“Brie! Where are you?” he called out in a hoarse whisper. “Brieda?”
“Here!” Brie called back, her voice shivering with the cold. Argus found her cage a moment later and lowered it down to the cold dirt floor. He began slashing the entrance bindings with his blade. In another moment, the doorway hung half open. Goddess and ardent rescuer embraced fiercely.
“Hurry! There’s no time!” Argus whispered urgently. “Mare Calli’s guard will be returning!”
Brie allowed herself to be half-dragged up the dimly lit and narrow steps leading to the surface. They must have made too much noise or, more likely, her clumsy rescuer was spotted when he entered, because a guard was waiting for them with drawn sword. Brie pulled the prince to the side just as the guard swung at him.
Argus fell in the darkness and couldn’t see Brie as she stood proudly, daring the guard to strike again. The guard raised his sword, then slashed down. The girl twisted to one side and kicked hard, doubling the guard over while his sword clanged loudly against the walking stone. Gripping the guard’s fallen sword in one hand and Argus in the other, Brie led the way into the shadows of the surrounding trees. They were safe for a moment.
“Did you get the horse?” she whispered to the young prince who was the reason she’d been caged.
“Yes, but I couldn’t bring him close,” Argus whispered. “There were too many of Mother’s guards. I’ll take you to where I left him.”
Once past the first grove of trees, Brie could easily see the high stone walls of Caerlave Rock, even though there was no moon to light the night sky. It was another twenty minutes of creeping past guards and campfires before Argus admitted he was lost.
“What do you mean, ‘lost’?” Brie hissed. “How can you get lost in your own shire? Where’s the horse?”
“I don’t know!” Argus whined, quite upset. “Forgive me, Goddess, I’m not used to this. Maybe the guards found the horse or maybe he wandered off! I don’t know!”
Brie frowned. She was renown throughout this strange land for showing the locals how to smelt iron in the manner of the Romans. As a result, the primitive denizens of the area had insisted that she was the incarnation of their Goddess of Light, Brieda. Everyone insisted on calling her that, including this young son of a neighboring warrioress chieftain named Calli.
The young prince was the problem. He was smitten with the Goddess Brie and Calli was furious at this pretender for seducing her son, whom she needed to marry the daughter of King Godo so that the two neighboring shires could form a military alliance to fight the godless Romans.
She had her son followed until he met with the girl secretly in a grove near Dundonald, then had them both snatched and returned to Caerlave Rock, where her son would someday reign. The usurper goddess was imprisoned. A special wicker cairn was built and rubbed with pitch so that the fake goddess could be sacrificed to the real one in a ritual of fire at the beginning of the next quarter, two days from now.
“We’ll have to steal another horse,” Brie decided. “Once they’ve noticed I’ve escaped, we won’t get far on foot.”
She was rightly annoyed at the young prince. If they got caught, like as not, nothing would happen to him. She, on the other hand, would probably be burned alive if she weren’t simply sliced into pieces when she was recaptured. Both were practices these bloodthirsty people seemed to enjoy.
They continued on in a westerly direction until they encountered the next warrior camp, then carefully crept around the perimeter until Argus saw the line of horses.
As he approached, the line grew skittish and attracted the attention of the watch. Hiding in tall brush, they waited until the guard was satisfied his charges were secure. Brie was the one who then moved forward and soothed the nearest horse until he could be untethered and quietly led away.
It was an hour later. The sky was getting brighter. Brie clung with her arms tightly wrapped around her rescuer and bounced wildly around on the rump of the giant animal as they galloped madly across the fen, Calli’s troops in hot pursuit.
Fifteen minutes earlier, Brie and Argus had trotted right out in front of a line of charioteers moving out to chase the Romans off their lands once again. Now, the exhausted, stolen horse was stumbling more often as it raced over the uneven ground. Even though their pursuers were burdened with chariots, Brie could tell that they were drawing nearer. Arrows were starting to fall around them. The stolen horse was carrying double, and the swift chariots behind them were, except for the wooden wheels and frame, woven from grass and weighed practically nothing.
