Alyna handled the dried dragon spiders with great care. She had sold all her worldly goods for this ingredient. All she had left was the equipment needed to make this cake, her bed and the clothes she was wearing.
She wiped the flour from her forehead. This procedure required her full attention. The forces she was dealing with were not to be dealt with lightly.
Alyna had learned the craft from her mother, who in turn had learned it from hers. Some called them witches. Alyna didn’t like that denomination. She preferred to see herself as living as one with nature. She used her powers for good, she healed the villagers, she delivered their babies, she guided them to their deaths when it was their time.
The task at hand was also for the greater good. Alyna knew she needed to conceive this year. Already twenty-one winters had passed. Women of her kind had difficulty finding a suitable father for their children. Men in the village were afraid of them, scared these ‘witches’ would turn them into toads.
And so, Alyna was weaving a powerful spell through the ingredients of this cake. The recipient would fall in love with her, his loins would be awakened, and she hoped a fruit would blossom inside her womb.
With all the intention she could muster, she kneaded the dead dragon spiders through the dough.
She felt the familiar sparkle tingling her fingertips. Something was going to be awakened by this cake, that was certain. She added some extra honey to cover the taste of the less agreeable ingredients.
After placing the dough in the dish, she put it above the fire. All she could do now was wait.
By the time the pie was finished, Alyna had swept the floor of her cottage. She had also freshened up herself. She had to look presentable when she gave the pie to the lord.
She wrapped the cake in cloth. By the time of arrival at his castle, the pie would have cooled down enough. Her heart set on the goal ahead of her, she set out for the four-hour walk.
Once she arrived at the castle, she ignored her feelings of tiredness and wariness. Being the village-healer made it was easy to gain entrance into places like the castle. Commoners didn’t want to know her business. They assumed she had reason to see the lord, and again, they didn’t want to be turned into a toad.
“I need to see the lord,” she simply stated.
The guard nodded and let her pass.
Alyna had been to the castle before, so she roughly knew where to go.
She asked a maid to guide her to where the lord was now. The young girl looked both frightened and curious at her but led her the way nonetheless.
“What is this?” the guard grumbled. It was his task to protect the lord’s safety.
“The healer is here to see the lord, sir.”
He brushed her away while he looked Alyna up and down. “And what business do you have with the lord, healer?” The last phrase was uttered with contempt.
“I am here after a prophecy from the stars, sir.” Alyna had prepared for this question and had decided that her powers of divination were possibly even more frightening to the villagers than her healing powers.
“Hrmph. Go in.” The guard opened the door for her. “The healer has matters from the stars for you, Milord.” He bowed and went back out.
Alyna curtsied for the lord. “Good day, milord.”
Lord Vincent turned towards her.
Alyna was taken aback by how impressive he looked. He was, indeed, the right father for her child. His bodily features were attractive, and she could sense his strength even from this distance.
“I do not recall summoning you, healer,” he said with a mixture of disdain and intrigue.
“You didn’t, Milord. I, erm, came here of my own accord.”
She kept her gaze down, trying to look as meek and pliable as possible.
The lord rubbed his chin. “And why would you do that?”
“I had a dream, Milord, and it showed me I needed to bring you a pie. It was of the utmost importance.”
He frowned. “A dream, you say?”
“Yes, lord, it showed me you could only be saved from an all-consuming fire if you ate this pie.”
It sounded clumsy even to her ears, but she knew the lord was impressed by dreams and afraid of fires, so why not combine both?
He nodded while he turned back to the fireplace behind him. “The flames were unruly today, more than usual. Maybe there is truth in what you spoke. I take it you have brought this life-saving pie?” He turned back towards her.
“Yes, Milord.” Alyna hurried towards him and handed him the unwrapped pie.
He took it from her and smelled it cautiously. “Are you certain it is safe to eat?”
“Of course, Milord, I’m certain you will find the taste captivating.”
“Are you now?” He replied with a grin.
She handed him the knife from her purse.
He slid off a slice. “This is not going to kill me, is it?”
