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Rated: 18+ · Draft · Fantasy · #1971582
This piece includes a capture, a battle, and romantic piece (6,800 words)
Story:  Captured
By: Elfin Dragon; aka Lisa

Chapter I

         I had come upon the city after a long walk down a dry and dusty road.  Scattered farms announced its presence long before I saw it; and even though it was large enough to be a city, I wasn’t sure I would call it such.  In fact, I wasn't at all sure I would even call it a town.
         It sprawled out in eight different directions from an uncluttered center, like a spider with no care for where its legs were.  This, however, wasn’t what made it strange.  What made it strange was the "city" had no protection from common thieves and bandits.  Oh, it had walls, after a fashion.  In some places they towered an imposing eight feet of solid granite.  In other places there was only one foot of stacked logs, as if someone intended to create a barricade then decided it wasn't worth the effort.  The entire "city" had a haphazard look, as if there were no need to worry about thieves, or even the occasional outbreak of fighting.
         If the walls were enough to make me think of the "city" as strange, the people made me want to leave and never return.  It wasn’t that they looked any different from any other humans I've seen.  In fact, they were very ordinary people.  They worked, laughed, and talked like any person in any city would do.  It was how they reacted to me which made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end.
         Actually, it was how they didn't react.  There was no staring, no calling out by local vendors to buy their wares.  Those who did look, gave me only a casual glance and went back to their current business.  It were as though six feet women carrying elaborate long-swords were a common occurrence.
         As I walked through the streets I became more and more on edge.  I began to stalk towards the city's center like a large cat searching for its prey, and still no one stared.  No one cast worried glances my way.  Even the occasional guardsmen did nothing more than slide a bored look across me as I passed.  My skin crawled as I picked up my pace to get through the strange "city" even more quickly.  It was not long before I ran into the reason why the "city" and its occupants were reacting the way the were.
         I was walking at a good, fast pace when I rounded a corner into an open square and stopped cold.  Three wizards blocked my way.  They were imposing figures of average height, clean-shaven, and wearing a variety of colored robes making them look like a mismatched rainbow.  They were an imposing trio who just stared at me.  I frowned, turned to walk down another street, and found two more wizards blocking my way.  My frown deepened as I made a slow circle to find a total of ten multi-colored wizards surrounding me and making their circle smaller.
         What could I do?  My own choices were severely limited.  Against five wizards I might have been able to hold my own in spells, but against an entire conclave I would never survive.  I didn’t want to show my shifting abilities either.  That could send the entire "city" and more hunting me down.  I also couldn’t draw my sword against them.  What good would a sword do against a prepared conclave?  None that I could see, and so I waited.
         I waited while they came closer, keeping their circle intact, and stopped three feet from me.  One wizard with slightly graying hair came one step closer than the others.
         "You will come with us quietly." he said.
         "And why, would I do such a thing?" I scowled.
         "Because we know who and what you are, changeling."
         That made me angry.  I fought the urge to shift and turn the wizard into toast.  If they knew I could shape-shift they would be prepared for anything.  I tensed with the effort and I glared anger and hatred at the wizard who dared to call me a changeling.  The result of my glare caused him to step back with fear in his eyes.
         "Confine her." he squeaked.
         I turned to run, which was faster than humans could see, and came up against a brick wall; or at least that’s what it felt like, for I promptly lost all consciousness.
         When I awoke it was to find myself chained to a wall.  Cold, wet stone scraped against my back while the smell of decaying earth filled my lungs.  Blood had been spilled in this room.  Old blood.
         I slowly opened my eyes.  My head pounded with faint light which flickered through the door at far wall.  I was in a torture room, plain and simple.  Torture implements of every kind, from thumb-screws to an iron maiden stood everywhere.  My head spun as I fought to stay awake, the heavy stench of death and decay overwhelmed me.  I knew, however, any human entering this room would only smell old dirt and wet walls.  And how could I explain the smell of death to someone who asked?  Decay was easy, humans knew what that smelled like.  But death?
