"How have you been, Carshian?" Lena asked.
"You ask that after whipping me?" Carshian said sarcastically.
Immediately after the punishment, Carshian had been brought inside the mansion for treatment.
As the lady of respectable house of Wolfe, Lena hadn't been too kind to him. 16 round of unforgiving whipping by each of the four girls had left him in a terrible state. Though, he hadn't screamed once in the entire procedure.
But as the rule of the civilization suggested, after the whipping, Carshian was supposed to be left in the wild, to be an example for the other men who were even thinking of trespassing into the civilization.
There, Lena had decided to bend the rule a little so as to allow Carshian to remain in the mansion for a little while, at least for the period of treatment.
This was the auspicious occasion of the Awakening, and no one could go back sad and empty-handed, much less in such shape, she had said.
Of course, knowing the reputation of the house of hunters, and its fierce lady, no one would dare object. But a slight act of kindness towards the past young lord of the friendly house of Shiam was duly noted.
"You very well know, Carshian, that as a lady, I had some responsibilities." She knelt down beside him, bringing herself to his eye level. "But now, I am here as a friend. So, how have you been?"
"Better", Carshian replied.
Carshian was lying on his belly, on a soft bed in one of the countless chambers in the mansion. Some of Lena's attendants were applying some herbal paste on his wounds.
Even after living in the civilization for so many years, house Wolfe still preferred herbs and soup over medicines.
"But you very well know what the punishment for trespassing in the civilization is. Men are banished. Why the fuck would you do such a thing to yourself? Why challenge a direct law?"
Carshian looked in the distance. The voice of the old man with queer eyes rang through his mind. 'Go that way for a few miles and you'll find an ancient house. In that house rests the moon you are looking for.'
'Befriend the moon you don't even know' were the words of the damn prophecy.
He had no idea what it meant, and had to somehow fulfil the nonsensical conditions, find whatever needed to be found, do whatever needed to be done, before it all started making sense. Because, whenever a prophecy starts making sense, it means time up; bad news.
But Lena wouldn't understand any of it. He couldn't tell her that he had kidnapped the girls, neither could he tell her about the oracle and her prophecy. Prophecies, magic and stuff only existed in fairytales.
"I just wanted to see the Awakening", he lied.
Lena lifted an eyebrow, with a smile on her lips. "You really take me for a fool, don't you?"
"Hey, I really came just to see the Awakening. You know, I had even attended the last Awakening. It's a once-in-a-decade thing, why would I miss it?"
"Yeah, yeah. I know", said she, sarcastically. "How old were you then? Four? Five?"
"Seven", he defended.
"A cute cry-baby. You were crying to go back, you know? You didn't even attend the whole fifteen days ceremony."
Carshian fished for excuses for a moment. "I-I. Yeah, that's why I decided that this time I wouldn't miss it for anything."
Lena pulled her head back and laughed. "You are one hell of a liar, you know."
Carshian smiled sheepishly. No point carrying this excuse further. He needed to come up with a better one, and that too quickly.
"Just admit that you were feeling an intense sex urge, missing some pretty asses in the woods. I understand. Teenagers go through that shit."
Sighing in relief, Carshian played along. "Testosterones and puberty aren't a great combination, you know."
"And you thought that respecting the friendship that my house shares with the house that you were once a member of, I would allow you to bang my girls, did you not?" Lena concluded.
Carshian thanked the heavens for his brilliant luck. Here he was unable to come up with a believable excuse, and turns out, Lena would believe in shit of a logic.
"Guilty", he said. "You caught me."
The attendants, administering the herbal paste on his wounds, giggled.
"You could have gone to any of the temples of Tierra, you know", one of them offered.
"We don't send so many girls there every month for the walls", another one added.
Carshian sighed. They didn't know anything. The temples of Tierra hadn't had any temple prostitute in past five years. Due to the lack of contact between the banished men and the civilization of women, no one knew of the whereabouts of the 3000 vanished girls. The only men that they ever came in contact with were from the male brothels, used for satisfying lust or to make babies, or rare encounters with men found on the outskirts of the wild. The men have no idea that the civilization has been sending the temple offerings, and the women have no idea that the offering has never reached its shrine. And in the small encounters, spent in quenching the sexual frustrations, the topic never came up, and thus the civilization has remained oblivious to the bizarre happenings.
