It was the end of the cycle, the time of fertility. For ten full revolutions, in the olden days called a year, the Dead Moon had been in ascendancy, the ground frozen, the People burrowed in the deepest of caves as close to the heat of the planet’s core as they could get.
For ten revolutions, the Animate Sun reined in all its glory, bathing the People with nourishing warmth, and providing rich, fertile soil to grow crops. The People called it the time of fertility, when new life sprang into existence, plant, animal and human. It was a wondrous time, something most people only experienced for a maximum of ten times in their lifetimes.
The counterpoint to the joy of the Animate Sun was the Dead Moon. For five revolutions the People basked in the glory of the sun and on the sixth, their toil began, in preparation for the Dead Moon rising.
The harsh existence of their world kept their numbers low. There were less than two hundred thousand of the People spanning the planet, each Tribe consisting of no more than one hundred individuals, their regions mapped out to exactness. It had always been that way, the amount of growing land required to sustain each Tribe the most important factor of their governance.
It was the only way they could survive extinction. Too many people on one region of land would spell the end of that Tribe. The quantity of food supplies they were able to harvest could only feed a set number to last the Dead Moon cycle. Anymore and they doomed the entire Tribe.
Their world did take pity on them though. For all they lived and loved close to the earth’s core, no woman ever conceived during the Dead Moon cycle. Some speculated that was why it had been assigned that name, because all life was barren under the dark sky. No crops grew. Neither animals nor children were born. Life stagnated as the People cowered from the freezing temperatures above.
Takareena bubbled with excitement as she made her way through the dark caverns lit by fortified reed torches. In one more turn, the People would begin making their way up towards the openness above, towards the Animate Sun. This would be her second exposure to its beauty and she retained enough memories of when she last saw it as a child. She had been born the first revolution of the last cycle and had been old enough to truly enjoy its splendour.
Some of friends had been born later in the cycle and their memories were not as vibrant as hers were so they had some trepidation about the coming changes, living within the caves being all they had known. She did her best to reassure them about how wonderful it would be but she could see some lingering doubt in their eyes. They would soon see how wondrous it was and know the sadness that would come when they had to return to the caves at the cycle’s end.
Takareena didn’t want to think about that though. That was ten revolutions away. All she wanted to think about was what was awaiting her and the rest of the Tribe; Life!
She hurried to the upper cavern, the one so vast the entire Tribe could fit in. Most of them where already there, kneeling on the rough stone floor, their heads tilting at various angles. Those who had been acclimatising longer could raise their eyes up to the pale stream of light shining through the chimney opening up high in the ceiling. They consisted mostly of the elders, people who had seen multiple Animate Sun cycles.
It was harder for them to become accustomed to the darkness of the caves but easier to greet the new sun. As it was harder for the younger ones to absorb the new wonder of light being introduced into their lives.
Takareena found a spot to kneel in a ray of sunlight, her head bent, and her arms resting gracefully on her thighs. The light illuminated the intricate tattoos dancing down her arms and back, most of her long dark hair pinned atop her head with long strands partially concealing elements of her tattoos on her bare back.
She had decided to stay within the cavern until the next turn and had imitated her tattoos, skilfully creating the designs beneath her eyes and down her cheeks with paint. Others in the cavern had done the same, applying the traditional fertility symbols to welcome the Animate Sun. Takareena had also adorned her hair with two ceremonial silver daggers and a silver butterfly pin, along with her silver coin circlet around her brow and pinned to cascade through her hair.
She had carried her gossamer white blouse, leaving her breasts bare to the warm air within the room, though she had remained clad in her dark breeches to protect her skin from the roughness of the stone floor. Around her small waist, she had clipped on her specially made skirt, a thick dark band with wide swathes of material flowing downwards.
She was ready to greet the sun as was befitting the customs of the Tribe and her excitement was boundless at what was so come. When the call to go above came, she would strip off the last of the Dead Moon and walk into the light clad only in her skirt.
