A Ring for Rainleaf
If you find the verbal depiction of sexual acts between adult, consenting human males to be offensive, then please stop reading now. Although that's not exactly what this story is about, you probably won't like what you find here either.
If you have not yet reached the age of consent, and/or your parents or guardians have not given their approval for you to read erotic literature, then please stop reading now. Be sure also to clear your history list, cache files, and recycling bin; even then you may not be safe.
Finally, if the laws where you live forbid the reading of erotic literature, please stop reading now. If you do continue reading, then the responsibility for any consequences that arise is yours alone, and not that of the writer or the posting authority. Additionally, you might (a) Keep quiet and lay low; (b) Flee to a land of freedom (if any); or (c) Work within the system to change the laws.
For those still reading, be aware that the following is a fantasy story that explores issues of love, romance, family values, alternate lifestyles, and magic. It also includes quite a bit of sex involving two male... umm... individuals. One of them is a young adult human wizard, the other a mythical beast known as a centaur. While this does lend something of the flavor of bestiality to the proceedings, that is far from the point, and those with a taste for sex involving dumb animals are likely to be disappointed.
The characters and positions depicted in this story are not only fictional but entirely mythical. Kids (and others), don't try this at home. No centaurs or wizards were harmed during the writing of this story.
This story was completed December 8, 2000, and is copyright © 2000 by NorthLight (a husband-wife team, one gay, one equiphile)
Kestrel lay on the huge bed half-covered, waiting for his friend Rainleaf to finish his shower, barely able to contain his eagerness. The dapple-gray centaur had been gone for more than a month, back to centaur country to see his family. Kestrel had the impression that it had been an important visit, although his friend had not told him why. It didn't matter, now. Rainleaf was back. He and the centaur had been lovers for the last two years, and this was the longest they'd been apart. He had missed him so much! Now all he could think of was his lover's massive, black stallion cock and huge, heavy balls. A shudder passed through his lithe, lightly-muscled frame. He stroked his short sandy-brown beard thoughtfully, then let his hand drift down to the sparse line of hair that led from his smooth chest and firm belly toward the thick patch of black curly pubic hair, and his cock, which was already rising, even untouched. Yes, it was lust; but he had also loved Rainleaf from the moment he had first seen him -- and, to his delight, that love was returned in equal measure, even magnified, by the magnificent half-beast.
As he idly stroked his cock, which was by now firmly erect with anticipation, he wondered at the chance that had brought them together. It had been sheer accident, really. He'd bungled a water-walking spell -- his master Kraken had been right to warn him that he hadn't been ready to try it on his own yet -- and had fallen into a swift-running river. He was swept downstream more than a mile, to the edge of centaur country, before Rainleaf had hauled him out, three-quarters drowned and fairly well bruised by the rocks, saving his life. Once he'd been dried, warmed, and had recovered enough to eat a bit, he and the centaur found they had more to talk about than his near-drowning. They had a common interest in understanding the natural world, despite their differing approaches to it. Rainleaf's passion for scientific investigation closely mirrored Kestrel's own interest in using magic to help him in exploring the nature of things. They talked for hours, from early afternoon until well into the evening. Acquaintance developed into friendship, then lust, then love. They found themselves making love to one another that very night, the first of many nights thereafter.
There was the soft sound of a hoof on the stone floor near the door, followed by Rainleaf himself, beaming, his dapple-gray coat glossy, mane and tail combed to a lustrous sheen. Kestrel sighed with pleasure. His lover's massive, two-foot long cock was already erect, thrust hard up against the horse belly. He gazed at it with admiration and lust, his hips involuntarily thrusting up toward the half-stallion.
Rainleaf joined him in the bed without a word, lying on his side and facing his lover, his gray eyes bright. They embraced, arms around each other, human legs and centaurine forelegs twined together as they kissed each other deeply, Kestrel's erect cock pressed hard against the centaur's horse chest. Rainleaf began to stroke Kestrel's back, his hands moving slowly down until they held and massaged the firm muscles of the man's buttocks, while Kestrel stroked the centaur's dapple-gray shoulder and elegant, powerful foreleg with one hand and combed the fingers of his other hand through the black and silver mane that ran down from the nape of the centaur's human neck to the horse withers.
"So, let's see," Rainleaf murmured as Kestrel began nibbling at his lover's throat and gray chest hair, making his way down to the centaur's hard nipples. "Do you want me to tell you about my trip?"
"Unh-uh," Kestrel said, his voice muffled.
"Should we have something to eat?"
"Or," he added, pausing while an involuntary shudder passed through him as Kestrel's tongue slowly moved around his right nipple to great effect, "Would you rather just make love to a hard, horny centaur?"
"I thought that's what I was doing," Kestrel mumbled, breathing deeply of the centaur's clean, masculine scent, a thrilling combination of man and stallion.
"What was that?" Rainleaf teased. "I didn't hear you."
"I said," Kestrel answered, now sucking on Rainleaf's left nipple for emphasis between phrases, "That I want... to make love... to a hard... horny... centaur!"
"Well, my boy," Rainleaf said, his voice thick with passion, "You're in luck. There just happens to be one here." The centaur's hand now reached between their chests, massaged Kestrel's belly, then quickly moved to his cock. In a moment Rainleaf had grasped Kestrel's erection, and began stroking it with a gentle hand.
Kestrel moaned, tilting his hips outward to give his lover freer access. Rainleaf bent his head downward, tonguing his way along Kestrel's abdomen until his mouth reached the man's engorged member. Kestrel moaned again as Rainleaf's tongue lapped up the drop of precum on the tip, then licked the entire length before his hot, wet mouth enclosed the penis. They stayed thus for a moment, thrills of pleasure running through Kestrel's entire body as Rainleaf slowly sucked his cock. Kestrel closed his eyes and let himself melt in ecstasy.
Then, in unspoken agreement, the two separated, shifting position so that Kestrel was now head downward, the ribs of his upper torso tenderly clasped between the centaur's strong front legs, leaving his balls and cock, as well as those beautiful human thighs and buttocks, still accessible to the centaur's questing mouth and hands. The man now eagerly reached for his lover's massive horse penis, and Rainleaf obliged him by thrusting his hips and thick cock toward him, curving his whole back so that Kestrel could reach the rigid length. Human and horse could not have managed such a feat. But the centaur, for all that his cock was horse-sized, had a shorter and more flexible back than a horse, allowing him to thrust his penis far enough forward so his human lover could stroke the full length of the shaft.
With a groan Kestrel fastened his mouth on the bulbous black tip of his lover's massive dick. It was already soaked with precum, and so large he could barely fit his mouth around it. It didn't matter. The wonderful scent of the centaur's massive balls filled his mind with lust. All he wanted now was to bring his lover to orgasm, to have spurt after spurt of hot centaur cum pour into his mouth. He began to stroke the centaur's erection with both hands, thrilled by the feeling of iron hardness beneath velvet-soft skin, wetting it with saliva and the stallion's own precum. Rainleaf made a sound, something between a groan and a sigh, and thrust his hips even further forward, jamming his cock as far into the man's mouth as it would go.
In the meantime the centaur had not been idle with the man's engorged penis or beautiful balls. He found Kestrel's much smaller erect organ delightful. Hard as the stallion's own, it invited him to stroke and suck deeply. Though it was somewhat difficult at first for the centaur to fasten his mouth on his lover's erection, he was well-practiced. Soon he was thrusting his head and mouth down upon that cock, a strong, rhythmic thrusting from base to tip, filling his mouth with that sweet hardness, marveling that what he was doing would be impossible with the huge cock of another centaur. To take the whole of this marvelous man-length into his mouth! It wasn't just joy, it was ecstasy.
