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Author Topic: Warmachine  (Read 4192 times)

Offline Machao6

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Warmachine
« on: September 13, 2019, 10:53:30 pm »
I decided to just get on and post what I've done on this.

It's a long one so it won't provide instant gratification. Hopefully its an entertaining read as well as pushing a few niche buttons.

Thank you to those who reviewed the exerpts I posted in another thread, which will be incorporated here in proper order.

* * * * * * * * * *
PART 1:

Hamish Westerley found himself in a remote country estate far from the front lines. He had been summoned there by Divisional Command for some sort of special assignment. Here in the heartland of Argon, it was almost possible to forget the total war status, but even in this rural setting the trappings of a nation at war were obvious. Defences and sandbag bunkers, flags, bugles, trucks and troops rumbling by. Inside the estate the furnishings were lush  - dark mahogany and varnish everywhere, red leather chairs with tall backs, libraries and studies.

“Frankly Hamish I can’t think of anyone more capable. You’ve shown a good understanding of the big picture and your small unit command is exemplary. I appreciate that the mission is a little...unorthodox, but we just don’t have the manpower to reconnoitre in force.”

The speaker was General Haig. He and Hamish’s regimental commander, Colonel Finch, were taking a long time to order him on a suicide mission. The younger man sighed before recounting his orders. “So I’m to take a section, by plane, two thousand miles south of us to investigate rumours that the Larinthians are pouring materiel into the Fanteran jungle. And do what about it, exactly? There’s no airstrip, so we can’t be extracted by the same means. We’ll have no support.”

“That’s not strictly true...” Haig said, crooking a finger toward the door. A short, bald man with spectacles and a grey suit walked in, his burgundy tie standing out despite its blended tone. He smiled pleasantly and extended a hand, which Hamish took carelessly. The man was followed by a tall woman of intimidating beauty, sharp and coordinated appearance. A bun of black hair and thin-rimmed glasses gave her an almost clichéd secretarial look. She did not extend a hand but nodded curtly. “This is Dr Edgar Weismann, and this is Dr Athena. They are specialists from House Cryer.”

Hamish immediately regretted shaking hands. Most of the stories were from before his time, but the story went that House Cryer was one of the Larinthian member states – nations that pledged allegiance to the Shah in return for peace and prosperity. They gave willingly to the Larinthian war effort, and each of the houses was notable for a very specific technological focus. House Cryer, for example, specialised in mental conditioning and psychological warfare. Their soldiers committed famous atrocities for the Larinthians and were rumoured to be fearless and suicidally obedient. There was even talk that they looked the same. Coming face to face with even former members of that state was an unpleasant experience. The well-meaning grin on the little bald man’s face took on a sinister self-satisfaction.

“The General here has told me of your exploits, Mr Westerly. It will be an honour to travel with such distinguished company.” Weismann said, looking up at Hamish over the rim of his glasses like a mischievous gnome. “I think we will find a great deal to discuss on the journey, to the advantage of us both.”

Hamish looked from one to the other. “Begging your pardon, but are you deserters from Larinth?”

General Haig shifted uncomfortably and cleared his throat, but the woman answered before he could intercede. “Yes. Larinthian persecution of political rivals has led us to pursue our research here in your country. Our intelligence has informed defensive operations in a number of cities, and details of certain emergent techniques have already been shared with your government. Now we turn our hand to helping you understand a subject that we, and the Larinthian Empire, are greatly interested in.”

“And what is that, exactly? The Jungle?” The soldier asked petulantly.

“Yes. More specifically, the people who live there.”

Hamish narrowed his eyes. It was widely understood that the Fanteran jungles were too dense to map properly, and too dangerous to explore. While they were certainly large enough to accommodate a population or perhaps even conceal one, the chances of anyone living there were always thought to be remote. Rumours ran rife about the place – mythical beasts, man eating plants, tribes of warrior women, cannibalistic or beast-like. Giants. Many-limbed men. No one knew where the rumours came from. Some intrepid explorers claimed to have stepped foot in there and seen a few things for themselves. The army had conducted several flights and investigations, but most were poorly regarded. Or never returned. 
Taking advantage of his rumination, Colonel Finch spoke up. “There’s a war on in that jungle, Hamish, and we want to know who’s fighting the Larinthians and how we can help each other. That’s what this mission is really about.”

“And you think these people are friendly to us?” Hamish asked sceptically.

“Quite so. The enemy of our enemy, and so on.” Weismann answered. “In fact, Dr Athena and I have collated a great deal of information which I believe will convince you of our purpose.” The short man raised his briefcase onto the table top and flicked it open. He raised a few sheets with typed minutes on them, and extracted a thin dossier and offered it to Hamish, who accepted it like a notice of dismissal.

Leafing through the pages, he surmised that the two had researched the existence and activities of a defunct noble house, House Fantera. Supposedly this house accepted the Larinthian coin but used it to bankroll their own strange agenda, which involved a scientific quest to artificially create perfect life – perfect soldiers, perfect servants, perfect women and men. A shortlist of examples included an account by a Larinthian Trueblood who claimed as few as five "She-Devils" laid waste to a mechanised infantry platoon with their bare hands, overturning armoured vehicles and slinging men into the air. Another referenced autopsy notes - presumably performed by Weismann - on an anthropoid subject twelve feet tall with no reproductive apperatus and one of the hardiest metabolic systems ever documented, with dermal layers two inches thick.

As Hamish read he scoffed aloud, but some of what was uncovered was at least supported by the myths attributed to the region. Apparently when the Larinthians found out that the House had plans of their own, a schism broke them apart. Some renewed their pledges of fealty to the Shah and moved to the Larinthian mainland. Those who stayed on their island home in the Midling Sea were set upon by the might of the Empire, and before long their fortress-laboratories defended by superhuman guardians were destroyed. From the research in the two Doctors’ dossier, they believed that some members of House Fantera fled to or had already hidden subcells in the jungle before their inevitable demise.

“While this makes for interesting reading, this is still work for a civilian institution, not the army. Why waste fighting men when we need them here?”

“The truth is this, Hamish,” General Haig said firmly “we can’t keep this up. If we keep fighting symmetrically, our great nation will be defeated in a year or two at the most. If we fall, the Alliance falls, and the Larinthians will rule all of Somerwald. We have to explore every possibility that could give us an edge. Superhuman soldiers? Rebel Houses within the Larinthian Empire? A massive diversion of enemy forces into that Jungle? Maybe it is fantasy. But what if it isn’t, eh?”

Dr Athena piped up again with her clinical tone. “Even if we only discover fragments of their work, we can study them in order to...”

“From what I read here, the benefit would be that you get a cheat-sheet to rewriting life. That sounds grand and all, but here in the real world, real people are fighting and dying. You might still be wanting to obsolete the plain old human, but the time this mission will take has been paid for with blood. I’ll have no part of it. Find someone else, General.” Hamish turned on his heel and made to walk out of the office, but Athena stopped him with a hand on his arm. Her grip was surprisingly strong.

“Lieutenant. How much of that blood would have been spilled if you had access to the same resources, the same technology as the Larinthians?” The soldier glared at her indignantly. “The Larinthians fight as if they do not care for the lives of their subjects. It’s because they don’t – to them, levied troops are expendable. Think of it. House Mecane uses robots and machines. House Cryer uses cloning, drugs and psychotherapy to make mindless killers. House Fantera’s speciality was Eugenics. You will never defeat them without evening the score.”

“I’ll take my chances.” Hamish grunted.

“But will your country rest on your odds, Lieutenant?” This was doctor Weismann, advancing confidently on the Argonian despite having to look up at him. “You seem to think that perhaps there is some other way – that if you and your fellow soldiers fight hard enough, you can prevail. This is not so.”

Colonel Finch interjected. “Now Weismann, we agreed that there was no need to quote the odds to the Lieutenant here...”

“Oh you think this is unfair, Colonel? Mr Westerly has seen fit to demonstrate his limited understanding of our research and intended goal, so please allow me to show what I know of the war he is fighting. Tell me soldier – how long do you think it might be before the Larinthians stand in this very house?”

Hamish frowned, wondering if he should entertain the question, but found himself giving it serious consideration instead. “I’d say about nine months.”

“Wrong. You are basing that on the fighting you have seen – which has been bitter, and extensive no doubt. But against an inferior enemy who’s only real advantage is numbers, yes? You cannot imagine what enters your country behind that vanguard, what dire forces and weapons have yet to be confronted. I tell you that if the Larinthians’ current advance keeps up, they could be here in three months and your armies would be shattered in that time.”

Hamish looked furiously at his commanders, but they returned his gaze with sad, remorseful eyes. After all the pomp and ceremony of the recruitment camps, the drills and the propaganda, this admission from them felt like a grave betrayal. How many men had died on the false promise of preserving the nation?

“We leave tomorrow. The Colonel can tell you more about your unit for this mission.” The doctor smiled, knowing that the battle was won, and Hamish seethed quietly.

Colonel Finch smoothly resumed his briefing. "Naturally, radio contact will be vital for further reinforcement and supply..."

* * * * * * * * * *

In the hangar of a specially constructed airfield on the southernmost plains of Argon, Hamish met his team. Some twenty men faced him. Six wore the familiar flight suits of Lexian air cavalry. Ten wore the uniforms of the Defence Force, like himself. He recognised Drs Weismann and Athena, now dressed in fitted combat fatigues with a camouflage pattern he didn’t recognise. One, a boy in a jumpsuit with Dafnese insignia, leaned against a tall suit of powered armour. And he was the twentieth, the officer commanding.

He greeted the men, trying to put names to faces. They were broken soldiers from their personnel files, veterans all. They had something in common – each had lost their reason to fight. Most hailed from regional militias who’s units had been wiped out, meaning they had lost friends and families in combat. Some had seen their hometowns and livelihoods ruined. A couple were here instead of facing disciplinary charges, including the squad sergeant, Harker. He would be trouble – in a rare offensive campaign, his unit successfully rolled back Larinthian occupations of three towns, but instead of liberating them, Harker regarded the populations as collaborators and took to raping and pillaging. This mission was his alternative to a firing squad. It didn’t bode well for their chances.

He came face to face with the pilots of his aircraft, and of the escorts. One, a lank man with a thin beard and delicate glasses, stepped forward as the flight leader. “Wally Gardener, at your service.” He said, extending a hand. “Echo flight will be responsible for seeing you safely to your drop zone. These men have flown with me through fourteen sorties – the journey should be a cakewalk.”

Hamish took the offered hand. “Looks like this is all just routine to you. I’ve never jumped out of an aeroplane before.”

“Really?” Gardener looked astonished. To Lexians, the air was the road. “Well...I’m sure you’ll love it. To be honest I’m not sure why they don’t just use Lexian drop troopers. It’d save time in training.”

“Support.” Declared the boy with the powered suit, confidently. The two officers turned on him in unison and he bit his lip nervously. After a moment of tense silence, he continued as if to justify his interruption. “The Argonians are trained to live off the land, coming from a largely agricultural background. The Jungle will be confusing, but no problem for them to adapt to. A Lexian unit would not be reliable without proper support, they’d starve or get lost too easily.”

Hamish and Walliam stared at the boy for a moment before turning back to each other. “Well, there we have it then!” Gardener shrugged. “I’ll leave the ground op to you; it’s what you’re here for. If you need to consult with me about anything to do with the air, let me know.”

“There is something I’d like to know right now.” Hamish admitted, before Gardener could turn away “Do your fighters have enough fuel to go all the way to the drop zone?”

Walliam laughed and crossed to one of his Sparrowhawks. He slapped a fat bulbous tank underneath that Hamish had assumed was a bomb. “Fuel tanks! These are long-range fighter bombers, but with no ground attack payload, we can use the extra haul to carry more fuel. They’re less agile than a fighter but with double cover we should be able to make up for that. That’s why you get a full wing not just a flight.”

Hamish nodded with satisfaction, then crossed next to the boy. “Corporal Milliard, I presume?”

“That’s me sir. 129th Armoured Reconnaissance group. And this is Natalya.” He patted the greyscale suit behind him which made a plastic slap with a metallic ring that echoed quietly in the hangar.
“If its quicker sir, you can call me Dexter.”

“You were talking about Support. What do we need Natalya for?”

“Oh, she’ll be useful in spades sir. There’s no way we can insert any armour or transport for this mission – powered armour is about the only thing that will navigate a jungle without any impediment to mobility, not to mention being air-portable. She can be loaded for fire support as well as sniping operations and she’s bulletproof to everything up to a 50mm shell. Direct, that is. Jump-capable, adaptive camouflage, enhanced sensor and optical equipment. I’ll be your eyes, ears, and left hook all in one.”

Hamish studied the suit in awe as the boy rattled on. It’s construction bewildered him – there was not a rivet to be seen. Seamless joins of metal-come-plastic, articulated armour, the suit was so...sleek. The Argonians had only been able to deploy clunky Redeemer armour which had none of the grace of this unit.

“I have a question.” Hamish declared, making the boy look up at him. “How long is her battery life, and how do we recharge her in the jungle?”

“Twelve hours, about the average time a unit will march on foot for, and much longer than we’d last in a jungle. I can power modules down to conserve energy and when moving, dynamos act as static accumulating generators to recharge the battery life. I can also stand it in water and deploy the hydroelectric jenny. We’ll need to find some of that anyway while we’re out there.”
The boy finished, not triumphantly, but earnestly. As if waiting for approval. Hamish frowned at him instead. “How old are you?”

“Seventeen, sir.”

“Why are you here?”

His expression dropped. “There’s only one recruit in the 129th sir. Everyone else was killed when the training ground was attacked in ’42. I guess the Yeomanry couldn’t spare anyone else, they don’t know what to do with me.  I – I mean, Natalya – suit the job down to a tee, sir. If you’ll excuse the pun.”

 Hamish laughed and held out his hand. “I’m game if you are, kid. Glad to have you. But who’s going to fix this thing if it breaks?”

“I will, sir. The 129th has no support elements. We’re trained for independent action. All the spares and tools I need are compartmentalised. We only have to worry if I lose a leg or something.”

“Ok. Don’t break a leg, then.” Hamish moved on.

The men in his unit should have been reliable by their records, but their faces told a different story. They were morose, scared, resigned. Hardly a fighting spirit. A couple were downright dangerous, survivors driven psychotic by their experiences. He divided them into two teams – a rifle squad, and an assault squad. The maniacs were in the assault element, led by Sergeant Harker. The team leader was a giant, bald man with a ginger beard and a vile disposition. He had small, malicious eyes that sat beneath a heavy brow and seemed to hold everything they regarded in contempt. He had already asserted himself over the squad though. Hamish detected the unspoken deference, military cohesion. “Are you ready, Sergeant?”

“Ready and waiting, Lieutenant.” It wasn’t the deference Hamish had been expecting.

“I have no idea what we’ll find in that jungle. Maybe nothing. But all of these men have lost everything. I hope you all get something out of this.”

“I intend to, sir.”

Hamish nodded  unconvincingly and ended his tour in front of the Cryer defectors.

Weisman nodded cordially, while Athena kept a conservative distance and stared straight ahead.

“Good to see you again, Lieutenant. Myself and Athena will be acting as your guides once we are in the jungle. So long as we can triangulate our position using familiar landmarks, we’re confident we can pinpoint several areas of interest.”

Hamish couldn’t resist. “Let’s hope so. I wouldn’t want this to be complete waste of time.”

Athena’s eyes flicked down to peer at him angrily, but before anything else could be said Hamish felt a hand on his shoulder. It was Colonel Finch.

“There’s some fifty others involved in this operation who you won’t be able to meet, I’m afraid. Commander Nathan Fisk of the Royal Myrmadon Navy will be overseeing the extraction of you and your team, via river. Dr Weismann has all the coordinates.”

“Well, can I have them?” Hamish hissed vehemently, conscious that his men might hear. Weismann cleared his throat as if concealing his amusement and Hamish rounded on him furiously, until the staff officer got between them.

