Training a Ha'tinre
Chapter 1

Caution: This Science Fiction Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Rape, Magic, Heterosexual, Fiction, Science Fiction, Uncle, Niece, Sadistic, Oral Sex, Masturbation, Pregnancy, Voyeurism, Violent,

Desc: Science Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1 - She was the student to the Grand Master of the Ha'tinre, a group of magic using assassins. A madman to say the least. To prove her worth, she thought to kill a Ha'trin, their sworn enemies. But when she finds herself captured, the Ha'trin are not as she thought. Or are they?

It is often thought that the Ha'tinre have no faces. After they are finished in their training, they are given a powerful magic drained from the blood of demons from another realm. It is what gives the men their glowing eyes. So they always hide their faces, wrapped in cloth as black as their souls. But for their women, it simply makes them stronger. They absorb the magic more readily, for women are vessels for all that is not corporeal. For this reason, their women slip among the masses, skilled in the art of seeking out and extracting information from the lips of those not so eager to tell. In this art, so too are they well versed in the many ways of eroticism.

It is from this that children were born among their order. These offspring were laced with the magic that fueled their parents' wicked souls. But in the children, the magic would purify, though lose none of its potency. It was these children that supposedly gave rise to the Ha'trin, those who no longer wanted to kill and torture for the simple pleasure of the act. They gave up their magic, making themselves immune to their parents. And so the two orders began their ageless struggle against one another. One hired for murder, for lies, for greed and power and torture. The other hired for protection, to defend those who could not defend themselves.

"And thus they are weak!" he roared, using his staff to trip her and throw her to the ground. He stood over her, his eyes glowing the faint green. "Just like you, Shime."

Panting, Shime attempted to gain back her feet. But he thrust the blunt end of the staff against her throat, keeping her down. She lay on the hard ground, trembling. She knew what would come later if she didn't get back up now. She grabbed at the staff, wrenching it from her throat and stumbling up. She didn't get the chance to gain her feet when she heard her teacher speak a word of magic. Lightning danced along the pole.

Bent backwards in pain, Shime writhed on the ground, crying out through clenched jaws. Still her teacher stood over her, his eyes always disapproving. "You know the spell to make it stop."

"Grand Master Tarnrax!" a silvery voice laced with contempt said behind him. He turned to glare down at one of the women of his clan. Her eyes did not glow. At least not with magic. Hatred, certainly.

"What is it?" he asked boredly, ignoring Shime's desperate attempts to mutter the spell to negate the curse he had placed on her.

"Dasbol is back from his mission. He is wanting to speak with you. Something about an artifact he came across." The woman stared at him with defiance. She hated him, but she, as everyone in the clan did, knew that he was always on his guard. Many attempts had been made on his life. And none of them had lived to beg for mercy.

"Oh good. I needed a distraction." With that, he strode off, not bothering to even glance back at his student.

Once he was gone, though, the woman knelt beside Shime. She passed her hand over Shime, speaking the words to the counter spell. With a heavy breath, Shime lay still at last, though her muscles twitched here and there. She panted heavily, her body still trembling from the agony she had just experienced. It wasn't new. He had done that to her before.

"Shime. Are you alright?" She looked up at the woman.

"What do you think?" Shime snapped back. She tried to rise, but her limbs couldn't work. She grit her teeth and forced herself to stand anyways, wobbling. When the woman tried to help her, she bared her teeth, wrinkling her nose. "I don't need your help."

"You do. We all need each other's help against that tyrant," she hissed.

For a moment, Shime wanted to agree. Instead, she turned away. "You should go, Malvala. No sense in us both being punished."

"I'm not worried about myself." She offered her arm when Shime stumbled. Glaring up at her, Shime sneered. Malvala was not her species. She was petite and beautiful. Most called her kind fairies for they had translucent wings. But Malvala had had them cut off when she joined the Ha'tinre. In comparison to her coltish grace and fairness, Shime seemed like a brute, though among her own kind, she was considered very pretty.

"Why would you be worried about me?" Shime asked, almost thankful that at least someone cared, but she didn't even dare think it. She had to be strong. To care about another person was weakness. At least that's what her Master told her.

"Because what he does is not the way of our order. We are cruel to those who are not of our clan. Not to our own clan, nor our apprentices." Malvala helped Shime over to a log that was part of a small obstacle course.

Sitting, Shime let out a sigh. "I will become stronger than he is," she said so softly that Malvala had to lean over to hear her. "I'll get more powerful and I'll kill him. And then I will be Grand Master and I'll make things right." She clenched her fists, rage making her eyes blur with tears. Though the tears did not fall. She could never let them fall.

Malvala glanced around, making certain Tarnrax wasn't in sight. "I hope you do," she said earnestly. "I hope it happens before he breaks another of my students." Reaching out a slender hand, Malvala stroked Shime's silky black hair with her elongated fingers. "Do take care, Shime. You are stronger than most of us." With that, she turned away.

Shivering, Shime stood and went inside the house. She was exhausted. Her Master didn't let her get much sleep, telling her there would be plenty of time to close her eyes when she was dead. Sinking into the bed, she stared at the other side where her teacher slept. She had been only 10 years old when her parents had been killed by Ha'trin. That was when Tarnrax had "shown her mercy" and taken her in. The same day she had learned of the death of her parents, both Ha'tinre, the Grand Master had made her a woman, or so he put it.

Seven years later, he had trained her, trying to make her a clone of himself. He wanted her cold and violent, like a beaten dog. He kept her in his bed. There was rarely a night he didn't make her "practice her knowledge in pleasuring a man." He told her that some day when she was good enough, she would need the experience to help loosen a stiff tongue or two. So she pleased him, but he never returned the favor. He didn't have to. He wasn't the one training. He was the Grand Master. He could do anything he wanted.

No matter what she did, she was never good enough. No matter how hard she trained, he was always disapproving. He punished her all the time. She was starting to think nothing was right in his mind.

Speaking of punishment, Shime opened her eyes when she heard the door shut. Tarnrax strode into the room, his voice gruff behind her. "So eager for your nightly training, are you?" He grinned mockingly at her.

"More eager to sleep, Master," she replied quietly though boldly.

Clenching her jaw to keep from whimpering in pain as Tarnrax grabbed her hair, she was wrenched out of bed and forced to her knees before her teacher. "I will get the weakness out of you one way or another," he growled. Shime closed her eyes as he undid his leggings. When she felt the head of his length against her lips, she let out a heavy breath in acquiescence.

His grip on her hair tightened when he felt the heat of her mouth. He pulled her head forward until she felt him against the back of her throat. She had lost her gag reflex due to his aggressive violation of her mouth many times before. Each time he had mockingly instructed her on the use of her tongue and the muscles in the back of her throat to please him greater.

