LORD OF CHAINS CH. 01

When Shire finally retired from the army, he thought he’d end up back home in the countryside. He always wanted to be a baker. There were a lot of nights out on campaigns when he was wrapped in a blanket half-starved, and he could remember the feeling of relief that came with the rations. Even when you were miserable, a stale chunk of bread and some cold water reminded you of being alive. Shire wanted to give people that same feeling. He even read a few cookbooks at the end of his twenty-year career, smuggling them off some corpses after the Siege of Yawn.

What no one told you was how fucking boring the world was without war. Twenty years in the field and Shire hadn’t risen above Sergeant. Sergeant Shire Billows of the Royal Yulin Army, the perfect example of how to simultaneously do nothing and everything while serving the King. Shire was convinced that most of life was ninety-percent waiting, but at least in war you had those flashes of being alive. Of living.

Only thing that came close was fucking, and at his age he was getting dangerously close to having to rely on those fancy Elven tonics just to get it up. He was quite the bull back in his day. Shire’s great claim to fame was once bedding a Spiderling and not getting eaten afterward. Fastest legs in the regiment, they said. He proved them right that day.

Now, he barely had his prick and his appetite to keep him company. Piss on being old. They said that when you turned forty-one you were still young, but Shire remembered very clearly when he was twenty-nine and feeling like a grandpa. At least back then his knees didn’t click. Who exactly was he taking life advice from anyway?

Shire certainly didn’t expect to work for a slaver after the army. He’d been milling around and drinking the hours away in Bayreach when he’d come across that gaggle of Dwarves chattering about expansion. Something about building a slave Empire. Shire knew from experience that Dwarves were largely full of shit, but he was drunk enough to take the bait.

After a meeting with some scrawny, bearded bastard named Derry, Shire found himself one of the recent additions to the growing pool of employees of one Dvini za Krotka, Lord of Chains. Shire had no idea who the guy was, but he paid more than His Royal Dickhead Highness, so Shire had no problem with not asking about the specifics of his employer. After twenty years in the army, he got real good at not asking questions.

Only downside was all the time he had to spend in a saddle. His ass hurt. His thighs were chafed. Shire reached for his flask and took a harsh swig of Whitewash. It was advertised as the ‘clearest liquor in the south,’ but Shire knew that it was the unholy invention of leper Goblins and made in toilets. It was harsh, but damn it he had caught a drinking habit in the service.

“Cheers to you, your Royal Majesty! Fuckin’ prick…” He grumbled and toasted.

The victor’s camp sprawled in front of him.

Hunting for slaves meant going to all the unsavory parts of the land, including battlefields. That’s what Derry told him at least. We want a man who knows the carnage of war and knows how to squeeze a bit more out of it. Well, Shire knew the carnage of trenchfoot and pissing blood wondering if your dick would fall off. That was most of war. Real fickle bitch it was, like a whore stiffed a couple coins.

It looked like any other victory camp. A miserable pitstain of humanity. All the feet and hooves had torn up the ground and turned it into a muddy morass. People slipped with each step, some falling flat on their asses or catching wet mouthfuls. Shire stopped his horse at the edge of the camp, looking down at the orange and yellow colors of the soldiers. These were Duke Brolin’s boys. The Duke was like an itch on your back you couldn’t reach. You never forgot it was there, but no matter how hard you tried you couldn’t reach it. Shire had killed some of them before and was very glad he was in a plain tunic and not his purple and black uniform.

“Hail!” One of the guards waved at him.

“Hail,” Shire slurred a little more than he intended. Yikes. The evening was still young. “Flying the victor’s flags, eh? Another great victory for the Bloody Duke? How’d the minotaurs work out?” The guards looked at each other. The benefit of being in the service for so long meant that Shire knew all the lingo. The Duke’s men called him the ‘Bloody Duke’ because the uniforms of his soldiers were bright, and when they charged it was like a ‘wave of blood.’ Whatever the fuck that meant. Who had ever seen a wave of blood? Shire and the rest of the Royal Army called him the Tick because he just wouldn’t go away.

