“And then Dollen here put an axe through the top of its head!” The tallest of the the three men exclaimed loudly, a froth of beer dripping from his chin. The room abruptly burst into laughter.
“Yeah, but not before it had you puckerin’ up as though you were going to give it ‘a kiss!” The other man made smacking noises with his lips, and the room roared into hilarity.
“Well, so long as they’re dead. How many you think we kill’t? Five?”
“Twas six of ‘em, I reckon.”
“Six Flayers?!” gasped the rather bouncy woman sitting on his knee. Her face took on a horrified expression. “Stars! How did so many end up only a dozen furlong from town?” She visibly shivered.
“Ah, don’ you worry, m’lady. We took care o’ those beasties for ya. Nothin’ for ya to worry about now.”
“They give me the creeps,” said another, slightly less buxom woman sitting next to the first man. “Do they really have tentacles for mouths, Baer?”
“Aye, that they do. They use some kind o’ magic to seduce you into their lair, ya see. Then, when they have you good and confused, they send those tendril around your head…” He reached behind the woman and let his fingers slide up under her hair. “…and they suck out your brains!” The woman squealed and batted away his hand as the room erupted into laughter again.
“You got them all then? Right?” asked the first woman, looking terrified.
The two men stared at each other. “We’re not sure. We think so, but…”
“Well, we found where they eat, communal like, when they aren’t eatin’ humans that is, and well, there were… seven bowls.”
“So there could still be one more out there!?”
“I wouldn’t worry your pretty head about jus’ one, darlin’. Now they know we’ll kill ‘em on sight, I think they’ll stay clear. Besides, I’ll keep you safe.” He slipped an arm around her, his fingers resting casually over her breast.
Nadia looked on from the upper level in disgust. How could they all talk so callously about the slaughter of innocent creatures. Last month it was the water sprites, and before that, an entire pack of Spinehogs, including the young! Why did they have to kill everything and anything that posed the slightest threat to humans?
“Idiots,” she said to herself, but apparently her godfather Garey, heard her.
“What’s that Na? You getting ideas in your head?”
“It’s not right, them going out and killing the Flayers like that.”
The man sighed. He knew his headstrong god-daughter well. “Let it go, Nadia. Flayers are dangerous.”
“Are they? How do we know?! Nobody other than Baer and Dollen has so much as seen one since before I was born.”
“Drop it, child. Flayers are Oldenkinde; demon sorcerers. They don’t follow our ways.”
“Pa, for all we know, they could be friendly!”
The old man turned from the table and addressed her directly. “Nadia, child… Have you not heard the tales? Those women down there have a right to be frightened. The Flayers have a reputation as seducers for a reason. If the legends are even half true, then you wouldn’t last ten minutes in a cave with the creatures.”
“We don’t know that.”
“I’ll hear no more about it,” he warned, and returned to his dinner. Nadia continued to watch the people at the tables below, and the perfectly natural seduction going on between Dollen, Baer and the girls they were wooing with their tales of bravery. She spoke no more about it with her godfather, but she didn’t stop thinking about the six innocent creatures they murdered, or that they might have missed one.
It was a full sevenday before Nadia got called on for a message delivery. She was pretty certain that Garay had something to do with her abnormal vacation from the duty, but she kept her thoughts to herself. Finally, Kel, the town Crone called her up to the loft for a run. It was a silver seal and a red ribbon, which she knew meant a medical message. She was to take a small bag of herbs as fast as she could to Bon on the other side of the Vale. She’d done the run many times before, and Kel wouldn’t have called on her unless they needed a fast runner.
Sure enough, the old woman handed her the message tube, helping her set it properly across her back before she fixed her eyes on the girl.
“Get this to Healer Jassin as fast as you can, but don’t take any shortcuts. It’s better that you get there a little later than not at all because you twist an ankle on some rocky back path, understand?”
“Yes, mum.” Then she noticed the woman’s eyes. They were bloodshot and wet as though she had been weeping.
“Are you okay, Kel?” she asked.
“Oh sure,” she replied, sniffing her nose. “It’s just… just a batch of Murris roots. Always makes my eyes water. Off you go.”
And so Nadia did as she was told. She liked Kel. The white-haired woman respected nature even more than Nadia did, and knew every medicinal plant in the Seven Valleys. And even though she was tempted, she heeded the woman’s advice and stuck to the main road, her pace brisk, but even. When she reached Bon, she quickly found the healer there and delivered her parcel. For her effort, she was given a half mark and a welcome meal at the inn. The keeper also gave her a skin of water and a pair of loaves for the trip home.
With her task completed, Nadia could take her time on the return run, and use all the shortcuts she wanted. She wasn’t worried about getting lost, as she had traveled the woods ever since she was old enough to walk. There weren’t even any real dangers or predators on this side of the Vale… save for one.
