Adventure School, Episode Two:
Did somebody just call for a Holy War?
DISCLAIMER(S?) & AUTHOR'S NOTE:
This story contains graphic sexuality and will eventually come to include scenes of (non-sexual) violence as well. If such things offend you, feel free to direct your browser elsewhere. If you have questions about distribution of this text outside of Nifty, please contact me: troublemonkee at gmail dot com.
Figured I'd move it up here. I hope you enjoy the first part of the second episode. The other two parts of the episode should follow shortly. Also, you can find the latest updates on this project and others at: TheEroticLedger.Blogspot.com. Thanks again for reading.
two weeks later...
Sun-warmed sea breeze wafted in through the open windows facing the bay. Cliff rolled over in bed and thought to check the time, but was distracted by the soft scent coming off of a burning candle. It was oatmeal and vanilla. It reminded him of childhood, of home...what had happened to his home, he wondered.
"Cliff." The voice caught him off-guard.
The blond magus was still wrapped in sheets. His eyes bleary from sleep.
"You're awake." He sounded surprised.
"Yeah, it's --" Cliff almost stated the time then realized he didn't know what time it was. He turned to check his bedside clock.
"It's still early yet. We could sleep some more." He reached over and touched Cliff's shoulder.
The finger on Cliff's skin was like an electric charge. He turned and looked into the blond's blue eyes, fully awake now. Cliff stroked his cheek gently. He was maybe a little older than Cliff himself, but it was hard to tell. It didn't matter. He was beautiful. Cliff drew him in for a kiss and when their lips met, Cliff felt felt a tongue moistening his lips. His dick stirred. He groaned idly as his lover reached for it. The blond stroked it from the head downward, firm but smooth, it grew insistent and rigid in his hand.
Cliff continued kissing while his hands searched up and down his lover's body: pinching and pulling at his nipples, roughly circling his pecs, gripping his hips tightly, pulling him close so that he could trail down his spine and gently part his cheeks. The blond shuddered and sighed when Cliff's finger found his hole. It was still wet, not moist, but wet from their play in the early hours of the morning. His fingertip slipped inside easily.
"Cliff." He breathed. Urgent.
"I know," Cliff whispered, "I know."
He did know. He knew what the man needed and he wasn't ready to give it just yet. Instead he trailed kisses down his collarbone, teased his twitching hole with nothing more than a fingertip and made the anxious blond wait.
As moments passed, the magus's requests became lost in a jumble of groans punctuated by frenzied whispers. Cliff found himself feeling benevolent. He slowly disentangled himself from the blond's arms and legs and pushed him back on the bed. A handful of spit went down to his straining cock and another to the pulsing ass waiting for him. Cliff waited for a few heartbeats. The sun warmed his back. The oatmeal-vanilla scent uncoiled a weight in his chest. He positioned himself.
"Are you ready?"
He thrust forward. And awoke.
The room was dark and he sweating. He didn't need to check to know that he was once again covered in his own cum. He'd dreamed it again. The same place. The same man. Once his eyes began adjusting to the low light of the room he checked his watch. Of course, he thought, of course it doesn't work. He had been outside of the First Machine city for almost three weeks. His watch needed to be reset by a horologist. He was starting to feel like he should be rewound too. He had been off of his pills for a week. They had ran out on the first leg of the trip to the Obsidian Signatori.
It had been stupid of him to risk entering enemy territory. Though he had assisted Skip, Zophir and Alistair at the behest of his superior officer, it wasn't in his mission parameters to escort the wounded to safety. It's likely the magus they'd found on the sandbar and his companion would have died without his intervention. He knew that, but it wasn't his mission. He should have taken the water-runner and returned to the Library Mechanica to report his findings. He should have.
Cliff climbed out of the bed and grabbed a towel from the floor to clean himself up. Three hard wipes and the refuse was gone, but the details of the dream remained. Now that the pills had run out the dreams were becoming more frequent. The previous day he had experienced one before falling asleep. Cliff shook his head to clear his thoughts. The dreams were a problem, but he had bigger ones. He pulled on his service-issued Machina pants and felt a bit steadied when he walked across the room and pulled open the shades.
