A prince trades freedom for the life of a giantess' pet to avoid an arranged marriage.
|A Charmed Life
The morning dawned bright and early, far too early for the young prince that was curled into a small ball on an empty rain slicker. Sitting up quickly, Eric searched frantically for his new mistress. Surely she wouldn’t leave her slicker behind. So, that means she’d have to be around here somewhere. His green eyes darted from place to place in search of the young woman. It was with great relief that he saw the horse still tied to the tree. He sighed, releasing all the tension that had suddenly built up inside of him. He smiled when Tor exited from the trees, something hanging limply in her hand. It became clear what it was when she dropped the deer carcass in front of him.
Tor barely spared him a glance. “That’s your meal for the next few days. Make it last because I won’t be bringing you another.” Her voice softened as she spoke in low, calming tones as she walked towards the nervous horse. Slowly, she brought her hands to his head, double checking the bridle before sliding them along his body to tighten the girth. She yelped and jumped back to avoid a kick aimed in her direction. "That wasn’t nice. Now behave.”
Eric watched her work with the enormous horse. She acted like it had feelings that deserved to be respected. He took out his knife and began to dress the deer, carefully separating the hide from the bones and muscle. He wished he had a proper skinning knife, but what he had would have to do. The young prince was quick and sure, confident in his work. He highly doubted Tor had been teasing when she said that the deer was the only one he’d receive from her. So, his strokes were careful, precise and thought out. He couldn’t afford to waste meat; couldn't afford to go hungry. Gathering bits of tinder and breaking off a piece of a still warm coal from her pit, he dug a shallow hole for his own fire and began to cook the meat. His mouth watered at the smell and he was tempted to eat everything he could, damn the consequences. But, common sense prevailed and he only ate enough to be moderately full.
The young woman was pleased her most expensive tack had held up during the brutal onslaught of yesterday’s ride and the night’s dew. She adjusted the breast collar on the horse, tightening up just a bit from where it had loosened during Idiot’s bucking rampage. Her voice was calm and slow as she moved towards his back end again to double check the back girth. Finding everything in order, she began to scour the ground for a small stone just big enough to fit in the horse’s ear but not so small to where it would fall inside and damage his hearing. Her violet eyes finally landed on one that looked like it would work. She picked it up, weighed it in her hand and eyed its size and the size of the horse’s ear.
Eric was savoring the final bite of his breakfast when Tor’s voice rang out above his head. He flinched at the volume and sighed when she adjusted it without apology.
“Get all your things together and give them to me. They’ll go in the saddle bags with the rest of my stuff,” she commanded as she shook out her slicker and began to fold it “When you’re through, I’ll put you somewhere that you won’t get stomped on. I have to ride the bucks out of him and you won’t want to be on the ground for that.” She walked calmly to the horse and stuffed the slicker into the left bag. When she had made sure both bags were secure, giving Idiot’s back end a wide berth, and Eric’s stuff was within easy reach, she crossed back to her pet and scooped him up without a word of warning.
The young man gasped when he felt her fingers wrap around his waist and hoist him into the air. Clutching to her for dear life, he screwed his eyes closed and did his best to control his panicked breathing. When the rough bark of a tree branch met his legs, he immediately let go of her only to wrap his arms and legs around the limb. Daring to open an eye, he paled and quickly closed it when he saw just how high up he was. For Tor, he knew, it couldn’t have been more than about knee height. But for him, it was much farther, roughly twenty six feet. He gulped, the knowledge that any fall over three times your height was considered dangerous floating through his mind.
“Dammit,” he whispered, “why does my mind have to think of all this stuff that will only scare me more?!”
Once her human was secure on the branch, she pulled the stone from her pocket and walked back towards the horse. Keeping a firm grip on the reins just below the bit, in order to make him think he was still tied, she untied them from the tree and slipped them over his head. Immediately, the stallion threw his head in the air, trying to rear and move away from the giantess. Tor cursed and quickly pulled his head back down to slip the rock into his ear. Grabbing a hunk of mane and the reins in one hand while he was distracted, she hauled herself into the saddle and put her other foot in the stirrup just in time for the horse to throw his head down and back legs into the air.
She cursed again, clamping her legs to his side in an effort not to get thrown. She was forced to ignore the pain of her chafed inner legs and raw thigh. One fisted hand went into the air to act as a counter balance to the swinging rhythm her body was put through as the powerful animal beneath her crow hopped, bucked and spun in the hopes of unseating his rider. He squealed in fury, rearing up onto his hind legs as he once more tried to throw the person on his back. Coming back onto all fours, he began to race in one direction, only to stop in mid-step, feigning a spook and twisting in a 180 before ducking his head and bucking, dirt and grass flying in everywhere.
