Characters/Pairings: Nicola L'Envers/OFC, Melisande Shahrizai (mentioned)
Summary: There is much happiness to be had by all after the wedding. Some seek it in unusual ways and with unexpected people.
Spoilers: Yes, shortly after both the end of the second trilogy.
Word Count: 3,456
# of Scenes: 3
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I am merely a humble beggar, sampling from the table of Jacqueline Carey, who must dwell with the angels she writes about. I gain no profit from this work beyond the joy I had in writing it.
Notes: Will be posted on Fanfiction.net under my username Meneldur and on Eglantine House and Elua's Children here on LiveJournal.
This is an idea I've had for a long time, and just needed to figure it out and write it. I think it's quite reasonable and expected, but then again, I'm a Shahrizai, so who knows? The title comes from the Bible (again), specifically Job 8:21. I owe deepest thanks to my dear cousin, jeweledhibiscus, who tirelessly went over my work and corrected many great and little mistakes which would have reduced this to something barely readable. I hope that the writing will be enough to outweigh any incredulity a reader might feel, as she told me. I've included a small homage to her (to be exact, to one of her fics) in the first scene - kudos for those who spot it. Lastly, the name Melusine has special significance (mostly in the context of Richard the Lionheart's telling of her legend and Maurice Maeterlinck), so after you read the story, looking it up may edify you.
I do believe that this also falls under this month's theme. Of course, feedback is always solicited and appreciated (especially as this is my first 'published' sex scene).
It was a quiet fete, for once, though that may sound like a contradiction. All were tired from the week long celebrations of the White Wedding, and so this fete, hosted by Julien Trente, was rather calm. Most of the people who had come were friends of Julien and those friends’ relatives. Nicola stood near one of the tables, watching the dancing. The music was slow, and most of the couples on the floor were enamored of each other, gazing into one another's eyes as they danced. Imriel and Sidonie, Phedre and Joscelin, her own son with Colette. Nicola looked on calmly, content to watch and rest.
However, it seemed that the gods did not see fit to allow this. A young woman was approaching her. Nicola studied her curiously. She reminded Nicola somewhat of Leander, and also of the Shahrizai. Neither her hair nor her eyes were as dark, but her cheekbones and mouth were almost as high and sensual as that of a true Shahrizai.
"My lady Nicola," the woman began, and her voice seemed to flow like wax from a candle. "Or is it 'Her Highness, the Queen Mother of Aragon' now?"
Nicola smiled, shrugging off the hit. ""Lady Nicola' is enough. Neither Raul nor I claim royal titles. May I inquire as to your identity?"
The woman's eyes widened as if surprised. "But of course," she said as she swept a formal curtsey. "Melusine Maignard, at your service, if I may offer it."
Nicola raised one delicate brow. "Indeed? Any relation to Leander Maignard?"
"He is my cousin," Melusine replied, waving her hand dismissively. "But I do not wish to talk of that. Would you join me for the next dance?"
Nicola looked at her, startled, though all she allowed to show was a raised eyebrow. "Is this a new fashion I was not aware of?"
Melusine's mouth twisted in a wry smile. "No. But it is a certain family tradition I wish to continue."
Nicola nodded, amused and intrigued, and joined Melusine for the next dance. They spoke of inconsequential matters during most of the dance, at which point Melusine moved on to the situation in Aragonia, Serafin, and Nicola's thoughts on it. Nicola greatly enjoyed the conversation – Melusine was witty, intelligent, and obviously aware of the events happening, displaying flashes of insight into certain situations.
The night grew old, though, and Nicola was preparing to leave when Melusine approached her once again, an odd look on her face that Nicola decided was determination. "Allow me to be blunt, if I may. I wish to engage your services."
Nicola looked at her, surprised. "If you know me, you know I am neither a servant of Naamah nor an adept of the Night Court. Unless you wish me to bring something to Aragon, I do not think there is any service I can give you."
Melusine scoffed. "Let us dispense with the pleasantries, my lady. Most likely you believe I work for Melisande Shahrizai, as the Dauphine's Consort has no doubt revealed all his lady mother told him. You would be right. My lady has sent me to find a certain art which would please her, and my target is you. It is well known you are the only one the Comtesse de Montreve ever gifted with a lover’s token, as well as the only person with whom she trysts any longer. I wish to do the same, so I may witness your skill and art. If you so wish, I will pay you well."
