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The Rose of Sariyah

Date: 02-15-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 1

In pen and ink, in a journal of aged leather and scented parchment.... these words

It all began with a rose.

At least that is what my father would say, during nights spent warming ourselves around the large bonfires...when the desert would shine from the light of the moon, and the sand itself seemed as if it had come from the dust of a myriad of diamonds.  These were the nights when my father's stories would come to life, and I would see them as visions in the firelight so plainly...that my mother would have to restrain me from reaching into the flames
themselves, for the want of what he spoke of.

It all began with a rose.  A rose that found it's place amongst the dunes and safe.  A rose that had traveled far on the spiced scent of trade winds, as merely a petal, and nothing more.  It had skimmed above continents, and forests, and deep blue oceans.  It had drifted above storm clouds, beneath starlight, and through the winds that kept it aloft.  It had traveled so many, many miles...and suffered nothing for the journey.  The dusky hue of
silver-lilac was untainted, and so...when it finally decided that it had traveled enough, it seemed as if a tiny piece of the morning sky had fallen from the heavens, to settle on the pure white sands of the Jai.

There, the petal waited.  Concealed by a crag of rock, and a branch of sage.   The sun, as relentless as it was, could not whither the fragile thing as it was concealed in lacework shade...and the night, with it's icy veil, could not steal the warmth of the rock which harbored it in safety.  And so, the petal remained... a jewel upon the sand, unobserved by any wandering caravans that moved near, their slanting shadows carving deep across the dunes
in the late days of summer.

But the rains were not far off.  In fact, the jackals had scented the proof of such in the winds, and had called their anticipation to the skies during the next full moon.  They knew the bounty that would come with the rain.  Their salvation - as it was for most, in the desert.   And so... when the first drops of rain fell, and pooled in purity upon the rose petal...the colors seeped into the sand as would a rare watercolor drawn to a fine piece of parchment.  A quiet weeping of rain and rose, until naught of the petal were left, but a life that would stem from the seed.   From the arid soils of the dunes came the house of al'Nasreen - 'The Rose' - in the language of our tongue.   A bloodline that seemed born of the sky, and of the quiet.  Of the grace and calm of breaking daylight, or of falling dusk.   Of the fragrance and beauty of the flower from which they came.  Of the fire and heat of the land which nurtured them to life.

It all began with a rose, or so my father used to say.

Sariyah al'Nasreen

Date: 02-15-00
Poster: Aaeron Barrett
Post # 2

A black stallion emerged upon the hill overlooking the small encampment in the valley below. The stallion drawn up to a standstill, snorted and pawed the ground as the rider looked on. It had been a warmer day, a break in the winter weather, as the sunlight played on the mixture of blond and silver. Deep blue-green eyes fell over the scene below, it looked out of place in the melting snow and mountains of these lands. The words of his niece had made him look twice at himself, he had lost the emotional side, love, for a very long time, maybe even hiding from it. He had decided to discover if indeed it was still alive in that desert of his heart and had set himself to task at tendering the Thistle, it would force him to interact with others. The horse shifted and pawed, dancing a little sideways, more eager to keep moving than his rider.

One faithful night in the medieval tavern, he met the eyes briefly of a beautiful lass, a deep brown velvet as she passed him to the door. He never expected to see her again, but as Fate would have it, their paths kept crossing, leading him to this hillside now. He was discovering an oasis in the desert of his heart and a flower of exotic beauty blooming. A saddlebag had been packed for she told him it would take three days and nights to return to her lands. He wanted to get Maurice and Shay a unique gift, for he had come not only to call them friend but to feel as family. Sairyah's culture intrigued him after the gifts she had given him, like the Celts in their ways, certain things had a history, a story behind them with meanings. A gentle nudge of his heel had the stallion eagerly moving forward as he made his way down the hill, soon coming to the outskirts of the encampment. He sat tall as he awaited the guards to notice him, a hand ran down the neck of the stallion in a comforting gesture.

||||+|||| Aaeron Barrett ||||+||||

Date: 02-16-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 3

"I do not wish to see our trade fall by the wayside, Chancellor ... but as it is, you make it very difficult for us to continue with our patronage of your port."

Sariyah al'Nasreen's voice purred with smooth assurance.  A servant knelt upon the cushions by the low table, and refreshed the desert woman's tea, before turning to do the same for the seven men gathered with her.  The Chancellor, who sat forward and strained with difficulty as he tried to fold his legs on the cushions, waved the servant away as if the girl was nothing more than an exceptionally large fly.  "It is not a matter of ease, Lady Nasreen.
  Regulations are there for a reason ... and you are not the exception in this, though you act as if you are entitled to be."  The man droned with pompous arrogance, and Sariyah watched as he seemed to puff up like a toad in the cheeks and neck, and wondered if he might actually croak when the moon was full. The man's insistence on addressing her as 'Lady Nasreen' was a slight she could not ignore.  He was quite familiar with customs and titles . . . and simply chose not to follow them, in her case.

"You speak of rules, Chancellor ... and yet you do not pinpoint which of them we are in direct violation against," she said, reaching with seeming casualness for her cup of tea.  Dozens of oil lamps lit the tent chamber with a rich glow, filtering through the faint trace of incense smoke that held the scent of sandalwood in the air.  The five men who had accompanied the Chancellor seemed pleased with the effect, for they sat relaxed...a few with distant looks in their eyes as if dreaming of the far sands and veiled women, not the politics of ports and merchant trade. All of them save for one, who stared at her from behind small wire rimmed glasses.  She glanced at him over the rim of her cup, her words flowing with matter-of-fact simplicity. "In fact I believe we have been very thorough in our keeping to the new regulations you set before us...though they seem to be quite stringent in comparison to others that we deal with."

"Are you accusing us of unfair practices, Milady?"  His jowls quivered with indignation.

Sariyah could not help but feel the rise of her own ire at the man's blatant hypocrisy.  She concealed the heat of temper filled words with a swallow of tea, calculating each move in grace and quiet composure.  "I merely state what I observe, Chancellor." She glanced at each man before her ... including her own advisor, Garabed al'Basur. "We have neglected nothing.  We have complied with everything, and I note that we are already subjecting ourselves
to paying you five times the amount that you charge others, who ship less than we do."  Sariyah leaned forward then, leveling her sable eyed gaze on one man only.  "What exactly are you unhappy with, Chancellor?  That the hefty profit you carry in your pocket is mistaken by the ladies for something else that lacks in substance?"

The jab at the rotund man's pride had apparently been so unexpected, that Sariyah could hear stifled laughter coming from his own colleagues.  Only the one, who's features reminded her of a hawk, frowned visibly at the accurate sting.  The Chancellor himself rolled back off the pillow, nearly toppling over as awkwardly as a lopsided egg, before righting himself in a huff of anger.   He stabbed a finger in the air towards her.  "We shall continue these discussions tomorrow, Milady.  And keep faith that I shall exact what is due, from the al'Nasreens."   He turned away, and paced towards the guards who stood sentry at the tent's flap, leaving his men to struggle off the pillows and hurry after.   

Sariyah watched them go, rising from the cushions in one smooth movement.  Garabed al'Basur was soon standing beside her, his darkling gaze narrowed in thought.   "There is no reasoning with the man, my Khaleesi.  However, you should heed my council, and silence your razored words before they cut."

She shook her head slightly, and turned to wander towards the adjoining corridor which lead to the safety of her inner sanctum.  With a glance over her shoulder, braids heavily beaded with lapis lazuli swaying across her back, she smiled slightly at her advisor.   "I know when to remain silent, Garabed.  And...if there is no reasoning with the man, then I shall cut ties with him.  It is quite simple, even if he does not believe that I shall do it."

The aged man's eyes widened amidst sun leathered skin.   His steps were spry, however, as he caught up with her.  "But you know the importance of that waterway, Khaleesi.   His ships are our soul transport into that region!"

She looked at the man who had been a familiar to her since the days she had hunted side by side with the al'Nasreen boys, searching for lizards in the heated sand.   Her father's faithfulness to political acquaintances were legendary, and Garabed stuck fast to those rules.  But when her brother had taken rule, he had given her certain allowances as emissary.  "Faithfulness to stubborn asses is not a command," she said, finishing her thoughts outloud.

She left the advisor speechless where he stood, and as she turned down the darkened corridor, she knew exactly what he would be thinking.  Provoking a lion is not always the best course, no matter how he dictates his pride, she thought to herself.  And indeed, the Chancellor's renewed strictness as to their trade had been curious.  But selfishness as it was, she did not see his actions completely surprising.  He knows the value of these oils.  Each shipment is worth ten times what he makes in return.  But even as her own wisdom echoed in her mind, she had to shake off the feeling that something...however small ... was amiss.

"It matters not..." she said to herself, approaching the entry to her private chambers.  And the resolve rang steadfast within her voice.  Aaeron Barrett had provided her with an unexpected source of aid.  Ships that could very well traverse the same route as the Chancellor's.   His offer had been pondered, as promised...and now, it seemed the time for favors asked was upon her.

She raised her hand gently in greeting to the guard who stood before her chambers, then slipped past him and into the quietness.  Thoughts of Aaeron Barrett lingered then, beyond the idea of commerce and trade, into a realm altogether new.   She crossed the room towards the cedar chest which doubled as a vanity for her as she remained in this temporary dwelling.  Kneeling before it, she glanced to the slim bronze vase which held the rose Aaeron had
gifted to her.  The mirror reflected it, creating a twin of the same crimson beauty.   She reached up, and began the slow process of drawing the beads from her ink dark hair, thinking of the moment she had first seen those blue-green eyes.

The tavern had been less than accommodating for one accustomed to a certain amount of respect.   However, as emissary...she had slowly started becoming used to the brash, uncivil ways of most who roamed the city.   So when she found herself looking into the eyes of a golden haired stranger, the first thing that struck her...was the strength and quietness therein.   It had been enough to haunt her those nights following the chance encounter ... and when their paths crossed again, it was a unique joy to find that his demeanor was a match to the glimpse she had seen in his gaze, that night.