“You a mercenary?” A guard asked. He wasn’t a pretty fellow, a scar running down his face. Well, none of them were pretty. Shire sure wasn’t.

“Nope.” Another swig of Whitewash.

“Come to join the Duke?”

“Nah, I’m sure the Bloody Duke has enough men. I mean, you two look like some strapping young soldiers. How can he lose? Plus, the minotaurs.” Shire grumbled. Minotaurs. No idea where they came from, or what cockbrained god decided to create them, but Shire hated the things. They were living battering rams, and the key to the Duke’s decades of success. He was the first man to come up with the insane idea to breed them for war. The first time a minotaur charged Shire, he’d shit his pants and pissed himself. No shame in that. Most men did it.

“Your business then.”

“I’m here on behalf of uh…” He searched his pockets for the piece of paper Derry gave him. “Dvini za Krotka, the Lord of Chains of Bayreach.”

“Bayreach? That’s half the world away.”

“The Lord of Chains has many fingers in…Many…Pies.” Shire ad-libbed it.

“Never heard of him.” One said.

“Nor I,” said the other.

“Just…Take the paper, look at it.” Shire couldn’t be bothered to defend his mystery employer anymore and held the paper out for them. A guard took it and squinted before showing it to the other.

“Can you read?”

“Uh…”

Shire waited patiently for the two men to combine their collective knowledge of reading in an attempt to decipher the paper. While they muttered to each other, he looked out toward the billowing tents. Victory camps were a mixed bag. A quarter of them were screams from the casualties, another quarter were the moans of the whores or soldiers with their bunkmates, and the rest was one big drunken shouting match. He’d participated in all aspects of the victory camp – except getting buttfucked by his bunkmate. Shire Billows bottomed for no man.

“You’re a slaver?” One of the guards asked once they finally figured it out.

“No, no, I work for a slaver. I just…Collect the slaves.”

“Sounds like a slaver to me.”

“There’s a difference, I assure you.”

“Is there though?”

Shire wasn’t too sure himself, but he thought that being a real slaver involved more cushy paperwork and less being tipsy in the evening with a chafed ass on horseback. If that were the case, he’d certainly call himself a slaver.

“Yeah, there is,” Shire reached down and grabbed the paper back. “So, can I take a look around?”

“Not a problem. There might be room with the whores.” A guard said.

A man could dream.

He trotted into the stables where all the other horses were lassoed to anything that was stuck to the ground. These sorts of camps were hotbeds for the scum of the earth; tricksters, magicians, pimps, whores, ‘seers,’ medicine men, quacks, hacks, mercenaries, and…Well, slave collectors. Shire grabbed his shortsword off his saddle, tucked it in his belt, and made his way into the center of the filth.

“Where are the prisoners?” He asked one guard. The guy was clearly hammered and pointed slowly off in the distance. “Thanks.” Shire said and went the opposite direction. He knew better. As he walked, he squeezed through rowdy crowds gathered around whores waving their salary just to touch a tit and slipped between groups hunched over a well-dressed salesman and his cluster of tonics. Shire didn’t expect to be back in a victory camp so soon after leaving the army. Well, guess that was life. You do one thing for so long, it’ll suck you back in somehow.

He had to admit, it was a hell of a lot more interesting than letting bread rise and he found himself grinning.

Shire passed the whore tents. They were always separate from the main camp, but the noise coming out of them fit in with the rest of the ambiance. He craned his neck as he walked, trying to get a small peek of the goods. A couple of pimps glared at him, fingering some knives on their belts. Shire gave them a little wave. Pimps. Annoying bastards. They were kind of like slavers themselves, though they reused their girls until there was nothing left. At least with slaves, you caught them and shipped them off. Not like Shire was concerning himself too much with the morality of his new job. He once split a man’s head open with a blunt sword, and that gave you a lot of perspective.

