(A thread of stories that take place in the savage land of Vaniria. If there is interest in this story, I’ll post more. Feedback also appreciated.)
Ambush at Icefall Pass
(gory combat, blood, piss)
The shieldmaiden glimpsed her opponent through the snow drifts.
The warrior, clad in mail and fur, stood amidst the bodies of her fallen comrades. Underneath the half-helm, baleful blue eyes glowered at Enyara from across the field. “You will pay for the blood you’ve spilled!”
Enyara exhaled from exhaustion. “I’ve killed five of you already. Let’s call it a day.”
“No,” said the warrior. She drew two hand axes from her belt and brandished the broad shafts in her grip. “Blood pays for blood. Prepare to die.”
“So much for diplomacy.” Enyara brushed an orange curl from in front of her eyes and squared up to face her opponent. Her blade was slick with blood and her shield battered, to say nothing of her body. A red cut glistened wetly on her left arm and she felt the bruises on her other arm and chest whenever she moved.
She glanced around at the battlefield. Slaughter was a word too inadequate to describe what had taken place. There was not an empty patch of snow anywhere to be found. Bodies, battered weapons and broken shields lay scattered about across the icy plain, juxtaposed or heaped together in haphazard piles. Neither side had come away the victor. Towards the end, she had begun to slay whoever had come at her, unable to tell the difference between friend or foe.
Her last opponent stalked through the snow. The mail hauberk she wore was splattered with blood and the axes she hefted dripped with gore. She moved, like a predator, and Enyara was the prey.
The redhead raised her shield and pressed forward. She kept a close eye on her enemy over the rim of her shield and pivoted her body to meet the warrior. The woman moved with a swiftness that dismayed her, darting and ducking from her swings. Enyara thrusted her blade forward and the enemy caught it on the edge of her axeheads. Her sword was wrenched from her, her shield pulled down by the twin axes and a sharp kick planted her on her ass. The impact knocked the wind out of her and she fell on her back to stare up at the white sky.
Her strength failed her. Her muscles refused to budge. She could only watch as the rival warrior loomed over her, a phantom of death, covering her with her shadow. “Any last prayers before I send you to the Eternal Hall?”
Enyara sighed and turned her head away. “I pray that you will put me out of my
misery, for you stink to the high heavens.”
She never felt the blow. A faint twang and a muffled thump turned her attention to her would-be executioner. The warrior stood clutching an arrow that had embedded itself into her neck. A thin crimson trickle spilled down her throat to stain her ruined mail. She stared ahead, eyes wide and mouth gaping, before she fell over, out of Enyara’s view.
A slim, dark-haired archer walked up to her then, with a longbow in her hands and a pearly white smile. “You look like you could use some help.”
She did not care to question her good fortune or her rescuer. She held out her hand for the archer to take. “I’m Enyara. I owe you a drink.”
“Anya.” She pulled her up. “I’ll take you up on that.”
* * *
“You know we’re walking into an ambush, right?”
Enyara cast a backward glance at her companion, the slim, dark-haired archer who called herself Anya. Her breath mingled with the flakes that drifted down into her hair, like powdered silk. Her face was red with chill and snot dribbled down her nose.
“If you want to go back down to the killing fields, be my guest.”
Anya sniffled and wiped her nose. “Point taken. Still, keep your eyes open. They had to have posted scouts.”
The path ahead was blanketed in white and the jagged spires of the mountains loomed over them on either side, casting long shadows in the snow. There were sparse clusters of evergreens and thickets along the sides of the wide pass and the snow fell down slow but thick so that you had trouble to see more than a few meters ahead. At the end of the pass was a small stretch of woods but they were too far to be concerned with it now.
“How’s your arm?”
Enyara glanced at the cut on her shield arm. An enemy’s blade had sliced clean through the leather and fur, and a bright red mark had been left. The bandage was soaked through, as crimson as the wound it was covering. “I’ve had worse.” She shrugged, batting an orange curl out of her eye. “Let’s worry about getting out of this pass. Then you can worry about my cut.”
Anya chewed her bottom lip. There was a cluster of freckles across the bridge of her nose that danced whenever she scrunched her cheeks. “Just keep it covered, ok?”
The redhead nodded and pressed on. It was slow-going through the deep snow. Each step sucked in her boots and the cold seeped through the fur. Her arm stung from the wound, the first hunger pangs had started to strike and she was sore from her battle bruises.
“You think anyone else survived,” asked Anya, after the silence stretched.
“Doubt it. That battle was a slaughter.”
Anya sighed. “That’s the last time I fight for a southern clan. Those sorry bitches didn’t know which end of the sword to hold.”
Enyara shrugged. She had been paid to fight, not to win. A clan’s fortunes on the battlefield were of no concern to her. The trek dragged on but inch by inch they crossed the pass. The path grew steeper and narrower along the edge and the first few pines of the woods came into view.
“We made it,” cried Anya.
Three figures emerged from the wood. From between the snow drift, Enyara glimpsed their arms and armor. They wore no colors or standards on their outfits.
“Brigands,” Enyara said. “Get behind me.” Enyara drew her sword. The blade rasped out of its scabbard, gleaming silver in the wintry sun. The foremost of the trio was armed in a mail hauberk that ended at her knees, affording only a sliver of pale, uncovered flesh. Her boots were studded leather, stuffed with fur and in her hands she wielded a shortsword and round shield. The woman shouted to her comrades and charged ahead.
Enyara heard the twang of a bowstring behind her. An arrow sailed through the air toward the esthuceon-clad bandit only to embed itself beneath the rim of her shield. “Damnit,” muttered Anya. “Can’t aim today.”
“Focus on the other two.”
A second brigand had emerged from behind the leader, a gargantuan warrior clad in wolf furs and little else. She hefted a savage, long-hafted axe with a curved steel head and a nasal helm shielded her head from harm. Enyara glimpsed the rippling flesh and blond pigtails that hung from underneath the helm before she was beset upon by the bandit leader.
Her brown-haired opponent opened with a forward slash. Enyara watched where the tip of the blade fell and raised her shield to meet the blow. Her enemy’s steel clanged against the rawhide body of her aegis, sending a harsh shock to reverberate up her arm. She gritted her teeth, hissed as the wound in her arm flared up. Her blade remained at rest; she needed to conserve her strength and wait for an opening to exploit.
The berserker came upon her then, hefting her axe above her head and bringing the axeblade down with a savage overhead strike. Enyara threw her shield arm forward, despite the pain it caused, and struck the brute’s hands with the rim of her shield. The blow missed her by an inch and landed instead in the snow. She thrust her sword forward into the woman’s naked thigh, punching through supple flesh with ease. She twisted the embedded sword and wrenched it out amidst a red spray and caught the leader’s strike against the edge of her own blood-slick blade.
The berserker fell back with a howl of rage, clutched her gushing wound as it spurted blood onto the snow. Enyara brought her shield to bear, catching the brunette brigand’s attack in her peripheral. The blow bounced off the boss of her shield and left Enyara’s enemy open for a brief moment. She lifted her sword arm and with a sideways slash severed the bandit’s head from her shoulders in a crimson spray. The shield-clad brigand’s headless body stood dumbly on trembling knees, blood spurting out of the stump of her neck. A steady stream of urine spilled down her leg to mingle with the blood-stained snow and the corpse crumpled into a twitching, shivering heap of flesh and mail.
Enyara took a breath and glanced behind her. Anya was wrestling with the third bandit, attempting to bring her dagger down into the other woman’s chest. The redhead turned her attention to the berserker, who had sunk to a knee, a hand pressed over her bleeding thigh. The pig-tailed savage snarled at her, reaching for her fallen axe. “I’m going to gut you, ginger bitch.”
