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Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter 10 – The Jeet-hah

It is generally considered very hard or even meaningless to come up with comparative exchange rates with modern currency due to the fact that the range of products produced economies of centuries gone by were very different from today, which makes Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) calculations very difficult. However, some historians and economists have estimated that in the 5th century BC a drachma had a rough value... equivalent to 40 USD in 2006. – Wikipedia


She had adjusted so quickly to sleeping with Jeet, that Anda couldn’t imagine sleeping alone again. The only problem was when he was restless in his sleep, like now. He lay with an arm loosely over her side and his face nuzzled between her breasts. She woke when he began jerking.

When he whimpered, she shook his shoulder. “Jeet, are you having a bad dream?” she asked.

He lay still a moment, and then jerked upright. “Weela!” he said, quickly getting to his feet. “I have to warn them.”

“Warn them about what?” Anda asked.

“I’ll explain later,” Jeet said, grabbing up a loincloth. “I’ve got to hurry.”

The sound of Jeet’s voice was urgent. “Where is Rufus?”

Rem stirred and sat up. Before bedding down that evening, the ten-year-old boy had moved the scraps of cloth which he used as a pallet to just outside the Oracle’s door in order to sleep closer to the Oracle and the eunuchs. He sat up. Jeet and the guard were less than six feet away, standing in the light of a torch, and Jeet was still fastening on his loincloth.

“He should be in the barracks,” the guard said. “He stayed on the temple grounds tonight.

Jeet dashed down the hallway to the stairs, and then down into the shrine. Rem jumped up to follow. He caught up in time to hear Jeet tell the guards at the shrine entrance, “Find Rufus… find him now!”

One of the guards ran for the barracks, the other dropped his hand to the hilt of his sword and took a torch down from the wall. “What is it Jeet? Another intruder? Is everyone alright?”

“We’re fine,” Jeet said impatiently. “That’s not what I need Rufus for.”

The guard glanced at Rem who stood behind Jeet. Rem shrugged, and neither said a word while Jeet paced for the few minutes it took to fetch Rufus.

“What is it?” Rufus called out as he came up onto the portico steps. Other guards came behind him; some still fastening on their swords.

“The Oracle has had another vision, Rufus,” Jeet said. “There is danger at the governor’s citadel… armed thieves…”

Rufus stopped abruptly and frowned. “The governor has guards, Jeet. Two of my own sons serve there. It would not be easy for thieves to break in.”

“These thieves have a confederate inside. He’s going to lower a rope ladder over the back wall.”

Rufus’ jaw worked a moment, and then he turned to his guards. “Come with me.”

Jeet followed, and Rem followed him.

They hurried at an angle across the courtyard. At the front gate, Rufus ordered the temple guards to open the portal.

“Let me go, too,” Jeet pleaded. “I’m not wearing armor which would slow me down. Please! My sister lives at the citadel.”

Rufus shook his head. “You cannot leave the temple without guards, Jeet.” Rufus motioned to one of the guards. “Run to the citadel, alert the guards.”

The man nodded and ran out through the portal.

“But I’ll be going with a guard,” Jeet protested. “That guard.” He pointed out through the portal. He took a step to follow, but Rufus stopped him by grabbing his arm.

“It was only a vision, Jeet,” Rufus said. “I can’t have you running around at night by yourself in the city.”

Jeet glanced at the portal as the guards closed it again, then he turned back to Rufus, his eyes pleading.

Rufus shook his head again. “Return to the shrine, Jeet. Because you are so concerned, I’ll go to the governor’s citadel myself and make sure that all is well.”

“I could go with you,” Jeet suggested hopefully.

Rufus smiled sadly. “Not without the high priests knowledge. Now go back and wait.”

Jeet looked longingly at the portal, and then nodded reluctantly. Taking two other guards, Rufus went out through the portal and Jeet turned back toward the shrine.

Rem came up alongside, watching Jeet’s troubled face. He took Jeet’s hand. The older boy looked down and smiled distractedly, then looked back at the gate. Rem led him by the hand back to the shrine.

Jeet sat down at the edge of the portico. “I’ll wait out here, Rem,” he told him. “You can go on back inside.”

But Rem sat down beside him. “What does your sister do at the Citadel?” Rem asked.

Jeet glanced at him. “She belongs to the governor’s son, sort of like how I belong to the Oracle.”

“Oh,” Rem said. He glanced toward the front gate and then back. “You are afraid for her?”

Jeet nodded.

Rem laid his hand on Jeet’s back and rubbed reassuringly.

Jeet glanced at him and smiled.

They waited.

Rem yawned, and rested his head against Jeet’s left shoulder.

Jeet wrapped his arm behind the younger boy’s back and pulled him down across his lap, cradling Rem’s head in the crook of his right arm. Rem wiggled, getting comfortable, and when Jeet rested his left hand on the side of Rem’s waist, the boy took it and hugged it to his chest as he closed his eyes.

The presence of the smaller boy comforted Jeet. For a moment, his mind was distracted from worry for Weela, and he wondered what it would be like to have a younger brother.