A sound startled her from her thoughts and her lips tilted in a shy smile as Kainan came to kneel beside her. She had observed him watching her for the last revolution though he had never approached her before. Kainan was the very epitome of virility, and everything the younger males aspired to be.
This would be his third sun cycle and the stories told by the Tribal Historians stated he had been instrumental in the boosted harvest for the Dead Moon cycle. The Tribe had fed well and there was still food in reserves. He had also fathered four strong sons and two daughters during the last cycle. His chosen mate, Blarana, was now past the fertility stage having been two cycles older. She had joined the ranks of the Tribal Histories now, teaching the children all they required to know of tribal life.
The excitement among the girls eligible for their first fertility cycle had been at fever pitch since they’d heard that Kainan would be seeking a new mate. Takareena hadn’t hoped to aspire to being the one he selected despite the fact he had been watching her so closely. Now he was kneeling beside her, staring up towards the sun and she was spellbound.
Kainan didn’t require the sun to colour his body. His skin was already a deep bronze in hue, the only clothing he wore being dark breeches similar to hers. His angular face appeared chiselled from granite, his dark hair cut so short she wanted to run her hand over his head to feel her palm tickle at the experience. His gaze was turned upward, steel grey eyes narrowing as he battled with the light, resolutely refusing to surrender to the glare.
Takareena took the opportunity to run her eyes down his thick neck, over shoulders so wide and strong she had to fight the continuing urge to trace the muscles with her hand. He was the strongest of the males and all could see that by evidence of his stature. His skin stretched over the hard muscles of his lightly haired chest, down over his taut stomach. It was as if it was there merely to enhance the muscles beneath and it screamed at his virility.
Her perusal was cut short as his head turned in her direction. He examined her as languidly as she had him, his all-seeing eyes tracing every feature on her face before they moved downwards. His gaze lingered on her rounded breasts, heat entering his eyes as their tips hardened at his scrutiny and they began to swell and feel heavy as he continued to look. Soundlessly he reached beside him to retrieve an object. Remaining silent, he placed the leather cloth pouch before her and moved until they were facing each other.
Takareena could feel many eyes watching them, a murmur of approval radiating within the cavern. Her heart began to thump as she unlaced the pouch and slowly unwrapped it. As the paint tubes became visible, her heart beat a little faster and she tried to control the shaking of her hands as she delicately drew them out. Kainan had chosen her out of all the available girls of the Tribe. He had bestowed such honour to her family and cemented her place in the Tribe.
Carefully she opened the paint, her gaze meeting his as he held still and she began to apply the fertility tattoos to his cheeks. No words were spoken between them as she concentrated on achieving perfection, accepting Kainan as her mate by performing the ritual decoration.
For the most part, he behaved but she nearly faltered towards the end when he boldly reached out and cupped her breast in his big hand. It was but a fleeting moment though, his thumb scraping over the hard peak lightly before he dropped his hand and allowed her to continue unhindered.
However, in that moment he lit such a fire in her veins, engendering a need that staggered her. How could one touch evoke such emotion? And what would it feel like when they went above and he took her body in the sun dance? Takareena thrilled at the thought, and when their eyes met the next time, there was a promise in his and anticipation in hers.
The Tribe moved slowly out of the darkness, blinking in the early morning light of the new sun. Some of the younger ones wore thin veils over their eyes to protect them though the histories said that within a few days the People would adapt to their new environment. They were a resilient species, attuned to the vagaries of their world.
Old mates and new alike peeled off into different directions eager to begin the fertility cycle. Of the one hundred people to enter the caves at the end of the last cycle, the Gods had taken twenty-nine of them to their hearth and the Tribe needed to be replenished. Others moved to begin checking the habitability of the wooden structures left standing from the last cycle.
The Tribe spread out over the land, each section taking on the responsibilities required to benefit the tribe. The elder males moved to tend the land, carrying the precious seeds they’d stored from before. The elder women herded the remaining animals into rough pens, seeing to their needs so they could begin their own fertility cycle. The unmated and Historians began the clearing of buildings as the children tentatively greeted the sun with awe and skittish giggles.
