One of the orcs called, and another on the opposite side of us answered. I moved back further, and spread my cloak to cover the now-shivering girl. The soil had been undercut deeply, and only a shelf of rock over our heads had kept the bank from caving in. The water was waist deep, and I began to shiver violently as it drew the heat out of me through my legs and groin.
The orcs splashed closer; I pulled my hood up, and half-turned to be sure my cloak concealed us both. It had been one of my grandfather’s gifts to me when I became a hunter, and I had used it once before to hide from a band of goblins I’d gotten too close to while tracking them.
I heard the vines rustle, so I leaned close to the girl and wrapped my arms around her. She burrowed her face into my chest, and pressed her cheek against my shirt. I dared not turn my face toward the orcs, and so I stood there, expecting a shout of discovery, or the sudden agony of a sword thrust.
The vines rustled again, and the splashing sounds started moving away. The orcs continued to call to each other as they moved away from us. Apparently, they decided that I had gone downstream, since they had all gone that way.
“They think we went to the elves for help,” the girl said through her chattering teeth. “I’m so cold.”
“We have to wait, they might double back,” I warned, as I turned to peek through the vines in all directions. “Or, one of them might be lying in wait.”
“If I don’t get out of here, it won’t matter.” She stepped into the water and started toward the curtain of roots.
I saw something move, and I grabbed her arm. “Stop!” I hissed, and pointed to the opposite bank. She tried to shake free, but I held her arm tightly. “See there?”
She peeked through a tiny opening, and immediately saw him; one of the orc warriors had climbed the bank and hidden himself behind a tree. His sword scabbard gave him away, sticking out from the trunk where we could see it.
So, we huddled in the frigid water until the warrior gave up and trotted downstream. It was late in the day, and I was growing sleepy as the cold sapped my strength. The girl was leaning heavily against me, so I scooped her into my arms, said a quick prayer that we had indeed escaped the orcs, and waded out of our hiding place. I turned upstream, climbed the opposite bank, and made my way into the forest on the other side.
I had secreted my pack in a tree before undertaking the stalk on the orcs that morning, and I found it where I’d left it. I’d also come across a good campsite nearby in a jumble of large rocks that would hide a campfire. I carefully set the girl down to put on my pack, and then I carried her to the campsite.
Her skin was clammy, and her breathing was rapid and shallow. I gently laid her on a carpet of grass at the base of a rock, and shrugged off my pack, then knelt beside her. Rolling her onto her side, I checked her injury, and I could see she was still bleeding a little from her ass hole. I took a breath, closed my eyes, and pressed my hands on her ass. I thought of her injuries, and I opened my mouth as words flashed through my mind and past my lips.
My hands grew warm, and I opened my eyes to see something like blue fire flow from my hands down over the girl’s body. It spread down to her groin, and then suffused into her body. I could only cast my healing spell once this night, and I hoped it was enough. She was still very cold, and she barely responded to my touch. She needed warmth, and quickly.
Working quickly, I spread my blankets beside her, and rolled her into them. I gathered firewood and built a small fire against the rock, which somehow made the fire warmer than if it were built in the open. I was careful to choose dry wood, and the fire hardly smoked at all as it crackled though the branches I’d broken and stacked.
The night air was growing colder, and my own clothing was still damp. I laid my weapons within reach; they were also gifts from my grandfather, and the magic they possessed also made them almost indestructible. Unlike a regular bow, mine did not become waterlogged, and I’d never had to replace a bowstring. Likewise, my sword never showed any sign of rust, and it never grew dull.
Stripping out of my clothing, I arranged it to dry by the fire, using some longer branches I’d collected and leaned against the rocks to hold them. I crawled into the blankets and pressed my chest and legs against her back. I wrapped my arm around her belly to hold her close, and gritted my teeth as her body sucked the warmth from mine. Soon, though, the fire at my back warmed me, and, in turn, I warmed her.
She began to snore lightly, and I began to relax as my concern eased. My attention shifted from her well-being to a sense of discovery. Although I had bundled with girls when I was small, I’d had no experiences like this with a grown woman. I was pressed against her from my knees to my chest, and I had my arm around her waist, with my hand pressed to her belly. Everywhere I touched, I could feel her muscles, and the softness of her skin. It was comforting, and I smiled in the darkness as I held her tightly to me. I sighed, and closed my eyes to sleep.
~*~ An orcish curse dragged me out of a sound sleep, and something shoved against my shoulder. I jerked awake to find the girl standing next to the ground blanket, holding our top blanket against her chest.
“What in the three hells are you doing?” Her teeth bared in a snarl. “How dare you take liberties with me?”
I sat up, gathering the ground blanket to cover my legs. The morning air was cold, and the fire had died to a few coals. “I healed your ... wound, and I warmed you the only way I could.”
“Touch me again without my leave, and I will slit your throat,” she snarled.
“You could have said that yesterday when I carried you, too.” I stepped firmly on my own anger. My mentor had taught that anger had no place in a fight, whether with blades or with words.
A reddish color began to show on her chest and throat, and she swallowed. “That – that was different.”
“I was in danger, and you ... you said you would help me.”
I nodded. “You were very cold, and you had been bleeding for most of the day. I did what I had to do to save you. It worked, since you have strength enough to stand and threaten me this morning.”
“Does helping me involve trying to stick your prod in me?”
Now I was confused. “I was asleep until you pushed me.”