Magick (The Dragonfly Chronicles Book 2), page 19
She stared at him. “If ye want me Hauk, doona talk, doona give my maidenly worry time to surface,” she advised and pulled out of his grasp to touch the end of his granite erection. “If I wanted to be a maid forever, I wouldn’t have dreamt the dreams I dreamt.” She slid her hand down the length of him.
Hauk heard her words just under the rush of blood flooding his ears, in his veins. She moved her hand up and down again, testing its length, its thickness.
“Twas not so big in my dreams.” Hauk’s floundering consciousness picked up on the tremor in her voice.
With the grace born of hours practicing maneuvers against his foes, Hauk turned Merewin under him. She gasped softly and moved her hand as he pinned her gently under his weight. Her breasts pressed upward against his chest and he lowered his head to one peak.
Merewin gasped again, louder as his hot mouth encircled the bud while his hand lifted and massaged the soft mound. He rolled the other nipple between his thumb and forefinger and felt Merewin’s hips rise against him. She moaned softly and it was all he could do not to plunge into her tight virgin’s body.
Hauk breathed deeply, envisioning each step he would take to melt away the tremor he’d heard in her voice. Make her surrender to the sensations first induced by the dream and continued by each stroke of her body. He returned to her lips, kissing her, tilting her head to slant against his own in deeper union. When he felt her tongue touch the edge of his lip, he deepened, plunging into the heat of her mouth. She pushed her hips upward in reaction. Hauk leaned to one side, cupping her breast, palming it before stroking the heel of his hand down her soft belly to the curls below.
Wet, she was so wet. His fingers parted her, touching her heat.
“Hauk!” she cried as he found that most sensitive jewel, rubbing back and forth as her hips rose to meet his hand.
Power surged through Hauk. Strength filled him yet strain dragged against him, making a fine sweat break out on his back as if locked in mortal combat. The fire behind him flared up and receded. I must go slow. By the gods, it would kill him.
Merewin’s body was ready, her legs falling to the sides.
Aye, she was ready for him, but he wanted to melt her, make her lose herself before the pain of his intrusion. Hauk moved his fingers within as Merewin thrashed in the softness of the bed.
His own name on her parted lips resonated within him, tugging at his primal need to imbed himself.
In the distance, Hauk’s ears picked up a faint voice. Dalla perhaps talking in her sleep as she often did. But then the rest of the room, the rest of Denmark, the rest of the world disappeared in Hauk’s conscious mind as his only thoughts, his only need laid in giving Merewin complete pleasure and then to fulfill his own.
She smelled of arousal, of need mixed with her unique sweet, spicy woman’s scent. The flames danced light and shadows in orange hues around the room. His breath labored, he swallowed against his intense need. Her milk pale skin glowed in the light against the dark furs as she moved beneath his hand. “You are a goddess.”
“Please Hauk, please...” Merewin’s eyes centered on his face as he moved his fingers faster, until she screamed out her pleasure.
Now she was ready. Hauk moved over just as the sound of steel sang in the primal registry of his mind. In a maneuver born of the overpowering need to survive and protect above all else, Hauk rolled over, grabbed the sword on the ground and stood naked before the bed, in front of Merewin.
The man stood in the dark doorway, his sword catching the predawn light.
“I will kill you, whoever you are,” Hauk ground out, passion and blood lust mingling into a deadly strength that yearned for release. The fire roared behind him.
The sword lowered and Hauk’s eyes focused.
“Hauk, it’s I, Gamal.” His friend took a step backwards. “Dalla saw a man in here and feared for Merewin. And well, then I heard her scream.” Gamal’s growing grin nearly toppled Hauk’s control. His brother-in-law looked around him to the bed. “Good morning, Merewin, ready to go?”
A muffled good morning came from the furs behind him as Hauk tried to control the bloodthirsty thrum coursing through him.
“What, by the bloody holy gods, are you doing here!” Hauk’s words blasted into Gamal as he advanced. Gamal held up his hands.
“I can see you’re,” he paused, the grin breaking into a full smile. There was no hiding the aroused condition Hauk was in. “I see you’re indisposed. Would you care for another fifteen minutes to finish.”
