Story for the Day: The Journey
Doing a lot of editing and rewriting. Here is something new from the book:
Rautu spent the chief of his time on the main deck of the vessel glorying in the temperateness of the day. He occupied himself with his Haakhas meditations, the Haanta droning ruminations taken from their sacred scriptures to be performed at the sunrise and sunset of each day, meant to ease the minds of their afflicted males, and once the morning passages had done, he began performing the Haakhas of the Amghari. These sets of strenuous movements were meant to increase the strength and skill of the practitioner, and as the giant had been performing them for nearly thirty years, his proficiency in the area was evident in the gracefulness with which he held his colossal blade. It was a strange and perilous dance he performed on the ship’s lower deck: he performed the motions with closed eyes and elegance in his steps despite what his size may have suggested. Once he had finished his application, he sat for his meal and ate in a brooding silence while fending off the stares of curious crewmen. His afternoon was spent in the company of his companion, and though he had been used to enjoying his evenings alone, his sentiments over the length of their journey had changed. The more he attempted to convince himself of his need for solitude, the less he was inclined to believe his own assertions. He had seen her watching his numerous practices from the main deck. She had remained respectful of his wishes and stood at a distance while he performed his kaatas, but the notion of her being anywhere near him was a trial to his concentration.
She found a woman’s delectation watching him wield his sword: a giant with a well-muscled body forcing himself on exertion was intriguing to every passenger aboard but granted a base delight to herself. She had observed him during his arduous practices throughout the war, but knowing of his attachment for her had altered their application. There was something to be appreciated in the majesty of his dominance and prowess, and she could not but feel drawn to him. She knew it was a primal sensation, but she would not enjoy it any less. He was a remarkable creature, disciplined and blessed with constancy, and was even more extraordinary when standing dutifully beside her in the evenings.
Shameless looks and quiet words were exchanged between them. Each was tentative to pursue the other in a less prudent manner, she hiding behind her clever words and he disguising his awe with grunting allegations. There was an unspoken contentment between them that would not soon be diminished even through their authoritative and wry musings. Each exhumed the tranquility of the other, giving a quiet contentment to their flourishing attachment.
Night came and they each went to their quarters. There was reluctance on both sides to separate when the remainder of the evening could be spent in more pleasurable manners, but discretion got the better of them. They came to their doors but would not enter. They gave one another one last hesitating look before resolving to settle in for the night, but there would be only restlessness and a wondering of what the other was doing.
Once, however, the giant had almost yielded to their parting looks. She had made a remark of how cold the particular evening was. She delighting in the cold had declared the giant must be freezing in his quarters and could use her as a warming object. She had laughed, he did not. He responded with docile glances. His sensibilities had been roused and they would not be suppressed as long as she stood in the entranceway of her room. He made silent pleas for her to go inside and close the door, but he struggled with his notions in vain. She had approached him, was smiling at him, was evening touching his arm. He watched her finger trace the outlines of his enormous arms and his breath became full. This was too much, it could not be borne for long. The manner in which she smiled and the readiness she exhibited in resigning herself to him was a temptation he could not endure. She began to speak but he silenced her, suddenly pressing her against the wall of the hold with his immense body. She had stirred him with her forwardness and now she would feel the truth in what she had done. He clamped his hand around her large breast and invaded her mouth with his tongue. She complied with his insistent conquest and tugged on his hair to pull him close. She moaned as he crushed her breast in his mighty palm and responded with eager motions of her own. Her hands wandered below and before she could undo the fastening of his warkilt, the giant excused himself and removed from her. He bid her a goodnight, he must train, he must go, he must do something, he must distract himself from such pleasurable endeavors. He would be home soon, he would not be allowed this, and to torment himself with the suggestion that he might be able to keep her was enough to compel him elsewhere. He went to the lower deck and sat in mediation, hoping that murmuring the scriptures of his people was succeed in quelling his agitation, but he was mistaken. He had enough relief to feel in returning to the islands and here was a fresh disturbance to ruin his composure. He began to wonder if inviting her was poor judgment on his part. It had been a selfish invitation, one that would assuage one distress but give birth to another. Since the war, his inherent rage was never in peril of surfacing without the object of battle before him, but this aggravation of mind had disquieted him. The imprint of her heavy breast remained in his hand. He touched his palm to absorb the warm remains and caught the fragrance of her skin when lifting his hand to his cheek. He sighed in disdain, angry at himself for forfeiting his unaffected composure. This new vulnerability was a sensation he did not enjoy but he wondered if it was a worthy trade in exchange for the woman to whom he was becoming bound.