Bound to the Forest GodbyEesomeBeastie©
Manor of Thornbury, Herefordshire, England, AD1420
"Those damned serfs threw stones at my bailiff! I should have them chased down and hung, every man jack of them!"
Sir John de Menneval, lord of the manor of Thornbury, was crimson with rage. The veins on his neck bulged as he undressed in the tiny private bedchamber of his manor house and it was all he could do not to hurl his goblet of watered wine across the room.
"Shhhh, husband," his wife soothed him. "You'll have another fit. Come to bed with me and everything will feel better."
She sat up on the bed, the covers thrown back, her arms outstretched in welcome, her long red hair tumbling down her back in waves that glistened copper in the light from the small fire. Despite what they said about red-heads she'd always been the calm one in their marriage, Sir John thought to himself as he let her beautiful smile ease away his fury. She was his anchor, his conscience, the one to moderate his ire and his impetuousness, to wash away his anger - his sweet and tender Alice.
He climbed up onto the mattress beside his wife and took her in his arms. She was so warm, so soft. Yet under that softness was a supple athleticism that could drive him wild with passion. Despite her apparent meekness she had a real wild side. Bedding her was always an adventure, leaving him sweating and drained as if he had spent an hour on the practice field with horse and lance.
She rubbed against him, her body lithe and insistent through the linen shift she wore.
"Don't worry about it, husband," she whispered. "Not here. Not now. This time is for us."
He felt her hand lift his night-shift, reaching for his cock. He felt her thighs straddle him, smooth as the rarest silk sold for extortionate prices by merchants at the annual St David's Fair. He felt the hairs on her sex brush the head of his erection, felt the lips of her sex, damp and ready, press down on him. Giving in to the sensations, he closed his eyes and lay back.
It was always achingly delicious when she rode him, and no more so than when he was on the verge of a towering rage. It was a game they played: he would lie supine, trying not to react as she rose and fell atop him, trying not to give in to his urge to grab her, roll her over and fuck her with a bruising harshness; she would tease him, trying to provoke exactly that. Sometimes he held out and she would bring herself to a shuddering climax above him, before he emptied his seed into her. Other times his animal lust would overcome him, and he would pin her beneath him, slamming into her over and over until they both screamed, leaving her just as satisfied, but unable to walk without pain the next day.
This was one of the former occasions. He lay still as she slid up and down on his cock, her sighs becoming first whimpers and then the mewlings of a whipped dog. He kept his eyes closed, but he could picture her in his mind: her head swinging from side to side, her hair whipping around her, her copper-flecked eyes glazing over as her rising climax transported her to another place.
He knew she was almost there when her sex gripped around him, gripped then released, three or four times in succession. Then suddenly she was keening her ecstasy with one of her long drawn-out wails which had some of the servants whispering that she was a witch. Surely no normal woman could make a noise like that? But she did - his beautiful, sensual, sexual, responsive and adoring Alice.
His muscles tensed as his own climax rushed upon him, but he managed to keep his hands from touching her. That too was part of the game.
"Aaaah!" His own cry was almost drowned out by hers as he flooded her with his come. Only then did he open his eyes to see her smiling down at him, sweat beading her brow and trickling down her cheeks. She looked resplendent, like a goddess of sex, one he was only too glad to worship.
God, how he loved her!
She dismounted carefully and went over to the window, to where a bowl of water stood on a simple wooden table. Taking a cloth, she washed herself before returning to lie beside him.
He lay still, not making any move to go and clean himself off. Sometimes she liked to lick and kiss the fresh sweat from his body and clean the juices of their lovemaking from his wilting cock with her mouth. He always delayed his post-lovemaking ablutions to give her that chance.
But this time she simply curled up against him, resting her head on his chest.
"Mmmm, that was good, husband," she purred.
"Yes," he replied. "You are the best wife a man could ever wish for."
"Have I got rid of all that nasty tension, then?" she asked, reaching to poke his broad shoulders playfully.
"Yes," he chuckled, and they lay together for some time in contented silence.
He had almost fallen asleep when he felt her head move, as she turned to look up at him.
"Husband?" she began.
"Have you considered letting the villagers keep their shrine in the woods?" It was a delicate topic and he smiled as he realised how carefully she'd chosen her moment.
"I cannot allow pagan idolatry in my manor," he replied gently. "Surely you know that?"
"But it's not real," she persisted. "The old gods are just superstition. What harm can it do if a handful of deluded peasants think they are worshipping them?"
"The bishop would think me weak if I let this go on, Alice. I can't allow that. You know I can't."
