Cold stone greeted her feet, and she shivered as her eyes opened to her chambers. The still-rippling space left her shaking, clutching him closely with both arms. Ugh. Teleportation.
“You didn’t warn me,” the spellthief pouted up to the arcanist.
“Sorry,” he shrugged, still smiling, before looking into the distance for a moment. “Dinner will be up shortly. Your one last deliciously free meal.”
“... it’s alright,” she said, smiling back at him with a squeeze before letting him go, and dropping into her chair. “I’ll just have to savor the memory of this one. I’ve had cooking this good before, but never for every meal. Maybe I should be taken prisoner more often,” she laughed.
“I think, more than likely, if someone else takes you prisoner, they won’t be near so accommodating. Certainly most of the prisons I’ve seen haven’t been.”
“Well, then perhaps I’ll have to make an appearance in more prisons like this one,” she said, with an obvious wink. “Know any good ones? Places with low windows, kitchens as wide as the libraries?”
“There was a fellow near the ocean who was experimenting with gastronomancy, but I’m not su—” A knock at the door. “Henry,” he said. “Enter!”
The guard shoved the door open with a smile and a wave, pushing in a wheeled cart with several trays of food stacked up. The smell was divine, and the sight of the guard’s smiling face let the spellthief think, for at least another few moments, that she’d made the right choice with him.
“Henry!” she said with glee, bouncing in her seat, clapping her hands as the cart rolled in... though slowing, as she grasped the enormity of it, looking more shocked than excited. “That’s... a lot of food,” she murmured at... it.
“It’s a time for celebration,” the arcanist replied. “You won the bet. And lest you worry about waste, this is a lot of food that will also serve the guards, by what’s left, and afterwards will be turned either in to soups or stews to feed us for a while. Nothing will be discarded unnecessarily.”
“Thank the gods,” she chuckled. Standing, she went over to give Henry a hug around the side with her right arm, the other hand plucking a sliced potato from the platter. “Doing alright?” she asked, keeping the smile strong in defiance of the guilt that did begin to grow again.
“I’m fine, miss, thank you, I mean, a little shaken still, seeing you like that, but I mean, you sure heal fast, and you’re looking...” At that, he swallowed and went bright red, realizing that he was looking. “I’m fine, miss,” he repeated. The spellthief smiled, and stifled the urge to clap him on the back, for fear that he might topple into the food. And with all that armor, it would’ve probably hurt.
She wrenched the cart’s handles out of his grip and brought it up to the table, gesturing to the seat she’d left with both her hands. “Sit! Eat something, friend.”
The guard glanced to the arcanist, who nodded, and needing no further encouragement he sat at the table. “Th-thank you, miss, I mean, I don’t need to eat now, I’ll be able to have what you don’t, and I mean it’ll be just as good then as now, thanks to the boss’ magic, and well what I mean is I appreciate it, thank you.”
“I know you don’t need to.” The spellthief smiled at Henry and sat by the cart with her legs crossed. “But I should think you might want to. What with the taskmaster keeping you working for so long,” she flashed a cheeky grin to the arcanist, who returned it with a deadpan eyeroll.
“Oh, no, miss, everything is fine, I mean I like working here for the ta—for the boss.” At the near-slip, Henry received a good-natured glare from the boss, and chuckled in return. Going on, “And, I mean, you shouldn’t be sitting on the floor while I sit in the chair, not a lovely young woman like yourself, I should be serving you miss, I mean it’s my job right now, so... um...” He trailed off, looking confused, eyes bouncing between the two of them for guidance. She couldn’t help but giggle.
“Henry, it’s fine,” she put a hand on his knee, “I’m going to be going soon, so... I wanted to enjoy a little more time with you around, that’s all. You don’t have to stay or anything like that.“
In her mind, she heard a mildly accusing, deeply magical voice, as the guard blushed. It’s impolite to tease, you know.
“I mean, I want to stay, and I mean I’m just guarding the door, so it’s like I’m doing my job even if I stay, because if I stay it’s because you’re here, I mean it’s not like you’re escaping if I’m staying here, so, um, boss, can I?” The last three words sounded so child-like that the arcanist couldn’t help but laugh, together with each of them.
“Of course, Henry. A few minutes, anyway,” he replied.
“So eat! I’m glad to have you here,” the spellthief chimed from the floor, and grabbed something white and roundish, throwing it into her mouth with a satisfying crunch. She swallowed, “I’m just as glad that you’re not always in here. I have my privacy stomped on enough by this one,” she gestured back behind her, toward the arcanist assembling his own meal.
“Begging pardon miss, but I don’t think, I mean, I’m sure I’d have real trouble doing my job if I was always in here, I mean, you do make it hard to concentrate.” At that, she saw the arcanist’s eyes widen along with her own, and Henry was forced to look away from him, meaning all he had to look at was her, which didn’t seem to help his condition very much. And neither did her toying.
“Do I?” She grinned, holding his gaze steady as she brought another... something, into her mouth. “It’s not always good for a thief to be attention getting... what do you think I could do to make myself less interesting?” she giggled.
“You could stop eating the hardboiled eggs without shelling them, for one,” the voice from behind her chuckled. Henry couldn’t contain a little smile, himself, to the expense of her shyness.
“Oh, sorry, miss, uh,” he began, “I don’t know why you would want to be less interesting, I mean, you’re... well you’re just so beautiful, it’s hard not to pay attention, especially when you’re...” He stammered to a full stop. As he did, she slowed her chewing, swallowed, and picked out a small white shard from her teeth. She looked at it with disdain and tossed it away.
“Naked?” she said abruptly.
Henry looked like he was staring down the mouth of a lion. “I mean, miss, I, yes, that’s, naked, I mean...”
“Henry, relax, it’s alright,” the arcanist sighed. “She’s playing with you. Rather unkindly, I think,” he added, though she could hear his smile. The old guard took a breath.
“Thank you, sir, b-but it’s alright, I mean, it’s not often a fella like me, I mean, like any of us gets to spend time with someone like miss... um...” He paused. “Never did catch your name, miss.“
The spellthief had a sympathetic look on her face... at least before he said that, anyway. She felt herself going red rather quickly. “A-ah. I suppose that you didn’t, that’s... that’s true.”
“I just sorta realized it, miss, I mean, I’m calling you miss, and not miss...” He reached for a name, but fell short. “Uh, miss... somethin’er’other, I mean, you understand, dontcha miss? I mean, you call me Henry, and I just call you miss, and that’s alright, I mean, it just feels a little strange to me.”
She nodded through it, for lack of words, as though in fear that her head might loll off if she stopped the motion. “That’s... w-well, I could start calling you sir, if you’d... well, no, that sounds strange,” she laughed nervously.
“It’s no problem miss, I mean it’s fine and all, and I wouldn’t really be calling you miss... um...” the same pause, “somethin’er’other, really, most of the time, just calling you miss, I mean, except when I would be referring to you like that, to someone else, miss.” She hazarded a look to her side, where the arcanist was watching from the edge of the bed, arms and legs crossed. Enjoying the show. She glared at him, then chomped on another egg to fill the silence. Her arms folded, unfolded, hands wringing until she was forced to swallow.
She turned shyly to the arcanist. “Would you... cover your ears?”
His eyebrows went up. “Should I leave the room instead?”
“W-well, no, you don’t have to do that,” she stammered, “just, I’m not gonna tell you, so...” It felt pointless. Even if he was outside, he could still have heard if he wanted to. At least this way she could see him. He can probably hear my thoughts right now, she figured. Sneaky little prick. Seeing no reaction from this thought, she felt at least a little relief.
Obligingly, with a smile like one gives when indulging a child, the sorcerer placed his hands over his ears. The spellthief exhaled, and glanced at him. Then glanced again, before stepping to Henry’s side, leaning conspiratorially into his ear, watching the arcanist the whole time. He shrugged at her. She covered her mouth, and whispered her name.
The guard nodded and smiled, whispering a ‘thank you,’ to the encouragement of her blushing. She hugged him quickly around the neck, before motioning her hands to the arcanist. “Come on,” she spoke loudly, “you can quit it now.”
He let his hands down. Henry had a few nibbles off a potato. Silence grew. The spellthief wet her lips, and avoided looking at anyone else too much.
Then, she reached up, and with her fist halfway inside her mouth, picked out another white shard. “I... don’t think I’m supposed to just eat those,” she muttered, still nervously chuckling while she dropped the fragment.
“Henry,” the arcanist said, and held up his hand. The guard nodded, and expertly tossed an egg that was expertly caught. The boss rolled it gently on the table beside him to crack up the shell, then peeled it off, leaving behind a small pile of shell. He met the spellthief’s eyes, then tossed the resulting remnant, which she caught, obviously. A solid, egg-shaped mass with a jelly-like texture. “You’ll find that more palatable,” he explained.
“... huh.” She was impressed. With both hands, she slid the thing into her mouth, chewed it, and swallowed. “Mmmm.” She nodded vigorously, to the grins of both men.
Henry rose from his seat, sensing the right moment to make his exit. “Thank you for your time, I mean, it was a pleasure, and for sharing you—your meal,” he corrected himself quickly.
“Thank you for joining us Henry,” she said softly, and pulled the guard into a hug again. Her eyes strayed to the room’s door, hanging open on its own. “I’m... really glad to have met you. Thank you for being so kind.”
