Short sex stories

Sex stories




The Crimson Tithe

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"The Crimson Tithe" -- Valentine's Day Story Contest 2016 Submission

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Chapter 1:

While the mortal world prepared for a day of festivities for what they called Saint Valentine's Day, the people of the Five Villages of Mormor prepared for their own celebration that was of an even more ancient... and possibly even darker... tradition.

They referred to it as the Lupercalia.

It was the first day of three of which the Lupercalia Festival fell, roughly, halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Kara was not in much of a festive mood as this year she could potentially be the chosen sacrifice. She took some small measure that at least the sacrifices were not burned at the stake as they had been in the ancient days of the Roman Empire. Even now out in the streets she could hear the younger children singing out the olden songs of sacrifice, of feasting, and then of joy, love, and celebration that would follow to all who remained.

As she stepped out of her family's house and took in the snow covered village all decked out in banners, streamers, and other decorations she squared her shoulders and took a deep breath to steady her ragged nerves. Behind her, a small voice spoke up. "Do you really have'ta do this?"

Kara turned to regard her younger, preteen sister, Erika. She knelt down and patted the girl on her blonde head and then pulled her into a big hug. "Yes, I do. But remember this Eri; being selected is a big honor for our village and it is a bit of a long shot to begin with," she said, trying to convince herself as much as her sister. "Even so, we must honor and renew the pact every year to keep everyone else safe.

Her statement was true. The selection process for the sacrifice involved all single women, aged two decades or better who still had fertile wombs, of all of the Five Villages. Out of all of those, one for each village would be selected and out of those, only one would wind up taking the long walk through the dark and forbidden Mormor Woods.

Before emotion took over, Kara kissed Erika on the forehead and smiled at her. "Hey, look after ma and pa for me if I do get chosen, okay? And be brave because you will have to go through this one day as well... if some lucky guy doesn't get you before then." Erika nodded, her golden curls bobbing up and down as she did so. Kara took a moment to say goodbye to their parents, who were looking proud of her, before heading out.

Outside, she could hear the town crier already making the call for the Tithe. "Here Ye! Here Ye! All unwed maids of legal childbearing age shall report to the village hall at once for the selection process! Failure to appear will result in stiff punishment for both the maid and her family!" Even though the crier was blocks away, Kara could hear him as if he were next door.

As she walked a man came up beside her, matching her rapid pace. "I really wish you would reconsider this... barbaric... custom." He hissed at her. "It's unholy, I tell you."

Kara shook her head in disgust and swept a strand of her own golden tresses from her face. "John, you are new here and unaccustomed to our ways," she said sadly. John had come from one of the larger cities from beyond looking for work and found some as one of the village's lumberjacks. He was muscular like many of the men of the village but he carried himself as if he were better and still retained his highborn accent of the city. "This is not a choice; this is a duty which is one that I am proud to perform," she informed him. "I told you that when you first started courting me last year."

"This is ridiculous!" John said, unbelieving that she was so calm. "It's a new modern era where the world is beginning to build these steam engines and sail to the new world in droves. You don't have to be stuck in the dark ages. People don't have to be bound by these silly superstitious traditions anymore!"

"This is what keeps our villages safe." Kara countered sharply.

"Safe from what? From them," he hissed the last word out. "I'm telling you that this is no more than a ruse for them to get your women!"

"You don't understand our ways," Kara said. "There is more out there than the just ones that we tithe to for protection of the village." Or so the village elders say, she thought.

John grabbed her hand and stopped, forcing her to turn towards him. "Don't do this, I beg of you. Come with me instead. We can flee; we can go back to my home! I can show you the true ways of the world or discover the new one."

Kara yanked her hand back from him with disgust. "You missed that opportunity when you failed to ask my father for my hand after we'd lain together like you said you were going to do," she said, venom now coming from her voice as well as her piercing blue eyes.

"I-I wasn't ready at the time," John stammered out.

"But now you are?" Kara arched an eyebrow at him. She crossed her arms and cocked a hip. "I find your timing a bit suspect."

Now John looked crestfallen. "I...I'd thought that I had more time."

"Pity," Kara said, "because now you are out of it." She squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. "If I do not see you; then this is goodbye, John from the outer world. I will think of our time together fondly."

"Listen to you; you sound like the decision has already been made." John sneered. "Seriously; you do not have to do this. What is it with you people?"

"I will do whatever the gods and the fates deem I should do and I will not endanger my family by being petty and selfish like you city folk seem to do." Kara said, now seething with anger. Why couldn't he see that this was the way of things? "Goodbye," she added in haste, turning on her heel and heading directly for the village hall before he had a chance to say anything more. What more was there to say? At one point she was fond of John with all of his fanciful tales of the big, modernized cities from beyond the wood. But she was a simple wood carver's daughter and a hunter in her own right with her own role to play. She liked living in Mormor Woods and couldn't fathom living anywhere else.

When she got to the village hall, she was greeted by the village's Mayor who smiled and nodded to her politely along with a tanned muscular man with dark black hair and dull grey eyes who seemed to study her every movement. "Karaina Hoodsdottir, thank you for coming," the mayor said to her with genuine warmth, checking her name off of his list. "You are the last to arrive, please, take your seat," he gestured in towards the main meeting area where there was one seat remaining for her in the ring of chairs.

The girls who were in attendance looked her way. They all ranged from Kara's age of twenty years up to thirty. Per the terms of the village's treaty that established the Lupercalia Festival the range went all the way up to forty, but women rarely stayed single for that long of a time. Indeed, having Diana there as the only one over the age of twenty-three was weird but the rumors said that she had yet to find a partner, male or female, that was suitable for her tastes. The buxom brunette looked almost bored with the whole thing and was there just out of formality's sake as this was her tenth time going through this. Kara nodded to her in greeting as she took the seat next to Diana.

Diana leaned over to her, "Nervous, Kara?" Kara would be lying if she'd said no. Instead she merely nodded. Diana smiled. "First time through is always the hardest. You'll get used to it."

"Did you?" Kara asked.

"Eventually," she admitted with a shrug. "I'm just ready for them to choose one of you young pups so I can get out of here and back to work on the mountain. I got trees to fell and potential lovers to find." The rumor mill also held that Diana would sleep with anything ready, willing, and able that had two legs... regardless of which genitals that they sported. Diana did nothing to dispel those rumors.

Kara snorted with laughter. "Take John then, he seems to be ready and willing now."

"Bah," Diana waved a dismissive hand. "The youngin' from the cities can deal with Miss Rosy Palm. I got better things to do than to cater to him."

"Is he that bad up on the mountain?" Kara asked.

Diana rolled her eyes. "Let's just say that you were wise to break it off with him. I'd hate being shackled to that boy for the rest of this life and all of the next in Valhalla." Both of them chuckled at that thought.

Kara looked around the circle. In a village of a few hundred, there were only about fifty of them there, many of which were there for their first time just like Kara. Back at the entrance, the Mayor was conversing with the village Priestess and the muscular man as they ensured that everyone eligible was indeed present.

"Who's the man back there with the Mayor and Priestess?" Kara asked Diana.

"He's a representative from one of the other villages from what I understand," Diana said indifferently. "They change every year. It must be a rotating position or somethin' since I have yet to see the same man twice."

The mystery man departed and then the Mayor closed and locked the doors, barring it so that no one could enter... or exit. The Priestess walked into the center of the circle of women, white and red robes billowing behind her as she walked, and called for them all to stand and remove their clothing for the reading of the runes. Diana smirked at Kara's and the rest of the girls' sudden look of discomfort. Kara was second only to Diana to throw her garments off until she was naked as the day she was born along with everyone else.

The Priestess gave a bow of her head, thanking them all, before reaching into her pouches and pulling out her rune stones. She lifted them high above her head and started singing, her voice as lovely as a songbird's melody, as she called for the blessing of the runes. Once she was finished, she flung them downward violently. The stones struck the wooden floor and bounced, clattered, and skidded all around the circle of chairs. The Priestess opened her eyes slowly, taking in the scattered stones, and began to walk slowly around the circle deep in thought.

"Leave," she said in a gruff voice and a wave of her hand to one petite girl who looked visibly relieved. The girl hastened to dress and went for the front door where the Mayor let her out. "Leave," the Priestess said again after walking a few more girls down. This time a curvy strawberry blonde was dismissed who just grabbed up her clothes and ran naked out into the snowy village beyond.

She made at least five laps around the ring of girls, dismissing more and more as she walked, until she stopped in front of Kara and Diana. The Priestess regarded the runes at their feet with interest, and then looked back at the other runes by the few other girls that were left. "All of you; leave," she said, dismissing them with a flick of her hand. She turned back to Kara and Diana. Kara felt an odd sense of dread welling up in her stomach while Diana looked back with a curious look on her face.

The Priestess looked back with the same amount of curiosity, tapping a finger on her lips. "You are not ready, but your time will come soon enough," she said, pointing to Diana. Her finger transitioned over to Kara where she wagged it and nodded. "You; you are our village's sacrifice for this year."

Kara could only stare and blink at the Priestess. Picked on her first year; it wasn't unheard of but it was certainly a shock. Any doubt or misgivings she might have had she buried deep when she recalled her own words not too long ago when she said that she'd do whatever the fates desired. Diana gave her a sideways look and shrugged before gathering up her clothing. Kara swallowed whatever fears she had, put on her mask of bravery, and gave the Priestess a single nod of assent.

"We have chosen," The Priestess announced to the Mayor as Diana gathered up her clothes and heading for the door. "You may notify the emissary and the town."

"Excellent, I'll make the announcement so that the day's festivities can commence," he said as he followed Diana out.

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CHAPTER 2:

It was festivities that she would no longer be a part of, Kara noted, with the exception of later tonight when she would be paraded out of the village to the crossroads. She knew from past festivals that her family would be given honors usually reserved for visiting royalty and dignitaries and that they would be well taken care of by the community. Tithe families usually were especially if their daughter was taken during the second selection which would happen much later in the evening.

The Priestess took Kara by the hand and led her out the back door of the hall. Here they went through a specially constructed tunnel that led from the village hall to the temple. In the olden days when the treaty was first signed, it was nothing more than a covered walkway to protect the modesty and privacy of the Tithe. Now it was a full wooden corridor lit by torches to ensure complete protection of those who were chosen as there'd been so-called heroes in the past who sought to 'liberate' whoever was chosen.

Kara had a fleeting image of John making such an attempt but dismissed it as she didn't think that he had the spine to do it.

The tunnel also served a dual purpose to keep the Tithe from making a run for it by having second thoughts about the ordeal. She'd heard rumors of such events happening in the past by girls who'd lost their nerve and decided to throw duty to the wind. That would not be Kara. The fates have decided and she would meet her destiny full on. The Priestess smiled at her as they entered the back of the temple, pleased that Kara was not making a fuss. When they were in the preparation area, the Priestess gestured to a table where four of her acolytes waited patiently in simple white robes to perform their duties. Without hesitation, Kara eased herself up onto the polished wood of the table in the middle of the four girls. The acolytes took her by the wrists and the ankles while the Priestess gently placed her hands onto the sides of Kara's temples and guided her to lie her head back onto a pillow.

Kara did as she was silently directed to, only giving a brief look of concern when her arms and legs were fastened down to the corners so that she was slightly spread-eagled. "While I know that you are not going to shirk from your duty, Karaina Hoodsdottir," the Priestess said in a soothing voice, "this is to ensure that you do not run away. If nothing else, think of it as maintaining a tradition." Kara could understand that and so she nodded.

The acolytes went to work at once. One lit some sweet smelling incense, one brought up a bucket of soapy warm water, another came up with soft cloths and towels, and the fourth fetched some brushes and came up to Kara's head. Kara closed her eyes and relaxed as the two with the towel and bucket proceeded to bathe her. The one at her head started humming a joyous tune as she started brushing out Kara's hair. Kara was soon humming with pleasure herself as she felt the girls' hands work over her body.

The one who'd lit the incense left briefly, returning with a box. Kara's eyes fluttered open when she hear the box creak open. Her eyes went wide when she saw three phallic objects and a glass bottle of some sort of liquid inside of it. "Please relax as much as possible," the girl said. "This will help you be prepared for tonight should you be the chosen Tithe."

Kara wondered what the acolyte was referring to until the two one either side of her immediately brought their hands down to her abdomen, thighs, and mons. They cleaned her thoroughly and then Kara felt their delicate fingers spreading her open while the one with the box picked up the smallest of the three phalluses and coated it with the liquid from the bottle. Kara bit her lower lip as it was aimed toward her most intimate spot.

"Ahhhh," Kara gasped, arching her back, as the phallus was slowly pushed into her aided by the warm oil that was covering it. Her whole body shuddered with pleasure as the acolyte slid it into her with ease.

The acolyte smiled and the two holding her open let go, allowing her pussy lips to close around the phallus. Kara whimpered, her need now growing within her as her inner folds stretched and molded around the wooden object. "Good," the acolyte said with approval. "You've known the touch of another before. This will be much easier for you." Kara didn't care so long as they would move the phallus inside of her. She gyrated her hips and whined for attention.

The cleaning acolytes moved down her legs and then back up her body. Now their hands roamed up her belly and over her modest, but round bust. Her nipples stiffened in response to their gentle rubbing. Meanwhile, the one with the box reached up to grab a hold of the phallus. It moved within her slightly and Kara rotated her hips in time with the motion. Then it was pulled out of her, leaving her feeling empty and wanting.

She didn't have long to wait as a second phallus was coated with the clear, warm oil and inserted into her. This one was slightly larger than the first and it filled her up more than ever before. She let out a long, languorous breath as it settled into place. She'd never felt so full before and she loved it. The acolytes working on her breasts were now moving up to her shoulders and down her arms. Her breath became ragged and she felt like she was close to reaching her peak but was deliberately being denied and she was letting her frustration show.

"Peace," the acolyte brushing her hair out said in a soothing voice. "You will be taken care of." She continued her melodious humming as she switched to a finer brush.

The two girls that were cleaning then reached for the towels to dry her off completely. The towels were then put to the side and they came back with bottles of oil and straight razors. They rubbed the oil into the underside of her arms and then drew the razors across the skin slowly, removing the few tufts of hair that had been there. "Please be still, miss," they said as one as they moved down to her mound. The acolyte in charge of the phalluses removed the one from her pussy and stood by with it while the two cleaners poured the oil over her mound before dragging the razors over them, leaving her completely bare.

This was a new feeling for her and Kara squeezed her thighs together, feeling an increased sensitivity over her mons. The girl with the phallus nudged it up against her pussy once again, penetrating her again and making her cry out in pleasure. The cleaners then poured the oil all over her body and at once began working it into her skin all over. When they worked on her thighs and abdomen, Kara cried out again as her body convulsed with pleasure. Her body then hummed while her pussy rhythmically gripped and released the phallus as the orgasm swept over her.

She was delirious with the erotic energy now coursing through her and barely noticed that the phallus had been removed and that the four acolytes had undone the leather restraining straps. Gently, they eased and prodded her until she subconsciously rolled over onto her stomach. Once there, she was strapped down spread-eagled again. Kara looked up with brief confusion but then stopped caring once the oil and the rubbing continued, this time starting on her bottom and inner thighs. She let out a low moan as the two pairs of hands worked on her in perfect tandem.