+ + + + +

Word spread over the city as fast as the sunrise that morning – word that the Oracle had a vision in the night and sent a warning to the governor which resulted in the capture of three armed thieves just as they were about to enter the private chambers of the governor himself.

Jarus came as soon as he heard. He found the Oracle in her chambers just as her boy eunuchs were clearing away a late morning meal. “May I speak to you alone Oracle?” Jarus asked. “To you and to Jeet?” He glanced pointedly at the other eunuchs and at the boy, Rem, who was helping. All but Jeet left the chamber.

Jarus came closer. “What happened last night?” He glanced at Jeet. “Did you have a dream, boy?”

Jeet nodded.

Jarus clasped Jeet’s shoulder and bore into the boy’s eyes with his own. “About thieves at the governor’s citadel?”

Jeet nodded.

Jarus took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Do any of the other eunuchs know?” he asked.

Jeet glanced at the Oracle and they shook their heads. “The boy, Rem, was with me when I talked to Rufus,” Jeet said. “He heard me say that the Oracle had a vision. We weren’t going to tell the others the truth until we were alone and the time seemed right. Aruli already knows that I have dreams.”

“Don’t tell them that you’re the one who had the dream, Jeet; not even Aruli,” Jarus said, turning to pace. “Don’t tell anyone. Let everyone believe that it is the Oracle. It will be better.” He stopped and turned to them. “This is from the gods,” he said. “You must let people believe the Oracle is having the dreams. It’s perfect.”

They nodded.

Jarus stepped back over to Jeet. “How do you dream? Do you dream only when something bad is about to happen? Can you dream whenever you want to?”

Jeet shrugged. “It just happens. I don’t know how.”

Jarus chewed his lip. “The question is… do the dreams themselves come from the gods, or the ability to dream. Because if the ability is yours, you only need to know how to use it. Have you tried controlling it?”

Jeet shook his head.

“Try tonight. Try to dream tonight, and then remember your dreams in the morning.”

“How?” Jeet asked. “How do I try to have dreams like that?”

Jarus threw up his hands. “I don’t know.” He paced. “Do the dreams happen at certain times, or if you have done certain things, or if you have eaten certain foods?”

Jeet shrugged. “They just happen.”

“Well make them happen tonight!” Jarus said. “And make sure that no one else knows where the Oracle is getting her ‘visions’.”

He turned to leave, but turned back. “What god favors you, Jeet? What god do you pray to?”

Jeet shrugged. “I have prayed to no god.”

Jarus shook his head. “Some god or goddess is looking after you. Perhaps it is Cybele. Pray to whichever god is giving you the dreams to give you more.”

+ + + + +

Rem followed the Oracle and her young eunuchs down to the bathhouse late that afternoon. The thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen-year-olds were laughing and joking, and ten-year-old Rem hung back quietly. He was carrying cloths for drying and hoped they wouldn’t notice him and chase him off. He liked being around them, especially now that they were happy.

The boys quickly removed their breechcloths, and then helped the Oracle off with her clothing. They all stepped down into the water spreading out on the middle steps.

Aruli, standing in knee-deep water, nudged Bantu with a grin and nodded at Rem who was standing back toward the interior doorway. The younger boy didn’t notice them looking because his eyes were riveted on Jeet’s body as Jeet began to bathe the Oracle.

Bantu chuckled and leaned close to Aruli. “Rem’s been the world’s horniest ten-year-old since Ptolemy sucked him off the other night. I bet he’s hiding an erection with those towels. Watch…” Bantu called out to the boy. “Hey, Rem. Bring me a scrubbing cloth.”

Rem started, and stared blankly at Bantu for the moment or two it took him to realize that he had been addressed. Then he set down all but a scrubbing cloth which he held over the front of his loincloth as he came forward.

As Rem drew close, Aruli grabbed him by one arm and Bantu by the other. “Thanks for bringing the cloth,” Bantu told him, reaching down for it. He closed his hand over the cloth, Rem’s loincloth, and the boy’s erection all at the same time. “Ho! What’s this?” Bantu asked loudly. He pulled up Rem’s loincloth to reveal a long, skinny erection.

“Hey, Jeet,” Aruli called out. “You were worried about protecting Rem. I think you better protect us from him.”

Ptolemy waded over. “Bathe him!” he said. “He needs it. I started to tell him the other night that he needed a bath. The kid stinks.”

Rem tried to pull back, but Aruli and Bantu had him firmly by the arms. “Abij-hah!” Rem cried out.

Jeet laughed. “Why should I rescue you from a bath you obviously need?” he asked while ladling water onto the Oracle’s back.

Laughing, the other young eunuchs moved in around Rem. Jin pulled off the boy’s loincloth and tossed it back up onto the steps. Then, all together, the five of them began scrubbing Rem’s squirming body.

Water flew and boyish howls echoed off the bathhouse walls. Grinning, Jeet and the Oracle watched the six-boy, water-flying maelstrom.

