1- Bound by Blood
His molten gold pupils met mine in cold, feral indifference and I had to have him. I wanted him in every way possible. I wanted that ferocity to bend to my whims and desires. And I always, always, got what I wanted, weather that be blood or land.
His wings were ruffled in irritation at the cacophony produced by several money hungry men trying to make a living. A steel muzzle engraved with enchantments was tied over his mouth and tightened around his jaw to keep him from biting his captors. I had no doubt that kind of tension in his jaw was painful. His arms were bound behind his back from his elbows to his wrists to avoid the chance that he could break his binds. From the haze of pain in those golden eyes he had to be in some amount of pain. His shoulders had to be wrought with agony after being bent in such a position for so long.
Even for a hellion, he was exotic and different. The crowd buzzed with many simply there to enjoy the view. This auction was meant to be a spectacle and a circus, and the rush of the square was proof that it was working. There was the hum of fear, curiosity and awe in the people gathering to see such a rare beauty. And beauty he was. His skin was pitch black like he’d been dipped in ink and held all the sharp features of a Northern tribesman, but with very obvious differences in the angles of his cheekbones and jaw. All in all, he might have passed for human, save for his wings, ears and tail.
His wolf-like ears were pricked forward, his chin held up in pride. His glossy, shorthaired tail was slightly tufted at the end and hovered just over the ground, not limply dragging through the dirt like his domesticated brethren. It was black like the rest of him, but with a light dusting of grey patterns that became more prominent in the folded tail feathers near the base of his tail. The muscle in his tail was banded and thick, that much was clear even from some distance. That tail would have to be to keep him steady in flight.
His pupils dilated into waning moons when the sun fell behind the clouds, the gold in his eyes silhouetted by uncommon black sclera. Even in daylight, without direct sunlight his form was obscured and blurred like a shadow. I called out. “Two hundred Trins.”
The chatter in the common area nearly ceased and every eye around the trafficking stalls turned toward me. Even my friend Tanus stiffened and stared at me like I was raving mad. The merchant stumbled over the force of my price, eyes darting around in suspicion. He spoke with a thick Eastern accent that tore through his sentences with reckless abandon. “Sir, I haven't even started the bid.”
Tanus hissed under his breath, turning so the merchant couldn't see that he was speaking to me. “Drust, a Hellion?! The lot are more trouble than they’re worth. And with the threat of attack you don't need-”
I ignored Tanus, even if he was speaking sense, and spoke to the merchant. “You know no one can compete with such a price, if you think he's worth more I can continue.” He knew he wasn't, and though my statement was sarcastic, if he held me to it how would that make him look to the crowd? I left the merchants gaze to casually study the Hellion. He shifted under the intensity of my stare, the chains running to the collar around his neck chiming together with his movement. The indifference was replaced with anger and pride.
The merchant went through the motions and cast a brief glance over the rest of the crowd for a competitor, then shouted, “Sold at two hundred Trin!” The crowd erupted back into chatter, and with a quick motion to one of his men, they took up the bidding and another drug the Hellion off the platform. The Hellion flattened his ears and dug in his heels, his wings back-flapping in a futile, but humorous attempt to pull the men dragging him off their feet. He briefly succeeded and more than one person in the crowd laughed.
It seemed he met any and all activity with opposition, regardless of the reason, or if it benefited him at all. I smiled in genuine excitement, something that hadn't happened in quite a while. I always loved a challenge and life had been getting rather dull.
The merchant sided up alongside me and said, “I do not mean to undervalue my merchandise, but that Hellion is probably more trouble than he's worth to a man such as yourself.” The tremble in his voice suggested he'd made out who I was. He was probably afraid I would come after his life if I found the Hellion to be too much of a hassle.
I lifted a brow and pretended to be interested. “Is that so?”
“I bought it from another merchant in Salvenare just last week and before that I can't be certain how long it's been in captivity. He is a rare sight to be sure, but his temperament. It seems to be completely untrained and undomesticated, and with its stubbornness, it might not ever learn.”
