The heart of the eternal

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Longing

Rhawan did return, he was shouting orders and they started to reorganize the row of wagons. The lightest wagons were to cross first with the loose horses and the heaviest stuff was to cross the last. The road was heading downhill now, not at a very steep angle but it was steep enough and the drivers used the brakes rather much to control the wagons. Wenja and Prina did leave the house wagon and walked next to it, they were entering a cave and it was so gigantic they couldn’t see the roof at all. Ahead of them was a huge open space, flat and even and it was shaped almost like the half of a circle. From the middle of it a narrow bridge stretched over what looked like just darkness and it reached a similar half circle on the other side. The stretch didn’t look very large at first, but then they got closer and now Wenja did see how truly enormous this place was. The entire cave was light by some odd crystals protruding from the walls, they did throw a very faint light over the flat area and Wenja was feeling oddly exposed. She suddenly had a sense of fear and Imh chuckled. “The fear of open spaces, my people are familiar with that. There is grandeur in these mountains young one, and nobody would expect it”

As they drove down onto the flat space they saw that the ground had been covered with elaborate carvings, not very deep but they were clearly depictions of figures and Wenja wondered what they were. The bridge was not as narrow as they had thought to begin with but it was seemingly fragile, like a thin pen laid over a gap between two tall desks and Wenja had no idea of how deep this gorge was. Prina was pale and stayed close to Imh and Rhawan was riding around, checking the wagons. Nefhriel came walking over and she smiled at them. “Nobody rides in the wagons as they crosses, only the driver. And everyone walks over before the wagons start to cross”

Wenja swallowed hard. “How deep is this gorge?”

Nefhriel shrugged. “Nobody knows, it may be bottomless”

Imh laughed. “Oh dear, there is a bottom down there, somewhere. Be sure of that, but it is a very long way down. The very rock itself has split here and there are some other gorges just like this one which haven’t been explored even by my kin”

Rhawan did wave his arms at them. “Come on, everyone, cross now”

Wenja gathered her courage and they started to walk, staying in the middle of the bridge. If they didn’t look to the side it wasn’t too bad, the bridge was wider than a normal road and perfectly smooth but how was it built and how had it withstood the ravages of time so well? Nefhriel smiled at her. “The dwarves knows rock the way we elves knows trees. The things they build last, for ages.”

The bridge was way longer than anticipated, the gorge almost a mile wide and Wenja felt a need to run as fast as she could to reach the safe other side but she managed to keep the need at bay. Prina was shivering as they reached the flat plain and Nefhriel was calming her down with soothing words. Now the horses were being herded over and the animals didn’t need much time, the zahar did run with them and the horses didn’t mind the odd animal at all. When the people and the horses were over the first wagons were driven across the bridge, the housewagon as among the first since it was rather light and Rhawan was organizing the wagons into a new order as they reached the other side. The road would tilt downwards even more from now and so they put more horses onto the heavy ones. Wenja was relieved to see that all the wagons made it across without any problems, the bridge was more than sturdy enough for them but Rhawan didn’t like to take any chances.

They had a short break before they drove on and Imh had managed to make a rather tasty meal. Here the tunnel looked less refined than on the other side and it was less wide so Rhawan did reduce the distance between the wagons and he did also order the riders to stay by their sides at all time. Wenja remembered what the old man had said and she was curious. Ulfar had used trolls to scare the kids with when they were small and Wenja had not really believed in trolls for many years. She was too old for that. She sat down in the wagon after the meal and then she asked Sefa and Theka if they had seen trolls? None of them had but Nefhriel had and she told Wenja that trolls were creatures which lived deep within the mountains and they were rather primitive and not very smart but they weren’t evil. They were just like animals, if someone bothered them they could react violently but otherwise they were rather peaceful. They ate small animals and insects and mushrooms and could get extremely old but they weren’t immortal, they just lived very slowly.

Imh too knew a lot about trolls for the dwarves would often encounter them when building their mines and cities and she told that it was seen as wise to be kind to the trolls and leave them alone. Rhawan did check in on them and Ahnriel rode by too, wanting to check in on Prina. She was worried that the girl would suffer from her fear of heights and darkness. The guards were on high alert now, they had reached the area the old man had spoken off and if there had been trolls there fifteen years ago there was a good chance they were still there. They had driven down a very steep area with curved slightly when they heard a shout and the caravan stopped. Rhawan did ride ahead and Wenja and the others felt a bit nervous, what was this?

