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'Ho, there, watch your saur!' came Anizia's raucous shout as her horse snorted and stamped the ground. 'Can't you get that ugly face away from my horse before he bolts...and get your saur away from him, too!'
That was unkind. Thren hitched his own saur around and toward the big Amazon woman, knowing she was talking about Alamides. His sturdy saur snuffled, its two huge, reptilian hind legs chewed up the distance easily, waddling much like an ostrich would while running. He pulled back on the reins, tugging the long, serrated snout upwards to stop the saur, and then confronted the angry woman warrior.
'I'm sorry.' Alamides said, his ungainly, mottled face drawn into a squint. 'I got too close to you, I know that.'
'If she can't control her horse, that's her problem.' Thren said strongly, his strong sword arm reaching down to his hilt, a threat implied if not real. 'You could have ridden a saur like the rest of us, Anizia.' His proudly regal, black-haired head tossed as he glared at the Amazon woman, his handsome face twisted in a scowl. There were those who whispered that Thren's real father was a nobleman; if so, he had inherited his father's cleanly regular features and straight, aristocratic nose.
'You won't get me up on those scaly backsides.' Anizia snarled. Where Thren's armor was silver-washed iron, hers was of golden plate, and more elaborate. Thren had chosen to gird in metal only his vital areas, parts which were most likely to be hit in combat, his feet and legs, his groin, his shoulders and chest, his back, his helmet. Anizia wore full armor, crafted of the amazingly strong gold-alloyed metal of her Amazon people, a secret which they did not share with the other humans of the lands of Pelingrin.
Dulcea, the quiet priestess, laid her gentle hand upon Anizia's and said, 'Let us quit our quarrels. The blasted land of Oparia is near.'
'Yes.' Thren said. 'Save your anger for the Orcs and your strength to carry back the gold when we have won.'
That quieted Anizia, for it was the lure of gold which had attracted her to the bands of roving adventurers that protected the surviving humans of Pelingrin, while making themselves rich in the process by frequent raids in Oparia.
There was no question of the propriety of stealing the gold from the Orcs of Oparia, for Oparia had once been the heart of a strong Empire, where magic had built marvels upon whose shards they lived upon to this day. But that same magic, which had paved the very streets with silver and adorned the buildings with gold, had been its downfall. The evil mage Zerstorin had conspired with the Orcs to assault the lands, take it for their own. Zerstorin was still around...somewhere...but now the Orcs and the other monsters that now held Oparia were what commanded attention.
If they were not constantly kept off-guard, their numbers winnowed and reduced by sword-blade, they would grow in numbers enough to invade Pelingrin. Yet open warfare was not yet an option, humankind had lost too many in the Orc Wars. They could only do what they did, call upon the hardy (or foolhardy, either would do) adventurer to slip into the lands, kill what they could, bring back what they could. So the kings of Pelingrin chartered adventurers such as Thren and Anizia and Alamides and Dulcea, to seek their fortunes in Oparia, and welcome them back as heroes when they returned.
There were more in this band of adventurers than these four, of course, a hale band of twenty were upon this expedition to the fallen town of Simismire, most of them searching for gold as Anizia did. But Dulcea sought to recover the relics of her religion's temple in Simismire, and Thren...well, he had his own reasons, which he preferred to keep quiet. But it definitely included keeping Anizia from abusing Alamides' gentle nature.
He contrived without seeming to ride up next to Alamides. 'Let us ride up and join the others.' He said.
'Of course.' the misshapen man wore no armor at all; as a Mage of the Fifth Power, he needed freedom of movement and all his dexterity to contrive his spells, and was worth in battle a dozen Anizias. 'I didn't mean to let my saur get next to Anizia's horse.' he said as they rode ahead. 'But this blasted beast is so unwieldy. I can't get it to go exactly the way I want it to.'
'You have to use a strong hand at the reins.' Thren said. 'And hold them wrapped around your hand, not loose like that. Here, like this.' And he reached out without a qualm and carefully fixed the arrangements of reins in Alamides' horribly distorted hands.
Alamides grinned at Thren a smile of comradeship, and Thren grinned it back. Then Alamides' smile slipped as his burden of guilt returned. 'Why are you so kind to me?' He protested. 'What have I ever done to deserve you by my side?'
'You know the answer to that.' Thren said. These moods came upon Alamides whenever they ventured out on a quest. 'We have three of the Pearls of Rinsinquo already. Another five and we can remove this curse upon you forever. Meanwhile, we still have your magic.' Alamides alone of the people Thren knew had once met Zerstorin, and while he had fought off that evil mage long enough to escape with his life, he bore to this day the curse of his appearance to remind him of that foolhardy duel of magic.
