Titos' Adventures: A Witch in the Woods


Warning Graphic male/male sex ahead. Leave if this offends you.

Titos' Adventures: A Witch in the Woods
BY
Paladin

A small tapping at the door stirred Hal from his sleep. He groaned and hid under the covers. It had to be very late in the night. Titos was out gathering information, and Trohan had to be drunk out of his mind by now. Ryn had gone to bed early. That left, his sky-blue eyes shot open, an enemy? He jumped out of bed, throwing on his robes and trying to find his mace in the darkness. Titos was right, he was likely to get himself killed being so careless. Damn, he couldn't find it. Praise the gods he had at least locked the door this time.

"Hal..." Ryn's small voice barely reached his ear.

He paused. The elf rarely called him by his first name. What could he want at this hour? Surely sex would not drive him here at this time.

The sound of nails gliding down the oaken door returned his wits. He quickly opened the door. "Ryn...?"

The elf collapsed in his arms. Ryn's bloody hands grasped at him blindly; and his clothes were torn to shreds. Deep wounds defiled his body and quickly left crimson stains on the blue robe Hal wore. Ryn's honey-wheat hair had streaks of blood glistening in the light strands. The blood seemed to be oozing everywhere. Hal watched in horror as the life slowly began to drain from the deep purple eyes.

It took the priest too many precious minutes to regain his composure. Hal dragged his friend and lover over to his bed, heedless of the mess it would make. He invoked his prayers and spells at a rapid pace, pausing only for breath when necesary. "Airamor, don't fail me now." He continued his castings without error or even thought for what seemed like an eternity. He took a deep breath and looked at the pale form of the elf. Ryn's flawless beauty had returned, but his skin was pale, an almost death white. Hal could not bring himself to check for the pulse. The idea of failure was too horrific. Could it be possible he had healed but a body?

"Bloody hell!" Trohan's slurred speech echoed down the hall. The dwarf stormed into the room, his smaller ax in hand, his small eyes darting every which way.

Hal opened his mouth to speak but found no words would form. He merely pointed to Ryn.

The dwarf's eyes widened. He moved to Ryn and quickly checked for life. "He's alive. Praise the gods. Is all this from him?"

Hal nodded numbly. "We've got to clean it up, quickly."

Trohan frowned. "I'll do it. Stay here with him."

Hal stood there only now letting the relief take hold. He could not bring himself to do anything. The fear still glazed the room and his soul. His spells had worked. If he had waited any longer, the elf would have died. He would not have been able to lift the coldness of death from the bones. Another moment and...

Ryn stirred violently. He lashed out, hoarse cries ripping from his throat. Hal went to him quickly, gathering him in his arms. He stroked the honey-wheat hair gently, but the elf would not calm.

"Help me! I can't get them off." Ryn sobbed loudly. He pressed and sought for comfort from Hal's shoulder, but it did not seem to help. "Help me. It hurts. They are killing me. Someone help me."

"Shhh." Hal hugged him fiercely. "You are safe now."

"I tried," Ryn cried. "I tried. It was too late." The lithe body trembled feverishly.

"Relax." Hal felt as if his heart was being torn out. The elf's eyes became unfocused, and his voice strained with rising panic. Ryn had lost control of his body long ago, but this lack of composure tore at Hal's very being.

Ryn gripped him firmly as if it is would to death otherwise. "Oh gods! Titos will be angry. He'll despise me. He'll send me away. He'll hate me. He won't want me anymore"

Hal pulled him closer as if that were truly possible. "No. No Ryn he won't. He loves you."

"You can't tell him. The wounds are gone. The blood..."

The priest felt a sense of dread beginning to wallow in the pits of his stomach. "Trohan is mopping it up as we speak. Ryn, Titos must know. It's for your own good. He won't send you away."

"Promise me. Promise me you will not tell..." Ryn's voice trailed off as pure exhaustion took over. He went limp with unconsciousness.

The priest felt the steady signs of life and let out a sigh of relief, but he knew all was not through just yet. Hal waited for the dwarf to finish before he let go of his frail friend. "We must talk." They went to the dwarf's room and there he relayed what he had heard.

"Are you crazy!" Trohan bellowed.

Hal watched the now sober dwarf pace across the room calmly. "Please keep your voice down. We've gained enough attention for one night."

"You think we have people staring now. Lad, have you ever seen Titos angry?"

Hal nodded slowly. "He was very displeased with me when I returned home."

