This year I’m doing two novellas for NaNo instead of one full length novels. Both are part of my Beowulf Hollow Series. So, again, I present to you the first 1667 words or so of the rough draft of Tangled in Time.
Aiyanna sat in front of her mother Yepa. For as long as she could remember, the ritual of braiding her long blonde locks began anew every seven days. Not in her many years upon the earth has her mother taken a knife to shorten hair. Intricate braids aided in the distribution of the weighty mass of curls.
“Awwa. Can we not cut some of my hair? It would make a fine rope.”
“My child, your hair shines like the sun. I fear cutting it shall make the heavens fall and the skies weep for days.”
Aiyanna watched the embers from the fire glow. A few spiraled, dancing before her eyes among the smoke. The paintings on the wall had been her creation with the guidance of her mother chronicling their journey from the south to their place in the mountains. Their travels had been hard and fierce warriors along the way nearly ended her life. Had it not been for Yepa, she would have perished but that did not come without sacrifice. Her mother had been cast out by her people for protecting a fair skinned, fair haired offspring of the invaders from across the sea.
Who those people were to Aiyanna was but a distant memory. Sometimes the nightmares would take her but Yepa would guide her out of the darkness each night.
“Tell me where I come from.”
“Life is not about looking behind us but seeing the journey ahead, Aiyanna.” Yepa let the last braid fall across Aiyanna’s shoulders. “Your destiny lies on a different path.”
“You have lost so much because of me. Why?”
“It was not your time. Enough talk. We must harvest from the forest. Make sure you gather some Hen of the Woods.”
Aiyanna spun around, a smile on her face. “Knoton will be visiting?”
Yepa laughed as she grabbed her walking stick. “Get to your task and you will see.”
Basket in hand, Aiyanna wandered out of the cave. A few deer grazed, nibbling the tender bits of a bush. Their ears twitched but they didn’t bolt from her presence. Oak trees were plenty around the cave but she ventured further out. The weather was warming and she wanted to enjoy the day. Too many months in hidden away had made her edgy. Isolation away from the others who lived in the area dampened her spirits.
Recently the tribe who lived on the other side of the valley had made contact with Yepa. Her mother had ordered her to stay out of sight but Knoton had found her. He marveled at her light skin compared to his darker tones. She implored him to not tell the others of her existence. A week later, he had returned on his own with dried deer meat. She’d been head over heels for him ever since.
She took out her knife as she came to the first clump of Hen in the Woods. A twig snapped and she froze. Crawling under a yew, she flattened herself to the ground. She pulled up the doeskin hood on her dress to hide her hair.
“Does my golden bird fly away?”
Her heart fluttered. Knoton. She shimmied from underneath the bush. Dressed for the cool temperatures, he strode toward her.
“I heard you.” She smiled.
“I did not want to alarm you.”
She sliced the Hen in the Woods off the trunk of the oak. “Awwa told me you were coming.” She placed the mushroom in her basket.
“And you prepare a feast for me?”
“I have brought my share.” He patted the rabbits hanging from his hip. She dropped her basket, unable to contain her delight at seeing him. Her arms wrapped around his neck. He kissed her, tentatively.
“It is cold, Golden Hair.” He tasted her lips again.
“I am warm in your arms.” She tangled her fingers in the strings holding his deerskins around his waist. One tug and she had access.
“Golden Hair, Yepa will see.” He made no move to stop her.
“We are far from the cave and she is preparing while I gather.” Her hand burrowed into the opening she created. His thick shaft rested easily in her palm. Never had she been so bold. One stroke and he stiffened.
Their lips met again, tongues intertwining. She stroked his cock and his hand massaged her breast through her doeskin. Last fall, he had taken her maidenhead among the leaves near the top of the mountain. The thin air had heightened the experience for her. His tenderness in guiding her through her first time had her want him even more. She wanted him to enter her again, the winter far too long of a wait to join with him again.
“Take me, Knoton.” She jerked his length, his hips moving in rhythm.
“Yepa would cast me away if I fill you with child before seeking council.” His warning had no merit as his hands yanked her dress up to her waist. Cold air hit her exposed buttocks, her leggings open.
“Spill your seed to the winds as before.” She stopped her stroking and lowered herself to the ground. Knoton settled between her legs. His fat head eased into her wet opening. Each thrust was met by her hips. She gazed up at her warrior, the man she wanted to be with until the ends of the earth. His love for her sparkled in his eyes with each deep plunge into her sex. She wanted his seed to spill in her, to fill her belly with their first child but their union had to be blessed.
They would never allow her to be with him. She matched his rhythm, quickening his movements. She stroked his chin and he kissed her, deeply madly. Her legs trembled as he increased his pace. His rough mouth against hers spoke of the same desperate ache. She prayed he would forget but as his moans grew, he pulled away from her. He bent, jerking his cock as his seed splattered to the ground.
“I am sorry, Golden Hair.” He gasped. “I almost did not.” His chest heaved as he tried to catch his breath.
“Would that have been so bad?” She covered her bare skin.
“I want to be with you. To see your belly swell with strong sons and daughters but my father will not allow us to be together.” He helped her off the ground. “He doesn’t know I travel to this side of the mountain. Every day he tells me I must choose a wife. Every day I tell him I am not ready. Soon he will choose for me.”
“I would run to the ends of the earth to be with you, Knoton. Say it and I will run with you.”
He cupped her chin. “We will wait until the weather is more fitting and travel south away from this.”
She hugged him. “I will bear you many sons.” Breaking from the embrace, she picked up her basket. “I must get my bounty.”
“I must circle around so that Yepa does not suspect.” He stole one last kiss before running away.
Her blade sliced through the clumps of mushrooms. Her basket filled quickly. On her way back to the cave, she stooped to dig out red clover. She could almost taste the rabbit Knoton had caught. The sun played through the trees as she weaved her way down the trail. Another tuft of red clover grew by a fallen log and she knelt to retrieve it. Voices echoes to her left. Pushing her basket under the log, she followed.
Two pairs of moccasins stopped inches from her hiding spot.
“Knoton came this way.” One of the men shuffled forward a hair. His spear tapped the ground.
The other snorted. “He comes to seek wisdom with the witch.”
“He comes to wet his cock with no fear of swelling her belly.” The man laughed.
“His father will not be pleased.”
“His father need not know.” They turned back the way they had come. “The witch will give him experience to please his wife.”
Aiyanna stayed under the log, afraid to move. If they had found Knoton and her copulating … She had to get back to the cave. Crawling out, she dragged her basket out. At a fast pace, she wove her way back home. At the entrance of the cave, her lover waited for her.
“Two of your tribe were in the forest.” She rushed past him. “They didn’t see me but they were looking for Knoton.” She kept her back to Yepa. One by one, she prepared the mushrooms and stuck them in the boiling pot. Her hood covered her eyes.
“Aiyanna. What did they say?” Yepa asked.
“They…” Heat blossomed in her cheeks. “I cannot say.”
“Hmmm.” Yepa placed the rabbit pelts near her basket. “For you to repair your winter boots.”
Yepa touched her hand. “You tremble. What is wrong, my child?”
“I fear that they will see me and will not welcome my presence.” She glanced at Knoton briefly. If his tribe saw her hair, Yepa would be driven from the mountain or worse yet, killed.
“Drive these dark thoughts from your head.”
She nodded but fear still possessed her soul. She wanted to run with the deer and rabbit, the fox and wolf, all at Knoton’s side.