tagRomanceTears in a Dry Land Ch. 08

Tears in a Dry Land Ch. 08


Sophia expected him to lead her downstairs to his bedchamber, but instead, she found herself guided towards the far end of the roof garden. A coarse, whitewashed wall, about twice the height of a man rose up over that corner of the fortress. It had the look of a watch tower, or a guard room with a heavy wooden studded door set in the wall.

For a split second, she wondered if she had pushed too hard. Was he going to punish her for her outburst, incarcerate and leave her there until she learned her lesson? Her disquiet must have communicated itself to Yunan, because he stopped and looked at her.

"It is not a sleeping chamber." Yunan moved a brick set back in the wall and retrieved and a very heavy iron key which he set into the door. It needed both his hands to turn the key in the lock and push the door open wide.

"Come," he beckoned her.

Releasing a long breath, Sophia followed him through the door. Inside, the room was lit by bright morning sunshine. Stairs grew out of the cool, tiled floor, hugging the plain, lime-washed walls. As her gaze followed the walls, she realised there was no roof above them, only a canvas sail which shaded the room from direct sunlight, casting huge shadows against the walls.

In the middle of the circular room stood two soft couches piled with so many cushions, they formed a tower which toppled onto the floor as they approached. Sophia's head was whirling. Her master came here often and from the number of couches, he did not come alone.

"This is my observatory." Yunan's deep voice cut through her thoughts, quietening them. "I come here to watch the stars and the different phases of the moon. Sometimes others come with me, to lie and watch the wonders of the night sky. Up there I have tools for marking the process of the moon and the stars. Here, at night, I mark and watch, study and muse and no-one disturbs me unless they come as my guest."

He led her over to a pallet and helped her to lie at ease, piling cushions to support her back. The baby had grown so much over the past few weeks; she could no longer lie flat with any degree of comfort.

"You spoke of ways of getting closer," Yunan reminded her. "We have known each other and yet do not know each other. It seems strange to talk of discovering such things when we have..." he smoothed his hand gently across her belly, "... the result of that knowledge here in front of us, but there is much we must learn."

Settled amongst the cushions, Sophia relaxed as Yunan knelt beside her, conscious of the warmth from his body, the spiced scents from his shaving oil and the soft breeze blowing into the rooftop room. She felt Yunan begin to stroke her hand, his thumb adding extra pressure as he smoothed the skin.

"Penelope tells me you enjoy her massages. You have a very open and sensual nature." He smiled as Sophia dropped her gaze, "I'm afraid I have indulged her. As a result, she is very direct with her comments."

Sophia blushed. "Your daughter has very skilled hands and the scents she used brought back much of my memories. It reminded me a little of the training we were given as dancers, which taught us to be aware of every muscle, every sinew in our body. We leaned to notice how each breath or lack of breath changed our flexibility, our posture – it was very thorough."

"That is good training - for any person," was Yunan's only comment, but he could sense how little she told him about how those skills were obtained; only the tension in her slender fingers beneath his own betrayed memories too painful to acknowledge.

"Even afterwards, when my mind was captive, I could still use my training to be aware of my body and the child within and sometimes – you."

"As a memory or as a presence?"

"I'm not sure." Sophia's eyes took on a distant view as she dove back into those memories again. "I would remember how you unwrapped the dancer's silks from my body. How your body was draped over the couch as you did so. Sometimes I would see you lying in a similar position and know whether you lay at ease or with stiffness in your body. Sometimes you lay on the ground and I saw only stars around you. I thought I must be dreaming.

"In my mind I would sing the songs I sang to you during our time together - not the ones they taught me to sing to you, to entice you, but songs I brought from my father's house, whose words brought the tang of the salt spray upon your brow or drizzled sweet grape juice down our dry throats."

As she spoke, Yunan's hand moved slowly upwards, the fingertips trailing softly against her breast.

"I recall very well uncoiling those silks from you. How defiantly you stood, how challengingly you stared back at me."

"Did I?"

He lifted his eyes to meet hers, "Ah yes, such fire in your eyes. Of course it enflamed me even more."

"I cannot defy you now," she whispered, "Does that remove the challenge for you?"

