Sacred Dawn Ch. 01byLailineral©
Without a sound Sarah Gorden drew her knife from its sheath. She slowly brought the blade out from beneath the fur she had been sleeping under. Eyes still closed she hushed her breath, straining her ears to hear anything out of place, but the only sound that she could hear was the pounding of her heart. Opening one eye, then the other, she peered out at the forest before her. Last time she had been woken from sleep while in the wilderness a wolf had attacked her in hopes of an easy meal.
Giving the grounds a quick glance over she sighed with relief. There was no hostile movement coming from the shadows. With a grunt she stood up, it was better to be safe then sorry. Mid stretch, she froze, there was a lump laying on the ground at the edge of her camp.
She dropped into a defensive stance and edged towards the figure in front of her, her knife still clutched in her hand. A corpse of an animal meant she would have a sleepless night, predators would not be far behind.
She reached the form on the ground and felt her heart give a lurch. A human body lay sprawled on the ground. A cloud shifted and a sliver of light from the moon illuminated the body in front of her.
She inhaled sharply and blinked.
Strapping and exquisite, this guy would of been something for other men to envy, with his intense masculine splendor, rippling muscles and carved edges. At the moment though he looked like he had just come off worse in a fight with a ravenous mountain lion. An irate gash, as long as her hand, caught her eye amongst a plethora of bruises and smaller cuts.
Sarah dropped to one to one knee to get a closer look. Men did not just appear from out of the wilderness, especially in the state this one was in. It was strange to actually meet someone in the forest, let alone appear at her campsite in the middle of the night, horribly wounded.
There was nothing but forest around them, and the closest village would take days to reach. A lone hunter might appear, but rarely so late in the year, when the nights were freezing and the animals scarce. The first snows of winter had fallen earlier that week, signaling everyone to find shelter. There was not permanent snow on the ground yet, but that would change in a week, maybe sooner.
Her free hand felt for the man's neck, pressing two fingers lightly on the artery, she held her breath. Faintly she felt the throb of a pulse signaling that he was alive, even if barely. Her nose and brow wrinkled as she felt the pulse for a few more seconds, contemplating her next course of action. Removing her hand from his neck she used it to lightly tap the man on the cheeks, hoping to rouse some sort of response. She waited, but he gave no physical or verbal signs of consciousness. Cursing herself, she quickly sheathed her knife and repositioned herself so that she was near his head. Placing her hands under his arms she gave a grunt as she lifted his shoulders and began dragging him back towards her camp.
Grinding her teeth in frustration from dragging the dead weight Sarah slowly dragged him closer to the camp fire. As they got closer to the fire's light she let out a small gasp when she became aware of the dark trail of blood that followed them. She did not know bodies could contain so much blood. She slowly and methodically laid the man down next to the fire and unsheathed her knife. Carefully cutting away his clothes, beneath them she found crimson makeshift bandages that must of been from a cloak the stranger had been wearing. She put her knife beneath the crimson bandages and started to cut them away from his skin. Too far gone to struggle, the man simply groaned in pain as she stripped the bandages away.
Glancing over the body she saw large gashes that left little doubt he had been on the wrong side of a really blunt sword or dagger. The skin around the cuts were purple and inflamed with infection, and dirt and grime had stuck to the areas with dried blood. Glancing at his face she found that his eyes were open and staring at her, bright with fever. It took several seconds for her to register that the man was conscious. Once the realization dawned on her, she took the chance to see if she could get the man to speak. "I need to know, when were you injured?"
His mouth opened but no sound came out. Opening his mouth again he murmured, "Two... days? It's hazy."
She sat still a moment, stunned that the man had been out in the woods for two days. Usually someone with these kinds of wounds would not make it past a single night. He was extremely lucky that he had not been attacked by the wolves that frequent the area, of dehydration, or by blood loss. Had he not found her that night he would of been dead by morning. He might not make it still.
"You need water and I need to clean those wounds. Stay here." As if he was going to be moving anywhere any time soon. Forcing herself into action, she stood and walked over to her supplies and rummaged through them. She grabbed a small iron bowl, quickly filled it with water and placed it over the fire to heat.
