Take Me Away Ch. 01byDarkniciad©
This story is erotic fantasy, set in a world of magic. I retain the right to be listed as the author of this story, as Darkniciad wherever it appears. Excerpts may be posted elsewhere with links to the story on Lit, but to repost the entire story, I require that you obtain permission from me first. If you are seeing this notice, and you are not at Literotica, odds are this story is posted without permission.
Set a little over a year before my story "Blackhawk Hall", this tale follows Arilee and relates the events that eventually led her to Fightershaven and her destiny.
I occasionally make use of "modern" weights and measures in my writing, and I hope this doesn't jar those fantasy readers who prefer archaic measures such as "cubits" and "leagues".
I know everyone has been waiting for more Arilee, and I hope you like this little look into her past before I launch the sequel to Blackhawk.
The sun shining in her window awakened Arilee, and she rose as soon as she was awake enough to realize it was morning. There were dark circles under her bloodshot eyes, and she changed from her nightshirt into a plain blouse and skirt with obvious weariness. The sun was long set when she had lain down the previous night, but she could ill afford to sleep in to make up for the lack of rest that plagued her.
She walked over to the mirror and pulled a brush through her disheveled blonde locks. Looking at her reflection in the mirror, she realized that she needed a bath almost as much as she needed sleep. There were smudges of soot on her cheeks, in addition to the dull luster of her normally golden hair. Shaking her head, she tied up her hair in a leather thong to keep the shoulder-length tresses from interfering with her work. She then turned away before the weary image looking back at her from the glass pulled her spirits down even more.
Leaving her room and walking toward the back door, Ari sighed at the lack of the sounds and smells that were still so much a part of awakening in this house. Her father's voice did not sound from the kitchen, speaking to her mother as she prepared breakfast. Neither did the smell of coffee and sizzling pork waft from the kitchen to draw her from her bed like magic.
Although her parents had been gone for two years now, Arilee still keenly felt the pain of their passing. Her father had simply collapsed, with absolutely no warning, shortly after going to open his shop one morning. His heart had failed, and with his passing, her mother's heart had broken.
Arilee was convinced that her mother had died more of a broken heart than the sickness that struck her only four months later. Ari had cared for her failing mother for six months, forced to grow up and not only tend to the house and her mother's ill health, but the disposition of her father's business as well. With him gone, there was nobody to acquire the goods or run the shop, and so Arilee had been forced to sell it. She knew that the price paid for the business had been paltry compared to its worth, but she had needed the money, and thus had little choice but to accept the offer.
When her mother passed on, Arilee was left alone. Taking in washing, mending, and other small tasks had stretched the money from the sale of her father's business for a time, but that coin was now gone. Thus, she was now dependant upon those domestic tasks to support her. At first, she had found more than enough work to make ends meet, but recent increases in taxes strained her ability to earn enough coin to pay them, and still have enough money for food.
Ari sighed and opened the back door, squinting against the bright sunlight outside. When her eyes adjusted, she looked around to make sure that nobody was nearby. The skirt she wore — the only remaining one clean — was far too short for her taste, showing off a long expanse of shapely leg, well above the knee. The blouse was likewise almost too small, and barely contained her firm breasts. The thin material also displayed her small, dark nipples far too prominently for Arilee's sense of propriety. Determining that she was likely the only person awake in the area, she opened the door and stepped outside.
A summer breeze washed over Ari as she reached down and picked up a wooden bucket, dipping it into the water barrel next to the door. Sitting it down, she likewise filled a second pail, and then picked them both up with a grunt of exertion. She paused for a moment, drinking in the morning that promised that a hot day lay ahead. She would have liked to watch the world wake up, but she just had too much to do.
There was always too much to do.
Arilee lugged the heavy buckets of water into the kitchen, and with a sigh of relief, sat them down on the table next to the stove. After stirring up the coals and feeding fuel into the stove, she poured the contents of one bucket into a copper pot sitting atop the slowly heating metal. Knowing the water would take some time to heat up, Ari grabbed the remains of her cold supper from the night before — a quarter loaf of bread and a little cheese — and walked toward the front room of the house.
