Sixteen. Moonreaper What He Sews
Red took hold of Loryn's hand and tugged him through the inn, grinning widely.
"Lucinda sent you, didn't she? I'm so glad she did, I doubt Nikko and I would have been able to find a druid without her help. Oh I just can't believe our luck! You might even be able to pull the stick out of his highness's arse," she yammered cheerfully. Loryn, still shell-shocked from Red's excited outburst, allowed himself to be dragged behind her. He had no idea who Lucinda was and he had no intentions of removing any sticks from anyone's bottom.
"Nikko! Nikko, what are you doing?" Red called. Nikko turned from the previous object of his attentions. He had been leaned over the bar and was wooing an unsuspecting barmaid. She was a simpering noirette with a pretty face. Red's steps faltered when she saw this, her face carefully blank. She then scowled and stomped over to Nikko, leaving Loryn standing in the middle of the inn, looking terribly confused.
"You were supposed to be looking for the druid, not seducing another victim!" she admonished. He grinned salaciously.
"She said she knew the druid, but she'd only tell me if I-"
"If yo did what?" Red demanded, throwing the barmaid a frosty glance. The barmaid, in return, glared at Nikko.
"You didn't tell me your girlfriend was here!" she said shrilly. Turning her nose in the air, she flounced off into the kitchens. Nikko couldn't speak, simply watched with longing as his lost playmate walked off. Nikko rounded on Red, his blue eyes flashing.
"What is your problem, woman?" he hissed. Red pursed her lips, and her notorious temper flared to life.
"How dare you? My
can't keep it in your pants long enough to concentrate on the task at hand." She spoke lowly so that the whole of the inn could not hear her, but her voice held a dangerous edge. Nikko narrowed his eyes and bent toward Red.
"Just because you are made of clockwork does not mean I am, love," he growled. Red pulled back away from Nikko and stared at him coolly.
"This is neither the time or the place to discuss this. I found the druid. The poor man's been subject to your foolishness already, and he doesn't even know you." Red turned on her heel, obviously hurt. With an irritated sigh, Nikko followed the magi. Red led Nikko over to a man standing in the middle of the room, who looked very boring in Nikko's opinion.
"Loryn, I apologize that I must introduce you to Nikko, the sorcerer," Red said, sounding very tired. "Nikko, this unfortunate fellow is Loryn, our druid." With a smile, Loryn put his hand out.
"Good to meet you," the druid said. With a grunt and a glare at Red, Nikko shook Loryn's outstretched hand. "I've never met anyone quite so excited to meet me." He gestured to an empty table near them. "We should probably sit down so you two can explain to me what this is all about because, quite frankly, I am very lost."
"And so you see, this is all Nikko's fault," Red finished pleasantly. The sorcerer cast a scathing look at Red.
"It most certainly is not my fault," he said curtly. "If I hadn't informed you-"
"I would be in my library with a cup of hot tea and a book," the magi replied hotly. Red's temper flared up and she was whole-heartedly ready to dive across the table and throttle Nikko when Loryn cleared his throat.
"The druid had listened very intently as the magi and the sorcerer chronicled their tale. He had asked a few questions here and there, but mostly he had listened. At first he wasn't certain that he believed them, but as he listened to their story unfold, he realized that no one would go through such tribulations for dungballs and laughs. Nikko, for all his arrogance (Loryn had seen this immediately), seemed to be a decent enough fellow, and Red... She put him at ease, and trusting her was an immediate effect. She could be a bit overbearing, but her intentions were good. These were overall good people, and he decided to believe them, to trust them a little.
"I don't believe this is the fault of anyone sitting at this table," he pacified ("Thank you,
" Nikko said, looking at Red pointedly). "Someone else is pulling the strings here, and from what I've gathered, they've got the Black Hunters under their control now. At least part of the Black Hunters," he amended. Red sighed in relief.
"My thoughts exactly. I feel, as does Raistlin, that whomever is causing the temperature changes is now controlling the Black Hunters. It's a pain, since the hunt for Nikko is now doubled, but it's what we have got to deal with." Red cast her gaze downward. "I'm not going to let whomever it is keep wreaking having on the balance of this world. I am not going to lose my friends," she said firmly.
