A Russian Valentine's Day

byddimilano©

Fully erect, he had evidently learned his lesson, too. I straddled him, and then drew him inside.

Enveloping him, I answered: "I learned that it pays to be sassy!"

VII

The next morning I awoke before sunrise. The Moon was still somewhat high and was shining through the skylight. Rising slowly from the bed I walked naked across the room. I felt my way across, being careful to not bump anything and make noise. It was one large room; one of those converted warehouse apartments near the river, cafes, and nightclubs. The perfect place for a handsome, single Russian Army officer living off base; I scowled.

Finding my shoulder bag where I left it on the dining table, I pulled out the moonflower. I brought the entire plant: roots, leaves, stems, and flowers still attached. Walking back over to the bed, he was still asleep. Pulling the blanket down to his knees, I saw him again—like the hospital, on his back, exposed, naked, and waiting.

Placing the moonflower on his torso, the top of the plant in the center of his chest, and the roots near his now sleeping member, I straddled his waist and in a low whisper began the spell:

"O Februus please hear my prayer

Your faithful servant Nadya summons you

O god to Februa

Goddess of the Moon

Please guide me this troubled day

It is I Nadya

Granddaughter to Valentina

Our Lasa of old

Who seeks forgiveness and exception to your natural law

I have found him O Februus

I have found him alas!

Although he is unknowing

He is truly worthy

Golden is he

Lupo he shall be

Let him be mine

Your servant forever I be"



I looked up through the skylight and saw the Moon. Shining brightly through the glass, I felt Her warmth. Exhausted, I laid down on his chest, my breasts crushing the moonflower between us. We slept past the dawn.

VIII

"What the…" Feeling the scratchy nature of a plant pressed between us, he rolled us to the side. The mid-morning Sun was shining brightly through the windowed ceiling.

"Morning!" I said before we kissed, trying to distract him from the inevitable conversation regarding the plant that was sandwiched between us.

He picked up the moonflower by its stem, examined it, and then looked over at me.

"It's a moonflower!" I said. "It has special properties."

"Okay…what's it doing in bed with us?" He asked.

"Oh, you know us gypsy girls," I flirted. "We're always doing silly things like this. It's a kind of love charm." I paused. "You know, where I come from, this is the time of year when lovers choose one another," I said as I nuzzled up closer and began to kiss and lick his chest.

"Really?" He said, acting as though he knew nothing of what I spoke. "Does that mean we would have to sleep with different plants, or just this one?"

Taking the moonflower from his hand I pouted, "Oh…you won't understand." I turned to the other side of the bed, my back facing him.

He began to stroke my hair, and then from behind he moved closer, lying next to me, his body forming to mine, as a spoon. He began to kiss the back of my ear, softly. Reaching around in front of me with one hand, he cupped my right breast, squeezing, his hand firm and large, darkened by the sun, in sharp contrast to the fair olive tone of my torso.

I turned to my back. Looking over to him I said nothing and just waited with my lips parted. He smiled while stroking my hair. Placing his lips upon my own, I felt the wetness of his tongue penetrate my mouth. With one leg stretching over my waist and an arm reaching across he kneaded my breast as we kissed.

"Mmmm…a full body hug," I said, approvingly.

"So are we choosing each other?" He asked.

"Well, we're made to think that it's our choice. We all have free will, but sometimes a higher power guides us into what we believe is our choice. And sometimes we just fall victim to Cupid's Arrow…or Lupa's Bite." I chuckled while reaching down to cup him between the legs. Stroking him, I moved closer for a kiss.

IX

The percolator signaled that our coffee was ready and I scrambled over to pour it into cups. He had no milk, but plenty of sugar. Much to my surprise, he also had a toaster for bread and a fry pan with pre-scrambled eggs in a carton stored in the icebox.

"I've never seen this type of eggs before," I commented.

"They're from the base. I bring some home once in a while. It's not always easy to find fresh eggs in the markets, and they keep longer."

He was reading today's Pravda, delivered to his door in the morning. Setting the paper down, he took a sip of coffee, and then picked up the crushed moonflower sitting on the table.

