Sinagua Skies, part 7
Hyenta was exhausted. Never in her life had she walked so far. She glanced at the Traders and saw they didnít even look winded although they had been walking for nearly half the evening. She saw the early sky glow that announced the coming sunrise. Would they never stop?
The young Emissary watched her new mate quietly, admiring the womanís lack of complaints. Hyenta had to be ready to drop yet she didnít make a peep. Parren gave a slight airy whistle that told the others they ought to stop. She didnít want to make a show of stopping just for her mate, wanting to spare her pride. Hanpa adjusted their route and headed towards a sheltered spot away from the path. Once there, everyone dropped their packs and sat down. Hyenta plunked down onto a fallen tree and moaned softly. Parren sat next to her.
Placing her arm around her slumped shoulders, Parren gave her a light one-armed hug. "You are doing well for someone not a Trader, Hyenta."
The Achaian woman stiffened at her touch. Parren dropped her arm and muttered an apology. Hyenta gave her an odd look. "I didnít say anything, Parren."
"I know." Parren sighed and leaned forward, resting her forearms on her thighs. "But your body did. We have only the beginnings of a friendship of sorts, yet here we are, married. You didnít ask for any of this. The least I can do is respect your wishes and not touch you."
Hyenta looked uncomfortable, unsure how to share her thoughts, unaccustomed to doing so. "Iím just not used to it Parren. My mother died giving birth to me and I was raised by slaves. Father, well, he was never fond of me," she shrugged.
"So touching wasnít part of your upbringing," Parren added for her. Her mate nodded in agreement. "Well, my people are a different sort," the Emissary said softly. "We are bound together through life. We are one people, one present and past. We work and live together closely and touch brings us closer yet. We feel free to express ourselves by touch." Parren chuckled, "Weíll be hard pressed not to have half my nieces and nephews piling up on us at night to sleep. Families live together for the most part, only building separate homes when there isnít any more room to spare."
"Weíll live with your family then?" Hyenta asked. She thought theyíd have their own home.
"At first. I need the time to build us a home. Until then weíll live in my motherís house."
"What is your family like? Is it large?"
"Yes. My mother Sopan, my father, Comna, Aunt Larpen, grandmother Appa, three sisters named Konen, Topa, and Clanaóalong with their mates and children. My brother married and lives in the home of his mate."
"Oh my," Hyenta murmured, overwhelmed.
Grinning, Parren continued, "A large family to be sure, but it will be just for a short time. Once we settle into our new home I would like to discuss other possibilities with you."
"Such as what?"
"It can wait until we know another better Hyenta."
"We may as well discuss it now so I can let it all sink in before we reach your home Parren."
Parren squirmed a bit then sighed. "See Jopa there? Before I had met you I had asked him to be my co-mate. I love children but obviously unable to sire them. He agreed but if you dislike the idea we donít have to join our households. I donít even know if you desire children yet or at all. This just happened too quickly."
"I would have two husbands?" Hyenta asked in shock.
"No, just me. Jopa will no doubt find his own mate. He just agreed to make our families one and give you children. The children you bear will be mine in spirit. He and I will share the protection of the family and help support the women and children together," Parren explained.
"But you and Jopa are Traders. You will be gone for long period of times together. Who would watch over us then?"
"The Rangar Society watches over the families at those times."
"Oh, alright. I was afraid weíd be unprotected."
Parren took Hyentaís hand in her own. "Our home is quite safe. There hasnít been an enemy raid in generations there. Itís quite peaceful, I promise."
Thrana cleared his throat, announcing it was time to continue.
"She is beautiful my friend, but was it wise to take her as a mate?" Jopa asked quietly. "Hyenta seems meek nowÖ"
"Yes, I know. Once the shock wears off Iíll have me a handful," Parren grinned, not in the least wary of the prospect.
Jopa didnít smile back, his eyes somber. "You never asked if she is one who would enjoy blanket play with women. Not many do."
Parren felt her belly tighten. Her friend was correct, she never asked. It would be cruel to force her into a joining if her sole preference was for men. They needed to speak but privacy during a journey was rare. If Hyenta didnít wish to have a true marriage between them she would have to divorce her after providing her with a home. It was the honorable thing to do. The young woman felt a tremor in her soul. She had felt closeness to Ramorís daughter growing. One she hadnít experienced with another. The dark-haired woman drew emotions from her unlike any she felt before. A friendship was developing.
