Sarlene's Touch Ch. 18byFuinimel©
Almandar pushed open the door to the shop, taking a step down into the cool interior. The windows were small and high up, letting light into the room but not too much heat. It would not do for the stock to spoil, after all.
Remkar was an alchemist, a man who made his living selling magical potions to those who could afford them. Naturally enough, the adventurers had, over the years, been regular customers, although his clientele also included the local military and aristocracy. Tonight, they would be planning the full details of their intended explorations beneath the city, which made this one of the last opportunities to buy some healing potions, among other supplies.
The contents of the sales room looked impressive, although Almandar was aware that they were largely for show; most of the genuinely good material was kept somewhere out back, behind locked and magically protected doors. To anyone less aware of those realities, however, this room certainly looked the part. The shelves and cabinets were stacked with bottles of all shapes and sizes, some empty, but others full of brightly coloured liquids, some of which swirled or bubbled, seemingly of their own accord. Alchemical apparatus adorned the benches on either side, stills and retorts, crucibles and braziers, and strange items of glassware whose function Almandar could only begin to guess at.
As he entered, Remkar was already in conversation with another customer. The alchemist had greying hair and a neatly trimmed, pointed beard, wearing smooth robes of white and tan. He glanced up as the magician entered the room, his dark eyes lighting up with recognition.
"Almandar," he said, "so good to see you. I will be with you in a moment."
The half-elf nodded, waiting discretely near the back of the room as the alchemist talked with his other customer. Now she, he thought to himself, was a more worthwhile sight than any of the glassware or coloured liquids in the room.
The woman was obviously Jalibian, not a native of the city. The Jalibians were a human nation to the north, beyond the wild lands, and they occasionally traded with Haredil. Even so, they were not as common a sight here as dwarves or gnomes, or even elves. It was one of the few times he had had the opportunity to really admire one of their women, and, in her case, at least, it was worth the trouble to do so.
Her clothing was predominantly white, with coloured patterns in brown and gold around the hems. The upper garment was short sleeved, and reached down to her mid-back. And, from this vantage point, it was only her back that was in view -- but that was enough to show the pleasant curves of her body through the tight clothing.
Below that upper garment, her back was bare, a slender curved waist with smooth mahogany skin free from any trace of blemishes. His eyes wandered lower, to the swell of her hips beneath the tight, knee-length skirt. Her ass was particularly impressive, flaring out from the narrow waist without being fat. As she shifted her position unconsciously, he watched her buttocks moving beneath the tight fabric, wondering what they would feel like in his hands.
His reverie was broken when Remkar turned to speak to him. If the old man had noticed how the magician had been admiring his other customer, he gave no sign of it. "Now, Almandar, what can I do for you?"
With that, the half-elf was all business. Adventuring was a serious matter, and it was important to have the right tools for the job. There was no time for distractions, even ones as shapely as the Jalibian woman now standing next to him. He mainly required healing potions, which were always in great demand among any adventuring party, but there were others that could also be of use, which Remkar might possibly have in stock. He discussed his requirements, and then the old man disappeared into the back of the shop.
"Almandar..." said the woman, "I think I have heard that name before. Is it a common one?"
If her exotic appearance had not already betrayed her foreign origins, her accent clearly did so. It was strange, distinctive, clearly different from that of the local humans, or of the elves or dwarves for that matter.
"Not really," he said, turning to face her, "but I don't think we've met before."
She frowned slightly, as if trying to recall something. "To do with your paladins, I think... ah, Lady Tarissa? You know her, yes?"
"Yes, she is a colleague of mine," admitted Almandar, "how do you know her?"
"My father does. He is a merchant, and that is why we visit your city. Lady Tarissa was at a feast at the palace where a man was taken away. He attacked a woman, and Lady Tarissa saved her, but I was not there. My father told me about it, and he mentioned the adventurers, which means you, yes? He said the city is lucky to have such people to protect it."
Now that he could see her face to face, Almandar could more fully appreciate her looks. She was definitely an attractive woman, exotic and alluring. Her hair was cropped short, far more so than any other human woman he had seen, tight and springy, close to her skull. Her eyes were wide and dark, her face rounded with a small nose and full lips that begged to be kissed. Even so, it took a small effort of will to force his eyes to remain on that face and not obviously wander down to her shapely figure.