The campus of the Obsidian Signatori opened itself up in front of him. It was a bustling hive of students, professors and support staff all working their way through a maze of clashing architecture. For bringing their students back safely Cliff had earned the momentarily amity of the Signatori overseers, but there was no mistaking who was in charge. They had confiscated his water-runner and left him only with his weapon, the obityr. They did not forbid him from leaving, but the idea of crossing the desert without their help or his machine wasn't much of a prospect.
Cliff sighed and collected his shirt. They hadn't forbid him from roaming the campus at least, so the Machina officer figured he might as well explore.
Skip finished his drink and then threw it down over the edge of the slope. He waited for a moment and the acid burn of the dark honey alcohol kicked in at the same time he heard the glass shatter. It was a good omen. He smiled.
He drew his recurve bow. It was smaller than his longbow, powerful yes, but it lacked the elegance and distance of his longbow. He called it his pissed-the-fuck-off bow.
"Ready." He shouted. And began.
He started running toward the edge of the slope and then threw himself down. He had to run at an angle, half slipping half running down the slope just to keep balance. After giving himself a few seconds to stabilize he started pulling arrows and taking aim at the targets. As soon as an arrow was shot another was pulled, his arms pulled and drew with a cold purpose as his feet navigated the slope seemingly independent of Skip's attention. An arrow missed and he cursed, but already another arrow was nocked and ready to fill the space. A full two minutes and a half dozen arrows later, Skip's feet came skidding to the bottom of the slope and he almost fell.
Over so quickly? He thought and looked up.
The floating targets, staggered high in the air, were placed at varied distances away from the slope at various heights. As Skip slid down the slope, he was supposed to take aim at as many as he could. He frowned at the targets suspended in the air and snapped his fingers. The enchanted targets floated down toward him obediently. As he assessed his handiwork he was only vaguely pleased. He'd landed upward of 90% of the shots, but fewer than half resulted in direct hits to the painted red centers at the heart of the targets. It was sloppy work and he knew it.
With a growl he kicked one of the targets and watched as it skidded across the dusty ground. He'd been in terrible spirits since returning to the Signatori. Selim and his quiet weirdo friend received commendations for their work battling off a fuckload of Ran'Aka (that no one else beside them even saw), the Machina officer earned a free pass to wander around Obsidian unmolested and Zophir. Well, Zophir used his silver tongue to finesse himself an atelier: A private magus's workshop leased by the school. Not to mention a commission to unravel the enchantment he'd stuck on Alistair. Skip however was told that he should have known better than to go on a mission without Obisdian's OK. Instead of a commendation, instead of them hailing him for the find of a lifetime, he got a slap on the wrist from several Deans and a probationary hearing regarding his adventuring licence.
Everything was all wrong. It was like he was living in a parody version of real life.
Skip cursed again and drew an arrow from his case. He closed one eye and took aim at a tree on the top of the slope. It was a long shot against the wind. He doubted his arrow would kept enough momentum to even come close, but he took the shot anyway. He watched as it faltered three-quarters from the top of the slope and lodged itself lazily into the hillside. He grunted.
"Good work on the targets, not so much on that last shot though." Someone said from behind him.
Skip turned around and looked at the speaker. It was a tall man around Skip's age. He was the color of pale-oak and had a square jaw and a lazy smile. His hazel-brown eyes glittered in the midday sun. They looked almost gold.
"Thank you. I suppose." Skip grumbled. "And you are?"
He extended a hand. "Celadon d'Alain. Templar. But please, call me Celad."
Skip didn't take the hand as it was offered and Celad gracefully took it back. Templars were trouble, always smiting something or raising funds for some campaign or another. Skip was no more a fan of their strange gods than he was of their predilection for clumsy broadswords.