The berserker howled and charged forward with renewed vigor, as if she had not just been stabbed in the leg. Enyara raised her shield to catch the blow, only to have it wrenched from her grip when the axehead hooked over the rim. A boot knocked the wind out of her gut and set her on her back into the cold snow. Her foe stood over her, axe in hand, with a victorious grin. As the axe came down, Enyara gathered the rest of her strength for one last defense. She rolled to the side just as the axehead crashed into the snow and sprang forward, sword raised, toward the goliath.
Enyara severed the blonde’s forearm with a quick stroke. The bandit stared at her spraying stump with wide-eyes shock. She had time only to gasp before Enyara’s sword plunged into her heart and ended her life. The giant’s eyes crinkled in agony and a pained wheeze left her bloodied lips. Enyara wrenched her sword out, sent the berserker tumbling into the snow. Blood gushed out of the open wound in dark rivulets, pooling under her chest. The bandit gurgled, coughed up gobs of blood and mucus, and groaned in agony before her eyes glazed over and went blank. A stream of urine leaked from beneath her fur skirt moments later and Enyara watched with amusement as the powerful cords of muscle in her thighs tensed and quivered.
The shieldmaiden fell to a knee, the last of her strength spent. The snow looked soft and clean, like a pillow, and her eyes dropped from exhaustion.
“Enyara! Help me!”
Her eyes snapped open. She looked to find Anya, laying in the snow, holding her attacker’s knife away from her own throat. Enyara threw her shield to the side and stumbled forward to the last bandit. She wore a leather midriff and skirt that left her slim belly bare. So engrossed in attempted murder was she that she did not notice Enyara come up behind her. The shieldmaiden buried her sword in the small of the brigand’s back and dragged her blade across the torso. The scout screamed in pain, dropped her knife and clutched her belly, trying and failing to hold her intestines in. Enyara wrenched her blade out, raised it and lopped off the raven-haired head. It tumbled in the snow, with wide, bloodshot eyes and the headless corpse collapsed in a pool of piss and blood and dopey viscera.
Anya stared at Enyara in wide-eyed silence.
“Come on. Let’s...”
“Whoa,” said Anya, catching her before she fell. “Easy. I’ve got you.” She had a look of joy and admiration. “You saved my life. I could kiss you right now!”
“Kiss me later. Let’s get out of here before more show up.”
Anya pecked her on the cheek and threw her arm around Enyara’s shoulder. “I think there’s a village on the other side of those woods. I’ll patch you up there.”
Enyara offered a weak smile, leaned her weight on the slender archer. Her sword and shield were gathered up and they walked on, leaving the bodies to cool in the snows of the mountain pass.
“Looks like I owe you a drink now.”
The redhead mumbled an assent. She was already daydreaming about the warm bed and hot mug that awaited her at the end of the journey.
Very nice, I've got a soft spot for gory combat stories.
Thank you for this. I have been waiting for some good old female combat based stories for ages. Lit is just full of Underage/Scat/gay and futa stuff these days...
Nothing wrong with those but it’s just not for me. This however hits all the right places, please continue!
Enyara was content with the world.
She laid in a bed of furs, sipping mulled ale in front of a crackling hearthfire. She was warm, the aches had dissipated and her life was no longer in mortal danger. She considered these good tidings.
The ginger woman glanced at the empty bed across the room. Anya had gone out to hunt, in order to pay the innkeep for an extended stay. The raven-haired archer had patched her up well, with a fresh bandage for her arm and herbal salves for her bruises/ Enyara did not know why the girl had chosen to save her but the desire to know faded with each passing hour. A companion was good to have on the road, regardless of the circumstances. She was not going to look a gift from the gods in the mouth.
She sighed in contentment, snuggled up into her bundle of furs. The flames in the hearth licked the wood and stone and she gazed into the hypnotic tongues of blazing orange light, feeling its warmth suffuse her and settle into her bones. Her eyes drooped, the world darkened and sleep claimed her.
She awoke an hour later to the soft patter of bare feet on stone. A small, dark-haired shadow stalked into the room, standing in the doorway with a knife in hand. Enyara rubbed the sleep from her eyes, to see who had disturbed her. "Mmm...Anya? Is that you?"
"No, deserter," replied the icy voice. "I am Laneth and I am your death."
A cold shiver washed over her. She glanced to her sword, leaning against the hearth, too far to reach. She sat up and shrugged off her furs as the stranger stepped into the light. Auburn-haired and tan, Laneth cut a strong figure. Light danced on her arm muscles and the freckled skin of her face. She wore a black robe with the skirt cut on both sides to reveal supple legs. Her slender feet stepped lightly on the stone and her eyes, green, blazed with hate. "You killed many loved ones today, deserter."
Enyara groaned. "Not this again," she muttered. Her eyes darted to the knife on the bedside stool. "What is it with you southerners and your blood feuds?"
"If you were a true Scotian, you'd know their sacred importance." Laneth lunged forward and swiped the knife from Enyara's reach. It clattered to the stone floor in front of the hearth. "You should be grateful that a priestess of the all-mother has chosen to end your life. I will ensure your spirit's safe passage to the afterlife."
"Oh, that's what you are?" Enyara watched her toned thigh as it pressed into the bed. The priestess threw a leg over her and straddled her, knife in a backwards grip. "Whose kin did I kill this time?"
"My sister!" Laneth pinned the shieldmaiden's hands above her head into a vise grip. "Survivors from the battle told me how you slew her and then fled from the field."
Enyara struggled against the priestess's grip. The woman was much stronger than she appeared. Her mind flashed briefly to the blonde warrior with the twin axes who had died to Anya's arrow. "Your sister attacked me," she insisted. "I tried to warn her!"
Laneth clamped a hand down on Enyara's mouth. "Be silent, coward. Embrace your death."
She felt the cold kiss of the blade against her throat. Laneth closed her eyes, lips moving in silent prayer as she moved the knife closer. Enyara braced herself and threw her head forward into Laneth's face.
The priestess howled and clutched her nose. "Heretic," she screeched, as blood dripped down her lips. "You will not escape retribution!"
Enyara shoved her off the bed and rolled away, towards the hearth and her fallen knife. She came up to her feet, blade in hand, and faced her assailant.
Laneth wiped her nose, with a baleful glare in her eyes. She charged forward, knife raised, toward the object of her hate. Enyara sidestepped and slammed her knee into the priestess's gut.
"Oof!" Laneth doubled over and leaned on her. She grabbed a handful of auburn air, forced her knee into the priestess's face and swung her fist at Laneth's jaw. She felt the bone break against her knuckles as the punch forced the woman to the floor.
Laneth fell on her stomach and laid there, groaning and writhing against the stone.
"Give up," said Enyara, breathless. "I'm not...going to warn you again."
The priestess struck out her leg in a blind kick, faster than Enyara could track. She clutched her crotch in a silent scream as waves of agony washed over her body. She tried to move, to rise, only to collapse against the stone.
Laneth struggled to her feet. "The goddess gives me strength," she cried, as she sent a swift kick into the redhead's face.
The shieldmaiden's vision exploded with stars and she tasted coppery blood on her tongue. She scrambled to rise, only to fell fingers digging into her scalp. "Don't struggle. You'll only make this worse."
She felt again the icy steel of the knife. Enyara threw her arm back in a desperate defense and closed her fingers around thin locks of hair. Her attacker's howls spurred her on. She pivoted on her hip and kicked Laneth in the gut. The priestess fell back against the mantle of the hearth, dropped her knife. Enyara rose up, grabbed the auburn head and slammed it once, twice, three times against the hard stone. Her hands came away bloody.
Laneth fell to her knees, groaning, neck bent at an awkward angle. She slumped in Enyara's grip and became like dead weight.
