The warm stench of dirt which had been defecated for innumerous animals, combined with the rhythmically trot of my horse only increased my nausea, fortunately I already devised the stinking puddle of misery they called “County of Nagher”. It wouldn’t last much longer now, the worst part was over.
I just wanted to get done with the rest of that horrible day; which meant collecting my money and rest before we could leave that putrid rats nest first thing in the morning.
The small houses had their windows shut, but I knew the little greedy eyes of those cowards followed our passage through the town square. Some of them even had the guts to show their hideous faces. I held my sleeve closer to my nose, because they smelled worse than the road we just left. Soon, a real crowd gathered around our horses, but I wouldn’t let those ignorant peasants to hold me back on my intents, so I forced my passage thought their disorderly mob towards the Burgh Master’s house, with Tassler following right behind me.
We got off the horses, hearing the crowd’s reaction to the shameful state of our figures: shredded clothes, I had been severely wounded, barely standing on my feet, not to mention the fact that our party was one member shorter. Most of them doubted we had accomplished what we were hired to do. The greasy fat cheeks of the Burgh Master were red, probably because he also anticipated that our only purpose was to report another failure.
“What about the priestess? Where is she?” The round belly of that despicable man shook as he pronounced such words, his garlic breath filled my nostrils and I just had to overcome the urge to throw up over his disgusting figure. The impolite brute was about to ask again, but Tassler just cynically pointed to the skies above their heads.
The horde of uncivilized humans looked up, gawking and gasping; many of them dropped to their knees and started praying. Their narrow minds would never understand the approaching figure.
The enormous silvery wings shone, reflecting the orange tones of the sunset. The winged creature flew in circles each time smaller, maneuvering in skimming movements, until it gracefully landed on the square behind us.
I could tell the rumors about the impressive height and the glorious port of such rare sight would be told in that disgraceful village for generations. The silver wings spread to their full span before they gently recollected, revealing the perfectly the enormous muscular figure of a tanned celestial creature. The winged savior carried in his powerful muscular arms, something that instantly provoked joyful canorous prayers, the untouched, safe and sound figure of their beautiful missing priestess.
Her beauty, however, was not mundane, it was not her curvaceous hourglass shape that made her so beautiful, in fact, she possessed an ethereal grace that marked her pale skin and her very dark long hair.
“Lady Magdel, the Angel brought our Lady back to us!” The imbecile chorus yelled with the fervor of the flocks. The gentle tanned massive carrier easily placed the respectful lady on the ground, grabbing her soft, clean hand and gently kissing it before knelled in front of her. Magdel already showed signs to be a middle aged woman, although her face was still soft and tender, even though a few wrinkles already hurt her undeniable beauty. Like everything else on human society, they were ephemeral. No matter how graceful or powerful they were time soon would claim its price upon such short lived creatures.
Lady Magdel smiled back at her savior, as the flock separated their divine figures, some of them just wanted to touch the heavenly giant, while the rest simply dragged the priestess back into temple right across the square. The powerful winged man looked down at the curious people who touched him with annoying insistence, but he seemed above such minor feelings, smiling politely back at each single one.
Meanwhile, the Burgh Master kissed my cheeks with his garlic breath, holding my face as he gently shook my head – “Blessed be you, Master Vaughn, you not only rescued our Lady Magdel but you also brought an Angel to our humble village, this soil is now eternally Holly.”
I really wanted to puke on his shoes, but first I wanted my payment.
“Yeah, I’m sure you’ll turn this city into a pilgrimage center, but I couldn’t care less. I want the reward, now.” I blustered trying to get rid of his moist warm dirty hands.
The fat man still grinned. “Of course, you deserve every single dime!” He looked at the two men on his side, and the taller one handed me a velvet bag.
I didn’t need to count to realize it wasn’t the agreed price. I just shook the bag, facing the uncomfortable expression on the town’s leader.
“You promised 3000, this bag has barely half of this money.” I said coldly.
The Burgh Master cleaned his sweaty balding head. “I really bag your pardon, Master Vaughn, but our town is not a rich one, this is all the money we can spare, I know it’s not all we had discussed, but it’s from our heart.”
“I don’t care about that crap. I want my damn money!” I said poking the chest of the bastard – “You promised 3000, now you’ll have to pay in full!” I tightened my teeth, the veins on my forehead pulsated thickly, the man seemed to shrink in size at each time I poked his fat chest.
