I’ve discovered the most wonderful place! Half a mile directly north of Owen’s Smithy in Overlook, there is a great, towering red pine. About a quarter of a mile north by north-east of that, there is a large boulder shaped like a tortoise’s shell. From there, head directly west until you find me. I’ve carved your name in the tree so that you’ll know it. Come tonight, just after dusk.
Naala looked at the note, then looked at the boulder. If this was a tortoise’s shell, it was a very odd looking tortoise. If she squinted the smaller rock next to it sort of looked like a head in the flickering light of her lantern, but the shell was all lumpy and misshapen. Still, the tracks in the snow- they could only be Sumi’s- led here before meandering off to the west.
Owen the Smith had still been at his smithy when Naala set out. When she had asked him if he’d seen Sumi he said “The blue lady? Aye, she passed by here about an hour ago. Ye can still see her tracks there, in the snow. I told her that a lady like her, she shouldn’t wander out into these woods after dark, but she weren’t hearing none of it.” He’d eyed the warhammer strapped to her back. “If she ain’t come back yet I reckon ye might want to find her quick-like, assuming ye know how to use that, then come back just as fast. T’ain’t safe for anyone to be out there at night, but for pretty women like you? Well, there’s things worse’n bears and wolves in that forest, I’ll tell you that.”
Sumi could handle bears and wolves. She was forest-born, one of the fair folk of Felu Shala, and had a way with animals, as all her people did. “We have an agreement,” she had once told Naala. “An ancient pact. We do them no harm, and they let us wander the wilds of the world without fear.” Naala had heard stories that the elves had special magic that let them speak with animals, but when she had asked how they could possibly make a pact with every animal the world over, Sumi had just giggled and kissed her. It was absurd, she thought, and Naala hadn’t believed it, until the two of them had accidentally stumbled upon a mother bear and its cubs one summer while traveling. Naala froze, and started to slowly back away, but Sumi had just laughed and walked right up to it before she could stop her. To her utter amazement, the bear sniffed her, grunted, and then rolled on its side. And then it had let her pet it!
So it wasn’t the animals that gave Naala pause. Bandits, cutthroats, and monsters weren’t likely to roll over and let her pet their bellies, and Sumi wasn’t a fighter. Far from it.
The wind was coming from the west. She was glad that she’d had the foresight to bring a covered lamp. Even down here in the the deep woods that encircled Overlook the wind was blowing through the pines fiercely enough to put out a small torch. Naala sighed and braced herself against it, following Sumi’s footprints into the darkness. Even after living in the cold northlands for years, she still wasn’t used to the biting winds and constant snow of this place. She found snow beautiful, certainly, the way it blanketed all of the familiar places in white and made them strange and new again, but sometimes she yearned for the hotter climate of her homeland, Vishanatar, far to the south.
Now was one of those times. She couldn’t help but feel irked at Sumi. They’d been away from each other for weeks- Naala had received a summons from the White Keep, the headquarters of the Knights of the Chrysanthemum, at the same time that Sumi caught wind of a disease of the groin spreading through the town of Overlook. Naala was oathbound to answer the summons of the Keep, and Sumi was honor-bound to destroy such poxes wherever she found them. Neither of them could refuse these calls, as much as they loathed being away from each other, and now, after a week of slow riding through freezing rains and snow to meet her at Overlook, Sumi had her trudging through even more snow in the darkness of the night, searching for this “wonderful place” and growing more worried by the minute.
Onward she trudged, her eyes on Sumi’s tracks. If she’d known that she was going to be doing this she wouldn’t have pushed her horse so hard getting to Overlook. By the time she had arrived there it was completely lathered despite the cold, and could go no further. She’d left it in the small stable attached to the town’s only inn, where she’d found the note that Sumi left for her.
But perhaps that was a blessing in disguise, for if she’d been on horseback Naala might have never noticed the other set of tracks in the snow. They were almost outside of her lantern light, and it was only by chance that she’d noticed them- she had frightened a snow rabbit and it bounded away behind a tree, right over a sole footprint in the snow, about thirty feet away from Sumi’s tracks. Naala’s heart caught in her throat, and it only got worse when she followed this new set of footprints. They ran parallel to Sumi’s tracks, as if the person who made them was following her. Whoever it zonguldak escort was apparently kept their distance, never coming closer than about twenty feet to Sumi’s path, and even then they kept several trees and bushes between them. That meant that they were following Sumi herself, not her just her tracks.
