Kara groaned. Her shoulder was on fire, the flesh around the wound made by the arrow an angry red. The bloody bandage her shoulder had been wrapped in stank of blood and pus. In spite of her weakened condition, Pern had decided to move her. After all, she was not his primary concern, Rezar was. The Littan had paid the bandit chief to capture Rezar and he had done so. Now he was taking him to the Twarg capital to collect his reward. Kara was an added bonus. If she healed enough that Pern could bed her so much the better, if not then it was just Kara’s tough luck.
She was secured to the jarah she was riding, her hands tied to the saddle and her ankles bound beneath the belly of the beast. If not for these preparations she would have certainly toppled off. Even so, Kara was not sure how much longer she could last. It was obvious that her shoulder was seriously infected and yet nothing had been done to treat it. The little man Pern had told to look after her appeared to have only limited medical skills. Either that or he simply did not care.
Ahead of her, separated by several bandits were Rezar and the escort Pern had taken prisoner. Both men were heavily bound, and a rope was tied about each of their necks and held by one of the bandits. Escape was impossible and in a few days they would be at their destination. Kara wondered what the Littan had planned for Rezar. Perhaps he thought to force Rezar to cede his kingdom to him or perhaps he just wanted revenge for the humiliating defeat his army had suffered at Rezar's hands. Whatever the situation, it did not look good for the man that Kara had come to admire.
It was a strange situation. Kara realized that in spite of the fact that Rezar was almost old enough to be her father, she felt a sort of attraction to him. There was no reason why she shouldn’t. He was handsome (for a man his age), brave, skilled in battle, and considerate and kind. He had been a perfect gentleman toward her, showing what amounted to a fatherly concern for her well-being. But none of that mattered now. Taken prisoner, her focus was now on escape, but the deteriorating condition of her wound made that very unlikely.
A shout up ahead woke her from her reverie. The column of men and animals had come to a halt. Pern’s men were dismounting and heading toward a large building. The slightly built man who had tended her wound rode over to her. Kara had learned that his name was Winder.
“We stop here for the night,” Winder said. “I will see to your accommodation.” Without waiting for Kara to reply he took the reins of her jarah from the man who had been leading it and led her toward the building.
Kara saw that the building was quite large. It appeared to be some sort of barn and close by was a smaller building that appeared to be a farmhouse. “It looks like we’re in for a bit of snow,” Winder said. “But we should be sheltered here.” Untying Kara from her mount he helped her down and led her toward the barn.
She stumbled as she walked. Kara suspected that she had blood poisoning and was probably suffering from the trauma of her wound. “Got to keep going,” she thought. “Find some way to escape.”
“Here we are, sweets,” Winder said, interrupting her thoughts.
Kara looked up. Winder had taken her to the very back of the barn. There were several stalls there and he guided her into one. It was lined with straw and would make a fairly decent bed. Winder guided her into the straw. He smiled. Kara didn’t like that smile. She attempted to pull away.
“No you don’t,” Winder said, neatly tripping her. “I’ve decided not to wait until you are healthy.”
Kara landed on her back in the hay with Winder on top of her. She gasped in pain as her injured shoulder slammed against the side of the stall. Winder stuffed a gag into her mouth as she tried to scream and tied it in place with a strip of cloth. “Now,” said the bandit. “You and I are going to enjoy one another.”
Kara kicked out, but the bandit was already straddling her. The best she could do was strike ineffectively at him with her left arm. Winder was amazingly strong for his size. He seized her wrist, and twisting it, forced her arm behind her and rolled her over. Wrenching her other arm behind her he began to bind her wrists.
“Mmmphh!” Kara screamed. The pain in her injured shoulder was excruciating. She could do nothing to stop Winder from binding her. Then he began to remove her clothing.
Her boots were already gone. One of the bandits with small feet had appropriated the fine leather when she had been captured. It took him only seconds to ease her trousers over her hips. “Mmmpppphh!” Kara cried. Perhaps if she screamed loudly enough someone would hear her through the gag.
“Stupid whore,” Winder said. He rolled her over and slapped her face. “Keep quiet or I’ll knock your teeth out.”
“Mmmmppphh!” Kara protested again.
