Full disclaimers in part 1

Warning: in this part there are a few scenes of violence, but they are memories and not too graphic.

Cyndi, we hope you had a great vacation. We only hope we managed to live up to your high betareading standards. Thank you for all you do.


Ripples in Time - Part 7

By Lois Kay and cbar

The sun was shining abundantly, casting a multitude of warm rays down to the surface of the earth, warming everything that came under it's attention. It was hot. The sweet smell of grass filled the air, along with the smell of wild roses and lavender. It would have been a perfect day to lay in the grass, watch the occasional white, fluffy cloud pass overhead and just enjoy the comfortable warm blanket of smells and impressions.

The two women, who were facing each other, just under the top of the hill, had no eyes for the beauty that surrounded them. They were staring at each other. The tall, dark one looked uncomfortable under the scrutinizing look from the smaller blonde.

" What? Did I hear that right?" Isa asked, being astonished. " You want to send my brother East to join some rebel army? Mor, I don't think thatŠ"

Mor raised a hand, effectively silencing Isa. Her blue eyes were pleading and Isa swallowed hard, trying hard not to yell at her new friend.

" I have good reasons for that, Isa. But in order for you to understand I need to tell you something. But not here, not now. Okay? Why don't we go back to the cave and have something to eat first? It'sŠit's a long story. Please, trust me."

Isa sighed deeply and realized she had a hard time being angry with Mor when she looked at her with those blue eyes full ofŠ.full of what? Friendship? Gentleness? Compassion?

" I do trust you," she softly replied. " You probably do have a good reason and I could think of one myself. Those Romans, who were after Baldric, they won't leave him alone, will they?"

" I am afraid not," Mor answered. " But we can talk about it, okay? Just let's go back to the cave. I don't want to run into another Roman patrol today."

" Okay," Isa softly answered, her shoulders slightly slumped.

Mor watched her with a gnawing feeling deep inside her heart and she quickly averted her eyes, when Isa shot her a sideways look. She couldn't fight the urge to hesitantly wrap an arm around Isa's shoulders, and the smaller woman immediately leaned into the touch.

They continued their walk in silence, until they reached the top of the hill. From that spot, there was only one way they could go, down into a small clearing that was surrounded by bushes and trees, protecting it from prying eyes.

Isa peeked down to see her brother looking up at her. He was smiling broadly, while standing next to a huge, black horse, scratching it behind the ears.

" This is a great horse, Mor, " he beamed. " What is his name?"

" Tyr, " Mor answered. " Guess you didn't scare him while jumping down, huh?"

" No, way," Baldric snorted. " Tyr, the God of War from the Northern lands. It suits him. I love horses and this one is magnificent."

" Well, he seems to like you," Mor replied, trying to push away a tiny twinge of jealousy.

It was like Tyr could read her heart, because he turned his head towards his mistress and whinnied happily. Mor smiled and turned to Isa.

" We will have to jump down," she explained. " It's just a little drop, maybe five paces, but I don't want you to hurt your shoulder. I will go down first and catch you. All right?"

Isa nodded smiling, a warm feeling spreading through her body by Mor's obvious concern. Would a woman like Mor send Baldric into lethal danger? Isa shivered and tried not to think about that. First she needed to hear Mor's side of the story and somehow Isa knew it would be an impressive tale.

With an elegant jump Mor landed on both her feet, immediately turning around to look up at Isa. The sun was highlighting the blonde woman's hair and Mor softly gasped at the vision she presented. The golden halo of her hair, the trusting look in those emerald green eyes, the shift that was too long for her small frame and the sun behind her to reveal the outline of her body perfectly.

Mor swallowed before stretching out her hands. Her blue eyes shone with confidence when she smiled at Isa.

" Come, little one," she gently teased. " Jump. I will catch you." I will never let you fall.

Without hesitation Isa jumped down and before her feet even had a chance to touch the ground, she was caught in a pair of strong arms.

