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Gull’s mind sluggishly began to work. Focusing was hard, thoughts refused to form properly. The pain in his wrists and ankles didn’t help either. He felt stretched and almost like he was floating. No matter how much he tried his body just wouldn’t respond.
Out of nowhere five needle points started to run down his chest from his pecks slowly over his stomach. They were razor sharp and just barely broke the skin. The warm blood welling up from the cuts contrasted sharply with the cold needles.
Vertigo hit again as drops of blood slowly started to roll up his chest as the needles continued their downward trek through his hair before encircling his shaft and running along it coaxing it to life.
Two realizations blossomed in Gulls mind.
First he was hanging upside down.
Second it wasn’t needles that were caressing him but claws. Claws that were attached to a hand, a hand that was now stroking him roughly as though goal was completion not pleasure. A second hand began to knead and work his sack like dough.
All of this sensory input mixed with the vertigo of hanging inverted bore down on Gull so that in no time at all he was spent. As he slowly faded back into darkness a dry hoary voice cackled with glee. “Yes, yes. Fine you’ll do.”
An involuntary shudder wracked Gull as the memory played through his head. He took a swig of spirits in an attempt to clear it. Failing as usual he tossed another log on the fire to ward away the chill and the dark of this moonless night.
Centering himself, Gull focused on the flames, pushed everything back and out. Unfortunately memories of her always stalked the back of his mind now ready to pounce.
Especially in the firelight.
Warm fetid water jolted Gull awake. He had fallen face first into a bowl filled with it.
Consciousness returned to him much faster this time since he was tied to chair in a sitting position rather than hanging upside down. The chair was uncomfortable due to it missing a large part of the seat but it was sturdy and it allowed him not sit in his own waste. His right arm was tied behind his back while his left hand was bound in such a way as to make it practically useless except to shovel the half cooked lizard into his mouth and barely manage the bowl to wash it down.
Between bites Gull looked around at his surroundings. He was in a dark cluttered hut, obviously old and unused for some time. A hook hung from the ceiling in the corner, slowly dangling in the breeze drafting through holes in the walls and roof. Shelves covered the walls filled to overflowing with books, jars and other assorted instruments of a vaguely mystical and threatening nature. The table before him looked more like a torture device than place to eat with straps to bind and sluices to clear fluids.
Of his captor there was no sign but he could sense it watching him from the rafters, waiting.
With nothing else to do he took stock of his injuries. Dried blood crusted his chest and crotch though the shallows cuts seem to have closed with no problem. His body was sore and stiff from lack of movement. His manhood throbbed in discomfort reminding him of the last time he regained consciousness.
Gulls heart skipped a beat as five cold claws slowly traced their way up his back.
“Fear me you do orc,” said the voice from before. “If dead I wanted you dead you would be.”
Gull winced at the cool breath on his cheek and neck as his captor spoke. A second hand grabbed his jaw from the left and firmly held his head still, keeping him facing forward unable to watch as the first hand traced over his right shoulder and down his chest and stomach again.
“Have something I want you do. Trade we can.” To emphasize the point the hand gripped him entirely the claws lightly digging into the base. “Take I can also, choice yours.”
“What…what is it you want?” Gull stammered in response.
“Your essence, orc.”
“My essence,” Gull mused. “What choice do I have?”
“Pleasure or pain, live or die, gain or lose.” His captor rasped. “All of this your choice, regardless your essence I shall have.”
“And what do I gain from this trade, my life?” Gull retorted.
Laughing his captor responded, “Stronger I can make you. Faster, tougher, flesh and bone knit quickly, but yes, your life as well.”
“You could open with that next time. You’d be amazed at how well that might work.”
“No trust in beginning. Always flee or fight they do.Tthis way easier, faster. Less painful.”
I have nothing to lose Gull thought. “Fine creature, do what you will.”
“A deal. Good,” The claws released Gull as though they were never there.
Gull relaxed slightly as he scratched at his jaw line where the claws had dug in. It took every ounce of will to not dwell on the discomfort between his legs.
Gull jumped as a mug of potent spirits was slammed down on the table in front of him. “Drink orc. Settle the nerves.”
Hesitantly Gull took a sip of the bitter brew. “What are you.” he demanded. “Show yourself creature.” The alcohol mixed with his growing rage to light a fire in his belly. Reasoning he had nothing to lose he embraced it and rode the wave of bravado.
“Are you sure orc?” He could hear her smile as she said it pacing behind him the clickety clack of claws both soothing and grating at the same time. Always on the opposite side of where he was looking Gull stopped trying to see her until she was ready.
“Damn it woman! Why are you tormenting me?” Gull screamed. “You’re a monster, not a woman, not at all.”
“No orc, not a monster.” Its claws raked through his hair as she circled around into his line of sight, “A woman.”
Gulls pulse slowed to match his breathing as he beheld a taut, flawless stomach the color of ash taking up his entire field of vision. Unable to decide to look up or down Gull allowed his perception to zone out and take in everything as though he was in battle.
What he saw was beautifully revolting.
Full breasts with pitch black nipples graced her chest. Hair equally back cascaded down her shoulders and covered her mound. Except it was feathers, not hair, they also covered her forearms and calves masking the transition of soft supple flesh to black scaly digits capped by needle like claws.