Then she felt herself being spread open once again as cool air kissed the inner folds of her pussy. Kara managed to get a look back over her shoulder in time to see the third, and largest, phallus being brought up to her. The acolyte in charge of her hair took that opportunity to slip a couple of closed gloves that had no individual finger onto her hands and fastened the straps around her wrists. The leather gloves forced her fingers to curl around a cylindrical object inside. Looking at them in confusion, she was about to ask what these were for when she got her answer.
As the largest of the three phalluses was being pushed in, Kara started flopping and then bucking uncontrollably on the table as waves of pleasure shot through her body as it inexorably entered her centimeter by centimeter. The sensation of now having no hair covering her down there made it that much more intense. She screamed in a strange mixture of pleasurable pain. Her breasts were repeatedly crushed into the table, dragging her nipples across the polished wood, as she jerked against her bonds. Her hands clenched hard inside of the gloves around the cylinder so tight that if she'd not had them she would've been dragging fingernails across the wood of the table.

Once the phallus was firmly and completely entrenched inside of her, the acolytes let her go and Kara collapsed back down onto the table, her breath now coming in deep heaving gulps. She moaned again as her pussy was now being stretched more than ever before; more than she'd ever thought possible.

Kara managed to look up at the acolyte by her. "Why?" she asked, her voice hoarse and ragged.

The acolyte smiled at her. "They like their potential women properly prepared," she replied. "This is to ensure that there will be as little pain as possible for either of you tonight should you be claimed."

Managing a nod of understanding, Kara started thinking about the upcoming night. She'd never seen any of the beasts that the girls are tithed to. All she'd ever seen was the crossroads of where the five villages met to merge into the single path that led part way into the forbidden woods. She'd heard stories and rumors of massive black beast things that were neither human nor animal. She'd heard from girls who had not been chosen of the beasts' heavy footsteps, deep breathing, and low, menacing growls. No one, probably save for the village leaders, had ever seen them as all of the villagers left the area, per the agreement, and all of the tribute girls were always blindfolded.

Now the acolytes rubbing the oil into her body finished with her legs and were moving up her back and sides. "Ohhh," Kara closed her eyes and groaned when the sides of her breasts were touched. She tried lifting up to get them to touch the tips of her breasts and nipples, but they merely pushed her back down into the table. By now, her pussy had relaxed, now accommodating the large phallus easily and it was making her needy for some movement. She tried pushing her mons down into the table but was unable to get the angle right.

The acolyte with the phallus box saw her need and reached up to grab the phallus. She pushed it into Kara slightly and pulled it back, letting it relax back into position. She then did the same motion again, this time reaching under to slide her fingers across Kara's sex to apply pressure to her clit. Kara arched her body and breathed deeply, "Oh gods, yes!" The acolyte kept an eye on her two sisters finishing up the oiling and timed her movements accordingly. By the time they were at Kara's neck, she was giving Kara a well-timed fucking until she reached her peak once again.

Kara buried her face into the pillow and screamed. Her whole body now violently trembling as the earth shattering orgasm ripped through her. Once her body came down off of the erotic high, she kept her face down and moaned as the tiny ripples of pleasure continued to resonate all throughout her. A few moments after that, she stopped caring about anything as her consciousness faded and she lapsed into a deep, deep sleep.

*

Sometime later Kara awoke. She wasn't sure what time of day it was as there were no windows around her. She was still on the preparation table and she was turned over lying flat on her back with her wrists and ankles strapped as they were when she was first put onto it but the strange, fingerless gloves had been removed. This time, however, she felt something around the calves of her legs and looked down to see one of the acolytes finishing up fastening the leather straps on the knee high boots that came over her knee in a point. Valkyrie Boots; as they were called in the region.

The acolyte smiled and bowed her head to her to acknowledge that she was awake before moving to undo the straps holding her wrists. "Please, sit up," she asked politely, helping Kara up. Kara did so, feeling that her head was lighter than normal. She reached up and felt that her hair had been done up in a crown of elaborate braids while she slept. The acolyte handed her a plate that had bread, fruit, and cheese on it with a goblet of fine wine. "Eat, Drink," she said, "you'll need your strength for later."

Kara tore into it, suddenly aware at just how empty her stomach felt. "How long have I slept for?" she asked the girl.

"Dusk is upon us. As you noticed; we braided your hair while you slept and finished cleaning you outside and in before anointing you with more oil and perfumes. Once you are finished eating we will do the final preparations in order to take you out for the presentation," the acolyte replied.

"Ah," was all Kara could say to that as she popped some of the delicious fruit into her mouth and drank down the sweet wine that seemed to go straight to her head and down to her loins. She took the opportunity to stretch and shift. For falling asleep on a table, she still felt surprisingly refreshed and relaxed and commented on that. Then it sank in what the acolyte said about being cleaned inside and out. Well, at least she wouldn't need to go to the outhouse any time soon. "I slept through all of that?"

The acolyte smiled again. "That is in part of the incense that we burned and the oil that we used on and in you. It was specially created for total relaxation and increased pleasure."

"Pleasure?" Kara asked in surprise.

"Yes, it heightens your senses and increases your sexuality. That is why you were able to experience pleasure twice while we worked on you."

"Oh," Kara said absently again. "That would explain why I'm feeling desire now then?" Glancing down she saw the flush of her own chest and her nipples standing hard on end.

The acolyte nodded. "Although you will not be brought to release again, I'm afraid. That will be reserved for tonight if you are taken."

Kara nodded in understanding and handed the plate back after she ate the last bit of cheese. "Well, I guess we should get on with it, yes?"

"Yes," The acolyte bowed as she took the plate away. She then clapped her hands and the other three acolytes emerged from side rooms. Two of the acolytes carried out a cushioned platform by two poles that ran through iron rings on the sides. The third acolyte came out with coils of rope over each shoulder. The items were placed on the floor before Kara. Her ankles were freed and she was directed to sit on the carrying platform with her knees to her chest.

The acolytes then took out different lengths of the fine rope and proceeded to bind her legs in the kneeling position so that she would not be able to straighten them out. This was done in two places; once by her knees and once running from her ankles to her thighs. Kara watched them with interest while feeling that familiar, erotic warmth starting to pool within her loins again. She found herself becoming turned on by the idea of being helpless before whatever the hell it was that was going to possibly take her tonight. That, or it could've been the aphrodisiac working on her; she wasn't entirely certain.

Once they had her legs bound properly, they helped her into a kneeling position with her knees spread. The ropes at her knees were then attached to holes in the corner to keep her there. They then positioned her bottom right between her feet so that she wouldn't totally be on her legs and therefore wear her out from the strain of kneeling for some time. Then they attached the ropes around her ankles to nearby holes to totally secure her to the platform.

Next they had her lift her arms up and place them forearm to forearm above her head so that they could start binding her body. The rope was doubled up and used as a bight for them to loop it around her torso just under her breasts with the bight centered on her spine. They then looped the rope around her above and below her breasts a couple of times before crossing it up and down through the loops so that it made a bit of an M that crisscrossed between her breasts, making them jut out and stand tall and proud. Her nipples stiffened even more at the feel of the open brassiere made out of rope as they tied it off.

Finally they directed her to bring her arms behind her back putting them forearm to forearm again. Then they lashed them together with the remaining rope and anchored it to the rope brassiere on her back and sides. Kara tested the bonds finding that she had some wiggle room but she was quite secure. It scared her but thrilled her at the same time. "I am to stay like this until the selection?" she asked.

"Yes," the acolyte who was there when she awoke said. "They will either free you and have you walk with them or they will take you back to their den just like this. It depends on the manner of the beast who comes for selection, really."

The Priestess came out into the area with a cloak that was dyed in the crimson color that identified their village and a small black lace circlet. She smiled down at Kara. "This cloak is imbued with our magic and will keep you warm from the winter chill in the air tonight. This blindfold will keep your eyesight blocked when night falls so that you may not gaze upon the beast until he is ready to take you," she explained, pulling the cloak around Kara's shoulders and tying the straps at her neck. She then took the black lace blindfold and affixed it into place over Kara's eyes. Then she brought the hood of the crimson cloak up and over Kara's head and arranged the cloak so that it covered her up enough to keep the cold away.

Standing back, she admired the work her acolytes have done. "Exquisite work, ladies. I do believe that this is our finest Tribute to date," she said proudly. "They're ready for the presentations now. Let us go show the beasts that our Tribute is the superior one this Lupercalia Festival!" She clapped her hands and the four acolytes took up positions around her, knelt, and picked her up using the carrying poles. The acolytes bore her weight with ease and followed the Priestess as she led the way out of the temple.

This time, the front door of the temple was used. As soon as the doors were open she could hear the roar of adulation from the crowd as they cheered at the sight of their Tribute heading out for presentation. Kara moved her head as much as she could to either side in an attempt to see her family, or even John. There was still enough light in the sky for her to see out of her lace blindfold. She knew that her friends and family had to be out there, somewhere, looking at her. What were they feeling? How were they reacting to seeing her naked, trussed up, and being carried out almost like some wild boar to be put onto a spit?

When one of the acolytes noticed her looking around, she reached up to pull the hood of her crimson robe down to a point where it obstructed her eyesight. Kara let out a little huff of frustration that the acolyte heard. "It is better and easier for you this way that you do not see who you're are seeking," she whispered up to Kara. "and to not see the blows as they are coming."

"Blows?" Kara wondered a half a second before she heard a woosh sound from her left. A leather whip struck her rump and the blow was lessened by the cloak covering her backside. Nevertheless, she made a yelp of surprise. Ah yes... THOSE blows... she remembered from previous years as she'd participated as one of the young girls lined up along the parade route to whip the Lupercalia Sacrifice on her hind end to promote fertility in their chosen girl.

Kara didn't even have to have the ability to see in order to know what was going on. Each swat from the simple leather straps would be coming from the women who were not selected this year as well as the girls who would be eligible the next year. Further on down the line would be the married women of the village and they usually put more into their swings from what Kara had seen in past years. Then would be any girl in their teenage years who giggled and laughed at the whole procession most of the time to even think about swatting the tithe as she was carried past.

Enduring the series of blows was easy enough thanks to her cloak. Regardless, she kept her head down as her face was burning with shame and embarrassment as she was acutely aware as to how she was being displayed to the whole village. She sincerely hoped that John and her own family couldn't see her but honestly doubted it. Now she knew why the acolyte pulled her hood down over her eyes.

The celebration procession led out of the village and down the road about a mile to where the roads from the other four villages joined the main road that lead north and south. To go south would be to go further inland and further into their territories. To go north was to go into the southernmost border of the forbidden Mormor Woods. It was in that direction that they turned.

As they turned, Kara caught flashes of color of the other tithes and their processions all decked in the colored cloak and hoods of their villages. There was a golden cloak for the village whose primary responsibility was the mining of the precious rock from the earth. There was an aqua cloak for the village that was responsible for the collection and distribution of fresh, clean water as well as capturing fish for consumption. The violet cloak was from the herbalists, and alchemists of the area. Kara's own crimson cloak signified the hunters, loggers, and lumberjacks. Each one of those four colors had a girl like Kara for tribute.

Ahead of them leading the procession this year was an empty emerald cloak hoisted up on a banner pole, signifying the village of farmers and land food gatherers. As Kara and the other three were moved into position behind the emerald cloak, Kara could see a happy girl her own age as the bearer. She would've been the tithe for emerald village this year had the beasts not chosen them already last year.

That would explain why she was so happy.

Another mile down the northbound road and they were waking though the gates of the perimeter wall to a place where five boulders jutted up out of the ground in the middle of a circle of stones that were all glowing warm. The stones were so warm with imbued magic that it was keeping the air hot and the snow melted within the circle. Over time the boulders themselves had been shaped to be five flat stone tables in which the girls would be placed atop. The girl from the emerald village placed her banner pole into a hole that had been drilled into the middle of the center stone. Kara and the petite looking girl from the golden village was place to the left of the pole as it faced the woods while the aqua and violet cloaked girls were placed to the right.

Priestesses from each village came up, each with a wicker basket in their hands. The baskets were placed in front of the girls with the color of their respective village. Kara managed to see her Priestess set the red wicker basket down in front of her and then smile up at her. She then surprised Kara by stretching up to kiss Kara on each cheek. "Be calm, be brave, and be yourself. Remember the ancient song and sing it to them when you are presented as it will endear them to you," She whispered. "I have seen the signs and you will be the one chosen tonight. You are destined for great things, Kara."

Then she was gone and all she could see through the black lace was the dark woods in front of her. The celebrating people from the five villages started back down the road towards their homes to continue the festivities there. There was then a loud rumbling behind them with the closing of the border gates and Kara knew that she and the other three girls were being locked outside the boundaries of their villages.

They were now totally alone in the dark, silent woods.

To her left, the girl in the golden cloak started wailing. "I can't believe this is happening! I can't believe it! I refuse to believe it!" she sobbed. That prompted the other two to Kara's right to join in on the crying and denials as well. Kara let out a long, drawn out sigh and hoped that the beast would be there soon.

Otherwise, this was going to be a long night.

***

CHAPTER 3:

When the moon had reached its zenith in the night sky was when the beast moved in the woods.

Geir found it fitting that the moon was in its fullest on the night of the Lupercalia. Off in the distance to the south he could make out the human villages with the warm glows of lanterns and hearths emanating out from windows. Soft wisps of smoke rose from chimneys as fires kept each dwelling warm in the cold, silent, snow filled night. He pictured that he could see old mates and new lovers each entwine, either with the hot passionate sex from knowing each other's body for so many years, or from the gentle, embarrassing bumbling of those young ones experiencing their first blush.

Similar happenings were going on back in his den as his pack celebrated the Day of Valentine along with the mortals of the world. The young pups would be feeling others their age out for potential mating, maybe even trading gifts of endearment. There would be a scuffle or two as males vied for the favor of a female they both fancied. Whether it was done in their human form or their beast form was another matter altogether, but by the time Geir returned home to the den, all would be in beast form as they witnessed him claim his mate and turn her to her new form. The pack elders would be on the spot to ensure that no casualties would ensue on their holiest of days; the day when an Alpha ventured forth to select his mate from the nearby mage community.

In the hierarchy of his species everyone had a role to play. Alphas ran the pack and made the decisions. Betas were their trusted lieutenants that were placed into supervisory roles while Omegas were pretty much the common citizenry. Elders were the select group of Alphas, usually the oldest and wisest of them all, who were the top governing officials. Geir would need to choose carefully a mate who would complement him as an Alpha.

When he made his way to the clearing his initial reaction was that the pickings were slim with this tithe. One girl was babbling incoherently, two were openly crying, and the last looked like she was bored. He let out a howl, as was custom, to alert the girls to his presence and to frighten away any would-be guardians. All four of the girls visibly stiffened up in response to the sudden sound. Geir stalked out of the woodline, upright on his haunches. He paused to raise up to his full height so that anyone lurking around in the woods could get a good look at him and maybe think twice about interfering.

Even from this distance he could hear the teeth chattering of the two girls in the violet and aqua robes as they quivered in fear. The one in the golden cloak was rocking back and forth while repeating to herself that she was experiencing a dream. The one on the end in the crimson robe was the one who remained still. As he walked forward with heavy footsteps in the snow towards the town's sacrifice circle. The smell of fear was prevalent in the air. That... and something else. His enhanced gaze was drawn once again to the girl in the crimson cloak. This one carried herself with an air of strength about her. When he stepped through the perimeter of the circle he could make out her braided blonde hair underneath of the hood.

