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Call me Eild

by c m

Chapter 1

My name is Eild, and I am a Dog Soldier.

I was born the son of a high-ranking courtier in my country, and was schooled in languages, philosophy, mathematics, music and drama. Out of my own interest I have learned how to work precious metals, prepare medicines and, best of all, how to write and break codes.

But I am now an outcast amongst my own people because…

Because…in my nation, to love someone of your own sex is forbidden, and the penalties are clear and harsh.

If you admit to your preference before you are eighteen, you have a choice; you can drink the Sleeping Draught that transports you to the next world, or you can choose to become a Dog Soldier. Dog Soldiers are placed in the front rank at times of battle, and given all the dangerous and dirty tasks. But if you survive to thirty-five, then you are allowed to retire to a community of former Dog Soldiers high in the uplands in a remote part of the kingdom, where you are free to live your life as you choose - and with whom you choose.

If you are over eighteen and are found guilty of sexual congress with another man, there are no choices; you are executed. And if you are over eighteen and your partner was under eighteen, then that execution is carried out in public.

You might think that all those of us who declare what we are before we are eighteen would choose to become Dog Soldiers, but it is not so. About half the young men choose the drink – and they are buried with honour and respect.

I chose to be a soldier. I want to change the world I live in – and you cannot do that from beyond the grave.

I made that choice a year ago when I was sixteen, and knew that I was hopelessly in love with my cousin Brygg and he with me. But we chose differently. He drank the draught and now lies cold in the ground. I begged him not to. I told him we could be soldiers beside one another; that I would protect him and give my life for him. But he just shook his head.

'Eild,' he said, 'I love you more than life itself, but I cannot fight and I do not want to lose you to an enemy's sword. To be without you like that would punish me more than I could bear. If you love me, help me to do what I must do.'

And, out of love for him, I did. We made love one last time, filling each other with our seed until our bodies were drained to the last drop. And then I held the glass from which he drank, and I saw his eyes close and I felt the warmth drain from his body as I held him to me – and I wept. I vowed I would honour his choice by fighting to change the world, and so I became a Dog Soldier.

During training, Dog Soldiers live apart from the rest of the trainees in their own part of the camp. And what we do at night and who we do it with is our business. We are not loved by the others – but we are respected. And the truth is, we are the cream of the army; if you know you are going to be in the front line you train harder and longer than anyone else. You make sure you can fight better and more fiercely than anyone else. We know that we have nothing to lose; until we are thirty-five we are the walking dead.

So I have trained hard. Very hard. Harder than the ordinary recruits and harder than my fellow Dog Soldiers. I have trained myself to kill without compunction - and to do it coldly and without emotion. I do not need the blood-lust of battle. And, as a result, I am feared for my skill, my determination and my ruthlessness.

I am the best of the best.

But do not think I get pleasure from killing. I do not. I do it to survive - and to honour my promise to Brygg.

We are a warlike nation. There have been very few years of peace in the last three hundred years. And now is no exception. The war with our neighbours has been going on for four long years. The tide of victory has ebbed and flowed, but now our enemies have a new and fearsome warrior king. A young man of only eighteen summers but already feared on the battlefield. I have heard that all he wants is peace - but that he will show no mercy and spare no resolve in order to achieve it.

And now I am about to find out if that is true. Yesterday we fought a mighty battle - and lost. I saw my friends being cut down around me, including Frikka, the special friend with whom I have shared my bed on many nights this past year. Seeing him die filled me with a blood-lust I could never have imagined. I killed and killed, the screams curling from my throat as I tried to avenge him until, covered in gore and barely able to lift my sword, something hit me on the head and everything went black.

I learned later that a few thousand of our men had escaped – running for their lives. Tibor, the enemy commander, had ordered no pursuit. Thousands more lay dead on the field of battle and some few hundred of us had been taken prisoner.

We'd all been stripped naked and ordered to wash in the stream that ran through the bottom of the valley where the battle had taken place. The water ran red with the blood we washed from our bodies. Then, once clean, we were herded into makeshift cages and told to await the king's pleasure.

We didn't have long to wait. My first sight of the young king took my breath away. He stood about my height and had the most piercing blue eyes I had ever seen. His hair fell in golden ringlets down to the base of his neck and his full-lipped mouth had curved in a smile at something one of his lieutenants had said to him. He was bare-chested and his golden skin showed the white marks of battle scars. At only eighteen he was already the victor of three battles, and it was said that he would eventually be an even mightier general than Alexander the Great. I couldn't take my eyes off him.