I said, “That's kind of you to warn me, but I'm very aware of the problems with it and I can assure you that I'm more than equipped to deal with them.” I gave him a stiff smile.
He nodded vigorously. “Of course sir!”
I turned my back on him, a clear dismissal, directly into Tanus's glare. I scoffed, “It's not a problem, Tanus.”
He folded his arms and mocked, “Not a problem? By the divine, Drust, you just bought a feral Hellion! What could you possibly do with a feral Hellion?”
I dropped my brows and frowned, “What I do with it isn't your concern.”
“The hells it isn't. You have more than enough on your plate keeping the Bloodhelms off your land.”
I said, “The Bloodhelms have always been a problem, and they will be dealt with. If I don't do something to shake things up every once in a while, I'll go senile.”
He threw his hands up. “There's no reasoning with you.”
I tilted my lips in a grin. “Has there ever been?”
The Hellion stood in the grand hall chained and bound as he had been before. His eyes bounced around the hall, learning every nook and cranny in the hopes of escape. It's not like he was wrong in the assumption that he might be able to. The longer he waited the less likely he was going to succeed. It wasn't like I was going to make it easy, and there wasn't anything in this room he would be able to utilize as a weapon unless he got creative with a tapestry or a bench.
I ordered the servants to leave and to shut and lock the door. They looked at me like I was stark raving mad, but with a disappointed and concerned sigh they scattered like leaves in the wind. I didn’t blame them, if I were in their shoes I’d want to steer clear if at all possible.
The Hellion narrowed its eyes in confusion, his tail snapping back and forth in agitation when I paced up to it without fear. He stood still, a predator sizing up another predator, and waited to see what I would do, his nostrils quivering as he scented me.
I pulled a dagger from my belt and his eyes snapped to it in what looked like frustration and alarm. I circled behind him which was slightly difficult since the Hellion didn’t want to turn his back on me, and leveled the blade with the enchanted linen tight around his forearms. The dagger was sharp and slipped through them as easily as it would handle bone. The binds fell to the floor and then I undid the chain on the collar. Its eyes widened, pupils narrowing to slits when I tugged at the clasp for the muzzle and it hit the floor with a clatter.
The Hellion drew in a sharp breath and did exactly what I hoped he'd do.
He tried to kill me.
He flared his wings in the hope it would surprise me, but I'd been waiting for him to try something in the way of distraction. I avoided the first strike of his claws and the second with enough ease to earn myself an annoyed snarl from the Hellion. His fangs were impressive, gleaming ebony daggers. He spun, his tail aimed at my ankles and his wings leveled at my waist. I ducked and stepped over his tail with speed he wasn't expecting.
I caught his wrist and yanked, pulling him towards me, and then I spun so his hand was between his shoulder blades. Kicking his legs out from under him, I pushed him to his stomach and straddled his hips. His wings flared and he screeched in fury, but he was stuck. I bent over him and murmured, “The outcome will always be the same. Submit.”
He hissed in Hellion some manner of curse and twisted and struggled to free himself. His claws dug into the stone with an ear-grating screech that reverberated off the tall ceiling and I grimaced. I tightened my grip. “The only way your going to escape this hold is if I let you.”
To make my point, after another moment of struggling, I let go of his wrist and sprung back, backpedaling to put distance between us before he attacked again.
We continued our little dance for hours, the Hellion tiring rapidly once the sun fell. His frustration and determination were almost equal, but in the end, frustration won out. He demanded. “Why are you so fast?” His words were slightly accented and gutteral, but it seemed to be because his vocal cords and fangs didn't allow him to speak as freely as a human.
I was a little surprised he could speak Therian at all. I'd told him on multiple occasions to give up and he hadn't uttered a word, and I was beginning to wonder if he understood me at all. I didn’t see any harm in telling him the truth. “I'm half elf.”
He froze in his crouch, the steady rise and fall of his pants ceasing as he took a long careful draw of air. He narrowed his eyes and snarled to himself, his tail lifting off the ground in a wave and slapping down against stone as he readied himself.
