The Dryad’s Dream
Chapter 9 – Unnoticed
To Briddle, the world appeared a little out of focus, like maybe she was viewing it all through a slightly dirty wall of glass. Ahead of her was the orc encampment, and behind her, the safety of the forest. Magic or no, she was terrified.
She didn’t like having to rely on the strange power that seemed to be clinging around her. It was fragile and untouchable, like a bubble of soap. One mistake, and pop, all would be lost. Not just her own life, but certainly that of Taya and Lawen. Perhaps Wendel could escape with Peleial, but he didn’t seem to think so, and that worried her as well.
As she walked closer and closer to the camp, she very much expected one of the orcs to turn and point to her, sounding the alarm. But none did. She could see at least one orc sitting by the fire, staring almost directly at her, but just as Wendel said, he simply did not notice her there.
Finally, she was at the edge of the trampled ground, and had to maneuver in order to reach the weapon rack. She could already see that she was going to need to pass very close to several orcs, and changed her mind twice before selecting a final course. Her heart was beating so loudly in her own ears, that she wondered if the orcs might hear it. But if they did, none moved or investigated. Step by slow step, she made her way between resting warriors, and when she was just past the fire, she made her first mistake.
She had just walked around two orcs, and was about to pass another, when she noticed what he was eating. It was a leg. A cooked, humanoid leg. She managed not to vomit, but she did gasp and utter a soft cry. For a moment, the orc stopped and looked up. Drool and blood dripped from his chin as he stared at the space she stood. She froze, not sure she even had the strength to run if the spell was broken, but after seven very long seconds, the dark green humanoid returned to his meal, the distraction forgotten.
She breathed again, albeit quietly, and continued toward the rack. Short of stepping over the legs of one more orc, there were no more close calls, and with a well deserved smile of accomplishment, she reached out and grasped Taya’s spear. Wendel had said the weapon would be included in the charm, but what if he was wrong? Gently, she lifted it away, and noticed at once that it seemed to sharpen into focus – as though it had been brought inside her bubble. With a second sigh of relief, she turned and looked to the Beholder… And saw an enormous orc with a scar down the middle of his face headed directly for her.
The dark humanoid looked angry, and strode with long pounding steps that she could feel in the ground even now. Did he see her? She couldn’t tell. He seemed to be looking at her, but… She needed to do something. There wasn’t space around the weapon’s rack for an alternate route, and she had no idea which direction the orc was going to take – if he wasn’t actually coming to crush her skull into dust. But, if she didn’t do something in the next few seconds, the hulking creature would run right into her, hidden by magic or not. She took a step one way, stopped, backtracked, and finally at the last second just pushed herself up against the rack and closed her eyes tight as she held her breath.
The great, thundering steps moved right in front of her, and the rush of air by her face told her he couldn’t have passed more than an inch from her nose. But then the sound of the steps were fading, and she opened her eyes again. The orc was continuing away from her.
When she could breath again, Briddle continued through the camp toward area the Beholder had Taya and Lawen. There was a pretty clear path almost all the way there, but as she got closer and closer to the creature, her anxiety and fear only increased. The beast was enormous! From way back at the forest’s edge, it seemed big, but now, as she pondered the idea of sticking the huge floating orb in its back, her terror returned anew and she faltered. How could she do this? She wasn’t a powerful warrior like Taya, or even the skilled cleric the elf Lawen was turning out to be. She was a cook, just a simple slave…
And she remembered.
Her master, Wendel, had given her a direct command. Get the spear, kill the beast. This was her charge – that she must obey. Her fear did not matter. Her life did not matter. With her last breath she must try to complete her task, because that was her calling.
With a renewed resolve, the little human girl gripped the long spear tightly in her hand, looking briefly up at the white metal blade and flowing red tassel. She could do this. Stepping forward again, she moved around the second large bonfire, careful to heed her master’s instructions and stay clear of the Beholder’s forward gaze. It took her a few moments to travel around to the back where she would have a clear strike, and even still, she would need to enter the smaller encampment from the side to avoid several orcs standing about, watching. It didn’t register exactly what it was they were watching until she was only a few meters away.