“I’m sorry we lied to you Master Vaughn, but we were desperate to have our Lady back!” He cried, but not even a child would believe those tears.
“Vaughn, if that’s all he can afford, we can’t force him to pay more…” Alistair’s deep voice tone filled the street. People rejoiced the Savior Angel’s mercy upon them, but I just rolled my eyes inside their orbits.
“Stay away from this, he’s the crook here! He promised 3000 gold pieces for the quest we accomplished it only now that it’s done, he dares to pay half of our price?” I foamed of anger, feeling my temper boiling. “Let’s not forget that he never told us the true identity of the missing priestess, because he knew no one would go after something powerful enough to kidnap an Oracle!” I finished my sentence lifting my hand, ready to slap the face of such traitor, but the delicate touch of my comrade dissuaded my idea.
“Sir, it is not worth to bring their anger towards us now” Tassler whispered in my ear and then he talked directly to the town’s master.
“We just need to rest before we can continue.” His diplomatic empty smile rose on his thin lips.
Tassler’s uncanny agility brought him to my side just in time to stop me from committing an unwise act, once again.
“Your people will provide everything for our rest as a token of their appreciation isn’t it right?” The gentle manners of my personal guard were much more useful than my usual temper.
“Oh, sure, of course, Master Tassler, you’ll stay on my house tonight, I’ll make sure you have fresh water, warm beds and delicious food to have your so deserved rest!”
The Burgh Master pointed at the three stored building right behind him, and it looked much better than the flea-infested place they dared to call an inn.
“Nothing will make me more grateful than hosting such glorious party!” The fat man bowed as I stared furiously at Alistair, but the enormous docile muscle bound had the nerve to smile back at me, with those big golden eyes of his stupid happy face.
Meanwhile, the swindler town’s leader announced. “Hurray for our Masters and the Angel of Grace that saved our Lady Magdel! Tonight we celebrate the feats of such brave heroes and their successful crusade”
I couldn’t stand hearing any more of that ridiculous adulation, so I just stormed out of the square, following straight into the Burgh Master’s house, not caring for any decorum, I just asked the maid for my room and the young woman conducted me to an alcove on the second floor. I ordered her to bring me warm water for my bath immediately, and she ran nervously to the kitchen.
The room was somewhat decent; at least it had a real bed, not just a bunch a pile of straw covered by a stinking blanket. I looked at myself on the mirror and hated my reflection. I never looked so ugly in my whole life.
The pointy ears, the thin shaped nose and long neck, my long lean limbs moving inside my baggy roomy wizard robes, it didn’t matter that I was leaner than the leanest man, according to elven standards I would always be “stocky”. I closed my eyes as I reached for the pendant hanging close to my chest, holding the crystal on my hand. The stone now felt cold to the touch.
“It’s useless now…” I said, overcoming the urge to throw it through the window. The maid knocked on the door and I stepped aside as she brought the water for my bath, but I instructed her to just pour the hot water into the tub and leave. Although, I sounded really unfriendly she just nodded happily.
“As you wish, Master Vaughn, it’s an honor to serve the one who rescued Lady Magdel, I really want to be in your graces” The girl shouldn’t even be old enough to have bosoms, but already the greedy swine used her childish services around his house. Usually, I would never pay attention to such shallow compliment, but since she sounded really sincere I caught myself smiling back at her, reaching for her tiny shaking hand, I deposited the blue crystal over her nervous grip.
“Take this with you and don’t let your boss see you with it. It’s really precious, so you use the money to start a better life with your family without depending on that fat alley cat…” I blinked at the girl as she quickly kept her treasure inside her roomy dirty clothes.
Even though it was worthless for me now, the crystal would bring a much better life for the child. The girl thanked me enthusiastically more than she really should, left the room with a renewed rejoice one her innocent face.
I locked the door and untied my traveling robe, getting ready for my bath when a familiar non rhythmic knock on the wall announced Tassler’s arrival.
As always, I never reacted to such sound, because that was my bodyguard’s instructions; he would enter the room through the window, using his skills to remain unnoticed, so now one would know I was not alone. Some might think it was unnecessary, but Tassler really knew he had to be careful about the safety of the Last Heir of House Yendrill.
