Friday, December 12, 2014

Terms of Surrender

All of my cleverness fails me when you walk into the room. A touch of your hand or the ghost of a smile and all thoughts escape me save those of you. I struggle to write for you but the words are empty wind. I simply can not give voice to this great emotion that threatens to burst my heart.

I thought I could out run you. I thought I could flee. You always knew that I would return, like the hawk to the lure. For all the might that I could muster, I can not divide myself from my heart. Be it the one that beats and sets blood moving through my limbs or the one that harbors my emotions, I would be lifeless with out it. You knew that I would be compelled by that organ to return to you.

You stood there with your hand outstretched. To some, it would have been a gesture of release. I knew otherwise, however. Just as the falconer holds their wrist out for the hawk to alight, so did you extend your hand for me to grasp. And grasp it I did. I took hold of it and felt the world wheel away in that moment.

So it is, I stand here prisoner in the sweetest of bondage. My pride would have me fly from you. It would have me thrust aside these tender feelings and place a walled fortress about my heart. This, however, has already come to pass. For within that fortress, there stands you at my side, crowned king of all you survey.

While confusion and anxiety may threaten to cast darkness over my eyes, you illuminate me. When grief overwhelms me, your hand lifts my head above the waves of despair so that I might breathe. To say that I surrender to you seems to pale of a declaration.

It is, however, a surrender. I fought this. I shut my eyes against it and pushed away with all the force I could muster. I struggled and yet I found myself unable to resist you. So it is that I lay down my arms and barbs of sarcasm and bitter words. I remove my armor of detachment and put aside the helm of cynicism. I lay all this at your feet in homage.

Ever on shall I reside behind your shield-wall. Ever on shall I show that which is most tender, most wounded, and most vulnerable to you. No more shall I run. For where ever I have run, you have been there. Thus, I surrender and put up my weapons.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Stolen Away

The wind moaned through the bare branches of the thicket of trees. As the moon shone down upon the snow, I shivered. Determined not to be stopped by the bitter cold, I followed the path through the little wood and up to the high ground. The world seemed to be shades of black, white, and blue. As I emerged from the trees, I could see my destination ahead. A mound rose up several yards away from where the trees ended.

My breath fogged in the air as I pulled my hood tighter against my head. The snow crunched beneath my feet as I broke through the rime of ice that formed earlier with each footfall. In the warmer months, the mound was a place of green grass and tiny white flowers. Some said they were planted when the mound was made in an age passed. Other said that they were from seeds dropped by the birds that pecked the gravel at the base of the mound. None came to pick those flowers, though they would have been well suited to bridal wreaths.

The mound was said to be a fey place. On the night of the full moon, we had been warned to stay well away from it lest the hill folk carry us away. A part of me said that visiting the mound this night was a doomed venture and that dawn would find me dead of the cold. I had decided I could not endure the life of servitude that I inherited from my mother. If the hill folk did not come, then I at least would have the freedom that came from escaping to the hall where my ancestors abide.

I had dressed in my best clothes when I was sure that everyone in the house was asleep. I put on the woolen coat that my mother had left me, the hood that my lady cast off in disdain, and the rough woolen mitts that I was allowed. My boots were poor things but my stockings were sturdy and helped to keep my feet from freezing too badly in the snow. Still, as I approached the mound, I was keenly aware of the pain in my toes. I found myself yearning to be near the smoored fire and then remembered what morning would bring.

Though I was not a slave, my lady had decided to sell me. A man with a reputation of cruelty had paid her price and enjoyed the comfort of her bed. At this late hour, I was fairly sure that he was well and truly asleep. It was the only reason why I dared to escape. Now I walked to the apex of the mound and I looked back along the path I had come.

Beyond the trees, the path went down into the dell where my lady resided. A fine house stood up boldly at the center of the settlement. It was there that I had fled from. I sat down upon the mound and looked at that distant house. I watched for a light to come from it. As the night deepened, I dared to hope that perhaps no one had awakened when I left. The cold grew progressively more vicious as the wind set clouds scudding across the moon.

My eyes began to grow heavy when a sound behind me set my heart hammering. The noise of hoofbeats muffled by the snow approached me. I scrambled to my feet to see a man leading a coal black horse coming towards me. Dressed for the weather, he was an unexpected sight, for I had never heard of anyone riding in the dark or venturing from the grassy plain that stretched in that direction. He held the horse's bridle in his left hand as his right ran over the horse's nose. "This is no weather for a girl to be out in," he said, "You should go home."

"I have no home to go to," I answered, wrapping my arms about myself, unable to keep the shiver out of my voice. He tipped his head slightly to the right and regarded me solemnly. "I'll die before I go back to her," I said. He nodded slowly. As he turned towards his horse, I suddenly found myself saying, "Take me with you. Where ever you are going, please take me. I'll work for you. I'll wash and cook." He turned towards me.

"You won't be returning here if you come with me," he said with a note of warning in his words.

"If I stay, I'll die," I answered. He gave a small nod. I walked towards him, wondering for a moment if I was moving from one bad situation to another. The man stepped around to the right side of the horse. He interlaced his fingers and held them at his waist. I looked at him in confusion.

"Get up on him," the man said as the clouds began to grow thicker, "We need to get out of this weather before it turns bad."

"But I don't know how to ride," I answered. He snorted. Hesitantly, I set my foot upon his hands. With some effort and some luck, I managed to mount the broad high back of the black horse. Then, my rescuer mounted behind me. With a cluck of the tongue and a tug of the reins, the man seated behind me turned our mount and we started off at a walk. Soon, snow began to fall. We rode around the mound once. The flakes began to fall faster and thicker.

As we circled the mound a second time, I had a difficult time seeing through the heavy snow. On our third pass around the mound, fog rose up. We were completing the circuit when I could dimly make out a light before us. "Is that where we're going?" I asked. The man at my back said nothing, letting action answer my question. It seemed that the mound had grown larger as we approached the source of the light, which appeared to be a great archway.

We passed beneath it as the wind shrieked through the trees. Inside the mound, I found myself looking at what appeared to be a glade in the wood at high summer. A table was laid out in the center of that greensward that was filled with food. My rescuer dismounted and then helped me down from the horse. He took the bridle off of that black horse and patted his nose. The horse huffed and then walked away into the trees along where we had come from. I turned to look along that path the horse went and found no sign of the snowy night we had left.

"Come," the man said at my right hand, "Eat. If I am right, it has been a long while since you have been full of food." I looked over at him and gaped with wonder. Where he had been dressed in dark woolen clothes and heavy boots, now he was wearing a fine silken shirt and leather pants that seemed too perfect to have been made by human hands. His hair was dark as it could be, looking almost indigo blue in shadow, and falling around his face in a mass of curls. Eyes that were blue as the summer sky shone with warmth and kindly nature. He looked over to the feast.

"The others shall come in their own time," he said, "but I would have this moment alone with you." He took me by the hand and lead me to the table. A high backed chair sat at the head of the table with a sable cushion at the seat and a matching low footstool. Beside it was a similar chair, adorned with white cushions. He lead me to the white chair and held it out for me to sit. I looked down at my mittens and my coat. He smiled. "Cast them aside," he urged, "You will not need them anymore here." I took off my coat, hood, and mittens to find that it was pleasantly warm. I dropped them to the ground and took the seat he urged me to.

"I have watched you," he said, lifting dainty morsels and putting them on a gold chased plate, "You have struggled since your mother's death. Elsa has been hard upon you. I think she blames you for it. She, however, has forsaken us in favor of the white Christ. Though it seems she does not care for his words of love." The black haired man with the elegant hands set the plate before me. "Your mother was a friend of my people. She gave us milk and honey. She put aside the best crumb of the loaf for us. It would please her to know that you have come to us," he said, sitting on the chair to my left.

"Like your mother, you have lovely eyes," he said, "And white hands, though work has hardened them." I blushed and hid my hands in the folds of my apron on my lap. "Your lovely eyes shall weep no more," my rescuer said solemnly, "And your hands shall grow soft. You mother had promised you to me when you were but a babe. She swore it in exchange for her freedom when you came of age. When she made that promise, I was sworn to treat you as I would my queen. So it is that you sit in the place of honor at my side."

"What is it that you would have of me in all this?" I asked. He smiled and reached for my right hand. He lifted it to his lips.

"The comfort of your arms," he said, "For this night and always." I started to pull my hand back when his grip tightened. I swallowed past a lump that rose up in my throat. "You are mine here," he said, his expression turning solemn, "I could command something more of you. I could put you to work as you had offered in the snow. Your white hands would age and you would stand at the ford for eternity washing garments. I could put you to work cooking, never to taste the fine things you make. I would rather something sweeter then that."

At his ominous words, I felt the blood drain from my face and the world swam for a moment. "Eat," he commanded, releasing my right hand. I picked up a sugar plum and bit into it. I was amazed by the sweetness of it. It seemed to go far past anything I had ever had before. Slowly, I ate the sweet before I picked up an apple. I turned the perfect fruit in my hands. As I brought it to my mouth, he spoke. "You do not know how I have burned for you," he said, reaching over to catch a lock of my hair between his fingers. He twisted it about one and ran a thumb over it. "Doomed to watch but never come near," he sighed, "I would have spirited you away before now but the iron banded doors of Elsa's hall were proof against me. Ah, your face has shone with the light of a thousand suns when you laughed and each smile was worth all the stars of the heavens. And now, you are with me."

Unsure if I were to answer or eat, I looked at the apple. He let go of my hair and set a hand upon my left knee. Cautiously, I resumed eating, keenly aware that he watched each bite and movement I made. I was partly through eating the piece of mince pie that he had set before me when he sighed. I swallowed my bite and looked over at him. "All of the feast is nothing to me," he said, looking forlornly at the food, "What good is the finest of food if I starve anyways?"

"How can you starve if you have food to eat?" I asked, confused by his words. He turned his gaze to me and I was struck by the brilliance of his eyes. He lifted his right hand and set it against my cheek. The warmth of his touch spread through me and a curious sensation of fluttering filled me. A part of me wished to close my eyes and nuzzle that warm hand, more of me blinked in confusion at these odd feelings.

"I perish for but a kiss," he said, "Long have I yearned for it and I wane in the waiting. Even now, within my dwelling, I am weak with wanting. Only you might heal me."

