Author Topic: The Goddess Moon  (Read 822 times)

Ariana

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The Goddess Moon
« on: June 01, 2015, 11:14:48 AM »
[size=9]((Contains material of an adult nature.))[/size]

The Goddess Moon. Even the Arctrans who followed the Nine called it that. A night of magic, of mysteries, of wishes made and promises kept, it came about once every five years - a night when both moons rose into the sky, full bellied and bright. There was not a single soul in the True Queen's armies who begrudged staying another night in this place, to allow the Wild Ones to honor their Goddess with song and life. The clans had moved themselves away from the main encampment during the day, understanding that they did not wish to disturb their new-found allies with their celebrations beneath the bright glow of the Goddess Moon, and with the movement of their own camp, they had brought with them the Royal tent, with all its trappings. Kari willed it, and Kari's will was the Goddess' word.

Thus it was that, as the two moons rose high over the dancing bonfires of the Wild Ones' camp, Ariana stood a little outside her own tent, surrounded by the joyful solemnity of these astonishing people in their devotion to their deity, the being who had preserved her own life for seventeen years. Wrapped tightly in her cloak, she watched as the next generation of Goddess-sworn warriors gave their allegiance to their clan; as men and women fell into the terrifying charm of their own ecstasy; as voices rose all around her, each word devoted to the Goddess who looked down on them. It was beautiful, and frightening, to be in their midst and yet not a part of the wild celebrations all around.

Rory looked on in wonder, right beside Ariana, feeling strangely shy again, despite all that was going on around them. The nomads were obviously not shy. He wondered what it must be like growing up among them. He envied them in a way - he envied their freedom, for one thing, but not because he regretted his place or his duty as the Queen's chosen consort, but only because he had never really known what that feeling was like, and he guessed Ariana had likely not either.

The two of them stood together, bathed in the warm candle light from the tent, in the heat from the leaping bonfires, and the silver cold of the moons light from above them. "I never really understood," Ariana said softly as she watched the wild play around them. "I've seen them reverence the full moon before, but this ... They have so much love for their Goddess. Why did they want us to be here?"

"It is a special night, one full of magic. It only comes once every five years, or so Liayna told me. It is a night for wishes, she said," he explained what little he understood of it. Turning to look at her in the moonlight, he was struck by her loveliness, thinking she looked like a goddess herself, with her gold hair falling softly about her shoulders, the silver light of the moon gently illuminating her pretty face.

"Kari didn't tell me anything like that," the young queen admitted, blushing as a naked man burst from the shadows and bowed to them, before turning to walk through the bonfire that without a single hair on his head singed. Swallowing, Ariana took a step back, leaning into Rory's side as she stared. "How do they do that?"

Rory stepped back, too, tugging Ariana with him, eyes wide as the man startled them both, not only with his nakedness. Rory furrowed his brows as he watched both the man and his companions reveling under the light of the twin moons, performing unbelievable feats seemingly without effort or harm. "I don't know," he whispered back, one arm going around her protectively. "It must be magic, I think." Though he wasn't sure what kind of magic. "Liayna said that it's because of the Goddess. They call it the Goddess Moon," he explained further, still not quite understanding it.

She raised her eyes to the sky above them, clear and crisp with winter's breath, to where the two moons shone full against the darkness. "In Phalion, my tutors used to say that an oath spoken on the night of the Goddess Moon can never be broken, that the Twin Gods walk Arctra in the light of the two moons. They believed it. I never did. I didn't want to live in a world where the gods walked the earth and did nothing to help us."

"What do you believe now?" Rory asked, his voice quiet, almost afraid to raise his voice for fear he would break the spell cast by those twin moons. He wasn't quite sure what he believed. Like her, he hadn't believed in much of anything most of his life, and yet he had seen things he could not explain any other way. "Perhaps it just takes time, Ari. Seventeen years can't mean much to immortals."

"I don't know," she admitted quietly. "Kari's Goddess saved my life, and killed my brother to do it. The High Priest of the Nine acknowledged it, and swore by the Nine that I am my mother's daughter. But I don't know if I believe in the gods, or the Goddess."

A low voice spoke from the shadows to their left. "It does not matter that you do not believe, vipsana. Leniniya believes in you." A tall woman, thankfully still garbed in furs, came into the light, her smile gentle and almost sad as she looked at the young couple. "Goddess-touched, for the Goddess-child," she said softly, reaching to touch Rory's shoulder first, then Ariana's cheek.

There was not much Rory could say to that, knowing Ariana's history. How could he defend the gods and the Goddess after everything they'd both been through? But what Velasca had done wasn't their doing or their fault, was it? He was about to point this out when another voice broke in unexpectedly and he turned to find a tall woman there whom he assumed to be one of the nomads. He arched a brow at her statement, wondering if she meant what he thought she meant by that, but who was she and what was her interest in them, other than the obvious. He visibly flinched at her touch, pulling Ariana closer against him, though he sensed no danger there. He said nothing, but stood close by, waiting for Ariana to speak.

The wild woman drew her hand back as the young queen stepped deeper into her consort's protective arm, her smile never shifting. "I am Arora, Doma of Clan Kirun," she introduced herself. "I meant not to frighten you."

Ariana swallowed, biting her lip as she glanced to Rory briefly. "What is it you want with us, Doma?" she asked the woman, calm despite her wariness. She had learned not to treat any Wild One with anything but equal respect.

