The Last Tritan Ch. 10byWaterBurn©
Hello again all! So sorry about the longer than usual wait on this chapter! You may have heard about my wisdom toothocalypse (<--FA_JF) but I'm much better now. Jaw still won't open all the way, but I've been told there are thing that can be done about that. (Medieval stretcher comes to mind... ) Anynoodles, thank you again to all you fine ladies who had to put up with me while high on pain meds—FA_JF, LBGrant, jennyb2492 and SP. You ladies rock my world, and as such, there's a little shoutout just for LB and JennyBeans. See if you can find it all you Wanting It All & Finding Home fans...
A burly soldier shoved the captain away from me, and reached for my throat with murder in his eyes.
"Get back!" Reese shouted, raising his weapon in shaky hands and pointing it at the soldier. "Rawlings, get your ass moving," he snapped as the soldier released me, and stepped back warily.
"That Priestess had something to do with the general's death, Reese," the murderous soldier said in a shaking voice, his hands raised defensively. "And we both know it. I won't let you leave with her."
Reese snorted scornfully. "Not your call mate."
The captain got to his feet, stepping in front of my limp form, his own weapon drawn and aimed at the soldier currently threatening my life. "It's time to go Pet, get up," he said as several arguments broke out amongst the soldiers surrounding Sasha's body.
I turned my head toward them, 'tasting' the air. "It's... chaos..." I whispered hypnotized by the miasma of turbulent emotions, and wanting... more.
"Mila. Get up, right now," Asher barked, trying to haul me to my feet.
I could hear shouting in the distance, could hear the sounds of panic creeping closer as the initial shock of the general's horrific death wore off. I pushed myself into a sitting position, one handed, trying to ignore the still form of my mentor.
My eyes drifted over the soldiers, seeing their emotions shimmering in the air around me, a colorful rainbow only I could see. "So beautiful..." I whispered, feeling something inside me slip, knowing I only needed to give a little push to take all of this to the next level. I reached for it, desperate to fill the void Sasha had left behind, needing something other than this bone crushing grief. I let my mind go blank, becoming nothing more than a conduit for the chaos around me.
Marco burst into the tent, giving me a brief glimpse of the confusion surrounding the general's body, his eyes wild as he tried to make his way to the captain's side. "What happened?" He shouted over the din.
"Not now," the captain replied, his voice tight, and from the corner of my eye, I saw his head jerk in my direction. "Help me get her out of here."
A fight broke out between Reese and the murderous soldier. I could feel the dull thud of connecting fists vibrating in the air around me, but it was abstract, and my attention soon wandered to the other men. Heartbreak, confusion, excitement—it was all there, swirling inside my head, filling me with incredible power. "Yes..."
The captain's hoarse shout broke through the fog. "Mila stop!"
I ignored him and got to my feet, any residual side effects leftover from my attempt to save Sasha had been erased by the energy currently coursing through my veins. This was the key to my freedom, the key to vengeance for Sasha's death. My head lolled back, as I gathered my strength, trying to push the chaos in the tent to the next level.
My world spun unexpectedly, and I was abruptly staring at the captain's boots, with no idea how I'd managed to find myself dangling several feet off the floor.
"Clear a path," the captain snapped, and I realized--belatedly--he'd tossed me over his shoulder, his weapon trained on everyone and no one. I'd barely felt the painful twinge in my Chains, so enthralled was I by the flavor of so many passionate emotions, so utterly lost. Marco took point, and the captain started running after him, my stomach bouncing painfully on his shoulder.
Everywhere I looked there was pandemonium, people crawling over each other desperately trying to flee the area, without regard for those caught beneath their feet. Well-dressed officials, elegant ladies, terrified slaves—it made no difference. The crowd had devolved into a writhing mass of humanity, hell-bent on consuming itself.
I watched entranced--from my limited vantage point--as two waves of people collided in the center of the clearing, their panicked screams blending to create a symphony of terror, their faces lit by the eerie blue glow left over from the general's gun. Hapless individuals were thrown from the herd, stumbling and tripping in all directions. I winced when several people landed in the slowly fading pool of plasma. Their deaths would not be easy.
