Amber, dripping and oozing like the weeping blood of a Goddess’s wound, flowed across Her tender breast. How deeply it sank into the soft umber of Her skin, mixing like brass and gold in a pot of copper. A smile, teeth glistering just as brightly as the shimmering flow of honey. Coy eyes, hidden behind silken wrappings. A ritual completed so infrequently and savored like the most cherished saffron.
Dew still clung to the wooden hives when the Maids began the honey harvest. Headmistress preferred it that way, and the Maids dutifully obeyed Her preference. Each Maid floated through the tall, cold grass like low-hanging fog. Silent, now, the buzzing gone; the bees were sleeping. Deft hands clad in silken gloves slipped into honey supers and extracted the long, narrow frames; rich, golden honey shone in the overcast morning sun. Light swam through it. Brittle diamonds of white light rained from each drop. Ending their admiration, the lids of the hives were returned, and as carefully as they had arrived, the Maids returned to the manor.
Each hive, bar one, was done the same. The Maids would spin, and then jar, the honey, boil the wax and slice apart comb. Lavender and cornflower hung heavy in the air as each Maid toiled in their matching silk and lace uniforms, humming and cooing wordlessly in their work for the Headmistress. They’d rotate the Maid tasked with bringing every harvest to the market, sending her along with a wagon full of jars, boxes, and candies.
They repeat for each and every hive – until it comes to the last, the hive that sits in the delicate ring of clovers. It’s near the edge of the apiary, nestled in a grove of willows that sit heavy with dew in the early spring. Foxgloves sprung from the undergrowth as bees dart in and out of their hanging flowers, still heavy with morning dew yet to evaporate. Rarely checked, the bees are left to themselves at the hidden hive. Headmistress preferred it that way – their honey was more delicate.
It’s late, now. A silk-dressed Maid approaches the hive, her dress hiked just above her ankles as to not drag it through the clovers. The sun sleepily sinks ever-lower beneath the foggy horizon, fiery form engulfed by the sea of evergreens that surround the Headmistress’s manor. Silent, still; sleeping, again, but much later. A jolt of excitement shoots through her heart as a white glove strokes the painted, black hive. Sigils adorn the top, scrawled meticulously in white.
She opens the lid and takes hold of a heavy frame, laden so heavily with aromatic nectar. The bees abide, sleepily remaining within the wax capsules they called home. Goddess, the weight of it; Headmistress will be pleased by how much they’ve produced. Distant crickets beginning their evening choir tell the girl to hurry, now. In the windows of the manor behind her, beyond the willows and foxgloves, she can see the other Maids lighting the candles. Not much longer, now – they could be waiting on her.
A sapphic smile crawls across rose-tinted lips. She grips the frame tightly before gently brushing away the tired bees and carefully placing the lid back onto the hive, wishing the insects a gentle slumber, and bouncing back to the manor with ginger feet.
Every full moon they’d tap the hidden hive. Unlike the others, this honey wasn’t to be sold or bottled. The colony that filled the hive was Headmistress’s first, a direct lineage running the entire age of the Manor – at least as the Headmistress owned it – through to each and every drop of amber passion that filled the tiny wax hexagons.
This warm evening was bursa escort bayan to be the girl’s first full moon at the manor. Headmistress thought it appropriate to bestow the duty of fetching the honey to her, welcoming her fully and finally to her little ‘family business,’ as it were, she always remarked with a smile. Perhaps, to another, the sudden responsibility would be daunting – but not her. Apiculture had been her life, her blood, the sweet and invisible lover that held her in ways no other could. To work under the Headmistress, to taste the honey the manor produced, was the greatest gift she could have received. Of course – of course – she would begin the full moon harvest. She couldn’t imagine it any other way.
Cold air mixed with warm as the door to the manor flew open. Goosebumps covered the tender skin beneath the girl’s flowing, white dress. A sigh fled her lips, the hardest part now over.
“Oh, goodness! There you are, cricket.” said a short woman, similarly dressed, as she tended to a few loose jars of honey. “They’re getting started upstairs – I’d not keep them, mm?”
The girl tilted her head curiously. “Aren’t you coming?” she asked the other woman.
