I wish to retain all rights to this story. However, I am delighted to grant permission to any person to publish this story as long as there is no charge to the reader and as long as no changes are made to the story.

Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter 16 – Scars

Hector Demathor
General of the Seleucid Army
Governor of Phrygia by Appointment of Antiochus the Great

To our esteemed and beloved Great King and Emperor, Seleucus Philopator

O King,

Knowing of your interest in all events, great and small, which take place in your vast empire, I have decided to apprise you of a recent happening here in Kaleh on the Euphrates. Though not a great matter, I thought it best to keep you informed.

After the death of the last Oracle of Kaleh, who dwelt in the temple of Cybele, a diligent search was made for a new Oracle. A young, Greek girl of thirteen, a hermaphrodite, as is the tradition for the Oracle, was selected from the family of one of your own administrators. According to the custom of the temple, six boys of her age were purchased, and after they were neutered, they were given to her for her personal attendants.

These boys were chosen from across the entire province of Phrygia. They were selected for surpassing beauty and intelligence. In the empire, few compare with them, and of the six, none can compare with the boy, Jeet. With his long hair and godlike beauty, half the city considers the boy to be Attis reborn. None were surprised when the young Oracle chose him from her six to be her Abij-hah, that is, her steward, advisor, and chief servant.

The goddess has smiled on this new Oracle. In the weeks since she was elevated to her position, she has amazed the local population with the wisdom of her counsel and with evidences of her second sight.

But it is the young eunuch, Jeet, who is favorite among the people. Though his beauty is remarkable and the people adore him, he has a humble spirit. Daily, he sits on the portico of the temple shrine in a simple breechcloth, and people from the city bring their children to him, and he blesses them. Many believe that he has the favor of the gods, and that he passes that favor on to the children.

However among the high priests, there is one who has watched Jeet with jealousy and lust from the beginning. Two days ago, he lured the boy to his chambers, and there, with the help of a wicked captain of the guard, he attacked the young Abij-hah. The boy was brutally beaten, but managed to escape. In the struggle, the captain of the guard was killed and the priest was injured.

In the escape, a number of people at the temple saw that the Abij-hah had been badly beaten, and in a short time the entire city was aroused. A mob stormed the temple. With guards, I rushed to the site and arrived as the mob was about to tear apart the most high priest, a man named Jarus. The crowd did not care that he was not the priest who attacked the boy. They had dragged him outside the temple gates, stripped him of his clothes, and they were about to stone him. I rescued the priest and ordered the crowd to go home. I pointed out to them that the Abij-hah overpowered two men who were twice his size, and that demonstrated that the gods protected the boy. I told them that neither the gods nor the Abij-hah needed their help.

Fortunately for the priest, few in that crowd had actually seen the Abij-hah after the beating. If they had, I would have not been able to stop them.

The wounded priest who attacked the boy demanded that the boy be punished. Today, I sat in judgment at the temple and carefully examined the matter. After thoroughly reviewing all the facts, two things were clear. First, the boy belongs to the Oracle. He is her property, and not the priests’ to do with as they desire. Secondly, it is the boy’s duty as the Abij-hah to protect all that belongs to the Oracle, and he, himself, is her most prized possession. By resisting and escaping, he was performing what was expected of him.

I rebuked the priest and ordered that his litter be carried back to the temple, where I have restricted him from now on for his own safety.

I am pleased to report to you, Oh Great King, that the people have calmed and the situation has been dealt with. By quick action, Kaleh is quiet, and all of Phrygia lies peacefully under your reign.

And now I will report to you on other matters, beginning with Spring tax collections…


Hector, to my cousins and dear friends Zephenes and Agamemnon

I have written today to the King about matters that have transpired in Kaleh over the last three days. Though not of great significance to the king, I felt it wise to report to him because a local priest who was injured, a scoundrel, claims to have friends at the capital who may wish to speak ill of me to the King. With this letter to you, is a transcribed copy of my report to the King so that you may be fully informed. My dear friends, who have protected my interests so many times, I count on you once more.

As always, my family and I yearn to see you again…

The Oracle stood over the two naked boys, gazing down at them in the lamplight. A silent flash of lightning briefly illuminated their bodies in a grey light. Rem, as he had for much of the previous four days, was sleeping in Jeet’s arms, nestled against the older boy’s chest. The two lay on a new pallet of fine cotton that Amnon brought Jeet when he heard of Jeet’s injuries.

To the Oracle’s eye, Rem was healing faster than Jeet. As lightning flashed once more, she turned her gaze to Jeet’s face. She looked closely and decided that his swelling might be subsiding, but there remained deep purple bruises over much of his upper body which were clearly visible, even in the lamplight. Jeet’s cuts had scabbed over, and she now knelt beside him to look at the one on his hip more closely.

Two successive lightning flashes lit the room. Anda listened for thunder, but the storm was still distant.

She knew it was selfish, but Anda wanted Jeet, and she wondered if he would be up to having sex yet. None of the eunuchs had been to her bed since Jeet had been attacked. She didn’t want any of the others. She wanted Jeet. While her heart ached for him – for the wounds to his body and his soul – her body yearned for its mate.

She touched the scabbed cut lightly and looked up at his face. Neither boy had said much since the attack. Even when Jeet was brought before the governor, walking stiffly like a very old man, he only answered direct questions.

