The Tale of a Mage (part 15)

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Nyx gulped, her heart rate spiking as she met the guard’s menacing gaze. “This woman is clearly ill and I was just removing her necklace for safe keeping. There are a lot of shady people around here.” She nodded with what she hoped was sincerity.

“I see…” The guard sounded unconvinced “you were simply taking a stranger’s valuables to be helpful…”

“Of course,” Nyx nodded “I’m an honest woman.”

“I don’t think so!” The guard snatched the necklace from her hand and seized her by the arm. “I’m taking you to the guard captain.”

“I am highly insulted by your insinuations!” Nyx struggled, eyes scanning the room for Cassandra. Cassandra stood twenty meters away looking petrified. Nyx stared at her expectantly, willing her to cast the sleeping spell again.  It seemed Cassandra caught on as she waved her hand in the air once more. This time, however, did not go so smoothly. The guard did not collapse into sleep. Rather a sizable fire sprung up at his feet.

The guard shouted in alarm letting his grip on Nyx loosen. Nyx wrenched herself from his grasp and darted through the panicked crowd. Taking hold of Cassandra’s hand, she dragged her out of the tavern into the crisp night. The other patrons streamed out of the tavern with them. Nyx was pleased to note the guard carrying the unconscious woman. She was a thief, not a murderer. At least not under the majority of circumstances. For Livia, of course, she would happily make an exception. In the commotion, it was easy to slip away. Glancing back over her shoulder Nyx grimaced at the amount of smoke billowing from the tavern. It seemed the fire was spreading. She dragged Cassandra into the cover of the trees to the sound of shouting as the rest of the town guard arrived to extinguish the fire.

“What was that!” Nyx hissed at Cassandra. “I thought you said you knew how to cast the sleeping spell!”

“I do!” Cassandra protested “Mages have limited magical reserves. Being inexperienced mine are more limited than most. I already used a lot during training this evening. When your magic is reaching depletion, things can go wrong.”

“So, that’s why Izzy doesn’t use her magic very often even though it could make our travels easier?” Nyx inquired.

“Exactly” Cassandra whispered back. “If she uses too much magic for small things she might not have enough if there’s an emergency.”

“I guess that makes sense.” Nyx nodded thoughtfully. She led Cassandra on a round about route through the woods weaving back and forward through the trees to ensure they were not followed. They kept a brisk pace. While the guards were currently occupied with the fire it was still better to be cautious. When they finally arrived back at the campsite they were both out of breath.

“We need to leave now!” Nyx whispered as she shook Izzy awake. Izzy surveyed her suroundings in sleepy confusion. She glanced between Nyx and Cassandra and sniffed the air a look of suspicious concern dawning on her face.

“Cassandra…” Her tone was warning “Why are both you and Nyx awake and why do I smell smoke?” Now that the adrenaline of the initial panic had worn off Cassandra burst into tears.

“Nyx, what if someone gets hurt?” She sobbed “We should go back, see if we can help.”

“They’ll be fine!” Nyx snapped “The guards are taking care of it and we can’t go back they’ll be looking for us.”

“You didn’t?” Izzy, now on her feet, fixed Cassandra with an incredulous stare. By now Livia was also awake. “We agreed we would stay out of the town.” Izzy’s eyes remained trained on Cassandra who squirmed under her intense gaze.

“You and Livia agreed!” Nyx pointed out “Cass and I didn’t get a choice.”

“I’m disappointed, Cassandra. Once we reach safety you and I are going to have a very serious talk.” Izzy ignored Nyx’s comment.

“But what about Nyx?!” Cassandra protested “She was there too! It was her idea!”

“Nyx is not my girlfriend.” Izzy replied in a mild tone. “Besides, I’m sure that Livia will be more than happy to deal with her.

“I will indeed” Livia shot Nyx a menacing grin.

Nyx gulped. This situation was getting worse and worse. Not only were the handful of coppers she had managed to acquire throughout the night insufficient to pay Livia back for the loss of her gold, now it appeared Izzy was going to give Livia free reign to punish her. This was not going to end well for her. She needed to come up with a plan and quickly.  Izzy was unlikely to consider them safe until they reached the Dwarven Kingdom so she had until then to find a way to dispose of Livia. She had to be smart about it this time. She couldn’t afford to anger Livia any more than she already had.

The group packed their things hastily. Cassandra paused a few times to cast worried looks in the direction of the town. When she did Izzy hurried her on with an icy stare. Once their belongings were packed they set off into the night. Cassandra remained teary and for once Izzy’s ire was apparent. Livia appeared uncharacteristically cheerful, likely contemplating her plans for Nyx once they reached the Dwarven Kingdom. A shiver of dread ran down Nyx’s spine. She retreated deep into thought. A plan she most definitely needed a plan.

The Tale of a Mage (part 14)

The arduous journey continued. By day they trekked through the forest. In the evenings, they camped. They continued to feed themselves on whatever they could scavenge, hunting was not an option as with no fire they had no means to cook the meat. Nyx was not asked to keep watch again which suited her just fine. Now she had a plan to rectify her mistake her guilt had subsided and she enjoyed the extra sleep. Cassandra’s mood perked up considerably as the days following the theft passed. Nyx’s interactions with Livia, however, remained tense. Izzy continued Cassandra’s magic lessons, however, as far as Nyx could tell, they failed to produce improvement.

At last, as they set up camp on the third night after the theft, Izzy announced they had reached a town. Izzy, it seemed, mentioned this to warn that the group should be especially careful. More people meant a greater risk of trouble. It took little deliberation for Izzy and Livia to agree, the group would not be entering the town. The discussion on which route they should take to bypass it, however, was decidedly more heated. Nyx nodded along, not fully listening. Eventually, a decision was made but Nyx didn’t hear what it was. She was too busy plotting. She would wait until the others were asleep and then sneak into town.  Getting past whoever was on watch would pose a minor challenge but Nyx had faith in her stealth abilities. She could pull it off. By the time they realised what she was doing she would be back with more than enough gold to finance the rest of their journey, perhaps even enough to repay Livia.  Sure, she had never stolen quite that much in one go before, but stealing was stealing the mechanics would be the same.

They followed their usual evening routine, although to Nyx it felt like everything was taking exceptionally longer than usual. As they finished dinner Cassandra announced she would take the first watch of the night. Nyx smirked slightly at that, this was going to be much easier than sneaking past Izzy or Livia.

Nyx retired to her pile of furs feigning a yawn. As Izzy instructed Cassandra in the magical arts Nyx lay beneath her furs digging her nails into her palms to keep herself awake. When the magic lesson ended and Izzy finally went to bed Nyx waited an extra half hour just to be sure.

