Taking Care of Capria


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Capria had ridden halfway around the lake when she finally wondered why she had been so angry in the first place. Her father had meant well. He'd only spoken of a betrothal; mayhap he had not arranged it. She should at least give him that and this man, her possible betrothed, was known to be both handsome and kind; it could be much worse. Her father could have arranged the marriage as was the custom saying nothing of it to her. She could know nothing of it and it could be to a hideous old man. Capria nearly giggled at the thought, the last of her anger completely ebbing away.

Damn it was cold, "Huhtschooo," Capria sneezed surprising herself. The snow was deeper here and had begun to fall again. She shivered in the cold air and pulled her squirrel-lined cloak a bit tighter round herself. Having been so piqued when she left the grounds of her father's stronghold she was actually overheated but now her irritation had eased, the perspiration keeping her warm had grown damp and cold against her back. Capria shivered again and her petite little nose twitched. "Hissschooo," she sneezed softly. "Damn we best get back, lest I catch my death on top of it all and displease Father further," she told Maxxen, her beautiful blood bay mount. Clicking gently to Max, the pair rounded the bend about to turn back the way they had come when a hare darted across their path zig zagging wildly causing Maxxen to rear, unseating Capria. Completely unprepared Capria fell into the snow hitting her head against one of the many rocks by the frozen water's edge.

There she lay, cloak open, exposed to the elements. Max nickered softly and nudged her face with his soft muzzle. A slow line of blood trickled from the back of her head bright red against the white winter carpet. Once the animal caught the blood scent, he backed up whinnying sharply. He stood quite still for several moments and then nudged her again. Pacing anxiously, Maxxen reared up and pawed the air; up and down he reared making such a racket with his hooves against the rocks, the sound echoed not only across the lake's frozen stillness, but into the thicket behind as well.

Deeper into the thicket, a lone man hunted. He had neatly shot the fox in the skull, an exceptionally clean kill just as it was about to pounce on a snow hare. Standing over six feet in height, he wore no hood. Instead, a heavy cloak of white wolf skins completely covered his superb frame to the line of his fur boots. His long brown hair tousled in the wind, his high cheekbones and aquiline nose still held a tan form the summer months which seemed far behind them now. Walking back toward his mount, Ragnor stood quite still. His mount's ears twitched to and fro and the animal nickered gently pushing against Ragnor's chest.

"Shhhh, I hear it, too, easy, easy now" his voice fell in deep, gentle tones and the horse calmed.

Turning his emerald green eyes upon his steed, he untied Grefel's reins from the fallen tree's dead branch. Swiping the pelt up neatly, Ragnor attached the fox carcass with the other small game he had killed to the right rear flap of the saddle and lead his mount toward the direction of the clattering echo.

As they emerged from the thicket, Ragnor could plainly see a lone blood red stallion pawing the air and landing again and again. The animal was visibly agitated, in a near frenzied state. Dropping Grefel's reins, Ragnor pursed his lips and made a low and rapid kissing sound. The animal nearly bolted, steam billowing out its nostrils and pawed the ground a few more times.

"There now, take it easy fella," Ragnor cooed softly, his deep voice instantly comforting the nervous beast. "What's all this about?" Ragnor queried as his gaze traveled round in a small circle and came to rest upon the maiden in the snow.

Ragnor started and at the sight of her - her long auburn hair fell about her in luxuriant curls, her petite features so lovely, and her breasts lifted up and down by her breath indicating life. For a moment Ragnor stood, frozen in place and then he noticed the thin line of blood leading from the back of her skull. Kneeling in the snow, next to her small form, Ragnor ran his hands along the back of her neck, down each arm and her legs checking to see if anything else felt broken. His heart nearly leapt with joy at finding nothing.

