Solitary Arrow - Heartpierced
Chapter 1

Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Fa/Fa, Mult, Consensual, Romantic, NonConsensual, Magic, BiSexual, Heterosexual, Fiction,

Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - The spirit of a dead Centurion is sought by the Black Theocracy. However, he's still dwelling in the mind of Hyandai, an elven woman wed to a large man and violent woman.

The Holy Cathedral of the One was far more massive than Pherin had thought it would be. He walked across the black marble floor, his footsteps echoing across the great expanse of the main chamber. His armor was polished to gleaming, the skulls on his shoulders, showing his rank, glinted silver.

Pharen was a huge man, standing nearly seven feet in height, and weighed almost three hundreds of pounds. He was known widely as being massively strong, able to crush a man's neck with one hand.

He was a knight of the Dark Order and today he would become a Dark Templar, a lord among knights.

The Deacon, second only to the Exarch within the Black Order, stood awaiting him. Beside the Deacon were two witnesses, current Dark Templars, people whom had served the church for years and who had proven their loyalty to both the church and to the exarch.

Up twelve steps he walked, then knelt before the Deacon. That worthy turned to face him, his lofty crown marking his position within the hierarchy of the church. In his old hands, he held a sword. Pharen had never seen its like before, save in the hands of a Dark Templar. It was a Reaper of the One. His eyes locked onto the blade, forged of alloys more secret than the Deep Liturgies and stronger than adamant. It had been enchanted with the blood of a thousand heretics and the spells of the Theocracy's greatest sorcerers.

A red gem glinted from the cross of the pommel and hand guard, it looked almost like an eye, and it flashed at him.

"Sir Pharen, you kneel before me, supplicant, ready to do God's own work upon Feldare," the Deacon intoned, formally.

Pharen cast his eyes down. "I do," he said.

"Your acts of valor and courage have done you credit in the eyes of the One, and he has found you a worthy servant," the Deacon looked down at the kneeling knight. "You have cast down the Heretic and smashed his works, you have smitten the evil and brought his servants to divine justice."

The great sword came down to rest on Pharen's broad, armored shoulder. "For these things, you are hereby rewarded and Elevated. But remember, always, your humility, for you are now even more closely scrutinized by the eyes of the One. You will set the example for those who follow, set fear into those that oppose, and turn the will of those undecided."

The sword moved over his head, and rested then on his other shoulder. "In the name of God, the true One, and in the name of Bertinas the Third, his representative on this world, I name you Dark Templar Pharen."

The sword lifted again from him and the pommel appeared before his downcast eyes. Pharen reached up with a mailed fist and took the grip. As his hand touched the handle, screams of terror filled his head and visions of people dying, Heretics. Before it had been forged, this blade had taken a thousand lives. Now, it was expected to take even more.

He felt the blade hum in his grip, he could feel the very voice of it, urging him to smite the unholy, to destroy the non-believer. He stood. He was a Dark Templar now, and no one commanded a Dark Templar in anything. He turned to the Deacon, though now still higher in station than the Templar, yet not quite his equal. He was an instrument of God's will now, and the One would speak through him, and through his blade.

The two witnesses saluted him, drawing their own swords and holding them high. The voices of the swords sang together and Pharen's joined them. It was a chorus of terror for their enemies and a divine sound that made tears well in the Templar's eyes. Then the Deacon stepped away, leaving these hardened warriors of the One to their matters.

On his left was Melden, one of the most senior of all the Dark Templars. He was a grizzled veteran of hundreds of battles and had slain more people than Pharen had spoken to. On his right was Renna, one of the few female Dark Templars. She was a woman of amazing beauty and it was said that she was a sorceress as well as warrior.

They both regarded him with respect now. "Welcome to our ranks, Lord Pharen," said Renna, bowing slightly. "We have looked forward to your company for some years now.

Melden was a man of few words, and he did not break this trend now. "Welcome Pharen," he said, inclining his head ever so slightly. Melden's words were precious, and even those two were valuable to Pharen beyond gold. If he said them, he meant them, and Pharen was welcome.

"Please, attend with us, we have matters of import to discuss," said Renna, sheathing her great sword. Pharen paused a moment, looking at his hip, where his old blade hung in the scabbard. He had grown fond of the blade and it had served him well for several years. It was no common weapon, but a blade of magic and will.

Melden saw is discomfort. "You're a Templar, now, Pharen," he said, eyeing the old blade. "Cast it aside."

Pharen drew the blade with his left hand, sliding it out and dropping it on the cathedral's marble floor. It rang out with a flat, forlorn sound as it bounced on the black stone.

Melden's smile of approval was enough. Pharen slid his blade into the scabbard and it sang to him as it came to rest against his hip. Melden put a hand on Pharen's shoulder and urged him toward the side door that Renna was already proceeding to.

They passed through long tunnels beneath the Inner Sanctum and finally came to a black cast-iron door. A knight of the Dark Order stood to either side of the door. Pharen's mind flashed to remember long hours standing this post in days gone by. He had never entered that door, only stood beside it. Anyone who was not a Templar who entered it, never left.

Renna pushed it open and stood to the side, allowing Pharen to enter first. He walked through, a spike of fear lancing through him. Old reflexes screaming that this was a one way trip. In part, they were right. The last of the old Pharen would die inside these chambers beyond the Iron Door.

Beyond it was beautiful. The rooms were spacious and well lit. "Did you think we would skulk in dark corridors, Lord Pharen?" asked Renna, sitting him down in a comfortable chair. "We have earned comfort, lord, by our devotion and our self-sacrifice."

He was still wide-eyed. Lady Renna had led him to these fine chambers, with Lord Melden drifting off in another direction. She handed him a tall glass of elven wine. "The matter we must discuss is quite pressing."

She sat opposite him. She had left the room for several long moments, shedding her armor and reappearing in a sheer silken dress. He was shocked to see her thus, as purely a woman now, even her sword seemed to soften without the armor, though it still hung menacingly on her curving hip.