The shieldmaiden took hold of the priestess's head. "I warned you," she said, as she wrenched Laneth's neck. The priestess cried out in dazed shock, scrabbling for purchase along Enyara's arm. With a savage twist, she snapped the woman's neck. The sickening crunch of split bone bounced off the walls of the room, followed by a shrill peeling as the spine detached at the base. A shudder wracked Laneth's body and she twitched and jerked with a sudden violence. Urine lapped against the stone floor, ran down her supple thigh and pooled underneath her knees. Enyara wrung her neck the other way, to the sound of snapping vertebrae, and shoved the dead priestess to the ground.
She stumbled back to her bed with a sigh, looked up at the ceiling and at the twitching corpse. "Anyone else need to be killed today?"
The gods did not answer and neither did Laneth. She laid on her stomach, stared blankly at a spot on the wall next to Enyara's head, her eyes frozen in bloodshot shock. A drooling tongue hung out of a slack mouth and the muscles in her arms and thighs tensed as the dying nerves fired off at random.
Looking upon the corpse, bathed in sweat and the warm glow of firelight, the shieldmaiden felt a flicker of primal excitement in her breast. She never knew a corpse to be alluring; it was strange to think of one in that way. The arousal faded, replaced by an onset of weariness and she shook her head, as if coming out of a daze. She threw the furs over herself and let sleep swallow her up.
* * *
Anya returned, an hour later, from a successful hunt to find a dead body on the floor and Enyara snoring in a bundle of furs.
"What the..." She looked to the dead priestess, the back of her head bloody and smashed, her neck blue-black from internal bleeding.
Anya shook her head in exasperation. She figured it unwise to wake the sleeping redhead; it was clear enough what had happened. The archer grabbed hold of the corpse by the ankles and dragged her out of the room.
How was she going to explain this to the innkeep?
(I don't think I'm gonna write a chapter this long again. Enjoy!)
The Witch of Grimfall Barrow
(gory combat, strangle)
The girl swayed from the end of a rope on the branch of the ancient oak tree in the middle of the village.
She could not have been older than fifteen, by Enyara’s estimation. Her willowy blonde hair swayed with her body, pale and discolored from the cold, and urine still glistened wetly on the inside of her thigh.
“You two ought to be hanging up there with her,” said the old village matron beside them. She had a face like shriveled grapes and the voice to match but her eyes gleamed with an intelligence that none could doubt.
The proposition both frightened and aroused Enyara. She shot a quick glance at the dead teenage thief, bit down on her bottom lip. “My life was threatened. I defended myself.”
“Yes, that much is clear,” retorted Anya. She had her arms folded and a look of complete unamusement.
Enyara’s eyes darted between the archer and the matron. Fat snowflakes drifted down from an early dawn sky, silent, like shadows and her breath misted in the cold morning air. “Is it my fault she wanted to kill me?”
“She was a good priestess.” The matron flexed her fingers and spat into the snow. “Laneth was well within her rights to pursue a blood feud against you. Since you killed her and she has no family to avenge her, you are absolved of your debt...”
Enyara breathed a sigh of relief.
“...to her but not to me.”
Enyara’s face fell. “You can’t just find another priestess?”
“Just tell us how we can repay you,” interjected Anya. She pinched the shieldmaiden in the side as she stepped up to the matron. “We’ll do whatever is required.”
The old woman’s gaze flickered between the two of them, like a cat before two mice. She worked her shrewd mouth into a half-frown and spat. “East of here is an old barrow. Grimfall Barrow. Recently, a witch by the name of Sana has taken up residence in the barrow. She has herself a little cult that kidnaps people from our village and sacrifices them to some dark god. We know this because one of her captives escaped and ran back here.”
“Why has no one done something about it,” asked Enyara.
The matron narrowed her eyes, lips curled in a sour frown, as if she’d just caught a whiff of something foul. “Hard to do anything when your warriors went off to die,” she grumbled. “I heard that you slew a dozen of ours yourself. A witch and her little followers should be light work for you.”
Enyara made a mental note to never come this far south in Scotia again. She chewed anxiously on her bottom lip, glanced at the swaying corpse and the matron. “Ok,” she said, after a brief silence. “We’ll help with your witch problem.”
The old woman offered a smile that was not at all warm. “Good. I knew you’d see reason.” She turned on her heel and stalked off in the direction of a small cabin. “Bring back her body as proof and consider your debt forgiven.”
She watched the matron disappear into her cabin. A thin column of smoke drifted out of the chimney to join the other smoke trails of the mud huts and cabins of the village beyond.
Anya glared at her, trying and failing not to laugh. “We get out of this alive, I’m taking you somewhere you can’t cause trouble.” She pokes Enyara in the ribs. “Come on, heretic. We’ve got a witch to hunt.”
Enyara flinched away from the finger, her cheeks hot from blushing. She checked the sword at her hip and the shield on her back and trailed off after her dark haired companion.
* * *
The narrow, wooded path leading into Grimfall Barrow was guarded by a tall woman with a shaved head and a snake tattoo running down the length of her spine. She was stark naked, tanned, wielding a wooden club in her hands. Her back was turned, her attention on some unseen thing.
“Easiest shot I’ll make all day,” remarked Anya, as she shifted through the bushes. She had replaced her midriff with a leather, sleeveless vest and a pair of loose skin-colored breeches. She fingered the feather on the arrow shaft resting against the string of her longbow.
Enyara glanced down at her leather brigandine and her well-worn travel boots. Goosebumps rose along with the freckles of her exposed knee. Had she not fought with a shield, she suspected she would have lost her legs long ago. She scooter beside Anya to a more comfortable position in the bush. The low light of the early morning made sight a touch difficult but her eyes were good enough to see the naked ass before her. “Well, take it then. The sooner we get this done, the better.”
“Relax, ‘yara.” She pulled the arrow back taut on the bowstring and lined up the cultist in her sights. Enyara could not help but notice the way her back arched as she aimed the shot, the way her fingers closed around the end of the arrow and her eye closed to sight the target. It was art in motion.
The arrow snapped forward with a twang. She watched it sail through the air and sink into the cultist’s neck. The naked woman tensed, dropped her club and her hands flew up to clutch the arrowhead sticking out of her throat. Even from the bushes, Enyara heard the quiet gurgles of guzzled blood. She was no doubt trying to call to her comrades in the barrow but they would not hear the soft gasps of a ruined throat. The cultist fell to her knees, hands still at her neck, blood seeping down her chest. The snake tattoo was slick with perspiration from her desperate struggle and her naked body glistened in the low light of dawn.
“Go,” said Anya. “Bring her back here before anyone comes to investigate.”
Enyara crept out of the bushes and along the path to the dying cultist. Coming upon her, she wrapped her arms under the woman’s breasts and dragged her back to their position. The cultist’s head lolled back to look at Enyara, her eyes wide with pain and panic, frantic gurgles bubbling up from her punctured throat. The shieldmaiden felt a shock of arousal at the sight and despite herself, capped a feel of the victim’s breast. The tender flesh yielded in her hand, the nipple stiffened under her thumb. The cultist shuddered, reached for Enyara’s hand in a brief touch before going slack in her grip. Her eyes, grey, unfocused and her mouth relaxed, as did her bladder, spraying a yellow stream down the path and her thigh.
Enyara deposited the fresh corpse beside Anya. Rustled bushes and leaking urine filled the silence.
“I don’t usually go for buzzed hair,” Anya remarked. “But she’s hot.”
The archer flipped over the dead cultist and caressed the snake tattoo that ran along her spine. “Nothing I’ve ever seen before. Have you?”
Enyara shrugged. “Maybe it’s the symbol of their little cult.”
The corpse twitched, muscles in the arms and legs tending as the last vestiges of life left the body. There was nothing left for the cultist to tell them so they ventured on along the path. A wide curve along a stretch of thick pines led them to a thicket, on the other side of which was a path leading up to a set of ancient stone steps. The entrance to the barrow was a black iron slab, covered by a runed archway, illuminated by twin torches. Two cultists stood guard on either side of the slab, both naked, brandishing large wooden clubs. Their heads were shaved as the others had been and they bore the same snake tattoos, one on the arm and the other slithering between plump breasts.
