Innocence Lost Ch. 02-03byLady_Blackhawk©
The next day passed much like the day before, but with a few changes. The dark elf had weakened even more as he refused Mistale's offer of food and water. She boiled a piece of meat to make a broth, holding a cup to his lips. He gathered what little strength he had left to knock the cup away, sloshing warm broth all over her hand.
"Don't be stupid!" Mistale pleaded with him. "Don't you want to live? Is life so horrible for you that you'd willingly choose death? Let me help you!"
She pried his jaw open and slowly poured the broth into his mouth, massaging his throat to make him swallow. She shoved a berry or two in and coaxed him to chew. She sighed as he swallowed willingly and pointed to the waterskin. She brought it to him, holding it to his lips, and let him drink his fill.
He closed his eyes and relaxed against the blankets he lay upon. Perhaps being waited upon by a female wasn't so bad after all, but he'd never let her know that.
And at twilight, she joined him under the blankets, lending her body heat to his to create a nest of warmth. She once again sought her reverie and hoped that the following day would be better.
"Why is it so important for you to help me?" The dark elf asked as he opened his eyes, shifting to his side while he lay next to her in the blankets.
"It is my duty to heal the sick and protect the weak," she replied and scooted away from him, leaving the cozy nest behind. She reached for a linen nightgown and slipped it over her thin body.
"Are you a priestess?" He inquired and felt a shiver course through his body as he thought of the fanatical high priestesses of the wretched Spider Queen.
"No, I'm not a cleric. My vocation lies within nature. I am in service to the Forest Queen as one of her druids." Mistale replied, eyeing him suspiciously.
"And your name, lady druid?" He asked and sat up fully. He stretched the arm that was broken, flexing it back and forth to regain fluidity in it. Then he checked his abdomen, removing the bandages that covered it, and cracked a wry grin because there was no scar at all. How had she managed that?
"I told you my name. It is Mistale. Mistale Greencloak. And yours?" She cocked an eyebrow and met his gaze levelly.
"The noble house of Dryaalis will be thankful that I'm alive, but would kill you in the most painful manner as payment to the debt. It's best you don't know who I am. I feel stronger than I did. I will take my leave and make my way back to my home. Therefore, I shall trouble you no more," he replied and reached for his small pack.
"You won't tell your name."
He shook his head, affirming what he'd said. Mistale let out a long sigh. He may not be fighting her physically now, but they were still battling nonetheless. She gathered her things, stuffing them in her pack and changed her clothes. She left the cave behind and headed for the meadow, where she spent the entire day, resting and daydreaming. Part of her hoped he'd be gone when she returned the small rock dwelling and the other begged for the opposite. As crazy as it seemed, she wished for time to get to know him. Never had a male affected her in the same way he had, not even her betrothed.
She settled back against the soft grasses, allowing the thoughts to consume her mind while she gazed up at the sky above. She drank in its splendor. The heavens above her emblazoned by the fiery glow that preceded the darkness of night. All around her the meadow came alive and spoke in hushed sounds as woodland animals, which frolicked about in the high grass, scurried into the safety of the trees as they sensed something coming. Druids long past believed that all living things communicated with one another and at dusk the sounds of the pines branches swaying gently in the mountain breeze sounded like naughty children whispering about their latest escapade. The tallest of the silver pines, with their tops disappearing in the thick cloud of boughs among the rapidly fading sky, appeared to keep watch over the meadow, guarding it against the rest of the world. Deep grasses in different shades of vibrant green laid a thick carpet, broken only by the sprinkling of red, blue, violet and yellow wildflowers that lifted their fading petals through the lush vegetation to peek at the great expanse of their universe. This was truly nature's cathedral.
Greymist whined low in his throat as he settled in beside her. She reached over and scratched his ears, petting his silken coat. What was it about that male in the cave that made her feel so on edge? Yes, he was a very attractive specimen, the only one she'd ever seen completely naked. Why did the mere sight, the mere thought of him make her heart race and her loins throb? No male, not even her betrothed had brought those feelings to the surface and ever since his death; she had vowed that no male would possess her heart, her body or her soul. Mistale vowed to stick to that.
She patted her wolf companion once more, and spoke in soft tones, "Come with me, my furry friend." Then she returned to the cave with the wolf at her heels.
