As the young knight Fionn of Vesperwind crested the final hill and took in the sight of the famous Greenlake he had so often heard described in legend, his first emotion was disappointment. After all, it could scarcely be called a “lake” in the first place: the average-sized pool of water that filled the bottom of the hollow resembled a large puddle more than it did a grand lake. Admittedly, on the other hand, it was difficult to describe the place as anything but “green”; the gentle slope leading down into the hollow was covered with grass so vibrantly emerald it seemed to catch the sunlight itself and throw it back in one’s face. A soft breeze made the grass dance and the trees sway, waving in the wind as ripples spread across the water’s surface, crashing against the tiny island in the middle of the lake.
And, in the exact centre of that island, Fionn could just about make out the shape of something – a sword, buried almost to the hilt in the earth. Its pommel glinted in the late morning sunlight, sparkling like a diamond.
“There she is,” a voice came from beside Fionn, and he glanced over to see the guide who had led him here gazing upon the lake with a mixture of fondness and pride. “Greenlake, in all her glory. The pride of all of Willowgap.”
His creaky voice betrayed not a hint of irony, and the look in the old man’s eyes seemed almost wistful. Fionn looked from the guide back to the lake, his own eyes zeroing in on the island once again.
“And that island in the middle,” Fionn said, pointing with one mailed hand, “is that truly the final resting place of Argedmore – the famed blade of the great hero Dáire?”
“The very one,” the old man said, a knowing chuckle escaping him as he leaned on his cane.
“I had thought it only a myth.”
This time, the old man let out a barking laugh. “If that were the case, you wouldn’t have come all this way, would you, lad?”
Fionn looked away rather than meet the man’s shrewd look. He’d always had a fascination with stories, and had heard his fair share of them over the years: tall tales passed around by babbling children over campfires; bedtime fables his grandmother had taught his mother, which had been taught to Fionn in turn; gripping sagas as told by bards in taverns over foaming flagons of ale; secrets spilled in breathless whispers from gentlemen who’d eagerly climbed into his bed; long-winded, meandering yarns spun from the mouths of old men dying to finally have someone to talk to.
Even after becoming a knight-errant, Fionn had taken to wandering the land in search of more fairy tales. But enough years had gone by that he had slowly been forced to face the facts – legendary heroes were few and far-between, dragons were extinct, and fairies dwelled so deep in their forests as to shun all human contact.
But, now… to think he might have finally found the source of a true, honest-to-gods legend. Every child west of the Fathomless Ocean had heard tell of the great hero Dáire, who had risen from a lowly squire to a slayer of tyrants and kings over half a millennium ago. It was largely thanks to the legendary hero and his memory as passed down through the eons that there had been no more monarchs in this land in the centuries since, and knights such as Fionn were free to pledge themselves to creeds and sacred oaths rather than to kings and nations. And the very weapon with which he had helped liberate the people had been laid to rest right here, on the outskirts of the small village of Willowgap. In Greenlake.
“So, are the tales all true?” Fionn asked. “They say that nobody has ever succeeded in pulling the sword from the earth in which it was embedded.”
The old man’s smile was like another wrinkle in his face. “I’ve watched over this place since long before you were born. And not once, in all that time, has anyone left the island with that sword.”
“But many have tried?”
“Many,” the old man assured him with a nod. “Brought too many strapping men like yourself here to count – their eyes all gleaming with hope and wonder, or sometimes with hunger and avarice. Each and every one of them left empty-handed.” He paused to let the gravity of his words sink in, before delivering the important question. “Do you think you have what it takes?”
Fionn exhaled slowly, before turning away from the lake to face the old man once again. “I’ll just have to find that out for myself.”
The old man gave another nod. “Best of luck, then. Do you know your way back to the village from here?”
“I do. And thank you. Actually, I–” Fionn made to fumble for his purse, but the old man simply shook his head and waved him off.
“You can keep your coin, lad. An old man like me’s got no need for it.”
“But surely I must repay you for your help?” Fionn said, a frown creasing his forehead.
“Not at all. It’s enough to know that I might just have guided the next legendary hero to the blade that would secure his greatness.” With a smile and fond twinkle in his eye, the old man set off back down the road. “You’re welcome to stay at our village for the night, should you choose. If not, hopefully our paths will cross again someday.”
“Thank you, and farewell, sir.”
Turning his back on the old man, Fionn stepped down into the hollow and began his descent towards the lake. The nearer he got, the more he began to appreciate the natural beauty of the lake: the hollow surrounding the lake was lush with greenery, the water glimmered like flawless crystal in the late-morning sun, and the sword in the middle of it all gleamed like a beacon, as though it were guiding him closer. Perhaps he had been too dismissive when he’d first arrived? It would have been difficult, after all, for even a large lake to live up to the picture he’d conjured up in his head after having heard the tale told so many times over the years.
Before very long at all, Fionn had reached the edge of the lake, where the water lapped gently against the soft earth of the bank. There, he turned left, and began to slowly pace around the lake, eyes roving over the water. He took his time, scanning every detail, although his attention kept getting drawn back to the island in the centre, where the sword poked out of the sod. It was difficult to keep his excitement in check – after all, this was the very sword of legend that the bards spun songs of to this day. It was said that the magicks that blessed the blade allowed to carve mountains in twain, and to project radiant beams of light to banish the darkness. What was more, the tales claimed that only a true successor to the great hero Dáire could take up the sword – that was almost certainly the reason why so many had visited the lake over the centuries, only to leave empty-handed.
But what was it, exactly, that determined who was a ‘true successor’? The legends were frustratingly vague, and Fionn had heard them all. Perhaps the sword had a mind of its own, and could decide for itself who was worthy to wield it? If so, then what qualities were the prospective heroes judged by? Strength? Wisdom? Technique? Or maybe there was a trial involved – a battle against a fearsome beast that had guarded the blade over the years! What sort of creature could it be? A dragon? Or a manticore? Or maybe a sea monster that had been imprisoned in the lake? A kraken, maybe? Or a serpent? Or–
Fionn blew air out between his lips, forcing himself to calm down. All his life, he’d awaited this very day. No wonder he was having a hard time keeping his excitement in check. He did his best to push all buzzing thoughts of the sword out of his mind, at least until he had reached the island. A swig of cool water from his canteen soothed his nerves, although he ended up draining the last mouthful in the process.