Hauk roared. “An hour more like it.”
Hauk heard what sounded like Bera in the outer room. “Tell my brother that his daughter would like to greet him now, not in an hour.” Her voice was a mix of rebuke and relief.
Bloody hell, he was putting an oak door on his quarters today.
“I’ll wait out here,” Gamal chuckled as he let the curtain fall. “I suppose I can see why you stole my horse.”
Gamal poked his head back through and lowered his voice. “And you may want to put something on.” Hauk whipped his dagger in a smooth deadly line. It lodged in the wall next to the doorway, next to Gamal’s nose. Gamal pulled his head back and walked into the main room, laughing heartily.
Merewin stood paralyzed behind the curtain, mortified. She’d donned the soft green gown that brought out her eyes. She’d bathed the night before and her shortened hair curled in a wild flow past her shoulders. Bela chattered at her, hopping into a tight ball for a quick flip in the air. Usually her wild antics made Merewin laugh.
“Oh Bela, I canna go out there,” she whispered to her pet, her icy palms pressed against her hot cheeks. At this rate she feared her face would stay permanently stained the color of shame. It had all felt so right, so good, as the dream became reality, as she realized Hauk was, indeed, loving her.
Hauk’s sister talked on happily as Gamal explained that he had arrived at dawn to take Dalla and Merewin to see Ingun’s grave.
Peeking out, Merewin saw Dalla sitting on her father’s lap. Hauk frowned but kissed her head. His gaze drifted over to the curtain and Merewin tucked back in.
She sighed. Aye, he’d returned, big and beautiful, and more lusty than any dream she had experienced in his absence. And oh, how he’d made her body cry out. As she thought about the exquisite release just before their interruption, Merewin felt a new wave of heat wash over. She just couldn’t go out there.
“You are not going.” Hauk’s words snapped her gaze back to the slit in the curtain. Merewin caught Dalla’s fallen face.
“That’s what I told her, but Merewin said they’d go on their own if I didn’t escort them,” Gamal grumbled. He looked to his wife. “And Bera refused to stay home. I was hoping I could convince her to stay here at Spring House with Vivien while I took them the rest of the way.”
“No one is going anywhere,” Hauk said with iron words.
Merewin pushed through the curtain. “This trip is for a great purpose.” Her need to convince him overrode the embarrassment.
They all turned. Hauk’s look raked over her and she had to concentrate else turn tongue-tied against his sharp perusal. Was he remembering the way she’d moaned his name? Merewin shook her head to scatter the heated memories.
“We must go to Esberg. It is part of the healing,” she implored, glancing at Dalla. “It must happen.”
“Your hair.” Hauk stood, placing Dalla to the side. “What’s happened to your hair?”
Merewin’s hand touched her much shorter hair as she caught a frantic look on Dalla’s face. She forced a smile and shook the mane out.
“I like it. It’s much lighter and free feeling,” Merewin said cheerily. “Much easier to wash.”
Hauk walked behind as if inspecting, and annoyance rolled through her. “It is my hair,” she said, and then a cruel voice inside reminded her that it was his hair, for she was his thrall. Thankfully he didn’t counter. “And that is not the issue here. We must go to Esberg. Dalla neve
Merewin turned to Hauk and her hair slipped from his fingers to fall behind again. Her gaze implored him. “It will be a short trip, not even over night if we leave soon.” She had to convince him. “Please,” she whispered, “by the Earth Mother, we must make the journey.”
Hauk stared. “By whom?”
“The Earth Mother,” Merewin said in her native language.
“Why do you use the words of the Picts?” he asked and his look dropped to her neck. “Where is your birth mother’s necklace?” he said out loud. “The one that helps you speak?”
Merewin felt the gasp more than she heard it. She closed her eyes against the sound of Dalla running out of the house.
“Dalla?” Bera called and waddled after the girl.
“Where is the necklace?” Hauk demanded.
Gamal cleared his throat. “I’ll just go help Bera catch Dalla.” He strode out the door.
Hauk reached forward to touch Merewin’s hair again. “Does it have something to do with the hair?”