'But it's so temporary.' Alamides started to complain as he always did when Thren reminded him of that. 'We could....'
'Hsst!' came the call from Mecaster, their leader, a solid massive captain of Pelingrin noble blood. 'The Orcs are near. Gird yourselves for battle once more.'
And with a nasty snarl that was the battle cry of the Orcs, a squad of hunting Orcs was upon them, and the battle was begun.
They would not have carried the day by themselves, had not prior bands weakened the Orcish tribe holding Simismire. A bare hundred Orcs faced these twenty stalwart humans all blooded in battle and ready to wreak one more day of revenge upon the conquerors of the now-legendary Oparia. Still, facing them were the strongest of the Orcs, only their smaller size and lack of true trained skill in battle let the humans be more than a match for them. At that, of the twenty who had set out on this quest, only twelve remained alive at the end of that horrible battle, with the few remaining Orcs fleeing Simismire. Thren thought it a shame that they couldn't stay and fortify the old town, for it was still beautiful even though nearly two hundred years of Orcish occupation had smeared and stained its silver walls and golden towers. For himself, he was but lightly wounded, a small sword slash upon one arm. When Dulcea saw it and insisted upon using her healing powers, he protested, then let her bathe him in warm light.
'Your friend and you carried the day for us once again.' Dulcea said when she was done. 'Won't you join the search for treasure now about the Orcish lairs?'
'There's time enough for that.' Thren said. 'How about Alamides now you are finished with me?'
'He is unwounded.' Dulcea said.
'But magic takes its own toll upon human flesh.' Thren said. 'And we think a Pearl may be found here, he needs all his strength to locate it if it is....'
Dulcea needed no further coaxing, but moved to the fatigued and graceless form sprawled beneath an oak tree.
'Why do you put up with that Magician?' Anizia said. She had found her horde already, a large sack depended easily from her back, held in one hand. Upon her right wrist, a large jeweled bracelet now rested; where it hadn't before...
'He is my friend.' Thren said. 'More than that is none of your concern.'
'More than that is my curiosity.' Anizia said to him. 'I've seen how you bunk next to him every night, closer than I'd lay to such a disgusting travesty of a man. And how your hand caresses him from time to time, as if he were the most beautiful of women. I agree it is none of my business. But I hunger to know just the same. Why him?'
Thren looked at Alamides, his face placid and calm under Dulcea's healing touch. 'As I said, it is none of your concern.' And as he looked at Alamides resting in peace, a smile unbidden rose upon his lips and his heart lightened and warmed.
Alamides lurched to his feet, unbalanced even when erect, for his legs were of unequal length. His hunched back, negligible while on the saur's sharply arcing back, protruded largely on his lesser side. 'It is here! It is here!' he croaked out happily, and a glob of saliva oozed out of one side of his mouth.
'It is?' Thren said. 'Where? Where?'
'Right here.' Mecaster called out. 'When I saw it, I knew it for a Pearl of Rinsinquo. You collect these baubles, do you not?'
'I certainly do.' Thren said. 'Give it to me, and I'll forfeit any claim to any other treasure about.'
'No need of that, there's plenty for all.' Mecaster said as he tossed the gleaming gem to Thren, who caught it in tremblingly eager hands. 'Come, both of you, you fought well. Load your saurs and let's flee this place before nightfall, when the Orcs will dare to return along with other creatures I'd not care to face with less than a legion about me.' It was true that the fallen Orc bodies would draw with their blood-smell the hordes of evil beings that frequented the night. And night was less than an hour away; they would have to ride hard; a good thing that the saurs had had most of the late morning and early afternoon to rest.
Full nightfall found them back in the land of Pelingrin, though barely, at an inn which catered to the hardy souls who dared live on the very lip of Oparia's bloodthirsty maw. Well fortified walls around them; they were safe here.
As they drank their mead of triumph, Thren put his arm around Alamides' hump and said huskily, 'I think tonight deserves a little magic to celebrate, don't you?'
Alamides was now well over his fretfulness and fears, as he always was. And now with four Pearls in his hands, his quest for normalcy again was half-won. 'I think so, too.' he replied bashfully.
'Then I'll bid our good-nights to our comrades.' Thren said. He knew Alamides had to have privacy for the magic. Whatever the secret was, it was the result that interested Thren, he had never attempted to find out what Alamides did in the ten minutes Thren was required to remain apart from his closest comrade.