Confident Izzy and Livia would now be asleep Nyx took a deep breath and crawled out from beneath the furs. She cast a quick glance at Cassandra. Cassandra remained oblivious. Sitting with her back to Nyx she continued staring into the trees. Nyx plumped up the furs to give the appearance she was still beneath them before setting off in the direction of the town.

Nyx had covered about 50 meters when she felt a hand wrap around her arm. She spun around her eyes meeting Cassandra’s.

“Nyx?” Cassandra queried at a whisper “What are you doing?”

“Um… I…” Nyx stuttered. This was not going as planned.

“Are you going into town?” Cassandra’s grip on her arm loosened slightly.

“Well, I just thought that maybe if I could get us some gold…” Nyx’s voice trailed off.

“Can I come with you?” A hopeful look dawned on Cassandra’s face.

“Uh… sure.” Nyx was taken aback by Cassandra’s request. She wouldn’t have thought Cassandra would disregard Izzy’s instructions but she wasn’t about to pass up a chance to spend time with her sister.

“This will be so much fun!” Cassandra whispered excitedly. “Do you know how long it’s been since I got to go to a town.” Nyx nodded indulgently.

“Just remember we are going for business…” Nyx began. Cassandra’s face fell slightly. “That, of course, does not mean we can’t have a little fun while we’re there” Nyx added with a smirk. Cassandra beamed.

Nyx and Cassandra continued in the direction of the town. Soon buildings began to appear, at first sporadically and then clustered closer together. Cassandra squeezed Nyx’s arm in excitement. When they reached the town tavern Nyx gripped Cassandra’s hand and pulled her inside. Nyx surveyed the tavern, eyes falling on a group of particularly drunk patrons. Perfect, she thought making her way over.

“How are you this evening?” She enquired plunking herself down at their table, beaming at the man to her right.

“Much better now.” He leered. Cassandra stood back watching warily from a distance. Nyx continued smiling, nodding along with feigned attentiveness as he attempted to regale her with stories of his work in the mines. She trailed her fingers down his arm deftly reaching into his pocket with her other hand, snatching his coin purse and tucking it into her tunic. She then excused herself moving on to her next target. She repeated the action with several more patrons before pausing to check how she was doing. She and Cassandra huddled in a corner counting the coins she had stolen so far. Unfortunately, they were mostly coppers. Nyx sighed, she was going to have to aim much higher if she wanted to acquire enough money to actually be useful.

“There’s a lady over in the corner who’s wearing a very expensive looking necklace?” Cassandra suggested in a hushed tone “If I cast a sleeping spell on her you could take it.”

“Are you sure you can do that?” Nyx asked with uncertainty.

“Yes,” Cassandra nodded. “That’s one spell I can actually cast, I put a rat to sleep once. I’m sure I can do it! Please?”

“Okay,” Nyx agreed. Cassandra waved her hand in the direction of the aforementioned lady who collapsed, head falling to the table at which she was seated. Nyx weaved her way through the crowd. Reaching the woman, she gingerly reached for the clasp of the necklace. She took her time, slowly easing the jewellery from her neck.  Once she held it in her hands she took a thorough look at it. Cassandra was right it looked extremely expensive. It was gold, each side was set with seven rubies. Between the two sets of rubies was a diamond about half the size of Nyx’s fist. For a moment, Nyx was elated, then she heard a voice behind her.

“Just what do you think you’re doing?” Nyx spun around to see a member of the town guard standing before her, sword drawn. “We don’t take theft lightly around these parts.” The guard’s eyes flickered to Nyx’s unconscious mark. “Don’t take poisoning lightly either.”

The Tale of a Mage (part 13)

Nyx awoke with a start as something collided with her ribs. It wasn’t exactly violent but it wasn’t gentle either. Her eyes snapped open. She squinted through the darkness unable to make out the shape of her assailant. It was not difficult, however, to deduce who was responsible. Livia’s boot prodded her again.

“Your turn to keep watch, little elf.” She smirked, as Nyx whined in protest. Satisfied Nyx was now awake Livia turned and made her way back to her pile of furs on the other side of the campsite.

Nyx pulled herself into a sitting position, grumbling under her breath, and wrapped her furs more tightly around her body. While Izzy’s spell was still in effect, sheltering the campsite from the wind, the night had grown colder. Nyx yawned and turned her face upwards. The thick canopy above blocked out the light of the moon, obscuring its position. Nyx wondered what time it was. Most likely early morning if both Izzy and Livia had already taken their turns on watch. She also wondered how she was supposed to keep watch when she couldn’t see anything. She supposed she would just scream loudly if she heard any strange noises. Then fighting in the dark could become Livia and Izzy’s problem.

She sat in silence straining to hear anything that might indicate a potential threat. The forest, however, remained quiet asides from the usual forest noises. The wind still blew through the trees in the areas left unshielded by Izzy’s spell, however with less strength than it had earlier in the day. The sound of the wind combined with the chirping of crickets interspersed the occasional hoot of an owl. It was kind of peaceful, relaxing in fact. As the sounds of the forest washed over her Nyx’s eyes drooped. She shook her head, trying to refocus, stay awake. The longer she sat in the darkness the stronger the drowsiness became. She fought to keep her eyes open but it was becoming increasingly more difficult. Everything looked the same regardless of whether her eyes were open or closed and closing them felt so much better. Slowly the sounds began to fade into silence.

Nyx awoke again to the sound of shouting. She forced her eyes open. The soft light of early morning overwhelmed her senses and she blinked several times. The first thing she noticed, when she finally managed to keep her eyes open, was Livia pacing back and forth cursing. The contents of their packs were strewn across the forest floor and Cassandra was frantically rifling through her own bag throwing items in all directions.

“What’s going on?” Nyx mumbled rubbing the sleep from her eyes.

“You!” Livia bellowed, stalking in Nyx’s direction. Nyx leapt to her feet, veering out of the way as Livia lunged at her. Nyx glanced questioningly at Cassandra who ducked her head and continued rummaging through her bag.

“It would appear we were robbed during the night.” Izzy’s eyes met hers, her face unreadable. “An event which could have been avoided were there someone on watch.”

“Oh…” Nyx blushed profusely, keeping her attention on Livia in uneasy anticipation.

“You owe me three bags of gold, little elf!” Livia snarled. “And you had better believe…”

“You can exact your pound of flesh once we reach a safer location.” Izzy interjected.

“Fine” Livia snapped “but she had better get me my gold or I’m going to hurt her… badly.”

