Being alone sucks!
Menala walked the road between Sparta and a nearby village, picking bits of forage from the plants near the worn path. The sun was high, she was sweating through her long, white chiton, and her sandals were doing little to keep her feet from getting sore from constant walking. But it was better than returning to an empty home, at least.
Forests guarded both her sides, thicker than in most areas, but that’s where the berries and other edible plants could be found, so that’s where she went. With a basket over her shoulder, she scooped up a few things, picked a few others, and accumulated quite the supply of food over a day’s work. The walk back wouldn’t be fun, but this close to the city she should be safe.
She took a few moments to readjust herself. She was of a normal height for a Spartan, but unlike her lean and strong sisters, she was a softer creature, with large breasts and wide hips. They teased her for it of course, but when her husband was alive, she knew damn well he preferred her voluptuous curves to their hard edges.
It’s been years, Menala! Stop thinking about Jonal. He died with honor, move on.
With a heavy sigh, she started to comb her long dark hair with one hand, and kept the basket steady with the other while she walked. The sun was beginning to set, and in her attempts to stay away from her empty home, she’d stayed out well too long. It’d be dark by the time she got back. Wonderful.
Snapping twigs and shuffling feet made her jump back. A man dove in front of her — he must have been hiding in the trees — and raised a sword to point at her. He was dirty, his tunic nothing but rags, and his sinister smile exposed missing teeth.
“Hello,” he said.
Her heart picked up, and her eyes started looking around in a panic. People didn’t just jump out of bushes to say hello. Or point swords.
“I ... let me pass.”
“No.” He laughed at her, clicked some of his damaged teeth together, and took a step forward.
She stepped back just as much, but more noises made her turn around. Another man had jumped out from the brush, a taller fellow but just as ragged and vicious looking. He had a dagger, and he stepped toward her the same as the other man did.
She held out her basket of freshly picked food. “I have no money. Please, if you let me pass, you can—”
The first fellow got close enough to breath on her, and he swiped away her basket with a hand. Her food fell to the ground, and they made no efforts to gather it. Hours and hours of effort scattered into a mess by the drooling, disgusting heap of vileness before her.
“We don’t want money, or food. We want you.”
“Ch’yeah. Been some time since we found a lone girl this late.” The tall one fondled his crotch through his torn tunic with his free hand, and he flipped the dagger a few times in his other. He had the look of certainty in his eyes; they had done this before.
A third man stepped out from the brush, a bow in his hand and a quiver of arrows on his back. He looked just as lecherous and vile as the other two. How many more were there? Were they really out at dusk just to ... hunt ... women?
“You ... no, please. You can’t.” She looked around, panic rising, eyes wide and breath coming faster. If this were nearer the city, she’d call for help, and these ruffians would die on Spartan swords. But she knew no one would be this far out this late, and she herself had no sword to defend herself.
“Can’t we?” the first brute said. He reached for her then, and grabbed one of her large breasts through the thin fabric of her chiton.
Like a snap of fire, panic vanished and fury replaced it. She drove her fist into his ugly face hard enough to break off one of his teeth and knock him onto his ass. She was a Spartan! She would not be manhandled by these disgusting brutes.
Of course, for all her courage, it didn’t matter much when the tall man behind her grabbed her offending hand, pulled it behind her by the wrist, and brought his dagger up to her neck.
“Do that again and we’ll start cutting off fingers.”
She grinded her teeth together hard enough to hear her jaw click. At least she’d managed to hurt the one who touched her bosom, that would impress her sisters. But it was useless, any further attempt to move would mean a sliced throat. With another sigh, she turned her head to the side and grimaced in waiting.
“Arg, that really hurt!” The bastard on the ground got up and rubbed his jaw. He probably didn’t even notice he’d lost a tooth, ruined as his mouth already was. “I’m going to rough you up something good.” And again he approached her, grabbed one of her breasts, and squeezed, hard. She made no noise; she would not let them have the privilege of hearing her pain.