" Gotcha," Mor whispered, close to her ear.

The unexpected sound of that deep, rich voice made Isa's heartrate pick up and feeling a little shy, she looked into a pair of blue eyes, that held a gentle twinkle. Isa wasn't aware of the expression in her own eyes. She just knew she felt confused and overwhelmed with a sensation she had no name for yet. Mor just managed to hold back a gasp when the green depths she was slowly drowning in, gradually darkened and revealed something she thought she would never see. Longing. But there was more. She could easily read the confusion on Isa's face and she forced herself to smile and slowly released her grip on the blonde woman.

" Told you I would catch you," she joked. " Are you okay?"

Isa nodded and realized she was still clutching the hem of Mor's shirt firmly in her hands. Quickly she let go, wiping her sweaty palms on the light fabric of her shift.

" Thanks," she tentatively smiled. " I am fine, just hungry," she added with a grimace, rubbing her growling stomach with an embarrassed smile.

" Guess I'd better feed you, huh?" Mor chuckled.

" You' d better," Isa replied, first shooting a glance at the black stallion and then looking at Mor with one eyebrow lifted. " I could eat a horse."

It had not taken Mor long to lead Isa and her brother back to the cave to fix them all something to eat. Mor cooked the rest of the rabbit she had snared the day before and Baldric pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the pouch he had been carrying, which earned him a questioning look from his sister.

" I planned on visiting, before I ran into that patrol," he confessed with a sheepish smile. " I brought you some of your clothes as well."

" Now he tells me," Isa cried, pulling the pouch out of his hand and scanning its contents.

" Hey, it's not like we had time to have a pleasant conversation." Baldric objected indignantly.

" I know," Isa smiled. " Thanks, brother. I really needed these," she said, holding up a short sleeved dress and a tunic. " Mor's clothes are a little too big for me."

They both looked at the tall woman, who was silently sharpening a dagger, a look of pure concentration on her face, that was illuminated by the light of the fire, bronzing her features. She didn't notice the friendly banter that was going on between the two siblings, but seemed lost in thought, while a frown creased her forehead.

Baldric nervously licked his lips and wiped his sweaty palms on his trousers. He looked at his sister for support and when she smiled at him, he took a deep breath and turned to face the tall, dark woman.

" Mor, " he began. " IŠI know I did something really stupid today and I owe you so much for saving my life. IŠbutŠI was wondering if I could stay here? Just tonight, because I think that patrolŠ"

" Sure," Mor quietly answered, without taking her eyes off the dagger she was sharpening.

Inwardly Mor was happy with Baldric for starting up the conversation. She had been a little nervous about confronting Isa with part of her past and really didn't know where to start, or how much to tell her. When Baldric started up the conversation, Mor decided to take it from there and see what would happen. She had never been much of a talker anyway, but this time it was different. She wanted Isa to understand. It was important to her that the young woman did know what Mor's reasons were for wanting to send her brother away.

Mor finally lifted her eyes to the boy who was standing before her and who was meeting her stare without even flinching.

" How old are you, Baldric?"

" Sixteen summers," The boy promptly answered.

Mor's eyebrows rose and she cast a quick look at Isa, who she knew was older than her sibling. But she had thought Isa to be about Baldric's age. She looked so young and innocent.

" Nineteen summers, " Isa answered the unspoken question and smirked when Mor's eyebrows hiked up even higher.

" MmmŠwell, you two could have fooled me," she admitted with a faint smile. She looked at Baldric again, who was still standing in front of her, like a young soldier, waiting for a command.

" Baldric, sit down. We need to talk." Mor sighed, slowly putting down the dagger and wetstone and wiping her hands on her cloak.

Isa's brother almost immediately dropped down to the floor and looked at Mor expectantly. His green eyes were shining with pure admiration and Mor couldn't help but smile. He looked so much like his sister.

" Listen, IŠ," Mor pushed back her dark hair and sighed deeply, trying hard to chose the right words.