As soon as she realized she was near the Flayer cave, she slowed and diverted. Checking the sun, she figured that no one would miss her for at least three or four more hours, so why not? She was itching to prove Garay and the Morrison brothers wrong, to be sure, but something just seemed to call her about the Flayers. Maybe it was a sense of injustice, or perhaps just a healthy teenage curiosity, but Nadia had to know, and she might not get another chance for quite some time. Still, she wasn’t stupid, and drew her dagger as she entered the recently discovered site. How they had missed it all these years was a mystery in itself. The opening was pretty clearly visible, and there were even glowstones placed just inside the entrance.
The cave was fairly damp, with streams of water every now and then, and even a large pool that she had to skirt. In fact, she was about halfway around the water feature when she was startled to see a figure at the far side and froze.
Whoever it was, they were cloaked and kneeling with their back to her. They also weren’t moving.
“Go on then. Do what you’ve come to do already.” The voice was male, and to Nadia’s surprise, sounded quite human.
“I… I’m sorry. I don’t know what you mean,” she replied.
The figure half turned, but she couldn’t see his face.
“Haven’t you come to kill me… to finish the job?” His words were sad and bitter.
Nadia was surprised, and even a little embarrassed since she was holding a dagger. No wonder he thought she was an assassin. “N-no. I don’t want to hurt you.”
“Then why are you here?”
“I… I don’t know. I was curious I guess. Are you… a Flayer?”
He was slow responding. “Yes,” he said finally, his head bowing. It was as though he were giving up. That was when Nadia noticed he was kneeling before a number of small graves. There were six of them.
“Oh goddess…” she gasped, understanding.
The figure turned and stood, but was still in the shadow. A deep fear spread through Nadia as she faced the creature, and suddenly her simple knife seemed woefully small.
“Were they…” She swallowed.
Her breath caught. She was right. This Flayer was no mindless creature, it was a sentient being, with friends and a culture. Suddenly her whole body heaved in sorrow, and her free hand came up and covered her mouth.
“Who are you?” asked the figure, sounding confused. “You don’t seem like a warrior?”
“I’m not. I… I’m just a girl. I mean you no harm, though I don’t see how you’ll believe me after my people did… this.”
“A girl?” The sadness seemed to fade slightly from his voice, which sounded almost surprised.
“Yes, well, I mean I’m of age, but I’m not yet to my second Ten Day, so…”
“But,” he hesitated. “You’re a… female.” It was not a question.
“Of course I’m a female.”
“I’m sorry,” he replied, taking a step forward. Nadia unconsciously raised the knife, the shiny blade glinting in the light of the glowstones. “I didn’t mean to insult. It’s just…”
“I’ve never seen… a girl.”
She was stunned. “Ever?”
“No. Our kind don’t usually leave the caves, save on very rare occasions. I have seen… men, unfortunately. But I have only heard stories about human females.”
“But… how can that be? You… your voice sounds about my own age. Are you saying you have never seen a human female in all that time?”
“I am embarrassed to say, I have not.”
“You’ve been in this cave the whole time?”
“What do you eat?!”
The figure tilted its head to the side in confusion. “There is water, and mushrooms, some moss. But mostly, we harvest Ka.”
“Ka? I’m not familiar with that word. What is that, some kind of herb?”
His laugh was very boyish, and Nadia found herself lowering the dagger.
“No. It’s… Ka, uh… life, no… feel, um… emotion! That’s the word.”
“Emotion? You harvest emotions?”
“Yes! That’s why we always try to live near human settlements, so we can cultivate your Ka. Except for recently…”
“That’s incredible! But wait, what happened recently?”
The figure turned back to the graves.
“I was only just starting my training,” he continued. “I don’t yet know how to cultivate Ka. I’ve been making due on just what food I could find in the cave since they…” He dropped his head. “I am very weak. In fact, if you don’t mind, I really need to sit.”
“Oh! Please! I’m sorry if I frightened you.”
“It’s okay. I just didn’t know if I was allowed.” He pointed at the knife.
She sighed, making a decision. Sheathing the knife, she held her hands out and took a step back. The figure nodded once and then stepped near the pool. There, he parted his robe behind him and sat at its edge with his legs in the water. As he did so, Nadia gasped. He wore nothing at all under the grey cloak. Her eyes went wide and she turned her back to him.
“Have I offended you?” He sounded motified.
“Uh… No! It’s just… um… well, humans don’t usually, er… expose themselves to each other, at least not between the sexes.” What had surprised her, was not the Flayer’s nakedness, but rather the fact that from what she could see of the being, he was very much like any human male, including a very human-like phallic member.
“You are embarrassed of me…” He sounded utterly dejected.
She half turned. “No, I… You just caught me off guard, is all. Uh, may I?”
“Of course. Please.”
Swallowing her nervousness, Nadia faced the Flayer once again. His head was still covered by the hood, but his body, he could have been a slightly frail human male teenager. More so, he was beautiful. When she realized she was staring at his manhood, she blushed and looked at the pool.