“Hamish, it seemed natural to let him coordinate things because he’s already been going over topographical data with a fine tooth comb. Besides, given the nature of the expedition its important that certain key figures retain a monopoly of the information on the extraction to avoid any...internal confrontations.”

“You mean to stop me shooting them both and leaving them in the jungle, mission failed?”

“The suggestion was all mine, Lieutenant. I am no stranger to the workings of a soldiers mind. You still believe our mission has no value – but this is well and good. All you have to do is obey your orders. Leave the extraction to us, all will be well.”

Hamish glared from Weisman to Finch. “Will it really?” He demanded, rhetorically.

The little man raised a hand disarmingly. "Lieutenant, there is no need to make your case any further. We are aware of one another's predilections. Permit me to demonstrate some usefulness in your own pragmatic forms."

Weismann clicked his fingers and Athena produced a heavy-looking briefcase, sweeping it up and open for display. Inside were heavily-cushioned hypodermic needles filled with different clear fluid. He selected one from the nearest end of the row and tested it against the hangar lights. "You expect me to...?"

"Innoculations" Weismann stated matter-of-factly. "The jungle is home to many perils not known in this country. This immuno-booster will fortify you against most forms of infection, illness and certain acids and poisons to be found there. There are no side-effects unless you have a very particular vulnerability to certain proteins."

"Everyone gets one." Colonel Finch declared, settling the matter.  Hamish grudgingly rolled up a sleeve, noting the doctor's gentle touch. For his manner, the little bald man seemed to love what he did, and doing something so demonstrative - sharing his skill for all to see - was clearly enjoyable. One or two of Hamish's party needed to be talked into receiving the jabs, but most took them without complaint. Nobody wanted the ignominy of dying from something as mundane as a poison frog out there.

The unit conducted only two test drops to familiarise the men with airborne operations. Young Milliard came out the best of the prospective paratroopers, his suit’s jump jets acting as an efficient cushion to a landing even from thousands of feet up. Hamish didn’t like the drift of the parachutes and was concerned about the unit scattering into a thick jungle with no real means of communicating – but Weisman indicated good supplies of flares and coloured smoke to circumvent these problems. Everything seemed to have a smooth answer, but he felt like he and all of these ‘volunteers’ were being taken for idiots. As he sat in the plane during its take off, awaiting the moment of destiny, he reflected that only an idiot would be doing this job.

* * * * * * * * * * *



Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2019, 11:03:05 pm »
PART 2:

The Walrus shook and rattled in the air for two hours. Hamish was sure that no plane journey was supposed to feel the same as an off road race. To the Argonians who had never been in a plane before this mission, every bump and shake was a terror. Dexter had encased himself in Natalya in preparation for the jump, performing last-minute diagnostics. Sergeant Harker sat sharpening his knife, every harsh ring ravaging the nerves of the men around him.

“I think its sharp enough now, Sergeant. Keep that up and you’ll lose the length of it.” Hamish warned him. In response the sergeant locked eyes with him, and maintained his glare until the knife was safely in its sheath. Then he busied himself with checking cartridges for his machinegun.

Other men were similarly preoccupied. Most were rechecking their weapons, testing the mechanisms and applying last minute oil to guarantee slick action. A few were eating energy bars with shaking hands and laboured chewing. One was shining his boots. Weismann and Athena sat next to each other, leaning in to review notes and maps conspiratorially. Westerly rose and stretched his stiff legs, and some of the men looked up at him expectantly. He hated the dread anticipation in their faces. He walked down the fuselage of the great transport and looked over his men. He offered a match to a man who couldn’t get his lighter to catch, ignoring the “No smoking” signs above their heads. One of the younger soldiers was praying, and he tapped his helmet.
 
“No one’s going to save you, but you. Focus, and prepare.” The boy took a deep breath as Harker sniggered behind them. “Check your weapons.” Hamish left him with that task and moved on down the line. He stopped another boy from ‘checking’ his grenades. Finally he stood before Weismann and his beautiful assistant, who seemed to tower over him now they were sat together. They looked up at him, Athena with a scowl, and Weismann with an implacable smile.

“Soon you will learn the value of our research, eh Lieutenant?” He greeted Hamish. The glint of the cabin lights in his spectacles formed a protective visor, through which the officer was unable to glare.

He looked away instead. “I hope so. This will be terrible waste of life otherwise.”

“No life is wasted, dear soldier! As I said before, if we can unearth but a portion of the scientific treasure lost in the jungle, the tide of the war can be turned.” The scientist gestured with one hand, slowly running it across an imaginary surface, perhaps a world of his own. Hamish stared at him levelly.

“I never asked: what are you doctors of?”

“Genetic Engineering. And Athena is Doctor of Superbiology.”

“Super biology?” The officer asked, turning his sceptical gaze to the statuesque raven who looked back at him defiantly.

“Pushing the boundaries of life, Lieutenant. It requires a certain open mindedness that you do not exhibit. You can train your body so that it functions better when it needs to, but you will never surpass the limitations of your biology. We work to destroy those barriers.”

“Well, that sounds terrific. But meanwhile, can you tell us anything about what we might expect down there in the jungle? I have to keep you safe, unfortunately, and that requires a certain grounded realism you do not exhibit.”

Weismann shrugged cheerfully, but Athena spoke. “Nothing we can say will prepare you for what is down there.” Hamish met her fierce eye and was about to demand an explanation, but the aircraft banked suddenly and staggered him. Something whooshed past the plane outside and Hamish assumed they were under surface-to-air attack.

“Prepare for debarkation!” He screamed above the shuddering din of the cabin. There were guns now and he could hear the somewhat familiar sound of the Sparrowhawks gunning their engines.
His men fell about themselves and some sprawled onto the floor as the plane jinked sharply. A burst of gunfire pierced the fuselage and struck a bloody line down his men, felling three. While they screamed, others ran for the gun ports and returned fire as best they could. From what Hamish could tell however, their targets were way too fast. As Goreman and Stippler hammered away, other men were struggling to staunch the bleeding of the wounded. The plane banked sharply again, this time the other way, and he heard the stuttering sound of machineguns ripping past and the metallic pangs of bullets striking the fuselage, but this time nothing came through.

The oppressive scream of jet engines startled everyone on board and some men threw themselves flat, expecting the plane to disintegrate at any moment. But it was the mere passing of their invisible assailants. No sooner had the men picked themselves up, but another burst of gunfire tore its way through Goreman, severing an arm and detonating his head in a wash of gore. As the blood ran down his face Hamish stared aghast, only to be staggered again as the plane bucked and jerked, then went ominously calm and started to list to one side.

“Fire in the Starboard engines! Get outta there!” The pilot screamed. The men were panicking in the fuselage, clambering to get past each other. Hamish turned for the door and saw that Athena  was already opening it, the little doctor literally joined at the hip as a kangaroo cub before her. He watched as they jumped together, then scrambled for it himself.  Another enemy raked the fuselage and more of his men were hit. There was no more time.

“Bail!”

* * * * * * * * *

HAMISH’S FALL:

Hamish jumped for his life, cursing as he realised just how low the plane was. His chute opened more suddenly than he had been expecting, jerking him back into the air. The Walrus trundled above and past him on one engine and he watched it trailing smoke and fire as other chutes began to open, each lower than the last. As far as his eyes could see lay an undulating carpet of exotic trees, although on his right was an immense wall of mountains that perforated the sky. The breathtaking view and the strange sensation of weightlessness almost made him forget his circumstances, but he caught sight of the plumes of smoke rising from the jungle where their escorts had been felled. He watched the last of them trailing smoke, descending with reluctance, before dropping out of view into a valley. There was no explosion as he had been expecting.

Around him the tearing rush of jets came and went, but it was only when he found the Walrus making its inevitable descent that he actually spotted one of their enemies. Strange dartlike shapes, small but menacing, moved quickly in perfect formation. He looked on as four of them followed the Walrus, harrying it until its second engine went up in flames, then it banked defiantly round again as if to prolong its own suffering. Presumably pilotless, or at the very least beyond control, the giant aircraft spiralled into the trees and cartwheeled on its nose, severing a wing before exploding and shattering the air. All he could do now was wait for the ground to meet him.

He tried to count the number of parachutes. The lowest had already disappeared behind him somewhere, presumably Weismann and Athena's. There had been no contingency for an air attack and the subsequent separation. Perhaps they would use flares to mark their position? Ahead and above him were a handful of other chutes, but he couldn’t see who dangled from them. He could hear the distant crack of jets and noted they were getting nearer – looking around, he realised to his horror that the darts were returning. They made a beeline directly for the highest chute and cut straight through it, severing the ropes. The scream of the soldier was shrill, as if he passed adjacent to the officer in the air. There was no thud when the man hit the bottom, only abrupt silence. Hamish frantically tried to locate the enemy drones and realised that even with their speed, he would probably hit the treeline before they could make another pass. But what about his men? What could he possibly do to save them?

He cursed himself for feeling safe as he heard the familiar hammering of guns and another of his men screamed as they were torn up by the deluge. The victim shuddered bloodily and then hung, totally limp in his harness, as if from a gallows. The drones adjusted imperceptibly to target the next man and before long Hamish was down to just four men and himself. He could hear sergeant Hawker swearing at the drones as they burned round in a wide arc to strafe their next victim, but that was the last contact he would have with his men.

The jungle rushed toward him and his feet punched through the thick canopy. Immediately his legs caught on a branch and he swung over so that his head was pointing downwards. He smashed through a thin branch before colliding with a main that stopped him dead in his tracks, where he hung, winded, until the parachute dragged him off and down again. He was the right way up now but smashing through branches that caught and clawed at him, sending him at an odd angle toward the ground. Eventually the chute was seized by the branches above, leaving him dangling in the air a good twenty feet up.

Winded, dazed and feeling horribly exposed, Hamish tried to swing for a nearby branch. It was too distant, leaving him nauseous as he hung helplessly in the air. He tried to gauge the drop and decided that if he landed well there was no reason he couldn’t make it. The ground was soft earth by the look of it, rich with undergrowth. Fumbling with his release catch availed him nothing. He froze when he heard sharp voices echoing through the jungle. He listened a while longer and heard two shots. The jungle was unfriendly. Taking his knife to the harness, Hamish sawed feverishly until with a snap he fell straight to the floor, landing almost upright and crushing his left ankle. He had to clamp a hand over his mouth to muffle his scream. For a moment he had to wait for the pain to subside, until he realised it only hurt when he rested any weight on it. Using his rifle as a crutch, he forced himself to stand, staggering against the tree. He vomited. As the first pangs of despair started to gnaw at his mind, he heard the voices again, getting louder. Still using his rifle as a surrogate foot, he hobbled away into the bushes.

His course took him slightly uphill, and looking back on his landing site, he decided a thorny rodidendrum bush offered a concealed vantage point. He fell into the bush, quite conspicuously, and lined up his rifle with the tree his parachute had been caught in. Then he waited tensely, until the voices got louder and clearer and four Larinthian soldiers stepped into view. The gold on their distinctive pyramidal helmets glistened even under the canopy of the jungle. So the rumours were not only true, but the enemy were further along than anyone had indicated. Here, in the middle of this vast expanse of tropical fauna, they emerged like roaches grubbing for his carcass. They noted his parachute harness and seemed to discuss his whereabouts for a few minutes, before proceeding to search the area in a circular pattern.

If they had been even remotely experienced they would have noted the clear indications left by his passing – the disturbed earth leading right to his position. Instead, they kept their eyes off the ground and on the trees instead, as if expecting him to have leapt from one to another. He waited while they spread out, moving in a loose group either side of him. Eventually they had moved on and he ventured out of the bushes and back the way his pursuers had come from. The jungle was incredibly diverse but vague pathways led him to a muddy road, dampened by a trickling stream alongside. The road seemed to be circumnavigating a hillside. On the other side the land fell away sharply into a steep embankment, down toward a proper river with a strong current. Hamish caught sight of another parachute draped over a spiky bush, but the body alongside was unmoving and bloodied.

As he squinted to try and recognise the corpse, a light thud in the ground behind him caused him to turn where he saw three lithe women crouched on the ground, eyeing him with intent. Each had an identical neck-height bob of raven black hair. They carried wicked looking knives and crossbows and wore very little, baring bronzed, toned limbs. What little clothing they wore was tribalistic or ornamental, Larinthian gold fittings and patterning. The girls braced themselves. Threatened, Hamish raised his rifle to hip height, and then they made their move. One moved to each side, so quickly he didn’t know which to track. While he dithered, the third simply shot him with her crossbow. The force of the bolt carried him back over the edge and cast him down the hillside.

He was dimly aware of falling, of motion. Of pain, distant but overwhelming, like watching a tide sweep across a beach he wasn’t standing on. Then he was only aware of numbness and the warm damp of his own blood saturating his shoulder. After a stunned moment of serene quiet, he stared up at the looming trees to see his three nemeses approaching. The one who shot him pointed her crossbow at his chest and smiled. The other two searched him.

Something was very wrong. The pain had dulled to a kind of ebb but he lacked the strength even to raise an arm, to say a word. He could only lie there, comfortably numb, as they took his pistol, grenades, rations and aid kit. Lastly they took his trench knife and held it to his throat, but something startled them and they ran off.  Hamish’s last thought was that no one would know he was dead out here, as he faded into unconsciousness.

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2019, 11:57:25 pm »
PART 3: (bit cringeworthy but I wrote this when I was about fifteen. Edits have only improved the scene setting I'm afraid!)


Hamish dreamt of pain. He first dreamt that his parachute failed when he jumped out of the plane, sending him hurtling to smack against a rocky riverbed hundreds of meters below. He awoke with a start, and then agony. He was being carried. A woman’s voice offered him comfort. He passed out again quickly, as if to escape the searing pain in his shoulder.

Next he dreamt he was being chased through the jungle. Around him men – his men – were being executed in little clearings as if specially prepared and exhibited for that purpose. But all he could do was run on, pathetically, as angry enemies chased him with guns and knives. He ran to a cliff face and turned about, where a pack of gargantuan dogs were slavering and baring their teeth at him. One lunged for his throat and mauled him horribly. He awoke again, this time to a blurry sight of two people looking at him in a room with flickering lights. One had red hair. Both were female, he heard their soft voices soothing him. A hand touched his forehead, and he splashed back into sleep.

Lastly Hamish dreamed that he was face to face with the girl that had shot him again. He saw the gold bangles on her arms and ankles, their sheen offset by her olive skin. Sharp green eyes size him up malevolently, and although she moved in slow motion he felt himself inexplicably paralysed. At his hesitation she smirked and raised her crossbow. As Hamish opened his mouth to speak, she shot him with her crossbow, in the left shoulder. He could hear the sound with crystal clarity, and felt the pain acutely enough to scream himself awake.

As he leaped forward out of sleep, he was caught and held in a fierce kiss that stifled his noise. The pain in his shoulder was very real, real enough to make him moan helplessly into her mouth. Fear began to rise, cold and dreadful. Sensations in mind and body were at conflict. She kissed him so intensely that he feared he might pass out, until the pain dulled to an ever-present ebb. When he stopped resisting, he was gently, reluctantly, released. Strong limbs guided him to the bed again, and his rescuer was straddling him. 

She was breathtakingly beautiful, and wearing nothing but a hunter green bikini made from some sort of animal hide.  Her well-proportioned body rippled with sleek, toned muscle. Enormous breasts yearned beneath a creaking leather halter that seemed tired of its constant labour. Flames of red hair singed her shoulders. Her generous lips were parted with concentration, energetic blue eyes fixed on him. The girl leaned forward and cradled his head affectionately. Hamish could only snatch a few deprived gasps of air, and stare up at her in disbelief. Another dream, surely? She raised a finger to her lips and went in to kiss him again. He was too stunned to resist. This time her ministrations were soft and delicate. In a span of twenty four hours, he had experienced a range of human emotions he had never felt so intensely. Terror. Pain. Dumbfounded confusion. And now, the weeping relief of affection.

The girl’s giant eyes, so close to his, seemed to widen in surprise before she parted their kiss. “Am I hurting you?” She whispered, abruptly.