"And you shall not," Loryn said. "I will accompany you both on your journey." Nikko sat back in his chair, his arms crossed.
"Just like that?" he asked skeptically. "You don't know us. We could be an insane axe-murdering couple, luring unwary, trusting strangers into our bloodthirsty clutches." He emphasized his point by imitating claws with his hands.
"He paints a pretty picture, doesn't he?" Red remarked sarcastically.
"And what of you? You may not be a druid at all. Perhaps you are a manic slave trader looking for fresh meat to sell on the black mar -- what is this?" Nikko was cut off mid-tirade when he noticed a leafy vine creeping down from the ceiling and trying to braid itself into his hair. Across the table, Loryn was smiling knowingly.
Red laughed aloud, impressed. Nikko was impressed as well, but he never would have admitted it to anyone. He disentangled the vine from his hair and watched as it wound itself back around a beam on the ceiling.
"Charming," Nikko said dryly, patting his hair back down. "So you are a druid. Perfect. Why do you feel compelled to possibly risk your life for a couple of strangers?"
"Well, it's like you said: These changes are worldwide. In the end, it will effect everyone. If I can do anything to stop this downward spiral, I will. I've got the opportunity to help," he said. His voice held a certain conviction in it. Red smiled widely.
"Perfect! Now we can summon the elemental goddesses and get some real progress under our belts."
"Lucinda said to start with the winds. My guess would be that we must start with the Air Goddess," Nikko said, looking from Loryn to Red. Both nodded sagely. "I know the Alasre Mountains are windy. Sounds like as good a place as any to start," he suggested.
"I agree," Loryn said. "But do either of you know how to summon the goddesses?" Red shook her head.
"No, but I know someone I can ask to find out," she said.
"Can you contact this person tonight?" the druid asked.
"Yes, I can," she told him.
"Do that. I shall speak with the proprietor about a room for you two. I board here for free, in return for my services. Please excuse me," he said, rising from the table and walking into the kitchens. With Loryn gone, Red rounded on Nikko, her green-brown eyes glinting dangerously.
"You need to keep your backhanded comments to yourself, and you might try being a little more grateful," she hissed.
"If you'd have let me die, then I wouldn't have to listen to your constant nagging, you stony wench," he growled.
"Forgive me for wanting to finish this mission to be rid of you," she said through gritted teeth. Standing up from the table with enough force to knock her chair backward, she swept out of the inn like a storm.
Nikko sat at the table, fuming. How could he have ever found that infuriating woman desirable? She plucked upon his every nerve expertly and lit the fire of his anger like no other. Perhaps this was the very reason he had wanted her, but he couldn't be sure. He'd never met a woman quite like her.
"Bah!" he said, waving his thoughts away dismissively. He scanned the common room, finding the black-haired barmaid from before. He caught her eye and waved her over, his smile promising her the world.
Red blew outside, her fury carrying her blindly. She was angry with the sorcerer, yes, but she was also hurt. Just as she felt like they were beginning to understand one another and get along, he transformed into his old self once more. He had once again become the cold scoundrel he'd been when he'd approached her in the desert.
Then Red paused to think. Their desert encounter had been such a short while ago. She had been foolish in thinking he had changed. Despite his knowledge of the happenings of the world, his chief concern remained his nocturnal ventures.
"I am a fool," she told herself scathingly.
"I really doubt that." Red looked up sharply to see Loryn standing before her. She smiled weakly.
"That is very kind of you, but I should have known better to expect any great things from that streetwalker," she finished bitterly.
"Is that was he was doing before you found him?" Loryn asked, his eyebrows raised. Red shrugged.
"He may as well have been. He certainly enjoys the company of women. As long as the woman only opens her mouth to-"
"He has hurt you," the druid cut in gently. Red looked up at Loryn. He read her like an open book, saw past her anger and rage to what lies beneath. Not even Lucien had been able to figure her so easily.
