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PAGAN FLAMES

Theresa sat alone on the back porch rocker, soothing restless waves of anxiety which engulfed her too often these days.

Night was closing in, the Earth preparing for months of winter rest. She rocked quietly, thinking of Christmas, less than eight weeks away now.

Already. Yuletide.

Yule. The old-fashioned word for winter’s biggest holiday.

She thought of words for other holidays, the old Pagan words. This year, the local recreation centre had offered its usual variety of workshops and courses, but something from the fringes of society pulled at her. A local Wicca member had organized a workshop teaching basic Pagan rituals. Surprisingly, a dozen locals had signed up.

She learned that the age-old tradition of bobbing for apples was linked to immortality. Apple Paradise, garden of the blessed. Eat an apple and live forever! She laughed softly at her own openness to believe what she most longed for.

Beltane, celebration of Fertility, union of god and goddess whereby the Sun-child was conceived.

And then there was tonight, October 31, known to the Pagan world as Samhain, the night when the gates to the Other World were not guarded, when the veils parted and anything could happen…

Fertility…she closed her eyes and let her feelings drift her away to a dream…

A dream where someone, tall and strong and virile, someday, could see her as the fertile, fecund woman she knew she had secretly become, and sweep into her life, taking her…

Taking her.

With a shiver, she shook herself out of the dream.

That was odd, she must be tired. She had almost felt a presence for a moment.

The bonfire her father had lit earlier in the back yard popped and leaped higher than she had planned. The cedar logs he’d gathered for the Halloween blaze were burning hot and fast. She and her parents had enjoyed a delicious Harvest feast in the company of friends earlier, then Mom and Dad drove off for the weekend to a favorite country retreat. An annual tradition to celebrate their good fortune in having found each other so many years back.

Along the block another fire burned in a neighbor’s yard, the children laughing and shouting with excitement. Children and adults alike loved campfires. Watching the silken petals of flame dance and flicker, most everyone found solace from the day’s anxieties.The little ones had finished trick or treating. It was quiet and she didn’t feel obliged to answer the doorbell for the older ones. The house was dark, all locked up for the night. She had the night to herself.

Soft fur rubbed around her ankles. Ginger, wanting some attention. He would sleep with her tonight, she knew. Cats felt lonely sometimes, too.
Reaching down, she picked him up, his belly soft and velvety under her hands. He cuddled down on her lap and began to purr like a machine.
Settled there, her head resting against the high back of the rocking chair, the moon glowing softly down on the young, raven-haired woman, she began to nod. A snooze would be nice here, with the fire burning in the yard and the cat on her lap. She pulled the crocheted blanket more snugly around her shoulders, disturbing Ginger for a moment. Then they both relaxed in mutual agreement; yes, this was nap time.
Within minutes, the cat’s purr had buzzed down to a soft, relaxed rumble and Theresa’s breathing had dropped to the gentle sigh of the Dreamer.

****

Standing before the leaping flames, dark hair tumbling round smooth, white shoulders, Theresa felt the heat on her face. Hugging a loose white robe around her waist, she lifted her face to the sky.

Samhain. All Hallows Eve. When the veil between the physical world and the unseen is at its thinnest. The night when we can best see our own future, and tarot readers ply their trade with greater energy.

A night of Power. A night when anything can happen…especially to those who sense their own immortality.

A late October wind came up, brushing greedy fingers across those naked shoulders, ruffling her hair. She shivered, whether in response to the wind’s sudden coolness or to the hungry, burning desire calling deep in the pit of her belly, she could not tell.

In this dream-universe, no one could see her. She was truly alone here, nourished only by the presence of Flame. Darkness and Flame. Her breathing quickened, she could not explain the stirrings leaping through her body.

She hugged the robe tighter round her waist, causing the soft folds across her breasts to fall loosely, leaving her virgin beauty catching light both from the fire and the cold, distant moon.

So acutely stimulating, being outside in an unknown universe, in the darkness, naked beneath this strange robe, this robe which yet felt somehow familiar.

She closed her eyes, feeling the touch of breeze, the heat of flame; hearing afar off the call of an owl, knowing Moon was with her, inside her, yet distant and alone in a night sky…

She yearned for touch, not of wind or Moon, but Someone.

