"Dark Stag" - Chapter 5


“This is intense!” Mercury said. He was sweating quite profusely, breathing hard as he put in every ounce of effort he could muster. The boy was trying hard, pleasing me with his efforts.
“I know. That’s why I love it! Put your hand,” I smiled, grabbing his hand. I pulled his body forward into a rather… cumbersome position, “...Here…”
“Oh my god!” Mercury moaned as I continued to pull him forward, “This feels sooooo damn good!”
“Good, now take it slow…Breathe.” I coaxed. He did. We locked eyes, exchanging heated grins of rather lustful intent. I could feels his warm breath on my neck…
“So this is how Illisian’s do it, huh?” He asked. I couldn’t help but laugh.
“This is for beginners, child. You haven’t seen anything yet!!!” I teased.
“Oh really?” He asked.
We sat face to face, legs splayed out with the souls of our feet connecting. There was only about five inches of space between our crotches.
“Pull me.” I said.
“OK…” He said, truly not believing just how dexterous my body was. He locked hands with me and began pulling me forward. Forcefully, he yanked me, thinking it would hurt. I laid across his belly, barely feeling the stretch, “Whoa…”
“I told you, this isn’t too hard.” I laughed, getting to my hands and knees.
It brought our lips dangerously close. Before they could connect, I tumbled over him, landing on the edge of the mat. Mercury, flustered, turned to face me.
“You’re going to get enough of teasing me like this!” He said.
“No, I don’t think I’ll ever get enough.” I laughed.
“Ok, show me some advanced Contortium de mal.” Mercury demanded. I turned to him.
“Are you prepared to see this?” I asked.
“This is nothing but glorified yoga combined with some hard ass gymnastics. I’m more than prepared.” He responded surely.
I slid into a middle split, finding my center of breath. I then popped my right thigh out of its socket pulling my leg upwards to make my toe point to the roof.  I then leaned back, making my forehead and toes touch.
“This is a floor swan split. Need I show more?” I asked.
“Please!” Mercury begged.
I turned to face my left leg, making sure I held my right leg in the same position. I then twisted my left leg out the socket and pointed the toes to the ceiling. This position was incredibly difficult. I had to maintain my balance with no leverage at all. It seemed as though it was strenuous on my lower body but it was more of an upper body workout and a tedious balancing act.
“This is the trident.” I said.
“More!” Mercury demanded.
I popped every joint back into place standing up once again. I did a back arch but instead of stopping, I kept going forward until my head had gone several inches past my feet. I then popped the left leg out of the socket once again and pulled it up until my spine began to twist. Gravity pulled my left leg down until I was in a tight square shape.
“This is the cube.” I said.
“How the hell can you do this?” He asked.
“It started off as stretching to be flexible enough to not be sore after riding horses when I was a really young kid. Then my father began teaching me Contortium which is heavily Illisian influenced yoga.”  I answered.
“So years of practice, huh?” He asked.
“Pretty much.”
“So when will I get to this level?”
“Well, you can be considered intermediate as is, so let’s start with…maybe water wheels?” I said, grabbing two thirty pound dumbbells. I brought them to the mat, “This is how you do them.”
I placed the dumbbells beside each foot. Maintaining my grip, I went into a handstand, allowing the dumbbells to support my weight. With the added leverage I arched my back eventually allowing my feet to touch the mat. I took several tiny steps placing my feet firmly in a wide stance, taking several breaths. I then lifted the dumbbells off the ground, standing erect, holding them above my head and repeated, several times.
“Whoa, that looks difficult.” Mercury said to himself.
“It’s a full body workout. You’ll be pooped for days after you do about ten reps.” I said as I sat back on the mat.
“Well this already is proving to be a bit much for me. I’d have to take this rather slow. I didn’t know Yoga could be such a fun little challenge.” Mercury smiled. I lay down on the mat, staring at the ceiling. Mercury took a seat on the edge of the mat, leaning onto the footboard of his bed. He sighed.
“We still haven’t talked about much, ya know.”
“What do you want to talk about?” I asked.
“You still haven’t given me a good reason as to why you’re…why you’ve come. Someone like you with someone like me, I just can’t come to wrapping my head around that.” He said. I leaned up to look the gorgeous boy eye to eye.