Arora's smile deepened as she inclined her head to them both. "The Goddess gives many gifts on the night of Her moons, if we have the courage to ask for them," she told the young pair. "I believe there is a question you should ask together."

There was something oddly familiar about the woman, though Rory couldn't figure out what it was. It was almost as if he'd seen her or met her before, but he couldn't remember where or when. He relaxed a little when she introduced herself. It was highly unlikely any of Velasca's assassins would dare infiltrate the camp again now that they were on high alert, and even less likely one would disguise herself as a clansman. "What question is that?" he asked, wondering what she was getting at. He had several wishes he'd like to make if he was given the chance, though those wishes might differ from Ariana's.

There were many answers to that question, but Arora chose the simplest. "To teach you love," she said gently. "The love you have not yet learned; the love that is promised to you, if only you have the courage to reach out for it." Her eyes, pale and green as the sacred pools in the hidden woods, lingered for a long moment on Rory as she spoke. "Many gifts come from love." Her gaze fell to Ariana once again. "To dance beneath the Goddess Moon is a rare privilege for one not born to the clans, vipsana. Will you dare to take that first step?"
[size=9:fa373e12e6][color=darkred:fa373e12e6][i:fa373e12e6]Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow. [/i:fa373e12e6][b:fa373e12e6]- Descartes[/b:fa373e12e6][/color:fa373e12e6][/size:fa373e12e6]

Ariana

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Re: The Goddess Moon
« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2015, 11:18:09 AM »
Ariana stared at her for a long moment, her face pale beneath the fiery blush that covered her cheeks. She knew what Arora meant; they had watched the women of the clans dance and choose their mates many times over the past months of the march. "I-is it difficult to learn?"

Rory watched with mingled interest and confusion. Hadn't Ariana already chosen him? She had already proclaimed him as her chosen Consort in front of witnesses and they had exchanged vows as binding as marriage. What more was needed? Then again, did he dare question the wisdom of the clans and chance angering the Goddess? "I-I can't walk through fire," he stammered, though he did possess other gifts he had not yet learned how to master.

Arora's smile seemed amused, but she didn't laugh at them. "You do not need to walk through the fire," she assured the young man before her. "Your path was set on the day you were born. Your fire is of a different sort, and you will come through it unscathed. But this fire ..." She reached out, touching fingertips over each of their hearts. "It is meant to be shared, to blossom into this fire." Her hand swept outward, to encompass the partnerings taking place all around them. "The first time there is fear, and pain. But for love ... it is worth that."

Rory wasn't sure what the woman meant in regard to himself, but he couldn't miss her meaning regarding the two of them. All he had to do was look around at the other surrounding him to know what she meant, and he felt his face flush with heat at the realization of her intent, thankful for the darkness to hide that blush. "I will explain later, Ari," he told her quietly, as he touched her sleeve. Liayna had explained enough that he understood what was expected of them tonight. Tonight was a special night and any child born of it would be Goddess-touched and Goddess-born.

Arora inclined her head once again, smiling to see that Rory, at least, understood what was expected of them on this night. Kari had spoken, but explaining that to a pair who had not been raised among the clans was a task nigh on impossible to accomplish. "Some things, I believe, are for no one's eyes but yours," she said gently. "It is time to shut out the world, vipsana."

Ariana bit her lip, glad that Rory seemed to know what was going on. Her own interview with Kari earlier that day had told her precisely nothing, which was undoubtedly what the old woman had intended.

Rory wondered a little further about the woman, wondering why she had come to them, in addition to Kari and Liayna. What was it about her that she'd been chosen or perhaps taken it upon herself to seek them out? Had Kari asked her to approach them, and if so, why? To give them a much-needed push, perhaps? To offer gentle encouragement? If Kari was right - and there was no reason to believe that she wasn't - tonight was to be a very special night in their lives, but it wouldn't happen by itself. "Come, Ariana. I'll explain." He was, after all, half clansman, though he hadn't been raised as one and only knew what Kari and Liayna were slowly teaching him.

"Leniniya smile on you, vipsana," Arora blessed the young queen as she stepped away, her last word lost in the joyful celebration around them. "Velan."

Guided away by Rory, Ariana spared a last look at the clansmen and women all around them, envying them their confidence, their boldness in the light of the moons. She loved Rory; it was the single anchor that held her steady in the midst of the storm all around them. Why, then, was she afraid of this next step?

He looped an arm around her waist to lead her back into their tent, where they could still hear the sounds of the celebration going on around them, but were assured privacy. He wasn't sure how much Ariana understood, and in the end, whatever happened tonight would be her choice. It was a special night to the Wild Ones, and though Ariana was not of their blood, she was the True Queen of Arctra, and the Wild Ones were as much her people as any. He did not hear the last word uttered by the woman, and if he had, it would have only confused him. Without a mother or a father, he was a son no longer, or so he believed, but perhaps with the Goddess' blessing, they would make a child of their own this very night. Once inside the tent, he let go of her so that he could close and secure the tent flaps, muffling the sounds of the clansmen enough so that they speak without having to raise their voices.

Ariana did not resist as he drew her into the tent, grateful that at least the nomads did not expect her to walk into this on the snow-covered ground, within sight of anyone who cared to glance up. She didn't move to take off her cloak, turning to look as Rory as he fastened their tent as securely as was possible against the outside world. "I know what they expect us to do," she said quietly, almost afraid to meet his eyes. "And I want to, Rory, truly I do. But ... I don't know what to do."

