With the red horsetail of his helmet fluttering in the wind, the warrior on horseback approaches you. His face is stern and disapproving, with but the slightest hint of a scowl tugging at his thick brows and thin lips, and the rest of his displeasure showing in the ferocity of his gaze.
Kundek is his name, one of the members of the legendary Laughing Ten, but he isn’t laughing right now. Of the many great men of the Mongol Horde, he is among the finest, with many kills and heroic deeds to his name. Perhaps it is only because that the Horde is not simply large enough that he has not already been promoted to a station higher than being your Minghaan commander. Physically large, with a confident bearing that comes only through rich military experience, his mere presence would send men bristling with alarm – but you are Argat, son of Kuchar, and keeping the cold face before him is an easy task for you.
You stare into the distance, as if disinterested as Kundek signals the two other riders beside him to halt, such that he approaches you alone. It is a show of strength and confidence, given that Guegi and Gerel and beside you, fully armored in iron lamellar as you are. You wonder if, even when fighting all three of you at once, Kundek would win. No, you conclude – he would not. But perhaps your two battle-brothers would die, and you would come out of it suffering a wound. It might even be fatal.
You keep your gaze steady over his shoulder as he goes past yours, beginning to circle around you. You can feel his sharp glower through your armor as he tries to find any imperfection in your outward appearance, whether in your bearing or in the quality of your equipment. All the time, his hand is on the hilt of his sword, meanwhile you have both of yours holding the reigns. After completing three slow rounds, displaying his master horsemanship in the precision of his movements, he comes to a stop in front of you, looking into your eyes once more. You ignore him, and he snorts derisively.
A long moment of silence passes till he gives you honor by speaking first.
“Why have you come here?”
His deep voice is like the rumbling of an earthquake. Finally, you deign to look at him in the face, as if noticing him for the first time.
“Ah, forgive me, Kundek, I was just thinking of the land.”
“The land?” There is a bit of confusion in his otherwise hostile tone. “You have come riding to me, armed and armored, while thinking about the land?”
You nod. You would not give him the honor of being the one to broach the true reason for why you have come. “Yes. The grass has grown fat in the good Spring, and all over the nation there is fine grazing. I am thinking of offering something to the Earth Mother later, as my mare has grown strong from her gifts.”
“I did not think that a man, so lacking in self-awareness that he receives a skilled warrior with thoughts of grass, would dare to enter my sister’s ger.”
“Ah, yes,” you say calmly, looking to the horizon for a moment in feigned remembrance. “I was also thinking about your sister, and the many strong children that she will bear for me. I have come here here to marry her, after all.”
Kundek laughs, although it is without the usual friendly mirth. “What, do you think you are worthy? That you can claim the hand of a centaur, who also just happens to share my blood?”
Your cold, unreadable expression doesn’t change, and you keep the tone of your voice level. “If it is a matter of blood, then I have already spilled more than enough to turn rivers red. If it is a matter of salt, then you know that my word has honor and integrity. If it is a matter of gers, then let me assure you that I can provide for her as her loving husband. Your mother has already given me permission, and I am only waiting for that of your father and that of the gods.”
His mild scowl deepens, threatening the integrity of his cold face. “Remember that you are also waiting for mine.”
You wonder if you’ve actually offended him. You sure hope not. “Then speak now, and tell me of your decision. I shall accept either outcome.”
Kundek stares at you for a long, unsettling time. You give your friend honor by dipping your chin an inch, taking the humble position, although you do yourself no dishonor as that gesture could also be interpreted as a jab at his sluggishness. Finally, his visage cracks, slowly easing back into the cheerful expression that he always wears. Perhaps it is unbefitting for such a large and powerful man to be as full of mirth as Kundek, but thanks to glorious deeds of the Laughing Ten, such joyfulness has become associated with bloodthirsty, martial skill.
“I find you worthy,” he says, no longer growling. You are relieved. For a moment, you thought that your choice of words was a bit too aggressive – but in the end, Kundek really doesn’t care for such things. “You are welcome in my camp. Come, I will ride with you.”
With the first rites of honor satisfied, he takes off his helmet in a sign of trust, revealing his bald head as he comes alongside you. You return the gesture and the other four warriors nearby do the same. They ride behind you while the groom and his bride’s brother only so appropriately take the lead. As a formality, you gesture “Let’s go” with a wave of your hand to the hundreds of waiting party-goers behind you: relatives from both families, their many children, and your brothers-in-arms, a multicolored hodgepodge of various faces and clothing. Some have even come wearing armor despite not partaking in any ceremonies, the show-offs.
The children, monster and human alike, scream with joy as they’re let loose, running or slithering down the slope of the shallow hill towards the collection of gers set up by Kundek’s clan up ahead. Some miles away from the main camp of the Horde, it is a quaint little settlement of its own, breaking up the monotonous green of the summer plains with the white fleece walls of many gers; their dark brown, sturdy doors; and the rising grey smoke pouring out of their smoke-holes from fires working overtime to prepare as much beef and mutton as possible for the oncoming flood of people. Downwind, you can smell the sizzling goodness of greasy, cooking meat, and you find yourself salivating.
“I hope I have not insulted you,” you say, breaking the ice.
“Even if I were insulted, it does not matter,” Kundek says, smiling. “You radiated strength and confidence, and forced concessions from somebody who was blocking your way. You needn’t worry, Argat. You have fulfilled your role in the rite with flying colors. I loved the way you received me, pretending to be thinking about grass!” He laughs out loud. “That really dishonors the offending party – to think that their existence is, at that moment, less to you than that of mere grass… I should copy that.”
“That is only because I took your words to heart about being as ‘directly roundabout’ as possible,” you say humbly. “Normally such subtle things are beyond me, and without your advice I’d probably have said something along the lines of, ‘Draw your goddamn sword if you think I’m not good enough to fuck your sister.’”
You and your commanding officer share a hearty laugh. You are his top jagun commander, second to his command in your esteemed minghaan. The friendship between you two, forged by blood and steel, is unbreakable.
“That’s right, you really would!”
“If you sent me on a diplomatic mission to some Chin city, I’d probably come out of it executed a thousand times over,” you add, and the two of you laugh again at that.
“True, true! You would be nothing but ash! Good thing, then, that you are only marrying my sister.”
“Yes, and that is honor a thousand times higher than being forced to deal with some girly men in silk robes,” you say, nodding decisively at that thought.
Your band of six dismounts at the outskirts of the settlement, letting boys take away your mounts. Guegi, Gerel and the two other warriors whose names you do not know, immediately begin leading your four prepared mares by the muzzle. You and Kundek walk in front of them, side-by-side as equals, as you begin the climb up the slope of a small hill on whose top is your destination: there, the rising grey ger of Kundek’s father.
It is said that the esteemed few who marry eagle harpies have to climb tall mountains to reach their brides. Good thing, then, that you are marrying “only” a centaur. For the ger of the bride’s family to be put on an elevated position, such that the groom is forced to climb up a slope – even if only mild – is symbolic. Even after the unification of the Mongol nation, the tribal tradition that wife-giving families are superior, and wife-taking ones are inferior, still remains strong. At many stages, even before the day of the wedding ceremony, the groom must be tried again and again, put into positions where he has to prove his honor and ability. The toughest of which, of course, is getting enough wealth to pay the bride price.
You can only be glad that your fiance’s entire family actually likes you, smoothing out the long and rough courting process and allowing you to relax. For many others, wedding days are tense affairs where there is always the angry stare of a jealous brother boring a hole into the groom’s back.
The crowd had entered the settlement the moment you arrived at the door of your fiance’s ger. You give a glance behind you as you take away three black boxes from the mare leading your small herd of four gift horses. They are already beginning to unroll great bolts of fleece over the grass, where people would sit and dine. You can see maids bringing out mutton and soup in bowls and pots, settling them on the mats on top of lacquered wooden plates so as not to scar the fleece.
“Are you ready?” Kundek asks, waiting by the door of the ger.