My gracious protector landed swiftly on the porch, quickly assuming a relaxed position once he realized I was out of danger.
Tassler was the Head of the Guard of House Yendrill, a deadly elf agent always disguised by his supernatural stealth and discretion, distinguishable proficient in frontal and sneaky combats, as well as the arcane arts, though his knowledge in that area was not bigger than mine. Although he was just a little bigger than me, I knew that my life had depended many times on his impeccable efficiency.
“You are really something, Master Vaughn, you almost slapped the town’s leader for a mere 1500 gold pieces, but you just gave the maid something that values ten times more.” Tassler sat on my bed as I continued disrobing myself. I wasn’t surprised to the fact he had been listening my conversation with the young maid all along, he was always on surveillance about my safety.
“You know it’s not about the money, I just hate treason. That insolent pig tried to fool us into a mission that was almost impossible!” I sighed as my last robe fell on the floor, revealing my bruised lean and ripped body.
Tassler stood up and grabbed my clothing. “Well, I’m sorry but your own actions proved you wrong, we not only rescued Lady Magdel but also defeated the menace that had taken her from her temple.”
I looked back at my comrade. “That’s the worst part and you know that, Tassler, we were surely doomed, if it wasn’t for…”
“Your mother’s heirloom, I saw you using it against the warlock. That energy vortex simply burnt him!” Tassler added with a grin in his face.
“That was the problem, the power I released could have dismantled an entire horde of abyssal fiends, or even several Ancient Dragons at once, but that pendant had only one charge! I shouldn’t have wasted such powerful spell against a mundane enemy we could have defeated with better strategy, we had already gotten the Oracle, but that winged mountain of muscles insisted that we had to defeat the evil menace!” I punched the wall furiously, but I know I would nothing but hurting my hand even more.
“You didn’t waste the spell, Vaughn; it saved Alistair’s life, not to mention our own. You knew better than no one that warlock had many ways to exterminate us. If you hadn’t acted quickly we would probably be among his nasty collection of corpses…”
My elven friend came closer to me, and once again I noticed why I would always look “stocky” to my mother’s family. Tassler’s muscles were at the same time, manlier, leaner and more graceful than mine, like he was actually as a feline creature, there was absolutely no fat on his body, and his tight dark clothing showed that he was one of the fittest fighters ever, even though his body would be considered “scrawny” to human standards. Tassler’s blond hair and pale skin completed the beauty of his hazel eyes. His face was calm, transmitting serenity, even though that was indeed an agitated and always alert agent.
I sighed. “I had to act, Tassler, that moron dared to attack a warlock with a mere sword! He was completely clueless about his tricks, but he never listens to me, never! I don’t know for how long I can tolerate his stubbornness!”
Just the mere view of the grin on my friend’s face got me mad once again.
“The young Alistair is just impetuous, Vaughn, but he sure knows his way on the battle field, he just hadn’t seen many enemies, he still has a lot to learn, like yourself…”
“Don’t you ever compare us again, Tassler. I hate when you do that!” I exploded in anger as I grabbed something on my travel bag.
But Tassler knew I could never dissuade him from teasing me “Why not? You two have many things in common. You are both young, determined and… half breeds” He finally added just in time to dodge from the booth I threw against him.
I was just furious. “I’m not like that winged freak! My father was a human and my mother was an elf, big deal. Half breeds like me are each time easier to find, as both elves and humans tend to succeed to their unexplainable lust for each other. But that… aberration is not from these realms of existence. Have you ever seen the size of his body, he’s an ambulant wall of muscle, that has not an ounce of common sense on that immensely heavy body…”
Tassler walked to the tub and threw the sage leaves I was looking for on the tub.
“Master Vaughn, I’ve seen you bailing out parties for less before, and I’m not judging you for that, because I know your mission to our House is greater than any rescue missions, but if you decided to use your pendant’s only charge to save a companion from his sure death, the only conclusion is that you care a lot for him.”
I stood barely naked in front of my escort; every inch of body looked red of anger.
“How dare you say that? I said before that I DON’T care for that humongous muscle creature!” I said entering the tub and feeling my sore body aching for all the punches and bruises I taken in order to save that priestess. I wanted the scenting water to cleanse me from all the dirty and the pain I’ve felt.