“Of course, miss,” the old guard pat her on the back before releasing her. “It’s been a real honor to get to know you, Miss Silk.”
He realized, as soon as he started to move, that the arcanist was still there, and visibly remembered the whole point of having him cover his ears. He buried his head in his hands.
The spellthief’s blush had just begun to fade. And now it was back, burning brightly, making her breaths hot and trembling as her eyes darted around. “I-I think you should go, Henry,” she stammered.
“I... yes... I mean... yes miss,” he said, before quickly hurrying out of the room, the arcanist following swiftly behind him to open the door... but not without shooting her a smirk over his shoulder.
Both her hands went to her face, feeling the heat, the constriction in her chest and throat and stomach and butterflies everywhere at once.
“Stupid, stupid, stupid,” she said, again and again, pacing around the chair to keep herself from going insane on the spot. Now he knows. Now he knows who I am. He can find me. He can find all of them. I’ve fucked everything up. They’ll never take me back. This is all—
The door swung open and shut again. The arcanist was back in the room, and he managed to hold back his snickering until the door closed. “’Silk?’ That’s not a particularly Keld name,” he grinned.
“Sh-shut up,” she muttered through gritted teeth, eyes placed firmly on her kneecaps, hands clenched tightly at her lap. Beads of sweat on her forehead. Heart pounding in her chest.
“I mean, it’s quite appropriate, in many ways, but it’s not especially believable, is it? I’d expected more of a Tekkaria, perhaps Banahralunyarae or—”
“I don’t care if you believe it or not,” she growled him to a stop, “it’s my name. It’s the only thing I’m known by. It’s the only thing I want to be known by, and, I’m not—” Her hands clenched into fists. She breathed, and let them go.
“... I-I’m not the girl I was when I had a name that did sound Keld, a-and it’s just...” She looked up at him, feeling the trembling in her lip. “I’m sorry, I...”
His arms were around her in moments. He held her in a hug, saying nothing, just holding her there. She felt small in his embrace. She felt cool wetness on her face, mingling with the heat, pushed against his shoulder. Her breath quivered against his steadiness. Some of the tension eased within her.
“It’s your name,” he agreed, slowly and gently rubbing her back. “You’ll pardon me if I continue to call you ‘little thief,’ I hope.”
She was dry of mouth and throat. “You can... say it if you like, it’s, well,” she wheezed, nearly a chuckle, “it’s not much of a secret now, so...”
“Let’s eat,” he said. Still holding her. She took a breath in... and let it out.
“Okay,” she said.
The arcanist let her go, and she felt a little reluctance in his muscles when he did. He motioned to the table with a gentle look. She hesitated to take a step, then, nodding, she returned to the cart, sliding a few of the trays timidly onto the table. “Sit,” he said as an invitation, while he went to the wardrobe and began to fetch plates and silverware.
“Alright.” She sighed and sat, watching him. “Does that closet just have everything in it?”
“If you know how to find it,” he said quietly, walking back with the implements and taking his seat. “That’s rather the point.”
“Is it an enchantment?” she perked up slightly. “Or do you cast the spells to bring them there, each time?”
“It’s an enchantment tied to the construction of the tower, yes.” He handed her a plate, and she took it to her lap.
“All those stones, just for a magic closet.” She smiled and tried a couple of bites.
“Hardly ‘just,’” he indulged her with a grin and started scooping food onto his own dish.
“Would have been nice to have some clothes in that dresser, but...” she giggled around a bite. “It hasn’t been so terrible lacking them, really.”
“Thieves find the most interesting places to hide things, given the opportunities. I was nearly killed by a poisoned needle hidden in a trouser button once.”
“By a...” She flushed a shade brighter, and swallowed before speaking. “I’m sorry,” she met his look, “I can see why you don’t really welcome thieves, if that’s been your experience.”
He smiled at her. “No one really welcomes thieves, not when they have things worth stealing.“
“You’re being quite welcoming right now.”
“I think you’re perhaps something more than a common thief.” A hesitation. “Silk.”
Shivers down her spine. Fluttering in her gut. She forced them down with a gulp, “Spellthief,” she corrected, and ate.
The arcanist ignored the correction. “I think maybe, just maybe, that I might be able to consider you a friend.”
A sarcastic reply first came to mind... but she didn’t want to be sarcastic. “I think I might be able to say the same,” she smiled toward him.
He seemed to contemplate the moment in silence, eating quietly together, his eyes looking her over. Then, “That doesn’t mean I’m going to let you dress.”
“Oh, I didn’t think you would for a moment.” A grin flashed over her lips. “And I’ve grown quite comfortable without them, at this point.”
“That’s fantastic,” he said. “Because I think you ought to be as comfortable as possible, of course, but I wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunity to take in the view.” Her brow went up, a playful smirk developing as she leaned back. She relished in the sensation as his gaze stared right where she wanted it. “It is quite a view,” he said slowly.
“Don’t let me stop you taking it in,” she said, and, still eating, did attempt to admire a view of her own. She cleared her throat while he leered rather openly. “Shame all I’ve got to admire is a wall of gray,” she gestured to his robes.
“There’s little under them to be worth admiring,” he informed her, still staring. “Certainly not when compared.”
“Comparisons are for fools. Do I look foolish?” She slid her fork out of her mouth, licking it as he watched.
“You look astonishingly beautiful. I wouldn’t say necessarily that you look foolish... but thinking that I’m anything to admire might force me to revise that opinion.” He shifted in his seat.
She only shrugged. “I’ve said it before, you do yourself a disservice with that kind of talk. You’re not a slob, you’ve got a fine frame, the foundations are all there... I’m not the type that needs every trimming,” she said.
“Fair is fair, I suppose.” The arcanist cleaned his plate, then, chewing, looked over at her again. “Would you like me to make them vanish, or would you like to handle that yourself?”
She put her plate aside, and willed her hands not to shake. Standing, she slowly walked around behind his chair, placing her hands to rest on his shoulders. “The latter. Though if you don’t mind, I’d prefer to take my time.”
“Who would possibly mind,” he said in a voice that sounded just a touch strained. “Although, I should point out, given your profession, that my valuables are not kept in my robes.”
The spellthief laughed, slowly undoing the metal fastenings at his collar, then pulling the robe back to expose his arms. “You already know I don’t steal valuables.” Not using magic, just her hands, gently pulling his arm to get it free.
He stood obligingly, and she saw his tan shirt and trousers. “You’re stealing several of mine tomorrow.”
Lifting the robe off of him, smirking at it, she spun it around to drape it over her own shoulders. “Books shouldn’t cost money,” she said loosely, easily, hands winding over his sides like serpents to find the buckle of his belt.
“Not all valuables have worth measured in gold pieces.” He remained still as she worked, but she felt the tension in his muscles, could hear the hoarseness at the edge of his voice.
She was quiet, in undoing the buckle, and in letting the leather loop tumble to the floor. “If you’re attached to them, I wouldn’t want to deprive you,” she said quietly.
“You won the bet,” he answered. “I gambled and I lost.”
“I won the bet, that doesn’t mean I, alright, arms up now, there we are,” she tugged the shirt up his arms and down as he lowered them, off of his wrists and thrown behind her back, “doesn’t mean I have to be an uncourteous winner.”
“Nor I, a discourteous loser,” he said, managing to keep something resembling composure while her hands grazed across his front and sides.
Her fingers found the waist of his trousers. “I don’t think it’s bad to want to keep a favorite book around.”
“None you’ve taken are favorites, exactly.” His voice had an odd quaver. Something, she imagined, sounding like the hint of huskiness in her own. She began to slide her hands down, achingly slowly.
“Then you don’t mind my taking them,” she confirmed.
“No, that is why we chose those. I don’t want to lose them, all the same.”
Her front pressed against his back, she could feel the shivering of his muscles against her pointed nipples. “Thank you for helping me today,” she whispered, laying the side of her head below the nape of his neck. Hands holding his trousers halfway down his thighs.
“Thank you for helping me. I think between us we got a lot of work done.” His breathing was labored. A glance would have told her that he was well on his way to being hard. And a glance she took, while she slowly crouched, bringing his pant legs to his feet.
“I’m glad,” she said, hand on his arm, hand on his belly, front against back.
“I think that further work might be delayed,” he said carefully.
“It can wait, can’t it?” She placed her lips on the edge of his shoulder, kissing it with a soft sound. “I hope you learn a lot from me.”
“I have already, I think.” He didn’t move. “Are you sure about this, little thief?”
She nodded against him. Breathing deeply. The fear in her gut was gone, just a nervous, excited energy, all through her body. “Sure enough that I want to try and... make good on my promise. Can’t promise it’ll last, because the feeling might still change, but... I like this,” she squeezed him a touch tighter.
He nodded. “I like it, too,” he sighed.
Another soft kiss, on his neck. “More of this?”
“Please. And perhaps even more.”
“Good,” she chuckled, relaxing her arms just enough to swirl around to his front, blushing and grinning into his gaze, “since I think I want to fuck you now.”
He was quite hard. And very red. “The robe doesn’t suit you,” he muttered. “Too large. Too dark.”
“Really?” She glanced down, brushing past his erection with the side of the cloak to kiss his collarbone slowly, tugging a moment with her teeth. “I had thought gray might be my color, and it’s quite comfortable... but if you want to remove it...” Her fingers felt the lines of his back and spine, counting the ridges.
