Of Bread and Other Things That Rise
Ah, these wolfriders! Once they were no longer barbarian invaders but our welcomed guests, I took a good look at all of them. And I saw how young they were, I am sure half of them were younger than my granddaughter. This youth showed itself in many ways, one of which was their intense curiousity about us and our way of life. And no one was more curious, no one asked more questions or poked at various items than the silver-haired stargazer, Skywise.
Still, I was surprised to find him at my door one fine morning. He handed me a bouquet of red poppies and said:
"I have come to apologize to you about stealing your fresh-baked bread when we made that stupid raid."
I smiled at him.
"Thank you. You gave me quite a fright that day!"
"Again, I am sorry. You seemed more worried about your bread than yourself, though."
"Bread is important." I folded my arms.
"It does taste very good. What kind of plant does it grow on?" He asked with a smile.
I raised one eyebrow.
"Would you like to learn about bread?"
He grinned, teeth flashing in the sunlight.
"I love learning new things."
And so I taught him. I took him to the fields of grain and corn, I showed him where the seeds were dried, I came with him back to my hut and taught him how to use the grinding stones. I initiated him to the mysteries of yeast and sourdough. I showed how to heat the oven. I made a sample batch of dough to show him how I kneaded it. I made this a sweet dough, with shineflower oil and honey, and finally covered it with a cloth to let it rest.
"And then we wait, until it is twice the size it is now." I told my student.
He studied me with the same honest interest he had studied my handiwork. "You have flour on your face," he told me, and in the next heartbeat, he licked my cheek, like a cat cleaning her kitten. "Any ideas what to do while we wait?" He asked me, and I found myself blushing.
His gaze made me feel young. I looked into his eyes and smiled, and he understood the invitation. He pulled me into his arms and for a good while I did not think about bread at all.
I would not say it was the best joining I ever had - I am, after all, twice Recognized - but it was different from anything I'd ever experienced. My young lovemate was wild and uninhibited, yet considerate for my pleasure. I am not sure that I taught him any new tricks, for he was skilled, and indeed, I learned a thing or two from him.
Then it was time to knead the bread. I gave him half of the dough - which had risen to three times its original size while we were otherwise occupied - and taught him how to work it. He was too gentle at first, touching the dough like it was a maiden's flesh, but I showed him the right way, and it was again his turn to learn from me.
In the end we had two loaves - my beautiful round one and his somewhat clumsier effort - and I put them in the oven.
"How long will they be in there?" He asked me.
"A little while. I have been baking all my life, I will know when it is time to take them out." I told him, and added with pride: "It has been hundreds of years since I last burned my bread."
Meanwhile we returned to my bed, and got to know each other's bodies even better. It had been all too long since the last time I tasted such pleasures, and I appreciated his every touch. Best of all was the knowledge that he enjoyed these actions as much as I did.
I burned that bread.