an interlude for Greyhawk Origins
written with Matt
Besilana hadn’t even closed the door behind her before Felicity was bouncing on the bed. Besi could tell that the mattress was stuffed with something other than the straw they’d slept on in Myhalas – cotton batting, perhaps. She took a moment to lock the door before taking in the rest of the little room.
Felicity had set her candle on a simple desk and chair which sat across from the bed, next to the fireplace; the far wall held a single shuttered window. Ostler Gundigoot had mentioned that the room key would also unlock the chest at the foot of the bed. Hommlet seemed safe enough, but one could never be too cautious in unfamiliar surroundings…
“Oh my gosh oh my gosh!” Felicity cried, spinning around as she bounced on the bed. “This new place is so funandsofulloffriendlypeopleIcan'tbelieveIT!”
“It’s… nice,” Besilana agreed, setting her pack on the floor before carefully propping her shield against it. Spotting a series of hooks on the wall beside the door, next to a small mirror, she unbuckled and hung her sword belt there, her fingers tracing the starry carvings on the empty wooden scabbard that dangled beside the full one. You’ll find her, Besi told herself. Starsong cannot be so lost that you cannot find her.
“Furnok called us pretty! That priest liked my ears! Everyone was so nice! Except for the druid, he was crotchety but that's probably what happens when you spend all your time in a tree.”
That made Besi laugh. Felicity always knew how to do that; the halfling’s love of life had lifted her own spirits as far back as either of them could remember.
But Felicity contined before Besi could say anything: “That barmaiden was really nice too and she kept looking at you and she looked like the sign, maybe she was the person they drew on the sign or do you think the owner hired her because she looks like the sign and did you see how she walked away after we talked about being birds and she said she was a cat she has so many curves and she wiggled when she walked and it was nice!”
It was nice, at that. Darla had seem unusually interested in her, in a way that Besi found somewhat exciting and very confusing. Even if there were no non-humans living in the village, she must have seen many travelers pass through Hommlet…
Besi backtracked through the tangled skein of Felicity’s ramblings. “That’s right; Furnok said we were both pretty. I'm a little relieved to hear it from someone else's mouth. I mean, you and Mother always said I'm pretty, but best friends and mothers have to say those things.”
Felicity looked her friend over, almost seeming to linger here and there. “I guess, but I stand by the fact that you are really pretty. Not just saying it because we're friends but you really are pretty. You got the luck of having the prettiest parts from two worlds, it's amazing and beautiful. Awesome even! I'm glad someone told me I was pretty, especially in a place full of people who are so... big. I mean I'm used to being around bigger people but in the temple people don't talk about who is pretty.”
Besilana could feel herself blushing, all the way to the soft points of her ears. If Felicity had to say such things, she clearly took great pleasure and pride in it. Whenever Besi feared that she would never belong to either the elven world or the human one, Felicity was there to remind her that she still belonged to someone. She unfastened her bracers and moved to lay them on the desk.
She heard the halfling mutter: “I wonder if any of the priestesses thought they were pretty themselves? Wouldn't that be an exercise in hubris? Is that bad? Ehlonna is beautiful, so naturally her followers should strive, not only for inner beauty, but also for outer beauty as well?”
“Those are.... all very good questions.” Besilana herself had only striven for strength, both physical and spiritual. Half-elven blood had made her muscles wiry and lean, a far cry from the hulking thews of must human warriors. But she was hardly beautiful, not within or without. Not like Darla… “We're in agreement that Darla was pretty? Or, at least, that a man would find her, um, appealing?”
“Who? The serving girl? Oh yes-yes-yes. She was very...” The halfling made an odd throat-clearing-nervous noise. “Appealing. Although by the looks of her and the smile she gave and the expression toward being a cat when we are all birds made me get the feeling she would want to… eat us up...” She tittered nervously.
Besi laughed and shrugged out of her tabard, folding it onto the desk.
Felicity’s voice dropped to a near-whisper: “She certainly looked at you very hungrily.” But then she piped up again. “She was very pretty though! She had all those pretty human curves and fullness that makes one of them pretty. I'm afraid my abundance makes me look frumpy. But on her they look nice, so yes, to answer, she is very... appealing...” The last part trailed off.