Naala started to run, ignoring the biting cold of the air flooding her lungs as her heart raced. But then something strange happened. She had been following Sumi’s tracks for perhaps a quarter of a mile when the air started to get warmer. She thought she was imagining it at first, until she noticed that there was less snow on the ground the further she went, and even the wind started to lessen. Finally, she saw it: A hot spring.
It erupted from a wide overhang of rock that mounted the side of a hill that jutted up sharply, a thick, tall white fir tree at its crown. The overhang where the water came out was bowl-shaped, forming a pool bounded by stone about five feet up which overflowed its walls, creating a small, steaming waterfall that fed a larger steaming pool below. Naala stood at the edge of the lower pool, panting, and took off a glove, testing the air. It was still slightly chilly here, but warm enough that she could have taken off her thick furs if she’d wanted to.
There was no sign of Sumi. Both sets of tracks, where there was still enough snow to see them, had led in a direct line straight here. This had to be the place, so where was she? Naala had a hunch, and thinking about it made her stomach churn.
Naala called out Sumi’s name and waited a few moments. Silence. With her fingers gripped tightly around her warhammer she clambered up the side of the hill to look over the upper pool, but she was not there either. She took a deep breath. Stay calm, she thought to herself, but she felt very cold again despite the warmth from the spring. She took a deep breath. Go back. The ground here is muddy and wet, even where the snow has melted. She must have left more tracks. Find them. Follow them. Find her.
Something soft and very large pressed against her back. Naala made a noise that was somewhere in between a gasp and a grunt, sprung forward a step, and had her hammer poised to strike before she even saw who it was.
Sumi was naked. That wasn’t particularly surprising, knowing her. She was also whole and uninjured. Her golden eyes seemed to almost glow in the lantern light, and they were wide with surprise. Then she smirked and put her hands on her hips. “Well, hello to you too!”
Naala dropped her hammer. For a moment she thought she was going to cry. Her mouth was open, as if she was about to speak, but she couldn’t think of anything to say. Instead she nearly tackled Sumi, wrapped her arms around her and held her tight.
“I missed you too, Naala,” said Sumi with a giggle, returning the hug. “It’s been far too long.” Then she kissed her.
Sumi had the best kisses. As soon as their lips touched, all of the fear and worry drained right out of her. Her stomach fluttered, and her chest tingled, and for just a few moments, there in Sumi’s arms, everything was right with the world. Her smell was intoxicating, like snow-in-summer and lavender, and her lips tasted of mint leaves.
An eternity passed before they pulled away from each other, and yet it still felt like far too short a time. Naala simply stared at her for a long moment, drinking her in with her eyes.
Sumi’s skin was blue, and her hair was silvery-white, like spun platinum. It was so long that the bottom of it brushed against the backs of her calves when she walked, and it was currently draped in smooth, straight, silky lengths over her back and shoulders. Despite having never had children she had a curvaceous, womanly figure: Wide, fertile hips which tapered off into a relatively thin waist, a soft stomach, and plump, full breasts that were still easily the largest that Naala had ever seen, even after her many travels.
Naala had traveled all over the world and seen wonders beyond imagining, and yet in that moment there was no sight that could be more beautiful in her eyes, or more welcome.
“Well?” said Sumi, nodding towards the hot spring. “What do you think? Isn’t it beautiful?”
Now that Naala was looking at it, really looking at it, she had to admit that it was. The moon was full tonight, and the trees were just sparse enough to let its light fall upon the spring unhindered. The night was still and quiet, the only sound was the whispering of the water as it flowed from the upper pool to the lower, and it seemed to almost glow in the moonshine, like liquid light.
“It is… But, listen, I found-” Sumi kissed her again, and Naala found herself returning it despite herself.
They were nose-to-nose, their foreheads touching. Sumi’s golden eyes filled Naala’s whole world. “You’ve been on the long, cold road for so long, without me to warm you up, so I led you here. Let’s bathe zonguldak escort bayan together, my flower knight.” Her hands were wandering under Naala’s furs, unlacing and unbuckling.
