Chapter 3 Baba Yaga's Tavern at the Crossroads
Baba Yaga’s Tavern at the Crossroads is renowned throughout Euterpe for three things: French onion soup that leaves your breath smelling like violets, raunchy gossip from every corner of the world, and dead sex acts. If you’ve ever been to Bourbon Street and witnessed a live sex act, you’ve already got the gist of the latter. The biggest difference is, of course, that dead sex acts involve the spirits of the departed. Incorporeal sexpots can do kinky things that it’s hard for flesh-bound sexpots to imagine, much less perform.
By contrast, Temple’s sensitive corporeal sensory organs were assaulted by a parade of spectral carnival barkers even before she passed into Baba Yaga’s knobby-kneed den of iniquity. First, as you might imagine, came the rich, golden aroma of caramelized onion and warm bread and aged port and nutty cheese, followed by toasted rosemary and the subtlest hint of woodland violets. These enticements had been manufactured in the tavern’s cauldron to lure in more customers, and the tactic was effective. Temple’s mouth watered, and her stomach grumbled. She’d never wanted a bowl of soup so badly in her life.
Following close on the heels of the savory aromas, a rabid jazz careened through the front door, pulling Temple into a twirl and taking possession of her limbs. Her hips swung rhythmically, and the soles of her feet began to tickle. The tune was being banged out on a barely tuned piano somewhere beyond the threshold, within the shadows of Baba Yaga’s place, and it wasn’t alone. A woman’s voice joined the manic melody on the porch. The disembodied bellow sauntered out through the doors like a she-bear and shook Temple loose from the melody’s embrace, hauling it down one of the disappearing paths to beguile other wanderers.
Temple took advantage of a momentary lull in the band’s set to trip up three rickety treads to the shack’s front porch. The weathered boards moaned beneath her bare feet. Rather than muffle the sound, the red carpet amplified the deep, erotic pleas. Temple paused to wiggle her toes in the luxuriant pile of the carpet. Millions of minuscule kisses spread across her soles in return, sending shivers up her calves. Fearing she might be bound to one spot all day if she gave in to the path of pleasure, Temple plunged through the gaping front door only to find a scene of chaotic debauchery on the other side.
Baba Yaga’s establishment was much larger within than without, which didn’t particularly surprise Temple. The decor wasn’t too far off what you might expect in your run-of-the-mill enchanted watering hole either. Lots of crushed velvet and polished hardwood, a full bar with crystal decanters and a small stage where a man in a top hat tickled the aforementioned ivories. The woman in possession of the sonorous voice was once more bellowing.
The patrons, too, seemed largely consistent with ensorcelled environs: two archers, a knight, several mysterious personages cloaked in mantles, and an assortment of trolls, hobbits, and gossipy woodland creatures. None of these, however, unsettled Temple. In fact, they all seemed absolutely appropriate to the ecosystem. Even de rigueur.
It was the dead sex acts that undid her.
The room was thick with phantoms performing inconceivable carnal acts—inconceivable because the most proficient flesh-and-bone contortionist who attempted to bend, twist and gyrate in the same ways would be mangled or ripped to shreds by the laws of physics. And there was no avoiding the gossamer love-in. It was everywhere and in perpetual, pellucid motion.
Temple heard a whisper in her ear and felt the humid warmth of a moaning wraith whose damp breasts brushed against her cheek. In the next moment, the wraith was gone, and Temple was caught up in a tangle of invisible tongues that left paths of bioluminescence on the tender skin of her inner thighs. Temple quaked and moaned helplessly as the spirits lapped at her honey pot. They coated her rigid nipples in creamy ectoplasm, but the attentive tongues were swept away by a hulking phantasm who enveloped Temple in his lust. The large, gin-clear djinn took her breast in his vaporous lips, and her skin shimmered and sparked where he touched her. Her pink pearl pulsed with desire, but he disappeared before he could possess her.
In spite of the tavern’s inviting curb appeal and warm welcome, Temple realized she may yet be in danger. The dark ringlets that obscured her cunt were moist, and her nipples were swollen and aching. Heat throbbed through her belly, and Temple was harnessing every ounce of self-discipline to refrain from impaling herself on the nearest cock to relieve her libido.
