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Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.


Chapter 3 – Preparations

Cybele's most ecstatic followers were males who ritually castrated themselves, after which they were given women's clothing and assumed "female" identities… Her priestesses led the people in orgiastic ceremonies with wild music, drumming, dancing and drink. She was associated with the mystery religion concerning her son, Attis, who was castrated and resurrected… Other followers of Cybele… expressed her ecstatic and orgiastic cult in music, especially drumming, clashing of shields and spears, dancing, singing and shouts, all at night. – Wikipedia

That night, Jeet dreamed. In his dream, a boy was crying. The boy, who looked like Aruli, though younger, was sitting on a rock with his knees pulled up. “Are you Aruli’s brother?” Jeet asked.

The boy nodded. Jeet looked around. The boy was alone. And then the boy was gone.

Jeet woke, troubled by the dream. Ono was spooned behind him and Jeet pulled Ono’s arm tighter around himself.

He decided that he wouldn’t say anything to Aruli about the dream.

+ + + + +

The short distance between the rear of the shrine and the temple walls had never been paved with stones, but had been left in dirt. It had proven unsuitable for gardening in the past because it remained in shade most of the day, either from the shrine or from the wall. That lack of sun made it good for Jin, though, and his pale, albino skin: and so Nester chose it as the location for their acrobatic practices.

Tazaar was a natural athlete. He was the first to master cartwheels and hand springs, and though he had been a eunuch longer than the others, he retained some of his natural strength.

That space behind the shrine was also where Ono first took them to test their singing ability. He had them stand in a semi circle around him.

“I’m going to sing part of a song, and then I will have each of you sing it,” he said. He held up a finger, took a deep breath, and sang a short passage from a temple song; a song of Attis. His voice was strong and flexible; richer than a female soprano and far purer than a male falsetto.

He finished and pointed at Jeet. Jeet did his best to repeat what he had heard and Ono nodded approvingly. He had Tazaar sing next. Though Tazaar had trouble remembering the entire passage, he had a pleasing voice. Then it was Aruli’s turn.

With a smile, because Aruli enjoyed singing, he repeated Ono’s passage flawlessly in the high, pure voice of a boy soprano. “Excellent!” Ono said enthusiastically. “Sing something else. Do you have a song you like?”

Aruli nodded, composed himself, and then in the shade behind the shrine, he sang one of his family’s songs; a song about the wind searching to find peace among the mountains. It was a haunting, mellow tune, and the others listened quietly, remembering their own homes.

“Aruli,” Ono said quietly. “You must teach us that song.”

That morning, they also found that Bantu was a good singer. In dance, both Ptolemy and Jin excelled. And Jeet began to worry that he would bring no unique talent of his own to the service of the Oracle.

+ + + + +

Rufus, captain of the Oracle’s shrine guards, watched as Jeet paused on the front steps of the shrine, his arms loaded with new curtains for inside. The boy looked down the length of the temple courtyard toward the temple. Two tall braziers had been placed on either side of the temple steps. From them, red smoke was rising.

Though his own sons had been rough and tumble, plain-looking boys, these new attendants of the Oracle – with their white loincloths that barely covered their rounded, little butts – reminded him of his own sons at that age. All three were older now, and married. One was a guard in the temple service. Two were guards for the governor. A brief smile crossed Rufus’ face. It was good to have boys around again.

He liked this boy, Jeet, though he had been prepared not to. From all the talk about how beautiful the boy was and how high his purchase price, Rufus expected a pampered and spoiled slave. But far from being spoiled, Jeet was guileless. And though he was a quiet boy, he seemed to remember the name of each person he met. Everyone liked him. There was something about this boy’s gentle and open spirit that made him instantly likable.

Rufus suspected that the boy’s popularity was also due to his looks. Though every one of the Oracle’s young attendants were remarkably pretty boys, this one’s beauty was almost other-worldly; as if he came from the gods themselves. Certainly, no one had eyes like this boy’s eyes.

Rufus cleared his throat and spoke to the boy. “Tonight is a full moon. The red smoke means that the followers of Cybele will revel tonight,” he said.

Jeet turned toward him.

“Have they told you about the festivals of Cybele?” the guard asked.

Jeet shook his head.

“Stay away from them,” Rufus warned. “They would eat you alive.”

“What do you mean?” Jeet asked. Aruli, coming up the steps with his arms full with another load of curtains, paused beside Jeet and listened.

“They get drunk,” Rufus said with a warning scowl. “They dance and sing, make a loud racket, and they all get drunk. They make pallets on the temple floor for the priestesses and for some of the prostitutes and eunuchs and they fuck each other. Men with more lust than brains, and a few women, travel from across the province to spend the night here. Every once in a while, some youth will get falling-down drunk and let himself be castrated to join the cult of Attis.” He leaned toward them and wagged his finger. “If either of you showed up there, you would be raped by every damned one of them, and dead before morning.”

