|Dearest Forevermore Pt. I
by Mark Anthony ©
Disclaimer:-This story is copyrighted 2000 by Mark Anthony. It may not be reproduced or posted anywhere else in any way, shape or form without express permission.
-This is a work of erotic fiction, involving explicit sexual acts between female adults. If it ain't your cup of tea, read something else. If you are under 18 years of age, ditto.
-Send any and all comments to email@example.com. Specify which story archive where you found the story if possible, as some of my stories are posted on several sites. Any and all feedback is welcome.
Author's note: Though I have done some research for this story, Castle Streinhenburg & Brachendauch are not actual real-life locations. Any omissions/errors in the story are mine. I chose not to include actual German dialogue since I do not speak the language (modern or medieval), and don't trust translation book/engines as far as I can throw them. This story has a more elaborate setup... but as they say, getting there is half the fun.
The sun rose early on the Rhine valley, the slumbering people of the nearby Brachendauch village stirring shortly after the rooster's call, as they have done for the past thousand years, to take to the vineyards all around the countryside. Wine, the prized industry of the region, had long ago made the fortune of noble families such as the Streinhens, whose castle still sat upon a hill, above Brachendauch, overseeing the majestic river.
The soft rays of morning brought light through layered openings of a wooden blinder in a room of the castle's east wing, rousing Emily Bryden from her restless sleep. The young woman shifted under the warm covers of the munificent canopy bed, an intricately crafted piece of woodwork, blinking and yawning before pulling herself up and about. Dark blond curls of long hair fell over her face, shoulders and neck, and she shifted to one side while her hand ran through the tousled mane. She repressed a sigh and slid off the bed.
Emily slowly walked to the window, her bare feet sliding across the soft carpet, the wood it covered creaking gently at every step. Her peach nightgown, somewhat ruffled by her incessant nocturnal stirring, hugged the delicate contours of her feminine form. Opening the wooden blinders wide, she breathed the fresh air deeply while the fullness of bright morning sunshine penetrated inside. Behind her, a plaintive moan rose from beneath the covers of another canopy bed, standing in a corner next to the fireplace. Both were now bathed in warm yellow brilliance.
Emily Bryden's delicate lips curved upwards in a slight smile.
"Wake up," she beseeched, whispering in a soft voice. She let her words hang in the air, preferring not to overstate the matter. Instead, she turned on her round heels and basked in the brightness, serenity replacing the memory of her troubled sleep. Emily Bryden quickly forgot about the world around her, and breathed softly, the invigorating air of the valley chasing away all of her anxieties. She secretly treasured those first few minutes of the day when she stood alone around a world still in torpor, and often felt free and able to do anything.
She was a shy and timid girl. She often raised barriers around herself that only the closest of friends had managed to breach. But never, it seemed, in those special moments of the quiet morning, when she could be herself without worry or care.
Liana Howard, still trying to fight off the inevitable, grumbled unintelligibly before giving up and flipping the covers over her face.
"That's it?!" she complained bitterly. "Wake up?! Not 'the castle is on fire!' or 'knights are storming the gates!'? Simply, merely 'wake up'?! Why couldn't it be a real emergency, just this once?!"
She tried her best to sound infuriated, but Emily giggled, stepping aside to let more of the sunlight in. Liana perked up at the melodious sound of her childhood friend's laughter, staring at the woman quizzically.
"You're in a good mood today" Liana complained grouchily. "I supposed you slept well."
Emily shook her negatively, though her smile still betrayed her complete amusement. "It's such a glorious morning Liana."
"You probably think I stayed up with that tall Norwegian, don't you?" Liana said reproachfully. "Don't even bother denying it, I know how you think under that prissy and inhibited carapace of yours."
"Honestly, I didn't," lied Emily, keeping her smile but blushing slightly. The art of cruising was a complete mystery to her, though she hardly thought striking up a conversation with a total stranger in a bar could lead to anything... serious. In truth, she found the notion slightly upsetting, despite the fact that her close friend was a self-professed master at it. The very idea of where such things might lead... with complete strangers...
She banished the thought before she finished it, staring up at the pattern of thick wooden beams that stretched above them and supported the stones of the ancient castle as if to implore God for patience.
Liana propped herself up on the bed. "Well," she said mischievously, "maybe we can meet him again tonight... I'm sure you'd get along with him fine."
She winked suggestively, and Emily's face turned bright crimson. Liana fell back on her pillow with an exasperated groan. Her shoulder length hair, with rich curls of bright red, spilled over the pillow. "Emily! What in heaven's name am I ever going to do with you? This is *Europe*! Land of Princes and Kings! Loosen up!"
It was well treaded ground between both of them, and much their mutual dismay. Emily was a beautiful, wealthy and sweet woman, yet she lived like a God-fearing nun secluded in a convent. Liana, on the other hand, was quite willing to enjoy the life of the nouveau riche girl, and had long ago formed the secret hope that Emily would find a prince charming to sweep her off her feet.
The casualty list of male suitors who had been shot down by Emily, Liana lamented, now spanned one ocean and two continents. Many had turned an interested eye towards the lovely lady, with her shy manners, endearing smile and air of graceful mystery, but as many had been rebuffed, gently but firmly. It was enough to drive Liana crazy, and she would have no doubt strangled her friend for it long ago had she not liked her so much.