He spent some time walking between the cages, occasionally pointing out a man here or there who was taken from the cage and put on one side. One of those men was me. In the end there were twenty of us set apart from the others and we were marched away to waiting carts. As we mounted the steps into the carts, I could see that the men still in the cages were being formed up into a line and marched away.

'What will happen to them?' I asked one of our guards. He just smiled mirthlessly.

'Nothing good. My prince wants to teach your people a lesson that they will not forget. And anyway, you should be more concerned about what will happen to you.'

'And what will happen to us?'

'You'll find out soon enough.'

As the carts moved off, I heard the screaming begin behind us. It went on, and on, and on - and was still going as we eventually rumbled out of earshot.

I suppose we travelled for maybe an hour before we entered a town. It seemed to be a place of some substance. We passed through it until we reached what I assumed was a farm on the outskirts. Here we were unloaded and prodded into a barn. The door was locked and bolted and the twenty of us examined our new surroundings. There was food and water on a table at the side, and plenty of straw on the ground with more bales of it stacked up at one end. There was also a pile of blankets in one corner.

The food was simple but good, and as we ate we took the chance to get to know each other. I recognised a couple of the men, but most of us were strangers to one another – although many of them knew of my reputation. I was the only Dog Soldier amongst them, and despite our common plight they still kept away from me. That was no surprise; to them my desires were unnatural and friendship was out of the question. But those same desires now told me something; I realised that if we had anything in common, it was that this group of twenty men were all extremely good-looking. I wondered if that was a coincidence.

As we settled down, I was conscious of the sound of hammering coming from an adjacent barn and the low murmur of voices. I vaguely wondered what they were doing, but exhaustion set in and no sooner had I pulled a blanket over my shoulders and laid down in the straw than I fell asleep.

In the morning, I awoke to the sound of the bar being lifted on the gate and the doors of the barn were opened to reveal a troop of what was clearly the king's personal bodyguard. They stood there, silent and motionless, while a dozen loaves of bread and two large pitchers of what turned out to be milk were placed on the table. Then the officer in charge of the guards spoke;

'You may wash yourselves under the pump in the yard and then you will eat. After that, your hands and ankles will be shackled and you will come with us.'

He nodded to a group of men off to one side that I hadn't noticed, who stepped forward carrying chains and locks.

'Please make this easy on yourselves. I will have no compunction about killing any one of you who decides to be difficult.'

In truth, we had no choice. They were armed and we were still naked. We did as they said. The bread was fresh and delicious, and the milk still warm from the farm's cows. The pump water was cold but refreshing – and the soldiers threw us each a towel to dry ourselves with. Then we were lined up and shackled, our hands behind our backs, and our ankles linked with just enough chain to enable us to walk.

'Very good,' the officer said, 'now follow me.'

He led us across the yard to the barn from which I heard the hammering coming the previous evening. As we entered, I first noticed that it was warm and then saw the two rows of ten X-shaped wooden frames that faced each other down the length of the barn. Twenty frames. Twenty of us. My stomach flipped. This did not look good. I also realised why the barn was so warm; in one corner stood three braziers glowing with heat. Beside the braziers stood men in leather aprons. Against the wall were a selection of metal implements that I couldn't readily identify, but the sight of them did nothing to ease my anxieties.

Each of us was led to one of the frames and turned so that our backs were against them. Then the men in aprons came and replaced our shackles with cuffs that went round each of our wrists and ankles, securing us, spread-eagled, to the frames. The combination of the heat in the room and the fear that was spreading visibly through every one of us soon meant that we were all dripping with sweat. And it was made worse by the fact that it all happened in total silence.

The man – no more than a boy like myself, really – next to me was called Gylan, and I could see him shaking, his eyes bright with tears. Of all the men who had been selected, he was the only one who had even given me the time of day, passing me a blanket with a shy smile when we had been herded into the barn the previous day. I had felt his eyes on me, too, as we settled down for the night; but he'd slept apart from me, with the others. Now I tried to comfort him.

'Be strong Gylan. If they were going to kill us they would have done so already. '

I saw him try to smile.

And then, with no announcement, Tibor stepped into the room.

