Blood of the Clans Ch. 36byRoyceConnors©
Therese stood in Heather's chambers, watching her as she was getting fitted for the dress she would wear for the Hand Fasting ceremony. They were both smiling happily, seeing how beautiful it would be when they were finished. Heather had chosen a rich, dark green silk for the bodice and inserts on the sleeves and body, with white linen for the body of the dress. In the sunlight, Heather's silhouetted outline showed through the sheer linen, allowing Therese to see her natural curves and femininity clearly. Heather literally glowed in radiance, partly from the sun, partly from within.
Therese felt a warmth grow in herself, as she was admiring Heather's beauty and allowed her eyes to stray slowly over her friend's body, taking in every nuance of it. She felt no jealousy towards her, but more a desire to admire her, as a work of living art. She became unaware that Heather was now watching her look at her body and could see the look on her face. She felt a distinct rise in her temperature, as her body flushed in embarrassment at the attention she was getting from Therese. The seamstresses went about pinning and hemming the material, hands smoothing the fabric about her body, adding to the sensuous delights of the moment.
Therese's eyes rose up Heather's body from her bare feet, along her silhouetted legs, clearly showing a young woman's fullness. At their juncture, Therese could see the faint outline of pubic hair growing there and the subtle curve of her belly. The flair of her hips gave way to a narrowed waist and then the gentle swell of her breasts pressed against the silken material, the outline of her nipples rising from it. Heather watched Therese's eyes closely, seeing where she was looking and could almost feel her gaze on her skin.
Therese's eyes rose to meet Heather's and for a long moment, they connected deeply, Heather's eyes showing her feelings of being admired so intimately, while Therese's showed her enjoyment of her admiration of Heather. The smiles were tender expressions of a bond beyond a normal friendship and both felt their hearts and breaths quicken. The seamstresses finished pinning the material and began releasing it from Heather's body. A very distinct flush was present on Heather's body, as she was exposed and stepped out of the material. They left after bowing to begin sewing it, leaving Therese and Heather alone. Heather felt Therese's eyes scanning her, but didn't cover herself, allowing her to continue looking at her.
"You are very beautiful, Heather. Laird Grayson will be very happy on your first night and every night together, I am sure of it." Therese told her, her eyes still taking in Heather's naked form.
"I do hope so, Therese. I want tae please him and ne'er be a disappointment tae him." Heather said, her hands expressing her concerns about herself, as they played over her body where she had been raped and abused, the cuts and scratches still faint.
"Heather, you are a very beautiful woman, he will be pleased with you, he loves you. He will never see them. I too worry if I will please Garreth. I hope that I am woman enough for him and can please him when he comes to me. I fear his rejection and displeasure more than anything." Therese told her, her eyes showing her worries, her hands expressing her concerns over her womanliness. "I feel as though I still look like a young girl at times and he will wish to have a woman."
"Therese, ye tae are beautiful. Garreth will no be disappointed in ye. Please believe me, it's true." Heather told her, holding her hands out to Therese.
Therese came forward and took her hands, once again looking up and down at Heather's naked body.
"I do believe you, Heather and I do thank you for your compliments. I have been admiring your body and how beautiful it is. You have been blessed with it. It reminds me of statues I have seen in Paris, it is so beautiful." Therese told her, her gaze falling upon the firm mounds.
Heather flushed again, her upper breasts turning redder, as well as her nipples growing in size. Therese noticed the change and gently placed her fingers over the area and felt the warmth from it. Heather sighed softly and slowly closed her eyes, as Therese's touch sent shivers through her. Therese's fingers traced down slowly and grazed around the hardening points, bringing a deeper moan of pleasure from Heather's throat. The fragrance of arousal began to permeate the air, reminding her of her own aroma, as Heather succumbed to the stimulation. Remembering how she felt when Moira had bathed her, Therese looked up from the sight of arousal into Heather's eyes, barely open in her bliss.
In what seemed to be the right thing in her heart, Therese softly kissed Heather's lips and placed her hand over the warming mound of Heather's sex. Heather was stunned at first by the kiss and touch, but felt herself enjoying how she was being aroused. The softness of Therese's lips and the gentle touch of her fingers, caressing an area she was unaware of, began to make her melt into her. Her arms went around Therese's neck, holding on to her as she felt herself go weak in the knees at the sensations she was feeling. The kiss became deeper and more passionate, as Therese slowly massaged her moistening sex.
