Flash: Fortee

Image is Public Domain
Portrait of a Moorish Woman – Italy about 1550; School of Paolo Veronese (oil on canvas)
Presently in a private collection (as of 2003)

 “Do hurry up child, the painter expects us before nightfall.” Fortee’s husband barked on the way down the stairs.

The Ivory Coast immigrant bit her lip while adjusting her chemise and overgown one last time. Though married over three years, she had only been living with her merchant husband for a few months after he had made arrangements to bring her home. She still cursed her father every day for accepting the bride price from the self-absorbed money-grubbing man. The marriage contract benefited her family back in Africa as well as the Brunos here in Venice, but she paid the price. Her young soul longed for a single lingering glance or soft touch. Looking in the glass, her brown eyes questioned the servant behind her. The white maid nodded a half-hearted approval, not yet comfortable with the wife her master unloaded from the boat following his last excursion.

Enough dithering, Fortee squared her shoulders, eyed the high feather to gauge its height for ducking through doorways and followed in her husband’s wake. She found him at the front door giving orders for the evening’s meal; several guests tentative about participating financially in the next trade trip were expected. Black eyes darted, measuring her like lumber, before returning to his business, and she felt every bit of the age difference between them. None of the servants bothered turning as she approached.

“The drop pearls work well,” Johannes observed without inflection in her native tongue as they pulled on their wooden platforms before leaving the townhouse.

She muttered a “thank you” in proper Italian but didn’t believe he heard it. His mind tumbled numbers, charting the course and cities for next month’s voyage to maximize profit.

The portrait painter’s workshop neighborhood required walking deep enough into the city the last lingering scent of sea disappeared into the effluvium of humans and animals too long together in too small a space. Holding a scented cloth to her nose, Fortee stepped over horse dung to enter the artist shop. Inside linseed oil and other fumes pushed back the odors of the city.

Her husband was cornered by the oldest of the men in the open, well-lit room. Upon her arrival, the youngest of those present flocked to her. Dark skin drew them. Even in an international port like Venice, the children don’t see many Africans, at least this far into the city. At port, people from her continent sometimes were the only color seen, depending on which ships were in, but here the difference was a rare treat for the young. Fortee crouched down and shifted her shawl so they could touch the skin and hair. Well-trained, the children only patted and stroked, keeping her careful preparations for the painting unmarred.

Two of the older ones darted over to some bottles on the side. When they returned, their arms each had half a dozen lines of different browns. The boys compared it with her skin, then begged her to come over to the paint area so they could figure out exactly how to get the color right. Crowded by children, apprentices, and young journeymen, Fortee allowed herself to be dragged to the work area. Soon every child had at least one stripe somewhere on them representing their best guess at her color. She laughed alongside them until her husband demanded she join him.

There he explained the portrait would take several sittings, including a number of hours today. He verified she could find her way back to their house, checked the master would provide escort, and coins changed hands before he left to prepare for the evenings negotiations.

The master introduced himself as Paolo Caliari after Johannes left, as well as his sons Carlo and Gabriele and his nephew Luigi. All four wanted to paint her, their school priding itself on the study of color and the human body. Paolo arranged her seat and lighting best for the portrait her husband had commissioned. Once she and the master were situated, the rest took various positions around the room, including one of the scamps who had been the first to try and figure out how to paint her skin color.

Several times during the initial sketches they allowed her to get up and play with the children when the youngsters had breaks from crushing stones and mixing dirts for paints. She learned far more about stretching and preparing canvases than she ever expected existed from the excited children. Twice the artists asked her to cease moving during the “rest” breaks so they could sketch a particular position.

Until sunset, she had all the laughter, lingering looks, and soft touches she had been missing.

(words 778; first published 4/14/2018; published on blog on 4/22/2018)

Notes: Writing-in-Stone, my writing group, provided the above picture for inspiration for their April challenge.


Flash: Captivated

Rating: Mature

Lucius twisted counter-clockwise as the cave exhaled cold air from deeper in through the torture chamber of the goblins. His cuts, bruises and burns welcomed the chill, from his bleeding wrists tied with hemp rope to the celling to the blister burns on his toes. He tried to keep his feet raised flat, away from the roasting coals he was suspended over. His calf and thigh muscles burned from the effort. 

