Lessons Ch. 1bySabledrake©
"We have a special lesson today, class."
Octavia nudged Cordelia. "I told you!" she said. "I did see him!"
"Shhh!" Cordelia hissed. "The Dora is talking!"
She cringed as Dora Leonilla paused to let her gaze sweep over the room of rustling and whispering girls. Instead of the stern wrath Cordelia had come to expect from her teachers, the blond woman was smiling indulgently.
"I can't believe it!" Herunia said. "It's too shocking! Too scandalous!"
"Especially after what happened last year," added Jasmine, eyes wide over her fashionably sheer veil. "I was Antonia's roommate. Who would've expected? But then, we have a saying in my village: it's the quiet mouse that can dance the jolly sailor."
"Well, we have a saying in mine too," Herunia said. "A muddy porch makes even the finest house shabby. She might as well put on red earrings."
"You heard what the Dora said," Octavia argued. "She was blessed for it! And she must've enjoyed it! Why, last year, I nearly -"
"Yes, we saw," Herunia said coldly. "His hands were all over you like a goodwife squeezing melons. And you know the saying: she who lifts her veil will lift her skirts."
Octavia glared at her. "You haven't learned anything from the Dora, have you? You're still as prudish as a maiden aunt!"
The Dora clapped her hands sharply, bringing sudden silence. Cordelia settled back in her chair, questions racing through her head. She only had the vaguest idea what the others were talking about, what scandal they meant. Antonia ... the name was familiar ... ah, yes! The Dora's Initiate, no older than the other girls but already the mother of a son, although she was unmarried. Had she been a student? And who was the "him" Octavia had mentioned?
The door opened, and her last question was answered as the man stepped into the room, ducking his head slightly to avoid hitting the top of the doorway.
He was the tallest man Cordelia had ever seen, overtopping her own brother's two yards by several inches. Not only was he the tallest, but one of the handsomest! The murmurs from her sister students told her she wasn't wrong in her assessment.
"This is Rick," Dora Leonilla said. "He is one of Dovermere's landholders and a paladin in the Holy Church. We are fortunate to have him join us for today's class."
He glanced around the room, smiling. No jade filled his teeth, which were perfectly even and white. Cordelia knew people who would have given their fortunes for teeth such as that. His eyes were a dark and startling green. His hair was thick and black. Tied back with a thong, it hung straight to the center of his back. A subtle difference in his features set him apart from other Rakvians.
A cream-colored shirt was partly unlaced, showing the smooth dark skin of his chest. His shoulders were broad and his arms looked well-muscled. Snug rust-brown trousers encased long and finely-shaped legs.
Octavia was breathing more rapidly, her veil fluttering in and out of her open mouth. "This time," she whispered, "I'm going to do more than kiss him!"
Herunia turned in her chair and gave Tavi a withering look, which she ignored. Jasmine propped her elbow on her desk and her chin in her hand, and sighed, "Me, too!"
Cordelia frowned, looking at the rest of the class. She was still new to the school, and wondered if her friends were pulling some elaborate prank on her. But most of the other girls had similar looks in their eyes, looks of anticipation or excitement or scandal. Surely the Dora wouldn't be part of a prank, and certainly not a noble paladin!
As she puzzled, he walked to the front of the room and knelt before the Dora. She touched his shoulders and chest in blessing, then bent to kiss him, first on the brow, then the cheek, and then the lips.
Cordelia watched in amazement as the kiss went on and on. She had never even seen her own parents kiss, and they were old and stodgy and didn't like each other very much. It was obvious that the handsome paladin and the beautiful Dora were nothing like her parents.
Without letting his lips leave hers, Rick rose to a standing position and lost his hands in the Dora's fall of honey-blond hair. They seemed oblivious of their audience, as if the watching room of two dozen girls had ceased to exist. Their bodies moved together so that they touched along their entire length, not even keeping the six inches of space required in dancing. The Dora's full bosom pressed against Rick's chest.
Octavia made a low sound and started fanning herself with the lower edge of her veil. Her chin was showing in the presence of a man, but she didn't seem to notice or mind.
At last, the Dora stepped back. "In Dorian's name, be welcome," she said.
"In Dorian's name, I thank you," he replied.
Dora Leonilla gestured to a chair and he took it, grinning charmingly at the class. Most of the girls regained enough composure to decently avert their eyes, but Cordelia was shocked to see that some, Octavia included, met his gaze with boldness.