"As you know, the battles of the Crystern Isles have proven difficult, especially with those godless elves from Starre Island interfering."

Difficult was an understatement, and Pharen knew it. The Theocracy had been handed one defeat after another on the islands and in the seas around them. He kept his tongue still, though. These were matters of moment, and he would not miss a word of her speech.

"We have discovered something that may change that tide, and bring God's will to those islands for a final and complete victory," she said. She looked over at a pile of parchments upon her writing desk. "What do you know of Primus Pilum Verus?"

"The Abian Centurion who drove us off the Mindian Islands?" asked Pharen.

She nodded. "The same."

He said, "I know he died about ten years ago and it was a good riddance."

Lady Renna laughed. "Indeed, it would have been," she said, "but no, he did not quite die."

"Didn't quite die?" asked Pharen.

She looked into his icy blue eyes. "No, a part of him, the part that matters most, still lives."

The templar blinked a few times. "How is that done?"

"There was an elf with him at the time of his death, an elf with a unique gift," she spoke, as if relaying something a bard had sung at one point, her voice seemed to adopt a cadence and almost a melody. "She took his strategic abilities into herself."

His eyes widened. "Impressive," he said, "so now, this elven waif has the war knowledge of a genius?"

She nodded. "Now, we want it," said Renna. "And you, and I are going to go get it."

Lord Pharen smiled. "Do we just find this elf and steal it from her?" he asked.

Lady Renna looked at him levelly. "Yes," she said. "Well, more to the point, we go and get her, and then bring her here and rip it from her."

"It will destroy her mind," said Pharen thoughtfully.

Renna shrugged. "She's an elf, they have no soul anyway."

The newly Elevated knight chuckled. "This is true," he agreed.

Harlen pointed ahead. "Just there," he whispered to Trevir, who stood beside him with his bow ready. A large buck peered up and looked toward a moving bush to their left.

Trevir stood as he drew back the bow, taking aim in one smooth motion. The bow gave a soft hum and the arrow shot forth. The buck started to turn to run and collapsed to the ground in only three paces. The shot had been true and pierced the beast's heart.

Harlen whooped and slammed Trevir on the back, nearly sending the thirteen-year-old boy sprawling himself. The two jogged up to the fallen creature, which was already dead. Harlen chuckled. "Now you get to gut and skin it," he said, finding a comfortable spot nearby in the shade and sitting with his back against a tree.

The young man grumbled something as he tied a rope to the buck's hind legs and dragged the great beast to a tree. He suspended it against the trunk and began the odious chores assigned him. Harlen would occasionally pull the grassy stem from his mouth to point out this or correct that. Overall, Harlen admitted to himself, the lad knows his business.

The huntsman could not really concentrate properly, though, for his mind was troubled. He had received a summons for in the morning, to go before the duke and be given a position of Ambassador to the Windy Isles.

This was a high honor, and showed high regard. What Harlen thought it was, was a high pain in the ass. He stared up at the scuttling clouds, puffy and white against the stark blue sky.

Wendy walked out of the trees nearby. "Wow, that's quite a kill, Trevir," she said appreciatively. She had been gathering herbs, and had a large basket full of twigs and berries, as far as Harlen could tell. He prayed she would not make more of that soap that had, last month, turned his skin faintly green. Still, it had smelled good. Hyandai was home, her scribing and accounting work kept her from being able to enjoy this particular outing to the hunting allotment.

With Trevir and Wendy's help, his trips were now fewer and shorter, though he had more mouths to feed, as well. It was just as well, he was a father now, and needed to be home more than before.

Wendy curled up beside him and he put his arm about her. "Did you find anything good?" asked Harlen, sniffing at the sunny smell of her brown hair.

She nodded, digging into her basket and holding up a root that looked remarkably like a root. "It's a woundwort root," she explained at his nonplused expression.

"Oh," said Harlen. "Valuable then?"

She nodded. "Reasonably," she said, "I can make that oil from it that you use for cuts and such."

"When I said interesting, I meant edible," said Harlen, grinning lopsidedly.

She giggled. "I knew that, too, and yes, here." Wendy handed him a small piece of cloth with a handful of blackberries in it.

"Not terribly many, is there?" he asked.

She smiled brightly. "Sadly, no," she said. Harlen's eyes widened as he noted a rather dark stain on her teeth, then chuckled.

Trevir had finished dressing the deer carcass and was searching about for deadwood, to build a smoking fire. Harlen rose and helped the lad gather wood and acted as advisor for the building of the fire. He wanted Trevir to do all he could, to show what he knew and what he still needed help with.

Their horses were tethered nearby, another gift of the elves, who just kept on giving Harlen, Hyandai and Wendy things. Wendy rose and tended to them, feeding them oats from sacks on one and fetching water in a bucket from a brook a ways off. They were fine steeds, though, and Harlen certainly wouldn't complain of their being given to him and his family. It made the trip to the allotment a lot shorter, and they really didn't cost so much to feed.

As a pleasant midsummer day, this one was doing quite well, Harlen decided and watched Trevir get the smoking fire started and began spitting chunks of meat over it. The skin was a good one, and would fetch at least two marks from the merchants. He would let Trevir keep those two marks.

The sense of impending doom would not leave him, though. What was Anasper up to, sending him off to the Windy Isles? Had Harlen been such a thorn in his noble side? It never dawned on the ever-pragmatic Harlen, that the duke was actually trying to praise him and show him honor in giving him a titled position, such as ambassador.

Trevir had matters well in hand and Harlen walked away from the encampment. He soon found himself overlooking a small valley. He had walked that valley many times, and rather missed, sometimes, his solitary journeys into the woods. He turned and looked a the pretty Wendy as she carried another bucket of water to the horses and decided that the slight nostalgia for his old, simpler life was a small price to pay for his current, complicated, and very pleasant life.