Fionn completed a full circle of the lake, returning to the spot where he’d first reached the lakeside, having come to a conclusion; the water was hardly clear, what with all the plantlife visible beneath the surface, but Fionn could see deep enough to know that there was no hidden path under the water that would allow him to wade over to the island. In other words, the only way across was to swim.
Shrugging, Fionn cast a hesitant glance about the area – wary of any potential onlookers, despite him being miles from the nearest village – before beginning the process of removing his clothes. Fortunately, Fionn’s adventurous and nomadic lifestyle meant that he tended to dress lightly as far as knights went. His travelling cloak went first, which he laid out on the ground next to a patch of shrubbery. He unbuckled his belts, undid his pauldrons, and took off his gloves and boots before moving on to the rest. After stripping down to his smalls, Fionn couldn’t help but cast another uneasy glance around himself, feeling peculiarly as though he were being watched. But his eyes showed no signs of any other people about – nor any animals, save for a few foraging birds.
I must be getting paranoid, Fionn thought, as he rolled his smallclothes down his legs. Naked at last, and with his clothes safely bundled-up in his cloak by the shrubbery along with his canteen, Fionn took a step into the lake, feeling the water envelop his foot, warmer than he’d been expecting. It wasn’t hot by any stretch of the imagination, nor was it even lukewarm, but it lacked the chill he’d anticipated in a temperate region like this. Fionn had bathed in too many rivers, ponds, and lakes to count, but none had had the pleasant, gentle coolness of Greenlake. It took no effort at for him to wade further in, the water swallowing him up to his knees, then his hips, then all the way up to his chest.
Before long, his feet had departed the lakebed and Fionn was swimming, arms lifting out of the water before plunging back down towards the surface in a steady front crawl. Small weeds and other various forms of plantlife tickled his bare skin, immediately conjuring up frightful images of many-tendrilled beasts lurking beneath the surface, awaiting the opportunity to drag him down under the depths to his doom. A valiant knight such as he had far too much courage and common sense to fear such things, of course. Fionn was thankful that nobody was around to see him cringe all the same.
When Fionn reached the island, he hauled himself up onto the grassy mound, kicking free of the water and shaking himself like a wet dog. As he clambered to his feet, he realised the sword was merely a few feet away, and the excitement he’d quelled earlier came hurtling back. A giddy, high-pitched whine escaped through his nose, and once again, Fionn was grateful that nobody was around to witness his display. Clenching his fists to stop his hands from flapping, Fionn stepped towards the centre of the island. He maintained his previous level of caution, circling around the embedded blade and keeping an eye out for anything unusual or extraordinary. But there was no sign of any magical barriers, hidden pitfalls or traps, nor any monsters lying in wait. There was only the sword, buried in the earth, lying in wait for someone to claim it.
And what a sword it was! The hilt was made of gleaming silver, carved and hewn so intricately that the handle alone was like a work of art. A single sapphire of purest azure was embedded into the pommel, as large as a marble, and probably worth more coin by itself than Fionn would ever see in his life. The handle was long – evidently intended to be gripped with both hands, although the legends spoke of Dáire holding the sword aloft in a single hand – and where it met the cross-guard, there was etched a symbol like a four-pointed star within a circle. It was one Fionn knew well – he and most others who dwelled on this side of the Fathomless Ocean; it was the symbol Dáire had adorned his banners with as he’d marched on the tyrants’ keeps, common folk of all stripes by his side, as they’d liberated the land from so-called monarchs and aristocrats.
There was no mistaking it: This sword was Argedmore.
Fionn swooped down at once, bending double to grasp hold of the hilt with both hands, all hesitance having evaporated. His fingers wrapped themselves tightly around the hilt, and he pulled upwards with all of his might, earning nothing but a twinge of pain in his upper arms and shoulders for his trouble.
Fionn exhaled, letting go of the sword to shake his hands loose, then quickly tried again. His second attempt was equally as successful as his first – which was to say, not at all. No matter how hard he gritted his teeth and pulled, the blade refused to budge. On his third try, he held back on his strength, deciding that the struggle to remove the sword from the sod was likely more a battle of stamina rather than brute force. Fionn huffed and puffed, trying to wiggle the handle from side-to-side in the hopes that it would loosen the earth around the blade. There was no such luck, however – the damp, grassy soil in which the sword was embedded might as well have been solid rock for all the good Fionn’s efforts did.
After several minutes of struggling in vain to remove the sword, Fionn stepped back, cursing under his breath and feeling frustrated almost to the point of tears. To think, he had come all this way, finally daring to hope that he could really, truly be the one to bear the sacred blade of Argedmore after so many years, only to discover that he was no different from anyone else who had visited this island over the centuries. The thought of leaving Greenlake empty-handed and slinking back to the village with his tail between his legs was galling, but there was no getting past the fact that his strength alone clearly wasn’t enough to yank the sword free.
Fionn clenched his jaw and began to pace frantically back-and-forth in front of the blade, angry thoughts swarming in his head like locusts. There had to be some way of removing the sword, didn’t there? Was there some sort of trick to it? Would pushing or pulling at a certain angle work better? Then again, the blade did carry powerful magicks, if the tales were true: perhaps there was some sort of incantation that would free the sword? But he couldn’t possibly hope to guess the magic word or phrase without any clues…
A voice came from behind him. “Something I can help you with?”
Fionn leaped a foot into the air and clapped a hand over his mouth to avoid letting out a startled yelp. The moment his toes touched the ground again, he spun around to see who had spoken. There, resting their arms on the edge of the isle – not more than a few feet from where Fionn was standing (and certainly not where there had been anybody a few moments ago) – was a person unlike any he had ever seen before.
