© Copyright 2015 - Lobo De la Sombra - Used by permission
Storycodes: MF/f; F/f; majick; crate; encase; straps; gag; delivery; cart; tease; discovery; revenge; cons/reluct; X
story continues from part one
"We found her."
"Good. Bring her." Rising from her comfortable seat, the slender woman watched as two men hauled a second woman into the room. As they released her, this woman dropped to her knees, wide eyes darting around the room. "Now leave us. And remember, if you speak of this to anyone, even to each other, my Master will know, and he will not be pleased."
At these words, the two men, both strong, husky types, flinched. Muttering acknowledgement, the two fled the room. Alone, the slender woman examined the new arrival. Nodding at what she saw, she approached, smiling slightly at the sight of the other woman cringing.
"Do you know me?"
"Mistress?" The kneeling woman stared, seemingly puzzled by the question.
"Do you know me?"
"Mistress, no. Your face seems familiar, but I cannot say what your name is."
The standing woman nodded. "Not surprising," she said softly, "considering you only saw me once, and only briefly. My name is Erin."
"Yes, Mistress Erin. I am Elea."
"No," Erin stated flatly, "you are not. Your name is Eleanor, and you were once a thief and an assassin."
The kneeling woman flinched. "That woman is gone, Mistress," she said slowly. "She was tortured to death at the hands of her former employers. All that remains is Elea, a simple slave."
Erin frowned. "I hope not," she said sincerely. "Much has changed since you last came here, and I have need of your special talents."
"Since I last..." The kneeling woman's eyes widened. "You," she said slowly, "you were the woman with the Sorcerer, the one I saw when I was..."
Erin nodded. "When you were trapped by my Master, my love, and sent back to where you came from," she finished. "Obviously, you were not treated well on your return."
"No, Mistress," came the reply, "I was not. For my failure, I was made a slave. I tried to resist, but those who held me know too well how to break anyone's spirit. Now I simply obey."
"Then obey me by becoming what you once were. My Master planned this well, so we have time for you to discover yourself once more. Rise, Eleanor, and let us begin."
"Your training goes well?"
"Yes, Mist...." Seeing Erin's frown, Eleanor paused. "Yes, Erin." She glanced down at the daggers she held. "At first, it was hard. I was taught to fear the feel of a blade in my hand, but now, they feel natural, almost a part of me."
Erin smiled. "Very good. Now, let's see the rest of you."
Obediently, Eleanor removed her clothing, standing still as Erin walked around her. Carefully, Erin examined the toned muscles of Eleanor's arms and legs, the flat firmness of her stomach. Satisfied, she smiled.
"It looks like you're back in shape," she said. "How do you feel?"
"Different," was the reply. "Strong, confident." She glanced down, frowning at her large breasts. "I do wish I could be free of these, though," she said softly. "Too many have used them for their pleasure and my pain."
"I don't." Erin glanced down at her own, smaller breasts. "They're beautiful," she said, raising her eyes to meet Eleanor's. "I am not a lover of women, yet even I find myself attracted to you." Smiling, she placed her hands on Eleanor's shoulders. "Besides," she said softly, "those days are done. Your body can give great pleasure, of that I have no doubt, but now it will be by your choice alone".
"Besides," she added, turning away, "your beauty can be as useful to us as your strength and skill. Come, it is time to tell you why you are here."
"I don't understand."
Eleanor gazed at the cart in front of her. Low, sturdy, it looked capable of carrying great weight. Its cargo, however, was a simple wooden crate. Shaking her head, Eleanor turned her attention to Erin.
"It is a box."
Erin smiled. "Yes," she replied, "it is that. Your task will be to see that it is safely delivered."
"But why is this box so important?"
"Because," Erin replied, "I will be in it."
Eleanor's eyes widened. "You? But...?"
Still smiling, Erin took her arm, leading her into the room where they'd first met. Entering, Eleanor froze at the sight of the man within.
"Please," the man replied, smiling, "call me Jared. And have a seat. We have much to discuss, and time grows short."
Hesitantly, Eleanor sank onto one of the cushions covering the floor, watching as Jared also seated himself, Erin at his side. Once seated, he began.
"As you know," he said in his soft voice, "I am a practitioner of the magical arts. Arts I used to capture you when you were last here. Arts I most recently used to locate you." Glancing toward Erin, he smiled. "It was her idea," he went on, "to offer this task to you. She never did feel completely comfortable with the way you left us. And I," he added, his smile becoming a frown, "feel I owe you something for what was done to you afterwards. I'd assumed you would be punished, but, until I sought you out, I had no idea just how far that punishment would go."
"Jared? The task?"
Jared nodded. "Of course. The task." Reaching into a pocket of his robe, he drew out a small, dark stone.