" Baldric, those Romans we encountered this afternoon won't be pleased. I killed at least one of their men and I did it to protect you. So, they will probably keep an eye out for you. My guess is they will try to find you in the village and going back there is not a good idea."

" But I am not afraid of them, IŠ." Baldric interrupted, but he was silenced by an icy stare, from a pair of clear, blue eyes.

" Then you are a fool," Mor answered coolly. " You should be afraid. They won't think twice about taking your life, Baldric. They will justŠdo it. And if you are lucky, they will take your life quickly, but believe me, I have seen enough cruelty among the Romans to not take an easy death for granted. One of their favorite ways to kill enemies is to nail them to a cross and leave them there to die. Slowly. After breaking their legs."

Mor's voice sounded bitter and her eyes were cold and distant. Baldric swallowed hard to get rid of the nauseous feeling that had started in the pit of his stomach and slowly spread through his whole body.

Isa's face had gone pale and she stared from Mor to her brother and back again, noticing the first one was lost in thought again, while the latter one seemed truly impressed and suddenly aware of what could have happened to him that afternoon.

" Mor," she urged with a soft voice.

Barely able to control herself, she reached out a hand to touch the woman who was sitting so close, but yet seemed so far away.

Slowly Mor turned her head towards the sound and when she looked at Isa, the younger woman could see the blue eyes slowly softening. For a moment their eyes locked and again Isa felt like Mor allowed her to look into her soul, just for a moment. What she saw was pain, sadness and anger, but also something else, gentleness, tenderness andŠlove?

Isa felt her cheeks burn and was grateful for the darkness in the cave that hid the reddening of her face, although she would not be surprised if Mor could feel the heat radiating from her body.

A small smile tugged on the corner of Mor's mouth when she returned her attention to Baldric, who had been waiting patiently, while his keen eyes took in every detail of the silent encounter between his sister and the tall woman.

" I want you to go East," she bluntly stated.

Baldric's eyes went very round when he looked at the tall woman in front of him. Mor could see the start of a glimmer in his eyes and she cast him a stern look.

" It's going to be a dangerous journey," she warned him. " It might seem like a big adventure to you and in a way it probably is, but you could run into trouble. I want you to realize that."

" Why?" Isa asked and her voice sounded like a plea. " Mor, what good is it to go East? Especially when it's dangerous like you just said."

" Guess I'd better explain, to make you understand." Mor answered with a sigh.

She fidgeted with the dagger, flipping it around and catching it by its hilt, seemingly without any effort. Isa's eyes grew wide when Mor started flipping the dagger even faster, while staring into the flames. Baldric watched in fascination, while Isa watched in horror. Expecting the sharp blade to penetrate the long slender fingers at any moment.

" Would you please stop that?" she asked, her voice husky and full of concern.

Immediately a strong hand grabbed the hilt and Mor looked at Isa's worried features.

" Sorry," she apologized, sliding the dagger back in its case, that was strapped around her leg.

Mor cleared her throat and glanced at Isa who looked at her expectantly. She seemed to sense the taller woman's tension and a small, encouraging smile suddenly wrinkled the skin around her eyes.

" I came from the East," Mor started, feeling more confident. " My mother was a Celt, my father grew up in the East, but his ancestors were Gauls."

Mor paused and looked up, only to see honest interest reflected from two different faces. That gave her the courage she needed to continue, knowing full well that the story she was about to tell wasnıt a pleasant one.

" I never knew my mother, she died when I was very little, my grandmother raised me."

" What happened to your mother?" Isa asked. "And where was your father?"

Mor swallowed hard and inspite of the dim light, Isa saw the blue eyes darken.

" When I was only a toddler, a Roman legion marched through our village. They killed most of the men, raped the women and set fire to the houses, destroying everything and everybody that was inside. Apparently my mother fought for what she was worth, even though she was carrying a child. The Romans...," Mor swallowed again and took a deep breath. "...the Romans stabbed her in the belly with a sword and threw her in a burning stable. She was trampled by the panicked horses."