A moment later, sweltering summer air from outside spun him clockwise, re-inflaming every branding the goblins had dug into his flesh. The vertigo cramped his stomach, but he had long vomited everything out. 

For an eternity he had twisted back and forth, ever since his captors had been called away because fairies were attacking. Lucius held hope the goblins would be slaughtered even if he died hanging over coals. While he was certain the goblins were being attacked because they dared steal a human thrall from the fairy mound, Lucius was also confident the fairies would not bother to actually rescue a human foolish enough to be caught by the dimwitted creatures. 

Leananairre and Gwendolynne would find another lover soon enough and he wished them luck. For the untold time he had spent under the hill, they had treated him fair enough since he first found his way into their stone circle. No human could ever imagine what he had experienced at their hands, both in pleasure and pain. The goblins hadn’t even scratched the surface. But he never fooled himself into thinking they had any natural feelings resembling human women. 

He hissed as feet dropped and touched the red coals. Still too warm to see if he could provide a little support through his feet, to take pressure off his dislocated shoulder joints. White dots danced as his eyes warned him of impending unconsciousness. He caught the edge of movement in the incoming chamber entrance as he spun. The Roman forced his eyes to focus as he continued the rotation, so he could see what form of doom was approaching. Mars would never welcome a soldier who faced death with his eyes closed. 

Two golden fairy warriors entered the cave. Both carried gore-caked swords; black blood splattered across the engraved chest plates. Lucius noted the metal plates were shaped to hold woman breasts without surprise. To his knowledge, fairies were not male. One of the reasons they captured the Ferrata Legio when it invaded Hibernia. Ancient treaties prevented the fairy horde from stealing natives, but no such agreements were in place for the new interlopers. 

A pair of blond braids trailed behind one warrior and a mesh of brunette braids fell as the second removed her helm. Leananairre’s blue eyes studied him as he continued to rotate. 

In perfect Latin, Gwendolynne’s clear soprano came from the fully armor woman as she turned to watch the other’s back, “Please tell me we haven’t done all this for a corpse.” 

“The human yet breathes, sister.” Leananairre sultry alto made his dick respond at full erection. After centuries, it knew it was about to get used when he heard both those voices together. The redirection of blood blacked him out a moment. 

Waking on stone, he felt new burns stinging from the icy floor. The fairies must have cut him loose and let him fall into the fire. Putrid water was being tipped slowly into his mouth. He recognized the bucket beside him for the second he was able to pry open his eyes before they reclosed, where the wooden mug against his lips no doubt had been filled, from the number of times the goblins had cooled hot pokers in it after driving them into his body. Lucius was so thirsty he swallowed the trickle until the mug was empty. 

He felt a wet cloth being run over his body. Strange. His two lovers never caressed him, they only did that with each other. Nor had they ever chosen to have a child; having seen them with the few changelings others had chosen to have with their thralls, Lucius was grateful. Neither had a maternal bone in her luscious body. Warriors and guardians of the mound, few could kill on their scale. 

Care for anyone in their own strange way but each other, unheard of. 

When the cool cloth wiped over his forehead and face gently, he opened his eyes to see two emerald eyes staring at him. Now he knew he was dreaming the rescue during his final moments before death. Gwendolynne was the dominant of the fairy dual and had never shared one kind word with him. Her two perfect lips pressed quickly against his before she dipped the cloth in the water again and continued to wipe his wounds. 

“We will need to heal you before we leave the cave.” The blonde informed him. “Every visible wound will need to be removed.” 

Lucius had long learned not to ask questions of Gwendolynne, so he looked around until he found Leananairre. She was stripping out of her plate armor. Sweat soaked her silk shift to her body, showing her nipples and breast to full advantage. Catching her eye a moment, he asked “Why?” 

The brunette unbuckled the sliver clasps of her leg armor as she responded with a smile. “Because we told no one. The queen would not permit your return.” 

“I am not going to lose you over a farce like this.” Gwendolynne declared as she dropped the cloth into the bucket and started removing her armor as well. Dropping her arm braces heedlessly, not caring if one bounced against his broken ribs, she ordered. “You are never to tell anyone.” 

