The Solitary Arrow Ch. 05bymack_the_knife©
Harlen and Hyandai walked the narrow lane toward the village. The road was now paved with crushed gravel, rather than the plain dirt ruts that marked the country road. She watched about them with wide eyes, taking in the village as the buildings grew closer together. Human homes were very different from the flets of her people, sitting high in the bowers of the mighty ornthalion trees. They seemed comfortable, though, she thought, and quite practical for the environment they were set in.
Most of the buildings were of a half-timber design, that is, they had frames made up of large wooden timbers that formed interesting 'skeletons' that were then filled in with rocks and a form of plaster to make them into a solid unbroken wall. The timbers were often then painted in brown or black, and the stucco painted a bright pastel color. It made the village at once cohesive and colorful. The roofs were crafted of either tarred thatch, which Hyandai took to be terribly flammable, or of baked ceramic tiles, which overlapped to form a solid roof.
Many of the homes had small gardens near them, full of small crops of vegetables and other small plants, including spices, especially mint, which perfumed the air with a subtle scent. Her brother had warned her that human cities were malodorous places with lots of disease, but she did not perceive this in the least. This place was spacious, with quite a lot of green space, many trees, some very old-looking and tall. They would not have been shamed by any but the very largest growing in any elven community. She did not even detect the slightest taint of toilet stench, either, which she had especially braced for.
As they neared the main center of the village, they came to a gate set in a long wall that seemed to surround this central area. Two men wearing gold and violet livery stood beside the gate on either side. Their chest bore a symbol that looked like a dragon, standing on its hind legs, with flame leaping from its maw. When they saw her, they snapped to attention like they had been prodded with a spear point in the behind. As they approached, they held their long spears at rest, sticking out from them at about a fourty-five degree angle, but when they prepared to pass, the guards brought them straight up, and slapped their heels together. The couple wondered at this sudden display of deference.
"What goes, honorable soldier of the duke?" Harlen said, giving a small bow to the trooper on the left.
The soldier turned to face him, formally. "We simply salute the lady, good sir." He said, smiling toward Hyandai. Then he said very quietly. "We didn't actually believe that there was an elf in the village, Harlen. By the One, you're a lucky bastard!"
Harlen smiled and said. "I agree, Marell, very much." He patted the soldier, an old friend, on the arm. "Carry on then, trooper." He said. Marell snapped back to attention.
Hyandai looked at him as they crossed into the village. "They were acting thus at my behest?" She asked quietly, leaning toward him.
"So it would seem." Harlen said, grinning. "I told you the people would like you."
As they entered the core of the village, people started to be about, almost everyone comes into the center of town during the market, and today was no exception. She gasped as she beheld her first knot of a couple of dozen people, standing around haggling over a newly-arrived load of cloth. As the two approached, almost half of them turned to watch, and most of them had mouths agape in astonishment. Words emerged from the crowd, like 'Elven lady', 'So pretty', and 'So small.' Hyandai nodded toward the crowd as they passed near, and several of the people gave small waves or nodded in return.
The eyes of the crowd followed them around the corner, and she said. "My word, they are shocked, are they not?"
Harlen chuckled. "Now you know why I gaped at you when we first met." He stroked the hand that was thrust through his arm. "You are incredibly lovely, and also an elf. Both things warrant you being stared at."
She smiled at him. "You are very sweet, Harlen." She said, and kissed his cheek. "Your flattery makes me feel special." They began to walk again. As they rounded the corner into another open area, she gasped in delight. "Oh, Harlen, look at the children!" She nearly squealed. Her face was full of joy and eagerness. A group of village children, almost twenty strong was playing a game involving a beanbag and running and screaming, and quite a lot of laughing. "So many children." She murmured. "Humans are blessed, Harlen, no matter what my folk say."
Harlen said. "Watch yourself, Hyandai." He warned with a smile on his face. Suddenly, the children saw her and with a surge, and they surrounded the two. All of them were touching her arms and hair, and ears. She grinned widely, unable to contain her happiness at all these charming children, grubby with play, wishing to touch her hands and hair. Cries of 'pretty elf' and 'noble lady.' moved through the little crowd of kids. The two were obliged to stop walking while Hyandai tried to greet each of them in elven, causing a wave of giggles and laughter to move through the crowd. Finally, he managed to shoo them away, and she watched them longingly as they took off to begin their game again.