         The question plagued my mind as I sought a closer look at my bonds.  The smell of death was a kind of feeling.  A sense of something lost combined with an overpowering smell of blood.  There was more to it than that, however.  I knew there had to be more but I lost my train of thought as I began to realize the chains holding me were spelled.  I concentrated more and saw the chains were specifically made to hold a shape-shifter.  And the room.  The room itself was a horror to my already burning eyes.  Power burned, blazing white, around me.  It made the room impossible to look at for very long.  I closed my eyes for a moment and when I opened them again the slightly graying wizard stood before me.
         "I'm surprised you're awake." he began.  "You're stronger than we thought."
         Was that good or bad?  I gave him nothing but silence and a glare which caused him to step back with fear.  My anger didn't hold, however.  My thoughts scattered before me leaving me with nothing.  Nothing except the thought I should not even be awake.  I should be dead, and then even that thought vanished in the damp room of death.
         "We didn’t think a changeling such as yourself could have so much Power."
         Changeling.  I didn't like the word.  Something of my soul rebelled against the word, and still I couldn’t keep my scattered thoughts together.  I couldn’t remember why.
         "I am not a changeling." I managed to gasp out as the thought disappeared.
         He looked at me thoughtfully.  He seemed to know something important, something I should know but couldn’t remember.
         "Perhaps you are right." he nodded to himself.  "My colleagues, however, would never believe you.  Even with the evidence you are still alive and able to keep some thoughts of your own.  Perhaps if you cooperate with us.  Tell us what you are, if not a changeling.  We might consider having you work with us."
         "Never."  I hissed and managed to spit on his elegant shoes.
         He looked at those shoes with disgust and yet, when he looked back at me the fear he had shown earlier had not disappeared.
         "I will return." he said quietly, and turned to walk out.  I watched fear follow upon his heels.
         I held onto that.  Somehow, I held on to the fact they, the wizards, were afraid of me.  I was something they hadn’t expected and they were afraid of me.  It was taking all ten of them to keep the spells on this room and my chains in order, and they were afraid of me.  It was that thought, the very idea, which kept me awake and waiting.  Waiting because they would grow weary of keeping the spells in order.  Waiting because they were afraid of me.  Waiting.
         I don't know how long I waited and stayed awake before I remembered I could get help.  I don't recall the wizard ever coming back, but then my thoughts were always eluding me like leaves blowing free on the wind.  This thought, however, was clear.  Like the thought of "they were afraid of me" it grew.
         Thunder.  I sent with my mind.  Thunder.  I couldn't remember who or what he was, but I called.  Thunder.  I couldn't remember how he could help. Thunder.  Why was he called Thunder!?
         Lisa?  A soft, sweet, gentle voice found its way into my mind.  So alluring that voice.  I wondered who it belonged to.
         It's Thunder.  Is that you Lisa?  What's wrong?
         Wrong.  The word stirred memories.  Memories of long ago dealings with family, friends, and enemies.  Memories of wars and its dead lying helpless around me.  Memories of wizards surrounding me and taking my Soul.  They took my Soul and they were afraid of me.
         THEY TOOK MY SOUL!   I screamed to whoever was listening.
         Hush Lisa.  I'm coming.  We're coming.
         Thoughts scattered from me once more.  I fought to hold on and mentally grabbed the closest ones.  They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me.  Who was we?  That last thought fluttered away and left me smoldering with the other two.
         They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me.  They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me.  Over and over until it soon became a dirge to my tired body.  They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me.  I soon began to clank my chains against the wall behind me to the rhythm of that dirge.  They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me.
         I remember the wizard coming in and frowning at me then quickly leaving again.  I simply kept clanking my chains in time to my mental dirge.  They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me.  It was the thing I would haunt their days with should I die in this room in these chains.  They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me.  I would haunt them all to their dying days with my wrists bleeding from the chains and howling, "They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me."
