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Sacrificial Lark

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Tears streaked across Julian's face as he bathed. He stayed in the tub for a long time. Not getting out until the water was almost ice cold. He just couldn't believe his village gave him up like that. Like the perfect solution to their problem. Or actually, less then perfect. 

Every five years a girl between the ages of 14 and 18 was chosen to be sacrificed to the demon on Rivia mountain. She had to be pretty and she had to be a virgin. Why? He didn't know. But there weren't many girls the right age this time. In fact, there had been only three. And in their desperation to escape the demon, one of them had thrown herself off a cliff, the second had brought a knife to her face to cut away her beauty and the third had let half the farmer's boys fuck her to take away her virginity. 

The truth of the matter was, there was no one left. None but the poor orphan boy that was fated to save the village. Julian didn't understand at first. He was the proper age of 17, a virgin and not bad looking yes... but he was no girl. So when the choice landed on him he had laughed. He laughed until he realized it was no joke. That's when the laughs turned to tears. It couldn't be! He told himself. But unfortunately, the same fate befell a boy five decades before, and it had been accepted as a decent replacement sacrifice. So Julian's fate was sealed. He would be offered to the demon tonight. 

He wanted to run, he wanted to escape, but he knew he couldn't. They had locked his door, guarded his windows and they would tie him up at the offering circle. All his possessions had been taken from him and already placed near the graveyard entrance where they would hold a funeral for him tomorrow. Without his body to bury. All he had been given was a white dress to wear. Since it should have been a girl instead. It was a bit big and it fell a little deep, exposing part of his chest. He put it on with trembling fingers. 

Then he waited. He waited for them to come for him and take him to his impending doom. Julian had stopped crying, but his eyes were still rimmed red and he was humming softly to soothe himself. The sky outside grew darker and darker and his heart raced up in his throat when the lock clicked. He was told it was time. Two men bound his hands together with rope and led him from the cabin. Outside a woman placed a flower crown on his head. Then they picked him up, carrying him so his bare feet wouldn't touch the ground. Drums were beating, people were praying and amidst all of it, Julian felt sick. 

His muscles tensed more as they drew closer to the offering circle, it was a short distance up on the foot of the mountain. The mere sight of it made the stomach acid rise in Julian's throat. But he forced himself to push it back down. He hummed to himself over the thundering sounds of the drums to stay calm. However as they approached the offering circle his eyes began to sting once more and he had to clench his jaw to stop himself from crying.

The white stones were covered in red stains ancient, old and new. In the years no human was offered they sacrificed animals here. And by the looks of it, none of them were left whole. The only clean stone was the one in the middle. It had an iron ring embedded in the stone to which Julian knew he would be tied down. There was a smaller white stone beneath it which he would be standing on. Women were busy laying flowers, food and wine at the foot of the stone. More offerings to satisfy the demon. There was fruit, meat, cheese and bread, wine and ale. There were buttercups, dandelions, lavenders, bluebells and wild roses. All arranged in a pyre with Julian to be the centerpiece. 

His heartbeat sped like a hare, running for its life. His skin littered with very fine goosebumps. Growing hot and cold as if he had contracted a fever. More dry tears were prickling behind his eyes. But Julian refused to cry. He refused to let the villagers know just how sad he was that they did away with him so easily. That not a single soul had even worded a protest on his fate as sacrifice. Even if someone had spoken up, and he was still chosen, it would be better then this. Not even the farmers couple who took care of him all these years had said a word. The man had gritted his teeth, and the woman had burst into silent tears and refused to look him in the eye after that. They were defeated by fate so easily. 

Julian shivered when he was put down, his bare feet touching the cold white stone that was the altar on which he would be presented. It wasn't terribly cold out, but it wasn't summer. The temperature did nothing to ease this night. Julian shivered in his white dress. And how his heartbeat raced in attempt to escape his fate. Yet there was nothing he could do. He thought of all the things he never got to do. All the dreams that were to be taken from him. The love for someone yet unknown that would be shattered. Whatever this demon would do to him, Julian prayed it would be swift and painless. But he knew better. He heard the stories, as every child did to be scared into obedience. Horrors of bedtime stories to keep the young away from the mountain and within the safety of the village. They promised nothing but agony. That was what he had to look forward to. The suffering that would save the village. The safety of many outweighing the safety of one.