“Oh, stop. You haven't an ounce of frump on your bones.” That was the gods’ truth; Felicity was half her size, but no one would ever mistake her for a human child. In fact, the curves of her hips and breasts put Darla to shame. She’d seen hourglasses that were less hourglass-shaped. “And I think Furnok would agree with me,” she said with a wink.
“Huuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhh??? Furnok? Yeah, he's said I'm pretty, said you were pretty too, so he's obviously not dumb! I think he's okay too; he has a good sense of humor but seems to have a flair for the dramatic. I'm glad he has decided to come with us, always could use an extra set of eyes to help watch our backs! I mean your cousin is nice too but he can be so stodgy and Furnok likes to have fun...” She paused. “Wait, you winked at me didn't you? Why?”
Besilana gathered her long blond hair to keep it from getting tangled in her holy symbol’s chain as she removed it. “I think he might like you. I mean, like you like you.”
“WHAAAT?” Felicity squealed. “Nooooonono... WHAAAAAT? I mean he seems nice enough but I just met him and he's all tall and stuff and I mean I like him too but I like him like he's fun and funny but I haven't thought about him like like like him I haven't really thought about any...” She sputtered to a stop, then resumed. “Uh... haven't thought... about... hrm. I mean. My heart didn't do the thing... Like...” She coughed. Her pale cheeks blushed mildly as a flustered look came over her face. Quietly, looking up at Besi, she said: “Like they say it does.”
Besilana started squeezing out of her chain shirt. Desperate to pick Felicity’s mood back up, she said, “I could be wrong! It's lot like I'm an expert or anything. It doesn't always go both ways, I think.”
Felicity looked down. “Yeah. I guess not.”
“Hey.” Besi touched her friend on the shoulder, reclaiming her attention. “Are you planning to sleep in your vestments? You know how mad Mother Eiravain would be.”
The mention of Myhalas’s missing high priest could have struck a nerve with Felicity; luckily, the halfling grinned instead. “Can’t have that, nope!” She pulled one boot off and sent it crashing into the rest of her gear under the desk, chasing it with its twin. “Race ya!”
“Oh, that’s not fair!” Besilana kidded. “I have so much more equipment than you, and you don’t take care of yours…”
“That’s not true.” Felicity leaped from the bed and thumped next to her pack, drawing a sheer nightgown out of it as she pulled herself free from her robe. That she folded and set on the desk. But then her little hands were already working the buckles of her studded leather armor. “You just take excellent care of yours.”
Finally free of her chain shirt, Besilana draped it on the back of the chair. “It’s how I was raised.” She stuck her tongue out and began unlacing her breeches.
“That’s why you lose!” Felicity had somehow discarded all of her armor and smallclothes, shoving everything under the desk. Besilana glimpsed the pale, round globes of the halfling’s backside before they vanished under the falling nightgown. When Besi had mentioned that the white gown with green floral embroidery was her favorite, Felicity announced that it would be the one she brought on this trip. “Ha ha! You lose, you lose!” Felicity performed a brief victory dance before hopping back into the bed.
Besilana clasped her chest and fell to the floor, pressing the back of her hand to her forehead. “The shame… it’s too great.”
“Yep.” Felicity leaned over her like a tiny, adorable gargoyle. Something about the way the halfling’s arms pressed her pendulous breasts together beneath the nightgown caused the half-elf to swallow… “Something wrong, Besi?”
“Maybe. No. I’m fine. Just let me finish.” Without getting up, she slid off her boots, breeches, and smallclothes, carefully arranging them before slipping into her forest green nightgown. She thought she felt Felicity’s eyes on her while she worked, but the light of a single candle raises more questions than answers.
“Ready?” Felicity called.
“Then get over here, loser.”
She sat on the bed beside the halfling. “Will I have to perform a forfeit?” Besilana asked.
“Maybe later. You’re a loser and you’re wrong about Furnok.” Her tone was playful, but the message was serious.
“Probably. Clearly, my judgment can’t be trusted. I mean, I thought that Darla was looking at me like Furnok was looking at you.”
This seemed to startle Felicity out of her brief melancholy. “Oh yes she was if it's the way you were talking!”
“Wait, you thought the same thing?”