“I told you to shut up!” Winder said. Making a fist he punched Kara between the eyes.
Kara’s head rocked back, blood flowing from her nose. She was only dimly aware of what was going on as Winder ripped open her shirt, exposing her quivering breasts. The bandit finished removing her trousers and then climbed onto her.
“No!” Kara thought. Not again. Not so soon after what the Littan had done to her.
Winder straddled her, his hands covering her breasts. “By the gods,” he said, “I’ve never felt tits like these. You’re a remarkable woman, and right now you’re mine to do with as I wish.”
“Uunngghh!” Kara grunted as Winder entered her. He wasn’t particularly violent and his penis was of only normal size, but Kara still felt the shame of being taken against her will. It seemed she went from one aspect of her nightmare to another. Unable to resist, and not wishing to encourage Winder to hit her any more, Kara did not offer any further resistance as Winder took her.
Fortunately, the rape didn’t last long. The little man got to his feet, smiling in satisfaction. “Finally got something before Pern.” He pulled up his pants. “I’ll be back with food and water. Try not to move too much. I wouldn’t want you to aggravate your injury.”
Kara buried her head in the straw as Winder strode off. It wasn’t enough that the bandit had raped her, but he had to laugh at her as well.
Winder returned a short time later. As promised he had food and water. He had to wake Kara. She had fallen into an exhausted sleep. Removing her bonds and her gag he set the food and water beside her. “I’m supposed to keep an eye on you,” he grinned. “Just to make sure you get well.” He settled down beside her in the hay, pulling a blanket around himself. “Get some rest,” he continued. “I might want to have another go at you during the night.” He tossed a blanket in her direction.
Kara pulled the blanket around her and lay down, but she did not sleep for quite awhile. Finally, she fell into an exhausted sleep. Shortly before dawn she awoke.
She lay very still. Beside her Winder snored with enough power to cut a cord of wood. For a small man he made more than enough noise. Kara sensed that something was wrong. Between snores she listened and then she knew what had awakened her. There was someone else in the stall.
She clutched the blanket tightly to her. What now? Another man come to rape her? She knew that the blanket would offer little protection and her injured shoulder was throbbing even worse than it had earlier. She cringed as a hand touched her shoulder.
“Mistress,” a low voice murmured.
Kara’s heart skipped a beat. “Valessa,” she whispered. “Have you brought help?”
“Just myself mistress,” Valessa said. Then she went silent as Winder’s snoring stopped for a moment.
Kara felt Valessa move past her. There was a sudden sound and Winder’s snoring stopped, replaced by a horrible gurgling sound that slowly died away.
Valessa touched Kara’s arm. “Come mistress.”
“What did you…?” Kara didn’t finish. Valessa’s hand was wet with something sticky.
“Hurry mistress,” Valessa said. “We don’t have much time.”
From somewhere Kara found the strength to follow Valessa through the dark barn. Her teenaged servant had surprised her. Not only had she somehow found where Kara was being held prisoner, but she had calmly cut Winder’s throat. It was quite horrifying, but nothing that the loathsome little bandit hadn’t deserved.
Valessa did not lead her to the entrance. Apparently she had found another way in. Just before they left the barn Valessa stopped. In the pitch darkness Kara could not see what the girl was doing, but suddenly a spark was struck. In a few seconds Valessa had a small fire burning in pile of straw near the door.
In the light of the fire Kara could see that Valessa was dressed only in a poncho-like blanket. She also saw that the girl’s face was scratched and bruised. There was something in her eyes that told Kara the girl had been through a similar ordeal to that which she had suffered. But there was no time to ask any questions. As soon as the fire was burning well enough by itself Valessa hustled Kara through a small door.
Outside she almost fell over the body of a dead bandit. Like Winder his throat had been cut. Kara looked at Valessa. What had happened to her to change her from a light-hearted young girl into a ruthless killer?
Valessa pulled Kara toward a stand of trees. “Keep going,” the girl whispered. “There are three jarah waiting. I will be right back.” Without waiting for a reply she headed off into the darkness.
Kara hesitated and then did as she was told. It wasn’t very heroic, but she was in no shape to follow Valessa, and the girl seemed to know what she was doing. In any case, the fire in the barn would soon attract considerable attention and it might be well to be elsewhere.
