Author's Note: "SPEECH" 'THOUGHT' (Character Change) <Flashback beginning/ end> (Drake) The sun poured though the window high on the wall illuminating the particles of dust floating through the air.
It shone off the polished white marble of the throne room and sparkled on magnificent golden frames, each containing a portrait of a previous monarch of the newborn kingdom of Kairndal. The room was eerily silent and empty save for only two men. Veldan Carrik, the fourth king of Kairndal sat upon his throne, looking down upon the younger man through bright blue eyes.
Veldan was a man of forty with dark brown hair which was becoming prematurely grey and a slightly hooked nose. His pale face was relatively free of wrinkles, giving him the appearance of being at least ten years younger; but the wrinkles that were there spoke volumes of the stress of ruling a kingdom in the midst of recovering from civil war.
He was slender with barely any muscle definition as he preferred life in his library to the arduous life of swordplay, something his forefathers had felt was a fate worse than death. He ran his long fingers over his sharp chin scratching it as he often did when locked in thought. The other man was only six years the king's junior and maintained the youthful appearance of his teenage years marred only by the scar running from his temple down to his squared jaw.
He held his barbute helm under his arm and his silver Royal Protectorate armor glinted in the shimmering light. He had gone through rigorous training since the age of ten in the hopes of becoming a member of Veldan's elite guard and only one year prior, he achieved that dream. He wore the protectorate armor proudly displaying the crest of the Carrik family, a winged ruby blade on a field of sapphire and gold, a crest which had become the emblem of Kairndal.
He lowered his emerald eyes to the floor and ran a large hand through his short black hair. He broke the silence with a strong baritone voice which boomed inside the large room. "Your majesty… I am honored to be given command of this expedition, but should you not choose someone with seniority over me? There are far more experienced leaders than I. Many of them have had experience dealing with other races. I have only had dealings with elves.
If it is your intention to have us meet with non-human tribes…" Veldan raised his hand to silence him and spoke in a soft, soothing voice dripping with wisdom. "Sir Gall, I am aware that you are the most inexperienced when it comes to non-humans and that is a large reason why I selected you.
Many of my soldiers have had contact with them, some of which may hold a bias when it comes to specific races. I chose you because I believe you will be truly impartial in your dealings with them and because I trust you implicitly. These plans took a full year to lay, to gather necessary resources, to enlist your team. Though you are the newest of my guard, I feel that you are the most reliable person I could have chosen for this quest." Drake Gall raised his eyes to his king to see a warm smile etched on his face.
"This must be of greatest importance if you have given us clearance to offer such valuable trading materials to these tribes in exchange for allegiance, especially in the middle of reconstruction." Veldan scratched his chin once more and raised his eyes to the portrait of his father, Ceril Carrik, hanging on the wall. King Ceril's steely eyes seemed to bore into the soul of any person whose gaze met his.
His silver hair fell in tangles about his face and he wore a permanent scowl framed by pale wormlike lips. "Father… you left me with such a mess. You ostracized your own people, taxed them to poverty and thrust us into a war which could have easily been avoided." It was Mad King Ceril who had sown the seeds of civil unrest.
Whereas his father Edwin's first order of business was to grant full rights and citizenship to all native elves, it was Ceril's first act to revoke said rights and outlaw worship of the elven deities, a religion which his own father had adopted as his own in the latter years of his life.
The madness only grew from there going so far as to execute Nevec Varyn, the first ever elf appointed to the royal council, for the murder of his father, the very man who had appointed him, a crime which he didn't commit. "Nobody really knows for sure what made father hate non-humans so much. Grandfather was as close a friend to elves as a human ever has been.
He had the courage to do what great grandfather feared to do; he granted them a voice in the council. I'm glad I was born too early for my father to corrupt me with his hatred and he was killed shortly after. Mother never spoke of him again." "Maybe it was for the best your grace. With you forever in search of the world's answers, you may have become obsessed with finding out what caused his madness." Veldan chuckled and scratched at his chin.
"That is true, but back to business.
I want you to take the helm of this expedition. Your team has been chosen. Counting you there will be four in total. Large groups tend to put their tribes on the defensive ever since father sent battalions to attempt their extermination. You will each carry a maximum of two weapons. I am not sending the trade materials with you. Instead, take them the medals of trust you shall be provided and fill out a requisite form with their demands and send it to me personally.
I shall spare no expenses, they have been cheated enough." "I understand. Team and specializations?" "Elizabeth Koss, a nun of Brightvale Priory. She will be your medic as well as well as minister to spiritual needs." "A nun? I get that we need a healer but why must we take a cleric?" "She volunteered.
My guess is that she wishes to play missionary to these tribes and attempt to convert them. I do not agree with the practice of trying to force a religion down anyone's throat but her skills as a healer are renowned to be the best in Brightvale and possibly all of Kairndal itself.
I could not turn her down. Moving on to Alaric Rowan. He shall carry anything you need him to carry as well as cook for you.
He is a sad victim of father's Half-blood Prevention act." "Then his parents…?" "Executed. His human father and elven mother hid in Varynwood for a time.
