Yay. More shackles. Phaedra could hardly wait to be dragged around like a dog until they were far enough away from the King to be an issue... At least to him. She wanted to test how loose they actually were, perhaps she could wiggle free. But before she could manage it, the other assassin was there, with his body pressed against her. The force pushed her back into the cold iron bars. Under other circumstances she would have a dagger at his throat... or his dick. Depended on her mood. But she was unarmed and cuffed to him, so there was only so far that she could go. And at the time that was no where.
The man's fingers weaved through her hair like snakes. Once deep in her main, he clenched it tight, forcing her to look up into his eyes. Her shackled hand reactively followed where his guided, leaving it all but useless, while her other hand grasped the cloth of his robes. The suddenness of it all drew a grasp from her lips that might have been a moan, but only for his ears.
If Phaedra didn't know before what way he took her words, she did now. She could feel the assassin's heavy breathing against her chest. There was a sexual dominance in his eyes. While her own gaze burned up at him from behind dark brows. It was all a power play, like a dance to see who was on top.
Unfortunately for Phaedra, that wasn't her.
"You won't have to imagine anything. Trust me."
More vague comments. What would Phaedra not have to imagine? Marriage? The size of his man hood?
It was just a game of cat and mouse. Teasing and tempting, but what was real and what was a ruse? Phaedra knew better than to think he could fall for her tricks that made other men weak. And he knew better than to underestimate her.
she whispered. Phaedra's breath was warm on his face. Her lips got frighteningly close to his own as she spoke. Perhaps they were both predators.
Just before the man pulled away, Phaedra pressed her hips into his. It was subtle. If anyone was paying attention they wouldn't have noticed. They would have been more interested with the whole will they fight or will they kiss
of the situation. It was just enough for her to assert her own small fraction of dominance back. She wasn't like the women he could order around in a brothel for the right amount of coin. Phaedra was nothing like the women he's had... And he knew it.
"I'm taking her to the bathhouse. I expect there to be a change of clothes for her."
He didn't ask, nor did she comment. The man pulled her forward and she followed along. But there was a bit of reluctance, like a toddler being dragged along by a parent. But what the assassin wouldn't see was her amused smirk as he tugged her onward. He didn't think she'd make this easy for him, did he?
While everything was a bit hectic for the others, it was still for Bayard and Mel. To be fair, it could't be crazy even if they wanted when his charge was chain up like a beast rather than a person. He was content with the attention being on others. He wouldn't say it, but Bay was still letting it all sink in. So he was grateful to disappear into the background.
That was until Melarue's fingers spelled a small word on his palm. "Bath?"
Bayard nodded his head. "I believe Melarue agrees to the terms."
He moved to his feet and began to free her from her various chains. Unlike the other prisoners, the mage had both of her hands still shackled together, with a third connecting them to Bay. It wasn't his choice, but it looked like the King felt the need for extra caution. He looked over at Mel as he took the quill in his hand for her. "Are you certain?"
Whether or not he found the King's plan smart, he wouldn't force anyone to sign away their freedom. It was completely her choice. So, he waited for her nod before he signed her name.
With her name on the parchment, Bayard started to lead Mel out of the dungeons. He was far more gentle and patient with her versus Laou's own treatment of his prisoner. He walked alongside her rather than dragging her in tow. It had been who knows how long since the woman was able to use her own two legs. So he was patient and willing to take her arm and aid if need be.
Rosalyn hadn't been chained to Vonmyr for very long. She wasn't really bothered either way, just thought it was part of the gig. But Rendrik quickly joined them. He didn't hesitate to order the guard to remove her hand from the shackles, replacing it with his own. Rose side stepped away, rubbing her wrist in slight confusion. Sure the dwarf was flirtatious, but it was nothing she hadn't dealt with before. She would have been fine. But she said nothing, just gave Rendrik a kind smile.