Brie gasped, then coughed as an arrow struck deep into her shoulder blade. A few seconds later, another struck her low in the back. Nearly fainting from the pain, Brie sagged sideways. The next bounce off the galloping horse launched her into the air. She landed in a heap on the soft, muddy ground as Argus reined in, terrified and furious. He was their prince and they were shooting at him!
Jumping off the foundering horse, Argus landed running and dropped down beside his fallen goddess, protecting her from any more arrows with his own crested tunic.
“Pull them out,” Brie gasped. “The arrows!”
“No!” Argus insisted. “You’ll die!”
“I’m a Goddess!” Brie snarled at her would-be lover. “I can’t die! But I can be trapped against the earth and cut into pieces if you don’t pull those arrows out of my back!”
The captain of the charioteers, recognizing the prince now, pulled up beside the pair.
“My lord!” the Captain cried out as Argus pulled the arrow out of the girl’s shoulder, concerned that the false goddess would perhaps die before she could be properly sacrificed to her namesake.
Argus pulled out the second arrow. A bright spurt of red blood followed the stone tip upward.
“Your mother will be displeased,” the Captain muttered sullenly.
“It doesn’t matter,” Argus whispered sadly, watching as his goddess’ life-blood slowed in its spurting. “She’ll be dead in a moment, and by your archer’s bow!
“Who do you believe will be punished for it? You could have run us to ground in another few minutes and you would have her still alive! ’Tis better she dies this way than be burned alive in one of mother’s fiery cairns!”
In another moment, the bleeding stopped completely. Argus knew deep in his gut that the strange, exotic girl was dead, her wonderful heart stopped forever. He nearly jumped into the Captain’s chariot when she moved to push herself up and out of the mud she was lying in.
“She lives!” several warriors cried out.
At that exact moment, the sun edged over the horizon, casting its life-giving energy over the land and just incidentally lighting Brie up with an almost supernatural glow. Everyone immediately dropped down on their knees, finally acknowledging the divinity of the dark-haired girl they’d named after their ancient goddess.
Brie stood in the morning sunlight, her smooth, unscarred backside where she’d been wounded displayed for all to see as she stripped off her muddy, bloodied tunic. Underneath the shirt, her skin was smooth and unblemished where the arrows had pierced her. She rinsed off with some water a warrior brought from one of the chariots so she could better display the divinity of her healing power. Her naked body glistened wetly in the early morning sunlight.
“My Lady of the Land,” the Captain pleaded from his kneeling position beside his war chariot, “sister of the Lady of the Lake and of the Sky, what would you command of me?”
“I would take food if you have it,” Brie commanded of the kneeling Captain. “The blessing of your land with my life-blood is taxing.”
She looked around as she noticed a buzzing sound, wondering where it was coming from.
Jake woke up. There was a buzzing nearby. It was the hotel desk with his wake-up call. Stumbling over to the dresser, he pressed the button acknowledging their signal, then pulled open the front of the little cooler sitting there. Pulling out a short, stubby bottle of dark beer, he twisted off the cap and took a deep swig.
For several years after he’d lost Béla, he had relived her memories almost every night in the form of dreams. But as the years passed, the dreams occurred less and less often, as though she was moving farther away in death. If he still had them, he didn’t remember upon awakening. Maybe once or twice a year, though, he would remember one vividly – like the one he just had.
He snorted at the thought of ancient war chariots woven out of grass. The cage he… or rather, she… had been hung in was woven, also. Wherever that incident had taken place (most likely somewhere in the British Isles because of the medieval castles), they didn’t seem to have an abundance of iron, but they certainly knew how to weave grass.
He grinned, thinking that maybe that was where Béla thought she’d learned how to do it. She evidently missed a few steps of the process, never realizing she might need to weave it herself, someday.
The other thing he noticed was how easily Béla had stepped into the role of ‘goddess’ in that primitive society. In many of his dreams about her, she often worked her way into some divine position in whatever society she found herself. Whenever she managed that, she would set up for decades or even a century or two, using her ‘divinity’ to explain her continued youth and her ability to heal herself.