The sky blue beads had begun to fill the black pottery bowl as she mused silently to herself.  Her eyes drifted to her own reflection...seeing the exotic tilt to the corners of her eyes, and the way her mouth formed a pleasing smile, even when deep in thought.  Or perhaps it was simply the subject matter, that curved her lips so.  She glanced away before she could spy her own blush, though she felt the telltale heat warming her cheeks.  The man was different from any who had professed admiration beneath the desert moon.   From the paleness of his hair, to the foreign lilt of her name on his tongue, there was a mystery there ... and it lured her to finding the answer.  And now, a journey was to be made.  Back to the desert, with Aaeron find a gift suiting of his newly wedded friends.

She looked then again at the rose, reaching out to touch the silken petals.  It all began with a rose, she thought to herself.   Had she not written those very words in her journal, the day he had given her this?  And yet....there was still no knowing how he had managed the fete.  She smiled to herself as she thought of how she questioned the guards at length.  Their surprise and stammering could not have been faked.  They had no knowledge of a visitor. 

Standing, then...her unbraided hair falling in a mass of waves down to mid-back, she heard voices outside of her chamber.  Coming into clarity, was the sound of her private guard. 

"Khaleesi, there is one requesting to see you."

The sun was on the verge of setting...and there were none that she was expecting.  Her brows furrowed slightly as she crossed the floor, joining the guard in the corridor.  "If it is the Chancellor, tell him that I have had my fill of his arrogance for one evening."

"His name, my Aaeron Barrett."  

It was as if a cooling breeze had just swept from the sky during the heat of midday, to caress her skin.  Her voice fell to a soft inquiry.  "The others have escorted him to the council room, then?"

The guard, shaved bald save for a thick forelock of coal black hair that draped over his right shoulder, nodded in silence.   But he had not even finished the movement, and she was already walking down the corridor.   She did not know that for many nights afterward, the guards were murmur secretly to each other that they had never seen the moon shine as brightly as their desert princess had smiled, in that moment.

                           Sariyah al'Nasreen

Poster: Aaeron Barrett
Post # 4

Tent of the Rose
(complied between AaeronBarrett and  Sand and Silk, live rp)

The guards had shown him into one of the tent's room as he wander about in that casual stride, hands clasped behind him as the furnishing, although foreign to him held a warmth to them.

All was quiet as she eased from the corridor...her smile touched with softness as she spied him from afar.  The candles were still burning from the meeting with the Chancellor...but now, it seemed, the room had a whole new appeal (vs) "Sahib Aaeron."

He turned then as he heard her voice, a smile touched his features transforming them as one got a glimpse of how he looked around 20.

She closed the distance between them slowly.  Her hair, unbound from the braids, now framed her face and accented the light in her eyes. "When they spoke of a visitor... I could not have wished for a better one than you.

That blue-green gaze fell over her appraisingly, one could tell he held her in high regard even if she was beautiful.

She motioned towards the cushions. "Would you care to sit?  Make your preference of drink known... and it shall be fetched for you." There was a slight tremble in her voice.  Such the hostess to dignitaries of state and merchants from abroad... and yet this man held her pulse in a race.

"A bit of whisky if you have such or I shall leave it to your choice, Sairyah."

"Whisky it is, sahib." Her smile deepened as she moved to settle amidst the cushions, one of the servants having heard the request and was returning with it, as well as a dram of scotch for Sairyah.

He moved to the cushions offered, he was one more to lean due to his height but he managed to sit upon one as his smile broadened.

She bit her lip against a smile, and then as she accepted the glass of scotch, she looked at him with a wonderment completely charmed. (w) "The rose... Aaeron.  How..?"

He hesitated as his gaze met hers, would she view him differently if he told? But he knew if he was to be accepted fully by her she would have to know, if it scared her now it was best out in the open before he grew too fond of her. "I am Druid, Sairyah."

The glass was suspended from the delicate grip of her henna stained fingertips.  She held his gaze for a long moment, canting her head ever so softly in thought. "Druid...."

He set the glass aside untouched for now as that blue-green gaze came to meet hers thoughtfully, fingers steepled under his chin a moment. "In your culture do you understand about forces unseen at work that defy what some consider normality? Do some of your people have the ability to see into the future, things like that?"

Sable eyes seemed to swim through the ocean that stared back at her. "Ahhh - the Djinns...the Seers. There are magicks..."  Pausing a smiled touched with fascination.  "My father... he used to tell me of wizards in the forests at the edge of the desert." Her brows arched.

He nodded, now wondering how she felt about them. "I am like them, I can explain. Your guards never saw me for an ancient Druid spell was woven and I envisioned your room so when I walked through the door of spatial time I was in there long enough to leave the rose. I usually don't use these gifts but I saw no other way to get it to you, for I had been detained at an important meeting almost all the evening. There are risks, had I envisioned another place for a split moment when I walked through I could have ended up there instead."

The blush rose fast, and colored the golden hue of her cheeks, down to her throat.  How could the man ever know what she had dreamed of, as a child? Or the things she a young woman, mind set spinning by tales of magick. (s) "I... have only heard tales of such things."  Pausing... such a glow to her eyes. "You are.... you seem as if you have simply stepped out of a dream, sahib.  An alluring dream.  I would know more of this."  She glanced down a moment... the candle nearby casting shadows gently beneath her chin. (w) "You did that...for me."

"I am a man Sairyah, just one who understands forces born into my blood." He chuckled then wholeheartedly. "I am no god, even if some feel I hold powers of different kinds. Yes, you are the rose Sairyah."

Her laughter joined his then, she peeked up at him. "Thank you....sahib Aaeron.  It..." She shook her head gently. "It is beautiful.... and caused me no end of curiosity." The grin emerged.

His words fell quiet then. "I would suggest you keep what I have told to yourself, besides some react strangely to such."

Realization of the truth of his words, she nodded slowly...reaching out to touch his arm as light as a feather. "My word, sahib, to you. On the condition.."  A musing tone.  "that you promise to tell me more?  Upon...our journey?" She was poised then, prepared for him to say that he could

(The rest of this is missing as the aol board purged and ate all or parts of posts. I do not know if I have the rest saved)

Date: 02-21-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 5

Truth, it is said, is mirrored in the heart of the eyes.   Where color slips away to leave only the soulful black, and therein...would be the spark of honesty or deception.

As Sariyah stood there, gazing into Aaeron Barrett's eyes, that bit of wisdom had it's fulfillment.  He spoke the truth, and it was as clearly seen as a new moon in a cloudless, perfect night sky.   She did not voice her gratitude.  Rather, she let the smile which naturally curved upon her lips speak for her.  And...when he smiled in return, she knew it had been all that was needed.

She guided him beyond her chambers, leaving them to mystery...though she could not quench the shivers which slipped up her spine at the thought of him there.  'What would I have seen,'  she mused to herself,  'had I been there at that precise moment?  A shimmer of light?  A wavering of the very air itself?  A glimpse of a handsome man crowned with gold and silver hair, just a step away from my bed? ' 

With thoughts distracted by the recollection of the rose, and the husky whisper of his voice, she lead him along the passage to the final doorway which had connection to the coridoor itself.  She could hear his breathing, and the way his footsteps fell in hushed rhythm with her own on the thatched floor.  When she turned to speak, she felt the graze of her silks against him.  They shifted so subtly against her flesh as they met the side of his hand
where it rested, and as she glanced down, the heat of his gaze rivalled the desert sun.

"These, sahib Aaeron...would be your quarters for the night, if they do please you."  And she eased through the flap, surrounded by the fragile tone of the silver anklet chiming as it slid against her skin.   The chamber itself was spacious once he had ducked in after her, and she stepped forward, gently shrouded in shadows.  She knew by heart that there would be two oil lamps ready to be lit, as there were in every chamber - and before she could count another heartbeat, she had lit both.  As the glow rose, so did her eyes - a slow, lingering process which glittered that rich sable hue strikingly.  And through the bronzed light, she met his gaze once again.  The silence stretched in a sweetened moment, as her slim fingers rested upon the rounded pottery lamp.  It warmed as the flame burned brighter, and in turn...the oils that had been touched to her wrists drifted in scent.  Jasmine, and

The light wavered only slightly as it shone upon the bed laden with pillows.   A small cedar table was adorned with a shallow copper bowl, and within were several cones of fresh incense.   Silk draped along the walls, though still in it's raw state.  Cream colored, it seemed to catch the light that now lingered in the midst of the room....and diffused it with a softness known only to twilight.   Simplicity was the this guest's chambers, and
in the center of it - Sariyah shined like a jewel.

"I hope you will find your dreams easily this night, sahib Aaeron... and that they shall leave you refreshed for the journey, come the sun's rising."

gSairyah al'Nasreenh

Date: 02-21-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 6

Upon the Verge of Dreams
(Compiled between AaeronBarrett and Sand and Silk, live rp)

He had followed her through the myriad of corridors and rooms, or so it seemed to him, not being familiar. Most of his attention was drawn to her, which was unusual for him not to be paying full attention to his surroundings. It couldn't be helped, the way she moved, her scent, were intoxicating to him. He ducked his head once more as she now stood in what was to be his chambers. A quick glance showed him they were more than adequate, he was not one for clutter. "This is perfect Sariyah."   As was she, but he left that out of the sentence.

Her smile deepened as she nodded, stepping away from the small table, and moving towards the door.  She hesitated there, turning to look over her  shoulder at him. "Preparations shall be finalized tonight.  I see no reason that will delay us in departure in the morning."  She bit her lip softly, and then touched her fingers to brow...chin...  lips, speaking in a whisper. "May the moon guide your sleep, Sahib."

The blue-green gaze fell over her in thought and something more undefinable just yet, even to him.  "I will get enough rest to be ready midear.  Is there anything I need to know, or be aware of?"