“Mine’s gone too.” Cassandra glanced up dejectedly. “So much for buying supplies at the next town.” Cassandra began to pick their possessions up off the ground and repack them. Nyx assisted her in silence. While she didn’t care about Livia and Izzy’s opinions of her Nyx felt bad about upsetting Cassandra. She had to think of a way to fix this.

Once their belongings were repacked they had a quick breakfast then headed off once again. The day’s journey should have been an improvement over that of yesterday. The sun was shining and the wind had died down to a light breeze. The mood, however, was subdued. Livia’s feet fell against the forest floor more heavily than usual as she fumed in silence, a murderous scowl painted on her face. Cassandra pouted. The extent of Izzy’s feelings on the situation remained unclear although Nyx couldn’t imagine she was pleased. Most of the gold had been hers after all.

As the day drew on Nyx’s guilt intensified. Evading the Queen and her armies was going to be challenging enough. She must be aware of Izzy’s betrayal by now which would mean members of the royal family would be joining the hunt. If they still had the gold they could have used it to bribe bystanders for their silence and maybe even gain assistance from lower level members of the army. Without it, this was going to be much more difficult. Nyx’s failure had put her sister in further danger, unnecessarily. Not to mention the only thing standing between her and an irate Livia right now was Izzy who didn’t seem entirely opposed to her taking revenge.

The mood had not lightened by the time they made camp for the night. This time Izzy sent Cassandra and Livia to gather food, presumably concerned that Nyx and Livia might kill one and other if sent unsupervised into the woods. Nyx was momentarily relieved before realising she would have to set up camp with Izzy. The princess still unnerved her more than she cared to admit. Still unable to light a fire, and lacking the need to shield the site from the elements it didn’t take long to put a campsite together. When Cassandra and Livia returned, the group ate in silence.

As soon as she finished her last bite of food Nyx retired to her pile of furs. She was vaguely aware that Cassandra was practising her magic with Izzy again but this time she didn’t watch. She wracked her brain for a solution to the problem she had created. Finally, it came to her. Cassandra mentioned a town, towns had people, and people frequently had gold. When they reached the next town, she would steal them more gold. Nyx drifted off to sleep feeling proud of her superior problem solving skills.

The Tale of a Mage (part 12)

The next morning dawned bright but chilly. Nyx grumbled as Cassandra’s cheery voice jolted her from her sleep. This had been her first decent sleep since she’d had the displeasure of meeting Livia and she wished it could last a little longer.

“Get up!” Cassandra chirped “Izzy, says we’ll leave after breakfast.” Nyx forced her eyes open to glare at her sister. Cassandra, however, remained oblivious to her displeasure. “I’ve been stuck in this cave for days,” Cassandra explained, “travelling again will be simply marvellous!”

“Well, I’m glad you’re having a good morning.” Nyx huffed pushing herself to a sitting position. Cassandra was already bounding out of the cave. Nyx took a moment to allow herself to wake fully then headed after her. As she exited the cave Cassandra held out a handful of berries and a strip of dried meat. As Nyx’s eyes fell on the food her stomach grumbled. She snatched the offered morsels and dug in with vigour.

“I guess it’s time for us to part ways,” Livia eyed Izzy expectantly, “as soon as you give me the rest of the gold you promised of course.”

“If that’s what you wish…” Izzy regarded Livia, her face unreadable, as she tossed two additional coin purses in her direction.

“What?” Livia growled. “If you have something to say just say it!”

“I simply don’t think that would be a wise decision,” Izzy replied “my mother’s soldiers know who you are and would likely assume you could lead them to us. It would be safer to stay together.”

“Fine…” Livia sighed. While she would happily turn the others over to the Queen if doing so would allow her to return to her old life, her previous experience at the Palace suggested otherwise. Besides she was smart enough to know Izzy’s magic would trump her tracking skills and she didn’t want to find out what the soldiers would do to her if she was unable to assist them in Cassandra’s capture. “I’m keeping the gold.” She added as an afterthought.

“Of course” Izzy gave Livia a conciliatory smile. Livia scowled back at her.

Once they had all finished eating Izzy set off into the woods at a brisk pace, Cassandra gleefully scampering after her. Nyx and Livia followed with significantly less enthusiastic gaits.

Despite the sunshine, the day remained cold. A powerful wind tore through the forest chilling the incongruous party of travellers the bone. An assortment of twigs, leaves, and other debris assaulted them as they hurried through the trees. More than once a member of the group found herself barely escaping the crushing might of a falling tree.  By the time they stopped to make camp in the evening even Cassandra had grown disgruntled. Izzy maintained an air of impassivity but Nyx was sure someone such as she, who was accustomed to a royal lifestyle, must be tiring of their circumstance by now. Izzy and Cassandra began setting up camp while Nyx and Livia set off in opposite directions in search of food.

Nyx and Livia returned half an hour later to find Izzy and Cassandra had put together a wonderfully cosy campsite. Sleeping spaces had been set up with the furs from Cassandra’s cave. While there was no fire, as they were still on the run, it appeared Izzy had cast some form of barrier spell to protect the area from the wind. Nyx wondered why Izzy had not used the spell to protect them from the pounding of forest debris they received during the day but was too tired to start an argument about it. They made a meal of what nuts and berries Nyx and Livia had been able to scavenge in addition to what little was left of Cassandra’s dried meat. Cassandra snuggled into a pile of furs preparing for sleep but Izzy shook her head.

“You need to practice your magic before you go to bed.” Izzy reproached. Cassandra huffed but jumped to her feet and made her way to Izzy’s side. “The two of you should get some sleep.” Izzy gestured to Nyx and Livia. This time Livia did not argue. Nyx settled down to sleep ensuring to choose a pile of furs on the opposite side of the campsite to where Livia was doing the same.

From her spot on the ground, Nyx watched Izzy demonstrate a series of hand movements. Cassandra copied them, a few sparks crackled from her fingertips then fizzled out.

“No, no.” Izzy shook her head for emphasis. “You need to focus. This is a warding spell. There should be no visible effects.”

“How am I supposed to know when I’m doing it then?” Cassandra frowned.

“When you get it right you’ll be able to feel it.” Izzy ran her fingers reassuringly down Cassandra’s back. “Try again.” Cassandra repeated the movements, this time nothing happened. Cassandra stamped her foot in frustration indicating to Nyx it had not been the type of nothing Izzy claimed to be desirable.

“Breathe” Izzy squeezed her arm gently, “you can do this.” Cassandra tried yet again. A small fire sprung to light on the forest floor. Izzy extinguished it with a wave of her hand. Cassandra burst into tears.