The eunuchs dunked Rem and he came up sputtering. They scrubbed his arms, legs, torso, underarms, butt, and, as carefully as they could, between his legs. Despite his protests, Rem’s cock stayed hard, and as the others scrubbed, his struggling eventually slowed. They stood him up, and Aruli knelt down in front of the younger boy to concentrate on cleaning Rem’s genitals. The boy’s struggling stopped completely, and then he went rigid when Aruli closed his mouth over Rem’s erection.

Jeet frowned, thinking he should intervene to protect Rem, but the Oracle laid a hand on his belly. She smiled as if to say Rem was alright, and then glanced down at Jeet’s cock which had grown thick.

He smiled, ruefully.

“Let me taste,” Jin said, nudging Aruli away. He replaced Aruli’s mouth on Rem’s cock with his own.

All of them, other than Jeet and the Oracle, took a turn ‘tasting’, and in the process, gave Rem two dry orgasms. They let him go then, and he drifted, spent, over to sit on the steps just as Cyndur arrived to give the day’s swim lesson.

Jeet came over and took a seat beside Rem. “Are you alright?” he asked.

Rem had a glazed expression, but nodded.

“You don’t ever have to do anything you don’t want to, Rem,” Jeet said. “If you really don’t want to do something, just let them know and they’ll stop.”

Rem smiled lopsidedly.

Jeet remembered Weela and himself at that age, and nodded knowingly. “Yeah, well…” He stood up and extended a hand to Rem. “Now that you’re relaxed, you can learn to swim with us.” He pulled Rem up and tugged the boy toward waist-deep water.

Rem knew how to swim, but didn’t say so. It gave him an excuse to cling to Jeet.

+ + + + +

Anda hugged him from behind with her head resting against the back of his neck as Jeet looked out over the balcony railing at the dark night and the sky full of stars. He and the Oracle had made love and were still naked.

Jeet had no idea of what god to pray to, or even how to pray, but he took a deep breath and pulled the Oracle’s arms more tightly around his chest. “O kind god or goddess who has favored me,” he said into the darkness, “it is me, your servant Jeet.” He swallowed, searching for the next words. “Thank you for the dreams I have had. Jarus… the high priest… says I should ask for more dreams… for the Oracle and me. I don’t know what sacrifices or obediences you require, or what prayers I should pray, but if you somehow tell me or show me, I will do them. I promise. And the Oracle and I will serve you with honest hearts.”

The night was quiet. “Please Great God,” Jeet said softly. He looked out into the starry sky and sighed. Any gods seemed far way.

+ + + + +

Ptolemy watched Jeet approaching from across the courtyard and smiled. He bumped shoulders with Bantu and nodded in Jeet’s direction. Bantu looked and grinned. Two steps behind Jeet, Rem followed.

“Every day, he is more and more Jeet’s little twin,” Ptolemy said.

Bantu nodded. “He’s got his hair tied the same; he’s got Jeet’s walk down exactly and most of Jeet’s mannerisms.”

“You should be glad that Rem’s around,” Aruli said, coming up behind them, “He does more work than the two of you combined, and combined again.”

They turned, and Aruli gave them a cocky grin.

“Swing him!” Ptolemy said, grabbing the front of Aruli’s breechcloth. Bantu quickly grabbed it in back. “Whoa!” Aruli protested, laughing and trying to push them away. They both jerked up.

+ + + + +

Jeet and the Oracle hadn’t seen it, but the other eunuchs had… and chuckled about it. Sometime in the last day or two, Rem had smuggled his little pallet into the Oracle’s chamber. He had tucked it behind the screening wall at the top of the lesser-used of the two stairways up from the eunuchs’ chamber. But the eunuchs said nothing, even though they suspected that Rem might try spying at night on Jeet and the Oracle or on themselves. Somehow, it seemed unkind to force the boy away.

That evening, after the others had fallen asleep, Bantu lay awake, thinking. He was deciding how to talk to Jeet. They should be taking on the day-to-day running of the shrine now, along with supervision of the Oracle’s audiences, the screening of supplicants… everything having to do with the Oracle. They should take it over. Jeet should be in charge, but Bantu wanted to be involved. He knew where he wanted to help.

There was a movement at the top of the stairs. Bantu looked up and saw Rem peeking down. He smiled and waved the boy down, thinking that if Rem was restless as well, they could talk.

But when Rem came down the stairs and padded softly to Bantu and Ptolemy’s pallet, he came with an obvious erection under his loincloth.

Bantu suppressed a chuckle. Rem had been watching either Jeet and the Oracle, or the eunuchs before they fell asleep, and he was obviously still excited.

The boy came up and knelt in front of Bantu’s face, hoping Bantu had in mind to do to him what the eunuchs had done when they bathed him, or the night when Ptolemy sucked him off the first time.

Though it wasn’t what Bantu intended when he waved the boy down, he smiled and removed Rem’s loincloth. This would be relaxing, he decided. He motioned to Rem to lie down in a reverse position to his own, and placed Rem’s hand onto his own cock. “Just play with it,” Bantu whispered, “while I take care of you.”

