"When the world was new the First Man looked upon the First Woman and saw that she was fair. The world was barren and without life and he longed for beauty around him to equal her own.
He called to the woman and asked her to lie with him that she might bear him children to cultivate the earth. But she laughed and ran away, and he grew angry at her.
He chased her through the long days and nights until at last he caught her, and piercing her with his fleshy spear, planted the first child in her belly.
The wound he made between her legs never healed, and unless her belly was swollen with child, it bled each month, like when he had first pierced her. She was angry with him but looked upon her child, a fair haired daughter, with joy. And so, when the First Man bid her to lay with him again, she consented.
And so she bore him many sons and daughters, and their children spread out over the face of the world, planting and reaping, and caring for the land.
And it came to pass that the First Daughters came to the First Woman, who was now called Mother, and asked her how they might bear children of their own, for they saw the joy she had in them, her own children.
The First Woman told her daughters that the First Man, who was now called Father, had planted his seed in her belly, and a child was born. "Go and ask him how a child is made," she said. And they did.
Father laughed and said that the daughters would have to let the sons pierce them with their fleshy spears and plant the children they sought in their bellies. But the First Daughters were afraid, and ran, and the First Sons did chase them, and catching them, did pierce them with their fleshy spears.
And the First Daughters had many daughters, and they grew, and spread upon the face of the world, planting green things and sowing and reaping. And the daughters of the First Daughters saw the joy their Mothers looked upon them with and were envious.
So they went to the First Mother, who was now called Grandmother, and asked how they might have sons and daughters of their own. And Grandmother laughed, and sent them to the First Man, who was now called Grandfather.
Grandfather told them of a game he had invented, a game that would give them sons and daughters, and the daughters cried to him to tell them how to play the game. And he bid them gather around, the sons and daughters of the Sons and Daughters, and told them the laws of the game.
And the first law is that what a man catches and spears he may keep, to bear him children.
And the second law is that...
Sa'at stood in the predawn chill, clad only in the white robe of those who'd completed the purification ritual. He listened as the priest droned on and on from atop the large rock, listing the rules of the Game.
They were simple really, he thought, and wondered why the old man had to take so long laying them out. The game began with the women dropping their robes and running, nude, toward the rising sun. When they reached the tree line, some hundred paces down the hill, the men would drop their robes and give chase.
If a man caught a woman, and took from her the veil that covered her womb, she was his. Sa'at was glad he was a man, for the thought of running through the woods with men intent upon raping you close behind was not a pleasant one.
But it was the Game that the First Man, now called Grandfather or Old Man, had given them for the choosing of wives. It ensures that strongest and fastest of the men got the most wives, and therefore bred strong and fast sons and daughters.
He watched the eastern sky as the Priest droned on, his withered face lit by the torches. When the sky began to lighten in the east, the red robed acolytes called the men, boys really, Sa'at thought, forward to where they tended a large kettle of steaming brew.
"It will make you run faster, but more importantly, make your spear stiffer that it has ever been," his father had told him once. "You will be able to lie with a woman many times, or many different women, after a draught." He didn't mention the mind fogging lust that came over those who drank, or how they became almost like animals, wanting only to rut.
Sa'at found the draught to have a bitter taste, and made a face before handing the cup back to the acolyte, who dipped it to refill it for the next boy in line. Returning to his place before the great rock, he noticed his heartbeat quickening, and a curious lightness in his head.
It was almost like the time he'd gotten into some cider that gone hard. He felt slightly drunk, yet almost like he was walking on air, instead of the ground. He felt he could run faster, jump higher, and as the cloth of his robe brushed his engorged spear, fuck longer, than anyone ever in the history of the world.
He glanced to where the girls were gathered, the daughters of the nobles dressed the same as those of the peasantry, all alike in virginal white robes. One of the Mothers was talking to them, and casting an eye toward the east, began lining them up, facing the distant tree line.
The old man had fallen silent, his often quoted speech over, and he stood, staff raised high, watching the eastern sky. When the orange disk of the sun appeared above the horizon he struck the rock with his staff, his trained orators voice intoning the ancient words, said to be a quote of the Grandfather's own on the day of the first Running Game.
"Let the Games begin." With those words the women who were prepared, mentally, for what was to happen dropped their robes as one and rushed for the still dark edge of the forest. They knew the men would be released as soon as the first hit that line, and all wanted to be first.
Sa'at kept his eye on one, he'd made a promise to her weeks past, and intended to keep it this day. Blood pounded in his head and loins as he toed the line, untying his belt so that his robe hung open, loose on his shoulders.
His stiff shaft bobbed in the cool air, swollen larger than he ever remembered it being in the past. The wind shifted and he caught the scent of the females and fought the urge to give chase now. He must wait for the signal, he knew, and he crouched, ready to spring at the first note of the Hunter's Horn.
Princess We'mai ran like the wind, glancing neither to the right or left. She remembered her Father's words on the day the acolytes came for her. She had to make it to the river, she must run fast, straight, and true, for the fate of the Kingdom rested upon her shoulders.
A woman who reached the river untouched by a man was free to choose her own husband, but reaching the river untouched was not easy. To make it more unfair, in We'mai's eyes, the river was a day's journey by the good road from the city. To reach it, running over the rough terrain they would be traversing, before nightfall was nearly impossible.
For more than a year she had trained herself, running daily in the King's Forest, over hills and streams, jumping fallen logs and ducking low branches. Ever since Le'verte, her cousin and next in line for the throne, had cornered her in the kitchen pinning her body against the stone with his own, she had prepared for this day.
She had felt the bulge of his hard spear pressing against her buttocks as he pressed her breasts to the wall. "This is how I'll take you when we run in the Game," he'd bragged. "I'll take you in the back hole, so that you become my slave and all that you have becomes mine, including your father's kingdom."
She'd told her Father of it straight away, and although he was angered, he could do nothing. It was the law of the Game, if a man speared a woman in the back hole, she became not his wife but his slave. All that she owned, or would inherit, became his.
"Even if he made you his wife it would be a total disaster for the Kingdom," her father had said wearily. "Once you bore him an heir, he could take the throne, acting as the child's regent." Of course, all of this supposed the death of the current holder of the crown, a thought that troubled the King and Princess both.
Now she felt the first slap of a lithe bough as she ducked under a larger limb as the night was rent by the sound of the Hunter's Horn. A great cry rose up behind her, but she ignored it, running was the only thing that mattered now. None could claim her, or her father's kingdom, if they couldn't catch her.
Onward she ran, as fast as she could and yet conserve enough strength to run the day through. A burst of speed now, to give her a sufficient head start on those chasing, and then settle into a steady pace that would eat up the distance between here and the great river.
The ground blurred beneath her feet, streams gone in a flash, as she ran. Ever down hill, following the path of least resistance, for thus she'd been told to do in a dream. It made sense, for the little streams flowed into the bigger, and the bigger into the creeks, and the creeks into the river.
She'd not loose her way like this either, and end up running in great circles until some man pulled her down and made sport of her. She slipped on a mossy stone, catching herself with her hands, sharp flint cutting her palm. Pay attention to where you are going she admonished herself.
What else had the Crone said in her dream? "Ware the Jackal, else the Kingdom shall suffer all the days of his life, and his son's, and his son's sons'. Trust the Smith and surrender yourself to the Wolf, for you shall need a warrior at your side in the coming years."
.... There is more of this story ...