Kainan pulled Takareena down towards the river to the west of the village, his movements hurried. He stopped when they reached the shore turning to face her. “I would look upon you, Takareena.”
His deep voice sent a shiver of pleasure dancing across her skin and she hastened to do as he bade, unlacing her breeches with shaky fingers. His hands covered hers as she inadvertently knotted the lace in her attempt and she emitted a startled gasp when, without a word, he raised her up by her hips and laid her gently on a high moss-covered rock beside the water. Her legs dangled over the edge and she held her breath as his hands returned to the lace.
Fire raced through her blood as Kainan’s fingers brushed her most vulnerable area, the lace parting to leave her open for his perusal. His sharp intake of breath was enough to tell her that he enjoyed the view and made her heart race to a staccato beat.
“Exquisite,” he sighed softly, peeling down the soft material, kneeling to pull it from her body leaving her clad in her ceremonial skirt. “Turn around, mate.”
Takareena did as he asked, her feet touching the ground, the swatches of the skirt parting to display her bottom to the warm air. It felt invigorating and her excitement escalated as strong hands cupped her bottom and stroked lightly over her flesh and down the back of her thighs. He was kneeling once more, his breath whispering against her skin before a wet tongue stroked boldly up her left thigh, laving against her rounded flesh.
His mouth caressed her bottom intimately, his tongue sliding slowly down her right thigh to the back of her knee, his long fingers following in its wake. Takareena’s knees tremble and she was glad she had the rock to support her body, the moss tickling her swollen breasts as her body moved, pressing back towards Kainan’s mouth. Her sex was damp, pulsing to the beat of her heart as his fingers grazed the inside of her thighs but didn’t quite touch her core.
He was teasing her, stoking a fire of need with deliberate intent, and knowing that only served to fuel Takareena’s desire. Kainan was going to be a strong, virile lover and he would give her much pleasure as well as many fine sons and daughters. Together they would enhance the Tribe until it was strongest it had ever been. Together they would ensure the survival of the People.
“Kainan, I ache,” she whispered as the heat within built unbearably.
His teasing fingers brushed over her sex, pressing through her folds to slide intimately against her dampness. She gasped aloud, pressing into his hand, shuddering as he began to stroke rhythmically against her, pushing her further towards the pleasure that awaited her. She cried out when he stopped, and moved to press his hard body against her bottom, covering her and holding her arms down as his still clad body pressed her against the mossy rock.
His breathing was harsh as he began to grind against her, his hardness a steel rod against her bottom, his body forcing her sex to be ground against the soft covering beneath her. The sensation was astounding, tickling her tender skin but also sending sparks of pleasure rushing through her.
Takareena was climbing higher and higher, reaching for the release that was just out of reach, her heart racing as her body ground against the rock. Her breath caught, the world exploded around her, and she cried out as her climax rode over her in a pulsing wave.
She had never experienced anything like it before. Her male friends had pleasured her many times in the last revolution, though being one of the newly fertile she hadn’t completed the act of love with them, wanting to experience it for the first time as being part of the sun dance. None of the others had ever pulled such emotion from her and it was taking some time for her breath to resume a more even cadence.
“It is good that you enjoy my touch, Takareena,” Kainan said quietly. “I have been waiting for this for a full revolution. We will do this many times and create many fine babies together.”
As he finished speaking she felt the touch of his naked legs against the back of her thighs and realised he had removed his breeches while she was gathering her breath. She tried to turn to have a view of him but he was pressing her against the rock once more, his erection a steel rod against her bottom.
“We will have time for more later,” he whispered in her ear. “For now I have a revolution of need to appease.” His knees pressed her thighs apart and he held her hands pinned above her head with one of his while the other slid under her abdomen to raise her up slightly. “May my seed find a home in your womb, mate, and the Gods bless us on this first day of the fertility cycle.”
Takareena moaned at his words, as he pressed against the opening of her body, his thickness slowly easing into her tightness. He felt so big, filling her completely as he thrust into her, holding her still so he could control their joining. It hurt a little at first but that was soon replaced by the most incredible feeling of being complete.
