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Authors: Samantha Winston

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BOOK: Merlin’s Song
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Chapter Five

 

The boat approached the port and Merlin stood on the deck,
his eyes fixed on the mythical island. No one he’d ever spoken to had been to
the Southern Isles. When boats arrived, they were rumored to blast them out of
the water with terrible explosive devices. But since the last monarchy had been
abolished they had let several boats in. In the envelope, along with their
passes and papers, was a letter from the diplomat in King Branagh’s company. It
explained the reason for their voyage. He prayed it would give them safe
passage, at least, that’s what it was supposed to do. And what about Kyla?
She’d agreed to pose as their slave, having no papers of her own.

He caught himself gripping the envelope so tightly it risked
crumpling. Sighing, he smoothed it out on his thigh. The docks were approaching
rapidly. Kyla manned the rudder and Sebring was poised to lower the sails.
Merlin stuffed the envelope in his pocket and picked up the rope. Then Kyla
gave the rudder a hard turn, Sebring dropped the sails and he sprang lightly
off the boat and onto the jetty, making the boat fast as Kyla ran to help Sebring.

Merlin didn’t dare look at her. Instead he fixed his
attention on a swiftly gathering group of men and soldiers at the end of the
dock. The flag of Hivernia, fluttering from the ship’s mast, had attracted
attention.

One soldier, apparently the one in charge, came marching
smartly toward him. “State your name and business,” he said.

“Merlin and Sebring Winterhelm. We’re on a mission from King
Branagh of Hivernia. Here are our passes and papers.” He handed over the envelope.
“There is a sealed note in it for the Queen of the Southern Isles.”

The soldier opened the envelope and studied the papers. He
found the sealed note and showed it to Merlin. “I will take this to Queen
Willow.” He paused. “And the young woman? Where are her papers?”

“She is my slave,” said Merlin. He and Sebring had discussed
how best to get Kyla entrance to the island. Since she had no diplomatic papers
with her, nor a pass, she had to be a slave. She’d thought it was a laugh, of
course.

“Her name?”

“Kyla.”

“Very good. Wait here. I will be back with an escort to take
you to the palace as soon as the queen sees the message.” The soldier saluted
and then turned on his heel and marched off.

Merlin, who’d been in the army, admired the ordered lines of
the soldiers at the end of the dock, all the while thinking that if things went
wrong they would have a hard time besting such a disciplined corps. He’d also
noted the fortress in the background, how the ground sloped up toward the tall
walls and how the bay itself was narrow and protected at the mouth by large cannons.
They were well defended. Did they fear invasion? Was the country so paranoid?

He noted the soldiers hadn’t relaxed their guard, and that
if they wanted to escape it would be impossible. They’d docked the boat. They
would never be able to get away fast enough to outrun the troop. His heart beat
faster. He had the impression he was trapped. He turned and saw Kyla, standing
on the deck, her face tense. He hoped she hadn’t made a fatal error in deciding
to stowaway on their boat. Silently he out his hand out and she leapt onto the
dock and took it. He felt her hand tremble and squeezed it tightly. “Don’t
worry,” he said, “I won’t let anything happen to you.”

She looked up and her wide mouth twisted. “Easier said than
done.” She wasn’t looking at him. Her gaze was locked on the huge castle on the
hill.

* * * * *

Kyla had noticed the castle as soon as they sailed into the
bay. It stood stark and foreboding on a rocky outcropping overlooking the city.
The city sprawled out around the bay, a hodgepodge of neat houses, tidy gardens
and busy streets. But one thing struck her as they were escorted at last by a
troop of soldiers. There were no babies in carriages, no small children peeking
from behind their mothers’ skirts and no children shouting and playing in the
streets.

The people of the Southern Isles were mixture of elf, human
and fairy. They were smaller in size than the people of Hivernia, and strangely
pale. Their eyes and hair were colorless, like rainwater. But their lips and
eyelids were painted with vivid colors and their hair was intricately cut or
dressed. They might be plain, but their clothing, hair and jewelry were more
splendid than any Kyla had ever seen. Such opulent robes! The market stalls
were full of brilliant silks and satins. Glass baubles glinted in windows and
jewels gleamed on fingers, ears, noses, necks and even hair. Everything and
everyone sparkled and glittered.

