Horembeb was led through the courtyards, corridors and rooms of the palace until he was in the vestibule of the quarters of the pharaoh. Here he waited, still bound, and stood silent, erect and proud, closely guarded by the king's elite guards.
After a long wait, a servant went to fetch Horembeb. Escorted by two guards, the beautiful standard-bearer was led to the room of Tutankhamen. The young king was sitting next to a table. At his feet sat a boy of no more than seven years, and the pharaoh lightly caressed his head. Horembeb was roughly pushed down, so the handsome man prostrated, his forehead on the floor.
When he saw Horembeb, the pharaoh spoke: "Leave us alone; get out, all of you."
"Majesty, I do not think it is prudent..." a dignitary began to say.
"I said: everyone out!" the boy stated firmly. "He is tied, I have my dagger here, and you'll be behind the door. What are you afraid of? Out!" he repeated, without raising his voice.
All went out bowing and stepping back, except the little boy who sat at the feet of the sovereign. Horembeb heard the door close behind him.
"Baqet, go and pull the curtain before the door, I don't want someone eavesdropping."
The little boy got up, went quickly to pull the heavy curtain before the door, and then went back to the pharaoh's side. Tutankhamen gave the boy a decorated dagger that was on the table.
"Cut the ropes of that man, and do not hurt him."
"Son of Amon, who lives in the truth, lord of two crowns, how can you trust this man?" the boy asked, taking the dagger that the young monarch was giving him.
"Baqet, Baqet... I read his eyes, I read his heart, and I know I can trust him. Do what I said. Go. And you, man, stand up - I want to see your face, I want to read your eyes."
Horembeb slowly rose to his feet. The little boy went behind him and cut the ropes that bound him. The beautiful standard-bearer did not move. Only his downcast eyes indicated his respect for the supreme ruler, but his whole body continued to show an indomitable pride.
"So, man... now you know my name, but I still don't know yours."
"My name is Horembeb, great Nebkheperure."
"And you really are a standard-bearer in my cavalry?"
"Yes Sir, I am at your service."
The young pharaoh giggled: "A good service you provided, I must admit..."
"If I had known, I would have never dared to touch your sacred person." Horembeb said.
"I can imagine. No one ever touches me, except the slaves who dress, undress or wash me. Your hands on me were pleasurable, Horembeb. And I'm glad you didn't know who I am. But tell me, how did you come so near me, as if you had appeared out of nowhere? For a moment I really thought you were a messenger of some god, you know? "
"May I dare to speak freely, o Supreme Lord?"
"Sure, no one listens to us, apart from my Baqet, but he will never say anything about what he hears or sees. Speak freely, standard-bearer."
"Your elite guard, that was supposed to watch over the safety of your person, has not done a good job. I managed to pass them, and so could someone with bad intentions towards you. If I had been armed, nobody would have stopped me."
"I can not deny that you're right. Luckily your weapon... was of another kind." the boy said with a soft chuckle. "And you also had the audacity to swear on my head..."
"I did not know, my lord. I know I deserve death for what I did, and I am ready to face it."
"So you don't ask for mercy, then? You're not looking for excuses? I have noticed, you know, that after you figured out who I am, you have bowed, but not asked for mercy..."
"Only the faint of heart begs for mercy, when he knows he does not deserve it."
"Why do you say you don't deserve mercy? You didn't know who I am, I read that in your eyes when you finally understood."
"That doesn't excuse me, my great lord. I dared what I should not have dared. I wanted you, I lured you, and I bent you to my pleasure. How can I deserve mercy?"
"You also gave pleasure to me, soldier. And you did not use violence."
"When you said 'wait', I didn't stop."
"Neither did I really want you to stop. However, if you feel you don't deserve mercy: a wage can be deserved, but a gift cannot be refused. I decided to give you your life, standard-bearer."
Horembeb's eyes looked for a moment at Tutankhamen, full of surprise, then he lowered them quickly and again prostrated to the ground.
"Get up, what are you doing?"
"Your generosity confounds me..."
"Get up. The more important a human being is, the more he has a duty to be generous. My father taught me this. And you, perhaps in spite of yourself, certainly without knowing it, you gave me something that I never had in my life: you treated me just as a boy and not as a god. It is nice to be treated as a simple human being for once. You've revealed to me your desire, you made me feel your humanity and you revealed my own. Yes, perhaps I'm just a spoiled and capricious boy, as I have heard my grandfather say of me. Maybe I am so, because I just wanted to be a boy. You have awakened my pleasure, my desire, and for this I am grateful. So I want you in my service here at the palace. "
"I am already at your service, my lord."
"But on one condition: when we are alone, you and I, you must cease to be in my service, you must see me just as a boy. Do not change. Do not think of me as Nebkheperure and not even as Tutankhamen, but only as Tut: a boy who is about to turn fourteen, who secretly says the hymn to the god Aton, who is a prisoner of the double crown that has been imposed on his head, and who has never been allowed to play with other kids, only secretly with my little Baqet... Can you do that, Horembeb? Tell me, can you do that? "
The proud standard-bearer was touched by this heartfelt prayer. He looked into the boy's eyes, clear as a cloudless sky, but sad like a rainy day, and nodded.
