1626, Sacred Time, Luck Week, Freezeday
After Session 2.30 (Sha-MEN!)
Boldhome, in the pastures below the Palace
There are plenty of spoilers here. And it gets mildly naughty and super fluffy. Read at your own risk.
I don’t want to read the fluff, but I want the safe and short version of this…
Varanis and Serala run into each other after the Vingan has escaped her duties for a brief ride in the pastures. Very happy to be reunited, they romp around in the hay a little and then Serala proposes marriage. Varanis wants to say yes, but needs to confer with Prince Kallyr.
When Serala comes out to check on Cav, she notices someone riding about the pastures on a zebra. There’s something vaguely familiar about the figure, but the distance between them is too great to be certain.
Serala makes herself comfortable against the fence, narrowing her eyes for a moment, before shaking her head and dismissing the moment of nostalgia – and, frankly, more interested in the zebra, a breed she has little experience with. She whistles almost idly for Cav, in her usual commanding ‘be here now, horse’ whistle, pulling an apple out of her pocket. A small knife almost magically appears in her hand, and she cuts herself a slice while she waits for the Goldeneye to respond to her call.
In the distance, the zebra rears up in response to Serala’s whistle and bizarrely, the rider fails to stay on.1Uh…. just need to look up the fumble chart.
Eyebrows raised, Serala ducks under the fence, cutting some more pieces of apple and holding them out to Cav in response to his quick arrival. Vaulting up onto the horse’s back, she turns him and canters across the expanse of field. Clearly someone had best check on the rider. And a close up look at the zebra wouldn’t go amiss either. Priorities.
The rider does not get up immediately, but by the time Serala is close enough to see her more clearly, she is climbing to her feet gingerly. She looks different from the last time the Grazelander saw her. The long red mane of which she was so proud has been cropped short, falling almost to her chin. She’s leaner too, the curves worn away by whatever it is she’s been up to. Oddly, she’s not in the bronze armour that likely would have made her easier to recognise from a distance. She is cursing roundly in Pure Horse Tongue, phrases that sound a lot like Finarvi’s.
Cav wheels around, so Serala can lean out to the side and catch the zebra’s bridle. The zebra lays its ears back, but the Grazelander uses Cav to move in close, all but coralling the other beast in the way she wants it to go. She then turns back towards the zebra rider, calling “You want your stripe-horse ba…” She breaks off, coming to a halt with only the lightest of squeezes to Cav’s side, sitting back in the saddle in shock. “You!”
Serala is mostly unchanged – other than a pair of deep scars that run, one up each cheekbone, making her already defined face even more angular. Deep scars, the sign of a vicious battle nearly lost.
Varanis looks up, shocked into silence. Then, “Serala?”
A slow blink from Serala, staring down. “This is.. unexpected.” Right now, there seems to be little emotion on her face.2S: Do me an insight human? V: OMG. Really? What are the odds of rolling two 99s in a row? S: HAHAHAHAHA. Err.. I guess your reading of her might be that she’s annoyed to see you here, on ‘her’ turf then…
The Vingan groans. “Sometimes, I think the gods hate me. I’ve missed you for so long and they finally bring you back to me, just in time to watch me fall.” Her cheeks are flushed with embarrassment as she reaches for the zebra’s bridle.
A smile, finally, starts to spread across Serala’s face. “I don’t know,” she almost purrs. “It’s how we started our relationship, as I trained your horses, and it seems to have worked well so far.” Her grey eyes latch onto Varanis’ face, expression as intense as a hawk sighting its prey. “I got your letter.”
Varanis peers up at Serala through her lashes. “You did?”
“I did.” The Grazelander finally slides down from her horse, patting Cav gently and idly feeding him apple. And sharing with your zebra too, if it wants any. Finally taking a slice for herself, and then holding one towards your lips. “Apple?” she offers.
Warning – it gets fluffy and a mildly naughty
Varanis’ nostrils flare as she sucks in a deep breath. Her eyes flutter shut for a moment. Then she looks directly at Serala and accepts the proffered slice of fruit.
“Good.” Serala takes another slice for herself before letting Cav have the remains of the core. “I came seeking a gift. Something that would… appropriately… respond. But perhaps that is not so necessary now. Her grey eyes fix on Varanis’, intent, “Perhaps there have been enough words, enough gifts. What do you think, my Vingan?”