Mor could hear Isa gasp for breath and when she looked at the younger woman, she saw tears sliding down her cheeks. Wordlessly Isa reached out her hand to grab Morıs and their fingers interlaced, holding each other with a firm grip.

" My father and the other men of the village were out hunting that day, to stock up supplies for the winter. When they came back, everything was gone. Almost everything, " Mor corrected herself. " My mother had pushed me in my grandmother's arms when she had seen the Romans approach and told her to hide in the forest. She did, but I know my grandmother always regretted doing that. She once told me she should have insisted for my mother to take me. Anyway, when my father and the other men came back, there were just a few people left. We all packed our belongings and went to the East. My father and the other men joined an army that fought the Romans. He died in a battle and the only one I had left was my grandmother, who was a Celt, like my mother."

Unknowingly Isaıs thumb stroked the back of Morıs hand, trying to bring the tall woman some much needed comfort. She remembered what Mor had told her before and a shiver ran down her spine.

" And the Romans killed her as well," Isa softly remarked.

Mor nodded and looked at their interlaced fingers.

" Yes, they did," she whispered. " And they took me as a slave. They trained me to fight, so one day I could serve as a woman gladiator in Rome."

" What happened?" Baldric asked, his voice hoarse with emotion.

" I used the training I had received to my own advantage and I escaped," Mor explained. And by the tone of her voice both Isa and Baldric knew that was as much as she was going to tell them about that.

Mor felt Isaıs hand softly squeeze her own and she looked up into a pair of compassionate eyes. She smiled and took another deep breath.

" I vowed to avenge my family, so I joined a rebel army and killed as many Romans as I could. They wanted to take the Eastern lands as well, but so far the Romans have not been able to get past the big river Rhine. And they never will."

Mor fell silent and studied the flames of the quietly burning fire in front of her, a pensive expression on her face. She was debating with herself how much she should tell Isa and Baldric next. She wanted to be honest, they needed to know the risks and dangers. But she did have a mission.

" The reason I am here, is to keep an eye on all Roman movements," she suddenly said. " My army and I want to take back the land that belonged to our ancestors."

From the corner of her eye, Isa saw Baldric almost jump and with a heavy feeling in her chest she knew what was coming next.

" So, itıs true then?" he enthusiastically spoke, his green eyes burning with an internal fire. " The legend, itıs true? The descendants of Ambiorix are going to fight to claim what Julius Caesar has stolen from them?"

" Not just the descendants of Ambiorix," Mor smiled. " My army consists of descendants from all different tribes, not just the Eburones, but also Nervians, Menapians and Atuatuci. See, the Romans like to believe they have annihilated all of them, but most women and children, along with the elderly, were hidden in the marshes and they survived. They moved to the East and were taken in by the Eastern tribes. Right now they are a mighty army. They formed their own tribe and they are the best warriors I know."

Isa bit her lip and looked up with concern in her eyes. Realization suddenly dawned on her.

" You keep saying ' my army' ," she softly spoke, quickly casting down her eyes so Mor couldn't see the turmoil within. " DoŠdo you lead them?"

Mor's other hand covered the smaller one she was still holding and she gently squeezed. She realized the need to be honest, but she didn't want to lose Isa's friendship. Her heart hammered against her chest when she finally answered.

Yes," she whispered.

When Mor saw Isa cringe, she felt a stab of pain in her heart and suddenly a wave of sadness washed through her entire body, leaving her tired and hurting. Quietly she started to remove her hands from Isa's, but suddenly they were both held in a strong grip. Surprised Mor raised her eyes to see a pair of green ones looking at her with quiet determination.

" So, you' re a general?" Isa remarked, a tiny sparkle in the depths of her eyes.

Mor shrugged her shoulders and smiled at the blonde woman.