Tassler nodded pretending he actually believed on my exaggerated reaction.
“Don’t worry, Master Vaughn, I’m sure that you’ll be forever in the graces of that enormous kid for saving his life. Besides, you might have lost your family’s relic, but while our enormous lad made sure nothing was wrong with the Oracle, you had lots of time to explore the fabulous lab of that defeated warlock…”
I grinned. Tassler was always so sneaky and cunning “Well, I didn’t say it was a total loss after all, since the bastard was destroyed for ever, I should at least claim the mystical rewards for my deeds..” I said with my eyes closed as Tassler gently rubbed my sore back. That wasn’t his obligation but I really didn’t feel embarrassed.
I’ve been raised according to the elven traditions, and among the enchanted beings of the High Forests, mutual exchange of love and tenderness was always well accepted, even if between beings of the same gender, something that shocked most of the other societies, especially the humans and dwarves who kept hypocrite moral codes regarding such objects, there mere fact of a man that kissed another man in the lips would mean disgrace, meanwhile full grown men could kill each other and that was just normal. That was one of the reasons I loved my ambiguous lineage, it could make me less of a human and more of an elf.
My loyal servant smiled. “Were you able to find something interesting on that lab?”
I nodded as he continued his massage on my sore body. “Oh yeah, that bastard kept some powerful stuff with him, I didn’t have the time to study, but for what I could see, he was quite fondled with the Arts of Transmutation.”
The elven friend of mine grabbed the bar of soap in my hand and cleaned my slender figure, making sure his delicate hands reached all the right spots for massaging the ache and releasing the stress of the last campaign.
“He had kept so many dead corpses on those huge pots I could bet that he was a necromancer”
I grinned “You couldn’t be more wrong, those corpses were not there for being resuscitated, they were failed experiments of that creep, you should pay more attention to notice that many of those dead bodies were not naturally existent on this plane, they were attempts of increasing already existent life-forms. Some really wicked spells he must have used, because most of those creatures were allegedly really powerful…”
“And what about that scroll he kept inside that vault? It took me forever to open that lock, not to mention I’ve noticed at least five different spells triggered to keep anyone very far from its contents” I couldn’t help to notice the glow on Tassler’s beautiful almond shaped eyes. He was loyal to my House, but he also didn’t mind if he could get richer along his journey, and although he always carried a lot of souvenirs with him, I’m sure he would appreciate some kindness of my part.
“I didn’t touch that yet, it should be really important for our enemy, so I need to have a good studio to prepare me for its secrets, but you can have all the wands he kept there, I’m sure they’ll worth quite a fortune somewhere with a decent market…”
Tassler frowned for a while, as he rubbed the soap over my chest. “Well Rhysmild is notorious for its many Arcane Towers, most of them are quite friendly to House Yendrill, plus it is not far from here, although you could just take us to anywhere under the Four Suns with your magic, I’d still prefer the thrill of traveling…”
I sighed. “I know; that’s how we ended up with the giant hero boy and his Justice Blade…”
The golden locks of my friend’s hair tinkled my face as he approached me from behind.
“You said we should get some brawny help, he was the biggest I could find, and he had this sweet innocent look on his eyes, not the murdering gaze most of thugs his size carry on their ugly faces.”
“At least, those of such kind would never be so easily attached to our company.” I shrugged my shoulders.
“Do you think he’s a paladin? He sure loves to fight evil, but I haven’t noticed any holly symbol with him all this time.”
“Nah, didn’t you notice the way he dresses? He only wears an old chest plate that is way too small for him, and the same loincloth, if that kid was a real Sacred Knight, he would wear at least something that could parade his God’s symbol, besides he would never lose one opportunity to brag about such thing. So I guess he’s just a Half-Celestial, the marks of the Heavenly Beings on their offspring with native creatures of our plans are quite strong, and usually their carriers tend to follow the divine path, weather as priests or paladins, but there are exceptions. Alistair’s just a huge dumb kid with massive muscles and a tiny mind. Above everything, he is lawful, sweet, honest and dangerously naïve.”
Tassler grinned “You’ve just said honorable things about the winged freak sir; that proves once again that you are really an ambulant contradiction spring, Vaughn.”