"He has, but I prefer to channel it all into anger - to fight back instead of crying like a child," she confided. "I don't believe what he said about me. I am not clockwork, I am not made of stone. I know what I must do, and it does not involve having a partner in my bed each night." The magi paused, then smiled apologetically at Loryn. "I am rambling, forgive me." He waved it off.
"What are new friends for?" he said with a shrug. "We could have some fun with this, though." Red eyed him shrewdly.
"A little tit for tat, if you would pardon the pun," Loryn said, his eyes twinkling mischievously.
With a slap on the rump his only goodbye to Krya the barmaid, Nikko sauntered out of the vacant room they'd temporarily made theirs. The sorcerer was pleasantly spent as he swaggered down the hall to his room. Before his departure with Kyra, Loryn had informed him of his room number and that while he shared the room with Red, there were two separate beds. This had, at first, crimped his plans with Kyra. Should Red walk in on him with the barmaid... well, he would rather not think of the outcome. So Kyra led him to a vacant room, where they discussed primitive matters at great length.
His lust satiated and his prior anger gone, he walked down the flowery hall fully prepared to make nice with his magi friend. He was aware that his words had stung her, and in retrospect, he probably shouldn't have said them.
As he approached the door, preparing his words in his head, he heard voices from within and saw lamplight flickering beneath the door frame. Removing his room key, he jammed it into the lock and opened the door.
"You couldn't have held your discussions until I returned?"
As he took in the scene before him, he simply could not find his voice again. The beds were in each far corner of the room. In the left-most bed were two people - and he knew them. Unmistakable red hair flowed down a smooth back. Large, tanned hands gripped a soft waist. Whispered words that he had heard from countless faceless women slipped from Red's lips with an ease that made Nikko shiver. Loryn smiled, a hand going to her neck and pulling her down. Before their lips could meet, Nikko mastered his voice once more.
"You can leave now, Loryn," he said loudly. Red twisted around lazily, as if she had known he was there. Her bindings still covered her breasts, but she made no motion to hide herself. She locked gazes with the sorcerer for a long minute. Then, with an irritated sigh, she turned back to Loryn and whispered something to him.
Nikko turned on his heel and stepped aside, leaving the door open. he stood outside the room, more than a little shocked. He could hear the shuffling of bedsheets and clothing, of boots being pulled on. More whispering, and then a chuckle from Red. Heavy booted footfalls brought Loryn out of the room. Nikko stood, his arms crossed, his face blank. The druid clapped him companionably on the shoulder.
"She said there was nothing between the two of you. No hard feelings?" he asked cheerfully. Not waiting for an answer, or not needing one, Loryn strode confidently down the hall with a spring in his step that only the 'lucky man' had. His face still carefully passive, he turned and entered the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
Red sat cross-legged on her bed, unashamed, in her bindings and undergarments. Her face was blank, but her eyes were defensive, almost challenging. Without a word, Nikko walked over to his bed and sat down, leaning over to remove his boots. In silence they moved under their blankets and doused their lamps. Each shifted in their respective beds for a few moments, seeking comfortable positions. It was only when the room was completely silent that Nikko spoke up.
"Did Loryn live up so high to your stellar expectations that you took him to your bed so soon?" Nikko asked quietly. At first he was met by only silence, but after a moment, Red responded.
"Did that bar wench fall down to yours?"
No answers were given that night, their silence the only storyteller either needed.
Oh boy. Nikko gets grumpy if he doesn't get some dessert, and Red's out for all kinds of revenge. Hopefully this brought out a new side to Red. She's not all sunshine and buttercups. She's got a cruel side, thanks to Lucien, but why? Well, you'll have to keep reading to find out.
This one was shorter that I expected, but this is just where the chapter ended. As always, please let me know of any spelling errors! Thanks A few quick questions for my readers. Even if you just read and have never posted a reply, I would greatly appreciate if you'd answer these!Who is your favourite character?What do you like most about them?Who is your least favourite character and why?What would you like to see in this story?Which direction can you see it going?