Both boys glanced at each other and then back toward the temple.

“Here at the shrine,” Rufus said, slapping one of the shrine’s columns, “we guard you and you will be safe. You,” he said, pointing at Jeet, “don’t leave the high priest’s chamber tonight, and tell Tazaar not to leave Stycus’ chamber.”

The boys nodded slowly, but Rufus couldn’t tell whether they were taking his warning seriously. He frowned at them. “Pretty young eunuchs belong in quiet bedchambers.”

+ + + + +

Jarus’ bedchamber was in fact where Jeet was, late that night, when the revelries spilled into the quarters of the Most High Priest in the form of two priestesses and a fifteen-year-old novice with a lamp. “Leave!” Ono commanded them. “You do not belong in here.”

The three of them had been drinking. Their clothes were only half-arrayed on their bodies; their breasts were bare. The youngest, the novice, was the first Jeet saw on waking, and he recognized her as Debhor, a girl who reminded him of Weela. Her breasts looked firm.

“Hush, Ono,” the oldest of the priestesses said. “We just want to see the boy.”

“You see him every day,” Ono said, clutching Jeet’s naked body back against his own.

The two priestesses knelt beside Jeet while the novice bent over them with her lamp. “He’s so pretty,” the novice said softly.

“Get back, Lenore,” Ono said to the oldest priestess. “He belongs to the Oracle.”

“The Oracle isn’t here yet, Ono,” Lenore answered.

“All the more reason to see the boy now,” the other priestess said. She leaned forward and lifted Jeet’s flaccid cock on her fingers. “They should have never cut this boy. He would have been a stallion. Look at this cock.”

“Temple stallion,” said the novice with a giggle. “Every girl would want to have one of his babies. They would be pretty babies.”

Lenore stroked the boy’s long hair. “Get his cock hard,” she told the other priestess. “Let’s see how big it is.”

Ono swatted the priestess’ hand away.

“Come on, Ono,” Lenore said impatiently. “We just want to see how big his cock gets.” She bent forward and took Jeet’s cock into her mouth.

Unintentionally, the protective hold that Ono had on the boy also kept Jeet captive for the priestess. He had nowhere to move, and so he simply lay still while Lenore began to work on his cock and the other priestess stroked the smooth skin of his slender legs.

They watched quietly, including Ono. He was a slave, and limited as to how much he could control the priestesses.

Lenore was good at sucking boys’ cocks, and Jeet soon had an erection. Lenore knelt up, holding Jeet’s cock out from his body with her fingers. “Very nice,” she said.

“I want to ride this young stallion,” the novice said quietly, setting down the lamp.

Without asking Ono or Jeet, the two priestesses pulled Jeet from Ono’s arms and onto his back, while the novice quickly shed her clothing and knelt down astride Jeet’s legs. With her eyes on Jeet’s, she moved forward, pointing his cock up into her labia. She held it there in her closed hand as she found the opening to her vagina with his cockhead, and then eased herself onto his shaft. They all watched his slender length vanish into Debhor’s crevice as she settled down onto his lap. The lips of her labia flattened against his loins.

She began to move and Jeet tensed.

“Are you alright, Jeet?” Ono asked with a frown at the priestesses.

“Yeah,” Jeet said, nodding. His eyes met those of the young novice and he smiled. “I like Debhor.”

The girl smiled back and fell forward onto her hands, her face closer to Jeet’s as she began to move her hips, grinding her pubic mound down against the boy’s. “I’ll make it feel good for you, Jeet,” she promised.

Jeet nodded and reached up with both hands to place them over Debhor’s firm breasts. He squeezed them and tweaked Debhor’s nipples the way Weela sometimes liked hers tweaked, as the girl ground downward, forcing his full length up inside her.

Next to them, Lenore sat back beside Ono’s legs and fondled his cock while she watched Debhor and Jeet. Ono’s cock began to respond and Lenore smiled. “You aren’t such an old woman after all, are you, Ono? You just haven’t been paying enough attention to this little thing.”

Ono frowned at her, just before she bent down over Ono’s lap and took his cock into her mouth. The other priestess moved around behind her, and lifted Lenore’s skirts up to her waist before bending down to Lenore with her mouth.

Debhor’s hair hung down over Jeet’s face as she rocked her hips back and forth, rubbing her clitoris on the smooth flesh of Jeet’s bald pubic mound. Jeet caressed her breasts and moved with his hips under her.

“You’ve done this with a girl before,” Debhor murmured.

Jeet nodded.

She smiled, and closed her eyes to concentrate.

Jeet dreamed in the night as he slept in Debhor’s arms. He dreamed that it was Weela’s arms he was in once more, and he was happy. But then it wasn’t Weela and it wasn’t Debhor and it wasn’t Ono. It was someone else whose arms he slept in… but he was still happy. It was The someone else.