The men who carried him and who had bound his hands now bound him to the stone. His hands brought above his head. Helpless against anything or anyone. They wouldn't look at him. Though Julian could see the pain in their eyes as they turned away. The drums still sounded and it reminded him that they only beat them so loud to chase their own fear away. Then the woman who took care of him broke from the crowd and climbed up to him. He looked at her with his soul searching blue eyes. And all she could do was cry. She kissed his head softly and whispered to him.

"Oh my little Lark. May the gods have mercy on you and bring you to their side. May you never know pain or sadness again."

He looked up at her, eyes dry but full of concern. If he was to die, he would no longer feel anything. But she would feel his absence for years to come. Even if she couldn't defend him, she had always been kind to him. And she didn't deserve to suffer for it.

"Don't cry Nana. Please. Just remember me the way i was. This never happened, my soul has left for the road like i always wanted. I'm happy. Truly. So please don't cry for me."

She sucked in a deep breath through her tears and nodded. Trying to steel herself like her brave boy had done. But she couldn't let go so easily. She cupped his head and looked at him.

"Oh my beautiful boy. For the time that i had you, you were my very own. Safe travels my Dandelion. How brave you are."

Julian smiled at her but a stern voice called the woman down.

"Woman!"

Her husband called. His face looking twisting somewhere between disappointment, disapproval and sadness. She climbed down quickly. Looking up at him one more time before her husband took her away. Pain stabbed into Julian's heart as he watched them go. They were not his real parents, but they had provided him a home. He would always be grateful for that. No matter how short he still had to live. 

Other women were singing the ritual song as one by one the villagers went by to add flowers or food or drink to the pile, touch the stone and move down the mountain. Not a single soul would look up to him. Not a single one of them dared to look him in the eye as they left him to be devoured by the demon. Their scapegoat. Their relief. They left him to die. 

When finally the last of them had passed the drums stopped. The silence that fell was deafening. Julian remembered he was old enough for the last sacrificial ritual and he had felt awful as he had laid flowers at the poor girl's feet. He had tried to give her a sympathetic smile, to soothe her and give her some form of acknowledgement. But she had tugged her ropes until she bled. Cried and screamed and yelled. Begging forgiveness for non existing sins. Begging for her freedom, begging for her life. As the drums had stopped, her cries could be heard far down the path, until they faded out of range. Julian shivered at the memory. Now that he stood where she had, he understood her vigor. He understood the urge, the need to scream, cry, beg for anyone to let him go. Let him get off this rock. To save him from his impending death. But he pursed his lips together and let the silence carry on. He didn't cry, didn't scream, he did not beg.

By the time he was left alone tied to the great stone in the middle of the offering circle, the sky had become black. Two torches, left and two right, were the only thing illuminating him and all the offerings. The soft breeze caught the skirt of his dress as it danced around his legs softly. The wait was endless. Maddening torture. Even more so than the silence, and his thoughts began to drift. What did the demon even look like? There were stories, but none of the descriptions ever matched another. And each was more monstrous then the last. Would it have horns? Would it have glowing eyes? Fangs? Claws? Did it have wings or a tail? Was it big enough to swallow him whole? No one had ever seen it and lived to tell the tale. Foolish warriors and hunters had gone up to slay it, they were never seen again. 

It was rumored to be nothing more then a beast. Void of all human thoughts, feelings and emotions. Why was it then, that it asked for pretty things? That it could be bribed with flowers and food and drink and a human warm and alive instead of blood and meat and other horrible things. Or was that a mere human invention to push down the fear of this demon being nothing more then a mindless beast? 


Stars were now twinkling above the trees. And Julian shivered in his white dress. It was getting cold. It started to bite at his feet and his wrists hurt. What if the demon didn't come for him at all? Julian took a shaky breath and softly started to sing to himself. What else could he do to pass the time? It was a song he had made himself on a summer's day. Dreaming of a future that now seemed out of reach. It seemed bittersweet now. But it calmed him. 

*Tell everybody I'm on my way

New friends and new places to see

The sun's shining high and I'm on my way

And there's nowhere else that I'd rather be

Julian could imagine himself on the road, Lute in his hands, strumming while singing and walking on a warm summer day towards a new destination. When he closed his eyes he could almost feel it.

