Idira woke. The scent of leather, earth, and cedarwood filling her senses. A shadow moved across the room. She caught her breath. It had been no dream. Khadgar had come to her after all. Numb with cold she waved her hand, sending the sleeping echo to another bedroom.
‘Archmage?’ she called. He stopped, his back to her, his shoulders stiff, his hands curling into fists. She suppressed a tremor of fear, recalling his hard, jealous look.
He turned and glanced at the bed, where his echo had just been, his expression unreadable. ‘I am sorry,’ he said, low. ‘I have intruded on your privacy.’ His words held no anger, only resignation. He turned to leave.
‘Please,’ she said, biting back a tremor of cold. ‘Don't go.’
She slid off the bed and went to him, blades of cold slicing into her feet. ‘Stay with me,’ she whispered.
He took a step back, his gaze falling to her shift for a beat. His lips parted as he took in the fullness of her breasts; her nipples pressing against the sheer material, taut from her inner cold. ‘Idira, it isn't right,’ he said. He looked back up at her, his eyes veiled. ‘You are my apprentice, under my care.’
‘Look at me,’ she gestured at the coating of frost shimmering against her skin. ‘I stopped being your apprentice days ago.’
‘As you say,’ he said, ragged, his gaze straying to her breasts once more. ‘Still, I will not stay.’
Deep spikes of burning cold shot through her torso and legs. She caught her breath, staggering to keep upright. His arm came around her, pressing her against him as he led her back to the bed. ‘You must sleep,’ he said, tight, ‘you have worked so hard. Rest. I will come back to you tomorrow.’
She caught his sleeve as he turned to go, holding him back. He turned, abrupt, his eyes dark, smouldering.
‘Please, just sleep beside me,’ she breathed, willing him to stay. She watched him as he waged his inner battle, his gaze straying to her breasts, continuing down to her hips, his lips parting as he reached her lace knickers. He exhaled, soft.
‘It's all I ask,’ she said, sensing his resolve wavering as her eyelids drifted down, trapped in the numbing shock of cold, ‘you don't have to undress if you'd rather not.’ A harsh bolt of ice slammed into her. She shuddered, her eyes snapping open from the jolt of it. He was still looking at her, his gaze lingering on the lace edge of her knickers. ‘I'm cold,’ she shivered. ‘The echo cannot warm me, but you can. Please.’ She patted the bed beside her hip, enticing him.
He stood over her for several beats more, his chest rising and falling, his eyes almost black. He turned away, abrupt. Idira watched him, her heart pounding. He was going to leave after all. She bit her lip, her heart cracking. He hesitated beside a chair, resting his hand on its upholstered wing rail. He glanced back at her, rent by indecision. She waited, her heart begging him to relent.
Several more heartbeats passed, slow. He reached over his shoulder and pulled his staff from its holster, hesitating yet another heartbeat before setting it against the chair. His back to her, he removed his shoulder collar, boots and belt, dropping them onto the floor, a reckless heap.
Still wearing his tunic, he turned back to the bed, his expression unreadable. She closed her eyes, her heart soaring as the bed frame creaked under his solid weight, drinking in his blazing warmth as he stretched out beside her. A heartbeat's hesitation. His arms slid around her, pulling her against him, enclosing her in his scented warmth. She clung him, drinking in his heat, quaking as the deepest aches of cold eased from her body. Her fingertips grazed the base of his neck. He started, shocked by her icy touch.
‘How can you stand it,’ he said, soft. He took her hand into his, chafing it, trying to warm her. When she remained cold, he murmured a spell. A fire blazed to life in the fireplace. He murmured another spell and a thick woollen blanket settled over them. She sighed, her sudden cocoon of warmth soothing her, bringing her back to life. His hand strayed to her face, his fingertips brushing her hair away, gentle. She glanced up at him and met his eyes, he answered her look, enigmatic, though his grip tightened on her, possessive.