“Oh, they are comfortable. I could get you one in your size.” His hands slipped beneath the robe to lightly knead her muscles.
“I have a robe.” She laughed, “I’m a sorceress, it’s sort of mandatory. I prefer my cloak. More pockets.”
She saw a gleam, a sudden look, and then she was off her feet, his hands slung around her backside and shoulders, lifted into his arms, the robe fluttering to the ground below her. She grinned. Shook against him, dangling limp, holding his back tight. “I like this, too.”
“And this?” His head came down, burying his face in the crook of her neck, kissing and nibbling as he slowly walked her to the bed.
Between sighs, “Mmh, yes, that,” her body reacting as her grip and his both tightened. She felt a need between her legs, a steady ache growing unignorable, not after so many days.
Gently, he laid her onto the bed, hands back at her shoulders, eyes staring into hers. “How would you like to proceed, little thief?”
She had a deep breath, letting her fingers wander up and down her middle. “I’d... well, I think you should lay with me first,” she giggled.
“With great pleasure.” The arcanist sat as she asked, keeping himself restrained but still, clearly aroused, breathing heavily.
She found his hand and grasped it. “What do you want?”
He squeezed hers. “To do something we both enjoy. To make this...” He smiled to himself. “Memorable.”
The spellthief smiled back, tugging his hand a little closer. “Come here, then.” He followed, held up by a hand at her side. “Kiss me?” The words were a desire, and an instruction, but it was still tentative. Like a question out of her lips she didn’t know the answer to. But one she wanted them to discover, together.
No hesitation. He leaned down and kissed her cheek, but not tentatively, nor a friendly kiss, but rather one which invited escalation. Her arm went around his back. Pulled him closer. Carefully, but with intent, kissing his cheek, too. Creeping closer to his lip with another. Followed by one of his, swiftly, lip to lip. Gentle and calm. Inevitability of what was to come.
And another. Quickly. Tasting his flesh with her tongue.
And another. Slowly. Dancing through and feeling his mouth.
And still another. Letting him do the same.
Eyes shut. Breath hot. Fire growing unrestrained. His left hand drawing lines on her back, his right on her side, inching ever closer to her front, as they kissed, and kissed, and kissed again. Continuing on, but her hand drifted to find his right, gently but firmly slipping it over her delicate skin to her left breast. Holding it there. Beckoning. Her fingers gripped his and pulled them, used them to trace slow circles, barely even wisps of touch, but enough to make her shiver with delight as she lead, and he followed, just barely over the nipple and back again into the slow orbit.
He learned fast, and soon she could remove her hand and let it follow the same motion on her right. The same motion as his fingers over her spine. Slow circles, light touches, eliciting gooseflesh. He leaned back to breathe. “Is this... good?” His tone lacked the usual confidence. It was questioning. Curious and investigative, but deeply laden with passion. With hope.
“Yes,” the spellthief nodded fast, “really good.”
“Is there something that would make it better?” he rasped.
“T-tell me, or...” Another nod. “Show me what I can do?“
He found her free hand, and set it on his thigh. “When you’re ready,” he said. “I’m sure you’re familiar with the basic mechanisms, but...” They shared a short laugh, before sharing another long kiss and pulling apart again. “Take your time. A light touch. Relax, and enjoy.”
“I think I can manage,” she nodded as they locked tongues again, letting her nails trace up and down his thigh, barely whispers, before they moved over, faintly exploring his length. His eyes shut, he moaned as she licked past his cheek.
“Just like that, yes,” he muttered, chasing down her tongue as his hands kept exploring her breast and back, using the fingernails, pressing with knuckles. Her grip widened, making sure to pass every surface, both with the pads and tips of her fingers, edges of the nails, creases and scars of her palm cupping below, as well. Looking for what drove him the most. What made his fingers twitch against her, that made his breath hottest between her lips. A loose, easy grip then, stroking the whole shaft slowly.
“Not too fast now,” he whispered to her and nodded at her murmured apology, letting her slow again as he took her other hand. Pulling her closer. Lips sliding down her shoulder, down her arm, down into the palm of her hand. Wandering through the criss-crossing scars and grooves, pausing to nibble at the most sensitive points.
She found that he was enjoying it most near the tip, underhanded with her palm. Focus split between his pleasured sounds and her own, as his lips were on her neck. Up the side. Through her hair, licking, kissing, nibbling at the point of her lobe. She shuddered, moaned through it, stroking faster, making him shush her into slowing, breathing against her ear just as she drew a breath in, soon to be stammered out.
“No apologies,” he said, licking again along the sensitive flesh. “I just want to save some...”
She chuckled, moaned, writhing with delight as his mouth left her ear, passing back over her lips on its way to the other side. “A-a little faster? Maybe stronger?” Her free hand nudged the one on her chest, and he nodded, moving to knead, squeezing, even hazarding light pinches. All of which felt amazing. She voiced her enjoyment with moans on moans.
And then his lips were taking the place of his hand. Licking. Kissing. Sucking at her breast. Arm behind her shoulders, hand gripping her backside. She was still stroking, faster now, her other hand fluttering over her slit.
“Oh, fuck...” she said into his searching eyes. He disengaged from her, watching as she slid her fingers around, in and out, looking expectantly. Moving to lie back. Questions all over his face. “Y-you want me on top?” she blurted, finally.
The arcanist took a deep breath in. “I want to see your face as you move. I want to watch the line of your shoulders as you succumb to pleasure. I want to see your beautiful breast before me as you move above me. So, yes, in so many words,” he dropped his head onto the pillows next to her. “I want you on top.”
She snorted. “Could’ve saved some time by starting off with that... but I’m not in any rush.” She smiled, let go of him and rolled, onto her side, up suspended on all fours. Leering down at him.
“You asked for poetry. And, in many respects, you are poetry. You deserve pretty words, from time to time.” His hand brushed along her cheek, she nuzzled against his knuckles.
“I don’t come from places where poetry is common.” She paused a moment, eyes rolling up in thought. “Though, secret meetings tend to have their share of romantics. I’ve never had a serenade, though, or anyone saying such lovely things as you are. Except drunks. Always the drunks.“
“While I don’t indulge now, I spent a good deal of my youth drunk, and worse.” Fingers stroking along her arms. “Perhaps some has rubbed off on me.”
“I’m still not convinced you ever had a youth.” She winked, and brought her knees to a kneel, bending her head down to kiss his lips and taste of his tongue again. He moaned into her, both hands finding and gripping her breasts, almost roughly, then teasing and circling just as before.
“Someday,” he replied when the spellthief took a breath, “I’ll show you my diaries...”
“Oh, gods, no.” She sat up on her haunches, though not so far as to deprive herself of his hands’ touch, and brought one hand gently around his hardness again, while the other dipped into her wetness. “Don’t worry,” she smiled softly, “I’ve had my kendarine.”
“Wise beyond your years,” he grinned, not yet releasing her breasts from his ministrations. “Are you ready to put it to use?”
“Are you?” She inched forward, releasing her stroking hand to grind herself softly against him, the tip brushing through fine, pale hairs.
“I am,” he said, and confirmed with a squeeze of both hands. A little rougher. A little tighter. She smirked. Then up tall above him, using her hand just one more time to guide him in, coming down slow, breath shuddering in her throat as he filled her. Heat overpowering. She heard him gasping, moaning low. His left hand came to her rear, the right stalled its motions. She grunted, and settled down fully. Started to lean for another kiss. Eyes closed. One hand found the sheets, wrist against his shoulder. The other moved to do the same.
But she felt flesh beneath the heel of her palm. Digging in hard, taking her whole weight, practically punching as he hissed. His hips rocking up and forward, slightly, searching, exploring her insides. Her eyes shot open, saw her own hand pushing into his shoulder.
“Shit,” she muttered, pulling her palm away... and losing her balance in the process. She fell flat with a slap as her arm gave out, but she giggled against him, even as she’d slid off of him by mistake.
He laughed too. “Been a while, little thief?” he teased. “Care to try a second time?”
“Too long,” she said, “let me just...” Sitting up, back on her knees. Back straight, hips coming down, hand guiding in, practically crashing down onto him in one fluid motion, both of them audibly shuddering. He caught her, and held her.
“Take your time,” he whispered. “Savor it. Savor it all. I want to see you, hear you, taste you, experience all that is you, little thief, and all that you do to earn your name.” His fingers caressed over her skin like admiring a fine bolt of silk, slowly, gently drifting over her ribs.
She nodded, with effort. Eyes closed, both hands fixing and steadying against his chest. Hips shifting in time with his. Leading him to that spot, right where... “There,” she moaned, dragging herself back and forth on top of him, grinding the tip right over the place. She felt him shuddering, sensing the same pleasure in his nerves. Another low moan from his lips, one of his thumbs nudging, rubbing, teasing her nipple. The other hand found her cheek, pushed against her lips. She admitted it, sucked against his fingers, pulled off with a popping sound.
“Good,” he managed, still slowly moving his hips “enjoy me, little thief, as I enjoy you.”
Her eyes opened, lips grinned. Pores open, body flushed, glistening with sweat. “Then start thrusting, lest I have to do all the work here.”
Both his hands dropped immediately to her hips, holding them tight, pushing himself up deep inside, once, twice, thrice. “Like so?” He grunted, right at his own breaking point.