Hamish heard the words but had to struggle to make sense of them. “No...” he croaked feebly.

“But you’re crying...” she reported, as her thumbs carefully collected his tears. Hamish breathed deliberately, trying to force his mind to cooperate, to catch up.

“I...I thought I was dead.”

"No, only dreaming. You have terrible nightmares. But you’re safe now, I’ll protect you.” The girl planted a kiss like a blessing upon his forehead before laying down beside him, controlling his gaze with her gentle hands. She wriggled closer. It was a thrilling sensation to feel the warmth of her firm, powerful body.  Though the sensation of his body against hers was encouraging, he couldn’t help but feel awkward. She sensed it, and Hamish offered no resistance as his head was pulled down onto her shoulder. He was now encased in her arms and, in that intimate seclusion, his body finally allowed him to relax. His hands dithered, fearful of touching this generous beauty, his saviour. He feebly rested them against her upper arms, feeling the smooth lines of her muscles as she ran her hands across his back soothingly.

“Put your arms around me,” she whispered. Hamish obliged, tentatively at first, then she rose to let his hand slide beneath her back and their embrace was sealed. They held each other for a long time, and Hamish felt relief wash through him as a dozen anxieties and questions were drowned out by a sense of perpetual comfort.  He had no idea how long it had been since he landed in this place. He had no idea about anything. After what could have been hours, his thoughts finally stabilised and he mustered some presence of mind to seek answers. She took his head in her hands and raised him slightly so she could face him.

"Who are you?" He whispered in astonishment.

"I saved you." It wasn't really an answer, but he was too dazed to be vigilant. She was already continuing with more answers. “You’re in my village. It's called Kalena. I smuggled you in! It’s very important that nobody knows you’re here. So please don’t have any more nightmares.”

“I’ll try not to.” He assured with his eyes closed, unconvincingly. Wincing as he struggled to remember where he was, he groaned a question. “How far are we from where you found me?”
 
The girl’s eyes looked skyward as she estimated. “About fifteen miles. I was hunting a Gargasaur when I heard a great noise from the sky. Then there was fire, and Larinthians everywhere. I wanted to see what was happening – I watched people falling from the sky. I saw Lethys’ Daughters standing over your body and knew that Vitalia had given me a sign. It’s the only way I could have found you by accident like that.”

Hamish painfully recounted her answer to his original question. “Fifteen miles? How did you get me back here?”

She looked at him in bemusement. “I carried you, of course!”

The soldier’s head throbbed as it rejected the information. “What?”

“I carried you. How else would I have done it?”

He looked up at her, his vision blurry and his voice barely audible. “...you carried me fifteen miles?”

She scoffed. “I’ve never run so fast in my life. I thought they’d used Liktor venom on you. I was so scared you were going to die in my arms. When Sophitia told me you were going to be fine, I knew I had passed the test. I knew Vitalia was smiling on me.”

“You ran for fifteen miles carrying me?”

She laughed at his incredulous expression. “Yes! Is that such a big deal?"

“I’m sorry, where I come from that is an amazing feat. I have trouble running for one mile and I’m supposed to be fit enough to fight. I certainly couldn’t do it with a man on my shoulders.”

“Well of course not, you’re a scion!” She scolded him playfully. “You shouldn’t have to run or carry anything. That’s what you have me for.” Her beaming expression faltered as she noticed his confused blinking. “I’m sorry, Sophitia said you were from very far away. She also said there are no amazons where you come from, so I should have remembered that before opening my big mouth.”

The soldier rubbed his eyes tiredly. “That’s ok. Did she teach you the language as well?”

“Your language?” The girl bit her lip nervously. “Yeah, a long time ago. I recognised it as you talked in your sleep. I'm not butchering it, am I?”

“Not at all. I have so many questions...”

The girl started toward him as if worried he was about to leave. “Don’t worry about a thing. I promise I’ll explain everything in time. But for now you should rest.” She stroked his head with an anaesthetic touch. “Now, tell me how I can make you comfortable.”

Hamish considered all the tantalising ways she could do just that, but something was clawing at the back of his mind, a foreboding. There was so much unknown here, he had lost all sense of awareness, of time even. He rested his head on her broad shoulder and she squeezed warmly around him. “Would you mind if we stay like this for a while?”

His red-haired saviour beamed. “I was thinking the same thing...” 

As Hamish lay awkwardly with the girl, he gained some impression of her height and build, which were both considerable. His feet were nowhere near hers and he was lying fully one head short of her, resting as he was on her shoulder. His hands were tucked beneath her broad shoulders. Though he felt awkward, the feel of her body was incredible - as if she were so powerful it emanated from her, carried by her warmth. "You're very tense..." She whispered into his ear, making him prickle with anxiety. "...Are you uncomfortable? Is something wrong?"

"No...well...yes...this feels wrong." 

"Why?" The concern in her voice was almost melodramatic.

"I just...have a lot on my mind."

She made an understanding sigh and then rolled him over with a giggle. The fast movement made his head spin but she was so gentle about it as to never aggravate his wounds. She perched on top of him with her arms down on his chest, like a cat ready to pounce, pushing her boobs out in a gorgeous display between the sleek, bulging muscles of her arms. "I can help!"

She started to run her hands across his chest,  deftly unlatching the toggles on his silk shirt with a playful grin. Hamish felt his entire body freeze and he became aware that he wasn't breathing. Noticing his hesitation she slipped her hands around his, pulling them up to her heaving bust - but the moment they touched he jerked back to life and withdrew his hands in a panic of gasping breaths. His reluctance caused her to recede like a frightened animal, hugging herself. Despite her shrinking demeanour she towered over him. "You don't want me..." she murmured.

"No, no, It's not that...I just don't think I can...I shouldn't be here..."

He spent a few moments trying to phrase what was rushing through his mind, but in the end it simply erupted in a cringing shower of tears. Hamish covered his face to hide his shame, but felt a careful strength prising it away to reveal that lovely, sympathetic face once more. "It's ok. I shouldn't have done that. I didn't mean to upset you. You only just woke up!"

He could only snivel and shake his head.  After a few moments, he asked: "C-can you just hold me for a while?"

The girl nodded eagerly. She said nothing more, holding him tightly until the soldier was fast asleep.

* * * * * * *

He slept well with no painful images. When he awoke she was right there beneath him, dozing gently. The feint breeze of her breathing and the considerable rise and fall of her chest combined with the beating of her heart into a comfortable entrancement. He shifted his head as gently as possible to change the alignment of his neck, which had started to ache, but she must have been awake as her hand ghosted down the back of his head with a contented murmur.

"No nightmares." She declared sleepily.

"No." Hamish grinned shyly.

"Were you comfortable? I didn't want to move you in case I woke you."

"I think you're the best pillow I've ever had." The Argonian reluctantly sat up and stretched his neck. She helped him massage it. "Hey, that feels great."

"You weren't even on the best part..." the red haired woman tempted, shifting on the bed to apply herself fully to the massage. Hamish was silenced by the sensation. All too quickly though she retreated. "I'm sorry, but I can't let you fall back to sleep yet. I have to fetch us something to eat before its gone." She carefully extricated  herself from behind him and climbed out of bed.

Viewing her at her proper height and from more of a distance gave him a new image of her dimensions. Fully six feet and taller, her body undulated with lean muscle and racy curves. Long legs, powerful  legs rose to meet  a waist that was slender by proportion. The sweeping line of her body held up sturdy shoulders and that indulgent bust that seemed to creak in its bikini with every breath. Her lovely face was framed by flaming hair and her deep, blue eyes avoided his thoughtfully. Though her body visibly shone with power, her stance was relaxed, and her lazy steps toward him gave her a sensual sway. Noticing his gaze, she smiled and turned to face him. "How long have I been here? Since you found me?" Hamish asked.

"This is the third night. You must be hungry. I tried to feed you some fruit but you just mumbled something and rolled over. They're cooking a boar outside, would you like some?" Hamish nodded seriously, making her laugh. "Wait here, then. I'll be back shortly."

Hamish's smile dropped after the woman left. Three nights?! What about his men? Urgency demanded action. The soldier took stock of his surroundings. Her abode was a simple one room affair made of wooden planks and bamboo. It had a thatched roof. It was sparsely furnished with this low, large bed. It was easily king size but he wondered if that was sufficient for two similarly-sized people. A simple rack held a few garments, some spears or javelins leaned in a corner with various tips, a net was rolled alongside. Animal hides and pelts offered simple decoration and comfort underfoot. There was a table with a few accoutrements for sewing and stitching. A shelf held a few jars and bottles filled with liquids of various colours. One seemed to be half full of nuts.

The adobe had windows with simple wooden slats for covers. They were thankfully propped ajar, allowing a breeze to cut through the clammy jungle heat. From them Hamish could hear the sounds of female laughter and singing, and the crackling of fires. Hobbling over and bracing himself against the wall he peered out of the narrow gap offered by the sloping boards to check his surroundings. He could see a campfire a few meters beyond the front door and a huddle of young women sat around it. They cuddled or leaned their heads on one another. None of them were modestly dressed, and none of them seemed out of shape. He saw his red-headed saviour cross the line of vision with a steaming bowl in her hands, coming back to the adobe. He perched himself back on the bed before she entered. "How are you feeling?" She asked as she slid onto the bed beside the soldier.

"Much better, thanks. My shoulder is sore but I don't really feel groggy or anything now."

"It sounds like the poison wore off. I've never seen anyone recover so fast." she placed the bowl of boar meat down on the bed between them "I haven't really prepared anything, its just off the fire..."

Hamish was already tearing himself a piece of the meat. As he gorged she looked on with interest. They said nothing more for a time. She waited until he had eaten his fill before finishing the bowl off herself. Laying it to one side, she slid across the bed to sit behind Hamish with her legs straddling him. Her strong arms clutched him about the waist, and he could feel her breasts crushing against his back as she rested her chin on his shoulder. "So! How can I make you more comfortable?" 

"This is pretty good for my back actually."

"Well, if your back is hurting..." Hamish was entreated to a sumptuous massage of his neck, shoulders and back. His first such experience. The girl's strength was clear as she effortlessly rubbed out every ache and strain, tempered by her tenderness to get every last scrap of discomfort rooted out. As she worked she chatted with him, rebuffing his questions about her identity with playful ambiguities.

The village was called Kalena. The women who lived there called themselves Amazons, and there were several such enclaves scattered throughout the jungle. They had been there for as long as anyone could remember, passing their traditions down through ritual and wrote. Those traditions seemed to include hunting, singing, weaving, cooking, athletics, languages and martial arts. When he asked how she  came to be so strong, she simply giggled and said she trained hard. She seemed to know much more than she would confide, but though recalcitrance would normally make him wary, her demeanour suggested she was preoccupied with...him, frankly. When she finished kneading his shoulders she planted a kiss on the back of his neck. It was dark outside and the sounds of singing had stopped. "I think I can sneak you through the village now that it's night time. Would you like to see it?"

"Yes, I'd like that. Let me see how my ankle holds up."

Hamish struggled to stand and tested his weight on the ankle. It was still too sore to trust and he hobbled for the wall. Before his hand reached the wall she was off the bed and supporting him fully."Oh I'm so stupid! I forgot you hurt your ankle too. Hold on."  Before Hamish could protest she slipped a hand behind his knees and picked him up like a wounded pet.  "Comfy?" 

Hamish laughed incredulously. "Are you?"

The soldier was entreated to a whispered tour of Kalena. The settlement was built on a winding plateau that hugged the edge of a cliff top, almost like a natural road. Above it a stream gushed over the cliff in a waterfall that pooled somewhere near the top. Water from that pool had been channelled down through the village until it pooled again at the bottom before running over the edge at the opposite end. Those two pools were focal points for socialising, as was the arena. At the lowermost end of the village, simple wooden abodes were scattered in enclaves of between four and eight buildings. Here was the Maiden's quarter, apparently, where the majority of the village lived. The maidens were amazons waiting to be chosen to serve a master, and spent all of their time training, foraging, hunting and labouring. Their amusements were usually very physical, and Hamish listened with interest as his guide described the various wrestling contests, dares and challenges they set one another.

As the plateau climbed so did the quality of the buildings, and more permanent structures with evidence of stone working dominated. These large structures resembled halls or barracks, and they were set with brazier enclosures and peculiarly shaped windows, diamond or triangular. The land showed signs of tending here, with neatly paved paths between the buildings and leading on toward the waterfall. This was the Priestess' quarter. The priestesses were teachers and confidants, lawyers and scholars, artisans and counsellors. They seemed to serve a vital role in the community, helping to bridge the fractious castes discretely to ensure that a master who abused his position was dealt with, and the maidens growing restless in waiting were mollified. The masters were not allowed to speak with the Princess, and so it was through the Priestesses that they conveyed concerns, requests or suggestions, for they could speak with her at any time. The Priestesses were the gatekeepers of Amazon society, residing over tribunals, trials of passage and arbitration.

The great Proving Grounds dominated this area, with its arena indoor and out. The inside of the barracks was said to contain weapons and armour, as well as the forges and materials required to produce them. It was a defensible building, not unlike a bunker in design. 

"It's idyllic," Hamish replied "I could forget a war was ever going on in the world here."

Her hold on him intensified warmly. "You'll be safe here. I won't let anything happen to you. You'll never have to fight again." 

The soldier looked at her as levelly as he could given his silly situation. "If I want the war to be over, I'll have to."

She carried him up along the plateau, which resembled a broad road of earth snaking around the cliffside, pointing out significant features as they went. They took a moment to view a wide open space, a patch of ground darkened by an absence of torchlights.

"This is the proving grounds," the girl explained, hefting him up so he could get a better look "All of our trials, contests and disputes are settled here in the open so the whole village can see."

"What sorts of trials?"

"Well!" the redhead exclaimed excitedly, "Firstly there's general tests of strength, endurance, and agility. Every amazon takes those to prove herself. We all want to be as strong as we can possibly be, so we can protect our scions when the time comes."

"Well, how is it judged or rated?"

"A trial is usually just a feat. Then there are contests, which are against other women. We have monthly ceremonies in which every amazon competes, and these are witnessed by the priestesses, and the Masters. Then it becomes official. There is a hierarchy to the feats outlined by the Priestesses. We call it the Ordeals of Vitalia. It starts off with a Heartstone. An amazon is considered to have come of age when she can lift one above her head and hold it there. It's supposed to prove that we are ready to bear the burden of love. The longer she holds it for, the better. The Priestesses make all kinds of jewellery to recognise our feats. Each one is carved uniquely for us and we keep it when we can hold it up."

"How big is a Heartstone?"

"Its about this big." She held her hands out in a vaguely circular shape and he estimated it was around three feet in diameter. If it was solid stone, he knew he would be at his limits trying to roll it over, let alone lift it. Perhaps they came of age later and only after tremendous physical conditioning, since it seemed like most remained single until they could pass some further, more exacting trial.

The soldier was taken further up the plateau, and through an empty gatehouse with a single tower looking out across the vast valley below. Finding the moon he guessed it was past midnight, and there were no torches or voices to be heard here. In the stark moonlight however he could see that the buildings here were finely crafted, complete with walls and water features fed by siphoned fresh springs from the rock face. Although everything was unfamiliar here he could detect the veneer of class segregation. "Who lives here? " He inquired  "Everything looks different."

"These are the masters' quarters, so all of our best work goes here. That big hall in the middle is the council building.  You'll get a better view in a moment." She carried him past stonework which had been polished to an exquisite standard. Trickling water gurgled in enclosures around them. Warm lights within the houses were the only indication that anyone else was here. Looming over the houses was a waterfall, not a torrent but a trickle, a veneer cascading down the rocks. The ground was paved with attractive stones crisply laid. The houses were finished. As opposed to the simple reed and wooden huts the amazons dwelled in, these buildings were made of hewn stone or finely aged timbers. Hamish's mood darkened as he recalled his task and the ruinous turn of events that brought him here.

"I need to talk to the masters. I'm on a very important mission."

