Please note that all characters who may be involved in sexual activities in these stories are over the age of 18. All characters, situations, and names are fictional and any resemblance to real people, situations, or names is unintentional on the part of the writer.
This is meant to be a good, old fashioned fantasy romp with gay characters. If you're looking for lots of sex you're in the wrong place! If you're looking for a fun adventure, keep reading.
"Get him on the horse."
Samick goaned as the world spun back into existence as suddenly as it had gone, and his body throbbed with pain. He was lying on his stomach, face down on the ground, and every blade of grass and each pebble seemed strangely accentuated by the moonlight as they cast odd, shivering shadows around him. Samick felt strangely paralyzed, and that realization sent him into a panic. He tried to move, and his body barely responded except to flail weakly. His entire being throbbed with new, stabbing waves of pain and a whimper that should've been a scream escaped him.
"He's awake," a man's melodious, amused voice said near his ear as firm hands grabbed him and hoisted him up roughly like a sack of potatoes. Samick's body seized up with fiery pain at the movement, and he knew that bones were broken. The world spun to a pinpoint of moonlight, and darkness threatened to overwhelm him again.
Words were exchanged, but Samick could focus on nothing but the incredible pain of his own body as he was unceremoniously tossed over the back of a horse and tied into place. As spots danced in front of his eyes and his vision blurred with pain, Samick could just make out another form on a horse across from him. Orrin!
The bard was similarly tied to a horse, and his face and hands had been bloodied. Samick realized the bard must have continued to fight after he had been thrown backwards.
"Let's get out of here," another, higher voice said. It might have been a woman, but Samick couldn't find the strength to turn his head and look. The mere tightening of muscles required to consider turning his head only increased the spasms of pain in his body.
A moment later the man who had lifted Samick leapt smoothly onto the horse and drove his heels in. This brought new waves of agony as the horse settled into a swift trot, jostling and bouncing Samick.
Samick had no concept of how long the ride took. Time spun out endlessly and each moment seemed to take an eternity. Finally the moon sank, and a new thrill of fear ran through Samick and pierced the delirious haze of fear and agony that surrounded his brain. He remembered his duty to go watch the sheep with his father, and the implications of his situation hit him full force. His father couldn't just leave the sheep, and would assume Samick had simply slacked off. No one would even know Samick was being taken, not for at least another day. And what could they do when they found out?
"I'm dead," Samick thought to himself, anger, despair and terror mingling into a strange emotion he had never felt before. "This is it. It's the end. I never said goodbye, I never got to do anything... and now I'm going to die."
Overwhelmed, Samick felt the world slip away again and gladly embraced the oblivion that loomed towards him, bringing welcome relief from his pain.
Samick retuned to consciousness slowly. At first he was aware he was awake, and realized his eyes were still closed. His body burned with pain, but it was not as bad as it had been before. People were talking around him, and Samick slowly began to understand their words as his mind gradually returned to alertness.
"That's for Lord Emid to decide," a voice said roughly, a threat immediately apparent in the tone and inflections.
"He killed Adian," the melodious voice Samick remembered from earlier spoke, a sharp edge on the sound. Samick realized their fighting must have been what woke him up.
"And our orders are to return him to Lord Emid. I'm sure Lord Emid knows how he wants to deal with the bastard, but if you accidentally kill him then we'll all take the blame!"
A brief silence fell, and Samick allowed his eyes to barely crack open. It was morning, and Samick was laying on the ground, tied to a tree. His arms were in front of his face, and he saw the rope that bound them together was also looped around the trunk of a thick tree. The voices were coming from behind him, and in front of him Samick saw Orrin tied to a similar tree, but the bard was conscious and sitting up awkwardly, glaring at his captors. Blood had dried across the bard's face and chest, and bruises stood out lividly against his tanned skin. He looked furious, and Samick felt the original fear that had overwhelmed him the night before threatening to bubble over again.
"Let me take Orrin's magic," a woman's voice spoke suddenly and sharply. "He's been fighting all morning and there's no point in exhausting ourselves trying to keep him from using his magic against us."
"That is for Lord Emid!" the first voice shouted before the woman had finished speaking. "How can I make it clear? No one is to so much as TOUCH him! Not without my permission!"
"I don't intend to keep his magic for myself," the woman said smoothly, almost soothingly. "Of course Lord Emid must decide what we'll do. But it would make the trip much easier... or maybe you'd like to try your luck in a fight with Orrin again?" her last words turned sharp and sarcastic, an edge of amusement creeping into her tone.
