Willem blinked a little dazedly at the light in the darkened attic room he shared with his elder brother Dannel. "What's going on?" he said, his words muddled by sleep and startlement as he held a hand over his eyes to shield it from the lantern Dannel held up.
"It's time," said his brother hastily, tossing his pants toward him, and immediately firing his shirt his way as well. The clothes flopped over his protective arm and head as he blinked again.
"Time for what?" he protested, worried one of the cows was going into labor, or some other farm emergency. Usually or or two of their milk herd had issues like that each year and invariably at the wrong time of day. But no, it would be his father waking him if it was a cow in labor needing his help.
Dannel, three years his elder - very nearly a man grown, really - gave him an impatient look. "I can't tell you, but trust me, you want to get up."
The two were cut of the same cloth, undeniably the sons of their father, Marcus. Tall, stockily built, with thick, slightly curly brown hair and light brown eyes. Typical of Westron men, they had deep tans from their work in on the dairy farm. Willem was only fourteen, beginning his growth toward manhood, and already several inches taller than he had been in the summer of his thirteenth year, well on his way toward six feet, like his brother and father both, though not nearly so broad of arm or chest yet.
"I want to sleep!" protested the younger boy, but something in Dannel's expression made the end of that demand trail off a little. His older brother, normally the very model of a senior sibling, was excited like a child, eyes sparkling and his grin almost irrepressibly broad.
"No, I promise you do not!" retorted the older brother, grabbing the pants, which had fallen off Willem's arm and back onto the floor, where they had started before all this hubbub, and tossing them back over the younger brother's body. "Now get yourself dressed, we have to move quickly!"
It was rapidly becoming obvious something terribly interesting and very unusual was happening. Hesitatingly, Willem slipped out from under the covers. It was chilly spring night, and he did not need much encouragement, once out of the protection of the covers, to get dressed quickly, tugging his pants on and then his shirt, before pulling the suspenders for his pants over his shoulders.
Dannel was going through things in his little chest of personal belongings at the foot of his bed. He finally brought forth a simple copper band, heavily etched with little nicks and cuts, that made it sparkle wildly, despite it being, in truth, a rather cheap bracelet. "You'll need this, put it in your pocket," urged the older brother, pressing the cold copper into Willem's hand. He did as told, then pulled on his jacket then sought out his boots, one of which had wound up under his bed. He tugged them on and started lacing them to his ankles.
"It better be good, whatever has you so all-fired worked up," warned Willem. It was a hollow threat, for what would he do if Dannel were playing him for a fool? Dannel would thump him soundly if he tried to exact vengeance for the prank. Besides, while Dannel was not above the occasional petty teasing that was the holy domain of any elder brother toward his younger, he had never really been 'cruel' toward Willem, and even that teasing he did do seemed delivered more out of a sense of duty to the role of elder brother than any real desire to be mean.
"It is!" exclaimed the older brother, opening the window that let out onto the long, sloped roof of the farmhouse. He crawled out it and onto the wooden slates of the roof and carefully started down, taking the lantern and light with him.
It was even chillier outside, but Willem followed, keeping in range of the circle of light from the lantern and the two finally reached the lowest point, only five or six feet above the soft, thick grass of the farmstead. They dropped down quietly and started across the pasture toward the distant black line of the edge of the forest.
The dogs only wurfed in curiosity, as they identified the scent of the boys almost immediately, but they were trained well to their duty of guarding the cows and stayed at their posts, lounging in the tall grass while the cattle slept or fitfully lowed protest at the light crossing their pasture nearby.
They clambered through the three-beam fence and into the edge of the forest and Dannel stopped his younger brother. "You know Milly DisLenner and I have been courting for nigh two years now?" he asked Willem.
Of course he knew, and wondered at being asked that particular question on this peculiar night of unexpected eventfulness. He nodded. Dannel turned down the lamp to just a faint glow, only light enough to see the ground around them and one another, leaving even the nearest trees to become black, mysterious shapes in the general darkness of the new-mooned night. A few stars peeked through the dense canopy of the old-growth forest, but shed no real usable light on things, and the woods seemed close and sinister in the chill air, a light fog hugging the ground and weaving among the trees, further softening the light of the lantern.
"Well, she said yes, and her father granted leave, we're to be married!" said Dannel excitedly.
Milly was a pretty girl, two years younger than Dannel's eighteen summers, but that was a fair normal age for a girl to promise herself to marriage, though usually they waited until seventeen or eighteen to actually wed. His brother was now officially engaged, and by Westron custom, he was now expected to be faithful to his soon-to-be bride, just as she was to him.