She slurped unenthusiastically at his cock, letting him set the pace. She didn't have a choice in that matter anyways, with his fingers buried in her hair still, his hips thrusting each time he drew her forward. Her tongue slid over her teeth, but not because she wanted to protect the underside of his dick, more that she didn't want him beating her for scraping himself against her teeth. She had once dared to bite him. By the time he'd been done with her, even the healing spells Malvala knew had been barely enough to bring her back from the cold grip of death. Truly, the nymph of a woman had done it only because she had not wanted to join Shime for her defiance of Tarnrax's orders. She had even apologized for bringing Shime back to life.

So Shime did what she had been taught to please her Master. She heard him pant as he raped her mouth. He was getting harder, but she had learned he was no one trick pony. He jerked her head against his hip, growling above her as she felt the heat of his seed flow down the back of throat. In order not to choke, she gulped at it, grimacing. He rumbled, feeling the undulations of her throat as she tried to swallow all of what he spurted into her.

He finally slipped out of her mouth, releasing her hair. She coughed weakly, gasping for air, still trying to get the taste of him out of her mouth.


Stiffly, Shime obeyed. She knew what was coming next. But she would not give him the satisfaction of her doing it on her own.


Dispassionately, Shime did as he ordered. His eyes were narrowed in his lust. After he watched her remove her clothing, standing naked before him, her lavender eyes focused on the ground, Tarnrax pulled off his shirt, revealing his powerful muscles. His breeches had fallen to his ankles during his defilement of her mouth and he stepped out of them, coming toward her. It was now he saw her tremble and it made him laugh sadistically.

"You're such a coward if you're afraid." He roughly grabbed her wrists, shoving her backward onto the bed, holding her hands above her head. "I don't know why I bother with you, weakling," he snarled at her when she closed her eyes to block his taunting grin.

When she felt him press against her entrance, she let out a whimper. "Please, uncle, stop..."

Her vision blurred with the force of his blow across her face. "I've told you never call me that!" he sneered indignantly. "I don't want to be reminded I was ever related to such a weakling as my brother. And he seems to have passed that trait on to you."

She felt him press into her violently. Clenching her jaw, she swallowed her cry of pain. He was already mad enough. She had been hoping for even the slightest bit of mercy, but she really should have known better. He had told her many times that her father had been a weakling for falling in love. It was why Shime was weak, he hissed in her ear as he pounded her aggressively. She had been made and born out of love. Her parents had treated her well. They had wanted to give her the chance to chose if she wanted to be Ha'tinre or not. Most other children born of Ha'tinre unions were not given that choice. And it was for that reason they had died, leaving Shime orphaned and at the mercies of her father's brother. So Tarnrax told her as he continued to thrust inside of her.

He hissed in pleasure above her. His grip on her wrists was bruising. That was the part she probably hated the most. The fact that he held her down while he did this to her. She had once stabbed him while he used her. He never let her hands be idle since. Sometimes he tied her down. Sometimes he used a binding spell. But he liked the most to hold her down himself, forcing her helpless to his violations.

Desperately, Shime fought the tears that threatened at the corners of her eyes. It was the hardest when she felt him stiffen over her, his grip on her tightening even more. There was a depressingly familiar warmth in her body. Staring up at the dark ceiling, Shime waited for Tarnrax to withdraw from her, rolling to the other side of the bed with a grunt.

With a shuddering breath, Shime turned away from him, laying her head against her forearms. Her wrists ached. She wished her parents were still alive. If only they had not been so weak. If only they hadn't left her behind to go off on that trip of theirs to the lake to spend time together. If only the Ha'trin hadn't been out there, finding them helpless. They hadn't been a threat that day. They had just wanted to be alone, probably to make a sibling for her.

Grinding her teeth, Shime thought of the Ha'trin. They were truly evil, preaching their good intentions and yet slaughtering two defenseless Ha'tinre. Without weapons, the Ha'tinre were truly helpless against their most hated rivals for their magic had no affect on the Ha'trin who lacked their inherent magic. Without it, no magic worked on them.

An idea slowly turned in Shime's mind as she listened to her Master breathe deeply in sleep. She had tried to kill him plenty of times. He had always woken in time to throw her aside, laugh, and go back to sleep. She was not yet strong enough to defeat him. And he was likely never to just allow her to pass her training and graduate to a true Ha'tinre. But if she killed a Ha'trin...

She slipped silently from the bed. She moved about with as little noise as she could. She dressed. She found Tarnrax's stash of weapons. He left them available just for her to try to use them to kill him. Rather than that, she tucked the daggers and sword into her belt. She would go find a Ha'trin. She would bring back a vital body part of one, show Tarnrax he was wrong about her.

Running through the night, Shime hadn't bothered leaving a note or any indication of where she went. So what if Tarnrax thought she'd run away? When she returned with a dead Ha'trin, he wouldn't have a choice but to admit that he had been wrong about her, and wrong about her father. Once she was a fully fledged Ha'tinre, she could grow in her power until the right time when she would then bury her blade into his heart and take his place. She would become Grand Master and she would make sure that none of the other apprentices had to go through what she did.

Stopping, Shime glanced around at where she was. She knew these woods well enough, but not in the dark. She didn't know where she would find a Ha'trin. Hell, she didn't even know much about the outside world.

Shaking her head, Shime pressed on. None of that mattered. Her sheer determination would let her endure anything. As a born and bred Ha'tinre, it shouldn't be hard for her to find a Ha'trin. She would be able to sense their lack of magic.

It was the fact that the outside world required money that threw her off. She was no stranger to stealing, though. Many times she had had to steal food from her Master, and she used that to her advantage. Those in the town she had found herself in tended to be fairly oblivious to her. She didn't mind. It allowed her to observed.

It was only a matter of days that fortune would smile on her. She took it as a sign of her good decision. The Ha'trin walked among the people as if he had no fear of what might lie in wait. With a grin, Shime slipped behind him, dogging him down the streets. She would be patient, wait for the perfect moment. Yes, it would all be so simple...

The Ha'trin sat beside his fire. He held a stick in his hand which he had speared through the fish he had caught earlier. He watched the scales crackle and fall off his meal. He blinked lazily at the fire, yawning.

After he had eaten, he laid out on his bedroll. Closing his eyes, he didn't have long to wait for the fleeting little shadow that had been following him all day to show up. He smirked, his face turned away from the Ha'tinre he could sense out in the woods. No doubt it was an apprentice. If it had been a proper Ha'tinre, he would never see his enemy. However, he was certain it was one of the born Ha'tinre as he could sense the power given only to those who had passed their training, which this one had not.

He let out a sigh when he heard the blade slide from its sheath. Definitely a poorly trained student.

