Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter 26 – Jason

Seleucus Philopator, King.

To Jeet, Beloved of the Great Oracle, Beloved of Kaleh on the Euphrates, Beloved of the King… Greetings.

Since receiving your letter yesterday, I have read it many times. I imagine that I hear your voice as I read the words. It has been a delight to me. You must write me each week, Jeet, and I shall be delighted to hear from you every time. But you must write to me as you did this time. You must open your heart to me because my feelings for you are as strong as yours are for me.

I have loved other men – men I have fought beside, men who I grew up with. The love of men for one another is stronger and purer than the love of men for women. The love of other men can strengthen a man for nobler purposes. I have not loved a boy the way I love you, and I have not been loved by a boy the way you love me. But it is a good love in the same way that love between men is good. Your love will strengthen me for nobler purposes so that I keep your admiration. It is my hope that my admiration for you will strengthen you as well.

My father once told me that a man may have two types of sons; those who come from his body, and those who are his sons in spirit – sons of his heart. You are a son of my heart, Jeet-hah.

Affairs of the kingdom have so occupied me that my memories of our time together last fall had begun to fade, but your letter brought back those memories. Last night, I dreamt of you, and I remembered what it was like to hold you, and to look upon your face. I long to see you again, Jeet, and to hold you in my arms once more.

My brother will come no more to Kaleh. I have forbidden it, and you, to him forever. Nor will you ever be required to sleep with him again. I have sent a proclamation to the temple and to the governor. The proclamation is that neither you, nor any of the shrine eunuchs, will ever again be required to sleep with supplicants or visitors to the Oracle. I have declared myself to be your Erastes, and I have proclaimed that you are my eromenos.

I am having a ring made for you. It shall be of pure gold, and will have on it a lion as your symbol, like Attis, and it will have symbols of my kingdom. It shall be for a seal for you. When I come, I will give it to you, and I will make it known that, in Kaleh, you have authority to act in my stead.

And now I shall tell you of my plans to come to you this fall…

It was hot. Spring had become full-blown summer. But on the river, there was a breeze, and it was pleasant. The oarsmen on either side of the Oracle’s barge rowed to the slow beat of the oar master’s hand on a skin drum. The sounds of Jeet’s harp and Aruli’s pipe mellowed the afternoon.

The Oracle was sitting behind Jeet, back to back, so that they gave each other a back to rest against. Bare breasted, she wore only a fine, cotton loincloth, like her eunuchs. Anda-Alexander would enjoy her freedom, today… freedom from clothes, freedom from the temple and the shrine, freedom even from her uninvited shrine guests, the twins. She was coming to like the twins, though not, perhaps, as much as her eunuchs did. Nonetheless, she wasn’t about to allow them on this outing. It was to be for only her and her eunuchs. The twins agreed to return to the citadel for a few days.

The curtained walls of the barge pavilion had been pulled back and tied, and the Oracle watched the temple complex, as well as the city, slowly recede downstream. A light breeze blew across her breasts, and cooled the sweaty edges along her back where it rested against Jeet’s. She stretched her back against his, enjoying the air on her bare torso.

They were passing a few scattered huts of fishermen now, on both sides of the river. Children came out on the banks to watch. Naked boys, under the age of ten, were swimming in front of two of the huts. Women watched from their doorways. A few of their husbands were rowers on the barge.

Kaleh had been built on the first navigable section of the river after it cascaded down from the mountains. There were cataracts and portages farther downstream, but this long portion of the Euphrates was wide, stable, and slow moving. The fishing huts continued for some distance because some of the best fishing was upriver from the city.

Their outing had to be upriver; Jarus insisted. If the priests were going to let the Oracle and her attendants go alone, it had to be upriver. Everyone knew why. Jeet and the Oracle weren’t the only ones who had thought of slipping away on her barge. If Jarus sent them upriver, any slipping away would necessarily bring the barge right past the temple and the city.

Not that they would have any chance of slipping away, even if they wanted to. Rufus was on the barge, with guards. Jarus would not let such valuable, human treasure as the Oracle and her eunuchs go completely unprotected. However, he did agree that once the barge had been tied up, the guards could be put ashore to do their protecting from the bank.

There were also servants to take food ashore and prepare it… and rowers of course. Those rowers who were fishermen planned to take their nets along the shore. There would be fish to eat tonight.

At the Oracle’s insistence, tents had been brought for the guards, the servants, and the oarsmen. She was determined that she and her eunuchs would sleep alone on the barge that night, under the open sky. And Cyndur, of course. And her two serving girls – she felt guilty leaving Maracee and Notama behind, and included them at the last minute. They all would sleep on board, but Anda intended to spend her time with Jeet, not with them.

The king’s decree had returned Jeet to her, at least partially. Now, even if he was willing to sleep with a supplicant, she could put her foot down, pointing to the decree. After all, he belonged to her in more ways than one. Anda slid her hand back onto the side of Jeet’s bare bottom, and patted it, possessively.

She glanced over at Maracee and quiet Notama. Dressed in cotton wraps, they were sitting on either side of Rem. He and Maracee were talking and petting the dog, Governor, whose head rested on Rem’s lap. Notama noticed Anda-Alexander’s glance and smiled. The Oracle smiled back. The priestesses had taught Notama to enjoy love with women, and Notama had clearly fallen in love with the Oracle. The girl had certainly never shown any interest in the eunuchs, even Jeet.

Anda wondered what she would do with Notama that evening because Maracee would almost certainly be with Rem, and that would leave Notama alone. Anda did care for Notama. In fact, she found herself caring more for her every day.

At first, she had simply been excited to have sex with a girl. But Jeet had been gone so many nights, and increasingly, Anda brought Notama to her bed when he was away, even when Rem or one of the other eunuchs was available. After all, Anda was Alexander as well, and she found great pleasure when her phallus was in Notama’s tight vagina. In their repeated, shared intimacies, Anda found her affection for the quiet, pretty girl growing steadily. In stray moments, she had even begun to think of Notama as a partner, a wife of sorts. And why not, she reasoned. If she was male as well as female, then should she not have a wife as well as a husband?

And if Jeet could love her first and still love the others, could she not make room for Notama among those Anda-Alexander loved? She glanced at the girl again, remembering her without her wrap, remembering Notama’s firm breasts and dark nipples.

Anda put her hands behind her head and stretched. Notama liked the Oracle’s breasts as much as the Oracle liked hers. Notama also liked the Oracle’s phallus, and Anda-Alexander felt it stir as Notama’s eyes drifted down the Oracle’s body. She extended an arm, and Notama came to sit beside her. Anda-Alexander pulled the girl’s head down onto her loincloth covered lap, and she stroked Notama’s hair, closing her own eyes, leaning her head back on Jeet’s shoulder. The boat rocked gently in its progress up the river. Jarus had agreed to one night. The Oracle thought she would take no less than three.