“Whoa…” he commented. “What was that?”
“What was what? I didn’t hear anything.”
He pointed at her. “No, that emotion. I felt it. I have never felt that before.”
She blinked in surprise. “You can feel emotions of others… oh wow! Uh, I think that was me being a little shy.”
“No, I know that one. This was something else… something, um… happy? You felt good in your middle.”
Suddenly she was blushing again when she realized what he was talking about.
“There it is again!”
“Oh my. I um… I mean, uh…”
“What is it? Please tell me, is it… arousal?”
She looked up at him with her eyes wide. “Oh goddess… You must forgive me… I can’t really control it.”
“No! Not at all. It was wonderfully enriching.”
“Oh yes! As I said, I never learned to cultivate human emotions, but at this range, I can almost feed right from yours.”
Nadia blushed yet again, not quite sure how she felt about someone being able to sense her sexual desire, especially since she hadn’t even noticed it herself until he mentioned it. Now it was all she could think about.
“I think I need to sit too.”
“Please!” He gestured to the pool.
Her legs seemed a little weak as she dropped and sat on the ground near the edge of the water, but still on the opposite side from him. She wasn’t ready to trust the Flayer yet, but he certainly seemed harmless enough.
“Feel free to share the water,” he offered.
“Uh, I’m okay for now, thanks. Say, can you eat things other than the moss, and mushrooms, and… Ka?”
He tilted his head quizzically. “I don’t know. I have never tried.”
“I have some bread if you’re hungry.” She reached for her bag.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I don’t think I should. I was warned not to eat human food. I don’t think we can digest it. But if you are hungry, then please go ahead.”
“Oh, but I can’t just eat in front of you, especially when you’re starving…”
“Actually, your presence is helping me quite a lot. It’s not a sustaining meal, but your emotions in just being here have given me a little strength.”
“Oh yes! Especially your… arousal.”
She swallowed again, and involuntarily glanced at his lap.
“There! Just like that! That was quite enriching.”
“Goddess save me,” she muttered. “So, uh, do you have a name?”
“Stars, that’s a mouthful! Do you have a… nickname?”
She smiled. “Oh, that’s better. I’m Nadia.”
“Nadia…” He repeated. “That’s a pretty name.”
“Thank you! So… Uh, Jamie, look. I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to put it out there, okay?”
“My people, they don’t understand you, and, well, I think they reacted out of fear and… I’m really really sorry about your family.”
She was surprised again. “You do?”
“Yes. You’re not angry like the other humans were… the men. They came into the cave with hate and anger and rage. We could all feel them, but there was nowhere to go. But you… I can feel your sorrow for what happened. You have anger, but it’s directed at your own kind.”
“You can feel all that?”
“Very much. I know you are not like them. I know you would never hurt me.”
“No! I couldn’t!”
“I know. I don’t hold you responsible. You don’t have to blame yourself.”
Tears started to run down her face. “But… Your family…”
“They are gone. I do not feel their loss anymore. I don’t think we grieve like humans do. You feel great sorrow for them, sorrow that even I could not feel.”
“But it is alright. They have moved on to the next phase of their lives. I will join them again soon enough, I suppose.”
“What? No, you can’t! I won’t let anyone hurt you!”
When he looked in her direction, all she could see in the light was his eyes, which seemed sad, but surprised. His lower face was covered by a cloth.
“I know you mean well, but it is not your people that I fear will be my ultimate end. I can not cultivate Ka. I have not learned how. Most of my kind can do this at birth, but I was… different. Soon, I will be unable to gather and will die.”
“That’s not fair. Can’t you learn to… cultivate, or whatever?”
The Flayer considered her words. “Perhaps. My brothers were always there to cultivate for me, so I never bothered, but there are some books to teach the lessons. Unfortunately, it takes time to learn. I am very weak. Time is something I do not have.”
“But, isn’t there anything you can do to get more Ka? You said you could feed on my emotions, right? Doesn’t that help?”
“Some, but only a little. I’m sorry, Nadia, but you would have to be much closer to me, even touching, to make any kind of real difference. I can feel your fear of me, even now, so I don’t believe that’s going to happen.”
She took a deep breath, thinking. The idea that she would let another sentient being die simply because she wasn’t willing to be near them seemed unconscionable to her. It was true, she was afraid, but that fear was based on myth! Surely she could look past that and find a way to help him…
“Jamie,” she said tentatively. “what if I were willing to get closer, or… even let you touch me. Would that help you?”
He stared at her for several quiet seconds. “It might, but it wouldn’t be enough for you to simply be close to me. You would also need to be experiencing strong emotion.”
“Well, yes, fear is one of the stronger human states, but it tends to fade quickly once you understand you’re not really in danger.”
“Oh. And… what about… arousal?”
His eyes met hers and her breath caught.
“I… I have never felt such strong or persistent Ka. I think when we cultivate human emotions, arousal is one of the emotions we try to generate. Does that make sense?”
