Me’hia lay on her back and grunted. M’halok wouldn’t come. She knew it now. Not after the high priestess called him to her side. Even on the eve of war, he was attached to her. That thought left a bitter edge to the hollow fury in her stomach.
I’ll tear her face off, Me’hia seethed.
She stood up from her bed of pelt-covered straw and her long, dark hair fell around her angular face like the vines of the secret cave over its entrance after someone parted them to get in. It moved as one piece over her bulky cheekbones and framed her large, black eyes under the thick ridge of her brow with strict, unmovable lines.
But for now, the chieftains, Me’hia thought as she surveyed the dark interior of her hut.
She picked up a thickly-furred pelt from the ground, threw it over her muscular shoulders, and knotted it between her naked breasts. Then she grabbed a slab of rawhide and fastened it on her thighs, the rigid sheets parting at her groin over a thick mount of dark hair.
The chieftains had come back late the previous night, covered in the gore of their hunts, as tradition called for. In the first lights of dawn, they would share their kills before the Grand Fire while the Goddess La’hakit looked upon them from her seat of power and blessed them with strong, steady hands and rivers of their enemy’s blood. And the high priestess would be there, to the right of the Goddess, holding the sacred club. And he would be near, hidden in the shadows, ready to throw his life away for her.
Me’hia grabbed her spear and the hard wood between her fingers sent a hot wave through her stomach. It spread in her groin in a diffuse heat that curled up her lips. She wanted nothing else but to throw M’halok to the ground and ride him until he exploded in her and she touched the stars again. The idea coursed between her legs in a wet stampede of fire. She brushed a hand over the hard curls covering her sacred opening and more fire blossomed in her. She tightened her grip on her spear and cursed under her breath. M’halok was her man and she despised the spirits of the river for appointing him as guardian of the priestess. Everyone knew the priestess was a hungry woman, hungry for power and for food, hungry for men. The idea of M’halok being alone with her tightened the rough lines of Me’hia’s face. One day, she’d dip her fingers into the priestess’s silvery eyes, and she’d smile as the priestess screamed and shook beneath her. She’d delight in the fat rolls of her stomach and thighs as they’d ripple desperately in one last dance as she neared the Great Unknown. Every man in the four valleys yearned for her suppleness, Me’hia knew that. They yearned to grab at her jiggling flesh and thrust themselves between her plump thighs. And as surely as the forest was made of trees, M’halok was a man. Me’hia shook her head against the anger mixing with the desire tingling in her groin. Her hair swayed before her face as she did, hard plates shifting rhythmically like vine swaying from a tree, hard like the muscles under her tight skin, hard of daily training and of seasonal wars, hard of hunting elephants and long-toothed lions so her people could have meat for the long winter months; hard, not plump.
I will kill the priestess, she decided with a grunt, before the moon rounds again.
A wolfish smile split her lips.
There will be war and chaos, there will be opportunities. And then M’halok will be mine, mine only. Damned be the Goddess and her priestess.
Me’hia’s eyes burnt with a savage fire as she pushed aside the sheets of leaves covering the entrance of her hut. She stepped into a chorus of shouts and howls. The chieftains had assembled around a large bonfire that sent tall flames licking at the dark sky. To the west, the moon was receding and to the east, the sky was starting to grey.
As Me’hia approached the fire, the shouts turned silent. On the bluff behind the fire sat the Goddess. Her carved features swayed hollow in the light of the flames. Next to her was the priestess, white fur covering her large body, her fleshy face a mask of complacence. Me’hia repressed the urge to throw her spear at her. Instead, she stood still in the crackling of the fire and surveyed the chieftains. They were hard women, like her, warriors with faces crusty of blood, with deep-set eyes longing for battle. After a moment, Me’hia thrust her spear in the air and let out a primal scream that the chieftains echoed in a rising, strident wave. As if answering their call, the forest around them flurried with howls, coos, and the sounds of parting birds. Me’hia eyed the priestess and allowed herself a satisfied smile. War was nigh, and with it would come retribution.