"So, what kind of plant is this?"

I put two plates on the table, both with scrambled eggs and toast. "It's a very sacred plant; harvested only at night when it's in full bloom. It's called a moonflower."

"Sacred?" He asked with skepticism.

"Yes." Now was the time. There would be no better time, I thought. "Tribal lore has handed down customs and secrets from one generation to the next over several centuries. My people practice them and hold them very close and dear. It's not only part of our culture; it's in the very fabric of what we are. We brought them with us from Moldavia when we fled the Nazis; they treated the Roma just like they treated the Jews.

"Some of our practices are indigenous. Others were brought to us under Roman occupation of Romania over 1800 years ago. The Festival of Lupercalia is one such custom; it deals with ritual purification under the waxing moon, honoring the time of the wolf that rules the night but brings more light with the lengthening of the day. It's also a festival of mating and fertility, celebrated every February. It was later renamed and changed a great deal by the church. We mixed in our own lore and it has been practiced wherever Roma live, just like it was by the Romany of the Carpathian Mountains. In the west it is now known as St. Valentine's Day.

"How does the wolf become part of romantic holiday?"

"In ancient times, the wolf was a symbol of strength and fertility. The priest would sacrifice a goat, because of its high sex drive, to the goddess Luperca, or the she-wolf said to have raised Romulus and Remus in a cave. Years later, two young men were chosen once a year in mid-February to run naked through the village with floggers, or lustare, made of the sacrificed goat skin to lash the women who would run outside to meet them. It was said that if lashed three times with the sacred skin a woman would have easy childbirth and enjoy increased fertility. After that, they would feast. Then the eligible women would enter their names in a sort of lottery, to see who they would be coupled with for the next year. Today we just pick a Valentine card."

"That sounds a lot simpler." He said sarcastically. Holding up the plant again, he asked, "And where does this fit in?"

"The moonflower represents all five of the Natural Elements," I continued. "The roots are part of the Earth, the stem transports Water, the leaves blow in the Air, the flower combusts and explodes like Fire and the invisible fragrance has power and is likened to Spirit. Also, the flower is white and opens only after sunset, which links it to the Moon, and the leaves are heart-shaped, linking it to Venus, the Goddess of Love."

I took the moonflower from his hand and began picking the seeds out of some of the buds. Placing them carefully in a small pile, I added, "and the seeds, if consumed properly, possess a mild hallucinogenic quality. They are used in many different rituals conducted by shamans."

"Well!" He said. "That's quite a plant! Are you a shaman? What are you going to do with the seeds?"

Looking up at him I smirked and replied, "They're much better than vodka." He looked over to the bottle of Stolichnaya on the countertop.

X

After finishing breakfast we showered and then sat on the couch. I informed him that the festival was later that evening and he agreed to come with me. We still had most of the afternoon to play. He had a small bag of tobacco he used to hand roll cigarettes. I asked him to make us one. Before he sealed it, I stopped him and dropped several moonflower seeds inside to mix with the tobacco. Together we smoked on the couch.

We listened to Vladimir Vysotsky of the phonograph. Dmitri liked his music a lot. I enjoyed the bardic nature of his recordings. Most of his music was folksy, something I was used to, although they dealt with war topics of honor and emotional strength to demonstrate one's character. The tempo was moderate, but they were all mostly happy songs about soldiers.

The moonflower seeds soon took effect and we felt a tingling sensation. We were cuddled into the corner of the couch. He wore his robe and I wore one of his uniform shirts. It was recently worn and unwashed. I liked it like that, as his scent was still apparent. I left the buttons open in the front except for the lower three. It was long enough on me to cover my lower tummy and almost my entire backside.

After finishing the cigarette we started kissing again. Sensations were accentuated due to the moonflower seeds. Each touch was so much more pronounced. Each caress raised goose bumps on my body.

His body was even more muscular than the previous day. His scent was stronger, too, even though we had showered just a short time ago. His beard was noticeably longer, but did not need to be trimmed yet. Soon, I thought, the transition would be complete, or completely reversed. It would depend on how he took to tonight's ritual.