A tear rolled down each cheek and she was laughing. "Hyandai, are you okay?" Harlen asked.
"I am well." She said. "Children are so dear, and you have so many here." She said, wiping under her eyes. Then she cast a rather odd look at Harlen. "Do you humans spend so much time in your beds, or how do you explain the number of children about?"
Onward they went, and came to the edge of the market. It was a large open square, and there were dozens of colorful tents and wagons about it. Hyandai flinched back from the burst of ambient noise that came from the crowd of many hundreds of people. "Harlen, I think I cannot go there. I have never seen so many folk in one place in my days." She said, her eyes nervous. "I must grow used to it first." She concluded.
Harlen nodded, and they turned to the right, skirting the edge of the crowd, and Harlen helped her up a small set of stairs into a building where a wooden boar's head with a arrow through it hung over the door. They went in and instantly the pungent scent of beer hit her nose, causing it to wrinkle. "An ale house?" She asked.
"Yes." Harlen said. "My favorite place to drink, and dine, when I have the money and don't feel like cooking."
A very old man came from beyond a door and walked behind the counter. "Well, Harlen, I see you made it..."He had finally taken a good look at the newcomers in his tavern. "By the One." He said, walking out from behind the counter. "Loskenaur." He said, and knelt before Hyandai, bowing low and staying that way.
Hyandai looked confused for a moment. "You know my sister?" She asked.
The man looked up. "Sister?" He rose from the floor. "Loskenaur is you sister? You look just like her."
She giggled. "I have been told that is so." She said, trying to straighten her face. "But I am Hyandai, her younger sister."
Harlen said. "This is Tammer. He was my mentor in learning the arts of the wood." He pointed to the old man.
Again Hyandai looked excited. "Tammer! I have heard that name. My sister oft spoke your name in our tales to one another." Then she gasped. "You were her vernoyen. I am very pleased to meet you."
The old man looked at Harlen a moment, then back at Hyandai. "Yes, I was." He said with pride. "For a year and a day, I am sure I was the happiest man in the land." He gave Hyandai a sly look. "Your sister was a wondrous lady."
She nodded. "She is very well thought of." She said seriously. "I certainly think highly of her, as well."
Harlen watched all this with some measure of confusion on his face. "You Harlen, you truant," Tammer said to him, "I don't know what to tell you, son. Best to just be good to this lady, else I will wager I can still set you on your arse!"
The hunter smiled. "I have every intent on treating her like a Goddess, as best I can." He said, stroking her hand.
Tammer grunted and turned about. "You two hungry?" He asked, pointing at two stools in the empty tavern. "I've good stew cooked." He said as they sat. He came back to the table with a large mug of beer, which he sat before Harlen. He went back behind the bar and rummaged about before coming up with a bottle of wine, and filled a finely fluted glass with it. This he set gently before Hyandai, causing Harlen to raise an eyebrow. "You don't expect the lady to drink that wolf piss we call beer, do you?" He said, giving Harlen a hearty slap on the back. "Ladies like her have refined tastes."
He nodded. "I know she does." Soon, though they were eating the very good stew, as promised. And old Tammer was humming happily about the bar.
"Your sister and Tammer?" Harlen asked her quietly over their stew.
Hyandai nodded to him. "Yes, she visited this land much in those days, and she knew him, in particular, very well." She said, winking. "She said he was large, and strong, and skilled in wood lore, and that he made her very, very excited with only his merest touch." She raised her eyebrows at Harlen, and smiled slightly.
He sat back with wide eyes. "Oh." And looked back over at Tammer, who was not a small man, even at his advanced age. "It seems us hunters have one good thing going for us, then, we find elven ladies."
She nodded. "Well, you certainly look in the right place to find us." She agreed. "And you also have the attributes that might well cause us to take pause to admire you." She said, grabbing his arm with her free hand and squeezing his large muscles.
Harlen chuckled. "He talks much of his 'glory days' and I do recall a tale or two of elven lasses, but I always thought he was stretching the truth.