Trohan laughed. "Aye. I heard about that. Titos told me everything. No, that was not anger. Trust me. It was just simple annoyance. We keep this from him and you can bet we will be beaten bloody, and I do mean we. He'll knock us around and then have a good ole time with our unconscious bodies afterwards."

Hal sighed heavily. He felt himself blushing at the implications of "everything", but that was not the true problem. "But Ryn is terrified of being sent away."

The argument was cut short as the warrior himself walked into the dwarf's room. Titos looked at the dwarf's red face and frowned. He then tried to lock eyes with the priest. Hal looked away knowing that his eyes could hide nothing from his love.

"There seems to be a commotion downstairs. There is talk of someone being hurt...?"

Hal and Trohan both managed to shrug, not exactly an lie, yet.

Titos eyed them both warily. "You two look awfully anxious."

"Well Lad. We've traveled a long ways. Things are a bit tiresome and tempers flare..." The dwarf sputtered lamely.

"Hal?"

Hal swallowed nervously. He wondered if Titos really would strike him for such a lie. Of course he would. If he thought a life was at stake he would most likely do anything. "I am sure things will settle down in a bit."

Titos nodded as if coming to a decision. He walked over to the door and secured the lock.

***

Ryn kneeled before Titos begging. His deep purple eyes filled with tears. "No please. Not this. Anything but this."

Titos straightened his chin. He did not look down at the elf clinging to his clothes. Ryn turned to Hal, but he too turned away. There was nothing he could do.

"Titos..." Ryn sobbed. "I will be good. I won't go out anymore. Gods Titos, don't do this to me! Not me..." The desperation in the sweet voice was not lost on anyone. They all knew the pain he had endured and knew the pain to come. Titos had made up his mind. Trohan accepted it as solid, and Hal was beginning to realize he was right. He had pleaded on the elf's behalf himself. Not in this manner, but his usual quiet way. He picked his words carefully and had thought, for a moment, that Titos had begun to realize his error. But then the warrior stared at him with his dark eyes, and he knew then that Titos hadn't even been listening. The man had been too kind to tell Hal to save his breath. The decision had been made, and it left him cold all over. The dwarf moved forward and grabbed Ryn's wrists, clamping the shackles on securely and handing the key to Titos mutely.

Titos looked to Trohan and Hal. "It is the only way to be sure." The warrior then strode out of the room heavily.

He moved forward and pulled the elf to his feet, to gaze into the enchanting deep purple eyes. If the heart can die and still live, Hal's did. He watched the life die from the elf's eyes again, but this time he had not the powers to bring the light back. For the first time, Hal watched the proud shoulders slump and succumb to bondage. The priest wondered how many rapes the elf had endured and would have continued to do so without ever looking down, but this seemed as cold as the metal enforced on him. Ryn stared at the iron as if it were some hideous growth on his person. "Ryn. It is only temporary," Hal offered quietly.

"So to is life," came the bleak reply. "So to is life." It was just too much for him to bear.

Hal held the tearful elf close. "Titos, I think you are wrong," he whispered wearily. He hoped that despite the error, things would still turn out all right. He also began to realize that there would be times his love would not listen to everyone. Was he sacrificing too much for love? To sit here and watch another being be chained by another, was it not blasphemy to a priest of Airamor. He sghed heavily. Perhaps when things settled down, he would consider matters intently.

***

Titos tossed and turned for most the night. He couldn't sleep. Over and over in his nightmares he kept arriving too late. He'd turn the corner just in time to see one of them fall or gasp their last breath. Frustrated he stood angrily and dressed. He ventured to Ryn's room and used his key to enter. Something heavy leaned against the door so he had to push a bit harder. He stepped through the door and found Ryn huddled against it. Pain struck his heart instantly. He reached over and picked him up gently. He moved to the soft bed and laid the elf down. Ryn awoke with a sob.

"Easy." Titos murmured, rubbing the quivering shoulders with gentle firmness.

"Titos..." Ryn opened his purple eyes slowly.

"I love you, Ryn." Titos spoke lowly.

Ryn threw his arms around the warrior's neck. In that small movement, he found forgiveness where it was perhaps not due. Titos drew his elf into a fierce embrace, almost afraid

to let go. They stayed that way for a few moments before Ryn laid down, using Titos' lap as a pillow. The warrior fingered the honey-wheat hair lightly noting the elf watched the candle flicker slowly.

