RAESE - Tell Me about Her
Whitehall, Harridan Hamlet, Paladines
Raese flopped to his stomach in fitful sleep. Haunted by glimpses of the woman, more and more often now.
Tonight, it was flashes of katash birds roaring across the sky. Followed by creeping orange eyes in black creatures moving on distorted limbs with serrated teeth trying to take bites out of him. He rolled to his back.
The room became chilled. Filling with that familiar smell of wet earth and fresh grass. An earthen aroma that aroused him. And calmed his dreams.
He was transported back to working in those trees. Surrounded by heavy spring foliage and the consistent beat of hammers. This morning the sun had barely come up and the air was still heavy with a morning mist. Dew dripped from the high canopy leaves as he worked. Dampening his hair and clothes. Luckily, he could not feel the cold, so he wasn’t disturbed as the others were. It was on just one such morning he glimpsed the woman again.
Her back was to the TreeCutters camp and she seemed to be paying no attention to them working this morning. Despite the grumbling of the workers using saws. And the heavy thud of those using hammers as they built additional tree piers for the workers cutting.
She was immersed in watching a few white doves cavorting through the wet branches. She moved along with them as though watching them playfully. Ducking one that flew toward her. Before she turned to the other and moved side to side as though speaking with them.
Green moss clung to the forest floor, holding the moisture into the dirt for most of the day. Even long after the sun had fully risen. Bushes dotted with pale flowers reflected the shade of her overskirt hinting at the blue dress beneath in the back and under the trim.
He recognized her proud posture, even though it was currently touched with curiosity. The lovely dark hair curled around the crown of her head. A wind low to the ground tossed her skirts around her. Loosening laces down the back of her dress, exposing delicate shoulder blades.
Sensing his long study, she glanced over her shoulder and spotted him watching her. Her blue eyes lighting on him. She turned fully, revealing the low-cut dress and the alluring curves of her body. His eyes were drawn to the mounds rising under the bodice as she drew deep breaths. Staring back at him, she reached up and violently undid the top button of her bodice, tugging it open to expose another inch of cleavage for his view. She jerked her hand to her side and made a small fist. Lifting her chin in challenge.
She’s irritated I watch her?
Raese’s auburn hair and green eyes usually drew the eye of women. Rarely were his attentions received with annoyance.
This one would be. He was very sure.
As if reading his thoughts, she lifted a delicately arching black brow as though provoking him to look at her.
And I’ll do it again. He thought.
“Careful watching that one.” Another man, Benjamin, had lowered to dangle next to him. Holding an armload of wood.
“Why?” Raese gave the other man his focus.
“She’s one of the Avalon Dreads. The only one who comes out this far. She’s always alone.”
“Perhaps she services men out here?” Raese suggested. Already feeling the ache below his belt at the thought.
“I hear hope in your voice, Friend. Did you miss that look she gave you? People say she only seeks the company of other Lady Dreads for her gratification.”
Raese hooted. What a sight that’d be! His mind filled with inescapable images.
Contain yourself! A little voice reminded him. I haven’t had such thoughts since back when I was yet a fresh boy.
“Tell me about her.”
“Well, lower with me. I’ll impart what I know.”
Raese looked up and found her gone. Vanished without a sound.
Raese complied. Eager to hear. Walking alongside the man and returning to the treetops to work beside him, he heard the stories. The most intrigued by how she’d been found as an infant after a night filled with falling stars.
I’ve never heard of anything so strange. She’s no Dread. So, what is she?
I need to report to the Captain.