Kestrel's body trembled and his hips began to twist, seeking the maximum pleasure to be had from the centaur's mouth on his cock while still sucking Rainleaf's massive, stiff horse dick. Deepest pleasure filled them both as they worked each other's cocks with tongues, lips, and hands, falling into a mutually passionate rhythm.
At last Kestrel could not hold himself against the onslaught of his lover's mouth. Balls tight against his body, muscles rigid with ecstasy, he was overwhelmed by an orgasm that seemed to begin in his cock-tip and travel down the shaft, into his balls, and then spread throughout his body like a flood tide as spurt after spurt of hot cum poured into his centaur lover's eager mouth.
At the same moment Rainleaf groaned. Kestrel, his body still taut with his orgasm, nevertheless summoned the presence of mind to take care that his lips, and not his teeth, were clamped hard on the centaur's huge cock-tip. The massive organ suddenly flared outwards, forcing his already distended jaws apart, and he braced himself against what he knew would come next as the centaur's entire body suddenly became rigid with spasm.
Like a hot river bursting free of a dam, the centaur's body-warmed semen spurted into his mouth, quickly filling it beyond capacity. He swallowed as quickly as he could to avoid drowning as gob after gob of thick, white cum flooded into his mouth and poured out the sides, covering his beard and throat. Rainleaf seemed to produce gallons of cum, and it kept on pouring out, hot and thick and wet, until Kestrel's face, beard, chest and the centaur's belly were covered with it.
At last the pulses ceased. They lay together, tightly entwined, still licking and nuzzling cum-soaked cocks, moaning in their mutual joy and the cooling heat of their orgasms as their organs slowly softened and finally withdrew. When Rainleaf's cock had nearly returned to its sheath, Kestrel shifted position, pulling himself free of Rainleaf's now liquefying cum. As he turned around to embrace his lover he found his face being gently licked clean between kisses, as the fire of their passion cooled into warm and steadfast love.
"That was magnificent," he murmured at last, gazing into the centaur's gray eyes with his own brown ones. "I guess you missed me."
Unexpectedly, there were tears in the centaur's eyes. "Yes, I suppose I did," he said. He smiled wanly, then buried his head into Kestrel's neck and embraced him with great energy. "Oh, Kestrel, I love you so much!"
"I love you too," Kestrel said, embracing him back but feeling suddenly concerned. Rainleaf rarely cried for any reason, and for him to cry after such magnificent love-making meant there was something serious on his mind. "What's wrong?" he asked gently.
"Nothing," Rainleaf said, his voice slightly muffled.
"Don't lie to me, you big, dumb horse," Kestrel said, trying to keep his voice light, though he knew something was indeed troubling the centaur. "I know you better than that."
"Nothing's wrong, except maybe I need a shower again," Rainleaf insisted.
"Yeah. And I'm a three-eyed sloth."
In spite of himself Rainleaf began to giggle. "Three-toed," he corrected.
"A sloth with three toads?" Kestrel pretended to mishear.
"Arrgh!" Rainleaf said, pulling free, exasperated. "Why did I ever think I could teach you any science, anyway?"
"Because you love me," Kestrel, said firmly. "Now, tell me what's bothering you. You know I'm going to worm it out of you anyway."
Rainleaf sighed. "Maybe later."
That worried him. Whatever it was that was bothering the half-horse, it sounded like it would take a lot of talking about, or Rainleaf would have told him straight out by now. "Is there anything I can do?"
"No," Rainleaf said with a sigh. "And it's nothing you did, either. It's something -- it's something I did." And he sighed again, deeply. "When I went home I --" he shook his head, then sighed again. His expression looked wan and fond at the same time, and Kestrel was deeply touched by the poignancy of it. "Look, I really do need a shower -- I guess we both do," the centaur continued. "And I could use some food. I haven't eaten since early this morning."
In spite of his worry Kestrel smiled faintly. As far as the centaur was concerned, food was second only to sex -- and it was a very close second. Like most centaurs, he had a prodigious appetite, and it sounded as though he had not had a chance to eat for nearly twelve hours. He was sure to be famished.
"All right," Kestrel agreed, looking warmly at his friend. "But no 'maybe I'll tell you later.' -- definitely, you'll tell me later. Now let's take a shower together, and then I'll make you a feast." He smiled again, and his lover smiled back, more broadly this time. Kestrel had made quite an effort in the last two years to become very good at any spells having to do with the preparation of food, much to his master Kraken's bafflement and Rainleaf's delight. He'd known his friend would be hungry after the four days of traveling it took him to come back from his visit, and had spent all day preparing. Only a few more steps and a spell or two would complete the preparations.
They got up from the bed, which was now soaked with stallion and man semen, and embraced, walking together arm and arm to the shower. They had built the shower together only a year ago, using thick, aged wooden planks for the floor and walls. The shower was large enough to accommodate them both and had soap, towels, and a large warm water spray readily available -- while the water was plumbed in using Rainleaf's scientific principles, it was heated by Kestrel's magic. Kestrel was more than glad that his master Kraken had given him free run of this part of the castle they shared together, and even happier that the older wizard was too involved with his own projects to come down and visit very often. Kraken knew that he and Rainleaf were friends, of course -- it would be a little difficult to hide the presence of a centaur in the castle, even from someone as generally oblivious as Kraken -- but he was sure that Kraken had not yet discovered they were lovers. Which was just as well, as Kraken was something of a prude when it came to sex. He would have come down with hives if he knew Kestrel were fucking another man, much less a half-stallion. He was sure his master would be roaring and snorting about "bestiality" and other less pleasant epithets if he were to find out what they did together as often as possible. Fortunately, Kraken seemed quite unable to imagine such a thing.
They entered the shower together. Kestrel activated the spell that started the warm water spray and soon they were soaping one another, Rainleaf washing his lover's back, Kestrel soaping the centaur's dappled shoulders and muscular flanks. The warm water seemed to cheer Rainleaf up, and soon he was joking and playing with Kestrel, making sure to devote careful attention to washing Kestrel's cock and balls, stroking and fondling them with the slippery soap until the man was hard and erect again.
"Cut it out," Kestrel teased his friend, though his hips thrust upwards involuntarily towards his lover's ministrations. "We can't make love here."
"Why not?" Rainleaf asked, fondling the young man's soapy balls affectionately, his eyes regarding them hungrily. "If we do it here, at least we won't have to clean up afterwards."
"Yeah -- because we'll both have drowned," Kestrel said with mock seriousness. And then, to show he was teasing, he reached down between Rainleaf's hind legs and began to stroke the centaur's thick, fleshy sheath and huge black balls. The stallion's black cock had already nosed out from the sheath. Kestrel encouraged it until it protruded, dropped to its full length, and stiffened hard against the centaur's belly. Rainleaf moaned with pleasure, thrusting his hips forward, exposing the full length to the man's stroking hands.
Kestrel was seriously reconsidering the possibility of fucking the centaur in spite of any danger of drowning, when he found himself wrapped in a pair of strong arms and lifted from his feet. With one hand, Rainleaf held the young man tightly to his human chest, as the other hand grasped his firm buttocks and pressed Kestrel's groin into the equine chest below. With his arms wrapped around his lover's human shoulders and neck, Kestrel lifted and spread his legs, grasping Rainleaf's human waist between his thighs, his heels coming to rest comfortably just above the equine shoulders, as he felt Rainleaf's hand begin to gently explore his anus.
