17. Ch 17 Enticement
As the West-Mark's captain and adjutant left the Hornburg, Lady Cynwen smiled. Both had sought her out for advice. Her smile widened. Neither realized the depth of affection of the other and both wished to advance the relationship. Erkenbrand knew that many eyes watched them and tried to 'help' them along but it only made things more difficult. He also wanted to be sure Éalwyn always felt she had a choice…that she could get out of the relationship if she so desired.
The Lady had been the one to suggest the Captain take his little mouse to Gamling's wedding. As for Éalwyn, the shy woman wished to know how to entice Erkenbrand, like other women, but she had no knowledge of such things. Lady Cynwen recommended altering her dress just a bit more when in social situations, lower the neckline a bit, cinch in the waist-- give the man something to think about. The younger woman's non-verbal response was comical and the Lady had to stifle a laugh. Tempt him, she had said, and if he notices another looking at you twice, all the better. Éalwyn had then caught on and the two women had a good talk about the ways of men. Now Erkenbrand and Éalwyn were off, alone, without guard or chaperone. It was safe enough for them to travel thusly and the Lady knew Erkenbrand was first and foremost an honorable man of Rohan.
The first day of travel went quickly. The two rode hard and spoke little as they raced across the plains, each lost in his or her own thoughts and anxious to be away from prying eyes. Come evening, they set camp near a small stream and ate a meal of cold meat, bread, cheese, and fruit. The cook even packed some wonderful sticky confections!
Éalwyn licked the last bits of sweet goo from her fingers with a contented moan. Erkenbrand watched, seduced by the sensual movements of her delicate pink tongue. He wanted to grab her hand and lick the digits himself; he felt his member stir as his mind wandered. Was it his lustful imagination, or were her riding pants tighter than usual? As she leaned back on her arm, her shirt slid off the shoulder; when had she become so alluring? The captain quickly turned his attention back to the fire, shifting to find a more comfortable position for his growing erection.
"Is everything alright?" Éalwyn asked coyly. She was not blind and she saw what her little 'adjustment' to her wardrobe did. It bolstered her confidence.
Erkenbrand shifted again. "Fine," he replied. He suddenly stood and strode towards the stream. Éalwyn watched him kneel at the waters edge and remove his shirt. She watched his muscles move under his golden skin. She felt her desire mount as he splashed water over his head and chest, small droplets glistening in the fading light of day as they traversed his muscular torso. How she wanted to be to one of the little drops. It seemed that the captain knew something about enticement as well! As night crept into their small camp, it found the would-be lovers aroused, yet wrapped in their own bedrolls desperately trying to control their raging desire.
The second day of travel went as the first. Again, night found them curled in their own bed-rolls, fitfully dreaming of what could be if they would just recognize the mounting attraction. On the third day, they finally slowed the pace and conversation came easier.
"Have you met Gamling's betrothed?" Éalwyn asked.
"She is a fine blacksmith and a dear woman. Gamling spent many years watching her, wondering if she would ever consider a man like himself."
"I met the captain once, though it was before my father passed. He was on an errand for the king. We had little contact, but he was most kind to me when he came to see my father; I was perhaps only seven or eight. I do not think he will remember me."
There was a nervousness about her and Erkenbrand wondered about it. He suddenly realized how this might all seem to Éalwyn. Yes, it was an opportunity for them to have some privacy, but she was about to meet some of his closest friends; she might feel like this is some inspection of sorts, that their opinion about her might effect their young relationship. The man wanted to set her at ease if he could.
"Are you nervous?" he asked.
Éalwyn kept her eyes focused on the landscape. In short, she answered, "Perhaps a bit. I…" She hesitated, not knowing what she really wanted to say. It all sounded so childish in her head.
Erkenbrand steered his mount closer and reached across to clasp her hand as it rested on her thigh. Éalwyn finally looked at him and he smiled his boyish smile. "You will like them and they will like you and, more importantly, I like you and nothing will change that." To his relief, Erkenbrand saw the shadow of doubt leave her sparkling green eyes as she smile at him.
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