Disclaimer See Part 1
The characters in the story are a product of my own imagination and hopefully have no resemblance to any living persons. But if it does it is entirely coincidental. Some of the places mentioned are either fictitious and or adapted to suit the plot of the story.
Sex: This story contains sexual content of a graphic nature between consenting adult women, thus if you are not 18 years old and not allowed to read content of this nature, please move on to other suitable stories.
SPECIAL NOTE : I know it took a while between postings, but this story was not an easy one to write. Unlike my other stories where I know where they were headed, POTH took me on a wild spin. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
Archiving : This work is copywrited and should not be posted anywhere else with the writer's expressed permission.
Acknowledgements: A special mention to my betas and friends, rleef and Steph.Feedback: Constructive criticisms is greatly appreciated, so feel free to drop a line or two at firstname.lastname@example.org or sent me a friend request on Facebook .
Cybralle's eyes were sharp and alert as she followed the tall, cloaked figure through the noisy, well-lit streets. She'd only had a glimpse of the city when she came through earlier since her attention was focused more on her entourage of Ulvs than the scenery. Much more relaxed now, she was astounded by the beauty hidden amongst the rough mountainous landscape. From the outside, the small city seemed to be carved out a mountain. The entrance was hidden behind massive boulders and guarded by fierce-looking warriors. Once inside it was evident why it was guarded so well. In total contrast to the harshness surroundings, the city exhibited a gentle tranquil aura. It was almost like a labyrinth built from the inside out. The outer edges of the city were encircled by barracks, housing Ulv warriors, as the first line of defence. Nestled in the centre were the cottages which in turn enclosed the palace. Leafy trees and plush green lawns lined the streets, which added to the serenity of the town.
Following the Ulv Queen as they meandered unencumbered through the charming little town, Cybralle absorbed as much as she could. The scenes shouldn't be strange phenomenon, except that all this was happening in the middle of the night. Everywhere she looked, children played in the street with adults sitting at outdoor eating establishments, talking, drinking, and dancing. She warranted a mere glance from the people as they walked passed them. Cybralle immediately thought of Mesmeria and a small grin came to her lips. Mesmeria loved the night. With the dawning of the night, Mesmeria shed her crown and becomes just another fun seeking Karasi. They would sneak out of the palace in rustic clothes to stroll through the city or sometimes, just to have a meal and a drink at a lively inn. She would fit in here quite well. Mesmeria would appreciate the anonymity she would enjoy here.
Audunn came to stop and still absorbed in what was happening around her, Cybralle barely missed walking into the tall blonde. They stood before one of the many wooden cottages. The door was closed, but the light of a fire could be seen through a window on the side. She looked at Audunn and the Ulv Queen gestured for her to knock. Cybralle frowned. Now why would Audunn expect from her to knock on the door of a total stranger?
“Come on, go ahead,” the tall blonde urged her gently.
Taking a deep breath, Cybralle did as she was told. Just when she thought no one was home, she heard footsteps approaching the door from the inside. The door swung open and a tall, slender woman was silhouetted against the light coming from inside the house. The woman's face was cast in shadows, making it impossible for Cybralle to make out her features. The woman curtsied in Audunn's direction.
“Welcome to my humble home, Majesty.”
Audunn acknowledged the greeting with a curt nod and gestured for Cybralle to enter when the woman stepped aside in obvious invitation. Cybralle hesitated for a few seconds. As she passed the woman she made a point of trying to see her face, but the woman had her eyes averted in respect to the Queen. Instead Cybralle tried to take in as much as she can of the woman in that short glimpse. The woman was much older than her, her hair was grey, and her face, surprisingly unwrinkled, was darkened by the sun. She was rather tall, but a few inches shorter than Cybralle and the Queen.
Cybralle's eyes swept the interior of the small, but neat cottage. A cheery fire burned in a fireplace and a pot simmered over the flames, giving off a mouth-watering smell. The smell plucked at Cybralle's memory. She inhaled deeply, hoping for the elusive memory to surface. As she mentally relaxed herself to lure the memory outward, her eyes briefly touched on a few items that stood out. A few scrolls lay on a table, an inkpot with quilt stood nearby. There were no paintings on the walls, instead small clay figurines and plants decorated the room. On the far side of the room, she saw another door leading out of the room and assumed it to lead to the bedchamber.
She heard the door close behind her and turned. For a moment her brain registered confusion when she noticed that Audunn was not in the room with them anymore. Only the grey haired woman was there and she was still looking down. Cybralle's hand moved to her hilt of her sword.
“You will not need that,” the woman said. Instead of feeling reassured Cybralle's hand tightened around the hilt. She was not leaving anything to chance, especially not when she found herself in a town surrounded by deadly Ulvs.
“Who are you and what do you want from me?”
The grey head lifted and the air in the room sudden felt heavy as Cybralle found herself struggling to breath. Her eyes shot full of tears as she watched achingly familiar silver eyes look back her. The woman moved with surprising speed for her advanced age. The silver eyes burned with deep intensity as they looked into Cybralle's.
“You returned to me.”
“Umaha?” Cybralle whispered softly as she was pulled into a fierce embrace. She couldn't stop the tears that fell from her eyes as she was surrounded by the sorely missed warmth and smell of her grandmother.
Orla's eyes flickered open and she blinked at the sight of bright silver eyes so close to her. The expression in the silver eyes changed from one of intense concentration to deep adoration. Orla felt a warm glow in her chest area at the look in her wife's eyes.
“What are you doing, beloved?”
“You smell different. That is probably the first thing I have noticed when we met again.” Sterling snuggled back into Orla's arms, pressing her lips under Orla's ear.
“Is it unpleasant?”
“On the contrary, my love. That musky scent makes my heart stutter and my knees buckle.”
Blinking at the ardent declaration, Orla pulled her head back so she could look into Sterling's silver eyes. “Is the same thing happening right now?”
As an answer, Sterling took Orla's hand in hers, her eyes a dark, stormy grey. Orla's senses were focussed on the path her hand took as it traced down the princess' naked chest, over each of Sterling's breasts. Their eyes held as Sterling pushed Orla's hand further down. Orla's breath caught when Sterling singled out one of Orla's digits and using it, gently probed her navel. Her other hand clenched in a fist as Orla felt a shiver run through Sterling at the sensation brought on by the touch. She didn't have long to savour the feelings running through her, before Sterling steered her hand further. This time she growled softly when her fingers were dunked into the soft, slick flesh of Sterling's sex. Orla was tempted to take over and ravish her wife, making her scream out until her voice was hoarse, but the mere thought of Sterling manipulating her hand to bring herself pleasure, made Orla shudder in anticipation.
“Ahhhhh…” Sterling gasped softly as she used Orla's middle finger to circle her clitoris slowly. Orla's sex clenched in empathy as she watched as a look of bittersweet pleasure contorted her face. “How I have managed to survive so long without your touch is a mystery.”
Orla desperately wanted to say something to that, but just like when in wolf form, her brain was quickly running empty of thoughts. The only sense left for her to explore at the moment was to feel. Clenching her jaw she closed her eyes when Sterling spread her legs wider and slowly enclosed Orla's finger with her warm sheath. Sterling threw her head back, for the first time breaking eye contact, as she began to move her hips slowly.
Sterling slowly slanted her hips as she worked Orla's finger deeper into her sheath. She drew air through her teeth as she felt Orla's other fingers skim over her swollen clitoris in the process. Desperate to see the play of emotions on Orla's face, she looked at her wife. The expression on Orla's face was one of unbridled desire. A sheen of sweat formed on the dark woman's upper lip from biting down on her jaw. Sterling wondered if she was ever going to be able to not feel awed by this wonderful woman. Orla was powerful enough to let go of all restraints and just take her—use her to assuage the burning inside her body. But here she was waiting patiently and painfully for Sterling to have her pleasure at her own expense.
She placed a tender kiss on Orla's chin. “Join me, beloved. I do not want to see you suffer like this.”
With breath-taking speed and power, Orla quickly reversed their positions. Lying on her back, Sterling hissed when Orla slid down her body and hungrily latched onto her clitoris. With a deep moan, she lay there shuddering as Orla expertly ravished her sex with deep, open mouth kisses.
Cybralle sighed deeply as she sat back rubbing her stomach. How could she not have recognized the smell at once? Nobody could make rabbit stew like her grandmother. Still self-conscious by how she'd broken down and clung to the woman earlier, Cybralle threw a look at the woman who sat opposite her. This was the closest person to a mother for her and probably the only other person after Mesmeria who knew her better than she knew herself. Cybralle knew deep down she had to be angry for the all lies, but she found she could not conjure up any of those emotions. She quickly looked away when the grey head lifted.
“It is more than acceptable to feel anger, my child.”
Cybralle swallowed hard. Does Vernera even know how much she'd missed her voice? As a child discarded by her mother, she'd grown accustomed to the warm bosom of the stoic woman who had held her at night as warm tears streaked down the Cybralle's face. It was that calm warm voice whispering to her that she was not alone that made her crawl deeper into the loving embrace. It was this woman's love that made her stand up to bullies who mocked her about having been abandoned by her own mother. She turned her head and met dark grey eyes.
