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.

The Tale of a Mage (part 7)

Nyx and Livia stood in their cell eyeing the cloaked figure with suspicion. In spite of their extensive differences, they could both agree, mysterious strangers offering assistance in the face of dire circumstances where not to be trusted.

“Who are you, and how do you stand to benefit from our escape?” Livia scrutinised the stranger. She had enough experience to know people rarely pursued actions which failed to further their interests in one way or another. She highly doubted this woman was an exception to the rule.

“You may call me Izzy.” The figure replied “I’m … a friend of Nyx’s sister.”

“Cassandra never mentioned any friends.” Nyx regarded Izzy with apprehension. “How did you meet?”

“Do you truly believe Cassandra escaped the royal dungeon without any assistance from friends?” Izzy sighed “I don’t have time to answer questions, we need to leave now!”

“Fine, but only because I lack better options right at present. Don’t think this means I trust you or anything.” Nyx frowned

“I can work with that” Izzy turned her gaze on Livia expectantly.

“I shall also accompany you.” Livia scowled “However, I warn you now if so much as breath in a way that makes me uncomfortable I’ll kill you.”

“I’d like to see you try.” Izzy chuckled. “Time to leave.” She unlocked the cell door with a click and started down the corridor, striding deeper into the dungeon without bothering to check whether the others were following. Livia matched Izzy’s pace with ease, however, Nyx had to jog to keep up. As they walked, the hallway became increasingly darker. Apparently, wall torches had been deemed unnecessary this deep into the dungeon. The torch in Izzy’s hand flickered casting their shadows onto the walls.

“I thought we were supposed to be leaving the dungeon” Nyx quipped.

‘We are” Izzy replied, “There’s an escape tunnel down here.”

“In the dungeon?” Livia queried “That doesn’t sound very… secure.”

“It was built before this section of the palace was converted into a dungeon.” Izzy explained. “I don’t think the queen herself is aware of its existence.”

“How do you know it’s here then?” Nyx was becoming more suspicious by the second.

“I guess you could say I like to read.” Izzy replied.

“Read?” Livia’s tone was incredulous “You expect us to believe you learnt of secret tunnels in the palace, of which the queen herself is unaware, from a book?”

“It is of little consequence to me what you choose to believe, so long as you follow my instructions.” Izzy snapped “For the present, our interests are aligned. No more questions!”

Izzy brought them to a stop at the end of the hallway. A stone wall stood before them. Izzy ran her fingertips gently across the stone. Nyx fidgeted while Livia paced, muttering under her breath. Finally, Izzy paused pressing her palm against the wall. The stone sunk into the wall with a scraping noise and a previously obscured door groaned open, revealing a narrow passage.  Izzy stepped through the door, paused until the others followed, then pushed on the wall again. The door creaked shut behind them. They continued down the passage in silence. The minutes stretched out as they hurried through the shadows and as the time drew on their anxiety grew. If they were caught in such an enclosed space it wouldn’t end well for them.

At last the passage ended, opening into a small cave behind a waterfall. Izzy stepped through the sheet of water, her disappearance followed by a loud splash. Nyx followed, Livia not far behind. They swam across the pool at the bottom emerging one by one onto the bank. Izzy bent down, reaching under a nearby bush and pulled out a sack.

“Your weapons” she announced, emptying its contents onto the forest floor with a flourish. Livia glowered upon seeing her beloved weapons treated with such disrespect. She and Nyx rearmed themselves with hast.

“Thanks for the rescue. I’ll be on my way now.” Livia turned to leave but her retreat was brought to a halt by Izzy’s voice.

“Your expertise could be of use. Accompany us until we reach Cassandra and you will be amply rewarded.” Izzy waited expectantly for Livia’s response.

“Rewarded how?” Livia slowly turned to face Izzy. Izzy pulled a coin purse from her pocket and tossed it to her. Livia caught it, weighed it in her hand, and then peaked inside. Her eyes widened and a grin spread across her face as she saw it was filled with gold pieces.

“If we reach Cassandra’s location alive I’ll triple that.” Izzy promised.

“You have a deal” Livia’s eyes gleamed.

“Wait, us?” Nyx interjected, “What makes you think I would be willing to lead a stranger to Cassandra.”