“I’m terrible at this and now I’ve probably given away our location to the Queen’s army! If we all die it’s going to be my fault!” She sobbed.

“No, love.” Izzy wrapped her arms around Cassandra rubbing circles on her back. “It will be fine. The fire was small and only lasted a few seconds. I doubt they would have noticed it over the light of their own torches.” Cassandra’s sobs lessened turning into sniffles as Izzy continued “You’re not terrible. You managed to cast the illumination spell yesterday. You just need more practice.”

Nyx rolled her eyes and turned her back on them. They were so sickeningly couplish and in her opinion, it was kind of gross. It was supposed to be just her and Cassandra evading the Queen together, causing havoc. How had Cassandra ended up with the fucking princess anyway? Nyx drifted off to sleep contemplating what could have been.

The Combat Lesson

I decided to write a short spanking story with characters from a non-kink related somewhat fantasy somewhat sci-fi novel which I plan to write one day if I ever stop procrastinating and finish the world building stage. I’m not sure how much sense it is going to make as it’s set part way through the novel and has a lot of lore behind it that would have been explained in more depth earlier on in the story. However, it was finished so I figured I’d post it here.

Anaya sat beside the campfire hugging her knees. Tears streamed down her face as she sneaked a glance at the warrior sitting across from her. Arkama opted not to acknowledge her presence or distress focusing her attention on her sword as she ran a whetstone over the blade in a loving caress. Her weapon was the only thing Arkama had bothered to clean after the conflict that had occurred earlier in the day. Her, flesh, hair and armor were caked with blood which was starting to crust. Anaya shivered, Arkama’s comfort with violence terrified her. Anaya retched, leaning over to empty her stomach for the sixth time since they had escaped the bandits’ camp. Arkama gave her a fleeting glace, rolling her eyes in disgust before turning her attention back to her blade.

“Did you really have to kill them all?” Anaya queried her voice barely above a whisper.

“They would have killed us, Princess. What else would you have me do?” Arkama glared at her in irritation.

“They never said that. You couldn’t know that!” Anaya matched Arkama’s glare “You could have at least tried talking to them first. Perhaps if they had known I was a Priestess of the Lysandrian Order on a sacred mission to defend the four realms from the corruption of dark magic they would have let us go! Killing is wrong no matter the circumstances! The Goddess Lysandra teaches…”

“The way I’ve heard it your goddess committed genocide against her own people…” Arkama interrupted.

“The Goddess made a great sacrifice to rid our world of dark magic, she formed the Lysandrian Order to be the keepers of magic, to ensure death on such a scale never has to happen again. She saved us and protects us. It is blasphemy to suggest otherwise.” Anaya bristled at Arkama’s insult.

“She’s not my goddess so I fail to see why I should care what she would view as blasphemy.” Arkama chuckled. “You’re useless you know that? When they told me you were both a princess and priestess of the Lysandrian Order I expected you would be a powerful magic user. Not only are you the only one of your people in known history to be born lacking magical ability, you can’t use a weapon, and you have a meltdown every time you encounter the slightest bit of violence.”

“None, of my people find violence tolerable and that was not a bit of violence!” Anaya protested. “You butchered them! It was unnecessary.”

“Princess…” Arkama sighed “If you don’t grow up and realize the world is a dangerous place you’re going to get yourself killed long before we encounter any dark wizards.”

“Why would you care about preserving my life!” Anaya sobbed “It is clear my company is a burden to you.”

“You’re correct, I don’t care about your life.” Arkama scowled. “I do care that there is an entire city of women just as deluded as you, all of whom are magically gifted, who would likely hold me responsible for your death.”

“No they wouldn’t…” Anaya whispered “They sent me because I’m expendable. I was born of sin. I am not a true daughter of Lysandra.”

“Am I supposed to know what that means?” Arkama eyed her impatiently.

“Usually when a Lysandrian wishes to have a child she will go to the temple and complete a prayer ritual. If the Goddess chooses to honour her, a child will be conceived through magic, that child will be a daughter of Lysandra herself.” Anaya explained between sobs. “I was conceived in the way that you savages conceive your children, because my mother broke the sacred code. That’s why I’m not magically gifted. My mother believes the High Priestess sent me on this mission because she wants me to die.” Anaya took a deep breath. “That couldn’t be true though. The high priestess would never… It would violate the teaching of the Goddess…”

“Brilliant! Just brilliant!” Arkama started to pace. “You’re telling me I’m being sent on a suicide mission so your people can get rid of you.”

“No!” Anaya gasped “My mother is volatile… what she says is not true. The High Priestess certainly does not intend for me to die on this mission. However, I suspect I was chosen because I would be a more acceptable loss should things go wrong.”

“And what exactly does your High Priestess expect you to do if you encounter a dark wizard?” Arkama frowned.

“This is a reconnaissance mission. She intends for me to determine whether the rumours of dark forces amassing are true and report back to her. If I do encounter a dark wizard I shall pray to Lysandra for guidance.”

“Unacceptable!” Arkama snarled pulling a knife from her belt and dropping it at Anaya’s feet. “If I’m going to be stuck with you you’re learning to fight.”

“I cannot!” Anaya’s tears intensified.

“You will.” Arkama snapped. “Pick up the knife now!” Anaya shook her head and scooted backwards. Arkama bent over to pick up her knife then stalked after Anaya. Seizing her by the hair she hauled her to her feet.  Arkama made her way back to her spot beside the fire dragging Anaya along with her. She sat down and hauled her over her knees. She once again dropped the knife on the ground within Anaya’s reach.

“When you’re ready for this to stop just use the knife.” Arkama smirked. She brought her palm down on Anaya’s bottom with a loud smack. Anaya’s responding shriek resounded through the trees. Arkama’s hand landed again.

“What are you doing? This is barbarous! I command you stop, right now!”  Arkama chuckled at Anaya’s frantic protests.

“Am I being too violent for the sensibilities of your goddess?” More smacks rained down, each one answered with a squeal. “You know you have complete control over how long this continues?” Arkama increased her tempo revealing in the sound of Anaya’s screams. She had been subjected to Anaya’s whining and self-righteous moral rants for weeks now and she’d had enough.  Arkama was vaguely aware that Anaya was shouting further protests but she tuned them out focusing her full attention on the task at hand. Her palm connected with Anaya’s bottom over and over. Her hand began to sting, but it was a good sting. She relished it, satisfied the sting Anaya was currently experiencing must be far greater.