You stack the three gift boxes together in a neat heap and lift them up with your hands. The heavy weight threatens to keel you over, but that is a part of the ritual you need to overcome as well.
“I am,” you reply, with your eyes barely reaching over the edge of the topmost box.
Kundek resists the urge to laugh at how silly you look and calls out, “Father, we have a visitor!”
The muffled voice that replies is reedy with age, but powerful in its last vestiges of youth. “Who is it?”
“One of the suitors for Chelu. He brings you gifts.”
“The horses are here? Are you certain they are not poor? I do not like having my time wasted.”
“They are good enough, father.”
You a hear an affirming grunt. “Then let him in.”
Kundek opens the door and ushers you in, your boots trading soft grass for the hard wooden floor of a former khan’s ger. It is larger, perhaps once again the size of a normal ger, in order to accommodate a centaur-sized family. The smell of beef stew hits you as you enter, flanked by Chelu’s two younger brothers Delbeg and Baiju who stare at you with fake indignation.
Beyond the central cooking fire tended to by a maid, you can see them: the three judges of your final trial. Sitting on a high-backed chair is Degei, looking dignified in his finely embroidered, deep blue deel. To his right sits his wife Cirina, resting her horse half on a whole bearskin, her pose prim and elegant as ever, with one hoof crossed over the other.
Degei keeps the cold face for tradition’s sake, but Cirina smiles at your entrance. Chelu, her daughter and your beloved bride, sits to the left of her father, resting on a large, cushioned mat of fleece. She beams at you, breaking into an immediate, blushing grin. Her brilliant, green eyes practically sparkle, face ever pretty as it is framed by the bangs of her dark brown ponytail. You smile back at her, but she can’t see it through the boxes.
“Argat,” Degei begins, his wrinkled but still rather youthful face stern with practiced as he rests his cheek in one hand, elbow on an armrest. “Kundek says you come to me with gifts.”
“Yes, sir, more than just the horses, for the hand of your daughter.” Your arms are beginning to hurt.
“Indeed? Very well. I will judge them. You are welcome in my ger. Delbeg, Baiju, my sons, you may take your hands off of your swords.”
You bow lightly. “Thank you, sir.”
“Come to me,” he commands, and you do so, walking around the fire deliberately to the right such that you could be just that slightly closer to Chelu as you set down the boxes at the feet of her father. The two of you share a wink while he is distracted. By tradition, she is not allowed to speak right now.
“These containers are well-made,” he remarks, giving you honor by showing enough interest to take his cheek off of his palm and sit straighter. They really are well-made, crafted from sturdy wood, painted black, and lacquered to a glossy finish. They are decorated with thin, curving lines of silver that depict birds, plants and other images of nature on all of their surfaces save the bottom.
You looted them from Shanjing, where they were filled to the brim with silver coins. It’s a shame to let them go, but for Chelu’s hand you would not begrudge their loss.
“What is inside?
You open the lid of one box, its oiled hinges gliding quietly as you raise your hand to reveal several objects heavily wrapped in cloth, surrounded by woolen stuffing. You lay them on the floor, and Cirina coos with pleasure as you unwrap them in succession.
“A teaset of fine China,” you say, while sitting on your knees. “Fit for the governor of a city, and certainly fit for the wife of one who was once khan.”
“Oh, how lovely!” Cirina says, clapping her hands. “The fish motif is wonderful. These would look great with the rest of my sets!”
“Yes, I’m sure they would,” Degei says, rolling his eyes at his wife’s expensive hobby. Cirina notices and pouts. “What else have you got?”
You open the second box. It is filled three-fourths of the way up with gleaming silver coins. Degei’s eyes go wide for a moment, before he reaffirms the cold face.
“Silver, sir. Enough of it buy a grand mansion and the slaves to manage it even in a place like Yenking.”
Degei lets out a laugh laced with genuine derision. “I have no need for such a thing. I shall be a plainsman till I die.”
You bow respectfully. “It is yours to use as you wish, sir.”
“Indeed, it is. Now, what is in the final box?”
Opening the lid, you lift up a bundle of oiled rags. You see Degei raise his brow in curiosity. You unwrap it to reveal a sheathed dagger of exquisite make, its wood-and-leather scabbard inlaid with golden depictions of galloping horse archers. You raise it up to the aging man and he takes it immediately, wrapping his fingers around the ivory handle. He draws the blade then, noticing with a smile, cold face broken, that the insides of the scabbard are walled with fur all throughout.
The blade shines in the fire-light, polished to an insane mirror surface for weeks on your part to ensure the best theatrical display. Double-edged, fairly long and wide, the fine weapon straddles the line between a dagger and a shorter sword. Degei notices a string of flowing characters engraved on one side, following the blade as it begins from the crossguard.
The former khan is illiterate. “What do these say?” he asks.
“They say, ‘Degei, son of Tayang, Master of his Clan.’”
He gives you a look. Chelu looks almost as amazed as her father, but she honors him by keeping quiet.
“You…you did not have to do this,” he says, no longer feigning anything, and letting his appreciation show by dropping the cold face. “I have only required of you the horses and the first batch of gifts. All put, these are another fortune that you have relinquished to me.”
“It is all very expensive, but what I do with my wealth is my own business,” you reply cooly.
“I told you he was perfect for our daughter,” Cirina tuts, poking Degei in the cheek. “I told you, and you were rooting for that foul boy Orda instead!”
“Oh come on, woman! That was how many months ago. Now I see that he is truly worth going without Chelu’s back massages.”
You smile at him. “So, do I have your permission?”
He sheathes the blade, bolting up from his chair. “No, I haven’t taken a look at your horses yet, damn you. Follow me and witness my judgement.”
“Yes, sir,” you say, as he storms off without waiting for your acknowledgement. You share a smile with Chelu and her mother as you follow Degei outside.
With his cold face having been broken, Degei does the bare minimum of pretending that your gift horses are of inferior quality by simply walking around them grumpily. He doesn’t even bother to check their teeth, having shown you weakness. Ultimately, it takes less than half of a minute, at which point he throws a dismissive arm up, saying,
“Fine. I give you permission to speak with my daughter. Good grief, lad.”
Degei, in the first place, had absolutely no intention of refusing you. Otherwise, he would not have bothered to prepare a feast for hundreds. Others are not so lucky, with no grand banquet to greet them, and sometimes their dowries are even rejected outright.
The typical Mongolian wedding day is often an uncertain and much more private affair, where the only sure thing is the date for when the bride’s entire family would judge the groom, one by one. The decision ultimately remains with the father, after taking into consideration the evaluations of his family. A daughter, after all, does not need to actually like the groom for her to be wed, and it is often the case that the groom must wrench the crying girl away from her mother after being forced to agree to his proposal.
But that simply wouldn’t do for a prestigious centaur bride. The buildup to this day has been careful and deliberate: you and Chelu are getting married because you know that you two love each other, not because of some petty alliance between houses. That’s why there is even a feast in the first place, because there is no chance for an unhappy bride’s tear-stained face to ruin an otherwise happy event. Still, scripted as though it may all be, tradition must be observed – even if it’s only lip-service, and that’s why you have to go through all of this.
Triumphantly, you re-enter the ger, your face cold as you kneel before the smirking Cirina and Chelu.
“Your honorable husband has given me permission to speak with your daughter, my lady.”
“And you have mine,” Cirina says, smiling radiantly as only a soon-to-be mother-in-law can. “I shall give you leave to speak with my daughter. And I think… that I should go and oversee the preparations for the banquet. Kundek, Delbeg, Baiju – my sons, come with me. I will need your help. Ling, the stew is ready – let us set it outside.”
They sound their agreements and move to exit the ger, taking your gifts with them. You and Chelu keep quiet, simply staring at each other with dumb smiles till the two of you are left alone. That’s when you jump at her, wrapping her human half in an armored embrace as you take her in a deep, tongue-filled kiss. She reciprocates, lovingly running her hands up and down the back of your lamellar harness even if you can’t feel it.
