tagSci-Fi & FantasyTorgan Wine Ch. 44

Torgan Wine Ch. 44

byIsemay©

Tremendous thanks to Todger65 for his help in editing and to Nthusiastic for beta reading and asking good questions!

*****

Walking back to their rooms with Draeseth and Lislora, Isonei felt exhausted and elated. Even Draeseth seemed in a good mood. Lislora, however, looked as though the evening had taken a great deal out of her. Once they reached their chambers she murmured something in Torgan and went directly to the study that had been prepared for her.

"She is too tired for anything else tonight." Draeseth frowned slightly looking at the now closed door.

"It was tiring, but very enjoyable. I think she may not enjoy parties as much as I do."

"You enjoy them as my mother did. She loved the gowns and the conversation."

"You haven't spoken much about her." Isonei smiled and wrapped her arms around his waist.

Draeseth made a pleased sound in his throat. "Come to bed and we will talk. When you called my uncle a fat rabbit and threatened him, it put me in a kittenly mood."

Isonei began to laugh, "I did not! He teased you about being called a kitten and all I said was we had a wonderful cat in Ara who loved to snuggle and occasionally brought home fat rabbits as big as he was."

The grinning Torgan Prince stooped for a kiss. "Woman, it was a pointed reminder that your kitten can kill." He began backing her toward the bedroom. "If I could bed you we would be awake all night. I want to reward you for the startled look on his face and the way he thought better of continuing his teasing."

"I think he thought better of it because you rolled your shoulders back and smirked. You could have rolled them and glowered while asking if he wanted to stroke you and gotten a similar response." She grinned impishly as he began to laugh in his throat.

"Our son may be too mischievous to be a priest. They may refuse to accept him." He pushed the door closed catching Mes with it. Opening it again he barked a question in Torgan.

Her answer seemed to stutter.

"She wishes to help you put away your jewelry and undress."

"You should be kinder, my flower wine."

"I do not enjoy being interrupted."

"And I remember how you liked to help me take off Aran dresses." She laughed at his wicked grin. "I don't have so many you can keep doing that."

"I prefer you in Torgan gowns, woman." Draeseth bent and kissed her hungrily, "Or bare in my bed."

"If you want me bare in your bed, let Mes help me undress."

Kissing her again and giving her a growling grunt before he nodded to Mes, Draeseth moved to the other side of the bed to begin undressing himself. "She should ask if Lislora needs help as well."

"Master Krouth is assisting her," Mes spoke quietly.

"Good, she looked so tired..." Isonei put her ring back in its box and let Mes remove her necklace and bracelet. "Has she been ill too?"

"No," Draeseth answered her before Mes could attempt to. "She has been well. Though the convent did not suit her as well as she had hoped."

"I liked it there. The children were so wonderful."

"I will make certain you have enough children to keep you content, woman." Draeseth laughed in his throat and came back to where she stood as Mes unfastened her dress, to pull the pins from her hair. "You may adopt more if those you and Lislora give me are not enough."

"Less than twenty still sounds nice."

He laughed and kissed her head, tugging at her dress. "Undress, woman, and come to bed."

Mes hurriedly helped her out of everything except the small clothes that would keep her from bleeding on the linens. Before Isonei could ask for water to at least rinse herself with, Krouth came in with his eyes averted carrying a basin. He helped Mes pick up the clothing and put it away with the jewelry as Isonei began to wash herself. Draeseth had retreated to lie on the bed and watch, though he turned away as she removed the small clothes and Mes changed the padding.

When she had finished, he pulled aside the covers for her and made a contented sound as she curled close against his side.

After a moment, once the servants had covered the lamps and left the room, Draeseth murmured, "The bleeding has not yet stopped."

"No. But it had gotten better. It did seem a little worse when I washed."

"You should not have danced. Rest is what you require, although it seems to aggravate you."

"Did Krouth tell you about the book the Kamrus sent?"

"You forget that I woke you to retrieve it?" He laughed softly.

"I did!" Isonei rubbed her face against his side. "The medicine he gave me makes me so sleepy."

"It forces you to rest, my Isonei."

"I slept almost all day. I'm not as sleepy now as I should be, even though I do feel a little tired."

Draeseth made an amused noise in his throat. "I had considered finding a way to enjoy you that would be less strenuous but my desire faded when I saw your blue-green blood soaking the padding. I need you to be well and you must care for yourself and our child."