*Tell everybody I'm on my way

And i just can't wait to be there-

Then a twig snapped and the words were caught in his throat. His blue eyes snapped open. Another twig snapped, closer and on the left, and Julian turned his head. It was here. The demon had come for him. At this point, it would have been logical to start screaming in terror, but Julian was silent. Squinting his eyes, trying to get a look at the demon, moving between the trees. He couldn't see much but from what he could see, it was that the demon was not a giant beast. In fact Julian had imagined it to be bigger. It almost looked.... like the shape of a man. 

Had someone come to rescue him in secret? Had one of the villagers decided this whole thing had gone far enough? But then the figure stepped into the light of the torches and Julian forgot to breathe. 

The figure was cloaked, but from beneath the hood white silver locks fell tucked beneath the string of a wolf mask that hid its face but not its glowing golden eyes. Amber and yellow swirled together brighter than even the flames of the torches. Its form was large, muscled and there was a deformity in the shape of its hood. it does have horns... Julian thought. It had a large basket on its back and without regard for Julian, it started to fill up the basket with the food and drink. 

Wait.... this couldn't be the demon. Maybe it was a thief? Or... something. Julian dared not ask. He watched with both confusion and fascination as the figure packed everything it could. When the basket was full, it looked up. Julian quickly looked away. Not wanting to let it know he had been staring. He heard rustling, felt the figure step onto the rock and untie the knot of the rope. It was standing so close Julian could feel the heat coming from its body and a faint scent of forrest moss, burning wood and an irony tinge of blood drifted his way. Apart from the scent of blood, Julian had expected worse. Much worse. Which also confused him. 

Then again he didn't wish to count himself lucky just yet. What if this creature was only send on behalf of the demon to collect and bring the offerings to its lair? Julian couldn't decide what to think of this yet. Not until he knew more. He was brought down from the rock. None too gently. His hands still bound, then he yelped as the creature tossed him over his shoulder like a dead deer and took the basket and started walking. Julian tensed with the hand around his legs keeping him from slipping and the broad shoulder he laid across on. The figure was tall and muscular. And Julian could feel the sting of its nails around his ankles. It was simply undignified. Being carried like this. Julian didn't agree at all. But he didn't dare trash or demand to be put down so he could walk. He didn't dare say or do anything.

Instead he focused. There was a low rumble coming from the demon from time to time. Soft labored breaths and huffs too. Julian could feel the muscles move beneath the cloak. The walk up took a long time, at some point, Julian started to drift to the low rumble coming from the demon, then he fell asleep and the flower crown slipped from his head.


How much time had passed, Julian couldn't say. But he was rudely awoken and startled when the demon unceremoniously dumped him onto a soft bed of furs in a place that looked like the inside of a cave. Julian looked around wide eyed. It almost looked just like a home. There were makeshift shelves, a fire pit, the bed he was laying on. It was all very primitive but it served its purpose. Curiosity overtook the boy as he sat up and took a good view of his surroundings. The beast moved to a couple of shelves in the back that had some resemblance of a pantry and put the basket down there too. This wasn't at all what Julian expected a demon lair to look like. He had expected bones and blood and filth and stench. Death, he had expected death. But this? This was almost civilized. 

Then from the corner of his eye he saw the cloak drop and a gasp left him. The white hair was partially tied back and from it, three, no four, imposing equally white horns rose up, one of which was broken and missing its tip. His sharp gasp made the beast turn his head with a snap. It was still wearing the wolf mask. It took three, possibly four steps to stride up to the bed. So fast it made Julian scoot back to avoid impact. He didn't get far with his hands tied however. A displeased growl followed and before he knew it, Julian was pushed over onto his stomach, hands still tied and held down above his head. Now Julian was really sure that this creature was the demon people feared. If its behavior didn't show it then the claw holding down his hands did. The nails were short but sharp and the hand was so large it almost covered Julian's small hands bound together. 