"Well, thank you," he said, "although I am not a paladin, and it is perhaps they who deserve more of the praise. But I do work with one, and I suppose you could say we have common cause. We do what we can, at least."
"Ashabi," she said, holding out a hand in greeting, "I am pleased to meet you, Almandar."
"And I you," he said politely, shaking her hand. She smiled as he did so, a flash of perfect white teeth against her dark skin.
At that moment, Remkar returned, carrying a tray bearing their respective purchases. It was not clear what Ashabi had bought, and he did not enquire, although the bottles looked different from his own. They discussed the price, and Almandar handed over the gold coins, glad to find that he had no trouble affording the cost. The alchemist packaged Ashabi's potions first, but she did not immediately leave when he had finished, hovering by the door as the adventurer placed his purchases safely away in a padded satchel.
As he himself turned towards the door, he fancied that he caught Ashabi's eyes flicking upwards, a slightly guilty look on her face. Had he caught her checking him out? Perhaps he had a chance... but before he could speak, she made a suggestion of her own.
"Have you eaten? If you have time, we could go to an inn. Tell me about your adventures."
"That sounds a splendid idea," he said, smiling, "my afternoon is free, so I'll be happy to join you."
The inns in the neighbourhood, not far from the Wizards' College, were among the better in the city, and it was not long before they found a comfortable one and ordered a light lunch. They talked, initially, about Haredil, and about the wild lands beyond where Almandar had undertaken many of his adventuring exploits. The region, Ashabi said, was much drier than the humid lands of Jalibia, and the vegetation less luxuriant than the green lands of her home.
As they talked, Almandar had an opportunity to admire her properly. Ashabi's taut and slender midriff was bare, although partially hidden by the table, but he could appreciate the burnished brown of her lower arms and the graceful sweep of her neck, adorned with a couple of silver necklaces tight to her throat. Lower down, her short tunic clung to the curve of her breasts, showing them to be firm and well moulded, the fabric tucked tight underneath to raise them up and emphasise their pert shape. A slit in the front of the tunic dipped over the top of her sternum, but it was not low enough to show off her cleavage.
Instead he focussed on her face, admiring those rounded lips and wide eyes. She wore golden earrings, larger than those common in Haredil, and they helped to frame her face, as a fringe might do for a woman with longer hair. He guessed that she was not much more than twenty years old, and that dark skin looked soft, flawless, and inviting.
"There are elves near Jalibia," she said at one point, "but they are very different from the ones here. They are a savage people, although there are exceptions. They do not have your pale skin, or the same... style, perhaps? They seem a different people from yours, as I am from the people of Haredil."
"I am not an elf," he said, surprised that she had not realised earlier. But then, if she was new to the area, perhaps she had seen few of his kind before. "Or at least, not pureblood. My father was an elf, but my mother was pure human, so my heritage is on both sides. And I was raised in the city, so I suppose, if anything, I have more of an affinity for my human side."
"You are half human?" she said, her eyes widening, and seemingly examining his face anew, looking for the signs of his mixed ancestry. "I did not... forgive me, I did not realise. I hope I have not offended. The elves where I live do not often meet with humans. As I said, they are a savage people."
"No offence taken," he said, waving the apology aside, "although the term 'half-human' is only common in the western forests, I think. I suppose it's not very descriptive here... I mean, we have half-orcs as well, so it's best to distinguish the two."
She shuddered slightly, "half-orcs are different." She was silent for a moment, evidently thinking of something. "I have not seen many half-elves," she said eventually, "in fact, you may be the first. Are they uncommon, or have I seen them without knowing?"
Ashabi leant forward as she spoke, resting her elbow on the table, and placing her chin on her hand. Almandar could not help noticing that the position emphasised her breasts, shifting slightly beneath the tight cloth as she moved, their swell just over the table. She caught him glancing down at them; a slight smile tweaking the corner of her mouth, an eyebrow raised a fraction. It seemed she did not mind, which was encouraging.