Shime had to stifle a squeak when she felt the Ha'trin's strong hand grab the wrist that held her small blade. He sat up, jerking her arm forward. She lost her balance, sprawling over his lap. He then brought her arm around her, pressing it against her back. She felt him place his fingers against the back of her neck lightly.

"I don't suppose you're going to tell me why you thought you could kill me?" The Ha'trin sounded bored.

Shime snorted, growling. She squirmed against him.

Sighing, the Ha'trin shrugged. "Guess that part doesn't matter. Though carrying you all the way home is going to be a chore."

Shime was about to tell the Ha'trin that he could go to hell if he thought she'd cooperate with him long enough for him to take her anywhere. But when she felt his fingers press harder against the points along the back of her neck, her last thought was that her Master had been right.

Shime was surprisingly comfortable. Though when she moved her neck, she let out a soft groan in pain. Her muscles were stiff.

"Your neck will be sore a bit." Shime's eyes snapped open when she heard the foreign voice. She looked up at the Ha'trin. He looked down on her, sitting on the side of the bed she was in. "Side effect of using that particular set of pressure points."

A spike of panic rushed through her when she realized that she had been stripped of her clothing, laying under the sheets of the Ha'trin's bed. He snickered at her stricken expression. Squirming, Shime drew away from him, holding the sheet against her chest as she sat up. It was then she realized that he had chained her ankle to the frame of his bed.

He continued to smirk at her. "Well, now that you're awake, I can ask your name."

Shime swallowed her fear, reminding herself how she had ended up here. Maybe she could use this to her advantage. If she played along, he would let down his guard. So she glared at him. "Shime," she replied, her voice cold.

"Shime? That's a lovely name," he said sincerely. He gave her a disarming smile. "I'm Higzashi. Are you hungry, Shime?"

She looked at him skeptically, trying to find any hint of mockery. He was actually earnest in his asking. She snorted, steeling herself. Maybe he was just that good at hiding his true intentions. She sneered. "Why would you care?" she snapped haughtily. "Aren't you suppose to torture me or something?"

Higzashi raised his brow in question. "Do you want me to torture you? Because I can if you want and have no qualms about it."

Shime blinked in surprise. Whatever this Ha'trin was up to, he was a lot sneakier than her Master. But she would not back down, not when she had come so far. "I'm not afraid," she growled at him.

She was startled by his laughter. He grinned at her, showing his long canines. "Are you trying to convince me or yourself?"

Again he was entirely sincere in his question, no hint of mockery. He saw that she was confused. But she gathered herself together again. Shaking her shackled leg, she caused the chain to clink. "You've got me chained to your bed naked. I don't believe feeding me is the first thought on your mind."

Still, he smiled widely at her. "Oh, well, about that. The chain is to ensure you couldn't escape in case you woke up while I was away. The naked part, well, just another assurance you wouldn't be running off. Besides, I wasn't about to let you sleep in my bed with that filthy clothing of yours."

"I'm sure," she snorted, still holding the sheets tightly against her body, her free leg bent up and folded over her other leg. He raised a brow at her unconscious body language of fear. It was so deeply seeded in her that she didn't even know she felt it. "I'm sure all Ha'trin are so knightly."

"Are you trying to get me to torture you?" he asked softly. "Is that why you thought you were good enough to kill me? Trying to prove you're not afraid?"

"I'm not afraid!" she snapped, trembling with her anger and something else.

Again the Ha'trin chuckled at her. "Now I know you're trying to convince yourself of that."

"Don't mock me," she growled, turning her head to glare at him from the corner of her eye.

"Oh, certainly not," Higzashi shook his head. "Something tells me you get enough of that as it is."

"What makes you think that?" she sneered.

Higzashi shook his finger at her. "I think you've talked quite enough with saying nothing. I wanted to know if you were hungry. But if you'd rather, I could feed you after I've tortured you." His tone was relaxed. He saw her gulp. She was too afraid to say she'd rather be tortured, but too proud to say she was hungry. So she said nothing, just glowered at him.

Finally, Higzashi sighed a little. "Fine. I'll chose for you." He reached out for her. The way she cringed from him told him all he needed to know. But he gave no indication he noticed as he grabbed her wrist. He saw the fear flash in her eyes even though she tried to fight him off. For how thin she was, she was of a decent enough strength, causing him to struggle with her.

Panting, Shime's chest heaved in a sudden panic. This was the part she hated the most, being held down.

The Ha'trin managed to shackle her wrists over her head, and her other leg, to the posts around the bed. He stood back, drawing his blade out of its sheath. She realized it was her own. He snickered sadistically at the expression on her face. He held up a long piece of black cloth. "In case you've never noticed, dear, a lack of sight makes the other senses far more enhanced." He leaned over her. Despite her thrashing, he managed to wrap the blindfold around her head.

Shime was regretting her goading of the Ha'trin. Especially when she felt him pull the covers off her naked body. He ran the cold flat of the blade along her trembling belly. "Hmm," she heard him rumble over her. "If you had some meat on your bones, I think you'd be quite the pretty little thing." He ran the tip of the blade along her protruding ribs. Her Master only let her eat when he thought she needed it and even then she had to fight for it. Maybe that was why she could never remember any of her spells.

The dagger was gone for just a heartbeat. Then she felt its sharpness against her flesh. She clenched her jaw tightly. She would not be a coward. She would not beg for mercy, no matter how many times he cut her. She felt a drop of warm liquid run down her side. Again she felt a sharp little cut, this time on her arm. Another drop of warm fluid.

"If you want me to stop, you need only ask," the Ha'trin said softly as he cut her again along her belly. The resulting drop pooled on her skin.

Grinding her teeth, Shime couldn't stop her trembling, but she she refused to make a sound. Over and over and over again, she felt the blade cut a small stinging wound on her, a few drops of blood dribbling down. But it wasn't until he moved down to the almost disturbing hollows of her hips, and further down along her thin thighs that he got what he'd been waiting for.

Whimpering, Shime felt his fingertips caress the inside of her thigh. "Such a shame to ruin such fine skin," he said as if he truly regretted cutting her there. Her whole body jerked when she felt the sharp sensation again against her thigh, all too close to her womanhood. He chuckled over her. "Now, now, darling. If you flinch like that you may cause me to slip and cause more damage than I intend. I would truly hate to miss and ruin you for good." To make certain she caught his hint, she felt the heat of his finger run along her slit.

She jerked again, a terrified whimper leaving her. "No!" she cried, her voice high in panic. She started to squirm desperately against the chains that held her. Her back arched as she writhed, sobbing in her sudden fear. "Please don't! Please don't!"

Higzashi was startled by her abrupt change but not surprised. It confirmed what he suspected. She felt his finger tips caressing the side of her face tenderly. "Shhh," he shushed her gently. "I won't. I won't do that again."

