A wave of relief washed over Cade's aching body as he lay naked and prone in the hot, heavily scented near darkness within the heart of the Healing Balm.
For a few numbing moments, the marbled stone stab he lay upon was alter cold under him. He stared blankly at the patterned floor below him, his head resting on a padded support. Soon, gentle, warm, oiled hands moved across his knotted muscles with practised ease, smoothing away the pain and hurt of his night work worn and weary frame. The rythmic strokes, pushing deep into his muscles, were dragging him into near slumber, his eyes eased closed. He was pulled back from the brink of unconsciousness and almost cried out as a wave of nausea tried to drown him, face down and at the mercy of his assailants experienced and powerful hands. The knots and the aches and the tightness deep down in his tissues, down to his bones were forced out of existence with intense and repeated mind dulling pressure. Those hands, thought Cade were hands that could as soon snap his neck as ease its pain. He would try to stay awake this time, he thought as the nights dark events redrew themselves in his mind. Never hurts to be awake! But he slid back into the warmth and comfort he had paid for. The pain eased, moved on from the small of his back, up his spine and out across his muscled shoulder blades, now waves of relief and sensuality. They;d need a lot of work, and herd had coin enough for a whole night, so Tight they were, tonight, tighter than usual. But then Cade always held his stress and tension high up in those muscles. Gave him head aches if he wasn't careful, especially after a night like tonight.
Then almost imperceptibly, something changed. Something that most people, especially in this state would not notice, let alone react to. Cades eyes opened slightly, and he tried to lick back a drip of drool from his open mouth as it fell to the floor below him. The dim light flickered as a slight draught crept across the room, and in the periphery of his still miasmic mind, muted, muffled shuffling sounds stole into his subconscious. A stifled and guttural, gargled sound came from above, the massage ceased of a sudden then the breath suddenly spilled out of him as what felt and smelled like a ton of hot, wet, oily offal cascaded across his back and buttocks, pinning him to the table. A big hand fell limply to one side of his face, oiled and glinting in the small light of the now wildly flickering single scented candle. And something not oil, but thick and dark as oil, dripped and dribbled from the lifeless fingers. Cades body prickled, the hairs on his neck tried to stand, smoothed down though they were. Cade focused on that odd, hanging hand, as it slowly descended to the floor, becoming forearm and bicep as Whatever weighted him down slipped slowly off him to and made its glistening way to the floor like a slowly coiling rope. It slipped and slurped, landing with a heavy, sloppy thump, guts and bowels opened.
'Ow yer feelin, maytey' came a harsh voice from somewhere above him 'Nice arse, that is there' and the unmistakable sound of steel against leather told him this was not going to be the happy ending he'd paid for.