Nicola smiled. "I never believed the day would come when people other than my uncle would try to buy me. However, I think I shall decline. I do not often take a lover, and see no reason to try even once with you."
Melusine looked surprised for a second, but she quickly covered it. "What can I give you that will make you agree?" She demanded. "I do not wish to fail my lady."
"Nothing at all. As for failure - that is your concern, is it not?" With that parting shot, Nicola turned to go. However, even as she turned her back, Melusine spoke again, her voice low and mellow.
"What of Shahrizai blood kneeling for your lash?" She asked, and Nicola was reminded of Marmion, and turned back to her, almost against her will. "What of this face between your legs, using knowledge learned from Melisande Shahrizai herself to please you?" Suiting actions to words, she knelt down before Nicola's startled eyes, slyly bringing her hand under Nicola's dress and slowly running it up and down her leg to her knee. "Do not tell me this would not please you, to prove your worth and superiority over Melisande Shahrizai."
Nicola breathed deeply, calming herself. The scions of Naamah always achieved pleasure earlier and easier than others, and it lasted far longer. Some said that they were in a state of constant arousal. This was untrue, of course, but they could certainly be aroused easily. Nicola looked down, enjoying Melusine's sultry gaze and smooth hands, and felt a frisson of excitement run through her. Why not, after all? She certainly had not done so for some time, and had earned the right to gain some pleasure for herself. And deep inside, she knew she had always wanted to play Mandrake to a Shahrizai, and Melsuine was so close to one, it would be almost like a dream. "Very well. I will contact you regarding a time and place."
Melusine nodded, and smoothly rose. "I await your pleasure, my lady," her voice like oil over an unbroken rock, and as she walked away, Nicola gazed at her back and knew it for not just a courtesy, but a promise.
I quietly entered the inner room of Nicola's suite in the palace. She had dismissed the servants, and I was the only one there. I closed the door behind me, and took in the room. It was rich, yet simple at the same time. An intricate handwoven carpet from Khebbel-Im-Akkad on the floor with deep colors and exquisite embroidery, a bed large enough for two to sleep in comfortably with a canopy, and an average-sized dresser near the bed with some drawers was all the room contained. Nicola was sitting calmly on the bed, awaiting me.
"My lady Nicola,” I purred, injecting sensuality and a hint of somewhat else in my voice, "How should I present myself before you?"
Nicola gazed at me, calm and composed, although the glint in her eyes hinted at her excitement. "Take off your clothes, if you would, and kneel on the carpet before the bed."
I did so silently, all the while watching her, waiting for the quality that had ensnared Phedre to appear. I took off my gown and folded it, laying it on the dresser, and did the same for my underclothes. I then forced my knees to bend, and knelt on the carpet at the foot of her bed, staring upwards into her eyes.
We both stayed like that, unmoving, for a short period of time. I did not move at all, not even a fidget; I knew this was a test, and I would be damned if I succumbed so easily. Eventually, her lips quirked (though there was a hidden edge to it only those who were trained to such observance could see) and she rose from the bed, heading for the drawers of the dresser. "Since you have told me your mission, I know what you – or rather your mistress - wish for. Therefore, I have decided to treat you to the same design I used on Phedre during our first assignation." She removed some items from the drawers, keeping them hidden from my eyes by placing her body in front of them. "Now, please bow your head and close your eyes while I prepare."
I did so, though she still immediately tied a blindfold around my eyes to keep it so. I allowed myself to concentrate on my other senses, smelling the scent of ropes and perfume and arousal, hearing the rasp of the silken cords over her hands as she knotted them and arranged them.
"Stand up," she instructed me, and I smoothly rose, keeping perfect balance despite my blindness. I felt her place a cord around my neck, then bring both sides down to my armpits, crossing them in the back and then bringing them around my breasts, then returning to my back, finally tying off the cords at my waist, so that there were two crosses of rope on both my back and torso.
"I learned these arts from a man who had travelled to the Far East," she said conversationally as she bound my breasts with another cord, tied my wrists together, and then passed the rope through my thighs, binding it to the cord already around my waist. I felt a knot in the rope in the area of Naamah's Pearl, and a small aide d'amour probing at my entrance. She played with it somewhat, making sure it was firmly centered. "The Empire of the Sun, they call it. He said they have such women called geishas that even the Servants of Naamah would be jealous of, and as for their arts of the bedchamber… well, you are feeling them yourself, are you not?"
