Chapter 2 – The Search for Caladwen

“It’s a slaver ship, to be sure,” the elf crewman called, tone growing frantic. “He’s caught sight of us again!”

“They’ve no way to know who we are,” another reminded.

“Just put us around the reef and past the jetties,” Nessira instructed her helmsman. Tall and strong, with arms rock-hard from years of hard labor and green eyes that showed resentment for those years, the blond woman stared angrily at the pursuit. The appearance of the black-sailed schooner forced them to turn back from another merchant run, a run that would certainly have proved to be a profitable venture. “Bring us a fog to block their view,” she added, yelling at Liriel, Viridian Dream’s resident druid.

“A fog,” the elf druid huffed, shaking her head so that her pale white hair bounced all about her shoulders. Liriel shrugged and began calling up the power of the sea beneath the ship, feeling power flow down through her swirling tattoos, down through her bare feet and out through the wood of the ship and into the ocean itself, asking it to spray more and more salt water into the air. In a matter of seconds the surf sizzled and sputtered in violent upheaval, bringing a thick bank of fog up behind the fast-sailing elf ship. Nessira smiled and nodded her approval. Her pilot, an ancient elf far older than she, knew the waters around the western tip of the coast better than anyone alive. She could navigate there on the darkest of nights, using no more than the sound of the currents splashing over the reefs.

The Sanguinar slave ship wouldn’t dare follow them through the dangerous waters ahead. Soon enough the Viridian Dream would sail out beyond the jetties, around the rocky bend, and into open waters if she chose, or turn even closer inland to a series of reefs and rocks — the place that hid the elven kingdom of Caladwen, the land that Nessira and her companions called home.

“They’ve no way to know it was us,” the crewman said again. Nessira nodded, and hoped the man was right — believed he probably was, for while the blacks sails of the Sanguinar slave schooner was such a distinctive appearance, the elven-made Viridian Dream appeared to be just another small, unremarkable caravel. Like any other wise ship along the coast, though, Nessira had no desire to tangle with one of the slave ships or their dangerous crews. They could ill afford for the followers of Sanguinar to finally discover the location of the long hidden elf homeland.

Nessira shrugged it all away a short while later, as the Viridian Dream worked dangerously through the myriad of rocks and reefs to the secret, sheltered Golden Cove, the entrance to the secret port of the Isle of Caladwen. Despite the expert piloting, the ship connected more than once on a jagged shelf, and by the time they entered the bay, the caravel was listing to port. No matter, though, for in the hidden safety of the isle, surrounded by towering walls of jagged rock, the elves had the means to repair the ship. They took Viridian Dream into a large cave, the bottom of a system of tunnels and caverns that climbed through this easternmost point of the series of rocky isles, natural tunnels now smoky from torches lining the walls, and rocky caverns made comfortable by the artistry of what was once the most successful, more powerful race in the whole of the world.

The small-framed albino druid gave a sigh. She likely knew that with her magic she’d be doing most of the work on these latest repairs. “Damn those monsters!” Liriel remarked.

Nessira could only nod.

9 months into captivity, Beneath the Temple of Sanguinar in Maithum Falls

All day and all night long they took the elf, and then the next day and the next night. Her abusers were expert in their craft, and working under Lahk’s watching eye. They made her suffer without pause, without reprieve, and without mercy. Athuum took the abuse for hour after hour, day by day, helpless to stop them. She hadn’t slept since this began, she was sure… not really, anyway.

Athuum, for that was her name now, the name Lahk had given her, suffered because there was nothing she could do to stop the abuse… save for the one thing that was unacceptable. As she lay spread and stretched and helpless the followers of Sanguinar used her. If she passed out she was immediately awakened by the wizard Helios’s magic, and if it seemed she was growing too complacent or comfortable, the balance of humiliation and pain the elven druid was experiencing was carefully adjusted. She’d been like this all week.

Lahk was smiling as he watched, naked from the waist up. All week long, the elf slut had been putting on quite a show, suffering for her stubbornness. She wouldn’t last much longer, he knew. Lahk enjoyed watching strong women break, and he knew the signs of a coming collapse. It was the way her eyes fluttered when she was reawakened by Helios’ conjured agony, in the way she attempted to fight her captors just enough to excite them, then go limp and allow them to use her. The way she was learning to flex her flesh with the lash to minimize the impact. Even as she was becoming more used to the torment, her mind was shattering under the strain.

And again and again the soldiers of Sanguinar used her. Ravishing her firm luscious nubile body, eternally youthful, tearing their pleasure from her scarred skin and abused breasts, from her straining legs and tight, quivering holes. Ravaging her again and again as the whip beat endlessly against her vulnerable body, occasionally drawing new sound of horrible agony from the ruined druid. Raping her body even as they raped her soul, taking lustful satisfaction from the red haired whore before returning to duty and being replaced by a newly rotated soldier. Again and again and again this repeated, endlessly.