"Stop!" she whimpered in a choked voice. "Please stop."

"Fine," he said.

Shime was blinded a moment when he pulled the blindfold from her. She looked down at her body, terrified of what she expected to find. She blinked in surprise. There were no cuts on her at all. Then she felt a warm drop of water drip on her nose. Glancing up, the Ha'trin was smiling at her. He had a drop of water still clinging to his finger. In his other hand, he held up a metal spoon which had a pointed end, waving it rapidly between his forefinger and thumb.

He couldn't help but chuckle at the look of confusion and fear on her face. "My dear, did you really think I would cut you up? I don't want blood on my bed. If I wanted to truly torture you, I would send you back to your Master. I'm sure he'd do the torturing for me."

He knew he'd struck home when a terrified shudder went through her. She then turned away from him, her cheeks flushing a bright purple in her shame. She'd let him trick her. And what's worse, she had been craven enough to beg him to stop. She couldn't prevent the powerful sob that shook her whole body.

Higzashi sat beside her on the bed, gently running the back of his finger up and down her cheek to try and calm her. "There, there, little one..."

"Master was right," she whimpered in a quivering voice. "I'm such a coward."

Raising his brow, Higzashi snorted. "Why? Because you're afraid? Because you have an instinct for self preservation?" He snorted. She felt him caress her side. She didn't understand why that felt soothing, but it slowly calmed her sobs. "Those don't make you a coward. A feeling of fear is healthy. To be afraid of pain or death is natural." The Ha'trin continued to speak softly. "It is not the lack of fear that makes you strong. That just makes you a fool."

Shime shuddered. She had to get a hold of herself. Obviously this Ha'trin had no intentions of torturing her. So she turned to look at him, but she couldn't quite meet his black eyes. "If you're not going to torture me, then what are you going to do to me?" Despite how brave she tried to sound, he could hear her voice crack.

Higzashi tapped his chin in thought. "Well, first I thought it might be a good idea to have some dinner. Then, I think you need a shower." He shrugged nonchalantly. "Then sleep. I don't know about you, but I get tired of sleeping on the ground when I'm out on a mission."

Without waiting for her to answer, he leaned over her and unlocked the cuffs around her wrists. She quickly drew her arms down, trying to cover herself. When he removed the shackles from her ankles, she drew her legs together tightly as she sat up. She looked down at the clean, soft sheets of the bed when he stood, smiling down at her. "Can I at least have some clothes?" she asked meekly.

Higzashi shrugged. "You're just going to take them off later. But if you're so modest, then sure." He turned away, going to rifle through a drawer in his dresser. He found a long button shirt for her.

Whipping around, he caught Shime by surprise. He grabbed the wrist of the hand that held the dagger he had left on the small table next to the bed. Expertly, he twisted her arm behind her back, pulling her body tightly against his. Reaching up, he covered her hand with his, forcing her to hold the point of the blade against the space between her own vertebra. Her breathing was ragged, her back arching away from the cold, deadly metal.

"If you think killing me will somehow gain you the approval of your Master, I think more he will find a way to denounce your claim and keep you his own personal beaten mutt." Higzashi's voice was calm. He wasn't angry with her. He could see that stunned her the most.

She had to gulp the lump out of her throat. "How do you know that?" she asked. She was trembling, feeling every muscle of him pressed against her.

Higzashi shrugged. "Which part? That I know you're a cross breed or that I know your Master treats you like a slave under the guise of student?"

Again he could see the shock on her face. He had to smile. "Dear, you do not live as long as I have without learning a few things about people. All humanoids share certain similarities. It's those similarities that allowed us to evolve to rule over the other beasts. We all share more or less the same emotions, and we all express them more or less the same way. Without those emotions and expressions, we never would have been able to communicate with each other, and thus live in packs, clans, tribes and eventually entire civilizations. I've been watching your reactions all this time. Someone who acts like you do does not get that way for no reason. The circumstances of our lives are what make us who we are, as much as our choices to stay victims to those circumstances."

So engrossed in what he said, Shime didn't realize the Ha'trin had removed the dagger from her grasp until he stepped away from her, holding up the shirt for her. She blinked at it, glancing up at him briefly as if she didn't believe that he was going to let her get away with attempting to kill him. After a moment, she heard his gentle voice again. It was pleasant to her ears, unlike her Master's sadistic drawl. "You did ask for clothes. The longer you diddle-daddle, the longer it will be before we can get some food in you."

"Why do you care?" she asked suspiciously, though she didn't meet his gaze.

"Is there a reason I should not?"

"I'm Ha'tinre. You're Ha'trin." She glanced up at him.

"And?" He sounded as if he truly didn't think anything were strange about that fact.

"We ... we're enemies."

He raised his brows at her. He could tell that she was completely off balanced. No doubt she had thought Ha'trin were the most vile things in the Universe. "Do you want to be my enemy?" he asked benignly.

She looked down at her feet. "No." It was barely a whisper.

"Then you are not. And so I care." Carefully, he wrapped the silk shirt around her thin shoulders. "Now, if you promise not to try to kill me anymore, you can come sit at the table. If not, then I'll leave you chained here."

She lowered her head in deference. "I promise," she said softly.

Nodding, Higzashi walked out of the room. Shime stood for a few moments alone, her mind racing. Nothing was happening as she had expected. She thought it would be so easy to kill a Ha'trin. They were weak, afterall. They had no magic. They were all about being kind and gentle and caring. All of those were signs of weakness. Or so she had thought. This Ha'trin, he was different. He was all those things that had been beaten out of her, but he was far from weak.

The smell of food made her realize just how truly famished she was. She had barely eaten the last few days, stealing a fruit or loaf of bread here and there. With a gulp, Shime slipped her arms through the shirt, buttoning it up. It hung to midthigh, but it was better than nothing.

Cautiously, she peered around the corner of the bedroom door frame. The kitchen, dining area, and greeting room were all one large space. Higzashi had his back to her, cooking something that smelled divine. Even through the red shirt he wore, she could see that he was powerfully built. He was not as tall as her Master, not as lean with the muscles so sharply defined. He was more subtle, thicker. Whatever his kind was, his body grew hair. She knew that was a characteristic often found in species that lived on cooler worlds. Her mother had been a species that lived on a dry arid world, lacking body hair. she had that trait.

"No one's going to jump out and hurt you," Higzashi's voice startled her out of her thoughts. "It's perfectly safe to come sit at the table." He never even looked at her.

Slowly, Shime walked over and slid into the chair, facing him. "How did you know I was there?"

She saw him smile. "Training. And a healthy amount of paranoia." He chortled to himself.

Shime looked down at her hands which lay on her lap. "My Master is plenty of paranoid." She said it so quietly that even Higzashi's sharp ears almost missed it.