"The challenge is not to take you now, the challenge is to know you and to let you in to find and know me."

Sophia watched as his hand cupped her heavy breast, softly moulding to its curve

"They have grown so much," she murmured, "The old women say I shall grow larger yet when the babe is born and my milk comes in. Shall you mind?

Yunan's mouth twitched into a smile, "You should listen to the old women, Sophia. Once they were young and they have long memories and much wisdom. As for your breasts, I love them as they are yours. It will not matter to me whether they are large or small."

His fingers stole to her throat - not encircling it, just brushing there, then whispering along the side of her neck. Soon his head dipped to follow them, his lips subtle and soft, delicate open-lipped cupping against her skin while his tongue darted between breaths to tentatively taste her skin. He felt her shiver, sensing the tremor of emotions pulsing through this woman who carried his child, his lover whose secrets were yet to be fully revealed, fully exposed to his barely restrained passion.

As he lifted his head to gaze upon her beauty, he saw her eyes close, her breathing now more peaceful as she welcomed his touch. He ventured a kiss upon her cheek and then her mouth, gentle to begin with but growing more sure. He leaned into her, his tongue sweeping her lips until they parted for him, allowing him entry into the soft, warm darkness of her mouth. He touched her tongue, only to find it swirling around his, locking them together in a spiral dance until he felt they must both faint from lack of breath.

Reluctantly he broke the kiss, moving back to sit on the couch by her side. Sophia stroked his arms before twining her fingers with his. He saw uncertainty still lingering in her eyes.

"Kallikrates, you are a powerful man. Most men in your position would have many wives and many more concubines dancing on their needs. I still find it strange you have not."

"There are no men in my position, Sophia, and I have not found any women - save two - in my life who could reach me."

"Do you prefer the company of men?"

There, it was said; the thought which troubled her the most. Over the months of her stay in the fortress, she was forever conscious of the presence of Yunan's two companions. Unless he expressly sent them away, one of them was always at his side.

They were never forward in any way, often standing or crouching in shadows for hours at end until he had need of them. They rarely spoke except in hushed tones for their Master's ears alone yet they appeared to respond to his requests or needs almost before he could mention what they might be. Even though she and Yunan were inside the observatory, she imagined the companions standing outside, waiting for a sign or for someone to emerge.

She noticed the three of them communicate in sign language, as if they might be mute, but she knew this was not the case. The shorter one, Surak, was a skilled lute player, entertaining them when the family were without guests and Penelope teased him sufficiently to play bawdy soldiers' songs which brought tears of laughter to Yunan's face.

If Penelope preferred women, maybe her father preferred men.

"By no means, "Yunan was quick to respond to her question. "Although I was born and raised in Hellas, I have never enjoyed that ancient preference of my countrymen." His hands reached for a hem of her clothes, "I would like to disrobe you now, if you have no objections."

Sophia inclined her head, her eyes not leaving his. "I have changed since you last saw me."

Yunan smiled "As have I." His hand went to his neck, then stopped.

"What is it?"

"Nothing. This scar from the burning, I forget about it and then it reminds me."

"Are you sure there is no pain? I have not seen it since I made the ointment for you from the cactus. Did it help with the discomfort?"

"I would hide nothing from you, Sophia, especially after your kindness in making me the ointment. It eased the soreness a great deal." He sat closer to her, drawing his tunic over his head so she could see the full extent of the scar along his neck.

She leaned forward to touch it gently with a finger tip, then placed delicate kisses over the puckered skin. As she sat back, she was aware of his fingers deftly unpinning the brooch at her shoulder, allowing fabric to fall away, before pushing the soft, yielding silk back and off her arms.

"So much you bear because of me," she whispered, her eyes darting from his fingers to his face and back again.

"Yet you have the heavier burden," he teased, inclining his head and kissing her, feeling his beard brush her skin as her arms entwine themselves carefully around his neck.

Once more his lips sought hers, opening, firm but yielding to become surprisingly soft and sensitive. Again, she opened to him, offering her lips as a gateway to herself. For a brief, yet eternal second, he hesitated then crossed the threshold, seeking her. The kiss became more powerful, his tongue entering her, dancing with hers - a caress, a slow learning.

