Fifteen minutes later, Fomasal and Merrie were walking back into the wide tunnel away from the Red Door. She kept close to his hip, her body moving in time with his rapid footsteps. Around them, the wide tunnel was dimly lit due to heavy cloaks being thrown over the magical lanterns that lined both sides of the tunnel.
The guards were still there, milling around both sides of the tunnel. They turned to stare at both of them but Merrie knew their attention was focused on her. She was an amputee crawling on the ground, naked and helpless.
She couldn’t help but sway her hips and wag her tail. The thrill of presenting herself brought a rush though she was careful not to let the energy gather inside her. It still turned her on and she enjoyed the little tingle of excitement.
It didn’t last long before they approached their next destination, the end of the tunnel. The entire opening was guarded by heavy steel bars except for a narrow opening in the middle. Beyond the entrance was open air and the darkness of night.
Almost thirty guards stood in front of the opening. Most of them were staring out into the night but that changed as they approached. One by one, the guards turned to stare at her. There were looks of naked lust and suspicion on their faces.
Merrie let out a soft moan at the attention.
“Do you cause trouble everywhere you go?”
Merrie looked up at him. Then she gave a single pointed bark.
“Yes, of course. It doesn’t help that you are parading around naked. Where is Zurl—”
An explosion interrupted him, the air blasting against Merrie’s face. The force of it forced her back a step.
Even Fomasal staggered for a moment.
“My apologize, Commander.”
Fomasal glared at the warrior. “Were you waiting for me to ask for you?”
“I found a long shift, it should work to cover her,” said the Loyal. He held up a bundle of worn fabric along with with a rope.
“Thank you.” Fomasal said as he took the bundle. As the Loyal disappeared, he crouched down in front of Merrie. “Come on, the guards should have dressed you before you ever got on the wagon. Didn’t you ask?”
Merrie whined and shook her head. She got on her knees and held out her wrists.
“I can help. Come on,” he was almost tender as he worked the fabric down over her arms, shoulders, and breasts. His knuckles brushed against the sensitive nipples for a moment before dragging the fabric further down around her waist. “Do you like being naked?”
“Back to being a dog?”
She rolled her eyes, grinned, and barked again.
“Well, Princess, I’m required to do everything in my power to make sure you don’t die as soon as you arrive.” He spoke a bit louder than normal, probably for the benefits of the listening guards. When he continued, his voice was quieter. “You probably want to head for the tunnels as fast as you can. Over the centuries, the prisoners have carved homes into the sides of the cliff and into the ground underneath. When they get too far, they set off the wards or set off a wave of demons, but there is enough places away from the sunlight that you won’t die.”
She lifted her body as he tugged the shift down. It fluttered to her hips before it was taut across her body. The thin fabric was almost transparent and it did little to hide her large breasts sticking out. It was also short enough that her tail was free and her pussy peeked out from the bottom.
He didn’t seem to notice as he wrapped the rope around her waist and cinched it tight. His fingers were sure but there was an unexpected tenderness.
When he finished, he leaned back. “I’m going to find out what happened. But right now, you are ordered to enter the prison proper.”
Fomasal stood up and pointed into the darkness. “We will not provide food, shelter, or clothing beyond what is legally required for you to survive beyond this gate. If you approach this gate without a pardon or being summoned, you will be killed. There is amnesty here, there is no freedom here, and there is no hope. You are now a prisoner of Abbinkey.”
He stepped back as did the rest of the guards, clearing the path between her and the darkness. “You have sixty seconds to leave.”
Merrie stared at him for a moment.
She turned and crawled out of the opening and into the night air. The fabric rasped against her skin, clinging to her body and tugging unexpectedly when she moved. It had been years since she had worn clothes that weren’t her animated cloak, it only added to her discomfort and the feeling that she was in a strange land.
Outside of the tunnel, the path was pulverized rock. The sharp edges dug into her knees and wrists but it was a familiar pain. Her stomach twisted and she felt like she was going to throw up. It reminded her of being on the auction block when she was sold. Somewhere, back in her memories, she remembered standing in a warehouse as men worked their way through frightened people kidnapped off the street.
She paused in mid-step. She was standing? She didn’t have any memories of having feet anymore, they were all lost when she bonded with Kine. She frowned and tried to focus on the memory but it slipped away.
Frustrated, she concentrated. Crystalline letters flickered across her mind and she felt an indescribable joy as pure magic rushed through her veins. She moaned at the sensation, losing herself as she clutched on her lost past.
Just as the spell was about to complete, she remembered Parn’s request. She needed to live her life without magic. To live as if the geasa were still binding her, to limit her magic whenever possible. Parn didn’t ask for a proper oath, she asked for a choice. What would be one memory? It was only one second. One heartbeat.
But it was also trivial. Her bonding was a long time ago, many different lives in her past.
She held herself still as her struggle waged inside her. She could feel the memory slipping away, though she knew that her psionic powers would drag it back if she wanted. All she had to do was finish the spell.
Just a pulse of power.
Just one more crystalline letter.
She couldn’t do it. Closing her eyes, she erased the psychic spell and felt the gathered energy bleed away. A sob rose in her throat as she slumped down.
Then her past was gone once again.
She took a deep breath. It was just a trivial memory. She could live without it. Pushing herself up, she got on her knees and looked ahead of her. a tear burned in her eye but she used her wrist to wipe it clear.
In the distance, she could see a bright light. She didn’t know what was waiting for her and that frightened her. She knew there would be shadows to hide in and tunnels that she could pass her days. With her powers, that would be easy. Without them? She wasn’t so confident.
She turned back to look at the tunnel entrance. She was far enough she couldn’t see the guards but she knew they were there. The command and the Loyal would also be waiting; even at her best, Merrie was only an equal to the Loyal’s combat abilities. But that would also require her to use magic.
Merrie already knew the answer. It was the same when she let her memories slip away. She stretched for a moment. Her tail and ears perked up as she started forward again. There was only one choice she could make of her three lives: crawl forward.