Lawen was astraddle one of the orcs, her thighs barely reaching to the ground around his hips. Her pelvis thrust hard against that of the male below her, over and over. The she-elf’s face was locked in the pained expression of torturous pleasure, but it still took Briddle a moment to realize that the elf girl was uncontrollably fucking the massive green-skinned humanoid. It wasn’t until Lawen arched back and cried out with a deep, animalistic set of choking gasps, her head thrashing back and forth – that she realized how the other was caught in an endless cycle of devastating lust.
Briddle’s mouth dropped open, partially matching that of Lawen’s as the she-elf’s orgasmic cries echoed into the night. But she was also furious. This creature, the Beholder… It was doing this to her. And then she saw Taya.
Nothing could have prepared her, and just the sight of the large ginger-haired human being driven into a trembling euphoria by the massive tongue, was enough to nearly cause her to drop the spear. The dark red wave of meat literally lifted the woman away from her bound armature for several seconds, and Briddle could see the very end of the beast’s organ thrusting and lapping into her dripping sex. Her whole body was being sucked and stimulated all at once it seemed, and in her bound state, there was nothing at all the warrior could do to resist it.
Her anger redoubled, the little human raced forward, literally jumping over the lounging bodies to several other orcs, so that she could make one final dash toward the Beholder’s back side. Lowering the spear tip, Briddle gave a massive roar and put all her strength and weight and rage behind the weapon.
With a sickening pop, the tip and nearly a meter of the shaft, completely disappeared beyond the surface scales. Instantly, she was knocked back by some kind of unseen pressure, and there was a terrible bellow from the falling beast. In the span of several seconds, it just dropped to the ground, its tongue still extended, and lay limp. Somewhat stunned, it took Briddle another few seconds to understand that all hell had broken out around her. Orcs were fleeing in every direction, and fire seemed to be raining down from the sky to consume any runner that wasn’t under the cover of trees. None of them seemed to be fighting, or even paying her any attention, so she pulled herself up of the ground.
“Go help Lawen!” came Wendel’s voice from behind her. The man was dashing into the encampment with his staff raised high over his head. Occasionally, a flash of flame seemed to reach out and engulf one of the fleeing orcs. “I’ll cut Taya down,” he said running up to her. “You help Lawen back to the forest, GO!!”
Looking to where she saw her last, Briddle found the elf alone on her side, and only barely moving.
“Law! Hey, wake up! Can you hear me?”
“Br-briddle? Goddess I’m g-glad to see you…”
She helped her sit up. “Can you walk? We need to get out of here, now!”
“I… I can’t feel my legs.”
The wizard had Taya, her arm around his shoulder as they stumbled along and joined them. He saw at once the problem, and set the warrior down.
“You’re going to feel a little light,” he said to each of them. “Don’t fight it. Let us get you out of here.” He was making motions with his hands. “And Bri… remember that we don’t have ropes on them!”
“My spear!” called out Taya as her body started to float.
“I’ll get it,” said Wendel. But after three or four tries, it didn’t look like the enchanted weapon was going anywhere… until Briddle stepped up and tugged. The spear pulled free with a gaseous hiss, and they both stepped back.
“Good lord, that’s disgusting,” commented the wizard, choking. “Thank you, my dear. Now if you wouldn’t mind carefully collecting the elf, we need to get our asses out of here before someone realizes what happened.”
The girl started to hand the long shaft to Taya, but the warrior slowly shook her head.
“I’m too weak. You hold it for me, okay?”
Briddle couldn’t have been more proud to carry the weapon as she carefully guided Lawen’s weightless body back to the forest.
Wendel took no chances, and immediately tied a loop of Peleial’s rope around each of their floating charges when they were safely under cover again. Only then, did they go in search of a safer place to rest the night.
If traveling through a cursed forest was dangerous during the day, it was nearly impossible at night. An hour later, they had barely moved a kilometer, and Wendel was at his limit.
“Enough of this,” he said finally, reaching into his robes. “I’ve been saving this for an emergency, and frankly, I think this is it.” Finding a medium sized clearing, he quickly checked for any obvious nasties, and then placed a small painted acorn on the ground mentioning Briddle to move everyone closer. There was a rushing sound, and a lot of the night noises abruptly quieted.
“Whoa…” said Lawen. “What was that?”