"Is that your final word?"
"Yes," he told her with finality, rolling over to close his eyes and seek the comfort of sleep.
With his back to her, he didn't see the lump of wood that smashed into the back of his head, a lump with the figure of a horned man carved into it.
* * * * *
Sir John struggled back to consciousness, the motes of light dancing in his eyes coalescing into fresh dawn sunbeams filtering through the trees. The brightness sent a spear of agony stabbing through his brain, almost drowning out the dull ache at the back of his head. His legs felt like jelly and he immediately realised that the only thing keeping him upright was the rope which lashed him to the tree at his back, binding his arms to his side.
He almost threw up, but managed to force the bile back down.
Closing his eyes until the nausea passed, he listened to the sounds of the forest. Birds chirped their morning chorus. Here and there bushes rustled as small animals passed by. But he heard no voices, no human footsteps. Was he alone?
A bucketful of cold water hit him on the right side of his face, disabusing him of that notion. He spluttered, spitting the cold liquid from his mouth.
Shaking the wet locks of hair from his eyes he looked round to see a plump figure in a hooded cloak of rough brown woollen cloth. The man held an empty wooden bucket and his shoulders shook slightly as if he was barely suppressing a chortle.
"What the devil are you doing?" Sir John shouted, his temper snapping. "Why am I tied up? And who the hell are you? Let me go or I'll see you hang!"
"Now, now, Sir John," the figure chuckled. "You're hardly in a position to be making demands, are you?"
It was the voice of Robert the miller. Sir John had only held Thornbury manor for a few months, but the miller was a key person in the village and Sir John had called him to the manor house to make sure the villagers were using the manor mill as they had to and that the lord's part of the fees was being passed to his bailiff on time.
And Robert wasn't alone. Several more figures stepped into view, all dressed in long hooded cloaks. The final one walked with a gait that seemed very familiar. Could it be? Yes, when she threw back her hood he saw the beautiful face of his wife smiling back at him.
"Alice?" he queried incredulously. "What's happening?"
"Don't you recognise where you are?" she replied. "This is Cernunnos' grove, the one you want to have cut down."
An angry murmur came from the other figures.
"I can't allow that," she added. "We can't allow that."
Sir John frantically tried to make sense of this.
"Since when have you been a pagan idol-worshipper? You are a true daughter of the Church. Baptised. Giving your time freely to good causes. Why are you mixed up in this?"
A stouter figure stepped up beside her and lifted back his hood. Father Phillip, the manor priest.
"I am to blame for that," he said. "I initiated your wife into the mysteries a month ago. She saw me lead a group of us out here one morning and followed us."
Sir John could believe that. Alice had always been curious and headstrong, although she hid it behind her modest public persona.
"She watched our weekly worship here from the bushes. And later that week she came to see me in the church, questioning me about it."
"It's amazing," Alice butted in. "Do you know this manor has never been bothered by passing armies? That these woods have always been free of bandits? That not one single person died of the plague here when it was ravaging the rest of the county? That's all Cernunnos' doing. As long as we give thanks to him, make sacrifice to him, he will protect us."
"Sacrifice?" Sir John did not like the way this was going, not one bit.
It must have shown on his face. "Oh silly!" Alice laughed. "Not that sort of sacrifice. Cernunnos is a fertility god as well as a forest god. And today, at dawn on the Spring Equinox, he wants us to show our devotion in acts of intimate love."
Alice walked towards him, swaying her hips in an alluring but exaggerated manner to make sure he got the message: that she intended to fuck him right here, tied against this tree.
"Alice! Show some dignity!" he protested. But it was too late: she was unfastening her cloak and letting it fall to the ground behind her.
Underneath, she was naked.
Sir John tugged frantically at the ropes that bound him. As much as he loved coupling with his wife he'd be damned before he would do so before a bunch of peasants!
As always, the sight of Alice's modest breasts and smooth hips began to turn him on. He closed his eyes, but it didn't help: the image of her, glorious in her red-haired nakedness was still there, burned on the inside of his eyelids. He tried to think of something else. Anything else. His plans to have a new stable built, the wolf-hound cub his brother had promised him, the upcoming tournament at Gloucester. Nothing worked -- he was still relentlessly growing hard.
When he opened his eyes again, he saw that Alice had stopped half a dozen yards from him. An anonymous hooded figure handed a wooden goblet to Father Phillip, who held it out for Alice to drink from. She placed her delicate hands over Father Phillip's and a surge of jealousy rushed through Sir John. What exactly had Alice's initiation involved? His anger threatened to boil up again.
