A slightly feline encounter. X, FM 1994

It's an interesting city, Corelis is, I'll give it that. Never seems to be time to get bored around here, as one of my old tracking-partners said once. Me, I say there's never enough time to have a peaceful cup of ale and a sound night's sleep.

What makes Corelis so different is that it's a port city. People of countless lands and countless races turn up here. It's not at all an ill place for one human guide to linger and wait for a job.

Or to find a tavern and stop for a swallow or three of ale. Not the finest of taverns, certainly, but the drinks are less watered than some I've endured, and the minstrel at the hearth has some degree of skill, at least. Nor is it overly crowded, a few mercenaries, other guides like me, a stray whore or two. One of the guides I've seen around before, he's handsome enough, I wonder if he's any use in bed. Or, for that matter, if he has any interest in women. I settle down to enjoy my ale and the view and my musings, and consider speaking to the good-looking dark one in the far corner.

I've barely managed the second mouthful before I hear the chaos outside.

"Catch him! The little bastard's a thief! Damned mhaurri...."

Someone darts into the tavern, someone small and quick. He or she pauses for a heartbeat, scanning the room, not even long enough for anyone else to take notice, before diving under a table and effectively disappearing.

Close behind comes a man, a merchant to judge by the wealth of his clothes, and two fighters who are probably his. They look around the room, scowling such similar expressions that I almost laugh. So, a little thief has managed to sting one of Corelis' merchant-lords, hm? I have no love for them, arrogant haughty fools for the most part.

One of the guards notices me noticing them, from my corner table, and snaps, "Did a thief come in here?"

"No one's come in here since me." And I've obviously been here more than a few seconds. They have no reason to believe me, I know, but their kind tend to be quite sure no one would dare lie to them.

They glare around suspiciously a little longer, then leave, plainly feeling that they've lost face for having let a thief escape. The merchant does, anyway, because he's berating his guards as incompetents.

Stillness, then the thief wriggles out from under the table, straightens, and comes straight to me.

"You lied, you knew I was therrre. Thank you." A soft tenor voice, a slightly odd accent, and that 'r' sound is a strange sort of trill.

The thief is wearing all dusty black, faded gray—simple tunic and breeches and a hooded cloak that only reaches knee-length. From under the hood the most startling eyes gaze up at me—feline, slanted and slit-pupilled and green with more than a hint of gold. Mhaurri, they'd been screaming. Well, they'd gotten that part right, at least. Male or female? No way to tell, really, mhaurri are all short and mostly very slender. This one may be five feet tall, but certainly not much more, and has a typical mhaurri build. Tawny hair, deep gold with a hint of red to it, falls loose on both sides of a face I could almost call elven, save that it's dominated by those fascinating eyes. No way to reliably tell age, either, but he or she looks like a human of perhaps seventeen or eighteen.

I shrug. "I won't pass up the chance to let one of those pompous fools with their noses in the air stumble a bit."

A mischievous grin crosses that all-too-attractive face. "He was not pleased with Amberr. He saw me and prromised silverr forr me to mate with him." The grin widened. "He did not know that Amberr be male mhaurri, not female. He did not like that."

I can't help but laugh. Oh, there are a few merchant-lords, and others for that matter, who call same-sex pleasure unclean. The image of one-such finding out that the pretty feline 'girl' he'd hired wasn't a girl at all....

"That deserves a drink. On me."

He--Amber?--slid gracefully into the seat across from me. A whore? They're common enough here, both sexes. Maybe, but I wouldn't lay money on it. "My thanks again. What name calls you?"


The bar-wench makes an appearance, waits expectantly. Amber thinks for a moment, looks at me, and says, "Mulled wine?" in such a wistful tone that even though it costs a bit more I haven't the heart to say no. I nod, and the wench flounces off to her work.

"Has it occured to you that there's safer prey than a merchant-lord?" I ask him.

He grins again. "Aye, it has. Yet such arrrogance and foolishness nearr beg to be made use of. And who be Amberr to rresist such an easy prrize, hrrm?"

"Wouldn't've been easy if they'd caught you."

"Caught me?" That seems to amuse him greatly. "A human catch a mhaurri who does not wish it? That be verry... hm, what be the word. Impossible. Aye, and a very strrange idea, at that. Mhaurri caught unwilling."

The wench brings his wine, I toss her the coppers for it. She catches them neatly.

Amber tastes the hot spiced wine, and smiles happily. He makes small contented purring sounds while he takes a swallow.

Somehow, we keep talking, and somehow I decide to buy us each a second drink. Somehow, a third, and a fourth, and alcohol affects mhaurri, it would seem, as easily as it affects humans.

Somehow I'll wonder until my dying day, I wake in my own bed in the room I rent by the sennight, or more properly on my bed, still dressed. I groan to myself, I hate hangovers, who doesn't? and cautiously roll onto my back.

The other side of my bed is occupied. By a mhaurri who's coiled into a ball, his cloak around him, still soundly asleep.

Blessed Lady, what happened? I wonder, hazily. It doesn't look like I slept with him, at least, in anything but the most literal sense.