There was however, a single exception to the anarchy corrupting the Caledonian populace. The soldiers gathered at the northern end of the clearing were being efficiently organized into riot patrol, by none other than Colonel Viridien, who'd kindly offered to take my training out of Asher's hands. I could clearly hear his booming voice over the sounds of panic as he ordered his men to subdue the crowd at any cost. I watched as the soldiers began to guide the wall of people away from the deadly pool of liquid energy.
Someone shouted from outside my limited line of vision, though he was close enough that I could understand his words. "No! Don't shoot!" The terrified scream was followed by an electric tingle at the back of my throat, and the now familiar shock of a life slipping away...
"Captain, get down!" Marco shouted into the brief silence following the man's sudden death, tackling us to the ground with him. But then someone started screaming, and the crowd surged with renewed vigor, their minds becoming a collective consciousness. "They're firing at civilians," he whispered, voice was thick with disbelief.
"Marco, nothing matters but getting her out of here," the captain replied tersely.
The captain waved him off. "We don't have time to argue soldier. Get us out alive, and I'll explain everything."
Marco hesitated for a split second, but nodded, and said, "Sir." He stood, protecting the captain as he hefted my limp body back onto his shoulder.
I could do nothing but feel, paralyzed by the emotions of a thousand terrified people, drowning in the onslaught of their pain and suffering. Only a moment before I'd been reveling in the chaos, but it was quickly becoming too much, the emotions too intense, too overwhelming for me to handle. I tried to close my eyes, to shut everything out, but it was a wasted effort—I ached where my silken dress touched my skin, the commotion of the riot burned my ears, and the smell of panic caused acid to burn the back of my throat.
"Oh God... make it stop... please..." I whispered, but my voice was immediately swallowed by the crowd, and the captain didn't slow down.
The captain skidded to a halt, nearly colliding with Marco. "Move lady!"
The voice of a young woman answered him. "P-please—"
"I will shoot you," Marco replied gruffly, and I wondered if the woman could hear the hesitation in Marco's voice as clearly as I could.
She whimpered, her voice thick with tears. "Oh God, please help me."
"Sir?" Marco asked.
The captain's response was to the point, yet not unkind. "Keep up." And then we were running again, keeping pace with Marco as he cleared a path, the frightened young woman sticking as close to the captain as possible.
Energy, hot and pure, flashed past my dangling arm, and an anguished cry nearly deafened me. The pain I could feel emanating off the woman was so intense, I was almost able to cry out, yet I couldn't lift my head to see if she still lived. Marco cursed, and attacked the shooter. And I was with him as he unleashed his temper, felt every blow he landed, his weapon laying forgotten on the ground to my right.
Still unable to move, I was forced to feel every strike Marco landed, couldn't escape when the shooter's bones began to crack and Marco's blood lust boiled over. But most importantly I couldn't escape as the man slipped away, overcome by the might of his assailant's fists, couldn't shake death's seductive lure silently pulling me into the darkness with him...
"That's enough soldier!" The captain shouted, and I shivered, focusing instead on the desperate tone of his voice, of the feeling of Asher's hand caressing the skin at the top of my thigh. "He's dead, we have to move on."
Marco coughed, and I felt his horror as he stumbled back, saw his bloodied fists tremble. "Asher," he began, but his voice broke, the unmistakable sound of grief punctuated that simple word. "Is she dead?"
The captain exhaled, tightening his grip around my legs. "Yes." Hold on—who died? He couldn't be talking about me... could he?
Marco cursed and got to his feet, the shock evolving into anger, then unbridled rage. I knew because I couldn't help experiencing it with him, couldn't resist the temptation to add my own ever-present fury to the pot, and push until he snapped and his temper boiled over.
Marco bellowed, a heart-felt war cry preceding him, as he charged through the masses.After that, all I knew was darkness, vanquished by the emotional tidal wave, still unsure if I'd survived or not.
I woke to the sound of voices--as I often did in this strange place--but my head was so foggy, I could barely open my eyes, let alone make the effort to understand what was being said. It was clear they were arguing, whoever they were, and the tone was angry and intense. A hoarse groan escaped my lips, as I tried to gather the strength to roll over, and failed.
