Chapter 1

The clashing of chains.

The manacles were around our wrists.

The five of us were packed tightly into a very small space. I don't know these boys but I know their stories. It has to be the same story as mine. When the dark figures came in the middle of the night and took them.

"Do you boys know where we are going?" a boy asks.

He seems desperate. He's handsome in his own way. Maybe he reminds me of my older brother in a way. He looks a lot like me. My brother doesn't have those eyes though. My brother isn't afraid of anything. This boy seems to be afraid of his own shadow and in this dark caravan there were so many shadows.

"No," one boy says.

The boy gets quiet again but he doesn't let it rest for too long, "My name is Polo."

"Ahmed," the boy closest to him says, "I would shake your hand but..."

Ahmed stares at the manacles attached to strong heavy chains. He softens a smile as best as he can. He has a handsome smile. All white teeth. We all have very white teeth. We all have very oval faces. I lean back my oval face up against the sturdiness of the bars.

"I am Syed and this is my brother Ramzi."

The two brothers look no more like one another than the rest of us. Syed is smaller in size and stature. Ramzi looks like a soldier. I don't take my eyes off Ramzi for quite some time. He's beautiful. The way he leans up against the carriage is beautiful. He's strong, muscular and holds himself as though he is above what is going on right now. We all look the same but he is by far the best of us. He is by far the most beautiful.

He notices, "What are you looking at?"

His eyes look right at me. I don't reply. I stare away quickly into the darkness.

"Leave him be Ramzi," Syed says.

Ramzi nods at his brother's request and complies but the other boys seem to have interest in me now. I'm the only one who hasn't introduced themselves.

"What's your name?" Polo asks me.

No answer.

Ahmed sighs a bit, "I don't think he can talk."

"Maybe he is just scared," Polo explains, "There is no reason to be scared."

He's trying to comfort me but I'm not a child. I'm a young man. I know this is bad. The men came in the middle of the night like soldiers. There were so many of them. They stormed through my home. My family attempted to stop them but no one could.

"Is that what you believe?" Ramzi asks Polo, "Do you think we are all going to be OK? You have no idea where we are going do, you?"

They are strangers. We were also strangers save Ramzi and his brother Syed. The discomfort in the carriage even between the two brothers scared the hell out of me. Syed has a single tear running down his face. I think he knows where we are being taken. I think both the brothers do. They are reacting differently. Where Syed seems emotional, Ramzi seems much more accepting of the truth.

"You two know where we are going?"

"Look at us. Don't we all have certain things in common," Ramzi asks, "We could all be brothers. Our big eyes. Our framed bodies. Our skin tones are all similar."

He was right. I had noticed it before. All of our skin ranges from yellowish brown to a toasty medium skin tone. No lighter. No darker. All our hair a jet black cut above our faces.

His brother finishes his thought, "It's our eyes mostly. He wants us for our eyes."

Our eyes were all hazel. I hadn't even noticed that before. We all had deep hazel eyes. They were all hazel eyes that contained varying hues of green, amber and even blue mixed all in together. Even in the darkness with no light being reflected I can tell we all share this common feature.

"Who is he?" Polo asks.

Ahmed follows up rather quickly, "You know who took us?"

Syed turns away. He seems so uncomfortable. The two brothers definitely knew who took us and right now it is clear that they are afraid to say. Ramzi seems like the braver of the two though. He opens his mouth and with a shiver the truth came out.

"The God king," Ramzi states, "They say he doesn't bleed. They say he doesn't die. Everyone knows that when he conquers your lands he takes your sons. His empire comes with their crescent moon. They burn. They kill. They loot. And when they are done they take boys like us because we are what he likes."

"Likes for what?"

"We are slaves now," Ramzi responds, "And not just any sort of slaves."

The clashing of chains. Reminds us of the shackles maintained around our feet and our hands. The dirty clothes we were given to wear. The long journey that doesn't seem to end. This was slavery. Polo and Ahmed both seem to have ignored all the signs before Ramzi announces it. Maybe they just didn't want to believe that they could be in this.

