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Black Pearl 03


The Black Pearl of Pharazionby Cobalt JadeChapter 3: The RebelsWe rose later than usual the next morning, well past dawn. Our cave and the hot springs were still in shadow, but sunlight had spread across the valley below. I sat up to admire it, pulling the blanket around my shoulders. These dry, cracked hills hid a lush paradise from the world outside. The pastel colors in the cliffs--pale reds and ochres, lemon golds, pallid grays--contrasted sharply with the emerald greens of the forest below.I built up the fire again as Shadow went to the edge of the cliff to piss. He moved slowly, and stiffly, but it was nothing that would deter a soft day of riding. Still naked, he took up the sword he had appropriated from his captors and strolled to the edge of the terrace."Planning to challenge the sun, to move her rays here to warm us?" I said."Nothing of the sort, Lady Amazon," he said. He raised the sword in both hands and held it over his head, standing on one leg so he looked like a crane. "It is my body I challenge." Slowly he lowered the sword, bringing his leg back, looking for all the world like a slow-motion pantomime, then lifted it again to thrust swift as lightning. "You've never seen battle-dance postures before?"I shook my head no as he thrust, danced and parried, sometimes fast, sometimes slow. The play of muscles in his shoulders and back was magnificent, as was his rump...which was well shaped, neither overly rounded nor overly flat, and that softly bouncing ballsack. I well neigh forgot about the water I was heating. Naked myself, I took up my Pharazii sword and skirted the steaming spring to join him. Among mercenaries, two swords and a casual challenge were all it took to pass the time or warm our muscles for the day. Our swords rang together, a silvery clash of metal. We circled, straining, then parried and thrust again. Clang. Clang. Shadow grinned in fierce delight, tendrils of dark, curly hair sticking to his face. The corded muscles of his arms stood out as he strained towards me, and contracted as he parried. I danced back as he hit hard, then drove him almost to the edge of the terrace with a series of short blows. We did not fight in earnest, but it was part of the game to pretend we were, with showier and more exacting techniques than we would ever use if we were actually fighting for our lives. I tried to give him a tap with the flat of my sword--the signal of the victor--but he thrust me away, and I stepped on a sharp-edged pebble and nearly fell. Only by luck did I catch my balance, and it gave him time to dance back to the pool. No getting distracted! Sweat began to slide down my brow as he went on the attack, moving so quickly I was caught by surprise. My breasts bounced against my chest as I blocked him again and again. I hoped they were distracting him as much as he was distracting me.At that moment the sun slipped over the rocks, filling our terrace with clear morning light. I could only imagine the picture we made to those below, if any were around to look. It was not only the thrill of battle that energized us, it was sexual heat as well. Male warriors have long known how linked battle lust and bedroom lust are, and we amazons know it too...and to bring two warriors together, a man and woman, is to give that energy its highest potential and expression.My nipples strained forward in excitement. My braidlocks bounced on my shoulders like woolly snakes. Shadow looked almost elemental, his unshaven chin a savage reminder of how close a cousin a man was to an animal. I longed to feel that scrape of beard against my neck and jaw, to rub it against my lips.My distraction was my downfall. "Hai!" Shadow shouted, and knocked my sword from my grasp. It rang on the hard stone, tumbling end over end. Before I could do anything else he planted his foot in my midsection and pushed me backwards into the spring.It was a shock, but a delicious one. I came up spluttering."You have lost," Shadow observed, kneeling on one knee by the side of the pool. He folded his arms over his other knee and grinned wickedly down on me. The pose gave me a wonderful view of his cock, which was semirigid with doubt my nudity had contributed too."And what does the victor want?" I asked, though I had a feeling I knew."What any man wants, after a victory." He sat on the edge of the spring, trailing his legs in the water, and spread his thighs a little. The fine hair furred even their insides, growing up to a tightly curled tangle at the base of his cock. Of course I had to service him, as I had lost. While not the usual arrangement among mercenaries, I was quick to note its advantages to the winner."You will not find camp wenches half as skilled as I," I said with a saucy grin. "Now get those hairy thighs apart so I do not strain my back."He obliged me, pulling a face at my order. I rubbed my face on the insides of his thighs, pausing to kiss the