Emily left her grumpy companion behind, fleeing into adjoining room in the castle suite, away from the trappings of medieval opulence, with its wooden furnishings, crafted period antiques and bright castle banners proudly displayed aside noble portraits and stone walls of intricate masonry. She stepped into a bathroom outfitted with all manners of modern amenities and comforts. Sliding the shoulder straps of her nightgown aside, she felt the material gently slide off her creamy white skin, instinctively wrapping her arms around herself in modest fashion while the air caressed her body, as if concerned that someone might be watching. Turning the faucets, she started the shower and waited impatiently for the water to warm up. Then, she slid her white cotton panties down to her ankles, stepped out of them and quickly slipped behind the barely transparent glass door and underneath the steady, relaxing stream of the shower.
Musings fled her mind as water washed over her naked skin, caressing her pert breasts, delicate shoulders, long legs, graceful hips and smooth face. Her rich dark-blond mane became slick against the curve of her back as she turned inside the shower, feeling the watery cascading down the arch of her spine and over the flesh of her round buttocks. Her hands raised and rested against the opposite wall while she leaned over, her lovely body massaged by the warm flow. Her pulse slowed as she immersed herself in the sensations. Erotic thoughts she usually kept on a tight leash rose to the surface of her brain, and she briefly thought of the Norwegian Liana had talked to late last night.
She indulged in such thoughts for a time, her nipples hardening as the contemplation of daring scenarios she otherwise never admitted to continued in her mind. Then, she quickly shook her head and concentrated on something else, as if afraid of treading on such ground.
She thought of the trip instead, of Liana's idea of celebrating their college graduation with a trip in Europe. Emily, who had gone once, long ago when she was young, had somehow found the idea of such an adventure shared with a friend appealing despite her traditionally timid nature, and had promptly offered to take Liana along free of charge, courtesy of a large trust fund left by the legacy of her immigrant grandfather, who had come from Britain to make a fortune in the new world.
Being the good friend that she was, Liana had argued against it, despite the fact that Emily could easily afford to take them both there, and both friends had finally agreed that Liana would pay for the plane tickets while Emily paid for everything else. Liana Howard's family, though not as affluent as the Brydens, was up-and-coming, and she could well afford the double fare. As for Emily's part of the bargain, with a chunk of her family's fortune already at her name, she had promised Liana only the best of Europe's high class accommodations.
In truth, Emily found Liana to be the perfect travelling companion for her, despite the crazy stunts her friend often pulled in full view of the public. A secret part of her was hungry for that hilarious brand of chaos that Liana had provided in her life since they were little girls, though she rarely admitted to it. Her parents had long ago considered Liana a 'bad influence', and had tried to steer her away from the turbulent child, but Emily had never cared for it. It had been on of those things in her life she had not compromised on, and she was glad of it.
Since the beginning of the trip, Liana always managed to mingle with millionaire playboys and foreign corporate executives with an ease and confidence that Emily secretly envied. The girls had stuck together thought, Liana seldom leaving her friend alone for long, giggling as she sneaked off with her her, leaving yet another flabbergasted rich boy behind, like a serial Cinderella.
Emily sighed and cut her shower short. Stepping out, she caught a glimpse of herself in steam- blurred mirror. The well kept figure, lovely cheekbones, smooth skin and engaging pale-blue eyes... she briefly pondered the puzzlement of her companionless predicament, the apparent conflict of her looks and personality... the unfathomable reasons of her deeply reserved nature, at odds with a nature-given form which attracted suitors left and right...
Emily Bryden lamented privately, eyes downcast, and then stifled a yawn as she dried herself with a long beige towel. She wondered why she had been so restless these last few nights.
2. The Tower
With all the countryside day trips they had taken, Liana and Emily had scarcely taken the time to properly visit the place they were now staying in-Streinhenburg proper. After a quick continental breakfast served with Earl Grey, in a sumptuous hall located in the west wing, the two friends decided to take the tour of the castle.
The visit began at the foot of the castle keep, in the large courtyard surrounded by stone battlements. The day was bright and sunny, and all of the tourists, which included a few British, French and Americans, were in good spirits. Emily, who had developed an interest in History during her studies, was curious about the past of this large castle. Liana's interest, though not at all academic, was nevertheless genuine, and both were looking for some breathtaking views once the tour started.
Streinhenburg, an old Frankish castle seized by German lords in the tenth century, was rebuilt with a mixture of late Romanesque and early Gothic styles. Resting on a hill overseeing the Rhine, the fortified stronghold had quickly become the pride and joy of the Streinhen family, which took control, as early as 1231, of the flow of trade on this portion of mighty river. The castle coffers had filled as tolls had been levied, under the looming shadows of cannons trained upon the waters; few medieval merchants or church boats had been able to pass without paying their dues.
So well had Streinhenburg been fortified that, in all of its years of existence, it had never once been stormed by enemies, commercial, secular or religious.
The group followed the guide after the brief introduction, and they entered the castle gatehouse, which stood to the northwest, climbed a spiral staircase to the ramparts above, and to a breathtaking view of the green valley through which the blue waters of the Rhine flowed. On the way, the guide recounted many anecdotes relating the history of the Streinhen family, which was practically rooted in every stone on which they walked. Emily listened intently to tales of the family feud with House Schtaffen; of Karl the Strong, who raided the countryside with Prussian knights to fight against the heathens Saxons; of Markwald Streinhen, the cunning merchant who had insured his family's eternal financial security through cutthroat tactics and aggressive business ventures; and finally, of Boris the Ox, who it was said drank more wine in a single night than a man of sound and strong disposition did in a whole week.
Emily and Liana lagged behind the group for a while as they continued to walk along the battlements, fresh air blowing in their faces. They moved East towards the smallest of the four main towers. The guide proceeded to describe its main features, mentioning that the spartan accommodations one could find within the confines of the tight cylindrical construct had probably been used by soldiers as barracks.
Liana, who had remained silent for a little while, walking aside her friend with fists jammed in the pockets of her Benneton windbreaker, suddenly scoffed under her breath,.