“Firstly” Izzy replied with impatience “I already know where Cassandra is. We are travelling to the same destination, it would be safer to stay together. Secondly, if I were a spy I would find a way to follow you regardless of whether I had your permission. If you fear my intentions would you not rather know where I am.”

“Very well, you may travel with me…” Izzy had a point Nyx conceded and it would be easier to lose her later if she wasn’t expecting it. “…but I refuse to travel with her.” She gestured to Livia.

“Livia will be coming with us.” Izzy was adamant. “We may need her combat skills should the guards catch up with us. From the way she’s been looking at you, I suspect she’s itching for a chance to tie you up again. While I would prefer not to I will instruct her to do so if I have to.”

“Fine!” Nyx snapped. She would cooperate for now. Perhaps, this travelling arrangement might even have benefits. Being left untied greatly increased her chances of slitting Livia’s throat while she slept. Yes, for now, Nyx would be conciliatory. When the opportunity presented itself, she would kill Livia, ditch Izzy, and go find her sister.

The Tale of a Mage (part 6)

Livia’s mouth hung open as she stood motionless, her heart hammering in her chest. Guards rushed into position around them. By the time her shock had diminished sufficiently that she thought to draw her sword it was too late. Her eyes flickered from the blade in her hand to the contingent of guards surrounding them. Her sword clattered to the ground. She did not wish to die today. The guards approached, tentative eyes fixed on her, prepared to fight at the first provocation. Her sword was kicked away as two guards seized her. Another patted her down, relieving her of her remaining weapons. She felt a temporary surge of pride at terror in his eyes, no doubt sparked by her fearsome reputation, before remembering her predicament. Once the guards were convinced Livia no longer posed a threat to them Nyx was hauled to a standing position and the decent to the dungeon began.

After being dragged from the throne room and through a labyrinth of hallways, Livia and Nyx were escorted down a seemingly endless flight of stairs. Torches dotted the walls at regular intervals illuminating dull grey stone. Damp stale air assaulted their lungs. The stairs finally opened into a hallway lined, with dingy barred cells. The guards paused at the closest cell opening the door and shoving Livia inside. With a second shove, Nyx tumbled in behind her. The door slammed shut with a thunderous clang. The click of a key in lock signified the finality of their imprisonment. The two stood, listening to the retreating footsteps of the guards until they were standing in silence. The silence did not last long.

“What did she mean non-royal mage?” Livia paced back and forth her agitation written on her face. “How can that be possible? Magical ability is hereditary and the queen’s ancestors executed all mages of non-royal blood centuries ago. The last non-royal mage died four-hundred years ago.”

“Either magical ability is less hereditary than the queen would like us to believe, or they didn’t manage to kill all of them.” Nyx frowned. “I guess it’s also possible my family is of royal lineage. The queen herself does not know. That’s why she has yet to kill Cassandra. She wants to study her, find out how it happened.”

“I’m going to assume it’s one of the first two options.” Livia snorted in derision.

“I could be royal!” Nyx protested.

“You appear to be a full-blooded elf and I noticed the queen has a distinct lack of pointy ears.” Livia chuckled.

“You don’t know that!” Nyx bristled. “If it had happened generations ago…”

“The royal family like to keep their bloodline… pure…” Livia smirked.

“Are you implying there’s something wrong with elf blood?” Nyx bared her teeth advancing on Livia with a growl.

“I am implying members of the royal family only lie with each other.” Livia shoved Nyx backwards with ease. “Not that you could do much in the form of retribution if I was insulting your bloodline. It is not wise to threaten me little elf.” Nyx scowled as her back met the cold stone wall. Livia recommenced her pacing. It was only a moment before Livia broke the tense silence.

“How are you planning to get us out of here?” She glanced at Nyx

“Why would you think I possess the ability to escape the royal dungeon?” Nyx huffed in response.

“You helped your sister escape.” Livia explained in a patronising tone.

“Actually, I didn’t!” Nyx glared at Livia “I have no idea how she escaped. She never specified the details, just sent me a message telling me where to meet her. That was where I was going before you abducted me. On which topic, it’s pretty presumptuous of you to think I would take you with me if I did have a means of escape.”

“Are you saying you would leave me here?” Livia growled.

“I don’t see why not. This whole situation is your fault after all.” Nyx explained.

“You also bear some responsibility.” Livia retorted.

“How so? I warned you that taking me to the queen was a bad idea!” Nyx surveyed Livia displeasure etched on her countenance.

