3. Sweet Sixteen
"...Happy Birthday to you..." the select group of friends and neighbours sang to Elmay.
She beamed at the small pile of presents, unconsciously smoothing her hair so that it covered the tree shaped blemish under her ear. She had received a ring from her mother, a string of beads from her best friend Anym, a large log with one end chewed into a rounded stump from Prestly, and a beautiful carved pendant from the boy who lived next door to her - Kylo. He was a few months her senior and she enjoyed his company. He had firm, erect ears, and had a way of letting his tunic fall open so that his slim but muscled bare chest came on show. The thought of his chest made her go a bit tingly because it had reminded her of an occasion a few months ago when she had watched him skinny dipping in the lake. He was just swimming to start with but when he stepped from the water she had meant to look away. In the end she just couldn't. Like all elves, he had no body hair, so his muscles stood out perfectly, wetly glistening in the evening sun. Then he had turned a little more and she had seen his life giver. It wasn't hard like the teacher had said in life bringing class, but like him, it was perfect - she guessed it must have been almost two inches long.
"Hi Elmay. Are you looking forward to your joining?" His greeting shook her out of her daydream.
"Hi Kylo. Not really, but like mother says, it is my duty to go." She said breezily, but then whispered "I would rather I was joining with you." She couldn't believe she had said such a thing, but, she reasoned, when she returned from the joining she would be with child, and this might be the last chance she got to say something like this.
"I... I would really like that too, Elmay." He stammered.
"Then would you wait until after the baby... you know... and maybe we can...?"
"I will wait forever for you Elmay." He said, surprising himself with his conviction.
She leant forwards an kissed him on the lips for the first time.
"Aint you supposed to be doing that with a Krasian later?" It was her friend Anym. "And you better mind where you are swinging that thing Kylo." She flicked his tented breaches with her fingernail. Anym was a few months younger than Elmay, but somehow seemed to know more of the ways of the world.
Kylo flushed red, and retreated behind a tree.
"What did you say to him to get him so hard?" Anym asked.
"I think I said I wanted to join with him after the baby arrives."
"That will be it - he has wanted to join with you since your teats grew."
The two girls sniggered. They had shared everything together, and knew each other in ways the Elven boy could only fantasise about.
They took a bite of birthday cake and then Anym spoke. "Can I ask you a favour?"
"Anything - you are my best friend."
"You know I am the eldest girl in my family, so I am going to be joined in two months time. When you come back, can you tell me exactly what happens?"
"I am going to join with a Krasian - what do you think happens? Do you want a diagram of what goes where?"
"I am serious. No one will tell me what actually happens. They won't look me in the eye and they just say 'I joined with a handsome Krasian, and he looked after me for a few weeks to make sure the baby was well'."
"Then I will tell you everything when I get back." Elmay smiled.
"Elmay, it is time to get into your joining dress!" Elmay's mother called. The girl ran into the house and emerged a few minutes later wearing her long white robe. Some of the women in the group dried the tears from their eyes and smiled.
A carriage appeared in the distance, heading towards them.
"Ladies and gentlemen," began Elmay's mother, "I would like to propose a toast to Elmay. May the Great Forrester make her joining passionate and fruitful."
"Passionate and fruitful!" Everyone responded, clinking glasses.
Elmay had a last minute together with Anym as the carriage approached. It was being driven by a human - never a good sign. Elmay's mother had told her never to trust humans as they would sell their own mothers for a piece of gold. Her mother adjusted the cleavage on the gown quickly then said quietly "Don't forget my advice from last night when you are about to join."
"I won't forget mama."
"I am sure this will be the making of you, so chest out, ears up straight, and enjoy your joining."
Her mother passed her a small bag of spare clothes, and Elmay climbed reluctantly into the horse drawn carriage and waved from the window as it departed with her inside.
The journey was a slow one, and they stopped occasionally for more girls to board the carriage until there were four in all. They were all wearing white gowns, but each with subtle differences to the embroidery and design as a result of their different beliefs of the varying elven clans. They made small talk while the journey completed.
