Chapter 8 Part 7 | Lovers and Beloveds | IHGK Book One

Ansella did not wish to be found. She sat in the pear orchard beneath a tree; her head rested against a knee covered in dark green linen, smooth beneath her cheek. Pear blossoms scented the air, and bees murmured among them. It would be a good year for pears, she thought drowsily. She closed her heavy eyes.

"Annie, don't go to sleep," whispered her lover.

"If you keep playing with my hair, I will." The hand stroking her golden locks stopped, and she sighed in disappointment. It had been so pleasant, dozing in the orchard's dappled sunlight. Lovemaking always made her sleepy afterwards. "Don't stop," she said aloud.

"I won't, if you tell me how goes your foolish son's pursuit of Allis Obby," answered Ibbit.

Ansella hummed as Ibbit resumed her soft touch. "It's proceeding well, actually. Harsin told me to discourage him, but I couldn't do that, darling, you know I couldn't."

Ibbit pursed her lips, and said, "I asked you to discourage him as well--perhaps the first time your husband and I have agreed on anything. Could you not do it for me?"

"I wouldn't go against you for the world," said Ansella. She captured the Sister's hand and kissed her fingers. "But I would go against the Gods even less. I must say I was surprised you thought I should." Ibbit yanked her hand away; Ansella sat up in mild alarm, and searched her lover's face. "Are you angry with me? Please, don't be angry, Ibbit."

"But I am angry," said Ibbit. She fell back against the tree trunk, and petals snowed down. "I'm very angry!" At Ansella's stricken face, she said, "Sweetheart, how can you let your only son fall into error like this? Yes, he is a man, and yes, there's nothing to be done for him--"

"He's a good boy--man--he's the best of all of them!" cried Ansella. "I know Venna doesn't approve of men--"

"She hates them," said Ibbit.

"But how could I hate Temmin!"

"I don't ask you to hate him, darling, I ask you to guide his feet on the better path, and that path leads away from the Lovers' Temple--away from women in general. Much better to send him to Farr. Oh, now there, my girl, don't cry. Don't worry about it now," Ibbit murmured.

Ibbit's strong arms encircled her, healer's hands working at her nape until she loosened again, and opened completely. Before Ibbit came to the Sister's Temple at Reggiston, Ansella had no one to carry her; she was her children's strength, rigid, impervious, closed to everyone but them, and completely alone as a woman. Now, the world moved through Ibbit into her, relaxing every inch of her, disconnecting her joints, turning her thoughts soft and malleable. She still considered herself her children's only strength, but now she had a love--a reliable love--to sustain her.

She let her head fall back on Ibbit's shoulder, and closed her eyes as Ibbit gripped her chin and kissed her, urging her mouth open and capturing her tongue between sharp, sharp teeth. A thrilling fear always split Ansella open from the top of her head to her core when Ibbit bit her; the priestess had broken skin before.

It wasn't always teeth. Sometimes Ibbit would hold her by the neck, as if the bigger woman were assessing the best way to break it. Knowing Ibbit could hurt her, and chose not to, made Ansella weak with desire.

Ibbit let go of her tongue, and pressed her down into the grass. "Don't worry now. Let me take care of you. It's all I've ever wanted, to teach you, to bring you and your daughters to the Sister's true path, and to take care of you, my sweet, beautiful girl, my Ansella. Don't move. Be still, now."

Ansella lay still as Ibbit pinned her to the ground and opened her bodice, still as the sharp teeth left little strawberry marks along the skin at the top of her corset, still as Ibbit's hands and head pushed her skirts up, as the sharp teeth pulled at her lips, and then as they worked at her clit, Ibbit's tongue circling all around everywhere the sharp teeth had been, erasing their traces only to have them mark her again, and again. She stayed still, until she couldn't stay still any longer.

Characters: 

Comments

Amy's picture

Supplicant

petulant voice... "Don't like Ibbit!" Sad

But I love Mei's writing Smile

Cheez-It's picture

you don't like Ibbit, she an evil man-hating lesbian as everone knows all lesbians are. They only exist to steal stupid women away from their abusive husbands.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

One of my greatest fears in writing this story was that people would think I'm anti-lesbian because of Ibbit. I even tried to shoehorn a positive lesbian romance into this book, but it just didn't work.

All I can say is, I'm not anti-lesbian. Some of my best friends are lesbians. Oh wait, I should have said some of my best girlfriends were lesbians. But then, I'm one of those evil bisexuals who only exist to steal stupid lesbians away from their abusive partners. Or something. Can't trust those bi women.

