The plains of what will be called North America — 1200 A.D.
Laresa and Nathifa sat together, sewing fur into new garments for the coming winter. Although Nathifa delighted in the simple work, Laresa was not quite as enamored of it, and frequently cheated with her magic whenever her auburn-haired friend was not looking.
The fact that Laresa could use her magic at will, for something as simple as making clothing, warmed the Djinn's heart. Although still technically a slave to the ring, Nathifa had wished for Laresa to decide her own fate, and her own actions. Never since her rebirth had the silvery-haired genie known such freedom. Having only been recently freed from the shackles of the Djinn, Nathifa simply could not abide the thought of owning someone, as she had been owned.
So, for the first time in centuries, Laresa controlled her own fate. She could come and go as she pleased, do as she wished, and never did her Mistress ask anything of her. Even when a dire need arose, Nathifa refused to ask for Laresa's magical assistance.
Laresa was still connected to her Mistress through the ring, however, and she could sense when Nathifa was worried or out of sorts. Whenever Nathifa felt something was needed, Laresa stepped in happily with her powers and made it so.
Thus, the tribe prospered. Where many other tribes had found the harvest this year lean, and the game thin, the tribe the two women had adopted knew only bounty. When it was dry, Laresa brought rain. When the floods came, Laresa turned the raging waters away from the village and their food source. When someone sustained an injury, or fell ill, the beautiful Djinn made them whole.
The people believed that they were favored of the spirits, as exemplified by their good fortune, and by the two unusual women amongst them. Though the tribe related to them as natives of the village, they could hardly ignore that the pair of women were different, and quite striking in appearance. Their hair alone marked them as unusual among the universally dark-topped people.
Laresa was known as Moon in Her Hair, a reference to her silvery locks. Nathifa's native name came from her hair, and her beautiful, gentle voice — Firetop Bird. Both women were more than a little amused by the amount of attention the young men of the tribe paid to them. Laresa had thus far remained a bit distant from the men's advances, as she could not bear them children, and thought it unfair to steal attentions from other women seeking mates. Simply being able to choose to do so was also empowering, and something Laresa had rarely known in her long centuries as a genie.
Nathifa had done much the same, until Sees With a Hawk's Eye had caught her eye. Laresa knew that her friend did not realize that she was paying attention to Hawk, but it was true nonetheless. It was easy enough for Laresa to understand why, because he was a magnificent example of manhood, with a good heart. She had felt her own body stir when looking at him many times, but Nathifa lost contact with everything but the sight of him, and his voice, whenever he was near.
Right now, it didn't take much to fan Laresa's flames of arousal. She avoided the men, so as not to disappoint them, and Nathifa still felt uncomfortable about her attraction to the Djinn, and other women in general. Laresa had felt her friend's emotions surging many times, but always Nathifa had backed away before releasing the pent up passions within her — at least with anyone else. The scent, sound, and thoughts coming from Nathifa, as the young woman masturbated in the night, were near maddening to Laresa.
Every day, Laresa fought the feeling deep inside her that she didn't really belong. She was determined, despite her recently tumultuous emotions, to enjoy her new freedom. For the most part, she succeeded, although that made the moments when the melancholy assaulted her feel even darker by comparison.
One of the young braves appeared on the hill, moving toward the village at a brisk pace. Laresa noticed him, and sensed something was wrong from the determined look on his face. Nathifa saw the concentration in Laresa's features, and turned to see what had attracted the Djinn's attention.
The brave consulted with another, older man, whose face then took on the same concerned cast. Others approached, and they too conferred. Then the first brave, and the first man he had spoken with left the group, moving quickly toward where the Chieftain sat, watching his grandchildren at play.
"I wonder what is going on," Nathifa pondered.
"They look worried," Laresa added.
Noticing a new arrival in the group that still stood gathered near the edge of the village, Nathifa stood and said, "I will go ask Hawk."