But Alice was good at reading his moods and quickly reassured him. "No, husband. I've only ever been with you. I only ever will be."
She walked up to him, lifting the goblet towards his lips.
"Drink this, my husband. It will help you relax."
He pursed his lips tight, refusing.
"No, that won't do. Won't do at all." Alice beckoned, and men grabbed Sir John's face from each side. Rough fingers forced their way into the corners of his mouth, pulling his lips open. Alice tipped the goblet and a thick, red, fruity liquid flowed over his lips. Still he refused to drink, keeping his teeth clenched until a fist slammed into his belly, making him gasp and open his mouth involuntarily.
He choked as the strange drink oozed down his throat, leaning forward to try and spit it back out again, but a hand grabbed him by the hair and yanked his head back, holding him until he had to either give in or drown.
The taste was unusual, a mix of rich over-ripe fruits with a meaty, savoury flavour underneath. As the fluid flowed down his throat he felt a tingling, and when it reached his belly a pleasant warmth spread through his torso before settling into his cock which became harder still.
Alice's tossed the goblet aside and slid her hand under his long nightshirt, grasping his erection.
"Ready to pay homage to Cernunnos, I see," Alice whispered.
Sir John didn't answer. His vision was blurring and his knees were buckling. He sagged down as far as the ropes would let him.
Alice smiled. He was now low enough to let her mount him with ease. She took a knife from Father Phillip and sliced Sir John's nightshirt from knee to belly, only stopping because the ropes wouldn't let her tear the cloth any higher.
Through the dizziness that was overtaking him, Sir John looked down and saw his cock jutting out from the rent in the ruined shirt, bare and lewd. He watched her place one hand on his shoulder and the other back on his erection, a smile on her slips as she parted her thighs, moving over him. Gently, she guided her sex down onto him, taking him in. Her expression was one of religious ecstasy, quite at odds with the earthiness of her actions.
The sensation of her sex enfolding him almost drove all thoughts of shame from him. God hadn't blessed them with children yet, and she was tight, tight and with well-practised muscles that gripped and caressed him.
How could he be letting this happen? Letting her ride him in front of the watching eyes of his peasantry, and all in the name of a sacrilegious pagan god? He tried to shout out, to tell the very Heavens of his unwillingness in this profane act, but his throat tightened and he couldn't get the words out.
Alice's hands were both on his shoulders now, holding him lightly, tenderly, as her body rose and fell in sensual rhythm. He caught her eye and she looked back at him. For just a moment he saw not the Alice of religious fervour but the Alice he knew and adored.
"I still love you, John," she whispered too quietly for the rest to hear. "Nothing will change that."
But then the look of delirium took over her face once more and she drove herself up and down on him with renewed abandon. Sweat started to bead her brow. Her cheeks flushed and a faint redness appeared on the upper slopes of her breasts.
Harder she rode him, harder still. Sir John passed out for a moment and when he came to again she was gripping the shoulder of his nightshirt tightly with one fist, the other hand grasping a low branch of the tree, using the leverage to jab her groin almost frantically onto his cock, over and over again.
Through the muzziness of the strange drink he now heard a chanting from the onlookers. It sounded akin to Welsh, but not quite. It rose and fell in time with Alice's onslaughts on his body.
Soon he felt a pressure building. He clenched his buttocks, trying to hold back, his breath coming rapidly through his nose as he pursed his lips. No! He mustn't come. He mustn't bring this obscene ritual to its crazy climax. As God was his witness, he mustn't...
He let out a single strangled bleat as his cock spurted and he flooded his wife with his climax.
"Yes!" she cried. "Cernunnos, I take your seed willingly. Make me yours, your priestess!"
At that moment a multitude of images flashed before Sir John's eyes. He saw men in raw hide kilts dancing around a fire beside a domed burial mound deep in the woods. He saw men in checked wool-cloth trousers standing before a tree with a deer skull tied to it, painting patterns on their torsos and faces with blue woad. He saw a missionary toss aside his cross and prostrate himself before that very same tree. Centuries passing in seconds. The soul of this place surged through him, possessing him, changing him.
And he understood. This place would always be. The old gods, the Christian god, any other deities that might follow; all were fleeting human constructions compared to the ancient soul of this place, the essence currently bearing the name Cernunnos. This place was the only eternity.
He knew now that he would let his people keep their shrine. He would become their high priest, with Alice at his side. Somehow he would deflect the attentions of the bishop. Somehow he would prevent the world outside from knowing about the spark of eternity that burned brightly in these woods.
Cernunnos' grove would survive.