He awoke to a bed full of women and foul breath from morning-after mouths. He almost forgot the dream. But then he remembered and wondered who The someone else in his dream had been. Was it the Oracle?

+ + + + +

“You are lucky that you didn’t get caught,” Jeet told his friends. “You heard what Rufus said.”

Jeet, Jin, and Aruli were in their parapet hide-away behind the shrine and above the river, eating their midday meal of bread. Midday was the only time, other than at night, when many servants could break away from work, and the parapet at mid-day had become a daily rendezvous for the three. There they ate their bread, talked, and sometimes sucked each other’s cocks.

“It was easy,” Jin said, leaning toward Jeet who sat between Aruli and himself. “It was dark, and you know those big, sacred pine trees between the temple and the river? Well, we snuck up under the trees so the guards wouldn’t see us from the walls or the grounds, and we got as close as we could. And we could hear a lot of music, and yelling, and singing from inside the temple.”

Aruli leaned close from Jeet’s other side. “We couldn’t see anything at first.”

“Yeah, but before long,” Jin continued, “one of the priestesses – the one with the really big breasts,” he held his hands cupped under his chest to indicate size, “came out onto the steps, and her breasts were hanging out from her clothes, and these two guys, who we hadn’t ever seen before, were with her…”

“And they were drinking,” Aruli said.

“And they took off their tunics right there on the temple steps,” Jin continued, “and they bent her over and she sucked one of their cocks while the other lifted her skirts in back and fucked her from behind. Look,” he said, pulling back his loincloth from his lap, “I’m starting to get hard, just remembering it.”

“Me too,” Aruli agreed, also pulling back his loincloth and fondling his semi-hard cock.

Jin continued. “And then the two guys switched and, while they were still fucking the priestess with the big breasts, two men came out…”

“Youths,” Aruli corrected. “They had to be sixteen or seventeen years old.”

“Alright… youths,” Jin agreed. He was now stroking his cock. “Those two youths started hugging and kissing each other, and then the shorter one of them turned around and bent over and pulled up his tunic, and then the taller one lifted his tunic and he had this big, hard cock and he grabbed the shorter guy by the hips and started fucking his butt.”

“A lot more people came outside,” Aruli said. “And they all were drinking and fucking. After a while, musicians came out onto the temple steps. Then about a dozen men and youths came out dressed in armor, but only armor. They had crested helmets, shields and swords. They paired up down below the steps and they started dancing to the music – stomping their feet and banging their shields with their swords in rhythm. One of them looked like a eunuch, but not like us; he had a hairy body.”

“And a lot of them got erections while they were dancing,” Jin said, picking up the narrative. “And some naked priestesses and two eunuchs with their hair up like women’s hair, came out to them, and some of the men dancers started fucking them and some started fucking each other.

Aruli leaned closer. “Our cocks got really, really, really hard and we stroked each other while we watched, and then we snuck back to the shrine with our cocks poking out the front of our loincloths,” he said laughing. “Then we tried fucking each other’s butts like those guys did.”

“It didn’t work,” Jin said. “Our butts were too tight.”

Jeet shook his head. “You’re supposed to get your dicks slick with oil or something first.”

“Have you done it before?” Aruli asked in surprise. He reached under Jeet’s loincloth to close his hand around Jeet’s firming cock. They were the kind of friends now who could do that. He squeezed and gently tugged, waiting for Jeet to reply.

Jin snickered. “Jeet’s done everything Aruli. Don’t you remember him saying he was trained for all that?”

Aruli shrugged. “I don’t always know if he is serious.”

Jeet leaned back and sighed, closing his eyes, as Aruli stroked his erection. “I’ve done it.”

Aruli, his hand around Jeet’s cock, leaned forward earnestly. “I just wish we had some oil.”

“You can use spit,” Jeet informed him. “Jin can suck on your cock and get it all slick with his spit, and I can get my butt slick with spit, and we can do it, and you’ll see what it’s like.”

Aruli swallowed. “We can?”

Jeet shrugged. “I’ve done it. I can show you how.”

“And I can try it too?” Jin asked.

“If we have enough time,” Jeet said. “Otherwise, you can try tomorrow.”

Instantly, Jin was on his knees between Aruli’s legs; his head bobbing over Aruli’s lap.

Jeet stood up. Shaking his long hair back, he glanced around to be sure that there was no one coming; no one who could see them. He spit into his hand, lifted his loincloth in back, and rubbed the spit into his butt crack. “Lie on the ground,” he told Aruli.

