In my Sanguire series, I developed the culture of a vampire-like race of beings.
This is Elsibet, the ruler of the European branch of the Sanguire, in the early days of meeting Margaurethe O’Toole.
Elisibet stood on her balcony, enjoying the warm spring evening. Though peripherally she noted her city beyond the stone parapet, her eyes remained in the garden below. A handful of young women teased and giggled with each other as they played in a fountain. Their laughter rang off the walls, inviting her to smile in vicarious longing.
It had been some time since she had felt as carefree as these women, despite the fact they looked to be of an age with her. While these women were either daughters of nobility or their handmaidens, she was their ruler, their vasilissa, and had been for countless decades. It was hard to determine which of them was aristocracy at this point, as all manner of haughty decorum had long been abandoned in light of their water play.
Musicians played somewhere out of sight, no doubt beneath her very feet, their music less stuffy than the previous night’s formal dinner. Torches flickered here and there, providing illumination as the sky first turned gray, and then a deep blue. Stars slowly spread across the darkening sky, jewels across the vast quilt of night. None of them sparkled as much as the jewel in the garden, however.
Elisibet remained in shadows, watching the intriguing Margaurethe O’Toole as she stood dripping beside the fountain. Her dark hair was wet, wilted ringlets hanging about her head, generous lips opened in laughter at someone else’s antics. Her dress was a simple affair of burgundy, hanging tight against her body, and showing off a delectable feminine form. Elisibet tested the air, searching, locating Margaurethe’s scent, a spicy odor that promised fire and sweetness.
As if aware of her audience, the O’Toole paused in her amusement, looking up at the balcony. Several moments passed, Elisibet’s eyes meeting hers, knowing the woman could detect her outline in the shadows, could see the subtle glow of her pale eyes.
Margaurethe’s glance dropped away decorously, a delicate blush coloring her skin. Another girl ran by, startling her and she automatically splashed her playmate, receiving a thorough drenching in response. When she looked up at the balcony again, her shy smile was an inviting one.
Elisibet felt the full effect of arousal flood through her body. Her belly twisted pleasantly as she considered her next course of action. This was not some simple wench to bed and discard. Margaurethe’s parents were long standing members of court, their family tied firmly with several of the Symbouhera. She must consider the political ramifications of taking on the O’Toole clan, for she had no doubt they would be against the delicious liaison she contemplated.
The woman below seemed to sense her withdrawal. She focused her attention to the dark balcony, ignoring her companions. With slow and deliberate movements, she scooped a handful of water from the fountain, and lifted it to her throat. Margaurethe let the liquid run down her neck and breasts, the material of her dress darkening further, her eyes never leaving Elisibet’s.
“I want you,” Elisibet whispered, wondering if the vixen would hear. She whirled, and stepped inside her chambers. Sitting at her desk, she pulled parchment and inkwell toward her, and began to scribble an invitation.
She was vasilissa, the supreme ruler of her people. Damn politics and familial obligations.
Elisibet sat at a small table in her room, fire blazing nearby, a midnight feast spread out before her. The warm night had given way to cool breezes rolling in from perpetually snow capped mountains. Across the table, brilliant green eyes regarded her in coy flirtation.
Margaurethe’s lips curved into a smile, as she tasted something or other from the meal before them. “These are very good, Your Majesty,” she said, her voice a musical lilt.
She did not answer, too intent on this vision licking rich red lips, something Elisibet vowed to do herself before the night was finished. She leaned back in her armchair, lazily swirling the contents of her glass around as she watched with hooded eyes. Both of them knew it was only a matter of time before Elisibet took her.
But they had plenty of time for the game.
Outside, the musicians continued to perform, though they now entertained their liege rather than a bevy of mischievous women. The women had long been assembled by their families and guardians, and were safe in their beds. All but Margaurethe, though she had been collected with the others not two hours previously.
Margaurethe’s hair was still slightly damp from her recent activities. Elisibet inhaled, sifting through the competing aromas of the wine and their late repast, finding the unique scent of the woman. The same spice she had detected from the balcony combined with a trace of perfumed oil and filled her nostrils, the strength indicating its recent application. She recognized the aroma, one that was said to incite passions. Did this youngling realize what she was about when she daubed the fluid at wrist and throat? Did she think her actions through to their fiery conclusions?