Rhawan did ride fast and the first wagon was at the bottom of the hill, the road would be flat for some miles ahead and then the tunnel would rise again. But there was something in the road ahead and the driver hadn’t dared to go on. Rhawan did whistle and Ehbrial did ride up to him. “Tell me what you see”

Ehbrial swallowed hard. “A troll?”

Rhawan nodded. “Yes, in the middle of the tunnel, with the light on. Something is wrong”

The narrow groove with the burning liquid had continued on this side of the gorge and the light was rather strong, it looked as if the liquid was more potent here. Rhawan did dismount and he did draw his swords, Ehbrial did follow him and the tall silver haired eternal was armed with an axe and a shield with sharp edges. They moved forwards very slowly and saw that it was indeed a troll and it was very large. This had to be an old male and the creature appeared to be sitting in the middle of the road, leaning forwards with its legs slightly spread and its arms hanging loosely down. The head was hanging too and as they got closer Rhawan slowed down and sneezed. A most horrible stench reached their noses and Ehbrial almost gagged. “Oh sweet Goddess, this is terrible”

Rhawan had to blink, the smell was so ghastly it did burn their eyes and as they approached the troll they did see that it was alive, in spite of the death scent. It moved its head slowly and Rhawan did hold his blades ready, he had no idea of what this could be. The troll was covered with a sort of greyish crust, and it had cracked many places and let puss ooze out of the cracks and what looked like fungi was spreading all over the cracks. This was one dying creature and Rhawan was shocked and also confused. What sort of disease could kill a troll?

The creature grunted, its small red eyes covered with fungi too and it was apparently blind for the pupil was almost gone. It waved its head slowly, the mouth was half open and they saw that it didn’t have any teeth and the tongue seemed to have fallen off. Rhawan swallowed hard, the thing was in agony, and it would yet take it days to die, if not weeks. He reached out to it with his mind, trolls have very simple thoughts and were like animals and he managed to get in touch with it rather easily and what he saw made him stagger back with shock and pity. “They were a whole tribe, warriors, females and cubs. Perhaps fifty of them in all. He is the last one, they have all died”

Ehbrial gasped. “What happened?”

Rhawan sighed. “They found something deep in the mountain, some sort of pretty rock and it cracked open. And then they all got ill and started to die. He was the strongest one, I think he tried to make it to the surface, thinking that the sunlight may burn away the disease”

Ehbrial did look worried. “Can it be dangerous to us as well?”

Rhawan shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. I think this is something only trolls are susceptible to.”

Ehbrial weighed his axe with his hands, he did look uncertain. “Well, we have to do something, it cannot just sit there, it is blocking the road.”

Rhawan was about to answer when they saw that Ahnriel walked closer to them and Wenja was with her. Rhawan did look confused. “What are you doing here?”

Ahnriel sighed. “Wenja insisted, she says she feels something strange, and it comes from the troll”

Wenja had been standing by the wagon, waiting with the others when she suddenly felt an odd surge of energy rushing through her, she felt as if she was hearing someone calling her name from afar and she felt an almost irresistible urge to go forth and seek the reason why they had stopped. She started walking and Nefhriel did grasp her arm. “What are you doing?”

Wenja swallowed hard. “I…I have to go, I don’t know why, but I hear…I hear something…”

Nefhriel did frown. “What are you talking about?”

Wenja did shiver. “I don’t know, I don’t understand.”

Ahnriel did swerve by, attracted to the raised voices and she did look concerned. “Is she feeling unwell?”

Wenja tried to shake the feeling away. “No, I…I have to go, I have to see what this is about, it is important, believe me!”

Nefhriel did look a bit stunned and Ahnriel nodded. “Alright, I can go with you, but I am in charge, understand?”

Wenja nodded. “That is alright, but I have to go, now!”

Ahnriel did grasp her by the hand and they did run along the wagons. Wenja did gasp when she saw the figure sitting on the rock floor, and she slowed down. She felt it again, the odd voice, just out of range of her hearing.

Rhawan did frown and he still held his sword ready. “Really? What?”

Wenja tried to gather her senses, to calm down. “Oh, there is a voice, I think it is coming from that thing…oh Gods, what is wrong with it?”

