Disclaimer: I do not own the cover image.
NSFW Warning: Suggestive dialogue, nudity and cursing.
The sun was setting above the tips of the western pine forest as the group of adventurers reached the base of a lone, rocky knoll situated on the outskirts of the sprawling township of Aldabreech. Upon the hillock, a small fort squatted, a gift to the adventurers by the township as thanks for their many feats on its behalf. As the structure had been originally built as a safe place for the early townsfolk to flee in case of danger, and the adventurers had rendered that possibility unlikely, it was a fitting reward indeed.
Of the adventurer’s number there were eight and spirits were high among them that eve, having just succeeded in driving a goblin scourge from the nearby woods. They knew that their welcome would be hearty at the inn that night, not to mention that their drinks would be paid in full at the township’s expense. One among them, however, was not so jovial and could think of naught but the warm bed that awaited her within the keep before them.
Kaldia, the warrior of the group, had taken the main brunt of the goblins wrath upon entering their burrow. Ranger, cleric, and mage might stand afar but it was a warrior’s lot to be in the thick of things and so, with a regrettable wave, she made her way up the earthen causeway towards the gatehouse, her companions bidding their farewells as they made their way in the opposite direction, towards the lights of town that were just then twinkling into existence.
As the drawbridge lowered before her in its creaking manner, Kaldia began to strip away her armor, her helm and one of her pauldrons joining her sword within its scabbard in one hand as she neared the portcullis.
Tall and lithe, the warrior was often misjudged by her opponents given her unmilitiristic build. Indeed, as she let her long, chestnut locks spill from the confines of her helm to frame her delicate jawline and high cheekbones, she truly seemed as though she belonged in silks and lace rather than leather and steel. Any who saw her in action, however, and marked the ease in which she handled her blade, and carried herself in her gear, could question not that the path she had chosen was the correct one for her. In truth, killing had always come naturally to the woman. Growing up in a land of sword sisters and matriarchal commanders would do that to you.
“Good evening, Mistress Kaldia,” the crooning voice came from an aged man in modest finery who stood just within the gateway. Standing a head shorter than the warrioress, the man bowed, a silver tray bearing a clay pitcher of cool water, as well as a pair of crystal glasses, balanced easily in one palm.
“Just Kaldia, thank you, Hethro,” she replied, snatching the pitcher from its place and taking a deep swig, the glasses ignored completely, before splashed the rest of its contents upon her face and shaking herself with gusto.
Unperturbed by her display, Hethro accepted the pitcher back upon the tray with another small bow before hurrying in her wake as she continued unabated to the keep proper.
Unused to finery herself, Kaldia had always found Hethro a curious little man. The one-time servant to the township’s former mayor, whom the adventurers had exposed to be in league with a local gang of bandits extorting travelers on the high road, he had entered into their service upon the bequeathment of the keep into their care. Others among her company enjoyed being waited on hand and foot, the mage came to mind. Kaldia, however, tolerated it only insofar as it appeared to all the world as though Hethro thoroughly enjoyed it himself.
The maids were another matter.
Upon crossing the keep’s threshold, she was approached by no less than three of them, scantily clad as was the local custom, their eyes downcast and countenance demure. Despite her exhaustion, Kaldia found herself roused at the sight of them. Despite her discomfort at being served, the young women’s eagerness to do so never failed to excite her.
“Shall I have a bath drawn, Mistress Kaldia?” Hethro asked pleasantly from behind.
“Yes,” the warrioress found herself saying reflexively, her gaze passing over the women. The first two she recognized but the third was new. A bit younger than the others, the newcomer stood dutifully alongside, her deep, red locks bound tightly in a bun, revealing perfectly for the fighter every angle of her doll-like, porcelain-hued face. As Kaldia’s gaze passed over her, she glanced up, her deep, green eyes locking with the fighter’s briefly before they were once more cast down in subservience, though not before imparting a look of fiery passion upon the warrior that sent a thrill through her most intimate regions.
“I shall do so at once,” Hethro said, breaking her from the maid’s spell. Handing his tray off to the closest underling, he clapped, sending the other two scurrying to obey.