*sigh* That sounds so angry/defensive. And I guess it is. The Ibbit thing really bugs me, seriously--not that you're criticizing me, but that people will take Ibbit as my Statement on Lesbianism. Which she isn't. Ibbit is my statement on Ibbit.

Lesbianism is looked down upon in Tremontine society, even though male homosexuality is not. (This was somewhat the case in classical Greek society.) Lesbians are not penalized; they aren't stoned in the streets and wouldn't be denied their rights if women in Tremont HAD any rights, which they don't. But they're seen as rather immature; love between women isn't considered "real" love, just as clitoral orgasms were considered "immature" and vaginal orgasms were "real" in Freudian psychology. Note that this is a Tremontine belief, not my own personal belief. I'm not creating an ideal society, I'm creating a flawed society. Ideal societies are boring to read about.

The Sisters are majority lesbian, and even if a postulant goes in straight she come out the other side at the least bi. They're also the healing profession--they care deeply about people of all genders. I try to show positive examples of lesbians and lesbian relationships whenever I deal with the Sisters, and in book two we get at least a glimpse into the relationship between the Eldest Sister and her partner.

That said, Ibbit does hate men. She's part of a small faction inside the Sister's Temple with radical views on the subject, just as in our world lesbian separatists are a (very) small faction within the lesbian community as a whole. There are lesbians who hate men, just as there are gay men who hate women--hell, there are straights who hate the opposite gender, even if that's who they fuck.

But for me to put a "see? I don't hate lesbians, srsly" rainbows-and-unicorns lesbian relationship into the story because Ibbit is one of the villains would be condescending and wrong. And if you stick with the series till the end, you may be surprised on the whole "MeiLin thinks lesbians are evil" thing. Really surprised. Really, really surprised.

In any event, thanks for reading even though I've obviously pissed you off, and I hope you stick around.

Gudy's picture

Embodiment

that this

MeiLin wrote:
And if you stick with the series till the end, you may be surprised on the whole "MeiLin thinks lesbians are evil" thing. Really surprised. Really, really surprised.

is one heck of an intriguing quote. Smile
Tigger's picture

Supplicant

Is it just me, or was there a reference to Ibbit recently that told us how different she is from most other Sisters? I could swear it was there but now I can't find it. Sad

And Gudy, I agree. That is a most intriguing statement and I can't wait to see what it actually portends!

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

I knew I wasn't imagining things, and it WAS recent!

Quote:
"Temmin filled a plate for himself, swallowed half a ham sandwich whole, and said, "Listen to this: Sister Ibbit told me once that Venna the Sister hates anything to do with men, and that all men were evil boys at heart. But then, she'd just caught me stealing all the sugar cubes from Mama's tea tray. Elly put me up to it," he added defensively.

"Ah, Sister Ibbit. I know of her." Allis shifted on the pillows. "What do you think of what Ibbit says?"

Temmin shrugged. "I'm not very devout, but I know enough. It all sounded like nonsense to me, and Mama told me later I wasn't evil and Ibbit was in a bad mood. She's in a bad mood a lot."

"It's more than a 'bad mood.' Sister Ibbit's mentor was a Sister named Anniki of Litta, who preached that men and women should lead separate lives but for the necessary--rare--getting of children. The Sisters convicted her of heresy some twenty years ago. Poisoned her, of course. Ibbit leads that faction now. She's been very careful to stay within Pagg's Law in public," Allis said, half to herself, "but if she's teaching Her Majesty lies like that..." She stopped with a little laugh, and said, "Enough of Temple politics. I collect your religious education has been neglected?"

http://www.meilinmiranda.com/history/book1/8-3

So see, Cheez-it? Ibbit really is an aberration, not a normal Sister of Venna. She's an extremist, to say the least.

Capriox's picture

Embodiment

MeiLin already addressed all the important points in a very reasonable fashion, but I would just like to add one thing: this is a work of fiction, not an autobiography. The Author is *not* her Characters and her Characters are not her.

(It would be a bit confusing if one assumed that because she writes both Harsin and Winmer, then she's both a god-believer and an atheist!)

fremmed's picture

Petitioner

of a comment like that (since I seek out silver linings in a nearly obsessive way), is that it is indicative of an expanding audience.

