The Solitary Arrow Ch. 07bymack_the_knife©
Harlen lead Hyandai out the door of his home and back into the road. She smiled, and was still curious as to what he was doing. They walked clear across town and even a short distance past the wall on the far side.
Most of the people they passed greeted them, though some simply stared at the sight of Hyandai. A pair of men stopped Harlen, and the three huntsmen had a short conversation. Hyandai liked the look of both of large, broad-shouldered men with kind faces. The thought went through her head that it would not have been terribly unfortunate to have crossed either of the other men in the wood. She smiled as the three men spoke and kept that thought to herself.
Hyandai looked at him as they walked toward the east gate from the square. "You seem to be well respected among the huntsmen." She commented.
A moment passed as Harlen appeared to think on that. "I suppose I am respected enough." He said. "I think, in general, all of us huntsmen treat each other well, though."
A wide smile broke across Hyandai's lovely face. "No." She said. "They defer to you, and you are highly thought of among them."
He stopped walking. "They may." Said Harlen. "But I wish to be no leader, nor even more than considered competent." Having said that, he started walking again. "Leaders usually disappoint people."
They had passed clear through Morrovale's walled section and were walking down another gravel road; similar to the one Harlen's own home was built upon. Somehow, it looked older. The trees were larger and more numerous, and the houses seemed both smaller and more grand.
"These homes have long stories to tell." Hyandai murmured, regarding the small, but well-built, and lovingly maintained buildings.
Harlen nodded. "This part of town, actually, is older than the walled section." He said. "The walled portion was razed to the ground only about forty years ago. This part was spared. Most people believe that Wynn's Copse was the cause."
"What is that?" Hyandai asked, her eyebrows rising.
Harlen smiled. "It's a very pretty and peaceful spot in this neighborhood." He replied. "Come, I'll show you." He held out a broad hand and she put hers into it. They walked down the road a bit farther then turned off onto a small footpath that wound between two homes, isolated by stonewalls from those homes' properties.
As they moved between the walls, the temperature dropped noticeably and the light overhead was blotted out by the overhanging trees, mighty elms that spread their limbs to cover great swaths of property.
They passed the rear edges of the two walls and found themselves on a path that wound downward sharply.
Hyandai had an oddly calm feeling overcome her and she started to hum, and could not figure out precisely why.
After another three minutes, they had reached level ground again, and Hyandai could hear water splashing ahead. The dense trees parted, finally, and she took in the scene.
The clearing was, perhaps, a hundred paces wide, and maybe twice that deep, with a small lake and a sheer rock cliff opposite. The trees formed a wall against the woods, and created what felt like a bowl of light. Thick, springy grasses covered the ground right up to the tree line.
It was a joy to behold for Hyandai, and made her think so much of Windir that she shed a few tears.
"It is lovely." Hyandai said, her voice quiet with respect for a place so obviously blessed.
Harlen nodded. "It is." He said.
She could feel overwhelming joy here, it seemed to seep up from the very ground and out of the water, and from the stones of the cliff face. "This is a place of great joy." She murmured, and then her mind cleared and she blushed. "And now, I believe, I know why."
Harlen regarded her with a raised eyebrow.
Hyandai smiled broadly up at him, and moved a step closer, turning to face Harlen directly. "This is a trysting place, is it not?" She asked.
Harlen shrugged. "I wouldn't know about such things." He said, unconvincing in his attempted deception.
She put her arms about his waist and drew herself close. "Well, I think such a holy place should be given its due respect." She said, standing on her toes and kissing his neck.
Harlen smiled down at her, nodding. "I think it would be best, so as to not anger the spirits."
She grinned. "They are strong here." She said, sliding her hand up one of his thighs to his groin and squeezing gently. "Very strong."
His eyes widened. "I see." Harlen said, taking hold of her waist and moving his hands back to her firm rump.
She sighed as he pulled her into him more tightly and felt his fingers fumbling with the ties that held her skirt. She took this as an invitation to unbuckle his pants and to help him drop them.
Even as her skirt slipped off her hips and onto the ground, his pants joined them. He kicked his boots off and the pants and boots piled up in a little heap nearby. She untied her shoulder straps as Harlen lifted his tunic off his own back. She was, as always, impressed with his massive chest and the muscles that covered it and his arms. She was also impressed with other things, like his thickly muscled legs and powerful waist.