His guide opened her mouth to reply, but no words came. Instead she seemed to dissipate, like the air of enthusiasm was leaving her body. "It's...not that simple. You're not supposed to be here. I don't know what will happen to you if I introduce you."

"Well look. You've saved my life, at tremendous personal risk by the sound of it. Why don't you leave me outside the village tommorrow and I'll stagger in and pretend we never met?"

She smiled at the thought but didn't seem convinced. "But...I don't..."

"Please." Hamish insisted "It's important."

"Look...you're in no fit state to be wandering out there. I need to take care of you for a while, and then you can make a decision. In the meantime, no one can know you're here. Besides. The Masters have their own affairs to worry about. The people you really need to talk to are the Priestesses, and one of them is keeping our secret for us."

Hamish recalled, blurrily, that he heard and saw two female figures during his recovery. "Then I need to speak with them as soon as possible. Tommorrow, in fact." 

"Ok, I'll ask her to come. Would you like to see the rest of the village or do you need to rest?"

"Please, carry on." The woman laughed nervously, and pressed on.

 She was taking him to some steps cut into the cliff face, winding up to an artificial walkway that led to a cave behind the waterfall. Here, the girl stopped and turned. Hamish's breath was taken away by the sight of the entire valley, the village in the foreground, bathed in a wan, mystic light.  The soldier caught his breath with a sigh.

"It's as if the war never happened. No snipers. No cannons booming in the distance."

"Nope!" she exclaimed cheerfully "It's just you and me, master."

Hamish felt a pang of excitement and apprehension at her use of the term. He looked up to find she was already peering fondly back. The look in her eyes was so intense, so exuberant, he knew he had to say something. "My name is Hamish." he finally uttered.

The girl's expression dropped a few shades, but after a moment's hesitation she smiled again. "Of course, Hamish." The soldier waited for her to go on, but she simply smirked nervously under his gaze. After a long pause she asked in a quiet voice: "Is it true that you fight? Even with no amazons to protect you?"

"The women where I am from do not generally fight. It's rare that they do, anyway. They're not as strong as you are."

"Neither are you!" She laughed.

Hamish couldn't deny it. "True, but...The men have always done the fighting where I am from. It's just how it is."

"So, there are a lot of men where you are from?"

Hamish pulled a face at the odd question. "Yeah. There's about as many men as there are women."

The redhead was awestruck. "I take it there aren't so many men here in the village?"

"There are twelve."

It was Hamish's turn to be amazed. "And how many of you live here?"

"There are around fifty amazons here. Too many. It causes a lot of problems."

"I can imagine. How come there are so few men?"

Her face became quite sullen and serious. "It's a long story. When I hand you over to Sophitia, she will explain everything."

"Ok, sorry to ask so many questions."

"Don't be. It's just, we're not quite the same as you. I can see that now that I've finally met someone from outside the village." She looked away momentarily and Hamish thought he saw sadness. Then she was back again with a smile. "But you're so fragile...and cute! How could anyone send you off to war?"

Hamish scoffed. "My country needed me. After a while I couldn't imagine sitting around being coddled while there's Larinthians to kill. I never reckoned myself a fighter, but war swallows everyone in the end."

At this the redhead grew pensive, and Hamish joined her in watching the crystal clear moonlit expanse, undulating forest rolling away on waves of cliffs and hills. The sound of the waterfall and the vapours gave their vantage point a fresh, invigorating feeling despite the hour. If this was what every moment was like here, the soldier considered, it would be a fantastic place to retire to once the war was over. He looked past her to where the path led behind the waterfall. "What's through there?"  He said, jerking his chin.

"Oh...I'm...I'm not supposed to talk about it to outsiders. It's a place the Priestesses go. It's sacred."

" Alright, I was just curious. It's the best defended part of the town. It's hidden, bottlenecked, and encased in a mountain and a waterfall. So I thought something important might be there."

She hesitated a moment before confiding. "Not something...someone." Hamish detected even this tiny detail was privileged information, and considered the ramifications. Everything in the village had been built in escalating order of class, and this cave was above even the masters quarters.

As he reflected his eyes fell upon the valley below them. The sky was clear with a full moon, and the carpet of trees undulating through the valley seemed like ocean waves. The pool at the cliff's edge was crystal glass, filled by the silver moonlight.  He shifted his weight in the girl's arms so that he was tipping into her body. He resisted the temptation to rest his head on her shoulder, but after a moment's hesitation she effortlessly pulled his head into place. It made him feel foolish for even trying to maintain a distance.

From his close perspective he studied her - her firm, warm skin. The flawless lines of her face. The vitality and strength bursting from her body. Soft but so massive that it felt like a pressing force against him, a constant effort for her arms to hold him against. But something at the back of his mind wouldn't let him enjoy the sensation fully. He couldn't lose himself here, in good conscience, knowing there was so much to do. "Thank you for the tour." He blurted abruptly.

She looked down at him hungrily. "My pleasure." The redhead replied without moving her gaze. The longer he looked into her eyes the closer she seemed to get to him, her face edging toward his own, his lips magnetically seeking hers. He blinked to find they were merely inches away, parted mouths breathless with anticipation. After a moments hesitation, she lunged forward and kissed him fiercely. Hamish struggled firstly with his fear, which caused his hand to push at her shoulder feebly, then with his desire, which caused him to seize the back of her head and gorge on her affection, and finally with his guilt which caused him to freeze awkwardly and let her slip away. She tenderly parted their contact and opened her eyes to meet his again. "What are you so afraid of?" She demanded, softly.

"I've..."

Her lovely eyes fluttered in front of his. "Yes?"

"...I'm not very...I've never..."

Her nose touched his and she grinned. "Yeah?"

"This has never happened to me befo- "

Before he could finish her lips had found his again and her powerful embrace secured them despite his hesitation. "Now it has. Just relax. I'll take care of you." He laughed helplessly, and she joined in, the need to be quiet reducing both to a giggling mush as she carried him back to her abode.

When they got home she laid him gently onto the bed and climbed astride him. Poised above like a feline toying with its dinner, she teased him with kisses, darting in and breaking off with an acute awareness of his hesitation. Her tactics left him giddy, until he was simply staring up at her dazed and confused. "Touch me" she whispered.

"W...whereabouts?" The soldier stammered.

She kissed his neck, working up to his earlobe. "Anywhere you like" she breathed, before nibbling it.

Hamish let his hands fall on her body and ran them along the sublime curve where her hips and waist met. She seemed to stir into his touch and he began to experiment, daring to reach further and higher with every caress. He explored her firm buttocks, thumbed her chiselled abdominals, his hands ran across soft and smooth and grabbed hard and firm. She seemed to enjoy whatever he did, sometimes looking down with interest to observe him admiring her, other times her eyes closed as if her sense of touch was overwhelming any others.  She brought his hands up to her bust and he sighed as he finally let himself answer his sordid inquiries about the weight of her breasts, their firmness under his grip. He kissed her, reaching up off the bed to do so, and she caught his weight in one arm to keep him at her mouth, her neck. Her stance, her body, seemed to exert complete control over him. The fact she was bearing his weight was a unique thrill that he wanted to explore, he wanted to test her power and feel it working for him. He hooked his legs up around her waist and, sensing his desire, she cupped a hand beneath his leg so that his entire weight was held by her as she knelt on the bed. They kissed fiercely, until they could only rest their foreheads against one another breathlessly.

"Thank you for saving my life," Hamish whispered, remembering suddenly the chain of dreadful events that brought him to this moment. It was as if someone had burst into the room to observe him in his moment of need. He felt as if he was watching someone else enjoying this moment, as if it was meant for another, not him. As much as his body was yearning for it, his mind simply refused to let go of its many worries. She felt his passion ebb away and kissed him needily, but the moment was passed. She breathed a sigh of desperate yearning.

"I'm sorry. I'm really sorry."

"I'm not." She smiled, defiantly, refusing to permit him to break contact with her. "I'm going to make you see your future, not your past. For now, lets cuddle some more and rest. Does that sound ok?"

He nodded with a smirk, and she laughed at him.

Offline WilfredDDeVoe

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2019, 07:13:49 pm »
Fantastic story Machao. Thanks for posting!!

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2019, 01:37:15 am »
Fantastic story Machao. Thanks for posting!!

You're most welcome sir. Loads more to follow! Haven't finished writing the bloody thing yet either XD

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2019, 01:45:52 am »
PART 4:

The following morning she woke him gently as he lay in her arms.

"I have to hand you over to the Priestess now. I'm taking a trial today and I won't be able to look after you. She'll keep you safe while I'm gone." She turned her back to him and held out the threads of her bikini top for him to tie, which he did gingerly. She turned and kissed him tenderly. "Sophitia will be here in a moment." As if on cue there was a knock on the door, light and subdued. "I'll see you soon."

His host opened the door to a strikingly beautiful blonde woman, slightly taller even than his redheaded saviour. Her shining gold hair was held up in braided loops and pinned by a bejewelled headdress, a kind of tiara. Veils of white hung from its sides, while her attire was comprised of a very revealing white dress that covered the essentials by crossing the body before hanging down in slices before and behind the legs. It was joined by a broad belt of silver inlaid with turqoise gems. Her arms were bedecked with braids, circlets and beaded ties. Her limbs, though softer in complexion, showed similar hallmarks of subtle power and tone. Her abdominals were prominent, windowed by her dress, and the belt beneath them seemed to droop away as if to give them more room to be seen. She was carrying a wicker basket over one shoulder.

The two exchanged quiet words in what must have been the native tongue. Hamish noticed a degree of chiding from the tone of the newcomer, who looked him over and then said something with a mischievous grin. The redhead laughed and left. Hamish made to get up but the blonde visitor crossed the room in two strides and gently barred him from further action, placing her basket on the ground.

"Good evening," she began, perching herself on the bed beside him. "My name is Sophitia. I am a Priestess of Vitalia, and a friend to you both. She produced from the bag a stone bottle and removed two small cups that had been hanging from hooks around its width. "Springwine," she explained, filling the cups and offering him one. Hamish accepted the drink wordlessly and sniffed at it. It smelled like fruit salad. He tasted it and found the sweetness and its cool storage cut through the oppressive humidity like a blessing.

"You have many questions." the Priestess declared, and Hamish realised he was being invited to speak.

"Yes," he began, readying himself for some answers at last. "What is the name of the red-haired girl who saved my life?"

"She does not have a name, because no master has named her yet."

 "There's that word again. Who are the masters? How does one become a master?"

Sophitia thought about his question a moment before answering. "A master is a Scion who has named a Maiden. You are a Scion. She is a Maiden. You could be a Master simply by..."

"Whoa, wait...I'm not anything. I'm a visitor, a tourist, an intruder. I don't belong here. My name is Hamish, by the way."

"You are a man. You must be protected and cared for. You command and we obey. It is what the Amazons were created for."

"All men are Scions?"

"No. Only the worthy."

Hamish closed his eyes as he tried to piece together the new information. "What makes someone worthy? I mean, how do you know? Surely they can't just walk in, name someone, and boom they're in charge?"

She smiled patiently. "It is our job to know, as Priestesses. Although...there are so few Scions to be found..."

Hamish found her ambiguity annoying. "Well, I need to talk to the Masters. But...Miss Noname out there says I actually need to talk to you. So who speaks for your people?"

"Do not toy with names." The Priestess chided sharply. Then thought about her answer very carefully. "The masters decide what will happen. The Priestesses decide what should happen. We are advisors and confidants. We hear the insecurities and anxieties of both Masters and Maidens. And we serve the Lineage."

"The Lineage?"

Sophitia  smiled again and positioned herself to lie beside him on the bed. "I think I had best start at the beginning, Hamish. This story may take a while. May I help you to relax while I tell it?"
Hamish nodded absently while he wondered what she meant by this, but quickly found out as she pulled his head down onto her bosom and massaged his scalp with her hands. Her voice had a crystal clear, but velvet soft quality to it, and combined with the massage and the security of her body next to his, became quite hypnotic.

* * * * * * *

In the beginning, there were two gods. Lethys, the Coiled King, who's touch was poison and who's grip was unyielding. The lord of desolation, weakness and terror, he made his home in the south of the world and such was his malign presence that the soil dried to sand and the trees withered and died. The people of the Earth feared his influence and could not live in his lands.

The other was the Goddess Vitalia, Queen of Strength and vigor. It was her might that set the world in motion, and her breaths made the wind stir and the clouds move. She took no home, preferring to wander through the wilderness, bringing storms and thunder and fresh life wherever she went. Her name was uttered gratefully at the birthing of children, and during the hard labours of harvest, and before battle.

The Dawning of Knowledge was a time of great adventure and strife, as mortals sought to explore the desolate lands of the South and even established towns and cities there. But slowly the land corrupted these people by driving them ravenous for the minerals in the rocks at the heart of the desert, and the oil buried far beneath the ground. Other nations stopped trading with Lethys' tainted people because they were growing aggressive and unfair in their deals. So they deserted his lands and left their cities and mines.

It was during this era that a man of great intellect arose. He was Octavius, the Alchemist. He took it upon himself to learn the nature of matter, and became obsessed with creating life. But his creations lacked the spark of higher intellect that humans possessed. His studies seemed thwarted to end at the strange beasts that now plague the jungle and the desert and the ocean.
Octavius was shunned by others because he was so involved in his studies. He lived on an island abandoned by the settlers, in the Garaean ocean separating north from south. Yet Lethys had noted the loner as the only human who did not flee from his aura of fear, and so he visited the Alchemist one night. First he assumed the guise of a great snake, and shimmied across the ocean in moments. Then he coiled around the Alchemists' tower and squeezed until the walls creaked. When Octavius opened his door to see what was happening, Lethys transfixed him with his gaze.

The conversation they had differs in legend. Some have it that Octavius offered his service to Lethys in return for being left alone with his studies, and the eventual promise of the secret to sentient life. Others say Lethys traded this knowledge to Octavius in return for his making him a race of humans who loved him and him alone. Many submit that Octavius was a good man who would never have done something so foolish unless he was threatened. Others suggest he was a selfish and introverted man with no concern for others, only his studies and his own pleasure.
Whatever their dialogue, Lethys imparted knowledge to Octavius that revealed to him the secrets of making complex life - as a god might - and in elation he produced many species of being that have passed into myth. First of all however, he created humans anew at the behest of his reptillian benefactor. These were imbued with some of the malice of Lethys which made them sensitive to his will. They were the first Larinthians, and their massive, powerful physiques were second only to their calculating, inventive minds and ambitious, ruthless hearts. These people quickly settled in the harsh lands of Lethys and made them hospitable once more, bending the world to their whim and shaping the mountains, the hills, and the rivers to suit their needs. They quickly became prosperous and it wasn't long before the beginnings of a culture based on slavery and warfare had set in. Intrepid traders from the North brought tantalising stories of other cultures, and soon the borders of the Larinthian empire touched those of the other nations.

Octavius meanwhile had long since rectified the problem of expiry and made himself eternal. He lived through centuries as the Larinthians rose ascendant in the south. Before long the cultures were clashing, and he was sought after by many cultures seeking to gain the upper hand over their adversaries. They paid him richly for producing beasts of war, slave soldiers, and new species with which to best their adversaries on the battlefield. The wars went on for decades, but one by one the smaller tribes bordering the Larinthians became protectorates and Satrapies. As the Larinthian culture diversified it grew and adapted, and soon it was the strongest and wealthiest of all the Early States.
However, the Larinthians had never been able to cross the sea that seperated the Two Bodies. It was immensely turbulent and ferocious thanks to the ire of the Goddess Vitalia, who swam in them constantly and with her mighty limbs lashed the shores in tumult. She had heard of the rising evil in the South and in warning sought to worry the northerners into making preparations. But they attributed her message as a period of troublesome weather, and turned inward. Though no boats dared to cross the ocean, she had seen birds flocking and knew that the inventive Larinthians would not long devise a means of following them.