He had two wives, both beautiful and both very loving. They loved each other as well, for this was not a marriage of a man to two separate women, but a marriage between three people, evenly. It took some juggling from time to time. Like now. The main reason Hyandai had not come with them was to give Harlen and Wendy time 'alone'. Harlen, likewise, would go with just Trevir sometimes to hunt to give the women time alone. And sometimes Wendy would go visit family for a day or two to give Harlen and Hyandai time alone. It was all to the good, though they really seemed happiest when all three of them were together. Then the set was complete and everyone had all their favorite features about.

He was comfortable as far as money, as well. His savings, combined with the joint income of himself and Hyandai, easily kept them fed and they even saved a little. Wendy had recently left the service of the duke, and was now jobless, technically, but she did sell some of her odd concoctions in the market to unwary merchants who did not suspect the pigment-changing capabilities of her formulas.

He chuckled to himself, wondering if her version of woundwort oil would change one's skin to purple.

The sun was still high in the sky and it was barely past noon. They would have the buck smoked easily before four, and be back in Morrovale by dark.

Wendy had finished tending the horses and walked up to him. "Half-penny for your thoughts," she said, smiling at him.

Harlen smiled back. "Only a half-penny?" he asked.

"I've heard your thoughts before, I'll not pay more," she said, kissing his cheek.

He thought a brief moment. "I was thinking that I don't wish to give up my life as it is now. I believe it is a near to perfect as a man could ever hope for."

Wendy nodded. "I see," she said. "Well, for me, too, it's nearly perfect, yet I look on your new title and job with excitement." Her big blue eyes regarded him. "Think what you will, but it will be a good experience for you."

Harlen nodded slowly. "It may be so," he said, eyeing the distant horizon. "I suppose I could do with some 'worldliness'."

Wendy pressed herself to him and hugged his massive chest. "Harlen, you don't need more world in you, the world needs more of you in it," she said.

Harlen's grin grew huge indeed. "I agree, but you two women seem to think I should stick to just the two of you," he said.

Her hug became painful as she bore down. "That's not what I meant, you pervert," she growled.

He put his arms about Wendy's shoulders and hugged her back, lifting her and kissing her in the same motion. Trevir glanced up and looked toward them then returned to his fire, shaking his head.

"My flagship?" asked Pharen, looking into the bay at the massive warbarge.

Lady Renna nodded. "Yes, your flagship, Lord Pharen," she cooed. "Just completed and crewed, the largest warbarge ever constructed."

His eyes took in the gigantic vessel. Two banks of oars on each side and two hundred oars per bank. She carried over a thousand crew, not counting the slave rowers.

Renna sighed. "She can very nearly make war by herself, without any support."

Pharen contemplated that thought. "With a ship like that, I will be expected to win," he said.

She grinned at him. "You see now the wisdom of giving the ship to the newest of our cadre," she said. "Those of us who have lived years in the eye of the One know not to let someone give us a long length of rope with a noose in it.

He shrugged. "What matter, I will succeed, so such a gift is welcome," he said confidently.

The ship was as docked as its massive draft would allow. A smaller vessel detached from it and headed toward the pier upon which the two stood.

It was a good forty feet long, itself. It slid up to the dock, its oars dipping and then rising straight up. The two knights, now wearing only normal clothes, stepped aboard. The boat then reversed course and carried them back to the ship.

As they drew up to it, Pharen realized the enormity of the vessel. Her prow rose fifty feet out of the water and was almost a hundred feet of beam. The smaller boat nestled into a long dock built into the side of the ship and they debarked.

The captain approached them. "Lord Pharen," he said, kneeling when he was two steps from the knights, "and Lady Renna, welcome aboard the Divine Instrument."

"Thank you, Captain Turmull," said Pharen. "Please, show us about your fine ship." Renna noted the generosity that Pharen exhibited in telling the captain the ship was 'his' rather than Pharen's.

The captain beamed happily. "Of course, milord, if you will follow me," he said, fairly gushing with excitement. He had reason to be excited. He was the selected captain of the newest and largest vessel of the Black Theocracy's fleets. They walked up several long gangplanks to the main deck. Pharen gazed out across the vast expanse.

"One could have a battle solely upon the deck of this beast," said Lord Pharen. The ship was nearly six hundreds of feet long and had five masts. Each mast held acres of sailcloth, currently furled.

The captain chuckled. "Yes, milord, she is massive," he said. "Yet, she makes good time in open water."

"Armament?" asked Pharen, noting a half dozen large catapults bolted to the deck on rotating mounts.

"Lord Pharen, there are six large catapults and twenty-two tension ballistae under the main deck, capable of firing either sail-rippers or grappling harpoons.

"Ram?" asked Lady Renna.

"Over an inch thick, milady," said the captain. "Solid steel plates over a massively reinforced hull."

She nodded. "Impressive," she said. "Marines?"

The captain said, "A full company, and a dozen noble knights. We also have some rather more specialized crewmen, who supplement that group."

She nodded again. "Very, very nice," she said.

"Provision?" asked Pharen.

"Store for a hundred days, with another hundred of food." He smiled brightly. "We can even manufacture equipment at need."

"We sail tomorrow," said Pharen. "We do have the Ghantian coaster?"

"Of course sir, we have two," the captain said, agreeably.


They walked to the helm and the captain showed them the ingenious methods used to turn the massive ship, and the tubes used to speak over the large distances. He then showed them the first underdeck. Where the balistae were and the billits for the marines.

Their cabins were in the superstructure, above the main deck and behind the helm. He showed them to their quarters. "If it weren't wood, I would swear it was a fine apartment," said Renna, walking through her quarters. Her armor had already been located here and rested on its stand.

They then walked across a wide hallway to Pharen's quarters, which were equally impressive and roomy. His armor was here, too, and stood resplendent on its wooden framework.