By way of answer, Varanis closes the remaining distance between them in a rush, pulling the other woman into her arms. “I’ve missed you,” she whispers, repeating her earlier statement. She brings her lips to Serala’s, a tentative, feather-light kiss.
Serala twines her fingers into Varanis’s shorter hair, with an only slightly discernible growl as she finds it so much shorter. It has been too long, and the Grazelander has, apparently few inhibitions about the location. In the middle of a field, private enough to keep the woman she’s been yearning for close.
Varanis shudders in response to the deepening of the kiss. One hand slides up to cup the base of Serala’s skull, holding her in place, while the other strokes down her back.
Serala half laughs, reaching to bring Cav close, and releasing you, only to offer you a foot up onto his back. “Stables.” she says simply. Because, with Serala, where else? There is an element of choice, giving Varanis the option to baulk or counter, but left to herself… the two of them are getting up on Cav’s back. Because that’s a real carriage, a goldeneye’s back, and what better bed than a pile of sweetly scented straw? The Grazelander is, indeed, a barbarian.
Varanis obeys the directive with unseemly alacrity, launching herself onto the horse with the Serala’s aid.
Cav snorts and dances slightly, but he is a gentle creature and doesn’t object, even when Serala leaps up lightly behind Varanis. Untying a long piece of thong from around her waist, she reaches to tie the zebra to a long rein and then turns the group towards the stables. Holding Varanis securely before her, arms wrapped tight, she rides like the wind, likely as fast as Varanis has ever gone. Except for when her horses bolt, of course…
Holding onto Cav’s mane, Varanis relaxes into Serala’s arms. It’s an act of pure trust, given she’s never ridden this horse before, let alone in this manner.
There is no chance of Serala letting her fall, and Cav is an amazing creature to ride, with the smoothest gait, almost floating over the ground. Arriving at the stable, Serala slides to the ground, looks towards the Vingan… and then says “Horses first.” Cav is easy, he wasn’t wearing tack, so he returns to the field with a slap on his rump. Serala lifts an eyebrow though, looking to the zebra, still in its tack. She… appears to be serious…
Varanis looks like she wants to argue, but after studying Serala’s face, she bites her lip and sets to work, stripping Zukko’s tack from him with brisk efficiency. The bridle and saddle get put away and she returns with a couple of brushes. Hesitantly, she offers one to Serala. “Two will make the work faster.”
Serala looks deeply entertained. But that hasn’t reduced the burning in her eyes. She reaches out to close her hand over the brush, her work-rough fingers brushing the Esrolian’s as delicately as the touch of butterfly wings as she takes it. “You make a fair point,” she acknowledges. Her own breathing is quicker, and not from the ride. But having waited so long, she can wait until the zebra is seen to. And it takes almost no time with the Grazelander helping, no time before Varanis becomes aware of her standing very close. “Last chance,” she whispers.
Varanis turns in Serala’s arms. She lets the brush fall to the floor as she presses forward, trying to pin the other woman against the side of the stall, in an attempt to assert some semblance of control over the situation. Her lips seek out Serala’s, hungry and demanding.
There is soft laughter from Serala, even as her lips meet the Vingan’s. It’s a moot point who is in control, as her fingers seek out clothes and… quite deliberately… tear at them, clearly not caring if she causes damage. Pulling away enough, she gasps, “Take them off, or I swear I’ll rip them all off you, Varanis.”
This earns a breathless laugh, even as Varanis moves to comply. “That’s just what I need! To return to the Grape with torn clothing, having slipped my guard. Berra would have my head.” Her sword belt clatters to the stable floor.
Serala is watching, not that she objects to disrobing, but she’s enjoying watching too much. They’ve shared baths, but the tension singing in the air makes those memories fade as she claims these new ones, unwilling to miss a moment. “Tell Berra it was my fault. She’d believe that.”
As the Vingan’s clothes fall to the floor, she is left standing in front of the fully clothed Serala. Goose flesh rises on her lean limbs. A lot has happened in the seasons since they parted. New tattoos and new scars hint at the stories that will need to be shared, but perhaps not yet. “Come, my golden one. Don’t leave me shivering alone.” She reaches for Serala with eager hands.
There is no ceremony as Serala shrugs out of her leather tunic and trousers, garments as comfortable to her as a second skin. No other obvious changes to her, the changes to Serala are mostly in presence and confidence, as she steps towards Varanis, twisting the fingers of one hand into her hair, wrapping the other around her waist to pull her close. Holding on as, with a sudden, unexpected giggle, she falls sideways, bringing them both crashing down into the hay together.