Their hair was the same vibrant green colour as the lake’s surroundings, and drifted lazily about their head and shoulders as though it were submerged in the water. Their skin was the rich, warm brown of fertile soil, and there was enough of it bared for Fionn to be able to tell that the newcomer was as naked as he was. A thin, green beard covered much of the lower half of their face, while two eyes of brilliant viridian regarded Fionn from between a set of long, slender lashes. From where he was standing, Fionn had an impeccable view of the person’s cleavage – their breasts barely covered by their arms as they rested their body on the bank. But that wasn’t all: Fionn’s eyes drifted upwards, past the person’s beautiful face and hair, to where the lower half of their body floated in the lake behind them. Their long, powerful legs treaded water slowly and effortlessly, and their buttocks formed a perfect heart shape from Fionn’s point-of-view, the water lapping at their backside as it floated on the lake’s surface.
“Who– what–?” Fionn gathered himself in an attempt to get a coherent sentence out, taking a number of deep breaths and doing his best to avert his gaze from all that bared flesh. “What are you doing here?”
The person cocked their head at him, one thin, emerald eyebrow lifting. “I am the spirit of this lake; I live here. What are you doing here?”
The words hit Fionn like a physical blow, his eyes widening and momentarily forgetting their discretion as they took in the sight before him once again. Of course! No such beauty could exist in the mortal world!
“A lake spirit,” he breathed, falling to his knees to save his trembling legs the strain of keeping him up any longer. To think, he had come all this way in search of Argedmore, only to find something perhaps even more awe-inspiring in the process. “P-please, forgive me for trespassing in your domain.”
The spirit lifted one hand to wave it dismissively at Fionn. “There’s no need to be so contrite. You are far from the first mortal to come here unbidden. Although, it has been quite some time since I’ve had any company…” They stretched themself out as they spoke, voice taking on a breathy quality that made Fionn’s mouth water – not helped by the way their back arched to lift their bare buttocks further out of the water.
Fionn calmly placed his hands over his modesty, which had gradually become less modest as his eyes had drunk in the sight of the lake spirit’s naked form. “I’ve never met one of your kind before. A lake spirit, that is.”
“Few have,” they said. “We’re rather reclusive. I, on the other hand, have been tasked with addressing any and all who attempt to retrieve this blade. That makes me one of the more sociable ones.”
“Then, you’re the guardian of this sword?”
A curious little smile tugged at one corner of the spirit’s soft, plump lips. “Of a fashion, yes.”
Fionn winced and resisted the urge to bend double as his cock was now beginning to press quite insistently against his fingers. The excitement that had gripped him upon encountering a real, live lake spirit had only boosted his arousal, which was swiftly becoming more and more difficult to hide from those brilliant green eyes.
“Tell me,” he said, doing his best to focus his attention on the reason why he had come here, “what must I do to claim the sword?”
“Hmmm…” The spirit regarded Fionn with no small amount of undisguised interest. “I shall tell you. But first, answer me this – what will you do with the sword if you take it?”
It wasn’t working; the sound of the spirit’s voice alone – a curious accent in a mellow timbre that was equal parts masculine and feminine – was enough to make Fionn’s heart quicken. And the weight of their stare upon him brought a flush to his cheeks.
“W-well,” Fionn stammered, gritting his teeth as the sensation of his cock pressing against his hands became more and more uncomfortable with each beat of his pulse. “In truth, I…hadn’t thought much about it.”
The spirit’s eyebrows rose. “At all? Why come here if not with a purpose?”
Fionn shifted his position, releasing his hold on his hardening cock to press it against his navel instead, feeling it throb against his palms. While it was certainly more comfortable this way, it had the unfortunate side effect of leaving his balls exposed, dangling below his fingertips in full view of the spirit, whose eyes shamelessly dropped to stare directly at them. This, understandably, did not help ease Fionn’s embarrassment.
“I suppose…” Fionn swallowed nervously. “I suppose I just wanted to see if the legends were true – about Dáire, and Argedmore. And maybe, just maybe, I could really be the one to inherit the sword. After all, what child in this land hasn’t dreamed of taking up a magical blade to defend the people?” He paused. “It does sound rather silly, having said it all aloud…”
“I don’t think it’s silly at all,” the spirit said, their voice not betraying a hint of insincerity. “I’ve spoken with too many aspiring heroes to count over the years, and I’ve heard all of their dreams and goals. They all had their reasons, and it isn’t my place to judge them for it.” They surveyed Fionn over a set of steepled fingers. “However, I can’t allow just anybody to claim the sword. No, there is something you must do, first – a test, of sorts.”
Fionn tensed. He’d expected as much, but hearing it from the guardian’s mouth was something else again. What sort of power did a lake spirit possess? Would it transform into a great and terrible serpent and do battle with him? Perhaps the test involved swimming to the bottom of the lake? Or holding one’s breath underwater for ten minutes?
The spirit gestured to the ground before them. “Please, sit. I would have you listen to my tale.”
Puzzled, Fionn did as he was told. After all, this could very well be part of the test. It took him a moment to adjust his position under the spirit’s watchful gaze, but he found he could sit with his legs in front of him in such a way that his shame was hidden from their view, although he still felt uncomfortably exposed. The fact that all of Fionn’s clothes were separated from him by roughly fifty feet of water had him feeling perhaps more naked than he’d ever been in his life.
“I have dwelled in these parts for longer than even I can remember, and have seen a thousand mortal lifetimes pass by. I have had many names over the years – ‘Greenlake’, ‘Lough Gloss’, ‘Dáire’s Cradle’ – and will undoubtedly be given more again in time. Once, long ago, I lived as most spirits of the natural world did – in harmony with humans and their mortal lives. But, as humanity grew more and more advanced, they began to distance themselves from my kind, and even shun us. Thus, we spirits became more reclusive, avoiding contact with humans even as they built their homes all around our homes. The village now known as ‘Willowgap’ was built some six centuries ago, at a time when people were just beginning to grow leery of my presence. I decided it would be best not to interfere, and that I would not cause the villagers any strife so long as they respected me and my home. Alas, after some time had passed, there was a tragic incident involving one of the villagers that caused them to turn against me.
“There was a young man, you see, from the village: a fine, strapping, and upstanding gent with a long and proud future ahead of him, or so everyone had believed. Thus, as you can imagine, a great many people were gravely upset when they discovered his body in my waters one morning, having drowned overnight. The villagers needed someone to blame, and they chose me. They insisted that I had dragged the poor man into the depths and refused to let him go, murdering him. They cursed me and scorned me, and forbade any from the village from visiting the lake again, abandoning me utterly. For the first time since the village had been founded, I was alone.