"He might let you keep my powers," Orrin spoke up suddenly, his rich, full voice sounding hoarse and ragged, nothing like Samick remembered, "but you'll be fucked either way when he finds out you've been sleeping with his son, Cassia."
Samick's breath caught in his throat and he winced inwardly, mentally begging Orrin not to speak. He had no idea what they were all talking about, but he knew they must be talking about one of the noble houses of the White City, and it seemed Orrin knew their captors. So they were not just bandits. If they were in trouble with one of the noble houses, angering their captors was the last thing they wanted to do.
Silence descended for what felt like an agonizing eternity, and then the woman made a vexed noise, like a hissing snake. "Very clever, Orrin. If you think you can get us to fight each other till you can escape, you're wrong. You and your little friend are going to be in for the surprise of your lives when Lord Emid sees you both. Tell me, are you still fucking little boys like when we were students?"
Orrin's laugh was ugly, and a sneer marred his face. "At least I'm not letting nobles AND their sons stretch me out like an old wine sack. Tell me: when they've finished fucking you like a citadel whore--" Orrin suddenly cried out, and his face twisted with pain.
"Cassia, NO!" a man's voice ordered, now more desperate than authoritative.
A woman strode into Samick's field of vision, her face dark with a flush of sheer anger and hatred. She was so beautiful it took Samick's breath for a moment, and he caught a glimpse of dark brown eyes flashing with rage before she was past him and next to Orrin. With a single movement, she went into a half crouch, grasped Orrin's hair, and slammed the side of his face against the tree twice, drawing a guttural cry from the dazed bard and causing a series of cuts to begin spilling fresh blood down the side of his face. Samick bit his lower lip and watched silently, fighting back a scream of fear that she was about to kill Orrin.
As her earlier words had shown, there was something snake-like about the woman. Smooth as a viper, she lowered herself to Orrin's level and spoke in hissing words, "I could kill you right now, Orrin, for being such a disrespectful little fuck. But I'm not going to, because I want to humiliate you in front of the entire House. I want you to fight me, and try to break free. All of your muscles, and your training, and your magic will be worthless once Lord Emid lets me work you over for a few days in the dungeon. And maybe I'll kill your little friend, too, if I don't just break him."
She turned to look at Samick, and saw he was awake, terror printed on his face. "Or maybe I'll just let you watch as I kill Orrin. How would you like that?" she asked Samick, and Samick felt himself recoil in fear.
"Cassia!... Please," the man who had seemed to be in charge at first was begging now, and he slowly walked into Samick's field of vision. He was short, but built powerfully, and he had his hands stretched out with his palms down as if trying to pacify the woman. "Please don't do anything rash. Lord Emid might forgive you, but we'll all be punished if you do something..." he hesitated, obviously on the verge of saying 'stupid,' "... rash," he repeated, swallowing visibly as Cassia turned to glare at him. His hesitation had not escaped her notice.
"Fine," she snapped, standing but not relinquishing her grasp on Orrin's hair, and yanking him forcefully up onto his knees. "But I hope for all of our sakes we make good time..." she trailed off, then glanced down disdainfully at Orrin, who swayed and moaned in her grasp. "Good night, Orrin," she spat, rearing back and slamming the bard face-first against the tree a final time before letting him drop, unconscious, to the ground. His nose was obviously broken, and a fresh wash of blood spilled down, causing the unconscious bard to choke and gag for air.
Cassia turned and stalked away angrily, and with muttered curses the two men rushed towards Orrin and began to sit him up, preventing the bard from choking in his unconscious state. The man Samick had seen a moment earlier was short and stocky, while the other man was tall and slender. The slender one turned towards Samick and eyed him with what might have almost been sympathy.
"Boy," the thin man spoke, identifying himself as the one Samick had originally thought was in charge, "taking up with Orrin was the worst mistake you've ever made."
Samick shook his head desperately, sending a jolt of pain down his spine. "I didn't! I swear!" he croaked, his voice rasping. "I don't even know him!"
The slender man shook his head again. "Don't lie to us, boy. You'll only make it worse for yourself. If you don't know him, why did you attack us? How much has he trained you?"
Samick shook his head again. "I don't know him!" Samick said again, "I'm not even sure what you're talking about!"
Now seeming irritated, the slender man moved towards Samick and crouched in front of him, gazing deeply into Samick's eyes. "Don't lie to me. I can try to make things easier for you... just tell me when you met Orrin, and how much he's trained you."