All that mattered was that moment, when he could open once again the door to their room and enter.
Alamides sat kneeling up on the floor, beside a small pot of crackling magical brew, this was no mere bubbling mass, it seethed and hissed and sparkled high into the air. The magic had worked once again, and Thren heaved a sigh of relief, sometimes it failed, a misspoken word, a gesture not properly completed, an ingredient left out or not of proper quality...sometimes the magic was wasted.
But not tonight. Alamides looked up at him, and his hair was tawny gold, his skin was ivory pale, nearly boyish. His eyes were raptured silver as he looked upon Thren, who was grinning foolishly at him. And he cast off his robe and revealed his youthful, potent, virile body for Thren's approval.
'You are restored once again.' Thren sighed, citing the obvious.
'For an hour or so.' Alamides said, and his golden smile slipped. 'The spell of nullity cannot overcome the curse for longer than that.' He, too, was stating only what they both knew so well.
'Nay, think not of that time.' Thren said. 'Now is the hour of our joining once again. Let only our love be present in this room for emotion.'
'Now, and always.' Alamides reached up a hand for Thren's tunic. It was easily opened, the leather lacings of the front undid themselves, and the tunic slipped off from beneath the complexly intertied shoulder guards, leaving them behind as Thren's sole garment above his waist. Thren unfastened the silver belt at his midriff, releasing the metal codpiece that warded his manhood from Orcish attacks, for the Orcs knew with keen viciousness that a blow at this one part of a man could undo the entire man.
Alamides shuddered as Thren's organ came into view, a fat, well-filled sausage there, and Thren grinned proudly...no magic here! And Thren looked at Alamides' dong, a pink scimitar of purple-headed prick, paler but no less in length than his own, and felt his cock twitch, rise and expand, billowing out from his warm groin, its head wavering like a questing hound scenting for its quarry.
And it was found rather than finding, for Alamides reached out with his beautiful face, stretching forth his perky, rosy, playful tongue, and that warm button of the tongue-tip hit his glans and Thren moaned. God, it'd been so long! Alamides could only do this magic once every score of days, they were doomed lovers consigned to this fate, to share their bodies, but so rarely, so that every time was a delicious pain of long-denied flesh revenging itself upon its owners.
Alamides' lips followed his tongue, there was a feeling like a hundred frolicsome kittens had suddenly decided to visit him at once, to play in rings around his cock, warm, fuzzy, rich, luxurious, and then the heat of that mouth, for Alamides began to stuff Thren's prick down his mouth and throat hungrily. For him, too, it had been too long.
With his greaves still warding his shins and his shoulder guards still bracketing his shoulders, Thren dropped to his knees slowly, Alamides' mouth felt too warm, too rich and exotic, upon his cock to dislodge it for a moment, so he slowly lowered himself to seek out that body for himself, and when he got upon both knees, Alamides lowered himself to his belly, like a cat stretching out to lie itself down upon its belly, like Alamides did, and so like the cat did Alamides turn himself as if he could twist his body into a corkscrew, twist this magnificent, young, clean, healthy, desirable body, he saw it so rarely, so long were the times between which he had these moments, these short minutes, upon which his hands could touch, his lips could taste, his eyes could roam, his skin could feel the sensuous satin-like flesh against his own, no, he had to touch it now, right now, for it was like the snow on an early spring morning, falling in white splendor, only to vanish as the sun contacted it, lingering perhaps on the northern side of houses or trees, but that, too, slipping away. He had to take it now, right now. This was their time, this was their chance, it would be many lonely more days before this body was his again!
With quivering fingers, he explored that still-too-unfamiliar body, how soft and warm it was, how pleasingly pale, how vibrantly young and shining with that inner glow that only the young possess, it fades, it fades so soon, and this quicker than the rest of mankind, he let his fingers play upon the gently arcing chest, feeling the faint ridges of the ribs, Alamides was too thin in his true form, not like...no, he would not think on that, for that was not Alamides, but merely Zerstorin's seeming. He let his hands touch that soft concavity of the stomach, touch and catch upon the gentle indentation of the navel, and his lips slavered and he lowered himself over Alamides, that beautiful pink prod was his once again. It beckoned to him.
Like a contrapunctual tempo to his exploration of Alamides' body, there was the warm moist cavern of Alamides' mouth, it wrapped and soothed and assuaged his dong, brining him electrical joy, shocks of pleasure raced upon his stomach as he knelt over, it was like a row of marbles rolling about inside his chest cavity now, not keeping together, but moving as each happened to land, bringing his body to life.