She shook her head. "Not in the least." She said. "My sister has told me many tales of him, actually, and some of them quite, well, descriptive."
They finished their meal and Harlen paid for the food and drink despite Tammer's protests. As they prepared to leave. Hyandai spoke. "When I prepared to be traveling in this region, Tammer, my sister bade me pass on a message, should I see you." She said, almost formally.
"Oh? What's that?" He said, a look of confusion on his lined face.
She reached up with both arms and grabbed Tammer's head and pulled him down to where she gave him a very wet, very passionate kiss, her whole body pressed to him and she moved against his chest and lower body with wanton energy. Her hands wound through his hair and knotted into it, clutching him. When she pulled away, she gasped a bit for air and said. "She said you would understand the meaning." She stepped back, and put her hand back into Harlen's.
Tammer leaned on a table for a moment, then said. "Let her know that the message was well received, and that I miss her too." He said, almost panting. He chuckled a moment, then said to Harlen. "I'm glad she didn't word the message more strongly, else I might need a healer." He bowed to her and then went about his preparations for the after market crowd. Though for the moment they lingered, he kept casting short glances at Hyandai, as if to refresh him memory of something half-forgotten.
The couple walked out of the tavern and back into the streets, folk watched them as they walked and there were a couple of pedestrian collisions that could be attributed to Hyandai's beauty. "Did your sister really give you that message?" Harlen asked, smiling.
"No. But I thought she should have." She giggled. "She always said he was the finest kisser she had ever known." Her eyes flicked around the village, watching all the people, and the tents, and booths, and the children, especially the children.
"And is he?" Harlen asked. "The finest kisser, that is."
Hyandai patted his shoulder. "Should you wish to know, then kiss him yourself." She said, and smiled distantly. "A lady does not kiss and tell of it." She kissed Harlen on the cheek.
"But your sister did so." Harlen said, smiling at her.
She looked at Harlen and gave a dismissive gesture with her free hand. "My sister is no lady." She said. And then looked forward with a self-satisfied smile.
They went about for a while, and came to several stalls that were not in the main press of the crowd. Harlen bought a large bolt of fine green cloth from one vendor, saying that "I will make you a proper dress, per your specifications." They then bought, and ate, some large sweetrolls from one vendor, who tried to refuse their money.
Harlen laughed as they licked their fingers of the sugary syrup. "You could probably walk away with half the market for free if you wished."
Hyandai looked around. "I am pleasantly surprised with the kind welcome your people are giving me, Harlen." She said. "The leaders of my people say that humans are bitter at our parting, yet it seems quite the opposite is true."
"At first, it probably was true." He said. "But more of a bitterness because of something dear being taken away, rather than real hostility." He touched her hand. "I can comprehend that thought." He said, his face now serious.
She nodded. "I suppose I do, as well." She said. Then she kissed him, hard and fully, and with enough show for several men nearby to congratulate him, and a couple of women. When she pulled away, it was Harlen's turn to gasped for air.
"What was that for?" He asked, trying to regain his balance.
She looked at him with eyes tilted up. "Practice." She said, then started toward Harlen's home.
Harlen jogged to catch up with her and she took his arm again. They finished the walk and entered his home. The house was quiet and cool after the crowd and warmth of the day. As soon as the door was shut, Hyandai shed her dress, and stepped out of the pile of cloth on the floor. Harlen gulped as he took in her long form, again nude before him.
"Um. You certainly like to do that quickly." He said, appreciatively.
She picked up the dress. "You humans wear too many clothes." She said. "This dress, lovely as it is, is too confining." She looked at Harlen. "I should help you disrobe, as well." She said, reaching out and unfastening his belt. His arms were occupied with the cloth bundle and he could not stop her.
She knelt before him, and pulled his pants down to the tops of his boots. "I think you felt confined, as well." She said, running her slender fingers up his thighs and taking hold at his root. She leaned in and took him into her mouth, very straightforward and began to gently suck. Harlen fell back against the wall, and held his breath.
"I thought you said you would do that whenever I wish?" He gasped. His rod stiffened within seconds, and he felt her teeth begin dragging on his flesh.
She pulled her mouth off his manhood, and smiled up at him. "You do wish it, do you not?" She said.