“But there was one person from the village who defied their wishes – another young man, with a face almost identical to the one who had been lost. He had known his brother better than anyone, you see, and had caught glimpses of the deep, profound sadness that had gripped his soul. He came to me one evening, called to me from the edge of the water, and told me he did not blame me for his brother’s death. He knew that his brother had walked into the lake of his own will and drowned himself. He was heartbroken with grief, but he bore me no ill will. I appeared to him, much as I am now, and we spoke long into the night. He had a great deal of curiosity about me – much as you do, I’m sure,” they said, with a knowing smile towards Fionn. “His name was Dáire, as you might have guessed, and the two of us became fast friends. He would visit me in secret whenever he had the chance, to bathe in my waters, or simply to speak with me. I knew he cherished our conversations as much as I did, having lost someone so dear to him and needing a companion in his time of grief.
“After some time had passed, he asked to share himself with me, and I gladly accepted. We made love for the first time right here” –they placed a hand on the ground between themself and Fionn, who had to avoid staring directly at the spirit’s exposed breasts once again– “on the edge of this island, with the early morning sun beaming down on our naked bodies. He was young and, admittedly, inexperienced, but I happen to be very patient. He proved to be a fast learner, and before long, a proficient lover. At times, I feared our cries of passion would reach the villagers’ ears and give away our secret trysts, so deep and intense was the pleasure he shared with me, over and over and over…”
Fionn’s cock had gradually softened as the minutes had gone by and his arousal had waned, but hearing this spirit speak in a wistful, tender about lovemaking by the lakeside had brought him back to full hardness rather quickly. To make matter worse, the spirit rolled over onto their back to splay themself out on the island’s edge, baring their gorgeous breasts in full for the first time, and Fionn found himself unable to tear his eyes away from all that rich, brown flesh.
“But, needless to say, it could not last forever. The time came when Dáire had to leave the village behind and find his destiny elsewhere. We joined ourselves with one another beneath the moonlight one last time, and he whispered gentle words of love and affection into my ear as he took me, the water caressing our bodies. He called me by the nickname he had given me – ‘Lir’ – a name which I treasured far more than any other, and I could have wept for the joy I felt, and the love we shared…
“And then he was gone with the morning sun, leaving me alone with nothing save for the promise of his return someday. I waited many years, watching as the leaves turned brown and died, only for new ones to grow in their place, then repeated their never-ending cycle again and again. But even a lake spirit such as I can never truly be cut off from the world at large, and over time, I began to hear whispers on the wind of a great hero who had led the charge to liberate the land from the tyrants who had lorded over it for far too long. I knew, even without hearing his name, that it was Dáire – my Dáire – who had at last become the great man he was always meant to be. I missed him terribly, of course, but could not help but feel proud of his achievements, all the same.
“One day, after too many seasons had passed for me to count, my Dáire finally returned to me. But he had changed, had grown old and withered, his mane of red hair having faded away to thin, silver wisps that clung to his wrinkled head. He knelt carefully by the waterside and whispered his name for me once more, and I appeared to him, not having changed a day since we said our farewells. Before I could say so much as a word of greeting, he lowered his head and wept bitter tears into my waters, overwhelmed with regret for having abandoned me as he did. But decades of mortal lives are as mere minutes to a lake spirit such as I, and I found I could not bear to be angry with him. The love I bore in my heart for him had never dwindled, I assured him, and his lined face creased in a warm smile at my words.
“He told me that he was not long for this world, and he wanted my lake to be his final resting place. But, he also wanted to ensure that I could find someone who could make me as happy as he had. Over the course of his great many journeys, he had acquired a sword whose legend had grown almost as much as his own, and he wished to give it to me for safe keeping. And so, together, we made a vow on the magicks that infused the blade: Argedmore would remain here, with me as its guardian, until someone came who could satisfy me as deeply as Dáire had done. With our pact sealed and the blade entrusted to me, Dáire said his farewells and slipped under the water, drowning in me as his brother had done so many years before…”
The spirit clapped their hands together to signal the end of their tale, and the sudden noise was enough to make Fionn jolt slightly, so enrapt had he been in the spirit’s story.
“And there you have it,” they announced, rolling onto their front again and fixing Fionn with a warm smile.
Fionn cleared his throat. “Ah, just for the purpose of clarification, Lir– may I call you Lir?”
“When you say that anyone who wishes to claim Argedmore must ‘satisfy’ you…?”
Lir’s smile widened coquettishly. “I mean they must gratify me – physically. Slake my bodily urges. Fulfill my lustful desires. Pleasure me so deeply and fervently that I simply cannot take any more.” Their brilliant emerald eyes glimmered with mischief. “Does that clarify things for you?”
Fionn swallowed a wave of saliva. “Y-yes. Quite.” So, this was the nature of the trial? Far from what he had been expecting. “And, in all the years that the sword has rested here, nobody has ever succeeded in…satiating you?”
Lir hummed, resting their head on one hand. “I wouldn’t say that, exactly. Some time ago, there was a gentleman who would visit me here quite frequently. He believed – correctly, might I add – that I was lonely and in need of intimate company, and was glad to provide it. He passed the test with flying colours, on several occasions, but declined each time to accept the sword.”
Lir gave a shrug. “I couldn’t say. Perhaps he simply had no desire to be a hero? His life in the village contented him, and he had no reason to leave. Eventually, he married, and subsequently stopped visiting me as a lover might. But he never stopped caring for me, even as the years drifted by; he instead spread kind tales of Greenlake and its surrounds, encouraging people to visit my waters. The villagers are, and always have been, a stubborn lot, but I’ve had more visitors over the past few decades than in a very long time, thanks to that man’s efforts.”
“Then, he’s still alive?”
“Of course. Don’t you recall who led you here?”
Fionn’s eyes widened as realisation hit. “The old man! Then, he — you and him — he was — I didn’t — oh…”
Lir let out a giggle. “Yes, oh. A word he drew from my lips on many an occasion. But, aside from him, none who had paid me a visit over the years have managed to gratify me as Dáire could.” Their eyes slowly drank in what was visible of Fionn’s naked body. “So, young hero, do you think you have what it takes?”
