Dusk came early, followed by a gray and starless night. The men sat silently in their boats, the only sounds coming from the long paddles that dipped into the sea. Great trees passed like ghosts, thrusting their twisted roots through the mist down into the water. The trees seemed hostile, as if they harbored secret eyes and lurking dangers. Yet they rowed on.

Each man peered cautiously ahead. Their eyes strained to see past the darkness, but the night was impenetrable. In any case, perhaps blindness was a blessing in disguise. They had all heard stories about the isle.

Each boat carried one man, who rowed while facing ahead, both hands grasping the pole of the paddle, fingers tightening around the well worn wood as if he expected to raise it in his own defense at any moment. There was, in addition to the rower, a passenger in each both. One man, one passenger. And in each of the boats, the passengers were…women.

Not women. Girls. All of them past the age of flowering – some older, some younger. The youngest was in fact a mere thirteen years, and the oldest was seventeen. Each of them wore a robe of spun wool, dyed grey. Each of them bore her hood up, to hide her face from the view of the rowers, who themselves would not have taken any amount of payment to look upon the face of their individual passenger. The stories terrified them. Stories about the isle…stories about the young women they rowed to the isle.

The soft splashing of waves on the shore signaled that they were approaching land. The rowers looked ahead, as if they expected something. And then, there it was…a lone lamp, shining brightly in the night, chasing away the dark. It hung in the air, suspended from what…the men could not see. Nor could they see the bearer of the lamp, which was just as well.

Fourteen boats were beached on the shore, the rowers abandoning the oars and going over the side to pull the boats on to the sand. The men did not look at each other, nor did they try to look for anyone else on the beach. They kept their eyes lowered, and their ears were their primary senses now.

As if on a hidden signal, each and every one of the passengers on the boat stood up and clambered over the side, sandaled feet crunching on sand. The rowers concentrated on their boats, their eyes fixated firmly on some imagined flaw on the warped wood. Their passengers did not turn, did not in any way acknowledge them at all. They simply walked past, not looking, not seeing anything but that which lies ahead.

"You may go."

The voice was that of a woman, strong, unwavering…commanding. A voice used to being obeyed. The men did not turn, although they had to resist the impulse to bow in the direction of that which they could not see.

It was only later, when the boats had reached dry shore…away from the isle, that the men finally relax. The tenseness in their shoulders seemed to dissipate as the familiar and above all welcomed sight of the small fishing village came to them. They clambered out of the boats, each man bearing the grin of relief at the passing of a particularly unpleasant duty. Hands were shaken, and by general consensus, they decided to have a drink at the tavern. A drink, or three…anything to soothe the aching nerves. And to celebrate a job survived.

"I came close tonight…close to turning around," one of the men said. "Gods help me when that happens!" There was a general chorus of "Ayes!" The first speaker took a deep drink and tapped his empty tankard on the table to attract the attention of the serving man.

"Ye gods…but that isle puts a chill in a man's bones!" the man exclaimed. The serving man approached to fill his tankard with rich brown ale. The man took a deep drink from it, and wiped the froth from his lips. He opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by another man.

"You speak of the Isle of Eros?" the man asked. "Aye…we be the rowers to that Isle," he replied, turning his neck a little to catch a glimpse of the other man. The new man was a stranger, he realized, his eyes narrowing. His fellow rowers, who had turned to look at the stranger, slowly fell silent. It was late, and they were the only customers at the tavern, or should have been. The stranger had been waiting for them.

"What have you heard of the Isle?" the stranger asked. The light from the fireplace seemed to make his eyes glitter as he leaned forward. The rower busied himself by taking a long sip from the tankard. His mind raced quickly, considering possibilities. He looked at the stranger, noting the sword that hung loosely in its sheath by his side. He glanced at his fellow rowers, and at the serving man who was discreetly taking down some of the bottles on display off the long rack.

"We have heard stories…but only that stories which has been heard by other men," the rower replied. He was unarmed, but surely fourteen strong men were more than a match for one with a sharp blade? Of course, he thought, as did the thirteen other men whose eyes seemed so attracted by the gleam of bright metal at the side of the stranger, a sharp blade could cut a few men down. Cause nasty wounds, too. His thought had not yet progressed to 'what am I going to do about this man?' It was still lingering on 'what is someone else going to do about this?'

His train of thought was, however, temporarily derailed when the jingle of coins reached his ears. Not just any coins. Gold coins, whose music was far sweeter upon the ears and far gentler upon the heart compared to the silver pieces they were paid for their part in rowing their passengers to the isle.

"You will tell me what you know of the isle. And in return…" The soft singing of gold drowned the rest of the stranger's words, but, in all honesty, he need not have said any more. Gold had spoken, and gold was the master of all men.

The thin crescent of the moon had fallen early into the pale sunset, though far away in the South there were great ranges of cloud that still shone faintly. They had gathered in the small fishing village, all of them arriving from parts unknown to each other. In carts and carriages, on horseback and on mules, they had come together, strangers all, to journey together into the unknown.

On boats they were transported to the Isle, rowed there by men silent and unseeing, grim faced rowers who neither acknowledged nor spoke to them. The girls clasped their grey robes to their bodies, the hoods tugged over their faces to protect themselves from the overbearing darkness and from the sight of others around. Their journey on the boats was uneventful and silent, no word was spoken, and no touch was given…an absence of all sensations.

And now they were here, upon the sandy shores, the boats slowly disappearing behind them. A woman stood before them, a lady dressed in a robe of white that shone brightly to them even through the mist that lurked upon the night.

They stared at her. Minutes passed, but neither of them dared to speak. They stood there, as if rooted to the spot – each girl looking ahead at the woman before them. She was hooded, but the slimness of the figure left no doubt as to her sex. The robe clung to her body, settling against soft womanly curves.

Her hands rose to the hood that lined her head and covered her face from sight. Her fingers seized the lining of her hood and pushed it back, letting it fall behind her. Grave and thoughtful was her gaze, and firm and proud too. Very fair was her face, and her long hair was a river of gold. Slender and tall she was in her white robe girt with silver, but strong she seemed and stern as steel. The girls all thought her fair…fair and cold, like a morning of pale spring that still clings to cold winter's chill.

