Feldare Tales: A Lesson Learnedbymack_the_knife©
The unfortunate guard was standing his post, watching the countryside below. He hated this shift, midnight to dawn. The cold wind from the north, blowing down off the Westron Mountains made his loose long hair flutter erratically and penetrated through his threadbare cloak like icy fingers. He scanned the valley below, noting that once again, there was nothing to see. He paced down the crenellating for a few paces and peered out again. Wizards are so damn paranoid, he thought. His fingers were now numb from the cold and clutching the heavy fighting spear they forced him to carry, though no good reason could be given for a man fifty feet up on a rooftop to carry one.
A dark shape slipped up behind him, having oozed over the edge of the serrated wall. His pot helm protected his head, but not his neck and the shape struck for that spot. It was a well-aimed and well-delivered blow, with almost surgical precision. The guard slumped against the low wall and slid down. The hooded figure looked about quickly, then silently glided across the rooftop of the tower, heading toward the little hut in the center of the roof. The shape slid through the doorway and into the little room, a set of spiral stairs, a flickering torch lit the staircase with jumping, inconsistent light.
Down the spiral stairs the cloaked shape went, still silent, its black mantle fluttering in odd gusts of breeze that penetrated even into the stairwell. At the bottom, the figure stopped at a heavy oaken door. The thumb latch clicked gently and the figure flowed through the door as it opened a crack.
In the hallway, the figure again stopped. Oddly thick hands came up to the collar and opened the enwrapping cloak, unfastening a small clasp at the base of the hood. The backs of the hands were furred, as was the face and torso that were revealed when the cloak moved to the sides. Shedding the cloak like a snake's skin, the person slipped down the hall, revealed now as a female form, though definitely not a human one.
Her long feet, where she walked on her toes was the first sign, though there were other, more obvious ones. As she moved down the hallway, her triangular ears twitched and angled, searching for errant sounds. Keen emerald eyes scanned the corridor, with its flickering torchlight. Her long, sinuous tail trailed behind her, as if remembering, belatedly, that it was needed on this journey, as well.
As she neared the next door down the hall, her feline face broke into a wide smile, revealing her inch-long fangs and smaller sharp teeth. She pressed her ear to the door with a cautious motion, listening intently. Apparently satisfied with what she heard, she reached for the thumb latch and toggled it.
The door opened quietly. Three cheers for good maintenance, she thought. And slipped into the darkened room.
She silently shut the door, holding down the latch to prevent the spring-loaded bolt from making its traditional click as it locked into its catch. She sniffed the air, her small, inverted triangle of a nose flexing in the darkness. Again, she seemed satisfied and there was a soft rustle of leather then light filled the little room. She held a glass ball, about the size of a fist, and it glowed quite brightly with a somewhat blue tint. Peering into the room she saw where she had been told the vault laid. In the middle of the floor's timbers was a spot obviously marred by the repeated movement of something heavy, and the something was the vault's trap door, she knew.
Her gray-blue fur caught the light and shone as she moved, highlighting her long, slender musculature. She held the stone aloft and out of her field of vision. Her shadow loomed beside her, looking like a giant protective feline, with its mouth agape and fangs revealed. She padded to the spot, her thick toes with their soft pads making her very quiet without trying, and nearly silent when she was.
She scanned around the scratched section of floor and saw a discolored spot nearby, where many grubby hands had touched. Pressing this spot with one thick finger, her claw retracted, she heard a loud click. A moment later, a square section of floor raised up evenly, then slid aside, making a little noise as it did so. There were narrow, steep stairs downward under the boards. She stepped down the stairs and descended to the floor below. Above her, she heard the wooden floor section moving back into place a few moments later.
The light from her globe filled the hallway and she saw the glinting from the iron bands that held the heavy door together. As she neared it, she saw the keyholes for its three internal locks. Her smile broadened as she neared the door. This was going flawlessly, as most of her little forays did. She knelt before the door and unrolled a small pouch onto the floor. Tiny, delicate tools filled the pouch, and she selected two of those. Holding the stone in the crook of her neck with her shoulder, she pried the two tools into the topmost lock and began working the tools around the guts of the lock. After a moment, she put one tool down, then picked out another. A moment later, the lock clicked and she began to purr.
