Golden Feather

The red clay of the slabbed rocks jutted against the sky, topped by the green canopy of forest as the thunder of the waterfall resounded in my ears. I had journeyed far, and my heart sought rest, as my feet unerringly found the path that would bring me once more to you. I ached to gaze into your eyes and feel the warmth of your arms around me. Glancing upwards, I saw you waving from your tree hut, and my feelings for you tore at me like a burden I could not put down. The wonder in your eyes, so familiar to me, locked my heart to yours once again.

"How have you journeyed, Warrior, that you go so far to slide past my tree without stopping before now? Will you spend a night under my roof, womon?" Your joy at seeing me was unhidden in the soft song of your voice as you greeted me. As you leaned far over the wooden rails, I felt the burden upon my heart lift, and I quickly closed the distance between us.

"I haven't had time to lay around and be servant to a gallant warrior, womon, let alone pleasure victim to your lust." I delivered the words with harmless spite and drew pleasure in the subtle way your eyes crept to my breasts. "Do I sag, womon?"

"You are as fine as the day you left, considering the battles you've walked, sister. Come, lay your armor aside, and let me tend the flame with you. We will walk through old heartstrands and bring out the youth at our altars again."

I made my way to the bottom of the ancient oak that held your small thatched hut above the river. As I looked over the edge at the river below I marveled at your bravery, living so precariously above the falls. Shaking my head in wonder, I slipped my hand into the yoke of the harness that would carry me up to you. I felt the tug of the rope and heard the squeak of the bind wheel and wished for time to turn back its hands on us, that we might see one another as we once did. And in the night thereafter, time did reverse its ways, in a very strange way.

I sat satisfied from our simple meal of pork and tubers, fresh picked greens and wild mushrooms. The scent of the cooking still lingered in the fresh air that swept in through the open thatch windows. You sat straddling your chore stool and washed dishes there in the open heart of the house, as my gaze followed your every move. Each time your hand dipped into the water my inner longing felt the penetration of satisfaction.

"I enjoy you, womon." I spoke easily, in spite of my growing hunger for you, as you quietly allowed me to watch your every move.

"Still?" The question left your lips as a whisper as you dipped the sea sponge into the dish vat and leaned toward your vessel work with new vigor.

Your hair, kempt in dreaded locks, spilled about your waist and shoulders, like huge beaded vines. Each, I knew, held a spell or a prayer for some other soul, and I felt drawn to your inner magic. A trickle of sweat rolled its way down your taught shoulder and into the crevice between your breasts. My mouth watered to taste your scent, capture the sweat and drink deeply of your essence.

"Yes, I can barely breathe for the sight of you." I whispered, as I leaned forward and drew a dreadlock into my hands just to touch you, knowing it was a movement that caressed your heart. I spoke gently again, "Do you still keep the secret?"

Your hands stopped in mid-rinse as you reached back into your locked mystery, pulling forth a dread that had a tiny bottle attached to it. "It is here, where you left it. Is that why you returned?" Your voice betrayed your hope that it was.

"It is one reason, sister. I came to stand ground with my heart before me and ask you to walk the strand ending with me." I hadn't meant to be so blunt; my thoughts had rushed tumbling, unchecked, from my mouth.

You stood then and made your way slowly to me. Your hair swayed with each step. Your breasts were like full moons, spilling from your sarong. Seeing my gaze upon them, you pulled the sarong to your waist as you approached. "I am, as I have always been, a warrior. But for you, and only you, will I serve as a vessel womon. Since our first night in the shadow of the sacred oak trees, it has been so. I have lain with no other as womon vessel, can you say the same, warrior?"

I knew this was a moment of truth between us. I could not, for the sake of the life I asked for from you, lie. "I have lain with others as warrior, but never as their vessel as I have for you, sister."

Your relief was immediate in your expression as you slung your legs around my waist and lowered yourself down into my lap. "Hold me then, Warrior ...hold me forever."

"I will, and as my vow, accept my heart as your shield. We will walk from here to our webend together." My heart was full in that moment. I could not move from the grip of your legs and I did not want to. As I gazed into your eyes I felt your hands linger at my throat as you touched the golden feather there.

"You wear the feather I gave you, still." It was a statement, not a question, as you lifted the feather from my shirt. It caught on my dreaded hair and you gently studied to free it.

"And you have worn mine sister." I reached back into your hair and pulled out the "secret bottle" as your eyes looked quizzically into mine.

"You have worn my feather all these years," I said in answer to her unspoken question, and a smile lifted my lips as I spoke the contents of the bottle hidden in your dreads for so long.

"What?" Your face lit up with a delighted smile as I took my atheme and split open the dread lock and brought forth the tiny bottle. Carefully, I tipped it over your hand and a beautifully carved golden feather fell upon your palm.