Ahmed is tall. He has the longest legs of any of us. They stretch clear across the caravan. Even now though he seems to become so small, circling into himself at the idea of what the God King wants with us.

"You're scaring them," Syed explains to his brother.

"They deserve the truth," Ramzi argues.

"We want to know. We want to know..." Polo states.

He speaks for all of us. Ahmed is quiet though. I don't think he wants to know. I think I've heard enough as well, but I can tell that Polo has a curios personality. He is a free thinking mind and maybe that's a good thing. I don't say a word. I just cross my arms and wonder if Ramzi would mind me looking at him just a little while longer. In all these unpleasantries at least he was here to stare at. At least I could see the fold of his lips or the way his hazel eyes seem to have a little bit more green in them then the rest of ours. Ramzi notices me staring at him again. This time he doesn't shy away or get angry. He stares right back at me.

"I hear he's sick. I hear him and people have the most disgusting fetishes and he needs certain boys with hazel eyes to fulfill them."

"Those are just childhood stories our parents used to tell us to scare us to behave," Syed explains.

I wonder if Syed is saying this more for his wellbeing than ours. He seems to force an emotional smile like someone holding something in when they should be letting it go.

Ahmed seems to let it go. He has gone into a sick fit in the next moment of tears, panic and anger. He's punching the walls screaming for people to let him out of here. The caravan doesn't stop. It doesn't even slow down. The fit Ahmed is having just seems to break the silence for a while. It's just something to watch.

"Kicking and screaming won't help," Ramzi tells him.

It's a very human response. A part of me wants to do the same as Ahmed. I want to kick and scream. I want to toss and turn. I want to panic. I don't though. I just attempt to rub the skin underneath my manacles. I just attempt to adjust my chains and find some sort of comfort in this moment by looking over at Ramzi's beautiful physique.

"What kind of fetishes?" Polo asks.

Polo is obsessed with detail. I can look in his eyes and see how concerned he is. He probably thought he would be married to a young woman soon. He was about that age. He was handsome. A lot of girls in his city probably threw themselves on him. The attention most likely went to his head. What he didn't expect was that he would get some other sort of attention too because of how he looked.

"They are just stories," Syed assures him.

"What kind of fetishes were in the stories?" Polo asks, "I need to know..."

"In one story you sit in a room and he removes all your clothes. And he brings all of his 100 generals into this room and you have to suck each of them until they orgasm," Ramzi states.

Ahmed panics more. Polo sways slightly. I know he is going to be sick from a mile away.

"Just stories," Syed says.

Ramzi shakes his head, "They should be prepared Syed. It only gets worse from there. In other stories his 100 generals piss on you. In other stories they shit on you."

Polo has finally had enough of the questions. He turns and throws up only inches away from me. Syed and Ahmed react to it. They are disgusted but they brought this on themselves by talking about this. Ramzi only covers his mouth as though hoping not to follow up after Polo and vomit. The caravan has not stopped yet. We would have to travel hours or even days with this vomit.

Hours pass before the conversation starts back up. Maybe it is because we've tricked our minds into believing Polo's vomit doesn't smell anymore. Maybe we just stopped caring. Ahmed seems to be the one to have a passionate response to this.

Ahmed shakes his head, "I'd rather die."

It comes out of nowhere but at that moment looking at Ahmed I believed that he is thinking about it. Imagine going to bed a free man and waking up a slave. The others are reacting as though he is being dramatic about it. They don't say it but they have an odd reaction when Ahmed states this.

"I heard many of the God King's old boys are dead," Ramzi responds, "That's why he needs more boys. He got tired of his old boys and killed them all. They didn't please him the way they should have."

"Just stories," Syed responds.

"You know better than that Syed," Ramzi states, "The nightmares are real."

"Slaves to an empire..." Polo realizes.

Ramzi shakes his head, "Not just slaves. We are his sex slaves."

I laugh at that moment. I'm not sure why.