Samick felt a tear slide down his face and more threatened to spill over. "I'm telling you," he rasped, his throat painfully dry, "I don't know him! He performed in my town and he's a friend of Old Fred's. I wasn't following him, I was trying to go help my father, and I thought you..." Samick stumbled over his words, realizing now that there had only been one attacker left when he had entered the fight. Where had these people been?
"I thought you were bandits... or... whoever it was..." Samick finished, trailing off as confusion swept visibly across the slender man's face.
"Cassia," the man said slowly, "I think we made a mistake. He's not lying."
The woman swore loudly, and Samick heard her coming closer to him before joining the slender man to crouch in front of him. There was no sympathy in her eyes, and Samick felt himself uncontrollably flinch away as she locked eyes with him.
"Who taught you to use your magic?" Cassia snarled, grabbing Samick's jaw and forcing him to look at her.
"I don't..." Samick tried to shake his head, but her grip was too strong, and her fingers digging into his cheeks made his words slur. "I'm not a mage."
A moment of silence fell, and Cassia suddenly seemed unsure . She glanced towards the slender man and quirked an eyebrow. "You're right. He's a wild mage," she said, distain heavy in her voice. "We should take his magic and dump him... no one knows about him."
"Your obsession with power is unbecoming, Cassia," the voice of the shorter man was heavy with disgust as he walked closer, leaving the unconscious bard. "It won't matter how powerful you become if you attract the attention of the Coterie."
"If what the boy did last night is any indication, he's powerful... especially for a wild mage," the slender man seemed thoughtful now, and Samick remained mute, Cassia's grip muzzling him into silence. "We could... use him. He's to old to be trained, but we don't have to train him to borrow his magic. I'm sure Lord Emid wouldn't mind, so long as we keep him locked up somewhere."
Samick's three captors fell silent, and the curve of a tiny smile appeared at the corners of Cassia's lips. Samick was still overwhelmed by her beauty, but the comparison to a snake was becoming clearer and clearer in his mind.
"That isn't a bad plan," Cassia admitted, turning a suddenly-amused half smile towards Samick. "You want to live, boy, don't you?"
Cassia released her grip on Samick's face, and Samick nodded vigorously, a sob escaping him. "Yes... please. I don't want to die," Samick whimpered, unable to meet the fierce gleam in Cassia's dark brown eyes.
"Then behave," Cassia lightly slapped Samick across the face and then grabbed the back of his head and directed Samick's gaze towards the unconscious bard. "You don't want to end up like him, now do you?"
Samick was overwhelmed and began to sob, shaking his head. The night in the bar already felt like a year ago, and the strange contrast between the handsome, powerful bard and the limp, bloody man tied up across from him filled Samick with terror. His life was completely in the power of these mages.
"Good," Cassia gave Samick another, lighter slap that might have almost been a pat. The sort of teasing swipe Samick would have given a dog that had been naughty. "Someone heal him up a little. We don't want our new friend damaged," she said to her two companions, standing and walking away. "I will keep Orrin shielded."
By the time night fell, Samick had been "healed" twice. It seemed the mages had already healed him before he regained consciousness in the morning, and by the end of the third session Samick was beginning to feel a significant difference. He still ached with pain, and it felt like he had been trampled by a field horse, but the bones he had felt were broken the night before seemed as though they had healed back solidly. Now he just felt the sort of deep, achy pain he would've felt from doing too much hard labor. Even flexing his fingers sent stabs of pain through his hands and up his arms, but it did not make him want to pass out any more.
It seemed Samick's captors preferred to travel at night, and soon Samick was tied up behind the slender man. This time he had been bound, and then set backwards on the horse and lightly bound to the back of the other man so that he wouldn't fall off the horse. Samick felt perfectly helpless, and the journey was painful. Each jolt of the horse's movement hurt him, and Samick wanted nothing more than for the journey to be over as soon as it had started. But it was nothing like the wracking pain from the night before, and for that Samick felt pathetically grateful.
After nearly an hour of the entire group travelling in silence, Cassia rode up behind Samick and pierced him with her fearsome gaze. Samick flinched instinctively, but did not dare to look away.
"So," Cassia said sharply, "if you're really a Wild Mage you must have some questions. And your ignorance will make you worthless... which you may still be. So ask me something."
Samick was stunned for a moment and his mind went blank. They kept calling him a Wild Mage, but Samick had no idea why. Did they think he was responsible for the things Orrin had done?
"I'm not..." Samick trailed off, realizing the danger. If he told them he was not a mage then he was probably completely useless to them. They wanted to "use" him for something, because they thought he was a mage. "I'm not sure what you're planning to do with me," Samick said after only a moment's pause, changing his statement. His voice quavered, but he did not begin to cry.