Athuum. Crawler through filth. Excrement. Shit. The new elvish name she had been given was appropriate.

How many men had used her today? One hundred? Two? Ten? Not even Lahk knew anymore, and he was certain the elf whore couldn’t keep track. She didn’t know who they were, what their names might be, how they had got here, but always she could see Lahk standing near her, watching tirelessly. He had been here for days, never resting, never leaving, though she had no idea how it was possible. Throughout her abuse he had tormented her, reminding her that this was the cost of her own stubbornness, and that she could end it at any time. All she had to do was tell him what he wanted to know.

“Tell me about the throne,” he said, smiling as he looked down at the streaks of cum on her face, contrasting so vividly with the black swirls of her ruined tattoos. “Just tell me, and this will end. You can sleep.” He stroked her hair softly, almost gently, the red locks filthy as he pet her like a favored animal.

Then he made a fist, yanking harshly on her soaked tresses. “Or do you like this?” he asked, his smile evaporating in an instant. “Is this how elves get off? You like getting gang raped, Athuum? You want more of it?” He released her hair in a violent shove, causing her head to swing back and forth. “Because there’s so much more of it. We can go on as long as you like.”

Athuum could say nothing, because after days of abuse her voice was gone. For days she had cried, sobbed, moaned, whimpered, gagged, and screamed, babbling futile prayers to a goddess long since dead as she desperately denied that this was happening to her, that the high priest could make her suffer further. The elf knew that they would never be finished with her, that they would use her and abuse her until every last ounce of agony and pleasure had been extracted from the battered, agonized elf slave, torn from her tautly bound body, until she broke.

And then she would belong to Lahk completely.

He was standing above her still, smiling down at her now so she could see him as they took her hard, laughing all the time as they thrust into her tight cunt, slapping at her thighs breasts, pulling at her hair to hold still her head so to kiss her twisting sobbing lips, pushing their tongues into her crying mouth as the whip crashed down on her again and again, tearing into her with their sharp stings.

Another soldier started raping her, crushing the elf’s lithe body beneath him as he pounded at her painfully tight cunt, still almost like a virgin’s. Lahk spoke a blessing for that eternally young, eternally tight elven body, a gift from Sanguinar to his faithful. He pulled down his pants and rested his cock on her weeping lips, holding it over her moaning mouth as she was raped again, whispering to Athuum what her soft, sensual mouth would soon be doing for him.

He watched her eyes desperately look for an escape, begging her impotent goddess for salvation that would not come.

And as the cock in her erupted and another took its place, she finally broke.

Her voice a choking, faint echo of itself, Athuum cried “I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you everything. I’ll tell you about the throne.”

Lahk smiled as he pushed his member into her mouth, wet with her tears. “Yes, you will. You’ll tell me all about it… as soon as I’m done…”

And she did.

Lahk stood at the prow of the ship, reflexively tightening his grip on the rail as the Bloody Keel crashed down into another wave. The impact sent up a fine mist of salty spray that blew his hair from his face and lacquered his black armor, making it seem to shine in the fading sunset they were sailing towards. He could hear the wood creaking beneath his hand as he vented his frustration — they should have been done here long ago. The endeavor to capture the supply ship was taking longer than anticipated, far too long.

It would be unwise for him to be away from his power base for too long. A underling may start getting ideas.

Maybe that was the reason the elf whore was on his thoughts. Certainly Lahk was not a humble man, and frequently enjoyed remembering his many conquests of unwilling flesh, but it had been years since that hot piece had managed to escape him by killing herself. He grinned ruefully. If only he’d been more careful, if only he’d not considered her will completely shattered, he would have known where Caladwen was by now, and he wouldn’t have to be fruitlessly combing the coast for a sign of the ship that supplied their island homeland.

The high priest braced himself once again as the swift schooner crested yet another wave and began falling into the ocean again, the masterpiece of a ship cutting as smoothly through the rough surf as any crafted in Silas’ history, for no shipwright would dare provide the church of Sanguinar with any but the finest of wares.

Lahk forced himself to be patient as another wave of mist pelted his cloak and armor. The War of Ascension has been raging for close to thirty years. He couldn’t expect it to end overnight, he reminded himself with forced calm. Being patient was not the priest’s strong point, and this close to the end of the quest, it was even harder. After all this time, and after all that they have paid, victory in the war was at last within his grasp.