For her part, Kaldia continued on her way towards the armory, past the kitchens and small dining hall, all the way to the keep’s rear wing, where the soft grinding of steel on stone could be heard.
Passing through the open arch that led to the keep’s armory, Kaldia allowed what armor of hers she carried to fall unceremoniously to the floor, awarding her a cock-eyed look from their dwarven smith, Hesta, who was seated in the room’s far corner, drawing the length of a longsword across the rotating face of a large whetstone that she propelled with the steady pumping of one of her heavy-booted feet.
“Rough day?” The dwarf asked with a smirk, returning her gaze to her task as she did.
“Who would have thought hacking through half a dozen green-skinned punks would be so laborious?” Kaldia replied, laying her blade in its sheath lovingly against the wall before continuing to divulge herself of the rest of her gear with far less reverence.
“You’ve grown soft,” Hesta hmphed. “Goblins are made for one thing and one thing only, testing the edge of a blade.”
She accentuated her point by eyeing the edge of the weapon she was sharpening, thumbing it inquisitively before returning it to the whetstone’s surface.
“And how long has it been since your blade last tasted goblin flesh?” She asked.
“Too long,” Hesta sighed wistfully. “I now live vicariously through you lot.”
“You know you could come out with us next time.”
“Heh, them years behind me lass.”
“You’re not so old.”
At the fighter’s words, the dwarf guffawed raucously, setting the longsword aside so that she might wipe a tear of mirth from her ruddy, heavily freckled cheek.
“Oh lass,” she chucked, heaving herself up so that she might return the blade she had sharpened to its place among its kindred on a rack along the wall. “You couldn’t fathom old in that little human mind of yours. I have near a hundred and fifty winters behind me, many of which I spent plying my trade as you do now. After all that time, believe me, the forge is a welcome reprieve.”
Pulling her leather jerkin off with a relieved sigh and plucking at the sweat-stained tunic beneath distastefully, Kaldia could not deny that she could see the dwarven woman’s point.
A soft shuffle from the doorway, near to the fighter’s back, had her twirling, grabbing her sword up in the same motion, pulling it from its scabbard, and leveling its tip upon the nose of the new maid she had locked eyes with briefly in the hall. At the sight of the razor tip mere inches from her face, the woman flushed, her eyes growing large but, Kaldia was surprised to see, not with fear but rather excitement.
“Dammit, lass, you should know better than to sneak up on a warrior,” Hesta admonished. “And Kaldia, you should know better than to skewer the staff!”
Both women reddened at the dwarf’s beratement. With a sheepishly apologetic look at the maid, Kaldia sheathed her sword. For her part, the maid’s eyes never left the blade, though there was nothing sheepish in her stare.
“Well, lass, spit it out, or did you just come here to gawk at the fighter?” Hesta barked, breaking the spell between the two other women.
“My apologies, Mistress Hesta, Mistress Kaldia,” the woman curtsied, her demure countenance returning. “Hethro sent me to tell you your bath is ready.”
“Did he also tell you to drool?” Hesta smirked. “Pick your jaw off the floor and off with you, I am sure you have other duties to attend to!”
With another hasty curtsy, the woman departed, leaving Kaldia to cast a pained look in the dwarf’s direction.
“You didn’t have to send her away so fast,” she said.
Despite the fighter’s annoyance, Hesta chuckled.
“Believe me, lass, that one’s got a hankering for the taste of adventurer,” she said. “You won’t have any trouble getting her to talk to you whenever you please. Just be sure the respect don’t go with the knickers when you two get to tussling. Remember that one Settic took up the ass? Tried to poison his porridge once she found out he was sleeping with that gypsy that passed through last spring.”
Kaldia chuckled despite herself at the memory. Settic was the rogue in her company who had a penchant for putting his cock where he shouldn’t.
“Don’t fret about me, Hesta,” she said, beginning to follow in the maid’s wake. “You know I don’t like porridge.”