For his part, Harlen admired what he saw in his petite lover; her slender frame with perfectly curved hips and long, straight legs. Her breasts shone fair and light in the sun, with their pink nipples, which poked outward firmly in the cool fall breeze. His eyes crept downward over her flat, toned stomach and her bald mound.
She could almost feel his gaze upon her private places. She leaned back against a small tree trunk, parting her legs naughtily. "Soon, lover, you will have all." She muttered, her eyes smoldering bronze.
Harlen moved to her and knelt down. She always marveled at his willingness to supplicate to her, and her response to it was the same as before. She loved knowing she could somewhat control the actions and thoughts of this massive, powerful, and competent man.
Taking hold of her slim thighs, Harlen leaned forward and began to lap at her opening. Hyandai moaned and leaned back harder against the tree, arching her pelvis forward.
Walking upon his knees, Harlen moved forward a bit, as well, almost lifting Hyandai with his chin as he pushed up into her slit. She gasped as he started to suck and flick her tiny clitoris.
Slim fingers twined into Harlen's long, brown hair and held his head in place against her rubbing groin. She moaned louder and louder as he settled into a steady, quick rhythm with his tongue and lips.
With a cry that startled even herself, Hyandai climaxed, calling out Harlen's name to the wood and the world. She felt the shudders of pleasure shoot from her feet to her spine and up it to the back of her neck. Her back arched and she pushed against Harlen forcefully with her crotch.
His tongue and lips kept moving over her and into her. Hyandai finally had to push him back and down.
"Enough, beloved." Hyandai said. "It is time for you to pay your respect to these glad spirits."
"Oh?" Harlen asked, licking his lips free of her cinnamon flavored juices. "And how am I to pay my respects?"
She smiled. "Lie down." Hyandai said.
Harlen did so and put his hands behind his neck, interlacing his fingers. He did like the feel of the sun beaming down upon his naked body. His eyes shut and he felt Hyandai's silky hair sliding over his stomach as she moved above him.
Her slender hand gripped his erect cock at the root, and she stroked him as her lips kissed his thighs and the joint of his torso to his hip. She worked inexorably inward, and finally kissed her way up the thick shaft.
Warmth engulfed him and sent a thrill up his spine. Hyandai's soft lips were wrapped tightly about his wide organ and she began to move up and down upon it, her eyes closed and a moan being squeezed out every time she moved down the long shaft.
"The One's Blessing." Harlen said. "That is beyond marvelous."
Hyandai's hair still tickled his stomach, and even slid its silky, smoothness over his testicles and thighs. Her bobbing up and down became faster and more insistent.
Harlen felt his testicles draw up in preparation for his orgasm. Her fingers gripped the constricting eggs and squeezed them gently, rolling them around in their sack together.
Groaning through clenched teeth, he climaxed strongly, his seed pumping into her sucking mouth. A small part of his mind noticed that she drew him just barely within her mouth as he ejaculated, no longer deep down in her throat. He felt her tongue massaging the notch on the underside of his swollen cock head as his seed filled her and moved over that tongue.
Long after Harlen ceased squeezing out semen, Hyandai finally swallowed his seed down her throat, having held it a long while for him to finish giving it to her.
She smiled at him, still kneading his balls and stroking his shaft of his shrinking manhood. "And that," Hyandai said, "is why this is such a happy place."
There was a giggle in the distance; the sound of a young woman. Harlen looked in that direction and saw movement near the far edge of the clearing. "We were just watched." Harlen said, grinning down at Hyandai.
She grinned back. "I know." She replied. "They watched everything. In fact, he just talked her into letting him do to her what you did to me." Her grin widened. "And thus the offering is returned tenfold by the spirits." She said, almost ritualistically. Harlen doubted not that she was actually offering praise, not just joking or stating rote.
Freshly dressed and grinning like teenagers, Harlen and Hyandai proceeded down the gravel road with a bit more spring in their step than before.
They turned off the road and into a private walk that led up into an unfenced yard. It was another of the small, but elegant homes. Hyandai marveled and reminded herself once again to defend human towns from the often-callous words of the elves.
Harlen opened the door of the house and walked right in, much to Hyandai's surprise. She followed at his beckoning gesture.