         I must have said it aloud for someone stopped me from clanking my chains, or maybe I had been saying it aloud all the time and that’s why the wizard had left.  Maybe if I said it to the big man holding my arms he would leave too.
         "They took my Soul.  They were afraid of me."
         The man did not release me and I forced my tired eyes to focus him more clearly.  He was a huge man wearing nothing but a loin cloth and a worried expression.  I cocked my head slightly to the right.  He smelled of blood, sweat, dust, and old steel.  I knew that smell.
         "Jordan?"  I whispered, "Is it really you?"
         "It's really me." he whispered back.
         I somehow held on to that thought.  Jordan was here.  This lovely, handsome man made of steel had come for me.  I managed a smile for him and the concerned, worried look he returned nearly broke my heart.  But what could I say to him.  There was only one thought which my mind could grasp.  A single thought which had nothing to do with him, really.
         "Set me free."
         He looked at me thoughtfully.  Looking, for the first time in his life, as if I shouldn't be free.  He struggled with his inner self and seemed finally to come to a decision.  He stepped up to me and ever so gently, ever so sweetly, kissed me.  Like a soft breath of wind upon my lips leaving a taste of raindrops newly fallen from the sky.  Then my ears heard an even sweeter sound of chains falling to the stone floor.  My arms flopped heavily to my sides, but I stood my ground and waited until he was finished and stepped back from me once more.  I had something to do elsewhere but I stayed a moment more, staring at the lovely mountain of muscle before me.
         "Why did you kiss me?" I asked.
         "I was afraid you wouldn't let me once you were free." he said as he hung his head slightly.
         What could I say to that?  Nothing really and I was in a hurry.  I had to move before the wizards caught their breath and realized what was truly happening.  I took the time, however to stop and lift Jordan's chin with my fingers and plant a large, deliciously wet kiss upon his startled lips.
         "I have to get my Soul back." I whispered into his ear before running towards the door.
         Jordan yelled something at me as I shifted to the form of a Dragon-Wolf.  My four paws pounded a steady beat upon stone floors as I growled menacingly at a guard blocking my way to the outside world.  I continued my charge towards the guard with my growls echoing eerily off stone walls and the scraping of claws following after.  And for all the fear which glowed through his eyes, the guard stood his ground.  He stood his ground and paid for it with his life-blood spilling from a gaping hole in his neck.
         The sweet, salty taste of human blood sat heavily in my jaws as I ran onward.  I ran through crowded streets while people scattered before me.  All of them wore shocked looks, for nothing as fearsome as myself had ever entered their town without the wizards stopping it first.  The people were far to stunned to scream or do anything more than move out of my way.  And far behind me, so very far, was the voice of Jordan wanting me to stop.  But I couldn't stop.  There was no way I could stop.  My Soul was waiting for me.
         I ran through the endless maze of streets.  Left, then right, then left once more.  Twisting and turning until there was no direction, only the hunt.  Only the hunt for my Soul existed to my overworked senses, and I was nearing my goal.  The Elvish blade sang to my soul and my heart sang with it.  There was no sweeter song to my tired ears and I ran harder, charging through the cluttered streets, nearing my goal.
         I bounded up marble steps and through the huge double-doors of a palace.  I forced my way through another set of double doors and up to a small dais in the center of the room where my Soul lay before I shifted to an elf once more.  I reached eagerly for Soul and stopped short.  Soul was bound as surely as I had been and I could not release her.
         I began to slowly look around.  I was on a raised dais in the middle of a round room.  Ten beds stood arranged neatly around the room.  On the dais was a sword rack with Soul, a couch, a small table with a bird cage on top (empty), and three wizards including the eldest.  The other wizards were scattered around the room and all of them, slowly realizing what had happened.  I returned my glare to the eldest wizard standing before me.
         "Release my sword." I growled.
         He looked at me with a stony silence while the wizard to my left, and just behind me, began a spell he never finished.  I pulled Darkness from its place Between and sliced the man from his left shoulder to the right side of his waist.  As he fell I came around and took the head of the wizard standing to my right, who had been pulling out a knife, and stopped Darkness at the throat of the eldest wizard.