“I am a healer, lord, I create life, not take it away.”
He chuckled and shook his head before taking a bite.
Alyna held her breath. She had come this far, so the spell had to work.
He wiped his mouth. “I must say I’ve tasted better.”
Alyna smiled shyly. “I beg your pardon, lord. I’m a healer, not a cook.”
“Did I ingest enough to counter the prophecy?” He asked, with only a hint of jest.
“Maybe a little more to be certain, lord.”
He slid off a bigger slice and ate it promptly.
Nerves rushed through Alyna’s stomach. To be honest, she did not know how the spell worked and how she would see its effects.
“Well, healer. Thank you for this pie. It was fair.”
“Thank you, Milord. How is your cousin’s health?” A fortnight earlier she had treated this young man for a sprained ankle. He had complained to her about dark moods, so she had given him a mixture for that too.
The lord nodded. “Very well. His spirits have been lifted since you came to see him.”
“Good, that’s good.” Something was happening. She could smell the magic in the air, the same trickling she noticed when she was making her healing potions.
The lord’s breathing slowed down while his pupils widened.
“Healer, you, your fragrance. It’s alluring. Come.”
She joined him before the fireplace, standing directly next to him.
He pulled her close to him. “No, it’s not just your fragrance. It’s your skin, your spirits, all of you.” He took her hand and kissed it.
Her heart jumped at the intimacy.
“You’re irresistible. I need to have you.”
He groped underneath her skirt until he found her soft thighs. He massaged them hard. “Healer, you feel so right. You are the medicine.”
He rose and kissed her hard.
Alyna opened her mouth. She had never before shared her passions with anyone, and certainly not with someone as virile as this man. Her breathing quickened as she answered his kiss. She had not known a kiss could be this arousing.
The lord was already struggling to get her out of her dress.
She helped him and soon faced him wearing only her shift.
Lord Vincent did not wait one moment to appreciate her body. His hands went all over her body. Her shoulders, her stomach, her legs, her breasts. His expression was one of pure lust.
“Healer, please, my carnal lusts, they…” He tried to explain, but could not find the words.
“Ssh,” she hushed, “take what you need. Tonight, my body is your healing.”
“Yes, healer.” He attacked her with a violent kiss again.
She struggled to accept him. Her heart was racing. Only a little longer and new life would blossom in her womb. She only had to direct his passion the right way.
Lord Vincent tore off her shift and dove into her chest. He took her hard nipple into his mouth and made rough love to it.
She gasped at his treatment. He gave her other nipple the same handling.
His hands travelled south and made their way to her core.
She cried out as he pushed a finger where no man had ever touched her.
He was so filled with lust, he didn’t even seem to notice.
Alyna did notice how she was slick with desire.
“Lie down,” he grumbled.
She lay down on the sheepskin in front of the fire. The soft fur tickled at her back.
She spread her legs, as she had seen women giving birth do during their time of woe. Soon her belly would swell just like those women.
The lord took off his breeches and pulled up his shirt. His manhood stood firm and proud.
There was no doubt he was virile.
His eyes still had that manic look to them.
She was sorry she had had to seduce him like this, but there had been no other way.
He lowered himself on top of her.
She could feel his manhood poking at her leg.
With a swift move, he spread her nether lips open and guided his cock in. With one firm thrust, he was inside of her.
Again, she cried at the intrusion.
A flash of doubt passed over him, but it disappeared as quickly as it had come. He made rocking motions inside of her.
Alyna didn’t know what was happening to her. Now that the initial pain had faded away, his motions felt heavenly, like nothing she had ever experienced before. She brought a hand to the spot between her legs that she knew felt good. Adding that touch made everything a thousand times more intense.
“Oh yes, yes,” the lord moaned, while sweat began to collect on his forehead.
He increased his rhythm until both were moaning in ecstasy. He pushed her hand away and took over the rubbing of the most sensitive place.
Alyna nearly screamed at his touch. His hands were bigger, rougher, and they hit her just right. Soon her muscles pulsed while she released everything with a low moan.