“Never anger, Umah. Just regret,” she murmured. “Regret because I felt I have deserted you in the end and missed out on many more wonderful years with you.”
The older woman's eyes shot full of tears. “You were on the path of your destiny, Cybra. I could never stop you from attaining the greatness you were destined to. ” Vernera wiped at her eyes. “My only regret is that I was not brave enough to be honest with you.”
“Why not, Umah. You knew I adored you.”
A brilliant smile flashed over the woman's sad features. “And I you, my child. Not even the birth of my own child brought such happiness to me. You were such a special little girl, brave and strong.”
They shared a warm look.
“Does this mean that we are Ulv, Umah?” Cybralle was scared of the answer for whatever reason she didn't know.
“No, child, we are servants to the Ulv. The women folk in my lineage have been serving the Ulv as bards. We are of a handful of families who have been given the task of conserving the oral history of the Ulv. We have been rewarded greatly for our service and many blessings came our way.”
Cybralle blinked. “Longevity?”
“Yes,” Vernera smiled. “I am eighty summers now and can easily live another eighty if I so choose.” Vernera placed her hand over Cybralle's. “It sounds complicated, but I assure you it is not.”
“For you perhaps.” Cybralle came to her feet, her head swimming with fear-provoking thoughts. “I cannot stay too long. My daughter is here and…”
“She is very beautiful. She has our eyes too.”
Cybralle gave a grandmother a sharp look. “Does that hold any significance?”
“No, Cybra. It simply means that she is most definitely of the Honig lineage,” Vernera said calmly, her eyes twinkling with amusement. “It is truly rewarding to see you in the role of a mother. Your mother does not know what she had missed not seeing you grow up.”
Buried pain and bitterness rose to the foreground. “Is…is she still alive?”
“Yes and her children are grown too. I met them once a few years ago.” The older woman frowned. “Your mother asked about you and I told her that you are better off dead to her.” The silver eyes grew dark with annoyance. “She has hurt you enough, I believe.”
Still looking out for me, Cybralle thought, as she circled the table to stand next to her grandmother. “Thank you. I would not have known what to say to her.”
A soft wrinkled hand reached out for hers. Without hesitation, Cybralle took it. “You have done well for yourself, my daughter. Your destiny is in what lies ahead now, not in the past. Let the past stay where it is, with all its hurt and bitterness.”
“And you? Are you part of my past?” Cybralle held her grandmother's gaze and saw the shadow cross over the silver eyes.
“Maybe?” Vernera brought Cybralle hands to her lips and gently brushed her lips over the back of the bronzed hand. “That is a decision you will have to make.”
Cybralle placed her hand on the silver locks. “You were my only family growing up. You are also the most pleasant memory I have of my past and I need you to brave the future with me.”
Vernera chuckled softly. “Even though you do not understand my link to the Ulv?”
Shrugging, Cybralle smiled at Vernera. “My daughter is an Ulv Queen now and my grandchildren will unquestionably be Ulv. Between them and you, I believe I will find enlightenment one day.”
“We have so much still to talk about, Cybra.”
“And we have all the time in the world to do so. I will be back. We leave in two days for Karas, but I will be back before then.”
The older woman climbed to her feet and held her arms open. Cybralle quickly stepped into the circle of warmth.
Her body was still quaking from her last orgasm as Sterling rolled onto her side. She immediately felt Orla's warm body wound around her. She sighed deeply, beyond content and pushed deeper into her wife's body. They lay together in companionable silence as they waited for their bodies to recover.
“Forgive me for always thinking of running first when I feel troubled.”
“Hmmm,” Sterling murmured, having drifted off surrounded by her wife's warmth and love.
“I beg you to forgive me.” Orla's voice was heavy with regret and shame. Sterling's eyes fluttered open. For a moment she lay with her back to her wife, recalling Audunn's words.
Her not being here is the only way she can process the news. I do not want you to think she had abandoned you.
She rolled over and lay back looking into the contrite eyes of Orla. “You are forgiven, beloved, as long as you always return to me.”
“I will always find my way to you. Always and forever.”
Sterling locked her hand behind the dark head and pulled Orla close for a kiss. It wasn't a kiss meant to arouse, rather it was a promise that nothing will ever be big enough to drive a wedge between them.
“You need your rest. Sleep a little while I watch over you,” Sterling said to Orla. The blue eyes searched hers. “I will be here when you wake up.”
A little reluctant, Orla laid back, her blue eyes wide as they stared into hers. With small reassuring touches, she brushed over the sable eyebrows, circled the luscious lips, and caressed the sun-darkened cheeks. Under her tender ministrations, Orla's eyes fell shut and her breathing evened out. Sterling placed a soft kiss on the slack lips and settled herself on the large body of her wife, content to listen to the strong heartbeat.
Never before had Cybralle craved the presence of her wife as she did at that moment. As she lay on her back with her eyes fixed on the ceiling of her bedchamber, she missed her wife. Mesmeria would know what to do in almost every situation. She would know what to do about her grandmother resurfacing. She would know how to settle this odd feeling of abandonment. Mesmeria would know what to say to make her feel better.
Cybralle turned onto her side, her eyes fluttering close. She needed to be close to Mesmeria and the only way to do that was to sleep. That's when her blonde queen would sashay into her chamber, a tender smile on her lips as she climbed onto her lap and stared into her eyes. Nothing escaped her wife's eyes. Those green orbs could glean every last thought from mind.
“Oh, wife, how I wish to be in your arms right now,” Cybralle whispered at the same time praying that sleep would come quick.
A few hundred miles away, Queen Mesmeria moaned softly as she pulled her hand from between her shaking thighs. It's been too long without Cybralle. A final shudder passed through her body and she reached out and bundled Cybralle's pillow between her legs. This was not the first time her warrior had been away from home, nor was it the longest time she'd been away. But for some unknown reason she missed Cybralle so much tonight. She turned her head and her eyes fell on the painting of Cybralle. In full body armor, her wife cut an imposing figure. With a soft smile, Mesmeria remembered Cybralle's impatience with the painter as she was expected to sit motionless for long periods so the painting could be completed. Like a small child she had to resort to bribes to get Cybralle to see the process through. Looking at the extraordinary likeness of her wife, Mesmeria was glad she commissioned the painting. It was a great solace to her frayed nerves and helped ease the longing she felt.
Morning dawned bright and early. Orla's eyes creaked open and for a few moments she lay quietly as she took in the sounds and smells around her. Outside the palace, she could hear the guards patrolling the wall. Next to her the soft puffing sounds of Sterling filled the quiet space. Eager to look upon her beloved face, Orla gently turned her head. Fatigued silver eyes met hers.
“You look rested.”
Orla quickly pulled Sterling into her arms and nuzzled her neck. “And you look like you did not sleep at all. Why did you punish yourself like this?”
Sterling stretched her lithe frame as she stifled a yawn. “I promised to watch over you and I did.”
Warmth infused her body at hearing that and Orla gently kissed Sterling. “Thank you, my love, but next time, know that your mere presence is enough for me to feel safe.” She rolled over Sterling, covering her with her body. “Today will be a busy day with the preparations for our return to Karas. I will break the fast with you and then I humbly insist that you rest some more. I will stand in for you and do whatever needs to be done. Will that suffice?”
Sterling smile was weary. “Who am I to go against the wishes of my wife?”
“Good,” Orla murmured. “Now let me get us some food. I am famished.”
The halls of the palace were deserted as Orla made her way to the kitchen. It was understandable since it was still a candlemark or so to sunrise. As a youngster her mother got her in the routine of waking early. The earlier you are up, the more hours you have to get though all your chores, Lima used to say. But things are different with the Ulvs. The night was their day and the day was used for sleeping. She sighed in relief when she walked into the kitchen and found it buzzling with activity. She always forgets that not everyone in the village were Ulv. Many humans followed their mates and settled here. Her brow shot up as she saw the lone figure sitting at the end of the long wooden table, eating a bowl of gruel. Nodding a greeting at the cook and her helpers, Orla made her way over to the end of the table.
“You are up early?”
“The same can be said about you.”
Catching the meaning behind the words, Orla shrugged. “I was raised human and it will take a great deal of doing to get me to change.”
Silver eyes, just like the ones she'd gazed upon when she awoke, studied her. “How do you feel?”
She'd always respected Cybralle, because just like her, the woman was a commoner who was plunged into a world of breathtakingly wealth and power. Still the warrior managed to preserve her humility. The woman was always very honest in her approach. So when Cybralle asked about her state of mind, Orla couldn't lie.
“Scared, excited, and happy. Scared because of what I know about myself. Excited about what lay ahead for me and Sterling and I am happy to have the love of my life by my side.” One of the kitchen helpers placed a bowl of gruel before her. “Please add another for my wife. I will take it with me.”
“Of course, milady,” the young girl said as she curtsied.
Cybralle looked down at her breakfast. “Great power does not come without its challenges, Orla. You have right to fear it. However, great power in the hands of a just and noble soul is of immense benefit to everyone touched by it.” Cybralle eyes were intense when they met Orla's. “I trusted my most valued possession in your care and I do not doubt for one moment that you will adore her.”