She paused outside the rocky entrance, wondering what she'd find when she ducked inside. She thought back to the day she had sensed the dark elf's suffering and found him injured. The unknown niggled at her, eating away at her resolve. Please be here, she whispered and ducked inside.
Relief shot through her as she found Azlorik asleep between the blankets. Mistale sated her hunger with a few strips of dried meat and the remains of the wild vegetables she'd found. Polishing off the last of the Mead, she crawled in next to the drow and snuggled into his warm flesh. Her hands traced up his flat stomach, marveling at the feel of the muscles and of the smooth ebony skin.
Just as the sun peaked over the horizon and sent its golden rays forward to illuminate the darkness of the cave, Mistale felt a blade against her throat. Her eyes flew open, full of fright. Her body went rigid as she met the dark elf's intimidating stare. She sucked in a swift breath and held it as she felt the blade trace down the column of her neck, over her collarbone, and came to a stop in the valley between her ivory mounds.
A shiver raced through her before a whimper slipped from her lips. "Please, no. Don't kill me," she pleaded. Tears welled in her eyes.
"Belbau uns'aa uss sanrr ele Usstan zhal'la naut elgg dos (Give me one reason why I should not kill you)?" His tawny eyes twinkled mischievously.
"Usstan dormagyn dosst dro (I saved your life)!" Mistale stated emphatically.
He grinned, tracing the blade further down her skin. He stopped at her navel and gave the skin a small prick. "Lueth dos ssinssrin lil toha dal uns'aa wun yutsu (And you want the same from me in return)?"
Mistale trembled. She licked her lips. "Zhah nindel ichl mzilt ulu joros (Is that too much to ask)? Dos ph' dro p'wal d' uns'aa (You are alive because of me)."
He intently watched her quivering skin, could smell the fear rolling off her skin. "You disregarded what I asked of you. I asked you to kill me. Are you such an incompetent darthiir (surface elf) that you can't even follow simple orders?"
"Then kill me and be rid of me," Mistale bravely challenged.
A chuckle slipped from his lips. "I think not. I think you are now my rothe (slave) and therefore I shall do as I please with you. I will have solid food and something good to drink."
"Slave? I'm not your slave! You've gone crazy, Dark elf!" Mistale retorted, furiously.
"I could feast on your pale flesh and drink your blood if I wanted to."
Fear and revulsion crossed her face. She struggled to be free of his hold on her, but couldn't break loose. He pressed her flat and covered her fully, holding her arms above her head. Mistale whimpered when she felt something warm and thick press against her thigh.
"Qualla (Please) ..." she pleaded with him, tears gathering in her eyes, "...xuat elgg uns'aa (don't kill me)."
He gazed upon her with cold unfeeling eyes, "Dos joros whol ka'lith (You ask for mercy)? Dal natha Ilythiiri... waela kivvil darthirii (From a Dark Elf, foolish surfacer)."
Heat stained her cheeks, turning her face bright red. She looked away nervously, flinching as one of his hands traced down the line of her raised arm, passed her armpit, skirting the round globe of her breast and finally slipped over her ribs to rest against her hip. He watched her intently, drinking in each of her nuances. "Don't flatter yourself, iblith. I have no desire for your pale flesh, except what it might bring me. You are my slave and you will do what I command of you. Refusal to do so will result in punishment that I promise you will not like."
Mistale choked back a sob. This couldn't be happening, she thought, it wasn't fair. One good deed and I'm thrall to a dark elf!
"You will heal me fully and then we will be off. I must return to my home."
She sucked in a deep breath. "You could at least tell me your name." Her eyes met his for a brief moment before she looked away.
He stared at her for several long moments, drinking in the sight of her. He perused her alabaster skin that held a tinge of blue underneath, her high cheekbones and pale pink lips. "And you will look me in the eye when I speak to you," his lofty tone bound her like shackles sealing her fate.
Her eyes met his a second time, emerald green clashing with vibrant amber. "Your name!" Mistale demanded, her tone turning haughty.
"My given name is Azlorik, but you will refer to me as Master only," he matched her haughtiness. "Now heal me. We leave at twilight."