She found the jarah easily enough. By the time she did the adrenaline rush that had given her the strength to follow Valessa was wearing off and she was beginning to shiver in the cold night air. Most of the ground was still snow-covered and Kara had no shoes or boots. “Should have taken Winder’s,” she thought, but it was too late now. Hunching down in the snow she tried to keep warm while the minutes ticked by.
Kara drifted into a sort of mindless trance. Numbed by the cold and traumatized by the injury to her shoulder, not to mention dazed by the rapid turn of events, she lost track of where she was and what was happening. She was vaguely aware of shouts as the barn burst into flame and the flurry of activity as confused men ran to and fro, and then suddenly Valessa was back and Rezar and the remaining escort were with her.
There was no time for a happy exchange of greetings and Kara would probably have been incapable of responding in any case. Rezar helped her onto one of the jarahs and mounted behind her, while the escort and Valessa rode the other two. Before the bandits had time to discover their absence they were away and out of the bandit camp.
They rode for the rest of the night, finally stopping near dawn at a woodcutter’s cottage. The woodcutter and his wife quite happily yielded the cottage to their unexpected guests. After all it was not everyday that a woodcutter was visited by his prince. Rezar instructed the man to take one of the jarahs and ride to his castle for help, while the woman went to live with her parents who lived only a short distance away.
Kara was too far gone to care what the arrangements were. She was instantly asleep as soon as she hit the bed. Valessa too was worn out from her exertions. She had survived a vicious triple rape and only her determination to rescue her mistress had kept her going. She cuddled up alongside Kara and was soon dead to the world. Rezar and the escort made the best of it, placing blankets on the floor and sleeping next to the fire.
They awoke to a knock on the door. It was the woodcutter’s wife checking to see if her prince needed anything. Rezar accepted a basket of eggs from the henhouse with thanks and closed the door. “I don’t think we’ll be going anywhere for a few weeks. It snowed heavily over night. The passes will be blocked. We are here until the weather breaks.”
Valessa nodded. She was stiff and sore from her ordeal. Kara said nothing. She was only semi-conscious. Valessa placed a hand on her head. “She has a fever. I think her wound must be badly infected.”
“Let me look,” Rezar said. “I have a little experience in treating wounds.”
Valessa looked dubious, but she opened Kara’s shirt. “Do not worry,” Rezar said. “I would not dream of dishonouring your mistress. He moved onto the bed beside Kara and gently began to remove the bandage.
Kara moaned, but did not open her eyes. “I’ll need some warm water,” Rezar said. “The bandage is stuck to the wound.”
Valessa poured water from the kettle by the fire into a small earthenware pitcher. Taking a rag, Rezar gently soaked the bandage and began to work it loose. He knew Kara was in trouble. The smell of the wound told him that it was seriously infected. As he removed the last of the filthy bandages he gasped in dismay.
“This is not good,” he said. “There must be something still in the wound.”
Kara moaned and opened her eyes. The throbbing of her injured shoulder felt like a small drum. “Rezar,” she gasped as her eyes focused on the prince’s face.
Rezar spoke quietly. “I am going to have to open your wound. I think that part of the arrow may still be in it, or perhaps a piece of your shirt was carried into the wound. It must be cleaned otherwise the infection will spread and you will die.”
Kara nodded. The terrible pain of her wound had awakened her. She could tell from the pain that something was very wrong. “Do what you have to, my lord. I will try not to scream.” The agony of her shoulder was so great that she was oblivious of the fact that she was offering Rezar a splendid view of her swelling breasts.
Rezar handed one of the knives Valessa had managed to acquire and handed it to the escort. “Heat this in the fire, Helm,” he said using the soldier’s name for the first time. He turned back to Kara. “What I am going to do is going to hurt a great deal. You must try to hold still if I am to save you.”
Kara had difficulty believing that anything Rezar could do to her could hurt more than her shoulder did already. She nodded her acceptance of what he was going to do.
“Hold her arms like this,” Rezar said to Valessa as he moved Kara’s arms over her head. She grunted in anguish as the movement sent pain rippling through her injured shoulder.