" If you want to call me that, yes," she answered. " Everybody else just calls me Mor."

" And what exactly do you want Baldric to do, Mor?" Isa asked, deadly serious this time.

Mor turned her attention to the young boy and studied him for a moment, taking in his lean form, blonde hair and the soft features of his face, which made him look so much like his sister. Although the tiny hairs on his face made it obvious he was changing into a man.

" If you stay here, your life will be in danger. I can't protect both of you day and night. Besides, I need a courier to deliver messages to my army."

" I have no horse," Baldric objected, but his eyes were glimmering with enthusiasm, knowing full well that Mor would already have a solution for that.

" Who was talking about a horse?" Mor deadpanned.

Isa quickly looked from Baldric to Mor and raised her eyebrows in a silent question, then she saw the sparkle in those clear blue orbs. She bit back a smile and shot Baldric a reprimanding look.

" Yes, brother," she joined Mor in the teasing. " You are a good runner, aren't you?"

Baldric's eyes widened but to his credit he managed to not lose his composure.

" UmŠwell, yes, I can run fast and for a long time," he admitted. " I guess."

" Don't worry, Baldric," Mor smirked. " We were just teasing you. I have a horse you can use."

The boy's face lit up and he sheepishly smiled, mumbling something that sounded like ' women' .

" What exactly does he need to do, Mor?," Isa asked all serious again. " You said it could be dangerous. What could happen? And how will he know where to go?"

" I will give you a message, in writing, that you will need to deliver to my army camp. You will have to give it to Erhard. Only to Erhard. He is my second in command. You will carry a letter with my seal and he will recognize it."

Baldric nodded and wiped his sweaty palms on his trousers, a habit when he was nervous. He looked at his sister and knew she was not happy about him going East. But it had been his dream for years and she knew that too. Ever since he had been a small boy he had heard the stories of the rebel armies in the East, who fought hard and successfully stopped every wave of Roman attacks. He had wanted to join them and now he had the chance. And what a chance that was, being a courier for their general!

Isa watched the expression on Baldricıs face and knew that no matter what she would say or do, he would go anyway. There was no way she could stop him. Isa had to admit her younger brother wasnıt a child anymore. He was sixteen summers and he would soon be considered a man. But inspite of all that, he would always be her little brother.

Isa sighed in resignation and decided not to fight Baldric anymore. She just hoped and prayed that he would stay out of harms way and come back in one piece. She had already lost one brother. He was the only sibling she had left.

"How do I know where to find your camp?"

" Because I will tell you," Mor answered in a dry voice. " You will have to remember. I cannot risk giving you a map, because if it would fall into the wrong hands, the Romans would know exactly where to find us. You understand that, donıt you?"

"I do," Baldric nodded, feeling a knot of tension settle in the pit of stomach.

Mor took a charred piece of wood that was lying near the fire and started to draw a few lines and crosses on the floor of the cave. With a cocked head she looked at the result and nodded.

"That should be clear. Look, Baldric," she pointed at a cross on the very left side of the drawing. " This is where we are. This line here, to the right, is the river Mosa. You will have to cross it here." Mor tapped a slender finger on a second cross she had drawn. " This is the bridge at Mosa Trajectum. Make sure you cross it at dawn, when the sun is just about to rise. Itıs very unlikely to run into any Romans at that time."

" But what if he does anyway?" Isa quickly asked.

" Then he will have to tell them a good story," Mor calmly replied. "Can you do that?"

" Of course, " Baldric answered with confidence. " My sister is not the only one who can make up stories. I can do it, Mor."

" Good," Mor smiled. " After you cross the last river continue traveling East, until you reach the valley. Then travel North for half a day, that way you will avoid any Roman border patrol. Go East again until you reach the river Rhine. Follow it upstream until you come across an abandoned village. Go to the house that is next to the river and tie a blue cloth to the pole. Then wait."

" What? What will happen?" Isa nervously asked, intrigued by Morıs explanations.