“Actually, it does. When we are… aroused, we tend to stay that way unless interrupted somehow… or we uh, finish.”
He tilted his head in confusion. “Finish? Finish what?”
A deep blush spread over her face. “Oh… uh, coupling.”
“I do not understand.”
For perhaps the first time in her life, Nadia found herself at a loss for words. “Um, uh… well, you know… mating. You do mate, right?”
“Oh! I see. Yes, we mate, but it is somewhat different for us than humans I think.”
Her brows rose, and the words were out of her mouth before she could stop them. “Do your kind do it for… fun as well?”
“I… I think so.”
Suddenly Nadia remembered. “Oh, I’m an idiot. You’d never even seen a female before!”
“So you’ve never been with a woman…”
He looked away. “It was past time, but my family never got around to… teaching me about that either.”
“Stars, I’m sorry, Jamie. I didn’t mean to put you on the spot.”
He shrugged his shoulders. “It’s alright. I suppose I don’t know what I’m missing. But… Nadia, If I may ask… have you?”
She was suddenly a little hotter than before. “Oh, uh… well, yeah. A half dozen times or so. I wouldn’t say I’m all that experienced, not like some girls.”
“And… you mated… for fun?”
She laughed. “When it’s done right, yeah, it can be very entertaining! Jamie, just how weak are you?”
He sighed. “I am afraid I will not survive the night, Nadia. I’m sorry.”
“I thought that might be the case.” She took another deep breath. “Jamie, I want to help you.”
He was quiet for a moment. “How?”
“I want you to arouse me, and feed off my… Ka.”
Straightening, he regarded her with his beautiful eyes. “It’s not that I doubt your resolve, but I do not see how this will work. I don’t know how to arouse a human female.”
“I’ll teach you.”
Stunned, he just stared at her.
“You would do that?”
This was it. This was her last chance to back out. She looked into those sad, hopeful eyes and already knew how she would answer.
“Yes I would. Are you willing to let me guide you?”
“I… Yes. I could do that.”
Smiling, both at the possibility of saving the Flayer, and with the rather erotic idea of being able to teach someone how best to arouse her, Nadia unhooked her belt sheath, the water skin, the wrap with the bread, as well the empty message tube and set them aside. She didn’t want anything to frighten him, and showing the first step in trust seemed like a logical decision.
“What should I do?” he asked, watching her.
She considered how to proceed, then had an idea. “You offered to share the pool with me earlier. Would that still be alright? I could sit on the edge, next to you.”
This seemed to please him. “Yes! I would like that very much.”
“Okay then. Let me just take my boots off.” She reached for her laces. “Jamie, can I ask you a question?”
“Um… before, when I first came in, were you about to bathe?”
“Huh? No, why do you ask?”
She tried to hide her blush as she worked to remove her leather boots. “Uh, well, you might have noticed that humans wear a lot of clothes…”
“And we don’t. Is that why you are aroused again?”
She gasped softly. “Stars, I’m going to have a hard time getting used to that… But maybe we can work it to our advantage. To answer your question, yes. That is why I was aroused just now. You probably don’t know this, but the sight of a naked male is… appealing to females.”
“Really? Why is that?”
Nadia cleared her throat to hide her nervousness in answering, and considered that it probably did nothing of the sort.
“Well, when we see a naked male, we, uh… tend to associate it with, um… sex.”
He thought about that as she set her boots and socks aside. She could roll up her pants enough to keep them out of the water.
“But… I don’t understand,” he continued. “What is it that you do… to couple? You mentioned it was not just for mating, but also for… fun. How is it fun? What do you do?”
Nadia approached the side of the pool. It was very dark, and at first she couldn’t see the bottom. Then she noticed a few pinpoints of soft blue light from glow moss and determined it was only three or four feet deep. Sitting, she cautiously put in a toe.
“Ooh! It’s warm!”
“Yes, a natural spring.”
She settled her tired feet into the soft water and sighed with pleasure. A warm spring was a real treat after a day of running. Then she noticed that the Flayer was watching her, waiting. Blushing yet again, she inched over in his direction as she tried to answer the hanging question.
“Uh… Well, lots of things, actually. Touching each other, certainly, and kissing…”
“What is kissing?”
“When a male and a female put their mouths together.”
His eyes widened as he no doubt visualized this. “I… think that might not be… I mean…”
“It’s okay. We don’t have to do that. You believe I might be frightened by you?”
He nodded. “Or I by you… We hide our faces for a reason. I think it is much like you humans and your clothes. We feel… naked without our Blar’ach.”
“That’s the covering on your face?”
“Yes. It is all we need save for our robes. We feel that clothing interferes with emotion. The robes are… porous.”
Nadia had moved another foot closer. “So… my clothing is blocking my emotions?”
“Perhaps not blocking, but… interfering.”