"Come," said she, and they stirred at her words. "Come!" she said again. "We have long to travel tonight!"

The night was dark, but the thin light of day was slowly making an appearance on the Eastern front. The girls walked in files of two; all trailing behind the woman who led on, her lamp a bright light shining against the curtain of black that was the sky. Sandals brushed against sand, wet at first as they traveled across the beach, but growing steadily drier as they moved away from the sea that surrounded the isle.

Now we look to the protagonist of our story. She is, as you may have guessed, one amongst the fourteen that now trailed behind the woman I spoke of earlier. She was young, a mere fifteen years behind her, but age is of little consequence in this world. Here, the seasons are longer, the days spanning a greater time than on our world. And the life spans of those who lived upon this realm is far longer than in our world, where living to be a hundred could be called a miracle, and seventy was all that one could realistically hope for. But enough of comparisons…let us go back to our heroine.

She was, as I have said before, fifteen by the reckoning of the world that she lived in, although by our accounts she would be eighteen or twenty. She was not especially tall, nor could she be called short. She was somewhere in the middle, long limbed but not gangly. She was pretty in her own way, with her shoulder length hair that brought to mind the old song that went along the lines of 'I loved a maid as fair as summer, with sunlight in her hair.' She was by no means as radiant as a goddess of light, nor was she a personification of beauty, but she was passing fair.

Her name was Jeyne, and she came from a village far far away, where corn and wheat grew in abundance, where the sun shone on fields of gold that shimmered in the wind. Her father was a farmer and her mother was a farmer's wife. Their hands were rough and hardened from hard work, and from a young age, she had already known that that was not the life that she desired. Other maids dreamt of castle guardsmen and knights while they laid in the meadows with eager farmhands, but not she. She dreamt of other things. Distant things that seemed so far removed from the everyday nuances of village life that she soon found herself detesting all about her. It still shamed her, the realization that her parents embarrassed her.

But why was she here, in the presence of these other girls, on this Isle that seems so shrouded by mystery and spoken of with fear? Ah…but have you not guessed already?

This is, as I have told you before, not the same world as ours. It is for one thing happily free of the perils that come with technology; the smoke and the stains of oil and dust that so mar the air that we breathe in. Its landscapes are not dotted with buildings of steel and concrete as we find here, but farms and homesteads, and a castle or tower here and there. There are cities, grubby and filthy as cities in times such as these are, but there is a sort of peaceful gentleness here, an awareness of nature, or man and beast and plant and river and rock all living together in perfect synchronicity. No pollution rages here, for the only smoke that one sees comes from chimneys and fireplaces and travelers' camps, not from factories that bleat out smoke like a dragon's mouth.

One might expect to find knights in shining armor here, with lances that stream colorful banners in the wind, with horses that pranced about bearing the proud men upon their backs. You might expect to see a unicorn hiding in the forest, while horns and hounds blow and bay in the joy of the hunt. You would expect to see tall towers with maidens standing by the lone windows at the very top, awaiting rescue, as should all proper damsels in distress.

You would be right, and you would be so wrong.

The fundamental difference about this world and the sad dreary world that we call our reality, or as others might venture to say…hell, is the culture. Here, in our world, men and women scurry about their daily lives, toiling for green cash to put in their bank accounts. Here, life is, as far as we know it, normal. Here, we have the 'decency', one might say, to keep our deep lustful fantasies to ourselves, indulging only in private, whether with a partner or just in front of a computer screen. There, in the world which I now speak of, things are so very different that you would grow green in envy just listening about it. Here, in our world, there is such a thing as prudence. There…well, you will just have to see.

It would be difficult for me to explain in its entirety the culture upon which this world, or rather, this part of the world, is formed with. Let me be succinct here. This is mainly a matriarchal society, where the men live to serve, which as some women who in our world are called 'wives' would say, is the way things ought to be. Women play a much greater role in society here, and society here has many layers indeed. In any case, it would be better if I explained what I know about the Isle, which is very little indeed. But bear with me, and mayhap, some questions that you have may be answered.

Men are slave to two things…gold and sex. And often, in the streets where ladies of negotiable affection wait for Mr. Right, or at least Mr. Right Amount, this is proved true time and time again. And the best way to a man's heart, or at least to control a man, is either through his pocket, or through his balls. Men of power have no need for gold, or more gold, for they already have enough to fill their coffers for the rest of their lives. No – what men of such station desire is not gold, but power. Men fight men for power. They will pour poison in a cup…they will be the hand that holds the dagger that stabs another in the back in the dark of night. Such men are not to be trifled with. They have money, they have power…and they will want a woman, or in some cases, more than one woman, who can satisfy them in ways that is so deserving of people of their station and position in life.

And that is what the Isle is about. It is a place where such women come from, women trained to satisfy such men. Women both fair in appearance and sharp in mind and word. Women that they can show off, as ornaments that put the finest of jewels to shame. Women from the Isle represented power and wealth. Anyone who was anyone had such a woman in his keeping.

That was a long time ago.

You see, women are inquisitive creatures. They will poke their noses into affairs that do not concern them, or at least to us men, should not concern them. And the women from the Isle, married or attached to such powerful men of varying importance, dabbled their fingers into such matters and reported such news that was of any significance back to the Isle, where the wise minds of other women dissected and contemplated whatever information was received. You see, women are smarter than men – it is a well known fact. And the women of the Isle combine in themselves beauty and knowledge, which is fatal to any patriarchal society. And these women of the Isle, being such ambitious creatures that they are, slowly grew in influence and power. After all, they knew things about these powerful men, things that those men would sooner prefer to have kept buried.

