A.N. Sad to say, I've been experiencing some writer's block as of late. So needless to say, this idea took me by surprise. I'm not overly thrilled with it, more I'm happy about the fact that I managed to get an idea flowing to the very end. I didn't want to put any dates into my story, but to hopefully stop any confusion, this takes place right around the time Christianity was becoming the popular religion, and paganism was slowly dying off. It's a somewhat different style than what I normally write, and I took a chance. Be sure to tell me what you think!

She was at the alter when he found her, her knees resting comfortably in the rich, dark brown soil and her hands clasped demurely before her upon the cold stone. She looked serene and pure, praying to a god of some unknown origin, speaking silently to another being on another place far from this world. But she wasn't praying. She never prayed.

Her hands unfolded, running over the bitterly frozen stone in a loving caress, the ancient alter of a lost time. It had been the product of the entire village, every able body helping to cut and transport the massive rock, shaping it, molding it, creating it in reverence to their gods. It had stood for centuries, positioned deep within the forest, surrounded by tall oaks with massive trunks that stood watch over it. Two torches had been placed in front of it, lit now, casting a haunting orange glow on her skin. His ancestors had placed their offerings on that stone alter in reverence, in worship. But now it had been transformed, no longer an alter to their gods. Because their gods didn't exist. There was only one God, and with him his only holy son. The Christian priests who traveled from small village to small village had told them of that. Rome, so far off and distant, had already fallen, and the Christians were only growing in power. The stone that had been worshiped for its natural beauty, a creation of Mother Nature herself, had been covered with a deep purple cloth, tattered and ugly, that rested there even now. And in the center stood the parting gift from the priests, a solid gold statue of their god's only son molded forever to a cross, his arms outstretched, his feet close together in eternal agony.

The children of the village were hungry. They needed bread. Instead they were given gold.

So worthless.

"Rowan, why are you here?" he asked her, stepping towards her. She jerked slightly at the sound of his voice cutting through the silence of the forest. The sun had begun its descent long ago, and now the twilight colors dominated the sky, rich pinks, oranges, and purples swirling and colliding. The bitter autumn wind, smelling so intoxicatingly of the moist soil and dying leaves, danced around her crouched form, sweeping through deep brown curls that cascaded down her slender back. The flames swirled before coming to life with full force, higher now, the shadows stretching towards him. They glinted off of the golden statue.



"It's over isn't it?" she asked him softly, without turning around. "She's going to be forgotten soon."

"Who is?"

"The earth," she replied, shifting slightly. "Those priests came, and I heard them Devlin, but I didn't listen to them. One God? One way to him and that's through the church and his only begotten son Jesus Christ. It feels so wrong to me."

She turned her head slowly to look at him. Her green eyes glistened from unshed tears, and her chin was lifted, betraying the arrogance and dignity she fought to hide. They were no longer traits that this world desired in a woman. It was a man's world now, and she must be good and humble and meek.

But she could never be those things. She was too proud, too dignified, as complex and mysterious as the forest that surrounded her. She was Mother Nature personified, a mortal goddess. She was everything good about this harsh world.

She was Woman.

She was home.

"The pagans are dying Devlin, and the Christians shall conquer this land. Not in blood, but in spirit. And they will forget what it means to be at peace with the land instead of trying to master it." She reached out, grasping a clump of rich earth in her hand, letting it crumble and fall to the ground once more. "But we are not masters." The last of the earth escaped her loving fingers. "We are one. Earth and human moving forth in harmony."

She stood up then, rising slowly from the earthen ground, and he moved closer to her. The moon's metallic rays had begun to shine, not yet at their full intensity, illuminating her with an ethereal glow, a combination of silver and pale orange. He stood in front of her, his large hands aching to push themselves within her thick hair. She was temptation, alluring and so innocent. She was earthen and rich. So beautiful.

"What's going to happen to the lands Devlin? Will they be tainted with blood by warfare, a cause that is deemed noble because it was done so in a God's name? People will forget. And this religion, it will consume us all. Our way of life will be over. Even I cannot deny the power I felt from those priests. Not spiritual power. But material. They have power because they have followers. And we do not. Not any more. This alter shall be used to give sacrifices to the Christian God, and people will forget the offerings of our ancestors past to a much more earthen being. This…tomb. We worshipped the earth, but they worship something they cannot see. I sat there and listened to them preach about values and morals, how we should follow in Christ's footsteps. Silly priests. Do they not know those values are held dear by me as well? Yet I am no follower of Christ."

The tears had begun to fall, the first time he had ever seen her cry. They fell from her smooth cheeks, landing gracefully in the dirt, becoming one. Her slender arm reached out, knocking the golden statue off of its place of honor. It sailed through the air, the silver moon rays glinting off of the polished metal, before falling to the earth with a pathetic and hollow thud. There was nothing. It was only a statue, a mockery of something created deep within the earth, contorted and twisted by people wishing to promote their faith and destroy others.