“If you had told me the truth…” Livia began.

“You would not have believed me.” Nyx interrupted. Livia had no response for that, it was true. They settled back into an uneasy quiet.

Nyx sat down in the corner whimpering as her bottom met the hard stone. She repositioned herself lying on her stomach. The heavy sound of boots meeting floor notified her of Livia’s continued pacing. Propping herself up on her elbows she fixed her eyes on the wall and resigned herself to studying the cracks.

“Still hurts I see?” Nyx could hear the grin in Livia’s voice. “I do hope you choose to provoke me some more. I’m starting to get bored.”

“I look forward to your execution.” Nyx hissed “I was hoping to kill you myself but I’m willing to settle for second best. I shall ask the queen to let me watch. Not only will it be thoroughly satisfying it might even provide an opportunity for escape. For me of course. Not for you because you will be dead.”

Livia was across the room in an instant. She snarled as her fingers snaked through Nyx’s hair taking a firm hold before yanking her upwards. Nyx yelped, leaping to a standing position in an attempt to relieve the strain on her hair. Livia kept hold of Nyx her eyes brimming with rage.

“I could kill you right now, little elf.” Her voice was ominously low. “Now I am no longer getting paid, and you have made it clear you cannot help me escape, I have no use for you. I may not have a weapon but I could snap your neck, or choke you. Perhaps I could smack your face against the wall, over and over until…” Livia’s threats were cut off by the sound of someone clearing their throat. Livia spun around letting go of her hold on Nyx. A cloaked figure stood on the other side of the bars. She held a torch in one hand and a key in the other.

“You can kill each other later if you really want to…” she surveyed them impatiently “…but we don’t have time for that right now.”

The Tale of a Mage (part 5)

Nyx awoke just before dawn, sore and shivering. Her body was covered in a sheen of dew which had soaked through her clothing. On the bright side the cold had numbed her bottom slightly, slightly being the operative word, she still felt like she had been thrown into a fire butt first. Any attempt to shift positions hurt terribly, not that she could do much moving, still tied up with rope. She craned her neck to glare at Livia over her shoulder. Livia to her deep irritation was sleeping soundly, wrapped in a pile of furs, do doubt warm and comfortable.

Nyx lay seething as the sun began its slow ascent emerging from below the horizon. Far too soon Livia was awake. Nyx feigned sleep but this course of action was swiftly met with a jab from Livia’s boot.

“Wake up little elf, it’s time to get moving.” Livia sounded almost cheerful. Nyx grunted in displeasure. “Will you try to run if I untie you? I do not recommend it. If you choose to do so I’ll have to hurt you.”

“I won’t run.” Nyx sighed. She was in too much pain to run. For the moment, she would have to settle for her vivid imagination, in which she was currently flaying Livia alive. Livia bent down untying Nyx before hauling her into a standing position. Nyx yelped as the pain in her bottom intensified in response to the rapid change in position.

“Eat!” Livia thrust a chunk of bread in Nyx’s direction. Nyx stood munching on the bread as Livia started on her own breakfast. Once they had both finished eating Livia grabbed Nyx by the forearm and dragged her along as she began the trek back to the clearing where Livia had left her horse. Upon reaching her destination Livia sighed in relief to note Aristides was still there and unharmed. She set to grooming and feeding the horse while Nyx stood sullenly plotting revenge. Finally, from Livia’s perspective, but far too soon for Nyx’s preferences, they were ready to leave.

“Seeing as you are being so cooperative this morning I shall permit you to sit on the horse rather lie bound across its back.” Livia smirked leaping onto her horse and pulling Nyx up to sit in front of her. Nyx wailed as her bottom made contact with the horse’s back.

The morning was spent in relative silence with the exception of an occasional yelp from Nyx. To Nyx, the ride felt never ending. Livia, however, was enjoying the day tremendously. Her captive was being cooperative and if they made good time they were set to reach the palace by tomorrow afternoon. They made a brief stop at midday to have lunch and water the horse. Before continuing on their way.

At dusk when Livia deemed it time to make camp Nyx was on the verge of tears. She had thought she was in pain this morning, however, spending the day sitting on a horse had made things exponentially worse. Livia offered her a sparse meal of dried meat and bread and the two ate in silence. Livia, not wanting to take any chances, bound Nyx again before tending to Aristides. Once she was satisfied her horse had received adequate care Livia sharpened her sword and settled in for the night, draping one of her furs over a sulking Nyx before lying down to sleep herself.