Sadly they could not escape the clutches of lawkeepers. He was turned over to a Brothel here in Tairen. I think he shall be far more useful as a member of your team than a whore. And finally we have Kaelyssa Fae of the Moonstalkers." "The Moonstalkers? How did we manage to track them down? They're nomadic aren't they?" "Yes, but as you may guess you need only follow the path of the moon in the sky to find them.
Kaelyssa is a talented druidess skilled in nature magic. Apart from being a damn good tracker she is a charismatic speaker and will act as our ambassador and negotiator.
Her father, chief of the Moonstalkers, was kind enough to send her to our aid. Your team is assembled in Tairen Tavern. Meet with them and gather what you need and leave as soon as you find it possible. Godspeed Sir Gall." Veldan stood and gave Drake a low bow which he returned on bended knee.
He turned and marched from the room. The heavy oaken doors closed behind him and he nodded to the guards standing vigil outside the throne room.
He wondered how things had come to this. Of all the training he had endured he had never gained any experience in leadership. He was much more confident in following orders than giving them. What if they should fail? It was no secret that this was going to be dangerous. Kairndal was rife with non-human peoples and most had a stigma attached to them. During the Civil War, races such as minotaurs, orcs, undead and ogres had responded to the turmoil near their dwellings by charging in to incur heavy casualties on both factions involved.
When Veldan had come of age to rule in place of the council, he had forbidden military action against them. Indeed it was not their fault.
They were responding to what they believed was a threat to their home. This expedition would be the first large step in the kingdom's 150 year history towards an understanding between the races.
Without really realizing how he got there, he found himself on the main street of Tairen City. This was the location King Kairndal had chosen to be the seat of his kingdom, the city whose very completion marked the beginning of Kairndal's calendar. He strode down the cobblestone street, nodding at the people he passed, nobles and commons alike. The main street was busy today and alive with different sounds and smells. The scent of fresh bread and cooking meats were so strong he could taste them.
This district was much friendlier than the one he was born in, the Slums. It was a place for the poor and shunned. He was born in a time where King Ceril's cruelty was a fresh wound and many residing in the slums were put there either because of their race or because of heavy taxes during the war.
It was there that he ran the streets as nothing more than a punk before he began his training. A young olive-skinned elven woman bowed to him as he passed and passed him an odd fruit from her stall. He bowed in turn and rolled the fruit in his hand.
It was shaped like a pear but had skin reminiscent of a red pineapple.
Not wanting to be rude, he drew his knife and peeled the fruit before biting into it's soft yet crisp flesh. His mouth was flooded with juices tasting of banana and strawberry. The elf smiled widely, showing her bright white teeth.
"This is delicious. What is this? I've never had one before." "It is Saporal, from my family's farm." She spoke in a smooth voice dripping with a sensual elven accent. She bent forward and picked up a few more and placed them in a basket for him. "Take. No charge. Tell your friends." It was a common practice with elven vendors to give their wares away for free or discount to soldiers or just those they took a liking to.
Even so, he thanked her and fished a silver coin bearing King Edwin's likeness from his coin purse as payment. He continued down the street eating his Saporal, leaving her blushing in her stall. Within minutes he found himself in front of a large wooden building.
He could hear pub songs coming from inside the tavern and loosened himself up for a bit of fun. Inside he could smell the alcohol and it made his mouth water.
People were dancing raucously and sloshing their ale down the sides of their mugs. It didn't take long to spot his team in the back near the fire. He approached and sat in the last remaining chair. The elven woman raised her purple eyes from the bible she was reading and passed it back to the nun sitting to her right before speaking in the smooth tone shared by most elves.
"So, you are our leader then. I wonder if you will make us wait for orders as long as you made us wait today. But I see you brought Saporals so I'll let it slide just this once." She reached a long-fingered hand into his basket and pulled one out before biting through its peel. Her brown hair fell around her slender face in silky curtains nearly blending with her tanned skin.
Her ears were longer than some elves he had met and poked out a couple inches from her hair. She licked the juice from her lips and gave him a disarming smile. Most would have been angry that a stranger had helped herself to something they had not offered but he was the kind of person who admired guts and this woman definitely had them. "How long were you waiting for me?" The young nun looked up from the bible she was reading and fixed her emerald green eyes on him and spoke in a slightly high pitched voice.
"We've been here nearly half an hour. It really is rude to make us wait. If I had not brought my bible none of us would have had anything to do." She puffed up indignantly, bringing a red tint to her pale freckled cheeks which nearly matched the color of her short-cropped fiery red hair.
She was very petit and seemed to have no breasts to speak of. The differences in the clothing of the two women were night and day. The nun wore an extremely conservative dress of baby blue silk that left only her head and hands exposed with a golden sun pendant hanging from her neck, the sign of the twin gods Gholsan and Thurom. The elf wore very exposing robes and a skirt of black linen which were tattered, frayed and stained by earth in some places.
It left little to the imagination as it revealed her long, smooth, slender legs and sizable c-cup breasts. "I'm glad I did have it with me or perhapse these two poor souls would not have heard the word of the Twins." The male elf finally spoke, blowing his blonde hair out of his azure eyes. "I thank the gods you're here. If I had to sit here and quietly listen to this one preach all day I would have hanged myself." The nun looked utterly insulted.
"I was merely trying to bring you into the warm, glorious light of the sun." "I have been converted twice before girl. I was converted from a happy child with loving parents to an orphan and then again converted to a slave in a whorehouse. I do not wish to stand under your sun.