Show more fluff and naughtiness
Snuggled together in a nest in the hay, two hot, sweaty, naked women rest, half wrapped around each other. Even now, Serala’s hands wander gently over Varanis’s form as though trying to memorise every curve. “What on earth did you do to your hair?” she asks. Clearly that is the most pressing issue of the moment.
Varanis’ breath hitches as Serala’s fingers trail over sensitised skin. “I gave it to Humakt. A sacrifice for bringing Xenofos home.” She tells Serala the complicated story of Lenta’s kidnapping and the frantic search for the Esrolian girl. When she speaks of their boat sinking, her desperate attempt to save Serzeen, and the loss of Xenofos, she looks haunted. “It was a bad time… I… I don’t know if you would have recognized me. I offered Humakt a sacrifice if He’d bring Xenofos back and He did.”
The tale is grim. Serzeen, whom Irillo loves beyond measure, dead and then restored to life but at cost. The Hulta girl rescued, but her kidnapper escaped.
“Good job. Or he would not have been able to write your letter.” Serala notes calmly. Her arms do tighten, offering silent comfort. “We live in interesting times, Varanis. I know you are aware of that more than many. There is pain, and loss. That will never change; all we can hope for is to make it less. By your actions you did make it less – hold onto that. Don’t let the past drown you.”
“The Hulta girl… Lenta…” Varanis absently strokes Serala’s arm as she searches for words. “She wanted me and… I was tempted. That’s what made her a target. She was a way to get at me.” She says this quietly, uncertain of Serala’s reaction.
“We never made a commitment to each other.” Serala responds, sighing in contentment as she shifts closer to you. “That is something I would like to change. But our paths are going to continue to diverge. My path remains with the Grazelands, and Apple Lane; I committed to being Thane there. Yours? I don’t know. Where does your path lead? I will have to have children for the Clan, which rather suggests male involvement somewhere.” A flash of a grin, that sudden mirth that is usually only shared with her family. “I could just send out for a stud, of course.” There is a long pause, “Or.. now that you have got me out of your system, we could simply go our separate ways. But if we do that, then you have to promise to only be tempted by people who can look after themselves and not get kidnapped! Idiot Vingan.” The last said with a fond smile and a gentle tweak of Varanis’ nose.
Varanis slides her legs along Serala’s, hooking her ankle around the other woman possessively. “Mine. You are mine. I know you need to produce children for your clan and I am not free to marry as I choose. But anyone I marry will have to accept that I will not surrender you. I don’t think I’ll ever get you out of my system.” She splays her fingers over Serala’s belly. “If you send out for a stud…. Well, nothing says you can’t have some assistance with him.”
Serala purrs and stretches, turning towards you with a sigh of contentment. “Have you considered asking your Grandmother if she would approve you marrying a barbarian Grazelander?” she asks. “You appear to take it as read that it’s an impossibility.” With laughter to her tones, she points out in her best, admittedly appalling, Esrolian, “I’m a barbarian Grazelander with a title now, don’t you know?!”
Varanis chuckles, low and throaty. “Titles are all well and good, but can you handle someone like me? I’m informed I’m terribly Orlanthi and almost as emotional as a man.” In a more serious tone, she adds, “I may need Kallyr’s approval. As her kinswoman, I have certain responsibilities there too.”
Serala rolls, pinning the other woman under her, and presses her hand to Varanis’ breast, lifting the Vingan’s hand to hers in a mirror of the gesture. “Varanis, I would never stoop to ‘handle’ you. For good or ill, you captured my heart, and if you would have me, I would marry you and revel in… in your Orlanthiness! I have never found issue with your emotions.” Her eyes darken slightly, “I would say horseshit to Kallyr, but I understand. I spoke to Grandfather already, I understand obligation of family.” She drops her head, stealing a kiss. “Marry me, Varanis Saiciae.”
Varanis sucks in a breath, startled. “Serala… I… I need to speak to the Prince. But if she allows it, then yes. Yes. My grandmother be damned.” She slides her hand up to cup the back of Serala’s head to pull her down for a fierce kiss.
- 1Uh…. just need to look up the fumble chart.
- 2S: Do me an insight human? V: OMG. Really? What are the odds of rolling two 99s in a row? S: HAHAHAHAHA. Err.. I guess your reading of her might be that she’s annoyed to see you here, on ‘her’ turf then…