Humbled by the normally stoic woman's words, Orla swallowed. “Whenever in doubt, I will always remember your words.”
The serving girl placed a tray before her with two bowls of gruel, fruit and cheese. “Will this suffice, milady?”
“It is more than enough. Thank you.” Orla looked Cybralle. “I need to go.”
“I will see you later. I want Sterling to meet someone.”
Cybralle threw a look at Sterling who walked beside her, her eyes wide as she took in the scenes around her. The Karsi army arrived soon after breakfast and Cybralle had joined them at their camp to issue last minute orders before their return tomorrow. She had spent most of the day there and upon her return in the afternoon had gone in search of Sterling only to find her still in bed.
“Since the age of eight, I have never known you for one to laze in bed during the day,” Cybralle said softly. Sterling quickly dropped her head but not before Cybralle saw the flush crossing her face.
“I apologise, Umah. Orla woke me before she left to join her father, but I must have dozed off again,” Sterling rambled and Cybralle cringed when a protrusion from a vendor's stand caught the distracted princess on her forehead. The redhead landed on her behind with a thud, her eyes were wide in surprise as she sat on the cobble. Cybralle was momentarily stunned too before she jumped into action and pulled her daughter to her feet. She cocked Sterling's head so she could examine the area where the beam had caught her. Sterling blushed even harder as she lifted her hand to her head.
“You will have a bruise,” Cybralle said softly, but couldn't keep the amusement out of her voice. As was her habit when Sterling got hurt when she was small, Cybralle brushed her lips over the reddening area.
Sterling nodded as she looked around to see who might've witnessed the intimate gesture and found a group of young men looking at her with open amusement. She took Cybralle's hand. “Shall we continue?”
They continued in silence for a while before Sterling spoke. “Where are we going?”
“You will see soon. We are almost there.” A few minutes later Cybralle came to a stop. “We are here.” She knocked on the door and it was opened almost immediately. Vernera smiled broadly at Cybralle, but the smile faltered when her gaze moved from Cybralle's to rest on Sterling. Vernera slowly brushed past Cybralle and came to stand before Sterling. Sterling's gaze held confusion as they tracked from Vernera to Cybralle.
“Oh, she is beautiful, Cybra,” Vernera exclaimed as she clasped her hand over her heart.
“Umah?” Sterling asked hesitantly.
Cybralle moved to stand next to Sterling. “Sterling, I want you to meet my grandmother and your great-grandmother, Vernera Honig.”
Sterling's mouth fell open as she blinked in awe at Vernera and Cybralle was charmed to see her grandmother blinking back tears as she looked at Sterling. The expression on Vernera face was one of pure delight.
“Greetings, Princess. It is an honour to finally meet you,” Vernera said, breaking the silence first.
“It is a pleasure to meet you too …uhm,” Sterling faltered when she couldn't find a word to address her great-grandmother.”
“Umaha. That is the correct term to use,” Cybralle offered. Her gaze moved between the two women who were still staring at each other.
“Please enter. Will you allow me to take care of that bruise on your forehead, Princess?”
Sterling shook her head. “My name is Sterling, Umaha. Please address me by my name.” She reached out her hand and Cybralle smiled when Vernera eagerly took Sterling's hand. “We have the same eyes.”
“They look the prettiest on you, my child,” Vernera gushed, causing Sterling to blush again. Cybralle rolled her eyes as she stomped into the house. She was seated at the table when after a few minutes Sterling and Vernera entered the house. Her eyebrows rose when she noticed that they were still holding hands, but she kept quiet.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with Sterling and Vernera talking quietly as they prepared supper together. Now and then they dragged Cybralle into the conversation, but the other two women were obvious completely enchanted by each other and talked almost nonstop until it was time for Cybralle and Sterling to leave. It was while drinking tea that she heard about Vernera's spell as a warrior, causing her to give her grandmother an accusing stare which only produced a shrug from the older woman.
Cybralle was witness to a tearful goodbye with Sterling and Vernera hugging each other long and hard. She listened as they made plans to meet again soon before Vernera pulled Cybralle into a loving embrace.
“Thank you for bringing her here,” Vernera whispered through her tears as she kissed Cybralle's cheek. “She reminds me so much of you.”
“I knew she would want to meet you, Umah.”
Vernera gave Cybralle another kiss. “I have never been this happy in a very long time.”
On their way back to the palace, Cybralle couldn't help but noticed that Sterling had a lightness to her step and a broad smile on her face.
“Did you enjoy yourself?” she asked already knowing the answer.
“She is wonderful. I am so happy to have met her.” This time it was Sterling who gushed about Vernera. “I cannot wait to tell mother.”
Cybralle chuckled as the beam came up again and quickly pointed it out. Sterling gave her a sheepish look and sidestepped it. Vernera had fussed over the bruise on Sterling's forehead cleaning it tenderly before kissing it repeatedly, causing Sterling to giggle like a little girl.
At this very moment, everything was well in Cybralle's world. Now she only had to live through the next two days until she was reunited with her wife.
“Your Highness, the Royal Army is at the gates.”
Mesmeria climbed to her feet slowly. She doubted any of the people in the Great Hall was aware of how her heart pounded at the news. She hadn't heard from Cybralle in over a week. She hoped that her wife would send a messenger ahead with the news of their pending arrival. The lack of prior warning could mean only one thing. Cybralle was incapacitated . Her eyes shot full of tears. If Karas hasn't seen a Queen of theirs cry in public, they will today. She would mourn her wife and child honourably. They deserved it. They deserve it more than anything else in her life.
“I will receive them in the Crown Hall,” she said softly, not caring if her voice sounded thick with emotion. The servant bowed and left. Mesmeria brushed a shaking hand over her hair. Schooling her face into a mask of serenity, she made the short walk to the Crown Hall. Her footsteps echoed on the tiles as she briskly walked over to the large throne. Her gait faltered as she looked at the lesser adorned throne next to hers. Will it ever be filled again? Will she be able to find another as Cybralle again? The questions poured through her mind as she settled herself on the throne. She took a deep breath, pushing the anxiety to the back of her mind. She will have to deal with the General first before she allowed herself time to mourn.
She looked down at her hands and for a moment was puzzled by her affected sight. It was only when a tear drop landed on her shaking hands that she realized she was crying. She sniffed softly and quickly wiped her eyes. She will be Karas' Queen only for as long as her audience with the General lasted. After that, she will toss the cloak of royalty and become Mesmeria Honig, wife and mother.
The stomping of the guards heels at the doors made her look up. The signal was clear. The General had arrived. A flimsy door stood between her and the most dreadful news she'd ever expected to hear. She watched as the guards pulled open the heavy door. At the last minute she averted her eyes. Her eyes welled up with fresh tears. She can't do this. She simply wasn't strong enough. In the haze of pain and fear, she heard footsteps approaching. They came to stop before the throne. Mesmeria tried hard to swallow back the sobs which were threatening to explode from her lips. She panicked slightly when she realized she was fighting a losing battle.
“Will you not greet me, wife?”
Mesmeria blinked at the stern order. No one would speak to her that way. No one would call her wife but…Her head jerked up. This time she didn't stop the tears that coursed down her cheeks. Even through blurry vision, Cybralle was still the most beautiful sight to behold. Tall and straight, her Consort stood, her body encased in shiny leather. But it was the silver gaze which held her spellbound. They carried a mixed expression of love, delight, and concern. Mesmeria didn't know when she'd moved, but the next moment she was caught in a strong embrace. The sobs, she'd so valiantly tried to suppress rang loud in the room.
“Hush, my love. I told you I would return. Did you doubt me?”
Too overwrought, Mesmeria could only shake her head. Her hands clawed, desperately, at Cybralle's shoulders. She craved to be closed to this woman—her woman. When she couldn't get any closer, she opened her mouth and in frustration took a nip at Cybralle's ear. The warrior grunted and gently pulled at her until an arms breadth separated them.
“You doubted my return, beloved?” Cybralle questioned softly. The silver eyes, too, were swimming in tears. “How could you, when you sent your prayers with me.”
“I…I…” Mesmeria took a deep breath. “I…please kiss me.”
Cybralle's eyes shone with love. “Until you are breathless, my Queen.”
The kitchens of the Palace were a hive of activity as servants rushed to put a feast together for the guests. Word travelled fast and the kitchen was supplied with a rough estimation of how many to cater for. Cold meat cuts, boiled eggs, bread and cheese. The left over stew of the previous night was quickly warmed up, its contents reinforced with pre-boiled vegetables.
Standing in the pantry, Lima feverishly counted the supply of apples. She wanted to be busy. Anything would do to keep her mind busy from what was happening outside. The fact no warning was sounded about the army's pending arrival, did not escape her. It was uncommon for a Royal to not partake in the common practice to announce their arrival. It could mean only one thing. There were no Royals amongst the returnees.