'I'm sure you are all very worried about what is going to happen to you. If it is any help, I am not here to kill you. You are here because I need you to be my messengers. Whatever you may have heard, I do not like war and I do not like to kill – unless I have to. I want only to be left alone by your people and to be able to live in peace with my neighbours. This war has to end; and for that to happen I need to send a message – a clear message – that will bring your people to the table to sign a lasting peace.

Yesterday, regretfully, I completed the first part of my message. The heads of your comrades now line the frontier. I did not enjoy doing this but it was necessary.

You, however, will be living messengers. You will take the message that I want peace back to your people. But you will carry another message too. That no-one who sets foot in my land will ever raise another generation of soldiers to fight me or my successors. Death is one way for me to ensure this – as the heads along the border confirm. But there is another way that does not require me to kill. A way that means you will be a living reminder of my message.'

I suddenly realised, with dreadful certainty, what he meant.

'I have chosen you because you are all extremely handsome young men. Very desirable to the women of your land. Someone they would want to be the father of their children. Except that you will not be able to father children. You will return alive, but no longer be men. I am going to take your balls. I will make it as quick and painless as I can – I am not here to torture you – but there will be some pain I'm afraid, that cannot be helped. I will make sure that the wounds are clean – after all, you are no good to me as messengers if you die on the way home. You will be cared for until you are healed and then you will walk back to your lands and tell them your story. I am sorry to do this. I bear none of you any personal ill will, but it is necessary.'

And so it began.

Tibor beckoned over one of the men in aprons who handed him a small, wicked-looking knife with a curved blade. From the other end of the room came a non-descript looking old man with a handful of instruments and a bottle of clear liquid. A doctor, I supposed.

It is interesting to see how men take their fate. Some stared straight ahead as they were cut, others wept. One begged. I was twelfth in line. Gylan was eleventh. As the tenth man was being sewn up, Tibor stood in front of Gylan.

'Mighty king,' said Gylan, 'I am the last in line of my house. If you cut me, that line will become extinct. Please have mercy.'

Tibor smiled. 'Then the message you carry will be doubly potent.'

I saw him take Gylan's sack in one hand and carefully and quickly slice into the skin between the two orbs inside. The boy was crying helplessly as the two testicles were exposed and removed with a single clean cut. And then it was me.

I had been thinking carefully about what to say. I knew it might do me no good – but I was determined to try.

'Lord King, you will do what you will do, but I am a Dog Soldier. I represent no threat to you as I will never father children. And in truth, if you send me back I will likely be killed anyway. You know what my people think of men like me. I know that you and your people are more enlightened in these matters. I am educated and fit. I could serve you better here as your servant than at home as your messenger. I will work for you, I will fight for you and I will die for you if you ask it. And if I ever let you down, you may take my life.'

My balls were already in his hand as I spoke, and I could see the knife. Then he slowly lifted his eyes to mine. Those pools of blue.

'A Dog Soldier? Yes, and one who fought valiantly I think.' His eyes bored into mine. 'And you are right, of course, that we do not share your people's barbaric view of your most intimate desires. And you would die for me? Let me think about this; I will come back to you when the rest are done.'

And then I felt him give my balls a gentle squeeze, and I think I saw a flicker of a smile play around his lips. But I might have imagined it. Then he was gone, moving on to the next man who screamed as he was sliced.

As the doctor finished with each man, he was untied from his shackles and laid on a mattress at the other end of the room where his hands were re-tied. Given the pain and the nature of the wound this was hardly necessary; no-one was going anywhere for a while. After the twentieth man had been gelded, Tibor turned and looked at me. He walked slowly towards me.

'So what am I to do with you, Dog Soldier? Your words were thoughtful – and my generals tell me that you fought well and bravely. But would you really fight for me? Are you to be trusted? And what skills do you possess that would be of use to me? I have many soldiers – I hardly need another.'

'Lord King, I can read and write four languages. I can play the flute and I can dance. I can work numbers, I can break ciphers, and I can work gold and silver….and no man can sweep a room better than I.'

At that the king laughed.

'I like you Dog Soldier. A man who can make light of himself is to be treasured. I will tell you what I will do. We will see if what you say is true. If it is, and if you truly serve me loyally, I will take you into my household. But if you lie or if you fail, then I will personally cut off not only your balls, but your fingers, your toes, your ears, your nose and your cock. Now…are you sure you want to serve me?'

'Yes, Lord King.'

'Very well…but I cannot call you 'Dog soldier'. What is your name?'

