Black Fire

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Summary

Black Fire by Elena Ayre. When Juliette saves the life of a powerful warrior she discovers that she has become bound to him. Before the bond can be undone a debt must be repaid, and until that day he will not let her go.

Genre:
Erotica / Fantasy
Author:
Annie_and_Elena
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
21
Rating:
4.9 29 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Wounded Warrior

The forest air was heavy with moisture and nothing stirred in the trees except the rich scent of conifer and lilac. The only sound was the silent calm after the raging storm.

While the rains had pummelled the ground I had taken shelter under the canopy of a giant fir tree whose trunk was as wide and deep as ten strong men. It’s rough, gnarled bark was covered in orange and yellow lichen while a carpet of dark-green moss lay over roots that were exposed like the curving tentacles of an octopus.

The storm had been particularly ferocious and had lasted over an hour. The dark, looming clouds and wild wind that had beaten the branches until they bent and broke had made the forest too dark and dangerous to traverse. It was as if the whole earth had suddenly turned black and been shaken with a violent temper. It had been a powerful storm, a storm in which one could easily be consumed, and while I was confident with my knowledge of the routes and passages through this ancient forest, this part, buried deep in its hidden heart, was too unfamiliar to have attempted to find my way home in such conditions.

As the rain subsided I stepped out from under the shadow of the giant fir tree. A droplet of water splashed on my nose and I wriggled the moisture away as another hit my shoulder and travelled down between my breasts under the damp t-shirt which clung to my skin.

A shaft of sunlight had broken in through the dense canopy and it lit a clearing beyond the broken branches and winding roots of the forest floor. It was beautiful. The colours danced with light purples, hazy violets hues, and golden sparks, and it hung from the branches like sheets of gossamer.

I stepped forward into the broken light, took my sketch pad and pencils from my satchel then sat down on the hump of an old bowed tree. Unpinning my damp hair so that it might dry in the sun I settled myself to work. I hadn’t meant to start sketching, but this place was too magical to let my fingers do anything else. With my sketch pad on my lap I looked up and around. One tree in particular caught my eye. It was tall and strong. Its girth was wide, and its long, surface roots flowed above the earth with undulating fury.

But then I saw something way up high, close to first thick branch. It wasn’t part of the tree or it didn’t seem to be. It was of a different colour, a different texture. It was not a part of the tree itself. It was something else, something…

And then I saw movement. I am sure I did. I stood up in sudden alarm. I saw movement again and I stepped around the tree, straining my neck for a better look. The sun hit my eyes but not before I had seen what was above me. It was a person, another human, and they were tied to the tree.

“Hello!” I shouted up.

My voice drifted with the breeze and the dancing light.

“Hello!” I called again, cupping my hands around my mouth.

The only response was the sound of a bird flapping in hurried screams.

But the more I looked the more I felt sure of what I saw and I knew that I had to go up. I pulled off my thick boots and socks, set my drawing things down on the ground and took out a small knife from the belt around my hips. I wrapped my arms as far around the tree as far as I could and they did not even span half the circumference, but when I dug the knife into the thick bark it was enough to give me a solid grip, and hoisting myself up I began to climb.

The trunk was slippery from the rain and it was taking me longer to ascend than it normally would. I am quite good at climbing trees. I have been doing it all my life. Trees are the best places to view a good scene to sketch and they are the best vantage point to watch for the coming of the warrior people. The warriors are barbarians. People say that one day they will come here without warning to hunt our animals, chop down our trees, and steal our strongest people; both men and women. The warriors are a mighty race and my people say we are not strong enough to defeat or challenge them, but I see it differently. We can be cunning. We can use out wits and our skills to fight them. Swords and brute strength are not always the deciding factor.

The closer I got to the branch the more I could tell I was right about what I seen. It was indeed a person who was tied there, a man, but I could not tell whether he was alive or dead. I scrambled to the branch closest to where he was anchored to the tree and called out to him.

“Can you hear me?! Tell me if you can hear me! My name is Juliette! I am here to help you!”

I held my breath, tried to still my beating heart, but there was no response from him. I couldn’t believe what I saw and I feared he was dead. How could he possibly be alive after this? His whole torso was completely bound with thick ropes which anchored him to the tree. His lower legs too were bound and the rope was so tight that I could see the congealed blood which had once oozed from his skin under its savage grip. His head had rolled to the side, his eyes were closed and there was blood smeared all over his face. I reached down and placed my fingers on his neck. I felt a pulse. It was slow, but it was strong.

