tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Enchantress of Ingley Ch. 10

The Enchantress of Ingley Ch. 10


Kinder, more leisurely days would have found Zara and Cordelia spending hours in one another's arms. In the bandit queen's tent, the outside world seemed to fade away, allowing the two to become lost in the sensations of shared pleasure. Even with the night as eventful as it was, Zara was determined to enjoy every moment she could with her precious lieutenant. Something about the day's events had her on edge, positively humming with excitement. Perhaps it was the danger involved in everything she had set in motion. Or perhaps it was merely the idea of the riches that would soon be hers if all went according to plan.

Between whatever the strange magic woman would give them for the girls, and what she could ransom the prince for, she could probably buy a manor somewhere. She could rule a little plot with her merry band, and give Cordelia the noble life that she so deserved.

It was with these thoughts in mind that Zara lavished loving kisses along Cordelia's neck as they lay upon the piled furs and quilts that served as her bed. She loved the way her lieutenant's lean body looked, sheened with the perspiration of their earlier lovemaking. She loved the way Delia smelled, the way she tasted. The way, even after being brought to peak after peak, she still offered a little moan, and dreamily toyed her fingers through Zara's golden locks.

"Mmm, still not exhausted, my Lady?" Delia's voice was a dreamy purr.

Zara responded by nipping at Cordelia's neck, before breathing out, "I thought you preferred that I keep alert, in case my plans went astray?"

Cordelia giggled softly as those teeth dragged over her tender flesh. She sat up, and turned on her side to face her leader. Her fingers traced a soft touch over the curve of one of Zara's full breasts. The teasing touch elicited a gasp from the bandit queen.

"Are you trying to exhaust me?" Zara tried to offer the redhead a coy look, but Delia just pushed her onto her back.

"Maybe I am, my Lady."

Warm lips once more grazed Zara's flesh, teasing along between those heavy breasts, down along her tightly muscled belly. The bandit queen gasped gently, and curled one hand into Cordelia's short hair. "A...again?" It was all she could manage to utter before those dextrous hands pushed her thighs to part once more.

Zara wet her own lips with a quick flick of her tongue, then gazed down along the lean frame settling between her parted legs. As Delia's tongue begin to play down along her wanting flesh, she hooked one leg over a slender shoulder, urging the petite woman onward.

Her sweet Delia's skilled lips grazed and nibbled at her already slick folds, and her breath played warm over Zara's skin. The bandit queen closed her eyes and laid her head back upon those piled quilts.

Fleeting wondering about just what had come over her lieutenant, to be so insatiable that night, soon gave way to a haze of pleasure. She ground her hips upward toward that questing bit of muscle, and raised her free hand upward. The tall blonde gripped at one of her own breasts, kneading in time with the flick and dance of Cordelia's tongue within her.

Zara licked at her own lips once more, savoring the taste of the other woman which still lingered upon them. Every tease of that expert mouth, every stroke of those teasing, masterful fingers brought her closer to yet another peak. At this rate, she actually would be too exhausted to handle an emergency.

Her lover had no intention of letting up, and as Zara's fingers tightened in her hair, Cordelia intensified her attentions, alternating between nibbling kisses and snaking tongue. Tensing once more, Zara's pleasure overwhelmed her. Still Cordelia's nimble fingers worked to draw out that orgasm, and the dazed blonde stared down along her body to those mischievous jade eyes.

When at last she was allowed to come back down, Zara nearly collapsed back into those quilts. Her chest heaved with gradually slowing breaths.

Cordelia kissed at her inner thigh, and nuzzled against that smooth skin. "Rest well, my Lady. I shall watch over everything."

Zara nodded, reassured, and still lingering in the haze of sensation, only the latest in that night's endeavours. Soon, she drifted off to a light doze.

In retrospect, the bandit queen really should have realized something was up. As much as they adored one another, the readiness with which Cordelia had accompanied her into her tent while so much remained undecided was uncharacteristic. With two prisoners in the camp, and so many of their fellows still out on missions, the ever conscientious lieutenant should have rebuffed her. At least until the men were back and the prisoners transferred to that strange woman.

It was only when Zara awoke from her slumber of pleasure induced exhaustion that the idea that she had been tricked dawned on her. Rather than the expected tangle of limbs, or comforting embrace, Zara found herself alone, sprawled nude across her bedding with no sign of Cordelia.