In desperation, she visited the reclusive Octavius, who had cursed the land by obeying Lethys' will. She appeared as a colossal wave that decimated his island fortress, washing him out of it. At the mercy of the sea, he was cradled by mighty Vitalia, who whispered his follies and the threat she could see in the future. Stricken with fear and loathing, Octavius begged for her aid in redeeming himself. She commanded that he use his arts to create some means of protecting the world from Lethys and restore the balance of power. Then she carried him gently to the shore and deposited him in Fantera.

When Octavius awoke, he set about his mission. But he had seen so many beasts and soldiers rise and fall in the wars. What was it that made a great warrior? Hatred? The Larinthians hated with abandon but only elicited a greater response from their enemies. Ambition? It led to overconfidence and rebellion. Vigilance? Too strong a sense of justice led only to gaps of logic that could be exploited. Octavius needed something more in his life, something that superseded all of these things, surpassed them. Something he had felt in the care of the Goddess Vitalia. Love. Try as he might, he could not replicate the qualities needed to fulfil the task she had asked of him.

Meanwhile, Lethys stirred at the sudden disappearance of his favourite vassal, and set out in search of him. He scoured the world, bringing nightmares and tremors wherever he went, until finally he found the massive jungle untamed and wild. This jungle was populated with people who were steadfastly against him, and their prowess in battle was considerable. Yet above the canopy of the trees there loomed a mountain, and atop it a tower. Here was Octavius, and Lethys coiled himself angrily around his tower so that he could not interfere with his conquest any further.
When Vitalia next came to visit Octavius in Fantera and see how he was progressing, she found the Coiled King had incarcerated him in the tower with his great body. Lethys laughed at her naivety, claiming that the power of love was nothing next to the grip of dominion. Vitalia raged back defiantly, and a great tempest broke over the jungle. When Octavius heard her fierce voice, he uttered an adoring prayer to her, confessing his everlasting love. At this, Vitalia leaped forward and forced apart the great snakes coils, holding them away from the tower and allowing Octavius to escape. Released, the Alchemist could only watch from the floor as Lethys tightened like a noose around Vitalia and twisted his body around hers vengefully. Lethys howled with rage and  squeezed with all his might, crushing the tower to dust between his coils. He squeezed and squeezed and squeezed, unable to quench his thirst for destruction and torment. But Vitalia weathered the terrible agony. Having traded her freedom for Octavius', the Goddess endured unimaginable torment and suffering at the hands of Lethys, who could do nothing but rage and exert himself against his powerful captive. Trapped in this eternal embrace, the two Gods are ensnared to this day, and it is said that only their followers can tip the balance of power.

The Alchemist for his part realised Vitalia's vision and harvested some of the sweat and blood from her tortured body for use in his experiments. From these droplets, he imbued his final creations with the might and courage of the Goddess Vitalia, empowering them over all his previous constructs. He created a race of warrior women who would love and defend the weak, like the Goddess had defended him. These he hid in the jungle in scattered enclaves, where they could train and prepare. He anointed the first Queen of the Amazons and would have led an army of the amazons to rescue the Goddess, but Lethys had poisoned him during his captivity and after his magnum opus, he perished slowly. The Lineage of amazons he created using Vitalia's own essence lives on to this day, and the one found to hold the most of the Goddess' power rules as their Queen . The romance of the vulnerable man and the strong woman remains a pivotal narrative in Amazon culture. The amazons resist the predations of Lethys' followers, certain in their belief that they are descendants of Vitalia herself.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Despite her dulcet tones Hamish was able to digest the story and bit back his cynicism as Sophitia awaited his questions.
 
"So as a priestess of Vitalia, your role is to preach this narrative?"

"Not at all. My job is to ensure that each amazon is motivated to fulfill her duty to her scion. That she is strong enough to bear whatever burdens must be carried, brave enough to face whatever danger, and gentle enough to care for you when you need it most. Amazons come to a priestess to settle their worries, or for advice on how to please their masters. Sometimes, a scion will come to me for advice. We are teachers and confidants, not preachers."

"So...do you have a master?"

Sophitia smiled sadly. "No. To become a priestess is to forsake the path of love and embrace the path of wisdom."

Hamish shifted to look up at her. "I don't mean to sound rude, but how do you advise people on something you eschew?"

Sophitia laughed and brushed a wisp of hair out of her face bashfully. "That's a fair question. In some ways we can't - practically - but spiritually we're unblemished by the complexities of life. We can see the purity of purpose that all amazons should adhere to, and that's how we serve. When difficult decisions, sacrifices and hardship abound, it can be easy to lose sight of your guiding virtues. It's widely said among amazons that it takes a person who wants what you have, to tell you what you're missing."

"That's...actually a really good point." The soldier reflected,  "In my culture life seems to be about hitting certain targets in life. Get a good job, earn good money, buy good things, impress a good woman. It's a recipe for anxiety. I try to tell myself every day that I've had a good life, but...there's always someone out there waiting to make me feel inadequate because I don't earn as much as them, or I don't drive as big a car."

The priestess carefully placed her cup of springwine on the bedside table, then leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead, before taking his shoulders in her hands. "There is nothing inadequate about you. Forget you ever learned that word. When you name an amazon she will make you wonder why such words were ever written down." She beamed at him excitedly. Stunned, Hamish cleared his throat.

"So...this naming business..."

She grinned with what could have been satisfaction at his intrigue, or relief at his tacit endorsement. While the Argonian balked, mouth flapping in astonishment, Sophitia carefully pressed herself against him and wrapped her arms around his body, pulling him gently into the air with her. She cuddled him close with an appreciative sigh.
 
"An amazon waits patiently for the day she will be named. It is the single happiest moment of their life, short of pleasing the one that named them thereafter. They train relentlessly to earn the favour of a scion when one appears. They will endure agony just to get your attention, and brave injury and exhaustion to earn your affection. That name will bind her to you forever, every time she is called she will think of you. It is no gesture, no ceremony. It is a pledge, an oath, a promise. A spell."
Hamish frowned. "How can a word have so much power?"

"Words have always had power, Scion. Names are the most powerful words of all."

"You mentioned responsibility. So far it sounds like a Scion has the better part of this arrangement. What exactly does the man have to do?"
Sophitia met his eye carefully. "Nothing." She let that sink in as the Argonian narrowed his eyes. "The maiden you name will learn everything she can about you, the better to please you. She'll shape herself to your every whim and fancy. You can use and abuse her, treat her like the lowliest beast and she will still adore you." The soldier listened incredulously as the priestess' gaze intensified. "You don't have to do anything."

Hamish waited for further elaboration, but instead Sophitia simply watched him. He realised it was his turn to speak. "I'm not sure I want to use or abuse anyone. I'm not really in a position to get involved. If I were going to get that kind of attention from someone I'd want to make it worth their while, to be honest. What with the war and all, I haven't given my personal life much attention. So I don't think this is something I should be getting messed up in."

The priestess leaned forward and kissed him gently on the lips. "That is precisely why you are worthy. You haven't come here to exploit or to enslave. Your arrival here is a cause for tremendous celebration. The girls will work themselves into a frenzy for you. You can..." Sophitia trailed off when she realised that a tear was streaming down Hamish's cheek. "...what's wrong?"

"I think I'm just a bit overwhelmed. Last I remember I thought I was dying. Before that, I was watching my friend get killed because I led them here on a no-hope mission to find...something. Someone. And now I've woken up to find you and whatshername. It's like I died and went to heaven, but I know the bodies of my friends are out there somewhere. Maybe even some survived. I have a war to fight."

Sophitia took his hand and squeezed it. "No, you don't! Remember the legend? The amazons were built to protect and serve their masters. You don't have to fight anything or anyone."

"Yes I do!" Hamish snapped angrily. "I've spent my life fighting those slave-driving shitheels. They've taken everything from me, my friends, my family, my homeland. I've killed dozens of men, conscripted boys thrown in front of our guns. I beat one to death with a house brick once. You have no idea what I've had to do  to myself to fit it all in, the hatred, the fear, the rage. I'm in no fit state for any of this crap!" The soldier tore himself away from her and sat upright on the edge of the bed, incensed.

The priestess watched him for a moment before quietly adding; "She mentioned you didn't just have nightmares in your sleep. Why have you come here?"

The Argonian's mind raced as he considered his position. These people had taken him in and nursed him back to health, saved his life even. And they were clearly opposed to the Larinthians. Most his unit were dead or irrevocably lost in the jungle, and he had no means of completing his task. With a resigned sigh he collapsed back on the bed and rubbed his face tiredly. "My country is at war with Larinth. We're losing, badly. In three months' time the Larinthians will have smashed our forces and occupied the capital, enslaving as they go. A couple of crackpots managed to sell an idea to my commanders that there was super science buried in the jungle. We'd noticed the Larinthians were coming here in huge numbers, so part of my mission was to find out why."

Sophitia lay alongside him and rested her head on his shoulder, running a hand across his chest gently. "Go on."

"Uh...That's it. We gathered a bunch of hopeless cases, stuffed them into a transport with a fighter escort and got shot down. I got out, a few others got out. Everyone else is dead. The others who survived...I have no idea where they might be. I've already been almost killed by Larinthians myself, we landed more or less on top of them. By some miracle, that redhead found me. I owe her my life."

"And me." the priestess said coolly. She smiled playfully when he glanced at her.

"You too."

"And since you owe me, you can start to repay me by forgiving yourself."

Hamish looked at her coldly. "What?"

"You've survived a great ordeal. But none of these disasters were of your making. You were sent here by others, you upheld your obligation to serve, to obey. You've done the bidding of others and it cost you immensely. You've lost friends, your life has been endangered, and now you are lost and far from home. But though your situation seems helpless..." She leaned in and kissed him on the cheek. "...help is at hand."

Before he could complain she was off the bed, her scant robe trailing elegantly behind her as she strode purposefully toward a cabinet in the corner. Opening it, she produced his ASDF uniform, rifle, and pack. Bringing them back to the bed she laid them out neatly with a smile.

"Your red haired saviour was careful to retrieve all of your belongings as well. She asked me to keep them hidden, as well as you."

The soldier handled his rifle, enjoying its familiarity in his hands. "Hidden?" 

"Yes." Sophitia climbed up onto the bed and knelt at his feet. "You see, when a new scion arrives in the village, it is a cause for great celebration and ceremony. But both I and her agreed that the last thing you would want is to be subjected to such excitement after your injury. Also...I suspect she wanted to charm you a bit before anyone else caught your eye." The Priestess added this with a coquettish look that gave him a pang of excitement. He had to catch his breath as their thoughtfulness was unfolded for him, and his thoughts leaped back to the previous night when he had refused the girl's invitation.

"She must think I'm very ungrateful. She tried to fool around with me but...I wasn't really in a place to be fooled around with. I've never..." He looked up at the blonde, hoping that he wouldn't have to explain himself further, but she simply smiled patiently at him. "...been with anyone before. I wasn't really thinking about it either, what with the shooting and the almost dying and the jungle and all."

"I shouldn't worry about it." She smirked. "You will never lose her interest. And if you'd like any help with your...inexperience...that is something we Priestesses also help with." Hamish blinked incredulously for a moment, but before he could call her out on this revelation she changed the subject. "You came here to find out why the Larinthians are coming here. The answer is us. Over the last year a dozen enclaves have fallen to their advance. There are hundreds of thousands of Lethys' followers in our jungle and they mean to stay. They exploit the land, and us. Amazons fetch a staggering price in their slave markets and they employ us as labourers, concubines and worse. They have many methods of breaking their captives and controlling their workforce. Though an amazon is a mighty warrior, we do not have the knowledge or the means to overcome the sheer resources that the enemy commands. They can strike us from afar with great, noisy, burning weapons. Enormous machines that crush us. Unfeeling constructs that harry and hound us for days. So far the war has not reached Kalena, but one day it will."

The soldier's interest sharpened as he came to a realisation. "You're at war with the Larinthians too?"

"Do you not remember the legend? They are our mortal adversaries. We serve the goddess Vitalia. They serve the Coiled King, Lethys. We are the greatest threat to his dominion over the world, and he means to wipe us off the face of the planet or worse, bend us to his service."

Hamish resented the implication after all his fighting that these jungle women posed the greater resistance to Larinthian rule. But he let his bristling reaction subside before asking a more pertinent question. "I don't think I've seen any electricity here. How do you communicate with other villages? How do you know what's going on?"

Sophitia cocked her head as if the question was strange to her. "Runners. We send scouts."

"You travel everywhere on foot?"

"Yes, but...we are fast and tireless..." The amazon sounded indignant at his disbelief.

"Your enemy uses wireless communication to speak with allies they can't even see. They must be running rings around you. By the time you have word that a village is under attack, it'll be too late to send help to them."

She looked at him angrily, but though tears came to her eyes she nodded in agreement. "Even you can see it. But the enclaves are ruled by the Masters. And the masters...well, it's just not so simple as sending one enclave to help another. There are trials. Might must be asserted."

"What are you talking about?"

"If an enclave has decided, for example, to stay in hiding, and we send a runner to them asking for their help, that runner will have to pass a trial to secure their aid. If she fails, no aid will come."

"That's a ridiculous way of sorting anything out. Why is that the case?"

"The Ordeals of Vitalia. They govern our society. Vitalia suffered that we might live. So must we suffer to assert the will of our masters."

"And the masters are...just guys like me? Dickheads who wandered in and named someone?"

She frowned at his irreverence. "...They're not 'just' anything, Hamish. They are our purpose in life, the very reason we were created. To serve. To protect. To obey. To please. When the words of the masters contravene, it is our might that makes right."

Hamish rubbed his eyes with a frustrated sigh. He still felt as though all of this was too much to take in, too bizarre, too dreamlike. But he was at least able to move and think now. And the more he thought, the more questions he had to ask. The more answers he got, the clearer his situation became. "Is there somewhere I can get changed?"

The question caught her off-guard. "Here, of course!"

"I meant in privacy."

She crawled on all fours across him with a mischievous look. "Why?"

"Because...I don't think you want to see me naked."

"I already have. Now, let me help you dress." 

* * * * * * * *

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2019, 04:59:04 pm »
* * * * * * * *

The soldier was not well enough to hobble about on his own, and so he stayed in the care of his erstwhile host for much of the day. Any attempt to get out and explore was enigmatically, but firmly rebuked, and since he was reliant on her for mobility, she was calling the shots. She fed him nuts and berries, plied him with water and springwine, checked on and salved his wounds and massaged his atrophied muscles. All the while she answered his questions, or avoided them. So they talked.

Sophitia explained that each village, or Enclave, was ruled by a Princess. The Princess was a sacrosanct and mighty arbiter of law who's word carried absolute authority among those amazons who were maidens, those without masters, which in most villages was the majority. A princess was a direct descendant or relation of the High Queen, and their appointment was irrevocable. According to the Priestess no Princess had ever been anything but wise, conscientious and fair. The Council, on the other hand, saw to the day-to-day running of the enclave and its amenities, as well as voting on policy for their community. They had the power to resist the authority of the Princess if her decrees would interfere with the running of the Enclave. The amazons under a master served as political currency. A master granted the right to name more amazons by the Princess, or who won the right through other means, held more weight of authority than one with fewer amazons in his harem. To a certain extent, the Princess exists to prevent any one master from gaining a majority of one over the council. But without the Council, enclaves would quickly become despondent and feral.

In the Sisterhood of Vitalia, a Princess retains a certain spiritual indentity that she has dominion over. Through the Priestesses she can commune discretely with her Enclave irrespective of masters, maidens, scions or names, and hear the pulse of her community. Princesses also have Handmaidens, elite bodyguards who like the Sisterhood forsake their desire to serve a master in favour of serving her. This is often a punishment for a maiden but can also be the fate of an Amazon who loses their master. It is said that a Handmaiden would murder a master if the Princess ordered it, though that is just a story.

Amazon society is based around rituals and trials, which they call Ordeals. These take the form of immense feats of strength and endurance. Every amazon must pass a trial of maidenhood before they become eligible for a name. Other trials involve competition and combat between maidens for the right to be named by a scion. Disputes between masters were settled by combat, as were arguments between maidens. "So, what happens when a scion and a maiden like each other, but she fails the contests and can't be picked by him?" Hamish asked with interest, causing the priestess to smile wryly.