It was a daunting prospect. It wasn’t as though Fionn had little experience in pleasuring people, but the thought of attempting to satisfy someone when so many before him had failed was daunting. Still, he had come too far to quit now, and Fionn was determined to claim the sword, no matter what it took.
“I do it,” Fionn declared, nodding firmly as he got to his feet. “I’ll take your trial!”
Lir blinked up at him. “Standing up, is it?
Fionn sheepishly sank back down to his knees. “W-well, no, but– I mean, if you want to…?” Fionn took a breath to steady himself. “How would you like me to do this?”
Lir let out an exhalation that was almost a chuckle. “First and foremost, I think you could do with relaxing.” They pulled themselves up out of the water completely for the first time, hauling their wide legs up onto the bank before crossing them beneath their body. Lir lifted their arms, inviting Fionn close. “Come here…”
Fionn was helpless to disobey, sidling forward along his knees until their bodies met in a warm embrace. The moment Lir’s gentle arms wrapped around his back, a sigh escaped from Fionn’s lips, soon silenced when Lir’s own lips brushed against his in a breathtakingly soft kiss. Fionn’s fingers landed on Lir’s chest, before trailing around their sides to their back, captivated by all the warm flesh he found there. One hand trailed up Lir’s back and passed by their neck to run through their green locks, surprisingly soft despite still being soaked through. In fact, every inch of Lir seemed so damp as to be saturated with water, and Fionn imagined he could feel every single bead of liquid as it met his own body.
Gradually, the nervous flutterings in Fionn’s gut gave way to a firm, gnawing hunger. He huffed through his nose as he shifted position, pushing Lir to the ground with minimal resistance on their part – quite the opposite, in fact; Lir hummed with mischievous joy as Fionn lowered their body to the soft earth, their back arching to press themselves against his touch as Fionn’s hands moved to explore the front of their torso. He cupped their breasts, squeezing the soft flesh and relishing the feel of their nipples hardening against his touch. Lir sighed against Fionn’s lips in between kisses, the hitch in their voice speaking of a deep need that Fionn was evidently already on his way to gratifying.
Perhaps this won’t be so difficult after all? he hoped.
If it was that easy, a nagging voice in his head cut in, someone would have claimed the sword by now.
It was a sobering thought, but not a discouraging one. Knowing that he had his work cut out for him, Fionn pulled away from Lir’s mouth slightly to press his lips against their lower jaw, then their neck, slowly migrating downwards. The lower half of Fionn’s face itched from where Lir’s beard had been rubbing against it, but he was long past caring. He sucked gently on the skin above Lir’s clavicle, then less gently when Lir let out a needy moan. Lir’s hands clutched at Fionn, holding him firm, tilting their head back to allow him better access as they panted underneath him. Their chest rose and fell against him as they breathed heavily, each inhalation a gasp. All the while, Fionn continued kneaded Lir’s breasts, dragging the heels of his palms over the soft, sensitive flesh and savouring the effect it had on Lir.
Fionn lapped gently at the now-darkening patch of skin on Lir’s neck before moving down at last to their chest, letting go of one breast to replace his hand with his mouth. Lir moaned again as Fionn’s lips tugged at their areola, tongue slipping out occasionally to trace small circles around their nipple. He grunted quietly, lust quickly going to his head, and he resisted the urge to take himself into his hand and start to pump. The road ahead of him was too long for him to finish so quickly. His cock pushed needily against Lir’s leg all the same, with each gentle movement of their body providing just enough friction to send tingles of pleasure radiating out from the physical contact.
“Are you going to spend all day there?” Lir asked, their voice flooded with a potent mixture of pleasure and mirth.
Fionn glanced up at them from between their breasts, blinking in surprise as he realised he’d begun to lose track of time. “Would that be a problem?”
Lir chuckled. “Not at all. But there’s so much more of me you’ve yet to explore…”
That was one way to put it. Lir’s body spread out beneath Fionn like the earth, soft mounds of flesh like small, rolling hills. There wasn’t an inch of them he didn’t want to explore – to map out with his hands, his lips, his tongue – but the way Lir’s hips had begun to slowly buck left Fionn with little doubt as to where his attentions were most needed. He navigated his way downwards, leaving Lir’s chest behind for the roundness of their belly, trailing kisses that drew a mixture of giggles and sighs from their lips. At last, he came to their thighs, which obligingly spread apart to invite him in, revealing the parting between them, complete with a somewhat-engorged nub of flesh above it. A shudder passed through Lir as Fionn’s tongue grazed their sex ever-so softly.
“More,” they breathed.
Fionn did as he was bidden, steadily breathing in and out through his nose as his mouth busied itself with other things. His fingers danced over Lir’s trembling thighs, hands sweeping around and under their legs to grip them from beneath, pulling their body closer and holding them in place. The scent of their body filled his senses as he inhaled – a pleasant, earthy aroma, like petrichor. Fionn quickened his tempo in response to Lir’s whispered pleas, relishing the way their body responded to his ministrations, and the way they moaned without a trace of inhibition.
And why not? he wondered. The nearest village is miles away – who would overhear us?
Fionn found himself beginning to grunt quietly through his nose, as though echoing Lir’s cries. This seemed to only have the effect of encouraging Lir to moan louder, their volume and pitch increasing with every determined swipe of Fionn’s tongue, until Lir’s body abruptly gave an almighty lurch, followed at once by a ragged shout. Their heels dug into the soft earth of the bank, as their climax swept through them. Fionn glanced up at them, watching as their chest heaved with shuddering, gasping breaths, eyes screwed tightly shut as their mouth hung loosely open, desperate cries spilling free. He kept tonguing them until they let out a final, trembling sigh, eyes flickering open to meet his.
“Goodness,” they said, panting hard, “keep that up, and you’ll have claimed the sword in no time!”
Fionn detached his mouth from Lir and lifted his head up to speak. “Oh? I just need to do that a few more times?”
