Author: The Rose Alchemist PM
"Now do you understand why you should obey me, girl?" It took all of Luna's will power to reply like some beaten child "yes" she said in a whisper, planning on dieing before she actually meant it, or his death coming first, preferably.Rated: Fiction M - English - Fantasy/Romance - Chapters: 10 - Words: 15,457 - Reviews: 19 - Favs: 9 - Follows: 16 - Updated: 10-22-12 - Published: 03-11-12 - id: 3004212
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Luna felt comfortable and at home, on the soft white sheets of her bed. They were a little cold with the approaching winter, but the covers that laid across her waist and side kept her body warm. As she again approached consciousness, she felt happy and languid enough to keep lying there for an extra hour or two before her alarm went off. She didn't want to open her eyes yet and break this perfect moment of content, but the warmth was suddenly gone, and her stomach felt tight, like her intestines were folding in on themselves.
Then she realized how hungry she was, and how fatigued her muscles were, and that there was no first dawn's light streaming in through the blinds.
"Get up human" came the deep voice, accompanied by a slight kick to the side, which was enough to force Luna into opening her eyes and seeing nothing, and remembering her current situation.
She slowly pulled her still tired and hungry form upright, and then quickly got to her feet so that he wouldn't see how weak she was becoming. Luna's head was reeling with the movement that was too fast for her body, but refused to show any sign of how difficult it was to stand and not collapse back onto the ground.
Legion gave the rope a pull and they were once more on their way to the cave of Soreon, but now it was only about a three hour walk away until they would meet the ousted highblood. Legion had been thinking about his almost completely human captive the whole time she had been asleep within the confines of his arms. He couldn't understand why now of all times he had started to feel strongly for a woman, strongly enough to start to care about the scrapes and bruises she acquired every time she tripped over a rock. But he couldn't show this damned weakness now, not when she had finally just begun to be obedient. How could he even harbor feelings for such a disgusting excuse for a creature at all?
He had ample time to think about this as they both walked along silently, with no other sound than the occasional suppressed groan of Luna when she tripped behind him.
She didn't really now what to make of this man whose name she still did not even know, who was cruel enough to keep someone unfed for days, and to tie a rope around them like an animal. Her rage at this creature was growing every second and if given the opportunity she was almost sure she could kill him. With the engraved dagger her mother had given her when she was young, before she had left weeks later. Leaving her father as the sole parent and leaving a very confused and hurt young daughter behind with nothing but an ornate weapon as a memento of the woman who gave birth to her.
Luna's father had tried to tell her that "mother only left because she loves us so much", but how in hell could that make any sense? You don't leave the people you love. You don't leave your only child. Her father had been the only person in the world to stay, that would stay and love her forever, and Luna would see him again, no matter what happened. She would get her freedom and escape from this nightmare, or die trying.
The cave of Soreon was now just in front of Legion and he knew it would be no small matter to ask a favor of him. The snake tribesman was a highblood, but he had done something so fundamentally wrong that he had been permanently exiled from his home village and all of the other villages by the council of elders. From that point on he had lived a life of near complete solitude on his own in a large cave next to a field where small game roamed, and medicinal herbs grew. His only company was Legion, his only remaining friend and the occasional passerby who stopped to rest and gather supplies from him.
His entire lower body was that of a huge golden snake, one that could elevate him to 12 feet tall if he wanted too. Or wrap around any helpless pray or enemy that happened to come his way. He had been a successful highblood, a great warrior who could kill with amazing efficiency and speed, he was nearly unstoppable and the pride of his tribe. That was until he saw the woman who would ruin his life. A full human girl who had been taken for interrogation about her newly born son, a son born to a rogue true creation who had fornicated with her. It was a forced act on the girl, who had barely reached her 15th year in life, her name was Alice.
The council kept her in prison, and when she escaped Soreon was the one who found her hiding in an abandoned hut just outside of town. She couldn't see anything and begged him to just help her find her son, all she wanted was to find her son. He took pity on Alice and took her in his arms to another unused home on the outskirts of town, and hid her scent by covering her in flowers. He knew there was nothing that could be done about her son, he would be raised by a true creation mother and made to believe that humans were the bane of his existence. No one would change that.
But he fed her in secret and kept her living comfortably...and then he made his mistake in falling in love with her. He didn't know if she felt the same way, she had never seen him in the light before, she didn't know how inhuman his body was, and he knew the slithering sound of his movement made her anxious. That was what gave him a highblood status, his closeness to his animal relatives as opposed to the human section. But that was also what drove him away from the human woman, she knew what he was and that their relationship was doomed to end tragically.
Inevitably, the council found where he had been hiding her, and everything went wrong for them both. The girl was sentenced to death and Soreon to permanent banishment, but he told Legion he would have rather died with her on that day, so that the hollowness of his life would be finished. But Legion wouldn't let him die, and stayed with him for months until the thought of suicide had finally left his head. Soreon then resigned himself to learning about life and humans, and the Ruined Lands and anything so that he wouldn't have to think about Alice. He was reading a book written in one of the human languages when the two arrived. It was titled Romeo and Juiet.
Legion wondered if his friend was doing well as he approached the cave's entrance, it was always good to keep an eye on Soreon. He would definitely have something to say about Luna, he would try to talk him out of bringing her to the council, he had too much sympathy for the humans after Alice died. But Legion knew he could never blame his friend for that, he had watched his mate die, human or not, and that was a torture no one should have to endure.