'I am called Eild, Lord.'

'The welcome to my service, Eild.' He beckoned a young man over to him. 'Joran, take Eild and find him some clothes. It is unseemly that a member of my household should be naked – no matter how beautiful he may be to look at.'

He said this last while looking straight at me. I blushed.

'Thank you, Lord. I will never give you cause to regret this.'

Joran found me a simple but comfortable tunic to wear, and told me that the next day we would be heading back to the capital and the king's palace.

I used the journey to quiz Joran about the king and the country. He was happy to educate me and I liked his easy manner and the way that spoke softly but with passion about those things that interested him. The fact that he was good-looking did no harm either.

He told me that he had grown up with Tibor as the son of one of the king's father's most trusted family friends, and that he was now a commander in the army. He told me of the king's skill at arms and of his wisdom in dispensing justice and of the loyalty he inspired amongst those who knew him.

'And is the king married?' I asked.

Joran laughed. 'Married? Oh no. He is still young and marriage is a useful weapon to have available to help bind allies to you – eventually. No, the king is still able to enjoy the company of any woman he chooses – or any young man. As you know, we do not object to people of the same sex being attracted to one another. To us, love is love. You will discover this.'

I looked up at him wondering if he meant anything by this, but I could read nothing more in his expression.

'And you,' I asked, 'do you also enjoy the company of both men and women – if I may ask.'

'Of course you may ask. And yes, I enjoy the company of both men and women. Although in my bed I prefer men.'

He flashed a smile at me which I returned. He really was very good-looking.

We broke the journey at an inn that evening. Joran apologised that we would have to share a room but that was all that was available. I wondered if that was actually true - but either way I wasn't complaining. Spending the night next to Joran was scarcely going to be a hardship. I wondered how he would approach things.

The answer turned out to be...'politely'.

After we had eaten and retired to the room, he made no pretence of not watching as I stripped – and I made no pretence of trying to hide my body from him. And the same thing applied when the roles were reversed. And Joran had a very good body indeed. The arousal we felt for one another was all too obvious as we stood there facing one another.

'Would it be alright if I made love to you, Eild – you are very beautiful.'

So polite.

I took a step towards him and he responded by putting his arms on my shoulders.

'I should like that, Joran.'

I wish I could say that the sex was memorable, but 'efficient' would be a better word to describe it. Joran was energetic and focused as he took me repeatedly over the next two hours. He made it clear that I did not get to return the favour – but he did use his mouth to bring me relief, and he turned out to be a very good kisser indeed.

Given my circumstances twenty-four hours earlier, and the rapid change in them, I could scarcely complain – but I did wish that I'd been allowed to take a more active role in the proceedings. I think I could have taught Joran one or two things.

I declined the opportunity to have a repeat performance the following morning, which disappointed Joran, I think. But I am nobody's mere plaything. And to his credit he did not insist.

Once at the palace, my claims were quickly put to the test. I was given passages to translate in all the ancient languages. I played the flute and danced for the king. I made him a necklace of gold and silver which he turned over and over in his hands. And I worked with his spymaster and broke the hardest codes he could give me. At the end of three months, I was summoned to the king's presence.

'So Eild, it appears that you spoke the truth about your gifts. And while it was a pleasure to see you play and dance - and the necklace was indeed a thing of beauty - I am told that your greatest gifts are with language and codes. And there you can truly be of service to me.

We are entering a time of negotiations. I need a man I can trust to interpret – not just the words but the sentiments and the hidden meanings in our talks. I need someone who can read the secret communications of my old enemies and new friends. I need someone who can get inside their minds. I want you as my private aide, Eild. You will be privy to great secrets and you may need to take great risks. I am trusting you as I have trusted few men because my advisers tell me you are to be trusted – and because I believe I can trust you. Do not let me down. This work will start in perhaps a month, perhaps longer. In the meantime continue with the tasks you are set. Does this please you?'

'Lord King, it does more than please me; it honours me and I am humbled. Thank you for your trust.'

I saw Tibor smile.

'Good. '

A further three months later I was summoned to the palace. There I was shown into the outer chamber which the king used to dispense justice. I wondered what I had done.

As I entered I saw a smile cross the king's face.

'Eild. Thank you for coming.'

He must have seen the look on my face. He laughed.

'Don't worry, Eild. Nothing bad has happened but I need to talk with you in private. Please come back here and eat with me tonight.'

