So, I have finally figured out who Lara is and because of this discovery, the story has had to change a little to accommodate her desires, and quirks.
Here goes, again…
Lara looked at her reflection. Her attendant Jumoke had done a satisfactory job. Her otherwise wild hair trailed down her shoulders in tiny braids; each end was held by a wooden bead. She turned her head this way and that and smiled to herself.
Content that she looked alluring, she turned to Jumoke, who stood behind her with her hands clasped in front of her and her head, slightly bowed.
“Jumoke dear, that lace material I fell in love with – the white one, is being sold in the market today and I am too tired to go. Will you go alone?”
Jumoke hesitated, they both knew she was supposed to be with Lara at all times.
“Madam, the Chief will not be happy,”
“He will never know. You’ll only be gone an hour, maybe less.”
Lara hoped money would convince her. She knew Jumoke had three sons and a husband who liked to drink Ogongoro. She placed some coins in Jumoke’s palms. Her attendant sighed.
“Yes ma, I’ll go.”
“Wonderful, hurry along.”
Lara waited a few minutes after Jumoke had exited their room and leaned out the window. She could make his frame out vaguely amongst the trees. She sat on the ledge and swung her legs around. Taking the door would increase the likelihood that she would bump into the other wives and their endless chatter.
She slipped out of the compound and made her way towards the lone figure by the stream. He was sitting cross-legged with his two scythe and a dagger on the ground beside him. He looked up as she approached him.
“You will get us into trouble.”
“That is no way to talk to your madam.” She leaned on a tree and smiled at him. She watched him take in her hair, her wrapper and the beads she wore over her perky breasts. His eyes met hers.
“I serve the Chief.”
“I’m married to the Chief.”
“It would do you good to remember that,” he turned away from her and continued sharpening his weapons. She watched him use the stone and scrape it against the side of his scythe.
“In a way, we are both slaves to this place, are we not?”
He ignored her and continued his task. His silence didn’t bother her, she liked watching him. he was the most beautiful man she had ever seen and she liked beautiful things. He had skin, dark, like the mahogany tree that grew just outside her window, but his eyes were a rare grey colour. His hair fell to his waist in thick dreadlocks, which was odd for a warrior. Her brothers had shaved their heads – long hair was an inconvenience in battle. But they were dead and Dare sat before her, with his fully-pumping magnificently-crafted naked chest. She sat down beside him, dipping her feet into the stream and sighed. It was an uncompromisingly hot day.
She took a rock and a scythe and began to sharpen the instrument. She was used to the motion now, Dare had accused her of trying to ruin his weapon the first time she tried.
He turned to her.
“What’s the matter?”
She showed him her bloody hand and he groaned. He pulled her towards the lake and rinsed the blood off so he could see the depth of the cut. He looked at the angle of the cut, turning her hand this way and that.
“You cut yourself, on purpose?”
She shrugged, “It was the only way I could think of to get you touch me.”
He stared at her. He dropped her hand and grabbed the back of her neck, pulling her forward and pressing his lips against hers. It was a hard kiss, he had full lips and he was half biting, half sucking her, painful but she reveled in it. It was over before she wished. She blinked at him. He was breathing hard.
“Go now. I have no intention of dying today.”
“No one ever comes here.”
“I come here. You come here.”
“I know you want me.”
“My life is far more valuable to me, than bedding you,”
She grinned at him, and traced the patterns on his chest with her fingers. The Chief’s private warriors all wore the same pattern. They were the most feared men in the western villages. Two or three were capable of killing entire villages.
He didn’t return her smile. His grey eyes got darker. He stopped her finger in its tracks and removed it from his chest.
“You’re in a terrible mood today,” Lara laid back on the sandy ground and looked up at the sky. Dusk was approaching and the sky looked angry. Red and orange and black, the best time for dream walking.
She wondered what Dare dreamed of. Did he dream of her?
He washed his bowl in the stream and stood up.
“Don’t come here again,” he told her. She didn’t bother opening her eyes, he was leaving and she didn’t want to see him go.
“That’s no way to talk to your madam,” she replied. He didn’t respond, his footsteps led further and further away from her. The beat of her heart slowed and resumed its usual rhythm.
She watched the sky for a while and then sat up abruptly, recalling that her attendant would be distressed if she couldn’t find Lara. The last thing she wanted was for Jumoke to discover where her mistress snuck off to. She dusted her outfit and made her way to her quarters. She would go through the usual way this time, in case Jumoke was already inside the room.
A slave waited for her at her door. A boy of about nine; eight years her junior.
He prostrated for her before saying, “The Chief wants you to come.”
Her heart tripled, had someone seen her with Dare?