As one soapy finger slowly slid through his tight ring, Kestrel groaned, but any more distinct comment was muffled by a deep kiss. Mouth and ass both opened to the probing explorations of the centaur's tongue and finger. Rainleaf's finger had soon found its target, and he began to work his own magic on the young wizard's prostate. Kissed, cuddled, finger-fucked, and with a spray of warm water caressing his body, Kestrel relaxed and surrendered to the pleasure, security, and affection he felt in the arms of his beloved. Soon, his second orgasm of the evening was coursing through him and spreading fresh mancum between their bodies.
Rainleaf broke the kiss and held Kestrel's head to his cheek, humming a soft love song. So completely relaxed was the young wizard, that Rainleaf, thinking the man might be asleep, held him for long minutes, cradled in his arms, humming, cooing, and swaying to and fro, as though he were comforting a baby. Finally, sighing deeply, Kestrel whispered, "What can I do to show you how much I love you, how much you mean to me?"
"There's no real need -- you just did." The centaur's voice was warm, husky, and full of emotion that moved Kestrel deeply.
"Rainleaf --" he began fondly, but the mood was suddenly broken by a very loud and obvious rumble coming from the centaur's belly. "Well, I suppose there is one thing more you could do...," Rainleaf mumbled, and they both laughed.
Kestrel soaped and rinsed quickly, and toweled himself off while the centaur remained in the shower. Rainleaf's cock was still hard erect when he left him; he was sure the centaur would do some serious jacking off in the shower. He genuinely wished he could watch or help, but he didn't want his friend to starve to death, either. He sighed, dressed in a clean, soft white shirt and dark blue, comfortable pants, and headed to the kitchen, contenting himself with imagining the process and especially the results of the centaur's self-molestation. His mind was soon filled with visions of centaur cum spurting out of that magnificent, fully-flared stud cock and into a flowing shower of water.
Rainleaf joined him half an hour later, just as dinner was ready, his human torso dressed in a light blue shirt and his equine back in a darker blue cape, held closed at his human waist with a gold clasp. Kestrel realized again how handsome and desirable the centaur was. He loved the elegant, bearded face, the hair on the human chest that melted smoothly and seamlessly into the gorgeous dapple gray of the horse chest, the smooth, muscular horse shoulders and flanks, the clean, strong, black legs and beautiful, marvelous hooves. Just the sound of those hooves on the castle's flagstone flooring could send a thrill through him. As a boy he had found himself attracted to both men and horses; as a teenager he had experimented with both, to mixed results. But it wasn't until he met Rainleaf that he knew he had found the true object of his desires. Horse and man blended together, the raw, animal power of the one and the precise, passionate intelligence of the other, met his every need and fulfilled his every desire.
"Right on time, as usual," Kestrel said, as the centaur sat down on his haunches at one end of the high table while he climbed up on a stool at the opposite end.
"It all looks wonderful," Rainleaf said, subdued.
"Eat first. Talk later," Kestrel reassured him.
Dinner was a quiet affair. Kestrel had made all of the centaur's favorite foods: salad, lentil soup with ham, beef goulash with noodles, roast lamb with mint jelly, five different kinds of vegetables, yams, mashed potatoes, and lots of bread and butter. For desert there was chocolate cake, cheesecake, and ice cream and apple pie. Rainleaf gave each and every item his most assiduous attention, clearly appreciating the effort that had gone into the meal.
"I'm so glad you don't eat hay," Kestrel said with a sigh as he watched his friend finish the last few crumbs of his dinner. Before he had met Rainleaf he had thought that centaurs had to eat the same food as horses. He had quickly learned that centaurs couldn't chew hay or grass any better than humans could, and that they appreciated meat just as much as humans did. It was at that point that Kestrel had learned some critical cooking skills and spells.
"I'm glad I don't either," Rainleaf said, sighing with pleasure and patting his stomach. Centaurs had stomachs in the same place humans did, although they were appropriately sized, being about three times larger. The remainder of the digestive system was contained in the horse portion, as well as a second heart and a second set of lungs. Rainleaf had tried his best to teach the wizard something about centaurine anatomy in his continuing effort to teach him science, in spite of the fact that Kestrel's favorite part of the half-stallion's anatomy hung between the centaur's hind legs.
"Well," Kestrel said, after a quick spell banished the dishes to the kitchen. "Are you going to tell me what's on your mind? Or do I have to cook you another meal?"
To his surprise Rainleaf blushed. "No. I've been very well fed, thanks. It's just that ---" he stopped and looked chagrined. "It's a little hard to explain."
"Obviously," Kestrel said, rolling his eyes upward in exasperation..
Rainleaf looked apologetic. "Look, it's a bit chilly. Why don't we curl up by the fireplace?"
"With or without a fire?" Kestrel asked, mildly annoyed.
"With, please," Rainleaf said meekly. "If it's not too much trouble."
Kestrel stared at him, then shook his head and smiled. "I'm sorry, Rainleaf. I didn't mean to get grouchy. It's just that you've been awfully mysterious about your trip home."
Rainleaf looked at him gratefully. They left the dining room and went into the main hall of that part of the castle. Logs for a fire were already laid on the hearth. A quick spell put them alight, and soon he and Rainleaf were sitting in front of a warm, crackling fire, cuddling one another on a large couch, covered with a soft blanket.
"All right, out with it!" Kestrel ordered.
Rainleaf blushed again. "Well, I visited my family, as I told you," he said. "And I met Silverbright. Remember I told you about her once? Quicksilver's daughter?"
Kestrel shook his head. The name was not at all familiar. "Sorry," he said.
"Oh," Rainleaf said, and his blush deepened. "Well, as it turns out ... I mean, ever since we were foals we -- I mean, her family and my mother's family -- it really doesn't mean what you'd think -- I mean --" he stopped, suddenly, his face beet red, and drew a deep breath. "We got married. Silverbright and I."
"MARRIED!!??!!" Kestrel demanded, stunned. "What do you mean, you got married? Married, as in married, married?"
Rainleaf closed his eyes and grimaced, nodding, then opened them again and looked pleadingly at him. "It's really just a marriage of convenience. Our mothers determined that our genetic lines would be advantageously combined," he explained, and it sounded to Kestrel like he was quoting someone. "It doesn't mean I have to leave you, and go and stay with her, or anything like that. My whole family knows that I'm -- well, odd. That I like humans, I mean. And that I wouldn't make a particularly good husband, at least not for a lady centaur. Which is fine with Silverbright. She has quite a number of boyfriends, even one or two steady ones. And her family would raise any foals anyway, of course. And, as far as the marriage goes, I'm supposed to report to her once a year for a week. Otherwise, I'll stay with you. All the time, if you want me to." The centaur spoke in a rush, as though by sheer force of words he could convince his friend of the reasonableness of his actions.
And it did seem reasonable, sort of. Centaurine society was matrilineal, so Rainleaf wouldn't be expected to rear his own son or daughter -- or was it colt or filly? Instead, the mare and her brothers would be in charge of the job. So, unless this Quickbright, or whatever her name was, needed him around as a husband, he was basically free of the responsibility of foal-rearing, until his sisters had offspring, and they were too young, he recalled, being only about three and five years old. Females were the powerhouses of centaurine society, as well as the best scientists, and pretty much told the males where they had to go and by whom they got foals, all according to careful scientific principles which Kestrel didn't understand in the least. But that meant his friend would have had very little choice in the matter.
So far, it made sense, at least in the abstract. It meant that his getting married wasn't really Rainleaf's fault. And it seemed that Rainleaf's family was going out of their way to be accommodating to Rainleaf's proclivities and, by extension, to himself. Which meant the only thing that might cause a problem would be whether he was jealous or not.