The soldiers wore uniforms of impeccable cut and rich cloth,
and although some of the people were obviously lower class, there were no beggars
in the streets. For such a huge city, it was unusual. Kyla, who spent a great
deal of time with the Fairy League for Annihilating Poverty, was impressed. She
had lived in Hivernia City, the biggest, most populated city in Hivernia, and
she’d never seen such wealth. But then she noticed that there weren’t half as
many people as she would have thought lived in such a city. Most of the stores
were closed, and many of the houses looked deserted. The city was busy, but far
quieter than it should have been.

The road wound around as it climbed, surrounded by high
walls. Kyla glanced up and saw the castle looming above her. She couldn’t
suppress a shiver. It looked more like a prison than like a palace.

When they arrived in front of the main gate, the soldiers formed
lines, and Kyla followed Sebring and Merlin under the arch and into a square
courtyard. There things were less austere. Palm trees and orange trees grew in
massive pots in each corner, and several fig trees had been planted near
benches along the southern wall to offer shade. A fountain splashed into a
round pool in the center of the courtyard, and in it Kyla caught glimpses of
gold and silver fish.

When she looked up she saw windows overlooking the
courtyard. They were nearly all empty. She frowned. In her parents’ castle,
whenever visitors arrived everyone pressed to the windows to see who it was and
to wave and shout greetings. Here everything was silent and formal.

The twins stood tall, towering over most of the soldiers,
their hair bright red-gold in the sun. Kyla stood in Merlin’s shadow, hoping
someone would come soon and offer a bath and refreshment. In that order.

A door opened and trumpets blared. “Her Majesty, Queen
Willow the First,” cried a man dressed in scarlet. As he shouted, the plume in
his hat bounced up and down. Kyla craned her neck to get a glimpse of the queen
while Merlin and Sebring both stood up straighter.

More trumpets sounded, and then a woman came out into the
sunlight, blinking a bit as if not used to such dazzle. Kyla’s first impression
was one of disappointment. After seeing all the peacock colors of the clothes
in the city, she’d been prepared for a gorgeous dress and fancy hair. But the
woman wore a plain gray gown that matched her eyes and her hair was simply
brushed straight back and held with a silver circlet. As she drew nearer, Kyla
saw that she was an elf. An elf? Now that was interesting. Traditionally,
fairies ruled the Southern Isles. After the last rulers had been expelled, they
must have changed all the laws.

Merlin and Sebring bowed, and Kyla, reared in court, gave
her most elegant curtsey. “Greetings, Your Majesty,” said Merlin. Sebring, Kyla
noted, was uncharacteristically silent, and a muscle jumped in the side of his
jaw.

“Welcome. Please, come inside.” The queen’s cheeks, for some
reason, grew very pink. Kyla wondered why she seemed so ill at ease. Was she
afraid of them? What was going on? She looked up at Merlin, but his expression
was carefully blank.

Inside they were shown to a reception room, decorated in
gilt and red marble. A tray of cool drinks and some light snacks were served
while everyone in the court was introduced to Sebring and Merlin. Kyla was
seated in a small chair near the window and was offered a drink and a snack,
but what she really wanted was a bath and a soft bed…to share with Merlin. Her
own cheeks burned at the thought, but she couldn’t help it. Merlin was careful
not to look in her direction and she knew why. He’d had to tie a scarf around
his hips to hold his cock so that when he got a hard-on it wasn’t as
noticeable. Whenever he glanced at her he started to look uncomfortable. They
had to find an antidote soon!

The ceremony over, the court left and the queen stayed
behind. She waited until the servants had gone and cast a questioning look at
Kyla.

“She stays with me,” said Merlin.

“Fine.” The queen wrung her hands together and her cheeks
turned pale. “You know why you have been allowed to come here,” she said. “And
we know the plight of Hivernia. Because of past atrocities caused by our former
rulers we have agreed to let our troops sail to Hivernia.”

Kyla couldn’t suppress her grin. The plan had worked!

The queen hadn’t finished though. “But you are aware by now
that we have a grave problem of our own, and you have been chosen to remedy it.”

