Lady Aenid enjoyed the fragrance of the healthy plants in her large medicinal garden. A light breeze dissipated the late summer heat and ruffled the hairs that had slipped out of her braid. She clipped several buds from the stratha plant and added them to her basket. The little buds were essential in the restoring tea for women who had undergone a difficult birth. She moved on to the next section and began pulling the few weeds that had sprung up. Though the head gardener of the demesne—the land directly supporting the manor house—oversaw her medicinal garden personally, Aenid loved finding time to tend the garden herself. Aenid found a great deal of peace in working in the soil and watching the plants mature.
The estate was the home of her father, the baron of Clawynd. His lands extended for miles around, bordered by the foothills of the East Dyfal Mountains and three other noble seats. It was a small holding in the kingdom of Kerban, but it was relatively wealthy due to the mines and rich farmland. Her father managed it well. He was fair and just with his people and they prospered because of it. They were also very loyal to him.
The house itself, Duth Clawynd, was a huge manor house. She knew it was not nearly as impressive as the castles that were the homes of other nobles, but she loved its less military appearance. It had hundreds of rooms and was home and work for dozens of servants. It was an imposing structure when viewed from the front. Rising several stories, it had a central hall with a wing off each side, and square turrets rose at each corner. The gravel laneway led from the road to the shallow valley of the estate and circled a statue of the goddess with a garden.
Aenid thought it was a little extravagant for a family of two, but it was their ancestral home. In the past the families of Clawynd had been larger. Baron Jero de Barden, her father, had not been blessed with many children. Aenid’s mother had died birthing her second child, who had passed on within days of his mother. Aenid was only seven at the time, and had not come into her powers as a healer. Her father had loved her mother dearly and despite the pressure to remarry, had not done so. He lavished his love upon his daughter and raised her to know her duty to the people of their land and ensured she had the training and skills to be an excellent Baroness.
In the kingdom of Kerban both men and women could inherit noble seats. Generally it was the firstborn male that took the title but if there was no boy child, the firstborn daughter inherited. So, Aenid would be Baroness and her husband, if she chose to marry, would be Baron. The rule of the seat would be hers, however.
Though Aenid would be Baroness by right of lineage, her father always impressed upon her the need for excellence. He told her that though women could inherit, it happened infrequently enough that she would be constantly challenged. She would have to be a better Baroness than any other noble in the kingdom. The estate must be well managed, her people loyal and well cared for, the border with Torquin guarded and her soldiers well trained, her holding justly administered, never late with her taxes, and she must keep abreast of all the king’s council details and scheming of the rest of the nobles. It was a daunting task for any noble in the kingdom.
She already oversaw the management of the home and demesne. Her father ensured she was included in or informed of all decisions regarding the running of the seat. This involved the supervision of lands and tenants, taxes, administration of justice, and the health and welfare of their people. She knew much about the king’s council, but rarely went to court. Her father’s retirement from active court life limited the amount of time she spent in Kerfaen.
She heard the sound of hooves on the gravel of the lane to the manor. She stood and walked over to see who was approaching. She wondered if it was the hunting party. Lord Merrin, the King’s Champion and a friend of her father’s from his days at court, had brought several young knights for a visit.
Aenid could admit to herself that she found Lord Merrin very attractive and she was drawn to him in ways she had never before experienced. He had a scar that cut across his face from his temple, over his left eye and down his cheek a little ways. For some reason, Aenid thought the scar only make him more striking. With the healing powers available in Kerban, scars like his were rare. He had mid-length black hair that was brushed back from a strong forehead. His eyes were a clear blue, and he had a strong chin that he appeared to keep free of stubble. His mouth was generous, with the slight lines at the side that come with laughter. He was a large man. He towered over her and had the muscles to fill out his frame. His shoulders were wide and upper body strong from fighting, and his legs were powerful from all his riding. For all his strength, Aenid felt that he could be very gentle when the occasion called for it.