"It's all right, Ariana," he assured her in a soft voice as he turned to face her and stepped forward to reach for her hands. "We don't have to do anything. It's enough that we're together. All I want is to make you happy." It was true. No matter what anyone else wanted for them or how special they thought this night was, all he really wanted was to be with her and to make her happy.

Concern touched her brow as she looked up at him, her chilled hands sliding trustingly into his. "Don't you want me anymore?" she asked, almost childlike in her fear that the passage of a single day could have changed so much. "Have I made so many mistakes that ... that you can't bear the thought?"

"Of course I want you," he replied with a frown. "Do-do you ..." He swallowed nervously. They had come so close just the other day, before the Commander had interrupted. What would have happened if he stayed away? "Do you want me?" he asked, feeling that blush flood his cheeks with telltale heat once again.

"Oh, Rory ..." Despite their misunderstandings, their inability to share what they felt most deeply until they hurt too much not to, Ariana found herself laughing softly, releasing his hands to tuck her own about his waist, beneath the hang of his cloak. "I want you more than I can possibly say," she promised him. "I want to share this with you. But I am so afraid I will not please you."

Rory's expression betrayed his shock at her confession. "Me?" he said, obviously surprised. It had never occurred to him that she might worry about such a thing. His thoughts and worries had never been for himself, but for her. He had hardly even considered how she might or might not please him, though he had to admit he'd laid awake at night sometimes, wondering what it would be like between them. Her kisses had always been nothing but warm and loving. He could not imagine it being any other way between them. "You needn't worry about such things, Ari. You always please me," he told her gently in what he hoped was a reassuring voice, touching his fingers to her face in a soft caress.

The wild voices beyond the leather and canvas that enclosed them seemed almost a part of the wind that whistled through the fastenings as she looked into his eyes. Where had her boldness gone, the strange confidence that had drawn his hand to her only one night before? Here and now, she felt caught between anticipation and expectation, knowing what she wanted but with no idea how to go about achieving it. "But what if I can't?" she whispered to him, her hands restless against his back for a brief moment before she stilled herself. "When we're alone, I don't want to be the queen. I'm just Ari, your Ari, and I want to be a good wife to you. I just don't know how."

"And when I'm with you, I'm just Rory. I can be no one else." There were times when he wondered if that was all he was and all he'd ever be. He had been Adare's friend - they had been almost like brothers. He had known his place and his duty, but now that Adare had become Ariana, he wasn't quite sure what was expected of him, other than for tonight. "And if you can't, then we don't. No matter what Kari or the others say, I will not force myself on you, Ariana. I would rather die than hurt you." And that was perhaps the most honest thing he had ever told her.
[size=9:fa373e12e6][color=darkred:fa373e12e6][i:fa373e12e6]Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow. [/i:fa373e12e6][b:fa373e12e6]- Descartes[/b:fa373e12e6][/color:fa373e12e6][/size:fa373e12e6]

Ariana

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Re: The Goddess Moon
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2015, 11:21:54 AM »
"You would never hurt me," she rushed to assure him, as certain of that as she was of anything in her life. "And ... and you would not be forcing me, rua." She bit her lip, her thoughts racing even as she listened to the cadence and rhythm of the voices outside. Something the Doma, Arora, had said came back to her. To dance beneath the Goddess Moon is a rare privilege, vipsana. Will you dare to take that first step? Drawing in a breath, Ariana seemed to nod to herself, gently easing her arms from about Rory's waist. She turned, pouring a substantial cup of wine to press into his hand. "You should sit down."

A look of confusion came over his face as she untangled herself from his embrace and poured him a cup of wine. She seemed to have come to a decision, but he wasn't sure yet what it was she'd decided. His brows rose in worried confusion as she pressed the cup of wine into his hand and suggested he sit, wondering if she had decided all of this had been a mistake - that she wasn't ready, that she didn't want him, but then she had just told him she did. "I don't understand," he told her as his fingers closed on the cup. He didn't want to cloud his head with wine, not now.

"You will," she promised him, a small smile touching her face. As it had always done, the pall of agonizing self-doubt that covered every decision she was presented with was gone, now that the decision had been made. "Just ... sit." With gentle hands, she guided him to the bed to sit down, stepping back, her head cocked to listen to the music from without. "Liayna taught me to dance, when we first started this march. I think it's time I showed you."

"Dance?" he echoed, once she'd led him to the bed, still confused. He felt his face flush and his heart pound in anticipation. Was she going to dance for him the way the women of the clans danced for their chosen mates? He could feel the blood surging through his veins already, like a fever slowly rising. Despite wanting to remain sober, he took a deep swallow of wine without thinking, in hopes it might relieve some of the tension.

Perhaps not exactly the way the clan women danced, but close enough. Trembling with the sheer embarrassing audacity of what she now proposed to do, her cheeks aflame with the certainty that she was about to make a fool of herself, Ariana raised her hands to clasp of her cloak, undoing the delicate piece to shrug the heavy wool aside. Beneath, she wore a gown of almost sheer silk, chosen for her by Kari herself, her arms left bare under the shimmering fall of her hair. Taking a deep breath in, she closed her eyes, shutting out everything but the music from outside the tent, slowly beginning to sway to the beat that seemed to match the pounding of her own heart.