Azlorik made himself comfortable amongst the nest of blankets as Mistale tentatively tended to his injuries. Nearly all of them had healed nicely, including the broken arm and the gash across his shoulder. She checked his abdominal wound and pressed a healing spell against it. He twitched when he felt her cool palm upon his skin. With a heated glare set into his delicate features, he raised his hand and struck her soundly across the face. She yelped as the impact sent her reeling to the cave floor.
"Warm your hands, waele in'loil d' shu (foolish piece of shit)."
Pulling down the blanket to expose his lower half, he ran his fingers over the skin where the wound had been. It was smooth and whole without any traces of a scar. Then he flexed his arm and shoulder, critically eyeing his arm. Nary could a trace of scarring be found anywhere.
"You did well, slave. I will spare you further punishment. Now I want solid food and something good to drink. Is there anything left in that bottle you've been drinking from?"
Mistale shook her head, "No," she murmured.
"Have you any other?"
She shook her head in denial, unwillingly to divulge the truth.
"Did you think your master would not want a share? Next time, you will offer it to me first and when I have had my fill, you may have some. The same goes with food as well. You will serve me my meal first and then may have what is left."
Mistale couldn't believe her ears. "I tried to offer it to you. You didn't want any!"
He arched one white eyebrow at her. "Careful, iblith. You don't want to make me angry."
Mistale nodded and took a deep breath. "I'll have to hunt for some food. There isn't much left over from yesterday."
"You may hunt, but know this. If you attempt to run away, I will find you and you won't like what will happen then. Do you understand me?"
Her back stiffened and she dared to speak her mind. "I could easily turn myself into a bird and fly away. I could become any number of woodland creatures and you would be none the wiser of which one was me."
"Do you think you are the only one who can do magic, ruzzo'iso elg'caress (dumb bitch)? I could bind you to me so quickly and easily that you'll never be free. You are sorely trying my patience. You'll do as you're told to do. You have an order and I expect it to be carried out as swiftly as possible. I'm hungry and I want food. Now go, slave."
Mistale sighed. She didn't know why she was obeying him. She knew she could make an escape quite easily. So... why am I not? The question buzzed in her brain like an irritated insect. Quickly she dressed, pulling on her dark green leather armor. She equipped her sword belt and her white ash composite longbow. "Asanque (As you wish), Master Dryaalis."
He inclined his head at her and watched her exit the cave. He knew she would return. He knew she wouldn't leave him. He had her and he would savor his triumph.
Mistale returned from her hunt successful, carrying a brace of rabbits and a sack of wild vegetables and herbs. She sat before the fire and pulled her cook pot towards her. Her eyes flicked over to Azlorik, studying him as he lay resting. With his eyes closed and his facial features at peace, he was a sight to behold. Why did he have to be so attractive and why do I find him to be so intriguing? The thought troubled her. Don't think about it. He'll never return the sentiment, she cautioned herself and continued about her task of preparing their supper.
She skinned the rabbits, gutting them and removing their entrails. She placed the meat she'd harvested from the bones into the cook pot and covered it with water. Then she cleaned and washed the vegetables, chopping what she needed.
Once the meat was finished, she added the herbs and vegetables, setting the pot over a carefully banked fire. Then she pulled her second bottle of Mead from her pack and placed it near the fire. She figured he'd punish her for not telling him the truth, but she didn't think he'd do anything to truly harm her. He could, but something told her that he wouldn't. Or so she hoped.
Time would tell.
Mistale removed her armor and stowed it in her pack, grabbing a fine gown of soft linen from within. She smoothed it over her slender body and snuggled into the blankets while the rabbit stew simmered. A short rest would revive her and hopefully elevate her spirits.
Azlorik shook Mistale awake, shoving her out from under the blankets and propelling her towards the fire.
"Dos kuuv ulu v'dri 'zil ussta cahallin flamgranen (You dare to sleep while my meal burns)!" His eyes flashed angrily as he admonished her. He held her face mere inches from the rim of the cook pot."Waela jalil (foolish female)!"
Heat flooded her face as the acrid burnt smell of the stew assailed her nostrils. "Forgive me, Master. I had only planned a short nap."
Pushing her to the floor, he straddled her waist and pressed his blade to her throat. "I should punish you for making me go hungry. I would enjoy that greatly."
