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Dawn's Shadow

 
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Katla
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:03 am    Post subject: Dawn's Shadow Reply with quote

((Contains material of an adult nature.))

Though the work was heavy for a body of people setting their new hold to rights, the work stopped in the afternoon of their second day in the newly-named Dawn-Shadow Hold. Their new Thane - Svarn, who was going to take some time to get used to the whole idea of being Thane in the first place - had decreed a mating and a feast to celebrate both that and the claiming of the Heart back from the demon that had held it for so long. Thus the men and women of the Hold disappeared for a good hour or more, pulling out festival clothes, laying out the meat and drink, sharing the gossip as they teased one another about who this mating might possibly be between.

Yet it was no surprise when Katla Dawn Rider stepped into the hall, bearing with her a knotted net of rope in one hand, and her daughter clinging to the other. "It's my wish and my right," she declared to her brother, the Thane, with a faint smile. "Let the Shadow-Walker test his fingers against the Lady's patience."

She had no sooner said that when Aiden arrived with his sister on his arm. He was wearing the hand-me-down tunic his sister had altered to fit him, along with clean breeches and boots. His beard was trimmed, and his hair was pulled back and fastened at the back of his neck with a leather cord revealing a strong jaw and soft, brown eyes. For once, he wore no weapon on his back, as today it would not be needed.

At his side, Elin was dressed as simply as the other women in the room, her dress loose and unencumbered with decoration, her dark hair about her shoulders. She murmured encouragement to her brother as they walked toward the Thane's seat, winking at little Siv as she pointed them out to her mother.

Katla was not immediately recognizable, either. She, like the other women of the hold, wore a dress of sky-blue linen, a single strand of beads hanging over her chest; her golden hair loose. In short, she looked nothing of the warrior tonight.

Svarn smirked at his sister's demand, raising his hand for silence. "Shadow-Walker," he called as the noise in the feasting hall died. "The Dawn Rider would have you claim her. Will you try it?"

Though the women were all dressed alike, Aiden spotted Katla almost immediately. There was just something about her that stood out and made her hard for him to miss. Maybe it was that connection his sister had spoken of, or maybe he just had eyes for no one but her. He approached Svarn, who no longer seemed to mind that Aiden was a Shadow-Walker; Svarn whom Aiden thought of as a friend, but who was now Thane and would soon be brother. "I would do more than try, if I may," he replied, with a pointed look at the woman in question.

Svarn laughed, exchanging a glance with Sigrun even as he raised his voice to call for their augur. "Haleth! A mating, Haleth!"

Katla met Aiden's gaze with a challenging quirk to her brow, not prepared to simply give her life away. If the gods willed it, then he would undo every knot, and they would, indeed, have a lifetime together. But he would have to earn that right through the ceremony.

As the augur came forward - a young woman with flaming red hair - Katla stepped down from the dais where her brother sat, aware of the tribe's eyes on them. "Make yourself comfortable, Shadow-Walker," she suggested with an impish cast in her eyes. "Siv will be my net-holder."

"I am comfortable," he insisted, wondering if she remembered her promise not to tie the knots too tightly. He was still not too sure what was expected of him, other than untying as many knots as he could while she sang a song in honor of the gods. He knew he'd only have a few minutes to accomplish the task, and he wasn't sure how many knots he'd have to undo; but she'd also told him that they could repeat the ceremony in the future, if necessary.

Siv took the net from her mother's hand with a grin, holding it up between both her own. "Like this, Mamae?"

Katla smiled down at her. "Exactly like that, sweetling," she assured her daughter. The net was about one foot square, and there were forty knots that made it up - a lifetime of years to unravel in a short span of time.

The augur, Haleth, pushed back her hood, raising her staff in the quiet murmur of the hall. Energy pulsed from the crystal, winding its way down to touch both Katla and Aiden, twining itself about the knots. "Sing, Katla Golinsdottr, Dawn Rider," she commanded. "Let the Lady guide his hands."