The moaning should have been enough of an indication. She let her eyes open again, half glaring, mad with desire. “More,” she said, hungry for it, whole body alive and charged from the pleasure. Bucking her hips with his thrusts, between them as they grew more irregular, more labored, more slow. Loving each push of force, back and forth and up and down, bouncing with the motions, gyrating, breathing, moaning loud.
She heard him gasp, felt his resistance give as he pushed for one last thrust, fingers digging into the contours of her hips, feeling warmth and wetness flooding herself, as she pushed harder. Fiercer. More and more and riding through it until... the two layering warmths interlaced, playing as one, filled from below, filled at once in everywhere else. Her elbows gave, and her knees soon after, moaning as the first aftershock rocked her, dropping into him, dropping into his arms, into the waiting warmth of his bodily embrace.
Pleasure. Satisfaction. Fulfillment. Unnameable bliss given form, melting against him. He held her tight, whispering, babbling, really, holding while the energy ebbed and waned between them. She kissed where she could reach, whether a strand of hair or a bit of neck or even soft sheets. Another quake, quivering, she let it leave her limp. He softened within her, spent, hands wearily gripping her bottom. Breathed deep, as his muscles and hers relaxed head to toe.
He felt her rolling off of him, at some point, in between their shared haze of heaviness and heat. It wasn’t for his benefit—he felt no duress to his breathing or comfort with her on top of his chest, with himself between her legs—but she moved, anyway, and with his eyes closed he felt her kissing his chin. Slipping up to his lower lip, tugging on it with hers.
The arcanist sighed. The spellthief—Silk—looked just as groggy, though amused and lightened by his pleasure. Her stare had him captivated, as it so often did. “You never told me what the V stands for,” she giggled.
Of course, this conversation out of all of them, he sighed again, letting his fingers play lightly on her leg as it swung to straddle one of his. “It’s not really in common use, of course,” he told her. “When I’ve had students, they call me ‘master,’ the guards call me ‘boss,’ you’ve just run the gamut of insults...“
“I’m tired of staying just on the gamut,” Silk said. “It’s fun calling you names, of course, but now that you know mine...”
“Oh, yes,” he replied sarcastically, “I’m sure your Keld-refugee parents gave you the Damean name for a Sohn Murian fabric.” He made his hands play a little bit higher, caressing a delightfully soft swell above her legs. “Was it a lover that told you your ass feels like silk?”
“Oh fuck off,” she glared at him good-naturedly, batting his roving hand away with one of hers. “I took it when I began to train for this. It doesn’t have a thing to do with my ass.”
The arcanist kissed her forehead. “That’s really too bad. It’s a lovely ass. The finest I’ve had the privilege of laying eyes on.”
Her lips betrayed a smile to him. “Then don’t let me keep you from laying more than just eyes on it. But you’re avoiding the question...” Her hand came up, stroking his cheek softly, feeling around it and his jaw.
“I am,” he replied, gently nabbing her wrist and kissing each delicate finger in turn. “And you know, with a whisper, I could avoid it further.”
“You’d better not,” she murmured, though the command was dulled by her blushing. “Now come on, it’s only fair... are you embarrassed by it?” she chuckled, pushing her naked body against his own.
The sigh and the pause should have made it clear to her that, yes, he was. But her expression and curiosity behind it was unrelenting.
“... Vey,” the arcanist replied, wrapping the spellthief in his arms and pulling her close.
One of her brows rose. The damned smirk stayed stuck to her lips. “Vey?” she uttered, rolling the name around on her tongue. “Vey. Vey. That’s all? Now what’s so worthy to be shy over in that? It’s not a name I’ve often heard, but still...“
“How did this not come up in your background research?” he asked against the heat on his neck and behind his ears, reaching to tickle behind her knee as some distraction. “You should know this already.”
She did squirm some, but it did nothing to break her tenacity. “I should,” Silk agreed, “but someone is utterly obsessed with keeping himself and his identity from the public eye. Good sign you had something worth stealing.” She shrugged easily, for someone discussing robbery.
Another sigh. He gathered his thoughts. “I was not close with my parents,” Vey said by way of explanation, “and in many ways their deaths freed me to do as I wished, once I had done the work to turn their operation into an asset that I could use. But nonetheless the name follows me every day of my life.
“One of the few advantages the low-born have over the nobility is to be able to vanish, to change their whole self, their identity, to leave the world they knew behind and pick up a new one. But to the child of ambitious merchants who sought a noble title more than anything else? My name is written across a hundred ledgers and a thousand memories. I need to hide it, or there’s not a soul among the nobles who would take me seriously.”
Silk blinked at him. Still not getting it. “... so, Vey is short for...?” Her lips lit with a teasing grin, but it twitched a moment later. A thought in the back of her mind, one he needed no magic to read on her expression, growing paler with each passing breath. A memory. Of noble parents naming children. Of embarrassing traditions. Of an equally strained voice explaining it all. Of a dusty old book that hadn’t been touched in years, shouldn’t have been touched that day, and a dusty old name clinging to it.
Her jaw lowered. “Gods above and hells below, don’t tell me that it’s...”
Vey nodded before she could speak it out loud. “It was the style, among the nobles and those who styled themselves worldly, to give their children foreign, exotic names. I was given a name after the founder of Keldia. Which caused me no end of grief when war came. Having to live down an embarrassing family with the name of an enemy.”
“They named you fucking Vejnarik?” She was stunned, and rightly so. But hearing it said so concisely did his anguish no favors. She still went on, “How could that even—my fucking grandfather was a Vejnarik, and, he, that’s, just so... ugh!” She looked revulsed, seeing him in a new light for only a moment before her attention was shifted to a more deserving target. “That’s horribly cruel. To saddle you with such a... of all the possible names, Vejnarik?”
She looked for a reaction. He had little energy with which to give her one, listening to her go on. “The Claimant?” Vey sighed. “The Star-Son?” He shook his head. ”The gods-damned fucking King?“
“Thank you, yes, they did.” He cut her off finally. “It’s there in the official ledger of birth, in all the documents of insurance, scrawled across a thousand purchase orders and writs of license.” He figured that he was keeping the visible signs of his feelings away, but sinking into the mattress and never coming out was at the fore of his thoughts, in that moment. “I’m well aware of the provenance of the name. I spent years in Keldia.”
“Gods.” Without another word spent lingering on it, Silk wrapped both her arms around his back, hugging him close, kissing below his ear. “Excuse me if I just call you Vey, or cow’s dung, instead of... that.”
“Honestly?” The arcanist smiled into the embrace. “I would prefer the former to the latter, I think.”
“Vey it is,” she gave him a squeeze, and there was a beat before she began to talk again. “My parents weren’t so foolish. I liked my name. I just... I think you understand, having to get away from something like that? Joining, training up to become a spellthief, it was... liberating, you know? A fresh start. The one I needed. Kept me off the streets, kept me from getting my clothes or my throat slit open...”
“One of the few advantages the low-born have over the nobility,” he repeated, holding her tight. “And as for your parents...” he hesitated, and the spellthief stayed silent. “Well, you’ve mentioned a few things, but very little.”
“I know,” she said.
Vey paused. “... is there anything you would like to say?“
He held his tongue as she sustained the silence further. “They were family...” she began. “And now they’re not.”
“Estranged?” he asked quietly.
“No, it’s... they didn’t want me anymore.”
“I’m sorry, little thief,” he said softly, stroking her side. “I can’t imagine. You must have been so young, why would they...?” The arcanist trailed off, as he felt the muscles beneath his arms trembling. “I’m sorry,” he said again.
“I don’t want to talk about it any longer,” she said.
“That’s not who I am, anymore, and... it doesn’t matter,” she shook her head.
“It’s alright, little thief,” he whispered, hugging her closer. “If it mattered, I would listen. Even if it did not, I would lend you my ears. I will hear what you have to say, should you say something, and should you not, I will simply adore the sound of your breath.” The arcanist smiled and kissed her gently, to her nodding. “You are... surprisingly comfortable for one who arrived to rob me,” he said.
“Comfortable like this?” Silk wriggled between his arms, making his body begin to respond to the motion, though it would be some time before there was more than the ghost of a performance there.
“Mmm, yes, like that...”
“... or comfortable in speaking with?”
“And that, as well,” he said.
“You’re nice to talk to, too,” she agreed, “for one of your specific profession. I’ve said it before, this is all pretty treasonous of me...”
“It is a lovely treason though, isn’t it?” Vey’s hand once more drifted to her bottom. “Silk.”
She held, and released, a hot breath past his face. “If you’re not careful, you’ll grow to like calling me that name.” A pause. “Vey.”
“Oh, I wasn’t naming you, little thief.” He grinned into her eyes.
She snorted at him. The muscles beneath his fingers flexed, he couldn’t tell if it was involuntarily. “You are ridiculous.”
“Ridiculous?” He chuckled. “And what of you, stealing my power? Through your cat?”
“Never said I wasn’t,” she grinned. “Least I’m not the one groping like it’s a schoolboy’s first lay.”
“Oh, I hope I’m groping better than that. I’ve had a little more experience than most schoolboys...” He leaned down to nip along her shoulder, as his hand squeezed her smooth flesh more firmly, and as one of her hands pushed him, forcefully, closer to her chest, pressed against the nape of his neck.