"And what would you like from me, Celad?" He asked pointedly, still holding his bow and making no attempt to place it in the sling on his back.
Now that Skip knew what he was looking at the marks of a Templar were plain on the man in front of him. His hair was shaved low on his head, only a suggestion of his dark hair pricked up from his scalp. A green trident, the weapon of his sworn god, was inked onto his temple. And he carried himself at full height, stringent posture despite his casual clothing, possibly to conceal a weapon strapped to his back.
"I merely wanted to see the Golden Archer at work. The bow is not favored in Cimin, yet a wise warrior learns to appreciate all modes of death."
"A Cimini? Here?" Skip asked.
Celad nodded gently. "Indeed. It seems the legacy of my small island and the comforts we acquire --"
"Hoard." Skip interjected.
The Cimini were notorious for their clannishness and their extravagant wealth. Anything that attracted them, they bought. They were well respected as merchants and disdained for everything else. Skip had heard they were all inbred alcoholics.
"You speak about things you do not know first hand, archer. One day you might find the world is very different than the one you've been sold."
"And is that a threat, Templar?"
"Those who walk in the shadow of the righteous do not threaten, archer." A tense moment passed and Celad shrugged.
"Either way, I have seen your skill and pass along the respect due to a master in his field." He bowed. And stayed bowed.
"But, if I might give a word of advice without offense?"
"Go ahead." Skip said, a bit more patiently than before.
"It is something of a serious joke among the devout. We say: the man who mistakes an instinct for an omen might survive one arrow, but rarely survives two."
With that Celad came up from his bow and smiled, wished Skip well and went his way.
"This will drive you mad. You know that, don't you?"
Zophir half listened. He wanted to say: This has already driven me mad. Listening to you prattle on for over a week. I'd mute you again if I didn't need to ask you questions.
He wanted to say that, but he didn't. Instead he plucked a thread of magic in the air and listened to the resonance it made among the others. He quietly committed the tone to memory and moved on to another.
He had copied the enchantment sealing the grimoire in Alistair's body, made an exact replica and exploded it into a tangle of magic. The threads inhabited his entire atelier. From wall to wall, from ceiling to floor, there was almost no space to walk without tripping over the elaborate string-work. It was necessary for him to be able to visualize the enchantment in order to figure out how to move the grimoire out of Alistair's body and into a more benign form. The Dean of Magicraft was most specific on the subject: Rid the redhead of his possession in three months time or face expulsion.
Zophir blew a shock of black hair out of his face. He was feeling rather dour and his hair, he felt, should reflect it. Rather than praise his quick thinking and the clever intricacy of his spell, the school's administration was all aghast that he sealed a malevolent force inside of one of his classmates. Of course it wasn't his fault that Alistair was so awful at magic. They saw it differently and made sure that any avenue of appeal was closed to him. Even the intricacy of his spell was used against him.'Your handiwork is so needlessly complex that having someone else dismantle it would triple the difficulty of the task ', they said. Zophir preferred "spectacularly artful" to "needlessly complex" but everyone involved seemed well beyond arguing.
He plucked another thread and the reaction was different than he anticipated. Zophir frowned. He was finding subtle differences in the way he intended the spell and the way it had been cast. That couldn't happen.
"Grim?" Zophir called.
The grimoire turned Alistair's head and pasted an innocent smile on his face. "Zo?"
They'd come to refer to each other in mock saccharine affection. They'd spent almost every moment together in the last ten days.
"You fucked up my spell, didn't you?" He continued. "Mind telling me how?"
"And what kind of magus reveals his trade secrets?"
"You're not a magus. You're a book," Zophir said sharply, "now be a good book and tell me how you altered my spell."
"I don't think so. No. In fact, I don't particularly feel like speaking just now."
Zophir shook his head in disgust. Seventeen magical seals, restrictions, barriers and leashes were in place on and around Alistair's body. Keeping them all secure took a toll. They produced a distracting buzz that made Zophir irritable. Every new spell was a drop in an already overfull bucket of headache. He preferred not having to add a truth spell to the cocktail.