“Yeah, maybe. She seemed very interested in you!” Felicity enthusiastically hopped next to Besi, causing more jiggling under the halfling’s gown. She elbowed Besi lightly in the thigh and grinned up at her. “She gave you those cat eyes!” She paused as though thinking something through. “Wait! She likes likes ladies?”
The nightgown’s neckline showed more of Felicity’s creamy flesh than Besi remembered, ample breasts pressed together. She forced herself to meet the halfling’s gaze. “Is... is that something that ladies do?” With Ehlonna’s priesthood almost entirely female, rumors of such trysts were not unknown at Myhalas, but Besi was too removed from that little society to know if those rumors were true.
Besi sensed hesitation in Felicity’s eyes. “I mean, not that that's anything bad, I like ladies too but I don't know about liking them in the way she seemed to... I mean ladies are nice. Definitely prettier than men although I'm not really experienced with either. But Darla looked like she was liking what she saw on you and that was...” She looked down at her chest. “I don't think it would be wrong... right?” She looked back at Besilana with soft blue eyes.
“I'm glad to hear you say that.” She let out a long-held breath. “When Darla was leaning over me, with her… titties in my face (and Felicity gave the slightest gasp at the word she’d never heard her friend use before), some part of me wanted to... i don't know, GET IN there.” She mimed pawing at an invisible bosom. “But why? I mean, I have breasts. Kind of. You definitely have breasts.”
Felicity giggled and looked down at her own breasts. “Yes I do. I mean I guess I understand, they were very soft looking, like pillows.” She bunched them together and bounced them a little between her arms, unaware of the hypnotic effect she had on her friend. “Very soft... I mean I don't know about getting in there, I would probably get lost in them. I mean, but is it just that? I dunno...” She looked up at Besi for a moment, eyed her up and down a little, faltered for a second. “I mean I don't think there is anything wrong with liking things that are... worth liking. I mean MEN like them, so why can't I...” The ‘I’ tripped her up for a long second. “Other women?”
“Oh, Felicity.” She put an arm around the halfling’s shoulder, pulling her tightly under her wing. “I wouldn't think any less of you if you did. Maybe I feel the same way?” It was a question. She sat up a little straighter, feeling the tension of her nightgown against her stiffening nipples. It’s low summer, she thought. Why is that happening?
“And that would be fine if you did! I mean... assuming that's what I mean, I mean if I knew what I mean, if I meant, because what’s wrong with liking things like that?”
“Nothing. I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with that. Still, it’s all very new to me, being… I've hardly been around anyone who wasn't convinced by Mother Eiravain that I'm some sort of circus freak.”
Felicity took Besi's free hand in hers and looked into her eyes lovingly. “You, my... beautiful, darling, lovely” – she swallowed a little – “friend, are no circus freak. You are beautiful and lovely and wonderful and kind and I love you.” She tried to smile a bit, even with a hint of sadness in her eyes.
“I... thank you, Felicity.” What else could she say? A lone tear rolled down her cheek. “I love you, too. Your friendship has meant the world and moons and stars to me.”
Felicity brightened a little. “Oh, and yours mine!”
Besilana brought Felicity’s hands to her lips and gently kissed them. “You know, it seems to me that, with Myhalas behind us, you and I are free to become who we're meant to be.”
“You’re right! And I'm glad to be whomever I am as long as you're with me!” Felicity climbed onto Besi’s lap and put her arms around her, burying her face in Besi's chest and squishing her own soft body against Besi, almost knocking them back down onto the bed.
Besi needed a moment before she wrapped her arms around Felicity, squeezing her tightly, stroking her lovely black hair with delicate half-elven fingers. “I would hate to be here, or anywhere, without you.” She realized that Felicity was straddling her hips, was sure she felt a pair of full pouty lips briefly pressed to her chest. Then she heard a whisper:
“I'm so glad.”
Besi felt a moment of embarrassment, realizing that Felicity must feel the hardness of her nipples. Yet the halfling only leaned against them more, and the half-elf realized the same thing had happened to Felicity’s breasts.
“That feels... can I ask you something, Felicity?”
“Anything.” Spoken into Besilana’s chest, the word was more felt than heard.
She continued to stroke Felicity’s hair. “Did you ever... lie with anybody, back in Myhalas? You know, like sex?”