"My slaves?" asked Lady Renna.

The captain nodded and rang a small bell on a nearby shelf. A young man in a gray tunic appeared. "Yes, master?" he asked, looking at the floor.

"Gather the slaves for the Lord and Lady Templar," the captain said.

"Yes, master," the slave said, and shuffled off in a rush.

Two minutes later, there were twelve slaves kneeling in the room peering at the floor.

Six were male and six female. Lady Renna giggled. "Your ship, you pick first," she said, waving toward them with a slender hand.

Lord Phendis walked behind the slaves and looked at them closely. They were clean, which was expected of household slaves. They were all reasonably comely, as well, which, again, was expected. He tapped one girl on the shoulder.

"You, what is your name?" he asked.

"I am Lucinda, Master," she replied, her eyes still downcast.

"Stand up and turn about," said Pharen. She did as ordered, but still gazed at the floor.

Lady Renna clucked. "Figures, you'd pick the prettiest," she said. The girl was pretty, with long, flowing black hair that was full of body and hung to nearly her round ass. She also had great, huge dark eyes.

"Show me yourself," he commanded.

She lifted her tunic off of her body. It was nearly flawless, though it bore a couple of small scars. She was slender, with small, pointed breasts, and she, like all other slaves, kept her privates shaved. She turned about and held her arms out from her body, letting him see all parts of her. As her eyes came back around, Pharen mimed grabbing two globes and moving them apart. The slave turned about again, with her back to him, and spread the lobes of her rump apart with her small hands.

"Very nice, yes, I will take that one," said Pharen.

"You lads, which of you is the best endowed?" asked Renna.

A moment of hesitation passed, and one lad raised his hand. She giggled. "I've always wondered how they figure that out," she said, grinning at Pharen as she walked to the young man. She put a single finger under his chin and he stood to his feet, still looking downward. "Arouse yourself," she said.

The blond boy reached under his tunic and began to fumble with his organ. He stroked it and fondled it and soon it began to respond, despite his fear. Lady Renna watched eagerly as he did so, then said, "Show me."

He lifted his tunic and kept stroking his pole. She smiled. "Not bad at all," she praised. "I will chose that one. You may stop, and what is your name?"

The lad let go of his organ and dropped his tunic over it. "I am Lathan, Mistress," he said.

She touched his chin again, bringing his eyes to meet hers. "Lathan, do you have any idea the honor it will be to serve me?" she asked.

He said, "Yes, Mistress, it is an honor more worthy than I, a heretic, deserve."

Lady Renna nodded. "Oh, it certainly will be."

They selected through the slaves, with them dividing them evenly, Pharen picked four girls and two boys, and Renna picked four boys and two girls.

"Captain, that will be all, we expect a wake up at two hours past dawn," said Pharen.

The captain said, "Yes, milord," and scuttled out of the room.

"Eager to play with your new toys? Hmm?" asked Renna.

"Aren't you?" asked Pharen.

"Of course I am, may I beg leave to watch you enjoy yours a while, before I return to my cabins?" she asked sweetly. "You may, of course, watch me enjoying mine."

Pharen chuckled. "If you wish it, of course," he said.

A demure smile appeared on the female Templar's face. "I've spoken to slaves of your - attributes, and would see them firsthand," she admitted.

He gave her a long glance. "Perhaps a private displaying would be more appropriate?" he asked.

Lady Renna nodded. "After the slaves are tested, I would like that," she said.

Hyandai hugged Wendy as she walked in the door. "I missed you," she said, giving her wife a huge kiss. Harlen and Trevir had continued into town. Harlen was planning on letting the lad try his hand at haggling with the merchants. They had managed to get back into town before dark and they hoped to get all such business completed this evening. They also had to take the horses to the stables across from the Pierced Boar.

The slightly taller woman smiled. "I missed you too, beloved," she said, kissing Hyandai back and enjoying the feel of the elven woman's enthusiasm as she virtually vibrated against her. Wendy's eyes caught sight of four huge trunks in the middle of the common room. "What are those?" she asked.

"They are from the duke," said Hyandai. "He bids we take what they will hold with us on the journey to the Windy Isles."

Wendy giggled. "We don't own enough to fill those things!"

Hyandai shrugged. "So I said to the porters who brought them, but they left then no matter," she said. She stroked Wendy's hair. "I did so miss you."

Wendy smiled at her and said, "Then come with us next time, you can spare it."

"But you and Harlen... " began Hyandai, her expression mildly confused.

"Prefer you to be with us," interrupted Wendy. "We've spoken of this many times."

The elven woman sat on one of the trunks. "I will try to keep that in my mind."

They opened the trunks and peered into their vast interiors. "What are we supposed to do? Carry the entire household in there?" asked Wendy.

"We could pack one of the horses," said Hyandai.

"So, how did it go?" asked Tammer, proprietor of the Pierced Boar, and Harlen's former mentor, in his days as apprentice huntsman. His wrinkled face and salt-and-pepper hair marked his age at nearing sixty, though only a year before he had looked closer to eighty.

Harlen laughed. "Little Ghantian here got four marks for a two mark pelt!" he exclaimed. "So he's buying the beer this night."

Trevir beamed at his mentor's praise, smiling at all and sundry as he proudly paid for the beers that Tammer sat upon the counter. Several of the huntsmen about the bar cheered the lad and pounded his back as they collected beers or happened to just pass near him.

"Looking forward to the audience with his Dukusness tomorrow?" asked Tammer, grinning at Harlen's discomfort at the mention of the duke.

Harlen grimaced. "More like I'm looking forward to it being over," he said. "Why doesn't he ship you off to foreign lands? You're more of a pain in the ass than me."

"He's afraid I'll bloody take over," said Tammer, grinning.

Harlen murmured something into his mug and eyed the old man dubiously. "That's all we need, King Tammer of the Windy Isles."