I nodded “Well, he has already been useful to our purposes before, but I guess it’s about time to let him follow his own path, whatever that is. Besides, we will never be unnoticed if we drag an eight feet tall massive muscular man with silver wings and golden eyes.”
Tassler nodded, but he didn’t seem convinced “It’s not the first time you try to get rid of the lad, sir, and quite frankly if you really meant that, we would’ve been gone before he could even notice what happened”
I looked seriously at Tassler “This is annoying, you know? Stop saying that I have any kind of feelings for that immense idiot, because I have not, and you should know better than anyone that my quest requires total dedication and self-commitment!”
“Yes, Master Vaughn, you are a wizard with a mission, but you are also the son of Lady Syrill, know very well what your mother told you before she traveled to the Lost Ports.”
“Stop that, Tassler, I’m not in the mood for such imbecile hearsay…” I warned him, but there’s something about elves and lore that simply can’t be explained, they love the mysticism and the art of telling stories.
“Walking among the bitter, you’ll suddenly find the sweetness for your sour heart. Though you might feel scared and uncomfortable, try as you might, you will not escape of its reach, because no matter where you hide, love will find you in its silvery wings.”
Tassler repeated that stupid prophecy my mother told me once again. The bastard was older than an elder human, but he still acted like a toddler.
“That omen my mother had was her last gift to me, I won’t let you conspurcate the undying memory of the last Regent of House Yendrill!” I growled in anger, but Tassler knew me for so long, he would never take such weak threaten seriously. I just felt his delicate touch toweling my skin as a zealous help.
“I’m sorry, Master Vaughn, but you really look cute when you are angry. I know your mother’s omen probably doesn’t have such a literal meaning, but I just couldn’t help to tease you.” Tassler apologized in his own twisted way, so I just exhaled as he finished toweling my body, but I still was mad at him.
“Let me soak for a few more minutes, I’m exhausted, the sage leaves will help my mind to recover its strength…” I said holding his hand.
“As you wish; milord.” Tassler gently folded the towel and placed it over my eyes, helping me to lean back in the tub, as I felt my body finally relaxing. My breathing was still not calm enough when powerful knocks almost put the door down.
“Vaughn? You’re in there?” The cheer tone on his voice had the power to instantly hit on my nerves.
“Go away, I’m resting!” I said without taking the towel over my eyes.
“I need to talk to you, Vaughn, it’s really important!” He insisted, but I simply wouldn’t give on his charm this time.
“We’ll talk tomorrow, now go away, you’re the town’s savior and they will celebrate you tonight! You should enjoy!” I said coldly.
“Please?” His tone was just annoyingly insistent, but even I had to admit that he knew how to sound charmingly polite, but eventually he would just get bored and leave me alone.
Suddenly, I heard muffled the sound of the key unlocking the door. I cursed Tassler for yet another prank; before I could even get jump out of the tub, I noticed that my clothes were gone and even the bed sheets were missing. The only place where I could still keep some dignity would be that old wooden tub.
The door mysteriously opened and the immense bulk had to turn aside and bend over in order to enter my room. Standing up I noticed that his head touched the low ceilings of that building, so he had to keep bent all the time.
“Do you let your door open when you’re taking your bath?” He asked me naively as my face turned into all shades of red.
“I am not ashamed of my glorious elf traces” I tried to overcome my own embarrassment with disdain on my tone, but judging by the smirk on his lips, he already noticed he had walked on me during my bath.
“You want me to come back when you’re decent?” Alistair’s laughter slipped through his attempt to keep serious.
“Just spit it out, lad!” I ordered losing my patience.
The immense celestial half breed adjusted his stance, than he smiled as he showed me another small velvet bag.
“When Lady Magdel heard what the Burgh Master did, she collected this money on the temple’s savings. I think it’ll make everything alright… right?” He said shaking the tiny bag and I just nodded.
“If she is indeed an Oracle she already knew they would cheat us!” I said bitterly.
Alistair insisted “Oh come on, cheer up, you’ve got your money, now we can continue with our adventures…”
“They’re not OUR adventures, it’s MY mission, which only involves me and Tassler, and I told you before that you’re free to follow your own way.” I couldn’t believe we were having the same conversation once again.
