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Die Another Day [ATTN: Estel]


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Drak awoke to the feel of a soft naked body lying next to him and a murmur of “Mmm…”


The night before had been quite an adventure, especially after his companion realized it was a bad idea to try to kill him. She certainly knew what she was doing with the pleasurable arts, and he had enjoyed his night much more than he would have expected before entering the hell last night. But now, playtime was over and he had to get back on the road.


Pushing the leg that was draped over his torso off of him, he rose naked from the bed and began to make ready. He wanted a bath before he left. He wouldn’t enjoy the luxuries of civilization again for a while, and he wanted a last relaxing soak and a full breakfast before he had to face the rigors of travel yet again. Looking to the bed, he spoke up politely to the sultry female still resting under the covers as he pulled on his trousers.


“If you want to come with me, you better wake up. I’m ordering a hot bath to be prepared.” With a devilish smile he added, “You are welcome to join me, but don’t be tardy. Either way, we’ve a long way to go to get where you want to be.”


Enjoying an eyeful of tender flesh as she sat up, the blankets falling away from her body, he smiled again. “I’ll be back, shortly. I need to make sure they’ve started the bath. If you have changed your mind about traveling with me, be gone when I get back. I’ll harbor no ill will.”


He had looked before he entered the room to make sure there was only one exit, and the window was too high to jump from. She would have to walk right past him holding his belongings if she wanted to steal. So he wasn’t worried at all, but he had been honest. He understood what she had tried to do, but he had survived and taken his payment. If she chose to leave, he held no grudge. Besides, it would be a shame to have to kill such a tasty treat.


He paused to untie the shield he had woven on her, and walked out of the room to check on the bathwater, shirtless and barefoot.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Rubbing sleep from her eyes, Jes attempted to remember this one’s name.  Drawing a blank she shrugged off the blankets and rolled out of bed.  Unashamed of her nakedness, in fact her walk suggested she might be flaunting herself... again, she followed the Dreadlord through the door to the awaiting tub.


Making quite an act of yawning and stretching, she was definitely flaunting herself, Jes slipped into the other side of the tub.  “Hun, you couldn’t possibly think I’d be letting you get away before you fulfilled your end of the deal.” She grinned wickedly back at his amusement.  “Besides, if I started giving everything,” the inflection on “everything” could have left no doubt in... whoever-it-was’ mind just what she meant by “everything“people might start to think I’m some kind of slut, instead of just a whore.”

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Drak smiled. He was genuinely amused by her attitude, and he certainly approved of the little show she was putting on for him. He admired those who had courage and mental toughness, and he admired women with the lovely curves before and behind that she presented to him so wantonly. Apparently, she was lacking in none of those areas. However, he had no intention of playing the game by her rules.


“I am not surprised,” he admitted truthfully, “that you have decided to join me. You have much to gain, so it was an easy decision. However, you need to understand something quite plainly. You are only alive this morning on my whim. You will only be traveling with me on my whim. I owe you nothing. In fact, many would think I’m foolish for letting you live. I hope I am not mistaken in doing so.”


Pausing, he let the message hit home. I hope I don’t have to make it more clear than that. I do hate slow learners, he thought to himself before he continued. “You promised to be useful to me, and, while your services aren’t essential, they are certainly entertaining. However, you have your work cut out for you. It is a long journey between here and there…”


Sighing relaxedly in the steaming-hot bath water, he reached a hand out to cup her tender flesh. She needed no further invitation, and immediately she began to make his bath even more enjoyable.


After just a few moments, he thought of something and pulled her head away from his body. “What shall I call you? Your real name or another, it makes little difference to me as long as you answer to it. And as long as we understand each other, you may call me Drak. If you get above yourself… well, there’s no need for that, is there? You may continue.”


Her head lowered again with a wickedly delightful smile as she bent and began kissing his body tenderly. He was under no false impressions. She would kill him if she thought it prudent. He understood that clearly. But two could play at that game, and he had already proven who was the better player.

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  • 2 weeks later...

‘Arrogant bastard.’


Jes wasn’t usually one to complain about a little arrogance, but this poor excuse for a Dreadlord was a hop skip and a jump of the line between a little good arrogance and being a downright pig.  This trip was going to be a long one, unless of course she kept him otherwise occupied.  Which wouldn’t be too hard.  Despite thinking himself the closest thing to omnipotent, show him a bit of cleavage, and suddenly he was putty in her hands.  Men, especially, were so easily manipulated.


Lowering herself into the tub and setting about the task of “keeping him otherwise occupied so he’d keep his annoying mouth closed” Jes began to run through a list of particularly inventive ways to kill whoever-he-was.  Things like castration, dismembering and skinning were sitting awfully high on that list and idly, she wondered what it would be like to watch a Trolloc attempt to mate with him.  She winced wickedly.


