She didn't fully hit her target, but she felt some satisfaction at his groan. She knew the battle was lost the moment she hit the ground, because, unlike the other men she had fought off earlier, their leader wasn't all about brute force, but had some moves of his own. He managed to immobilize her and twist her arms behind her back so that if she kept struggling, her shoulders would be dislodged from their sockets.
He pulled her up and pinned her between the nearest tree and his own body; the sexual tension was palpable as he gazed angrily into her eyes. "You're a wild cat, aren't you? Don't worry, I have ways of taming the likes of you", he hissed into her ear, then he leaned down and kissed her forcefully, while forcing her thighs open with his knee. She could smell his musky scent, sweaty from the fight, but very masculine; she tried to resist his kiss, but he held her jaw tight until she opened her mouth to his invasion. Heat and moist was already building up between her thighs, and she again thought that this had to be some kind of kinky fantasy, that it was too surreal to happen in real life.
Their kiss was interrupted by his men approaching and he dragged her towards them; asking for some rope, he tied her arms behind her back and tied her to the group of enemy prisoners. The man she'd sprayed was still moaning in pain and the others were shooting dark looks her way. The leader picked up the can of pepper spray and held it carefully. "Don't, my liege", said one of the men, who seemed older than the rest, "It might damage your eyes as well". The looks on the other men's faces showed the same concern. No one else would touch the damned devil's toy.
Ignoring his men's warnings, he asked her "How does this work?" "I'll show you if you let me go", she said, sporting a bravado she did not really feel. She had to get out of this mess and fast. Whoever or whatever these people were, they were obviously dangerous and she didn't want to stick around long enough to find out just what they were capable of. His only reply was a short laugh, after which he gave the order to set off.
No-one spoke to her for the rest of the journey, but she was closely watched and there was no other opportunity to escape; a few hours later they reached an odd-looking stone castle. She had always been a history buff and she enjoyed studying fortifications, but she couldn't recognize the style or the period of this construction. The walls were very thick and it was surrounded by a wide ditch, filled with water. It did remind her of medieval European castles, but the shape and decorations of the outer walls were something she'd never seen before.
A huge drawbridge was lowered and the group entered the city; the soldiers were greeted with cheers by the civilian population and it was obvious that they loved their leader. He smiled and waved to the crowd, his gaze no longer harsh, but even somewhat warm, and then gave quick orders to have the prisoners taken to the dungeon and interrogated.
"My prince, what about the wild witch?", asked one of the men; he gave Aelia a look as if he was hoping for the leader to order her to the dungeons as well. She shuddered as she realized his intentions and gave the prince a pleading look. He smiled again in his playfully cruel way and spoke briefly to one of the guards; she couldn't hear his words, but she was taken towards the main building, which seemed like the centre of the walled city.
The servants bowed as prince Rowald entered the main hall of the castle. He motioned to a pretty dark-haired girl and, as he passed on his way to his private chambers, she followed him. The bath was already prepared and he discarded his clothes; he moaned softly as he entered the hot tub; it had been a long and tiresome day and he needed to relax.
The girl began to gently lather his body with soap; she let her hands roam on his shoulders, lightly massaging his sore muscles, then slowly down his chest, making her way through the curls of dark hair and down to his thighs. He smiled as she ignored his already swollen cock and continued to wash his legs, all the way down to his feet.
When she was finished, she took off the light gown she was wearing and entered the tub, straddling him. She massaged his cock with expert fingers and leaned down to taste it. She took it all in her mouth and began to move her head up and down. She had done this many times before and she knew exactly how to please her master. He stopped her right before he came and stood up, dragging her along. He laid her on the bed and entered her in one swift motion. Out of nowhere, the image of the auburn-haired beauty from the forest entered his mind, and he came instantly, grunting loudly. He would take her too like this soon, that much he knew.