“If I’m free to follow my way, why can’t it be your way as well?” The massive muscles on that boy provoked an emotional turmoil inside my head. I tried to avoid looking directly to the pectoral muscles that challenged the very resistance of his enormous breastplate; it seemed that he had already outgrown his own armor.
“Look, Alistair, I’m a wizard and sometimes I go into very dangerous places, it’s not safe for such young boy like you.”
“I’m not a boy anymore, I’m already 16, and I can join the armies of most kingdoms at that age! Besides, I can help you fighting your enemies!” He said crossing his enormous bulging arms on his impressive chest.
“Yeah, like you did earlier today, I was really impressed!” I said rolling my eyes.
“Well, I admit that it was kind of clumsy but I got lucky in the end” Alistair said in a lower tone.
“You got lucky? You got lucky?” I almost stood up so angry I was, but I managed to keep sat as I yelled at the massive dumb human.
“Do you have any idea what I had to sacrifice to save your enormous buttocks from being pulverized by that warlock? I had to give up something very meaningful to me, because you were stupid enough to attack a warlock like that, without any magical protection. He could have you killed just by snapping his fingers!”
Alistair said nothing; for a while he suddenly lost his impetuous attitude.
“I’m sorry, I had no idea, he just looked like a mean old man to me, and I thought I could handle him easily.”
I waved my head nervously, pointing my finger at him “Just one piece of advice about adventuring. The older they look the deadlier they are!”
“You don’t look old to me, neither does Tassler. We are all around the same age right?”
I roared. “Listen, kid, I’m old enough to be your father and Tassler? Hell, he is older than your great grandfather if he was still alive! I told you we are elves and that’s the reason why we look young at your eyes.”
Alistair grinned “that’s not true, you’re a half elf, and Tassler is a pure blood. Even though you are older, among your elven people they see you just as young as I am”
I suddenly gasped, because that enormous muscle mountain was indeed right. I could just see Tassler laughing silently from wherever he was hiding.
“You are a fool, Alistair, you do this for the glory, you love to bring home the kidnapped lady, spread those big wings of yours while people call you “Savior Angel”, they have no idea that you’re just a half breed boy, you’re not sent from Heavens to save them, but that doesn’t matter, all you want is the glory for saving the day, even when it was me that had to save you!” I felt my anger building dangerously high once again.
This time, it was Alistair who got speechless, but I could see every single fiber of his massive being twisting with his anger, but he would never say anything so low to me, even if he felt that he should, it just wasn’t his personality.
“I never told you that before, but I didn’t know my parents, I was left in a temple when I was still a baby, but that temple was long ago forgotten, there were no priests there to take care of me, just an old cook who raised me as my mother. When my wings grew she told me that I was an angel from above and that I should look for a Church to see if they would send me back to where I came from. Until you told me about Half Breeds, I had no idea that I wasn’t an Angel, and that made me really happy”
“It made you happy? Why?”
“Well, people say that when angels end up on the mundane realms, it’s because they had been disgraced, I just asked myself everyday what bad things I could have done to be expelled from up there…” – I felt my heart melting with that story, even though it was silly, I had to recognize that the kid had indeed a good head above those massively wide shoulders.
Sometimes, even a wizard realizes that he was insensitive. I felt my own head spinning as I tried to find a way to apologize to that pubescent behemoth.
“I had no idea Al, I’m sorry for coming down on you so heavy. I guess I am mad at myself mostly. I should have warned you about the real danger of our mission, if Lady Magdel is an Oracle, then she has really great powerful magic to help her, and if even so she had been kidnapped, it could only meant one of these two things, the kidnapper outsmarted her or he overpowered her defenses, either way that was not a comfortable situation.”
“So, you’re saying that the Burgh Master tricked us?”
“Well, he saw your bulky figure and my ostentatious robes and signs, he figured out we were really experienced dungeon crawlers, when in fact, we are just a bunch of nosy kids trying to solve other people’s problems.”
The powerful muscle fortress seemed to finally rationalize things.
“That’s why he promised the 3000 pieces because he never thought we would actually bring her, and if we did, then there was nothing we would do because the Lady would never be caught a second time”
I smiled like a proud father. “So, I can finally see a brain underneath that brawn huh?” I teased him as I felt the water getting uncomfortably cold.
Alistair dangerously kneeled, approaching his enormous bulk from my petite frame.