"In this world," he said, "there are many things that hold magic within them. This stone is one such. It allows me to focus my concentration on distant places, which is how I found you. In its way, quite useful, as are many of these items. Some, however, hold magic that should never be used. It is because of one such that you are here now".
"Centuries ago," he went on, "a dark sorcerer created a talisman. All of his strength he poured into this thing, as well as his lust for power. With this talisman, he very nearly destroyed all life, and it was only at great cost that he was finally defeated. In the final battle, the talisman vanished, and it has not been seen since. Until now."
Rising, Jared began to pace. "Ahlmak, your former employer, has somehow learned of this talisman," he said. "How, I do not know, but he has managed to acquire it. With such a powerful talisman in his possession, even someone like him, with no magical abilities of his own, can work powerful magic. Even now, his strength grows, even as the power of the talisman consumes him. It must be taken from him before he becomes too powerful to deal with."
"But why me?" Eleanor frowned. "Because of you, I was made a slave. I was beaten, tortured, until only obedience filled my soul. Erin's kindness, her strength, have helped me to regain what I once was, but that help would not have been needed were it not for your own actions. I have no reason to love you, and even less to help you."
Jared nodded. "All true," he said, "though, as I said, I did not believe Ahlmak would punish you so severely."
"What," Eleanor asked, her voice cold, "is to stop me from agreeing to this task, then betraying you and delivering her into Ahlmak's hands?"
"Not what," Erin replied, "who. You will not betray me because you would also be betraying yourself. Ahlmak was the source of your punishment, your torment. It was by his command that those things were done to you. And then he sold you once he'd tired of you. To betray me would be to help him, and I do not believe that is something you would ever do."
"Besides," Jared added, "the longer he holds the talisman, the more powerful he becomes. In time, everything will fall under his control. Including you."
"So if I do this," Eleanor said, "I will not only be hurting him, I will be protecting myself." Jared nodded. "Very well. I will do this. "Not," she added, "for you, but for myself."
"It is time."
Nodding, Eleanor followed Erin to the cart. "Are you sure you want to go through with this?"
"I must. Ever since Jared found out about the talisman, he has been training me for this one task. Only I can safely take the talisman from Ahlmak, and only I can safely bring it to Jared so that he can destroy it."
"But why this way?"
"Ahlmak," Erin explained, "protects himself, and the talisman, like a jealous lover. I would never be able to sneak into his stronghold. By pretending to be a prisoner, helpless, I should be able to get close enough. He'll want to see me, examine me, and that will be my chance. Besides, he has never forgiven me for choosing to stay with Jared. He'll want to see me suffer for that."
Smiling, Erin stripped off her clothing before climbing onto the cart. "Besides," she said lightly, "this is your chance to return the favor, is is not? Your chance to see me helpless?"
Shaking her head, Eleanor climbed onto the cart, watching as Erin stretched herself out within the box, which was equipped with a number of leather straps. "I think you're crazy," she said, working quickly to fasten the straps, securing Erin into the box.
"Perhaps," Erin replied, "but I ammmmmppph." As she spoke, Eleanor stretched the final strap over her lips, the attached leather ball filling her mouth and muffling her words. Surprised by this sudden application of her gag, Erin glared up as she twitched helplessly. Smiling, Eleanor placed the lid on the box before settling herself at the reins.
"Almost," she whispered, twitching the reins to set the cart into motion, "as crazy as I am."
The cart, drawn by a single horse, was slow. By the day's end, Eleanor calculated that there would be another two days at least before they reached Ahlmak's stronghold, which lay much farther away than the one from which he had originally sent Erin to spy on the Sorcerer. Stopping the cart, she set about making camp.
Once she had a fire going, Eleanor climbed onto the cart and removed the lid from the box. Slowly, she removed the straps holding Erin in place, leaving the mouth strap until last. Once freed, Erin stepped from the cart.
"You enjoyed that, didn't you?"
Eleanor smiled. "Perhaps a little bit," she replied, turning toward the fire. "Food will be ready shortly, and then back in the box with you. The longer you're out, the greater the chance someone will see you."
"I know," Erin said. "Out only at night, and only as long as need be." As she spoke, she walked slowly around the fire, loosening limbs grown stiff during the day. Once the food was ready, the two women settled down to eat.
"Why are you doing this?" Glancing over her bowl, Eleanor gazed at Erin. "You're taking a great risk in going there, not to mention the risk of trusting me."
Erin stared thoughtfully at the fire. "My time with Jared," she said slowly, "has taught me many things. Before, I was a beggar. Did you know I was sent to Jared because Ahlmak caught me stealing from his garbage? I was supposed to be a spy, to report to Ahlmak anything I could learn about Jared. When I got there, I found out he already knew the reason behind Ahlmak's 'gift' to him.