Wendel was gathering some random bits of wood to start a fire. “Shield spell. It’ll protect us from anything short of a forest troll, and it makes us pretty much invisible from outside the protected area. I only had the one though. Figured now or never.”
Twenty minutes later, they were all resting by a crackling fire, eating the last of the food in Peleial’s pack and catching up. Peleial herself was awake, if not a little groggy, thanks to the work of her sister, and neither Taya nor Lawen seemed outwardly injured. Wendel knew there would almost certainly be other, more long-term repercussions of their encounter with the Beholder, but those would heal with time and patience… or not. Such mending was the realm of others. For now, the pair seemed content to just snuggle together, which made Wendel smile. It was their first open display of affection.
The warrior noticed him watching.
“Uh, sorry I lost my armor… again.”
He waved it off. “Armor can be replaced. You cannot. Though I may start packing an extra set of my clothes for you on our next adventure…”
She was wearing a pair of his pants and a shirt. She laughed softly at the joke. Lawen of course, could wear Peleial’s garments, as the sisters were identical.
The human woman sat up. “That reminds me… Briddle, would you come here for a moment? I have something for you.”
“Yes, Mistress?” said the girl, moving closer. She had been idly tending the fire. Taya patted the ground in front of her, and the other knelt, waiting.
Sitting up straight, Taya fixed her eyes on the younger female. “In my regiment, it was customary to give soldiers a token to acknowledge changes in rank, or for performance on the battlefield. Some regiments offered gold, or even land. Others, like mine, felt that such monetary rewards were counter productive, and led to soldiers who could be easily bought. The Royal Guard was, above all else, loyal to the kingdom… which is why I left when it became obvious that my uncle, the King, served only himself.
“But for our own tokens, we chose to pass an honorary bouquet, usually of wildflowers. We felt the flowers signified life, prosperity, and family, and were meant to remind us of what we were truly fighting for…”
She drew out a small tied bundle of flowers and held them up.
“The yellow ones are known as Basket of Gold, and the little whites I am told are Cottage Dressing.” She looked briefly to Lawen, who nodded happily. “They are both considered to bring luck to one’s home. The red strands that hold them are from the tassel of my spear, which you wielded with both bravery and strength to bring down a superior enemy. You did so, at great risk to your own life, to save the lives of others, including my own.
“So I present this token to you, Briddle, in honor and gratitude, and though I have given up my commission, I still hold the rank of Lieutenant – which means that I have the power to grant you the title of Spear Sergeant, First Order, and with it the rights and privileges of that rank.”
She reached out and briefly touched the bouquet to each of the girl’s shoulders. Briddle, for her own part, looked about ready to faint, her wide-eyed expression caught between abject terror and utter joy.
Handing over the flowers, Taya continued.
“From this day and forward, you are welcome in my home… and my heart. Someday in the future, should you wish it, it would be my great honor and privilege to train you formally. Stand, Spear Sergeant Briddle, and be recognized.”
The girl faltered until Lawen nodded and indicated she should rise. There was clapping all around, and several loud hoots from Peleial.
“So what do you think, Bri? Er… Spear Sergeant Briddle!” asked the elf, happily.
“I… I don’t know what to say. How can I claim such a thing? I am but a s-slave.” Tears rolled down her cheeks.
Wendel motioned her over to sit next to him and Peleial.
“No Briddle. Your bond may hold you legally, but to us, and especially me you will never be a slave.”
“No! You don’t understand… I was only brave because you commanded me to be. I could not face the Beholder on my own courage, that is why I asked you to make me do it.”
Taya picked it right up. “You’re wrong Briddle. It was your courage. Do you think it’s any different for a soldier? Wendel gave you a command, and you carried it out, not because the magical bond gave you any extra strength or courage, but because of conditioning and routine. The reason that warriors train constantly is not just to improve our skill, but also so that when the time comes, and courage is hard to find, you can fall back on that training to get done what must be done. I have seen skilled men turn and run on the battlefield at the first sight of blood, but I have also seen little children pick up a sword and stand their ground against an armed and armored enemy twice their size, simply because their parents told them to. Slave or no, you chose to make a stand. It was you who walked into the camp, grabbed that spear, and did the deed. Your conditioning may have helped you along, but it was still you, Briddle, who held the weapon and returned victorious.”