Smiling, Elisibet allowed her gaze to wander with lazy grace over her guest. Margaurethe had abandoned her wet dress for an ivory gown. Hardly more than a dressing gown, the material was thin and gauzy. The bodice fit low and snug, revealing a not quite indecent expanse of olive skin, and a healthy dose of cleavage. Listening intently, she pinpointed the subtle rhythm of Margaurethe’s heart. Elisibet lightly caressed the skin of her throat, pleased to see the woman’s avid attention on her fingers, her heart beating faster in response to the visual stimulus.
“Do your parents know where you are?” she asked.
Margaurethe flushed and looked away, her manner alternating between blatant seduction and shy nervousness at her presumption. “My mother left me abed, Your Majesty. My father is deep in his books, and will be until the wee hours.”
Ah, so the child toyed with danger, stealthily disappearing from her bed late in the night to meet with the most dangerous predator amidst the European Sanguire. Elisibet’s already high opinion raised another notch. It was one thing to flirt with the vasilissa; countless had over the years for her preference for feminine companionship was widely known. It was quite another for an innocent and entitled daughter to evade her parents. She had to know that morning would dawn on her, deflowered and sated, worthless to any man her parents were courting for a son-in-law.
Unable to remain repentant at her obvious subterfuge, a smile twitched the corner of Margaurethe’s lips. She peered at Elisibet from the corner of her eye. “Would you have me tell them the truth?”
Elisibet feigned serious consideration of the question. The O’Tooles were protective of their daughter, and rightly so. Sanguire children were a rare commodity, and treated quite well. If they knew Margaurethe had evaded their security to rendezvous with her, they would be scandalized. Elisibet’s emerging reputation as the Tyrannos was deserved, both her bloodlusts and anger a thing to be feared.
“It’s best this way,” she finally said. “I’m only interested in enjoying the company of one O’Toole this night.” Again Elisibet received a blush, and her fangs elongated slightly in response. Her lips parted, and she absently brushed her tongue across the points.
The result was complete fascination on Margaurethe’s part. She stared, her breath shallow, until Elisibet broke the reverie by taking a sip of her wine. Coming to her senses, Margaurethe did the same, though she took a larger swallow, as if to slake extreme thirst.
“You were most stunning last night,” Elisibet said, setting her wine glass down. “You danced as if on air.”
Margaurethe ducked her head, a pleased smile on her lips, her color high. “Thank you, Your Majesty. It was a marvelous dance. I am so pleased you invited my family and I to attend.”
“Had I known how beautiful they grow the flowers in Eire, I would have invited you long ago.”
Uncertain and inexperienced in dealing with such seduction, Margaurethe opened her mouth, but could not find words. A wave of gentle confusion washed over her features, and she busied herself with brushing breadcrumbs from her lap.
Elisibet wondered if she had ever been this young, this innocent. If so, that time was decades past. It seemed that part of what drew her to Margaurethe was the woman’s naiveté. Yet Elisibet had seen hundreds of young Sanguire woman, newly Turned, come and go from court and her bed. Never had they intrigued her as this one.
Music still played outside. Since Elisibet had not told the musicians to stop, they would play on until their fingers bled, and they collapsed from exhaustion. Making a decision, she rose to her feet. “May I have this dance, minn ást?”
Margaurethe giggled, and it amazed Elisibet that she could do so without appearing to simper. It was a true skill, indeed, to have an honest response in this day and age of court intrigue. Her guest paused to tuck an errant curl of hair behind her ear, and stood, taking her hand.
The touch sparked between them, and Elisibet gasped at the contact, echoing Margaurethe. Fire trembled in the gentle brush of skin against skin, warming her blood to fever pitch. Elisibet forced herself to not crush the woman to her, and ravish the lithe body. If a simple touch felt like this, what would a night of passions resemble? Would either of them survive it?
Would they want to?
She drew the woman away from the chair, stopping in the center of the room, fully intent on continuing this agonizing slow pace. The thought of taking what she wanted from Margaurethe filled her with distaste. Raping her would be a simple thing, something Elisibet had done a number of times in the past with little remorse. By the time the night was finished, Margaurethe would believe she had wanted what had transpired; Elisibet could easily compel her to believe the lie. No. This had to be consensual between them, yet she knew not why.