pale, unprotected flesh there, which was flushed in rosy patterns from his exertions. His cock rose just a little higher, stiffening and extending. It was a pink color with a blue tone beneath, almost mauve, unusual compared to the dark skinned men I was used to. The light color showed more variation as well, especially from the shaft to the head, which was slightly darker than the rest. I cupped his balls, massaging them within the loose skin. Even here I felt fine hairs prickling my fingers. Like the pink-toned flesh, I found it intriguing.Still squeezing him softly, I licked his shaft up and down, lubricating it with my saliva. I slowly took him in my mouth. Oral gratification is not my preferred way of having sex, yet I enjoy it at times. The act is more fulfilling the closer one is to one's partner, for the main part of the pleasure comes from the man's pleasure, holding him in your mouth, teasing him, drawing out his climax. I suspect the stories male braggarts tell of suck-loving women who climax from the sperm they swallow are merely stories designed to flatter male hubris. No tavern wench or body-seller ever told me such a tale. Not true, either, is the common belief that women must be taught to suck cocks. Most catch on with little difficulty, it being common sense to know not to scrape too hard with one's teeth. As for technique, all it takes is a bit of imagination to project how a tongue would feel on our genitals.That said, I swirled my tongue around his shaft, pressing it firmly into the flesh. I moved my own head in a circular motion, keeping my lips tightly wrapped. Shadow was content with the treatment, not demanding that I take him in my throat, which can get tedious for a long period of time. I thought I would tease him for a while, but whether from the fight, or the early morning hour, he showed every indication of coming, and coming soon. I sucked him more rapidly, my tongue plucking arpeggios across his tumescent flesh. His impending orgasm fed a growing excitement of my own. I looked up at his face. His eyes were half shut; he looked almost like a girl with his pretty cheekbones and mouth. The inarticulate groans he gave excited me further.Behind us came a scrape as if bone on stone.Shadow leapt to his feet, tearing his cock from my mouth, and grabbed his sword. He spun around to face the intruder before I could snap my jaws shut. He raised his sword, but it was only a wild goat, who bleated mournfully at us, then stuck his head back in the porridge pot."There goes our breakfast," I murmured.Shadow set his blade down. "You can never be too careful," he said. "This area is safe because Shezrine thinks it worthless. She doesn't know what the hills shelter inside. But other outlaws may be hiding here, or bounty hunters..."The disturbance came as a rude slap in the face. How vulnerable we had been. We could have been overpowered very easily, bound, and taken away to who knows where.I climbed out of the pool and saved what was left of our breakfast. The mood had been broken by the very real danger we were still in. Still, it hadn't been a wasted experience, even if neither of us received satisfaction. There would be another time.The goat had destroyed the porridge so we ate the remainder of the bread and dried meat, then dressed and broke camp. We carried our equipment back down to the horse, who was at the far edge of his tether munching on the grass. Now that the sun was out, I could see a trail that led down into the valley, and it was very steep. I would have to lead him on a rein with Shadow and I walking. "We usually make the trip with mules," Shadow said. "Still, I think he'll be all right. He doesn't seem like a skittish sort."We headed down the trail in single file, Shadow in front, I and the horse behind. As we descended the tepid runoff from the springs joined other rivulets that became a clear, slow-moving river that looped across the valley floor. Strange birds called from the trees and jumbled honeyvine blossoms fell in loops above our heads, their pale green cups full of sweet perfume. It was hard to see where we headed because of the forest, but Shadow seemed to know. I privately hoped we would not reach the village too soon. We stopped briefly for lunch, then pushed on again. The valley narrowed into a gorge, sending the waters gushing between twin cliffs. After this the land fell again and flattened, and as evening fell we came into cultivated fields. In the distance lay a small group of buildings: the village. Shadow must have been familiar there, for the returning farmers gave him only cursory looks. "Shadow!" one said, raising bushy black eyebrows peppered with white. "What are you doing here? And look at your face! What happened?""I have news for Choven and the others," Shadow said. "Gather them together, and quickly."The farmer nodded and hurried off to inform the village. I saw lanterns and candles being lit in the largest building, which must have served as an