Still purring, she started on the bottommost lock, it yielded almost as quickly as the first, and her self-satisfaction glinted in her large eyes. Her tail had also begun to twitch side to side in quick, sharp motions.
The informant had said that the middle one was the trap, and she assiduously avoided it. She reached for the thumb latch when she heard the trapdoor opening above and behind her. She glanced left and right, but the hallway provided no chance of cover, pushing into the room as she covered the orb with her shirt she shut the door behind her. In the hall, she could hear the soft tread of feet as they descended the stairs. With a start, she remembered the lock picks in their pack just outside the door. There was a noticeable gap beneath the door and she extended her finger under it and could barely touch the cloth of the roll. One three-inch claw extended from the grasping finger and caught the cloth, she pulled finger, claw, and roll back under the door and quickly rolled it up.
She let a tiny sliver of light out of her shirt and peered into the barely-lit room. Her objective was right there. A wand. It was crafted of some white material, ivory perhaps. It was not the material she was interested in, it was the ten thousand marks that the magician in Vilders had offered in payment for her to get it for him that interested her. Delicate runes marked its surface and silver tracery glinted from over its head.
Whoever was in the hall had stopped before the door and was fumbling with the locks. She turned and looked down. There the two mechanisms were quite visible, being bolted to the door from this side. She also looked at the middle lock's place, though that was the trap, she knew. It fired a spring-loaded dart, tipped with paralytic poison out of the keyhole, she had been told, and any sharp motion would trigger it. With what seemed a rather mischievous grin she drew forth a small crowbar. As she heard the person outside jiggling the lower lock she brought the crowbar down on the mechanism behind the middle keyhole. It made quite a lot of noise, but she was rewarded, also, with the sound of a metallic pinging sound. The person in the hall grunted and then there was a thudding sound, like someone had dropped a sack of potatoes.
She bolted across the room, and grabbed the wand. Stuffing it into a long, leather tube on her belt, she looked quickly around the little treasury. The magician had warned her that the man who owned this tower was crafty, and to beware any baited traps. She looked at a chest set against the wall, with gold and silver chains dangling from its mouth. No, she decided, no side money on this one. She slipped back to the door and unlocked the locks that the person on the other side had inadvertantly locked when they tried to re-unlock them.
Opening the door a few inches, she saw a man wearing a black outfit, reminding her of the warrior assassins used in Niliwan, this man, however, was no expert of stealth and combat. He was a common rogue. Probably hired by the same magician as hired her, as insurance. The idiot had just chosen the wrong night to try his caper.
His eyes were open, and he watched her as she stepped over him. A hoarse whisper emerged from his lips as she walked down the hall, causing her to turn around.
"Sharesh." He whispered, his eyes rolled up to look at her at the edge of his field of vision. He looked over her slim body and partially smiled.
She stepped back. "You know me?" She asked, eyeing him suspiciously. In a fit of uncharacteristic generosity, she bent over and plucked the tiny dart from the middle of his forehead, flicking it negligently toward the corner..
The man nodded. His mask had fallen from his face and she looked at him carefully. "Well, I do not know you, human." She said. "If you are not found before the poison wears off, I recommend you leave quickly. The wizard is fond of traps, and I would warn against trying to abscond with any baubles."
A minute nod of his head told her that the poison was already weakening, else he was a very tough man. She smiled down at him. "Good luck." She said, and headed for the stairs.
Moving up the stairs with speed and agility, she was through the trap door before it finished opening, and out into the hall again before it closed. Her emerald eyes scanned the hallway quickly and she swept through the door up to the roof, letting it hang on its hinges. In a few moments, she would be completely free of the tower, and leaving a trail behind her was not to be worried over once she was on the ground.
As she ran up the stairs, she hunched over and started assisting her motion with her hands. By the time she cleared the lip of the topmost stair she was speeding along almost twice as fast as a skilled human runner. There were shouts from down the stairs. Then sounds of alarm. She grinned. "Too late, fools." She said as she sprinted on all-fours across the open rooftop. The guard she had blindsided as she came in was just standing as she bounded off his back and leapt into the darkness beyond the crenelated wall. His head bounced off the wall with her absorbed momentum and the man groaned and slumped back down, his lips flapping in unconsciousness.