Bantu was watching for the right tree. They had seen rope swings before when they were out on the barge. They had seen naked boys swinging out over the river on them. However, not even sons of fishermen had money for rope of any length or quality. All the swings they had seen were short and thin. Bantu glanced at one of the coils of thick rope at the edge of the barge, trying to guess at its length. He was determined to try a really long rope swing.

Noticing the redhead’s search of the riverbank, Rufus came over. “Are you looking for something, Bantu?” he asked.

Bantu stood up beside the captain of the guard and smiled, conspiratorially. “See that rope?” he said, leaning close and pointing to the coil.

Rufus nodded.

“I’m looking for just the right tree,” Bantu told him. “I want to hang that rope from the highest limb we can, and then I’m going to try swinging out over the river from it.”

The captain of the guard smiled. Adventurous like one of his own sons, he thought. He turned and looked up stream. “If I remember correctly, there is a stand of tall cypress trees just before the upstream cataracts. It’s not much farther. There’s bound to be a good tree for you, as well as good trees to tie the barge to.”

It wasn’t as easy as that. The river narrowed and the banks grew higher. Bantu thought about asking to go back down river. But then they found it, a wash out. A large portion of the high bank had eroded away, and the bank sloped down at a shallower angle. They could see the slope in the deep shade under cypress trees. A hundred paces downriver from there, a flat, level place of limestone, gravel, and sand – broad enough for tents – jutted out into the river.

They tied the barge under the bank between the washout and the level place, where they could easily get to either by walking along the edge of the river. Rem and Governor were first off the barge, and the two began exploring along the bank. While servants worked to set up tents and gather wood, Rufus had one of the younger fishermen show the Nubian, Oot, how to tie the knot needed for the rope at the top of the tree branch.

“But I was going to do that,” Bantu protested.

“And Jarus would have me flayed if you fell or were hurt,” Rufus said, shaking his head. “You can tell Oot where you want him to tie it up.”

Bantu watched with a frown as Oot hung the heavy coil of rope over his shoulder and started up the tree. Though he was wiry, it took him a while to climb to the limb Bantu had chosen. When he had maneuvered far out on the limb, Bantu turned to Rufus. “Maybe it was better that you sent Oot up there.”

The young fisherman insisted on tying a knot at the bottom end of the rope as well. That shortened the rope, and left it almost chest high. “It’s alright,” he told Bantu when the young eunuch started to object. “Watch.” Reaching up for the knot, the young fisherman walked it up the steeply inclining slope. The higher he got, the closer the knot got to the ground. He waved Bantu on up.

Grinning, Bantu handed his loincloth to Rufus and stepped from his sandals. He climbed up the slope to the fisherman. The others – Rufus, the Nubians, the Oracle and her eunuchs, Cyndur, and a couple of fishermen – watched from below. The fisherman handed the rope to Bantu.

The redhead took it.

“You can put your feet on the knot if you want,” the fisherman told him.

Bantu nodded, taking the rope tightly into both hands. He jumped, placing his feet on the knot as he swung down the slope and then out of the shade of the cypress trees and into bright sunlight over the river. He rose higher and higher over the water… and then… he swung back.

“Bantu! You were supposed to let go!” Aruli called out teasingly from below.

The young eunuch arrived, almost back where he started, deftly planting his feet back onto the slope. “Damn!” he called back, “it’s as high out there as the roof of the shrine! We need to find a lower limb!”

His brother eunuchs, below, all laughed. “It’s not half that high,” Tazaar called out. “Do you need Ptolemy to come hold your hand?”

“I’ll try it,” the fisherman told Bantu. “I’ve jumped that high from the riverbank before.”

Bantu frowned, hesitating.

Not waiting, the fisherman removed his loincloth and sandals, and then with a requesting smile, took the rope from Bantu. Reaching high up the rope with both hands, he pulled his feet up and plunged down the slope. He swung high out over the water and at the top of the swing – at that moment where the rope paused right before descending again – the fisherman let go. Suspended for a brief second, high in the air, he covered his genitals with both hands and then descended, feet first. A moment later, he knifed into the water, a plume of spray.

The rope didn’t quite make it back to Bantu. He reached for it, but missed. Ptolemy quickly caught it at the bottom, as the fisherman returned to the surface and swam for the bank, to cheers from the eunuchs.

Holding the rope in one hand, Ptolemy loosed his loincloth and tossed it to one side. He kicked off his sandals as well, and started walking the rope back up the slope. Behind him, the other eunuchs and Cyndur pulled off their loincloths and kicked off their sandals to follow. With a grin at Jeet, the Oracle did the same and scrambled after them, her firm breasts jiggling slightly.

“Please, Ptolemy,” Bantu said, stretching out his hand for the rope, “let me try again.”

Ptolemy smiled at his bedmate and handed him the rope. “Be brave, Bantu-hah. Show them we don’t have to have balls to be crazy.”

Laughing nervously, Bantu took the rope, and then imitating the fisherman, he grabbed it high and pulled up his legs, howling as he swung down the slope and out over the river. He rose higher and higher above the water as the others paused in their climbing to see if he would let go. At the top, he did, screaming, arms windmilling, and legs thrashing as he fell down to the water. He landed leaning slightly back, and his bottom made a plop and a large splash.

Bantu quickly returned to the surface, yelling triumphantly over the hearty laughs and encouragements from the others on the bank.

Within the hour, the athletic eunuchs began trying forward and backward flips off the rope, and a little later, flips with twists. The servants and guards, watching from the flat outcropping, began to cheer.

The Nubians dug out steps up the slope for the Oracle, and when the eunuchs invited them, they joined in, taking turns on the rope, but without the acrobatic grace of the eunuchs. Nevertheless, the others enjoyed watching them because they had lithe, black bodies and ample endowment.

Early in the afternoon, the aroma of cooked meat made its way up the river from the outcropping. They all drifted back to the barge, to eat. None bothered with loincloths.

That afternoon, a second rope was hung on a nearby tree, on even a higher branch. Three of the younger fishermen joined them. Jeet and Rem were the first to try two boys on one swing. Bantu and Aruli were the first to do matching flips off one rope.

That evening, after a feast of fresh fish, the covering was removed from the barge pavilion and everyone, except for the Oracle and her attendants and serving girls, left the barge.

It was a moonless night, but the sky was ablaze with stars. Overhead, the Milky Way formed a luminescent cloud across the high arch of the sky. In the woods, Rufus’ men built a perimeter of campfires and smoke from them drifted down over the water.