“Perfection,” Kainan murmured against the back of her neck, holding still to savour the moment of joining and the warmth of the rising sun on their skin. He had known she was his from the moment he’d seen her proudly displaying her newly acquired fertility tattoos. It had always been just a matter of time before he would be sinking deep within her body as he was now. And it surpassed every single erotic dream he’d ever had.
She enclosed him so tightly, trapping him in her wet heat, squeezing him until he groaned and had to move, had to pull slowly from her heat and rock back inside in one fluid movement. Her muttered cry stirred his blood, his mouth bending to the sacred tattoos on her back, his lips caressing each one as he pulled out and thrust again.
For each symbol on her skin, he blessed her body with his, taking his time to savour her heat, to maximise his pleasure as well as hers. He knew his movements were pressing her sex into the moss-covered rock, caressing the tiny bundle of nerves as her passion built higher. Another time he would lie at her mercy and let her use his body as she saw fit, but this first time was his to show she belonged to him.
He had to love her to the point that no one could vie for her affections during this Animate Sun. He had to show her that he would worship her body as the strongest male of the Tribe, give her untold pleasure whenever she desired. She was his to lose and he had no intention of that happening. He had ached for this moment and now it was in his grasp he was never letting her go.
“Tell me what you desire, Takareena.” His lips brushed her shoulder, his teeth nibbling at her soft flesh.
“More.” Her gasped plea set his heart soaring, his blood rushing to his groan and making him harden more than he could remember. His next thrust was deep and hard, causing her to cry out loudly.
“Do you want my seed in you, mate? Do you want to feel me flowing within you, creating new life within this beautiful body? Will you accept me, surrender to me, stay with me?”
“Yes! Oh, yes, Kainan, I want you,” she whispered, her breath rushing out in short pants as he plundered her body over and over again, stamping his possession on her even as she possessed him. She was soaring once more, pleasure dancing through each nerve ending as her mate loved her to the point of sending her mindless with sensation. She cried out, exploding once more in climax as Kainan called out his release, filling her with his life giving seed as they danced in the sun.
Long moments passed, their harsh breath on the air as he slowly released his hold on her body, turning her until she lay curled on her side on the rock. Kainan smiled, as he looked into her flushed face, his gaze enjoying her body for a moment before he climbed up to lay on his side facing her.
“Forgive my impatience, Takareena. I have waited a long time for you.” His hand caressed her cheek, his touch gentle.
His words surprised her and made her smile. He thought he required forgiveness for loving her so thoroughly? She hoped he would love her that way many times in the future. “No forgiveness is required, my mate. Our sun dance was perfection.”
He smiled at her for the first time, pleasure dancing in his eyes as he pulled her close, enfolding her in his protective embrace. “I know we must learn to know each other and the future isn’t certain, Takareena, but I want you to know that I am committed to being mated with you. This first time with you has only hardened my resolve.”
A giggle escaped her at his choice of words and he frowned before he laughed softly. “Yes, it hardened that too,” he conceded with another laugh.
Takareena ran a hand over his chest, feeling his muscles tighten under her fingertips, hearing his sharp intake of breath. He was an exceptional lover and enjoyed humour too. He was strong and healthy, and would give her many strong children. The Gods had indeed blessed her.
“I am committed to being mated with you too, Kainan, and look forward to this Animate Sun cycle.” She boldly leaned up and pressed her lips against his, sighing with pleasure when he opened his mouth to allow her access. It was delicious and heady and it made her feel lightheaded.
It was he who broke the kiss, stroking her back as he grazed her neck with his lips and then nibbled at her ear. “As much as I would like to get to know you a bit better, there is the village to get up and running again, mate. Fear not though, tonight I will show you once again just how committed I am.”
His promise made her shiver with delight as they rose and quickly cleaned up in the river. In silence, they dressed and turned back towards the village hand in hand, joining with the other mates making their way back. The Dead Moon had waned and the Animate Sun was in ascendancy. The People would thrive as they always had, the cycle of life marching on.