I wiped my hands on my apron and reached up to take his hand in mine. He slipped his hand into my hair and leaned forward. His breath smelled of apples and wine as his face drew close to mine. Suddenly, I felt as though I had imbibed strong drink and I realized I would have stumbled and fallen if I had not been sitting. I closed my eyes to resettle myself when his left hand cradled my cheek. Slowly, his full lips settled against mine with all the tenderness of a butterfly's landing.

Despite myself, I leaned into his kiss and soon found my breath had been stolen from me as he deepened that brush of lips into a full and passionate kiss. All of my body seemed to tingle with anticipation as a soaring sensation swept through me. He slowly broke the kiss and I found myself feeling almost pained by the loss of contact. I opened my eyes and looked at him. A softness seemed to come about the edges of the world and I felt lighter and happier then I had in years.

Drunk on that sudden joy, I leaned forward and kissed him. His strong arms pulled me to him, all but lifting me from the chair I sat in to be in his lap. His embrace was both fierce and tender at the same time. I kissed him until my head swam. I broke the kiss and he smiled. A knowing, tempting smile curved his lips and some part of me wondered if I had wandered onto dangerous ground. My body moved of its own accord and settled me in his lap.

He held me close and pressed a kiss to my right cheek. As he moved his lips to beside my ear, he whispered, "Now, you are mine." I shivered with pleasure at the sound of those words. I could hear others coming from the wood to take their seats at the table. I sat with my eyes closed, breathing in the woodsy scent of him and I found myself wishing for yet another kiss. Where I had felt intoxicated earlier, now, it felt as though some edge of madness had crept into my veins.

It whispered that I surrender all to him. As he ran his hand lightly up and down my spine and toyed with my hair, I found my resistance softening. The thought of his warm arms about me became increasingly persistent even as he breathed against the hollow of my neck. I leaned weakly against him. It seemed that all of my strength was melting into some suffused warmth that passed through my whole being, only to rise to an almost incandescent sensation where his hand passed. I breathed the perfume of wildness in his hair and I shivered with pleasure.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Temptation: A Poem

I see you across the room.
The seconds slip by
The minutes pass into years
And the air between us is heavy.
I can't have you
But I want you.

Desire forces each breath
To hang suspended and
Captured heartbeats to
Await for the return
Of your gaze.
I can't have you
But I want you.

The way your hands linger
And caress the air,
It enthralls me
And I feel the snare.
I can't have you
But I want you.

Drawn closer each second,
I can't move away
From your eyes,
They pin me here.
You speak.
Ah, what do I say?
I can't have you
But I want you.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

The third

The cool evening light slanted through the high windows of the hall and lay in great pools upon the floor. Birds chirped and sang outside. As their music filtered in past the sound of the musicians, I watched a servant at work with her weaving. The hour that all such tasks would finish was soon, but still her hands set to their mission and threw the shuttle through at a hypnotic pace. The soft syncopated sounds of the shuttle flying through the warp and weft followed by the beater hammering the threads into place served as a counter point to the chamber music.

I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing here. I did not have some grand mission in mind. I only sought company and felt some deep need to be here. Thus, I sat at the wall where courtiers waited earlier in the day for an audience with him. I assumed that since the high seat was vacant and the hall was fairly empty, that he was away elsewhere attending to some business. An ache, deep within my bone and heart, throbbed within me and gave the usually peaceful sounding music a melancholy tone.

A plump woman with a face that shone with kindness approached me. She sat down on the bench beside me. Her golden hair was bound into an intricate braid that I had no hope of repeating. A simple gown of green with yellow linen accents was in her arms. She had been sewing it across the hall in the waning daylight when she decided to come sit with me. Seeing that I was lonely and idle, she thrust the dress into my arms. "Idle hands breed mischief," she said with an impish smile of good humor.

I wanted to laugh at hearing my grandmother's expression in such an unexpected place but I only managed a sad smile. I took up the bone needle and set to stitching the neat hem where she had left off. The light dimmed over time as I stitched inch by tiresome inch. I had all but given up hope of seeing him when the hall became a bustle of activity.

Servants lit lanterns as trundle tables were set up down the center of the space. Men laughed and joked as they worked. Women moved amongst them laying out linen cloths over the tables or directing the placement of the benches where all would sit. At the high seat, a smaller table was placed at along the end of the long one formed from the others. The smiling woman who had brought me sewing was in the midst of directing others in the placement of a feast upon those tables when she spotted my interested look.

She motioned me over and patted a seat to the right of the high seat. On the left, another throne of heavy wood sat. Where the first had been carved with elaborate designs, the other was stark in its simplicity. I knew it was here that his lady wife sat. I always found myself uneasy with my nearness to her. I worried that my presence would offend, though she had always greeted my presence with warmth and kindness. Another serving woman took the dress that I had been sewing away at the direction of the stout matron.

As I cautiously sat down in the seat that I was appointed, I watched with some trepidation as merry makers came in from the wide doors out into the courtyard. Snatches of song and gales of laughter rang in the previous stillness. People dressed in all manner of clothes took their seats along the table. No one moved towards the feat, though many complimented the servantry upon the generous portions and the beauty of it. Then, the entire company seemed to take a collective breath and look towards the doors at the same time.

He walked in with his wife on his left arm. They smiled upon each other and spoke loving words, pausing to smile in greeting to their guests. They came to the high table and I stood, keenly aware that the rest of the company present remained seated and abuzz with conversation. His wife was a tall woman with a generous figure. Golden hair that shone with the light of the room was pinned up in elaborate braids that confused the eye. Eyes the color of peridot danced with laughter as he whispered something in her ear. Beside her, I felt small, paltry, and painfully out of place.

Then he turned that radiant smile upon me. I felt warmth rush into my face and suffuse through my body. Holding his wife's hand, he took mine and raised it to his lips. He placed a ghost of a kiss upon the back of my hand as her smile of indulgence deepend. I was torn between panic and delight. As though sensing my distress, his wife lightly tugged at his hand and turned his attention from me for a moment.

He nodded and moved towards his seat. As he did so, his wife paused close beside me. In a voice so low that I nearly missed it, she said softly, "You bring him happiness. You are welcome here in all things." My heart hammered and my knees threatened to give out beneath me. I hadn't dared to believe what I had heard whispered before when I was in his company, words that his wife had looked upon us with a smile and joy.

He turned that heart melting smile of joy upon her and then upon me. "Sit, drink with us," he said. Swallowing past my sudden nervousness, I took my seat at his left hand and did as he bade me. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Cinderella (pt 5)

Evening turned the world to shades of blue and purple. Ella stood on the step, watching the carriage clattering away with her stepsisters and stepmother inside. She had worked on every task put before her with heroic vigor. She did her best to keep a pleasant demeanor, though her stepsisters insulted and berated her for most of the day. When it drew nigh to time for the carriage to arrive, her stepmother looked the room over slowly before finally allowing her eyes to settle on Ella.

"You're dirty and dressed in rags," she sniffed, "Simply unacceptable. You will not go tonight." Ella resisted the urge to shriek at the older woman about how it was her fault that she didn't have anything that was her due or that she didn't have the opportunity to at least bathe. Instead, she merely watched in silence as her tormentors sashayed their way out to the carriage in high spirits. Wrapped in the insulating fog of disappointment, Ella didn't pay much attention as she wandered out to the garden.

She sat down at the foot of the tree that her mother's ashes were buried beneath. At the thought of her late mother and then her late father, Ella dropped her face into her hands and wept. As she wept, the wind sighed through the leaves of the pear tree. A voice, sweet and low, came from somewhere near to her. Softly, it called, "Poor child, why do you weep?" Ella didn't look up. She recognized that voice from a few nights before.

It was the same voice that told her to shake the tree when Ella lamented that she was forever confined to live as a slave to her stepmother and her daughters. What ever good angel it was that had told Ella to shake the tree and fetch the pumpkin seemed to have returned to her again. "Nothing I do is good enough for her," Ella sobbed, "she has taken everything from me and flaunts it before me. I will be nothing. She will see me ruined."

The sweet voice sighed and then asked, "Do you wish to go to the ball tonight?" Ella wiped the tears from her eyes with the back of her hand. She sniffed and stared dejectedly at the rags she wore.

"I'm dirty and dressed in rags," she said, choking on the words, "They wouldn't let me near the chateau let alone in." The voice sighed and Ella felt as though the invisible presence was nodding in understanding. "I just..." she started and then dropped her face into her hands to weep again.

"Shake the tree child," the voice urged, "Eat of the fruit that falls." Ella bit her lower lip and looked up at the tree. She could see no fruit on the tree. The pear tree hadn't blossomed since the year that her father had died. Despite all of the care and attention that Ella had given it, the tree was stunted and looking withered. Only the ridiculously green leaves that sprouted at random intervals gave any clue that the tree lived. Trusting that the magic of the tree, as odd as it seemed, would happen again, Ella stood up and wrapped her arms about the tree. She shook it with all her strength three times.

Where a silver pear had fallen out of the tree the last time the sweet voice had urged her to shake it, a golden pear fell to the ground. Ella picked it up and took a deep breath, closing her eyes. It smelled like a normal pear at that perfect ripe state that was the essence of all pears. Ella took a bite from it and a sensation like warm water washed over her. Ella opened her eyes and looked down to find herself wearing a cloth of gold gown. She could feel her hair was coiffed and piled up in the latest style and she no longer smelled of the cabbage she had boiled for their supper. "How will I get there?" she asked, suddenly anxious that the magic would wear off before she had gone anywhere, "What shall I do if I'm asked to dance again?"

"Fetch a cabbage and four lizards," the voice said, "Place them beneath the tree and squeeze the juice of the pear onto them." Ella found a small cabbage and a five lizards. As she set them down beneath the tree, her heart hammered. The fifth lizard was in the midst of wandering off when Ella squeezed the juice of the golden pear onto the assortment. The scent of pears rose up strongly and Ella's eyes were dazzled by a brilliant light about the lizards and cabbage.

She brought up one silk clad arm to shield her eyes from the light when it vanished. Behind her, she heard the sound of hooves upon the stones of the street. Ella turned and found a small gilded coach with a pair of white horses. A driver sat dressed in a severe looking black suit with his whip at the ready. A pair of footmen similarly dressed stood at the door. Ella took a step towards the magical coach. "I am afraid," she said very quietly.