Sophia's breathing slowed as she closed her eyes, drawing images to her mind with her other senses, her fingers circling in his hair then moving down to brush the soft spot behind his ear lobes before rubbing the lobe between thumb and forefinger.

Yunan's gasps were deep and ragged, blood rushing into his ears as he carefully withdrew from her. "I want to see you...."

He took the gown he had slid down her back, opening it and undoing the last of the ties concealing her from him, allowing it to fall away. With his hand on her arm, he helped her stand, so the robe slid to the floor in a silent swirl.

"I am who you see - neither more nor less."

"Such beauty." Yunan's face was touched with awe as he beheld her. He stood, neither breathing nor moving until Sophia's fingers touched his cheek.

"I am real, Kallikrates. I live and breathe while my heart pumps blood around two bodies - see..." She took both his hands, placing one on her heart and one on the baby. Yunan leaned closer to her, his cheek next to the hand she placed on the baby.

"Your mother," he whispered, "is very beautiful. I think you should sleep now, little one. Your mother and I have things to discuss that are not for little ears to hear."

He sat down once more upon the couch, looking up at her, then took her hand to draw her down beside him.

"Should she not learn what it is to love and be loved?"

Yunan smiled, "I think she may know what it is already, but like most children, she will not want to think over much about her parents being intimate. We must try not to wake her."

With her eyes on him watching every move of every muscle, Yunan stood to complete his own disrobing. The loose trousers he wore were soon removed. He stood naked beside her, his manhood not fully erect, but swollen, stirring.

Sophia reached for his hand, drawing him down to half sit, half lie beside her.

"This is how it should be," she murmured, "nothing hidden, everything to discover and learn." She ran her fingers down his chest before brushing him lightly with the back of her hand, marvelling at the smoothness of his skin, the taut power of hidden muscles poised and ready to spring into action. This was no soft ruler, indulging himself in food, drink or pleasure. He was a man of action, moving amongst his people, working with them, protecting them as he protected her, wanted her. She felt him shiver at her touch, his hands ranging over her body as she explored his.

"So much to learn," he sighed. "Sight and taste and touch."

Sophia studied his face, "My Lord," she whispered, "for this first time, may I serve you with my hands?"

Yunan felt both his fingers and his shaft twitch at her words. He wondered what it was she wished. Her eyes were deep pools and he felt himself drowning in them.

"Yes," he breathed. "Do as you wish, my love, my light, my one desire."

Gracefully, she slid to the floor; kneeling between his open legs as if she found a place she could call her own. From a hidden pocket in her discarded robe, she retrieved a small vial. Removing the stopper, she placed the vial on the cold marble beside her, waiting with head bowed until the powerful scent of the oil began to permeate the room.

Yunan's nostrils flared, his head lifting as he inhaled the perfume. This was not what he expected from their time together, it was something arousing, provocative and yet deeply seductive. He leaned back against the pile of cushions, his eyes closed as he made himself relax so that she might do whatever she wished with him. He owed her this much, if not more.

Sophia tipped the vial to coats her fingers with oil, then carefully lifted his right foot onto her lap. Her strong fingers stroked the top of his foot from the ankle downwards, paying special attention to each toe and to the back of his heel. When the foot was massaged to her satisfaction, she again coated her hands and began stroking from his right knee down to the ankle - long, firm strokes, paying particular attention to his calf muscles.

As she stroked, her eyes darted to Yunan's face, his demeanour relaxed, as was his manhood - not fully erect, but rather quiescent, though it slowly moved as it gradually filled.

Once the lower leg was stretched, she raised herself, her hands moving confidently to his upper thigh, one hand either side as she penetrated each muscle with long, firm strokes. She heard his breathing falter momentarily, but only for an instant. It was rather the slight jerking pulse in his thigh as muscles jumped where she touched, that betrayed any emotional response from him- such close proximity causing him to become fully filled, his shaft leaning to one side at an angle.