With the utmost regard, he untied her cloak - this was caked with snow and would soon be soaked through doing her more harm than good. Pulling a blanket out of his pack, Ragnor wrapped it around her then lifted her off of her cloak, which he left behind, as he knelt to examine her head wound. It seemed to be only a superficial scratch and the small lump had not swollen much resting on the cold ground; the bleeding seemed to have stopped on it own. Ragnor laid her down gently upon the cloak momentarily as he tied her steed's reins to the left side of his saddle. He then clicked to Grefel and the large horse obediently knelt. Ragnor once again tenderly lifted the maiden into his arms and mounted. Clicking again, Grefel stood. Ragnor pulled the maiden under his cloak holding her gently yet firmly across his lap. "Mmmm," she moaned weakly and shivered in her unconsciousness.

"'tis all right Lady, you are safe," Ragnor whispered to her as he held her close with his large arm and guided Grefel back into the forest with his free hand. The snowfall, which had been light, began to increase and a sharp wind picked up. Resting gently against Ragnor's broadly muscled chest, Capria shivered again and weakly sneezed, "iissschoo." The sound she made in her unconscious state pulled at Ragnor's insides and he glanced down at her. He could feel her growing warm and feverish against his chest and yet was so strangely aroused by her already, he hoped she would not become too ill. Winter was harsh; many died each year without being exposed to its fury. He'd no idea how long she'd been lying there or if she was ill prior. Suddenly he felt an urgency overtake him and urged Grefel's pace through the woods. He had ridden out less than half a day from his manor when he had encountered her, and knew time was of the essence. Night fast approaching, the maiden was shivering uncontrollably, her fever making Ragnor very warm and unusually nervous, left no possibility he could camp. "Lady," he spoke to her, pleading as if his words would help her rally, "Just a bit father and I'll be able to care for you. It will be alright, Little One."

"Mmmm," was her only answer, but then her hand moved and wrapped around his shoulder, so that she was now shivering as she clung to him. Somehow this action, perhaps her touch, wrenched at Ragnor's heart and he urged the horses through the narrow pass leading to his home at a dangerous pace. The well-lit manor loomed in the near distance and already shouts of welcome were echoing through the yard at his return. The wind was gusting snow in icy swirls and several figures were moving to and fro in the yard. Riding pell mell through the yard, Ragnor threw the reins to Charis, his stable hand, as he held the maiden close and slid rapidly to the ground. "Please take Grefel and this lady's steed and bed them down, bring the game to Garrick, I've got to get her indoors." Kicking the kitchen door open wide, Ragnor bellowed, "Mira! Mira!"

A plump woman emerged from the side pantry holding a large wooden spoon in her hand tsking and clucking like a hen. "Ye dinna hafta tae yell so as tae wake the dead, I' right here." Seeing the girl in his arms, Mira raised one eyebrow as she shut the door behind him.

"I found her. She's ill. She fell from her horse - Mira, I, I…" Ragnor struggled for the words, a lump forming in his throat.

Mira had never seen this man, who she had raised as her own from birth in such a state of panic, "Luv, it will be fine. Bring her to your room, there's a fire blazing in the grate, I started it meself. Then get her out of her wet garments, I'll brew my special tea and be right up with it." The plum woman patted Ragnor's arm and felt the girl's head with the palm of her hand. "Oh, la she's burning up - milord, I'll fetch some cloths, and we'll have to cool her as well."

Ragnor turned nearly racing up the back stairwell and entered his room. Laying the fevered maiden upon his large oaken bed, he removed his cloak and closed the door, lest a draft from the stairwell enter in. With a care he did not know he possessed, Ragnor unwrapped the blanket and drew back his coverlet. He removed her shoes, which were damp, her mantel which was wet. He unfastened her dress, which was soaked with her own sweet perspiration, all the while the maiden shivering, her beautiful creamy skin raised in gooseflesh.

Capria was vaguely aware that something was going on around her, but she felt far removed from it. Her head was pounding; she was so cold. Her throat on fire exceeded only by an incredible tickle building up in her nose. She forced her eyes to open for a moment and tried to focus on the beautifully handsome man who was covering her with a blanket. "Where am I, who are are, ah, ahh, iissschooo, chooo, aaaaschoo," she queried barely having a chance to cover her mouth before the sneezes erupted.