Rem closed his boy-sized hand around Bantu’s cock, then gasped and squeezed as Bantu closed his mouth over Rem’s erection.

Ptolemy woke up before dawn. Something was different. He had been sleeping on his back. Bantu was asleep with his hand on Ptolemy’s shoulder. That was normal. Ptolemy lifted his head. On the other side of Bantu, Rem lay sleeping, butt to butt with the older boy.

+ + + + +

When Jeet woke in the morning, he sat up, trying to remember… nothing… another night without a meaningful dream.

+ + + + +

The steady tolling of the temple gongs began shortly after sunrise and continued for an hour to announce that the Oracle would grant an audience that day. The gongs had been quiet only a short time when the long, ceremonial horns of the temple signaled the call to the shrine.

Around the city, people made their way toward the temple. For many years, few people in Kaleh had concerned themselves with the Oracle. But beginning with the sudden death of the last Oracle, the temple, the Oracle, and her eunuchs had been chief topics of conversation. The fabulous prices paid for the eunuchs, their young ages and extraordinary beauty, the young age of the Oracle, even the purported sizes of all their members, including the Oracle’s, all had provoked a romantic and sexual interest that fascinated even the meanest citizen.

Most had a favorite among the eunuchs. Jeet was the biggest favorite by far; the mysterious boy with smoky skin, silver eyes, and hair like black flames. It was not simply his beauty that made him popular or the price that was paid for him. It was rumored that he led the others in standing up to the priests. He was brave, and yet, the stories from the temple were that he was kind and humble.

His naked stand between the Oracle and the enthusiasm of the mob, and the city leader’s mistake in referring to him as The Jeet-hah, put him on more people’s tongues than the others. And finally, adding even more interest in Jeet – it was rumored that he had a twin sister who belonged to the governor’s eldest son; that she was as beautiful as Jeet; and even that the thieves who invaded the citadel had come for her.

And yet, many in Kaleh favored Tazaar, whose coloring and features came closer to matching the city’s ethnicity, but whose beauty and grace were great enough to bewitch Cyndur, the city’s finest young athlete.

The other young eunuchs each had their fans, for different reasons – coloring, looks, or because they fit someone’s fantasies.

The glimpses of the boys at the arrival of the Oracle, at the temple, and on the day of their performance did nothing to take away from their mystique. They had endeared themselves to the city, high and low, young and old. Young romantics dreamed, and old cynics delighted in stories of the Oracle and her attendants defying high priests.

So from all over the city, people came.

The sun had risen well above the Governor’s citadel and shone brightly down onto the temple complex. Smoke rose from the four braziers around the altar and the aroma of sacrifice meat floated thickly over the milling crowd.

It was the custom, when the Oracle granted an audience, that the supplicant with the finest gift would be chosen to come before the Oracle that day. Everyone knew that there would be only one supplicant that first day; the governor.

Since the Abij-hah had not been announced yet, it was up to the high priests to go through the formalities of making the choice of the finest gift from the morning’s visitors. In braided beards, they moved through the front of the crowd where the wealthiest and most important people had gathered and were now being pressed from behind by the crowd.

The priests ascended the shrine steps to go inside. Jarus turned back on the portico to look back over the crowd. He gasped, and the two high priests turned.

What the priests saw was that the crowd, in a multitude of sunlit colors, now tightly packed the entire courtyard all the way back to the temple.

“Have there ever been so many to see a new Oracle?” Eustace asked.

“There have never been so many for anything,” Jarus said with a slight frown.

The high priests entered the shrine, and found the Oracle and her eunuchs making their final preparations. The eunuchs wore low-riding, wide-belted breechcloths which made a shallow ‘Y’, hanging down off the boys’ narrow hips. They wore gold arm bands, circlets, and ankle bracelets, and they had golden combs in their long hair.

The Oracle was dressed in pure white with silver and black onyx beaded into her golden hair. She was wearing her gold and silver mask.

Jarus walked over to the young Abij-hah. “There are a lot of people out there, Jeet. You will need to speak very loudly, the way we’ve been teaching you… from here.” He pressed his knuckles to Jeet’s solar plexus. “Remember to speak loudly, as if you wish to be heard all the way to the temple. And remember to give the crowd time between the phrases you speak for them to pass back what you say.”

From outside, rams’ horns sounded from the corners of the shrine portico. “It is time, Oracle,” Jarus said.

The Oracle stepped up to the front doors to the shrine, and her attendants came up on either side. She adjusted her mask and glanced at the eunuchs, then nodded. Servants pulled opened the doors… and the sound of the multitude rose like a great roar that thundered into the shrine and hit the Oracle and her eunuchs like a physical force. They were stunned for a moment, and then the Oracle led them forward.

They walked out onto the portico, and the sound grew even louder. Rams’ horns sounded, long temple horns bellowed, drums beat loudly; but none could be heard above the crowd.