The boy froze to the feeling of something near his neck. Growling the demon seemed to take in his scent. Sniffing him while the hand that didn't hold him took the skirt of the dress and yanked it up. Julian felt the cold air hit his legs, the inside of his knees and higher up still. Now his backside was exposed and apart from the smallclothes he had under the dress he was bare to the demon's touch. Julian squirmed. Uncomfortable but still wise enough not to start screaming. Opening his mouth now would probably only cause him more pain. His wrists were getting itchy and red from the rope around them. It was slowly starting to burn into his skin. But he worried more for what the beast would do to him. Then he heard something rip and felt his bottom hit by a surge of cold air. Suddenly it started to dawn on him why all the victims to this beast had to be virgins. But... surely he wasn't going to... He was NOT a girl! How would that even-

oh. OH. no no no no no that wasn't going to work. No. No that couldn't work. Surely the demon had more sense then to- But no matter how much he wished he was wrong, Julian felt the claw on his inner thigh, spreading his legs further apart. He was going to get fucked before he was going to be devoured. Mounted like a heated bitch in mating season! He had been wise enough not to struggle before, but if he was going to get killed he preferred it without the detour. He had some dignity left!

"Wait. please.. Just- just hold on a sec-"

Julian started to struggle. In a poor attempt to close his legs he discovered the creature was seated between them. And the hand holding him down was so strong Julian couldn't move away. He tried to turn around which only earned him a more displeased growl, and then a threatening one. Damn it all to hell, if he was going to die he would not be threatened by a- Pain shot up his shoulder as the claw holding down his hands yanked them up higher, bringing his body closer to the floor, pushing him down with the other claw, the nails biting into his shoulder. 

He felt something tickle his skin, a wet patch growing in the white of his dress and he knew he was bleeding. It hurt and the pain once again held him still. The sting of tears returned for the first time since he was taken away from the offering circle and Julian did nothing to stop them this time. It hurt. Not just the physical pain. But all he ever thought he would have in live was being taken from him brutally by a beast that didn't even speak! He had imagined his virginity being taken by someone older, someone with more experience. Man, woman, it didn't really matter. But he had imagined them gentle, and sweet. Allowing him to learn all about pleasure under their guidance. Not like this. Not rough and forced and under the hold of someone who cared only for their own needs. Not with only death to look forward to. Julian cried for it. For his shattered dreams and his lost hopes. Shoving his face down in the fur beneath him to muffle the sound. Something pushed against the seam of his ass and Julian clenched his eyes shut, mentally trying to prepare for whatever would follow.

"Don't-"

It slid towards his hole and then the pressure increased. Fuck... Too big. It would never fit. Not like that. The demon would tear him in half! Julian took the fur beneath his face between his teeth, finding something to bite down on. He heard a growl above him. Unable to identify the kind he felt surprise take him as the pressure disappeared along with the demon's cock pressing against his ass. Instead he yelped into the fur in pain and surprise as something smaller breached him. Which felt a lot like one of the large digits from the beast's claws. It hurt. The claws were big enough to already make Julian feel faint at the pressure. He squirmed, unable to keep still. Which tightened the claw that was holding down both his hands. It hurt so much. 

Then the digit moved, none too gently. Setting up a pace too fast and too rough for it to feel good and Julian worried the nail would stab him in places with the rough movement. It burned against his walls and he wished it would stop. But the demon pressed on. A second finger added too soon made Julian groan in discomfort and pain. Forcing all of his sounds into the fur beneath him to keep them quiet. If it was screams of pain and fear the demon wanted, he'd have better luck with the girls that came before. Julian refused to scream or cry out loud or audibly suffer at the demon's hands. This beast that violated him wasn't going to win. Perhaps it was a foolish thing to be so stubborn and so brave. Perhaps it wouldn't leave him satisfied and call its wrath out over the village. But Julian was pretty sure he was going to die after this, if not during this torture. And so he gathered all the courage he could muster and tore into the fur below him with his teeth. Pushing down the bile rising in his throat, pushing down the sounds of agony, pushing down the urge to plead for his life. He swallowed it all. 

Then oh sweet hollow feeling. If only for a second. When the demon withdrew and all was bliss and gone for but a moment. Julian took a breath, for he felt that he could. Which was sadly cut into a sharp gasp when the pressure increased once again. And no that wasn't the claw returning. This time he knew it was the demon mounting him. He felt its cock push its way inside. Forcing his tight walls to make room. It was too much, too full. The stretch hurt and Julian thought he had torn down there. Deeper and deeper it slid inside and the boy helplessly clawed at the furs to hold on for dear life. His own heartbeat thundering in his ears nearly drowned out the groans and growls above him as the demon kept pushing in. It went too deep, too far and Julian felt as if it would come up his throat if the brute kept going. He couldn't move, couldn't breathe. Great... He thought. I will be fucked to death. 