“You are,” she agreed from above as he laughed against her, “I’ve already heard tell of your broad education. You’ve just loved your way across Ephaos, haven’t you?”
Turning back up to face her. “Not hardly. I’m no girl-at-every-port sailor. I’ve had my taste of ladies everywhere, sure, but I’ve had no more or less luck than your average bachelor of my age and bearing, I suspect.”
“Then the world is much deprived of you, while I have you all to myself.” Her hand grazed over his back, and she kissed him gently. “It was beautiful.”
“It was,” Vey said, and he returned the affection gladly. “Do you hesitate to share, little thief? I had thought the Kelds much less hidebound than my countrymen on such matters.”
“Excepting the ears and the flesh, I’m about as little of a Keld as one can be. I don’t mind sharing,” her head shook, “but I do want you. And I want you to just want me, right now,” another kiss on his lips.
Definite motion that time. “I do want you, little thief. There is little I could want more at this moment.”
“Not even those books of yours I’m stealing away?”
“What books?” He matched her happy expression, hands seeking out her hips.
“Good answer,” Silk winked, and as though it were a reward, she allowed his hands to settle on her hips, before they took to slow and steady grinding. Definite, definite motion. “If you don’t mention those, I won’t mention your Keld and possibly revolutionary sympathies.”
“My sympathies are well-known, little thief,” he replied. “Knowledge above all.”
“Your friends might think you eccentric,” she said, “but I don’t expect they’ve heard tell of your new habit of harboring thieves.”
He slid his hands down over her breasts. “I don’t think this really qualifies as ‘harboring.’ Imprisoning, perhaps? Studying? Enchanting?”
“Laying?” Silk shivered, her hands pressing to the backs of his, “Loving? Fucking?”
“Please, little thief, if we are to discuss academics, let us use academic terms.” Vey laughed with her, “We are conducting research.”
“Research. Research into the flexibility of my body? Studying of my shape? Experimentations on your density?”
One of her hands had found his cock, and closed around it with a soft squeeze, making him moan into the sensation. “I can see the paper now,” he grinned. ”’The Effects of a Sorcerer’s Sexual Behavior on a Captive Spellthief.’”
She let him go with a matching expression and dropped back into the bed. “Our set of data is still relatively small for that...” the spellthief said teasingly.
“Well, there’s opportunity still for further experimentation...”
“So eager.” Her arm slung over to touch his back again. “I don’t want to spend all our time experimenting. I want to talk to you. I feel so much freer now, like we blew out a thick cloud of... something or other, anyway, you get what I mean.“
“And what is it you’d like to discuss, Silk?” he asked. “Just to warn you, a casual discussion of the weather is often enough to lead me down the academic trail.”
“Anything but weather. We could talk about me,” she offered, “or you. For all the talking we’ve had this week... it feels like we don’t know much of each other. I think I’d like that to change, some.” Her lips smiled, one he returned, kissing her cheek tenderly.
“What on earth could you want to know about me, anyway?” Vey chuckled ruefully, “I intend to live the rest of my life devoted to my studies, venturing forth when I have to, and hopefully improving life everywhere as I do so.”
“Summing up all of your hopes and dreams like that doesn’t give me very much to work with,” she pouted teasingly. “When you’re not being the world-improving spellcrafter, how do you spend your time?”
His head shook. “I’m really never not that. Occasionally I wander out on some important thing or other for the crown, or to check in with colleagues, but...” he sighed. “This is who I am. And right now, this, here, lying with you, is a small break in that continuity.“
“A nice break, I’m sure, but that’s so strange to me. I can’t imagine living a life of constant work. When I’m not on the job, I’ll spend time reading, learning, drinking, singing... playing, when I get the chance.” A little nibble against his earlobe, making him grip her tighter.
“Reading, learning, even play can be work for me.” The arcanist said. “I don’t drink, and there are few songs I have to share. For all that my name is what it is, I am not a part of that poetic lineage.”
“Pardon me in saying, but your days sound exceedingly dull. When was the last time you went into town, just to go into town? To have a meal, lift a tankard, meet some fetching wench and spend the night fucking?“
“A fetching wench came to me, so it seems I’m not missing much there.” Kissing her shoulder, making her sigh. “Those daily trips you’ve been so wonderfully interrupting? That’s where I have my meal and lift my drink, and take care of other matters.”
“You’re still missing out,” Silk said with a shrug. “And you have the means to go anywhere, everywhere even. Why did you ever stop traveling?”
“I can do more good here,” he replied, “and I haven’t stopped traveling. I still go on crown business, and on my own academic work.“
“But not for fun,” she breathed out, as if the thought was making her that stressed. “There’s more pleasures in life than can be found between the pages of a book or the folds of a scroll.“
“And I have partaken in them, trust me. I have found what I want in life, little thief. I’m no wild-blooded Keld, again for all that my name suggests.” He released her, and half-rolled away to lie on his back. “I lived that life when I was younger, once I had sold my business—adventurer, mercenary, philanthropist, hell, just wasting my time and money idly. It wasn’t a poor use of my resources, but it’s no longer what I want.”
Her hand came against his chest, and he felt a shyness in its trembling motion. “So... that’s it?” Her voice was low, and quiet, and down to the afternoon’s recurring timidity. “Living in a tower, working the daily routine, studying and developing and crafting until, what, you just die?” The laugh sounded forced. “Doesn’t leave much room for friends, or anything more than that...”
“I have my friends, I see them often enough. And I have my guards. We aren’t friends, exactly, but we are friendly. And my plants, my garden-dwellers... Plenty of people live lives of greater isolation than I do.“
The spellthief had her head aimed to the ceiling, muttering, “To be more specific, let’s say it doesn’t leave much room for me, then.”
He laughed bitterly. “What would you like of me, little thief? I could contain you here in my garden, make of you a pretty little wife, is that what you want?”
“Of course not,” her eyes rolled, he could hear her frustration. “But what of this? Where am I supposed to fit in to your scheme? Because, I truly can’t tell, as much as I do want to be somewhere in it...”
“You want to be somewhere in all this?” Vey’s hand swam in the air above the bed, where they both could see, then he turned his head to face her. “Perhaps it’s best if you tell me exactly what you want. For all that you want to belong here, I wouldn’t dream of taking you from your revolution or your burglary. It’s clear that they’re vital parts of who you are.“
“I don’t—” Silk sighed, needing the breath and rolling to sit cross-legged toward him. “I don’t want to live in this,” she indicated the room, her prison cell with one hand, “but I... is it wrong, after all of this, to want something more than just a fondly remembered and utterly abnormal week?“
“Who’s to say that that’s all that this can be? We can still have our lives, lit—Silk. In fact, that’s probably safest, don’t you think?” He pulled himself up against the headboard, among the pillows. “But I can’t imagine, after this trip has been so lucrative, that you wouldn’t slip back in, to walk out with another treasure or two. You can return here any time you like, and be treated as a welcome guest—or,” he flashed a wink and grin, “as a prisoner, if you prefer.”
Her color was rising, and by the strain in her breathing, she was working hard to keep her temper in check. “You’re not hearing what I’m saying, or, maybe I just haven’t said what I’m thinking right.”
A pause. “You’re telling me that we could have this,” she put her hand on his, “but you haven’t told me what you think this is. You told me that everything you do is for your work. You eat so that you can continue researching, you sleep, if you sleep, so that you can continue experimenting, you go to town to dine, yes, but to do business, and you travel when the crown orders it, and...
“If all of that is for your work, then what is this for? What am I for?“
“Have you never had a passion, lit—Silk?” he asked, somewhat confused. “I want to know how the world works, or at least my little corner of it. I want to build myself a monument left to future generations in scholarship, not to mention a beautiful garden. I think, little—Silk, I think I don’t know what you’re asking.”
“You want your scholarship,” she said, with bile in the back of her throat, “you want to build things and change the world and, I understand that, and I understand that you’re driven by it... but what we’re doing, right now, where does that belong? How does this better the world? You grow a garden so you can cultivate new plants and keep people away from your work. What does cultivating something with me get you?“
“Aside from someone to spend time with?” His eyebrows were up, shrugging helplessly. “You are, I must admit, a curiosity. There is much I, and I think magical scholarship in general, can learn from you and Missy. If, of course, you are willing to be so studied.”
“That’s it?” she asked, steaming. “That’s what you’re going with, that I’m a curiosity? That you’re fucking me because you’re interested in my cat?”
His hands shot up in a defensive position. “Hold on, li—Silk. I’m fucking you because you’re exciting, interesting, unique, and an all-around gorgeous human being. You have done a beautiful job of turning my life here on its head, and mostly from the confines of this room. And, not to put too fine a point on it, weren’t you prepared to...”
“Prepared to what?” The spellthief crossed her arms, blinking at him. “What was that? Tell me what I’m doing, or what I’m about to do, just like you’re so fucking good at.”
Vey crossed his arms, too. “Fine,” he growled. “I’m fucking you because I want to fuck you. Because for all the reasons I just listed, you’re the sort of person I want to fuck. If I just wanted to study you like a curiosity, and nothing else, you wouldn’t need to have a thought about it,” he fumed.
