Voidhawk redemption, p.6

Voidhawk - Redemption, page 6


Voidhawk - Redemption

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  He had only begun his meal when the first sign of trouble appeared. Two men had risen from a nearby table. They stared at Volera and made their way across the bar, ignoring everything in their way. One chair ended up tipped over and a table was bumped, irritating the three men sitting at it as their drinks spilled. They rose to challenge them, though their heart wasn’t in it.

  “Aw hell,” Rosh muttered as he saw them come. He stood up slowly, taking a final large bite of venison from his plate.

  Volera looked up at him, then turned quickly to glance at the other behind her. “I can deal with them if you wish, Master.”

  “Don’t you do nothing,” Rosh growled at her quickly, then he stepped around the table to stand between her and the group of five men that approached. “Nothing for you here,” Rosh said to them, not needing to adopt a posture to make himself look any bigger.

  “Maybe there is and maybe there’s not,” one of the men said.

  “We figured we’d give your lady friend the choice,” his partner said.

  The three others were right behind and no longer interested in having their ales replaced. They tried to push past as well but the limited space prevented them from doing much more than staring.

  “This ain’t going to end well for you,” Rosh warned. “You turn back and go sit down, we’ll be on our way. None of you gets hurt that way.”

  “Way I see it, there’s only one of you. Your lady’s awful quiet too, I’m thinking she wants the attention,” said the man on the left.

  “You’re right, them odds ain’t fair,” Rosh told him. “You’d need another thirty men, at least!”

  The man who’d spoken threw a punch. Rosh dodged it easily and kicked him squarely between the legs, lifting him off the ground then dropping him soundly back on it. “Maybe that’ll help you clear up your thinking!”

  The other man drew a knife from his belt and thrust it at Rosh, his pupils dilated with whatever hormonal spell he was under. Rosh roared and smashed his arm with his fist as it came towards him. The dagger flew off to the side, but the man kept coming, heedless of his broken wrist. The other three men behind him waded forward as well, drawing weapons if they had them or using their fists if they did not. Elsewhere in the tavern the others began to show interest as well, though a few had the presence of mind and willpower to keep their heads low and out of trouble.

  “Time to go,” Rosh said over the tumult of flying fists, bottles, chairs, and the occasional glint of steel. Volera did not move, he noticed when he had a chance to glance her way. “Volera!” He snapped. “Outside! Now!”

  “Yes Master,” she said, standing up and turning to face the angry mob that he was dealing with.

  Rosh realized his mistake as soon as she stood up. Immediately the men he was trying to keep back turned their attention to her more directly. They started trying to push past him, ignoring him completely even when he grabbed them and pulled them back or threw them into their fellows behind them. He roared out another curse and slugged his way through them, forcing a path for himself and his demoness to wade through.

  Outside the inn he held the door shut with his great strength and glared at Volera. She stood, a needy look on her face. “What?” He snapped at her, then scowled as something tugged extra hard against the door.

  “All that energy,” she said, staring at the close door. “All those souls… such a waste.”

  “The waste was me not getting to eat or a warm place to sleep!” Rosh growled back at her. “You got anything to jam this door shut so they won’t be getting out none too soon?”

  She walked up to the door beside him and put her hands against the door. He listened as he heard it creaking under her touch. A moment later she nodded and stepped back. “I have warped it, they will need a strength like yours to open it now.”

  Rosh let go slowly, then saw it remained tightly shut. He grunted and turned away. “Let’s go,” he said.

  “You don’t wish to stay there any longer?” She asked.

  Rosh glared at her then shook his head. “There ain’t no staying, and there ain’t no place safe to be taking you if men act like that around you.”

  “I could have helped you, Master.”

  He snorted. “What, you and your band of runts going to cut them to pieces? Who are those guys anyhow? The short demons that killed the King and Queen and tried to gut me.”

  “Simple fiends. Their services are cheaply bought,” she said. “Why did you not kill them? They would not have hesitated to slay you if they could.”