Geir regarded the strong looking blonde. Getting up close, he inhaled her scent; nostrils flaring as he moved his muzzle up one side of her head and down the other in order to get all of her aroma without the reek of fear from the others. There was something else about this woman... he knew this one. Inhaling again he smelled... Pheromones... Wetness... Sex... He glanced down to where her legs were parted. Yes, the scent of mating was definitely with this one. He was so close to her that his fur was grazing along the sides of her robe. The other girls felt that his presence was close and were shying away from him and yet this one knelt there unmoving. Interesting.
He stood upright and looked at one who was holding his interest. It was like she was just waiting for him to do something the way she was kneeling upright, knees slightly spread, in perfect posture; totally unmoving. Geir extended a single claw, drawing it upward underneath the lip of the hood. Slowly he drew it backwards to bare her head. Still, she stayed there not moving. If anything, she seemed to be staring at up him through the lace blindfold as if wanting him to get on with it. He brought his claw back down, inadvertently caressing her cheek with it, to hook her lace blindfold.

Ever so gently, he brought the blindfold up and off of her head. Ah, now he knew who she was. This was the last one to arrive at the town hall in the Crimson Village. Her bright blue piercing eyes shot open, glaring at him. "A werewolf... well it is called the Lupercalia for a reason then," she commented as she looked at his black, furred body from the tips of his pointed, alert ears down to the reverse haunches of his legs and hind paws. "I figured as much based on the stories we hear in regards to the treaty." Geir noticed that her gaze settled twice on his manhood that was now starting to show signs of life now that he was near her.

He cocked his head, regarding her again, this time looking at her with increased curiosity. Her hard stare, her body posture, her whole attitude was telling him to hurry things up already. "You," he said, voice deep and rumbling. "You are not afraid of me."

She shrugged indifferently. "I'm just hoping that you make your choice soon because I do not fancy the idea of being stuck out here all night listening to the incessant whining of the others, especially this one beside me." She indicated the one to her left with a jerk of her head. "She's really loud and annoying."

Geir looked at the petite pale one in the golden cloak who was still shaking with abject horror. For laughs, he flipped the girl's hood back and the brunette that he revealed openly wailed. Geir chuckled in agreement with the blonde's assessment. "Yes," he said gruffly, "I share that sentiment." Turning back to her, he reached down and pushed the crimson cloak off of the blonde's bare shoulders and took a really good look at her trussed up body. She was precisely proportionate; good birthing hips, slender waist, with a bust and shoulders to match her curves. She also had strong arms and legs, but not overtly muscular, that told him that she was no stranger to hard work. Yes, she had both strength and courage which will serve her well in the pack.

He reared back as if preparing to strike. The girl in crimson merely arched a curious eyebrow. Strange, even when faced with such a threatening pose she did not flinch. It was almost as if she knew that she wasn't going to be hurt by him. Geir made two precision slashes down along the side of the girl's body, raking the ropes that kept her legs bound but never coming into contact with her smooth skin. The severed ropes fell to the ground around her. She then stood up, stretching her long, slender legs in relief before looking up into his eyes, looking quite lovely standing there wearing nothing more than her village's crimson cloak and the knee high leather boots.

"You are mine." Geir said formally.

"I gathered that by the fact that you cut me loose," she replied evenly.

He cocked his head again. "You are not going to try and run?"

Another indifferent shrug from her. "What would be the point?" she asked. "The outer gates to the five villages are closed and barred and you could be on me within seconds of me making a move. Besides, running away would only serve to break the treaty made between my people and yours." She flipped her head back to get the hood off and shuffled her shoulders around to get the cloak around her body, not for modesty sake but more to preserve warmth in the cool night. She looked down at the basket and up at him expectantly. He picked up the basket; breaking the handle just enough so that she could weave the handle through the crook of her still tied arms. "So where do we go from here?" she asked.

Geir liked this woman more with each passing moment. Perhaps being forced to choose a mate this year would not be such a bad thing after all. "To my home. Into the woods," he said, turning on his heel and beckoning her to follow. To the other three he growled over his shoulder. "Your people will come to collect the rest of you at the dawn and take care of you." He pulled the golden cloak hood back up over the brunette's head to keep her warm for the night. She sobbed with visible relief at not being chosen.

Once they were down the path that led into Mormor Woods and out of sight of the other sacrifices, Geir looked at his chosen mate. She was walking alongside of him, eyes straight ahead, as if this were a normal everyday occurrence. She looked back at him. "So what is your name?" she asked finally. "Or do I just call my new mate, Wolf?"

"Funny," Geir said with another one of his rumbling chuckles. "My name is Geir. Yours?"

"Kara," she said.

"I find it interesting that you are already accepting that you are my mate." Geir observed. "From what I have observed in the past your kind are usually still fighting it by the time they are taken back to the pack. Most by this point are still in denial over the whole thing and are usually running for their lives by now to the point that we have to chase them down," he said, his voice almost hinting at the idea that she do just that.

"And ravish them, perhaps? You seem disappointed that I'm not resisting." Kara quirked a smile on her lips. "Is that why you want me to run? Thrill of the hunt and all that?"

"Partly," Geir admitted, his own mouth curving into a smile that was almost a snarl. Kara could see the large size of his pointed teeth. "The hunt and the chasing of prey is an exhilarating experience for us."

"So I can tell," Kara said, her smile becoming broader as she looked down his body and noticed that his teeth were not the only thing that was large about him. She stopped and turned to face him. "So would that be something that would please you; chasing me down so that you can have your way with my tied up body?" She arched her back to broaden her shoulders a bit and to thrust her breasts out toward him, accenting her nudity and vulnerability. "Is that how you would prefer to take the one you have selected to be your mate?"

"Yes," Geir snarled with delight, his own desire now obvious to them both.

Kara cocked her hips to one side in a defiant pose, bumping the basket out a bit. "I might have been prepared for you this afternoon," she said, lips curling into a mocking sneer. "Although I don't think that you've been prepared for me."

"Is that a challenge?" Geir stepped forward so that they were a mere breadth away from each other. His nostrils flared and he could smell her better now that they were away from the others. She was primed and ready for sex. Close up with his superior night time vision he could see the dilation of her pupils, the slight flush of her skin, the raised goose bumps on her skin, all of it in anticipation. Her breath was husky and the sight of her breasts swelling with each intake made her absolutely irresistible. "I know these woods like the back of my paw, human," he growled. "Like you said; I will be on you in seconds."

"Perhaps," Kara said, smiling. She brought her leg up in a kick. Geir saw it coming and moved to block. Kara had feinted low and then brought her leg up higher to catch him in the side of the head. Laughing, she continued to spin in place to plant her kicking foot on the ground to take off running.

By the time he regained his senses, she was already disappearing into the woods with her crimson cloak billowing behind her in her wake. Geir threw back his head and howled with delight. Oh how long has it been since he'd been near anything with such fire and passion inside of them! He dropped onto his haunches and loped after her. The hunt was on!

***

CHAPTER 4:

John grunted, then let out a loud "GAH!" as he thrust his hips forward into Diana one last time to blow his load deep into her pussy. He ground his hips into her round bottom while his cock spat out his seed in continual waves.

In front of him, down on all fours, Diana was in the process of filing her nails and blowing the dust off of them. "Ya done yet, pup?" she asked indifferently as she felt his cock throb a bit inside of her. He wasn't the largest lover she'd ever had and he was far from the most imaginative. Diana was beginning to see why Kara broke it off with him to begin with.

At first she'd run into him at the village pub, drowning his sorrows in a beer at Kara's selection and the fact that he'd be alone this evening. It was always Diana's philosophy that no one should be by themselves on Valentine's... especially when so many young lovers are sharing drinks, whispering innuendoes to each other, and even necking in darkened corners. So she felt sorry for John as she sat by the lad, chatted him up, and then made sure to take him back to her place before the grand parade just so that he wouldn't have to see Kara's trussed up body being hauled off to the waiting stones. It was that or spend the evening alone with her assortment of hand carved polished phalluses that she'd made herself.

The evening devolved from there and Diana was starting to think that having alone time with the phalluses would've been better. Once she'd had enough liquor in her, she started shedding clothes by the fireplace in open invitation to him. John protested at first but once he had some of the wine that she kept in her cottage, he was all over her. He was an eager lover, she had to give him that. But he was all about himself and not about his partner. Diana was past the point of sympathy and was now to the point of this just being an all-night pity fuck for him. Her getting off was now a long, distant memory.

John growled at her. "Talk about being such a downer," he mumbled as he pulled out of her. Diana paid him no heed as she shifted her focus to doing the nails on her other hand. "You could at least pretend to show some interest. I mean what does a guy have to do around here? Hold you down and pound you hard or something?"

"At least that'd be more interestin' than you getting' hard, pumping a few times, then blowing yer load into me as you've done so many times already today." She muttered as she stretched her legs out to settle down onto her stomach and ample bosom. Grabbing a nearby cloth rag, she shoved it in between her legs to clean up the latest load of his that was now seeping out of her pussy. She silently vowed to find a real man tomorrow to give her a proper fucking.

John wasn't listening though as he stood up and walked naked over to the nearby window, grabbing up one of the open bottles of wine along the way to take a swig out of. He stared thoughtfully towards the dark and foreboding woods off in the distance beyond the perimeter wall. "I wonder what's going through her head?" he wondered aloud. "Is she scared? She has to be if any of the stories I've heard are true."

"Oh Gods above... not this again," Diana moaned with dismay, rolling her eyes in the process. "Valkyries take me now to Valhalla..." if she had to listen to his bemoaning about Kara's selection one more time she swore that she was going to either kill him or slit her own wrists... one of the two.

Before John could launch into his loathing that Diana could now recite by heart now, there was a loud, unearthly howl that came from the woods that made John jump. "What was that?" he asked with trepidation as he turned back to Diana.

"Them," Diana said. She'd heard it many times in her lifetime. "The first howl means that they're approaching the circle. The second means that they've chosen."

"Is... is there any way to know who they chose?"

Diana shook her head. "Not til mornin', pup." She said. "So ya might as well get back over here and cozy up by the fire with me until then."

"But Kara could be chosen by those... those things!"

"Yes... hence the whole reason for the Lupercalia Festival Sacrifice. We rather they take one of our choosing rather than put up with incessant raids from them just so that they can increase and sustain their breeding stock not to mention having to endure what Gods know what else is out there in those woods." Diana sat up and back onto a pile of pillows nearby, taking a moment to wipe pearls of John's seed that had been trapped in the brown curls of hair between her legs. She let out an involuntary moan as her hand put pressure onto her sex and wished that John would do something about it already. Then decided to hell with it, she pushed her fingers up into her sex and started to get things done with or without him.

John watched her pleasuring herself for a moment and decided that he could go another round. He sat down at a chair by the window and watched Diana as she played with herself. Diana seemed to forget that he was even there as she leaned her head back, gripped one of her tits in her hand and squeezed, and sighed with pleasure. He was determined to properly remind her that he was in the room and that his cock demanded attention now.

Before he could get to her there was another howl from the woods. John's head whipped around. "Is that another one? Is there two out there?"

Diana let out a huff of frustration. She'd been close to orgasm until he talked. "No, it just means that they've made their choice and they're heading back to their den now."

John felt his blood run cold and his heart skip a beat. "I have to do something. I have to go check on her!" He went for the door, grabbing clothes along the way..

"You keep yer lousy ass inside my house or I will have the Mayor on it!" Diana shouted at him as he hastily donned his clothes. "Hey! Get back here, pup! Ah Gods dammit all," she swore the moment he was out the door. She was torn with the need of her body and her duty to the village. "Gods fuck it all," she muttered, pulling on her clothes and running off into the cold night, heading for the Mayor's house. "If that pup manages to get out of this weekend alive, I'm going to kill him."

*

John's blood pumped through his body and thundered in his ears as he ran all out thought the dark, snowy village. Only the light of the moon above and the occasional torch at a doorway was his only guide in the night. Eventually he made it to the gateway of the perimeter wall. Normally the gate was well guarded to keep people like him in and whatever lurked beyond out. Tonight was the only night it was left unguarded per the terms of the so-called treaty that these villages were under. It was to ensure that no one laid eyes on the 'beasts' as they came to the Stones of Sacrifice to claim their prize.

So it was no trouble at all for John to clamber his way up one of the watchtowers that flanked the gates to peer over the fifteen foot wall. He shielded his eyes against the glare of the lit torches here toward the circle where the tithed girls were at. "Purple... Blue... Green..." he muttered as he laid eyes on the cloaks. The Green Cloak in the center idly waved in the gentle breeze as it had no one under it. It was just erected up on a pole. "Yellow... Oh shit!" his eyes fell to the last stone in line where the Red Cloak... Kara's Cloak... should have been. "Fuck! She was chosen!" Of course she'd be the one chosen. God had a habit of laughing at his misery in that way.

Without so much as a second thought, John quickly located a coil of rope nearby and used it to rappel down the front of the wooden wall. He sprinted over to the cleared out circle and felt instantly warm the moment he crossed it's boundary stones. I wonder how they do that? He half-wondered as he got up to the girls, all of whom seemed to register his presence at once.

"W-who's there!" the girl in the Blue Cloak asked with trepidation. "It can't be morning already!"

"Kara..." John panted out. "Where's Kara at?"

"Who?" That was Purple Cloak.

"The girl in the Red Cloak at the end of the line. Where is she?"

"She was selected," Purple Cloak said matter-of-factly. "Why do you care?"

"Because I'm taking her back home, that's why!"

Any fear that the girls might've had earlier at being the beast's prospective choice now paled in comparison to the sheer, stark terror that now gripped them at the mere thought of the treaty being broken. All three of them at once started shouting, yelling, and pleading with John in variations of "You can't", "You mustn't", "Don't do it", "Don't go after her", and similar such calls of dissuasion.

John looked at them incredulously. "What the hell is it with you people?" he asked in utter disbelief.

"You can't violate the treaty!" Yellow Cloak cried out. "You'll put us all in danger!"

"Look," Blue Cloak said, rolling her shoulders to knock her hood back and to show him her naked, tied up body. "If it is physical pleasure you seek then take it from me. But please do not go after them into the woods. It is forbidden! Please, come here so I may service you with my mouth." She leaned her head back and opened her mouth expectantly.

"That goes for me as well," Purple Cloak said, getting her Cloak back far enough to show off her body as she leaned back as far as she could go. "You can even take me right here. I can be comfortable enough leaning back like this. Just... just don't put all of our families in danger, I beg of you."

"I'm a virgin!" Yellow Cloak called out. "You can be the first man to have me any way you want me! In my sex, in my bottom, in my mouth, I do not care! Just don't go after them! Please! Take me!"

"I don't believe this," John breathed. Granted, he was tempted. He could have any one or all three of them but Kara... Kara seemed to fill his mind. He shook off temptation. "No. I have to go get her!"

"NO! DON'T!" All three girls yelled at him.

"I'm sorry." John said, turning to look into the woods down the only path that was available to him.

"We're sorry too," Purple Cloak said.

"Why?" John asked over his shoulder.

Purple Cloak took a deep breath and then screamed at the top of her lungs. "GUARDS! GUARDS HELP US!" she bellowed out as much as she could. "A TREATY VIOLATOR IS HERE! HELP! HE'S GOING TO BREAK THE TREATY!" Yellow and Blue Cloaks then took up the cry along with her, adding their voices to hers and giving the call for help even more volume.

John dashed headlong into the woods before anyone could show up.

*

Kara laughed, happy and carefree, as she dashed though the dark woods. She found it oddly liberating being selected to be the mate for a werewolf. Having hunted normal wolves in the woods before she had a chance to study pack mentality and if the humanoid version was anything like their quadruped versions, then she would be well cared for. Females often were and they were regarded as equals to the males and assisted them in the day-to-day duties in caring for the pack.