"Might be a damn sight more effective than that hodge-podge of a government they have down on those islands," said Tammer. "From what I hear, it's a major production just for them to decide what place-setting to use for the state dinners."

Harlen chuckled. "Why does that not surprise me?" he asked.

"Well, you'll soon have them set to rights, eh Harlen?" the old huntsman asked, refilling his and Trevir's mugs. Trevir had wandered over to where a small cluster of apprentices were sitting and talking over matter of import only to apprentices, such as how mean their mentor was or how much of the work they really did.

"I have to say, that was rather enlightening," said Pharen, grinning at Lady Renna. "I was unaware that you could elicit that reaction out of rope and a small knife."

She smiled back at him, lying nude upon the silken sheets of her bed. "I told you, it's all in how tightly you bind the ropes."

His eyes drifted down the long, muscular form of her body, and to her powerful and well-shaped legs. "Slaves should be so honored to serve such a alluring mistress," said Lord Pharen. "And that you let them touch you in return is a stroke of genius, those lads already love you more than life, I could see it in their eyes."

She sat up and took his hand. "You can touch me as well, Lord Pharen, for we are now equals in the eyes of the One," she said, her voice husky in a way it never was with the slaves, even as one of them mounted her.

He ran that hand over her amazingly firm stomach and up to her full, breast. "I am still honored to be allowed, for even as equals, you are a woman of undeniable beauty, and therefore you dominate this situation," said Pharen.

"Well said, Lord Pharen," she complimented, reaching out to him and touching his long, soft tunic. "It was amazing how thoroughly you used those girls, I must say."

Pharen grinned. "I suppose we each have seen the best of the other, then," he said.

"To tell the truth, Pharen," she said, "I envied them as you took them, and I would love for you to make use of my body in the same way."

Lord Pharen pulled her hand and brought her up and into his arms, kissing her. As the kiss ended, he said, "I never refuse a lady's request."

Her arms went about him and clutched him tight to her. She was amazingly strong, and he felt his breath leave his lungs under her crushing embrace. Her lips again found his and she breathed into his mouth as she relaxed her arms.

He felt his organ swell as if she were inflating it with her breath. "You are a sorceress," he gasped as she pulled back, his heart now racing with anticipation of things to come with this beautiful and deadly woman.

She smiled up at him and pressed her middle against his stiffened rod. "I am, does that alarm you?" she asked.

Lady Renna seemed tiny next to him now, her slight build belied her impressive strength, both physical and social. She pulled with her arms, and the man, twice her weight or more, came along as if she were the heavier object.

He pulled his long tunic over his head and tossed it aside and she sat upon the bed again. "I am yours this night, Dark Templar, use me as you would a serving girl," she offered.

Lord Pharen pushed her back with one powerful hand and moved atop her. Her long legs moved about his waist. Her golden hair streamed out over the bed around her head, and Pharen buried his face into the thick tresses as he buried his cock into her.

The lady Templar groaned as he entered her, spreading her open wide with his sizable organ. This was what she had heard from her slaves in the Sanctum, and they had been more than truthful, reserved even, in their estimates.

Soon, the two were working in union toward separate, but intertwined goals. It was the nature of selfishness to satisfy one's own urges. Yet in this endeavor, their goals were mutually served by serving the other's.

Lady Renna screamed as he coaxed a powerful climax from her body, spearing her to her innermost places and filling her. But he continued, thrusting repeatedly and with increasing desperation as his own finish approached.

With a surprisingly feminine scream, Lord Pharen released, arching his back and driving himself into her with crushing force. She welcomed him and entwined him with strong arms and legs, clinging to his bucking form as he drove his spend into her with abandon.

Her cool fingers stroked his neck and shoulders as he slowed and she cooed at him without words, her lips pressed to his neck and chin. "Lover, you have just found another willing servant, at least in the bed," she said, purring at him.

He chuckled as he stilled himself, still buried deep inside her. "I'm no fool, lady, I know well who serves whom in this bed," he said, smiling into her golden mane.

"Do we really need to bring the cooking pots?" asked Harlen as Wendy and Hyandai emptied the kitchen shelves.

Wendy looked at him askance. "We have to fill four huge chests, beloved, and we've already put all our clothes and knick-nacks into them."

Trevir peered over the lip of one case, sitting inside it. "I could live in this one for the trip," he said cheerily, staking out where his bed would be and where he would take breakfast. Young Tammer, the trio's elder child crawled about inside the massive chest beside the lad.

Harlen reached in and plucked Young Tammer from within Trevir's traveling home. "No, it would likely get damp down in the hold of a ship, Trevir," he said. "Besides, I think the women will be putting the firewood in that one, along with the washbasin from the kitchen."

The huntsman's apprentice clambered out and picked up the large burlap sack that held his worldly possessions. He chucked it into one of the chests. It seemed awfully small in the corner all alone like that, so he also tossed in a pillow from the couch to keep it company.

Wendy giggled at him. "We almost could bring the whole couch with us," she said, placing several more pots inside the one chest they had nearly filled.

They packed all they could think of and then thought about packing more, but finally gave up the exercise as futile and finally closed and locked the three chests they had at least managed to make look like they were being used.

Trevir retired to his little house behind the main house, stopping with Hyandai for ten minutes of prayerful observance at the alter under the willow. He was becoming quite a devout spiritist and Harlen was quite happy with that, for it gave him guidance in the one area he himself was very lacking.

Wendy had started the fire under their tub and the water was steaming slightly as Harlen crawled into it, joining her. She hung her arms over the side and her hair streamed out over the lip of the half-barrel that made up the tub.

Hyandai came in from the prayers and immediately shed her clothes, climbing in with them. She adopted much the same pose as Wendy, relaxing for a long moment. Harlen simply laid against the side and watched the two lovely women being pretty.

