The Long Road to Ruin Ch. 11byLady_Blackhawk©
Disclaimer: This fanfic is based off the Neverwinter Nights community module by the name of "A Dance with Rogues" created by Valine. I fell in love with this story and felt compelled to write something that compliments it. This story is rated Mature (NC-17) for explicit content and graphic violence. All characters except Shiloh, Bastian, Rhys, Nicca, Narev and Essex are property of Valine.
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Shiloh woke a few hours later still intimately pressed between Rhys and Ashur. She yawned and stretched, running her hand over their supple flesh. Rhys let out a groan and snuggled his head against her breasts. His silky hair tickled her nipples and she let out a tiny giggle.
"I could stay here like this forever," she purred, cuddling into both of them.
"As much as we'd like that as well, sugar, we can not. I have work to do if we plan to fulfill your wish of getting you away from here. Now, I'll need you to go about your lessons as usual. Do not tell anyone about this. It could be dangerous for all of us. Do you understand me?"
"Yes, of course, Rhys. I'll not say a thing."
He smiled and placed a kiss on her forehead. "Now up with you. Don't you have other things you could be doing?"
She flashed him a pensive look and shook her head. "I could work on my pick-pocketing lesson, but this is much more fun."
"You really should do that. Just as a precaution so no one gets suspicious. There are a few things I wouldn't want to have to explain to my superiors. We would prefer to keep a good relationship with 'The Family.' Understand?"
Shiloh nodded in acquiescence. She did understand. She would not want to see any blood shed on her account. Except for maybe Vico, she thought to her as she scooted off the bed and gathered her clothing. She quickly washed then dressed herself. As she turned back to Rhys and Ashur, she noticed they had already pulled their clothes back on as well and both of them seemed to be holding a small pouch. She cocked an eyebrow at them.
"This is for you." Rhys handed his to her. "It's not what you think. Treat yourself to something nice, perhaps a pretty dress. I may have ruined the one you were wearing."
"Same here, but don't think of it as payment. I'd love to see you in something tight and feminine." Ashur replied as he handed her the one he held.
A wide smile crossed her face and tears welled in her eyes. "Oh, what did I do to deserve you both?" She embraced and kissed one after the other. "I am truly the luckiest girl ever to have you both."
Rhys smiled at her and kissed her possessively. "I'll be in contact and oh, honey, try to avoid Vico. I'd hate to have to kill him."
"Same goes for me. You are far too sweet to be hurt so callously," Ashur agreed as he pulled her to him and gave her a soft kiss.
Tears welled in her eyes and she sniffled.
"Don't cry, honey. Don't think about it. We'll be in touch. I swear that to you. We have to go. There's work to be done. Come along." Rhys coaxed her to the doorway and led her back downstairs. He kissed her one last time before taking his leave of her, allowing her to make her own way back. Shiloh sat down on the steps and buried her face in her hands. It was so hard to go on and pretend nothing had happened. She drew in a deep breath and wiped her tears away. She had things to do. Things she must do. With a heavy sigh, she resigned herself to that fact and left The Wildcat. She sneaked out of the dockhouse and headed for North Betancuria. Her first stop was at the Dressmaker, Nora's. She carefully browsed the dresses the woman had in stock and finally decided on pretty purple mini-dress and tight form fitting black one. She smiled as she dug into the pouches that Rhys and Ashur had given her and paid the old woman for the dresses.
Taking her leave, she headed back to the Bear Pit and found Caron in the hallway. She smiled at him sweetly. His eyes raked over her, noting the cut on her cheek. A concerned look crossed his face as he rushed to her side.
"What happened?" He touched her face tenderly.
"I picked a fight with Vico and as you can see, he put me in my place," Shiloh shrugged her shoulders.
"Did he hurt you? I'll kill him for touching you!" Caron growled, his face darkening dangerously.
"No, Caron, don't do that. Not on my account. It was stupid. I should have known better. Both Master Nathan and Alfons warned me and I didn't listen. He's not worth it."
"But you are."
Shiloh smiled. "I am touched that you think so, Caron, but don't. Don't give that asshole the satisfaction. I could not live with myself if he hurt you. Vico's very strong and he doesn't give a damn if he hurts someone. He likes hurting people. I learned that is what gets him off. It's best to leave well enough alone."
Caron scoffed derisively. "Must have been one hell of a fu- I mean fight."