Cybralle had been ruling with Queen Mesmeria for over twenty years. She had never and would never let such an important practice slip. Lima's eyes filled with tears. She remembered how, when she'd mourned Orla's passing, the Royal Consort had searched her out. She remembered how the tenderly the large woman had folded her in her arms. Not a day went by that she didn't miss her daughter—her only reminder of her Gentro. But that day when Cybralle had sat with her and cried over her loss, the pain had been bearable. Just the thought that she wasn't alone in her pain, had made her want to live. Her hand clasped over her mouth. The absence of a Royal in the returning party also meant that Sterling was not with them. Lima slowly sunk to her knees. It was all too much. Deep, heart wrenching sobs tore from her and in the dark mouldy-smelling pantry, Lima gave in to the raw sadness that permeated her heart.
Soft hands landed on her shoulders, but she ignored them. If she didn't let this pain out now, it would stain her eyes forever. They would never see happiness again. She needed to get this out. She was gently pulled up from the cool tiles and into a warm embrace. She wanted to scream at the person to leave her be—to leave her in this moment of mourning, but the arms around her tightened.
“It hurts to see you cry.”
The softly spoken words made her cry even harder. What would they know about hurting? But selfishly, she didn't want to hurt alone. She lifted her hands and sunk her nails deep in the person's forearms. No sound of pain registered. The lack of reaction from her ‘captor' made Lima look up. Her breath got caught between a sob and a gasp.
She reached out, her nails ready to scrape the familiar face off that of the imposter. A strong hand reached out and grabbed her wrist.
The imposter even sounded like her child. Teary ice-blue eyes looked down into hers. Suddenly breathless, Lima's eyes moved frantically over the beloved face. It could not be. It was not possible. When Mesmeria told her that Sterling had gone in search of Orla, she had cried that night. Her daughter was dead. She was her mother, she would've known if her daughter was still alive. Realizing that she was not breathing, Lima took a deep breath. The moment her lungs were filled to capacity, Lima let out a shrill cry. With the explosion of air from her lungs came the sudden darkness.
Lima didn't even try to fight it.
The sight that greeted Gentro when he entered the pantry was one of indescribable love. Seated on the cold tiles and with her mother's fragile body in her arms, was Orla. Orla looked up and he gave a tender smile. In the last twenty years he'd questioned his decision to leave Lima the way he did. He knew why he had to do it and he would probably do it again if he had to. But, one thing he will never regret was leaving Orla to take care of her mother. As selfish as it sounded, he doubted even he could've done a better job. The way his daughter held her mother was so possessive, that he wondered if she was even going to let her close to Lima. He slowly lowered himself to the floor and sat next to Orla.
For a long moment silence prevailed, while his eyes hungrily moved over his wife's face. Except for a few grey patches at the temples, Lima still looked very young. Her skin still had a youthful glow to it and her body still resembled that of the young girl he first met behind the soldier's barracks years before.
“She thinks me a ghost,” Orla said in a broken whisper. “I thought she would know whether I was dead or alive.”
Gentro shifted closer so he could put his arm around his daughter's shoulder. For a moment a feeling of wholeness rushed through his as he realised that for the first time in decades he was reunited with his family. Overwhelmed by emotion, he pressed a kiss against Orla's temple before his hand brushed over Lima's ashen cheek.
“When in wolf form it is hard to sense the human essence. When you were in wolf form I could only sense you because I had your scent. Your mother…” He looked down at the unconscious woman, “she lost her link with you when you began spending more time in your wolf form.”
He watched as Orla lowered her head and placed a gentle kiss on her mother's cheek. “I will not let that happen again. I missed her a lot.”
Gentro smiled sadly. “I missed her too much,” he murmured softly as tears filled his eyes.
When he lifted his gaze from Lima's face, he was met by an intense look from Orla. He swallowed when Orla carefully lifted her mother's slight body from her lap and gently placed Lima in his lap. As soon as Orla's hands moved away, Gentro clutched Lima close to his heart as a soft whimper left his lips. He dreamt of this moment for so long. Long tears streaked down his cheeks as he cradled Lima. No person alive would understand how much he'd craved to be this close to his wife again. Their time together was so short that he had to reuse most of the memories he had with Lima.
“I will leave you for a while.”
Gentro started at the sound of Orla's voice. He'd been so wrapped up in his thoughts that he completely forgotten about her. He quickly raised a hand to wipe his wet face, before he faced her. Orla's eyes swam in tears. He gave her a curt nod. Once Orla had left he clutched Lima even closer.
“I have so much to tell you, my love.”
Cybralle gave a shuddering sigh as she placed a small kiss on Mesmeria's ear. It was absolute bliss to be back in her Mesmeria's arms. The Queen's eyes were red and swollen from all the crying, but her face held a dazzling smile.
“I thank you for returning to me, dearling,” Mesmeria said softly and brushed a soft kiss over Cybralle's cheek. “Your reward will be significant.”
Before Cybralle could reply, the doors swung open. They turned together to see Sterling enter. Like an arrow shot from a bow, Mesmeria was in motion. Mother and daughter met each other halfway. Built bigger than her mother, Sterling had no trouble to pull her mother off her feet. No words were spoken as the two women embraced. As soon as Mesmeria's feet touched ground, the Queen frantically ran her hands over her daughter. Sterling patiently indulged her mother by standing quietly under the other woman's inspection. Cybralle found the scene extremely intense, as she watched her wife slowly circling their daughter, her small hands tracing each and every limb lovingly. It took a few moments, but as soon as the inspection was over, mother and daughter embraced again. This time Cybralle could make out a few sniffles. She walked closer and pulled both her women into her arms.
“It is a happy occasion, why the tears?” Her teasing comment got her a sharp thump in the ribs from Mesmeria.
“You both gave me quite a scare when you did not announce your arrival. You both know the significance of failing to do so.” Assured of her family safety, Mesmeria's eyes flashed at the two warriors.
Cybralle quickly held up her hand. “We know, my love, but you also know that there is one other reason why we did not announce our arrival.”
Mesmeria's cocked her head to the side, her eyes wide in disbelief. “You were both outranked?” Cybralle nodded. “But…How? Where…?” Mesmeria's eyes narrowed slightly. “Are you telling me that we have a Royal visit and you did not bring them straight here?” Mesmeria nervously brushed over her hair.
Before Cybralle could answer, Sterling answered. “They will be here soon, mother. They asked for a moment to freshen up after the long journey.”
“Who…who are they?”
Cybralle pushed her fingers through her hair. “It is a long story, but we have only but a few minutes to tell you the most significant parts.”
When she approached the throne room, the guards quickly opened the doors. Orla briskly walked over to where the three Royals stood and bowed deeply before her mother-in-law.
There was a flurry of movement and Orla was pulled to her feet and engulfed in a sweet-smelling embrace. Hesitantly, her arms curled around the Queen's slender waist. Orla looked at her wife from over Mesmeria's blonde head. When Mesmeria pulled out of the embrace, Orla was overcome by the affection she saw in the Queen's eyes.
“I am happy to see you are well,” Mesmeria said softly and placed a kiss on Orla's cheek. “Have you been to see your mother?”
“We have met already,” Orla's said, not sure how much the Queen knows already. “My father is with her now.”
Mesmeria smiled. “Sterling told me as much as she could in the short time since their arrival. All that matters is that you are well and back home.”
Orla felt her eyes well up with tears. Home . She was welcomed back like a long lost daughter despite her abnormality. Soft hands cradled her face and she looked down into the face of her mother in law.
“This is joyous occasion and there is no reason for tears. We have all cried too much over the past few months. Let us celebrate the fact that we are all together.”
Orla swallowed convulsive, pushing back the emotion that constricted her throat. “I am happy to be home, my Queen.”
“Good. I have sent word to the kitchen to prepare a feast for tonight. We will eat and drink and toast our good fortune.”
Clearing her throat, Orla looked at Sterling. “I have a humble request, Your Majesty, and I will be forever indebted to you if you could grant me this boon.”
Mesmeria cocked her head to the side as she studied Orla. “Whatever you want is yours, Orla.”
“I would like to join with my wife this eve.” Three pairs of eyes blinked at her and Orla blushed as she lowered her eyes. “I want to be her mate in the true sense of the word, if my Queen permits.”
It took a while for the Queen to get her voice and when she did she waved a guard over. “Tell the Priestess to prepare for the ceremony.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Orla said as she bowed low before the Mesmeria. “If I may, I would like to prepare my parents for the occasion.” She held her hand out and Sterling reached for it. “Do you want this too, beloved?”
Sterling's smile was teary. “I do, my love.”
Lima was confused when her eyes fluttered open and she found herself looking at the floor of the pantry. She tried to set up and that's when she became aware of arms cradling her. She turned her head, meeting pale blue eyes
“No, Lima, it is me.”
Lima tried to place the voice at the same time studied the face above. She quickly sat up throwing herself against the wall. “Gentro? It cannot be. She held up her hand when Gentro moved closer. “No, please. Stay where you are?”
Gentro took a shuddering breath. “I missed you, Lima. Every second of every day I missed you.”
“But you left me,” Lima whispered. “You left me when I needed you the most. It that your meaning of love?”
“I will do it again, my love, if it meant keeping you safe.” Gentro said as he moved closer. “Please do not push me away now. I have been waiting for this moment for so long. Please allow me to explain.”
Lima shook her head slowly. “You are telling me that deserting me and your child was so you could protect us. From what if I may ask?”