“Maybe you’re caught on the looks side of things, but the way you made me look at things here is just momentous. You have a way of teaching and interpreting that I admire. Plus, I saw you were a realist and I consider myself one. In this world, people like you are rare.” I said.
“Realist huh?” He asked with a smile, unsure how to take my little assessment, “I would have thought of you more of the type to get to where you need to go… I frankly feel like I’m the boulder on your stone path…”
“Why?” I asked.
“Because, there should be no reason you’re outside that upper ring! As much money as you’ve earned and you’re here with someone who barely gets paid…?”
“This is going over your head… I grew up with not a penny to my name. I had air to breathe and grass under my feet... and simply had to work with that. This…trust me, this is by no means any means to grow some dank debonair attitude…simply because I made money.” I said.
“What are you trying to say?”
“Money doesn’t matter to me and I like you for you! That’s what I’m trying to say!” I smiled.
“Yet, you’ve done nothing to prove it…” He said. The words were a slap in the face.
“Maybe by western standards… But by Illisian standards, I’d be disowned for simply accompanying you. In my home country, behavior such as this is beyond taboo. For you this may be equivocal to nothing but for me, it takes a lot.” I said.
“Oh…” He simply said. I got up and gathered my clothes.
“I should go…” I sighed. He scrambled after me, grabbing me from behind.
“You know sometimes I can be stupid and blind and inconsiderate.” He said.
“I see.” I said bluntly.
“Come on, I didn’t mean it that way at all. You don’t have to leave… I’m sorry!” He said.
“I mean…I’m taking a big gamble on faith here. Like…I haven’t felt this way over a single person in my life, giving all I know how but you’re just….”
“We’re from two different worlds. I just need to learn more about yours! Bear with me a little bit longer!” He begged.
“Ok…” I said, feeling reluctance. He took me back to his bed, taking my clothes and placing them in a basket next to the night stand. He then sat next to me, staring at me, full of intrigue.
“So, you see a future for us?” He asked.
“I see us taking this one day at a time.” I said bluntly.
“I understand…so would you name us a couple yet?” He continued. It was a tough question.
“I don’t know…I really like you but this is all so terrifying. I’ve dove into all kinds of stuff head first but never my feelings. This is…”
“It’s ok, we can go slow! I promise I won’t rush!” He said, hoping to reassure me. I couldn’t help but smile.
“So, what about this city, huh? I know so little about it and have so many questions… I mean I’m going to be living here from now on…” I asked.
“Well, I know every square inch of everything so I’m the one to ask.” He smiled.
“Ok so….how does a place this big run? Where does all the money come from?” I asked.
“Truth be told, it’s not pretty. This city is a slaver outpost, one of the largest in the world….” He said, truly not proud.
“Really?” I asked.
“Yes really… I’ve saw a side to this city that you just can’t un-see. It’s why I had to work so hard to make sure you didn’t get sold into slavery.  I didn’t quite mention to you all the things I had to go through to cover your ass, boy.” He laughed.
“So slavery is prevalent here?” I asked.
“It’s not like slavery as in someone has to work hard and do someone else’s bidding. The rich tends to buy slaves for sexual activity and then…disposes of them when they get bored. Guess who has to do the disposing…us noblemen. I’ve been doing this since I was seventeen. I take no pride in this but ultimately, have no way out… I’m essentially trapped in this.” He said.
The urge to tell him my true intentions was growing. He didn’t know how much I knew about the sex slave industry in this state... or just how affected I was. I truly didn’t know what to say. My intentions were not to fall for him. I was only using him for information but to know he was not happy with this life changed the scope of my mission. However, including him in this mission would make several more problems arise that I wasn’t sure he or I were prepared for. Truly, I had to be on my own.
“That’s just….” I said, struggling to find the right words.
“I recalled you said you saw some things… some things not so great...” He pointed out. I then remembered our conversation at the Mediterranean restaurant.
“I did…” I said, unsure the direction this conversation would turn.
“Well, whatever you saw, I’m deeply sorry to have you experience it and if I could, I would change it!”
“It’s fine…” I said, still haunted by the thought.