She held his gaze a few seconds, and then turned slightly. Her palm slipping along the canvas. "Hmmmm - oh yes, one thing in particular."

He stood there tall in the middle of the room as a brow lifted at her words, awaiting for her to proceed, but his gaze seemed to travel over the silks she wore, remembering how they felt in that accidental brush of his hand as they walked.

Her quiet laughter was a threading of dusky sound, untainted by anything but gentle mirth.  "You are to keep in mind, and remember this...if you do not
remember anything else.  You are to enjoy yourself, through and through." 

Well that brought one huge smile to bear upon his usually serious visage.  "I shall do my best to uphold this request.

"As shall I."  Matching the grin, she folded back the flap...and in a chiming of silver charms, slipped away into the passage.  His smile emblazoned within her mind.

His gaze remained upon her until she was out of sight.  He was beginning to feel addicted to watching her when she was about, and thinking of her the whole while she wasn't. This was indeed something new to him and he wasn't sure what to make of it. Hands moved to clasp behind his back as long legs took him easily about the room, getting familiar with its entrails.

The bed was upon a low, cleverly constructed frame. The cushion was thick, and the covers were of softest brushed cotton.  One could think,unless knowing better...that she had anticipated his arrival, and prepared the simplicity of it to his tastes.

He prepared then for the night, discarding clothes as he soon laid upon this low to the floor bed, finding the it to be rather comfortable as hands slipped behind his head and he found himself staring up at the ceiling of the tent. Thoughts whirling through his head as he didn't even try to think on any one in particular just then. He knew the symptoms of a first night in a strange place and how sleep might elude him for awhile. 

The peek of stars soon grasped his attention which helped to lure him away from his thoughts, like counting sheep , when he could see them as the flaps made by slits in the canvas played in the breeze.  He soon drifted off and dreams did play.  He felt like he had been trudging through sand for years on end - the progress slow and frustrating -endless until at some point they gave away and water lapped at his feet instead, palm trees swaying  in the
breeze giving him a visual escape from the mundane.

He had washed in the waters of this crystal clear lake, and it was if his life had all of a sudden changed to something so beautiful it was hard to believe it was real. Upon emerging from the waters that seemed to cleanse him in a way more than merely physical, he set about to investigate the foliage.  There was not much to be found, all looking the same, and so he turned taking a different path back to the waters. Coming around a bend it was just there before him. So vibrant in its hues of pinks and corals, a flower bloomed against the rough rocks as a stark background.  He started to approach it, and then was pulled to morning as the light filtered through the slit of the tent, awakening him.

(To be continued . . .)

||||+|||| Aaeron Barrett ||||+||||

gSairyah al'Nasreenh

Date: 02-22-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 7

Into the Sunlight
Compiled by AaeronBarrett and Sand and Silk, live rp)

He could hear the quiet bustle outside, his keen ears picked that right up. He had actually "slept in" for him, and he was quickly up, donning his clothes.  Making sure everything was as it was when he first came, he tied off his saddlebag once more. Having shaved and cleansed with the water from the bowl left on the table, he was pretty much presentable as he emerged from the room, saddlebag flung over one shoulder.

The caravan had come to life before the moon dipped beyond the horizon.  Guards shifting from stations, others there to fill their place. A young man, no more than fifteen years of age, stood in the passageway.  His bright coal eyes widened, and a flash of perfectly lined white teeth was given.  He bowed quickly, hands pressed firmly together.  "Sahib Barrett!   Good morning to you!"

A blue-green gaze came to rest on the lad, his enthusiasm infectious as a smile came to rest on his own face in return.  "A good morning to you also lad."

A squire of sorts, in training, the youth straightened as he smiled. "My khaleesi has sent me to fetch you, though I see you are quite ready.  There is tea to be had, and fruits if you wish it.  The khaleesi has had them set up outside as she is tending to her steed." 

He realized he was hungry as he nodded to the boy.  "Please, lead the way then, lad."

The young man gave a quick nod, his black thatch of hair whisping around his ears as he turned and paced with a youthful confidence along the corridor.

Long casual strides had him in easy pace as he followed the lad, eventually taking him outside to where breaking fast could be found.

Sunlight flooded the snow, making it sparkle as if it held a king's ransom in diamonds.  Activity bustled around the horses, and Sariyah stood in the midst of it all, adjusting the saddlebags upon her own steed.

He had to almost close his eyes in pain, so sensitive was the Fae in him that it was blinding at first, until they gradually adjusted.

The lad walked over to prepare the tea, and Sariyah turned as she heard their approach.  Her hair was plaited in a thick braid, hanging down between her shoulderblades. Wrapped for the most part in cream and coral silk, the line of her body now accented in a pair of soft leather jodhpurs that formed to her legs, and cinched at the ankles in kid leather boots. Such was the preferred garb of her people,
for traveling.

He found himself staring at the beauty before him and then he remembered the dream.

"Sahib Aaeron! "  She held the same enthusiasm as the boy when she waved, giving the stallion a pat to the flanks before walking through the packed snow towards him and the table where tea steamed, and fresh fruit seemed like a mirage.

He had never smiled so much and so warmly as he had been in the past day around her.  It only took a few strides to have him towering above her a moment as his gaze met hers, meeting her half way.  "It is a glorious morning it seems, a good one to start an adventure upon."

She gazed up at him, and for a moment the sun blazed behind him, casting him in halo and shadow. "A perfect morning.  And I hope you slept well?"

He kept his one hand clenched to the saddlebag otherwise it would have had a mind of its own and been found resting upon her cheek instead.  "I slept very well, that bedding is very comfortable."

She laughed softly, motioning for the lad to come near.  "Jaizen here can take the bag for you if you wish.  They are preparing the horses now."  And she
was already pouring him a cup of tea as she continued speaking. "I find that the beds of the Jai people are quite splendid for giving wonderful dreams."

He had the bag swung down and around, holding it out to the lad then as he took it.  But her voice brought his attention up real quick as her words fell to his ears.  He wasn't one prone to dreams unless there was a Druid need.

She watched after Jaizen as he took the bag, his shoulder sagging slightly under the weight of it as he scuttled the burden towards the mounts. Steam licked and curled upward into the chilled air as she held out the large pottery mug for Aaeron.  It had no handle, but rather would be held with both if sipping from a bowl instead. As her gaze lingered back up to his, her brows arched as she saw the curious gleam there.

"Mayhaps on our journey you can tell me more of this tale of the Jai beds of dreams."  His hands slid around the pottery mug touching hers for a moment before she released her hold.

"I would be glad to do so..."  She canted her head slightly, the momentary touch of his fingers capturing her complete attention, before reaching for her own mug of the strong spiced chai.  "A detail that I can tell you that the beds are filled not only with goose feathers, but with fine barley, and jasmine."

He lifted it tentatively tasting the hot brew, finding it to his liking.  Listening to her words, he was soon setting it to the table as he picked up some of the fruit, making short work of it as he did have a good appetite equivalent to his size.

"I have arranged for heartier fare to accompany us."   Her eyes sparkled with a smile before they shifted, focusing upon her steed, and his.  Decorative
reins had been added to both, shining blue and silver in the sun.  Hers stomped at the ground, his flanks quivering.  A third stallion stood near the first.   The heavy roll of their tent settled across his back, and saddlebags draped secure to his sides.

His gaze followed hers to his steed and a good hearty chuckle ensued  at Norg's uneasiness at being dressed up. He gave a clicking under his tongue before his words fell affectionately.  "You look pretty this morning, Norg."   He was rewarded immediately with an indignant snort.

She laughed, looking with mirth sidelong at him as she set the mug aside, plucking up a slice of mango.  "Norg, sahib?"

"Yes, the name is befitting him somehow like some ancient Norse god.  Primitive and strong."

"It is quite fitting..."  she observed, and reached up to lift her guttrah over her dark hair.  It did not fully conceal the long braid, but it seemed to complete the mystery of her outfit.   His words drew her gaze back to him.

She was met with those intense blue-green eyes that only showed clearly his appreciative gaze over her beauty.  He was caught.

"Mine named Khartoum.  It is a river that we shall see...when we reach the Jai.   It's power and beauty are rivaled by far as I have seen, and it is the source of life as my people know it."   But even as she spoke of the stallion, she never looked away from those ocean hued eyes.

He slightly cleared his throat or else he would have given the huskiness of his voice away. "I look forward then, to his river"

She stepped past him then, her words a quiet aside.  "It is custom to bathe within the river at sunset.   It is said if one is in the waters when the stars appear...  good blessings shall cleanse them."  And was that a lilt in her voice?  She could scarcely believe herself as she blushed so deeply.

Her words brought a flash of a vivid vision before his eyes that even startled him a  moment as he shifted in his stance.  He couldn't say anything to that.  It was something that had to be lived.  He did, however, note her blush...which only confirmed the vision that flashed.

Khartoum whuffled as Sariyah reached out with a flat palm to offer him the slice of mango she had taken.  It was a good diversion to the words that had slipped from her mouth.   A guard stepped near, and quiet words were traded.  Her chin tipped in confidence and grace, and she smiled warmly to the man as he bowed and stepped away.  Everything was ready for their departure.

He moved to Norg then as a hand swept down his neck, he in turn nudged him in the chest as if to say he forgave him for his teasing.  He produced a sugar-cube and a few tidbits of fruit he had saved.

She grasped the reins and in one graceful motion pulled herself up onto the ornate saddle.  The stallion was as sable as her eyes, and as the wintry winds whipped about her suddenly, she watched Aaeron in thoughtful silence.

Another pat after he had eaten from his hand and his foot fell to the stirrup as he was up and over in one fluid motion, settling into the saddle as reins were picked up loosely in his hands.

"A fine morning indeed." She said, and the third stallion carrying the burden of supplies obediently walked near.   The guards, as well as Jaizen, stood a few paces away, and bowed in unison to their khaleesi and her guest.

He nodded to the guards as Norg took a few prancing steps sideways, eager to go. "It is indeed a fine morning."  A hand fell to Norg's neck as he patted him, reassuringly.  "Easy old boy."

