by London Lampy
Most of the village has turned out to wish those of us who are going on the raid farewell, and the clearing is crowded. The fighters are here too and Ev seems to be giving them some kind of instructions. He's changed back into his soldier's clothes and now he blends in with the rest of them, his ever present rifle slung over his back. I can see Llando and Mathi saying goodbye to Tula, Mathi's wife and a small cluster of children, who I assume are all of the twins younger siblings.
"Urg...I drank too fucking much last night," Vio groans, rubbing her hand across her face. I look at her, in the bright daylight she seems even paler then normal, and she has dark shadows under her eyes. "Barney seems to have relieved every plantation house for miles around of the entire contents of its liquor cabinet, and I think we drank it all."
"Hmm," I grin at her. "This is turn around, you with a hangover and me not."
"Shut up," she yawns. "The only reason you didn't get shit faced last night was because you were too busy getting your leg over."
"Yeah," I reply. "And I feel fine this morning." And Llando felt fine last night.
Vio groans again when she sees Sampson heading toward us. "Are we ready for the off?" he asks. He sounds much too cheery and he's actually rubbing his hands together. "I say," he stares at Vio. "You put away rather a lot last night, didn't know a woman could drink like that. One glass of champers and Mrs S is positively giddy, but then I suppose you are somewhat larger eh? Built a bit more like a chap."
He's back dressed the shirt and trousers he was wearing when we were kidnapped, which Eline has laundered for him. He hasn't shaved, Barney couldn't find him a razor, but Eline also trimmed his beard and he has combed his iron grey hair back and slicked it down with water so he looks a lot more like his old self.
It takes a long time for us to get going, Barney and Mathi make another speech, and then it seems that everyone has to hug everyone else at least three times. I get a fair few hugs, even Tula briefly throws her arms around me before moving on. I notice Eline saying goodbye to Sampson, she fusses over him, peering into his eyes and feeling his forehead before pulling him into a long embrace which he returns, crushing her into his chest.
"She's a damn fine woman," he says as she heads off to bid some of the village men farewell. "If I wasn't already married, and she wasn't already married...well, let's just say maybe we'd be making sweet music together. Can't say I'm not curious to know what it would be like to have a bit of how's your father with a girl with a tail, be like having an extra hand in the bed I'd imagine, I wonder if..."
"Sir, I think Barney wants to talk to us," Vio interrupts him just in time as the ex priest comes over to join us.
"I wanted to thank you before we left. I never imagined that the three of you would end up as our allies, Gui was clearly guiding me when I chose Mr Sampson as our target." He smiles at all of us.
"I'll say he was," Sampson agrees. "This has been a bloody excellent adventure."
"It's not quite over yet," Barney replies.
"No, indeed not, a campaign." Sampson rubs his hands together again. "Barney, are you ready to lead your troops out?"
"I am, and may Gui bless us all."
"Amen to that," my boss nods.
Barney and Ev are taking it in turns to lead us through the thick forest, there are no paths here and the fighters often have to hack away at the plant life with machetes so we can keep going. We make slow progress, and after a few miles come to a deep swampy patch that we have to wade through with our belongings held over our heads. The water is black, stinking and in places comes up as far as my chest, I keep putting my feet down on slimy wriggling things, and I try not to think too much about what they could be. When we finally come to the end of the swamp and haul ourselves out onto dryer land I find fat shiny black leeches all over my legs and body. Everyone else is covered in them too, and we spend the best part of an hour pulling them off, then rinsing ourselves clean in a small, freshwater stream.
By the time we set off again I'm feeling spooked and miserable and am really wishing that I had stayed back at the village. In what I assume is an attempt to raise our spirits Barney starts to sing in a deep voice that echoes through the forest, the villagers then the fighters join in and we walk in time to the rhythm.
We don't stop for food, dried meat and bread is handed round and we chew it on the move. I don't ask what the meat is, I'm too hungry not to eat it. By late afternoon Vio and Sampson have slowed down considerably and I'm walking next to Vio to keep her company, listening to her grumbling about having wet feet and insect bites when Sora suddenly comes marching toward us, her face screwed up in anger.
"You!" she jabs her finger at Vio. "You...you've poisoned my brothers mind!"