On the barge, they sang songs in the darkness, leaning against each other, reaching out to touch or nudge one another affectionately with fingers and toes. Governor lifted his head from time to time, restless at unfamiliar noises or scents.

Rem and Maracee were the first to lie down together and begin to make love. The others drew closer in their twos and threes. Jeet set aside his harp and leaned into to the Oracle, and Anda felt his hand close over her breast as his mouth settled inside her neck. She sighed and her head lolled against the top of his.

“Oracle,” Aruli asked quietly in the darkness, “if you will be with Jeet-hah tonight, may Jin and I ask Notama to our bed?”

Anda-Alexander frowned in the darkness as several thoughts raced through her mind. The first was that Notama belonged to her. And would Notama even want to? And if she wanted to, should Anda allow it? What if Notama decided she liked boys?

Jeet sensed her indecision. He could offer to let Notama join them, but the Oracle didn’t need an invitation to do that. Besides, he and Anda had looked forward to being alone together, making love together, under the starry sky.

“That would be up to Notama,” the Oracle finally said, “but I think she prefers girls.”

There was another moment of silence before Notama, who sat alone, not far from the Oracle, spoke. “I think I would like to,” she said softly in the darkness.

There was movement. Silhouetted against the stars, Aruli made his way to the girl, and taking her by the hand, returned with her to his bed with Jin.

A high yelp echoed across the water. “That was Oot,” Cyndur said. “The Nubians are playing around.”

“Someday, we have to try fucking with them,” Bantu said, repeating something they had all said at one time or another. “They looked good on the rope swings today.”

“Cyndur fucked them,” Tazaar said, quietly. “While we were all tied up with Antiochus and the twins, he fucked both of them.”

“Shit,” Bantu said.

“Well we’ve all talked about doing it,” Cyndur said, defensively; the seventeen-year-old’s voice, so much deeper now than the others, provided a quiet bass in the night to their melodic banter.

“How was it?” Ptolemy asked.

Cyndur cleared his throat. “They have nice bodies.”

It quieted again for a moment. “Cyndur,” Ptolemy asked in the darkness, “may Bantu and I join you and Tazaar?”

“Sure,” Cyndur answered, and they could hear the smile in his voice.

There was more movement as Bantu and Ptolemy moved over to join Cyndur and Tazaar.

From the right, Notama moaned softly. “One breast for each of us,” Anda heard Aruli tell Jin with a giggle. She looked over, and in the darkness, she could make out that Notama lay between the two boys.

Quiet again… except for kissing sounds. Then a soft slapping – Anda recognized the unique sound and rhythm of Rem’s rabbit fucking.

Jeet’s hand slid down Anda’s belly and she felt it close around her erection. She lay back on the bedding and Jeet moved up alongside her. He kissed her breast and cocked a leg over her upturned cock. She could feel his erection against her hip.

Jeet looked down into her eyes; they had the faintest of glimmers in the deep darkness. “I love you, Oracle,” he whispered very softly, brushing her lips with his.

She reached up with both arms, sliding them up under his hair, behind his neck. The mouths of the nearly-fifteen-year-old lovers opened to one another. Their bodies were familiar, and yet, because they were familiar, exciting… exciting because of the many times and ways they had made love together … fervent love, sweet love, driving love, happy love… slender, young bodies… the intense orgasms of burgeoning adolescence… shared. Exciting, too, because of their young hearts, and love… uninhibited. Happily mated. Determinedly mated.

Jeet rolled onto her without breaking the kiss and his chest flattened her breasts. He slid his hands under the backs of her shoulders. She opened her legs to him and his hips settled between them. They ground their erections together.

Their bellies grew damp in two spots; one lower from her precum, one higher from his. He lifted his hips, aiming his erection downward, and she planted her heels, prepared to lift her pelvis to meet him. He found her and slid in very slowly, because they both liked it that way; the first slide in.

He eased his hips all the way home, settling with a small, final, circling in and deep press. Grabbing the sides of his waist, Anda arched under him, her belly up against his. She squeezed the outside of his legs with the inside of her thighs. They nuzzled each other, their breathing, open-mouthed and ragged. He pumped, slowly at first. She matched his slow rhythm, meeting him firmly, enjoying the meeting.

His scent comforted and aroused her. His skin was warm on her skin. His slim body… moving, moving… between her legs, his chest on her breasts… moving inside her. Mindlessly, Anda gazed up at the multitude of glittering stars. It was as if she could sense them watching her and Jeet. It was as though they gazed down in their multitude upon the two of them – not as the Great Oracle of Kaleh and her Abij-hah, but upon two, raw children of the earth, rutting... naturally, beautifully. Anda could almost sense them smile.

+ + + + +

“Oracle,” Maracee asked in the morning as they were all awakening, “may Notama and I leave off our wraps?”

Anda nodded sleepily.

Maracee got up happily from her bed with Rem, and pranced, nude, to the edge of the barge. She enjoyed being naked, and being watched the way she knew the others were watching. Her first pubic hairs had grown in, and she thought they made her look sexy. They did.

Anda rose from beside Jeet. He rolled to his back, languidly, enjoying freedom from morning responsibilities at the shrine. His cock thickly draped his leg.

A few feet away, Notama got up from between Jin and Aruli and grabbing up her wrap to cover herself, she stepped behind a pavilion post to put the wrap on with what little privacy the post provided her.

Anda followed, and stayed Notama’s hand. “You are beautiful, Notama. Leave the wrap off. Be free today.”

The girl dropped her eyes.

“Did you like last night?” Anda asked, leaning close to gently rub Notama’s bare back.

The girl nodded but quickly looked up into Anda’s eyes. “But it wasn’t like with you, Oracle,” she said. She gently touched Anda’s cheek. “I missed you.”

Anda-Alexander smiled and pulled the serving girl into an embrace. Their breasts flattening against each other as Anda kissed Notama softly.

+ + + + +

After spending the second half of their first full morning almost entirely on the rope swings, they were tired. The Oracle and her company rested after a late midday meal.

While the others remained sleeping, Bantu, Ptolemy, Aruli, and Jin got up quietly and left the barge. They single-filed along the river to the outcropping and found the two Nubians, motioning for them to follow. Then they led Oot and Eto back past the barge to the rope swings, up the slope behind them, and into the piney woods back from the river.

The Nubians exchanged frequent glances, puzzled as to what work would be required of them. But then in the woods, the eunuchs turned to face them and Bantu already had an erection. Aruli’s cock was obviously thick. The Nubians saw and grinned – big, white-toothed grins.

+ + + + +

It was three days after the Oracle returned from her week-long barge trip before the twins returned to the shrine, late in the afternoon. Jason was with them. They found the Oracle and her eunuchs about to sit down to meat from the evening sacrifice.