Rezar cut a strip of leather from the end of his belt. “Bite down on this and try to think of something pleasant,” he said as he placed it between her teeth.
Rezar picked up the glowing knife. Helm moved to the end of the bed and held her ankles. “Alright,” Rezar said, calmly. “Take a deep breath and close your eyes.”
Kara tried to hold very still, but as the hot steel touched her flesh her body jerked and she grunted in agony. She bit down so hard on the strip of leather she thought her teeth would break, but somehow she managed to hold relatively still as the smell of burning flesh and the stench of pus filled the room.
“Brave girl,” Rezar said. With her eyes closed Kara couldn’t see what Rezar was doing, but it felt as if he had thrust the burning blade of the knife six inches into her shoulder. It took every gram of self control not to shriek in pain and fight to escape the torture she was undergoing.
“Ahh,” Rezar breathed. “This is the culprit. Carefully he worked the knife free of the wound bringing with it splinters of wood from the arrow shaft and a small piece of filthy cloth which the arrowhead had carried into the wound.
Kara gasped in relief as the knife was removed, but her ordeal was not quite over. “I am afraid I must still properly clean the wound,” Rezar said.
“Thank you, Helm,” Rezar said as the man handed him a steaming cloth. He had obviously helped Rezar before while he tended men’s wounds.
Rezar took the cloth and as gently as he could, cleaned the wound, wiping away all traces of the infected tissue. Through it all Kara held still, her superheroine self-control rising to the fore. Finally Rezar finished. “There,” he said quietly. “Now we let nature take its course.” Kara fainted.
The first face Kara saw when she regained consciousness was Rezar’s. He was seated next to her a damp cloth in his hand. “Welcome back,” he smiled.
Kara’s mouth was too dry to speak. Rezar seemed to understand her problem. Lifting a wooden cup to her lips he helped her sip the water it contained. “I will leave you so that you have a little privacy, but I shall return in an hour or so.”
Kara nodded weakly as Rezar left, taking Helm with him. Valessa, who had been sitting by the fire took his place by the bed and began spooning soup into her. The warm broth helped revive her, and soon she was able to sit up.
“Mistress,” Valessa said. “May I get you something?”
Kara could think of a lot of things Valessa could have gotten her, but right now the only thing she wanted was a luxury bathroom. However, she suspected that might be a tall order. She tried to get up, but immediately discovered that she was too weak to do it on her own. However, she felt much better. Her fever was gone and the incredible pain that had tormented her was just a dull throbbing in her shoulder.
“You should not try to get up, mistress,” Valessa said. “I will get what you need.”
Kara nodded her agreement. It was obvious that for a day or so at least she was going to have to rely on Valessa to do things for her. She also noticed something else and that was Valessa’s subdued manner. However, that was something she would inquire about later. Right now she desperately needed to attend to the call of nature.
Valessa helped her with that as well as offering her some broth from a pot by the fire. Kara ate all of it and then asked for more.
“How long did I sleep?” Kara asked.
“Two days,” Valessa replied. “Rezar stayed with you most of that time, until he was sure you were out of danger.”
Kara felt a strange thrill at that information. Rezar had undoubtedly saved her life, and although she was young enough to be his daughter she no longer viewed him as an old man. How would she feel when she was fully recovered? She knew from the way he looked at her that he desired her. Kara had seen that look too many times to mistake it. However, he was such a gentleman that he had never acted on his impulses. She wondered if his correct attitude toward her would ever change.
Valessa sat by the fireplace, stirring something in a large iron pot. Kara was reminded that something about the girl had bothered her. The girl had an aura of sadness about her that was palpable. “What is wrong, Valessa?”
The girl turned, her dark eyes blinking as she fought back tears. “Mistress, I have been dishonoured. The men who chased me they…”
Valessa could not finish, but Kara knew at once what had happened. “It was not you who was dishonoured, Valessa, but the men who violated you. Do not blame yourself for the actions of others.”
“But mistress,” Valessa sobbed. “No man will want me now. I am tainted; unfit for marriage.”
“We will see about that,” Kara replied. “If it helps any you should know that I too suffered at the hands of the bandits. I do not intend to let it affect my honour.”