"Sora...it's got nothing to do with Vio!" Tippit pants, running up behind Sora. "It's something I've been thinking about for a very long time."
"Nonsense! The two of you become friendly, and suddenly you're spouting all sorts of rubbish about leaving with her and going off to the city...you've never talked like that before," Sora snaps.
I can only assume Tippit has just told his sister about his plans to leave with us when all this is over, she's decided to blame his decision on Vio and has come to have it out with her.
"Because up to now it's just been a dream, I've never had a real chance to go before."
"Sora, your brother wants out of this place, let him fucking well make up his own mind," Vio adds unhelpfully. "He doesn't like it here."
"Doesn't like it? This is his home!" Sora throws back, her voice filled with indignation.
"It's a fucking insect ridden, leech filled sweaty shit hole, that's what it is."
"Vio!" I say shocked.
"Sorry mate, I know it's your race's home and all that, but you don't want to stay here any more than I do."
"I don't want to stay here, but I don't hate it, I just don't belong here."
"You belong here as much as any of us," Sora pats my shoulder. "Don't ever think like that."
"Look, I'm going to the Twin Islands with them, and that's that. My mind is made up," Tippit says to his sister firmly.
"What would mother and father say about you leaving the forest?" Sora turns to him, planting her hands on her hips.
"I don't know what they'd say, they've been gone too many years. I don't think they'd want me to be unhappy though."
"But...you're all the family I have," Sora sounds more upset than angry now.
"You've got Barney, you love him and he loves you. You'll hardly even notice that I'm gone."
"How could I not notice that my little brother is missing," she sniffs. "I don't want you to go...we've always been together, all the time we were enslaved, we looked after one another."
"I know, but we've been free for quite some time now," Tippit sounds close to tears too. "And I will miss you very much, but I have to go, I'm really not happy here." He puts his arm around her, pulling her close as they walk along. "You have Barney to look after now...and to fuss over."
"I can't change your mind?" she questions him, her voice breaking with emotion.
"Will the two of you look out for him in the city?" Sora asks Vio and me.
"Yes," I nod.
"Of course," Vio agrees.
"Thank you," She wipes her eyes with her hand. "Thank you very much."
We walk for hours and hours, never stopping for more than a few minutes at a time, and only then to give the fighters time to break a path for us. Vio and Sampson are really struggling to keep the pace up and we drop further and further behind, although Llando does come to join me, walking alongside us and talking to me as best he can.
Late afternoon the crack of rifles being fired stops us in our tracks. I fear the worst, that somehow the plantation guards have found us and are attacking, but when we rush to catch up with the front of our party I see that the fighters are firing up into the trees. I watch as the bodies of three monkeys come tumbling down through the branches, one falling to the ground with an awful splat, the other two snagging on their descent until some of the village men climb up and shake them free. To my horror one is still moving, baring it's teeth and hissing at us despite having a ragged, bloody hole in its chest. Ev steps forward, I assume that he's going to shoot the poor thing to put it out of its misery but instead he picks it up by the throat and forces its head back until its neck breaks with a snapping sound.
The fighters wrap the three monkey corpses in large shiny leaves then strap them to their backs and carry them until we make camp amongst the trees at dusk. I help to gather wood for the fire, and once it's lit the monkeys are skinned, gutted and speared onto makeshift spits to roast them. I turn down the offer of cooked meat and stick to bread and fruit.
After dinner we spread out under the trees. I can hear the fighters talking and laughing together away to our right, and a way in front of us the villagers are listening to one of the older men telling a story. I can't understand a word of it but for some reason I find the sound of the words mixed with the night sounds of the forest calming. Apparently not Vio though.
"How the fuck am I meant to sleep with that racket going on?" she complains from under her blanket. Sampson however doesn't seem to be having the same problem, he's already snoring loudly on the other side of her.
"Are your feet alright?" I ask to distract her.
"Not too bad, but I found a leech in my sock when I took my boots off."
"Yeah. Never thought I'd miss the city so fucking much, no leeches in Parnell," she yawns.
"No, only rats and pigeons and psycho cats."
"Psycho cats?" Vio mumbles.