“Where have you been?” Jeet asked, greeting Letradoisan with a warm embrace, then Obenedes in a similar fashion, and then Jason, a little more formally. “And how are my sister and my sister’s husband?” he asked Jason.

Jason embraced Jeet loosely and was struck once again by some faint similarity between Jeet’s scent and Weela’s. And though Jeet’s body was firm, his slender frame had a similar feel in Jason’s arms. It stirred Jason, especially now that he considered sex with Jeet a possibility.

That first day, at the slave trader’s, he had noticed Jeet’s beauty, but back then, he had eyes only for Weela, fully as beautiful, and a girl. He had been anxious to get her home.

Even that day, it hadn’t been just the sex, just the anticipation of being with his first girl. Weela wasn’t just a girl. Weela was incredible. Weela was perfect and softly curved and feminine and… breathtakingly lovely.

He fell in love with her – that first night. She was so achingly beautiful in every detail, from her budding little breasts to those firm lips between her legs. She was frightened and timid at first, but he was gentle with her and his awe of her was unmistakable. When he wasn’t sure what to do, she helped. By the second afternoon, she grew passionate in his bed, and came alive under him, and transported him far above anything he ever imagined possible. That second evening, Jason saw in her eyes that she was starting to care for him, too. They were young, incredibly young, and that early sex, and their enjoyment of it, was intense, and intensely addicting. They made love, over and over; children, thirsty for more.

They were constantly together, and, day by day, Jason’s love for her grew. He began to see aspects of her intellect and strength that earned his respect and admiration. He was proud of her, and grateful; profoundly grateful.

And now Weela was with child, and they were sharing something miraculous between them. The tenderness of their love had grown very sweet.

Strangely, it seemed to Jason… but then, perhaps not so strangely because Jeet was so much like her… many of Jason’s tender feelings for Weela were aroused when he was around Weela’s brother.

Like other Greek boys, Jason had had sexual experiences with boys at the gymnasium, especially when he was younger. Jeet, a male version of his wife, aroused memories from both his marriage bed as well as from back rooms with other boys. Even before Weela encouraged Jason to sleep at the shrine if he desired, he had sometimes been stirred when close to Jeet. Now he stepped back from Jeet before his arousal grew obvious. “Your sister and the child,” he smiled, “or twins, in her womb are well, as am I, Jeet-hah. Weela sends her greetings.”

As the other eunuchs came forward to greet their visitors, Letradoisan lifted his voice for all to hear. “When you hadn’t come back from your barge after three days, we decided to go scouting for a location to hold the gymnopaedia and games for Seleucus,” he told them.

“In that case,” Jeet said, “you must sit down to eat with us, and tell us all about what you found, right, Oracle?” He turned to her for approval.

“Yes, join us,” the Oracle said, gesturing with a hand toward her table. “Jason, sit here beside me.” She gestured to the place at her right hand. “We have much to tell, too. About our trip.”

As they moved toward the table, the eunuchs attempted to all talk at once – a happy babble of boyish voices, glad to have friends to tell about their barge trip. Jeet took a seat to the Oracle’s left. Letradoisan sat between Jeet and Rem. Aruli and Jin tugged Obenedes’ hand to sit between them

The eunuchs were voluble as the narrative of their upriver adventure rotated quickly from one of them to another around the table.

Finally, Letradoisan raised his hand. “Enough! Take us on a barge trip. Tomorrow.”

“Ah, well, the priests won’t allow that any time soon,” Jeet said, shaking his head. “Between Antiochus’ stay and our barge trip, the Oracle hasn’t had many audiences lately and Jarus isn’t happy about the lost revenue.”

“Especially since he can’t prostitute you out anymore,” the Oracle pointed out.

“And he’s still unhappy because we were gone so long,” Cyndur added. “He was angry enough with the Oracle and Jeet, that he won’t be in a mood to let them go again anytime soon.”

“Not even to see the place we found for the games?” Obenedes asked.

Jeet leaned forward. “Where is it?” Everyone around the table turned toward Obenedes.

“On the river,” Letradoisan said with a smile, and all the heads jerked in his direction. “But downriver, almost halfway to Varashed. There’s a bend in the river like this.” He drew a fat U shape in the air with his finger. “A peninsula. We didn’t try to measure it, but it’s plenty big.”

“At least a thousand paces at the widest,” Jason said.

“The river is very clear there,” Obenedes said. “And I think there are Cypress trees on the opposite bank, right?” he asked Letradoisan. “We could hang rope swings.”

“There are,” Letradoisan answered with a wide grin.

“Hills and the forest come right down to the mouth of the peninsula,” Jason took up the description. “There’s almost a natural amphitheater in the pine trees there. And there are a few pine trees on the north side of peninsula itself, but mostly it’s covered only with tall grass. There are boulders and rocks along the river that can be used to build ranks of seats for watching races… ”

“Or watching dancing,” Obenedes interjected.

“Seats can be made with logs as well,” Jason continued. “My father says that he can provide laborers in addition to what the priests provide.”

“The priests could be a problem,” Cyndur pointed out. “They may not want to put up the money it will take to do this properly.”

“We’ll figure out a way to convince them,” Bantu said confidently.

“We might have to offer a deal or two,” Ptolemy stated, with a pointed look at the Oracle.

She frowned, guessing that the deal would be for her eunuchs to sleep with supplicants.

The conversation moved on, and through the remainder of the meal, they made plans; plans for convincing the priests – apart from deal making, plans for preparing the site, plans for getting word of the games out to the region, and more.

It grew late, but because it was summer, the sun had yet to set. Aruli and Jin got up from the table, pulling Obenedes to his feet. “We’re going to bathe Obenedes while it’s still light out,” Aruli announced.

“Jeet-hah,” Bantu said, leaning across the table. “If you are sleeping with the Oracle tonight, may Ptolemy and I have Letradoisan?”

Jeet glanced at Letradoisan, who was sitting beside him. Letradoisan laid his hand on Jeet’s and smiled. “It’s been weeks since we’ve slept together, Abij-hah. But I expected nothing because of the King’s proclamation.” He glanced past Jeet at the Oracle, but her look was inscrutable. He patted Jeet’s hand. “Besides, you warned us you would return to sleeping mostly with the Oracle.” Letradoisan got up from the table.

Bantu and Ptolemy quickly came to him with big grins. Taking Letradoisan by the hand, they followed Aruli, Jin, and Obenedes to the door.

“Letradoisan,” Jeet called. They stopped. “The King’s proclamation said only that I would no longer be required to sleep with others,” he pointed out. “It did not say that I couldn’t do so.”

Letradoisan smiled as the others tugged him from the room.