She returned to her supplies for the water skin before returning to the man. She leaned down and raised his head, hoping that he would still be able ingest water without choking. "Open your mouth." His mouth opened and she slowly poured some water into his mouth. He coughed sporadically a few seconds later and weakly turned his head away from the water. Worried, she sat the water skin down and continued to hold his head up.
While waiting for the bowl of water to warm up, she studied the man, hoping to figure out something she could do to help him. Despite knowing that it would be futile she placed her hand on the strangers forehead and tried to clear her mind. Nothing. No energy, no thoughts. To think that at one time she could touch someone and learn how they were doing and what they were thinking. Now nothing, it was just a void.
"Who did this to you?"
"I don't remember."
She let a moment of silence pass. "More water?"
There was another moment of silence as she offered him another drink from the water skin. After he turned his head away, she laid his head down on the ground and stood up. "I need to clean your wounds. It will hurt."
She gathered her supplies from her bags and hurried back to his side. His lips were blue in the firelight and his body shuddered every few seconds. The small cuts covering his body were not something to be happy about, but the worst news were the gashes from the sword. She cleaned the gashes first, wincing each time she peeled dried blood, grime, hair and dirt from him. "Gentle Spirit?"
His labored voice was only able to make a whisper of a sound. He had a slight accent, a hint of something from the south. His brow was lined with pain, his eyes were slits.
She smiled as best she could, while concentrating at the task at hand. "Sorry, no Spirits here. My name's Sarah." She worked fast, taking advantage of his distraction.
"My name is... by the Maker... It's Alex." He winced and squirmed as she bathed the wounds with hot water and a healing herb she carried with her. Lining his wounds with herbs she tied bandages around them and looked down at him. His breaths came in shallow wheezes, blood still oozed slowly from his wounds, his forehead still felt like fire. Frustrated, she ran her fingers through his hair. She had done all that she could, now it was up to fate.
He gave a slight nod and raised his head.
"Spirit. Am I going to die?" he gasped.
She was not someone who often lied. "I don't know."
"I don't... want to die." His eyes were becoming less focused, his breathing more ragged.
"I will do everything I can to help you."
"Gentle... Spirit... protect me."
Despite everything she had done she honestly had no idea if Alex would live through the next hour. Not for the first time she wished she had retained her powers. Being able to heal and connect with everything she touched had once been as natural to her as blinking. During her childhood she had helped countless people and animals. But now, now she was helpless.
She had promised him she would do everything she could. It would not hurt to try. Again.
Her hands trembling, she laid them on his chest, closed her eyes and willed for... something. Anything.
There was no energy flowing through her, no spark or connection.
Spirits, if you're paying attention, please help me out. I'm helping... I'm not hurting anything. Let me please... help...
Something slammed into her body, she felt like she was suddenly thrown into the sunlight after being in the dark for her entire life. The world faded from around her and Alex was the only thing she was aware of. Instinctively she felt pulses of energy, of life, flow through her and into him. In her mind she saw his wounds, she saw the infection slowly fade away, the puss and grime disappearing.
Going deeper she shot energy through his body, repairing torn muscles and tendons. Fusing the flesh together, repairing the bones. He writhed in agony, but she knew it would pass. He was going to be alright.
In just one moment, it was done. For a moment her eyes saw everything around her illuminated, everything was giving off light. Then the world exploded and all she knew was pain.
Doubling over she cried out to the darkness that descended upon her. His pain was now hers nine-fold. The pain in her body threatened to steal consciousness from her, her mind rebelled and she collapsed in agony.
It hurt. It hurt like hell. She had forgotten this part. The pain of healing. Whimpering she curled up on her side willing herself to breathe.
There was something else there besides the pain. Something new, different, pleasurable. Her body was in agony, but she was tingling from head to toe in raw undiluted pleasure. Breathe...
It was a mantra going through her mind. She laid there, unable to think of anything else. When she could open her eyes she looked out at the forest. The fire had almost died out and she was soaked in a cold sweat. There was still a lingering sensation pulsing through her body. In the past it had been painful, a shadow of the pain she had felt. This time it was the shadow of the mysterious new pleasure she had felt, no pain at all. Her heart was beating faster and her breath came in ragged gasps.