This was one of the quandaries that always kept Harlen's mind tied in small knots. Which woman to approach first? He moved to the middle of the tub and regarded them both. Both were beautiful, Hyandai's exotic elven face and ears, and her slight, but very feminine body or Wendy's strong and lovely face and muscular and firm body. He sighed in frustration and simply went back to the other wall, unable and unwilling to make a decision.

He laid over the side, as they were and sighed again, laying his head back and closing his eyes. It was comfortable, he decided and almost dozed off when he heard a giggle. The decision had been stripped from him as he peered down and saw the two of them pressed to each other and kissing passionately as their hands moved over one another's lithe forms.

Wendy giggled again and reached out to him. "We're two heads short over here, man of ours, join us," she said. Hyandai smiled into Wendy's neck and began kissing the taller woman's chest and then her breast.

Harlen moved up to them and both put out a long, slender arm and brought him into the embrace, their fingers moving over his skin as they also explored each other. He moved his hands over their backs and began massaging both, pressing their bodies to one another as he kneaded the muscles of their shoulders. They kissed again as he rubbed and moved his hands lower and lower. He felt fingers wrap about his organ, and was not sure whose they were, and did not truly concern himself much with it.

His fingers explored between both women's legs and then massaged their entrances. They moaned in unison as he slid two fingers into each and their embrace with one another intensified, their mouths pressed together tightly. A second hand joined the one on his shaft and gripped it just ahead of the other, and they stroked him together, the slight difference in their motions adding to the thrill of it.

Again, Hyandai's lips drifted down Wendy's neck and to her breast, kissing the nipple and then taking it into her mouth. Wendy's small hand played in the wet hairs on the elven woman's neck, teasing the red-brown strands. "I think, maybe, the bed is a good place to be," said Wendy between soft moans.

Harlen put his hands on her slim waist and lifted her over the side of the tub and onto the deck around it. He repeated this with Hyandai, who was a good fifteen pounds lighter than the human woman. The bulky huntsman climbed over last, the two women taking his hands as he dropped to the decking.

They took turns drying each other off, each enjoying touching the other two and taking pleasure in being touched, as well. This, thought Harlen, is why I want things to stay the same, perfection.Once again, Wendy and Hyandai took his hands and led him across the common room to the staircase up to their bedroom. Hyandai split off for a moment to check on the children, who were sleeping peacefully in their cribs, then joined the two, already kissing as Wendy walked onto the bed with her knees.

Hyandai simply watched the two of them for a long moment, smiling at the sight of the two people she loved loving one another. It warmed her heart to know that they shared something with one another, and she with each of them. She moved to Harlen's broad, whip-scarred back and kissed his shoulder. Hands appeared from around him, and began caressing her soft, smooth skin. Wendy smiled at her over the muscular shoulder of their man and then went back to kissing his neck.

When the trio made love, it usually happened that one or another of them was the center of attention on a given night. This was never overtly discussed, it simply happened as it would. Tonight, much to Harlen's delight, it seemed to be his turn. Wendy began kissing her way down his body from his neck and soon had him in her warm mouth. Hyandai came about him and was kissing him and running her long fingers through his hair. The women touched one another at will, as well, but focused most of their attention on their man.

Harlen's own hands were not idle, his stroked and caressed Wendy's tightly-corded back and rump as she drew his organ into her mouth and rocked back and forth on her hands and knees. His other hand moved over the fair smooth skin of his elven bride, brushing his fingertips over her shoulders and through her silken hair. Their lips pressed together and Hyandai's warm breath encouraged him to relocate that idle hand to more pressing matters, which he happily did.

She moaned as he moved his practiced fingers over her clitoris and then slipped one into her tight entrance. Wendy looked upward without slowing her motions one whit, and watched Harlen's finger sliding wetly into her wife. She rocked back and pulled his cock from her mouth. "Whose turn is it on the horse?" she asked, crudely.

Hyandai giggled and Harlen looked down with a shocked expression. "I'm no horse, woman," he said.

She squeezed his thick pole. "Near enough," she joked, pulling on him by that handle and forcing him to walk on his knees onto the bed, where Hyandai coaxed him to lie upon his back.

He looked down toward where the two women were kneeling opposite one another and saw them playing 'even odds' with their fingers. It was well established, Wendy was evens, and Hyandai was odds. It came up three.

Grinning and patting Wendy on the head like a puppy, Hyandai turned and straddled Harlen's broad hips. Wendy pretended to pout, but soon found other things to be doing, such as kissing Hyandai's shoulders as she impaled herself on Harlen's upright spike.

A loud moan came from the reclining man as he felt the elven woman's tight entrance contract around his pole. Her cinnamon scent washed over him from the sheen of perspiration that broke out over her whole body. She began to grind her pelvis against his and ran her cool hands and sharp nails over his chest, massaging and gently scratching his smoothly-muscled body.

Wendy moved about and moved her knees to either side of Harlen's head, lowering her groin over his mouth. He was quite pleased to oblige the unspoken request, or was it a command? Or possibly an offer? He lapped at the proffered entrance, causing Wendy to moan and begin her own grinding motions with her rounded hips. The two women supported one another as they rode him, their arms intertwining then leaning forward to kiss as first Hyandai, then Wendy climaxed.

Despite his discomfort of speaking of things sexual with Ceriandel, Hyandai's brother, the young elven blade dancer had taught him a few tricks about, as the elf put it, 'enduring'. Thus, even with the amazing stimulation of a very tight, and very wet fist clenching his organ and milking it for all Hyandai was worth, and the addition of Wendy's delightful entrance hovering over him, inviting his tongue to explore it, he did not yet spend.

The girls had noted his recent capability to resist their ministrations, and took it as personal challenges to see if they could force him to climax despite himself. They often won such a contest, not that Harlen minded at all.