But there was strength in him. Ono said that Jeet would heal. “It just takes time,” Ono told her. She glanced at Rem. They were all a lot less sure of Rem’s strength. Since the attack, Rem was only a shell of a boy.

Jeet’s former master, Praxis, had brought a special tea for healing, and the boys sipped it, but neither boy ate much. Ono did say that he was worried about that. Then, just earlier that night, they ate well. It was after the Oracle and the other eunuchs bathed the two boys. They had combed out Jeet’s and Rem’s hair and tended their wounds. The governor had sent partridges and one of his own cooks to prepare them. Jeet ate, and helped Rem to eat.

The Oracle lifted her finger from the scabbed cut and bent over to kiss an unbruised spot on Jeet’s shoulder. His head turned and he opened his eyes to her.

It was selfish. It was incredibly selfish, she knew. But she missed him so badly. “Husband,” she whispered. “Please come to my bed tonight. I miss you.”

Jeet glanced back down at Rem, whose eyes opened. Jeet gave the younger boy’s cheek a light kiss with his bruised lips, then pulled his arm from behind Rem’s head and sat up. Quietly, he stood to his feet, and she pulled his arm over her shoulder to help him to her bed. There, she laid him down, and removing her gown, she lay down beside him. Carefully, she moved up against him, pressing her rigid phallus gently to the side of his un-cut hip. She kissed his shoulder once more and laid her palm on his chest to feel him breathing.

They lay quietly a moment, and then Jeet turned his head toward her. In the dim light, their eyes were inches apart. His eyes moved back and forth between hers, and his brow furrowed. “I didn’t have a dream,” he finally said.


“I didn’t have a dream,” he repeated. “I didn’t dream about what was going to happen to Rem and me.”

The Oracle ran a fingertip thoughtfully over the very soft areola of Jeet’s left nipple. “Have you always had dreams about what was going to happen?” she asked.

His eyes focused somewhere infinitely beyond hers, and he gave a slight shake of his head. “No,” he whispered. He rolled his head back and gazed up at the ceiling. “Something as important as this… I should have had a dream.”

“Your god still protected you,” she observed, quietly.

Jeet swallowed, his eyes still fixed on the ceiling, and a shudder ran through his body.

Anda cocked a leg over his and gently, but firmly, clutched him to herself.

His shoulder was wedged between their bodies; his arm between her breasts. He pulled his arm free and laid it on the soft skin of her hip. “I had to kill Menditis, Anda,” he murmured, and then he shuddered again. “I don’t think…” he stared up, as if past the ceiling. “I’m not a killer,” he whispered. “It’s not in me.”

“Your family were warriors,” Anda reminded him as she lightly stroked his chest.

“I can fight,” he said, nodding. “But to kill a man…” He rolled his head toward her, meeting her eyes. “It changes everything.”

Anda returned his gaze and shook her head slightly. “It changes nothing,” she said. “Nothing has changed in my heart for you. Nothing has changed the love the others have for you.”

With a sigh, Jeet looked back up to the ceiling. “It changes how I feel about myself,” he said.

Anda gazed on the profile of the boy she loved, and she ached to heal him. Yet all she knew was her own need and the gut feeling that joining their bodies might strengthen his spirit.

She slid her hand down his belly and leaned forward to gently kiss his chest. Her hand found his flaccid cock, and she fondled him, lovingly, tenderly, but with purpose.

“Oracle,” he whispered, “I don’t know if I can…”

“Shush,” she whispered, and kissed his nipple. She touched him in places and ways he liked, and his cock thickened in her hand. She tongued the areola of his nipple, and then sucked gently. She moved from there to kiss inside his neck while fondling between his legs.

His cock grew hard.

She backed down his slender body, and bending over, she gently skinned back his long shaft and closed her mouth over his crown. His crown was warm. She probed its tiny slit, hoping for the first taste of precum; it held one of Jeet’s unique flavors and its familiarity always comforted and excited her. She closed her eyes and slowly caressed his glans with her tongue. The skin was smooth, very smooth.

Jeet tensed. Anda softly stroked inside his thigh with her palm. She extended her tongue down the underside of his shaft, following it down and taking him into her throat as far as she could. She bobbed only a few times; enough to thoroughly excite them both, and coat him with her saliva and the start of his precum. With the wetness she already felt between her legs, it would be enough.

With great care, she knelt up on one knee beside his hip and extended her leg to the side, across his middle, so that she could angle his cock up into her opening. She closed her eyes in concentration as she held his cock, high up the shaft, and pressed the crown into the bottom of her slit. She held her breath as she lowered herself and felt his crown enter her. She carefully adjusted, going onto the second knee, as Jeet’s length slid into her. Gingerly, she settled astride his middle; Jeet’s shaft mostly inside her.

Jeet, excited, but still sore, grabbed the sides of her thighs to keep her moving slowly, and sucked in his belly to keep his pubic mound high.

Anda’s mouth hung open in concentration and her eyes were on his dimly lit belly as she sat down very slowly. She grasped her phallus and slowly rose and settled, several times. She bit her lip, settling her weight all the way down, wanting his full length up inside.

Jeet’s breath caught.