" My men will come and pick him up," Mor answered.

She looked at Baldric and smiled.

"Unless you prefer to swim across."

" No, thanks, "Baldric laughed, his green eyes sparkling. " I can do this, Mor. You donıt have to worry about it."

" I do," Isa mumbled, earning an annoyed look from her brother.

" Good," Mor said, wiping out the drawing with her booted foot. "Then repeat what I just told you."

Mor was pleased to find out that Baldric repeated everything exactly as she had told him. She nodded approvingly and a smile of contentment crossed her face.

" I guess you are ready to go then," she stated.

" Already?" Isa asked in bewilderment.

" The Romans are looking for him...and for me," Mor patiently explained. " Itıs better for Baldric to be leagues away before they decide to send out more patrols and guard the crossroads."

The centurion paced in front of the silent, battered group of soldiers, his fists clenched and his face drawn in frustration.

" Are you trying to tell me that thisŠthisŠfailure was caused by one single person?" he hissed, his muddy brown eyes shooting fire. " That a well trained Roman patrol was not able to defeat one single person?"

He shot a menacing glance at the row of men who were standing before him. Most of them had hung their heads, while the few who tried to remain dignified, averted their gaze and stared into the distance.

" I should strip you all of your ranks and send you to back to Rome!"

The centurion could see a few of his men flinch and he knew his last remark had hit them hard. It would be regarded as the ultimate humiliation to be send back home, without a rank, without pay and stripped of their pride. Not to mention that the soldiers, who were not Romans by birth, would lose everything they had been working for for years. No rights, no land, no citizenship, because they would not have served Rome the required twenty-five years.

The centurion stopped pacing and looked at the men in front of him. His eyes searched their faces and with contentment he saw the bruised ego's.

" I will give you all one more chance," he said, almost casually. " One more! Find this, so called illusive warrior and bring him to me, so I can deal with him. Your reward will be not losing your ranks. You will still be part of the army of Rome! Go to your quarters, tend to your wounds, you will be leaving at dusk. Today."

After those words the Centurion turned around and briskly walked away to his own quarters, determined to do anything to find the man who had dared to insult Rome, by sneaking into the camp at night and single-handedly defeating one of Rome's patrols.

Isa and Mor slowly walked back to the cave, after having sent Baldric on his way. Mor had promised the young boy and his sister, she would send word to their father, so he would not have to worry about his children.

Baldric and Isa had both been surprised to find that Mor had been leading them to yet another clearing, on top of the hill, where she kept a sturdy looking, brown horse. She had made quick work of saddling it, while Isa hugged her brother close, telling him to be careful.

Mor had pointed out which track he had to follow to get down to the main road and had slapped Ragnarok on her butt to send the mare on her way.

Baldric had raised his hand in a silent greeting and had disappeared between the trees, leaving behind his sister, who was nervously wringing her hands.

" He will be fine," Mor had said, trying to ease Isa's mind. " Your brother is a courageous, smart boy. I have faith in him."

There had been a long silence between them, each lost in their own thoughts, while they followed the hardly visible track down the hill.

" Any more horses stashed away?" Isa suddenly asked, a hint of amusement in her voice.

Mor looked over her shoulder to see the sparkle in a pair of deep green eyes and she smiled back.

" Just one, besides Tyr," she admitted, hearing Isa chuckle.

" You are an amazing woman, Mor," Isa stated, the admiration in her voice clearly audible.

" You are not so bad yourself, Isa," Mor immediately answered, startled by her own swift reaction.

Mor could hear Isa chuckle again and she was pleased to find her friend had visibly relaxed, after sending her brother off. She didn't have to close her eyes, or turn around, to see the sparkle in her eyes, or the way the skin around her eyes wrinkled when she smiled. Or how the sun cast red highlights in her hair and softly kissed the silky skin.

Whoa, Mor! Where did that come from?