Emily, who had been listening intently, turned to her with an inquiring eye. "What?" she whispered.
"Not barracks" Liana stated simply. "It's a prison."
Emily stared at her for a moment, not quite understanding. "What do you mean?"
"It's a prison" Liana repeated, her frozen gaze fixated on the tower. Her voice sounded, at least to Emily's ears, hushed and dazed.
"'Was'. You mean it *was* a prison, right?"
Liana remained mute, staring straight at the metallic pinnacle which served as ornament on top of the tower. Her face was totally devoid of all expression.
The guide turned an inquiring eye towards the lagging pair, and it was immediately obvious to Emily that he had overheard her last comment. He seemed a bit surprised.
A nearby tourist, who had also heard, piped in. "Wha-is she right?" he asked in unaccented English, pointing with his thumb, over his back. "Was it a prison?"
The guide shifted hesitantly. "Well... We have a team of historians and architects who have come to the castle to study certain aspects of the construction" he explained, turning back to the group. "All we know for sure is that the tower was constructed in the early 1100's, but has it's interior extensively restored around 1380. Before that, it served as a keep... but one of the members of the team working there said he found evidence of reinforcement in certain walls which were original to the construction and thinks the East tower may have played the role of dungeon or prison of some sort."
He glanced suspiciously at Emily, obviously wondering how a tourist knew the latest on unpublished research conducted by the on-site experts.
Emily was in turn staring at Liana, this time with a befuddled expression, wondering what to make of her friend's sudden exact knowledge of historical architecture.
She shook Liana once, as the guide dragged the rest of the group along for the next stop. "C'mon, Liana" she hissed, "the tour is continuing."
Liana stood, transfixed.
Emily shook her harder. "Liana!"
Liana blinked and suddenly stared at Emily in alarm. "Wha-?"
The two friends looked at each other for an instant. Liana's sense of alarm was replaced with a puzzled expression. Emily, on the other hand, was clearly concerned.
"Let's catch up to the others" Emily said, wondering privately what had just happened.
The tour ended with a visit to Drachen tower, and a commentary on the outer architecture of the castle proper, which stood close to the inside curve of the south-east wall, some 70 yards between the two bottom corners of the slightly odd rectangle made up by the erected battlements. The imposing structure of the castle, with its fortified walls and narrow windows, now served as one of the most luxurious medieval- style hotels in the region, fully capturing the look and feel of Medieval Germany.
As soon as the tour finished, Emily and Liana followed the tourists down a passageway inside the rampart, and through to the castle. From there, the group separated, with the two friends heading back to the dining hall reserved for residents of the hotel, in the West wing. They were greeted politely by the Maître D', who smiled happily and quickly led them to a table.
Emily had shrimp salad bread and white whine, while Liana went for a slice of rare veal and a glass of red.
Any meal served in the dining hall of Streinhen was one that had indisputable romantic and historic flair, the surrounding tables of solid, varnished oak illuminated by a multitude of lights from the elaborate chandeliers suspended above. Assorted heraldic symbols amd banners hung on all four walls, fooling the casual, first-time observer in thinking that little had changed here over the last 800 years. The impeccable quality of service and the promptness of the staff further contributed to give the clientele a sense of belonging, perhaps even the illusion of being part of a family of noble blood.
Liana was fairly silent, which seemed unusual to Emily. The latter was herself lost in thought, this morning's peculiar exchange arousing a sense of apprehension for reasons that seemed both illogical and wholly evasive. Emily was accustomed to Liana's outgoing personality, her sharp wit and snappy comebacks, her tendency to make a statement that would have everyone around her gaping with their mouths hitting the floor... but the episode near the East tower was of a utterly different nature. Despite herself, Emily was rather preoccupied by the whole thing.
"What?" Emily uttered, snapping back to reality.
"I said 'do you want to try some of this?" Liana repeated, holding a forkful of veal. "Tender enough to die for!"
Emily shook her head, wondering why she was making such a big deal out of this. She scrutinized Liana from the corner of her eye, trying to put a finger on what was suddenly so different about her.
Liana was, by all means, a beautiful woman, with a fiery temperament that naturally matched the bright red of her hair. She kept it shoulder length, in a pageboy cut with layered contours which followed the shape of her gentle, oval face. Her bright green eyes and roguish smile had a striking quality, and her slightly upturned nose gave her a bit of an aristocratic air which was only reinforced by her natural confidence. As for her figure, it had been made supple through years of competing in high school gymnastic championships, and had lost none of its gracefulness-Liana had taken up dancing as a hobby to stay in shape. She exuded sensuality, and enjoyed the attention it got her.
They continued to dine, conversation slowly becoming more lively. The atmosphere certainly was conductive for such, and both women were soon drawn, once again, to comment on the fabulous surroundings. They then discussed plans for the afternoon, and opted for a walk down to Brachendauch village, followed by a stroll along the riverbank.
The sun was still shining as they left the castle, and they walked down the stepped incline chiseled out of the mountain rock itself, circling around the rising cliff on which the main structure was perched, down to the green forests which surrounded the base of the hilltop. The path Emily and Liana took there snaked in and out of the woods, finally emerging in the idyllic town of Brachendauch, with its old plazas, stone fountains and medieval residences delighting sightseers. Many of the good-natured villagers had taken up the tradition of dressing in period clothes, which further contributed to making the surroundings part of a bygone epoch. They greeted the tourists with warm smiles and always taking the time to stand with them for a picture. Liana jumped at the opportunity several times, smiling for Emily as she took pictures of her next to medieval barons, knights and servants.