We still had about an hour before we would have to leave for Penza. The moonflower would soon wear off. I decided to take advantage of it as much as I could. Getting up on his waist, I straddled him. Reaching down, I stroked him to arousal. He unbuttoned and removed his shirt from me and pushed my breasts together, pulling them closer to him. His lips parted and he took them in, one at a time.

Feeding from my nipples like a newborn, he strained with hunger. Caressing my breasts, I felt very inflamed and tender. I positioned myself on him and lowered myself down. He filled me, and I no longer felt a wanton emptiness inside. Up and down I went, until I thought of something so naughty I felt embarrassed to say it aloud.

Leaning forward I put my tongue in his ear. We were breathing heavily, and the pace quickened. Then, between thrusts, I whispered to him, "Dmitri…"

Holding me by the flesh of my thighs he helped me pump up and down.

"Yes, Nadya?" he panted.

As the pace quickened even more, it just came out.

"Spank me again!" I demanded.

He did.

XI

An hour and a half later we were riding in a small, uncovered all wheel drive military vehicle up into the mountains. It wasn't a very comfortable ride, as it was not designed for luxury—and the soreness of my behind did not help matters, either. I did not mind though. It was better than the train, or a bus. I didn't know anyone who had a car. Dmitri was allowed to drive this to and from the base. I think he was breaking a rule.

The Sun was setting as we approached a small Roma encampment about twenty miles southwest of Penza. A trail led off the road through the forest. One could follow the horse tracks, footprints, and wagon marks. He drove straight in, until the path got too narrow. On foot from that point it would be only a few minutes. The trees were very high. Light did not shine through to the ground very brightly, so underbrush was rare. We just walked straight through. If not for the numerous tree trunks, we could have driven the whole way.

I could see the beginnings of a bonfire a short distance straight ahead; there were silhouettes of people dancing and walking about, some in long patched dresses, others in thick suede, furs, and leather. Music was playing—tambourines, guitars, drums, and flutes. I could smell goat cooking on a spit.

Dmitri turned to me, "I guess this is the place?" He asked.

"Yes." Taking him by the hand, I said, "It's about to start."

I brought him in as the circle was forming. The participants were wearing robes. Others stood around the outside of the circle. Two robes were left for us on the altar near the fire. I gave the larger one to Dmitri and began to change into the other. He stopped, noticing the lack of privacy.

"We're late! Come on!" I whispered to him.

He stripped down to his shorts and began to put on the robe. I held his hand to get his attention, he looked over to me and was shocked to see me pull down my panties, remove my bra, and then cover with the robe. I yanked down his shorts and, slapping his butt, said, "Much better! Now put on the robe!"

Joining the circle we stood and were each given a torch by the high priest, dressed in a wolfskin cloak. He smiled at me. Looking over to Dmitri he placed one hand on his shoulder and nodded in the affirmative. We then listened as he and the high priestess spoke. I held Dmitri's hand as he heard the story of the wolf god Lupercus:

"We gather today at this sacred time to honor Lupercus, god of the winter forest, bringer of light, great hunter of old, protector of Romulus and Remus and the kings of shepherds. It is the time for all to rejoice, as our numbers are growing larger with each passing year. We came to this land few, now we are many, Lupercus serving as a guide in the time ruled by Februus, dating back to the Time of Old; a time when our ways were practiced by all, and in the open."

The circle rotated Sun wise toward the high priest, each member of the circle lighting their torch and bowing before the altar, then each resumed their former position in the circle and the high priestess then spoke alone:

"O Ancient One, please hear us now. Join us this night and pass on the spirit of the wolf to us all. Ignite the seeds buried deep in the Earth. Excite the Mother Goddess beyond her passion. Enflame the belly of the maiden and bring forth the birth of spring. Renew our strength!"

Each woman handed her torch to the man next to her and dropped her robe. Each man in turn handed both torches to the woman next to him and dropped his robe. Each person then held, once again, one torch, and was naked in the firelight.

We each followed the circle around to the altar where the high priest and priestess stood, each with lustare in hand. Participants were given the lash, three times by each, once across each breast and once across the backside. Upon striking a participant, the high priest or priestess would exclaim, "It is the time of the wolf!"

