Feldare Tales: High Society Ch. 05bymack_the_knife©
"Don't hurt me, I'm staying quiet," he said, shielding his eyes from the dim illumination.
His body was bruised and his clothes gone. He cowered naked against the wall.
"We'll not hurt you, Kenett," said Crissa, stepping into the chamber. No flare of insanity flashed into her mind from him, only abject terror so strong that she could taste iron in her mouth.
Peris followed her and Crissa handed her the rod. "I promise, I'll not hurt you," she murmured, kneeling beside the young man.
One eye peered from behind his fingers. "You won't?" he asked, his voice full of fear, still.
Crissa touched his shoulder and he pulled away, jerking his arm and rattling the chain about his neck. "No," she said, shaking her head. "I only wish to help you."
"That's what they said, too!" he screamed, pulling away and scooting down the wall on his rump, almost crab walking. He wound up in the corner, his legs pulled up and arms forming a cage of limbs to protect his head and body.
Ugly bruises covered his limbs, and his sides as well. She had seen similar bruises on his face, too, while he had been moving.
"What have they done to you?" asked Crissa, crawling toward him, staying as low as she could, unthreatening, like approaching an animal.
"They. They hurt me," he said. "They said it was to make me better, to clear my mind." His voice broke into quiet laughter. "They want to help me, too, just like you."
"No," said Crissa. "They were hurting you. I won't hurt you, ever, Kenett."
The one bleary eye peered from his hands again. "How can I know that?" he asked.
Crissa pulled at the string holding on her skirt, and it slid around her waist and fell to the floor. She untied her cloak as well and she slipped off her tunic in a practiced motion. "I have nothing to hurt you with, Kenett," she said, crawling toward him again. "I'm as naked as you."
He lowered one hand, looking at her with wide eyes. "You're pretty," he said.
Crissa gave him a wide, toothless smile. "You think so?" she asked. "I'm glad if you do."
He returned her smile; his lip was split deeply, bleeding into his mouth. "Yes," he said, "very pretty."
She was now right beside him, and she sat up, resting on her knees. "I think you're handsome, for a bookworm," she said, grinning at him.
He let out a small laugh, "You'd be the first to think so," he said. His eyes darted toward Peris, as if noticing her for the first time. "I know her, her name is Peris."
The young noblewoman nodded. "Yes," she said. "We go to the academy together."
Crissa now touched his arms, gently urging them down as she looked over him. He had been badly beaten, and thoroughly. Bruises marked every part of his skinny body, big ones, some ugly and open, where the skin yielded to the sores and swelling beneath.
"We have to get you some help," she said, touching his cheek with her soft fingertips. "We have to get you out of here."
He cowered back. "They'll kill me," he muttered, looking toward the door with fear in his eyes.
"No," said Crissa, taking hold of his hands, "they'll not hurt you. I'm a sorceress, I'll protect you."
"You, you're Crissa," he said, stammering again. "They said you'd kill me if I didn't stay here."
"Who is they?" asked Crissa, growing a bit impatient of hearing about this mythical ‘them.'
He saw that impatience as a threat and shied away from her fingertips. "They of the eye," he said, pulling back.
"No, no," she said, reaching for him again. "I'm not angry with you, nor will I kill you, I promise those things."
He still looked dubious, but allowed her to take his hands again. He moved them to her shoulders. "Can you stand?" she asked.
He nodded, a jerky motion that set his curly hair to bouncing. Slowly she stood up, lifting him with her. Soon, he was upright. He was just shorter than her and looked up at her slightly.
"You're tall for a girl," he said.
She smiled at him and kissed his brow. "You're short for a boy," she retorted.
The gentle interplay of comments seemed to ground him in the real world a moment, even if only for that, and he looked at Peris again. "You're not with them are you?" he asked.
"With whom?" asked Peris.
He looked at her with worried eyes. "The eye," he said, finally, almost wincing as he did so.
Crissa bent and picked up her cloak, putting it over Kenett's shoulders. "Here," she said in a soft tone. "Else I may have to ravish you." Her smile was broad and flirtatious, she was not purely joking.
She then hastily dressed again. "Come, we're taking you out of here," said Crissa.
Kenett watched her dress. "Never seen a grown woman naked before," he said, wistfully.
Crissa looked at him after pulling the tunic over her ample breasts. "You may see this one naked again if you are a good lad," she offered.