The archer just snickered, and the one with the blade on her throat tightened his grip on her wrist.
“You’ve got some pretty big tits for a Spartan. God damn, look at these.” He lifted the heavy breast with a hand and cupped it so it filled his palm. She stared at anything else but the ugly bastard, the bushes, the trees, her dropped basket, anything so she wouldn’t have to see his snickering face.
More sounds. More twigs snapping. Louder, and louder. The man groping her looked up at his friend, and then behind him at his other friend, confusion etched on his brow. They all turned to face the sounds, her included.
It sounded like a herd of boar were charging through. The sound got louder, and louder, and turned into crashing. She could feel the gallop of hooves underneath her feet; what fool would take a horse through dense forest? But, as the sound grew closer, she could hear the trot of what were unmistakably hooves, and the silhouette of a horse and rider against the shadows of the trees. Great, another ruffian.
“Who goes there? Sp—”
Time froze, branches broke away, shattered by impact, and a massive shadow emerged. A wall of muscle erupted from the dark forest, and smashed down onto the vile creature in front of her with so much weight and force, he flew back and smacked into a tree. It was just a blur of speed and power until the newcomer slowed his charge. He walked over to the downed assailant, stabbed forward with a long spear, and drove the dory weapon into the sick bastard’s head. The villain’s death was instantaneous.
A man! Someone wearing no clothes, and riding a horse. Riding a horse? The man had no legs, but — a centaur!
Oh gods no.
“Run!” The man behind her let go and darted in the opposite direction.
The centaur did not hesitate, and galloped past Menala with spear in hand. So close, for just a brief moment she could see the body of him as he passed, with only the final rays of dusk along the canopy to light his skin.
He was massive, even his human half was big for a human, with spiraling tattoos that circled his thick arms. His dark hair was long, his beard short, and his hazel eyes were glaring with a need for the kill. There were scars across his body, battle scars, and the horse half of his body that followed was no different. The inhuman half’s hair was as dark and beautiful as the hair on his head, and it was just as large as any war horse they had in Sparta. When it rushed past her, she could feel the air it moved with its size.
A loud scream, and then silence. The man who tried to get away was dead a moment later, with a fresh hole in the back of his neck. No struggle, no fight, just a fast jab with the spear that was flawless. How could this huge beast have such aim and strength while moving about so quickly?
Another thing whizzed past her head, and this time she recognized the sound. An arrow. With a meep, she threw herself to the ground and off to the side of the road. The archer, more courageous than his friends, had fired a shot.
The centaur roared, a deep and inhuman sound. The arrow was sticking out of his hind quarters, and he had to twist and reach back to just barely grab its shaft and yank it free. No grace or subtly, the monster just ripped it clear of his body with a splatter of blood to follow.
“Monster! Monster!” Again the archer fired a shot, but Menala could see he was panicking; the arrow went wide.
The centaur turned, and charged him. So heavy, Menala could feel the ground shake underneath her with each harsh trot of his hooves. But the archer managed another shot, and it landed squarely in the beast’s shoulder.
The centaur didn’t seem to notice this one. He raised his spear, arrow injury and all, and threw it like a javelin. It landed in the archer’s chest hard enough to lodge into his sternum and send him flying back. He landed on his back with an audible thud, and groaned in pain while clutching at the huge stick jammed into his body pointed at the sky.
“Gods,” Menala said, and she raised a hand to her lips as the centaur walked over to the ruffian. He yanked the spear from his chest, and stabbed him once again in the head, like a hunter mercy killing a wounded animal. Clean, fast, no words or boasts or delight in his actions, just pure ruthless efficiency. Then he turned to face her.
Blood was dripping down his throwing arm, across his broad chest, and dripping from his fingers. His movements were slow, calculated, and he looked at her with hard eyes like a stalking lion. From a distance, she thought for a moment he would throw the spear at her too, but instead, he watched her. She felt very much like prey in his gaze.