Upon realizing Arkama had no intention of responding further to her protests Anaya settled for loud sobbing interspersed with the occasional high pitched wail.  Anaya had heard of this practice, knew it was something members of the less civilized realms did to disobedient children, however she herself had never experienced it. The Lysandrians were above such things. The only discipline to which she had been subject was isolation in the prayer chamber and that had never been intended as a punishment so much as an opportunity for self-reflection.  She had never imagined a simple punishment intended for children could hurt this much. She felt like she had thrown into a volcano bottom first.  This line of thought reminded her that Arkama’s people were, in fact, known to throw people into volcanos as a punishment for cowardice. She shuddered.  Anaya’s thoughts faded as the pain intensified and soon she could think of little besides her throbbing bottom.

“You really are annoyingly stubborn.”  Arkama’s voice penetrated through the haze of pain. “A worthy trait for a warrior. Less so for an over-privileged princess.” The spanking stopped and Anaya allowed herself a moment to hope Arkama had given up. Arkama, however, had no such intentions.  She glanced around, eyes falling on a thin tree branch. Picking it up she stripped away the excess twigs and leaves and swished it through the air experimentally. This would do nicely.

Anaya felt a sense of growing unease. She couldn’t see what Arkama was doing. The only clue to her possible actions was the sound of rustling. However, she hadn’t let her up yet and that did not bode well. She tensed as the rusting was replaced with a swishing noise but relaxed slightly when no pain followed. She heard the noise again. This time whatever Arkama was holding did land on her bottom. A line of fire blossomed across her flesh and she screeched. She had thought being smacked with Arkama’s hand was terrible but this was far worse. The pain took her breath away. She thrashed against Arkama’s hold in an attempt to free herself but she was unsuccessful. The switch found it’s mark again, a second line seared her bottom. She couldn’t take any more of this.

She acted without thinking, seizing the knife she slashed it across Arkama’s thigh.  She couldn’t have done much damage through her armor but the switching stopped. Arkama stood pushing Anaya away from her. Anaya dropped the knife and lunged for Arkama’s sword. Tears still streaming down her face, breath shaky, and hands trembling she pointed the blade in Arkama’s direction.

“Stay away from me!” She bit out between sobs.

“Excellent progress! I think that will do for today.” Arkama wrenched the sword from Anaya’s hands with ease.  Sitting back down she started running the whetstone across the blade once more. Anaya returned to her previous position sitting by the fire, hugging her knees, although crying a little more loudly this time. Arkama glanced in her direction and smiled to herself. She was going to make a fearsome warrior out of the little priestess whether she liked if or not.

The Tale of a Mage (part 11)

I may not be updating this quite as frequently as I have been after this one as I’ve got to the end of my initial story outline. I have a general idea of where I’m going with it but less of a clear plan for how to get there than I did for the parts I’ve written so far. I’ll definitely continue working on it but possibly at a slower pace. There are, however, other things I’m working on at the moment so I should still be posting things both here and over on Archive of Our Own semi-regularly.

“So once we find the mage and return her to the Queen I’ll still be getting paid, right?” Livia demanded.

“I will die before I lead either of you to my sister!” Nyx was on her feet now, dagger in hand.

“For the last time…” Izzy sighed “I already know where she is.”

“Like hell you do!” Nyx shouted. “There’s no way Cassandra would have told you where she was going.”

“We don’t have time for this.” Izzy snapped, her calm demeanour ruffled for once. “The confusion spell has likely worn off by now and the soldiers who survived it will be coming after us. We need to get moving!”

“I’m not going anywhere with either of you!” Nyx growled, sitting back down on the log, dagger still gripped firmly in her hand. “I mean it this time. Either you can kill me or you can fuck off!” Irritation flashed across Izzy’s face. She fixed her gaze on Livia giving her a subtle nod. The handle of Livia’s sword crashed against the back of Nyx’s head. The forest spun and then faded into blackness.

Nyx awoke, lying on the forest floor to the sound of voices. Her head throbbed. She grimaced as she pulled herself to a sitting position.

“Are you sure this is the place?” Livia sounded mildly disgruntled. Likely from having to carry her here, wherever here might be. Nyx took in her surroundings noting this was definitely a different part of the forest to where they had been when Livia knocked her out. She felt a sinking sensation in the pit of her stomach. They were in a clearing in front of a small cave. A nearby rock formation looked suspiciously similar to the one Casandra had described in her letter. How on earth had they found her? Nyx stumbled to her feet pulling a knife from her belt.

“Neither of you will be going anywhere near Cassandra.” She snarled her gaze flickering uneasily between Izzy and Livia. Livia drew her sword and stepped in front of Izzy. The look on her face suggested she would relish the opportunity to use it. Izzy fixed her with a warning glance. Nyx and Livia stood eying one and other, weapons raised, each waiting for the other to make their move. Their standoff was interrupted by an ear-piercing squeal.

“Izzy!” A small elf came hurtling out of the cave, a broad grin plastered on her face. Cassandra threw herself at Izzy, wrapping her arms around her. Izzy returned the hug as their lips met with bruising force.  Nyx choked in a combination of confusion and horror. Livia chuckled. Finally, Cassandra broke the kiss. “You’re okay?”  She looked Izzy over in concern. “You took longer to get here than you said you would. I was worried.”

“Yes, well your sister managed to get herself locked in the royal dungeon. I thought you might want me to rescue her.” Izzy ran a hand down Cassandra’s arm. Cassandra turned her attention to Nyx as if only just noticing her presence. Nyx lowered her dagger just in time to avoid impaling her sister as Cassandra threw her arms around her neck.

“Nyx! It’s you, it’s really you!” Cassandra squealed. Nyx hugged her back in a state of mild disbelief. This was not how she had expected this day to proceed. Cassandra glanced in Livia’s direction “Who’s that? She queried, keeping her arms wrapped around Nyx. “Is she your girlfriend? If not she should be, she’s hot!” Nyx and Izzy scowled in unison.

“I think I like this one.” Livia smirked at Nyx “She’s more agreeable than you.”

“Might help that you’ve never assaulted her.” Nyx grumbled.

“Can’t begrudge me for me for doing my job, nor for reacting to provocation.” Livia shrugged.

“I most certainly can and will!” Nyx snapped.

“You should all come in.” Cassandra interrupted them, gesturing towards the cave. “I made stew.”

They followed Cassandra into the cave. A ball of light erupted from her fingertips illuminating the surrounding space. The cave was sparsely furnished. Two medium sized logs formed makeshift seating. A pot of stew sat between them with several cups at its side. At the very back of the cave, a pile of furs formed a sleeping space.

“You shouldn’t be using magic.” Izzy frowned in disapproval. “You haven’t received the sufficient training to do so safely.”