When morning arrived, Livia allowed Nyx to remain sleeping as she prepared for departure wishing to minimise her captive’s opportunity to cause trouble. Nyx awoke with a jolt and a feeling of rising panic just as Livia finished feeding the horse. While she felt slightly better than she had yesterday she was still far too sore to stage a successful escape attempt and they were close to reaching the palace. Apparently, Livia was having similar thoughts as she chose that moment to turn and beam at her. After a quick breakfast, Livia adjusted Nyx’s bonds to facilitate her placement on the horse. She was not going to risk escorting her prisoner unbound when she was so close to collecting her reward. Once she was satisfied her captive had no chance of escape she mounted her horse, pulling Nyx into the saddle, and set off across the forest at record speed.

The ride passed far too quickly for Nyx’s liking, in spite of her sore bottom. By noon the palace gates were in sight. When they reached the gates, they were met by armed guards. Livia leapt from her horse and pulled Nyx’s down to stand beside her.

“I have captured the thief the Queen seeks.” Livia announced.

“This is excellent news!” The senior guard extended a smile which didn’t quite reach his eyes. “I shall take you to the Queen, your horse will be taken to the stables.” Livia nodded in agreement and began to follow him up the path towards the palace, dragging Nyx along with her. They were escorted up the path and through the courtyard. They paused at the palace doors as the guard instructed the doorman to open them, and then made their way up a broad corridor into the throne room. Upon reaching the throne room Livia strode forward at a brisk pace pushing Nyx to her knees at the Queen’s feet.

“I have retrieved the thief and the property she stole from you.” Livia held out the necklace. The queen gave her a look of derision. Standing, she slapped the jewellery from Livia’s hand.

“I care not for trinkets.” She snarled turning her attention to Nyx. “Where is the mage?”

“I believe she is standing in front of me.” Nyx retorted. “Unless you are referring to one of your children, but I fail to see how I could know their exact whereabouts. Everyone knows only members of the royal family are born mages.” The Queen gave Nyx a menacing glare.

“You and I both know that is not true.” Her voice was dangerously low. “I know you helped her escape. You are her sister. Nobody else would be stupid enough to cross me!”

“You must have me confused with someone else, I have no sister.” Nyx lied. Queen Cerise clenched her hands into fists, took a deep breath, and then slowly relaxed them.

“I will have your cooperation eventually.” Her face broke into a predatory grin. “Guards, take them to the dungeon!”

“Wait! What! You can’t possibly mean…” Livia began.

“I cannot have a thug running around my kingdom telling anyone who cares to listen that there’s a non-royal mage on the loose.” The Queen explained in a placating tone.

Livia spluttered in indignation as guards seized her. Despite the severity of her situation, Nyx couldn’t quite suppress a giggle.

“I told you it was in your interest to let me go.” She smirked.

The Tale of a Mage (part 4)

Nyx shivered slightly as she sat in the tree staring up at the moon. The sun had set at least an hour ago and it was now rather cold. Nyx’s hand throbbed where she had cut herself and her stomach was starting to growl. She now regretted refusing Livia’s offer of food. She peered down through the leaves. She could just make out Livia’s form in the dark, still sitting at the base of the tree in roughly the same position she had been when she initially sat down. Could she be asleep? Nyx wondered. She had stopped muttering profanity under her breath about half an hour ago that was a good sign. Nyx’s stomach grumbled again, she stared intently down at Livia’s silhouette, she knew that Livia’s pack must be nearby. Perhaps if she was careful she could slip down the tree, steal some of Livia’s food and other supplies and sneak away into the darkness without being detected. It would be taking a huge risk though. While Nyx would never tell the queen what she wanted to know she knew she would find a way to use her to achieve her ultimate goal. The prospect of terrifying. Nyx could not allow that to happen.

Nyx remained in the tree for another ten to fifteen minutes staring longingly at Livia’s pack before her hunger and anxiety over being cornered won out. Nyx took a deep breath and slowly began to descend from the tree. She reached the ground and glanced at the still sleeping Livia with a sense of pride. Few people could climb down a tree in virtual silence but stealth was one of Nyx’s strengths.