Twenty five years ago, Sirae and Sanguinar, the Goddess of Growth and the God of Suffering, had killed each other in a fateful duel that was supposed to end the war, a war that had already cost the citizens of Silas greatly. The royal family of the nation lay dead, the royal blood and the right to rule casualties of the bloody struggle between powers far greater than the men caught between them and smashed like a ship thrown onto the rocks. The following of Sanguinar has been badly damaged by the conflict, with more than half of the once mighty church either killed or sent fleeing beyond the borders of Silas and into the untamed lands. The losses suffered by the worshipers of Sirae had been less severe, but unlike the church they could not afford the casualties. The followers of the elven God Queen Sirae had been almost obliterated by the war, reduced to a mere tithe of their numbers even though they had lost but a fraction of the men who met their ends under their blades and druidic magic.

Lahk licked the salt from his lips as he stared out at the sea. Somewhere out there, he knew, was the last bastion of the elves. Both sides had retreated from the conflict after the death of their deity, and Lahk knew the elves had been pushed back to their ancestral homeland, an island named Caladwen. If he could find it, he knew, the war would be over.

For the Church of Sanguinar was broken no longer.

When the young Lahk had seized control of his birthright from the reigning high priest at twelve, he proclaimed himself the new high priest of the dead god Sanguinar and set out to once gain make the church something their patron lord would be proud to possess. With no royal family to govern any longer and its armies shattered by the war of the gods, the kingdom had fallen defenseless to the predations of the untamed lands. The Veil had weakened, and periodically lost effectiveness. Demons rampaged through the borderlands of Silas, infiltrating ever deeper into the kingdom every year, raping and burning the countryside as they went. The protection that the people had taken for granted since the beginning of the kingdom’s history was no longer a perfect defense.

The people cried out for a new central authority, and Lahk was determined to make his church that force.

With one hand, he armed soldiers with weapons to fight back the demonic invaders, and armored them with fanatic faith in the Lord of Suffering. With the other hand, he squeezed the country of Silas dry, controlling vice and sin in the country with an iron first. His coffers swelled with the funds provided by intoxicants and the peddling of flesh, and his ranks swelled with new believers, desperate for food and protection.

Six years ago he had moved his base of operations to the former royal palaces in the capital city of Maithum Falls, and declared the site the new temple to Sanguinar. None dared gainsay the newly christened High Priest.

He again had an army, every bit the equal of the one that had driven the elves to the brink of extinction twenty five years ago. If he could find Caladwen, his magic would summon them to his side, and the elves would fall. The War of Ascension would finally be over, and Sanguinar would be triumphant. He would have more elf cunt than he would know what to do with.

And Lahk could take the rest of his birthright.

Athuum hung by her toes in the dark chamber under the former royal castle, sobbing softly from the unrelenting bite of the screws gouging the flesh around her swollen toes and crying occasionally when a fly bit her, unaware that Lahk and his brother were standing just outside the room.

She cried when a bite caused her to jerk her legs, sending her swinging slowly and gasping as pain shot down from her toes through her legs and chest, In the unlit chamber, her strained arms were a bundle of dull pain, and the throbbing burns of whip scars hurt even when she managed to remain completely motionless.

“So the information about the throne was accurate?” Aion asked the high priest, his voice quiet. The sound barely reached his brothers ears, and the sobbing elf remained oblivious. “You learned what you needed to know?”

“Very nearly,” Lahk answered, equally quiet. “It should suffice for my plans. All that is left is to locate it.”

“So you mean to torture her again for the location?” his brother asked, his voice dubious. “In her current state, she’s unlikely to survive that.”

“She’ll live long enough,” the high priest answered without mirth. “After I know Caladwen’s location, she’s of no further use to me.”

The older priest looked in on the elf as she swayed slowly from side to side, her face tight with agony. He smiled sadly. “Such a waste of a beautiful girl. She would have made us a fortune in the brothel.”

“I know what you mean,” Lahk answered, smiling for the first time. “Still, once we locate Caladwen, we’ll have more elf pussy than we can sell. I’ve waited long enough.” Lahk’s voice was but a whisper, but the gloating and anticipation were unmistakable.

In the chamber, Athuum arched when a fly bit her left nipple, again, as the encrusted blood made them preferred targets. Her cries did not reach the room where her nemesis was explaining how his plans would unfold, “I care not if she remains intact anymore. Bring me my tools.” He nodded at his half brother as the older priest bowed slightly and backed off. “And send Helios down with them.”

Hanging in misery, the sound of approaching footsteps caused the suffering elf to feel almost relieved, although she knew that her release would be brief and would soon result in further suffering. Cold water cascaded over her form, washing away the blood and cum dried across her lithe form. The elf tensed as the frigid water poured over her, causing new agony from her hung toes. Then she was falling.

Her world exploded as head impacted against the stone floor, collapsing into a heap when Lahk slashed the ropes suspending her with his sword. When her vision swam back into focus the high priest was dragging her to her feet by her scarlet hair, pushing her against the wall. The stone was cold against her cheek.