Prisoners of war were the only downers of victory camps. Instead of groans of pleasure or gasps of drunkenness, it was all tears and sobs. Sad they probably wouldn’t see their families again, or their farms, or dogs, or whatever kept men going in the face of the end. The Duke would probably use them as sport against his precious minotaurs. Shire had heard stories about those bloodsports.

Soldiers only past this point,” A gruff old man stopped him. He was even older than Shire, which was alarming. “Can’t let you through.”

“Ah, sorry ’bout that, I’m a uh…Businessman,” and Shire handed him the paper. The grizzled man peered at it from underneath grey eyebrows.

“Bah, slavers, you’re the bloody worst, picking at the corpse of battle for any scraps,” He tossed the paper back at Shire, who scrambled to keep it from hitting the ground. “And Dvini is the worst of ’em all.”

“Ah, yes, he’s…Quite terrifying. A mighty sight to behold.” Shire hoped his guesses were close.

“Fucking Licani scum.” The guard spit on the ground. Licani? Now, that was something shire hadn’t expected. He’d never heard of a Licani slaver.

“Yes, well, I can’t agree with you since I’m not in the business of badmouthing my illustrious employer, but I’d like to see your wares.” Shire said. Half of this slave collecting business seemed to be lying and bullshitting, which as an army sergeant he had great confidence in his ability to do both.

“Normally you’d be able to pick at them all you want, but the Generals already got a use for these ones.”

“Minotaurs?” Shire asked, hopes sinking.

“Aye, minotaurs.”

“Haven’t they had enough blood? Do the things ever get tired?” Shire asked.

“Blood? Tire?” The old guard barked with laughter. “You look like you could be my old man, and you don’t know a thing about the Duke’s beasts. They’re not out for blood today, no. It’s breeding day.”

Shire opened his mouth, prepared to call into question the claim of his age, but was stopped short. “Breeding?”

“Yeah, how do you think the Duke gets ’em?”

“I know he breeds them,” snapped Shire. “But with humans?”

“Any race. They’re totally compatible, as long as its humanoid. What, you thought they fucked each other? They’re half an animal. They’ve already got the animal part. If they bred with each other it’d be like all those royal incest lines, half retarded and useless. The Duke keeps them of the purest, meanest blood, by giving them any females rounded up.”

“And the males?”

“Minotaurs don’t give two shits as long as there’s a hole. Though, the boys don’t tend to make it.” The old man laughed again, weird bastard seeming to enjoy the growing unease on Shire’s face. He thought the worst way for a minotaur to kill you was by goring you and spilling all your guts out your stomach. Being buttfucked by one was much, much worse however. It had to be in the top three worst ways to go, next to burning alive and being eaten by a Spiderling.

“Right…And when’s this taking place?”

“Right now. All the abled body ones are already being put to the test. The ones in here are just the ones too injured to be used. I’d say they’re the lucky ones.” He jerked his head toward the groans from the POW tent.

“Thanks for the information. Hey, think if any of them survive I’ll be able to buy them?” Shire asked before departing.

“Buy them? I bet you’d get ’em for free.”

“Right, thanks.” Shire said. Free slaves were still slaves. They could be a profit margin. After all, Derry told him to squeeze the wars and skirmishes, and nothing was more squeezed than a gaping, buttfucked minotaur survivor. Shire took another sip of Whitewash just to prepare himself for what he might witness.

Just like everything in the victory camp, he heard it before he saw it. There was a snort and growl that caused his skin to crawl. A bellow rolled off from the distance like a boulder threatening to crush him, following by the banging of metal. Those were minotaur noises alright. Shire had a very sudden urge to piss.

There was a crowd gathered outside, which did no favors for the ground. Shire nearly did the splits after a chunk of mud caught his heel. Straightening himself, he fought against every subconscious urge to run in the opposite direction of the noises and shouldered his way forward. When he was a boy he used to hate big crowds. They made him feel small and squished. After a couple of messy melees, so close to the man trying to kill you that you could kiss him, Shire got over that hatred real fast. If the crowd didn’t have swords in it, then it wasn’t a problem. He pushed his way through, all the way to a dented metal fence. The arena had been filled full of sand, hardening the mud.