She broke into a grin at Aaeron as she lifted the face veil of the guttrah, concealing all but the quiet joy in her eyes.  She lived for adventure... and now, there was a new high to be found in the company of this man.  She clicked her tongue lightly, and gave a short trill.  Khartoum then proceeded forward...past the gathered guards, and there at the last, the presence of her advisor, Garabed. Khartoum's hide shivered, and in a heartbeat snow was flung with the power of his gallop.

He didn't even have to give a signal as Norg moved when the other did.  He was quickly galloping in pace beside Sariyah and her steed, as he settled into the movements, getting comfortable.

The tents and their brightly colored flags rippled in the wind as they disappeared in the distance behind them.  Freedom found in releasing the political cares for at least that small amount of time.

He too left the stress of ruling,in a sense, behind him.  He knew he needed to talk to  Sariyah over a business venture, for he had received more information in the interim from when he had last seen her.  But they could wait.  For that moment, it was nice just to enjoy the ride silently beside that rare beauty.

gSairyah al'Nasreenh

Date: 02-22-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 8

- Sojourn, continued -
(Compiled by AaeronBarrett and Sand and Silk, live rp)

After an hour or so he did speak, breaking the silence.  "Sariyah, I would speak to you of a mutual interest that might fulfill your coming to these lands if, I'm not mistaken."

The terrain had passed by so quickly.   The outlying cottages of the city now so sparse, that it was a surprise to see anyone at all choosing to live that far from the hub of commerce.   Khartoum now paced easily, and she drew him closer to Norg, pushing back the guttrah as she spoke.  "Ahh - I was hoping we might discuss this, sahib ... that is assuming you speak of the water trade?"

A smile touched his lips at her perceptiveness.  "That I am lass. I have talked to Rhett Shawnesey of Dunshire of Heathfield.  He has just restored his family place and decided to pick up the traditional family business, merchants. He has three ships that are being made seaworthy as we speak. I offered two more if he grows to need more. I have talked to Andrew Flayme, another member who has said he would sell such goods in his store.  He liked the idea of exotic oils and such."

Her eyes widened as she glanced over at him, and for a moment, her smile was as pure and caught off guard as a child faced with their first vision of a butterfly emerging from the cocoon.  "You...have discussed all that?   Sahib - I can hardly thank you enough!   Might I meet with these two upon our return?  I..."  and her thoughts ran wild, stealing away her words.

His chuckle was deep and wholehearted.  "When I do something I get right on it, if at all possible."

"That is the truth of it right there," she said -- laughing delightedly.  "I hope then, that a meeting with them can be arranged upon our return?  It would be beneficial to see if either have any grievances with Chancellor Hewitt - who has been a colossal thorn in my side of late."

"I'm sure they would be happy to meet with you, for I know Rhett would need to know the route and how many ships so he can plan his crews. Andrew, too would need to know the inventory and pricing. I believe Rhett has asked a lass to take care of the inventory part for him so he can concentrate on getting crews and such.

"Done and done."  Her smile was radiant as they passed through a large stand of cedars - the sunlight flickering in patterns across them both.  She shook her head slowly. "This is a tremendous aid to my people, sahib.  It negates the need for so many useless arguments with stubborn merchants...if all goes well.: She glanced over at him.  "I am indebted to your kindness."

"You will find both men adept, although Rhett has never run the business before.  But he is an intelligent man, a quiet man actually. I think it will be beneficial to all involved, and no, you won't be dealing with stubborn and mean men."

Her smile softened. "My father was a quiet man - and often told me that it was those very ones who held the keen intelligence about them."  The fiery little spark in her eyes at the mention of stubborn men was an unavoidable slip of her desert blood.  But the smile on her lips eased the edge of it...softening the defiance in his presence.

He caught that fiery look to her eyes and found he liked it in a way.

"I confess that my dealings with merchants of late have been less than ideal.  I fear my tongue has lashed out in ways that age and wisdom might frown upon."

He nodded slowly listening.  He knew well of her frustration. "You won't have to deal with such with us, as we are upfront and honest. If we don't like something we just say so, not just argue or give one a hard time. We're negotiable too. There is usually a way around anything to make it profitable for all involved. So... we have an adventure awaiting us upon our return of this one, my fair Sariyah."

Then our ideas of commerce and trade shall work seamlessly together."  She drew in a long breath of the chilled air, her voice quieting some.  "And - as forthright as you are, what happens when you...quite like something?" She did not glance his way, but kept a steady gaze on the trail ahead.

"Depends on what the circumstances are, of when I find what I like. I usually go after it Sariyah, sometimes not directly. It all depends."

It could have been the wintry air that colored her cheeks, but the way she smiled over at him would make one think twice on that source.

"If I saw a rare gem I was drawn to, I would use whatever it took to purchase it, to make it my own and put it out where all could enjoy its beauty, not on some shelf away, paranoid someone else would steal it."

"Then your confidence shines above many....sahib Aaeron.   I admire that greatly."

His own smile lit his face as his gaze met her own.  "It all depends on the gem."

The path curved then, pressing the steeds closer together, and as she rode with ease in the saddle...her eyes were held by his until she glanced away, feeling the warm burn of blush upon her cheeks.  Her smile seemed to be a permanent expression.  "Well then," she offered, clearing her throat slightly, " I shall see to it that a gift is found, worthy of your determination....Aaeron.   For the lady Shay,
and her betrothed."

He had to tear his gaze from hers for a moment to take a quick heed as to where they were:  And then his attention was drawn back to her.  "Something unique that has meaning, not even necessarily expensive, for money cannot buy some things. Something that would have meaning for a young couple just starting to face a future together."

Her slender gloved hands drew along the reins, not needing to guide the course her stallion took.  It was as if he scented the very desert in the air - and simply followed it's guide. "I believe there shall be quite a few things we shall be able to find.  The Jai has a way of yielding up gifts that hold more meaning than one could ever know."

He had full confidence she could help him in this.  "I feel I will know it when I see it too." He had a funny way about him like that.

She warmed a smile his way at that.  "That is the best way to seek something...I have found."

He let loose Norg's reins allowing him to keep pace with her steed, as Norg seemed to understand he was to follow the other at the same pace.  Sometimes it was so close that his leg brushed hers and he was well aware when that happened.

"If I have calculated correctly, we shall reach a place that we often use to set up camp before sundown.   There is a coulee which provides good shelter.   Shall we set off for it?"  There was a radiant freedom in her eyes as she looked his way, ready to release Khartoum to another gallop.

He picked up Norg's reins then at her words.  "Sounds good to me, Sariyah."

All it took was the flick of the reins, and Khartoum took to the open path.  Her body pressed down over his powerful neck, the mane whipping back and mingling against her body.  A vision of the wind itself.

And he was almost jarred back as Norg didn't need encouragement as her steed bolted so did he.

~*~ The valley floor spread out before them,
alight with the splendor of a late winter day - and the breath of spring like a haunting of
desert elysium in the very wind itself.~*~

gSairyah al'Nasreenh

Date: 02-23-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 9

The stars were brilliant within the sheltering sky, that night.   Zephyrs from far lands curled and danced unseen between the clouds and the heavens, carrying with them the scent of spices, and sage.

Sparks from a bonfire spun wildly towards that diamond studded darkness like fireflies in a midsummer dance.  The flames were in a contained uproar, crackling upon the pitchwood they consumed.  The glow of amber engulfed a wide circle, touching upon the tent that had been placed two dozen paces away.   Nearer though, sat two people.  One of golden hair now bronzed by the firelight - and one whose hands were held outward towards the warmth, henna designs painted upon them seemingly coming to life in the flickering of light and shadow. 

Their conversation was kept to an intimate quietness.  Only the occasional thread of laughter rippled through the night, raising the heads of the coyotes who perched on red rocks further along the coulee itself.  

And once the night had grown deep, ushering the two the seperate sides of the tent - words would be written in elegant script, in a journal kept by the desert woman herself.  And they would say... in certain, simplistic beauty.....


I am the spark of light off rippled water -
there for a moment, then gone past the
bend to another shoreline...quicksilver.
I am the contours of curves and
flesh slipping beneath a river's surface....
a living mosaic
suspended between sand and sky - breath held...
so alive.

Come stand by the bank, near thickets of
orange poppies...and wait for me.
Reach your hand in, and beckon me.
Sift water through your fingers and feel me.
Drink me in, and savor me..
the brief refreshment that I am...

For I will see you there, near poppies.
I will hear you, beneath waves.
And I will surface, sunlit and gleaming,
eyes blinded by your silhouette
before the sun.

I will stream into your body with a sigh
like far dunes parched by the day,
sheilded at last by falling light and rise of stars...
finding my eden at last, in the cool vast night
of your winter dreams.

gSairyah al'Nasreenh

Date: 02-26-00
Poster: Aaeron Barrett
Post # 10

* The Kiss *
(compiled from the live rp between AaeronBarrett and Sand and Silk)

She leaned forward, nearer the flames... the heat warming her as if basking in the desert sun.  She glanced sidelong at him as they sat perched upon the smooth, flat rock.

His eyes seemed to hold the light from the fire as he watched her.

"No telling ghost stories this night, Sahib." Curling a grin.

He had to chuckle then. "I'm afraid I don't remember any."

Quiet laughter, she wrapped eased the silks away from her arms - wishing to feel the heat closely upon her skin. "Good...good. "Falling into silence once more, his nearness nearly setting her to tremble. "Tell me....of where you live, Sahib?"

"Are you cold?" A brow did lift as his words fell before he had heard the question.

"I seem to always be cold, when I am not in the heart of the desert...

"I am from Eire originally, the greenest place set on this Earth, a drastic difference from your vast world of stark sand.

"Eire?" Pronouncing it with the luxury of her exotic accent. "Mmmm... I can imagine it to be quite beautiful." Did the firelight have to make him so appealing?  Each time she looked towards him, she could see it flickering deep within his gaze.

