Beltane, After All

Written to Brian’s  prompt to my Third Rail Prompt Call


There were places that Macha, daughter of Nollaig, of Istvia’s line of the wisdom, would like to be for Beltane.

There were people she would like to spend the holiday with.

There were two in particular she would actively enjoy spending the holiday with and another seven who would be fun, and by the light of the Lady and the will of the Consort, that was where she ought to be.

The holiday was for such things, after all, for rolling in the grass under the Lady’s eyes and no other’s judgement.

But Macha was a Countess now, and as such, there were things one did that were both religion and politics.

She had left her favorite lover at home, because she did not want to see him under another woman, even knowing that he would likely spend the whole holiday with the rest of her staff.  She had brought her Consort, for a number of reasons but highest among them because he enjoyed this sort of thing – the same reason he was her Consort, although they both had others whose attention and time they preferred.

She shed her outer robe at the inner gates of the Duchess’ estates and squeezed her Consort’s hand.  She had faith in him, faith more than she had in the Lady or the Consort Below, if she was being honest (Which in a place like this, she never would be).  She had slightly less faith in herself.


She turned slowly to her side.  Even now, it wouldn’t do to be too free. The Lady dictated a certain relaxation today, but, as with all things, politics dictated something else.


She didn’t hate Róisín, daughter of Aine, of Istvia’s line (but perhaps with less wisdom).  When they had been teenagers in the Agency, when they had been young soldiers, then they could afford such rivalries.

They had no room for that now.

She kissed her distant cousin’s cheeks and finished – it was Beltane, after all – with a long kiss on the lips that might have sparked a bit of passion.  Hate and love were two sides of the same coin, after all.

“Jarlath.”  Róisín took Macha’s Consort’s hands.

“Countess Róisín.”  He bowed his head politely, although his position as Consort meant he could act as her equal.  

Róisín kissed his cheeks but, as his head was bowed low, not his lips. ” “Come now, Jarlath, you can look at me, you know.”

Macha smiled.  It was Beltane, after all.  Happiness was to be expected.

And she had, after all, manage to snipe Jarlath out from under Róisín when his original household had fallen on hard times.  

“As you wish, Lady Róisín.”  He looked at her — and kissed her.  And Macha smiled even more.

The kiss went on for some time.  Jarlath put his hand on the small of Róisín’s back — a faux pas on any other day.  He pressed against her and controlled the kiss – an almost fatal mis-step on any other day.  He groaned his pleasure into the kiss.

Jarlath liked this sort of thing.  He was good at it. And never in the time that Macha had owned him had he shed one tear for Róisín’s failure to buy him.

The other Countess stepped back, her cheeks warm, her tongue darting out to lick her lips.  “Jarlath…”

He bowed, deeply.  Subserviently. A perfect bow, and far too formal for the kiss he’d just given her.

“Countess.  I thank you for the blessings of the day.”

There were places that Macha wanted to be for Beltane.  But if she could not be there, then she could be here, watching her Consort do absolutely nothing questionable and still leave her rival gaping like a fish.

She took his hand in hers and led him deeper into the party.  


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