         "Release my sword!"
         This time the wizard nodded slowly and muttered a spell releasing my Soul.  I smiled, quickly cleaned and re-sheathed Darkness, and picked up Soul.
         As I buckled Soul to my waist I heard Jordan rushing through the first set of double doors and a young wizard, out on the floor, whispering a spell.
         A wall of flame went up between the double-doors blocking Jordan's path.  (That was my own doing.  I didn't want Jordan getting caught in the spell the wizard was casting.)  For myself, it was a simple matter of whispering a single word as the young wizard finished his own spell.
         In the blink of an eye the spell the young wizard cast reversed itself with renewed force.  The eight remaining wizards became eight white mice.  The fire blocking Jordan's path disappeared and Jordan came rushing through the doors, quickly coming to an abrupt halt when he stepped on one of the mice.  Jordan looked at the two dead wizards on the dais and watched as I picked up a white mouse with gray hairs and carefully put it in the bird cage.
         "Where are the other wizards?" he asked looking slightly confused.
         "Gather the rest of the mice Jordan, before anything else happens to them" I told him tiredly.
         Jordan said nothing as he began picking up the rest of the mice.  I watched and sat down heavily on the couch.  I was so very tired.  I felt I could sleep for a week, if I wasn't disturbed by anyone that is.
         Jordan came up the dais and put the mice into the bird cage with the eldest.  I made a slow count and found one missing.  "There should be seven."
         "The cat got it before I could."
         I sighed heavily and looked at the mice more closely.  They were lucky.  The young wizard who had cast the spell was still with them and was the only one pacing with a vengeance.
         "Lisa." Jordan knelt in front of me. "Where are the wizards?"
         I said nothing but simply pointed to the cage of six mice.
         "You turned them into mice!?"
         "Yeah." the pacing mouse squeaked at me. "You turned us into mice and we are the ones this city relies on."
         "Oh be quite."  I scowled. "It was your spell, not mine.  I only reversed it."
         "If it were my spell reversed I would be the only one a mouse.  Instead, we're all mice."
         "It's still your spell.  Take a closer look."
         "Lisa." Jordan interrupted.
         "Yes." I looked at him.
         "You can really understand all that squeaking?"
         "You have to change them back."
         "Jolthe.  I can't, it wasn't my spell."
         Jordan looked at the mice.  The youngest of them had begun looking more closely at the other mice.
         "We need to do something." Jordan said.                    
         "I'm going to sleep."
         "The city needs to be defended."
         "Have the guard do it."
         "Thunder told me a band of mercenaries are coming.  From my encounters with the guard, they can't even handle street fights.  They’re farmers with swords in their hands."
         "Why here?  Why now?"
         "I don't know."
         I glared at Jordan.  "Why did you say that?  You know why, don't you?"
         "Kind of." he began to squirm under my glare.
         "What do you mean 'kind of'?"
         "It's a long story."
         "So tell me the short version." I growled.
         Jordan took a deep breath and ran his fingers through his hair as he began.  "I killed the leader's brother, by accident.  It wasn't my fault."
         "It wasn't your fault?"
         "But it was you who killed him?"
         "Then it is your fault!"
         "No." he almost whimpered.
         "Jolthe, I have no wish to try and follow your line of logic at this time and place."
         "He called me an ogre."
         "An ogre?"
         "Yeah. Twice."
         I shook my head as he dropped his gaze to the floor.  "You and your damn temper." I closed my eyes. "How many days?"
         "Wake me two hours before they get here."  With that said I promptly laid down on the couch and went to sleep.

Chapter II
         It seemed it wasn’t long before I was wakened.  A large hand placed gently upon my shoulder brought me quickly to my senses.  I breathed in the smell of human sweat and sharp tang of sharpened steel.  I opened my eyes as I slowly sat up.
         "How long?" I asked, still tired.
         "Two hours." Jordan replied.