Plus, as a goddess or a priestess, she would invent excuses to display herself naked in public, often influencing that society’s viewpoint on public nudity (at least regarding religious sexual practices). She was probably the reason the Druids used to dance around nude to celebrate the changing of the seasons.
“Guten morgen, mein teurer schatz,” a soft, sultry voice said from the bed he’d left behind.
“Guten morgen to you, mein liebhaber,” Jake replied.
His terrible accent earned him a feminine chuckle from the bed.
“Not bad,” Leonie said, her own German accent barely noticeable. “I almost understood you.”
Then she laughed. “I’m sorry. In truth, you are learning very quickly – faster than I learned English.”
Jake smiled as Leonie's voice brought back memories of a magnificent night of lovemaking. It also helped him to remember where he was – Munich.
“English is a hard language to learn,” Jake informed her. “It took me years and I still make mistakes.”
Leonie laughed at his jest. “But Englisch is your first language, is it not?”
“Yes,” Jake admitted, smiling at her. “And I’m sorry to say that I’m stuck with it. It’s ruined my ability to learn other languages. I’m afraid I’ll only ever speak gerbroken German. Your countrymen will think I’m stupid.”
“You mean ‘gebrochenes’, not ‘gerbroken’, Liebchen,” Leonie said, smiling. “But ‘broken’ is the right word. And most people think Americans are stupid, anyway.”
“Ouch,” Jake laughed. ‘Tell me why, and we’ll see if I agree.”
He sat down on her side of the bed, half-lying down on her legs and hips hidden under the sheet.
“Don’t fret,” he said softly, leaning down to kiss her. “I’m not trying to start an argument. I’m actually very easy.”
“All men are easy,” Leonie said, kissing him back. “That’s why they fear women who are easy.”
“Oho, I’m afraid of you now?” Jake asked, sitting up and grinning down at her.
“Perhaps ‘fear’ is the wrong word,” Leonie admitted. “But men fear a woman’s freedom. They… dislike… Is that the right word?”
“Resent?” Jake asked.
“Ressentiment?” Leonie asked. “You know that word?”
“Yes,” Jake replied. “Resentment. It means the same in English.”
“Ach!” Leonie said brightly. “We have something in common!”
They both laughed. Jake said, “I revel in your freedom. I certainly don’t resent it!”
“You’d better not!” Leonie said. “I wouldn’t be here, ander… different wise.”
“Otherwise,” Jake said, gently correcting her.
“Don’t be so American, darling,” Leonie whispered, teasing him again.
“Oh, yes! You were going to tell me what you don’t like about Americans,” Jake reminded her.
Leonie shrugged. “It’s very simple. Americans don’t like anything that’s different than what they’re used to.”
“What do you mean?”
“I can’t say it more simple than that and still be polite,” Leonie said, bracing for an argument.
“Then don’t be polite,” Jake encouraged her. “You won’t hurt my tender feelings. I’ll still think you’re sexy. I might not want to talk to you, though.”
“If you don’t talk to me, my price goes up,” Leonie promised.
Jake chuckled again. “You’re charging me?” he asked, raising his eyebrows.
“That depends,” she replied. “How… gl?ish… you can make me feel, mein Edelbrusche.”
“I have no idea what you just said,” Jake replied, pulling the sheet down and exposing her bare breasts and soft stomach, “but I shall do my best to get you there.”
He bent down and kissed her soft, warm stomach, then bit her gently while running his hands down her sides.
“Is this what you want?” he asked, looking up at her when she didn’t answer.
Leonie’s eyes were closed and she was smiling to herself. The intoxicating aroma of last night’s sex wafted up from where the sheet still covered her. Jake breathed the scent deeply into his lungs, then moved one hand down beneath the sheet to stir her up a bit.
At the first touch of his fingers, Leonie’s sharp intake of breath and the arching of her back let him know how ‘gl?ish’ she was feeling. He would have to look up what kind of ‘boy’ she’d called him. That is, if he remembered to, later.
