‘’Have you thought of your departure then?’’
Rhys rubbed his fingers against the faint stubble growing on his chin. ‘’I’m determined to pass most of my time in Rumia till our wedding ceremony takes place. But I won’t be totally absent from Ellylon in the interim. I intend to return every full of the moon and stay for a wythnos before I travel back to Rumia.’’
‘’Would you care for my company, Chieftain? The fae folk must become accustomed to my presence. After all, I’m soon to be their Queen. As I must become accustomed to your customs and habits. What better way to achieve this than seeking direct contact? Besides, it would be more prudent if the Council heard about the menace of the Purple Empire from my own mouth. Personal experience always weighs more heavily than dry facts recounted by an intercessor. Though I must make arrangements so that things run smoothly while I’m gone.’’
‘’I’d love nothing more. I was about to suggest you accompany me myself. I spoke in earnest earlier about us not being separated. We’ve promised ourselves to each other. We belong together by word and deed.’’ Rhys gathered an ivory conch shell from the mantel space in his hands and lifted it to his ear, the air bouncing into its curved, inner surface bringing the quiet roar of the waves crashing on a distant beach. ‘’You’re such a dainty creature, I wish I could fit you inside my pocket. Sometimes, I’m deceived by appearances. Foorget how fierce you are.’’
‘’Ah, Chieftain,’’ Morella flashed him a whimsical grin. ‘’It’s a fine asset meant to fool others. One I take full advantage of.’’
‘’Ah, don’t I know it! I possess first-hand experience.’’ With a sigh of mock exasperation, Rhys set the conch back down on its former spot. Clasping Morella’s hands in is own, he guided them above the hearth’s flames, weaving spell after spell, giving birth to forms of dream and glamour that had Morella beaming with delight.
Catching him unawares, she twisted her torso and dusted a kiss at the base of his throat, a gesture that spurred Rhys to swoop down and press his mouth upon hers, deepening the contact upon her eager response.
‘’You’re full of charm, fair maiden. You’ve caused quite a sensation amongst my people. From the second you showed us clemency at the end of our armed conflict, they’ve held you in great reverence. I’m certain the members of the Council will give us their full support. It’s a debt overdue finally paid.’’
For a few moments, they stood silent, regarding each other with the utmost absorption. A peculiar strength coursed in Rhys’ veins; it seemed to him they shared one breath, drawing life from each other. And it was such an exhilarating sensation, his head span as if he drank from a jug of undiluted mead.
The more his gazed remained fixed on her, the more her figure bloomed and revealed its petals to him. For he noticed dips and curves his eyes had missed before, brown beauty marks upon her throat, between the valley of her breasts and above her wrists, shorter tendrils that curled around her forehead and nape, shadows that flitted on her skin.
Rhys longed to trace them with his tongue. Caress them. Worship them as a tribe worshipped a statue as a holy idol. He swallowed again and again, saliva flooding the cavity of his mouth. By the thousand silver horns, I’m drooling all over her like a starved beggar over a meal of roasted lamb.
Ignorant of his thoughts, Morella withdrew from the hearth and strolled to the table, pinching between her fingers a small, round cake. Half of it she bit; the other half she fed him as he reached her in a couple of strides. Her tongue darted out to lick the grains of sugar lingering on her thumb.
Rhys released a subdued laughter, his belly quivering with the vibrations. ‘’It was no lie you told. You truly have a taste for sweets.’’
Morella nodded, her teeth working on a second one. ‘’These were my mother’s favourites as well. She loved the fluffy dough mixed with forest forests. She taught me and Dione how to bake our own.’’
‘’Well, in that case, the first thing I’ll serve in your plate when we reach Ellylon is a handful of melys. Even the lushest strawberries and honeysuckle honey will taste withered and dry upon your tongue afterwards.’’
‘’Melys?’’ Morella tapped her index at the edge of her lips. ‘’I’m not familiar with that word. Is it a fruit?’’
‘’A flower. Native only to my homeland. Milky white petals, ice-blue centre. Softer to the touch than a summer cloud, nectarous and fresh to the palate.’’
‘’You have me all buzzing with excitement and anticipation. I’ll hold you to your promise, Chieftain.’’
An excerpt from my mythic fantasy novel currently titled The Fruit of Passion.
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