Naala wanted nothing more than to do just that, but still… “We can’t.” That made Sumi pause. Naala’s fur jacket was halfway off her shoulders. “Sumi, you shouldn’t have come out here alone,” she said quietly. “You were followed. I found tracks, running right next to yours. There was-“
“One. A woman. I know.” Naala must have looked surprised, because Sumi giggled. “Naala, come now, do you still think of me as some defenseless maiden? I’m not defenseless, and definitely not a maiden. You know me better than that.” She slowly pulled her out of her coat, letting it drop to the ground. “I heard her long before she saw me, and saw her while she thought she was hidden. She had no weapons, and was dressed only in a leather jerkin and leggings.”
Naala frowned. “Oh. I thought…”
“That I was going to be accosted by bandits, or worse.” Sumi smiled her lovely, easy smile. “This is not the first time I’ve been alone in the woods at night, Naala.”
“It’s not hard to hide a dagger under leather.”
“I’ve been here, naked, for the better part of an hour. If she was going to accost me she’s had ample time to do so. And she would have found me to be no easy prey, even naked.” She kissed her again, this time on the forehead. “I called out to her once I arrived, and she scampered away into the forest. And look! Now you’re here, my brave knight. If she returns with ill intent she’ll have to contend with the both of us.”
“And if she returns with ill intent and friends?” Despite her protests, Naala was making no effort to stop Sumi from removing her clothes. Under her fur coat she was wearing a jerkin of thick wool, which she let Sumi unlace.
“Then I shall call the stars down from the heavens and weave a cloak from their light, and we will be protected, for I won’t allow anything to ruin my reunion with my sweet flower knight.” Sumi kissed Naala’s neck, right where it met her shoulder, as she gently pulled off the jerkin. From the waist up Naala was clad now only in her smallclothes- a band of linen cloth that she had wrapped and tied around her chest to support her breasts. While Sumi was soft and curvy, Naala had the body of a warrior. Her arms and back and midriff were all lean, strong muscle, though she had no scars but for two: a long, thin, pale line that stood out from her dark skin, running from her shoulder all the way down to her hip on her left side, and another that ran from the middle of her lower back in a smooth curve to just above her buttock.
The two of them did have one thing in common though: Naala’s breasts were straining at her chest wrap, overflowing it slightly. They weren’t as large as Sumi’s- nobody’s were- but they were still bigger than sweetmelons. “Oh!” said Sumi when she saw them. “You poor thing! You’re so swollen! Do they hurt? They must be sore.”
They did hurt, in fact, and with Sumi’s soft, warm hands caressing them it was getting difficult to focus on anything else. “You worry too much, Naala,” Sumi whispered as she led her to the edge of the lower pool and started to unlace her fur pants. Her immense breasts were pressed against her as she worked- Naala could feel one of her nipples stiffening against her back. “This place is special, I can feel it, and Vela Shei watches over those do her honor.” Naala’s pants fell to her feet. Sumi kissed her neck again, and this time Naala’s body went abuzz at the touch of her lips. One blue hand was on her stomach, rising slowly towards her breasts, and the other was teasing the edges of the loincloth that covered her sex. “Let us honor her all through the night.”
“Sumi…” Naala sighed, and the last of her protests fluttered away. She needed this. She needed her. Sumi was taller than Naala by several inches, so when she leaned back into her Sumi was able to wrap her arm around Naala’s shoulder and guide their lips together.
This time there was tongue.
Naala closed her eyes and lost herself in Sumi’s touch, in her scent, in her taste. She gasped when Sumi undid the knot on her chest wrap. Her nipples were already hard, but the chill of the air made them almost painfully so. Her breasts felt as if they were too big for her skin, and not in an entirely pleasant way. Sumi warmed them with her hands. “They’re so firm! How long has it been?”
“This morning was the last time. I didn’t have time to stop, and besides, I wanted to let you do it. I know how much you like it when I get full like this…”
Sumi sighed. “You’re in more pain than you’re letting on then. I don’t want you to suffer for me, Naala. Here, get them into the water. It will help.”
The lower pool, as it turned out, wasn’t that deep, but Naala discovered that when she sat cross-legged in the center of it the water came up to her neck. After escort zonguldak the chill of the air it felt almost boiling against her skin, but after a moment or two her body adapted to the heat. Sumi was right. It did make her breasts feel better.