Someone placed a cool towel on my forehead and stroked my face tenderly, but I couldn't tell who it was from their touch. I could only be sure of one thing—it wasn't Sasha, because Sasha was dead. She'd killed herself, and her lover in a blaze of glory fit for a queen, and abandoned me to deal with the horrors of this life without her maternal guidance.
But it made a sort of twisted sense didn't it? Sasha had freely offered to help me, and I'd scorned her, had ridiculed her pacifist nature, and tried to kill her lover. I didn't deserve her affection, or her help, and now it was forever out of my reach.
An anguished sob clawed its way free of my throat, and the gentle hands grew a soothing feminine mouth, hushing me, whispering, "It'll be alright Priestess. Everything will be fine."
I wanted to laugh, wanted to scream and claw at that stupid floating mouth for speaking such offensive words. But my mind refused to feel the emotion for more than a few seconds, leaning instead toward the glorious freedom of unconsciousness. Where I would be free from the burden of my Empathy. Where I could be numb.
The last thing I heard before succumbing to the darkness was the sound of his voice, murmuring words I couldn't understand, low and deep, matching me step for step as I succumbed to a restless oblivion.
He watched me with a dark intensity, his face a careful, indifferent mask. But it didn't matter. His intention was clear. I could see it in the unforgiving gleam in his eyes, could hear it in the quick, shallow breaths he took. And I could feel it, because it was beginning to affect me too, had already caused my face to heat and my core to clench with repressed need.
He wanted me.
But more importantly, I wanted him. I wanted to lose myself to his touch, wanted to know what I'd been missing while living alone in the trees all those years. Even if it meant conceding the fight... and besides, I was just so... tired.
He moved, a smile curving his lips as he leaned toward me, his mask slipping to reveal the passion I'd sensed bubbling beneath the surface. The lust. His hand slipped behind my head, fingers tangling in my hair as he pulled me to him. Our lips met in a bruising kiss, and I groaned, enjoying his taste and the rasp of his dark facial hair against my skin.
He pressed me back, and I felt the heat of his naked flesh, writhed as it burned me. I hadn't realized we were already naked, but it was convenient... I wanted this, wanted him, hard fast. Needed him to mark me, to be consumed by his dark flames, and simply feel.
He groaned, and spread me with his fingers, supporting his weight with his other hand as he placed the thick head of his cock at my entrance. And though I ached for him, he didn't move, merely held himself above me, trembling with restrained passion. I moaned, frustrated and impatient, as he searched my face, looking for something.
I reached for him, needing the contact, desperate for him to continue. He nodded, and surged forward, plunging into my depths with a single, confident stroke, his groan of pleasure nearly drowning out my cry of pain...
I gasped awake, trembling and soaked with sweat... and perhaps something more. The room was dark, and I'd been dreaming. Or maybe I'd been hallucinating. I couldn't decide which, and it didn't seem terribly important. My head was spinning, and my heart was pounding. Had I really just dreamt about sex with the captain? Or was it... real...
"Mila?" I jumped. He was sitting on the bed beside me, a concerned look scrawled across his features. Was it a dream? His hair was messy--I couldn't tell if it was from sleep, or from other more, carnal pursuits--and his eyes were slightly glassy, as if he wasn't sure what was happening either.
I couldn't help myself, I glanced down, noticing in an abstract sort of way, noticing that he was completely naked... and painfully hard. His erection was straining against his stomach, seeming to stiffen further as I watched, throbbing in time with his heart.
"Mila? Are you okay?" Well that was a difficult question to answer, as I was currently trying to decide if I was still dreaming or not... better to play it safe and remain silent. Or roll over and try to find the threads of sleep, pretend this had never happened, dream or not...
So I slept, but it was restless and far from peaceful. Even semi-conscious I could feel the presence of several powerful Elites and their various entourages, coming and going as I lay in the captain's bed.
At first, I'd thought I could feel the distinct lifeforce of Sasha, thought she was back from the dead, haunting me with my failure as a Priestess. But then someone started talking about plans for a funeral and everything came rushing back. I realized I must be sensing the other bound Priestesses, following the Elites everywhere they went, complacent as obedient little slaves should be.