“You’ve been a good girl, haven’t you Athuum” He said, his manner turning gentle again as he gently caressed the whimpering elf.

“Yes…” she whispered, her voice trembling against the anticipated violence. “Yes, I told you what you wanted to know…”

“Yes, you have,” Lahk said, stroking her hair softly, brushing it from her face. “You’ve told me what I asked… and now I’m asking again.”

She moved under his hand, her body involuntarily pressing against the soothing contact. “Anything.”

“Where is Caladwen?” he asked. His voice was sickly sweet.

The elf started to weep again. “I told you… I told you… I don’t know…”

Her breath burst from her lungs as Lahk drove his fist into her gut, and she would have collapsed back to the ground if he didn’t grab savagely onto her hair again. “And you were doing so well, cunt.” He dragged the tattooed elf over to a wooden rail to the side of the room. It’s edge had been hacked raw by savage hands, covered with dents and notches filled with ugly splinters.

“Did you think I was stupid, Athuum? Too big a fool to see through a transparent whore like you?” Even in the elf’s condition, it took all of his strength to force her to straddle it as she began to struggle in earnest. Her arms were bound behind her head, the left wrist to the right elbow and vice versa. “There is a huge painting in the royal palace upstairs,” Lahk said as he stretched a rope tightly around her waist, pulling and squeezing until her breathing became harsh. She screamed when the high priest pulled her legs from under her to tie her ankle cuffs to the bar beneath the rail.

“The painting is of the hero of Accida Ridge, a red haired druid who singlehandedly saved Prince Liam in that battle.” He pounded his fist into the bound elf suspended on the rail again and again, punctuating his word with his fists as he lost his temper, screaming, “And she looks! A lot! Like! You!”

With the rope wound tight around his chest, Athuum had difficulty catching her breath. Her abused pussy leaned on the torturous edge under her full body weight, and the ropes fastened on her elbows would keep her from falling sideways and off of the rail. “You are going to tell me, you cunt.” Lahk hissed into her pointed ear as she shuddered on the wooden beam. He hooked an open mouth gag between her lips, and she was too exhausted to resist much as he tied it behind her head. “You just think of some way to let me know when you’ve had enough, you hear?”

Her panting cries turned to a howl when the thin, rough whip wielded by Lahk’s expert hand lashed her right thigh, her jerk causing her groin to rub against the splintered nightmare between her legs. After a mere three strikes, blood started to trickle from her wounded privates as each twitch and jerk ground them on the slivers and dents of the hellish device.

The whip was Lahk’s favorite, demon leather with ground glass shards embedded in the curl of the harsh strands. The course whip struck out again and landed on the elf’s back, leaving a thin stripe punctuated in crimson. The druid cried desperately when she jumped from the blow and lodged a splinter between her cunt lips. The next strike coiled around her back, causing her to bend and pull back on the rail, chafing the soft flesh between the ass hole and the vulva. Her tormentor then expertly lashed her ass cheeks, sending her pelvis forward with a agonizing howl as the movement ground more splinters into her bleeding sex.

Slowly, deliberately, the expert torturer alternated lashes to her shoulders, belly, and ass, driving her to jump alternatively forward and back. The bloody stripes crisscrossed her body, still beautiful but heavily marked by scars and sores from months of torments, and the elf’s wails of anguish rose and fell in time with the grinding of her feminine flesh on the torturous rail. For a change he changed his target to the soles of her feet, noting that this caused her to pull her pelvis forward. Then he tore the lash across her reddened breasts, pushing her backwards with a howl of agony as the sharp barbs tore the firm flesh.

The elf’s torment rose to a new level of agony, as the pain from her breasts and soles was sharper and deeper than the pain from areas of thicker skin. Her cries rose accordingly with the ascending torment, hoarse from screaming and wheezing, her panting chest already glistening with the perspiration of her unrelenting torment.

As the minutes added up, the druids perfect breasts transformed from full, firm globes any woman would be proud of to striped, bleeding mounds of quivering, tormented flesh. Lahk, untiring, changed targets again, moving behind the tattooed elf and lashed her right thigh, followed by her left armpit in an attempt to cause her to tilt against the torturous edge. After a few attempts her renewed cries told him that he had been successful, and Athuum found new agonies between her legs as her private parts ground on hitherto undiscovered dents and splinters.

Scream after scream, her mind started to fade, to wander off in search of something other than the universe of pain she was going through. Lahk derived intense pleasure from the elf’s torment and screams, and was determined to see it last as long as possible, until she gave him what he wanted. Then, once he had taken everything from her that he needed, the object of his lust laying cold on the floor, empty of the strength that he had ripped from her body inch by agonizing inch… then her blood would feed his sword.