Jin got up out of the way, and Aruli complied, removing his loincloth before lying back onto the stone floor. Jeet stepped over him, planting a foot on either side of Aruli’s waist, and then he squatted down. Grabbing the base of Aruli’s long cock, he guided Aruli’s cockhead to his hole, relaxed his sphincter, and slowly eased his butt down over the crown. Aruli was long, but nowhere near the thickness of Praxis’ cock, and the entry was easy.

Aruli lifted his head to watch his shaft vanish into Jeet’s descending butt. He could see easily because Jeet’s cock pointed up from Jeet’s lap and there was no ballsack to block the view. Jeet settled onto him, his bottom bones pressing into Aruli’s loins on either side of his cock, stretching Aruli up into his himself.

“Oh, shit!” Aruli murmured, his eyes almost shutting.

Then Jeet began to move, rocking his hips forward and back. Aruili’s gut clenched and the long ridge muscles from his sternum to his pelvis tightened visibly as his head and shoulders came up off the floor, and he grabbed at Jeet’s waist. “Ugh!” he almost gurgled.

“You like that?” Jeet asked with a grin. Praxis used to love it when Jeet rode him that way.

“Oh, damn… yes!” Aruli said with a gasp. His head and shoulders stayed up off the floor, and he clutched at Jeet’s waist, pulling in time with Jeet’s forward rocking. His eyes were wide and his mouth hung open. “I didn’t know it would feel like this,” he said in a whisper.

Jeet shifted from a squat to his knees, out to the sides. He put his hands behind his head and undulated his body as if he was dancing. He moved in ways that Praxis used to like. When his cock started to flop on Aruli’s belly, Aruli grabbed it, and held it so that Jeet pumped in and out of his palm.

“Damn, Jeet,” Jin said, watching as he stood beside them. “I believe you now – that you’ve been trained for this.” He had his hand under his loincloth and was stroking.

Jeet reached a hand to the side of Jin’s hip and guided him to stand facing Jeet, astride Aruli’s prone body. Then Jeet removed the albino boy’s loincloth, and, pulling him forward by the hips, he closed his mouth over the large, pink erection that pointed up from between Jin’s legs. His albino friend gasped. Jin’s head dropped back, and his eyes closed, and he ran his fingers into the hair on the sides of Jeet’s head.

Jeet pumped his hips, riding Aruli at the rhythm of an easy trot, while he held Jin firmly by the hips and took Jin’s pink cock deeper into his throat. He had indeed been trained for this – Praxis had taught him many things. But now, Jeet used what he had learned to please his friends, and he enjoyed it… in many ways. Aruli’s cock up his butt pressed his prostate, and Aruli’s hands felt good on his cock. At the same time, Jin smelled good – a tangy boy-scent – and his cock was far more pleasant to suck on than Praxis’ had ever been. Jin certainly had a nicer body than Praxis; a boy-body, like Jeet’s own. Jeet held Jin’s narrow hips, and the intimacy of the things he was doing for his friends pleased him.

They hit an easy rhythm. Eunuchs, even at their age, tend to make love more slowly than testosterone-driven males. And so it was almost an hour later that Ono found them still at it. Jeet was on the bench, his butt forward, his legs up on Jin’s shoulders; and Jin, holding Jeet by the tops of his legs, was savoring the sensations on his cock as he slid in and out of Jeet’s butt. Aruli’s head was on Jeet’s belly, sucking Jeet’s cock while Jeet stroked his hair.

Ono paused a moment, watching the slow movements of their white, tan, and dark bodies, and he was struck that they looked as comfortably intimate as if they were simply sleeping on each other. “Time to get back to work,” he finally said, and three heads jerked around in his direction.

Jeet returned greetings from others in the courtyard as he hurried to catch up with Ono. “Are you angry?” he asked, as he came alongside the older eunuch.

Ono glanced at him. “No,” he said, and then smiled. “I was just thinking that I need to take a closer look between your legs. You had sex with Debhor last night and your friends today… I think they missed something when they cut you, Jeet.”

Jeet pulled up short. Ono turned back and shook his head sadly. “I was only joking, Jeet-hah,” he said, laying his arms over the boy’s shoulders. “I’m afraid they didn’t forget anything.” He leaned his forehead down onto Jeet’s and grinned. “I’ll just check to see if you’re growing them back.”

Jeet frowned. “If I could, I would.”

Ono chuckled sadly and gave Jeet’s shoulders a friendly shake. “Wouldn’t we all?”

“Hi, Jeet,” came a feminine voice from close by. It had a sugary sweet sound that could only come from an adolescent girl with a crush.

“Hi, Debhor,” Jeet said, as they turned to her voice. There were two other novices with her, and Jeet greeted both by name.

“I only hope she doesn’t tell too many people,” Ono said, as the girls walked away. “Have you told your friends what happened last night?”

Jeet shook his head.

“Good,” Ono said. “The less who know, the better. We do not want Jarus to be angry.”