He stood and started a slow circle around me, reassessing. He seemed to be abandoning his previous straightforward lunges in favor of actual tactics. I was a little impressed that he could change his technique so quickly, but I was growing tired of the same old routine.
I said, “Attack me again and this time I won't just subdue.”
Fury tightened his muscles and he came at me again, this time aiming directly for my throat. It was a careless attack made out of desperation, anger, fatigue and stubbornness. I dodged and threw him to the ground with a hand tight around his neck. He grunted, the air leaving his lungs in a whoosh.
I whispered a quick series of spells in the language of power, and thick cords of light bound themselves around his wrists and kept his arms above his head and on the ground. It was a simple capture spell, and instead of speaking a spell to bind his strength, I spoke a spell to add weight. His arms would just be too heavy to lift, especially as exhausted as he was. If I’d tried this earlier when he was stronger it ould have failed immediately. But it worked perfectly on a malnourished, fatigued, winded hellion. Since it was such a simple spell and I was already tired, I didn't feel the recoil as much as I would have if I were rested, it was just another bit of heaviness to add to the exhaustion.
I sat on his stomach and tightened my fingers into his throat. His arms shook as he fought my spell, but to no avail. I cocked my head down at him and mused, “You haven't been a slave for long, that much is certain, but you can't be a stranger to pain. I doubt anyone has ever touched you this long and lived to tell the tale.” I didn't release the pressure on his neck and I took my free hand and touched fingers to the middle of his chest. I wove a simple spell, a little surprised at myself for using magic I previously would have shunned. It was one I'd never had use of before, though I’d always been curious.
I saw surprise fill his eyes, surprise and fear. I let go of his neck as he whimpered, “Wha-what did you do?”
“I flooded your nerves with pleasure and told your body to orgasm. Without stimulation it'll take awhile.” I sat back and he involuntarily spread his legs and gasped, forcing his hips up into mine. I grinned, “I knew it. You're a virgin.”
His ears flattened into his hair and I knew if he had any pigment at all I'd have seen him blush. His feathers ruffled and he stared up at me, wide-eyed. I leaned in and grabbed his chin. “Submit. I'm clearly dominant and you're just being stubborn.”
“What do you want from me?” His breathing was sharp and pleasured, his chest feverishly hot beneath my hand.
I said, “I'm offering you the closest thing to freedom you'll ever have. I want you.”
The Hellion let out a half sob of frustration and pleasure as my spell worked its business. “You don't even know my name.”
I rocked my hips down into his and he bit his lip and let his head fall back in a quiet moan. I asked, “So tell it to me. My name is Drust.”
He tested the name for himself in a breathless whisper that shot heat straight to my groin. He said, “Skaa. My name is Skaa.”
I felt my mouth stretch into a triumphant grin. “Skaa. Your name is as unique as you are.”
I thrust into his hips, listening for every moan and gasp. He let his knees fall apart for me and came, arching up off the ground with a strangled snarl. His eyes screwed shut and he fell back and panted, his whole body going limp. My own erection only half mast, I wasn't going to pursue completion until he asked for it, and that probably wasn't going to happen for awhile, though I was hopeful.
Too exhausted to move, his head rolled back, exposing his throat when I trailed my fingers across his jaw. I said, “You’re very stubborn, but I think I’ve proved my point.”
I dragged the back of my hand down his neck to his collarbone and he didn't flinch. “That's it.” He watched me carefully through hooded eyes, his lips parted in thick gasps for air. There was resignation there, but the fire hadn’t faded. He accepted that I’d won this round, that was all.
I murmured the words to free his hands and rolled off of him. I pulled him to his feet and said, “I'm going to trust you not to kill anyone in my house. If you cause anyone under my protection harm you will be punished. Severely.” I looked him up and down and asked, “Did anyone ever explain to you what the collar does.”
He stared blankly for a moment, his hand unconsciously moving to graze the edge of it. He shook his head. No doubt his masters had seen him as nothing more than an unintelligent beast. Shame.