"Do not be afraid, child," the voice said, "Your mother's good will goes with you. Attend the ball. Return at midnight, for that is when the charm will end." Ella wanted to ask the voice what it meant in stating that her mother's good will went with her but a curious silence filled the air, leaving Ella feeling terribly, terribly alone. The footman to the right of the door held out his hand to help her into the coach as the footman to the left opened the door.

Ella climbed in and before she knew it, the coach was clattering through the cobblestone streets at a breathtaking pace. In a trice, she had reached the chateau where the ball was being held. Before her, Ella could see the dusty black carriage that had brought her stepmother and stepsisters. Ella swallowed nervously as they exited their carriage. The taller sister looked over at the coach Ella was in and gaped. She had not seen one so magnificent before. She started to move towards the coach when her sister and mother muscled her out of their way. Some sort of trance broken, the tall sister followed her relatives up the steps and into the grand foyer, adding her nasally laugh to the noise of the crowd.

Ella's coach stopped at the steps up to the entrance. Where the others gathered had their finery hidden by relatively conservative cloaks, Ella's was also of the same shimmering fabric as her gown. When the footmen opened the door to her luxurious coach, some of the other guests murmured with excitement. They expected some particularly wealthy and famous person to emerge. When Ella stepped out, a collective gasp went through the onlookers. Ella, assuming the gasp was one of dismayed shock, kept her gaze demurely lowered.

As she passed by, she could hear a few persons whispering "It's her." Ella moved in a slight bubble of isolation, for the other guests were uncertain if they were to approach her or not. As Ella walked into the grand foyer, the crowd was forced to press closer together to navigate the entrance. Ella allowed a stammering servant to take her cloak. She turned to look about the gathering when a familiar face with a very familiar scowl caught her eye. Ella paled as she realized that her stepmother had spotted her.

She started to take a step towards the door when a fanfare of horns announced the arrival of the prince. Ella's stepmother began to move through the crowd towards her with a dire look in her eye. Ella froze, her mouth going dry with terror. Caught in that frozen state of panic, Ella had the misfortune of standing in the middle of the area that the guests was moving away from to make way for the prince. Resplendant in his uniform, the prince was a striking sight.

He was at first mildly surprised by the golden clad woman standing at the end of the foyer before him. Then in rapid succession, he recognized her from the previous ball and noted the look of fear on her face. He looked over to see a stern faced older woman attempting to discreetly move through the crowd towards his previous dance partner. Deciding that the mysterious woman in gold was in need of rescue, he walked towards her.

His step was brisk and he closed the distance moments before the other woman did. He stepped between the two women. Ella looked up at him and her eyes widened. She dropped down into a deep curtsey. The prince held out a gloved hand. Ella stood and hesitantly took it. "It seems that you have admirers and those who are envious, maiden," he said, giving a wry smile. Ella swallowed and fixed her gaze on his left shoulder.

"I can not think of any who would envy me, my Lord," she said quietly. The prince laughed as though she had made a supremely witty jest. With his laughter, the entire affair seemed to turn into an exact duplicate of the previous ball. The prince kept a firm hold upon Ella's hand as he walked about the ball, greeting dignitaries. Ella moved at his side in silence, keeping her gaze demurely lowered. Her quiet, timid demeanor seemed to only add to her exotic qualities. As she moved about the ballroom at the prince's side, she could feel the eyes of her stepmother and stepsisters upon her.

The music began to play a merry tune. It was as though a court musician had decided to attempt to play one of the wilder tunes of the lower classes but with some subtle refinements for a more discerning ear. While it was expected that the prince would dance, he instead spent his time chatting with his guests with Ella at his side. Once he felt he had satisfied his quota for entertainment of his guests, the prince moved to where a dias was set up. He sat down in the gilded chair set there and motioned for one of his servants to bring a chair for Ella.

Ella sat down on the edge of the white chair that was placed near the dias. She looked down at the floor, struggling with the urge to burst into tears. She was more then certain that her stepmother would beat her black for some how attending the ball. "Tell me, maiden," the prince said as he leaned over, "What did that woman want with you?" Ella shivered and struggled with a sick feeling deep inside. "It is clear that she knows you and that you know her. It is also clear that you fear her," he said, "why?"

"I should not be here. It was folly to come," Ella said very quietly, twisting the gold embroidered lace of her handkerchief between her fingers. The prince leaned back and regarded her levelly. It was clear that this strange woman was someone who had some sort of wealth. She was well spoken and seemed to be well educated. Though, the prince was puzzled by the fact that she did not speak of a family or know even the simplest of dances.

The prince rested his chin upon his hand and looked out at the ballroom. "I believe that woman is somehow involved with you," he said quietly, "I also think that it is not by her kindness that you are here." Ella looked over with a sudden, startled expression on her face at his second statement. The prince tapped a finger on his chin, looking very solemn. "You fear her as a prisoner fears their warden," he said slowly. He watched as the panic increased in Ella's eyes. "Where are you from?" he asked.

"I... I am from here," Ella said, suddenly wanting to kick herself for how silly she sounded. The prince's eyebrows went up in mild surprise.

"You live within these lands?" he said. Ella nodded. "Interesting, most interesting," he murmered as he waved an eager servant away. The portly man came to Ella's side and held out a small tray. She looked at it and found an assortment of sweets, tiny cakes, and fruit. "Take some," the prince said, "Or he will never leave." Ella gave the servant an apologetic look but the man beamed, as though he were in on some sort of jest with the prince. Hesitantly, Ella took a cake that was scarcely large enough to sit in the palm of her hand. She looked at it, entirely unsure what the correct way to eat it was.

The prince watched her in her confusion. He smiled in bemusement. While she looked to be some radiant and terribly wealthy creature, there was a naivete that charmed him immensely. "Just put the whole thing in your mouth," he said quietly. Ella blushed before daintily doing as instructed. The prince returned his gaze to the ballroom. "Come," he said, starting too his feet, "you have a lesson to finish." Ella gave a tiny noise of alarm before he pulled her to her feet.

They walked onto the dance floor as the musicians were beginning a quadrille when the prince caught their eye. He gave a small shake of the head and then a slight nod towards Ella. Several onlookers who caught this exchange looked confused. Ella was perplexed by this as well when the musicians began playing a deceptively simple sounding piece. The prince took Ella's right hand in his left and gave a small bow. Ella returned his bow with a curtsey. "Now, copy what I do," he said in a low voice, "ignore the others and listen to the music."

He took a step towards Ella and she moved towards him. They then parted. The prince let go of her hand and walked in a wide circle, keeping his eyes on Ella. For her part, Ella walked her own circle, watching the prince anxiously. They continued on, mirroring each other's movements moving in circles and spiraling back to holding hands several times. The final time they came together and took each other's hands, the music concluded. Polite applause filled the air and Ella blushed furiously. The prince laughed and set a hand at Ella's back. He guided her back to where they had been seated.

A servant brought them glasses of champagne. The prince watched as other dancers began a quadrille. He looked over the crowd and found the sour faced woman speaking with two women who he presumed could only be her daughters for their looks of displeasure were equally unpleasant. "Tell me of your family, maiden who has no name," he said, looking over at Ella.

"My parents are dead," Ella said quietly, looking down at the glass of champagne. "My father died six years ago," she said, "I live with my stepmother and stepsisters." The prince nodded, making the connection between the woman at his side and the women he saw in the crowd speaking between themselves.

A Dark Rider (pt 5)

Gunther took a deep breath, savoring the mingled scents of sandalwood, roses, and that unidentifiable whisper of pheromones that surrounded his wife when she was the slightest bit aroused. It was a smell that he would never get enough of. The trembling woman closed her eyes and turned her face away from him. Tears of confusion slowly made their way down her cheek. Caught up in a tangled web of emotions, memories, and lust, Hilde found herself unable to think.

"Please," she said weakly, "Gunther, just go." Gunther nuzzled the place where her neck and shoulder met. That intoxicating smell grew stronger. He sighed softly. As Hilde's tears fell on to his cheek, Gunther went still. He leaned back and looked at her. She swallowed hard and barely suppressed a shudder.

"If you say the word," he said. Hilde's eyes closed tighter as her expression turned to one of pure agony. A part of her insisted that she needed to say the safeword, that it was vital she did so. Another wanted to scream in some undefinable emotion. And she also wanted to just sink into his arms and let him have his way with her. Gunther watched how her breasts rose and fell with each quick, shallow gasp she made. Somehow knowing the struggle roiling within her and aware how precarious her will was at the moment, Gunther chuckled.

"Shall I lay Doombringer between us?" he said, "Not even my shadow would cross over that blade. We would lay as chaste as children." Again, she appeared pained. Gunther moved a minute distance back from Hilde. A deep breath would have closed the distance, but as Hilde turned to look at him he maintained that tormenting close yet painfully far distance. Gunther brought up his right hand, holding it just away from her left cheek, a promise of contact. "Say the word," he said, a soft challenge in his voice, "speak and everything stops, Brynhildr."

The thought of not feeling his skin against hers struck her like a physical blow to the gut. If he hadn't mentioned his sword, Hilde would have been able to convince herself that it was all some kind of game. She would have found away to forestall until he lost interest, thereby relieving herself of the choice he put before her. "Just go," she whispered, not wanting to say the safeword but not able to give herself over to what he was kindling in her blood. A smile of triumph blossomed on Gunther's face. Hilde looked away quickly but she didn't move fast enough to avoid seeing the knowledge in his eyes that she was willing to engage in this dance of wills.

Gunther laid his fingertips lightly upon Hilde's cheek. Heat burned in them, though his touch was feather light, her skin warmed beneath his touch. She stiffened and shivered with a shuddering gasp. Slowly, he caressed her cheek and down along her neck. Hilde pressed herself flat against the wall behind her, making a small noise of distress. When he reached the neckline of her gown, Gunther set his hand upon where her collarbone peeked out. The full weight of his hand soothed something deep inside even as the heat that poured off made her take a sharp breath. He ran his thumb lightly over her windpipe.

In that brief moment, panic slammed into her and Hilde brought her hands up with a soft cry of terror. Gunther frowned but remained still. "Is that so?" he mumured. Hilde hiccoughed and covered her face with her hands. Slowly, gently, Gunther moved her hands away from her face and gathered her into his arms. Held against him, Hilde dropped her forehead to his shoulder and wept with agony. His hands moved in slow circles over her back. The perfume of her arousal had vanished when his hand almost settled at the base of her neck.