She gulped. Escaping those three criminals would have been nearly impossible, but a centaur? That was impossible. There was no escape, and the realization of that struck her blood cold. With shaking hands and trembling fingers, she stood back up, and watched him. Her heart beat so fast, she could feel it crashing against her ribs.
The giant beast walked to her, spear held upright, and stopped with only ten feet between them. With his free hand, he yanked the arrow from the shoulder of his throwing arm, grunted, and chucked it aside. More blood flowed down his body and onto his abs. Now that he was holding still, she couldn’t keep her eyes off the mass of muscle that was his body — he put Spartan warriors to shame! Rugged, powerful, a stallion, he truly was a handsome beast.
Beast, Menala. Beast! Her stance wavered, and she took a small step back. Centaurs were not known for their kindness, they raped and pillaged and went to war with more enthusiasm than even the humans did.
“I ... um ... thank you,” she managed to say at last. He had just saved her, right?
He grunted, and started to walk past her. Thank the gods, he hadn’t saved her only to have her for himself. He was so tall, so very tall with his human half sitting high atop his stallion body. As he passed, she noticed the wound near the rear of his horse half, high on the rear leg.
“You’re injured.” The words came out on their own, and she brought a hand up to her lips in dismay for it. Don’t provoke him. Leave him be.
He stopped, now only a couple feet from her, and turned his human half to look at her and where she pointed.
“It will heal.” His voice was deep, gravelly, but he kept it as quiet as a hunter’s; as a killer’s. It sent chills down her spine.
“W-why did you help me?”
“I need no reason to help someone.” He rotated his injured shoulder a few times.
So he really was helping her. She thought perhaps she was trading one assailant for the next. Again he started walking off, with every intention of leaving just as abruptly as he’d arrived.
“Wait, wait it’ll ... it won’t heal safely. I could clean it, let me—”
“I’ll be fine.” He started walking again, but she could see a limp in his step.
“You won’t be fine. Can you even reach that wound yourself?” She walked after him, and frowned up at him when she got beside him. Dumb woman, liable to get yourself killed pestering the beast. But she couldn’t just let him walk off, she owed him.
He glared at her, and she stopped dead in her tracks. But, the centaur did at least try and reach the wound on his hind quarter, to no avail. He grunted, tried again, but each attempt proved fruitless. It did do a good job of getting him angrier though, and he scowled at her with the eyes of a barbarian.
She stood her ground. Her knees were shaking, but she stood her ground nonetheless.
“How far away is your tribe?” she said.
“ ... they ride North of Athens.”
“That’s days away! Why are you so far from your tribe?”
He glared again, but this time he looked away after a while, and rumbled discontent deep in his horse chest. No answer, but the body language was clear; he didn’t want to talk about it.
“Ok, you’re coming back with me.”
“ ... to Sparta?”
“A human city.”
“ ... you must be joking.”
It was her turn to frown. “Sparta has no issues with centaurs, we’re not Athens. As long as you’re with me, it’ll be fine. And ... and I want to repay your kindness.”
He blinked at her, and slowly turned his whole body to face her, horse half included. “You would be seen with me.”
“I would.” She gathered up her courage, stepped a bit closer to him, and did her best to turn her frown into a glare. Her husband used to say she was the softest Spartan he’d never known, and judging from how her glare was only making the centaur smirk, it was true.
“Then lead the way.”
They walked side by side in dead silence. She looked up at the brawny thing beside her, but he kept his eyes on the road. She probably should have been too, she had just been attacked after all, but she kept glancing at the creature in the corner of her eye.
He was huge. She had seen a couple centaurs in her life, but none of them were this big, with such broad shoulders or a defined stomach. His tanned skin, covered in scars as it was, had all sorts of little bumps of muscle definition she couldn’t ignore. She blamed Spartan upbringing for her wandering eyes! They valued strength, and this centaur was definitely strong. The tattoos of spirals that circled many parts of him were enchanting, and his long dark hair was deliciously rugged.
