The trunk swayed back and forth as it was hoisted upon the shoulders of Norsand and Grip. Sansa swayed forward in alarm as the two strong men rounded the corner of the hall and began to make their way downstairs. She could hear the shuffling of Moreen and Harrow behind them, preparing the carry the smaller trunk down the stairs as well. The thuds of the heavy booted feet below her were intensely audible as the blood from her heightened state of awareness began to pound in her ears. This descent to her seemed longer than it actually was, for time passing in her mind was slow, compared to the cautious and hurried pace at which the men were moving. She pressed her hands on the sides of the trunk as her descent continued and her forward lurches increased with pace. She had pressed the walls so hard that the patterns of the ornate wood of the trunk began to imprint upon her soft and delicate hands. Her fingertips turned rose and white and she pressed even harder as they reached the lowermost stairs, in an awkward position of almost being vertical as Norsand's foot hit the bottom of the landing. Light sounds of voices could be heard, as she knew they were passing beside the tavern. As she peered through the ornate golden rim of the trunk, she could see Helena force a smile through lips and eyes that looked puffy from crying. She busied herself cleaning tables as she waved from afar in silence. Her husband Landau did the same and polished glasses and dried mugs as he stood behind the bar.
The light of day permeated the perforations in the lid of the trunk as the group stepped outside. The air was crisp and cool compared to the heaviness of that of the tavern. She had not been outside in 5 days and already she missed being free. Thoughts of staying in this trunk plagued her thoughts and she felt as if time slowed down every minute she was inside, in the dark, and the smell of freedom was so lovely that chilly autumn day. Within seconds her apprehension calmed when she thought of where she could be, either still hiding in the room in that quaint tavern or a dungeon, or even headless, like her father. Better this than be a real prisoner. In Kings Landing I was free to move about but still was in a cage. Solace came over her when she remembered her company. She was surrounded by a warrior and friends. There was nothing to fear. She rocked back and forth as she was brought around the tavern to the stables, where the trunk was placed evenly on the ground. The sound of grass made her smile, along with the sound of hooves beating at the ground. She peered out of the golden filigree that encompassed her and saw her friend, Stranger, yet it was not. Instead of the shining coat, as dark as midnight, she saw what appeared to be a different horse, powdery white with small showings of black down his cannons to his hooves. But she knew the fire in those eyes as he bent down to smell the fragrance in the box near him. His nostrils flared near the golden filigree, blowing air out of a soft, powdery white muzzle. She smiled at his greeting to her. Not for that it was amusing, but that his disguise was incredibly clever. She could hear Sandor's gruff voice on the other side of the trunk, thanking Grip for the powder that had already set dry.
"S'won me many a thanks this powder! Many a knight's powdered up them steeds fer tourneys an' such, makin' em pretty fer the crowds. Don't make a difference when them knights bleed, but never runs a streak even in the rain!" he boasted. Sansa smiled. These men were truly resourceful. She was very glad they were on their side. She continued to watch as legs and feet moved around her, and noticed that Moreen was considerably silent. Sansa supposed that although she was boisterous and normally very talkative, she behaved as most women did in the presence of men of age, and men of stature. Based on her position in life and trade, all men were of stature, and she kept to herself. The wheels of a very large cart drawn by two horses rolled by, and Sansa could hear Stranger neigh, most likely in protest of being forced to travel with other horses present. She knew he would not like company. He was a stubborn horse, but was glad she had made a friend of him. After Sandor calmed his stallion, she heard the back of the cart lower and then Grip say that they would lift the trunk and place it in towards the front of the cart, close to the front seat. Presently, she saw the legs of her protector swish by her, when her nose caught the smell of metal and leather upon his passing. Looking out of the back of the trunk she could see his face for a brief second, and saw that his massive facial scar had been concealed in the white powder, and his hood was up. For a brief second his eyes met hers, and what appeared to be a twinkle had shone within them. He was just as excited as she was to begin their escape. He was just too strong to show it. Within a flash, the twinkle was gone and he was right back to the task at hand. Sansa smiled broadly. She took in a deep breath, and relaxed, hands touching the sides of the trunk in relief that they would soon be on their way, and comforted by the strength of her protector. For a moment as she swayed back and forth she thought that there was something more behind that look he had given her, even if only for a second, she knew that there was something more. She could feel it. Her feelings were confirmed by his deep rough whisper.
"In you go, Little Bird. Keep your hair covered and do not open that trunk until we say we are clear."
