It was coming up on morning and Merrie could feel it along her skin. The sun hadn't risen over the trees yet but the horizon had been steadily brightening for the last hour. Even the reflected light caused her skin to tingle, like it was being held too close to a flame.
She squirmed as much as she could. Her shoulders, back, and tail were screaming in agony after spending the night tied to the stump. Layers of cum stuck to her skin, not quite drying in the moist morning air. Instead, it was sticky and slimy. The smell of it fought with the crisp scents of a morning waking up.
Her eyes scanned the horizon as she whimpered. The sun was getting brighter. It reminded her of waking up from her death, the constant crawl for darkness before bursting into flame. Every time a flicker of brighter light washed over her, the memories came following and her cries grew louder.
She squirmed and twisted, tugging on the ropes. She couldn't get free, not without dissolving into shadows or transforming into a hound. She looked up at the treeline and considered it for the countless time since she first felt the caress of ambient sunlight.
With tears in her eyes, she tried again. Why didn't she want to transform? Parn said she would fail. She knew the spell, it hovered in the back of her mind. She kept starting it and then stopping it, pulling back as Parn's words echoed in her head.
Merrie hated herself for not saving herself. She could have done it easily at night. She could have escaped the cage, the wagon, and even being raped. Well, she would have done it after being raped since the orgasms would have given her more than enough energy to break free and kill every guard if she wanted to.
She slumped, the despair rising. No, she was going to try.
Lifting her gaze, the memory of burning away in the sunlight grew stronger. The hope of following Parn was faced with the countless agonies of rebuilding her body. It took a year last time, could she really do it again.
She twisted and cried out louder, her voice naturally sounding more like a dog than a human. Another restriction.
A beam of sunlight speared through the trees, cutting through the rising mist.
Merrie shuddered as she had to turn away. It was too bright and looked like a flaming spear. It wasn't even close to her but that was only a matter of seconds.
Another beam of light speared out through the trees.
She screamed and twisted harder.
In her mind, she started the transformation spell again but stopped only a few swirls into it. She hated herself for stopping; in a few minutes, there would be far too much light for her magic to work.
Instead, she screamed out again, a high-pitched yet hoarse sound that beat against the trees.
Her limbs ached as she twisted in her ropes. She tried to jerk her head forward to break the tie with her hair and tail but only managed to cause her tail to protest in agony.
Seeing more sunlight spearing through the trees, she pulled harder. Her sounds rose up above the trees.
More beams of light pierced the sun. It was getting brighter all around her and the tingling along her skin quickly turned into a dull burning sensation. She couldn't stop moving, her cries rising up as she tried to steel herself from burning to death on the stump.
Black smoke swirled around her. It was faint at first but getting thicker with every second. She couldn't twist enough to see her skin burning but she felt the agonies rippling along her sides and buttocks. She could smell the sake in the air as she took a deep breath to scream louder.
The gate creaked open and then banged on something.
She screamed louder as sun pierced the air only centimeters from her skin. It burned a black line along her shoulder and throat.
Her scream rose to a high-pitched agony as she tried to twist away from it.
“Fuck!” yelled Dornen. He came running up. “Fuck, fuck, fuck!”
“Take off your clock, asshole!” bellowed Ginny. “All of your cloaks, now!”
“Take off your fucking cloak and cover her or you are fired!”
Merrie tried to stop screaming but couldn't. Her body was burning away, the sunlight spearing against her breasts and throat. She felt it peeling away in the sunlight, the black smoke rising in a cloud round her.
A cloak was throw over her buttocks.
A beam of sunlight pierced her breast. It punched through her chest and out the other side. It wasn't where her heart was but the triple beat increased in terror until it was a constant drum that matched the agony of her insides burning away.
Another cloak was whipped across her face. It blocked the sun but the light still got through the fabric.
“More!” screamed Ginny. “We have to get her out of the light!”
Another cloak was thrown on top of her. Someone ran away. Then a shirt and some other clothes.
The tension of her hair and tail suddenly snapped. Unprepared, she lurched forward. Her face smacked against the front of the stump. The impact knocked off the clothes and she felt fresh agonies burn along her back.
Among the swearing, the guards frantically covered her. Each one reduced the light but there was too much of it.
The sun had rising and she was burning.
“Here,” said Vace.
