The heat of the Sundom made Aloy's skin slippery with sweat and while her Carja leathers stymied some of the heat, she always felt like she needed to bathe every few hours. She was never beyond taking a dip in the streams and ponds that she crossed along her travels, even knowing she'd have to retreat her leather at some point to stop it from breaking down. But today, she had added grime to her sticky skin as the wind was determined to toss the entire desert upon her flesh. She could just imagine what she looked like as the red dust coated her arms and neck. She could feel it settling into the creases of her eyes and lips. She was even certain that if she were to lay down in the middle of the road, passersby may mistake her for a small boulder.
Leading her Strider to the lake below Meridian, the one with the amazing waterfall, she felt that this was her chance to see the end of all of this muck caked to her person, rooted into her hair and crunching in her mouth. She dismounted and grabbed her pack. She had stored away some of the soap Avad had given her and she had a strong desire to smell like anything other than salt and sharp b.o. She only hoped it hadn’t melted in the heat.
Luckily, the cake was still solid and she took in a long languid sniff of the lavender compound. She loved the herbal smell of the soap and it reminded her of home, of the many nights her and Rost would have to make their own because the Nora wouldn’t trade with them. Rarely had she added flowers into the mix, for she didn’t think the old hunter would appreciate it but she couldn’t deny that when Avad had presented it to her, it made her nostalgic.
Pulling the pieces of her armor off of her body, she made her way to the lip of the water.
Avad looked over the balcony that held an exquisite view of the Mesa’s edge. It wasn’t often that he came to this side of the palace, for there would always be those who wished to hear him speak in the synagogue or give some kind of blessing. He wasn’t a priest and he held little desire to be the one spouting religious philosophy. But today, he just wanted to have a different vantage point than that which he was typically confined to. He could have ventured into the city but that would mean the accompaniment of guards and he really just wanted to be alone.
His mind was in chaos, having spent the better part of the week wondering what had happened to Aloy. He had grown accustomed to her presence in the city. It was as if she had vanished. He knew that when she left, she had been headed off to complete the mission that had led her to him in the first place but not having her around was beginning to wear on him. He hadn’t realized how attached he’d grown until he word vomited his request for her to stay at his side. She had been kind, telling him that neither of them was ready for the repercussions of her staying. Yet, he could feel their bond growing ever so slightly each time they met.
He sighed heavily, leaning on the balustrade for support. He was about to place his hands over his face when movement below caught his eye. Normally, he wasn’t drawn to the glint of a machine on the horizon. Many times they ventured close to the city but since the Nora’s arrival, he’d caught himself searching for her and he knew there was only one person who could tame the machines and ride them.
He watched as Aloy dismounted the Strider. What could she be doing? Possibly stocking up on her collection of healing herbs? He’d seen her do it a few times before heading into the city. As he continued to watch though, he was stunned to find that she had every intention of taking a nude dip into the waters of the lake. This wasn’t the first time he had seen her naked but this was the first time he could look without feeling too guilty, or like he may get caught at any moment. And even if he did, he could use any number of excuses because he was sure that he wouldn’t be the only one who could see this. Aloy didn’t care. He knew that. She had explained that in her culture, nudity wasn’t a sexual thing. Yet, amongst the Carja, this would be quite scandalous.
Aloy sank below the water, wetting her entire body and Avad grew stiff as he watched her emerge. From this distance, all he could see was her rounded curves but that was enough. He knew what her body looked like up close and he could imagine her pink nipples pearling as she stood in the cooling breeze. He knew what her skin looked like as it glistened with droplets of water. He closed his eyes, recalling her plunge into the baths and her curiosity at what followed.
Checking to ensure he was alone, Avad undid the belt that held his trousers in place. He knew he shouldn’t be doing this, especially here of all places but he couldn’t resist touching himself. He could imagine her lips wrapped around him instead and watching the way she brazenly stroked her body in the pool below instigated his need even further.
Erend was making his rounds, checking on his men and giving out new assignments to those Avad had wanted guarding the Western Gate, when he paused, noticing a very strange sight. A glimmering form emerged from the nearby lake. He was about to nudge the guard next to him when he realized this wasn’t just some emboldened Carja. The sunlight caught her copper stands and he knew it could be only one person.
Aloy flipped her hair, letting the strands caress her back before she wound it tightly and squeezed the water out of it. This left Erend with the most glorious view of her backside. The muscles of her back shifted with every movement of her arms, reminding Erend of a well-oiled machine. He knew she was powerful but seeing it on full display, the way her body moved so gracefully even while washing made his brain conjure images of her using that power in a completely different way.
He had to shift and adjust himself and he was grateful for the armor he wore, otherwise, he would have been on full display himself. He was sure if any of the Vanguard noticed, they’d ride him for days about it and he didn’t need another reason for them to make fun of his infatuation with the red-haired Huntress.
Nil crept along the tree line, ensuring he kept Aloy in his sights. He never let her wander too far away. And he had been called out for it on numerous occasions but the girl fascinated him in a way he didn’t know was possible. Plus, she was always keen on finding trouble, or trouble was keen on her, he hadn’t really decided which was the truest statement.
He watched as Aloy bathed and wondered if she would call out to him as she had done before. He never intruded on her unless invited. But he couldn’t stay away from her either. Simply watching her wouldn’t get him all hot and bothered but she did know how to play to his weaknesses and she was never above taunting him.
As she soaped up, he knew part of this display was for him. She turned her head slightly over her shoulder, not seeing him but knowing where he was all the same, then bent down to stroke the soap over her legs, leaving her ass on full and glorious display for him. She gave it a little shake as she continued her ministrations.
Nil bit his lip. She hadn’t called him from his shadowy alcove, so he remained there as his breathing grew shallow, his heart picked up speed and his cock grew hard. When she turned to face him, she soaped up her hands and began slowly caressing her breasts, making sure to pay a little more attention to her nipples than necessary for a proper bath. The sensations had her tossing her head back in pleasure and Nil wanted nothing more than to sink his teeth into the pulse he knew would be pounding rapidly beneath her flesh. And she wasn’t done. If he didn’t know that she couldn’t actually see him, he would have thought her eyes were staring directly into his as she reached between her legs, her hands now free of soapy residue, and stroked herself. Her teeth sank into her lower lip as she applied more pressure.
His cock jumped and pulsed with need but she still hadn’t said the words he needed to hear and he wouldn’t go to her unless she wanted it. It was how this had always worked between them but he could feel himself shifting forward involuntarily as if his body didn’t care about the rules and restrictions his mind placed on it. There was a need and it begged to be met whether he was willing or not.
So, and not for the first time, he knew he would need to relieve the pressure building in his groin or risk jumping her at any moment. He hated this relentless need for her. He hated not having control of his own body around her. But sinking into her, having her body wrapped around his, it was worth losing a bit of control.