tagSci-Fi & FantasyLovers' Veil

Lovers' Veil

byScott_Harper©

Chapter 1

Prince Leofrick Wykeham kept a lose grip on his yew longbow as he stepped cautiously. Silence was the order of the moment, though no trace of any game had been found for hours.

Bryce Cartwright is a good man. But he's too overbearing. And too loyal to Father and Mother. Why couldn't they have assigned me a personal guard who was more fun?

Leofrick knew that Bryce was nearby, with the rest of the hunting party. The slightest sound might alert the older man of his presence and bring him. Doing his utmost to keep Leofrick is sight at all times was one of Bryce's more annoying qualities. He had been aghast at Leofrick's suggestion that they split up on the hunt. Leofrick had managed to give him the slip, but knew his freedom would be short-lived.

He's a good man, loyal to the throne, brave and intelligent. But why must he be so narrow-minded and overbearing? Father and Mother assigned him to me as a guard, not a nursemaid!

The harmonious strands of song gradually worked their way into Leofrick's conscious. He stopped, stunned by the beauty of the sweet music, wondering how long he had actually been hearing it. After several long moments, he crept forward once more, taking great care that his soft leather boots made no noise, stepping over fallen twigs.

Pushing ahead, deeper into the shadow-dappled depths of Knavesmire Woods, Leofrick listened as the singing grew steadily louder. It washed over him like smooth silk, wrapping him in its soft, enticing folds, caressing him gently, drawing him on. It was a woman's voice, raised in a dulcet lyric. Her voice held an accent which Leofrick was unfamiliar with. He found the voice exotic and alluring. Without even having seen the mistress of the song, Leofrick found himself falling under her spell, bewitched by her imagined loveliness.

Leofrick followed the mellow refrains until he found himself at the edge of a clearing. The voice was louder now, its source close. In slow motion, the prince reached out a hand and drew back a leafy branch, peering through the gap it opened. His breath caught at the sight before him.

A narrow stream wended its way through the clearing, its water clear and clean. Standing in the middle of the watercourse was the most dazzlingly beautiful woman he had ever seen. She was small and trim, petite and delicate. Her waist-length blonde hair, darkened from moisture, hung down, the only thing covering her otherwise bare, pale flesh. The seemingly insubstantial woman was singing, her voice raised in clear, euphonious tones.

Unable to take his eyes from the beautiful sight before him, scarcely able to breathe, he settled in, watching the delicate woman bathe.

She cupped her hands in the water and washed her pale skin over and over. Her smooth, flawless flesh glistened in the afternoon sunlight. No hair marred her skin below her eyebrows. Leofrick found he couldn't decide which feature he found the most attractive - her youthful face with its innocent, wide-eyed expression, her tiny breasts with their rosy pink nipples, or her bare, smooth pubis.

As he watched her, Leofrick was aware that his own body was reacting to the sight of hers. His cock grew hard and hot within the tight confines of his pants. His breathing grew quicker. In his mind, he had the gorgeous young woman on his bed and was perched between her lithe, willowy legs, making sweet love to her. In his fantasy, her eyes were locked with his own as she made soft sounds of blissful pleasure with each thrust of his thick shaft into her tight, hot canal.

Long minutes passed by and still Leofrick remained hidden, watching the young woman, listening to her song. She seemed in no hurry and bathed over and over again, taking her time, gently washing her pale, smooth skin and long blonde hair again and again. All the while, her song never wavered. Her voice wrapped around the prince, holding him as fast as the sight of her naked beauty.

"Prince! There you are!" Bryce's voice called loudly from several yards behind.

Leofrick winced. At the same instant, the young woman spun, her gaze locking onto him, her song ending. A look of shocked, abject horror twisting her features into a mask. She froze, eyes panicked, for only a moment before turning away. She spun so quickly that her long blonde hair whipped through the air behind her, arcing around, slinging water. She began scrambling up the far bank of the stream.

Leofrick glanced in the direction of Bryce's voice, loath to take his eyes off the mind-searingly lovely woman even for an instant. Bryce was approaching him quickly, noisily. The large man was waving a hand at him.

"Prince, why did you go off alone? You know how many travelers have vanished in Knavesmire Woods over the years! It isn't safe out here alone!"

