Woman in the Forest: Immortal Traveler Series (Book 1)

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Summary

Einar finds a mysterious woman in the forest who he can't bring himself to leave behind. Despite his best efforts to talk himself into it. He finds he is drawn to this mysterious woman and he doesn't know why. Once she is healed, he finds out her name is Gabriel and she is from another realm. Not originally sensing any magic in her, she turns out to be extremely powerful. What is she? Why was she sent here? How is he so drawn to her? Join Einar and Gabriel on this magical adventure where they hunt monsters and befriend unique creatures. All while they experience an epic romance that neither one of them have experienced before in their long lives. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Author's Note: This is the first book in a series I call the Immortal Traveler series. I have the next 2 books complete and plans for at least 2 more books and 2 short stories. Thank you for beta reading my novel! Would love to hear your feedback. Please comment any love, opinions, feedback, etc to help me improve this story. I would greatly appreciate a review and for you to click on the heart to like. I hope you fall in love with the characters as much as I have.

Genre:
Romance / Fantasy
Author:
Kris Wood
Status:
Complete
Chapters:
45
Rating:
4.9 14 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Part 1: Chapter 1

I really hate this forest. It smells funny and makes my stomach churn. Doesn’t feel right anytime I travel through here.


The neighboring villages around here hate my kind, so I try to steer clear of them. I snap the reins on my horse, Freya, to try and get her to move faster.


Thankfully, the borders are easy enough to track. The nearby villages have scented stones placed near them to alert those like me and prevent us from entering. Well, maybe not prevent, but at least make us miserable if we try.


Fuck ’em. Uneducated inbreds.


We’re almost out of range when something in the distance catches my eye. “Steady, girl.” I pat the side of my horse’s neck to calm her. She jerks on the reins slightly, sensing my unease.


A woman. Strung up near the road into town. And they think I’m the monster. There’s a sign next to her. “BEWARE. ALL MAGICAL BEINGS. STAY AWAY.” I can barely hear the thumping of her heartbeat. I suspect she must be close to death.


Poor fool. She doesn’t smell magical. I nod to her out of respect. No one deserves to be treated this way.


I snap the reins lightly. Let’s be done with this forest.


“Help.” It was barely a whisper. The wind? I wasn’t even certain I heard anything.


I turn my horse around back to the woman to look back at her. Inspecting her more closely, wondering if she could have been the source of what I heard. Her skin has that slight gray hue, telling me that her time is coming dangerously close to an end. I suspect that in her weakened state she wouldn’t have been able to utter a sound, much less a word.


Her eyes pop open. Startling me. Freya rears up onto her hind legs. I have to hold onto the reins tighter so I don’t fall off. The color of the woman’s eyes take me off guard more than the sudden opening of them. They appear to be glowing. I find myself getting drawn into the deep, vibrant blue of her eyes. They are mesmerizing. So much so, I can’t look away from them.


“Help. Me.” I struggle to hear the faint request. She blinks and the glowing in her eyes vanishes just before her eyes roll into the back of her head. She is unconscious again. I decide then and there, I have to help her.


Moving Freya close to her I grab my sword. I put my arm around her waist as I cut her ropes. She falls across my lap onto Freya. Freya dances around slightly, adjusting to the added weight.


Who is this woman? I wonder, my curiosity getting the better of me. I should just leave her.


Fuck. I can’t just abandon her.


I know a healer up the road, named Mirabela. She lives near the border of the anti-magic villages to catch those who have problems. She’s stitched me up on a number of occasions.


I should just drop this woman off with the healer and leave. But as soon as I glance down at the woman in my lap, I realize I can’t. There’s something drawing me to her, making me yearn to know more. I have to know who she is.


But why? I’ve never cared this much about anyone else before. What is it about this stranger that has me willing to go so off course?


As I ride towards Mirabela’s land I continuously peek down at the woman, trying to get a closer look without falling off my horse. She’s dressed like a man. Leather pants and a cotton shirt. I haven’t seen a woman not in a dress in many years. Hair cut short like a man. When I cut her from her restraints, she isn’t soft like other women I have felt. I can feel the tenseness of her muscles, the sinew of strength and grace fortified from years of wielding weapons. Making her look more like a warrior. She’s not carrying any weapons, though. Only a satchel. Who is she?


We arrive at Mirabela’s not long after. She must have heard us coming because she is waiting on her porch. Mirabela is a middle-aged woman. She has pretty features, but many years of manual labor have left her looking worn down. Her frizzy curly, brown hair was always pulled up messily on top of her head. Her amber-colored eyes showed so much respect and understanding. She is an average-sized woman, but if you ever angered her you quickly learned just how strong she was. I hop off Freya right in front of her and give her a half-smile.


“What have you brought me this time?” Mirabela questions me with a curious glare.


“Not what, who. And to that, I don’t know.”


“Then why have you brought him here?” I slide the woman off the horse and into my arms like a child. Her head rests on my chest. The planes of her developed muscle weighing in my arms, confirming my suspicions of her being a warrior. She’s built like one, that’s for sure. As I move her I suspect that she may even be taller than me when standing upright. As I walk up to Mirabela she observes the woman in my arms. “Oh, excuse me. Why have you brought HER here?” I just look at Mirabela, unamused. “Okay, okay. Fine. You don’t know. Bring her this way.”


She shows me into one of the guest rooms. I lay the woman down. The mattress seems soft enough. Smells like it’s stuffed with hay. I stand up to get out of Mirabela’s way. This also allows me to fully assess the stranger as Mirabela inspects her. Her legs are partially hanging off the bed. She really is tall.