The two of you break the kiss with a gasp, a line of spit bridging your lips for a moment before she licks it away. You hold her bright green eyes steady with an unyielding gaze that makes her blush even more.
“Gosh, what’s this all of a sudden?” she asks. You are happy to hear her light, melodic voice again.
“I just really needed that,” you say. “All of these honor ceremonies are making my head hurt.”
“Then, would you like another kiss?”
“Yes, please. My head really hurts.”
You kiss her again, lightly this time, tasting only her lips and the tip of her tongue. Your self-control starts to waver. You haven’t been allowed to see her for a week, and suddenly here you are, alone with her. Unknowingly, you grab one of her hefty breasts through her bright, orange deel, making her gasp. You’re about to unfasten the clasps and undo the garment, but she stops your arms with her two strong own.
Your angry, frustrated look melts away as you behold her expression, patient and kind. Her smile makes your heart leap.
“I want you, Chelu,” you say, trying to growl. It is not often that a warrior of your caliber is rejected, but you simply cannot bring yourself to be aggressive with your beloved.
“I know,” she says, leaning in to kiss you briefly. “And I want you too. But, patience, okay? We can do this in our own ger.”
She goes past your shoulder, letting her lips tickle your earlobe. “Just hold on for a few more hours, and then you can start pumping me full of children.”
Her whispers send tingles across your body, even as they make you realize that you are being foolish. “Okay,” you say, finally relenting, stepping back to undo the creases you’ve made on her clothes. “Right. Patience.”
You step back and cough a few times, clearing your throat, before beginning to recite a long, prepared speech talking about how you are unworthy of claiming her hand, that your gifts are of poor quality, and a million other things that are simply not true. Chelu has a constant look of satisfaction as you go on verse after verse, knowing that she will never see you suffer such an indignity ever again. Frankly, it annoys you a little bit. You resolve to replace it with a dumb look of euphoria when the time comes for you to take her virginity.
“… so, with my honor laid down before you, I ask of you this: will you marry me, Chelu?”
You finish your speech, and await her scripted reply. She makes a show of being superior, turning her nose up at you.
“Hm, even if you only barely fit the bill, you are worthy nonetheless. Very well, I will marry you, Argat.”
A moment of pregnant silence passes till the both of you relax your shoulders and begin laughing, glad to have completed the final ritual of honor.
“Gods, and now there’s the hours-long banquet we have to attend,” you groan, cradling your weary head in your hands. “I should have just chosen to kidnap you symbolically, you know? Then we wouldn’t have to deal with this long and winding nonsense. I mean, Lord Genghis has already dissolved the tribes! Still, I have been forced to kneel so many times in one day already, to people who shouldn’t even get the honor.”
Chelu leans down to kiss you. Being a centaur, she is taller than you while the both of you are sitting. However, you two are about as tall when standing shoulder-to-shoulder.
“And I am so happy that you are doing all of this for me, my champion.”
You answer her smirk with one of your own. “Your champion deals with tiresome traditions, Chelu.”
“I will make it better later,” she whispers, her breath hot on your mouth as she lovingly cups your cheek. “I promise you. The married women of my clan have taught me many things about pleasing a man while I sojourned with them.”
“Oh, really?” You grin, standing up and offering her a hand. “I cannot wait, then. Shall we go and tell your father of your verdict?”
She takes it, and stands up, her hooves thudding on the wooden floor. “Oh, yes.”
The two of you exit the ger, holding hands as Chelu says to her father that, yes, she will be marrying you, duh. Degei half-heartedly continues pretending that he disapproves until her equally half-hearted pleading “convinces” him to change his mind. You, Kundek, Chelu, Cirina and everyone else close enough to hear laugh at the horrible acting. Degei just shakes his head and turns to the crowd, raising his arms in defeat to call them idiots and to get the party started already.
The feast begins in the middle of the afternoon: an explosion of music, jokes, hearty laughter and annoying children running around everywhere, playing hide-and-seek among the gers. Hundreds have sat themselves on the great fleece mats, stuffing their faces with greasy mutton and barely blowing over the bowls before sipping of steaming hot soup. They’ve deliberately starved themselves the entire day so as not to dishonor Degei by holding back. When a plate empties, ready maids stand nearby with second helpings, which they begin to devour anew. Airag flows freely from a seemingly endless supply of pitchers and skins.
You sit down next to Chelu, amongst your family and hers. Your father, Kuchar, only appropriately sits with Degei. Both of them are farthest away from you and your bride on the mat, symbolizing the weaning of child from parent. You are relatively old to have married at twenty-one years old. Chelu is, as well, at nineteen. It was something of an embarrassment for you to still have been sleeping in their ger even after you’ve reached eighteen, but the shame is nothing, utterly washed away by the beauty of your wife-to-be beside you and your glory at having successfully claimed her.
But just because you are feasting now, it doesn’t mean that your trials are over. Your honor and worth have been proven, but now your patience is being tested. In fact, you can hardly take a bite with all the gift-givers and well-wishers lining up to accost you, from little boys to old men. Chelu, meanwhile, is dealing with girls and women.
The throng that you have to deal with dissipates pretty quickly, since it is in the nature of men to be quick and brusque. The typical exchange is a man saying “Grats,” and you saying “Thanks,” before the two of you grip each other by the shoulder to end it. Chelu, however, appears to be struggling, as every woman seems hell-bent on dispensing advice about married life, taking such time that others behind have to shove them aside.
The gifts you receive are individually very small things: a plate, a blanket, a bowl – that sort of thing. Badai, one of your friends, has even given you a vial of fragrant snake oil, saying that drinking a drop of it every night it will boost your “vigor.” Put together, they are supposed to help kickstart your new life as a brand new family, supplementing the inheritance from your respective parents. They grow in a pile before you, and you think that it’s going to be a pain to take them back to your ger, which hasn’t even been set up yet.
Chelu gives you a tired look when the last of her well-wishers finally goes away. You smile at her and squeeze her hand affectionately. That’s when Kuchar, your father, stands up, leading the toast to the host of the feast and starting off the first round of speeches and stories. Wanting to leave an impression, he chooses one of your most embarrassing, but public, memories to share:
You were only fourteen then, just before Genghis cried the Call of the Nation to unite the Mongol peoples under the nine-horsetail banner and became Khan of All. Your elder brother Jetei had just managed to find himself a wife by kidnapping a girl from one of the neighboring tribes. Not wanting to be outdone, you convinced your younger brother Bukha and your friend Gerel to ride with you out on the plains, looking for tribeless wanderers to prey on.
You managed to find a few within a couple hours of riding. It was just a man, a woman and their lovely daughter tending to their little herd of sheep and ponies. You successfully snatched the running girl even while on horseback at the trot, cleanly getting your prize without a fight. So excited were you that you ignored her protests and rode straight back home, outriding her father and exhausting your pony in the process. After shooing Bukha and Gerel away, you looked around for a quiet place – a shadowy cleft in between two hills – where you could lay with your prize in peace.
She was scared at first, but your insistent kissing forced her to be calm. Looking at her with a joyful expression, you removed her deel to reveal her nonexistent chest. Next, you lowered your hands to undo her trousers, before immediately snapping your gaze back to her tear-stained countenance, your jaw agape with shock.
Your father finishes the tale:
“… and that’s when the ‘girl’ says, ‘That’s what I’ve been telling you! I am a boy!’”
A riotous bout of laughter erupts among the men as you cannot help but hang your head in embarrassment. The women, however, are cold at the notion of attempted rape, frowning as they cover the ears of younger children. Chelu embraces you tightly from the side.
“Aw, don’t worry, love, it’s not that funny of a story.”
“Thank you. I don’t think it’s very funny, either.”
“Yeah, that’s why he’s never married till now,” your brother Jetei adds, inviting more laughter from the crowd. “Because then he can be assured of his wife’s genitals on the wedding night!”
You groan. “Ah, piss off, Jetei.”