New lustful desire grew in the high priest as the elf suffered, smiling in ecstasy when her head bent back and she cried in agony, the tendons of the lithe neck distended and stretched as her scream grew and waned. His cock grew hard and painful as her delightful body twitched on the rail under his whip, her bleeding thighs lifted a bit as the barbs tore into them. He licked his tongue across her bleeding flesh as she trembled, savoring the taste of her sweat and blood, and then he resumed the whipping, stronger than ever. His eyes feasted on her succulent flesh as her bleeding breasts heaved in pain.

Practically lost in a fog of maddening pain, the elf was still sane enough to realize that her torture had been taken to a new level entirely. The expert whip work left her with pearls of crimson streaking the length of both of her tormented legs, forcing her to tilt back and forth over the tormenting sharp edge. New stabbing pains rose from her agonized cunt as again a splinter pierced deep into her, the scream being consumed by another howl of pain as a new vicious strike landed on her upper thigh.

Another blow landed against her bleeding breasts, white hot pain exploding as the whip tore across the bloodied nipple and a shard of glass lodged in it before being yanked away by the force of the blow. Fresh seepage stained her pale skin as the world started to fade to black. More spikes of agony followed, but the elf was fading fast from the world, her eyes rolling back into her head as she shuddered, then lost consciousness as another blow curled around her inner thigh.

“Would you like me to wake her up, my lord?”

“Helios.” Lahk’s voice was flat as turned from from the unconscious druid to face the entrance where the arrogant wizard stood, insubordinately leaning against the wall in apparent disregard for the decorum the high priest was owed. Lahk ground his teeth. The wizard was under no illusion that the leader of Sanguinar’s church was going to kill him one day, as soon as he was as used up as the elf behind him was. Since he knew nothing he could do would prolong his life a second beyond the point at which he was useful, the mage apparently saw no need to grovel before his rightful lord.

The high priest curled the whip absentmindedly. “You should have reported to me when you arrived.” Despite his strenuous whipping he had performed for the past half hour, the priest wasn’t sweating or even breathing hard.

“Apologies, my lord.” Helios replied with an utter lack of contrition. He walked towards the ruined beauty perched atop the savage rail, now stained in blood from her inner thighs and cunt. “Oh, I can’t believe how attractive you used to be. And such a good fuck.” He slapped his ringed finger across her face. “Useless now,” he said, seemingly disappointed by her utter lack of reaction. “Just a used up, disgusting whore.”

He turned to face his lord again, who was still calmly furling the whip. “Did you want me to wake her up? My. Lord?”

“Reposition her first,” Lahk ordered, starting to unbind the druid from the ropes holding her to the red stained wood. Helios helped, and together the men dragged her over to a horizontal cross. Quickly Lahk fixed iron cuffs over the elf’s slim wrists, binding her spread eagle to the fixture before he gestured to the wizard to wake her up.

Immediately the man launched into exorbitant spell-casting, sweeping his arms in circular motions as he drew some dust into his hand. The spell he was casting was a complicated one, that took many seconds to complete. His fingers trailed lines of light that remained floating in the air behind his gesture. The spell completed with a flare of energy, and the lines forming the arcane insignia flooded with scarlet glow.

The druid came awake screaming in perfect agony, as the spell forced every single nerve ending in her entire, beaten body to light up all at once, every single part of her body screaming at the same time that it was burning, freezing, and being torn apart in a single, horrible instant. The spell only lasted for that second, a momentary burst of pain, but Athuum thrashed and flailed in the iron cuffs for a long time at the remembered reality of the awful suffering the magic had forced upon her.

“Welcome back my little pain slut.” Lahk looked down at the elf on the cross below him, twirling a steel pair of pliers between his fingers. “This stops when you want it to.”

Her eyes shut in a scream as he closed the pliers on the flesh of her thigh, pulled, and twisted, each twist a new cry as her flesh bruised and chafed under the merciless iron jaws. Still aroused, he lowered his mouth to her and bit her once proud breasts while twisting the jaws of the tongs on the flesh of her groin, extending her torment and humiliation. He stopped the torment just long enough to strike her across her sobbing face before he again sank the tongs into her flesh, pulling and twisting until her skin felt like it was going to rip under the harsh steel.

Helios drew the elf’s attention by resting his cock on her nose, bouncing it there before slipping it into Athuum’s gagged mouth, slipping himself entirely into her mouth and throat. He fucked her with long, deep strokes, taking his time to enjoy her screams as Lahk tormented the poor elf girl rather than just brutally raping her face like he usually had enjoyed doing to her. He had to admit that it was so much better this way, to feel the vibrations of her extreme agony awake his lust as she choked on a man she surely detested.