Shire arrived just in time to see a pair of men being carried out on a stretcher, leaving a suspicious white substance behind them. The Duke’s men had long metal rods with hoops on the end latched around the minotaur’s horns. There were three soldiers on each side, and they slid around while wrangling with the beast.

Minotaurs weren’t as large as stories made them out to be. They were barely over six feet, but were twice as wide as any man, with massive tree trunks for arms and squat, powerful legs. Their chests were wide and there was enough muscle where even after a couple of arrows they could keep going. Atop its shoulders was the snarling, slobbering bull head. The horns were as long as swords and just as sharp.

Shire had never seen minotaur cock, and now wished he never had.

Even limp, the massive slab of meat hung damn near to the ground. Shire couldn’t keep his eyes off it as it swung around while the soldiers wrestled the minotaur out of the arena. It had a flared head like a horses and nuts twice as large as any stallion’s he’d ever seen. The cock looked a lot more like an arm, and even though Shire wasn’t a religious man, he muttered a small prayer for the poor men who might have been on the receiving end of that while it was erect.

A man next to Shire whooped and hollered when another minotaur was led into the arena. Shire was used to seeing them in full armor, but even naked they were terrifying. Sand flew as it thundered into the arena and slammed into the far end of the metal fence with a jarring bang. Shire felt the vibrations of the blow, even on the other end.

It spun, snorting and spitting. Its dark, speckled cock dribbled precum while it paced around the arena, beady little eyes looking for something to fuck. Shire was really hoping that they’d throw something in with the beast before it reached out and took someone.

Lucky for them, a woman was tossed in. Her shrieks were barely audible above the noise of the crowds. She was pretty enough, with short black hair and a wiry frame. Bruises covered her arms and legs from being manhandled. The soldiers had stripped her beforehand and she stood naked in front of the hundreds. With each breath, her chest heaved and flushed her small tits. She wasn’t well endowed, but Shire found his cock hardened. The woman had long legs and strong thighs.

Poor bitch.

The minotaur wheeled on her, snarling and letting out a great roar. With each hoof step the ground vibrated. The woman’s cries of protest turned into screams of terror and she dodged out of the way the last second, letting the minotaur fly past her. That was a woman who knew how to fight. Most people froze up or dodged far too early which gave the minotaur enough time to turn itself. It took experience to wait.

There weren’t female soldiers, so Shire had to guess she was a mercenary. She crouched low, ignoring the jeers and crows from men commenting on her ass. That said, she did have a nice, pert ass formed from running. Shire might have joined in with the chants if it wasn’t for the minotaur turning itself back toward her.

And the damn thing was hard.

Now, Shire had always felt he was of adequate length and girth, enough to satisfy even the most experience of whores, but seeing an erect minotaur was a little emasculating. The massive bull dick must have been over a foot long and looked like it’d split the smaller woman in half. Precum poured out of its flared head in a steady, clear stream, and its swollen nuts looked like cannonballs. Shire was close enough to see the woman’s shocked face.

“Well, lass, here’s to you.” He muttered and took another swig of Whitewash.

She dodged the second charge, but the minotaur stuck its hand out and clipped her. The crowd heaved with excitement as she rolled away from the blow, scrambling and kicking up sand. The fence rattled again from the minotaur running into it. Shire leaned forward, hands dangling over the edge.

Third time’s the charm, they say, and on the third charge the minotaur snatched her up. She was small enough that one of its big, meaty hands could curl around her chest. She kicked and struggled in its grasp, beating on its snout with closed fists and kicking its torso. Wouldn’t work. Shire had seen men try that same tactic.