Tender lips curled themselves into a smile, the other woman clicking her tongue a bit. “Oh, I would, but there’s still some work to be done, I’m afraid. So many jars left to fill, and…”
A nod. A smile. The girl approached the shorter woman and kissed her. A hand wrapped around her waist, pressing silk into leather. Silence, if but for an instant. Distant insects chirp beyond the evergreens. They break their kiss and stare, for a moment. Honey drips from the intricately-decorated frame. Sparks. Stars.
“I-I understand, my dear. I’ll h-have it jarred in no time.”
Two pairs of feet flew excitedly upstairs, taking special care to not spill any more of the Headmistress’s honey. Candles and alabaster sigils adorned the walls, the spaces between paintings occupied by geometric patterns – and honeycombs – scrawled upon the wallpaper in chalk. New, strange – the girl could scarcely contain her enthusiasm. Apiculture and the Divine Feminine intersected in invisible, strange ways. The mere thought of one day comprehending the Headmistress’s doctrine made the butterflies in her stomach flutter.
They were the only two not within the Headmistress’s chambers. Used for both rest and ritual, the girl had yet to see the inside. Compared to the rest of the manor, and especially the girl’s own domicile, it was a large room. Dark, stained wooden walls gave way to accents of cedar and pine. High ceilings swooped up and down, the same languid arches that dominated the manor’s silhouette now fully visible from the inside. Decadent amber chandeliers, blazing with white candles and decorated with woven antlers, hung from every rafter like oozing honey. All was dark, light itself treading lightly for respect of the Headmistress. Candles bowed to moonlight.
Everyone was here. The bottlers, the spinners, the candlemaker girls – they all now sat around the Headmistress’s large, comfortable bed, easily three queen mattresses across. Each was nude, their white garb folded neatly in their laps as they awaited the last two women. The Headmistress perked her head up from her enormous mattress, a warm smile spreading across her inviting cheeks.
“There you are, girls. We’d worried you’d forgotten. Ahah.” she said, voice rich like decadent chocolate. Her eyes burn a fiery amber red in the low candlelight, reflecting through already-golden glass only to pour slowly across her görükle escort umber, midnight skin. Locks of curling, black hair rest upon her wide shoulders, hidden just barely beneath a pale silk nightgown. White beads and pearls decorated every joint and ankle, like the stars in the grand circular window behind her. Her body honored the moon as it had honored them.
The girl held up the collected honey. Combs glistered in the crystalline glass jar.
“Ah. They were productive – I’m so glad. Our offerings are working, then” the Headmistress said. A tanned finger tugged at her blouse. “Show me.”
The two women approached with delicate footsteps. The shorter woman hurried to her place beside her sisters, eager to disrobe. Emotions danced in the sunlit meadow that was the honey-girl’s head like fluttering drones. Everything she’d done to prepare for this moment – for these silent few footsteps – had come to this. Years of study and years of self-discovery – not all related to apiculture, if her new knowledge of the feminine form was to be believed – had led her to this room, to this ritual, beneath the ever-watching moon.
Soft voices began to fill the silent chamber. Each of the Maids began softly reciting the hymns of the moon and the hymns of the bees, tangling and spinning together until the two became one. Below the voices, murmuring like the evening meadow, the girl’s feet pattered quietly atop the plush, white carpet at the foot of the Headmistress’s bed.
She lifted a leg and crawled up onto the comforters. Care was taken to hold the honey delicately, even as she moved awkwardly arm-over-leg onto the large, rotund mattress. The Headmistress giggled quietly below the full moon. Her soft tone joined the Maids’ chorus, so quiet and yet immediately apparent in the crowd. Honey eyes watched the newest of her flock begin the last leg of her initiation.
“Goodness, aha. My dear, you could’ve taken the side of the bed… but it’s alright. Your enthusiasm, girl…” she cooed, speaking below the soft chanting. Her tone was warm, inviting; it was hard to hear at a distance, but something about it tickled the girl’s ears and coaxed goosebumps out of her skin. The disciple’s already-tenuous grip around her jar of comb felt ever looser.
Soft skin crawled across softer linens. Inch after plush inch gave way below the girl’s hands, below the girl’s knees. A space of mere air and warmth now separated her from the Headmistress. Humming and song met her heartbeat and kissed in the shared silence as she assumed the same position as her sisters; cross-legged, she removed her hooded shawl, baring her short, curly hair to moonlight. Shyness hid her beauty, now bare; equal before all others.