The Dora leaned against her desk, looking flushed and premier than ever, even with her foreign coloring and unladylike definition of muscle. "Today, class, we are going to be discussing the aspects of physical love, Dorian's Gift to Her favored children. Rick has graciously agreed to assist me in demonstration."
Cordelia felt her jaw drop so far that her own chin was in danger of becoming exposed. "You mean you're going to -" was as far as she got before she heard her own voice and realized she was speaking aloud.
A ripple of laughter, some of it mean-spirited, rolled through the room. The Dora's laugh, however, was kind, as was Rick's. He looked at her, singling her out of the crowd, and she hastily dropped her head in embarrassment.
"Yes, Cordelia, we are," the Dora said. "It is the custom here that you go ignorant to your marriage bed, more often than not with someone you've had no choice in marrying. I defy that custom. Dorian's Gift of Pleasure is the sweetest sensation our bodies can know. Only by enjoying it can we show Dorian that we appreciate Her Gifts, and inspire Her to bless us with children. No one Should partake of Her Gift in ignorance or surprise. Rich, would you help me with the curtain?"
As they moved to draw back the curtain that concealed the raised platform behind the desk, Herunia turned again in her seat.
"My father is going to be furious when he hears they've dared do this again!" she said. "If my tuition weren't paid for the whole term, he would have taken me out of this school last year! "
"Oh, do shut up," Octavia said. "I'm just glad I wore my silk chemise today!"
"I didn't wear one at all," Jasmine giggled.
Cordelia felt her face flame. Never before had she heard anyone discuss their undergarments so openly, not even with the seamstress! And to go without a chemise! Her blush deepened when she looked to the front of the room and saw that the curtain had concealed a large bed, with a Swanshaven feather mattress and piles of cushions.
"We've already shown you a kiss," the Dora said. "There are many ways to kiss, but in this class we shall be focusing on the passionate kind, the kind you will hopefully experience with your husbands. Now, even among passionate kisses, there are differences. The mouths can be closed and the kiss brief, like so -" she demonstrated "- or the lips can be soft and part slightly -" another example "- or both mouths might be open, permitting tongues to touch."
"Eew," said a few of the girls, Cordelia among them. It sounded disgusting, but as the Dora melted into Rick's arms and their mouths locked together, it didn't look disgusting.
"Look at his pants," Octavia whispered. "See the bulge?"
"That's his -" Cordelia choked. In yesterday's class, the Dora had shown them drawings of unclothed men. Cordelia had only taken a quick glance, but remembered well enough what she'd seen.
"He's huge!" Octavia said. "Wait until you see it in the flesh!"
"Merciful gods!" Cordelia feared she would faint at the very idea.
Octavia raised her hand. "Dora?"
"May we try?"
Some of the girls gasped, but Cordelia noted that many of them looked eager, as if they'd wanted to ask the same thing, and those ones flashed Tavi looks of gratitude.
"Rick, do you object?" the Dora asked.
"Not at all!" he said.
Octavia stood up. Cordelia tried to make herself invisible in her chair as Rick approached. Herunia was watching with stony disapproval.
"You'll have to get rid of the veil," he said teasingly. "I don't want to kiss a fateful of silk."
Jasmine leaned closer. "Just have him close his eyes and then lift it aside," she counseled. "That's what we did last year."
"To the beggars with that!" Octavia said, and before the horrified eyes of her classmates she ripped off her veil and threw back her hood, letting her black curls tumble free around her bare face.
Rick nodded happily. "That's more like it!"
He should well be pleased, Cordelia thought. Octavia had skin like Sofa with cream and full, soft lips that would have been the envy of many a Courtesan. She stood proudly, aware of her beauty, in a posture almost arrogant of breast and hip.
Rick caressed her face, touching her cheek, tracing the line of her jaw, mapping the forbidden territory that should have been covered by her veil. When his finger reached her lips, she pursed them to kiss the tip, then opened them to draw it into her mouth. She gave him the smoking look from beneath lowered lashes that Cordelia knew she practiced in the mirror every night.
He withdrew his finger slowly, giving Octavia a smoldering look of his own. He moved his hands to the sides of her face, tipping it up, and kissed her long and firmly. "I remember you from last year," he said in a warm voice.