When Sumi joined her a moment later her hair fanned out on the surface of the water, glimmering pearly white in the moonlight. Naala untied her own, letting her black tresses flirt with the water as well. She felt Sumi’s breasts pressing into her back again as she sat behind her and scooted up close, so that Naala was in her lap.
Without a word, Sumi began to massage Naala’s breasts- gently working their upper slopes, where they met her chest, before working her way downwards past her throbbing nipples to their undersides, under the water. It was something she’d done for her many times before, and while she was good at it from the first time, over the years Sumi had learned to understand Naala’s body almost better than she herself did. The relief was almost immediate- Sumi knew exactly where to touch her, how hard, and when to move to another spot, all without a word from Naala. “Now, let’s get rid of some of this pressure. There we go.” Naala’s letdown started in the middle of Sumi’s sentence. She always knew exactly when it was going to happen, even when she wasn’t even touching her.
“Oh…!” Naala sighed.
“See? Much better.” Sumi nuzzled Naala’s neck and gently, delicately, began to squeeze her nipples.
“Mmm…” Naala bit her lip and leaned back, resting her head on Sumi’s chest. “Oh, that feels wonderful…” Weeks worth of stress and fatigue seemed to drain out of her through her breasts as milky white clouds began to form in the water in front of her.
“That’s right. Relax, my flower knight, and tell me about your troubles. Why did the White Keep call you back? What reason did they have to take my flower knight away from me for so long?”
“Ill news. The Lord Warden is dead.”
“Oh. Oh dear.”
Naala shrugged. It made both of their breasts wobble. “He was old. One of the Fair Folk, but well into his second century. He went peacefully in his sleep. It wasn’t unexpected.”
Sumi smiled. “Fair Folk. Your people have such strange names for mine. Some of us are quite ugly.”
“Of course. Take my brother for instance. His eyes are much too far apart. He looks like a fish.”
“I’ve met your brother. He’s as handsome as you are beautiful.”
Sumi laughed. “My good lady knight, I take offense to that! I’m far prettier than him. Why did they need you?”
“To choose the new Lord Warden.”
“What, all by yourself?”
“We vote. When a Lord Warden dies, all of the members of the Order are called back to the keep to make their choice. Anyone who has taken the Oath and gained knighthood can be elected. Could you- oh! Oh yes, just like that…” Naala had been about to ask her to milk her faster. Much of the painful pressure behind her nipples had subsided, and she knew from experience that they could be handled less gently without hurting now. Of course, Sumi had known it before Naala had even said anything and adjusted accordingly.
“So even you could be chosen?”
“When the votes were all cast and the tallies were added up, it turned out that I had received eleven votes.”
“That’s fantastic! Do I have to call you Lord Warden Naala now?”
Naala splashed Sumi playfully. “Silly. There are nearly a thousand Knights, and half that many voting stewards. The winner got eight hundred votes. The votes for me were probably some strange jape. Someone must have thought it would be funny.”
“Eleven someones, all making the same jest? No, I’ve seen the way your other knights talk to you. They respect you. Those votes were honest, I guarantee it.”
“I would make a terrible Lord Warden.”
“You would make a splendid Lord Warden. You probably would have been elected if you weren’t so reclusive. The only people who don’t like you don’t know you.”
Naala couldn’t help but laugh. “That’s not true at all. Remember MacFirdan?”
“Okay, the only ones who don’t like you and aren’t complete bastards don’t know you.”
“I’m too young besides. Nobody under the age of thirty has been elected since… Well, it’s been hundreds of years, at least.”
“Well, who did win then?”
“Dame Ora Tegsdotir.”
“Oho! Is this the same Ora that you fancy? The northerner with the red hair?”
Naala blushed. “I don’t- I don’t fancy her. It was just a girl’s crush.”
“Did you ever share her bed?”
“It wasn’t like that! She’s ten years older than me.”
“So? I’m twelve years older than you.”
“The difference between sixteen and twenty-six is much bigger than the difference between twenty-three and thirty-five.”
“Ah. Well, I’ll give you that. Still, now the two of you are twenty-five and thirty-five. You should try something when next you see her.”
“I don’t think she… Likes women. Not like we do.”
“You never know. You might be surprised.”
Naala turned in the water, so that she was facing Sumi, sitting in her lap, and wrapped her arms around her. “Maybe so, but you’re the only woman I need. And the truth is, I don’t even want to be Lord Warden. I just want to be your flower knight.”