“I’ll take these two,” Enyara said, unsheathing her sword. The blade rasped out of the scabbard, pale silver in the morning light. “Cover me, yea?”
“I’ve got your back.” Anya flipped another arrow out of her quiver and rested it against the bowstring as she snuck through the bushes. “Go on.”
Enyara slung her shield over her shoulder and stepped noisily through the thicket. The two guards snapped to attention as she emerged from the bush, stalking forward with clubs in hand. She crept forward, slow and deliberate, eyes on them over the rim of her shield. The cultist on her left made the first move, with a swift lunge and an overhead strike. Enyara bounced the blow off the boss of her shield, pivoted her right leg forward and thrust her sword through the attacker’s neck. The steel punched through flesh with the ease of a hot knife through butter and the edge of her blade came away slick with blood. The cultist clutched her split throat with wide eyes and wet, crimson hands. She fell over, gurgling, and collapsed against the crumbled stone steps.
The remaining guard, of the snake between her breasts, had circled around Enyara. She has just enough time to bring her shield around and up to catch the club before it smacked into the back of her head. The shock of the blow reverberated up her arm. Through gritted teeth, she pushed back against her enemy’s hold and swiped low with an underhanded slash. The cultist screeched as she fell down on the severed stump of her leg. Blood spurted violently onto scant snow and crushed pine needles. Enyara drew back her red-slick blade and thrust forward between the cultist’s breasts. Her sword met resistance as it punched through to the heart but she pushed forward on the pommel, buried her steel almost to the hilt before she wrenched it out.
Snake-breasts stared up at her with wide, bloodshot eyes. Feeble hands clutched at the sword in her chest, as if to pull it out but she was lost to pained gurgles, coughing up gobs of blood and trembling weakly on the ground. Enyara wrenched the sword out amidst a red spray and left the cultist to die in agony.
Anya stepped out of the bushes moments later, arrow still on the bowstring. "You didn't need me at all." She glanced at the bodies and whistled in appreciation. "Handy work."
Enyara shrugged. "No trouble." She stepped over the corpse of the snake-arm cultist, sprawled against the steps, and examined the black slab. "These runes have to be at least centuries old."
The archer fell in step beside her. "A scholar, eh?" She touched the runework with delicate fingers. "Aye. I'd say this barrow has been here awhile."
The shieldmaiden felt along the slab, found a groove in the metal. "Help me lift this."
Together, they pulled the slab away from the entrance where the stench of centuries-old decay rushed up to meet them. Enyara's nostrils flared and she sneezed.
"You alright, warrior? Wouldn't want you dropping dead at a few old bones."
The redhead sniffled and stepped into the barrow. The first room was a burial chamber in which an ancient coffin laid, of the same black iron as the slab. The runework on the coffin was inlaid with faded gold and the husks of long-dead flowers lay scattered across and below it.
"There are usually treasure hoards in barrows like these," Anya remarked. "Maybe we'll get lucky."
Enyara surveyed the room. There were no other visible entrances among the moss-covered, crumbling stones. She glimpsed no slabs or doorways to other rooms. Most barrows were small like Grimfall, consisting of only a main chamber and perhaps a side room or two for the entourage. Her eyes sought a hidden entrance, a clue to the other chambers that she knew to be within.
"You feel that?" Anya stepped closer to the coffin, perched down beside it. "A draft. Coming from under the coffin."
Enyara joined her beside the iron sarcophagus and felt a cool gust of air. She caressed the bottom of the coffin, found a groove and pushed. The iron groaned against the stone but gave way to reveal a trap door. "Nice work."
The archer smirked. "What would you do without me?"
She opened the wooden door and peered down into the hole. A makeshift ladder had been erected into a tunneled out rock, leading further down into the barrow. She glimpsed torchlight and flickering shadows on the other end. "I'll climb down first."
Enyara turned and descended down the ladder. She found herself in a stony, torch-lit corridor that led into an adjacent chamber. There was a woman, ginger-haired, dressed in a low-cut robe. She was bent over a book and bottles of potions at a candle-lit table. There was a knife in a crude leather sheath, strapped to her slender, freckled thigh. Enyara drew her sword and crept forward on silent steps. She felt rather than heard Anya drop down the ladder behind her.
The ginger-haired cultist was whispering over the book, running her hands over the potions. Enyara looped an arm around her neck, hand clamped over her mouth and ran her through with her sword. The blade burst out of the cultist's chest and the shieldmaiden felt her vocal cords humming against her hand as the the girl screamed into her palm. Enyara reached down and deftly drew the knife out of the cultist's thigh holster. She slashed the girl's throat with a flick of her wrist and shoved her to the ground.
"Never took you for a sneaky type," said Anya. "She was a pretty one. We could have had fun with her."
"I'm prettier." She glanced down at the writhing cultist. The girl's green eyes bulged in terror, her hands grasping at a bleeding throat. Beneath the hem of the robe, she glimpsed a hairless pink pussy, glistening not with urine but some clear, slick wetness.
"That you are," purred Anya. "Let's move on. I don't think that was our witch."
Enyara led the way into an adjacent chamber with a bed and a bookshelf. The room beside it held two other robe-clad cultists, one blonde and the other brunette. The blonde was sleeping under a fur bedroll, the brunette bent over a mortar and pestle. She gasped when she saw Enyara step through the room but she was too slow. The shieldmaiden closed the distance between them with a lunge and brought her sword up in a diagonal slash. The cultist froze, stock-still and shivering, her eyes fixed in panic, her expression transfixed in shock. The upper half of her torso sloughed off her body, like slime, and collapsed to the ground. Ropey intestines and viscera, pink and blood, dangled from the split belly, oozing out into the stone. The legs ,deprived of a torso, wobbled and collapsed into a piss-stained heap.
The commotion had woken the blonde cultist from her slumber. She stirred and unwrapped her creamy legs from the fur pile. Anya was on her then, a knife out and a hand gripping her by the ponytail. Her eyes snapped open, her mouth opened to scream but the knife punched through her throat. The scream turned to a gurgle as Anya wrenched the knife out. The archer held the blonde head up by the ponytail, watched the frantic light in her blue eyes flicker and fade as they went blank. Her jaw slackened, her tongue, dripping saliva, drooped out of her thin lips and her legs spread beneath Anya. A thin yellow stream stained the bedroll in a dark pool under her.
"What a waste," said Anya, letting the blonde head drop to the ground.
Enyara glanced at the twitching corpse, the thin robe clinging to the slender, sweat-drenched body. "These look like priestesses. We must be getting close."
"For once, you're trying to kill them."
The shieldmaiden cracked a smile and pressed on. They emerged from the living quarters into a narrow corridor at the end of which sat a door of bloodied iron. There were crimson handprints on the door and an ominous chanting coming from the other side. Enyara took a breath, glanced at her dark-haired companion. "Ready?"
Anya nocked an arrow into her bowstring." Ready."
Enyara pushed open the door and stepped through.
It was a sacrificial chamber that she entered, dominated by an altar dripping with gore. A snake was carved into the side of the stone slab, its fangs sharp, its eyes red and malevolent. Around the altar were a dozen naked cultists, bearing the same shaved heads and serpent tattoos as the guards outside, bowing before a woman that stood above the altar. She was as pale as death, with hair black like a raven's wings, and voluptuous curves that could entice even the most phlegmatic of observers. She was naked, save for the skull-shaped pauldrons on her shoulders and a thin strip of purple silk that covered her cunt. In her hand, she held a staff of gnarled wood, with a human skull at the top. A feverish green light suffused her, smoky tendrils wrapped around her as she chanted at the floating corpse in front of her.
"That's not a witch," hissed Anya. "That's a necromancer."