"On your knees, please," she said mildly, and I wondered how Phedre could find such pleasure with this woman that she would give her a lover's token and continue to tryst with her after what she had undergone in Drujan.
"No doubt you are wondering why the Comtesse de Montreve would bother with such a temperate person, and why she frequents only me for her pleasure," she continued merrily, almost as if reading my thoughts, all the while binding my ankles together, then my knees. I could not help but feel my breasts being jerked by the ropes, the knot touching my pearl, and the aide d'amour moving inside me. "You see, these ropes cause you pleasure when you move. If you were an anguissette, made to submit to the desires of others, and I ordered you not to please yourself…" She trailed off as I felt her connecting the ties that bound my legs to the rope between my thighs. "Well, you would be hard pressed to obey," she concluded, and I could feel her smirking. She had some skill, I freely admitted. Few thought of an anguissette's desire to submit to the desires of others, and how when it was fulfilled, it brought her pleasure. And this was possibly the best way to satisfy an anguissette without resorting to rougher means, which would have been… problematic, after Darsanga. Still, knowledge and understanding of anguissettes were not enough. This woman had to have more.
"You don't seem very devilish now, do you, my dear?" she taunted, and I moved my head towards her voice, feeling the rope around my neck move and jerk my breasts as it did. "Struggle, if you would, and see if you can escape." I knew I could escape from these ropes, for I made sure to test myself on this regularly, and the knots were not beyond my reach. But that would give me away. So instead, I made as if I were struggling, and instead focused on finding the correct movement of my wrists, legs, and neck – that which would give me the most pleasure.
Before I could come close, she ordered me to stop. I heard the rustle of fabric, and knew she had removed her clothes. Then, I heard a sound which I knew was that of a crop moving through the air. I made myself flinch.
"So, my dear, you fear this, don't you?" she asked, and moved the crop over my shoulder gently. "Did your training with Melisande teach you of this?" and suddenly the crop struck me on my breast, and I allowed a gasp. "Are you more confident in my ability now?" She slowly circled me, lazily striking me with light blows from her crop, occasionally letting a stronger one through. She was very good, I admitted. She was slowly building my excitement, allowing me to struggle and use the ropes to arouse myself. Finally, when I was very close, she stopped in front of me. I heard her sit down on the bed, and felt her spread her legs and place them on my shoulders. "Come, Melusine. Please me, and then we shall see about your needs."
A master (or mistress, rather), indeed, I thought, as I shuffled forwards on my knees, and thrust my tongue into her depths. An anguissette would be aroused from pleasing her mistress, and even I was able to use Nicola's arousal and my deliberate struggles to remain on my plateau. I felt her legs quiver on my shoulders, and then she grasped my hair, pulling my face closer and deeper between her legs. As she neared her pleasure, she occasionally struck with her crop, keeping me aroused even as I could struggle less. Finally, she climaxed, the throes of excitement making her feet push me back, causing me to nearly lose my balance.
"One thing at least you've learned well, I see." She commented as she lay on the bed, and I could feel her self-satisfied smile. "Enough of this", she said, and I heard the bed creak as she rose, "now it's your turn."
She deftly untied the knots around my legs, and made me stand. Then she led me to the bed (though I could have found it on my own) and lay me down upon it. She folded my legs and tied my ankles to my thighs. Then, she connected my knees to the bedposts using some more cord. I was now leaning against the headboard, my legs spread, my upper body still bound as before. All the while, I continued to feel the aide d'amour moving inside me, and my arousal remained, just on the verge of release. Nicola knelt on the bed before me, contemplating.
"You are young, and so most likely you do not realize this, but allow me to teach you a lesson. When one partner is servicing the other, as you were doing to me, the partner pleasing the other is almost always in control. Although you were bound by ropes, I was bound by pleasure. Had you stopped, I could not have achieved release. I needed you to continue, for such was my desire."
She leaned back on her knees, again thinking. "However… you appear to be among the rare few who do not relinquish control even when being serviced. No doubt a result of your teaching," I could feel her shrug. "I am going to try and allow you to truly release yourself. You are bound by ropes; you cannot move; you wish for release. I am going to give it to you, and I will not stop, until I feel you truly have let go of all control."