The sun begins to set after so many stories have been told of you and of Chelu, with various relations pitching in to tell some tale of glory or shame. You are very pleased to have Kundek recounting your military honors, while you try to fight boredom as all the women find some fascination in hearing Cirina’s stories of her daughter when she was just a toddler. Despite the merry atmosphere, both bride and groom have flushed cheeks by the end of it, partly due to the airag, and partly from the exposure.
All bad things have to come to an end, however, and soon enough, you and Chelu are packing up your gifts and stuffing them onto your packhorses. It is totally not strange to see a centaur and a horse standing side by side. Kundek’s clan, too, are rolling up the fleece mats and taking the cutlery away. People groan as they have to stand up with heavy bellies, and some of the younger children are crying, impatient to be taken home already.
The shaman Bundukai is finally called, walking on a wobbly gait as he supports his old self with a staff. A large fire has already prepared for the actual marriage rites, which are short, but boisterous. It begins with the shaman asking if you and Chelu are the groom and bride, before dancing around the fire for perhaps ten minutes straight, his long, black beard swaying the opposite of his movements. He stops only when he freezes suddenly, as if struck by lightning, his dark eyes turning into a pair of glowing blue as he is possessed by the spirits of your ancestors.
He turns to the both of you, his back unnaturally straight and his limbs no longer constantly shaking. With a reverberating voice, he addresses you:
“Gathered before us today are two who would seek to be soul-sworn by the Sky Father and the Earth Mother. We have heard the call of Bundukai and have come. Groom, what is your name?”
You bow deeply in reverence. “My name is Argat.”
He asks the same of your bride. “My name is Chelu.”
Those glowing, blue orbs dart back to yours. “Groom, do you pledge?”
You turn to your bride, and stare at her intently. You recite the practiced words: “Chelu – I, Argat, son of Kuchar, pledge to you my blood, my salt, and my gers; and promise myself to be your loving husband, even after death.”
She blushes, but there is no hunt of surprise on her face. She knew from the get-go that unlike most men, you would commit yourself fully to the marriage, choosing the more binding vow. It is, after all, a marriage of love.
“Bride, do you pledge?”
She looks like she’s about to jump for joy as she delivers her oath: “Argat – I, Chelu, daughter of Cirina, pledge to you my life, my love, and my womb; and promise myself to be your loyal wife, even after death!”
The possessed shaman grunts his acknowledgement. “Call, all those who witness!”
“We witness!” chants the crowd in front of you in unison.
“And we witness. The gods are pleased. We pronounce you now as husband and wife.”
The crowd cheers at that, and on cue, girls throw flower petals all over the two of you. Yet you remain still, waiting for the spirits’ next command. Traditions, traditions…
The shaman raises a dismissive hand, bidding you away. “Go now, and plant your seed.”
Finally. And with that, you bow and turn away from the crowd, mounting one pack horse to lead a herd of five. Chelu, your newlywed wife, trots alongside you as the crowd yells well-wishes in your wake. You ride along the plains till you’re far away from the settlement and reach a large, predetermined area circled with horse bones that tell others that the occupants of the ger within are not to be disturbed. But there is no ger, not yet. Yours is still folded up in several parts spread among your pack horses.
You regard the innocent animals with a grimace. Setting up a ger, a centaur-sized one especially, is a task that requires an hour or more, typically done by a team of at least five people, and the sun is already setting. Couldn’t the bastards at least have dug out the fire pit for you two? You look at Chelu and see that she shares your pained expression.
“Well,” she shrugs, “this is also tradition.”
“Fuck tradition,” you say, making her laugh out loud as you dismount and begin unpacking the wooden foundations.
You and Chelu fall with synchronized thuds onto the fur bed, breathing tiredly as the fire-light makes the sweat on your foreheads glisten.
The horses are secure and the ger has been set up. You have a fire going to keep you warm now that it’s nighttime. Those are the most important things. The gifts, the furniture, the pottery? They can go to hell for now, heaped in a pile in one corner of the ger. You’ll take care of those tomorrow, you think, as you eye the mess. Among them is the box of silver coins that Degei ultimately decided to return to you. You were counting on him to do so. It would be dishonorable of him to take such wealth away from the newlywed couple, after all. Even then, you wouldn’t have begrudged their loss, as being a plainsman, you have no need of money to live – or even to thrive.
“What a day, huh?” you say, grinning at your wife.
“Yeah,” she says, sharing your cheery mood. “We’re married now. I can hardly believe it.”
“But I sure can,” you say, feeling triumphant. It’s the culmination of a plan months in the making, starting from the moment you saw Chelu nearly a year ago, practicing her archery along with her fellow centaurides. Seeing that her form was a bit off, you strode up and offered your advice as a veteran warrior, physically guiding her to the correct stance. Despite how much she blushed from her friends’ teasing, she appreciated your advice, and was impressed by your courage at approaching a group of centaurs alone. There was an interest at first sight between the two of you that snowballed into mutual affection in no time.
But her father needed to be convinced, and thoroughly. Centaurs are holy among your people, being a melding of woman and horse, and many people don’t see the person beyond the ideal. They are prized and prestigious and the bride price was accordingly expensive. Still, you fought and looted and wagered and won, till you got four exquisite mares and enough wealth to live comfortably as a Chin aristocrat – well, at least for a time. So much work, so much effort, to end up tired in a ger like this, thinking about the strenuous past and of the vague, unknowable future. You cannot help but ask: was it all worth it?
Chelu reaches out to cup your cheek in her hand and gently caress it. She likes to do that.
“My love? What are you thinking about?”
No, not worth it, yet. Some part of you rallies against your weariness and fills you with a new energy. You take her hand in your own and gently push it away, standing up. She stands up along with you, a brow raised.
“I think it’s about time you showed me what you learned from your cousins.”
Before she can even speak, your hand lashes forth at the clasps holding her deel together, unfastening several of them in one stroke and letting the upper flaps of the garment fall to reveal your wife’s large breasts. Full, pert and bouncy, the luster of sweat gives them an especially erotic appearance in the fire-light. You see Chelu’s arms twitch in reflex to hide them, but she suppresses herself. She no longer has any right to cover any part of herself from you.
You dive in, burying your face in her cleavage as you take her human half in an embrace. You hear her gasping as you run your tongue around the curve of her breasts, delighting in the salty taste of her sweat. She whimpers as you take a nipple in your mouth, sucking on it as it hardens on your flicking tongue, till you let it go with a wet pop, glossy with your saliva.
“I have always desired these,” you say, as you sink your fingers into one breast.
“They are yours now, my love,” Chelu meekly says, looking at you with happy eyes. “All of me is yours now.”
The words egg you on, as if they were a challenge.
“I know. I will show you.”
You take Chelu into a kiss, deep and unrelenting from the get-go, almost squishing her in a powerful embrace that she emulates just as well. You turn your head to the side as you wrap your tongues together, sharing warm spit and letting it drool over your chins. Her exhaling breaths are hot on your face as the liplock continues, with her giving in, such that she leans back to a degree. Meanwhile, you tear the deel away from her human half, almost singing it on the fire with your horribly inaccurate throw. The two of you rock and swing as you mash your faces like only lovers who haven’t seen each other in a week could. Suddenly, you don’t feel all that tired anymore.
The kiss breaks eventually, and the two of you just spend a long while thereafter just staring at each other’s faces.
Chelu, oh Chelu. Your hands rise from their possessive grip on her backside to stroke her face. Cutely, she nuzzles her cheek into your hardened knuckles, taking your hand in hers. Her palm is so soft against yours. Bright green irises drink you in, just as your dark ones take in her beautiful countenance. With high cheekbones, almond-shaped eyes, and luxuriously tawny skin, she could adopt the look of a scornful, judgmental spirit. But she doesn’t, ever meek and girly in your presence. She knows her place.