"Well generally speaking if the two are set on each other there is very little that might get between them. An Amazon simply will not stop if they know their master is waiting for them."

"But what if she doesn't succeed?"

Sophitia gave him a scolding look. "I'm sure the thought wouldn't cross your mind once you'd spent some time with her, but...if it really came to that, its not unheard of for the Princess to grant an opportunity for the scion to make ends meet. In that case he'd be expected to answer a challenge instead."

"Isn't that a little unfair on the girl who won?"

"She's yours no matter what. You have to name her. It would be outrageously disrespectful not to, it would fly in the face of everything we know and all the maidens have trained their lives for."

Hamish scratched his cheek nervously. "Your culture is very...uhh...competetive, isn't it?"

"It is our way. Only the fittest may be entrusted with our sacred duties. It also ensures that the strongest come to be controlled appropriately."

"You said earlier that if a master was abusive, it didn't matter and the amazon would have to put up with it. What if he was really terrible. Dangerous even?"

Sophitia's head drooped as she remembered sadly. "It's been known to happen. We've seen more than a few Larinthian infiltrators or deserters of impure heart. Unfortunately once an Amazon has been named by her master she will defend him to the bitter end. Then it falls on the Princess and her Handmaidens to dispose of the venomous master. But they don't do so lightly. Normally the grief-stricken amazon is taken into her cadre - if she ever recovers. Losing a master is tantamount to suicide for any maiden. It's worse than death." As an afterthought, she looked up at him cheerfully. "That's why it's so exciting to see a scion of pure heart come to our village."

The Argonian frowned, wrestling with his self image. "How do you know I'm pure of heart? What if I turn out to be some depraved psycho? What if the war has gotten to me and all I can think of is hurting other people?"

She strew herself across him and slid her arms around his shoulders. "You and I both know that isn't the case. You want to be loved, I can feel it. You can't hide from me, and you won't be able to hide from her either." She turned his chin toward the end of the bed where a familiar redhead nervously approached. Hamish immediately felt a pang of guilt and alarm being caught in the arms of this other woman, but Sophitia extricated herself and rose to her feet. "He still needs plenty of rest, eager one. I trust all went well with your trial?"

The redhead nodded sheepishly. "I passed. Thank you so much for recommending me."

"Your exuberance recommends itself. Take care, both of you."  The priestess let herself out. Then the girl shot him an excited grin and Hamish swung himself off the bed and toward her.
She looked as though she had been hard at work. Her body was covered in dirty scuffs and grass stains, and bits of leaves and buds clung to her sweat-drenched body. Her breathing was heavy, tired, but she seemed elated as she held out her arms for him.

"What on Earth have you been doing?" he asked, brushing off some burrs from her hair.

"My trial of Maidenhood," she beamed  "It's been a hard day, but now I'm finally worthy of being named."

Hamish felt a pang of excitement at the mention of that strange naming convention, remembering Sophitia's words about the powerful bond that existed once a Scion named an Amazon. "So, what did they make you do?"

She wrapped her arms around him and pulled him off the floor, carrying him back toward the bed. "Well, all kinds of things. Normally you just have to hold a heartstone for longer than any other challenger, but because there were so many of us they held a kind of tourney. We've been doing all kinds of things; Pillar-Pushes, Bearhugs, Scissor-duels, Sumo, Tug-of-War, and a few tests of endurance, like seeing how many times we can lift a Heartstone with just our legs while hanging onto a bar or branch, for example." she sighed as she remembered what was clearly an intensive and exhausting sequence of events. "I wish you could have been allowed to watch, master."

The word rang in Hamish's head like a bell, and his first instinct was to correct her. But instead he caught himself lost in her gaze, and had to determine to close his mouth. "Me too" he added abruptly, causing her face to light up.

"I hope Sophitia took good care of you while I was away?"

"Yes, I learned a lot. She's a very interesting lady."

"She's been very fair to me. The other priestesses all seem to want to keep us down, but she was the only one who seemed to want to allow another trial to take place, let alone encourage me to pass it. They say there aren't enough masters and more maidens will just complicate things."

"It sounds like you've had a really tough day. All of those things sounded exhausting. I remember my basic training and feeling like I was never going to make the grade, running a few miles nearly killed me. So you were competing against everyone else? How many people did you have to beat?"

"Thirty five," she said matter of factly "they said it was the most number of prospects in the history of the village. Julia said the fact I'd beaten so many was a sign of greatness.  I really need to bathe, but..." She cocked a glance at him "Maybe we could just go to bed early and see where our cuddling takes us?"  Hamish smiled and let her carry him back to the bed.

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2019, 03:44:08 am »
The door banging open startled them both. Three amazons in scant armour rushed forward and seized the red haired girl by her arms and hair, causing her to scream in alarm. She let go of Hamish just in time as the attackers dragged her painfully off the bed with a thud, throwing her against the wall and striking her across the face, chest and stomach with powerful blows.

"...The fuck is this?!" Hamish demanded, but as he leaped forward the third amazon pushed with one hand, sending him crashing back to the bed in agony as his wound grumbled.

"Silence, defiler!"

"Master, no! Don't touch him!"  The redhead surged at her attackers, blood trickling from her mouth. She barged one of the tall girls aside with a crash, then ducked under a swing by the other to throw her overhead. Finally she laid her hands on the third girl who pushed him over and clapped her hands around her throat, raising her off the ground with a grimace.

Her victim kicked viciously against her bulging abdominals, and Hamish could see that although his saviour was enraged, the strong blows were winding her. She cast the attacker down onto her back through the shelving just as her two would-be captors returned to the fray from behind.  They snatched her arms and twisted them up and forward, forcing her to double over and kneel. But the redhead rolled with the momentum and somersaulted forwards, snapping her feet across the faces of both attackers as she did so. She shook one off with a shove that sent her sprawling to the floor, and laid into the other with a blow to the stomach and then the back. With all three adversaries down, she looked back at Hamish with her hand outstretched. "Master!"

"What the hell is going on?" Hamish  breathed, taking her hand. She swept him up into her arms tightly and rushed outside, but there was an audience waiting for them. six amazons waited beyond, some imperious in long robes and others warlike with veiled faces. The front runners were armed and armoured. They did not look at all pleased. The red haired girl whimpered and squeezed him, before setting him reluctantly on the ground. Crestfallen, she gave herself to the mob without another word, and was taken under guard.

The three girls who had attacked emerged behind him and he feared he was going to be set upon as an unwelcome intruder. But the one that pushed him over presented herself meekly, head bowed, and muttered an apology. Then he was taking gently by the arm, and he turned to see one of the robed priestesses guiding him away from the crowd. Her hair was shining gold in the firelight and tied in intricate braid-loops at the side, and one massive braided tail at the back. She wore similar garb to the Priestess he had met earlier -  a feathered headdress, white feathers dipped dark at their tips, that ended in a mask across her eyes and nose. In the torchlight the colours were lost to a rusty brown or orange glow. A long white robe just barely concealed her breasts, gathered at the waist by a broad leather belt inlaid with ornate medallions. The robe hung to ankle length, seperated into twin tails at the front and back that did nothing to obscure her sumptuous figure and muscular legs. Not that Hamish had much time to absorb the details.

"What the fuck is..." Hamish demanded, but he was silenced with a fierce glare, and he waited until she had dragged him ahead of the mob and mostly out of earshot before hissing into his ear. When she spoke he realised it was Sophitia.

"Hush. I told her to be careful but she was too excited. I shouldn't have encouraged her but...the situation in the village is tight. Someone must have heard something and reported your presence. Subverting the Sacred Bond is a dire offense."
 
"She saved my life. Is that enough of a bond? Where are they taking her?"

"To the circle to stand trial. You are required there also. Come, before we're missed."

"I'm not going any..."

"Yes, you are. You need to stand trial so I can prove you're no threat to the village."

At this revelation, the soldier let himself be led by torchlight up the moutainside where his host had showed him barely an hour ago. The flames revealed a clearing surrounded with strange, heavy looking apparatus - crude blocks and boulders, stone pillars, frames wrought from cold iron that seemed to resemble climbing frames, monkey bars, pylons. Here the amazons gathered, all ages and castes, priestesses at the fore distinct with flowing white robes. Ominous warriors, tall and powerful even among these stupendous physiques, watched silently behind their veils. As they approached the circle drums played low and rhythmically, and an atmosphere of anticipation seemed to animate the crowd. They looked excited, angry, vindictive.

Hamish was stopped by Sophitia's firm hand on his shoulder, and kept beside her as another priestess took the centre. The red haired maiden was brought into the circle by the two bodyguards and the priestess, whose black hair seemed to melt into the night despite the flickering torches, raised her hands for silence. She spoke in an unfamiliar language and the gathered village responded to her with chants and cries. Sophitia translate for Hamish's benefit.

"She's saying that a sacred law has been broken, that of the trials, and that by attempting to abscond with a scion this maiden has shown unworthy cowardice."

"That's bullshit!" Hamish erupted, but one of the bodyguards stood in front of him, staring him down implacably, daring him to speak again.

Sophitia was in his ear. "Don't interfere. At this moment you are either a scion or a slaver. Which is it?"

"What even is a scion?"

The priestess sighed painfully. "Remember the legend? Octavius created the Amazons to care for and protect mankind. You owe her your life. You need to take responsibility, stand before all of these people, and tell them her name."

Hamish was dumbstruck. He had been here for three days and didn't even know her name. She'd saved his life, shown him kindness beyond measure, and even affection. He knew nothing of her.
"She never told me her name."

"She doesn't have one yet!" Sophitia hissed. "Give her one."

The soldier balked. He was beginning to wonder if this was another fever dream, that he was still incapacitated on the bed. Perhaps it was all too fast to be true. Then the girl in the circle cried out and he snapped back to reality.

The two veiled warriors seized one of their captives arms apiece, as if about to use her for a tug of war. His saviours hands were balled fists as she struggled against them. Despite her considerable strength the jailors' grasp  was ironclad, and he could see beads of sweat on the girls' bodies as they tensed and strained against one another.

Then, lightning fast, one of the warriors leaped up and clapped her legs around the redhead's waist, squeezing with all her might. Her veiled head reached back as she exerted herself on the poor captive, who moaned in pain. The girl strained all the harder to free her arms but they were held fast in place and she could do nothing but endure the pressure. The girls in the crowd cheered quietly, a malaise of vicarious thrill and sanctimony.

"You expect me to stand here and watch this!?" Hamish erupted, starting forwards, but he was stopped by two veiled amazons who casually prevented his advance as if he were a pup being shooed away from food on a table.

"Yes. You need to learn our ways." Sophitia declared without even looking at him. "You have the power to stop this, as a Scion."

"Then stop it, for fuck's sake!"

"My job is to ensure it happens. If you want it stopped, you 'll have to do what you must. A scion names an amazon to serve them."

The crowd gasped as the redhead bucked and writhed in a desperate bid to fight back. Hamish watched appalled and intrigued as she grew frenzied and, despite outnumbering her, seemed to worry her captors who's bodies glistened with exertion trying to maintain their mastery. The girl screamed with effort as she finally got an arm free and pushed against the legs around her waist. But the second jailor simply latched on like the first, this time trapping her arm inside the cast-iron hold of her legs. Hamish was spellbound as his incredible saviour fought with every sinew and exploding muscle to resist an inevitable fate. She stood helpless bearing the weight of both attackers as they began to squeeze, stubbornly refusing to collapse despite weakening by the second. The jailors' muscular legs bulged as they exerted force together, two scissorholds locked in position. The girl wheezed and whimpered as the pressure mounted, sinking to her knees. 

Sophitia's hand squeezed his shoulder urgently. "The penalty for a crime of this magnitude is death. She will be tortured first. She will resist. This ordeal could last hours. You could stop it but with a word. Do you not know the feeling of destiny?"

"Alright!" Hamish screamed, ducking beneath the grasp of the wardens and sprawling into the circle. The crowd gasped again and the drums stopped. The two torturers turned, still holding his saviour who now gasped desperately for air in the sudden pause. The soldier picked himself up and staggered toward them. They looked around uncertainly, and one of the Priestesses snapped an order, but was countermanded by Sophitia who held an arm out for silence. "My name is Hamish Westerley. I'm a lieutenant in the Argonian Defence Force."

He heard Sophitia translating for the crowd, though it seemed as though the other priestesses understood his words. "I arrived here three days ago on a special mission to find people who live in this jungle. You, I think. My mission was ambushed and destroyed. I was wounded, I thought I was dead. This woman saved my life."

A murmur ran through the crowd. Hamish took a breath to continue, but someone behind him interrupted; "Then what is her name?"

He turned to see a priestess in black robes and dark hair raise an accusing finger at him. "She ventures to save your life, as if you are her master. So I ask you what is her name?" 

"She..." He was interrupted by Sophitia.

"His story is still untold." At this, the other seemed to relent.

"...She welcomed me into this village. Cared for me. Restored me to health. Showed me great kindness."

"And affection!" shrieked one of the priestesses, and repeated the remark in their own tongue. Others joined their voices in accusation. "She sought to cheat the Sacred Bond!"
The black-robed Priestess stood forth again to speak. "She treats you as only a master should be treated. Yet you have not named her. You do not speak for her. Her actions lie outside the Sacred Bond and she has defiled our law. You were not to know. But she knows better. The punishment is death!" An excited cheer rose from the crowd and the torturers prepared to finish their work. "I, Isabella of the Warding Eye, call on my sisterhood to affirm this proclamation."

"Her name is Natasha!" Hamish screamed. Stunned silence descended across the circle. Excitement faded to sheepish guilt and uncertainty. There were noises of discontent from the crowd. 

Isabella, the priestess in black, viewed him scathingly but finally rose her chin in grudging acknowledgement. "So it is. The rites will be observed tomorrow. There will be challenges, I expect. Your fate, and that of the other intruders, will be decided then."

The crowd began to disperse. Natasha, now released, curled into a hurt ball as her jailors melted back into the crowd.  She fell into him as he wobbled forward and knelt beside her.
"I knew you were my master," she breathed "I knew Vitalia would not abandon me. Say my name again, please."

"Natasha." he whispered into her ear, and made to help her stand - but to his astonishment, she cupped a hand under his knees and picked him up as she stood, cradling him tight to her body. The look on her face made him wonder if she had been in any pain at all moments before. 

Sophitia kept her distance and her gaze was like a hawk on the fawning couple. "Tommorrow will be a hard day, Natasha. You must rest."

Hamish felt her nod silently and looked at the priestess. "What do you mean?"

"This was but the first reaction to your trespass. Tommorrow the Masters will respond. There will be trial by combat."

"What?!" Hamish shouted, but Natasha hushed him with a kiss.

"I'll be fine Master. They can't keep me from you." She raised her head to talk to Sophitia. "You'll have the talk with him? Like we promised?"

"We will have it now, Natasha."

"I love my name! I get a thrill whenever I  hear it. What does it mean?"

Hamish felt a familiar panic setting in as he finally realised this was not part of a dream, but a bizarre turn his life had taken. He was wounded, lost in uncharted lands, in the mercy of unknown peoples, and now he felt like he had accidentally married through some obscure tradition. There was still a war on, and his mission to consider. But he could not deny the excitement and anticipation emanating from and surrounding his new ally. "Strength. Natasha means strength." Natasha laughed and kissed him again. Sophitia smiled, bowing her head as if to conceal the lapse in composure. When his mouth was free, he looked up at the priestess accusingly. "What did they mean, 'other intruders'?"

Sophitia hesitated. "There have been others who found this place. They dressed like you."

Hamish leaped to his feet, steadying himself with a hand on Natasha's shoulder. "Where? I have to see them!"

"No." Sophitia warned. "Right now, you must become a Scion."

"I am responsible for those men!" Hamish hissed, and now Natasha stood, her gentle arms holding him back from the Priestess.