Inwardly, I scoffed. She was right about control and lack of it, but I had never allowed myself true release except in the perfect knowledge I had of Phedre. In all my lifetime, I had only let go for two nights. All other times, even when I attained release, I held myself in control. I did not plan on relinquishing it to this woman.
She slowly started licking me, while moving the rope that ran between my thighs, the knot grinding against my pearl and the aide d'amour shifting inside me. I quickly climaxed, and let out a small 'ah!' as I did.
Nicola backed away, and I felt her shaking her head. "No, no, darling. That wasn't it." She began again, and I hissed as her careful probing and jerks elevated my excitement once more. This time however, she was speaking as well. "It is no fault to be able to trust, Melusine,” nibble, jerk. "The arts of the bedchamber are not just an exchange of power and control." Another series of movements, ending with a tongue flick against my pearl, and I felt myself weakening. "In this moment, I love you, and you love me, and that is all that matters." And then she suddenly pulled the rope upwards, and I let out a brief choked sound as moisture sprayed from my cleft.
She lifted her head once more. "That was very close, Melusine, very, very close," she praised, and I hated it even as I enjoyed it and then I hated the fact that I enjoyed it, and before I could figure it out she bent down again and was now moving faster and rougher, and all my control was slipping out of my grasp, and then she spoke again. "Let go, Melusine. Let go of control, and let in love," and she spoke with that loving, caring, compassionate tone, and I understood what Phedre had seen in her, besides even her skill, and why she had returned to her after Darsanga.
And then for the third time in my life, I freely let go of control, and for the third time that evening, I felt release, and it was greater than both the others, and I hissed out her name as pleasure coursed through my whole body, and I slumped back on the headboard, feeling bliss and ease and every muscle.
"Yes", she purred, and then rose to kiss me, sharing my taste and scent, and it was comforting and compassionate and loving, and somehow I felt I was somewhat more now. "Would you like to continue?" She asked, and I smiled. She was incorrigible.
"Yes, my lady," I answered, somewhat to her surprise. She did not expect me to have the stamina and experience to be able to do so.
It was obviously a pleasant surprise, though, as she smiled like a cat, and said "Please, call me Nicola."
I came into my rooms, tired from another fete. I was returning to Amilcar in two days, and it seemed many wanted to host parting fetes for me. I could not blame them – even a year after the breaking of the spell that bound the City of Elua, many nobles still had not restored their relationships with Aragonia to their prior states, and were eager to do so. My cousin being one of them (and the most important) only added more fervor to their attempts.
I smiled as I entered my inner chamber, remembering the pleasure I had found in it not two weeks ago. There had been something of the Shahrizai in Melusine, more than her ancestry should warrant. Also, much experience which I had not thought would be there. I shrugged carelessly; no doubt Melisande trained them all, and even now there was no question as to who was the purest living scion of Kushiel.
As I approached the table, I noticed there was a letter on the bedside table. I picked it up, somewhat surprised; anyone who had wanted to contact me could find much easier ways than leaving anonymous letters in my private suite. Still, it had my name on it, and I was curious to discover who would contact me in such a manner. I opened the letter and saw something fall to the floor, landing on the soft carpet with a thud. Leaving it for later, I chose to read the letter first.
My dearest Nicola,
It was among my greatest pleasures ever sustained to have been treated to your mastery of the arts of the bedchamber. Indeed, you may even be a match for me in some areas. I now understand why Phedre turned to you. I will not fill your head with more empty praises, but I would be greatly honored should you choose to wear the token I have sent you as you wear Phedre's. Lastly, I will note that as your residence is in Aragonia, it may be possible for us to meet again should you wish to do so. If you so wish, I shall come in my true form. In any case I have wished to visit Amilcar for some time, in order to speak with my cousin.
Yours in deepest affection and pleasure,
My jaw dropped in surprise, even as my gaze did the same, searching for the token that had been inside the letter. Even as I saw it, though, I felt my lips begin to curve in an amused and admiring smile. When I clearly saw what token she had left me, the smile evolved into full blown laughter.
It was a gemstone the color of twilight (her eyes, Shahrizai eyes), a perfect star sapphire.