Chapter Seven – An untitled skirmish
Flavia felt vindicated. She had bottled up Akiles’s countless offenses and had always attempted to be gracious. Attempted, that was the key word. Yes, Flavia had empty the contents of her drink on his head, had tossed his gifts into the fire, and had removed her hand from his on several occasions. But, Akiles had always instigated something. He had either been drinking and began to suckle her fingers, or he would bring her some lewd sexual gift. Akiles actually had the gall the present her with an ivory replica of his phallus. No doubt the length and girth was exaggerated, but come on! You don’t do that! Flavia never understood why her father allowed for Akiles to behave so crudely. At first she was disgusted with her father as she was Akiles, but she noticed Creon’s revulsion at her bridegroom. Clearly something else was up, and, as Flavia had accepted, business was business.
Slapping Akiles released a wealth of emotions. Restlessly Flavia paced the room as she was unable to handle the adrenaline that still pumped in her veins. She stopped by her mirror and froze. Flavia had forgotten all about the flower crown she wore. She removed it from her hair to gaze at its beauty. The craftsmanship was impeccable. Brandos must have spent hours on it. Each flower petal was free of any impurities and the aroma was heavenly. Flavia could not have imagined a finer gift. It was so simple; fragrant gardenia’s entwined in a woven band of alabaster jasmine. No titles after dark. The queen’s words echoed clearly in her head. She set it down on her table and walked away. Flavia shrugged out of her evening gown and let it pool onto the floor. Quickly, she scrubbed herself with scented water and donned a clean nightgown. And, with a deep breath of courage, Flavia opened her door as silently as she could and tiptoed the length of the palace to the courtyard. The slaves had since gone to bed and there was no one to see her flight, or so she thought.
Brandos was in deed enjoying his sleep. Stress had been tying his stomach in knots and the episode at the rehearsal dinner tried him sorely. Perhaps the goddess had gifted him with another night of peaceful rest, but it was short lived. He awoke with a start when he felt someone touch his arm. Brandos’s warrior instinct kicked in and he immediately leapt forward to attack his assailant. Little Flavia fell backward onto the floor and was pinned at the wrists. The feral gleam in Brandos’s eye died as realization took place.
“Flavia?” he asked incredulous. Instead of an exasperated reply, Flavia laughed. It was a beautiful sound. Deep, throaty, and effervescent, Flavia’s laughter could charm a monk to sin.
“Did I scare you?” she chuckled.
“A little.” Admitted Brandos quietly.
“Ohhhh Brandos…” her voice died and she simply smiled warmly at his face. Carefully, with a tenderness rarely seen, Brandos lowered his mouth to descend upon Flavia’s lovely lips. His kiss was that of adoration, not of lust, and she returned it with an equal fervor. Brandos had released her wrists to caress the silky brilliance of her hair. He had eased his body down but supported his weight on his shoulders so as to not crush her delicate form. After the kiss had ended, Brandos moved to bury his face within the sweet hollow of her neck. “Why is it that I feel so wonderfully warm when I’m with you?” asked Flavia after a time. Brandos’s reply was to kiss her neck. A small moan of pleasure escaped Flavia’s pink lips. He nipped and held her flesh in his teeth for a few moments before releasing it and then kissing it again. Bliss waved through Flavia’s lower body as her lower back arched and rubbed into
Brandos’s budding erection. The hardness of it thrilled her virgin nature. One of Brandos’s hands traced a line of fire down her torso and ended at the apex of her thighs. He began to rub her through her thin night gown. Flavia’s need was evident in her deep cries, although, she had not come to Brandos for ravishment. Suddenly serious, Flavia pleaded, “Brandos.”
“What?” he asked. “Do you want me to stop?”
“Yes. No, well, I mean, I don’t want you to stop because it’s amazing but I want to talk to you.” Stammered Flavia. Brandos pressed off his hands to a kneeling position. He grabbed a hold of Flavia’s little hands and lifted her up so that she could sit. They both relaxed onto the pillows that had been placed rather haphazardly in his small yet cozy tent.
“What did you want to talk about, my lady?” Asked Brandos after they had both attained a comfortable position.
“You were right about feelings. I do feel something for you, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever felt before. There is lust there, I know that for sure, but there is something else as well. Perhaps it is too early for me to call that feeling love, but, with you there is hope, among many other things.”
“What do you mean hope?” he questioned.
“Akiles will never be any better than as he is now. For some reason, Brandos, I trust you, and I am willing to give everything I have away for the chance to have love. Real love. Unadulterated love. Passionate love. Unconditional love. Never ending love.”
“Sexual love?” offered Brandos with a mischievous look about his face.
“Yes, even sexual love, you jack! Let me finish, okay?”