"If this is what you command me, I will. I swear!"
"Do you swear on the head of pharaoh?" the boy asked playfully.
Horembeb smiled: "Yes, on the head of the pharaoh. And on my head. When we're alone, you will only be the beautiful boy who conquered my heart and who accepted me as his first man. You just gave me my life, Nebkheperure. I now give my life to you, Tut!"
"Good. Then take a stool and sit here next to me. You must tell me everything about you, and I will tell you everything about me..."
"Do you think we have been seen, while..." Horembeb asked, a little worried.
"No, I don't think so. They just saw that you held your arms around me, nothing else. Don't worry about that. Tell me about yourself, Horembeb."
Thus Horembeb left his garrison and went to live at the palace, on orders of the young pharaoh. At his request he completely reorganized the elite guard and was named its supervisor.
He had to get used to life at court, but did so without much difficulty. He watched over the life of the young pharaoh, and discretely studied the personalities of the courtiers, for he was thoroughly convinced that if the boy was running any risk, it was likely to come from intrigues within the palace; and they existed, as he soon realized.
He met the grand vizier Aye and his wife Tye. Ankhesenamun, the young wife imposed on the pharaoh, Aye's niece and Tut's aunt. Nakhtmin, son of Aye and head of the guards outside the palace. Maya, Tut's treasurer and superintendent of the Palace of Eternity, that is the royal tomb. Then also Huy, viceroy of Nubia. He also met Ahmose, Tut's private secretary. Meryre II, the high priest of Amon. The old Pinhasi, chief of the servants. Perenefer, the chamberlain. Meryre, the superintendent of the royal harem. Mahu, the master of the king's horses. Apophis, chief of the palace police. Ramoses, the physician to the king. Djiutmose, the head sculptor. Bakenmut, the chief architect. Inyotef the great scribe...
All these different characters were in a continuous underground fight against each other, to carve a bigger slice of power, more privileges or greater riches - at the expense of the pharaoh, but always in his name.
Even though Tutankhamen had the two crowns of the kingdom, Aye had both its keys and in fact he was the one who ruled. Among the various dignitaries, he was perhaps the most genuinely concerned with the destiny of the nation. The most dangerous was Meryre II, the high priest. He was a false man, slimy, and just seeing him bothered Horembeb. Apophis was on good terms with the high priest, as well as Perenefer. Ramoses and Inyotef were "friends" with everybody - they kept their feet in many shoes...
On the first day Tut had called Bakenmut, ordered him to prepare an apartment for Horembeb, and to connect it with a secret passageway to his own. He had ordered him to do the works so that no one was aware of that corridor and asked him not to tell anyone. Bakenmut assured him that he would do so and that for this he would make different workers work in several shifts, so no one could understand what he was working at.
This allowed Horembeb to meet Tut in secret, to keep him informed of his findings and considerations, and also to make love to him. Tut was in fact more and more attracted by the handsome man and Horembeb was also falling for the charming boy.
"Tell me, Horembeb."
"Do you do your conjugal duties with Ankhesenamun?"
"Sometimes I have to do it... I have to generate a successor to the throne of the Two Lands."
"But Meryre says you never ask one of your concubines to be brought into your bedroom..."
"You know I'm not interested in women, right? You of all people should know. Come here, my gazelle..." he said, motioning the little Baqet to sit on his lap, "Tell to Horembeb that the only ones with whom I willingly share my bed is you and he. But the only one with whom I willingly share my body is he."
The kid sat in the lap of the young pharaoh and crouched against him: "That's right, Horembeb. You're the only one who has all his heart. When he must not sleep with his wife Ankhesenamun, and when he does not want to lie with you, only then I am admitted in his bed. But with me he does nothing, except cuddling."
Horembeb smiled at the little slave. He knew that young Baqet was the only one beside him to unconditionally love young Tut.
Horembeb saw the longing light up in Tut's eyes, and immediately his own desire was kindled. He turned to the little slave.
"Baqet, go to the other room and watch over our tranquillity."
The little slave slid down the legs of Tut and left quickly.
"Beside me, Baqet only obeys to you." Tut remarked with a smile.
"He knows that I love you..." Horembeb said, getting up and going over to Tut.
The young pharaoh stood up and took refuge in Horembeb's arms that embraced him.
"Do you really love me, my Horembeb?"
"Yes, you know that I cannot lie... Not to you."
"Why do you say that to me so rarely?"
"A man, a soldier, is not used to certain... sentimentalities. Forgive me."
"Yes, I forgive you, because I love you. Come, we have a bit of time."
"Tonight we would have more."
"Well, come back again tonight, then. But I need you now..."
Horembeb lifted the boy into his strong arms and laid him on the fine bed. He opened Tut's clothes and took them off. While admiring the beautiful boy who's body had been developing and strengthening, he stripped in turn, under the watchful eye of his lover. Then he got on the bed and covered with his body the already excited one of the beautiful boy.
"Do you like to take me, Horembeb?"
"And you, to receive me inside of you?"