Her breathing was coming a bit more deeply now, both in fear, and arousal. “That’s interesting. I can probably help with that problem,” she said, trying to calm her heart. She was only a few feet away from the Flayer, and was very aware of his nakedness. Up close, he was even more beautiful. Despite what she imagined under the face covering, his ‘Blar’ach’ as he called it, he looked remarkably like a human teenager, perhaps even her own age. He was lean, but quite well toned, with little body hair. She eyed his smooth chest and abdomen with open-mouthed lust as she inched still closer. Compared to her other lovers, Jamie was stunning. She caught herself. Was she really considering taking him as a lover? How could she even think of such a thing? Her eyes wandered still lower to his lap, and widened. His member certainly looked human enough, and she unconsciously licked her lips and swallowed. Flayer or not, Jamie was quite well endowed.
“You… like my appearance.” He said the words slowly as he understood why her gaze lingered.
“Yeah,” she breathed, her face hot. “I like your appearance a lot. Did you feel that?”
“Very much. My form… arouses you?”
He dropped his own gaze into his lap. “You seem curious about my cendar.”
She was almost seated next to him now, close enough that she could feel the heat from his body on her arms.
“Is… is that what you call it?”
He nodded. “Human males have them?”
“Yes. They call them penises.” She smiled, never imagining that she would have such a conversation.
“And… girls do not?”
He looked confused. “Do you have something else there,” he asked staring at her lap.
She laughed softly to herself in erotic embarrassment. “We have a… cleft of sorts. A space. It’s called a vagina. It’s meant to receive an erect penis.”
“Oh goddess, this is an awkward conversation…”
“If you wish to stop…”
“No! No. I’m okay. I’m just not used to explaining such things.”
Jamie nodded. “I understand. I know so little of the outside world. I’m sorry.’
Her face softened. “You really are very kind, you know that? So, let me see… A penis becomes erect when a male is aroused. I’m not sure if the same applies to your kind, but if looks mean anything, then I would assume so.”
“How are human males aroused?”
“Far too easily in my opinion, but usually by sight. It doesn’t take much… a flash of cleavage, a bare belly even.”
“Uh, you know… wait, no you don’t! Oh my… Okay, another difference between male and female humans is breasts. That’s up here,” she explained by cupping her own mounds over her shirt.
The Flayer looked confused again. “Your chest is larger?”
“Well, sort of. We have mammaries… breasts! Fatty bulges for young to suckle milk from. They also attract males like moths to a flame.”
“Why are males attracted to them?”
She frowned. “Come to think of it, I’m not really sure. They make me feel pleasure when touched, so perhaps it’s instinctual for them as well.”
“And when a male’s…penis is… erect, then the female receives it at her vagina?”
“That’s the basic idea, yeah, though most girls like to play a bit first.”
“Play? I do not understand.”
“No, I suppose not. Play, or rather foreplay, is when a partner tries to arouse the other by…” She stopped, looking over at the him. “You know what, I think it’s time for a demonstration. Only…”
“I want you to be able to see me. Hmm, why not.”
Nadia shifted her hips so that she slid off the side of the pool into the water. After a brief hot rush, she found the sandy bottom and stood. The water came to just above her belly button. When she turned around, Jamie was wide eyed.
“Your clothes are wet!”
She giggled. “Don’t worry, they’ll dry. However…” She made sure to hold his gaze before she reached down and grasped the bottom of her shirt. With one last deep breath, she slowly lifted it up and over her head. She had a moment’s shyness before she tossed the garment over to her boots, and then stood before the Flayer, naked from the waist up.
“You are indeed different from the males. Nadia… you are… beautiful.”
She blushed and smiled. “May I come closer?”
“Please! Your Ka is strong, you are very aroused!”
“Yes, I am,” she agreed as she moved until she was only inches from his legs. “May I… touch you?”
He shifted a little nervously. “I… I would like that.”
Slowly, Nadia reached out and very lightly put her hand on top of his. His skin felt as warm and as human as her own. Smiling, she then took his palm in hers and drew it forward to her chest. She could see Jamie’s breathing deepen as his fingers lighted over her left breast, causing her to gasp softly.
“What do you think?” she asked as his fingers quietly explored her curves.
“It’s so soft,” he replied, mesmerized. “I… I can feel your arousal when I touch you here.” The tips of his digits languished over the hardened peak.
“Th-that’s called a nipple, and y-yes, touching it is v-v-very arousing.”
“The other is the same?” he asked.
“Try it and see,” she suggested. He did so, and she closed her eyes and sucked her breath in through her teeth at the pleasure.
“Wow! So much Ka!”
She laughed softly. “I’m glad you approve… Mmmmm… Y-you certainly seem to know h-h-how to t-touch them. Ughnnn…”
“I can feel your pleasure so clearly. It is amazing!”
Swallowing her nervousness again, she moved forward a bit more and placed her hands on his knees as she turned her gaze to his member. Her breathing deepened even as she watched him come alive, his flaccid shaft slowly growing before her eyes.