She paused, lifting her eyes to his face. His eyes were closed – tense with pain as well as pleasure. With the greatest of care, she leaned forward and extended her legs out on either side of his. She lay down on him; her erection pressing his belly.

He whimpered and grasped her hipbones, planting his elbows on the bed to partly suspend her weight. He pulled up his knees, easing the stretch of his belly and cradling her bottom. She closed her fingers over the corners of his shoulders. Her lips barely touched his cheek.

Anda moved – not large moves, but small, gently repetitive ones. He started to move with her; tentatively, then more relaxed. The first peal of thunder rattled the room.

They held each other and began to rock as Jeet’s pleasure and growing excitement dimmed the discomfort of their movements. There was more thunder. Rem came to their bed, on his side with his back to them. There was another peal of thunder and he backed up against them.

A rush of wind came in from the balcony with the lift that comes from an approaching storm. Anda tried to be careful, but it felt so good, not only physically. It felt so good to be belly to belly with him, bare skin on bare skin with the boy she had come to love so very, very much.

His cock felt so long inside her, so wonderfully long and filling. His hands kneaded her bottom and he was responding to her. She whimpered, happily at a sudden hard thrust from his pelvis. She kissed over his battered face, tenderly, lovingly, happily. Her breath came more rapidly and the kisses slower as her head hung, eyes closed, over his. The lips of their open mouths barely touching, rushes of their warm breath mixed, and the Oracle’s eyes closed more tightly.

She rocked as gently as she could through two orgasms. Jeet climaxed with her at the end of the second. And then they lay still, Jeet still inside her. His knees were still up, not stretching his stomach, the tops of his thighs against the backs of hers and against her bottom. He stroked her back and softly pressed the side of his face to the side of hers. “Anda,” he whispered, but then his voice caught.

She felt dampness against her cheek as Jeet wrapped his arms around her shoulders and squeezed her tightly.

Thunder rumbled down from the hills. The Oracle felt Jeet’s body shake under hers, and she knew he was crying. Her eyes filled with tears as well, and she gently kissed his cheek.

+ + + + +

Solid, heavy rain lasted two days and nights. The river rose steadily until it washed across the temple courtyard and lapped at the steps of the shrine and temple. The foundations held, even of the bathhouses and river colonnades. Downstream though, docks, fishing boats, and several homes on the river washed away.

A lion was spotted on the road to Varashed and a bear was seen in the hills above the city. People told each other that Cybele was angry that the Abij-hah had been attacked. Because of the storms, some said that Jeet must be a favorite of Zeus himself, and that the high priests should have all been killed to appease the gods.

Inside the shrine, as the waters approached the steps of the shrine, the young eunuchs and shrine servants dismantled the booths in the shrine hall and carried everything to second story storerooms. They moved the eunuchs’ pallets and possessions from the first floor to the Oracle’s chambers where they would all sleep together.

They coaxed Jeet into playing his harp, and they sang, danced, and entertained one another as it rained less and less outside, and over three days, the water began to subside. They tended to Jeet and Rem, massaging their limbs and backs, combing and braiding their hair, and tending to their wounds, and their wounded spirits.

Rem slept at night with Jeet and the Oracle. But early in the morning on the day after their second night of sleeping upstairs, Bantu slipped into bed beside Rem and tried to pull him into his arms.

Rem did not resist, but his body was stiff and unresponsive. Bantu quietly kissed and caressed the boy. He rolled Rem to his back, and kissed down the boy’s body, sweeping his palms lovingly over the smaller boy’s body. He took Rem’s slender cock into his mouth and sucked gently, but persistently until the boy’s shaft grew rigid and his hips responded. Finally, Rem’s body shook silently with a dry orgasm. Then Bantu moved up alongside Rem and pulled the boy into his arms. This time the boy was less wooden, but still unresponsive.

“We all love you, Rem,” he whispered. “We want you to come back to us.”

He held Rem, and after a moment, the younger boy nuzzled into Bantu’s neck.

+ + + + +

Amnon entered the Oracle’s chambers with a frown. Though they had accepted the pallet he sent them, he had not been allowed to see Jeet since the ordeal with the priest. He bowed to the Oracle, and then he saw the boy, sitting inside the balcony as Rem brushed out the Abij-hah’s long, black hair. He walked toward the boys, and Jeet turned toward him, impassively. Amnon recoiled. “By the gods,” he murmured, and rushed to kneel beside Jeet.

“He’s much better now,” the Oracle said, coming up behind him. “The swelling is almost gone.”

Amnon gently cupped Jeet’s chin in his hand and looked over the boy’s face. Under each of Jeet’s eyes, dark purple angled down from his tear ducts. Shades of yellow, purple, and black marked places on his forehead and cheekbones where he had been struck.

Amnon’s jaw clenched and his nostrils flared. “I will kill the priest who did this,” he said. “I will flay him alive, and then I will kill him.”

His words were violent. Rem’s face remained impassive, but the boy’s fingers froze in Jeet’s hair. Jeet reached back and patted the side of Rem’s leg, comfortingly. Then he lifted his eyes to meet Amnon’s. “Don’t,” Jeet told the youth. “They would stop you or punish you for doing it. Stycus won’t be bothering anyone any more.”

Jeet got up and moved behind Rem. “It’s alright,” he whispered soothingly as he knelt behind the boy. He took the comb from Rem’s hand and began combing the boy’s hair.

