Phantom of the damned. (First draft, unedited.)

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Twenty... thousand questions.

Kane.

“Where are we going?” Evanora huffs, the walk through my territory has proven to be difficult on her so far.

Even with the addition of the leather sandals I’d given her, she still lagged.

The humans territory is vastly different from the wicans, who reside in the forest sector, divided by Haygarth’s Hollow, which acts as the border.

We humans laid claim to the desert in the south west region of our island. Though most of our towns are nestled in several patches of small woods, scattered throughout our territory.

Some are set near the shore, these towns house our warriors. And their main priority is to monitor the shore line, as it is a neutral ground.

Though wicans hardly leave the comfort of their trees, unless attending a culling.

Watching Evanora hobble behind me, I can finally understand why.

Wicans are not suited for open terrain.

Even half breeds, it would seem.

“You know where we are going.” I answer, as a scorching breeze blows over us.

Today is particularly hot.

The heat had been what woke me this morning, the sun had yet to breach the sky. And already, the humidity was palpable.

Which had made packing our small camp, all the more painstaking.

And Evanora’s constant chatter, only made the process feel as if it drug into centuries.

She’d asked every question that she possibly could.

From what shoes were, to why I have a slight stubble on my chin.

In short, she’d asked me everything under the moon and more.

That was hours ago.

And the questions have not ceased.

“You know what I meant.” She rolls her eyes at me, kicking sand at my heels as she does.

I bite back a grin at her mistake.

The wind catches her sand attack, and redirects it straight into her face.

“South.” I reply, ignoring her sputtering curses, as she swipes the sand from her eyes and mouth.

.....

Could this be...

Silence?

“What’s south?”

Ugh.

“The direction we are going.” I groan.

She falls silent once more.

Thank Gia.

I’ve been alone for the better half of a decade.

Visits to my mother, and my boss, withstanding.

So to say that I’ve become accustomed to peace and quiet, would be an understatement.

To make matters worse, my awakened arousal doesn’t seem bothered by this chattering female in the least.

If anything, the sound of her voice is enticing it.

Which only serves to aggravate my further.

“What is it like where my parents live?” She asks, trotting to my side. She cups her hands over her eyes to shield them from the sun, and peers up at me.

Shit.

There is no way I’m telling her about the arena, or the culling.

She will turn tail and run for the trees.

“Do you always talk so much?” I snap.

The hurt that flashes across her face, makes me regret my words.

But they do the job.

Evanora remains silent for the remainder of the day.

I should be relived.

Ecstatic at the promise of sweet silence.

Yet, I’m not.

And by the time the sun begins to set, my mind is made up.

I will get her talking to me again.



“We will stop here for the night, we don’t have much kindling and wood with us, but it should be enough for tonight and tomorrow. By then, we will have arrived at my home town. I have to stop there first and meet with someone. And then it’s a two day walk to your parents from there.” I’m babbling, but can’t seem to tame my tongue.

The sun hangs low in the sky, painting it in swirls of indigo and blush, with wisps of white brushed along the curve of each bending wave of color.

Far off in the distance, barely a smudge of dark green, against the rolling hills of golden sand, lay my home.

Arggon wood, a lush and diverse forest, the largest one in our territory to be precise.

I’d spent my youth playing amongst the oaks, palms, pines, and many other trees, and plants that make up the melting pot of vegetation that surrounds my village.

That is, until Favion discovered me after hearing rumors of a boy with an immunity to magic.

I shake my head, unwilling to allow thoughts of that day to poison my memories of home.

With a sigh, I relieve myself of my back pack, bed rolls, weapons, and the small bundled, stack of wood.

I roll my shoulders, and turn to face Evanora.

I’m horrified at what I see.

In my pursuit to ignore the small woman and my attraction to her. I’d completely forgotten how Ill adapted her body is to this environment.

Evanora sat before me, leaning back on her elbows, her head hanging to face the skies. Her chest heaved at an alarming rate, and her outstretched legs shook.

My guilt only doubled, as my eyes trail to her blistered and bloodied feet.

The sandals, though sufficient enough to protect my peoples feet, had done little more than cut into Evanora’s tender skin.

“Why didn’t you say anything?” Anger swirls with my concern, as I kneel beside her, and begin to remove her shoes.

With some effort, she pulls her head up, and glares at me.

“Being stubborn is no different than being stupid, wounds like these have killed grown men, left untreated. And you are just a girl.” I snap.

“You seemed to be enjoying the peace and quiet, I didn’t want to intrude.” Her lips curl in pain as I pull the last sandal from her foot.

Ignoring her quip, and the sting that accompanied it, I instead inspected her wounds.

Along with the criss crossed blisters and cuts on her feet and ankles, she’d also gotten quite the sun burn.

Fuck me.

How could I be so mindless.

Without a word, I fished my medical bag from my back back, and began to clean and dress her wounds.

I work in silence, but and keenly aware of Evanora’s eyes, trained on my every move.

By the time I’m done, the sun is almost completely set.