“It… it has never done that…”
She smiled at him. “If it’s like a human’s, then it’s perfectly normal, and if I might say, magnificent. You are beautiful too, Jamie.”
“It is… erect?”
His eyes seemed to show happiness, and to her delight, she saw him reach up and shrug the robe from his shoulders. It fell behind him, leaving him in only the cloth around his lower face. Nadia’s mouth opened in awe. The Flayer was more than simply attractive, he was gorgeous!
“It really pleases you, how I look?”
“Oh, very much,” she laughed, but could not take her eyes from his now hard member.
“Human males… they are like this?” he asked, looking down.
“When they are aroused, yes…”
“And, do you touch them there?”
“I… I suppose.”
He removed his hand from her chest and left it at his side again. “Then please.”
Her eyes grew wide. “Are… are you s-sure?”
“You let me touch you. I would like to let you do the same. My cendar has never felt like this. I feel… I feel weak, even though you are feeding me.”
“Oh no! Are you alright?” she asked, genuinely concerned.
“I do not know. I believe so. But I find I want you to touch me there, even if it makes me weaker.”
She frowned. “Jamie, that’s not good. You need to feed.”
“I am, and… I will. I can feel how much it arouses you… the thought of touching it.”
“Then please do. I will share in your arousal.”
She took a long slow breath as she slowly reached forward and placed her fingers to the side of his member, gasping softly as she heard him do the same. Nadia had taken enough men to her bed that she thought herself familiar with such delights, but there was something utterly transfixing about the beautiful penis. She curled her fingers around his shaft and lightly stroked him, noticing that she could feel the fast beat of his heart under her digits. She sensed him stiffen slightly, and eased her touch. When she met his eyes again, she saw they were radiant with pleasure.
Without a word, he slowly moved off the edge and slipped into the pool with her. Her hands fell to his hips, smoothing up his muscular sides and then his chest.
“I like your touch,” he said simply. “I… I have never felt such pleasure, but I think I should bring you more arousal before my strength is drained from me.”
She laughed very quietly. “Oh, the women who wished their lovers would say that…”
“May I touch you again?”
She could hardly contain herself. “Yes, I would like that very much, but… first I want to, well…”
She turned around, unable to face him for this simple bit of modesty. She loosened her pants, and with one last deep breath, pushed them down over her hips with her undergarments. She then retrieved the bundle and tossed it to join her other gear. She heard the water moving behind her, and then jumped as Jamie’s hand lighted on her shoulder. He softly caressed her there for a moment until his other hand found her waist.
“Oh goddess…” she sighed, and tried to relax. It wasn’t working.
“You like this.” He said, running his hands along her sides and down her arms.
“Y-you know I do. Ughmmm…”
“You are shaking.”
Indeed, she shivered as his arms curled inward around her chest and his hands settled lovingly on the mounds of her breasts.
“It’s not f-fair… Y-y-you know just how to t-touch me. I can’t r-resist!”
“The arousal feels good to you?” He tweaked her nipples gently with his fingers, eliciting a deep gasp of pleasure from within her.
“It feels very good, Jamie. Please d-don’t stop…”
His hands played over her whole front, quietly wandering down over her belly and neck. For several minutes he just explored her, quickly learning what drew out her passions the strongest. Behind her, she could feel his body as he brought her up against him in the pool, and particularly the hardness of his… cendar at the base of her back. It felt almost hot against her skin. She wasn’t even aware at first that she had started to move erotically against his body, slowly rolling her hips back so that his member slid seductively into the top crease of her rear.
“Nadia, I… When humans couple, you said the female receives the male…”
Her head was spinning in lust, and she found she had a hard time concentrating on anything but what her flesh was feeling.
“He… ughmmm… he inserts his p-penis into her vagina… oh goddess… s-so that his shaft is f-fully within her… ummm.”
His hands were slowly inching down her abdomen as if drawn to her lap by her words. No doubt, the Flayer was merely following her arousal, which was growing by the second.
“That does not hurt her?”
She grinned. “Oh my, no! We c-can accommodate it eas… ughnn… easily. We are v-very soft and… slick there. Ughnn…”
His touch played down over her Mons, and she suddenly found it hard to breathe.
“In… here?” he asked, his fingers finally sliding over the swollen folds of her flower.
Her own hands reached back and gripped his hips as she struggled to control her passion. Pleasure flowed up from her pelvis as he ever so gently parted her and then very gradually explored her cleft.
“Ahhh! Ughmmm… Y-yes!” Her legs were shaking and threatened to give out under her.
“And when he is within her, then…?”
“Hughnnn… hughnn…” she panted. “Th-they move t-together, so that h-he slides, ughn… slides within h-her. Jamie… by the g-g-goddess… if you k-keep doing that, I’ll c-come… ughmmm!”