Taking a bite of cheese, and then one of the slightly stale bread, Ari sat down in a chair and picked up a pair of trousers, which were split in the backside, from the basket next to the chair. Selecting a spool of thread similar in color to the trousers, she threaded a needle and settled in to mend while the water heated.
It was nearly evening before Arilee completed her work for the day. Though she was exhausted, and still had to attend to her own household chores, she smiled as she counted the coin earned from her hard day's work. It was still not enough to pay her taxes, but she would soon have the money if things kept going as they were.
To that end, she was also fortunate, as more of the wealthy townsfolk had dropped off laundry for washing and mending during the day. Her day tomorrow would be just as long and tiring, but should also earn her plenty of coin.
A glance into the pot on the stove revealed that the water was boiling, so Arilee hurried to refill the washtub, so that she would have clean clothing of her own to wear in the morning. After filling the tub, she went out and checked on the few things of hers she had washed during the day. Ari smiled when she found that her nightshirt, panties, and modest dress were all dry and ready to wear.
Pulling the garments down from the line, she took them back inside. The rest of her clothing would dry on the line strung in the kitchen as she slept tonight. The night would be warm, and there appeared to be no sign of rain, but Arilee could not bear the thought of leaving the rest of her panties hanging outside while she was sleeping and could not watch over them. Her modest wardrobe did not take long to wash, and soon all her things were hanging to dry, save what she was wearing at the moment. As Arilee pulled off her blouse, she winced from a whiff of her own smell that arose when she lifted her arm. My clothes aren't the only thing that will be washed before I leave this house today, she thought, The sweeping will just have to wait.
When she finished washing and hanging the final garments, Ari decided that draining the washtub would also have to wait until later. She needed a bath, and she needed one now.
Mindful not to touch her bare skin, she picked up a pair of whistling kettles from the stove, and carried them toward the bathroom. Even though thick curtains covered the nearby windows, Arilee made sure to avoid walking in direct view of them. A mischievous breeze could leave her exposed to the world outside, and she felt sure that such would cause her to drop dead of embarrassment on the spot, were it to happen. She hurried down the hall, as fast the weight of the hot kettles in each hand would allow, and into the bathroom.
One of the few luxuries her father had purchased, Arilee was glad to have the bathtub. Made of tin, it had a drain hole in the bottom plugged with a large cork, which could be removed to drain the tub without dipping the water out in buckets. The tub was large enough for her to lie back in with her knees bent only slightly, and it was one of the few rewards she could afford these days.
Having filled the tub with cool water earlier in the day, she guessed it would take no more than one kettle to bring the now warmed water up to an appropriate temperature. Her guess was confirmed when she swirled her hand in the water after pouring in the first kettle. If anything, the water was almost too warm.
Sinking into the tub with a sigh of relief, Arilee dunked her head to wash her hair first, so that it would have some time to dry while she washed the rest of her body. Once she smoothed the water out of her hair, she again picked up the cake of soap, lathering a cloth to scrub her skin. She finished by rising up out of the water to scrub the dark blonde carpet of curls adorning her mound. Her face flushed with color as she felt a rush of heat spread throughout her loins from the touch. She had found little time for such pleasure since Amos last returned to sea, and even the commonplace touching required by washing stoked her inner fires.
Amos was one of her oldest playmates, and now he was her first love as well.
Arilee shivered and absently pressed her fingers tighter against her nether lips as she thought about him. Her mother had always said he looked like a pirate, with his dark, shoulder-length hair and thick, expressive eyebrows. His mysterious brown eyes never failed to make Ari's heart race whenever she looked into them. The thin mustache and patch of hair on his chin completed the roguishly handsome look.
A slight moan escaped Arilee as she thought about his body, leanly muscled and strong, yet able to touch her so softly that her whole body quivered from the feather-light caress. Her fingers stroked her folds as she remembered the first time they had lain together.
