"Pierce?" Niccolo scanned the area but Pierce and Iohanna were nowhere in sight. He had almost forgotten about the child, but reality struck the second he stepped outside.
Sadie looked around camp and saw a bunch of the guys snickering when they looked at her. She pulled her arm out of Niccolo's grip while he was distracted. When she tried to step away from the Commander he grabbed onto once more.
"Tie her to my horse, she will walk beside me." He pushed her towards one of his men. "Don't touch her." He nodded and grabbed her other arm to lead her to Niccolo's horse.
"You climbed the ladder rather quickly, little whore." He eyed her up and down. "So, this is what the commander fancies. A little plump for my taste." He spit on her feet as he tied her up.
Niccolo couldn't find Iohanna or Pierce anywhere within the camp. Panicking Niccolo decided to use his secret tracking ability. His eyes turned a lighter green than normal, he needed to clear his mind. He inhaled slowly closing his eyes, slowly exhaling away the reality he was currently in. When he opened his eyes, he heard the strains of heartbeats around him. The reason he rarely used the ability is he hates the smell of blood. It is overwhelming when he taps into it, theoretically he could filter out different smells of people through this, but his stomach could never allow him to.
Focusing he found Iohanna's heartbeat towards the river. It was beating too slow, and there was another person next to her, Pierce. With her location known he exited his blood plane and rushed over to where she was.
Niccolo watched as Pierce and Iohanna skipped rocks off the water's surface. Seeing the child safe he was able to relax a little bit.
"PIERCE!" He watched as Pierce jumped in the air from being startled. When he looked over in his direction, Niccolo gave a small gesture and turned back to the camp. He mounted his horse waiting for the two of them to arrive. Sadie was standing next to him tied in place to his saddle.
Pierce had his hand on the small of Iohanna's back when they walked into camp. Niccolo scoffed at his actions. "Ioh, you ride with me." He clicked his heels lightly on the horse and moved to the girls' side. Pierce had opened his mouth in protest but silenced himself as he saw Niccolo's murderous look towards him. Instead he helped Iohanna onto the horse, in front of Niccolo, before mounting his own horse.
They had been traveling for most of the day, and Iohanna felt a cramp in her groin areas. She had only ridden a horse one other time and it was for a brief walk around town, led by the horse's owner. She wasn't in a condition to be riding for an entire day. Trying to get more comfortable she shifted on her tailbone. Iohanna almost fell off the horse, but Niccolo reached out in front of him to steady her.
"Are we going to rest soon?" Iohanna wanted nothing more than to get off the horse. Niccolo didn't say anything for a while.
"Pierce, ride ahead, find a clearing to make camp." Niccolo turned to Sadie who was barely able to keep up. He slid off his horse and grabbed ahold of Sadie.
"Get on the horse." He cupped his hands for her to step on to help her up.
"Commander!" The man that had tied Sadie up was appalled by the commander's behavior.
"Silence." Niccolo didn't need to please or answer to anyone other than himself, and it pleased him to take care of what was his.
Pierce came back shortly after with news of a clearing ahead. He raised an eyebrow at Niccolo but ignored his strange behavior. They followed Pierce up to the clearing. Iohanna slid off the horse when they got there. Her legs were stuck in the same position she was in while riding. Her groin was numb, and it stung to put her legs together. The hair on the horse rubbed into the fabric of her clothes causing a rash on her thighs.
The soldiers had sent up the commander's tent, there would only the commander's tent to be set up. The rest of the soldiers slept next to the fires when they intended to travel the next day. It was less work for them to do. After the tent was set up, they had built fires to cook. They heated up some water and herbs thrown together with a bunch of vegetables and roots. Niccolo and Sadie had disappeared for the duration of the cooking, and Iohanna was being watched by Pierce once again.
Everyone sat around the fire eating in silence. Niccolo joined them after a while, he had Sadie sit next to him, and he sat next to Iohanna. The two of them had the same smell Kaniem had when she would come back from the nights with the soldiers. The only thing different was Sadie was smiling Kaniem never smiled. Niccolo fed her and was treating her disgustingly, kissing on her. Many of the soldiers had the same reaction Iohanna had when watching the two interact. Pierce was the only one who wasn't fazed by his behavior.
When they were done eating the rest of the food got dispersed among the yellow marked slaves that were still in the cages. Niccolo watched as Pierce paid more attention to Iohanna and it made his stomach turn upside down. Iohanna hadn't even hit puberty yet, and he was courting her. Niccolo could never understand the appeal of children, he liked the feel and maturity of a woman.
"Iohanna and Sadie, you two will sleep in my tent tonight." Niccolo nudged Sadie, she smiled and nodded her head. They both got up from the fire and walked away together.
Pierce leaned into Iohanna's ear speaking softly to her. "Don't mind him Ioh' he is just a pissy old grouch."