It threw it head back and let out another long moo, which the crowd responded with their own roar. Shire thought it was funny, beast and man making the same sound. Guess there wasn’t much of a difference when you got down to it. He almost joined the cheer himself, but instead choked down another glug of liquor. Why was he drinking this anyway?

The woman stopped hitting it and instead started begging, shaking her head back and forth and screaming for help that wouldn’t come. The minotaur lifted her up and held her over the head of his cock and Shire was wondering how the hell it’d fit. Long legs kicked in vain as she was pushed down onto the equine cock like a fleshlight.

She shook violently as the first inch pushed into her, spreading her legs wide as her cunt had to stretch to accommodate the invader. People cheered. The woman gave up fighting and instead focused on holding on for as long as possible. Her head dropped back as the minotaur dragged her down.

Shire and her locked eyes for a moment. She opened her mouth, probably to beg for help.

The minotaur thrust, and she screamed instead.

Her stomach bulged obscenely around the cock. There was more dick than woman, and she flailed like a fish on a hook. The minotaur grabbed her arms and used them as handholds, dragging her up and then yanking her back down. How she didn’t just pass out, or die, was information beyond Shire’s understanding. Maybe it wasn’t that surprising. After all, they lived in a world where magic was rampant, and this wasn’t the craziest thing out there.

People hooted and shouted with each thrust. Her modest tits bounced as that huge bull dick stretched her out. The minotaur snorted with effort, widening its stance and flexing. Her legs dangled uselessly off to the sides. Shire never thought he’d see someone actually impaled on a dick, but here he was.

She started to drool, eyes rolling back in her skull as she was used like an object. To these people, and the minotaur, she was. Even to Shire she was just an object, something to buy and resell. For a moment he wondered what sort of life she had before this moment, how many years she fought and trained, who she loved and hated. He wanted to know her name, know more about her.

The woman squealed like a stuck pig as she came, legs shaking and breasts jumping with each great thrust.

It slowly dragged her off. She slid off its cock and fell onto the ground. The minotaur’s prick glistened in the light, twitching and still rock hard. Seeing her chance to run for a gate, the woman rolled onto her belly, teetered onto weak legs, and stumbled away. She was strong, no doubt about it.

The minotaur chased her back down, grabbing her head and shoving it into the sand before she got barely a dozen strides. Now pinned underneath it’s hulking frame, there was nowhere to go. She screamed and groaned again as it fit itself back inside, her legs forced to spread once more. Shire didn’t get as good of a view, but he imagined this was much more uncomfortable for her as she was fucked into the ground. She grit her teeth and held onto its wrists as it pounded away.

Each pump caused her legs to jump and she started to sweat and moan. They could be heard over the crowd, and she shook and jabbered like an idiot again as she came for a second time. Was bull dick really that good? It started drooling, and globs of spit fell on her hair and smeared down her face, sullying her appearance. Didn’t take long to turn from a panicked woman to a messy cumdump.

With a bone numbing howl, the minotaur grabbed her head and stood up, lifting her up too. Back to the good view. Not much left to the imagination now, as everyone could see the perfect outline of its dick pushing up against her ribs, her tiny tits jumping, her tongue lolling out of her head and eyes twitching.

Shire wondered how much longer this was going to go on and reached back in his coat for the Whitewash when the minotaur suddenly stopped. Uh oh. Couldn’t be a good sign. The woman seemed too fucked to give a damn, just trying to breath as best as you could with a bullcock halfway up your chest. Everyone in the crowd could see the dick throb and twitch inside of her, her stretched body rippling. Shire watched the cum roll up its cock through her and winced.

Her eyes shot open as the first rope of cum shot out. There wasn’t much left in her to scream, but she shook instead and placed her hands over the bulge as it dumped its load. Her womb grew as it was filled with minotaur cum, belly stretching. Once she looked eight months pregnant, the cum just started to back up and splatter onto the sand. It was thick and goopy, much more than human cum.