Ignoring him, Leofrick turned back, wanting to catch a final glimpse of the young woman. She had made it up the far bank already and, still fully nude, was racing toward the far side of the clearing. As he watched, she faded from view and was gone.

Leofrick flinched in shock, blinking, trying to focus on the place where the woman had been.

"Leofrick!"

The prince waved his guard to silence and rose, pushing into the clearing. He went quickly to the stream, staring at the place where the woman had stood. Not caring about damage to his leather boots or elegant hunting pants, Leofrick slid down the bank and waded into the watercourse.

"Prince!"

He paused only long enough to glance back at Bryce. "Give me a minute, will you?"

Turning back, Leofrick forded the stream and looked at the other bank. To his amazement, there was no sign of the young woman's passage. Puzzled, he climbed up and followed her course toward the tree line, his gaze on the ground.

Nothing. But that isn't possible! She couldn't have just vanished. She's here, hiding in the brush or behind a tree. She must be...

Disturbed by the lack of any bent grass or footprints, he turned his full attention to the deeper woods before him, casting about for some small sign of the woman's presence or passage. He saw nothing.

"Hello? Are you still there? I'm sorry to have frightened you! I'm sorry to have spied upon you, too. I heard you singing and..."

He let his words trail off as the realization that he was not going to get an answer slowly sank in.

"My Prince?" Bryce called from the far side of the stream. "To whom are you speaking?"

Unexpected anger flaring in him, Leofrick spun quickly, spearing Bryce Cartwright with a look. "You shouldn't have shouted! You scared her away!"

Frustrated, longing for one more look at the lovely woman, Leofrick started back to Bryce.

"I'm sorry, my Prince. I was concerned for your safety when I found that you'd left us. And...whom did I frighten off? I saw no one." The red beard around his mouth sagged as he frowned and his brow furrowed with uncertainty above hesitant eyes.

Leofrick paused, staring at Bryce. "You didn't see-? No, you shouted before you were close enough to see her. By the gods, Bryce, she was the brightest vision of beauty! Gorgeous beyond anything I'd ever imagined to be possible. Her voice alone is something men would kill to experience just once in their miserable lifetimes."

"Her voice? You spoke to her, then?"

"No. She was singing. You must've heard her."

"I heard nothing."

Leofrick stared at his personal guard. "You must have."

"I apologize, but I did not. I had picked up your trail through the woods and followed it. I saw you crouching there, staring into the clearing. I saw no one else and heard nothing."

Leofrick watched him for long moments before sighing and leading the way back toward the others. "Bryce...my friend...take it from me when I say that you can't know what you missed because you've never in your life experienced anything like it before. That sweet, soft voice...her lovely face...that petite, perfect body..." Thoughts of the woman and her nakedness were enough to make his cock swell painfully in the limitations of his pants once more. He shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts. "Why were you so worried about me? I was only gone for a few minutes."

"A few minutes? My Prince, no. You were gone for over two hours."

Leofrick stopped walking and turned to the larger man, confused. "What?"

When Bryce only returned his gaze, unspeaking, Leofrick turned his attention to the sky. He started upon seeing the drastic shift in the sun's position from when he had last been aware of it.

"But..."

"My Prince?"

"It isn't possible."

"I'm afraid it is, my Prince."

"I couldn't have been watching her that long."

"It seems that you were. She must have been a vision."

"She was." Leofrick started walking again, going only a few paces before saying, "Let's call off the hunting excursion. We're just wasting our time out here."

He scarcely heard Bryce's mumble of assent, his thoughts already slipping back to the memory of the young woman bathing in the stream.

I can't believe I lost track of time so badly while watching her. How that have happened?

Bryce's soft words brought him back to the moment as the large man asked, "Tell me about her, would you?"

Leofrick jumped slightly, startled at the sound of the other's voice and grinned sheepishly upon noticing that they had rejoined the other members of the hunting party.

As the group angled toward the distant castle, Leofrick said, "She was the most perfect woman I've ever seen. She was small, tiny almost, yet perfectly proportioned. She had the face of an angel, Bryce, so flawless and unspoiled... Her hair was blonde, I think. She had wet it, so it was darker, but I think it was blonde. And it was so long it hung to her waist. It floated on the water behind her as she washed herself."

Recalling details about the mysterious woman excited him and Leofrick began to speak faster, almost forgetting he had an audience, losing himself in thoughts of the woman he had seen.