The beat that matched the pounding in his head as the wine made itself known and the rush of blood to his loins. It was almost as if she was casting a spell, entrancing him with the soft sway of her body to the beat of the music. If this was the night of the Goddess, then he thought Ariana was the Goddess personified - so beautiful she took his breath away. He could not deny the fact that he wanted her, but even more than that, he loved her. His gaze wandered over the soft curves of her body, just barely hidden beneath the sheer silk, the golden fall of her hair as silken as her hair, the sapphire blue of her eyes behind those closed lids. What was she thinking, he wondered? She hardly needed to seduce him, though he was more than happy to let her.

There was more to this dance than a simple seduction, though they both knew seduction was its purpose. Yet Ariana was Arctran, with no clan blood to urge her on. She had no reason to embrace this dance, to perform it - no reason but one. To prove to him that she did love him; that she was prepared to risk making a fool of herself for his eyes only. Slowly her eyes opened as her movements grew stronger, the sway of the silk about her ankles hinting at the motion of her hips as she turned in one place, her blue gaze meeting his, half-longing, half fearful of rejection. She didn't know how the dance ended; only that the dance was for her chosen love. It was for him, and his eyes alone, and only he could tell her when it was over.

Though he had been raised Arctran, clan blood flowed in his veins, and beneath the Goddess moon, with the sound of the people - his people - embracing and honoring the magic of that singular night, something seemed to come alive inside him; some unremembered spark of life, long dormant in his blood and memory. It was like a flame burning brightly inside him, and though he had no words to name it, he could feel it catching fire deep inside his heart and soul. It seemed to him that she was at the heart of that fire that burned only for her. He drained the cup of wine and set it aside, all the while his eyes remaining fixed on her, watching the flame dance before his eyes - the flame that was Ariana - longing for those flames to devour him, no matter the outcome, to be one with her in the dance for all eternity.

She could feel his eyes on her, the flame inside her leaping into life under his gaze, somehow knowing as he watched her that he truly did want her as she wanted him. As the beat from without was overwhelmed by the beat of her own heart, she forgot her shyness, her fear of being foolish, giving herself over to the dance she had been taught, the steps that seemed to come naturally once she cast those fears aside. Her hands fell to undo the golden girdle at her waist, letting it fall harmlessly aside as her gown billowed about her, her arms open in wordless invitation. For all that she had given to the Goddess tonight, this was something that belonged only to Rory.

Without thought or a word, he unclasped the cloak the hung about his own shoulders and moved to his feet, drawn to her like a moth to a flame, unable to resist the magic of the dance that was enchanting them both to overcome their fears and shyness. He laid his hands against her hips, swaying with her, matching her movements as best he could, some unknown inner instinct leading the way. His dance was different from hers - where hers was all grace and beauty, his was more primal, more urgent. Everything around them seemed to fade into the background - the sounds outside matching the thrum of blood in his veins and the pounding of his heart. Nothing seemed to exist in all creation but the two of them, and once they began this dance, there was no stopping it until they had seen it through to the end. He moved with her, as the trees moved with the wind, swaying and turning, following her lead.

Held captive by hands at her hips, Ariana felt the dance change, felt his energy siphon into her, guiding her even as he swayed to the beat they both felt. Her breath came quickly, her eyes focused on him as she drew her fingertips up along the line of his arms, tracing his cheek with the ghost of a caress. A ghost that suddenly knew flesh as she surged to him, her lips capturing his with eager longing as they moved together, spurred on by the touch of the mysterious Goddess.

His lips met hers, his arms going around her to capture her in his embrace - embracing the flame and the woman and the Goddess all in one. That kiss only seemed to ignite the blaze, his heart exploding with love and desire the likes of which he'd never known. And still, they danced on, pressed tightly together, mouth questing, fingers searching. He had no idea how to get her out of the silken encumbrance that covered her, but somehow he knew it would happen in time. Wherever this dance was going, it could only end one way.

As it had ended for another such couple, on the very night they had met. Outside, amid the snow and fire, beneath the light of the full moons, Liayna and Conall swayed together, the swell of their first child pressed between them as they shared in the touch of the Goddess. It was not the overt dance of the woman calling to her man, nor was it a seduction. Theirs was a celebration of the life they had made together, away from the curious eyes of those who had not yet experienced such a thing among the clans.

No words had been spoken, not yet; no words were needed as everything they had to say to each other could be seen in their eyes and felt in their hearts. To say they were happy was an understatement. There was simply no word to describe the feeling between them, their love only made stronger by the child that was growing inside her.
[size=9:fa373e12e6][color=darkred:fa373e12e6][i:fa373e12e6]Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow. [/i:fa373e12e6][b:fa373e12e6]- Descartes[/b:fa373e12e6][/color:fa373e12e6][/size:fa373e12e6]

Ariana

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Re: The Goddess Moon
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2015, 11:23:17 AM »
When they had met, it had been as representatives of different world, different cultures, a coming together of allies in war. Yet that night, and every night that had followed, those differences were slowly swept aside, until they were not so much two halves as one whole, bound together by more than anyone could put a name to. Yet until this night, certain words had not been spoken. Liayna lifted her eyes to Conall's gaze, her hand warm against his cheek. "I love you, eniro," she whispered to him, her promise that she would come to love him fulfilled at long last.

