Sarlene's Touch Ch. 07byFuinimel©
"These refer to a great threat to the city," said Calleslyn, placing the old parchments on the table.
They had met together in the dining hall of the villa, at the elf's urging. Almandar gathered that she had something important to tell them, something she had found recently in some old documents. But to him, it seemed too soon to head out on another expedition; they had barely returned from the last one. Some adventurers spent their whole lives exploring old ruins, but that was no way to live a life. What was the point in gaining so much treasure if you never had the time to spend and enjoy it? Of course, there were some people who were wholly dedicated to fighting evil, never resting from the battle, and that was admirable, but he was no holy warriors.
Nonetheless, he was sure that Calleslyn would not call them together without good reason, and he was willing to listen to what she had to say. The elf was intelligent, a loyal friend, and not someone who leapt into reckless action. If she thought something was important, it probably was. And a threat to the city, he had to concede, would certainly be something important.
Calleslyn was also beautiful, it was true, and had she been anyone else he would have done his best to bed her a long time ago. But there were unspoken rules that he felt it wise to obey; he had never slept with another member of the party, and never intended to. That would create too many complications, and even risks, given their dangerous occupation. There were many more women in the world, and, besides, he had come to think of the party almost as his own family.
"They are an account of an adventuring party, hundreds of years ago," Calleslyn explained, "but, unfortunately, they are incomplete. There are some maps, but no indication of exactly where the places shown in them might be, beyond the fact that are underground, somewhere beneath this city."
Almandar nodded, "the present city is built on the ruins of one much older, true. But not much of that remains, and nothing at all above ground. Surely, though, given how long Haredil has been here, anything underneath it would have been fully explored long ago."
"Maybe so," replied Calleslyn, "but what if something moved in at a later date? The old ruins, such as they are, must have been sealed off -- we would not know much about them. Of course, there is not likely to be much in the way of treasure, but that does not necessarily mean there is nothing down there. And, certainly, these old adventurers did find something. It is not really clear what it is, except that it seems to attract monsters and such like to it, and that they believed, if it grew powerful enough, it would rise up and take over the city. I would think something infernal is the most likely, but with the documents being so incomplete, that is only a supposition."
"But it didn't take over the city," pointed out Vardala, "or we wouldn't be here. So what's the problem?"
"No, it didn't, because they stopped it. But, so far as I can tell, they did not kill it, merely sealed it in something -- wards of some kind to prevent its escape. Which, from their perspective, was more than enough. But wards do not last forever, and their party magician seemed to think that they would weaken after a few centuries. Which brings us to today."
Tarissa certainly perked up at that, leaning forward in her seat. "You think the threat could be active again now -- or soon?" Then she paused, frowning slightly, "why do we not already know about this? If I sealed a demon into a crypt below the city, and knew it would escape, even in five hundred years time, I would make sure that I left a clearer warning for future generations than some diary hidden somewhere."
Calleslyn sighed, "I agree, and I am afraid that, once again, the incompleteness of the documents makes it difficult to say why they did not do that. Clearly, they took heavy casualties -- only two of them survived, including the author of this journal. I get the impression, though, that they may have been driven out of town, unable to leave any sort of clear warning, except for this."
"Very well," said Tarissa, suddenly business like, "let us assume we believe this story. The obvious course of action would be to warn the authorities. Hopefully, they would hire us to deal with the threat, but we would have far more support that way than if we do this alone. And, so far as I can see, there is no obvious reason we should deal with this alone. It is hardly your typical delve. If they ignore us, then we may have to think of another approach."
"We can't do that," said Calleslyn, shaking her head, "this thing, whatever it was, had the ability to influence people throughout the city. There are passages in here where the adventurers are placed at great risk even while above ground, because the being's minions knew about them and took action. It is obvious that, at that time, these minions were even inside the city government. Now, it may not be the case that this has happened this time around, or that it has spread very far, if it has. But we cannot know that for sure, and I think we should keep this as quiet as we can until we know more. I think we need to investigate this, and sooner, rather than later, but the smaller the number of people who know, the better."