Already Geir was treating her more like an equal and she found that she loved him for just that alone. Even if he was chasing him this was more for play than it was for wanting to scare or hurt her. She glanced over her shoulder briefly and saw that Geir was running after her, gaining ground as he loped through the woods down on all fours, with a savage smile across his human/wolf face.

When Geir was just about to pounce, Kara took a hard left to start heading east in the woods. She was off the beaten path now and was extremely grateful for the knee-high leather boots that the Acolytes had dressed her in earlier. Catching a momentary look of horror on his face as she tore through the underbrush, Kara laughed again.

"Not that way!" Geir yelled after her.

"Why not? Can't keep up?" Kara called back in a sing-song voice.
"No! Wait! Something is not right here. The wind has shifted and something is off!"

That gave Kara pause and she slowed her pace but kept at a jog just in case Geir was messing with her just to catch up. Her eyes scanned the woods in all directions but she couldn't see too far in any direction. The woods, she realized, had suddenly become eerily quiet. When she turned around a large tree she ran into something hard and fell down onto her butt in the cold snow. She looked up at what she ran into, which thankfully wasn't too hard. Her bright blue eyes looked up... and up... and up...

And then she screamed for Geir.

*

Geir stopped dead in his tracks when he saw what Kara had ran into... literally. The thing was taller than he was and Geir was an impressive six and a half feet tall. This easily topped out at eight feet tall. It was most decidedly a man with thick brown hair adorning his body from his hooved feet of a bull, to his upper legs and torso of a human, all the way up to his horned bull-shaped head. "A Minotaur?" he gasped in surprise.

What in the name of Fenrir was a Minotaur doing in these lands?

Going into full battle mode, Geir spayed his arms wide, flashed his claws out, and let out the most threatening, bellowing challenge roar he could muster. The Minotaur's attention went from Kara over to Geir. Then the Minotaur pointed down at Kara. "Miiiiiiiine," his deep voice rumbled.

"I have already claimed her as per my right!" Geir shouted, running up and making a flying leap for the Minotaur. He hit the thing square in the chest, knocking it back a few steps. Geir landed between it and Kara, protecting her with his body. "Go back from where you came from, beast! These lands are not yours!"

The Minotaur backhanded him to send him flying to the side. Then he reached down for Kara who was already scrambling backwards across the snow on her bottom. Cocking his head, the Minotaur couldn't seem to comprehend why Kara was suddenly not staying in place. He walked after her, his long strides closing the distance between them rapidly.

Geir attacked, using his powerful legs to get back to his feet and jump back into the fray. He cleared the twenty or so feet between him and his newfound enemy easily. Swiping downward, Geir raked the back of the Minotaur's calves to make the beast roar in pain. That got the attention that Geir was wanting from him as the Minotaur squared off to fight.

Kara managed to get to her feet. She shook the wicker basket handle from the crook of her arm to let if fall to the ground. Then she took a running start at the Minotaur to plant her foot onto his left thigh. She used that to vault upwards to kick at the horned head. The Minotaur grabbed her in midair and threw her down to the ground, knocking the wind out of her.

Geir roared in fury and charged. This time he went straight in for the kill with his claws up. The Minotaur turned in time to catch both claws right in the midsection of his body, doubling him up a bit. The Minotaur brought both fists up and then down in a haymaker blow. Geir grunted when the full strength of the blow hit his shoulders, driving him down to his knee. Then he felt himself being picked up into the air where he was brought face to face with the obviously angry Minotaur. "Pathetic..." the Minotaur rumbled right before he sent the werewolf flying through the air. Geir hit the ground some hundred feet away, dazed from the rough landing.

With Geir out of the way, the Minotaur turned his attention down to Kara who was regaining her senses. Her blonde head whipped around as she searched for Geir only to find him lying motionless some distance away. "Geir! Get up, damn you!" she shouted his way.

The Minotaur knelt down onto one knee and clamped a massive hand over her mouth. "Silence..." he said. Then he shuffled his other knee down to plant right between her legs. "Miiiiiiiine," he repeated.

Kara's eyes went wide when he started to mount her. After he had his thighs keeping her legs forced wide open he grabbed at his loincloth and ripped it away to reveal his manhood that was easily the size of Geir's arm and as big around as the werewolf's bicep. The Minotaur took his cock into his hand and jerked himself to life, not that it took much with a struggling, bound, naked blonde woman right before him.

While Kara was wet before from arousal in preparation for Geir, she felt her pussy gush with the prospect of being impaled with that massive log that the Minotaur called a cock. She could see the tip of the thing already glistening with his seed as it was dragged across her boot when he brought it up to point at her womanhood. It left a trail of his cum on her in its wake. She was morbidly curious as to what sex with a Minotaur would feel like and came to the quick conclusion that it was more than likely going to be extremely painful, against her will, and it was going to happen until she either got used to it or she was killed by the thing.

In her mind; that was never going to happen.

Bringing her knees up to her chest Kara managed to roll backwards and bounce up onto her feet. The Minotaur looked at her with a mixture of surprise, confusion, and curiosity on its face as if it couldn't comprehend why she was resisting him still. Before the beast could get up off of it's knees, she took advantage of his inaction and savagely kicked him right between the legs. The Minotaur instantly grabbed his suddenly bruised testicles, that Kara noted were the size of small watermelons, and howled in extreme pain.

With the Minotaur out of it for the time being, Kara ran over to Geir who was just now getting to his feet. "Let me loose!" Kara said to him, getting her cloak over one shoulder to show him the ropes that still bound her arms and upper body. "I can help and we can beat this thing together!"

"How are you going to do that while naked?" Geir snapped "He wants you for his own mate!" Then he looked over to where the Minotaur was grabbing himself while screaming in pain. Well, then again... Maybe she can help me fight it.

"Well it's better than me running around with my hands tied behind my back, Geir!" Kara snapped back at him, catching him by surprise. No woman had dared to talk to him in such a way before outside of his own family unit. He found it appealing that she had a voice of her own and knew how to stand up to him.

"Your word." He said at once.

"What?"

"Your word that you will not run away from me after you are free from the ropes."

"Seriously? I've already accepted the fact that I'm your mate." When she saw that he wasn't wavering on this matter she rolled her eyes and let out a huff of air. "Ugh... men. Fine. You have my word of honor that no matter what I am still your mate and I will return to your home with you. Does that work for you?"

"Perfectly," Geir said, lashing out with one claw to shred the ropes on the left side of her body. She turned for him to get the other side and he was about to cut them when he was suddenly tackled from the side.

"Leave her alone, beast!" the human who was now on top of him yelled.

"What is this?" Geir asked.

"Oh my Gods, John?" Kara asked in disbelief. "What the fuck are YOU doing here?"

*

John found it oddly easy to track Kara. He followed the dual footprints of her boots and the beast's hind paw prints as they went down the path. Then he could see the shifting of feet and then Kara's bootprints heading off into the woods with the paw prints following from what he could tell. Then he heard her scream and the beast's awful roar followed by several more. "Hang in there Kara!" he shouted as he followed the tracks. "I'm coming for you!"

When he caught up to them he watched in horror as the huge wolf-like man that had taken her raked his claws down the side of her body. Seeing red, he continued to charge straight forward, launching himself through the air to tackle the walking wolf. "Leave her alone, beast!" he screamed at the thing now beneath him.

"What is this?" the wolf asked in a surprisingly calm, cool, and collected human voice.

"Oh my Gods, John?" Kara asked. John turned to smile at her and instead of seeing the expected look of pleasure on her face he was met with that of shock and disbelief. "What the fuck are you doing here?"

John was confused. "Uhm, saving you," he said as if that fact should be obvious.

*

"Do I look like I need saving?" Kara asked as she worked her left arm free in a hurry. There was no telling when bull-boy was getting back up from that nut shot she gave him. "Get off of him already!" she kicked him in the side to roll him off of Geir.

"He was attacking you! Talk about gratitude!" John complained as he scrambled to his feet.

"He was cutting the ropes off of me, idiot!" Kara shouted at John.

Now Geir was back up, snarling savagely at John. "I should gut you for interfering and I would be within my rights to do so!"

Kara placed her hand on Geir's shoulder, pulling him back. "Focus on the bigger guy here." When Geir looked at her she jerked her head towards the Minotaur, who was now slowly getting to his own feet. Geir slashed at the remaining ropes binding Kara up and she nodded her thanks to him.

"What? I'm not big enough of a challenge for you?" John said mockingly. He even sounded a bit insulted.

Rolling her eyes, Kara put a restraining hand on Geir's chest to keep him in place even though she briefly trailed her fingers through the black fur. She took two steps towards John and slapped him hard. Then she grabbed his head and wrenched it around for him to see what they were up against. He gasped when he saw what they had been fighting. "What unholy beast is that?"

"Geir calls it a Minotaur, fool."

***
CHAPTER 5:

Kara saw the Minotaur get back up to his feet to turn and face them. He took a step forward and lurched at bit, still in pain. Letting go of John, Kara scooped up the nearest weapon that she could find; a small fallen tree that she broke the small end off in order to make into an ad hoc staff.

Beside her, Geir smiled. Yes, I have chosen a worthy mate, he thought. Brave, resourceful, tenacious... she'll serve the pack well. He dropped down to his haunches as Kara dropped down into an upright fighting stance, both of them now ignoring John who was still sputtering in fright at the Minotaur.

When the Minotaur got close, Kara feinted a jab with her tree towards its face. The Minotaur easily blocked it and then blocked her follow-up attack a bit lower down. Geir got that she was just distracting the thing and dashed in, slashing at the Minotaur's legs again. The Minotaur let out another bellow of pain and even turned to face Geir as the werewolf ran by him.

That proved to be a mistake as Kara then rushed in and kicked the Minotaur up between the legs, this time from behind. As the beast went back down to its knees in pain, Geir was coming back and this time raked the Minotaur across the chest and face with his claws.

The Minotaur decided that he'd had enough and that this was not worth the trouble. With a bellow of anger, disgust, and pain, he flailed his arms about to keep both Kara and Geir at bay before rising up to his feet. Instead of attacking though, the Minotaur lowered a shoulder and took off running into the woods from the direction he had come from.

Geir and Kara looked at each other and smiled. Laughing, Kara leapt into his arms and hugged him while Geir couldn't resist twirling her around once in the air for a victory spin. On impulse, Kara kissed him square on the muzzle, noticed it and then pulled back, blushing furiously.

"I cannot believe that you just kissed that thing," John's voice said, killing the mood.

Frowning, Kara glared at him. "What's it to you? Why are you even here?"

"Like I said; I'm here to take you home."

"I AM going home; to my new home with Geir." Kara retorted. "I thought that I was clear on that subject this morning."

Summoning up his courage, John met her glare and tried a different tactic. "Then maybe I wasn't clear on this, woman," he said, his voice dropping to a dangerous tone. "You're coming back to the village with me and giving up this silly ritual. It is barbaric and against God's most holy laws."

There was a growl behind Kara where Geir's hackles had rose up in anger. Kara smiled and jerked her thumb over her shoulder. "I have a werewolf that I gave my word to remain with who thinks otherwise. Besides, there is no force in this world that could make me go back with you and jeopardize my family and friends like that."

"I've claimed her, as is my right, as a master of these woods, human." Geir said gruffly as he stood beside Kara. "Now shuffle off back to your hovel before I take another right; the right to end your life for attempting to interfere with the treaty!"

"Okay, you want to play old rules and traditions then go with this little tidbit; I had her first," John said. He then opened his arms and taunted Geir. "Yeah... that's right... I've slept with her first. So she was technically mine long before this whole stupid tradition. I took her purity which makes her mine if we're going by your animalistic rules here."

"Actually..." Kara said with a sad smile on her face, "I'd lost my virginity three guys ago since we're all encouraged to sleep around and discover ourselves and who we want in a future spouse. I didn't even sleep with you until you'd been in the village for a couple of months and only did so since I was curious about your life from outside. You were technically my fourth lover and Geir here will be number five." She shrugged a shoulder at his sudden shocked and crestfallen look. "Sorry."

"You never said that you had a boyfriend before!"

"You never asked and none of them ever were ever my 'boyfriends' in your sense of the term. They were just occasional bedtime lovers just like you were."

Geir was smiling. "And I will be the last lover she will ever have as I am the one who is her mate though both the village's tithe and her own choice."

"What?" John couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"You heard him," Kara said indifferently. "I've given him my word three times now: once at the Sacrifice Stones, once during the fight with the Minotaur, and once now as we talk. I am his."

"You're actually going to go with him... willingly?" When Kara just half-shrugged in that indifferent way again he got mad. "You're going to go off to be some whore to a werewolf?"

"Watch it, human." Geir growled in warning.

Kara now glared at him coldly with crossed arms across her naked breasts. "Even if he had been killed tonight I still would have found my way to his den as I'd rather be the pack's whore than your wife." She turned her back on him and hooked her arm underneath of Geir's. "Goodbye, John Woodson. I hope that we never meet again."

Geir looked back over his shoulder and couldn't help but give John the biggest, happiest, feral werewolf smile he could manage full of teeth.

*

John walked back to the village in a daze. How could she do this to him? How could she choose... that... over him? What was the matter with her? He could not come up with any answers as he wracked his brain to figure out how he could make her see reason. What a fucking bitch to turn away from me like that! Just who does she think she is, anyway?

When he got back within sight of the village it was about an hour or two before dawn by his reckoning. As he broke out of the woods, he saw that the girls had been removed from the Sacrifice Stones and were nowhere to be seen. Then he saw the mob of people at the gates all with torches in their hands and somber expressions on their faces. John smiled inwardly. They must be here to thank me for making the attempt. Maybe they will join me in throwing this yoke off of their villages. Yes, with this many men we could take the fight to those werewolves and be rid of this silly, goddamned ritual once and for all. It's an abomination against the Lord anyway.

Smiling broadly at them as he walked up to the gates, John opened his hands ready to receive their praises. "Gentlemen, I regret to tell you that I was unable to save Kara and that the beast still took her with him further into the woods. However, if we act quickly we can still get her back."

"So she did go with them after all?" The Mayor of Crimson Village asked in visible relief.

"Yes, but as I was saying-"

John got cut off by the Mayor of Golden Village. "At least there's one person from your village that has a lick of sense."

"I have many citizens that have sense," Mayor Crimson retorted, glancing back at the woman who'd brought the matter to his attention. He then pointed at John. "It's just that this one here doesn't seem to want to play by the rules."

"What?" John was taken aback as the reality he'd constructed in his head shattered. Instead of praises he was being ridiculed? How dare they! He then saw Diana standing right behind the Mayor with a cross look on her face direct at John. He was about to say something to get her to his side when she suddenly shook her head, turned her back, and walked back into the gates. Oh my God! Even she is turning her back on me! Why? I gave her a good fucking tonight. Ungrateful wench!

Mayor Crimson advanced on John, snapping him out of his thoughts. "You have jeopardized a fragile peace that has kept us safe for centuries. Don't look at me like that, youngin'! You come in here with your fancy ways and fancy ideals from the big, modernized world. Oh yes; we know what it is like out there with our ways constantly criticized, where the life-giving earth is being systematically destroyed for more 'modern' cities that mar the landscape, where if you are not one of those so-called 'Christ-yans' then you are wrong. You call us barbarians and ungodly but it is not our ways that are destroying the earth and normal human behavior. It is you!"

Wide eyed, John couldn't help but stare incredulously at the Mayor. But the Mayor wasn't finished. "We took you in! We gave you a home and a trade to help you when you were at your lowest and this is how you repay us; by upsetting the delicate balance that we walk here? We are happy here in our ways and will continue to do so." The Mayor took a step back. "John Woodson, you are exiled from the Five Villages of Mormor for attempting to violate the treaty."

