The Barbarian and the Witch
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by Sindra van Yssel
Category: Erotica/BDSM Erotica/Fantasy
Description: Genre: BDSM Fantasy Paranormal
Myriel, the witch, comes to the desolate land to heal it from the damage done by the malevolent sorcerer Kerrah. The only other human being around is handsome and uneducated Johan, a barbarian who is there to steal a gem from under Kerrah's nose. Johan distrusts any kind of magic, but when he makes love to Myriel, claiming her body and marking her soul, he leaves her thirsting to submit.
Only by joining forces do they have a chance to accomplish what they desire. In the process, they might find they desire each other even more than their original goals. Now that Johan has found the woman of his dreams in the most unexpected of places, and Myriel has found the man he needs, he'll have to conquer his distrust of magic and she'll have to conquer her pride if they're to succeed in their missions and in love.
Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: BDSM theme and elements, violence.
eBook Publisher: Loose Id, LLC, 2011
eBookwise Release Date: October 2011
6 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [144 KB]
Reading time: 94-132 min.
Myriel looked wearily around her. So this is how I'm going to die. She stood on green grass next to a small, clear spring. At the edge of her little oasis, where green gave way to gray and verdant growth yielded to drought, circled the dogs. The Abyssal hounds. She had thought them a legend told to frighten children into good behavior, but they were all too obviously real, unless her recent use of magic had drained her to the point where she was hallucinating. She wished she could believe she was.
The dogs had come from the dry, scrub-infested hills around her, sent by Kerrah, no doubt. They were larger than wolves, with fur the color of dark wine, and the drool that dripped from their jaws hissed when it struck the ground like water tossed onto a heated iron pan. They advanced slowly, warily, as if she were dangerous to them rather than the other way around.
But she had no magic that would do them or anyone else harm. Best not to know spells she would never use, and the karmic backlash from harmful magic was too great a cost to pay. Somehow, she thought the universe would turn a blind eye to anything she did to defend herself against the hounds, but it didn't matter. She had nothing.
She looked around, trying to see something that would enable her to at least draw some blood before she died. Her athame, the ritual knife, lay on the tree stump that had been her makeshift altar. It had never drawn blood, nor was it ever meant to. She picked it up. Dead, she'd be of no use in this once fertile land. With her athame defiled by the blood of the hounds, she'd be equally useless. She looked around for a better solution, and all she saw at first were the hounds drawing closer, now so close she could smell the sulfur of their breath and feel the heat radiating off them.
Then she spotted the man. He stood on top of a hill, a hundred meters away. Kerrah? Doubtful. She would have run toward him, ready to hurl her knife, if she thought it was him. It was not the thought of a proper witch: to solve things by destroying an enemy. But Kerrah was responsible for all the blight around her, and she was going to die at the claw and jaw of the hounds anyway. Karmic payback would be accounted for, and it would be worth it.
But Kerrah was supposed to be old, older than any man had a right to be. This fellow, from what she could see, was young, fit. Broad-shouldered. Bare-chested. He ran, not away from the hounds but toward her, his sword glinting in the afternoon sunlight. Perhaps he was one of Kerrah's minions. Perhaps he was not. She couldn't save her own life, but she could save his. "Run away!" she yelled. "Run for your life."
He kept coming. The hounds were barely a body length away now. Soon their jaws would rend her flesh from her bones. She yelled again, but if he even noticed, she couldn't tell. Perhaps he was deaf. He was certainly fast.
A hound jumped at her. The man swung the huge sword as if it were light as a feather, and almost before she could register the sight of burning blood, he had grabbed her wrist and pulled. She went sprawling, twisting to see as she fell. The two other hounds leaped through the area where she had stood and landed on either side of the man with the sword.
Up close, he was even more impressive than he had been from a distance. His bare chest rippled with muscle; his arms were like corded steel. He slashed to the right, and the dog there fell back. He sidestepped into the place where it had been, standing between it and Myriel, even as the other hound circled around behind him.
"Stay down." His voice was obviously that of one used to being obeyed, and he spoke too perfectly for her earlier guess that he was deaf. She didn't want to obey, but the words at least made her hesitate before scrambling to her feet. The dogs leaped forward at some unspoken signal, acting together as they had when they had moved to strike her. "Behi--" she started to say, and he slashed backward without looking, the sword whirring over her head to slice into the hound behind him. He kicked the other one in the nose as it jumped, but it nipped at his feet. His boot disintegrated in the acid of the hound's spittle, and she suspected the foot beneath wasn't in very good shape either. But if he felt pain, he didn't show it. The hound his sword had struck lay still, the blow a fatal one. She almost felt sorry for it and had to remind herself that these were no creatures of nature.
Any natural pack-hunting animal would flee, but the one remaining hound stared at the warrior. For several long seconds, neither moved. Myriel set her athame on the ground and got to her feet. There still wasn't much she could do, but she'd be damned if she was going to lie simpering on the ground while this muscular stranger protected her. In any case, he seemed to have matters well in hand.
Then suddenly he crumpled to the ground. Steam came from his left foot. The wound was worse than she thought. The two corpses had caught fire, reminding her that they were not merely bigger versions of ordinary wolves. The remaining hound was still deadly. It was now her rescuer, not herself, who was unprotected. She could pick up her knife, try to get his sword from him, or fight with her bare hands. Or try to heal him, knowing she'd be vulnerable while she did. The hound had already turned its gaze to her as the greater threat. None of the other options seemed likely to save either of them, and healing him would at least let him fight for himself.
She knelt, touched his steaming foot, and uttered the invocation to Kalana, the goddess of healing and growth. She ignored the stinging sensation in her hand. At least she didn't have to prepare a sacred space. The small oasis of green that surrounded them had been created through her magic and was already dedicated to Kalana.
Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the demon dog leap for her. It was all she could do to finish her spell rather than commend her soul to Kalana's mercies. But at least this man would survive. She had done what she could for the wounded land. Kerrah's hellish minions were simply too strong.
As she said the last word, the sword shot up, impaling the monster in the neck. For a moment, flaming blood ran down the blade to the pommel as the demon was frozen in midair and time itself seemed to stop. Then the man cast sword and dog aside with one mighty heave.
"Overconfident little buggers, aren't they? I've never seen their like, and I hope to never see it again." His accent was thick, a northern dialect, she thought. The man spit on his arm where a drop of blood had scalded the skin, and then wiped it on his woolen pants. He propped himself up to take a look at his foot and raised his eyebrows. "I thought it was a lot worse."
"It was," said Myriel. "Thank you for your assistance, stranger. I am Myriel, and without your aid I would have surely perished."