They became, in the words of one academician in a palace of learning somewhere in this world, "…a key social, religious and political force…an exclusive sisterhood whose members train their bodies and minds through years of physical and mental conditioning to obtain powers and abilities that can easily seem magical to outsiders…They are loyal only to themselves…to obtain their goals and avoid outside interference, they often screen themselves with an illusion of being loyal to other groups or individuals…" He went on further to say that "…The women of the Isle combine the seductive wiles of a courtesan with the untouchable majesty of a virgin goddess, holding these attributes in tension so as to find that the place-between that becomes a wellspring of cunning and resourcefulness…"

Needless to say, this academician soon found himself dead. And with him as an example, it should now be clear to you as to why the teachings and practices of the Isle are not common knowledge. Rumors abound, certainly, for the common folk tend to gossip and make things up as they go along. But truth about the practices in the Isle is a rarity.

This story is, of course, about Jeyne, and the life she is to lead in her training to be known as a woman of the Isle. That was her dream, her ultimate desire. And that was what she was to become.

But that is another story, of course. Perhaps we may touch it on this telling. For now, however, we have to watch and wait…and read on…

All about them were small woods of resinous trees, fir and cedar and cypress, and other kinds unknown; with wide glades among them; and everywhere there was a wealth of sweet smelling herbs and shrubs. The long journey from home had brought her and the other thirteen young women far south from their own land, but not until now in this more sheltered region had the young women felt the change of clime. Here, Spring was already busy about them; fronds pierced moss and mould, larches were green fingered, small flowers were opening in the turf, birds were singing as they greeted the new day. This place, this Isle, seemed to them a garden seemingly desolate but still keeping a dryad loveliness.

Many great trees grew here, planted long ago, falling into untended age amid a riot of careless descendants; and groves and thickets there were of tamarisk and pungent terebinth; of olive and of bay; and there were junipers and myrtles; and thymes that grew in bushes or with their woody creeping stems mantled in deep tapestries the hidden stones; sages of many kinds putting forth blue flowers, or red, or pale green; and majorams and new sprouted parsleys and many herbs of forms and scents beyond their garden lore.

The grots and rocky walls were already starred with saxifrages and stonecrops. Primeroles and anemones were awake in filbert brakes; and asphodel and many lily flowers nodded their half open heads in the grass; deep green grass beside the pools, where falling streams halted in cool hallows on their journey down to the sea.

The travelers turned their backs on the path and went downhill. As they walked, brushing their way through bush and herb, sweet odors rose about them. They followed a stream that went quickly down before them. Presently it brought them to a large clear lake in a shallow dell; it lay amongst the broken ruins of a hug and ancient stone basin; the wide carven rim of which was almost wholly covered with mosses and rose brambles. Iris swords stood in ranks about it, and water lily leaves floated on its dark gently rippling surface; but it was deep and fresh, and spilled ever softly out against a stony lip at the far end.

And on this stone surface, there stood two doors. Large they were, as black and glinting as wet stone. It was to the doors that they were meant to go. But how? The woman who had been leading them stopped for a moment, her gaze turning back to regard those who followed her.

"Watch." And that was all she said.

A faint whispering started, a soft humming of a thousand voices raised in the low keyed beginnings of a song, carried by the wind…but if this was a song, the words were none that any of the young women could discern. The air seemed to shift, tiny tendrils of wind pushing past them, rustling the robes and molding the soft wool into their bodies. And in the sight of their astonished eyes, the waters of the lake began to shimmer, heaving gently and twinkling as if a thousand diamonds laid in rest. The sunlight seemed to dance upon the now clear surface, and then, with a gentle sigh, from the waters, a stone bridge arose.

The stone was wet, and leaves and underwater plants clung from its surface and on either side of it. The girls gasped in wonder, their eyes sighting at last the fabled magic of the Isle and the women who inhabited it.

"Come now," their guide said, her voice firm and steady. "Walk – you are awaited inside."

The young women stared for a moment, but they did not stop and stare for long. First one, and then another, and then all of them were walking on the stone bridge that had rose from the depths of the lake that laid at the foot of the twin gates now barring entry. The procession walked in a steady line, for the bridge was not wide enough for more than two to go abreast. Their guide led in the front, her hood still down and the sunlight glimmering from her hair. And then they reached the doors, and what great doors they were. Black as night sky, yet smooth and sharp as if it had been hewn yesterday. No sign of age laid upon its surface, yet they knew that the gates had been standing from the beginning of the Isle's legend.

Their guide raised her right hand forward, her arm extended before her. She spoke a word, and though they strained their ears, none could hear what she had said. It might have been a password, or a word of power, for the gates were swung open.

The travelers entered, walking in file behind their guide. They found a broad path, paved with hewn stones, now winding inwards, now climbing in short flights of well laid steps. Many small houses built of wood and many dark doors they passed. Beside the way, in a stone channel, a stream of clear water flowed from the lake, sparkling and chattering. At length they came to the crown of the hill. There stood a high platform above a green terrace, at the foot of which a bright spring gushed from a stone carved in the likeness of a woman's head; beneath was a wide basin form which the water spilled and fed the falling stream. Up the green terrace went a stair of stone, high and broad, and on either side of the top most steps were stone hewn statues of women, naked as their name day and in lush detail. Each hair on their heads could be seen, and so to could the short curled hairs in between their legs be counted by the naked eye. The statues gleamed, and many a girl licked her lips, uncomfortable at the sudden emotions and warmth the sight of the statues had stirred within themselves. Jeyne herself felt uncomfortable, and was thankful that the hood on her face hid the blush that was coming to her cheeks.

From the statues onwards they walked on marbled ground. Before them was a great building, its walls of pearl white glittering under the morning sun. Two women stood on either side of the closed doors, barring entry. Their guide stopped before the two women, and the travelers halted behind her.

"Who desires entry into the Hall of the Isle?" one of the women asked. Her face was stern, her countenance proud and steady. She looked upon the young women, none of whom dared to look back. "Who are these, who desire to walk upon the hallowed grounds within?"

"They seek to learn, to learn and to serve," their guide replied. The words hung heavy in the air. They were old, and had been spoken time and time again, deeply ingrained with ancient formality within the syllables.

"None may enter, save those who are without ill intent," the guardswoman replied. She was clothed in white, similar to that of their guide. No weapon did she bear, nor did the other woman beside her, but there was a sense of guarded dangerousness about them that did not bear challenging.