“Oh mistress,” Valessa wept. But this time it was for Kara’s lost honour not her own.
Kara shook her head. “Valessa this will not do. I do not intend that either you or I should suffer because we were unlucky enough to be placed at the mercy of evil brutes. Now stop your crying and get me some more soup.”
Valessa did as she was asked; stifling her sobs, and then over the next hour told Kara of her adventures and her disgrace.
Valessa’s story filled Kara with admiration. Alone and at the mercy of three bandits the young girl had overcome her enemies and not only escaped, but destroyed them as well. And then, still suffering from her ordeal she had tracked the bandits to their camp, and in a daring midnight raid had managed to free her mistress and her prince. It was a tremendous story of heroism. Kara resolved to make sure that Rezar heard of it as soon as she saw him again.
She had that opportunity very soon. Rezar reappeared a short time later. He smiled when he entered, and Kara could not help smiling back. Somehow he no longer seemed quite so old and he was handsomer than she remembered.
“I see you are feeling better my lady,” Rezar said, bowing as he stood at the foot of her bed.
Kara nodded. “Thanks to you, my lord.” The words seemed almost natural coming off her tongue. Up until a day or so before, she had thought of Rezar as her slave master, but now her view of him had changed radically. He might have purchased her from the Littan, but his effort to save her life went beyond that of slave and master.
“The passes are still snowed in,” Rezar said, but there has been a break in the weather. I have hired a sled from the woodcutter who owns this land and we will be able to leave tomorrow. I would like to give you more time to recover, but I fear that the bandits who attacked us may still near and it is important that we get to a place of safety.
“I will be ready to go, my lord,” Kara said. “I know it is important to get back to your castle. There is no telling what the Littan might be up to.”
Rezar nodded. He seemed pleased and Kara decided that this was as good a time as any to keep her promise to Valessa. First, however, she had to find a way to get rid of the young girl.
“Valessa,” she said. “I wish to bathe. Could you please fetch enough water to fill the tub?” It was a lengthy job. It would take Valessa several trips to fill the large wooden tub with enough water. The girl nodded and picking up the wooden bucket headed out of the cottage. As soon as she was gone, Kara explained. Quickly, she told Rezar of Valessa’s heroism and the shame the young woman felt over her dishonour.
“Your concern for your servant is admirable,” Rezar said. “It confirms what I have come to think of you. Do not worry. Valessa will be well rewarded for her sacrifice. I will bestow a title and land upon her for her services. She will not lack for suitors.”
Kara smiled and lay back. Now she could enjoy her bath.
The next day they loaded the sled and headed for Rezar’s castle. The snow was deep, but enough of a crust had formed on it that the sled traveled on the surface. Pulled by four jarahs the sled moved easily over the snow. Snuggled in blankets, Kara made the most of the smooth ride and slept. By the time the sled stopped for the night she was well rested.
This time they stopped at a crofter’s humble farm. Rezar refused to allow the farmer to give up his simple farmhouse, instead insisting that they bed down in the barn. It was fortunate that they made that choice, as Pern’s men arrived in the night.
The bandits assumed that Rezar would be staying in the farmhouse and ignored the barn. It gave the four fugitives the chance they needed to escape. Moving out the back of the barn they headed into the trees bordering the farm. There was no time to take more than the few possessions they had with them. As it was they gained the shelter of the trees just in time. A shout from one of Pern’s men alerted then to the fact that the bandits had discovered their mistake and then the chase was on.
Rezar stayed close to Kara as the four of them ran through the forest. The snow was not as deep in the trees, but it was still hard going and soon all of them were gasping for breath. The only consolation was that Pern’s men found the going equally difficult, and in the darkness, could not easily pick up their trail. After awhile, the sounds of pursuit died away, but Rezar kept his party going, wanting to put as much distance between himself and the pursuers as possible.
Morning found them safe but exhausted. Pern and his men were nowhere in sight, but Kara and all of her companions were tired and hungry. Fortunately, Rezar knew where they were. “Two leagues from here there is a village,” he said. “Helm can probably make it there in a couple of hours and get help. I will stay with Kara and Valessa and will follow more slowly.”