She shook her head, knowing what he meant to say, but let it slide. "I passed another lesson."
"I had to sneak through the sewers."
"Heh, smelly place, isn't it?" Caron laughed.
Shiloh wrinkled her nose, "Yes, quite so."
He grinned wickedly and laughed. "You should take a bath to get rid of the smell."
"So you can watch me again? Why, Caron, don't you like my sweet scents?" Shiloh grinned at him.
"Oh, but I do! Very much so," Caron chuckled.
"Are you very familiar with the sewers? I mean, you seemed to know your way around the other day when you took me down into that cellar."
"Oh yeah, I know them like I know the back of my hand. They're very handy for moving around in the city when you don't want to be seen. But you've got to be careful and avoid the rats and other things that live down there."
"Like Vico?" Shiloh laughed.
"Exactly," Caron grinned mischievously.
"Hrm, I suppose I shall have to explore them fully sometime."
"You really should. You know, as soon as I am done here, I'll probably go down there myself. Master Nathan has given me a rather important task. I am supposed to track down a group of men who are spying on him. It's rather confidential."
"I suspect that they are involved in it, too. I've gotten a hint that points towards the sewers, so that's where I'll continue with my inquiries."
"Say, Caron, I overheard two people talking in the sewers. One was a Dhorn, and they were talking about an organization that gave then trouble. The Dhorn wanted the other man to find out who those people behind that organization were."
"Oh, you should really tell Master Nathan immediately."
"I will, yes. I'm headed up there in a few minutes," she nodded as she took a few steps in that direction.
"Good!" Caron smiled at her. "It's no wonder he's praising you all the time."
Caron nodded his head. "He has every right to."
"Hmm, well, he's usually reserved when he speaks to me," Shiloh cocked an eyebrow at Caron and wondered how he knew so much about what Master Nathan had said about her. Perhaps she'd have to get nosy and ask.
Caron took note of her reluctance to believe what he had told her. "I think he likes you a whole lot, Shiloh."
"Uh, you mean?"
Caron laughed mirthfully. "Heh, now THAT'S an interesting picture. But no, my sweet little Shiloh, I believe he thinks of you as a daughter or something like that. I mean, he's four times your age, right? And if he doesn't keep his fingers off you, you can be damn sure I'll rap his greedy old knuckles!" A salacious grin crossed his face.
"You won't have to, Caron. I'm not interested in bedding an old man like that," Shiloh reassured him. "I have more selective tastes."
"Ah, I see. Do those tastes include Vico?" Caron looked her up and down almost accusingly.
"What are you talking about?" Shiloh raised an eyebrow at him as she wondered what poison Vico had poured into Caron's ears this time.
"Oh, Vico was in here about an hour ago and bragged about how you begged him to fuck you, but he said he turned you down because you'd been fucking some sailor at the docks. I wasn't sure whether or not to believe him, but he reiterated his so-called threat that I had no business messing with you when you are off-limits by order of Master Nathan."
"That's so very nice of him," Shiloh scoffed as she lowered her eyes. She took a deep breath, trying to stop from trembling. She gazed back up at Caron, looking so miserable. "Vico told you the parts he must have thought would do the most damage to our relationship, but he's not telling the whole truth. Don't you see that this is just another attempt to scare you off so you'll stay away from me? Do you want to hear my side of the story or have you made your decision based solely on what he had to say?"
Caron chuckled. "He said you'd say something like that."
"Oh of course and you believe him?"
"No, I wanted to get your reaction and your side of the story. So tell me why would you want a cretin like Vico to touch you after he's treated you so badly?"
"Can we possibly have this talk somewhere else besides this hallway? If you want the truth, I shall tell you the whole truth, but I would prefer it be for your ears only for the time being."
"Lead the way then," he held out his hand toward the door that lead to the common room below.
Shiloh led him out of the Bear Pit and crossed over into South Betancuria. They strolled across the bridge and through the Isle of Men to another bridge and traversed it. She smiled back at him as she took hold of his hand and led him down to the docks. She put her finger to her lips and made a 'shushing' noise as they stealthily crept to the dockhouse. She opened the rear door and motioned for him to follow her. Caron cocked an eyebrow at her and complied, allowing her to lead him to the trapdoor. Down they climbed and soon they were entering The Wildcat. Caron gave her a curious look, but said nothing as he followed her upstairs to the room where she had her trysts with Rhys. She lit a candle and set it on a cabinet in the room then moved to the bed and sat down.