He closed his eyes and gingerly explored his feelings on the matter, searching out every nook and cranny where any bit of the green-eyed monster might lurk. It proved to be surprisingly hard to find any signs of it, especially after the marvelous lovemaking they'd had before dinner. If Rainleaf had been seeing another man -- another human, that is -- he'd be having a conniption. But, for some reason, Rainleaf's seeing a female centaur once a year didn't seem to bother him. He had trouble really believing such a liaison could mean anything more to Rainleaf than having sex with a lady centaur would mean to him -- or even sex with a woman, for that matter. If he could actually accomplish such a feat in the first place.
Then he frowned, realizing suddenly what the term "foal" really meant -- and suddenly what Rainleaf had done became a lot more concrete. "If you're supposed to get her a foal, that would mean you'd have to -- I mean you didn't -- did you?"
Rainleaf, who had nearly regained his normal color, blushed scarlet again. "Not at first," he admitted. "And she wanted me in the worst way. Centaur females are like that. When they're ready, they're ready."
"'Not at first?'" Kestrel asked.
Rainleaf shook his head. "No. I'd never done that sort of thing before, you know, but I -- well, I did manage to work it out. At least, she seemed pleased with the results."
"Umm... how?" he asked, vacillating between being curious and feeling squeamish.
"I -- I thought of you," Rainleaf admitted. "When I mounted her I made believe it was you I was entering. And it worked!"
"How many times?" After all, he might as well know all the gory details.
"Five," Rainleaf answered, and though he looked embarrassed, it was hard to mistake the tone of pride in his voice.
"You fucked a lady centaur five times!?" Kestrel asked, aghast.
"Well, not quite so many times on the second night..." Rainleaf apologized quickly, looking more and more mortified. "Besides, I wasn't doing it to her -- well, I was doing it to her ... but ... I was really doing it to you. But that's the whole problem."
"Huh?" He seemed to have missed something. His head spun in confusion, trying to figure out what was going on. "What was the whole problem? Mounting the lady centaur?"
"No. Mounting you. I mean --" The centaur paused, looking at him helplessly. "It really, really felt good. Being inside her, I mean."
Kestrel stared at the centaur with horror. Not only had he managed to fuck a lady centaur, he had obviously enjoyed it. "Rainleaf -- you haven't turned heterosexual on me, have you?"
"What?" Rainleaf asked in surprise. "Wherever did you get that idea?"
"From you, you horse's ass!" he sputtered, suddenly angry. "You said you liked being inside of her!"
"But I wasn't thinking of her, I was thinking of you," the centaur said, trying to defend himself, looking both abashed and wounded. "It felt good to be inside of her because I've always wanted to be inside of you."
"But you can't get inside of me, you idiot!" Kestrel roared. "You're too damn big!"
"I know," Rainleaf said, near tears. "And that's the problem."
"But --" Kestrel began, and then he suddenly realized what the centaur had been talking about all along. "Oh, shit," he said, and tears suddenly stung his eyes as well. "Oh, Rainleaf, I'm sorry." He embraced his friend hard, twining his fingers in the centaur's mane and his legs in the centaur's forelegs. He felt awful. Rainleaf had tried to enter him once, early in their relationship. They didn't know any better. But Rainleaf's horse-sized organ had proved to be too much for Kestrel to handle, especially after Rainleaf had nearly lost control in his ecstasy and tried to shove the whole thing into him. The experience had left Kestrel bleeding and sore for a week, even with the use of several healing spells. After that, they agreed never to do it again, relying on oral sex instead. But it was obvious Rainleaf missed the alternative. "I'm really sorry," he said, choking back a sob. "I didn't know it meant so much to you."
"I didn't either," Rainleaf said, his voice husky with emotion. "Not until I -- I'm sorry, I'm sorry." And he suddenly burst into tears. Kestrel tried his best to comfort him, patting his dappled shoulder and kissing his chest, and then finally letting the half-animal cry himself out as they clung to each other. And he did cry himself out, eventually, although it took him a long time. Rainleaf never did anything by halves.
At last the sobs degenerated into hiccups, and the hiccups into deep sighs. "You're not angry? You forgive me? You still want me?" the worried centaur asked.
"Of course I still want you!" Kestrel protested. "The question is, do you still want me? You've found something wonderful I can never give you!" The thought was now bringing him close to tears.
"It really isn't so bad," Rainleaf reassured him, gently stroking his chest. "I love you more than anyone in the world. And every time I mount Silverbright, I'll be able to make believe it's you." And he hugged Kestrel, a wan smile on his face.
"Damn," Kestrel said, shaking his head. "Damn it, I'm a wizard," he said, annoyed with himself. "Or at least an apprentice! I ought to have a spell I can use." He thought for a while. "In fact, I think I do," he said, remembering a spell that just might help.
"You do?" Rainleaf asked, his expression hopeful.
Kestrel grimaced, suddenly realizing his idea wasn't as good as he had thought, at first. "Well, I sort of do. I do know how to make things shrink. Kraken taught me how to do it last month."
"You mean you could shrink me down to -- what? -- the size of a sheep?"
"Not all of you. I could limit the effect to shrink just your penis."
"But that would work, wouldn't it?" Rainleaf asked, smiling, his eyes suddenly bright.
Kestrel shook his head. "Yeah, it would," he said, suddenly dubious. "But the effect would probably have to be permanent."
Rainleaf's eyes widened. "You mean you could make my cock small -- small enough to fit inside of you -- but that it would have to be small forever?"
"Yeah, pretty much," Kestrel admitted.
"Couldn't you do a reversal spell, or something?"
He shook his head. "The shrinking spell doesn't work like that," he told his friend.
Rainleaf looked crestfallen. "You're sure?"
"I'm sure," Kestrel said. "You can't do a reversal on it, not really. You'd have to cast a separate enlarging spell. I think I'm supposed to learn that next week. The problem is, you have to be very careful how you aim it, especially on living things. If I didn't do it just right so that it affected only, and exactly, that part that had been shrunk, then part of you might end up staying small, or part of you might end up doubly enlarged. And then I'd have to fix that." He shook his head, a little alarmed at the images that were forming in his mind. "Any little mistake would lead to a lot of problems. It may be possible in theory, but it's just too dangerous. I don't think I'd want to try it even once, let alone as something we'd want to repeat regularly."
The centaur shuddered, apparently having several of the same images forming in his mind as well. He considered for a moment. "What about a transformation spell?" he suggested.
Kestrel rolled his eyes. "Way out of my league," he said. "That's a sufficiently advanced spell that not even Journeymen are allowed to try it. The slightest mistake could be fatal."
"Couldn't you get Kraken to help?" the centaur asked.
He snorted. "That old, dried up prude?" he scoffed. "If he knew we were having sex at all, he'd throw both of us out the door! Besides, I really don't want to involve him in our love-life."
"But --" Rainleaf frowned in perplexity. He thought for a time, a series of emotions running across his face. "It wouldn't be so bad," he said at last. "I think I could get used to it. Being small, I mean."
"No, you wouldn't," Kestrel said severely. "In the first place, I like your cock just the way it is," he said, and meant it. "And, besides, what would you tell that lady centaur?"
"Um," Rainleaf said, biting his lower lip. He obviously hadn't thought of that. "She would be rather disappointed, wouldn't she?"
"Darn tootin', she'd be disappointed," he said vehemently. "But not half as disappointed as I would be." Kestrel had kicked off his shoes and had been reaching down underneath Rainleaf's belly with his feet, and was now stroking Rainleaf's sheath with one bare foot. Rainleaf's cock-tip was already emerging to meet it. "You incredibly sexy horse! It's your two-foot cock and your monster balls that turn me on," he said, stroking both sides of the centaur's sheath with his feet. Rainleaf's cock enlarged and hardened, quickly thrusting outward, in between Kestrel's legs.