"Me, too," said Peris, smiling at him.
He blinked at that, hormones suddenly making up for innate courage. "Well, then," he said, a bright smile forming on his face. "How can I refuse to be a good lad?"
Peris led the way out of the room. She entered the hallway and was tackled from the side as she passed into the hall and began to turn. She let out a brief shriek as the rod tumbled to the floor with a hollow rattle. Crissa gasped and jumped toward the doorway only to feel intense pain as a fist flew from around the doorframe and into her face. She fell back even as Kenett ran to the corner again, wailing, "No, no, no, no!"
Stars danced before her eyes and her head spun from the impact. Her foe did not give her time to recover. Slamming into her with a high, piercing cry of, "Witch!" Her head slammed into the flagstones of the floor and her vision darkened. He was straddling her, his large hands upon her shoulders. He lifted her and pushed her down again and her head bounced on the stones again, further sending her into near unconsciousness.
From the corner of her dimming vision, she saw Peris dragged into the chamber by her hair, and the man pulling her, a massive man, naked except a pair of pants, kicked the door shut behind them.
He threw Peris negligently at the wall, where she hit, shoulder first and then striking her head. She groaned as she slid to the floor, folding in on herself. She gave Crissa an imploring look as the man yanked on the drawstrings on his pants and eyed her with saliva running down his chin.
The young man on her chest was still screaming, but she blotted that out, and the pain from her skull as he bounced it off the stones yet again. She reached out with her mind to Peris' attacker. The surface was jagged and unsettling, unfamiliar territory. She could not work within this man's brain; it was too alien a field to manipulate. The darkness was beginning to swallow Crissa.
She shifted her mind to Kenett's. Unlike the insane man about to rape Peris, his mind was smooth and orderly and she knew the landmarks of a sane man. She quickly touched here and there, brushing this thought, highlighting another. She moved hastily, and knew she must, for she was about to lose consciousness.
The last connection in his mind was made, and she had completed her task. A hard fist landed against her cheek as the boy screamed, "Die Witch!" It went dark.
Peris was withdrawing into herself, seeing already the lust in the man's eyes that was tugging at her tunic. "You and me will have great fun, yes we will, yes we will," he said, great blobs of spittle rolling over his lower lip.
Her top tore open and his filthy, clawed hands groped her small, round breasts. "Pretty girly, gonna take my seed, yes, indeed, then I'll eat her," he hissed.
She tried vainly to kick at him, but the insane man was much stronger than she. He stomped one foot down upon her shin, sending an intense shock up her leg, which numbed her nearly to her thigh.
Peris' eyes moved over to Crissa again, who lolled like a rag doll in the hands of the younger man. He was still well dressed, and looked perfectly normal as he smashed his fist into Crissa's cheek, blood flew from the blonde girl's mouth as her head snapped around.
She looked back at her attacker, who had grabbed her ankles and was pulling her prone on the floor. She looked down to see his cock hanging down, seeming to be impossibly long and pointed, like a weapon itself. "Feed the filthy little whore my seed, then she feeds me," he muttered as he yanked at the elven skirt, ripping it free with a single pull, and revealing her entrance and tight patch of pubic hair.
He crawled up over her, his organ poised over her pelvis. She whimpered, begging him to stop. "No, no," he said, his expression almost sympathetic. "Don't cry, all you little whores like a good fucking before I eat, yes?"
He reached down and she felt the hot, round head of his pole touch her tender entrance, pressing into the lips slightly.
Peris' mind braced for his entry, knowing it was about to happen, regardless. She readied her body to bear his weight, stiffening and closing her eyes.
His weight came down on her, but he did not enter her. He slumped atop her, his chin digging painfully into her shoulder as he collapsed. His cock slid out from between the soft folds of her opening and tried to prod the stones, instead.
She opened her eyes and looked up. Standing over the crazed rapist was Kenett, holding the illuminated rod in both hands. Blood dripped from the silver head and she felt blood run over her cheek. She turned her gaze to her attacker and a large spreading flow of blood emerged from behind his ear.
Kenett's eyes burned with rage and passion, and he looked like a man about to lay waste to an entire city, just to avenge some slight. He looked at her, and the expression softened. "You're okay?" he asked worry filling his words.
"Yes, help her!" screamed Peris, looking toward Crissa.