"You think this is funny?" Ramzi asks.

His brother gives him a hard stare, "Ramzi, be nice to him."


When the caravan stops the doors open and black men that are the color of tar take Ahmed out first. He struggles with them and I can hear the beating outside. I am the next person taken out after Ahmed. I think they've killed him because I can't see him any longer but there is pavement underneath my feet that is stained fresh red with his blood.

The black men aren't like soldiers to me... They were long white clothes and have strange powder on their face to make their already dark skin look even more black.

I manage to get to my feet. Beyond the door I can see something that looks like the beginning of some sort of palace. I'm not sure but it looks like an extensive complex rather than one structure. There is an assortment of low buildings constructed with wide courtyards, galleries and passages. There are beautiful trees, gardens and water fountains all around us. The buildings were enclosed with these courtyards. I am marched outside. I haven't seen the sun in so long. In so very long. I fall to the ground and am pulled up only to see a man. My throat is dry. My eyes are watery. I'm scared to death.

"Be strong," Polo tells me.

He's behind me. They are releasing our chains on our legs so that we can walk. I am so surprised when I don't see Syed. I realize we are in some sort of large bridge


I'm shocked when I hear the voice of Ramzi. It comes out of nowhere and all of a sudden I realize Syed kick one of the black men in the face when his foot shackles are off. I look around and I'm not sure where he thinks he's going but then I see the look in Syed's eyes.

That bottled up tension that he was hiding seems to break free like the anklets on his feet. He runs so fast so far.

And then he jumps over the bridge.

"Oh my god," Polo says.

He crosses himself. He's a Christian. Just like me. Our keepers all go to the edge and let us walk to the edge to see what has happened as well. Below Syed has been impaled on jagged rocks. I cross myself as well when I see it. I want to cry but I don't. I just look back at Ramzi. He's not emotional. He just shakes his head at that moment and bites down at his lip when he sees his brother impaled on the rocks below.

There are three of us now.

Polo, Ramzi and I.

"Forward," the black figures say to us.

We don't have time to mourn Syed. I had gotten to know him as well. I wonder if Polo or even Ramzi are thinking about joining him. Polo seemed disgusted to the point of being sick in the caravan. Ramzi seemed to know the most of what to expect with this.

Polo looks over at Ramzi, "I'm sorry."

I open my mouth and whisper the same thing to him but I say it so low that Ramzi barely acknowledges me. He turns to Polo however and his eyes look strong.

"He was a man now," Ramzi explains to Polo, "He chose his way..."

It's a strange way to look at it. Syed killing himself however made it clear that him saying that those were just stories was his way of comforting us but deep inside Syed knew they weren't stories. Somehow the brothers knew exactly what was going on. I wondered how though. I wondered how they knew what to expect.

"Quiet," The black men say.


I am separated from Polo and Ramzi.

I'm not quite sure why. I am walked up through a large gate. I've never seen a structure so large. The gate seems to be built more for a titan.

Maybe this really was a God king.

I cross myself again. I can't think of things like that. There was no God but one.

The massiveness of the stone gate seems to show just how powerful this empire is. It's central arch leads to a high domed passage as we walk through. There is foreign calligraphy on the structure from the top. I can't read it. On each side of the hall are rooms that seem to be for guards.

When we make it through the front gate there is a huge courtyard. The courtyard is a park full of peacocks and gazelles. As we walk I see these strange foreign figures staring at me, observing me...watching my body. The foreigners are dressed in strange clothes. Clothes embroidered like the man I had seen earlier. These were clothes I had never really seen before. It's hard to hang my head. I'm supposed to be afraid but I am blown away by the beauty of this place. There are huge chambers, large towers, overarching gates and dormitories.

Finally, I am thrown into the room and the black figures leave.

"It's a new one," a voice says.

I look up and see a boy. He's the most handsome boy I had ever seen in my life. He's 6'3" with white teeth, light brown skin, hazel eyes and dark hair. His slim body is completely nude save a golden necklace around his neck. I notice the size of his cock. It's quite long. The thing attaches from a perfectly trimmed abdomen and highlights the grandness of his physique laying soft at almost 10 inches long.