Merewin found her voice. “The necklace was lost in the stream,” she said in succinct Danish language. “I can speak yer language without it. Sometimes I slip.”
Merewin put her hands on Hauk’s arms. Dark circles bruised the skin beneath his eyes. There was a strain about him, a tiredness that he would never admit. “Will ye take Dalla and me to Esberg tomorrow after ye’ve slept? It is crucial to her healing.”
“She isn’t sick.” His words lacked emotion as he stared.
“Aye, she is.”
“Then cure her.”
Merewin shook her head. “It is not an illness that my magick can cure. It is an illness of the heart, of the soul. She’s improving, but she needs to say goodbye. Children need ritual as much as adults.”
Hauk studied her, as if he weighed her words for truth. Had she just killed her own cause with the mention of magick?
Gamal stepped back to the door and Hauk’s gaze turned to him. “Take Bera home. I will escort Dalla and Merewin tomorrow.” Gamal nodded and turned, calling Bera’s name.
“Thank ye,” Merewin whispered on a great exhale.
Bera came in breathlessly and Merewin pulled away from Hauk. “Ye must take care now, Bera,” Merewin warned, eyeing her bulging mid section. “The bairn comes soon.”
Bera nodded. “I couldn’t catch Dalla.” She lowered her voice. “I think she’s upset that she threw your mother’s necklace. She didn’t know, did she?”
“Nay, I should find her.”
“Let her think alone a bit,” Bera countered. “It will do her good to think on her actions. It’s a hard lesson to learn, acting in passion like she did is wrong.”
Merewin blushed at the innocent reference and Bera smiled, squeezing her hand. “Sometimes however, acting in passion is wonderful.” Bera looked to Hauk and then back to Merewin. “Quite wonderful, I’d say. Even tired, he has more spark in him then I’ve ever seen, even when Ingun lived,” she whispered. “I hadn’t realized how empty he’d seemed before.”
Merewin looked over at Hauk. His frown mellowed into a slow grin, and he laughed suddenly at something Gamal said. He slapped Gamal on the back and then stretched his arms overhead as if shucking a weight off his back.
Gamal turned, his smile ruining the grumpy tone, “Come Bera, let’s reclaim your mare from this horse thief and get you back into bed.”
“Very unlikely in this state,” Bera teased, and squeaked as Gamal swatted her behind.
“I’m known for my creativity, wife.” He nodded to Merewin as he helped Bera out the door. Merewin laughed at Bera’s blush.
“Come home quickly, Merewin,” Bera called. “With my husband this randy, I’ll be birthing this babe soon.”
Merewin waved to them as they rode together on Gamal’s gelding, the mare following sedately behind.
She felt Hauk’s presence and then a tug as he threaded his fingers through her hair.
“Dalla did this,” he said softly.
“It’s really all right, now.” Merewin turned toward him. His face had darkened once more.
“Did she use a knife?”
What should she say? Should she lie to protect the girl from her father? ‘A lie pulls darkness to it,’ another of Navlin’s favorite phrases.
“She was angry, thought I was taking ye away. She’s a child.” Merewin pleaded with her gaze.
“Did she use a knife?”
Merewin swallowed down her worry and nodded.
“A sharp blade of silver about this long?” Hauk held his hands about a foot apart.
Merewin nodded. Odd that he would have known the exact knife. Hauk paled slightly, the dark circles beneath his eyes giving him a haunted look.
“Why did ye come home so soon?” Merewin asked. “Were ye warned?”
“Your witch came to me, led me to a stone circle.”
Merewin felt the hairs on the nape of her neck stand up as if Hauk’s unease leapt across into her.
“I meant to tell ye.”
“She told me much.” He walked back to the fire pit.
By the Earth Mother, what did Drakkina tell him? And why did it haunt him?
“I see everyone is up and about,” Vivien called as she and Diarf came in through the back door with freshly baked bread and a lump of cheese.
Hauk messed Diarf’s fly away blond hair as he passed. “I’m going to my bed.” He tore a hunk of bread off the loaf and headed for the curtained doorway. With one jerk he tore the offending fabric off the support above the archway. “And when I wake, I’m putting up oak.”