Conall smiled at the words he'd longed to hear from her - words he'd felt in his heart for so long and that he knew she felt, too, but hadn't said. Words were meaningless, inadequate, unable to truly encompass and define all they felt in their hearts, and yet, those few words meant so much. "I love you, aera," he whispered back, words he'd shared many times before, if not aloud than in his heart. This was a special night for the Wild Ones - a night that would only come once every half decade, a night when the True Queen would join with one of their own, whether Rory knew it or not, and the link between their people would be secured.

As if in answer to their shared words, the child in her womb quickened, making her laugh as she drew her arms about her beloved once again. "What shall we call our daughter?" she asked him in a low voice, nuzzling close, finding it only too easy to shut out the sounds of the lively camp all around them.

"Hmm, I do not know," he replied, close enough to feel the child move within her. "What do you wish to be called, small one?" he asked, laying a hand against his mate's womb, as if by doing so, he might have an answer. "Perhaps we should ask Kari for a name," he suggested. Names were important, but there was still plenty of time to decide.

Liayna looked down at his hand on the smooth swell of her belly, leaning into him tenderly as she smiled. "There are many names we could give her," she mused. "Names from the old speech, or from the new. She will be na'Kari Riordan, a child of both worlds. Perhaps we should choose a name that will reflect it."

"Perhaps," he agreed, though it did not seem he was overly worried about a name just yet. He had faith that the Goddess would give them a name when the time was right. It was a far cry from the man he'd been only a few short months ago, when he had doubted the existence of any higher power, whether it be that of the Nine worshiped by Arctrans, or the Goddess worshiped by the Wild Ones. "I do not think we need decide such a thing tonight, aera," he teased.

She laughed, shaking her curly head in agreement. "No, I do not think she will demand a name until she has need of it," she agreed cheerfully. Her hand covered his as she looked up at him. "You have never asked how it is we know that our first child will be a daughter, eniro."

"I have often wondered," he replied. Though he wasn't quite sure how she knew, he thought it had something to do with the connection between mother and daughter - a connection he could never really understand and only envy. He took her by the hand and drew her gently closer to the small fire he had built not far from the camp, where he'd set their tent for the night. He'd fashioned a makeshift chair for them there, made of wood and covered in fur to keep them warm and dry and comfortable and it was to that chair that he now drew her, reluctant to seek refuge inside the tent just yet, despite the chill of winter.

Drawn away from the clamor to their own slice of quiet, settled down on the warm furs that covered a chair that took both of them easily, Liayna smiled once again, laying her head on his shoulder. "It is a gift of the Goddess," she said quietly. "Leniniya gave Kari two sons and a daughter; only my father gave her a grandchild of them all. Her mother also bore a daughter first. Our first child will be a daughter of the moons; who is to say how many more will follow?"

Another might have scoffed at such an explanation, but Conall had seen for himself what the Goddess was capable of. "I will give you as many children as you wish, aera," he answered, smiling softly at her in the moonlight, as he tucked the furs around them to keep them warm. Between the furs, the fire, and their closeness, there was little chance of either of them catching a chill, no matter how cold was the night. "She has given me many gifts, the greatest of which is your love." He leaned close to touch a kiss to her lips, light and loving. There was no hurry to share their passion as the others in camp were doing - the proof of their passion lie with the child that was growing within Liayna's womb.

Leaning into him, her answering kiss was soft, as unhurried as his own. Where others around them chose the frenzy of passion, it was something quite different to be mated in the ways of the Wild Ones. There was room for that frenzy, certainly, but no need for it in the full light of the moons. The Goddess Moon was no different; a time to share and celebrate what they had that was so very different to what many of the clansmen and women had. Tucked close, she drew her long legs, bare in the moonlight, over his lap, curling closer as she stroked her fingers over his heart. "You are the greatest gift of my life, eniro," she murmured to him, brushing her lips against his cheek. "I am glad my father sent me to meet with you."

While others might choose partners for only one night, the Goddess had given them the gift of a love and a bond that would last for a lifetime. He tucked the furs about her as she drew her legs across his lap, his hand falling to rest against the swell of their child growing inside her. "And I am glad Liam sent me to meet you, though I think the Goddess may have had something to do with those decisions, aera," he teased further, his eyes shining with joy and just a little moonlight.

She giggled softly, nestled close against him. "I do not think your friend would agree with you," she smiled, enjoying their closeness, the protective affection that held his hand over their child in her womb. "He does not seem to have much belief in anything beyond his love, the queen, and the right way of things." Not that it mattered, truly; if the Goddess had chosen Liam to be Her instrument, his own beliefs mattered very little to the clans who loved Her.

"It would not be the only thing we have disagreed about," he replied, though it mattered little, so long as the result was the same. "Liam is a practical man. He only believes that which can be seen and proven with his own eyes, but there is more to him than there seems." He paused a moment, as if debating how much to tell her of his closest friend's secrets. "If you look closely," he started, seemingly having come to a decision. "There is a crescent-shaped scar on his left hand, which matches one of Shaye's. I asked him about it once, and he told me he had made a solemn oath to Thalan and the moon, but he would not discuss it further."

Liayna's brows rose as she considered this. "He swore an oath to the Goddess' son?" Her lips curved in a smile that brightened as she thought more on it. "Then it is no wonder that he has come so far. And no wonder that Shaye has survived so much. Arctrans believe they have Nine gods, yet only two are real. Thalan, and his twin, Hano ... they are the children of the Goddess. Perhaps your friend and his wife were chosen long before either one could have known what was coming, simply for a oath made in the light of the moon, to the Lightbearer."