The little human buried her face in Wendel’s chest, quietly sobbing. He let her. He was pretty strung out emotionally, and was half tempted to join her. They all were, he supposed. But if his role, at least for now, was to be the strong pillar that supported their meager band, then so be it. He stroked her hair and held her until they both fell asleep some time later.
They say that most wizards sleep with one eye open. Wendel did not. Not that he wasn’t a light sleeper, but he liked his slumber way too much to ruin it with worry and over-vigilance. None the less, he opened his eyes for some reason he couldn’t quantify, and found Briddle staring at him. She seemed wide awake.
“Is everything alright, my dear?”
She girl appeared to contemplate for a time, but then finally inched a little higher against him and brought her mouth to his in a warm kiss. Wendel sensed that there was a lot more passion lurking behind it, and that she was holding back.
“Are you still thinking about earlier?” he asked.
She tilted her to the side. “Yes, but not the bad parts. I was thinking about something I saw just before I killed the creature.”
He was curious how anything that she witnessed during that frantic time could not be seen as ‘bad’, but he let her explain in her own time.
“You could see me, yes?” she asked.
“During my channeling? Yes, I could. I was watching you through the bushes and nearly soiled myself when you had that close call at the weapon’s rack.”
She grinned. “Sorry… Do you remember when I passed the second bonfire?”
“Indeed. You seemed to pause for a time.”
She nodded. “It was when I saw up close what the creature was doing to my friends.”
“That must have been horrifying…”
She frowned. “I… was frightened, yes, and then angry. But… I was also very… aroused. Is that wrong of me?”
He thought about it for a moment. “I suppose not. What was it that aroused you, specifically?”
“Lawen. She was… sitting on top of one of the orcs.”
He nodded slowly. “I recall seeing it from a distance. You understand that the Beholder was making her do that, right?”
“I understand. I know now, that not everything that is pleasurable is… wanted. But, I was curious… about that position.”
She bit her lip. “It is a position that puts the female… in control of the pleasure?”
“Indeed. She controls the pace to her own liking. It can be very exciting for the man as well. Understand, Briddle, sometimes ‘teasing’ a partner can enhance sex. A woman can make a man wait, or bring him right to the edge and then back off… all to excite him, and in so doing, herself as well.”
“I know that the Beholder was forcing her, but Lawen seemed to experience quite a lot of pleasure from that position…”
He grunted. “I’m sure she did.”
She paused for a moment, then looked him in the eyes.
“Wendel, could we try that position?”
His heart skipped a beat. “Uh… Now?”
She nodded her head once.
“Briddle…” he sighed. “I… I’m not sure you understand the relationship between a master and servant. Things are different now…”
“Different? I am still the same… You are still the same… I do not see…”
“Oh, for heaven’s sake, tell her, Wendel!” Peleial’s frustrated voice startled them both. He hadn’t been aware she was even awake, let alone listening. The girl looked back to him, confused.
He took a deep breath. “When I commanded you as a slave, it broke a personal… rule, for me. Long ago, I swore I would never have slaves, and more so, would never ever take advantage of a woman in that manner. I broke the first part of that rule when I took the job from your former master. I justified it at the time because it was necessary to try and save you. While we traveled, I could ignore the slave relationship and treat you as anyone else. However, the moment that I commanded you, as a slave, to go and kill that damned Beholder, I broke the second part of that rule and became a slaver.”
“No, Wendel…” she started.
“Please, let me finish. I know it doesn’t seem different to you, but in my eyes, I had violated a sacred trust that you had placed in me. No longer could you know if I was simply asking as a friend or even a lover – or if I was making a demand as your master. You would have to obey… And I have hated myself for that ever since. I take responsibility. It was my choice… I hope you understand.”
She frowned for a second, sat up, and then bowed, her face nearly touching the ground.
“Master, I must speak to you… freely. Will you allow it?”
“What? Of course! You can speak to me however you want…”
“Master, please forgive me, but you must command it!”
He was confused, and slightly annoyed. “Fine… As your master, I give you permission to speak freely to me. Now what’s this about?”
The girl sat up straight again, and took a deep breath. She did not look him directly in the eyes, but rather fixed her attention slightly below his gaze.
“Master, I believe it is you who does not understand the relationship between slaves and their owners.”