You step back now, content to examine the rest of her form. Her toned body pleases you with subtle hints of musculature, her hard abs tickling your fingertips. Still, there is a hint of plushness that you take a small delight in sinking the tips of your fingers into. Past her shoulder is her equine half, tastefully clothed in a wide, black skirt with embroidering in gold-colored thread.
“Love? Shall I take off your deel for you?”
She does so, baring your physique for her to see. She sighs as she nuzzles her face into your hard chest, kissing away at your plethora of scars. Her hands grip your iron shoulders and slide down to feel your heavily muscled arms. She goes down, down, kissing and licking the sweat away from your stomach. It feels good to be worshiped. Her equine legs fold in as she moves to sit. Finally, her fingers brush at the laces of your trousers without your permission. What could she be up to?
“What are you doing?”
Chelu gives you a cocky grin. “You’ll see.”
Digging her fingers underneath both your undergarments and your trousers, she pulls the both of the garments down to your ankles in one stroke, and you kick them away with your feet. Your erection pops free, hard and throbbing at being suddenly exposed to open air. She sighs appreciatively at its bulky, veiny form as she wraps her fingers around the base. It’s large – far larger than what a human organ should regularly be: the work of alchemical treatments done by the shaman Kokchu himself, such that there would be no question in your ability to pleasure Chelu. She doesn’t seem to care for its proportions as she inches closer, breathing on it with her nose and mouth till the closes the distance and plants her pink lips against the tip in a wet kiss.
You do not dishonor yourself by gasping. Instead, you keep yourself silent, staring with wonder at this unknown feminine duty. She presses herself into your cock, laying it flat against her cheek as she drags her tongue up the underside several times, coating it with saliva. Then she goes to one side, letting her hand off of your member as she licks, nibbles and kisses it down its length. You sigh at this point, making her smile and encouraging her as she repeats this process till most of your tool is slick with her spit. Finally, she aligns herself square-on with your massive dick, and, upon snatching the head with her lips, takes it into her mouth.
The heat and sensation bid that you exhale sharply. Her tongue welcomes your cock like a soft, pillow-laden bed as she slides it into her mouth, inch by inch. Her eyes light up at your pleased expression before her cheeks hollow in suddenly, sucking on your rod with force. You clench your teeth at the electric pulse this invites, putting a hand on her head in reflex. She doesn’t mind, as she begins to bob her head up and down.
She takes up an irregular rhythm, passing your sensitive meat through and back her sucking lips at her whim. Sometimes she slows down, wrapping her tongue this way and that around your shaft as it sits warmly within her oral cavity, quivering as she inches herself back to kiss the exposed head briefly before going at it again. Often, she is fast, just bobbing away at the latter third of your dick while she jerks the former off with her hand. Soon enough, you are breathing through your mouth, eyes rapt at the sight of your cocksucking centaur lover, her horse tail swishing happily behind her as she goes about her duties like a good wife should.
Chelu slows down again, exposing the crown to lick around the bottom ridge. But just as you think that she’s about to continue, she pulls back instead, to look at you with hopeful eyes.
“Do you like it?”
“I don’t know what this is, but I love it,” you reply immediately, face flushed and smirking.
“It’s called a ‘blowjob,’” she says innocently. “I learned it from my cousins. They had these strange wooden toys for me to practice on.”
“It’s amazing. We should do this often.”
“Well, if you like it this much, I have a surprise for you.”
Chelu pillows her lips against your cockhead once again, playfully letting it part them away as she leans in to admit your length into her mouth. Interestingly, she doesn’t hold your base with her hand this time. You groan as inch after inch slides past her lips, tongue flicking at them all the way in welcome to her comparatively small mouth. You groan even more as you realize she has no intention of stopping. Her palate rubs against the top of your dickhead, making you hiss. She takes in a last breath till her throat is blocked by your fully engulfed tool.
“Ah- Chelu, I-”
And then, she squeezes. Every single oral muscle under command works to clamp down on your dick: her tongue, her jaw, and her throat – oh, her throat! So warm and wet and tight and it’s getting even tighter. You are already rather close to release and hoped to have the first be in her pussy, but this just pushes you over the edge.
You double over, grimacing as you grasp your wife’s head with both hands. Relentless sensation assaults the entirety of your groin as she suckles and suckles as if her life depended on it. You can feel orgasm making its impatient, unstoppable way in the pit of your stomach and-
Your balls clench, your cock quavers, and you moan loudly. Jets of white seed, hot and steamy, erupt from your winking cockslit, so snug within your wife’s throat. Cum shoots directly into her belly, undoubtedly painting her insides white as rivulets of the sticky stuff travel towards her stomach. You are still cumming when she pulls back, letting the liquid spill into her mouth. You can feel her tongue lapping up and down, as if playing with your cum, scooping it up to let it wash over her tongue’s flat surface.
Some of it dribbles out the edges of her lips as your cock makes its exit. She holds a hand under her chin to collect the errant drops. You see her neck pulse once as she swallows, and that’s when she starts gasping for breath. Even then, she takes a few moments to lick stray cum off of her fingers.
She looks up at you, eyes starry as always. She opens her mouth to prove that she has wasted nothing before she asks,
“Did you like it?”
You dive in, kissing her intensely by way of answer. You can taste of yourself as your tongue dances with hers. Bitter, but whatever. You are drunk on your wife.
“I love you,” you say, after pulling back.
“I love you too,” she breathes, relishing in those three words.
“What was that one called?”
“‘Deep-throating,’” she happily answers. “It was the hardest one to learn. I was gagging so much on the toy at first. It took me a lot of practice to get it right.” She smiles warmly at you. “I’m glad you like it.”
It takes you a couple of tries to brush a few stray locks of hair away from her eyes, sticky as they are with sweat. “I’m glad you’ve been trying hard for me.”
“Well, I had to do something,” she says a little defensively. “I mean, you were going out there, risking your life to pay some stupid bride price even though I told my father I had already accepted you.”
You are a little perplexed at her outburst. “Well, he loves you very much.”
“But I love you too,” she breathes hotly on your cheeks, taking you into a short kiss. You sit down to better facilitate it.
“You had to go on raids when you didn’t need to, just for me. I can’t believe he asked you for four white mares. Four. And they all had to be of top quality. It must have been so hard for you. You even went beyond what was asked and surprised him with a second batch of gifts.”
“It was hard for me.” You take her hand and gently squeeze it, paying little heed to flashing memories of exhausting skirmishes, thrilling chases, and wounds that have now hardened into scars. “But he did it to ensure that only the best of men might have you, and here I am with you now. By breaking convention and presenting a second batch of gifts, everyone now knows of my greatness.”
“But I could have lost you, Argat!”
“If I died, then I wouldn’t be worthy of you.”
You raise her hand to kiss the back of it. “You’re… an amazing girl, Chelu,” you say, for lack of a better word. “And now you are mine, by my efforts. Lesser men would have been killed or ran away, but I have proven to everyone – to myself, especially – that I am right for you. We’re together now. Let’s just… forget about the past and be happy for that. I mean, isn’t it our wedding night?”
Genuine as you are, you cannot help but feel a little foolish. Only rarely are you ever sentimental. Chelu meekly nods, wiping the hint of a tear away from one of her eyes. “Yes, my husband… I am very happy. Sorry for ruining the mood.”
“Don’t apologize. I love you, Chelu.”
“I love you too, Argat.”
You give her a kind smile and take her in a embrace. For a long while, the two of you just sit there, happy to be in each others’ arms. Eventually, though, you nip at her earlobe.
“And with that in mind, are you ready to be taken by your husband?”
Chelu withdraws from the hug and grins. “I thought you’d never ask.”
You stand up together. You move to undo the front ribbon of her equine skirt, but she stops you.
“Mhm! Just let me undress myself, love.”
She steps back, looking at you with a smirk. Her hooves thud on the wooden floor then, as she walks past you with an equine gait you’ve never seen before: slow and deliberate, with care and attention poured into the rise and fall of each hoof, such that they draw attention to how Chelu’s equine shoulders and hips tense and release. She breathes a hot, theatrical sigh on your cheek as she goes over your shoulder, holding the two laces of her skirt’s front ribbon taut.
