Excerpt: Huntress (Makers, AOS vol 4)

From Makers: Ages of the Seed, Vol 4

Why yes, I do have most of volume 4 drafted despite volume 1 going out for draft feedback only this week. Don’t you judge me.

This chapter introduces Cree Chiwa, who is not a very nice person. JS Malpas’ post this morning (Tip #26: Characters Who Do Bad Things) made me think of her. Chiwa does bad things. She’s not the only character in Makers who does bad things but she is the only otherwise rational character who does them because she enjoys them. That was difficult to get my brain behind while I wrote her.

I use a few sources for inspiration when writing her as I (hopefully obviously) have no personal experience with the things she does. In her normal state she is tightly controlled (Arthur Denker from Apt Pupil / S. King). When she loses control she loses it completely and animalistically* (the husband from Shadowfires / D.Koontz). She is also emotionally abusive and controlling in a very methodical fashion (Gregory Anton from Gaslight).

Scene/terminology – Makers is a fantasy setting. Chiwa is in the city state of Rosoph, famed for its trade goods. Weaving/Making/Harping are types of magic in this world.

There is some fairly violent content in this excerpt.

* Wordified – You know what it means, even if spellchecker doesn’t.

Huntress

From the corner of her eye the huntress kept careful track of her prey. It would not do to lay eyes directly upon him. He was already skittish as though he knew he was being tracked and she didn’t want to spook him. If he ran she would surely lose him in this busy Rosoph market. Much better to let him come to her.

She spared a quick glance at her camouflage to be sure everything was arranged correctly. A few deft arrangements of her silken tunic bared her lithe legs and as much of her ample bosom as was practical to draw eyes but not comments. She brushed fingers through her luxurious blond locks and straightened her necklace. The necklace of large colorfully enameled beads was annoyingly heavy. Even with its padded strap, the heavy piece pulled a furrow in the back of her delicate neck and she could not wait to get the cursed thing off. For the third time in an hour she questioned her decision to use this particular camouflage, though she was still confident it would be effective.

Her prey began meandering towards her, looking at trinkets from various street merchants as he slowly approached. She busied herself with examining the beautiful Pellian silks on the table in front of her. Waiting, waiting, waiting… When would this buffoon see her?

He finally caught a glance of her, did an immediate double-take and stopped dead in his tracks. Even in this high end district she was a rare and lovely sight. One calculated to appeal directly to him. She smiled slightly as she saw him take the bait. Yes, finally! She watched him approach purposefully now, with an arrogant swagger. He was big, just short of huge, and the scars across his cheeks and much-misaligned nose showed he was a brawler. Just as he was about to reach her she suddenly turned in his direction and stepped right into him.

“Oh! Oh, my!” she exclaimed after the collision. “How clumsy of me. I am so sorry, goodman.”

The prey smiled disarmingly, he did have quite an attractive smile and his rough countenance held a distracting nobility. “Not at all, m’lady. The fault was most assuredly mine. Here now, you’ve dropped your satchel.” He bent down to retrieve her bag and she noted the edge of Made mail under his shift. She would need to account for that when she brought him down. He was already large enough to be approaching the limits of what she could handle in a battle and if the chain was simply deweighted the additional mass might cause problems. He returned the satchel to her with a flourish. “Here you are, m’lady.”

“Oh, thank you” she replied breathlessly. She took a moment to give him an obviously appreciative top to toe review. When she spoke again her voice was much less sweet and quite a bit more throaty. “But surely my inattention was the fault though you are too kind to admit it. Please, let me repay you for your gallantry. It is nearly midday. May I treat you to a meal? There is a lovely house I just passed that had the most amazingly delicious smells coming from it.”

His smile grew and she saw the predator surge behind his eyes. She kept her own gaze as close to vacuous as possible. “I know the inn you speak of and I would be delighted to break bread with you there, good lady.”

She smiled with delight at his assent and put a hand on his proffered arm. Excellent. The chainmail he wore was demassed, not simply deweighted, and would not be an issue after all. He began leading her through the crowded aisles of the market street, none too gently clearing a path for her. Exclamations and curses followed their progress, though all were carefully quiet enough not to require her escort’s retaliation.

“This crowd is abominable, sir” she complained. “Could we not use yonder alleyspace to avoid it?” His eyes lit up and his smile took on a somewhat sinister cast as he directed their passage towards said alley. His free hand came up to cover her own where it lay upon his arm. His touch was hot and the huntress suppressed a responsive tingle. As she felt her libido rising in slow waves she realized how he was so successful in his own hunts. He was harping her, raising the effect of her hormones that were already in high gear from the excitement of the hunt and an honest appreciation of her virile target. If this went on for very long she would be a helpless puddle.

They turned down several side alleys and the sounds of the market faded. “Are you quite sure this is the right way?” she asked him.

“Yes, my dear” he answered with a smile. “Just a few turns more.”

She was close to swooning from his harping, a few turns more would be a few turns too many. The huntress dropped her satchel again and bent to retrieve it as an excuse to disengage from him. The longing that was pulsing inside her began fading almost immediately. Her hand slipped inside the bag as she straightened again.

“Actually” she said in her breathy voice, “I believe this will be far enough for my needs.” She closed with him and pressed against him suggestively.

