Authors: Kayleen Knight
She made such sounds of pleasure that she would not be surprised to have stirred the entire block of guards and maids and servant women. Adults of Crystal's unique lineage underwent a second puberty in their twenties that sharpened their sensitivities into points that experienced the world in such a heightened state of experience that they could scarcely eat a meal of bread and cheese without indulging in the richness of the tastes and the nourishment and textures. They were praised as brides for their bedroom indulgences, but those were the offerings these women made to their suitors; the pleasures they kept to themselves dined on the sensations of everyday life accentuated into pleasures of intensity the greatest poets of the land had yet to put into verse and rhyme. These women were subject to much scrutiny and imitation, but no sonnet could capture what the woman felt in each sprinkling rivulet of water.
No prayer from scripture could match the holiness Crystal felt when she parted herself and slipped a single finger through slicked lips of another sort, tasting with evocations of a new sort and gladdened that she was already on her knees – and would not be brought there by the ecstasy of pleasure stroking pleasure, like batters of sugars and sweets kissed between two loving mouths.
Crystal did not emerge from her shower until the maids her family had purchased to clean her room and tidy her wardrobes knocked politely outside the door and inquired as to when she would like to dress herself. Before Crystal could answer she heard the harder knock of the house servant, who loudly declared that now was the time for her to make her choice, and she should do so promptly because all of her suitors were still within the kingdom and eager to abide by her decision.
The hot water of the early morning hours had since cooled off into cold streams, but even the chill of the shower was ecstasy, icing the outside of her blushing body as she warmed her insides with intimate presses of fingers and fingertips. She barely heard the people outside the door. She had been driven into ecstasy by running water, and it was overwhelming, renewing, as if she had not been the one to awaken, but the entire world. She reached to turn of the water, and it was a beautiful settling of air against the slicked skin of her body, firmed against the cold water, blooming patterns of red and white as the aroused blush of her skin settled back into the porcelain complexion of her sheltered raising.
She reached to touch her toes, and they were firm and delicate feet, and she began to rub them, as if overcome with fetish. She traced her hands next up her fine legs, shaved clean of hair, cleaned of any off-putting odor and smelling of the same sweet fragrance that had soaked her bed. She felt herself up and down, and then she nearly stumbled to the door, as light and airy as a girl after the deepest climax of the most passionate lovemaking session.
She emerged from the stall in slow and delicate strides, as if tasting every step across stall room tiles and then bedroom carpet, as if luxuriating in every wall of glamorous carving and artistry that she touched with the ends of her fingertips. She breathed deeply, smelling the flowery waft that seemed to emanate from her, and when the maids barged into the room they were stopped dead by the same smells that were intoxicating her.
My goddess,’ one of them said softly, coming towards her like a more worshipful servant for several strides before remembering her place and fading back in with the others. They remarked on the aroma of her hair, even though she had been too distracted by the sensations of water to wash her hair with the bottles of fruit soaps arranged in the stall. ‘Have you had your awakening?’ one of them asked in a small whispery voice, leaning close to her ear so that the question would not be overloud and rude.
Crystal did not answer at first because she faintly understood that the maids already knew, and they were simply being polite. When women of her lineage awoke, their awakening was christened, and the many romantic tomes that wrote of this experience characterized it with a garden aroma that followed women of age, a goddess' perfume, and it was so distinct that many unrelated women had tried and failed to mix together perfume concoctions to imitate the smell; old crones and young ambitious nurses, midwives and slaves, dabbing their foreheads and their regions in the hopes of creating just the right smell that would cause their entire township to stop in its tracks and begin tracking her.
‘Yes,’ Crystal finally breathed, sliding out from the stall, feeling as light as a cloud. ‘I have awoken.’
It was a human pheromone that was so strong and powerful that it was mythic. Crystal had heard that any woman whose smell so much as resembled the aroma was often the cause of much gossip and officiation as the resident princes and kings tried to qualify her lineage and draft up the arrangements for marriage. It drove people into a fervor, but more often than not it was the result of a careful mixing of perfumes that created a competent imitation that was only undone when compared to the real thing. Crystal's extended family was rather large, and although many of her cousins experience this awakening, enough did so that the entire kingdom was in a constant state of vigilance, on the prowl for any bastard children who carried the gift but had not yet been swept up into the officiating procedures that kept such women out of the hands of the lower class.
The powers of this lineage did not simply attract men, because to simply attract men is to be a common everyday woman. It was no difficult thing to turn a man's head, and could be done by any wench in any tavern dive – the power of Crystal and her lineage lay in its ability to attract women as well, creating veritable bordellos of admirers who followed a woman of age around like sheep behind their herder, braying their sounds and their presentations, presenting offerings and getting into fights with the rest of the mob for dominance and attention. It was why women of age had to be kept, the way of a prized animal. She would be paraded around in certain circumstances and kept away in others.
Luckily Crystal did not become heavy with these thoughts of further slavery. The sensations of the maids fingertips as they touched her and tried to poke her attentions, prodding her body and looking at her too closely for comfort, were just as overwhelming as the shower and the smells, and before she knew what was happening she was in their arms, and their servant clothes were dropping t
o their feet. Their young mouths pressed wet and hot against her skin, not in the vulgar areas of the nipple and the crotch, but just as delighted to suckle on the elbow and the nub of her shoulders, or the slenderness of her neck, or the cherub puff of her well-bred cheeks.
