Sacrificed to the Mountain Gods
Copyright © 2018 by Kelex
When Itari opened his eyes once more, he saw a raging fire not far away. Without moving his head, he checked to see where those who had started that fire might be. The longer his jailers thought him asleep, the better.
But instead of seeing Tertullis and Tartenillus, he saw two strangers tending the fire.
He searched them over. Both were dark haired and muscled like warriors. Humans? No, he didn’t think so. While he hadn’t seen all that many humans in his lifetime, he was fairly sure these two were too big. Giants?
No… too small.
Halflings like him, perhaps? He’d heard tales of others like him, and Itari wouldn’t be surprised to learn these men were human-giant Halflings.
A scent wafted his way…
His stomach clenched in hunger as he eyed the meat cooking on a spit near the flames between the men.
“Dinner will be done soon,” one of the giant-men said to the other.
But when he turned to pin Itari with a gaze, perhaps the man hadn’t been talking to his friend at all.
My gods his eyes are beautiful.They were the same blue of the pools up on the mountain. He’d only been once, to the huge waterfalls that lined the elves’ sacred halls, but they’d left an indelible memory burned into his brain.
The rest of the giant-man was coarse in appearance. His thick, grizzled beard and long, tousled hair gave him an almost beastly appearance. The man turned back to the fire. “You don’t have to feign sleep, little Halfling. I know you’re awake.”
Itari slowly sat up. He gazed at the other man a moment. They were two peas in a podlet. The other man was just as roughhewn looking, the only difference was his eyes were as green as the leaves of the pegastree, but no less brilliant. And on second look, the man’s hair was perhaps a russet color. It was hard to tell, as he wasn’t as close to the light of the flames.
“Who are you? How did I get here?”
“Ruam,” the blue-eyed man said. He pointed to his friend. “Torsten.”
“And my second question?”
Ruam eyed him over one shoulder before glancing back to the flames. “We found you battered and broken under the trees. We mended you and brought you with us while you healed.”
Itari reached up and felt his head. There was no wound. “How… how long have I been out?”
“A few hours,” Torsten answered. He handed over a pouch that Itari guessed might be water.
Itari looked up into that green-eyed stare once more, feeling almost lost in it.
“You mustdrink,” Torsten murmured.
After staring too long, Itari finally took the pouch. His fingers rubbed along Torsten’s roughened ones and their gazes met again… just before a shiver raced down his spine. The thought of those hands all over his body flashed into his mind, and his temperature rose a bit. Torsten was thickly muscled, his arms on full display thanks to the dark leather vest he wore. More of the russet hair dusted his forearms, and Itari wondered if it swept over the giant-man’s chest.
And then downward.
Itari licked his lips, his mind wandering to wicked things. He dragged his gaze away from the bulge in the man’s leather pants. Torsten looked strong. He looked dangerous. The thick metal cuffs along his wrists, heavy furred boots, and dark soot under his eyes only added to the mystique. Ruam was dressed much like Torsten.
They looked ominous… dangerous…
Yet he felt a dark pull to them both… a desire to be wrapped in their arms.
A desire for them to claim him.
Who are they?
And why did he feel such an attraction to two big, burly beasts?
He thought he saw a sliver of a smile cross Torsten’s lips, but that hint was gone as fast as lightning. Itari dragged his stare away and opened the cap. He took a drink and moaned—his eyes falling closed. The water was as cold and crisp as the crystal pools on the mountain. When he reopened his eyes, he saw Torsten staring at him. He tilted his gaze, and he saw Ruam was, as well. Their hungry gazes were bright with the light of the flames.