“Can you hear me?” I asked. “You are alive. Can you hear me?”

I did not expect an answer, but I saw his mouth twitch.

“I am going to get you down,” I said. “I will cut the ropes with my knife. I am going to free you.”

I said the words because I meant them, but the reality was that if I cut him free he would plummet to the ground faster than a cannonball. I hadn’t thought this through. This wasn’t going to be easy, but I had to do something.

As I pondered my next move I looked at the man. He was big. His body was long and wide. His shoulders were broad and muscular and they bore many long, deep scars. He looked tough, powerful, and if the thick ropes had not bound him so tightly he would look dangerously threatening. And if he had suddenly broken through his bonds, his muscles rippling with strength, I would not have been surprised. His jaw was shadowed with thick, dark stubble but his features were strong and chiselled. There was a raw kind of strength in his face and a grim expression that said he bore pain like a warrior. He was a beast of a man, and even though I had firmly decided that he was of the warrior people, that he was the enemy, I was deeply drawn to him and found myself lingering too long over the lines of his body while I thought about what I should do next.

I shook myself free of the sudden heat that had risen within me and brought my knife downwards. His arms had been pulled backwards, and both wrists were joined by a length of rope at the back of the tree trunk. If I could free his hands then at least he might be able to help himself while I freed the rest of his body. It was all I could think to do. There was no one else around to help us, and if I left to find help would he survive until I returned? His breath was too laboured and his chest too constricted. I couldn’t take the chance. I had to stay and try to free him.

With my knife I began to saw at the rope around his wrists. It was densely twined. Whoever had tied it had shown no mercy. Slowly but surely the threads began to break apart. It was hard work and my angle was awkward, and beads of sweat began to form on my brow as my arms started to ache, but I did not stop to rest, for the more freedom I gave him, the more his dying spirit seemed to revive.

“Have you come to finish me off?” His breath was low and ragged and his tone was mocking.

“No. I have come to cut you down. But we are very high up. I do not know how you will climb down. How much strength do you have?”

“The strength of a thousand men,” he replied as a weak smile crept onto his lips.

“Maybe when you are well you have such strength, but right now, you are weak.”

He flinched at my words and suddenly the hand I had freed reached out and grabbed my wrist. The shock made me drop my knife. Desperately I flung out my other hand to try and catch it, but it was out of reach, and all I saw was the glint of its edge, caught in the shaft of sunlight as it tumbled to the forest floor.

“I’ve dropped it!” I cried out. “My knife. Now I will have to climb down again and retrieve it!”

With more strength that he should have under circumstances he pulled my wrist towards him then placed it low onto his left thigh.

“What are you doing?! Are you trying to throw me down from here? I am not your enemy. If you treat me as such you will have no chance of surviving!”

I was confused. I didn’t know what he was doing. My palm was outspread on the taut muscles over his thigh and he was holding it firmly down. Precariously my legs clung to the branch I had anchored myself to, but if he continued to try and dominate me with his strength then I was done for.

“Move your hand inwards,” he said in a low rasp.

His eyes were wide open now. I looked straight into them. They were black as midnight, but they burned with a wild inner fire. “I have a knife. Take it from me. Cut me loose.”

“But…”

He guided my hand further inwards and I felt the heat of his skin burning my palm as my finger slid in around the contours of his inner thigh muscles then over his leather covered groin. I burned with a pointless kind of embarrassment. I had never touched a man in such an intimate place, yet his eyes were unperturbed by my movements, staring so solidly into mine that they commanded me to do as his body told me.

On the other side his groin, at the inner most part of his thigh, I felt something that was not of flesh and bone. I frowned as my fingers slid over it.

“What is it?” I whispered.

“A knife. Take it out.”

Our eyes were locked. In his there was a steely strength, in mine there was apprehension.

I could feel that the knife was sheathed in a leather pouch and with a deep breath I wound my fingers around its handle and began to pull.

Suddenly his hand clenched mine. “Slowly,” he growled. “Be very careful.”

Tearing my eyes from his, I slowly pulled out the knife.

“Start with my legs,” he said.

I hooked my own legs around the branch of the tree, spun myself downwards so that I hung like a monkey, and was able to reach the rope on his lower limbs. With his freed hands he supported my shoulders and kept my legs from wearying. Without his strength to anchor and steady me I don’t think I could have done it.

“You OK,” I said, taking a breath halfway through.