"Perhaps," Conall replied, himself inclined to believe it. "Though if you were to tell him so, he would scoff," he added with a wry grin. "As long as I have known him, there is only one who truly knows his heart. I am not sure what they swore together, but whatever it was, that bond was strong enough to hold them together when they were far apart, and to find them and bring them back together again, despite the odds. I, for one, do not believe it was chance that found them or made them who they are, nor I think does he, though he will hardly admit it."
[size=9:fa373e12e6][color=darkred:fa373e12e6][i:fa373e12e6]Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow. [/i:fa373e12e6][b:fa373e12e6]- Descartes[/b:fa373e12e6][/color:fa373e12e6][/size:fa373e12e6]

Ariana

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Re: The Goddess Moon
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2015, 11:24:09 AM »
"There is little room for chance when the Goddess lays Her hand upon you," she agreed with a smile of her own, a secret hidden in her eyes as she glanced up at him. "What would you say, eniro, if I told you that my mother, and my brother, are in this camp with us?" she asked him with impish good humor. "That one does not know, and one will not tell?"

He arched a brow at her, a little surprised by this mention of family he knew nothing about. His own family had been taken from him long ago, though he had come to peace with it, finding and forging new family ties, though not by blood. He considered her claim a moment, his mind sifting through all the possibilities, and finally settling on only one that made sense, though it seemed almost too incredible for belief. It explained a lot, though, and in a way, made perfect sense. "Rory?" he asked, more intuitive than he gave himself credit for. "How long have you known?"

Her smile deepened for a moment. "I suspected when we first met him," she admitted with a faint shrug, "but suspicions mean nothing without proof of some kind. I knew for certain when Clan Kirun joined the march, and I saw my mother. She gave him up when she saw his path, and now she won't tell him who she is. She says he does not need to know."

"I don't agree," he said, brows furrowing. "I would give almost anything to have known my mother and father. If she still lives, it would be a blessing for them both to know each other," he said, sounding as passionate about it as he felt.

Liayna sighed softly. "Would he forgive her for giving him up?" she asked her lover gently. "He was raised an Arctran, as you were. Our ways are very different, eniro. Would he believe that she only wanted him to know her, as his star rises? Or would he think she has some agenda, some desire to gain power through him? Clan Kirun has the keeping of Loscar and its surround. She will be able to watch over him if Ariana chooses to keep this place her capital. And if our queen returns to Phalion, then we will watch over them both."

"It is not a matter of blame, Lia," Conall argued, feeling vehemently passionate about the matter, if only because he shared the boy's pain. "He has no family he is aware of, and without us and Ariana, he is alone in the world. You, at least, should be honest with him. He trusts you, he listens to you. You can reach him when no one else can. He deserves to know that you are more than just a friend. I am certain it would mean much to him, Lia, to know there is someone who shares his bloodline left in the world." And he doubted the boy would blame her for something that was not her doing.

She frowned a little, uncertain which course was correct. Her mother's wishes, or the sound sense of her eniro? She nestled closer to Conall, listening to the beat of his heart. "Do you truly believe he would find more peace than anger in such knowledge?" she asked him quietly, unwilling to cause more harm to her younger brother. He had suffered a great deal over the past year, she knew; the last thing she wanted was to deal him more pain.

"I think if he cannot have a mother, he should at least have a sister, but do not deprive him of both," Conall replied without hesitation. He did not know anything about her mother and could not judge there, but he knew Liayna, and he thought it would not only be good for Rory, but for her, as well. "I would never begrudge you such a bond of family, aera. Would you have your brother never know his sister or that of his sister's child?"

Her first thought was to argue that Rory did know her, but she didn't say it aloud. Conall was right; while Rory knew her, he did not know she was his sister. He was lacking that family bond. It was cruel enough that his own aera would never know the bond of family as it should be; perhaps Rory would be glad to know his blood was shared by others. "I will tell him," she promised softly. "Before we march on, he will know of me, at least."

He smiled, happy for her and for Rory, even if he could not share such a bond himself. Liam was like a brother, and Rory would be linked to him by way of Liayna; Kari had loved his mother like a daughter - there were more bonds to a family than just those of blood. He kissed her cheek, pleased with the decision she'd made, knowing in his heart that it was the right one. "It might be hard for him to accept, at first, but I do not think you will regret it."

She laughed a little, looking up at him with warm eyes. "I think I will have another man in my life who does not wish me to bear arms in the battle to come," she said with a rueful grin, reaching up to gently touch his cheek as she drew his lips to hers.

"I think you are right," he replied with a soft smile, touching his lips to hers, warm enough to chase away the chill of winter. This, too, he thought was another gift of the Goddess - bringing together and healing the bonds of family that had been lost for too long. His heart felt light and happy to know that he had been part of this, knowing the Goddess had seen fit to use him in Her own way and grateful for all She had given him.

As Liayna gathered him into her arms, warm and loving in the light of the twin moons, another member of their family was also gathered close into the arms of their beloved. Not blood, perhaps, but bound as closely as a brother, Liam O'Connor could no more escape the ties of his family than Conall might ever want to. And in his own tent, not so very far away, he and his wife were celebrating the Goddess Moon in their own way.