"What's your name?" another voice asks.

I don't reply. I think the first boy is the most beautiful person I've ever seen in my life until I see the second boy approach me. His lips are full. His eyes are hazel. His skin is tan and his body looks like some artist took the better part of a decade designing it.

At first I swear this is such a dream. Where am I? Who are these beautiful boys?

The first boy...the nude boy sighs and crosses his arms, "Is he mute?"

The second boy shakes his head, "You're scaring him Basil."

"I didn't do anything," Basil responds.

"Put on some clothes, Basil," the second boy says to him.

"Why? I never wear clothes?"

"Outside of here people usually do wear clothes," the second boy explains, "Or have you been a slave so long that you've forgotten how it is in the real world? You are scaring him."

Basil sighs reluctantly gives me a bothered stare and turns to walk away. He's so tall and lean. When he turns his ass is the perfect formation. It sits almost like it is being held up by the will of God. I can't keep my eyes off of him until the second boy with the hazel eyes puts his hand on my face.

"My name is Manuel," he tells me, "What's yours?"

Manuel seems hopeful that I'd break my silence but when I don't he looks over at Basil who has finally returned with nothing more than some sort of scarf around his waist. The scarf barely helps to cover the anaconda he calls a penis. He leans up against the wall stretching his muscular body and his broad shoulders. He must think that he has the most beautiful body in the world and I have to admit he would probably be in competition only with the one who is calling himself Manuel.

Basil looks down at his scarf and the cock that is poking out from underneath it, "What? I'm covering all the important parts. I'm not the reason he's mute."

Manuel sighs, turning my attention back to him, "What's your name, Quiet One?"

No answer.

"Why don't we call him Hush," Basil asks, "He's cute. He looks like that puppy that the Sultan bought me. Remember him?"

"You aren't helping Basil."

"Clearly neither are you. He isn't saying anything. The others are waiting. He needs a bath. He stinks. What if the Sultan comes to visit?"

Manuel nods, "Is it OK, if we call you Hush? Until you are comfortable saying your name?"

I stare at Manuel.

I nod.

Manuel smiles back. His face is the things dreams are made up of, "Take my hand, Hush."

I don't move.

Basil laughs, "See...I told you it wasn't me. He doesn't seem to like you either."

Manuel sighs a little bit, "We won't hurt you Hush. Take my hand. Please..."


We walk into a room. It seems like I am walking into some sort of painting. There are naked men everywhere. They seem to be resting in a bathing area. I look around frantically for Ramzi or Polo. I don't see them in here. I wonder if they made it out alive.

"New boy!" Manuel announces to the crowd.

There are maybe two dozen or so of them. They are all men. No. They are all boys. Young boys around my age and they all have one thing in common. The hazel eyes. They are all the most perfect boys I've ever seen in my lifetime. When I walk in they are everywhere. Some men seem to be enjoying a cup of coffee. Others seem to be smoking hookahs.

There is a sense of eroticism that fills that room even though no one is having sex. Some of the men walk around freely like Basil. Some of their man parts are just as big as his. Others have curvier asses. Some have more muscular frames than Basil. Some are dark, others are tan like Manuel and some are very pale with this soft pinkness to their skin.

"Let's get a look at him," a voice says.

A boy walks up to me. He is black with dark skin. He had a headdress on and is fully clothed saved his chest area. He is definitely one of the more muscular ones. As he approaches he seems to give confidence to others who approach as well. All these attractive boys surround me all at once.

Basil crosses his arms, "The eunuchs just dropped him off. They didn't say who he was."

The main boy who leads the way for the others takes a deep breath, "His hair is matted. He smells like fish."

"We don't know where he's from Alexios," Manuel says.

"Did you ask him?"

Manuel gives this boy a hard look, "What do you think? He isn't responding to any of my questions. Basil says we should call him Hush."