Gentro's eyes were piercing as they searched hers and Lima was again astounded by how much they looked like Orla's.
“If you will allow me, I will tell you everything. Could we go somewhere to talk?”
“No,” Lima said quickly. If this was a dream she was scared of leaving the pantry and finding it was all her imagination. “If you have anything to say then you can say it to me here.” She saw a flash of fear in Gentro's eyes before he blinked and it was gone.
“I would however beg you to listen with an open mind to what I am about to tell you even as implausible as it may sound. Do you promise?”
Lima swallowed hard before she nodded. “I promise to listen but that is all I am promising you right now.”
Gentro looked relieved. “That is all I want for now.”
Mesmeria clutched Cybralle's hand as she looked at the group of three standing before her. No matter what her wife and daughter had told her about their guests, it never prepared her for what she was looking at now. They were almost ethereal in their beauty, especially the tall Queen. The first thing that grabbed her about the woman was her eyes. There was no doubt that the woman was Orla's grandmother, albeit a very young looking one. She quickly looked away from the woman to rest her eyes on the giant of a man who looked at her with an impish smile. Orla's great-grandfather. The man winked at her and Mesmeria blinked at him in surprise before she threw a quick glance at Cybralle. Her wife gave her an indulgent smile.
Mesmeria cleared her throat softly. “It is a great honour to welcome you all to my kingdom,” she said in a strong voice. With our families joined by the marriage between our daughters, my kingdom and my home are yours too.”
A darkly handsome man of average built bowed low before her. “We are just as honoured to meet the Great Queen of Karas, Your Majesty. We have heard nothing but praise from your people for your wisdom and fairness. Thank you for receiving us.”
The man's poise reminded her so much of Cybralle's that Mesmeria couldn't help but smile brightly at him accepting his words of praise gracefully.
“I thank you for your kind words, Your Majesty,” she said softly and returning his bow. “My daughter in law, no doubt informed you that they planned to have their fertility ceremony tonight. Could I interest you in a light repast while we wait for the couple to be readied for the ceremony?”
“It would be greatly appreciated, You Highness.”
Cybralle looked to Mesmeria and the Queen smiled. “You may lead the way.”
As they made their way to the banquet room, Orla's grandmother fell into step next to Mesmeria. Up close the woman was even more beautiful. A soft smile played on the woman's lips as she looked at Mesmeria's hand where it was caught in Cybralle's larger one.
“I have known your daughter to possess beauty, courage and wisdom, but having met both her mothers I can see that my granddaughter is infinitely fortunate to have caught the eye of such a remarkable woman.”
Mesmeria smiled broadly. Sterling was her and Cybralle's pride and joy and to hear a stranger heap such lavish words on her, made her mother's heart almost burst with pride. She looked up at Cybralle, her eyes warm with love.
“I believe I was fortunate to have chosen one such as my Consort to sire such a rare being.” She looked back at Audunn. “I believe my daughter has been blessed with the great sense to have found and captured the heart of a noble soul like Orla. She truly is the other half of my daughter's heart, her true soul mate.”
Audunn nodded. “I am looking forward to meeting their offspring for I can predict a great future for Karas.”
“As do I, Your Majesty. I am craving to hold my grandchild against my breast. It has been too long since the palace had heard the pitter-patter of small feet.”
Audunn had a warm look on her face when she spoke again. “And you will have your wish, Queen Mesmeria.”
Orla was nervous where she stood in the bath, while the priestess' aides rubbed fragrant oils into her skin. She kept looking straight at nothing in particular, trying to keep her mind off the fact that strange hands were touching her all over her body. She felt a small hand creep dangerously close to her sex and she gave a soft growl without lowering her gaze. The hand quickly moved away. Her enhanced hearing picked up the sound of footsteps coming down the hallway to the High Priestess' bathing chamber. A knock sounded and one of the aides left to let the person in.
Orla was quiet as she stood naked. She didn't turn to see who her guest was. She waited for the person to speak first. When after many heartbeats the person still hasn't said anything, Orla cleared her throat.
“Do you hate me now?”
“Never!” came the passionate reply.
Orla slowly turned, her eyes shimmering with tears. “I missed you, mother.”
“And I you, my love,” Lima croaked as she stepped closer. Her face was wet with tears as she looked up. “Your…your father told me everything. How do you feel?”
“Unbelievably powerful,” Orla said quietly. “...and scared.”
Lima threw her arms around Orla's waist and held on. “Remember the promise I made you as child?”
Orla planted a soft kiss on her mother's crown. “You said that for as long as you lived, I never had to fear anything.”
Lima placed a soft kiss on Orla's wet cheek. “You never doubted it before and I hope you still believe it.”
“I do, mother.”
“Good. Now let us get you ready.” Lima held up a small pouch. “I want you to be as strong as a stallion so you can make me a strong grandchild.”
Orla felt her cheeks heating. She heard a few snickers and saw the aides whispering. Lima threw the girls a sharp look, quieting them. She walked over to a table holding a carafe of water and filling the goblet mixed a powder with the water.
Looking down at the glass her mother held out to her, Orla's first thought was of Sterling. “This will not cause any harm to Sterling?”
A sly smile formed on her mother's lips. “On the contrary, my heart. She will be immensely appreciative of that I can assure you.”
Still a little apprehensive, Orla took the goblet and looked into the clear liquid. She made herself a silent promised that she would fight the effects of whatever this was if it proved to be detrimental to her wife. She tipped the goblet and drained its contents.
Lima took the empty goblet and looked at the aides. “Are you done or will you be gawking at her the whole night?”
Glancing at the girls, Orla flushed again when she found one of them giving her a darkly sensual look. Orla quickly looked away. It was obvious now to whom the wandering hand of earlier belonged. At her mother's sharp tone, the girls jumped into action.
Mesmeria stood back, taking in the sight of her daughter. Sterling was dressed in a white loose-fitting robe and small white flower pedals adorned her coppery locks. Mesmeria smiled with pride at how beautiful her daughter looked.
“Orla will go blind at the sight of you.”
Sterling chuckled softly, even as her cheeks reddened. “That is not really the reaction I hoped to evoke.”
“You are right,” Mesmeria said, her voice heavy with amusement. “I told my mother the same just before she led me to the hut.”
There was soft knock on the door. “Come,” Mesmeria called. She was shocked when the regal Ulv queen entered.
“I hope I am not interrupting anything. I was hoping to have a quick word with the Princess if I may.”
“You are most welcome, Your Majesty,” Mesmeria said as she walked to the door. “I will find Cybralle in the meantime.”
“No, please stay,” Audunn said quickly. “I will be but a few moments.” The tall queen turned to Sterling. “Ulvs are no different from humans, except when it comes to mating.” Mesmeria's eyes strayed to her daughter as a trickle of fear ran down her spine. Sterling's face was impassive as she looked at the Ulv queen. “When we procreate we are extremely patient in shaping our offspring,” Audunn continued, ice blue eyes were reflective. “The intensity of the act can be overwhelming. You should not fear it but absorb it as much as you can. Trust Orla to see you through.” Audunn leaned over and placed a soft kiss on Sterling's forehead. “My heart rejoices that you will be the mother of my grandchildren, Sterling.”
With a small smile at Mesmeria, Audunn left the room. Mesmeria studied Sterling closely.
“Do you still want to go through with this?”
The silver eyes were bright as they looked at her. “I want to do this, mother. I want to do this more than ever before. I am not afraid because I know Orla will protect me at all cost.”
Looking at her daughter, Mesmeria's love for her daughter overwhelmed her. “I love you,” she whispered past a throat swollen with emotion. They embraced and held each other tight. “Orla will take care of you.”
When they broke their embrace, Sterling kissed her mother. “It is time.”
Sterling looked around the small hut, her hand unconsciously moved to her flat stomach, as she took in the setting. The hut was bare, except for a big bed covered with warm pelts and a table set with food. Burning candles circled the bed making it stand out in the starkness of the hut. Sterling's face warmed as she imagined what would happen on the bed soon. Audunn's short visit, at first, had added to her nervousness. As she'd listened to the Queen's softly spoken word of assurance, she'd focused on the woman's ice blue eyes. It reminded her of Orla's and the longer she'd stared into them, she'd recalled Orla's loving gaze as her wife led her to their chamber so she could be prepared for the ceremony. Orla had left her at the door and kissed her gently, her eyes swimming in tears.
“If I love you anymore than I do at this moment, I am sure I will go mad. Know this, wife, that I will willingly lose my wits for you. You are so brave and strong and it is from you that I draw all my strength. In you I have found all the qualities I want my child to have and I am eager to meet our child. I will love you forever and I will forever be in grateful to you for having chosen me.”
Sterling was moved by the passion she heard in her wife's voice, but it was the adoration blazing in those beautiful eyes that melted her insides. As Audunn spoke all fear and nervousness disappeared, leaving her yearning for Orla.
The door to the hut opened behind her and Sterling turned to see the High Priestess enter. A thin woman with graying dark hair, Capsolys radiated calm. Sterling met her dark gaze and the woman smiled gently. In her hands she had a wrapped package.