"Oh Therese, what are ye doing tae me?" Heather gasped, breaking from the kiss, feeling over-whelmed by what she was feeling.
"I want you to know the pleasure that I have discovered myself only recently. When you are with Grayson, teach him of this spot. It will bring you pleasures far beyond what you know." Therese whispered to her, as her fingers slowly and methodically circled the tiny orb.
"Aye Therese, it feels so wonderful, I hav'ne felt anything like this. Is it right tae do though?" Heather questioned her.
"God gave us these, He wouldn't, if they were wrong to touch. I am only showing you what to do, nothing more." Therese assured her.
Heather nodded in agreement to what she heard and allowed the feelings to consume her.
Therese began kissing her once more and found a deeper response in return. It only took minutes more before Heather felt the onset of a grand experience. Her body swelled with sensations and in moments, felt herself engulfed in a euphoric glow. Her fingers gripped hard on Therese's shoulders, as she rode the crest of bliss and gasping into her first feelings of sexual pleasures.
Therese felt the discharge of fluid in her hand and felt the silky, smooth stickiness of it. She wondered briefly if she had done the same to Moira. Heather caught her breath and stared awestruck into Therese's eyes, stunned with what she had done to her.
"Teach your man, Heather. Let him know the joys it can bring you." Therese told her softly, then placed a loving kiss on each of her cheeks.
"Oh Therese, I feel so weak, but so warm and tingly inside? I'm no going tae ferget this, but hoo do ye come tae know aboot such a thing?"
Therese started to giggle and explained what had happened when Moira had washed her at Dunluce Castle. Heather looked at Therese and could see the innocence in how it happened, but she was unsure of why it happened to her the way Therese had done it.
"Do women always kiss and touch so openly like that in France, Therese?" Heather asked her, curious to know how to react to what she had done to her.
"I'm not sure why I did it like that. I was feeling very affectionate towards you and it seemed so right to do. Have I offended you, Heather? Please tell me I haven't done this to you." Therese's face and voice were showing her worries she had done so.
"I don'ne feel offended, Therese, but I'm still a bit taken aback by it all. I was'ne expecting anything like that tae happen. It's not common practice fer women tae join together like that. I'm not sure what tae make of it all, except it was wonderful and I can'ne deny it." she told Therese, holding her hands in hers while she spoke, assuring Therese they were still close friends.
"I am so happy that is so. I would be so hurt if I thought I had done something wrong to
you. I am becoming very fond of you and hope we can be close, like Arabella is with me." Therese told her, looking into Heather's light, hazel eyes.
Heather lost any thoughts of embarrassment at being naked and held Therese to her in a loving embrace. Therese responded and felt the smooth skin of Heather's back and caressed it.
"I'm quite fond of ye too, Therese. I feel we will be good friends through the years." she told her, as she lay her head briefly on Therese's shoulder.
They broke apart and Heather went about re-dressing. Therese helped her by combing out her hair and braiding it for her. The day passed with the two sharing thoughts and laughter about the days to come, as they wiled it away, growing closer as friends, their intimate bond now a closeness shared in their hearts.
Tavish looked at the stunned looks on everyone's face, as they absorbed the erotic interlude between the two, young women. It sounded like something from a modern erotic magazine, yet it happened over four hundred and twenty years ago. Taylor was the first to speak up and asked Tavish the obvious.
"How do you know that happened, Tavish?"
"I know, sounds like something oot of a sex story, doesn't it? Believe it or not, I read it in Heather's diary. It's in Armadale Castle, if anyone wants tae read it fer themselves. I think it's best I put ye's o'er tae Stuart and he can tell ye of something less racy." and laughed.
"Aye Tav, that's a story that sets a heart tae racing fast." as Stuart laughed as well, before clearing his throat and calming everyone to let the tale go and consider it something to ponder later. When he had their attention, he started in where James MacRae was feeling the effects of his losses.
Thirty miles away in Ballachulish, a maddened James MacRae paced about his cottage, disturbed at the recent events and how they were slowly robbing him of any chance at attacking and controlling Donan and the other castles. He turned to his son, Blair, with a look of distress.
