One Cage to Another Pt. 06

~ This chapter has some background and setting and introduces a couple of new characters. No sex this round, but more is coming! 😉 ~

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Kiernan eyed Amara as he laid her out on the table, his eyes filled with lust as they traveled up her body. “Just beautiful…” he murmured as he reached down and massaged her hands. Her fingers slowly uncurled as he rubbed life back into them, and Amara closed her eyes, not wanting to watch what was about to happen. A crashing sound echoed through the house and her eyes jerked open as Kiernan looked upwards, anger and surprise having twisted his face into something unpleasant. “Who the fuck could pass the wards?!” He threw Amara’s hands back down to her lap and rolled his eyes, then strode towards the door as indistinct shouting began to drift down the hall. It became progressively louder and as Kiernan swung the door open, a sour look on his face, she could clearly hear the intruder’s words.

“Your stupid wizard dick is going to get us killed!” the voice boomed as its owner came to a stop in front of Kiernan, eyes wild and panicked.

“Mark, I’m a bit busy here,” Kiernan snapped as he tilted his head towards the table where Amara lay, exhausted and bewildered. “What are you going on about?”

Mark grabbed Kiernan’s shoulders and shook him. “I almost got killed because of you, you bastard!” he shouted, then looked over at Amara and rolled his eyes “Gods dammit Kiernan, you can fuck like kinky weirdos later. If we’re not DEAD.” He let go of Kiernan and moved towards the door. “We need to talk now, man. Upstairs.” He stepped outside and Kiernan looked after him for a moment, an intense frown on his face, before he walked back to Amara and looked down at her.

Amara closed her eyes tightly as the wizard’s hand drifted down to brush her cheek. “Will you be good and lie still for a few minutes, or do I need to hang you from the ceiling again?” Kiernan asked, his voice low.

“I-I’ll be still…” Amara whispered as his fingers brushed her bangs from her face.

The wizard’s frown deepened, then he smoothed his face out. “Behave yourself, and we’ll see if your obedience improves my attitude when I get back from dealing with Mark’s idiocy.” He gently touched her lips and then spun and left the room quickly. Amara heard the door’s locks snick shut and she curled into a ball as tears leaked from beneath her closed lashes.

A couple doors down the hall, Kiernan entered his study and jumped to the side as Mullido sped out, gray tail bushed out to an insane frizz. He sighed and looked up to see his friend Mark pacing back and forth. “Okay. Now that you interrupted my day, how, exactly, is my dick going to get us killed?”

Mark glanced down at the shards of the smashed crystal vase and looked up at Kiernan with an eyebrow raised before he sighed and plopped into a chair. “Yesterday, three fae assassins attacked me at my house. They tracked me from the diner where we had lunch and I gave you the cuffs you ordered.” His expression turned tired. “They were sent because of the girl, that’s all I managed to get out of them. One escaped, and I made my way here as fast as I could and remain undetected.” He shot Kiernan a dirty look. “Do you have to live in the middle of fucking nowhere?”

“I value my privacy,” Kiernan snapped before he shook his head. “Why would they send assassins because of the girl? I returned their money, they’re no worse off than before.”

“They found out you did that binding spell on her, you moron.” Mark put his forehead in his hands and sighed heavily as Kiernan flipped a hand with irritation.

“Oh so what. She was just a Wyldfae, it’s not like I kidnapped the actual Lady,” he scoffed. “I could see them getting mad if I bound her, but she has the actual power of the Summer Court. This one has Wyldmagic, yeah, but not-“

“She isn’t just some random orphan fae they took in to raise, Kiernan!” Mark shouted. Kiernan took a step back as Mark rose to his feet and began his pacing again. “After you told me your plans, and I gave you those cuffs, I did some research in my library. Remember the last Quelling?”

“It was nineteen years ago. The northern Kingdom of the White Sun finally managed to confine their rebelling Fae to the Wastes. There haven’t been regular sightings of them in the human realm ever since.” Kiernan replied as he tilted his head. “What the hell has this got to do with my new pet?”

“She’s a person, not a cat,” Mark said flatly as he shook his head. “Anyway. Her mother, a willow dryad, died during the Quelling. She and her sibling were both taken in, one by each Court. That’s how each Court gained their “In Waiting” back up plan.”