"Jared took me in. Before, I did whatever I had to in order to survive. I begged, I stole..." Erin flushed slightly. "I even tried to offer my body in exchange for food once, but I couldn't do it. Jared called me an innocent. He said that, in spite of everything, my soul remained pure. He taught me of the good in the world, when all I had known before was dark. For that, I would do anything."
She shrugged. "Besides," she added, "I love him. He is the warmest, kindest, gentlest man in the world. And I know he loves me every bit as much as I love him."
"It's late," Eleanor said slowly, "and you've been out long enough. Let's get you settled in for the night."
Slowly, Erin climbed back into the box. "Love," Eleanor told her as she fastened the straps, "is not something I have ever known. I envy you that." Closing the box, she settled herself beside it.
Next morning, Eleanor opened the box. The night before, she had left the mouth strap loose, but now she fastened it into place, gagging Erin once more.
"Comfortable? Oh, and one thing you can be thinking about today." Reaching into the box, she slowly ran her hand down Erin's body. "I was trained to pleasure women as well as men." Softly, she stroked the juncture of Erin's thighs. "I think I could enjoy pleasuring you, especially since there's not much you can do about it." Eyes wide, Erin squirmed helplessly, muffled grunts escaping from behind her gag. With a grin, Eleanor closed the box.
As the cart trundled slowly along, Eleanor found herself thinking about Erin's words the night before. Love, she thought darkly, had been the one thing she could never afford to feel. As a thief, and, more importantly, an assassin, she had felt it best to keep herself apart from others, at least emotionally. Now, remembering Erin's words, the look on her face as she spoke, Eleanor couldn't help but wonder what she'd missed.
As the day progressed, the cart entered a large expanse of forest. With no road, Eleanor found herself winding the cart through the trees, slowing them even more. Finally, as the sun began to set, she stopped in a clearing. Slowly, she gathered wood for a fire. By the time the fire was lit, full darkness had fallen, making it safe to release Erin once more from her box.
"Why did you do that?"
"You know." Erin slowly ran one hand down her body. "That."
"Touch you?" Eleanor grinned. "I don't know, maybe it was just an impulse. Or maybe I wanted to. You are beautiful, you know."
Erin flushed. "I've never been touched by a woman," she said softly, "and only by a very few men."
"Did you like it?"
Erin's flush deepened. "I shouldn't," she replied slowly, "but it felt good. Your hand, your touch, it was so soft, softer even than Jared's." She shook her head. "He told me," she said, "that I would learn things from you. Maybe even things I would never have considered. Surely he didn't mean that." Her gaze sharpened. "He also said you would learn things from me. What, do you suppose, could we teach each other?"
Shaking her head, Eleanor sank down beside the fire to prepare the evening meal. "There's a stream," she said, pointing, "in that direction. You've been in that box for two days now. Perhaps you would like to bathe yourself before you eat."
Nodding, Erin moved into the trees. Eleanor watched the other woman until she disappeared from view, then turned her attention back to the food she was preparing. As her hands worked, her mind wandered.
What, she asked herself, could I learn from you? How to be weak and soft like what Ahlmak made me? Strength is what matters in this life. The strong rule, and the weak obey.
Later, as she lay in her box, Erin smiled up. "You know," she said softly, "this is strange." Gently, she tugged at the straps that held her in place. "I'm completely helpless here," she said, "but, with you, I feel completely safe. Why is that?"
Without answering, Eleanor closed the box, then stretched out beside it. "Because you're a fool," she whispered.
"Halt!" Drawing the cart to a stop, Eleanor watched as two men wearing the insignia of Ahlmak approached. Ahead, she could see the walls of the city surrounding his stronghold.
"Identify yourself," one of the men demanded.
Eleanor smiled. "I am Eleanor," she said proudly, "former assassin, former slave, here to reclaim my honor."
"Eleanor, is it?" One of the men grinned. "I've heard about you. They say you're good with a blade." His grin widened as he stared pointedly at her chest. "And even better with other things."
"What's in the box?"
"Come see," Eleanor said in reply to the second man's question. Once both men stood atop the cart, she removed the box's lid, revealing Erin to their eyes. Watching how they stared at the bound woman's helpless body, she smiled.
"This one," she said, "thought she was on her way to steal something from the Lord Ahlmak. In truth, she is my gift to him, my way of regaining his favor."
Eyes widening, Erin struggled against the straps that held her secure, the sight only widening Eleanor's smile.
"Let me pass," she demanded sternly. "It is time to deliver this gift and claim my reward."
Grinning, the two men dropped to the ground. "By all means," said one, "pass. I'm sure Lord Ahlmak will be most pleased with your gift."
Nodding, Eleanor twitched the reins, setting the cart once more into motion. "You," she said over her shoulder, directing her words to the helpless woman in the box, "are a fool. To think that you, who would willingly allow herself to be made helpless, could hope to steal from one so strong as Ahlmak. I know his strength, just as I know his cruelty. And if one has grown, so has the other. I have no intention of feeling his wrath again, and you will be my ticket back into his esteem."