Rem glanced up at Amnon and then looked away.

Amnon’s scowl softened as he watched Jeet with the younger boy. “I would have come sooner, Jeet-hah,” Amnon said quietly. “But that fool of a guard wouldn’t let anyone in here the first day or two, and then the rains came.”

Jeet nodded. “I know. Rufus told me that you had come. Thank you for the new pallet you left.”

Amnon moved around beside Jeet and laid a large hand on Jeet’s angular shoulder. “Did Rufus tell you that people came from all over the city and laid flowers for you on the portico steps?” Amnon asked.

Jeet nodded. “He told me.”

“Will you be alright, Jeet-hah?” the young athlete asked quietly.

Jeet nodded. “We will both be alright, won’t we, Rem?”

Rem said nothing; it was as though he didn’t hear the question.

Amnon looked from the younger boy back to Jeet. He dropped his hand from the Abij-hah’s shoulder and sat back on his haunches. “I met her, Jeet. I’ve met the girl with long brown hair.”

Jeet turned to him, for a moment not comprehending. But then he nodded. “The one you are going to marry?”

Amnon nodded, and glanced at the Oracle who was watching them. “Yes,” Amnon answered, for her to hear as well. “I have met the girl who the Oracle foresaw I will marry.”

+ + + + +

Praxis bowed before Jeet, just inside the shrine hall. “Did they give you the healing teas and special poultice I brought after… after what the priests did to you?”

Jeet nodded. “Yes. Thank you.”

Praxis’ eyes roamed over the boy’s face, and he shook his head slightly. “Are these men mad?” he asked out loud. “They must be mad to do something like this.”

Jeet frowned impatiently. The sympathy of others was beginning to wear on him. “Stycus is evil, not mad.”

Praxis nodded. “But he met a warrior.” He tried to smile.

Jeet frowned, and glanced back over his shoulder.

“They did not break you, Jeet-hah,” Praxis said, laying a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “They beat you but they did not break you. Don’t ever let anyone do that.”

Jeet turned back to him. Praxis had never done things like Stycus. He wasn’t evil the way Stycus was evil. Jeet nodded, gratefully. “Thank you for the tea and the poultice.”

+ + + + +

Rufus entered the room and set the puppy down on the floor. Jeet, who was talking to the Oracle, realized what he was doing, too late to stop him. He was afraid that seeing a dog would remind Rem of Stycus’ dog.

Rem was the only one sitting on the floor, and the puppy made straight for him. It was a large puppy, with a pale golden coat of thick, soft fur. It had pointed ears, big paws, bright eyes, and it ran with a bounce. Before Jeet could react, the puppy was already into Rem’s lap; and with his paws on the boy’s legs, he was licking Rem’s face.

Rem fell backward, and the puppy went with him, still licking.

Jeet moved quickly toward them with an angry glance at Rufus. “Stycus had a dog!” He said, sharply.

“Ahh!” Rem cried out, just as Jeet reached him. But before Jeet could bend to push the dog away, he heard Rem chuckle, and he stopped. Rufus and the Oracle came up beside them.

Eyes tightly closed, Rem turned his face right and left, but the dog kept licking, and Rem laughed. Jeet, the Oracle, and Rufus exchanged glances, and then Rufus pulled Jeet and the Oracle away.

“The dog is to be a taste-tester for you,” Rufus explained. “Before any of you eat from your table, pour out a small amount of your drink for the dog to lick from the floor. Then give him a portion of each dish before you eat from it. Do not eat anything until the dog has tasted it for you.”

The three of them glanced back at Rem. He had managed to sit up and the puppy was again in his lap, but no longer licking. His bright eyes were on Rem’s and his tongue hung out slightly as he panted happily.

Rem smiled. But then, as they were watching, the boy’s smile twisted. His eyes whelmed with tears, and the tears rolled down his cheeks. Jeet took a step toward the boy, but Rufus grabbed his arm. They watched as Rem hugged the puppy to his chest. And then he began to sob.

The Oracle glanced at Jeet and smiled, her eyes damp. She moved into Jeet’s arms, and he pulled her to himself.

Rufus patted Jeet on the back. “He will be a good dog, Abij-hah,” the guard said. “He comes from the governor’s best bitch.”

Jeet glanced over at Rem, who rocked as he held the puppy. “I don’t care where he came from,” Jeet whispered. “Thank you!”

Rufus smiled, and bowed his way out.

+ + + + +

It was two full weeks after the flood before the temple courtyard and bathhouses were cleaned and repaired. It was another week after that before the Oracle held her first audience.

The night before that first audience – when Jeet and the Oracle were embracing and Jeet rolled up onto the Oracle, but before he entered her – Rem left the puppy sleeping on the new cotton pallet and came to them. He slipped into the Oracle’s bed beside them and laid his hand on Jeet’s back.

Jeet turned to Rem. Their eyes met, and Rem slid his hand down to Jeet’s bottom. Jeet moved over. Rem moved up beside him, each of them resting an erection inside one of the Oracle’s hipbones. She wrapped an arm behind each of them, and the three kissed.

Rem’s hands joined theirs; caressing, exploring. Then Jeet knelt up beside them and took Rem by the hips to position the boy between the Oracle’s legs. Reaching under he took Rem’s long, thin cock into his fingers and guided it to the Oracle’s entrance. He got it in place and then patted the boy’s butt for Rem to ease in.