Helm nodded his acceptance of the orders and was about to set off when Valessa spoke up. “My lord, this place is known to me. It is near where I was born. I can help Helm make sure that he does not lose his way.”
Rezar smiled as did Kara, although she hid her grin behind her hand, pretending to cough. It had not escaped her notice that Helm and Valessa seemed to have established some sort of relationship during their short time together. Rezar seemed to understand also. “Very well,” he said. “I am sure Helm would enjoy the company.”
Both Helm and Valessa blushed, confirming what Rezar and Kara already suspected. A few minutes later they were moving off together, Helm breaking trail, and Valessa following.
Rezar waited half an hour, giving Kara more time to rest and then followed, moving at her speed so as not to tire her out.
“Some Supergirl I am,” thought Kara. “When am I ever going to get out of this mess? It’s embarrassing to always be the weakling of the party.” She felt a sense of anger that her stupidity had led her into one mess after the other. If she ever got back to Earth she was going to make Larson pay dearly for what he had done to her. She amused herself as she trudged through the snow by trying to think of suitably painful punishments for the evil scientist. She didn’t even notice the change in the weather until a violent and unexpected gust of wind almost blew her off the trail.
Suddenly she was surrounded by swirling snow so that was so thick she couldn’t see an arm’s length in front of her. The force of the gale pushed her to he knees and might have knocked her over had not Rezar’s hand on her arm pulled her to her feet. Without explanation she felt Rezar pulling her after him. She stumbled along beside him trusting that he knew someplace where they could get out of the wind. A few minutes later she found herself in a slight depression. “We have to dig,” shouted Rezar. “We have to get out of the wind.”
Kara had no idea what they were to dig with until she saw Rezar using his hands and a broken branch to gouge a hole in a snow bank. She joined in, scooping handfuls of snow and tossing it behind her. Soon they had a sort of snow cave. Then Rezar took out his knife and cut branches from the surrounding fir and pines trees, tossing them toward Kara as he cut them.
“Place these on the ground,” he instructed and then proceeded to cut still more while Kara did as she was ordered. In a short time she had a layer of branches about a foot deep. Rezar then took some larger branches and laid them across the entrance to the snow dwelling. Together he and Kara heaped the snow they had scooped out of the bank on top of the branches.
All the while the temperature was dropping and the wind howled about them. Kara was sure that she was going to freeze in spite of the exertion of preparing their crude shelter. But just as she thought her body was about to turn into an icicle, Rezar pushed her toward the now almost covered entrance to the snow cave and then followed her inside.
The snow shelter seemed almost warm compared to the raging blizzard outside, but Kara was shivering violently. Rezar pulled several branches across the entrance and snuggled down next to her. Almost as once, she could feel the heat of his body as it warmed her. She pushed her body as close to his as she could get and let his warmth surround her. Then she closed her eyes and tried to stop shivering.
Kara opened her eyes. She must have fallen asleep, but she could feel Rezar’s arms around her and the heat of his breath on her check. From the regular sound of his breathing she determined that he must be sleeping. She moved slightly, molding her body more closely to his. It felt very natural to have his arms around her.
“My lady?” Rezar’s whispered. So close to her ear, his voice was almost erotic.
“Damn,” Kara thought. “I shouldn’t have moved.” She rolled over, trying to find a little room in the confined space. “Is the storm over?” she asked.
“I think it is,” Rezar replied. “If so we should try to build a fire.” He shifted away from her and pushed open the entrance to their shelter. A wave of cold came in through the opening. Grunting, Rezar crawled outside. A few seconds later Kara followed.
It was cold. Inside the shelter Kara had been relatively comfortable. But she couldn’t have stayed there forever; there was something she had to do. Without explanation she moved away from Rezar.
A few minutes later, and much colder than she had been, she returned. She saw from the tracks in the snow that Rezar had also gone off. A minute later he reappeared, lugging an armload of wood.
“This should burn,” he said, “provided I can find a way to get it burning. I’m afraid I don’t have any flint and steel.”
“Perhaps I can help,” Kara said. Kneeling before the shelter she arranged the pieces of wood and then selecting two of the drier pieces she tried to construct a fire drill.