"They do not bear ill intent," came the reply from their guide.

"No man may enter our hallowed halls."

"There are no men present."

"Yet we must be sure, for the treachery of man knows no bounds. So none may enter our halls so clad. Remove your clothes, or be denied entry."

Their guide turned to them. "Remove your robes, and your sandals…you may not enter this house clothed. Enter unclad, or leave now."

The young women stirred. They looked at each other, puzzlement on their faces. Yet it seemed to them that their guide was deadly serious, as were the guards on the door. One girl, taller than the rest, shrugged noticeably, her shoulders rolling. She stepped in front of the rest of them, her hood falling down to the back of her neck, revealing hair as black as darkest night that uncurled like a snake all the way down to her back. Her hands moved swiftly as she began to remove her robe, the only sign of discomfort shown on her face was the faint blush on her cheeks as she disrobed.

They stared at her naked body, and she blushed as red as the sunset. Her eyes averted themselves and her hands twitched, as if yearning to cover her nakedness. But she set her shoulders and forced herself to look straight ahead at them. She fixed a steely gaze in her eye and turned around to face the door. Jeyne, who had been staring at black haired girl's chest, bit her lip. She took a step forward, pulling the hood from her head. And then, in full sight of the rest of them, she too stripped completely naked. To her eternal shame, her nipples were already hard on her chest, the cool air of the hilltop hitting them almost instantly. Her undergarments and smallclothes went into an untidy pile on the ground, and she stepped out of her sandals.

She only hoped that the slight wetness in between her legs had gone unnoticed.

Slowly, but gradually and definitely, the rest of the girls disrobed. They were all women, and women developed, with hair in between their legs and breasts that, while in some were not as yet fully developed, were definitely present. Fourteen young women stood as naked as their name day in front of the two guards and their guide, who nodded at them. And then she too removed the white robe that she wore, letting it slide down to her ankles. The girls caught a glimpse of a patch of gold between her legs, and a pair of firm breasts on her chest, before she turned around to face the guards.

"We are women all, as you can plainly see," she said to them. The guards eyes moved over the young women, all of whom were already blushing. Jeyne tried to keep her eyes fixated at an indistinct point of the doors – she did not want her eyes wandering anywhere else. There was a warmth inside her…a stirring that spoke of much needed release.

"Yet they must prove themselves worthy to enter, else they will be denied entry." The guard who had yet to speak now broke her silence. "One must face me in single combat to earn the right for all to pass."

The girls looked amongst themselves. Single combat? But their confusion was further deepened when their guide nodded, a small smile appearing upon her lips. She took a step forward, and faced the new speaker.

"I will face you, on their behalf."

"Very well!" the first guard said. She looked at the confused faces of the girls before her, and smiled at them. "This shall be your first taste of what you are to expect here in the Isle."

"Step back, and make a circle. Watch what happens, and take from it what lesson you will!" And as she spoke, her fellow guard removed her robes, the white wool dropping in an untidy pile on the ground.

A circle of young women was made, and in the middle, the two combatants. Two naked women faced each other, seemingly oblivious of the world. What would happen? Jeyne wondered, and her eyes looked at the other girls beside her. The black haired girl, the one who had been the first to strip, caught her eye and smiled. Almost immediately, Jeyne felt herself get wetter. She shifted uncomfortably, her bare feet sliding on the stone ground. She had hoped that the pain of rough stone against her soft sole would distract her from the unfamiliar and most definitely unwelcome feelings stirring within her, but the ground was smooth and the grating that she had hoped for was replaced by a gentle stroking of the ground upon her feet.

The two women faced each other, and for a moment Jeyne wondered if they were to see a battle of magic before their eyes. But there was something in the air of the two women that told her this was not so. It was to be what, then? A test of strength? Surely they did not come all the way here to be taught the martial arts of combat!

As she watched, the two women came face to face with each other. Their eyes met, and something seemed to pass between them….

They moved into each other, their hands extended before them. But not in a test of strength, for instead of pushing against one another, the women seemed to pull themselves into the other. They embraced, and their lips met in a kiss.

There were a few exclamations of surprise from the audience, who had not expected anything of the sort. But the remaining guard who alone had kept her white robe on raised a hand and cast a stern look about, and silence came once more. Before them, the two women broke their kiss.

"So…you challenge me, Cyan," their guide whispered.

"Yes," Cyan, for that seemed to be the name of the guard who had cast the challenge to single combat, agreed. She spoke quietly, also in a whisper, but her voice was thick with desire. "I said that I would challenge you again, and now I have. I also said that we would see which of us ends up victorious the next time we met. Are you ready to taste defeat at the hands of the better woman, Neris?"

Their guide, Neris smiled. "We already know that I am the better woman, Cyan. But if you feel need to humiliate yourself before all these women, that is fine by me." She paused, and then leaned her head a little closer, her voice suddenly naked with raw unbridled desire. "I'm going to make you moan my name out when you cum for me, Cyan."

"We shall see," came Cyan's reply.

Neris and Cyan pulled apart, their bared breasts hanging down in between them, but this was not for long, for they then interlaced their fingers and locked their hands together. Both women shuddered as they pushed into each other, both straining to force the other back. Their feet pressed against the stone ground as each leaned against the other in a test of strength. Strength against strength, they were evenly matched.

Cyan took a step backwards, pulling Neris towards her. Surprised, their guide stumbled forward. Quick as a flash, Cyan's fingers released the other woman, and her arms spread apart, sliding down the sides of Neris, all the way to her waist. Her right hand released soft flesh, trailing over the flat tummy of her opponent and brushing against the trimmed curls between Neris' legs. Jeyne felt herself get wetter as she heard the soft, womanly moan of surprise and pleasure that escaped from Neris' lips.

A flicker of a smile appeared fleetingly on Cyan's lips, as her fingers parted the soft and spongy womanly folds of the other woman. Her middle finger seemed to slide over the slit in between Neris' folds, and then wriggled inside the other woman.