It would be difficult to dance the man’s part in a dressing gown, but not impossible. Elisibet struck the pose, giving her partner time to enjoy their diversion. Bowing low over Margaurethe’s hand, she brushed her lips across olive knuckles.
The resultant explosion of lust forced a low growl from her throat, her teeth fully expanding. The dance forgotten, she tasted Margaurethe’s skin again. Turning the hand palm up, Elisibet straightened as she examined each finger with her lips, eyes closed as she focused on the textures and smells. As she traveled the open palm, pausing at the pulse point of her wrist, Elisibet spared the woman a glance.
Margaurethe’s heart thundered in her chest, only inches away, her breathing ragged to Elisibet’s ears. Her lower lip was caught between her teeth, newly acquired fangs prominently extended. She probably did not even know they were visible, her focus wholly on Elisibet’s actions.
With deliberate care, watching carefully to note her reaction, Elisibet nipped one of the blue veins close to the surface, a single crimson drop welling up from the tiny wound. Margaurethe’s hand trembled at the slight incision, but she swallowed hard, her gaze rapt as Elisibet’s tongue darted out to taste. Her essence was sweet and spicy, just as her scent had promised. Elisibet reigned in a sudden impulse to rip open the thick vein, and drink her fill.
Completely enamored and intoxicated with desire, Elisibet gave up all pretense of a dance. She pulled Margaurethe into her arms, feeling the woman nearly swoon at the full body contact though their gowns kept them inconveniently separated. Slightly taller than Elisibet, Margaurethe’s breasts fit neatly over hers, her delectable throat only inches away. Instead of following her immediate reaction to attack the flesh so near, Elisibet forced herself to delay. They had all night, they had forever, and she wanted to use every moment of time to fully explore and enjoy Margaurethe’s offerings.
She reached into the mahogany hair, pulling the pins that held it above her shoulders, releasing the long waves to flow down Margaurethe’s back. The pins and combs clattered to the floor like so much rubbish, no longer important. Elisibet’s fingers reveled in the gossamer softness, massaging the scalp. Margaurethe leaned her head back, lifting her chin in surrender as she released a slight “oh.”
The parted lips were an invitation. Using her fingers to lead Margaurethe, Elisibet guided their heads together until they were a hair’s breadth apart. She smiled at Margaurethe’s slight whimper of anticipation, before doing what she promised herself she would do at the beginning of their liaison.
Their kiss remained gentle for long moments, Elisibet allowing Margaurethe an opportunity to become accustomed to the contact. Then she felt her lover’s mouth open, a tentative tongue requesting entrance, and she became lost in a whirlwind of desire. One hand remained at the base of Margaurethe’s head, holding her close as their tongues met and battled for supremacy, all the woman’s previous shyness gone as if it never existed. The other slid around Margaurethe’s waist, crushing them together with superior strength as it explored. No small clothes met her questing touch, and Elisibet growled again, pressing her thigh between Margaurethe’s legs.
The incredibly intimate touch broke the woman’s concentration, and she pulled away from their ravenous kisses to gasp aloud. Her chest heaved as she panted, but she did not try to escape. Instead, her hips surged forward to increase the friction against her sex, and she clutched at Elisibet’s back and shoulders. Elisibet began a rhythmic thrusting, and fell to the inviting throat. She barely refrained from sampling more of Margaurethe’s blood, forcing herself to wait, hoping – no, needing – Margaurethe to offer it freely.
A low moan emitted from the woman. “Your Majesty, I’ve never– oh!” she panted, stopping in mid sentence at a particularly vigorous thrust.
Elisibet drew her hand from the thick hair, trailing down the neck, nails lightly scratching the chest. She leaned forward, and sucked Margaurethe’s earlobe. “Hush, minn ást. I understand.” Her hand cupped a generous breast, and squeezed. She felt a nipple pushing against the thin cloth. As she continued her attentions on Margaurethe’s neck and throat, she massaged the protruding flesh, thoroughly enjoying the smells and sounds of the woman’s arousal.