“This is an easy spell. I’m quite capable…” Cassandra’s protests were cut off as Izzy landed a warning smack on her bottom.

“Until I decide you have demonstrated a satisfactory level of control you will not use magic outside of our training sessions.” Izzy appeared calm on the surface but greater scrutiny betrayed a dangerous glint in her eyes. Cassandra huffed, sitting down on one of the logs as the ball of light flickered out of existence plunging the cave into darkness.

“Much better.” Izzy recast the spell herself and the room was illuminated once more. Cassandra began filling cups with stew holding them out for the others to take. Izzy sat down next to Cassandra who snuggled up against her side with a contented sigh. Livia sat on the log across from them. Nyx eyed the empty space on the log next to Livia with distaste before opting to sit on the floor.

“So… is the plan to stay in this cave indefinitely?” Livia asked taking a large slurp of her stew. “Because I can’t guarantee the little elf’s safety if I get bored.” She gestured in Nyx’s direction to specify which elf she was referring to as if it wasn’t already obvious to everyone present.

“That’s not a very nice thing to say.” Cassandra coughed, choking on her stew, as she stared at Livia incredulously.

“No, it’s not safe to stay here.” Izzy thumped Cassandra on the back to ease her coughing. “In the morning we will begin our journey to the Dwarven Kingdom. I have friends there.”


The Tale of a Mage (part 10)

Nyx dashed after Izzy, Livia close on her heels. Whether Livia was fleeing the approaching soldiers or pursuing her with further retribution in mind Nyx was unsure. Izzy was a fair distance ahead of them now, obscured by the trees. The howling wind drowned out any noise which might have been generated by her flight. Nyx hoped she was going in the right direction. She stumbled, tripping over a fallen log, catching herself hands braced on the ground, just before her face met the dirt. Livia tore past her. Well, that answered her previous question. She pulled herself to her feet wincing, she had a sinking feeling she had sprained her ankle but there was no time to worry about that right now.  Despite the wind, she could now hear the drum of hoofbeats. She ran faster. Pain shot through her ankle with every step, but that would not deter her. It could not. She would not allow herself to be taken back to the palace.

The hoofbeats faded but the sound of shouting warned her the soldiers were still near. They must have decided it would be safer to continue on foot rather than forcing the horses to run through tightly clustered trees in the dark.  Panting, Nyx glanced over her shoulder. Pinpricks of light blinked into sight in the distance. The guards had torches. Well, of course they did. Torches were a sensible thing to have when travelling through the woods at night, providing you had no reason to evade detection. Nyx cursed under her breath as her body slammed into a tree. She should have been paying more attention to where she was going. She refocused her attention on the woods ahead of her and prepared to start running again. That plan, however, was cut short as more specks of light appeared, in front of her this time. Panic rose in her chest. She glanced from side to side. More lights. They were surrounded and the soldiers were advancing swiftly.

The clash of steel against steel rang through the forest notifying her that Livia had encountered at least one of the soldiers. Nyx stood, motionless, weighing her options. Normally, she would climb up a tree but she wasn’t sure she could do that with a sprained ankle. Any direction in which she could run would inevitably lead to an encounter with soldiers. However staying here would likely have the same result. Fighting was not Nyx’s strong suit. She was more adept at stealth, hiding from her enemies and then sneaking up to stab them when they least expected it. It was unlikely she would be able to sneak up on the better part of an army. Nyx ducked under a nearby bush. It had worked the last time, right? That being said the last time the soldiers were unaware of their presence.

Nyx lay shivering, her ankle throbbed, her bottom ached, and twigs dug into her flesh. The clamour of the fight continued. Nyx flinched at the occasional strangled cries denoting Livia’s prowess in battle. Unfortunately, the other soldiers were also within hearing distance so the fight was short lived. Before long the clash of swords subsided.  Nyx wondered whether Livia was captured or dead. She hoped for dead. She also wondered where Izzy was. Her unease intensified.

Suddenly rough hands were gripping her arm. She was unceremoniously yanked from her hiding spot. Her eyes flickered to her attacker falling on the royal crest which marked his breastplate. She struggled to free herself but he had a firm grip on both her arms and held her in place with ease. Nyx took a moment to survey her surroundings, heart sinking as noted her captor had onlooking friends. If she had been unable to escape Livia she certainly wouldn’t be escaping six of the Queen’s soldiers. She had to try though. With little thought, she thrashed in his grip thrusting her head in his general direction. She winced as her forehead collided with his steel breastplate. She cursed herself. Headbutting an armour clad solider in the chest? That had been stupid. The other soldiers burst into boisterous laughter. Nyx glared at them.

“Take her to the others.” One of the soldiers ordered. Nyx’s latest captor nodded and set off in the direction of the earlier fight. Nyx struggled the entire way but to no avail. Far too soon they reached a cluster of additional soldiers. Nyx was forced to her knees next to a fuming Livia. She noted the surrounding guards appeared similarly enraged. Nyx assumed the reason for this to be the half dozen soldiers laying lifeless on the ground.

“Where’s the other one?” A soldier growled.

“If you let me go I could find her for you.” Livia bargained. Although from the look on her face Nyx suspected she was just as likely to start killing them again. The soldiers clearly shared her suspicions as the only response Livia received was the fist of the closest guard colliding with her jaw. Livia spat out a mouthful of blood uttering a dangerous chuckle.

“We don’t need that one” the soldier who appeared to be in command sneered. Four soldiers began a menacing but cautious approach towards Livia, blades drawn. Well, at least one thing seemed like it was about to go right tonight Nyx thought to herself.

Abruptly, the soldiers halted their advance. They stood motionless for a few seconds as if they had forgotten what they were doing and why they were there. Then they spurred into action turning their aggression on each other. The clash of swords filled the forest once more. Nyx blinked several times remaining on her knees. Was she truly seeing this? How could this be happening? Livia beside her was similarly dumbfounded.

“We should leave now” Izzy emerged from the trees her voice snapping them out of their daze “it won’t last long.”

There was no time to think right now, no time for questions. The three bolted through the woods until the sounds of battle faded. Then they continued running just to be on the safe side. By the time they paused to catch their breath Nyx was exhausted. She had thought her ankle hurt before but now the pain was excruciating. As she sat down on a fallen log realisation dawned on her. Her eyes fell on Izzy in horror.

“You did that?” Livia panted staring at Izzy quizzically. “There’s a second non-royal mage running around?”

“No…” Nyx’s pulse quickened “It’s all been a trap. That’s… that’s Princess Isolyn!”