Neris moaned again, her eyes wide and unfocused for one brief moment. And then it seemed as though she snapped back to reality, her eyes narrowing. Her hands slid over Cyan's lush breasts, her fingers trailing over the hard erect nubs that were her nipples. Thumb and forefinger wrapped themselves on each nipple, and began rolling the hardened nub between them. Cyan shivered, but did not moan. Instead, she flicked her wrist, and somewhere inside Neris, the awed onlookers heard an audible SQUISH!

"You are so wet, Neris…wet with my finger inside your cunt…" Cyan's voice contained traces of mockery tinged with confidence as she eyed her opponent, who took a deep breath. "This is far from over, Cyan…" Neris replied, although her voice trembled.

Her right hand remained on Cyan's left breast, but her left hand traced southwards, her middle finger lingering for a moment against the untamed forest of hair that laid in between Cyan's legs. Jeyne watched in fascination as Neris' hand drifted lower, her fingers spreading out as she cupped Cyan's cunt in her hand. Her fingers flexed as she began massaging the guardswoman's pussy, eliciting the first moan out of Cyan.

Their fingers danced in between each other's legs for a moment. Moans and curses filled the air. As the fourteen girls and one remaining guardswoman looked on, the two women locked in erotic combat slowly sank to their knees before each other. Even as they watched, Neris had slid in a second finger into Cyan's sex, and a gentle squishing could be heard coming from the guardswoman.

"Do you feel that, Cyan?" Neris asked, her voice trembling with the effort to suppress her own moans, for Cyan's finger still lingered within her own pussy. "Do you feel my finger inside you? You're so wet for me…"

"I'm not the only one, Neris…" Cyan countered, and flicked her wrist again. A loud SLURP indicated that another of Cyan's fingers had entered Neris, that, and the low moan that escaped from the guide's lips. "Do you remember the first time we fought? Do you remember how you came at my hands, in front of the rest of your friends? Do you remember how you begged me to stop…to stop before you came in front of the girls who looked up to you as a leader?"

"And you, Cyan…" Neris shivered, shaking her head as if to clear her mind of the hazy fog of pleasure that threatened to overwhelm her. "Do you remember when I defeated you in the presence of the High Lady herself?" Her thumb pressed down on Cyan's unhooded clit, making the guardswoman wail out at the sudden increase in pleasure. "Do you remember how I made you grovel for mercy afterwards?" she hissed at the pleasure ridden face of the guardswoman.

"Enough of this!" Cyan hissed, leaning forwards to brush her lips against that of her rival. Her thumb moved against Neris' clit, the tip of her nail sliding gently against the base of her rival's clit. Neris lifted her head up to the sky, her mouth opening almost involuntarily as she squealed out in girlish pleasure; a seemingly uncharacteristic squeal from the woman who had seemed as cold as steel before.

The squishing and slurping sounds grew louder and louder as the minutes passed, until Jeyne heard a familiar sound. She choked as realization hit her, for the sound had been the sound of her own moaning. Her hand was against her pussy, and her palm was soaking wet. She looked down in disbelief, unable to comprehend the fact that she had begun rubbing herself without realizing it. But she was not the only one, she saw. The other girls showed some sign of arousal, from flushed cheeks to hardened nipples to those who had thrown modesty to the wind, as she must have done, to touch themselves and relieve the burning desire that laid like a stoked furnace in between their legs.

Before her, the two fighting women were glaring at each other. A thin film of sweat had formed on their foreheads and skin, burnishing fair skin so that it shimmered against the sunlight. Nipples were thick with arousal, and the musky scent of womanly heat was upon them both. Neris' face was flushed, and her chest rose and fell as she took deep breaths, trying desperately to quell the tide of pleasure building up inside her. Cyan's cheeks too were suffused with red, and she bit her lower lip, as if pain could in some way counter the pleasure and dam the flow of juices within her pussy.

The two women looked each other in the eye, and it seemed as if something passed between them. Their hands fell away from each other's pussies. "You will cum for me, Neris," Cyan whispered. "Not until you cum for me…" Neris replied.

As one, they lowered themselves down to their butts, and spread their legs wide. Neris slid her right leg under Cyan's left, and Cyan slid her right leg under Neris' right. Both women pushed up with one hand supporting their weight behind them. Their pussies were inches away from each other, clits standing out proudly as if eager to do battle. Their nipples too faced each other, seemingly pulsing as if eager to establish which pair was the strongest.

"Grind your pussy against mine, Cyan…let me feel that clit of yours," Neris snarled, and as soon as those words were spoken, she thrust her hips forward.

"Gladly, Neris…My clit is eager to defeat yours again…" Cyan replied, and plunged her own hips ahead, eager to lock pussies with her wet rival.

Hot liquid flowed down the sides of the women's thighs, trickling down bare skin, and dripped directly to the ground. They were both completely aroused, their pussies aching for direct contact with each other. Neris could feel the heat radiating off Cyan's moist pussy as their cunts softly rubbed against each other. Their pussy lips were slicked with their own juices, and seemed to slide up against each other. There was a splat, a wet splat as both pairs of pussy lips slapped against each other, and small droplets of pussy juice seemed to splatter out against their inner thighs and tummies.

Their pussy folds pressed together softly at first, then with increasing pressure. Moans escaped from each woman's lips as they felt each other's pussy against each other, the sticky and wet touch of their rival's most intimate area. Erect nipples slid against one another, the tips pressing against each other, wasting little time in commencing their own private duel. Each little stroke from their nipples, each little thrust from their pussies, would send a wave of tingling pleasure from the sensitive regions to nerves all over their bodies, sweeping their senses on its way to their minds.

"That's it, Neris…fuck me with your pussy…"Cyan whispered, her eyes gazing upon her rival's thrusting form.

"You like it, don't you, Cyan?" Neris asked, her eyes glittering as she regarded her rival. "The feeling of my pussy conquering yours…"

"Conquering?" Cyan asked, her eyes widening in artful surprise. "I would think…" she said, and punctuated each word with a hard thrust at the other woman's pussy, "that it is your pussy that is being conquered!" She was rewarded by a brief squeal from her rival, before Neris mastered herself anew.