The male guards have been giving her special treatment ever since they saw her in the war room. Rose understood how strange it was for a female to be in a similar situation to the men. Or perhaps it was because she was a lady. Sure, she was in title, but what they didn't know was that she wasn't always. She grew up probably a street over from them. She had seen naked men and wounds too grotesque to describe. She appreciated the chivalry, it wasn't something she was used to. But she couldn't help but find it a fair bit curious when it looked like a majority of the prisoners were also women.
Vonmyr sighed when the tall dark and... old
guard approached. "Ah, come on,"
he groaned as Rosalyn was set free and another man's arm took its place. He looked over at her with a sad almost puppy dog like expression. "I shall remember our time together fondly."
"How sweet do I smell?"
his tall overseer asked, looking down at Von with a cheeky grin.
"Like goat shit."
The annoyance could be heard in his dead pan voice. Vonmyr then gave the cuffs a tug and motioned towards the stairs. "Aye, let's go prince charming. Neither one of us will get a lass smelling like this."
He had no idea where he was going, but he assumed the other guards did. So unlike the other pairs before him, the wee dwarf took his guard in tow, following the others toward the bathhouse.
Rose watched the pair leave before slowly wondering her way over to the last prisoner and Aramis. She didn't say anything, just simply held out her wrist in offering. She assumed one of the female prisoners might have been shackled to her, but that didn't seem to be the case.
Aramis's wrist extended in unison with the timid red head. He wasn't going to make quite the fuss that Rendrik did. At least she'd be shackled to another woman. But that dwarf looked more than capable to be a handful and possibly stronger than the mage. Regardless, the guard placed him in the binds rather than Rosalyn. He flashed her a kind smile, hoping she didn't take it personally. But it did make sense for the men to be the ones in charge of dragging around the prisoners. Plus, part of him wondered if Bayard might need the extra help with the bound mage before too long.
"Does this bath come with some ale? Do humans even have decent drinks?"
He rolled his eyes before gently tugging the dwarf towards the exit. "If you plan on being drunk the whole time, then what good are you?"
It was a valid question. Aramis barely signed up for a suicide mission to kill two Kings, let alone babysit a drunk, mouthy dwarf. He wasn't a cruel man. But he wasn't apposed to tossing her overboard if she became more of a nuisance than a help. Drunks are only good for one thing, making a scene. A stealth mission didn't call for ornery insubordinates.
Rosalyn was just about to take the first step up and out of the prison when the King beckoned for her attention one last time. "Ms. Laurence, a moment?"
She stopped and turned to face him. Was this where she got her scolding? Perhaps another threat to make sure she never spoke to him like that again? Rose was curious. What threats could be more intimidating than sending her out on a quest that she will, no doubt, die on? "Yes, Your Grace?"
"This is where I take my leave. I dare not jeopardize the mission by being seen out in the commons with the party. These men,"
he motioned his hand to the two guards who've been by his side, but not said a word. "Will take you to a storage room where supplies have been prepared for your journey. There is also an abundance of clothing for the prisoners that I'm sure will appease Laou. You'll be needing this."
He pulls out one final document from his robes. It was a royal decree for the town's blacksmith to give them whatever they may need... within reason.
Rose looked it over briefly before meeting the King's gaze. "Shouldn't Aramis or Rendrik have this?"
"Yes, but they are reoccupied. And you are sufficiently competent to carry a piece of paper to a smith, are you not?"
She nodded her head. "Good. And lastly."
He motioned a guard forward who held out a small, crimson velvet pouch that looked to hold something about the size of an apple.
She extended her hand hesitantly and took the item in her palm. It was weighty, far heavier than she had imagined. "What is it?"
she asked as she began to tug it open.
"A syphon stone."
Rosalyn nearly dropped the velvet bag upon hearing what laid inside. Her hands fumbled to hold it by the strings, but she was extra certain to dare not touch the stone, even through the fabric. "What? Why?"
"That mage with you will not remain so docile and complacent. She's dangerous. Before she is freed from her binds, she will need to know what will happen if she steps out of line."
"...And what is that?"
"You will use that stone and take her magic from her... Then smash it."