It was early evening by the time they arrived at the Krasian administration building. They were told to wait outside a large wooden door by an Elven administrator. The first girl was called in. Elmay tried to catch a glimpse of the inside of the room but she was too slow and the door slammed closed.
"So did you get given any advice for when you join?" The girl next to her asked her and the other girl still waiting. Elmay didn't feel she could pass on her mother's advice and shrugged.
"My mama said to always say please and thank you, and to always call my suitor 'Sir', and to thank him for the gift of life when he puts it in me." The girl next to her replied.
"My mama gave me some advice." The first girl added, leaning forward. "She said to lick the end of his life giver so that it slides in easy."
Elmay goggled for a second. This was way better than the advice she had been given. She began to say "Actually my mother said when I was about to join..." but then a voice called the name of the girl and she promptly left, giving the two remaining girls a brief wave.
"What were you going to say?" Her neighbour asked.
She said "When I am about to join, don't fight it, spread my legs and let the Great Forester do his work."
The girl looked at her trying to puzzle out the meaning of what had been said, then asked "Is your mama religious?"
"Yes, she is a bit."
"Then that is a beautiful thing to say." The girl smiled patronisingly.
"Elmay Tamsarin." A voice called, and the door swung open. Butterflies danced in Elmay's stomach as she walked through the entrance and the door banged shut behind her. Inside was a Krasian at a desk wearing a white coat, and another who looked like a military type who was easily twice her height. He scowled at her as she passed him.
"Hello." She said nervously. "I am Elmay Tamsarin."
"Hello. Welcome to New Krasia." The man in the white coat said. "Would you remove your gown please.
Elmay was a little startled by this - she knew she was coming here to be joined, but she had expected a little more to the procedure than this. She started to remove her gown.
"Are you going to join with me? Sir."
The man laughed. "No, no, this is to check you over for health and purity before the joining. Everything off please."
This was the first time Elmay had been naked in front of any man, and she nervously stood, hands in front of her cavern. The man in the white coat stood up.
"Open your mouth." He asked. She did as she was told and he inspected her teeth.
"Very good. Now hold your arms up."
His large green hands felt her breasts. "Hmmm... rather small, but no lumps, and no sores. Is your monthly bleed regular?"
He pressed her abdomen around her cavern. "When did you last have a bowel movement."
"This morning Sir, before I left home." Elmay replied, trying not to look at the man while she spoke.
"This may be a little cold." Elmay blushed crimson as something that felt like a glass tube was pressed into her vent, making her gasp.
"It takes a minute." He seemed at a bit of a loss for conversation, then said "That is a lovely dress."
"Thank you Sir. My mother made it for me to wear to my joining."
"Lovely... Just bend over a little so I can see the thermometer. Completely normal." He withdrew the glass instrument from her and added "Good. Well you seem healthy enough. Stand with your legs apart, and keep your arms up. Officer - if you would, please?"
It was then that they heard a scream coming from another part of the building. It was a woman's voice and she was begging for something until her cries were muffled. Elmay looked at the two Krasians, but they pretended not to hear it. She spread her legs as she was instructed.
The military Krasian approached her. She had never seen a 'full blood' Krasian before, but she was sure he was one. He wore something like a loincloth, but it was made with strips of armour. His chest was partly covered by more armour. He sniffed deeply at her face, then sniffed again as he moved down her body, kneeling to take in a long deep breath of her sex. Finally, she felt his fingers gently parting her cavern lips and tried not to look as he peered inside her.
He stood up. "She has been touched by a male recently, and has been sexually excited today, but has not been involved in sexual activity. Her band is unbroken."
"Good. And her cycle?"
"She is coming into season now, so she needs to join in the next day or two."
Elmay was appalled that he could tell so much about her from her scent.
"Excellent news. Pure and ready to join. You may put your dress on again, and wait through that door to meet your suitor."