I shall remain in relative peace under the moon." She snorted and buried her nose in her bible once again. The elf grinned and pressed his golden skinned hands together. Drake cleared his throat softly. "Well, it's nice to meet you all. I am sorry to keep you waiting but I must have lost track of time. King Veldan has already told me your names so we can forgo that matter of business.' Kaelyssa sighed and licked the last of the Saporal juice from her fingers.
"It's a good thing too. We've wasted enough time as it is. We're packed already and the more time we take in exchanging pleasantries is time we are not spending on the road." Drake scratched the back of his head. Kaelyssa was a very straightforward woman and she oddly enough reminded him of his mother, not that he would tell anyone else that. "We should leave first thing in the morning so we have a full day of sunlight to light our way." "That may be all well and good for you humans but this isn't an issue for elves.
We can see just as well in the dark as we can in the light. King Veldan wants us out as soon as possible, a sentiment I happen to agree with. Centaurs are a migratory species and it just so happens that a group frequents the forests around Brightvale around this time of year; a group which just so happens to be the chieftains entourage." Elizabeth looked surprised and pressed a finger to her chin.
"Centaurs frequent Brightvale forest? I've never seen one. The forest almost surrounds the priory and I haven't even seen evidence that they were ever there." Alaric scoffed and took a deep drink of the dark ale that had been set before him.
He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand and reached for a Saporal. "Well, they're smart aren't they? They make sure not to leave evidence behind. They don't exactly enjoy human company since The Mad King called for their extermination.
Their population is still a tad low with a lack of mares." Elizabeth eyed him with interest and closed her bible once again. "You know a lot about non-humans for a prostitute." Alaric sneered a bit before rubbing a spot between his eyes. "I've studied what I could from books all my life.
My parents, divines grant them rest, taught me to read and write both elven and human languages. In my off time in the brothel, reading of other species gave me an escape." Elizabeth nodded and blushed. She was a sweet girl but obviously a bit naïve. Even if nuns didn't take a vow of celibacy Drake would have known she were a virgin.
Her innocence radiated from her and she blushed whenever she discovered an exposed area of her skin and quickly covered it. He couldn't help but chuckle to himself before speaking again. "If this is the plan you think is best, I trust you as our guide." "Then let's go. There's no sense waiting around any longer. If we set a nice pace we can make it to Brightvale in an hour if we follow the road." Elizabeth smiled brightly and clapped her hands together.
"Oh my, I believe I might be able to help there! If we avoid the road and go through Tairen Woods we can reach Brightvale Forrest in half that time!" Kaelyssa smiled and nodded her head in approval. "Not bad lady chastity. I did not consider that approach but indeed, it will be an great time saver." They paid their bill and walked back into the street.
After the time they spent in the dim light of the tavern, the sun of the outside world blinded Drake and he needed to blink a few times to adjust. They took a right after exiting and soon found themselves on a dirt road. The areas just inside the gates of Tairen were left unpaved by cobblestone for easier traffic of trade carts.
Horses snorted as their owners unloaded their wares from the backs of the wagons they were pulling. He wondered just what a centaur was like. He had seen depictions of them in some of his training manuals but it only taught how to kill one not negotiate alliances with them. He was glad to have Alaric on the team.
Apart from a slight air of arrogance around him, he seemed like quite a smart person. He ran a hand through his golden hair and looked back to Drake, winking before he faced the road again. Drake couldn't help but blush a bit. He, like many of the other soldiers you might meet in Kairndal, he found himself as attracted to men as he was attracted to women.
Since the days of Kairndal Carrik, love was a sacred thing to be shared with any partner male, female, human or not and this remained true until King Ceril's decree against interbreeding with non-humans.
They soon found themselves in front of a tall oaken gate guarded by four armored men, two on each side. They bowed and pushed the heavy gate open for them as they passed. Alaric stopped once he had left the city. "This is the first time I've been outside the city since my exile from Varynwood. It feels so strange to leave the brothel, much less the city." Elizabeth lowered her head and patted Alaric's exposed golden shoulder.
Much of his skin was exposed by his worn green tunic and brown linen pants and he visibly tensed at the touch. "I thought the next time out of these walls would be as a free man. Once I'd finally earned enough to pay for my freedom. But here I am." He began walking again in energetic strides, looking happier than he did in the tavern.
Kaelyssa lead the way down the road. Near the entrance to the village there were small cabins and shops, gardens and orchards. Soon Drake found himself walking side by side with their elven guide. "King Veldan told me that you were sent by your father to guide us.
Why did you agree to help?" "I share the dream of my father. Races were not meant to be separated. There may be differences between us but in the end we must coexist and learn to tolerate one another. That is the very least we can do." "A noble dream. I'm glad to have you on the team." She smiled and held up a hand, sniffing the air. "It seems we might make contact earlier than expected. They're close… very close." A breaking stick in the edge of the forest made Drake spin and draw his sword by instinct.
The brush rustled next to the abandoned road and twigs broke as they were stepped on and then a wide, brown, bearded face appeared. "Stay your blade human, lest you wish to grow feathers. We were sent here by the Chief Gren." The centaur stepped from the darkness and pawed the ground with his hoof.