There was nothing.

It was nothing.

She stood before him, crying, her hand marred from the dirt. Her simple brown dress bore the stains of the earth at her knees, dark and wet. But never had she been more beautiful to him.

"Why did you come here Devlin?" she whispered.

"To find you."

"You sought disaster? Here I am, lamenting over a world fast disappearing."

"You should feel no shame. Long ago, my ancestors worshipped women because they were the paths to enlightenment. It was through them we became whole. I am like you Rowan. I ache for the ancient times, and yes, I ache for this earth. She will be forgotten, just like that most sacred of rituals, " he said softly, his voice deep, sensual to her ears.

"That is a practice that has been forgotten for a long time Devlin," she said, her voice unsteady, partially from her tears, more so by his presence. He had always had that effect on her. Long ago, her body had become aware of him, of the man he had become. Once he had been her childhood friend, letting her follow him as he raced through the forest playing some game or another. But those days had faded, and he was a child no longer. He was dominant, sensual, masculine. He was intelligence and humor, endless patience. He was rational, never tiring of her company, seeking her out above all others. She was his equal. He was that link to her soul that she had never been able to grasp. She wanted him, had always wanted him. But it was more than that. It was more than mere want.

It was love.

But there was the alter, cold and covered in Christian cloth, and what better way to give her greatest gift to the earth than on that stone? Naked and wanton, with Devlin above her, joined in the most primitive of ways. A joining of love and lust combined, a collision of the most primordial emotions.

"Do you wish to enjoy that practice once again Devlin?" She asked him, her eyes focused on the gentle sway of the treetops as the wind, so cold and bitter, pressed against them with invisible fingers. She felt his hot eyes on her, such a deep brown in color, dark with intensity. She felt her skin warm despite the cold, and could feel the blood rushing within her body.

"Only if it were with you Rowan," he said, soft but so arousing. Her stomach clenched as her eyes rose to meet his. Her hands clasped together in front of her. It was the only way she could keep from touching him. Her hair fell into her face, and he saw the soft woman within that was usually hidden by a calm, stone façade. So demure. So innocent.

Such an illusion.

"To kneel before a woman, " he said, his voice low, "to give her pleasure as we are joined as one before the earth, that is what I want. To kneel before you. "

He fell to his knees before her, his arms rippling with muscle and sinew sliding around her slender waist, pull her gently forward as he lay his cheek against her stomach. Her fingers found their way through his short, dark brown hair, caressing and loving. Her heart pounded within the confines of her chest, her breathing erratic. For years she had dreamed of him, and now, on this night of death and destruction, he kneeled upon the earth before her.

Wanting her.

Worshipping her for the woman she was.

She tugged at his hair gently, a hand sliding across the breadth of his taut back, and he rose to his feet once more, towering over her. He was so beautiful, tall and strong. His eyes were near black now as they moved over her face.

"There are better ways to worship than on your knees," she whispered as her palms skimmed over his chest, feeling the hard planes of smooth muscles beneath his shirt. His head lowered, his eyes locked on hers. Slowly, so slowly, his mouth grazed hers, and he smirked when she sighed heavily. His shirt became entangled with her hand as she made a fist, tugging him towards her. His smirk shifted into a wholly masculine grin, one that ceased her beating heart. His kiss, when it came, was hard and masterful, controlling and dominant. His body was hot against hers, so hard and male, and she held him to her, a hand cupping his angled jaw. He moved down her jaw line, kissing and sucking her neck, unhurried, but she could feel the urgency within him. She was languid against him, his mouth molten against her skin. She could feel him, tongue and mouth moving sensually against the base of her neck, trailing to her exposed collarbone, before returning to her mouth. She opened her mouth, and he could only take advantage, loving her as she opened herself to him, for him. The silver rays of the moon shone down with full intensity, colliding with the earthen orange glow from the torches.