+ + + + +

Bantu came in from outside while they were sweeping and scrubbing the floor of the great hall of the shrine. It was raining lightly outside, and he shook out his red hair. Then he came to them. “The High Priests have issued a new command,” he announced. The others gathered around. “They have commanded that no one is to have sex with us,” Bantu continued. “They heard about Jeet and Debhor.”

The other’s glanced at Jeet.

“Who is Debhor?” Aruli asked, suddenly looking paler.

“A priestess Jeet had sex with,” Bantu answered.

Aruli looked at Jeet with something close to horror. Jeet glanced at Jin, and saw a disapproving frown.

Ono, who was standing to one side, saw the looks. He had assumed, when he found Jeet, Jin, and Aruli having sex, that it wasn’t the only time; that the three were friends was obvious even to those who didn’t know about their private times. Now Ono wondered if Jin and Aruli were feeling betrayed. He came forward.

“I will tell you what happened,” Ono said. “You should all know.” And then he told them the story of nocturnal assault of the three priestesses. When he finished, neither Aruli nor Jin would look at Jeet. Aruli turned to walk away.

“Stop!” Ono called out. “Come here Aruli, and all of you, listen to me.” He lowered his voice and stepped among them. “You are all slaves,” he said. “Jeet had no say over what happened to him. None of you have a say in what happens to you, even over things like these.” He looked them each, hard, in the eye. “Don’t ever reject each other. Don’t ever turn your back on each other because of something one of you was forced to do.”

“He probably enjoyed it,” Jin murmured.

“And what if he did?” Ono asked. “You may enjoy many of the things you are required to do. It still doesn’t mean you chose to do them.” Ono stepped back and started pushing them together into a bunch. “Stand together. Put your arms over each other’s shoulders and move close to each other.”

Reluctantly, on Jin and Aruli’s part, they complied, moving into a tight circle.

He moved up behind them, laying his hands on their backs, and he spoke in a low, stern voice. “Whether you fully realize it or not, you six are bound together for life. Your days will be spent in this building together. You will work together. You will grow up together. You will grow old together. You will probably all die together.” He paused for a moment to let them think about the implications of that, and then continued. “You will never have sons or daughters, or wives, or family other than yourselves. You are your own brothers, your own lovers, your own best friends, your own family. And when the Oracle comes, she will be your sister.” His voice softened with affection. “You have the sweet spirits of eunuchs, and you have each other. This is your life now. It is what your life will be. If you do not love each other, you will have no one else to love.” He spread his arms over their shoulders, embracing half their circle at once. “Love each other,” he whispered to them. “It will be life to you.”

Jeet glanced at Aruli who, across the tight circle, was almost face to face with him. Aruli’s large eyes were damp and there were tears on his cheeks. Jeet freed his arms from the others and embraced his friend. Aruli hugged back and wept silently on Jeet’s shoulder.

“Jeet doesn’t love Debhor,” Ono whispered to them. “He does love you, Aruli.”

+ + + + +

The temple’s chief steward, a contingent of servants, and a dozen of the temple guards left for the neighboring province of Ali to retrieve the new Oracle, two weeks before the Oracle was due back at the temple. They allowed six days to get there, two days there and six days back, since they were carrying a litter for the Oracle, and going would be slow.

The same day that they left, the ears of the six young eunuchs were pierced for earrings. Then Ono and Nester led them to see Rallot, the keeper of the temple’s wardrobe and vestments.

Rallot, a thin, old eunuch, had long fingers and a twinkle in his eye. “Have they told you?” he asked excitedly as he looked over the boys. “You are going to have new clothes. New servants for the new Oracle must have new clothes,” he said, as if repeating a truism. Then he winked. “Not that you’ll ever wear that much clothing,-hah-hah.”

The old eunuch chuckled to himself as he walked down the line of boys. He lifted up the front of Tazaar's loincloth and looked under, and shook his head laughing. “Lovely… just lovely.”

“Rallot, you old lecher, quit drooling over the Oracle’s eunuchs and get to work,” Ono scolded.

Rallot laughed and waved for them all to follow. He led them to a corner of the room where colorful bolts of rare silk were stacked in an orderly fashion. Laying his hand on a bolt of bright red material, he turned to them, still grinning. “The new Oracle’s personal attendants will wear breechcloths. You will wear silk breechcloths when the Oracle is receiving important visitors.” He rolled off three feet of red silk and held it up to Tazaar’s belly so that it hung down between his legs all the way to Tazaar’s knees. “We use an Egyptian style,” Rallot said. “Long, so that the ends come down to your knees, and when the breechcloth is silk or light cotton, we twist it in back so that it sits in the length of your butt crack, leaving your butt cheeks bare, and the rest hangs down in the back like a tail.” He chuckled, again. “You’ll all be adorable, absolutely adorable.”