Rezar watched her with curiosity, but murmured in amazement a few minutes later as the piece of wood Kara twirled between her fingers produced a thin plume of smoke. Getting down on his hands and knees he blew gently on the smoldering pieces of wood.
Kara felt enormous pride. For once she had done something right. She had not been sure that her fire-making idea was going to work, but as the pieces of tinder Rezar placed around the base of the drill burst into flame she almost screamed for joy.
A few minutes later there was a merry blaze going. Rezar brought in more piles of wood and then sitting in front of the fire reached into his coat and brought out a few pieces of dried meat. “Not much of a banquet I am afraid, but it is all I have. I usually keep some emergency rations on me when I am in the wilderness and fortunately I was smart enough to do it this time.”
After having not eaten for hours, the dried meat and a handful of raisins that Rezar produced from another pocket seemed like an excellent repast. Kara leaned back, on her bed of evergreen boughs and let the fire warm her.
Rezar dragged several large logs to the fire and threw them on. The flames blazed up, throwing out so much heat that Kara actually moved farther away from the fire. Rezar followed, sitting down next to her.
“Too bad we don’t have any tea,” Rear said, “or a pot to brew it in. We will just have to make do with melting snow on a rock.”
Kara nodded. Warm water was better than nothing, and it wasn’t a good idea to eat snow. Rear had found a rock with a slightly concave surface that allowed melted snow to pool. It wasn’t the best arrangement but it was the best they could do. She closed her eyes. She was beginning to get quite comfortable. Within minutes she was asleep.
She awoke to a delicious aroma and a sizzling sound. Night had fallen and something very tantalizing was dripping its fat into the fire.
“I set up a few snares while you were asleep,” Rezar said. “A rabbit was unfortunate enough to blunder into one of them. It is not much, but it will provide a little nourishment.”
Kara noted that Rezar had done more than catch a rabbit. He had stockpiled a huge pile of wood, enough to last the night and more. “Never can tell,” he said, catching the direction of Kara’s gaze. “We might be here for awhile. However, if this clear weather holds I think we will be on our way tomorrow.”
Kara bit into the chunk of rabbit flesh, letting the sweet juices drip out of the corners of her mouth. She felt like a real carnivore. It was amazing how good something she would never have considered eating on Earth tasted when she was half starved. She smiled across at Rezar who was devouring his own portion. She ate slowly, savouring every bite. Finally, she finished, but not until she had chewed on every bone and licked every finger.
Her stomach full, a deliciously warm from the heat of the fire she felt a luxurious drowsiness coming over her. It was time to sleep, but first there was something she wanted to do.
“My lord,” she said. “You are not what I imagined a slave master would be.”
“No?” Rezar responded. “And what would a slave master be like?”
Kara flushed. “You could have done what you wanted with me, but instead you have treated me like a lady.”
“It is the only way I know how to treat a woman, my lady.”
Kara liked Rezar’s old-fashioned courtly ways, but thought the time had come to show her friendship. “Please call me Kara.”
Rezar smiled. “As you wish, Lady Kara.”
Kara grinned. “I can’t win can I?” She edged closer to Rezar and suddenly found herself right beside him. He no longer seemed quite so old. Wordlessly she turned her face toward him and sought his lips. Rezar returned the kiss, enfolding her in his arms. Their tongues entwined and then suddenly they were removing one another’s clothing.
They did not hurry, but rather took pleasure in releasing every tie and revealing every inch of flesh. Kara shuddered, her loins contracting as Rezar’s tongue swirled over her nipple. She gave a little cry as his hand cupped her mound of Venus. Her nether region burned even before he lowered his head and plowed her furrow with his strong pliant tongue. When he finally entered her, her moans echoed through the trees.
Hours later, their sweaty panting bodies intertwined before the embers of the dying fire, Kara and Rezar looked into one another’s eyes. “I never thought to find a woman like you, Kara,” Rezar said, as he slowly stroked her long, rounded thigh.
Kara did not reply. She thought briefly of Theran. She had already found an ideal lover. But now she had more than one. She took Rezar’s hand and kissed his fingers. Not everything in this strange world was bad. She would miss her new lover, but her superheroine instincts were calling her. Somehow she had to find a way to get back to Earth.