With great care, he brought her with him to sit upon the edge of the bed. Hilde looked at him in utter misery. In a choked voice she said, "Help me. I want to forget." The monster within Gunther chafed against his restraint. Hilde reached for him, her eyes welling up with tears. "Please," she begged. Gunther found himself unable to resist that pained, desperate plea. He grabbed her shoulders and roughly dragged her to him. As his mouth closed over hers, Hilde gave a small sigh of relief.

He kissed her until his body screamed at him to stop and breathe, and then he pushed himself for a few heartbeats longer. Winded, Hilde looked dazedly at him, that quiet anguish still haunting her eyes. That elusive scent, however, had returned. Aware that he needed to be more cunning in his tactics, Gunther slid his hands down from her face to her shoulders, carefully avoiding even a suggestion of pressure upon her throat. The soy-silk was cool beneath his hot hands as he dragged his fingertips from the nape of her neck to above her arms. Hilde's eyes rolled somewhat as a delicious shiver ran through her.

He ran his fingertips along the neckline of the gown from where it just barely sat on her shoulders to just before her throat. For a moment, Hilde froze in place. He moved his hands down to cup her breasts through the thin fabric of the gown and her shrift beneath. Hilde sighed and a measure of anxious tension eased out of her. Gunther was torn between his animalistic hunger to ravage her with all the fury that burned in his blood and deep concern that he may wound her deeper in doing so. He closed his eyes, going terribly still in his inward struggle.

Hilde took hold of his left hand and brought it up to her face. He cradled her cheek in a reflexive gesture of affection. She turned her face so that her lips pressed against the heel of his hand. Gunther felt Hilde's lips move back from her teeth and then the soft press of her teeth against the meat of his hand at the base of his thumb. It was a silent plea, one that she had made at other times, when no dark shadows lay over them. Gunther opened his eyes and looked over at her left hand. He took hold of it with his right and brought it up to his mouth.

He gave a soft snarl before biting into her hand with bruising force. Hilde gasped and started to give a cry of surprise when Gunther's left hand muffled the noise. Continuing to hold his hand over her mouth, Gunther bit her wrist and then began to make his way up her forearm. Hilde's muffled little cries of pained pleasure only made him want to do more. All thought of handling her with extreme gentleness were washed away as he pulled her into his arms and pressed her face hard to his shoulder before biting down on where her neck and shoulder met.

Hilde gave a low groan and shuddered. Gunther lifted his head, breathing hotly in her ear as he took hold of her wrists and brought them behind her back. Pinning her arms into an uncomfortable position, he dragged her with him as he leaned back onto the bed. Hilde meweled softly and squirmed sensually against him. Gunther twisted a bit of the satiny fabric on Hilde's wrists between his fingertips. Applying a bit of his Green essence, the soy-silk meshed together into one, binding Hilde's wrists together with the fabric of her dress. So restrained, Gunther rolled Hilde onto her back.

He stood up and looked down at her. Where her expression had been a mixture of fear and other things, she now wore only a look of pleasure. Gunther took the heels off of her feet and then slipped her knitted lace stockings off. He cast them aside as he moved her skirts up. He noted her panties with a scoff of annoyance. Gunther tore them off of her with a minimal amount of effort, chuckling at how Hilde shivered at the feeling.

Hilde opened her eyes to look up at him with her half drugged expression of arousal and Gunther gave a feral grin. He stepped away from the bed and Hilde's eyes widened slightly. Her pained look of need as she lay defenseless before him pleased him far more then he would have told anyone but her. The knowledge that even in her most vulnerable moments, she still hungered for him like he did for her thrilled him immensely.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A Dark Rider (pt 4)

Gunther felt Hilde's tears make his tunic damp and the way her choked sobs shook her body. A part of him was hungry for her. It stalked at the edge of his mind, testing his will to find away to drink those tears and set her agony to a keen edge that served to bring both of them release. Hilde, for her part, was unaware of the war that Gunther fought within his skin as she tried to muffle her weeping with a fist against her mouth. His hands moved of their own accord from her shoulders down to her hips.

Hilde hiccoughed and wrapped an arm about his shoulders, clinging to him as though she feared she would fall. Gunther gritted his teeth and closed his eyes. In her misery, Hilde wept like she had when her son was murdered, as though she had been broken. Visions of his wife caught between soul rending agony and pure ecstasy rolled through his mind, making him give a harsh sigh. Where his touch had been terribly cold earlier, heat began to replace that cold. That heat and the deep knowledge of what it meant made Hilde tear herself out of Gunther's embrace.

She didn't want to feel that way. Hilde felt as though her body betrayed her and that the slow hunger that pressed back against her misery was a threat. Gunther opened his eyes and looked over at Hilde where she stood trembling between the urge to flee and the urge to stay. In her eyes, Gunther saw terror and something pleading. Unable to help it, he smiled. Hilde's eyes widened and she stepped back. That was when Gunther's control broke.

He took a step towards her and Hilde swallowed, her sobs replaced by trembling, cold fear. Gunther halted for a moment, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath. The scent was so faint he would have missed it but the mingled scents of sandalwood and roses hung in the air about his wife. He opened his eyes and looked at her. "What do you fear, Brynhildr?" he asked, unable to keep the seductive purr out of his voice.

Hilde looked away from him as a shiver went through her. "Do you fear me?" he asked, casually pulling the tunic off over his head. Gunther could practically hear her swallow nervously. A smile of pure delight was on the sadist's face. "Do you?" he said running a hand down his chest and across his abdomen to rest on his hip. A thrill of triumph ran through him as he watched Hilde's eyes follow that movement.

"No," she said in a tiny voice. Gunther grinned. He didn't need any sort of magical knightly gifts to tell that she was omitting something huge. He reached up and ran his hands through his hair, deliberately moving so that the moonlight slanting through the skylight highlighted the lines of his body. Hilde stepped back, her hands fluttering at her sides as she struggled with what to do with herself. Gunther watched her anguish and restrained a dark chuckle.

"What do you fear?" he asked, moving towards her. "You are terrified right now," he purred, "so desperately afraid that you are helpless. A Sargent of Avalon, reduced to a trembling, timorous thing. If it's not me that you fear, then what is it?" Hilde looked from side to side, her face pale. "I am your husband," Gunther said in that erotically ominous tone, "If you can not tell me, who can you? Not even the dead can keep your secrets. It was they who told Constantinus you had a fear that would unman you." Gunther smoothly and swiftly moved up to where he was a deep breath away from her.

He brought his right hand up and brushed a lock of hair away from her cheek. Hilde closed her eyes with an expression of exquisite agony and shuddered. "Don't touch me," she said, sounding as though some one was putting her through pure torture, "Just go. Forget it all and go." Gunther cradled her face between his hands as carefully as though he were picking up an egg. As he turned her face towards his, Hilde closed her eyes and bit her lips.

"Oh no," he said looking her tortured expression closely over, "no. I am not going anywhere, Brynhildr. Tell me." Hilde shivered. She tried so hard to put the feelings that Gunther was evoking aside. Hilde tried to go to that mental place of silence where she had left these memories. Gunther, sensing his prey's efforts to escape within herself laughed softly. "Flee," he said, "And I will find you, love. I will wrench the answer from you between screams and I will tear away all your clever tricks. I know you." Hilde's eyes snapped open.

Gunther turned Hilde's head slightly to the left. He pressed his lips to her cheek beside her ear. Quietly, he whispered, "Confess." Hilde gave a strangled sound of pleasure and agony. Gunther tipped his head slightly to the left and caught her earlobe between his teeth. He slowly bit down, stopping when it was just enough pain that Hilde gasped. Gunther knew the tone of that gasp very, very well.

He gently tipped her head back as he lowered his face to press his lips against the column of her throat. Hilde whimpered. "I can't do this," she moaned, "I..." Gunther held her hard against his body, noting where she had been stiffly resisting him, she softened in his arms. "Please," she whimpered, "I shouldn't." Gunther smiled. A breech was in her defenses and Gunther saw something of her fear there.

"Is it pleasure?" he sighed in her ear, "Is that what you're afraid of?" Hilde stiffened and her eyes rolled. Gunther smiled. Tonight, torture was not going to be of rough games, it seemed. "You're afraid of this," he said backing her up against the wall, "all this time, I thought you had surrendered." He chuckled, his rich voice sliding over her senses like silk. "You didn't fear Shaller," he said, sounding even more amused, "You don't fear the Tears of Ana. But..." He took a deep breath and sighed with pleasure.

"You won't scream tonight," he said, "fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." Gunther shook his head as he looked down at the woman who stared up at him with equal parts relief, terror, and lust in her gaze. Gunther realized that his wife hadn't looked more desirable then she did in that moment. The monster he kept so tightly controlled, that he only allowed out when they tasted the darker side of pleasure, lurked in his eyes.

Just when he didn't think Hilde could have looked more delightfully alarmed, she gave a tiny squeak of anxiety and paled. He ran his hands lightly down her sides. Hilde shivered and stared at him, transfixed by what she saw there in his gaze. A part of her went weak with desire, another part of her wanted to weep with relief that he saw truly what she tried so hard to hide. And then there was the irrational terror that falling into his arms and giving into these feelings would make her helpless or that she was somehow giving into something terrible. She realized, in that moment, she had never felt more exposed then she did just then. It brought up another bubble of irrational fear even as deep inside she felt delighted that there were no more walls between them.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Dark Rider (pt 3)

Gunther set Hilde upon her feet and kicked the door shut behind him. Hilde looked away from him, swallowing hard against a sob. Her hands trembled as she wrung them and she seemed to shrink away from him. Gunther could smell her fear, there was no floral qualities to it. It was just a nameless human scent that slowly grew more pronounced. "Help me," he said flatly, beginning to loosen the vambrace on his right wrist.

Wordlessly, Hilde helped Gunther out of the leather armor. She carefully put it aside, pointedly avoiding looking directly at him. The spider silk tunic that Gunther wore gleamed in the weak light of the moon that shone down through the skylight. His trews, also fashioned by Hilde from that silk she spun by way of her knightly gifts, seemed wrinkled from the armor but as he took a step towards her, the wrinkles fell out of the fabric. Hilde stood at the chest where she had piled the armor, looking down at the embossed breastplate.