Smoldering, John bit off a hasty "Fine," towards him. "Just let me get my stuff."

The Mayor shook his head. "We're not letting you back in. Your exile is effective immediately. You might be able to get back to your modern civilization but it is fifty miles in either direction and where the perimeter walls end, the mountains begin. May whatever God you believe in have mercy on you because the creatures that live in these woods will not."

"What the hell are you going to do about the werewolves then?" John demanded.

"We're going to tell them that the guilty party has been punished and exiled from our land. We hope that will be enough to satisfy them since they still got their yearly tribute." The Mayor shrugged. "We might not be exempt from next year's tithe but if that is the price we have to pay to keep everyone safe, then so be it." The Mayor pointed off into the woods. "Now be gone!"

***

CHAPTER 6:

Kara felt the scrutiny of the werewolf pack as her and Geir walked into the main den hall that had been carved and shaped from the natural cave that was here. Torches and Braziers lined the hall and a large stone fireplace was at the far end where she saw a pair of older looking werewolves standing, waiting expectantly; one male and one female. "Those are the Pack Alphas," Geir said. "Jarl and Astrid. They are the supreme authority in the pack here and have ruled for nearly a hundred years now."
"You're not the Alpha Male here?" Kara asked wryly, arching her eyebrow as she cast a sideways look at him.

"I'm not the Alpha Male here but I am an Alpha Male. Only Alphas, and on rare occasions Betas, are allowed to select a mate from the village tithes."

"Never the Omegas?"

Geir sighed and rolled his eyes. "Only if we are truly desperate." He said.

The two of them stopped in front of the Pack Alphas. The Male, Jarl, narrowed his eyes at them. "You two are late," he said in a deep, rumbling voice that bellied strength, wisdom, and years of experience. "Mani has nearly set and Sol is almost upon us. You have kept us all waiting."

"We ran into trouble... literally." Geir said with conviction. "A Minotaur has moved into our woods and tried to claim my mate as his own." That prompted the assembled pack to start muttering amongst themselves about that implication. Geir went on. "Add on to that a human who thinks himself a hero of some sorts and that made for an interesting journey back."

"Impossible," the Female, Astrid, scoffed. "While I can accept the human thinking he is greater than himself, there is no way that I can accept the fact that a Minotaur could have got this far north without any of us first seeing him."

"He must have just arrived," Geir started to say, but he was cut off by Jarl.

"No, we do not tolerate excuses for your excessive romp in the woods." Jarl said.

"Do not question my honor or integrity!" Geir protested.

Jarl pointed down at Kara's leg where a drying spot of white fluid was visible. "We can see the evidence on her legs of your emissions on your mate. Your passion for each other, while commendable, is no excuse for lying about it to hide it from us."

"It's not his." Kara interjected. That got everyone's attention as everyone stopped talking to look at her.

Without warning she reached out for Geir's manhood, and quickly jerked him off a couple of times to get some of his precum to spurt into her hand. Then while Geir was moaning, half in passion and half in embarrassment at being serviced like that, Kara took a bold step forward towards the Alpha Couple. She held up her sticky hand to them. "Werewolves, I'm told by the stories of my village, have an exceptional sense of smell... more so than normal wolves. So check the scents yourselves. The spot on my boot is where the Minotaur got overly excited when he briefly had me in his grip."

Jarl and Astrid's attention went from her hand, to her leg, and then back to her. Kara could see the flare of their nostrils as they took in the scents and then mentally compared the two. "You are correct," the Male said at last. "Geir, you have our sincerest apologies for questioning your word."

"I wonder though," Astrid mused, tapping a claw on the underside of her muzzle in thought, "how did you get away from the Minotaur?"

Kara smirked. "I kicked him square in the balls," she said with pride. That prompted laughter and cheers of approval from all around. "That gave Geir the opening he needed to wound the thing. It ran off after that." She didn't mention John's involvement since she wasn't sure how the pack would react to his interference.

"And you two are already fighting as a mated pair," Astrid clapped her hands. "Bravo."

"We need to get on with this," Jarl said, placing a clawed hand on his mate's shoulder. "We will deal with the Minotaur's intrusion tomorrow. For now, please proceed with the presentation of the tribute."

Geir motioned Kara forward and directed her to a place for her to kneel at. Then he rose his voice to address the pack. "I present to you my chosen mate, Kara of the Red Hood, who brings with her a gift basket of," his voice trailed off as he took a sniff in the air over the basket, "fine food." He nodded to Kara. "Please, present the gifts."

Kara knelt down where she was told, tossed back the hood of her cloak, and placed the red wicker basket on the ground in front of her. Trying to keep the sudden fluttering of butterflies in her stomach under control, Kara took a series of deep, calming breaths, closed her eyes, and started to sing.

"Roses are red; a deep crimson hue,
it is our village who have been selected to be tithed to you.
The lot was cast and then I drew,
and fortune's fate said 'it should be you'.
So here I am; the paid bride price,
on this, our holy day, to be the people's sacrifice.
Thou are my mate and I am thine,
I am the one who drew thee for my valentine."

As she sang out the old lullaby that every child in the five villages knew from a time way before her own, Kara withdrew each of the offerings in the basket in turn to place on either side of her and before her in a ritualistic gesture. Technically all she had to do was take them out for the Werewolves but she figured that putting a bit of showmanship into it wouldn't hurt. First was the bottle of wine that she placed to her left. Then her hands found the loaf of spiced bread and hunk of finely aged cheese that she then put off to her right. Finally she grabbed the last item in the basket and her hands drifted over the piece of master crafted and polished wood. She didn't even need to look at it to know what it was.

Her father was the premier wood carver of the Crimson Village and every year he made exquisite wolf statues to sell. This was the first year that Kara knew of, that one of his statues was selected to be in the basket. Maybe it was indeed fate for me to be chosen this year, she thought as her hands brought out the statue made out of red spruce. As she sang the last two verses, her hands moved up and down the statue's body lovingly in front of her before she sat it down beyond the basket.

When she finished her song, she took another deep breath and opened her eyes. The elder pack leaders were visibly touched, Geir had puffed up with pride and had a feral smile across his features, and other members of the pack were looking at her with a mixture of awe, joy, and sadness.

It was Jarl that finally broke the silence. "We have not heard the old words sang by a tribute in a very... very long time," he said with a sorrowful respect in his voice. Kara wasn't quite sure but it sounded like he was trying to hold back tears. "Many a past year the tributes come to us kicking and screaming in a panic and must be forced into submission. This... this is a welcomed change." The old werewolf stood and bowed his upper body to her. "We are honored to have you among us, Kara of the Red Hood. We welcome you to your new home." Around him the rest of the pack quickly followed suit in bowing.

When Jarl rose back up, he gestured to Geir. "You may consummate your mating now," he said as a couple of the younger females came forward and gathered up the offerings to take to the dining areas.

Kara cocked her head quizzically, wondering what that entailed until she heard Geir's voice next to her. She jumped slightly to see his muzzle out of the corner of her left eye when he got up behind her. "I apologize in advance but this is more for show than anything else. I promise that I will make this up to you tomorrow by bedding you properly." His clawed hands were surprisingly nimble and gentle as he pulled the tie of her cloak loose and then tossed the garment aside.

"What?" Kara asked a half second before Geir pushed her forward onto all fours. She managed to catch herself with a grunt at the last minute to avoid face planting on the hard stone. His massive clawed hand was then on the back of her neck, pushing her down until her head and chest was flat against the cold floor and her ass was up in the air. Geir placed his hands overtop her wrists, trapping them, as they were now splayed out to either side of her.

Geir leaned down to whisper in her ear again. She felt his hot breath on the back of her neck and this hard cock rub up against her sex. "Relax, my mate, and I will be quick so you do not have to endure this indignity. Those who have shown us great respect should be respected in kind. Our first official mating should have happened already but we were rudely interrupted."

"It's okay," Kara whispered back, slightly embarrassed now that she's going to be fucked by the first time by her new 'husband' in full view of everyone. "I understand." It just didn't mean that she had to like it.

Rotating his hips back Geir brought the head of his cock up to her moistening slit. Instead of following others' examples in the past and just driving into her, he slowly eased his cock in to allow her womanly folds to adjust to him as he entered.

"Ahhhhh!" Kara gasped, arching her back as he plowed on in. Her hands reflexively opening and closing while her legs started to shudder as her pussy stretched to accommodate him. Even with the preparation of the three phalluses earlier in the day didn't prepare her for this. Geir was larger than the largest phallus that had been in her that morning. Her eyes watered and her mouth remained open in a wordless scream as Geir's massive cock filled her up more than she thought was even possible.

Giving her a moment, Geir stood there motionless for a time. Only once he felt her body relax a bit did he start thrusting into her. He wanted to be true to his word and over with this as soon as possible so he pumped his hips into hers hard and fast.

"Ah! Ah! Ah!" Kara cried out every time he thrust into her pussy. She didn't even think it was possible but she felt like she was ready to explode already. Maybe it was the oils and ointments from the Acolytes during the day. Maybe it was the teasing that her and Geir were doing on the way here. Hell, it even could've been the thrill at nearly being possessed by that damn Minotaur that tried to kidnap her.

But either way, she was primed and ready to go. "Oh my Gods! I'm going to come!" she whined softly, squeezing her eyes tightly closed. There was just something animalistic, primal, and right in her mind at being taken, possessed, and forced to breed in front of everyone. She had been claimed as a mate and it was like it should be in her mind. It was the missing piece of her soul that John never seemed to be able to fill but Geir managed to.

"Don't fight it, my mate. Let it happen!" Geir warned.

No sooner had he given his... permission... Kara's body suddenly exploded into violent spasms. Her legs kicked out behind her as they quivered with the orgasmic tremors. Her arms and upper body tensed and shook as the waves of pleasure wracked her body. She let out a loud, low, guttural "Ohhhhhhh" as her pussy clamped around the massive cock inside of her. The orgasm was so powerful that her eyes rolled back into her head and she started to drool.

The moment he felt his mate reach her peak, Geir was ready for his. Feeling her come around his cock brought him the best pleasure he'd ever felt in his life. His cock swelled and then erupted inside of her. His seed blew forth deep into her womb. It gushed into her innermost spot and filled it completely and then some. He let out a howl of ecstasy, screaming to the gods above that he had his mate at last, a moment before he came down to clamp his muzzle over her neck. It wasn't a bite like the Vampires like to do. It was more of a claiming thing with Werewolves. It also served the purpose to pierce her neck just slightly to bleed and he tasted the blood of his mate for the first time.

They remained there with their loins locked for some time until both of their bodies finished shuddering from the shared orgasmic bliss. Kara went limp underneath of him, falling flat to the stone floor, moaning deeply in the afterglow. Geir's cock made a slurping pop sound as he pulled out of her. He'd filled her up with his seed so much that there were streams of it leaking out of her. Eh, the Omegas can clean it up later. I have to finish this, he thought as he bent over to scoop her up into his arms. Kara seemed to coo with contentment, rolling into a ball and nestling against his coarse fur as he lifted her up. "We are mated," he announced to the pack.

The pack howled their approval as Geir then turned to walk out of the main den and back to his... no... their... home. He looked down at Kara, who'd fallen asleep in his grasp. Nuzzling her head with his there was just one thought in his mind; Mine.

*

What is that old saying? John wondered to himself as he followed the tracks back to where he'd caught up with Kara and the werewolf at. Sure, he knew the werewolf's name but he refused to give it credence by voicing it because if he did that then he gave the beast power. Ah yes; 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.'

He looked around the area and found Kara's tracks alongside the werewolf's. But it was the other tracks that came in and left in one direction that he was interested in. It was those of that Minotaur's. John would need help to take down the werewolves. He figured that the Minotaur that they chased off earlier would do the trick.

Glancing up to the brightening sky, John decided that he had to hurry. There was no telling when the werewolves would be back again.

*

Kara stretched and yawned as the first rays of the morning light entered in through the window. Then she hummed with contentment as her whole body seemed to luxuriate in the well-fucked feeling that she had. Oh my Gods... Best. Sex. Ever... she thought as she rolled out of bed.

Bed... when had she gone to bed? For that matter, where did her boots go? She remembered the cloak being tossed away. Frowning, she looked around at the cabin that closely resembled her own home. It was similar and yet different all at once. Had last night been all a dream? No. It couldn't be. She walked naked over to the nearest window, throwing open the curtain the whole way to reveal the village beyond. She took a sigh of relief that it wasn't her village. Well, her original village anyway. This was her new home.

At first glance it could have been any of the Five Villages but she knew that none of them were nestled up against the base of a mountain nor were the centered around a cave in the side. Her moment of panic that last night was nothing more than a fleeting dream ebbed as she saw the path through the center of town that her and Geir had walked up right into the main den hall that was in the cave. Where is Geir at anyway? She wondered, glancing around the cabin. For that matter, where are all the hundreds of werewolves that were here last night? All she could see were people... human people... walking around as they started their day.

There was a groan and a deep voice from the bed. "Close the blinds and come back to bed already, Kara. I didn't get to sleep as early as you did." Kara turned to see a tanned muscular man with dark black hair roll over in bed and cover his eyes with one arm.

"AH!" Kara instinctively grabbed the nearest object, an oil lantern on the table next to her, and flung it at him.

The man was instantly awake, dull grey eyes now alert and darting around for signs of danger. "What? OW!" he said right when the lamp hit him in the side of the head. "Dammit woman! What was that for?"

"Where's Geir at?" she demanded.

"I'm Geir!" he said in annoyance. "What? Did you think that I stayed in wolf form all the time?"

Kara blinked and cautiously approached him. She saw in his eyes that is was her Geir. Then recognition hit her. "I've seen you before."

"Uh, yeah," Geir smirked, "Last night. Remember: the whole celebration and parade that your village does that led you me claiming you as a mate?"

"No, before that!" Kara said, waving his comment off. "You were there at the town hall right before the selection."

"Ah, that." Geir genuinely smiled this time and nodded. "Yes. Those from the pack whose turn it is to select that year gets a quick tour and a preview of the ladies before their selection. We also tell your Priestesses what qualities we look for in a mate so that if the runes are unclear to them then they can make their best decision."

"That's why Diana said that the Emissary changes from year to year," Kara laughed. "Your people have been among us the whole time!"

"Ta-dah," Geir said, spreading his hands like a mage who'd just performed a trick for an audience. "Now are you going to come back to bed or am I going to have to drag you in here with me?"

"But what if I'd rather get dressed and explore the village?"

"Well, if you want to do that naked, you're more than welcome to," Geir waggled his eyebrows suggestively. "I'm sure a lot of the adolescent males of the pack wouldn't mind getting another look at you. No, don't bother looking for your cloak. It's being cleaned and will be returned to your village for next year's festivities. Now come here you!" he said, reaching out to snag her wrist.

He pulled her back into bed with him amid her squeals of laughter. Wrapping her up in his big, powerful arms he kissed her passionately that she eagerly returned. "Mmmm... mine!" he said as he rolled her underneath of him.

"Mmmm... yes... now what are you going to do with me Mister Big, Bad Wolf?" Kara sighed as she spread her legs for him. She felt his cock starting to stiffen against her still moist sex.

"Make good on my promise to bed you properly." Geir said, shifting so that he could bring his cock up to her pussy.

"I don't know. You did fuck me good last night. I'm not so sure you can top that." She sighed when she felt his lips on the side of her neck, nibbling near the points where his fangs had poked into her when he'd 'claimed' her in front of the pack. "Did you really need to bite that hard last night -- OH!" she cried out as his cock speared into her.