After her voice died down, and Hyandai regained the ability to speak Westron, she moved off his still stiff organ and kissed Wendy. His human bride wasted no time in shifting about and driving him deep into her wet and quite ready cunt. "I'm not sure if I should kill Ceriandel or kiss him for showing you that trick," she moaned as she drove herself down onto the thick pole repeatedly.

"Kill, I should think," said Hyandai, "kissing him would just encourage him to show Harlen more tactics to use to thwart us." She was kissing Harlen's belly and gently urging Wendy to change her angle. When the human girl leaned back, Hyandai's head darted in between their bodies and began to lick her clitoris as she took Harlen into herself. This set Wendy into a rapid and frenzied set of motions that soon resulted in another powerful climax for her.

As Wendy slipped off the seemingly unconquerable organ, Hyandai took a firm grip of it and lowered her lips to engulf the head. Her slender fingers moved down under his scrotum and Harlen said, "Hey, no fair!" as she slid one finger into his anus. There was no pain for Harlen in this, as her fingers were, indeed, very narrow. However, when that finger, pressed deeply into him and found the 'walnut', as Hyandai called it, he came within seconds.

Wendy giggled at the look that came over Hyandai's face as his seed filled her mouth and began running down the shaft of his cock. "Like turning the tap on a keg, hmm?" she asked as Hyandai pulled back and invited Wendy to partake. Wendy seemed the more eager of the two at the taste of semen, and obliged willingly, though both only did it for the benefit of Harlen, whom the whole thing thrilled in measure far out of proportion with the cause. After she had lapped up the last of his spend from Harlen's shaft and stomach, she kissed Hyandai and licked the elven woman's lips.

Harlen grabbed a handful of each woman's hair and pulled them both to him and kissed Wendy, then Hyandai soundly, refusing to let his powerful grip go until he was satisfied that they were both well and truly kissed.

He then laid back and sighed.

The two girls regarded him with envious eyes. "Look at him," said Hyandai, "he is ready for sleep."

Wendy nodded. "Let him, I want more cinnamon," she said.

He drifted off to the sounds of small giggles and moans from his beloved wives.

The great barge began moving, eight hundred oars moved in unison, like a great centipede. It backed out of the narrow bay, as there was nowhere near enough room to turn such a behemoth. Smaller ships swarmed about it as it heaved into the outer bay and began to come about.

Lord Pharen stood beside the captain at the helm. The captain issued quiet orders to young slaves who ran forth to relay them. "What course shall we make, milord?" asked the captain.

Pharen looked toward the west. "The Windy Isles," he said.

The captain's eyes widened a bit, but he turned and told one of the slaves a few nautical words that Pharen did not understand and the youth scrambled off.

"Speed sir?" asked the captain.

Lord Pharen thought a moment. "We are not rushed at the moment, spare the slaves, let the wind do the work for now," he said.

"Very wise milord," said the captain and gave a hand signal. Sailcloth, literally acres of it, began unfurling from the masts. Soon, the ship was coasting with the oars lifted and dragged inward, to just hang out their portholes like little stubby flippers. The wind bellied the great sails and the ship slowly gained speed. Her massive weight and size would not allow rapid changes in course and speed, but once she was moving, the Divine Instrument felt unstoppable.

"May I ask, milord, now that we are aweigh, what your mission is?" the captain asked.

Pharen thought a longer moment. "We go forth to find a resource that we desperately need to defeat the Coghlanders and Starre Island Elves," he said, knowing the captain would respond well to such a thoughgt, as the navy had born the brunt of the losses in the Crystern Chain.

"I see, milord, thank you," said the captain. He knew if the Dark Templar wished to tell him more, he would do so, and if not, he may well grow wroth for being pressed on the matter.

The Templar knew the Lady Rennaa was approaching due to the heads turning in the rigging of the crewmen. It was like following a wake on a ship and by simply triangulating where their gazes all terminated, he found her walking along the gunnel, peering over the side and wearing a very gauzy evening gown. The wind flipped it and her hair, which was the same shade of golden, to cause it to ripple like liquid. It was a lovely effect and he knew he would again, tonight, seek out her company. She seemed to be seeking for something.

Lord Pharen approached her. "Milady, what do you search for?" he asked.

She smiled over to him. "I feel something - odd, here, on this very ship."

He looked at her with concern. "A premonition?" he asked.

Lady Renna's head shook. "No, like a warning, but not a premonition, I do get those, but they are always about me," she said. "A warning, as in 'Beware, something bad is here!'."

"Perhaps you sense the heretic rowers below, they might well harbor ill will to us," he provided helpfully.

She shook her head again. "No, I don't think that is it, either," she said, her voice distant and worried. "Would you like to help me cast an augery?"

"I thought you didn't get premonitions?" he asked, smiling.

The lady said, "It is an active enchantment, not simple passive reception," she explained. "I will need help with it as the power requirement is great."

"How great?" asked Pharen.

She sighed, looking levelly at him. "We will need two slaves, as well," she said.

He awoke with Hyandai pressed to him and saw Wendy pressed to her back. They both seemed well asleep and he wondered how long the two made love after he had drifted off. The room was well scented with cinnamon, so he figured quite some time.

They did not have to appear before the duke this morning, though, so could be left lying. He, however did.

He puttered about the room, the women shifting with his absence in the massive bed. He finally regarded himself in the long mirror, made up of many small panes painstakingly mounted on a flat board to form one large mirror. He was wearing the silken green tabard the elves had given him over the bright alloy mail that all the 'rangers' of Morrovale now kept. He further donned his sword, as a titled individual, he was permitted to bear armament, even into the presence of the ducal self. Harlen smirked at that, he was titled, yes, but no nobleman. He guessed he was presentable and headed downstairs. He hoped that Trevir had followed instructions and had fetched Eseliath, Harlen's horse. He did not relish the idea of walking about in this get-up in public. Riding would be bad enough.