Lir chuckled. “You might need to do more than just that to properly satisfy me, but you’re certainly on the right track. Already, you’ve done better than most who’ve visited this island.”
“Really?” Fionn asked with a grimace. “Did they make no attempt to pleasure you with their mouths?”
“Some did. But most men seem to be under the impression that their members alone are sufficient to satiate me.”
Fionn snorted. “No wonder none of them ever managed to claim Argedmore.” Making Lir come had taken very little time at all, and yet apparently most who’d attempted the ‘trial’ hadn’t even succeeded in doing that. More and more, Fionn was beginning to realise just how lonely and unfulfilling Lir’s existence must be. Were they really happy here like this, watching over the sword for all time, solitude punctuated only by occasional visits from men who would leave them disappointed and unsatisfied?
“You know,” Lir began, interrupting Fionn’s thoughts, “it occurred to me right as I was on the cusp, as it were – I’m afraid you haven’t told me your name.”
Fionn cursed himself inwardly for his lack of manners. Then again, he’d never learned how to properly converse with a lake spirit – not that there were many who could have taught him, of course.
“My apologies. I am Fionn of Vesperwind.”
“Fionn…” The fond way Lir murmured the name, complete with the little smile Fionn had come to find so familiar in such a short space of time, was enough to bring a tinge of colour to his cheeks. “I’ll be sure to scream it as best I can when next you make me come.”
That definitely made Fionn’s face burn. “Y-you don’t have to…”
“Oh, but I want to,” they cooed, stretching catlike against the ground, drawing Fionn’s eye to all the bared flesh on display. “I want you to fuck me until I scream myself hoarse. I want you to take me like a beast in heat, pound me until I see stars, spend yourself in me until you run dry–”
Fionn silenced them with a hungry kiss, unsure how much more of Lir’s feverish talk he could handle. Even now, with their bodies flush together and Lir’s ankles linking themselves together around his lower back, Fionn was growing dizzy with desire. His cock pressed needily against their abdomen, oozing slightly from the tip, and it took all of Fionn’s will not to roll his hips to grind against Lir, so desperate as he was for even a twinge of pleasure. But he didn’t trust himself to hold back, and he had a feeling he’d simply spend himself against their belly if he were to get carried away. The sword he’d come here to find was now at the back of his mind – his current priority was ensuring this beautiful lake spirit received the gratification they so greatly deserved, no matter what.
“I will,” Fionn whispered against their lips. “I promise. But, first…could you roll onto your front for me?”
Lir smiled and, after giving him a final peck on the corner of his mouth, did as they’d been asked. “Oh? See something there you like?”
Fionn leaned back to sit on his heels, getting a full view of Lir’s back, ass, and legs. “A lot,” he answered truthfully. There was very little to dislike, in fact. Soft, smooth rolls of flesh marked the space between their wide shoulders and round hips, and their buttocks somehow looked even better from this angle.
Lir’s pleased hum as Fionn kissed the back of their neck dropped into a groan as he dragged his fingers down their back, making for their backside with haste. Fionn’s hands sank into the soft, doughy flesh of their buttocks, squeezing them firmly and drawing happy sighs from Lir. They arched their back, accentuating their ass even more so, and Fionn decided he could hold back no longer. He pushed Lir’s cheeks apart, exposing the hole between them, and eagerly dove in tongue-first.
“Ooh…” Lir arched their back further, pressing their face against the soft grass. “Nobody has done this with me in decades.”
That is a travesty, Fionn might have replied, had his mouth not been currently occupied. His fingertips dug into Lir’s buttocks, holding them firmly apart as his tongue lathered the tight ring between them. A potent cocktail of sweat and water danced on his tastebuds, along with that same heady taste of Lir’s flesh that Fionn had quickly become accustomed to. He slowly dragged his tongue over the soft flesh of their hole, losing himself to the sounds of their pleasure, forcing himself to remember to breathe.
“Fuck me,” Lir hissed, after less than a minute of this.
Letting go of one cheek, Fionn let his hand circle around to the space between Lir’s legs, finding their entrance wet and slick against his touch – more so than any other part of their body. Their lips parted effortlessly to allow his fingers entry, and Fionn slid slowly inside Lir, feeling them shudder against him.
“Oh, yes! Yes…!”
Once Fionn had pushed his fingers in as deep as he could, he began to slide them back out, gradually picking up a steady rhythm and matching tempo with the movement of his tongue. Moving his hand in a circle, he could nudge gently against their mound with each rotation, which had an immediate and obvious effect on Lir.
Fionn grunted into their hole, pushing his fingers more insistently inside Lir, fucking them with his hand while he pleasured them with his mouth. Once again, Fionn was taken aback somewhat by how quickly Lir began to surge: it seemed to take no time at all before the tension he felt building in their body came loose in a fit of deep spasms. To Fionn’s flusterment, Lir kept their earlier promise to scream his name as they climaxed, the sound only slightly muffled by the way their face pressed against the grass. Worse still, he discovered that the walls of the hollow they were at the bottom were capable of producing a vibrant and clear echo, and the sound of his name cried out in a fit of passion cascaded through Fionn over and over. He prayed to whatever gods might be listening that no potential passers-by were around to overhear the unmistakably carnal shout.
The first coherent sentence Lir managed to get out after their second orgasm was “I want your cock.”
Fionn drew back his head to respond. “Do you want me to fuck you with it?”
“Yes. Please.” The sheer need in their voice made goosebumps rise across Fionn’s skin. He obligingly withdrew his hand from their cunt and took hold of them by the hips, gently pulling their legs apart and guiding them into position as he knelt behind them. Both entrances were visible to him now, and Fionn pressed his cock against the lower of the two, the head passing between their gorgeous thighs to penetrate Lir’s sex.
Fionn’s eyelids flickered shut, head tilting lazily back as the pleasure he’d been denied for so long sparked through him, driving a soft grunt from him. He sank deeper inside Lir, pushing his hips forward until they met the warm flesh of their thighs. He and Lir exhaled as one.
“You feel incredible,” he said.
They wiggled their hips coquettishly. “That’s what they all tell me.”