And even as he thought this, he knew that if his admiration for the girl, Luna, ever grew into anything more than that...he would have to pay the price for his feelings in blood.
He led Luna into the mouth of the cave slowly, taking care that she didn't slip on the moist ground or bump into the large black rocks that covered the ground.
"Soreon are you here?" Legion yelled back into the deep recesses of the formation, hearing his echo trailing back. The answer sent shivers down Luna's spine, it was not a voice like her captor's, but one that sounded like wind against the tree's.
"Legion, you bring a human here..." Soreon spoke from the back of his home, and his huge body slithering across the waxy stone floor signaled his movement. Luna was moving back and forth on her heels, and partially hiding behind her captor, unable to draw her old weapon for protection. She had never liked snakes, and she knew that was what kept moving closer and closer to her, until the same voice was only a few feet away.
"You look better, you've been eating well" Legion said in the language of the snakes, which sounded like hissing mixed in with more human words that blended together with similar ending sounds to make the whole language flow together. The highblood responded with a similar smile "i have been, thanks to you" he flicked his forked tongue out to smell the air and knitted his eyebrows together "why do you have a human woman with you? Why would you bring her here?" He said with fresh pain at the girls scent, which reminded him of the still unhealed wound of his lost loved ones premature death.
At seeing the pain in his friends face Legion described the order of the council to bring back the halfling girl into their custody from the Ruined Lands. Soreon frowned and his expression turned dark "You can't take her to them. They'll kill her too, and when they do I'll hunt down every last one of them, which is what I should have done for Alice." The determination in his slitted eyes showing the utter seriousness of his intentions, no other human or halfling would die with his consent.
Legion frowned "She needs to be fed, we'll talk about this later" and Soreon went to get the fresh boar he had killed last night, still raw as he always ate them without being cooked.
"and give her light, they don't like the dark" he stated as he moved away, knowing how much it had terrified Alice to be alone in the dark for so long.
Legion pulled out the flower that would serve as payment, so that Luna could see temporarily. Then went about starting a fire with a pile of shrubs and some of the other materials Soreon had gathered that were lying about the cave. Luna could see him again, and the stoic expression as he made the fire and she couldn't help herself looking at him.
And Legion caught her staring with an amused smirk, that made Luna blush against her own wishes and turn away. He really was one of the most attractive men she had ever seen, and certainly the most capable as well.
"Why did you take me here?..." Luna's raspy voice said, she was very thirsty as well and her throat felt raw with how dry it had become. And she of course could not decipher their conversation in the snake language, and thought that she might have been brought to this man to be his next meal or something else similarly awful.
"We need to resupply, and you need to eat and rest" did she hear him right, would she finally get something to fill the crippling emptiness in her stomach?
The approach of the slithering noise signaled Soreon coming back, just when Legion had managed to start a small fire, putting him in the light as he dropped the carved out boar on the floor with a thud. Luna looked at him with fear and couldn't help gasping, he had silver eyes with small diamond shaped black pupils and the golden scaled tail that shone with the firelight. His hair was as black as Legion's but it ran down to his shoulders in an unkempt sort of way, and his bare human chest was heavily muscled and proudly showed off healed over scars. With a sharp and defined jaw as well, he looked like a mythological creature that had been carved out of pale marble and precious metals from some Greek drama.
Soreon turned to look at the young halfling when he noticed he himself was being watched, and gave her a small smile, trying to be reassuring about his intentions. But was only met with a quick glance down, Luna still had her knife but was beginning to feel more and more unprepared to fight these creatures every second. If she fought the snake she would loose.
"I know itss insssstinctive, but you have nothing to fear around me" his hiss like voice said, with the light accent that accompanied anyone who had large fangs and a forked tongue when speaking outside of their native language. Luna noticed these fangs when he spoke, and how they protruded out of his mouth and it made her wonder if they contained poison as well, and also how he knew English. It had never occurred to her to ask Legion how he could speak a human dialect, but now she realised how strange it was.
"How do you speak English?" she asked quietly,
"Legion brought me human books...so that I could learn to speak to someone very important to me" came the slow reply, as Soreon looked down at the floor.
Luna was about to ask what the beast meant, but Legion interrupted by throwing a portion of the boar's meat onto the fire and then started to feast on the raw cuts himself, getting blood on his hands and mouth. Soreon ate as well, and none of them felt more inclined to keep talking, until the snake tribesman led his guests down deep into the cave to the natural water that pooled in pockets on the ground and dripped off of stalagmites.
"The water issss deep, be careful" was the warning as Legion led Luna to the water and put his hands on her shoulders so that she would bend down enough to be able to reach it. Then he also assumed the same position and cupped the cool fresh water into his own mouth, as she also hungrily gulped down copious amounts of the life giving liquid. She had never tasted water so fresh in New York or anywhere else for that matter, this was just the substance in its purest form, untampered with.
Luna began to hate her captor less with a full stomach from the roasted meat and with her thirst sated entirely. He encouraged this by even untying the rope around her wrists once she started to fall asleep against her own will against the rock wall, and Soreon even fetched a thick woven blanket for her to be more comfortable on.
Almost unconscious on the soft cloth Luna mumbled "thank you" to Legion, and perhaps his friend as well, before falling into a deep sleep. And sometime during her rest, her body felt the same warmth entwining around her, creating that great sense of content she had felt before.