Outside of her tent, the camp was quiet. She was used to the almost constant chaos of the outlaws who followed her. It's not that they were bad men, though they all had their reasons for living beyond the reach of civilization. But they were, for the most part, as unpredictable in their jests as in their quarrels, and the one so often lead to the other.

The tall blonde swept up a tunic and her leather leggings from about the chamber, and tugged them haphazardly over her powerful figure. Still disheveled, she ducked out of the confines of her tent and into the camp proper. There was hardly a soul in sight. Her first thought was that those men who'd gone out after the Prince just hadn't returned yet, though by all rights they should have been arriving soon enough. By the moon and stars, it was closer to dawn than to midnight.

Her first concern was finding where Cordelia had wandered off to. That should have been a straightforward task, but as Zara cast her gaze about the camp, the redhead was no where to be found. A few bandits still stood watch about the perimeter, as they should, while three sat with Jenrea near the fire, chatting away. Zara was impressed with the girl's endurance, she had surely thought the raven haired beauty would be sound asleep by now. The innkeeper's daughter had been up all night through stressful situations, and unlike the bandits, Zara guessed Jenrea was unused to such things.

As Zara's long legged stride carried her with an unhurried pace toward that fire, Jenrea turned her smiling gaze up to the bandit queen. That cheer was infectious, and Zara couldn't help but smile back. The men who'd been chatting with Jenrea offered merry grins and raised their mugs in customary salute.

"Well, dear," Zara rested her hands at her hips as she regarded Jenrea, "it certainly seems that you've been enjoying yourself. I fear I must remind you that you are, in fact, a prisoner."

Jenrea's expression fell at those words, but a weak smile soon returned. "I know, Miss Zara. Your men here told me all about what happened. While I'm kind of scared, I know that you don't have much of a choice in the matter."

Those honest, forgiving words set Zara off guard. They were anything but what she expected. Zara's brows furrowed. "You aren't... angry?"

"Of course not, MIss Zara. If a strange magic woman suddenly showed up in my home, I don't think I'd refuse her demands either. But if you ever did decide to go against her, know that I'll be behind you all the way. And so will these fellows. Right?"

The last was directed to Zara's men, and the three cheered, nodding their agreement. Zara wasn't certain whether to be impressed at how readily they had taken to her, or upset at how easily they had spilled the information about their client.

Although there was nothing condescending in Jenrea's tone, a certain sense of indignation stirred within the bandit queen. In her innocent way, Jenrea seemed to be operating from the assumption that she, the great Zara Blade, was somehow forced to comply with a demand, rather than working toward some expected reward. Was that how the situation appeared to an outsider? For that matter, had her own men given the young woman that impression?

Zara frowned faintly, but nodded to Jenrea's words. "We will have to see how the exchange goes." And then, eager to change the subject, she quickly asked, "Have any of you seen Cordelia?"

"The pretty little redhead that seems so devoted to you?" Jenrea's question brought the faintest of blushes to Zara's cheeks. Fortunately, the innkeeper's daughter seemed oblivious to the reaction. "I'm afraid not, I got caught up in talking. I'm sorry," as if keeping tabs on Zara's lieutenant should have been her job.

When none of the three bandits sitting about the fire with Jenrea could help either, the amazonian blonde was hardly surprised. When she wished to move unseen, Cordelia might as well have been a ghost. As Zara turned her gaze back about the camp, Jenrea rose to her feet, and stepped quietly toward her. The raven haired beauty went near unnoticed until she grasped one of the bandit queen's hands gently. When Zara turned toward her, those beautiful eyes gazing upward captured her attention for a long moment.

"Miss Blade?" Jenrea's question went unanswered. Indeed, it was only when she continued speaking that Zara realized she was being asked something, "Where is Lady Marissa? I'm worried about her."

Zara's fascination with the enthralling beauty of the innkeeper's daughter was swept away with the return of memories of the night's events. She recalled the holding room, Cordelia whipping the half clad noblewoman, the talks they had. Her eyes tore reluctantly from Jenrea's, and drifted back to the secure little storage hut where the prisoner was being held. She couldn't have gone back to torment the Squire's daughter more, could she?