“Haha, go on.” Laughed Brandos.
“Love. Just love. In any form. I can have that with you, for that I am hopeful. I want you to take me as far away from this island as you can before I get married. I never want to see Akiles ever again.” Flavia gazed at him with soft eyes filled with emotion. “Please, Brandos, save me from Akiles.”
Brandos was rendered speechless. Praise all the Gods for his natural ability to remain stoic and expressionless in times of extreme stress or pleasure. On the inside, Brandos was giddy with glee and was running around naked, pelvic thrusting, and waving his middle finger to all those who had been in his way of achieving his bride. He wanted to scream. He wanted to dance. He wanted to shout. But what he did was grab Flavia’s face and held it so affectionately and he planted the kiss of all kisses on her mouth.
“Yes Flavia,” Brandos said hoarsely, his lips hovering centimeters from Flavia’s, “I will take you to wherever you will go.”
“To Kriskos? I would very much like to see this island kingdom of yours.”
Even though Brandos knew that Kriskos had been a figment of Saphara’s imagination answered, “Yes.” For Flavia Kay, Brandos would build her an island, such was his love for her. Giggling with joy, Flavia kissed him over and over. On his chin, his cheeks, his nose, his eyes. She moved to his ears and discovered that they were a particularly sensitive spot for him. No longer did Flavia see him as a slave. Brandos was a man. A man who would save her and a man who already loved her.
Akiles watched through a shadowed slit at the play between his betrothed and the slave. Akiles, realizing his folly at the dinner, wanted to appease his bride before the wedding. He wanted to allay her fears as well as to warn her that she should be respectful to him. Akiles had hid behind a tall planter and watched as Flavia quietly fled the palace. His curiosity building, Akiles followed Flavia. He watched as she struggled to find Brandos’s tent. She actually disturbed many sleeping people in her quest. Finally, when she had managed to locate it, Akiles stood outside and listened. He could not see much but he really didn’t need to. He had heard enough. His anger was fit to blow. Akiles bit down hard on his inner cheeks and bunched his hands into tight fists.
“Tomorrow, before the wedding, which is to be at sunset, I will climb down my balcony. I’ve done it at least a hundred times so you don’t need to worry about me falling. I’ll meet you in the small herb garden. It should be vacant because it has already been harvested for the year and the arriving guests will be entertained in the main hall. From there we can get a ship and sail to Kriskos.” Flavia smiled at her plan. It would be simple. With the exception of her body slaves, few people checked in on her. Nobles would be kept busy with games and dancing, and the household slaves would be busy preparing for the wedding. Her father would undoubtedly be in his office keeping himself distanced from the excitement as was his want. “Do you think Sapho would mind if you left?” Flavia hadn’t thought about that.
Brandos shook his head in the negative. “No. Sapho and I have an arrangement of sorts; she will not miss me.”
“Oh good!” Flavia looked so happy. She gathered Brandos into his arms and hugged him with all she had. Brandos wrapped his muscular arms about her and held her safe in a protective embrace. Oh how he loved her, and oh, how he had won! Brandos struggled to maintain his faith, but he had his doubts. But Saphara said that he would have Flavia for a wife, and he was so close to achieving that goal. He had no idea how he was going to repay the goddess.
Achievement Unlocked: Woman attained
Of course, Akiles did not share this content. He walked away very quietly. As it should be, he thought to himself. He had been nice. He had courted her and had kept his distance from her for the most part when it came to seduction. In his eyes, Akiles was a most charming and respectable suitor. This foreign bastard of a slave had encroached on what was his and Flavia would pay the price. Akiles was going to kill Flavia and arrange the murder so that Brandos would be blamed. He would have Brandos flogged, gelded, and crucified for raping and killing his beloved bride. As it should be.
Returning to her tent to find the ashen remains of one of her conjured slaves left a bad taste in Saphara’s mouth. Thunder clapped and Marduk appeared in the room to console his wife before she blew up the island of Paros.
“Seefara.” Marduk’s accent was exotic and deep. He crossed the room to massage the little goddess’s shoulders. He looked at the ash pile and willed it away.
“Oh Marduk! I know that she was just a conjuration but it grieves me that such evil exists in this world! Do you remember when things were simpler?” Saphara was close to tears. Marduk bent forward and nuzzled his mouth against the top of her ear.
“Lennock schecar ethit benet, namira otha namira.” He whispered. It meant, “life still is simple, heart of my heart” in the ancient Mesopotamian tongue. Marduk guided his temperamental wife to her cushion of pillows where he proceeded to make fiery passionate love to her. All the while, Flavia rested in Brandos’s arms inside his tent. Her body molded into his and she slept with the faint traces of a smile on her lips. Brandos was at peace.