“I mean… There are not only negative things in the city! There are some fucking great things to see such as the zoos, the parks, the grand lots, the restaurants, the concerts!!!! There are things to love here, and they aren’t too hard to find! I’ll show you one day.” He smiled, hoping to change my opinions.
“Maybe…”I sighed.
“Well,” he said, seeing no sway in me, “What did you see?” At this point, there was no holding it back. My eyes welled up with rage filled tears as I tried to suppress the truth. It was taking all my will to hold it in but, I simply couldn’t.
“…I saw…” I began, “I gotta go….”
“Kijus…” Mercury said, worried about what I saw. I went to the basket, stopping to think. I had to compose myself before leaving, “We can talk about anything…”
“Man, Mercury, I’ve lost more than you could ever understand… This place is nothing but a reminder and it’s a struggle for me. I’m afraid there’s little you can do to help…not with this.” I said. He could hear the anguish on my tongue. The boundaries were set. He was not going to intrude any further.
“Just don’t let this be the last time you come to visit.” Mercury sighed. I said nothing. I put on my clothes and left, going down to the stable and hopping onto Rejon. We rode back to the upper ring. I directed Rejon into his stall, locking him up for the night. Turning around, Richard was standing there, startling me.
“Hey!” He said, full of enthusiasm. For whatever reason, the boy was rather clingy and…truthfully I didn’t really mind it. I was the only one here who cared for raptors the way he did. But I did notice something though... He was completely neglecting his friends.
“Hey.” I said back. He looked at me intently.
“Is something wrong?” He asked.
“No…” I sighed.
“Well, you’ve been gone for a few days. I thought you left.” He said.
“No, I still have work here to do. I’m not leaving for a while…” I laughed reassuringly.
“So what is there to do in the lower rings?” He asked.
“There is tons actually.” I said, making my way to the exit.
“Like what?” He continued.
“Well, there are soooo many restaurants, so many parks, so many venues and markets, so many everything…” I said.
“Well, my father doesn’t let any of us leave the ring without an escort. You’re lucky…Well he doesn’t really know you leave and he might try to stop you if he learns…”
“I mean, I won’t tell, Roi won’t tell but Brija will… Of course, the girl’s mouth just blabs on uncontrollably and today…she asked about you. She’s worse than Roi…” He explained.
“So…” I began, “She’s going to rat on me?”
“Personally, I don’t know what business you have outside these walls but please be careful. I’ll try to throw her off for as long as I can but…she’s spoiled rotten and will inevitably get her way.” He warned.
“Thanks for the tip… but, how should I approach this?”
“Like I told you, I’m here for you whether you wish for it or not. You may be blind to it but you’re doing my family a huge service and this is the only way I can repay you so…I’m willing to go to some pretty far lengths for you…” He chuckled, nervously. I turned to him, not expecting such sincerity or dedication.
“Thank you kid…” I said. He smiled, but the smile shrunk into what seemed like disappointment, as though he was expecting more from me.
It was then I made a stark realization. The boy was harboring some deep down feelings… feelings for me. They weren’t noticeable at first but they were becoming more and more evident. This was hard to process, let alone address. I couldn’t be terribly blunt like always this go around, because he was too precious to crush.. I for one, was equally as attracted to him as he was to me but…  I had serious, serious other issues going on in my life! The feelings we shared for each other couldn’t be explored…
But I wasn’t completely blind to them. Richard’s bolder, borderline intrusive behavior was something I’ve been noticing, something I’ve been riding my hopes on. That day in the pasture with the torque course, when we were taining Silver, I knew he was in my room! My room door was left purposely unlocked. I put very fine talc crystals on the floor, crystals that glow in the light. Upon returning to my room and turning on the lights, tracks were visible on the floor, boot tracks. And I knew these boots. Richard was the only one in the palace who’d keep his riding boots on inside. Afterall, he was the only one in the palace who really was a riding jockey.
All and all, this was a silent cry for help! He needed to know the things going on in my life because I couldn’t dare tell him what I was going to do. It was just that fucking bad! Hopefully, he was able to piece it all together! If these were different conditions where lives weren’t on the line….then maybe, just maybe I would explore the possibility of a building a relationship with him.