Aiden hadn't bothered to prepare in any way, other than getting a good night's sleep. He hadn't even so much as cracked his knuckles or rubbed them with liniment. He believed he'd been brought here for a purpose and that that purpose had not only been to free the mountain of dead. He moved to one knee before Siv and Katla, looking to them both with a nod of his head to tell them he was ready. He did not only mean to claim Katla for a mate, but Siv for a daughter.

Siv did not seem to have a problem with that, truly excited to be a part of the ceremony in any case. She giggled as Aiden knelt, as Elin stepped away to stand with the Thane and his mate, shushing herself as the tribe set up a slow steady rhythm of hand on hand and foot to stone, holding the beat as Katla began to sing.

Aiden didn't really know the rules, except for what he'd been told, but he wasted no time in working the knots and coaxing them free. There were more than he'd expected - forty in all, forty to represent the years they'd have together, if the goddess so choose - but he had deft fingers, well skilled with knots of all kinds. After all, his fingers were calloused and accustomed to such tasks as stringing his own bow.

There were no true rules as to how it should be done, though many looked unkindly on those who chose to skirt the proper way to untie a knot. Indeed, that was what the augur's magic was for - to prevent the nefarious from avoiding the gods' judgment on their worthiness. Siv, however, was not above directing him toward certain of the knots as he went, having watched her mother tie them. The little girl knew what order to untie them in to avoid any of them tightening as he went.

Aiden focused his attention on the knots, the sound of Katla's voice singing and the cadence of the song helping him to focus, rather than distracting him. He was aware there was some kind of magic involved, but that didn't surprise or worry him much. He put all his trust in the Goddess; she had been the one to lead him here, after all, and he had trusted in her all his life. Ten knots, then twenty his fingers unraveled; following the little girl's direction, which told him which order to untie the knots.

The steady beat held by the tribe all around them seemed to grow heavier as the song went on, as men and women craned to see how many knots he was undoing, knowing better than him how long the song would last.

As for Katla, she did not look at the fingers unraveling those knots, knowing it would make her falter. The song was an act of devotion to the Lady; she had to trust that the Lady would not disappoint her. It was only when the last words came to her lips that she turned to look upon Aiden and Siv, holding the last note as long as she could, daring to see how many years of her life would be bound to his.
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Katla
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thirty knots came undone, and then he was down to just ten. He could not know it, but the song was quickly coming to a close, and yet he did not falter, his fingers working quickly to unravel each knot one by one, until there were only a handful of knots left, and then, it was done. The song had come to an end, just as he was untangling the last knot. It was done, and he had succeeded.

An awed hush had come over the hall as little Siv handed the unraveled rope to the augur. Haleth bit down her smile, gesturing for Aiden and Katla to join her. "The Lady has honored you," she declared, drawing their hands together to wind the smooth cord about their joined fingers. "Dawn-Shadow we are, and Dawn-Shadow are you. From this day ... until your last day." She stepped back, and finally Katla let herself smile, her expression bright with unexpected joy.

"Aiden," she whispered to him, his name on her lips for the first time since they had met, gently drawing him about to face her brother, the Thane. "My mate, for life," she presented him to the tribe. "Aiden Owensson, whose claim I honor."

No longer known as Aiden ap Owen or Aiden Shadow-Walker, it seemed, but Aiden Owensson - mate of Katla Dawn-Rider and member of the Dawn-Shadow tribe, a tribe named for Katla and himself and made up not only of the Amarri people, but his sister and himself and any children that might come from them. "My mate, for life," he echoed with a smile. "Katla Dawn-Rider."

"Done, and done!" Svarn slapped his hand against the wooden arm of his seat, grinning down at them. "And now we feast!" The hall erupted into cheers, laughter drowning out whatever objections might have been raised as the music began again, as great platters of food were brought out for the tribe to feast upon.

Katla turned to Aiden, her eyes bright above her smile. "My Shadow-Walker," she told him, touching her fingers to his cheek.

Aiden couldn't help but laugh. It was almost as if the feast was more important than the ceremony. Though his fingers were sore, his stomach rumbled loudly reminding him that he, too, was hungry. Ignoring the urging of his stomach, as well as the people surrounding them, he looked to Katla with a soft smile on his face. "For forty years, it would seem," he reminded her, hoping she never regretted him untying all those knots. He bent his head toward her and touched a kiss to her lips, unafraid to let the others witness the open display of affection now that they were mated.