She shook her head and poked herself in the temple. Stop it stop it stop it. He’s a centaur, what’s the matter with you?
“So ... I’m Menala,” she said.
“ ... Nevren, son of Balker and Kallenren.” He didn’t turn to look at her, and walked with his spear in hand like he was ready to stab any would-be attackers the instant they appeared.
“Well, Nevren, I am glad you showed up when you did. I’m surprised such villains are this near the city!” There, she found her voice again. She may not have been a good fighter like her sisters and friends, but she could talk circles around them. The small kernel of pride she found in that made her smile.
He did turn to look at her this time, and he had a quirked brow. “ ... you are several miles from the city.”
“Miles!?” She threw her hands up and rubbed her eyes in her palms. “I ... I wasn’t paying attention at all.” Ugh. She shook her head some more until her hair was hitting her shoulders, her small kernel of pride destroyed. She was a good talker, and an airhead.
“It will be halfway through the night before we reach the city.”
“I know!” she said. “Hallea is going to berate me until I’m red all over, and Homen will forbid from going out alone again, and—”
“Do all your friends treat you like a child?”
“Hey!” She frowned up at the dark beast and shook her head. “No, but ... ever since Jonal died, people have been protective of me.”
“My husband. He died in a skirmish with Thebes.”
Nevren’s step faltered for a split moment — he tried to hide it but she saw it — before he continued walking and looking straight ahead.
“ ... my sympathies,” he said. “Did he leave you with children?”
She shook her head. “No. We had two children before, but they were harsh winters, and ... and I’m not the strongest woman. My children weren’t strong enough.” Saying it so straightforward really, really hurt. She wasn’t cut out to be a Spartan, for multiple reasons.
When she looked up at Nevren again, he was still looking straight ahead, but she could see he was frowning. Or was that a grimace?
“You speak of such things plainly.”
“My children were only weeks old, and that was five years ago. Jonal, three years ago.” She nodded and squeezed her hands into tiny fists before relaxing them. It’d been years, she could talk about it. She could at least do that. “It ... it still hurts, but it was long ago.”
“Not that long ago.”
She blinked at the giant next to her, and she made her tiny fists again. She didn’t need another person feeling sorry for her, not another one!
But when she opened her mouth, Nevren turned to look at her, and their was a small smile there, hidden in his short beard.
“And I saw you hit that man. You seem plenty strong to me.” His gravelly voice carried no sarcasm or humor, he just stated it like it was a fact.
Just a few words, and her emotions flipped. She beamed with pride, and smiled the biggest smile she’d had in ages.
“Yeah! It was!” She took a few fake punches at the air. Bamf, bonk, kapow!
The centaur beside her let out a deep laugh, a powerful voice that she could feel next to her like Zeus himself was rumbling a laugh her way. That huge body of his was just so ... huge! It made everything he did so massive in comparison to her.
“You have spirit, like a young girl.”
“Thank you.” She smiled at him. The conversation had taken a delightful turn, and so quickly! She netted her fingers behind her and walked with a bit of a hop in her step. This was fun.
She jogged a few steps ahead and turned around so she could walk backward and face the centaur. “You came out of the woods so quickly, it sounded like thunder. And the way you took those ruffians down, you must be trained. So fast, and so precise, just like a Spartan warrior. I’m going to have to brag about this to my friends; I’m sorry but I have to. It was so surprising!” She was rambling, she knew it, but she didn’t care. It’d been so damn long since she’d been excited about anything.
“I was hunting, and I saw those three from deep in the woods.” He shrugged, and groaned with pain when the action caused another trickle of blood to leak from his wound. He took the spear in his bad hand, so his good hand could press against the hole in his flesh.
Fun destroyed. How could she forget he was bleeding, from two wounds, for her? “You’re losing blood.”
“I am,” he said, but he just shrugged it off and kept walking. “It will heal eventually.”
“It could get sickly, or you’ll lose too much blood and become ill, or...”
Nevren sighed, but she could see a hint of a smile on his stern face again. “Were you in my tribe, we would call you a clan shaman.”