Jeet watched as the Oracle wrapped her arms around Rem, and Rem wrapped his arms around her. The two pressed their cheeks together and began thrusting their pelvises together, slowly at first, but quickly, faster. Jeet reached for a vial of oil and poured some onto his fingers while watching the copulating thirteen and ten-year-old. Keeping his eyes on Rem for a reaction, he spread oil with his fingers into the crevice between the younger boy’s little buttocks.

Rem turned his face toward Jeet, but did not stop pumping his hips. Their eyes met, and Jeet rubbed a fingertip gently over Rem’s sphincter. Rem’s eyes never left Jeet’s, and he kept moving. With a small smile, Jeet got up. Oiling his cock he knelt with his knees outside Rem’s legs. He aimed his cock down into Rem’s small crack, and when Rem paused in his thrusting, Jeet eased in.

When his loins flattened against the small globes of Rem’s butt, Jeet lowered his belly and chest to the boy’s back, supporting himself partly on his hands and knees. He kissed the side of Rem’s face and held himself still over both Rem and the Oracle as the two of them started to move again. He caught their rhythm and joined them. The three of them moved together, grinding, intimately.

Using his hands and knees, Jeet kept most of his weight in the middle, against Rem’s small butt; pressing Rem’s loins between him in the Oracle. He pressed in, driving Rem into the Oracle, and Rem’s pubic bone against the underside of the Oracle’s erection. They came, almost together, first Anda, then Rem, then Jeet; the three of them, gasping, whimpering, and moaning.

Rem slept between them that night, and he slept well, completely unaware when the puppy came to curl up against his feet.

+ + + + +

Frowning at the incessant racket of a songbird near his window, Stycus shifted to find a more comfortable position on his couch. He moaned, and glanced angrily at the scribe. “Read the last part back to me,” he ordered.

The scribe, sitting cross-legged on the floor, carefully reviewed what he had written. Stycus may have been castrated, but he was still a high priest and a stickler for accurate transcription. “Finally, my dear Atreus,” the scribe read back, “if the king’s brother seems uninclined to relieve my captivity, then tell him that a boy of remarkable beauty lives here at the temple in Kaleh. Tell him the boy has a beauty like that of a child of the gods. I know of his tastes. That will interest him. Tell him the boy is worth the journey here. Tell him the boy is worshipped as Attis reborn, and that he has the long, flowing hair and sublime beauty of the boy god himself. And tell him, dear Atreus, that the boy is of tender age.”

+ + + + +

“What did you call him?” Jeet stopped to ask in surprise. He turned back to Rem and the puppy, both of whom were following Jeet and the Oracle to the bathhouse.

“Hector,” Rem said, stopping short. “I called him Hector because he’s going to grow up strong and brave.”

Jeet grinned. “Don’t ever call him that in front of the governor. That’s the governor’s name.”

“Oh,” Rem said, softly.

“Come on, Rem. Come on Governor,” Jeet said with a laugh as he took the Oracle’s hand and they turned once more toward the bathhouse.

Rem glanced down at the puppy. “I like that better,” he said. “I’ll call you Governor.”


In the first week of her return to audiences after the rains, the Oracle held audiences three times, and Jeet had his first ‘dream’ since the attack.

In the second week, on the third day of the week, a well-dressed, robust man in his early thirties climbed the steps to the shrine portico, and kneeling, set a bag of a seventy silver drachmas at the Oracle’s feet.

“What do you wish of the Oracle?” the Abij-hah asked.

“I ask for my son,” the man said, waving a twelve-year-old boy forward. Many had noticed the boy earlier because he had red hair, like Bantu’s, and must have had Thracian blood. As the boy came up the steps, they could see that, by Phrygian standards, the boy was slightly chunky.

“Everyone knows what happens when athletes sleep with your eunuchs,” the man said. He gestured toward his son. “Menelaus is good wrestler. He wants to be the best boy wrestler in the city. I ask that Menelaus be allowed to sleep with Tazaar.”

+ + + + +

“He’s only twelve years old,” Cyndur protested. “And he’s lazy. Menelaus is strong for his age, but he’s lazy. And I don’t like the idea of the little turd fucking Tazaar.”

“Oracle,” one of the Nubian servants announced, coming into her chamber, “the Most High Priest is here to see you.”

“Send him in,” the Oracle instructed.

Jarus heard from outside the door and steeled himself. Being nearly torn apart by an angry mob had shaken him to the core. He kept close to the temple now, and this was his first time to venture to the shrine. It was his first time to face the Oracle and Jeet since the Governor’s hearing.

The boy had triumphed. Would he be difficult to deal with now? Jarus wondered. The Most High Priest entered the Oracle’s chambers.

The Oracle, her eunuchs, Rem, and Cyndur were at the Oracle’s evening table. All except Jeet and the Oracle had risen to their feet and bowed when Jarus entered. It was not a good sign, Jarus thought, that Jeet had not risen as well. Jarus inclined his head to the Oracle.

It was then that Jeet stood and bowed to the high priest. Jarus smiled. The boy had made a point, but still remembered his place.

“I hope the Abij-hah has returned to full health,” Jarus said.

