Chancellor Virien has what he wants now—both High Priest S’Rak and Captain Jisten are his, collared and chained. The captain’s training proceeds apace, but S’Rak is strangely growing more defiant rather than less.
S’Rak now has what he lacked before—hope. Forces are gathering against the chancellor, intent on freeing him and the captain from bondage. Given Jisten’s love and secure in Scorth’s continued freedom, he dares to push back against his master.
As the Dark Army combines forces with Jethain’s Koilathan Army to combat the Lythadi threat, Virien hastens toward the privacy of his estate, fearing to lose it all.
Rak sank to his knees, reached under the cloth and massaged Jisten’s balls. “Please, let me suck you.”
Jisten stared down at him. “You want to be dominated? Used hard?”
“You heard that?” Rak asked in a small voice. He shook his head and cupped his wings about Jisten to lend the illusion of privacy. “Please, Jisten, do not ever take what I say to Virien as applying to us. Yes, I like domination, hard use and even pain. But I like what we share even more. Please forgive me for loving you; please give me permission to go on loving you, for I would be lost without you.”
Jisten’s soft sigh was one of forgiveness and love. He reached down, lifted Rak up and cradled the smaller man against his chest. Rak relaxed as he heard the solid, steady heartbeat of his love. Jisten’s hands stroked his wings, and now, Rak sighed in utter contentment.
“He ordered me to make love to you,” Rak said once they were both calm and relaxed.
“No, he ordered you to service me. There’s a huge difference.”
“He does not know that, my Captain, and I will not tell him if you do not.” Rak looked up at Jisten with a challenging stare.
Jisten’s stony face melted as he grinned down at him. “Very well, my High Priest. There’s a nice pine tree right there. It will give us some privacy.”
Rak glanced at the tree in question. It was a forest giant indeed, the huge, lower branches actually arched down to brush the ground. There was more than enough space beneath those branches, up close to the trunk, for the two of them. He grabbed several saddle blankets off the stack and pushed his way through the branches with Jisten close behind him.
Together, they laid the blankets out over the fragrant bedding of pine needles. They eased down, arm in arm, lips locked in a passionate kiss, their erections rubbing against each other to yield almost intoxicating sensation. Rak rolled Jisten onto his back and covered everything he could reach with kisses. In turn, Jisten stroked the undersides of his wings but well away from the extremely sensitive wingbases.
“I love you,” Rak whispered in Jisten’s ear before he nibbled it. His lips next found Jisten’s strong jaw, and he covered it with kisses, not at all deterred by the blue-black stubble.
“Into the Sunset Hall,” Jisten replied, their old, familiar mantra.
“Aeohnis,” Rak finished then added, “Together or not at all.”
“Together,” Jisten agreed then rolled them so he was on top.
* * * *
From the front of the column, Virien announced, “We will reach the city tonight if it kills everyone but me.”
“Unfortunately, I think we will reach town by late afternoon at our current pace,” said Rak conversationally.
“Excellent,” Virien snapped. He sawed the bit in his horse’s mouth unnecessarily. The horse bucked, but Virien hung on grimly. He obviously had practice at staying on a bronco, and Rak suspected that his horses tried to buck him off a lot.
Rak pondered this sight. “Does he tack himself on with glue?”
“Sheer mass,” Jisten whispered.
Rak’s lips twitched with a suppressed laugh, but when Virien glared at him, he said sagely, “Perhaps if master was nicer to the horse, the horse would be nicer to him.”
“Nice to a horse? Have you lost what little wits you had?”
“Assuming that, like most men, master is a mix of good and evil, then you must be using up your goodness on something, so why not on your horse? You certainly spare none for us humans.”
“You are not human,” Virien replied. “I certainly waste nothing but my seed on you.”
“True,” Rak mused. “So by my own logic, you ought to be nicer to me. Since you are not, my logic must be flawed and you must be close to pure evil.”
“Good, evil, you prattle on like a child,” Virien said with a sniff. “I’m beyond that. It’s about power. Who has it, who doesn’t.”
“Ah, here he goes with that tired, old nihilist philosophy again,” Rak fake moaned. “I am more an existentialist myself. What is, is. Depending on the definition of is.”
“Lord Virien,” begged Issarn, “Please, for the love of the gods, never ever debate philosophy with a priest.”
“Or we will all be bored to death,” Napiet finished.
Rak started philosophizing about the nature of the soul. And this time, Jisten couldn’t distract him with sex. All the guards gave various moans and groans. The guards got a thorough education into the five things that make up a living being and how they related to the elements of earth, air, water, fire and spirit. He continued to drone on until most of the men were almost in a coma and the outskirts of the city were in sight.