Characters: Cal, Terzian, Pellaz & Cobweb
Beta: Thevina/Thrihyrne Any remaining mistakes are mine.
Spoilers: The Enchantments of Flesh and Spirit
Synopsis: Cal presents Terzian with a challenging situation in the fateful night they spend together at Forever.
Disclaimer: All the characters, their world and all things Wraeththu belong to Storm Constantine, to whom I am very grateful.
It was an awkward, tension filled dinner at Forever, the four of us at the table playing our roles. Cobweb poked at his food, shooting daggers at me with his eyes, Pellaz tried to eat as quickly as possible, and Terzian made small talk about his military endeavors and how many horses had recently foaled, pretending everything was fine. I seemed to be the only one having a good time. Why did I enjoy seeing these hara squirm? One of them I was very fond of, one I fantasized about rooning and the other, we all seemed to know, was having intense arunic thoughts about me. It may or may not have been obvious that I returned those feelings, albeit with a certain degree of trepidation attached. Terzian, trying to dissipate some of the stress, addressed a question to me.
“Have you been to the stables yet, Cal?”
“No,” I answered smiling. “I don’t do much riding in the winter. I prefer to engage in indoor exercise.” I winked at him.
Terzian cleared his throat, Cobweb slashed at his meat with his knife screeching it across his plate, which made everyone jump. Pell seemed to be wishing he was invisible.
“Maybe I should check out the horses,” I remarked. “An invigorating winter ride after this lovely meal might do me some good. You like to ride, Cobweb. Care to join me?”
He stared at me, swallowed and said calmly, “I’d rather be tied to a tree and gutted.”
“Well,” I said good-naturedly. “Maybe some other time then.”
Two house hara came in and refilled the wine glasses, leaving very hurriedly. The taut atmosphere must have been palpable, even to them. After we’d finished and they were clearing up, Cobweb swept haughtily from the room, Pell close on his heels. It only took a terse look and the speaking of his name from Terzian to send Pell quickly out of the room. It seemed they couldn’t get away fast enough. Cobweb, I assumed would head to his rooms to sulk in private and possibly busy himself with plans for my demise, while Pellaz would make himself as scarce as possible. That left Terzian and me alone at the table.
“Well! Another delicious and congenial dinner at Forever, eh Terzian?”
He didn’t look amused. He lit two cigarettes and passed one to me. I didn’t care for the way he made the decision for me. I would have preferred him to ask if I cared for a smoke. A small thing, but it made me want to say, “No thanks, I don’t care for one.” But I was tired of playing games, so I took it.
“Why do you want to antagonize Cobweb?” Terzian asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe because I want to see how far I can go. Maybe just because it’s fun. I like lively exchanges at dinner, don’t you?”
Terzian took a deep drag on his cigarette and sighed.
“I wouldn’t push him too far.”
Changing the subject, I asked, “What shall we do tonight? Chess? A good book? Or maybe torrid aruna in your room. What’ll it be?”
I could tell he didn’t appreciate my attitude, but he gave me a bit of a smirk and replied, “What do you think?”
“Probably the aruna.”
He laughed, stood up and grabbed me up roughly, pulling us together at the hips. He licked the side of my face and nipped my earlobe. I wished he didn’t turn me on so easily. It made me feel vulnerable.
“Mmmmm,” he growled hoarsely against my throat. “You’re going to be my dessert.”
“And you’re going to be mine,” I said, trying to put the ball back in my court, but knowing I was probably unsuccessful. I liked Terzian’s forcefulness and total masculinity, but at the same time I felt intimidated and I didn’t like that feeling.
He laughed at me, which made me feel insulted and uneasy. Still, I knew I wouldn’t resist him. He was rough and aggressive and I liked it, but I still needed to feel somewhat in control of myself. Terzian had an effect on me, I couldn’t deny that, and I knew I’d enjoy being dominated by him to a certain extent, but I wasn’t a soume har or a consort. I did desire him, though, and knew I wouldn’t refuse his advances.
We left the dining room and went upstairs to Terzian’s rooms, where I assumed I’d spend the next few hours in utter erotic abandonment to him. As he opened the door and went in, I glanced down the hall to see Pellaz going into his – which had been our – room. He looked like a waif in a storm. My heart wrenched at the sight and I wanted to run to him. He looked away and went into the room, closing the door. I stood there a few moments, still gazing at the place where he’d disappeared, when I heard Terzian’s voice.
“Cal? Are you coming in?”
I looked back to Terzian. “Yeah, sure,” I said and entered.
He grabbed me, practically ripping off my clothes. He pinned me against the wall and I closed my eyes, surrendering completely to whatever was to come.
After several bouts of intensely vigorous and aggressive aruna, Terzian actually tried to be romantic with me. He lit scented candles and poured two glasses of sheh for us. We sat up in his massive wooden bed. He gave me a sensual smile, stroking my cheek and murmured, “My beautiful Calanthe, have a drink with me.”
Soon, he began to caress me and kiss my neck. I couldn’t help but like it. He was forceful, attractive and sensuous, an irresistible combination.
“Calanthe,” he whispered. “I want you to bear my sons. I want you to stay with me here.”
I tensed up and I’m sure he sensed it.
“I’m not sure I’m cut out for that,” I said lamely, not knowing what else to say.
“Just think about it,” he said before he began to make love to me, his advances and movements making me become soume in spite of myself.