“I am doing well, holy one,” Jeet replied. “I hope the Most High Priest is well.”

Jarus inclined his head again. “I am,” he said. “Do not interrupt your meal, Abij-hah.”

“Thank you,” Jeet replied, motioning for the others to return to their food as he also sat back down.

“I have come, Oracle,” Jarus said, stepping closer to the table, “to see if you have considered your response to the request of the boy and his father today.”

“We were just discussing it,” the Oracle said.

Jarus nodded. “I heard from outside the door.”

“Menelaus is lazy,” Cyndur repeated with a scowl. “His father was a great wrestler and expects the boy to be one, too. But he spoils him. Menelaus does not need to fuck a eunuch. He needs his butt kicked. Give him to me for a week and I’ll teach him how to wrestle!”

Jarus ignored him, keeping his eyes on the Oracle. “Have you considered, Oracle, that there are many boys and youths in this city with fathers who might pay to have their sons sleep with your eunuchs just as the older athletes did?”

The Oracle frowned. “I have told you, holy one. My eunuchs are not prostitutes.”

Jarus almost replied that was exactly what they were, but held his tongue. Jeet replied instead.

“They will not pay for that more than a time or two once they see there is no difference in their sons’ performances afterward,” Jeet said.

“Unless their horny sons continue to talk them into paying so they can fuck the Oracle’s eunuchs,” Cyndur countered.

Jeet turned to Cyndur, and grinned. “What if we gave Menelaus to you for that week you asked for? What if for a week, you didn’t let him be lazy, but what if you worked him hard instead? His father might actually see a difference in his abilities then.”

“What? And let him take my place in Tazaar’s bed for a week?” Cyndur asked angrily.

Jeet’s brow knitted as he considered. He glanced at Jarus. “What if we keep Menelaus for a week, and we work with him as Cyndur instructs us, and Menelaus only sleeps with Tazaar the last night of that week, and only if he has shown himself worthy?”

Jarus nodded, glancing at Cyndur, who exchanged frowns with Tazaar. Bantu laughed and slapped his thigh. Others grinned.

+ + + + +

“You will sleep here,” Rem told Menelaus, pointing to a pallet on the floor in a small room off the opposite side of the shrine hall from the eunuch’s quarters.

Menelaus looked around the empty, stone-walled room with a frown as he put down his shoulder bag. “I sleep alone? Where do you sleep?” Menelaus demanded, turning to Rem and the puppy at his feet.

“I sleep in the Oracle’s chamber,” Rem replied.

Menelaus’ frown grew deeper. “Will you be my servant while I’m here?”

Rem shook his head. “I serve the Oracle and the Abij-hah.”

“What is your name?” Menelaus asked, as he knelt and removed things from his bag.

“Rem,” Rem answered, stepping closer because he didn’t recognize some of the things in Menelaus’ hands. “Is that a sling?” he asked, pointing to leather cords attached to a leather pouch.

“Yeah,” Menelaus answered, holding it up for Rem to see.

Rem knelt beside the slightly older boy and took the sling in his hand. Governor came up beside him, tail wagging.

+ + + + +

“I don’t see why I need to learn to do a handspring,” Menelaus protested stubbornly.

They were in the open space behind the shrine, and Cyndur glanced skyward, shaking his head in frustration.

Jeet, who had been watching, stepped forward. “Wrestle me.”

“What?” Menelaus asked with a laugh.

“I said, wrestle me,” Jeet repeated.

“Wrestle a eunuch?” Menelaus asked with a lopsided grin. He was only slightly shorter than Jeet, and more solidly built.

“Wrestle the Abij-hah,” Jeet replied, removing his breechcloth. Though, as a eunuch, he would prefer to keep it on, Menelaus, who was already naked for his workout, would expect to wrestle that way.

The smile faded from Menelaus’ face as Jeet’s removal of his breechcloth drew Menelaus’ eyes to the long, red scars on the eunuch’s belly and hip. He recalled that the Abij-hah had defeated two grown men, killing one of them. “Why?” he asked. “Why should I wrestle you?”

“I will show you why being agile is important in wrestling,” Jeet told him. “I will show you why you want to learn to do handsprings.”

Menelaus backed away a step, surveying the slightly older boy’s lithe body. His eyes dropped to Jeet’s long cock. Damn, he thought to himself, he’s hung like a horse! Something about that added even more to the intimidation. “Alright,” Menelaus said. “I’ll learn to do handsprings.”

+ + + + +

Menelaus surveyed the food Rem set before him in his barren chamber that night, and looked up at the younger boy. “I thought you weren’t going to be my servant,” Menelaus said.

“I told the others that I would bring your food,” Rem said.

Menelaus returned his eyes to the tray Rem had placed on the floor. “There’s not much to eat here,” he protested.

“It’s what Cyndur told us to feed you,” Rem said.

Menelaus frowned. “Cyndur doesn’t like me. Did you see what he made me do this afternoon?”

Rem nodded. “I think you are lucky to have him teaching you,” he said.

“Lucky?” Menelaus asked in surprise. “He almost killed me!”

Rem frowned and backed toward the door. “They said to tell you that they are done in the bathhouse. You are to bathe before you sleep.”

“How do I get there?” Menelaus demanded, as he dangled a piece of boiled meat from his fingers and frowned. “How do I find the bathhouse?”