He nodded, and pressed his hand to his shoulder. Blood seeped between his fingers and down his chest.
“One who takes care of the clan’s wounds. If we were all warriors, who would take care of us when we do stupid things like charge three armed criminals?”
She giggled. “B-but I’m no healer, I just ... I just know how to bandage a wound.” She fell back in step — as much as one can with a horse — beside him, and looked down at her hands. Growing up, she always treated the wounds of the other boys and girls in the city. It just never dawned on her to pursue it as a way of life.
Nevren grunted, and stopped. She knew that grunt, that was a ‘I’m in pain but I’m a man so I won’t say anything’ grunt. With an eye roll, she took a step back toward his hind quarters. There was more blood, a lot of it. But he was a huge beast, so a decent amount of blood was to be expected. Right?
“ ... come on, we’re not going to go Sparta tonight,” she said.
The centaur took a step forward with a deliberate attempt to ignore the wound, but judging from the pained noises he made, he regretted it immediately. “Then ... what do you suggest?”
She looked around. With only starlight, it was very hard to recognize anything, but she did recognize some of the trees. One had several branches she’d purposefully broken in specific places to catch her eye.
“I know where we are, and I know a grove nearby. There’s a cave I like to hide in. We’re very near, and I can do a much better job tending your wounds there than here in the middle of the road.”
“You hide in a cave?”
“Well people are ... people wouldn’t leave me alone. In Sparta, I mean.” She grumbled and folded her arms under her breasts. “They dote on me because of ... the people I’ve lost, and because I’m not a warrior they feel like I must be fragile. Like, like I’m an exception to the rule of Spartan strength.” And they never realized how much that hurt her. “Surrounded but alone, you know? So I often leave the city and just hide in the forest.”
“I ... know that feeling all too well.” He gave her another smile, so handsome behind his beard, before he leaned his weight onto his spear with his good arm. “Alright Menala, I am your patient.”
She nodded and tried to keep a stern face, but once she had her back to him, she smiled. The boys had said that too, when they played war when they were young. She missed those days.
The path wasn’t well walked, and Nevren had to be careful about branches striking his wounds. After a couple of bad scrapes, she fell in beside his hind quarters so she could keep the branches from hitting it. It wasn’t bleeding as much anymore — centaurs healed fast — but still, it was an arrow wound, with torn flesh and muscle and it needed to be treated.
The grove was easier to deal with, with no more bushes scratching at their ankles. But with no sunlight, finding the cave was more difficult than usual, and she had to triple check all her usual land marks. Recognizing the trees at night was a different task than the day, and she was sure the trees were actively trying to play tricks on her. Nymphs or spirits! She grumbled and stared at more than one tree for a minute until she at last found the cave.
The cave was absolutely perfect, as far as caves went. It was tall enough for the centaur and then some, and wide enough for him to turn around in. But if it was dark outside, it was absolute black inside the cave.
“Wait here,” she said. “I have a lantern inside, and some flint. Just give me a minute.”
“I know I know. Don’t worry about me.” She’d been out to the cave well over fifty times. She just had — ouch! Her foot slipped, stubbed a toe, and she grumbled profanities and godly curses upon whatever fool had left that rock by the entrance. She was that fool of course, but she refused to admit that. More nymphs and spirits toying with her.
The cave didn’t go much deeper after the twisting entrance, and whoever had used the cave before she had found it had smoothed the walls of any sharp edges. She was the one who had brought the chair and table and lantern. Now that had been an interesting conversation with the city guard, why she was leaving with a horse-drawn cart and a bunch of random furniture. But she managed, she could talk circles around anyone after all, and had made herself a little home away from her normal, boring, depressing home.
The flint. She was feeling around by hand now, going on nothing but memory, but she found the flint, and not long after, the stone. Soon she was making sparks, and probably risking burning herself in the process. After a while though, a few close calls, and some singed hair, she had a lit lantern. Triumph. She grinned to herself and made her way back to the entrance, fire in hand.
