Drinking under the moon

The Little River Road

re called the daoi, but everyone called them beast people behind their backs, being too scared to ever say it in their faces. They had the reputation of skin changers, taking the form of a wolf during battle and hunting down their enemies in the middle of the night only to feast on their flesh.

”What strange man, ” Iris let slip through her lips, ”so cold. ”

”He lives in a cold place, My Lady, ” Gilda explained, ”The cold froze him to the bone. ”

”The current lord isn even the son of the one before him, ” Mary added, ”Lord Varg Rolfe, the old beast lord, didn take any wife, nor did he have any children, not even bastards. Instead, he went south and north, east and west all around his territory and chose seven promising children whom he personally trained. ”

”Seven children? ” Iris asked, ”From the plebeians? ”

”Yes, my lady, ” the maid continued, ”The old lord chose one of the boys as his heir and adopted him, a boy of 16 who became lord the same year upon the death of his father. ”

”The death or the murder of the old beast lord? ” Gilda interrupted. ”Many still believe that it was the new son who actually murdered the old lord to get his title and possessions. ”

”But all the daoi stood behind their new lord, ” continued Mary, ”They said he was chosen because the blood of Vinca, the wolf goddess, runs thickest in his veins and no one could say otherwise as no other territory believed in those beast gods. ”

”The wolf goddess, Vinca? I have never heard of her. ” Iris thought of the many gods her mothers ancestors had, there was no Vinca. And the new religion prayed to the Mother and the Father only.

”How could you have heard of them, My Lady? They are pagans and so are their gods, ” Gilda said firmly.

The maid was raised in the new religion, not believing in any of the ancient ones. The Martels also prayed to the new gods and the church recognized them as believers, but while Durian had no interest in religion, his sister was more interested in the gods the mage kings rose temples for. There was one in the forest behind Tomis castle, an old ruin which knew too many seasons. But the paintings on the walls were still vivid, not bothered by the passing of time. Compared to the Mother and the Father who were always kind and forgiving, those gods were fierce, marching in battle with only a robe covering half their body. They were merciless with their enemies, but just with their subjects and loving with their children. Those walls told many stories. Iris did not dare say any of it to her friends before and less now to her maids. So, she just nodded.

The heavy wooden doors opened to let them inside the inner garden where she finally got out of the carriage, her husband coming to help her and lead her towards the entrance.

”Lady Martel, its been a long time! ” The butler greeted her, his watery eyes smiling at her.

”Its Lady Walter now, Brandon, ” she corrected him gently, ”and this is my husband, Lord Walter. ”

”You honour us with your presence, my lord! I have prepared the best room and warm food. Would you like to have dinner in the dining hall? ”

”Well eat in our room, ” Benjamin responded.

The butler seemed surprised but didn ask anything more. He called for a maid to show them to their room and to prepare a bath. It seemed strange to sleep in another room here and not in her old one. But her little bed was not big enough for the both of them. And they needed a big bed.

As soon as they were clean again, dinner was served. Lamb, pork and fish were served with freshly baked bread and grapes, along with the most delicious wine in the area. The hills here were known in the whole Argidava for their sweet grapes, trading both the fruits and their wine with the rest of the kingdom. They feasted on the food and drink, and when they were content, Benjamin took her to the big baldaquin bed.

He took down her robe while keeping her mouth busy. Kisses started pouring over her lips, ears and neck, their hands exploring each others bodies. She didn want to be passive this time, like the night when she didn know anything right about bed duty. Now she wanted to explore, to taste his flavour and to take more for herself. Last time she felt she needed something more, some kind of release and, although she felt ecstatic, something was missing. Something she had to discover that night. But their love making was fast, their hot breaths mixing with the wet noises of their bodies. Soon he finished inside her and collapsed in her arms.

Iris felt a little dejected. Not because she didn find pleasure in their encounter, but she didn find the missing part she was waiting for. This is just the beginning, she thought, and there will be many more nights and many more occasions to find out. The next day they would continue their way on the Little River Road, up the river to Alutus castle and her new home.

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