Rose gulped, but said nothing. She nodded her head in acknowledgement before tying the small pouch around her belt so it rested at her hip. She waited patiently until the guards showed her out and lead her in a different direction from the rest of the group. All the while, her gaze never left the small swinging bag. She hated that such a thing was put in her possession. One mistake and she could accidentally strip herself of her powers. She prayed that the stone would never see use. No matter how much she tried not to think of it, it felt like an anchor on her side, dragging her down.
In the baths, Phaedra and the other assassin were the first to enter. Gods could she go for a bath. She felt disgusting. It wasn't a foreign sensation, but that didn't mean she liked it. The man beside her attempted to get her free so she could wash herself but no such luck. She was indifferent. She would get naked and clean with an audience, cuffed to another man, or all by her lonesome. It made no difference to her.
The difficult task was undressing. The man fumbled around enough that she had no chance at undressing at the same time. So she waited until he finished, or finished enough before the guards separated them for long enough so they could slip out of their shirts. Phaedra took the opportunity to undress entirely without the shackle. She didn't run, or fight. She wasn't a stupid woman. If she decided she'd try to escape, it wouldn't be then and there. It took her a little longer than him, but she was still adorned in some of her minor armor pieces and knee high boots.
Once nude, Phaedra offered up her wrist once more with a soft sigh. It wasn't until that moment that she was able to get a full look at the male assassin. He was built well and covered in as many scars as she was. She wasn't much different, to be honest. While she had a curvaceous body that was ample in all the places men loved, the faintest touch of muscles could be seen in her abdomen and chiseled arms. She wasn't buff or anything of the sort, but her physique told the story of her prowess while the marring spoke to the many close encounters. If someone didn't know they were assassins at first glance, they could once they were naked.
"Didn't I say you'd not have to imagine anything?"
He smirked and Phaedra rolled her eyes with a humored grin. Men were always
so impressed with themselves.
He guided them to a far side of the baths. There they were far enough away that the steam made the others no more than silhouettes amongst the fog. Was this where he planned to try and have his way with her? Ballsy. But men did often tend to think with what was between their legs rather than what lived between their ears. He was welcome to try, but Phaedra wasn't the type of women to give herself over to any
man. Especially not whenever the mood strikes him. She could possibly over power him, but only for a small time. The assassin was far stronger than her and she highly doubted the guards watching would stop him. Men forcing themselves on a prisoner isn't as uncommon as one would like the think.
Luckily for Phaedra, her present company didn't seem like the type. He was dominant and liked being in control, but who didn't from time to time. It was a rare for a man to have such power over her. She was usually the one who could manipulate a man to her deepest whims. Perhaps a small part of her liked his challenging nature. It was like a game of chess that could only lead to one thing... But not yet.
Phaedra slowly lowered herself into the steaming water with the help of her new traveling companion. She wouldn't say no the chivalry. When the heat caressed her skin, she let out a soft sigh. Gods when was the last time she had a bath? She managed to snag a bar of soap that scented of rosemary and sage from a passing maid. Her shackled arm rested on the edge of the of the baths to try and keep the metal as dry as possible, while the other began to slowly wash herself. After all, she was in no rush to be held up on a boat for who knows how long.
Phaedra finally broke the silence. She slowly stood up high enough for the water to be at waist height. "Does the assassin have a name?"
she inquired as she began to scrub her torso and arms. She wasn't bashful, so she didn't turn away. She was trying to make conversation. It'd be rude not to face whom she was speaking with. And they were just breasts. You see enough of them they all tend to look the same. Although hers might have a few more scars than the average pair.
When she was finished, she held out the soap toward her current company. "Would you mind?"
Phaedra then turned her back to him and swept her raven hair out of the way. Even when she wasn't facing him, she still glanced over her shoulder to keep him in her peripherals. Her back was marred worst compared to the rest of her body. There were memories of stab wounds, pierced arrows and even the lashing of a whip. Some were so old she could scarcely remember how she got them.
As he scrubbed her back, Phaedra's gaze fell to the water. Her finger tips slowly ran across the surface. "What would you have done if the King wasn't there?"