She managed to catch a glimpse of Nevren’s face before he returned to his usual cold and stern look; he was happy to see her. That alone got her heart racing again. Gods he was handsome. Menala, stop it, you just met this man, you’re trying to treat his wounds, and he’s a centaur. Centaur! Half horse!
“Success I see,” he said.
“Did you doubt me?” She beamed at him, sure her pride for her success was soon to be her downfall, but enjoying the moment anyway.
“No.” He nodded, another statement of fact that inflated her ego worse than any man’s.
She motioned for him to follow her; there was enough room for him and the cave floor was smooth and clean — except that one damn rock. But once she threw it past him with a loud grunt of a noise, the cave was clear for guests, and she lit the way for him.
“You don’t worry about your things being stolen? Or other criminals?”
She shrugged and took a seat at the table she’d managed to get into the cave. That had been one rough day of dragging and fighting branches and brush.
“I’ve been coming out here since Jonal died. Never a soul. The cave hadn’t been used in years when I found it either. But look! I have food and water.” She gestured to the chair, the big table, the lantern, and various jars and pots she had laying around. They held water while others held dried food. It really was her little home, all for her. And guest.
“You put a lot of effort into this.” He walked over to stand by the table she now sat at, but she noticed the limp in his step.
“Wouldn’t you, if every day everyone you know was constantly trying to protect you like a baby?” The memory of her friends all looking at her with sad, sympathetic faces ate her insides. She loved her friends and sisters, and she had needed them, leaned on them, when Jonal passed. That was years ago though, and years longer since her children had died, but they still looked at her with those same sad eyes.
“ ... I just might,” the huge beast said, and he put the spear against a groove in the cave wall. With only her lantern for light, everything casted a massive shadow, and she let her eyes wander over the spear to Nevren. The light even casted shadows along the indentations of his muscles, both man and horse.
When the flickering light passed over his bleeding shoulder, she grumped at herself, got up, and looked around. Of course, not a single bandage to be had, or even other clothing. There had never been a need.
So she lifted the hem of her chiton onto the table, took the rock, and struck the hem to split it. When Nevren look at her with puzzlement, she tore the fabric to the side. It normally stopped at the ankle, but by the time she was done, she’d cut off so much of the fabric it was well above the knee. His horse leg was going to take a lot of bandage, after all.
“Improvisation. A useful skill,” he said. He was grinning at her, just a little grin of course on his stern face, but a grin still, and she smiled right back at him.
She dabbed a bit of the makeshift bandage in water, and stepped over to him. When she moved around to his hind quarters though, he looked back at her, and his expression changed. At first maybe she thought he was angry, but when the light caught his face again, she saw something else. Embarrassment?
It made sense when she started to wrap the bandage around the top of his rear horse leg. He was a centaur after all, and that meant naked. And naked meant she couldn’t help but see everything between his legs.
Her hands stopped, and her eyes locked onto the sight of his large horse ... man parts. She was no stranger to horse anatomy, but it wasn’t the same thing as having your hands literally a few inches away from the animal’s — centaur’s! — testicles while trying to bandage his leg. She could feel the heat from his body from so close, and try as she might to ignore it, she could feel the heat from between his legs on her hands. It wasn’t an excuse to not do the job right, but more than once, she found herself distracted and taking peaks at the sheath she knew held his member inside.
So quickly she’d forgotten that a centaur was half horse, and so quickly she was reminded.
“Are you alright?” he said.
“Uh, y-yes! Sorry, just...” She took another peak from the corner of her eye while she tightened the makeshift bandage. He was a big creature, and a horse, and ... and she’d heard stories of centaurs and human women mating. How was that even possible?
She shook her head, poked herself in the temple with a knuckle a couple times, hard, and stepped back toward the table and in front of Nevren.
“There, cleaned and bandaged.” She knew she was blushing, but that was no excuse to stop treating his wounds. Embarrassing things must happen to healers all the time. “Now for the arm. Um, you’ll ... can you ... um.”