Kyla looked at Merlin in confusion. What was she talking
about? But Merlin still wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“I am willing to begin as soon as possible, so that the
troops may be sent on their way. But I confess, I am not at all sure where or
how to start.” The queen’s voice wavered and a wash of bright crimson stained
her pale cheeks. Kyla felt sorry for her. She suddenly looked very young and
vulnerable.

Merlin and Sebring exchanged glances and then Sebring said
hesitantly, “A bath would be very welcome.”

The queen nodded with something like relief. “Yes, of
course. I have prepared the bathing room. Come. Let us get this over with.”

The twins followed the queen and Kyla followed Merlin.
Somewhere along the way her hand found his again, and she detected a strange
tension in him. The queen too was behaving oddly. Why was she acting so
stilted?

The bathing room was vast and steam-heated. The marble
floors had been covered with towels so they weren’t slippery and the bath was
already full of water. Rose petals had been scattered everywhere, and the smell
was divine. Kyla felt her spirits rise. A bath would be nice. Who would go
first? Maybe she could bathe and then the men… She gave a start as the queen
unfastened her robe and let it slide to the floor. She stood naked and then
stepped into the bath.

Kyla gaped. Merlin gave her a little push and she fumbled
with her dress, lifted it off, then got into the bath as well. The water was
hip-deep and the bath had a seat along each side so that you could sit and relax.
But Kyla was more confused than anything else. Was she expected to wash the
queen’s back?

Her bewilderment deepened when Merlin took off his clothes,
unwrapped his scarf and got into the bath. His cock was stiff and his face
definitely flushed. But he was looking at Kyla, not the queen, and when he got
into the bath he sat next to Kyla.

Sebring got undressed too, but he was definitely not
aroused, and he got into the bath, standing as far from the queen as possible.

Kyla couldn’t hold back any longer. “What is going on?” She
had been brought up in the licentious world of the fairy court, so this would
never have shocked her if it had happened back home. But elves were notoriously
prudish and shy.

“You don’t know?” The queen looked flustered and a little
shocked. She turned to Kyla and said, “As you’re a fairy, I thought you would
sort of, well, show us what to do…” Her voice trailed away.

No one said anything, then Merlin cleared his throat and
said, “The Southern Isles have agreed to help us if the queen gets pregnant. There
is widespread sterility here now because of consanguinity, and we represent a
new chance for this kingdom.”

Kyla thought about this for a while. It explained the
awkward politeness of the queen, the strained atmosphere in the reception room
and the almost palpable animosity of the soldiers. They must adore their queen,
she thought with a faint stab of pity. Well, she was a fairy, after all, and
she’d been reared by her mother to be helpful. A smile tugged at her mouth. And
she could be helpful with Merlin. Maybe if she just showed the queen what was
expected of her…

“Wash my back,” she said to Merlin, and she turned around
and arched her back provocatively.

His gaze as it raked over her was incandescent. In a minute
she’d burst into flame. And when he touched her… Oh Mistral! Her nipples
hardened, her pussy clenched and her belly felt as if molten honey filled it to
bursting.

His hands smoothed slippery soap over her back and then her
buttocks. He parted them and rubbed suds into her anus, gently, soaping her
until slippery and then slipping a finger inside her and thrusting in and out
while his other hand explored her breasts, lathered her nipples and then dipped
down her belly until it delved between her legs and he fingered her clit.

The finger in her anus was both irritating and pleasurable,
the pleasure soon outweighing the slight pain. She looked over her shoulder and
saw him take the thick base of his cock in his hand and press it against the
hollow of her thighs. She leaned over the edge of the bath, jutting her
buttocks in the air. Her breathing was coming so fast she felt lightheaded and
her cunt burned with need.

“Take me,” she gasped, pushing backward.

He slid into her, and she felt stretched and filled with his
massive cock. She twisted so that he could slide into her and he did, wedging
himself to the hilt. She mewed with satisfaction. Oh Mistral, that felt so
good! He pushed against her and her hands slid on the side of the tub as she
pushed back, clasping him as tightly as she could into her pussy.

A little sigh made her look over. The queen sat on the side
of the tub, her knees spread wide, while Sebring knelt between them. Kyla felt
a zing of excitement as she watched the elf lick and nibble the queen’s pussy
and clit, and she seemed to enjoy it. Her cheeks were flushed and her nipples
hardened into tight points.

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