But we could never be. I didn’t want to lead him on either! It was a terrible habit and one I’d feel incredibly guilty over, if I let myself get close to him. With all that was going to happen, it simply wasn’t wise.
“Kijus!” Richard called out. He sounded frantic. I turned to him; half knowing what this would be about, “I respect you! I respect you soooooooo much! And if it was anyone else,” He said gearing to make another confession, “I’d run up to them and take the gamble…and kiss them! But with you, your beliefs, your self-views and governess it’s just… How could I ever approach you when you just radiate such a high level of being…. And you constantly leaving all the time… I feel like I stand no chance. I feel like… I’ve already lost.”
“I’m not good with expressing feelings, never was... Interpreting other’s feelings, is another thing though… All I got to say is that, if these were any other circumstances, I’d try it with you.  I mean…” I said, not wanting to go into very deep details.
“And that’s supposed to make me feel better?” He asked, annoyed by my response.
“I’ve thought about it a lot, actually. My little mind has taken me to some depths I never thought I’d have the capacity to think of. I’ve imagined…a lot. I’ve dealt with… a lot.” I said, making my own little confession. He looked at me peculiarly, arms folded, seeing I was holding back information.  
“Yet I’ve never thought of you that way. I aspired to be something like you before you started holding all these secrets, meeting up with random guys in the city.” He hissed.
“What?” I said back, caught off guard.
“Yeah, I was there at the restaurant when you and that Illisian had you little date. I heard every word… Here I was thinking you were this pure little being when you probably gave in to him. You probably got weak for him…”
“It’s not what you think…” I said.
“I’m supposed to believe a guy like that didn’t make a move on a guy like you? If you expect me to think that’s true, you’re wrong…”
“Why does it matter?”
“Because, I never stood a chance and this guy, someone who’s a tiny fraction of my worth comes in and swoops you away! I’ve been trying and trying and you’ve been pushing me away so hard, and I’ve had my limit….”
“I’m using him…” I said.
“He has information I need and I plan on getting it. I’m willing to do anything to get it…” I said.
“So you’re just going to lay yourself on the line huh?” He asked. I was getting extremely angry.
“At this point, I have nothing to lose! I’m nowhere near home, don’t know how to get back home, and this city is just disgusting! I….”
“And what makes you feel the need to get down to that same level?” He interrupted.
“You want to know why I’ve been disappearing every day?” I said, my eyes welling up tears of anguish. Before I could even utter a word, I realized what I was doing. My hands flew up in surrender as I shook my head. I refused to argue any more. The only respectable thing to do was walk away.
“KIJUS!” Richard yelled out. Seeing I wasn’t turning back to continue this argument, he went after me grabbing me by my arm. It took all my might not to retaliate in a way that would result in blood. I turned to face him, his passion filled eyes meeting my raging ones. I snatched out of my grasp, so upset.
“I don’t at all want to fight with you! We’re both too mature for that. I shouldn’t have opened my mouth… I’m sorry.” He said. All I could do was stare at him. Words found trouble manifesting on my tongue…
“…And you said I could trust you, huh?” His eyes lit up with joy as he felt I was about to come clean. I chuffed, rolling my eyes and continuing on.
“Oh my god…” He said running in front of me, “Please don’t do this to me! I’ll stop! I won’t prod any further, just don’t shut me out… Please, I’m begging you.”
Now how the hell was I supposed to respond to his…adorable heartfelt pleas? Before an ounce of sympathy could be seen on my face, I brushed past him, heading up to the balcony. The guilt of holding this against him though, was intense…a more intense feeling than how his aesthetics could move me. This night would be long and restless.
Richard was the only thought on my mind. I just couldn’t forget that promise I made to him. The plans I had for tonight were to fulfill them. Though, that too had its own hidden motives. I needed some experience before I dove into this foreign world. Yes, I was going to lose my virginity in this town. Surely, I did not want to lose my virginity to someone I didn’t know. I’d much rather lose it to someone I was familiar with and who was just as inexperienced as I was.
It served also served a purpose. Two consenting virgins were an eternal loop hole in the front of my religion. An exchange in purity was even more sacred than marriage. Fundamentally, it allowed both to still be able to walk away…not virgins but on a path to paradise nonetheless. It was…security, temporary security. This world I planned on diving into was definitely vicious. I was going to go into the slums, sell myself if I had to, in an effort to get closer to my goal. But, once I got in, there was no way out. I would be a slave, property to the highest bidders of the night. The idea was terrifying but what other choice did I have?