Sharesh tucked herself into a ball as she fell through the cold air. Fifty feet was a bit much for even a rakasta, but she would manage, though it was likely to hurt some. She uncurled and landed on both hands and feet, splaying them apart and the digits of each, as well, with claws extended. It was reflexive, the distributing of her weight, but it served its purpose.
She landed hard, her body nearly hitting the ground before her springlike muscles in her arms and legs absorbed enough of the kinetic energy to stop the downward motion. Her arms and legs all stung from the shock of the landing, and her left leg almost collapsed as sharp pain shot through it. She had pulled a muscle. Not terribly surprising, considering the fall, she thought, but stopped only a few seconds before launching herself, despite the pain in her leg, off into the night.
On the rooftop, two guards were helping up their fallen comrade. "Did you get a good look at him?" One asked.
The injured guard shook his head, and immediately regretted the move. He felt as if his brains were going to run out of his ears. The other two said that they needed to go tell the wizard something was amiss, and they both headed down the stairs.
The guard remained on his post, having two near concussions marring his night. He looked around and finally found his spear. He reached down to pick it up when something hit him in the head again, ringing off his helmet like a gong. He collapsed over onto his face, and never saw the slim man slipping over the wall and down a black rope into toward the ground.
Sharesh stopped near Vilders at a nice inn on the highway between that city and Malin. She checked in with the bartender who gave her the key to her room that she had rented earlier that week. She ignored the smell of cooking breakfast filling the common room and walked with a noticeable limp up the stairs. It had taken all morning to get here, even with her ground-eating lope. Her leg screamed in protest at its abuse.
She looked around her room, then smiled at the soft bed. Curling up in it, she fell asleep almost instantly.
She awoke the next afternoon. Her leg ached, but was now healed enough to walk without a visible limp. Her hands ran over her fur. She felt nasty, too dirty to clean with her own tongue. As much as she hated bathing 'human-style' she called down to the innkeeper from the doorway. "Landlord, I require a bath and raw meat, please, sir."
A moment later, the man who ran the bar, a tubby little man who seemed unable to stop sweating or staring, for that matter, called up. "Yes ma'am, right away."
She smiled at his quick response, but given how much she had paid for the room for a week, he could be solicitous toward her. A few minutes later, a young man came to her door, and rapped gently. She opened it and he held out a long robe. "If madame wishes to bathe." He said, quietly. He was perhaps twenty years of age, though human ages were sometimes hard to guess for the rakasta, and she only concerned herself with them insofar as the younger ones usually had protective parents. Rakasta have, relative to humans, short life spans, only about fifty years, assuming old age takes one. Sharesh, herself was but twenty years of age, though that made her almost thirty-five in human terms.
With a wide grin she nodded and took the robe. Without closing the door all the way, she slipped off her shirt and skirt, making sure to stand where he could watch her if he liked. She had liked his dark eyes and olive skin, and wanted to find out if he had other curly brown hair anywhere, as adorned his head.
She slipped the robe on and went back to the door. His expression told her that he had indeed opted to watch her change, and she smiled at him. "What is your name?" She purred, her tail sliding over his bare legs beneath the long tunic he wore.
He stammered a bit. "Ah ... Alan." He said as her tail explored up under the hem of his tunic.
"Please, Alan, lead the way to the baths." She said, and followed him as he turned down the hall. "I must say, I am impressed with the forward thinking of this establishment, to send a young man to help me bathe. Very metropolitan." She murmured as they walked.
His back stiffened at those words, and his walk became much more mechanical. She grinned softly at his discomfort. Her mind ran through the odds of his taking her up on the bath or whether he would bolt, like a scared deer.
"Um ... Yes ma'am." He said, and tried to smile casually. It looked more like he had something in under his tunic too tightly cinched. He would accept, she decided, and her tail started twitching in anticipation.
