The heart of the eternal

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Chapter 9: New friends

Sefa did look like a teacher now and her eyes were calm. “First of all, the clans do not regard sex as anything which is shameful or to be hidden. They are very open about it and it is natural to them, like eating and drinking. Most of the eternal are more attracted to the soul than the body so gender doesn’t mean that much. They regard the sharing of one’s bodies as something good, something which gives life meaning”

Wenja swallowed. “I…see”

Sefa smiled. “Nobody will take advantage of someone, or try to force a person into doing something they doesn’t want. You don’t have to be afraid of the males of the clans Wenja, they may express admiration but nobody will touch you.”

Wenja sort of blinked. “Even if they do find human females attractive?”

Sefa nodded. “Yes, believe me. The people of the clan’s respect each other, that is more than one can say about the people of the valleys right?”

Wenja nodded, she remembered the tales of girls who had bedded someone without being wed and the scandal that always caused. Sefa tilted her head. “I have bedded many of the eternal Wenja, and believe me, you have something to look forward to”

Wenja gasped. “You have? Oh Gods, I…”

Sefa smiled and nodded. “It is never anything but amazing, and I have reaped the benefits, I am way older than I look.”

Wenja felt herself blushing again. “Is…Is there a difference between the eternal and humans? Physically?”

Sefa stretched her legs. “No, not really. They are just much prettier, rather well endowed too. But they do have better control of their bodies just as I mentioned and they can last quite a while, and they are able to continue even if they have come”

Wenja did look a bit confused and Sefa did roll her eyes. “You are really very innocent aren’t you? A human male can usually not start at it again right away, he has to rest.”

Wenja felt like a beet, her face was stiff. “A-alright”

Sefa smiled, there was mischief in her smile. “So, then there is another small difference, they do usually come hard, and a lot. And they feel the pleasure much stronger than humans, it can make them pass out. There are also a couple of other differences but we can talk about those later, when you are more comfortable.”

Wenja felt confused again but she sort of understood too, she wasn’t stupid and with just one room she had often heard her parents in bed together. It had made her disgusted to begin with but now she wasn’t so sure anymore. She had to giggle and look down and Sefa did grasp her hand. “So you have nothing to fear Wenja, Ahravan is as gorgeous as they come and he will be very patient with you, don’t worry”

Wenja could just blush and hide her face, the things Sefa said had brought some strange images into her head. Sefa sighed. “It is getting late and we have to leave early tomorrow. Let’s get to bed now and we can continue this little chat then”

Wenja had slept already and wasn’t really ready for bed but somehow she felt tired and she let Sefa help her out of the dress and they crawled into the bed. Wenja couldn’t really believe it, the day had sort of flown by her because there had been so many new things. She pulled the covers over herself and then she closed her eyes and fell asleep, overwhelmed by it all. Sefa did sigh and tried to sleep too, there was so much Wenja needed to learn, it would be a monumental task for sure.

As the village and the camp slept a tiny figure came crawling towards the gate, it was covered with a thick horse blanket and it hesitated, stared at the gate. The figure was shivering, and then it sort of gathered itself and walked forward, slowly and with obvious fear. It stopped by one of the wagons, the one carrying provisions and it did crawl up swiftly and disappeared into the darkness. Not a sound was heard and the snow did cover up the tracks rather fast.

The morning sun did rise above the mountains and with it came a flurry of activity, there were people running everywhere and the camp was being transformed. The emissaries did bid the inhabitants of the village goodbye and left them with a very generous sum of money and the ones in charge of the wagons did scurry around like squirrels, preparing the horses. Wenja was sitting in the door staring at the commotion, she would stay in the wagon and Sefa would stay there with her. The other females did ride but since Wenja never had learned that art she was allowed to sit in the relative comfort of the wagon. The thing had springs and was very well built too.

The horses were hitched up to the wagons, the riders did mount and soon they were heading out of the gates and onto the road. Here it was a real road and the wagons were made for this sort of terrain. Wenja sat on the bed, it was not exactly a very easy way to travel for the wagon did bounce and shake but it was better than riding and Sefa tried to teach her the words to a local song as they drove along. The driver and another man sat on top of the wagon and Wenja did pity them, it had to be terribly cold. Wenja smiled but she felt a bit uncertain still. “The language, is it the one the eternal use?”

Sefa nodded. “It is indeed, that reminds me, do you speak any other language than this one, the language of the inner valleys?”

Wenja shook her head. “Ah, no? “

Sefa sighed. “Too bad, most of us do speak it well but some don’t, I know that Ahravan doesn’t. He knows a few words and phrases but not much I am afraid”

Wenja sort of shrunk. “He won’t be able to understand me?”

Sefa tried to put on an optimistic face. “Don’t worry, I will teach you the common speech of the plains and the elven language too. You will be able to communicate whence we get there.”

The dark haired woman found a deck of cards. “Ahravan does enjoy games, I will try to teach you his favourite ones, so you can play them.”

Wenja wasn’t used to games but she nodded and gathered her wits, this could get interesting. The day went smoothly with no problems, they stopped a few times to let the horses drink and the road was relatively flat so the speed was good. The snow wasn’t that deep so they didn’t have to put skis on the wagon wheels and as the sun started to fall towards the horizon they gathered on a small meadow by the river. They had gotten to lower terrain after all for here there was little snow and the river was open and not frozen. Wenja was helped out of the wagon to stretch her legs, she felt as if she had been shaken up like a kids toy. Sefa did tell her a little about this area of the valley when there was a commotion coming from one of the wagons, they heard a scream and someone was shouting and Rhawan was there immediately, like he had materialized out of thin air. Sefa stood in front of Wenja and the man driving the wagon came forth, dragging someone behind him. “This one hid in the wagon, does anyone recognize her?”