The Oracle glanced nervously at the two ranks of shrine and temple guards which stood between the shrine portico and the crowd. They looked to be so few. But the crowd was not surging and out among them, the Oracle saw only smiles and happy faces. She took her seat, and her eunuchs came up on either side. “Oracle! Oracle!” the crowd began to chant from back toward the temple. The chant rolled toward them with increasing volume.

They waited for the noise to subside… and waited. Slowly, it came. The crowd grew quiet until finally the vast multitude was silent, waiting to see which of the eunuchs would step forward to speak for the Oracle; to see if Jeet would be Abij-hah.

Jeet stepped forward.

Before he could open his mouth to speak, the crowd in front cheered while the name “Jeet” passed back like a murmur of “eeeeeeeeee” through the crowd.

Sydal stood with the temple servants, slaves, and prostitutes, back beside the temple. He started it, though others around him immediately joined in. “Jeet-hah! Jeet-hah!” they began to shout in rhythm as they had with the name of the Oracle. The chant grew louder as others joined in and the chant came forward like a thunderous throbbing. It swelled over the crowd, confined by the temple walls – a great wave of sound… thousands of voices yelling at once, “Jeet-hah!”.

Rufus glanced at the high priests. Jarus was frowning. Eustace’s mouth was agape. Stycus’ looked as though his stomach was violently sour.

The chanting went on, and on. Down in front, among the better-dressed in the crowd, Jeet noticed several young men in their mid to late teens. One of them, a well-built youth with pale skin, short, curly hair, and a narrow face was watching Jeet steadily. When his eye caught Jeet’s, he smiled.

Jarus stepped forward holding up both hands to quiet the crowd. The other priests joined him. Finally, Jeet stepped forward as well, lifting his hands for silence and the other eunuchs joined him. Then the crowd began to calm. Jarus and the priests stepped back.

Jeet took a deep breath, and raised his high, clear voice. “The Oracle has come forth; the Oracle will listen,” he called out.

The crowd roared again.

The guards parted, and the governor came up the portico steps with his servants. He stopped before the Oracle and bowed deeply; then waited for quiet. Slowly, it came.

“This whole city knows the debt I owe you, Oracle,” he said in a loud, clear voice. “You saved my household from wicked intruders, and possibly saved the lives of me and my family. It is beyond my power to adequately thank you. But outside the temple walls are seventy bullocks and seventy sheep which I have brought to sacrifice. I have declared a Festival to the Oracle for the entire city for the next seven days, and I will sacrifice ten bullocks and ten sheep each day. We will celebrate because a great Oracle has come to Kaleh.”

The crowd within earshot cheered, and as the governor’s words were passed back through the crowed, there was a rumbling murmur oaf approval.

“Oracle,” he said more quietly, and stepped closer. “My family and I are truly in your debt. What else can I do for you? Please, name it, and I will do what I can.”

The Oracle looked at Jeet. She had been instructed that only her Abij-hah could speak for her in public. Jeet stepped close and bent over beside her. In a moment, he turned and came forward to the Governor. “The Oracle asks if you have a barge.”

Whispers echoed their words back through the crowd, and people strained to hear.

“A barge?” the governor asked in surprise.

“The Oracle once rode on the governor’s barge back where she is from, when she was a child,” Jeet explained. “She would like a ride on your barge.”

The governor bowed toward the Oracle. “I have no barge, Oracle, but we will build you one.”

Murmurs floated back through the crowd.

Jeet returned to the Oracle and they conferred once more. He returned, and bowed to the governor. “The Oracle says to thank you, and she asks what blessing or request you have for the Oracle.”

The governor smiled toward Anda. “The Oracle has already granted my boon, before I could even ask.”

Jeet nodded. “Then the Oracle said to tell you that there is nevertheless something more on her heart to give.”

The governor cocked his head, bowing slightly, and waited to hear what the Oracle might wish to give.

Anda rose and came forward. She lifted her hands to the people. Jeet raised his voice as loudly as he could. “The Oracle of Kaleh blesses the city and all its people,” he called out, and then paused as his words were repeated back through the crowd. There were cheers from around the courtyard.

Jeet held up his hands to continue, and the crowd quieted. “The Oracles promises,” Jeet said, “that with whatever grace the gods bless her, she will bless this city that is now her home.”

He dropped his arms, and as her words were passed back through the crowd, a roar of approval rose.

The governor smiled at Jeet and Anda. “Very astute, Oracle,” he said for only the two of them to hear.” He bowed slightly. “I believe the gods have already favored you in many ways.”

Then he looked directly at Jeet. “I am sorry that you are now a eunuch, but I am glad to see your fortunes have risen, Jeet.” He smiled and corrected himself. “Abij-hah.”

Jeet bowed.

“Oracle,” the governor said. “You must come to banquet at the citadel. I will send my servants to arrange it.” He bowed again, as to an equal, and backed down the steps.

Jeet stepped back beside the Oracle. She took his hand and squeezed it tightly. He glanced at her and grinned.

For the rest of the day, beginning from the greatest in the city to the least, they came forward one by one to bow to the Oracle and get a closer look at the young eunuchs. Jeet watched for the young man with the thin face whom he had seen earlier, but the young man never came forward.