"Then I doubt he's very healthy in the head. One thing I've learned in my many years, those who find their pleasure in the abuse of others are sick in the mind." He tapped his temple with the end of the wooden spoon he held to emphasis his words.

"How old are you?" Shime glanced up at him curiously.

Higzashi chuckled. He covered the pot he had on the stove, opening the food cooler. He drew something out, pouring it into a cup before replacing it and turning toward her. "I do not consider myself old. Old is a state of mind, not of body." He placed the cup in front of her. "But as far as my age is concerned, let's just say I don't remember the years. The counting got boring. If I were make a guess, probably somewhere over a thousand."

Shime blinked in surprise. Either kind she was part of were lucky to make it to a hundred. "You don't look it," she said with innocent sincerity.

It made Higzashi smile kindly. Truly she was innocent, innocent to a lot of things. "Why thank you. You're fairly young, even for a halfling. Zaz and Halkash, yes?"

Shime stared at him wide eyed. "How ... how do you know?"

He shrugged with a brief frown. "Long limbs, digigrade feet, and your strength despite your starved state indicate the Zaz side of you. Not to mention how fast you were in the woods; the Zaz are well known for their fleet footedness. Fastest of the humanoids, and your lack of body hair. The Halkash took me a little longer to figure out. Your ribcage is too big for a Zaz, your bones are too heavy, and your eyes don't change colors, so the eye color had to be a dominant gene. The Zaz have weak genetics, thus the reason for their rarity. Halkash are known for their more aggressive genetics. Also your purple blood and paler skin. Halkash have purple blood, and tend not to get very dark flesh whereas Zaz are dark from the fierceness of their sun."

Shime stared at him, enthralled by his words. She was so busy storing away all the information he said that she didn't even realize he'd set a plate of food before her until he pointed at it with that charming grin of his. "Eat your food, little one. You'll think better with a full stomach."

Glancing down, Shime noticed the food. It was meat that had been sauteed in some kind of spicy sauce, with a variety of vegetables added. She blinked a few times, surprised.

"You don't eat well," Higzashi observed. "Your Master makes you fight for your food."

A shudder ran through her before she looked up at him. It unnerved her that he could read her as if her life's story were written on her skin. She quickly looked back at the plate of food. Awkwardly, she used the utensils he had laid out for her. She hadn't sat at a table and eaten food like this since her parents had died.

As soon as the sapid food hit her mouth, she paused, her eyes closing. The Ha'trin's benign laughter made her look up at him. She gulped down her mouthful hurriedly.

Higzashi waved his knife at her. "You have perfectly fine teeth, so chew your food or you'll make yourself sick. No one is going to come here and take your food from you." He ate slowly, enjoying his meal.

After a few more quick mouthfuls, gulping down the juice he had set out for her, Shime glanced up at him again. "Teach me to do that."

Higzashi blinked, glancing at her with an wry grin. "What, how to chew your food?" he teased.

Shime blushed. "No, how to read people."

He looked at her from under his dark brows chaffingly. "That's something that comes from experience, my dear. And you are not my student."

Shime turned her eyes away from him. "Then what are you planning to do with me if not torture me or try to teach me the ways of the Ha'trin?"

"Do you want to learn the ways of the Ha'trin?"

It took a moment for Shime to respond, thinking. "No."

Higzashi peered at her for awhile. "There's a reason you want to be a Ha'tinre?"

There was a look of rage in her lavender eyes. She clenched her fists. "I want to kill him," she hissed. "I want to kill him and take his place as Grand Master. I want to make sure that no other student has to live through what I have."

The Ha'trin nodded idly. "Very noble." He continued when she glanced up at him. "In fact, I think that's the most noble reason to become Ha'tinre that I've ever heard. But that's exactly why he doesn't train you to fight properly. He knows he has a snake in his bed, but as long as he keeps you untrained and beaten, he can keep you under his control." Then Higzashi appeared to think about something. "Why not become Ha'trin? Killing him would be so much easier when he's stripped of his magic, and at least you can put an end to his tyranny."

She glowered at him. "I'd rather die."

Higzashi raised his brow at her again. "Why's that? Why do you hate me so?"

Shime quickly looked down. "I ... I don't hate you. Just ... just Ha'trin. They killed my parents."

"Was it in battle?"

She glared up at him. "They were unarmed! They went to the lake for a day to be together. They didn't take any weapons. And Ha'trin slaughtered them!" There were tears in her eyes as she remembered the day Tarnrax had come to her home, told her that her parents were dead and that for the sake of blood ties he would take her in. "Grand Master Tarnrax came and told me and then he..." she paused with a shudder, "he told me my training would start immediately."

Higzashi had a sad expression. "You didn't even get the chance to mourn them." He sounded so genuinely sympathatic that she couldn't help the hot tears that spilt down her cheeks.

She sniffled, cursing herself for her tears. She tried to wipe them away quickly, but Higzashi's form came into her vision. He knelt down in front of her, his gaze soft. Reaching out, he gently stroked her hair. "There is no shame in crying, little one." She set her jaw skeptically, which made him sigh. "Take it from me, I cry everytime I lose my lovers to old age. And I'm never ashamed of it. It's natural, and there's no shame in what is natural. Feeling nothing at all, that is unnatural and that is what is truly disgraceful."

She felt his strong arms wrap around her when a violent sob tore through her. She couldn't stop the pain and grief that had been held down for so many years. She'd never had anyone so earnestly interested in her, without feeling like they wanted something in return. The Ha'trin just held her close, let her cry without trying to console her. Just the fact that he was there was enough.

She didn't know how long she cried, but by the time her eyes were too tired to make anymore tears, the room had gotten much darker than it was when she'd started. She slowly drew away from Higzashi, sniffling. He stroked her hair soothingly.

"If your parents were truly unarmed," he said gently, "then it was not Ha'trin that killed them. Our creed is very strict in this. We would not strike down even our most hated enemies if they are defenseless. In this we vow our lives; we must kill ourselves if we break that vow. And I can tell you that none of my brothers have returned boasting of their triumph over two Ha'tinre they happened to catch out in the woods."

Shime looked up at him. He could see there was something broken in there. She didn't want to believe him because the hatred she had felt for so long had been what kept her going. When she turned her eyes away, Higzashi lowered his hand, caressing along her throat. She felt him press lightly on a set of points behind her ear and along her neck. She let out a sigh, immediately relaxed.

"Feel better?"

She glanced up at him. "How did you do that?"

He smiled. "Pressure points. Most humanoids share similar nerve bundles due to our similar body shapes. Depending on where you press and how hard you press, you can cause pleasure or pain. You can even kill a person with just a touch."

"Teach me!" Shime piped eagerly.