As Kestrel removed the soft pair of pants he was wearing and stripped off his shirt, Rainleaf moaned and quickly kicked off the blanket that had been covering them. In a moment he was lying as flat as he could get on his back on a rug of braided lambswool, hind legs wide open, his arms spread out for balance. Kestrel quickly lay down on top of the equine belly, still stroking the huge cock with his legs and feet, his own cock hard, the tip warm and moist.
The centaur was now utterly vulnerable. Kestrel positioned himself with his arms down, palms on the floor, taking most of his weight off the centaur's belly. Rainleaf's hard, thick cock, now slippery with pre-cum, slid smoothly between his lower legs. Kestrel began stroking the large balls with the inside of his arches. He squeezed the cock-tip briefly with his knees, and started to kiss the upper, inner portion of Rainleaf's equine forelegs, causing the centaur to twitch and sigh with ecstasy. Caught up in the beauty of those forelegs, Kestrel nibbled, kissed and stroked them for a time, licking the place where they joined the centaur's body.
Then he slid further down Rainleaf's belly, letting the hard, moist cock slide up slowly between his thighs, keeping his knees apart enough to accommodate the centaur's balls, resting the tips of his toes on the floor. In a moment the head of the centaur's cock had reached Kestrel's perineum, the warm wet tip touching his anus. He played with the huge cock-tip, letting it slide and press upon the sensitive skin of his buttocks and anus, letting himself imagine, just for a moment, what it would be like to have his lover enter him. A spirited moan from beneath him made him realize Rainleaf was thinking the same thing.
With a grunt he carefully drew his knees forward, placing his feet on the floor on either side of centaur's belly, just below the ribs. He now had complete control of where he let that wet cock-tip play. He felt Rainleaf shudder with pleasure as he teased the great organ, as together they pretended for a moment that they could continue in this way, and that Kestrel could actually survive being entered.
Entranced by the mental image of that huge cock deep inside of him, Kestrel repeatedly slid forward and back, letting the cock-tip slide up and down in the cleft of his ass. As the long organ rode up over his back, his own cock rubbed against the smooth black stripe of hair that ran the length of the centaur's equine belly, his balls tickled by the base of Rainleaf's organ. As Kestrel slid back up, the giant cock again teased his too-small opening with its tip and slickened it with pre-cum. Rainleaf moaned. It was clear he was beginning to lose control.
No, he had already lost control. The centaur's back arched, as the futility of his attempts to thrust his stallionhood into his lover became too much for him to bear. Kestrel felt the cock of his beloved centaur begging for entry and knew that his partner's orgasm was close. He quickly leaned forward, resting his chest against the centaur's, his head between the half-animal's forelegs, so that the centaur's forehooves were touching lightly on his back. Then he moved his thighs back and up to clasp the giant cock, encompassing it, stroking against it. Rainleaf finally surrendered to the inevitable. Kestrel felt the pulses as the cock tip once again slid over his anus, and he felt the first dry jolt of the centaur's orgasm hit. The second jolt came, and he felt a warm liquid flow into his ass-crack, spurting up and onto his back and between his legs, drenching his cock and balls.
As several cups of semen flowed over him, Kestrel ground his own penis into the warm, firm belly below him. His body tensed with his orgasm, and he was soon shooting his own semen between their bellies.
For several long minutes they lay together, recovering from their love-making, Rainleaf still in his position of complete surrender, one rear leg occasionally kicking slowly in the air as the spasms of sexual release slowly ebbed.
"Sorry," Kestrel finally whispered.
"For what?" Rainleaf murmured.
"For teasing you like that, " he said, slowly getting to his feet, astride the centaur's body. "I wanted so much to have you inside me."
"I know, I wanted that too. But what you did was ... Well, it felt nearly as good as what that mare did for me."
"Well," said Kestrel, chuckling, "If I can judge by how wet my bottom is, you must have enjoyed it!" He stood to the side and turned around to show Rainleaf his semen-covered rear.
"Um," Rainleaf said, getting up on his elbows, looking at Kestrel's ass and then at his own cum-soaked belly. "Do we have to take another shower?"
They both laughed and Kestrel, to save his lover the trouble, cast a quick spell to warm the stack of soft towels he had had the foresight to place on a small table close at hand, and in a moment they had cleaned up most of the mess. Then they cuddled together, embracing.
"I guess there's no point in shrinking me, then, is there?" Rainleaf said, giving Kestrel a long kiss.
"I don't know," Kestrel said, half-teasing, half-serious. "You did say it felt only nearly as good as your mare. I still think it would feel pretty good having you inside me. 'Specially when you cum like that."
Rainleaf grunted, his expression thoughtful. "It would be nice," he agreed. "Maybe when you become a journeyman, huh? When you learn a lot more advanced spells?"
They talked about the possibilities until they were both tired, then went back to the kitchen for a midnight snack. As they were eating the last of the cheesecake, Rainleaf sighed. "I do love you, you know," he said to Kestrel, his fondness apparent in his eyes.
"Even if I'm no good at casting spells? At least not the one we need?" he asked.
"Even if," the centaur said firmly.
"Still, it would be fun," Kestrel said wistfully. "If only I could figure out some way to do it."
Rainleaf stretched and yawned. "Some day. Right now, I'm going to bed. We've talked rings around the idea, and I'm tired."
Kestrel blinked as a sudden, blinding thought lit up his mind. "What did you say?" he asked Rainleaf.
"I said, I'm tired."
"No, no. Before that."
Rainleaf frowned. "I said we've talked rings around the idea, and --"
"That's it!" Kestrel crowed. "Rings!"
"What's it?" Rainleaf asked.
Kestrel was so delighted he was beaming from ear to ear. It could work. It had to work. It solved all the problems. And all he needed besides the shrinking and expanding spells was a simple amulet spell. "When's your birthday?" he asked, excited.
"Three weeks from now. Tuesday." Rainleaf told him, nonplused.
"Good. I should be able to do it by then," he said, grinning.
"Do what by then?" the centaur asked.
"Give you the best birthday present you've ever had," Kestrel said, reaching over and giving the puzzled man-horse a kiss. "Now, why don't you go to bed? I need to do some serious thinking."
No amount of questioning by Rainleaf made Kestrel divulge what was on his mind. At last the centaur, frustrated, went to bed. Kestrel stayed up the rest of the night, testing various aspects of the spell he had in mind, proving to himself it was possible. He went to bed just as dawn was breaking, curling his body around the centaur's dappled rump, feeling smug and wonderful. Rainleaf sighed with pleasure in his sleep.
Kestrel's project consumed all of his free time for the next three weeks, leaving him almost no time for anything beyond his regular duties as Kraken's student. Even the normally oblivious Kraken commented that his attentiveness in learning the expansion spell was exemplary, and commented that if was nice to see his young apprentice finally getting serious about magic. Rainleaf dropped in from time to time, trying to find out what was going on. Kestrel would give him a hug and a kiss and tell him to come back on his birthday.
"What do you want me to do in the meantime?" Rainleaf asked grumpily one evening after a week had passed, and he was becoming desperate for some serious love-making, "Go back to Silverbright?"
"If you think that would help," Kestrel murmured distractedly, sounding almost sincere.
The next thing Kestrel knew, he had been lifted off his feet and draped belly-down over the back of the centaur. Rainleaf was holding him in place, grasping one arm and one leg firmly in each hand, as he now headed back to their sleeping quarters at a slow trot.