“I have done this for many years, Princess. My life's path had led me to the service of the Goddess of Fertility.” She stepped closer and placed the package with carefully on the bed. “This is the first time that I feel something much more powerful at work. The gods favor your Consort and whatever transpires tonight is their will.” Capsolys placed her hand over Sterling's where it rested on her stomach. “May the fruit from your womb always be blessed.”
“Thank you, Priestess.”
Capsolys bowed her head before stepping over to the bed where she'd placed the package. She gently unwrapped it. Sterling looked at the object with fascination. “This tool should be worn by your Consort. It is the Spear of the Gods and was forged by the Goddess of Fertility herself. It is said that Atrusa, after searching for centuries to find a suitable mate, found none amongst gods and mortal men. Instead her favor fell upon a young mortal bard. She pursued the girl and was accepted. After living and loving each other for many centuries, Atrusa longed for a child to celebrate their great love. Since two women could not procreate, the goddess approached her father. As she was his favorite amongst his daughters, Hendron granted her leave to create the Spear of the Gods. She sired nine children with her mate and in immense gratitude to her father she sent four of her daughters to live as demigods amongst the humans. The Spear only works if the love it encounters equal that of Atrusa and her mate.”
“What happened to the demigods?”
Capsolys smiled, an unfathomable look in her eyes. “They are still around, spending their time between the mortal realm and Olympus.”
Sterling blinked. Could it be that Capsolys could be a demigod? She quickly discarded the thought. The woman had admitted earlier that she was in the service of the Goddess of Fertility. She looked at the woman, really looked at her. Capsolys was older than when she'd seen her last. Gods, or demigods for this matter, didn't age. Sterling wanted to laugh at her own silly thoughts.
“The Spear, milady,” Capsolys said, jerking Sterling out of her thoughts. “…should be fastened around your Consort's hips. The straps are for keeping it in place while she is moving.”
Sterling flushed as she looked at the tool. There was no doubt as to what movements Capsolys referred. The Priestess looked up from the tool, her dark eyes serious.
“You should attach it to her hips to ensure it is properly fastened.”
“I understand,” Sterling said quickly, feeling herself flushing even more.
A flash of amusement crossed the Priestess' eyes before she nodded and walked to the door. At the door she turned back. “You will know immediately if the Spear worked,” she said quietly and left.
Sterling took a deep breath and looked down at the tool. She'd seen many of her men naked before. When you fight for your life alongside each other, protecting each other, modesty was not something that counted in a battle camp. The tool resembled a male member. Sterling had never been with a man before, but from the way men and woman alike spoke about the sexual act, she had an idea of what to expect. The door opened again and wondering what the Priestess was doing back so soon, she turned.
It was not Capsolys. Orla stood there, the doorknob still in her hand. Sterling's breath caught at the sight of her wife. Orla was dressed in a white cotton tunic and flowing white pants of the same material. The white of her ensemble set off Orla's dark skin and vivid blue eyes, making Orla look dangerously handsome. Their eyes held for a long spell before Orla entered and locked the door behind her. With that lithe stride so unique of Orla, the dark woman came to stand before her, towering over her.
“You are so beautiful.” Sterling noticed a small tremor in Orla's voice and hand as she cupped Sterling's cheek. “You hurt my eyes with your radiance, wife.”
Sterling leaned into the caress as her eyes fell shut. “I wanted you to notice only one woman tonight. Me.”
A strangled sound came from Orla and Sterling opened her eyes, Orla looked amused.
“None has ever held my attention but you,” Orla whispered as her lips descended.
Sterling closed her eyes waiting for that first touch. She would never get enough of Orla's kisses. They always held such tender innocence and it's always been like that since that first night Orla kissed her on the small bench outside her mother's small hut. When the touch came, Sterling's lips fell open in invitation. Orla's tongue swept in and filled Sterling's mouth with her unique taste. Moaning softly, Sterling pressed closer. Orla's hands fell on Sterling's hips and Sterling felt herself lifted off her feet. Not breaking the kiss, Sterling threw her arms around Orla's neck, her fingers pushing into the cool raven tresses that curled into Orla's neck. Their lips parted with a soft smack and they smiled into each other's eyes. Sure that Orla would hold her, Sterling loosened her grip around Orla's neck. Cradling Orla's face between her hands, she planted small kisses all over Orla's face, every time pulling back to look into the gleaming azure orbs.
Orla placed her knee on the bed and gently deposited Sterling on her back. She stood up and began to undress. Sterling lay back enjoying as more of Orla's skin was exposed to her hungry gaze. When Orla was naked, she gave Sterling a lascivious look. Sterling's insides shifted. Oh my, my wife just leered at me.
“Now it is your turn,” Orla said huskily.
Orla held out her hand helping Sterling to sit up. With slow gentle movements Orla unlaced the ties that held the shift together at the front. As soon as the material parted, baring Sterling's breasts, Orla leaned closer and licked a pink tipped nipple. Sterling gasped at the sensation. She gazed deep into Orla's hungry eyes. Using her other foot, Sterling tried to kick her other sandal off.
“Help me,” she said urgently. “I want to be naked.”
Orla didn't wait for a second invitation. She quickly rid Sterling of her sandals and eagerly pulled Sterling's shift down her waist and off. Naked at last, Sterling held her arms out to Orla.
Orla sighed as she moved over Sterling gently lowering her body over her wife's slender one. She loved how her skin feels against Sterling's. She pushed her nose into Sterling's neck and inhaled deeply of her wife's scent. Her lips itched to taste the fragrant skin and she brushed her lips along the curve of Sterling's neck. She doesn't know what her mother gave her, but whatever it was intensified her already wolf-enhanced senses. She could smell Sterling's arousal strongly as well as hear the erratic beating of her heart. Orla lifted her head and let her eyes roam over her wife's beautiful face.
Sterling's eyes opened and they stared at each other. Orla complied when Sterling's hand crept behind her head and pulled her down for a kiss. When the kiss ended, Orla moved to Sterling's ripe breasts, licking and suckling the hardened nipples. She felt a soft tremor go through Sterling and the musky smell in the air became stronger. Her lips slowly trailed down, over Sterling's belly, where she spent a few moments longer, already envisioning her child growing there, until she reached Sterling hot cavern.
She moaned as she touched the tip of her tongue to the wetness. It was as if someone had taken a torch to her, she was getting so hot. She placed her hands underneath her wife's hips and tilted them up, bringing her closer to her mouth. With hungry kisses and the soft ecstatic sounds from Sterling ringing in her ears, Orla feasted on Sterling's sex. She would run her tongue along the length of the wet slit only to repeat the same movement using her teeth and lips, nipping on the swollen bud. The action caused Sterling's whole body to jerk and had her clutch the bedding in tight fist. Craving more, Sterling brought the tip of her tongue to Sterling's opening and slowly inched her way inside.
“Ohhhh…” Sterling moaned as her hands tangled in Orla's hair.
Orla grunted with pleasure when she felt the soles of Sterling's feet pressing down on her back. Her own body was on fire as in a very short time she wrung two orgasms from her wife. Sterling's legs slid off her back after the second orgasm and she pulled Orla's body over hers. Careful not to squash the smaller woman, Orla kept the bulk of her weight on her knees and elbows. She pulled her head back to look into Sterling's face. Sterling's face glistened with sweat as she lay there with her eyes closed and her mouth half-open. The sight fueled her passion further and Orla pressed herself against Sterling. The silver eyes fluttered open.
“I will take care of you, but first we need to do something else. Lie on your back.”
Orla wanted to cry at the interruption. “Later,” she growled as she leaned in to kiss Sterling.
“No, my love, we need to do this now. You will enjoy it, I promise.”
Reluctantly, Orla rolled away from Sterling. She watched through slitted eyes as Sterling sat up and felt around on the bed, enjoying the image of her wife in all her nakedness. She sat up, her intention to draw the redhead back into her arms, when Sterling turned and held up a strange cylindrical object. Orla stared at the object before her eyes found Sterling's.
“Is that what I think it is?”
Sterling grinned. “Yes. The priestess brought it to me earlier.”
“It looks like…” Orla flushed. “It looks strange. How does it work?”
“Well,” Sterling crawled closer. “Lift your hips. I have to fasten it around your hips.”
“Sterling…” Orla said softly, apprehension in her voice.
“It will be fine, my love,” Sterling said and pressed a soft kiss on Orla's lips. “We have to use it if we want to have a child. Now lift your hips.”
Orla lifted her hips and lay still as Sterling fastened the strange object around her hips. She knew that the object represent, but it felt strange around her hips. It was also too big. It would surely hurt Sterling. The thought of hurting Sterling made her shudder. Sterling looked up from where she was busy fastening the leather straps.
“Trust me, beloved. It will be fine.”
“Will it not hurt you? It…is really big.” Orla's eyes pleaded with Sterling. “I do not want to hurt you.”
“I will probably be a tad uncomfortable, but I swear it will not hurt.” She cupped Orla's cheek. “Trust me.”
Orla took a deep breath. “I trust you, but the moment it hurts you must tell me.”
“I will.” She looked down at the object which was now jutting out from between Orla's thighs. Orla followed her gaze and with a groan of embarrassment closed her eyes. Her hips jerked upwards when she felt a soft vibration coming from the object. Her eyes snapped open to find Sterling still looking down at the phallus, blinking rapidly.
