by Tina Comroe
Darkness and light.
I have come to this place and this time, to speak of what has been, is, and will be. I am the high priestess of our Lady of Light, and in this time and place, My lord husband, High priest of the Lord of Shadows, has bidden me tell of how our life has come to where it is, and where it shall go... and so it shall be...
His eyes lit with a feral light, as he surveyed the battle fields about him; looking for one last standing man to fight, to kill. Blood stained his sword, and clothing, clotted in his long black hair, matting it in clumps. His comrades, those that could stand waited with him, for one last charge at the gates of the castle of Kemar bint Kemal, minor lord of the borderlands... his castle must fall to Him, it must.
"Captain, Look up at the windows!" one of his men yelled, and indeed he did look up, and a wonder apeared... White sheets hung from every window, a signal of surrender, and as he watched, they were opening the gates as well. He looked at his men... and counted their number, three squads still with him and more awaiting to enter the gates...
"Sound the rally, and we will enter on guard for a trap of any kind," he ordered. His men cheered, and settled into formation behind him, shields and swords at ready. Just at the gates a sight beheld him and he stopped his forward march, holding up his left hand to stop his men... There in front of him, dangling from the battlements, was the lord of the castle, wrapped in sheets and tied like a sausage, being lowered down by his wives.
"Well now, this is a nice gift, Jeof, see of the keys to the castle are on his belt will you??"
"Yessir." And the lad ran forward to search... and found what he was looking for... a large ring of keys and a document of surrender. Duly signed by the wives. He raised his eyes to the battlements and Saluted them... they ranged along the battlements like jewels and that they now belonged to his king meant nothing to him. He would let the virgins go to the temple and the lesser conqubines would go to his men.. .There would be rejoicing on their part... this seige had lasted over a month, and the wine had run out yesterday... Raising his left hand again, he led his men into the castle...
Entering the main hall, he gave his men orders to leave the temple alone, and to gather all the women and children into the great hall, and not to harm any of them till his orders were given... with the keys in hand he let a servant lead him from door to door opening them and seizing the contents and loading them to wagon as his secretary wrote down the cargo listings for each box and bag, carpet and tapestry... They were to methodically strip the castle and load all onto wagons and send it all to Monteran, the royal seat. He and his men would accompany the women, children and wagons as well, no one, and nothing would be left there in the end.
Out in the courtyard, a pile of wood and a large stake were being erected by a squad of his men... this was the order from the king, "Lay seige and take it all, I mean all... and if you can take him alive... burn him at the stake, his traitorous acts and the murder of my sister make him meat to cook, not a man. Bring his wives, concubines, and all their children to me, let the Temple alone, and sack the castle completely, all of it is mine anyways."
And so those orders were to be followed, tho' he would have wished to at least keep the man alive to stand up and fight instead of this... But orders were after all orders...
It took two weeks to empty the castle, all of it inventoried onto scrolls, and packed... the women were put onto their horses and the children into covered wagons... and his men arranged themselves front, back and sides, tho not one lord would raise his hands against them... Kemar did after all kill the king's sister... Selan... and All in the country had loved her, including himself. The Temple had been left alone on its hillside, just as the king had commanded. On their way out as the last wagon came into line, they put the torch to Kemar and his screams accompanied their departure.
Far up on the hillside the Temple watched the smoke from the fire rise from the courtyard of the now empty castle. The old priest watched the baggage waines trail out behind the leaving army like a great serpent, following the winding road towards Monteran. Shaking his bald head, he entered into the temple, where twelve new virgins awaited his attention... the tithe of the king to the Temple.Waving a hand his daughters and wives took the scared girls into their care... leaving the priest to his thoughts on the Captain that had kept the siege up till the Kemar's wives surrendered, a smile forming on his wizened features. Slowly he walked into the low beamed library, light coming in through the wide windows. Looking along the shelves he found the old tome he searched for, and took it to a table, sitting down upon one of the many cushions strewn about the floor. Opening the book to the marked page he read the prophesy concering the Lady of Light and the Lord of Shadows... and on the pages he found the passsage he wanted.
"Lo, for there shall come a time of sorrow and the cause of this sorrow shall be the death of Love, and He that loved her shall lay seige to the place of her death, and in doing so shall the wives of the Murderer of Love hand him over to the besieging army come to avenge Love's death, and the murderer shall burn." Nodding his head he read on... "And twelve bright stars shall be a gift to the Gods, in tribute for their victory." The usual gift was 7 virgins to the Temple one for each day the sun shines in a week, and the old man's smile widened... For Selan of course meant Love in the old tongue... (pronounced Shell-awn) and those bright stars were the virgins in his temple... The Lord of Shadows has given his first showing, and the Temples must greet him in the proper time. And leaving the book on the table, he went to the door, and beckoned one of his many daughters to come and write copies of the message to the other temples that "News of Great Import have come" and that a council of Elders must convene.