After the lashing, one was considered purified. He or she would then take their place before the altar, squatting nude on the ground to practice shapeshifting. Some were successful and others were not; those that were sat on the ground and growled, licking their paws.

Dmitri and I were last. Other couples had begun to pair off before the altar, making love on the ground. He stepped before the high priestess and she visually examined him. Then she took the chalice filled with wine, charged it with the goatskin lustare by wrapping it around the chalice. Giving me the chalice of red wine, she exclaimed, "Behold the Great Golden Wolf!"

I held the chalice down to his private parts and dipped him inside. Some of the wine spilled out as I pushed it up to cover him completely. He stood with his hands on top of his head as the high priestess awaked him to the lash, then the high priest did the same. I quickly removed the chalice and, while looking directly at him, I watched him begin to transform.

"Behold the Great Golden Wolf!" I said as I drank down the wine, fresh with the essence of the male wolf god. His hair grew longer. The pace of his transformation quickened. He was a natural shapeshifter. His muscles bulged and bones made a crackling sound as they moved about. He fell to all fours and his back arched. He howled and grimaced. Hair grew over his entire body, golden blond hair. He was the Chosen One of the forest. I chose him, with the guidance of Februus, on this day of Lupercalia.

The other changed wolves looked on, bowing their heads by laying flat on the ground, chins pressing the soil. He stood on all fours, high on the altar, very proud, as god of the winter forest, bringer of light, golden light from the Golden Wolf.

Then I took to the lash, once on each breast, and turning around, I held my knees, once across the bottom. I then repeated the same for the high priest. Turning to the small crowd of shapeshifting wolves, the priest and priestess said, as before, in unison, "Behold the time of the wolf!"

Then I changed again. Changing as I did a short time ago before running through the forest on the night of the last full Moon, the night I first saw Dmitri. There he had been, walking quietly through the woods. Quiet, like a hunter, weapon in hand, he moved through the sticks and branches so brightly illuminated with her light as it reflected off the newly fallen snow. I saw him. I was crouched in the bush. A huntress watching my prey, I saw blond hair. Shining in the moonlight, he moved, and he was alone.

Connected to others only by the squelching noise coming out of a transmitter attached to his belt, he was alone—as a wolf is alone, part of a pack, but hunting unaccompanied. Unable to domesticate, a wolf makes for a poor dog. A wolf must always be free—free to hunt, free to roam, and free to mate. Now is the time, I thought. That's when I bit him. We were joined. I chose him.

I jumped next to him and nuzzled under his chin. It was warm and throbbing with power. He jumped from the altar and dashed into the brush. I followed.

We ran. On all fours we ran, as wolves through the forest. He led and I followed. We could smell and see it all: the trees, the plants, smoke from the fire, other animals, Nature in its purest form. He ran to the highest hilltop, and I followed. Then we stopped.

His tail wagged as we looked from the top of the mountain into the night sky. We could see the lights from the cities—Saratov to the south, Penza to the north. We could see the light of the fire, and dark patches where trees and boulders broke through the late winter snow. A thick, dark, twisting line separated the landmass. It was the Volga River making its way to the Caspian Sea. It was all aglow by the light of the Moon. In a bluish white, all was illuminated.

He nuzzled to me, rubbing his wet nose onto mine—a kiss of sorts. We would change back after the Moon waned. Then back again when the Moon was full. Respecting the cycle was the most important part. Knowing when to be ready; being in the right place, around the right people. I would teach him. He was enjoying it. I could tell.

Looking up, he saw the Moon shining down, bathing us in warm white and blue light. We started to howl.

"Ouuuwww…!" We cried, over and over, howling at the Moon to bring more light. We howled at the Moon, paying homage to Februa, Goddess of Night, speaking to Her in a way only two wolves can.

I was going to stay with this one. I knew it. I think he did, too. Of course, the rumbling in my belly said a lot, too. I felt a stirring only a mother can know. Soon I would tell him. There is just one thing that concerns me…I don't know for sure whether they will be babies or puppies! I guess it depends on the time they come…full Moon or not?

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