“When I said I got lucky in the end, I meant that I got lucky for having you there to save me, you are always there to save me with you magic. I guess that’s why I became so brave, I know that you will always do everything to protect me, so the least I can do is forgetting about my fears.”
Those words were followed by an unexpected display of affection. Alistair just hugged my thin neck with his monstrous arm and pressed my figure against his chest, I could feel his muscles pressing underneath his armor, his muscular arms bulged and my sensitive skin felt each one of his thick veins pumping blood into those powerful muscles. Then his softy silvery feathers closed around us, and they felt so soft, so tenderly pleasing that if died there, that would have been the closest I would ever be from Heaven.
I was so lost on my own fantasies that I could barely gasp, gently tapping his enormous arm.
“It’s okay my friend, you can… let it go now… I’m running out of air here!”
The uncanny brawn moved and I could see those big golden eyes once again. Alistair’s tanned skin was darker than bronze, but his shoulder length hair was as white as the softest clouds, silky and deliciously thin, it simply contrasted with his dark complexion.
“Sorry, I totally forgot that you were taking your bath. I should leave you now, we can talk during the party” He smiled and I hated myself for hurting the feelings of that precious creature with my usual bitterness.
I smiled uncomfortably. “Yeah, I don’t think so, I’m not feeling very well, I had to cast so many spells today that my mind is just feeling too heavy. I’ll just get inside clean clothes, grab a bite and finally rest. I have to wake up before dawn in order to prepare myself for the journey.”
“Oh… well you could at least eat something, they’re preparing to roast entire pigs in our tribute, the Burgh Master doubted I could eat one just by myself, and I want to have to pleasure to prove him wrong” Once again I felt my heart sinking for taking the smile of his face, so although my mind was simply depleted I heard myself saying.
“I guess I could eat something, listen to some good music and rest after that!” The elf inside me already missed the nights around the fireplace, singing, playing and telling stories.
“Really? That’s really nice, you could finally teach me how to play that flute of yours!” Alistair reminded once again about the promised music lessons I would give him.
“Well, when we find a flute strong enough that won’t break once it is between your huge paws, we can proceed with the lessons.” I said feeling that my skin already wrinkling because of the water.
Alistair nodded “Well, it’s better than nothing, at least I’ll get to hear you play, these people will be amazed with your talent, I know I always feel happy when I get to listen to your music”.
After he smiled beautifully once again, he ducked and maneuvered his enormous bulks and wings to squeeze himself outside that tiny door. I just laughed as he remembered to close the door behind him.
“Oh, you didn’t tell me our next destination!” The look on his face was undeniably seductive, so I just grinned.
“I won’t take chances with you, Alistair, after a few mugs of beer you might just spill everything out.” I said but then I noticed that the reason why he was suddenly uncomfortable. Alistair only drank milk.
I waved my head. “You still have lots to learn about living boy!”
“Like I said, I am lucky that I’ve got you, Vaughn!” He said as he finally left my room.
The stupid grin was still printed on my face when Tassler appeared from wherever he had been hiding. I stood up at once, closing my eyes to avoid facing the look on his mocking face. Sometimes, the Head of Guard of House Yendrill was just panderer.
Tassler would never say a world until I provoked him, but I knew he had enough self control to hold the joke for decades, so I just exhaled.
“Come on, let me hear it!”
“Oh I shouldn’t bother you with such reasonless minor subjects, sir. We are going to a party tonight, and you’ll play for young Alistair’s pleasure. You have no feelings for that winged muscle freak whatsoever…” Tassler’s grin felt like a dagger piercing through my guts.
“He’s just dumb kid, he needs tutoring, I might be hard, but I’m not heartless, that boy may be a giant, but even giants can be easily defeated with the right magic. We need his incredible strength as well as he needs our help to become smarter. It’s a mutual interest.” Even I didn’t believe that lame excuse anymore.
“So, is he coming with us to Rhysmild?” Tassler asked just to hit his deadly blow on my already defeated boldness towards Alistair’s charm.
“Yes, Tassler, he’s coming with us. Remind me to check his weight; I think a simple teleport spell won’t work with his massive bulk.”
Tassler looked at me as I got dressed for the party. “Or you could just send me, while you ride the skies on his silvery wings…”
This time, my boot hit him right in his face.