Her tail swishes along with her rump, drawing your eyes in, although you cannot see her loins, obscured as it is by dark fabric. Then she turns to expose her flank. At that moment, she throws an arm up to cast her skirt away in one smooth motion, letting the of cloth crumple heavily into a heap at her hind hooves.
Now before you is your beautiful centaur wife standing in profile, her tawny skin glistening with a thin sheen of sweat and her chestnut-colored coat shining with healthy, lustrous fur. Her human half is turned at at angle, such that one breast is flirtatiously turned your way. She looks at you with a lewd stare, the dim light of the fire giving her naturally bright eyes a smoky, inviting effect. She raises her foreleft hoof up, as if to ask, “Well?”
The display makes you stir. Clearly, she’s challenging you. Answering, you stride forth, but she moves as well, walking past your shoulder again and sighing another hot breath upon your cheek. The entire thing fascinates you. You stifle a jolt as she deliberately whips her tail at your erection when she passes, although by doing so you get a whiff of her excitement. It’s a strange but alluring fragrance, somewhat pungent but also sweet to your nostrils. You’ve smelled hints of it before, when you were lightly fooling around behind her father’s back, but never till now had you the right to quench it. Your eyes dart over to her equine ass, getting glimpses of her glistening marehood in between swishes of her tail to and fro.
It’s too much. You’ve had enough of this teasing.
She gasps as you dig your fingers into her flanks, lovingly kneading the muscular flesh as you stare right at the center of it all. Big, dark lips, glazed over by her sticky excitement, hold your eyes below a cutely puffy anus, giving you hints of a pink wonderland as they shyly wink under your scrutiny. You crouch lower, intent on getting a better look when her musk washes over you.
The pheromone-laden fog assaults your senses as much as it assaults your sanity, luring you into a strange trance that still leaves you responsible for your actions, but assailed by a dire need. Those big puffy lips quiver, calling for your touch. Yes, you want to touch them. And your closest available tool just happens to be your mouth.
“M-my love? Aaahh-!”
Chelu moans as you bury your face in between her equine asscheeks, grasping and grabbing at them with needy fingers even as you kiss her pussy with a loving, aching thirst. You nip at one puffy lip with your thinner own, pulling back to playfully stretch it a little bit before releasing. You dive in then, attacking with your tongue, dragging its length up and down your lover’s pink, hot slit. The taste is salty, but it is sweet to your lust-addled mind. You are so close, so direct to the source of your lover’s perfume, and every inhalation drives you further insane.
You open your mouth wide and plant it square on her pussy, sucking on it hard and drinking of her fluids. Chelu stamps a hoof and begins kneading one of her breasts, unable to control herself at this. So delicious, so wet and hot with promises of endless bliss – centaur pussy is the best!
Or is it, really? You do not yet have all the metrics needed to make that claim. So: you must taste all of it in full. Easy enough. You rise, till your hips are level with Chelu’s own, grabbing your heavy, erect cock with an impatient hand. You’ve never been harder before in your life. Hastily, you align it with her slit, letting the cockhead rest on her wet entrance, the puffy labia like dark pillows to your hardness.
You wrench your eyes away to sweep them across your lover one more time: admiring every curve of her equine contours; noting the cute ring where horse ends and woman begins; and then appreciating the well-toned physique of her back. She looks at you over her shoulder, biting her lip in anticipation.
“Do it, Argat,” she breathes. “Fuck me. Pound me. Fill up my womb with your seed.”
“I will,” you grunt, as you slap your dick wetly against her pussy a few times, making her hiss. You rub the head up and down her slit, coaxing the lips away to welcome your entrance. Satisfied, you brace yourself then, steadying your tool with a hand, and firmly grabbing your wife’s buttocks. Finally, you move your hips forward, allowing the first inch of unyielding meat to be engulfed by her tight, pink wonderland.
If you weren’t aware that you could mix a gasp and a moan together in pleasure, you sure are aware of it now. It’s the steamy sound that erupts from Chelu’s throat as she shudders at your intrusion, stamping a hoof. She’s tight, so tight as you continue to explore her untrodden depths that seem to suck you in, begging for you reach some new line of clenching ridges. You get about maybe half of your length in before you encounter resistance: a springy wall that dares to impede your progress.
You want to do some theatrics of your own, to stroke her ponytail with gentle fingers as you say this next, momentous line, but her equine half is too long to allow you.
“You are mine now.”
Slam. With one mighty thrust of your hips, you bury yourself into her right at the hilt, tearing away her hymen in one swift go. She shudders, she spams – her marehood clenching and unclenching around your tool. It feels amazing. She stamps one hoof, then another, coaxing out dull, muffled thuds from the furs. Her hind legs quiver as she shakes her head, ponytail whipping left and right as if she’s gone insane.
A cascade of gasp-moans spills off her lips as she trembles there, desperately kneading her breasts. You’re fascinated by it. You’re not even moving yet. What could-
Drip. Drip. Pitter, patter.
Worriedly, you withdraw from her depths, wondering if you’ve hurt her.
“Chelu, does it hurt? Are you okay?”
You look down, but the liquid that’s gushing out, making a slobbering mess of her pussy, running down her thighs and dripping onto your foot is not dark and red, but transparent and fragrant. Each little drop, as it collects at an edge and eventually falls, is like a jewel in the fire-light.
Chelu folds her front legs in, moaning in frustration as she looks at you past her shoulder.
“Argat, you horrible tease! Why did you pull out? Can’t you see that I need you? Gods, Argat, I’m so needy…”
She raises her equine rump on two shaking, stamping hind legs, circling it before you like some kind of shaman’s hypnotic device. Clear fluid dribbles out of her pussy in bands that expand and break into drops as they fall. Did she just orgasm?
“Please, my love,” she breathes, mashing her tits together like she were turning wool into fleece. “I want you. I need you. Please, fuck me already. Fill me up! Please, Argat, pleasepleaseplease–”
Chelu screams as you ram yourself into her once more, discarding all pretense of restraint as you gyrate your hips like mad from the get-go. Every meeting of your hips is wet and hard, the sounds easily dominating the growling fire, and the force is such that you send fading waves rippling across her chestnut coat.
“You needy slut,” you growl, high on your wife. “You want it? Huh?”
“I do! I want it so much! I’m your slut!” She looks at you past her shoulder with half-lidded eyes and a dumb, lolling tongue. “I’m your happy little breeding mare. Please, cum in me, fill my womb with your spunk. I want to have your children!”
Those words strike you in the head like a sure-shot Chin crossbow bolt. You fall in-love with Chelu all over again.
You pick up the pace, wrenching your dick in and out of her needy depths, with each extraction flicking away trails and sprays of love juice that gradually coat your groin and further soil the furs at your feet.
“Chelu,” you groan, affectionately running your palm around her flank. “Gods… I’m gonna fill you up, I swear!”
Chelu would reply, but through her moans of pleasure she simply can’t. It’s a simple affair, steadying yourself with a firm grip on her flanks while you rock your hips back and forth. But Gods, it feels so good. Chelu’s honeypot is absolutely soaked: a pulsing, throbbing, gushing sheath that delights in every pass of your iron-like sword. Her walls give in only reluctantly as you push, but try to suck you back as you pull. Despite this, your pace is wild and fast. It’s incredible. You already feel a second orgasm coming up in your stomach, when your wife beats you to the punch.
Chelu drawls out a long, continuous moan that jumps with every meeting of your hips, making her sound like some kind of exotic, squawking bird as her body convulses with another orgasm. Her walls clench and unclench, hard, undulating with a moving, alternating grip along your shaft that leaves you gasping as well.