His love bade it and he performed quickly. Stepping toward the other, smaller crazed man, Kenett grabbed the younger man by the throat with his left hand. The insane youth squawked as the scrawny bookworm hauled him off of Crissa and half tossed him across the room to tumble onto the floor.
"Kill him!" screamed Peris, her face filled with fear and rage as she shoved the massive man off of her.
With an almost impassive expression, Kenett stepped toward the babbling and screeching younger man. The boy stepped toward Crissa again and the rod came around in Kenett's grip, striking the boy in the neck.
The young man's face looked shocked, and rather offended as the rod came about again, and there was a sickening sound of breaking bone as his jaw snapped from the solid impact. "My love says you die, you die, boy," said Kenett in an utterly uninflected tone.
The younger man's babble degenerated into an incoherent wail as Kenett began striking him, over and over. Blood flew and the light from the wand flashed and flickered as it swung around Kenett, casting fast-moving shadows about the room. Peris began crying, knowing she had ordered the crazed lad's death. Terrible sounds of bone snapping and meat being struck came to her ears and she cried out, "Enough Kenett, enough!"
Kenett turned toward her, blood streaking his cheeks and matting his hair. "I have pleased you?" he asked. She saw the glitter of affection in those eyes. He loved her, utterly. She could see it, as if it were writ upon his brow.
"Yes, beloved," she said, trying to force a smile upon her face. "You've pleased me greatly."
She struggled, pulling her legs free of the dead weight of the massive man who had tried to rape her. Kenett walked over and yanked the man off of her, and gently helped her to her feet. "I am gladdened," he said, his eyes flicking over her, examining every inch of her, memorizing her.
His fingers moved to her hair, stroking it, intertwining with it. "I only wish to please you," he said in a soft tone.
She again forced a smile to her face. "Then you have done well," she said. "For I am totally pleased." She leaned toward him, her lips puckering slightly, offering him a kiss.
He kissed her, and thoroughly. Her eyes went wide a moment as his lips met hers. She had never been kissed so enthusiastically before and the feeling of it thrilled her greatly. His tongue entered her mouth, exploring and probing, and she responded by sucking upon it, welcoming it. Soon, she needed no more of any acting. She was as enthusiastically enjoying the kiss as he.
The kiss ended when Crissa groaned from beside them. Both looked toward her. "Your friend is hurt," he said, "we should help her, right?"
Peris nodded. "Yes," she said, kneeling beside Crissa's prone form. One eye was swollen shut and blood ran from her opposite ear. "He very nearly killed her."
With very gentle fingers, Kenett lifted Crissa, cradling her in his slim arms. Peris blinked at him, wondering at the strength he was displaying. "Are you sure you can bear her?" she asked.
"For you, I would bear the world," he said, and meant it with every fiber of his body.
Her smile was not forced at that moment. She grabbed up her cloak and slipped it onto herself, having to hold it wrapped about her by hand, as the cords were broken which held it closed. She took the wand from Kenett's hand and looked at it.
She touched the silver tip to the chain, a foot or two down from his collar. She spoke the word she had heard Crissa speak twice; it sounded unearthly and seemed to sound louder than she spoke it. The link she was touching shattered, falling in many tiny pieces onto the floor. As she turned toward the door, she caught sight of the younger man, the one who had screamed that Crissa was a witch. She wished she had not.
Bile seared the back of her throat and she fell to her knees, vomiting. Kenett had reduced his head to a bloody, meaty pulp from the nose up. Kenett sounded worried when he asked, "Are you going to be okay?"
After a few more painful heaves, her stomach was empty, and she felt better. She avoided looking at the dead inmate and turned toward Kenett again. "Yes," she croaked out. "I am simply ill."
He nodded. "Lets hope you are well soon," he said, soberly. He made light of the load that was Crissa, despite the fact that she likely weighed at least as much as he.
"We need to go, now," said Peris, moving toward the door. She pulled it open, holding the wand up, ready to strike a blow if anyone was beyond it. There was nothing in the blue-white glow of the wand in the hall, save the stones of the walls and floor.
They moved toward the stairs and quickly descended them. Kenett had no trouble with the unconscious Crissa, carrying her without complaint or issue. He seemed quite at ease, in truth, his mind was focused. Peris thought it rather appealing, that his mind was focused upon her.