“Yes, yes, that’s it.” The lord mumbled. He continued to thrust into her until he too went over the edge. With a loud groan, he deposited his seed into her.
Alyna lay quiet in her moments of bliss. Not only had she just shared intimate intercourse with the most powerful man in the county, but her plan had succeeded. Everything was in order for her to make a new generation of natural healers. She rubbed her belly with a satisfied smile. Soon signs of new life would make itself known.
The lord had gotten up and walked a few steps off. After pulling up his breeches, he rubbed his face.
“So, your little spell did its work,” he said ruefully.
Fear wrapped itself around Alyna’s heart. She giggled nervously. “I’m glad my presence worked like a spell on you, Milord.”
“You know full well that is not what I mean.” His tone was louder this time, his expression grim.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Milord.” She scrambled up and looked around for clothes she could use to cover herself with. This didn’t seem like a discussion she liked to face while in the nude.
“Did you really think you would be the first?”
Alyna’s cheeks burned with unease. “The first?” she replied meekly.
“The first witch to come in here to try and squeeze offspring out of me.”
“But I didn’t, I mean, I would never…” she struggled to find a sentence to her defence.
“Oh, save the excuses. I knew it from the moment you came in with a homemade pie. I could smell the magic ingredients from afar.”
Alyna cast her gaze down and lowered her shoulders. This had not been supposed to happen.
“I knew what you were up to, but I went along. I figured I could do with a rumble.”
He came up close to her and pulled up her chin with one finger. His dark eyes pierced deep into her soul. “A fruitless rumble.”
Now Alyna was truly confused. “Why fruitless, Milord? You can’t know that.”
He let out a hard laugh and shook his head before pushing away her face. “Oh, I know that it was fruitless. Why do you think I have not yet fathered an heir? My family is cursed. I am cursed.”
“You don’t know that, lord.” Alyna rubbed her flat stomach. “Maybe this time it will work.”
“My godfather placed this curse on me after my birth. That is why I am barren.” He took a few breaths to regain his composure.
“My mother was a whore,” he continued in a calmer tone.
“My father took on many women, but the only child that lived was me, the offspring of a degenerate female. It left my grandfather no choice but to leave the estate to me, but it was with great displeasure that he had to do this. So he asked my godfather to prevent it from ever happening again. And here we are.”
Alyna felt the words were true as they were spoken. Her dreams shattered. It was like the world collided in upon itself before her eyes. She stumbled to the closest seat and let her head fall into her hands.
She went numb, too numb even to cry.
The lord scoffed. “See, there go your dreams of wealth, of not having to work as a healer anymore.”
She shook her head slowly. “Wealth,” she repeated with disdain. “Why in Heaven’s name would I want to collect wealth?”
“So you can stop working?”
She rose and faced him with her hands upon her hips. “You do not know me, Milord. Else you would know I cannot go a day without this ‘work’ you seem to be so aversed from. My work is my life. I could not go a day without my potions, my tinctures, my herbs. I need to be in nature, for I am entwined with nature. Wealth means nothing to me.”
The lord looked taken aback. “So why seduce me?”
“Because I need to procreate! I have already seen twenty-one winters. It has to be done soon and I need a strong man as the father. Else my child will not be able to handle the powers I am giving on.”
She shook her head. “But I see my attempt was made in vain. I will return home and consider my options.”
Alyna searched for the meagre belongings she had brought.
She sighed. “Do know that I sold everything to take on this quest. I have nothing left in the world but the clothes I am wearing, now lacking a shift. Alas, I didn’t know about the curse. I wish you the best in your life, Milord.”
She curtsied before turning around and leaving the room.
“Healer, wait,” the lord called after her, but she ignored him. There was no point in sticking around here any longer. She had to return home and consider what options were left to her. What little options were left to her.
The journey home was cold and lonely. Alyna felt betrayed and lost. She had bet everything on this venture, and now she had lost it all.