Unlike Ariana and Rory, who were only just discovering each other, and Liayna and Conall, who were already expecting their first child, Shaye and Liam had no reason to take things slowly or gently. Both of them raised to be warriors, their lovemaking was a very physical thing and might seem almost violent to some, though there were tender moments, too. Neither held back, both of them taking what they wanted from the other, comfortable enough with each other to know the other's limits.

It was one of the reasons why everything in their tent was sturdily constructed. Meara had grown tired of replacing the prettier things she had hoped Shaye's influence would bring into Liam's daily life, as evidenced by the scatter of table and chairs over the rug as the wedded couple wrestled with one another, sharing as much laughter as passion while armor and clothing found a home for the night on the floor of their tent.

There were nights when their lovemaking was more tender and gentle, but tonight was not one of those nights. Both of them passionate and hot-blooded, the sounds of the camp outside only serving to stimulate that craving and needful passion for the other. At the heart of that passion, there was love - deep, abiding love that went bone-deep, blood-deep, driving to the very souls of their being, and each coupling was like a reflection of that love, striving to become one once again with the other, to meld with the other, to be one mind and body and soul.

When respite came, it was never for very long; staggered breaths in the dim light as they lay together, remembering the first years of their love, promising many more years yet to come. Shaye laughed as she dragged Liam up onto the bed, thumping down beside him breathlessly. "One of these days," she gasped, "we're going to learn to start here."
[size=9:fa373e12e6][color=darkred:fa373e12e6][i:fa373e12e6]Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow. [/i:fa373e12e6][b:fa373e12e6]- Descartes[/b:fa373e12e6][/color:fa373e12e6][/size:fa373e12e6]

Ariana

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Re: The Goddess Moon
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2015, 11:24:54 AM »
Liam was no longer the shy, timid boy he had once been, grown confident and strong and assertive in his manhood, though that shy, timid boy still existed somewhere deep inside him. That boy that had fallen in love with Shaye so many years ago, when she had befriended him, both of them lonely and alone and needing a friend. He had always been the more serious of the two, but tonight he was laughing along with her. Even if he wasn't sure if he believed in the Goddess, he was sure of the goddess beside him and glad someone had seen fit to bring her back into his life. "One of these days when you learn not to tease me," he countered, placing the blame entirely on her.

"Oh, come on," she laughed, rolling onto her side to poke at his stomach playfully. "I paid my debt before you got your breastplate off. It's not my fault you decided to try and sit on the table instead of the bed." She snickered, leaning down to tease her lips against his. "You're going to have a magnificent bruise on your arse in the morning, rua."

"My ego will likely suffer far more than my arse, lea," he pointed out, as he pushed her hair away from her face, fingers grazing her cheek. Quiet, private moments such as these had become all too rare for the Commander and First Blade, and they had learned to take advantage of them while they could, not wasting a single moment. "You could have waited until I was comfortable," he pointed out, green eyes glittering with amusement in the firelight. He wound a handful of her hair around his fingers, just because he liked the feel of it in his hand, knowing every inch of her belonged to him.

"Oh, but where's the fun in that?" she chuckled, allowing him to be possessive of her in these moments that belonged entirely to them. Perhaps, when she had passed on the title of First Blade, she would allow him such moments where others could see, but for now, she only submitted for his eyes alone. "I thought you did very well, issuing the evening orders without letting the officers know my hand was on your cock." She grinned, utterly unrepentant for her mischief.

"It's good to know I have your approval. Goddess only knows what would happen if I did not have you here to distract me," he replied, the only hint that he was teasing the glint of mischief in his eyes. She knew him better than anyone - better even than those he would call family. "Goddess Moon or no, I only hope we are not being too lax. Were I Velasca, I would take advantage and choose tonight to strike a blow against the Wild Ones." Liam was no fool, however. He had taken every precaution, and while the clansmen were celebrating, the Arctrans were even more vigilant than ever.

Shaye sighed, rolling her eyes as he returned to business. She let herself thump down onto her back beside him. "The army that attacks the Wild Ones tonight is fooling itself," she pointed out. "We've seen them fight when they're not caught up in their magical frenzy. I don't want to imagine how deadly they must be when their Goddess is inside them."

He frowned a little at the eye-roll from her, knowing he had somehow disappointed her by voicing that careless observation, but despite these all-too-rare private moments, there was no taking the Commander out of Liam, especially now that they were so close to what they hoped would be the final battle, but who better to talk to about his own worries and misgivings than the one woman who knew him best? To everyone else in camp, he was the Commander of the Queen's Army; to Shaye, he was just her Liam - that same shy, timid, uncertain thirteen-year old boy she'd challenged to sparring all those years ago. "As always, you're right, and I'm worrying for nothing."

"I'm not always right," she pointed out with a wry smile, brushing her lips against his shoulder. "But this time ... yes. Yes, I am absolutely correct, and I think you should pay me tribute for pointing out the obvious." Her dark eyes sparkled as she grinned at him, gently biting his shoulder as her hand slithered down over his abdomen to tease a little more. "I am, after all, simply the greatest in everything I do, don't you think?"

One blond brow flickered upwards at her challenge. "You have a ravenous appetite, wife. I do not think there is a man alive who could satisfy it." Or woman either, for that matter. He growled a little as her hand wandered over him, teasing him further and easily rekindling the desire that was still smoldering inside him. His body reacted to her touch in ways other women could never quite achieve. "Everything but cooking. You were always a lousy cook," he countered, rolling to cover her with his body and trace the line of her throat with his lips. If she wanted him to pay tribute to her, he would, but at some point, she would have to return that favor or leave him in agony.