Rem paused at the door. “There is a way at the back of the shrine.”

“Will you show me?” Menelaus asked, taking a bite of the meat.

Rem glanced back over his shoulder as if he wanted to go back upstairs, but the puppy, Governor, stepped closer to Menelaus, interested in the meat.

“Oh no you don’t,” Menelaus said, pushing the puppy away. “If this is all I’m getting to eat, I’m not sharing a bite of it.”

Rem came back to the room and knelt to hold Governor back from the tray.

“Do you want me to show you how to use my sling?” Menelaus asked, before taking another bite of meat.

Rem nodded.

Rem sat on the top step, holding Governor, as he watched Menelaus bathe in the light of a single lamp.

“At home, I have a servant who bathes me,” Menelaus said.

Rem said nothing.

“Will you at least wash my back?”

Rem shook his head.

“I’ll bathe you if you bathe me,” Menelaus said.

Rem got to his feet and turned toward the door.

“Don’t leave,” Menelaus said, coming up from the water. “What’s the matter? Haven’t you ever bathed with anyone?”

He caught up with Rem and stopped him with a hand on the younger boy’s shoulder. Rem jerked away, but Menelaus stepped between him and the doorway. The older boy frowned. “I don’t understand. I’m not treating you like a servant. I’m treating you like a friend. I’ve bathed with friends. Why won’t you bathe with me?”

Rem tried to step around, but Menelaus caught him in his arms. “Do I have to wrestle you?” he asked with a grin. “We can wrestle, if you’d rather do that than bathe.” He reached down and grabbed the side of Rem’s loincloth. The younger boy tried to pull away, but Menelaus hung on with one arm and tugged away Rem’s loincloth before the younger boy was able to break away, naked.

Rem tried to step toward the door, but Menelaus stepped between him and the doorway again. Rem looked toward the doorway to the outside, but didn’t want to go out naked and have the world see he was now a eunuch. Defeated, he backed to a bench and sat on the floor in front of it, hugging his knees. Governor came to him, and Rem pulled the puppy up between his knees and his chest.

Menelaus came and knelt beside the younger boy, hands on his hips, studying the younger boy. He wondered if someone beat the boy, or fucked him a lot. Boy slaves who got fucked a lot seemed to grow either quiet or loud. Maybe Rem was fucked a lot. And then Menelaus remembered… he remembered the whole story he had heard about the Abij-hah being attacked… it was when he tried to rescue a younger boy. All the pieces fell in place in Menelaus’ mind.

“You’re the boy the high priests castrated,” he said. “You’re the boy the Abij-hah rescued.”

Looking away, Rem said nothing.

Menelaus sat down beside him so that the bare sides of their butts and flanks touched. “I’d like to hear about that sometime,” he said. “I’d like to hear about how the Abij-hah fought two men.”

Rem continued to look away. Quiet sounds of the water flowing through the bathhouse echoed from the roof. “I don’t remember much of it,” Rem finally said.

Menelaus leaned closer to pet the puppy and his side pressed Rem’s more firmly. “Tell me what you do remember,” he said.

+ + + + +

“I’m too tired to eat,” Menelaus protested when Rem brought him food the next evening. “I’m too tired to even lift my hand.”

Rem smiled. “I can stuff food into your mouth.”

“Will you also hold my cock when I piss, because I don’t think I can even do that? I may be too tired to piss at all.”

Rem laughed, and sat down across from Menelaus. Governor crawled into Rem’s lap.

“Cyndur is a monster,” Menelaus groused, picking up a piece of bread. “And Tazaar’s just as bad.” He took a bite and began to chew, then paused, and a smile suddenly spread across his face. “I brought something with me,” he said with a gleam in his eye, “something I can use to get them back. Will you help me?”

“How?” Rem asked suspiciously.

“With this,” Menelaus said, retrieving a small clay jar from his belongings. It was sealed with wax and tied shut with a piece of twine. “It’s made from a plant that grows down river. You mix just a little with oil and it makes it real hot for a massage. But if you just put it directly on skin, it burns – not really burns, of course – but feels really hot. You sprinkle a little on the inside of a guy’s breechcloth and let it dry, then a little while after he puts it on…” Menelaus grinned and winked. “All I need you to do is show me where Cyndur and Tazaar sleep at night.”

Rem’s brow furrowed and he shook his head. “Why do you want to hurt them?”

“No, no!” Menelaus said. “It won’t hurt them; not really. But it’s hilarious when it starts to get hot. You gotta see.”

“I don’t think Cyndur wears a breechcloth,” Rem said.

“He did today,” Menelaus said. “I saw it.”

It was late when Rem snuck back into Menelaus’ small room. The older boy was asleep. Rem shook his shoulder. “Do you still want to do it?”

Menelaus sat up, blinking his eyes in the light of the lamp Rem held. “Yeah.”

Rem led Menelaus the back way, avoiding guards, then held the lamp and held Governor back as Menelaus found the breechcloths he wanted. He smelled them first, and made a face for Rem, who suppressed a laugh.

Cyndur rolled from Tazaar’s arms and onto his back, and the two boys froze. But the young athlete’s breathing remained steady. In the lamplight, both boys paused to look over Cyndur’s splendidly muscled body. Then Menelaus pretended that he was about to sprinkle from the jar onto Cyndur’s thick cock, which lay limply on the youth’s leg.