Rhawan stared and Wenja did gasp, it was Prina. She was shaking all over and blue around the lips and Wenja couldn’t believe it. “Prina? What are you doing here?!”

Rhawan went over. “She isn’t dangerous, just a village girl.”

The one driving the wagon did let go but he did still look suspicious. “What is she doing in my wagon, stealing?”

Prina was sobbing and she dropped to her knees in front of Wenja. “Please, don’t send me back, they will kill me”

Rhawan looked puzzled and he put his sword back in its sheath. “What are you talking about girl, who wants to kill you?”

Prina wailed, she did look absolutely terrified. “My father, and…and…the others. I…Have to hide, I cannot go back”

Wenja saw that Prina was shaking and she didn’t wear very solid clothes, just her ordinary dress and a horse blanket. It wasn’t enough to keep anyone warm, that was for darn sure. Wenja took her hand and the others there did disperse, a girl was not anything exciting. “What is wrong Prina, what is happening?”

Prina gasped and she stared at Wenja with those enormous eyes, they were filled with despair. “I…They want me to marry some man father owes money to, he is a terrible old troll. And…”

Rhawan growled. “That is awful, forcing a young child into such a situation”

Wenja just sighed “Rhawan, she is Mjorr’s sister”

The dark skinned eternal gaped and then his face became very sinister. “I bet that family has got some lose screws then, treating a girl thus”

Wenja caressed Prina’s hair. “So you fled to avoid that?”

Prina was shaking. “Yes, and…I am with child”

Wenja just gaped, staring at Prina who hung her head low, almost panting. “What?”

Rhawan sat down onto his haunches and he did look terribly upset, so did Sefa. “You shouldn’t be out here then, you are frozen girl. You need to get warm again, fast”

Wenja saw how Prina shuddered and she remembered the gossip of the village. Prina was one nobody bothered to even look at, because of her brother. Who would risk the wrath of Dagar showing any interest in Prina. Wenja laid a hand on Prina’s cheek. “Prina look at me, I will not let them take you, you are safe here, We will soon be far away from the valleys”

Prina wailed. “Oh bless you, I can be your slave, just…don’t let them find me!”

Wenja swallowed. “Prina, nobody has ever spoken a word about you having an admirer, who was it?”

Her voice was soft and Prina cringed, as if she had been hit. “I…I cannot tell you”

Rhawan sneered. “Cannot or dare not? We will protect you, you are under the protection of the Ath’ir now”

Prina hid her face in her long unkempt hair. “Mjorr”

The words were barely audible but Wenja and Rhawan heard and the dark skinned elf jumped to his feet, his eyes shooting lightening. Wenja felt sick, nauseous. How was that even possible? Prina gasped for air. “He…he was drunk, and he…he came to the barn, I was milking and he…He said nobody wanted me anyhow so he was gonna show me what I was missing and I wanted to scream but he almost strangled me and…I was sure I was gonna die”

Sefa had heard and she had tears in her eyes. “Get her into the wagon, now. And get Ahnriel, she needs a healer.”

Rhawan lifted Prina up and they put her on the bed and Wenja felt as if the fear she had felt for Mjorr was being replaced by something much stronger, a sort of burning gnawing wrath. Rhawan was saying something in his own language which made Sefa cringe, it had to be bad. Prina was just wailing and shaking and Ahnriel did burst into the wagon. She shooed Rhawan out and then she did examine Prina very quickly and with great care. “She isn’t lying, she is about two months on the way, it won’t show for yet a couple of months but she was smart to flee now”

Sefa sort of growled. “Was she damaged?”

Ahnriel did wash her hands in a basin. “Yes, there were tears, they have healed now but there is scaring. The bastard was brutal”

Prina was still weeping and Wenja grasped her hand. “We have to hide her, to keep her safe. Can we do that? “

Sefa sat down and nodded. “Yes, we can camouflage her rather well. There is this group of religious people who cover their heads in dense veils, only their eyes are visible. We can use nut juice to make her skin look darker and her hair can be dyed too. We will make her look unrecognizable.”

Wenja tried to smile. “Hear that? Nobody will recognize you, you will be safe”

Prina just gasped and Sefa sighed. “I will tell Imh that we need extra food, and get a proper dress and other clothes. From hereon she isn’t to leave the carriage unless all of us are present.”

Wenja nodded and held Prina’s hand. It was so thin and frail it felt like holding the hand of a child. She couldn’t even imagine what sort of hell the poor girl had been through, violated by her own brother and now with child as a result of that. It was horrible. Rhawan did stick his head into the wagon. “I will ask for more of the men to stand guard tonight and if Mjorr or someone else of that family does show up he will be punished according to the crime”

He closed the door and Wenja stared at Sefa. “What does that mean?”

Sefa was a bit pale. “To the twelve clans there is no worse crime than rape, it is worse than murder in their eyes. So if a person does commit such a crime and is caught there is only one possible outcome and that is death, but it will happen in the same manner as the crime”

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