She bit her lip in frustration as his fingers continued to torment her erotically. “I… I don’t th-think I c-can explain that… Um… ahh!… It’s a w-welling of great pl-pleasure. It… it’s the f-fun part!”
“The fun of coupling?”
“With his member within you?”
He had her right on the edge of ecstasy, and she started to whimper in panted lust.
“Nadia, I… I think I would like to couple with you… for fun. Would that be alright?”
“Oh heavens y-yes!” she gasped, her heart rate spiking with her anticipation. She felt his body move behind her, as though he were crouching slightly, and then his hard phallic member was sliding under her apex.
Sucking in her breath, Nadia angled her hips to meet him, and shuddered as the tip of his length pressed slowly through her outer labia. As soon as she felt him entering the slickness of her tunnel, she pushed back against his own thrust and let him glide deep into her.
Her orgasm was instant and utterly overwhelming. Tensing into bliss, she shook and spasmed around him while her mind was lost to time and space.
Presently, she gasped in his arms and slowly let her eyes refocus.
“Whoa…” he whispered in awe. “Was that… did you ‘come’?”
Her eyes were half-lidded as she replied. “Oh y-yeah…” was all she could manage.
“It… it was an explosion of Ka! Simply amazing!”
She smiled. “Th-that it was. I don’t think… I’ve ever come so hard.”
“Is that good?”
“That is very good… ughmmm… You’re still inside me,” she stated, surprised.
“Should I withdraw?” he asked as he started to slide himself out.
“No, wait!” She stopped him by pushing her pelvis hard against his hips, and he slid languidly back into her depths. She felt new sparks of pleasure fan up from her apex.
“You wish to couple again?” he asked, sounding almost hopeful.
She giggled. “I’d like that very much, Jamie. Human females can ‘come’ many times…”
“Males can ‘come’ as well?”
“Oh yes, but usually only once in an hour or so. Now that I’ve had an orgasm, I think I can slow down a bit and enjoy ‘coupling’ a lot more thoroughly. Ummmm… Having you inside me like this is very very stimulating.”
“I can feel it…” Almost imperceptibly, the Flayer was gently moving her, causing his member to ease within her depths in long, deep undulations.
Her mouth fell open as she quivered in newly awakening lust.
“That’s… ughnnn… really nice,” she panted, amazed at how well he was able to alight her fires again. “You… don’t h-have to hold b-back. I want y-you to have f-fun too! Ughmmm!”
“You.. want me to come as well?”
She laughed, fully enjoying the slow intercourse. “Not that I wouldn’t enjoy you d-doing this to me… ummm… all afternoon, but don’t you need relief t-too?”
“Ughnnn… oh goodness… mmmm… Don’t you f-feel a need to c-come as well?” His arms were back around her upper torso, crossed in front of her such that each hand was gently massaging a breast as she was held in a very warm hug. His fingers expertly captured her nipples, forcing them to hardened peaks in no time at all.
“I’m… not sure. I do feel a different kind of hunger…”
“How do you ‘come’?”
Nadia laughed to herself at such a perfectly innocent question. Smiling mischieviously, she ground her hips against him on the rhythm, clenching her inner muscles at the same time. Behind her, she heard him gasp.
“Did you feel th-that?” she asked, noticing the surge in her own lust.
“Yes! Like a… building of pressure!”
She whimpered in growing passion. “Yes! Follow that f-feeling… ughnnn… Let it g-guide you to what c-c-comes… ughmmm!… naturally. Ahh! Just let y-yourself go…”
The change in his lovemaking came over what was certainly several minutes, but to Nadia, it seemed quite abrupt. His thrusts grew deeper and more determined, his sensual hug, tighter. He played with her nipples in ways that brought her to sharp intakes of breath, and rapidly rekindled her own deep fires. Unconsciously, she let him hold her up as she locked her ankles behind his thighs, giving in to his embrace completely.
“Ughnn! Ahh! Oh gods!” she started to cry as the slightly dizzy queasy feeling in her belly signaled her own approaching ecstasy.
“Nadia… I… I feel it! It’s building! I… I think I want to…”
The speed of his thrusts increased, and she nearly laughed for joy at the incredible pleasure that began to blossom in her middle. At the same time, there was a new touch at the back of her head; silky and sensual, like a warmth reaching through her hair to cup her from behind. As the new fingers slowly eased around her ears, Nadia’s eyes flew open in shocked eroticism. The new touch was squishy and seemed to conform to her as it gripped her head and continued to reach forward. Her body was fully trapped in the rhythm of intercourse, her own undulations now completely out of her control as she finally let out a deep groan and a liquid warmth radiated in from the tendrils that now held her head immobile. She felt them winding around her neck, and down over her eyes, but with their touch came such a brilliant pleasure that all other thoughts were simply forced right from her mind. Deep in her sex, she felt her lover’s member pulse and tense as he suddenly erupted within her, the feel of his warm seed sending her own body into a sexual frenzy.
