Jack Swanson was feeling the aftermath of a good night and was needing the hair of the dog that had bitten him. Recovering from the usual shenanigans was easy, but they’d gotten so gooned, he couldn’t remember the trip back to his room. Tempting and full of images one would find in an adult magazine, he’d been lost in an array of visions like no other…
Now though, down in the great hall once more and sipping on a good drink, he was trying to piece it all together. Malice and her Cat. The Slave girl and the Caliph. Belvaya and, was it Loki? Was that where she’d ended up? Damn, it was like a jig-saw puzzle and he couldn’t find all the pieces.
“How you doing?” He heard a cheerful voice and groaned into his fruity blend.
“A grand time was had by all.” He muttered, picking at the bacon and eggs on his plate.
He was hungover and more than a little confused by the previous night’s events, but he wasn’t about to tell anyone else that. ‘Yeah, I’d like to report some visions, sir, ma’am, sir!’ That wouldn’t have gone over so well with both Mist and Sif, let alone anyone else he’d run into.
First the cat, then Malice making love to a dark-haired woman. ‘Remember that cold shower I needed to take…’
Many cold showers, just to sleep, the scene was that hot and wouldn’t let him go. Had he had his own female he wouldn’t have minded; but being forced to endure such an intense affair as Malice and her lover…
“Right! Well, I’ll let you carry on eating!” The voice replied and a moment later he realized who was sitting across from him.
The nubile Elven red-head was playing with her braid when her friend elbowed her in the ribs. “Hi, Jack.” They replied in unison.
Jack looked up, seeing both of the girls looking at him speculatively. The fact that Maeve, Morgan’s mother, was glaring at him didn’t help matters either, thumbing the edge of a sharp looking kitchen knife, with eyebrows raised.
“Good morning, girls.’ He smiled non-committedly and tried to go back to his breakfast.
A couple of minutes later he got a full a view of Vanessa’s perky breasts, as she leaned over the table and refilled his coffee mug. He felt a rush of warmth and was immediately hard, but there was no way he was going to do anything about it just now.
He couldn’t hold back the gasp though, as the image of Malice and her lover crept past his eyes and the warmth washed over him. He had no choice but to stand up and run, covering his crotch as he went by.
“Excuse me.” He called out as he passed people by, hoping to the Gods that none noticed the rather large bulge in his trousers.
He collided with the bathroom door, thrusting it open and slamming it closed before locking it. He was lucky he was leaning against the wall when the first wave hit, for the force had him pinned.
‘Dammit, Mal.’ He growled as the orgasm ripped through him.
Outside the bathroom, the three females waited patiently, offering each other looks of concern to mask the laughter they wished to let out.
“Was it something I said?” Van asked, but Maeve just shook her head.
She knew the troubles Jack faced, having lived among the Valkyrie and their Einherjar. “Go get Lady Mist, right away. Tell her Jack is ill. Quickly now!”
Morgan ran from the great hall and towards the main keep, not stopping until those big wooden doors had been flung open and she’d toppled to her knees. “My lady, My lady Mist?” Her worry carried throughout the keep. “Something is wrong with Jack” Morgan spoke with an urgency as she looked about the room.
“Easy now, child, just breathe! That’s it, now what do you mean, Jack is unwell?”
Morgan was so out of breath she just shrugged her shoulders and shook her head.
Mist arched her brow at her, “Where is he?” She queried
“Oh, ahh, he’s in the great hall. Was eating breakfast and then suddenly, his face got all flushed. He was holding his belly and ran into the bathroom!” Morgan frowned, “I hope it’s not something he ate!”
Mist looked at her as she concentrated her thoughts on the soldier and frowned picking up on his discomforts. ‘If you don’t answer me in two minutes, old man ....’ She threatened between gritted teeth and reached for Morgan’s hand. “Hold tight.”
The young, dark-haired female held her breath and the room disappeared. Suddenly she was standing outside the bathroom and could hear his groans through the door.
Mist tapped on the door, “Jack, open the damn door?” She growled.
“Nah, Lassie, it’s fine. Don’t fuss!” Came the curt growl through the door and a sudden low groan followed.
Mist’s eyes glared at the door, ‘That’s it, I’m going to blow this bloody door off unless you....’ She stopped short and her eyes widened as her face flushed slightly. ‘Jack, you didn’t?’ Mist tried dismally to cover her laughter, which drew puzzled looks from the three women standing behind her.
“Is he alright, is there anything I can do?” Morgan offered.
Mist partially turned toward the very pretty, and yet concerned, young face, catching a glimpse of the red-haired Elf that was flashing through the old soldier’s thoughts right now. “Umm,” Still giggling to herself, “No, I think I need my husband, though!” She smirked, as she sent a call to Gil,
’My love, I think I need a male’s touch here. Come to me, and hurry. Jack needs you!”
A low growl echoed through the door, “Now what did ya go and do that for, lass?” Jack grumbled, only to be drown out by the sin a moment later.
The dining hall was quiet, save for the gruesome snivels and snorts as the drunken fools lay sprawled out across the floor in the mid-morning sun. It looked to have been some party and was a pity she’d missed it; but there had been other things to attend to. Mist would of course understand her late arrival, but the lack of guards at the gates, and then here as well...
Stepping over one of the armor-clad victims, slain by an over-abundance of females and ale, and icing from a cake smeared across his breast plate, more than likely signaling his defeat, she sighed and shook her head. A mighty fine party, indeed.
“Not one step further!” A voice called out from the shadows and she turned to see a female with short, spiked red hair, emerged from a doorway.
“It is good to see the Petals remain in their garden when the thorns take hold!” Khia smiled as the female drew closer, draped in a cloak of her own and holding a bow with arrow knocked at the ready.
“You speak of Petals as if you walk among the garden as one!” The female replied.
“My friend, I am the Gardener that ensures the garden grows stronger!” Khia laughed, pulling her cloak from her head and letting it nestle about her shoulders.
“Mistress!” The female dropped her bow and bowed her head. “I had no idea you were coming so late!”
“I did not think to be late, and yet here I am, in a court full of thorns!” She sighed again.
“There are no thorns here, Mistress, nor are there any weeds!” She lifted her head with a smile and nodded to the second level balcony above them.
Khia’s gaze followed suit, setting upon a second, third and fourth, bows held at their sides as they bowed their heads. All of them in armor of gray and white, with cloaks draped back to show the roses tattooed across their arms and thighs.
“A Petal is always standing guard, Mistress!”
“Your Lady has trained you well!” Khia grinned and returned her gaze to the red head, who now held her own cloak back and was adorned with even more roses than the others combined.
“It is an honor to have you in our home, Mistress, welcome to Misthaven!” She bowed her head again and Khia returned in kind.
“Where is your Lady?” Khia inquired, removing her gloves to reveal her own markings; it was as if she’d not taken her gloves off at all.
Long intricate vines woven about her forearms, dotted with roses in all shades and sizes. She remembered each one, for a new bloom sprouted when the unthinkable happened. One Rose, for each of her fallen Petals, covering her arms like sleeves.
“This way, Mistress!” The female replied with head still bowed as Khia walked past.
Her position was one of great importance, but she’d give it all up to get Malice back. So here she was, with eight thousand Petals stationed and ready for word. They had been gathering secrets for months now, and the things they’d learned, Mist had to be informed, if she didn’t already know, that her sister was coming for Misthaven and her army was vast.