Fionn began to gyrate his hips, holding back as much as possible until he was certain that Lir was comfortable. Only when they began begging him to fuck them once more did he pick up the pace. Fionn’s previous inhibitions slowly melted away, and he found himself moaning along with Lir as they joined their bodies as one – fucking on the bank of the island, just as Lir had done with the hero Dáire so long ago. Fionn understood, somewhere at the back of his mind, that the boots he was currently trying to fill were gigantic. But, as of right now, that didn’t matter to him; they were just two people sharing in one another’s bodies, and nothing more.
When Lir came for the third time, it was with Fionn’s body flush against their back, bent double as his hips slammed against their ass. Lir’s moans of ecstasy were reduced to a quiet series of squeaks, unable even to sound out Fionn’s name this time. Their body trembled beneath Fionn, their walls pulsing warm and wet around his cock. His breathing had become ragged – both from exertion and from holding back the surging tide of pleasure within his own body. Fionn knew he couldn’t last very much longer, but he was determined to satiate Lir before that could happen.
Once Lir had stopped shaking, Fionn pulled back out of them and helped them onto their back. Lir spread their legs wide, already eager for more, and Fionn pulled them along with him as he crept down the bank. He slipped into the water, which rose up to his thighs as he brought Lir right to the edge of the island, then guided his cock to their entrance once more. Now inside both the lake and the lake spirit, Fionn began to fuck Lir again, no longer holding back, squeezing their hips tight as he held them in place. Water sloshed around Fionn’s legs as he pounded Lir hard, their bodies meeting with a series of resounding claps. The rolls of flesh on Lir’s torso bounced obscenely with every thrust of Fionn’s hips, and they clutched at their breasts as they writhed beneath him, crying out in delight.
Fionn hadn’t been sure it was possible for Lir to look even more beautiful than they already did, but the sight of them on their back – vivid green hair floating wild and free about their head, mouth agape and eyes alight with joy – was perhaps the most breathtaking thing Fionn had ever laid eyes upon.
It was too much for him to bear. “I’m so close!” he managed to get out in between groans.
“Me too,” Lir responded, hooking their legs around Fionn’s lower back. “Don’t stop!”
In the end, it was Lir who finished just before Fionn – he felt their cunt begin to spasm around his cock mere moments before he tipped over the edge, his ragged shout mingling with their scream as they both climaxed together. The world went white around Fionn as sheer rapture swallowed him up, enveloping him from the crown of his head to the tips of his toes. The cacophony of their joined voices rebounded through the hollow, sending startled birds winging away into the sky. Somewhere in the void, his lips found Lir’s, practically sobbing into their mouth as the two of them shared in their overwhelming pleasure. As his orgasm dwindled away to a warm tingling sensation that settled over his skin, Fionn pulled slightly away from Lir, meeting those green eyes with his own, noses almost touching as they held eye contact. Lir’s chest pressed against Fionn’s with every deep breath, sweat and water making their skin stick together with every touch. Should he say something, he wondered? You’re amazing, perhaps – or would that be too forward? The warmth he saw in Lir’s eyes seemed to assure him that he could say whatever he wanted.
The tender moment was interrupted, however, by a heavy clattering sound that might have made Fionn jump right out of the lake had he not still been buried in Lir. He glanced hurriedly up towards the source of the noise, eyes widening in shock as he spied the silver blade of Argedmore no longer embedded in the soil, but lying flat on the ground. Evidently, it had simply fallen over after having been pushed out of the earth. Which could only mean…
“I passed the test?” Fionn muttered in a hoarse voice.
Lir smiled warmly and wearily at him, still panting hard. “You certainly did. Consider me slaked…for the time being.”
The two of them slowly extricated themselves from one another with a touch of awkwardness. Fionn felt numb – not just from the aftershocks of his climax, but from the realisation of what he had just accomplished. And now, his prize awaited him, lying only a few feet away.
Fionn climbed back up onto the isle, shaking loose a few drops from his legs. Lir was apparently content enough to remain where they lay on the soft earth, and so Fionn stepped around them, making for the centre of the island. Argedmore was precisely where it had toppled over, still sparkling clean, without so much as a speck of dirt on its blade even after centuries spent buried in the soil. All he needed to do was reach down and pick it up, and he would finally become the wielder of the sacred blade.
But he hesitated, glancing back at the lake spirit, still lying on their back by the water’s edge.
“What will you do now?” he asked them.
“Me?” Lir rolled onto their front, eyebrows raised as though shocked by the mere question. “I’ll stay here. After all, I have no way of leaving.”
Fionn straightened up, leaving the sword by his feet as he turned back towards Lir fully. “Truly?”
“Truly. I’m afraid I can’t set foot any further than a handful of feet away from the waters of my lake, by nature of my existence.”
“That’s…” Fionn wasn’t sure he had the vocabulary to describe what that would be like, exactly. He couldn’t possibly imagine being confined to such a small area for eons of existence, never able to take so much as a short walk away. “…Tragic,” he eventually concluded, although he didn’t feel the word alone was sufficient to cover his feelings on the matter.
Lir shrugged. “It’s the lot of all lake spirits. Now, go on – claim the sword. I’ll still be here once you do.”
It would have been difficult to have missed the note of melancholy in Lir’s voice during their final comment. With more reluctance than he thought he would ever have upon coming face-to-face with a sword of legend, Fionn bent down and grasped for the hilt of the blade. Not for the first time today, his fingers closed around the handle. But this time, when Fionn stood and brought his hand up with him, the sword followed without a hint of resistance. It was lighter than he’d expected, and he started to understand how Dáire had wielded the blade with a single hand. After a few practice swings, Fionn couldn’t help giggling, feeling for all the world like a child once again, waving a stick around and proclaiming himself a legendary hero.
“I can’t believe it,” he breathed, staring at the sword in his hands with wonder and awe. “Argedmore…the blade that pierces the darkness itself.”
Lir snorted. “I wouldn’t get my hopes up, if I were you. True, the protective magicks have shielded the sword from the natural wear-and-tear of the elements, but there is little else special about this blade. Its value is more…sentimental than anything else.”
Fionn blinked, looking from the blade to Lir and back again. “So, it’s just an ordinary sword?”