"Yes Norsand," she whispered, desperately seeking his eyes through the filigree, so she could lock upon them once more. But he had already disappeared outside of the covered cart. But she could still hear him.
"You too. Not a sound until we say clear," he barked at Moreen, and swiftly turned away to mount Stranger.
Moreen was elevated by the hand of Grip, who delicately pulled her in and placed her on top of a leather pouffe, placed atop a circular wicker base that rested next to the ornate trunk that held Sansa securely.
"No noise little pearl. Talk yes, but not too loud 'eh?" he whispered, and planted a velvety soft kiss on the back of Moreen's hand with his thick and generous lips. She blushed a warm crimson and replied,
"As you wish, my captain," and flashed a sensuous smile. If Grip was not so brown, his bald head would have glowed red from the warm rush he felt every time that woman's smile was directed at him.
Seats were taken, treasure carts closed and locked with irons, which made the interior very dark, pitch black, save the sliver of light that escaped from the joining of the two wooden doors that closed the ladies in. After a few moments, a curious thing occurred as the inside of the cart began to strangely lighten. Jars lined on the shelves began to glow a dull orange, and then continued to lighten up inside, reflecting a warm glow. Moreen was intensely curious and rose to see that what lived inside of these jars that were giving off so much light. They were mushroom stalks, attached to decaying pieces of wood that glowed so brightly in the dark with light that rivaled a candle. So much wonder flooded her mind that she was just in awe of the treasures around her. Glints of gold and silver shone in the golden light cast by the jars, along with ornate woods and beautifully cast iron and bronzes. She could not fathom the beauty of the land that was to come and lay itself open for them all. These men were truly skilled at their trade. Her mind reeled with joy at the few magical things she had seen so far and wondered what lovely magic awaited them in Myr. With a snap of reigns, the cart began to move, a slow bumpy commencing pace out of the stables. Once they were on the road, the ride was much smoother and faster. They were off on their way to their new home, a land far away, full of safety, security, prosperity and promise. The cart drove forward, while Norsand Stone guarded from behind. There was much land to cover this day.
The cart thundered on for miles upon miles, stretching north eastward in an impressive pace of the horses toward the safety of the Fathom Charger. As the time drew on, the ladies were subject to the bumps and unsteady jumbling of the road beneath them. They assumed that riding in the cart would be a smooth endeavor, but they were subject to the reverberation of every stone and pebble beneath the wheels.
Grip looked around at the scenery around him and an unnerving sense of urgency swept through him. He knew the sensitivity of their transport and the fact that their new friend Norsand purchased the entire shipment of goods they had brought to sell made him even more invested in completing this journey without any trouble. They had traveled for nearly six hours and had covered a great distance. The horses were tired, and he was unsure if night rest would be safer than resting during the day. The reigns in his hands became tight, and suddenly his attention was turned to the trees that were speeding by at in incredible pace. As he peered through the woods, he could see a small ravine that wound through the right of the forest road. It also appeared on the left, which meant that a short covered bridge was coming up ahead. Norsand saw the ravine as well and instinctually knew that it would be likely they would meet another traveler stopping for water. He charged around the cart to call Grip's attention and bring the cart to a halt. Both Moreen and Sansa could hear the hooves of Stranger charge forward and were alert with the sound of the horse's urgency.
"We must be stoppin'…" she whispered to Sansa, who waited impatiently for what was next. Although the ride had rough, she managed to doze off here and there, with her worry and apprehension drowned out by the hooves and noise of the cart. But now, the concern had seeped in once more, and began to intensify as the cart slowed down to a stop.
"Is something wrong?" she breathed though the filigree.
"I don't know just yet, but I'm sure we will," said Moreen nervously.
As the cart came to a definite stop, Grip addressed Norsand with a warm smile. He was always courteous and friendly,
"Water up ahead," he smiled as he stayed the horses.
"Aye, but that is not all," grumbled Norsand. "We need to get up closer to see what may be ahead. Where there is water there is a thirst for many who would have it."
Grip nodded in agreement. "Should I go with you to scout the area?"
"No. I must go alone. Bring the cart and horses into the trees about a quarter mile off. It will be a bit treacherous, but the bush is thick and will conceal you. I will go back out to the road and cover the tracks from behind. "We have about seven hours of daylight left. I will decide if we are to travel by night or not. You guard the women. Do not let them out unless you are sure it is safe. Harrow will keep watch from above." He looked at him with encouragement. Harrow nodded happy to take the role of a watchman. "Traders do not appear to carry suspicion. They will pass you by with no second glance. Off the road now," their leader commanded.