Moving on instinct she put a few logs onto the fire, her limbs resisting each movement. She removed the bandages she had worked so hard on and was glad to see that the wounds had virtually disappeared. She washed Alex's bloody body one last time before drying him.
"So... cold." Alex murmured, barely conscious. His body beginning to convulse in shivers. She moved her bedding closer to the fire, they would need the warmth tonight. She rolled Alex onto the bedding and threw one of the furs over him.
Stripping off her wet clothes she stared a moment at the nearly naked stranger in her bedding. There was not anything to do but get in there with him. They needed the heat and if she stood there she would collapse on the ground from exhaustion.
Quickly sliding under the furs herself she let their collective body heat warm her. But Alex's shudders were not disappearing, they seemed to be getting worse. Worried she tentatively moved closer to him.
"You're... warm. Need you." He grunted out in between chattering teeth. He threw his arm around her, pulling her closer to him, his head buried in nape of her neck, his hot breaths brushed against her skin. His leg intertwined with hers, pinning her to the ground. His right hand against the side of her stomach, pulling her to him.
She gasped as he pulled their naked bodies together, his large hand coming to rest under the curve of her breast, the other was entwined in her hair. As his flesh meshed into hers she felt the shudders slowly subside and she could almost feel him falling into oblivion, his muscles completely relaxed.
His body was heavy, and growing warmer. The heat felt good against her skin but she really was in a very compromising position. She shifted but stopped when she felt his skin scrape against her nipple. He was at least a foot taller and built with heavy muscle and doubted she could escape even if she wanted to. She gave up on trying to move and just accepted his warm body against hers. She must be extremely tired since she noticed how his strong, muscular flesh felt against her body.
She should move away, sleep with her dagger, and keep an eye on him. He could be some sort of criminal. Sarah yawned loudly instead of reaching for her knife. She needed to just lay there for a minute, then she would grab her knife and sleep away from him.
She craned her neck back to look at the stranger's face. When random men appeared out of the wilderness, they didn't do so half-heatedly. This was a man that people dreamed about. Beneath his bruises and cuts she saw a perfectly formed face, with dark dreamy eyes and full sensuous lips.
He had the skin of the south; all smooth, sandy brown. It was unusual to see one this far north. The climate was not welcoming, the people even less so when it came to strangers. Her gaze traced down his body, down his tan throat to what she could see beneath that. She felt a small twinge of guilt for eying someone so close to death while he slept. But the twinge got swept away in a greater feeling of awe. His shoulder's were broad, his stomach a flat piece of iron. A small sprinkling of his black hair covered his chest, narrowing to a line that disappeared from her line of sight. His hands still held her tight around his body. No matter how much she wanted to, she could not deny that it felt good.
With her mind numb from fatigue, she was not able to stop the impulse to reach over and stroke back the dark lock of hair that was hanging over his eyes. She let her finger linger, exploring the bristly and wavy strange.
His eyes popped open and caught her eyes for a moment. "Sorry," she whispered, blushing furiously. She lowered his hand and felt him tighten his grip and pull her towards him. He let out a satisfied sigh when she relaxed against him.
She let the heat radiate between them, keeping them both warm. Sleep was starting to come to her, fast. She tried to fight it, she should get her knife. She couldn't just snuggle against a random guy she found in the forest, half dead.
She could not trust him, she did not know anything about him. It would not hurt to sleep for a bit. He was more tired then she was and in worse condition. There was no way he could hurt her. She needed five minutes of sleep. After that she would be good.
Exhausted, she gave a mental shrug, and let her eyelids close. Sleep came instantly to her, her last conscious thought was the slightly disconcerting realization that she hadn't slept in the same bed with someone in years. This was definitely a step forward.
Being dead was not so bad. He could not really feel much of anything around him, but it was not bad.
Evidently when you were dead you lost the use of eyes, because he certainly could not open them.