Parren hadnít bothered making female friends. In her mind, women were either family or prospective bedmates, until now. It wasnít disrespect on her part. The Emissary knew full well the value of women in her society. She respected them but somehow lost her connection to women when she was taken into the Rangar. She was ignorant as any man when it came to their thoughts and feelings in spite of being female herself. What did she know of Hyentaís hopes and dreams?
Did she have daydreams about her future mate as a young girl? What traits did she hope for in him? Did she want children? Parren sighed. She had taken it for granted Hyenta wanted to be joined to her but could she really know for sure? Hyenta was rushed into this situation. Perhaps the young woman left with them to escape her cold-hearted father and saw her as her only choice. Parren didnít want to be someone Hyenta settled on. She wanted to be loved.
Heat rushed throughout her body as her own thoughts rang in her mind. She wanted to be loved. How strange this concept should now appear. She never thought of herself as overly romantic. She had wanted a mate, yes. A woman who set her blood on fire and would give her childrenóthat had been her only idea of a marriage. Parren had never thought about such possibilities before.
What was love like? She knew her parents loved her but she felt apart from her family. She felt like a visitor with them--a friend the family was fond of but no more. Jopa loved her as a friend but that was different. Could or would Hyenta feel this thing called love for her? Parren felt longing tear in her eyes. Could she also feel this for Hyenta? Confused, she walked silently next to her friend, praying to Ganthren for answers.
It had been a full day since they had left Acha. The moon shined down brightly overhead and all was peaceful yet Hyenta couldnít sleep. Exhaustion drained every sore muscle but she couldnít shut off her mind and drift into the dream masterís arms. Parren slept on her back upon a deer skin mat a few feet away from her. The Emissaryís head turned away from her. Parrenís left hand rested on her belly and her right knee was raised.
In spite of the chill in the air, none of the Traders used blankets. Hyenta pulled her coverings about her tighter as she turned on her side to watch Parren sleep.
She looked so young. Hyenta hadnít considered her age. Her aura of power was so strong that she seemed ageless. Sleep brought her softness to the surface. Parren couldnít be more than sixteen at most, at least two years younger than her own age. Long dark lashes brushed her tanned cheeks. Squinting from sun gave her slight wrinkling around the eyes but no other lines appeared on her smooth face. Lips, full and the color of the autumn sunrise flower, were slightly parted. The moonlight gave her sun-kissed skin a sheen, highlighting her firm muscles. Glancing at her bare breasts made her breathe a bit faster.
Her nipples, the same color as her lips, were puckered in the cool night air. The sight of them did things inside, making her blanket seem unnecessary. Her hand twitched and was halfway between them before Hyenta realized she wanted to touch them. Shocked at her own impulse she quickly brought it back under the covers with a gasp.
Parren woke suddenly but didnít move. A sound had roused her. What was it? Keeping her eyes closed she listened to the night sounds carefully. Everything seemed peaceful so what had woken her? Tuning into those around her she realized Hyenta was awake. Her breathing was quick. Did a nightmare bother her?
"What is wrong Hyenta?" she whispered. Hyenta muffled a surprised gasp.
"Nothing. Go back to sleep," she begged her. Hearing the fear in her voice Parren rolled towards her, concerned. She leaned on one elbow close to her and placed a hand on Hyentaís trembling shoulder.
"Nightmares?" she asked gently.
"No, I just couldnít sleep," she evaded, not about to tell her mate she had bizarre desires to touch her while she slept.
"That pesky mask is back. Why do you hide from me Hyenta? Do I frighten you that much?"
Afraid of her own desires and the closeness of Parren made her frantic. "Leave me alone!" she hissed. Parren moved away; clearly hurt by her harshness. Hyenta felt guilty because the young woman didnít deserve her stinging tongue. "Iím sorry Parren. I just canít handle you near me right now." Before she was aware of it, she spoke again. "You make me feel things when you are close. Frightening things that make me burn." Hyenta blushed with shame when the words escaped.
If it had been another virgin Parren might have smiled. This was her mate who was nervous.
"You are aware of me physically. Not a bad thing between mates Hyenta but I donít want you to fear me. I want you to find comfort and safety with me." Her mate said nothing, lost.
"Let me be a friend and comfort you Hyenta. Once your body knows me the fear will go away," Parren suggested, inching closer.