The brush was very thick and the entrance into the wood was a bit of a challenge. The best advantage was that a hedge of wild brambles lined both sides of the road where they were and with some effort they tore through the line with minimal damage and difficulty. About a quarter mile in, there was a clearing, and the ravine twisted its way into the wood in a swift quiet roll over rocks shaped and smoothed by time.
"Perfect," whispered Grip. He would be able to unhitch the horses to they would have a healthy drink and short graze before traveling again. All was quiet and secure, but Grip could not swallow his previous apprehension he felt while on the road. He felt he must speak up, for fear that not mentioning his sense of heightened awareness may lead to misfortune.
"Friend," he called to Sandor, who barely heard him as he turned Stranger eastward to take another path back toward the road. While rounding to rejoin his traveling companion, the stallion's white coat shone brightly here and there as specks of sunlight entered the forest floor. He looked majestic instead of dangerously fierce.
In the cart, the two ladies were straining to listen to the conversation outside.
"I think we stopped at some water," whispered Moreen. "You alright m'lady? 'Ain't nothin' ta worry about. Were safe and in the woods."
"I'm fine," breathed Sansa. "But when will I be able to get out of this box? It is terribly close in here. How are you? We have been traveling for some time now . Is your seat comfortable? Mine feels like a pillow filled with down." There was only one way to get through this discomfort and complaining was not the right choice for now. Besides, she was too excited about where she was going to let a sore bottom trouble her now.
"I will tell ya' tha truth m'lady, I need a pike like a fish needs water." She said with her normal sultry undertone. Sansa's mouth dropped open and she stifled the shock laugh that escaped. Moreen was so alarming and yet comical at the same time. She made the affairs of making love so easy to imagine, and hid nothing from her. She knew that if she asks she would answer honestly.
"I do not think that you will get your wish any time soon," Sansa giggled. Moreen looked at her lady through the filigree and those smoky dark eyes flashed a swift hint of mischief to her companion.
"I may not be able to have pleasure inside of myself, but I could give you a lesson in pleasing a man. I will give my captain some security of things to come. It will last only a few minutes but it will seem like forever to him," her eyes glinted. She always had some sexy business in her mind. She was who she was, and she undoubtedly craved the adventure of her profession; but to take on an act in front of her dearly uncorrupted companion, now that would be an event to tide her over until her time to gain real satisfaction. "Pretend you are asleep and slightly open your eyes to watch. You ain't seen how a lady can use her lips to make a man crazy. May as well show ya now. You can use it for later. Just you don't make a sound my pretty."
Sansa was secretly excited. She did not wish to show it, but the truth was that she knew her companion wanted to be watched. It would be a secret between the two of them after all, and no one would never know that she was awake the whole time. She closed her eyes and leaned back into a slight recline and relaxed, not making a sound.
Grip could hold back the tension no longer. "I have a feeling that something is not as it should be. As if we ain't the only ones here. Just a little time's all we need, just ta' get them horses watered. I don't think we should stay," Grip's brown face glowed in the sunlight and was undoubtedly strewn with concern, causing him to not look so much like himself, and Sandor read him very well for he had the same concern. He nodded and replied.
"We depart in two quarters of an hour," more than enough time for everyone to drink their fill and take some additional water on the road. Sandor rode off quickly and quietly, focused on making sure the path ahead was clear.
Immediately Harrow went to the ravine first while Grip stayed atop the cart, watching carefully and surveying the area around him. Birds were chirping freely and loudly, which was a very good sign. He knew that for the moment they were safe. Harrow had made it to the water and quicker than he knew he could maneuver, was down on all fours, drinking heartily from the ravine, soaking his white beard in the coolness of the water. It was fresh and swift moving, clear of debris. He removed his head cap and splashed the cool water over his head and neck. After he refreshed himself, he walked over to a thicket and relieved himself before washing up at the stream once more and drinking his fill a second time. Upon returning, Grip quickly went to the horses and unhitched them. He knew time was short, and wanted to make sure that the horses had plenty of time to refresh themselves and gather extra water for the journey. As Harrow took his place atop the cart, grip led the horses over to the ravine and watched them drink heavily. With a wooden vessel he scooped one bucketful after the other of the cool water and splashed it over the horses, letting the cool water run down their backs and legs. If they could tell him how much they enjoyed the treatment they would have, but the way they stood quietly still as Grip showered them with care was all he needed in place of thanks. He walked back to the cart, preparing to open the back to retrieve two bundles of fresh herbs they had brought for the journey. He was glad to open the doors of the wagon to see his little pearl.