“One with a proud and ancient history behind it. But, yes – don’t go expecting it to cleave mountains in twain or project beams of light or anything of the sort.”
“Right. Of course.” Fionn nodded, swallowing down his disappointment. “I knew that.”
“Of course,” Lir said with a smile. “Now, will you be needing a lift back to the bank? Your clothes are right where you left them, naturally.”
Fionn gaped. “I thought I felt somebody watching me while I undressed. Don’t tell me that was you?”
Lir wound a finger around a lock of hair, smirking to themself. “Well, I needed to make sure you were…hero material.”
“Cheeky,” Fionn said in as much of a reproving tone as he could muster, although the wink he earned from Lir made it difficult to keep a smile from cracking. “Anyway, I should be fine to swim back across the lake. But, once I leave, I was hoping you could come along with me, if you like?”
Lir tilted their head and regarded him with no small amount of puzzlement. “Didn’t I already tell you I can’t leave this lake?”
“You told me that you ‘can’t set foot any further than a handful of feet away from the waters of your lake’, correct? Those exact words?”
Fionn nodded, the beginning of a plan starting to form in his mind. “Then I might have an idea. Call it an experiment…”
Fionn’s return to the village of Willowgap was subdued – at least until one of the locals spotted the peculiar sword he was carrying. Word spread faster than he could have believed, even for such a small village, and before long, Fionn found himself being hauled up on numerous sets of shoulders and carried to the nearest tavern. The rest of the day was passed in ale and merriment, and it seemed like every single person in Willowgap wanted to meet Fionn in person to hear his tale. After all, it wasn’t every day that a legendary hero-to-be appeared in their midst.
Fionn talked and talked until his throat was sore, then downed another flagon of ale and talked some more. Even the dullest of his many tales seemed to delight the ears of all who heard. Eventually, however, his weariness caught up with him, and he expressed a desire to retire for the night. He was eagerly shepherded to what he was assured was the finest room in the tavern and, mercifully, left in peace.
Fionn sighed with no small amount of exhaustion as he set about unpacking his things – including the various gifts and trinkets he’d been showered with by the villagers – before kicking off his boots and stripping down to his underclothes. There was a small stand set beside the bed, and Fionn placed his canteen gently on top of it, the water within sloshing around. With a flick of his thumb, he popped open the lid and cast a hesitant look inside. What was he even expecting to see? There was nothing in there but lake water, dark and slightly murky in the depths of the canteen. A familiar, earthy smell began to fill the room, issuing from the water inside the canteen. Fionn inhaled the scent, memories of warm, green eyes and flowing locks of hair sparking in his head.
For the second time that day, a voice called from behind him. “Well, I can’t say I didn’t doubt you.”
Fionn swivelled atop the bed with a delighted smile as he took in the sight of Lir splayed out across the sheets, still naked and still soaking wet. A dark, damp patch was spreading slowly outwards from where Lir’s perpetually wet body met the fabric, but Fionn was past caring.
“I told you it would work,” he said, grinning broadly at them. “If there’s one thing legendary heroes do best, it’s exploiting loopholes in precisely worded prophecies and edicts.”
Even Lir let themself have a smile at that. “True enough. I ought to thank you for freeing me from my prison, I know, but…” They eyed the canteen warily. “I fear I may now be tethered to that container, instead. So long as I carry it around with me for the rest of my existence, I suppose I have nothing to worry about…”
“I thought about that,” Fionn said, hopping off of the bed and rooting around in the small pile of trinkets he’d been given earlier. “And I think I might have a solution—aha!”
He crowed in triumph as he withdrew a small vial on a chain, which he uncorked and brought over to the bedside. Lifting the canteen carefully, he pressed the mouth of the vial to the top of the canteen and ever-so-gently tipped some of the water into it.
He felt Lir watching curiously from over his shoulder. “What are you doing?”
“Just give me one moment…there!” Fionn set the canteen back down and screwed the top back onto the vial, before handing it over to Lir. “That should do the trick!”
Lir took hold of the chain and watched the vial sway before their eyes, a slight frown creasing their forehead. “What is this, exactly?”
“It’s a locket. They’re typically worn around the neck – see where the two ends of the chain can be fastened together? Since the water from Greenlake is inside that vial, so long as you keep that locket with you, you can go wherever you want to.”
Lir’s mouth dropped open, eyes flickering frantically between the locket and Fionn. “You’re serious…?”
“Of course! I had to make sure that the trick with the canteen worked, first, but since it does, the locket should be–”
His next few words were lost as Lir tackled him, knocking the wind out of him. They squeezed him tight enough to hurt, damp seeping into his underclothes. Startled, it took Fionn a few moments to realise he was being embraced.
“Thank you,” Lir whispered, voice muffled by Fionn’s chest. “I…I don’t know what else to say…”
“You don’t have to say anything,” Fionn promised them, stroking their hair fondly. “You changed my life, today; it was only fair that I change yours.”
Lir nodded, silence falling between them for a short time as they held one another.
“I’d like to stay with you,” they eventually blurted out. “At least for a while, I mean. I’ve never seen the world outside of my lake for myself, so I might need somebody to, ah, guide me, I suppose. I-if that’s alright with you, of course…?”
Fionn felt a twinge of amusement at seeing the sultry lake spirit he’d met previously be reduced to a stammering, awkward mess. He traced a slow circle on their back in an attempt to ease their concern. “That’s perfectly fine. In truth, I…I would like you to stay with me, as well. For as long as you need.”
There was another short silence between them as they pondered their future, wondering where the road ahead would lead them. When Lir eventually pulled away from him, they met his gaze with eyes that burned with a familiar fire.
“You ought to be careful what you wish for,” they murmured, in that same, beautiful voice that had so captivated Fionn. “After all, my appetites can be quite demanding.”
Fionn lowered his face towards theirs, halting a whisper away from their lips. “Then, it’s a good thing I’m more than capable of whetting that appetite, isn’t it?”
Lir closed the gap with a heated kiss, and Fionn lowered them enthusiastically to the bed, peeling away his few remaining clothes and discarding them with a careless toss across the room. Exhausted as he was by the day’s events, there was a lake spirit who needed his attention. And what sort of hero would he be if he disappointed them?