"Blair, we need tae see the Earl about this and get more men. We need tae hold his men coming north, until we can get ready again. The loss of all my leaders has made it impossible fer me tae lead an attack and succeed. After the raid on the Fraser's, I could see there was'ne any leadership that would stand up in battle. I need captains and I need ones that can lead men intae war." James told him, a desperate worry underlying his wrath.
"I can lead the Douglas' father. Malcolm MacDougall is proving his worth. He did'ne balk at massacring the Fraser's and his men followed his orders wi'oot question. Ye know Ian MacLean is a good captain, father, so what are yer worries fer?" his son questioned him.
"I'm worried that we'll ne'er set foot in Donan again, Blair. Wi' all that's gone wrong since we started, I can'ne help but feel forces are against us." James divulged his true worries to him. "I want tae make sure this goes as planned and noo it feels it's being taken away from me at every turn." his eyes clearly showing his doubts.
"Father, we'll take Donan and any other castle we want. Wi' the Earl's backing and the English troops and arms coming, there's no a clan that can stand against us." Blair tried to assure him further.
"Yer confidence is outweighed by yer youth, Blair. I can have a thousand men or more, but wi'oot leaders, they're just sheep wandering in a field. We'll lose tae many men tae fast and lose everything, no matter hoo many men the Earl has or his cousin sends. I need men tae lead them intae battle. Ones who won't run from a bloody fight and keep their men fighting till the end. Killing innocent people in a massacre is one thing, Blair, fighting against armed men in battle is another." James told him, taking much of the bravado from Blair's thoughts with the reality of things.
Blair tried to counter his father's statement, but it was quickly apparent that the truth was spoken to him.
"Prepare tae ride tae Fort William, Blair. We'll see the Earl and put it tae him tae provide men, if we're tae take Donan back and then victory o'er the other clans." James told him, making his decision a final answer Blair couldn't rebut.
Blair exited his father's cottage and rounded up a party of men to ride to the castle. In less than half an hour, fifteen horses and riders were making their way along Loch Leven to the eastern end seven miles away and then north-west through the valleys of the mountain peaks towards Inverlochy. The imposing mass of Ben Nevis guided their route, as the rode through the foothills of its majesty.
Without knowing their exact location, they stopped at the same spot two MacRae men had attacked Lady Therese more than a week earlier. James and several others dismounted and found relief urinating after the long ride and shortly, made their way to the gate and announced their arrival to see the Earl. James and Blair were welcomed in, while the rest of the men joined the Earl's men for food and drink and raucous talk of women and battle.
Braedon and Sloan stood at the bow, watching the breaking sun rise up the mountain peaks, until it shone brightly over the waters of Loch Moidart. They entered the loch slowly, wending around sandbars exposed by the low tide. Braedon felt a sinking in his heart, thoughts of Arabella and what her reaction to his leaving her might bring.
"What are yer worries, Braedon? Yer face is showing them fer all tae see." Sloan stated, upon noticing the look on Braedon's face.
"I worry about her scorning me, Sloan. My heart is still filled wi' her and her rejection of me would stab a fatal wound to it." he whispered to him in confidence.
"If her heart is still filled wi' feelings fer ye too, Braedon, she'll be mad, but she'll fergive ye. Gi' her time once ye speak, tae let her know hoo ye feel aboot her as well. If it's tae be, it'll be. My father told me that no that long ago." Sloan explained to him and saw a look of understanding and acceptance in his eyes.
The prow scraped the shore and Braedon gulped down the lump in his throat as he began to prepare mentally for the outcome his heart had to face. A small group of men came to the shore and helped pull the birlinn up, as Braedon and Sloan jumped down and made their way to the castle. Braedon felt less trepidation at going into battle, than having to look into Arabella's eyes again. They entered through the gate and Braedon raised his head to find Arabella standing in the doorway of the keep looking at him. His heart leapt at the sight of her and a thin sheen of sweat rose on his skin.
"Arabella, I must speak wi' ye. Great troubles lie ahead and I'm here tae warn ye of them." Braedon told her, hoping she would see him.
"Come inside and tell me of them. Who is this that you've brought wi' ye?" she asked, noticing Sloan coming to stand beside him.