Iohanna pushed him away and stuck her finger in her ear, she tried to get rid of the feeling of his breath. Truth was Iohanna was grateful that she wouldn't be near Pierce. He was kind to her, but it felt misplaced somehow. She got up and followed Niccolo and Sadie to put some distance between her and Pierce.
When Iohanna reached the tent Niccolo pulled her into the middle and circled her. "Sir?" Iohanna watched him look at her as if she were prey. She turned to Sadie for answers, but she just shrugged, she didn't care what happened to her.
"Iohanna." Niccolo stopped in front of her. He tilted her face up for him to examine her. "You don't have much meat on your bones."
Iohanna glared at him wanting to scream. She hadn't been allowed to eat since being captured, and now he had the audacity to lecture her for that fact.
"Your training starts today." Niccolo took a step back from Iohanna and his eyes shifted to the deadly green.
"Training? Wait! What is going on." Without an explanation Iohanna felt the pressure inside her body as he invaded her airways. It hadn't been as bad as the last time, but it was still uncomfortable.
"Come on Ioh' fight it, don't let me in." Niccolo intensified the pressure.
"I can't, I don't know how." Iohanna began to panic, she didn't know what was going on.
"Yes, you can Ioh' block me out." He took it up another notch to push her further.
"No, I can't. I can't breathe. Stop!" Iohanna fell to her knees.
"Come on Ioh' are you just going to let me kill you?" He walked up beside her bending down to taunt her. "Come on Ioh' do something."
She reached up to him to grab ahold of his clothes, but he took a step back. "Not like that sweetheart, use the magic inside you."
Gasping in between words Iohanna stared at him. "I. Don't. Have. Magic."
Niccolo released her allowing her to catch her breath. "Your mother gave you a rare gift, Ioh' those eyes of yours prove magic is in your blood."
"What are you talking about?" Iohanna could barely stand back up. When she regained her balance Niccolo smiled at her.
Iohanna found herself face down on the floor many times that night. She kept trying to tell Niccolo the was a normal human, but he wouldn't listen to her. Eventually he was annoyed enough that he left to cool down for a walk out in the middle of the night, leaving her and Sadie alone.
Sadie was fast asleep in the commander's cot, but Iohanna had nowhere to sleep herself. She decided to wait for Niccolo to come back before she did anything.
Iohanna almost fell asleep while she was waiting for Niccolo, but a loud ruckus started to go on outside. Peeking her head out she saw Niccolo with a goblin chained at his side. His soldiers were taken back as he waltzed it through the people.
"What the fuck Niccolo." Pierce jumped up to his feet to back away.
"Training." Niccolo kept leading him to the tent. The goblin only stood to his chest with oversized hands, sharp teeth, and a loincloth around its waist.
"Iohanna?" Pierce was almost as terrified at Niccolo's actions as she was. She had hoped he would disagree when Pierced asked, but she knew it wouldn't happen.
Niccolo nodded to Pierce. "You can't. It'll rape or kill her." Pierce caught up to him stepping in his way.
"Then she will learn. It makes no difference to me if it fucks her, and if it kills her then I didn't need such a weakling." Niccolo saw her watching and wanted her to feel real fear. He found that she no longer scared him, so he couldn't access her abilities. He needed her to feel death to harness them.
"I won't allow this." Pierce was holding his arms out blocking the way.
"Pierce, I know what I'm doing, trust me. Get Sadie out of the tent." Pierce didn't move away. He knew something about Iohanna Niccolo didn't, and he wasn't ready for him to figure it out.
"Pierce move!" Niccolo was wearing thin with his old friend, his eyes showed his annoyance growing.
Pierce unsheathed his sword. "I can't allow it to touch her."
"SADIE, GET OUT OF THE TENT NOW!" Sadie came running out of the tent with Niccolo's command. She looked at him in horror but turned away from it. "This is your last chance Pierce. Iohanna's abilities mean more to me than you do. Keep that in mind."
Pierce looked to the oversized goblin as it scratched at his neck where the chain held it. He gave Pierce a sinister smile as if he understood his fears. "I can't, I can't allow this."
Niccolo drained the air out of his friends' lungs, something he promised he would never do to him, but time was of the essence, the spell he placed on the goblin would only last for so long. He held Pierce captive until he fell to the ground passed out cold. He wouldn't do any real harm to his friend. Stepping around him he led the goblin into the tent where Iohanna was.
"Iohanna." Niccolo and the goblin came into the tent to find her hiding behind his cot. "Ioh' I'm not going to be able to help you. Only you can help yourself." Niccolo released the goblin and stepped outside of the tent to lock her in alone with it.
Iohanna was backing away as it creeped toward her. When it was within a few feet of her it ripped off its loincloth. Iohanna looked down to where the cloth was, but nothing was there. She looked back up to the goblin's face who was looking down in horror. With a loud screech he lunged at her with his long fingernails.