Unable to stand the intensity, Margaurethe sagged in her arms. Not to be undone, Elisibet kept her from falling, swinging Margaurethe into her arms with little effort. She continued to dine on the woman’s skin as she left the sitting room, pausing only long enough to kick her bedroom door open. Once inside, she settled her evening’s diversion at the foot of her four-poster bed, drawing the privacy curtains out of the way.
As much as she wanted to continue her discoveries of this vixen’s willing flesh, she realized an interlude was required. Margaurethe seemed to be in a bit of a daze at the strength of her body’s responses; but such was the way of the Sanguire. She could not have Turned more than a year ago, and still struggled with the excessive sensitivities. Elisibet caressed her cheek with a thumb before leaving the room.
She returned with a tray bearing cups and a decanter. Setting it on a bedside table, she poured a liberal dollop of liquor into each cup. She sat beside Margaurethe, and offered one.
Margaurethe would not meet her eyes, but took the cup. Her hands trembled, and she clutched it in both hands to keep the liquid from sloshing over the rim.
Elisibet tilted her head, and studied her companion. Was she feeling nervousness at the overwhelming passion they experienced? Or was it embarrassment at the realization that this was not a flirtatious game, that there would be far reaching consequences for her disobedience? Elisibet sincerely hoped it was the former. If not . . . She frowned, and the thought of ceasing their activity started a burn of anger. Something else glowed in the embers, the emotion alien; she could not place it. She only knew Margaurethe must be here of her own accord, must allow herself to be claimed by Elisibet.
“It’s a bit stronger than the wine,” she said, raising her cup, gently tapping it against Margaurethe’s. “To new friends.”
“To new friends,” came the mumbled response. Margaurethe tossed back the drink, immediately dropping her cup as it burned her mouth and throat. She spasmed into a coughing fit, and Elisibet patted and rubbed her back, trying not to laugh.
“I did warn you,” she said when the woman regained control.
“That you did, Your Majesty,” Margaurethe wheezed.
She drew the back of her hand across Margaurethe’s cheek, pleased to see she did not flinch away. “My name is Elisibet.”
Margaurethe’s throat worked as she swallowed, eyes wide. “Yes, Your Ma-. Elisibet.”
A smile flashed across her face, fading almost as rapidly as it arrived. She pulled her hand back, taking a drink from her cup. “As much as I desire to strip you of that pretty gown, and taste every inch of your exciting skin, Margaurethe, if you do not wish to continue this, you have my leave to go.”
She refused to look at Margaurethe, gathering the cool regal manner that was second nature to her about her person. The unusualness of the situation distracted her. She wondered why she felt the need to protect herself from hurt. This was only a flight of fancy, an evening’s passionate interlude, nothing permanent. There were many other women who had shared her bed, and would willingly do so again; all she need do was crook a finger, and one would come running.
Margaurethe’s hand took hers, interrupting her thoughts. Copying her earlier actions, the woman brought her hand to those rich red lips. Elisibet audibly sighed as Margaurethe kissed her. The odd fears and second-guessing fled the wet rush of arousal seeming to tingle up her arm and through her body. When Margaurethe sucked Elisibet’s index finger into her mouth, she swore that digit would find another heated haven before the night was through.
The game, then, had resumed. Elisibet drained her cup, and allowed it to join its mate on the floor. She slowly drew her finger from Margaurethe’s mouth, only to insert it again. It received a thorough laving. Oh, yes. Young though she may be, this one was a vixen. Her proprietary gaze followed inviting curves, noting swollen nipples beneath ivory cloth. The spicy sweet aroma had intensified, and she belatedly identified it as her new lover’s sexual arousal.
Determined to sample every sensation Margaurethe’s body and soul had to offer, Elisibet extended her mind, finding a barrier to her proximity. Margaurethe had been trained well, though Elisibet knew it would take little exertion to break through her defenses. She was two centuries older than her playmate, and was one of the strongest Sanguire alive. But her goal was not to destroy, but to share.
Elisibet withdrew her finger, leaning forward to take Margaurethe’s lips into a soul-stealing kiss. Her hand wrapped lightly about Margaurethe’s long neck, thumb pressing at the top of her sternum. She left a trail of moist kisses along her jaw line, pausing to whisper into her ear, “Open yourself to me.”