Or have they?
Just for a moment, when the girl had mentioned the temples, Carshian saw a shadow cross Lena's eyes. The moment of internal conflict was there just for a second, and the very next second, Lena was her usual self again.
But Carshian had noticed it, and a string of questions had started forming in his head.
The civilization wouldn't just leave the offerings on the outskirts of the woods to find their way to the temples. Someone would know something. Someone would have noticed something. There has to be certain procedure, some people involved.
So, was the civilization really that oblivious?
Just to confirm his suspicion, he quipped to the girls comment, "Oh, I've been to the temples. But no one has been enough to satisfy my monster."
The girls softly chuckled. "No worries. We Wolfes are hunters. We have a hell of stamina."
He tried to chuckle in agreement, but didn't comment anything. His head was preoccupied, thoughts racing.
He had noticed it again, that moment of hesitation. She knew! Hell, she actually knew!
And the way her eyebrows had arched, her eyes had narrowed, her lips had parted, she knew that he knew of her knowledge.
"Enjoy our hospitality till you can, Carshian", she said. "I can't challenge the civilization forever. I can only allow you here till you get a little better. 3 days, and then, you must get going."
She stood up, adjusting her gown. "Now, if you allow me, my people are waiting for their lady."
All the night and the morning that followed, Lena had been in an internal conflict. The air of festivities had allowed her to breathe in ease, but at the back of her mind, something kept bugging her.
The water of the giant pool was lukewarm, just as she liked. The brilliant shine of the sun shimmering through the almost transparent glass walls enclosing the pool seemed to alleviate her mood a little. The sweet fragrance of the rose petals floating on the still water was an add-on.
She pulled at thee string of her bath robe, letting it fall away. The warm sunlight and the cold winter breeze embraced and caressed her bare skin.
She stepped into the pool, letting the soothing water relax her muscles.
Closing her eyes, she swam aimlessly for a few minutes, enjoying the rushing and splashing of water around her.
Is it possible to describe water without describing some kind of innocence and freedom?
They splash around like little playing kids. Where can you find such transparency? And the freedom, oh, the freedom! The freedom of flowing as they please. They freedom of living at ease. The freedom to take any shape and any colour.
Is it possible to describe water without discovering your purest reflection?
Lena opened her eyes. The water grew still and silent, as if sensing the tension within her. Just a few tiny ripples resonated around, result of the continuous heaving of her chest that encaged her beating heart within.
"Sena", she called.
Moments later, an attendant named Sena appeared before her.
"Tell Carshian that I request her presence", Lena said.
Sena rushed to do the bidding of her lady.
Breast-stroking to the other side of the pool, Lena wondered how Carshian must be doing. His wound must have closed by now, but it would take another day or two for them to heal enough, enough to fend off against a normal beast in the wild.
The herbs of the Snow Mountains actually did wonders.
His back will remain scarred though, an exemplary Awakening present.
No, taking him for an idiot teenager, just a decade older version of the cute cry-baby she knew, Lena had chosen to believe that he had stepped into her lands just for the pleasures of the flesh. But he wasn't an idiot, was he?
The shoot of the story was visible, but how deep was the root? There was more to it than met the eye.
Breaking her line of thought, a knock came from the entrance.
"Come in", she said, beckoning Carshian inside.
Smoothly backstroking towards him, she asked, "How is your back?"
"Better", he replied.
"Is that your default answer to all the 'how' questions?"
She stepped out of the pool, water dripping from her naked body.
"At least it isn't paining as much", he explained. "Can't really see the progress of my back without straining the muscles, so that about all that I can explain. But I guess your herbs are magical."
Lena fetched a towel to dry her body. "There is no such thing as magic. Nature conceals countless little secrets in her bosom, left to be explored."
"That's one way to say it."
Wrapping a towel around her waist, Lena said, "And what do you think?"
"All secrets are not supposed to be revealed. Some of them are meant to remain a secret. Or, it would tip the balance."
Lena looked in his eyes for a moment, then walked towards the massage beds. "Found some philosophy teacher in the woods, have you?"
"Some properties come as a default setting."
That wasn't going as planned, Lena feared. She needed to talk to him freely, but there was some invisible barrier between them that she needed to take down in order to arch the conversation home.