'I would be honoured to dine with you, my lord'

'Excellent. I will send someone for you at seven.'

And that was that.

My personal life over the previous six months had been uneventful; I had a comfortable room and all the people I worked with had been kind; the fact that I was good at what I did helped and one or two had even become friends. I had also been celibate; Joran had approached me once but I had politely but firmly declined the opportunity to share his bed. He took it well enough and didn't pursue me any further. I had seen one or two very good-looking young men around the palace, but had not had the chance to meet any of them so had no idea if they would have been interested in me in that way anyway. And in truth, not one of them could hold a candle to the beauty and the personality that radiated from Tibor himself. It was he who I thought of whenever I gave myself relief, and I was looking forward to being able to spend some time with him over a meal – and I wondered what he wanted.

That evening I bathed and dressed in simple but well-cut clothes. When the young servant who had been sent to fetch me tapped on my door, I was ready and waiting. He led me through the airy, elegantly-decorated passages of the palace until we came to what were clearly the king's private quarters. I had not been inside them before. The guards at the door stood to attention as we approached and the servant opened the double doors before bowing and indicating that I should enter. The doors shut noiselessly behind me.

At first I thought that the room was empty, but then Tibor stepped out from behind a screen in one corner. He smiled broadly at me and held out his hand.

''Eild, how good of you to join me. Please, come here and have a seat.'

I walked over towards him and felt his hand touch my shoulder lightly, guiding me to a couch. He sat down opposite me.

'Will you have a glass of wine with me?'

'Thank you lord king.'

He smiled again.

'Here, Eild, you may call me Tibor. Only those I trust or who are my friends come to these apartments. I already trust you – and perhaps we may become friends too.'

'Thank you Lord…I mean, Tibor.'

Without his appearing to make any signal, a young man appeared with a tray and two goblets. He poured wine from a beautiful jug into the goblets and handed one to the king and one to me. As he gave me my cup, he smiled at me and I felt my heart skip. He was truly gorgeous, with ringlets of blond hair not unlike the king's, but with clear green eyes that seemed to look right inside me. His skin was flawless and the teeth that showed when he smiled were even and white. His fingers were long and slim and had been carefully manicured. He briefly bowed his head and left.

'Beautiful, is he not?'

'Indeed,' I gasped.

'I like to surround myself with beautiful things – and to share them with those I like.' He smiled at me again. 'So…how do you find our country and our people?'

I forced my mind away from the boy and from Tibor's words. 'The people I have met with so far have been very kind to me – and compared with my own lands, this is country of freedom and culture that I have never known.'

'And you are enjoying your work?'

''Yes Lor...Tibor. I am having the chance to do what I love and what I enjoy...what could be more fulfilling?'

'And I understand that you are very good at it too. I understand that rather than learning about ciphers, you are teaching.' His eyes danced with amusement.

'I like to share what I know.'

He paused. 'My people not only trust you, Eild, they like you. That is a rare gift for a foreigner who comes in and clearly knows more than they do.'

I blushed.

'It is also a useful gift for a diplomat.'

I looked up. 'I am no diplomat, Tibor.'

'You are now.' He smiled.

'I'm sure you are wondering why you are here. I will tell you. I told you that negotiations would start soon. That day is here. I said I wanted you to be my aide but I have changed my mind. I want you to be my Ambassador. My most trusted advisers trust you, Eild, and they speak of your talents as they have never spoken of another before you. My decision will not be popular with everyone, but that is their problem and not mine. I need the best minds and talents around me. And for this task that is you. I also cannot deny that the idea of using one of my enemy's own to conduct our talks does not amuse me – but that is not why I am doing it. I am doing it because I have no-one as good as you, Eild. You know your people. You can read their papers, their secrets and their minds. The fact that they will have to deal with man who to them is just a Dog Soldier with unnatural desires will confuse their thinking. I want peace, Eild but I want it given in such a way that it will last. Will you help me do this?'

'Willingly, my king, but…I fear you credit me with greater skills than I possess.'

'And I think you are wrong, Eild. You may ask for any support that you need and it will be given. Tomorrow, in Council, you will be formally given a title that will give you powers in line with the responsibilities you now hold. You will have a new house and servants as well.'

'I do not need these things, Tibor. I do not deserve them.'