The house had felt so empty after her mother died, and the time he spent with her, talking while she earned her livelihood, had opened her heart to something she had really always known — she was in love with him. She remembered his desire like electricity in the air, and could see it in his eyes, but he always contained his needs with gentlemanly restraint. After days of torturous desire, Ari had overcome her natural shyness and made the first move, leaning in to kiss his lips.
That beautiful spring night, he shared her bed, patiently guiding her and introducing her to the pleasures between man and woman. Ignoring his own burning needs, he had gently brought her to her heights, only then sating his passion in her virgin embrace.
Ari's back arched, her body flushing with heat, as her deeply buried fingers reproduced that first orgasm on his wonderful cock. A quavering cry of release bubbled from her lips, turning into a long sigh of satisfaction as the first waves of pleasure slowly ebbed.
Collapsing back into the bath water, Arilee quivered as the ripples of ecstasy flowed through her body, her face flushed and decorated with a sweet smile. She wanted to drift there in the afterglow forever, but the steadily chilling water prevented that.
She prayed that he would be promoted soon, because she knew that he would never ask for her hand in marriage until he felt he could properly provide for her. He had left town two years ago to join the Royal Navy, visiting whenever he had shore leave. Once he had the rank and pay, they would be married and they would find a home near the sea to raise a family.
Arilee sighed, knowing it was all just a dream for now. She needed to get dressed and go get something to eat, because he would be at her door soon. If she couldn't earn enough money in time...
Ari's stomach churned at the thought of the alternative.
Shaking away the thoughts, Arilee dressed and headed down the street to purchase her meager meal for the evening, which would once again double as breakfast in the morning.
Another day passed, and Ari was now a few coins closer to her goal. Once again, she was exhausted after her day's work, but at least she was a little closer to having her tax money. Mrs. Clemmins had even brought her some dumplings and an apple pie, so she wouldn't have to go out to get her supper tonight. Her full tummy wasn't helping her stay awake, but she knew she still needed to finish a few things before going to bed.
Rising wearily from her chair, Ari walked out the back door to pull down the last of the clothes from the line, after which she planned to get in bed early for once. Setting down the wicker basket, Arilee pulled the clothespins from a pair of thin, lacy panties. Holding the provocative undergarments provoked a flush of heat in Arilee's cheeks. An image of the beautiful woman who owned them flashed through her mind, and Ari's blush deepened. She quickly shook the thought out of her head and started to fold the panties.
"Those are nice. Yours?"
Ari let out a little yelp surprise and stumbled through the veil of clothes on the line, spinning to face the voice that had emerged from right behind her. The fright sent adrenaline rushing through her body, making her feel as though she were about to burst from the pressure. Through the shifting cloth, Arilee recognized Mazzar, the tax collector.
Peeking between the clothes on the line at her, Mazzar squinted his deep-set eyes and chuckled, "Sorry, didn't mean to scare you. I just came by to remind you that your taxes are almost due, and couldn't help but mention those. I bet you could stop a man's heart wearing them, and nothing else."
Her skin crawling, Arilee did her best not to look directly at the rotund man, and tried to ignore the smell of stale beer on his breath that was nearly overpowering, even across the distance between them. "It's okay, Sir, I was just startled. I'll have the money on time, Sir."
Staring at her breasts with a lecherous smile that he made no attempt to hide, Mazzar responded, "Well, if you have any trouble, don't forget that we can work..." He paused for a moment and his smile spread even wider, "...something out."
"Yes, Sir," Arilee muttered, keeping her eyes turned away from him.
Chuckling, he turned to leave and said, "I'll see you in three days, then."
She stayed behind the curtain of clothing until he was well out of sight, her stomach churning. The thought of the alternative payment he had suggested nauseated Arilee. Rumors circulated amongst the young women of the area, and the thought of being on her knees nude in front of Mazzar, paying her taxes with her mouth, was almost too much to bear.
Ari quickly pulled down the clothing from the line, deciding to fold it in the house. Back inside the safe confines of her home, the fear and revulsion calmed enough for Ari to remember that she would easily have the money in time, if things continued as they were. If as many people brought her washing and mending tomorrow as they had dropped off today, she would have enough money a day early.