The next day twenty of his daughters rode out on their task to bring the news to the Elders. The eldest of them to the Temple in Monteran itself, to bring the news to the High Elder. Selaer rode her horse dressed in the white of the Temple, and caught up with the Captain in front of the long line of women,wagons and baggage as well as officers of the army. Keeping her head forward she silently rode beside him, waiting to be acknowledged. When he did it was with the penetrating look of a hungry animal, taking in the white and the banner of the Temple... twelve white stars on red... and then appraising her from ankle to top of head... Noting her gold hair, pale skin with the gold of sunshine burned into it... Thinking as he did that she looked like one of the great cats the king kept as pets... 'probably would fight like one too' and he smiled. His teeth white and even. Selaer widened her eyes in shock, feeling heat rising on her features, looking away from him was hard... he had the darkest green any man's eyes should have been alowed to be... and clear skin, not a pock mark to be found. Putting heels to horse, she let her mount trot ahead towards her destination, wanting to get the message to the Temple before He arrived to the king's palace.
He watched her ride ahead, thinking they would catch up with her in the evening, and he would talk to her then, when they made camp... it was after all only 3 days travel to Monteran, and she would need to rest sooner or later.
She rode forward and found it easier to breath after her encounter with the Captain... she felt a little silly for having stared like a child at the man, but goodness, did he have to be that good looking?? By the Gods, it was hard to resist that smile! In the evening she found shelter in the waystation huts by the well, her horse came in with her as the huts were little more than large barns. She chose a stall for her and her horse, and heaping some straw she lay her cloak down and rolled herself into it... her horse ate well, and the straw was only grass after all so he was content. She awoke in the morning to the Captain standing over her, staring down at her. Her cloak had fallen away from her and her robes had fallen away from her too, so she lay there exposed to his eyes...
He knelt down, and reaching out a hand, caressed an ankle, where it was exposed through her sandal straps. Her gasp made her horse turn and look at them, and then go back to eating. He lay down and stretched out beside her... pulling his rough hands along her body, learning the contour and texture of her skin. She spoke up, "You should know I belong to the Temple, and that your actions are forbidden." He looked into her eyes, nodding.
"Yes, I know, but that is neither here or there, I will touch you, and then let you be." Looking down at her body again He asked" Virgins of the Temple often Marry outside the Temple do they not??" Raising herself up and covering her nakedness she nodded her head.
"Yes they do, but I am Eldest Daughter, and may Not. I truly belong to the Temple... forever... I have many younger sisters, should you want a Temple Virgin for wife." And Standing, she tied her robe tighter, covered herself with her cloak and led her horse to the road... He followed...
"My name, maiden of the Temple, is Kalil ibn Sha'Dojji ibn Feraud. I am going to Monteran, and as you are going the same way obviously, I offer my protection."
Stopping at the roadside she turned to him, "Do I need that protection do you think?" And smiling she mounted her horse and rode down the track to Monteran, still two days away.
Kalil Laughed and motioning for his horse mounted and followed, far enough back so that she did not see her, but close enough to keep watch... as he rode he hunted for supper... without knowing it she had made him want her more than when he had walked by her stall while she slept. 'Gods,' he thought, 'she is just like Selan, independent, and headstrong, and beautiful, oh how beautiful'... He had no comparison for Selan for he had never seen her like that.
Only dreamt oftimes of her eyes, and voice and her in his arms... but this, this was real... and alive... and the four months since Selan's death had brought out his grief and let it fade... for she had been only someone to dream about, this was one to have something real with. What that something was, He had no clue, but felt compelled to find out what.
Her horse, rested after a long night, was eager to get to the next waystation, so she gave him his head and let him run, he knew the way, he had been this road before, and knew that there would be food when he got there. At around noon, she pulled her horse to a trot and stopped him near a stream, he needed water, and she needed a bath... taking a bar of soap from the saddle bags she untied the sash of her robes and let them fall on the grass next to the stream... stepping into the water she sighed contentedly, and lathered herself and her tired body relaxed after so many hours in the saddle. Dunking her head, she then lathered her hair... she wanted to be clean and the water refreshed her... rinsing her hair in the water, she stood and let the water fall off of her body, the little glade that the stream ran through was dappled with sunshine and she sat on the grass, naked waiting for her body and hair to dry. She braided her hair back and tied it with a strand of leather from her bags... her hair was quite long, reaching down past her buttocks, in a braid, let loose it was well past her thigh...