         I sighed heavily and moved to stretch stiff muscles.  I still needed sleep but it would have to wait until the mercenaries had been taken care of and there was only one way to do that.
         I walked out of the palace and began to find my way out of the town while Jordan told me his plan.  I refused to listen, however, for I had a different plan.  A plan I hoped would work, or at least put some fear into the mercenaries horses.  As we neared the edge of the city I interrupted Jordan.
         "Normally I would accept any plan you made.  But I am too tired to fight in any such manner.  I have a different plan which you will hate me for but will hopefully prevent a fight altogether."
         "And what is that?" Jordan scowled and stopped walking.
         I also stopped and turned to look sadly at him.  I hated to tell him my plan.  For some reason I knew he would hate it, although I couldn't say why.
         "I'm going to shift to a winged-unicorn and you will ride me until we meet the mercenaries.  You will then tell them to turn around and forget their quarrel with you."
         As I spoke, Jordan's expression grew to somewhere between anger, fear, and embarrassment.  In short, he didn’t like that plan for many obvious reasons.  I quickly went on to explain before he could start yelling at me.
         "Before you say anything, listen to me.  First, you don't have to be a virgin to ride a unicorn.  You only have to be pure of heart and soul.  Second, as I’ve said, I don't want to fight if I don't have to.  The mercenaries might not see me for what I am, but their horses will.  Which means their horses may rebel against their masters, if I can convince them to do so.  Third, I don't expect to have any help from this town and if I have to fight I want room to do so.  And fourth, you'll have a far better chance of fighting horsemen upon my back than on the ground."
         Half way through my speech Jordan had hung his head and began shuffling his feet.  I knew it was mostly the idea of riding horseback, or more precisely winged-unicorn back he didn't like.  I couldn't say why I knew he didn't like the idea for sure, however.
         I knew that I myself was nervous about my own idea simply because for me to even tell him to ride me was a matter of ultimate trust and friendship; and yes, even love.  I have loved many humans in the physical sense but I had never let any of them ride me, even though they knew what I was.  Perhaps Jordan sensed this and that is what made him nervous about my idea.
         He said not a word but only nodded his assent to my plan.  I shifted and waited for him to mount.  He did so awkwardly and sat upon my back like someone waiting to fall off a tall building.  I touched the edge of his mind gently to reassure him I was indeed still there and still myself.
         Relax Jolthe.  Hold my mane.  I shall not let you fall.
         Jordan relaxed a little and I moved to a quick gallop across the plains surrounding the town.  We moved at a pace no horse could ever hope to match, the ground was a pale brown blur beneath my hooves.
         "Do you have to go so fast!" Jordan panted into my ear as he leaned forward to get out of the wind.
         I want to meet them at least an hour and a half, their pace, from the town.
         Jordan gave a mental nod as we continued towards the mercenaries at an impossible speed.  I slowed, then stopped completely as I spotted the group coming towards us at an easy gallop.  I estimated 200 as they came closer, and they were all on horseback.
         I think they picked up a few helpers since you saw them last.
         Jordan peered at the rising dust cloud quickly coming towards us. "I can't tell with all that dust.  How many can you see?"
         I estimate 200 and there's a small dust cloud about a half hour behind them.  Any ideas on who they are?
         "Hopefully help for our side." Jordan finished as the mercenaries reigned in 30 paces away from us.  Their horses danced nervously under their hands.  I barely heard what Jordan said to the mercenaries as I spoke to the horses.  They didn't like the idea of going against me but they feared their masters more.  They had harsh masters who might kill them if they rebelled.  And worse, they feared what ran behind them.  For when the wind had pushed them they caught the scent of angry men and raging bulls.  They would not turn back unless their masters ordered them.
         I bowed my head until my horn touched the ground.  It was to show the horses I recognized they were honorable creatures and I would be saddened by those which would die upon the ground we stood.  As I slowly raised my head I heard the conversation between Jordan and the mercenaries had ended.  The mercenaries were mumbling among themselves as one man moved from the back to where their leader stood.  That one man had whispered, "He's riding a Unicorn" until he reached the side of his leader.