Gunther struggled to contain his murderous wrath. He had known that something had spurred Hilde to be so relentless in her efforts to right the wrongs of the world. He had not considered this. Suspecting that she felt his anger was directed towards her, Gunther could only feel his rage growing more keen. He knew that with a few well placed bribes, he'd be able to find this person. Killing them seemed a simple solution but Gunther was more inclined to torturing them for a while, inflicting the same level of agony upon them that they had on Hilde. Thinking these thoughts, Gunther also recognized that Hilde needed him in a fashion that ran deeper then she was willing to admit.

Gunther stepped up behind her, noting how the Sargent shied away from him at first. Carefully, slowly, he placed a hand on her back. Hilde, who expected there to be heat in his touch as it had when they had argued in the past and his knightly gifts of flame came to the fore, gasped at the ice cold of his hand through the thin fabric of her gown. Little did she realize, almost all of their arguments served to only heighten his desire for her. Arguing was, for him, but one of many delightful forms of foreplay. It was part of the reason why he would needle her and provoke her ire, for it was more then merely amusing. Seeing her in a state of anger excited him.

Now, however, sex was the farthest thing from his mind. Instead of heat, there was the opposite. It seemed to Hilde that the temperature of the air between her and her husband dropped a degree of two as he moved closer. Uncertain what to make of this, she shivered and kept her eyes on the armor before her. "Look at me," he said, not a trace of Royal behind his silken sounding words. Hilde hesitantly looked over her shoulder and saw murder in her husband's eyes. She paled.

With deliberate gentleness, Gunther moved his left hand across her shoulder. Firmly, he turned her to face him. "Say the word and he disappears," he said in that terribly quiet yet ominous tone, "Avalon may be the only ones who would find what little was left of him." Hilde's eyes widened as she realized his anger was not with her. His hands upon her shoulders, Gunther did not allow her the opportunity to turn away from him with out exercising her supernatural gifts. She bit her lips and started to look away. Gunther put Royal behind his next words, pitting his will against hers, "Look at me Brynhildr. Look at me and decide."

Hilde's gaze moved back to his face. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She opened and closed her mouth, making a small choking sound. "I... I can't say it," she said in a small, wounded voice. Hilde shook her head, repeating herself in a tone that clearly spoke of her rapidly increasing sense of panic. Gunther frowned at her.

"Then I will find his name and hunt him down," Gunther said in a voice a little louder then a whisper, "And he will beg for mercy and find none. I will bring him to the edge of death and deny him escape for a long while. Only when he is broken will he be allowed to die." Hilde shook her head, bringing her hands to her mouth. A look of horror was frozen upon it. "Tell me your judgment," he said in that wintry tone.

"Life," she said in a small gasp. Gunther frowned and raised his head slightly fixing her with a critical look. "Please, Gunnar," she breathed, "don't do this. Let him be forgotten. Let him live a life of nothing and no consequence." A measure of that rage was replaced with amazement. That and confusion battled back the wrath in his gaze.

"Mercy is for the weak," Gunther said, "Yet you would give it to this nithing? He is a blight upon the earth."

"Avalon would punish you," Hilde said, putting her hands on his chest, "I can't lose you." Gunther smiled, it was a terrifying sight. It was the look of a man on the eve of battle who was joyful at the prospect of slaughter. "Gunnar," she said, her voice cracking, "Please, don't. I beg you."

"He will live, little dove," he said, his tone almost sweet, "There are other means to destroy a man then taking his life. I have friends who owe me favors. Unpleasant friends." Hilde buried her face in her hands and a great sob wracked her. Gunther gathered her close in his arms, the supernatural cold still hanging close to him like a cloak. "I will not provoke Avalon. For your sake," he said quietly in her ear, "but he will be punished for what he has done. If the laws of the commoners do not hang him, so be it. Twenty years, however, is too long for him to escape judgment for what he has done to you."

Hilde sobbed in fear. She wanted to argue that what happened was her fault to, because she didn't fight him hard enough. That she bore the blame as well because she never told anyone. The words, however, stuck in her throat and threatened to choke her as that boyfriend almost a lifetime ago had done.

*Author's note: I did not plan on this moving in this direction. I'm following the story where it leads.*

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Dark Rider (pt. 2)

The evening had grown into deep night. The 'modest' gathering that Hilde and Gunther presided over for the sake of raising positive publicity for Avalon and funds for Hilde's latest pet project was a success. It was something that Hilde should have been grateful for, but her mood was soured by the fact that she had forgotten her wedding anniversary and Gunther's dramatics earlier. Sitting together in the big black humvee with a horse trailer with the Clydesdale named Horatio behind and their entourage making up most of the traffic about them at the late hour, Hilde glared out at the cold moonlit countryside as they made their way back to the farm.

"You're quiet," Gunther said, knowing that Hilde was probably contemplating gelding him for his choice of dramatic entrance.

"It wasn't necessary," Hilde spat peevishly. Gunther smiled. In the dull glow of the dashboard lights, his expression seemed ominous in the reflection that she saw off the window. "The last thing we need is for there to be people talking about how we're creating a scene and making..." she started when Gunther interrupted her.

"You're beautiful when you're angry," he said fondly, "You always have been." Hilde shut her mouth and scoffed, turning her gaze back out the passenger window. As much as she hated to admit it, she was flattered by the excessively romantic gesture and the way Gunther made a point through out the evening to do little things that were vestiges of romantic gestures from the first lifetime they lived together. His insistence upon sharing the same plate and glass as her drew a few small whispers. At one point one of the others sitting at the table asked and Gunther explained pleasantly as Hilde was distracted by Walker's introduction of another NYC socialite who was interested in getting some of the drama of Avalon behind his business. He was fairly certain that the social pages the next day would speak of the 'quaint romance' between his wife and himself.

It was clear to those who watched them that Hilde was the center of Gunther's universe and that Gunther was the center of Hilde's. Lifetimes of knowledge of the other's moods and attitudes lead to the couple acting as one more often then not. Gunther knew that his very public displays of affection  irritated Hilde. If she had things her way, their romance would have been quiet as the grave and none but their closest companions would know of it.

Gunther suspected there was some deeper meaning to Hilde's discomfort with attention. He glanced over at her and read the way her body set in her seat. He could see the anger in the set of her jaw, the embarrassment in the color on her cheeks, and pain in how she unconsciously wrapped her left arm about herself. Defensiveness was the closest he could describe her demeanor beneath the anger. Gunther turned his attention back to the road. He broke the silence that had built up between them with a quiet observation, "It's not me you're angry with."

Out the corner of his eye, he saw Hilde stiffen and look over at him suddenly. He didn't need to look to know that her expression would be one of surprise. He suspected that there was more to the story of Brynhildr in this lifetime then Hilde was willing to admit. Gunther, however, decided it was time for the shadows to be cast out of his wife's eyes. He willed himself to stillness and silence, though he wanted to ask her a thousand questions.

Very quietly, Hilde said, "No." Gunther nodded. As the sign for their exit grew larger before them, the radio crackled to life. One of their convoy reported that one of the eager photographers was still following them. It was not a surprise. Gunther knew as soon as he saw the young man's face at the edge of the crowd as he rode past that he was going to be hounded. Gunther reached for the radio when Hilde's hand settled lightly on his thigh.

"Just drive," she said very quietly. Gunther nodded. They took their exit and he set his hand over her's. "I was fourteen," she continued in that terribly quiet tone, "he was eighteen. He loved to make a show of how much he loved me." Gunther went deathly quiet and still. He has suspicions but he didn't voice them. "Mom didn't approve of him," Hilde sighed, "but everyone at school said that we were the perfect pair. I ... I did my best to not let anyone know. I guess I was too good at it."

"What did he do?" Gunther said, unable to keep the anger from warming his tone. Hilde moved to pull her hand away from him but Gunther tightened his upon hers, holding it still. Hilde looked out the window and didn't speak for a long moment.

"The question is what didn't he do," she said so quietly that it was almost lost in the road noise. Gunther nodded and let out a slow breath. "I tried to stop him," she whispered, "He... He was stronger then me. He said he was going to tell the whole school how I was a whore. He said he'd kill my family." Hilde's voice cracked and she gave a small choked sob.

"Did you tell anyone?" Gunther asked. He didn't need to look to know that Hilde had shaken her head. "Not even Tom?" he said softly. Hilde quietly began to weep. Gunther gripped the steering wheel with both hands, careful not to close his hands too tight. The desire to track down this nameless person and kill them was so strong that he could nearly taste blood. "Have you been punishing yourself?" Gunther asked after Hilde's tears subsided. "Is what we do your ... atonement?" he said, carefully choosing his words.

The radio crackled to life again and Gunther ignored it. He was more interested in knowing if their foray into the darker side of pleasure was moved by anything other then bliss. "No," Hilde said, suddenly sounding terribly distressed and Gunther's heart nearly broke to be the cause of it, "A thousand times, no. You make me feel safe. It makes me feel safe." Gunther nodded slightly.

"And now?" he asked, "Do you feel safe now, Brynhildr?" He could feel how she trembled in the hand that lay upon his right thigh and nearly smell the anxiety wafting off of her. Hilde thought about lying but chose silence. She turned her gaze back out the window. "I see," Gunther said. They turned down the road to the farm. Behind them, Horatio pawed at his trailer and shook his head. "Steady boy," Gunther muttered, sounding a little less solemn and more like his usual dark humored self, "Keep it up and you'll wear a hole in the steel."

Gunther picked up the radio as he turned up the drive into the wood to the longhouse. "Block the lane," he said, his tone flat. The subordinates who heard this questioned what had soured his mood but the last two vehicles of the caravan stopped at the end of the lane. Their over eager pursuer swore and drove on. After turning around and discovering that the vehicles at the end of the drive weren't moving, the frustrated man left. Away at the longhouse, Gunther parked the vehicle and walked around to Hilde's side. He ignored their men as they tended to Horatio.

Gunther opened the door and saw Hilde sitting there on the verge of tears. He said nothing but stepped up beside her. He leaned into the humvee and snarled his hands into Hilde's hair. He pulled her roughly towards him as she gave a small yelp of surprise. His mouth closed over hers with crushing force. Tears wet on her cheek that smelled of sugar maple sap, Hilde closed her eyes and shivered. She expected Gunther to gentle the kiss after a moment but he didn't. He gave a low growl when he finally broke the kiss, his anger quickly transmuting into arousal.