Ryn closed his eyes slowly and spoke first. "I did not want it to happen."

Titos nodded. "I know."

"Do you really? The priest seems to think that I've lost my mind. It is not so. I know what is going on. I remember everything. Its not dream like at all, not now and not when I am with someone. Its hard to explain really. I didn't get a good look at them." Ryn sat up and leaned against Titos.

Titos puts his arms around the elf and drew him closer. He realized he hadn't talked to Ryn much and now was as good as time as any. "You realize that your speech has changed. It flowed before and now its just different. You have little if any control over your body in the evening?"

"My speech?" Ryn seemed puzzled at that but nodded slowly to the rest. He fingered his chains slowly.

"I am not willing to risk or let you risk your life like that again. You seem to be in control now..." Titos sighed wearily. "Ryn I love so much about you. I don't want to kill what means so much to me or destroy your spirit, but I won't let you die even if the rest is forfeit."

"Our first acquaintance." Ryn began but paused as Titos tensed. "When our eyes gazed upon each other for the first time, I thought my world had ended. It was not the darkest of armies plotting their foul deeds within a stone's throw, nor the thought of death that stilled my beating heart. It was you. I beheld all flash before my eyes in but a breath's length. I longed to withstand any force you would wield against me, but it was for not."

"Our first meeting left much to be desired." Titos interrupted. Rape was not a preferred method of starting any kind of relationship even if at the time that was not what he had in mind. Gods, how things changed so quickly.

"It 'tis and 'twas perhaps our greatest blessing. If that first engagement had not unfolded as it happened, we would not be here at present. If it had been you within our army ranks, you would be rotting in the elven prisons as we speak. No other encounter could have nor would have ensued to this. In all its horrors and thorns, I would choose not to alter a thing. I am happy and free with you as I have not been with anyone or anywhere else. I am freer here bound in chains than in the fine open courts of my homeland."

Titos closed his eyes briefly letting a few tears drop before taking a deep breath to still himself. He had said I love you, and Ryn, had in return, declared his own love in a way that relieved him of a few of his greatest fears. This was Ryn and not a drug aftermath. This elf would not try to leave him once the drug dissipated. Ryn not only returned his feelings, but had made it clear he was not struggling with any self doubts. That left one hurdle he was not ready to jump yet... how would Ryn feel about himself when his father looked him in the face and then turned his back on his own son for screwing most of his opposing enemy? The pride was still there, and even if Ryn was not shy, he must be far from wanting to present himself to the world as the most desirable whore. For now he would not press the issue. He would rather rest in peace and with a loved one. Later, he would have to find a way to express himself to Hal for that unfortunate information gathering technique. He wasn't sorry. It wasn't about that at all. Trohan new his dark sides very well, and Ryn perhaps understood them as well. Hal was learning for the sake of love. Titos just needed to let the priest know he was loved in return. As sleep took them both in her gentle arms, he wondered briefly if it was a folly for any of them to love so unconditionally.
.

***

That horrible night seemed like eons ago but had in fact only been a few nights. Hal trudged through the swamp in silence. He was bogged down by his heavy robes and then stench made his head swim. The murky waters sent chills in waves over his body, but he would not stoop to complaining, not this time. Occasionally his hand strayed to his right cheek while his gaze went to Titos' back. It wasn't a real pain but a phantom ache. He felt no fear towards the warrior, only a growing sadness and a confusion that seemed to be dwelling in his very depths Night claimed the sky as the sun relinquished its claim in solemn dignity. Only the two torches carried by the Trohan and Titos lit the way. Ryn stumbled in front of him and was unable to catch himself with his bound hands. The elf tumbled into the green muck and tried to stand on his own. He did so so quietly that the other two had not even noticed the fall. Hal moved to his side and pulled him up. The elf trembled terribly and his skin was flushed slightly. Hal recognized the signs instantly. He wondered how long Ryn would wait until he went to Titos again. He had seen the two together since that terrible night, and they seemed well off. There was a subtle difference; Ryn was now trying to fight his cravings. Hal wonder what the driving force behind it truly was. Perhaps the elf was still angry with Titos, or maybe he was angry with himself. Somehow, Hal knew it had nothing to due with fear. He drew out a dry cloth and wiped the sludge from the pale skin. Ryn leaned into the caress slightly. The priest reached for the elf bulging groin but found his hands halted.

"It is not the time nor place for this." Ryn whispered longingly.