Except when she had to leave to relieve herself, the Oracle stayed on the portico. The elation of the morning lasted most of the day. But by the evening, they were all tired and hungry, and the Oracle was desperate to be out from behind her mask.

Back inside, they bathed the Oracle and ate a meal in her quarters. Then they retired to bed early because, since this day’s request had already been granted, the Oracle would grant her second audience the next day.

When they were alone, Jeet laid the Oracle out on her stomach and gently massaged her shoulders and back… then her legs, and then back up to her butt. They talked about the triumphs of the day and the heady moments when it seemed the whole world was cheering for them.

Jeet rolled the Oracle onto her back, and massaged slowly up her legs. He straddled her waist to work on her shoulders and chest. When he did, his perineum pressed down on the underside of her upturned shaft, and as he worked, her phallus grew hard.

She reached between his legs and closed her hand around his cock, then smiled because it felt thick.

“How does it feel to be mistress of a whole city?” Jeet asked, caressing her shoulders.

“How does it feel to be The Jeet-hah?” she asked with a grin.

He smiled and lowered his caresses to her breasts. She closed her eyes and moaned pleasantly. Jeet scooted his hips back and laid down on her, pressing his cock between their bodies, alongside hers. “Anda,” he whispered, his lips brushing her cheek as he ground gently with his hips, “the gods really have favored us.”

“I knew that, Jeet,” she whispered, “our second night together.” She put her lips at his ear. “When I felt your body on mine, and I felt your erection… inside me.” She ran her hands over his back. “I felt your weight settle between my legs and your chest rest on my breasts…” She brushed her lips on his cheek. “The first time we were together like that, I knew.”

They kissed.

From the shadows behind the screening wall, Rem watched Jeet lift his hips, and he guessed that the older boy was sliding his cock up the Oracle’s vagina. Jeet’s hips settled down and the Oracle wrapped her legs around his waist. They smiled at each other and began to move together.

Rem took his cock between his thumb and two fingers and began to stroke.

+ + + + +

Jarus, Eustace, and Stycus called on the Oracle just as the long, ceremonial horns of the temple began sounding the call to the Oracle’s audience. The high priests had come to help the young eunuchs glean through the gifts brought to the Oracle that morning to select the best.

“Good morning, Oracle… Abij-hah,” Jarus said in greeting.

The eunuchs were all in the Oracle’s chamber, dressing her and adjusting their own adornment.

“Good morning, holy one,” they answered.

“Holy one,” Jeet said, pulling Jarus closer to the Oracle and himself. “I had a dream,” he said. “You know… a dream.”

Jarus nodded. “Tell me about it.”

Jeet lowered his voice to a whisper. “I noticed a wealthy looking youth in the crowd yesterday, and last night I dreamed that he came before the Oracle. He knelt on the steps of the shrine and opened his hands. A gold coin rolled from them onto the steps of the portico and became a mound of gold that grew until it ran down the steps and onto the courtyard.”

“What do you think it means?” Jarus asked.

Jeet shrugged. “I don’t know, but I wonder if he will be here today.”

A much smaller crowd than the one the day before had gathered in front of the shrine. It was nevertheless a large crowd for an audience of the Oracle, extending almost to the tall altar. Though no important dignitaries had yet traveled to Kaleh to supplicate, the crowd was curious as to who would be the first true supplicant of the Oracle, and the nature of his request.

Jeet did not see him at first as he, Jarus, and the other young eunuchs worked their way through the assembled supplicants gathered at the front of the crowd. Each had brought an offering of money, animals, oils, or jewels.

Jarus took his time explaining relative values and how to spot genuine value. “It will take a while,” he assured them, “before you can compare a gold ring to a vial of scented oil to a silver cup and know which is most valuable.”

And then Jeet saw him, and tugged Jarus’ sleeve. “That’s him, holy one,” he said, nodding toward the young man who stood, only a few people away. He wore thoroughly Greek garments. His head and curly hair were uncovered.

“I recognize him,” Jarus said. “He is Amnon, an athlete like Cyndur.”

Jeet stole glances at the youth as they got closer. The youth’s eyes were steadily on Jeet. Finally, they reached his place among the supplicants.

“Good morning, Amnon,” Jarus said. “Do you come to see the Oracle?”

Amnon bowed. “Yes, holy one.”

“Do you bring a gift?”

“Yes, holy one,” he said, pulling a purse from under his garments. “I bring fifty silver drachmas.”

There were gasps from people around them.

Jarus’ eyebrows rose. “What is your request of the Oracle?” he asked.

“I will tell the Oracle, if you bring me before her.”

Jarus nodded. “Come to the front of the line, Amnon. There is no more valuable gift this morning.”

“He’s out there,” Jeet told the Oracle. “He hasn’t told us what he will ask of you, but he has brought fifty silver drachmas.”

“You dreamed he would bring one gold coin,” the Oracle pointed out.

“I dreamed that the one coin would grow to a mound of gold. I think it is a good portent Oracle, but I don’t know for sure. Remember, whatever he asks, you can take at least a day to answer him.”