         Be ready Jolthe, I believe we will have to fight.
         "I think I figured that out Lisa." Jordan grumbled.
         Hold tightly with your legs so you can use both hands.  Remember, I will not let you fall.
         "That's easy for you to say."
         Jordan did as he was told and as I felt his legs tighten around me I felt a longing and desire for him in my heart.  I suppressed that desire as the mercenaries unleashed the steel at their sides and Jordan's ax hummed in reply and “Thunder”, his hammer, warned him to have patience in the battle.  The mercenaries charged forward with noisy battle cries.  I took a huge leap forward and the first man to meet us became skewered upon my horn.  I shut out the death as I flung the man off my horn, knocking another man off his horse to be trampled underfoot.
         Jordan swung ax and hammer like an enraged berserker as my hooves and horn flashed red death to any bold enough to come near.  I became quickly entrenched in a rhythm of hamstringing horses and trampling fallen riders.  It seemed a long time before I realized five Minotaurs had entered the battle.  Five Minotaurs who were helping us.
         Soon enough the battle was over and we stood staring at the blood and death surrounding us on all sides.  The Minotaurs looked at Jordan upon my back and smiled friendly smiles.  Jordan then put away his weapons and slid from my back to land heavily on the ground beside me and walked towards the Minotaurs.
         Jordan looked back at me questioningly.
         Don't tell them I'm a shape-shifter.
         Jordan nodded and turned to greet the Minotaurs with outstretched hands.  All six then quickly set to taking care of the bodies, building a make-shift pyre and carelessly throwing bodies upon it.  Meanwhile I went to each horse, touching my horn to its forehead in honored remembrance for the battle they had not wished to fight.  When I saw Jordan and the Minotaurs throw the last human body onto the fire I called to Jordan once more.
         Jordan turned towards me.
         The horses as well.
         He looked at me with surprise.  Horses were mere animals, not worth the consideration of a pyre.  But to me they were more.
         Please Jolthe.
         He shook his head in confusion and turned to speak briefly with the Minotaurs.  The Minotaurs then looked at me and nodded their understanding.  I felt relief as the first horse made the flames dance higher.
         As the Minotaurs took care of the horses Jordan followed me to a small stream not far from where the battle had taken place.  He waded in and began to cleanse himself thoroughly of blood.  I watched for a moment and then waded in myself to lay down and let the cold water soothe my aching muscles.
         When Jordan was finished washing he glanced at me.  He slowly waded over and took sand from the bottom of the stream to scrub the drying blood from my mane and back.  I closed my eyes and relished the feel of his strong fingers against my withers and back.  I shivered slightly as they reached my rump and continued to untangle the long hairs of my tail.  I shivered once more as those strong fingers moved back up my back and up to the arc of my neck to untangle my mane.  Those strong fingers turned to gentle caresses along my jaw and nose.  Then as his fingers moved to gently clean the dried blood from my horn a flaming desire arose to fill my heart with love and need.  I opened my eyes to watch him and wondered if he felt the same way.  Before I could ask, however, the Minotaurs came to bathe in the stream and all I could do was stare at Jordan as he finished cleaning my horn.  I moved closer to Jordan so my muzzle was against his large chest.
         I'm going back to the city to rest.
         "Must you leave so soon?" he asked a bit dreamily.
         I'll see you when I awaken.
         I then left the stream, nodded to the Minotaurs, and made my way back to the city.  As I neared the city I shifted back to an elf and walked to the palace.  When I walked in, the wizards began squeaking earnestly for my attention.  I walked over to the couch, sat down, and looked into the cage.
         "What is it?" I asked.
         "I think I can undo this spell." said the youngest.
         "I hope so." I said reaching for the cage.  I picked it up and set it on the floor before releasing the six wizards.  Six mice waited while the youngest of them chanted a spell he hoped would work.