"Little treasures," he jested. Moreen was happy to see the sunlight stream into the cart and shielded her eyes at the light pouring in. She smiled warmly to see the face of her captain stepping up into the cart.
She immediately rose to meet him and smothered him with a sensual kiss, warm and lovely over his thick lips. She pressed her ample soft bosom into his chest, which caused him to wrap his arms around her and hold her close. He kissed her expertly in return, sucking the lower lip of hers and giving it a playful bite. Moreen closed her eyes in a moment of pure bliss, as she enjoyed his features very much, and as astounded by the softness of his mouth. She was so accustomed to the thin hard lips surrounded by stubble and bristly hair. His longer hair on his chin was soft, almost like lamb's wool and those think lips, she could suck on for days. She brought her hand to his thighs and he held her wrist fast.
"Now my pearl, the lady is here. We can wait till' we're clear and alone," he said through his passionate kiss.
"Ah, my captain, but we are alone. She is asleep," she lied. "Oh please, do come this way. I am so thankful that you have taken me away from that terrible dark place." She slowly brought him close to her seat, and she kissed him fervently along the way. "This won't take but a moment, an' you know I'll make it real good for ya'…" she said as she sat down slowly and began to untie his breeches. All the while, she kept her sultry dark eyes fixed on him. Sansa stayed quiet, watching it all from inside of her chest. She caught herself begin to breathe heavily as she watched what was playing out before her eyes. She made a point to quiet her breath and exhale through her nose to mask her rising sensation. Her eyes became fixed upon the breeches of the captain as Moreen slid her hand into them and began to move it up and down. Sansa could see the captain's reaction as he leaned his head back for a moment, closing his eyes. He then thrust his hips forward, letting Moreen stroke his whole entire length with her lovely soft hand. His eyes became wildly passionate as he opened them to look at her. A long breath escaped from him, and Sansa could see his chest heave and expand in such a way that she heard her draw the air in along with him. He looked at Moreen through eyes clouded by lust and reached up to stroke toe back of her neck. He entwined his large hand into her hair and drew her close. The kiss he gave her sent waves of electricity through Sansa as she watched. It was everything in it that made her passion begin to rise, the breaths in between the lovers' kiss, the outstretched hips of the man being pleased, the way her hand moved up and down his length, Moreen's lustful stare at him, along with her mischievous smile; she admired the way she pleased him. And then he took the hand that entwined her hair and tugged it softly down, signaling her that he wanted more. And Moreen obeyed and went to her knees. She kissed his belly and began to pull out his length when
-KNOCK , KNOCK, KNOCK!- Harrow has rapped loudly on the cart's exterior.
"You find those herbs yet? Them horses need to feed before we're on the road!" he yelled.
Grip let out a huge sigh of disappointment, and his body immediately went limp. All of the passion seemed to leave him with one giant exhale. He quickly brought Moreen o her feet and kissed her passionately and quickly as he tied up his breeches and put himself back into order.
"I'm so sorry my pearl," he breathed. "Please, wake up the little miss and you two come out for some water and relief."
Moreen threw him a scornful glance.
"Well maybe not that type of relief my little pearl. " He came close to her and gave her one last gentle kiss.
"Don't worry, we will have time. And when we do, you'll have your bliss first." He winked and rushed out of the back of the cart.
Moreen sighed heavily, and did her best to regain her composure. She then crouched down to the trunk and heard giggles coming from the lovely piercing blue eyes through the filigree.
"So much for the lesson!" she laughed and helped Sansa out of the trunk.
As the ladies drank from the cool water they both savored it, and dipped cloths into it to wash their faces necks and arms. Sansa wished she could wash her hair in the clean water but did not want to risk travelling with a wet head. Grip offered them one of the buckets and brought it over to some thick brush so that they could relieve and wash themselves in some minimal privacy. The ladies agreed to take turns so they may stand guard over one another. All the while, Grip wasted no time and two giant barrels were removed from the cart, filled with fresh water and then closed and rolled back to be loaded up again. This water would last several days if they had to ration it. Harrow came down from his perch to help his friend with the heavy lifting. Soon it was time for the company to take their places once again to take on the rest of the journey. Just then the attention of the travelers was commanded when the heard the distant snap of twigs and the sound of a group of horses. The two men and ladies became fearful and a rise of panic swelled in all of them. In a swift moment a massive dark figure atop a white stallion charged through the brush, with two horses tethered behind him.