That calming thought cheered her, prompting her to hum a love song as she worked. Finishing, she looked at the fading, crimson light streaming through her curtains. She was done, and it wasn't even dark yet. For the first time in many weeks, she was going to get a full night's sleep.
A knock on the door startled Ari, jarring her back to the encounter with Mazzar. Once again, her heart raced from fright. When a second knock sounded, though, her eyes opened wide. She recognized the knock — two slow raps followed by three quicker ones. Euphoria bubbled up inside her, as Ari hurried to the door and flung it open.
Amos was smiling just as brightly as Ari when she saw him, and her smile only grew wider when he said, "Hello, my angel."
"Amos!" Ari exclaimed, as she wrapped her arms around him. She held him close for a long time, as if letting him go would cause him to dissolve into a dream. His arms wrapped around her too, and he stroked her hair as she leaned against his strong chest.
Eventually, Arilee looked up at him and they kissed. Her toes curled in her shoes, tingles running up and down her spine, and her skin came alive with a pleasant chill she had not felt in a long time. When their lips parted, she leaned back and smiled. After a moment, her eyes opened wide and she covered her face, "Oh, don't look at me, I must look terrible!"
Amos pulled her hands down gently and said, "You are the most welcome, beautiful, and incredible sight I've ever laid eyes on, Angel."
Arilee blushed, glancing down demurely, after seeing the adoration in his eyes and knowing that every single word came directly from his heart. "But I'm all dirty and my eyes must look dreadful."
"I'm not exactly a bed of roses, Ari, I just walked into town. I came straight here as soon as I got paid by the caravan I guarded on the way here."
Ari sniffed and chuckled, "You do need a bath. Why didn't you let me know you had leave?"
"We're putting on a show, Angel. I don't mind, but..."
Ari's cheeks flooded with color again, "Oh dear, come in." When she closed the door, she turned back to Amos and said, "I'm so embarrassed, I can't believe I was behaving like that with the door wide open."
"I missed you too, Ari, people will understand. I didn't write to let you know I had leave because I wanted to surprise you. I only have a few days, but I want to spend them all with you." He took her hand then, and kissed it while looking lovingly into her eyes.
"I'm so happy to see you. I hope you don't mind me working while you're here, my taxes are due in a few days, and I don't quite have the money yet."
"I have another surprise for you too, Angel." Amos reached into the bag hanging from his shoulder and withdrew a small cloth pouch, which he then handed to Arilee with a smile. Her eyes opened wide when she heard the clink of coins and felt the weight of the pouch in her hand. Pulling open the top, she saw the copper and silver coins within — many of them.
Arilee asked, "Amos, what's this?"
"That's your tax money, so we can spend our time together. You'll already have almost all of it for next time then too, with what you've already made."
Hugging him tight, astounded by what he had just given her, Ari asked, "But how?"
Amos chuckled, "I don't spend my money carousing in foreign ports every time we touch land. I eat in the galley, even when we're in port, and I sleep in my berth. The Captain is glad to have me around, because even in port, there are things that need doing, and I'm usually the only one sober enough to do anything. That's why I'm getting promoted to lead the night watch as soon as Jacoby retires in six months."
The smile that brightened Ari's face then outshone the now departed sun, "You're going to be promoted? Oh, that's wonderful, Amos!"
"I already do the job, really, but Jacoby has earned the right to the job for as long as he wants it. He's just getting up there in years. I can't sense the weather like he can, anyway, so he still does us a lot of good out there on deck at night."
Pulling away from him, Ari wrinkled her nose a little bit and laughed, "You really do need a bath."
His voice dropping slightly in pitch and volume, he asked, "Would you like to share one with me, Angel?"
A shudder ran down her spine as Ari nodded in answer to his question. Amos took her hand and led her to the kitchen, telling her, "We'll put the water on to boil, and I have more presents for you while we wait. I bought some treats, nuts and dried fruits, that I know you're going to love."
"Not as much as I love you," Ari breathed softly in response.