A Bit About Me and My Spanking Related Preferences

This evening I was reading the post over on Anna’s blog about compatibility between spanking partners and I felt inspired to write a short post about my own preferences in regards to spanking. I’m pretty sure I’ve said most of this already over at the Global Village however it was spread over a number of different comment threads and time periods. I figured this would be a good place to put it all together and let newer people get to know me a little better.

I define myself as a switch, however, I lean more towards the submissive side of things. I prefer being spanked but I also enjoy giving spankings. As a bottom, I’m a bit of a masochist. I like to be spanked quite hard. I’m fond of bruises and if I’m not sore for at least a couple of days afterwards I tend to feel I wasn’t spanked hard enough. I’m adaptable as Top depending on the bottom’s preferences. I can do the purely erotic/sensual type of spanking or disciplinary kind. I can also do both caring or sadistic. I think I do have a bit of a sadistic streak I enjoy a bit of screaming and tears but only if the bottom is into that. I enjoy bratting as a bottom although I generally only do it if it has been pre-negotiated. I like to make sure the Top enjoys it before I do it. As a Top I’m quite fond of brats. Honestly, I think I can be a bit of a brat while topping. I’m quite fond of setting impossible/extremely difficult tasks and then giving my bottom a mildly sarcastic lecture about disobedience when they inevitably fail to complete them. My personal favourite is making them hold a full glass of water in each hand during sex, accompanied by an order not to spill any of it and a promise that they will be punished if they do.

As a bottom I have a desire for disciplinary spanking but not out of a belief it would help me improve myself or my life in any way. I have a bit of a discipline kink and roleplay doesn’t do much for me. Essentially, I want to be spanked as punishment for things I have actually done, preferably by someone who is at least mildly irritated while the spanking is taking place, but I want it because I think it’s hot not because I feel I need it or would benefit from it. In addition to enjoying discipline I also enjoy a bit of sadism I find a Top with an “I’m going to hurt you because I find it fun” kind of attitude hot. As a Top I don’t really have a strong preference for one kind of spanking over another I’m happy to go along with the bottom’s preferences.

I have a preference for positions which allow me to lean against something ie: OTK, over a bed, over a desk. My favourite position is over the knee but it’s not feasible for all implements. I don’t have a favourite implement. In my experience, the way an implement is used is more important than what is used. I prefer the types of spankings where smacks are given in quick succession with little pause in between. I like to feel a bit out of control in the sense of reaching that point where I’m involuntarily squirming and trying to get away. I find that doesn’t tend to happen when there’s enough time between swats for me to mentally prepare myself for the next one regardless of what implement is being used. I don’t tend to cry during spankings. I would like to someday be taken to that point, but I don’t tend to cry much in general so I don’t really see it happening.

The Tale of a Mage (part 9)

The group stopped to rest at sunset. At least Nyx thought it was sunset. The storm had not abated and the sun remained obscured by black clouds making the exact moment it sunk below the horizon difficult to pinpoint. The woods, however, were falling into darkness. Livia wished to continue their journey throughout the night but Izzy insisted on the break, arguing none of them would be any use in a fight without food or sleep. Izzy chose a secluded clearing, cautioning against a fire. Nyx and Livia rolled their eyes in synchrony, neither of them needed the dangers of a fire while on the run explained to them. They made a meal of what nuts and berries they could scrounge up around their campsite. Nyx shook her head wondering what possessed Izzy to go to the trouble of stealing their weapons back from the guards while not bothering to bring any food. Secretive, overly cheerful, and now impractical. Whenever Nyx thought her positive feelings for Izzy had reached an all-time low they sunk even lower.

“I’ll take first watch.” Izzy offered “The two of you should get some sleep.”

“When hell freezes over” Livia snapped “There’s no way I’m trusting you to…” Livia’s words began to fade. Nyx wanted to express objections to either Izzy or Livia keeping watch while she slept but she was just too tired. Even the cold, wet ground posed no challenge as she drifted off to sleep.

“It’s your turn to keep watch.” Nyx awoke in mild confusion to find Izzy shaking her gently. It would seem Izzy had won the argument, or maybe Livia had and Nyx was being given the third watch, she had no idea what time it was.  Nyx stretched out her stiff body and shivered. The ground had been hard and she was still wet. Izzy curled up beside her appearing significantly more comfortable still wrapped in her fur cloak. Wrapping her arms around her knees Nyx stared out into the darkness. This was going to be a long night.

Livia lay several feet away snoring loudly. Nyx shook her head in disgust. She couldn’t believe she was still stuck in the bounty hunter’s company. She stared longingly at her exposed throat her hand reaching into her boot to withdraw a knife. She flipped the knife a few times in her hand continuing to stare at Livia. It would be so easy cover the few steps between them and plunge the knife into her neck. If she did that, however, Izzy would likely be displeased. She could slash Izzy’s throat but that would wake Livia and she wouldn’t appreciate the death of a person who had promised her a massive pile of gold. Nyx’s options were limited. She could only kill one of them and then she would be stuck dealing with the other’s ire. Neither option was favourable.

She stared back into the dark abyss of the woods. She was still tired and this was boring. Nyx wasn’t accustomed to having travelling companions so she had little experience with watching for enemies in the middle of the night. Usually, she spent her nights asleep curled up somewhere out of sight such as under a bush or burrowed into a haystack. Being on lookout would have been loathsome had she been doing it for people whose wellbeing actually concerned her. She briefly considered using this as an opportunity to run but then dismissed the idea. Leaving now would require permitting Livia’s life to continue, not to mention she was mildly uncomfortable letting Izzy out of her sight before she deciphered the reasons for her interest in Cassandra.

Nyx sat motionless asides from the occasional violent shiver. It felt like hours had passed although it had only been twenty minutes. She was sick of this. Her eyes strayed to Livia again, the temptation flooding back. Izzy would, indeed, be angry but would she really do much about it? Whatever her plans were in regards to Cassandra she would presumably need Nyx to accomplish them. Otherwise, she never would have broken her out of the royal dungeon. Nyx made a snap decision. She was going to do it.

Knife clutched firmly in her hand she crept towards Livia. Her heart pounded against her chest. If Livia awoke or if Nyx had misjudged Izzy’s motivations she was about to find herself in an extremely nasty situation. She knelt on the ground beside Livia. Time seemed to slow as she positioned the knife above Livia’s throat and began to lower it, the tip set on a collision course with her carotid artery.

A fraction of a second before the blade found its mark Livia’s eyes flew open. Nyx felt a hand close around her wrist. Before she could fully register what was happening her back was colliding with the forest floor. Her own knife pressed against her throat. Nyx stared up in horror as Livia’s wild eyes met her own.