"For a lifetime," she promised him, his lips finding her smile as she wound her arms about his waist. Those who saw them cheered them on, pleased that the first mating of their new hold should be a willing one where affection was held from the first.

A small hand tugged at Aiden's tunic - Siv demanding a little attention for herself. She raised her arms, expecting him to pick her up. "You're my papa now."

Aiden had never been around children much, but it wasn't hard to guess what Siv wanted and he leaned down to sweep her up into his arms, effortlessly balancing her against one hip. "Do you mind having me for a papa?" he asked. She probably had little to no memory of her real father, but he still wasn't too sure what she thought of him.

She shook her head, short arms finding a secure hold on his shoulder as he balanced her on his hip. "You make Mamae smile," she said, as though she was sharing a deep secret. "You can stay."

Katla laughed, leaning close to kiss her daughter's cheek fondly. "Always, sweetling," she told the little girl.

Siv beamed, and smushed a kiss against Aiden's cheek.

If that wasn't a bonafide seal of approval, Aiden didn't know was. In truth, there wasn't much she could do about it if she didn't want him there, but she seemed to have accepted him, even after a rocky first meeting. "Thank you," he told her, not wanting to push his luck. It would take a little time for them to get to know each other, but with any luck, he could charm her, just like he'd somehow managed to charm her mother. "I could not ask for a better welcome."

"You're one of us now, Owensson," Svarn told him, stepping down off his throne to clap the other man on the shoulder. "Thane-kin, too. Get used to having the ear of every man in the hold."

"I think he should enjoy his wedding night first, Svarn," Katla told her brother archly, earning herself a hearty laugh as he lifted her bodily off the ground in a warm embrace.

Aiden's smile widened at the new Thane's show of approval, knowing his future here depended on the man's acceptance of him into the tribe. That didn't seem to be a problem, considering how the hold was in part named for him, after he'd done his part to clear it of dead. Touched by the open show of affection between the siblings, he looked around for his sister, wondering where she'd disappeared to.

Elin was standing in the shadow of the Thane's throne, a little timid in the face of so much warmth and celebration in the hall. She didn't know anyone here but Katla and Aiden, not truly, awkwardly aware of how different she was to every other woman - the only brunette in a sea of red and gold, a Light-Bringer that everyone knew about. She saw her brother looking for her, offering him a soft smile from where she stood.

Katla glanced between the siblings, moving to take Siv from Aiden's arms. "Go on," she told her mate. "We'll be here a long while yet."

He nodded his head, grateful to Katla for letting him go, if only for a few minutes to see to his sister. Like his sister, dark hair and eyes set him apart from everyone else in the tribe, though he was slowly growing accustomed to being different. He couldn't help but worry about Elin a little though. Not only was she different, but the others in the tribe didn't quite seem to know what to make of the the Light-Bringer. He went to her with a warm, affectionate smile on his face, reaching for her hands as he got close. "Are you angry at me for untying so many knots?" he asked, only half teasing.

She laughed softly at his tease, squeezing his hands. "Why would I be angry, you silly man?" she countered. "I'm happy for you, Aiden. You have something here you've never had before. It's wonderful to watch."

"This changes nothing between us," he assured her, her hands still in his. "We have a home now, Elin. A real home. Given time, these people will come to know and love you the way I do," he told her further, hoping it was true. Perhaps she would even find a mate for herself among them. He had noticed how some of the men looked at her, with a mixture of awe and wary interest.

Elin smiled warmly, determined not to give him anything to worry about, today of all days. It didn't matter that she felt out of place in this large group, aware of the whispers about her and the fear she could feel from some of them as they contemplated what it was she could do. Not today. "You're a husband and a father," she reminded him. "You'll always have me. Just make sure you always deserve them, too."
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"All in one day," he mused aloud. "It's a little overwhelming." He wasn't yet sure what the tribe would expect from him now that he was one of them, but he knew his work was not done. He could not deny what he was, and there were still plenty of dead that needed killing, but today, at least, he was simply Aiden Owensson, mate to Katla, father to Siv, and brother to Elin.