There was no pause, no breath to take, no time to brace. The demon above him started to pull out with a grunt and for a second, false hope spread in Julian's mind. That perhaps the beast knew this wasn't going to work. That it found the space to cramped, the passage too tight. Or that it would go back to trying to loosen him more. Oh how wrong he was. The only reason the demon pulled back was to shove his cock back in with a brutal thrust. All the way. Julian felt the urge to vomit strongly, but he pushed it down and tried to inhale the moment the demon drew back again. He managed a sharp breath before it was slammed out of him again. He braced, holding the furs between his fingers, knuckles turning white in their grip. The beast slammed into him again and again. The pain that spread with every thrust made tears sting in Julian's eyes. Even though he had cried so much hours before, he thought he hadn't any tears left to give. 

Any attempt to regulate his breathing seemed almost useless under this rough and punishing pace. Julian tried to breathe in every time the demon drew back, but he felt he barely got any air in at all before it was slammed out of him again. Black spots started to adorn his vision. He felt like he was on the verge of passing out. this is it. He thought. This is how i die. Speared onto a cock. The demon let go of his arms only to pull his hips up and slam into him harder. Holding him so tight the fingertips started to leave dark spots on his hips and the nails dug crescent moons above them. Like a tattoo, patterned on this sacrificial lamb that had been offered to him. The pain only subsided to be replaced by nothing at all. Julian felt numb. He saw something fall from the corner of his eye. It looked like the wolf mask the demon had been wearing. And then he felt a set of teeth on his shoulder, digging in. Pain spread first, fast an sharp like a bee sting. Fangs scraped his skin and the blood poured from his shoulder. The last thing Julian felt before he passed out was a throaty growl released against his skin, heat filling him in liquid form and a tongue dragging across the bite on his shoulder. This is it... He thought. Now i die. And then everything turned black.


Now the fire is out and light pours into the cave when Julian opens his eyes again. Confusion spreads through him first, then pain. As he attempts to move, all of his muscles protest and are sore. Pain shoots up from his bottom and his wrists ache. There is a dull stinging on his shoulder and he can feel the fabric of his once white dress stick to him in certain places. He hisses and curls up in an attempt to dull the pain, then he discovers that his wrists are no longer tied. The rope is gone. Something lays on top of him. When he looks he finds a blanket of furs draped over him and his dress tugged back over his body to cover him. Wide eyed he sits up and hisses at the sting of pain that nearly forces him to lay back down again. He looks around but there is no sight of the demon. The mask is gone, so is the cloak and the basket sits empty in the corner while the food and drink are stacked on the shelves in the back. 

Everything that happened the night before comes back in flashes. Julian still feels the sting of teeth on his shoulder and the rough abuse of his backside and all he can wonder is: Why am i not dead?  For a second he worries that maybe this is because the demon isn't satisfied. But... then why aren't his hands tied anymore? Why was he covered and put to bed in a way, instead of tossed aside like some rag doll only to be used again whenever the demon would want him? Question after question raises to Julian's mind. Where did the demon go? Why was Julian left here? Maybe he could run away? To test the amount of damage done, Julian tries to stand. And quickly finds that he can't run even if he tried. He can barely walk as it is. He feels dirty, used, in pain. There is dried blood on him, dirt and oh god i don't want to know what's sliding down my thighs. He needs a bath. And food. His stomach growls and he shivers.

It's cold up here and the white dress doesn't exactly keep him warm. Julian pulls the fur blanket around him, finding it soft and comfortable. Then he turns to the pantry. Shuffling, bit by bit further into the cave. Slowly to try and keep the pain to a minimum. The ground does nothing to improve his situation. It's cold and bites at his feet. Still Julian curiously shuffles further into the demon's home and takes a look at the shelves and the food on them. There he finds a loaf of bread, a ham which he tears a bit from, and cheese, which he also tears a piece from. Setting his teeth into it he sighs and groans in delight as the cheese melts onto his tongue. It allows him the knowledge of how famished he really is and he takes a greedy bite of the ham. He searches the shelves for a drink but nearly all of it is ale or wine. There is no water. So he takes a small bottle of ale that smells the most watery and takes a sip. The bitterness caresses his tongue but he is too thirsty to put it down. It'll have to do. 