A firm hand held out the jar of honey. Resolve filled the bowing girl, lifting her arms with the voices of her myriad sisters. White runes glittered on the lid of the jar like the whites in her hazel eyes.
Hesitation. Just a moment. The girl crawled off her knees and onto the Headmistress’s chest. Now her heartbeat drowned the chorus of voices and the ruffle of cloth, rattling in her heart with each tense breath she took in the Headmistress’s presence. So close, so unthinkably close –
A hand grabbed the jar and pulled the girl into a kiss. Lips embraced lips, tongues finding each other like drones to pollen. Sensation blended together until it became indistinct, indecipherable; the girl wasn’t sure where her hands were, where any of her body was, but it wasn’t important. The jar, her robes, none of it bursa escort bayan was important.
Her lover had kissed her. A lover of so many others, of all her Maids; their infatuation now unique beyond age, but ever the same as her love of each and every Maid singing behind them in her moonlit chambers. Hands fell upon flesh and body fell upon body. The girl was so much smaller than the Headmistress, her own figure a full two feet shorter than the subject of her devotion; they weren’t even close when comparing the fullness of their forms, either.
They loved the same, though. The Headmistress broke her kiss, a strand of pale, lunar saliva connecting their lips.
A hand pushed the girl away. She’d not even noticed; her eyes were as wide as the pane of starry glass behind them, mind wandering as her hands explored inch after inch of the Headmistress’s body. Every time their skin touched was electric, a feeling she couldn’t experience enough to be satisfied with in a lifetime. Why would her mind drift when it was nestled so comfortably in her caretaker’s bosom?
Ah. The comb.
The Headmistress placed a soapstone knife into the girl’s hands. She gripped the now-open jar in the other. Below the commotion, the hymns of the Maids grew louder; they clearly anticipated what the women on the bed now held between them. Glossolalic voices filled the hot air, transforming the sleepy bedroom into a temple to Goddesses visible and invisible, human and insect.
“Here, my dear,” the Headmistress said, her ginger eyes bringing the girl’s gaze to her chest. “Cut.”
With a gentle shake, a square of comb fell upon her stomach, just below her pillowy breasts. Gold ambrosia immediately began to seep from each hexagonal cell, dripping decadently across a field of deep, rich, brown skin. What few cells remained capped with white wax sat anxious and ready, awaiting the girl’s first motion with bated breaths of nectar. The subtlest scar, an indented line in the Headmistress’s skin, marked the site of her deed. So many successful harvest rituals had left it upon her; the revelation of future rituals hadn’t even occurred in the girl’s mind, yet, and now suddenly it flooded her with an excitement impossible to escape.
White stone slid into golden wax with a gentle, slick sound. The girl could feel the other end beneath the knife’s edge, soft flesh giving way to honey and stone. Trembling, she could do little more than hold it there, hold it as she felt her own wetness grow slicker. She held it even as the Headmistress smiled in a way, she felt, only a queen could smile to her drones. Celebratory. Satisfied. The hymns grew in volume – the other Maids were rising to their feet and approaching the bed.
“Taste.” the Headmistress whispered beneath the growing song. “Consummate with us.”
This was it. Everything the girl had learned, had done, had come to this. She sat just above the glistering honey, moonlit and full of night. She knew how it felt; sticky, attached and unable to let go. Stuck. Sugar and flowers, like women, refused to break their bonds. Euphoria and sexual urge swirled together. Her heart was ready to explode in her chest, to grab her by the chest and kiss her like an estranged lover seen in distant memory. Take what’s yours.
The Maids now stood mere feet from the bed. She closed her eyes and bowed her head to lap at a bead of ambrosia. How deeply it sank into the soft umbre of Her skin, mixing like brass and gold in a pot of copper. A smile, teeth glistering just as brightly as the shimmering flow of honey. Coy eyes, hidden behind silken wrappings. A ritual completed so infrequently and savored like the most cherished saffron.
“Your name will be Lily.” the Headmistress said. “We welcome you.”
Lily licked her lips and fell into the embraces of her myriad lovers.