She reached up to embrace him, brushing a kiss against his cheek. "Go and enjoy it," she told him gently. "You've never let yourself enjoy anything before now. I think it's time you started. And I think these people are the right people to teach you how."

He wrapped her up in a brotherly hug, feeling a tug of sadness and worry for her, amidst his own happiness. "Come with me," he whispered. "They are your family now, too."

She laughed again, softer this time. "Well, you need someone to keep Siv occupied tonight, don't you?" she teased fondly, hoping he couldn't see how isolated she was feeling. She hoped it wouldn't last, that she'd make friends among these people sooner rather than later, but for now, she was very alone.

"We do, and it would give you both a chance to get better acquainted," he said, in complete agreement. He only hoped Katla and Siv agreed. He had a feeling she might become good friends with Katla and Sigrun given time, but he also knew she was probably feeling very alone right now.

Smiling, Elin stepped back, letting him draw her over to his new family. It was strange, to be so much smaller than even the women in this tribe. Indeed, she was closer to the children in height than she was to her new sister-in-law, but that didn't seem to bother Katla. The tall woman wrapped her in a warm embrace, promising softly to keep her always safe and close before letting her go once again.

Siv slipped her hand into Elin's grasp, grinning up at her aunt. "Dance, can we?" she asked, and Elin blinked, glancing toward Aiden and Katla in surprise.

"Ah ... I'm not sure I know how."

"Let her show you," Aiden suggested, glad Katla and Siv, at least, were making Elin feel welcome and like she belonged there. There would probably be times when both of them felt awkward and out of place, but he didn't want today to be one of them. "Go on. When was the last time you let yourself have some fun?" he said, practically using her own words against her.

"Oh, around the time you stopped blushing when girls smiled at you," his sister shot back at him sweetly, bending her head to Siv as the little girl pulled her away to teach her how to join in the dancing that was beginning all around them.

Katla snorted with laughter, recognizing a sister's tease only too easily.

"What has one got to do with the other?" he asked, confused. Every time he thought he was starting to understand how a woman's mind worked, he realized he was wrong. And here he was, surrounded by a trio of them - one of them a little woman.

His new mate looked at his confusion with a fresh laugh of her own. "You really have no idea how cruel a teenaged girl's sense of humor can be, do you?" she asked in amusement. "Be glad of it."

"I don't understand," he said, frowning in confusion. But then, he wasn't really sure if he wanted to. Instead, he drew an arm around her waist, pulling her close. Oddly, he wasn't feeling awkward or shy in the least; it was almost as if this was right where he'd always belonged. "What is this dancing about?" he asked curiously as he watched what was going on around them.

Tucked against his side, she turned her head to watch the young men and women of the tribe dancing. "If you listen to the elders, it's a dance in honor of the Lady," she explained. "Only the young, the unmated, can dance it. It's a celebration of life and the future, the next generation to come. There are other dances, of course. Dances that only the mated can dance, for example."

Some of those dances, he gathered, would be taking place in private, once the party was over and everyone had departed, but he did not mention that. Instead, his gaze lingered on his sister, expression looking concerned. "She agreed to stay here because of me," he confessed quietly. "We have never been apart for long, she and I." They'd always been together, even in the womb. "I want her to be happy here, Katla."

"She is a part of our family, Aiden," she reminded him in a gentle tone. "She will live with us for as long as she chooses to, welcome with us. You will not be parted. And though this may seem a parting, I do not think it is. She will find her own way, as she grows used to us and we to her. Or perhaps she will choose a mate outside the hold; another lowlander, perhaps, who might wish to join us someday. Whatever her choice, it will be hers alone, and we will always support it."

"Thank you," he told her, not for the first or possibly the last time. "We have not had anyone but each other in a long time," he confessed. No, not even among the lowlanders. Even there, they were seen as different. "I think we can be happy here." Not I, but we - speaking for both of them, if only Elin came to know these people the way he was starting to know them.