She was wet and sticky between her legs, having fallen asleep after their last lovemaking session. She smelled used, and it was Jake’s use of her he smelled. He slid his face down her belly, moving toward that wonderful aroma hiding just beyond that dark mound of hair his lips were even now brushing against.
Leonie’s hand in his hair, lifting his head up and away from her body, surprised him.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, twisting around and looking up at her.
“You slice me with your face!” Leonie exclaimed.
Jake looked down at the white scratch marks and the redness of her skin when his whiskers had been digging into her soft, lovely stomach.
“Sorry,” Jake apologized. “I thought ‘au natural’ was what you were all about.”
“Au natural, ja,” she said, frowning. “But you make sushi out of me!”
Smiling, Jake forced his head down and gently kissed her reddened stomach. Leonie let go of his hairy head in a gesture of forgiveness and lay back on her pillow again.
Jake lay quietly, not digging his prickly chin into her stomach this time, and just caressed her furry little slit with his fingers, making it more slippery as another moment went by. After another minute or two, Leonie sighed deeply and relaxed, letting herself enjoy his caresses once again.
Not sliding his day-old beard along her stomach this time, Jake kissed his way farther down to her pubic mound and brushed his lips back and forth in her fur, blowing gently as he did so.
Foreplay with a woman like Leonie was much different than with a girl who shaved herself bare. There were more things a man could do with a hairy pussy, like blowing on it, or pulling gently on the hairs with his teeth. In addition, Leonie’s scent was richer and much more intoxicating than the shaved-naked girls he was used to.
He wondered if shaving was one of the ‘differences’ that most Americans complained about. If so, then Leonie was right; Americans were stupid. It would be a really dull world if everyone were the same. Jake loved the subtle differences he found in the women as he traveled from one country to another.
He could hear Leonie’s quiet sigh of pleasure and smiled to himself as she spread her legs wider to give him better access. Jake got up and went around the end of the bed to get between those beautiful legs rather than just roll over her. She smiled and watched him down the length of her curvy body as she stretched out on the bed to make herself more available for his use and pleasure.
Once positioned with his face an inch away from her sweetly aromatic cunt, Jake pulled the sheet up against her inner thighs so her sensitive flesh wouldn’t become irritated by his unshaved whiskers, then he blew gently on that pleasure center right in front of his nose.
Leonie reacted instantly, tilting her pelvis and raising up, trying to match her pussy lips up with his own lips, wanting more of that wonderful, breezy sensation.
Jake accommodated her by delicately kissing her vulva, moving his lips gently back and forth against her sensitive flesh. Leonie’s body responded automatically – her pussy lips suddenly quivering and opening up slightly as though she was trying to kiss him with her cunt.
After another moment of torturing her with his hot breath and gentle kisses, Jake felt her hands in his hair. Then he was pulled forward, his face mashed up between Leonie’s legs. Her thighs squeezed the sides of his head.
“Eat me!” Leonie cried out. “You make me crazy with your playing!”
Taking a deep breath, Jake blew hard into her pussy, filling it with air. Then he began running his tongue up and down her pussy lips as the strongly scented air bubbled back out with each tiny motion she made. In revenge for his little prank, Leonie pulled Jake, by his hair, up a little further so he could tease her clitoris with his tongue. Jake didn’t hesitate and attacked her little pleasure nub with more enthusiasm than she was expecting.
“Yi!” Leonie yelped. “Das biest!”
Tightening her legs hard against the sides of his head, she twisted sideways. Now she had him in a serious leg lock. One good twist and she could break his neck.
“Urk!” Jake gurgled. “I give up!”
Leonie rolled completely over, forcing Jake onto his back, as well. Now, she could force his mouth against her hot, ready pussy and there wasn’t much he could do about it.
“Verdammt wiesel!” she scolded playfully, then pressed down against his face with all her body weight.
Jake got the idea and properly began to suck on her clitoris.