"So, is this how it was done with the Sabines?" Kestrel laughed out between the jounces.
"You're working too hard," Rainleaf scolded him. "You've got to at least take time to sleep, and I know what you need to help you sleep better. We're going to bed, and for one night you're going to forget about any mad schemes for taking a centaur cock inside of you. You've got a perfectly good cock of your own, and I know a few places where it will fit quite nicely." They had reached the bedroom. Rainleaf pitched him onto the bed, then reared up over him and knelt on the bed, pinning Kestrel down between his forelegs. "Now, behave!" he growled.
Any comments Kestrel might have thought to make were quite covered up by the centaur's deep and passionate kiss.
The next morning, Kestrel had to admit that he felt more rested. He didn't resist when Rainleaf insisted that he take more regular breaks for food, sleep and lovemaking. He knew now how to do both the shrinking and expanding spells; all he had left to do was to weave them together in an appropriate amulet. Kraken would be gone for the next two weeks at a conference. It was perfect, absolutely perfect.
Rainleaf came to see him at least once a day, sometimes only briefly, sometimes for longer. Kestrel did his best to pay attention to his lover while he was there, and Rainleaf didn't ask him any details of what he was up to, but it was clear to both of them that Kestrel wanted more than anything to finish the spell on time, before Rainleaf's birthday and before Kraken got back the day after that. Rainleaf kept a firm grip on his curiosity, and Kestrel on his impatience, but the three weeks were frustrating for both of them. Fortunately, they had the presence of mind to keep a firm grip on a few other things as well.
Kestrel finished the spell at last on the evening of the day before Rainleaf's birthday. He looked at his accomplishment proudly. It was a ring of metal, the size of a large bracelet, constructed with complicated twistings of metal, mostly gold on one side and mostly silver on the other. He had tested it several times, using it on various inanimate objects at first, then, gingerly, on various portions of his own anatomy as well. It had worked perfectly, exactly as he had hoped it would. He went to sleep exhausted but exhilarated.
Rainleaf came the following evening, just when Kestrel had told him to, looking both confused and hopeful.
"Have you eaten?" Kestrel asked him, once they had embraced at the door.
"Of course," Rainleaf said, a little miffed. "That's what you told me to do, remember?"
"Good," Kestrel said. "I didn't have time to make any dinner. Because you are going to have the best birthday present you've ever had."
"Don't I get any chocolate cake?" Rainleaf teased, pretending to look wistful.
"Present first. Cake later," Kestrel said, grinning. And, without further ado, he led his friend into his bedroom. He had added two items to the room. One was a high, narrow table with a solid, padded, strangely arched cover over the center of it. The other was an odd-looking set of three self-contained steps that went nowhere.
"What's all this for?" Rainleaf asked, standing in front of the strange devices and looking puzzled.
"You'll find out," Kestrel said, smiling. He led his lover to the short flight of steps, backing the centaur up to the higher end of the steps until his hocks just touched the edge of the top stair. He smiled; the stairs should bring him to just the right height. Quickly, he climbed up, standing directly behind the centaur.
"What are you trying to do?" Rainleaf asked, puzzled, craning his head back to see what the man was doing.
"Just putting on a bit of lubricant," he said, making sure Rainleaf did not see the ring, smiling as he coated his erection with a smooth oil intended for the purpose.
"What for?" the centaur asked, sounding half-suspicious and half-excited.
"You'll see," Kestrel promised. "Now, turn around. Do you want your present or not?"
Rainleaf harumphed, but turned his head to face forwards again. Kestrel took the ring and carefully slipped it onto his own rigid dick. In a moment he had reached the base. The spell contained in the ring worked exactly as he knew it would. His cock was now as big as his stallion lover's -- nearly two feet in length and thicker than his arm. With an extra bit of lubricant added, he was just able to coax his balls through the ring as well. They immediately swelled to the size of oranges, not quite as large as Rainleaf's, but large enough that the centaur would feel the difference.
His cock now well-covered with lubricant, he positioned himself directly behind his lover, stroking the dappled flanks. Rainleaf, sensing what Kestrel was about to do, lifted his tail, exposing the orifice that the young wizard intended to enter. His heart beating rapidly, Kestrel probed the area gently with his now horse-sized dick. Rainleaf grunted with surprise and his flanks twitched as Kestrel's magically-enlarged organ began playing at the opening, then entered, thrusting gently so that he slipped further and further in.
"That -- that feels good,' Rainleaf said, stamping one forehoof, his tail swishing a bit with excitement.
"And it's going to feel better, too," Kestrel murmured, jamming his cock in for emphasis. The huge organ slipped deeply into the centaur's horse anus, deeply enough that Rainleaf gasped. Grinning with delight, Kestrel began to fuck his lover passionately, thinking about nothing but the pleasure of that hot, tight centaur rectum clutching at his penis. He started to thrust hard, his hands clasped on the centaur's flanks, amazed at the depth of pleasure his fucking of the centaur brought him. The centaur took all of him, every inch, until his balls were bouncing against the centaur's dappled ass, and still seemed to beg for more. Rainleaf had thrust his dappled rump up and back as far as it would go, begging to be fucked with the full length of Kestrel's iron-hard dick. Kestrel gave it all to him and more, thrusting and thrusting until they both were soaked with sweat and throbbing with pleasure.
At last he could stand no more. He groaned and his orgasm exploded, roaring through him like a fire, as his body spasmed hard against the centaur's ass. Cum burst from his cock and he gasped, knowing that his cum was filling the centaur deep inside, knowing that the centaur would be able to feel the hard, hot spurts as they gushed forth from his swollen cock.
At last the tremors ceased. Exhausted, Kestrel lay his torso down on Rainleaf's back, stroking the centaur's sides with his arms, while Rainleaf reached back and stroked his back. They remained coupled together for a moment or more, then Kestrel, feeling a bit uncomfortable in such an awkward position, brought himself up again and gently pulled free, removing the metal ring first from his balls and then his cock as he did so.
"How -- how -- ?" Rainleaf tried to ask him, turning toward him and looking at him with wonder in his face.
"Magic," Kestrel said with a grin. keeping the ring hidden behind his back. He noticed the centaur was still hard and erect; good -- he hadn't come yet, though it had been a near thing, judging from the rope of silvery pre-cum that led from the tip of the hard stallion-cock to the floor. "Did you like it?"
"Any time you want to fuck me like that, just go ahead," the centaur said vehemently, turning to embrace him.
Kestrel held up his hand. "Not yet. We need to do something for you, first," he said, pointing at the centaur's engorged member. And he hopped off the steps and ducked under the centaur's belly, reaching for the lubricating oil, slathering it on the rigid organ.
"What's that you're doing to me?" Rainleaf asked, feeling the cool of the oil on his hot cock and trying to twist his body to see what his human friend was doing. "What is that? Something magical?"
"No, just a lubricant," Kestrel said. "You're going to need it."
"Oh, yes," Kestrel assured him, stroking the centaur's hard dick to make sure it was completely covered.
"Um, Kestrel," Rainleaf said apologetically, breathing heavily, his cock jerking upward toward his belly. "If we're really going to do this, don't you think we ought to find a bed someplace?"
"Nope," Kestrel said. "One more thing, first." Then, out of the sight of his centaur companion, he carefully placed the ring he had constructed on the centaur's bulging cock-head, sliding it slowly down the shaft until it reached the centaur's balls. "How does that feel?" he asked.
"Sort of tingly," the centaur reported. "What are you doing down there?"