"You are mine, Brynhildr," he said. In any other situation, that low, fierce statement would have made her knees weak and her cheeks burn. Instead, she simply wanted to cry. As her lower lip quavered, Gunther nearly dragged her from the vehicle into another kiss. Hilde put her hands flat against his chest. Suddenly, she found the fact that he was still wearing armor comforting. It was a visceral reminder that he had the capacity to kill any who would try to harm her. Gunther broke the kiss and then stooped slightly. Before Hilde realized it, he had swept her up into his arms.

A few knowing smirks then turned to confusion when the night watch saw the distress in Hilde's eyes. One opened the door for them, starting to open his mouth to ask when Gunther growled, "See to it that we are not disturbed." Hilde hid her face against his shoulder when she realized that at least one of their men had seen her in her weakness. Gunther strode the length of the dark hall, navigating about the cots of those who were sleeping there easily. He set Hilde on her feet briefly to open the door into their apartment. Gunther then pulled her in after himself.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Fanfic: Loki

He walked about the woman from Midgard. He wasn't sure how she had arrived here and it seemed that she was equally unsure. Loki was bored of Asgard but restrictions that had been placed on him kept him confined to a few chambers, despite his considerable efforts. Now, he had company. As he looked the painfully average looking woman over, his clever mind considered the prospect that it was perhaps some form of magic that had brought her here.

"You should not be here," he said, finally breaking the uneasy silence. The woman's cat green eyes moved from object to object in the room, clearly attempting to ascertain if there was some means of escape. Her dark hair was piled up on the top of her head in a hasty washerwoman's knot. A few strands had escaped to lay along her neck where a fine silver chain lay. The item at the end of the chain was hidden beneath the neckline of her terribly plain bright pink t-shirt. Curious as to if the secret to her arrival and his possible escape lay in the pendant, Loki reached an elegant finger towards her, intending to hook the chain and lift the object of inquiry from hiding.

His motion towards her jolted her into motion and she stepped back, bringing her hands up in a defensive gesture. Loki gave a sudden grin, amused by her defiant action. "Don't touch me," she hissed. Loki shook his finger and put on a mock expression of disapproval.

"You mortals should know better then to taunt..." he started taking a step towards her when she did something unexpected. Rather then retreating back a step, she moved forward and delivered a sharp uppercut to his jaw as she moved to take one of his knives from the sheath. Blood welled from where his lower lip had been cut by a tooth, but the Asgardian paid it no mind as he summoned his magic to drive the woman back away from him.

The woman bared her teeth in a small snarl as she fought against a wind that only touched her that pushed her back. Loki's eyes narrowed slightly as he realized that his magic was not working as it should have. Rather then tumbling back from a sudden bolt of force, the woman moved back step by step, somehow resisting his magic. Loki concentrated and the woman stumbled back several paces. Once out of arm's reach, Loki let the spell go from his mind.

The pendant that had been hidden by her blouse had fallen out of it's hiding place and gleamed. A tiny, intricately carved silver image of leaves fashioning a face that Loki recognized shone on her breast. "Did he send you?" Loki asked, unable to keep the loathing out of his voice. Loki had no love for the lord of Alfheim, even though he was technically his adoptive grandfather. Freyr had been a vague presence in Loki's youth that was always stern and quick to pin Loki's ears back when he caught Loki's sharp tongue letting into Thor or, even worse, caught Loki in a lie.

"I don't even know how I came to be here, let alone where in Hel, I am," the woman spat, "For all I know, YOU brought me here." Loki laughed. His amusement made the woman before him almost visibly seethe with frustration. This only made the situation even funnier to the trapped deity. Loki turned and walked over to a chair and sat down, taking a goblet in hand. He applied a bit of magic and fashioned a second one. Casually, he poured from the jug sitting on the table into both goblets.

"Allow me to bid you welcome," he said, placing the magically produced goblet on the corner of the table closest to the woman glaring at him suspiciously, "This is my humble abode and prison here in Asgard. You are a very long way from home." The woman mouthed the word 'Asgard' and then abruptly looked away from Loki. She looked about herself clearly troubled. She pinched herself viciously on her right arm. Loki leaned back in the chair and watched with amusement.

"You truly don't know how you came to be here, do you?" he said mildly, his voice bubbling with laughter. "What manner of sorcery do you perform?" he said conversationally, "As you were clearly using something earlier."

"That's for me to know... ," the woman answered and Loki interrupted her with a laugh.

"So defensive, I would think my reputation has turned to far fame on Midgard," he said, fixing her with an intent look. A cruel little smile curved his lips. "I could compel you to tell me," he said slowly, "You are not strong enough to resist me."

The woman's head jerked back slightly as she took a sudden breath in. A faint touch of color was painted on her cheeks, despite the fact that she paled at his initial statement. Loki set his chin on his left hand and regarded her. For all of his unexpected guest's efforts to appear brave, he could tell that there was a deep vein of fear running through her. "I don't need you to answer my questions," Loki said, looking at her, his smile deepening as a thought ran through his mind.

"Good, because I don't have any answers," she snapped. At her feisty reply, Loki leaned towards her. Something ominous lurked in his gaze as his eyes bled from green to a blood red color and the ambient temperature of the room dropped a few degrees. The woman took a step back and nearly tripped over a chair that had fallen over when Loki bolted to his feet at her sudden appearance in the middle of the room.

Loki stood taking the cup he set on the corner of the table and slowly approached her. As he did so, the room grew colder and a wash of goosebumps stood out on the woman's arms. She worked hard to master her fear but it was there and growing. Watching how she struggled with herself, Loki realized he was enjoying the situation far more then he had anticipated.

He held out the cup towards her, a faint sheen of ice beginning to form over the surface of the liquid and frost spreading over the outside from where his hand was in contact with it. "Drink with me, little mortal," he said, unable to keep the dark amusement of his tone, "Entertain me." Despite the cold and her fear, the woman did not move back as he had expected. Loki had surely figured she would shy away from how he had become a living heatsink due to his jotun blood. The air surely was enough that it was difficult for her to breathe, for Loki noted that her breath now came in short gasps, with her breathing more through her nose then her mouth.

"No," she answered, her teeth chattering against the cold. Loki lifted his head slightly and gave her a calculating look. It was clear that this strange woman was from Midgard. Her manner of dress and speech made it plain. Some form of magic seemed to run in her veins, though Loki couldn't determine it from the way her will pressed against his when she resisted his spell. He wasn't sure if it was madness or rare courage that spurred her to resist him. Loki strongly doubted it was stupidity.

"You have broken frith by pitting your magic against me," she said. Loki laughed.

"Ah, but it was not I who broke frith," Loki said, "But rather you when you attacked me. I offer you peace, woman."

The woman narrowed her eyes. "Peace comes with a price," she said, "especially with one such as you." Loki laughed. His appearance tended back towards that of Asgardian and the room became warmer.

"Drink with me," he said.

"What is in the water?" she answered warily, not even moving towards the cup. Loki threw back his head and laughed loudly. The idea that on Midgard his name had become so reviled that this woman suspected he would poison her for his amusement struck him as hilarious.

"It is wine," he said. He then raised the goblet to his mouth and took a swallow before holding it out to her. Seeing that he had suffered no ill effects, she hesitantly took the goblet from him. The moment her fingers touched his, she gasped as something like the feel of an electric charge ran up her arm. Her eyes widened as she stared unseeingly forward. Loki's expression turned quizzical.

Trapped within the vision, she saw herself pinned against the wall with Loki's hands in her hair. His mouth was hard against hers, something that she could almost feel an echo of on her lips. The god's presence threatened to sweep her conscious mind aside, even though what she saw was but an image of the thought that had gone through Loki's mind as he held out the cup. She gave a long, shuddering gasp as she wrestled her will back into line and pulled her hand away from his.

Loki watched as she came back to herself and then moved away from him, her eyes widening somewhat. All of her previous air of struggled control was lost. Like a cat spotting a mouse about to flee, Loki couldn't help the quickening of his blood. "You fear me," he said slowly, relishing each word and how she paled. "Tell me," he said, "what did you see?" She shook her head, moving back towards the wall and trying to make the distance between them grow and failing as he stepped forward.

He set the cup down on the corner of the desk he had been sitting at earlier. She looked at the cup and the back at him. Loki noted her nervous glance and chuckled. "Oh," he said, "that option has passed." He then snapped his fingers and the goblet vanished. The wine held the shape of the bowl of the goblet before splashing down to the table. "Tell me," he said, "what did you see?"

The woman bumped into the wall, giving a little yelp as she stumbled over her own feet. Loki crossed the distance between them in a few swift paces. He stood so close that a deep breath by either of them would have closed the distance. She looked up at him, her eyes almost blue with wild panic. In a very small voice, she said, "This."

Loki smiled. He brought his hands up and snarled them in her hair. He had to admit, the way she trembled against him was intoxicating. Loki looked deeply into her eyes. "No," he said, "I believe it was this." He leaned against her, pressing her against the wall with his full weight. As she opened her mouth to tell him to stop, his closed over it. Then, the trembling Midgardian sorceress had her breath stolen from her with an agonizingly slow kiss.

Loki realized in that moment, it wasn't mere company he had yearned for. It was this heady, intoxicating rush of power as he took this frail creature in hand and bent her to his will. For her part, the woman had all coherent thought swept away. There was only the feeling of Loki's presence, the echo of his hunger, and the quiet eerie sound of his amused chuckle ringing in her mind.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A Dark Rider (pt 1)

It was a simple gesture. One that was rooted in antiquity though most of the assembled didn't appreciate it. They merely passed it off as Hilde's odd ways. The party was small and intimate, for it's nature. People dressed in their finery milled about and chatted. The wealthy and the glitterati did their best to rub elbows with the more personable of the other guests, many vying for the attention of the solemn Sargent. It was a publicity event aimed to raise positive feelings about Avalon's presence but more directly and closer to Hilde's interests, it was a fundraising event to provide for the children orphaned by wars around the world.