“And you. The tricks of your trade are no secret to me. And while I think—I hope—that what just happened between us had as little ulterior motive on your front as it did on mine, but I know, full well, that a week ago if it would have given you the advantage, you’d have been on your knees before me begging to suck me.“
He didn’t register the slap coming until the last moment. Her palm stung against his cheek with a smack that filled the room, deafening even thought. His vision swam as she backed away in panic, cradling the offending palm at her wrist while she stood. “If you just want to fuck me, that’s fine,” she hissed, “I would welcome that. But if you’re just going to insult me, and degrade me, and talk about tricks, when you’re the one who’s been taking every possible chance to fuck with my mind over a whole week, I’m not taking that shit. I don’t have to listen to that. I don’t have to listen to you.
“I thought you were better than that, Vey, and you can’t even get my fucking name right when you do it.” Her voice was hoarse, cracking and trembling even as she forced herself to stand with firm shoulders.
There was a pause. A long moment. Neither of them moved, save for their shaking breaths.
“Do you fear me?” he asked, quietly. “Do you fear what I can do?”
She didn’t turn her eyes away. “I don’t know how anyone couldn’t,” Silk whispered. “But I don’t want to be afraid of you. I want to believe that you’re understanding, and you’re gentle, and courteous and...” she sniffled and dashed a wrist past her nostrils. “I’m not scared of you, but sometimes you make me think I should start reconsidering.“
He held her gaze. Another long silence.
“Should I fear you, Silk? Have I reason to?”
She took a shallow breath. In the briefest of moments, he felt the prickling of magical energy, swelling with her lungs. “I could fight you,” she said warily.
Vey smiled. “You could, although in my tower, now that I know what you do, I think that would be futile. No, there’s other things to fear from you, I think.” He still didn’t move. “You know the secrets of my tower, and of my life. You can manipulate my guards, my defenses, my world... and me,” he said, this last softly.
He watched her swallow. Her face a grim mask. “Are you scared of me?” she asked abruptly.
The corner of his mouth crooked into a lighter smile, and he rubbed the reddening mark on his face. “Terrified,” he replied at a whisper, and while there was the tone of a joke in it, there was an undercurrent of honesty, too.
“I don’t want you to be,” she said quietly, her lips drooping.
“And yet,” he said, letting his hand come back to his lap. “Isn’t it odd? I could, even now, with a word, cast you in to a deep sleep, or entrance and enslave you, or transform you to stone and place you in the garden as a warning to others. And here I sit, assaulted—not unjustly—and I’m... scared.” His voice, and his thoughts, were matter-of-fact, showing no fear, little emotion.
“Why?” Silk moved a leg closer, still holding her open, reddened palm. He glanced at it, saw the stinging flesh stretched across those old wounds and scars.
“Because I can, Silk.” He raised a hand. “Because if I move my fingers like this,” he did, but there was no magic in it, “you go away. Gone. If I do it right—or wrong—you never come back. And... that’s not what I want.“
“I know,” she said, and in the depths of her dark eyes he knew she meant it. “Vey,” she began, “I’m not going to apologize for hitting you, because you were being an ass and you deserved it.” No bite, no bile, just truth. “But I... I don’t think the way I feel is unfounded, not wholly, even if I can lose my temper...”
Pushing himself forward, the arcanist leaned and extended a hand to her. “Friends? Speak no more of it?”
She took it with her good hand and squeezed. “I won’t if you won’t. As long as you can promise me that you’ll treat me better than one of your books.”
Vey grinned. “Are you sure? Those books are some of the best-treated objects in the kingdom.”
The spellthief smirked in reply. “I put hands on that text of yours. Looked like it hadn’t been touched in a century.”
“Something tells me that you wouldn’t put up with not having my hands all over you at least once in a while.”
“As skilled in guessing as ever.” Moving a step closer, hesitantly, she carried his hand to fit the curve of her hips, pressing it in with her palm. Despite the mood, he felt his cock give a little twitch. “I would tell you if I didn’t enjoy it,” she said.
“I would be glad to hear it,” he nodded.
“Are we alright?”
“If you are, I am,” he nodded again.
She did too. “I’ll tell you when I’m not. And I won’t slap you. Probably.”
“Some people might prefer that you did.” Vey chuckled.
“I’d like to see them try,” the spellthief grinned. “I can get away with it, because I’m so very frightening.”
“Oh, you are a monster,” he said, towering over her as he stood, holding both her hips now.
“As fearsome as I am cunning,” Silk lilted, pressing up to his front with hers. Another motion. He brushed through the pale shock of hair on her scalp.
“Dangerous. Simply dangerous.”
“Caustic to the touch.” Her hand set against his chest, moving with his breathing. “Should have let me get away when you had the chance.”
“I tried, but someone couldn’t keep her grip.” They laughed, and he wrapped her into a warm embrace. “I’m sorry, for much of this week, little thief.“
“Thank you,” she murmured into his shoulder, and set her chin atop it. “I am, too. Even though you locked me up in a tower.”
“Oh shush,” the arcanist grinned, “you enjoyed it.”
“I did,” she giggled, “but... I am sorry, still.”
“It’s all accepted and all in the past now.”
“The same goes for you. This has been a week I won’t soon forget...” she said. “And I think we’ve both come out the better for it.”
“I won’t forget it, either, Silk.” He continued to hold her, and again, despite the moment, the physical closeness was causing a rather noticeable reaction. And a fairly distracting one.
“If you even tried, you know I’d come and set you straight.” Vey took a glance to the side of her head, and saw blush growing on her cheek.
“The maze does shift, you may find it difficult,” he chuckled. “Besides, if I wanted to forget, I could just make you forget, too.“
“A-ah. That’d be an issue.” Silk nodded bashfully, chuckling with him as she broke the embrace but, then, planted hands on either side of his neck, pushing him gently onto the edge of the bed. Her hands held him while she fixed his gaze to hers. “You’re horny,” she pointed out.
“If someone hadn’t stolen my robe, you’d never know,” he replied evenly.
“Stolen,” she let out a puff of air, “you basically begged me to strip you. And besides, I’d have felt it even through your trousers.”
“What would you be doing with your hand there, anyway?”
“Stroking you off, probably,” she shrugged, kneading her fingers into his shoulders. “But I’m considering other things at the moment...”
“Other things?” The arcanist asked. “Dare I probe further?”
“All good ones. I think.” She walked up until her knees knocked against his. “I’d like to fuck you again. That sound fine?”
“I’m trying to figure out a way to respond which both expresses my interest and yet doesn’t betray my absolute eagerness.”
“I’ll assume that’s a yes,” she said. “But I’m... admittedly, having something different than before on my mind.”
His hands came to rest on her hips again. “Please, share. I’m quite interested in indulging you.”
He could hear her nervousness. “It’s something I think you would know about more than I.“
“Well, that rules out theft...” One of his eyebrows was rising.
“And probably several other things besides...” Her whole face was already a bright shade of pink, and the tips of her ears looked ready to burst into flame.
“Silk, you’re blushing. What is it?”
Shuddering breath. Her eyes couldn’t go down, because of what was still growing between his legs, and so she pointed them to one of the spheres on the ceiling. “I’ve been... trying to have so much control, this week, and a lot of that is natural... but after all this, I’m starting to feel like, maybe I’d be able to...”
He just gently massaged her hips, no pressure to pull her closer, just a nice touch. He waited.
“I-I’m thinking I can trust you enough to cede some?” She flashed a nervous grin, still not looking him in the eye.
The other eyebrow joined Vey’s first. “Cede some...”
“C-control,” Silk stammered.
“You want me to...”
“... use a little magic,” she muttered, “but only a little!” Her head turned down sharply. “Only a little. The kind that I’m aware of, and, you tell me about, so I can know how it feels a-and I can tell you if I want it to stop.”
Vey reached for her temple to brush at her hair, and felt her flinch. “Sorry, a habit.” He said. “Mind, body, both?”
“Either,” the spellthief murmured, “maybe both, I think I just... want to know how it feels like, when I want it to happen.” She nodded. “I want to know how those Eluriens’ve gotten such a reputation.”
He nodded back, rubbing her arm. “What would you like to try? And what should I stay away from?”
“I’m not really sure,” her face was coming closer to his, “I’m not sure I want you making me fall asleep, or taking over my body... could you make my body just want to do something?” her head tilted thoughtfully.
“I can.” The arcanist hesitated. “Should I?”
A finger of his ran around the edge of a breast, gently. “No time like the present.”
“I’m a little nervous, is all...”
“I can take that away too, if you like.” A breathy catch in his voice.
“N-no,” her blush deepened, “I can keep that, but I...” she nodded. “I think I can do it, just don’t go too quickly, and tell me what I need to do. Okay?”
“Of course.” He smiled eagerly. “You don’t have to do anything but tell me, good, or not good, alright?”
“Okay,” she nodded twice, taking up an excited look to match his. Her hands eased on his shoulders, out of the deathly clutch they’d fallen into.
Breathing deep, free of that tension. He reached to her temple again, this time with more intention. A spark of magic in his fingertips.
Her eyelids fluttering, she bent her elbows to cradle arms behind his neck, leaning in closer. “So... what are you going to make me do?” She placed a soft kiss on his upper lip.
Vey shivered and shut his eyes. “I started with a kiss,” he replied.
“You...” before the thought could finish, she was moving, kissing him longer, deeper. She pulled away, gasping for breath. “I didn’t even notice it...”
“Good? Not good?” He gave her a questioning look.