From the shaggy black haired head to the waist was a firm, muscular hairy body of a man but below was the body of an Arabian horse. He was backed by two others. One was a pale, thin, muscular, clean-shaven man with a sharp face and the body of a red quarter horse; The other was a tan, husky man with a chubby, scarred face partially covered by a five o'clock shadow and a paint horse's body and both had large cedar bows drawn and aimed at him.
Drake lowered his claymore and slid it back into the sheath on his back as the two guards lowered their bows and placed their arrows back into their quivers.
"Good. Now come with us. It is unusual that we hold conference with humans or even elves for that matter but the crone believes there is merit to be found in it." Kaelyssa stepped forward and bowed deeply.
"We thank you for your kindness. We would meet with your chieftain and your crone. We are at your mercy." "We ask only that you observe our customs and do as we say. If you do this all will be well. I am Caspien, these are my companions Tyr and Sabian." He motioned to the burly one and the slender one respectively and they nodded their heads.
Caspien pawed the ground with one hoof and turned, heading into the forest and leading them to their destination. Their appearances were just like the manuals had illustrated, half man and half horse but it was also clear that they were very intelligent and knew more than anybody else could. These centaurs knew where they were and what they were doing, something that until now only king, council and those involved had known of.
He slowed his pace until he fell in beside Alaric. "How did they know we would be here at this time? Other than us, only the King and council know of our intentions." "The centaurs prize themselves in arts of divination. The crone they speak of reads and deciphers messages everywhere. Look at the clouds, there's a sign. Look at the bark on that tree, there's another one. It wouldn't surprise me if this crone saw us coming before King Veldan even planned it." Drake nodded and clasped his hands together.
He wondered if he should make such a step towards a teammate, especially after knowing him for such a short time; but in the end he decided it was a step that had to be taken sooner rather than later. "Alaric, do you know your part in this expedition?" Alaric shrugged and looked to the ground. "My contract basically labeled me a pack mule to carry any necessities and a servant to cook your meals.
It's about the job I expected the council to give a slave." "Well I am giving you yet another task. I want you to give me a crash course in the species we encounter. Elizabeth knows about as much as me and Kaelyssa was put in charge of state issues of this trip.
As far as I'm concerned, you're the expert." Alaric raised his bright blue eyes to Drake's green ones and smiled. "You treat me better than most I've met sir. I hope one day I may have somebody like you for my own. And maybe by that day, I won't be limited by race." "King Veldan has been trying to overturn that law. Council fears outcry from the public." "The council knows nothing of the people. In that brothel I have met many a person who longs for the love of another race.
The council is deaf in one ear and losing in the other. They hear little of the whisper of approval from the majority and the entire cry of outrage from the minority." Drake had not met such a person as Alaric before. Although being oppressed so badly in his recent years, he was intelligent beyond his 16 years and had the makings of a true philosopher.
"So what is your impression on the centaurs?" Alaric ruffled his hair gently. "They're a proud race. Tyr and Sabian's aim was true so they're proficient with a bow.
And did you notice how hung they were? Common breed horses have nothing on them." Drake shook his head and stifled a laugh. "I was too distracted staring down the shaft of a couple arrows." "Well so was I." He grinned impishly and picked up his pace to come side by side between Caspien and Tyr.
Drake shook his head once again. He had expected no less than some bawdy tales and humor from this elf and was not disappointed. Already he could see Caspien and Tyr laughing along with Alaric and he was glad to see that they seemed to be able to get along well. He turned his attention to Kaelyssa and matched his stride with hers. "You're in charge of brokering an agreement between us. Do you know what it might cost?" Kaelyssa kept her eyes straight forward, monitoring her surroundings and the actions of their escorts as Tyr leaned in to whisper something in Alaric's ear which made the young elf blush.
"The centaurs are a simple people. They live by hunting and follow the movement of the animals. They have no concept of money and most likely do not value gold, silver or any precious stone above face value as a decoration. We can barter very little with weaponry. They fight and hunt mainly with bows and can make them faster, stronger and more accurate than even the finest of our own manufacturers.
That being said we might be able to trade with steel. But above all, their main concern is that they may possibly be a dying breed." "I didn't think they'd be as numerous after the Extermination Doctrine… How bad is it?" "As is I project there to be one female to every eight males.
I had a plan regarding that. Have you ever heard of Clanshoot?" "No, what is it?" Kaelyssa reached into her pouch and drew out a small purple stem with red leaves placed in such areas which made it look slightly like multicolored bamboo.
"It has the opposite effect as Clansbane which inhibits conception. This, however, increases fertility in males and females as well as lowers gestational periods in females.
It could lower the carrying time for a female centaur from their 340 day standard to 170 days." "I had no idea such a plant existed." "There are many plants unknown to humans, some of which are poisonous to you but beneficial to others." "If this Clanshoot thing works like you say it will, I believe our negotiations will be a success." Kaelyssa bowed her head and Drake returned the courtesy.
The centaurs had led them into a dark area of the forest, broken only by sharp, slim, shimmering spears of light which broke through the thick green canopy, the summer sun nearly lost above them. Elizabeth moved closer to him, seemingly fearful of the darkness. She spoke softly, voice nearly muted amidst the rustling of leaves in the breeze. "I've never been this far into a forest before.
