Winter Solstice NightbyMidwestSiren©
My fingers were numb and practically bleeding from cracking walnuts. The preparations were just beginning, and I was working as hard as the rest of the women, despite my mother's dissatisfied glances whenever she looked in on us. I knew that look. She thought such work was beneath me. But it felt good to pull the walnut flesh from the shell, the rough texture giving way to the edible meat within. Occasionally I would sneak a bite into my mouth. All in all, it was a good start to an exciting day.
It was an early morning, and I was working by the light from the fire. On the community hearth there were four pots boiling. Plain water, a rich venison stew, a pot of vegetables, and a pot of washing. I knew my dress was in the last pot and I periodically stood, stretched and went over to stir the pot. It could only remain in the hot water for a short period without leeching the red dyes from the fabric. I reached over for a stick, pulled off the lid, and poked at the clothing within. I fished out my garment, and draped it over a nearby chair. With any luck, the heat of the nearby fire would dry it in time for the feast.
"What are you doing now?", I heard my mother's irritated voice from the doorway.
"I am just pulling out my dress," I said and hurried back over to where more walnuts awaited. Looking up, I saw her eyes flash in the firelight. Her long dark hair was swept back and she wore her work clothes.
"Well. Are you ready for tonight? Have you chosen?" She sounded grim.
"You will not shame us?"
"No, mother." I replied, blushing furiously.
"Good. I will expect to see you in the feast hall before dusk. I will need your help with the preparations."
"Yes, mother" I replied to her back as she turned to exit.
My heart was pounding. The heavy rains had come and our clan had begun to gather and prepare for the solstice feast. Women of all ages came and went from the community kitchens preparing every dish you can imagine. Children were already awake, talking in excited voices, and eating sweets they kept sneaking from a nearby table. Excitement filled the air, but all I could think of was the culmination of the feast. This night I would choose my first lover, and with any luck, the child of my first born.
This was my first year as a clanswoman. I had transitioned from child to woman late last summer. This would be the first year I could sit in on the Choosing. As a child, my friend Tambi and I would sneak to the doors of the great hall to listen in as the women would choose their lover and ceremoniously exit through the North door towards their dwellings. Mother always went first, and always chose father. After her, the clanswomen chose in order of rank. Some women chose their mate. Others did not. Some chose another's mate, but none could dispute her choice. Solstice was a time of renewal. A time to bring fruitfulness to the clan. A time to forget the dismal darkness of the winter rains and build something beautiful, if only for a day.
As the chieftain's daughter, I would choose after mother. And I would experience my first love with Alir. He was many summers older than I, and he has bedded several other women, but I have seen him watching me.
Once when I was bathing, I heard a rustling of the curtains, and rose from the water. Looking out from the open window, I saw his back retreat into a nearby grove of trees. I thought about him watching me all day. That night when I went to bed, my hand strayed between my legs. I imagined his eyes caressing my hair, back, and legs. I imagined him enjoying the sight of me wet and relaxed before him. In my mind's eye I could see him touching himself, and at that moment it felt as if a shiver went through my entire body. My hand was wet between my legs and I felt an exquisite release. My body was intensely relaxed and as I slept, I could see Alir's eyes on me. Feel his hands touching me.
Those dreams have haunted me throughout the fall. As the seasons have changed I have continued to daydream about him. Tambi laughs at me whenever I talk about him. "You're being foolish!" she is fond of telling me, whenever I talk of love and union. But, she will understand soon enough. She has not transitioned. She will not Choose this solstice.
The sun had risen by the time I completed the task of shelling the walnuts. Pol, one of the elders, had entered and was preparing lamb on a spit. She was spicing the meat and humming softly to herself. I offered to help and she shrugged and shook her head. She indicated my dress and said "Go prepare yourself, child."
Grinning, I snatched up my dress and went to find Tambi. She was waiting to use the private bath, holding a basket full of dried herbs and flowers. She waved when she saw me, smiling. When I drew nearer she said, "Gran is inside, but she's almost done. Would you like to join me? I'll put your hair up for the feast!"
I agreed, and ran to fetch my soaps. I paused in my small dwelling (a tiny building near my parents' home that was hastily erected this fall) to tidy the sleep area. I pulled out a fresh blanket and draped it across the pallet, ran my fingers through my hair, took a few deep breaths, and headed back to the bath.
Tambi was inside when I returned. She had left the door open, so I stepped in and closed the door. Tambi grinned at me, and said "About time!" She lifted her smock up over her head, yanking out the cloth holding her hair back. Her long black hair tumbled down, almost covering her breasts. Her skin was much paler than mine, and freckled. Laughing, Tambi leapt with both feet into the tub. Her splash caused a little of the warm water to dampen the ground. She called out to me, "Are you coming in?"