"A necessity my dear," Geir murmured into her ear as he lowered his bulk down on top of her carefully. She brought her legs up and around his waist as he began to slowly thrust into her. "For starters, as each of our teeth in wolf form are unique, it marks you as mine. Me taking you and marking you in front of everyone like that ensures that there will be no challenges for you as long as either of us live. Now quiet or am I going to have to gag you?"

"Promise?" she asked in a shy, but playful, voice. She chuckled at his arched eyebrow. "Well, I did like you holding me down last night."

In response, Geir grabbed her wrists and pinned them above her head. Kara closed her eyes, arched her back, and let out a gasp of pleasure. His hands encircled her wrists and he proceeded to pound her hard, taking her mews of ecstasy as encouragement to drive into her harder and faster. Soon she was screaming with pleasure to the point that he clamped a beefy hand over her mouth before she woke the whole pack up.

Kara's thighs pressed into his side, her heels dug into the small of his back, and her pussy squeezed his cock hard. She was letting out little grunts every time he sank his cock all the way into her. Her breasts were crushed against his hard, muscular chest and she wanted this feeling to go on forever. When she couldn't take it anymore, and when Geir's cock gushed inside of her to fill her up with his seed once again, she screamed into his hand as orgasm thundered all throughout her body, causing her to shake and convulse from her head all the way down to her now curled toes.

Geir still had a few good thrusts in him as he rode out his own orgasm with her. Her pussy milked his cock for every drop that it could get, it seemed. Then when he had no more left to give for now, he collapsed down on top of his mate, both of their bodies now covered in sweat and their chests heaving for breath.

"Okay..." Kara panted when his hand dropped away from her mouth. She patted his head with her one free hand as he still had the other one trapped in his. "You're forgiven."

"Glad that I please you," Geir said.
"You're all kinds of pleasing to me." She said, kicking a leg up and over his body. Sliding up on top of him, she straddled his hips and ground her pubis down into his. "Think that you can be pleasing to me again?" she asked as she reached up and started undoing the braids of her hair to let it all cascade down her back and shoulders.

Geir was hard again in a moment at just her eagerness alone. Moments later after sliding down his shaft, she was pleasing to him by shouting her own orgasmic joy to the heavens.

*
John swallowed and steeled himself to face down one of satan's beasts in its own lair. Take care of the werewolves first, deal with the spawn of satan later... he kept on mentally telling himself as he made his way into a small secluded cave about halfway up the eastern mountains. The snow gave way to dirt as he followed the hooved tracks in. Then there were various animal bones littering the floor of the cave, some of which still had some meat and sinew on them.

"Leeeeeeave Mortal..." The Minotaur's monstrous voice came from within the darkness.

John stood his ground despite every fiber of his being wanting to turn tail and run. "We have the same goal," he called out. "You want the werewolf dead. So do I. So let us kill it together. I can get my Kara back and then I'm sure that you can take a girl from the werewolves for your own. It will be a win-win for us both."

There was a pause and John could make out the monster's breathing. What was it doing? What was it thinking? Nevertheless John kept still as it contemplated its decision. He reeled back when the Minotaur suddenly appeared in the morning light that shone into the cave.

The Minotaur pointed at him. "Your wooooords have treachery behind theeeeem..." he growled in accusation. "I can seeeee riiiight through them, Mortal... You wish our destuctiooooon after your goal is met... This cannot be allowed..." The Minotaur shook its head and let out an angry snort. "You will be our meal for this daaaaaay..."

"Wait! Don't kill me!" John cried out in panic, holding up a forestalling hand. "We can come to an agreement!"

"Bring me another maaate..." The Minotaur said at once. "From your village..."

"No! I cannot do that! A werewolf, sure, but not a human!" There was no way he'd subject a proper human to enslavement to a monster. That was an unholy abomination. Even if he wanted to he couldn't since he couldn't get back into the village anymore... even though that bitch Diana that sold him out came to mind as a proper slave to this creature.

"You willlll taaaaaake me to your village and I willll claim a new maaaaaate..." The Minotaur said, reaching out for John as he screamed in horror.

***

CHAPTER 7:

"Hey! Wake up in there you two!" the shout came with insistent pounding on the door to Geir and Kara's cabin. "Or stop fucking if that's what you're still doing. That Minotaur of yours is on the loose!"

Both of them were awake and out of the bed in an instant. It was Geir who got to the door first to see his friend Hagen there. "Where?" Geir asked at once.

Hagen took a quick, appreciative glance inside past him at Kara's nude form as she searched for something to wear inside of Geir's armoire before answering. "Middle of the woods heading west towards the main path. Our gatherers saw him and the scouts and I started tailing him. Damn thing too as I was coming back to report; he had some human by the neck as they walked. The human kept on trying to lead him in our direction and the Minotaur kept on wrenching him back to the main path."

"Are they coming here?" Geir wondered.

"We don't know yet. I've instructed my scouts to send a runner back the moment they know for sure which way they're headed." He jerked his head back and towards the center of town. "I'm heading in to report to the Pack Alphas if you all want to come."

"So why are we sitting here talking then?" Kara asked. Geir and Hagen both did a double take when they saw her standing nearby with her fists on her hips, looking at them expectantly. She'd found one of Geir's furred hunting tunics that was entirely too large for her but she made work by wearing it as a one-piece short skirt by cinching a belt around her waist. Her legs were bare down to her knees where they disappeared into two of his furred boots.

"Damn," Hagen couldn't help but comment. Geir backhanded him out the door before closing it so he could get dressed real quick.

Ten minutes later and after Hagen relayed his information to the Pack Alphas, who were now in human form and wearing hunting leathers, another scout came running in to the main den hall in werewolf form. "The human and the Minotaur have changed direction. They are heading straight for the gates of the Five Villages."

"The Lupercalia Festival!" Kara gasped. "Everyone is going to be out in celebration today! That thing is going to tear right through them all!"

"So what is the worry?" Jarl scoffed. "The humans have strong, tall walls with guards along it. They should be able to keep out one Minotaur."

"Not during the festival! It's the only three days they ever get off in a row thanks to the treaty," Kara protested. "We have to go stop The Minotaur." When she saw their worried expressions, she knew something was up. "What? What are you not telling me?"

The Astrid made to say something then bowed her head as she thought better of it. "We haven't fought a pitched battle against something like this in a very long time. We have become... complacent. Normally just our presence here alone drives others off and protects the villages but we have not had to fight in at least a generation and so we do not have real warriors. Your Crimson Village guards would probably be better suited than we would be."

"Are you serious?" Kara gasped. Jarl nodded somberly and Kara snorted. "Well then I think that you need to get trained to fight in a hurry to defend your territory from this thing."

"Outside of Geir, Hagen, and a few others, we don't have many warriors. Most of our young pups who have the chops to be warriors venture out on their own to join other packs where there is conflict or start dens of their own."

Kara was fuming now to the point that her vision went red. She blinked as it returned to normal and wondered where that came from. Shaking it off quickly she laid into the so-called 'Alphas' of the pack. "I suggest that you... we... get in some fighting experience then by protecting the villages."

"And if we don't?" Astrid asked with an arched eyebrow. Now that she was in human form Kara saw that she looked like a fit woman in her late sixties even though Geir noted that they've been leading the pack for some time longer than that. "If we order the pack to leave the humans to their own devices?

"Then the treaty between the Five Villages and the Werewolf Pack is void." Kara pointed an accusing finger at the Alpha Couple. "That means that you two aren't really Alphas that are looking out for the best interests of the pack," she turned and faced Geir, "you're not my mate," she spread her hands imploringly "and none of this means a damn thing since I can't be held to the conditions of the Village Sacrifice."

"I am your mate!" Geir protested, getting up close to her and growling.

"Then prove it!" Kara snarled back at him that sounded surprisingly like a werewolf's snarl. "Uphold the treaty!"

Geir looked into her angry blue eyes that glared daggers up at him. But he saw something else there too as he felt the thoughts flow from her mind into his as their bond grew ever stronger; hurt, pain, fear. It wasn't fear of battle. No... she was ready to go out and fight the Minotaur again despite what it tried to do to her last night. No... it was fear of losing her family.... Her friends...

Her pack...

Head snapping to look at the Alpha Couple, Geir came to an instant decision. "If you don't order the pack out to protect the humans, I will. And then when I return I will challenge you for the right to lead this pack because my mate is correct; if we do not uphold our end of the bargain then why should the humans continue to supply their women for breeding stock for us?"

Jarl nodded somberly again. "You are correct... son." He said at last. "Assemble the pack. We go to war."

Kara smiled with glee until that last word hit her. "Wait, son?" she asked, head whipping back and forth between Jarl and Geir.

"Surprise!" Geir said as he threw his head back and started to transform.

*

"Oooooopen the gate..." The Minotaur told John, shaking him by the scruff of the neck where he still had a hold of the human.

"I can't," John said, gritting his teeth from where he was being jostled. "It's locked on the other side and there is no way to open it from this side."

Instead of argue the point, the Minotaur reared back and threw John up and over the gates. John screamed the entire way over until he hit the ground on the opposite side. "Oooooopen!" he bellowed, "Or be cursed forever!"

John couldn't believe it. The beast actually thought that he would do it too. But then the threat of a curse gave him pause. "Why?" he asked, rising to his feet in challenge. He could see the thing glaring at him through the cracks between the wood. "You just gave me my freedom! Tah-Ta!"

The moment John turned to leave, the Minotaur reached out his hand and clasped it as if he were grabbing an imaginary ball in mid-air. John reeled in sudden pain around his skull as if the Minotaur's hand were on top of his head, squeezing, trying to crush it. "Alright! Alright!" John yelled. "Stop! Please!" The pain then lessened but did not go away completely. John got the idea that the Minotaur was not going to stop using whatever unholy magic it had on him until he did the beast's bidding.

Even though he really did not want to do this, John undid the latches and slides to the gate before getting under the heavy bar to push it up and out of the way. The moment it thudded into the ground, the Minotaur kicked the gates open, knocking John backwards to the base of one of the guard towers. His head made a sickening crunch when he slid up against one of the support pylons. In a daze, he tried to get to his feet and regain some semblance of control of the situation. "There... you're in..." he said, his words slurring a bit. "Now... there... there is this one bitch you can have; her name is D... Diana."

The Minotaur paused as he was walking in to regard him. Then it threw back his horned, bullhead and let out an evil, snorting laughter. "Yoooouuu are finished..." it said, backhanding John hard across the face, snapping his head around so hard to send the human crashing back down to the ground where he lay there unmoving.

John's last fleeting thought before blackness claimed him was that he could have sworn that he heard howling off in the distance.

*

As the pack ran through the woods on a direct route from the den village to the five villages, Geir couldn't help but constantly look sideways at Kara as they ran. He was running slower than the rest of the pack, who was already out distancing them, as he didn't want to leave his mate behind. He'd seen her eyes flash red when she called out his parents. Usually that did not happen until the third day.

Already she had tripped three times by her own legs as they ran. He could tell that her mind was in flux since she wanted to run faster and run with the pack. Her body was telling her that she could and wanted to change to do so but her mind was still telling her that it was impossible to do.

Kara suddenly let out a weird sound that sounded like a strangled cry and a wolf's growl all mixed into one. She jumped and flailed about, arms pin wheeling in the air when they went over a small embankment. With her legs giving out on her, she rolled to absorb the crash landing and then lay still on her back, eyes darting around in confusion. "What..." she panted, "what is happening to me today?"

"You're changing." Geir said simply as he padded his way to her on all fours. When he got to her side he rose up to kneel next to her, cradling her head underneath of his hand gently. "This is the first time I have ever seen it happen this quickly. Normally you would have three days to adjust. Maybe the stress of our impending battle is having the lycanthropy travel faster through your body from the blood pumping." His mouth opened in a smile of amusement. "Then again us mating three times already, another thing that usually doesn't happen that often as girls taken from your village are only taken once a day until they are ready, could have done it as well."

"Ch-Changing?" Kara asked, breathing heavily to the point that her breasts were heaving under the tunic. "Into one of you?"

Geir nodded. "It was another reason for me biting your neck when I first had you; to introduce our abilities into your body so that you would be one of the pack. Why else do you think that none of the tribute girls ever returned to the village to visit friends and family?"

"You're... you're just full of surprises, aren't you?" Kara's eyes were dilated and flashing red now. Her mouth opened into a wordless scream as her whole body shook.

Reaching down with his claws, Geir ripped the front of her tunic open and then stripped the boots off of her. "You're thinking too much about this. Clear your mind and let it happen. Allow your body to change!" he said insistently.

Still shuddering, Kara managed a couple of quick nods. Another wave of pain washed over her and she arched her back and then curled into a ball. Then she was thrashing about so much that Geir had to hold her steady. "AHHHHHHHH!" Kara screamed as the pain became unimaginable... it was a scream that turned into a long, drawn out howl to the heavens.

Then it was over and Kara blinked as she looked around. She looked up at Geir in confusion. Geir was smiling down at her and he held out his clawed hand to her. Wary, she took it and surprised to see that her own hand was clawed as well with soft, light brown fur now covering. Panic gripping her, she now looked for some kind of reflective surface. When she got up to unsteady feet she noticed that she was slightly taller now; to the point that Geir was when he was in human form.

Geir steadied her and led her over to the nearby stream where he indicated that she should look into the water where a small pool had formed. Kara slowly approached it to look at it. The face of a feminine looking werewolf with a mane of golden hair over light reddish brown fur stared back at her with equal surprise.

Kara jerked back in shock as she looked down at her own body. Not only was she taller, she was also proportionately larger to her human body with all of her curves intact in all the right places. Now, though, instead of pale white skin she had fur covering her from head to toe... or... er... paw now. Peering suspiciously at her own feet, she wiggled the toes of the paw tentatively to watch them move. Then it was back down at her naked, legs, thighs, abdomen, and breasts, feeling up each as she examined herself. She couldn't see her own nipples and gave her own breasts a squeeze, feeling relief when her nipples perked up from under the fur.

"This... is me?" she asked, her voice sounding a bit gruffer than she was used to.

"And you're the most beautiful specimen of werewolf that I have ever laid eyes on," Geir said. "We can explore your new form in-depth later. Now I believe that there are some humans that we needed to save?"

"Yes," Kara said, standing up and then toppling over on her new, unsteady wolf legs. Geir took a moment to show her how to run on all fours. A few minutes later they were off and running at full speed to catch up to the pack.

When they got to the village, they stopped at the open gates. "Oh this can't be good." Kara said, slowing down to a trot. Her newfound werewolf sense of smell caught something familiar nearby. She turned to see the broken and bleeding form of John in a crumpled mess over by the guard tower. "Oh John, what did you do?" She padded over to him and rolled him over, jumping back in surprise when he let out a moan.

"K-Kara?" John asked with unfocusing eyes when he looked up at her. They narrowed in on her and he let out a small harrumph. "You've changed into one of them," he said accusingly as he spat out a wad of blood. "I guess that you truly did make your choice then... wrong as it may be."

"You will never understand." Kara replied with sorrow in her voice.

"Doesn't matter... the Minotaur is going to rip the villages to shreds and I'm going to be dead here in a minute anyway." He swallowed hard as the inevitable rapidly approached. "For what it's worth; I'm sorry." He then let out a ragged breath as his eyes lost focus. His head rattled to the side as the life left his body.

"Come, we must hurry," Geir said. He paused. "Mourn later," he added softly.