And his lips touched Alamides' cock, and an immediate gush of precome greeted his tongue there, a salty slime upon his tastebuds, that pud wept a copious flood onto his lips and into his mouth, and he hadn't even yet given this cock a single stroke with his lips to bring it forth.
He hastened to repair this omission, he pushed the sturdy, virile shaft into his mouth, feeling it like a quivering horse entering the racing stall, a narrow space barely big enough for it, the eager muscles rippling beneath the rider, ready for the run, this was how Alamides' dick behaved in his mouth, for this was its purpose in life, its duties and its joys combined into one, he could sense the powerful flood of jism gathering in the balls beyond, readying for the assault upon him the way that they had readied this very morn for their expedition to Simismire, a rattle of sabers and clatter of steel, a whuffling of horses and snuffling of saurs, a rumbling of hooves and a tumbling of gear, and they were off, they were off once more!
The cock curved into his throat like it belonged there, and there it did belong. He never felt truly whole until he was like this, or something like this, a part of Alamides inside of him, and a part of himself inside Alamides, the two of them in the process of becoming one, if only they could find the magic that would let them combine once and for all. What a marvelous beast that would add to the bestiary, the reformed body the ancients claimed as the original human form before the gods had split them into halves, and let them long for their other half, to seek it out and rejoin together, only like this to know the bliss that had once been their own, the living that was completeness, the rapture of perpetual intercourse.
Only their cocks now could sing that song, the last parts of them to separate one from the other according to the myths, and thus the first to refit themselves into the other half, his other half was Alamides, he had never doubted it since their first time together, he fit, he was right, he matched!
The precious minutes slipped away, Thren remembered. They must take their joy in total before the mixture in the pot quieted into stillness once again and the spell failed. He let his body feel the way on its own, closing his eyes, living only in this moment. His cock was like a part apart from him, it pulsed with its own life, a warm, multi-colored, vibrant, star-splattering life that made every last bit of his dong tingle, no, more, it was like it was filled to bursting, packed tightly with pleasure made solid form, his cock contained no blood or flesh, it was composed of corporeal delight, congealed ecstasy, cemented euphoria. His world was made up of two main sources of sensation, the warm pole that thrilled and rolled lavishly about his tongue and sunk deeply into his throat, fitting like a hand into a glove, and the separate feel of that torturously elated ring of lips that milked his prick into fire-burnished joy.
He felt his cock beginning to build from within, and he pulled reluctantly but firmly away from those lips. Alamides gave a childlike pout of his lips that shone with his saliva, but Thren smiled down at him and Alamides' moping lips curved upwards happily, and he skittered about beneath Thren's more encumbered body to lie face-to-face beneath Thren.
And those legs, those luscious legs that climbed onto his waist like a pair of playful brothers climbing a fallen tree-trunk, he felt the smooth heels of the feet pressing into his buttocks, he felt the arms touch him, stroke him like the zephyrs of summer that come when you least expect, and most need, their cooling embrace, and Thren shuddered as those hands clung to his back and the moist, hot crevice of Alamides' ass pivoted up to intersect his sopping wet prong.
It was easy, so easy, to find the small tucker of the hole and slip his cockhead into it. It was like his body was inserting into himself, one part of his body knowing exactly where the other one was, both cooperating to accomplish the shared task.
So easy, so right, so complete once again. This was heaven, Thren felt as he began to move his hips and felt Alamides body writhe in happy response to his own. He could die like this, and if heaven were all the priests proclaimed it was, he'd never notice his own mortal ending, for this was what he would do in heaven all the time.
Alamides' arms became insistent, pulled him down, and for the first time since the spell had been woven, they kissed lips to lips, and Alamides would not release his mouth after, nay, between the kisses, he continued to fuck Alamides in this constrained position, his body thrusting itself in small movements back and forth, and Alamides was like a large snake entwined about him, holding him in place, alive upon him, feasting upon him.
His cock, so long denied and now used too much, began to boil and churn and he knew his climax was upon him. He wished it to wait, let it wait until the last flickers came from the bowl on the floor, when the spell was about to end, let it happen then, not now!
But his flesh was too galvanized from the joining of their bodies, it seethed of its own accord no matter how he moved, what he did, his cock sent a sudden tenseness into his body, holding his muscles locked into place while it danced its fertile dance and sent streamers of liquid joy all over his rigid body still moving, though now like an enchanted thing, like but not truly of, the form it was taking, and in the churning cauldron of his stimulated flesh, he felt come upon him, from where he did not know, could not identify, and it turned into climax and it clenched about his brain and his body spasmed, jerked, and his sperm sprayed out like it flowed from a sieve and not a spigot, all of a sudden his cock was bathed in salty sperm and he pumped more in to join this, and there was a moist sloppy sound as his dong continued to dive in and out of Alamides' ass, while he gasped and heaved for breath.