informal hall for large meetings. The population began to gather, talking excitedly, and dogs barked.Shadow turned to me and said stiffly, "I have private business here. Choven will find you a room to spend the night and I'm sure some of the goodwives will feed you. In the morning he will give you your fee, and you can be on your way."How cold, this. I was hardly expecting a passionate leavetaking, but I was looking forward to a more meaningful goodbye, and perhaps some explanation of the mysteries that eluded me. "These people are outlaws, aren't they," I said. "They shelter you, and in return you report the Queen's business to them so they can formulate new ways to harass her."He did not deny it, nor did he look sheepish. "How did you know?"I pointed to the nearest house. "See the dog standing guard by the door? It's a Bosian mastiff, known as the outlaw's companion. They have no other use than to protect their masters and kill those who threaten their livelihood. You will never find them among law-abiding folk, for criminals keep their breeding a secret.""We are rebels, not criminals, " he said with a sigh. "You are too clever, Amazon.""Do you truly seek to overthrow the Queen?"He gave me warning look. "If news of this enclave should reach her ears...""I will carry no tales, for I want to help you," I said seriously. "I am a skilled mercenary. Perhaps I can advise you in whatever you are planning.""It is very dangerous--""I have suffered worse dangers than a sex-mad Queen," I said. A figure waved to us from the entrance to the hall. "Well?"He shook his head slightly as if questioning my wisdom, but the look on his face was pleased. I realized he had wanted to ask my cooperation directly, but he was not the sort of man who pressed his wishes on others. "You've just sealed your fate, Lady Amazon. Now, to the meeting."A boy ran up to take of the horse, and we entered the hall. The building was packed, all of the participants engaged in nervous, heated discussion. Some looked like the outlaws they were, but most were plain, herdsmen, wives and daughters. Shadow quickly introduced me to a tall man with a jagged scar on his cheek. "Choven, this is Lady Jozhande Tanimury, the amazon mercenary who saved me from the Queen's men."Choven looked at me intently. He must have never seen a dark-skinned Pharazii before. "Saved, eh? That must have been an interesting story." It was twenty times more interesting than he probably believed. "Are you the leader here?""Well..." he drawled, looked not so sure suddenly. "If any can be said to lead this motley bunch, I do.""I would like to join you," I said.He and Shadow exchanged a look: She can be trusted. "I sense you do not fully understand the implications, warrior woman. But, I accept, Now, Shadow, what news have you from outside?"With this exclamation the room went quiet. Shadow nervously cleared his throat. "Bontatris has fallen," he said.There was a second of even more deathly silence before the shock abated and room began to buzz like an angry beehive. "Bontatris? No!" a woman cried, her voice rising over the others."Shezrine used her sorcery," Shadow said. "There was little the elders of the city, or their armies, could do. Half of it lies in ashes, while the Queen's armies despoil the half that is left. As we speak they are marching off the captured youth of the city to be her slaves."There were shocked cries of outrage throughout the room and not a few of fear. "Will we be next?" said a heavy man in a leather apron, probably a blacksmith. Worry creased his sooty brow."It's not likely tomorrow, or the day after," Shadow said. "But it could happen soon, once Shezrine recoups her losses and starts thinking of other targets. That's why we must move now, and quickly." A large piece of slate had been mounted on the wall, and on this he sketched a crude map with a piece of chalk. "She has the bulk of her armies stationed yet in Bontatris, with outposts here and here on the east-west road. The magical creatures she used to take the city have since been dispersed. The Tarkusian mercenaries are still there, but they won't lift a claw to help her unless they are paid, and that could be a while as she is still sorting through her booty. Of her other cities, Dantavom is too distant to offer immediate aide, and the troops of Lansong are poorly trained, with weak leaders. So you see, her forces are spread very thin, and should we attack here--" he slapped the chalk against the star that was Obn Dhregni--"we may just depose her before help arrives.""She is a sorceress!" someone called out."That is true. And it also true that she can extend her diseased reign ever further across the Riftlands if she is not stopped. If we act, we must act now."A tall, broad-shouldered woman stood up in the back. "I don't know about you, but I want to act," she said in a gruff tone. "Being cooped up in the valley is driving me crazy. Stymphads were made to fly, not shuttle loads back and forth like