Her moans escalate as she continues to drip love juices, filling the ger with the fragrance of her arousal. Nectar spills as you pull, and squelches loudly as you push. At a whim, you fully withdraw your dick for a moment, leaving your lover groaning with frustration at the sudden void, before spearing yourself fully past those dark, silken lips once more. You grunt and pant along with Chelu’s moans – and then, she simply can’t take it anymore. Her hind legs collapse in a twitching, orgasmic heap, her rump falling down as the constant sensation of your fucking forces her to bury her face into her palms, as if she were ashamed.
The both of you easily adapt to the situation, with Chelu still kindly putting her tail off to the side to facilitate your access. You also go down on your knees, transitioning almost naturally as you never skip a beat of steamy thrust-and-pull.
You embrace her from behind, planting long, possessive kisses on her quivering equine body and drawing breaths close to her fur in order to savor her natural, more ordinary scent.
“Chelu, you’re so beautiful.”
“Th-th-thank you, l-love,” she says, stammering adorably.
“I love the way you arch your back,” you add. “It brings out how well-toned you are. How strong you are. You’re beautiful.”
Even though you can’t see her face, you know she’s flushing hotly.
“S-stop it, Argat – you’re making me melt!!”
Well, that’s exactly what you want to happen to her, so you lavish her with more compliments, bringing to attention even small things like the shape of her ears and the gloss of her hooves; or how straight and smooth her horsetail hairs are. Seconds tick by and you gradually lose command of your tongue, then of language itself, and you fuck her faster and faster, love juices splashing all over your groin. You’re close, so close, and- there!
Your vision goes white as you desperately try to bury yourself as far as it is humanly possible into her hot snatch, pistoning with effort as her walls clamp down again in a third orgasm. Still, you hammer on through, till your dickhead bumps against the entrance of her womb and you release: ropes upon ropes of hot cum shooting straight into her thirsty uterus, and otherwise spilling out to paint her insides white, filling out every ridge, nook and cranny. Nothing is left untouched as you continue to pump your now cum-slick shaft, spreading your creamy seed all over her pussy.
When the two of your stop shuddering in bliss, you slowly pull your cock away from her depths. It’s very slimy in your hand, as if it had been dipped in honey. You give her ass a slap before grabbing both cheeks and spreading them wide.
The love you’ve put into her is like an emerging pearl at first, before it builds up and spills out in a little white waterfall, viscous and sticky as the mix of cum and juice whitens her dark labia and outwards.
“Amazing,” you breathe, before giving your wife another, more triumphant slap on her ass. “You’re amazing, Chelu.”
Your wife’s face is in the furs, her hair in disarray as sweat beads all over her skin. Groggily, she raises her human half up to look at you tiredly over her shoulder.
“Thank you, love. You were amazing, too.”
Aww. You circle over and kiss her: gently, deeply, slowly, lovingly. Then sexually, as your arms go over each other’s bodies like writhing snakes. Your tongue violently grinds against her own, and soon you have her on her side, never letting go of the liplock as you lie down with her. The kiss breaks after a while, and for a moment, a husband admires the look of his well-sexed wife, and his wife does the same to him.
“I don’t think I’m done yet. Up for another round?”
Chelu blushes hotly. “Oh, really? Um… me too, actually.”
You pinch her nose, grinning. “Naughty girl. Hold on while I try some of this snake oil Badai gave me earlier.”
“Snake oil?” she asks, as you stand up to rummage around your cluttered heap of gifts and things.
“Yeah. Supposedly it makes me better in bed or something.”
“You’re more than good enough already, love.”
You shrug without looking back at her. “Can’t hurt to try. Now where did I put it… a-ha!”
You find it in a cushioned box where you’ve put it with some other glass vessels. It’s a tiny thing, barely the length of your index finger and only slighter wider. You twist it in your hands, watching as the strange, yellow-green liquid rolls around. Dark particles, excited from their place at the bottom, rise and dance within the oily medium. You run the vial once across your nose, whiffing up a sort of lemony, minty scent. It’s fairly strong.
You turn it upright and have a proper look at it, noting that it’s topped off by a silver cap with tiny, careful engravings on its sides depicting vines and plants that double as both decoration and gripping points. How fancy. It must have been relatively expensive to get, worth maybe a barrel of golden airag, or a good sword.
You unscrew the cap and quickly upend the vial on your fingertip, raising a brow as the drop tickles your skin. Odd, but you attribute that as an extension of the heady feeling of aftersex. Unhesitantly, you bring your finger up and take it into your mouth, and that’s when your oral cavity is set on fire.
A hot wave travels radially outward from your mouth and over your head to run down your arms, torso, and eventually your groin. You shake your head in a vain attempt to dispel the sensation as your entire body flushes with heat, as if you’ve come down with a fever, but without the nausea and the weakness.
“What the hell is this?!” you exclaim, as you screw the cap on quickly and hold the vial close to your eye.
“My love? Are you okay?”
Your wife’s concerned voice draws your attention, but at the moment you lay your eyes on her, you are assailed anew with horrible, dire need. You blink your eyes once, twice – but it is as if there is a fog over your vision, hot and humid, that makes Chelu look like the ripe maiden that she was fifteen minutes ago, begging to be taken, despite the fact that she’s just sitting there, staring at you with her forelegs politely crossed together. She looks incredibly sexy all of a sudden, even more so than usual.
Lust. Terrible, undeniable lust puts pressure on your eyes and engorges your dick anew till it’s rock-hard again. Feigning calm, you begin striding towards your wife, stroking your dick with every step.
You twirl the vial in your free hand. “I think this might be lamia venom.”
Her eyes widen in realization. “Oh! Um, so does that mean-”
You kneel before her, cutting her off with a pained expression as you nod. “It is taking everything in me not to jump at you. I want you to take some, too.”
You wet your fingertip again with the oil and press it against Chelu’s lips. She accepts it, and you feel her tongue playfully wrapping around your digit when her eyes go frantically wide. Suddenly she’s on it with force, slathering your finger with saliva and bobbing on it up and down as if it were your cock. It takes effort to pry your hand away, whereupon she looks at you with unashamed, red-cheeked desire.
You throw the vial to where your wife’s deel lays crumpled but you don’t bother to check whether it’s safe or not. Instead, you immediately take her in a kiss, and whatever tiredness you two share melts away in a sea of want and riotous action: husband and wife moving with seemingly boundless energy that neither of you even knew you had. You and Chelu fuck, fuck and fuck deep into the night, her moans carrying off into the nighttime breeze as you repeatedly fill and drain her womb of your churning, bubbling cum, easily impregnating her.
You wake up long before you open your eyes, the action taking much more effort than it should. Every part of your body hurts. Your arms and legs feel numb and even respiration is a heavy, conscious and deliberate affair. The overall feeling could be likened to a post-battle daze, except that your cock also hurts.
You groan again as you adjust yourself on the furs, trying to turn towards your wife from your spread-eagle pose. So focused are you on your wife that you don’t give the ger’s interior much more than a glimpse, but you don’t need to look at it for long to know that it’s a mess. The two of you rutted everywhere, grunting and moaning like animals. If the strewn miscellany of horribly misplaced cookware, clothing and even armor pieces and silver coins aren’t enough to tell, then there is also the sexual musk of night-long breeding permeating the air.
And of course, there are the happy newlyweds: tired, sore and sweaty. Chelu sleeps next to you on the furs, her human half facing your way. One arm is draped over her stomach, while the other is outstretched to where your hands were touching before you shifted position. Propping yourself up on an elbow, you content yourself with just watching your wife for a while, noting how her chest rises and falls and admiring the simple serenity of her sleeping face.
Yet, she doesn’t sleep for long. She begins to squirm and writhe every other minute in the groggy manner of one who is already awake, but is too tired to bother getting up. It’s a pretty fitful, uncomfortable state, so you decide to give her a nudge.
It takes a while before she opens her eyes. You smile and greet her,
She returns your smile sleepily and stretches all six of her limbs. She closes her eyes again, though.
“Mmnh… good morning, Argat. What time is it?”
Still a bit groggy, you glance up the ger’s smoke-hole as if that would help with that question. Inwardly suppressing a laugh at your own foolishness, you shrug.