Hal shook his head slowly. "It won't take long. You need relief Ryn, you are in pain. I can see it in your eyes."

Ryn nodded reluctantly.

Hal slipped his hand down the elf's loose pants and grasped the straining organ. Ryn groaned and leaned towards him. The skin was smooth and hard. Hal let his fingers glide over the soft surface lightly. He was gentle and slow at first, letting his thumb glide over the silky tip and then rub the head leisurely. Ryn gasped and pushed forward urgently. "Priest," the elf hissed. Hal smiled in spite of himself and gave the elf several strong solid pumps. He became awed as the hard flesh pulsed with life in his hand. The elf's hips rocked rhythmically and then Ryn came. All he had needed was an edge it seemed. They settled themselves after a few moments. Then Ryn moved to Hal and brushed the stray braid, on his forehead, aside. The elf leaned forward and kissed his brow. "Thanks for jacking me off." He spoke lightly and then moved ahead gracefully.

Hal blushed instantly although the light teasing was a welcome relief. The playful nature of the elf seemed to triumph over any given situation. He hoped it would not be tainted when the drug was purged from his body. He went to catch up with the others.

They stood before the small mud, matted hut as if it were a shrine to some god. Their search had been short, yet all knew that here was only an answer and not the actual cure. A faint pungent stench filled the heavy, hot air. Titos moved to the doorway, rapping on the door loudly. There was a cackle and then a screech. The door slowly opened. Titos grabbed Ryn's chain and stepped through without hesitation. Hal found himself stilled by the clear presence of evil. Whatever god this witch served, it would be foul. A firm large hand gripped his wrist, and Trohan pulled him forward. "Steady lad."

They entered the one room hovel and beheld the dwelling of a true witch. Books, bound in the leather of creatures far more pronounced than cows, lined the cob webbed walls. Small cages, containing the bones of small birds and other such animals, draped themselves from the walls. The priest swore he saw one of the brittle things rattle its jaw as if to speak. Small vials of smoldering liquids covered a few thin, wooden tables and desks. The most distinct object of the room was the large, red caldron in the center. It contained a greenish liquid that bubbled and popped eerily before them. A small black cat rubbed against his leg, sending unforeseen shivers up his spine. Hal backed away finding himself stopped by Titos' broad chest. He turned to the warrior and watched the green lights dance of his red and black leather armors of the dark army. Titos' dark gaze peered past him, his shoulder length hair, dancing with an unfelt breeze. The sight seemed not only powerful but a bit terrifying. This man was a strength and something more, it may even hint towards evil. Hal wanted to flee this place and all its horrors. There was just something here that laughed at him cruelly, even mocked him for his faith. "Easy." Titos murmured lowly as he pulled Ryn closer to him.

Four small benches presented themselves to the guests and bowed. Trohan took a seat first, grumbling about magic and spells. The rest also complied to the offer. Titos sat in between Ryn and Hal, taking their hands and squeezing them in assurance.

An old woman stepped from the shadows and approached them slowly. Her back was bent slightly and her skin rough and dark. Her eyes glowed an eerie yellow in the darkness, her hair a glistening silvery color. She wore a tattered shawl that somehow gave off the impression of being magical. The witch looked at each of them and then smiled. "Welcome."

That almost sent Hal flying towards the door had Titos' grip not tightened to an almost unbearable grasp.

Titos cleared his throat and spoke with a stable loud voice. "We were told you have knowledge of magic, rare spells and the like."

She tilted her and nodded slightly.

Titos motioned towards Ryn. "The prince..."

"The prince of the elves who goes by the name of Ryn, and who's current status is that of your slave, has a curse upon him, bought and paid for from a dragon." The woman smiled at their startled reactions.

She moved towards Ryn slowly. The elf watched her warily but did not back away. Her smooth looking hands reached out and fingered his light hair. Ryn closed his eyes as the back of her hand caressed his right cheek. "I will cure him for no fee if you will give him to me."

"Out of the question." Titos' posture became threatening.

Her eyes turned to him though her hands did not still their course of action. Her fingers glided over the soft lips. Hal watched enthralled as the elf's dark tongue came out and flickered at the small fingers, and he found himself aroused at the elf's unbound craving.

"The task itself maybe impossible. My price for speaking of the task is high. You may not survive, and the curse will then not be lifted. All will loose." Her fingers traced the elf's jaw line and traveled down the delicate neck. Ryn sighed as if unaware of the others' presence. "He would not be miserable here."