“Jawohl,” she sighed, “much better…”
After a moment, Leonie lifted herself up off of Jake’s face, then turned around, wanting to suck on Jake’s cock while he licked her pussy. He was nice and hard and ready. She lay down on top of her American lover and began kissing her way up and down the length of his cock. Jake reciprocated with a sensuous lick from her clitoris all the way to the end of her slit. She shuddered and moaned at the erotic sensation and did the same to his cock, licking it all the way from its tip to his balls.
Jake firmly clasped his hands around Leonie’s rump, then gently surrounded her budding clit with his teeth. Biting down gently, he began to flick his tongue back and forth, holding her rump steady to keep her from trying to rise up and escape the overwhelming sensations flooding through her body.
At the same time, Leonie was lowering her mouth over Jake’s hard cock. She appreciated how well the curve of his cock matched the curve of her throat as she engulfed him as far as she could swallow. Forcing her throat to relax, she pressed forward, swallowing continually until her lips were pressed against his pubic hair. She didn’t choke until Jake bit her clitoris and began teasing it with his tongue, causing her to lose her concentration.
She pulled her face back off his cock as she started to orgasm, her slender body shaking with the wondrous wave of sensuality flooding through her. After that orgasm, Jake stopped, just holding her steady as she lay twitching on top of him. He was careful not to breathe on her sensitive pussy hairs and excite her any more than she already was.
Leonie lay on top of him and caught her breath after a moment, then noticed that nothing was happening. She blew gently on his still-hard cock, causing it to visibly throb. Jake was obviously still horny.
“Why do you stop?” she asked, finally.
“I was about to come down your throat,” Jake explained. “I want to come inside you and be kissing you when you have your next orgasm.”
Leonie rolled off Jake and sat up. “You are…” she sighed, then continued, “das beste aller zeiten!”
“Is that good?” Jake asked, pulling her down against him.
She smiled. “Ja, yes, my love. Are you sure you’re an American?”
“Well,” Jake said, kissing the end of her nose, “I’ve spent the last two years in Paris and Cannes. Before that, I was in Soho, London and Edinburg. Before that, I spent a year wandering through the Angus Glens. Before that, I spent a short time in Shetland – the home of the Vikings.
“The previous five years I spent walking across Canada,” he continued.
“I was right,” Leonie said softly, her eyes shining. “I did not believe you to be a typical American tourist.”
She kissed him passionately as she crawled up on top of him again. Gently surrounding his hard cock with her soft, loving thighs, she sank down and engulfed him with a sigh of pleasure.
They spent the next hour like that – coupled together, making slow, sensuous love. Leonie felt his cock start to jerk inside her as Jake finally came. His orgasm caused one final orgasm to cascade over her. Their lips were locked together and she moaned her pleasure into his mouth as she came.
Some time afterward, she slid off and lay half on the mattress, straddling his body with one leg and an arm, her head resting on his shoulder.
“What was her name?” she asked quietly.
“Who?” Jake said, not too surprised at the question. There had been a few before her who had asked him that.
“The girl,” Leonie explained, “the one who sent you on this magnificent quest across the world…”
“She was just a girl,” Jake said, not wanting to talk about it.
“You lie badly,” Leonie replied, raising her head and kissing Jake on the cheek.
She sat up on the bed then, knowing that there was no room in Jake’s heart for her, even though he was the best and the most considerate lover she had ever known. He was not for her; another already owned his heart.
She got up and began getting dressed.
“Are you leaving?” Jake asked.
“Ja,” Leonie replied. “I have to go to work.”
“Do you want me here when you return?” he asked.
He knew that he had somehow hurt her feelings and she might want him out of her life now that she knew she had no chance for a future with him. It always ended this way. He hoped that, someday, he would find someone who could make him forget.
“If you are still here, I will take you to the best dinner you have ever eaten,” Leonie promised. “If you are gone, then I will wish for you the best of fortunes on your quest. I hope you find happiness at its end.”
Despite the fact that Jake smiled at her, she thought he looked very sad. She sighed and turned away to continue getting dressed. She would leave it up to him whether he stayed or not, even though she realized that she’d be better off if he left. Leonie, like everyone else on the planet, had her own quest for happiness, and Jake, she was sorry to admit, was not the answer to her search. But he was the closest she had found for a long while. Perhaps there was still hope.