"Her skin was devoid of hair, though. I've never seen such a thing before. She had eyebrows, but no hair at all on her below those that I could see."

"Most unusual," the other commented quietly.

"Yes," Leofrick agreed, "it was. But it was wonderful! I've never seen such smooth, soft-looking skin. You should've seen her!"

"What color were her eyes?"

"I couldn't tell. I only really saw them when she spotted me." Thoughts of Bryce's earlier interruption came back to him slowly, beginning to annoy him once more.

"Well," Bryce commented, "this ought to please the King and Queen. They'll be happy you're finally taking an interest in the fair sex. You're over thirty now. It's high time you were married."

"I've always had an interest in women. You know that."

"I know that you've taken your share of lovers over the years. But none have become anything serious. I've never heard you go on about a woman as you are this one."

"That's because I've never found the right woman before. That's why I've never married, or even bothered with a long-term relationship. I gave my virginity to the fifteen-year-old daughter of one of the castle cooks when I was only eleven-years-old. That afternoon introduced me to pleasures the likes of which I never knew could exist. But every girl and every woman I've taken to my bed has been nothing more than a pleasant diversion from the rest of my life. I've not felt enough for any of them to want more than otherwise meaningless sex with them. Not a one, Bryce. And I won't marry until I find someone truly special. Like maybe the woman I saw today."

"Truly?"

"Truly."

"You sound as if you know this woman you saw today, my Prince. Yet you only watched her bathe and listened to her sing. She didn't speak to you, nor you to her. You don't even know her name. You feel lust for her, but nothing more. You know nothing about her."

"It's a feeling. There's something different about her."

Leofrick lapsed into silence and refused to be goaded back into conversation. He remained quiet for the duration of the walk back to the castle, lost in private thoughts of the dazzling woman he had seen. He had to fight to keep his earlier fantasy about her from taking over his thoughts.

Upon reaching the castle, he left Bryce and the others to clean and stow the hunting gear and retired to his chambers to wash up before dinner.

Once sequestered away in his bedchamber, Leofrick poured water from a pitcher into a large basin. He turned to the sizeable, ornate, oval standing mirror and ran his fingers over the intricate scrollwork in the wooden frame. The scrollwork depicted layer upon layer of leafy ivy vines. As always, he looked carefully, spotting the artfully-hidden, tiny renditions of faerie folk secreted in the vines. The mirror had been in the room since before he had been born; stories rumored that it had been in place since the castle had been built centuries ago. The mirror had been Leofrick's all his life. Yet, even now, after a bit more than thirty years of examining the skillfully-crafted wooden frame, he still sometimes found a new faerie design that he had never spotted before.

He stripped out of his dirty clothing, tossing the grubby garments aside for the cleaning staff to deal with in the morning. Fully nude, he left his long brown hair in its ponytail and turned to the basin and picked up a cloth, wetting it. He washed quickly, removing the dirt and sweat of the hunting trip. As he washed, his thoughts wandered back to the young woman from the clearing.

I have to find her.

Drying with a fresh cloth, the prince stepped back to the mirror and stood before it, gazing at his reflection. His image stared back at him with appraising blue eyes above clean-shaved cheeks and chin. He was tall, his body long and lean, the faultless physique maintained by regular swims in the lake. His skin was mostly unmarred, yet held a few small scars here and there, legacy of a mixture of childhood mishaps and training accidents with swords. Thoughts of the young woman's own hairless flesh caused him to take special note of his own body hair. While he wasn't overly hairy, his sinewy musculature was adorned with dark brown strands that blended well with the tan he sported, gained during his frequent swims.

He flipped his ponytail back over his shoulder and let his eyes wander down his reflection until he found himself staring at the image of his cock. It was long and heavy even in its flaccid state. The tip of it peeked out from his foreskin just slightly.

Turning, Leofrick appraised his image from all sides, knowing that women found him attractive. He routinely received complements on both his body and his chiseled good looks. The memory of the look of abject horror he had seen on the beatific face of the woman in the clearing was a knife in his heart. Never in his life had a woman looked at him in such a way. For that look to have been cast upon him by such a divinely perfect woman bothered him deeply.

