The man trailing behind her was unfamiliar with the back alleys in this part of the city, but Lianora had become quite familiar with them in the months since being raised from initiate to acolyte. With the freedom granted by that progression through the training ranks, Lianora was allowed to leave the temple grounds, a privilege she took full advantage of and pushed the limits of the few rules that she and the other girls had been required to adhere to. The curfew was one of those rules, but that time had long since passed this evening. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to stay in the temple, she simply felt… itchy after being cooped up for the last two years as an initiate.
Another rule she was flouting tonight was the requirement to remain chaste from the time she was sworn in as an initiate until graduating to a priestess. While priestesses had the freedom to take lovers and even marry, initiates and acolytes were to focus on their education and remain apart from the distractions of the heart until they had mastery of it—or something like that. When had sex ever had anything to do with her heart?
The man she was bringing with her—what was his name? Rolas? Rolland? Rollen?—she couldn’t remember except that it had sounded like “roll,” to which she added, “in the hay,” and in her stupor, that was hilarious—was tall, square-jawed with a roguish scruff of a beard, with thick honey-brown hair and sharp blue eyes who recognized her robes and the holy icon of Erada nestled between her breasts and immediately brought her a drink as soon as she entered the tavern. He was handsome, though marginally older than her seventeen years. He was old enough to be married, at least, but she never asked and he probably wouldn’t have told her. She had no interest in marrying him, or any other man, herself. It was clear that a shared bed for the night was their mutual goal and after several ales, he confessed that he could think of nothing he wanted more than to have sex with one of the priestesses on the temple grounds. At first, Lianora had resisted, suggesting that they take it up to a room in the tavern, or his home, or anywhere else. Yet, after another ale down and a covert hand up her skirt, Lianora was convinced to give him the thrill he was seeking.
Lianora’s blurred vision made finding the rear entrances to the Temple of Love challenging amongst the other temples that neighbored it. The walls that hemmed in their campuses were all so similar, aside from the icons carved into the stone above the doors. She had almost made the mistake of trying to break him into the Courts of Acoassa, but quickly realized her mistake when she saw the scales above the doors in the moonlight. Giggling at her mistake, Lianora pulled her lover onward around the curving walls until they reached another pair of solid wood doors, this time marked with the crescent icon of Erada above them. Lianora spun to face him, nearly losing her balance in the process. In response, he wrapped an arm around her narrow waist and pulled her body close to his. Lianora laid her hand on his firm chest, partially bared by the unlaced opening of his tunic.
“Mmm…” she intoned, savoring the sensation of his warm skin and solid muscle beneath her palm. “Jusss wait here, I’ll lesshu in.”
“Can’t wait, my little Priestess of Love,” he purred him response and placed his fingers under her chin, trying to pull her face in, closer to his. Lianora leaned in, then playfully nipped at his lower lip just before they would have kissed. She pulled away, and with a drunken sashay, she made her away around the wall to the west door, leaving Roll-whatever-his-name-was to wait for her return.