"Nor loved," Hal whispered.

The witch stepped back and turned her potent gaze towards him. Hal returned it with a steady gaze of his own. She stepped towards him and reached out as if to perform the same procedure. He felt a warm tingling sensation around his neck and looked down to see his amulet aglow. She backed away, red anger joining her yellow eyes. The woman twitched a smile. "You have a pretty blue eyes priest. To waste such talent, it is a pity. A king should have you in his brothels so that the world may share your potential... and you dance too."

Hal looked away, cursing at himself in the while doing so. He wondered if he would ever feel anything but instant desire when reminded of that erotic night at the fire ritual.

"Enough. We came here for one reason, and you must surely know that as you know the rest of this... this..." Titos spoke with growing fury. By now Ryn had shaken away the haze from his mind and was glaring at the woman.

"Easy lad." Trohan interrupted easily. "The thing never to do in bargaining is loose your cool. She's playing with us."

The witch chuckled lightly. "I am not playing with you at all dwarf."

"Right, and there is a nice cozy spot for your soul somewhere." The dwarf grinned openly.

Her eyes narrowed to tiny slits. For a moment Hal thought she might blast Trohan to the next world, but then she cracked a smile.

"All right. Here are my terms. You, Trohan of the Dwarves. Your people have spent years gathering the secrets of forging the greatest artifacts in existence. From you I want the name and location of the tree used to create the Ax of Rage."

Trohan snorted loudly. "You want me to forego my obligations of my race. Not likely. I'll tell you the plane of existence its in and nothing more."

The witch pondered on the notion for a moment. "Fine. But let's not sign the contract just yet. All of you must agree or what you seek shall not be revealed." She turned to Titos. "If the terms are agreed upon. You must be the one to seek the cure and while doings so must perform one more task for me. This task will require only a little effort on your part and a great deal of self-control." Titos merely shrugged. She then smiled at Ryn. "You my dear, will perhaps pay the smallest amount for you are the one cursed. There is a ritual tonight in which I wish you to be a part of. It will require nothing other than your physical presence, I am sure you will enjoy it very much."

Ryn opened his mouth to say something, but Titos beat him to it. "No."

"Wait. Titos, if she means what I think she does, it will be all right. I can handle it. If that is the price, I will pay it. It is not really your choice." Ryn added the last part was spoken softly as if it was a test of some kind. Hal could see it in his purple eyes and wondered at the courage it must take to voice that here and now. To ask the warrior if his slavery was really only a well-placed disguise.

Titos frowned but nodded. "As you wish."

The hideous gaze then fell on him. Hal wanted to shrink away but could not. He feared what would be asked of him. This creature that took the form of a woman would surely wish him to suffer for entering her home with the aura of Airamor around him. A smile played at the her thin lips but never actually formed. "I've a potion I wish you to drink. It will allow you to travel to the realms of the goddess Noltusus. There you must request from her the answer to a question I have all ready asked."

Hal shuddered slightly. There was more to this than the others realized. Noltusus would have little reason to speak with him. He would have to gain her attention. The implications were unsettling. Airamor would not be able to be with him in that plane of existence, in the dreamworld. His bare mortality was enough to set him at unease. But this was Ryn they were talking about, and he would not have him lie in a pool of his own blood again. "Consider it done."

The woman cackled happily. Four glowing pieces of parchment appeared before them. "Sign and know that no death, maiming or other such permanent harm shall come to you due to my requests. It is my oath to fulfill the terms of the agreement." They each hesitantly signed the offered contract. The parchments disappeared in a poof.

"Now here is the answer you seek. I need but a vial of the dragon's blood who delivered the spell upon the drink the elf drank. With this vial I can break the curse and if my death comes before your return, there will always be another to carry out my end of the bargain." She handed Titos a small black vial.

Ryn's face fell in despair instantly. "You can not do it Titos. This creature is surrounded by darkness. It 'tis deadly enough alone."

Titos nodded slowly. "You're right. It is dangerous. Just what I need to rid myself of my venturing urge. I'll get this vial of blood and then we can leave this mess behind us."

Hal wondered if Titos was truly relieved to have a quest at hand, or if it was simply some form of courage.

Hal and Trohan both remained silent. Then the dwarf spoke wearily. "Fire witch."

The woman smiled happily. "I should have known. Worry not dwarf it will be eons before the rest of the puzzle is pieced."