Lucius watched the women prepare for the healing. It would hurt; accelerated healing did not bypass business of healing, just made it happen all at once. 

Leananairre walked over to him and then lowered herself onto his erection. He stared at her blue eyes, as she leaned forward brace herself to ride him hard. In them was an emotion he had never thought to see. Love. If this be a dream, Venus, please never let him wake. 

He grabbed her wide thighs with aching hands, as his shattered fingers reassembled, and pounded into the woman who came to rescue him. Gwendolynne moved his head into her lap as he rocked back and forth with Leananairre.Gwendolynne’s lower blonde curls were damp with sweat. The heady scent of her sweet cum started as she watched the juncture of his human body with her fairy partner. He grunted his release as the pleasure and pain of healing took him. 

When they tenderly traded positions, a second magic behind the healing magic started to build. Lucius could feel it, but they didn’t seem to notice a difference. 

Gwendolynne smoothly slid down his lubricated shaft. Her nails raked down his chest removing healing scabs, tearing at puckered scars from branding and pokers, and prodding broken ribs into place. To distract her from forcing the healing faster than he could handle the pain, the Roman reached for her full breasts. Twisting the nipples sharply, and then stroking them, Lucius applied a bit of side pressure to bring the blonde closer. After the battles she had fought today, she bent to his will easily. He suckled the tit, catching the tip between his teeth before darting his tongue over the end. 

The two magics fused with the emotion he always held back from the fairies as his second orgasm took him. The emotion and magic reflected back the emotions the women felt, the fear of loss, the protectiveness, and the love. The final solider discipline containing seven hundred years of human emotions broke free driving the sexual healing magic beyond its natural limits. A third orgasm immediately followed, ripping through him, discharging the magic in full between all three. He heard both women scream as his seed was released.

(Words 1,316 – originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 2/10/2013; republished new blog format 11/19/2017)

The photo provided in the prompt did not impact this story so much as the instruction “please tell in a flash the most romantic situation your hero/heroine has found themselves in. … Delicious, sexy, terrifying?” I first wrote one story, the most romantic scene I have ever had in stored in my head to be used someday. But that one didn’t gell right. So I went through all the old stories here to see if anyone wanted their most romantic moment shared. Lucius volunteered his. I am glad to know that his fae eventually came to love him. 

Flash: Harvest Time

Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash.com

Photo by Tikkho Maciel on Unsplash

I pen these words, looking out the window at October’s cold landscape. Though the wind does not carry threat of snow or ice, the leaves on the trees have turned dozens of colors and the forest looks like it is on fire. Walnuts and acorns are falling like raindrops and our late-season almonds are ready for their trees to be shaken one last time before we send our young novices climbing.

I spent the day in the dairy while others of my order are scatted throughout our farm and helping the serfs in the nearby village. The spring-born calves are just about weaned (the kid goats long detached from their dams), therefore the last bitter milk is being turned into hard cheese for the long winter. It doesn’t matter if winter stays for a single month, like it does for our sisters in the south, or five, as the chilly abbey I transferred from experiences; time without plentiful food is always long. And only God knows if next summer will come for certain.

Meat has become plentiful for a short time as cattle are slaughtered to match the surviving herd to the hay and grain we must miser for them through the winter. Tomorrow, my turn at the cauldron will be the even more loathsome stench of lard preparation; boiling milk for cheese is more pleasant in the spring. If I could but wave a hand for one task to be done, changing fat to lamp and cooking oil, grease, candles, and soaps would be my choice. The scent clings through the night interfering with my prayers.

I would vastly preferred to be helping with the fruits. The apples are being prepared dozens of ways for the winter – stored in sawdust for whole fruit, cut into slivers and set in the sun or by the fire to dry, and, the abbess’ favorite, adding chunks to last year’s wines. But no farming task is without its portion of Adam’s curse. Blackberries need to be picked off the bushes with bleeding fingers; berries and bramble thorns are inseparable by God’s design.

