Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Spoils of War

     She felt him walk into the tent before she heard him. He stumbled in, drunk on merriment and wine, bringing a warm breeze from the coast with him. She could smell him from the door. He smelled of sunlight and earth, open fire and the metallic sweat of the day. It was not an unpleasant smell. He smelled like a man, a warrior.  She could hear him shuffling around, picking up various items and setting them back down. He said not a word and she didn't either. She just laid on her pallet in the corner, eyes closed as if asleep. She did not want him to know that she laid awake waiting for his return. She anticipated seeing him all evening while he broke words with others. She had no place among his people and would not interrupt his interactions with them. She waited patiently in the tent they shared. He kept her there for her own protection. His kin were brutal and overreaching. To them, she was a spoil of war. To him, she was his conscience. They spoke frankly when in this tent, speaking of hard truths and decisions. She led him to follow his heart regardless of how difficult it was to do so. Their relationship was strained by tension. She knew he wanted her, and she him. He kept his distance as best as he could for fear of destroying her innocence.
     Normally he slept near the entrance of their tent to keep her safe from those that would snatch her away in the night. If it wasn't for his obligations to the clan, they would leave this coast and strike out alone. Just the two of them. She wanted that desperately. To be his, and he to be hers. She knew his path would not take them where she desired. Instead of dwelling on that which would never be, she kept busy with various tasks he set her to and spoke to few. Once done, she would come back to the tent, exhausted from work and heat, and wait on his return with food and drink. He promised that she would never want for anything, as he would keep her fed and cared for. At first meeting, he frightened her. He was imposing. Tall and handsome, yet fearsome in his rage. He fought with a purpose and a savagery unmatched by anyone she ever seen. He stood a god among his men... all men really. No one matched his mastery of warfare. He was a champion born and bred for battle. And he was her savior. He saved her from a life of slavery and hardship. He gave her freedom.
     She continued to lay quiet as he moved about, finally coming to her pallet. He knelt at her side and reached out a gauntlet clad hand to touch her. He began at her ankles, his fingers delicately dancing over her skin. He traced the line of her leg up and laid his hand softly on her hip. She opened her eyes to see him looking down at her with unbridled carnality burning in his clear azure eyes. The light of the fire outside their tent burnished his skin and long flaxen hair in a celestial blaze. He shone like an immaculate beacon in the darkness, lighting the way to her. She sat up facing him, gazing at his beauty, never taking her eyes away from his and took his large hand into both of hers and pressed it to her heart. She smiled warmly at him and finally broke her eyes from his. For a moment, she was afraid his lust may overtake sense in them both. She sought to steady herself before speaking with any veracity. When she looked back up at him, he reached forward and touched her cheek with his other hand, tenderly and lovingly stoking the petal soft skin. Finally he spoke, after what felt like an eternity.
     "I fear that I will depart this world without ever knowing your touch." And with that said, he took her face in both strong hands and kissed her thoroughly and deeply, his stubbled chin bristling against her skin. He tasted of wine and roasted meat. When at last he let let her go, she panted and touched her fingers to her tingling lips. With eyes full of longing, she looked up at him, cast in that golden light and reached for him again. She stopped herself just short of his arms. She was afraid to touch him, afraid the thin veil of restraint she had would be shattered the moment she touched his skin. Like she would be lit ablaze with passion. When she spoke, she did it slowly, deliberately, making him hear her words.
     "Do you speak truth or do you let wine speak for you?"
     "When have I not spoke truth to you?" She smiled.
     "You've always been truthful. Even when true words would do harm." He looked ashamed at this. Taking his hands away from her face, he averted his glance down to the grass beneath his knees.
     "I have never sought to harm you. I would see you safe from pain. I wish for nothing but your peace." Again, she smiled. This man, this fighter... pain was his purpose. To harm, to kill, to destroy. And yet, she believed him. He would never misuse her. She knew this. Hearing him say it warmed her heart. She nodded at him, in acceptance of his words, stood up, taking his hands in hers, and drew him up from his knees. Standing on tiptoes, she pressed her body against his, threw her arms around his neck, pulling his face down to hers. He closed his eyes and sighed, resting his forehead against hers, wrapping his arms around her waist.
     "You are my peace," she whispered. "You saved me from uncertain fate. If my embrace is payment for that, I gladly give it to you." He kissed her again and held her tight to his chest. His hands ran up her back to the tie that held her linen dress in place and released it in one swift movement. She untied the knot that held the short cloth to his waist and let it fall to the floor. They both stood naked, bronzed by fire light. He laid her down gently on the pallet, slowly lowering his body onto hers. He explored her body, touching, kissing, tasting every inch of her skin as he made his way down her torso. He looked up at her, resting his chin on her stomach and grinned at her in that devilish way.
     "You do not encourage me to continue by remaining silent," he said brashly. "Let's change that, shall we?" She eyed him curiously and he continued his downward descent. She opened her legs to him and he nibbled gently at her inner thighs. She giggled at the feeling and he took that as permission to continue. He lowered his head to her. His tongue was nimble, making broad strokes that caused her to tremble. He kept on with speed and skill and she sighed audibly, moving her hips to his rhythm. She felt a tightness deep inside her, as if she would explode if he continued. She tried to pull away from him in an attempt to lessen the feeling. He felt her struggle and wrapped one arm around her thigh, while the other reached up and gripped her breast. He continued with renewed fervor and she squirmed and panted. Finally able to break his hold, she sat up abruptly and gripped him by his hair and pulled him up to face her and kissed him deeply. She could taste herself on his lips, musky and feral, that ignited an inferno deep within. Reaching down, she took all of him in her hands and stroked gently. He inhaled sharply and pushed her back down to the pallet. He took her hands away and pinned them over her head with one hand, while the other guided himself into her. She gasped at the sudden intrusion. They began to move together in a steady cadence of mutual bliss. He looked deep in her eyes and she back at him as they writhed in tandem. He let go of her hands and she immediately dropped them to his hips in hopes of holding him within her forever. The tightness deep within her returned and she begged him not to stop. In response, he went faster and faster and faster until a wave of pleasure crashed over them and threatened to drown them both. She cried out and he collapsed onto her, chest heaving and breathing heavily. She wrapped her legs around him and held him there.
     "Do not move... I do not wish to be separate from you yet," she panted. He nodded, unable to form words and they lay fitted together like a puzzle. She felt complete and whole with him inside her and did not want that feeling to end. Is this what love is, she thought to herself. Feeling whole when coupled? They lay quietly, hearts hammering against the others ribs. She released him and he propped himself up on his elbows.
     "What spell you have cast upon me, bewitching woman? I fear you will never be rid of me." he said quietly. She laughed.
     "You speak as if I would want to."