I stepped forward and pulled my garment over my head a bit more timidly. I had been spending more and more time exploring what made me feel good, and I was becoming a little embarrassed about my explorations. Mother had told me I needed to know, or this night would not go smoothly, but it was not something I had spoken to Tambi about. I walked forward and stepped into the water slowly, sinking in next to her, facing the same direction. The tub was small enough that it was a snug fit. We hadn't done this in years. Sitting next to Tambi, I could feel her hip pressing against mine. I looked over at her smiling face, and she looked serious all of a sudden.
"What's wrong?" Tambi asked, a concerned look furrowing her brow.
"I - I'm nervous about tonight." I said, flushing under her scrutiny. I reached over for my soap and began to lather my shoulders, arms and breasts, feeling the tingle in my nipples when I brushed across them.
Tambi sighed and said, "It won't be so bad. My sister told me all about her first solstice. It sounds awfully exciting to me. In fact, I'm pretty jealous." Her face turned pink and she licked her lips anxiously.
"I know - mother has been telling me about it all along. I'm choosing Alir. I am just afraid that he will be disappointed."
"With you? Kyra, you know you are gorgeous, and any of the clansmen would give their left arm to have you claim them tonight. Any of them would be lucky. Alir will be ecstatic, or he's a fool. I have seen him watching you on the bonfire nights." That said, Tambi took my hand in hers and gave it a squeeze.
She was right. I squeezed her hand back and set my soap aside. "Tambi, I'm just so nervous about how to please Alir. My mother told me to touch myself, to find out where I am sensitive so I can show him, and to give me an idea of what he will like but it's so difficult to know for certain."
Tambi rubbed her thumb across the back of my hand and said, very quietly, "I can help, you know. I may not be ready for my Choosing this year but living with my sister and her mate has taught me some things. Can I show you?"
My heart began to drum in my chest and I looked at my friend for what felt like the first time. She had begun to develop before me, her breasts budding and her hips widening. Her small waist was trim and her mound was covered in dark hair. Goose bumps rose on my arm, as I became acutely aware of her thumb rubbing back and forth on my hand. I could hear her breath quickening and I felt as if she could hear my heart, it was so loud.
"Yes," I whispered. And she turned her body slightly towards mine. She leaned in and her lips brushed my cheek then my lips. Her kiss was electric. Her damp hair fell across my face and chest, barely touching my nipples. I could feel my body responding.
Tambi reached up with her left hand and gently grasped the back of my head, pulling my lips against hers more urgently. She kissed me deeply then, her tongue pressing my lips apart and touching mine teasingly. Her right hand still held mine down between our bodies, her thumb keeping a constant rhythm against it.
Tambi released my head and her hand caressed down my neck, shoulder, and down to tenderly cup a breast. Her finger tips grazed the tip, and flicked across it. She sucked my lower lip into her mouth at the same time and I inhaled sharply. I felt an ache between my legs just as I did when I fantasized about Alir.
"Do you like that?" Tambi asked, pulling back just a little.
"Oh yes." I whispered, and reclaimed her lips with mine.
Tambi shifted again and slid her left thigh up between my legs. I could feel her wet breasts press against mine, and her thigh against my mound made me crazy. Her hands found mine and held them firmly as she continued to kiss me. I could feel the length of her body against mine, and her skin...so warm. Her thigh began to quiver, and I could feel my release build. One of her hands let go of mine and snaked between my legs. Her finger slid inside me, and her palm cupped my mound. She moved it with a new rhythm. Her palm circled and her finger plunged. I couldn't take it any more. I cried out against her, arching my back as the shiver encompassed my body. I felt her grind against me, and her entire body shook with her release. She whimpered against my lips and then gave a soft laugh.
"I have never done that with another person," Tambi said softly. "Only alone, after everyone has gone to bed."
I nodded and hugged her close. "Is that what tonight will be like?" I asked.
"If he is gentle, perhaps. My sister's mate can be rough at times, but it is still good. She said when he is inside her she cannot feel anything but his member sliding into her. All her senses are focused on the coupling. I hope he treats you well."
I smiled then, and resumed my washing after one last gentle kiss. "Thank you, Tambi. You have certainly given me some things to teach Alir. If only I knew how to please him in the same way you have pleased me."
She nodded and caressed my soap covered breasts. "I think it will come naturally. Trust your instincts, and go slowly. I know you two will find joy together this night."
Together, Tambi and I finished bathing. We talked and laughed like children at the evening's prospects. When we were dry, Tambi spent some time braiding and arranging my hair with the dried flowers she had brought. I helped her with her hair and choosing the right dress. When we were both dressed and ready, she looked at me and said, "You look gorgeous, Kyra. Alir will never forget this night."
I only smiled and said, "I only hope it compares to what we shared today. Now - I need to hurry. Mother will be waiting for me in the main Hall."
To be continued...