"I told you that you'd see me again," I chuckled, as you stared at the feather.

"All this time, I dared not hope." Your eyes welled with tears as you asked, "Why did you not tell me? I know you told me not to ask what was in it. You asked me to carry your secret and not even tell myself its contents, unless you died, off in some webstrand. Why did you do this, not that I am not happy, sister, but why?" Your eyes locked with mine and I knew my response needed to be gentle, and honest.

I took your hand and placed it upon my breast, over my heart. "Because I did not have the strength of heart to look beyond the flame between us, sister. I did not have the courage you have, I felt unworthy of the feather I wore in your honor. Until I could walk as your equal, I could not ask you to walk as my mate. My dearest sister and heart, you are my best kept love and secret." She silenced any further words, as her mouth found mine, and forgave me for my time of weakness.

"When did your hand become so familiar warrior?" you whispered, as my hand slid up your thigh and touched your private lips and parted them. The gush of moistness that greeted my touch betrayed the desire that had been building within you. Your moan was warm against my neck as you leaned to allow my fingertips access. I twisted the sarong about your waist and held you up so that I could enter you deeply. As I eased a firm thrust into you, your back arched and you tilted toward the taking of you. It wasn't long before you took the momentum of the thrusts of my hand and found the pace that suited your need, grinding your pelvis down, taking me ever deeper.

"A Riverwalk could never source me as you do, Warrior." Your words were timed to the rhythm of your hips as they ground down against my hand and I felt the painful pleasure of your wetted self against my wrist.

"You are the river I crave womon, give me your source and let me feel you release your flow. It has been too many webstrands since I felt the clench of your altar upon my touch. Give yourself to me, I claim you as my mate," I commanded, and I thrust deeper into you as you let out a rippled scream of acceptance.

Raising yourself to the claiming and placing your hands to my face you kissed me deeply. I heard the wanton murmur of your response, "I will source you all the webwalks left to me, Warrior. That is my vow." Your hips slowed in their taking of pleasure and you moaned into my shoulder as your altar produced a steady stream of spasms that kept my fingers captive in their worship of you. I waited patiently for their release and then slowly removed my hand.

I held you close to me and lifted you, your legs still clenching my waist, as I carried you to the bed. "Rest my darling," I murmured. "This ritual of acceptance has only begun, and tonight is a full moon. The Goddess will hear our vows." I laid you there and felt your body quiver under my touch as I tucked you in. "I will be back soon, to hold you in the aftercare. Take rest, knowing I have claimed you, and that you will no longer wait for me to come home. I am here."

I made my way to the door and stood looking at the falls below. "River, I have walked many webstrands and planted many novice seedlings in your heart ...hear me. I stand before you and ask that you let me go. I am an elder now and will continue my walk of the strands in your name. I will carry my burdens as I have always done. I ask that you do not call me forth from this womon. I ask that I may call this place in her arms …home."

As I stood watching the river for her signs, two Ravens flew along the river towards me. Flying overhead, they circled me thrice, and then flew over the falls together and I lost sight of them in the mists below.

"That is how I remember it, womon." I laid my kiss gently on her as she lifted her eyes to mine. The flame of the goddess showed deep in them, but dimmer and further in than I had ever seen it. "You would have me tell you that story a thousand times my darling. Don't you ever tire of it?"

"I live in that story, Warrior, as I have never lived before. Tell it to our novices that they may one day seek what we have held between us. Speak to them of integrity, of honor and the value of one another. Tell them ...that they may know true source and walk the webstrands honorably." Her hand fell away from my lips and rested on her now aged beauty. I held her one last time to share her dying breath. So touched was I by her healing ways in the web that I could not imagine losing her to death. Even now, years after our sourcing had claimed our hearts, we still lingered in the depths of the heartstrands that linked us. I knew in truth, that even in death, she would never leave me.

I felt and watched her life essence lift from her body. It lingered in the room only for a moment. At the end of the seventh hour of her parting, I somehow found the strength to open her burial chest. As I read her last requests and prayers to the river, my heart overwhelmed me, as tears flowed freely down my cheeks. Somehow I found the strength to wrap her body in the white sarong. I shaved her dreads from her head and I named each name she had written upon them, as I cast her over the railing of the thatched hut, into the falls below. I watched the river embrace her and carry her to the Mother, and as she disappeared into the mist, as the two ravens had done so many years ago, I finally understood why she had chosen this spot. With blurred eyes I allowed myself to read the final line, her last words to me on this webstrand ...

"I give my love a golden feather, that she may always know her way home to me. I have no greater fear, than dying without her kiss upon my lips."

© Melody Adams ~Splitfeathers


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