  Rosh shrugged. “I got no problem with killin’ folks, but them poor bastards didn’t have it coming. They was drunk on whatever you got. After that kiss, I can see why. Ain’t their fault, so they don’t deserve killin’ for something they ain’t earned.”

  Volera was quiet long enough to cause Rosh to turn and stare at her. “Long as you’re with me, there ain’t no killing just to kill, you got that?”

  “Yes Master,” she said, bowing her head submissively. “I… I can subdue my allure. Inhibit how it affects others, somewhat.”

  “Now you’re telling me this?” He asked, pulling up short and glaring at her. “You do that, and you keep doing that! And why didn’t you tell me that earlier?”

  “It’s uncomfortable,” she said. “Like repressing my true form, I can do it for a time but it saps my energy and grows tiresome.”

  Rosh swore. “You mean hiding them wings and that tail is causing you pain?”

  “Not pain, Master, just… discomfort. And it drains me to maintain the glamour.”

  Rosh had no idea what that meant. He grunted and kept walking. “Why didn’t they run screaming when they seen your eyes?”

  “My allue, Master. It makes men forget everything except their desire to be with me.”

  “If I let you go, release you, you just gonna go back to doing what you was doing when I met you?” Rosh asked after a long moment of thought.

  “Yes, Master, I will be bound by whatever new terms of my new contract will be,” she said.

  Rosh shook his head and spat on the ground again in frustration. “What about when you ain’t got no contract? What do you do then?”

  “I train and find ways to enjoy myself,” she said.

  Rosh glanced at her. “That don’t sound so bad,” he mused. “Ain’t so different from what everyone else does. What kind of things you do for fun?”

  “Make deals for the souls others. Games of chance, sometimes, more often games of skill such as battles in an arena or fighting in the undying wars of my realm.”

  Rosh swore. “You really are a wicked bitch through and through!”

  “I am what you want me to be, Master,” was her maddening reply.

  He glared at her again and wondered at the faint smile on her face if she was doing that to taunt him. “I ain’t changing what you is,” he said after a moment. “But if I’m stuck with you for a bit I reckon I best be showing you some better ways to do things.”

  “Better ways, Master?”

  He grunted in agreement. “Don’t mean you shouldn’t get what you can get, but if you got more than you can use, what’s the point? Having something so you can say you got it, what good’s that doing you?”

  “Possessions are like favors,” she said after a moment.

  “Huh?” He asked, confused.

  “I was once summoned by a wizard who used my service to pay off a favor he owed another man,” she explained. “The more possessions you own, be it wealth, servants, souls, or whatever, the easier you may pay off a debt to another.”

  Rosh chuckled. “You almost got something there,” he told her. “One time, I might have thought that way too. Thing is, there ain’t no knowing when you need something like that. You spend too much time hoarding and protecting what you got, then you ain’t living much. And life ain’t something you get out of without dying.”

  “I am not a mortal,” she pointed out.

  “Don’t mean you can’t die,” Rosh sa
id with a wink and a pat of his two handed sword.

  Volera’s cheeks paled slightly and she nodded. “Yes Master, I understand.”

  * * * *

  It had taken Rosh nearly a week to feel comfortable attempting an inn again. They had camped out, a small fire his only source of real warmth. Volera stood guard; she had no need for sleep and it hadn’t occurred to Rosh that he might be in danger from her. It turned out he was correct in his ignorance, for she had scarcely moved from her perch when he awoke each morning.

  Their first successful night in an inn went remarkably well for them, or so he figured. He saw a few dazed faces as Volera passed, but she kept her head down and wore a hooded cloak he’d picked up along the way to help disguise her nature better. Not trusting his luck to chance, after dinner he acquired the keys to a private room and led the way upstairs.

  “Master, may I make a request?” Volera asked him after he had locked the door behind them.

  Rosh looked at her, surprised. She had never once asked such a question. He smiled a little, wondering if she was coming around. “Aye, out with it.”