“I don’t know. Judging from the heat, it might be noon, or approaching noon.”
Chelu’s eyes open wide in alarm. “Noon? That’s no good. I should get up, prepare us something to eat.”
She moves to rise, lamely and quivering, but you scoot over and physically caution her by the time she manages to sit up.
“Chelu, you can sleep some more if you like. I’ll prepare us breakfast instead.”
She shakes her head. “That’s a wifely duty, my love.”
You frown. “I’m not playing honor games anymore, Chelu. I think you’re in worse shape than I am. Didn’t you say that your butt was going numb by the end of it?”
Your wife’s cheeks flush for a moment. “Maybe I did, but you shouldn’t underestimate me, my love.” She leans in, kissing you lightly on the lips. “Am I not a centaur? Moreover, am I not your wife?”
Were you not so sore and groggy, you would have argued further. Sadly, all you can do is nod your head and try for a compromise.
“Alright. But let me help you.”
Chelu smiles at you warmly. “That would be much appreciated. Wait – before breakfast, do you maybe want to bathe in the river with me?”
You grin. “That’d be nice, actually. We can take the horses with us. It’ll be good for them to drink river water.”
The two of you stand up to dress yourselves and clean up the ger, making it look at least halfway presentable before stepping outside. Looking out across the flat, grassy plains, you can see herdsmen leading sheep and horses where Kundek’s clan used to be. They’ve all but disappeared, having rejoined the Horde proper, no doubt. You lift your chin and note the high position of the sun – it really is noon.
“Hey Chelu,” you say, without looking at your wife.
“Kundek is your brother, right?”
“As in, you were born from the same womb, from your mother Cirina?”
You look to the side, returning Chelu’s gaze.
“How come he isn’t half horse?”
Chelu guffaws, throwing her head back and clutching at her stomach while the peals of her laughter easily drown out the bleating of distant sheep. It takes a while before she wipes the tears off of her eyes.
“What?” Is all she says.
“Is it that strange of a thing to ask?”
“No, I- I just wasn’t expecting it,” she stammers. “Sorry.”
“I thought you might have gained some new insights on that mystery during your stay with your relatives. You know, how there are no male beast-folk.”
She shakes her head. “Sadly, no. Why, have you learned something new about it?”
“Just some talk I’ve heard,” you explain. “From the ones who have fought in the Far West, like Kundek. Apparently, there’s a religion there that preaches of a ‘One God’ above all who created humanity, who must contend with pain, suffering and temptation in the mortal world for the chance to enter a sort of paradise after death. Some of these temptations come in the form of ‘monstrous women’, as they call it.”
“Oh, the Order.” Chelu rolls her eyes and crosses her arms. “They seem like miserable people.”
“It is said that their knights cannot be matched one-on-one in melee. Although, they do have interesting beliefs.”
Chelu inquisitively tilts her head a little.
“Do you believe them?” she teases. You laugh immediately.
“Ha! No, no. If they look at you even once and still dare to call you a ‘monster’ then they are ignorant of beauty.”
“Aww,” Chelu coos, blushing.
“Come here, will you?”
The two of you share a quick kiss before you stop your dilly-dallying and untie your horses, loading one of them with several buckets. Chelu, earlier, proposed that the two of you start the day with a hearty beef soup. For that, you will need to ride to the nearby river and collect the needed water.
Despite the commonness of your chore, the simple fact that you are a jagun commander demands that you be well-armed wherever you go. As such, you wear your sword and bow in their respective holsters left and right. You elect to take ten arrows with you, to be carried by a special quiver mounted on the saddle.
And to that end, you return to the ger for a short moment to retrieve one of your two saddle sets. You give Chelu a quick smile as you move to the horse you’d loaded the buckets onto earlier.
The rather distressed tone of your wife’s voice stops you. You look at her questioningly, as she looks at you almost pleadingly.
“Argat, we’re married now, remember?”
You blink once in realization, wanting to hit yourself for your foolishness.
“Ah, of course! Sorry, force of habit. Could you show me your side, then?”
She does so, presenting her left side to you. Her equine skirt makes the saddle pad unnecessary so you just throw the saddle onto her and begin fastening it down. The process is very quick for a veteran warrior like you. Chelu remains silent the whole time, just looking over her shoulder as you fiddle with the straps.
You step back, looking at your wife in profile. Even with the saddle on, she still looks very elegant in a tastefully embroidered deel of emerald green. She fidgets a little here and there with a blush on her cheeks, clearly not used to having a saddle on her back.
“You look great,” you say, grinning.
She averts her gaze. “Please, love, don’t stare so much.”
“Agreed. I’ll just mount you now.”
You run and jump, easily swinging one leg up and over to mount Chelu in one perfect maneuver. She gasps on impact, and your momentum causes her to take a few steps to the side.
“Argat!” she yells, frowning. She’s clearly not very pleased at you having taking yet another of her virginities so abruptly. In response, you embrace her human half from behind for the first time, coaxing another gasp from her as you give her neck a kiss from the side.
“Oh come on, it’s not so bad, is it?”
“Y-You’re a little heavy.”
“You’ll get used to it with time. Now, should I kick in my heels, or…?”
“No – no need, I’m not a horse.”
“Of course, of course.”
You let Chelu do her thing as she somewhat unsteadily takes the lead of your herd of horses into a slow, serene walk across the plains. She’s rather stiff at first with your unfamiliar weight on her back, but you feel her gait loosening up as time goes on. The steppe wind blowing against her hair has also seemed to wash away the bad mood you’ve put her into. You were just trying to be playful, but in your arrogance, perhaps you’ve underestimated the seriousness with which centaurs regard the right to ride them.
With that in mind, you give Chelu another hug from behind.
“I’m sorry,” you say, as Chelu reciprocates by bringing her hands to your arms.
“No, I was being petty and prideful,” she says immediately, her voice soft. “I have no right to be angry, as you already have the right to ride me.”
“Well, then I suppose that’s settled.” Did the two of you just have your first disagreement as a married couple?
“It’s a beautiful day, isn’t it?” you add, to change the topic.
“It is. It’s a great day for riding.”
“Riding on my beautiful centaur wife,” you agree, breaking the embrace.. “If you told me two years ago that I’d score a woman as great as you, I’d have laughed.”
Chelu giggles. “You have been lavishing me with compliments since last night.”
“It’s our honeymoon,” you protest. “Couldn’t you at least return the favor?”
“Oh, alright. Hmm… it’s an honor to be ridden by someone as fine a warrior and a man as you.”
“Too stiff,” you say.
“Okay, then, how about: my husband has a big dick and is great in bed?”
The two of you laugh out loud.
“Not what I was expecting,” you admit, “but I’ll take it!”
After the peals of your mirth have died down, there is a long while of silence, with only the sounds of the wind and hoofbeats to accompany you before Chelu speaks up again, looking over her shoulder to make eye contact with you.
“I…” she begins shyly, “I am happy to have married you, Argat.”
You lean in to kiss her. She stops to facilitate it, bringing the rest of the herd to a halt.
“Same here. I love you.”
She smiles warmly. “I love you too,” she says, before the two of you set off again.
The honeymoon will last for another six days. Until the real world comes crashing down on you with responsibilities and obligations, you’re free to spend the week in bliss with your new wife. And after that…? Your head swims with thoughts. In nine months, she should give birth to the firstborn of what you hope will be a big family. By then, the Horde will probably be campaigning in India, where you will achieve great deeds and amass wealth. Hell, maybe you’ll even be promoted to Minghaan commander. And maybe when all the nations of the world have fallen to the ambition of the Mongol people – when you are in your forties, maybe – you will be given a city to govern, where your family would spend Pax Mongolica in peace and prosperity.
Perhaps it is foolish to think so far ahead into the vast and ultimately unknowable future, but whatever your fate may be, as you ride along the plains with Chelu, you cannot help but feel that everything’s going to be alright.