"Jinks, you know, the Costa's cat. According to Effie he attacked a customer in the shop, she was wearing on of those dead fox things around her neck and Jinks leapt on her from a high shelf, I guess he thought the fox was another cat or something. He pulled it off the woman's neck and ripped it to shreds. Mr Costa was furious, he had to compensate her for the cost of it, and he threatened to throw Jinks into the river in a sack filled with bricks, but Effie told her father that if he did that she'd leave home and never speak to her parents again, so they compromised, the cat is only allowed into the shop after opening hours now." I wait for some kind of response, I thought this was really funny when Effie told me, but Vio says absolutely nothing. I turn and look at her, her eyes are closed and I can hear her breathing deeply. She's fallen asleep.
I'm nearly asleep too when I feel something touching me. Whatever it is makes me jump and I briefly think that a monkey or some other creature has dropped onto me from the trees overhead, but when I open my eyes I realise what it actually is, it's Llando, shaking my shoulder.
"'lo," I mutter blinking.
"Hello," he replies quietly, stroking my hair.
"Do you want to sleep here?" I pat the ground next to me.
"Sleep? Na," he shakes his head. "Exit come?" he points into the forest, away from everyone.
"Here?" I question, looking around.
"Sa," he grins. "Forest fuck."
I don't need to be asked again.
Nobody notices us leaving and we slip away together through the trees until we are out of sight and sound of the camp.
"Here good," Llando says, taking my hand and and leading me to the base of a large tree.
We kiss, and then kiss some more, Llando moving his mouth over my jaw and down my neck, grazing his teeth across the sensitive skin there, sucking gently. I stroke his tail which he lifts to let me rub the crease, and his ass, and just as my fingers are heading between his cheeks I remember something.
"Oh shit," I mutter.
"Hu?" Llando asks against my shoulder.
"I left the lube in my bag."
He pulls back and frowns at me, looking puzzled. "Na lube?"
"It's back at the camp."
"Sa," he nods to show he understands what I'm saying. He takes my hand and brings it up to his face, separates out out my first two fingers puts them in his mouth and sucks, massaging them with his tongue. I get his meaning straight away.
"Yeah, your right, we don't have to fuck." I remove my fingers, unbutton my shorts and take them off. Llando never takes his eyes off me as he strips too.
Trailing a hand across his chest I tease his nipples with my fingertips until they pebble then stroke on downwards until I find the hardened flesh between his legs. He does the same to me and we end up with our cocks pressed together, both of our hands wrapped around them, kissing one another again.
I can feel, rather than hear, Llando groaning and I find myself doing the same. This does feel really good, but I'd very much like him to do to my erection what he did to my fingers. "Do you want to give me a blow job?" I ask, resting my free hand on his shoulder.
"Sa," he grins, kneeling down in front of me. He licks me all over at first, then concentrates on the head, running his tongue around until I'm slick and wet, occasionally looking up.
"That's right...that's good," I say to encourage him as he's never done this before. When he experiments with putting me in his mouth he takes too much and ends up gagging. "Just put as much in as you're comfortable with," I tell him. The only person I've ever know who could swallow cock was Topher, and he refused to teach me how to do it, although I'm not sure it's something I could have learned anyway.
He tries again, this time he doesn't go so deep and soon he's gently sucking me. "Yeah...like that," I say cupping the back of his head.
He quickly finds a rhythm and then becomes confident enough to reach round behind me with a hand and stroke my tail crease.
"Mmm...yes." I feel a delicious tension building inside of me, Llando's a fast learner and he knows how I like to be touched. "I going to come very soon," I pant. "If you don't want me to do it in your mouth stop now and use your hand." I hope he understood.
He doesn't stop, instead he speed up, both with his fingers and his mouth and I can hear myself making a lot of noise. I manage to collect my thoughts enough to say "now" just before I explode inside inside his mouth, and I try hard not to thrust too much into him. He keeps sucking as I orgasm, drawing out every last drop and swallowing it down.
"Thank you," I breath when the final spasms have died away. He stands up and presses his mouth to mine, I taste me on him.
"Good?" he asks smiling.
"Exit blow job Llando now?"
"Of course," I reply, kneeling down in front of him.
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