I said, “Basically, depending on whose possession you're in, the spells can be modified so you can't leave the property. Try to leave the grounds and you'll find yourself in severe pain. Manage to get far enough away regardless of the pain and the collar will kill you.” Skaa looked down like he could see it and gave it a small tug. “So don't run away.”
I turned around and beckoned him after me. “I'll show you where you sleep.” With my back to him, I was more than surprised when he didn’t try to attack me again, but when I glanced back, I caught a glimpse of how tired the Hellion really was. He was haggard and weak, not just from fighting today, but from months of captivity and mistreatment. His eyes were dull and his shoulders sagged in exhaustion and what could have been sleep deprivation. There was a hitch in his step that might have been a concealed limp. I was shocked that he’d managed to stay on his feet let alone fight, that earned him my respect. Who knew what would have happened to him in someone else’s care.
I brought him to his room, one of the many empty guest rooms, and left him with real clothes and told him where he could get cleaned up. I left him in the doorway, pulling back the strands of hair from his shoulder as I whispered, “I will tame you.” It wasn’t a threat, just a promise. Skaa’s feathers rippled in unease and his head snapped to the side to find my gaze. I left him before he could argue, certain he wouldn’t try to run.
That hellion was a survivor, and survivors didn’t do stupid things to kill themselves.
His voice left tingles shooting down my spine, his breath ticking the fur on my ear. “I will tame you.” I took a deep breath, looking after him, then shutting my eyes as I listened for his footsteps dying in the corridor. He couldn't have me, no one could, but I hadn't anticipated his strength.
He hadn't looked so strong or so fast, his eyes had been too beautiful for a warrior. They were a soft teal, the color of Northern lakes. They were clean, and those eyes begged a trust I didn't want him to have. That was nothing to say of his voice. It was perfect.
I had to be his elven heritage, it had to be. No voice had ever had the effect of cooling water nor the force of driven snow. His hair looked completely human though, as did his jaw and his nose. His hair was wavy and thick, reaching his shoulders in a well kept wave, the color of dying autumn leaves, their brilliant red already muted and worn.
In the eyes of my masters in the past I’d known nothing but greed, lust, disgust and fear. This man looked at me with respect. That alone was a foreign concept to me, and I wasn’t prepared to deal with it. It would be so much easier to hate him if he so clearly did not have my well-being in mind.
There was no reason for him to lie to me. He owned me. I wasn’t human so I couldn’t even be counted as a slave. I was beneath property, I was just a beast. But the look in his eyes as I’d fought with him. It made me angry. There was amusement there, and sadness and excitement. He’d been treating me like a living, breathing creature.
In my heart I felt the desire to please him, because my instincts understood him not to be an enemy, and to be a male that was strong enough to protect me, regardless of species. So why did I want to fight him, why couldn't I let him have me? I told myself it was the arrogance. He bought me, so now I should just roll over for him? I couldn’t do that.
It had to be a lie. He was too perfect. All he wanted was a willing doll in bed. I lifted my lips in a snarl and went into the room. It was spartan and clean with a bed and side table and dresser, and I felt the stubborn desire to destroy it.
I forced the urge aside and sat down on the edge of the bed. I really was exhausted, but using the bed like some pampered pet wasn't something I desired. On another note, if I slept on the floor I would wake up with aches in my neck and back that would make my abused body hurt even more than it needed to.
I compromised in the end and decided to just sleep on top of the covers. Before that, even though I dreaded moving one step more than I needed too, I needed to clean up. I couldn't sleep like this knowing...knowing he'd gotten a reaction out of me. Damn him, he'd gotten a strong reaction, even if he had been cheating. I’d felt the magic in me, it wasn’t the first time I was on the receiving end of a spell, but I couldn’t blame all of that pleasure on magic. I cursed my weakness and bared my fangs at the empty room. It was rare that I was touched gently and even rarer when I was allowed completion.
Drust hadn’t been wrong when he called me out as a virgin. I’d never known anything but rape, and I’d resigned myself to the fact that I’d never get sex again. Then this half-elf comes around and…and I just met the guy, and it didn’t feel wrong. He hadn’t been using me for his own pleasure. He’d let me come, then left, even when I smelled his arousal. Why? What game was he playing?