"Would anyone else like to try?" The Dora looked over her students. "Madenia?"
"I'd have to stand on my chair," the petite girl giggled. Standing, she was of a height to barely reach the middle of Rick's chest.
"We can do better than that," he said, crossing the room in a couple of long strides and literally sweeping her off her feet. She squealed and kicked playfully, her skirt flying to show her legs all the way to the knee.
Now they were eye to eye, though Madenia's slippers dangled several inches off the floor. She unpinned her veil with more care than Tavi, but the moment she was face-stripped she seized Rick by the ears and gave him a loud smack on the lips.
"Madenia," the Dora scolded gently. "A real kiss."
"Yes, Dora," Madenia said obediently, and pressed her mouth softly to his, letting her eyes drift shut. His arms tightened around her, then lowered her to the ground. Suddenly demure, she hastily repinned her veil arid dropped into her seat.
"My turn! " Jasmina announced, starting to rise.
Herunia grabbed her by the sash and yanked her back down. "Have you gone moonbeams?"
Jasmine pulled away. "No. I know what I'm doing."
She removed her sheer veil and the girls gasped again, for beneath it she wore cosmetics! Most of them wore eyeliner, and the wealthier girls like Herunia sometimes dusted their eyelids with powdered gold, but Jasmina's lips were a dark Courtesan red and her cheekbones were dramatically brought out with the color of roses.
Rick grinned again and went to her. She rose on tiptoe and twined her arms around his neck, snuggling her body close to his, and kissed him almost as passionately as the Dora had done. It went on almost as long, too. When Jasmina finally released him and caught her breath, the Dora applauded approvingly.
"Wonderful, Mina!" Tavi cheered, also clapping. "Now it's Cordelia's turn!"
"What?" Cordelia blurted. "Oh, but I couldn't ..."
"Of course you can," Tavi urged. "Mine and I did. You don't want to be a cold fish like Herunia, do you?"
"Octavia," the Dora said, "don't pressure her. I don't want any of you to do more than you're comfortable doing. If Cordelia doesn't want to -"
"That's all right, Dora," Cordelia heard herself say. "I do want to."
The next thing she knew, she was standing beside her desk and sneaking a look at the handsome man approaching her. Past him, she could see Tavi and Jasmine beaming encouragement, and past them she could see Herunia's cold glower. She looked away from Herunia and concentrated on keeping herself from trembling. Despite her concentration, her hands shook as she reached up to unpin her veil.
She faltered with her fingers on the tiny silver clips. She dropped her hands to her sides. "Maybe I can't," she said in a low voice, mortified over making a fool of herself in front of her classmates. The silly goosed new girl, they would say.
He took her hands. "Don't be afraid, Cordelia. Dorian wouldn't want you to be afraid. If you'd rather, I'll close my eyes and you can just move your veil."
She'd never been this near a man who wasn't father or brother. His hands were warm, tough with calluses but still gentle. She nodded before she could rethink it, and when his eyes were closed she lifted her veil away. He bent down carefully and she nearly giggled. He was like a small boy playing at blind man's bluff. She could not find him threatening, even if he was large and strong enough to snap her like a twig. They had a saying in her village, after all: an angry silkdog does more harm than a calm warhorse.
So, still partly unable to believe it, she stretched up on tiptoe as Jasmina had done and hesitantly touched her lips to Rick's.
He kissed her tenderly, almost protectively, until her trembling was lost in a confusion of languidness and new tension. Of their own accord, her lips parted slightly. His did the same. One of his hands slipped beneath her hood to stroke her hair. She wanted to throw her arms around him and press herself to him as the others had done, but dared not. With her pulse racing in her ears, she drew back and straightened her veil, breathing rapidly and sure she was blushing ruby-red.
Octavia, who still had not covered her face, whooped in a most unladylike manner and slapped Cordelia on the shoulder, the way men did when they congratulated each other on especially good business deals. "I knew you could!" Tavi crowed.
Cordelia mumbled something and slid gratefully into her seat. Rick paused to smile at her as he went to the front of the room.
"Anyone else?" the Dora asked.
A forest of dainty hands raised, the entire class except Herunia and the painfully modest Nambiria. Most did as Cordelia had done and just moved their veils aside, since few others were as daring as Octavia. Rick moved among them, giving each willing student a kiss that seemed just perfect for her. It was as if he knew exactly what each girl was feeling, and adjusted his response accordingly.