"I'd rather not use a compulsion spell on you. I have a beastly headache."
Grim made Alistair smile. "That's because you're over-extending. If you accidentally kill yourself in here then all your fail-safes will...well, they'll fail."
His smile widened.
"And I'll be free."
"Not exactly." Zophir corrected. "If I die a whole order of magi will rain down on you and they won't be as forgiving as I am."
Zophir plucked another thread and sighed. He was tired, more tired than he'd been in years. It took him a few minutes to realize that he didn't memorize the resonance of the last thread. He'd have to do it over. It was going to be a very long day.
"Son of a bitch." Cliff cursed and touched his head. The cut was bleeding, but not enough to worry about.
Cadict shrugged. It was a friendly bout to kill the time. Cadict was fresh from recovery and Cliff was getting rusty locked in his ivory tower. But what had started as a friendly bout had drawn the attention of at least fifteen students. And what had started as practice blows were starting to look a little more serious.
He didn't blame the Obsidian students for being curious. Few of them had seen a Machina officer, much less seen one fight. He also didn't blame Cadict for wanting to win, but the cut on his forehead didn't sting any less for it.
Cadict holstered his Winter blade and reached for Autumn. As he drew the blade the air around them seemed to shift. The brown leaves painted up and down the side of the sword seemed to dance as Cadict took his stance.
Cliff let the swordsman come to him. Cadict rushed forward with a swift overhead slice that Cliff had to roll to avoid. Though he cleared the attack, the sword pushed through the air around it as well and shoved hard against him. He lost his footing as Cadict came at him again. The air buffeted Cliff, pushing him from side-to-side in time with Cadict's cuts. The swordsman came in with a sideward slash and Cliff barely had time to bring up his obityr and extend it to full length. The clang of metals was deafening for a moment. Cliff grinned; he flicked his wrist and the obityr followed his motion, bending and coiling around Cadict's Autumn. A deft pull and he yanked the blade from the swordsman's hands.
"Strange. A staff like a snake. Your machines are bizarre, outsider." Cadict murmured.
Cliff shrugged and whipped the obityr back into its hard length. Cadict reached into another holster and withdrew Spring. The audience of students, steadily growing, audibly marveled as the blade slide from its sheath. The air smelled sweeter and the fat pink petals swayed across the blade as he hefted the sword into position at shoulder length.
He came again and Cliff tried to be ready, but Cadict stopped a few feet away from him and sliced through the air until the point of his sword touched the ground. A burst of flowers shot toward him. He'd never seen anything like it. A shockwave of growth was coming directly at him. He jumped to avoid it but Cadict shifted his blade and the flower wave shifted as well. When it reached him the wild growth covered him up in moments. Roots tangled his feet and midsection, climbing up his ribs and budding at his throat and down his arms. When it was done he was frozen in place as dozens of plants flowered on his upper torso. He had become a standing garden.
The audience clapped and whooped uproariously. Cadict smiled sheepishly. Cliff wasn't sure but he thought he saw the swordsman mouth the word 'sorry' before he slid his sword into its sheath.
"Showoff." Cliff complained to no one in particular.
It was nearly midnight when Skip dragged himself back to the room. He was aching and covered in layers of caked sweat and grime, but too tired to even consider a bath. He'd pushed himself too hard but it helped him clear his head. He unlocked his door and went inside the dark room. He took his bow and put it carefully on a shelf designed for housing his weapons, took off his quiver and hung that up as well. With his bow secured he began stripping for bed. With his shirt up over his head and off he sniffed himself and made a face. Zophir would have exiled him from the room smelling like that, but his roommate hadn't left his new atelier in some time. He assumed the work Zo was doing interesting to him than casual bantering and casual sex. Skip shucked his dusty boots and pants, slipped out of his plain boxers and walked over to his bed. Naked except for the silver chain around his neck and its crescent moon medallion knocking against his chest Skip went to his bed and pulled back the covers.
