Raenos stood looking at Laeros. At first, Eielawyn thought he would refuse Laeros’ outstretched arm. But he grabbed hold of his forearm, and the two men touched foreheads. She let out the breath she’d been holding.
“One day, Eielawyn,” Laeros said to her. “But if help is needed, I’ll be it. I can’t bring Zinvian troops into Teveoch or even Yaeltaran without permission. I risk an all-out war if I do. But I might have an idea on some people that can help us if it comes to that. Just don’t get into trouble. Stay safe,” he said.
Eielawyn hugged him, as he left in the other direction. “All right,” Raenos said. “Let’s get the hell out of here. Filkothinor, are you feeling well enough to walk?”
The old man nodded, motioning for them all to walk ahead of him. “I’ll do my best.”
They climbed, and stomped, and plodded through some of the roughest brush and cliffs Eielawyn ever thought could exist. All the while, she glanced behind her thinking that at any moment the royal guards would appear and they would all be dead. They walked for most of the night, using the darkness as their shield. Raenos continued to watch the thick brush around them for predators. They all just wanted to get to Yaeltaran and safety as soon as possible.
It was in the darkness, with the moon the only light they had to guide them that Eielawyn realized that even after getting to Yaeltaran, she may not be able to return to Yaesdrah. Not with the guards still there. They may know she helped Filkothinor. But whether they did or not, Raenos couldn’t return. And her life was now with him no matter where he was.
Raenos came to her side, taking hold of her hand in his. “It’s all right, baby. We’ll make it.”
Eielawyn nodded, giving him what she hoped was a confident smile. But the knot in her gut wouldn’t go away. “Kinsbithu, maybe we should rest for a bit here. Filkothinor needs to rest some.”
Kinsbithu walked back to where Eielawyn was standing by a large boulder, shrouded by large trees. “I know we should, but I think we should keep going. You said the guards were already out looking in the caves? That was four hours ago, Eielawyn. We’re on foot. It’s dark. They have the capability to use air transports, scanners—who knows what. Ask him,” she said, pointing to Raenos.
“She’s right,” Raenos said to Eielawyn. “You know Teveoch technology is the most superior in all of Ai. The guard has use of all of the technology and more. Let’s just keep going. How much farther?” he asked Kinsbithu.
She shrugged. “I don’t know for sure. I was only told to head northeast by some of those in the rebellion that have come this way. All I know is that Yaeltaran is in that fuckin’ direction,” she said, pointing in the direction ahead of her. “I don’t have a built-in GPS. I don’t have a damn map!” she started to yell. “I don’t have anything that will tell me if we’re going in the right direction, or if guards are about to kill us, or anything! I have nothing!”
Eielawyn rushed to her friend. “Bithy, I need you to hold it together, cuz you’re starting to freak out. I don’t want to slap you, but I will if you start that yelling shit again.”
Kinsbithu took several deep breaths. “Eielawyn, I’m just a little afraid. I thought I would have a dead old man on my hands,” she said, glancing over to where Filkothinor was resting on one of the boulders. “I thought I would walk into that damn cave and he would be dead. Yeah, I’m a little stressed. Shit. I’m not some warrior chick. I don’t do this kind of shit on a daily basis. But I owe that man. He’s the closest thing I have to family after you.”
Eielawyn smiled broadly. “That’s sweet, Bithy. But I still mean it about slapping you.”
“Got it,” Kinsbithu said with a slight nod. She turned her attention to Raenos, who steadily looked around the woods and cliffs for guards. “Do you have anything on you that we can use to tell where we are?”
“I was on light patrol when Eielawyn came to tell us about the guards. Laeros and I thought it was best that we just head out and not raise the attention of the rest of the guards by gathering supplies. I’ve got a torch. On light patrol we thought it was best for the community not to see us with tracers and knives. I have a knife, though. The one Eielawyn tried to give to Filkothinor back in the cave. It’s small, and kind of insignificant, now that I think about it. Useless against the guards.”
Filkothinor slowly made his way over to where the three of them were gathered. Eielawyn noted how his breathing seemed labored and heavy. She only hoped the old man would make it to Yaeltaran.
“The Yaeltaran border is about one mile in that direction,” he said, pointing past Kinsbithu. “But if we go around the cliffs in that direction—” he motioned to the right. “—we can cut through the sawgrass. We’d have to move fast, though. The grass is teaming with morgny.”
“You can’t move that fast, Filkothinor,” Raenos said.
Filkothinor nodding meekly. “That’s true, but I’ve got a bladder full of piss. Morgny hate human piss. You and I will pee, and the women will run. We can make it to the pass in record time. But we have to hurry. It’s dark. If we wait too long—”
“Night predators,” Raenos interrupted.
“Yes,” said Filkothinor. “Night predators.”