And I still haven’t started the fire.

With the sun rapidly receding, so to was the temperature.

Treating her sunburn would have to wait until after I start the fire.

“Next time, no matter how peaceful I may look, do not hesitate to tell me if you are hurt.” I say over my shoulder.

I quickly pile a few pieces of wood, and light the kindling with a flint stone, before tossing it into the pile. I lean down and blow softly on the small flame, until it roars time life.

“What is that?? And how did you make it!?” Evanora’s voice sounds off from behind me, nearly startling me out of my skin.

No one has even snuck up on me, and I find that I don’t care for the experience.

“It’s called fire.” I finally reply, after I catch my breath.

The same breath that I lose all over again as I turn to face the wide eyed beauty.

She’s mere inches from me, he face lit in the glow of the flames.

I’m mesmerized by her.

Until she reaches her hand forward, intent on grasping a flare of azure that matched her eyes, licking at the wood.

“Stop it bites!” I find myself repeating the words my mom spoke to me when I was a child, as I grasp her wrist in my hand.

She freezes.

“It... BITES!?” She squeals, falling ass over kettle in her hasty retreat.

I laugh, unable till hold it in.

“Yes, a fire will burn you. And that burn feels like a bite, a really, really bad bite. But as long as you don’t touch it, you’ll be fine. It’s going to keep us warm, the temperature drops pretty low out here at night, with no trees to block the wind.” I supply after composing myself.

“Oh, ok.” She grumbles, before she lets out a loud wince.

“Here, I’ve got something for your sunburn.” I roll out one of my blankets, and motion for her to sit on it.

She obeys, but slowly.

Her feet are in horrible shape, and I’m suddenly aware that I’ll have to carry her the rest of the way to my village.

My groin hardens again, the thought of her soft body, wrapped in my arms, and pressed against me, is overwhelming.

I bite down hard on my bottom lip, in an attempt to divert my attention with pain.

How can I possibly be aroused right now?

She’s in pain for Gia’s sake!

Is this really how this is supposed to work?

I never imagined that sexual desire would be so consuming, so persistent.

They say to be careful what you wish for.

And damn, are they right.

I’d spent my entire life feeling as if I were missing something, some grand puzzle piece to life.

But I’d been wrong.

My impotence has been a blessing.

Had been the foundation for a clear and focused mind.

Unhindered by base needs, and able to discern situations unbiased and wholly unbothered.

My immunity to magic had only been part of my gift, I now realize.

The other side to my ability, had been my neutrality.

My actions are not dictated by my penis, as many others on this island, populated by the damned, are.

It’s part of the reason that I’m the best.

Unswayed by emotion.

It had been the precise reason I’d been sent on this mission.

A smile tugs at my lips as I recall Favion’s insults.

His daughter might not return in one piece after all.

Shit.

So much for neutrality.

“Kane?” Evanora calls softly from her seat on the blanket, the fires glow, danced in her eyes.

The sun has set, and darkness now surrounds our dimly lit camp.

Retrieving the aloe vera gel from my back pack, I walk to her side, and hand the glass vile to her, containing the medicine.

Her fingers brush mine as she grabs it, and a small current of electricity corses down my back at her touch.

I stand there, stupidly, and stare.

Unable to take my eyes off of her as she smoothed the gel over her arms, chest, and face.

Something like this should not be erotic.

She was treating her wounds, for goodness sake.

Yet it was somehow, incredibly sexy.

With closed eyes, she rubs the gel over her blushed skin, with a sigh. It shines in the fire light, making her glisten.

The sound of a throat clearing, pulls my attention, and gaze, from the swell of her breast.

I’d been caught red handed.

But instead of glaring at my appraisal, a deep blush, merges with her sunburn, as she smiles at me coyly.

“Would you mind?” She asks, gesturing to her shoulders and the back of her neck, and holding the aloe out for me to take.

“Um, sure.” I take the vile from her hands, and sit behind her.

“Thank you.” She sighs, as I begin to run the aloe over her skin.

I swallow painfully over the lump in my throat.

Is this woman trying to kill me?

She had to have noticed my erection. As it’s damn near impossible to miss, and becoming quite painful.

Speak of the devil, and he shall appear.

My erection hardens further, twitching in my pants. And it’s all I can do not to groan, as my balls constrict in an agonizing spasm of need.

But I don’t complain.

My dick is not Evanora’s problem.

No, matter how much it would like to be.

And even if by some miracle, she could forgive and forget about what I’d done in the hollow, and reciprocate my urges.

I could never allow myself to sink into her valley of bliss.

Favion would have my head.

Or worse, my mother’s.

And though the thought of pissing off the arena master was tempting, damn tempting.

I could never risk my mother’s life.

My growing desire to make this woman mine, would not change that fact.

But I find my resolve wavering, as a soft sigh leaves her lips, and her small frame relaxes against my chest.

Evanora.

My bosses daughter.

And my bounty.

Someone who should, by all rights, be cowering at my feet.

Has fallen asleep in my lap.




















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