As if the bastard hadn’t been arrogant enough before, suddenly she was forced to look at his face and listen to some lecture about proper behaviour.  She bit back a comment about father’s sleeping with their daughters and barely hid her scowl.  Blood and ashes, the product of this trip better make putting up with this worth her while.


“Now, now.  It’s hardly clever to ask a girl for her name after you’ve slept with her.”  Of course, Jes had never given him her name, but this pettiness was her only way of annoying him for the time being.

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“Fair enough,” he responded, as he pushed her away and stepped out of the tub. Drying himself off with a towel, he spoke dismissively over his shoulder before leaving her alone with whatever violence she no doubt had in her heart.


“I shall call you Whore, then. Whore, I will be leaving as soon as I finish breakfast. I don’t know if you’ve ever entered the Blight, but travel there is very difficult, to put it mildly. There are a number of things you should have in order to give yourself a chance at surviving such a perilous journey. Aside from me, of course.”


He quickly gave her a short list of essentials, though he didn’t bother to explain any of them. “Also, you would probably find it easier going if you had a spare horse to carry everything on. But be quick about it, because you know how much I’d hate to leave such a fine and trustworthy companion behind.”


Saying his peace, he exited the bath room with a chuckle and returned to his bedroom.


It didn’t take long to gather his things, and within a few minutes he was downstairs eating a hearty, if not especially savory, breakfast. No doubt, Whore was still thinking of ways she would kill him when she finally got what she wanted, but he paid that little mind. Death was as inevitable as the sunrise, and he feared it just as little. He would need to keep an eye on her, without a doubt, but once they were into the Blight proper, if she gave him too much headache and not enough… well, it would be easy to part ways. Until then, he would enjoy what he could, deal with what he must, and ponder on the unknowable.


That, or just talk to his horse.

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These sorts of situations were exactly why Jes killed every man she slept with.  At night, it was all about her.  The thrill of wrapping a man around her finger, leading him blindly up the stairs where he’d think he was in control.  The morning after she could laugh when he never saw what was coming until her knife was planted squarely in his ribs.  In the dark they were two-dimensional faces and bodies who danced around to the strings they didn’t know she pulled.  They weren’t people in the dark; no problems, no families, nothing but lust driven machines.  But in the light of morning they were three-dimensional people who were neither better nor worse than she.


So why all the sex?  Why not just kill them, take their money and get away?  To cure her loneliness?  To find some sort of replacement for the murdered husband she had left in Caemlyn?


“Of course not, it just feels good.” she snarled at the bathwater.  Blood and ashes, this arrogant bastard had her in some state if she was addressing things best left not addressed.


Dipping her head back into the water to wash her hair, she took her time about finishing in the bath in the hopes that she could avoid The Bastard until they had to leave.  She was already determined not to call him by his own name.  It wasn’t that she minded being called Whore, but calling him The Bastard turned his victory to her advantage- she knew his name and he didn’t know hers.  Not that she really had a name anymore... more like she had four.


The room was thankfully vacant by the time she got back.  Dropping the towel, she wriggled into a tight pair of black breeches and tied her dripping hair back in a tail before donning a clean black shirt and coat.  By the time Jes was finished lacing her boots she was armed to the teeth, nearly to the point of clanking when she walked.  Double checking all her sheaths, the Black Widow slipped out of the inn, taking care to avoid notice.


The man, or at least what was left cooling on the inn floor to be discovered soon and preferably after she was long gone, generously funded her little shopping trip.  Taking little time to haggle the price, she bought herself a pair of matching roan fillies whose furious temperaments she had liked.  The stableman had nearly taken back the sale when she requested the cruellest bits he had but done was done, particularly if a little steel was shown.  Throwing a brand-new set of saddlebags over one and a gold-tooled saddle over the other, she took their reins and pulled them down the street after her.  Neither of the animals seemed incredibly pleased with the situation and were determined to voice their displeasure with their teeth, but the flat of one of her quillion daggers across the beasts’ noses quickly discouraged them.


A month’s supply of biscuits, beef jerky, salt pork and cheese wrapped in oil cloth went into her saddlebags along with three canteens of spirits and five bottles of brandy.  With the way things seemed to be going with the Bastard, she was likely to go through them before the week was out.  Right alongside the food and liquor went clean bandages, a few poultices, thread, needles and a great deal of herbs that functioned as her medicine kit.  Perhaps in a was a bit of a dichotomy for a murderess and torturer to be skilled and actually enjoy the art of healing as much as the art of killing but...  Whatever kept her alive, right?


Copper flipped through the air instead of silver, much to the stableboy’s dismay.  However, it was not in his prerogative to complain when she idly flipped out one of the mini-seaxes to trip her nails.  A curse followed her into the inn’s commonroom as one of the fillies took out her anger on the unfortunate stableboy’s hand.