"Bless you," Ragnor said, offering her a cloth for her nose, but she was out again. Ragnor felt strange. She was ill; she was beautiful and he was definitely aroused. Her short revival was a good sign, but he felt her forehead and she was still aflame with fever. Ragnor wiped her small nose helplessly and then strode to the fire, stoking it into an unreal blaze. "God help her," he sighed poking the logs in a desperate sort of anger.

"Milord? You'll need to take off your wet things as well or you'll find yourself in the same state as the lady." Ragnor smiled for the first time and turned to observe Mira holding a tray with two cups of the steaming, horrible, hot beverage she swore by for illness. As a young boy he had drank many a cup of her tea and admittedly it seemed to work wonders, thought the taste was unbelievably bad.

"You are right, of course, Mira." Ragnor smiled warmly, "Let me tend to the lady and I then I shall change into dry garments."

Mira nodded and handed Ragnor a cup of the sweet-smelling, terrible-tasting liquid.

"Ragnor, she's got to drink at least half for it to do any good."

Ragnor nodded as he sat next to the maid and eased the beautiful creature off the bed supporting her neck with his arm. "Lady?" he spoke softly and her eyes fluttered open, "Drink this, it will make you well."

Capria sniffed and then drank a few sips until her nose wrinkled. "Oh, it's awful," she gasped weakly, trying to push the cup and the hand holding it away.

Ragnor cracked a smile and chuckled at her adorable expression, then grew serious, "You must drink, to be well," Ragnor persisted.

Capria opened her amber eyes and looked deeply into this stranger's emerald pools. So serious was he that she obeyed and gulped three more mouthfuls before shuddering.

"Please, no more," Capria whispered weakly. Her throat was so sore, too sore to swallow anything, though oddly the bitter liquid seemed to help.

Ragnor looked helplessly to Mira as he laid her back upon the pillows and stood. Mira took the cup from him and handed him the other cup. "Mira you heard her."

"Yes, Luv, this is for you, just a precaution."

Ragnor raised his brow, but drank the horrible stuff nearly gagging as he swallowed the last drop. "Good Lord, Mira I think it tastes worse each time."

Mira smiled, "Well, since you are still in the wet clothes, ''tis the only protection you have."

Laughing heartily, Ragnor smiled, "I'll change. Now, woman, stop this infernal prattling."

Mira smiled sa'tisfied and set the half finished cup of tea on the table near the bed. "Try to get her to finish it, now. I'll be back shortly with some cloths to cool her brow in a few moments."

Ragnor smiled and latched the door behind her. Stretching, he made his way to a fur-lined chair in front of the fire. Sitting, he pulled off his boots, only slightly damp; his feet were dry. This made him laugh aloud, for he had tasted the foul liquid for no reason save to sa'tisfy the woman he considered to be his mother. He removed his britches, mantle and overblouse and stood naked before the flames for a moment before donning his floor-length, green velvet robe.

Capria watched in wide-eyed amazement, his laughter having raised her consciousness. She must be dreaming. This man undressing, now completely naked in front of her, was magnificent. Long and lean, superbly muscled, just to look at him made her sex ache. Lord help her she was so hot and there was that damn tickle again. She cupped her hands and sneezed "Choo, iiiischooo, hisschooo," into them. Oh, she was ill! She could feel the sneezes drain her, and she felt wan to begin with. Where the hell was she? Who was this man? The last thing she remembered was… what the hell was the last thing?

Ragnor turned tying the robe and knelt next to her, "Bless you Little One," He breathed. Capria smiled weakly, almost embarrassed as she had just been staring at his nakedness, her sneezes almost giving her away.

