Talla's Temple Ch. 17


Besides, they were almost in the right direction. At the very least, they were closer to Zhair'lo than her bedroom, and that was something.

She dressed quickly and stepped outside in to the morning heat. The sun was just rising and already she could feel it.


The temperature was, in a word, stupid.

The farm hands recognized it, going about their duties in a certain lazy haze that said, to those who knew such things, that the Temple had damned well better ring the heat bell sometime soon. Some jobs were dangerous to do, and all the more dangerous when heat made palms sweaty and brains muddled.

Zhair'lo was cleaning out stalls. It had the virtue of being a task that was done out of the sun. But the correlation between heat and the scent of a horse's stall wasn't a happy thing.

Harzen had taken him out early in the morning for his horse riding lesson, the daily affair that that that had become, so as to be as kind to the horse as possible. The beasts rested placidly, allowing him to shuffle them from one place to another as he cleaned each stall.

Worse, though, than the heat that tormented him now, was the knowledge of what was to come.

He could feel Talla, sense her now, even at this great distance. Something had happened last night, driving more power in to the thing that linked them together.

They'd started a mesh, how many days ago now? In that alcove were Talla had been directing the carters with their produce. That mesh had been growing in strength, every time they came close and missed each other. Now it called out -- sang to him -- from as great a distance as the Temple was from Harzen's farm.

He would have run in the morning if he'd been able, if he'd thought he could get away with running away from his duties -- and if he'd thought he could reach her inside the Temple.

But the heat bell.

The heat bell was coming today. Everyone seemed certain of that and none were more certain than Zhair'lo. Once the bell rang, and the men went inside to sleep, Zhair'lo knew where he'd be going; knew where he'd be running.


The children were cranky. There was no other word for it. A day like this, sweltering and miserable, brought out the best in neither young nor old. It took every bit of patience Talla owned to deal with the children today.

But there was hope, too, and that hope was what kept her going.

Hope was out there, calling to her, wanting her to run out of the dormitories, in to the heat, to follow the course of the river for a bit and then wander off its course toward an old farm ...


"Ho, Minga?" Talla answered the little girl.

"It's your turn, Talla," the little one reminded her.

"Right, sorry."

Entertaining six year old children was her job today. There was no point beating them at trivial games like this. That only led to crying and a temper tantrum. Best to let them win as often as possible. She moved one of her pieces in to an exposed position.

"Gotcha!" another girl exclaimed as she captured Talla's piece.

Talla smiled, but not at the game. Her mind was elsewhere.


Zhair'lo's body hit the water with a splash.

Cool, refreshing and -- most importantly -- cleansing.

He was going to meet Talla. He knew that now, clearly and without a doubt. The feeling he had, driving him up the hill towards the Temple, was no illusion, nor any other trick of his mind. It was really happening. He was going to see her and he knew exactly which way to go.

And he'd be damned if he'd show up smelling like he'd been walking through a hot stable all morning. So he thrashed about in the water and he swam against its gentle current, letting the water wash away the sweat and grime before he pulled himself back to the shore.

He'd washed in his clothes, expecting the heat to dry him off in short order.

He found himself in a small clearing with an old well, overgrown with disuse, in the shadow of a large tree. Foliage shielded the clearing most of the way around. He was, in fact, stuck, blocked by trees both healthy and fallen, in every direction but the river.

No, not quite trapped.

Some of those logs weren't trees at all, but a fence that must be as old and unused as the well itself. Why was there even a well this close to a river anyway? That made little sense. He didn't spare it more than a thought. He'd already used up precious time flailing in the water. The fence had a gate, mostly dislodged from its hinge and intertwined with thorns.

The weeds put up a fight, but they were no match for muscles with a mission and for that battle he had strength aplenty.

It was a short run to get back on the path he had left and so he continued his journey up to the Temple.

Talla wasn't moving yet. Closer now, he started to sense her feelings, her frustration at being delayed. She wanted to see him, too. She could feel him, too. He knew that now. She would come as soon as she could. There was enough time. There had to be.


"I'll take care of it after the heat bell," Talla promised.

That was the nature of the heat bell. It was an hour where no one was supposed to do any work.

The children, however, were an obligation that outweighed the weariness of mortals. The child-minders had to see the little ones to their beds and make sure they were sleeping before taking the hour off themselves.

M'lis, though, seemed to have it in her head that a few more things could get done before anyone took a nap.

