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Peace and Other Stories


Fragments of a Formerly Active Sex Life



Lavina, Canto 6:  Return to Halyptus (Part 2 of 2)
by Julian X  /  poetry  /  30 Sep 2007

As they approached the small town of Halyptus,

Lavina’s father, having gone days without sleep,

shouted over the horses back to her:

“There was one other that I saved.”

 

Lavina heard but did not understand, and asked him to repeat.

“I managed to save one other, besides you.

It was after I’d joined the king’s guard

but before I’d joined those who took girls

from the harem to King Cesinare.

One of the other royal guards had just died,

and he’d left no wife or family of any kind.

The guard’s own servants had cared for his infant child,

but now the king wanted it cared for by another guard

and that guard’s family – it was the will of Cesinare,

or so we were told, though Cesinare by then

couldn’t be bothered with anything.

The child, I learned, had itself been

one of the infants in the nursery,

a child of Guyesp farmed out to his guards

when his brother threw the nursery’s mothers

back into the harem.  I’d learned all that only then.

You must remember that it had been some time

since I’d left your mother in Halyptus,

and still I’d never seen you, knew not if you lived.

I took pity on the child, just one year old.

I thought it should not suffer for its father’s sin

and volunteered to take it into my own household.

The commanders of the royal guards

liked that I lived so far away:

Guyesp’s blood would be spread in this fashion,

and they thought Cesinare would be pleased

if he could take his mind off the harem to think of it.

And so I went home for the first time,

carrying with me a baby boy, a new child

for your mother, who could no longer have them

and had birthed only you, our one daughter,

who’d been taken from us – who, until the night

I stole you away, could have been dead,

so far as we knew.”  He paused.

“His name is Michael.”

 

They rode back to Lavina’s old home,

and her mother, who looked much older than Lavina recalled,

threw her arms around her lost daughter

and cried and cried and cried.

“I knew you weren’t gone,” she said, letting

without embarrassment or even thought

the tears fall unwiped from her face.

“My daughter,” she affirmed, her arms tight.

“Your horrors are over.  I can’t… I can’t imagine

what you’ve been through.  I don’t even know

if I want to know.  But I love you

and you are always welcome here.”

Lavina’s mother also cried

when she embraced Lavina’s father,

saying nothing but radiating thanks.

Lavina came inside, and there saw a young boy

in his first few years of life, running around and falling

down.  She knelt and met her adopted brother

who she’d never known nor imagined,

and, as she traced Michael’s tiny face,

she thought that she was touching Guyesp,

touching some unknown harem girl

with whom she’d once lived.

 

Those were awkward but wonderful days.

For a time, Lavina was kept indoors, away from the town’s eyes,

but, after some days, her father took Lavina

to the church in which she’d been baptized,

and there demanded she confess her sins.

“I have none,” Lavina replied.

Her father put his arm on her shoulders

and told her, “We all have sins.

Did they have a confessional in the harem?”

His daughter leered at her, saying “of course not.”

“Then you have much to confess,” he told her.

“As do you,” she told him.  “Daughter,

I have confessed my sins in Triemte

and will do so again.  But I am not the subject.

Your salvation is.”  Lavina threw off his arm:

“And what, father, would you have me confess,”

she began, her voice echoing in the tiny stone structure

in which townspeople were already watching

and whispering.  “That I was raped?

That I loved a woman?  That I licked her cunt?

That I loved the warmth of her breasts on my face?

That I watched her soul animate her loving eyes

and knew that I was not alone?  What is it,

dear father, that you think so weighs upon my soul?”

Her father stood for a full second, thinking

in vain of a response, before he hit her.

Her head shot to the side,

and he suddenly apprehended the eyes upon him.

“We should leave,” she told him, and they did.

 

On the way home, her father said not one word,

but let his daughter speak.

“Guyesp should never have taken me,

but he knew your daughter well

and I came to love him once he was gone.

I did not rejoice at word of Cesinare’s execution:

he was mad, as you had heard, but better

than Anarolyni, who alone deserves the scorn

you heap so unmixed and pure upon his predecessors.

The harem was my home, for better or worse,

as your house was once my home.

It could be sad, but there were wonderful days.

I am not the country girl you raised.

Perhaps I am a girl of the harem

and ever will be.  But

the Church has no place in the harem;

there is no need for it there.

There is only need for love, for companionship,

for hope that one will not be called,

nor hope to become a favorite of the king,

nor simply to not to be killed.”

The two were arriving at his house,

so her father gestured to it and told her,

“This is your home, Lavina.”

“No,” she replied, her head hung low.

“This is a place that existed best

in my memory.  Thank you

for rescuing me.  I owe you my life.

But I am leaving.”  “Daughter, you cannot!”

her father said with shock.

“How will you survive?  Where will you go?”

Lavina shrugged.  “I don’t know.

Somehow,

someway,

I’ve found

that I can.”

Her father stood mute, and he could see

that she was, in her way, older than him.

 

Lavina went inside and kissed her mother,

who cried and begged the man not to let her go.

“She’ll be back,” said the father.

Lavina knelt and talked to infant Michael,

knowing he understood nothing.  And then,

she said goodbye to her father

and her crying mother together.

“You were good parents,” she said.

“I hope the three of you live long and happy lives.”

The mother wept and begged, but the father said again,

“She’ll be back.  She’ll be back.”

And he continued as she walked out the cottage door,

then down the bumpy country road

and at last went out of sight.

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Lavina:  A Sexual Odyssey:
Lavina, Canto 1:  Lavina and the Prince (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 1:  Lavina and the Prince (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 2:  Isabel and the Harem (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 2:  Isabel and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 3:  Cesinare and the Harem (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 3:  Cesinare and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 4:  The Fall of the House of Borheya (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 4:  The Fall of the House of Borheya (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 5:  Anarolyni and the Harem (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 5:  Anarolyni and the Harem (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 6:  Return to Halyptus (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 6:  Return to Halyptus (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 7:  Lavina at Sea (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 7:  Lavina at Sea (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 8:  On the Island of Firanet (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 8:  On the Island of Firanet (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 9:  On the Island of Gyneclia (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 9:  On the Island of Gyneclia (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 10:  Lavina in the Desert (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 10:  Lavina in the Desert (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 11:  Lavina the Slave (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 11:  Lavina the Slave (Part 2 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 12:  The Courting of Lavina (Part 1 of 2)
Lavina, Canto 12:  The Courting of Lavina (Part 2 of 2)