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Shieldmeet, 1372 - Morning

Longing to wash the prison out of my tangled hair, I hurriedly stripped off my ruined dress, walked into the master water closet and started running the bath. Something was nagging at me and it didn't take long to surmise what. The cloak that Tordrin had gifted to Ralenthra still sat outside. I knew my friend and therefore I knew that she couldn't have thrown it so far that it had left my yard, but if I went back into my bedroom to change into something, anything to cover my nakedness, Ralenthra would be suspicious.

So I did what any reasonable person would do in my situation.

I fashioned my bathroom towels into a makeshift ladder, tying one end to one of the clawed feet of the tub and shimmied naked down from the second story window of my house to the ground. Being an elf makes one light of foot even with clothes on, and the guards stationed at my front door were none the wiser as I tiptoed across the lawn, snatched the parcel containing Ralenthra's cloak, tiptoed back and looked up.

I sighed as I slid the parcel between my knees and grasped the towel ladder with both hands as I was forced to pull myself back up to my bathroom window with only my arm strength. Still sore from yesterday's activities, I gritted my teeth and pulled myself up as fast as I could...

...only to hear the cry of a small child.

"Mama, there's a naked lady climbing up the side of that house!"

I managed to slip into the bathroom window and pull the towels up just in time, for the child's mother answered, "Garen, what have I told you about telling lies!" and concluded her scolding with a resounding slap.

The water had not yet reached the edge of the tub. Casually, I hid the parcel in a cabinet underneath the sink, shut off the faucet and slipped into the warm, inviting water. Sliding under the surface, I allowed myself to weep silently, crying out my pain, fear and frustration before finally coming up for air. Grabbing my usual lily-of-the-valley scented soap, I washed my hair before turning my attention to the rest of my body.

My bottom was bruised purple from being thrown by that troll, my face was swollen after my encounter with Captain Tagen and the rest of me was covered in grime. It was a wonder Magnos had been so adamant in making passes at me.


That bastard.

Still, he is handsome. Gorgeous, even.

But he's so juvenile. And he's an arrogant, wanton pervert.

Those eyes. Those lips. That spot of sensitive flesh on the front of his left hip and the sounds he makes when you suck on it...

Stop. Seriously, stop. Think about Methrammar.

And the familiar twinge of guilt passed through me, briefly.

After all, Methrammar is incredibly attractive, and dashing, and he respects me. I think.

I glided my fingers along the braided gold necklace around my neck and felt the weight of the emerald pendant suspended in the middle. Absentmindedly, I gave the chain a gentle tug and felt it abrade the tender skin beneath it.

The feel of his teeth scraping against my neck and the way he bites down just...so. The sound of his throaty laughter when he hears me gasp...

I took off the necklace and dropped it onto the floor. It landed against the stone tiles with a clatter.

That tongue. He can do more than just brag with that tongue, can't he?

I bit my already battered bottom lip and moaned.

Yes. Oh, yes he can.

The bathwater splashed gently over the edge of the tub.

His hands. His touch. The way his body feels when he's pressed against me...inside me.

The number and size of the splashes began to increase. I made a mental note that I would have to clean up all the water that was ending up on the floor.

This is bad and I should feel bad. But I don't.

Oh Sune...

After letting the water out of the tub, I put my necklace back on, sopped up the water on the floor, put the rest of the towels away, snatched the parcel out from under the sink and hid it in my closet. Then, I stood there in front of said closet for nearly a quarter of a bell, trying and re-trying on several outfits in an attempt to capture the appropriate look for someone who would be going shopping for adventuring supplies whilst being accompanied by an armed escort. I settled on a white lace dress with white silk slippers and knocked on Ralenthra's door.

"Yes?" I opened the door. She was half-sitting, half-lounging on the bed with yesterday's take scattered all over the floor. It made me sad to see her so demoralized. I hoped that some takeaway would help to lift her spirits.

"I'm going to send one of the guards out for takeaway. Is 7 Little Wonders all right with you? It should be here by the time you're done in the bath."

I thought I saw the hint of a smile. "Yeah, I can understand why you wouldn't feel much like cooking."

I smiled back. "Well, the bath's all yours. I'm thinking we can head out for supplies after lunch."


And I closed the door before heading downstairs, lighter of step and feeling a little bit better about the path set before us.