It was certainly interesting to watch as Elin learned the dance, easily the smallest grown woman out there among the shifting bodies. Men and women in the Amarri tended to be tall, reaching their full growth before their twentieth year; she was a petite brunette in a sea of tall blondes and redheads, both her hands in Siv's as the little girl showed her the steps and giggled with her over every mistake.

Katla smiled, touching her brow to Aiden's cheek briefly. "She seems to be learning well enough."

"It will be good for her to be among people who treat her like family, instead of those who fear us because we are different," he said, admitting aloud for the first time some of the difficulties he and his sister had encountered during their lives.

"It will take time," she assured him, not wanting him to feel disappointment when his sister failed to integrate immediately.

For him, it was easy. He was the Shadow-Walker who had helped the Dawn Rider lead them to this hold and reclaim it for their people. For Elin, it would be harder. They knew hers was the power that had lit up the night like day, but she was just a woman. Not even that, but a small woman, who did not push herself forward or insist on being heard. It would definitely take time for the new tribe to accept her and befriend her.

"Aye," he replied quietly, with a small frown. Time was the one commodity they dared not waste, no matter how many knots he'd untied. He and his sister were not like ordinary people - they had a purpose, and neither would be able to truly rest until that purpose was served. But now was not the time to think of such things; the goddess had led them here, and he had to believe that all would be well in the end.

"Come, man, and eat something before you fall down," Katla told him, knowing she couldn't wipe the frown from his face. Nothing would ever stop him from worrying about his future, or his sister; she could only hope to distract him. "Your stomach is shaking hands with your throat."
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Is it that obvious?" he asked, laughing and successfully distracted from his worries for a while by the mention of food. He was not too proud to accept their hospitality; after all, he'd had a hand in some of the hunting.

"I can feel it growling," she informed him with a smile, pulling him over to the feasting tables.

It wasn't long before Elin and Siv joined them, and Svarn and Sigrun, too, with Tabren and Hakon eager to make a better acquaintance with the man who had made all this possible for them all. As the Thane's family ate, others ate with them, or danced, or told stories, the feasting hall filled with music and laughter, and the occasional punch thrown as tempers flared. But the Amarri were a war-like people; no celebration was complete without a few broken noses and a little bruised pride.

The celebration went on for hours, until the last of the food was gone and people were either collapsing from exhaustion or too much drink. The sky had grown dark, and the stars had come out, and Aiden had finally somehow managed to draw Katla away from her people for a moment of quiet solitude outside the hold, where the mountain seemed to meet the heavens.

She stood on the stone steps that were carved into the gateway on either side, her eyes on the stars above them, her arms wrapped about his shoulders from behind as she rested her cheek against his hair. "The Lady's blessing," she said suddenly, pointing up to where a star was falling across the sky. "Seems she approves of you and I."

"Aye," he replied in a quiet, almost content voice. He'd enjoyed the revelry as much as anyone, but quiet solitude spent in the arms of a very special woman he was slowly growing to care for was what he'd truly longed for. "Did you purposely tie the knots so loosely, or was that the Lady's blessing, too?" he asked, merely curious, no insult to the Lady intended.

Katla's smile was gentle as she tipped her head to speak against his ear. "I did not tie them loose, nor tight," she told him. "And the beat was faster than I was expecting to sing to. The Lady's hand is upon you, Aiden - if this was what you wanted, She's given it to you."

Aiden tilted his gaze at her, arching both brows. "It's what I wanted," he insisted, wondering if she doubted him, now that the deed was done. It hadn't happened right away upon his arrival, but it had slowly crept up on him.

She smiled back at him, touching a soft kiss to his temple. "Do not look so worried, man," she laughed at his insistence. "I will not deny the Lady's blessing, even if I had not wanted this myself. And I do want it."

"I did not realize it at first," he said with a thoughtful frown, even as he felt her lips brush his temple. He wondered how much he should tell her that she might not already know. "You called me lowlander before, but the truth is my sister and I were outsiders there."