Pussy lips grinded against one another ever so deliciously, as the two women continued their frenzied thrusting at one another. Their soft pants soon became uncontrollable gasps and moans as the rivals released their pent up sexual pleasure. Each woman wanted to feel the other's pussy defeated in ultimate submission. Each woman wanted to feel the other's pussy lathering her own with her juices.

The heat from their pussies surged and roared between them like twin furnaces, attracting each other like moths to the flame. Neris placed her hands on Cyan's slim hips, and seconds later, felt her rival do the same. With hands around each other's waists, the two women began a frenzied rhythm of humping. Between them, their clits lunged and slashed at each other, one occasionally dragging over the hardened surface of the other. Neris and Cyan panted into each others' faces, their eyes locked and brimming with lust, each swallowing the other in her gaze.

Both women bit their lips, struggling not to cry out, desperately trying to keep their hips from jerking with lust. Thoughts of victory and defeat raced through their minds. Each did not want to lose, especially in front of fifteen eager spectators. Each had her pride, and only one would walk away from this with that intact.

Neris thrust her pussy forward, sending her clit straight in the direction of Cyan's own sex nub. The hard tip of her clit raked against the softer underside of Cyan's clit, sending a shiver of pure pleasure down the spine of the guardswoman. As soon as Cyan pulled back for that short and brief moment, Neris plunged forward, driving her clit as deep as she could into her opponent's cunt, before slashing it upwards, sending the tip of her clit dragging against the underside of Cyan's clit once again. Only this time, her clit slid up all the way, scoring a long and direct hit against the length of Cyan's clit, ultimately scoring a direct hit against the tip of her rival's clit.

Cyan wailed as pleasure overtook her, that final strike driving her over the edge. "This…cannot…beeeeeeeeeee!" she screamed, as her stomach rolled. Hot cum jettisoned out of her pussy as she squirted, her thighs quivering and her head thrown back, looking upon the sky as she wailed out her defeat. Terrible heat and tension tore through her body, and indescribable pleasure exploded through every nerve.

She fell backwards, her hands falling away from Neris' side as she clutched and clawed at the ground. And even as she watched, Jeyne felt the world spin, her eyes slowly unfocusing as she too came with a shuddering moan. Her right hand had retreated unnoticed to the warmth in between her legs, and the sudden increase in wetness, as well as the goosebumps that rose on her skin, and the overwhelming sense of release intermingled with the immense pleasure of her orgasm overtook her. She swayed, and would have fallen on her back if one of the other girls had not caught her. She blushed furiously, shutting her eyes, desperate to avoid the gazes of anyone else.

Cyan rolled on the ground, now pinching her nipples, now clawing the ground, now clutching at the air. Her body shivered, wracked with after orgasmic shocks. Finally, minutes later, she seemed to recover. Her hands were wrapped around her body, and her eyes refocused, seeking out that of Neris.

The guide looked at her defeated foe with a satisfied look on her face. She had to be close to an orgasm; her face was flushed and her breathing was slow, forced. Her hands twitched, as if eager to reach for her sex to satisfy herself. Her hips bucked once or twice against her opponent, and her pussy was lathered with the sign of Cyan's defeat. Taking a deep gasping breath, she seemed to force herself to come under control, resisting the seemingly irrepressible impulse to seek her own pleasure. It was, Jeyne would learn later, a symbol of strength and power, as well as an insult to the vanquished woman. It stated, in simple words '…You cannot make me cum…'

Cyan's eyes burned with anger at this realization, before they lowered in shame.

"You have entry," she whispered, her voice filled with barely suppressed fury, and yet there was an underlying sense of shame to her tone. Neris regarded her, her lips twitching as if to deal some final comment, but she nodded, apparently satisfied for now.

"I will return," she said, and Cyan's eyes lifted to look at the victorious woman. "To claim my victor's rights." It was a peace offering, a softening of the insult delivered, and Cyan knew it. She took a deep breath, and then nodded.

"Thank you." It was a whisper, but Neris heard her nevertheless. The guide nodded, and pushed herself up to her feet. She turned towards the assembled young women, her eyes barely flickering in the direction of Jeyne as if to spare her the shame of cumming from a battle that she was not a part of.

"Come," Neris said. "We must go." And as she spoke, the doors swung open.

"You have questions." It was not a question, but merely a statement of fact. The young women clustered about her, but none dared to speak. They were all embarrassed by what they had just witnessed, their minds unable to comprehend the fact that two women had just engaged in such an activity before the sight of fourteen other women they had never met before in their entire lives.

"What…what was that?" one of the girls asked. Her voice trembled, as if she was nervous, and a little surprised at her own courage in speaking. Jeyne, who had been studiously avoiding the looks that the other girls had thrown her way, looked up to see the source of that voice. It was the black haired girl, the one who had stripped first.

"That was two women, each trying to make the other submit in an orgasm first," their guide replied, with barely a break in her voice, no hesitation at all. "That was a sexfight – the way we do combat here. It is the art of lovemaking, but used in a way that swords and spears are used in the martial arts of men. We are…" and here she paused, a smirk coming to her face, "…the fairer sex…the weaker sex. It is not comely to see two women trying to cut each other into ribbons!"

"Our strength can never match that of men. We can never grow the muscles to wield a sword effectively. Nor can we stand against the savagery of men in the art of warfare. It is in the art of lovemaking that our defenses lie. Our weapons do not consist only of our minds or our tongues. Our bodies are our weapons. Seduction is our offense. And seduction is far deadlier a blade than the longest broadsword, for it leaves the conquered alive and bends him to our will."

She paused, and turned, regarding each of them. "We are not against violence, but to use it against one another is unthinkable. To kill another woman of the Isle is something that is so blasphemous that there is no curse in the tongues of all the races upon this world that can describe it. So we resort to another form of battle. To bring pleasure to our opponent, to make her submit to such ecstasy at our hands. It is the ultimate humiliation, to need your rival to reach your pleasure. That is sexfighting – the ultimate submission a woman can force upon another. That is one of the arts that you will learn here."