On the fort’s second story was a large washroom with high windows and sporting eight large tubs arranged in a circle. Melda, the group’s mage, had insisted on them each having a tub as she was loathe to share. She had also wanted her own tub to be in her quarters but, as the keeps limited facilities made such wishes impossible, she had settled for this arrangement. There were dividers to afford privacy but, as the adventurers had been together for some time, they were rarely used. Once you had fought beside someone for years, sharing bivouacked camps in the wilds, as well as cramped inn rooms, modesty was one of the first sentiments to go.
As Kaldia entered, she found the room bathed in steam and her respective tub brimming with sudsy water. After they had spent a week hunting a dragon in volcanic pass filled with hot springs, the company had agreed that a hot soak was always preferred to a cold slosh and so had commissioned an artificer to install a complicated series of brass pipes capable of delivering scalding water straight to each of the tubs. The sight of hers now was a sirens song to the weary fighter and she beelined towards it, stripping her soiled tunic and trousers, as well as her muck-encrusted boots, from her as she did. Careful to set her blade near at hand beside the tub, she joyously sank into the steaming water, a moan of abject pleasure escaping unbidden from her lips as she did.
Settling in, she allowed herself to relax, a rare feat indeed, and oblige the heat of the soapy water to work its way into every fiber of her being. Like a magician’s spell, the water oozed the hardships of the road from her, and she sunk deeper into its embrace. Despite her relaxation, she remained aware, however, and was not so detached that she did not perceive the door to the washroom quietly open, and then close again. Cocking her head imperceptibly, she discerned movement across the tiled floor, though not towards her. Whomever it was, and she felt as if she knew, they were moving clockwise around the room away from her, keeping near the wall and, she assumed they thought, out of her earshot.
“Scamper closer, little mouse,” she called without opening her eyes.
Immediately, the small steps ceased, and she could almost feel the surprise on the interloper’s face.
“Does Hethro know you scamper so?” She asked, cracking one eye to spy, through the steam, the newest maid standing awkwardly against the far wall. “I am sure he would say that you have duties elsewhere.”
“He would indeed,” the young woman replied, just loud enough for Kaldia to hear. “Would you like me to leave?”
The fighter smiled despite herself.
“My companions are, as we speak, engaging in all sorts of merriment at the inn in town,” she said. “I do not see why I cannot have some as well, despite my reclusion. Come closer, I will not shout across this room for the duration of my bath.”
Through her cracked eyelid, she saw the young woman offer a small smile of her own before doing as the warrioress bid and stride forward, her feet carrying her near enough to the tubs rim to converse, but not close enough to be considered indecent should anyone interrupt.
She’s certainly been well-trained, Kaldia mused to herself as she closed her eyes fully and relaxed once more. Or else is wise enough to not be too forward with her intentions.
“Where are you from?” The fighter asked. “You are too pale to be of the local crop, where were your seeds sown?”
“I was born in High Ethelwhere,” the woman said and Kaldia’s eyes popped open in surprise.
“You’re no elf,” she commented.
“I am not,” the woman’s small smile returned, not enough to be considered mocking, but enough so that the warrioress knew her observation had been obvious.
“I was born to servants of one of the noble families there,” she continued. “Human servants.”
Kaldia chuckled. Had a bit of a lip on her this one, she liked that.
“And your name?”
“Your name is pretty.”
“As is yours, Mistress Kaldia.”
Strange, the fighter mused, normally being called mistress made her uncomfortable, and yet when Amaranth said it it sent a thrill through her similar to when their eyes first met.
“What brings you so far south, Amaranth?” She asked. “Surely you could have found better employ in your homeland.”
“It was not my homeland,” the maid replied with an edge the fighter was not expecting. “The elves, though civil, ever made it clear who was upper and who was lower in their lands. I left so that I might be able to one day rise above my station.”
“Is working for a group of ribald adventurers a step up then?”
Amaranth giggled. Despite herself, Kaldia found that she liked the sound, so different than the usual titters offered by the staff whenever her, or one of her comrades, cracked a joke they obviously did not find funny.