‘Thank you,’ she whispered, sliding her leg up to rest her inner thigh against his groin. She felt his member awakening, responding to her. Despite longing to see where things could go, the sudden release from her relentless cold had sent her tumbling into exhaustion. She fought it, but in the warmth of his embrace, she slid, helpless towards the realm of dreams, praying he would still be there when she woke.
Deep in the night, Idira opened her eyes, no longer cold. The room hung heavy in shadow, the walls glowing a dull orange, lit by the fading embers of the fire. Khadgar moved, stealthy, away from her, edging to the side of the bed. He sat up, swung his legs over the side, and reached down to pick up his things.
‘Khadgar?’ she asked, soft, her heart aching. He was going to leave after all.
He froze. She moved across the bed and knelt behind him, sliding her arms around him, embracing him, her breasts pressed against his back.
‘I didn't think you were the type to leave a woman in the night,’ she said, quiet.
In her embrace, she felt the muscles in his arms tensing. She looked over his shoulder and saw his hands clenching, tight, into fists.
‘Why me?’ he asked, low, ragged. ‘I am almost twice your age. You could have anyone—’
‘Age is nothing,’ she interrupted, a wave of relief tumbling through her; finally he had admitted the truth, acknowledged the forbidden attraction between them. He turned, his enigmatic steel-grey gaze filling with renewed turmoil as it drifted, helpless, down to her breasts, then back to her eyes. She licked her lips. His gaze fell, hungry, to her mouth, his pupils dilating, aroused. She leaned closer to him, allowing the outer curve of her breast to brush against his arm. ‘Since I have discovered my true power,’ she said, low, ‘I feel as though I am thousands of years old. And this place—it is saturated with your essence. I have learned much about you, of your past, the trials you have overcome, and of your suffering.’ His eyes left her mouth and met her eyes, the heat in his blistering, intense. Her heart began to pound, the way he was looking at her, made her feel as though he was making love to her already. She struggled to concentrate, to finish what she had begun. ‘You have suffered much, and always alone. Yet you have always remained good—despite terrible ordeals—your strength, your courage, and your honour have never wavered. You are everything I could ever want.’ She stopped, slain by the raw need churning in his eyes. He lifted his hand and traced his fingers over her lips. Trembling, she plunged on, whispering through his fingertips, ‘I have fallen in love with you. Your secrets are written in my heart, and I cherish them. If only you could—’
He didn't let her finish. He turned, moving so fast he startled her, his arms coming around her, possessive, lowering her onto the bed, his mouth covering hers, hungry, hot, fierce. She answered him, leaving him in no doubt what she wished of him, her fingers tangling with his, helping him as he pulled off his tunic. He shed the thing and knelt over her, clad only in his leather breeches, panting.
‘I haven't . . .’ he muttered, raking his hand through his hair, his eyes moving down the length of her, lingering on her lace knickers.
She gazed at him, drinking in the sight of him, his powerful body poised over hers, primed to make her his, her body caught in an agony of yearning, trapped between wanting to take her time and needing to feel him inside her, his body covering hers, moving together as one. She caught his hand and entwined her fingers in his. ‘You are also my first,’ she said, her throat tight with desire. ‘Let us find our way together my love.’
His eyes darkened. Possessiveness hardened the line of his jaw, enhancing the hungry slant of his lips. He leaned over her, his hand dropping to her hip, catching the filmy material of her gown in his grip. He pushed it up, rough, stopping just under the curve of her breast and traced the outline of her nipple with his thumb, slow, sending delicious tremors rippling through her torso. He groaned as her body responded, her nipple hardening. She arched her back, begging for him to continue. He bent and took her taut nipple in his mouth through the slippery material of her nightgown. Her hands went to his head, her fingers catching in his hair as he favoured first one, then her other nipple. He pulled back, his hands moving up to the neck of her gown.