Rhawan shrugged. “Some sort of disease, it is almost dead”

Wenja had never seen anything this ghastly, or disgusting, but she did feel pity. The troll was suffering, she could almost feel its agony and she took a deep breath and stared at Rhawan. “I don’t understand, there is something here, something strong but…I cannot really grasp it, I don’t understand…”

Rhawan turned to Ahnriel. “Could she be a psychic?”

Ahnriel shrugged. “I have no idea, but we can try a mind link, it may work. At least it will enable her to hear, I hope”

Wenja just stared at them and Ahnriel did sigh. “We can help you, if you want to let us?”

Wenja nodded and Ahnriel did place a hand on her shoulder while Rhawan did touch the other one and Wenja let out a shrill cry and her legs seemed to give way under her. Suddenly she was staring at something which wasn’t a troll at all, she saw a figure of pure light, and it was flaming and writhing around, clawing at something which seemed to restrain it. Two glowing eyes were staring at her and now she did hear the voice clearly, it was shouting in a tongue she didn’t understand but judging by the shocked expressions on the faces of the two eternal they did. The voice howled and shrieked and then the glowing figure just disappeared and Wenja did collapse into Rhawan’s arms. Ahnriel was almost panting. “Did you hear that?”

He nodded, his eyes wide with shock. “Yes, and I saw! A fire spirit, trapped within flesh. How did that happen?”

Ahnriel shrugged and petted Wenja’s cheeks, she appeared to be almost unconscious. “I have no clue, but the things it said, how does that make sense?”

Rhawan sighed and helped Ahnriel carry Wenja back to the house wagon, the troll was dead now and Ehbrial was getting some horses so they could drag the carcass out of the way. “I am afraid it makes sense, it makes so much sense it is almost too much”

Ahnriel frowned. “What do you mean?”

The blue haired elf held Wenja tightly to him, why did she see this? Was there something extraordinary about her after all? “You don’t remember the time when the monsters first arrived do you?”

Ahnriel shook her head. “No, I don’t. I wasn’t born back then, few of us were”

Rhawan did smile, but the smile was sort of stiff. “Neither was I but I have heard the tales. The beasts doesn’t come from this world Ahnriel, and the first wave of attackers almost wiped out the entire population of the realm. Only a few brave souls managed to stop the onslaught”

Ahnriel nodded and her eyes were distant. “I have heard the tales yes. The gate was closed off and our world saved. “

The tall male did smile and he hoisted Wenja a little higher towards his shoulder, she was trembling still. “Yes, but as I am sure you know the gate wasn’t completely shut, sometimes it will still open for a brief moment of time and allow new horrors access to our world and we have to fight them off, as is our duty.”

Ahnriel swallowed visibly. “The thing the spirit said…”

Rhawan took a deep breath. “The gate may be closed completely, but only by the hand of one born twice”

Ahnriel closed her eyes. “The one who is the key, the one who is chosen”

Rhawan saw that Sefa ran towards them, obviously worried and he smiled at Ahnriel. “We don’t tell them what we know, I have no idea of why Wenja saw this, if it is a coincidence or something more”

Ahnriel nodded slowly. “Yes, if she is among the gifted we will find out, sooner or later. “

Sefa stopped. “What happened?”

Wenja sort of groaned. “Oh my head, I saw…I saw something and it was beautiful but I didn’t understand what it was saying”

Sefa helped them manhandle her and they put her down on the bed. “What did I see? Please, I need to know?”

Ahnriel and Nefhriel did sit down on the bed as Rhawan had to return to his work. “You saw a fire spirit, a free soul which never has been born into a body. They can possess living creatures and some are malicious while others try to help. The one you saw was probably a benign one, but it fled the moment the troll died, it wasn’t bound to it anymore.”

Wenja frowned. “Why would a fire spirit possess a troll?”

Ahnriel stroked her hair. “It is strange but it is said that fire spirits are drawn to trolls for some reason, it could be that they come from within the earth and that trolls are the first living beings they encounter. “

Wenja moaned. “My head hurts, and I feel so tired”

Ahnriel did pet her hand. “I will get you something for your head and I will let you sleep afterwards”

Sefa did stop Ahnriel on the outside of the wagon. “What did really happen? Is she a seer?”

Ahnriel did make a grimace. “I haven’t got a clue, but she is a very pure soul, and spirits are drawn to such.”

Sefa sighed. “She is indeed pure, and her heart is larger than it ought to be. Is she gonna be alright?”