Mor sighed, trying to push back the alien emotions, that sometimes just seemed to sneak up on her. They were overwhelming and seemed to invade all her senses. Sometimes making her feel lightheaded and relaxed, too relaxed. That could be dangerous. When they had been hiding behind that waterfall and had snuggled up together underneath that warm blanket, Mor had almost missed the sounds from below. She had felt so comfortable and relaxed, with Isa lying against her chest, she had nearly dozed off. It was a miracle she had heard the shouts of the Roman patrol. Her negligence could have cost Isa's brother his life.

Unconsciously Mor had quickened her pace and Isa, who was slightly panting, shook her out of her reveries.

" What's the hurry?" the younger woman groaned, trying to free her shift that was entangled in a berry bush.

Mor turned around, a guilty expression on her face when she looked at Isa's face, that was red and warm, the perspiration forming on her forehead.

" Sorry," she mumbled. " Kinda got lost in thought."

" That's okay, " Isa sighed. " You must have a lot on your mind."

If only you knew.

" Yeah, well." Mor shrugged her shoulders. " But that's no reason to run you ragged."

" Well, you have an advantage there, my friend," Isa smiled, raising an eyebrow and looking at Mor's long legs. " For every step you take, I have to take three."

Mor smiled and wrapped her arm around Isa's shoulders.

" I will try to adjust," she promised.

" And this is how to do it?" Isa smiled, looking up at the taller woman with amusement in her eyes.

Mor looked back at her with a frown.

" What do you mean?"

" You try to adjust by holding me?"

Isa felt the muscles in Mor's arm tense and she quickly grabbed her hand, to keep the long arm in place.

" I..I am sorry," Mor said, trying to hide the confusion in her blue eyes by averting Isa's stare.

" Don't be," Isa softly answered. " Keep your arm where it is. I like it there."

Isa could feel Mor slowly relax and her face creased into a warm smile. Mor might be a skillful fighter, oozing self-confidence and leading an army, but when it came to emotions, her body language gave away her insecurity.

Isa slid her arm around Mor's waist and gently squeezed the tall woman, which earned her a surprised look.

" Is this all right?" she whispered, suddenly feeling very insecure herself.

Mor stopped walking and their eyes locked. They just stood there, staring at each other, wordlessly. Isa eyes reflected the endless trust and confidence she had in Mor. Something she could not explain, since she only had known the woman for a few days. But it was a strong voice, deep inside of her, that told her Mor was part of her destiny.

Mor's blue eyes lost their hooded expression and slowly Isa could see the barriers go down, until there was nothing but a trusting pool of blue, she felt she could drown in. And she did. While her heart pounded so fast she wondered if Mor could actually hear it.

Mor raised a hand and gently cupped Isa's cheek, who immediately leaned into the touch, there eyes never breaking contact. Mor's thumb slowly caressed the soft skin, igniting something more, visible in the darkening green eyes that were so full of trust and gentleness andŠ

Mor felt her heart skip a beat when she recognized the look in Isa's eyes as a reflection of her own feelings. It was wonderful and amazing and so tempting.

With their eyes still gazing at each other, Mor slipped her other arm around Isa's shoulder, while the smaller woman encircled Mor's waist with both arms now, pulling her closer until their bodies touched. The feeling was electrifying and they both gasped when they could feel the heat from each other's bodies, radiating through the thin fabric of their clothes.

Their faces were drawn closer and closer, until their breath mingled and they were breathing in the same air. With infinite tenderness their lips brushed lightly, hardly touching each other, but the effects were profound. Mor inhaled sharply, while Isa softly whimpered. One of the smaller woman's hands slid up to Mor's neck, pulling her closer.

At that moment the past and the future seemed to melt away. There were no more Roman patrols, there was no army, no mission, no danger. It was just the two of them, surrounded by trees, bushes and wildflowers, underneath a clear blue sky, while the sun was showering them with warmth and light.

And for a moment time stood still.

To be continued in part 8

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