It was a carefree and enjoyable afternoon for both of them, followed by a quiet walk along the banks of the mighty river. Emily remained silent for the most part, taking in the sensations and committing the picturesque sights to memory, while Liana, though animated and perky, nevertheless found it in herself to be somewhat more reserved than ordinary. They both returned castle as the sun was setting, tired but contented.
Emily was entirely convinced she wouldn't have trouble sleeping that nigh.
4. Troubling Visions
Darkness whispered at Emily's soul while she dreamed.
The confines of Streinhenburg had grown menacing in her slumbering fantasy, the interior stone walls and arches fusing and morphing into horrifying shapes as she ran madly forward, seeking to escape the grip of an unseen, ghostly presence. She was barefoot, with only a translucent nightgown to protect her from the cold air, and was frantically searching for a safe place in which to hide. She heard menacing voices echoing around her, plaintive wailing and distant screams which chilled her to the bone. The corridors loomed ahead like a fearsome labyrinth, everyone of them haunted by the tormented spirit of the dead.
Emily fell hard on the cold stone floor as she turned a corner, and looked beyond to sizable but empty hall. The passageway ran for many meters ahead, with regular geometric apertures at regular intervals on the left side of the facade. Pillars jutted on the right, with intricate carvings in the stone of a frightening, lovecraftian quality. The exit, at the far distant end of the terrifying colonnade, loomed tenebrously, appearing to the fearful Emily as a departing ship would to a drowning sailor in the middle of the ocean.
Only the light of a full moon, shining rays of pale white-blue through narrow windows, illuminated her path, slivers of illumination appearing as ethereal hurdles on the extended path to safety. Emily allowed herself a quick look behind her before trying to quickly get to her feet... and was instantly frozen by the image of a ghostly figure, drifting around the corner and coming to rest above her.
Her blood turned to ice.
The pale woman's long, open dress hid little of her generous figure, her ethereal bosom bare, wisps and strands of immaterial clothing wrapped around her narrow waist, her shoulders and her arms. They seemed to dance lightly in the same intangible, non-existent wind which appeared to sustained her in the air. Her flowing hair drifted in the breeze, locks parting to reveal a gentle, if cold visage.
In a terrifying instant, Emily recognized the ghostly apparition before her as that of Liana.
Her panicked scream was cut short by the sound of her friend's haunting voice. Liana spoke to her in a strange tongue which seemed to drown out the lamenting voices. The ghostly figure communed with her soul as the pallid lips moved. Somehow, Emily she could understand the gibberish, making sense of the strange words...
"Anna... my beautiful... we are together... once again..."
With but a single whisper, Emily's world had suddenly capsized into a strange abyss.
Fear ebbed from her trembling body, replaced by a inexplicable warmth and sense of well being that began glowing from deep within her. Her hysterical breathing slowed, as did her galloping pulse. A trance was coming over Emily, and she seemed unable to resist, allowing herself instead to slide deeper and deeper into it.
The ghostly Liana, with her long hair and hypnotic eyes, floated nearer, and finally hovered over Emily, a strange glow surrounding her translucent, elegant form. Her deeply mesmerizing whispers caressed Emily's soul into subservience, replacing fear and dread with a sense of love and rapture. The gothic surroundings of the cold, damp castle halls became irrelevant, not the scene of a frightening apparition but of an irresistible, strange seduction. Emily sat up on the stony floor, obeying the silent will of the mysterious force which now held her enthralled, and parted her knees slowly. She felt a draft slide up the gaping opening of her nightgown... felt the night air sliding up her thighs and caressing her bare pussy... felt her own heat and wetness kissed by the bewitching breeze.
The ghostly Liana only smiled as she floated closer, her pale and beautiful face smiling a secret smile. Emily's mind was enraptured, spellbound by the woman's eyes, by her silent voice. A tiny part of her mind was drowned out by voices that assured her everything was as it should be, and she found herself believing them. Her fingers gently pulled back on the smooth fabric that covered her legs, and the hem of her nightgown slid up and over her knees, revealing her bare thighs and pussy.
She glanced down at herself, saw her own seeping wetness in the pale moonlight. Images and urges flashed inside her brain... strange, alien impulses and cravings were pulling her soul in every direction at once.
Liana spoke again as her hand reached out... "Oh Anna... how I've longed to touch you... how long I've waited..."
Emily felt a burning love and desire as Liana's slender fingers gently brushed against her sex. Her legs trembled at the cold touch, but shivers of passion ran up and down her spine at the strange sensation of semi-ethereal caress. Liana's fingers brushed her again and again, teasingly, enticingly. Stroking her wet slit...
"You are mine... mine for all time..."
A name rose up in Emily's throat even as the pangs of pleasure ignited inside her. She didn't realize it until it had escaped her lips. "Oh! Kristin! Don't stop!"
The ghostly Liana's smile grew as she hung motionless over Emily, who was utterly bewitched by her sensual touch. "Yes... I can see you are beginning to remember... Do you want to be with me, Anna?"
Emily was almost beyond voicing a coherent response, her pussy on fire, quivering as she was meticulously caressed...
Liana?... Kristin?... Both? Neither? It was unimportant-her touch was the only thing in Emily's universe, sending waves of intense pleasure rippling through her body and soul. Her legs were spread, like those of an obedient slave, her cunt stroked by a ghostly apparition. Her mind was reeling, her growing sexual excitement crushing all reason...
"Yes! Oh Yes!"
"Do you want to be with me... Forever?" the ghost inquired nicely, even as she inserted a pale finger deep inside Emily's pussy.
Emily cried out as the orgasm exploded within her, suddenly and violently. She arched her spine as a wave roared up through her body, her head falling backwards, her voice now speaking her mistress' will... "Yes! Yes! YES!!! FOREVER!!"