She frowned at Talla, then let out a sigh.

"You're right," she said. "I'm letting the heat get to me."

"We all need a rest," Talla said, oozing all the sympathy she could. "That's why there's a heat bell. Take is easy, right?"

"Right," M'lis echoed wearily. "I'll see you in a bell."

Talla nodded as they separated. Already a quarter of the bell was probably gone. She cursed silently and started running, feeling for Zhair'lo, trying to sense where he was.

Zhair'lo was already on the move and, strangely, comfortably cool and refreshed. How had he managed that?

She knew which way to go, though. She could feel him getting closer, his thoughts becoming more clear.


Talla was moving.

He could feel that. He could feel her eagerness, her unabashed energy and enthusiasm. And she was definitely heading toward him. Building passed by. People seemed to be sleeping everywhere in Gern. A few, those whose occupations made their buildings uncomfortable, slept outside under awnings. Most were inside, so the streets were deserted.

Which way?

Around a corner. This way!

Half of the heat bell was gone by now, with all this running around and Talla being delayed by whatever it was that had frustrated her. They wouldn't have long, once they met, but she was near -- oh, so very near.

A large, blank wall loomed in front of him. Which way to Talla? She must be on the far side. They could spend forever circling whatever building it was, if they were to pick the wrong direction.

Talla had already chosen. He could feel it. Head to the right.

"I'm here," she shouted in his mind.

She was that close.

If he had it right, he just had to round this corner ...

There she was!

Standing at the far corner of the same building, an empty lane way separating them, Talla stood in her mini skirt, breathless and staring at him.

"Warning," came through the mesh to him.

Her eyes darted around, which prevented him from running to her as much as the mental caution had.

The anticipation was painful, but he made himself lean against the wall, pretending to casualness while she peeked inside one of the entrances to the large building that had temporarily prevented their progress.

"Safe," she said, eyeing him before she ducked inside.

He took another look around. Waiting was killing him. The pull of the mesh was a force within him that he could barely resist. The best he could do was to walk at a brisk pace, making sure that no one was around to follow him.

He reached the entrance and ducked in, meaning to let his eyes adjust so he could find Talla.

Instead, he was grabbed by his hand and pulled down a hallway he could barely see.

"Here, here," she whispered, dragging him in to some kind of large closet.

Out of sight, in the cool shade, his hair and clothes still wet from the river, she pulled his head down and their lips came together.

They didn't need words anymore. There were lips and tongues for expressing longing, bodies pressed together to speak for lust and arms wrapped around bodies to show desperation. What else was there to say? He was inside her mind, feeling and thinking what she felt and thought.

This was nothing like it had been with Natta or Nadine. He realized that now. It hadn't been a figment of imagination, that the mesh with Talla had been something actually quite different. It wasn't novelty or infatuation, but something genuinely unique.

She pulled away from him a moment, looking him querulously in the eyes. She had seen the images in his mind, of Natta riding him, of Nadine rubbing her nipples against his erection. With a slow blink, she rendered to him an image of Natta, standing so proud and naked, her face streaked with semen.

He recognized the location immediately. It had been the night of the Initiation. Natta, he realized then, had beaten Talla. The image was a joke, a snide dig at the girl who'd bested her in that race.

Their foreheads touched as he smiled. Then he looked down at her chest.

"Why?" he wondered in to her mind.

Why had she chosen Abundance? He let her see the conversation he'd had with Natta, when she'd wondered the same thing.

"You," she answered, and let him see his own face, looking down at her flat chest that same night. He sensed the pride she'd felt, knowing what she could incite in him if her breasts were larger.

She shrugged the straps off her top, letting them fall off her shoulders. She loved to capture his eyes -- his above all others -- in this way. He gulped, so stunned that his mind was wide open. She saw all the other breasts he'd seen -- Atreya's and Nadine's and Natta's, even the dark, massive orbs of the Sorceress of Point. But Talla's? Hers were special. She was special -- to him.

They were kissing again. One of his hands crept up between their bodies. She turned so he could reach her breast, gentling kneading it, palm over her nipple.

She let him back her in to a table.

What was there to do or say now? Distantly, she was worried about being caught. But it wasn't enough of a concern to prevent what had to happen. The most she would concede to caution was to keep her skirt on and press her underwear to the side.

If she could just get enough of the ties on his pants undone, he could slip between the laces ...