         When the young wizard finished his spell five shocked wizards stood before me, and one mouse ran out of the room.  After the initial shock wore off and they had counted casualties, they all turned towards me.
         "What are you?" asked the eldest.
         "I am what you see." I answered, laying down on the couch.  "And if any of you disturb me while I sleep, you shall find your number fewer than five."
         I then fell to a deep slumber fraught with dreams.  Dreams of the world around me as I slept.  I dreamed the wizards put a curtain around the dais upon which I slept and a gray tabby made a meal of a white mouse which had forgotten it was once a wizard.  I dreamed Jordan and the Minotaurs returned to the city laughing at a shared joke and kicked the wizards out of the palace to take up residence themselves.  I dreamed Jordan and the Minotaurs ate, slept, and practiced with steel in the room I slept in; and I fell into a deeper dreamless sleep with Jordan's worried gaze upon me.
         When I awoke it was to the sound of clashing steel and grunts from Jordan and a Minotaur.  I looked out from the curtains surrounding me to find Jordan sparring with a Minotaur not much larger than himself.
         I smiled to myself and sat down to watch the match.  It was good to see Jordan using his excess energies for his own good, but as I watched I also saw the room around me.  The room disturbed me.  The reason?  Because it was something from my dreams I saw now.  Perhaps it disturbed me because I had found my mental walls weak and I saw, heard, and felt everything around me while I slept.  I never liked when I did such things.  It was an invasion of people's privacy, so I locked the memories of those dreams away and vowed never to tell anyone.
         "Ahem." I heard from two breathless warriors.
         I looked up to find I had been so immersed in thought I had not seen, or heard, the sparring match end.  Jordan and the Minotaur stood anxiously waiting before me.
         "My Lady." the Minotaur bowed elegantly.  "It is good to finally be able to speak with one whos honor in battle is far more than even ours."
         Jordan looked at the Minotaur with astonishment; as if he’d never heard the Minotaur speak such elegant words before.  Of course, that could be true.  Minotaurs held such speech for those they felt were higher in honor than themselves.  Those were very few indeed.
         While Jordan looked at his companion with astonishment, I looked on with annoyance.
         "You told him." I told Jordan flatly.
         "I didn't tell him anything!" yelled Jordan.
         "My Lady." the Minotaur said. "Forgive me for intruding, but the young barbarian is correct.  We had our suspensions when he spoke so fondly of you.  It is only now I see you I know you to be the Unicorn upon which Jordan fought.  And now if you will excuse me," he bowed, "I see you two have things to....discuss." he finished as he closed the large double-doors behind him.
         I smiled at the closed doors.  Sometimes Minotaurs were the most insightful race known in the world.  Other times, well to put it mildly, they needed help.
         Jordan sat down carefully beside me.  I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath.  The smell of sweat and wet leather assailed my sensitive nose, urging me to do something I wasn’t sure Jordan wanted.  When I opened my eyes I saw conflicting emotions raging upon his face.  It was a look I’d seen on more than one gypsy face with whom I’d had relations.  It was a look of something between ultimate love and disgust at one's self.
         "Jordan," I said gently without touching him.  "When I was a winged-unicorn and you rode and then bathed me; how did you feel?  What did you want?"
         "I felt..." he hung his head, "I wanted to...."
         I took off my headband, lifted his chin, and looked into his eyes.
         "Jolthe; what you see before you is who I am, what I am.  There is no shame in wanting such things when you see me in any form I might take.  For should you wish me to come to you in such a manner, what you see before you now is how I shall always come to you."
         Jordan smiled and brought my face close to his with his hand gently cupped around my chin.  He then put his lips to mine in a sweet lingering kiss with is tongue just barely touching mine.  A thrill of longing sent shivers through my body, but before Jordan could respond I put my hand to his chest and gently pushed away from him.
         "Lisa, my beautiful elf." he whispered. "I want you."
         "As I you Jolthe.  But I need to explain something to you, and I want you to understand."          