"Truly?" Katla slid her arms from about him, curling her hand into his as she stepped down from the gates. "I thought all the lowlands held close together. Do they not have clans the way we do?"

He stepped down after her, her hand still in his, willing to follow wherever it was she wanted to go. He shrugged in reply to her question. "It's not like it is here. Some of the smaller villages are more clan-like, but mostly they're made up of people all working to provide for their own individual families. The villages are surrounded by farmland and orchards and beyond that are the wilds. Elin and I were born near the sea, but our mother died when we were young, and our father never stayed in one place very long."

"And he was a Shadow-Walker, like you?" she asked, hoping she had remembered that detail correctly. She was leading him back into the hold, back to their own rooms, secure in the knowledge that Elin and Siv were being hosted by her brother and his wife for the night.

"Aye," he replied. He hadn't told her much about his past, but she had remembered that right. "He taught me everything I know," he explained further, but that hardly explained very much.

"So how did Elin learn what she knows?" Katla queried curiously. "Did your mother teach her, or is it something she was born with? Far as I know, there's always a Shadow-Walker that walks with a Light-Bringer, but there have been hardly any Light-Bringers over the years."

"No, our mother died before Elin was old enough to learn, but we always knew she was special. It was only when she was older that we realized what she was. Elin was born a Light-Bringer, Katla. It is not something you can teach," he explained further.

"That makes sense, of a sort," she nodded, drawing him out of the way as a group of young men staggered past them, clearly the worse for drink. She laughed at their exaggerated bows. "The hold has certainly enjoyed their evening."

"I do not know if our mother even knew what Elin is," he said, furrowing his brows in contemplation. "I promised my mother I'd always take care of my sister, so, you see, I couldn't very well have let the demon have her without a fight." Even if he hadn't made that promise to his mother, he wouldn't have left his sister for dead.

"Blood kin is important," Katla told him, "especially when you have so little left of it. No one here thinks any less of you for your care toward your sister, Aiden. It is our way to protect our own against all dangers."

"I know, but I think it is that feeling of family that made me want to stay. At least, before I realized that I was starting to care for you," he told her, not quite knowing exactly when things had changed.

"You and Elin belong to us now, as we belong to you," she told him firmly, drawing him into their rooms, their home, with a warm smile. "You are not alone in protecting her, and you never will be again. I promise you that."

"I will do my best to protect you, too, Katla, and Siv, and the rest of your clan," he added, needing her to know that it was not only his sister he cared for anymore, though she would always have a special place in his heart and life as his twin and his only remaining family.

"Our clan," she corrected him, her voice soft in the dim light. "This is your home, your family, as much as it is mine." A soft smile touched her face as she reached up, tugging teasingly on his recently trimmed beard. "Even if you can't lift an axe."

He arched a brow upwards at what sounded like a challenge, his hands finding their way to her hips for the very first time. "What makes you think I can't lift an axe?" he said. Axes were made for more things than battle, after all.

She laughed. "A man who swings a sword with no shield and bends a bow with skill does not have the skill to wield an axe in battle," she informed him rather impishly. "It is the traditional weapon of my blood, you know. I have yet to replace the axe I broke on the revenant the night we met."

"And why is that?" he asked, not bothering to clarify whether he was questioning her doubt of his ability to wield an axe or the fact that she hadn't replaced hers yet. He leaned close while he awaited her reply, to explore the line of her neck with his lips while his hands moved upwards to explore the curves of her body.
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For the first time, he had the leisure to do so, with no armor to protect her from the heat of his hands through the two layers of linen cloth that separated him from her skin. Katla leaned into him as his lips found her throat, her teeth biting softly at the lobe of his ear. "I'll tell you another time," she promised.

That was good enough for him. The time for talk had passed. It was time for them to celebrate their union in private as husband and wife. The dress she wore was modest, but it fit her, and it wasn't long before his fingers were sorting out how to undo her dress as deftly as he had untied the knots a short time ago, eager to discover what was hidden beneath the layers of linen.