Time passed, and I became aware that I was the subject of a great debate, having been one of three people present when the Head Priestess--and by consequence, the general--had died, and the only one who'd been awake during the entire episode. I could hear the captain arguing heatedly with his superiors, insisting I'd had nothing to do with their deaths.
But that wasn't exactly true, was it? The captain had nearly killed me in the exact same way, mere days ago. And if it hadn't been for Sasha's intervention, the general would be the one planning a funeral right now, not Asher. Furthermore, I had a hard time believing she'd have killed herself in such a unique fashion, if I hadn't been the one to push her about her beliefs and responsibilities as Head Priestess. I'd forced her to confront her life choices as a slave, and the responsibility for her death landed squarely on my shoulders, for it had been inspired by none other than me. I would be the one to deal with the consequences.
"How did she do it Asher?" Asked the deep voice of Colonel Viridian, sounding exhausted. "Priestesses don't have offensive capabilities."
"Apparently they do," the captain replied in a sarcastic tone.
"This isn't a joke captain," the colonel snapped, his anger palpable. A few tense moments passed, and I nearly slipped back into a dream-state in the quiet that followed. "How could we have missed that?" He sighed, and I got the distinct impression he'd run his hands over day-old facial hair.
A new voice broke the silence. "The important question, gentlemen, isn't how we missed this," he paused, the tone and cadence of his voice hypnotic. "But how many of the other Priestesses know about it? Are we facing an uprising of slaves, or can we assume the Head Priestess had privileged information, being the most talented of her kind?"
The colonel continued in the same train of thought. "Or will there be a rash of Priestess suicides in an attempt to kill their bound Elites?"
"It's been five years, sir," the captain said, drawing me a little farther away from blissful ignorance. "I think it's safe to assume Sasha was the only one who could figure out how to do it."
Mr. Hypnotic didn't miss a beat. "What about your Priestess, captain? I understand she and Sasha were spending a great deal of time together?"
The colonel cleared his throat and added, "She was right there when it happened, Asher. It would be stupid to assume Sasha wouldn't have passed a little something along before she died."
Nervous anger danced through my system, and it took a moment for me to realize the emotion wasn't my own. "I carried her out of there myself gentlemen. We've been under round the clock surveillance since the demonstration, thanks to Jake and Elias' wild accusations, we haven't left this room in two days. She's barely even opened her eyes since..." He stopped, cursing under his breath. "If Sasha had given Mila something, I can assure you, I'd have noticed. But you're welcome to check for yourselves."
"Stand down captain," the colonel soothed. "This isn't an attack on your character son. We've got hundreds of Elites to think of here. We need to consider every possibility."
"What about something that could have been hidden under her clothing?" Asked Mr. Hypnotic, though he sounded impatient now, and had lost the calming edge to his voice.
The captain didn't respond for a moment, and I heard the familiar sound of his liquor bottle being uncorked. "She was spattered with gore during the riot. I stripped her down and cleaned her up as best I could without visiting the baths." He paused to swallow. "She hasn't got many places to hide something."
"Good lord! You bathed her yourself?" The colonel asked, aghast.
"Conrad," the lieutenant general sighed, clearly exasperated. Still chuckling, Colonel Viridian apologized, and the lieutenant general continued. "So you didn't find anything the Head Priestess could have given her?"
"I want to hear you say it Captain Rawlings. There can be no question of your innocence in this."
A tense silence dominated the room as the captain struggled to obey without attitude. When he eventually managed to speak, his voice was tight with repressed anger. "Lieutenant General Hastings sir, I've found nothing the late Head Priestess could have given Mila that could teach her how to kill an Elite. She had nothing but the dress I gave her, and she hasn't been conscious for long enough over the last two days to hide something from me."
"Good enough for me," the colonel said, obviously trying to lighten the mood. "Pour me one of those will you captain? Thanks. Lieutenant general, sir? There you are... good. Now, what I still don't understand, is how Sasha did it. How could she kill Tilcot with his own weapon, and be nowhere near him?"
"Mila said something about the Head Priestess letting her shield down," the captain offered, his voice betraying his relief at the conversation's new direction. "But I'll have to ask what she meant."