I change position again, and he stirs, lets out a soft mew I interpret as distress.

"Morning," I manage to get out. Good it's not.

He makes an affirmative sort of sound, more like acknowledgement that he heard me than anything else.

I'm not going to bother describing the morning, it was a typical morning-after of misery. Misery I endured alone, because Amber left within an hour of waking.

* * *

Goddess, I ache.

As much as I needed the practice--my sword-skill is getting a little rusty, though never my sword--sparring all afternoon and evening with three acquaintances of mine was definitely overdoing it. All I want is a nice hot bath.... Part of why I base in Corelis is that they have indoor plumbing, a luxury no one can appreciate until they spend a month or two in a city lacking it.

I unlock my door, and stop short just inside.

There's water running in the bathroom, my own that I consider worth the extra money, and someone is singing softly, a lilting song in no language I've ever heard.

Warily, I draw my dagger, keep it against my side as I cross the room to the half-shut door. There's no light, whoever's in there hasn't bothered to turn on the magelight in the bathroom or the one in the main room. Still, there's quite a bit of moonlight, this far north there are five moons visible, and my eyes are adapted to the dark already. Quietly, I push the door open a little farther so I can see in.

A pile of clothes, faded black, dull gray, not far inside the door.

Beyond them... Amber. He's standing beside the tub, apparently oblivious while he watches something. I can only see him from behind, from this angle. The soft-looking tawny hair that's been tempting me from first sight grows right down his spine, all the way to the feline tail swaying lazily in the air. Suddenly I want very much to stroke that fur and see if it's really as soft as it looks, to slide my hands down over that extremely well-shaped ass....

His tail twitches, he pauses, raises his head to scent the air.

"Good evening, Kirrriel." He draws out the trill mhaurri seem to think is an 'r' sound.

"Amber, what are you doing.... How did you get in here?"

"Come join me?" he says, as if he hasn't heard me at all. He stands up, stretches languorously.

I'm only human. Watching the effects of that stretch, even in the poor light, or maybe especially in the moonlight would be more accurate, makes my breath catch. He turns to face me, and for a long moment I'm completely distracted looking at him. I'm used to big rough human fighters; Amber is utterly unlike them, but no less male. Certainly quite male enough to cause a familiar clenching in my guts that I haven't felt in some time. It occurs to me that the last time was a few days ago, when I first saw this cat-child.

"Kirrriel?" he purrs. He comes towards me, two smooth strides and he's right in front of me. Quite naked, very beautiful. He runs one finger down my body, from the hollow of my throat to my belt, his smile is pure invitation. "Let's get rrid of all these clothes, hrrm? I saw you fighting. I thought you'd like a bath." He nods towards the tub. Only then do I notice that it's full.

"How did you get in here?" is all I can think to repeat. Finding an extremely sexy cat waiting naked for one can have something of an ill effect on logic.

He smiles. "My secret." He starts on my belt, gets it undone swiftly, and I can't gather my thoughts enough to do anything but let him. Briefly, he pauses, takes the dagger from my hand and resheathes it and lays the whole, belt and knife, aside. He drops to one knee, removes my boots for me, gently, then straightens. Quick light hands unfasten my pants, slide them down over my hips. I'm too tall for him to really help with my shirt, I collect my wits enough to pull it over my head and drop it with the rest. My underclothes soon follow.

"Bath?" he reminds me.

Obediently, I step into the deliciously hot water, slowly settle into it. Amber disappears, leaving me to soak in heat and moonlight, and try to get my internal balance back. I close my eyes, relax. My instincts are good, Amber means no harm. And I'm finding myself suddenly very curious about mhaurri ideas of pleasure. All that silky-looking tawny fur, those deft gentle hands that could probably pick a pocket with no one the wiser....

I only realize he's back when he purrs my name again. I open my eyes, realize I've been absently stroking myself between my legs, matching my fantasy. He smiles, I could almost think there's something smug in it, and reaches across me for the soap. Without a word, he dips it in the water, gets both hands thoroughly lathered, and puts the soap back in its place. He starts on my nearer arm, missing not a single inch, taking his time, then the other arm, then back, across my chest. He doesn't linger any longer over my breasts than anywhere else, just finishes and rinses the soap off with water cupped in his hands. Then he has me lean forward, while he gives my back the same treatment.

I'm beginning to understand the reason some highborn keep servants to tend them in the bath. Amber's hands feel very good, methodically cleaning away the sweat.

He tells me to raise each leg for him, one at a time, so he can see to them as well, from toes to upper thigh. With soapy hands he caresses my stomach under the water, and slides one of them between my legs, runs it upward with enough pressure to make me shiver as my body responds.

"All clean," he purrs, satisfied. He reaches for a towel, waits for me to stand up so he can wrap it around me. A second on the floor, for me to step out onto, while he lets the water begin draining. In a heartbeat, he's in front of me again, this time towelling me dry with infinite care for overworked muscles. What can I do but let him? What can I want to do but enjoy the attention?

Once the towels are hung to dry, he looks up at me with a mischievous smile, laces the fingers of one hand through mine, and tugs me towards the other room. The bed, more precisely.