That deep blue-green gaze flickered as a genuine smile seemed to linger on his features, making him look years younger as the seriousness usually attached melted away.

She regarded that smile a moment, quite enjoying the way it eased the worry from his face.  In turn, hers warmed into an admiring expression - before reaching into the silks to remove a small silver flask.  removing the stopper - she tipped it back, sipping of the dalwhinnie scotch within.  Smokey, and heathery...just as the lands she had always dreamed of.  She held it out then, to him. "I would like to
see this Eire... someday."

A hand curled around it as he lifted it then to his lips, the Scots did make a good scotch as he too enjoyed the smokey heathery taste.

She exhaled slowly, feeling the burn within her senses. The pleasurable tingle. (s) "What are your thoughts... sahib Aaeron?" She smiled slightly, reaching to tug the leather loop from her braid.  Then, running slender fingers through that ink dark hair...she unraveled it little by little from it's plaiting.

The flask was lowered as he sat there a moment watching her. "Do you really wish to know?"

Hushed. "Yes...."

His gaze fell to a slow trek around her lovely features. "All in truth, I can't help but notice all the time, just how beautiful you are, even in my dreams you are there and when my gaze falls to your lips all I want is to feel them beneath my own."

All it took were those words to steal her very breath away. Her skin tingled as if she had sipped far more of the scotch than she actually did.. and a realization struck her. He felt for her... as she felt for him. The blush rose quickly to her cheeks, but it was hidden by the amber of the firelight.  And it was in that light that she slowly reached forth, fingertips so gently spread... until just a whisper away from touching the contour of his mouth. (s) "Is it really so...  Aaeron?

He turned to her as his gaze rested with hers, she could tell by the light in his eyes and it was one not from a reflection of the fire. "That is so Sariyah, very much so, are you disgusted and older man should feel such?"

Contact. So supple, and smooth...her touch. Just to the corner of his lips even as he spoke. Her heart raced, her pulse easily seen in the hollow of her throat where the silk had slipped away. She drew nearer... her dark almond eyes widening slightly. Where desert sensuality ran, there was a thread of newness. delicate.

Lips moved to kiss her fingertips, his own heart raced as he watched her keenly.

(s) "All I see before me, is you....Aaeron Barrett - and that is all I need to see."

She was far too intoxicating for him now as she came so close, his resolve fleeing as arms were soon encased around her drawing her near.

The fire held nothing of the heat that the feel of his embrace did, and she sank into it - the scent of jasmine rich upon her skin. She gazed up into his eyes where shadows and flames danced. (w) "I have dreamt of you, Aaeron..."

His hand slid so easily over the silk as his touch was one of respect and admiration for such beauty, yet he was a man, very much so as the back of his one hand came to brush along her cheek, his voice having become husky. "As I have dreamt of you."

She turned her head so slightly, leaning into that touch. Her eyes shutting...  and for the first time, the shyness felt of one receiving attentions so deeply longed for.

His words barely out as his hand moved to cup the nape of her neck, fingers lacing through the thick tresses as his mouth descended over hers, thoroughly, as he captured her lips making them his for the first time. So sweet and supple he found
them to be as his own played over them as in a symphony.

The taste of heathered liquor lingered in the depth of the kiss. So new, the perfect play of yielding and seeking in the kiss...her hands slid upward into that golden silver hair, her teeth so gently grazing against his lips.

*the kiss continued as passions flared for each other leaving both breathless. They both soon realized if they didn't stop where it would all lead and it wasn't time. Private words were exchanged as both got up then to move to their respective quarters instead.*

And with that, she rose...her body gliding along his, so ripe and tender..until she gazed down into his eyes. She slid the silk from around her shoulders, laced with her scent...and that of jasmine. She leaned farther, her lips to his ear, where the heat of her whisper penetrated.  As she did, she looped the silk around his shoulders gently. (w) "You have haunted me, Aaeron Barrett...."

His hand came to touch the silk but his gaze never left hers, he was mesmerized and it showed.

She turned, knowing that if she did not - they would indeed find rapture beneath the stars.  And it took all her will to walk beyond the arc of firelight, and to slip inside the tent.  But her heart was racing..and would not still the whole night through.

He watched her leave knowing he would not get much sleep this night wanting her in his arms once more. He turned then moving into his own tent quarters.

||||+|||| Aaeron Barrett ||||+||||

Date: 02-29-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 11

The transformation between night and day came with a rush of wind.  From beyond the cliff lined plateau, where the sands shifted and danced at the will of the elements, a silent call twisted through the heavens, and laced across the dreams of the two hidden away in the tent.

As the first light broke past persistent clouds, the tent was folded and packed, and the two found themselves upon their steeds once again - heading towards that exotic land.

But there was a light within black pearl eyes, with each glance stolen at Aaeron Barret.  The energy of that interlude still sparked upon her flesh, and tingled her lips each time she thought of them being touched by his.  It was as if foxfire consumed her...and the sensation was as addictive as any sampling of sweetened wine.

It was in this fashion they paced themselves, ever closer to the desert khalasar.  To that place known only as the Jai,  where the  river and the moon conspire with the sand, to bless all those adventerous enough to believe in all that is possible.

gSairyah al'Nasreenh
"The moon turns its clockwork dream."

Date: 03-02-00
Poster: Aaeron Barrett
Post # 12

He had found it hard to fall asleep that night, his mind racing over new feelings and this powerful drawing to Sariyah. It was new to him, at least in this way, he realized then he had been pretty immune to women up until now. He laid there staring up at the stars that peeked through the flap, it had become a solace, a focal point for him during this adventure. When sleep did find him he slept well, awakening to find his arms around the pillow holding it tight as if it was someone. He found he liked the idea. He was up quickly and out, having dressed in haste as they were to leave early. Amazingly he wasn't tired.
He seemed to steal a glance as she just happened to turned her look away, knowing he didn't look when she did, like hide and seek the glances played. A smile warm and bright soon found its way to touch his mouth, finding the whole situation amusing, intriguing, making his heart light as he had felt when he was a lad. He almost didn't note the scenery changing until a snort from his steed brought his attention from Sairyah. Only then did he realize how mesmerized he had become. Slightly shifting in his saddle, he straightened, almost seemingly to sit taller. He pulled up the reins bringing his stallion to a halt, just staring at the scene before him, the river could be seen from this vantage point, like a ribbon lacing through the lands, holding it together. He was left speechless for now.

||||+|||| Aaeron Barrett ||||+||||

Date: 03-03-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 13

Transition between the sagelands and the desert was as pristine as the first clean stroke of quill to cream colored parchment.  At the rise of a small hill, the view spread out before one...just as grandly as any elaborate feather fan held in the hand of a renowned courtesan.   The white sands were brilliant beneath the blazing sun - like the creamy flesh glimpse of an uncovered shoulder.  And through it all, ran a smooth blue vein - so delicate in it's curves, and promising in it's shine.  The Khartoum river... life source of the Jai.

The dunes, however, were not as sparse as one would think, as it was days deep in the desert itself.  Along the river, laced along both banks, were lush green patches that hinted at the oasis of the water's edge.   Sariyah stared in silence at the view before them both, and her smile was touched with a sense of freedom only those who have slept with the warmth of those very sands against their backs - and the endlessness of stars above as a canopy. 
This was home, and in all it's simple radiance, it was embraced.

She nudged her steed closer to Aaeron's. She leaned over slightly, pointing out toward the first sharp bend in the river.  She truly did not need to direct his attention there, for it would only take a glance for him to see the tents that studded the sands , surrounding a main yurt that was grand to see, even at a distance.  Silk flags colored with emerald and cerulean drifted lazily in the breeze upon the tent poles.  There was order to the network
of tents that made one think of the spokes on a wheel.  The main tent, circled by others, and yet again more.  An impressive collection of dwellings, for a mighty force created of proud heritage. 

As for  location - the dunes themselves shifted and changed with the whimsy of the winds.  One day's tactical advantage of a high hill could be the next day's downfall as it sank into the desert.  Just as the swell of ocean waves, these grains of sand slipped and whispered to an ebb and flow all their own.   And so it was that the tribe Al'Nasreen had found themselves a fortification to envy.  The fertile ground so close to the bend in the river also
harbored a volcanic bed of rock uncovered from countless years of the water flowing near.   It held secrets...and those things remained concealed within her black pearl gaze as she looked down into the heart of the desert, at her people.

gSairyah al'Nasreenh
"The moon turns its clockwork dream."

Date: 03-03-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 14

::In pen and ink - the night prior:::

He is so near, that I can hear him breathing.  Each rise and fall of breath guides me to my own, and I find myself being lulled by the rhythm.  As if somehow, somewhere...I have felt it before.

So strange, as I sit and write this....trusting that my hand knows the sculpt of these words though I cannot see the page for the darkness of the night.   He will soon meet the al'Nasreens.  And they shall soon meet him.

I wonder....what my brother shall say?  There will be no concealing what is surely in my eyes, for Aaeron Barrett.  I have no doubts that my brother shall find it a shock, to see the spark of desire where I have shielded myself from it for so long.

And what, most importantly...shall Aaeron think?   I do not believe I have ever felt such anticipation toward introducing someone to the ways of the desert, as I feel towards giving Aaeron a glimpse of

The kiss haunts me.  

He sleeps so near.

If I were to press my hand to the canvas that seperates us for the night, I believe I would feel the heat of his body pressed against it.

Do I dare?  

I believe I dare a great many things....when it comes to this man of golden hair.

gSairyah al'Nasreenh
"The moon turns its clockwork dream."

Date: 03-05-00
Poster: Aaeron Barrett
Post # 15

"The al Nasreen"
(Complied live RP between Sand and Silk and Aaeron Barrett)

Her hand dropped to smooth along her steed's neck, her smile lingering as she stared down at the sight before them. (s) "There it is...sahib."