'You do deserve them – but even if you did not, you would have them. You need to look and behave as the King's Ambassador would be expected to look and behave. Diplomacy is about perception as much as reality. Let your people see what really sits inside those they are told to despise. Let them see how lives can be lived outside their borders. Let them see what freedom really means. Let them see that peace with us can mean more than just peace….'

I smiled. He was clever. Very clever.

'And now it's time to eat, I think.'

Once again, apparently unbidden, the blond servant-boy reappeared and led us through to a room set with a table at which there were two place-settings. He held my chair out for me and then slid it back as I sat down. His arm briefly brushed against my back as I did so and I felt a tingle pass through me. I watched as he did the same for Tibor and then, with a smile that he flashed at me, displaying his perfectly white teeth, he was gone.

I saw Tibor looking at me. 'His name is Mikka – in case you were wondering. He will be one of the servants in your new house. In fact he will run your household. I thought it would be nice for you to meet him first.'

He must have seen all the thoughts competing for space in my head.

'He is very talented at many things. Not just at running the house. And he will be more than happy to share your bed if you so wish. Please…don't say anything. I know you have been without a companion in your bed since you have been here. And I know about Joran too. He was disappointed – but I told him you'd say 'no'. You are too…independent…to be the lover he is looking for.'

'Tibor, I…how…that is…he…I mean…what…'

Tibor broke into a peal of laughter. 'Little that happens in this palace escapes me, Eild – which is how I like it. But I want you to be happy as well as fulfilled. And as I said, Mikka is no-one's fool. He is bright and he will be a help with your work as well as your household - and he will be a pleasant companion in your bed, I think. You do find him attractive I hope?'

I smiled. 'In my country I think we would say 'sexy as hell' – or at least you would if you were a Dog Soldier.'

We both laughed – and then the food arrived. It was a stew of rabbit with prunes and was utterly delicious. Once we'd finished, Mikka reappeared to collect the plates, but before he left, Tibor spoke.

'Mikka, I have told Eild that you will be joining his household. That is what you wanted I think?'

'Yes, Lord King. My friends who he works with say he is both a very clever and a very kind man. I think I will learn very much from him. And I find him very handsome as well. I will be honoured to serve him.'

His eyes met mine.

'I hope you do not mind my speaking like this, my lord, but the Lord King was kind enough to ask me if I would help you in your new role. And he knows that I am like you, my lord with regard to matters of love. I hope I haven't spoken out of turn.'

I smiled. 'Not at all, Mikka. You have said some very kind things about me. I fear that you will find many of them are not true but you are very welcome into my service.'

'And into your bed as well, I hope Eild.' Said Tibor.

Both Mikka and I blushed furiously. Then we both grinned at each other.

'As my lord commands,' I said mischievously

'Your Lord does not command, but he knows very well what's going to happen – and is delighted.' Tibor laughed

Then it was Mikka's turn. He went down on one knee and looked at me,

'As MY lord commands.'

'No command, Mikka. Ever. But if you were to want to join me…..'

'I could ask for nothing better.'

'No more duties tonight, Mikka,' said Tibor. Get your things together and move into Eild's new house. Prepare it for him – he will be there tomorrow.

Mikka bowed his head. 'Yes, Lord King. And thank you.'

With Mikka gone, Tibor turned to me.

'Come and sit with me and have another glass of wine. I want you to tell me about your life before you were captured. But let us do it next door; there is a fire set there and the couches are more comfortable.'

To my surprise, he held out his hand. I took it and he led me through into what was clearly his bedroom. It had a magnificent marble floor and a bed over which were thrown rugs of all colours and designs. A fire burned in a grate with an ornate surround in the middle of one wall, and in front of it were two couches upholstered in dark crimson material. Two goblets were sitting on a small table in between the couches along with a jug and a plate of what looked like candied fruits. Tibor sat down on one of the couches and motioned for me to sit beside him. I could feel the warmth of his body just inches from mine, and the sweet smell of the scent he was wearing was intoxicating.

'So, tell me about what happened Eild. How you became a Dog Soldier.'

So I told him. I told him about Brygg and the love we had had for each other. I told him about the law and how we had both had to choose. And as I described holding the cup to Brygg's lips I started to cry. The tears started to roll down my cheeks and I couldn't stop them. Perhaps I hadn't grieved enough before, because my whole body and mind were racked with pain as I sobbed helplessly. The memory of what had happened coupled with the kindness and generosity of the man next to me were all too much.