"I am trying, I promise you that." She idly curled her fingers in the hair of his chest. "The Queen said, troublemakers-"

He began to laugh cutting her off. "Troublemakers begin before they escape the womb. Your son could be nothing less, woman. He will be quick and clever."

Smiling, she sighed and pressed a kiss to his grey-green skin. "I like this."

"This?"

"Lying in bed and talking. We don't do it often."

"What do you wish to talk about, my loving wife?" Pulling her closer and rolling onto his side, he breathed the words into her hair.

"Mm, everything." Isonei pressed more kisses into his skin. "Tell me about the first girl you ever loved."

"You are the first," Draeseth caressed her back, "the first I have ever loved."

"That explains a great deal, my flower wine." She sighed again, resting her forehead against his chest. "You're still learning what to do with yourself."

After a moment he asked, "Liadith was the first boy you loved, who was the first man?" His slightly sour question made her smile.

"After Liadith there were a few... but I couldn't say the words. I had little pieces of my heart broken when I realized it. But, I just..."

He made a pleased sound in his throat. "I am the first man you have loved and been able to speak the words to."

"Yes. Heartbreak is such a painful thing. I was afraid of it for years, and I have tried to be as careful with the hearts of others as my own. But something about you..."

"I knew when I saw you that I needed you. I needed to protect you and keep you by my side. You are mine Isonei. Ganas gave you to me."

Twining her fingers idly in the hair of his chest she took a deep breath, debating telling him that she wasn't Ganas' to give.

"Why did you stay with me? You said I was the first to make you consider it, but why?"

"I'm not sure. You fascinated me. Your manner... and you are the most magnificent man I've ever seen naked." Isonei grinned as he laughed in his throat. "I liked that you listened to what I was saying about our positions even though you were desperate to be deeper inside me. You trusted me."

"Other men did not?"

"They did, but none of them had your urgency. I prefer men who are loving and who like to be touched." She smiled to herself, "The way you react to my touch makes my stomach flutter the same way the sight of you with your head in your hands makes my heart ache."

"I showed you my vulnerability and you wrapped yourself around me. You wish to protect me as much as I wish to protect you."

Isonei pressed her face against his chest. "I do. I want to protect that sweet, loving man I see when I look at you. I can't bear the thought of breaking your heart. If I leave you, I want to leave you in better condition than I found you." Her voice cracked slightly.

Draeseth began to rub her and kiss her head. After a moment of thoughtful silence, he asked softly, "You are patient with me because you wish to teach me. But not for your own enjoyment?"

"I love you Draeseth, but we're not well suited. I love you enough to want you to find the perfect match-"

"I will never love another woman as I love you. I would not hear you speak of parting with me. Teach me for your own pleasure, Isonei."

"It's true that you won't. Every time has been different for me, and my sisters say that's as it should be. But... it wouldn't be fair to you to try to teach you to suit my needs." She wiggled until she was face to face with him in the dark as he protested, silencing him with a kiss. "I want you to learn to be the best man you can be without compromising who you are. Whether you are with me or anyone else, Draeseth, I want you to be able to look at yourself and be proud of your actions and your..." Her voice cracked again and tears ran down her cheeks as her throat closed. Why she was breaking into tears she wasn't wholly sure but it felt like trying to hold back a lake with only her eyelids.

He murmured in Torgan as he began to kiss her cheeks and stroke her hair. After a few long moments, she could breathe again and the tears subsided. Isonei kissed him sweetly as a reward for his gentleness and found once she started she didn't want to stop. She kissed him until he was groaning helplessly into her mouth and moving his hands over her before pulling back just enough to leave little kisses on his lips and along his jaw.

"Woman, I ache for you and cannot bed you."

Kissing him again she couldn't help but smile wryly. "You at least will have an outlet for your frustration. You can thrash your brothers. All I can do is kiss you and imagine doing more."

"Your kisses will get my brothers confined to their beds before the bouts, woman." Even in the dimness, she could hear the wicked grin on his face.

"Maybe if you fought them all at once?"

Draeseth laughed in his throat as he captured her lips, "I will need more frustration for that, my Isonei."

"Mm, I can kiss these beautiful lips of yours for hours, my flower wine."