With his breakfast he shuffles back towards the main area. Taking in his surroundings. All of the wooden additions to the cave look self made. The carvings on the shelves are beautiful and intricate. It looks like nothing Julian has ever seen before. Especially the patterns and markings carved onto them. If it is a language, it is a language that he doesn't know existed. Above the fire pit there's a hole for the smoke to escape through, right now it shows a bit of blue sky. There are two wooden foot stools next to it and below the bed of furs there is a small wooden platform so the furs are not directly on the ground. It's all very simple but well thought of. Even a bit impressive for a Demon. Slowly his tour of the cave comes to an end while he eats, and as he downs the last of his breakfast he slowly walks towards the exit. Hopefully there is something of a stream nearby so he can wash up. Stepping into the blinding light of the sun he feels a bit better already. Now with some food and drink in his stomach he thinks he's brave enough to face the day again. Outside he looks around and discovers tracks of an animal. They look like hooves but they are larger then that of a normal horse and there are scorch marks in every step. 

The amazement doesn't end there. The entrance of the cave seems to be overgrown with wild vines and ivy. Pushing through to the other side is easy but turning back to the entrance it almost looks like there is no cave at all. Just a few openings on the sides and up top would betray that there is more behind the greenery then one would think. If you didn't know or realize that it would be easy to overlook. The view outside is that of the mountainside forest, going on and on for miles and miles on end. Showing nothing but greenery far and wide in various shades and colors. There are wild flowers littered over the forest floor, turning everything into a colorful painting. These are larger and healthier looking then the ones down by the village. Which reminds Julian... The demon didn't take those? Maybe they use those for the funeral...

His stomach turns a bit at the thought. Just the mere idea of his adoptive parents having to bury his things and no body, not even having proof of his death other then his disappearance, makes him sad. He can imagine it being so much worse for parents who have to do that for their own blood related child. They don't even know he isn't dead... Julian frowns. He isn't dead. Why isn't he dead? This is all so confusing. Nothing makes sense. Nothing is like the stories the villagers tell of the Demon. They certainly didn't tell anyone that it resembles a man! And... if he isn't dead... What happened to the girls? Did they survive too? Did they escape? Did he let them go? Where are they now? 

A soft breeze shakes Julian from his thoughts and toys with the skirt of his white dress. Right... His not so white dress. He needs a bath. Julian looks around. He has no idea where he is apart from knowing this is the demon's lair. And he worries that if he goes too far he might not find the way back. But he also really craves a dip in a stream. Cold or not. He turns left and slowly starts walking. His body hurts less now that he has been moving for a bit. The soreness slowly lifting. And yet the bruises on his hips and the teeth mark on his shoulder still sting. Barefoot he walks further, trying to find things, specific landmarks he can use to find his way back. Maybe he is mad for wanting to remember. Maybe if someone were to be here with him they would be yelling at him, screaming that he shouldn't go back there. Not after what the demon did. But truthfully, where else can he go? It's a long trek down the mountain. And even if he could make it down to the village, they probably already 'buried' him by now. They probably wouldn't see it as a good sign anyway. Him surviving meant ill fate for the rest of the village. 

Julian shakes his head as he walks on, humming the song he has composed for if he would one day hit the road and become a bard like he wanted since he was two years old. What else can he do? Then the sound of soft rippling water makes it to his ears. He follows it. Pushing through a few bushes to find a small stream with fresh water. Julian carefully dips his toes in. It's cold, but not freezing. This could do nicely. He takes off the fur blanket and carefully drapes it over a nearby branch. Then he takes off the dress. Noticing the red patches in the shoulder and the hips. He doesn't really want to put it back on, since it will remind him of what transpired last night. But right now he has nothing else to wear. His small clothes were ripped off and no where to be found in the morning so this is all he has to cover himself. His sacrificial dress. Julian snorts. Oh it may turn him into a mythical maiden yet. 

Naked, he steps into the stream with the white dress in his hands. He puts the fabric in the cold water, trying to clean out the red stains. They won't leave completely, but eventually it looks like a splash of wet dust rather then dried blood. Satisfied he hangs the dress from another branch to dry and steps back into the stream to wash himself. Softly humming and singing as he carefully tends to his wounds. The less pleasant thing to do is to clean up his bottom from the previous abuse. But he does it without complaining to no one in particular. Not even to himself. All he can hope for is that the demon is satisfied enough to leave the village alone. All he really wants is that him surviving is not a bad thing. He doesn't even know where the demon is. It could be wreaking havoc on the town already. Julian shakes it from his mind. He can't think about that right now. 