Trohan snorted angrily but said nothing.

She then held her hand out to Ryn. "Come." Ryn accepted the hand slowly. "The rest of you may come as well if you would like. It is not often I invite outsiders to our gatherings."

Titos frowned.

"I would like it if you were there Titos. The last time... it would not have happened if..." Ryn stuttered uncharacteristically

Titos nodded.

Hal stepped before the witch. "I will perform my task now." His voice was quiet but demanding just the same.

She nodded slowly, a smile forming at the corner of her lips. The witched reached in her thin cloak and somehow withdrew the potion. "Till later."

Titos kissed Hal's brow gently and departed with the rest.

***

Ryn was led outdoors as night finally settled the land with complete blackness. They were taken out to a bog not far from the hut. The moist ebony ground left much to be desired, and there was a thick, white mist covering much of the area. A large circle of dark flames with two stone pillars in the center of it, proved to be the location of the meeting. Ryn could hear low voices but saw nothing. His wrists were bound to the two thick ropes, a few feet above his head, on the pillars. He felt somewhat stretched but only to the point of discomfort and not actual pain. His deep purple eyes scanned the area. Several pairs of eyes, glowing in colors ranging from deep red to almost white, were surrounding him, their figures hidden in the shadows of the dropping trees. For a brief moment he felt afraid. His mind and body told him that nothing could be worst than the brutality he experienced from his would be murders or the dragon-rider even, but his heart waned in courage. His eyes sought and found Titos, standing next to the dwarf. The warrior stood tall and proud. His presence could not possibly be ignored by any there, for it radiated a power even from here. He meet the cool gaze from the dark eyes and felt comforted by the strength hidden there, and the love. Ryn's garments were removed by an unknown person. The witch stood in front of him idly, her eyes running over his body and resting on his eyes. The yellow globes seemed somewhat dark despite the obvious light, but again he found no fear. Unlike Lord Rath, this woman's intentions were somewhat clear and open.

"Under the wing of the darkness and light we gather to pay worship to the Powers above. Be they evil or good, our strength is sapped from them. Guided, forced, or even bargained for, they grant them. Our sacrifices, none truly small and all varying upon person, bring us together this very night. Goddess Noltusus, I, Margeart, grant to you two sacrifices this night that we might know your glory. Take from them what is offered and nothing more, take from us our praise and devotion." The witch called out loudly.

Two? Ryn could not contemplate that long for a large paw rested itself on his shoulder suddenly. The pads were coarse but not harsh. The creature had furry fingers which traced the bone at the base of his neck slowly sending a shiver throughout his body. He instantly became aroused despite the mystery that truly stood behind him. Whiskers tickled his cheek lightly, and he turned to meet the toothy mouth of sleek black panther man. The hands caressed his smooth chest as a coarse large tongue explored his mouth tirelessly. Ryn found himself lost in the depths of the creature's deep black eyes. There was nothing cold or unpleasant about the touching, the kiss, or even the gaze. It was raw and completely animalistic. This discovery frightened him slightly. He did not know what this creature was. This man-beast with the glossy coat of such a dangerous creature. A being that stood and displayed all the beauty and grace of the great-cat, yet at the same time wielded the deadly nature as well. The furry hands glided down his chest and to his abdomen. There he felt the claws extract and glide over his unprotected skin. The cuts were slight and caused the muscles there to twitch. He found himself breathing hard from the anticipation. A deep purr sounded from the depths of the large, fuzzy chest pressed against his arched back which caused Ryn to almost purr himself. He became lost in the warm body as its pressed against him roughly, its hard cock resting between his thighs. Ryn wanted to reach out and touch the softness himself but was, of course, restrained from such an action. He felt a growing need which forced a loud groan from the very depths of his being. Gods he wanted this to go on. He moved his body against the large creature encouraging further exploration. His mind shutout the rest of the world. The elf found himself almost consumed in a grayish, cloudy atmosphere that consisted of only he and the panther-man. The creature began to kiss him again, lightly along the neck, its teeth nipping slightly at the pale skin. Ryn shuddered and tilted his head immediately to offer greater access. A low chuckle, coming from the depths of its chest, sounded from the exotic being. "Please," Ryn breathed. The creature sniffed his hair lightly. The odd action seemed curiously simple yet intimate at the same time. His shoulders were rubbed, ridding him of the physical ache he had forgotten existed. Then the hands moved further down and grasped his straining cock. A small squeeze was issued that made the elf breathless from want. He organ was pumped a few times, briefly, and then was left in the cold alone. He groaned in dismay, yet his attentions were quickly refocused. A long coarse tongue played lightly at the curves of his back and continued to travel down to his round buttocks. Shivers shot through his spine as the warm moisture snaked into this opening. The tongue lapped at him furiously, demanding access and then tasting the moist warmth. Somehow it managed to find his sensitive gland which had him writhing endlessly till his body tensed and then surrendered to an orgasm. A smooth, hairless hand grasped his spewing member and places it in a cold glass bottle.

