Story Preview: The Flower of Lust

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The Flower of Lust
A Smuthunter Story

            Dawn came slowly across the slanted roofs of the town of Thornwood. It was not as small as some of the other market villages and hamlets of the realm, but though it was an important stop for trade caravans, it also sat on the edge of the Elder Woods.

            There were forests abound in the realm, bright and green and full of life, but none were as thick or as full as the Elder Woods. Shadows stretched longer there beneath the boughs of the Elder Woods, and it had become a bastion for things once known and plentiful, things both dangerous and splendid that had been driven into dream and legend for many in the realm.

            No road could be built though the Elder woods without constant upkeep, and the same was true for the edges of the township itself. The underbrush grew thick and fast and no amount of burning and pruning could tame it. Some said it was old magic that kept the Elder Wood so vibrant, that the ruined castles and ancient keeps lost in the inner most depths of the forest held enchanted items and deep sorceries that bled into the very earth, water, and sky of the woods.

            Yet, despite all such wonders and legends it was nothing so mystical that had brought young Nathaniel Kresnik to the edge of the woods alone. He brushed his shaggy brown hair from his forehead as he stared down the path into the forest’s long cool shadows. No, his quest was nothing so glorious as treasure and magic, but something far more practical and valuable, he was setting out to hunt.

            Despite the forest’s ever expanding growth, the woods seemed unable to swallow the paths worn by its denizens, and so the twisting web of winding game trails proved time and again the greatest way to explore the woods.

The sun was behind him now in the east, and it would follow him in his westward journey, though he knew there were places where the branches wove the forest into wooden caverns where daylight came only as rain through a leaking roof.

He had gone with the other men of the town, traveled into the wood as a part of hunting parties, but he had yet to brave the forest alone. It was as much a passage of manhood as it was a practical quest for food.

Though he had grown in years into manhood, needs at home and the needs of his family had kept him from this undertaking, and now that he was of marrying age he’d taken it upon himself to prove his worth to himself and to the maidens who caught his eye.

His quiver was full, his dagger was sharp, and his bow made of the finest yew, was freshly strung. The earth shifted slightly under foot as he stepped onto the game trail and under the branches, twisted overhead like the arch of the town’s temple doors. The log wall that encircled the town held three gates, and none were immediately behind him, he had never felt more alone than at that moment, and he was glad to have told his family of his plans.

Nathaniel didn’t fear the more mysterious whispers of the woods but the simple dangers of the hunt. Coming across the wrong animal and being harmed or killed, be it by the tusk of a boar, or the point of a stag’s horns, or the iron grasp of a badger’s jaw stranding him alone and bleeding, would ensure he left this world alone having never truly known a woman’s touch or the pride of standing as a man amongst his peers.

Still, he walked the trail alone, his eyes and ears open, listening for a sign, looking for tracks, sniffing the air for the scent of fresh spore. Birds fluttered before him, but his step was light and their flight was not a warning to other beats. Long he walked before he caught sight of his prey, and slowly he fit the shaft in place, the only sound was his slow breath and the muted creak of his bow bending taut.

But he was not fast enough, and the buck bolted.

It was not him, he was not down wind of the animal and it hadn’t looked at him, there was something else. He eased his draw and sniffed the air, wondering if he could catch the scent of a predator, but he only caught a sweet fragrance on the air. It tickled his nose slightly and left a taste of honey on his tongue.

With the same measured purpose he had with every step, Nathaniel stepped out into the small clearing and felt warm sun shining down on him. A breeze whistled gently through the branches and the sweetness on the air became more tangible and alluring. He’d never caught a scent as pleasant or as alluring, and he found himself stepping through the low brush between the trees.

The origin of the scent had to be close, nothing as fragrant and strong could hold that sweetness for long. His imagination rolled with thoughts of what it may be, flowers he could pluck and take to one of the women who had caught his eye, delicious fruits none had discovered or had been inclined to share, he wasn’t certain what it could be but the scent had awakened a need in him to find out.

He crept along and the brush began to thin under his feet just as the sun started to warm his back. Around him the trees grew straight and tall, but seemed to have parted for the sun, and the heat of the day only enhanced the sweetness in the air, warming it like mulled wine in winter.

Then, the wind blew gently again and he was overwhelmed with the fragrance, and what he saw before him in the golden light of the sun, took his breath away.

A single large flower, as tall as he, stood alone in the grass and the sun. It’s petals appeared white in the light of day and twisted upward like a rose. He watched in wonder as they began to unfold before his eyes, and then he gasped.

Though his nose was filled with the sweetest scent, and though he’d sought out this mystery, his hand moved on its own, an arrow knocked and ready, the bow string taut in his hand.

There was a woman inside those petals, or at least the upper half of a woman. She was naked, and her skin was the green of young leaves.

Her arms unfolded up over her head and out into the sun just like the petals had, long tresses of violet hair fell down over her shoulders, and her arms looked to be covered to the elbow by white gloves that looked as though they were made of petals both large and small. She was staring at him with light purple eyes that were vibrant as the sky at sunset.

She was smiling at him, and as she pulled her hair back he noticed that her ears were slightly pointed, but quickly his eyes were drawn to another feature. Her breasts were large, larger than he’d ever imagined, and they were full and firm. She stretched again and arched her back, and while his hand stayed steady, his eyes were drawn the bounce of her chest.

He stood stalk still as her white clad fingertips ran from her the base of her neck down between her breasts before she cupped them. They were the size of ripe and juicy melons, and as he watcher her pinch her nipples with tender care, he thought he smelled a new fragrance, something stickier that clung to him heavier than the perfume he’d followed here.

“You’ve found me brave hunter, but as you can see, I cannot give you cause for good chase.” Her voice was merry and light with laughter; it was free as the wind and rolled like a gentle stream.

Was she making a joke?

It was then that he heard the world around him, all of a sudden alive with birds and beasts. His gaze was pulled from the steady and rhythmic rise and fall of her chest by the passing of a large buck that walked from the wood and nuzzled against her as she extended a hand. It was the one that had briefly been in his sights.

“Besides, you would not favor the taste of my meat, not especially when you need only look about to find much sweeter game.” Her melodious voice was tender with sympathy as she was laughing at something he himself was not.

He didn’t reply, he didn’t know what to say, instead he tried not to think of the tension in his back and shoulders as he tried to keep his aim steady. She was a story come to life, but which one he did not know.

Finally he found his voice, “Who are you?”

She brought a finger to her lips and tilter her head sideways, “I think you mean what am I?’

She laughed again, and again her hands fell to her massive breasts.

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