Someone who Magicked her, yet was Magicked by her being there too.

Someone who could not take his eyes off of her body and soul, standing alone and vulnerable…She felt faint with desire. Oh, god, Oh, goddess…

A different kind of warmth. A presence. She opened her eyes.

Beside her, appearing from nowhere, a figure, tall and still.

One hand on his sword, the other reaching out to touch her hair, now tangled and blowing in the rising wind.

A sword! It hung from his waist, a jeweled slit scabbard, metal-gleam visible down the length of the carefully crafted leather.

A knight? A prince? Who was this man! Should she be alarmed, run, cry out?

His hand cupped the back of her head, holding her in place. Yet, not his hand, but his gaze, held her fast.

She did not notice that she had stopped breathing, her soft red lips parted, her brown eyes wide with surprise.

She could not but return the intense gaze. She forgot her semi-naked state, the robe she was clutching in her small fist, keeping her modesty intact.

Who was he? Should he be touching her this way, making her feel this way?

“And what way would that be, my Princess?” a deep male voice asked her, laughing. “Tell me, dark beauty, naked in moonlight, tell me what feelings I arouse in you?”

She tried to find her voice, but was silent.

She needed no voice in the presence of this man.

Submission required no voice.

Man? No, he was not human, though he looked human. Something else…Faery? He could read her thoughts! She had indeed, no defense against this Faery-Human, virility spreading out around him in a cloud of light.

“Are you of the Faery world, a Prince? Who are you? What are you?” she whispered, hating that she had begun to tremble. Was it possible to feel any more vulnerable, powerless? Yes, it seemed so!

On the back porch, the dreaming Theresa shifted restlessly in her sleep, her own physical body tormented with expectant longing acknowledged only in dreams.The cat, knowing much more than it would ever tell, smiled a little to itself and drifted off again.

Theresa sought safety by turning her eyes away from the Warrior’s burning gaze, long lashes fluttering against heated cheeks. She turned from the leaping fire, hoping to cool her face and her feelings.

Taking pity on her virginity, her true innocence and natural hunger, he raised his hand from his sword-haft, knowing the battle within this mystery-maiden was more than she knew how to direct. She had emerged from nowhere into his people’s festival of Samhain, the night of released passion. He closed his hand over the pale wrist clutched around the fabric, yet held her gently.

Seldom did a stranger find their way into his Kingdom of Faery-World. To find her standing here alone, her immaculate breasts heaving with alarm, the white robe of the Priestess hiding her secrets from his gaze, he knew the god and goddess of the turning earth were honoring him with a gift beyond his imaginings. And honoring this woman herself with the same gift. A gift wrapped in the scent, the oils, the sighs and yearnings, of sensuality.

A virgin. A gift.

Aware of the enormity of responsibility, yet feeling the pull of sheer fun and joy, he stepped closer to this vision, pulling her head closer to his.

She quivered, and not only from hidden passion. She was frightened, both of him and of herself. And frightened of this night, this Pagan Time-Space, this dark Festival she did not understand.

There was nowhere to run. Her legs would not obey her. Her breathing shivered, trembled on her lips. She clutched her only safety, the white robe. A soft wall of protection against the onslaught this Faery-Man clearly intended to unleash on her.

Against her will? Once more, her eyes fixed on his, she could not say. There was no will. There was only the gaze, the beautiful, shaped lips of a true Faery Prince, a Royal unlike any on earth, and his hands cupping her head, drawing her nearer.

And then she felt the hardness of his wide chest, felt the solid beating of a Faery-Male heart, preparing for the work of Desire, the sweet work that lay ahead of them and he clasped his hands now around her waist, holding the fabric tight against her, so she should not feel that frail symbol of safety torn away. Giving her what safety he could, allowing her what protection she could muster against this storm of new, untried passion about to unleash the forces of a fecund universe upon her soul.

Compassion directed his thoughts, holding back the full force of his male appetite. He could not abuse the trust placed in his hands this night.
Drawing her close, he sensed little resistance. Like a mantle, he wrapped his strong arms around her, pulling her tighter into him. His long fingers spread around those ivory shoulders, holding her in a place of safety, a safe refuge burgeoning with Promise. There was no need to hurry this God-given moment.The fire, untended, continued to burn unabated. Smooth licks of hot flame reached skyward, the only light on whatever Earth this was, supported by an icy Moon, large, fat, and hanging high on the black horizon. No stars shone down, no other life-forms were evident.