The main boy, Alexios studies me. The look on his face tells me that he isn't too impressed with me. I'm not sure who he is but by the way he stands I think he believes that he is someone quite important. Maybe he is. The others definitely seem to respect him. Looking at Alexios, I can tell why people might. He has strong features with his dark skin. His jawline is defined. His muscular torso seems to be cut out of pure deeply bronzed steel.

"We were going to bathe him Alexios," Basil states, with a weird whim as though he is looking for some sort of pat on the back.

"No need. As long as I'm around the Sultan isn't interested in anyone else anyway."

Alexios turns his nose up to me before walking away. I catch a glimpse of his soul as a few others quickly saunter off with him. They don't seem too excited to see me or even get me to speak like Manuel is.

I am standing over a bath of water.

"I'm sorry about Alexios," Manuel explains, "He's the Sultan's favorite boy. He's been his favorite for a while. The sultan gifts him with things often. He runs things around here. He's the favorite."

The way they talk about Alexios is almost like they are afraid of him. I remember how people followed around behind him kissing his ass. They were definitely scared of him and I wondered how much power the favorite boy in a Harem could honestly really have. Either way he was a slave. Either way now I was a slave as well. We were all slaves.

"He's gotten his head blown up especially since Constantine escaped here."

Escaped? It was possible to escape...

My eyes get wide.

"You recognize that name huh?" Basil asks me.

I shake my head. The name Constantine doesn't mean anything to me but the idea that he escaped here did. So it was possible. It was possible to get past the gated palace.

"Constantine Palatina. He's a member of the Harem too. I can't wait until Constantine comes back and puts Alexios in his place. Constantine is the best of us. I'm sure you heard the name. He is actually the youngest son the old Emperor Constantine of the Byzantine Empire. Wonder what he was doing in a place like this? Well, there is no Byzantine empire anymore though. The Ottomans took over that too."

I don't respond.

Manuel smiles, "Constantine will come back to save all of us."

I raise my eyebrows.

"Constantine was the only one who ever escaped here. He took his lover and they got away. He promised he would come back for us one day."

Basil sighs, "He's not going to come back. He's off in love somewhere. Why come back for us? Not even Constantine can escape the Ottomans twice."

"Do you know where you are?" Manuel asks me.

I shake my head.

Basil laughs, "He's clueless."

Manuel sighs, "You are in the Ottoman Empire."

Ottoman. I knew exactly who they were even though I just stare at Manuel as though I'm clueless. Ottoman was the dark cloud. The Ottomans were the devastating empire that turned the world black as it conquered it. The Sultan was the king of this empire. He ruled supreme. I remember the day they came to my shores and turned the Eternal blue into red with their flags. I remember the day they came for me.

Manuel continues, "My name is Manuel and this is Basil. You have been taken. You are a slave to the Sultan and now you work in the Harem."

Basil adds almost immediately removing his clothing, "I hate that word. Slave. We are more like entertainers..."

I shiver. I'm scared at the thought of it. Basil seems to like it. He's making it seem as though this life isn't so bad.

Seeing Basil's comfort with nudity makes me nervous.

Manuel crosses his arms, "You still don't understand why you are here do you?"

I shake my head.

Basil smiles, "He'll learn."

Basil says it as though it is nothing. He has no emotion about it. It doesn't even seem to faze him. Maybe he's accepted it a long time ago.

"In the Ottoman empire, regimes are subdued and incorporated into it. In order to prevent the concentration of inherited fortunes and stop nobles from becoming too strong the empire has to send a boy here. To be Beloved ones."

"We are the Beloved ones. A fancy way of saying that we let the sultan fuck us. Raw. As much as he wants," Basil says.

Manuel ignores Basil. Manuel stares hard at me, "Who are you, Hush? Are you comfortable enough now to tell us your name?

I stare...blankly.

"He's not going to tell us," Basil responds.

Manuel sighs, "I guess it doesn't matter anymore. We are here now for one reason and one reason only. We are here to please the God King."