Once she returned home, she slumped onto her bed. How could she have been this wrong? Every woman in her family had conceived their daughters at this age, the perfect time to continue the line of magic. And now it was going to end with her. Yes, she could try other men, but none were as powerful as the lord. She did not know what to do.
After a simple supper, Alyna laid down to rest. The day had been tiring enough. She could do with some sleep before coming up with new plans.
She had only just closed her eyes when someone knocked at the door. Did she imagine it? Was it caused by the rustling of the wind? No, the taps were more deliberate than the sounds of the wind. There really was someone.
Alyna got up from her bed, wrapped her cloak around her and opened the door. It was Lord Vincent!
“Milord, what are you doing here?”
“Can I please come in?”
“Yes, yes, of course. Shall I take care of your horse?” The horse has been fastened to a pole next to her cabin.
The lord smiled. “I already gave him a quick rubdown. We can do that later. I have something of importance to share with you, healer.”
She accepted his cloak and put it next to the hearth. She wondered why he was here. She had figured they had said it all to each other.
“My name is Alyna, Milord.” She curtsied before him.
“Lord Vincent Weidner.” He held out his hand. They shook, but he wouldn’t let go.
She looked at him questioningly.
“After this afternoon, I considered your words.”
“I beg your pardon, Milord, it was wrong of me.”
She looked up at him in shock.
He shook his head lightly. “You weren’t wrong. You should have asked instead of putting a spell on me, but your intention was right. I have been hiding these last seasons. What point is there in putting my affairs in order if I have no heir to pass it on to? You opened my eyes, Alyna. You awakened my loins, and you reminded me I have one final chance.”
“I do not understand.” A glimmer of hope reemerged within Alyna.
“My godfather was a wise man. He did not want me to procreate with just anyone, so he made me barren. He did give me one potion to use when I had met the right woman. I believe you are that woman, Alyna.”
He softly brushed her hand with his lips.
“Milord, no, that’s too much. Look at my pedigree. I am but a humble healer, I am a woman in tune with nature. How could my child be your heir, destined to continue the works you started?”
“Hush, Alyna. When I saw your sacrifice I knew you were the one. A woman who is willing to give up everything for her goals is the right woman for me.”
He removed the flask with the potion from his belt. “What do you say?”
Alyna could not believe this was happening. The lord was here, in her tiny cabin, offering her to become the mother of his heir. This was more than she could have dreamed of.
“Yes, Milord, yes. With all my heart.”
With a big smile on her face, he wrapped her cheeks in his hands. “Thank you, Alyna, then let us not waste any more time. We will bind our hands soon, but let us first seal our deal.”
He kissed her lips, but softer than this morning, without the feverish passion of the spell. His eyes had lost their manic intensity, now they were merely dark with desire.
She joined in the languid dance of their tongues. It reinvoked the passion she had felt earlier that day.
He broke off the kiss and removed the cork from the flask. “Are you ready, Milady?”
She giggled at the title. “I’m not a lady.”
“Soon, you will be.”
He put the flask to his mouth and drank it all in one swig. His face contorted at the taste. He swallowed and shook his head.
“My godfather is, like you, not a cook. The drink could have done with a sweetener. Are you ready, healer?”
“Yes, Milord.” The atmosphere in the room had turned tense. They had a destiny to fulfil, and the air between them was heavy with expectation.
She let out a nervous giggle. She took off her cloak and the old shift she had found. Her chest was heaving as she faced him naked.
He removed himself from the bed. “Get on your hands and knees. From what I’ve heard that’s the best position for baby-making.”
“Yes, Milord.” Her stomach was making summersaults as she climbed into the position he had requested. Why did this suddenly feel like a cold transactional transfer instead of hot love-making?
He entered her with his finger.
She gasped at his touch.
“You feel as wonderful as you did this afternoon.”
She replied with a loud moan as he hit the most sensitive spots inside of her.
“Are you ready to receive my child?” he asked with a gruff voice.
He exchanged his finger for his hard manhood and pushed it in deep.