Vivien looked to Merewin and Merewin, despite her blush, shrugged her shoulders and stepped outside to cool her cheeks.
Merewin stood on the hill overlooking the cemetery. Stones of all shapes and sizes outlined each gravesite in the pattern of a dragonship. Crowded together, some nearly overlapping, they looked like a fearsome fleet of spirit ships. The long waving grass swirled around them like ocean waves.
Mostly women lay here, buried with all their household possessions to take to the next world. Merewin had learned from Hauk on the solemn journey that Ingun’s parents wanted her buried in the earth instead of being placed on the ship to burn with the rest of his family. Hauk had honored their request, so he carried Ingun and her possessions to Esberg to be buried in the center of a stone dragonship.
Merewin tugged the woolen cloak closer as the wind whipped across the ridge. Her look trailed Hauk and Dalla as he led her to Ingun’s grave. If Merewin had made good her threat to take Dalla here by herself, they would never have found the correct dragonship. Thank the Earth Mother Hauk had taken them the next dawn. He had spent the night building his oak door while she listened from her small single room. It was best that she sleep alone, she’d told herself, ignoring the hope that he’d come to her when he’d finished. But dawn woke her instead of Hauk.
“Hold her hand, ye big barbarian.” She spoke beneath her breath. Merewin had privately schooled Hauk on what to do before she’d sent them down together. Talk to Dalla. Tell her of yer pain and how much ye miss Toki and yer family. Hauk had looked doubtful.
Father and daughter stopped before a large outline towards the middle of the field. Colored leaves scattered in the short huffs of wind and caught among the rocks. Large crows cawed as they dodged smaller sparrows from shedding trees. Hauk and Dalla stepped into the stone pattern and stood together, their arms touching.
“Put yer arm around her,” Merewin sent thoughts focused on Hauk’s back. Astonished, Merewin watched Hauk reach to scratch his back where she’d stared and then lay his arm across Dalla’s shoulders.
Merewin breathed in quickly and forgot to exhale. Her birthmark burned and tingled against her thigh.
“There may be hope for his magick, yet,” Drakkina’s voice caused Merewin to jump and whirl around, hand to her chest.
“Old woman!” She bent forward, hands on her knees, t
“Turn and wave to him,” Drakkina said calmly, “before he charges up here.”
Merewin turned to see Hauk staring, his sword half drawn. She waved a hand and made a shooing motion toward Dalla.
Drakkina stood in her flowing robes of shimmering thin material, a strange sight in the crisp autumn wind. Ethereal dragonflies lighted on her silvery hair. She looked along the broad valley where the tombs lay. “There is magick here.” She held out her hands as if feeling the air. “Such as within the stone circle where you are from on the western shore of Pictland.”
“My home is in the west.” Merewin realized she had always known it, had always felt drawn to it.
Drakkina nodded. “It vibrates; the stones do, too. Generations of ceremony, prayers, spiritual thought has taken place here. It changes the energy flow of the stones.” Drakkina’s gaze indicated that she should understand completely.
Merewin nodded slowly and looked back to the pair. Hauk still had his arm around Dalla’s shoulders, their heads bent together.
“The child seems much more restrained, polite. You cured her of wickedness.”
Merewin frowned. “She wasn’t wicked.” Merewin’s eyes teared up. Hauk had placed both arms around Dalla, holding her while small shoulders shook with sobs. “And she is still healing, not from my magick though.”
“If not your magick, then what changes her?”
“Mayhap understanding.” Merewin worried gently on her lower lip. “And love. Love can be more powerful than my magick.”
Drakkina’s brow wrinkled. “The Earth Mother’s magick you possess is more powerful than any force in common men and women.”
Merewin shook her head. “Some things I canna heal, but love can.” She indicated Hauk and Dalla.
Drakkina placed hands on hips. “Love cannot heal a broken head, but you can.”
Merewin shrugged. “Sometimes I can, but if someone doesn’t have a love for life, my powers are useless. And a life without love,” Merewin breathed deeply to control the emotional wave washing up. “A life without love is lonely, as deadly as a plague or a broken head.”
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