“What is happening, Sterling?” Orla asked as she hoisted herself onto an elbow.
“I believe it is beginning to work. How does it feel?”
“As if it wants to latch onto me.” Reaching out a hand, Orla touched the phallus. A deep groan escaped her lips as her eyes rolled back in her sockets.
“Orla! Orla!” Sterling sounded frantic. “What is happening?”
Oral's eyes opened slowly and she licked over suddenly dry lips. “It is very sensitive. The… the pleasure…it…is it unbelievable.”
Sterling looked at the phallus, her expression skeptic. “You felt pleasure?”
Orla was looking at the phallus now. The spark of pleasure that shot through her at the mere touch of the object was indescribable. And she wanted more. Her eyes lifted to Sterling. She wondered what it would feel like to be inside Sterling. The pleasure would surely drive her mad.
“Come lie down, my love,” her voice sounded darkly sensual even to her own ears. Sterling looked at her with raised eyebrows. “I need you.” She sat up and reached out for Sterling. “I want to feel how it would feel when I am inside you.”
Sterling's mouth fell open in soft gasp. Orla was pleased to see the silver eyes darkening with desire as her wife's eyes darted lower to the phallus. Sterling came to lie next to her and Orla's breath caught when she saw Sterling's hand moved down to the place between her own legs.
“What are you doing?” Orla asked with surprise even as her heartbeat drummed in her ears at the erotic sight. With her head back and small white teeth biting down on her lower lip, Sterling's hand moved almost frantically between her own legs. With her acute Ulv hearing, Orla could hear the soft sounds of pleasure Sterling made in the back of her throat. She ached to touch Sterling but didn't want to interrupt the beautiful image.
“Now, Orla,” Sterling said softly and Orla's gaze moved from the sight of Sterling's moving hand to her wife's face. The silver eyes were a dark stormy gray as they looked at her. “I want you inside.”
Orla didn't need a second invitation. She came onto her knees, spreading Sterling's legs wider. Her eyes touched Sterling's before she brushed the redhead's hand away. Her head lowered and with a long swipe she stole a taste from Sterling's wetness. Savoring the taste and the soft cry of pleasure coming from Sterling at her unexpected action, Orla lowered herself onto her wife's body. She grabbed the phallus by the shaft and almost came at the sensation that shot through her. Clenching her jaw, she brought the tip of the phallus to Sterling's sex and slowly began to push into Sterling's hot cavern. Orla moaned at the sensation that coursed through her body as she slid deeper into Sterling.
Sterling held her breath as Orla moved over her. At the touch of Orla's tongue brushing over her swollen nub, she grabbed the furs on the bed in tight fists. Nothing, however, prepared her for when Orla pressed the head of the phallus against her opening. The heat from the Spear called to her and she spread her legs even wider. The slow, tantalizing invasion into her body made her hands leave the furs and grab at Orla's shoulders. The feeling was incredible, almost as if a heated lance impaled her. She heard a soft grunt coming from Orla and eager to hear more Sterling threw her legs around Orla's waist, pulling her deeper. The dark head lifted and pale blue orbs met Sterling's gaze.
“I am not sure I will hold long,” Orla said between soft pants.
Orla smiled tremulously as her one large hand grabbed hold of Sterling's hip. With one powerful push Orla was inside and small cry burst from Sterling's lips. Orla slowly reared back to look into Sterling's eyes.
“I swear I will hurt you if you stop,” Sterling gasped, her arms tightening around Sterling's neck. “Take me, my love.”
Orla slowly set a rhythm that made Sterling's throw her head back as her body shuddered with pleasure. Orla pace increased suddenly just as the dark woman's breathing sped up too. Deep long thrusts gently lifted Sterling's hips off the bed as they both strived to reach the elusive summit of their desire.
Sterling's body began to shake as a heat wave rushed through her body, scorching her insides. She threw her hands wide as she gasped loudly. A soft, almost indiscernible purr filled the room as Orla's thrusts accelerated even further, pushing the breath from Sterling's body. The moment her orgasm hit, Sterling cried out Orla's name as she clung to her wife's heaving shoulders.
The sweat that ran into her eyes blinded Orla, but she cared less about seeing Sterling than feeling the sweet body bucking wildly into hers. With a shout of pleasure Orla pulled Sterling's hips into hers, pounding briskly into the redhead's releasing body. Her hips began to slow until she could only manage a few sharp thrusts ending with a deep stroke that held Sterling's lower body suspended from the bed. Completely drained, Orla lowered her quacking body onto Sterling's smaller one.
They lay motionless, waiting for their breathing to even out. When she felt she could move again, Orla lifted herself on her powerful forearms as she looked down at Sterling. The Princess' face was a mask of utter serenity as she laid there, her chest heaving and her mouth caught in a silent scream. Orla made a move to pull out of Sterling, but two strong arms shot out and held her in place. Coppery eyelids whimpers fluttered open to reveal gleaming silver eyes.
Orla took Sterling's lips in a deep kiss. “You can have all the time you need.” She rolled onto her back bringing Sterling with her and cradled her lover gently. “I love you.”
“I love you too,” murmured Sterling as she drifted off to sleep.
An hour later after a short invigorating rest, Orla woke Sterling to make love to her again. This time she was more comfortable wielding the shaft and took her time as she brought them both to another earthshattering climax. Spent and hungry they dragged their bodies over to the table where food has been set out.
Orla fed Sterling a tender fig, putting the other piece in her own mouth. Their eyes held as they chewed the sweet treat. They haven't spoken much since their last lovemaking session; instead enjoying the quiet presence of each other. Sterling leaned close and kissed Orla.
“I enjoyed myself, my love. Thank you.”
“I thank you too,” Orla said. She reached for her wine goblet, took a sip and held it out to Sterling. The silver eyes studied her over the rim of the goblet, a familiar look in her eyes.
“Shall we go back to bed again?”
Orla took the goblet from Sterling. “Your wish is my command.” She swung Sterling in her arms and carried her back to the rumpled bed.
Cybralle's eyes followed the agitated stride of the woman before her. She took a long drink from her wine. She can sympathize with Orla. She too was a wreck on the night Sterling was born. Earlier she had tried to calm the woman down by offering her a drink, but Orla had declined, choosing instead to pace the length of the hallway. Orla looked terrible. Her hair stood in all directions from all the times she'd combed her fingers through it. Worry and exhaustion gave her face a haggard appearance and her hands shook so much that it was impossible for her to hold onto anything.
She dragged her eyes away from her observation of Orla to the closed door. It was quiet now; at least the screaming had stopped now. She had struggled to keep Orla from bursting into the room every time Sterling let out an anguished scream.
“Why is it so quiet? Should it be like that?”
Cybralle looked up to find Orla towering over her. “She has the best people at her side, Orla. I believe they would have told us if something was amiss.”
Orla's eyes gleamed with unshed tears as she looked at the door. “I need to be with her.”
“She will be fine. You will see her soon,” Cybralle said softly. “Come have a drink with me. It will steady your nerves.”
“I do not…”
“I insist, Orla,” Cybralle said firmly. “You look like you will fall apart any moment now and it will burden Sterling further when she sees you like this. Here…” She held out a carafe. “Drink.”
Taking the carafe, Orla looked at it long and hard before she lifted it to her lips. After a long drink she handed it back to Cybralle.
“Now we just need to wait.”
They both surged to their feet when the door opened and a tired-looking Mesmeria stepped out. Orla was immediately at the Queen's side.
“How is she?”
Mesmeria gave Orla a bright smile. “She asks for you.”
The room smelled dank and the scent of blood hung heavy in the air. Orla pushed past the three midwives to her wife's side. Sterling was pale and her hair hung in strings around her face. She was so still and Orla heart plummeted at the thoughts that crossed her mind. She wasn't going to lose Sterling. If the gods thought they would take Sterling away from her, they were greatly mistaken. She will brave the Underworld to return her wife.
“Beloved,” she called softly. When Sterling's eyes flickered open, Orla almost cried with relief. Sterling weakly lifted her hand and Orla grabbed it, kissing it. “How do you feel?”
“Torn up,” Sterling whispered as she attempted to smile. Instead her face pulled into a grimace. Orla shuddered and tightened her hold on Sterling's hand. “Have you seen our baby? He is perfect.”
The baby! Orla had completely forgotten about the baby, her only concern at the moment was Sterling. She had heard too many stories of women succumbing during and after child-birth. She will look at her son later once she was sure Sterling was well on her way to recovery.
“I have not seen him yet. I wanted to make sure you were fine.”
Sterling's face pulled into a grimace again and Orla looked up at the midwives. “With the baby out already, should she still have pain?”
One of the women shook her head. “The pain should be gone.”
“Then why is she still hurting?” Orla threw a worried gaze at Sterling's face which, if possible, looked paler than before. Her heart hammered in her chest. “What is wrong with her?” When no answer was forthcoming, she left Sterling's side and advanced in the women. “If anything …ANYTHING… happens to her, I will tear you all apart.” Orla was surprised to find that she meant every word. If Sterling was to die, the world will be a very unsafe place for these midwives.