The people of the Western Realms were not so prudish as to demand virginity in their newlyweds, and likely as not, Dannel and Milly had consummated their affection for one another weeks or months before the request for marriage had been made. This carried no particular stigma among these pragmatic Westron folk, but they did take the relationships seriously, once promised.
"That's great, but hardly a reason to come traipsing into the forest at - what time is it anyway?" demanded Willem. He shivered against the chill air, and tugged his jacket around himself to peer at the dark forest around them, and back toward the relative lightness of the pasture behind.
"It's all the reason in the world, in this case," said Dannel softly, his voice taking on a peculiar earnestness and seriousness not normally found in the young, mostly carefree, man. "Before she said yes, I saw other gels, of course, as she saw other lads."
Willem rolled his eyes. He had courted one of the neighbor girls, as well, and knew how things worked in those matters. "Well, you'll have to stop that, right?"
Dannel nodded, his eyes moving back to the darkness, then returning to Willem's. "Aye, but one - well - this one, it would be cruel to just stop seeing her. She's special and..." his voice drifted off as he heard a sound among the trees and lowered the lamp. "I don't want to hurt her by stopping seeing her cold - and you're going to help or I'll make my last months at home the worst hell you've ever suffered."
"Help? How?" asked Willem, lowering his voice even as Dannel put a fingertip to his lips. He was about to ask again, when a soft, feminine voice, thickly accented and speaking as if unused to speaking, the words somehow clumsily coming from the throat.
"Dan-el?" asked the voice, almost plaintifly, there was a soft sound of movement among the underbrush.
"I'm here," replied Dannel, in a coaxing, warm whisper, a smile blooming on his features. He kept his finger over his lip.
Into the small circle of illumination from the lantern emerged the form of a young woman, crouched low, almost on all fours. She was nude, and her form was fair - no - it was magnificent. Sleek and muscular, with long, lean arms and legs, and a slender back shaped and arched by the One himself. Half of that back was covered in a thick, curling mane of greenish-black hair, and the woman's large brown eyes regarded him from a face of deeply tanned color. Long, elfin ears poked out of the thick hair, tilting and shifting as she regarded Dannel, then him, her smooth forehead furrowing in concern as she backed a tiny bit.
"No, no, he is okay, he is my brother," said Dannel, putting an arm around Willem and giving him a little shake, as to confirm that the younger sibling was under his control and no danger.
Her expression was wary, the eyes bright and alert as she moved back to the light. She stood slowly, unfolding from the crouched pose. Her breasts were small but perfectly formed and firm, high and proud, and capped by dark, perked nipples. It did not surprise Willem, given the cold, though she seemed to not otherwise notice that cold or her own nudity.
"Need - is time," she said, almost pitifully, her eyes softening to an imploring demand.
Dannel nodded. "I - I can't, now, I have a human mate," he explained.
"Mate?" she asks, it was obvious she did not understand. Willem was stunned at being presented with his first fully nude female of his short life, much less that she seemed eager to mate with Dannel. Slowly it started to dawn on him what his purpose here was.
"Willem, do you think she's pretty?" asked Dannel hopefully.
"Gods, yes, she's pretty, but - I can't just - well, you know." he protested
"Aye, you can," said his elder brother. "It's not just doing me a favor, it's doing her one - she is miserable with the need, can't you see that?"
The girl's alert, large eyes darted back and forth as they talked, not understanding what they said, but knowing it was important. At hearing 'need' among the babble of incomprehensible words, she nodded eagerly. "Need," she said, the word filled with imploring hope. "Need mate."
Willem looked from his brother to the painfully beautiful girl, then back. Her expression was so saddening he couldn't imagine hurting her, himself, and was rather upset that his own brother was having to hurt her, though he did sort of understand.
He sought to reassure her, comfort her, and reached for her. She drew back, fear flashing in her big eyes and flashing teeth that would have looked more at home in the shepherds that guarded the cattle, long canines flashed white in the low lantern light. "Never grab for her, never make her think you are trying to hold her," warned Dannel in a soft voice. "It's okay, little one, he will not hurt you. Never in a million years."
"Never hurt, no," agreed Willem. How could anyone hurt the lovely young woman, with her expressions flashing so guilelessly over her features? Hope, fear, want, need, worry, happiness and sadness all flickering second by second on her face.