It's darker than I had expected. I don't even have light to read." "What made you want to become a nun in the first place?" "My family was very religious. They bestowed upon me the great gift of faith. They taught me that there were only two true gods, the twins, and that all other religions promoted sins of the flesh and sins against your fellows which lead to an afterlife of eternal suffering.
The twins created this world and expect us to live by the laws they set forth. Anyone who deviates from these laws is condemned. After they taught me this, I joined the convent at the priory so that I could save poor ignorant souls who do not yet understand that the way of the twins is the only way." Drake lowered his eyes.
It was not a belief he shared. He found himself religiously ambiguous, following only his own moral compass. "Is that the only reason you volunteered? To attempt to convert the races we encounter?" "Well I would feel terrible if these poor savages never had a chance to save themselves from their life of sin. But I feel like I have a sense of duty in this expedition.
I'm the finest healer in Brightvale, I feel like I can help the injured on my team as well as the tribes we encounter." Drake sighed and wiped his forehead. They had come to a clearing and the sun now slapped him in the face.
The heat had become more extreme since the time they left. The centaurs were now fanning their back ends with their long tails. In the heat he couldn't help but notice how their testes had descended. Each orb looked about the size of two apples and hung low, swaying with their steps.
Elizabeth must have spotted them too because she blushed darkly and hid behind Drake. "Perhaps I can persuade these beasts to cover their shame! The human body is perverse enough but the bodies of non-human races are just foul…" "They probably think we're the odd ones. Remember, we're not just here to gain alliances. We're here to learn their ways and culture. Maybe they can teach us bigger and better things." "How will they be able to teach us anything at all?
Humans are the chosen race of the twins. We were given the advantage of superior intelligence. What could they know that we do not?" Feeling that he had reached his limit with Elizabeth, he walked ahead of her a few steps. They were once again in the dark of the forest with even less light than before and their escorts had slowed their pace to a trot.
Caspien turned his head and sniffed the air. "We are nearing the camp. Before we enter, I would speak to you Sir Gall. Alone." Surprised that Caspien had called him by name, he nodded and stepped to the side, leaving his companions in the care of Tyr and Sabian. Caspien took him to a secluded area out of earshot of the other before releasing a breath. "I am concerned of this whole situation. The crone believes that you have something which will make all the difference in our survival but I must tell you that if any in your party commit a crime within this camp we will have no choice but to punish the offender." "I understand.
Do you expect one of us to break your laws?" Caspien crossed his arms in thought and exhaled once more while speaking. "It does not take our people long to make an accurate judgment of another. You are a man with honor.
Kaelyssa is a stately woman well versed in matters of the state. And Alaric not only knows our laws well enough to obey them but I believe he will have his hands full with a few of our finest.
But the one who concerns me is the one known as Elizabeth. I fear she might believe herself to be above our laws. I heard what she said about our people. Just try to work damage control. And we shall be fine." Drake, too, had suspected Elizabeth might prove herself a bit of a nuisance after their recent talk.
He remained hopeful that she would behave herself while also fearing the worst. "I will do my best to keep an eye on her. I appreciate the warning." Caspien smiled warmly and nodded once.
"Chief Gren will wish to speak to you once we arrive. I will show your companions to their lodgings. You and Alaric will sleep in the male den the females shall sleep in the female den. I hope you will find this arrangement to your liking." With that, they regrouped and continued a short distance through the woods.
Elizabeth breathed quickly as a sound of drumming grew louder on their approach and soon they were in a clearing with three caves carved into a humongous rock face in the middle of the forest.
A lone light shone in the darkness but it was bright enough to illuminate the clearing and shed light upon its inhabitants. In this clearing were no less than 20 centaurs including their escorts, all male with the exception of three females. They had skin of different colors and their bottom half as various as their skin tones. Most of the men were muscular, bearded and scarred in a few places, some even missing fingers or teeth.
Two of the women were stunning beauties, olive skinned blonde and brunette seductresses with naturally gifted features, while the remainder looked to be nearly ancient.
She held a wooden staff in her hand and was marked with paint on her wrinkled, pointed face and circled around her milky white eyes. Her silver hair fell down her back and looked as if she maintained it meticulously. She, unlike any other centaur in the tribe, kept her breasts and genitals hidden behind rough stitched skins. The drumming, they could now see, was coming from a large tanned man with a long ragged black beard.
His eyes were closed making the line of a scar over his left look unbroken. His hand thumped upon the hollow stump faster as it ended in a flourish to the applause of all convened there. The man opened his mismatched white and brown eyes and locked them both on Drake, speaking in a voice as rugged as his features.
"It appears that Pythia was once again correct in her prophecy." The old woman smiled and let out a cackled and spoke in a voice well suited to her crow-like appearance. "Did you expect otherwise, Gren? 70 years as the oracle of Centaurs without a false prediction, and you suspected this time that streak would end?" "I have the utmost faith in you.
I was granting you praise, woman." She chuckled in her throat and bowed her head, allowing Gren to speak. "Anyway, which of you men is the leader of this little troupe?" Drake stepped forward and bowed on one to the chief, who opened and closed his fingers, motioning for him to stand.
"No human has ever bent the knee to me before. Then again, you're the first human we've seen since a lot of them attacked us many years back." "That's why this meeting is overdue. We wish to make reparations with you and, if you are willing, forge an alliance. King Veldan has authorized us to meet your every demand if possible." "Veldan, eh?