Trevir was sitting in the dining area, busily chewing a slab of deer jerky and washing it down with goat's milk. "I got your horse, like you said," said the lad, around a mouth full of jerky.

Harlen thanked him and grabbed an apple from Hyandai's fruit bowl on the cabinet. He idly wondered if he had eaten as much fruit in his entire life as he had in the last year. As he took a huge bite of the apple, Hyandai came down the stairs, eyes still rather blurry-looking and her hair forming an unkempt mane about her head. She wore a thin robe that covered her to mid thigh.

"I wanted to say good luck," she said, smiling tiredly.

Harlen kissed her and petted her hair, trying vainly to straighten it a bit. "Thank you, angel," he said.

She hugged him and then stood back. "Go, become an ambassador," she said, grinning and pushing him toward the door. He opened the door and prepared to step through. "I love you, Harlen."

Harlen turned and said, "And I love you," and shut the door.

The ride took most of half an hour to the ducal palace west of town. It was a large estate, though not nearly as ostentatious as those of some other nobles. The duke was not a man given to flippancy, he was a serious leader, and took the term noblese obligee to heart. He saw himself as the One-selected leader for the duchy, and meant for himself to be a leader over prosperous and happy people.

Harlen had always approved of the duke's handling of most affairs, though his back bore testimony to how hard the duke's rule could be when his laws were crossed. Now, he was being ridden down by another ducal necessity. It had been, for the most part, Harlen's fault that they were now enjoying renewed relationships with the nations of Windir and the Windy Isles. Therefore it was just that he should serve as ambassador to one.

Grooms stepped forward and took the reigns to his horse as he rode up to the stable. Guards watched him cautiously, though not hostilely. It was no surprise to anyone, his arrival was well planned and most of the town knew of the meeting this morning.

A young page ran up as he walked toward the palace proper from the stable. "Ambassador, I am Medlan, your page for this visit to the palace," he said, bowing.

Harlen laughed. "What do I need a page for?" he asked.

Medlan looked a bit hurt, and his bright hazel eyes gained a bit of hardness. "Sir, you may have need to have something fetched, or perhaps need something brought to you, or a message relayed."

Harlen nodded, hoping to get back on the lad's good side. "I never thought of that, I see," he said, seriously.

"I can also advise you of the finer points of savoir faire, if the need arises and you need such."

Harlen nodded again, more enthusiastically this time. "That might just be a necessity, there," he agreed.

They had continued walking as this conversation continued. The boy looked a bit odd in the purple and gold of the ducal colors, but Harlen decided that observing such might well be a bad idea.

Doormen opened the great doors into the grand foyer of the palace and Harlen looked about unabashedly. He had never seen the palace up close before, and had certainly never seen the inside of it. He clutched the scroll that summoned him here in a tight grip and walked alongside the lad, despite the young man's attempts to keep Harlen ahead of him.

The ceiling was decorated ornately with massive spiritually inspired paintings that seemed to jump out of the stucco and reach for him and Harlen could not help but smile at the amazing skill it must have taken to produce works of such quality and depth. Much marble was in evidence and gold foil. He was duly impressed by the magnificent sight of the foyer and of the two wide, low-rise staircases that spiraled off and up to an overhanging gallery over the entry area.

"Wow," said Harlen.

The boy beamed at him. "It is impressive, isn't it?" he asked, pointing at the fresco on the ceiling. "That was painted two hundred years ago, and they say some of the artists were elven, and even some were dwarves." The lad laughed. "They also say that it was almost never finished as the two squabbled so much.

Harlen chuckled at that and patted the boy's shoulder. "I can believe that. I've not met a dwarf in my days, but I know I've squabbled with a few elves and they can be quite quarrelsome," he said.

The lad led him between the stairs and down a short corridor to a large set of double doors. He reached out and had to pull three times before Harlen would release the summons from his iron grip. Unrolling the now slightly crimped parchment, the lad opened the door.

Harlen stepped in and nearly jumped when the lad started to speak:

"My Lord, Anasper of Morrovale, Duke of Morrovale, Master of the Southern Reaches, General of the Armies of Morrovale, I present to you Harlen of Morrovale, Master Huntsman, Ranger of Morrovale, Ambassador to the Windy Isles from Morrovale!"

Harlen thought a moment and worried that his titles had almost been as long as the dukes, and hoped that wasn't something which would count against him. The duke was seated at a low throne, upon a dias of only two steps. He stood and walked toward Harlen. Once again, Harlen was struck at the Duke's youthfulness. He was only a couple of years the huntsman's senior, a fact that Harlen often forgot.

"Master Harlen, welcome and thank you for coming," said Anasper. "I am so very glad you could find the time."

Harlen generously failed to point out that he had little choice and the letter had said that he was 'ordered to appear'. "Thank you milord," said Harlen. "I am honored to have been called before you."

The duke chuckled. "It is an honor of my mind only, master huntsman, for I have heard tell that you are less than thrilled at your appointment."

Harlen blushed a little. "Milord, I am honored by it, though I must admit that it discomfits me greatly," Harlen admitted.

Anasper weighed those words. "Well spoken, man of Morrovale," he said. "I will speak plainly, Harlen, for you deserve such of me." He thought a moment. "I selected you, Harlen, for three reasons, and only for those three reasons. Quite simply: I trust you, the elves trust you, and the men of the Windy Isles trust you."

He paced a few steps away, then turned back around and faced the huntsman. "I would be a fool to pass up so much goodwill being invested in one man, would I not?" asked Anasper.

Harlen nodded. "I suppose so, milord" he agreed.

"I fully realize that I am turning your life on its ear, my friend," said the duke. "And for that I both apologize and intend to reward you very well."

The huntsman smiled at that. "I'm sure milord will set a salary commiserate with his perception of my worth," he said.

"Sounding like a diplomat already, Master Harlen," said the duke, raising an eyebrow. "I believe you will find this assignment quite simple and entertaining."

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