Chapter 10

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"Do all the people of Khaballe take sex so lightly?"

The High Witch sensed that Uriel was a bit piqued and choose her words carefully. "No. Some such as the upper nobility regard it very highly, demanding virginal marriages for instance. However others, such as ourselves, do not. Many confuse love with sex while often times one has nothing to do with the other, sex being a product of physical attraction or need and love being something cultivated over an extended period of time. Love can be and should be expressed daily, in a thousand different ways that are much more significant than the single physical act of sex."

Something inside Uriel was moved by Khyrhyelle's words but he refused to acknowledge them. Instead, he sat quietly, brooding. Khyrhyelle stood and then took his hands, helping him up. Khyrhyelle looked at him intensely, her eyes glistening with emotion. Uriel felt the flame of desire burn in his heart and clasped her hands tightly. "You fear for the feelings we share for one another," Khyrhyelle said, telling herself as much as she was him. "Do not be afraid. There is no one else, nor do I search for another. My fondness for you has grown into deep affection. I cannot explain it, I cannot understand it and, Goddess knows, I have fought against it. But the feeling remains and grows stronger as the days pass. Uriel, I want you to be with me during the MidSummer celebration. And I want you to stay with me after as well." She held him tenderly, then kissed him lightly on the cheek. "You should be going now. It has been a long and difficult day. We both need some rest."

Uriel's head was spinning and he was too overcome with emotion to speak. After giving her a long look, he finally began to say something, but Khyrhyelle put a finger up to his lips. He gave her a half smile, then turned to leave. He stopped at the doorway and looked at her again. He took everything in, the silver of her hair, the grey of her eyes, the shape of her mouth, the curves of her body. He replayed the musical tones of her voice in his mind. He wanted to memorize everything about her, to immortalize her very essence in his Soul. He spoke the words "I love you" but was never sure if he had said them aloud or mentally.


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