This Time-Space created just for them.

He, Melchior, had learned of nights such as this, the night Samhain, when a Faery-Male’s dreams would one day be granted by an over-abundant goddess force, something beyond his ken, during the years of hard Wizard-training long ago. Yet, he had never dared to imagine such a moment for him.

Who was she? What was she? Of Earth, it seemed, yet so much more. It was as though her very cells, trillions of them, already knew him in depth. As she could keep no secret from him, he had none from her. As they clung together, the wind whispering around them, both began to know the source of this discovery. A source so long ago, so far away, centuries away, that even their immortal memories could only dimly recall…

And then memory was cut off, the sheer, climbing wall of desire engulfing them both, and his hands moved away from her shoulders to enclose her breasts. As that velvet smoothness hit a place deep in his gut, he knew he could not contain his passion for much longer. He gripped a handful of silky hair in his left hand, pulled her head back and was met with lips open, moist and inviting. He raised his gaze to those deep brown eyes, those incredible lashes, and fell into that ocean of invitation. His lips closed over hers and all resistance vanished. The small white hand gripping the robe around her waist at last fell away as the folds dropped around her feet.

Almost overwhelmed with the majesty of the moment, he pulled her hard against him. Her breathing faltered, gasped, and her gaze dropped as arousal and uncertainty grappled with each other.

“I know enough for both of us, Princess,” he murmured in her ear. “Be unafraid. This is ordained by powers beyond either you or me. We are born to the command of the goddess.”

She was not thought. She was not matter. She was Desire, open and running, opening to this power, this male force she had been born to partner. No further reasons were needed. She opened.

With both hands, he pulled her tight to his hardness. Out of her mind, she moaned, rubbing her secret place against that rock-hard, mouth-watering thrill.

Her lips parted, her breath staggered.

Above her, his eyes watched that face, read those desires and emotions with royal accuracy.

He moved his right hand around her body, slowly, dragging his hand across her perfect skin till it rested on her belly; then slowly, bending over her so his breath was like a clean, spring breeze across her hot face, he slid his hand lower, without mercy, and when his fingers probed that silky protective sheath, knowing the fullness of his power over her, he encased that delicate, magical structure, wet and responsive, with his strong fingers. As the crushing universe of lust engorged her pelvis, she knew only the helplessness of any roused woman in the skilled hands of a practiced lover.

She cried out, her legs shrinking from his as her body tried in vain to cope with the full blast of passion, a passion she had never known before, even in her dreams.

It was more than his hands, more than her body’s response, it was something else…something belonging to an eternal place she could not quite recall, but knew they had been there together…

It was meant to be, a power that was futile to resist. She was born to this. To his hands, his lips, his fingers, and to that exquisite hardness crying out for release.

Unable to endure the sheer force of her lust under his hands, she clasped her own hands over his.

He paused, stilling those talented fingers. “Why, my love, my beauty? Why must I stop?”

For the first time, she spoke. “I cannot bear it…”

“Daughter of moonlight,” he whispered, holding her close, “allow me to show you delights that you have not dreamed of, yet you shall retain your purity. We are destined, we two, to walk together forever. There is time enough for everything in the aeons that lie ahead. For tonight, let me open the secrets of pagan and faery lust-flight to you. You shall, I swear, greet the morning sun as virginal as you are this moment.”

Hours later they lay, side by side, arms wrapped around each other. Silver, cool, lover’s Moon hung in a still,dark sky, awaiting another night and the consummation of their passion.

His. Forever. He knew it. And they had only begun to experience this royal, divine, gift each had been given.

There was more to come.

Forever and Ever, there would always be more to come.

On this All Hallow’s Eve, two immortals, born of Earth and Heaven, had found each other.

The fire raged, flames rising to the night sky, matched by flames of unquenchable joy binding these two souls, given to each other at the Altar of Samhain, the night when walls separating Physical and Otherworld fell, unguarded…

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