The story has a few fans, and if any of you guys come to my blog looking for more, this bit from the second half of the novel is for you. :) From time to time I will post other bits. What can I say? I still like the characters and their story! I'm looking into self-publishing the whole story in the near future.
Along with official correspondence, Cam and Ralen provided return passage on their fetan to one of the Prince's royal allies.
Endelarin Nemenor, King of Ardaen, was accustomed to larger vessels. The low slung river sloop would have looked like a minnow next to one of Endelarin's sea-going merchantmen. He was a gracious passenger, however, and an eager hand with the sails, at which he was amazingly inept.
"My ships have crews, lads!" he proclaimed at the first tangled line. "I tell them where I want to go, and it's their job to get me there."
The king was far better at games. He was a demon at dice and merciless with throwing wands. Ralen was more a gambler than Cam, who preferred his coin in pocket and not on the table. He sat with Rory at the helm and watched the two men on the weather-silvered deck roll six-sided dice.
"Aha! Another six and I shall have you!" Endelarin was an enthusiastic roller. He threw a four.
Endelarin looked like no man Cam had ever met. Ardaenans were seafaring folk and more likely to be found in those cities on the coast. The Dazun was a river unlike any other, in that it had no navigable outlet to the sea, and so Ardaenan ships had never traveled upon it nor visited its ports. Although a few Ardaenans found their way to Dazunor-Rannuli from Sordan by Rill for purposes of trade, there were few men in the North who could boast Ardaenan blood. This robust, short man with sturdy legs, jet black hair and strong, incongruous features, his grey eyes shining alertly above a wide, toothy smile, evoked both liking and laughter. Among other things, he wore enough in the way of royal adornment to out-glitter a Denizen.
"You are running out of things to wager," Ralen pointed out. He had already won more of the Ardaenan king's coins, rings, swords, jeweled buckles and buttons than was polite.
"One wager more," Endelarin persisted, wrestling open the buttons of his trouser pocket and reaching inside, removing something which he placed on the deck between them. "This against all that came before."
"What is it?" Ralen picked up the circular item, too large to be a ring and too small to be a bracelet.
"The secret to my ability to pleasure my hundred wives."
"Not all at once," Ralen doubted.
"Oh, indeed at once. Several at a time. I drive them mad with it. Let me demonstrate its nature." Endelarin took the ring from Ralen's fingers and, opening his trousers, slipped it over the end of his very ordinary looking dick—for by Staubaun standards what he had between his legs was no more than that. At once the royal bauble began to glow and also to vibrate. They could see the highly excited quivering of the fleshy and increasingly hard member, now grown to a much more impressive size.
"During the act, it vibrates against their most sensitive parts, you understand," Endelarin continued as his hosts looked on in admiration. "I can assure you, I please them often and well!"
"Long use leads to impotence—except when using it," Ralen said. He had heard of these devices, which Staubauns called kourosi. Only a handful existed, and each was worth a King's ransom. It hardly seemed right that Endelarin would wager one in a dice game.
The Ardaenan chuckled. "So you know about that. Yes, quite the drawback. Most men would trade their teeth for one of these, even so."
"I take it you don't need it for that . . . or else you have another?"
"Well, of course I don't need it for that. And I do have another." Endelarin grinned, his sea-grey eyes flashing with good humor. "I feel a winning streak coming. Are we on?"
"Tell you what, King, win or lose, you get your stuff back if I get that." Ralen snickered and picked up the dice.
* * * *
Catching a stronger west wind than usual and sailing through the night, they made port two days later in Dazunor-Rannuli. Shortly after Endelarin left them with a cheery wave and a hefty purse, dashing off saying he had a Rill passage he must make, Ralen and Cam caught wind of the news sweeping the city by storm. Not only had Dazunor-Rannuli already learned of Prince Handurin's victory, but it had heard that Dorilian Sordaneon had taken Stauberg. The conjunction of events had set every tongue in the town to wagging.
From Mogens, they got what they could of the truth of the matter. Dorilian had entered Stauberg, the Triemperal capital on the sea, by using sorcery and a storied sword to breach the immortal and unbreakable Wall that had guarded the city for two thousand years. The Wall was a God in its own right, not unlike the Rill, and the deed had the force of legend. The Sordan fleet had then attacked the city as well. After taking the city, Dorilian had slain the faithless Regent, Erenor. Dorilian had then, according to Mogens, raised the Wall again in a resplendent act of sorcery, restoring the ancient structure to its former glory and power.
With his ally Erenor dead and his fleet destroyed, the sorcerer Nammuor had fled in defeat to the coastal stronghold at Aral, Tahlwent's capital. Speculation as to what either sorcerer would do now set all Dazunor-Rannuli abuzz.
"Did I not say this Sordaneon would prove a sorcerer himself?" Ralen admonished Cam. He was amused by his partner's unhappiness at the revelation.
