“Lady Pricilla,” said Fendor, “I introduce to you the Keeper of the Shrine, Elyria the Healer, a free woman of the Celtic tribes of Noricum.” Fendor pulled Elyria closer to the Lady Pricilla as he recited this long list of Elyria’s dignity.
The Lady Pricilla stood straight and still in her fine colors. The material wafted in the slight breeze of the evening, highlighting with shadow her rounded breasts, hips and thighs. She looked at Elyria from head to foot and back again, moving her gaze with deliberation, lingering in certain areas of Elyria’s body. Vindicius whispered into Lady Pricilla’s ear. Lady Pricilla and Vindicius smiled, showing all of their white teeth.
Elyria shivered, she assumed because of the night shade but deep down she thought it because she felt like a lamb at auction.
“I am honored to meet you, Lady Elyria,” said Pricilla, “We will be spending much time together in our pursuit of spiritual growth and our journey to Everlasting Life.”
Elyria moved to speak but Fendor tightened his grip on her hand and pulled her back. Elyria smiled and kept quiet.
“Madam, I think it best you set up camp and rest from your journey,” said Fendor, “You are safe enough here.”
“I agree,” said Vindicius, “There will be plenty of time to explore now that you are arrived. Rest and we will all meet in a day to discuss matters.” Vindicius looked from Lady Pricilla to Elyria. “Perhaps the Lady Elyria,” Vindicius paused, “would care to stay in the tent of you and your women until we are all rested and refreshed.”
“Unfortunately, Elyria must return to her home where the people who need her may find her.” Fendor spoke for Elyria. She frowned at his presumption but she did not want to stay among these dazzling people who reminded her of insects. They were alien to her and she felt uncomfortable and in danger, so she did not attempt to argue with Fendor.
Vindicius smiled, flashing all of his teeth.
“We will send a slave to Elyria’s home to keep it and let anyone looking for her know where she may be found.” Vindicius turned to the Lady Pricilla. “We would consider it an honor, would we not, My Lady, to entertain the Keeper of the Shrine and a boon from her if she would consent.”
Pricilla looked directly into Elyria’s eyes. Elyria felt a heat begin in her loins and rise up her body and burn with intensity in her cheeks. She felt herself to be in mortal danger but could not explain why to herself or anyone else if they asked. She only knew she must try to get away from Pricilla, who was at this moment licking her lips, slowly and delicately.
“Madam, I would gladly comply on another day, but I am expected in the village on the morrow and if I do not arrive as expected, the men will be sent to search for me and I do not wish to inconvenience them unnecessarily.”
Elyria maintained eye contact for as long as she could and then dropped her gaze to the ground, blushing again, but continuing in her plea to leave.
“The town is expecting a supply of medicines that they have not been able to receive for the past moon turn because of the weather. I beg your understanding and forbearance.”
“You will stay.” Lady Pricilla said. She did not shout but her words carried to every person in the clearing.
She clapped her hands and the slaves moved in earnest, unpacking the crates on the wagons. A small village rose in the glade.
Lady Pricilla, Vindicius, Fendor and Elyria were four unmoving points, waiting. Elyria could feel the tension emanating from Fendor beside her. She was confused by his behavior. These were his people whom he had intended to bring here. His reluctance to allow her to stay with them was puzzling and added to her feeling of danger.
A large tent grew close to Lady Pricilla’s wagon. The slaves filled it with cushions and rugs and pillows. A chair was removed from Lady Pricilla’s traveling wagon and placed in the tent. Lady Pricilla moved forward and took Elyria’s hand.
“It is full dark now,” she said, “We will bathe you and feed you and hold you to our breast, so that you may pass a pleasurable night among new friends.”
Lady Pricilla guided Elyria to the pavilion. Slaves reached into the traveling wagon and lifted two small and almost identical girls from the draped transport. Each was cloaked in fabric that looked like water cascading over their lithe bodies. One possessed hair the color of ripened wheat in the sun and the other, curls of soft brown, like the grain in highly polished wood. Each lay in the arms of a male slave, awake, hands resting on their chests. Their large, round, doe-like eyes found Lady Pricilla.
“My little dolls,” said Lady Pricilla, “I have found you a new playmate.”