"They are quite safe. They have been subject to much the same treatment as yourself. Have you any complaints?"

"Aside from being lied to and kept from my mission?" Hamish growled, but he felt Natasha's arms recede and he looked at her guiltily. "No, I have no complaints. I just wish I'd been informed so I could have spoken with them."

"It was not possible, to keep you all secret and avoid...this. Such a meeting would have been impossible to keep quiet. As it stands...I expect I myself will be challenged on the morrow. We will have to work very hard to keep our station here. I was a fool to think I could subvert the status quo here but...the other masters...when you meet them, I hope you will understand."

"Sounds like they have a lot to answer for. Tell me how to get these answers."

"Follow." Sophitia gestured for them to begin their descent back down the plateau.

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2019, 12:08:30 am »
PART 7:

The village did not sleep much. Natasha took Hamish to a stone building overhanging the cliff face. It had a tower, from which a rope bridge connected it with the larger complex up the plateau. It was cut from the same stone, and had the same etchings and metal fittings as the Priestess' quarters, but on closer inspection the tower became a statue of a powerfully built battle maiden, wrapped round by a snake. Braziers burned at the entrance and at the foot of the statue. Passing into the small building Hamish found it was deceptively open. The stone of the floor was smooth but intricately etched with labrinthine patterns that looped and seemed to form concentric circles, each with their own patterning and style. The corners of the room were hewn stone pillars with long, angular carvings along their lengths. A round space in the wall allowed the sky to pour into the room, but being night, it was the braziers providing a ruddy light. A bronze bowl for offerings, or perhaps burning, was set into a ceremonial table at the end of the room beneath the circular window. It looked as if the building were carved from one block of stone, but Hamish doubted that was possible. Sophitia advanced to the centre of the room and struck a stance of obeisance, arms held wide and head reaching back. "Mighty Goddess, bless this Sacred Bond and give your daughter the strength to prevail in your honour."

With no further word or warning, Natasha threw herself onto the floor and began doing push-ups. Meanwhile Sophitia performed a strange dance of exaggerated movements, that seemed to require a great deal of balance, flexibility and finesse. The object seemed to be about forming shapes with the body, but...the motion was hypnotic. Hamish could only watch, bemused and aroused, between the lithe Priestess and the soft exertions of his red headed saviour, for a few minutes until the Priestess bowed and backed away from what was apparently an important ritual point in the floor. She turned to Hamish.

"There is much to learn, Scion, and not long to teach it. I would not stand on that ankle." The Priestess held out her arms, offering to carry him.

"You can sit on me, Master, and help me pray!" Natasha chimed from the floor. At this the Priestess' offer became a gesture toward his guardian.

The soldier shifted uncomfortably. "I'll stand for now, thanks."

Sophitia drew a breath and began to explain the situation. "There are four of your companions in our custody. Illegally, just as you are. Like you, they had all been found by our foragers and huntresses, and like Natasha here, they all sought my advice on how to proceed. They knew that I was the least orthodox of the Sisterhood, and my interpretation of our laws the most broad and forgiving. I think they wanted to know how they could subvert the Sacred Bond. For my part, I feel this was necessary to challenge the reign of the Masters, who have ruled apathetically for many years."

"I don't understand. What did you intend to accomplish by keeping us secret from each other?"

"That was merely to help us keep you secret from the village. Each of these acts was a serious violation of the Sacred Bond. So far the Sisterhood do not know it was at my orchestration, but they will find out tommorrow when all of the other maidens are tried and punished." 

"And what about my men?"

"They too will be tried. The Sisterhood will have to decide whether they are a threat to the village or not, and how complicit they were in trying to subvert the Sacred Bonding rituals. The masters will try to rule that they are usurpers and should be exiled or killed. The Sisterhood will argue that they were not to know of our ways and that the maidens who took them into their care unlawfully are the culprits."

"So...those girls will have to go through what nearly happened to Natasha?" He watched his guardian counting her pushups past forty.

"Possibly. They may also be exiled. But as I hope you agree, would it not be better for the natural bond formed between them and their rescued wards to be preserved and continue?"

"Well...yeah, that makes sense to me. But I'd have to talk to the men to get their perspective."

"Yes. And if I may, I have a request. I want you to convince them to follow your example by naming their amazons. This way they can be lawfully integrated into the village, and the maidens will be spared any punishment."

Hamish rubbed his forehead tiredly. "I still don't understand how some random guys coming in and naming one of your maidens makes any of this OK. That's pandemonium. What if I was a Larinthian?"

"It doesn't make anything OK. It makes it formal. By naming your maiden, you begin to participate in the formal rituals. There will be much resistance, but if all challenges are met and surpassed, there is a way through. I can only trust on the amazons to prevail, as you must trust Natasha to fight to keep you."

"Whoa, whoa, what the hell?"

"I said there would be trial by combat. These maidens have tried to jump a queue of thirty five love-starved, eager rivals. They will all try to stake their claim to the same right to Bond with you. This matter will be resolved through combat."

Hamish glanced nervously at Natasha, who was counting past seventy five."Well...how....will they even score that?"

Sophitia sighed again, and explained. "You will most likely be the subject of a melee. All of the contestants, including Natasha, will participate. Whoever has possession of you at the end will have won the right to bond with you. You cannot refuse the winner, probably on pain of death in this case."

Hamish winced as he tried to comprehend what he was now involved in."...has possession of me!?" 

"It may take the form of having to keep you off the ground for a certain period, proving you are in their care, or having to take you to a certain hard-to-reach spot despite the other contestants."

"So I'm basically the ball in a very competitive, every-woman-for-herself game of rugby?"

"I don't know what rugby is, but everything else you said is correct."

"It's not to the death is it?"

"No, but amazons have perished in particularly bitter contests."

Natasha hit one hundred push ups and rolled over to do leg raises. "It'll be fine master, I won't let anyone hurt you."

"It's not me I'm worried about!" Hamish snapped. "It's you! I know you're a toughie and you can do a shitload more pressups than me, but thirty five others? They'll murder you!"

At this the redhead paused her exercise and looked at him, hurt. Then she resumed with greater determination but no more words. Sophitia tutted quietly and it dawned on Hamish that he had made a substantial faux pas. The Priestess did not dignify him with eye contact. "It's nice that you are concerned about her safety, but try to have some faith in your new servant, Master Hamish. Now, if you'll excuse me, I must check on the others before this gets out of hand." Sophitia took her leave of the couple, and for a while the only sound was Natasha's quiet exertions on the floor. She reached one hundred leg raises quickly and rolled over to assume a planking stance. Her body was glistening with sweat but her breathing seemed to be very calm. Hamish had to remind himself of the agonies she had endured only twenty minutes, maybe half an hour before.

Aware of his gaze, Natasha spoke. "Help me pray, Master." Hamish couldn't gauge whether it was an invitation or a command as he approached her prostrate form, her bodyweight held on tiptoes and forearms. There was no one around, but he still felt this dynamic was bizarre - but beyond that, he recognised his own arousal. The impossible proportions of her body, the stunning physique, and now this amazing woman was dedicated to him somehow? He was still wrestling with his desires and conscience when she looked at him. "Get on my back." She said, gently. She seemed to read his hesitation at every turn.

"But it'll be harder for you?"

She snorted with laughter. "That's the point! I want to show you my strength. Hop on." At first he perched perpendicular on her buttocks and the small of her back, and she giggled.

"Come on master, lie on my back. You're not going to feel anything from there." Finally Hamish straddled her waist and laid his head between her shoulder blades, letting his full weight settle on her. She might as well have been a beast of burden for all the change that affected. He ran his hands up her sides, across her broad shoulders, and down her bulging arms - tensed as they were bearing their combined weight. He listened to her powerful heartbeat, felt her breath coming and going like a calm tide.

"I don't think I've caught up to everything." the soldier sighed "I feel like I've done nothing but cause you a lot of pain and trouble, just by showing up. You rescued me, and I've got nothing to thank you with."

"You named me master. That's thanks enough. Now I can rescue you whenever you like."

"But you have to get beaten up tommorrow. Because of me."

"I walk the path of Vitalia."

"Is that really all there is to it? I'm not responsible in any way for the bad things happening to you? What's so special about having a name if it means you're bound to some g-!?"

She interrupted him with a sudden pressup. "What's so special about the war you're fighting?"

"That's a duty!"

"Yes. It is."

"But I can still walk away if..." The soldier checked himself as he realised what he was saying. Could he really abandon his country, his family? Knowing as he did that they would lose, and knowing as he did that the Larinthians were slave-driving tyrants? For certain everyone would assume he was dead if he didn't make contact with anyone after a month. He could simply disappear in this place where he had found beauty and desire. But still the iron casts of training and authority asserted themselves in his mind. The enemy were here too, this was a front in the same war he was fighting, and however hard the road home may be there was good he could do, some way, somehow. As he rose and fell with his lovely guardian, he kissed her neck. "I think I know what you meant. You can't just turn your back on what you know."

"So master, how may I serve you?"

Hamish laughed at the absurdity of his situation, but he felt decision curing like concrete in his heart. "By getting some rest. To bed with you. We've got a hard fight ahead."

So Hamish ended his fifth night of willing captivity.
   
<the story changes perspective to other characters for a while now, if this guy was getting a bit boring>

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2019, 03:33:42 pm »
PART 8:

CHAPTER 2: WALLY'S LANDING

Walliam Gardener took a moment to take in the view as his Sparrowhawk duster broke through the cloud cover, revealing a fantastic dawn sky. Pink clouds illuminated by a calm, bright sun contrasted with a disappearing blue sky in which the last stars were just beginning to fade. The view was blighted by a Walrus transport barging rudely into his perspective from below, its twin engines growling fiercely.

“Wiseman this is Echo one, time to target, over?”

“Echo one, Wiseman. We’re not there yet. Out.”

Same response. Everything about this mission had been hushed up, but from the flight path and bearings Wally knew that their destination was somewhere in Fantera. Why? There was nothing there but jungle – impenetrable jungle surrounded by mountains that threatened to spear the heavens. Their planes had gargled and protested climbing above the highest peaks.  Now they were gently descending. Wally’s four Sparrowhawks were on escort duty for the unwieldy walrus, although who was likely to intercept them out here was anyone’s guess.   

The four fighters alternated between sweeping circles around the perimeter of the flight group and staying on the mark with the Walrus, two by two. Their flight had lasted for two hours already and they had a return journey of similar distance just to make an emergency landing at an improvised field in Argon, specially created for this mission. The fighters were carrying extra fuel pods that were due to be dumped any minute now. The Walrus could simply carry on, chugging away through the skies like a placid beast of burden.
Wally’s radar pinged, indicating a new contact. His radio came alive with traffic.

“Echo One, Wiseman. We’re reading multiple contacts on our twelve o’clock, below us and closing. Move to intercept.”

“Wilco Wiseman, Echo flight engaging.” The pilot had already pushed his throttle to battle speed. The four fighters surged down beneath the larger transporter and attacked in a tight group. Breaking beneath the clouds they found a wave of strange, arrowheaded aircraft that didn’t seem to have the wings or cockpit required for flight. As Wally drew a bead on them he was stunned to hear a deafening boom and thought he’d been hit by anti-air fire, but in fact the tiny aircraft had rushed past them on rockets. Missiles?

“Echo 4, I’m hit, I’m hit!” Wally turned in a wide sweep and could only watch as one of his men hurtled to the ground in a flaming wreck. Most of the aircraft had simply passed them by, now invisible having punched through the clouds above. Another was following one of his wingmen and he latched onto it, cursing as his plane was outmanoeuvred at every turn, the tiny enemy jinking and weaving even as it tried to land a solid hit on his compatriot.

“Echo 2, climb, climb, climb!” He shouted, and as his wingman turned upwards, so did his enemy. The opportunity was perfect and Wally loosed a volley of fire that shook the thing apart. His third wingman had no time to vocalise anything but a scream as his plane exploded in mid air. Meanwhile the two remaining aircraft rose to protect the Walrus.
Breaking cloud cover once more, Walliam cursed as the Walrus descended sharply past them, guns hammering on all sides. One engine was ablaze and the rocket-powered darts harried it from all sides. He intercepted two of them, catching them quite unawares, and sent another to the floor trailing smoke. His wingman chased another around the Walrus and into his line of fire. Between them they blasted it into smithereens. But the enemy had the numbers and only needed a few moments to disable the Walrus’ other engine. As the big aircraft disappeared beneath the clouds, Wally passed his wingman overhead and followed it down. He heard a chatter of cannon fire and an explosion, and with a sinking feeling realised he was now alone.

He had no idea who these new enemies were. They didn’t act like pilots. They handled inhuman G-forces but fought predictably, being thrown out by rises and turns. Their craft were faster than his, there was no way to outrun them. A dart caught his scent and hounded him through the clouds, tracking him even though visibility was obscured. Wally rose sharply to confuse the adversary and sure enough the bolt-shaped craft passed below, and as he hugged the cloud ceiling he could see the Walrus going down. Parachutes were forming in a loose pattern and the aircraft was pitching to one side, arcing away toward the jungle floor. Someone jumped out on fire.

He activated his distress beacon, knowing that no one would be able to help him but someone might at least know they had been destroyed. As if in response, a small flight of darts swept round to meet him head-on. “Come on then, you sorry fucks...” he growled, thumbing his firing catch and sending two spinning away to explode. The third however chewed through his right wing and destroyed the flap, ruining his ability to sustain flight. Hastily disconnecting the fuel pod, Wally found he was able to maintain flight stability if not stay in the air. Searching desperately for somewhere to land, his eyes crossed dozens of miles of solid jungle, as far as the eye could see in each direction. It folded and dipped with the landscape, but it was only a thin cutting that gave him a glimmer of hope. A river!

He let the plane take its course, acting for all the world as if he had been killed in the cockpit and the plane was unguided. It seemed to work. None of the strange craft followed him. The Sparrowhawk spluttered and stumbled, drooping in the air. Carefully he bounced the plane to pick up airspeed and increase glide agility. Then he made his move. Banking as sharply as he dared to the left, he followed the course of the river, taking the plane down to tree-top height and killing its speed as much as he could. He looked up to see in horror that he was flying upriver toward a waterfall, cascading down from a cliff face. In an urgent bid to climb he gunned the engines but they exploded in smoke. The upward glide exhausted the airspeed he had left and the plane simply dropped out of the sky. His half-planned landing saw the plane bite into the river and cartwheel, slamming tail-first into the cliff wall.

All was black.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Offline Lupus753

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2019, 12:46:49 pm »
This is very good, keep going!

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2019, 01:28:18 pm »
This is very good, keep going!

Thanks for your support :)

I have plenty more. I will be going quiet for the next week or so but I will leave some more installments before then!

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2019, 04:04:22 pm »
PART 9:

At first Wally thought he had pissed himself. Then he thought he was bleeding to death. But when he came round, whiplashed and horribly bruised, he found that the ruins of his Sparrowhawk were starting to sink into the pool below the waterfall and his nose was bleeding from the impact. Water lapped around his waist, crimson tendrils dispersing where it passed blood flecks on his flight suit. In a frenetic hurry he flapped at his seat belt, which had jammed in the collision and wouldn’t release him. He had to forcibly remember his boot knife, which he then used to feebly saw the thick leather harness. By that time he was up to his chest in water, and he tried next to fight the canopy, which had been cracked by a pressure strike and was utterly jammed. As the water rose the chances of opening it dimmed. In desperation he retrieved his pistol and, sparing no thought for what the water contamination might have done to it, shielded his eyes and fired point blank at the cracked canopy. Fortunately for him the panel shot through with a deafening crack, and a rush of fresh air swept in. At least now he could breathe until the canopy was full of water.