“Of course, jewelry makes all the difference,” he said, half to himself as he began to sort through the bolts. “You’ll get jewelry, but first, we must pick a color for each of you.” He glanced back at them. “But, that’s mainly for the silk. Most of the time, you’ll wear white cotton or linen breechcloths.” He smiled. “But breechcloths of fine Egyptian cotton and the very best of linen.”

He picked up a bolt of black silk. In all the stacks, there was only one black bolt. He brought Jin and Tazaar together and held the bolt between them. “One of you two for the black,” he said, speculatively. “Oh, you, definitely,” he said, holding the black in front of Tazaar’s belly. “And you,” he said to Jin, “we haven’t seen an albino boy here in a long, long time. Dark red will definitely do for you.”

Then he turned to Jeet. “And you… you really are a pretty boy, just like everyone says… with that smoky, dark skin and those silvery eyes. For you, it must be white; pure white.” He gave dark-eyed Aruli yellow. To redhead Bantu, he gave blue to match his eyes. To tall, dark-skinned Ptolemy he gave purple; royal purple.

He measured the boys, feeling them up and chuckling to himself in the process. “You will be lovely,” he kept mumbling.

+ + + + +

One week later – a week before the Oracle was to arrive – they stood naked in a lamp-lit anteroom with their new, silk breechcloths in hand. Tazaar was the only one of them who had any pubic hair, and the little he had, had been plucked. Their bodies were smooth, and their skin was without blemish or flaw.

Rallot took Tazaar by the hand, separating him from the others. The old eunuch clapped his hands for attention. “I will show you boys how to do this with my young lover, Tazaar.” He grinned at the boy, and then turned him to face the others.

“First, you wrap this thin cord around the waist,” he said, wrapping a soft, pure-white cord around Tazaar’s waist from behind. “Now while I hold it, Tazaar, hang the fabric over the front so that it’s down to your knees.”

Tazaar draped one end of the black, silk breechcloth over the front of the white cord which Rallot held from behind. Rallot had embroidered the border of the narrow breechcloth in silver. Even in lamplight, the effect was striking.

Jeet stepped forward to help Tazaar measure the front of the breechcloth correctly to knee length and then he spread its narrow width out over the front of the belt. The rest of the fabric fell to the floor between Tazaar’s feet.

“Now come back here to watch,” Rallot said, waving the others to his side with his hand. “Next you tie the belt in back. It rides low on the hips and ties loosely; not too tight. Then you reach down and pull up the rest of the fabric.” He bent to retrieve the black fabric from the floor between Tazaar’s legs, and kissed Tazaar’s bare, well-formed butt. “Beautiful,” he said, chuckling to himself.

He straightened back up, with the remaining length of black silk in his hands, and brushed off dust from the floor. Then holding the fabric in one hand, he reached down between Tazaar’s legs with his other. “You grab the fabric down between their legs… oh, I’m sorry,” he said with a chuckle, “did I grab the wrong thing?”

Tazaar wiggled his hips and Rallot laughed, and then sighed dramatically. “He loves me.” He kissed the small of Tazaar’s back and pulled the fabric up from between Tazaar’s legs. “You tug it so that it pulls down the front of the belt… so that the belt comes down off the hips in front like an inverted triangle, and the breechcloth barely comes up enough to cover the cock.” He tugged and looked around Tazaar’s side to gauge the affect. “If you do it right, the cord falls in the seams of these muscles,” he said, drawing his finger down either side of the V formed by Tazaar’s lower abdominal plate. “But don’t pull too hard or you will tear the fabric.”

“Next,” he said, “you pull the cock back with the fabric, back between the legs. Just past the end of the cock, you twist the fabric a few times, pulling it up into the butt crack. Then you pull the rest of the material up through the belt, and drape it over the back so that it covers the knot you’ve tied in the cord. Then tug the whole thing down so that this little upside down triangle at the top of the butt crack shows… like this.” He stepped back. “And you have a tail.”

Tazaar slowly turned for them.

“Elegant,” Rallot pronounced. “And very, very sexy.”

Tazaar, looking down his body, placed his hand on his belly and swiveled his hips.

“You feel good, don’t you, lover?” Rallot asked. “You feel sexy, don’t you?”

Tazaar nodded.

“Just don’t leak any precum inside the silk, lover,” Rallot said with a laugh. He ran his hand over Tazaar’s butt. “Very, very nice.”

Jeet thought the old eunuch had understated it. Tazaar looked more alluring than if he had simply been naked, and Tazaar was beautiful, naked. His body had been firming up with all the work, gymnastics, and dancing. Jeet knew that better than any of the others because, after that first bath together, it was assumed that Tazaar would be Jeet’s bathing partner. Though they still said little to each other, the two of them washed each other daily, and Jeet was acutely aware of each developing muscle in Tazaar’s body. He admired Tazaar, and envied him. He also liked him and felt guilty that he worried whether the Oracle would choose Tazaar over himself.