Rem gasped and the two boys stifled giggles.

They held their laugher until they were back in Menelaus’ room where Menelaus fell onto his pallet, laughing. Rem set down the lamp and dropped onto the pallet to laugh as well. They rolled up facing each other. Their laughing eyes met.

Menelaus laid his hand on Rem’s shoulder. “Sleep with me tonight,” he said.

Their smiles faded away. Rem swallowed. Menelaus reached down between their bodies and under Rem’s loincloth. Finding the younger boy’s slender cock, he gathered it in his fingers. Then watching Rem’s eyes, he fondled it. Rem began to grow hard.

Menelaus had not bothered to dress before their adventure, and Rem had no trouble finding the older boy’s two year older and thicker cock with his hand. They fondled each other, and when they grew hard, they stroked.

Menelaus leaned forward and kissed Rem lightly on the lips. “We are friends,” he whispered. “May I fuck you?”

Rem nodded.

+ + + + +

The two boys were sleeping together when they heard howls from the other side of the shrine. “Oh, shit!” Menelaus exclaimed, sitting up. “We’re missing it!”

The two boys quickly got to their feet, Rem grabbing his loincloth, and they dashed out the door. By the time they reached the eunuchs’ quarters, the howls were coming from the back hall to the bathhouse. By the time they reached the bathhouse, Cyndur and Tazaar were waist deep in the water, rubbing between their legs and in their butt cracks and howling in pain, while the other eunuchs watched in concern.

Jeet and the Oracle ran up behind them. “What’s going on?” Jeet asked in concern.

“Some foul plot of Stycus’,” Aruli said, angrily. “Someone has poisoned the breechcloths of Cyndur and Tazaar.”

Menelaus laughed out loud before he could stifle it.

Everyone, except for Cyndur and Tazaar, and Rem who was watching them with regret and concern, turned to look at the boy. Menelaus shrugged, fighting a smirk. “They don’t look poisoned,” he said, and then, unable to hold it back, broke into laughter.

With a frown, Jeet looked from Menelaus to Rem. “I’m sorry,” Rem said in a small voice.

Menelaus collapsed onto his pallet that night, and Rem sagged to the floor beside the doorway. Cyndur leaned in. “Today was nothing,” he promised. “You’ll really enjoy tomorrow. You, too, Rem.”

He left and Menelaus looked at Rem accusingly. “And you said you thought I was lucky.”

+ + + + +

Menelaus followed Rem into the shrine hall after bathing and dressing to find that pallets had been set up in the middle of the floor. A few torches were lit, up on the walls. Cyndur, the Oracle, and her eunuchs stood around the pallets. The eunuchs, except for Tazaar, wore their silk breechcloths and full adornment of jewelry, armbands, and anklets. Tazaar, though, wore only a loincloth.

“It is the last night of your week here,” Jeet said to Menelaus. “Your father wished for you to sleep with Tazaar, but first you must show yourself worthy. You must defeat Tazaar at wrestling if you wish to sleep with him.”

Menelaus eyed Tazaar with a deep frown. “He’s twice my size,” Menelaus protested.

“He’s not much bigger than you are,” Cyndur replied.

“I’ll help Menelaus,” Rem said. “I’ll help him wrestle Tazaar.”

Jeet glanced at Tazaar. He had already coached Tazaar to let Menelaus win so that the father and the city people would be pleased. This would make it easier. “Alright,” agreed Jeet. “Rem can help.”

“And Rem can help me bed Tazaar afterward,” Menelaus added, flashing a quick grin at Rem.

With a cocked eyebrow and amused smile, Tazaar removed his loincloth. Menelaus disrobed and Rem removed his loincloth as well. The three stepped onto the pallets, but before they could square off, Menelaus grabbed Rem by the arm and pulled him close to whisper in his ear. The two then crouched, grinning. They sprung at Tazaar, Rem low and Menelaus high. In a matter of moments, Tazaar was on his back.

“Don’t worry, Cyndur,” Aruli said, rubbing a consoling hand on Cyndur’s back. “You can come to Jin’s and my bed tonight.”

Cyndur glanced at the dark-eyed boy and a small smile spread across his face.

+ + + + +

Rem and Governor walked with Menelaus to the shrine doors and stopped. Menelaus smiled. Rem smiled back sadly. The older boy gently grabbed the back of Rem’s neck and pulled him forward to a soft kiss. “I’ll be back sometime,” Menelaus promised, his forehead resting on Rem’s. “And when I come, it’s you I want to sleep with.”

“Here…” Menelaus reached into his pouch and pulled out his sling, rolled into a ball. “This is for you,” he said, handing it to Rem.

Rem smiled, and gave the older boy a hug.

+ + + + +

The governor walked to his balcony and looked down on the river and the temple complex below. Over a month had passed since the incident, and he had hoped everything would blow over. He thought he might get some kind of reply from the king about it, but not the kind of reply he had in his hand.

He came back into the room and glanced at one of his servants. “Go to Jarus, the high priest. Tell him I have heard from the King. Tell him, the King has written that he is coming to Kaleh with his brother, Antiochus Epiphanes. They will come before summer’s end.”

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