Once within the gates of the city, Eleanor steered the cart along narrow streets, finally pulling up at the doors of Ahlmak's stronghold. There, under her direction, husky slaves lifted the box and carried it inside.
"Well, well." As the group entered the great hall, Ahlmak grinned. "The slave has returned to her true Master. Did you miss the joys of my touch so greatly, then, that you had to return?"
Eleanor shook her head. "It is not Elea, the slave, who returns," she said proudly. "It is Eleanor, thief and assassin. And I return bearing a gift."
"Indeed?" Ahlmak glanced toward the box. "And what gift do you think is enough to restore your freedom?"
At Eleanor's gesture, the slaves lowered the box to the ground. Removing the lid, she reached in and unfastened the straps holding Erin in place, then drew her to her feet. Seeing her, Ahlmak grinned.
"My missing spy," he said, running his gaze along Erin's body. "And looking better than I remembered."
"More than a spy," Eleanor told him. "A thief, here to steal your newest toy for the Sorcerer."
"Her?" Smiling, Ahlmak held up a shiny stone shaped like a dragon. "She intends to steal this? Are you mad, girl? Do you know the power this holds? I can blast entire cities into rubble with this. I can kill hundreds, thousands, with a thought." His smile turned cold. "Or," he added, slowly approaching the naked woman, "I can suck the life force out of one foolish girl." With this, his hand lashed out, placing the stone in the center of Erin's forehead.
At the stone's touch, Erin tensed. Then, as seconds passed, her body relaxed, even as Ahlmak's eyes widened.
"What trickery is this? Why do you not wither and die?"
"Because she is weak," Eleanor said softly. "She is weak with gentleness, caring, and love. Your toy is a thing of hate, against which not even the strongest can stand. She has no strength, no power, no desire for anything more than what she already has."
As Eleanor spoke, Erin slowly raised one hand, her fingers closing around Ahlmak's. As she touched the stone, he flinched. Cursing, he tried to pull away, but, somehow, Erin's grasp held him. Slowly, she lowered her hand, moving the stone from her forehead until it rested over her heart.
"This cannot be!"
Erin smiled sadly. "This," she replied, "must be. This talisman should never have been created. No mortal can withstand it's evil. Even I feel its pull on my soul. It must be destroyed."
"No!" Releasing the stone, Ahlmak stepped back drawing his sword. "You will not have it". Eyes wild, he raised his sword to strike, only to freeze as one of Eleanor's daggers found his heart. With a clatter, the sword fell to the floor, Ahlmak's lifeless body collapsing beside it.
"How did you do that?"
Erin smiled sadly. "This talisman," she said, "feeds on the evil of the one holding it. Their darkest needs and desires give it strength. Only one who desires nothing of their own can safely hold it. I desire only good things, and only for those around me. In this, Jared was right; I am pure."
Still holding the stone, she sighed. "For a time," she said softly, "I thought you had betrayed me."
"For a time," Eleanor replied, "I did. I fully intended to give you to him, use you to regain my place with him."
"Then why didn't you?"
"You had said," Eleanor explained, "that there would be things I would learn from you. I asked myself what those things might be. Today, standing here, I understood".
"He," Eleanor glanced down at Ahlmak's body, "taught me many things. He taught me pain, humiliation, cruelty. He taught me what the strong can do to the weak".
"You," she went on, "taught me what strength and weakness truly are. I called you weak, but that is a lie. You have the strength to give, to care, to heal. It was he who was weak, a slave to his own need for power. Once," she added with a sigh, "I admired him. Now I feel nothing for him but pity."
Turning, she glanced at the slaves. "I believe," she said, "it is time to leave this place." Leaning down, she took up Ahlmak's sword. "I will see you safely back to your home."
Eleanor shook her head. "I do not know. There is much I feel I can learn from you, many things you could teach me. After this, after what I almost did here, you have no reason to want me around."
"Oh," Erin replied with a smile, "there are reasons." Gently, she grasped Eleanor's hand. "You are strong. You could protect me when Jared is not around." Her face flushing slightly, she drew Eleanor's hand to her until it rested against the juncture of her thighs. "There are also," she added softly, "those things you could teach me."
Eleanor's eyes widened. "And Jared? What would he say of this?"
Erin laughed. "In our home," she said, "there is now a room for you. It has been there since the day we decided to bring you back to us. A room," she added, her voice turning mischievous, "with a bed big enough for two."
"And your pureness?"
Erin shrugged. "Love," she said, "is pure. Tell me, assassin, do you think you could learn to love me?"
"Somehow," Eleanor replied, her face softening in a way it had never done before, "I don't think that will be a problem. Now, let's find you some clothes and go home."