Story 3: The King in the Wood
Plot: Set just outside Rome in the 1st century A.D: Valeria, a respectable Roman wife, has travelled to the sacred grove at Lake Nemi in order to conceive a child with the help of the gods ... and search for Thoas, an ex-slave of her family...
Then a man stepped up from behind and put his arms about her.
Valeria shrieked, but the sound of her shock was trapped by a callused hand that clamped firmly over her mouth. She tasted wood-smoke and dirt on her tongue and she struggled frantically, but his grip only tightened, pulling her almost off her feet; the torso to which she was clutched was rock-solid, the two bare arms wrapped around her like bands of iron. Her sandalled toes kicking helplessly at the dead leaves. He pulled her head back and to the side, exposing her throat, and then he inhaled the scent of her hair and pressed his lips to her cheek and licked at her neck, his mouth burning.
“Pretty,” he breathed. “A pretty little doe has wandered into my wood.” Valeria moaned in fear as the hand not pinning her head slid up to grope her breast, squeezing hard. “She didn’t know the hunter would be waiting for her, did she? She didn’t know she’d have to run for her life.” His fingers slid under the linen to capture her nipple. “Can you run, little deer? Can you outrun me?” He caught her earlobe in his teeth, savouring the yielding drag of skin. “Meat always tastes better after a chase.”
He let her go quite suddenly, and Valeria caught her breath as she fell forward. Whatever her intentions—speak to him, turn and see for herself—they disappeared as his hand descended on her rump with an almighty crack.
“Run!” he hissed.
She panicked. It was the unexpected pain; she couldn’t think past the pain and the shock that flashed through her blood. She staggered away and began to run, and the gradient of the hillside caught her and pulled her onward, through brambles and under branches, twigs whipping her face and her raised hands, thorns scratching her bare legs. She ran because she couldn’t slow without falling, and because her feet were tripping beneath her and because at her back she could hear his hoarse laughter as he followed. He was close behind her, always. She could hear his tread. He was right on her heels, keeping pace.
She stumbled. A hand caught the back of her stola as she went down and hauled her right off her feet, spinning her onto hands and knees. Seams tore as she wrenched out of his grasp and tried to crawl up the bank, her hands digging into leaf-mould and grass. For a moment she thought she was clear, and then he gripped her ankle and pulled her roughly back down onto him, capturing her in his arms again.
It was over. Valeria had no more strength left to fight; she just gasped for air and sobbed with fear. The King of the Grove wasn’t even out of breath. He pinned her to his shoulder again with a single hand as she sat in his lap—but this time he didn’t cover her mouth, he just held her chin up tight, forcing her head back. She caught glimpses of long dark hair as he stooped over her; it fell in her eyes.
“Hey hey hey,” he murmured: “Hush.”
“Plea—” was all she could splutter.
“Quiet now.” His other hand moved to stroke her breasts as if she were an animal that needed gentling, and she thought of the sacrificial sheep being held for the knife. “I’m not going to hurt you, little deer,” he said, and somehow that promise was more darkly menacing than his previous threats. “I’m just going to …”
The hand slipped from her breasts to her legs. Her short skirt was no barrier. He lifted it aside as he stroked up the inside of her splayed thighs, searching her out. She was wet with sweat about her belly and thighs and groin. His fingers slithered on the shaven silk of her mons veneris, then parted her smooth cleft to delve into the heat within.
Valeria moaned then, and writhed in his grip. He shifted against her, tightening his hold, and she was left in no doubt that he’d enjoyed the chase very much: his erect penis was hard as a wooden rod and shoving painfully into the soft muscle of her rear.
“Oh yes,” he said, almost to himself. His curled fingers invaded her, greedy for her heat and emptiness. He played with her wetness and she heard the noises he made there, like moist kisses. “That’s nice.” He spread two fingers, opening her. “I like that. I like that a lot,” he groaned in her ear. Then he circled her clitoris with his callused fingertips, using her own moisture to smooth the path. There was a lot of wet to use. “And you do too, don’t you?”