“So the issue is I broke the matched set? That’s ridiculous. They don’t have to be siblings for it to be balanced.” Kiernan poured himself two fingers of brandy, and tilted the bottle at mark, who shook his head. Kiernan shrugged and topped the bottle then leaned against the wall. Mark slowed as he paced along one bookshelf and started to peer intently at the titles. “They can just find another Wyld orphan and use them.”

“They weren’t chosen because they were siblings, Kiernan. And they aren’t orphans.” He selected a large tome and began flicking through it, eyes narrowed as he searched for something. “They were chosen because of who their father is.” Kiernan rose to his feet as Mark stepped quickly towards the table and set the dusty volume down. He flipped one more page, and then looked up at Kiernan as the paper fell and settled. Kiernan glanced over, then froze as Mark pointed to a painted figure. He looked warily up at Mark, who nodded once, then sighed as Kiernan paled. His hand shook a bit as he raised the glass and drained it and the crystal made a chiming sound as his hand shook when he set it down. “I TOLD you that your dick was going to get us killed,” Mark said almost smugly as Kiernan began cursing under his breath. “Look, I came here and let you know what was happening. I’m going to head out to my safe space before anymore assassins come after me looking for you.” He patted Kiernan on the shoulder as he moved towards the door and Kiernan followed slowly, his face a mask. Mark headed up the stairs and towards the broken front door as Kiernan went back down the hall to the concrete room.

Amara slowly stopped crying and took a few minutes to lie there, her aching body needing the break. After a bit she sat up and winced at the pain her stiff muscles cramped with. She glanced around the room warily, then looked down at her wrists, frowning. She brought them closer and studied them, specifically how they were bound together. A metal double-ended hook clasp connected her wrists, and a similar one bound her ankles. Amara looked up at the ceiling, then at the door, and made her decision. She twisted her wrist, using her thumb to snap open one of the hooks on her wrist. Next she freed her ankles, and then started to study the cuffs themselves. She could not see a seam or a meeting of any sort, and cursed all wizards as she swung her legs over the edge of the table. Her feet hit the floor and she bit back a cry of pain as her body weight rested on her sore feet. She grasped the table for a moment to steady herself as her eyes moved over the room, then lit on the leather paddle she had so recently come to hate. The bruised faery slowly limped over and snatched the paddle up, then leaned against the wall by the door while her body trembled from exertion and adrenaline.

As she waited, her mind started to drift. Her breathing slowed as she remembered the wet heat between her legs as the paddle had swung, smacking against her skin over and over again. The intensity of the wizard’s eyes as he stared at her hungrily. Amara’s eyes closed as her grip on the paddle’s handle loosened. She ached all over, but the ache in her core was deeper and different, needier. She jerked, her eyes snapped open as the lock clicked and the door opened. She tightened her grip on the paddle and threw her whole body upward into the swing. The paddle connected with Kiernan’s face and cracked him squarely across his eyes and cheeks. Amara ducked under his arms as he clutched as his face and shouted curses while she made her way toward the stairs. She climbed them as quickly as she could, one hand pulling herself along by the railing, the other gripped desperately on the handle of the paddle. She made the top and swung the door shut behind her and the lock clicked shut. A moment later the door shuddered as Kiernan slammed into it and started to shout again.

“Dammit! Just stop and listen to me, it’s not wha-MARK! Don’t let the bitch leave the house!” He slammed into the door again as Amara flicked her eyes from side to side, then limped quickly to the right, the paddle held up in trembling hands like a baseball bat. Her guess was rewarded with the sight of a window, and she shambled towards it and escape. There was an organic crunching sound from around the corner and Amara turned toward it, then let out a small squeak as something large, furred, and on all fours leapt into the hallway with her. The beast rose to stand straight, threw its head up to point to the ceiling, and howled.

“Quemar!” Amara pivoted, eyes wide as the sound of the stairwell door crashing open hit her pointed ears. Kiernan rounded the corner, clearly pissed off. His face was badly bruised, with two black eyes and blood trickling from his nose. Amara backed up as he stalked toward her, then let out a yelp as strong, furry arms encircled her around the waist from behind. The werewolf picked her up easily as she dropped the paddle in surprise then started to yell wordlessly and shove at his arms. Kiernan closed in and reached for Amara, his intent to grab her hands and talk to her. Amara began to scream and flailed as panic and fear lent her strength, and landed a kick from one delicate foot in Kiernan’s gut. He doubled over and groaned as she continued to struggle, and he backed up even though her strength was fading and threw his hands up. “Take her to the bathroom and run her a bath, would you? I don’t need her to break my nose again,” he said to Mark as he stood back up, a wince on his discolored face.