The climax was easily more powerful than anything she had experienced through a handful of maladroit and restrained sexual encounters, and raged inside her being like a storm for long minutes. The instinctive realization that her heart was slowing as the waves of pleasure began to subside was a secondary thing to the ecstasy she had been allowed to experience, and to the promise she now intended to keep. She fell back on the floor, only dimly aware of her ghostly lover's sensual touch, her heart's beating becoming dangerously irregular, her breath shallowing...
She *would* be with Liana... with Kristin... forever...
Emily woke with a start from the dream moments before the instant of death. She was in her bed, drenched in cold sweat. It was the middle of the night.
She suddenly realized the hysterical scream she was hearing was not her own, but Liana's.
5. Illusions of normalcy
Emily stared at her breakfast without appetite; the tightening knot in her stomach had not subsided. The fear she had experienced last night had stiffened her feminine frame, and her striking eyes betrayed consternation that seemed at odds somehow with the lavish, gothic surroundings of the romantic castle inn. Her head was down, long, smooth curls of blond partially hiding her concerned expression and flowing over her shoulders, down her beige sweater. She had stroked it vigorously in the morning, feeling the urge to brush and brush while trying to keep the memory of the disturbing happenings of the previous night out of her mind.
The dream alone she might have been able to handle. It was an easy rationalization, especially for someone as reserved as she: her subconscious had obviously roamed in strange and distressing territory, but it hardly constituted or supported conclusive proof of strange, aberrant inclinations. Here, in the semi- crowded dining room of the castle inn, in the light of mid-morning, the vividness of her nightly vision seemed to be just what it was: dreamlike, improbable.
Certainly. Without question.
But Emily's long legs, wrapped in tight-fitting wool slacks, crossed and twisted around each other as she thought of the instants that followed her sudden awakening from the dream, of Liana's screams and of her friend's sobbing, panicked apology for endangered her life. Emily, still shaken from her own nightmare, had still managed to make her way to Liana's bed while ignoring a disquieting wetness between her legs, to hug her friend and comfort her as best she could. It would only be later, when Liana had returned to an uneasy slumber, that Emily had remembered the wording of her apology, and realized that in her panic, Liana had called her 'Anna' twice, and had begged her forgiveness for taking her soul into the afterlife.
The meaningless phrases had suddenly made sense in Emily's eyes, and she felt sure that she and Liana had shared the same dream.
"Hey! You started without me!"
Emily looked up, startled. Liana stood next to her, smiling broadly. Her friend's red hair freely, and it slid loosely over the tip of her shoulders. She wore a black sweater with loose wrap skirt and belt buckle, certainly well enough to draw the attention of all of the males in the dining room. She stepped over to the chair next to Emily's and gracefully sat down, crossing her supple legs under the folds of the patterned skirt.
Emily's voice failed her for a split second.
"Where were you this morning?" she finally asked, her eyes unable to leave Liana's. There was something strange and new inside them, but she couldn't quite put her finger on it. An alarming voice inside her head shrilled a warning.
"I got up, silly! I decided to go for a walk around the castle since you were still napping."
Emily tried to wrap her head around the concept of Liana waking up before she did, but failed.
"-different, yes. It was bit straighter after I showered. I feel like such a free spirit wearing it like that!"
She shook her head right and left, letting the rich hair rising and falling smoothly back into place. She giggled as she did so, seemingly happy for no reason at all. Emily's eyes went wide as she suddenly flashed back to her nearly forgotten dream, and saw Liana for an instant just as she had appeared to her during the night, with longer hair and a haunting smile.
The cacophony of alarm bells ringing in her head were drowning out the noises around her. Liana sat before her, but some crazy gut feeling was playing tricks with her perception and trying to tell her otherwise.
Liana pointed a finger at Emily's plate, and the untouched eggs and toast of her continental breakfast. "Mind if I help myself?"
"Go ahead" mumbled Emily, "I'm not too hungry after last night."
"What? You didn't sleep well?"
Emily looked at her blankly.
"No... pretty much the same as you, I guess."
It was Liana's turn to give her an odd stare. "What do you mean? I was totally out of it. Slept like a *baby*, the first time in a while, and boy did I ever need it!"
"What do you mean like a baby?! You woke me up screaming in the middle of the night!"
Liana, who had begun chewing on a piece of toast, froze. Her expression clearly betrayed uncertainty, and Emily realized that her friend was seriously wondering if she was putting her on.
"What nightmare? I don't remember any nightmares..."
Emily's stomach turned and twisted. Her breath froze in the throat. She suddenly felt ill.
Liana's hand gently rested on her knee as she drew closer, a concerned expression on her face. "Emily, Is everything alri-"
Emily yelped and jumped back. The chair slipped from under her and she landed on the floor, trailing most of the tablecloth-and the silverware that rested on it-along with her. The sharp clash of glass, metal and food toppling on the hard wooden floor echoed loudly in the dining hall, startling the various hotel patrons who were also having breakfast.
Liana was instantly at Emily's side, trying to help her up. "Geez, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."
Emily turned beet red as she stood up, aware of the whole room staring at her. A waiter started scooping up the mess while another addressed the two women in shaky English, asking if they were hurt.
Emily shook her head, deeply embarrassed and in great need of fresh air.
"Let's get out of here" Liana offered, leading her gently by the hand.
As they left the dining hall, Emily furiously replayed the moment in her mind. The slight touch on her knee-and the shift of color in Liana's eyes as she did so...
Not the dark green she was used to, but a shade of blue very much like her own.
6. The diary
By early evening, Emily even found it in herself to joke about it.