I will tend to my stirring without a word of complaint passing my lips. Sister Cecilia provides a squash mash in the morning which carries us from dawn to dusk in the harvesting. Empty bellies will come soon enough, and our chores, Lord willing, should keep those days few.

Those more skilled than me in gardening have trimmed back the herbs and hung the trimmings in the rafters to dry. I will need to confess when the brother visits, and I write my shame here so I do not forget. The kitchen sisters stripped the plentiful mint leaves from their stems and left them in bowls to make tea leaves. I did grab a handful of mint leaves to chew and keep my mouth moist while stirring over the fire.

A few more days and I shall return to my primary duties in the scriptorium, and I think everyone will be happier. Even the novices who have been running the leaks, garlics, onions, and many of their relatives into the primary root cellar step wide around me the last few days. I am not suited for kitchen or gardening duties; let others work God’s creation and allow me to paint it.

Ah, full dark and the dinner chime has sounded. Tonight’s meal is beef cooked in beer with some mushrooms and other harvest Sister Cecilia saved for larder instead of storage. Beer for the drink as well; we are not drunkards in the convent. Those barrels need to be emptied by the end of the week because winter mash must be started. It is a task set to the entire convent, a welcomed one at the end of the hard harvest days.

(words 632 – first published 10/15/2017)

Flash: Stone Circle Clearing

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Rating: Mature

Another rustle a little further from camp drew Lucius attention. The small Roman scouting party was deep in the unknown lands of this island and he had drawn the second night shift. He squinted through the fog trying to make out the forms deeper in the woods. They had camped on the edge of a forest in the younger trees. Evidentially, the village did not need as much farming land as it did about nine years ago, based on the size of the trees.

The hamlet had made no notice of their arrival, and likely would be a quick conquest once his group reported all they found to the Ferrata Legate. But the woods disturb him. He moved closer to investigate and winced as the armor straps bit into him and the plates clanked together. The rustle moved rapidly away.


He grew up herding goats and knew how to move quietly to get in position to kill predators.  He unbuckled the compressing leather. The straps had stretched out in the warmth of the day during their swift march; nightfall had brought the cold and the weird fog. He had seen fog drift across water before, but never rise from the forest floor.

He quietly laid the cold iron aside just outside of camp and muttered a prayer to Mars to keep the Decanus asleep until he had finished his investigation. Being out of armor while awake included many punishments, the least being a reduction in salt. Laying a hand on his broadsword’s sheath to control its movement, Lucius melted into the older growth.

The full moon acted as daylight in the area the forest was reclaiming, but the full branches in this area blocked all but the most persistent light. Even so Lucius was able to place his sandals silently as he followed where he thought the rustle lead. A curious child from the village, or finally a warrior in this timid realm? A silver flash reflected off of cloth passing between the shadows to his right.

Within moments, the solider came into a clearing made by a fallen ancient. He walked around the exposed boulders surrounding the moonlight area. The moss-covered deadwood was taller than his short stature and blocked his view from the other side, but for the first time he heard music. A lute perhaps.

Staying in shadows he made his way around until he saw the two most shapely women he had ever seen. Stunned, he forgot to watch his step and last year’s leaves gave him away. They turned as one towards him. Somehow the haze cleared from his eyes and he clearly saw their faces matched their beautiful shapes and they were wearing traditional Egyptian outfits. Their full breasts fully exposed above flowing gauze.

“Come.” The black haired one invited. Then modesty made her bite her bottom lips for so bold a request. The blonde quickly glanced at the other and then nodded.  Turning her emerald eyes back to him, the blonde offered out a hand. “Yes, please come.”

Lucius didn’t even remember crossing to them. He just grasped the pale hand and pulled the blonde against his body and erection. His leather skirt was left with the armor, so the woman should easily feel his lust through the linen shirt and subligaculum.  As the woman pressed herself more firmly against him, the Roman gave silent thanks to Bacchus and crushed her centurion scarlet mouth with in a ravaging kiss.

Behind him the raven hair beauty stroked his back and commented in Latin accented from his home village. “Do I not get a turn?”

Somewhere his mind whimpered warning as he twisted his head around. The second set of lips met his as his thumbs traced the first female’s nipples. The two drew him down to the forest floor.

