Sand blew in molten abrasive waves, scouring over the figure of the man as he tried to stay on his feet in the endless dunes around him. It bristled on his skin, irritated him as it got into every crack and crevice in his body. It stung at his lips and burned in his eyes. With a raspy growl, he tried to brush some of it away, but it settled back in, thicker than ever.
Just six days ago, he'd been laughing and joking with his friends, amidst a caravan traveling across this she bitch desert, not a care in the world and enjoying the trip his Uncle had given him. It was to season him, his Uncle had said. To make him ready to take his rightful place with the peerage and in the House of Lords for his father's seat was still vacant.
Then the raiders had attacked, scattering the caravan. He'd fought but had watched in horror as his friends were cut down, one after the other, though no harm had befallen him. It was as if the men were afraid to touch him, turning aside the blows of his sword but not meting out any of their own.
When all were dead but himself and the leader of the caravan, the man smirking as he looked over at him, he'd run for his horse, determined to get away. His horse was a thoroughbred, raised in this world of sand and heat. He'd out rode the dark devils that were determined to et their hands on him, escaping across the dunes.
Without the benefit of the caravan, he'd become lost, turned around in an ocean of sand, unable to decide which way was the right way to go. He'd kept moving, knowing of nothing else to do, and then his horse had died about two days ago. He'd been tempted to stay with him, to lie down next to the faithful beast that had carried him so well for so long and let the desert take them both.
His will to survive was too strong. He rose, after mercifully ending the struggles of his horse, grabbing what little water he had left and putting the strap of the water bladder over his shoulder. It was gone now, left along the straggling trail of his footprints, disappearing in the wasteland of the desert under the blowing sands that seemed to be all that was left of his world.
The heat had made him half mad; the tedious and trying effort of planting one booted foot in front of the other had almost taken the other half of his mind. Thirst plagued him and the desert played tricks upon him, taunting him with shining lakes of water that were just out of reach. Lakes that beckoned him more than the most seductive of women ever could.
His cotton covered knees hit the sand first and he struggled futilely to rise once more, to continue the endless struggle against the accursed sand. Then his hand fell, holding him up, his arm shaking as weakness unlike anything he'd felt before took him. His mind wobbled, sanity threatened to dessert him.
He would rest; just lay his head down here on the sand and rest until he regained his strength. Then he would rise again, and once more search for the water he was certain was just past the next dune.
His hand curled into a fist and something besides sand ended up in his palm as he rolled to his back, staring at the bright yellow ball in the sky that seemed to scorch his eyes. He lifted his hand, blocking the sun with one while he looked at the thing he held.
It was a ring, golden with a huge amber stone that sparkled under the torturous rays of the sun.
"Pretty," he mumbled, unconsciously slipping it on his finger. It fit as if made for him, turning when his hand slumped back to the sand as his eyes slipped closed.
Laresa gave a startled cry as the torrential heat of the desert beat down upon her head. Her last master had been in the icy cold of the Alaska tundra, his death after many years of devotion to her condemning her back to the prison of the ring and the uncertainness of her future. The heat was such a startling difference to that wonderland of white snow and shimmering ice she'd last lived in. While the heat or cold had no affect upon her specifically, she could still feel the difference.
She looked down at the body of the man who owned her ring now, noting how the blowing sand was slowly covering him, creating another small dune against his body. Within an hour, a person would be hard pressed to notice the difference between the dune that would cover his body and the ones that had been there for centuries.
Kneeling next to his body, she lifted him gently into her arms, his long form looking huge against her small frame. A quick thought had them both disappearing into sparkling gray mist, reappearing an instant later in the cool green of a secret oasis.
Laresa carried him into the small pool of cool water that was hidden by the lengthy fronds of many palm trees, bending to submerge his heated form into the liquid depths. Sitting and letting him rest against her breast, she slowly lifted handful after handful of silky water, letting it slide over his skin, some dribbling into his mouth.
Matthew Aidan Cranston, seventh Marquis of Hevershem, with properties that amassed a fortune of revenues every year, slowly blinked his eyes, shivering a little with the trailing of the water that felt icy on his over heated skin. A soft hand stroked his brow, cleaning the dirt and sweat from his skin, leaving only the red of the terrible burn that he had received from the rays of the sun. He tilted his head, feeling a round mound of flesh, a softness that could only be one thing, a female breast.
"Be still, Master. I will heal you if you will but wish me to."
"W... What?" he croaked, unsure if he'd heard the husky, smoky voice right.
"You have but to wish to be well, Master and I, Laresa, your genie, will make it so."
Matthew closed his eyes. "I'm having another hallucination," he said, his voice breaking.
"No, Master. You found my ring and put it on. It chose you as my new master. I am a genie; I live in the ring that you now wear. As long as you possess my ring, you possess me." Laresa smiled. It seemed no matter how many new masters or mistresses she had, ever since the age of the jinn, now that her people were scarce, she had to go through the same disbelief and had to prove her word over and over. "Just wish yourself to be well, Master. I shall make it so."
Matthew sighed, sucking lightly upon one of her water covered fingers as it came to rub the sweet moisture into his lips. When she pulled her hand away to cup more of the wonderful water, he took a deep breath. "All right, Laresa, did you say? All right then, Laresa. I wish myself well."
He couldn't see the smile that graced her face for an instant before she closed her eyes and probed his mind. With a slight nod of her head when she found the thought she was searching for, she opened her eyes. "Your wish is my command, my Master."
Matthew felt a strange tingle go through his body starting at his toes and shifting over his feet which were covered with bleeding blisters from walking miles in the sand in his riding boots. It moved up his legs that were sore and aching from walking those many miles, over his thighs and hips, into his lower back and then up further. It tingled over his ribs, causing him to inhale reflexively before continuing. Up his shoulders, and down his arms, up over his throat and across his face, even his hair felt as if it were standing straight up on his head, a victim to the strange tingle that held him in its grip.
Then it dissipated. Laresa pushed him up into a sitting position, standing up beside him, unmindful of the beauty she displayed in her wet diaphanous gown of gossamer silver. "How do you feel, Master.
He flexed his arms, did the same to his toes in their tight boots, running his hands over his face. The blisters were gone, the terrible thirst was gone, even the exhaustion had disappeared. He felt as if he'd just woke from a wonderful night's rest in his own bed in his main residence at his London townhouse. "I feel fine," he said, astonishment coloring the words. "No, I feel fantastic," he said, turning to look for the first time at the woman who had saved his life.
His first look sent a shock of awareness through him, a tingle that, while not genie induced, still felt magical. She was breathtaking, with long silvery blonde hair that blew gently in the breeze that stirred the leaves in the oasis. Her eyes were an amazing violet, reminding him of the flowers that his mother loved and always had around whatever house they were staying at, wide and rimmed with kohl, they looked mysterious and exotic, contrasting wonderfully with her thick mane of hair.
Her face was oval, her skin pale and perfect with lush lips of the most intriguing pink as to make them very hard to resist, especially now that he knew he owed her his life. That was, if in fact, he was still alive. If not, then he could only thank God for he'd made heaven a wonderfully cool oasis in the midst of the hellfire of desert and populated it with curvy little angels.
Then again, wasn't lust one of the seven deadly sin? Well, if it was, maybe Old Nick had gotten him after all and he would pay for his sins by never being allowed to touch her. There was only one way to be sure.
"Laresa, am I dead?" he asked her, slowly walking through the water to where she stood, her feet still immersed in the cool liquid.
"No, Master, I brought you here, but could only heal you when you asked. You are still very much alive." He was quite handsome too, though she kept that thought to herself.
.... There is more of this story ...