The minotaur must have been cumming for at least a solid minute, and only once the woman was a bloated, nut filled shell of her former self did it pull itself out and drop her. Cum splattered out of her gaping cunt, and there was so much the sand couldn’t absorb it all. A sticky pool formed. Her hair stuck to the side of her head, and her tongue flopped out. Her legs twitched.

Then the soldiers rushed in. As they wrestled with the minotaur, the woman was rolled onto a stretcher. Shire watched them struggle to lift her up now that she had all that extra weight, but they awkwardly waddled for the exit. He turned and shouldered his way back out of the crowd, making sure not to lose sight of them and trying to ignore his new, painful reaction. At least he didn’t need those Elven tonics to still get hard.

“Hail!” He stumbled from the mud, certainly not because he was drunk. The soldiers carrying the abused woman were visibly straining to hold her.

“H-hail,” grunted one.

“She for sale?”

“W-what?”

“Sale. I want to buy her.” Shire said.

“N-not my c-call.” The soldier wheezed.

“Well, whose is it?”

“Captain’s.”

“Lead the way boys!” Shire grinned and swept his arm toward the direction he thought they were going. They looked at him funny, then went the opposite direction. Huh, so that’s how it felt. He thought of offering his aid in carrying her but decided against it because of his bad knees. They slowly made their way toward another big tent. People looked at the woman with wide eyes. She left a trail of jizz behind her, all of it still leaking out her pussy. Shire peeked a glance at it. He could have stuck his fist in her and it would have been a loose fit.

Shire followed them in. On one side were the able-bodied prisoners. They looked horrified, jaws slack, faces white, eyes focused on nothing at all. War. Hell of a thing. Being killed in battle was at least noble. Being breeding stock, or a fucktoy for minotaurs wasn’t. On the other side of the tent were the used. Women lied on beds, their legs lifted in contraptions. Buckets were placed underneath them to capture the excess cum leaking out of them. None of them looked to be in good shape, even less so than the dark-haired woman Shire was planning on buying.

There were, of course, no men on the survivor’s side. Shire tried not to think about that.

The tent stank of mud and sex, which was an interesting combination. At the far end, sitting at a rickety desk and surrounded by sheepish men, was undoubtably the captain. Shire could see the bars on the shoulder of his vest. Putting forth his most confident swagger, Shire walked up to them. The captain glanced up from a piece of paper and frowned. He was a handsome lad, a bit on the younger side and without that hard look most veterans had. Officers were always prettier because they usually just sat around with their thumbs up their asses.

“Can I help you?” He asked.

“Absolutely. Name’s Shire Billows, and I’m inquiring about one of your prisoners of war.”

“Does this look like a bloody market to you?” The captain snapped.

“In my line of work, it absolutely does,” Shire flung his arms out to be a bit theatric. Officers liked that sort of shit. He grabbed his documents from his coat and handed it to the man. “This should explain things.”

“Slaver for…Oh.”

“Oh?” Shire asked. He couldn’t tell if that was a good or a bad ‘oh.’

“Didn’t realize the Lord of Chains was interested in stuff this far north or hired old men.” The captain grunted.

“Well, he is a man with many interests.”

“I’d sell to you, but unfortunately the Duke has demanded that the minotaurs be sated. A few died in battle, and we need more. Plus, they’re quite…Needy.”

“I don’t want to buy your whole stock,” Shire jabbed his thumb over at the woman, who had been placed on a bed and had her legs shamefully lifted up. His cock twitched again. “Just her.”

“Just -” The captain looked where Shire was pointed and scowled. “Her.”

“That a problem?” Shire asked. That was quite a menacing ‘her.’ The captain looked at his retinue of brownosers and waved them away. A few protested, but he fixed them with a glare before they shuffled off. Shire smiled at a few of them as they stalked off.

“Her name is Valery Venter.” The captain whispered, leaning forward. Shire’s bluster melted away. Venter was one of the nastiest names up here. Rumors had it that she could route a whole army, that she was spat out of the Great Dark by demons and gods too terrified of her, that she was a cannibal who ate people in front of they families while they were still alive. Shire had worked with her mercenaries before but had never actually seen her.