At the sounding of the rams’ horns, the Oracle and her attendants came out onto the portico. Jeet stepped forward. “The Oracle has come forth; the Oracle will listen,” he called out, and the young man came up the steps.

The Oracle was kindly disposed to Amnon the moment she saw him. He was taller and more slender than Cyndur, but recognizably an athlete, nonetheless. He walked with an athlete’s grace. His arms and legs were long and muscled, as was his neck. It was evident that under his tunic he had a good body. But it was his face that the Oracle liked. Slightly long and thin, it was nevertheless an intelligent, honest face.

The young man knelt.

“This is Amnon, Oracle,” Jeet said. “He has brought you a gift.”

Amnon pulled the pouch of silver drachmas from within his clothing and opened it on the step.

“A very fine gift,” Jeet said. “What would you ask of the Oracle?”

Amnon bowed his head. “Oracle, the whole city is aware that the gods have favored you, both in body and in mind. It is said you are wise, though young. They say that you are a true Oracle, foretelling the future, and blessing those whom you wish to bless. It is said that you are also kind, and I throw myself on your kindness this morning.”

The Oracle shifted in her seat, and then spoke to Jeet.

Jeet straightened up. “The Oracle says, ‘Any kindness I have, I gladly extend to you, Amnon.’”

“Then Oracle,” Amnon said, his head still bowed, “hear my request.” He took a deep breath and gazed into the eyes he saw behind the mask. “The blessings of the gods are on your attendants as well. We know that. They too have been favored with grace and beauty and kind hearts. There is about all of you, the favor of the gods.”

“Among the athletes in this city is the young man Cyndur. You know him. He sleeps with Tazaar of the Oracle’s eunuchs. Since their first night together, Cyndur has run like the wind. He is now fastest in the city, and everyone agrees that it is because the grace of the Oracle is on him.”

“Now hear my request with favor, Oracle, and extend your blessing to me as well. In five days there will be the Second Planting Celebration to Cybele. Three days after that, we meet with athletes from five other cities for The Governor’s Spring Games. Oracle, grant that from the night of the celebration to Cybele until the day of the games, I may sleep with one of your eunuchs so that I too may have the blessing of the gods. Grant that I may sleep with the Abij-hah.”

After he spoke, all around the Oracle were absolutely silent.

“No,” the Oracle said without using Jeet to speak for her. “Jeet is my consort.”

Jarus rushed forward, cautioning, “Oracle!”

But Amnon continued. “What surer way to share the blessing of the Oracle than to share the favor of the Abij-hah, the most blessed of her eunuchs. I wish to win the games, Oracle. I need the gods’ blessings, and I know for a certainty that I will be blessed if I lay with the Abij-hah for three nights before the games.” He glanced at Jeet.

Jeet looked as though he had been punched in the stomach, and even so, he was beautiful. Amnon had desired him from the moment he first saw him on the morning the Oracle arrived. When everyone said that Cyndur ran well because of sleeping with one of the Oracle’s eunuchs, Amnon formed his own plan to do so, and his plan was based on his desire for the boy, Jeet.

Jarus stepped between the Oracle and Amnon. “Let the Oracle weigh her decision, Amnon,” the priest encouraged. “Let her seek guidance from the gods, and you wait patiently for her answer.”

Amnon bowed once more, rose to his feet, glanced at Jeet, and then turned and walked back down the steps.

Jarus turned to the Oracle, unaware that she was glaring at him from behind her mask. He extended a hand to help her rise, but she rejected it and rose on her own, storming back into the shrine.

Inside, she ripped off her mask and tossed it angrily toward Aruli. “I’m not going to do it Jarus!” she warned.

Aruli fumbled with, but managed to catch, the mask before it could be damaged by a fall to the stone floor.

“The Abij-hah is not one of your common temple prostitutes,” the Oracle said, motioning for Jeet to come to her side. He complied.

“No, Oracle,” Jarus agreed. “There is nothing common about Jeet.”

“He is my consort,” she repeated.

“But not your wife, Oracle. He is not a woman who is not to be shared.”

She glared at him. “You knew something like this would happen. You probably wanted it to happen!”

Jarus bowed. “We knew something like this could happen. It has happened in the past, though rarely,” he said. He gazed steadily into her eyes. “Oracle, why do you think we surrounded you with such beautiful boys to begin with? For your own pleasure? No, we scoured this whole corner of the empire to find remarkable boys to make this shrine and your reign as Oracle the richest and most famous in history. And yes, we knew that many would want to sleep with the boys – this is after all, a temple of Cybele.”

The Oracle started to speak, but Jarus held up a forestalling hand. “This will not happen often, and we are not going let anyone sleep with your attendants cheaply. Frankly, I am surprised that this request came with your first audience, and that the price has now been set extraordinarily high by this first offer.”

“A high price for whom, holy one?” the Oracle asked with a glare. “That youth out there, or me and the Abij-hah?”