She is wearing a brown leather jacket that goes down to about mid-thigh with a white shirt underneath, a brown leather bralette wrapped around perfectly shaped breasts. Brown leather pants and boots reach almost to her calf. A worn leather cuff is on her left wrist and a leather gauntlet on her right forearm. The leather has bends and fades that show their frequent use. I have never seen a woman, warrior or otherwise, dressed like this, adding to the mystery of who this woman really is.


“She has a puncture here on her abdomen.” Mirabela lifts the woman’s shirt to show me the wound better in her lower right stomach. “There’s another puncture wound here on her left thigh. This one appears to have gone all the way through.” Mirabela moves her leg to show me. “Other than that, it just appears she has a few minor scratches and bruises.”


“She was strung up outside Norgaard with a sign as a warning to other magical beings who dared enter.”


Mirabela turns to look at me. Her face distorts in disgust. Shaking her head, “sick bastards. No one deserves to be treated like this. She’s lost a lot of blood, but her wounds appear to be already healing. Who is she to you?”


I shrug. “I have told you everything I know.”


“This isn’t like you, getting involved in someone else’s business.” She’s right.


“She intrigued me.” My voice is low. I am almost embarrassed at this admittance.


“Intrigued you?” She raises an eyebrow at me. “Can’t really blame you for that. Under all of the dirt, she appears beautiful. I’ll need your help getting her undressed so I can stitch her up and clean her.”


I nod but can’t help feeling a little embarrassed for this poor wretch before me. I don’t even know her name and I’m about to see her naked. Although, the idea of seeing this creature’s bare skin excites me. What kind of spell has she cast over me?


Mirabela removes the woman’s gauntlet while I remove her leather cuff. As soon as they’re removed, we discover that the leather was hiding strange markings on her skin. Mirabela and I both look at the symbols closely. I’ve never seen anything like them before.


I sit her up and remove her satchel, placing it to the side. Mirabela removes her jacket her exposed shoulder blades. Weird. I can see markings on her back too through the hole in her shirt. She next removes her bralette and just before she removes the shirt, I close my eyes to provide some respect for the woman.


“Down. Gentle. Very nice.” I hear Mirabela move around for something. My eyes are still closed. “You can open now.” The woman has a piece of cloth across her breasts, maintaining her modesty. Mirabela must have registered my desire to respect the woman’s privacy, and didn’t bother questioning it.


Going back to our task, we each untie a boot. I lift her hips with my eyes closed as Mirabela removes the woman’s pants. Again, I hear her fidgeting around. When I was given permission to open my eyes the woman’s pelvis is covered.


Mirabela sorts through the woman’s clothes. Leaving the jacket, boots, and bralette which aren’t covered in blood. The pants and shirt are in need of wash and repair. Mirabela hurries off with those items.


This gives me a chance to truly get a look at the woman. Her skin is slightly tanned, but I am not sure if that was from the dirt or her. She has markings, tattoos, all over her body. I’ve never seen a woman with so many tattoos. They are in a language I don’t recognize. They decorate the sides of both her thighs and hips. As I observe her, I also notice more on her left wrist and right forearm.


Mirabela returns with a large basin of warm water and a couple of rags. She tosses one to me and I help her wash. I know better than to question her forcing my involvement. It also gives me an excuse to touch the woman. Her skin looks so soft, like butter. I know it is going to be smooth under my callused fingers. It’s begging for me to stroke it. We start with her arms. I clean her face as Mirabela works on the woman’s front. I keep my eyes busy on the woman’s face which seems to call to me while Mirabela works on her breasts. She has a handful of freckles across her nose and the tops of her cheeks. She really is quite stunning up close.


“Ok. You lift and I’ll hold her in place.” I nod and lift her onto her side towards Mirabela. As I begin washing her back, I see more tattoos. More words. Three rows, like columns down her spine and wings on either side covering her entire back. Moving further down with my cleaning I start on her rear end. Feeling a tad guilty but Mirabela doesn’t give me any lip about it. Her ass is beautiful. Perfectly round and muscular. I find myself appreciating those fleshy globes just a little too much and shake my head to clear it. This isn’t the time or place, what is wrong with me?


We lay her back down and continue onto her legs. I wash her feet as Mirabela cleans around her groin.


With the woman all clean, I help Mirabela sew up the two wounds. The one on her stomach is deep and looks painful. It looks like maybe from a dagger that was twisted, but it is so distorted it is hard to tell. The wound on her thigh is smaller, and cleaner, but goes all the way through her leg. This appears to be from an arrow. Bastards. I clench my jaw as anger floods through me. Wanting to cause harm to those who caused her harm.


With her all clean and sewn up, I follow Mirabela into the kitchen with the dirty wash basin and rags. I clean it while she makes herbal tea. I watch her expertly mash together herbs and place them on two bandages. I carry the tea while she carries the bandages. We place the bandages on the woman’s wounds to hopefully aid in healing and prevent infections.


I help sit up the woman while Mirabela pours the tea gingerly into her mouth. Mirabela parts the woman’s perfect, rosy lips and tips the liquid onto her tongue. The woman seems to swallow and Mirabela continues until it is all gone. The tea again should aid in healing and prevent infection, but also keep her hydrated. Gently placing her back onto the mattress we leave the room.


“How many days payment will you need?” I inquire. Mirabela doesn’t have much need for money. She prefers her payments in favors. Usually physical labor.


“That depends on how long she’s out. So far, she’s up to three days.”


“I will pay them.” She looks at me, shocked.


“You? Why? Who is this woman to you?”


“Yes, me. I don’t know anything about her, and I would like to stick around to find out. If it’s alright with you.” She thinks about it a moment before she nods and puts me to work mucking the stables. Looks like I’ve got to earn my keep too.

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