With a cry that welled up like a tortured demon from hell, Alamides' voice vented with rising sound and volume, and then Thren felt the heavy splatting of Alamides' jism as it hit his stomach and chest, spurting upon both of them, soaking him heavily.
Thren could only keep his eyes shut, his brain still sparking bursts of joy, though now the darkness held more than the light, and his body was about to cease operation, shut down and become weak, and he felt Alamides' joy like steel cables bound about him, holding him tightly, chaining him, never letting him go.
And as he sunk down into the bliss of near-oblivion, he could not imagine a more wonderful fate than that. Never let them end this, let the spell misfire indeed, but let it extend and lock them in this moment, pinch off their room from the universe and keep them like this for eternity and beyond. And again, he thought this was what heaven would be like, if only he could find his way there.
Thren managed to force his eyes open after a time, and looked over, to drink in the face that looked into his, Alamides as he ought to be all the time, lovely, desirable, sated and vulnerable from exhausted pleasure, eyes looking at his own with trust and love.
They could play out their final moments like this, exhausted in body but whole in spirit, letting their hands play upon each other. Thren could not touch Alamides enough, he had to remember this time for many days to come, so many days to come when he had only his memories to warm his body in his cold bed, for Alamides would not share while the curse held him in thrall. Alamides admitted that the curse did other things to his body and that he did not wish them to touch Thren in their vulgarity. Thren could only accept this, keep his distance as Alamides asked, satisfying his need to touch his lover by such small duties as arranging the reins of the saur.
He touched, and he memorized, and he kissed, forcing his flesh to drink in more and more sensation. Sometimes his body would reawaken soon enough, and they could manage at least a part of another joining before the end....
The spell boiling in the pot waned, the light failed, Thren felt the body so solid and warm beneath his own begin to distort. And he rolled over and turned his face towards the wall, eyes closed shut, unable to listen to the moans of pain that Alamides endured when the spell ended, and his body reverted to the ugly, lumpish, brutish thing he had been before.
When Alamides was silent, Thren heard the robe being gathered up and he waited until Alamides said, 'I'm ready.' And then he turned to look at his lover now clothed and concealed in large part by the robe once more.
At the twisted, malformed head, the slavering lip, the unevenly sized eyes.
Alamides, rather, the beast that was Alamides once more, managed a smile. 'So it ends yet again.'
'We'll get the other four Pearls.' Thren promised. 'There are hundreds of Pearls, and we only need eight of them. What would an Orc use them for? He'll pile them in his treasure along with the other baubles, and so they'll come to us when we loot their treasuries.'
'I know.' Alamides said. 'But that is small comfort when I look down at myself.'
'Do you know where the next Pearl can be found?' Thren asked.
Alamides closed his eyes and seemed to think to himself, then said, 'I'm pretty sure there's one in the former town of Chendral.'
Thren frowned. 'That's a hundred miles south of here. We'll have to petition for the right to go there, and be granted letters of activity by the King in the new domain.'
'I know.' Alamides said.
'Well, let's get some sleep.' Thren said. 'We'll have to travel to the King in the morning, then.'
Alamides permitted Thren to make his bed nearby his own. Sometimes, right after making love, when he would feel especially ugly, he would refuse it for a day or two. But Thren got out of his armor and into his bed close to Alamides and he said, 'Good-night, my beloved.'
'Good-night.' Alamides said. His mood was returning to the one he had been before, unsure of himself, timid in his emotions, apologetic for even existing. 'Thren? Why do you put up with me?'
'Because I love you.' Thren said soothingly. Then he turned over in sudden decision and said, 'We have four of the Pearls. That only took us three years. In another three, this will all be over.'
'I hope so.' Alamides said.
Thren leaned over him and said, 'Then think no more of it for tonight.' He said firmly.
'But the things people say....' Alamides began.
'Hush.' Thren said. 'I know the truth, and so do you. That is all that matters.' And he kissed, with true love and affection, the distorted, slobbering lips. 'Sleep, my love, and dream of the days to come.' he said, taking his wonderful, delightful, misshapen lover in his arms.
And to his unbridled delight, for the first time ever, Alamides permitted Thren to hold him while they slept, and even the morning after, when full dawn touched the skies.
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