So something happened to The Mad King. I was wondering why his executioners stopped coming. And now you come swinging the olive branch of peace and make it seem like you're going to do us a world of good, but what do you want from us?" "We only wish for an alliance and to learn from you. Kaelyssa tells me that your bows are far superior to our own. There are many things we could share with one another." Gren twisted his beard, his brown eye staring to the sky while the white one remained solidly fixed on Drake.
The other centaurs stood cross-armed and pensive, eagerly looking to their chief. Pythia had moved closer to Gren and was whispering into his ear, causing him to nod intermittently. After what seemed like hours, Gren spoke. "If this is an honest attempt to repair relations between our people then I would be no better than a common warmonger to spit in the face of this treaty." The ground shook with the thundering of hooves as the surrounding Centaurs stomped their approval as Gren held out a large three-fingered hand.
Drake finally allowed himself a smile and gave a sigh of relief and stepped forward to clasp the outstretched hand of the centaur chieftain, giving it a firm shake. "Well, what are we waiting for!? Bring out the wine! This is cause for feasting!" A few of the fatter males bowed and went into one of the caves and returned a short time after with a large wooden vessel full of deep, dark, sweet wine with the aroma of strawberries and two fat wild boars which they spitted carefully over the huge fire.
The air was livened by the playing of pipes and the thundering of drums. The four of them easily integrated themselves into the small centaur tribe.
Alaric was being held in the arms of Tyr while he was fed bits of juicy boar meat and gracious portions of wine. Elizabeth had inserted herself between the two younger females and was trying very hard to not take notice of their nudity as she read to them from her bible. Kaelyssa took a seat on the ground next to him, handing him a wooden cup of wine.
He drank from it and blinked back some burning in his eyes. It was a strong wine with a pleasant taste and a slightly burning aftereffect.
The elf gave him a charming smile. "You did well. I didn't even need to negotiate." "Maybe I'm better than I thought I was." "Don't get cocky. The centaurs have always looked for a peaceful path in life. I have no doubt that races such as Undead and Ogres will not be as easy to strike a deal with." "I wish you luck in those endeavors.
If they're as warlike as I've heard, we'll need every ounce of luck we can get." A small moan broke their conversation and they turned their gaze in its direction to see Alaric having his neck nibbled on by Tyr.
Tyr noticed and smiled over toward them as he licked the nape of the elven teen's neck. Alaric blushed and moaned louder, rubbing his hands over Tyr's hairy arms.
Kaelyssa blushed darkly. "Well, it looks like Alaric is having fun on this trip." "I suppose the intermating law doesn't matter out here." "The intermating law never mattered. Many obeyed it, many more hid it well. There are even those within the council who were nervous around King Ceril for just that reason." "So it still happens commonly even with the laws in place?" "Quite often.
Containment of ones desires is not something easily done. Life is too short to deny intimacy based on race or even sexual orientation. I admire Alaric for being so outgoing. I don't know if I shall ever shed my virginity." "You're a virgin? I don't know why that surprises me." She laughed quietly.
"I am one of the odd ones. Most of us lose our virginity before my age. Perhaps it's time I put myself out there." She stood and cut a piece off of the boar and took it over to one of the stronger looking males who sniffed her heavily and took it from her. Elizabeth was looking more uncomfortable with the sexual turn her team was taking. In her distracted state, the blonde haired female managed to slip away and make her way to Drake's side.
"You are the chief, correct?" "I'm not exactly a chief. I just command three people." "Oh I see… You are quite virile, yes?" Drake choked a bit on his boar and pounded his chest until the meat dislodged itself. "Excuse me?" "It is common knowledge that those who lead have the most potent seed." The mare bit her lip seductively and Drake found himself oddly aroused.
It wasn't anything against the girl that caused his hesitation. The top half of this woman was stunning. Her skin was exquisitely browned by the sun and her face was lovely and feminine with eyes the color of a rose. But then he let his eyes grace her lower half. He could say that it was built well with a beautiful coat of black which seemed to glitter with every flicker of light cast upon her by the fire.
"Shouldn't you mate with someone of your own kind? I thought that your population was a concern." "It is. This is why I have chosen you to breed me. Am I not desirable enough for you?" "You're very desirable. I just don't know if I should do this." "Your companion does not worry about such matters." By this point Alaric was locked in a deep kiss with Tyr.
His hands were rubbing sensually up and down the large centaurs chest as his mouth was ravaged by a thick tongue. The woman slid her hands over Drake's armored chest and bent to lick his ear. He felt himself becoming hard and losing the will to fight his urges. She grasped one of his hands and drew him into the left cave. The den was larger than he expected, carved by nature into several chambers and dimly lit by a couple sparsely placed torches. A deep pool had formed in the back from water which dripped from a stalactite which dangled above the basin.
She led him towards the back to a large, soft pelt of an animal he didn't recognize and laid down on the ground, legs folded beneath her large body. "I have never done this with anyone who wasn't a centaur before. I hope my body is to your liking." Drake began unfastening his armor, still nervous about what he was about to do. "I haven't done this outside of my race either. I don't even know your name and I'm not sure how to do this either.