There was a naked man in his bed. Skip told himself that he would have noticed before if he wasn't so tired. He'd crippled himself and dulled his senses by training so hard. Even now his senses felt slow and lazy. He didn't reach for a weapon, he just blinked at the body beneath him.
"Who are you? Why are you in my bed?" He asked.
"My name doesn't matter. All you need to know is that I'm a gift."
"A gift?" Skip smirked. "Is it my birthday already?"
"It could be."
The young man was smooth skinned, copper-toned and virtually hairless along his upper torso. The sheets obscured anything lower. His hair was cropped short and when he grinned he showed a slight gap beside the right molar. A cosmetic imperfection in a set of dazzling white teeth. It was endearing. He was Skip's type and that worried him. Someone thought they knew what he liked. That could be dangerous.
"Mind telling me who sent you?" He asked.
The intruder shifted in the bed and came closer to the edge. He smelled like summer and Skip could feel the warmth of his skin even from a measured distance. He was growing harder and couldn't help it.
"My masters are very impressed with your work. They believe in rewarding great skill."
He reached for Skip's balls and the archer didn't step away. His hands were soft and deft. The intruder groped him and he could already feel the precum moistening the head. He refrained from making a satisfied noise.
"And your masters are?"
"Does it matter so much?" The intruder asked, moving closer. "Isn't this enough?"
Skip could feel the hot breath on him as the other drew closer. He knew it was over for him. Instead of going for the obvious, the intruder bypassed Skip's thick cock and buried his face in Skip's balls. His tongue and mouth took turns lapping at them and sucking. It wasn't too light or too hard, just rough enough to make Skip's balls churn.
He wanted to close his eyes and enjoy it, but he was present enough to know that if he was about to fuck an assassin that would be a bad idea.
"You smell good." The intruder said once he came up for air, "like sweat and work. You taste good too."
His tongue licked further, past Skip's balls, flicking at the soft underside before his ass. The wet tongue left a slick trail as it worked its way back forward again over his balls and up to the shaft of his dick. Skip shivered as the intruder's mouth opened up to take his stiffness. The feeling of the mouth closing on his cock and the wet tongue slowly coaxing it deeper and down caused Skip's cock to pulse recklessly. He closed his eyes involuntarily and rode the wave of the slow, perfect blowjob.
Skip reached a hand down on the intruder's head and gently led it forward. His cock slid easily, unobstructed down the man's throat. When the throat contracted against his dick, Skip almost lost his shit. He opened his eyes and watched as the man who had snuck into his bed eagerly sucked and swallowed his cock effortlessly down his throat.
Skip felt his balls tightening.
"I'm getting --"
Just watching it turned him on. It was by far the best blowjob he'd ever gotten. He wanted to stop, to flip his visitor over and fuck him, but he had the feeling he wasn't going to get that far. He couldn't stop. The orgasm was already approaching. How had it come so quickly?
When Skip started cumming it was like he was slammed against a wall. He grabbed the intruder's head and forced it all the way down his shaft before his body went rigid. Skip yelled and torrents of hot cum splashed out again and again into the waiting throat.
His body quaked when it was over. He was still shivering as he pulled away his still hard dick. A line of spit and cum followed from the tip of his head to the intruder's lips. Skip broke it and his guest wiped the remainder away off of his mouth.
"At least give me your name." Skip meant it to come out bluntly, but his voice cracked slightly.
"My name is more trouble than it's worth. It's an unlucky name. A cursed name. Do you still want it?" He said showing his flawed smile.
"A gentleman always makes it a point to learn his lover's name."
'What is knowledge without seeking?" The intruder laughed and snapped his fingers.
Skip was left in his empty, darkened room with the phantom feeling of a kiss pressed against his lips and a lingering whisper in his ear.
...without seeking, knowledge is less than dust.