She whimpered. She could hardly speak, so tightly was her jaw held, so starved were her lungs after her running. But she could hear, now that he wasn’t whispering. Hear the foreign vowel-shapes.
“Now, little deer, I’m going to …” he said, and humped her forward onto hands and knees so that he could lift her skirt at the back and set his aim, before pulling her back down into his lap—and onto the cock angled there like a spearpoint. She felt its blunt head surge through her outer defences and realised he was far thicker of girth than her husband, and that he was going to demand things of her that she’d never had to give before.
“Thoas,” she gasped.
“What?” He was finding her tight: his focus was on the next thrust as he squeezed her down onto his thighs, impaling her further.
“Thoas!” It was a squeal by now.
He heard her that time.
|John Robert Cozens: Lake Nemi,(1788)|
For a moment he froze, and then everything changed. He pulled out of her, dropped her forward on the sloping bank and rolled her over onto her back, pinning her there with his hand on her breastbone. As he loomed over her Valeria saw his face for the first time, through her blurring tears.
It was Thoas, but he was almost unrecognisable. Valeria’s heart banged against her breastbone. The last time she’d seen him, he’d been clean-shaven with decently short hair, but now that hair, looking like it hadn’t been combed in weeks, hung down to his shoulders and his face was swarthy with stubble. His skin was weathered dark and lined around his eyes and the corners of his mouth. He was wearing a worn tunic that was splotched and faded to the colour of autumn leaves, and a sword belt that hung diagonally across his chest: the thin fabric of the tunic didn’t disguise the corded muscle that packed his frame. The old vertical scar down his cheek had now been joined by one on his upper lip and a nose that had been broken out of its true alignment. He looked like a barbarian. He looked terrifying. And he looked older—quite considerably older—and it showed most around his eyes, which were undershadowed by patches black as blood-blisters and seemed almost unfocused, the pupils dilated wildly.
He searched her face for a long long time.
“Valeria Prisca Secunda,” he said at last.
She nodded, and reached to touch his chest, like a plea for clemency. Her heart was pounding.
“Not so much as you,” she whispered. Was this even the man she’d come in search of, or just someone wearing his mask?
He nodded slowly. For the first time a faint smile tried to pull at the corners of his mouth. “Little Valeria, the pretty girl with the crush on me.”
She inhaled sharply and her chest heaved. “You didn’t know that!”
“Didn’t I?” His gazed dropped from her face to her torso. The torn and twisted dress had been rent open when he rolled her, and one of her breasts was bared, her pink nipple pointing at the heavens. He lifted the hand holding her in place and ran it lightly down her body. As Valeria’s gaze followed his she realised that he was kneeling over her spread thighs still, and that his erection, interrupted in its mission, was still standing from under the hem of his tunic, glossy and solid, sticky with her honey. And bigger than she’d remembered: Valeria’s assessment of her own husband’s equipment underwent a sudden terrifying downgrading.
“Are you married?” he asked, as if he’d heard her thoughts. His fingertips brushed the juicy slit he’d so recently assailed, and without being able to help herself she tilted her hips, moving her clitoris under his teasing touch.
“Yes,” she said, trying to catch his wrist in her hand and stop him even as her vulva yielded to his exploration.
“Congratulations, Domina.” His fingers gave her the caress she wanted, not for a moment believing her protesting hand. “And tell your husband from me he’s a lucky man, whoever he is.”
“Quintus Didius Messor,” she whimpered.
"Ah. I remember. So are you childless—or just frustrated? What did you come here for, Valeria?”
Her eyes widened as his fingers stirred her fire, and she caught her lip in her teeth, but the words burst out anyway: “A child.”
“Well,” he said, moving over her and easing between her thighs, his prick nudging into the slippery path of her sex as his fingers bit into her skin. “I can give you that.”
“Thoas!” she sobbed.
“What? Is this not what you were expecting?” His eyes were so glazed he seemed almost blind, but his cock was sure of the way. “Were you hoping for a little conversation, Domina—a little nostalgic reminiscence—before … this?”
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