Higzashi shook his head, though he still smiled. "That I won't. It's a dangerous knowledge. I wouldn't give it to someone who didn't vow to use it wisely."

There was a spark of life in Shime's eyes. They were brighter, it seemed, the interest shining in her determined gaze. "Then I vow! I won't use it unless I must. Just teach me! Please."

"It's not something you can learn overnight, little one." Higzashi stood, turning to walk away, but Shime's tight grip prevented him.

"Then I'll stay. As long as it takes."

He looked back at her. He had no doubt that she had learned more in the few hours she'd been awake with him than however long she'd been a student with her Ha'tinre Master. Finally, he sighed. "We'll discuss that in the morning. I think very much that we are both tired and could benefit greatly from a good night's sleep."

Shime let out a heavy breath, turning away from him. Higzashi pulled his hand from her loosened grip. "If you have nightmares, I can help with that."

She looked up at him again. "More pressure points?"

He chuckled. "No. The same ones. That spot releases endorphins. Depending how hard I press is how much it releases. It can relax you or ... cause other sensations."

Shime jumped to her feet, taking Higzashi's hand and holding it near the place he had touched. "Show me." When he raised his brow, she quickly added, "just for myself. If this one cannot cause pain, then show me so I can keep my own nightmares away when I don't have you to do it."

Higzashi had to laugh. His thumb tenderly stroked her cheek. She was so eager to learn. He knew what she was after. She wanted the points to kill a man, no doubt because her Master wouldn't expect that. He grinned at her. "Fine. I'll show you what this one can do."

With that, his fingers moved into place. As soon as he put pressure into it, he heard her gasp. Her slitted pupils dilated. Her knees suddenly became too weak to hold her. Wrapping an arm around her waist, he drew her tightly against him, smiling the whole time as her body shook. Her brow was furrowed in confusion even as a low moan left her. He knew then that she was innocent to pleasure, and it made him feel sorry for her. Being trained in the art of giving pleasure but never receiving it was an atrocity to him.

Leaning down, she felt his lips against hers. She was no stranger to kissing, Tarnrax had made her learn that too, but it was a rare thing that he did, and never like what the Ha'trin did. He kissed her with a sensual tenderness that left her breathless, quivering in his grasp. Her whole body was tingling, every centimeter of her flesh sensitive to him and the sensation of his hard body pressed against her. He ran his tongue lightly over her lower lip, drawing it into his mouth briefly before his tongue gently slid along hers.

When he drew his head away from her, releasing the points on her neck, he smiled as he watched her try to get her breath back. "Wha ... what... ?" she panted, her mind too hazy from this new emotion to think of words.

Higzashi chortled. "That is the power of pressure points, my dear. Now, I think you very much are in need of a shower. And my pants are going to need washing." He moved his leg, making her suddenly aware that she'd grinded herself against his thigh and that there was a hot moisture that had run down her legs. The bright blush and look of horrified shame on her face made him laugh. "As I've said before, dear heart, there is no shame in what is natural. But let's get you cleaned up so we can sleep."

Turning her, he gave her a gentle push toward the bedroom where the shower room was. Her legs felt weak, and she wobbled a bit, but she went where he guided her. He flipped on the light. The sounds of the night insects came in through the small open window in the room, high enough off the ground that no one could peer in unless they had something tall to stand on.

When Shime glanced up at the window, Higzashi smiled. "I'll let you have your privacy, but I feel obligated to let you know that should you try squeezing out the window, my brothers are on patrol. They know I have a Ha'tinre in my home. And I think your lack of clothing might be a temptation they cannot resist for not all of them are as in control of their bodies as I."

She glared at him. "You said you can't harm someone unarmed..."

Higzashi laughed heartily at her as he turned away to let her be alone. "I said we cannot kill, not that we cannot harm. They are very different words, little one." With that, he shut the door behind him.

Left alone, Shime's mind raced. Her legs were still slick with her own bodily fluids. She'd never had this happen before. Slowly, her hand crept up to the place the Ha'trin had touched her. She knew that it was possible to feel pleasure from sex, Malvala had told her that. The tiny woman had always tried to help her, tried to cushion a little of the abuse she suffered from Tarnrax. But she had never felt anything like what had just occurred. Her clit was throbbing, the muscles of her passage quivering still with the slowly fading endorphin rush.

Taking a shaky breath, Shime removed the shirt, laying it on the sink counter. She sighed when the hot water washed over her. She had truly felt disgusting from sleeping in alleys the last few days waiting for the Ha'trin.

At first, she had thought she was failure, not strong enough to kill him. But now, maybe fortune truly did smile on her. If he knew how to kill a person with just a touch, then she could learn that. She could go back to Tarnrax, claim that the Ha'trin had held her against her will, that they had tortured her trying to get her to tell them where the Ha'tinre village was located. But she would be strong enough to not tell, and crafty enough to escape them, running home and into Tarnrax's arms. She would say that she had missed him, that what the Ha'trin had done to her was far worse than anything he had done. And when he would fall to her lascivious hints, she could strike him while he wasn't expecting it for she would have no weapons.

Yes, this plan was perfect. She would just need to trick the Ha'trin to thinking that she wanted to train. She would stay however long it took before he taught her that move. Then she would leave.

Shime didn't realize that while she was thinking, her hands had paused between her legs. Her hips were making little jerking motions. A soft moan left her as she grinded against her own fingers. She had no idea what she was doing, but it felt good. She panted heavily, suddenly feeling ashamed. Higzashi had said there was no disgrace in what was natural. Was this natural? It had to be. It felt too good not to be. She couldn't stop another little moan from escaping her.

The water was starting to run cold. Breathing heavily, she reluctantly left the water. She still didn't feel relieved of the burning desire that pulsed hotly through her veins. Whatever the Ha'trin had done to her she wanted him to undo. So she got out and dried herself off, pulling the shirt back over her head for it was much too large for her.

When she opened the door, Higzashi was sitting cross legged on the bed, reading a book. He had changed into a softer, baggier pair of pants, his chest bare. He glanced up at Shime when she came over to the side of the bed. She had an abashed expression even though she crossed her arms indignantly. He had to snort with amusement.

"What's the matter? Don't want to share the bed with me?" he chaffed.

Shime raised her chin. "I've been sharing a bed with a man for seven years, that's not what bothers me."

"He's hardly a man," Higzashi muttered, though continued before she could retort. "Then what has you so ruffled, little one?"

"I want you to undo what you did."

Higzashi's brows rose in surprise. "What do you mean?"

She touched the area he had pressed on that had given her the rush of pleasure. He guffawed, catching her meaning. Shaking his head, he spoke with much amusement. "My dear, there's no way to 'undo' it. All I can do is help quell it, but that's only if you want it."