Keeping her eyes on Livia she slowly reached for the pack. Livia still appeared to be sleeping peacefully, oblivious to Nyx’s attempt at theft. She turned her attention to the pack determined to find what she needed as quickly as possible. As an elf, her ability to see in the dark was superior to that of the average human however it was largely experience which led Nyx to locate the lump of bread and knife for which she was searching. Feeling pleased she made to slip the knife between her breasts. However, her actions were cut short as a hand closed around her wrist. Nyx let out a high pitched squeal.

“And just what does the little elf think she’s doing?” Livia’s other hand reached for Nyx. Before she could fully register what was happening Nyx had been flipped onto her stomach, both her wrists pinned by Livia’s right hand and a knee in the middle of her back.  The knife was removed from her hand and tossed to the side. Nyx squirmed and kicked her feet but her efforts were futile. Livia grabbed a fist full of Nyx’s hair with her free hand and roughly yanked her head backwards. Leaning forward she positioned her mouth next to Nyx’s ear and chuckled. “I do hope the little elf wasn’t attempting to steal from me”

“I don’t believe it possible for me to steal my own knife” Nyx spat.

“Perhaps” Livia growled, “however my bread certainly does not belong to you.”

“You did offer it to me earlier” Nyx pointed out “so technically I had your permission to take it.”

Livia remained silent abruptly letting go of Nyx’s hair. She reached into her pack and pulled out her rope. Not expecting the sudden lack of tension on her hair Nyx’s face slammed into the ground a sizable amount of dirt making its way into her mouth. She spluttered attempting to spit out as much as possible.

“It seems I underestimated you” Livia began wrapping the rope around Nyx’s wrists “I will not do that again”.

When she finished tying Nyx’s wrists Livia began weaving the rope over her arms in and out until they were thoroughly immobilised. She then focused her efforts on her ankles progressively working her way up her calves finishing off just above her knees. Satisfied that Nyx would not be escaping Livia lifted her, placing her face down over a nearby rock. Before Nyx had fully registered her new position, Livia pushed up her skirt and pulled down her undergarments. Livia drew her sword flourishing it in front of Nyx’s face.

“I hope the escape attempt was worth it, little elf.” Livia smirked. Nyx growled at her. Livia raised her sword and brought the flat side down hard on Nyx’s bottom. Nyx screamed. She knew this was going to hurt but she had not expected it to hurt quite that much. Livia brought the sword down again. Nyx let out another squeal and tried to roll out of the way. Livia thwarted her attempt at escape grabbing a fist full of her hair and dragging her back into position.  Livia placed a hand in the middle of Nyx’s back to hold her in place her sword finding its mark three times in quick succession.  Nyx burst into tears. It felt like she was being branded, repeatedly. Well, maybe. Nyx had never been branded before so she was not entirely qualified to make the comparison. This is how she imagined it would feel to be branded though.

“Please… I’ll cooperate!” Nyx howled. Nyx had no intention of cooperating however it was worth a try. Livia was not moved.

“It appears the little elf is regretting her decision” Livia chuckled with malice in her voice. She continued to deliver the lesson with increased tempo. Nyx struggled, screaming with each searing stroke. The sword fell again and again. Nyx quickly lost count of how many strokes she had received. She had never experienced pain like this before. She revised her previous thought. This was worse than being branded… probably.  Nyx was starting to doubt Livia would ever stop when she finally returned her sword to its sheath.

Livia surveyed her work with satisfaction. Nyx’s bottom had surpassed a uniform shade of red, now embellished with patches of dark purple. Nyx remained over the rock sobbing brokenly. Livia sighed impatiently, propelling Nyx off the through the application of her boot. Nyx screamed again as her bottom met the forest floor.

“Get some rest.” Livia growled, “We leave at first light.”

Nyx rolled onto her stomach and lay fuming in silence. The bounty hunter would pay dearly for this. Not right now. Everything hurt too much right now. When her bottom healed, however, Livia was going to die.”

The Tale of a Mage (part 3)

Nyx was becoming increasingly uncomfortable as she hung over the horse’s back. Having her entire weight resting on her midsection for such a long period of time was unpleasant, to say the least. Her wrists chaffed from all the times she had frantically pulled against her binds certain she was going to fall as the horse increased its speed or leapt over a log. She was sure it would happen eventually in spite of the fact Livia had managed to grab hold of her the few times she had actually started to slip.