She was no less eager than he, no more shy than he was, her mouth finding his in fierce kisses as her own hands busied themselves, removing his belt, sliding up beneath the hang of his tunic to finally touch the skin she had seen just once. Neither one of them was a blushing virgin; neither one needed the other to explain the steps. It might not yet be love, but it was certainly more than mere lust leading the way for them.

He was no stranger to bedding a woman, knowing well enough how to make a woman sigh and moan, but he found himself wanting to take his time with this one, though the Goddess seemed to have granted them at least forty years. He returned her kisses hungrily, eager to explore her lips and taste her mouth, while his hands worked at removing those layers of linen from her body so that he could explore that, too.

Her dress fell away easily, her shift beneath falling only to her thighs with her arms bare, and she laughed at the sudden loss of her defenses against his eagerness, nipping at his lips to return the favor with wicked good humor. With his belt gone, there was nothing to stop her ... and she yanked his trews down to his knees, lurching away with a cackle of a laugh just to watch him tumble onto the furs.

But if tumble he must, he was taking her with him, grabbing her around the waist and pulling her down with him onto the furs to roll and wrestle for dominance.

They were evenly matched, each warriors in their own way, neither one afraid to be a little rough and tumble. After all, there was a certain amount of predictability in a coupling that made it all the way to their bed before ever removing clothing, and neither one of them was predictable. Katla cheated, of course, her hands going places no reputable wrestler would dream of touching, just so she could claim the victory, kneeling over Aiden with a bright grin playing over her lips as her hands pinned his to the fur beside his head. "Surrender?"

Despite being evenly matched, Aiden was not given to cheating, even if his opponent was not above doing just that. "I don't have much choice," he told her, seeing as how she was kneeling over him in such a way that he might hurt himself if he dared try. It wasn't that she was stronger than him so much as she'd found his one and only weakness - the same weakness every man possessed. And to be honest, it wasn't such an unpleasant position to find himself in.

She laughed once more, releasing his hands to slide her own beneath his tunic once more, pulling him to sit up as she dragged the cloth over his head, baring his torso to her eyes as well as her roaming hands. "You gave in too easily," she pointed out, straddling his thighs with just the softest suggestion of a moan - skin to intimate skin, despite the cloth that still separated them. Her lips played over his, enjoying the moment of reprieve before the inevitable rise came back to them both.

"Did I?" he asked, not waiting for an answer as his lips devoured hers in a frenzy of kisses. Whether she thought she'd won or not was irrelevant. Though he wasn't the type to cheat, he took advantage of the moment to turn her onto her back. He pulled her shift up over her hips, revealing the place where they'd fit together perfectly like two pieces of a puzzle. He hesitated only a moment, as if to give her a chance to protest, before he claimed her completely, making her his.

There were no objections from his mate, only a soft cry as he found his place, her back arching in a sensual curve at the unexpected pleasure in this mating. Whether he had expected a protest or not, he did not get one, his warrior woman rising to meet him, claiming as much as claimed in those fierce moments when two became one.

He tugged her dress up higher until he could pull it over her head, allowing lips and fingers to further explore her body, even as they moved together in the night. It wasn't so much a claiming, as it was a joining together of mates - of man and woman - equally and evenly matched.

They each had scars, to attest to years of fighting; each one with its own story to tell. But those stories would come later, when desire had ebbed and left them sated. For now, they moved together, loved together, dark and light mating in a slow rise to frenzy that engulfed them, together.

Warriors and lovers who were evenly matched, it seemed to Aiden that both of them had surrendered their bodies as well as their hearts and as they lay together in the warmth of their love, their bodies echoing with the pleasures they had shared with the other. Aiden realized in that moment what it was that he'd been missing in the past with all the other women who'd shared his bed, and the realization of it shocked him to his core. He was unsure if he could put his feelings into words, but he thought he should try.

"I think I can be happy here with you, Kat," he told her quietly, unconsciously shortening her name to a more intimate form, while he held her in his arms, their hearts beating almost in time with the other.

For the first time in a long time, she didn't bristle on hearing her name shortened, allowing him that intimacy as easily as breathing. Curled to his side, she smiled, brushing a kiss to his shoulder. "I think I can be happy with you," she echoed sincerely. "I ... I care for you, Aiden. I have not felt this way for anyone not my blood. It is ... new to me."