Tazaar stepped forward to help Jeet with his gold-embroidered, white, silk breechcloth. “I’m going to be walking bent over, if I get any harder in this thing,” Tazaar whispered with a grin.”

“Don’t talk like that,” Jeet protested. “I’m already fighting against getting hard over the way you look. If you get me any harder, we won’t get this thing on.”

Tazaar’s brow furrowed as he pulled the cord around Jeet’s waist from behind. “Really? The way I look?”

“Yes,” Jeet said, nodding his head.

Tazaar’s eyes swept the nape of Jeet’s neck, and it stirred his gut the way the closeness of Jeet’s neck always stirred him when they bathed together. “I always have to fight getting hard when you wash me,” Tazaar whispered behind Jeet’s ear.

“Oh, damn,” Jeet said.

“What?” Tazaar asked, concerned.

“I told you not to talk like that. My cock’s getting hard.”

Rallot, inspecting the boys’ efforts, came to Jeet and Tazaar. Staring down at Jeet’s thickening member, he shook his head. “As much as I’d love to see that thing in all it’s glory, lover,” he said, “if it get’s any harder, I’ll have to whack it to make it go down.”

Jeet’s eyes went wide. He swallowed hard, and his erection quickly subsided.

When they finished, and Tazaar was standing behind Jeet, he wrapped one arm around Jeet’s belly and his other arm over Jeet’s chest. Jeet knew what Tazaar was doing and moved with him, the way Benwal had taught them to move together for the dance. They practiced, and concentrated on not growing erections.

Their bodies swayed, Jeet’s rear pressed to Tazaar’s front. Tazaar surprised Jeet by hugging him close and kissing him under his ear. “You look fantastic, Jeet,” he whispered.

Tazaar hugged him again, and Jeet leaned back into him. He felt surprisingly comfortable in his bathing partner’s arms, and he wondered, for a moment, if Tazaar was the “someone else” in his dream that night with Debhor.

Rallot had made them capes of sheer, white silk. They put them on, closing them around their bodies, and followed Rallot to the doorway into the temple’s dining hall. It was an hour after the Saturday evening sacrifice – the biggest of the week – and all of the priestesses of Cybele, along with the high priests, had assembled to feast. At a signal from Nester, two drummers began a beat, and the six young eunuchs filed in.

They lined up across one end of the room. Other instruments joined the drums. Ono cued them, and the six boys sang a song they were preparing for the Oracle. Aruli and Bantu shared solo parts.

The drum beats abruptly doubled in speed and volume. The boys tossed off their capes with a flare that Rallot had shown them, and several of the priestesses cheered at the sight of their nearly naked bodies. The boys launched into a series of tumbling runs with cartwheels, handsprings and back flips. Their long breechcloths flew like streamers or tails, while temple musicians pounded their drums and clashed their cymbals. Tazaar performed two passes of several handsprings, and drew cheers from the priestesses, high priests, and even the attending servants.

The drums quieted to a soft beat, and a harp and pipe joined in as the boys transitioned from the tumbling Nester taught them, into the dance Benwal had choreographed for them. They flowed together and apart; the movement of their naked limbs and torsos combining erotically. They danced with grace; their slender arms moving like the necks of swans. Their long breechcloths, dangling like short-armed “Y”s from their hips, swayed between smooth, slender legs as if to say, ‘look here… look here.’

Yet, despite their grace, they were still new to dance and acrobatics; their performance lacked the polish they would achieve in the months to come. They didn’t end together, but when they did end – the six of them evenly spaced on their knees, sitting back on their haunches, heads down, chests heaving to catch their breath – the banquet room exploded in cheers.

The high priests rose and came to the boys. The Most High Priest walked down the line, lifting their faces and nodding his approval. He turned back to the hall and raised his hands for silence. “Never,” he announced, “have we had such splendid attendants for the Oracle. So exquisitely beautiful in form and features. So graceful, so lovely. And,” he smiled down at the boys, “so talented. They have been preparing only three weeks.” He bent and stroked the closest boy’s head. It was Jin’s. “The Oracle will be well pleased,” Jarus assured them.

Then Jarus spoke softly to the boys, where only they could hear. “We have something special planned for you,” he said. “Ono will tell you when you leave here tonight.”

Jeet glanced at Stycus and saw the priest suppress a smile, and he wondered if they should be concerned about what the something special would be.

“Now go to the kitchen,” Jarus said, speaking up again. “The cooks have food prepared for you. Be sure to eat well. You will be fasting during the daytime this week to prepare yourselves for the Oracle.”

When they left the banquet hall, the boys gathered around Ono expectantly. Ono frowned, waving down their questions as to what would be the “something special”.