His own stallion pawed at the ground, snorting as his gaze fell over the sight before them. It was indeed colorful, standing out against the starkness of the sands. "Sariyah, I have a question about your people, I'm sure will be one of many."

She glanced his way, framed by the white sands behind her. It seemed as if she were meant for the brilliance of sunlight, as well as the tender glow of flame. Her smile softened. "What would you ask, sahib Aaeron?"

That green-blue gaze came to rest upon the lovely visage she presented bringing a smile to his lips. "How do your people greet each other? It is our custom to shake hands but I have on occasion offered such to strangers visiting us and they looked at it confused."

"Ahh yes...and there is good reason they would look so."  Her laughter was delicate, and she shifted slightly in the saddle to face him. "Upon meeting one, place your hands so - as you would for prayer." And she modeled it, her slim hands lifting up between the line of her breasts." And then, do bow slightly, without moving your hands, so that your lips come to press upon the tips of your own fingers. With common people - do not look away from their eyes. With royalty.. you would drop your gaze with respect."

His own hand ran down the neck of his stallion as his gaze never left her as he listened. That brought a glint to his eyes, he usually steepled his fingers beneath his chin when thinking, an old habit formed long ago. "And if your royalty yourself you still drop your gaze?" He might as well find out all aspects while he was at it.

Her smile deepened a fraction.  "If you are royalty yourself, sahib Aaeron... you would announce such with a small motion made prior to the bow.  One brush of the fingers to brow, to chin, before placing your hands as I showed you.  And you would lower your eyes.  Both that one who sees that you are royalty, shall then give you a similar greeting of respect." She canted her head slightly. "You have seen me do this, I believe."  And she did draw her fingers to brow and chin, though they lifted and touch upon her lips before she bowed.  Her eyes sparkled.

He thought on that a moment, he had never used a title, but in essence he was a prince, foregoing becoming King after his brother's death. "I would surmise, if you were royalty and didn't say such, and they found out later, they would not be pleased?"

"It would be something of an insult, were they to find out...sahib."  Pausing then, her eyes studied his.  A question without speaking.

He nodded slowly, what he had figured and actually understood. These people didn't hide things as many did in his own lands mainly for reasons that might not exist here. His own gaze came to rest upon her own once more. "I never told you what I'm considered title wise?"

"I do not believe so, sahib Aaeron..."

"Well, I think you should know before others of your own people do. It was not by purpose emission but more I never really used the title. In essence I am a Prince."

She considered that in a moment of silence, turning to look back out to the vast stretch of sand before them.  Her smile still gentled her face, as she drew a breath, fingers weaving through the mane of Khartoum.

"I am Queen Honeee's uncle, brother of her father."

Brows arched gently, and she glanced back into blue greens.

He studied her, waiting for some negative reaction that so many gave to a royal title in his own lands.

"I would have guessed that you had kingly blood within you, Aaeron.  You hold yourself in a way that most men cannot aspire to." Her smile was renewed, and genuine.  "I hope I have not broken etiquette in my behavior then, with a Prince?"  Her lips pressed in a delicate, teasing way.

There was a visible relief at her words, he detected no trace of a negative reaction. "Not at all Sariyah." He couldn't help the smile that had the tendency to make him look young again at her words. "I've no complaint whatsoever on your behavior, I've only enjoyed it tremendously."

She leaned to the side a bit more then, one hand to the pommel of the saddle to steady herself.  Bringing her close enough to him to where her lips dared brush, if not completely pressed, upon his.  And she whispered, "And so it is that you have pleased a Princess highly, Aaeron Barrett."  Her laughter lilted as smooth as incense, fingers lifted to trace his jawline.

He slid the reins into one hand as she drew close, the other lifted to graze over her hair, his own lips brushed as they soon turned into a smile at her words, his voice finding a bit of the huskiness when she was so near. "And so we are even then Sariyah, and I hope I haven't acted inappropriately then either." His intense gaze now locked with hers, she could see how her presence darkened the hues of blue-greens.

She held that gaze steady, feeling each pulse of heart as if it were entwined with his to make it's strength doublefold.  She tasted of his lower lip with a slow, lingering kiss.  Even in the light of day, this man was as intoxicating as scotch beneath moonlight.  "I hope you continue down the path you have set, in your actions...Aaeron.  I find that quite... appropriate."

He knew then, she was intoxicating for him or some kind of spell seemed woven that he could not resist as he had resisted so many in his lifetime thus far. His hand slid to the nape of her neck as his horse drew just a bit nearer and he captured her lips in that moment, claiming them once more in that ever so tender kiss before parting. His voice fell quietly, so near, he felt drugged now, surely she could tell the effect she had on him. "As I hope you continue your own with me, lovely Sariyah."

There was the sudden rush of warmth, and pulse, and realization at that kiss. Her eyes opened, gleaming.  Reflecting the sands...the sky.... and dual suns which burned deep within.  Her smile was radiant at his words, and she nodded.  The winds having teased black strands of her hair from the guttrah she wore, which now framed her face as they spoke.

He paused a moment as he added then, liking the way it fell from his lips. "Princess Sariyah" And she was indeed of royal blood in the way she moved and conducted herself.

"Prince Aaeron, I shall continue on down that path.  Nothing else I would rather do."

Her beauty had him only stunned once more, he felt like a lad bedazzled as he felt like he was staring, and he was!

She tipped her head back with a laugh as lilting and full of life as any her people ever uttered.  She was so alive, and he made her feel every tingling moment of it.  Beaming like a young girl receiving her first flower...she tapped the reins of her steed.  "Then follow me, my Prince... to a land full of dreams and possibilities."

He got hold of his composure as he too felt alive, straightening in the saddle but that smile lingered. "I think I could follow you anywhere, Sariyah." His words came low almost purred, so unlike this once stoic man. She was changing him and rather quickly.

Her stallion stamped where she held him, turning and snorting to return to the sands that he knew.  She stayed atop, slightly lifted above her saddle to keep a smoothness where he reared.  She held Aaeron's gaze, her smile reflecting everything she felt.  And everything she promised this man, in a dusky black pearl gaze.  And then Khartoum dug into the sand, kicking it high as he raced down the dune towards the tent city of al'Nasreen.

He met her gaze and delved there, his own mirrored in passions yet to discover. His steed kicked up as hers did, so eager to be moving once more even if the sand beneath his hoof was different, he was moving.

As they raced along the sands, something raised up against the backdrop of the sky.  At first glance, it would startle the unwary, and then it would do nothing but impress.  Sariyah remembered the moment it was erected, when she was but a child.  Her father had been so proud.  There, at the entrance of the tent city, two mammoth stallions carved of stone raised up, hooves clashed in battle.  While the sands deemed no true road, this was most certainly the entrance.  The shadows cut across the sand as her stallion raced beneath, the guards stationed there whipping around at their post to spy their Khaleesi who had been gone so long.  They would recognize her anywhere.

A brow rose as the mammoth stallions came into view, he had an appreciation for art and these were masterpieces, he would have to ask her about them later. A quick glance to the guards as they seemed to fly beneath the stone structures, pleased it was guarded, it meant they were organized.

~ To Be Continued ~

||||+|||| Aaeron Barrett ||||+||||

Date: 03-07-00
Poster: Sand and Silk
Post # 16

- continued -
(From the live rp between AaeronBarret and Sand and Silk)

The rest of the path itself suddenly became lined with several children, and a few who were older.  Running, laughing, unable to keep up with the stallion's speed - and so Sariyah finally drew Khartoum in slowly, smiling down at the young faces lit up with fine, white teeth, and sunbrowned skin.  They waved,knowing no fear of the stranger behind.   They had no reason to.

A smile touched his lips at seeing now some of her people. It was then he wondered how he would be received amongst them. He could never be but himself and some could have  a problem with that while others didn't.

She flashed her smile back at Aaeron as they progressed past the tents, weaving along the sand where the breeze from the nearby river brushed temptingly by with a hint of coolness.  The children laughed and danced like little marionettes at the pale haired stranger, vying for his attention as they matched step with the horses.

He gave a wave to the children as his own steed was drawn to a slower trot.He had always liked children even if he never had any of his own.

Guards now flanked the streets as well, their gleaming bald heads covered with similar guttrahs that Sariyah herself wore.  The cloth drawn across their faces, their eyes studying the two as they passed.  But some waved, a few of the elders, who knew the spirited young Khaleesi... and they whispered bets as she passed by.

He had never seen guards with veils but he knew not to stare, so it was noted and filed away as another question to ask Sariyah later. He gave a respective nod in a greeting to some of the elders as they passed upon seeing them wave. The children were a delight to watch and he noted more similarities between them and the ones of his own lands, a common thread.

The guards wore the thick linen face wraps, while a few of the woman who now peeked out from their tents wore a simple, gauzy veil.  The sound of voices now lingered about.  It would seem they had a small parade following their pack horse as Sariyah lead them through the heart of the tents, to the palatial yurt in the midst of it all.

He wondered if they might feel the urge to stare at him, golden hair did stand out gleaming in the sunlight and there were no veils covering his face.

So quick, as children always were, one of the young boys had a yellow length of silk nabbed from what could only be his younger sister.  He wrapped it around his head and pranced as his sister trailed afterward, squalling and trying to yank back her silk.     Sariyah laughed gently, then lead the procession towards the grouping of guards now positioned in front of the royal tent.  They all held their curved scimitars in salute.

His own laughter mingled with hers almost in harmony as he too caught the antics of an older brother, some things never changed. His gaze then left the children to rest on the guards. Habitually his features took on a stoic expression until he knew what he dealt with. Impassive always worked best in untried situations.

One guard stepped forth.  His eyes were dark coal against the white which wrapped both face and head.   While the hum of the crowd that had followed them softened to a hush, the guard lifted his voice as he bowed swiftly before the two.  The others drew their scimitars down, held crossways over their chests.  "Khaleesi! The al'Nasreen welcome you back.  The Khal has been awaiting you.  And..your guest."

He sat just a bit taller as he quietly watched.

