Exterlude: Caspian

Caspian chortled in glee as he took to the air carrying a double-fistful of pretty young things. Wouldn’t that just twist Aelfgar’s tail? He hadn’t expected the old man to have his own private stable of toys, but if any ashanevaei was going to, it made sense for it to be him.

He circled the area twice, getting his bearings. Even better – he had a lodge not too far from here, a place he’d brought treasures to before. It would take Aelfgar days, if not weeks, to find him there, plenty of time for him to play with his new toys. And when the bastard finally showed up, Caspian could have fun killing him, and then keep the parting gift.

He hadn’t expected to get a matched set, but the way the boy was acting, coupled with the collar around his neck, clearly said that the girl Owned him. If he was going to break her completely, he’d need to break the bond between them. And, as a bonus prize, he’d get to break the boy, too.

They’d look lovely together, waiting to serve him when he came home from a long day of terrorizing. Maybe he’d leave them just enough free will to understand what had been done to them, so he could taste their fear and horror every time they saw him. That would be fun.

He flew high, following the air currents, enjoying the feel of his true body. He’d been too long cooped up in tiny little things – but he had to give Aelfgar one thing; the fucker knew how to lay out a banquet. He hadn’t felt this sated in decades. Not since that massacre.

The cabin wasn’t quite where he remembered it being; he circled a few times until he found it, a half-mile further away and on the other side of the creek. How long had it been since he’d been here? No matter, the cabin would be fine. Regan had seen to that for him.

Regan. He snarled into the wind as he came down for a landing. She hadn’t been all that much – but had been his sister. He would have to avenge her. Later. Once he’d played with his new toys.

He couldn’t fit in the cabin as he was, so he set down the two unconscious mutt-children on the ground, and slowly brought himself back to human form. It had been even longer since he’d held this form, and it took him a moment to remember where all the fingers went. On the ground, the girl stirred, and he hurried, getting the thumbs right just before she opened her eyes.

She looked around woozily, probably still dazed from the draining he’d given her. He murmured “Tempero tlacatl,” testing out his voicebox – he’d gotten it right – and dragged her stiff, paralyzed body into the cabin.

He left her there and retrieved the other one, startled at how little emotion the girl was emitting. She ought to be terrified. Maybe she wasn’t bright enough to know she should be scared?

He chained the boy first. The little twerp had actually hurt him – even shapeshifted, his arm still wasn’t working entirely properly – and his tastes didn’t run as much to boys, so he was rough with him, chaining him to the wall of the cabin with one of the heavy steel-and-hawthorn collars he kept here for just that purpose, then, just from malice and the throbbing pain in his arm, he bound the boy’s arms behind his back as well. The girl was watching; he’d set her down facing this wall for just that reason. Now, now he tasted fear from her, a delicious little trickle of it.

He collared and chained her next, keeping it far less elaborate. She hadn’t even fought back, except the screaming, so he chained her by one ankle to the bed, and bolted the second collar around her neck. Such lovely little toys, those collars.

“If you scream,” he told her, “I will hurt him. Do you understand?” She couldn’t so much as blink, but he felt a tiny spark of emotion from her. She had at least heard him.

He removed the paralyzing effect from her, and flattened his ears against his head as she screamed, the same piercing scream that had made him knock her out in the first place. Snarling, he lashed out with a whip of energy, lashing across the boy’s feet and legs. The screaming stopped as abruptly as it had begun.

“That’s better,” he nodded. The smell of burnt flesh trickled over the dusty untouched-room scents. “When you speak without being spoken to first, when you raise your voice above a whisper, when you displease me… I will hurt him. Do you understand?”

“Yes.” Her voice was raw from screaming, and very quiet.


Copyright © 2009-2010 Lyn Thorne-Alder & Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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