When she was satisfied she had done as much as she could for his right leg, she moved her attention to his left foot, her face a model of concentration as she pulled, straightened and stretched each toe, pressing on the ball of his foot, to address any tension. The heel was also attended to before she helped herself to more oil and moved upwards to his lower leg and calf, aware that Yunan's right foot was flexing on the floor.

This time when she reached the top of his thigh, the backs of her hands - slippery with oil - brushed past his length, causing his manhood to lift, bobbing at her proximity. With strong fingers, she placed his foot on her knee – the better to stroke the underside of his thigh. She heard an audible catch in Yunan's breath, his hands gripping the edges of the couch before relaxing spontaneously.

As she oiled her hands one final time, Sophia began to address his manhood in words almost too soft to make out. She finished by laying her hand underneath his length and bringing it close to her lips so she could plant a single kiss on the glistening tip. Then her hands moved to the base, stroking him downwards with both hands, one after another.

She was so engrossed in her adoration of his shaft, she did not see Yunan's eyes were fully open, as muscles in his buttocks became taut, then released of their own accord. It took all his self control not to allow his seed to spray against her face and breasts at her first touch, but he wanted to prolong the intense pleasure she offered him.

Once his shaft was well coated, she grasped it in her left hand and encircled it with her fingers, beginning to slide it up and down through her palm, while the other hand began its own examination of his balls. As she moved, she felt his sphincter tighten, lifting his shaft, and sending a surge of blood into the hardness.

Her motion was smooth and collected - timed to perfection like a piece of music - so many beats up and so many down. At the same time, her other hand was stroking and gently tugging his balls before coming to the aid of the other so they slid one after the other, up and down, up and down.

Yunan's mouth opened, his tongue appearing to wet dry lips. In time with her strokes, his hips gently twisted, not violently, but in minute movements while a deep groan rumbled through his chest. He watched her face, such a perfect study of concentration, watching the movement of her hands and the changing colour of the tip of his shaft.

It was almost too much to feel her bring one hand curling over the head, pressing lightly, twisting around it, then rubbing the tip with her thumb and forefinger, finding the sensitive place underneath the crown before she squeezed. Her reward was a gleaming drop of clear fluid which she rubbed around the head.

Yunan moaned as he writhed, pressing both feet down on the floor, his hips slightly

lifting, his head slowly turning, constantly looking back to her, watching her face, her hands, worshiping him. On the floor, one foot prepared to rise, only the flexed toes pressing down on the floor, as he growled his desire – the deep notes echoing against the mud walls, ringing out into the bright sunshine of the day.

As his breathing became more laboured with every touch, Sophia seemed to lose herself in meditation. Each breathe she took was long and deep. Each exhalation a sigh wafting against his exposed flesh, providing small moments of blissful cool before her hands brought back warmth and motion once again.

Sensing his need, the pace of her strokes began to increase; little fingers on both hands hardly touching the inner portions of his thighs - sweeping underneath to touch and tease other sensitive areas. His breathing was audible now and fractured, his thighs parting and opening to her as she held his sack in one hand, a finger pressing behind, rubbing the tightly ridged skin before pressing down with greater force as if to massage his inner gland from above.

While his senses were reeling from her loving assault, there was suddenly a void. Both hands left his manhood, to quickly brush from his inner knees to his balls, causing Yunan to shake violently. Before he could recover, her fingers returned once more to their positions, touching, pulling and pressing him. Then she added a new torture, reaching down to tickle the instep of his right foot as she stroked his shaft with measured upward strokes.

Yunan trembled, his body movements uncoordinated and spasmodic. His face was flushed, eyes half-lidded, almost glaring at Sophia as his left hand made a fist, clenching and unclenching. He felt her hand return to his sack, checking the tension of the skin, her fingers soft, but firmly coaxing as if she spoke to each individual seed within, readying them to shoot forth, to end this exquisite torment once and for all.

The fisted hand rose into the air before almost dropping back down, hanging in the air, suspended. The motion on his shaft slowed each palm conscious of its throbbing. Yunan lowered his head, emitting a low, growling rumble. Sophia's eyes fixed on his face as the stroking resumed. His eyelids slowly opened until he met her gaze, lifting his hips towards her, balls tightening as he knew he could withhold no longer.

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