"No hurt," she agreed with a trace of a smile again, and those disconcertingly sharp teeth flashing.
Dannel patted his brother's shoulder. "Show her that bracelet, offer it to her," he said. "She likes shiny, sparkly things."
Willem dug into the pocket, her eyes following his hand's movement alertly, a little curiosity showing on her features. She still remained a good eight feet from them both, but was no longer poised for immediate flight, though surely she could quite quickly return to that state, balanced on the toes of her bare feet, shifting her weight from foot to foot, the long, lean muscles of her legs shifting under her supple flesh.
Those eyes lit like little stars when he produced the copper bracelet and she cooed at it with a delighted expression crossing her pretty features. He held it out and she tilted her head, those long ears making the gesture more accentuated. She stepped tentatively closer, then took another as Dannel nodded and she flashed a questioning look toward him.
Her fingers were long and slender, but tipped with sharply tapering nails, more claws than fingernails, in truth, but they seemed clean and well-tended. He could smell her now, the scent decidedly feminine and rather nice, actually - she was clean, and smelled mostly of the forest, a earthy scent, but nice. She took the bracelet with those fingers and slipped her wrist through it, tilting her head and letting out a soft whimper when it started to slide off, over her slender hand.
She looked at him imploringly and held out the hand, keeping it tilted up so the bracelet would not fall off. It was thin copper and not a full loop, and he reached out to gently press the ends closer together to secure it to her slender arm. When it seemed fitted reasonably well, she held up the wrist toward the lantern to catch the light and turned it with a delighted and very girlish giggle. Her smile was stunningly beautiful, despite the carnivorous teeth that filled her mouth.
Her face was so animated and pretty that Willem had all but forgotten her equally delightful body exposed and lit reasonably well in the lantern light now. He glanced down at her trim, flat tummy and the pronounced rise of her pubic mound. Hairless, as it was said elven women were - he wondered if this was an elf, but no, surely it was not. Elves were almost invariably fluent speakers of whatever languages they needed, and her Westron would not be nearly that bad even if it was not one she learned in earnest.
"She's a nymph," said Dannel softly. He had slowly and carefully taken a step back, keeping the two of them in the light, but moving himself further back than Willem was, letting his younger sibling take center stage. "She and I have been friends for a couple of years. I don't think she's very intelligent, but gods is she lovely and warm." He sighed softly, as if regretting the necessities of his romance with Milly.
The nymph looked up at Willem, eyes alight with delight at the gift he had given her. Of course, Dannel had bought the little bauble intending to give it to the nymph himself, but it worked equally well this way - perhaps better.
"Will-em," she said softly, sounding out his name. She may not be human-level intelligent, he realized, but she did have a good memory, for Dannel had said it only once and that some moments before. Her disheveled hair covered most of one large eye and he reached up reflexively to brush it back out of the way. She leaned into the touch and nuzzled his hand warmly, cooing softly, almost purring.
Dannel hung the lantern on a low branch of a nearby tree, leaving the flame low - it would burn all night like that. "I'm going now, Willem, I think you can manage, aye?"
Willem almost did not hear him, so enthralled was he by the beautiful, petite girl nuzzling his hand, lavishing it with kisses as she purred at him like a cat. "Yeah," he managed to finally murmur. He was, himself, responding in the manner one would expect a young man to have to a lovely nude woman showing intense interest in him. He did not even hear Dannel's quiet footsteps back toward the pasture.
The nymph glanced over his shoulder, but this young man was equally suitable as a mate, and had he not given her a sparkly present, as well? She quickly turned her full, intense attention back on Will-em. He was still smelling somewhat frightened, and she did not wish to scare him - that was detrimental to what she wanted of him. No, what she needed of him.
She immediately softened her manner and crouched a little, adopting a more submissive mien as she moved a little closer to him. Nymphs lived fast, and once on a course, pursued it without unneeded delays. "Need," she whispered as she reached out to him and stroked her fingers over his chest and belly, careful to keep her claws away from the fragile cloth and flesh of his front.
Willem reached out and stroked a hand over her high, proud breast. She reacted to that almost shockingly, inhaling sharply and her lips curling upward in a smile. It seemed he had committed himself to fulfilling that need in her. That he wanted to was without question, though he was still a little unsure just how to do so. Oh, he was a farm lad and knew well the mechanics of mating, and could manage that well enough, but that would not do for such a beautiful, exotic girl. He wanted it to be done well not just done.