“Did the little elf really think she could kill me in my sleep?” A malicious smirk spread across Livia’s face. “Normally, I would return the favour, however, I feel my new employer would frown upon that. Fortunately, I can still make you hurt.” Nyx gulped. Livia was grinning at her now.

The pressure of the knife on her throat disappeared and moments later her chest crashed against the ground as Livia flipped her. This time she kept her head raised avoiding a mouthful of dirt however that was little consolation. Her bottom was still sore from the incident with the sword and now Livia was going to spank her again. Livia’s knee pressed into her back holding her in place.

Nyx yelped as Livia’s palm collided with her bottom. Livia was only using her hand but applied over the bruises, which had yet to heal, the pain was breathtaking. Livia rained down a barrage of slaps scalding her flesh. Nyx howled, thrashing desperately from side to side in an attempt to throw Livia off her.  Then as suddenly as it had started it stopped. Nyx glanced over her shoulder in time to see Izzy haul Livia to her feet. Over-brimming with rage Izzy’s eyes flickered from Livia to Nyx and them back again.

“Have the two of you completely lost your minds?” She hissed her voice barely about a whisper.  “Do you have any idea how much noise you were making? There are still soldiers searching the forest for us and thanks to this little display it is probable they now know exactly where we are.” Izzy stood silently for a moment listening carefully. A panicked looked appeared on her face. “Run!” She turned took off at a sprint, disappearing into the darkness.

The Tale of a Mage (part 8)

The group crept through the trees, the moonlit woods engulfed them in eerie shadows.  Nyx was exhausted. She wanted nothing more than to rest, drift off and forget the ordeal of the past few days. That, however, was not an option right now. They needed to put as much distance between themselves and the castle as possible before the guards noticed they were missing. The going was slow on foot. Nyx wondered if Livia missed her horse, if she even had the capacity to care for the life of another being. In spite of her dislike for Livia she hoped Aristides was being treated well. For all her faults, surely the Queen wouldn’t hurt a horse. It wouldn’t serve any purpose.  The stomping of Livia’s feet indicated she was displeased about something. Nyx decided it must be her company. The feeling was mutual. The minutes dragged into hours and finally, dawn came. The sun peaked over the horizon drenching the woods in a rosy glow. Izzy brought them to a halt and stood listening.

“Horses!” She spun around staring through the trees.

“I don’t hear anything.” Livia scowled. Izzy grabbed her by the arm and pulled her into the underbrush. Nyx followed suit. They lay on their stomachs, motionless in the leaves. Prickly branches poking into their flesh. Nyx and Izzy held their breath. Livia rolled her eyes but remained silent.

Just as Nyx was beginning to think Livia’s scepticism may have been warranted the faint drum of hoofbeats sounded in the distance.  The noise slowly rose to a crescendo as the mounted soldiers thundered past them. Nyx watched the soldiers as they passed a tightness rising in her chest. There were so many, there was no way the three of them could fight of that many. These were just the soldiers tasked with searching the north-east part of the forest. The Queen likely had the better part of her army combing the woods. Barking and shouting combined with the beating of the horses’ hooves in a cacophonous symphony. Nyx squeezed her eyes shut. The search party had hounds. They were sure to be discovered any moment now. Beside her, Livia placed a hand on her sword hilt in preparation for the inevitable skirmish, if one could truly call it that given their number disparity. Only Izzy remained visibly calm. The tense seconds stretched out as they awaited discovery, however discovery never came. Finally, the last rider passed and the clamour faded into the distance. Once the noise had disappeared in its entirety Izzy wiggled out from under the bushes.

“Time to start talking!” Livia snarled launching herself at Izzy, wrapping a hand around her throat. “There’s no way you could have heard the soldiers coming from that distance. And how could they ride right past us when they had hounds? You’ve been lying to us and I demand the truth. Now!”

“I have never lied to you.” Izzy hissed pushing Livia away with ease. “I do possess some information you do not, however, I do not answer to you. As of five hours ago, I am your employer, if anything you answer to me. If you wish to leave return my gold and be on your way, however, I am under no obligation to explain myself to you.” Livia continued to growl but backed off apparently valuing the gold more than a potential explanation.

“What about me?” Nyx challenged “I don’t work for you and if you know something which could affect my sister…”

“For now the less you know the better.” Izzy cut her off “Once we reach Cassandra she can explain as she sees fit. We need to get moving!”

“I’m still not convinced you even know Cassandra…” Nyx grumbled but Izzy was already heading off into the trees Livia trailing behind her like a puppy, a violent angry puppy but an obedient one nonetheless. Nyx sighed and followed them.

The following hours passed without incident as the sun climbed higher in the sky. Around noon the forest darkened as wrathful black clouds asserted themselves overhead blocking out the sun. A deafening clap of thunder ushered forth a bombarding downpour of rain. Colossal beads of water pelted them with bruising fury. Nyx shivered eyeing Izzy’s cloak hopefully for a moment, before realising it would be futile to try stealing a cloak from a person who was wearing it, particularly when one was going to be stuck with that person for an unspecified period of time.  Livia also looked miserable. Well, actually, she looked irate but Nyx suspected that was her version of miserable. Izzy, naturally, still looked cheerful.

Nyx found Izzy’s company unnerving, but the reason for her feelings alluded her. Sure, it was natural she wouldn’t trust a stranger with a suspiciously unexplained interest in her sister but it was more than that. Izzy seemed to know something about Cassandra which she did not. Her own limited knowledge relating to her sister was not entirely surprising, Cassandra had been taken by the Queen over ten years ago. Prior to receiving her message, Nyx had assumed she was dead. The question of how Izzy had obtained information about Cassandra and its implications in regards to her identity, however, were deeply concerning. Then there was the fact Izzy had yet to fully reveal her face. There was something vaguely familiar about her, and not in the warm fuzzy sense of familiar. Nyx couldn’t quite place where she had seen her before but whenever she glanced in her direction chills raced up and down her spine.

The afternoon dragged on as they trudged through the mud. Nyx pouted. Livia muttered under her breath, probably threatening to kill the universe slowly for subjecting her to this indignity, Nyx assumed. Izzy hummed softly, Nyx did not recognise the tune. She couldn’t understand why Izzy was so happy and frankly, she wanted to slap the optimism straight out of her. The occasional glares Livia shot at the cloaked figure’s back indicated she shared Nyx’s feelings. Common ground, who would have thought. For a fleeting second Nyx felt a semblance of solidarity with Livia but then it was gone. Livia would still die at her hand, slowly and painfully. Perhaps, however, if she was lucky Livia would kill Izzy first.