"Well, now I do." He said, his voice laced with mock exasperation.
"Then still your tongue, man of mine. And leave me to my task." She said, and began to take him in again. She stretched her neck and made a swallowing motion with tongue and throat. More of him slipped down than before, leaving only a couple of inches outside her lips. She swallowed again, and took him to his base. With a long slow motion, she pulled back off of him, and licked the head. She then forced herself back down, taking him deeply, then back out. Now she was doing this repeatedly, and his heart raced as she took him completely into her with each forward move.
His legs stiffened and he dropped the bolt of cloth onto the little bench. She felt his organ twitch in her mouth and felt his seed pour over her tongue. Swallowing hard with her tongue she maintained pace as it flowed forth, and kept up the motion with her head and lips. Finally, the last of it was gone and she slowed, then stopped. Harlen slid down the wall to sit on the floor. "You should warn me when you're going to do that." He said. "It takes a bit of getting used to, m'lady."
She kissed his cheek. "I did." She said. "You just failed to heed it." She stood up and picked up the cloth, and carried it into the common room. Harlen stood back up and followed her after lifting his trousers. She glanced back over her shoulder at him, her golden eyes sparkling. "And while I do that, I am no lady, either." She said, giving him a very licentious grin.
They went into his small workshop and deposited the bolt of cloth. She looked about and then asked. "Whence do you wash your clothing?" She asked.
"There is a wash tub behind the house." Harlen said, as he looked over the cloth and was apparently sizing up what he wished to do with it. Hyandai grabbed up her doeskin clothes and headed toward the door to the bathing room. It was several minutes before he registered what she had just done, Then he bolted for the rear door like a man on fire.
When he barreled out into the small yard behind the house, she was indeed washing her new garments, and poor Trevir was standing, too stunned to move near the back door. She was not wearing any other garments, and from here, the young man had just received his first comprehensive lesson in female anatomy. Harlen grabbed the unfortunate youth and pulled him back into the house. "It's not polite to stare at people, Trev." Harlen said, trying not to laugh. The youth's expression was one of combined shock and bliss. Now, for certain, the lad would be fantasizing about Hyandai in the late watches of the night. Harlen doubted that he would ever fantasize about much else for all his days.
Trevir blinked a few times, then said. "I didn't mean to, Harlen, honest." He said. I was fetching some firewood, and refilling the tub prior to going home for the night." He explained in a rush of words. "I go out the door to get the last few bits of wood, and there's Miss Hyandai, starkers!" His eyes widened again at the vivid memory. "I tried to just go about my business, but then she ups and bends double right there, showing me all her delicate bits."
His face drifted back toward that blissful shock again, and Harlen was certain he had lost him. "Miss Hyandai does tend to wear fewer clothes than you or I, Trevir, so please to be keeping it between us." He instructed. "I doubt, very seriously, that this will be the last time you see her in her birthday suit. I ask that you maintain your head about you, though. She is a lady and her lacking clothes does not change that. You will refrain from gawking next time. Else, I may have to find a new boy."
"Please, no, sir." He said, the fear of being terminated shocking him out of his reverie. "I'll not stare again." He added. "I'll even try to avert my eyes, sir." His face was panicked.
Harlen relented. "I believe you, young Trevir." Harlen said. He went into the tannery room and came back out with a small bottle with a cork in the top. "Now, take this oil to Miss Hyandai and tell her to rub it into the leather of her clothes when she is done washing them, to keep the leather supple." He said, deciding to let the lad prove his professionalism.
He watched from the doorway as Trevir tried to navigate the short way from the back door to the wash basin, where Hyandai was nearly done with her scrubbing, with his eyes squeezed tightly shut. This almost caused Harlen to collapse in a fit of laughter as she turned on the child and then smiled widely. She took the bottle from him and then kissed him on the cheek again, while his eyes remained painfully squeezed shut. He turned and opened them, and ran back for the house. He slammed the door behind himself and said. "I didn't so much as look at her, sir!" In a rush of fast syllables. "I really, honestly didn't."
Harlen was wiping tears from his eyes as he tried to stifle his laughter. "I know, son, I saw you." He said. "Tell me, what did she say to you?"