With the window shot through, he could hear a helicopter nearby and knew the Larinthians had come to inspect the crash site. He now produced his flare pistol from its holster up on his chest and fired it through the window into the air. Sure enough, the helicopter approached. Captivity, surely, would be better than drowning. A Larinthian in elaborate armour dangled from a winch and set foot on the sinking plane, causing it to rock uncertainly. A trueblood - Patricians of the Larinthian Empire, noble citizens, slave drivers. The man tried the canopy but between them it wouldn’t budge. By now, Walliam was up to his neck. The trueblood was about to attach a winch clamp to the canopy frame but something on his radio caused him to look around urgently. Then he saw something and clipped the hook to his harness, spoke into his radio and was taken back up. Despite Gardener’s frantic protests, the helicopter banked away. Spitting out his first mouthful of water, he pressed his face to the hole in the canopy and screamed for help. He took a last gulp as the fuselage slipped beneath the surface.

The pool was not deep as no sooner had it sunk, the plane thumped against the slimy rock bed. But it was now entirely submerged. Wally thumped against the canopy with the last of his strength, hoping the water pressure would have changed something about the blockage, but to no avail. As he strained and clawed at the armoured glass, something collided with it, almost nose-to-nose with him. A face. A beautiful woman’s face. Pale skin contrasted with black hair that fanned out like an amoeba in the water. Round breasts in a purple tankini top that squashed against the glass. She smiled at him through the water and he hammered on the canopy in desperation. The girl took a moment to study the strange container. She tried to pry the canopy off using the hole he had made by shooting a panel out. To his amazement she succeeded in distorting the frame a little and cracking the glass further. As he approached blackout, she straddled the canopy and wrapped her arms around it, trying to lift the whole thing away. With a scatter of shards and bubbles, she succeeded, and rushed in to kiss him fiercely. To his surprise she sucked all of the burning air out of his lungs and breathed in a gasp of her own. Then she dragged him up to the surface with barely two kicks of her powerful legs. They erupted from beneath the water panting. The girl laughed, but Wally was too breathless even to look grateful. Her wet body nudged against his. He caught her excited gaze and felt himself grinning from ear to ear.

He threw his arms around her. “You saved me! I don’t know how you did it but you saved my damn life!” She laughed and hugged him in a strong embrace that made him groan. “Good lord you’ve got some muscles. How did you know I was down there?”

The girl opened her mouth to answer but they were interrupted by the roar of the helicopter swinging overhead and a rattle of gunfire. All around them the water surged with bullets, and the girl pulled him under water again. He held onto her for dear life as she charged through the water. Bullets cut through the water either side but she emerged the other side of the waterfall in a dark, dank cavern. The girl hurried him to the slippery rocks and stood up out of the water, bringing him up into her arms as she did so. Despite his amazed exclamation, she carried him clinging like a koala to her neck even as a deafening missile strike from the helicopter exploded behind them.  Though the rocks were slippery, she ran without faltering.

The cave led to a grotto encrusted with rust-coloured gems, and lit by natural holes in its ceiling. Water clearly ran down them when the weather turned, and had formed intricate steps down to the main body below. It was decorated with animal hides and candles. Fur blankets adorned the floor of the grotto, piled together to make a bed. Here the girl knelt and deposited her sodden cargo. Gardener took a moment to admire his saviour while she studied him in kind. She was built like a sports star, with undulating muscles all over her body. He followed the gorgeous line of her legs from the purple briefs down to her feet. Yet her athleticism did not detract from her femininity, assured by sweeping curves and fine features. Her face was diamond-shaped with gleaming, spotless skin, framed by soaking black hair that fell past her shoulders by a good inch or more. She was tall – taller than him, and he was a lanky 5”10. But for all her muscle and height, there was something compact and petite about her. She wore only a purple tankini top with matching briefs, and being soaked, they clung tightly to her body. His eyes demanded to focus on her impressive breasts, now vacuum packed by her wet clothing. Her green eyes watched him mischievously.

“So, do you come here often?” Walliam joked, gesturing at their setting. 

To his surprise the girl responded in broken Lexian. “This my home.” She looked around it meekly, taking a moment to straighten the blanket of furs. “We stay until iron bird go way.”

“Iron bird? Oh man,” the pilot shook his head “that thing out there is a helicopter. Hell-E-copter. An LX13 Vulture to be exact. Fast, solid, well-armed, a little clumsy on the hover but that’s nothing.”

He’d lost the young woman at the pronunciation. “Hell...E...Copter...” she repeated to herself, eyes rolled up as if reading a secret revision guide in her head. “Helicopter.”

“That’s right. And if I had my iron bird out there in the lake, I could bring the sonofabitch down for you. But it’s a total wreck now.”

“You want? I find!” She pointed back to the pool where his plane had crashed. 

Gardener laughed again. “No, I don’t think it’ll be much use now. It’s broken.” He made a snapping gesture with his hands, and the girl shrugged disappointedly. “Besides, it’s too big to drag out of the water.”

“No too big. I do it.” She muttered it as if scolded.   

 The Lexian remembered her strength against the canopy. “Hey, you’re strong. How did you get those muscles?”

She met his gaze all of a sudden and he saw her lips part in surprise and apprehension. She replied coyly. “I swim. Hunt. Dig. Pray.” Walliam cocked his head as he digested this explanation, but another missile strike made them both flinch and sent crumbs of soil down from the holes above them.

“Damn, I thought he’d go away. You know he might land troops to come find us? We should move away from here.”

She looked at him sadly. “Yes. I no safe for you. I go. I lead away. You stay.” She got up to leave immediately, but he called her back.

“Wait! Don’t go. You saved my life. It’s me they’re after. Why don’t you let me lead them off. I didn’t mean to get you wrapped up in all this but I’m sure glad you decided to get involved because...I’d be drowned for sure if you hadn’t.”

She looked back at him fiercely. “I go.”

“No, I go.” Walliam insisted.

She grinned at him, but there was a clatter as a grenade bounced down onto the rock from the earthside passage. “Down!” he shouted, pulling her onto him and dragging the piled hides over. He covered her ears against the noise but his own were shattered by the confined explosion. As he reeled he let go of her. In the confusion after he blurrily watched as she launched herself at two Larinthians who couldn’t fire past each other in the narrow passage. She seized the gun of one and lifted it and him up against the ceiling, then smashed him down onto the other. Two more approached from the lakeside passage and Walliam threw a candle at one, causing him to flinch instead of shoot. The stolen second of time allowed her to drive a fist into his face that sent him flying off his feet back into the other man. As he struggled to his feet the survivor made to raise his weapon but she stepped on it and seized him by his head, lifting him up so that he was level with her. Gardener didn’t remember her looking so tall but now the soldiers seemed like children. The man was weeping in fear.

“Wait...” He said, laying a hand on her shoulder. He couldn't hear the sound of his own voice.  She kept hold of her fearful prisoner, absent-minded, as she checked  Walliam’s unbalanced gait. Gardener dared to put his hand on her arm again. He couldn’t help but feel a stony bicep beneath her warm, spotless skin.  “Don’t." He thought he said. It was like trying to hear himself through a pile of cushions.

He proceeded to strip the prisoner of all useful items – his belt with pistol, his rifle and cartridges, his grenades and armoured harness. Eventually the girl threw him contemptuously back onto the wet stones in the passageway. The man scrabbled away as fast as he could, virtually wailing. Wally set about collecting as much ammunition as he could. He crammed on an assault vest and stuffed it with magazines, grenades, and other supplies.

The girl watched him, bemused, as he retrieved devices and weapons from the bodies. He hadn't seen the violence of war up close like a footsoldier might. In the air you very rarely got to see the face of your adversary - only trails of smoke and sparks of flame. Rolling one body over to search he was given pause by the dislocation of his bloodied facial features. He looked for all the world like a wax statue, damaged by vandals. His neck was broken and he was looking back over his shoulder unnaturally.  When he was finished, he stood in front of her, with a ridiculous assortment of pistols, grenades and rifles about his person. She cocked her head at him. He tried speaking again. “You sure are useful to have around." His hearing was returning, thankfully. "I’ll set you on as my bodyguard. Let's get out of here.”

“Bodee...garr...?”

A terrific explosion knocked them both flat and shook the pock-holed cave above them . Wally sprawled flat upon the ground, then with a terrific crack the entire ceiling of the cave collapsed toward him. He started screaming but the girl threw herself across him on her hands and knees. The rock drove down onto her back, making her cry out, but she held firm against its weight even as the surrounding stone gave way and followed suit. As detritus rolled down she moaned through gritted teeth, while Walliam could only curl into as tight a ball as possible and avoid the avalanche. As more and more rock piled onto her back the girl’s arms shook and buckled, then with a desperate clinch of resistance she caught the weight and locked her elbows beneath it. When the clattering rockfall stopped, Gardener hazarded to look at her.

Her eyes were crammed shut against the pain of withstanding the terrible weight, and her lovely skin was shining with sweat. Muscle erupted from every surface as her body shouldered the burden of stones and earth. A tiny noise of escaping breath, fits and starts of breathing, snatched from her gritted teeth. He was completely helpless, his worthless life spared only by her astonishing strength and determination to keep him alive. He put his hands on her hips tentatively, too afraid to interact with her in case it disturbed her concentration, not willing to let her feel alone while she was suffering. Her eyes opened, and although wide with pain and urgency he could see relief.  She urged through gritted teeth:“You...go...now...”

He looked around and knew that they were trapped. "I can't. There's nowhere to go."

The girl considered his words and then nodded, and her breath stopped as she brought one foot in and gathered herself for an immense push that slowly, agonizingly forced the rockfall up by another foot as she took the weight on one knee She emitted a guttural sound of exertion that was quickly drowned by rasping draws of breath. “Go!” she yelped.

“What about you?” He asked.

She said nothing but it was clear the rocks were too heavy for her. Her upper body shook as her head bowed under the strain of keeping the weight aloft. “Please...go...!”

Gardener swallowed dryly. “No.” The word almost collapsed the girl, who sank another inch toward him before raising her head angrily to stare down at him. In this state, her body erupting with muscle and her face contorted with strain, she looked terrifying despite her obvious beauty.

“GO!” She bawled.

“No!” He declared, scrabbling to his knees and putting his shoulder beneath the rock beside her. “If you want me to move you’ll have to get out from under that rock yourself. I’m not leaving you down here. If it weren't for you I’d be dead twice over. I surely wouldn’t want to live without getting to know you better, lady.” The girl’s expression dropped to one of profound shock, then she seemed to remember the weight on her back. “Come on, show me what you can do!"

With a final snarl of annoyance and a look that made Walliam feel like his life would soon get much worse, the girl pressed back against the rock with the brute force of a raging animal. She brought her other knee forward, keening gutterally, then used her mighty thighs to press the awful load. Rocks and sods of earth dropped and scraped as she rose to a hunched standing position. Her face was a mask of pure pain and rage, rage caused by pain even, so that the more the weight hurt her the more she wanted to move it. It was terrible and awesome to behold, and Walliam simply stopped his pathetic efforts to help as she held the rock up off of him and shrugged it, contemptuously, cracking down on its side behind her. Then she looked down at him and her eyes were murder.
 
She reached down and seized him by his throat, lifting him effortlessly and slamming him into the wall. His response was simply to reach out to hug her. As she slowly came to her senses she numbly set him down and let go of his neck, whereupon he stood looking up at her like a lost boy with his arms outstretched. He was only a few inches shorter than her but he felt minute next to her power. Eventually her expression had fallen to a wounded confusion and she stooped to collect him, her arms under his, his around her neck. He was impressed she could still do that after what she had just accomplished. As their embrace grew tighter and more comforting, she collapsed to her knees with him and propped herself against the wall.

“I’m sorry your home got trashed.” He confessed.

“Is ok. We find new.” She closed her eyes and rested against the cold rock for a moment. 

“We huh? A minute ago you saved my life, we'd just met  - now we're moving in together!” Gardener laughed with exhausted relief. He could see the fading daylight through the hole in the roof, now roughly car-sized. Gardener admired his protector, wondering how a girl so beautiful could be such a strong beast. He leaned over and kissed her on the cheek, making her stir tiredly.  She made a noise that sounded like a cat enjoying itself or a child that resented being woken up. Then, as if remembering something she had forgotten, she grabbed and kissed him fiercely for a long time. The helicopter was gone, and they enjoyed one another in the peace that followed.

“What’s your name?” He asked, seriously after some minutes of fondling.

“You name!” she jabbed a finger into his collar accusatorily.

“Ok, ok, my name is Walliam Gardener. I’m twenty eight, from Twelve Points, Lexia. Everyone calls me Wally. Now its your turn.”

“Yes. Name!” She wriggled on top of him with all of her weight, which was considerable.

“Name you? Don’t you have a name?”

“No.” She admitted with a marked change in tone.

Wally’s expression became confused. “How did that happen?” 

The girl looked him in the eye sadly, her voice dropped to a murmur. “I run way.” She paused, summoning the courage to tell a story she’d evidently never told before. “My village...no masters. I wait so long. I pray. No come."

"I don't follow. There's no one at your village? They left and never came back?"

"No, no." The woman closed her eyes in frustration.  Wally swallowed dryly, unsure what to say. Silent tears were running down her face.

He touched her lovely skin, chasing the tears away with the crook of his finger. ”I'm sorry. This fucking war. These fucking Larinthians." 

“You save!” She pointed indignantly back to the cave where he had made her release the prisoner.

“Not everyone fights because they want to. The Larinthians have an army of slave-soldiers. Some are evil, some are just scared of what will happen if they don’t fight. That guy is probably never going to pick up a gun again. Isn’t that better than killing him?”

She said nothing but kept her gaze locked with him for a while. Eventually she blinked and smiled. “You have big heart.” Her statement was punctuated with a peck on the cheek and a cuddle. Wally had to purposefully extract his head and rest it on her shoulder so he could reply.

“Yeah, well you have a big...everything.”

They both laughed as she grabbed his head and pulled it down into her plunging cleavage, totally muffling his excited protests. She rolled over with him so that he was on top now, and after a few minutes of ticklish giggling, she let him raise his head and breathe oxygen again.

“So...you ran away before you were named? You must have been tiny.”

She shrugged. "Only one winter since I run."

"Only one winter ago? Well, how old are you?"

"Twenty winters."

Wally frowned as he processed the information. "You mean to tell me you haven't got a name ?"

“No. Few masters in village. No want weak amazon. No protect.”

“Masters...you mean misters, right? Men?” Wally's mind leaped to fables about the jungle being dominated by warrior women and began to realise he was touching legend.
She nodded and rubbed her nose against his. “Like you.”

“And the men name the women?" The girl nodded sullenly.  "That seems a little one-sided. Don’t your parents have anything to do with it?”

“No parents. Only sisters.”

Wally frowned in utter bewilderment. The language gap was starting to cause problems now, he was evidently misinterpreting some of what she was saying. By the sounds of it there was no family structure at all.  She sensed his confusion and stroked his struggling head.

“Umm...well, I can’t just say ‘hey you’ all the time. We should find something you like, if you really don’t have a name yet...”

She shook her head stubbornly and smiled up at him “No. You choose.”

“But I don’t want to pick something and then you think it’s a daft name...”

The girl rolled him over in frustration and concentrated her considerable weight on him. “Say!”

“Ok, wait a second..." As she watched him intently, his mind voided. "...damn this is hard."

"Say!" She snapped eagerly, but as he gaped for lack of any answer she touched his face pleadingly. "Please say."

Wally sighed in exasperation. "You look like you should be called...” he winced as the girl fidgeted on him excitedly. “...Tanya? Does that sound good to y-”

But she cut him off with a succulent kiss.

Offline Sam+Norton

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2019, 04:52:21 pm »
This story is amazing!!! Love it!  :cool2:

Offline Machao6

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Re: Warmachine
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2019, 12:52:11 am »
This story is amazing!!! Love it!  :cool2:

Thanks!

I've decided that the work I've done on additional characters' storylines doesn't balance out or help with continuity, so I'll be pausing to work on them - including Wally's timeline. So in addition to my week away I may take a few more days before posting anything more. But it'll come :)

Forum Saradas  |  Female Muscle Art - Female Muscle Fiction  |  Muscular Women Fiction  |  Warmachine
 

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