And yet, that was the only place Zara could think of looking. The bandit queen began to stride toward the structure. So intent was she on her goal that she didn't realize Jenrea's slender hand was still holding hers, at least until the shorter woman stumbled trying to keep up. Rather than release Jenrea, Zara just moderated her own pace. If Jenrea were so concerned about that bitch Marissa, she had every right to see whatever may lay behind that sturdy door.

Indeed, in a moment of irrational jealousy, the bandit queen half hoped Cordelia would be in the midst of torturing the squire's daughter. It would serve her right, though Zara was not immediately certain why: capturing Cordelia's attentions so, or having Jenrea hold her in such high regard.

The tall blonde flung the door open with a crash. Inside, Cordelia stood, holding a long, thin switch torn from one of the local trees. A half clad Marissa was still bound to a post in the middle of the room, and bore fresh stripes from where Cordelia had struck her with a switch. About her neck, from a crude loop of twine, hung a pair of copper talismans that Zara recognized from Cordelia's collection.

They were tokens stolen from the capital city, said to be able to cleanse dark magic from the afflicted, or hinder a caster from working their own spells.

The copper tokens swung wildly on their loose tether, dangling between the swells of Marissa's pert breasts. It became clear that the squire's daughter's head wasn't hung in defeat, but rather to keep those talismans from touching her body. Every time one brushed against her pale skin, a visible spark jumped between flesh and metal, earning a spasm and pained yelp from the young redhead.

While Zara knew that magic existed, and certainly knew a bit about enchanted weapons, the actual practice and use of it was beyond her. Yet as she watched those amulets sway, swing, and then spark again, something struck her as wrong.

So many times, she had seen Cordelia handle those tokens, and she herself had touched them personally more than once. They had never been anything but inert copper. At that moment, they were definitely active. The sparks, the way they caused Marissa to squirm and cringe, it all pointed to an unnatural power.

Had her lieutenant been right all along?

It was only when the battered and bedraggled young noblewoman lifted her hateful eyes to Zara that Cordelia noticed the bandit queen's presence at the entryway. She snapped to attention and executed a bit of a salute, in turn sending the tip of the switch she still held whistling through the air.

"My Lady!" Cordelia adopted a more formal tone immediately, though as her gaze drifted to where Jenrea was barely visible behind Zara, it was clear why. Apparently not wishing to disgrace Zara any more than she already had, she continued quickly, "I believe she's the one we were warned of. Look! The medallions are reacting to her. She's definitely got some sort of magical ability."

Zara stepped cautiously into the chamber, and advanced toward Cordelia. "Delia, dear, what are you doing?" The bandit queen's anger bled away, and concern loomed large. If Marissa was some sort of magic user, poking her and tormenting her was the last thing any sane person should do.

With her attention on Cordelia, Zara hardly noticed Jenrea breaking away from the relative safety behind the tall blonde, to cross toward the bound noblewoman. Whatever the innkeeper's daughter was doing was not her concern.

No, in that moment only the tears that threatened to spill forth from Cordelia's eyes mattered. Zara cupped the redhead's cheeks, and leaned inward.

"My Lady," her lieutenant managed to hold her composure, but only barely. "I am so sorry, I just had to know for sure, whether she was magic or not. I had to find out whether she really did have her hooks in you."

"My sweet Delia." Zara kissed Cordelia's brow. "it's alright. You did well. I just wish you had told me, so I could have watched out for you."

The words of praise and forgiveness earned a sweet smile from the shorter woman, and the switch she had been holding clattered to the ground. Those hands slipped instead to rest at Zara's waist, and she stood on tiptoes to capture the tall blonde's lips.

Somewhere in the back of her mind, Zara could still make out Jenrea worrying over Marissa, while the noblewoman remained terribly quiet. It was barely worth mentally registering, however. At least, so long as that kiss lingered, nothing else seemed to matter.

The bandit queen could have savored that contact forever, but the mood was broken by the sharp tongued outburst of Marissa behind them.

"Well what are you waiting for, you stupid peasant? Take them off!"

Cordelia broke the kiss at those words, and turned her attention to the bound noblewoman. The momentary puzzlement in her eyes immediately gave way to fear, and the expression wound Zara up tighter than any spring. The blonde woman was already in mid turn when Cordelia's fearful cry rang forth.