"Arabella MacDonald, this is Sloan Fraser. He's the chief of what's left of his clan. We must talk and tell ye of what is happening noo and what's tae come shortly." Braedon explained to her and saw an acceptance in her eyes.
Arabella led the men into the hall and sat, as the principles of the clan joined her and
made places for Braedon and Sloan to sit across from her. Braedon tried to study her eyes and see if he could see any signs there was still a chance to reclaim their love they once had. Their eyes met and locked and for the briefest of moments, a sparkle of hope shone through her eyes to his, granting him a peace he sorely needed.
"Arabella, I'll let Sloan explain what has happened tae his clan and then I'll tell of recent events that lead me tae be here noo." he told her, motioning to Sloan to begin.
"Lady Arabella, I'm Sloan Fraser, of the clan Fraser. Three days past, an army led by James MacRae attacked my people at the Falls of Lora, where we were camped and had made a settlement. Because my father refused tae join wi' them, he was murdered. When I refused as well, they came and slaughtered my people in a most brutal way. My unborn child was cut out of my Maglyn and had his head crushed by the foot of MacRae himself. We came tae Laird Braedon tae warn him of the dangers awaiting him, after we paid tribute to the slain. Before we had even finished discussing what had happened and what tae prepare for, MacDougall had slaughtered a family of Fraser's that gave aid tae us, Their offspring are at Castle Stalker now under Laird Braedon's protection. At the same time, a small group from Clan MacLean, led by Iain, attacked my men on the other end of Lismore, as they waited fer me tae talk tae Laird Braedon. We are here noo tae warn ye of the danger soon tae reach yer castle." Sloan told her, confirmation of the truth of what he said clearly showing on Braedon's face.
Arabella studied the eyes and faces and looked away, realizing the perils of war so close to her clan and castle. She turned her eyes to Braedon now and waited for what he had to say.
"Arabella, what Sloan says is truth. I saw it wi' my own eyes and chased the MacLean's intae Loch Leven, before we broke off. MacRae has enough men under him tae wage a battle against ye, as well as Donan. None of us are safe, while he has the Earl's backing and the English soldiers as well. Sloan has captured a great number of birlinns that were stolen by the enemy and are now ours tae use. He has pledged his clan tae aid us in any way they can and from what I've seen so far, we need as many men as we can rouse tae fight." Braedon explained and saw that Arabella accepted what he said.
"There is much to be done then, Braedon. Ha'e yer men rest and they'll ha'e food and drink brought from the kitchen. Ye and Sloan come wi' me and talk more of this in private." she told them.
Coll left and went to the boats to have the men disembark and come to the castle, while Arabella led Braedon and Sloan, along with Robert to her chambers. The four sat around the fire, burning low, but casting a warmth that was welcoming.
"Hoo many people were lost in the massacre, Sloan?" Arabella wondered.
"One hundred and twelve souls, Lady Arabella. They killed every man, woman and child they found. My only kin are those that were hunting wi' me the day it happened. There are twenty of us left and now three more are wi'oot parents, after yesterday's raid. Lismore still has smoke rising from the pyres we raised, tae send them off tae the Great Father above." he told her, the emotion straining in his voice.
Arabella heard it as well and knew it was a trying thing to deal with, let alone relive over and over again.
"Ye said yer wife and child were murdered as well?" she asked, remembering what he had said earlier.
"Aye, yer Ladyship. My Maglyn was ready tae bear oor first child, a boy I was tae find oot afterwards. MacRae slit her throat after her belly and crushed its head when it fell from her." Sloan told her, describing the cruelty and savagery of the attack.
Distress formed in Arabella's eyes knowing how hard it must be for Sloan to deal with this and still prepare for a battle and possible extinction of his clan entirely.
"My sympathies, Sloan. That's a terrible loss fer any man tae bear. If Laird Braedon has accepted yer alliance, I will accept it as well. Ye'll find strength wi' the MacDonald's of ClanRanald, Sloan. Now we must prepare fer an attack of any kind, from land or sea. Wi' more birlinns, we can wage a battle on water better than we could before. Are yer men good sailors, Sloan?" she asked.
"Aye, Lady Arabella, we've been land dwellers all oor lives, but we've practised wi' the birlinns we ha'e and are getting better. We know how tae sail well enough, but battle is another thing entirely." Sloan explained to her.