Sariyah drew the guttrah from her head, letting her hair flow freely as she glanced to Aaeron  and smiled with a nod to him.   Dismounting smoothly, feet finding the welcoming sink of sand, she greeted the guard just as she had shown Aaeron - her eyes meeting the guard's.  "I have no doubts my  brother has planned far too many festivities with my return, as it is only a short one.  And indeed my guest.  Prince Aaeron Barrett."

He slid from Norg fluidly as he soon came to stand by Sariyah. He stood tall but he soon made the gesture in greeting she had shown him, not too badly, yet not as easily as she had.

She would let her grin blossom fully at the attempted gesture when they were in private.  For now, she hid it as best she could, chin lifted as she straightened, as the guard lowered his eyes and bowed before Aaeron.  And then his steps took him back to the ranks as there was a palpable silence now, amidst the crowd.  Sariyah lifted her gaze, and there - on the threshold of the tent's large flap, stood her brother.   His wraps were of red sandsilk, his thick black hair pulled back in a tight braid.  His features did not go hidden as the rest.  Sharply sculpted in rich brown flesh, his eyes were as piercing as morning stars.  He lifted one hand in beckoning to them both.

He stole a glance to Sariyah, wondering how he did for his first try. His gaze then followed hers to the man standing before the tent.

"He is a peacock.  But a worthy King."  She whispered to Aaeron, as only a sister could do, for a brother in such position.  A guilty little blush came even as she turned to walk to him.  Her words may have been playful, but her stance was as regal as any queen.  She gazed into her brother's eyes before greeting him.  "My Khal.... you give us a great honor of meeting us out beneath the sun."

He noted the way the man stood, and his eyes told him volumes. Instant respect even if it turned out they had a personality conflict, the respect was there. He hid the smile at her words, so no indication could be gathered from his expression. He was Druid trained and a lot of that training was mind discipline, maybe why he was so successful.  He moved with her but stood just off to her side and a pace back letting her greet her brother and until he was introduced.

"For you, little Sariyah... I would offer nothing less." His voice was filled with warmth as he reached out, and touched her chin so that she might straighten where she stood.  He held it then, in a gentle brace as he turned her face side to side in something close to inspection.  "You have a great many things to discuss with me."   And the tone was kind, though unwavering.  Touched with a bit of mystery as he dropped his hand, and turned his attentions toward Aaeron. 

"This..." Sariyah spoke, "Is Prince Aaeron Barrett of Heathfield."

 When the attention was turned to him, he gave the greeting as Sariyah taught him, even with the lowering of his gaze, which he had to get use to, the rest came easily.

The Khal noted the greeting, and respect given in it.  His sister was skilled in teaching such things.  And it did please him.  He, in turn,  bowed slightly from the waist, his eyes lowered in respect. There was no need to touch his brow and chin.  His royalty was obvious.  "I am the one honored then, to meet you.   It is rare that the Khaleesi brings guests back.  If ever, actually."   And a musing tone was given as he glanced at his sister.  He had relaxed now, as the exchange had gone flawlessly.

Figuring he could lift his gaze now, he did so. The respect had been given, and his own strength of character and leadership could be seen in his eyes, it was something that lingered in one's soul as if born there. His accent would give him away, a rich Irish brogue as he spoke. "I am very honored not only to have met your sister but to be brought here. (q) I understand the significance. I'm honored to meet you."

The Khal smiled then. It was confident, assured, and as welcoming as his sisters.  He stepped to the side, and offered her the first entry into the main tent...listening to Aaeron as he spoke. Dark brows arched just slightly at the man's words, but it deepened the Khal's appreciative smile.   "Then you will forgive if I dote upon her while you are both here.  She seems to stay away far too often, and plans to make this a short visit as it is.  You are in search of something special, are you not?"  And he ushered them into the coolness of the tent, leaving the crowd outside to raise in murmuring.

His own usual guards were let down a bit as he chuckled. "I would expect such of a brother who cares for his sister."

The Khal flashed a smile.  "She demands nothing less."  A rich, velvety chuckle ensued.  A lion's growl over smooth stones.

He nodded with his words as his gaze fell over his surroundings as they entered the tent.

If paradise could be found in the confines of canvas walls, this would be it.  The floors consisted of hard packed sand - to the point where one would believe them to be stone if not carefully inspected. Rich woven rugs scattered everywhere, through palm fronds, large pillows, vessels of gold, and incense smoke raising to the high tent canopy. Water trickled,  somewhere...a sound so out of place in the midst of it all. And so many other secrets were concealed behind the lush plants which grew as if magic. There was even a bird which flew near, brilliantly colored in crimson. 

"Since I have met Sariyah, I have been introduced some to your culture and find it intriguing.  Friends of mine have married and I thought it would be a unique wedding gift to give them something of your culture that held meaning, not so much cost as being the focal point."

The Khal nodded, thoughtful as he  lead them towards the cushions.  A snap of fingers brought a young woman  from the shadows.  Her body clad in purest white linen.   She brought refreshment, and lingered in the midst of them as they settled.  "I believe we can help you a great deal where that is concerned." Said the Khal.  "There are a number of things which are unique to the ceremony of union...which are given as gifts, here."

He was taking in every detail, more questions to be asked later. If she was allowed to answer them. As was his habit all was filed away as he listened and looked about, following them to the cushions.

Sariyah disappeared a moment, with another one of the young women who had appeared as if from nowhere.  She glanced back at Aaeron with a reassuring smile before leaving his view.  

"And it is certainly an honor for you to seek a gift from our people.  Tell me, who are these ones who have found delight in eachother, that you give them such a gift?  They must mean a great deal to you."  The Khal found a large azure cushion to sink down upon, motioning the girl towards Aaeron, even as she inspected him with fleeting, shy glances.  She offered a shallow bowl of water for him to cleanse the dust of travel from his face and hands.

He rinsed off his face and the back of his neck, enjoying the cool reprieve from the heat they had just been in. His gaze noted Sariyah leave then moved back to the Khal. "Lord Maurice is not actually related but in a way the bond between us is strong as a fellow Druid.  The man has helped my niece a lot in supporting her rule of the kingdom of Heathfield."

Khal Majid nodded slowly, accepting a silver cup of sweetened tea from the girl. She offered the same to Aaeron, the soft scent of orange blossoms drifting from her skin.   "There are times when those who are not related by blood become closer than any who have called us Brother.  I shall see to it that you have a selection of things to inspect, then.  Brought here, unless you would wish to visit the plaza?  I know your time is short."

He took the tea as a slight smile in thanks was offered the lass. He could smell the orange flavoring to it, giving it a "wake up" kind of call to it's scent. He thought on that a moment. "If Sariyah feels I should see the plaza itself, I will leave that up to her discretion. I trust her in this adventure. My time is short but not so short as to miss something that might be important in learning a bit more of your culture." He took on a more political tone, yet thoughtful unlike most politicians. "Two different cultures have more to benefit from opening up to each other than closing their minds instead because of the differences."

A thoughtful spark lit Majid's eyes as he nodded over his cup of cold tea.  Impressed with the man's reasoning, he offered a smile.  "True.  Well then I shall leave it up to the Khaleesi to give you a taste of these things as she see's fit.  She has been ambassador and emissary long enough to be quite skilled in these things."

"I find your confidence so reassuring, my Khal."  Her voice lilted as she stepped out from the shadows.  Humor laced there.  Her hair was brushed from the trip, and she was wrapped in a clean blue sari.  Shoulder bared on the left side, the rest concealed as demurely as such a wrap would allow.

"Mayhaps why we get along so well. As you might of guess I have power and authority in my own lands. But a good ruler doesn't abuse them, but uses them to improve the circumstances for all."
"I quite agree" he said.  "There are those of the desert who would feel quite otherwise, but I assure you... we are quite different from the ones you would meet elsewhere."

"As in my country too." Yes, he understood quite well, and why being harsh at times had to be. His gaze riveted up as he heard her voice, he would be able to pick out her voice in a crowd now, so attuned he was becoming to her. "Sariyah..." He set the tea aside as he stood, instinctively from his own culture, not know if it was proper in theirs or not.

Whether it was appropriate in this culture or not...her smile echoed her appreciation for the courtesy.  She approached, the scent of jasmine so light upon her skin.  She too had found the cooling water refreshing from the trip, and she reached out to touch Aaeron's arm before she knelt upon the cushions.  "I would regret it if I were not able to show the plaza to Aaeron.  So many of the people work diligently at creating their things.  I always wish to encourage them where I can."

Her touch brought a smile to his lips. If her brother was watching he would see then without question for he was unable to hide it in that moment. He sat then again as she kneeled.

- to be continued -

Sairyah al'Nasreenh

"The moon turns its clockwork dream."

Date: 03-09-00
Poster: Aaeron Barrett
Post # 17

(continued live rp: AaeronBarrett, Sand and Silk)

The Khal, observant as a peregrine, saw the touch.  And the smiles which ensued.  If he hid the reaction outwardly, there was a distinct melancholy pang inwardly.  There had been so many to seek his sister's hand, and she had stood proud and firm against them, as so many others would yield.  It left him off guard for such a moment as this.

It was unlike Aaeron to "mess up" by showing any emotion but Sariyah did have a spell on him as rich as any Druid could weave.

"The people have always appreciated your kindness, Sariyah. Then you know you may visit them as much as you wish.  I ask only one thing of you both..." The Khal paused.  His chin lifted, the thick braid trailing along his muscled arm.

His gaze seemed to tear from Sariyah to her brother at his request, waiting patiently.

She arched a brow, feeling the urge to reach out again and rest her hand somewhere upon Aaeron's arm. But she resisted, though the difficulty of it was palpable.

The Khal broke into a broad grin, chuckling.  "I have already planned a feast.  Please do not fail to attend, or I shall have to enjoy it all myself."

She shook her head, laughing as she glanced sidelong at Aaeron.

His own eyes lit up on the request. "A feast is not something I would miss!"