From the look on his face in the dim light, it seemed the fact that she shared his feelings surprised him. What surprised him even more was the fact that she cared enough for him to express those feelings, awkwardly but honestly. He turned to face her, wanting to see her face, which was lovely in the moonlight. "I care for you, too, Katla," he confessed, fingers in gentle caress of her cheek. "I feel as though my whole life has led me here to you." And not just him, but his sister, too. He knew there was a reason for this - a greater purpose in clearing the mountains of evil - but he had not expected to find love along the way.

"You took your time, then," she drawled teasingly, but there was true affection in her smile as he looked on her. She rose onto one elbow, golden hair spilling over her shoulder as she looked down, into his eyes. "You will never fight another battle without me at your side," she swore to him softly. "I will guard your back, and your sister's, until the mountains are clean once more."

It was a strange sort of oath for two people who'd only just met, but somehow it fit them. Aiden smiled up at her, unable to hide the growing affection from his face. He could really ask for no more than that from a woman who was mate and lover and warrior, equal in all ways. And one day, if the Goddess so blessed them, she would also be the mother of his child. "And I yours," he replied, sealing those promises with a kiss that spoke volumes more than words of his feelings. There had been no promises made in front of her people, but here alone with only the other to witness, there was no need to hold back.
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Katla
Young Wyrm
Young Wyrm


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2017 11:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She smiled into that kiss, nuzzling close for a long moment, reveling in the comfort she felt in the arms of this man. She couldn't help comparing this feeling to the pain and revulsion she had felt whenever Jerrick touched her, knowing she would be glad to bear a son to Aiden should the gods' will it. "Perhaps we should take this to a bed," she suggested playfully. "Siv is not likely to stay with Sigrun long past dawn."

He chuckled a little at her warning. "Should I wear breeches to bed?" he wondered out loud, just in case Siv decided to pounce on them before he had a chance to get dressed.

She laughed, rising to pull him onto his feet. "She's seen naked men before," she assured him. "But a little warning before she leaps is always handy."

"She hasn't seen me!" he argued, not really caring how many men Katla had slept with before him, anymore than she seemed to care how many women he'd slept with before her. The past was the past, and it no longer mattered, though it had been Jerrick who had given her Siv. He frowned a little at the thought of that, hoping she wouldn't notice or read his thoughts.

Katla rolled her eyes, guessing where that frown had taken him. "She's already decided you're her father," she reminded him. "She's very proud of it. Yes, it will take time for us to grow used to one another, but we have that time. Don't worry so much."

"It's a bad habit to break," he explained as he followed her toward the bed, though he was just as content to remain where they were. "I've spent most of my life worrying."

"There is little need," she pointed out, lying back against the warm furs that adorned the bed, their bed, her hand gently tugging to bring him down beside her. "The gods guide our path. You have heard us going into battle. If it is our time to die, then we will die with valor. The same holds true for life. If the gods have decided, then we will live with their decision."

"I do not think the gods would tear us apart so soon after bringing us together," he reasoned as he laid himself down beside her and turned himself once against to face her. She was like the sun, while Elin was the moon, both lovely in their own way, but while Elin was his sister, Katla was his chosen lifemate and lover.

She rolled onto her side to face him, her head pillowed on her arm. "The Lady gave us a lifetime," she agreed softly, drawing her fingertips over his chest, skimming over the sigils and scars that marked his flesh with tender curiosity. "She is not known for her cruelty."

"Then, it seems I have no reason to worry," he replied, circling back to what had led them to this discussion in the first place. He touched his nose to hers in a display of affection before capturing her lips once again, but this time the kiss was softer, more tender, just as warm as before, but not quite so demanding.

It was a soft promise of a kiss, a promise she was more than ready to answer with her own, easing closer to hug herself against him, long limbs entwining as affection knit tighter between them. Perhaps there would not be much sleep for them tonight, but that was no bad thing. The Lady didn't often allow a mating to last for a lifetime. There must be something very special indeed about the Shadow-Walker and his mate.
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