Inside the cottage was cool, and the small common room was filled with the collected bric-a-brac of a long human life. There were shelves everywhere with little items. Stones collected by Harlen, statuettes, small paintings of people both dead and alive, and many small pressed flowers under sheet glass.
However, the centerpiece of the room was a shelf that contained a half dozen items, items of rather mundane appearance, but was all of elven manufacture.
As she took in the very homey little room, Harlen called out. "Gramma, you have company."
There was a voice from the back of the house, it sounded as if it was moving closer. "Well, my good-for-nothing grandson has finally decided to stop playing in the woods and give his dear old gramma a visit, has he?" The voice was old, but strong and very energetic. "Or did you just need your socks darn . . .." She stopped speaking as she walked into the room, her eyes falling upon the slender, petite elven lass looking back at her with her hands behind her back demurely.
Hyandai regarded her. Gramma was an elderly woman, but not quite decrepit, she decided. She was only a bit taller than Hyandai herself, and quite slender, as well. Her hair was universally silver, with only a very few spots of darker black among the long strands. Hyandai smiled when she saw Harlen's deep blue eyes.
"Oh, my." Gramma said; her expression slightly stunned. "Aren't you a lovely lass?" She murmured. Her eyes were no longer in the now, however. Hyandai saw the faraway look of someone remembering something from many years ago.
Harlen beamed at both the women in the room. "Gramma, this is Hyandai." He said. "Hyandai, this is my grandmother."
The elf-maiden smiled at her and said. "I am pleased to meet Harlen's grand dame." She said, and bowed low, almost touching her chest to her forward knee. Gracefully, she stood back up. "I have heard much of you and your good influence on him."
"I can tell he finally got around to doing something smart, for once." Gramma said, her smile widening.
Harlen shuffled his feet a little at those words, and Hyandai's heart swelled upon seeing her big man acting as a little boy, even for a moment.
"If you mean he was smart in courting me, then I must say that I must be even smarter, for desiring him to do so." Hyandai said. "Your grandson is a well-bred and wonderful man." She paused a moment. "And handsome, too." Hyandai added.
Gramma beamed at hearing her boy praised so boldly by a young woman. "I will lay claim to the first two." She said. "Though he probably got his looks from elsewhere."
Hyandai giggled. "You're too humble." She said. "I see your visage in the face of this man." She moved to Harlen's side and pressed against him.
Sitting in a large, padded chair, Gramma said. "You elves are as smooth-tongued as ever." She was smiling, though. "I've missed your people's fine way with words."
Both Harlen and Hyandai moved across the room to a large couch and sat upon it.
"I see you collect elven mementoes." Hyandai said after a small pause.
Gramma nodded. "Aye." She said. "Please, take a look at them. I would ask you what some of them might be."
Hyandai rose from the couch and moved to the shelf. "May I touch?" She asked, barely able to hold her hands back.
"Your people made them, my dear." Said his grandmother. "I would be honored if you were to examine them. They're not fragile."
She picked up the first item; a flute, carven of ornthal wood. It was engraved with many fine traceries and inlaid with silver. When Hyandai placed her lips to it, a haunting sound filled the room, each note so pure that one could almost touch it. She played a short tune on it then stopped. "It is wondrous. How came you by a master minstrel's flute?"
The old woman smiled mysteriously, and said. "I was much prettier than I am now, in my younger days, Hyandai. Enough so to turn even a master minstrel's head, if I took a notion."
Both the women giggled, and Harlen coughed uncomfortably. Gramma smacked him on the shoulder. "Make yourself useful boy, and split me some wood, I'm running low, let us women speak without man-ears to hear us."
Harlen made a totally fake sour face and skulked out the back door of the room, then there was the sound of another door followed by the sound of wood being split.
"You run a tight camp, um?" Hyandai asked the unspoken question.
"Call me Maggie, if you like, or Gramma, either, if you prefer, Hyandai." She said.
"Well, you run a tight camp, Lady Maggie." Hyandai said, grinning.
Maggie smiled. "Oh, a lady am I?" She said, patting her hair gently with one hand.
The elf said. "When an adult elf comes across a human who bests them in years, we tend to want to show some respect." She nodded to Maggie.
Maggie said. "Well, I wish it weren't so obvious, but, I would wager I do best you in that count." She chuckled.