He smiled again, thinking his conquest complete. She reached up with her free hand and took him by the back of the neck, drawing him tenderly down to her upturned face. His lips pursed in anticipation of her kiss.

She harped the 5 kilo metal glove she now wore on the hand inside her satchel, reducing its weight to mere grams, and swung at his unprotected face with all of her might. Just before the blow struck she harped the glove again, increasing its mass to over 10 kilos. The blow crushed his jaw into fragments and sent him crashing backwards into the alley wall.

“BRTCH!” he screamed through his shattered mouth. He stumbled, stunned by the blow. “BRTCH LL KLL OOO!” he screamed unintelligibly as he regained his composure. He shook his head to clear it then launched himself at her. Yes, definitely a brawler. That strike would have sent most into unconsciousness or death. She casually stepped aside from his rush, harping herself slightly to lower her center of gravity. She touched him as he passed, doubling his mass and sending him crashing off balance to the alley floor.

She released the necklace (finally!) from about her neck. It now hung from her hand by its leather pad, a short chain whip of hard heavy beads. She began swinging it in slow circles as she walked unconcernedly towards him.

The big man finally regained enough clarity from her first blow to realize that the expected roles of predator and prey had been reversed. He stood and ran. The huntress detached a bead from her chain whip, reduced it’s normal kilo mass to a bare fraction and hurled it at her target with amazing speed and deadly precision. Just as it left her fingers she reversed the harp, doubling the ball’s natural mass. When it left on its deadly trajectory it carried the force of a sledgehammer and when it struck his knee it crushed it like a swung maul.

He screamed as well as his shattered jaw allowed and fell forward. She closed quickly and with a few quick blows of the chain, adjusted for maximum effect by massharping, shattered the long bones in his arms and legs. He was still trying to scream but not much was coming out now besides blood and bits of teeth.

“Lord Gorian sends his regards, and that of his daughter” the huntress told him. She struck again, shattering an ankle. Only a pitiable gurgle escaped his ruined mouth now. “He was not sure how to properly thank you for your kind treatment of her.” Another swing shattered a wrist. “Fortunately I also offer consultation services and was able to help him come to a solution.” She took his other knee. “This may take a while.” He lost a shoulder. “But do not fear.” She crushed his pelvis. “I am being well compensated.” A short flurry of blows destroyed the other bones in his arms. “And you will be alive, after a fashion, when I am done.”

As she continued her work she felt her libido rising again, and smiled indulgently. Ahhhhh. This was real, not the falsity of lust her target had induced. This was genuine and lovely. Her treat, her gift, her reward. She felt alive and each time she struck fingers of electric deliciousness raced through her core. It built and built with each blow until finally she felt it explode within her, sending pulses of ecstasy up and down her frame.

She collapsed breathlessly on top of her victim, panting like a bitch in heat, rubbing herself on his ruined body and moaning uncontrollably as the waves of pleasure within gradually receded.

“Oh, thank you” she said tenderly to his unconscious form, kissing the ruin of his lips gently. “You were amazing. Just amazing. I hope we can do this again some day.”

She rose trembling and tingling from the broken thing that was so recently a man. She surveyed her ruined silks, covered in blood and tiny pieces of the former rapist. This camouflage had been very expensive but it had worked and she wouldn’t cry over the expense. Money didn’t matter, life did, and if there was one thing Cree Chiwa knew how to do it was how to enjoy life.

As a continued rosy life required vacating Rosoph before Tam al Tan discovered her presence, she shook off her lingering thrills and got back to work. She removed her soiled silks and used them to clean herself up as well as possible. A small jar of unguent rubbed on her skin quickly removed the many splatters of blood. She then recovered the ceramic covered iron bead from inside her victim’s knee and after cleaning it carefully reassembled her weapon.

Finally she took a yellow disk from her satchel and placed it on her forehead where it adhered. Her form began growing and changing. Within moments the petite well-endowed blond fantasy had become a powerfully muscled and raven haired Orly warrior, her bronzed flesh crisscrossed with battle scars and coup marks. She smiled. This one would live and she would have a coup mark placed for him, as she did for all of her lovers who survived. She replaced the yellow disk into the satchel and removed the last item, a simply woven tunic. She donned this and belted it with her beaded whip.

“Phees…ill…heee” came a gurgling noise behind her. She strode back to her prey and squatted next to his head. She gently stroked his hair. “Pheeees… illll… eeeee” it gurgled again.

“Oh, no my sweet lover” she told him softly, still stroking his hair. “I will not kill you. Life is precious and must be preserved and enjoyed.” She thought momentarily of Tam al Tan. “There are a few notable exceptions but you are simply not one of them.” She bent forward and gave him a last lingering kiss before standing abruptly and turning from the scene.

She strode with confidence from the site of the assault. She knew she couldn’t possibly have removed all of the blood splattered upon her and had likely soiled herself again during that last emotional display but doubted it would matter. From what she had seen so far there wasn’t a Garda in Rosoph with the drive or courage to confront her, blood splattered or no.

She smiled as she thought of her next lover. The final target on Lord Treasurer Gorian’s list would be as difficult as this one had been simple and she was quite excited to face the challenge. She had never broken an Inquisitor before.

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