Jeet kissed the Oracle and got to his feet. “I’ll walk Jason out to the gate,” he volunteered.

The others stood up from the table, and the Oracle embraced Jason. “Give my love to Weela,” she said. “You must return to my table with Weela and the twins, after the babies come.”

Jason nodded. “Thank you, Oracle. She would like that.”

Jeet took his brother-in-law by the hand, and led Jason out of the room and into the hallway. Glancing sideways at Jason, he smiled. “I am grateful,” Jeet said quietly, “that the good god who protects me has protected Weela as well. I am grateful that you are her husband.”

“I am grateful, too,” Jason said, honestly.

“Thank you,” Jeet said, “for not keeping Weela a slave.”

Jason smiled. “Weela was never a slave, not with her spirit. She enslaved me the day I met her.”

Jeet squeezed Jason’s hand. “Nevertheless, I am grateful,” he said again.

The squeeze of the hand, the brushing of shoulders, the nearness of Jeet, clad only in a breechcloth… Jason glanced at him… slender, erect, graceful… his eyes darted to Jeet’s long, smooth limbs, the thick, black hair that hung so low down Jeet’s back, at the sheen that sleek hair had. Jason’s eyes dropped to Jeet’s firmly rounded bottom, dimpling with each step. Jeet caught him looking, and his expression changed slightly to one that was a little confused.

Jason tugged Jeet to a stop and turned toward him. “Someday, I wish to sleep at the shrine,” he said, frankly. “Weela says… she says to do it.”

Jeet was surprised, and it showed, but the surprise faded to a friendly smile. He squeezed Jason’s hand. “If you wish to, I would like that. I… it would be… ”

“Special,” Jason said. “Weela said that it would be something special between me and you.”

Jeet studied his brother-in-law’s flushed face and earnest look. Jason’s hand was warm and damp in his own. Jeet felt a surprising stiffening in his cock. “What about tonight?” he asked.

Jason’s brow furrowed. “You were going to be with the Oracle. And besides, Weela said not to do it when the twins were here.” He chewed his lip. “But that was when Antiochus was with them, and the twins are different now.”

Jeet leaned close and kissed Jason’s cheek, far back, next to his ear – an intimate kiss. “Come.” He tugged Jason back toward the Oracle’s chamber.

“Weela didn’t want everyone to know,” Jason said.

Jeet smiled, brushing the back of Jason’s hand against his leg as they walked. “We never talk to anyone about what happens here.”

He left Jason just inside the doorway of the Oracle’s chamber and drew Anda privately out onto the balcony. After the King’s proclamation, Anda intended to keep Jeet for herself as much as possible, but Jason’s request caught her off guard. Besides being unexpected, it was different. It was… family.

After a moment, they came back inside, hand in hand. “Rem,” Jeet said, calling the younger eunuch over to his side, “tell the others that I require Prekendra’s chamber tonight, and come tell me when the others are finished in the bathhouse.”

Rem’s eyes darted to Jason and back quickly. He nodded and left. “Come, Jason,” the Oracle said. “Sit with us and we will share wine while you wait for the bathhouse.”

Jason swallowed, awkwardly. “This does not bother you, Oracle?”

Anda gave him a bittersweet smile. “Tell Weela I understand,” she said.

Jason was Jeet’s height, and having just turned fifteen, he was only a couple of months older; but he also had balls. That made differences which Jeet noticed as he undressed his brother-in-law to bathe him.

In the year and a half since Jeet first saw him at Praxis’, Jason had gone from boy to splendidly constructed youth. He was narrow-waisted, broad shouldered, and lightly, but pleasantly muscled, especially in the thighs and biceps. Dark leg hair rose up his calves, but his thighs were smooth and the seams of his long, shapely quadriceps were clearly outlined. His forearms were as smooth as Jeet’s, with veins that stood out over the long muscles. Below a thick patch of pubic hair, egg-shaped testicles hung loose, and a cock almost a long as Jeet’s, but much thicker, had begun to rise. His loins were flat, his belly softly corrugated, and high pectorals topped off his lean body with an elegant symmetry.

Jason’s long lines made his body a close enough match to Jeet’s to make it easy for Jeet to imagine that he would have had the same musculature if his testicles had not been taken from him.

Jeet had seen glimpses of Jason’s torso before – Greek garments were designed to drape, not conceal – but he had not seen Jason nude. Now, as he stepped behind Jason to loosen the bindings of Jason’s curly hair, his eyes traveled approvingly down his brother-in-law’s strong back to the V of tight muscles at the base of his spine. Jason’s buttocks were meaty and muscled under smooth, white skin. Jeet ran a palm, admiringly, over the right one. Jason responded by tensing his buttocks into two balls of muscle, in from the hipbones, close together at the crack. When Jeet came back around to Jason’s front, sponge in hand, his cock had begun to rise like Jason’s.

Gripping Jason’s rock hard shoulder with one hand, Jeet applied the sponge to Jason’s chest. “Weela must be well pleased in her marriage bed,” Jeet said. “You have a wonderful body.”

“So do you,” Jason said.

Jeet smiled, sadly as he scrubbed. “No,” he said quietly. “I will never have a body like yours.”

Jason laid a big, adolescent hand on Jeet’s bare hip. “You are a gazelle,” he said. “You will grow to be tall and slender.” His eyes traveled Jeet’s body, then rose to Jeet’s eyes. “You are truly my wife’s brother.”

Jeet smiled. “Weela pleases you.”

Jason gave Jeet’s hip a squeeze. “I worship her,” he said softly.

The sponge in Jeet’s hand paused on Jason’s belly and he looked up at his brother-in-law with a smile.

Jason swallowed. “It excites me that you are Weela’s brother,” he said quietly.

Jeet’s eyes dropped and he moved the sponge in a small circle over Jason’s firm belly. “It excites me that you are Weela’s husband,” he quietly answered.

Jason’s hand slipped behind Jeet’s waist and he pulled Jeet to himself, pushing their erections out to the same side. “Weela excites me every time we are close,” Jason whispered, his eyes steady on Jeet’s, his lips close to the young eunuch’s.

Jeet returned the gaze for a moment, then relaxed into Jason, their lips meeting. Jason swept his hands over Jeet’s lean sides and back, and down to his bottom where the skin was as soft and smooth as Weela’s, but where the firm, mounded shapes were so different. Jeet’s buttocks felt good in his hands, and Jason squeezed them.