“Most would say no,” the maid admitted. “But I’d rather look at it as an opening to possibilities. In Ethelwhere, there was no hope of me ever being any more than a servant. Here, working for you, perhaps I might pick up on a thing or two, maybe even become an adventurer like you some day.”
“Took a lifetime of training for me to get where I am,” Kaldia replied, cracking an eye once more, her gaze sweeping the woman’s well-sculpted, yet markedly unmuscled, physique. “Where I come from, a woman gets a sword in her hand before she’s had a man between her legs. Some love the former so much they never opt for the latter.”
“What about you, Mistress Kaldia?”
The question was innocent enough, the look in the maid’s eye was not.
“Do you see a babe on my tit?” The fighter said, opening her eyes more fully so that she might level her gaze with the younger woman’s.
“I do not,” Amaranth replied, her eyes dropping boldly from the adventurers to the small rise of her perky breasts above of waterline, her puffy nipples engorged further by the heat of the bath.
“Have you any skill with a blade?” Kaldia asked, drawing the younger woman’s gaze once more to hers.
“I have trained with sword and bow,” Amaranth said, her chin rising slightly. “Though I haven’t had much chance to further my lessons since I left home.”
“The elves let you train with weapons?”
“We were not slaves. When young, it is customary for noble children in Ethelwhere to have some perfunctory skill with blade and bow. As I was a child in a noble’s household, I was allowed to take part in their drills. Needless to say, I took more of an interest in the art than the noble’s children. They were more interested in their magic lessons than something so mundane as sword work. I had no skill for the arcane arts myself and the swordmistress took a liking to me. As such, I was able to scrape some personal lessons together on the side after my chores were done.”
“I am sure she appreciated you taking an interest,” Kaldia remarked. “After I left home, I spent some time doing something similar in the Market Cities. Training wealthy merchant sons and daughters in the art of the blade was seldom fulfilling, though the coin was good. I can commiserate with your swordmistress.”
“She did indeed appreciate my interest in the blade..as well as other skills I developed as I grew.”
The meaningfulness in the maid’s eye intensified as she spoke, her gaze boldly never leaving Kaldia’s.
“You are very forward,” the fighter observed, unable to fully keep the arousal from her own tone.
“I have never seen the appeal of minced words, Mistress.”
“Do you like calling me that?”
“It is a pleasure when it is deserved.”
“You don’t know me very well, how do you know if it’s deserved?”
“All who work here speak of you with respect. Of the others in your company there is at least one disparaging remark. Of you there are none. When reputation pairs with appearance…” The maid once more allowed her eyes to lower and Kaldia could verily feel them slide down the curve of her neck, across the expanse of her chest, to rest upon her teasingly semi-exposed breasts once more. “…Then I am more than happy to render upon you the title.”
Kaldia’s breath quickened as Amaranth spoke. She could not deny the woman’s words were making her wet, and her bath had grown considerably warmer since they had begun conversing.
“Do you like me calling you Mistress?” The maid pressed unabashedly forward.
“Yes,” the fighter found herself admitting verbally, seemingly before the words had even formed in her mind.
“And what would you like to call me?”
Again, the words came unbidden to the warrioress’ lips. What was wrong with her? She hadn’t called anyone that since..gods it had been years.
A pleasantly surprised smiled graced the maid’s doll-like features and she bowed. There was no sarcasm in the act. Just pure, erotic respect.
“Then I shall be your Pet, Mistress,” she said.
“Will you step closer?”
The small smile returned.
“You are Mistress of this keep, I am employed here. If I were to be seen by others as shirking my duties to pleasure you it may be seen as me trying to gain higher status among the staff.”
“That wouldn’t be true..”
“Truth is meaningless in the eyes of those who labor for their coin, Mistress. What matters is appearance.”
“I shall find you when my duties are complete for the day if it is your wish.”
Amaranth bowed again.
“Then I shall find you then, Mistress.”
After speaking these words, she departed, her strides swift as she left the chamber.
Sighing, Kaldia sunk once more into the bath. Unbidden, her fingers strayed to her sex. Nay, she thought. Let us see what my new pet can do later.