Disclaimer: Star Trek is the property of Paramount/Viacom. This story is the property of and is copyright (c) 1977 by Johanna Cantor. Originally published in The Sensuous Vulcan, D.T. Steiner, editor. Rated NC17.
"The black rock broods in the sun, a bitter place.
Here in the matrix of pain, of savagery, of
unspeakable need. Here your father begat you in
tears. Here your grandfather writhed under the
lash of necessity. Here you too must lie, proud
Vulcan. There is no escape."
From "The Rune of the Rock"
* * *
"Have courage, my bondmate. We are almost finished here. I am coming to you." T'Lal sent the thought firmly, while concentrating on maintaining her calm. S'tev's thoughts, reaching her through the intensified bond with painful acuity, were disordered and fearful, approaching the chaotic. He was depply in the grip of the fever.
"Be strong, my daughter." T'Pau's voice was gentle in her ear. "He needs your strength now, more ever before, more than he ever will again. Be calm. e generous. Give now. You will receive later…" T'Pau went on reciting one of the oldest Vulcan poems as she ritually arranged the scented bridal coif. But T'Lal tuned her out. Some new fear was agitating S'tev -- oh! '"Cease this!" she commanded fiercely. "Am I a T'Pring, to dishonor my bondmate and myself? Be easy. I am coming to you. "
At last it was time to set out. T'Lal took her place beside T'Pau's litter, walking proudly in spite of the sudden constriction of her throat. "There is nothing to fear," she reminded "Stot wiill be there, and Sarg. T'Nan will be there." In the past year, in accordance with family custom, she had attended three matings. She knew what to expect. The witnesses would see that no harm was done. There was nothing to fear.
S'tev knew the bridal party had set out; she felt him at once relieved and more apprehensive. Then he was calmer, and T'Lal felt better. Stot and Sarg, his father and brother, were at his side. Stot was soothing, Sarg, supporting. His agitation quieted, and he picked up the mallet to sound the huge gong.
"Is it well with you, T'Lal?" T'Nan asked softly.
"Yes, my mother."
Now they had rounded the curve. S'tev could see the head of the procession. She felt his eyes searching for her, trying to perceive with vision already blurred, and she looked at him steadily, again communicating calm, before lowering her eyes in the traditional fashion.
T'Pau's litter was set down, and the bell ringers gave a final salvo. It seemed to be ringing in her head. She breathed deeply, fighting for calm. "Fear not, my bondmate. I can be strong for us both now," she communicated. Reassured, S'tev knelt before T'Pau. Then he picked up the chime mallet and began the ritual question.. She nodded her ascent, and he struck the chime three times. Then he turned to her, extending two fingers. She stepped forward and touched her fingers to his. The ringers shook the bells deafeningly, and the ceremony was over.
S'tev was still in control. Somehow that was a relief, even though T'Lal knew that maintaining that control was an agony which must, for his sake, end soon. He whispered her name, beseeching.y.
"Yes, my husband," she said aloud. "Lead. I follow."
In silence, followed by the three witnesses and the attendants, they walked the short distance to a large flat rock, cut with ancient handholds in the base and top. Quickly the attendants stripped the canopy which had been erected to shade the rock from the fierce Vulcan sun. They spread a pad down its center, and stepped back. T'Lal stood still obediently as T'Nan took off her bridal dress and fastened a protective collar around her neck. Then she walked firmly toward the rock and stood, waiting. Sarg sang the rune of the rock as Stot led S'tev toward it. Only fragments reached T'Lal's consciousness. "On this rock your father begat you in pain. On this rock your grandfather writhed..." She watched as S'tev stopped at the base of the rock, with Stot and Sarg at his sides. "Grip the rock, my son," Stot said, and guided his hands to the holds chipped in the base. S'tev gasped as the contact with the ritual stone quickened his responses, and T'Lal saw him bite back a groan.
"My daughter?" Stot said.
It was time. Calmly, T'Lal. stepped past S'tev and lay down on the pad. T'Nan made sure the handholds were exposed, then brushed her daughter's temple lightly and stepped back. T'Lal opened her legs, and waited. S'tev hesitated.
"I do not wish to hurt you," he whispered.