He saw her gulp. His expression became somber, motioning for her to come to him. Slowly, she obeyed, crawling over to him, sitting back on her long heels. She tensed when she saw his hand come up to gently stroke her cheek. "If I wanted to cause you pain, little one, I would have done so already. I shouldn't have gotten so over eager. I am sorry I've made you uncomfortable."

Her eyes rose to meet his. There was a lusty haze there. He had to take a deep breath to make sure he stayed focused. He was not so craven to his own desires that he would force anything from her, no matter if he knew she would end up enjoying it.

Shime's eyes turned down. She had grown so accustomed to what Tarnrax did to her. The longest he'd gone without raping her was a couple of days. She'd been gone nearly a week and now she was afflicted by this burning lust.

Her hand reached out and rubbed against Higzashi's genitals through the thick pants. His eyes narrowed, studying her closely. He couldn't prevent the reaction of his body to her touch, but he could stop himself from going any further unless she showed some kind of emotion. She seemed so mindless in what she was doing, too trained.

When she drew his hard length out of the pants, her slender hands took hold of him and started to stroke him. Then she bent forward, nuzzling the side of his throbbing rod, her hot tongue wrapping around his shaft, the muscles stretching out until it was thrice its length at rest, snaking around and licking at the tip of him. Halkash had those long tongues, designed to get at food that was too far when their hands were busy hanging onto branches. It was a primitive trait, but it had served them well and so it had stayed.

Abruptly, his hands grabbed her shoulders, pulling her back to a sitting position in front of him. She glanced up at him in a little bit of fear. "Do I not please you?" she asked in a quivering voice.

"You please me just fine as you are, dear heart," he responded, his voice gruff with his arousal. "I am not concerned for my own pleasure. I can get my jollies off on my own. It's you I'm concerned with. If the only reason you're doing this is because it's what you've been forced to do for the last- what was it?- seven years, then I will gladly go sleep on the couch so you can relieve your need on your own."

"I ... I don't know how," Shime whispered, looking up at him hopefully.

Higzashi had to sigh. He gently drew Shime against his body, holding her in his lap. "Are you certain you won't regret this in the morning?"

Her hand found his length that trembled and throbbed between their bodies. He held her tightly, moving her so that she straddled his lap. She was grinding against him, panting heavily. He kept her from moving too much, cupping her small ass as he leaned forward, his lips locking with hers. She was trying to guide him into her moist opening, but he refused. He just continued to kiss her hard and long and passionately until she was trembling, melting into his body.

He moved his legs out of their cross, sitting back on his heels while also using the movement to kick his pants off. Still kissing her, he finally allowed Shime to do what she was trying, slipping the end of his shaft against her opening. A deep moan left her as he slid into her heat. He was different than her Master. He was smooth and tapered, easing his way. He thrust into her hard, using his strength to help her along with the pace he set.

Not knowing what else to do with her hands, Shime gripped his broad shoulders, feeling the muscles strain as he moved with a purpose. And that purpose was to make Shime moan and whimper and pant as her body shivered and arched in pleasure.

He watched her face when he heard her sounds grow more urgent, her body tensing, grinding hard. A sharp shudder ran through her, her eyes rolling up into her skull. A long, low moan left her. She twitched in his grasp. He smiled, thinking it was one of the sexiest things he'd ever seen. He felt a little sense of pride in himself, knowing he was giving her her first orgasm.

When she came down from whatever cloud she'd been on, she panted hard, trying to gain back her breath. She looked up at the Ha'trin. He was smiling at her. She was amazed by what she was feeling. She closed her eyes and wrapped her arms around his neck, clutching at him tightly as he leaned her back. He had an immense strength, holding her so she was almost parallel to the bed but she felt like she was floating, his strong arms wrapped around her in such a way that he supported her completely, holding her snugly against his body as he thrust hard, tilting in a way that caused her to let out a scream of pleasure.

He grazed his teeth along her jaw bone, nipping and kissing her exposed throat as she let her head fall back. He couldn't hold back a primal growl, feeling her shiver again, her whole body undulating in his grip. The walls of her passage tightened, milking him. He heard her moan his name, and it made him shudder, his arms tensing, squeezing her to him, laying his chin on her shoulder. A deep, animalistic sound forced its way out of his throat when he felt the heat of his seed pulse out through his length into the heat of her body.

Panting, Higzashi sat back onto his heels, still quivering within Shime. Her arms were still wrapped around his neck, her face nuzzled into the curve where his neck met his shoulder. She breathed hard, her eyes heavily lidded. He caressed her back, slick with sweat. She squirmed on him, feeling him soften and withdraw from her body.

"Did ... did I please you?" she whispered anxiously.

Higzashi sighed, knowing he should have resisted. But he kissed her forehead tenderly, his voice soft. "That part doesn't matter. I'm more interested to know if you enjoyed it?"

She blinked, looking up at him in confusion. The concept that he was more concerned for her pleasure than his own was a new one for her. Bowing his head, he kissed her again, eventually moving to her ear to whisper, "I'm pleased if you're pleased."

With a soft sigh, Shime leaned against him again. "Yes," she breathed, closing her eyes, listening to his heartbeat.

Slowly, he leaned back, laying out onto the bed. She stretched out on top of him as he pulled the covers over them. She was so thin that he hardly noticed her weight on him. She was already asleep before he had the blankets tucked around them.

"This is a bad idea, letting a Ha'tinre among us."

Higzashi glanced at one of his brothers to the order. "I do not need to ask for permission, Denzin. And I don't consider it a bad idea in the slightest."

Denzin pursed his thin lips. The line of soft feathers that normally lay flat over his golden hair rustled in disapproval. "What are you hoping to accomplish with her anyways? She is natural born. We should kill her and hope that those of her clan haven't been trying to track her."

"I understand your concern," Higzashi nodded. "But I think I might remind you that we cannot kill anyone unarmed and defenseless, even if they would not show us the same courtesy."

"Then give her a sword and be done with it," Denzin hissed.

Higzashi shook his head, remaining that calm that tended to infuriate Denzin, even though he knew Higzashi usually spoke the truth. "She's the student of the Grand Master. Tarnrax has been a thorn in our sides for several years. He is much more violent than his predecessors. He's already killed a number of us. And something tells me he's killing those in his own clan and claiming it has to do with us to incite his members to turn their hatred of him toward us. It is not normal for the Ha'tinre to hunt us down, only to fight with us if we happen to meet. She could be our key for getting at him and putting a stop to his tyranny, both for ourselves and them."

"For us, yes, but for them, I don't care."

Higzashi glared at him. Denzin had only become a fully fledged Ha'trin a few years previous. He was still learning.

