JP with mdman and Cindy

Ch’Truta smiled as he lifted a blackberry to his lips. So plump and juicy they were, that when he bit into one, the juice squirted from it onto Islana’s cheek. Ch’Truta chuckled and gently caressed Islana’s cheek, bringing the juice to her lips.

Taking a risk was something one learned not to do in the Great Swamp. Stepping out in risk often led to certain death. One proceeded with caution.

Being with Islana had taught Ch’Truta that taking a risk can also lead to the joys of life. Learning to ride and swim were highlights Ch’Truta would remember for life.

Being her with her, Ch’Truta would cherish as well. The berry juice upon her lips was alluring. He kissed them. It was then, while the fish roasted above the flame, that Ch’Truta took another risk. Something he wasn’t sure how the council would interpret. Ch’Truta gently laid Islana back and tenderly gave her his love.

The day had been busy full of travel and meetings with advisors, but the evening was just the two of them.

Under his gentle touch, there was no hesitation or second guessing. She had known this would be, at some point before the battles and hardship of war came to be. Hadn't known it would be now but was happy in the embrace of all of it.

Afterwards, she lay quietly in his arms, looking towards the sky as the stars were peeking out into the increasing darkness, and the moon hung over head. For these moments, basking in this life, in this love.

As he held his beloved, he was at peace. The contentment she had brought to him these last few weeks was overwhelming.

Ch’Truta kissed her atop her head, then gazed upward at the stars. They seemed so small compared to the awesome universe. Some claim the Uctilo’rhu’s original home was somewhere up there.. That he fell to the Still Valley in a ball of flames. He didn’t know whether to believe all the legends. All he knew was the here and now. He served the great and awesome Uctilo’rhu.

He lived in the here and now. That is what was important. Smiling in contentment, Ch’Truta kissed the top of her red hair. He gently squeezed her tighter, then relaxed his arm and whispered, “When my journey began, I did not know this could happen. The spirits led me to you. I am certain it was not their intention for me to love you. But they sent us this message of approval from Uctilo’rhu. I say that to say this, I have no regrets. It matters not what the council says, I give myself to my love. Nothing anyone else thinks or says shall prevent me from loving you.”

"I never thought I would find someone like you. I do love you, and I always will." The "I" was Islana. The Sisters were a part of her, but she knew they had nothing to do with the young woman's feelings for the man from the swamp.

The redhead turned sideways, bending her arm and putting her head on her palm, taking in the man next to her. There were things that needed to be told to him, but this evening had been so perfect, even the Sisters had left her alone, Islana couldn't bring herself to break into the mood.

Ch’Truta realized the time had been slipping away. Although he was enjoying himself, the council would soon begin to worry. He would support Islana in her obligations. That was the main reason the spirits had sent him. To ensure a victory for Arcadia.

“As much as I would like to stay here and hold you for eternity,” Ch’Truta sorrowfully spoke, “we must eat and return to camp before the council puts out a search party. The fish should be done and the berries are delicious..”

He kissed her once more. “I truly love you Islana. Know that I will cherish this day all my life.” He never in his lifetime thought he would care for someone as much as he did her.

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