"Arise, great chieftain," cried Sana the necromancer. "Arise and join my army. Arise and greet your new mistress!"
The corpse, formerly a blonde woman, rose up from the altar, suspended in telekinetic animation. The sickly green light entered into her body through the mouth and enveloped her in its grip. Enyara stepped forward, blood-slick blade in hand. "Halt, foul sorceress! Your evil ends now."
Sana's eyes snapped toward the shieldmaiden. "Intruder! Minions, slaughter her and bring me her corpse. I shall raise her for my army as well!"
The naked cultists rose in unison and fell on her with snarls and wooden clubs. She raised her shield to meet each blow and parried with her sword the strikes she could not. She slashed and stabbed at whoever approached, like a cornered wolf, and her blade became slick with the renewed kiss of blood. Although she had wounded a few, there was more to accost her. One cultist leapt toward her with an overhead swipe. She sidestepped, narrowly missing the blow, and slash sideways. The shaved head tumbled off naked shoulders and rolled across the ground, the corpse crumbling moments later. Another cultist, bare-handed, grabbed hold of her shield. Enyara raised her sword and slashed downward, severing both arms with one clean swipe. Blood sprayed from the stumps of the arm onto her shield and the cultist fell back, screaming in agony.
Two down, five to go. The remaining cultists were more careful, seeing their two comrades fall so easily to the lone warrior. Enyara lunged forward to the nearest, catching her club on the edge of her shield and stabbing her through the gut. She wrenched at the bloodied sword, parried a blow from the next cultist and slashed at her face. The pained scream pierced the ritual chamber as the cultist stumbled back, clutching her bloodied face.
Enyara fell into a killing rhythm. She hacked off the legs of one cultist and ran the blade through her neck. The second-to-last cultist tried to swipe her legs from under her but she jumped over the low blow and followed up with a vertical slash that sent the shaved head sailing through the air.
The last cultist saw what fate had befallen her sisters and dropped her club. She fell to her knees, hands clasped and looked up at the approaching shieldmaiden with frantic, panicked eyes. "Please," she pleaded. "Spare me! Please! I beg you!"
Enyara thrust her blade through the cultist's heart. The woman gasped, shock colored her features and her face twisted in pained betrayal. "W-why?"
Enyara twisted the blade. An agonized cry escaped her lips and tears streamed down the corners of those grey eyes. The cultist pissed herself from pain and panic. Enyara pressed a boot against her breast and wrenched her sword out. The cultist fell to the ground, coughing and choking on her own blood.
The shieldmaiden looked around at the slaughter. She felt the heat of adrenaline and her mouth watered as she glanced at the bodies of the fallen. She looked to the necromancer, Sana, who was too enraptured in her ritual to notice the dead.
"Yes! Yes! Enter your new vessel, chieftain! Arise as my champion! This I command - urk!"
Enyara cocked an eyebrow. A pair of slim, pale hands had wrapped around Sana's throat and the fingers pressed deep into the soft flesh of her neck. Sana dropped her staff and scrambled to pry the fingers from her neck. Where once she had been confident, panic colored her features, her eyes wide with fear and her voluptuous curves tense with the struggle. The necromancer was turned around and forced on her back on the altar. A slim, dark-haired woman loomed over her, smiling with murderous glee, a sadistic glint in her eyes.
Sana clawed frantically at Anya's face and arms, trying and failing to shove her off. The necromancer's supple breasts heaved with the effort, her body bucked underneath the archer and the first strangled croaks escaped her mouth.
Anya tossed her legs over the witch and straddled her. The archer nestled her lithe body against the curves of her victim, began to ride her, grinding on Sana's thigh. A moan pierced the chamber and Anya threw her head back as she bucked against the necromancer.
Enyara dropped her sword and her shield and slipped a hand between her legs. As Anya rode her victim and moaned, the shieldmaiden fingered herself. Her breath hitched, her breasts heaved and her nipples stiffened against the inside of her brigandine. She sank to her knees in bliss, barely able to keep an eye on Anya anymore, lost in the throes of her pleasure. As her companion cried out, so did she, cumming all over her fingers in a sticky and sweet nectar.
Once recovered, she stumbled over to Anya and sat beside her against the altar. Sana's legs dangled over the side between them, urine trickling down the plump leg to splash on the stone. The archer took Enyara's hand and slipped freckled fingers into her mouth. "Mmm...you taste like dessert." She looked down at the damp spot in her breeches. "And these are ruined."
Enyara fell over laughing. "By the all-mother, what a battle." She patted the dead necromancer's leg beside her. "We should get back to the matron, yea?"
"I'll carry her." Anya hopped to her feet and hoisted the witch over her shoulders. She looked at the bodies strewn across the chamber floor and let out a low whistle. "Damn. Remind me never to anger you."
They stepped over the corpses, laughing and joking, on their way out of the barrow.
* * *
"Gods above, what a sight."
The village matron stood before the oak tree, gazing up at the swaying necromancer with a smug smile. The corpse of the teenage thief had company now. "She was raising the dead, you say?"
Enyara nodded. "She was trying to summon the dead chieftain of Grimfall Barrow into a new body." The redhead crossed her arms, with a self-satisfied smirk. "Naturally we put an end to it."
"I'd say you did." The old woman turned on her with a withering gaze. "You may killed many of our warriors but you also save our village. Consider your debt paid." She fished in her pocket and withdrew a fat leather pouch. "I suppose you've earned this as well."
Enyara took the pouch, hefted it in her hand. "Glad to be of help."
"Yes, I'm sure." The matron offered one last glance at the hanged witch and departed. "Best of luck to you in your journeys."
Enyara turned to Anya with a wide grin. "We came out of that well, eh?"
The archer flashed her a devilish smile. "We did. Let's go celebrate, hero." She looped an arm around the redhead's shoulder and began walking with her. "I need a drink."
Enyara sat in the bushes, watching the snowy south road, bored out of her mind.
Why did I agree to this, she thought, as fat snowflakes fell and melted on her face. She promised me there'd be girls to kill.
The shieldmaiden had not spilled any blood in the few days since leaving the village behind. Anya had taken her on some fool's errand to the border, muttering about mercenary camps and deserters. She had followed along on the promise of enemies to fight but all she saw before her was snow.
Enyara sighed, flexed her hand to kill the anxious twitch in her fingers and kept her vigil. The archer was somewhere further down the road, scouting the enemy camp or so she claimed. Enyara had not seen the camp herself and doubted its existence. The redhead's sulking was interrupted by the soft crunch of snow. She perked up, peered through the bushes and glimpsed a lone figure walking down the road. At first she thought it was the archer but as the stranger approached, she realized it was not Anya. Her heart quickened with excitement.
The lone woman trudged through the snow, using the butt of her spear as a walking stick. She clung to the furs draped around her and shivered as she inched forward with grim determination to carry out her sentry duties. Enyara could see even from her distance that the girl was no native of Scotia. Her hair was blacker than raven's feathers and shone like silk in the moonlight. Her skin had a sallow tinge to it, her lips thin and her eyes slanted at an angle. She could only be from the land of Khai, to the east.
The redhead neither wanted to know nor cared to know why the girl was far from home. She salivated at the thought of a fresh kill. Enyara waited until the sentry paused in front of her bush before leaping out and grabbing her with her strong, freckly arms. She clapsed a hand over the mouth and another under the breasts and pulled the shivering girl close. "You're not very observant."
The girl murmured frantically in some language that Enyara didn't understand. She looked back with wide eyes, her lips working against Enyara's hand. The redhead enjoyed the squirming but she'd rather be able to know what the girl was saying. "Scotian please."
The sentry quieted, furrowed her brow in concentration. Enyara removed her hand long enough for the girl to speak. "Uh...mercy? Please?"