Jeet reached between their bellies and closed his hand around Jason’s erection. It was a fat cylinder, slightly flattened in shape. Jeet slid the warm skin up and down the rigidly curved shaft, and broke their kiss to look down at it. Jason’s precum drooled thickly from the slit in the end. “Damn, Jason,” Jeet whispered. “It’s beautiful.” Jeet gathered some of the precum on his fingers tips and smoothed it over Jason’s large crown. He lifted his fingers to his lips and tasted. He smiled. Closing his hand around Jason’s shaft once more, he stroked it. “You must please Weela greatly with this.”

“Let me please you,” Jason said, huskily.

Jeet was used to being desired. He recognized the effect that he was having on his fifteen-year-old brother-in-law, and it excited him even more. He pressed his body to Jason’s and lifted his right knee up, high up, wrapping his leg behind Jason’s butt. He reached behind his back and grabbed Jason’s thick shaft, rubbing the large crown into his crack and at his opening. He felt the dampness of Jason’s precum against his sphincter and rubbed it there, stroking Jason, applying the teen’s copious lubricant to his opening. He spit in his hand and wiped it onto Jason’s crown, then, holding Jason’s cock by the shaft, Jeet pointed the large crown into his crack once more and pushed his sphincter back against it. It popped in.

Jason tried to be patient, holding Jeet by the butt. When he felt Jeet’s tight ring slip over his crown and down onto his shaft, he gasped.

Jeet angled his agile hips inward and slowly bent his knee, taking Jason in. He steadied himself with his hands on Jason’s shoulders, and holding on, he moved against the other boy, slowly down and up.

Jeet pressed his body close, the side of his face against Jason’s. Their breath rasped in one another’s ears. Jason lifted Jeet by the butt with both hands, and Jeet wrapped both legs around Jason’s waist, locking his ankles in back. He closed his hands around the back of Jason’s neck, interlacing his fingers, and used the leverage to pull himself up and down on Jason’s erection.

They were close to a wall, and Jason carried Jeet there, pressing the slender eunuch against the wall; pinning him there while holding him up by the butt. Bending, then straightening his knees, Jason drove the length of his cock up into him.

Jeet wrapped his arms around Jason’s neck and covered his brother-in-law’s mouth with his own. Using the wall against his back for support, he gently undulated his agile body against Jason’s, and Jason moaned in pleasure.

Jeet pressed his tongue between Jason’s lips, and when Jason opened his mouth in surprise, Jeet invaded it with a hungrily writhing tongue. Opened mouth kissing was something Jeet had learned after being parted from Weela. Jason had not learned it at all. But he learned quickly.

After a moment’s surprise, he closed his eyes, sliding tongues with Jeet. He swallowed, and it felt good to suck on Jeet’s tongue. He ventured into Jeet’s mouth with his own tongue, and Jeet sucked on it. Jason’s cock was achingly hard and Jeet’s tightness, as the eunuch’s weight settled fully into Jason’s lap, stretched the skin tightly down Jason’s shaft… and the way Jeet moved… Weela moved like this sometimes, when the sex was really good. Jeet whimpered and the sound wasn’t unlike Weela’s. Jeet’s lithe, writhing body was male, undeniably male – a hard cock rubbed back against Jason’s belly – but Jeet was like Weela… pleasingly like Weela. Jason whimpered, urgently, and drove upward forcefully with his hips.

He needed more room, a better angle… pulling from the kiss, he looked around and saw the mats. Grabbing Jeet tightly by the butt, he stepped back from the wall and carried his younger brother-in-law to the mats. He knelt and laid Jeet down. He pulled from inside him and rolled Jeet onto his side. Then lifting Jeet’s top leg onto his shoulder, he straddled the inside of Jeet’s lower leg, scooting forward to reenter him, with his knees splayed wide so that his perineum rubbed on the inside tendons and muscles of Jeet’s smooth, inner thigh. It was a position that he and Weela liked.

He eased in quickly, and when he began to rock his hips, the rubbing of his perineum and balls on Jeet’s inner thigh felt even better than with Weela – Jeet’s thigh was firmer and thicker.

He and Weela liked the position partly because it allowed Jason to easily reach down and stimulate her clitoris. Now he reached down and grabbed Jeet’s cock. It was a rod of iron in his hand. He curled his fingers around it and jerked back in time with the forward thrusts of his hips.

Jeet was flexible and quickly accommodated himself to the position. He rocked his hips with Jason’s.

Jason watched; he watched the slim eunuch writhe on his cock; he watched the way the muscles in Jeet’s stomach and sides flexed and grew more and more rigid; his eyes lingered on the erotic backing of Jeet’s butt to meet his own thrusts. He drove as far forward with his hips as he could, meeting Jeet, again and again with a slapping that echoed off the bathhouse walls.

Jeet arched back, reaching behind to grasp behind the top of Jason’s thigh. His mouth hung open, and his eyes were tightly shut. His long hair splayed out behind his back, almost down to his waist, wet, like black silk.

Jason gasped for breath, driving harder. Jeet whimpered and his grip tightened behind Jason’s thigh. Suddenly, Jeet’s cock pulsed in Jason’s hand and clear semen spewed from the end of it. Jason drove hard, driving into Jeet’s orgasm the way he would into one of Weela’s.

A long, modulating “Aah,” rose from deep in Jeet’s throat – vibrating with each impact of Jason’s loins. Jason grunted and the first of his semen squirted powerfully inside Jeet.

For a whirlwind of seconds, their climaxes overlapped and the bathhouse walls echoed with the sounds.

Then they slowed. Jason lowered Jeet’s leg from his shoulder, and collapsed onto Jeet’s side. He rubbed Jeet’s belly and kissed his angular shoulder. Then he pulled from inside him and rolled off to the side. Jeet rolled to his back beside him. They looked at each other, heavy-lidded, and smiled weakly.

“Weela and I like that position,” Jason said, sharing an intimacy as he laid the palm of his hand flat, just above Jeet’s bald pubic mound.

Jeet smiled. “I can see why,” he said, without mentioning that he had been in the position before, both ways. It was unlikely that Jason could show him anything new, but there was no sense saying so. “I liked it, too.”

Jason’s smile widened. He propped his head up on an elbow and cocked a leg over Jeet’s loins. “Tell me about you and the Oracle. Is it different for you and her?” he asked. “I mean, do you have sex differently because of how she is made?”

Jeet shrugged, putting one hand behind his head to cushion it, and resting the other on the side of Jason’s hip. “We can do more things because of how she’s made,” he said.

Jason’s brow furrowed. “Do you love her?” he asked. “I mean, do you love her the way I love Weela?” The word he used was the word for romantic love.

Jeet’s eyes met Jason’s. “If you love Weela the way I love the Oracle, then I am very happy for my sister,” he said quietly. He squeezed Jason’s hip with his hand. “I love the Oracle with all my heart.”

Jason smiled, and nodded. And it seemed natural to bend and kiss Jeet.