I must choose,’ Crystal breathed, but the maids were overcome with her until the house servant pulled them off and rushed them out of the room, slammed the door and turned back to face her with a sigh. The house servant, it should be said, was a eunuch, and he was not as weak to her body as the others would be.
Who do you choose?’ He asked formally. ‘Remember that the man you pick for your suitor will be given to you, and he will inherit what is yours and you will inherit what it is. Make your choice carefully, and remember your family's wishes.’
Crystal could not.
She could think only of herself – the erotic selfishness that had overtaken her this morning.
The man did not seem to have a name, as if his identity was as enigmatic as his behavior. He pronounced most of his words with a foreign accent that made the rogue seem a man from another land altogether, but she could not place the accent. She did not know if he was a traveler or some dispossessed prince, but when she was brought before him by some very reluctant maid mothers, he regarded her with the same churlish confidence that had characterized him the night before.
You must reconsider, Crystal,’ one of the maid mothers said with a sharp tongue. ‘We have looked into his assets, and he has scarcely more than a merchant! He is not suited for you!’
But I want him,’ Crystal returned, and that seemed all the explanation she needed. The worth of her awakening was also an empowerment to give her the confidence to choose whatever she cared to choose, and the wishes of her family seemed like smaller things now next to the sensations of ecstasy that she owed to her body.
She met the man with the horses, and was unsurprised to find him just as unprepared for the proper gifts and reception that he was supposed
to make for her. On the way to greet him she had walked by a line of suitors three lines deep and twelve lines long, stationed with donkeys saddled with gold and pure bred horses saddled with gold wearing men, but he had brought nothing that was not for himself, and when she strode before him, her subjects and suitors gathered around her like another braying flock, he simply nodded at her and then continued to clean the shoes of one of the broncos her holders had roped into the ranging area last week.
So rude!’ a maid mother exclaimed.
He is a farm worker!’ another exclaimed.
The horse trainers of the kingdom had not been able to clean the broncos shoes, and it suddenly occurred to Crystal that the man she had chosen was nothing more ordinary than a stable fellow who had been hired by her family; who had wandered into her ceremonial proceedings and then dined and drank on the meal and wine he found unattended.
This did not matter to her, but once again she had to keep herself from laughing.
Crystal had inquired with the maid mothers as to his heritage and family after dressing herself for public affairs, and found the man to be without distinction and breeding. Nobody quite seemed to know who he was, and several soldiering knights were rather indignant about the fact of his presence at the ceremony the night before. They had very nearly gone off to arrest him and throw him in the blockades before she hastily lied about his whereabouts by excusing the man's presence per her own request, as she had wanted to speak to him personally about the
wellbeing of the wild bronco once the ceremony had finished.
He had, after all, minded his place.
He had not presented himself to her, nor she to him.
He brought no gifts.
He made no untoward gestures, and although he had evidently eaten the unattended banquet of a prince from two countries to the east, Crystal insisted that every suitor and subject in attendance had been picking from the table, mistaking it to be a public banquet per the festivities of ceremony. The knights had listened to her because they had to listen to her, but she was happy to find that they had not broken their word as they often did when she swore them to some sensitivity in arresting in many vagrants and beggars and thieves and heretics who preached and prattled and stole and snuck about the castle surroundings with nothing more insidious on their minds than a good meal or a fine item to sell on the markets. She had seen men beaten for improper manners of the hand and hat tipping when a lady was present, so it was not unheard of to walk to her wedding ceremony in view of hanged men.
If this man knew the danger he had put himself in to play flagrant with the laws of the land, he did not show it. He seemed faintly annoyed by the presence of a crowd, intent on finishing his job and barely affording her further acknowledgement. Despite his penny-less name he seemed to have the dander of a high born, which Crystal intuited the moment he spoke to her despite the menial job of horseshoes. She had grown up in confines where the truly noble and wealthy demonstrated their station by ignoring everyone beside them as if they were below them, beneath them, and could not be counted as much more than a decoration (that was not to say that many of the nobles did not prefer decorations to their people, for many of them did). She knew one of the high borns when she saw them. She knew because he did not court her, which showed that he had more confidence than that. He merely extended a hand, and she a hand in kind, and allowed a single touching of the fingertips that sent a dizzying spark of such sensation that the woman fairly buckled, so intense was the experience of a single touch.
‘What would you like of me?’ he asked her politely.
Crystal shooed the maid mothers away.
Once they were alone she approached the man closer, and excited to find him not the least bit intimidated by her nearness.
I want you to touch me again,’ she said simply.
Your wish is my command,’ he smiled, and if this ceremony had been a joke to her it was certainly a game to him.
The sensation of his embrace awoke every muscle and nerve of her body, enlivening her into the kind of jubilance better suited for the goddesses than a woman of lineage. Nobility were characterized by their uptightness and stoicism, and to feel such passion that it unraveled her composure into a spool of hungry and eager horniness was relieving in the deepest ways. She took off the man's clothes slowly, delicately, despite the passion and titillated by the way that passion paced about, urging her to move faster, reach deeper, and she, holding it at bay like a diner who took the smallest bites of chocolate to sate the hunger.
She unbuttoned his chest and she kissed the skin. She pulled off his shirts and felt the broad strength of his back, and the way that his body kept her from the sun and even the breeze, enfolding her like something that she wanted taken over the world. She felt his eagerness low in his pants, but she was pleased that he seemed just as titillated by the slowness of their discipline as herself, for he did not remove his pants, but instead began to return her kisses everywhere that was polite and too impolite to kiss.