‘I want . . .’ he said, his breathing ragged, his eyes raking over her, ‘this thing off you. Now.’ He pulled on the material, rending it in half. He shoved it aside, his hands sliding around her back, lifting her up against him, his arms tightening their hold, supporting her as his fingers tangled in her hair, holding her steady, his mouth moving over her neck and up to her ear, nipping her lobe. She shuddered, letting him control the pace, despite the ache between her legs rising to a blinding intensity, the hollow inside her throbbing, crying out for his girth to fill her. His mouth moved back to hers. He kissed her, fierce, ravenous. He pulled back, breathing hard.
‘Bite your lip,’ he whispered, his eyes hard and hot on her mouth. She bit it, slow. He moaned, his fingers tightening in her hair. Before she finished, his mouth was back on hers, nipping her lips, his hands moving to her face, holding her still as he deepened his kiss. She opened her mouth under his gentle prodding, letting him taste her, caught in the strength of his arms, she sagged in his grip, her arousal overcoming her.
‘Please,’ she gasped, as he drew back, his fingers tugging at the ties of his breeches. ‘Please. I need to feel you inside me.’
‘You will,’ he answered as he peeled his breeches off, inside out. Kicking them onto the floor, he reached down and grasped the waistband of her knickers. He pulled them away, his eyes raking over the shape of her mound. He tossed the lace material onto the bed and dragged her back up into his arms, devouring her mouth as he lowered himself over her, bearing his weight on his elbows.
‘If we do this, there will be no going back,’ he breathed, ragged, against her mouth. ‘I will be yours, and to the Void with the consequences.’
She felt her nipples harden at his reckless words. He moved against her. His member, swollen with need, pressed against her thigh. She groaned, a spike of intense longing speared deep into her—her need for him sudden, primal, urgent. She dug her fingers into his shoulders and arched her back, so her breasts pressed against him. ‘I never want to go back,’ she panted, breathless, starving for the feel of him. ‘I beg you. Love me, Khadgar.’
He groaned. His lips covered hers and he kissed her deep as he reached between their legs and positioned himself against her. She opened her legs to him, feeling her sex sliding against his member, making it slick with her arousal. He pressed against her, gentle, careful, giving her time to accept him. She tilted her hips, easing his entry, letting him rock her as he made his way inside her, slow, her hips moving instinctively, kissing against his tenuous thrusts. She caught her breath as he invaded her, filling her, the heft of his girth both frightening and arousing.
He took his time, easing his way in, watching her, his gaze smouldering with the heat of his restraint. He reached her barrier. A deep ache, harsh and filled with warning rived into her as he probed against her resistance. She caught her breath, her fingers biting deep into his shoulders. He held still, waiting, letting her decide the pace, his thumbs caressing her cheeks, holding her as he kissed her, tender, possessive, his breath tasting of wine. She bit her lip and bore down on him, wanting the pain to end, crying out as he breached her barrier and filled her completely. He stilled, his arms tightening around her.
He brushed his lips against her, tasting her trembling mouth as she lost her innocence to him. ‘I love you, Idira,’ he said against her parted lips. ‘Light help me, but I love you. Now I am going to make you mine.’
She clung to him as he moved against her, loving her until her pain melted away, transforming the rawness of her ache into rippling, then cascading waves of pleasure. She followed him, willing, as he lifted her up, holding her against him as he knelt beneath her, one with her, his powerful body surrounding her, sheltering her, possessing her, expressing his deepest love to her. He found a place inside her that sent her spiralling up to the stars. She writhed against him, her back arching as he steered her to heights of pleasure that left her breathless. When it was over, he held her as she sagged, shuddering in his embrace, kissing her gently as she returned to him from that nascent plateau, longing to climb up to it again.