As she had suspected, Drak was lazing about the commonroom with the remains of his breakfast.  Slipping into his lap easily, Jes quickly had his full undivided attention.  “Well, my love,” calling him that made her die a little inside, defiantly time to start calling him just bastard instead “I’m ready to go.  And might I suggest we make some haste before the innkeeper finds the little surprise I left him.”

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  • 3 weeks later...

Drak gave her a disgusted look as Whore plopped into his lap. Her lack of tact was entirely unacceptable. But before he could say the words that were on the tip of his suddenly barbed tongue, her words sank in and he pushed her unceremoniously off his lap. She landed awkwardly on the floor with a soft thump and her eyes lit up in anger, but before she could respond he was kneeling over her.


His words were soft, like a sword being drawn from its sheath is soft, and pitched for her ears alone. “Tell me. Now.”


Apparently she could use that pretty head of hers for something besides kissing on men, because she didn’t argue. However, what she told him did NOT make him any happier.


“Stay here.” His latest command was as softly spoken as his first, like a dagger slitting a throat is soft. She stayed.


He climbed the steps two at a time, and entered the room next to where he had slept. Just as Whore had described, some mindless idiot had fallen for her charms and paid for her services with his life. Lifting the corpse with Air and opening the window with his own hands, he crafted a tunnel of sorts with Air, as well, wrapping it around the body and sending it out the window and up above the roof of the building. Then he caressed Fire and forced it into the tunnel.


The body burned to ash in a matter of moments, the smoke forced out the tunnel and dispelled in the morning breeze. Releasing the flows, he left the room more empty than he had found it. Nothing was left of the meat the man had become with his death, except a slight amount of dust. It was a poor monument to a poor fool, but nothing less than what he deserved.


Walking down the stairs he wove a shield of Spirit around Whore, before she did something else foolish. The look of pure hatred in her otherwise lovely face suggested she might do just that, and he didn’t want to clean up two messes this morning. He approached the bartender and looked directly into the man’s eyes. The sudden gulp and nervous wringing of the barkeep’s hands told Drak that his look was having its desired effect.


“You never saw either of us.” It wasn’t a question, but the suddenly dry-mouthed bartender stuttered hurriedly, “Y-yes, milord.”


The Dreadlord reached into his pouch and dropped a shiny gold mark on the bar. It was more than the man would likely see in a year. A little honey to go with the fear should keep his mouth shut. And with barely more than a glance toward Whore, and the crook of a finger to tell her to get a move on, he exited the “inn.”

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  • 1 month later...

The unceremonious fwump with which she hit the ground ignited another level of heat in the fiery rage that had been kept a glowing ember since the moment she had met this aggravating narcissist.  Two individuals of such narcissistic nature- ‘This town ain’t big enough fer the two of us.’  Unfortunately, last time she had tried to rid the town of its testosterone god, she had had to result to appeasing his testosteroney nature.


The command with which he gave his command was so awe-inspiring that she couldn’t help but drag the story one with as much sarcasm as humanly possible.  And if the first order wasn’t enough to have her breathless, on the floor, in absolute adulation... Yeah, right, the only reason her knife wasn’t sticking so handsomely out of his chest was because he could stop it with the One Power and then she’d be very, very dead.  Unless, of course, he was idiot enough to keep her around as his concubine, having exacted some price, like maybe a hand.  Jes wasn’t exactly thrilled about losing so useful a thing as her hand or her freedom or her life, so she simply kicked over his vacated chair and took another, in which she lounged to petulantly rebel against his omnipotent authority.


(The Black Widow’s sarcastic commentary of the situation was certainly not amusing to anyone except her esteemed self, but it was a small way with which to subvert the respect this bastard, whom she had so stupidly picked to draw into her web only to be caught in his hunter’s trap, seemed to expect out of everyone and their sister.)


By the time the Bastard had returned from taking care of her little mess, she had her boots up on the table, toast in one hand and beer in the other.  He seemed to ignore her adolescent-esque display of “you so don’t control me”, which only aggravated her more.  Dumb bastard was going to pay for this a thousand times over when she learned to control this saidar thing.  And Jes knew exactly which body part she would mutilate first.


At the crook of his finger, she took her time in stuffing the remaining toast into her mouth and emptying the tankard to wash it down.  She stretched lazily before finally heading out the door that had already slammed at his back.  Too bad it didn’t slam on him.  If only she could control the wonderful One Power that would earn her an eternity of fame, fortune and a nice shiny throne covered in his skin...


Unfortunately, he was not exactly in dire need of her presence on the way to Shayol Ghul, whereas she neither knew the way nor had the ability to protect herself from the horrors of the Blight.  So, by the time she got to the stable, he was already on his way out.  Maintaining as much dignity as one could while rushing to saddle and mount their horse to chase after a bastard who really did not deserve the ego-stroke of having so glorious a woman as herself rushing after him, Jes was out of the stable and through the town at a gallop.  All the while maintaining a steady stream of curses foul enough to make Bouncer proud.

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