“It’s nothing like what you’re thinking,” he said. “Stycus had a ‘vision’ from the goddess,” he said with a frown. “In it – Stycus claims – the goddess instructed him that the high priests are to personally help prepare you for the Oracle. They are to make you more worthy for her by ‘planting their sacred seed’ inside each of you.”

“What does that mean?” Bantu asked suspiciously; his blue eyes narrowing.

Ono shook his head apologetically. “For the next six nights, each high priest will take one of you to his chambers until they have slept with you all.”

The boys exchanged uncomfortable glances as Ono led them on toward the kitchen. “I suppose,” Aruli murmured, “that’s why Stycus has been pumping so much sacred seed into Tazaar; to make him holy.”

Bantu and Ptolemy laughed nervously, but Tazaar flushed red and Jeet frowned.

“Sorry,” Aruli said sheepishly. “I didn’t mean it to sound like that.”

“You don’t know what it’s like,” Tazaar murmured. “But you will.”

+ + + + +

“I belong to the Oracle,” Jeet protested.

Jarus crossed his arms and studied the boy who stood before him in a short cotton breechcloth. Praxis said the boy had spirit. Obviously, castration didn’t take it all out of him. The Most High Priest had good instincts concerning people, and his instincts told him that if he handled this defiance properly, this boy could be his ally. If not, the boy would be ruined, and he couldn’t risk leaving him in the Oracle’s service.

“Come, Jeet,” he said. “Come with me.”

Cautiously, Jeet followed the priest out onto the balcony of his quarters. Ono followed.

The balcony looked out over the temple grounds where torches burned along and atop the walls. A three-quarter moon had begun its descent and reflected on the rippling surface of the river. The night breeze was cool, and Jeet shivered slightly.

“Come,” Jarus said, waving the boy forward to his side. “Don’t be afraid, Jeet. You’ve spent every night in my quarters for three weeks. We know each other.”

Jeet came up alongside the high priest at the balcony railing. “Are you cold?” Jarus asked, laying his arm, and cloak over Jeet’s shoulders. He drew the boy to his side. “Feeling warmer?” he asked.

The boy nodded.

“I chose you Jeet,” Jarus said patiently, “from many other boys. I paid a small fortune for you, and willingly – I didn’t need to pay anything, but I paid it so that your coming to us would not be troubled. I selected you to be one of only six attendants to the Oracle of Kaleh. I have been your sponsor. I have favored you over any of the others; keeping you in my own chambers, giving you Ono to look after you and guide you. My hope has been that the Oracle chooses you to be Abij-hah.” He sighed. “But now I am troubled.” He glanced down at the boy, “Do I sense a spirit of rebellion in you, Jeet?”

“No holy one,” Jeet said quietly.

“Then what is this about?”

“I belong to the Oracle,” Jeet said in a small voice.

“Are you refusing my bed, Jeet? Are you refusing me? Because I know that you have shared a bed with a novice priestess since you have been here. I have heard that you share your body with your friends. If you belong to the Oracle the way you say, why have you not refused them?”

Jeet said nothing.

“Am I that ugly to you?” Jarus asked, his tone hardening.

“Oh, no holy one. You are a much finer looking man than my former master.”

Jarus chuckled. “Remember, I know Praxis, Jeet. I’m not sure that you have given me much of a compliment.”

“I’m sorry, holy one.”

Jarus pulled the boy close beside him. “Then tell me, Jeet. What is this about?”

The boy struggled with how to answer. How could he say that what the priests wanted to do was inherently wrong? It wasn’t right for the priests to plunder what they had said for weeks belonged to the Oracle. But most of all, how could he say that he was afraid, very afraid of Stycus.

“Jeet,” Jarus said softly. “We wish to prepare you for the Oracle. All that is being asked of you is to give a few hours of pleasure to each of the high priests who take care of you and this temple. Praxis trained you in love making. All six of you may be trained even more. Visiting the beds of the guests of the Oracle may be required of you.” Jarus decided to force the issue with the boy. He pulled himself up to his full height, and his voice lost its warmth. “Perhaps you no longer want to be in the Oracle’s service,” Jarus suggested.

Jeet glanced up at him wide-eyed.

“I won’t force you, Jeet,” Jarus said. “None of the high priests will. I’m going to bed now. You decide if you want to serve the Oracle and this temple or not.”

The high priest left the balcony.

Ono, who had been watching from inside, came out onto the balcony and knelt in front of Jeet, pulling him into his arms. “Jeet-hah,” Ono whispered, taking the boy into his arms. “It will only be three nights; one with each priest. At the end of the week the Oracle will be here. Things will be different then.”

Jarus smiled to himself when he felt the boy slip into the bed beside him. He smiled from relief as much as because of the pleasure he looked forward to.

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