Ahnriel nodded. “I cannot see why not? She just saw something few humans are prepared to see”

Ahnriel did bring some medicine back and Wenja did fall asleep right away, her body felt heavy and strange and Sefa and Theka did stay by her side. The caravan was moving yet again and in a few hours they would leave this tunnel.

Back at Wenja’s home things had changed a lot over the last weeks since she left, Ulfar had bought more equipment and more land and he had gotten food and clothes for his family. More so, they had hope again and it had changed their mood and made them more optimistic. When the summer came they would move, Ulfar had bought a much larger house at an abandoned farm close to the valley floor and with that additional land he would become among the largest land owners in the area. Now people did show him respect and he was treated as someone of great importance. It felt good and yet it was strange in some ways for it did show just how much wealth influenced the way people acted.

Sina was due any day now and she was confined to the bed and Ulfar was worried about her health. She had regained much strength due to the better food but he would have preferred that she got even stronger before the baby was due. The village had been oddly quiet for a few weeks now and Ulfar hadn’t seen Dagar nor Mjorr for a week at least. Then one morning Sigunn did visit them, carrying things like wine and baby clothes but in reality she was bearing some rather grim news which Sina shouldn’t be allowed to hear. Everybody knew that Prina had gone missing and at first the village believed that she had gone outside for some reason and gotten lost in the winter storms. It wouldn’t be the first time that happened, it could of course be that she was depressed since she wasn’t the chosen one and that too was acceptable. Then some traveller said that he had seen someone who could be her heading for the camp of the eternal the day they left and apparently Dagar had put two and two together and gotten four.

Sigunn said that Dagar and Mjorr had left and that they were going to find Prina again to punish her for having run away and Ulfar didn’t for a second doubt that Mjorr also wanted to get even with Wenja. They needed to warn everyone but how? Mjorr and Dagar were many days ahead of them already and even with horses they couldn’t catch up with them. That was when Bagir did make his suggestion. The mountains were like a round island in the middle of the flat plains and if Wenja and the eternal had been heading westwards the clans would move north and then follow the edge of the mountains southwards again on the other side, towards the winter grazing grounds. If someone crossed the mountains heading eastwards they could meet the clans and at first Ulfar did protest for the mountains to the east were much wilder and more dangerous than the ones to the west. Few did cross them and the last area was known as the spine and was seen as a range nobody should try to get across.

Bagir volunteered, he knew the mountains and he also knew that he could get across and then ride north and intercept the clans, possibly before Dagar and Mjorr could catch up with them. Ulfar did protest but Bagir was very steadfast and refused to budge and in the end Ulfar gave inn. He did fear for his daughter and he knew that if anyone could do this is was Bagir. He was a son of the mountains and more than capable of crossing, even in the middle of the winter. He was given all the equipment he needed and two strong mountain horses and he left early in the morning, very adamant that he would be able to warn everyone that Dagar and Mjorr were up to no good.

Wenja did sleep for quite a while and when she did wake up they were out of the tunnels and heading down the valley toward the next part of the old dwarf road. She felt dizzy still and her head was hammering, but more than that she was confused. What had she really seen? Her wold had been rather simple up to then, what you did see was what you believed in, her father had been rather adamant there. Many of the villagers had been terribly superstitious and couldn’t do anything without safeguarding themselves with countless rituals and Ulfar said that it was both time consuming and silly. Wenja had been brought up to be rational, when some of the old herders said they had seen monsters or fairies high up in the mountains Ulfar would laugh and blame the sightings on bears and too much beer and when the old women whispered about curses and dark magic he scoffed and told Wenja that superstition was the comfort of the ones who didn’t even try to understand the world around them.

But she had seen a spirit, did that mean that she was a seer? She hoped not, they had tales in the village of a woman who had been gifted and she had drowned herself in a lake, because she couldn’t stand it anymore. The valley they had entered was rather narrow and there weren’t any settlements there, just the road and a river and some huge open clearings which did look very nice even now in winter.