And Shire just watched her get turned into a minotaur dumping ground.

“How the hell did you beat Venter?” Shire asked.

“Not inclined to tell an old man about military secrets,” Fair enough. “The Bloody Duke wants her to be a minotaur bitch until she dies but…You ever heard of the Siege of Yawn?”

“Five years ago, yeah.”

“I had family there, an auntie and uncle. Venter was the one who ordered the tunnels to be dug under the walls that broke the siege. One of those tunnels collapsed their house,” The captain’s knuckles turned white as he clenched his fists. “Wasn’t even quick. I was told they died from shock and suffocation of all the rubble.”

“Sorry for the loss,” mumbled Shire, though he wasn’t really. Civilian casualties happened all the time in sieges. Couldn’t be sad over every one of them.

“As much as I want that bitch to pump minotaurs out of her cunt for the rest of her life, I’ve heard plenty about your employer, and what a cold-hearted monster za Krotka is. I can’t think of a worse fate for the proud, noble Venter. I’ll give her to you for three hundred.”

Considering Derry had given him three thousand coin as an investment, that seemed like a real deal to Shire. “Won’t the Duke wonder where she’s gone?”

“She’s got plenty of enemies. He won’t be surprised. Besides,” The captain glanced as another woman was carried in, panting like a bitch and dribbling cum out of her swollen belly. “He’ll have plenty of other breeding stock. Three hundred.”

“Deal.” Shire said, and they shook. He fished out the checking book that was good for the banks, scribbling down the requisite information. The captain grinned up at him.

“I’ll bring her to the stables for you. Meet there in thirty.” He stood and rushed off before Shire could agree. Not procuring his product after giving the money seemed like a bad idea, but the man had a grudge and Shire had his word. Though, a man’s word was worth as much as his piss, as Shire’s pop used to say. Maybe he shouldn’t drink so much Whitewash before doing these things.

Shire made his way back to the stables, looking nervously around and half-expecting a pike in the back for trying to buy Venter. Venter. What a name. Half a year ago he would have made up an excuse to get out of a battle with her, and now here he was, buying the harpy for three hundred and taking her south for a man he had never seen. Life could be tumultuous.

As thirty minutes came and went, Shire worried he’d just lost his employers coin. The captain stepped out from between some tents, a cloaked figure leaning against him and dragging its feet.

“I told you bastard for the last time not to drink while on duty! Get the fuck out of my camp!” He roared. A couple soldiers shuffled away, and the captain thrust the figure at Shire. His knee clicked when he caught the body.

“It’s Venter. She’s drugged and a bit cleaner, so she won’t be leaking and won’t stab you in the back for at least a day,” The captain hissed in his ear. “Make sure she suffers for what she did.”

“An evil woman like her? Gladly.” Shire said and nodded as the captain slunk away between the tents. Shire didn’t think Venter was evil. She profited off war, just like the rest of them did, just like the captain did. Shire had no grudge against her, and there were dozens of worse people than her out there, living better lives because the justice of gods was a fucking joke.

He peeked at her face under her hood. She was much prettier than the stories let on, and even looked serene barring a scar snaking across her jaw. Valery Venter. What a crazy situation this was turning into. He lightly slapped her cheeks a few times, just to make sure she was drugged and wouldn’t stab him in the back.

Content that she wasn’t waking up, he tossed her on his horse then dragged his carcass back into the saddle. His ass hurt. His thighs were still chafed. There was a town a couple hours south he reserved a room at before coming to the camp. When he set out this morning, hoping to gather a dozen slaves before taking them to a ship to Bayreach, he never imagined he’d be walking back with one, and having it be the most dangerous woman to ever lead a mercenary army.

Valery Venter and minotaurs. What an unbelievable pairing.

Shire tipped his head back and downed the rest of his Whitewash.

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