General comment as well: I really love this, the final version. I loved the original, but the texture and richness coming out in each new segment is an absolute joy. Thanks Mei.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

This is the longest comment thread on a story segment in some time! Smile

I don't feel that I've handled this very well. I usually let stuff stand unanswered or give a short, polite answer and move on. *sigh*

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

You were criticized by someone (who couldn't even leave a name!) and you gave an extended explanation. As pointed out by others, you handled all the pertinent bits by yourself - we didn't really need to jump in with "OMG how DARE you accuse our Mei of such a thing, you horrible horrible Cheez-it!" type of thing that you often see in other places. Smile

This is completely unrelated, but while I'm thinking about comment threads and stuff: What happened to the badges and points? I'll admit that I'm not fantabulous about reading every post, and I certainly don't comment often, but I noticed on my last several posts that there is no points. And looking through, I don't see badges by anyone's names anymore....

MeiLin's picture

Most High

You're still racking up points. I misplaced the badges in the redesign and haven't had a chance to put them back.

And I'm glad everyone didn't pile on. Smile

Amy's picture

Supplicant

I was not criticizing Nor was I intending for a conversation of criticism. I was channeling my inner Temmy as a young child who was always dealing with Ibbit's dislike of him and all men.

For the record... even when this was in the rough draft days... I always saw Ibbit as Mei's view of Ibbit. All good writers have characters who define themselves and the best writers let those characters define themselves and do not try and force them into living by the views of the writer in question.

Mei you are one of the true and wonderfully great writers...

frankly I am horrified that what I meant as a light and humorous comment could spark the response that got... I do believe the response to my first post was meant to be humor and only humor... But Nobody is seeing that simplistic humor..

But then again there are some things that are not really funny just hurtful especially where there might be a hidden sore spot.

As a Bisexual woman myself... I know that people are people some good, some great. some kinda bad, & some very twisted in every walk of life and sexuality has nothing to do with it at all.

Someone's picture

Postulant

I think part of that is the nature of some of us having a complete book already. I mean, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed gobbling up the book all at once. But given that I've already read it, it feels difficult to get caught up in the story as you release it bit by bit quite as much.
That's not a bad thing, but it is, I think, a difference between serialising a novel that you've already written, and writing a serial. When you're writing a serial, we are all guessing at what's going to happen next, getting really involved, waiting on the edge of our seats to see what happens next.
And of course, most of your more dedicated fans, Mei, have already bought the book.

Cheez-It's picture

[...]I ask you to guide his feet on the better path, and that path leads away from the Lovers' Temple--away from women in general. Much better to send him to Farr.

I've been wondering about Farr's Temple for a while -- ever since that bit with Brother Mardus telling Temmin that they brought in non-Brothers to keep an eye on him during the dancing, so he and his men wouldn't have to dance with women.

Might be a prime case of reading too much into way too little information thus far, but could it be that Ibbit's implying that the Brothers are as much in favor of gender separatism as she and her band of radicals are? Hmm...

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Far, far more than the average Sister dislikes men, and that's not a faction, that's the whole order. They're only separatist as far as their own lives go; they don't want to separate out society, not even the most fanatical among them. The Brothers are an elite. They set themselves apart from most men, let alone women. If some idiot wants to fuck a woman, who cares; he's beneath the Brothers anyway. And even the most fanatical Brothers believe in the recognized structure of the pantheon, unlike the Annikans. That's in no small part because the recognized structure favors the Gods over the Goddesses, especially Pagg and Farr.

Some Brothers do sleep with women now and again--always under the auspices of the Lovers' Temple. Postulant Brothers sometimes wash out because they can't leave behind a sweetheart, so emotional entanglements are out once you've taken your vows unless your entanglement is with another Brother. It's not uncommon for straight-leaning Brothers to have emotional/physical lovers among the Brothers and physical-only encounters with a Beloved.

Sadly, rape is commonplace even among the Brothers in warfare. It's like counting coup against the enemy. By raping women, the Brothers leave a scar on the enemy, sometimes for years to come in the cases where they impregnate their victims. In that, they are not much different than many armies have been in our world even in the present day.

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

I pictured them to be more like...martial monks. Warrior monks. Do away with the things that are going to cause you to lose focus, like women. Or something more akin to the Sisters, but for men - you know, an equal group. Although with men, things are bound to be more...extreme. In general. In my experience. Biggrin

MeiLin's picture

Most High

...crossed with the Vikings, with the discipline of the Shaolin. They *are* monks in a way. Everything is burned away as much as possible but the Brothers and Farr. Going to the Lovers' Temple is a last resort "I'm gonna punch someone I shouldn't punch if I don't get laid" sort of thing, and the ones who do it try to keep it on the downlow.

Whimbrel's picture

Petitioner

The Brothers are an elite. They set themselves apart from most men, let alone women.