"What are you doing?" Hyenta asked, afraid.
"Iím going to sleep close to you, nothing more. Here, I will turn on my side. Just settle near me," she instructed.
Parren could sense that her mate was unsure what to do. She had no experience with cuddling. "Give me your hand," she asked. Hyenta nervously reached over Parrenís side, who took her trembling hand into her warm one. She tugged lightly, bringing Hyenta closer to her. The woman was shocked when Parren took her hand and placed it against her firm stomach. Her flesh was warm and smooth; the muscles beneath the skin well formed.
"There, nothing to be afraid of. Iím just an extra big pillow to curl around. Go to sleep now." Parren forced every muscle to relax and closed her eyes. She knew that Hyenta would lie there awake for some time before she would sleep. The taller woman allowed herself to drift towards sleep, vaguely aware that Hyentaís fingers began curling as sleep overtook her.
The first rays of the sunrise touched her lids and woke Parren. She was often the first to awake. She normally was the person who prepared tea for the others but she didnít want to move.
Hyenta was curled very close to her, their bodies tight again the other. Parren could feel the warm exhales of breath against her nape and the possessive grip of Hyentaís palm around one breast, her nipple firmly caught between two fingers. Feeling naughty, Parren shifted and pressed more of her small breast into her hand. The fingers squeezed in reflex, lightly pinching her nipple. A gasp of pleasure passed her lips as desire shot to her lower regions. The hand quickly withdrew.
Parren reached back and grabbed her wrist before Hyenta could move away. She knew the young woman was embarrassed. "Put it back where it was. I was enjoying your touch," she commanded. She wanted her wife to know her touch was welcomed. Reluctantly, the hand returned.
"You donít mind?" Hyenta asked timidly.
"No, I liked waking up that way. Like I belonged to you," Parren smiled. Her mate didnít answer, mulling over the situation. Parren wanted to reassure her. "Hyenta, weíre mated unless you decide otherwise. I happen to like you as a person and have hopes our union will continue. I know we havenít spoken of the future much or of our relationship. Thereís so much we need to talk about but not yet. I just want to enjoy your company and your closeness for as long as youíll allow it."
Hyenta looked into Parrenís dark eyes and saw the yearning there. Such hope and vulnerability shined from them. Suddenly all the fear was gone. Parren didnít take her as a mate out of guilty or pity as she feared. She didnít even accept her because of lust. The words so softly spoken said it all. Like she belonged to her. Parren wanted someone to belong to. Pleading eyes that begged not to have the fragile hope shattered. Gone was the young woman of overwhelming power, replaced with a young girl who was afraid of being left alone.
With the fear gone, Hyenta was free to explore her true feelings for her new friend. Her body had known all along but until now she had been afraid to face those emotions. Hyenta shifted her body and looked down into those dark eyes before her lips settled on Parrenís. It was her very first kiss but she didnít feel nervous. Those soft lips moved beneath hers, copying the soft exploration. Parren didnít try to take over but allowed her to experiment at her own pace. The smaller woman brushed her lips along Parrenís, enjoying their sweetness. Her hand moved on its own accord, her fingertips gliding along Parrenís side. Hyenta felt her mateís lips curl into a smile while they kissed. She pulled away slightly and looked into Parrenís twinkling eyes.
"Tickles," Parren grinned, answering her unasked question. Hyenta giggled.
"Are these ticklish too?" she asked, fondling one of Parrenís small breasts.
"No, but they like your touch. See?" Parren pointed with her eyes. Her nipples stood rigidly tall. The Emissary saw her wifeís eyes lock onto them. Parren knew they couldnít start anything now but her body wasnít exactly listening. Hyenta ran her thumb across one peak causing Parren to arch. Hyenta cleared her throat.
"I think more than these things like my touch," she accused. Parren grinned crookedly.
"Yes, well, I canít help it. We need to get up my wife. The others will wake soon." She tried to rise but Hyenta pressed her back down.
"In just a moment," she insisted. She needed to indulge her own need before she let her rise. Her lips found one peak and suckled it for a moment, savoring the texture of the stiff peak. Parren bit her lips, trying not to moan aloud. Her mate quickly let it go but a sparkle of pure naughtiness shined in her eyes.
"You are evil," Parren teased, knowing sheíd walk funny for hours after that torment.
To be continued...
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