"Thank you," she replied. Ragnor felt her forehead, which did not seem quite as hot, and urged her to lean forward. Propping his arm behind her, he brought the bitter tea to her lips and she forced herself to down it, recalling how it put out the fire in her throat. Ragnor placed the cup down, but was still holding her when Capria could feel another round of sneezes and she twitched her nose hoping to stop them, stifling "Hitschooo, Hitchooo " onto the back of her hand. Ragnor supporting her shoulders felt their force as she began again to shiver uncontrollably. He laid her down again and pulled out another blanket from a large trunk at the foot of the bed and climbed onto the top of the coverlet. Pulling her to him, he covered them both.

Stroking her hair gently avoiding the tiny bump, he spoke, "Milady, you have quite a chill, ''tis best for you to stay warm when you feel cold and we'll cool when you feel hot. Mira will be about shortly with cooling cloths for your forehead. You know, you sustained a bump to your head when you fell - does it hurt?" But Capria did not answer for she was fast asleep in his strong arms. Ragnor held her close and leaned his head back, closing his eyes for a moment. Who she was, he cared not. That she was safe and well, his only concern. So lost in thought; he jumped when Mira tapped his shoulder.

Disapprovingly, she looked at the two, "Milord, 'tis not the most appropriate thing," she began and then Ragnor pulled back the blanket to show her he was not exactly in bed with this woman he did not know, "Tsk, Tsk." She clucked and placed a bowl full of snow next to the bed handing him the first cloth. "Place it across her brow, luv and turn it when it gets hot, this is the only way to cool her safely without making the chill worse." Mira patted Ragnor's hand gently, "If she is fevered overly long, Milord…"

Ragnor frowned and cut her off, not wanting to hear the rest of what the woman had to say, "Mira, I know, so speak not of it. I will nurse her so well that she will be better by morning." Mira looked doubtful, yet said nothing. Merely nodding, she left the room.

For the next several hours, Ragnor diligently turned the cloth, speaking in low tones to the girl he held in his arms, stroking her hair, her cheek, tracing her lips, encouraging her, assuring her she was safe, telling her how he found her. In and out of maddening fever, chills and peace Capria floated. Always she was aware of the man next to her. His maleness giving her comfort, his voice soothing to her hot little ears, she did not care whether or not she knew this gentle giant. She felt awful; he was making her feel better and she slept on.

Just before dawn, Ragnor feel asleep. Capria stirred, her fever had broken. She sniffed slightly, deep in her sinuses that all too persistent tickle, her throat sore, she had caught cold. She was loath to think how furious her father would be. As these thoughts began to enter into her foggy awareness, she also grew aware of her surroundings as well the fact that she had nothing on. Listening intently, she heard the crackle of the fire and the slow steady breathing of the man who had cared for her lying beside her.

She carefully rolled to her side to face the man next to her. He was incredible, impossibly handsome, high cheekbones, straight nose, and full sensuous lips. She blushed furiously recalling she had witnessed his state of undress the evening prior. She sniffed again trying to be quiet lest she wake him and little sniffle caused the tickle to grow. Capria slowly turned away from him and pinched her nose, ouch. The back of her head hurt terribly. Without thinking, Capria released her nose to feel the back of her head and the sneezes quickly grabbed hold of her, "Huhchoo, Haschooo, Huhmpf," she was able to stifle the last one.

"Bless you, milady." Ragnor spoke without opening his eyes and then lazily rolled to his side and propped his head on his hand to gaze at her.

Capria fancied him akin to a huge panther, his green eyes blinking down at her while she, still cupping her mouth and nose, awaiting one more sneeze, "iiisshhooo." "Oh, excuse me and thank you." She sniffed lightly, awkwardly and looked up at him.