Moving away from the mirror, he quickly dressed in dinner finery of satin and silk before hurrying downstairs to the smaller, more informal dinning room. It was adjacent to the opulent dining hall and the King and Queen preferred it to the alternative when not entertaining. His parents were already there and the questions began the moment Leofrick was seated at the long wooden table. Servants were busy doling out portions of the meal.

Queen Cara Wykeham, lean and trim, her long, wavy honey-colored hair immaculate, graced her son with a smile. "Bryce tells us you met a woman while you were out today?"

Leofrick squirmed uncomfortably and waited until the servants had filled his plate before replying. "Saying that I met her would be reading too much into it, I'm afraid, Mother."

"Oh."

King Dugal Wykeham paused, his fork halfway to his bearded face. "So what did happen out there? Bryce made it sound as if you'd already fallen head-over-heels in love with someone."

Leofrick watched the King for a long moment before answering. His father still maintained his own body well, but did not have, and probably never would, regain a physique as admirable as Leofrick's own.

"Well," Leofrick said slowly, "Bryce needs to mind his own business."

"He's there to protect you," the Queen reminded him.

"I know. We all need a guard when we leave the castle. I accept that. But Bryce carries it too far."

The King nodded, saying, "You think that before an assassination attempt or before getting lost in the forest. But after? Afterward you sing a different tune!"

"Singing..." Leofrick muttered.

"What was that?" his father asked.

"Singing," Leofrick replied. "I heard singing and followed the sound. The song was being sang by the most indescribably beautiful woman I've ever seen."

"And?" Queen Cara promoted.

"And that was it," Leofrick said. "I was watching her when Bryce called for me. She heard Bryce's voice and it frightened her. She ran off."

"That's it?" King Dugal asked.

"That's it."

The Queen lowered her knife and fork. "Bryce makes it sound as if you were almost engaged to the girl."

"No such luck," he told her. "I didn't speak to her. She didn't speak to me. I don't even know her name."

"Oh," the Queen said again, more softly this time.

"An odd thing happened, though. As she was running off, she just seemed to...vanish."

"Vanish?" the King asked.

"Disappear."

"I know what the word means, son. But it's impossible."

Leofrick shrugged, saying, "It happened in Knavesmire Woods. Odd things happen in there all the time."

"All the more reason why it's good that Bryce was with you," the Queen said.

Leofrick groaned inwardly and turned his attention to his meal. He ate quickly and excused himself, retreating back to his chambers before a new round of questions or prompts to marry could begin after the meal.

Once back in his bedchamber again, he stood before the ornate mirror, staring at his reflection. He tried hard to see anything, any tiny, minor detail, that might elicit such a response of horror as had come over the young woman earlier that day. The thought of such a lovely woman reacting to the sight of him in such a way was deeply troubling.

Slowly, almost unaware of his actions, Leofrick removed his clothing, stripping away the layers of dinner finery until he was once again naked before the scroll-worked mirror.

I was dressed when she saw me, but still, maybe...

His gaze roved the image of his reflection as it had before dinner. He looked the same as always and could see no reason why a woman would look at him is such a manner.

Maybe she was simply thrown off because she realized that someone had been watching her? But if you bathe in such a place, you're apt to be seen. Especially when you sing as she did! It was almost as if she had been trying to draw attention to herself and was frightened when she did so. It doesn't make any sense!

Thoughts of the woman turned again to memories of her. Memories of her gave way to the fantasy of making sweet love to her that Leofrick had envisioned while watching her. He watched the reflection of his meaty cock as it grew, swelling with desire at his ribald thoughts, pulsing in time with his heartbeat.

He reached down and took hold of his semi-erect shaft in a gentle grip, easing back his foreskin, revealing the engorging head. His arousal increased with his own touch, a wave of sheer bliss washing over him, beginning at his loins and spreading throughout his entire body.

Without turning from the image in the mirror, Leofrick walked backward slowly until he felt his bed pressing the backs of his legs. He sat, still holding his erection lightly. Watching the mirror, he wrapped his fingers around his cock and started to stroke.

Report Story

byScott_Harper© 5 comments/ 28386 views/ 29 favorites

Share the love

Report a Bug

Next
25 Pages:123

Forgot your password?

Please wait

Change picture

Your current user avatar, all sizes:

Default size User Picture  Medium size User Picture  Small size User Picture  Tiny size User Picture

You have a new user avatar waiting for moderation.

Select new user avatar:

   Cancel