Kalil watched her from the shadows as she bathed in the water and the sunlight... frowning when she braided her hair, and returned her robe to her body... and then mount her horse and head out on the road, at a light canter... He followed.
She thought of her encounter with the Captain, Kalil... Her breath came faster, and her robes between her thighs became wet with her passion, the saddle rubbing against her almost brought her there, and moaning she slowed her horse to a walk to regain her breath...
Seeing her slow her mount brought him closer, and on the slight breeze he could smell her passion, nostrils flared he urged his horse closer, and when his mount was next to hers, he pulled her over to his lap and held her, she struggled, but her breath was slow to return, and her face was flushed. Her eyes met his and he noticed their color, a mild gold, just like the great cats... "Lioness, you should not push yourself so, you don't have that strength, you are only a Temple maiden after all."
Amusement colored his words and she smiled. "If you only knew how rigorous our work was, you would not say that." Her smile made him molten and she noticed the change immediately, looking downtowards his pants, and the large outline she was leaning against. "Admittedly, I am not out of breath because of my riding."
He stilled. "Oh?"
Her face became pinkish, and she said "Oh yes... You may want to put me back on my horse now... else I may be put to death for what I would do with you." A moan answered her statement, his arms tightening around her, pulling her against his hardness.
"I do not think they would kill you for one lustful encounter with me. I can do things to you that do not require the loss of virginity. Not one drop of blood would be spilled, yours or mine." Fire flared along her nerves at that, and she leaned against him letting the rocking of the horses walk rub them against each other... Boldly she raised her lips to his, tasting the salt of sweat from his upper lip before he took what she offered and made it his. His body jerked and he claimed her lips with his, tongue to tongue, they danced... arms around each other they held on. "At the next waystation, you are mine, but until then we will ride together each to their own horse. So that you may not be compromised." And riding forward he had her grab the reins of her horse and set her in the saddle. Puzzled, she looked downwards to the ground, wondering what she may have done wrong, and realized with a smile that he would suffer for this as much as she, and let her hair down so that the wind would dry it faster... and hearing a groan from the direction of his horse, she smiled deeper... loving what she could do to him... Her new found sense of freedom giving her a heady sense of power over this man... and she was finding she loved it.
It was true evening when they arrived at the waystation... the women and baggage had arrived hours before and were setting up camp... his men were happily setting up tents for the Wives and their children and setting guards over the wagons of loot and such... She headed straight for one of the huts and put her horse into a stall, fed him and removed her saddlebags... then walking to the far corner chose a clean stall to lay down her blankets and cloak, waiting she sat down. Wondering if she was being a fool for what was about to happen she stood and paced her stall nervously... 'I was not nervous today, why now??' she thought .'He promised no blood would be spilled... will it happen tonight? or when we are on the road again? Oh bother!' And she turned around again and walked into his arms.
"You look worried, maybe that I would not come to you? No matter where you run, until I have you out of my blood, you are going to be found by me, and I will do what I will till it is gone." He bent his head to capture her lips with his. A growl issued from his chest as he lifted her off her feet and placed her upon her blankets. Straddling her, he untied the sash holding her robes closed. Spreading them wide he knelt there enjoying the sight... Her breathing becoming rapid, her skin flush with exitement... This was what he lived for... this thrill,this joy. Pulling off his tunic, he stood to pull off his boots and trous, his arousal evident and throbbing up and down in its hardened state, liquid glistened at its tip, sliding down the shaft like a passionate tear. She reached upwards and touched it... feeling the velvet of the skin, and the roughness of the hair at its base, and the hard stones within the pouch beneath. He let his head fall back as she explored, willing himself to let her, and not to do what any other man would do...and Oh gods he wanted to. His hands curled into fists, her touch setting a fire in his loins that no mere whore would ever be able to ease again.
"Oh Lioness, I think this may be the hardest thing I have ever done... pleasured a maiden without taking her maidenhead... you will need to lay very still and try to be quiet... I can gag you if necessary, but only if needful. Oh stop," and reaching down he stopped her exploration taking her hands in his. Kneeling down, he pushed her back again to her blankets... and spread her legs wide. Her scent almost sent him over the edge... and he opened her folds and tasted her. Her musk and flow tasted of the finest wine, urging him to delve further, and he lapped at her, reveling in her flavor, and scent. His tongue sought out her secrets, and his soul filled with joy as she writhed under him, moaning into the blankets. Her hips lifted to him and he pushed her back down to the blankets his tongue toying with her clitoris. Harder and harder he licked her, not daring to enter her with even a finger, but rubbing her legs and squeezing her thighs gently careful not to leave bruises.
design ©2001 by Cindy Rosenthal
The Mercenary King ©2001 by Tina Comroe
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