"No! Don't!"

If she was going to say anything else, it was far too late. Zara turned just in time to see Jenrea innocently tugging the cords that supported those copper mage bane tokens from about Marissa's neck.

Before either Zara or her lieutenant could react, a brilliant flare of light and wash of heat filled the room. Jenrea screamed, and Zara flung herself to cover Cordelia. Searing pain followed, for just a heartbeat, and Zara closed her eyes. The scent of wood smoke filled the air.

"Come on, you little bitch. We're getting out of here," Marissa's words were punctuated by a pained yelp from Jenrea.

Gradually, Zara realized that she wouldn't be able to hear the noblewoman's venomous words if she weren't still alive. She cracked her eyes open, and squinted against the smoke and dust. Cordelia, at least, seemed safe enough. The lean redhead's face was smudged with soot, while her skin was reddened here and there where Zara hadn't been covering her.

The door to the structure, however, was completely gone. A gaping hole had been burned through the wooden wall in its stead, and through the breach she could see Marissa tugging Jenrea along cruelly, using the latter woman's raven hair as a leash.

The bandit queen was confused. What had happened? She forced herself Slowly up to her knees, while Cordelia groaned and rubbed at her face.

As the smoke cleared, more of the burned interior came into view. Charred wood and even crisped soil beneath her seemed to show the pattern of some sort of explosion, emanating from the post where Marissa had been secured.

Any doubt that the squire's daughter had been the source of that heat and flame was put out of mind when the girl half-turned towards her, and casually flipped a small sphere of living fire in Zara's general direction.

Cursing, Zara grabbed Cordelia and rolled away, letting the unnatural fire strike the ground where they had been laying. The rough movement stirred her lieutenant awake, and Cordelia gave a sharp cry.

"What are you doing?" Jenrea's words were fearful, and tinged with pain as she stumbled along. Her hands gripped at her own hair, trying to counteract the tension of Marissa's grasp.

"What does it look like, you stupid twit? I'm getting us out of here!" The noblewoman's own words nearly seared the air, her anger manifesting as flashes of fire and sparks of electricity.

Zara hopped up to her feet, and one hand descended, to fumble at the emptiness near one hip. The sword she was accustomed to finding there was absent, and wide eyed, the bandit queen glanced back through the smoke and chaos in the direction of her own tent. She'd forgotten her weapon, having felt safe in her own camp!

She could see some of the few men that had been in camp rallying to face Marissa, but an arc of electricity suddenly lashed out from the redhead's outstretched hand. It popped and crackled through the air, and those who had run up to join the fray retreated just as quickly, all save one. When the arcing lightning coursed through his body, he fell to the ground where he once stood, twitching and smouldering.

Zara staggered out of the ruins of the makeshift prison, and fetched up a burning beam from the ground. Hefting the great length of wood in both hands, she began to charge Marissa. She lifted the beam, intending to bring it crashing down on the noblewoman's head.

Marissa turned to face her at the sound of those heavy feet, and her jade eyes widened. She lashed one hand up toward the onrushing blonde, and power danced on her fingertips.

"No!" Jenrea cried out, and the noblewoman visibly hesitated. "Don't hurt her!"

A conflicted expression twisted the redhead's face, as if she were struggling to come to a decision. With every moment she stood there, Zara's steps brought her ever closer, that fiery club ever nearer to her target.

With an enraged shriek, Marissa twisted aside, and brought Jenrea about, like some sort of shield.

It was all Zara could do to stop her swing before it brained the terrified young woman. Instead, she directed the force of her blow down to the ground, and the thick wood cracked from the effort, showering still-fiery embers in a circle.

Jenrea's relieved expression was short lived, however, for another sharp tug on her raven locks nearly sent her sprawling. She hurried to catch up to Marissa, who stalked toward the treeline. Bent over and struggling against the iron grip on her hair, she certainly couldn't see just where the other woman was taking her.

"Please stop," she near wept, "Miss Marissa, you're hurting me!"

Once again, Marissa stopped in place, and that conflicted expression crossed her features. Finally, she growled back a sharp, "No!"

Any response which the innkeeper's daughter might have made was interrupted by the sudden flight of a crossbow bolt from the treeline. It missed both Jenrea and Marissa, and thumped into the ground not far from Zara's feet.

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