+ + + + +

A puff of breeze blew in from the balcony in Prekendra’s suite. Jason, the back of his head resting on Jeet’s stomach, turned toward the movement of the silk curtains. They were dim in the lamplight.

Jeet stroked Jason’s hair.

“We’re going to be life-long friends, aren’t we, Jeet?” Jason asked.

“I would like that,” Jeet said.

Jason nodded, the back of his head poking Jeet’s abdominal muscles. “My father says we could be good allies, you and me. You will be close to the king, and I will be important, too… perhaps I’ll even be governor myself someday.”

Jason rolled his head, looking up Jeet’s body. Jeet’s head was propped on a pillow and their eyes met.

“My father says the king will probably allow you to stay in Kaleh one more year,” Jason told him. “He says that old Judah wants my father to spend time with you, to teach you things and to let you watch him being governor. My father says he will have me watch, too.”

“Are you sure about that?” Jeet asked hopefully. “I would like to stay in Kaleh another year.”

Jason rolled his head back, looking up at the ceiling. “Yeah. I forget all the reasons, but Judah says it will be better to give the city another year to prepare for you and the Oracle leaving, and he told the king that you should come back every summer so the Oracle can hold audiences and you can bless children and all the people of the city will be happy.”

“Truly?” Jeet asked, propping himself up on his elbows. “That would be excellent. That would be tor excellent.”

Jason smiled, and scooted up beside Jeet. “My father said that, too – that it would be really good. He told the king that it would ruin Kaleh to lose the Oracle and you and all her eunuchs, but that if you came back here, half of every year, that would change everything.”

Jeet nodded. “He’s right, I think.”

Jason had the urge to kiss the soft skin of Jeet’s smooth cheek. He did, and then rubbed his face gently against Jeet’s. Earlier, he had let Jeet fuck him. He had never let anyone do that; he never thought he would. But they had been kissing, opened mouthed, the way Jeet had showed him. And Jeet had rolled Jason onto his back, and his legs had fallen between Jason’s, and… it all seemed to flow so naturally, and it seemed wrong to tell Jeet ‘no’ because of the way they were friends now… and Jeet had gone slowly… and it actually felt good after a while, especially the way Jeet folded his body up between Jason’s legs. Jeet’s firm belly pressed down on Jason’s cock, and it all felt so good inside his bottom and on his cock as they held each other, face to face, and moved their bottoms and hips any number of ways.

Jason laid his palm on Jeet’s flaccid cock and circled it. “Would you like to do what we just did a while ago?” he asked quietly.

In answer, Jeet slid a hand behind the back of Jason’s strong shoulder and kissed the lips of the other boy.

+ + + + +

“The governor’s son slept last night at the shrine,” the servant informed Stycus.

The priest leaned back from his morning meal. “Are you sure?”

The servant nodded.

“Did he sleep with one of the eunuchs?”

“The Abij-hah.”

Stycus frowned. That’s the way the boy made allies, by bending over and offering up his butt. The governor’s son was a mild surprise; he was already married. Oh well, whatever his sexual tastes, he was probably already an ally of the boy.

Stycus sighed and dismissed the servant. Significant or not, it would be something new to report.

+ + + + +

Jeet’s brow furrowed and he laid a hand gently on Ono’s bare shoulder. “You work too hard, Ono-hah,” he said quietly.

Ono looked around the store room which had been serving as a ward for sick children for so many months now. There were five children at the moment. Ono straightened his back and stretched. “The little ones suffer so,” he said, “sometimes.” He glanced at Rem who had taken a seat beside a sick boy. Ono nodded toward him. “Rem is always helpful.”

“You need more help than Rem,” Jeet said. “It’s about time that I get you a servant; maybe two servants.”

Ono smiled. “The priests will never go for that. Jarus is already unhappy over how little time I spend serving him.”

Jeet patted the older eunuch’s back. “I am the Abij-hah, Ono. I’m the king’s eromenos. I’m going to do it.”

Ono slid his arms around Jeet in a tired, but brotherly embrace. “I would like the help Jeet-hah. It would be welcome.” He stroked a strand of hair from the side of Jeet’s face. “Your visits always make the children feel better. Will you visit with them now?”

Jeet nodded. “Will you go rest while I do? Get something to eat, and sleep? Rem and I will stay with the children.”

Ono hesitated, then nodded with a weary smile.

+ + + + +

Hector Demathor
General of the Seleucid Army
Governor of Phrygia

To the cities and gymnasia of our great province

Call to Participate


for youths from twelve to seventeen

In Honor of the Great King, Seleucus Philopator

Fathers, erastoi, and married male relatives permitted

The last week before the Fall equinox at
Kaleh on the Euphrates

Ten silver drachmas admission per boy

Participants must bring sword, shield, and crested helmet
for closing dance

As the announcement went out, so did word that not only would the king be present, but also the Great Oracle of Kaleh and her famous attendants. Boys who were almost twelve, as well as others who had just turned eighteen but as yet had no full beard, were assured they would be allowed to participate.

Excitement spread. Plans were made. Boys stepped up their workouts, and many began to learn gymnastic dance for the first time. This would be the first gymnopaedia in Phrygia in a hundred years.

+ + + + +

Two weeks before the summer solstice, the Oracle fell ill. By the second day, her fever was high and she grew delirious, despite the constant attention of Ono, Avankur, and the old physician from the city.

The citizens of Kaleh grew quiet and somber. By the hundreds, they brought sacrifices to the temple and prayed before the goddess. By the third day, the Oracle grew unresponsive and the courtyard of the temple filled with people, high and low, holding vigil.

That afternoon, after Jarus and Eustace returned to the temple, the eunuchs gathered closer around the Oracle’s bed. Tazaar sat down next to Jeet. “You have stayed beside the Oracle, day and night Jeet-hah,” he said gently. “You haven’t eaten. Come away for a while. Eat. Renew your strength.”

Jeet only shook his head.

Tazaar laid his hand on Jeet’s shoulder. “Come away, Jeet-hah.”

“No,” Jeet said aloud.

Tazaar, chewing his lip, glanced at Cyndur, and then at the others. He turned to Ono. “Could you leave us a few minutes?” Tazaar asked. He glanced at Avankur and the old physician as well, “All of you.”

With bows, the three left. Tazaar looked at Notama, kneeling on the Oracle’s other side. “You and Maracee, too,” he said.

Notama glanced up at him with a frown and then back with concern at the prostrate Oracle.

“Only a few minutes,” Tazaar promised.

Reluctantly, the two girls left.

“Jeet-hah,” Tazaar whispered, leaning closer. “We need to talk to you.”

Jeet looked up at him, his eyes red and his face fatigued.