“Good,” Silk whispered, and as her head tilted up, her lips locked to his again, meeting his tongue with her own, sighing into his body. His hands pulled her hips closer, and a thought shifted the spell affecting her lips. They trailed over to his cheek, then to the underside of his ear. “And this is...?” She shifted her arms, licking, nibbling, sucking her way across his flesh to the edges of his right shoulder.
He shivered as she moved along. “Me, leading you. I could lead your mind anywhere, little thief... and your lips would follow.” He felt her shivering just as strongly, tugging gently with her teeth, eyes rolled up to watch his with an eager desire behind them. Curiosity. “Anywhere I like,” he continued. Another twitch in the magic.
Her right hand closed in a loose circle about his cock. “Anywhere,” Silk muttered, moaning with him, still nuzzling gladly into his shoulder.
“G-good?” The arcanist stammered, “Not g-good?”
“Good,” she sighed and, clearly in a bout of experimenting, pulled herself away from the shoulder with effort. She stared down at it, though, just as her hand began to twitch up and down.
“You... understand what I’ve been doing?” Vey said carefully.
“It’s an urge,” she whispered, leering hungrily at his tender flesh, reddened from her ministrations. “Even now, it’s hard not to just... fuck...” Her hand squeezed, shivering, panting as she resisted dropping right back onto him again.
“Mhmm,” he nodded. “I c-could redirect that interest... f-further south, if I want...”
“Not yet,” she chuckled faintly, “we’ve still... only done body.”
“How...” Vey began, interrupted by a moan, “How far can I go with your mind?”
“Enough that I know what’s going on... mostly,” she giggled, “enough that I could tell you to quit.”
He needed room to breathe. Room to think. He put up a hand, and her body locked into place, giving him a chance to act. A deep sigh. “You will, if you want me to quit, tell me to quit.” She would know, beyond merely trusting him, she would know that to be true. He could tell that she did. Her body wasn’t just frozen, bound in place by a spell, it was... bound perhaps by indifference. She could not muster the will nor the want to change any part of her stance. She stared at him strangely, hand still around him, unmoving. No desire to. Vey’s lips broke into a grin.
“Like a good little soldier,” he said. “At attention.”
Eyes forward. Shoulders back. Arm up. Just like that. He could see the confusion in Silk’s eyes as her body acted, following the pattern from that sleeping part of her mind. But, reaching with his thoughts to hers, he could feel that she didn’t mind it. She was curious, but she didn’t care where the motions had come from. It turned her on, and badly. Her lips settled into a thin smile.
“Ready for inspection, soldier?” he snapped, standing up rigidly.
“Yes, sir,” a voice answered in a flat tone. His attention was divided in three: to the beautiful, saluting, obedient body before him, to the thoughtless, dedicated, eager soldier within that body, and to the reeling, fuzzy, blurred consciousness behind that self. Silk hadn’t even registered that it was her voice speaking, and her body saluting. At his back, the arcanist almost felt her eyes watching from above, as if she were a silent observer, marveling at the scene.
He decided to make it a good show for her. His hand moved steadily, but not overly quickly, to her breast, gently kneading and stroking. “Very good, soldier.”
“Thank you, sir,” the voice chimed dully. Even though his link to her senses were faint, Vey could tell that the spellthief was growing wet, feeling his hand rubbing and squeezing the soldier’s breast. Is that part of the magic? He could hear her wondering, Making me feel the same way as this soldier?
A hand, then, moving to squeeze her backside as he shifted around Silk’s body. “Perfect,” he said with a chuckle. “Smooth as silk.” One hand each on her right breast and right buttock. He felt her mind bristling at the remark—if it had been directed at her, she certainly had the impulse to give him a shove. But the soldier didn’t seem to mind. If anything, from the slight quiver in her posture, and the breathiness held behind her lips, she seemed to be having a lovely time. One Silk couldn’t help but enjoy, deeply, as well.
Vey traced his fingers down the length of her chest, to her belly, and to the tuft of hair just above her sex. “And if I dive further, soldier, will I find you properly wet and ready?”
“Yes, sir,” the soldier answered sharply, her fingers twitching at her sides. The lines of thought were blurring in his head, each of them holding sway over the responses of the body before him. He shuddered involuntarily at the thought, and strongly squeezed her ass.
“Perhaps I should check, soldier, would you enjoy that?” Whispering in her ear, through the soldier, into Silk’s foggy mind.
Hearing a mouthed, ‘yes sir,’ drowned out by a soft moan. The soldier was breaking her protocols. The soldier didn’t care. Silk wanted her to, as she wondered where her own body was. He wanted her to.
A finger of his slipped across her labia. “I didn’t hear that, soldier,” he muttered. “Would you like me to check and see?”
“Yes sir,” she moaned, Silk moaned, the words thrusting out of her throat harshly, hungrily. Vey wasn’t one to deny her. Without further show, he slid his finger within, brushing her clitoris, shattering the spell in a burst of intense pleasure.
A spark, a jolt, a shuddering of magic in the air, rebounding through their connection as the spellthief awakened, forcing him to snap the connecting thread of thought before he lost control. Her arms dropped loose, her head lolled, eyes rolling before they fixed on his with confusion, lust, and wonderment.
Vey had to chuckle. “Excellent form, but your discipline...” He clicked his tongue in mock disgust.
“A-apologies, sir, I...” Silk forced her lips to stop moving, skin flushed red all over, staring open-mouthed at him, then all around the otherwise empty room. “Where did the...”
“Where did what, little thief?” He asked, again touching that most sensitive place. Her whole body shivered.
“Wh-where did the soldier go,” she whispered between her gasps, but the look in her eye told him she already knew the answer. He raised a questioning eyebrow, one she nodded to. A short breath from her mouth, “Good.”
The arcanist laughed and withdrew his touch, with a gentle wave of his hand. The hair-raising tingle of a spell across her flesh. “A little of both, this time,” he said, sitting on the bed. “As aroused as you are now? You will not feel any less aroused than that. If I paralyzed you as you are now and left you here all night, you would not feel an iota less hot. You could swim in a dozen ice-cold streams, and emerge just as needy as before.”
Silk knew it all. She looked at her hands, and one of them brushed over a nipple, spiking that pleasure. He could see her concentration painted across her expression, as she took swaying steps closer, mouthing another ‘good.’
He chuckled deeply. “And this one, well...” His hand reached up to brush her temple, and her left hand suddenly leapt into action, where he had been teasing only a moment ago.
“Gods,” she moaned, staring wide-eyed down at the hand between her legs acting utterly of its own desire. Of her own desire. “Th-that’s good too,” she sighed, another step taken and falling into the bed next to him.
“Please,” he said, stroking himself gently to keep hard. “I would love to watch.” His free hand found a nipple to gently tweak.
Gasping, reeling, her fingers working in a strange but comfortable rhythm, she locked her gaze to his. “... knew you liked this stuff from the first day...”
“What is there not to like?” Vey chuckled further. “A vision of beauty, naked, undulating, her body on display, in the throes of pleasure...” Unconsciously, he picked up the pace of his stroking and teasing.
“M-mind getting...” She winced from a strong rush, “Getting spun around like a loom?” The spellthief managed to wriggle and writhe her body backward, so that her side was up against the pillows and her feet hung loose off the bed’s edge.
“Like I said,” his hand moving, easing down over her wrist, regulating its rhythm, guiding its impulses. “What’s not to like?”
Silk laughed roughly, the magic in her shifting, spinning, giving way for him to direct her further. Fingers circling around, above and below, spinning like her thoughts. “Fuck...”
And in her mind, she would have felt a blinding flash of magic, and suddenly, without apparent intermediary movement, she would have noticed herself spread on the bed, all four limbs extended as far as was reasonable, seemingly fixed into place. And then his grin, looming above her on all fours, hard, flushed, and sweating. “If you insist...”
“H-how did you...” She swallowed, taking the moment to breathe and stare at him, then, she corrected herself. “Good.”
“If you must know,” he said, poised to enter, “I enchanted you, moved you, then erased your memory of everything that happened after you said the word ‘fuck.’” He slipped the tip of his shaft in past her lower lips.
She groaned, as he entered and ground right against the sensitive tangles of her nerves. “That’s... mmm... really, very fucking hot...” She managed to say, before he shoved all the way in, and she was back to sweating, labored, pleasured exhalations.
“I... am well aware of this,” Vey muttered.
“Well,” she moved her hips around him, shuddering, “not all of us are so experienced...”
Bending his head down to kiss her nipple, as he pulled his hips back, he whispered something, and her limbs came alive, legs shifting to hold him down, hands seeking and pulling his back.
“I-I’m not doing that!” she squealed, both in surprise and delight, as though he really needed the warning. Her thighs closed around him, holding him in close, just barely giving enough room to thrust back and forth.
But enough room he did have, and they felt each other’s infectious enthusiasm. “Even now, little thief, your body obeys my commands.” The arcanist tried to laugh evilly, but in the moment all he could manage was a breathy rasp, slowing his pace and taking a deep breath.
Silk got a chuckle out, but it was silenced by the sounds of her body in motion, her body in lust, of her searching breaths. “Getting close,” she muttered, her hips still in a side-to-side motion.
“Any... urnm... final requests before...?” he asked, hoping to fulfill, but too much of his energy was focused on holding her in position and maintaining what little was left of his composure.