Sharp teeth peeked glaringly white through black lips. Without thinking Gull gazed into the eyes of the creature before him. Madness seeped from the black voids where her eyes should have been.
Gull’s body started convulsing unable to reconcile the inputs it was receiving. Arousal fought with aversion, gleeful acceptance mixed with absolute terror as his bowels loosened and piss arced out of an erection he did not understand having but wanted and needed to satiate his desire.
The woman cocked her head to the side in bemusement as urine arced over her shoulder. Grinning she picked up the forgotten mug and dumped it in Gulls lap before mounting him and grinding herself to satisfaction on him.
Somewhere in the back of his mind Gull felt something snap as everything went black.
Gull shot awake at the sound of a log collapsing in the fire as it burned low. Shivering he pulled his cloak tighter about himself even though it was his memories that chilled him the bone not that cool night air.
Taking another swig from the bottle Gull ran a hand over a few days growth of beard. Finding a scar he traced it with his fingers down the left side of his neck to his chest. There he found a network of scars that marred his chest slightly left of the center like lines of smoke in his red flesh.
Gull plunged his sword through many an opponent in the same area. A heart shot, instant kill.
His body was on fire. That had to be it. That was all it could be. Gull was sure the monster lied to him, lit him on fire while he was passed out. Straining against leather straps and grinding splinters form the table into his back reminded that fire was probably not what he was experiencing. Taking a deep breath he focused and opened his eyes.
No flames just burning all throughout his body, like acid in his veins.
“Awake yes?”growled a voice of to his left, Distant yet familiar. “Pain? Good, good. Pain means life. Life means working. Strong you are orc. Stronger you will be.”
Taking a deep breath Gull focused and forced his eyes open once more and looked to his left glaring in the direction of the voice. She stood at his waist mindlessly playing with him using her left hand. Grinning she took a bite out some kind of fleshy fruit in her right allowing its juice to course down her jaw and neck, black against her pale flesh. She giggled as she wiped her mouth with her left hand before returning to her mindless playing, using the warm goo as lubricant.
Nothing made sense to Gull anymore. Time ceased to flow. He balanced on a pin head somewhere between pleasure and pain watching this monster eat a lump of flesh, flesh and muscle.
Gull slowly awoke to a visitor to his camp. Curiosity, not hostility radiated from the creature that sat just out of the firelight. Gull met the glowing eyes unflinchingly and held the stare for a few moments before grunting and tossing the cooled scraps of his dinner to the creature. He heard the creature snap up the treat before continuing on its way.
Gull poked the fire to kick up a few more embers, make it burn a little brighter; more of a deterrent. Not that he was worried; he just didn’t want the hassle. Satisfied Gull allowed himself to slip back into semi sleep.
Pain, like a pair of stakes being driven from the back of his skull into his eyes forced Gull awake, pain so intense that it caused a rainbow of stars to cloud his vision with each spike. Slowly he sat up with a grimace. His entire body erupted in a patchwork of pain as blood and pus seeped from hastily stitched together wounds that burned with infection.
Gull forced himself unsteadily to his feet. Cautiously he reached back to the base of his skull. Expecting to find something lodged there he was relieved to find only more stitches
Scars would mar his reddish grey skin from now on.
Gull grabbed a mug to fill with water from a rain barrel but splintered the wood by accident. Applying more pressure he shattered it like it was rotten. Grinning he hefted the rain barrel like a bucket and dumped it over his head. The warm water felt good as it washed the blood and grime off his body and out of his hair. The pain vanished as the water dripped off of him.
Grinning Gull smashed the barrel as though it was wicker.
“Happy I see,” came a voice from behind. “Choice good bargain, no?”
Gull spun around and stared inquisitively at the creature. “What… what did you…”
Reaching out with her fight hand she closed his mouth mid sentence. “Deal we had no? Make you stronger, faster, and tougher, heal quickly. That I did. You give essence in exchange.” She cocked her head to the side inquisitively, bird like. “Daughters of the crone honor their deals orc.”
Slowly she backed him up as she spoke pushing her cool body against his warm with fever from his still festering wounds. She was his height, a little taller maybe; even so he couldn’t help but stare into the black voids of her eyes, almost losing himself there. Coupled with the feel of flesh and feathers, the scent of her musk he barely registered being backed into a chair and sitting down.
Slowly she lowered herself onto his lap still holding his mouth closed. “The gift received is nothing compared to the gift given,” she whispered as her warmth engulfed him. “Tomorrow leave you will. Take what supplies you need. The path to a town will lead; equipment by the door. Replacements for what was lost as well.”
The soft tone and rhythmic cadence of her voice mixed with the tempo of her grinding was lulling Gull into a trance. “Careful you should be. Traumatic this was for you. Spirit not strong enough; holes there will be, many probably.”
Gulls head lolled back as his body convulsed in release. “Such is the price of power orc.”
Carefully, almost tenderly the creature dismounted him, letting his body slump into a heap on the floor.
Gull smiled as he awoke to the sun cresting the horizon. Still free, still powerful, just burdened with the loss of who he was and the memories of his ordeal. Gull stepped away from the fire to relieve himself after kicking the embers down. Finally ready he strapped on his blade and slung his pack and shield over his shoulder before following the road to town.
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