Basil and Manuel take off my shirt. I struggle when they attempt to take off my pants. A few of the other boys are still watching. One boy is playing some sort of harp. He stops playing when Manuel grabs at my trousers attempting to remove them. This area has several interconnected rooms. As Manuel walks through he explains that one is the hot room, the warm room, the intermediate room and the cool room. Some of these rooms had decadent, glamorous baths where high pillars seemed so high they disappeared and lounge areas with decked with gorgeous naked men.

There were several accessories all around. Silk cloths, jewel boxes, soap boxes, large mirrors, henna bowls and perfume bottles.

"You have no choice. It is important to be clean. Cleanliness is close to godliness for the Sultan. Even the slightest bit of dirt would make him punish you."

Basil smiles, "You better get used to it."

I nod.

It's Manuel who removes my shirt. Basil removes my pants.

The bathing begins. I can't admit that I'm not turned on to have two men catering to me like this. Manuel begins rubbing the soap suds at my front. Basil begins rubbing them at my back. Manuel stares at me the whole time he does it. He scrubs me at that moment.

"You're afraid?" Manuel asks me.

I nod.

"If I were to kiss you would it make you feel better?" he asks me.

I don't answer. Basil laughs.

"Now who is the one scaring him?" Basil asks Manuel.

Manuel sighs, "I'm not trying to. Just when I first came I remember how scared I was. The only thing that helped was getting used to be touched in ways I didn't want to be touched before the officials came. They aren't nearly as attractive as the guys in here. It's good to practice with us first before those old, fat nasty men come in here."

These boys weren't playing. They were sexual slaves. All of a sudden I just feel so bad for them. I had heard of harems but I hadn't known there was one with these political prisoners used to keep conquered lands at bay. I had only known of the Harem that the Sultan used to produce his heirs.

"They are all disgusting. And you have to please them. You have to do whatever they say. You suck their ugly pink cocks. You let them put their ugly pink cocks in you," Basil sighs deeply, "It's the worst..."

"It'll help to practice. Trust me," Manuel states, "When I first came in Constantine helped me."

Basil nods, "He helped me as well. Constantine is the best."

"We can show you. Only if you want though," Manuel offers.

I'm hesitating unsure of what Manuel's offer entails. Just at that moment Basil leans over and begins to kiss Manuel. The two perfect boys tongue each other down in front of me. Basil hugs on Manuel's ass and Manuel returns the favor hugging back. My dick hardens watching this interaction. It was usual for boys around my age to explore things with other boys. Sooner or later though they'd be forced to get married and forget their boyish experiments. That wasn't what happened with these boys though. They could experiment forever.

"Would you like to join us?" Basil asks.

I shake my head.

"Don't force him. Let's just show him," Manuel states.

At that moment Basil smiles, gets down on his knees. Within a matter of seconds, he pulls Manuel's dick out and puts it in his mouth. I watch in shock and awe as Basil is sucking Manuel's cock in the middle of this bath. What is more unique is the fact that the other boys in this room don't seem to know or care what Manuel and Basil are doing.

Manuel leans back at that moment against the basin of the pool. He sends his strong, hard, muscular torso into the back of Basil's throat. He begins to fuck his mouth desperately. I realize watching them that my own dick is getting hard. Precum begins to leak out of my dick.

No one seems to even notice Manuel grabbing onto the sides of the tub.

No one notices Basil deep throating Manuel.

No one but me cares when Manuel lets out a deep moan, "Where should I put it?"

Basil smiles releasing Manuel's dick only for a second, "I'll swallow."

Just at that moment it happens! Manuel thrusts his cock deep in Basil's throat. I watch as Manuel's cock has all these veins appear on it. Basil continues to suck until his mouth overflows with semen. The semen drips down his perfect face...down his perfect chin. It's the most semen I've ever seen before. I'm so shocked by this that I find my own body shaking at that moment.