         Jordan took his hand from my chin and nodded.  "I'm listening."
         I took a deep breath.  "Jolthe.  I love you with all my heart but this is all we shall be.  Friends and lovers.  I could never marry you Jolthe."
         Jordan looked at me thoughtfully as he digested the information I had given him.
         "Why?" he finally asked.
         "Perhaps you'll understand one day, but I can only marry someone who has my heart and my soul.  You have my heart Jolthe and if you still want me I am still here and my heart burns for you."
         Jordan looked even more thoughtful at what I had told him.  I waited for his response with eagerness and fear.  Humans had always been difficult for me to understand and what made it more difficult was that Jordan was not a gypsy.  For gypsies, even by human standards, had strange ways.
         As I waited and watched, I slowly became aware of my hand still upon Jordan's chest.  I felt the right side of his chest muscles tighten as he lifted his right hand to pull me closer to him, and passion burned between us.
         Making love to someone is the most wonderful experience for me. (And I have been told it is wonderful for my partner as well.)  With my telepathic and empathic abilities I "feel" and "hear" my partners every need, and so it was with Jordan.  As we came closer together the flame of my desire burned higher and because of my ability, Jordan felt that desire and his grew as well.  We became more than one person.  I felt what it was like to have his strong arms loving me, coaxing me to new heights of passion; and I also felt what it was like to be him loving me, pushing himself into my soft, supple body which only aroused my passion more.
         Our passion and desire grew ever more to a pounding rhythm as he felt himself a man loving a woman and, at the same time, felt himself a woman being loved by a man.
         It was a strange feeling of ecstasy as we reached the top of our mountain of passion and slowly rolled down into a soothing river of love.  We then laid side by side, relaxing in each others arms while we slept.
         In the morning we bathed causing another passionate fling between us, then dressed.  I began to gather my things afterwards, for it was time to leave this town.  From the corner of my eye I saw Jordan begin to gather his things as well.  I turned to look at him.
         "Jolthe, what are you doing?"
         "I'm going with you."
         "No, you aren't."
         "Why?!  Didn't last night," he waved absently towards our bed and then to the bath.  "and this morning mean anything to you!?"
         I shook my head, not in the negative, but to clear my own thoughts.  I had forgotten what such passion as we shared could do to someone who was not a gypsy by nature.  And although gypsies are scandalous by nature, we are not faithless and we know the difference between love of the heart and love of the soul.
         "Jordan, do you not remember what I told you before we began?" I whispered.
         Jordan hung his head and nodded.  I smiled affectionately at him and moved to stand in front of him.  I lifted his chin with my right hand and looked into his eyes.
         "You still have much to learn Jolthe.  I love you with all my heart and I would gladly spend many distracted days and nights with you.  But I am an elf and gypsy by nature.  Besides the fact I have things to do, as do you.  This town needs you Jolthe."          
         "You won't forget me, will you?"
         In answer to his question I draped my arms around his neck and pulled myself up to give him a large, sensuous kiss which began to lead to other things.
         "Ahem!" came from the doorway.
         Both Jordan and I turned in our embrace to see a large Minotaur poking his head through the double-doors.  We both raised our eyebrows at the interruption and waited for the forthcoming explanation.
         "My Lady, Jordan, I do not wish to intrude.  But the young Captain; Solomon is here with promising members of the city's guard."
         Jordan heaved a sigh which lifted me off the floor while still in his embrace.  "I’ll be there momentarily Harn."  Jordan looked at me mournfully as Harn closed the doors behind him once more.
         "You see." I smiled playfully, "I told you there were things to do."
         "Jordan released me and nodded.  "I’d forgotten we were going to help train the rabble Solomon calls a guard."
         "Fear not Jolthe.  It shall be over before you know it.  In the meantime, I have some children I must look in on.  We shall meet again soon enough and remember I shall always love you.  Perhaps you will even find the other half of your soul." and with that said, I walked out of the palace into glorious sunshine to my next appointed rounds.

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