Oh! There he was, just poking through, the tip of his erection already dripping with clear fluid.

Best not to make him come too soon.

An image of Shen came to her mind, and so also in to Zhair'lo's mind, along with the unusual experience of semen being ejaculated in to her mouth.

Zhair'lo stared at her curiously. She could only roll her eyes in pity for the boy she'd eventually helped.

The tip of his penis touched against her lips. It wasn't quite enough to seal the mesh. She just had to spread her legs a little, open the tender pink flesh inside to the rod that begged -

Something crashed behind Zhair'lo.

"Panic!" she screamed through the mesh.

Were they caught? An image, full of fear and self-loathing, of M'lis and Adria flashed in to her mind. She banished it quickly, hoping he hadn't seen it.

Someone was coming. They were in a storage room, full of sacks of grain and flour and who knew what else. Where could they hide? A delivery was being made. They could be discovered any moment.

The table. It was the only place to hide. There were sacks of flour underneath it. They both crouched down. There wasn't enough room between those sacks for both of them. They both understood it instantly.

Then a thought flashed between them so quickly that neither could tell who came up with it: only one of them needed to hide. They were only in trouble if they were caught together.

Zhair'lo, skinny as he was, wriggled underneath and amongst the sacks of flour, wedging himself between them and the wall. He tried to slow down his breathing, to exude as much calmness as he could. What was Talla going to do? Did she belong here? Did she have an excuse made up?

He could only hide and wonder. The mesh was getting shaky again, nowhere near as intense as it had been.

He felt the table shift. What was she doing? Lying down?

Ah. He understood this game. When sleep had eluded him in his childhood, he'd played it on the women who'd watched them in the dorms.

Footsteps, walking down the hallway. The sound of wheels turning, wood clacking on the hallway stones.

He might not be able to understand every thought, but he knew Talla's emotions right then, quite intimately. He could feel her heart, pounding in her chest even as she tried to quell it.

"Store room 7 with the grain," an authoritative female voice said.

"And the flour?" a male voice, lighter and more courteous asked.

"Number 8, with the ... oh, hell," the female replied.

The echoing character of the voice had vanished. The woman must have been standing at the doorway to the room they were in.

"Hell of a place to take a nap," she said, chiding no one in particular.

If the worst they got out of this was that she was scolded for improper sleeping arrangements, then he could sneak off sometime later. He might get back to the farm a bit late, but he could make up for that.

Assuming, of course, that they didn't box him in with sacks of flour, or discover him while they shifted things around.

"Hell," the female voice said. "Let her sleep. Eight's pretty much full. Start filling up nine. I'm going down for a rest anyway."

"Aye, Mistress," the man said.

The two of them pattered off down the hallway. Relief came to her mind and through to his. That had been close. If they were lucky, those two would head off for the rest of the heat bell.

He wiggled his way back out of the bags of flour and poked his head just above the level of the table. She was lying on her stomach, facing him. She propped herself up on her elbows.

The view was breathtaking.

She smiled, still happy that, even in this situation, even with her breasts mostly covered, her cleavage could still strike him this way.

"Safe?" he asked, using his vocal chords for the first time.

"I think so," she said with a nod. "But it's too dangerous here. You've got to go."

"And the heat bell's almost up," he added as he crawled out of pile of bags and stood up.

"We'll have to wait a bit longer," she said sadly, not bothering to mention that for which they would have to wait.

"Until when?"

"More importantly," she said as she stood to face him, keeping her head cocked to listen nervously for more footsteps, "Where?"

Nerves hit, then, crossing back and forth between them.

"You have to get going," she told him, miserably.

A vision flashed in to mind. He pushed it in to hers, having to force it through a mesh damaged by fear.

"There's a place, off the path you take to get to Harzen's farm", he told her as she pushed him away and tried to hurry him. "A broken gate leads to an old well with a tree over it."

"We can be alone?" she asked, stopping.

"No one can see in," he said. "It looks like no one's been there in a long time. Nothing but trees and the river. I'll tie my ribbon around the gate, where you leave the path. Otherwise you'll never even see it."

"Tomorrow?" she asked, out of breath.

"Tomorrow," he said. "Or whenever the next heat bell is. A gate with a blue ribbon."

"Okay," she said. "Now go, please!"

He nodded and, with a last backward glance, ran off down the hallway.

She would wait a bit and leave in the other direction.

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