"You seem fairly familiar with this place? You do know where we are and what this place used to be?" Caron asked as he knelt before her.
"Yes, this used to be the busiest whorehouse in the city. I'm aware of that. It's a safe place where no one will disturb us."
"How did you find that tunnel?"
"The so called sailor Vico told you I'd been fucking showed me," Shiloh replied and watched as the look on Caron's face changed drastically. "Now let me explain a few things. One, I am not a prostitute so get that thought out of your head. Two, that sailor is a good friend of mine. His name is Rhys. Yes, I met him down here at the docks. He propositioned me while I was trying to complete Chella's lesson. I was so totally ignorant about everything. He has never paid me and never will. He's been giving me lessons on how to please a man. Leave it to Vico to make it sound dirty and tawdry."
"You wound me, Shiloh. I would have been more than willing to give you lessons. You wouldn't have needed anyone else."
"And Vico would have killed you if it had been you. You know he's capable of it," Shiloh shook her head. "I wouldn't be able to live with myself if he hurt you."
"I can handle Vico. I'm not afraid of him." Caron scoffed. "So if the sailor thing is true, then everything else must be as well. Why would you want Vico to fuck you after he raped you?"
"I have wondered that myself, Caron, but the truth is this. I was working on my stealth lesson and I made it to the hideout. Vico was there and start insulting me like he normally does and it made me mad so since I'm not strong enough to get even with him, I thought I'd play a different game. So I kissed him and walked away. He followed me out into the sewers and cornered me. He pushed me against a wall and shoved his fingers inside me and proceeded to make me cum. It felt good and I knew I was playing with fire. That's how the begging came about. Call it a moment of weakness because I did want to be fucked. I came so hard and I wanted more. You can't fault me for that. He took me into this secret room and threw me on a bed. He undressed and pulled my clothes off, but it was all for naught. He was merely toying with me. His only plan was to teach me a lesson. I am ashamed of the fact that I....took his dick in my mouth and sucked it. I thought if I did something for him that he'd give me what I wanted. I was wrong. He taunted me and hit me, telling me he wouldn't fuck me. I could care less that he thinks I'm a whore. I hate him, but I can't stay away from him. I went to Rhys after I left the sewers. I needed someone to talk to and he surmised that the reason I can't stay away from Vico is because of 'an obsession stemming from a traumatic experience.' He saved my life after all. I'd be dead if it weren't for Vico being in the castle that night. I won't blame you if you don't want anything more to do with me, but I think if you allow this to drive us apart, Vico will have won. Surely you don't want that?"
"That is a lot to think about, Shiloh. He really well may have gotten his wish," Caron replied solemnly as he pulled back from her.
Shiloh gazed deeply into his eyes. "Please don't let him win."
Caron cleared his throat. "We should be getting back."
She nodded and stood up from the bed, feeling awkward, "Alright. Shall we return to the Bear Pit? I am starving and dinner sounds really good. I'll even pay."
They returned the Bear Pit and parted ways as Caron told her he had something to do that involved the task that Master Nathan had given him. She entered the kitchen and groaned aloud as she noticed Vico sitting at the table eating. Didn't he have anything else to do besides make my life miserable? Her stomach growled. She gritted her teeth. Alright, she told herself, just get some food and ignore him.
She approached the stew pot and grabbed a plate, ladling herself out on it. Then she sliced a few pieces of bread and poured herself a pint of ale. Still ignoring Vico as best she could, she approached the table and sat down. She began to eat in silence, savoring the richness of the stew's broth. As she took a sip of her ale, her eyes connected with Vico's. There was a very smug and satisfied expression on his face. She quickly looked away and sucked in a deep breath, willing her rapidly beating heart to slow down. Her pulse pounded in her ears. Vico had won and they all knew it.
She pushed her meal aside and dashed out of the kitchen. Gods, how she....hated....him!!!!!! Shiloh didn't stop running until she had made it all the way up to Castle Street. Every ounce of her being wanted to scream out of her frustrations. She longed to go back to the Bear Pit and plunge her sword into his black heart. She leaned against the stone wall that separated the city from the castle proper and began to slam her fists against it. She cried out in pain as she bloodied her knuckles. Hurting herself this way would not solve her problems. She sank to her knees and let the tears fall. The bastard had won. She knew she had lost Caron. She vowed that she wouldn't let him get away with it. One way or another she would get even with Vico for this. And then she would hopefully never have to see him again once Rhys took her away from here.