"No, we are not especially common," he said, "at least, not in Haredil. But then, elves are not so numerous here as dwarves and gnomes -- both of whom have their own quarters of the city, as you probably know."
"But they do not marry with humans."
"No. Of course, marriage in the human sense is not really common among elves, either, but they have... liaisons, you could say. It happens from time to time, although such mixed couples are not often blessed with children. So there are few of us here -- there are more out to the west, though, I think."
"Human and elven... liaisons?" she seemed to be testing the word, evidently one unfamiliar to her. He recalled that Common would not be her native tongue, although she had evidently learned it well. Her accent aside, she had hardly slipped in speaking it, and he had almost forgotten it would not be as familiar to her as it was to himself. "These liaisons are not a bad thing? Nobody minds here? Our elves are different, remember."
"Oh, no," he said, "not common, as I say, but not at all frowned upon." As he spoke, he felt her leg brush against his under the table. Her skirt was short, just knee-length, and her calves below that were bare, for she wore only simple sandals, laced around her ankles. He was wearing trews, of course, but he could feel the shape of her leg as she moved it along the inside of his own, her toes brushing the back of one of his calves.
"They can be most rewarding, I am told," he continued, "for which I imagine I am living proof. A meeting of different cultures, if you will." He held her gaze, her pupils dilating as he felt a stirring in his own loins. "I would think there is much to be said for cultural interchange, even between two different human cultures."
"Or human and half-elven..." she said, leaving the statement hanging.
She lowered her hand, resting it on his. Her fingers were slender, warm, the skin soft against his. For a moment, neither of them said anything, watching each other, each waiting for the other to make the first move. Then they both spoke at once.
"Sorry, you were going to say?"
"No, you first."
"I was thinking we could..."
"Should meet, yes."
"They should, I agree."
As soon as the door to the room was closed, she was in his arms, pressing her lips to his. Her kiss was as sensuous as he had hoped it would be, long and lingering, full lips sliding over his, tongues entwining. Ashabi's body was pressed tight against him, as his hands roamed over her body, sliding down from the tight cotton fabric of her tunic to the bare skin of her back.
She was smooth and warm beneath his fingers, her breath hot against his face as she continued to shower him with kisses, one hand behind his head, the other wandering over his own back, fingers kneading him through the fabric of his clothes. His hands moved down to her buttocks, caressing the curve of them, squeezing them through the skirt.
He took a couple of steps towards the bed, but stopped as she raised a leg, curling it against his, rucking up the skirt to expose an expanse of mahogany thigh that his nearest hand eagerly sought, pushing the material up further as his other hand continued to fondle her rounded buttocks.
Her kisses moved downward, as she ran her lip over his chin, feeling the stubble of his beard, and forcing him to move his head back as she reached his throat. Her hands were busy, too, lifting up his shirt and sliding inside, long fingers running across his back, feeling every contour of his ribs and spine.
They remained locked in that position for a little while, savouring each other's bodies, but it was Ashabi who was the first to pull back, panting slightly as she unwound her leg from his, the skirt falling back down to her knees. Her hands had not finished their ministrations, however, running over his flanks and onto his stomach before she began to push up his shirt, already free from his trews.
He helped her discard his upper garments, casually dropping them on the floor as he moved her forward towards the bed and took her in his arms. Her hands explored his flesh again as they kissed, one moving across his chest as the other reached his hips, dipping inside the waistband of his trews.
His erection was already straining to be free, as he grabbed her ass and pressed his hips against hers, crushing their bodies together. He felt the tie of her skirt beneath his questing fingertips, undoing it so that it slid down her sheer legs onto the floor of the bedroom. With one hand he felt the skin of her thighs and the cotton of her remarkably skimpy panties, while the other moved up to her face.
She wrapped her arms around him then, as he moved his kisses over her cheek to the lobe of her ear, brushing against the gold earring there. His left hand moved over her short hair, savouring the exotic, almost woolly, texture beneath his fingertips. Ashabi's breathing was long and shallow, her chest rising and falling against his. He could feel her erect nipples through the tight fabric, pressing against his bare chest.