“I’m not impressed,” he said casually. “Her skills with her mouth are just as broken as the rest of her, I’m afraid.” The mage laughed as the torment continued. He held her head steady so he could drive his cock all the way down her throat, making her gag for a moment before pulling back with a sigh of pleasure. The elf screamed again as the pliers bit into her.

With a cruel shine in his eyes, Lahk closed the pliers on the nail of her pinky and slowly twisted it out of its seat among her desperate cries, sinking his teeth into the flesh of her breast once more. Her despair rose to new heights as she realized how her fate would unfold next. The pain seared her mind as each nail was pulled with agonizing slowness from her fingers while she creamed around a cock, screeches, echoing in the dark castle like a chorus out of hell.

‘Mpppfff!’ The elf tried to plead around Helios’s raping member as he pushed it deep, relishing in the pleasure her gagging and screaming throat provided to him as Lahk moved down her body, lightly dragging his tongs across her body as he went.

This far down on her body he could no longer abuse her breasts, but this brought the former druid little respite as he fastened the hard steel around a toenail. The pain was more intense and shook her to the bone, the pain increased as he pressed hard against the skin of her thighs and ground the splinters still there further into her tortured flesh.

The screams were enough to bring the cruel mage over the edge. He began gasping and moaning heavily as he held her head, shooting wave after wave of his jism into her warm mouth, filling the druid’s mouth with the foul taste. “At least you’re still good for something,” Helios mocked as he withdrew his member from her and stood smiling as Lahk found new ways to hurt her, her breasts thrashing as Lahk ripped the rest of her toe nails from her feet.

Out of nails to pull, the high priest displaced the mage from before the elf’s head. Savagely, he grabbed her face and closed the iron pliers on her tongue, opening the gates of a new hell as the sensitive flesh was mauled and twisted, rupturing blood vessels. Her choked screams turned to pitiful gurgles as he unrelentingly tore and twisted, stopping just short of ripping her tongue out.

With a grin of anticipation he pulled his own cock from his pants, and pushed his hard member into her screaming mouth. Blocking her head between his legs, the high priest closed the pair of pliers on a nipple of her breast in a frenzy of arousal, barely avoiding completely shredding the flesh to ribbons as he rode the howling elf. Twisting and pulling, he forced Athuum to scream his cock up to the very edge of climax.

Helios took that opportunity to penetrate her brutalized cunt right then, the elf’s suffering only intensifying as his hips pushed the slivers further into her body, piercing new flesh as he pierced her well used hole one last time, his hands waving their way through another copy of the pain rune spell as she was buffeted between her two tormentors.

When the magic erupted, it was all Lahk could do to hold on, driving himself ever deeper into the twisting, writhing throat of his victim as she screamed and screamed, her raucous roar of suffering now a mere echo of what it had been. The agony she was being subjected to had taxed her voice beyond even the elf’s formidable endurance.

Helios gripped her by her bleeding thighs, squeezing as he impaled her still deeper on his rock hard weapon, a flick of his fingers sending an arcane shock coursing through her clit. Another shock came, and something within her wanted to offer Lahk anything to stop the pain and damn the cost, but her panic had now put her beyond even the rational option of surrendering the location of the isle of Caladwen. Pulling and twisting in her bonds she twitched on the pair of cocks as Helios poured more and more energy into her most sensitive spot, blackening the flesh as her suffering gave him an amazing ride. At last the wizard came in the elf, gifting her his seed one final time before she died.

What little remained of Athuum’s self worth and identity all but vanished under the pain. The incremental agonies had broken her for the time being, Lahk realized as his cock shook deep in her throat, her eyes closed and her screaming silenced as the priest came. She had escaped into unconsciousness again.

Helios tried to wake her, but she couldn’t be brought to.

“Let her rest until it dawns in two hours.” the high priest instructed, lustfully eying the broken tattooed elf. “Then we’ll start again.”

“Oi, Brother!” A voice shook Lahk from his recollections.

He turned to see Aion, his right hand and elder brother traversing the rolling ship towards him, gripping the rail tight as the ship again slammed into the surf. ‘Half brother,’ Lahk reminded himself.

The tall priest moved to stand beside the stationary Lahk, his red cloak billowing in the wind of their passage. Together the pair watched as the last rays of the sun made the ocean shimmer as the light died until dawn.

“What word from Helios?” Lahk spoke into the silence.

“The word,” Aion replied with the barest hint of a laugh in his voice, “is that he wants me to remind you that he’s no damned seer, to divine the future.”

One of Lahk’s hands fell to his belt, to lovingly caress the hilt of the precious sword on his left hip. “For his sake, I hope that is not the only word,” the high priest growled, “or he’ll feel Blackwand’s kiss this night.” His other hand flickered briefly towards the agate amulet around his neck.