Liana had suggested an excursion in the nearby vineyards shortly after leaving the dining hall, and the prospect of spending the afternoon outside appealed to Emily greatly. They took the rented BMW, Emily forsaking the driver's seat in order to calm herself down. Liana, despite being somewhat of a crazed driver, assured her that she would get them both there and back in one piece. Over the course of the next twenty minutes, as they left Streinhenburg and drove together through the scenic forested countryside, Liana joked much as she always did, which made Emily smile once again. By the time they had arrived to Brauch's Vineyard estate, Emily was breathing easier, relieved to see that the 'old' Liana was back.
The afternoon turned out to be a lot of fun for both women. After sampling some of the wine and touring the gigantic, damp cellars where classic cuvés fermented and aged, Emily could barely remember the troubling events of the morning. Certainly the apprehension she had felt seemed silly, unfounded even. She had even glimpsed into Liana's eyes when her friend wasn't looking, and found them to be of the right shade of green, exactly what she had expected to see.
The pair followed guides, joked with fellow tourists, and Liana even found the time to flirt with one of the handymen working on the vineyard. It was like their old days in college all over again. They left in late afternoon, heading back to the castle Inn, delighted with the way the day had turned out.
Pangs of trepidation did manifest themselves in Emily as the car drove up the rising path that lead to Streinhen, no doubt revived by the recognizable, gothic silhouette of the castle, but they were soon chased away by Liana's constant, whimsical chatter. They parked the car in the small lot within the castle keep, strolled across the courtyard and into the main entrance of the castle, up the grandiose flight of stone steps and through the ornate granite arch which served as the main entrance to the castle proper. The pair lingered in the hall beyond the doors, standing for a moment while Liana's eyes trailed off to the nearby cocktail lounge.
"Geez-there you go again!" Emily complained in a mock tone, playing the part of the prude as she had so many times before.
"Ya gotta play the field to score in the game" Liana retorted in a southern accent, which left her giggling. Emily joined in, in an effort to play down her 'part'. A passing bellboy gave them a funny look.
"I'm beat, Liana. Mind if I catch some shuteye before dinner?" Emily finally said.
"Sure. We'll grab grub later."
"Grub" sighed Emily. "The Inn's dining hall is flanked by a four star restaurant staffed by a Cordon Bleu chef, Liana. They *don't* serve grub."
"Sorry, I meant chow" Liana said with an incorrigible smile.
"If you order ketchup, I swear I'll kill you" Emily warned her with a finger. "Eight o'clock fine?"
"Sure. I'll see what I can do about bringing company."
Emily silently moaned and dearly hoped she wouldn't. It seems she didn't have the patience to spend an evening with Czechs students who had learned all their English reading Playboy and Sports Illustrated... although as she proceeded up the flights of stairs and to her suite, she almost felt aware of another, reason, stronger but more evasive, buried deep inside her psyche.
The sun had set behind the valley, and the evening darkness had crept into the suite. Emily stripped down to her bra and panties, and put on a large T-shirt that fell to her mid-thighs, figuring she could always change into something formal later. She glanced at the two spacious beds in the room, and briefly remembered the events of the previous night. It felt like the whole thing had taken place over a week ago, and Emily wondered just how much of it wasn't half-twisted by her then-groggy state of mind. She turned to make her way to the bed and stopped, catching a glimpse of something resting on the oak desk which stood next to the window.
It was an old book that she had not noticed before, left behind either by Liana or one of the cleaning staff. On the left was a stack of brochures and tourist info accumulated by the traveling pair. Next to that was a candle, propped on a silver holder. Curious, Emily took three steps and peeked under the cover of the book.
The jacket was leather-bound and dusty. The pages were yellow, and creaked as she turned them; they were not made of paper, the surface being rougher to the touch. Each sheet was adorned with elegant handwriting; though there was an unusual flourish to it, Emily nevertheless recognized as Liana's.
Somewhere along the line, Emily's creeping feeling returned in the pit of her stomach. This time however, it was short lived, vanishing almost instantly.
The young woman barely registered alarm. She scarcely heard the click of the door locking itself behind her, or noticed the sudden flame which conjured itself up at the tip of the candle's wick, lighting the pages of the book enough for Emily to read, bathing the rest of the room in a soft, orange glow.
Drawn up in the words of the diary, she slowly sat down in the chair, her eyes never leaving the page which she had begun to read.
She failed to realize that the writings, though in medieval German, made perfect sense to her.
7. Mirror's image
Streinhenburg, fifth day of February, 1303
She searches for me at every opportunity, but the words I long to say escape me every time. My mouth closes, as is Father's wishes. Count Schtaffen remains at odds with our house, and nothing in Heaven and Earth, short of God's word will change it. If Father only knew what thoughts haunt my nights... those hours of the dark when the only thing I see in my dreams is the image of her face... I fear to unburden my soul to anyone save her... even to brother Hilmund, especially after his frightful pursuit of the wicked in the village earlier in the year, when envoys from Rome traveled these lands on their way to deliver yet another papal decree to the Emperor. Methinks brother Hilmund may see in me a touch of the devil graces, and God help me if he suspects thus. May the Lord forgive me for my impertinence, and for all the rests of my sins. I would confess all of them gladly, I would accept the sins of the entire world for her, if it would redeem our love as the savior redeemed mankind upon the cross.