The question had been rolling around in her head since she was thrown into that cell. She didn't mean to blurt it out. But it was already said, there was no taking it back. She slowly spun around to take back the soap, her fingers lingering on his for a brief moment. "Would you have killed me?"
Vonmyr was reluctantly tugged along. He probably did smell worse than he'd care to admit. He always prided himself in his hygiene. Women often commented on how nice he smelled. So, it was probably for the better. He wasted no time tearing off his ripe clothing, letting them fall in a putrid pile. He didn't care too much for the bath... At least until he caught a glimpse of Phaedra on the other end of the room absent her clothing. His brow quirked. Communal baths? Now that was a modern concept.
But before anything could be said or done, his cuffed companion tugged him in the opposite direction which left the woman as nothing more than a dark shadow in the fog. "You really know how to take the fun out of everything."
The more he thought on it, it might have been the first time he actually saw Phaedra naked. They had been working together for years, yet he never slept with her. Shame. He should work on that. But the woman was so god damn angry all the time. He doubted he could get out of that encounter without injury.
"Did you hear that, old man?"
Aramis mused as he and his charge came up to the side of the bath by Rendrik and the other dwarf. "You're getting grumpy in your old age."
It wasn't an ideal situation, but Aramis would be damned if it'd be all doom and gloom. Him and Rendrik were always good at relying on humor to lighten the mood. And what wasn't funny about being shackled to two dwarves in a bathhouse?
Aramis had to try not to chuckle at the speed by which the dwarven lass undressed. He had bathed that day, so he wasn't as pressed to get clean as the prisoners were. But it'd be difficult for her to take care of himself if he didn't get in. So, he followed suit, but similarly to his friend, he kept his undergarments on. He was a bit more modest than some of their current company. No one was wanting to see what hung between his legs, nor was he in the mood to share it.
He was nearly dragged into the water by the woman though. Aramis had never seen someone want a bath so aggressively. Once in the hot water she seemed to calm down a bit, allowing him to take a seat a foot or so away from Rendrik. It seemed the pair were the most modest out of their current party. Or maybe it was just him. Men often shared large bathhouses, but never with women. It took a fair bit of self control not to let his gaze wonder. So rather, he tried to rest his head against the edge and close his eyes.
"Think you can wash my back for me?"
Well that lasted a whole minute. Aramis slowly opened his eyes to see a bar of soap half shoved in his face. "You know - help a girl out."
he said softly as he sat up. He could have been rude and said no, or ignored her, but what was the point? They all were supposed to be working together. Making things more difficult than they needed to be would just slow them down. He let out a soft sigh before he started scrubbing. "I'm Aramis, by the way."
He not only said it to the woman before him but also the other dwarf. They didn't really get to introduce themselves to one another in the dungeons. Names seemed like a good first step in the direction of cooperation.
Bayard and Melarue were the last to enter the bathhouse. He was silent and patient with her. The guards seemed even less than happy to release her shackles for a moment to let her undress. Bay had to compromise for one hand at a time which made helping her out of her clothes exceptionally difficult. He remained in his undergarments, not overly worried about washing himself, just helping her. Bay tried his best not to let his gaze linger for too long, but it was hard not to when he had seen Mel the same way for so long. She was a woman indeed, and a beautiful one at that. But that wasn't important at the moment.
"It's ok, I got you,"
Bayard said as he helped Mel into the bath. Once in the waters, he took the key and removed her head piece. The guards that lingered near by took a step back. "What's the point of cleaning her if we leave her face and hair a mess?"
They didn't seem convinced and their hands rested shakily on the hilts of their swords. "If you're going to stand their like frightened statues, could you, at least, make yourselves useful and get some soap?"
Bay looked unamused as he waited with his hand out.
When he had it, he shooed off the guards. "Go away."
With them gone, he let out a soft sigh. Their tension made him stressed and that was the last thing he needed. Bayard was just trying to do his job and help the woman out. Regardless of who or what she was, she deserved a nice bath.
He went to hand her the soap but froze with his lips pursed. Mel's hands were bond together and then to his left hand. That would make it quite difficult for her to wash herself. Bay wasn't wanting to get in her personal space either, but he hardly saw an alternative. "Would you like my help?"