The few, the proud... do I detect maybe a hint of the U.S. Marines about them as well? Wink

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I was gonna mention those guys, too, but more like the Marine elite--who are those guys? *googling*

Eh, I guess they don't have one. The Navy has the SEALs, the Army has the Green Berets; the Marines seem to have had a group called the Raiders during WW2, but that name's been retired and now they're just "Special Ops." I have a lot of respect for the Marines.

TheBoy's picture

Embodiment

Force Recon, I believe.

NorthwoodsMan's picture

Embodiment

Marine Force Recon is the "elite" of the Marines. But then again, all Marines consider themselves elite when compared to the other branches.

As for the Army, the Green Berets are Army SF, but there's also the Rangers, and several Airbone regiments.

Cheez-It's picture

wait I thought Farr was the god of rape? This is much better in the cleaned up version...

MeiLin's picture

Most High

Farr isn't exactly the God of rape, but it falls in His purview in a way. Rape is seen as a violent rather than a sexual act--aggression, therefore belonging to Farr as an act of war rather than to Nerr as an act of sex (though Lovers would definitely play rape if that's what a petitioner needed). It's not like the Brothers are all "Whee! Let's go rape some girl!" and it's not like a petitioner will come in and light a candle because he had such an awesome time raping some girl and wants to thank Farr for the good time. If the Brothers catch a Tremontine man raping a Tremontine woman in a civilian setting, that rapist will be minus his testes in short order.

But in war, the Brothers use rape as a tool against the enemy and it's not just tolerated it's condoned. Sometimes it's a berserker thing. There are legends of Farr in battle doing just that--the only time he willingly takes females except for Harla, who is a special case. (Death rides us all...)

Even so, children of rape are called children of Farr.

I don't know if this makes sense to anyone else but me.

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

Rape is about power, not about sex. Using rape as a tool to show your enemies just what you think of them is not at all uncommon in war, or at least old wars. Current wars, I don't know - our views have changed, so I don't know if it's still condoned. However, I can see how they make a distinction - it's meant as a tool for war, not as a tool for controlling others. So while acceptable during war, not so much any other time. I believe there are other instances of this in real life - things that are acceptable at certain times are absolutely taboo at others.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

By most industrialized countries but It still happens in the lesser developed nations all the time... During war even so call civilized nation's soldiers will rape... often not being punished... unless caught by a female CO or someone who really understands why it's a bad tool to use... and that soldiers who rape in war will often commit other atrocities that go against the current codes of war fare and against all forms of human decency.

I treat vets with PTSD all the time... and a lot of the time what horrifies them is the fact that they looked the other way a a fellow soldier rapes a woman.

DiDi's picture

But when I finished reading this chapter, the first thing I did was like:

Woo! I knew it! I knew Ansella and Ibbit were a couple. I saw on that chapter where she went to the Sister for comfort. I so called it! I bet I'd have gotten paid if I'd bet someone over it...

That's pretty much all I got to say.

Although, that 2nd comment seemed to just be a humorous bit of sarcasm in my opinion.

MeiLin's picture

Most High

I'm really sensitive on the subject for some reason, which is weird because, hello, dated lesbians here and didn't have that opinion of them, not even secretly. Maybe I spent too much time in women's studies in college...

Tigger's picture

Supplicant

that if it had come from a member of the forum, we might have seen it in a different light. It looks like Amy has indicated that she posted it, but perhaps wasn't logged in. I'm pretty sure none of the regulars would have posted something like that in a mean manner, and we know that, so knowing it was someone we were familiar with puts a different spin on it than some random Cheez-it coming in and saying it. Tone of typing and all that. don't be so harsh on yourself, Mei. Smile

MeiLin's picture

Most High

It was someone commenting on what Amy said about not liking Ibbit.

Amy's picture

Supplicant

I could be wrong here... but I think your reaction has all the earmarks of someone who has either been hurt by a gay/lesbian basher or has had a loved one be deeply hurt by such a creep..

Those kinds of scars run deep and often show up as "Hot buttons"

If I'm right.. you might want to find a way to heal that in yourself. Bashing will never be right, and all bashers need to be stopped, But being that afraid of being mistaken for what you are not... that can not be a fun or happy way to live.

Ibbit is Ibbit.... any one who can write all the wonderful things that you do about love and all the healthy ways it can manifest, and all the ways it can heal and improve lives, Could Never be taken as someone who believes that any type honest love between any kind of couple is bad... or that any mentally healthy person is evil because of who they love.

((( HUGS Mei ))) ((( HUGS )))

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