Tarissa leaned back in her chair again, deep in thought. Almandar decided it was best to let her think. She was the leader of the party, at least informally, and he respected her decisions. At last the paladin spoke. "We could investigate, as you say. Let us begin by trying to find out how to enter whatever is beneath the city. We can do that without people learning our true purpose, perhaps. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where we might start?"
"As it happens," said Dolrim, speaking up for the first time, "I do..."
It turned out that Vardala would not be needed for the first part of the information gathering. So, having a free evening ahead of her, and her thoughts having turned to the caves and hot springs beneath the city, she decided to take a bath. Let Dolrim and the others plan out their course of action; she would take some time off to relax.
She stepped into the room, shutting the latch for her privacy. As soon as she did so, the memories of that night not so long ago came flooding back. Horvan was somewhere else in the villa at the moment, and that night all she had been able to do was spy on him. It was not as if there was any real chance of obtaining physical intimacy with him; their respective races were as much a barrier as ever, and nothing had changed between then. Indeed, she hoped he would never learn what she had done; in many ways it was a betrayal, and not one that she could even begin to explain to anyone, least of all the man himself.
But, if nothing had really changed from Horvan's perspective, it was different for her. She had often imagined him in the past, of what might happen if only he were a gnome like her. Those had been pleasant fantasies, but fantasies were all they were, and all they would ever be. She had not heard of magic that could do that, and, even were it real, it was difficult to see why Horvan would willingly undergo the transformation. He probably liked being a human, after all.
But now, since that night, she only dreamt of him more. It was ridiculous, really. So she had seen him naked? Was it really so different to how she had imagined it, that now her thoughts should be alive with desire? Yet that was what had happened. The part she tried to ignore, she thought, as she pulled off her boots, and dipped a toe into the warm waters of the bath, was, as it had always been, the incompatibility in size. Apart from that, humans and gnomes looked much the same. It was, after all, why she desired him so. But, if Horvan looked somewhat gnome-like, he was of gigantic stature from her perspective. With, as she now knew, a fully proportional penis.
She could imagine him standing there, in front of her, as he had stood before the bath that night, undoing his trews, and his hard cock springing free towards her face. She shook her head, driving the image from her mind. It only served to remind her of the gulf between them, and it would not do to dwell on that.
There should have been a mirror in the bathing room, she reflected, as she pulled her tunic over her head and placed it on the side table. But there was not, and she had to imagine herself as he would see her. She ran her hands down her sides. She was slim enough, with a flat belly and womanly hips. Surely then, she did not look too child-like to him? She cupped her breasts, feeling the shape of them. Certainly nothing child-like there, although she could not say that she was truly big-busted. Of course, she had no idea what Horvan preferred in his women; if he had a girlfriend, she knew nothing about it. She hoped he did not, although that wish was both selfish, and ultimately futile; she just did not want to imagine him with someone else.
She tweaked a rosy nipple, but then pulled her hand away. Perhaps this was not the time and place. She had put the latch on the door, but the others were nor far away, discussing things about the catacombs beneath the city, no doubt. She should have her bath, and be done with it, and perhaps retire to her bed afterwards. She removed her remaining clothes in a business-like fashion, arranged them neatly, picked up a towel, and went to stand by the edge of the bath.
Of course, the stone bath was large, intended for humans, not gnomes or dwarves. It was lined with marble, with pipes below that connected to the hot springs, keeping the water warm, although, fortunately, it never reached scalding temperatures -- there was some enchantment on it to prevent that, she thought. A ledge at one side would allow her to sit, rather than having to use the place as a small swimming pool, but she could hardly lie flat on the bottom.