Tor clamped her teeth together in an effort not to scream. She leaned into him at the rear only to be jolted backwards as he hit the ground running. The spin and spook made her dizzy and caused her to slip to one side. Quickly righting herself, she gathered the reins in tighter and kicked the animal in the sides for all she was worth. She wasn’t surprised in the least when he jumped forward and away from the pressure. The young woman let him run for a few minutes until she hauled his head in the direction they had come. Grudgingly, the stallion obeyed and bolted down the long, flat prairie, doing his best to outrun the weight on his back.
The redhead could feel the way his ribs expanded with each breath, could feel how he was beginning to tire as the sun warmed the earth and heated his black coat. Sweat poured from them both as she turned his head towards her left leg, making him turn in circle after circle. Finally, he stopped, his breathing heavy and tired as his entire body quivered, exhausted. She loosened the reins, giving him some freedom, and was pleased when he simply stood there, making no move to bolt. She straightened his head, gave a soft kiss and squeezed his sides. A smile of victory spread on her face as Idiot began to trudge straight ahead.
“Good boy,” she murmured softly, one hand patting his neck. “Yes, you did very good.” He sighed heavily and licked and chewed at the bit as his head went down and his feet slowly carried them ahead. She sighed as well, relaxing in the saddle as her eyes scanned for the tree where she had placed the boy. One eyebrow arched up as she saw his limp form on the ground. "Interesting. I guess he wasn’t strong enough to hold on.” She rolled her shoulders, uncaring if he had lived or died. She was slightly shocked when a loan moan escaped her pet’s lips and he struggled to lift himself onto his hands and knees.
Eric grabbed his throbbing head and cradled it between his knees. His stomach turned violently, threatening to empty its recently downed contents. The ride in the tree had been perfectly fine, until the stallion had reared and come down hard. The resulting shockwave had shaken the tree so badly he was thrown from his branch and onto the cold ground below. As fate would have it, he didn’t land on his head or neck, which would have been instant death. Instead, he landed on his feet and rolled to his stomach, his hands coming up to break his fall and protect his face. When his head connected with the ground, he was knocked unconscious. Blackness consumed him and he thought he was going to die, or that he was dead and headed for the afterlife. So it came as a surprise when light returned and woke him up.
He groaned in pain and shock, his legs felt as if they had been stomped on or hammered with mallets. His head ached and pulsed, and he bit back another groan as his fingers gently traced his skull. A gasp, mixed with pain and fear, tore from his lips when he felt Tor’s fingers wrap around his waist and lift him in front of her face. Eric felt her violet eyes inspect his body. He choked on a gasp when her finger ran down one of his legs.
“Well.” Her voice, calm and smooth, reached his ears. “Your legs aren’t broken. At least, not badly. There are probably some fractures in there but there’s nothing I can do for that. You’ve got two options. One, I can end your misery now and bury your body somewhere.” She stopped, letting the words sink in.
“… Or?” he croaked, his voice raspy and pain filled.
“Or, I can let you live, take care of you the best I can. I can’t set your legs; they’re much too small for me to handle without making it worse. So.” She looked down at him, her violet eyes lacking any humor. “What’ll it be? Death or a life possibly filled with the pain of your legs and the shame of being lame and useless?”
“Life,” Eric spoke, his voice slowly returning to normal. “I want to live.”
She shrugged, grabbed a fistful of mane and the reins and swung herself back into the saddle with him in her other hand. “As you wish.” She passed her calm, flat gaze over the saddle, looking for a place to stash the human in her hand. She didn’t trust Idiot enough to ride with only one hand on the reins. Her eyes fell on the small opening just behind the pommel of the saddle and just before the seat itself. Adjusting the boy, she slid him feet first into the hole, resting his back against the swell. Bringing her hand back up, she evened out the reins and squeezed the stallion’s side, giving a soft kiss to urge him forward.
Idiot sighed and put his ears back but went forward when asked. He was too tired to put up any resistance, but he was far from finished.
Eric turned a dark shade of red when he opened his eyes again only to find Tor’s denim clad crotch in his direct line of sight. Looking up provided him with the view of the shadowed underside of her breasts. Closing his eyes, he wished he could enjoy the scenery and not be racked with pain from his legs. He welcomed the darkness of sleep as the smell of animal sweat, leather and the gentle motion of the horse’s walk lured him towards unconsciousness.
Chapter 1: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108755-A-Charmed-Life-Chapter-1
Chapter 2: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108759-A-Charmed-Life-Chapter-2
Chapter 3: http://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/2108766-A-Charmed-Life-Chapter-3