It cannot be a sin. Nothing so beautiful, nothing so sweet and pleasant and blissful can be sinful! My heart is pierced as with a lance every time I catch a glimpse of the castle where she resides! My soul flutters away on angel wings whenever I received another of her ardent letters! How can I muster the strength and will to burn them, for fear that a squire or servant may bring them to Father, who would see only wickedness? I cannot abandon her sweet words to the flame, and thus must live in fear... but only when they are away from my eyes, and do not chase away the darkness as I quietly read them, over and over, under the dancing flame of the candle. Though every line is singed into my mind, though her voice whispers at my soul at all times of the day... to touch the folded surface of the parchment on which she has scribbled her professions of love is enough to fill my heart with greater and greater longing for her... release comes only at the witching hour, as my hand travels lower and elevates me to heavenly bliss.
Joy like a thousand doves fluttering high in the azure sky! Ecstasy as divine as eternal life's rest for the righteous and chosen of God! I have known pleasure beyond imagining, in her arms instead of a knighted suitor, with no desire or will to throw myself away from her tender embrace. Surely nature intended this, surely God would not have permitted delicate, righteous women to seek each other thus! How can the devil, with all his tricks and wicked machinations, summon feelings of such purity and loving enchantment as those that well inside me when I stare into her adorable eyes? We have, neither of us, known the intrusive pain of a man's organ-how can ladies of honor true be then beguiled by Beelzebub?
The fiery memory of our first meeting, far away in the valley, of our first kiss, under the ancient tree that lies three leagues east of the riverbank, of that first time when she spoke a language unknown to me, worshiping my body with her lips, stirring a strange and consuming passion I had never imagined existed... Anna, oh sweet Anna, how the days and nights seem long without you! Would that we could ride horses to the nearest port and sail for Byzantium, and escape to the faraway lands beyond it! Father can only speak of war against other houses, and of the day when he will spit on his enemies' bones... His desire to give me away to a noble knight will eventually kill me as surely as a thrust of his sword, but I dare not tell him anything.
I can only wait... and dream of Anna. She, too, is promised to another, a count or duke or some other her Father has approved of.
God help me, what is to become of us then?
8. The second dream
Emily stirred and rose from the soft, wool-patted mattress, glancing weakly around her, trying to recognize the unlit surroundings. She slipped down from the bed and felt the cold night air about. She shivered slightly as she glimpsed out the open window, the sight of the pale glow of the moon arousing memories of a past nightmare.
Her breathing halted for a split second. She instantly realized she was dreaming once again... but the awareness of it did not chase away the insubstantial world around her, to deposit her once again back in her bed.
Emily's naked body was covered a light white sheet, a thin cloak which wrapped around her neck and espoused every curve of her skin, covering her bosom, waist and legs while revealing the supple nature of her bewitching physique.
A strange lethargy had come over her. Knowledge and realization of her situation came readily, but not the panic she could have otherwise expected. Emily's tranquility, by her own cognition, was unnatural to be sure, but a part of her seemingly in control welcomed it.
Her eyes grew accustomed to her dark surroundings, and she noticed the opulent character of the decor around her. This, she guessed, were the trappings of her castle suite as they once appeared, hundreds of years ago. She slowly made for to the heavy paneled door, opened it, and peeked outside, with growing curiosity for the strange and unfamiliar surroundings.
A stone corridor stretched left and right.
Emily suddenly heard the voice calling out to her. It had been for some time, but she realized she had not clearly heard it until she had opened the door. With scarcely a thought, she slowly strode out into the corridor, and to the right, her feet brushing against the tiles of the cold floor, enraptured by the Lorelei- like voice that was singing her name.
She turned around dark corners, stepped down narrow spiral staircases, the voice patiently chanting its bewitching melody. The strange call, unmistakably feminine, seemed to confuse two names as it continued... 'Emily'... 'Anna'... as if they were both one and the same...
The gentle fabric of the cape tugged against her body, her skin warm despite the nightly draft which blew along the corridors. It pushed the garment against her feminine curves, tracing the outline of her body, the shape of her nakedness rising out of the soft folds.
The voice was growing louder, clearer with each step... calling out to her...
She came at the end of a passageway and penetrated inside a banquet hall she had never seen before, a long and deserted room illuminated by a series of bright torches hung across the length of a far wall. In the center of the room rested a heavy table which stretched from one end of the hall to the other, a crimson velvet tablecloth covering its rectangular surface. Two chandeliers of crafted silver adorned it, adding to the enchanting brightness by bathing the immediate area in an eerie golden glow. They were the only features upon the table. Up on the adjoining walls, heraldic symbols we displayed, shields, swords and lances and other proud symbols of a reigning house seemingly still in residence within the castle...
The chanting stopped.
Emily glanced about, her eyes filled with calm serenity, much like those of a hypnotized subject. Her lips parted softly, her voice calling out in a imploring tone.
"Kristin... dearest... where are you?"
The name was familiar on Emily's lips, though she had only once spoken it, in the nearly forgotten dream of the previous night. Familiar... and dear to her in ways not easy to express.
She took long steps, the folds of her cape parting ever so slightly as she strode forth, revealing a glimpse of her warm flesh. Her expression saddened as she looked about, unable to find the source of the sweet voice that had called her here.
"Kristin... please..." she beseeched, "come back..."
Emily neared the far edge of the table. Her finger lazily stroked its surface, the softness of the tablecloth brushing against her fingertips .
Her breath caught in her throat as she felt palms clasp her shoulders. Hands... caressing her skin through the fabric of her cloak.
Emily slowly turned to face the person behind her, her smile growing as she did. She beamed when her eyes finally contemplated the lovely, graceful woman who stood before her.
Kristin... and Liana... both and the same. And yet not. The same sculpted face... the same haunting eyes... but different in many ways.
She wore a simple robe, though it was certainly belonged to an ancient period. Her eyes were pale blue, the same as Emily's. The rest of her oval face appeared identical, though the tender smile Emily saw directed at her was unlike any she had ever seen coming from Liana.