“Oh, come now…”
Peleial placed a hand on his arm, urging him to let the other speak. He relented.
“When I was under the ownership of my former master, he required me to care for more than just his personal needs. He put me in charge of many of his business dealings within the inn. He relied on my judgement to resolve issues and make decisions for him, and most importantly – inform him if I felt he was making an incorrect choice in a business matter.”
“Yes. And I did. However, I would not have been able to do this if he had not directly commanded me to do so. The master servant bond conditions me to obey, even when doing so conflicts with other things that my master does. Once he told me to correct him, I was bound by the slave bond to do exactly that until he told me otherwise, even if it meant my death.”
“I don’t see how…”
He sighed. “Please go on…”
She sighed in relief. “You feel that because you have had to be my master… officially, I would not tell you when I do not wish to do something more… intimate. And you would be right…”
“See, this is why I…”
“… because you have not commanded me to!”
“Huh? I don’t really see the difference.”
She now looked at him directly. “Oh yes! There IS a difference! Don’t you see? My bond requires me to follow your commands. If you instruct me to tell you when I would rather not do something, then I must! More than anyone, you can know I will be truthful to this, because I am conditioned to.”
He was speechless.
“She’s got a point, Wendel,” said Peleial at his elbow.
“So… All I have to do, is command you to stop acting like a slave…”
She smiled. “And I must obey. Yes.”
She put up her finger. “It needs to be a direct command, Master. And…”
She grimaced. “I urge you to consider your words carefully so that you do not give me conflicting commands. That can happen.”
“Huh. I suppose it could,” he said, rubbing his beard. “Okay… Briddle, I officially command you to… have free will. You are hereby allowed to say ‘no’ to me, or anyone else, when asked to do something you do not wish to. I understand that this does not break your bond, and that you still have to obey a direct command, but you are free to object, remain silent, share your opinion, even make demands, all without asking first. How’s that?”
She tilted her head, thinking. “I believe that is acceptable… Wendel.”
“Whew!” commented Peleial. “I think you may have just created a monster with that one, wizard. There was an awful lot of freedom packed into those words…”
“Do you… feel better now?” asked the girl.
He took a breath and let it out slowly. “I guess I do. Thank you, Briddle.”
She nodded. “Good,” and then proceeded to reach for the bottom of her shirt, lifting it over her head.
Wendel’s eyes widened as the younger human cast aside the garment, and started on her belt. “Uh…” Suddenly, there was another pair of hands at the buckle of his own belt.
“Sorry, magic man,” grinned the she-elf. “Don’t think you’re getting out of this one so easily.”
It only took a minute for the elf to work open his pants and slide them down to his ankles. He lifted away his shirt for good measure. Meanwhile, Briddle had stripped completely and was kicking her leg over his thighs as she stared down at his rigid manhood with wide eyes.
“I… I witnessed some of the girls that worked for Tarn using this position with their clients…”
“Bet that was fun,” commented the elf.
“… but I did not understand. How does one… uh…”
Peleial suddenly picked up what she was getting at. “Oh! Heh. Yeah, most guys you can just get a little ahead of and lift them up as you set back on them, but Wendel is a bit more… gifted, than is usual. For him, I would recommend raising up one thigh, and sort of coming at him from the side. Want help?”
The she-elf grinned and rubbed her hands together. Then she gently aided in positioning the girl to get into a half kneeling position, steadying her while she reached out and found Wendel’s shaft.
“Whoa… slow down here,” cautioned Peleial. “Go ahead and stroke him a bit, gently. You want to be sure he’s good and hard.”
The human female did so.
“Speaking of arousal, how are you doing? You’ll want to take him gradually in any case, but you’d better be wet, or it could hurt a bit.”
“I am very excited, Pel…”
She grinned in the moonlight. “That you are. Okay, now lift him up and put his tip at your gates… that’s it. Go ahead and open yourself a little… and in he goes…”
“Ahh! Ughmmm… That f-feels very nice…”
“Oh yeah. It’s gonna get a lot better. Go easy now… gently put your leg down and let him slide in. Try to move your hips a little until you’re seated again and you can get comfortable. Little steps.”
Briddle was breathing in short, rapid gasps until she finally settled herself back on his torso. Once there, she closed her eyes and sighed happily. After a moment or two, she looked back to Peleial with a dreamy expression.
