(Down the rabbithole.)
It must have been a month since I had left Cathay. I had traded my copper and ivory for that strange leafy plant they grow there, which is brewed to make the chai drink so prized in the Turkic speaking countries. I had calculated how much I could take, from Venice all the way to the halls of Cathay, and carry back on the same camels on the return trip...but I never calculated the human cost that trip would bear.
I was alone, my companions killed in Dunhuang by bandits. Lucky to escape myself with only my own three camels burdened with tea, I made haste for the next town on the road, Loulan. The water I had myself was only enough to get me there.
I found an inn on the edge of Loulan where they spoke Greek. I was grateful, for my limited understanding of the Asian dialects had been an issue for me, and this meant I was getting back into parts of the world I could understand. I settled up for lodging, tethered and unburdened the camels, then went inside to get a hot meal, and God willing a drink. The common room was open to the sky, as are so many of the buildings here. The ceiling timbers, if there had ever been any, were long gone...perhaps in ancient times. This road and many of the inns along the way had been in operation since early Roman days. Now the sky was open, and the round cooking oven in the corner sent smoke and sparks up into the night, smearing a black streak of timeless dimension upon the stone walls.
There were a group of arabic traders in one corner of the room, speaking quietly among themselves, a common cook's maid tending the fire, and myself. I took one of the low tables in front, knelt and sat Asian style. The cook came from outside, and I told him in Greek that I was hungry, and very thirsty. He fetched a leg of lamb from the oven, and some of the flat bread they make here. They had water, and some word I didn't recognize...I said both. I traded a few coins for my meal, got my bottle of water and bottle of whatever the other drink was, then the cook left. He explained that he was retiring for the night, and his maid would attend any further needs I might have. I drank the water, quenching my thirst.
I sampled the drink. It was an alcoholic beverage, very strong. It was made from a grain, flavored with some of the spices I recognized as coming fom India. It went immediately to my head.
The arabs left after finishing their meal. They politely bid me good night in halting Latin and Greek, to which I nodded back absently. I was staring at the cook's maid now, with whom I was left alone. She was beautiful, in a simple mountain girl kind of way. Her clothes were of plain cloth, and had been worn almost to threads. Her robe was bound by a rope sash.
We must have spent half the night just staring at each other. She tended the fire and made bread inside the oven, never taking her eyes off me as I sipped my drink and stared at her wide breasts. The robe did little to cover her chest, which fell open each time she reached over for something...and she did reach for something often, right in front of me. She had a quiet, humble smile that did nothing to disguise the burning passion in her eyes. Words were useless, for her eyes screamed to me that she wanted to pair with me.
I watched back with half lidded eyes, quietly finishing my drink. I had learned this art in the taverns of Venice and Constantinople. There were only the two of us, and we had all night.
The maid pulled the last of her flat bread from the oven and set it on a shelf. It would cool over night, but my fever to mate would not. She fed a few more pieces of charcoal into the oven to keep it going until the morning, then sat quietly across the table from me. Finally, I got to hear her soft, beautiful voice.
'Is there thing more you desire?'
I smiled. 'I think I'm still hungry...'
In her wonderfully broken Greek, she said, 'But food is for tomorrow. Tonight...I serve love in my bed.' She smiled, put her finger on my lips to silence me. 'You learn tonight Buddha teach paradise loving.'
I looked at her with astonishment. What? I'd heard of the Buddha's teachings, having been through this region before, but the connotation with sex confounded me. I feared her Greek would be unable to help me understand, so kept my silence as she led me out of the room, into the starry desert night. She took me to a small tent set up out behind the building. Made of dull cotton fabrics from the south of here, it was just big enough for us to stand. While the door was uncovered, I could see that the inside was strewn with blankets and clothing, making a pile for sleeping. She pulled me inside and let the door cover fall, leaving us in darkness.
I could smell her. Her womanly essence rose from her body, and the smells of her life and belongings filled the tent. I could smell incense, and wondered how a simple cook's maid could afford to have it. I drank the heady perfume of her into my lungs as I prepared to take her unto myself, every sense of this exotic woman a part of the sex. I gently whispered to her as I untied the robe and parted her clothing. Her nipples were already fat and tender, ready for my mouth.
The maid slowly undid my own clothing. The smells of me and the dust of the road pleased her; she loved a sweaty man, and showed it. Now naked, we stroked each other and traded adorations in Greek. When my manhood had grown so large that it throbbed in her hand, she gently took me on the bed and lowered me to my knees. Then she knelt opposite me, kissed me and began rubbing the head of it on her furred mound. I felt a wetness spring up there, as her lips emerged and parted.
I had never made love to a woman in such a position, on our knees like this. The novelty engorged me, and I then slid up and into her. Those lips were very tight, and trembled as I thrust all the way in. I gasped; she moaned. But as I went to withdraw, to thrust into her again, she put a hand on my shoulder and said clearly, 'No.'
'No?' I was confused. What was her intention here?
'No,' she whispered to me as my penis flexed and squirmed inside her. 'Wait for shakti. You see. More loving inside with soul chakra.'
She had just used two words that weren't Greek, but was trying to tell me something. I remained still and surrendered control of this encounter to her. I felt myself within her, trying to remain still as the rhythm of her breathing and coursing blood surrounded me. I could smell, taste and feel everything about her, and it was almost as overpowering a drink as the one I'd just had.
The maid slowly moved from side to side, gently shifting her balance back and forth across me. She moaned and uttered strange sounds I hadn't heard before. I felt a strange buzzing sensation begin to build up somewhere in her hips, circling my penis inside her. Slowly it became a rising tingling sensation, which spread into my body.
'Feel?' she said. 'Shakti.'
Now I was completely surrendered to this woman's strange way of making love. We shook together, clutching each other tight as waves of warm energy flowed up through us, around our sex and up into our heads where we could drink it like the most delicious wine. For what seemed like a year of nights, we held still against each other and burned our sexual energies like a beacon fire. The night was hot, but we sweated upon each other more from passion. I never thrust into her more than that first time, and never wanted to withdraw.
Our flow of energy combined and throbbed, reaching ever higher until I found out what she had meant by paradise. Somewhere removed from place, from time, we were disembodied spirits engulfed in bliss. We breathed energy, lived sex and enflamed each other until we both reached a crescendo. My sperm spilled into her as she spasmed, and we both finally fell back onto the bed, unable to kneel upright. We then slept, exhausted as the first light of day peeked from under the door covering.
In the morning I had flat bread, more water, and was on my way.