Her grin was full as she laughed, reaching for a cup of chilled tea.  "Then a feast it is.  A grand one to be sure, if I know my brother at all."

"Especially to taste the fare of another culture."

The Khal scoffed a laugh.  "We shall have every taste you can imagine of the desert.  I shall leave it up to Sariyah to make sure you sample it all."  And he stood, perhaps hiding his expression.  He had not meant that to sound quite like it did, but he was of the same blood as she, and could not help a bit of teasing now and then.

He couldn't help the wink sent to Sariyah then. "I will need to fast for a day then."

"I have the distinct feeling that I am up against two walls here, and not just one."  She laughed as she winked back.  "Brother-mine, have the quarters I requested been arranged?"

At first he didn't noticed the double meaning, maybe because this area was so new to him. Had it been a political one he would have caught it right away. So subtle the comment, he wasn't even sure. He stood then also feeling he should.

The Khal nodded as he glanced back at them, his smile warm. His eyes showing the affection he had for her, as well as the age which responsibility brought on, wished for or not.  "Ahh, dear Sariyah.  If you feel as if you are being teased by both sides - I think you should trust your instincts." And he chuckled heartily, nodding as he glanced beyond her, at Aaeron.  "After I right in saying she does have a certain draw that way?  Can't be helped, that is for certain." "And yes... the quarters are ready."  As an afterthought.

(q) "Very" He couldn't deny it, he of all men, knew the draw all to well now.

She stood then, by Aaeron's side, her laughter soft.  "Very well, my Khal.  We shall be in attendance this eve."  And she lifted her eyes as she watched her brother stride from the room.

His respect for the man grew in that short time. But one well trained as him in this area instinctively knew a good man when they met one.

"Well then.  Now you have seen my brother.  Majid, is his name...though if you wish to call him something, Khal Majid is the most appropriate."  She smiled then, letting the lessons in etiquette slide away as a spark of excitement filled her eyes.  "Would you care to see where you shall be staying while we are here?"

He nodded as a smile came to touch his lips once more, his gaze back upon her. "Thank you for letting me know that."

"You are quite welcome...Aaeron."  Her smile lingered.  She could not help but feel the attraction wherever they were.

"Yes, of course." He offered her his arm, but it would really be her escorting.

She laced her arm through his, and reached with the other hand to rest atop it.  So close, his warmth could be felt, and that was the most delicious thing of all.  She lead him off beyond the palms, towards the sound of trickling water.  "And there is something else we must keep in mind as well, before this trip is through."

It was amazing the effect she had on him from a mere touch as this. A stride ensured that kept up with hers, allowing her to lead. Keen ears had picked up the sound of water long ago, but now it was becoming louder as his attention was drawn back to this fact.

"The moon shall be full, and a starlight swim in the Khartoum awaits us."  She said it so quietly, almost she lead him, that the silkiness of her voice was nearly hidden.  But not altogether absent.

He could hardly believe his ears but the smile was bright that came of her words. "Yes, something I would not want to miss over anything else."

She glanced at him, her almond eyes sparkling.

He held a bit of a devilish glint as his gaze met hers, and was that a bit of challenge in those blue-green eyes, most certainly.

A challenge accepted.  Her smile curved temptingly as she guided him towards their quarters.

||||+|||| Aaeron Barrett ||||+||||

Date: 03-12-00
Poster: Aaeron Barrett
Post # 18

(continued live rp between AaeronBarrett and Sand and Silk - the next morning)

He had just finished freshening up when he heard a clearing of a throat, rather young at that as it drew his gaze to the tent flap of his quarters. Toweling off his face as he gestured for the lad to enter, upon which he held out a note, sealed in Sariyah's hand. He took the missive as he broke the seal reading the words in that flowing script of hers, noting the lad lingered as he realized soon why. He was to meet her at the bend of the river and the lad would show him exactly where. He folded it up as he tucked it away in his bag. He took up a towel and a clean change of clothes, folding them neatly away in a smaller type tote bag that was now swung over his shoulder as he followed the lad out. The evening air had taken away the more intense heat the day had held, yet one could tell the sands still hadn't forgotten the heat, would could not go without sandals or boots even without risking
burning their feet, at least for his race, born to colder climates.

By a grove of palms that seemed to rise up from the sands like the long fabled mirages, the bend in the river glittered in the short distance.

He had found he wasn't bad in a dry heat as the desert offered, so he wasn't suffering too much in these lands, his thoughts now going to the woman that awaited him as he followed the boy in a leisurely stride.

The natural susurration of water soothed the fading light of sunset.  Sariyah stood facing the water, her body wrapped in an azure silk shot through with golden thread.  It clung to her form in a way that accented the flare of hips, and slimness of waist.  The silk was raised, covering her head, her face, leaving only the tempt of her feet, nearly bare with the clever craft of sandals of one winding strap.

When they reached the spot where she stood, the lad took of quietly as if he had never been there. He hadn't notice for his eye were trained on Sariyah, glued there as the setting sun only intensified her beauty. He had donned a loose fitting cotton shirt that was left open quite a bit, it offered the cooling of his skin which had bronzed to a fair degree in the past few days, offsetting his blond hair even more and the blue-green's of his eyes. He stood there mesmerized as thumbs hooked into his belt, the words just came of their own volition. "Your beautiful Sariyah, has anyone ever told you that?"

She had heard them approach.  Her years raised in the desert gifted her with the ability to tell the shifting of sand, when it differed from all else. But when he spoke, she was no less prepared for it.  Her arms spread slowly open, as if she were going to reach for the last glimpse of the setting sun.  And as she did, the azure veil spread with her - creating the illusion of wings of silk. Her silhouette captured there against it, before she let the outer scarf slip away, revealing her bare back, crisscrossed with a thin weaving of the same silk.  She turned then, to face him...her lips parting to see him bronzed by the setting sun.

He watched her as the words now that fell from his lips came but a whisper. "My desert butterfly"

She reached out one hand, so delicately touched by the henna which spun it's beauty on her flesh.  "All that matters is that I have heard it from you, Aaeron Barrett...."

That brought a warm rich smile to touch his features, shining in the now bluest of eyes. He wondered if she had ever seen a butterfly, especially the one aptly named the Monarch.

His smile was addicting.  One curved her lips at that moment as well, and she may as well have had a myriad of butterfly wings within her body, in her bloodstream, for the way she felt at that moment...facing him.

He took the few steps between them as he ran the back of his hand to her cheek. She could see it in his eyes, the unspoken words of such a great attraction he had for her - like steel to a magnet.

As others would perhaps turn their cheek in shyness, or glance away with timid blush, she held his gaze with dusky grace... searching the depths in the last remnants of sunset.  She reached up as well, and rested her hand to the center of his chest, so lightly.  Her voice whispered above the sound of the current behind them. "These are the waters, Aaeron.  I have long waited to show you...though I never knew it."

He could feel the warmth of her hand on his bared chest, like an electrical current shot through him. His resolve melted away in the depths of her dark eyes and in that moment he knew he was hers. He could feel the magic of waters behind him but the real magic was right here before him. Arms fell to draw him to her as one slid about her waist and the other came to tip her chin to him, his lips touching hers as if asking permission as the warmth of his breath caressed.

All yielded in that first touch of his lips.  For she slid her hand upward to ease behind his head, guiding him fully into the kiss.  There was nothing to deny, now.  Her attraction had gone deeper, slid into her core as sunlight seeps fathoms into the sand...and now she was his.  Her sweet almond kiss telling him so, even as she took a step backward, towards the water.

His lips came to mold perfectly to hers as he imbibed in the sweet intoxication they held, filling his soul with the most wonderful of feelings he had ever encountered in his lifespan thus far. He followed without even realizing it for her lips were all he knew right now.

"Aaeron..." she murmured, so delicately tracing his lips with her own.  The word came without thought.  She merely had to speak it.  To say the name that echoed endlessly in her thoughts and dreams.  The cool water now lapped at her heels, across the thin straps of her sandals where they stood.

His lips barely parted as his words fell against them. "Yes, sweet Sariyah?" Surely she could feel the heightened beat of his heart as it pounded beneath her hand.

"I've told the moon and stars that I love you.  If I told you now...would you hear it?"  Her dark sable eyes glittered with the deepened hues of the evening sky.  The first stars coming out to witness what happened in the dunes below.

His words fell in the deepest of tenors, full of passions he had never known before falling almost alien to his own ears. "I would not only hear it my sweet Sariyah, my own words would intermingle and echo with your own, for I know I love you and have now for some time."

The race of her pulse matched his beat for beat, as she stared into blue-greens, her breath broken into a small gasp.  And then she tipped her head to kiss him once more, as if to taste the very words from his lips, murmuring a mantra of passion against him. "Then I do love you, my Prince....I do...I have...I will."

He drew her completely against him as she could feel the muscular structure of his body. One hand had fallen to the small of her back holding her there as his lips played over hers at first in a gentle song that rose to a passionate tempo before too long, a searing kiss.

Her hands traced a pattern she had only dreamed, as she slid back the soft cotton that he wore.  She had often imagined how warm a man's flesh would be...but had not thought it to rival the sun in it's radiance.  She freed his shoulders, as they kissed...and pressed so tightly to him that she could feel each breath battling against his ribcage.

Muscles were well tone and the strength could be felt beneath soft skin to the touch that laid taut over them.

The slim clasp that held the remaining silk shift upon her, had moved in the intensity of their embrace.  It now fell from her shoulder, pinned by the bend in her arm.

His lips had moved from hers as they now played over her cheeks, her nose, her forehead then down to her neck as his own words fell in the soft kisses he trailed "my sweet, lovely desert flower, beautiful soul full of passions of colors untold". She was an intoxication to him and he was fully under her spell, willingly.

*The magic of the waters were soon felt as it was the moonlight that got to witness the beauty that unfolded that night, upon those banks when two became one and the love that blossomed into full bloom.*

(to be continued)

||||+|||| Aaeron Barrett ||||+||||

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