The hunters did leave them for a while and returned with a couple of deer they had shot and the chef and Imh did start working on the meat right away. Wenja felt restless, and she was also a bit bored for she didn’t want to study again and she longed for some fresh air. She sat on the stairs of the wagon and looked out at the forest as they drove along the road and Rhawan did ride up to her and he smiled. “You look as if you need to go for a quick ride, it will cheer you up”

Wenja did look at him, the horse he rode was very tall and she hadn’t forgotten how scared she had been when she last sat on a horse but he was right, she needed something new to think about. She nodded. “Alright, if you promise it is safe”

Rhawan did grin. “Yes, I would never let you fall, you know that by now”

She got up and he bent down from the horse and lifted her up by her waist, placed her in front of him and she let out a small yip as she was forced to sit astride the horse. The saddles these eternal used were not like the saddles the villagers had, they were made from some sort of soft material and there was nothing hard on them at all, it was all just a sort of pillow with straps attached to it. Wenja did grasp onto the front of it and Rhawan did chuckle. “Our traditional saddles are way better than the ones the humans use, both for the rider and the horse”

He made the mare trot and then he let her gallop and at first Wenja was terrified because of the speed but then she managed to relax and it became rather exciting. The landscape was very pretty and Rhawan started to tell her the names of the things they saw in his own language and she tried to copy it with variable luck. He did ride around in wide circles, showing her strange trees, animal tracks and other interesting things and Wenja did find that she liked this. She turned to him, her eyes shining with curiosity. “They say there are other animals out there on the plains than here in the mountains?”

Rhawan chuckled. “They are right, the fauna is very different and so is the flora by the way”

He had to explain those two words to her and Wenja did listen as he told her about the huge herds of antelope and the rare but very dangerous spear noses which were almost blind but able to run as fast as a horse. It was fascinating and she got a better image of the land which would become her home soon, it started to fascinate her. Rhawan did tell her of the giant animals with long trunks which sometimes could be seen by the watering holes and how they were to be left alone for they were smart like people and never forgot. He told her about the large flightless birds which used to hide in the dense bushes and were absolutely delicious to eat and the fat fish which lived in the small lakes. He did love his land and she sensed that very well, it was in his voice.

Wenja started to like this a lot, she was leaning back against him and she laughed when he reached out to the side and snatched a few berries from a bush. They were very large and deep blue and he showed them to her. “These doesn’t taste like anything at all, but they make very good paint and if you make wine from them that tastes very nice.”

Wenja nodded. “So, when I get there and get married, what am I to do?”

Rhawan did frown. “What do you mean?”

Wenja felt a bit stupid. “What are my duties, my chores? I must certainly do something to earn a living? Your Ath’ir cannot possibly wish for a lazy wife?”

Rhawan managed to hide his mild shock. “You will be the Eth’ir Wenja, you do not need to do anything unless you wish to. But the women usually sew, or herd the animals or hunt smaller animals. And make things, like pottery and jewellery.”

Wenja bit her lower lip. She hadn’t thought about that concept yet, that she was to become one of great status, that she in fact would be like a queen. “Do they weave?”

Rhawan nodded. “Yes, weaving is held in high regard among my people, it is a very useful skill”

Wenja smiled. “That is good, I like weaving”

Rhawan did point towards the river. “See those birds over there?”

Wenja nodded. “They are pretty, such a nice colour”

The birds were wading in the shallows on long spindly legs and they had a very brightly coloured plume, sharp green. “They are sacred, nobody is allowed to hunt them except once a decade. The Ath’ir is allowed to fell one on a sacred day, and only a male. The feathers are woven into a sort of headband, which is to be worn when the clans gather for council.”

She swallowed. “Can you tell me more? About…Ahravan?”

Her voice was a bit thin and Rhawan did pity her. There wasn’t much chance of her getting any time with Ahravan before the wedding, she would be thrown out into the deep end right away. “Of course, but where do I start?”

Wenja tried to remain calm. “His habits, does he have any habits he doesn’t want to break?”

Rhawan chuckled. “Yes, understand this Wenja, we elves are not prone to change, and if we do change rest assure it is something we don’t do easily, nor fast. You humans can turn around and become someone new almost without even hesitating but our personalities are set whence we have matured.”

Wenja turned her head around. “So you don’t like changes at all?”

Rhawan did make a grimace. “Oh but we do, we just…we prefer to know of them beforehand. Ahravan is very smart and he is coping with sudden changes rather well but whence in private? Not so much.”

He took a deep breath. “Right, there are some habits of his you ought to know about. First of all, if he is reading don’t disturb him. Nothing will happen if you do but his mood may be a wee bit…dark. Second, he isn’t truly alive until he has had his morning tea. If you make sure that it is ready and very strong he will worship you endlessly”

Wenja tilted her head. “You do drink tea? We do too, but I don’t think you will like the one we use!”