"Folk have said for years that he commands foul forces, and now he's gone and used them. After Nammuor's done and the Sordaneon triumphant, who is going to stop him? Handurin won't listen at all where that man is concerned." As much as he wanted Nammuor destroyed, Cam found the prospect of a Sordaneon with newfound powers just about as terrifying.
The wharf was dark, long past midnight, and their footsteps echoed as they walked past darkened warehouses toward their residence two canals away. They had left behind a work force of men loading three barges with horses, feed and arms to leave in the morning for Gustan. Occasionally they encountered other men, sometimes in pairs or groups but most often alone, barely more than suggestions scurrying by in the night. Cam was surprised to feel Ralen roughly grab him by the arms, push him around a corner and deep into shadow.
"You should be more forgiving," the big Staubaun growled, his voice a dark purr in the shadows. "You've never heeded warnings about me."
"Once a fool, always a fool," Cam whispered. But he had drawn his dagger and pressed it now, point sharp, against Ralen's ribs. He gave the surprised man a shattering smile. "You were too good a teacher."
Ralen chuckled. "I had no choice. You had too much to learn." But he released him. Together, they resumed walking again, quietly and ever watchful, their bodyguards always several paces behind, until they reached home.
* * * *
"I love you," Cam said to his partner. He spread warmed almond oil over Ralen's broad back and kneaded his fingers into the great expanse of those heavily muscled shoulders.
They were in their bed on the third floor of the waterside house. A tall window across the room overlooked a moonlit expanse of river beyond the wharf's forest of masts and lines. Overhead, another window opened to the stars. Only a single candle burned, giving just enough light to cast a golden glow upon Ralen's smooth, oiled skin. Cam worked his hands into those muscles, firmly squeezing each hard, well-defined bundle as his Staubaun partner gave deep growls of appreciation.
Ralen loved to be massaged and partook at every opportunity. It was a skill Cam had learned with pleasure. He enjoyed the landscape of Ralen's powerful body, the way it rippled beneath his hands, the heat of it. Some part of him recognized that even before his rape by Penargos, he had been indoctrinated into his desire, that he had been conditioned early to seek Staubaun lovers. Even as a youth, he had been drawn to the tall, golden men of the ruling race. He had never dreamed of other Kheld youths sucking his dick, only of Staubaun men. In adolescence there had been vague longings, shameful dreams, but those too had been of tall, strong, handsome men like Ralen, whose hair shone like freshly minted gold coins in the sun and whose smooth skin glided beneath his hands like silk. His heart leaped at the sight of his tall, powerfully-built lover every time he looked for him. And as for love . . . it was like being mounted by a great, golden beast.
Having worked his way down Ralen's body, rubbing each long-muscled leg from calf to thigh, rolling the heavy globes of the Staubaun's powerful buttocks and revisiting his back and shoulders, Cam leaned to his ear. "Over," he murmured, catching Ralen's arms as he did. Raleb smiled and gave himself to the kiss that followed. His mouth welcomed Cam's, plundering his love as a bear might devour the honey within a comb.
Cam poured more of the warm oil onto his hands, then glided his palms over Ralen's broad, hairless chest. His own chest hair and compact body seemed crude compared with Ralen's sculpted smoothness. The only hair at all below Ralen's neck clustered neatly about the base of his large, beautiful cock. Even flaccid, the man's member was impressive. At the moment, however, the splendid organ was erect, commanding. Cam paid attention elsewhere first, letting it wait. Ralen had taught him patience, also. They had spent long days without indulging in each other, exchanging glances while Endelarin Nemenor pontificated on the desirability of the various women seen on their journey.
They had considered women for themselves, for each other, and had even joked about sharing a wife. Ralen, however, had no sexual interest in women at all and did not want a wife. Only Cam found women interesting to be with, and the idea of a family appealed to him in the way family appealed to every Kheld man. Khelds believed unions with women were sacred, a gift back to the Mother. Even so, he was not moved to want a woman for himself, though he had yielded a few times to that summons, burying himself in a woman's soft body, spending himself in an act that had done more to confirm his Kheldness than his manhood. His daughter in Skairen was likely to be the only acknowledged child he or Ralen would ever have.
Having completely oiled his lover's body, Cam slid his hands to Ralen's cock. Wrapping his fingers about the stone hard column, he luxuriantly stroked that silken member from base to tip, rubbing his thumbs across the exposed, rounded head. Completely enclosing the shaft with both hands, he worked it firmly, enjoying the elegant length. The man was ready for sex, was always ready for sex. Seeing a large pearl of excitement being squeezed from the rosy tip, Cam bent over and moved his lips and tongue across that glistening surface, sucking it off.
"Gods, Cam—" Ralen's husky voice told him he was near.