Ragnor was always aroused in the early morning and with her topaz eyes looking expectantly up at him, albeit slightly glassy from her cold, her little nose, its nostrils pink on the edges and the manner in which she would wrinkle it unknowingly before she sneezed was almost his undoing. Ragnor cleared his throat and nonchalantly placed his palm upon her forehead. Cool skin met his touch and he smiled. "'tis good your fever has broken, the worst is over," he smiled at her warmly, "You had quite a fall, Lady. You hit your head and were lying in the snow when I found you. If it were not for the clamor your horse made, I mayn't have found you," Capria turned toward Ragnor, instantly worried about Maxxen, Ragnor stroked her face smiling, reading her expression " He's safe in the barn below. "

Capria's eyes widened recalling her anger, initially feeling ill, the hare, and her surprise as her body was hurtled through the air. Honestly, she did not recall much about coming to be in this man's bed, aside from the bitter tea and his magnificent naked form. She blushed slightly at her own nakedness and tried to bury herself further under the covers. Ragnor mistook her actions for a sign that she was cold and pulled the cover around her drawing her to rest upon his chest.

Capria sniffed daintily, her throat was still a bit raw and her voice sounded congested and hoarse to her own ears, "Milord, my name is Capria Valerian and I am deeply in your debt. My father will be most grateful."

Ragnor started at the mention of her name, but composed himself without her notice, smiling more to himself - this was his betrothed. The Maker certainly has a fine sense of humor he thought to himself. To Capria, he said, "Lady, truly you are most welcome, though it is merely my duty as a gentleman, do please pay my debt with the intriguing details of how you came to be riding alone at dusk, my curiosity must be satisfied." Looking down at her, Ragnor could see she had lifted her head and pulled her arm out of the blanket, her face poised, awaiting the onslaught of sneezes, it was quite possibly the most sexy look he had ever been witness to and his breath caught in his throat at her sweet, "Huushcooo, ashchooo. Oh, my, excuse me," she said before laying her head back upon his chest.

"Bless you, Lady," Ragnor replied feeling terribly aroused and in fact his manhood was beginning to fill, he'd need to divert his attention "Let's get you warm, shall we?" Ragnor moved her gently off of his chest lest she spy his growing hardness. He lay on his side tucking the covers in, and offered her a dry cloth, which she vigorously emptied her nose into.

"I, I was, was, asschoooo, warm. I'm sorry." Capria blew her nose again as Ragnor blessed her and began to relate in a very, hoarse, sexy voice the details of her ride, that it began in anger over a heated discussion about her betrothal and even though the man was reported to be kind and handsome, she wanted to feel love, not just be given away like a possession. She told him about the hare that had shot out of the thicket and how she had not had her legs tight enough because she had just sneezed and then she sniffed hotly and an angry little tear trickled down her cheek. Ragnor felt for her and was suddenly worried that she would refuse him as a suitor, not only was he her betrothed, he was the indirect cause of her accident. He gently wiped her tear and Capria glanced up to see the handsome man's brow knit together in a deep frown, "I know it is part of custom," she whispered, her voice beginning to fail her, "but I just wanted something more."

Ragnor smiled suddenly overcome with compassion, "Lady, I would think that this man to whom you may be entering into a betrothal would want you to feel free to choose his affection or not."

Capria nodded, a few more tears trickling down her cheeks and pulled the handkerchief in front of her, "Ah, huuhschoo," she sneezed harshly and then coughed trying to clear her throat.

Ragnor could take no more, he leaned over and looked deeply into her eyes, searching them stroking her cheek, "Bless you, lady," he breathed.

Capria gazed into his eyes, knowing she could lose herself in those fringed emerald pools and drown forever. She dropped the hanky she held onto the bed and snaked her arms around his neck meeting his lips intently. Kissing her softly at first, he tenderly explored her face, her mouth, and her lips. His body nearly atop hers, he reached his hands under the sheets, touching her, kissing her, exploring her skin. Her soft sniffles were maddening to him. He stopped kissing her.

Capria, confused, protested, "No, milord, 'tis alright, please don't stop!"

"Lady, I must tell you who I am, lest I do you a terrible turn. I am the one who killed the fox that was most assuredly chasing that very same hare which caused your accident."

Capria raised her brow, giggled and began to cough, regaining herself after a few moments, she croaked "Is that all? For a moment you looked so very serious - I thought you were going to tell me that You were the Lord Ragnor, himself, my betro-, bethroth- and then I, I , iiiiissschooo." She turned her head to the side and sneezed neatly into her hand. "Oh milord, you'll catch this cold of mine and 'tis less than pleasant. Maybe we should rethink this."