Her hair was longer, falling just under her shoulders. It was of the same lovely red, though it fell straight back, and a jeweled ferroniere, its red ruby shining in the candlelight, wrapped around her forehead, holding the crown of her hair in place.
A loving warmth invaded Emily's heart. Her cheeks flushed. Her pussy throbbed, already slick with juices, begging to be touched, stroked and licked. Her breasts grew sensitive, nipples stiffening painfully, poking through the folds of the thin fabric which wrapped around her.
Kristin's hands slowly caressed their way up and over the shoulders... slowly stroked her collarbones, feeling the warm skin. They clasped at the base of Emily's neck, fingers gently wrapping around, losing themselves in the long strands of blond hair that fell down her back.
Emily's heart was pounding inside her chest, like the drum of an unstoppable army marching on the battlefield. Her whole body was tingling, her mind loosing its perspective as she lost herself in Kristin's eyes. Rationality made a final, desperate attempt to work out the significance of the situation, before crumbling under the sensual assault.
She collapsed into a lustful sea, surrendering to Kristin... to Liana.... to the feelings which now coursed through her.
Kristin's fingers rose gently, tracing up her neck stopping at the jaw line. Warm, delicate, gentle, brushing her skin.
They slipped higher, gently cradling the sides of Emily's face, drawing her nearer. Kristin's lips were parting... Emily's heart fluttered like that of a frightened rabbit
She rose to her tiptoes as she gently parted her lips and kissed the ghostly baroness which had summoned her in this dream to make love to her. She closed her eyes while she followed Kristin's lead, savoring the strange new sensation of the sapphic kiss. It was an intoxicating experience which soon had her reeling , her wantonness growing, the desire to taste her lover exploding inside her. She thrust her tongue forth unabashedly, seizing the initiative, French-kissing the woman as she had never dared with any man before.
She still felt Kristin's hands on her, caressing her delicately, touching her arms, sliding up the contour of her breasts, stroking her nipples through her nightgown, sending warm, fervent shivers of forbidden passion raging through body. Her knees were shaking, a mixture of residual fright and unbound excitement welling inside her. She leaned forward, kissing Kristin deeper and deeper, as if trying to drown herself in an ocean of passion.
Their seeking tongues roamed amorously together, Emily's blood burning in her veins. The folds of her cloak finally parted, and sweet Kristin's soft hands started to caress her naked skin. She felt Kristin's agile fingers slowly massaging the firmness of her breasts, while her yearning intensified with the probing of her tongue deep inside the other woman's mouth, sliding in and out, past warm lips, dancing an erotic ballet as they intertwined together.
They broke the passionate kiss at last, Emily gasping for air as she leaned back against the edge of the heavy table. Kristin smiled a gentle smile, her hands still kneading her darling's bosom. Her index and thumb occasionally rose to the tip of Emily's nipples, pinching gently once or twice before sliding back over the firm roundness of the breasts. Emily could only sigh in helpless contentment, unable to believe how aroused she felt, how wonderful and liberating it was to be ravished thus by this seductive apparition.
Warmth seemed to seep from Kristin's fingertips, spreading through her breasts and body, filling her with a sense of euphoria. She sighed and moaned as Kristin's mouth descended upon her right tit, and kissed her nipple lightly. Then, slowly, Kristin's tongue gently slid over and around it, which instantly sent new, sharper, more intense shivers of pleasure coursing through her subservient lover. Pursing her lips, Kristin began suckling passionately.
A sharp cry rose from Emily's throat as she flung her head back, her breathing ragged. Kristin was taking from her. Be it essence, life, or a fragment of her very soul, the ghostly woman now nursing at her breast was consuming part of her, a process which battered her psyche with the most incredible torrent of sexual pleasure she could imagine. Any fear or thought of death, of fleeing Kristin's dark embrace was annihilated as the apparition continued her gentle sucking, Emily's pussy seeping juices and throbbing in desperate need of relief.
Kristin finally drew her head back slightly, and looked up. Emily's glanced down at the woman leaning before her, and mirrored her wanton smile.
"Beautiful Anna... will you be mine once again?"
Emily's answer was immediate, like that of a dutiful servant. "Yes!"
"Will you be mine... forever mine?" Kristin asked, with a hungry stare that melted her heart.
Emily answered with a lustful groan.
Kristin's mouth slowly drew nearer to her other breast, her tongue running over her lips. Emily cried out as her mind once again reeled under the sensual assault, her mind overcome by the glorious passion that was burning her up. She was dying... but she would be with Kristin... forever...
She collapsed back on the table, legs dangling for the edge. Her breath had shallowed, her skin had cooled... Kristin had drawn sustenance from her... a smile of pure bliss gracing her soft lips. Emily felt Kristin's warm fingers parting the folds of her pussy, she spread her knees weakly, feeling the curls of her darling's soft hair sliding between her thighs.
"Suck my cunt... make love to me with your tongue" she whispered feebly.
Emily felt Kristin's lips kiss her wet slit slowly, amorously, felt them brush against her budding clit. She squealed, urging her on, feeling the warmness of her soul seeping away...
"Please... suck my pussy... quickly..." she begged with utter abandonment
Kristin's tongue slid past her pussy lips effortlessly, and Emily found the strength to cry out as a sharp jolts coursed deep inside her. She felt the last of her energy draining away, seeping as the juices flowed from her open cunt, drenching Kristin's lovely face. Her eyes closed as she lost herself in the heavenly sensations of her lover's worship of her cunt... the orgasm detonated within her as would an exploding star.
Kristin... my love... forever...
Emily's thoughts jumbled and tumbled as she felt the darkness wrapping around her... its cold arms engulfing her...
To Be Continued...
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