Both moaned the same way they had earlier that day.
He took his time, filling her with slow strokes. The position made him enter that much deeper.
Alyna was amazed she could feel this full, that her body was able to take his size. She positioned her hips so that he had the best access. She needed to please her lord.
He increased his pace and was soon pounding her hard.
Alyna didn’t have time to reach for her sensitive spot.
“By the gods,” she exclaimed at the intensity of the love-making.
At that moment the lord reached his zenith and spewed his hot seed deep into her.
Alyna pushed back, tilting her hips just right, wanting to make sure she caught it all. She could feel life spawn within her this time.
“By the gods, indeed,” the lord repeated. “Dear woman, you are out of this world.”
He pushed her down on the bed while still rocking slowly inside of her.
Even though he was no longer fully erect, Alyna wanted their connection to continue.
“Where have you been all my life?” the lord sighed.
“I was right here, Milord,” Alyna giggled.
He pulled out of her and turned her on her back. “Next time I enter you, I need to see your eyes.”
Alyna reached up and stroked his stubbled chin. “As I want to see yours.”
His lips found hers again. Their kiss spoke with a language of love their words had not yet spoken.
Their night was spent with intense love-making. It was as if they were making up for all the years they had not been together. Their need to be entwined was too fierce to ignore. They explored every inch of the other one’s bodies until finally they fell asleep in each other’s arms.
Nine moons later a beautiful baby girl was born, named Serena. At times, Alyna still couldn’t believe her luck.
After that one night, Lord Vincent had invited her to live at the castle. They had not spent one night apart.
Alyna had created her own patch in the garden where she could grow her herbs. Her lord gave her all the room to work on her craft, knowing how important it was to her. Only one moon after the day they met, they bound their hands.
Alyna was now Lady Vincent Weidner, and she wore her title with pride.
That afternoon, Alyna had worked in the kitchen, preparing the pie she had made for their first day together. Lord Vincent had requested it. The kitchen staff had been shaking their heads at her effort, but she pushed through. It was the least she could do for her husband.
Alyna brought the cake to him that evening, while Serena was cooing from the crib nearby.
The lord accepted the piece of pie with a grand smile around his lips.
He sniffed the cake cautiously. “No magic spells this time?”
Alyna giggled. “No Milord. My destiny has already been fulfilled.” She cast a smile at the crib.
“I agree. Without the magic pie, I would never have met you, and we would never have created our little princess.”
Tough lord though he was, he bore a great love for his daughter.
“Come here, my love. I have something to tell you.”
Nervous butterflies appeared in Alyna’s stomach. What could this be about?
He took her hand as she stood before him. “Thank you for the pie, healer.”
Alyna smiled at the pet name he still used for her now and then.
“Last night, when I was outside for a breath of air, walking through your magic garden, a vision came to me.”
Alyna gasped. Whatever would this mean?
“Don’t be alarmed, my love. My godfather appeared before me. He congratulated me with Selena’s birth and having found you as my partner. He stated I have done well and have proven my worth, and because of this, he has lifted my curse.” The lords’ eyes sparkled as he conveyed the message.
Alyna clasped her hand before her mouth. “Milord, what are you saying?”
“We can have more than one child. We can try for a male heir.”
“Oh Milord, that is the best news ever.”
Lord Vincent pulled her onto his lap, and they stumbled into an embrace.
His words were spinning through Alyna’s mind. Her family had taught her the importance of dreams and visions. She knew how much truth they could hold. Instead of having to settle for only one daughter, beloved though she was, they could start a big family.
“Milord, you have made every dream come true.”
“Yes, my little healer, so have you for me. But please, next time, ask the cook to bake me a pie.”
Alyna shoved him away playfully. He was the best husband she could have asked for, and her daughter the most beautiful girl in the world.
“I love you, Milord,” she said before kissing him on his lips.
“And I love you, Alyna. Let us begin filling some more cribs in this castle.” Their happy laughter reverberated through the room.
One magical pie had led to a fruitful and love-filled life together.