"I only mourn those that deserve it. He brought this down upon himself" Kara hissed but gave John's body one last look. "May that single god of yours that you spoke so fondly of welcome you into whatever afterlife you believe in," she said in one final parting shot before loping off towards the Crimson Village with her mate.

***

CHAPTER 8:

It was not a pretty sight in the center of the Crimson Village by the time Kara and Geir got there. Already there were bodies of men and women strewn about as the Minotaur had started his rampage in search of a proper mate. The bodies of a few members of the werewolf pack were also lying dead and broken alongside some of the humans they had attempted to protect. Smashed in walls, kicked in doors and windows, and partially collapsed buildings gave testament to the destructive power of a single angry Minotaur.

When they got to the center of town they found more bodies but in fewer numbers as most of the humans had retreated into their homes by this time. The pack had the Minotaur surrounded and were making quick, light attacks; nipping at the Minotaur's flanks to weaken him. Every so often the Minotaur would make a lunge or a grab at a passing fleeing human only to be cut off by a pair of werewolves. This strange dance went on for minutes until the Minotaur spied a particularly beautiful woman that he really liked and went full bore for her.

Two greyish werewolves closed ranks and put the screaming human woman to their backs. They rushed in and slashed and bit at the Minotaur with everything that they had when it became apparent that the Minotaur was not going to retreat again. The Minotaur never stopped as he trampled one, breaking their neck, and used its massive hands to snap the other in half like a twig. Both grey werewolves were dead before they knew what happened.

"MOTHER! FATHER! NO!" Geir roared in anguish as he rushed forward at full speed.

Kara matched him and even passed him as she got used to her new form. She heard Geir call out a warning but she paid him no heed. This was going to end now before anyone else, human or werewolf, got hurt. Bellowing out a challenging howl to the Minotaur, Kara ran right for it. The Minotaur saw her and turned in place, ready for the new attack.

However, instead of leaping right in for the kill, Kara stopped and turned in place to hunch down on her arms. The Minotaur's intended grab went over her and he came up with nothing but air. Kara reared her hind legs in as she leaned forward and then mule-kicked back at him with all of her newfound supernatural strength.

The Minotaur's genitals were instantly crushed under the mighty blow of the double foot kick. Just like before he screamed in pain, louder than ever before to the point that Kara swore that all of the Five Villages heard him. She scrambled out of the way before he came crashing down to his knees.
This gave Geir, and the rest of the pack for that matter, the opening that they needed to close in on the Minotaur to finish it off. The werewolves all piled onto the beast but Geir got in on the thing's jugular. He placed his powerful jaws on the Minotaur's neck and ripped his throat out. The Minotaur jerked, now grabbing for its throat and slowly asphyxiated to death before it pitched over.

As one, the pack all lifted their heads to the sky and howled. Part was out of victory. The other part was out of mourning for those they had lost.

"So," Hagan asked, getting up onto his hind legs to walk over to Kara and Geir. "Now what do we do with it?"

"I say that we burn the fucker for what it did to my village!" Kara spat out while standing up to look around at the devastated town square. "Just to make sure that it's dead!"

"Gods... Kara?" a familiar voice asked from a nearby doorway. "Is that you?" Diana was coming out and looking at the pack with a mixture of fear, awe, and wonder. "The voice is the same... sort of... but I see a werewolf!"

"Uh... surprise!" Kara said sheepishly, emulating her mate's earlier sentiment.

Diana wasn't sure what to say to that and so she just cleared her throat and changed the subject. "Your folks are alright. They were holed up in your place and that... thing... passed on by them," she indicated the Minotaur with a slight lift of her head. "How'd that thing get in here in the first place?'

"John led him straight here," Kara said with a sour note to her voice. "Don't worry; he's dead. The Minotaur broke his neck back at the gates. Did any of the other villages get hit?"

Diana shook her head. "Aside from the ones that were closer to the gates or the ones that were over here for the festival, it was mainly us that took the brunt of that beast's fury." She sighed. "I guess it could have been worse."

"Well," Geir interjected into the conversation. "Let's start cleaning up our dead and attending to our wounded. Then we can talk like old biddies until our heart's content, ladies."

*

It took a good part of the day to clean up. First, the Minotaur's body was hauled back out to the Stones of Sacrifice where it was promptly cremated along with John's body. The ashes had barely started reaching for the sky when the citizens of the villages turned back to their work. Then it was a matter to see to the human and werewolf dead.

It was easy to get the human bodies into the temple for cleaning, anointing, and preparation for their journey on to Valhalla. The harder part was moving the werewolf bodies. The Aqua, Golden, Violet, and Viridian Villages all pitched in to help the werewolves fashion up litters to take their bodies with them. Everyone took in stride the fact that there were werewolves walking amongst them. The villagers were even more accepting when many of the women transformed back into their human form so that they could see the family and friends that they had left behind because of the tithe in past years. It warmed Kara's heart to see families reunited and introduced to their new sons-in-law and, in some cases, be shown their grandchildren, nieces, or nephews.

Despite seeing them searching for her, Kara kept in her new wolf form. She wasn't ready to see them... at least not yet. She wanted more time to figure things out and to get to know her mate... husband... whatever he was now, more.

By the time their work was finished, it was nighttime and each of the villages demanded that the werewolves stay the night with them. As tempting as it was, the werewolves turned them down as they had internal matters to attend to but they would be back the next day so that the Five... no... Six Villages could celebrate the final day of Lupercalia together and possibly ratify a new treaty between them.

*

Kara was exhausted by the time that she and Geir had trudged back into their cabin back at the Den Village. She flopped onto the bed, naked from changing back into human form, and laid there with her arms and legs splayed out spread-eagled. "If you want me, you're going to have to take me since I am too tired to do anything right now," she complained.

"Gladly," Geir said with a smile as he came into the cabin. His features changing from humanoid wolf to just plain human while he walked in. He went to the foot of the bed and took a long, lingering look up and down her body. His cock was already rising to salute her beauty.

"How are you even able to get it up after today?" Kara wondered, flattered and disturbed all at the same time. "The pack just lost its leaders... your parents, I might add... today."

Giving her a sour look but keeping focus on the prize, Geir crawled up onto the bed, folding his arms and resting down onto her abdomen and looking up her body at her. "Yes, we took losses today and we spent a good part of the day mourning while handling our dead. Now tonight we honor them by living for tomorrow. We sleep with our mates, we console our young, and our newly found singles find solace in each other's arms so that we can rebuild our numbers. This is the way of the pack."

Kara couldn't argue with that.

There was no arguing a moment later especially when Geir then buried his face in between her legs. His tongue immediately traveled down the length of her slit. "Oooohhhhh..." she moaned, hands gripping the fur blankets underneath of her. Then his tongue was inside of her as he parted her pussy lips and attacked her clit while at the same time sliding it past and down into her opening. Her nipples stiffened and his hands came up to massage her breasts. His mouth covered her mound while he continued to pleasure her with his tongue.

Head swimming, Kara soon became delirious from the oral pleasure that was being administered to her. Tensing up as the orgasm overtook her; she doubled up, grabbing his head as she came hard. Geir continued lapping at her clit as she rode it out. Even when she fell back to the bed, exhausted, he still drank her in.

"No more! No more!" Kara cried, trying to push his head away from her pussy. Geir licked her a few more times before shuffling up to bring his cock to bear. "Oh you're not..." she protested as he took hold of her knees and positioned himself accordingly. He gave her a wicked smile as he slowly entered her so that she could feel him slide in, inch by inch. "AHHHHH!" she breathed as his cock slid home.

His hands slid down to her bottom and she gripped him with her thighs. They kept a firm grasp on one another as their bodies soon began to move as one when he thrust into her. Their eyes locked and in that instant Kara knew that this man had indeed claimed her... there would be nothing that she would not do for him and him for her.

Seeing her final surrender reflect in her eyes, Geir leaned in to her, cupped the back of her neck, and kissed her deeply. Their tongues intermingled and Kara threw her arms up around his neck while wrapping her slender legs around his waist. Geir groaned deeply while grounding his hips down into hers, burying his cock as far into her as possible. Unable to contain himself any longer, he released inside of her.

"Yes," Kara breathed as she felt his cock become engorged inside of her a moment before his seed spurt into her. "Ohhh, yes, don't stop," she whispered into his ear while she nibbled on neck right behind it. "Yes, yes, yes!" she cried out as she reached her peak while Geir was enjoying his.

They fell asleep in a tangle of limbs with Geir's head on her breasts while she idly stroked his black hair and thought about the future.

***

CHAPTER 9:

Geir woke up in a panic the next morning, the third day of the Lupercalia, when he found that Kara was not in bed with him. A quick glance told him that she wasn't in the cabin either. Closing his eyes and taking a deep breath through his nose, he caught her scent easily and followed it out the door like a trained bloodhound. He wandered through the Den Village until he came to the doors of the village library that was packed full of old books and tomes from the mortal world in addition to those that exist within the supernatural world.

He found Kara in one corner, dressed back in that tunic of his that she wore like a short dress, engrossed in a few different books all at the same time. When she noticed that he was standing there staring at her she looked up and smirked. "Going without clothes today, dear?" she said playfully.

That's when he noticed that he'd neglected to get his hunting leathers on prior to tracking her down. "I was... uh... in a hurry," he admitted.

"Thinking that I'd fled the countryside, no doubt," she said, reading his mind.

"It did cross my mind."

"Relax," Kara stood up and kissed him passionately, making heat go straight to his groin, "I'm here for the long term, big guy." She reached down to stroke his manhood a couple of times before sitting back down. "And I'll take care of this big guy later. First I wanted to finish this reading before the pack meets this morning.

Geir took a long look at all of the books she'd been reading. "I didn't take you for a reader. A hunter, sure, but not a reader."

Kara shrugged. "One has to read and learn the knowledge of others before them in order to know how to hunt, where to hunt, and what plants in the woods can aid in your survival. It's not that much of a jump from there to read other things as well."

"Folklore, Village History, Den Journals..." Geir said, looking at the titles. "What's this about, Kara?"

"In less than a few hours the pack meets and will more than likely name you as their leader making us the Pack Alphas, correct?"

Geir crossed his arms and smirked at her. "A bit presumptuous of you, don't you think?" He let out a harrumph. "You were a normal mortal just the other day and you think that you can go straight to Alpha Female in the span of a couple of days?"

Kara turned and looked him right in the eye. "Yes because you wouldn't have picked me otherwise if you didn't think that we'd be ascending to pack leadership someday. You just didn't think that it was going to be this quickly. You also know that I have the temperament from this based solely on how I was able to sway your parents into defending the Five Villages."

She had him there and the sad part of it was that she didn't even need to use the bond between them to read his mind. The evidence alone would have told her that. "So what's your plan then since you obviously have one?

"Abolish the annual tithe."

Geir blinked at her to make sure that he'd heard her correctly. "Excuse me?"

"You heard me."

"We need that in order to keep our breeding stock going!" Geir said, his voice now close to shouting. "Why should we give up a good thing?"

"Because you can get a better thing by doing away from it." She explained her idea and her plan and Geir found himself nodding along with all of her arguments and her points. "So you do away with the old treaty, draft a new one, and everyone... and I do mean everyone... will benefit from it."

"Okay, okay," Geir half raised his hands in mock surrender, "You win, woman. If we're named the Pack Alphas, then I'll have the scribes draft up a new treaty. Okay?" When she nodded, he smiled at her. This just went to reinforce his belief that he'd chosen the best mate ever. "So now you need to do a little something for me since you decided to leave me hanging." He reached down to grab his hard cock that had stayed rigid throughout the conversation.

"Ugh... men..." Kara rolled her eyes but didn't do anything to resist him when his hand snaked out to snag her by the back of her neck and pull her close. Her body melted against his as they kissed and she moaned passionately in response. Despite her protest, her hands drifted down to his cock to start stroking him again.

Geir put downward pressure on her neck to drive her down to her knees. "You know we're in a public place, right?" she said once she was kneeling before him.

"You know that I don't care right now?" Geir retorted. "If someone walks in they will see a male communing with his mate."

"Mm-hm..." Kara hummed, giving him a sarcastic look up at him before bringing his cock to her lips. She relaxed her jaw and took him in as far as she could until he was nearly all the way down her throat. Then she moved her head back and forth while she sucked on him, occasionally wrapping her lips around the base of his cock. Due to his size being more than she'd ever had before, it was a strain for her to keep him down her throat.

"Oh Gods," Geir rolled his head back and sighed but still kept pressure on the back of her head as he rapidly approached his breaking point. On impulse he rammed his cock hard into her mouth while pulling her head forward.

Thanks to the link between them now, Kara was able to anticipate this. She let her throat and mouth relax as much as possible when Geir shoved his cock in all the way to the hilt. His white cum filled her mouth and she struggled to keep up with the swallowing. Even then it was still a stress on her body and tears welled up in her blue eyes. When he was finally finished and had pulled out, she'd put the back of her hand up to her mouth to keep his seed down despite her urge to cough and sputter it out.

She didn't want to ruin any of the books with evidence of their sudden bout of passion.

"Oh my Gods, Kara, I am so sorry!" Geir suddenly gushed out when he saw the tears in her eyes. He knelt down in concern to check on her with one hand on her shoulder. "Are you hurt? Are you okay? I'm sorry I don't know what came over me."

"No it's okay..." She coughed a bit to clear her throat. "You're just... a big mouthful... that's all," she said with a laugh. Geir joined her and they laughed long and hard at that. "Now shoo! I want to get the last of these books done."

*

While walking into the den hall, Kara was apprehensive. She knew that she had a measure of respect from the pack in how much she had stepped up and accepted her new lot in life in such a short time. Indeed, with some of the women that she had talked to in passing over the past couple of days, many of them have said that no one before her had been so accepting of being the chosen tithe. Beside her, Geir squeezed her hand in encouragement and smiled at her.

However, some of the 'pure-blood' werewolves were not as accepting. Granted, she showed Alpha traits and was wise in holding them to the terms of the treaty but she had yet to prove herself to all of the pack in the area of true pack leadership. This decision that the pack made today would not only affect them; it was also going to affect the people back at the Five Villages as well. She had to ensure that Geir was chosen as Pack Alpha Male and, by proxy, herself as Pack Alpha Female.

Hagen was at the front of the hall to officiate today's gathering by sheer virtue that he was the oldest living Alpha out of all of the males. Kara noted that he looked slightly older than Geir did and that he could possibly pass as an older brother or even an uncle or something to Geir. Hagen stood somberly to address everyone. "Today we choose our new Pack Alphas. Jarl and Astrid have passed on to Valhalla after our battle with the Minotaur along with many of our elder pack members. Their songs will live long in the annuals of our people but now we must replace them in order to move forward."

A female stood up from what Kara was calling the 'pure-blood' faction; they were a group of werewolves that had come from only werewolves and not human stock. "I nominate you, Hagen, for pack leadership."

"I decline," Hagen said at once. He held up his hand to forestall the protest from the female. "I am unmated and our ways dictate that an Alpha Male and an Alpha Female must lead."

"So go grab a wench from the villages and be done with it then," the woman said. "Or," her voice dropped to a suggestive level and she waggled her eyebrows, "I am available."

"Get over yourself Bergda," a male called out. "You would've slept with the Minotaur if given the chance!" That elicited a lot of laughter from the other males including Geir and Hagen. Kara elbowed Geir to shut him up and gave him a mental earful to show some respect to his fellow pack-mate.

"There's only one clear choice here; Geir and his new mate!" another male called out from the back.

"Are you insane?" yet another male called out. "She just got here!