"You will not hurt me, S'tev. Come, now. You will be better soon."
"Your hands will be in mine, my son. Now. It is time."
She saw Stot wave the attendants forward to watch. S'tev positioned his body as he had been taught, and thrust quickly. Conquering panic, T'Lal thrust downward, and felt him enter deep within her. The sensation was strange, but not painful; her confidence returned. Tenderly she reached an arm around him and encouraged him to lean forward. Then with Stot's and Sarg's help, she moved backyard carefully, until he lay on top of her, extended on the rock.
S'tev was shuddering, and she caught his body in a ritual embrace, hands crossed at the wrists behind his neck. "Do not fight anymore, my husband," she whispered. "Let it have its way with you." S'tev went rigid, and she began to whisper the Song of Sont. "Her breast is white as the green-flecked foam, to cool my heat. Her body is soft, smooth to my desires. Her flesh envelopes mine..." He shuddered more violently; the chaos of his thoughts threatened her control. Blocking as gently as she could, she remembered a way to help him. She blew ·gently in his ear, then whispered, "My husband. S'tev. Listen to me. You are so deep inside me. With the very tip, can you touch the rock?"
"That is illog--" he began, but then the sense of her words swept over him. His eyes rolled upward and the world fell away.
T'Lal tried to keep in touch with him, but then the thrusting began, and she was forced to turn her attention to blocking the pain. She felt remote, as though she were again one of the attendants, watching another couple mate. She felt Stot and Sarg grab S'tev's hands and immobilize them on the grips above her head to thwart the blood-fever instinct to strangle. Teeth raked her shoulder, and she almost panicked, knowing he would aim for her throat. But Sarg was quick, and the teeth met only on a leather bit. Impersonally, T'Lal reached down to dig her fingertips into the sperm duct as he thrust. His movements were shorter now. It was almost over. Still far away, she saw the end come. The thrusting stopped as S'tev instinctively arched his back. Then he gave one last thrust with a cry that came from his vitals. T'Lal felt the warm liquid inside her, and dug the sperm duct again. Twice more he thrust and cried out. Then he lay still.
T'Lal swallowed a sudden wave of disgusted nausea. The seminal fluid drenched her legs, and sweat from S'tev's body ran over hers. He lay dazed, uncomprehending, his breath coming harshly through open mouth. T'Lal was glad to see the attendants bring a large robe, and she lifted her arms so they could wrap S'tev. But when Stot asked her if she wanted S'tev moved off her, she shook her head. "Let him rest," she said. This was etiquette -- the behavior of a dutiful bride. Her only sensation was relief that the mad thrusting had stopped. Despairingly, she tried to calculate the probable duration of the pon farr and to gather her fortitude.
"Be courageous, my daughter," T'Nan spoke gently as she bathed T'Lal's face. "This is the worst time for you. But you have given generously. Soon you will receive." She handed T'Lal a large sachet and a scented cloth. T'Lal squeezed the sachet to release the pungent oils, and put it between her breasts under S'tev's nose. He moaned and stirred, and she gently wiped her face.
"T'Lal?" His whisper sounded utterly exhausted. Pity stirred within her and with it, re-born tenderness.
"I am here, S'tev."
"I hurt you."
"No," she lied. "Not at all. How do you feel?"
Now it was his turn to lie. "I am well.."
She touched his face ritually, re-established the meld, and sighed in relief. Once again, he was her dear bondmate. He relaxed, also comforted by the re-established contact. But the bonding told him that his weight oppressed her, and he quickly withdrew and got to his feet. Stot steadied him, and S'tev leaned on him gratefully. T'Lal climbed off the rock with relief, wincing a little. T'Nan took her arm and drew her toward the women attendants, who bathed her and dressed her in a loose robe. T'Lal managed to thank her young cousins properly, but she was conscious of renewed despair. Soon it would be time again, and then again and again, perhaps for weeks. T'pin was playing the harp and singing one of the loveliest of the mating songs, but T'Lal felt only a cold distaste. Her experience had nothing to do with the warmth and passion of the song. She looked over at S'tev lying on the sand. Sarg was massaging his legs, stiff -from the tension of the last days. That was helping, and a bath would revive him further. But his face was deeply etched with exhaustion. It was a repulsive process -- savagery inescapably bred into them, which had nothing to do with pleasure. Stoically, T'Lal lay down on the large pad pegged in the shadow of the rock. She must do her duty.