She pulled away briefly, sitting down on the bed before him, legs spread, and arms welcoming. Her panties were only slight little things of plain white cotton, a damp patch clearly spreading between her thighs. He moved towards her, reaching for her upper garment as her own nimble hands sought the ties on his trews.
They were falling backward onto the bed as his trews and underclothes slid free. Almandar kicked them off along with his shoes, all the while pulling Ashabi's tunic up and over her head. They were lying next to each other on the bed, kissing and embracing, lost in their mutual passion. Her full lips brushed his earlobe, feeling the pointed tip as her tongue darted out to lick it.
He moved his attentions downwards, kissing her chin, her throat, and down over her chest. She gave a small pant of frustration as his movements meant that her hands, previously feeling his buttocks, were forced to range higher on his back, away from their evident goal. But then, as he reached her breasts, the pant changed to a murmured moan of pleasure.
Ashabi's breasts were indeed, magnificent, as promising now as they had been when imprisoned behind tight cotton clothing. They were firm and succulent, the skin inviting beneath his fingers, the nipples large and almost black in colour. She moaned again as he kissed them, her body squirming against his. His hand moved down to her stomach, finger probing her navel as her own hands riffled his hair and traced circles on his upper back.
He raised his head from her breasts to kiss her mouth once again, then her nose, then the top of her head, as she took her turn in moving downwards. It seemed she wanted to explore every inch of his body with her fingers and lips, moving down over his broad chest, and sucking briefly on his nipples before turning to his stomach, and down towards his groin.
Ashabi's hands caressed his erection, cupping his balls and running along the shaft. Her eyes were fixed on the prize, as one finger traced his foreskin. She glanced up at him, a slight quizzical smile on her face -- he wondered if the men of her people were circumcised, and if this was a new sight for her. Slowly, she peeled it back, revealing the swollen head, drops of pre-cum adorning the tip. She pressed those gorgeous lips to it, flicking it with her tongue and making him groan in anticipation.
She grinned, a flash of perfect ivory, but then released him, shifting up the bed to lie level with him once more. His hands moved across her belly, feeling the taut smoothness of her narrow waist. He moved to grip a perfect buttock, while the other hand dipped into her skimpy panties, running down over the narrow tuft of black hair.
She was damp between the legs, juices warm and sticky against his probing fingers. She broke away from a kiss to let out a moan of pure passion -- the loudest yet -- as he moved a finger inside, pressing gently against her pussy lips.
She moved suddenly to pull her panties down, giving him a better purchase as his finger continued to tease her. She moaned, pressing against him, squeezing her breasts against his chest as he continued to slide in and out, the motion easy in the slickness of her juices, brushing against her clit over and over.
At last, with a grunt of frustration, she rolled over onto her back, legs parted, and gripped his hard cock, pulling it up next to his probing hand. He was happy to oblige, sliding the finger out and moving his hand onto her hip as he manoeuvred himself on top of her. Ashabi let out a long, full-throated groan as he slowly pushed his cock into her welcoming pussy, feeling her hips grind against his in response.
She was tight, the muscles of her cunt pressing against his member as he continued to thrust into her. Her breasts squeezed against his chest, the nipples hard against his skin. Her body was writhing, legs entwining with his, hands trying to reach every part of his back and buttocks at once. They kissed briefly, mouths moving over each other, tasting the sweat of their mutual passion.
With a sudden twist, Ashabi forced him over onto his back, his cock sliding free of its pleasurable imprisonment. She raised herself up, one hand pressed against the wall by the bed, and he took the opportunity to savour the full appearance of her naked body. It was, as he had known, flawless, the smooth mahogany skin now burnished with sweat, rounded breasts heaving, hips flaring either side of that mound of pleasure, short pussy hairs pointing down like an arrow.
With her free hand, Ashabi guided him inside her again, her moan of pleasure long and throaty as she plunged him deep within the welcoming folds. She was moving rhythmically, twisting her body slightly as she did so, an almost circular motion on his cock, which already felt near to bursting. He watched her breasts bouncing as the speed of her motion increased, and found himself groaning in response to her cries.