“Then let’s get going,” Eielawyn said, as she started to walk up the cliff. “I can deal with hungry morgny. But anything else that wants to eat? Hell no.”
“Just leave me alone, please,” she said, as he walked into the shop.
“I’ve done nothing to you. Is it too much to ask why you hate me so much? It can’t only be because I’m a royal guard. I have a feeling that if I weren’t a guard you would still hate me for some reason.”
“I have friends,” she said, turning to stare at him in the semi-darkness of the shop. The large streetlight outside her door always illuminated her store like a beacon. She could see him clearly looking at her with that mop of roguish hair of his. “Friends that have had dealings with the royal guards of Teveoch. The guards hunted them. They never think for themselves. Balaedras gives the command to hunt this person, rape that woman, kill this family, and they do it, saying it’s for the queen. It’s in the name of the queen. I say bullshit. There’s only so much that can be done in the name of the queen. They’re excuses. The guards hide behind that excuse to be fucked-up human beings.”
“I’m not that kind of man,” Raenos said tensely.
“How do I know that? You can smile and placate me with soft words, but I don’t know you. I only know what I’ve seen. What I’ve heard.”
“You don’t want to. You say you hate the guard, but I doubt that’s all there is to it. You’re using the guard as a shield. You’re afraid of getting to know me. Why? Because of something you might feel?”
Her heart began to beat wildly in her chest, and her breathing became erratic. “I-I-I don’t feel anything for you. I hate you!”
He closed the distance between them. “You hate me?” He took her into his arms, but she only stared up into his eyes. “Then tell me to stop.”
His lips descended onto hers, as he kissed her passionately, plundering his tongue into her mouth. She wanted to tell him to stop, but she found herself welcoming his tongue, and returning his passion with her own. She wound her arms around his neck, pulling his lips into a more intense kiss.
He stopped momentarily, staring down at her, before picking her up into his strong arms and pinning her against the wall. Their mouths were in a frenzied attack of discovery, kissing, tasting, licking, and gently nipping.
Her hands went to the front of his shirt, pulling it apart and not caring about anything she might have ripped. She branded his bared skin with her mouth, licking and nipping along his muscled chest. But he suddenly pinned her back to the wall, knelt on the floor in front of her, and pushed her dress up to her hips. Her hands braced his shoulders, as he stared up at her with passion-filled eyes. But she wasn’t expecting him to rip her panties off and bury his tongue deep inside of her.
“Oh shit!” she exclaimed, with her hand immersed in his hair.
He licked and teased her with his tongue, before exploring her fully. She moaned and cursed aloud with each flick of the tip of his tongue on her clit.
“Fuck me,” she whispered to him, as she unbuttoned the front of her dress and pulled her bra straps off to bare her breasts to him.
Raenos dipped his head, pulling first one and then the other nipple into his hungry mouth, sucking and licking them, as she moaned her pleasure. His hand went to his pants, quickly unfastening them and releasing his stiff cock. She felt his hand between her legs, stroking her pussy with expertise, before she gasped at feeling him push inside her.
Nothing had ever felt so amazing to her. She told herself it was because it had been so long since she’d felt the glorious sensation of a man inside of her. But she knew that wasn’t it. It was Raenos. He gazed at her and engaged her lips in a frenzy of pleasure, all the while stroking her pussy with his engorged cock, as she stayed pinned to the wall, held with his strong arms.
Those arms continued to hold her so effortlessly against the wall, as he thrust and ground his cock, hitting that spot that many men claimed to find but never had. She couldn’t help the sighs and moans seeping from her lips. Sometimes sex was good, but rarely was it phenomenal. Raenos not only made her moan, she heard herself scream, trailing his name on her breath.
His gaze pierced her own, before he pulled her lips into a passionate, frenzied kiss that sent tingles down her spine to compete with what his delicious cock was giving her. And then she felt it. That warmth that began to build deep inside of her body. Her vaedra. Her aura. She’d felt it many times before. But something was different this time. The warmth was more like a heat, and the tingling had changed to a current of electricity tethered to Raenos, and threatening to ignite them both. So, when she couldn’t hold back any longer, when she knew somehow instinctually that he was close to his release, she let go of her aura to surround them both, pulling him into such an exquisite orgasm, making him yell out his pleasure, bow his back, and stare up at the ceiling. She knew he would collapse to the floor. She was waiting for it. After she released her aura during sex, men were weakened from the experience. But Raenos continued to hold her to his body, as they braced against the wall. It was wrong. He should have collapsed to the floor in a heap of orgasmic fulfillment.
“What’s wrong with you?” she asked, trying to catch her breath and comprehend why he was still standing with all of his strength.
“You’re kidding me, aren’t you? That was amazing, Eielawyn.” He lay soft kisses along her brow.