Once he is done bathing he wants to go see if the white dress is dry yet, but when he reaches the branch, the dress is gone. Julian quickly turns to the fur blanket and thank the gods it's still there. He wraps it around his now shivering body and looks around. A white cloth can't just have disappeared. Maybe it fell? He searches but the dress is truly gone. Frowning he turns back to the stream, just to be sure he didn't leave it by the water. Then his eyes spot something else. Folded on a stone lays something blue. Julian draws closer to see what it is. Gasping as he unfolds a pair of breeches, a creme colored shirt and a blue vest. These.... these are his clothes! This is his favorite set of clothes! This has to be magic! There's no other way those could end up here. There's even another set of small clothes. Julian doesn't think about it, he happily puts on the clothing and once again feels like himself. Now if he only had his Lute... 

Still.. Even in his own clothes it's still a bit chilly out. And he still has bare feet to walk on. Turning to the fur blanket he lifts it and swings it around his shoulders. It's soft and comfortable and he loves it. Walking back up to the little path that he took to get down here he finds a set of prints that he knows he didn't leave. Julian doesn't know much of tracking, but his bare feet leave quite a different set of prints then the hooves and scorch marks he has seen before. There's a set of fur boots standing by the side of the path. Abandoned. Julian frowns but stalks towards them. Curious he sizes them up and... they are the right size. He puts them on and, they fit. Though they are slightly bigger then they look and therefore not the perfect size, but big boots are better then no boots. Something dawns on him. Maybe all this time he only thought he was alone. Maybe the Demon has been watching him. But then why does it hide? Why do this? Why give him his own clothes and care for him? Almost as if.. As if... As if it is trying to apologize? No. No way. That's wishful thinking. Or is it? 

"Hello?"

Julian calls out anyway. The only reply is birds chirping and the rustling of the breeze through the leaves. Julian frowns and he starts to walk back to the cave. He has to stop and look around a few times. Not only to admire the beautiful view, but to get a pinpoint of his location. To see if he can recognize the path back. In the end the only thing that does not allow him to get lost are the scorched tracks. When he reaches the cave he takes a deep breath to steady himself. What happened last night was... not okay. And he doesn't know how much of it will come back to haunt him if he comes face to face with his captor. A part of him is angry. But a part of him also wants to understand. And frankly he doesn't know what he will do if he sees the demon. He braces himself for... something. Anything. But when he enters the cave, he is still alone. He still has a chance to run, a chance to leave and never come back. Any sane person would. But Julian pulls a smile on his face and shakes his head. A Sane person would be content as a farmer, and here i was wanting to be a bard. 

He looks around and sees the furs on the bed have been replaced and cleaned, there's a small fire going again and a few lavenders thrown in the fire to spread the smell throughout the cave. Julian stalks over to the pantry, snatches an apple and goes back to the bed, where his eyes fall on a delicate instrument.

"My Lute!"

Sitting down, He puts the apple beside him and caresses the strings carefully. Now if he only had parchment and a quill. ooh and ink. Not to forget the ink. He sighs and sits and plucks the strings softly. Trying to remember all the little tunes he had composed thus far. Every now and then he nurses the fire and he wonders where the demon is. There are some spare logs near the wall. Julian tends to the fire and sings to himself as his habit allows, accompanied by the soft notes of his Lute. Never ever did he think being captured by a demon could make you feel.... bored. But then again, Never would anyone but Julian be so stupid as to return to the home of their abuser. They would take what they could and they would run. Far and fast. If he had any sense he would too. But something pulled him back here. The clothes and the way he was covered up, and the Lute being here... It didn't make much sense. Him being alive doesn't make much sense. And partly Julian returned because he wants answers, Partly because he feels drawn here.

Julian sighs and takes the apple, twisting the core in his hand once he's done eating. He plucks the seeds from it and turns them over in his hands. Nana always said that the mountain soil was no good. And that they were lucky that the fruit trees near the village were doing well enough. But even with a lot of hard work, they never gave off a large amount of fruit. Just two baskets in every tree. Three if they were lucky. But the flowers up here seem so much healthier then the ones below by the village. He wonders... 

Then footsteps sound and against the light of the setting sun, a large shadow appears. The demon has returned.