"Never you mind," Kestrel said, grinning. "So, are you ready?"
"You bet!" Rainleaf said, shaking his mane and stamping one forehoof for emphasis. "When do we get to fuck?" he asked eagerly, turning toward the bed.
"Right about now," Kestrel said. To the centaur's surprise, however, Kestrel walked not toward the bed but to the half-covered table. He quickly got up on it and lay down on his back, opening his legs to the astonished half-stallion. "Well," he said, matter-of-factly, fondling his balls with one hand and one firm, fleshy buttock with the other, "What are you waiting for?"
The purpose of the table suddenly became apparent to Rainleaf. It was just the right height for him to mount it -- that was the purpose of the cover, to allow him to clasp his forelegs around it as though he were fucking a mare -- and enter his lover with his cock. But he balked at the idea. "Are you sure?" he asked.
"I'm sure," Kestrel told him, letting his fingers fall to his ass and play with the entrance there. "I want you inside of me, you stud stallion." And he jerked his hips upward, enticing the centaur.
Rainleaf half-reared, exposing his wonderful erection to Kestrel, then landed on his feet again. "I can't. I --" he shook his head. It was clear that he very much wanted to mount the apprentice, for he reared again, higher this time, the sight of his cock thrilling Kestrel to his core. "I'm afraid of hurting you again."
"Are you going to let me give you your birthday present or not?" Kestrel said petulantly. "You are not going to hurt me. Trust me."
The excited centaur needed no more urging. With a sound that resembled a whinny, he reared up and mounted the table, clasping the cover tightly with his forelegs. With the padding, it did feel a lot like fucking a centaur mare. His hips began to thrust forward of their own accord. In a moment, his hungry cock had found its objective, sliding smoothly and deeply into the man's waiting anus. Startled, he pulled back, then, in spite of himself thrust forward again.
In a moment he had fucked his lover to the hilt. "Kestrel!" he said with astonished joy. "I'm inside of you! All of me's inside you!"
"Happy birthday, you magnificent stud," Kestrel said, angling his hips upward to embrace his lover's tool, feeling the thickness of it, the hardness of it, deep inside of him.
With a groan Rainleaf began to fuck in earnest, his hot stallion-dick sliding in and out of his human lover as fast and as hard as he could thrust. Kestrel moaned as well, feeling the centaur's huge balls pound against him, the hot centaur cock thrusting into him, truly fucking him, filling him. He let the sensation of heat and power pour into him, flood through him, overwhelm him. It felt better than he had ever imagined, to let this hot, horny centaur stud ram his cock deep inside him.
"Ohhh, ooohhh! OHHHH!" Rainleaf groaned, and he shoved his dick inside as far as it would go and held it there as a huge tremor rumbled from his balls to his cock to the hot, flaring cock-tip. Kestrel felt the flare of the cock-head, felt the swelling deep inside his guts as the first pulse of hot stallion cum spurted free and plunged deep into his vitals, throbbing against him in places he had never imagined existed before. He moaned in sheer ecstasy as pulse after pulse measured the intensity of the centaur's explosive orgasm.
At last the throbbing of the centaur's penis lessened. Rainleaf slipped free, a look of exhaustion, amazement, and intense satisfaction on his face. His cock, dripping with cum, hung in an arc between his hind legs. "I don't understand! How could it -- I can't believe that was possible!" he said, shaking his head in amazement. "Kestrel, what did you do? How did you do it?"
"Easy," Kestrel said, grinning and slipping free of the table. "Magic."
Rainleaf looked worried. "But I thought you said -- wasn't it supposed to be -- irreversible?"
"What do you think I've been working on for the last three weeks?" Kestrel asked, reaching down for the ring he had placed around the stallion's cock -- a cock that now, instead of being 24 inches long, was only eight, reduced to one-third its size by the power of the spell Kestrel had wrought. Gently, he pulled the ring free. As he knew it would, Rainleaf's cock returned to its original size as the ring was pulled forward on it. He pulled the ring away from the flared cock-tip, still keeping it hidden from the centaur, and grinned. Rainleaf wouldn't have felt any different; to him it had seemed as though his entire stallion length had fucked his friend -- which, in a way, it had.
"Please, you've got to tell me how you did it," the centaur begged.
Kestrel showed him the ring and how it worked. "Anything that comes out on the silver side gets shrunk to one-third its original size," Kestrel explained, thrusting his hand through the ring as an example. A small, child-sized hand poked through the ring. "While anything that comes out the gold side becomes three times bigger." He flipped the ring and thrust his hand through. It was now monstrously huge. He pulled it free, smiling "It's easy to remember. Whichever direction something goes, it's smaller on the silver side, and larger on the gold side." He handed the ring to Rainleaf to play with. Rainleaf poked his forefinger through each side several times, marveling at it
"It doesn't feel any different!" he exclaimed.
"No," Kestrel said, smiling. "it's just the size that's different. Everything else is the same. It might look a bit strange, if you saw yourself. But it would feel just the same."
"So, when it felt as though I was able to fuck my whole cock into you ... I really was, wasn't I?"
Kestrel nodded. "Every bit of it."
Rainleaf smiled and hugged him hard. "Did I ever tell you that you are the best human a centaur could ever have?"
"You've mentioned it once or twice," Kestrel said, smiling. "Now, you know what I really want to see?"
"What?" Rainleaf asked, releasing him and looking at him with fond eyes.
"I want to see what it looks like when you put that stallion-cock of yours out through the gold side."
* * *
Kestrel woke the next morning to find Rainleaf peacefully asleep by his side, a smile on his face. Kestrel knew a similar smile was echoed in his own expression. They had never had a lovemaking session to equal what had happened the night before. Even after they had fallen into bed completely exhausted, some time after midnight, Kestrel's dreams had been filled with marvelous images of them fucking, and especially of the massive, man-length dick the centaur possessed with the aid of the gold side of the ring. Even Rainleaf had been deeply impressed.
Kestrel stretched carefully so as to not awaken his lover and yawned, wondering what had awakened him. He frowned, having the sudden feeling that something was amiss. Feeling a familiar tingle of magic behind him, he turned away from the centaur to look at the table beside the bed.
His eyes widened and his heart sank. On the table was a rolled-up scroll with Kraken's seal on it. He sat up, his stomach clenching with worry. Kraken wasn't due back for another day. Had something bad happened?
Whatever disaster he had been expecting, it was nothing compared to what he saw as he unrolled the scroll. Written in his master's elegant, spidery hand in brilliant purple ink was the following terse message:
"You and the centaur Rainleaf are hereby ordered to come to the library this morning at nine o'clock sharp for a discussion concerning your continued status as my apprentice.
Kestrel stared at the letter, horror creeping through him. If Kraken had returned early and seen them both in the bed -- well, what had he been supposed to think? He'd know they had slept together. And, if he had seen the ring and guessed the purpose of its magic --
Kestrel looked around in a panic at the place he remembered leaving the ring the night before. It wasn't there. He slipped out of bed as carefully as he could, rooting around desperately on the floor for several minutes looking for it until he thought to use his wand. The search spell he used didn't help; the ring clearly wasn't in the room.
Which meant there was only one place it could be.
"Kestrel? You awake?" Rainleaf said, turning over and half-sitting up, looking at him with fond eyes. All Kestrel could do was kneel on the floor and look at him dumbly, his stomach ice-cold and his limbs leaden.
"What's wrong?" Rainleaf asked, getting out of bed and going to him.
Kestrel, his eyes blinded with tears, showed him Kraken's letter. Rainleaf quickly read it, his expression going from puzzled to deeply troubled.