"Lie down, Kirrriel. On your front."

A little puzzled, I obey.

The mhaurri settles himself straddling my legs, and begins very carefully to massage the taut muscles across my shoulders. It hurts a bit at first, but it feels wonderful nonetheless. Gradually, as methodically as he washed me, he works his way down my body. When he reaches my buttocks and my thighs, I expect him to wander, but he doesn't, he seems entirely intent on his task. It's one of the few massages I've ever had that goes all the way down to my feet, and possibly the first that didn't tickle at all.

"I'm done."


He chuckles, a fascinating sound. "I did not say done all things. Roll over."

It's an effort, I feel so relaxed now, but I twist around so I'm on my back. He straddles my legs, leans forward to press a kiss to my lips, only a light and all-too-brief one, but it promises worlds. He shifts position a bit, and the tip of his tongue flicks over my right nipple. My breath catches, I tense, waiting impatiently for more. Which he obligingly provides, by closing his mouth around as much of that breast as he can and suckling like a hungry kitten. He's purring, too, I can feel the vibrations against my skin. He switches sides, after a moment, still purring, sucking hard. I moan, just a little, and he laughs again without a pause. He raises his head, plants a kiss in the centre of my belly, and moves so he can part my legs, lean down

and nuzzle at my groin. He runs his tongue over my clit, it's rougher than a human's but not painfully so, then drops lower, teasing around the opening there, probing inside. Back up to my clit, I'd swear if I were watching I'd see him lapping at it like a cat drinks milk, very fast and light. My hands clench, digging into the blankets below me, as a wave of intense pleasure shudders through every nerve. Amber doesn't falter for even an eyeblink. He might look young, but he certainly knows what he's doing!

He sits up, licking his lips. "Was good?"

"Was very very good," I tell him, a bit breathlessly.

"Amber likes to please...." He runs his tongue over his teeth. "What pleases you?"

What pleases me. Many many thoughts flash through my mind. I choose one. "Lie down. On your back."

Without hesitation he does. I kneel as he was, straddling his legs, and return the favour. He's not as large as the average human man, it occurs to me that I just might be able to get him all the way down my throat, something I can accomplish only occasionally. I wrap a hand around his cock, pull the skin back—shape-wise, at least, it's human enough—and lick under and just behind the head. His turn to whimper, barely audibly, as I take the head into my mouth, wary of my teeth, slide it out again. In again, slightly deeper, out, a bit farther each time. Amber moans, once, and begins to purr thunderously. Well, at least it's easy to tell if a mhaurri lover likes what you're doing! Gag reflex kicks in; I pull back, let myself recover for a second, then continue. It's not the last time, either. Patiently, I keep trying, and finally get his entire length in my throat. His purring only increases as I slide him in and out, from the very tip to the very base; his hips buck upwards, but I hold him still with my free hand. Unfortunately, my jaw is beginning to ache. I raise my head, take the time to catch my breath, and resume, differently. Rather than trying to take him inside, I stroke my tongue firmly up and down the length of the underside of his shaft. If Amber has any objections, he's not letting them show; he shivers, and only my hand is keeping him from taking a more active part in the proceedings.

I don't want to finish him this way, though, I want him inside me another way. I consider positions, it doesn't take long for me to decide which.




So I have room to arrange myself on my hands and knees, and so he can kneel behind me, responsive to even implicit requests. I'm almost dripping wet by this point, I want this cat-child in me so badly, he has no trouble slipping inside. I feel him trembling against me, purring muted now as he concentrates on action, I rather doubt he's going to last long. I hope he doesn't come too quickly, I want a chance to thoroughly enjoy this. At first he keeps it controlled, a couple of times he slows down, breathing hard, quivering, then picks up the pace again. The control fades, he's making rrrowling noises low in his throat now, and his thrusting grows more forceful, more urgent. He shudders violently, and comes, I feel myself tense to hold him where he is, he draws his fingertips hard down my back with just a hint of claws. My body reacts to it by rocking me with another powerful orgasm. Most humans I've been with have an aftershock spasm or two; Amber doesn't, simply holds still for a moment, catching his breath, and pulls out of me. I let myself sprawl, face down, and he coils himself against my side.

"Pleased you, aye?" he purrs.

"Very much," I say, half into my pillow, wishing my body would stop trembling so hard. "You?"

"Amberr be verrry happy."

It takes me a few minutes, but I find the energy to visit the bathroom and clean up. I return to discover the blankets down and Amber perched on the edge. I hand him the wet cloth I brought; he cleans himself swiftly, tosses the cloth back to the bathroom—I'd swear he neatly hit the sink. My bed looks warm and soft and welcoming; I stretch out, look expectantly at him, he's waiting for an invitation maybe? He smiles, and in heartbeats he's snuggling against my side under the blankets.


"Hrrm?" he answers sleepily.

"Why did you do this?"

He chuckles. "I like you."

"Doesn't seem like much of an answer."

"It be so for mhaurri. Why did you not say stop?"

"What, turn down one sexy little cat who's trying so hard to seduce me?"

More amusement. "What matter why? Sleep now?"




(c) 02/94, last revised 02/02