Neris smiled, and her gaze turned to each of the young woman, her eyes flickering from their toes to their chests. She saw wet pussies and hard nipples, flushed cheeks and unhooded clits. She was especially amused at the sight of Jeyne's still wet pussy, but was kind enough not to make an issue. Jeyne felt her face burn anew.

"You enjoyed it, did you not?" she asked them, and laughed at the embarrassment on their faces. "You will find that your minds are well opened to other possibilities now. That is the point of the challenge at the gates – to open the minds of the new acolytes. Anyone who turns away, anyone who flees – she is deemed unworthy to join us."

"And…" another girl, a pale girl with hair cropped to a soldier's shortness, yet with a body that would make a manchild lover sigh with desire, "What if you had lost? Would we have been granted entry?"

Neris stopped, and smirked at the girl. "I have not lost to the likes of Cyan in a while, child. Have no fear of that."

They walked past the doors and found themselves inside a hall. Inside it seemed dark and warm after the clear air upon the hill. The hall was long and wide and filled with shadows and half lights. Mighty pillars upheld its lofty roof. But here and there bright sunlight fell in glimmering shafts from the eastern windows, high under deep eaves. Through the louver in the roof, above the thin wisps of issuing smoke, the sky showed pale and blue. As their eyes changed to accustom themselves to the new light, the young women perceived that the floor was paved with stones of many hues, smooth under their soles; branching runes and strange devices intertwined beneath their feet. They saw now that the pillars were richly carved, gleaming dully with gold and half seen colors.

Now they went forward, past the clear wood fire burning upon the long hearth in the midst of the hall. Then they halted. At the far end, beyond the hearth and facing north towards the doors, was a dais with three steps, and in the middle of the dais was a great, gilded chair. Upon this chair no one sat, but by its side stood a woman of indeterminable age. She was unclad, and her nakedness was such that it did not evoke such desire within the young women, but rather a sense of awe at the grace and beauty of her body. For there are some that could be said to be so beautiful that they are nigh untouchable by lust, their bodies unstained even by unclean emotion.

"Welcome," she said to them, a smile lighting her face. Neris gestured at the young women to follow her lead, and clasped her hands before her and bowed. They followed, their backs bending forward in a gesture of respect.

"I am not the High Lady, that you should bow so low," the woman said, and laughter was in her voice. "Come, raise those backs – and sit by the floor. There are no chairs – but you should not mind. Sit…sit!"

They sat crossed legged before the dais. Jeyne sat at the back, still shy and humiliated at the way she had cummed just by watching the sexfight earlier…embarrassed at her lack of control. To her surprise, the black haired girl who had led them in stripping and in questioning their guide took a step back to sit if not beside her, at least somewhere near her. She turned to Jeyne and smiled, a little shyly. Jeyne felt her heart beat rapidly in her chest, and she smiled back, determinedly not allowing her eyes to roam elsewhere but the face of that girl.

"You have not been introduced to each other, but there will be time for that soon enough. I am Adaris, the steward of the High Lady. I have been sent to welcome you here, but no words of welcome would suffice, I think. You know the Isle, or of the Isle, at least. Of the reputation it possesses. And yet you came, regardless. You saw what happened at the gates, when Naris your guide engaged in a sexfight with the guard. Again, regardless, you came. You are here to learn and to serve. We will teach you what we know, and you will learn other things for yourselves. You will serve the Isle and your sisters, and you will serve the people outside who look upon us with fear and awe."

She paused, and regarded each of them in turn. "There are fourteen of you here, the acolytes chosen for this year. We know you, we have watched you and we know what each of you are capable of. So do not doubt your abilities or your worthiness in being chosen, for there is no mistake that you are here. You have been chosen."

Turning to Neris, she extended her arm. "Neris will show you to your lodgings. Seven rooms, and each room will take two of you. Choose your partner and go to your rooms. There will be a feast tonight to welcome you, and all will be explained in full upon the morrow when your lessons and duties as acolytes begin. So go now and rest – get to know your sisters, for these are the women that you will be spending the next few years of your life with. The Isle is your home now, and you are her children."

The cool satin sheets clung to Jeyne's back and shoulders as underneath them she gently applied her tongue and lips to Morgraine's oh! so very beautiful crotch. The folds of her vulva, the labias minora and majora as she remembered them being named in their classes, and, most of all, that little button, the clitoris. Although she'd never studied her own clitoris with nearly as much attention as she now could Morgraine's, she was sure hers wasn't quite as perfect. How could anyone's be? The "button of love" as she and the black haired girl had christened it, but one so beautifully intricate and so delicious to lick with her tongue or nibble with her teeth.

Despite the two girls having been so passionate through the night, their periods of sleep interrupted again and again by the re-arousal of their mutual lust, Morgraine was still easily stimulated. Her crotch twitched and trembled with passion, while a trail of Jeyne's saliva slid down the "tunnel of love" as the two girls had re-christened the vagina. Although Jeyne was under the sheet, it was thin enough to let through plenty of the early morning sunshine. She could see the details of Morgraine's crotch and that contrast between the darkness, the near ebony blackness, of her short hairs against the golden sheen of Morgraine's firm young flesh.

She could hear, and almost feel, the sound of Morgraine's pleasure. That gasp she loved, rising up and up from inside the very depths of her, sometimes exploding in a suppressed and delightful squeak and sometimes a more full-throated bestial cry. Oh! She loved Morgraine so much! And what was better, Morgraine said that she loved her too.

And she was sure she could never miss having other lovers now that she had Morgraine. One who was so like herself: slender, slim, smallish breasts and even the same slightly sharp chin. And the overwhelming sensuality that seemed to belong to the raven haired beauty alone – intoxicating by itself, it threatened to overwhelm every other sense that Jeyne possessed.

Hours had turned to days, and days to weeks. Weeks shifted slowly to months, and Spring gave way to Summer in the eternal dance of the seasons. Bright was the Isle, now that fair Summer had graced its realm. The trees and plants had grown to full bloom, and sweet scents filled the air, dancing on the wings of birdsong. A fair breeze blew through the woods, and filled the Temple upon the Isle with the taste of Summer in the air, lingering through every room from dawn to dusk. In evening the scents stayed on like a memory in the mind, and freshened in the morning as the wind sang her song of joy and freedom unabated.