The men finished bathing S'tev and brought him over to the pad. He lay down beside her, averting his eyes. Stot knelt beside him, and simultaneously, T'Nan whispered in T'Lal's ear: "Courage, my daughter. This mood will not last much longer. Soon you will have your reward. In meantime, be generous."
Now the witnesses and attendants were ready to leave. Stot gave her his hand, and she touched it in a ritual pattern of respect. Sarg gave his brother's neck a final comforting rub. T'Pin began another song, and T'Lal listened until it died away in the distance. They were alone.
S'tev turned and buried his face in his arms. T'Lal studied her husband. She felt pity, and then her mind was flooded with an intense feeling of superiority. She might have to endure his lust, but at least she maintained control. S'tev flinched. Horrified, she reached for him. "Forgive me." He did not look up, so she took his head in her arms, forcing him to look up. "Forgive she said aloud.
He looked up and saw the long welt on her shoulder. She felt the wave of disgust and shame that swept over him, and wept in remorse. That snapped him to, and he embraced her, helping her regain control. Comforted, she rested against him, again feeling the companionship of the bond. But soon, inevitably, his body quickened. T'Lal sighed inaudibly, and resigned herself.
Time passed, and she felt his pulses pound. But he held still, growing more and more rigid. Finally she asked, "What's wrong?"
"It has started again."
"I know. Why don't we lie down?"
He shook his head. "There is still time. I don't have to enter you yet." His voice was harsh with tension, and suddenly she realized what he was trying to do. "No!" she spoke sharply. "That is not the way." She lay back and opened herself to him. He shook his head so she sat up, reached around his neck, and pulled him down. He cried out as his body touched hers and entered hastily.
T'Lal waited for the savage thrusting to begin again. Instead, he moved inside her very gently. His hands came down and began to stroke her thighs. At the same time, he strengthened the meld. Her body began to respond. At first it was only a telepathic reflection. Then something more began to happen. Strange, warm feelings flooded her being, containing delicious promise of things to come. But soon his back arched. She felt him strain to hold back, and then felt his agitated defeat as once more he flooded her.
She pulled his head to her shoulder and embraced him protectively. Then she lay back and tried to analyze what she had felt, and what she had thought she was about to feel. Bonded closely, S'tev followed her thoughts, monitoring his responses, and beginning to stroke her again. This time he would follow her lead. His body quickened, but now the urgency was bearable, even promising. He communicated his excitement, and she gasped. For the first time, strength and assurance superseded his shame.
T'Lal reached behind and began to massage between his buttocks, and S'tev moaned with pleasure. But soon he began to pull ahead of her. Firmly, he imprisoned her hands behind his back. Then, locking thighs, he turned over, pulling her on top of him, and sat her up. T'Lal squirmed as his body penetrated further into hers. Now he was reaching the core of her being, with a gentle rubbing that sent floods of warmth through her. She felt the heat of the desert under the sun, and her being dissolved to integrate with the rhythms of the world.
Another surge swept through her, and then another. Then the intensity began to fade, leaving her almost content. Only one thing was lacking. Leaning forward, she caressed a pointed ear. "My love and I are one, and I am whole," she quoted softly. The warm flood between her thighs bathed her again, and it was so.
Slowly the ecstasy faded. S'tev turned on his side, settling her into the mat, and withdrew. Content and complete, she stroked his chest, running her fingers from heart to navel. He squirmed pleasurably, and her sense of power returned. Remembering the warmth, she snuggled close and he pulled a heavy cloak around her. She caught the end and tucked it around him. He sighed in equal contentment. New pressures were stirring in his back, but now they held promise of fulfillment rather than pain. Now there was time. His limbs were heavy. He would rest.
T'Lal heard S'tev speak her name, and opened her eyes. His hand hovered near her, two fingers extended. She touched her two fingers to his. Within minutes they were asleep.
* * *
"But on this rock you will build your house."
From the "Rune of the Rock"