His ears felt the sweet female breath. “You must be hungry. Would you like something to eat?”

Lucius blinked and saw the women had come into the woods to have a picnic. But not just a simple country meal … before him was spread delicacies that rivaled Ceasar’s table.

“In a moment my lovely” he said as he lifted the gauze from the brunette’s ass. Her sapphire eyes glanced over her shoulders as he mounted her. Her hiss of pleasure was all he could ask for. As he felt cock get squeezed by the pale ass he was penetrating, the blonde kneeled in front of her companion and laid a lark’s tongue across each of her nipples.

Sex and food, what more could a solider want? He leaned forward, going deeper into the woman underneath him and sucked the morsels from blonde’s breasts.

The Ferrata Legio never found what happened to their scouting party in Hibernia. And somehow they never managed to conquer the Isle. It was as if the very spirits of the land worked against them.

 (814 words – originally appearing in Sunday Fun for Breathless Press on 11/11/12; republished new blog format 8/27/2017)

Related story: Captivated

Flash: Evendalson’s Cave

Stock Art Winter parka

Photo by Talgat Baizrahmanov on Unsplash 
(Cropped and color adjusted by Erin Penn)

Old Man Winter sat heavy on Evendalson’s shoulders as he stared into the dark cave. If he stayed outside, he would surely die a quiet death. Already his limbs felt as cold and heavy as the grave. But the cave was sacred to the local fae, may they sleep well into spring. He knew little of its holiness; parents only taught children to stay away from certain sites within a day’s walk of the village.

With four moons until his name day, Evendalson’s was adult enough to bite back the curse rising from his gut as he debated what form of death to embrace. His mother had little choice in accepting Greger’s proposal since Evendal’s brothers had not extended arms to their brother’s widow.  A proud warrior, Greger was willing to take on the cost of a woman and her two daughters, but shunned accepting a boy with someone else’s name.

For a full moon Evendalson had survived being outcast, but winter gusts promised further ice and blind snow. His bed of leaves and sticks stopped holding heat days ago.

The wind ripped his fur-lined hood from his head, driving crystals hard into his face. Determination to survive goaded the young man into the cave. He grabbed the unbraided blond hair the Dod-vind had tried to steal, tucked it under the cloak, and pulled the hood back up. Outside the wind spirits howled at the loss of heated prey.

But the Dod-vind stayed the other side of the threshold. The still air of the cave held no warmth, but took none either.

“Blessing upon the fae and faekyn,” beseeched Evendalson as he continued away from the entrance. He smelled moisture and needed some badly. The creek had frozen over days ago. Melting snow with his hands traded thirst for cold; a trade he made for two mornings but dared not make at night.

A breeze bearing water instead of spirits guided him further in, aiding him in choosing splits and turns once darkness had swallowed all. The dark pressed on his eyes. Strangely the rocks Evendalson expected to trip him never reached out. No injury sought him; though maneuvering through the black wrought its own exhaustive wound.

After untold time, water clung to his face and hood.  Earthen soil below the hoarfrost allotted the air warm. Evendalson pushed the hood back and removed the two-finger mittens from his hands. He tucked them into his belt for safe keeping. His youngest sister, Hanne-grandottir, had knitted them in a red so bright the color hurt the eye even after several washings. Agnete-dottir’s socks were equally treasured through the cold days of his outcast, though their green often dyed his feet.

With the hood removed, trickling water could be heard. The walls were still dry under his fingers, but Evendalson knew he would find true water soon. He wiped the sweat from his face.

The dark grew even more complete, to the point Evendalson swore he saw light. Deeper he went until he discovered the light was not false. Eventually he made out a turn where the glow seemed as if firelight dancing in a doorway.

He firmly pushed back the urge to run. He was in a fae place. Despite his thirst and a desperate need for light after blackness had tried to steal his eyes’ memories of the sun, he approached the turn carefully.

(words 563 – originally appearing at Sunday Fun on Breathless Press 1/6/2013 – I do not know the copyright of the photo which inspired the story, so I did not copy it.; published on the old blog on 1/6/2013; republished new blog format 5/14/2017)