  “This room is safe, may I wear my true form here?” She asked him.

  Rosh’s eyes narrowed. He glanced at the door and the shuttered window, then shrugged. “I guess so.”

  She smiled and shivered, her clothing disappearing in a puff of smoke that left behind her wings and her tail. Rosh stared at her, his eyes bulging a little as he took in her nude form. “What happened to that thing you was wearing, the corset?”

  She shrugged, duplicating his earlier gesture. Rosh noticed her doing that more and more, as well as occasionally using some of the phrases he used and his mannerisms. He wasn’t sure if she was mocking him or if he should be flattered. “That was what I preferred before you defeated me. I was weaker then, now I seek to learn from you and become stronger.”

  Rosh chuckled and shook his head. “You stay like that and the only thing you’ll be learning is how to warm a man’s bed!”

  She smiled at his comment. “That I already know, Master. Would you like me to show you what I can do?”

  Rosh barked out a sharp laugh. “I felt what your kiss was like, I don’t reckon either one of us would be able to put any miles behind us tomorrow!”

  “The term ‘Master’ is often misused by the magicians that summon us,” she explained, confusing him with the abrupt subject change. “They think that because they summon us and hold is in a protective circle, we belong to them. Only the wisest know enough to offer us tribute in exchange for our services. Those that do not… we find a way to get our tribute after the contract is over.”

  Rosh did not like the twinkle in her eye as she explained her new topic. “What’s that got to do with you looking like that?”

  “When I call you Master, it is what it sounds like. You bested me and have absolute power over me,” she explained, the mischievous light fading from her eyes. “With only words you can destroy me, if you wish. I can do you no harm unless you ask it of me, and even in doing so my existence is tied to yours until you release me. If you were to perish, so would I.”

  “Guess that’s why you ain’t stuck a knife in my back while I been sleeping,” he muttered.

  “Yes Master,” she agreed, nodding. “It is also why it may be safe for you to lay with me, so long as you do not ask me to take you beyond what your body can handle.”

  Rosh bristled at the challenge. “I ain’t never not been able to handle a woman!”

  Volera’s smile widened and her returned tail coiled suggestively up her leg . “I believe you, Master. But you’ve never lain with a demon.”

  Rosh let his anger fade and chuckled. “Depends on who you’re talking to,” he quipped.

  Rosh turned away, after a considerable exertion of willpower. He pulled his chain shirt off and tossed it to the floor, then removed the clothes he wore beneath it. “You just keep your stink to yourself and we’ll be fine,” he said, climbing into the simple bed the room had.

  “My stink? Master, I do not stink,” she said.

  Rosh waved at her, refusing to look. “The girly smell you got, the spices and stuff. It’s got a way of making me think things that ain’t safe for me to think with you.” He could feel her smile even though he didn’t dare to open his eyes and look at her. With a grumbled oath he turned his back to her and spent the longest time in his life trying to find the peace of sleep.

  * * * *

  Rosh woke slowly. He lay still and silent, listening and wondering what could have roused him from the pleasant dream. He had been the captain of his own ship and his crew consisted of a bevy of beautiful woman that found clothing distasteful. A grin made its way to his face as he remembered the adoration his crew had heaped upon him. He glanced over and saw Volera sitting on the floor in the middle of the room, her eyes on the door. Her wings were pulled in close to her back and her tail lay curled on the floor near her, the tip of it resting coiled in her lap.

  Yeah, he realized, Volera had been there too. His smug feeling faded as he recalled her being the first mate of the ship. The crew weren’t always happy, he realized. When they had not moved quickly enough or made a mistake Volera was there with her cruel whip to beat them back into shape.

  Rosh sighed, drawing a look from Volera. “Master, it is yet night.”

  “Aye, seems I can’t get away from you,” he muttered. “You haunt my dreams now too.”

  “Master,” she said with a tone that matched her sly smile, “you dream of me?”