"We're going to use you as a Well," Cassia explained, "A Well is a mage who lends their magic temporarily to another mage. Anyone can be a Well, but you have to give control of your power to another mage... which is probably the stupidest thing you could ever do," Cassia snorted, but then smiled wickedly. "Or the smartest thing, in your case."
"Cassia," the short, powerfully built man interjected, "if we don't train him, how is he going to access his full strength? It doesn't matter how strong he has potential to be if he isn't trained to that potential. We'll barely get a trickle out of him. Not even as much as if we just took his power permanently ."
The slender man Samick was tied to called back a reply. "Not exactly," he said, and Samick felt the man shake his head. "The last Emperor, before the entire Empire dissolved in the war, used to find mages and use them as Wells... it's what gave me the idea. The stories say that he would find children who had great potential and take them from the schools, then use them as Wells without training them. Being used as a Well often enough probably has the same effect for increasing strength as actually using the magic yourself."
"Interesting," Cassia nodded, again fixing Samick with her gaze. "So... ask me something else."
"What did Orrin do? Where are we being taken?" Samick asked, his voice trembling again.
Cassia rolled her eyes and sighed. "I meant ask me a question about magic, idiot. If you really don't know Orrin, then what happens to him will be no concern of yours. Try again."
Samick swallowed anxiously and wracked his brain, trying to remember the things his captors had been talking about during the day. "What's..." Samick struggled to remember the term, "shielding? You said you were shielding Orrin?"
"Shielding is when we prevent another mage from using their powers. It's difficult to shield another mage because it has to do with mental strength, not magic. It's easier to shield someone if they're asleep or unconscious, like our little friend Orrin. When he's conscious he's usually trying to break free, and it's exhausting to fight him... luckily for me, I know a few... tricks," Cassia laughed quietly, glancing disdainfully towards Orrin. "If he'd ever bothered to learn anything about magic that a child couldn't learn, he might be a more worthy opponent."
"When you were talking about... taking someone's magic..." Samick trailed off again, not entirely sure what he was asking, "what is that? What are you talking about?"
Cassia finally looked at Samick with a gaze that was merely serious, not taunting or disdainful. "Taking another mage's magic is tricky... otherwise we could just go around taking magic from untrained bumpkins like you. It can kill the other mage, and it can kill you if you're not careful. You strip them of their magic, or as much as you can fight away from them, and you get to..." she hesitated for a moment, tilting her head to the side slightly. "You get to keep a part of it," she finished, "and it makes you stronger. If someone willingly gives you a part of their magic you can keep it, but that has dangers as well, and you don't get any more from it than if you take it by force. Also depending on how strong you already are, you may not get much out of it. There's a kind of limit to how strong you can be."
"How do you know I'm a mage?" Samick finally asked, emboldened somewhat by Cassia's answers. His head was spinning with the new information, but the puzzling things they had said this morning were beginning to make sense.
Now Cassia did look disdainful again. "You're not a mage, boy, you're a Wild Mage. You don't get to call yourself a mage till you've been properly trained... so never, in your case. We know you're a wild mage because you blocked the pushing rod."
"I did... what? I didn't mean to do anything..." Samick shook his head, not understanding, but his memory flashed back to the previous night and the gleaming metallic rod that had been pointing at him. That must have been the pushing rod, whatever that was.
Cassia rolled her eyes. "Of course you didn't 'mean' to do anything. Understand what the term Wild Mage means? You don't know how to use your magic. You responded to the magic from the pushing rod and defended yourself from its magic by accident... lucky for you, otherwise you'd be dead. Even for a wild mage what you did is probably a one in a million chance."
Without another word Cassia spurred her horse ahead, quickly vanishing from Samick's reversed field of vision.
Samick felt the slender man he was tied to take his head again.
"This," the man said with a sigh, "is probably all a terrible idea. If you have any gods you like to worship, now would be a good time to start praying."
Overwhelmed by the helplessness of his situation, Samick gazed down at the horse's rump beneath him and did just that.
Please feel free to send me messages at email@example.com. I love to hear from my readers! I got a couple of very encouraging e-mails because of the first chapter, and I can't tell you how much it meant to me to hear that someone (more than one someone! ;)) enjoyed the story. So, of course, I'd love to hear from you!
Copyright Matt King, 2012. All rights reserved. You may not use, or reproduce any portion of this story without the express permission of the author, Matt King.