She turned back to the shelf of elven artifacts, replacing the flute and picking up a silver chalice. "Do you know its purpose?" She asked Gramma.
"No, actually, it was found in the wilds many years back, and I bought it from a traveling merchant." The lady said, looking at the chalice. "It was so beautiful, I knew right off it was wrought by elven hands."
Hyandai said. "Indeed, it was." She looked at it closely. "It is a wedding cup, from whence a couple would drink wine to seal their marriage." She showed Gramma the engraving. "It was wrought some three thousand years ago, ere the fall of the Syrisian Empire, see there? Those are symbols used by the Syrisians that the elves of the day found comely."
"Oh, my. So ancient." The lady said, smiling.
Hyandai said. "Very much so. Some among my people would pay a dear ransom for that chalice, if they knew of it." She sat it back on the counter cautiously. "Even the elves do not live long enough to show little regard for the passing of three millennia.
She then turned to the third item, and the largest. It was a mask, carven of some white stone, and inset with fine symbols of blue stone. Hyandai asked. "Know you this item, then?" She pointed to the mask.
"I can't say I know much about them save the flute and the night-orb, on the right." Gramma said. "The others I simply desired for their beauty."
The elf-maid nodded. "And they are worthy on that regard alone, in mine eyes also." She looked at the mask. "That is a soul mask." She said. "When an elf dies but needs something done after that death, they have such crafted. The wearer is said to channel the spirit of the deceased and can thence finish their works." She did not touch it. "I know not how they work or if they do, but they are rare." She said. "I will not touch it, as touching one may be perilous to elvenkind, for you never know if the mission it was crafted for was completed."
She looked at the second item from the right, a small box, of intricate design, and lovely display, wrought of silver with jet inset. It depicted men and elves trading goods with one another, and singing and dancing together. She laughed. "I'm afraid not all you have is precious." She said. "This is a thing made for trade with humans, a jewelry box, crafted for trade with the people of the Windy Isles. Such things still are made and traded to this day."
Maggie did not look terribly disappointed. "Then I am happy just to know it, and still, it's lovely." She said.
Lastly was a black stone sitting on a ring of bronze with three little legs that held it off the counter top. The stone was deepest black and one might think they could fall into it, or at least reach inside it. "As you say, this is a night-orb", she said. And have you shared with your grandson what it's purpose is?" She asked, giving Gramma a sideways glance.
The elder lady said. "No, I haven't, since he's been a bachelor all his days. But perhaps I might should soon." She smiled at the elven lady and winked.
Hyandai picked up the orb and held it in her palm. "They are still used in my lands, and I am shocked to find this one outside of my lands, as they are so terribly useful and hard to craft now." The stone pulsed white a moment then settled to a pulsing red. Flashing with short quick alternations between flat black and luminous red. Her eyes widened quite a lot and she looked at Gramma. "Oh, dear." She said, trying to keep her face happy. "Perhaps I should speak to Harlen." She said, forcing a sheepish grin onto her lovely face.
The grand dame said. "I think perhaps you might." and took the stone from Hyandai's numb fingers. She put it back onto the mantle and said. "That stone has predicted many an unexpected visitor, and has, I deem, done so again?"
"Y...yes, Gramma, it probably has." The elf said.
Gramma led her into the kitchen where she gave her water from the hand pump, and Hyandai drank heartily of it, taking a second cup. They both looked out the window at Harlen's back, muscular and coated in sweat, cutting wood.
"There are worse fathers, you know?" Gramma said.
Hyandai winced. "Yes, I do." She said, and forced a smile when the Maggie looked on her.
"He's quite smitten by you, I deem." Said gramma.
The elf asked. "How can one be certain no longer than you saw the two of us together?"
"You're the first girl he's brought to my home," the lady said, beaming at her.
Hyandai giggled, though to her ears, it sounded strained.
"And you're smitten as well." Said Gramma.
"Is it so obvious?" Asked the elf.
The lady looked at her and smiled gently. "I was a girl once and I have looked at men that way. One gave me a flute."
Hyandai giggled again, more naturally this time. She did need to speak to Harlen, but it was not the glad tidings that Gramma seemed to hold in her thoughts.
"I will still my tongue on the night-orb matter, such news should be yours to tell." She said, and walked to the door, and put her hand on the pull-handle. "He will do the honorable thing, if you wish it. I know he will."