Nevren let out a pained groan, but with the help of his hands on the cave wall to keep some weight off his bad leg, he laid down onto his side like a napping horse. The position allowed him to keep his human half upright though, much like a sitting human. Now she was the taller one.
“Do centaurs ever sleep standing up?” she said, and she repeated the process of tearing off a chunk of her chiton. A chiton, being nothing more than a large flat sheet tied around the shoulders and looped around the waist with a bit of rope, wasn’t exactly a sturdy or covering piece of fabric. In the act of ripping off yet another piece of it, she’d destroyed almost the whole bottom half of it so her legs were completely exposed. She found herself angling her movements to keep Nevren from getting a peak straight up between her thighs. She was a lady, after all.
“We can. We sleep deeper laying down, but for adults, our sides grow sore after sleeping laying down for more than a few nights.”
She nodded, and made some oooh and aaah sounds, like it was riveting conversation. Truth was, she was still picturing what was between his legs, and remembering the heat of his stallion body on her skin. She started to remember the stories she’d heard when she was younger at the nearby inns, of centaurs and women. They were very, very sexual stories.
“You should probably sleep laying down for a couple nights then until that leg is feeling better.” She got down onto her knees in front of his human half, and reached out for the wounded shoulder. She didn’t have vinegar to help cleanse the wound, so she had to make due with some water and her clothes. Centaurs were hardy creatures, she knew that from the stories too. She was confident he’d heal fine if she could stop the bleeding.
“You’re right,” he said, and he looked away from her when she got closer.
Her heart stopped. Was he disgusted? A human, so close to a centaur? But when she took a peak at his face, he didn’t look disgusted. If anything, he looked excited. When she looked down, she found her position had spread her chiton apart, and little more than an inch of the loose fabric covered her ass or hips or anything.
She ignored her position as best she could. The wound was more important.
“Do you have anyone waiting for you? In your tribe?” She got a little closer until the huge shoulder of muscle, next to the big chest of muscle, and the big arm of muscle, were all quite close to her face. Why’d he have to be so massive? It was making her mind wander, and lewd thoughts of her hands caressing those muscles started to sneak into her mind. But she had to lean in and layer the fabric right over the wound and tighten the knot, with just the right amount of pressure. Her knuckles grazed his skin, and she blushed again. And again a few more times while she worked.
“ ... no.” He shook his head again and looked back her way. “No one.” He tried to keep his stern face, but she managed to catch some discomfort in his eyes, but not physical pain. She’d touched a nerve, maybe.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “I shouldn’t have asked.” Finally done with her the bandage, she stood up and started to fix what remained of her chiton to try and cover her legs and ass once more. She struggled to pull down some of the fabric, but all that did was make it tight to her body before springing back up to the top of her thighs when she let it go. And after another failed attempt to adjust the worthless garment, she gave up, humphed with frustration, and just stood there, exposed legs and all. Her actions had drawn Nevren’s eye though; so embarrassing!
Nevren was watching her. Not just watching her, but staring at her. His eyes had grown dark, almost menacing, and his hands at his sides now bent at the knuckles like he wanted to grab something. His breathing had gotten a bit faster too, and his arms were starting to flex and release like ... like he was ready to fight.
“Are ... you alright?” she said. Her heart was beating fast again, just like on the road with those three monsters who were going to hurt her. Nevren had a strange look in his dark eyes, animal, and every so often he gave a quiet rumble that sounded far closer to something a lion would make than any horse. It was her imagination, it must be.
But Nevren’s gaze wasn’t breaking. When she stepped to the side, his eyes followed her like a predator. And they weren’t meeting her gaze. Instead, his eyes were roaming up and down her body, from her naked thighs up to her breasts, and he looked hungry. Very hungry.