Aion nodded, trying not to focus his eyes on the scabbard on his younger brother’s belt. To feel the sting of that blade’s black steel was to redefine suffering. The priest wisely desired to avoid its wrath.

If one was to die, better to throw oneself upon Lahk’s second sword.

“He cannot find the Viridian Dream. The wizard insists that it must have reached berth within the wards of Caladwen to so completely evade his sight.”

Lahk sighed, his frustration growing with every second. “And so it is beyond us again.” A moment of pause, then his boot lashed out at the rail, cracking the wood with the brutality of the blow. “When does he say it will sail again?”

“He’s no seer…” Aion began, but when his brother’s murderous eyes fell on him, he wisely hurried onward. “…but he believes the day after next.”

“Instruct him that if he fails to provide an intercept for us this time,” Lahk dictated, his voice cold as the sea spray, “his use to me will come to an abrupt end.” His half brother thumped his fist against his armor and hastily retreated back amidships, making good his escape from the frustrated high priest.

Lahk considered heading below decks himself, to vent his frustration on one of the women chained below deck. With regret, he dismissed the possibility. Angry as he was, he would doubtless kill one of the slaves and it would do little to appease his frustration. The woman he wanted to hurt was Athuum, that druid whore who could have prevented him from needing to hunt for this accursed ship for two months now, if only she had told him where Caladwen was before taking her own life.

‘Damn that elf for dying before I gave her permission.’ he thought to himself.

“What the fuck do you mean she escaped!” Lahk screamed into the soldiers face, spittle flying in his rage.

He stared looking at the empty iron cross, the shackles dangling open from the ends of the metal, still encrusted with blood from the elf’s struggles barely an hour earlier. The high priest could scarcely believe his eyes. Only a short time ago, there had been a broken, helpless wreck of a crippled druid writhing in these bonds, too weak to resist, too injured to be any threat. That elf had been the key to his destiny, a living map to the isle of Caladwen.

“She was bleeding. She was tortured. She was Practically Flayed To The Sanguinar Damned Bone!” He continued, his voice rising, spiraling further and further out of control as he went on. Dimly, Lahk noticed his brother taking a few steps back from him. “Inform me how she could have possibly escaped!”

“She… she slipped her bonds while we were moving her, milord,” the man whimpered pathetically. Even Athuum at her most worthless had more dignity than the sniveling guard, reduced instantly to infancy by his high priest’s rage. “She kicked at us, broke Laern’s damned neck milord! My own knee went out and everything went black!”

Lahk wanted to ask what depth of idiocy had led them to decide that they should move the captive without approval, but the cock hanging out of the slain Laern’s trousers told him all he’d ever need to know. Of all the greedy, stupid, arrogant… it wasn’t as though there was a lack of flesh available in the temple…

The stupid guard never saw Lahk move.

Blackwand’s dark steel turned a vibrant blue for an instant as it ripped through the man’s belly without making a whisper of sound, piercing the armor like cloth as it cut effortlessly through the doomed guard. His mouth opened in a silent scream as lightning-blue fire erupted from the wound, the flames licking laterally back towards the dark steel of the high priest’s sword.

The flames burned what little blood stained Blackwand from its length as Lahk stood there, watching with hungry eyes as the fool burned from within, the pale flame consuming his entire body in an instant. Mere seconds from the lethal blow, the man crumbled to ash.

Lahk waited until he flames stopped licking towards his sword, then angrily sheathed the dark blade. He turned to face Aion behind him. “You have determined her fate?”

The priest nodded, gesturing to the blood stained footprints on the floor. “The lashing you gave the elf’s soles must have reopened during the fight. I followed it to the end of the corridor.”

“It ends there?”

“Yes, milord. At the window.” Aion hadn’t addressed the high priest in such a formal manner for many months. Such was the level of Lahk’s rage that any wise man would seek to avoid feeling its sting at any cost.

Lahk strode purposefully down the hallway, hearing the roar of water increase as he came closer to the narrow window. He looked out at the waterfall far below, erupting out of the cliff and emptying into the savage river hundreds of feet below the opening. He could feel his birthright slipping away from him as the location of Caladwen had been stolen from him equally.

“Took the cowards way out, did you elf?” Lahk spoke softly, the voice intended for no ears but his own. Louder, he instructed “Send a battalion to search the river for her.”

“You think she survived, milord?” Aion said, caution in his voice.

The high priest shook his head. “In her condition?” He scoffed. “She’s food for the fish. But I’ll not take chances.”

Aion knew better than to question his volatile brother at a time like this. The priest saluted and strode quickly away, wisely putting distance between himself and his furious leader.