Margaurethe had probably been told to never allow another within her mental defenses unless she knew them as well as herself. A mental battle between Sanguire was a serious danger. Many had failed or succeeded at such an attempt, the losers forever catatonic as their minds were turned to mush by their victors.
As expected, she hesitated. Elisibet leaned back to stare into her eyes, their foreheads touching. “Only if you wish it, minn ást. This is not a royal decree.” Her thumb drifted aimlessly over olive skin. “But I desire to feel you, both body and soul, when I bring you to the heights of heaven.”
The persuasive words performed magic. The barrier melted away, and Margaurethe met Elisibet’s mind. Knowing this was probably the first time she had ever done something as risqué as this, Elisibet locked away a large portion of her self, only allowing their physical entanglement psychic voice.
No longer restrained, Elisibet pressed her advantage, taking Margaurethe in a bruising kiss. The woman was pushed back against a corner of the four-poster bed, moaning at the rush of pleasure as her body reacted to the fierce hunger with equal fervor. Her mind was a red fire, mixing with Elisibet’s lust and coaxing their flames of desire to burn high and hot.
Needing to see as well as feel, Elisibet’s hand dropped to the top of the ivory gown, fingers slipping beneath as she grasped the edge. With one quick movement, the cloth parted with a resounding rip, baring Margaurethe from sternum to waist. She emitted a squeak at the violence, and sense of regret darted through their connection at the loss of the garment. Elisibet eased her away from the distress, projecting what she saw coupled with the overwhelming desire she had.
Margaurethe subsided, yielding to the rampant emotions. Her breasts, free from their delicate fetters, begged for attention. Elisibet complied, falling upon the unblemished skin. Fingers and tongue explored, finding the puckered nipple. She pinched one and suckled the other, sliding off the bed to kneel between Margaurethe’s knees. The woman did not know what to do with the devastating carnal hunger flooding her. One hand flailed as she tried to find something to ground her, eventually finding soft bedding, fingers shredding the linen. She arched into Elisibet’s mouth, the other searching behind her to dig into the carved wood of the bedpost bracing her back.
Impatient to achieve her aim, Elisibet reached for the hem of Margaurethe’s gown, shredding it to bare the source of that luscious aroma. She spread elegant legs, helping Margaurethe position herself by bringing one leg onto the bed. Unable to hold back any longer, Elisibet descended to expertly tongue her lover.
Lips swollen from so many kisses opened as Margaurethe cried out. Elisibet breathed in the scent of spice, pleased at her catch. The woman writhed against her touch, the sight and sound setting Elisibet’s heart pounding uncontrollably. Unable to hold herself away, she dived back into the heady taste, slaking her thirst with the liquid fire of Margaurethe’s arousal.
Their mental contact helped her as she kept close scrutiny on her lover’s excitement. When it appeared Margaurethe was truly on the edge of orgasm, Elisibet plunged one finger deep inside, breaking the maidenhood with deep satisfaction. The pain startled Margaurethe, but less than a heartbeat later vaginal walls gripped Elisibet’s finger, clutching in time with her strokes.
Margaurethe’s climax was intensely beautiful. Her rich voice called out Elisibet’s name, her body writhing against tongue and fingers, her mind spiraling through her body’s sensations. Elisibet tasted a hint of blood from the deflowering, and hungrily lapped it up. Her actions caused another orgasm, and a third before she realized Margaurethe was near fainting.
Reluctantly, Elisibet left her haven. Margaurethe’s head lolled to one side, the hand in the bedding still twitched and grasped. The silence in the room rang loud, competing with the musicians outside Elisibet’s sitting room. She pulled gently away, both physically and mentally, sending an order to the musicians. They stopped and the quiet was complete.
Elisibet rose to her feet, smiling at her lover’s languid inattention. She busied herself with turning back the covers, and disrobing. By the time she stood nude beside the bed, Margaurethe had recovered somewhat. Elisibet looked to see her plucking rather uselessly at the tattered edges of her dressing gown.
“Come to bed, minn ást,” she said, reaching to help the woman stand. “I wish to teach you everything about the love of a woman.”
Margaurethe allowed Elisibet to undo the sash that held the remains of her clothing together. “You mean there’s more?” she asked, voice breathless. Whether it was from exhaustion or anticipation, Elisibet did not know.
“Much more,” Elisibet promised.