"Can you help me with this?" she asked him, sitting on the bed.
"Sure." Carshian took the bottle of oil from her hand.
Lena lay on her stomach. With the small towel barely covering her butt, her back and her legs remained exposed.
Carshian poured some oil on her bare back as the lady spoke further, "About the secrets that you mentioned, I don't completely agree with you. In a way, secrets are like the portal between a girl's legs. They are meant to be revealed. They are meant to be cherished. You just need to be deserving."
With his strong fingers, Carshian thoroughly massaged Lena's back, running his fingers gently on her nape and the shoulder blades, reaching down to her lower back. "If you are using that kind of comparison, I guess I shall love playing Sherlock, uncovering as many secrets as I can."
Lena giggled. "Don't get too excited."
Carshian ran his hand over the huntress's strong legs, relaxing her calf muscles, caressing her thighs.
"Mmmm…" she moaned. "I like that. Can you go a little higher?"
Carshian made circles in the inside of her thighs, exciting the lady further, before gently freeing the towel.
"So, how many secrets have you uncovered?" she asked, as he grabbed her ass cheeks.
He played with them in silence. The conversation had taken a twist. She wasn't joking or talking dirty anymore. The ecstasy was in equilibrium with tension.
"I have my fair share of suspicions", he finally replied.
Lena turned over, lying on her back. She caught his eye for a moment, then closed them as he started working his way up her arm.
"Why did you actually come here?" she asked him.
He took another moment before replying, caressing her shoulders and the hollow at the base of her neck. "I am looking for someone-something."
"Who are you looking for?"
"I-I don't know", he answered, honestly, kneading her soft breasts.
He gently ran his fingers under the nipples and on the smooth, sensitive, firm under side. Her already hardened nipples stood in attention, at his mercy.
"That's a very vague answ- ahh!" she squealed in sweet agony as he pinched a nipple.
Moving further down, he ran his palm over her flat abdomen.
"How will you know where to look?" she asked him.
"I don't know", he confessed. He quickly rubbed his oiled palm over her calves and on the sole of her feet. "I'm just trusting in my instinct. I guess I'll just know when I see him/her/it."
"Don't you have any clue? Anything at all?" Lena said between her gasps as Carshian reached her upper thigh. In the wake of his fingers, he left scorching fire.
"Would you believe me if I said I am looking for the moon?"
"Well, that would be one way to shut me up", she said, "and a quick turn off."
"Then let's look for a better way, shall we?"
With that Carshian kissed the flat under her ribs as his fingers played guess-the-shape on the inside of her thighs, earning moans from the brave lady.
She could feel his warm breathing over her belly moving downwards, making the trajectory to her cherished treasure, as his fingers reached the folds of her lower lips, making her writhe in soothing torture.
He ran his tongue around her sensitive navel. An electric thrill hummed through her.
He deliberately took his time reaching her sex, inflicting utmost torment.
Lena could feel that she was close, so close perhaps that she felt she was going to explode any moment now. Her skin burned, her insides clenched and the desire to feel him inside her overwhelmed every other senses. She whimpered and convulsed in need. The anticipation was a velvety punishment, and the punishment had crossed the border to bliss.
Oh, it was just too erotic!
He nipped gently at her clitoris, making her cry out in pleasure, her whole body singing to his rhythm.
With his fingers, he gently played with her entrance, as his tongue started to circle her clitoris, sending bolts of pure ecstasy to her core.
"Aargh!" she moaned as her mind slipped towards numbness, her whole body arching and convulsing to the fiery-cold, velvety hard, painfully satisfying touch of his tongue.
Constant touch, constant motion, constant pressure, that was the secret. Devotedly swirling his tongue round and round, again and again, maintaining a steady unpredictable rhythm, he pushed his fingers inside her, pushing her sanity to its edges.
Under the constant assault of his tongue and fingers, Lena could feel herself being torn apart, piece by piece, and at the same time, could feel nothing at all, wandering aimlessly towards the bottomless abyss.
And then out of nowhere, Carshian sucked hungrily at her vulva, his fingers dancing madly within her, flipping her inside out, past the edge. She cried out, the solid ground disappeared from beneath her, the void feeling as the only stable thing, as her orgasm came crashing down on her with the force of the fucking almighty.