When he regained his senses and could once again open his eyes, he found himself beholding the witch holding his sexual juices in a clear vial. Her hand reached out and moved his damp hair away from his face. He watched her breathlessly as she tilted the bottle slightly and drank from it. She smiled and then passed it on to a figure dressed head to toe in black garments which revealed nothing. By now, it seemed dozens of dark creatures and persons stood in a circle just inside the black flaming circle.

Ryn gasped as he felt a large thick and furry finger enter him swiftly. Another was added and then yet another. He groaned as his body accommodated the entrance though his hips pressed back almost violently. The fingers wiggled inside his hot tightness nearly sending him into another orgasm. The pressure was withdrawn and then a large thick cock was replaced. This massive organ was as soft and fuzzy as its owner, but rock hard. Large paws gripped his waist. Then the creature surged forward, not stopping until the firm flesh was nestled completely inside him. White pain shot through Ryn's body, and he cried out. Then the creature began moving. The thrusts were deep and controlled. Pleasure began to circulate, and the elf found himself falling into the red haze of ecstasy. He clenched his teeth as the creature gripped harder, using its claws slightly, and began humping him with its primal force. Ryn arched into this strange being. One hand loosed his grip and moved out to stroke his honey-wheat hair. The petting motion was hard and firm, adding to the erotic feelings his body was tingling with. His blood boiled at the idea of all the eyes watching him now. "Oh gods!" he exclaimed as his body tingled on the verge of another orgasm. The panther-man plunged into him deeply, filling his body with something that seemed to set his soul on fire. Ryn cried out and came himself, again the bottle was there. His body trembled uncontrollably. His breath came in the form of loud gasps as he felt his entire being become engulfed in raw heat. He lost track of time. His wrist ached immensely from his spasms, and a few trickles of blood ran down his arm. Then the bondage was released and he fell into a large familiar embrace. He gripped Titos tightly as the warrior gathered him in his arms.

The warrior did not speak but the dwarf did. "Now that was truly something."

***

Hal felt the effect of the potion almost immediately. His mind became hazy and he drifted into a false sleep. The priest awoke in blackness. Terror crept over his heart, but he did not cry out. He closed his eyes slowly and opened them again, this time taking control. The blackness had resided and instead he was standing in a grayish cloud of nothing. His neck felt bare of its usual comforting and divine amulet. An urge to escape this emptiness was forcefully ignored. He knew to wonder in this place would cause him to be lost for eternity. This was not a simple task despite its simple nature. Hal need only seek the answer, but here he was the enemy. He was the foreigner that would not be welcome and perhaps even attacked. He wondered why the witch sought to test him in such a manner. The she-devil, Noltusus, was a power he had hoped never to reckon with but here he was, waiting and for her to appear. He folded his arms in an unconscious, defensive gesture as he felt a wind begin to stir. Then before him stood the goddess herself. She chose the form of a large black griffon. Her mouth hung agape revealing thousands of tiny black teeth lining the yellow beak. Noltusus' eyes were empty of any color but displayed an open danger. Her large white claws pawed at the gray clouds, splitting them with ease. Her large, red and feathery wings unfolded slowly until she portrayed a creature in-flight though she remained where she was. A tiny red tongue slithered out of the deadly mouth and then flickered. Hal felt terror begin to arise. He took an involuntary step back that caused the goddess to laugh hysterically.

"Why have you come, follower of my enemy?" The voice was female but didn't come from the winged creature before him. The sweet voice bellowed all around him.

He closed his eyes briefly to regain his courage. "You know why."

The creature tilted its head to the side and considered him. He could not tell if it was a predator eyeing a prey or if she truly pondered his words. "You seek an answer."

The priest nodded slowly though he knew it was not truly a question at all.

The dark griffon began to walk around him slowly. He dared not follow the movement with anything but his sky-blue eyes. "Stay with him and you will be hurt," she said still circling.