The faintest hints of a smile touched Laresa's lips. "You will remember to come back and let me know what he has to say, I trust?"
"Of course," Nathifa replied with a slightly confused expression.
"I'll be waiting."
Nathifa smiled and started in Hawk's direction. Laresa shook her head, wondering how the woman could be so smitten, and not even realize it herself. Finishing a final stitch on her garment, Laresa sighed. Although she was happier than she had been in a long time, seeing Nathifa living a life of true freedom was painful at times.
Laresa stiffened when she felt Nathifa's worry. That was all the incentive necessary for Laresa to stand up, and go join her friend to find out what was going on firsthand.
"Are we in danger?" Nathifa was asking Hawk as Laresa approached.
He shook his head, "No, we do not even know that what Rushing Wind saw was one of those who dwell outside the light. Even if it is, we are forewarned, and will be prepared, should this be more than a single dark one within this land."
"But, you are troubled," Nathifa countered.
Hawk smiled, "The thought of doing battle is troubling, even with those who know only darkness. We are strong, and blessed by the Spirit. We have no need to fear, should the need to paint our faces for war come. I must go. Those who hunt must be warned."
"I shall return safely, Firetop."
Laresa fought the urge to push the couple together. They stood staring at each other, in lieu of the kiss lovers would share at such a juncture. At last, Hawk nodded and trotted off in the direction the hunting party had taken in the morning hours.
Nathifa concentrated and sent her thoughts to Laresa, Who are those that dwell outside the light?
Laresa closed her eyes, searching through the thoughts and memories of those around her, discovering the answer. They are people who have been cast out. Those who have committed foul deeds, or fallen sway to black magic. In recent years, these people have started gathering, forming dangerous roving bands. When they gather, they are sought out and scattered, but they become more adept at hiding their location each time. Hawk told the truth, he is not afraid, and unsure that what Rushing Wind saw was indeed one of these people.
I suppose there is no need to worry, then. Laresa was glad to feel Nathifa's relief with those mental words, but it was tinged with worry for Hawk.
"Come; let us finish with our furs. The snow will be blowing soon, and we will be very cold if we do not," Laresa suggested.
Nathifa nodded and returned with Laresa to their teepee.
Laresa slipped out of her reverie with the dawn, realizing that she felt weak and light-headed. Because she rarely used her powers, Laresa was able to remain outside her ring for long periods of time, but there were limits.
Nathifa roused, smiling and saying, "Good morning."
"Good morning. I think I need to rest in my ring," Laresa replied weakly.
"Go then, you need not wait for me to awaken when you feel the need for rest. I will miss you."
"I will miss you as well," Laresa responded, and then dissolved into a misty vapor, returning to her ring.
As soon as she appeared in her home, Laresa felt her strength returning. It would take some time, and sleep, before her powers were fully restored, but at least she didn't feel as though she were about to collapse now.
With a thought, she changed out of her tribal clothing into a shimmering, nearly transparent gown of silk. The material felt wonderful against her skin, slippery and cool. She relaxed back onto her cushions, closing her violet eyes, and letting her mind drift.
Laresa's thoughts quickly drifted in a direction that precluded sleep. Nathifa had once again satisfied the needs of her body last night, and in Laresa's weakened state, the sensations coming from her Mistress had nearly overwhelmed the Djinn's careful controls. Nathifa was still too uncomfortable with her feelings, and the one time Laresa had let her hand drift between her thighs to sate her own need, she had keenly felt Nathifa's unease. Thus, Laresa simply endured — drawing hope from the slowly eroding discomfort she sensed from Nathifa — that such things would eventually not be a problem.
She could have used her powers, naturally, to hide the sight, sound, and scent from her Mistress, but Laresa felt uncomfortable doing so. Doing that, or retreating to her ring felt deceptive to Laresa, and so she refused to do either. Nevertheless, she had nearly done so last night. The memories quickly returned Laresa to that state now, and nothing here precluded her from cooling her burning need.
.... There is more of this story ...