I stood and limped to the dresser, pulling out the clothes he'd said would be there and limped to the bath. I never would have limped in front of Drust, but now that I was alone, I didn't see any need to aggravate my badly battered leg any further. Pain shot up my thigh into my hip every time I put any considerable weight on it, but it would be mostly healed by tomorrow, so I didn't worry.
I opened the door to the baths, relieved no one was in there already so I wouldn't have to deal with more annoying human interaction. All I wanted was to get clean and sleep so I could fight Drust again tomorrow, and the next day, and...forever. I muttered a curse and dropped the clothes on the side of the bath and slipped in fully dressed. These pants were dirty anyways.
The baths were really the nicest I'd ever seen, tall ceilinged and enchanted to stay on that comfortable border between warm and hot. Steam made the baths foggy and burned my eyes and made me sleepy. I rolled over on to my stomach and folded my arms on the side, resting my head on them and relaxed.
I jumped when I heard a voice to my right say, “He beat you up good didn't he?”
I smoothed my feathers and calmed my agitation; annoyed I didn't notice him enter the room. Instead of answering him, I pointedly looked the other way and growled a warning. To my annoyance, the man laughed. I heard him strip and then move into the water next to me, but a considerable distance away. Wise man. He said, “Drust sent me to keep an eye on you.”
That got my attention. I turned and snarled, “What? I can't even bathe by myself?”
He tensed, but that was probably a mild reaction to snarling fangs and claws with nothing but bath water between you and a raging Hellion. He said, “Calm down, I don't really wanna babysit you either. He was worried he thrashed you too badly and he just wanted someone to make sure you're okay.”
I snapped, “I'm fine.” I went back to lying on my arms, but watched him out of the corner of my eye.
“I saw you limping, so you're not fine.” I flattened my ears. “But, you're not dying, so my job is basically done.” He paused and ran a hand over the scruff on his face, turning and resting back on the ledge by his elbows. “I don't know why Drust decided he wants you, and frankly I don't understand half the shit he does, but a bit of friendly advice; He always wins.”
I snorted quietly and ignored him. So this time he'd fail. The end. I was tired of people taking me and using me. He was actually letting me fight for my freedom and I wasn't about to let that chance fade away.
It wasn't long before the man got out and left me alone. I waited a few more minutes before pulling off the waterlogged pants and climbing out. I dried off and put on the new pants, which hung comfortably loose, but upon further reflection I decided I didn't like them, because it was so loose and thin the fabric revealed far more than the tight breeches they’d had me in before.
My cheeks flushed and I growled to myself. So what if I was a virgin? It's not like anyone wanted me for...well, me. I was a beast. A monster. The slavers only wanted to rape me, and by the hells I fought my hardest to stop that. I scared most of them all badly enough that they gave up if only because they were afraid I'd castrate them or bite their dick off. But there was only so much claws and fangs can do against a good amount of rope and steel.
Even before I was captured, it was the same with me. No one wanted me because I was different. And that's what made Drust's offer so appealing. He didn’t know who I was. None of these people did.
It also made me feel pathetic. Was I really so starved for attention that I'd accept it from the first creature that threw any semblance of affection at me? Gods, I hoped not.
I gave my wings a good shake, the water rolling off my feathers like a waterfowl. My eyes were immediately drawn to the gap in my flight feathers and an unexpected stab of pain ran through my heart. I hadn't touched the sky in months, maybe even a year. Once my feathers grew back I'd be gone. He couldn't stop me when I could fly and he hadn't made an effort to cut my feathers down when he'd brought me here. That started a hope in my chest that he'd let them grow in.
I stopped thinking about it. My heart suddenly heavy, I went back to my assigned space and curled up on the middle of the bed with a sigh. The tears were expected, and I hated them. I was tired of being alone. I was tired of bending to the whims of anyone that thought they could control me. Fuck all of them. I wanted to live.