Laughing, she welcomed him into her arms once again, nuzzling tender kisses to his temple and cheek as he warmed her with his own body. "I can name one man who can satisfy me," she murmured to him, her knee fitting snugly to his hip as she arched beneath him. "I'm wearing his ring, after all." No one had ever touched her the way Liam did - not purely with his hands or lips, but with his smile, his mind, the constant challenge of loving him and being loved in return. How had she lived for so long without it? His comment on her cooking made her laugh. "I suppose I will have to learn how to make an edible meal," she chuckled, drawing her fingers over his back. "When I'm nothing more than your wife."

Despite their differences, his body fit hers perfectly, her curves to his angles, but strong and muscled from years of soldiering, though she was slender, light, and dextrous, and he was solid and imposing. It had always been this way with them, as if they were perfectly made for the other, exact opposites, different and yet alike in all the right way. "You will never be nothing but a wife, Shaye-lea, unless that is what you wish to be," he replied, tiring of the talk already, though he'd been the one to initiate it. There would be plenty of time for talk later; there were more immediate needs to be tended to, and he had never been one to ignore a challenge, especially one that came from her.

"It's all I've ever wished for," she moaned softly, rising to him as he set his mind to something far more enjoyable than simple conversation. The scar on her left hand smoothed over his shoulder as she clung to him, more than happy to love and be loved, to give as good as she was given, if he gave her the chance. He was the only man she had ever submitted to, and he reaped the benefits of her submission whenever they were alone.

She had kept her promise to pay her debt, as he'd put it, and it was only fair that he return the favor, paying tribute to her the only way he knew how. No matter how many times they might make love, he thought he could never really repay the debt he owed her from boyhood. She had saved him more than once, not only from possible death, but from a life of loneliness. She had helped him become who and what he was, always believing in him, even when he didn't believe in himself. How could he ever repay such a debt? In the end, all he could do was love her, and love her he did, showing her in the only way he knew how just how much he loved and desired her, taking her to the pinnacle of pleasure once more with the skill of one who knew her too well. It wasn't the first time he took her that night and it would likely not be the last, each time as passionate as the first.

They loved each other with the passion they had always held, always shared with one another, be it alone or before other eyes, unafraid to lose themselves in each other for a little while, knowing it made them stronger.
[size=9:fa373e12e6][color=darkred:fa373e12e6][i:fa373e12e6]Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow. [/i:fa373e12e6][b:fa373e12e6]- Descartes[/b:fa373e12e6][/color:fa373e12e6][/size:fa373e12e6]

Ariana

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Re: The Goddess Moon
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2015, 11:26:02 AM »
Across the camp, behind the thick leather draping of the royal tent, others were learning that same lesson together. Ariana could not have said quite how they had come to this moment; how they had shifted from the dance to here, lying naked upon the furs of the bed, breathlessly adoring one another with tender affection.

While old lovers renewed the dance they had long since perfected, reveling in the familiarity of their chosen partner, and the Wild Ones showed why, in part, they were known by such a name, inside the royal tent another dance was taking place, awkward and clumsy, but none the less passionate for its newness. Tender kisses and caresses were exchanged between the young lovers, hearts beating in time with the other, breath shared, bodies tangled in a lovers' embrace. Rory claimed Ariana for his own as gently and tenderly as he could, without ever having experienced this sort of love for himself, each of them learning along with the other. He gave as much as he took, showing her the loving tenderness that she deserved, that they both needed and craved.

The pain they had both been warned of did not appear, perhaps another gift from the Goddess to ease their way, and Ariana rose to this joining with startled, joyful delight, finally embracing her womanhood as the man she loved truly made her a woman. Gasping lips pressed kisses to his mouth, his neck, his shoulder; grasping hands both caressed and held tight, seeking out the unspoken, promised pinnacle that was theirs to share.

In that moment, they were no longer children, no longer Queen and Consort in name alone - they shed their childhood in claiming each other, in meeting the other in this dance of love that had been shared between men and women since time immemorial. As for himself, he had never known anyone as beautiful as Ariana, had never felt anything as wonderful, as astonishing as this joining, had never experienced anything as moving as this most sacred of acts between a man and a woman on this most divine night of the Goddess moon. Fingers linked together, their bodies moving at one in the night, he took her to that promised pinnacle, overcome with amazement by the depth and power of the sensations, the pleasure, the purest joy and love that came over him as they reached that peak together.

And out in the forest, standing between the light of the moons and the light of the fires, Kari stood, the Goddess-born of the Wild Ones, the voice of the Goddess on earth, and smiled. She raised her eyes to the full moons, feeling the love that suffused every heart that beat all around her. "Na'Leniniya do'sai."

Tonight, they were all the children of the Goddess.

[size=9]((All three couples in one thread - go us! And huge, huge thanks to my partner in crime!))[/size]
[size=9:fa373e12e6][color=darkred:fa373e12e6][i:fa373e12e6]Illusory joy is often worth more than genuine sorrow. [/i:fa373e12e6][b:fa373e12e6]- Descartes[/b:fa373e12e6][/color:fa373e12e6][/size:fa373e12e6]