  “It weren’t that kind of dream!” He snapped. Rosh paused, then had a flashback to a part of his dream that most definitely was that sort of dream. “Mostly, anyways.”

  “The sleeping mind often shows what you truly desire,” she opined.

  “Or maybe I just been spending too much time with you near me,” he retorted, stifling her smile. He noticed the near hurt expression she wore and cursed again. Dozens of thoughts entered his head but he abandoned them all. “You ain’t even human,” he muttered.

  She shrugged. “I’m rather thankful for that.”

  “Fine,” he grumbled. “Just means I can’t do what I’d do if you was, that’s all.”

  “What would you do with me, Master?” She spun on the floor to face him, crawling towards his bed on her hands and knees. Her hair fell loosely, obscuring his view of her full nudity and served to only fan the flames of his imagination.

  “Give you a damn good time and take care of this itch I can’t scratch,” he burst out, immediately regretting the words.

  “Master, you can. Let me please you, it will please me to do so,” she said, licking her lips suggestively. Her tail rose up and slipped over her shoulder, caressing her skin and slipping down beneath her hair. Rosh’s mouth felt dry as his mind wondered just what her tail was doing. It had seemed more flexible then even the tails of some monkeys he’d once seen.

  “I bet it would,” he said, finally shaking his head to look away. “Gods, I ain’t never thought I’d find a woman that had me scared of bedding her.”

  Volera sat on her haunches beside his bed. Her hair still fell to conceal her charms, but left nothing to the imagination except the very things Rosh most wanted to see. Even worse, the tip of her tail rested suggestively in the cleft of her breasts, “If you’ll not have me, I can fetch a woman for you.”

  Rosh barked out a laugh. He’d never needed help there either, but he had a hunch anything Volera provided would be tainted somehow. “You just mind yourself,” he muttered, throwing back the sheet and rising up to stand before her.

  Volera stared at him, only inches away, and licked her parted lips again. Rosh noted she was not staring at his eyes. He growled deep in his throat, a reminder to himself, and then had to tear his eyes away from her again when he felt her hands sliding up his muscular thighs. “I’m up, we must as well get going.”

  “Indeed you are, Master,” Volera said, her eyes rising to his and twinkling with mischief.

It’s almost morning, don’t go thinking nothing into it,” he spat, then turned away and quickly dressed himself. As soon as he finished he splashed some tepid water from a basin on his face and turned back to face her.

  Volera had already shifted her form to hide her true nature, though her eyes shone with the blackness of midnight. She chose a similar outfit as before, a peasant blouse that would put the bawdiest of barmaids to shame and a pair of skirts that fell just past her knees. She chose to don black leather boots that rose high enough to have the tops hidden beneath her skirts. Rosh found the look devastatingly appealing, and realized that whether she wore clothing or not, there was no easy way to deny the demon’s allure.

  “Couple more days and we’ll be free of this Kingdom,” he said. He felt the need to talk about something other than how she made him ache inside. It helped him take his mind off the burning desire he felt for her. “Some border lands there, no real rulers. Lots of bandits and I hear a share of darker things; orcs and the like. A week of that and we’ll head south, through some baronies and into the Kingdom of Verdune.”

  “As you wish, Master,” Volera said. “I will travel with you wherever you desire to go.”

  Chapter 4

  “Oy! Just you and your fine lady headed into the wilds?”

  Rosh turned, his eyes already narrowed. “This ain’t no lady,” he growled.

  The man seemed average enough. Shorter than Rosh by a full head, he wore his long brown hair pulled back into a ponytail. His lips parted in surprise for a moment and his eyes swept over Volera. “Good Sir, I’ve never seen a more comely lady in my life!”

  Rosh stepped towards him, his size intimidating the man into a half step back. Rosh also noted his hand slipped behind his back, no doubt to a hidden knife or other weapon. “She’s got the body you’d die to bed and the skill to make your last night the finest you’d ever had. You’d die the death simple men dream of, but still you’d be dead!”

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