“If the Oracle dies,” Tazaar began.

Jeet frowned.

Only if,” Tazaar hastened to clarify. “If the Oracle dies, they might hesitate to do anything to you because you are the King’s eromenos. But we are not, Jeet-hah.” Tazaar said this, glancing around at the others. “Rem is safe, but they will put the rest of us to the sword. You know that.”

Jeet said nothing.

“Jeet-hah,” Tazaar said, his face twisting with hesitancy and reluctance, “we do not want to die. Cyndur has a plan. After dark, we can sneak out by way of the bathhouse and swim out past the temple walls and then back to the bank on the other side. He can sneak us to safety… while there’s still time. Cyndur can smuggle us out of Kaleh in one of his father’s caravans.”

Jeet looked at him, uncomprehending.

“Jeet-hah, we can save ourselves,” Tazaar said.

Jeet looked around at them, one by one. “You will be caught,” he said. “We are too well known.”

“The entire city is with us,” Cyndur said. “They will not want to see any of you harmed, and we will disguise ourselves.”

Jeet turned back to the Oracle and stroked her hot cheek. “Go if you wish,” he said. “I belong to the Oracle.”

“We all do,” Aruli said, kneeling opposite Jeet, where Notama had been kneeling a moment before. His eyes were filling with tears. “You will be safe, Jeet-hah. They wouldn’t dare touch you. But we are not safe.”

Jeet shook his head slightly. “Even if I wasn’t safe, I wouldn’t leave Anda.”

Rem cleared his throat. “Can’t Jeet order the priests to leave you all alone? The King is going to give him a ring and he can give orders on the King’s behalf in Kaleh.”

“But he doesn’t have the ring yet,” Tazaar pointed out.

Jeet looked up at Aruli’s tear-stained face and reached across the Oracle for Aruli’s hand. Aruli took it, tears falling from his eyes. “The Oracle will be alright,” Jeet assured him.

“You’ve had a dream?” Aruli asked, hopefully.

Jeet shook his head and looked down at the Oracle. He let go of Aruli’s hand and stroked Anda’s face. “The Oracle would not want any of you to die. Make what preparations you need to for your escape,” he said. “And send Judah to me.”

Quietly, the others left the room.

“I love you, Anda,” Jeet whispered in her ear. “I won’t leave you. I promised to do whatever I needed to keep us together, and I will.”

+ + + + +

“Abij-hah?” Judah asked, coming in quietly. “You sent for me.”

Jeet looked up from where he was carefully squeezing spring water out of a cotton cloth, drop by drop, onto Anda’s lips. Notama sat on the Oracle’s other side once more. Rem sat close by with Maracee.

Jeet glanced up at the old man. “Your stories,” he said, “about your prophets; they healed people who were sick. They brought a boy back from the dead. Will your god listen to you? Can you heal Anda?”

Judah sat down at the foot of the Oracle’s bed. She was motionless; deeply flushed. He looked at Jeet. The boy was red-eyed and haggard. Judah smiled sadly. This boy, to whom an entire city came for healing, was after all, only a boy; a boy who had no power to heal. A boy looking for a god.

“Ask the Great God, yourself, Abij-hah,” Judah said, gently. “He has listened to you before.”

Jeet wiped an eye with the back of his hand. “But how can I know, Judah?” he asked, and wiped his other eye. “You say that the Great God is the same good god who protects me, but how can I know? What if he isn’t, and what if he doesn’t hear me, and what if the good god who does protect me grows angry because I call on another god.”

Judah shifted uncomfortably. He was no holy man. Nor was he even a particularly religious man. How could he speak with any authority? But then he reminded himself that he was a Jew. “Jeet,” he said, moving closer and putting a hand on the boy’s shoulder. “There is only one Great God. I do not understand his ways, but I believe he hears the sons of men, even non-Jewish men, when they call on him.”

Jeet swallowed, his eyes dropping again to the Oracle. “I have been told that the courtyard is full of people praying to the goddess for Anda,” Jeet said. “Will the Great God hear them?”

Judah took a deep breath and let it out. Would his god listen to prayers offered to a goddess? Would he answer them, and allow a statue of stone to take credit for the intervention of his hand? Judah looked at the boy’s face, beautiful even in sadness and fatigue. Would the god who gave Judah a heart for the boy, not have a heart for the boy himself? “Jeet,” he said quietly. “He will hear you. Pray to him yourself.”

+ + + + +

It was dark. Jeet had sent the others from the room except for Notama, who sat quietly on the other side of Anda. He had prayed to the good god who protected him, for Anda. He had prayed over and over until he felt he could pray no more. And still, Anda lay motionless.

Carefully, he uncovered her nude body and pulled off his own breechcloth. “I wish to make love to her one more time,” he whispered to Notama. “I am her husband, and I wish to be joined to her and hold her to me, one last time.”

He lay down beside Anda, and kissed her hot face. He kissed her breasts. But then he started weeping, silently. He could not arouse himself; his cock lay hopelessly flaccid over his leg.

He laid his face down on the hot skin of Anda’s shoulder and rubbed his tears there. A moment later, he glanced up in surprise. Notama had come around, kneeling beside him, and bending over, she had taken his limp cock into her mouth. She sucked it gently, stroking the inside of his thighs, and finally, he grew hard.

Notama sat back and Jeet got up onto his hands and knees. He carefully spread Anda’s legs and knelt between them. He lowered his hips and Notama helped him find his way in.

Anda’s vagina was hot; hotter than in sex. He kept his weight supported above her as well as he could, so that he wouldn’t make her body even hotter. He kissed her lips as he moved the length of his cock slowly inside her, and he whispered to her how much he loved her. Beside him, Notama watched and wept quietly, holding Anda’s hand.

+ + + + +

“Jeet-hah,” Tazaar whispered.

Jeet lifted his head. It was pitch black outside, and very still. Only one lamp burned in the room.

“Cyndur says it is time. We must go,” Tazaar said. Tears were streaming down his cheeks. “We don’t want to leave you, but it is time.”

Anda groaned and their heads jerked around toward her. Her skin was wet, very wet. It glistened in the lamplight. She stirred and moaned again.

“Call in the old physician,” Jeet said.

Tazaar nodded and hurried from the room. Moments later, he returned with the old man. The physician bent over Anda, feeling at various places over her body with the flat of his hand.

“What is it?” Jeet asked. “Why is she so wet?”

The old man smiled. “The fever has broken,” he said. “Bring me towels. We’ll dry her and get her onto dry bedding as quickly as possible. She should rest tonight, and in the morning… ” He paused and turning to Jeet, tapped the boy’s head with a finger. “You stay with her and pray for her, Abij-hah. In the morning, she should come back to us.”

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