At the bottom of the stairs, they found a dead man, holding a short club. One of the orderlies of the asylum, apparently there was one or two on duty even at night. He had been stabbed in the ribs, though, not bludgeoned, as one of the inmates must do, as they had no knives.
"Someone from outside killed him," said Peris.
Kenett nodded slowly. "Looks like that," he said in a surprisingly reasonable tone. "They don't let us in here have knives or other weapons."
She looked toward the two cells that had housed the men who had attacked them. "Someone let them out to kill us," she said, her voice little more than a sigh.
Kenett just blinked, looking at her. "We should leave, then," he said. "Else they may try again."
She nodded in agreement, pulling him toward the storeroom door.
As they ran through the gate, Peris thought she saw a shape in the fog, at the edge of her vision. It flitted away when she looked toward it, and she only saw swirling mists when she moved that way. "Come," she said, leading Kenett toward Marrat's home.
They covered almost half the distance when she had a thought, and stopped them. "No, we need somewhere else for the moment," she said. "They're likely watching Marrat's home."
Kenett just watched her as she looked down the street and saw a reasonably reputable inn. She then turned to Kenett and reached into the cloak, which he wore. She soon found the deep pocket, which had held the rod, then dug about, coming out with a few small silver quarter mark coins.
Peris told Kenett to wait outside and went inside, she paid for a room and received the heavy iron key. She then came back out. This inn, the Lazy Wolf, was more a series of little huts than rooms, and they each had their own door to the street. She let them into their hut and bade Kenett lay Crissa upon the bed.
"She needs a healer," said Kenett.
Peris rummaged into Crissa's cloak again, and found her last few coins. Not nearly enough for a healer's services. Her mind swam with fear and upset, little money and in need of expensive services.
Kenett was wearing, then, an expression of confusion. "Peris?" he asked. Crissa's tampering with his mind was wearing off, leaving him normal again. The confusion yielded to fear as he looked around. "What happened?"
She put her hand upon his brow. "It's okay," she said. "We got you out." Then she giggled, a humorless sound, but full of odd relief. "Actually, you rescued us."
"I remember that, but how?" he asked. He looked at his hands, and at the caked blood on them. "I'm no warrior, I was terrified. Then I HAD to save you, had to help you. I loved you."
She grinned at him as she started stripping Crissa's skirt off the taller girl. "Yes, you did, and you did me proud," she said.
"What are you doing?" he asked as she slipped the tunic over Crissa's head.
"I have to go out," she said. "We have to get a healer here." She tied on the skirt and slid on the tunic, then covered Crissa's nude body with the coverlet from the bed. "Watch over her, and don't take advantage of her," she admonished.
"I would never," said Kenett, a shocked expression on his face.
Peris gave him a brilliant smile, full of sharp teeth. "Good, because you're supposed to love me," she said, "Remember?"
With that, she slipped from the room and back onto the street. The night fog was chill as she moved down the street, cloakless. At a water barrel, under the drain from the main eaves of the inn, she scrubbed the blood off the rod hastily, and then proceeded, seeking for the open palm sign of a healer.
Healers, as a rule, kept odd hours, as people tended to hurt themselves when it would be most inconvenient, naturally. Therefore, Pallin was not surprised when someone pounded upon his door well past middle night.
He opened the door, eyes bleary. Pallin was a middle-aged man, long in the service of the healing arts, and well respected in the community.
Peris looked up into his lined face. "I have need of your services, sir," she said, making her eyes wide and apologetic. "I have an injured friend who needs tending, badly."
He nodded and opened the door for her to enter. "Come in a moment, let me get dressed," he said. His voice was deep and resonant, and she rather liked the softness of it.
"I need to know your rates, sir," she said, speaking hesitantly.
He walked around a corner into his bedchamber. "My rates depend on what is needed of me," he replied. "If I must use magic, of course, the costs go up quickly, especially if I need any rare herbs or minerals."
"I have but two marks," she said.
He peered around the corner. "Not much healing in two marks, young woman," he said, his voice sounding very tired.
"I know that," she said, lowering her eyes. This was entirely an act; Peris knew full well what she might need to do to secure healing for Crissa. She also knew Crissa would happily do it for her, were their roles reversed.
He stared at her a moment. "I'll see what I can do for your friend anyway," he said.
"I'll be very, very grateful," she said, looking up coyly at him, and putting forth the tiniest of inviting smiles.