Rumors whirled about that the child that Hilde had born died and this was why none had seen her. Some said it was God's judgment. Her detractors seized upon this visible absence from all of Hilde's public appearances, even the most casual of them, as proof that Avalon was a danger and even their own were not immune to divine wrath. Others suggested that it was perhaps grief for her lost son. As she greeted her guests and gave them a cup of wine, she could see they yearned to ask her what became of that child she had grown so great with but two years before.

As the drink flowed and Hilde waited for the last of her guests to arrive, she came to three conclusions. High heeled shoes were torture devices invented by a sadist of the highest caliber. Her second conclusion was that people were more interested in primping and gossiping then getting down to business. And thirdly, Gunther had the better arrangement of being off of some nameless task. For all she knew, he could be mucking out the stables on the farm. She was fairly certain that she would have preferred dealing with horse apples to the stuffy company she was enduring.

Their false smiles and trilling patter grated on her. She wanted to scream at them for being so caught up in pretenses. Instead, she did her best to put on her least threatening expression. What she managed was solemn, though she was trying for banal but pleasant. Outside, the rain fell in sheets. It didn't seem to stop the paparazzi from snapping pictures away and gawking at the last of her guests as they made their way from their shiny black vehicles, past the dark suited security (men from her farm who had been trained by her and Gunther enough to be declared adequate by Avalonian standards), and into the ballroom where it happened many years ago that Hilde attended her senior prom.

Now, she looked briefly past the heads of last people to emerge from the thirteenth vehicle. At the back of her mind, a vague recollection that thirteen was considered an unlucky number as the stretched limo pulled away. Her evening gown was a fanciful thing of soy-silk dyed in shades of green fashioned to look like a designer's minimalist version of the gown that Hilde had been seen once wearing at an official Avalonian function that the public was allowed to view. The greens of the gown highlighted the subtle sheen of green that colored her skin. With her advance in rank and prowess with the magics of plants, Hilde seemed to grow to resemble the humanized version of her beloved plants.

Skin that had previously been pink with life now had the pale, pale green of calla lilies. Hair that had been chestnut colored now resembled willow withies, though it still fell almost like silk. Some remarked upon seeing her in the flesh for the first time that it was strange how her apperance could be so changed and yet she looked to be the picture of health. Hilde took the last of the crystalline looking cups of wine and offered it to a portly man who wheezed as he walked up in his a size too tight tuxedo. Hilde's expression moved from solemn to one of mild concern. "Mister Walker," she said quietly, "I offer you welcome. Are you well?"

Walker, a substantially wealthy art dealer from NYC waved a hand in a habitual gesture of denial. "I am healthy as an ox. It is this humid weather troubling me," he said as he took the cup from her. Hilde looked him over briefly from head to toe. She knew with the sudden, deep knowledge that only Avalon's gifts could give her, that Walker was dangerously ill and hiding it for some reason. Her tone of voice even quieter, she leaned towards Walker and muttered something in his ear. His eyes widened slightly. "It's true, then," he said, "You can tell."

"With out aid, six months," she said solemnly. Walker nodded, looking over to notice a young redheaded woman walking over with a genuine drinking horn in her hands. His eyes widened slightly. The gold filligery about the banding shone in the lights as Hilde turned to take it from the page who had been assigned to assist her personally this evening. Walker tore his eyes away from the fine worksmanship of the drinking vessel to regard the level gaze of the knight holding it.

"What would you want?" he asked, pulling a handkerchief from his pocket to cough into it. At his suspicious inquiry, Hilde's expression dropped slightly and a suggestion of true sorrow flickered through her gaze before she resumed her solemn mask. "We can speak of it later," Walker said, "Tonight is about the children." Hilde gave him the barest of smiles. It was touching that a dying man sought to comfort her.

"All I would ask is for your friendship, Mister Walker," she said. Walker smirked and then coughed hard.

"Friendship is a high price," he said wheezily.

"It is cheaper then a man's life," Hilde said gently, "And the world would be a darker place with out that man's life. He is a benefactor of many, long before I Awakened and learned of him." Walker smiled. "The scholarship that put me through nursing school was funded by yourself, Mister Walker," she continued, "I..."

Hilde's next words were cut off by the sound of a thunderous rapping at the double doors. Hilde's attention snapped from her guests to the doors. The page at her side swallowed dryly. This was not part of Hilde's planned evening. "Get behind me," Hilde said quietly. She stepped towards the doors as that rapping came three more times, as though someone was beating on the doors with a tree limb. Her mind raced forward through possible defensive actions and questioning why her men hadn't taken action.

As Hilde walked towards the doors, her skin prickled with unease. Then the doors swung open, as though unseen hands had moved to do so for the tall man mounted on the armor clad Clydesdale. His dark brown hood was pulled down low over his face as he urged his horse forward at a walk. While this stranger had no obvious weapons, Hilde was not as much the fool to think him defenseless. A properly trained war horse, regardless of breed, was a dangerous thing. The man's use of knightly gifts told her that he was either of Avalon or a heritic. She realized that she couldn't see if her men were well or not but the cameras of the paparazzi flickered like an epileptic's worst nightmare.

The glare of the lights made it hard for her to make out the man's features. His dress spoke of Avalon, though it gave no sign of his House. Heavy leather gloves covered his hands as he dropped the reins. "Dame of Peacehaven," spoke a voice that Hilde recognized. Her eyes widened and she nearly dropped the horn in her left hand. "I have come for thee."

She stepped closer and took the bridle of the horse in her right hand. "Gunnar," she hissed, "stop this." In the shadows of his hood, Hilde could see a familiar, cruel smile. She shook her head slightly, a gesture that was almost imperceptible. The rider reached his right hand down towards her face as she looked up at him. Cameras snapped away as Hilde's guests watched the minor drama unfolding with curiosity.

"Have you no cup of welcome for a thirsty traveler, Brynhildr?" he said, "I have come many a mile in foul weather to be here." Torn between the urge to shriek at him for this entirely unnecessary business and embaressment for the predicament she was in, Hilde glared up at him. While her expression was mild, her eyes flashed with seething fury. She held up the drinking horn.

Behind her the soft buzz of conversation stopped as people watched, curious if the mysterious rider would take the cup. He took the cup and put it to his lips. As the wine flowed, the Knight upon the horse changed its essence to that of whiskey. He then held the horn out to her. "Share but a drop with me, Dame." Hilde nearly audibly ground her teeth. As she took the horn back, he leaned forward and said in a quiet voice, "Orders."

Instead of scowling as she wished to, Hilde raised the cup to her mouth and took a long drink. The whiskey burned down her throat with a faint suggestion of honey mingled with it. Before she could say anything, the rider dismounted, ignoring the way the rain blew in behind him, though he appreciated how the damp night air made the silken cloth smooth against Hilde's curves. "A gift of my ... kinsman," he said, stepping aside and gesturing towards the horse.

"He is generous," she said, "may the gods bless him for it." The man whom she named Gunnar smirked, knowing which god she had in mind and the irony of that deity being chosen. He walked up close to her and she realized that beneath his heavy cloak, he wore elaborately tooled leather armor with the insignia of their house upon the breastplate. "This is too much, why here? Why now?" she hissed at him.

Gunnar, or as he was known in this life, Gunther, laughed. "Have you forgotten what this day is?" he said, his eyes dancing with delight. Hilde frowned slightly, thinking for a moment. Then her eyes widened and her cheeks turned a deeper shade of green. The blush worked its way down from her scalp along the column of her neck to fan out across her chest. He took her left hand and pressed his lips to her wedding ring. Gunther then pulled her into his arms, the hood of his cloak falling back to reveal his identity moments before he kissed her.

Instead of resisting him, Hilde nearly fell into his arms with the force of his embrace. The drinking horn fell from her fingers and splashed its contents on the ground. Hilde's guests looked between themselves and those who had a more personal relationship with Hilde and Gunther began to applaud. Soon, that caught on and Gunther laughed as he broke the kiss. "Happy anniversary," he said, smiling down at her. A devilish light lit his eyes as he watched his wife struggle between happiness and embarrassment. He lifted a hand and pushed a lock of hair out of her eyes. "I told you that you had been working too hard," he chided gently.

Hilde ducked her gaze before the horse beside them tentatively nudged her head with his muzzle. "His name is Horatio," Gunther said quietly in her ear, "your uncle sends him." At the mention of Marion, Hilde's eyes went wide. "I was to bring him to you in a memoriable manner," he explained as the page came over and picked up the horn. The young woman looked up at Gunther and he nodded slightly.

Moments later, she returned with a refilled horn. Gunther looked over at one of their men. He gave a small smile as the grinning man lead the battle trained horse away. Another, who was supposed to be on break but apparently decided the fun was too inviting came over to take Gunther's cloak. The sight of him dressed in full armor, even though it was but leather, was striking. Unlike Hilde, who was unarmed, Gunther wore a wicked looking seax at the small of his back. A few voices murmured as Gunther took Hilde by the hand and walked with her through the ballroom towards where a dias had been setup. A microphone was before a podium at the far right hand side of the dias but Gunther ignored it.

Applying his command of Royal essence, Gunther's voice carried through out the room and a few of the onlookers outside caught the beginning of his words as the doors were shut, "We have gathered this auspicious day to celebrate children...." As Gunther literally stole Hilde's opening speech from her lips, she realized that he had obviously been planning this for at least as long as she had been planning the benefit gathering. Again she was amazed at the conniving skill of the former Morganite and couldn't help but wonder what other surprises he had in mind for the night.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Under his gaze.

He curled a lock of my hair about his index finger and tugged lightly. I looked up at him, wincing at the sudden ray of light that shone down in my eyes as a breeze blew the leaves of the bush aside. "You worry too much, my dear," he said softly, "Where other's have laugh lines, you have lines of anxiety." I blinked at him, uncertain if I should be insulted or not.

His bare chest was warm against my cheek despite the coolness of the breeze blowing through the spring afternoon. "I think it will rain soon," I said in a lame attempt to change the topic. His eyebrows rose slightly and he turned his peridot green eyes from the bit of hair curled about his finger to my face. The sunlight seemed to glow in his hair where it fell in dappled pools from the leaves over head. I wondered what again was the reason why we were snuggled up beneath the eves of a shockingly large bush.

