Day 13

She sat cross legged in front of the fire, staring into the dancing flames with a morose expression on her pretty face.

This wasn’t fair; it wouldn’t go away.

She squirmed, hoping to relieve the pressure. No, it was still there.

Laying back in the dirt, she slide her hand over the smoothness of her belly, fingers strolling down further and only stopping when her slender digits played over wet lips. A finger dipped between the pouting flesh, finding that throbbing nub and rubbing.

Soon she was writhing in the dirt, husky moans lifting to the night air. Screams soon followed as her muscles contracted hard, making her jerk against the earth as she came violently.

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Most Agapeans know to  avoid the sea beside the outpost because of the serpent who lurks there. Many tales about this serpent have been spread far and wide, with some talk of the creature being a hydra — a water monster with many heads which grows two each time one is cut off.

Yet I think I know the truth of that which swims in the crystal clear waters.

Many times I have used the water to escape from a Hunter, and most of the time — I swim from shore to shore quickly, before the serpent has time to reach me. But one day, I had paused in the water to look back at the shore, wondering if the Hunter had followed me. I can’t describe the terror I felt as I realized a serpentine body was twining around me, the coils drawing tighter and tighter until I was helplessly trapped.

I was dragged down, further and further, until my lungs burned. I felt sure I would die when, suddenly, I could breath once more! The creature had taken me to some cave that, though underwater, was not filled with water. I breathed easily, as though I was back on land. I marveled at this as slimy coils loosened about me, and I stood free.

I looked up at the reptilian face and shrunk back at the sight of needle sharp teeth in a powerful maw. The scales of the beast glittered in the pale light of the cave, and I heard his voice.

“I am the youngessst ssson of Echidna, the Mother of all Monssstersss, and of Heraclesss,” he hissed at me. “I wisssh you to tell my ssstory.” He seemed to smile down at me, though that too was a feared sight as I better saw the multiple rows of teeth, as well as the rotting corpse of a fish who was impaled on one such tooth.

His head lowered until I was staring into yellow-brown eyes, the pupil a mere slit. I stood, memorized by his gaze, as his voice washed over me.

“I wasss onccce the King of SSScythiansss… a nomadic equestrian tribe which wandered from the Carpathian Mountainsss of Europe all the way to Mongolia. I wasss King, and much loved, until my brothersss conssspired againssst me.”

I couldn’t seem to move, or even blink, as the serpent stared at me. I shivered in the chill of the underwater cave, and he continued to hiss his story.

“My brothersss were jealousss of me, and ssso they made a deal with the Graeae, the grey women of witchcraft. I do not know what the witchesss were promisssed, but they turned me into this… horrid beassst that isss ssso feared.”

He went on “At firssst, I dessspaired of thisss watery prissson and tried to kill myssself.  Then Possseidon came to me and sssaid he would return me to my human ssself if I ssserved him here for a hundred yearsss. Then, I ssshall wreck my vengeanccce upon my brothersss and the Graeae. Sssspread the  word, Agapean Ssscribe. Let them know… I am coming for them!”

The lingering ssss’s rolled over me, and I suddenly sat up in the weeds along the shore. I could clearly recall the feel of slimy coils around me and the dank smell of the cave underwater, but I wondered… was that naught but a dream?

Regardless… I hurried to the King’s Court to sit at my desk and write out the story that had been relayed to me, just in case. Multiple scrolls containing this tale have been entrusted to ships’ captain and sent out into the world. My duty has been done.


Hunter for Hire

She trotted near the man on the hill, stopping close enough that he would hear her, but far enough that he couldn’t grab her suddenly.

“H-hunter… d-don’t ssshoot…” She spoke clearly, though her words trembled with the fear that filled her body, very aware of what the man could and would do to her if he caught her.

The man turned, and it seemed as though his hand inadvertently reached for his bow, though perhaps it was just her nervousness that made it seem so. The surprised lift of his brow, however, was not her imagination.

“Yes?” he said in a rich baritone voice, the sound of which sent shivers down her spine. Still, she would do this. She straightened.

“I’ve a bargain to strike with you, Hunter.”

“Oh? And what is that, prey?”

“I wish you to kill my owner.”

The man stared at her in shock, the widening of his eyes pronounced in the darkness of his face. Then suddenly, he threw his head back, ripples of laughter rumbling free.

She stood, hands on her hips, glaring at the man. Really, this was no laughing matter. Finally, he seemed empty of laughter and looked down at her with curiosity shining from his eyes.

“And why do you wish your owner dead, girl?”

She sneered. “Isn’t it enough that the man dared to lay claim to me?” Anger welled in her, threatening to choke her. She breathed in… and out… trying to calm herself. Such haughty behavior would not get her what she wished.

She spoke once more. “I don’t know the man. He registered me, and I’ve not seen him since. If I am forced into being owned, I prefer someone who would at least care to feed me.”

That part was true at least. Food was sometimes hard to come by in the fields. Although… she would gladly go hungry rather than be owned by some man.

The nearby Hunter stroked his short beard as he regarded her with great amusement. “And what do I get in return for this act?”

She sucked in a breath, hand dropping to her belly to stroke over the rounded curve, stating simply, “My womb.”

The man stared at her, and she continued. “I will come to you, willingly, when I am next fertile.”