"I'm sorry, I'm so sorry," Kestrel said, hugging his friend and choking back sobs. "The ring is gone -- Kraken must have taken it! If only I'd finished it sooner! Now I'll be stripped of my apprenticeship and -- and -- I'll never see you again!" The sobs burst forth with a cough, and he was holding onto the centaur and trembling, rocking back and forth.
"How were you supposed to know that Kraken would come back a day early?" Rainleaf comforted him. "It's not your fault. And, even if he releases you from your service, you and I will still be together. I promise you that," he said his voice firm. "You'll have a home with me, even if the other centaurs don't like it."
Kestrel looked up at him. blinking through his tears. "Do you mean that? Do you really mean I can stay with you in centaur country?"
"Mean it?" Rainleaf looked at him with surprise. "I'll demand it!" And he hugged Kestrel closer than ever, holding him until the man's sobs quieted.
"I'm not going to be very good at learning science, you know," Kestrel said, with a weak half-giggle.
"Yes, you will -- you'd be surprised what you can learn with the proper incentive," he teased. Then, before Kestrel could think of a retort, he said, "By the way -- just what time is it?"
Kestrel gasped as he looked at the clock. It was already a quarter of nine.
Fifteen minutes later they stood, dressed and panting, in front of the massive, oaken doors that led to Kraken's library. His heart pounding, Kestrel reached for the door handle, readying the spell that would officially announce his presence to his master. Before he could touch it, however, voices came from inside the room. Kestrel blinked with surprise. He had expected his master would be alone. His master was there, all right, his distinctive, deep voice murmuring a comment, but he was answered by someone that sounded like a woman. Except not quite; there was a resonance to her voice, a richness to the tone, that sounded oddly familiar. He heard the sound of some one walking to the door, except that it wasn't exactly the sound of walking it was --
Hooves. He stared, gawking, as a middle-aged female centaur opened the door. Her head hair, mane and tail were black, shot with white, and her body was a gleaming silver. She was dressed in an elegant shirt of gold and a cape of emerald, and looked at him with cool gray eyes.
"Quicksilver," Rainleaf said in a strangled voice, recognizing her immediately, his face drained of color.
"And here they are now," Quicksilver said, a faint smile on the corner of her lips. "Right on time." She bowed slightly and backed away, clearly inviting them inside.
Kestrel walked in without having a clue how he was managing it, as stunned to see the centaur matriarch here as if his master had actually turned into a real Kraken. Rainleaf walked alongside him, his hooves touching the floor as lightly as though he were walking on a sheet of glass.
"Well, my boy, you certainly have been busy, these last couple of weeks," Kraken said, nodding to him. Kestrel stared, his worst fears realized. His master held the ring, gently rotating it in his hands.
"Sir -- master -- I can explain --" he blurted out.
Kraken's bushy white eyebrows raised. "It seems to me the spells you have used here are quite clear enough," he said, stroking the metal of the ring. "Although they have certainly been used in an -- imaginative -- way. Quicksilver was quite impressed."
"But I -- umm -- what?" Kestrel asked, stunned, for the centaur matriarch was nodding, a smile on her face. He stared at her, completely baffled. "She is? I mean -- you are?"
Quicksilver gave a snort that was half-chuckle. "Indeed, young apprentice," she said, her voice unexpectedly warm. "I believe this ring of yours will be of great help to the continued survival of my people."
"Survival?" Rainleaf asked, obviously puzzled. "What do you -- oh!"
Kestrel glanced at his lover's face, and was surprised to see a look of wonder spreading across it. He blinked, completely confused, and turned back to Kraken.
Kraken nodded, his expression more closely resembling a smile than Kestrel had ever seen it. "Your friend has figured it out," his master said. "Centaurs are few in number, after all -- painfully few, in fact. They run a serious risk of inbreeding. Why else do you think Quicksilver and the other matriarchs are so particular about the maintenance and development of centaurine lineages, as in the case of Rainleaf, here?" he asked, nodding to Quicksilver and then to Rainleaf. "Even his genetic input is vital -- hence his arranged marriage with Silverbright."
Rainleaf grunted. Kestrel glanced at him again; his friend was blushing, his ears a flaming red.
"But that is not the worst of it," Kraken continued, as Kestrel turned his attention back to him. "Centaurs are a blended race, after all. Unfortunately, the genome is not entirely stable -- which means that, from time to time, it must be refreshed with genetic input from the parent species. In this case, horses and humans."
"With centaurs and horses, everything seems to work quite satisfactorilly. But with humans, the liaisons are often less than successful for the simple reason that such matings are not particularly enjoyable for either species," Quicksilver continued, nodding. "Sex between a human male and a centaur mare produces foals well enough -- but the experience is hardly satisfactory for either partner. And human women and centaur stallions have an even more difficult time. Your ring changes all that. It will add immeasurably to the pleasure of all concerned -- and invigorate the centaurine line." She wasn't just smiling at him now; she was beaming.
"But I --" Kestrel said, blushing every bit as red as Rainleaf as the images of several different couplings flashed through his mind, mediated one way or another with the ring he had made for Rainleaf. He shook himself to chase them away. "But your note -- you said that --"
"That we needed to discuss your continued service to me as an apprentice," Kraken finished for him smoothly. "Indeed we do. This ring is quite an unusual piece of magic. Each spell, taken by itself, is simple enough. But the quality of the workmanship, and the skill needed to bring them together -- this is clearly a journeyman's work."
Kestrel blinked, realizing all of a sudden what his master was offering him. "But -- I'm not supposed to become a journeyman for more than a year!" he blurted out.
"Exceptions can be made in certain special cases," Kraken informed him. "Such as your case, for instance. You see, it isn't enough simply to become skilled in magic. What's more important is what you use magic for. In your case, you helped a friend because of your love for him -- and, even if inadvertently, have benefited the entire centaurine race in the process." He shook his head. "Even a poorly-skilled apprentice can become a journeyman if he understands the idea that magic is best used to benefit others -- and a tremendously-skilled apprentice, even a journeyman, will never be accepted as a wizard if he fails to grasp this simple ethic."
"But -- when I saw the scroll -- and the ring was gone -- I thought --"
" -- that I'd throw the two of you out on your ears?" Kraken finished. "That I'd be so scandalized by your behavior I would come in roaring and ranting in the middle of your lovemaking?" He chuckled. "My dear boy, don't you think I've known what has going on in my own castle for the past two years?"
"But I -- you --" Kestrel said, trying hard to square his former image of his master as a sexless old prune and his present behavior.
"Come, come, boy," Kraken said, sounding mildly annoyed. "Just because I don't flaunt my sexuality at the moment doesn't mean I don't still appreciate it. I had quite a time in my younger days, after all. In fact, if you want, I'll tell you some time about the fling I once had with a troll -- or rather, a trollop."
"Eeep!" Kestrel said, aghast. That was more than he could imagine of anyone, much less his master.
"Oh, Kraken, don't tease him. She wasn't a trollop," Quicksilver scoffed.
"Well, she was half troll," Kraken retorted haughtily. "Now, how about it, boy -- will you be my journeyman or not?" he asked, his eyebrows raised. Then he checked himself and added, "Provided you are willing, of course, to give the centaurs the right to use several copies of this ring. Do you accept?"
Kestrel looked at Rainleaf, who looked amazed and pleased at the same time. "Is it all right with you?" he asked the centaur.
For an answer, Rainleaf gave a whoop and lifted Kestrel bodily off his feet, hugging him, dancing, laughing and shouting with joy all at the same time.
-- END --
If you have any feedback, we'd be happy to hear it at firstname.lastname@example.org.