“Seriously? You are going—” asked Dornen.
“Now, guard!” interrupted Ginny.
Hands grabbed Merrie and hauled her off the stump. Someone had removed the ropes but she hadn't noticed in her panic. There was a flash of sunlight across her entire body and then darkness as she was shoved into a large barrel.
Her body crumpled at the bottom as the black smoke gathered around her. Still crying, she curled her burning limbs together and prayed that the agony would end.
The smell of rainwater felt good as did the clothes that were jammed to the top to block all light from coming in.
“I don't care if you assholes ride her fucking cunt every night, but if you let her die, I'm going to kill every single one of you!” Ginny sounded furious.
“Don't you dare lie to me. I said she had to stay out of sunlight.”
“I thought because she was pale, she'd burn,” said Hore.
“Yes! Burn away. There is a reason she created a fucking shadow land! She is part shadow creature! I said no sunlight! I said no fucking light! We changed the damn lights on the fortress just for her!”
There was an uncomfortable silence.
“All of you are docked a day's pay.”
A smack. “More backtalk and you are fired, Dornen. One more word that isn't ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ and 'madam.'”
A brief silence.
Ginny took a long, deep breath. “Take the barrel and throw it in the wagon. We are late because of you assholes. We are leaving in five.”
“What—” Dornen started and then stopped. “Yes, madam.”
The barrel was lifted off the ground and carried. Merrie closed her eyes and swayed with it, it gave her something to think about besides her burning skin and the agony of sunlight. By the time they shoved the barrel into the back of the wagon, the pain had subsided into a dull ache. Only one part still burned in pain, from where the sun had pierced through her chest.
The wagon shifted as someone crawled in after her. Then the barrel was tilted to one side and then the other before someone shoved it over.
She whimpered from the jostling. Then she could see through the opening as the clothes tumbled out.
“Get in your cage,” snapped Hore.
Trembling, Merrie crawled out of the barrel. Every step was agony but the wagon was blissfully dark. Shuddering, she crawled into the cage.
“Think we screwed up?” asked Dornen as he crawled in. His voice was a whisper, like a beaten child.
“Yeah, big time. Can't believe we risked everything for that cunt.”
Dornen took a deep breath and looked around. “We'll just bring her in next time. Or do her in back. Don't worry, I'm not done with that cunt.”
“I don't know, I like my job.”
“I like seeing Ginny's tits. Can you believe she just whipped off her shirt like that?”
Hore stood up and shook his head. “Not now, please? Maybe later, but… not now. I have someone at home. I can't afford to lose this job.”
Dornen sighed. “Lock the fucking cage, pussy.”
Hore did and they both got out of the wagon. Locking the door behind them, they went to their duties of getting the prison wagon ready to leave.
A few minutes later, the prisoners were brought in and shackled to their seats. When they left, no one said anything for several minutes.
Finally, Monte cleared his throat. “I take it you didn't have a good night.”
Merrie shivered and tried to find another comfortable spot on the hard floor of the cage. The blackened wounds were slowly healing but it would take hours before she would be fully healed. It would only take a second if she transformed but she didn't. Instead, she reached out with her limb and tugged at the clothes still spilled on the floor.
Monte pushed some closer.
“T-Thank you,” she whispered after a moment considering if she could bark instead.
“What happened?” his voice was softer.
“They tied me to a stump and fucked me all night.”
Ston made a pained noise. “Oh, Madock.”
“No,” Merrie said with a grim smile. “That part was fun. Being left out wasn't, they kept me there all morning and then the sun came.”
“Sun?” asked Razor and Ston at the same time.
“It burns me.”
Razor continued, “You're pale. A sunburn—”
“Sunlight kills me. Burns away my skin and dissolves my insides.”
No one responded.
Merrie's ears flattened against her head. She winced at the pain and pulled more clothes underneath her to give her comfort. “Sorry, I'm a creature of shadows. I don't handle light well.”
“I thought you'd have the Justice Geas on you,” Madock said.
“It can't change who I am.”
“All the vulnerabilities but none of the life-stealing powers?”
Merrie thought about how she still had magic. She could easily break out of the cage and wagon if she wanted to. However, she needed to remain, it was her promise. The other didn't need to know it either. There needed to be some lies, even among murderers. “Yes,” she said.