"I wish it were possible to marry you. To be yours forever."
"You're mine, Tut and I'm yours, you know that. One ceremony more or less cannot change that."
"Fortunately, my chosen guard didn't protected me too well, that day... It's really Aton who sent you to me."
They kissed for a long time, and caressed more and more intimately.
"Did I ever say to you, my boy, that every day you are more beautiful?"
"Do you want me?"
"More is not possible."
"If I were not the pharaoh..."
"Nothing would change for me. I'd love and desire you the same way. As Tutankhamen you are the master of my body; as Tut, you are the master of my heart. You know I'm all yours..."
"Yes, I know... take me." the young pharaoh said, caressing the strong throbbing member of his man and bringing his legs on his chest, so offering himself to his lover.
Horembeb encircled the boy's pelvis with his knees, leaned against him and began to penetrate him.
"Yes, like that..." the boy sighed, caressing the strong pectorals of his man and teasing his nipples, as he had discovered that Horembeb loved that.
The beautiful superintendent pushed it all inside and began to move with joy and pleasure. The young pharaoh tossed under him in order to enhance the pleasure for both.
"Do not stop, this time. Tonight we will have more time, we can make it last longer..." Tut said with a warm smile.
"Do you like it, Tut?"
"You know how much. Do it stronger, let me feel it real hard. Your member is my real sceptre, the most valuable. Yes, like that... You're my man, my sun. I love you, Horembeb, I love you... Ah yes, like that! Oh, my Horus, I'm yours! Yes, like that... aahh!"
Horembeb was now beating within him with all his youthful vigour, with all his manly boldness, and the boy was in seventh heaven. The strong rhythm broke and Tut knew that his man was close to orgasm. He spied the strong emotions colouring his face, felt the strong muscles flickering beneath his hands, felt the strong member seem to become thicker and harder, and finally felt the warm liquor of life of his man fill him with powerful jets.
The strong soldier continued to pound inside him even after he had poured the last drop of his tribute to love, until also Tut reached his orgasm and emptied with a long moan between their bellies.
"I... lo... oooove... youuu!" the boy whined.
Horembeb stopped, lifted the boy's chest and moved backwards, keeping Tut well stuck on his member, so that he was sitting on his lap, and kissed him passionately.
"I love you too..." he said breathlessly, his voice hoarse.
"I have never tasted your flavour, my Horembeb."
"Tonight we will drink from each other's sources, I promise."
"Yes... then you take me again, right?"
"I love you, Horembeb, I love you!"
"Me too, my sweet Tut."
"Is it true that you plan to go south, to make war against the Nubians?"
"If you allow me: it is necessary to do so, you know, like I explained to you."
"My father always said that we must avoid war."
"Sometimes you cannot and should not. Egypt has lost too many lands because of the politics of your father."
"But what I do if you go away? How will I do without you?"
"I'll come back, and soon. Will you wait for me?"
"Of course I'll wait. But if you really have to go, I want you to be my Commander in Chief, to act with all my authority, so that no one can hinder you."
"But that would arise envy and malice against me. I am too young, only twenty-eight years old..."
"Since you do not want me to come with you, this is the only way I can protect you. Tomorrow I'll create you Commander-in-chief of the North and South Armies."
"And the current Commander? If you discharge him from this post, you will make an enemy of him."
"He is not loved by the troops like you are. I have my informants, despite Aye supervising me. I will give him some high honorary office that satisfies his vanity. Aye respects you, he will find a way to fix things."
"He respects me? I rather got the impression that he mistrusts me."
"Just because he suspects what you really are for me, and he is afraid that you have too much influence and so threaten his role. But fear not: after all, he is my grandfather, and believes to have me in his hands. I will be able to appease his suspicions and his fears."
"Having Aye as an enemy is very dangerous..."
"I know how to make him believe it was his idea to make this change. But you must promise that you will accept. I'll be more comfortable during your absence. Will you do it for me? For your Tut?"
"Anything you want, my sweet little boy..."
"I'm no longer a boy now, I am already in my seventeenth year."
"It's nice to see you grow up and become a man. You will be a magnificent monarch for the Two Lands. And I will always be at your service, you know that. At least until you get tired of me."
"Tired of you? I swear on the head of the pharaoh that I will never tire of you!" Tut said with a cheerful smile.
Horembeb kissed him, and felt he really loved that "kid" more than himself.
The next day Tutankhamen spoke with Aye, and cleverly managed to make him decide that the old commander was no longer able to perform his duties well, and that his son Nakhtmin was not fit to replace him, so the best replacement was Horembeb. Thus Horembeb was appointed Commander-in-chief, and departed with the army to the south, to Nubia.
The new position he had taken often required him to leave the court to conduct various campaigns in Palestine and Syria, to help the Mitanni against the Hittites. These separations were a heavy toll for both lovers, but they could not escape their obligations.
When they were together again, they often treated themselves to a holiday, and on the pretext of lion hunting they stayed away from the court. At night, watched by the faithful Chike and Baqet, the two passionate lovers could join at their leisure under the lavish tent installed for them at the gates of the desert.