"That's not how this works, honey." She squeezed the girl's small breast and explored her with a naughty, wandering hand. "Welcome to my homeland, little one. You really ought to have stayed away. This place isn't for you."
The hapless sentry merely shivered in response and closed her eyes while Enyara's hand groped and teased her. "You're right," she replied. "I thought joining a mercenary company would be fun. Instead, I'm freezing half to death."
Enyara smirked. Anya had been telling the truth after all. "Mercenary company?"
"Well, not really a company," she replied, stuttering from the cold. "It's just me, the captain and three other girls."
Easy pickings then, thought Enyara. She made a mental note to thank her archer friend for providing such a fun distraction. "That's a good girl."
"Will you...will you let me go? I told you everything I know."
Enyara kissed the sentry. She had no intention of answering that question. The girl yielded to her explorations, parting her lips and her tongue, her nipples stiffening even further under Enyara's thumbs. Besides the furs and boots, the foreigner had nothing else on, a fact she discovered when her fingers made contact with a damp, bushy cunt. "Mmm...someone likes me."
She nodded and moaned under the redhead's teasing touches. "Please take me..."
"Let's warm you up a little, shall we?" The shieldmaiden fingered her while her hand settled under the girl's jaw. With a casual flick of her wrist, she snapped the sentry's neck. "Oops, my hand slipped."
The girl's body tensed up for a moment then became wracked with shudders and spasms. Enyara held her quivering corpse, groping her while she shook, while her dying brain fired off its last, frantic commands. The violence of her post-mortem lashings gradually subsided, replaced by infrequent twitches. Enyara pecked her on the lips and let her drop into the snow.
The dead sentry fell face down, ass up in the snow, piss dribbling down her leg.
"I'd love to stay and play, sweetie, but I've got to meet a friend. Have fun."
Enyara left the dead meet to cool in the snows while she struck off in search of her archer friend.
+1 for more Amazons! Always down for some good old fashion fantasy violence.
The Archer’s Pleasure
Anya had made a good time of her scouting expedition. In the fifteen or so minutes since she had left her companion, she had discovered the location of the mercenary camp, a small grouping of tents around a central fire in a clearing not far from her location. She had spotted only three women around the camp and a sentry whose movements she now observed. Enyara would be happy to know that her time had not, in fact, been wasted.
As Anya watched the sentry pace back and forth on the slight ridge overlooking the camp, she wondered what had become of the redhead. Enyara had said she'd keep an eye out for any other sentries and that was the last Anya had heard of the woman since. The archer was not worried. She knew firsthand that her companion could take care of herself should trouble befall her.
The sentry ahead stood on the edge of the snowy cliff, bow in hand, a quiver of arrows slung across her back. From her position in the bushes, Anya glimpsed her curvy figure, her red hair kept in a short ponytail and the toned thighs that peeked out under the fur skirt she wore. The girl was barefoot, seemingly unfazed by the cold snow on her soles, and she wandered from the ridge to the tree a short walk from the edge and back again, only casually glancing at the thickets that ringed the clearing. Anya had surmised in her short time observing the woman that she was not a very good sentry.
The archer reached for her own bow then stopped. An arrow to the heart or throat would be an easy kill, an efficient kill but not a very entertaining one. Anya thought back to the necromancer she had strangled with her bare hands, at the surge of power and arousal she felt squeezing the life and breath out of the foul witch. Her heart quickened at the possibility of doing the same to the unwary lookout; it was a temptation too great to ignore.
Anya crept out of the bushes, slowly, her boots quietly crunching the fresh-fallen snow as she crossed the distance between herself and her prey. The sentry was not a whit the wiser to the danger behind her, occupied by some sight just over the ridge. Anya slipped her bow from over her shoulder but grabbed no arrow from her quiver. She held it in front of her, arms poised to lift it.
The girl moved suddenly, to stretch, and a yawn escaped her mouth in a white puff of breath. It was the last breath she took, for Anya's bowstring looped around her neck and yanked her back. She fell back with a strangled yelp and stopped short in the air, unable to fall all the way back in the snow. Anya had forced her boot into the small of the girl's back, forcing her spine to bend while she pulled her neck back with the bowstring. The result left her torso and arms dangling while her knees bent forward, utterly helpless to either stumble away or flee from the punishing chokehold.
A wicked grin crossed Anya's lips. She delighted in watching the redheaded sentry claw at the string on her throat, at her futile resistance to a death that would surely come. "Yes, struggle for your life, slut. It won't save you. It only makes me wet."
The girl answered her with a choked growl and tried to push off against Anya's boot. The archer smirked and pressed her boot deeper into the sentry's back. "Does it anger you that you can't kill me? Snarl all you want, bitch. Your life is mine." She pulled back harder on the bowstring, tightening the pressure on that slender throat. She felt the same rush of power, of arousal, as when she had strangled the sorceress. Her cunt ached with the sore need for release. She slipped a hand under her breeches and fingered the damp slit, maintaining her grip on her bow with her free hand.
Her prey fought on in a pathetic struggle for her own life. Her body jerked, her chest heaved from the labored attempts at breath and her pained gurgles mingled with Anya's frosty moans. Foamy bubbles of spit dribbled down the sides of her mouth, plopping silently in the snow. She shivered and shook, dangling uselessly in the binding suspension, unable to do anything but choke on the wire.
Anya withdrew her hand from her cunt, licking her own sticky release off the tips of her fingers. She laid back and enjoyed the show. "Still got some life left. You're a feisty one, aren't you?"
The sentry's struggles had grown weaker. Her hands no longer clawed, merely pawed at her damaged throat. Soon enough, her arms fell to her sides, dangling limply in the air. Her gurgling had ceased and her chest heaved silently for breath that would not come. Anya held her relentless stranglehold; she would not relent until the girl was well and truly snuffed.
The moment came not long after. A telltale yellow stream trickled down the girl's leg, staining the flawless white snow with dark splotches that misted in the frosty night air. Anya laughed low as she watched the sentry twitch and quiver, bent back like used whore. The archer maintained her tight grip for a few seconds longer before letting go. She looped the bowstring over the redhead's throat and let her collapse in a crumbled heap.
Anya stood up and brushed snow off her breeches. Bow slung over her shoulder, she began her descent down the ridge to the mercenary camp. There were still three women left to kill before she could consider herself finished.
I hope Enyara hasn't ended up skewered on the end of a sword, she thought, as she disappeared in the thickets.
Beautiful thread of stories. Keep it up, really enjoy the interactions
I really enjoyed this, waiting for updates
Really nice, any chance of debreasting? The Amazons were said to cut off a breast, after all.
Really nice, any chance of debreasting? The Amazons were said to cut off a breast, after all.
That cut off one's breast was still debatable myth until today.
Anyway, great story with stout characters. Your stories are ripe for comic book realization.
This reminds me of an old series of snippets I once wrote set in the world of Diablo 2, starring the Rogue, Sorceress, and Assassin.
The first thing Enyara noticed upon entering the clearing was the bodies.
Two girls laid face down in the snow, arrows sticking out of their spines. The one farthest from her, near the fire, was a tall burly blonde. The one nearest her was skinny, with a shock of dark hair. Some life remained in her twitching body but she didn't respond to the redhead's prodding boot. The girl pissed herself shortly after Enyara stepped away and grew still, expiring in the cold snow. Anya had been here, she knew, but where was the archer now?
Yara investigated the small camp, guided by the firelight. Aside from a ring of fur-lined tents and a cart carrying supplies, nothing else remained of the mercenary company that she could see. The hapless sentry had been telling the truth. Yet, she had not encountered the captain during her scouting and Anya still eluded her. She retraced her steps, circled around the camp and struck off into the thickets.