He smiled, as though that idea had some merit to him. He shifted, and the movement caused her to draw back slightly in alarm. His next words did nothing to soothe her.

“What if I kill him and register you for myself?”

She drew herself to her full height, which — granted — wasn’t much, and tossed her head haughtily before narrowing her eyes at the man.

“I would make your life a living hell, and make sure that anyone but you gave me a child.”

He believed her, but her threat didn’t scare him. He was a good hunter. Still, she intrigued him, and he knew the product of their union would be a fine child.

“You have a deal. I will kill him.”


She ran over the fields, laughing merrily as the soft grass tickled the undersides of her feet. Coming to an abrupt halt, she stared at the man walking over the gentle hills, eyes wide at the strange garments he wore. Curious, she followed him for a bit before finally approaching him cautiously.

“Hello,” she offered as a quiet greeting, receiving a hearty hello in return.

Her head tilted, eyes peering at him. “You wear odd clothing, Hunter.”

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The Wagging Tongue

Yummy at work in the King’s Court.

She leaned back against the tall stack of valuable books, the fire warming the side of her freckled leg as she stared down at the parchment in her hands, trying desperately to think of something… anything… to write.

She moistened the tip of the quill, dipped it into ink, and then slowly began to write. “One day, I had asked a Hunter to leash me and pull me to the tavern, where a girl was standing that I needed to speak to. Due to….” She paused here, lips quirking with a silent laugh before she continued. “…. high use, I was sore and stiff, making it hard for me to walk ((really due to lag). When we reached the tavern, I told the Hunter named Ghost that he should unleash me, or the Branded might think he was trying to register me. In which case, the Hunter would be taking a quick journey to Hades.”

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The Insane Hunter

[I thought this was cutely funny, so I’m sharing it here.]

Yummy growls with anger and smacks his hand away, grabbing at her clothing.
Yummy: Did you ask my owner’s permission to use me?!
The Hunter rips it away from her and throws it into the corner of the hut.
Hunter: I need none, wench, for I know you are not owned. Who but me would want such a tiresome female?
Yummy: I am owned. And if I am tiresome, you should release me.
Hunter: Yes, by the King as his scribe, I know. But he does not use you.
Yummy: No, by the land. You should ask its permission.
The Hunter laughs for a moment, then stomps his foot on the ground.
Yummy perks a brow at the Hunter’s behavior.
Hunter: Hear me, land! May I take this wench? Answer only if not; keep silent if she is mine.
Yummy listens.
The Hunter listens.
Yummy: Oh, do you hear that?
Hunter: I hear nothing. The land does not want you, wench.
Yummy: No no… You are old, and your hearing is going.
Yummy: The land said, “Release the Yummy!
The Hunter tries to hear, straining his ears.
Yummy tugs on the leash hopefully.
Hunter: No sweetness, there is no reply.
Yummy: I heard it. Not my fault you have water in your ears… or wax.. or your fingers.
Hunter: But even if I released you, the door is locked.
Yummy: You could unlock it.
Hunter: If you behave, I might.
The Hunter takes off his bow.
Yummy: I am behaving. I have not kicked you.
The Hunter licks his lip, tasting the blood.
Hunter: Did you not bite me, wench?
Yummy: Oh…. that. But you tried to kiss me, like I was a girlfriend…
Hunter: So it’s kisses you do not like.
Yummy: I do not like being in this small room either. You should take me outside so I can breath the clean air.
Hunter: Then I will spend no time romancing you.
Yummy: And let me go?! Yay!
Hunter: I will just take what I need.
Yummy: a bath?

[Later, after…. ahem]

Hunter: Stay, sweetness, and be mine.
Yummy laughs. “I cannot be yours.”
Hunter: The land did not call out for you.
Yummy: It did.
Hunter: Then I must kill the land to own you.
Yummy glares at him. “You will do no such thing!”

[And a few minutes later, after I ran to wash off in Monet Pond]

Yummy: Now what?
The Hunter sits shooting arrows into the ground.
Yummy swims into the rushes.
Hunter: Listen to me, land. I mean to take from you that which I desire.
Yummy facepalms. “You are insane. And I am going to bed…”
The Hunter shoots more arrows into the ground.
The Hunter looks up at the sweet voice.
Yummy: I will tell my sister on you!
Hunter: Goodnight, precious.
Yummy mutters. “Insane… age has worn down his brain…”
The Hunter smiles.
Hunter: Insanely smitten, yes.
Yummy: You say that to all the girls.
Hunter: There are none that I desire, other that what I can not have.
Yummy shakes her head at him before running off to bed.

Three Onions

He was a new Hunter on only his second day in the fragrant fields of Agapeo, and he had much to learn in the use of his bow. She took great delight in teasing him, first by mooning him, then by sticking out her tongue. Each time, she danced back before he could clumsily draw his bow. As every arrow missed her, she giggled at him, taunting him with her singsong words, “Neener, neener, you can’t get me…”

But her luck ran out when a nearby Hunter overheard her. HE was not so new, and not inexperienced with his bow at all. He scowled heavily at the girl, his pale face scrunched up in thoughtful dislike. In a smooth motion, he drew his bow and nocked an arrow, sending it flying gracefully through the mid-morning air.

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