He forced the blade into her neck, piercing her, and watched the blood begin to flow.
Mistale screamed and bolted upright as the last vestiges of her dream faded away. She scrambled out of the blankets, retreating to the other side of the fire. Quickly she peered into the pot, relieved to see that it simmered smoothly. She rubbed her face, and glanced over at Azlorik speculatively. She rarely ever dreamed. Had the dark elf somehow influenced her sub-conscious mind? It didn't make sense to her.
Standing she walked to the cave opening and stepped through it, peering up into afternoon sky. The sun shined brightly and a warm wind caressed her skin. She breathed deeply of the fragrant air. She would miss all of this when he forced her to enter the foreboding realm of his homeland. A shiver coursed through her entire being. She didn't want to consider what that would mean for her.
Turning back, she noticed the drow was sitting up, watching her intently. Lowering her gaze, she envisioned what it would be like to be a bird... free to fly, free to soar upon the lofty winds and lose herself amongst the clouds. It would be so easy... so simple to transform and be free of him.
But she did none of that. She returned to the fire and dug into her pack, pulling from within two bowls and some utensils for both of them. "I think it should be done soon," she stated and reached for the bottle she'd set beside the fire. Back into her pack she delved and found the goblets she'd been searching for.
She poured Azlorik a glass of Mead and handed it to him, then ladled some stew from within the pot, filling one of the bowls. That too she passed to him.
He inclined his head and began to eat. Cocking an eyebrow at her, he cleared his throat. "It is a good thing that you are versed in art of cooking. It would bode ill for you if you did not please me."
Mistale met his gaze evenly. His words sounded much like a compliment. "When one spends much of their time alone, one learns to fend for themselves in many ways. The ability to feed myself properly is just one of the skills I possess."
"It is these skills that will fetch a grand price if I ever decide to sell you to another," he taunted her.
Mistale shivered, lowering her eyes once more. She didn't want to think about the possibility of being sold. So far, Azlorik wasn't a bad Master, moody and domineering, yes, but not bad. He hadn't physically harmed her... yet. He didn't behave like an ordinary drow male should. It seemed to her that he must be from a noble house and used to issuing orders to other males. He had taken a very dominant role with her. Perhaps that was because there wasn't a female drow around to give him orders. Or perhaps his behavior was because he was on the surface and away from his house. Whatever it was, he was calling the shots.
"Do you have nothing to say, darthiir?"
Her eyes snapped back up, calling her from her thoughts. "Would it matter if I had anything to say?"
"Such fire. Not a trait I admire in a slave," he replied, arrogantly. "We'll have to work on that."
"I take that as a 'no'," she sighed, playing with a loose thread in the hemline of her nightgown.
"Take it however you please, slave. You may eat. You will be no use to me if I allow you to starve and waste away." Silence filled the cave as Azlorik returned to eating his meal, save for the sound of chewing.
One good deed, she sighed and glanced back to the blue sky beyond the cave. I could fly away. I could be free of him. Why don't I want that?
"I know what you're thinking, but I advise against it. If you attempt to transform or flee in any manner, then the geas I've placed upon you will instantly activate and kill you on the spot."
She whipped her head back to stare at him incredulously with a gaping mouth. "A geas?!?!?! How dare you?" That he could cast that powerful of a spell spoke volumes about him, but if that was the case, how could he have ended up so injured? It didn't make sense, but his injuries weren't the issue now. The geas was, however. Her anger peaked, becoming livid. "You will remove it now and you will get it through your head that I am your slave!"
Mistale lunged at him, a scream on her lips. She leapt over the fire and launched her body into his. She drove her knee into his stomach, eliciting a harsh grunt from him. Grabbing hold of her, he used the momentum of her body to slam her down to the bedroll. Then he covered her, straddling her midsection, and reached out for his sword.
Azlorik brandished the keen weapon menacingly, holding the sharp side of the blade mere inches from the exposed flesh of her throat. "What you are, waela elg'caress (foolish bitch), is elghinyrr (dead); nothing more than a corpse. You just haven't realized it yet."
"Vith'os (Fuck you)!" She spat, struggling to get free. She flailed her arms about, randomly landing blows to his midsection and upper chest.