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The next morning Silaedya woke, nervous about how people were going to respond to the changes to her appearance. But once she was out of her room it quickly became apparent that no one seemed to be able to see the changes she saw.
Is what I see something not truly physical or has the magic that’s changed me somehow preventing others from seeing it?
The day started normally with her acting as a serving wench in the main hall of the inn. She loved her work but for the first time she was feeling nervous about a man paying for time “alone” with her. She could sense the thing tattooed on her chest was some kind of fertility charm, but beyond that she had no idea what it did.
Will it ensure the next man who finishes in me gets me pregnant? She’d already experienced a blessing from Lorallana that had done just that so knew it was possible.
Still early in the day, before anyone had purchased time with her, there was a commotion by the windows that overlooked the grounds in front of the inn. Silaedya joined the crowd of Elven whores and clients crowded there.
“Whoever is in that carriage must be fucking rich,” someone was saying. “That thing is the fanciest one I’ve ever seen. And just look at the armor those guards are wearing!”
“That can’t just be some rich merchant,” someone else replied. “Has to be a nobleman or-”
“It’s a bloody fucking king,” another man called out.
They all stared at the tall figure stepping out of the carriage. Even from the distance they were at they could see the golden crown glinting clearly on his head.
“Can’t be a king, look how young that man is. Must be a prince.”
“Look closer,” someone said, pointing to the crowned figure as he and a retinue of guards began coming towards the inn. “It’s not a young Human man. It’s a bloody Elve, one of them pure-blooded ones by the look of it! Them High Elves, no telling how old they are. Could be twenty years old as easily as two-thousand!”
Silaedya could see now they were right. The man’s thin frame and beautiful, almost feminine facial features had the ageless look that grew more alien to Human eyes with purer Elven blood.
“He’s stunning,” Silaedya whispered. She couldn’t remember ever seeing such a perfect specimen of Elven beautiful in a man. He also seemed to glow with virility in her eyes, an oddity that left her holding a hand on her upper chest and wondering if it was a mere trick of the light or some power the fertility charm was giving her.
Is this Elven king why Lorallana blessed me? Is it my fate to bear this stunning Elven beauty’s child? Her heart raced in excitement at the thought but a moment later she forced herself to calm down. She didn’t know why the man was here but surely if he had arrived to enjoy the carnal delights on offer impregnating an Elven whore was the last thing he’d have on his mind.
“Stand back!” the first of the Elven guards proclaimed as they entered the inn. “All stand back and behold the glory of King Ayre Er’byln, Eternal Lord of the Everforest.”
Everyone in the inn was pushing to get a closer look, requiring the guards to keep them back. Silaedya ended up towards the back of the crowd, only able to see the top of the tall King’s head.
His long blond hair seems to almost glow, she thought, feeling awe at the sight. His elven blood is so pure that the magical nature of his body can barely be contained. She thought about her diluted blood, more Human than Elve. Her insides ached with a pang of desire. To breed with such a man… What a blessing to the Elven race that would be! It would be my religious duty as a worshiper of Lorallana to make such a thing happen if I am given the chance.
But High Elves rarely had children, it was why their race had grown so small in comparison to the “lesser” races. The words Lorallana had spoken to Silaedya on the night the goddess had been released from her ancient prison came back to her. A sickness, that’s what she called the resistance to breeding most Elves had developed during her absence from Alaria.
Godwin Mercer, the owner of the Fertile Angel Inn, pushed to the front of the crowd. “Your Majesty,” he said, bowing and introducing himself. “I assume you’ve come to my fine establish to take part in its offerings?”
“No,” the king replied, “although I have come to make a purchase.”
The crowd began to murmur and Silaedya had to strain to make out the conversation the inn’s owner and the king were having.
“I do not understand.”
“I’ve heard many tales of your employees their beauty. I’ve traveled far to see them and choose one to purchase.”
“You’ll have any and as many as you want during your stay here,” Godwin Mercer quickly responded, gleeful greed in his voice.
“You do not understand,” the Elven king replied, his voice calm like he was speaking to a small child. “I do not wish to ‘rent’ one of these women nor do I plan on staying here for very long. I require a wife, an Elven wife that will ensure my bloodline is long-lived even after I am gone. I plan to choose one from amongst your employees and leave with her.”
Godwin sputtered, nervously saying, “But these women are not my slaves! I can’t just SELL them.”
“I know these women are not your slaves,” the king replied, sounding as though he understood he knew the statement wasn’t the full truth. “I know they cannot truly be ‘bought’. But perhaps you can accept this as a kind of dowry to compensate your loss of an employee.”
Silaedya heard the king clap and saw that more men were coming in the front door. She stood on her toes and saw they were carrying a large, heavy chest that thudded loudly as it was dropped to the floor.
“Will this be enough?” the king asked.
A moment later all who could see the chest as it was opened gasped. “Bloody hell, I’ve never seen so much gold and so many jewels in one place. This Everforest the king is from must be an insanely prosperous place. Why in the hells haven’t I ever heard of it?”
Silaedya realized she’d never heard of the place either. Does that mean he’s traveled from a great distance to get here? Perhaps this Everforest one of the hidden Elven enclaves spread through Alaria…
Like everyone else, she’d have to wait for a chance to find out answers to questions like that. Once Godwin had agreed the king had demanded all the Elven women working for him be gathered at once. Silaedya, along with all the other former Protectors of the Voidforest, were gathered in a line in the center of the room where the Elven king could inspect them.
This king is even more stunning to behold up close, she thought as she swooned at her first clear look at him. King Ayre Er’blyn was tall, his long blond hair hanging down nearly to his waist. He moved with a smooth elegance that only added to his otherworldliness and now that she was closer to him she could FEEL the innate power bound to his pure Elven blood.
He slowly made his way down the line of Elven women, looking each of them up and down then waving a hand in front of their faces as he muttered a quick incantation. Each time he did this swirling pasterns of arcane runes and interwoven geometric shapes appeared in the air. He’d look at them, as if reading hidden secrets about the woman he was standing in front of, then nod and move on. As he did he’d wave the patterns away, turning them into wisps of glittering magical energy that disappeared as they fell to the floor.
Each one has looked completely different, Silaedya thought as she watched the king summon another of the arcane patterns. He MUST be using magic to find something out about us. But what? And what will he see when he does this to me?
When he got to Silaedya he seemed to spend longer looking over her body than he had with the other women. Can he see the changes others cannot? she wondered. He also spent much longer inspecting the arcane patterns before her. Silaedya wasn’t sure but they seemed bigger than the others had, more complex with more runes and spinning geometric designs.
After waving the patterns away he did not move on to the next woman lined up. Instead, he stood looking into Silaedya’s eyes with a serene, unreadable expression on his face. Finally, after what felt like an eternity to Silaedya, he leaned in and whispered, “You intrigue me, Silaedya, former Protector of the Voidforest.”
Her heart pounded. Is he choosing me? How does he know my name? How does he know of my past?
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