"And yet she's shown more leadership in two days than you have in all your years, Beta," the nominating male called out. "You got someone better then I'm all ears! Face it; he's an Alpha and he's the eldest living son of Jarl and Astrid AND he chose well from the tithes in that he looked for a mate who would one day help him lead the pack. That was the whole reason why he was picked to go choose this year!"

The dissenting Beta had no choice but to sit there and glower. Hagen looked around. "The nomination has been put forth. Are there any challenges?"

Kara leaned in to Geir. "Challenges?" she asked in a hushed voice.

"If there are people who do not like the nominee or who think that they can do a better job, then they fight the nominee for dominance," Geir whispered back. "Winner take the position of the nominee."

"Then what?"

"Then more challenges until none remain and there is one single Alpha left standing."

Kara's eyes widened at that implication. "Are these usually lethal?"

Geir shrugged, "sometimes. I mean; it is combat in werewolf form that we're talking about here." He noticed that Hagen was looking his way and stood up. "I accept the nomination and will take on all challengers." He looked amongst the pack. "I know that each and every one of you know me and like me but it is my mate that you have reservations about. Know this; she, as a human, was the one who reminded us who we were and why we have a treaty with the humans in the first place. She has shown us that we have become... complacent." He said that last word with bitterness in his voice. "Our losses to a single Minotaur have shown us that she was right."

Shaking his head and rolling his shoulders, Geir squared himself in preparation for a fight. "Hagen is right; I was chosen this year to select a mate and I have chosen. If you truly do like and respect me then you should be respecting the choice I have made."

The pack were looking from Geir to Kara expectantly. Kara stood up and faced them while the Priestess' words from the other day came back to her; Be Yourself. She cleared her throat and spoke. "You don't know me. All you know is that I was selected from the Crimson Village, stripped naked, tied up, and placed out on a stone as a sacrifice to the pack. What some of you do know is that on the way here Geir and I were set upon by both human and a Minotaur both of who wanted to take me away with them to be their mate. What none of you know is that I had multiple chances to escape and go off with either of our attackers."

Kara gestured to the front of the hall where Hagen was at. "Jarl and Astrid initially wanted to stay out of the conflict and leave the Five Villages to the mercy of the Minotaur as it was something that they felt they'd brought upon themselves. But what they forgot was that effectively invalidated the treaty and made my mating to Geir null and void. However, I stayed. I stayed here. I made my choice and I advocated for the treaty to be upheld."

She lifted her chin defiantly. "I chose to remain with the pack. I chose you over my former life. That in itself should count for something." With that, she reached out and interlinked her hand with Geir's. "This is my mate of who I am very proud of and am very much in love with."

Geir had been watching her speech with tears glistening in his eyes as hope, pride, and even love, swelled in his chest. He looked back at the pack. "Any challengers?" he asked, his voice choked up with emotion. Never in all of his years did he think that he could be so truly blessed by the gods to have found a mate such as Kara.
The Beta who originally dissented stood up and walked up to the front of the hall where he looked Geir in the eyes. Geir steeled himself to change into werewolf form the moment this pup threw a punch. They stood there, staring at each other eye-to-eye for some time, each one's eyes searching the other.

Then the Beta bowed his head and knelt. "You are the Alpha Male," he said in a ritualistic tone. As if waiting for this as a cue, the pack stood as one and dropped to one knee. Even Hagen, standing behind Geir and Kara dropped to a knee and repeated the phrase.

"So does this mean what I think it means?" Kara asked in a side whisper.

"Yes; we are now in charge of the pack," Geir said with a wink and a smile. He then rose his voice to the pack. "Rise. We have many changes to make in order to ensure that both the humans and we have a future. Kara will fill you in on the details."

*

The third day of the festival back at the Five Villages was a somber occasion. Kara noted that instead of the usual revelry that people were merely going through the motions. Apprehension seemed to rise when the pack returned led by her and Geir.

This visit, however, the pack all came in human form. Kara had explained that this would help soothe things over as a way of saying: See? We're just like you. You have magic, we have shapeshifting. Instead of meeting at any single village, today's meeting was being held around the gates to the woods and the Sacrifice Stones. The mayors of each of the villages waited patiently at their assigned stone for this year's sacrifice while the villagers all gathered outside of the circle to see what the pack had to say.

Geir walked into the circle along with Kara. Kara handed him the scroll that she carried and gave him a nod of encouragement. Geir accepted the scroll with a nod of thanks before stepping forward. "My name is Geir Jarlson and I now lead the pack along with my mate; Kara," he said. Ripples of whispered conversation erupted though the villagers, especially from those from the Crimson Village. The Priestess from her old village caught Kara's eye and smiled in vindication.

Unrolling the scroll, Geir continued. "Our people have fought, bled, and died together during this year's festival and so we have decided that the old treaty that my grandparents laid forth is no longer applicable. These are the terms of this new Lupercalia Treaty between the Mages of the Five Villages of Mormor and the Werewolves of Mormor Woods," he said, reading off the scroll that the pack's scribe had drawn up earlier that morning. "Open trading will henceforth be allowed between the humans and the werewolves. The Five Villages agree to develop a passable, maintained road between their villages and the Den Village in order to promote higher trade and commerce in exchange for the Den Village's continued protection of the humans within Mormor Woods."

Geir looked up to the assembled villagers from each of the Five Villages as they hung on his every word. He knew what they wanted to hear. "From this day forward the mandatory tithe of a single woman to be selected from the pool of eligible single maidens of child bearing age is hereby abolished. Men and women from the villages are free to intermingle and marry whom they see fit. The annual Lupercalia Tithe shall now be on a purely volunteer and ceremonial basis from here on out."

The expressions ranged from disbelief to outright joy. The terror of having to live under the threat of losing a single girl to a bunch of unknown beasts that lived in the woods was now over. Young lovers clutched at each other, some of which were openly weeping with joy. Parents who had girls coming of age had a look about them as if a giant weight had just been lifted from their shoulders. It was everything that they wanted and more.

Then the cheering started and the real party began in earnest.

***

CHAPTER 10:

The party lasted long into the night as humans celebrated alongside of werewolves to bring this year's Lupercalia to a close. Kara's heart was warmed to see that already there were some of the younger werewolf males making advances to catch the eye of a human woman and vice versa. She'd already caught Diana behind one house screwing Hagen senseless and her new heightened sense of hearing could catch the sounds of other such interludes occurring all over.

Kara made it a point to see her family after the proclamation had been made. Erika was ecstatic that she did not have to look forward to possibly being the chosen tithe in eight years' time. Kara simply smiled and patted her on the head before giving her a big hug. "Not unless you want to be the tithe and who knows; maybe in that time we'll do away with it altogether," she'd told her little sister. Her sister's stock would go up in all of the villages now that Kara was the Alpha Female of the pack.

Her parents were proud as not only was their daughter this year's chosen tithe but she was also the last mandatory tithe and was the one instrumental in doing away with it. Her father's business would boom now that he access to more lumber in which to do his wood carving with and her mother would have more work as a seamstress in taking orders from both humans and werewolves. Already she was busy planning a more appropriate dress for Kara to keep on when she was both in human and werewolf form. "No sense in you going through clothes every time you have to change, dear. Now you be sure and come back tomorrow in your other form so that I can properly measure you."

Kara laughed and promised that she would. After all, with the gates now permanently open, everyone could come and go as they pleased. She'd heard that the merchants of the Five Villages were going to make the trip out to Den Village later on in the week to set up trading posts.

It was late when Geir and Kara finally said their goodbyes and started walking back home to the Den Village. It was refreshing to be able to walk out into Mormor Woods through gates that would stay open unless there was a direct attack on the villages now. As her and Geir passed the Sacrifice Stones, Geir nudged her to ask her what she was thinking.

"Oh nothing, really," Kara said, "I was just thinking that I had feared this year's Lupercalia because of the tithe and it has, overall, turned out to be more fun and rewarding than I'd ever thought possible."

"Well, if you think this is fun now, wait until you see how we celebrate Samhain and Yule." Geir said with a smile. "Should be even more fun with the inclusion of the humans this year."

"So I take it that you enjoyed this year's festival?" Kara asked, matching his smile while giving him a sideways nudge back with her shoulder. "Everything you wanted and more?"

"Well... the Minotaur was a surprise." Geir admitted. "And there was just one thing that I wanted to do that he had interrupted."

"Oh? And what's that?"

"Well, I didn't get to chase you down. I had intended to herd you up into the mountains a bit where there are some secluded hot springs that I know of," he said indicating the general direction with a quick lift of his chin. "Then when we got there it had been my intention to take you there for the first time rather than in front of the whole den," he said with a hint of disappointment.

"Well..." Kara said thoughtfully, looking up at the night sky through the breaks in the trees above. "The Lupercalia isn't over yet; the moon hasn't even reached her peak yet. You only have one problem, though." When she caught Geir's questioning look out of the corner of her eye, she gave him a sly smile. "I'm not tied up this time!" she gave him a playful smack on the shoulder and took off running in the direction he'd motioned towards.

Suddenly overcome with lust and the thrill of the hunt, Geir threw back his head and howled as he immediately turned into werewolf form. His keen eyesight caught sight of his mate as she dashed though the trees ahead... still in human form. Just to be sporting, he gave her a head start before dropping down to all fours and dashing after her.

Kara's light laughter seemed to echo off of the trees as he pursued her, dogging her flight and herding her in the right direction. Whenever he caught up with her he'd nip at her heels in order to get her to turn one way or another until they were on the right path heading up the mountain. Once they were close, Geir pounced on her and they tumbled to the ground with him on top of her pinning her down.

Flat on her back, Kara couldn't help but laugh. The chase had been exhilarating but she was ready to get laid now. "Mmmm... my, what big eyes you have there, Geir."

"All the better to see your beauty, my dear," Geir said, taking a single claw down the front of her dress to sever the laces and open it up.

"Would you stop doing that? Do you know how many laces I've gone through these past couple of days?"

"Only a couple," Geir said, then picking her up, tossing her dress aside, and tossing her over her shoulder to march up to the hot springs. She gave token resistance by pounding on his furry back with her fist and he gave her a swat on her perfect round bottom in response. When she hummed, he did it again.

"Oh yes, punish me you big, bad wolf you," Kara muttered as she was spanked. Geir obliged her with a few more spanks until they got next to the steaming pools of water on top of the rock cliffs. There he put her back down onto her back in the center of three pools out in the open where they were bathed in the light of the full moon.

Geir pinned her down by placing his hands down on the rock overtop of her biceps. Kara squirmed again in a token gesture of resistance but then stopped when he ground his cock down past her moistening pussy. "Oh my, what a big cock you have."

"The better to fuck you with, my dear," Geir said, pumping his hips once and driving into her. Kara arched her back and screamed in pleasure as his massive cock penetrated her much smaller body. She imagined that if she were in werewolf form along with him, he'd be the right size. But there'd be time enough for that later. Right now, she wanted to enjoy being taken by the beast while giving her mate what he missed out on the first night they were together.

Kara bucked against him in a way that implied fighting back but ultimately just drove her clit up against him every time the thrust down into her. Geir let her arms go and then clamped his hand down around her throat in a show of dominance. Gasping in pure erotic bliss, Kara's eyes rolled back into her head as she came hard in that moment. Her pussy clamped down around his cock still pumping in and out of her.

Watching his mate get off underneath of him sent Geir over the edge. He let out a primal, guttural growl as his cock blew forth its seed deep inside of her. Kara's whole body began to shake in the throes of her orgasm when she felt her womb be filled once again to the point of overflow. "Oh Gods," she whimpered while she twitched from head to toe underneath of Geir.

Geir pulled out of her and changed back into human form. Then he gingerly picked Kara up and carried her into one of the hot spring pools so that he could clean her up. Kara was still moaning and shuddering as streams of his cum seeped out of her. The orgasm had been so intense for her that she barely had the strength to wrap her arms around his neck to hold on to him. Geir made soothing sounds into her ear while he eased her into a straddling position onto his lap so that he'd have easier access to clean her up.

Once Kara recovered enough, she felt the fire pool in her loins again with Geir's hands roving all over her wet body. Moving her head slightly to the side, her lips found his and she started kissing him passionately. Her hips ground down into his and she felt his cock stiffen in the water between her legs. Before Geir had time to properly react, she was already raising herself up, grabbing his cock to position it properly, and sinking back down onto it. Both of them let out a long, languorous sigh of pleasure once she was settled back down.

Taking control for once, Kara found a good place to put her knees on the rock and started riding him. She was slow at first but then picked up a good pace. Geir let her do what she wished by simply placing his hands on her hips as she bucked against him. She felt his cock become quickly engorged inside of her and she sensed that he was holding back. "Give it to me!" she cried out, thrusting her breasts up into his face while riding him hard and fast. "Don't hold back."

Groaning while burying his face into her cleavage, Geir let loose again. His cock seemed to pulsate endlessly inside of her while she continued fucking him. Sliding his hands around to her ass, he squeezed and pulled her close to keep his cock fully entrenched inside of her sweet sheath. In the back of his mind, he worried about whether or not she'd be able to reach her own climax until he felt her body shudder in his arms. "OOoohhhhh!" Kara cried out while wrapping her arms around his head to keep him there while she came.

When she was finally finished, she sank back down onto his lap with his cock still throbbing and sputtering a bit inside of her. Humming, Kara smiled at him and kissed him gently on the nose. "That was amazing even if I am feeling a bit sore now. We're going to have to come up here more often."

"Whenever and as many times as you'd like, my love," Geir smiled up at her. "We have as much time together as we want as we are just like our wolf counterparts in that we mate for life... and our lives last hundreds of years."

"Hundreds?" Kara blinked at him as her mind wrapped around that. Centuries of pure bliss with the werewolf of her dreams? She could live with that. Her face melted into a smile until she realized that her clothes were still halfway down the mountain. "Hm, it's going to be a cold walk back home."

Geir rolled his eyes. "Just change," he said, "even wet fur will keep you warm my dear. Besides, I would like to take you in wolf form as well whether your sore or not."

"Tell you what," Kara replied with a sly smile as she got up and out of the pool of water. Her body gracefully changed into that of a werewolf. "If you can catch me before I reach our cabin; you can have me." Then she took off running down the mountain path at full speed.

Swearing under his breath, Geir hastened out of the pool and ran after her, changing into werewolf form while in full stride. He caught sight of her lovely tail disappearing down the trail in the distance and he howled with joy as he realized that he'd be willing to chase his mate... his wife... his love... all over the ends of the earth if need be.

The chase was back on.

THE END

*****

Author's Notes: I hope everyone enjoyed my take on an old pre-roman (and possibly pagan) tradition of Lupercalia that eventually became a part of the Valentine's Day that we all know and love. Granted that some historians reject this claim but then again I'm not exactly here to be historically accurate either.

I hope that you also enjoyed my interpretation of the Red Riding Hood legend. If people are wondering where the Grandmother was at during this whole story then you need not look any further than the name of the Villages and surrounding Woods. "Mormor" is the Scandinavian (Norwegian/Swedish) word for "Maternal Grandmother". ;)

In the event people are wondering; this story is set in the Late 17th/ Early 18th Century, prior to the popular version that appears in the Grimm Brothers' "Children's and Household Tales" in 1812. I didn't even want to attempt at being historically accurate in the speech patterns so we can just say 'dialog updated for modern audiences' and be done with it.

In any case; I thank you for reading and ask that you please place a vote, be it good or bad, for every story that you read in the Valentine's Day Contest. Thank you for your participation by reading and rating the stories in this contest!

-AlexClayton/DieselJester

*****

crimson   tithe   the  

Jul 4, 2018 in romance

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