pack mules!""Stymphads?" I whispered to Choven, but he only gave me a distracted nod, telling me he would answer my question later."Trust the Captain of the Wing to know what she's talking about," Choven whispered. "She is right!""We must all attack together," Shadow reiterated. "Deneir's army, the Hellwings, our allies inside. If we strike jointly, when Shezrine is least expecting it, we may have a chance."A confused babble broke out. "We must send messages to the teamsters and land-pirates..." "Weapons are needed, food, supplies..." "...block the roads from Lansong and Bontatris, so those armies cannot move." I could not make sense of any of it, or tell where I was to fit in, so I turned to Choven for an explanation. "What is happening here?""Rebellion, my lady. One that should have happened a long time ago." He explained. His people, the Hharang, had long lived a quiet life within the hills, trading only rarely with the outside world. They kept a close alliance with Obn Dhregni under Mejdabian rule, giving the city aerial protection with its stymphads and their riders. In return they received what Obn Dhregni was famous for. But when Subbobor Caramaithzes conquered the city the Hharangi suffered a numbing loss of pride. Everyone assumed they had flown off on what remained of their fierce mounts to find more congenial territory. But they had not. "Since then," Choven said, "We have stayed hidden in these hills. In time we discovered that the true line of kings yet survived in the north, and we established contact with Sandarul and later Deneir. Slowly we have watched them gain allies and support. There are powerful noble families inside Obn Dhregni, too, who wish to see Shezrine deposed for reasons of their own, and in the past ten years the noose about her neck has tightened."I nodded, a little overwhelmed at the magnitude of what I found myself involved in, but there was no turning back...whether I was acting for Shadow, the excitement of a fresh conflict, or my own need to earn a living.Shadow continued to field questions. He seemed uncomfortable in a leadership role; he was more of the type to delegate the work that had to be done, a mobilizer and organizer. Still, he had a subtle charisma about him that drew others. I noticed the young women of the village eyeing him like dogs over a juicy bone, though he hadn't changed his clothes or shaved since we got here. They tried, consciously and unconsciously, to attract his attention in little ways...a pout of a lip, an intelligent-sounding question. He gave them respect and a momentary acknowledgment, no more, but I found myself getting jealous. Like a she-panther, I thought my territory had been clearly marked. Then it occurred to me that the color of my skin, and my sword, had marked me to them as an outsider, and therefore no threat as a rival. I resolved to claim what was mine later that night, perhaps to finish what we had started by the hot spring that morning.Shadow excused himself from the group of rebels he was consulting with and gestured me to the door. "I have a mission for you," he said gravely."Why so grim?""Because it is dangerous. Come outside, and we will talk about it."I made excuses to Choven and we walked away from the hall, to a quiet pasture under some tamarind trees. Insects called from the undergrowth and I heard the sweet song of a nightingale. "We need someone to go into Obn Dhregni to deliver our message to the rebels there. Three contacts must be made: the Duke of Ushroez, the temple of Tontaxir, and Shezrine's palace staff, and you must also act as courier between the three. I would go, but I can't; the Queen's men are still looking for me. You, on the other hand, are a stranger, a novelty. Shezrine is fond of hosting foreigners for the amusement of her court, and doors may be open to you that are shut for her citizens. You have a key role to play, a very important one, should you accept it."He clasped my hands in his own, not a lover's gesture but the entreaty of one comrade to another. A dog howled in the distance. If I had known then what was later to befall me, I might have refused. But I was young, and thought I was invincible...and Shadow's manner, intense yet vulnerable, brought out my pride. I would not fail him. "You must give me specifics," I said. "Tell me where these people are, and how I may contact them. And I must carry parchments, of course...""Written messages are too dangerous. They can fall into the wrong hands. You will have to rely on your memory. As to how to contact our allies...well, none of us know that. Our web is tenuous at best. This may help, however." He fastened a single earring in my left earlobe, a dangling feather fashioned of silver. "This will show our allies that you are one of us. They may find you, not the other way around. You must make these contacts within the month, before Wolfmoon is full again."He wanted me to go so much that I could almost taste it. But he would not say so. I sensed