No, that was not right, he realized. His eyes moved but his eyelids would not open. Maybe someone had put coins over his eyes so he could pay the ferry toll. He tried to raise his hands and take off the coins, but his hands would not budge.
His body just was not working for him. He had to be dead. No one could sustain the multitude of injuries he had and survive though never in his life did he imagine that death consisted of an unmoving eternity. He had probably been eaten by wolves in that forsaken forest, that was why he could not use his body properly. At least there had been a gentle Spirit there at the end of his life. A gentle Spirit whose warmth had melted away the pain from the previous hellish days. Shit... his body still ached.
Damn it! He would not be hurting or cursing if he was in heaven.
As he lay there he became aware that every breath caused pain. Not terrible pain, but a deep throbbing that made him ache. But he was breathing.
Could he of ended up in one of the nine Hells? No... not likely. He was comfortable. In pain, but comfortable. If he was in hell he would be in agony. There was heat, yes, but not an all consuming fire that sundered your soul. It was a comfortable warmth, one that seemed to radiate all around him.
Knowing that he could not move his eyes he tried to move his fingers. Move, he willed his finger, causing a slight twitch into something soft. Good, he still had a bit of movement. Maybe he wasn't dead. He willed his hand to move and he felt it brush against something large and supple.
He twitched his fingers again in the softness and froze. He did not need to feel it again to know that his hand was cupping a breast. All men may love breasts, but Alex especially loved breasts. Gods, this breast was gorgeous. He did not need to see it, his hands could just tell. It was large and velvety, with a long perky nipple rubbing against his hand.
When there is a breast in your hand, there is usually a woman to go along with it. Knowing this he willed his eyes to open.
The sun was shining in through the tree branches, creeping into the clearing he was in. Alex turned his heard and gave a slight gasp. A spirit had indeed saved him.
She had soft and round face, her chin had a sweet curve. Her lips were perfectly rounded and luscious, her skin a still pond radiating in the sunlight. Her eyes a vibrant green, capped with long flawless black lashes.
Her eyes... yes her eyes were open, staring at him. They held that gaze for awhile, no one daring to move a muscle.
When he felt he would burst from the tension he tried to relax and croaked out, "Am I... Dead?"
"No. Not yet at least."
His ears absorbed her luscious voice like a parched person receiving their first glass of water in days. She had a slight accent, a soft one that dragged out what she was saying. It reminded him of a cool summer breeze blowing by him as he lounged around in the shade. When the words actually sunk in he wanted to shout in joy but even the thought of movement hurt his body.
"Move your hand."
He stared at her blankly for a moment before the realization dawned on him. He quickly snatched his hand off of her breast. "Sorr... sorry," he stammered. The sudden movement away from the warmth of her breast left his hand feeling cold and oddly empty. The empty feeling lasted only a moment before his entire side exploded with pain as he gasped and fell onto his back. The simple act of moving his arm away from her hurt like hell. He hadn't felt this bad since he'd been... stabbed... He had been stabbed, sliced open. He furrowed his brow which only caused more pain to explode through his body.
A soft hand slid behind his neck, propping his head up. Cold liquid fell on his lips, trickling down his chin. Opening up his mouth he started to drink, the water a sweet relief to his arid throat. Eventually the water let up and he was gently lowered back to the ground.
Sleep beckoned at him again, but he tried to fight it. He watched as she slowly slid out of the furs, her body glowing in the light. Her long brown hair swung around her shoulders, strands dangling in front of her eyes, too wild to be controlled. His breath choked in his throat. This woman was certainly a spirit sent to take care of him as he died. Her beauty was heavenly. His hand tingled, it had been holding her and it wanted to hold her again. He wanted to feel her nipple and the velvety texture of her flesh. Her hips were wide with full thighs. He could see her belly curve and he felt a sudden desire to nuzzle it, lick it... He blinked and tried to look away but couldn't. Her ass was luscious and would overflow in his hands as he grabbed it. Her neck was long and smooth, he wanted to reach up and kiss it. Despite his injuries he felt his cock twitch where it had lay soft against his thigh. This response, this human response, proved to him more then anything else that he had to be alive.