Shiloh wiped away her tears and drew in a deep breath. Looking around, she noted her surroundings. She was close to number 5 Castle Street, one of the addresses Yance had given her for her pick-pocketing lesson. He had told her she would find a steel ring at this address. Well, she figured she might as well work on her lessons and hope it would take her mind off her troubles with Caron and Vico.
Shiloh pulled her dark cloak around her body and crept over to the door of number 5. She tested the handle and found it to be locked. Sighing, she pulled out her lock picks and went to work, using the skeletal key and her smallest pick to manipulate the tumblers inside. It took her several long moments to get it right. This lock was a tad bit rusty and even more difficult than any of the others she had thus far encountered. Her perseverance paid off when she heard it click open. She sighed deeply and cracked the door wide enough so she could slip inside.
The room beyond the door was warm and cheery. She could tell this was someone's house who took obvious good care of it. She closed the door as quietly as she could and crept through the foyer into the small abode. A rather large bookcase piqued her interest and she tiptoed over to it. She searched it up and down, finding an odd looking device she figured to be a trap and a key to the door that led upstairs. She studied the crude trap and cut a few connecting wires. She hoped that would prevent the spikes from springing out to stab her as she reached in and grabbed the key. Once she had the key in her possession, she noted a poetry book that seemed familiar to her. She picked it up and ran her fingers over the front of it. It was called 'Poetica.' The soldier who lived here must have taken this book from the castle. Shiloh stowed it away in a pocket in her cloak and turned away from shelf. It was then she noticed the large dog lying in the corner of the room. She sucked in a breath and tread as softly as possible to the stairs and the door.
She inserted the key in the lock and opened it, heading upstairs. She intended to explore the upper floor and hopefully find the key she needed to find. She hoped the soldier was not at home. She knew getting his key would not be as simple as getting Ashur's. She smiled at the thought of Rhys and Ashur. They had been so good to her, so thorough in their affections for her. She knew she could trust them more than anything. She knew they would come through for her and she'd never again be troubled by this living hell ever again. Her heart ached as she mourned the loss of Caron's love. He had always been so nice and sweet to her. She supposed that Trissa would get her way of having him to herself and Vico would do his best to keep Caron in line. She bit her lip to keep from crying out loud. She knew the tears were coursing down her cheeks. It wasn't fair.
She hung her head for a few moments and gave herself a mental shake. Put those dangerous thoughts away and focus, she mentally scolded herself as she scanned the upper part of the house. There were three doors in front of her. She walked over to the one across from the steps and tried the handle. It refused to budge. Blast, locked!
She quickly dispatched the lock and sneaked into the small bedroom. She glanced around and noted a chest of drawers, a bed side table, and a good sized bed. Shiloh quickly rummaged through the drawers of the dresser until she found the ring in a hidden compartment beneath one of shelves. It was steel. She smiled to herself as she pocketed it. Two down and one to go. The thrill of almost being complete with another lesson excited her. She knew it was one step closer to her freedom.
Shiloh left the house behind, making sure to put to right anything she may have touched, including locking the door. She turned the corner from Castle Street to Summer Lane and headed for the marketplace. She had to cross through it to get to the western part of the city where the third and final ring was located in a house on Knight Street.
The rain had slowed to a drizzle and she knew it was getting late in the day. Most of the shops were beginning to close and she watched as last minute shoppers rushed frantically around to get a few remaining purchases. She stopped and watched, marveling at the people living their every day normal lives. She had never had a normal life. All she had ever known was life at the castle, the pampered existence of one of Betancuria's royalty. She really couldn't have said she had truly lived in all of her years in the castle. She had very little freedom and no real say in her future. She knew as her father's sole heir that it would be her duty to marry and take her place as Queen when her father had finally stepped down. The few nobles she had met had not interested her, but she knew that royal marriage were never for love. Royals married to cement alliances and to gain richer holdings. She knew the best she could have hoped for was a congenial relationship that grew into a fondness as the years passed and her children grew of age. Now that would never come to pass. Flashes of what could have been crumbled to dust before her very eyes. A poignant ache pierced her heart. Not so much for that lost future, but for the loved ones that she'd never see again.