Aren't you a bit tall for me to reach?" "There's a rock in the corner. You could most likely stand on that. As for my name, it is Lilia." Drake stopped removing his armor for a second and spotted the large stone. It was mostly flat and would most likely take care of the height difference. He picked the heavy rock up, feeling his muscles straining with it. Luckily he only had to move it a few feet to place it on the fur rug.
He heaved a sight as placed it down and resumed the removal of his leggings.
"You are quite strong. I picked an impressive mate." Drake grinned as his legplates fell, leaving him with nothing more than he had been born with. His scar-covered back turned to his partner. "Those markings… Are they from war?" "No.
I got them from the academy. I didn't use to be as obedient toward authority as I am today. The whip helped me learn my lesson." "I can tell you have endured much pain.
But now I shall make you feel pleasure." He turned to face her, his nine inches semi-erect at five inches. Lilia smiled seductively and beckoned him closer. He moved nearer to the woman until he was looking straight down into her crimson eyes.
She blinked up at him before sliding her tongue from her mouth to swipe the underside of the head. Drake gasped loudly as the velvet appendage traced the vein on the underside of his cock. "I do not know if humans partake in this as well, but among centaurs oral stimulation is highly important. I fear this might appear gross to you." "No… We do it as well. It feels so good Lilia." She nodded and doubled her actions, working more diligently to bring him pleasure. Her tongue chased itself in circles around the crown, slapping at his glans with every pass.
Drake reached down to play with her platinum locks, feeling the silky smooth strands pass through his fingers. His partner sighed and, in one quick motion, took half his length into her mouth. Her tongue continued to play tricks with him, slithering down the shaft before darting up to circle the head and lap at his slit.
Drake wrapped his fingers in her hair and thrust himself gently into her sucking mouth. He was careful not to be too violent or fast, not wanting to force her to take any more than she was ready for. She moaned in her throat with every thrust, sending sweet vibrations through what felt like his very bloodstream.
His meat began to pulse faster as she took him deeper, his head playing touch and go with the back of her throat, causing her to gag and moan. All too soon, she drew herself back and smiled. "No more. I think you're well enough ready." "Wouldn't you like a little repayment?" "What is it you mean?" Drake scratched the back of his head. "I thought you said oral stimulation was important." "It is. All of our men enjoy a mouth to fuck." "That's true enough but haven't you ever received it?" "But I don't have a penis." Drake sighed and rubbed his forehead before motioning for her to stand.
She tentatively did just that and bowed her head almost submissively. Drake went around to her back end and caressed one of her haunches. The skin crawled and she moaned with the contact. Her tail lifted to reveal her most sensitive areas. Her anus was extraordinarily clean and sitting directly above a pair of black skinned lips, he spread them open to gain a better view.
It didn't look so much different from a human's other than it being much larger and having its clitoris at the bottom rather than at the top. He traced his fingers over her lips and clitoris as she sighed and shuddered.
He grinned as he lowered his face to it, giving her tiny pink nub a swipe of his tongue. She moaned out loudly as he flicked his tongue against it and circled it before nipping it slightly between his teeth. Her tail began to sway and she lifted her hands to play with her dark brown nipples, twisting and pulling them gently.
Drake raised his hand and slid two large callused fingers inside of her. She was very moist and warm, seemingly hotter than the body temperature of a human. As expected, it seemed that she was a bit wider on the inside than a human as well, but from the feeling of her walls clenching around his fingers, he had no doubt that she would be able to make him cum.
He licked from bottom to top in feather-light swipes. His mate was now tugging harder on her nipples and her moans and squeaks of pleasure were beginning to reverberate inside the cavern. Soon she let out a loud gasp as a salty-sweet liquid gushed from the hole Drake was just probing with his tongue. He smiled and lapped up what he could, savoring the taste of salt and mixed berries. The mare panted as he stood and climbed atop his rock. He stroked his meat and eyed his partner's entrance.
The height of the rock put him at just the right elevation to penetrate, and since the stone was so flat he had no more difficulty standing on it than he would the polished marble floors of Tairen Castle. Lilia backed up closer to him, swishing her tail to and fro. Drake placed a hand on one of her haunches, rubbing in small circles.
Slowly, he guided himself to rest against her entrance. "Are you ready, Lilia?" "My mind was made up a while ago. I believe we are both ready." With a small grunt, Drake guided his cock farther into the mare's vagina. It was much tighter than he had originally thought when he had probed her with his fingers.
The rings of muscle and the slick velveteen walls of her pussy quivered as he drilled his way deeper only to bottom out against her cervix around six inches in.
He tapped it with his head gently, surprised that it wasn't deeper. She cooed as his large mushroom head kissed her womb and began to work her nipples over once more. Drake had been with his fair share of women and men in the past, but the way she gripped him was something new. It felt as if a soft wet hand was milking him with his every motion. He began thrusting a bit faster into her, letting his balls slap against her clitoris.
His sweat dripped from his brow and down his nose as he bit his bottom lip. Her legs began to shake from the jolts of pleasure as he gripped her hips and slammed in harder and her juices began to seep out around his cock in rushing torrents.