“What do I do now?”
Her eyes sparkled. “Now’s the fun part. You get to do whatever you want! Roll your hips, bounce on his lap, squeeze him, tease him, make him wait, make him come… you’re in control. Just remember, if you set him off right away, he’ll probably get soft, and you might miss out yourself. I like to take care of my own needs before I put on too much heat.”
The girl looked down and then very slowly started to move. The effect was instant and stunning.
“Ah… ah… ughnnn… oh! AH! He f-f-feels so d-deep!”
“Well, you’re not much bigger than I am, kiddo… and you’re practically sitting on his balls – he is deep!”
Briddle continued to slowly rock forward and back, trying as best she could to keep the motions smooth, but her body was already giving her a hard time. Shuddering and quaking, her pleasure quickly became too much to control. Her face took on a surprised sense of wonder even as her eyelids began to flutter in happy overload. Not even a minute passed, before the girl cried out abruptly and fell forward into the wizard’s chest.
“Wow, that was fast,” commented Peleial, stroking the other’s back. “I guess you really needed that.”
The girl just purred happily until her breathing settled again.
“You still up, Wendel?” asked the elf a minute later.
“With this warm and supple creature sitting naked on my shaft?… Quite.”
“Oh! I am sorry… I was not thinking of your pleasure at all,” said Briddle apologetically.
He chuckled. “Not to worry, my dear. I am enjoying myself immensely. Not all sex is about the end game. It is often enough just to watch someone else get happy… And, in that regard,” he said cryptically, “I think I am about to get a repeat performance.”
“Huh? Mmmm… P-Pel? What are you…”
The she-elf had quietly moved around behind her, taking up a similar position to her own, sitting on the man’s legs. Without warning, she let her hands slide around the girl’s torso seductively. The girl also noticed that the elf had managed to almost magically lose her own clothes.
“Shhh,” she whispered into Briddle’s ear as her warm fingers began to explore her breasts and belly. “Relax to it… just let me help you.”
“W-Wendel?” asked the girl.
“It’s okay with me, Bri. Like I said, it’s fun to watch. I’d say you’re in good hands. And… If I know our Pel, I won’t have to wait long for my own relief.”
Turning back to the she-elf, Briddle was caught off guard by the other as she leaned in and planted her mouth to hers. The kiss was soft, but backed with a powerful passion. That, coupled with the elf’s roaming hands, and the girl found herself moaning in no time. Distracted by the sweet entanglement of their tongues, it was several moments before the human noticed that Peleial was slowly leaning her back. In fact, she only became aware when the angle of Wendel’s manhood within her had changed enough that he was pressing firmly against the front side of her innermost heart.
“Ughnnn… P-Pel… Ah! Ah!”
Smiling, the she-elf let her hand drop down the other’s belly and over her soft mound, her fingers searching right through the girl’s folds until she was caressing Wendel’s shaft where it entered her. She looked briefly to the wizard, who raised an eyebrow, but did not otherwise comment, before letting her digits drift over the young woman’s jewel in feather-light caresses.
Briddle was instantly lost to the wave of pleasure that flowed up from her pelvis, her whole body stiffening as she quickened toward ecstasy. Peleial quietly worked her until her hips started to jerk and rock in uncontrolled lust. Using her own body at the other’s back, the elf gradually settled her into a slower and more steady rhythm that had the man’s rod easing almost its entire length in deeply erotic strokes.
Though the motion of her hips might have become even, Briddle’s breath was anything but. She gasped and moaned with short, ragged little intakes of air, until all at once her head fell back and she cried out in a single burst of unrestrained ecstasy.
With her trembling legs gripping Wendel’s hips, he watched as Peleial continued to work the girl through her moment, and right into another. As enticing as the sensual human was atop him, It was the look of open-mouthed lust that Peleial presented to the wizard as Briddle peaked again that finally set off Wendel himself. He felt his balls draw up just as she shifted her fingers lower and ringed them around his shaft. He grasped Briddle’s thighs, pulling her firmly down against his body, thrusting as deeply into her as he could as he finally released his warmth within her.
Exhausted, and spent, the man drew both females up against his chest. He would properly ‘thank’ the elf later. Right now, he seriously needed to sleep.