“What were you expecting, Kiernan? Her dad is the fucking HuntsKing. You’re lucky she only managed to hit you a few times.” He shifted his grip on Amara and pinned her arms down as she went limp, his words echoed in her head. Her father was the leader of the Wyld Hunt? Mark and Kiernan’s words faded to dull buzz that she ignored as she tried to digest this information.

She’d been told that she had been found on a battlefield, that the Summer King had taken her in as a friend for his own daughter. Of course, as the years went by it had become clear what her true role was; a replacement if the real Lady died. Someone had to bear the power of the role, or the balance between the Courts would tip. Weakness and discord couldn’t be afforded, not if the fae were to survive. Humanities numbers had decided the war long ago. But the Fae kept their Hills within the Wastes of the North, and humans had left them alone. Rumours had been whispered that there were Fae who refused to cede the world to humans, who wanted to fight back and reclaim the ancient kingdoms. But those had to be dreams of madness, Amara thought to herself. Defeating humanity now would be impossible. As for her father…the werewolf had to be mistaken. If her parents hadn’t died in the battle, why would they have left her there?

While Amara’s pretty head spun with thoughts, Kiernan started the taps running and then left the bathroom after telling Mark to meet him outside. He stood outside the bathroom door and Amara blinked, her head lifted up as she noticed his absence. Mark set her down on the edge of the tub and clumsily gathered several towels and a robe from the closet and set them nearby. Amara watched him mistrustfully as he turned the taps off and growled lowly, irritated with the difficulty of the task with his claws. Steam rose up and filled the air as he looked at Amara pointedly and gestured to the tub. She crossed her arms over her chest and frowned up at him as he shrugged. The shrug lengthened and continued and Amara winced and looked away as fur vanished and limbs popped and shortened. She slowly opened her eyes as Mark wrapped a towel around his human waist and sighed heavily as she glared at him.

“Look. The situation has…changed, if you would.” Mark started, his voice tinged with awkwardness. “You should take a bath and relax…clean up, whatever. After that, Kiernan said he’ll have dinner ready, and you two need to talk.” Amara made a noise of disbelief and Mark raised his hands. “Look, he’s an ass and probably deserves it, but try not to hit him again, alright? This situation is bad for both of you.” He exited the bathroom and shut the door behind him, letting the lock click shut. He looked over at Kiernan and shook his head as the two moved away. “You just couldn’t do the job and return her. You just haaaad to keep her. Now you’ve pissed off the Summer Court and the HuntsKing in one move.” Kiernan groaned and covered his face with his hands. “Hope the sex was worth it, dude, because the WyldHunt is going to run you down.”

“The Hunt hasn’t been seen in human realms for over seventy years,” Kiernan muttered, and his shoulders tightened as Mark laughed.

“They haven’t had a reason to break the treaties and hunt beyond their borders. But someone kidnapping the HuntsKing’s daughter and stealing her magic? They’re going to kill you, unless you can wizard your way out of this fuck up.” He waved a hand at Kiernan and stepped outside to shift into his wolf form and lope off. He disappeared into the forest of evergreens and Kiernan shut the front door, then leaned against it and sighed heavily.

Inside the bathroom, Amara hugged herself and stared at the door warily, then glanced at the steam as it rose from the hot water in the tub. She closed her eyes and let out a sigh, then unbraided her hair. She moved slowly, her exertion and bruises having sapped what little strength the cuffs allowed her, and lowered herself into the water. An audible moan escaped her lips as she sank into the steaming warmth, golden eyes half-opened and dazed at the relief provided by the bath. Her hair spread out around her like the petals of a flower as she relaxed and leaned forward. Her chin rested on the edge of the basin as her eyes moved lazily over the gleaming white marble tiled wall, then popped open as her reflection smiled at her. The water splashed slightly as she jerked back, face filled with shock as the faery in the reflection raised her hand. “Amaranth, I found you! We’ve all been searching.” The reflection smiled again. “I’m your sister, Snowdrop.”

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