And then I felt his arms around me and his lips on my neck as he kissed me and told me that it would all be alright. And before I knew it I had thrown my arms around his neck and buried my face in his shoulder. I felt one of his hands stroking my back and the other tangled in my hair as he pulled me to him.

'Shhh, Eild, shhh. It will be alright. You are here now. You are under my protection. '

As my tears slowly subsided, I felt his hand reach under my chin and turn my eyes up towards his. Then his lips were moving slowly down to meet mine. They touched and suddenly my whole body seemed to be on fire. Fireworks were going off inside my brain. His eyes held mine. Perfect blue. And then my hands were in his hair and we were kissing passionately, tongue on tongue. I tried to turn my body more fully to his – and succeeded only in bringing us both crashing to the floor as the couch slipped away from under us. We landed in a tangled heap on the - very hard – floor.


And then we both started to laugh. Slowly at first and then louder and harder. And then we both found ourselves staring into the other's eyes. I saw Tibor raise an eyebrow. I knew what he was asking. I nodded. He stood up and took both my hands in his and raised me to my feet. Then he kissed me once on the lips before leading me to his bed. We both stripped unselfconsciously and stood there smiling, maybe a foot apart, as we took one another's bodies in.

'Mmmmmmm,' was all he said. And then he wiggled his eyebrows

I giggled, and then we were embracing, flesh on flesh, lips to lips, chest to chest, groin to groin. I could feel him growing and hardening – and I'm sure he could sense my own arousal. And then he was pulling me back on to the bed. I landed half on top of him. He reached down between my legs and took my balls in his firm grip. He squeezed.

'I am soooo glad I didn't cut these off.'

I giggled again. 'Me too, actually.'

He spluttered with laughter. 'Come on then…let's see what we saved. And whether it was worth it.'

He transferred his attention to my erection, first with his hands and then with his mouth. He was sensational. I writhed with pleasure.

'Keep doing that and I'm going to lose control,' I murmured.

'Lose control whenever you're ready,' came the muffled reply.

Thirty seconds later I was bucking and kicking in his mouth, and he was manfully trying to cope with what felt like a tidal wave leaving me and entering him. When he came up for air, it was with the look of a man who has nearly drowned.

'By all the Gods, Eild. How long has it been since you unloaded?'

'You tell me…you're the one who says nothing escapes you in the palace.' I smiled.

'Why you…' and he gave me a playful slap.

'And now it's my turn, I think.'

I rolled him over onto his back, revealing his own impressive erection. I slid the foreskin back and engulfed him in my mouth. The little trace of precum tasted sweet and I wasted no time in doing my best to get the rest of it. I ran a finger back along the skin behind his balls and was rewarded with a moan. I felt his balls tighten up and then he was past the point of no return, flooding my mouth with his seed.

Afterwards, we lay together, him on his back and me on my side in the crook of his elbow, my head on his chest.

'May I ask you something,' I said.


'Mikka…do you and he….?'

'We have…but not anymore. Now he's yours. Do you mind?'

'Mind that you've done it or mind that he's mine?'

'The first…well, both actually, I suppose.'

'No, not at all. You are the king; you can sleep with whoever you want…and, yes, I'm delighted he's mine.'

Tibor pulled himself up. 'Eild, I would never, ever sleep with someone just because I was the king. I only sleep with people – men and women – who want to sleep with me. Anything else would be rape. I'm sorry that you should think that of me.'

I flushed. 'I didn't mean it that way, Tibor – honestly. It came out wrong. Please forgive me.'

He looked into my eyes. 'OK, forgiven.' He paused, then continued, 'Actually that's how I knew Mikka would be good for you. In fact it was while we were in bed that he asked if he could serve you; he asked if I would mind. I asked him why and he said that he thought you could teach him as well as love him. And he's right.'

He sighed. 'And you know the worst thing? I envy him. I, the king, envy a servant boy. Well, he's a bit more than that of course, but you know what I mean.'

'Umm…I'm not sure. What do you mean?'

He turned his eyes, his beautiful blue eyes, on me.

'I could so easily love you, Eild. Just as I could easily love Mikka. But I mustn't. I can show affection, have affairs even, but I cannot love – not you, not anyone. I have to be king. First, foremost and only. My 'love' has to be up for grabs…it is a diplomatic weapon. I am only 19, Eild. So I have sex. Lots of sex. With beautiful boys and beautiful girls. And I tell myself that I don't need more. That's why you and Mikka need to be together. At least then the two boys I could love the most are sharing each other.'