He looked away and shook his head, like he was trying to shake something out of his skull. His breathing was getting faster, heavier, making his shoulders rise and fall. Awareness crossed over his face, but was washed away again by something primal. Putting his hands down on the cave floor, and pushed himself hard to help drive his weight up onto his horse hooves once again. So big, so massive. He loomed over her, buried her in his size, and blocked the exit of the cave with his body.
“Nevren ... what’re you...”
He took a step closer. Everything had grown so silent that she could hear his hoof hit the stone clear as a bell. Gods, even the human half of him was huge, shoulders so broad and body thick like a tree trunk of muscle. Everything that had seemed so appealing a moment before was now terrifying. It was like someone she couldn’t see had been striking their own flint against iron on Nevren this whole time, and like dry twigs, he was set on fire.
She knew that look. That was the look the bastards on the road had given her.
“Nevren, don’t. Don’t!” She backed further away, further down the cave, but the cave only went another ten feet deep before it was nothing but rock wall. She pressed her back against it, and looked around at the pots nearby. Just water and food; even the pots themselves would make for horrible weapons.
The huge beast walked closer. Clop clop. He towered over her, just a wall of muscle and power and need. What had happened? How had he changed so quickly? One moment she was treating his wounds, and he was acting shy like a young boy; the next he was ready to ... to...
He came a little closer and turned his side to her a bit, like a horse displaying itself. Her knees started to shake, and she fell onto her butt in the cave floor.
He was erect this time. A thick, long horse member dangled underneath the behemoth’s body. For just a split moment, her eyes were glued to the giant shaft, amazed, terrified, but her eyes shot back up to Nevren when he took another step toward her.
“Nevren, don’t! Nevren!” She screeched, a full-on scream that would have made the other Spartans laugh, but she didn’t care. She was going to be raped!
Nevren took a step back. He shook his head hard, brought his hands up to his face, rubbed at his eyes, and gasped.
“ ... gods I—” He cut himself off with a palm on his lips.
A moment ago, the man had looked like a wall of iron and lust. Now, he looked like a boy, terrified of what he’d just done. He took a step back, and another, shook his head a few more times, and turned around.
“I am so sorry, Menala. I’ll ... I’ll go.” He reached for his spear, and started to limp away. His rear leg was still wounded, and walking was making it bleed again. He looked back over his shoulder at her; the shame on his face was palpable.
“W-wait.” She tried to get up, but her knees were still shaking. Cursing, she put a hand against the cave wall and forced herself onto her sandals. “Wait!”
Nevren stopped at the cave exit, lit only by the flicks of fire light that managed to bounce along the cave walls. He looked over his shoulder at her again, spear in hand and bracing some of his weight. He looked devastated. He was so tough before, so hard and rugged and stone.
“What happened?” she said, and walked right up to stand beside him. It took all the willpower she ever had to approach him like that again, and more than that to ignore the huge phallus between his legs. He was still aroused.
“ ... I should go, Menala, I—”
She punched his side, the horse part, right above one of his good legs. Gods damn him it was just a big wall of muscle.
“What happened, Nevren! You scared me half to death. I thought you were going to ... do ... like those men from before.”
He frowned at her when she punched him, but it lasted for only a second before it faded back into sadness.
“Centaurs are violent creatures, Menala. Sometimes, when ... we lust, we ... it’s ... like a haze. And we can’t ... control ourselves.” He looked away from her, like he was confessing the most horrible thing in the world. “Some lose themselves to it more easily to it than others.”
She knew about centaurs, she knew the sorts of things they did. She just never had context. Fear still crept up and down her spine, made her breath come out in tiny, useless pants, and made her legs shake and hard to stand on. But she punched him again anyway! Thud. He didn’t budge an inch, but that didn’t matter.
“Damn it Nevren, you...” Oh. The centaurs had done something horrible in the past because of this, something that lead to him leaving his tribe. That’s why he was so far away from Athens. Had his tribe done something horrible though, or him?
“I should go, before I offend you further.” He took a deep breath, put his weight down against his spear, and started limping away again.
So she punched him a third time!
“Menala! Would you—”