When it was over, I thought to myself, I’m no consort, no bearer of heirs. I’ve got to get control.
It would be an easy life here, with all the amenities, but I wouldn’t sell myself. And then there was Pell. I missed him. I wanted to be with him. I came to the conclusion that I loved him. Actually, I knew I’d loved him all along. Whatever I’d gotten myself into here, I had to find a way out.
When we’d finished our sheh and began to start another arunic gambol, I suggested breathily, “Terzian, I haven’t been ouana with you. Let me. Let me take you.”
He stopped short.
“Cal, that’s impossible.”
“What? No it isn’t. We’re har. We all have the potential to be both -”
He cut me off saying, “It’s not the way of the Varrs.”
“What do you mean? Cobweb’s a Varr.”
“I mean, there are soume and there are ouana hara in Varr society.”
“I’m not Varr,” I purred as I tried to stroke his soume-lam.
“Stop it, Cal. I’m serious.”
“You mean you’ll deny me the delightful experience of being ouana with you?”
“Yes. That’s what I mean.”
I heaved an impatient sigh. “I don’t want to be soume. I like it, but right now I need to be ouana.”
“Well, go find Pellaz. I’m sure he’ll be soume for you.”
I was seething. How dare he bring my beautiful Pellaz into this?
“This has nothing to do with Pell. This is about you and me.”
We stared at each other, poised in a standoff, and then I broke the silence.
“The truth is, Terzian, I’m bored with being soume. I don’t want to be bored with you. You’re a very adventurous lover. I can’t believe you wouldn’t be daring enough to be soume with me.”
He rubbed his hands over his face. This was obviously truly difficult for him.
“Cal. It’s not that I don’t want to please you, it’s just that I don’t do soume.”
“Why not? And don’t tell me it’s not the Varr way. Why would you only want to be half of what you’re made to be? Have you ever been soume, aside from your first aruna?”
“That’s none of your business, Cal.”
“Well it is if I’m your aruna partner.”
“No, it isn’t! Why are you being so difficult?”
I sighed. “I just can’t picture myself being soume for the rest of my life. You say you want me to stay here. Well I can’t if that’s the way it’ll be for me. I need more. I’ve always switched roles with every partner I’ve had.”
“I’m going to bed – in my room with Pellaz.”
I got up to leave.
“Let me think, Cal.”
I waited. Victory seemed to be in the cards.
“I’ve never done this for anyhar, but…”
I paused, my hand on the doorknob.
“Alright, Cal. I’ll try.”
I let my hand slip from the doorknob before I sauntered over to him.
“You won’t be sorry, Terzian, I promise.”
He sighed resignedly and lay on the bed. I began to kiss him all down his body. I could tell he was tense and I actually started to feel badly for giving him the ultimatum to be soume. But I also knew I could make it wonderful for him, perhaps opening up a whole new perspective on aruna for him. Although I must admit, that wasn’t my goal.
I kissed his stomach and stroked his soume-lam. He sighed and moved, but he didn’t become soume. His ouana-lim hadn’t withdrawn. I knew this was a novel experience for him and I had to be patient. I moved back to his lips and kissed and shared breath with him. I guided his hand to my already stiffened ouana-lim. At first, he drew his hand away. I decided he needed more encouragement.
“Touch me Terzian. Feel my need for you to be soume. I”ll take you somewhere you’ve never been before. I can transport you there.
He gingerly moved his hand back to caress my ouana-lim. Soon I felt him begin to loosen up. He caressed me until I flowered. I moaned and told him how good it felt. He was breathing hard. I again moved my fingers to his soume-lam. It was wet and I knew I had him. I pleasured him with my fingers and finally, his ouana-lim withdrew as he caught in his breath. I then moved my mouth to his soume-lam and as I tongued him, I tasted a sweet, fragrant essence, so pleasing. What a waste, I thought, that he was never soume.
Soon I moved back to claim his lips and as I entered him, he cried out in pleasure. I moved slowly at first and I could tell he was enjoying it. Then as I began to move deeper and faster, he moaned and moved with me. Soon I felt him come to completion, shuddering and I found my release as well. We lay there together, coming back to ourselves. After I’d eased out of him, I moved to kiss him and to my surprise, he turned away.
“What’s wrong?” I asked. “Didn’t you enjoy it? Don’t tell me you didn’t. I know better.”
“You got what you wanted, Cal.”
He turned away from me, pulling the covers over him.
After lying there a while, I left Terzian’s room and went down the hall to Pellaz. I quietly opened the door and went inside. It was dark, but soon I realized he wasn’t alone. In the dim grey light I saw Cobweb. He rose and crouched on the bed.
“Get back to your master,” I hissed at him.
He retorted with an idle threat. I ignored it and repeated, “Get out.”
I climbed into bed with Pellaz.
“You’re so cold,” he said.
I lay next to him, the covers pulled over us, his scent and presence a healing balm for my damaged mind and soul.
After lying next to him, drawing inner strength from our closeness, we talked and decided to leave the next day.
I’d had my fling with Terzian. He’d had his way with me and in the end, I’d had my way with him. All I wanted now was to leave this place with Pellaz and start our life together. I knew Terzian wouldn’t stop us.
Early the next morning Pell and I made ready to go. After we left the gates of Forever, I didn’t look back. It was time for us to look forward.