Reaching to one side, Cam found the ring he had laid upon the bed. Ralen had won it from the Ardaenan King, though he had returned Endelarin's other lost wagers in the keeping of it. I will not cheat a friend, he had said to the grateful king's chuckle, acknowledging the outrageous nature of his winnings, but I have always wanted to get a hand on one of these. The ring felt strangely too smooth in Cam's fingers, awakening an odd tingle wherever his skin touched it. It was thumb-wide and finger-around, slightly wider and bulging on one side. Carefully, mimicking what Endelarin had done and situating the bulge so that it was toward Ralen's head, he slipped it over his partner's cock. At once the kouros glowed softly all around its violet circumference. Cam pressed it down the entire length until it rested against the base, just above the full sacs of Ralen's scrotum.
"Ahhh—that's incredible . . . feels like it's stroking my cock," Ralen observed.
"Can you feel it, too?"
"Yes." Cam had resumed his slow, deliberate licking of Ralen's cock, enjoying the deep, firm vibrations. He lapped ever more enthusiastically at the drops that welled, fat and winking, from the tip. Emboldened, he took the end fully in his mouth, his tongue working on the swollen, dripping glans as it squeezed forth more salty drops.
"Gods, Cam . . . you're driving me mad." Ralen had raised his hand to Cam's head and was gripping his dark hair.
Endelarin had said, however, that the ring would not allow the wearer to cum until the pleasure was almost unbearable. Trusting to that information, Cam increased his efforts, appreciating the way Ralen's splendid cock hardened further still, towering and taut. The cum vein on the underside, ever tempting, was soon swollen with juices and the cock head pushed completely clear of the foreskin, its tip flaring and as engorged as the rest.
Straddling Ralen's chest, Cam took that massive cock as deep into his throat as he could. The Staubaun's big hands caressed his buttocks, the long muscles of thighs lightly covered in dark hair as Staubaun legs were not, and his own dick grew harder even than it had been. It jabbed at Ralen's chest as Cam sucked and worshiped.
"Ahhh . . . I can't stand it . . . ahhh, rabbit . . ."
He felt Ralen's upper body shift and heard him fumbling at the table beside the bed, then the cold of a grease-laden finger against his asshole, invading him, getting him ready. Now it was he who gasped and moaned around the cock he sucked with ever-increasing abandon. And then Ralen growled, threw him over on his back and was upon him.
Cam cried out in surprise as Ralen forced his legs up and back in one smooth motion, then with pure pleasure as Ralen pushed his throbbing cock deep into him.
"Goddess!" he yelped, for he had never felt anything like it.
His ass was filled with that enormous, vibrating organ, and the knob of the kouros, pushing above that deeply buried shaft, vibrated just behind his already excited balls.
"Ralen . . . yes . . . yes, Ralen . . . gods, oh gods . . . I can't take this!"
Caught by the intensity , Cam squirmed and bucked on Ralen's plundering cock as the Staubaun rode him hard and deep. Ralen, too, was thrusting with extreme pleasure. Without being touched, Cam's dick jerked and unloaded upon both their chests, plastering them with gobs of sticky hot seed.
"God, you love being fucked!" Ralen grunted. He continued to ram his iron hard cock deep into his quivering partner until, with a roar of satisfaction, his own orgasm overtook him and his juices released with a mighty flood. He remained inside for as long as he could, pumping and gasping.
When Ralen withdrew, semen accompanied him in pearly ropes. The glowing circle about his cock base, looser now that he had ejaculated, slipped to one side. Ralen tugged it off completely before it could do more mischief and dropped it onto the bed table.
He then slid alongside Cam. "Was I too rough with you?"
"No." Cam felt nothing but the marvelous lethargy of having been thoroughly ravished.
With a smile, Ralen touched his face. "Is there another man in the twelve domains who enjoys an ass-fucking more than you?"
Cam actually thought about that. Ralen was the only man who had fucked him—ass or mouth—for years. He wanted to banish forever the memory of Therion's fingers. "Do you miss it?" he asked.
This time it was Ralen who cocked his head. It was deep night now outside the window. Winter wind slashed at the masts and boats creaked in the water. "Miss what?"
"My being a cumbuck. A real one. Needing you . . . for that."
The well-loved face, its crooked nose and handsome, lived-in look so long familiar, smiled again. "I thought I would. I enjoyed it, knowing that you needed me, even when I hated that I had done it to you. It was a way of keeping you. If you needed that, you wouldn't leave me, that's what I thought."
"You're my cumbuck, still. I love everything about you, the way you want my body, the way you love that I want yours." Ralen brushed strands of dark hair back from Cam's face. "More men want you than you realize, rabbit. I see it in their eyes, but you're mine. You're mine because you choose to be, and you're here because you want to be. So I still have what I really wanted, don't I? It amazes me sometimes, to realize what I have. In these dangerous times, the greatest treasure a man can own is that he have a true bond with another."
And sometimes it was also the greatest gift he could give. By the now-guttering candlelight, they washed away the oil and sweat of their lovemaking and stayed up to watch the dawn. In the morning, they would leave for Trulo to rejoin the prince and help put an end--one way or another--to the war.