Still cradling her against him, he leaned back against the headboard and stroked her hair. He gave her wine, sharing a single cup with her, drinking from the same place her lips touched, his eyes never leaving hers, intimate, intense, dark. Catching her hand in his, he tasted her fingertips, sending shivers of pleasure shimmying through her. He caught her chin and lifted her face to his, kissing her, deep, his thumbs straying once more to her nipples, arousing her, the rawness of his need awakening her anew. She bit her lip, shy, and asked him to take her again. His eyes hot, he pulled her onto his lap, his hands and mouth moving over her, bruising and rough, his dominance overwhelming her, his brutal hunger driving her to an altogether different place of pleasure. He entered her, his thrusts deep and powerful, no longer holding back, his hands tightening around her torso, supporting her as she moved against him, finding her rhythm, his teeth sliding against her neck, nipping, biting the tender flesh under her ear, his passion awakening an ache she could only satisfy with him deep inside her. He carried her again to the plateau of her greatest pleasure, holding her as she shuddered against him, panting with her release.
They fell back against the pillows, drinking more wine, once more sharing the same cup. He eyed her as he took the empty cup from her and set it aside.
‘You read my journal,’ he said against her brow, twining his fingers together with hers. ‘I watched you.’
‘I'm sorry,’ Idira whispered, feeling her cheeks darken, ashamed. He caught her chin, tilting her head up so he could look at her.
‘And did you like what you read?’ he asked, a glimmer of heat flickering in his eyes.
‘Very much,’ she breathed, caught by the intensity of his look.
‘I could have teleported it from you while you read,’ he said, his lips touching hers.
‘But you didn't,’ she sighed, opening her mouth a little as he traced the tip of his tongue along the inside of her lips.
‘I couldn't,’ he groaned, letting their kiss deepen. He pulled back, continuing, ‘Watching you read my journal, clad in that impossible thing. I wanted it to last all night.’ His fingers drifted over the contours of her body, caressing the curve of breasts, the crest of her mound, the hollow of her hips, the inside of her thighs, worshipping her. Aroused once more, he carried her to the sumptuous sofa and stood behind her, taking her from behind, gentle at first, then harder, owning her, his hand wrapping in her hair, catching it in his fist, sending her quivering, sobbing, into her release as he slammed into her, the fingers of his other hand biting, harsh, into her hip as he buried himself deep inside her, staggering as he rode out the intensity of his orgasm.
He lowered her onto the sofa, gentle once more, holding her as they returned, panting from their euphoria. He conjured food—apologising it wasn't her favourite, whitescale salmon, promising she would have it the next day—feeding her fruit and cheese, his eyes darkening as she licked his fingertips. She drank the wine he offered her, heaviness dragging on her as he kissed her brow, full of affection, telling her to rest. She slept for a time, content, suffused in his warmth, her body pleasantly aching where he had taken his fill of her. She woke, hearing her name whispered against her ear. She turned to him, lost in his arms, her hair tangling in his fingers as he kissed her awake, murmuring his request to let him love her just one more time.
At her soft smile, he carried her back to the bed and for the fourth time that night, made her his, his movements slow and tender, his lips gentle against her bruised and swollen ones, loving her until she gasped, caught by the sudden intensity of her release, her eyes locked on his. He followed her, his arms tight around her, holding her against him, shuddering with the strength of his own release, his fingers wrapped around her head, his lips lingering on hers. He rolled onto his back, pulling her on top of him, keeping himself inside her, holding her fast against him, protected, cherished, cradled, safe within his arms.
He murmured a spell and a new fire burst to life in the fireplace, slowing the inexorable creep of cold stealing back into her body. He reached out, gifting her with a lingering kiss on her brow as he leaned over and pulled the blanket around her. She sighed, savouring the solidness of him; the heat of him. She dozed, exhaustion sliding over her, tugging at her, insistent, dragging her towards oblivion. She clung to him as long as she could, not wanting the tender quiet of their intimacy to end.
She lasted several heartbeats more before her body betrayed her, sinking into the softness of sleep. Just as she succumbed, she heard him whisper, anguished, against her hair, ‘To finally feel what it means to love at Azeroth's darkest hour . . . how shall I lead now I know true fear? To lose you is unthinkable. Light help me . . . Light help me.’