“Let’s just fuck now,” she laughed, arms tugging his neck down into an embrace of her lips, as he thrusted up into her again. The compulsion on her limbs eased as his focus and magic wavered, but he barely noticed. She kept them clutched just as tightly, both their faces intent with concentration. Silk held him tight, kissing, licking over and around his mouth, every movement in their bodies pulling them closer and closer.
“I could... make you...” He mumbled, on the edge.
“Yes,” she moaned, smiling wide and pushing herself hard against him, sending him over the edge with a moan of his own, clenching her legs tight and holding him inside, just as her own orgasm began. She clutched for him, gasping and shaking, whispering and encouraging as he felt her whole body glowing with pleasure. He was surrounded by warmth, she was filled with it, and the magic let loose. Both of them collapsed, limbs dropping, the arcanist falling heavily on top of her. Kissing and mumbling incoherently, gasping and breathing and simply enjoying her aftershocks, her noises and soft sounds.
Silk was unable to roll him off of her body, but when he found his strength, he chuckled and regained himself. “That’s a small taste,” Vey muttered, not moving.
She let out a heavy, tired breath. “Now that you’ve given me the appetite...”
Unable to handle the implication, he slipped off and lay beside her. “Perhaps tomorrow, Silk. I’m not sure that I’ve the energy, physically or magically, to accomplish anything without some rest.”
“Not tonight,” the spellthief agreed, unmoving. “I meant, perhaps, on past tomorrow...”
“Of course,” he said, staring up to the ceiling. “There is much time to explore.”
She squeezed his hand. He squeezed it back. Both of them yawned. “And much to experiment on,” he said with an edge.
“... not tonight,” she giggled, slipping her hand away and folding it with the other on her stomach.
“Not tonight,” he agreed, with a sigh. Of satisfaction, she was certain.
“It’s too late,” she murmured. “It’s... what time is it?”
She felt, at the edges of her awareness, his mind seeking out some ephemeral source of timekeeping within the tower. “Near midnight,” he replied.
“Too late,” she yawned again, and rolled on her side to face him. “Thank you, for tonight,” she said after some time of quiet.
Vey mumbled a reply, but whether it was an act of a conscious man or not seemed in dispute. She chuckled, and kept it quiet, lying in wait. Time ebbed forward as ever. In the bed, so very soft, it was hard not to let her eyes shut. But she couldn’t, not yet. She waited, and waited, and listened.
The arcanist’s breath was deep and rhythmic. Mumbling something else, he shifted onto his side.
She counted the breaths. One. Two. Three. Ten. Twenty. Forty. Sixty. One hundred. Two hundred.
Slowly, Silk sat upright. No change, the bed barely even squeaked. She smiled faintly at him. Naked, and in the cell’s dim light, smiling, eyes closed, curled slightly on his side. She saw the faint twitching of orbital muscles, twitches that indicated deep sleep. She nodded silently. There was an impulse to kiss him, then, one that took several moments to swat away.
She stood, feet padding slowly over the stone and ruined carpet, until she reached the handleless door.
She opened her thoughts. The tower responded.
Magic sluicing over her shoulders like water. Floating in the stream. Shaping it.
She saw herself, she saw the door, she saw the other side. In a flash of fire, seeing a blur of red and orange, she vanished through it.
The hallway was empty, no guard at the door. Perhaps someone needed a moment in the jakes and didn’t bother to get a replacement—after all, the boss was in there. Though for some reason, she hadn’t even expected the guard. Silk felt the cool air on her skin, mingling with magic, and slipped just as silently, just the same way into the library.
All the books were in their piles. A dozen or more. But first... she found the study door, left ajar from her teasing that afternoon, and crept inside. It was still a mess. Papers everywhere, food sitting out, an untidy bed. But in the middle of it all, her things, carefully laid out—minus anything chemically volatile or toxic—and foremost among them, her prized amulet.
The cold steel around her neck was calming, and the tingling space in her mind grew to a silent hum. She took her time, slipping the shirt and trousers on, boots, the all important rigging and her cloak, too. It felt strange.
Leaving his room, slotting the tomes into their places. After a week, being clothed was strange. Though many pounds heavier, she walked quietly into the hallway. Still empty. The tower was eerily quiet. And though her amulet was charged and alive, the tower was alive, too. Awake. Following her every movement and thought. She went silently to the stairs, and climbed into the belfry. The great bronze bell and scaffolding loomed above her head, but her prize was clear in front of her.
The window, and still tied to its base, looped into a bundle on the floor, was a threadbare, but solid-seeming white rope.
“Thank you, Henry,” she smiled, freeing up the rope, looping it around herself. Then she slapped her forehead. The amulet opened with a twist, exuding quiet blueness over her tired mind. “Missy!”
The cat was present, offering an indifferent, “Mao?”
“C’mon,” the spellthief motioned, and the cat hopped onto her shoulders. “We’re getting out of here.”
Clambering onto the sill, she leaned into the sky. The night was cool and clear, and the breeze was gentle, almost comforting. Perks of befriending a sorcerer of the skies. She pulled the rope, tightened it, and grasped it with both hands. Slowly, she lowered herself off the ledge, and stood suspended, feet on the wall, hand gripping the window. With a smile and fluttering eyes, she patted her hand against the stones of the wall, feeling their warm thrumming to her core. Deep breaths, Silk, she nodded. You can do this. Both feet pushed off, and she rappelled down the tower with barely a whisper.
"... you weren’t supposed to hear that, boss,” Henry had said to him quietly, just outside the chamber’s door.
“I was not,” Vey nodded, “but now I have. I will shoulder the blame for it, Henry, don’t worry about that.”
The old guard nodded back after a moment, sighing and shifting his weight from foot to foot. “Can’t believe that she’s leaving already. How’s it only been a week?”
“I do not know,” the arcanist said, his eyes looking down the corridor, “but I have reason to suspect she may be gone sooner than even you think.”
Henry looked stunned. “You don’t mean she’ll t-try to escape again?”
He nodded. “I do mean that. And I mean to let her.”
“Henry,” he said swiftly. “Miss Silk is our guest. She is welcome to stay as long as she wishes, but I intend to hold to my terms. I want you to guard the door until midnight, then you may go and rest. I think that she may try it, then,” he smiled, “and I would like to see how she does it.”
The guard listened to him, slowly nodding, emotions mixing on his face. He was larger than the arcanist. But softer. “Henry,” Vey said, “I need to make sure that you will be alright tomorrow. That is why I am telling you now. Can you make sure of that?”
“Of course I’ll be fine,” Henry had insisted.
“I believe that you think so, but she has been—”
“What,” his employee chuckled, “playing games around me?”
Vey had frowned. “Well, yes, she...”
“She’s a Keld, boss.” Henry laughed again, quietly. “Ain’t my first time dealing with one o’ them. Comes with the ears, boys in the unit used’ta say.“
“Of... of course,” the arcanist murmured.
“And, I mean, I know she’s only got eyes for you, boss.” He clapped the arcanist on the back, nearly making him choke. “And now you two’re gettin’ along fine, eh? Gonna have a nice big evening without this old soldier interrupting?”
The two of them shared a wink. “Yes, Henry, I should think that we might.”
There was a pause, a lull in their boyish speech. “Can I tell her goodbye?” A crack in Henry’s voice. The arcanist smiled.
“If she joins us for breakfast, you certainly can. But remember. She is a th... spellthief,” Vey said, correcting himself. “She has her work, as we have ours. Though, if my presumption of tonight is true... I don’t think it will be too long before you have a chance to say much more than just goodbye."
Vey watched her now, invisibly from the window; she was a dark shadow clinging to a white thread, like a spider swinging its way down the tower’s wall. A dark shadow with a glowing specter attached, of course. As her feet touched the ground, he let out an audible sigh and saw, just then, her hooded face turn up to the window. He stayed utterly still, barely even breathed as she looked, until she turned away, into the maze. Even as she rounded the first corner, Missy’s aura made it easy to follow her progress. She ran alongside the cat, he heard laughter and whooping echoing up as she relished in the breeze.
He thought for a moment, reached for his tower, and then stood before the gate, still naked, staff in hand. It only took her a few minutes to find the entrance, or the exit, and she walked up to it slowly. The arcanist smiled down at her, as she stepped to his side, reaching out to the gate... then jerking her hand away, the hum of paralytic magic chasing after her.
Silk chuckled. “Not this time,” she whispered, and turned a glance back to the tower’s top window, to the room where he should have been sleeping. He watched her nimbly, if awkwardly, mount and scramble over his hedge aside the gate, then walk around to its front. Mere steps away from him, she still couldn’t see him, staring right through his eyes as she gave the tower one last, longing look. “... I’ll be back soon,” the spellthief murmured, to him, to herself.
Breathing deep, before turning and wandering down the dirt path with a new life in her step. Vey stood, and watched her go, until the faint magical light diminished into the black treeline, and until, even after that, her comforting aura of power finally faded from his and the tower’s awareness.
And when she was gone, truly gone, the breath he had been holding left his lungs, and the arcanist sighed deeply into the cool, crisp night. “Soon,” he said simply, and he smiled as the world dissolved around him, as the enchanted bed rose beneath him, and as the memories of her voice, her touch, and her beauty rose to join the soft surface in sending him to a sound, deep sleep.