Livia, on the other hand, was enjoying herself immensely. Her captive had not spoken a word since their altercation several hours ago. It was a lovely day not too hot but not too cold. The breeze caressed her face as she rode through the woods blissfully daydreaming about the many things she could do with her reward. Coming upon a clearing beside a stream she decided it was time for a meal. She pulled her horse to a halt and dismounted before lifting Nyx from the horse and dumping her unceremoniously on the ground. Livia reached into her pack and pulled out some bread and cheese.

“Hungry?” she looked to Nyx who had managed to bring herself to a sitting position. Nyx shook her head. “Suit yourself” Livia began to eat.

Nyx sat in silence desperately trying to think of an escape plan. Livia had been careless, failing to further secure her when they stopped. With only her wrists and ankles tied she had some freedom of movement which she was sure would allow her to get away. She just wasn’t sure how yet.

Livia’s lunch and Nyx’s plotting were interrupted as Livia’s horse emitted high pitched panicked noise which was accompanied by loud snarling.

“Wolves!” Livia jumped up dropping her food. Reaching for her sword she rushed towards the commotion.

Nyx slowly inched towards Livia pack. When she reached it she put her back towards it. Slipping both hands inside she felt around until she found one of her knives.

As Livia sunk her sword into one of the wolves the others thought better of a continued fight and retreated back into the woods. Livia now set to calming her panicked horse.

After several tries and a few cuts, Nyx managed to position her hands in such a way that she could slice the ropes binding them. She then grabbed the knife. Making short work of the ropes around her ankles she ducked behind a tree and looked down at her hands. Some of the cuts were quite deep and there was more blood than she had anticipated but there was no time to worry about that now. She set off into the forest. It was vital that she get a head start before Livia noticed she was gone.

As Nyx wove her way through the trees Livia continued to comfort her horse. She ran her hand over his neck murmuring soothing words until the animal’s terror had reduced. Turning around her eyes fell on the spot on the ground where Nyx had previously been. Nyx could hear Livia’s shout of frustration as she ran through the forest. Her heart began to beat a little faster and she increased her pace.

Livia surveyed the area for clues. She noted some drops of blood marking the material of her pack. She examined the ground noting some footprints pointing east and began her pursuit.

Nyx paused to catch her breath and contemplate her surroundings. If she kept running the bounty hunter would probably catch her. However, if she found somewhere to hide hopeful the woman would run straight past. That would allow Nyx to escape in the opposite direction. Perhaps she could even stop by the clearing and take some of the bounty hunter’s supplies. Convinced that this logic was sound Nyx headed for the closest climbable tree.

Livia followed a trail of broken twigs and the occasional footprint at a brisk pace. However, it was not long before the trail came to an end. Livia stopped, for a moment worried that the elf may have outsmarted her and been successful in her escape attempt but then she noticed smudges of blood on a the trunk of a nearby tree. Looking up she could just make out Nyx’s form amongst the leaves.

“Did a little elf really think she could successfully escape me by climbing a tree” Livia further examined the tree noting that the branches did not appear sturdy enough to support her weight. Damn that elf for being so small. Nyx had also made this observation.

“A little elf still thinks she can escape you by climbing a tree” Nyx smirked.

“It’s over, I have caught you.” Livia growled

“Then come up and get me” Nyx’s confidence increased “oh… that’s right… you can’t.”

“You’ll have to come down eventually” Livia sat down at the base of the tree hoping she sounded calmer than she felt. This was a waste of her time. The longer this lasted the longer she would have to wait to collect her reward.

“And you’ll have to sleep eventually.” Nyx replied. She hoped that would happen soon. The tree was decidedly uncomfortable.

The Tale of a Mage (part 2)

The light of the campfire flickered, the flames reflected on the surface of the bounty hunter’s sword as she meticulously ran it over a whetstone. Nyx watched from her position tied to a nearby tree. Satisfied that the bounty hunter was sufficiently distracted she began feeling about the ground behind her in hope of finding a sharp rock with which to cut the rope which bound her hands. The leaves beneath her hands rustled

“A little elf had better not be thinking of trying to escape” the bounty hunter did not bother looking up.

“A little elf has a name” Nyx retorted “and if it is not used she may not realise that it is she a bounty hunter is addressing”.