Rhawan steered the horse around a fallen tree. “Oh? What sort of tea do you drink?”

Wenja shrugged. “The leaves of Isha bushes, that is that bush over there, with the dark green leaves”

Rhawan scoffed. “Oh by the Goddess, they are bitter as fuck…sorry, very bitter”

Wenja nodded. “Yes, we use honey in it, but it is said to be good for one’s stomach”

The dark skinned eternal made a smirk. “Perhaps, but we wouldn’t drink that if we got paid for it, it is horrible?”

Wenja giggled. “Yes, but we don’t have wine”

Rhawan sighed. “Too bad, you will learn to like wine, we have some very nice types”

Wenja had to turn around again. “What types? I have only heard of wine made from grapes?”

Rhawan laughed. “But you can make wine from just about anything, I once tasted wine made from the flowers of dandelions. It wasn’t too bad”

She frowned. “Really? Then it is sad father doesn’t know that, some of the pastures we own are covered with dandelions in spring. It could make buckets and buckets of wine for sure”

They rode down a small hill and back onto the road next to the wagons. Wenja sort of wriggled a bit, she was still curious. “But Ahravan, does he have other habits?”

Rhawan did let the horse walk next to the house wagon. “Well, of course, you may not think of it as habits though. He likes to bathe, in fact he often jokes that he must have been meant to be born as a fish. And he is awfully ticklish, under his armpits.”

Wenja had to giggle. “Really?”

Rhawan nodded. “Yes, and he hates to wear sweaty clothes, the washers are kept busy whenever he is around.”

Wenja swallowed again. “So he likes to keep himself clean?”

Rhawan did smile. “We all do, a person who isn’t fond of cleaning up is someone we won’t trust.”

Wenja thought of the coldest winters, when they couldn’t bathe at all but washed in front of the hearth, in a small bucket of lukewarm water. After a few weeks you didn’t feel the smell anymore but she was rather sure that they all had been stinking rather badly at some times. “But how do you bathe? Is there rivers and lakes everywhere?”

Rhawan laughed. “No, we have tubs, portable ones. And we heat water too, it is rather easy. I bet that you will be used to having a bath every day.”

Wenja sighed, that did sound heavenly. Rhawan did lift her down off the mare and she landed safely on the stairs of the wagon. “You look so much better already, Ahravan will fall for you for sure, head over heels”

Wenja blushed and went back inside, there was a big chance that dinner was ready soon and she felt a bit better. The headache was gone and she was in fact rather hungry. Some food would be nice now and she was looking forward to seeing what Imh had conjured up. She had to ask the dwarrowdam for her recipes one day, the use of spices was not what Wenja was used to but the food was always excellent and packed with flavour.

Rhawan did ride along the caravan, his face a bit tense and he let the horse gallop ahead of everyone. He passed Floth’bha and Ehbrial and didn’t even stop to say hi to Thokan. He rode for a good fifteen minutes until he reached a small lake, there he dismounted and ran down to the shore. He was way ahead of everybody and all alone and he sat down on a rock, trying to calm himself down. Riding for almost an hour with her soft and yet firm derriere pressed against him had caused some unwanted reactions. He was glad he had chosen a pair of really tight pants that day for she hadn’t noticed and he had managed to keep the conversation normal too. She hadn’t noticed that he was in dire straits.

He would have to find Sefa later that evening, or perhaps Nefhriel but he couldn’t really wait that long. Wenja was just temptation incarnate, her smell, the silky hair, the shape of her… He had been so tempted but he knew she would be scared if he made a move on her, and possibly very offended too, and not to forget confused. He tried to think of something else but it was impossible, he was too aroused and he gave in to it. He got his pants out of the way and gasped with relief as the tight fabric no longer restrained him. It wasn’t often that he had to do this but he was no stranger to it. He wondered what it would have been like if she had been an experienced woman, if she would have let him take her, there on the horse? He could almost see it, her laying forward over the neck of the steed, with her skirts lifted and him entering her from behind. The mere thought was enough, two quick strokes and the world turned into white light as he came, muffling a groan with his hand. Oh goddess, he was mad to think about her thus but he couldn’t help it. He shivered as he spilled onto the ground and the pleasure made him lightheaded and almost drowsy. This had helped a bit but he needed someone’s touch soon, or else he would go insane. Yes, he would visit Sefa that night, there was no way around it.

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