°°°°°°°°°°

The morning sun woke her as she was curled against Draeseth. Isonei tried to bury her face in his side as he laughed softly. "My Isonei, I have to rise. I have brothers to thrash and duties to attend to."

"I want you to stay and spend the morning with me." She lifted her head just enough to give him a pouty look that made him grin broadly.

"I would kiss the pout off of your face if your lips did not look swollen from the kissing last night, my loving wife."

"But I want more kisses!" Isonei widened her eyes and made a pitiful face as he broke into laughter, rolling her onto her back and covering her face in them.

"You are enough to drive a man mad. I will send Krouth to tell my father I will be late. My Duchess needs me."

Isonei rewarded him with a lingering, lustful kiss.

"No need." The amused interjection came from the corner of the room with the chair and Draeseth lurched from the bed with a snarl.

King Orgath gave him an icy look as he gritted his teeth and bowed in apology. "There was a wager placed on which of your Duchesses you would take to bed and I wished to see how the little Duchess wakes. I understand why you seem so sour when you come out to us now, Draeseth. A wife who requires bedding to rise properly is not one a loving husband is eager to leave."

"How did you enter without waking me, father?" Draeseth scowled and seated himself on the bed; Isonei offered him part of the covers as she moved closer to lean her head on his thigh.

"You sleep much more heavily now than you ever did before." Orgath smiled slyly. "What have your brothers done to earn a thrashing? Did they displease the little Duchess at dinner?"

"No, your Majesty," Isonei gave him a rueful smile. "I wanted to spend time talking and kissing last night and he humored me."

The King frowned slightly as if he didn't understand. Draeseth blushed and began speaking in Torgan until his father laughed.

"Your wife is Aran, she would understand if you wanted to avail yourself of your other Duchess."

Draeseth's thigh stiffened under her head and she frowned at the King. "She was far too tired last night and even with two Duchesses, he has to make certain we're content, comfortable, and willing. Lislora is willing to enter into an Arrangement, but she isn't completely comfortable with it yet. It will require time and patience before he should suggest going to bed to her."

"Then perhaps he can avail himself of some of my women, they are experienced and I am certain they would be willing."

Her frown deepened and Draeseth spoke, stroking her hair, "No, father. The matter was discussed. My silver Duchess would not have me bedding other women at will and I think Lislora would agree."

"And if you promise to think of them while having your frustrations relieved?"

Isonei tilted her head up slightly as if she were trying to look at Draeseth, "My flower wine? Would it bother you if I-"

"You will take no other lover, woman, and you will think of no other man," Draeseth growled sourly and curled his fingers in her hair. "I will do the same. I can release my frustration against opponents in the bouts. If I am still sour I will pray." He glowered down at her as she rolled fully onto her back and beamed up at him.

"I could also try to kiss you out of your sour moods. I do enjoy that."

He made a loud amused sound in his throat and tried to hold his glower. "You are too much temptation woman. I always want to kiss you first and pray later."

"I enjoy watching the two of you together. Seeing you as a loving husband makes me very proud." King Orgath sounded as if he might be teasing and Draeseth blushed, clenching his jaw.

"He's always very loving in the mornings. Early in the day, he's at his best." Reaching up she brushed her fingertips over his lips. "Would you mind awfully if I kept him this morning for just a little longer?" She glanced at the King with an impish smile as Draeseth began to kiss her fingers.

"He will be entirely too sour if I pull him from your bed after you have asked so sweetly, little Duchess. Keep him a little longer. It will give his opponents time to organize themselves." He clapped Draeseth loudly on his bare shoulder with a smirk before leaving the room.

"Did your father sneak into your room often when you were a child?" Isonei looked up at Draeseth with a curious smile.

"It was a game my brothers played. Father would join on rare occasions. It became our tradition to gather in the chambers of the latest riser for breakfast when we are all here." He slipped back under the covers, moving to lie on top of her and kiss her hungrily. "I desire you, woman. Not bedding you is a hardship but bedding one of father's whores would not ease the-"

The sound of Krouth clearing his throat pointedly made Draeseth stop speaking and look up with a chillingly furious glare. "Prince Rogath wished you to be made aware that you are hosting breakfast this morning."

"See to it my father and brothers have all they require. I have my father's permission to linger with my wife."