“And what might a little elf’s name be?” The bounty hunter humoured her for the moment.

“One might conclude that a bounty hunter who does not know the name of the one she hunts is not very good at her job” Nyx flashed the woman an innocent looking smile.

“There was no name on the poster only a little elf’s picture” the bounty hunter growled, “besides a bounty hunter does not need to know her captive’s name in order to collect her reward”.

“That’s awfully risky don’t you think” Nyx mused “how is a bounty hunter to know she has captured the right thief if all she has to go on is a poorly drawn portrait. It would be terribly unfortunate for her if she was to deliver the wrong thief to the queen. I have heard the Queen is not a forgiving person.”

“The queen chose not to include a name on the poster meaning she either does not know the name herself or she does not wish to disclose it” the bounty hunter growled, “however it matters not, the little thief confessed her crime to me.”

“Thieves can be dishonest and queens do not like to have their time wasted. Does a bounty hunter really want to take the risk?” Nyx said hopefully “why don’t you just let me go? I get my freedom and you get to keep your head in the event that I’m not, in fact, the elf which the queen seeks, it seems like a pretty good deal to me.” The bounty hunter rose and began to approach Nyx, a menacing glare displayed on her face.

“I’ll tell you what” Nyx said in a placating tone “I’ll tell you my name if you tell me yours.”

“And why would a little elf want to know my name?” The bounty hunter’s eyes bore into her.

“So I can track you down and take my revenge after I escape of course” Nyx replied.

“Well” the bounty hunter chuckled “seeing as you won’t be escaping I suppose it wouldn’t do any harm. The name’s Livia.”

“Livia… that’s pretty” Nyx looked up at her batting her lashes. “It doesn’t suit you at all.” Livia’s face darkened and she began striding towards Nyx with purpose. “To clarify, I was not insulting your physical appearance…” Nyx explained, “I was simply pointing out that you have an ugly personality.” Livia remained silent. Crouching down next to Nyx she began to untie the rope which secured her to the tree. “So you’ve come to your senses? Decided that letting me go truly is the wisest course of action? I would not have thought you had the mental fortitude.” Nyx grinned.

“No, I’m teaching a little thief to address her betters with respect.” Livia snapped grabbing hold of Nyx’s hair and pulling her to an upright position. Nyx yelped.

“Betters?” Nyx scoffed attempting to mask her fear “You are hardly my betters. By the way, while you’re in the mood for untying ropes do you think you could loosen the ones around my wrists?” Livia, not deeming her statement worthy of a response, dragged the elf over to a nearby log and proceeded to throw the girl over her knees.

The bounty hunter brought her palm down hard on Nyx’s upturned bottom causing the elf to squirm. “You really should put more thought into you words little elf” the bounty hunter lectured landing a volley of slaps which left Nyx squealing. “If I were not such a benevolent person I might have cut out your tongue by now.”

“Benevolent? You?” Nyx snorted. Livia roughly pushed up Nyx’s skirt, removing her small clothes.

“You don’t seem to be learning” Livia gave the elf several extra hard smacks on her upper thighs. Nyx began to sniffle. Her bottom and thighs burned. She swore to herself that the bounty hunter would pay for subjecting her to this indignity. Livia focused her attention on the task at hand ensuring that not one inch on the elf’s bottom was spared. Nyx attempted to roll off her lap but Livia had too firm a hold on her. After about five minutes Livia stopped and looked down at the sobbing girl on her lap. She was surprised the elf had not yet started begging. She shook her head. The girl’s pride was likely to get her into a lot more trouble before they finally reached the royal palace. While she would have liked to continue, to achieve the satisfaction of breaking the little elf, the sun was rising and she was anxious to get moving. She grabbed a fist full of Nyx’s hair and tilted the elf’s head back to look into her eyes.

“If I have to spank you again I will use the flat of my sword” the bounty hunter promised. Nyx’s eyes widened at the prospect. Livia then replaced the elf’s small clothes and stood pulling the girl up with her. Nyx’s skirt fell back into place. Livia picked her up effortlessly and threw the elf over the back of her horse swinging up into the saddle behind her.

“So?” Livia inquired, “is the little elf going to tell me her name?” Nyx remained silent. “The little elf does not feel like talking?” the bounty hunter chuckled “what a pleasant change. I could get used to this.”