The door opened and Vernera enter the room. The gray-haired woman walked to the bed and lifted the sheet. Her eyes, so like Sterling's, blazed with fury when they came to rest on the midwives.
“Bring more water. There is another baby inside.”
The women, including Orla, were stunned at the revelation, not moving. Orla was the first to snap to attention.
“Do as she says,” Orla thundered, startling the dozing baby.
She looked around the room and saw a wrapped bundle in a bassinette. She walked over and looked down at the screaming baby's red face. Her son! She threw a quick glance at the bed. Vernera was softly talking to Sterling, their heads close to each other. She was grateful to have the woman here since Sterling adored her great-grandmother. Orla returned her gaze to her crying son and gently lifted him out of the bassinette. He was big and obviously had strong lungs judging from the loud cries. She carefully held him against her chest as she rocked him. He immediately fell silent and opened his eyes. Orla breath caught in her chest. His blue-gray eyes stared straight into hers. At that exact moment, Orla realized that the small human had stolen her heart. It was only when her eyesight became blurry that she realized she was crying. She was so absorbed in her son's gaze that she had cut off everything else happening around her. It was only when she heard the frail cry of another baby that she turned to the bed. Vernera held up a small wrinkled baby.
“It is a girl,” she said with pride in her voice and Sterling lifted her head a little to look at her daughter. Orla stepped closer to look at her daughter and smiled tenderly. She was small compared to her brother, but Orla's heart melted at the sight of the delicate ears and tiny fingers.
“We have another one coming,” Vernera said suddenly and this time even she sounded surprised. Orla went to kneel next to the bed. Sterling looked utterly exhausted, but her eyes were riveted on the bundle in her arms. “Give me one more push, Sterling,” Vernera called out.
Orla shifted her son to one arm so she could hold Sterling's hand with her other hand. “You can do this, my love. Just try.”
“I am so tired,” Sterling whispered as tears trickled down her cheeks. “I just want to sleep.”
Brushing away the tears, Orla gently kissed Sterling's sweaty brow. “Shortly, my love. Just give one final push. You want to see the other baby too, do you not?” At Sterling's nod, Orla squeezed her hand. “Then give us on big push. Afterwards you can sleep and I will take care of them while you rest.”
Sterling's hand squeezed Orla, as she pushed, her torso lifting off the bed. A deep grunt came from Sterling and Orla had to bite her lip not to cry at the obvious pain her wife was experiencing. Another weak cry sounded and Orla's eyes shot full of tears again. She had never cried so much before in her life.
“Another girl,” Vernera said softly, her voice heavy with emotion. She carefully studied the crying baby. “This one bears the same mark as Cybralle. She is destined to be a great warrior.”
Orla gave Sterling a deep kiss. “They are all so beautiful, beloved.”
“Sleep…beautiful,” Sterling mumbled as her eyes fluttered close.
Orla gave Vernera an anxious look.
“She is fine. Go help those hopeless women take care of my great-grand babies.”
Orla gave Sterling a final kiss and walked over to where the midwives were busy cleaning up her daughters. She handed the sleeping boy to one of them and accepted the smallest of the trio. The girl was quiet now and looked up at her with somber blue eyes.
“Hello, little princess,” she cooed as she placed a small kiss on the baby's cheek. She cradled the tiny infant against her chest, feeling as if a part of her soul was seeping from her into the child. Will her heart ever be the same again, she wondered. It felt so full as if it was going to burst anytime now. The midwife took the baby from her and immediately her arms were filled with another. Her lastborn was bigger than her sister and unlike the other's she was born with a tuff of black hair. Orla smiled as she stroked a finger over the black fuzz. “Your grandmother Cybralle will be exceptionally happy to make your acquaintance, little warrior.” She kissed her daughter and held her out to the midwives. Vernera appeared next to her.
“Three babies, Your Majesty. I must say that not many triplets have been born to an Ulv in the last two thousand years. Congratulations.”
Orla grinned at the woman, so glad that she was there to save the lives of her wife and daughters.
“I will forever be indebted to you for being here tonight, Vernera.” Orla's eyes shot full of tears. “I could have lost them all if not for you.”
Vernera reached up and cupped Orla's cheek; her eyes too were shimmering with tears. “You owe me nothing, my Queen. You made my old heart very happy today with the gift of my great-grandchildren.”
They embrace and Vernera left the room. Orla walked over to the bed and pulled a chair closer. She was not going to leave Sterling's side until she wakes again.
Sterling stretched languidly as she rolled over onto her back to look up at the bright sky above. The seasons were changing but there was still a slight chill to the day. She stifled a yawn and sat up. She was alone…again. It didn't bother her much anymore. She knew they were nearby. They would never leave her alone in the woods. She pulled the large basket closer and rummaged through it. She pulled out chuck of cheese, bread, a leg of pork and a flask of sweet apple cider. They were always hungry when they returned. She concentrated on setting out the food when she heard a twig snap behind her. Her hands stilled for a moment, before she continued slicing up the bread and cheese.
Her sharp hearing picked up a soft footfall and she smiled. This was getting too easy. The next moment she rolled to the side and shot to her feet, her sword in her hand. Three pairs of eyes looked up at her from furry faces.
“I am almost completely sure that it was Drusa who stepped on the twig,” she said as she sheathed her sword. “Bion, you will have to learn to lighten your step.” She went to sit on the blanket, her back turned to the three wolf pups. “And Hlif, you will get yourself killed going hunting with these two. Your lunch is ready.”
She looked over her shoulder to see the cubs transform. She will never forget the look on Orla's face when they entered their bedchamber one night after spending a night of torrid lovemaking in the woods, to find three small pups curled up in the middle of their bed. Orla's face was a mixture of shock, regret, and immense pride. For a long while they had stood there looking at their children sleep. That was three summers ago when the three were only four years old. Since then Orla had taken them out to the woods regularly to go on runs and sometimes to hunt small prey. On the days that she wasn't needed in Council meetings, she accompanied them. Today was such a day.
With the transformation complete. The three came over to her to each kiss her cheek. She cuddled each of them close as planted a kiss on their foreheads.
“Your clothes are over there. Then come and eat. You must be hungry.”
Bion rushed to grab his clothes and quickly shrugged into them. Amongst other Ulv they seemed unruffled by their nakedness, but the moment an outsider was near their human sense of modesty kicked in. Fully dressed, Bion came to sit next to her and Sterling put an arm around him, kissing his crown. He was big for his age. He would surely be taller than her in a few summers. Being her eldest and the only boy she had a soft spot for him, but what attracted her even more to him was the fact that her was an exact replica of Orla. Bion had the same pale blue eyes and midnight dark hair and it was obvious that he would be a very attractive man one day, just like his grandfather. He was the closest to her and they spend almost every chance they get on the training field.
“May I have something to drink, mother,” a soft voice asked.
“Of course, my love,” Sterling cooed and grinned when her daughter blushed. Drusa was Orla's favorite. Smaller in statue than her other siblings, the little redhead was more interested in reading and healing than sword fighting. If she wasn't dragging Orla around the woods, gathering roots for medicine or was locked up in the blacksmith's hut with Orla, Drusa was reading with Mesmeria. The petite girl was even-tempered and not once had Sterling seen her lose her anger around a person. Mesmeria is of the belief that Little Drusa might just be the heir Karas needed.
She handed the goblet to Drusa. “Do you want more cheese?”
The red locks bobbed as she nodded, a brilliant smile on her face. Sterling smiled back and added two extra slices of cheese on her daughter plate. “I would like some. Thank you, mother.”
With her two eldest served and busy eating, Sterling's eyes swept the area looking for her lastborn. The child moved like shadow and could disappear just as fast. Hlif was the wildest of all her offspring. Just like Bion, she was tall for her age and sturdy. Whereas Bion resembled his mother, Hlif was the spitting image of Cybralle who doted on the little hellion. True to Vernera's prediction at her birth, Hlif lived for sword fighting. At the age of seven she already ranked high as one of Karas' best swordfighters. All that was thanks to her grandmother who painstakingly imparted every little skill she had onto her granddaughter. Although still the Commander in Arms of the Karasi army, Sterling doubted she would hold that position for long. With only seven more years to go, Hlif would be would surely challenge her for the post.
“Where did Hlif go?” she asked the other two.
“She probably went back to swim with mother.”
“She must not be that hungry then,” she said as she fixed a plate for Orla. Soft steps sounded and Orla stepped out of the wood, carrying her dripping wet daughter on her broad shoulders. She set the girl on her feet, who came running to settle herself in Sterling's lap. Sterling went about serving her daughter as she watched Orla lowered herself on the blanket. Orla gave each of her children a soft kiss before she gratefully took the plate Sterling held out to her.
“Thank you, my love,” she said softly, the look in her eyes intimate as her hand lingered on Sterling's. Sterling smiled and accepted the kiss from Orla.
“You are most welcome,” she murmured against Orla's lips. “Now eat. I know how hungry you get after the change.”
Orla immediately dug into her food and Sterling sat back, happy to watch her family enjoy the simple meal. She was happy. More happy than she could ever express.
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