Moonlight revealed footprints in the snow not much further from the cart. There were two sets, one crooked and erratic like a person fleeing and the other set smooth and uniform like a hunter tracking her prey. Droplets of blood stained the snow in and around the prints; she decided it was as good a trail to follow as any. She walked along the path, followed the prints to a tall bush on the other side of which she heard a harsh whisper and a muffled cry in response. She rested a hand on the pommel of her sword and waded through the bush, ready to spring on the strange voices.
She did not find enemies.
The dark-haired archer turned around at the sound of her name. Her eyes widened briefly and a small smile crossed her lips when she saw Enyara step through the shrubbery. "There you are. Thank the all-mother. I thought I'd have to go looking for you." She gestured behind her, at a woman on her knees with her arms tied to stakes driven in the ground. "Their captain."
Enyara joined her companion, looking over the captive with a critical eye. Her hair was long and brown, her skin smooth, tanned, speaking of some warm and southern country. She wore a sleeveless leather jack and a skirt, with fur-lined boots of the same supple material. It was clear that the woman was no native of Scotia. "Does she speak our language?"
Anya nodded, chewed on her bottom lip in thought. "She tried to feign ignorance but I knew she could understand me. I tried to get her to speak up but she wouldn't budge."
"Hmm." Enyara peered down at the mercenary captain. There was a visible arrow wound in her thigh; she was hurt and angry, stubborn despite being bound. "The supplies in their camp suggest they intended to stay. She may know something."
"You want to interrogate her? You're on your own with that. I'm not one for rough stuff."
Enyara flashed the archer a teasing grin. "You just like to strangle them and shoot them with arrows, right?"
Anya's face turned red. She crossed her arms and huffed, her breath puffing white in the cold. "Just do what you have to. I'll keep watch."
The shieldmaiden bent down, meeting the captain's gaze. She flipped a knife out of her boot and held the point under the woman's chin. "Your name. Now."
The woman spat at her. "Cara, you savage bitch. You're dealing with a real warrior now."
"Warrior? You were shot with an arrow and your first instinct was to flee."
"I'm not an idiot," she snarled. "I know when to fight and when to survive."
"Here in Scotia, we call that cowardice." Enyara flicked the knife downward, leaving a fresh cut down her throat. Blood beaded from the break in the skin and dribbled down her neck. "Enough. You'll talk. Tell me why you and your little company are in my homeland."
Cara spat at her once more. "I'll tell you nothing, barbarian."
Enyara wiped her face of the woman's saliva, smiled sweetly but with little affection. She punched the woman swiftly in the jaw and grabbed a fistful of her hair before she could recover. The answering yelp assured her that she was causing the right amount of pain. "Like I said, you'll talk."
Cara's breath frosted in the cold. Through the white vapors, her eyes widened briefly in fear. She tugged at her restraints and held her face away from Enyara but there was nowhere she could turn. "You think this hurts, savage? I've endured far worse."
"Really?" The redhead stuck the knife into her open wound. "I'm quite willing to do even worse."
Her captive screeched her suffering into the night. She thrashed against the rope holding her down. "You can't make me talk!"
Enyara cuffed her in the face again, grabbed her by the jaw and forced the woman to look at her. The knife trailed down her throat, a movement deceptively gentle, the blade slick with crimson. "I'm giving you one last chance. Tell me why you're here or the real pain begins."
Cara gritted her teeth and her eyes flared with defiance. "No."
The shieldmaiden shrugged. With a flick of her wrist, she severed the laces to the girl's jerkin and ripped at the tough leather, exposing Cara's breasts to the cold. The kiss of the knife sent a shudder through the captive woman, a flicker of panic
playing in the pupils of her grey eyes. Enyara placed the tip of the knife under one of her small breasts and slowly drove the blade through her skin. Cara's shudder turned to a whimper and she locked eyes with Enyara, shaking her head.
"No," said the redhead. "You made your choice. Now suffer."
She made a sawing motion with her knife around the curve of Cara's breast. The scream that rushed out of her throat was one of the more horrifying that Enyara had heard but rather than give her pause, it instilled in her a sadistic glee. She enjoyed the woman's suffering.
Cara's fortitude wavered. Her lip trembled, her next word not an insult but a plea. "P-please! I'll talk! I swear I'll talk."
Enyara continued to cut through her flesh, to fresh screams. By the time she had rounded the full curve of the breast, there was a deep, circular gash where the knife had carved into the skin. Cara mumbled, stuttered incoherently and then cried when her tit sloughed away into the snow.
Enyara picked it up and gave it a playful squeeze, wrapping her lips around the nipple. "Mmm...I may just take this with me."
Cara's face was streaked with tears. She wept, looking down at the raw, open flesh where her breast once resided. "I'll tell," she muttered, over and over. "I'll tell, I'll tell..."
"You will," agreed the redhead. "Talk."
Enyara waited while the bound captain composed herself enough to speak. Through hiccups and sobs, she gave up the information. "We were part of a larger group, near the border to Khai-Lan. They sent us to scout ahead, to p-provide a staging post for an invasion."
"An invasion?" She heard the crunch of snow behind her. "An invasion from whom?"
Enyara looked back at Anya, who had gathered near her to listen. "Do you know anything about this?"
The archer shrugged. "About as much as you." She glared at Cara. "Who ordered your company to do this?"
"The b-baroness," sputtered Cara. "Far to the s-south."
The two women looked at each other, musing over the information in silence. Celanians had often come over the border into Scotia, to scout and to skirmish. Most southern clans had no trouble repelling the foreigners but against an invasion, there was no telling how they would fare. "Where is your company now?" asked Enyara. "Speak!"
Cara's eyes flickered wildly from face to face. "Past the border, i-in the swamps."
She looked at Anya. "Well, what do we do? You heard her. Someone's preparing to invade Scotia."
The archer nodded along. "We can't let this go. We'll have to see what this mercenary company is up to."
The shieldmaiden scowled and shot a withering gaze at the captive. "Who is your leader? What is her name?"
"I think that's all we're getting out of her," said Anya.
"Please," begged Cara. "L-let me go. I won't trouble you ever again. I swear..."
Enyara swiped her knife at Cara's throat. A deep red cut spurted blood all over the woman's throat and she stared wide-eyed as the life gushed out of her neck. Her hands wriggled in their binds, to grab the wound, but all she could do was remain on her knees, gurgling in terror and agony as she bled crimson in the snow.
"You could have let her go," muttered Anya.
"I could have," replied Enyara, tossing the severed breast at her friend. "But where's the fun in that?"
Cara's head sank to her chest and she slumped over, her body shivering in the chill. She pissed herself, the urine steaming in the snow and twitched until the life left her at last.
"Come on," she said, getting up from the dead mercenary. "Let's avail ourselves of their food and get in a tent. We've a long day ahead of us tomorrow."
The two women left their dead captive to freeze over in the cold of the night.
Can't say I've read many "combat gore" stories, but i think you just made a new fan!
This one speaks to me in a particular way, as I've often had scenarios similar to this story in mind while playing RPGs. Especially the ones that let you pick up and move around corpses. Always a shame you can't do a bit more in those games, so reading about Enyara and Anya doing it is very cathartic.
A lovely plot with wonderful details. I like the different methods for killing but also how the personalities of the two warriors comes out.
Eagerly waiting for the next addition
They awoke at first light and began their journey to the west.
Under a pink and blue dawn, the expanse of southern Scotia opened up before them. They passed through windswept valleys, across stretches of snowy plain and narrow mountain passes. Near the border to Celania, the land grew more temperate, the soil more fertile and they passed villages where peasants toiled in fields overgrown with amber waves of grain. These lands were the breadbasket of the wintry north, coveted by raiders from the south. Centuries of skirmishes with foreign invaders had honed the clans near the border into fierce defenders of their homes but Enyara feared what might befall them should the rumored invasion come to fruition.
At noon, the two travelers found shelter in a clearing among tall, brooding pines.