Gasping in violent ecstasy, her body spasmed and shook. Her hands clenched, and her hips thrust irresistibly against the sexual onslaught that seemed to go on and on. Confusion began to creep into her consciousness. Never had she experienced such an overwhelming pleasure, and as the seconds ticked by with no lessening of her passions, Nadia began to sense that something was wrong. Her orgasm should have faded by now.
She was aware that she was barely breathing, her chest managing a sharp intake of breath only every few seconds. She was also alert to the fact that her body had thoroughly betrayed her, refusing to release its undulating hold on Jamie’s form. Somehow, the oily warmth around her head had reached in and taken control of her mind, forcing her to relive her moment over and over again until she began to feel like she was drowning in pleasure. She tried to hold on, to keep herself above the waves of ecstasy that washed over her relentlessly, but her strength, and with it her will, began to slowly falter.
Every second seemed like an eternity until she could no longer resist, and the bliss finally took her down into itself. Surrounded by nothing but white-hot rapture, Nadia gave in to the pleasure and resigned herself to her fate.
The very first thing she recalled was pain… horrible, devastating pain that started in her head, but spread like an infection to every nerve in her body. She was aware of several people screaming, and realized that at least one of them was her. She remembered being dragged from the pool and dumped to the floor of the cave while people yelled around her. Her body was limp, as though she were a puppet with its strings cut, and although she could feel control gradually returning, she was forced to lay there and watch… watch them as they brutally beat him to death.
Jamie… Her beautiful Jamie. He offered no resistance, though it appeared he was already unconscious by the time her eyes understood what she was witnessing. They clubbed him until he was nothing but a fleshy pulp.
Her wail of grief pierced the confines of the cave like a Banshee’s wail, instantly turning all heads in her direction. Desperately, she fought to get to him, and was restrained by harsh and bloody hands.
“JAMIE!!” she screamed, thrashing to free herself.
“Hold her down, Dollen!” came her godfather’s voice nearby, and the hands pushed her to the ground.
“You’re free of it!” said the gruff voice of a man above her. “Can’t you see that, lass!?”
“NO! DON’T HURT HIM!”
“She’s done been enthralled, Dollen,” came another male voice she recognized as the man’s brother. “She doesn’t understand.”
But the one holding her persisted. “Look at it, Nadia! It’s not human! LOOK!”
And she did, but all she could see was the broken body of her lover. She simply sat and stared at the blood and the gore while the others gathered themselves and her things, searching the caves for any other dangers that might be lurking in the darkness. Finally satisfied, they lifted her against her will and dragged her from the ground. Her gaze never turned from the being they left on the floor, and just as she was being taken away, she thought she saw something else in its place… Just for a moment, there was another creature there, something very much not human… something hideous with pale blue skin and an elongated head from which hung a dozen slimy tentacles. But then it was gone from view as she was taken out into the cold night air.
A blanket was wrapped around her shoulders and she was set into the back of an open wagon. Presently, she became aware that there was someone seated next to her, and that the wagon was moving slowly down the road.
“They killed him,” she said, her voice hoarse and weak.
“Yes.” The reply was a woman’s… It was Healer Kel.
She turned to the woman, her eyes still sore and fuzzy from weeping. “He wasn’t some mindless animal…”
“No. He wasn’t.”
“He was exactly what you expected him to be… what you wanted him to be.”
She was shaking her head back and forth, an action that brought back the deep pain. She set her head in her hands and watched the road pass in the moonlight. “You don’t know what you’re talking about.”
It was several seconds before the old crone replied.
“Yes, I do.”
Looking over at the her, Nadia saw tears on the woman’s cheeks. Suddenly the pieces came together and her breath caught.
“It wasn’t Murris root this morning, was it? You were grieving…”
“Yes,” she whispered.
“You’ve been with them!”
The other nodded slowly.
Suddenly, an anger welled up in her, and she pounded on the side of the wagon. “Then how could you let them kill him!!”
Kel fixed Nadia with a glare so harsh that she pulled back in fear.
“There was no choice. The others do not understand. Once the Flayers were discovered in the cave, it was too late… for any of them. They can not survive far from human habitations.”
“NO!” She put up her hand in warning. “You must not speak of them in public, do you understand? The valley folk would shun you.”
“I don’t care!”
“You need to care. You are all they have left now.”
“The Morrison brothers killed them all… They’re gone forever!” she spat.
Kel met her eyes again, this time leaning close to her. “No. They are not quite lost yet.”
So that no one else could see, the woman reached over and gently placed her hand on Nadia’s abdomen.
Suddenly the girl understood and her eyes grew wide. For many minutes she was too stunned to speak, and simply stared out the back of the wagon. Finally, she turned again to the old crone.
“Were they yours?” she asked softly.
Kel sighed. “Some of them.”
Turning so that she could meet her eyes, the woman put her hand to Nadia’s face, tracing the strange red marks there.
“And I for you, child. And I for you…”