Friday, December 12, 2014


Silence dominated the inside of the tent where Zak and T’Riss prepared to catch a few hours of sleep before their turn at watch. Zak felt ill at ease, full of some strange foreboding he couldn’t name but which had him as jumpy as Ilztafay, and just as nervous. Zak wasn’t sure which was worse: darkness born of artifice and magic such as they’d ridden in during the day or this real and present darkness which crept and crawled, pervading everything and everyone with its foul nocturnal chill.

The prickling tingles that meandered across Zakn’yl’s nape and shot down his spine decided the matter. He disliked both.

He gazed at T’Riss, who sat naked at the edge of their sleeping blankets with his armor-plated vest draped over his knees. The repair kit lay open to one side of T’Riss, a candle-powered lantern flickered on his opposite side. A small adamantine hammer dangled from his long elegant fingers, forgotten. T’Riss looked mournful. Zak shed the remainder of his clothing and inched across the ground to press against T’Riss’s side.

“Is it ruined?”

Zak stared at the dented adamantine plate that so totally held T’Riss’s focus. He felt a tremendous amount of guilt over T’Riss agreeing to take on this absurd mission and the arisa position. Ever since they’d left Chasz’Chalolvir shame twisted Zak’s guts at not escaping the four phalanxes of the Azure Veil who’d succeeded in capturing him. Zak turned his emerald eyes up to T’Riss who met them for the briefest instant before returning his attention to the damaged piece.

Holding the misshapen rectangle up so it was fully visible in the candlelight, T’Riss rotated the black plate and then tossed it aside. He met his mate’s beautiful eyes and nodded.

“I can replace it.”

“Then I shall try not to fuss at you for the sheer terror I felt the instant that monster struck you.” Zak laid a gentle hand on T’Riss’s chest and leaned into his mate. Zak’s eyelashes fluttered down over his emerald eyes and his voice dropped to a seductive purr. “Though in truth I would rather witness all of your armor mangled than observe even one bruise form upon your flesh.”

T’Riss covered Zak’s hand with his own, and squeezed Zak’s fingers. He gazed seriously into Zak’s mesmerizing green eyes. “You worry overmuch.”

“How can one worry overmuch about half of their heart?”

T’Riss chuckled then, and hugged Zak close. For a long moment they simply sat in the flickering candlelight, holding each other quietly. Then T’Riss brushed his lips against Zak’s ear and whispered into it.

“We are being stalked.”

“I know; I’ve felt it.” Zak reached out and ran his fingers over the brands on T’Riss’s left shoulder. Ritual scarring done by a drow male’s House when they came of age, the brands stood out in stark relief as raised white scars against the sparkling obsidian of T’Riss’s skin. “You don’t think it’s an elven vampire.”

“Do you?”

“I don’t know.”

“The travelers killed thus far do not match the description of typical victims.” T’Riss drew Zak’s fingers up to his mouth and softly kissed them one by one, his lips gently playing over Zak’s knuckles, nails, and fingertips. “We learned much when we tracked and destroyed Farunan.” For the briefest second T’Riss’s lavender eyes gleamed as he gazed at Zakn’yl. “He desired that every kill have meaning. He transformed his undying pain into the pain each of his prey felt before they perished.” T’Riss’s face grew almost wistful. “Farunan turned murder into an art form.”

“This creature is not like that.”


“When the treants attacked…” Zak swallowed, his fingers convulsing around T’Riss’s reflexively. “It was nearby watching the battle. It enjoyed the chaos and relished our terror; I felt it.” Staring at his mate, a haunted look consumed Zak’s face. “Having been raised in House Arken-A’te with females who hungered for identical ends, I am accustomed to recognizing the feeling.”

“That we are being hunted by more than one killer with a taste for maliciousness seems a certainty.” T’Riss’s long pointed ear twitched at a sound from outside their tent. He cocked his head. “I’m just not sure how many of the killers live in the forest, and how many we brought with us.”

“About half and half, I’d imagine.”

T’Riss’s smile was slow and wide. He pulled Zak against his bare chest, nestling them skin to skin again. Bending his head he gently bit at the point of Zak’s chin, his teeth scraping back and forth before his lips softened the abrasion.

“Danger is so arousing.”

“You speak when your lips are needed elsewhere.” Zak wiggled against his mate and managed to free a hand. He wrapped that deceptively delicate hand around T’Riss’s stiffening cock. With strokes that varied from short to long, hard to gentle, and loose to firm, Zak pleasured his mate, purring as T’Riss growled and writhed against him.

Their mouths came together in a mad, desperate collision of love and flesh,

T’Riss dragged Zakn’yl into the center of the sleeping blankets. His lips fastened to Zak’s hungrily as if he might draw every bit of oxygen from his mate’s lungs. Two moon cycles had passed since he’d been inside Zak, mated with him and shown him body to body how much he was loved. As they moved against each other, hands stroking, backs bowing and arching as they rolled and loved together, T’Riss made a silent vow.

Never again would such a length of time pass without the two of them touching souls.

* * * * * * * *

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Be Well ~ Tux