Enyara studied her companion as she nibbled on a grilled rabbit haunch. The archer sorted her arrows, fingers dancing deftly over the shafts. Her lips were pursed in concentration, a faraway glint in her eyes.
"You know," the redhead began. "We've spent all this time together but it feels like I barely know you."
A faint smile crossed Anya's mouth. "You never asked me about myself."
"True." She bit into a chunk of the rabbit and swallowed. "We haven't had many quiet moments."
Anya stared intently at the tips of her arrowheads, scraping flecks of dried blood off the iron with her nail. "You're either fighting or sleeping. Not much chance to talk to you."
"So let's make up for lost time. Why were you fighting for that clan? Needed the coin?"
The archer nodded. "I figured I'd make some before I headed south. That was until I met you, anyway."
Enyara grinned, lips glistening with grease. "I'm glad you did. I'd have an axe in my head otherwise. Were you planning to see Celania?"
The corner of Anya's mouth twitched and there was a flicker of some emotion in her eyes, gone as soon as it appeared. "I've spent too much time here," she said, simply.
Enyara sensed a story in what she hadn't said but did not pry. "Well, my clan was absorbed into a larger one. I refused to kneel so you could say I'm a shieldmaiden in exile."
"Why not join Queen Skalla?" asked Anya. "I hear she has need of skilled warriors."
She shook her head, her red curls rustling with the motion. "Skalla of the White Horse? She's on a fool's errand. Scotia will never be united. We're not Celanians. Even they're still divided into their checker pieces of land."
"That's rather thoughtful of you," Anya replied.
"You're implying I'm not smart?"
"I wouldn't dream of it. You clearly know more than you let on."
"Good answer," Enyara said. "Thought I'd have to strangle you there for a second. You'd probably like that."
Anya's cheeks darkened but no biting retort followed. She merely smiled in response. "You've got some interesting ideas."
They sat in amicable silence, casting glances and smiles at each other. A short while later, they were on the road again.
The pines gave way to willow trees and the soil became moist under her feet, the air humid. Dirt paths merged with the underbrush, forcing them to wade through thickets to find their way again. Before long, a narrow path opened up before them, guarded by a stack of cairn stones on the side of the road. Moss covered the ancient rocks and faded runs were etched into the top and bottom stones.
"Those symbols," remarked Anya. "They aren't like any I've ever seen."
Enyara pointed at the strange characters on the lowermost stone. "Those are runes of the Khai. It's a symbol of friendship between between our two peoples."
Anya cocked an eyebrow at her. "How did you know that?"
The redhead shrugged. "I heard it once from an elder in my village. Come, let's cross."
Willow trees drooped low around them and the air was thick with the stench of stagnant water. She knew that swamps lingered nearby, home to all manner of filth and disease. She suspected their existence acted as a deterrent to invasion, among other factors.
"What else do you know about this place?" asked Anya.
"Nothing more than the stories tell," she replied. "I've heard that the warriors here train in hand-to-hand combat from a young age and that they know a hundred different ways to kill a woman with their bare hands."
"Is it all just swamp and marshland?"
Enyara shook her head. "Only here at the border. I've heard travelers speak of rice fields and river valleys."
"Anything's better than ice, ice and more ice." The archer wiped sweat from her brow. "Never thought I'd miss the cold though."
The road they were on diverged into two paths, both of which led deeper into the marshlands. At the crossroads, a corpse lay sprawled on its stomach, entrails scattered across the dirt.
"Lovely," Anya remarked.
Enyara knelt down and examined the body. A wide cut had opened her belly. The reddish-yellow skin, silky black hair and slanted eyes betrayed the unfortunate girl as a native. "She's still warm. This wasn't long ago."
"What's that on her thigh?"
Enyara glimpsed the characters etched into her skin, two black marks crisscrossed to form a tattoo. She noticed a blood trail leading away from the body into the bushes on the right hand path. "The killer might be near."
"You're like a bloodhound, I swear." Anya sighed and slipped her bow off her shoulder. "Well, go on. I'll watch your back."
Enyara followed the trail of red into the underbrush. Hand on her sword pommel, she waded through the bushes into a clearing.
A woman in a white robe leaned against a hollowed-out tree trunk, standing over two dead bodies, a strange sword in her hands, the curved blade dripping with gore. She turned at the sound of rustling leaves and narrowed her eyes.
"Friends or foes," the woman barked in Scotian.
Enyara had time only to glance at her companion before a flash of steel whizzed past her face.
Three warriors charged through the bushes, each armed with the same strange swords. Two rushed the woman by the trunk and the third advanced on Enyara. She had only seconds to draw her blade before the space she had been standing in was swiped by sharp steel. Her opponent was a dizzying blur of cloth, flesh and metal. Enyara could barely parry the blows or dodge the ones she couldn't. The next cut nearly disemboweled her, shredding the top layer of her leather brigandine with the ease of a scythe through wheat. A sudden arrow saved her from certain death.
The point buried itself into her shoulder and the distraction was enough to allow Enyara a riposte. The Khai warrior parried her initial blow but did not anticipate the follow-up shield bash. She stumbled backwards, giving Enyara the opening she needed to plunge her blade into the girl's stomach.
The girl gasped in a huff of pain. Enyara wrenched her sword out and slashed sideways, splitting her enemy's belly with the sharp edge of her blade. Ropy viscera slopped out of the open wound. The girl staggered forward, eyes wide in terror, collapsing face down in the wet grass.
"You're welcome," shouted Anya from behind.
Enyara tipped her sword in gratitude and rushed forward to help the beleaguered fighter by the tree trunk. One on her foes lay beneath her feet, a headless, twitching body. The remaining enemy assailed her with furious blow, a slippery blur of cloth, skin and steel. For all her speed, she couldn't anticipate the shieldmaiden behind her.
Enyara bisected the last enemy with one clean swipe. The girl screamed in agony as her torso slithered off her waist. The redhead silenced her whimpers with a swift stroke to the neck, parting head from body with practiced ease. It thumped to the grass and tumbled against the corpse of another fallen foe.
"I guess that answers my question," the strange woman remarked.
Enyara took the reprieve to study her. Her robe was splattered with the blood of her enemies. A faint scar trailed down the middle of her forehead, curving underneath her right eye but it did nothing at all to mar her beauty. "Who are you?"
"Sumiko." She bowed her head low. "I owe you for your intervention."
The thought to question Sumiko on her knowledge of Scotian never crossed her mind. She found herself utterly taken by the woman's beauty.
"How do you understand us?" asked Anya, ever the voice of reason.
"No one in Khai-Lan has red hair," Sumiko answered, with a smirk. "Traders often pass through our lands, from Scotia. They have much to say and so I learned from them. Your people are hearty and simple, fine virtues."
Enyara met her gaze despite the jitters in her stomach. "Why were you attacked?" she asked, gesturing to the corpses underfoot.
Sumiko tipped over the severed legs of the nearest body with her foot. "See the tattoo on her thigh? The mark of baran. They are numachi no junin, swamp dwellers. Exiles and thieves who band together to rape and kill. Normally, I wouldn't be surprised at their savagery but they were very intent on murdering me."
"Do you think they were sent for you?"
"That is my suspicion," answered Sumiko. "Enough of my troubles though. What brings you to these lands?"
Anya interjected. "We're seeking a mercenary captain. We were led to believe she crossed the border."
Sumiko's expression turned to ice. The flash of anger that appeared in her eyes sent a shiver through Enyara. "You seek Genevieve?" the warrior hissed.
Enyara extended her palms in a placating gesture. "As an enemy. She is not our friend."
Sumiko's grip on the long-handled hilt of her sword slackened. "It so happens that I seek her as well."
The redhead swallowed. A bead of sweat rolled down her cheek, hung off the corner of her jaw before dropping down into the grass. "For what reason?"
Sumiko sheathed her sword and gave her a look that chilled her to the bone.
"Revenge," she whispered.
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