"Capria." Ragnor spoke her name so seriously and shamefacedly that the tickle went right out of her nose. "I am this Lord Ragnor you speak of. I did not know who you were until you spoke your name and yet I kissed you. I am so very sorry; I truly meant no deception."

Capria's face paled - dear God what must he think of her! His deception? She was impetuous, she had demonstrated foolishness, she had cried, she was ill, she had blown her nose, she had sneezed all over him, and she was at her very worst, admitting feelings to this man about her betrothal, kissing him, like a most lustful whore.

"Oh no," she breathed smacking her hand against her head. "Lord Ragnor, I had no idea. Please, I am not one to just kiss a man I do not know… this passion I felt for you, was- was uh ah assschoooooo!" Capria sneezed so forcefully that she sat up and the coverlet slipped to her waist, "huchoo, iiiiishooooo, huh, uh assschoooo," exposing her breasts. Without thinking, she turned to him, "Milord, I don't know what came over me, I just, I just ohhhhh," Capria buried her face in her hands, burning with embarrassment and shame.

Ragnor could not get enough of her body. He touched her bare shoulder gently, and suddenly, she found herself liking this strange set of circumstances. She was terribly aroused, her sex ached of his touch and he was touching her and he was kissing her bare shoulder and she looked deeply into his eyes as he drew her to his chest.

"Little One, you will never hear me speak ill of expressing passion. As a matter of fact, after hearing what you said about our betrothal, I am relieved to know that I would be an acceptable object of your passion." He was smiling and playing with her hair, holding both shoulders, seeking her face. Closer he pulled her, kissing her gently, tentatively at first and when she responded, more urgently until she once again wrapped her arms around his shoulders and lost her fingers in his long thick locks.

Pressing her against the bed, Ragnor continued the onslaught of Capria's senses, kissing her cheek, her throat, her neck, pausing to look up at her, he continued lower, to her chest. Cupping her breast in his hand, he kissed the other, sucking its nipple to a hard little nub.

Capria barely noticed that she had slid her hand down and touched herself burying her fingers deeply inside as he played with her nipple. The tickle began again and she pressed his head to her tender belly as she turned her head and sneezed wetly "Iiiishchooo, assshoooo."

This was Ragnor's undoing; he leapt upon Capria pinning her to the bed, struggling at the same time with the sash to his robe. Freeing his erection, he proceeded to enter Capria much more slowly than she had expected from the passionate way in which he leapt upon her. Almost torturously, he slowly pushed his member in until it met the barrier that would take her innocence and he stopped gazing into her eyes. Capria was maddeningly close to attaining her pleasure and she by no means wanted this man to stop now, she could also feel a sneeze building and braced her legs, her feet flat upon the bed. Even more slowly, he began to pull it out, not wishing to take her this way, but Capria had other ideas, "Ahh, ahhh ahhh issssshoooo," she sneezed and grabbed Ragnor's buttocks the same time sending him deeply inside of her.

Again, attempting to place her feet flat on the mattress, Ragnor shook his head, "Wrap your legs around me, Capria," he commanded. Capria obeyed and he continued to torture her slowly. Capria began to moan hoarsely, begging for him to keep his erection all the way inside of her, begging to let her move with him, faster and harder he thrust his penis into Capria's hot wet sex and finally, when she thought she could take no more he plunged, she sneezed once, twice and he thrust deeply into her sex as he undulated his torso and she came. As Ragnor pulsed deeply within her, listening to her cry his name, a tickle beginning in his nose; she was watching him as he tucked his head to his chest, a soft "shishooo" escaped and she climaxed again, ripples of pleasure spreading out through every limb of her body and he collapsed on top of her.

"Milord?" she hoarsely whispered.

"Yes, lady," Ragnor replied as he sniffed and kissed her shoulder.

"Bless you."