another factor at work, too...he had other reasons than the ones he stated. "How do I know if I succeed?""When the city is under siege."An awful thrill rolled down my spine. I had been in danger my last campaign, and in the desert. But never had it been like this, where so much was at stake, and the fate of a kingdom rested in my hands. "We'd best start memorizing," I said, giving my assent. Choven gave us a small cottage to share, with a shy servant girl who had a hot meal ready for us. Shadow drilled me mercilessly, making me repeat the information again and again. He even gave me a bitter-tasting tonic to drink that he said would help with the memorization. When I could repeat the words twelve times without a mistake, he pronounced our work done. The girl cleaned up our table leavings and drew us a bath. Before she left for the night she asked, "Will you both be wanting to be up early tomorrow to prepare for your trip?""Yes," Shadow said shortly, dismissing her. I glanced at him, for I thought I was the only one making the trip, but he gave no explanation. She must have been mistaken, and he had gone along with it rather than correct her. I shrugged and went back to scrubbing my back. I felt the soft sponge slide from my grasp. "Move over," Shadow said, with a light kiss on my shoulderblade.The wooden tub was barely big enough for one, but we made do, drawing our knees up so they poked out of the hot water. "Shall I wash you?""Mm, that would be nice."I had wanted to get my hands on his body again, and this was the perfect way to do it. Slowly I soaped his torso, limbs, chest, the sponge traveling in firm, sensuous circles. His skin had the silkiness and resilience of youth, but there was hard muscle beneath. My concerns slowly dissipated and soon the only tension I felt was sexual tension, and it was a false tension at that, for we both knew exactly how it was going to be resolved.We rinsed off in the second tub, which held tepid water, and dried ourselves with towels of soft linen. I pushed open the door to the bedroom and assumed an inviting position on the bed. The rush mattress responded with a sweet exhalation, a fresh, herblike scent like cut grass in the rain. "I believe we have unfinished business. This morning, by the spring." He slid in beside me, the towel slipping from his waist. He let his fingers trail across my head and cheek as if giving me approval. "Put like that, how can I refuse?"What wickedness we were going to perform upon this innocent painted wooden bed, its linen sheets painstakingly embroidered by peasant fingers. I knelt between his legs and swiftly took him swiftly in my mouth. To keep myself focused I tucked my hands beneath me and drew my knees in, becoming a nude, compact package whose only function was to give him pleasure. I cannot tell you why this particular position aroused me, but it did. I wanted him inside me, this wonderful, elusive man, and although I do not usually swallow mens' sperm, I wanted to this time, just to see how he tasted.Tighter and tighter I drew myself; the moist warmth between my thighs increased with the pressure. I tasted the first droplets of pre-ejaculate and increased the vigor of my tonguing. I raised my rear so he could see my buttocks bob and sway in swift, jerky motions and squeezed my nipples in time with his thrusts. The little bed shuddered with the motions and even the curtain over the window shook. He came with a groan and pulled himself out of my mouth to spray against my chest. I felt the warm, slippery semen coat my breasts. Not to be denied, I scooped some of it up on the tip of my finger and tasted it. My nipples felt ready to burst. Without my consent my fingers began to squeeze them again, the sperm a marvelous lubricant, and I gave an inviting moan.It had the right effect. Shadow pushed me down on the sheets, one hand spreading my legs so his cock could thrust inside. His other hand mauled my breast, then his mouth went down upon it, feasting upon both it and his own emissions. His cock filled me like a wax seal in the neck of a bottle. I arched my back with each thrust, my hands entwined in his hair. The slippery products of our passion all around us now, coating us, making us inhuman.My legs jerked out straight and trembled helplessly as I came, crying out like a banshee.We lay against each other, sodden and satisfied, in the warmth and lightness that follows. The wild passion had alarmed me a little. I reflected it might be the last time I would make love with him, but in the euphoria of the moment all is optimism, and such thoughts are easily brushed aside.Shadow rested his head against my breast, half-asleep, but in the mood for talk. "I have a question for you, Amazon.""Speak.""How is that you wound up here, in the Uplands, hundreds of miles from your people?""It's a long story," I said. "It began with a child's dream..."I told him, the same way I will tell you.


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