She regretted leaving Bruce now, but she knew he would be livid to hear her say so. What had he told her, after all? The natural harmony of Euterpe depends on orgasmic energy, and her continued existence, apparently, depended on not going atomic. She couldn’t get hung up on one woodsman, no matter how skilled his lovecraft. Still, she didn’t know protocol for soliciting orgasms from strangers in Euterpe.
She made her way to the bar, intentionally pressing her trembling body against several patrons in her path. She hoped someone there might take the lead so she could avoid any embarrassing faux pas, but the customers were all absorbed in their own thoughts or enchanted by the rondel of randy spooks. Temple made it to the bar woefully unmolested, and the ever-present, effervescent perversions of the spirits had inflamed her nearly to frenzy. When she opened her mouth, only a desperate pant escaped.
The barmaid was plump and pale with bubble gum pink lips and playful eyes. When she leaned across the marble bar top, her breasts overtopped her blouse, and a nipple peeked out. She didn’t need Temple to speak to know what Temple wanted. A great-great-grandaughter of Baba Yaga herself, Barbra knew everything she needed to know, precisely when she needed to know it. However, it didn’t take a third eye or psychic ancestry to see that the stranger was hornier than a seven-headed devil playing sax in a ska band.
The barmaid pushed a small cordial glass to Temple and winked. “First thing’s first. Never make desperate decisions.”
Temple tipped it back and let the dark liquid spill down her throat. It spread quickly, creeping to the farthest reaches of her body. Her muscles loosened, and a flood of warmth relaxed her. The desire still pulsed between her legs, but it wasn’t so ragged. She could assess her options with a relatively clear mind.
Temple took her time to compare several hypothetical scenarios, assessing the pros and cons of each. She imagined pressing her naked body against the singer’s satin gown, freeing the warm breasts from their cool fabric wrapper, teasing her nipples until she bellowed with desire while the man in the top hat took a break from the piano to bang away at Temple’s bare ass with his pulsing rhythm stick. She imagined straddling the lap of one of the hairy trolls, pulling back the loose, homespun loincloth, and lowering herself onto the full length of the thick, long knob hidden there. She shuddered to imagine the glistening point of the monster’s horn grazing the skin of her neck while he lapped at her breasts.
“You don’t have to pick one, you know,” the barmaid said. “Tell me who you want, and I’ll send them to you.”
“Of course, we take care of our own, Mistress Mews.”
Feeling like a raja lording over her harem, Temple pointed out three patrons who caught her eye. There was the steel-clad soldier with an erection that cast a long shadow on the wall. Another, a lean, wolfish man with a leather satchel slung across his hairy chest, had licked his lips hungrily when her eyes fell on him. Finally, Temple nodded to a woman with fiery hair and a wicked smile. Though the thought occurred to her, she stopped herself from requesting all hands on deck because she’d never been with more than one lover at a time. Even keeping her first orgy modest, she feared she’d be overwhelmed.
Details sorted, Barbra led Temple up a narrow flight of stairs to a dimly-lit loft with a large, canopied bed at its center. The barmaid poked at the embers in the fireplace and added a piece of wood, whispering to the flames so that they rose higher and crackled cheerfully.
Temple wandered toward the bed and pressed her fingers into the ample pile of furs and blankets. The barmaid followed and helped her climb on top, innocently brushing Temple’s honey-slicked pleasure cleft. She sunk into the soft mattress and moaned.
Barbra spread Temple’s thighs wide to expose her cunt. She dipped her soft fingers into the moisture pooling there. When she pulled them out, she tasted the ripe desire and sighed. Temple lifted her hips, and Barbra accepted the offering. She spiraled her tongue around the hummingbird’s egg hidden in Temple’s dark nest. Temple gasped and caught the barmaid’s pale hair in her hands, pulling her in more deeply so that Barbra’s teeth grazed the quivering pink shell. She was painfully near orgasm, but Barbra stopped before Temple came, straightening herself up and smoothing down her dress.
“As tempting as you are, I’ve a tavern to mind, Mistress Mews. I’ll make your requests quickly so you won’t have to suffer long. Wait here.”
The barmaid took one last look around the room and left, closing the door behind her. She hadn’t said whether she’d send the other patrons in one at a time or altogether. Temple spread her arms out over her head, savoring the cool linen sheets against her skin. Regardless of how they came, one at a time, altogether, or some combination thereof, Temple already knew how she wanted to come. Multiple times. The sooner, the better.