“Just a little tickled, but it is a nice distraction,” he replied.

“Tickled?”

“Your hair, the way it falls over my feet. The way it moves while you work. It is distracting.” His breath was laboured but there was a smile in his eyes.

“Ahh,” I replied. “But don’t talk anymore. You will need all your strength for the next bit.”

Once his legs were freed he was able to wind them around the trunk and take some of his own weight and I pulled myself back up onto the tree branch and called down to him. “Can you reach up to this branch? If you are able to hold onto it when I cut the rope on your chest then maybe you can pull yourself up.”

I couldn’t actually believe I was asking him to do this, that he still seemed so strong after being anchored to a tree for god knows how long. He must indeed have the strength of a thousand men. And he was definitely a warrior.

He strained his neck upwards and lifted his long arms. Light glistened over his wet, blood stained skin, highlighting his strong muscles. His hands were broad and square, and his fingers were long as they stretched upwards, but it was not enough to grab hold of the branch. I reached down and grabbed his hand in mine and tried to pull him up further, but it was no good. He couldn’t reach.

Suddenly his body slumped forward and I felt my heart burst with fear. He was weakening. How much breath did he have left in his chest? How much more could he take? And then from under the rope I saw the sliver of dark red blood trickle down.

“Damn!” I cried out. “We have to get you down from here! But, if I cut you free you will not survive the fall. Maybe I can…”

My head was spinning with ideas. Maybe if I climbed down and made a deep pile of leaves underneath the tree to soften the fall? Maybe if I ran as fast as I could to get help? Maybe…

But all the maybe’s ended with the same conclusion. I didn’t have enough time.

“Cut me down,” he said. “Do it now.” His voice was dangerously low, his breath rasping and shallow.

“But…”

“Do it now!” he roared, and then his head slumped forward.

I began to cut, with all my might and my strength I cut as fast as I could. With each fibre that I broke I sensed his body ease from the tree, and each time it filled me with more and more fear. I didn’t want him to die. I didn’t know him, I was even a bit scared of him, but I did not want him to die and I definitely did not want to be the deliverer of that fate.

He groaned with pain as each rope was severed and more and more of his own strength was required to stop him from slipping. His legs gripped the tree with incredible strength, as did his arms. How could one man be so strong? It defied explanation.

I had started with the rope that was highest up, now only a few round his waist were left.

“There are only a few left,” I said. “I will cut them together. On my count, leap forward if you can. There is a dense pile of leaves in the middle of the clearing. If you land on them, you might stand a chance.”

His teeth were gritted so tightly, his jaw so clenched and firm that he could not respond but I saw his determined eyes flash towards mine, and I knew that he understood.

As the sharp knife cut through the remaining fibres I began my count.

“One….two….” and on the final deep slice, “Three!”

He launched himself forward like a panther and that was all I saw for I couldn’t look down else I might fall with him. But I heard a deep thud and a yell and held my breath in hope that he had made it.

With my heart pounding like a wild thing I clambered down the tree. I had never felt so exhausted and scared, and it was the fear that drove me to keep going.

He was on his haunches in the clearing right in the spot where I had told him to aim for, wearing nothing but the leather cloth which covered his groin and buttocks.

“Are you OK?” I gasped, leaning down next to him.

“My knife,” he demanded.

I handed it to him. He placed it back in its holder but then immediately he began to sway. Quickly I took his arm and wound it over my shoulder. “Try and stand up,” I said. “Lean on me and I will take you home.”

I hauled him up to his feet. He didn’t wince and he didn’t groan, he just let me guide him, and I wondered if he even knew what was happening to him, if the pain in his body had dulled his mind, sent him to another place.

“Home,” he said. “Home.”

And as I walked out of the forest with this injured, beast of a man, neither of us uttered another word.

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Further Recommendations

aduerr46: Some of the stories must be written as a separate book

Moses: Beautiful written, good use of English, nice plot. Please update.

Brittany: It’s pretty good I like it so far just wondering if it’s a bit going for me but I will definitely finish it and let you know my thoughts. Great plot!

Lee H: Fantastic Story. With interesting twists and turns. I loved the MCs. Congratulations 💯🔥🌶️🔥🌶️🔥

Lodewyk: Plot is flowing. Interesting use of tech. Good dialogue and very descriptive.

christienjordaan5: Joh, the Authour of this book is good!! Exellant, well done!!

Florentina Munteanu: Nice story, I like it a lot!

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