The pair entered the bathing room, where a large tub sat in the middle. It was half full of water, as she watched he began letting water in from a large barrel suspended over a warm vent from the kitchen fireplace below. It ran steaming into the tub, and he finished filling it with the hot water. "You are certain you need assistance?" He asked, the nervous expression on his face finally made her take pity upon him.
"Only if you wish dear." She said, touching his arm with a padded palm.
His nervous expression changed quickly to a relieved one. "Well, ma'am, as far as what I wish," he said, his eyes drifting down the length of the robe, which outlined her curving figure well, "I would wish you to have me do so, despite my own fears."
She giggled, the sound through her alien larynx rather peculiar, but obviously a soft laugh. It sounded almost like hissing. "You do as you wish." She said and turned her back to him and held out her arms.
She felt his arms wrap about her slim waist and reach for the tied belt of the robe. He pulled the ends of the cloth belt apart and the robe fell open. His hands moved to her shoulders, never quite not touching her, and took hold of the material there and pulled back gently as she moved her arms to her sides and back a little. His breathing became a bit short as he revealed her softly furred back, then her firm, round rump, with its long, sinuous tail.
Turning about, she smiled at the lad, his eyes widened as he took in her front, from her large firm breasts down her flat, heavily muscled stomach to the tight mound of her pubis. She gently pushed his mouth shut with a wide finger. "Remember to breathe." She whispered to him.
He inhaled with a massive gasp and watched as she slipped past him, again trailing her long tail over his upper thighs and letting the tip explore up under the edge of his tunic a bit.
She walked over the lip of the tub and her expression became one of anticipation mixed with disgust. She finally sat and started scooping up water and running it over her soft fur. At first it beaded on the slick fur, but she picked up the bar of soap and ran it over the water and the fur lost its cohesion and became thoroughly soaked. She peered over her shoulder to the young man. "Alan, you may wish to disrobe." She said. "I'm a messy bather."
He gulped but followed her advice, lifting his tunic over his head and revealing his slim loincloth beneath, tied with a cloth belt. Indeed, it did seem to be cinched too tightly, she thought. She smiled at the bulge in the front of that loincloth and gestured for him to approach her. He was a bit skinnier than she preferred her men, but would fill out in time. The expression she wore now was positively predatory as she handed him the bar of soap and said. "My back please."
He scooped up water with one hand, while rubbing the soap into the wet fur with the other. She arched her back at the sensation and began purring. Her fur, while beautiful when she was dry, was clingy and flat when she was wet. Still the muscles and skin beneath were a pleasure to run his fingers over as he scrubbed. He hooked his fingertips now, and laid his nails to her spine. She growled this time, somewhere deep in her throat. When he looked up, she was watching him intently, staring into his light brown eyes.
Her own eyes drifted down to his loincloth, and while he had both hands occupied, she reached up with her free hand and pulled at the bow knot holding one side of the cloth belt. The loincloth fell aside partially, giving her a tantalizing view of the head of his organ, and the thick tangle of dark hair over it, that matched the hair on his head, a rich mahogany brown.
She smiled as his breathing again became short and forced. She reached around with her long fingers and pulled the other knot, and the loincloth and the belt fell to the floor. She took in his manhood with her eyes. It stood upright, and curved noticeably upward. It was a good one, she decided, neither too large, nor too small for her needs. Indeed, she had found few were too large or small for her rather widely varied needs.
"Bathe with me." She said. "My front needs a good washing, as well." She purred. Her eyes followed him as he walked nervously around the tub and then stepped into it. As he sat down, she felt his legs around hers, and his toes against the inside of her upper thighs. Her own toes were against his, in much the same manner.
As he began to soap and lather up her stomach, she moved her feet down to either side of his engorged cock's base. He gasped as she ran her claws over his skin, extending them slightly and using them to trace circles around his organ.
His sudsing hands moved over her breasts, and she arched forward to press against his fingers harder. Her bald nipples and areolas attracted his touch as much as the furry portons, and he cupped both in his hands while scrubbing the fur as best he could, kneading and rubbing the round breasts and enjoying the hard nipples as they slid, slippery with soap, over and through his fingers.