When he was finished, he returned to the Dora and kissed her again, a long and lingering kiss of passion. With their new inklings of experience, the girls had a much baker idea of what was passing between them, and watched with even more appreciation.
"Now, then," the Dora said, smoothing back her hair. "Dorian made our bodies so that we could derive pleasure from many things. Having someone stroke our hair, touching fur or silk, the taste of fine food, a warm bath ... many things are pleasurable. Especially our bodies. Our lips, as you have learned. For women, our breasts are also a source of pleasure for both ourselves and our men. We enjoy having them touched, men enjoy touching them."
"Why?" Letitia asked. "Why do men like them so much?"
"Partly because it makes the woman feel good," Rick replied. "Partly because they're beautiful and soft, warm, wonderful."
"All women are different," the Dora said. "We all look different and are shaped differently. Some of us might have large breasts, others small. It may interest you to know that small breasts are often more sensitive. The most sensitive part of the breast is the nipple."
The Dora's white gown fastened behind her neck and left her arms bare. As she spoke, she undid the clasp and let the upper part fall to her waist, where her gold belt prevented the rest of her gown from following. Her breasts were pale globes like the full moon, tipped with dark pink nipples.
"Dorian's symbol is a triangle within a circle," the Dora continued, her voice rising to be heard over the muffed exclamations of shock from the students. "The circle represents life itself. The triangle is a symbol of femininity, and one of the interpretations is that the upper two points represent the breasts."
Rick gazed admiringly at the Dora as she cupped her breasts, lifting them, displaying them. She beckoned to him and he moved behind her, replacing her hands with his own. The contrast between their skin tones, his dark and hers light, only emphasized the differences between them.
The Dora let her head fall back and her eyes drift shut as Rick caressed her breasts. "The nipples, as you can see," she said, though her breath was becoming ragged, "become tight and erect when stimulated. This can happen when a woman is cold, or in any intense emotional state such as fear or anger, or, most pleasantly, when aroused."
Rick pinched them gently between thumbs and forefingers, kissing the side of the Dora's neck as he did so. She moaned.
"I've known a couple of women who can reach climax just from breast stimulation," Rick commented.
"They must be exceptionally passionate," the Dora said.
He smiled. "Oh, yes!"
The Dora took a deep breath, causing her breasts to nearly overflow his hands. "In addition to caressing," she said, "many men enjoy kissing and sucking at a woman's breasts. And women certainly enjoy it as well!"
"Isn't that just for babies?" one of the girls asked.
Rick, grinning, shook his head as he moved to sit beside the Dora. He leaned over her and she swept his long hair out of the way so the class could see him lick at one of her taut nipples, then suck it deeply into his mouth. She sighed and arched her back. He alternated between them, keeping his hands busy as well, sometimes pushing her breasts together and running his tongue along the crevice between them, flicking it across both nipples, teasingly acting as if he was about to engulf one then taking the other instead.
The Dora might have planned to continue her lecture, but could do little more than gasp and moan and hold his head firmly to her body. Her skin, which had been pale, was now flushed with rosy color.
Cordelia felt as if her eyes were bulging out of her head. She had never imagined that what went on behind married people's closed doors was anything like this! Most of the other girls looked the same, though Tavi and Jasmine had more dreamy, longing expressions.
Not only that, but she had unexpected tinglings in her own breasts, belly, and thighs. Her nipples were stiff against the sensible linen of her chemise. She shined in her seat, the movement somehow easing yet adding to her strange discomfort.
Finally, the Dora liked Rick's head and kissed him, then returned her attention to the class. "The interest in upper body does go both ways. How many of you have been admiring Rick's chest?"
Octavia's hand shot up, followed by Jasmina's. A few tentative others joined them, Cordelia's included. The Dora nodded to him, and Rick stood to strip off his shirt. He pulled the silk up over his head, revealing a flat, muscular abdomen and perfectly sculpted chest, marred only by a faint purplish bruise. His arms were just as impressive as they'd appeared through the fabric.
The Dora placed one palm against his chest and moved it in a circular motion as she spoke. "As you can see, the man's chest is broader and more solid. Men do not have breasts, although their nipples are sensitive." She rubbed first one and then the other, Rick's expression proving her words true. "Some men, particularly northern ones, might have considerable hair on their chests, and even their arms and backs."