He held the bar of soap out to her in case she wished to take it and do it herself. But if she didn't argue, then he'd begin helping her. First with all the filth and grime that had accumulated on her face.
Meanwhile, Rosalyn was led to a sizable storage room. Inside there was quite selection of clothing ranging from something a commoner would wear all the way to a Lord or Lady of court. She couldn't help but wonder what this all was for? Spies?
She dared not ask. Along one wall were nine leather knapsacks. They all looked a little bit different, either varying in pockets or leather. Half looked to be warn more like a satchel, while the others had two straps so it could be worn on the back.
There was a single strap bag on the far right that she knew was hers. There was a small loop on the side of the brown leather that held her staff.
Rose's bag was a little bigger than the others, but on further inspection not only did hers include some rations, a little bit of gold and other common items, but there was also an assortment of herbs, tinctures and elixirs. For a moment she contemplated putting the syphon stone in her bag. But in the end, she'd rather not touch it again if she could help. So there it remained, swinging from her hip in he small pouch.
After checking that the bags seemed to be in order, Rosalyn went over to the clothing and began sifting through it. The prisoners were the only ones who needed new clothes since the men just changed earlier. So, luckily, she only had to figure out something for four of them. It took her sometime but she managed to find attire that looked pretty close to what she recalled them wearing. She also grabbed new undergarments for the guards to be on the safe side. Once she seemed to have everything she could think of, Rosalyn put her own bag over her head and picked up the clothing. The guards', thankfully, didn't make her carry all of that on her own. They picked up the remaining bags and lead her to the baths.
When they arrived, the guards halted temporarily, hesitant for her to go inside. Rose sighed. "I'm not a fragile little girl. I've seen naked men before."
The tone of her voice made it very apparent that she was frustrated. "Unless you forgot about the time I took care of your gonorrhea, Fredrick."
The other guard stifled a laugh. "Uh, yes. Sorry m'Lady."
Neither one of them had anymore complaints, as they stepped aside to let Rose enter.
Yes, there were naked men and women, but Rosalyn didn't seem the faintest bit bothered by it. She slowly made her way around the circumference of the baths, placing the bags down near each of the party, along with the outfits for the prisoners. First was Phaedra and Laou, both of whom hardly seemed to notice her presence, which was fine. She made sure she got one of their attentions, just long enough to point toward the items so they knew clothes and traveling supplies were there.
Next was the other mage and Bayard. They seemed to be moving much slower than the others. Rosalyn had no idea how long the woman was kept in those chains, but it had to wear on the body. When she set down Mel's clothes on a near by bench, she also placed a balm and herb. "Have her eat the herb when she gets out. It'll help with the muscle aches and soreness. The balm is for her sores."
Bay nodded his head toward her in a silent thanks as she continued around the room.
She rounded one corner just as Rendrik rose his hand out of the water trying to get a maid's attention. "This guy likes roses, so you have somethin' rose smelling?"
Rose set down the remaining sacks and clothing on a near by bench. As chance would have it, a soap dish sat beside it. She slowly walked over to it and sniffed the options until she found one that she thought was roses. They weren't labeled, so she wasn't entirely sure, but she was fairly certain. She walked over to the edge of the bath. Her free hand scooped up her skirts as she crouched down so that the fabric didn't get wet. "Here you go."
She held out the soap before Rendrik with a sweet smile.
"There are bags for all of you and clothes for them,"
Rose added, pointing to the pair of dwarves. "I'll be waiting outside while you all finish."
With nothing else to say and relieved of all the knapsacks, Rosalyn exited the bathhouse. She wondered her way over to the nearest window, resting her arms on the edge of the stone. With a sigh, she waited, looking out over the view she'd likely never see again.
Vonmyr watched Rosalyn exit with no subtly whatsoever. Once she was gone, his gaze drifted back to his shackle buddy. "I didn't realize you were such a fan of roses."
Did he mean the soap, or the woman... Or both? He wouldn't say. Instead he hummed to himself as he went back to scrubbing the ick from his body.