The water rippled, allowing a distorted reflection of her body. Not as a good as a mirror, she thought again. Either way, all it did was bring thoughts of Horvan to her mind once more. She looked down at herself. She had good thighs, she thought, shapely rather than too fat or too skinny. Her bush was narrow, dark curling hairs against the pale skin of her hips. She was a woman, a grown woman. But even if he could see her naked, was that how he would think of her, or as some strange doll-like figure?
She slipped into the water, lowering herself onto the ledge, savouring the warmth and wetness of it against her skin, luxuriating in the feel. She leant her head back against the stone rim, the water level rising to just below her shoulders. She reached for the perfumed soap lying on the towel, splashed herself with the water, and began to lather. At first, she managed to ignore thoughts of Horvan, lying in the same pool, even using the same soap, but as she moved lower to lather her breasts, her nipples involuntarily hardened, imagining what his hands would feel like caressing her.
Damn, this was getting her nowhere. She might as well give in to the thoughts, relaxing her tension in the only way possible. She wanted release, and could not rid her mind of the distraction until she had achieved it. Damn Horvan, why did a human man have to be so good-looking?
She put the soap back on the towel, and slipped her hands between her legs. She sighed, a slight breath past her lips. This felt good; this was what she needed. Beneath the water, she slid a finger into her pussy, moving it up to rub against her clit. She closed her eyes, imagining Horvan before her, gnome-sized. What would he do, if he were a gnome, and in the bath with her? He would have to stand upright on the bottom of course. And then, yes, he would kiss her and rub her breasts. She moved her free hand to feel one, slipping her nipple between her first two fingers.
Then he would raise her up, hips to hips, her legs wrapped around those firm thighs, and penetrate her. She drove her finger in further at the thought, sliding it in and out in a slow rhythm. She licked her lips, imagining the taste of his mouth, what his chest would feel like against hers, pretending the warmth of the bath was the warmth of his body. She kept her eyes closed, not wishing to ruin the image with a glimpse of the empty room, and continued to probe her cunt. He would be soft and slow, his usual considerate and calm self, driving her ecstasy ever onwards.
As a gnome in her fantasies, he could do this to her, but as a human, never. Unbidden, an image leapt to her mind. Horvan, in his real size now, bending her over, holding her up to his hips, taking her from behind, her heels drumming on his knees. The thought was sudden, shocking, and she briefly wondered what part of her mind it came from. Part of her, she knew now, wanted him as a human, even wanted him rough, overcome with lust, fucking her hard.
She plunged a second finger into her cunt, her breath coming harder now, and twisted a nipple with her free hand, enjoying the slight pain as she did so. Yes, she wanted him! She tried to bring back the image of him gnome-sized, but the thought of his huge erect cock overwhelmed her, although she had never seen him in such a state. How large was it, she wondered briefly? Six, seven inches? And, good goddess, what about the girth?
She wished she had brought something with her... something with a handle, perhaps... something, anything, she could test her tolerance with. But she had not, and if she had, it would hardly be the same as the feel of a good warm, living, cock slamming into her. She bit her lip, willing herself not to cry out -- the others were only a room or two away. Her body arched against the stonework, slipping slightly on the ledge, her hips moving reflexively in counterpoint to her thrusting fingers.
She didn't care whether Horvan was human or gnome now, she just wanted his cock inside her. She briefly considered climbing out of the bath, finding a drier, less slippery surface to lean on, but she was too far gone for that to be an option now. The water sloshed against her shoulders, and she bit down harder on her lip. Her clit was on fire... any... moment... NOW...
She convulsed, letting out a small involuntary whimper as the white heat washed over her. As she did so, her buttocks, already in an unstable position on the shelf, slipped free, ducking her under the water as her legs collapsed beneath her. A moment later, she pushed her head to the surface, gripping the ledge with her left hand. She remained like that for a moment, panting, her eyes wide in a post-orgasmic glow. At last, she flipped the wet hair out of her face, pushing it back, then splashing herself with the water again.
Vardala let out a long sigh of sheer bliss. That had been good.