Jarus shook his head. “You know what I mean Oracle. Listen to me. I am trying to say that if the price of sleeping with the Abij-hah is fifty silver drachmas, men will hardly be lining up to do so.”

The Oracle turned to Jeet, scowling. “Why have you said nothing?”

“Because he is a slave, Oracle,” Jarus said. “He has served in the beds of men and boys since he was little. Yours is simply the latest bed.”

“That’s not true,” Jeet flashed, finally speaking. “I love the Oracle!” He turned to her and took her hand. “I love Anda,” he said softly.

She turned from Jeet to Jarus with a fierce look. “If he is a slave, he is my slave,” the Oracle said. “He is the Abij-hah, and he sleeps at the foot of my bed. He will not do this,” she said.

Jeet didn’t say he wouldn’t,” Jarus pointed out.

“He is not a prostitute,” the Oracle repeated.

“And he is not a wife, Oracle. He has been trained for this, and believe me, he’s damn good at it.” Jarus’ eyes narrowed dangerously. “Don’t cross us on this, Oracle. Requests like Amnon’s are a big reason for Jeet and these other boys to even be here.”

Then Jarus’ look softened and he lowered his voice. “Oracle, you have this city in the palm of your hand. I have never seen anything like the response to you and to these boys. You could not rise higher in the eyes of the people, but you could fall lower. Amnon is well-liked in Kaleh, and his father is powerful. If you grant his request, you will gain at least one more valuable ally. If you refuse him, he and others in the city could become enemies.”

“And what if Amnon doesn’t run well in the games, Jarus?” the Oracle asked defiantly. “He thinks Cyndur is doing well because of Tazaar. What if this Amnon pays fifty silver drachmas and falls down on his face in the race? What will people think of me then?”

“Amnon will do well,” Jarus said confidently, “but even if he does not, people will come up with a myriad of reasons for his failure without losing faith in you; especially after what happened at the governor’s palace. And what if you refuse his request and he fails? What will this city think of you then?”

“Besides,” Jarus said, with a smile toward Jeet, “I’m willing to bet that Amnon is as interested in bedding Jeet as he is in winning the games. And I’m also willing to bet that Jeet will enjoy it. Amnon is a splendid youth.”

“Oracle,” Jarus said, trying to sound consolatory as he took one more step closer, “Jeet and these boys aren’t mere slaves; I know that. I also know how you have all grown close to each other. But none of us are our own people. We serve. I serve the temple. You serve the shrine. We must do what is expected of us. We must do what is best for every one. We are privileged to do so, Oracle. And it is a good life we lead.”

The Oracle turned to Jeet. The boy was chewing his lip and looking down at the ground, obviously thinking. She took his hand and led him apart from the others. She kissed the back of his fingers and looked into his eyes.

“I serve you, Oracle,” Jeet said simply. “And I love you with all my heart. But I also promised to do whatever it took to keep us together.”

“I can tell him ‘no’, Jeet. You aren’t a whore.”

Jeet looked down at the ground and shrugged. “I have had little control over what people require me to do, Oracle.” He glanced at her sadly. “I can only control my heart.” His voice dropped to a whisper. “I love you.”

“Why do you not say to tell Jarus ‘no’ then?” she asked. “Are you afraid of the priests? Are you thinking about the dream you had? A lot of silver or gold is not necessarily a good thing, Jeet,” the Oracle pointed out.

“Nor is turning down Amnon,” Jarus called out, obviously listening in. “Jeet’s dream last night could be a promise of more than silver or gold.”

The Oracle searched Jeet’s face. A tear ran down from her right eye.

“Oracle,” Jarus said softly, but firmly. “You can be Oracle and make the decision yourself, or we will make the decision for you.”

The Oracle wheeled on him, her face flaring in anger. “And how will you do that Jarus? You cannot force me.”

“Anda,” Jeet said softly. “I fear that it will not go well for any of us if you refuse Amnon.”

The Oracle turned back to him, her mouth twisting. Tears flooded her eyes. “You want to have sex with him, don’t you?” she accused.

Jeet started to protest, but the Oracle turned from him and ran for her chamber.

He followed.

“Go away, Jeet,” she told him when he followed her in.

She threw herself on the bed, and he lay down beside her. She faced away. Tears streamed down her face. “I told you to go away. You want to be a slave? Well I am the Oracle, slave. Go away.”

Reluctantly, Jeet got up. He was a slave, and had been trained to obey. “Oracle,” he said, pausing at the door. “I understand your anger, but we all agreed to do whatever we needed to for us to stay together. The things Jarus said about you and the city are true, and there is danger with the priests if we do not go along with this.”

“You do not need to do this,” she said angrily. “You just want to have sex with that… that Amnon.”

Jeet started to protest that she was wrong, but held his tongue, because down inside, he knew he would enjoy sex with Amnon. He turned and left. Whatever decision she had to make, he would keep his heart faithful to her. Somehow, he would show her that.

Rem was waiting outside the door. He reached up to give Jeet’s back an encouraging pat. Distractedly, Jeet gave him a smile.

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