I wondered why it was that he insisted that I be dressed in the finery that he gave me and he looked as though he was ready to go help his men plant fields. At the thought of planting fields, I could feel my cheeks start to grow warm. The night before he had insisted that we steal away to bless them. I didn't think much of it until he started taking off his clothes when we reached the ploughed earth. One does not argue with fertility deities, especially when they consider you a fitting person to assist them in their ... duties.

That field was a short ways away from where we were laying. When the wind freshened and blew from the west, I could smell the fresh turned earth. The scent mingled with the smell of sap and musk that always seemed to surround him. It was a dizzying thing to breathe in. "Rain is good," he rumbled, dropping his hand down to his chest just before my eyes.

"We'll get soaked," I said peevishly, failing to keep my annoyance with the concept out of my voice. He laughed and tightened his hold on me with his left arm. Pressed hard against that muscular body, I couldn't help how my breath caught in my throat and the beginnings of molten heat pooled low in my body. A sudden burst of panic rolled through me and I started to attempt to move away from him. I shivered as I suddenly wondered if all of this was just my deluding myself.

His right hand slid over to cup my left cheek and slowly, irresistibly, turn my face up toward his. The strength in his arms both told me I could not flee and that I was safe from all harm in this little hidden place. His expression turned from wry amusement to something solemn. Panic rose up stronger in me even as I found myself unconsciously molding myself to the contours of his side. "You can not out run your heart, little dove," he said quietly, "Your clever mind can not out wit it either."

"I'm not trying to run away," I squeaked. His full lips made a wry smile as he gave a little, seemingly thoughtful nod, attempting to wear his most solemn expression. I gulped nervously. His thumb passed slowly over my lips. "Really," I said, sounding a little to rushed to be earnest.

"Shall I chase you?" he said, that wry smile growing slowly into a fierce grin.

I swallowed nervously. He moved his hands to just beneath my armpits. He lifted me easily and pulled me slowly against his gloriously perfect body, making me think of how he did so the night before with out such niceities of clothes in his way. The branches of the bush shifted and parted as he brought me to where I was face to face with him. I lay half over him, held scant inches from him.

I stared into his eyes, scarcely able to breathe as a firestorm of feelings lashed at me. Terror, delight, lust, and relief all warred within me and I realized much to my horror he could see this plainly on my face and in my gaze. Words failed me. No clever little remark, no sarcasm to be my armor against his attention. I had nothing to say but two little words. Those, I breathed in a small voice, "Oh dear."

Slowly, he lowered me so that I lay against him. "The hart will always ride," he said quietly.

"I didn't mean..." I started when he thrust his hands into my hair and pulled my face down to his. His kiss managed to crush the air out of my lungs even as I gave a shuddering gasp of delight. Slowly, he kissed me and filled my body with that slow heat that put languor in my limbs and made my heart pound.

He broke the kiss just as I began to see little stars behind my eyelids. He pressed his face against my right cheek. His beard rasped softly against my skin. "You have always been like the hind," he whispered, "no matter how much you would deny it. Fleet of foot and graceful, gentle and mild.Try as you may, I will not leave. The hart does not leave his hind."

At his quiet words, something within me broke and I gave a sudden sob. My cheeks burned with shame and I tried to bury my face against his shoulder. A hand tightened in my hair and he slowly lifted my head so that he might gaze into my eyes. "As wounded as you are," he said solemnly, fixing me with that intense look that managed to pin me into place every time, "I will not leave you alone. Not now, not ever. You are not alone, not any more."

I tried to look away and he pulled me down into another kiss. Where his first kiss had been slow and controlled, this was hard and burned with intensity. I could feel my lips bruising with the force of it. Somehow, I knew, this was where I was supposed to be. The panic and terror beat against my awareness but he drove them away as he deepened the kiss. Suddenly, I felt as though I was drowning in pure sunlight. The air tasted of his kiss and ripe wheat. The fight bled out of me as he held me and softened his kisses. I put my face against his chest and wept. I couldn't say why. Perhaps it was relief. Perhaps it was happiness. But his arms were strong and we were well hidden from prying eyes.

Friday, March 14, 2014


She threw the cup of coffee across the room with a furious cry. As the cheap mug shattered, the man standing in the doorway arched an eyebrow. "Really?" he muttered. Hilde kicked the spinning wheel out of her way, sending it whirling as it fell to the floor. Gunther watched as his wife raged about her office. Normally, she took bad news with a stoic demeanor. This sudden and violent flare of anger told him that something was different about this situation.

"I'm going to fucking kill him," she spat, jabbing a finger at Gunther, "And then I'm going to tear his fucking organization apart. Then I am ..." Her next declaration stopped when she realized that her husband was smirking at her. Hilde's rage over the man responsible for a series of violent sex crimes against women's escape via a human trafficking ring that they were working on breaking up just seemed to grow as more information about the man's crimes came to light. It didn't help matters that they had nearly caught him when he managed to completely vanish.

Gunther's news that another victim fitting the profile of their quarry's chosen targets was found barely alive in a dumpster with Hilde's name carved into their chest made that rage bubble over and Hilde moved from shaking with anger to a violent outburst. Normally, Gunther would have been working to calm her down. At the moment, however, he was too busy being caught up in just how pretty she looked when she was angry. She seemed to glow and move with a terrible grace when she stopped thinking about restraining herself. It reminded him of how she looked and moved when they were in bed.

It was an entirely inappropriate response to the situation but Gunther was never very good at appropriate. "What the fuck are you smirking at?" Hilde spat. Gunther grinned despite himself, suddenly quite pleased that he managed to capture all of her attention. He stepped forward and reached to pull her into a kiss when Hilde's hand flashed into his field of view. She moved fast enough that Gunther wasn't able, even with his knightly gifts, to avoid the sharp smack she landed across his face. His head whipped to the side as a drop of blood beaded up where a tooth caught his lip.

Inwardly, Gunther questioned what was in the drink that he was given earlier. The shock of being smacked for a moment staved off the rising lust long enough for him to realize that one of his former housemates must have slipped him something in that cup of coffee. Hilde gave him a hard look. The anger in her expression mingled with suspicion as Gunther made a point of keeping his gaze fixed on the wall. "What the fuck has gotten into you?" she demanded. Gunther tried not to think about sweeping everything off the desk and throwing his wife down on it to have his way with her.

His hand trembled slightly as he gave a small groan. "I'm going to geld Manus," he said, speaking of the narrow shouldered, hook nosed Morganite from Avalon who had made a pointed effort of attempting to get Hilde's attention. Her rebuff of his persistent attentions turned into Manus attempting to insinuate himself as Gunther's friend, asking 'innocently' what it was like to be married to another knight. Gunther didn't think anything of Manus giving him a cup of coffee as he was walking to tell Hilde the bad news.

"What does Manus have to do with anything?" she demanded.

"That fucker slipped something in the damn coffee," Gunther spat, struggling with all of his control and attempting with his knightly gifts to remove the effect of what ever the Morganite had done to him. Hilde reached over and set a hand on Gunther's right wrist. That was when his control broke. That was also when the magic flowed from Gunther into Hilde. Gunther turned and all the energy of his anger converted itself into raw sexual need.

His mouth closed over Hilde's as she gasped in shock. Cold fire burned up her arm from where her skin touched is and was he kissed her, that cold fire burned from his mouth into her own and down her throat. Hilde struggled but Gunther gripped her hard against him, deepening the kiss. As the magic assailed her, Hilde gave an inward cry, anger replaced with distress. And then, it was gone. Only Gunther remained. His hands went to the collar of her shirt.

With all the ease of tearing paper, he ripped the fabric apart and pushed the tattered remnants off her shoulders. Hilde's head lolled backwards as he broke the kiss and pressed his face against the hollow of her right shoulder. Gunther took in a deep breath, bared his teeth, and bit down on her shoulder. Hilde gave a surprised cry. She stepped backwards but Gunther moved with her.

His hands gripped her hips hard as he lifted his head and grinned at her. Gunther and Hilde crossed the room in a few stumbled paces to run into the wall hard enough to make the picture hanging on it jump. Hilde vaguely registered the noise of the glass in the frame breaking as it hit the ground but Gunther's hands roughly divesting her of her jeans ripped her awareness back to him. Neither of them had noticed the door to Hilde's office open and then close.

Manus watched as Hilde reached for Gunther. The way her body shuddered delicately as Gunther ran his left hand up her side while he unzipped his jeans made Manus's breath catch in his throat. Gunther leaned forward, closing his mouth over Hilde's left breast. He pinched her nipple between his teeth and rolled it slightly between them. Hilde's eyes fluttered shut as she gave a throaty groan of pleasure. Manus ached as he watched Gunther straighten and pick Hilde up slightly.

Pinning her against the wall, Gunther sheathed himself within her. "Oh god," he groaned, "You're so tight." At the sound of his voice, Hilde shuddered. She wrapped her arms and legs about him. As Gunther began to thrust forcefully into her, she let her head rest on his shoulder. She whimpered and made small noises of pained pleasure. Faster and faster, he thrust. Hilde threw her head back and gave a little gasp before she screamed with her orgasm. Manus expected that the lovers would be done shortly after that.

Hilde gave a low, sensual moan before shuddering hard and digging her nails hard into Gunther's shoulders. She screamed as her second orgasm stormed over her. Behind him, Manus could hear someone beating on the door. Manus didn't care. He couldn't stop watching the way Hilde writhed in Gunther's arms or the look on her face as he threw himself into his task. Manus locked the door and leaned against it, tempted to enjoy himself in a more physical fashion as he watched them.

Gunther stiffened abruptly, giving a low almost feral sounding growl as his own orgasm finally reached him.  Hilde, whose screams had dropped down to whimpers, wilted in his arms. Her eyes rolled and unconsciousness washed over her. Blood pounding in his head, Gunther closed his eyes. He realized that the after effects of what ever had been done to them had worn off. Immediately after realizing the effects of the magic has worn off with his orgasm, he was aware that someone was beating on the door and that they were not alone.

Gunther carefully lowered the exhausted Sargent to the ground. As he stood, he took a breath in while he resettled his slacks and zipped them. He could smell that odd, musty scent that he associated with Manus. Gunther turned to find the Morganite in question standing against the door. Rage roared through him. Manus, who was still staring lustfully as the sleeping Hilde, failed to note the danger as Gunther turned to face him.

i'm not pleased with this one either. ah well, i at least wrote something today.