By all accounts, Merrin was intelligent, well educated, and honorable. He was also a reasonably strong mage, able to cast mid-level spells. He had strong mental shields, a basic necessity of anyone who was able to wield kerfios beyond a basic level. Her father liked him. She suspected that the knights he brought with him were supposed to be eligible suitors for her—young, handsome, and of lower rank than her. None of them compared to Merrin in her eyes.
The approaching group did appear to be the hunting party that had set off early in the morning. It was odd they were travelling so slowly. And they seemed quiet. Even if the hunt had been less than successful, there would normally be some banter between the men.
Aenid stepped toward the lane, intending to greet her father. One of the men in the group caught sight of her and urged his mount faster. The horse jogged toward her. As it approached, she could see that it was Lord Merrin.
It had been the most exquisite torture to hold Aenid in his arms and not bring them both to ecstasy. Even now, part of him wanted to rip off her nightgown and love her hard and fast, but he knew that was not the way to show her how much he cared.
He caressed his way up from her belly to her shoulders, just grazing the swell her breast lightly. Easing first one lace strap off her shoulder, then the other, he started to pull the silky nightgown down off her body. Aenid, so sweet and willing, helped him by rising off the bed to allow the material to slip away. Her body revealed to him, she blushed a little and moved to cover herself with her hands.
“No, sweetness. You’re beautiful and I want to enjoy the sight.” Merrin took one of her hands and kissed her fingertips. She allowed the other to fall back to the bed.
Merrin did enjoy the sight. His cock became a little harder, if that was even possible. She had lovely breasts, neither too small nor too large for his tastes. They were the precise size to fill his hands. She had pale skin, which set off her brownish pink nipples to perfection. Those lovely buds were standing at attention with her arousal. Her soft belly gave way to lushly rounded hips, ideal for him to hold while taking her in a myriad of positions. She trimmed the neat thatch of hair over her mound and he could just barely see the lips of her sex between her thighs.
He leaned over and kissed her forehead. “If at any time you are uncomfortable, or wish me to stop, all you have to do is say so,” he murmured into her ear. “I’m going take pleasure in touching and caressing every inch of you, my sweet.” He started kissing his way down her neck and over her collarbone as she let out a breathy sigh.
She smelled clean and fresh, like rosemary and flowers. Merrin leaned over her and inhaled her lovely fragrance and licked his way to her breasts. He fondled and caressed them, turning the nipples a darker pink and hardening them further. He took one into his mouth and laved it generously with his tongue. Aenid gasped and thrust her chest upward, involuntarily. He smiled around the nipple, enjoying her response. He treated the other to similar attentions and enjoyed her moans of pleasure. He looked forward to the day where he could oil the furrow between her breasts and thrust his cock between them. His cock twitched at the thought.
He trailed kissed down over her belly, travelling down one leg to the knee then up the other. He stopped at her mound and he felt her tense up slightly. He kissed her curls lightly and looked up at his lovely Baroness.
“Do you want me to stop?” he asked gently, looking into her green eyes.
Aenid swallowed and whispered, “No.”
He caressed her inner thigh with one hand and opened her to his gaze. “So pretty,” he murmured as her inner lips were revealed to him. She was already glistening with arousal and her clitoris was swelling. He bent his head and gave her a long lick from the bottom of her slit to the top, reveling in the fact that he was the first to taste her.
She gasped with the contact and jerked her hips. He placed a hand firmly on her pelvis to hold her still while he continued to enjoy her pussy. He carried on licking and sucking on her lips, occasionally stimulating her clit while she moaned and fisted the sheets. Merrin could feel her getting close, so he backed off a little, but reached forward to introduce a finger into her vagina. He wet the digit with her juices then eased it slowly into her dripping hole. She was tight around his finger and he didn’t push in too far, not wanting to breach her barrier.
Aenid made soft cries of pleasure as he fucked her shallowly with his finger. He could feel the ripple of her muscles around his digit.