Hal took a deep breath. In this realm and with this conversation, the goddess could not lie only kill, the potion would allow no less. "I do not care."

She laughed cruelly. "You will know pain and you will suffer. Leave him now and it will never come to pass."

Hal fought the urge to question her, to find out more. "I am here for other reasons."

"Of course, serving others seems to be in your very nature." She taunted lightly. "If he were to put you on display, would you hate him? Would you refuse even his darkest desires?"

Hal remained silent.

Noltusus was suddenly millimeters from his face. Her empty eyes glowered with cold fury. He had seen a look similar to that before. His silence and patience seemed to produce such a reaction regularly. His mind screamed answer but his heart prayed not to go too far. "The answer?"

"Mine first." She hissed lowly. "Is there nothing you won't do for you love? Can you not resist his wishes?" Flames licked at the sides of her slightly parted beak.

Hal straightened. He would not walk away from this without satisfying her curiosity, but he needed to remain in control if he were to gain his answer. "I love him. What that means, even I can not tell."

If a bird could smile, she did. "Then you will suffer from the very thing he sought to save you from. The horrors you avoided will crash down upon you despite your efforts to avoid it. Are you ready to bare a whip in order to keep such a petty thing as love?"

Hal peered at her quizzically. "If you mean to taunt me into action or fear, it will not work." It was a lie of course. Her words were burning straight to his soul, but he would not act on that pain as he did not react on so many.

A clawed paw traveled to his neck quickly, scratching him slowly. He could feel the hot pain and cool blood begin to soak his robe; he did not even flinch.

"The answer is Yes." She then leapt forward and bit into his neck.

He could not refrain from crying out as the world began to crash around him.

"Remember, mortal, this pain is not real... but it will be."

"It will be."

And for the first time in Hal's life, he knew he felt hate. Hate for the witch that forced him to come here knowing that the she-devil would stop at nothing to darken his world. The chronic liar had even used truth as her lesson, something he could not contest, but he had meant what he had said. He did not care and would not walk away even if he a knowing fear began to grow inside him all ready. He could not and would not let evil ruin his new found happiness. In that brief moment, he forgave Titos of all earlier actions.

***

"Hal." Titos continued shaking the priest but received no response. The witch, and Trohan stood nearby. It was strange, but both looked worry. Ryn sat upon one of the animated benches and seemed lost in thought. Titos began to feel worried. Hal had drunk the potion, for its bottle lay empty and shattered nearby. The priest had collapsed it seemed, and the warrior began to wonder if he would ever awaken. Hal's breathing was shallow and barely noticeable. "Look at me." Titos commanded lowly.

The sky-blue eyes shot open. Hal drew in a quivering breath and sat up with Titos' support. "Yes," he hissed quietly. Hal glared at the witch with a hatred that sent the witch backing away. Titos had seen those beautiful eyes glisten in pain, and sorrow, fondness and love, fear and longing, but this hatred was new. It turned his eyes slightly green even. The priest stood with some aid and then he stared the woman down again. "You will never have him you black hearted banshee, not him or any of us. May you pay your due when the times comes for this."

The witched seemed shocked, but then she nodded. "Of course. Your task is fulfilled."

Titos drew Hal to him and held him there. He kissed the dark, heavy braids lightly, trying to comfort something unseen to him. It was unseen but not missed. "Let's leave this accursed place. Ryn!"

Titos loud voice startled the elf who shot him a surprised look. The warrior's dark gaze demanded he come, and the elf found himself complying. It wasn't the order at all but the anger and fear in the warrior's eyes that caused Ryn to come. The warlord nodded to Trohan and they left the swamp faster than they had come. No one asked Trohan what was wrong because they knew he did not know. Titos had seen something in those blue eyes that made him uncertain. He had read people all his life. His empathic ability seemed to be at its height these days but now he found himself drawing nothing from the priest. It made him angry, that for some reason Hal could shield his thoughts and feelings to even his probe, angry and afraid. The priest had shielded his appearance and feelings before, but this was a complete block. Titos did not know why it bothered him so much, but for now it would have to wait. He had a dragon to face, to face and win, but it was the woman's voice he heard over and over in his head. She had spoken to him through magic during the ritual. "The dragon is yours... but its rider is to remain untouched this time." Titos' vengeance could not be completed this time, and he found himself gripping his sword in silent rage.

-Please let me Know what you think-  Paladin

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