"I will remind you that though we are enemies, there has always been an understanding between our orders. If there is something direly wrong, they can come to us for assistance, and same for us. If they had a healthy leader and it was I who was the tyrant, you could go to them for help, though you might have to endure their endless mockery. The history of the orders is laden with Ha'tinre and Ha'trin coming together against a common enemy."

Denzin snorted. "You're much too nice, you know that, Grand Master?"

Higzashi shrugged. "You'd rather I be cruel?"

"No," Denzin laughed. "Just not so damn nice!"

"Tarnrax won't be thinking that when I send his student back to him." Higzashi smiled. It was cold. Even Denzin's smile faded as a shudder ran through him.

"Just don't make a greater enemy than the one we have. If you send her back, she'll know where to come for us."

Standing, Higzashi grinned at Denzin, looking into his eyes which were dark like his own. "Don't worry, son. By the time I've finished molding her, we'll have nothing to fear." With that, he turned and headed back to his house.

Shime woke slowly. She realized she was sprawled out in the Ha'trin's bed, the sheets tangled around her body. She curved her back, looking around the room. Sunlight came in through the windows, the warm breeze caressing her skin. She looked down at the other side of the bed. Higzashi was gone. He'd probably been gone for a while.

Stretching, Shime twitched at how sore her muscles were. With a soft groan, she flopped back onto the bed. She really didn't feel like getting up.

She never heard a sound, but Higzashi's strong hands were on her back, gently massaging the tense muscles. When she jerked in startlement, he leaned over her to speak softly in her ear. "Shhh. It's just me, little one."

He sat down on the edge of the bed, caressing her smooth back. She let out a deep breath, turning her head to look up at him. "What's going to happen now?" she asked quietly, almost fearful.

Higzashi raised his brow. "What do you mean?"

She looked away from him. "Are you going to kill me?"

"What makes you think that, little one?" He stroked her hair.

"If you send me back to Tarnrax then he'll be able to figure out where your village is. And you're not going to torture me to find out where the Ha'tinre are. So either you're going to kill me or ... keep me in your bed." He heard the resentment in her voice at that prospect.

But he grinned playfully at her. "Would the latter be so bad after last night?"

She shrugged. She wasn't about to admit it. She'd allowed herself to be weak for a while. She wouldn't let it happen again.

Higzashi sighed. "Well, I thought a good course of action would be to have some breakfast."

She glanced up at him. "How often do you eat?"

He chuckled at her. "Four meals a day, if I have the chance. I'm sure that's four more than you're used to."

She was suddenly angry. Snorting, Shime sat up, holding the sheet to her chest, glaring at him. He blinked, raising a brow at her abrupt change. "You think you're so smart," she growled, her voice shaky with both fear and anger. "You think you know what I've been through just because you can read my expressions. You don't know anything!"

Higzashi had that sad expression again. "Then tell me. I've just been making guesses."

Trembling, Shime wanted to yell at him. She wanted him to hold her like he had the other day. She wanted to cry as much as she wanted to scream. Instead, she looked down at her lap. "It doesn't matter."

"I think it does. I think all of it matters." He reached out to touch her, but she drew back, slapping his hand away.

"Don't touch me!" she shrieked, squirming away from him.

"Don't fall off the bed," Higzashi said calmly, noticing that she was on the other edge of the bed.

She was shaking hard. She was angry, but it was only a mask, he knew. Anger was not a real emotion. It was a mask. And he was sure it was because she was scared. Someone was showing a genuine interest in her, treating her as she was suppose to be treated. And that was scaring her.

"Why did you bring me here?" Her voice was shrill as she yelled at him. "Why didn't you just kill me?"

Higzashi sighed. "If you come here, then I'll help you relax and we can talk about it."

When she didn't move, he reached out for her. She tried to draw away again, but there was no more bed for her. She felt Higzashi grab her wrist as she slipped, pulling her against him. Her free hand flew up, trying to fight him off. When she scratched at his face, he growled, snatching the other and pushing them down against the bed. A sudden spike of fear made her pull back, her padded feet with their long toes kicking out at him in desperation.

"Stop it!" Higzashi growled, leaning forward, suddenly pressing her against the bed, her hands over her head. He felt her body jerk, her fear so intense that he could almost feel it radiating from her.

"No!" she whimpered brokenly, her eyes squeezed shut. "Please, uncle, please don't!"

Higzashi blinked in surprise. "Uncle?"

Shime didn't hear him. She was lost in her mind, in a waking nightmare. The Ha'trin wasn't there. It wasn't his hands holding her down. It was Tarnrax. He was holding her down, moving over her, trying to force himself into her virgin opening, tearing her as he went.

"Please, Uncle Tarnrax, I don't want to learn this! You're hurting me," she sobbed.

"From now on, I'm your Master, not your uncle," he snarled in her ear. "I will make sure you aren't as craven as your father was. He was too stupid to take a weapon with him. But I doubt it would have done him any good. He was too much of a weakling to use it properly." He then slapped her hard. "Stop screaming! Do you want everyone else to know what a weak little child you are?"

"Please, Master, please stop. It hurts!" She could feel the hot tears on her temples.

"Shime, it's ok. No one is hurting you." Tarnrax's voice was replaced by one more real, one more soothing. "No one is going to hurt you here. Come back, Shime, come out of your memories. That's all they are. They can't hurt you. No one is going to hurt you."

Slowly, Shime realized that she was no longer being held down. Higzashi had drawn her into his lap, cradling her, holding her protectively as he rocked her. He was talking gently into her ear, stroking her hair out of her face. "I'm here. It's Higzashi. I won't hurt you. Come back to me, Shime."

Shuddering, Shime looked up at him. He peered at her bloodshot eyes. Tenderly, he wiped her tear streaked cheeks. "I won't do that again, I promise, Shime," he said softly.

She lay her head against his shoulder, gasping as she tried not to sob. She was trying to get ahold of herself, but with Higzashi petting her hair, rocking her steadily, she just couldn't seem to pull herself together. She heard him speak into her ear again. "Whatever that madman did to you, whatever he said, none of it had to do with you."

"I'm so weak," she whimpered.

"No you're not. You were too strong for him. You refused to give up. You fought him every chance you could. You overcame your fear. He's the coward. He saw that you would be stronger than he and he wanted to beat it out of you. But you didn't let him." Higzashi tilted her head up to look into her eyes. "You are stronger than he is. Don't think any different for a second. Born Ha'tinre are more powerful than those who are trained into it. He knows that and it scares him. If anyone's a weak coward, it's Tarnrax."

Letting out a shaky breath, Shime clung to Higzashi's shirt, burying her face against his throat. They stayed that way for a few minutes as she slowly calmed down. He didn't give any indication of impatience, just held her protectively.

It was her stomach growling disgruntledly that broke the calm quiet. She looked up at Higzashi. "Ca-can I still have that breakfast?"

He smiled gently. "Of course."

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