He had thought she was broken. A husk of a being, with all her will to resist shattered. Lahk struck the stone edge of the window with his bare hand, feeling the hard stone crumble beneath the force of his strength. He had miscalculated, and badly… and it was going to cost him.

“This death was too good for you, Athuum.” He spat out the window, watching until he lost sight of the glob as it traveled far, far down to the churning water below.

The sun was long since down now, and still Lahk stood at the bow, lost in recollection. Maybe when he took Caladwen, that piece of filth would have living relatives. A daughter, or maybe a mother, or grand mother. He happily thought of how the elves eternal life could be used to benefit him, to give him a way to make Athuum suffer for what she had nearly deprived him off, for the trouble she had caused him.

For the first time in days, Lahk gave a genuine smile.

The elf opened her eyes.

She didn’t expect that, actually. It came as something of a surprise.

Her entire body ached, like someone had beat her with a meat tenderizer before slicing her into bite sized pieces.

Sadly, that part did not come as a surprise.

What did come as a surprise was that she was warm. Not hot, not burning, but actually, comfortably warm. She couldn’t remember the last time she’d felt that way. It was many months ago, certainly, before she had meet Lahk. She was also clean, itself almost an alien sensation. She was wrapped in a warm blanket, laying next to a blazing fire in the darkness.

The druid could feel cloth against her skin, bandages, and clothing. When was the last time she was not naked?

“You’re awake,” a whisper came from behind her, the voice somehow reminding her of her mother. The elf turned to look behind her. Illuminated by the firelight, a man, perhaps in his early fifties, sat wrapped in a tan cloak, slowly pouring something into a pair of bowls from a large pot.

“Do you remember me?” He asked as he slowly, very slowly, walked towards the prone druid and deposited the bowl in front of her. It was some kind of stew, perhaps venison, and smelled like a gift from the goddess herself. The man sat a few paces away and began to spoon soup from his own bowl, devouring the broth. She stared untrustingly at the bowl of stew until the man rolled his eyes and traded her bowl for his. “It’s safe,” he said as he resumed his eating, this time from her bowl.

The elf’s stomach rumbled, and her needs overwhelmed her paranoia. She grasped the bowl in awkward, bandaged fingers and poured the broth into her mouth. Hot food, actual hot food. She had forgotten that eating could be a pleasant experience, rather than another way to introduce humiliation and pain. The broth was almost hot enough to burn her throat as she drank it like a woman possessed, devouring the sustaining mix like she had not eaten in her entire life.

All too quickly her bowl was empty, and to her surprise the second bowl was placed before her. She hadn’t even seen the man approach and she flinched away. Moving with slow deliberation, he backed away from the elf, hands raised and open. “I mean you no harm.”

The druid couldn’t bring herself to watch the man too long while the bowl was before her, assaulting her nostrils with the scent of real, fresh meat. She tore into the second bowl with undiminished fervor. When she was done, she sat in silence beneath the blankets, warily watching the man as he cleaned the bowls, illuminated by the flickering fey light of the fire.

“How am I alive?”

He turned to face her, his eyes soft and patient. “I saw you fall. When I looked around, I found you washed up on the shore, barely breathing and cold as a fish. I bandaged your wounds and warmed you up as best I could,” he gestured at her before continuing. “As for how you survived your dive into the river, I have no idea. Lucky, I guess.”

“Lucky,” she spat. Every inch of her body sang a song of sorrow that gave lie to the word.

“Do you remember me?” The man asked again. When the elf slowly shook her head, he continued, “I thought not. I am Shevarn, and we have met before, long ago.”

He wrapped the bowls in a oilskin, smiling as he continued. “I have to say, it pleases me to learn you survived the war, my dear Li…”

She interrupted him viciously. “That is no longer my name.”

His smile vanished, looking directly into the druid’s hard eyes as she stared at him. “As you wish,” he said finally, continuing his cleaning efforts. “What is your name then?”

Her voice was barely audible over the crackling of the fire. “I no longer have one.”

“Well, what should you be called then?” He asked, the smile reappearing on his face. “I refuse to call you elf.”

The elf winced. What to call her? What is a name.

For so long, people had just called her whatever they thought of to demean her, called her by whatever disgusting, humiliating name they wished. Bitch. Whore. Cunt. Athuum. But those were not her name. They did not define who she was.

Nor did her birth name, she knew without doubt. That name spoke of someone else, a hero, a warrior who no longer existed. If the elf that carried that name could see what kind of creature she had become, she would be disgusted. That name, too, no longer defined who she was.

Then what was she? What did she want?

What did define her now?

Her eyes became as hard and merciless as the cold stone beneath her, shining in the firelight. “Call me Alassiel.”

One thought on “Chapter 2 – The Search for Caladwen

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