'Oh my word, Tibor. Oh my.'

I hugged him to me.

'Even when I'm with Mikka…can we…that is…sometimes, maybe…still do this?'

'I don't know. Talk to Mikka about it if you like. But it is better this way.'

'No, Tibor. No it isn't. Even a king is allowed to love.'

He sighed. 'If only it could be so.'

'It can be. I know it can.'

He just slowly shook his head.

'Well then. If it can't, then, even if only for one night, make love to me, Tibor.'

'Are you sure, Eild? Are you sure that that won't just make it worse?'

'All I know is that I want you to make love to me, Tibor. Properly. Fully. Enter me, possess me, fill me.'

I put my hand between his legs and felt him harden at my touch. I lay on my back and lifted my legs up.

'Please, Tibor.'

Over the following hours I was fucked as I had never been fucked before. There was an animal urgency at first and then a slow, tender period and then the animal returned. The final time he took me ended with a wolf-like howl as he climaxed deep inside me. As well as ravaging my hole, he'd slapped, pinched, scratched and even bitten me during his passion - and my body was trembling with exhaustion by the time he had finished. It had been utterly, totally, mind-blowing.

But he hadn't finished.

He turned me over, smeared a handful of cream all over my cock and straddled me, guiding my rampant erection inside him and bearing down on it, taking me inside him in a single thrust that elicited a groan from deep within him, and then pumping up and down until I erupted inside him. And then he was lying, flat out, on top of me before rolling off and lying, face up, beside me and staring wordlessly at the ceiling.

I propped myself up on one arm and ran my hand over his chest.

'That last bit was unexpected.'

He looked at me. 'It was unexpected for me too. Boys don't fuck me. But I suddenly wanted it. I hope you didn't mind?'

'It was amazing. Umm…are you seriously saying that you were a… that sense?'

'Yes…well, I've put other things up there, but never the real thing. It hurt – at first - but no pain no gain. I must apologise to Mikka.'

I wasn't sure what he meant by the last remark but I thought it better to let it pass.

'Would you do it again, another day?'

'Probably not. Maybe with you – but that's not going to happen again now, so no.'

'Do you want me to go now?'

'Don't be stupid. I want you here beside me tonight. If this is only going to happen once, then I want to make the most of it. Come, let's get comfortable.'

He pulled back the rugs and we slipped under them. The sheet was deliciously cold beneath us and the rugs warm and enveloping over us - and his arms were comforting around me. We smelled of sweat and sex and his scent, and I had never felt happier as I drifted off to sleep.

In the morning I asked him if I needed to leave before anyone saw me. He laughed.

'Oh no, everyone assumed I was going to spend the night with you. Don't look so shocked. It's fine. Everyone knows I love beautiful boys and you are very, very beautiful. They might be a bit shocked if they knew I'd had you inside me, but as I have no intention of saying anything about that they'll never know. I assume I can rely on you to say nothing?'

'My lips are sealed.'

'Good..let's go and bathe…we stink.'

The bath had already been run by servants that I hadn't either seen or heard. The water smelled faintly of oranges, and afterwards we dried ourselves on the biggest, softest towels I had ever seen.

Two pretty teenage girls brought us breakfast and then Tibor told me it was time for us both to get ready to attend Council at midday.

'You'll find the robes you need at your house. Get Mikka to bring you back to the palace at 11.30. And…thank you for last night. I will never forget it.'

'Me either, Lord King.'

He pulled me to him. 'Call me that again and I might have to discipline you,' he said with a smile.

'Ooh, promises, promises,' I said. Then a thought occurred to me.

'May I ask a question?'

'Of course.'

'What happened to the men you gelded?'

I saw a small smile flicker across his face.

'They have been returned to your country as I said that they would be. One of them tried something a little foolish and sadly had to be taught the error of his ways, but all the others are home. I understand that my message has been…understood. That is why it is now time for diplomacy.'

I nodded. I was stupidly pleased to know that Gylan was safe and wondered if I would ever see any of them again during the negotiations– and what they would think of me if I did. I mentally shrugged; they could hardly dislike me more than they already did. And they were going to have to deal with me like it or not.

We exchanged a final kiss and then I was marching out of the palace under the guidance of one of his personal guards who had been ordered to escort me to my new quarters.

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