He was sure that those outside could now hear her groans and squeals of ecstasy as they were amplified and echoed inside the cave. His dick was pulsing fiercely and he could tell that it wouldn't be long before he lost his control. "I feel it squirming inside Drake! It will do neither of us any good to contain it. Release yourself. I'm ready and waiting." She spread her legs apart slightly to lower herself to a perfect angle for him to give her all he had.
Her canal tightened harder as he dug his nails into her hips and slammed into her with all the power he had. His cock began to ache as he felt his balls churn his cum upwards. He pummeled her slick love tunnel with all his might, pressing the head of his cock flush with her cervix and let out a guttural growl of pleasure just as he started dumping his sperm into her uterus, causing her to scream out.
It burned like fire as it sloshed around inside of her and leaked from her tight sucking cunt. He clenched a bit as he continued to send out jets of semen but soon she swayed and collapsed into a pile, causing the remainder to spurt out onto her back. He panted and collapsed beside her. "That was… different…" Drake leaned up on one arm, looking into Lilia's rosy eyes. "I wasn't that bad was I?" "No, it's not that.
It's just that I have never experienced something like that before. You went deeper than most men I have been with do." "Are you kidding? I've seen the men here. They're much larger than me." "That is true. But when I am mounted, I normally only receive a small percentage of its full length." "Well, I'm glad I could make you feel this way." Her cheeks darkened further as she blushed and she hid it behind a curtain of her hair.
"Stand before me once more Drake." Without wasting time, he rose to his feet again and came around to her front. She smiled and reached up, taking his cock into her hand and giving it a few strong pumps before popping the head into her mouth and let her eyes drift shut. Drake groaned in his throat and rested a hand on top of her head. Almost at once he began to harden and leaked a bit more of his essence onto her tongue. Her eyes shot open and she looked up, removing him from her mouth.
"This is your seed isn't it?" "Well… yeah. Is something wrong?" "It's sweet. All of our men have a most bitter seed. Yours tastes… pleasant." She resumed her actions, sucking with a greater vigor before withdrawing him once again, holding him up so that she could run her tongue over his taut testicles. She licked every inch she could get to, moaning as she found deposits of their combined juices.
Drake scratched the back of his head, a red tint coming onto his cheeks. "Hey, Lilia. Do you think we could have another round? There's something I'd like to try with you." She let his sloppy, spit covered dick fall from her mouth and nodded almost franticly.
She stood as Drake climbed onto the rock, only to kneel to eye level with her back end once again. He smiled as he watched his sperm leak in rivulets from her pussy. Tentatively, he stuck out his tongue and gave her puckered asshole a hard swipe.
She gasped loudly and stomped her back hooves. "D-Drake. Do not do that. It's dirty!" "You don't seem dirty to me." "We bathe eachother here.
I am very clean there. I only mean that…" Drake silenced her with yet another swipe of his tongue, this time circling the tight ring of muscles. She whimpered and pawed the dirt once more, tying her fingers into her golden tresses and hiding her face in them.
Drake had expected her to respond something like this. If she had had no concept of cunnilingus he could understand her surprise to discover rimming. It made him wonder how she would respond to what he would soon do to her. He pressed his tongue against it forcefully, feeling it give slightly with every push. With one last jab, his tongue broke through the ring to lick the inside of her anus.
She groaned out loudly as he swirled his tongue around, tasting a strong floral flavor.
He raised his hand and began to rub around the outside feeling the ring contract around his tongue. He withdrew it and pressed his mouth to it spitting a copious amount of saliva into it before standing up and gripping his cock. "Lilia, are you ready?" "I suppose so…" Drake smiled as he pushed the head of his cock against her anus.
The ring gave slightly but kept him out. He pushed once more and this time it stretched, allowing his head to pop inside. Lilia whimpered but steeled herself, glancing back at him, red-faced.
With one more shove he managed to seat himself fully inside her, her anus taking him down to his base.
She cried out a little and tears came to her eyes. Drake patted her lower back to comfort her and she wiped away the moisture from her eyes. He pulled back slowly before slipping back in, allowing her to slowly adjust to his movements. In time, the pain on her face was replaced by the look of pleasure she had worn earlier.
Drake sped his thrusts, driving into her ass at a medium pace, watching as her face contorted with her moans. "D-Drake.
This is so new to me. It feels so strange. Please, more." He pulled back until only his head remained before drilling back in. She screamed in ecstasy and threw her back end onto him fiercely. Taking the hint, Drake began to hammer in at the same pace he had set while fucking her cunt. He moaned as he felt hot liquid spurt from her pussy onto his balls. His cock beat around inside of her roughly, causing her to squeal and whimper. The rings tightened further, choking his meat as he nailed her.
Once again he felt his balls tighten and his cum boil up through his shaft. With synchronized shouts, they released simultaneously. He, again, felt her juices splash against his balls as he jerked and ejected more of his thick jizz into her ass. His dick continued to spasm uncontrollably as it shot its load deeply into her bowels.
This time, Drake was the first to collapse.
He laid panting on the soft fur on the cave floor and looked up to Lilia. "Drake. That was amazing! I've never experienced a mating like this!" She curled herself up beside him, allowing him to tangle himself with her, feeling her heat radiate throughout his body.
"It was amazing for me too. I haven't had an experience that even comes close." She blushed and began to run her fingers through his cropped ebony locks. Soon he was soothed into what seemed like a trance. He didn't even realize sleep had taken him.