Standing at the door, she blew him a kiss, then started to leave. The fire alarm caused them both to jump in surprise.
“What’s that?” Jake called out, suddenly feeling anxious.
“I don’t know,” Leonie yelled back, frightened.
Opening the door, she peered out into the hallway. Several people were opening their doors and looking around like she was. He heard Leonie and another man speaking in German, almost yelling at each other so they could communicate over the sound of the claxon bell at the end of the hall. Someone else came out and yelled something at them. Jake heard the new voice say something about ‘das fernsehen’.
He didn’t know too many words in German yet, but he knew that a ‘fernsehen’ was a TV. By the time Leonie came back into her apartment, he had found the remote and turned it on. He flipped through several channels until he found an English CNN channel.
“Reports of a nuclear bomb exploding in Jerusalem have been confirmed. We have a satellite image that will be available momentarily.”
Jake and Leonie sat and watched as the news grew worse over the next few hours. Jerusalem had been the first city to be lost. Kabul, Cairo, Tel Aviv, Amman, Islamabad, Tehran and Baghdad, along with dozens of other cities were gone by the end of that first hour as the Sons of Abraham committed genocide amongst themselves, finally finishing what the first king of Israel had begun all those centuries ago.
When New Delhi was nuked, bringing India into the war, the destruction of the Semitic nations was assured. In six hours, it was all over, but the rest of the world still trembled in terror, praying to whatever deities they prayed to that the nuclear insanity would be contained and this wasn’t the beginning of the end of the world.
Leonie didn’t make it to work that day. She and Jake spent the day sitting on the bed watching the horrid news and holding each other tightly, hoping they would still be alive tomorrow. It wasn’t safe to go outside, anyway. There was violence in every major city – looting and rioting, fires and gun wars between armed gangs and the police. Many people believed that the end time – Revelations – was upon them, and maintaining any semblance of civilization no longer mattered.
After six hours, no more bombs fell. A quarter of the world was now a radioactive wasteland. Millions more would die from the vast cloud of radiation that was beginning to drift over India and would soon expand to cover China and most of the Asian continent all the way up to Siberia.
Japan would be spared when the jet stream changed directions and swept the deadly cloud of radiation out over the Pacific, instead.
In addition, hundreds of thousands were dead in major cities all over the world because of the rioting and the fires. Parts of Munich were in flames, but not where Jake and Leonie were. Martial Law was in effect for the next several days as order was restored and people, coming to realize that they weren't going to die in a nuclear holocaust, gradually returned to their daily lives.
There were, of course, food shortages and water pollution being reported from every city, and travel was not encouraged. Many unnecessary deaths were caused by an overzealous military as Martial Law was strictly and violently enforced. It didn’t matter if you were starving or not. If you were found away from your home and you didn’t have papers saying you were allowed to be where you were, you were shot.
The landlord’s family that owned Leonie’s apartment building forced all their tenants to turn over their foodstuffs, then strictly rationed it back to them, making sure, of course, that their own family was well stocked. After a week, all the food in the building was gone, but by then, Martial Law was relaxed somewhat and specific stores were available where a person could go to get limited amounts of food.
By the end of the second week, business was beginning to recover. It was determined that, though trillions of dollars of property damage had occurred in cities everywhere, not much of the food supply had been destroyed in the riots and fires.
When public transportation between Europe and the U.S. was resumed, Jake decided to return to the States. Leonie went with him to the airport, then returned home to her now empty apartment. The next day, she packed to go home and visit her family. They had a farm outside of Rostock and would probably welcome another hand to help with the chores, especially with winter coming on.
She smiled at the thought of cleaning out the chicken coop again. That was one of the reasons she’d left in the first place. Chickens were evil, obnoxious and dirty. Much like people, she decided.
Strange how things sometimes change in importance, she thought as she closed the door to her coveted Munich apartment for the last time.