Manuel and Basil both look at me and laugh when they are done. I realize why they are laughing a little bit too late. My own cock is pulsating now releasing semen down my thigh. It isn't precum. I had a full blown orgasm watching these two boys going at it.

Manuel smiles, "Don't worry Hush. You'll get used to it. It's almost time for dinner. I'm assuming you don't want to go naked. You can borrow some of mine."

"New boys are naked until they get gifts Manuel. You know the rules," Basil returns.

Manuel gives me a long stare, "We'll break them. Just this one time."


The table that I'm sitting at is full of the boys. The beautiful boys. As I approach with Manuel. I'm stopped. It's by the guy who calls himself Alexios. He stops us dead in our tracks and points to the ground.

"New boys sit there..." Alexios states, "In the pig pile."

I turn at that moment and look over at where he is pointing. There is only one other boy there. I recognize the face immediately. Polo! He's one of the boys I rode with.

"Is this really necessary?" Manuel asks Alexios.

"He needs to know his place. I am up here. And he is down there..." Alexios states, "Naked."

At that moment Alexios starts ripping the clothes that Manuel gave mr off my skin! I try to fight him off but the other boys join in at that moment. They are ripping tearing, shredding the clothes off of me. Every time I try to fight it they punch me in my head

A choral of laughter fills the room. Manuel looks like he doesn't agree but he doesn't do anything else to defend me. I am slapped around like I'm nothing and then I am pushed over to where Polo is sitting and notice that Polo is completely naked. He has a leash tied around his neck. I'm not sure where Polo has been this entire time but he doesn't seem to have been cleaned like me. It's clear that whoever he met when he arrived wasn't nearly as welcoming as Manuel was.

When I'm thrown in a small rectangular pin I notice Polo. My mouth drops when I see his face.

"You're OK. Thank god. They did this to me..."

Polo's arms are bleeding. His face looks like he has been burned with something. I look around wondering who. The empire? The sultan?

"Alexios," Polo states, "He poured acid in my face. He said I was too handsome."

I gasp.

I look over at Alexios. He is sitting at the table. He has not a care in the world. No wonder everyone was so terrified of him. No wonder the boys in this room did exactly what he said. He was desperate enough to pour acid on someone's face for being too handsome.

Polo continues, "I was able to block the worst of it, but my arms are bleeding now. Enough about me though. I'm glad you're OK. I thought they killed you. Even worse I thought you killed yourself," Polo tells me, "Can you believe how perfect these boys are?"

I look over at the boys.

After seeing what they did to Polo I'm not sure how I feel. Their bodies were perfect like they worked out all the time. We would become those boys if we stayed around long enough. I wonder how horrible this place could really be if you were one of those boys. Some of them looked like royalty. The necklace that Basil has around his neck looks like it could feed entire villages. I can't stop staring at them. They are so beautiful.

The room seems to light up in talk and we are clearly so new that we aren't apart of it. Alexios doesn't allow Manuel to bring me over a plate but he does allow him to bring over scraps of food that has already been eaten over. I don't eat it but I slide it over to Polo who seems more than happy to do so.

"Seems like it's just us," Polo tells me, "Ramzi probably killed himself after his brother did. Sucks. He seemed to know a lot about this place. There seems to be ranks."

"Ramzi..." I state.

Polo's mouth dropped open, "Did you just talk?"


Polo is shocked, "So you do talk after all?"

My voice is frail. It's so weak but I point at the door, "No Polo. Ramzi is walking in over there..."

Just at that moment Ramzi walks in, but he isn't naked and disgraced like Polo and I. When he sees the people in the Sultan's harem he doesn't come to the pig's table. He sits at the other head of the table across from Alexios. The others are shocked when he walks in as well. They don't hit him. They don't laugh at him. They don't try to rip off his clothes. There is a level of respect for him that is clear. I'm so confused at that moment.

Ramzi sits at the table and I can tell Alexios and a few others are bothered by him being there. That doesn't surprise me. What surprises me is the level of respect they show him.

They don't call him Ramzi either.

"So Constantine has returned after all..." Alexios states.

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