Within the temple, lessons had been taught and learnt. Knowledge gained, and wisdom, perhaps, found. They had learnt the secrets that the mortal body holds; where the flesh was weak to the temptation of lust and pleasurement; the theory of the arts of seduction. They had been encouraged to experiment, physically, each young woman with the other who had shared her room. And other things did they learn; the intricacies of the great game that men of power played – politics, it was called. Histories as well, tales of the rise of the Isle as a Power in its own right; tales of the rising of other Powers as well.

They learnt the manner of how to act and carry themselves, as women of the Isle; how to talk and speak; how to dine amongst lords and ladies of great and high station; how to debate and discuss; the arts of poetry and singing which was deemed to be a sign of civilization and culture. They learnt of the lands of the West and South and North; realms that acknowledged the power of the Isle, acknowledged and respected and yet feared and was held swayed under.

They learnt too of the savages of the East, black skinned barbarians who worshipped a One God within Bone Temples, of the dark powers these untamed people consorted with and possessed, and how the Easterlings did not acknowledge the power of the Isle, which was why amongst the women present, there were none whose skin was darker than the sky at eventide.

But of the art of sexfighting, they learnt naught at all. Experimentation in that field was forbidden, for the art was held in high esteem amongst those of the Isle, and was not to be used until they were deemed ready for it. Of that art, Jeyne was still curious, as were the other thirteen, but none dared to try, for the High Lady and her Consort and Steward could see far, and none would raise any defiance to that rule.

Her desire to learn more of the art of making another woman submit to pleasure against her will was tempered, however, by the discovery of Morgraine. Here was a woman as fair as the moon upon the night, with the stars crowning her with their majesty. For none could compare to Morgraine in the eyes of Jeyne; none, not even the beauty of Caihyfar, or Cai for short, as short as the hair that she kept upon her head for reasons that none save the one who shared her bed knew.

Jeyne remembered the first night well. They had retired after the feast, wearing aught but the air around their skin, when she had begun to sob into her pillow. Silent were her tears, yet it seemed that as the minutes passed, her grief grew louder. For she was afraid for her future, and unused to the surroundings that she now found herself in. And, though she was loathe to admit it to herself, she missed her parents and the comforts of family, though she had sworn to forsake the name of her father until the end of her days.

She had thought the raven haired girl asleep, but Morgraine was awake in her own bed.

"Why do you weep?" Morgraine had asked.

Jeyne did not know why she had answered, but perhaps it was that the sight of the raven haired beauty standing by her bedside, her unclad body shaded and shaded again by the flickering light of the candle flame, stirred something within her. Perhaps grief needed to be shared, and worry too, for solace to be found.

They had spoken, and Morgraine had given her comfort.

It had scarcely surprised her at all when Morgraine leaned forward, bringing her face close to her, an arm against her shoulder and that other hand sliding up her slender thighs, sending an electric tingle up the inner muscle, causing a sudden tautness and tightness to grip her own crotch. And then those eyes and that fair skin looming so close, so close, so near, so intimately, and her mouth parted slightly with a gasp as Morgraine's fingers slid towards her own young crotch, a tender spark electrifying her so tender and unsullied lips and hardening both her nipples and clitoris, and then. And then Morgraine's mouth was on hers. At first, just warm dry lips on hers. A tender heat that reddened her ears and her cheeks.

Her eyes closed. A tongue, so muscular and thick and liquid and warm and inviting, plunged between her teeth and through her lips, and without thought, and with no consideration, while a shiver of pleasure traveled up the nape of her neck from somewhere between the angles of her shoulder blades, and she found her tongue reciprocating in liquid passion. And all the while she could feel Morgraine's fingers stroking and caressing her vulva, while another set of fingers pulled her face against Morgraine's mouth. She timorously ventured out a hand and ran it over Morgraine's shoulders while a strange passion took hold of her and pulled her against this bold young stranger.

And how it all happened, Jeyne could not say! But somehow, she found herself laid out on the long cool length of her bed, with Morgraine above her, mouth against mouth, bosom resting sweetly on bosom, Morgraine's hands behind her back and along her thighs, while she gripped onto her naked lover with an urgency and a helplessness that was absorbing her. She loved the feel and scent of Morgraine's body. So warm. So smooth. Those little freckles that she had not noticed before. The soft skin on her arms and legs. Those sensuous parted lips. She gasped and grunted, unaware of Morgraine's own gasps and grunts as she surrendered herself to this new passion.

A passion further heightened when smoothly and so naturally, Morgraine and she shifted position, and she found her eyes gazing at another set of lips, while beneath her a mouth and tongue and teeth were kissing and licking and nibbling her own vaginal lips, sending yet more electric signals of passion and desire along the length of her spine and legs.

It seemed so natural, after examining the lips of Morgraine's vagina with her fingers, to lower her mouth and tongue (after all, they were so close) onto those moist parted lips, slightly ragged on the inside, so smooth on the outside, folds hidden under folds, and then to lick and nibble this vagina whilst her own was being licked and nibbled in turn. There was ever such a confusion of smells, a melee of which she could not distinguish one from another. Or which came from her and which came from Morgraine. So rich. So strong. So intoxicating. And those smells assailing her nose so close to Morgraine's vagina were the strongest of all. And it was so moist and liquid. What was this pale viscous liquid that had moistened those lips? Not just her own saliva, she was sure. Perhaps this was what was smelling so strong.

And she probed and probed with tongue and fingers, while occasionally releasing a spasm of ecstasy from the reciprocal probing below. Her own vagina was feeling so tender, so sensuous, so vulnerable as Morgraine nibbled around its lips, her fingers probed almost knuckle deep into the moistness which was engulfing them, and her thighs shivered and trembled, and her buttocks pushed themselves up without thought against Morgraine's mouth, just as she could see her lover's crotch push up and down against her face. Blood filled her ears and she was unable to distinguish her gasps and the occasional cry from the night birds that lurked without, or the murmur of the forest trees beyond their window.

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