His fingers slid over her back, twisting and pulling on the ties that fastened her dress until it fell from her body, a graceful pile on the earth. She stepped out of it and kicked it away, forgotten and abandoned. He lifted her, settling her on top of the alter, and she pulled him towards her. His clothes came off, joining hers on the ground. Pale orange shadows mimicked their movements, and she saw herself slowly lay down, saw him coming to rest on top of her. The alter was cold beneath her, the fabric that covered it rough against her skin. But he was so warm, his body smoldering as it connected with her own. Her back arched as his lips connected with her collarbone once more, a slender leg traveling the length of his thigh to hook around his hips. His hand drifted over her body, brushing warm, soft skin, sweeping gently over her breasts and rips. Her stomach muscles clenched as his fingers glided over them, traveling down…down…until his large hands were covering one thigh. Until his fingers slid between her legs, dipping into the cavern that would welcome him so wonderfully. She was incredibly wet, eager to receive him. Her breathing harsh, her fingers tangled themselves in his hair, caressing his back, his chest. His mouth met hers, a momentary distraction, and then his fingers were inside of her, softly caressing. She gasped at the intrusion, welcoming it. His mouth moved down her body, closing around a hard, pink nipple. Pleasure, pure and ethereal, erupted deep within her as he teased her, his tongue caressing and taunting. She was panting softly, arousingly, as he left her breast, placing molten, wet open-mouthed kisses across her stomach, moving down, so slowly, to meet his slowly thrusting fingers. And then his mouth was there, between her legs. Her thighs rested on his shoulders, her fingers gripping the tattered cloth as her back arched. His tongue surged into her, tearing a moan from her lips. Her body was on fire, he was fire, and he was worshipping her so wonderfully, so thoroughly. Her cries echoed throughout the forest and he responded by driving her higher, until she was searching. Searching for relief from the flames that consumed her body. Her body was fracturing, coming apart at his hands, and she felt vulnerable, exposed, and never had she felt so wonderful in her life. There were echoes in her ears, the voices of people of ancient times past, people who had performed the act countless times before, searching for the Divine. She heard herself calling out his name, a litany on her lips as her body tightened, her muscles frozen as unbearable pleasure reached its peak.

And then she crashed down, her body shaking as wave after wave rushed over her, through her. And then she could feel him, sliding skin against skin as he traveled the length of her with his body, searching out her mouth with his own. And she felt him, pressing against her. Her legs widened, and then he was inside of her, pressing his long length into her slowly, but so dominantly. She cried out at the intrusion, but relaxed, accepting him, welcoming him.

His hands searched for hers as he began to move, lifting them above her head. His eyes, so black with desire, locked with hers, and she couldn't look away. His hips were forceful as he surged himself into her. He was gentle but thorough, and she got the message.

She was his.

Her legs locked around him, and it was beautiful. The cold stone beneath her, the earth around her, and him within her, so pure and unyielding. There was divinity, such a perfect union as their bodies rose and fell in harmony, as she gave herself to him. As he gave himself to her. There was only him, only the earth, only the alter upon which they lay. Fire shadows cast upon his skin and he was so gorgeous, and she knew then this was salvation. This was atonement. He was moving faster, his hips connecting with hers, pushing her towards that pinnacle of absolute rapture. Drops of sweat began to form on their bodies despite the chilling cold, and he kissed her hard. He was close, so close, and she felt her muscles begin to tighten and constrict. Her legs tightened, holding him within her, and his fingers, locked with hers, squeezed gently. He needed to be deep within her, consumed by her sweet flesh. He lifted himself off of her, sitting back, and she rose onto her knees, settling herself into his lap. She lowered herself onto him, her arms wrapping around his back, her legs around his waist, and she moved slightly. She felt every ridge of his hard flesh, pulsing deep within her body. His large hands grasped her slender waist, his mouth at her neck, and he guided her movements. He lifted her slowly, tantalizingly, off of him, and then surged back into her. She felt every hot inch as it speared into her, and she gasped as he plundered, mastered, conquered.

The wind, so frozen, swirled around them as though granting her blessing. As though the earth approved of the union. And as he began to move harder, faster beneath her, she thought then that the Christian priests had been wrong. She felt her body tighten as he plundered new depths with every plunge, slamming her onto him with a growing abandon, and she felt their sins being washed away. Not by blood, but by sweat and fluids shared by two in the most holiest of unions. She felt herself opening, spiritually, mentally, and she drowned in the sensual noises she heard around her. The rough growls tearing themselves from his throat, her own soft moans. Her head fell back as his mouth closed over a nipple, sucking hard, and she thrust herself upon him, impaling herself upon him time and time again. He was so hard within her, so fulfilling. Like nothing she had ever experienced before.

A scream rose in her throat even as the pressure within her was building…building…

She came around him, her inner muscles clenching him tightly, sweetly, connecting him to her in the most glorious of ways. He groaned in pleasure at the feeling, letting the waves pass over her. And then he was coming inside of her, giving her a part of himself, his life, his soul. Liquid fire surged within her, anointing her, and she welcomed it. His groans were beautiful to her ears, and she felt full, consumed. She collapsed against him, his fingers intertwining with hers. She didn't want to move from him, and feeling him so close to her, she smiled softly.

"You are mine," he growled softly, kissing the soft skin by her ear and she could feel her heart clench at the glorious words.

Another cold wind brushed past them, and she felt it now, shivering slightly against him. The flames danced and rebelled, but the wind prevailed until they were left only with silver moonlight. Trees groaned around them, leaves tearing from their once secure hold on the branches to scatter aimlessly upon the ground. Several landed on the alter, brown and brittle, turning to dust upon the stone, once a sacred place for the sacred God and his Son returned fully to man and woman. An alter of union, of pleasure undefined. He kissed her softly, wrapping himself around her to protect her from the chill. But they were still joined, and she felt that this was how it should be. The earth, woman and man, bound together by love, by purity, by pleasure.

They were one.

They were Divine.

And that was enough for her.