"Her Imperial Highness is anxious to see the Duchess. She is also waiting for you both to emerge."

Draeseth muttered to himself turning back to press his face to Isonei's. "They need Aran wives to make them linger in bed."

"I think your brothers just want to make certain I don't feel badly for sending you to take your frustration out on them." She fluttered her lashes as his sour expression began to turn into a smirk. "I should kiss you a little more to make interrupting us seem like a bad idea."

"Woman I will see to it they know better." He captured her lips again and she playfully invited him deeper as she wrapped her legs around him. His soft groan made her belly flutter and she gently sucked on his tongue as he became more insistent. "I should have asked the midwives if I can please you in other ways. I want to taste your desire for me, wife," Draeseth purred as he broke the kiss.

"I think when I stop bleeding it should be fine, by that point I might be so eager for your lips and fingers I'll pin you to the bed for a change." She grinned up at him as he began to laugh.

"I will allow it, I enjoy the way-"

The bedroom door opened a sliver and Kresh's annoyed voice rang into the room, "I am unaccustomed to being kept waiting."

"We'll be out soon. I can promise you, we would usually take a great deal longer, Kresh."

The sound of the Torgans in the next room breaking into laughter made Draeseth blush. "You are shameless, woman."

"I am not ashamed of enjoying you." Isonei pressed little kisses to his lips as he grinned.

"You should get out of bed before I decide to keep you here."

"That would be a terrible thing." She wrapped her arms around his neck and put on a mock serious expression. "Kept in bed all day with a beautiful beast kissing me mercilessly... who could endure such a thing?"

He covered her face in kisses and began to nip at the skin below her ears and under her jaw as she wiggled and laughed. "Your beautiful beast might devour you."

"I enjoy it when he tries." Isonei beamed and kissed him giddily.

"I will require more opponents than my brothers, woman. I would fight every man in Torga to be in your bed."

"Mm. When you're done with your sparring today, you should wear your armor back to our rooms. I want to wash you and make sure my champion is rewarded properly."

Groaning something in Torgan he trailed biting kisses down her neck and started to work his way down her shoulder toward her breasts. A sharp knock at the door made him lift his head and loudly snarl a curse.

The door cracked open slightly, "Would her Grace like to wash before breakfast?" Krouth's gelid tone prompted Isonei to make an exaggeratedly contrite face and Draeseth grunted, letting his sourness fade.

"You know that she would, Krouth. Bring the large basin, I will wash with her."

°°°°°°°°°°

Washed and dressed in a dark grey Torgan gown, Isonei left the bedroom on Draeseth's arm. In the main room, breakfast was heaped on the table around her glass wreath, untouched, and more chairs had been brought in. Hodrim stood next to the King looking uncertain and awed, but Lislora sat slightly apart from everyone. Kresh shifted her hostile glare from the Torgan woman to Isonei as Draeseth greeted his second Duchess in Torgan.

"You chose to wash, knowing you were being waited for?"

"I would never ask anyone to start the day without washing." Isonei gave her a cool smile.

"Keeping your better waiting-"

Sucking her lips against her teeth loudly, Isonei interrupted her, "You may outrank me in Torga but you are not my better. Outside of Torga, we are equals, Kresh."

The Phaethian woman stood with a dangerous smile. "Hardly, Nei."

Burgath intervened smoothly, "Both of you outrank Torgan Princes outside of Torga, but not inside of it, and neither of you outrank a King."

"Very true, Burgath." Isonei imitated Andnaeuth's knifelike smile before breaking eye contact with Kresh. "I see your Majesty has met dear Hodrim."

"I have, little Duchess. I understand now why you fell in love with the child." The King patted the boy's shoulder. "He is very much like Draeseth was at this age, very earnest and very devout. A few years at Court will fix that; he may grow up to have two wives as well." He smiled slyly at Draeseth.

"Hodrim is perfect the way he is, your Majesty. He doesn't need fixing." Isonei held out her hand to the boy. "And I would imagine there will be some sort of caveat such as, at least one wife has to be Aran to have more than one. If only to protect Torgan traditions."

"That would set some minds at ease, little Duchess." King Orgath looked amused as Hodrim went to her, taking her hand and letting her kiss his head. "I have received several inquiries and opinions on the matter already. Most are favorable, but those who disapprove are in positions of power that cannot be ignored."

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