Billy had forgotten just how quiet a Rauder could be. His sleep was not disturbed as Lollanna entered his ice shelter and slipped silently out of her clothes. He awoke when she slid under the furs to lie against him, and offered no resistance as she pressed against his naked body. He sensed an urgency within her, and let her take what actions she felt compelled to take. Billy felt partly responsible for her husband’s death, and if she sought comfort in his bed he would not deny her.
Lollanna’s hands were gentle and enticing as they explored his muscles and his manhood. Her lips found his and there was passion burning in her kiss. Her breasts were firm and her nipples taut. Billy started to rise, intending to take a position atop her, but she pushed him back and straddled him. Her vaginal muscles clutched at him, gripping and relaxing as she rocked back and forth above him. It quickly became the most incredible sexual experience of Billy’s life.
She moved with a determined pace, seeming almost to anticipate and complement Billy’s growing physical and mental need for release.
“Give me your seed,” she whispered huskily. Her muscles began to rhythmically milk him and he felt his body spasm. He closed his eyes to savor the ecstasy. Sweet release for body and pent up emotions. He felt her lean forward, still straddling him, one arm snaking behind his neck as if to pull him closer for a kiss.
There was cold steel at his throat. Lollanna held the dagger with one hand as her other arm tightened like a vice to immobilize his neck. A peal of thunder boomed in the distance.
“You are responsible for my husband’s death, Taka Shema,” she spat out. “I shall be responsible for yours.”
Billy stared into her eyes. They glinted with a cold fire. She was determined and fully capable of carrying out her threat.
“You!” he said. “You are the woman in the dreams!”
Lollanna smiled, savoring her revenge. “I shall raise your seed in my husband’s image, Taka Shema. It shall replace the progeny you have denied to him.”
Billy cursed silently. She had him in an incredibly vulnerable position, with no obvious way out of it. His senses were fully operative now; the first touch of the blade had dispelled the euphoria of their lovemaking. Ninja indeed; a true ninja never lowered his guard. He had no one to blame but himself.
“Lollanna,” he said.
“Speak nothing but prayers, Taka Shema.” She moved her head inches from his and whispered, “And speak those quickly.”
Billy tried to concentrate on a simple spell; he could feel the blade with his mind, knew the essence of the steel, and tried to alter it towards the nature of rubber. The spell refused to actuate; it faded away to leave him with a queasy emptiness in his stomach. He had not developed the habit of sleeping with a power wand and he had no energy source powerful enough to force the blade away. Not with the amount of strength and will she was expending to keep it there.
“Lollanna, if you kill me you also kill the one thing that your husband believed in above all else. Something he felt was worth dying for. Will you dishonor his memory by destroying that very thing?”
The blade pressed deeper and Billy felt the skin break. His blood was warm and wet against his skin.
“I care nothing for you, Takashema! You are nothing to me. Understand? Nothing!” A tear wound its way down her cheek.
“I meant something to your husband.”
“Rangee is dead. Who is to say what you meant to him? To me, you are only his killer.”
“Kratia killed your husband. Seek vengeance on her.”
“You serve the evil one. It is fitting that the servants die before their master.”
She was too smart to continue the dialogue further. As the blade thrust forward Billy suddenly arched his back forcefully upward, trying to buy a fraction of a second to bring his arms around. But she was very fast; Billy didn’t think he would get that fraction of a second.
The top of the shelter exploded with a roar and a sudden swirling of wind-blown snow. A flash of razor claws cut through the air, catching the side of Lollanna’s head and tossing her effortlessly against the wall. A section of the tent collapsed around her. Billy looked up into the open mouth of the snowbeast. It roared and the stench of decaying meat washed over him. The creature shuffled forward, ripping down the remainder of the roof and wall that impeded its further approach.
Billy rolled out of its path and onto his feet, scooping up a dagger as he moved. He squared off facing the beast. He saw Mandus emerge from the other shelter and approach the snowbeast from the side. The beast sniffed and glanced at Mandus, then at Lollanna who was unconscious, bloodied and tangled in canvas.
The beast raised its head to stare at Billy. A shudder ran through the creature and its eyes dulled. It sniffed the air, then turned its head from side to side as if unsure where it was or what it wanted to do. Abruptly, it backed up, dropped to all fours, and ambled away from the camp. Several yards off it reared up on its hind legs and bellowed before disappearing into the night.
With the light of dawn, Mandus ordered Lollanna to chew several JuJu berries, then proceeded to enter her mind. Upon both her mind and her naked body he placed marks of her treachery and notice of banishment from the Snow wind tribe. Without clothing, horse, or any other item she walked south into the frozen wastes.
Billy had argued with Mandus but the new Rauder chief had stood firm. Even a savior and a hero could not change certain traditions.
“If she survives the walk,” Mandus said, “she will find no allies in the Rauder lands. If she dies, few will mourn her passing.”
Billy watched her go. “Mandus, she can use whatever she finds along the way, correct?”
“Yes. But there is precious little but snow and ice for the next hundred miles.”
Billy reached down and touched the Elfin dagger at his belt. Before Mandus could stop him, Billy’s arm snapped with blinding speed and the dagger hurled through the air to plunge into the ice two feet ahead of Lollanna. She paused, bent down and plucked it out of the ice. She resumed her walk south without looking back.