Felicity took a moment to answer. Besi knew that moments of quiet like this were rare for her, and tried not to spoil it. “No. The only couple of times I even thought about... IT... I remembered how unlike everyone I am and so who would lie with me? How would I even manage it? No use in dwelling on it after that...” She let out a sigh and went a little limp under Besi’s ministrations.
“I'm sure you'll figure it out when the time comes.” Besi sighed. “I just... feelings are confusing, you know?”
Felicity seemed to shrink down a little more in Besi’s arms. “Yeah... confusing.” Her voice, her body, seemed a little shaky: “What about you? Did you ever lie with anyone on your excursions outside or inside Myhalas?”
“No.” Besi's fingertips grazed across Felicity's forehead. “There was a boy, once... a ranger who seemed quite taken with me, but. If I lie with someone, I want it to mean something.” She gently lifted Felicity's chin so they’d be eye to eye. “Does that make any sense?”
Felicity stopped shaking and gazed deep into Besi's hazel eyes. “I... Yes, that makes sense. I want the same thing.” She reached her hand up slowly and traced the half-elf’s jawline, then pulled her fingers away swiftly as they began to flutter across Besi's lips. As Besi leaned onto the caress, Felicity broke her gaze away suddenly, slightly embarrassed, but then looked back to Besi, her breath caught in her chest. Softly she whispered: “I.. I want it to be someone special, someone...” She trailed off a little as she kept her eyes on Besi's.
“That's exactly what I mean,” Besilana heard herself say.
Felicity traced her hand down Besi's cheek, brushing a strand of hair back and along the slightly pointed ear, her eyes moving down to Besi's lips and back up. The halfling bit her lower lip briefly in a moment of indecision. Her eyes fluttered closed slowly and Besi beheld the sight of Felicity’s lips pouted, almost expecting. Her eyes closed for a moment, her breathing shallow. The small hand along her ear almost imperceptibly pulling.
Besi breathed in deeply through her nose, inhaling Felicity's scent. She closed her eyes as she leaned an inch closer to the halfling. “Exactly what I want...”
She felt Felicity lean up a bit, felt the halfling’s lips brush her own. A shock went up her spine and she involuntarily pressed her lips to Felicity's. She felt the halfling shiver in her arms, her mouth open slightly, the tip of her tongue slowly tracing the edge of Besi's lip, her breath once again caught.
Besi moaned a breath into Felicity's mouth as she kissed the halfling back and moved her hands to frame Felicity's face. She felt the halfling’s arms circle loosely around her neck, felt her body pulled in close, felt the two of them lost in each other’s lips.
She lost track of the world until Felicity broke away to breathe in the air she forgot she needed. She pulled her head back from Besi and beamed at her, flushed. “Well... I...” She kept her body pressed to Besi, her breathing ragged.
Besi opened her eyes to find her own lips still in mid-purse. She laughed, nervously. “Yeah. That was weird. I think I’ve had this dream before.”
“I... I'm glad it wasn't just me.” Felicity shyly looked down and fidgeted nervously.
“You're my heart, Felicity. You're my sister. Closer than a sister. There's no one I'd rather be with.” She gently tilted Felicity's head back up to face her. “But we really should get some sleep. Big day tomorrow and all that.”
“And you are mine Besilana, and I wouldn't have it any other way.” Felicity looked down again and sighs. “You're right... But...” She paused for a long moment. “Dibs on the big spoon!”
They both broke out in peals of laughter. Besi felt the tension between them dissolve, and could see that Felicity was also relieved. She stretched out on the bed with her back to the wall, holding her arm up so that Felicity could press her back against her stomach.
“Spoons! Spoons! Spoons!” the halfling nearly squealed, wiggling herself into place for maximum contact. Besi draped her arm over Felicity, gently rubbing her tummy and causing her to make the contented sound they both called the halfling purr. This had been their way since their earliest childhood days – in a community comprised almost entirely of elves, the need to sleep was one thing that Felicity and Besilana had always shared.
But things were different now. Besilana knew there was a damp patch on Felicity’s nightgown, somewhere south of her hand. She thought about reaching for it – reaching for her own – but not tonight. Enough had happened tonight.
“I love you,” Felicity said. As many times as she’d said it to Besilana before, this time felt different from all the others.
“I love you, too,” she replied, placing the lightest kiss on Felicity’s head and sparking off another chain of wiggles.
Besilana slept, but did not dream.