I sat on the sectional, looking at a picture I kept for years. Bazahra, watching me weep my eyes out, tried figuring out what was upsetting me. I walked over to her, showing her the picture.
“Tomorrow, see if you can find her. Be careful!!!! Don’t fly too low or do anything that could put you in harms way…” I said.
“Alright.” She responded. She nestled into the bed I made for her, closing her eyes tight.
I was nervous. It took several minutes of heavy panting, pulling my hair back because of sudden rushes of heat, and crying to build up enough nerve to leave my room. I was going to do it and there was no turning back.
I headed back to the stables. There already were nomad supplies there. I bought them, having planned this out weeks ago. I got Rejon from his stall and led him to the table where all the supplies were. He was all too familiar with the items I was loading onto him. He jolted and whistled from excitement. I pulled his reins.
“Easy, we’re going to stay right here.” I said laughing.
“Oh, you just love scaring me don’t you?” I heard someone say from behind.
Perched in the rafters of the stable was Richard, watching in disbelief.
“You know,” I began, “When I make a promise…I intend to keep it, no matter how upset I get.” He jumped down, walking forth towards Rejon and me.
“What promise was that?” He asked.
“Before I leave here for good, I wanted to show you just how we Illisians live…You know, if you’re up for the challenge.” I smiled.
“There’s no electricity, no climate control, no refrigerator, no comfortable beds, no late night broadcasts…nothing… You think you can handle that?” I continued.
“Oh, easily.” He said, brushing it off.
“Well, come on then.” I said, waving him forth.      
We prepared the remaining supplies as we contemplated spending the night under the stars with each other. We walked for close to an hour, enjoying the cool night breeze. Finding the perfect spot under the sky, we began setting up camp.
“You ready?” I asked.
“I guess.” He said, chuckling nervously.
“First thing’s first, grab a stake.” I advised. He did so.
“Drive it into the ground?” He asked.
“Yes, but place it carefully.” I recommended. He looked on the ground for a soft patch of soil.  Finding one, he drove the stake far into the ground, leaving only the ring out.
As he did that, I put the other four stakes in the ground. He watched, wondering how I was able to do this so swiftly. I then grabbed the suspension staves and hooked them onto the stakes one by one. There was a ring connecting the staves at the very top making a pyramid structure for the tent. The pyramid structure towered nearly twenty feet, having a base that was eleven feet wide.
“Bring me the tarmac.” I said.
“The who?” He asked.
“It’s the rolled up sand paper.” I giggled. He grabbed it, thinking it would be light. As he lifted, he was surprised to see it weighed as much as he did. He temporarily struggled to gain leverage but managed to do so. Surprisingly he carried the one hundred eighty pound roll to the center of the tent. He even laid it down gently.
“You should have dragged that thing in here…no one wants to throw out their back carrying a tarmac.” I laughed.
“Well you should have told me.” He smiled.
Kneeling down, I rolled the tarmac to where it would open out evenly. I kicked it, causing it to roll out, encompassing the entire base of the tent. Richard had to leap up or risk being hit by the heavy tarmac. He looked down at it, confused.
“So, we’re sleeping on sandpaper?” He asked.
“No, there’s bedding.” I said. Walking over to Rejon, I grabbed another large roll, this one much, much lighter. I walked back over to the tent and spread it across the tarmac.
Richard was standing on the outside of the tent, surprised that Rejon could carry such a tremendous loud.
“He’s just standing there… I know that’s heavy.”
“Well, Rejon can carry about five times as much as horse. He’s not all twitch fiber. He has the strength of a buffalo too.” I said.
“Where can I find one of these?” I asked.
“I’m not sure. My dad bought him from a merchant who had no idea what to do with him. I’ve read about dark stags before, so I figured it would be an investment that would pay off grand. I can’t just give an animal away and boy, was I right.” I explained.
“So he’s simply called a dark stag?”
“I guess so. He’s along the lines of Bazahra. But…I know not much about ungulates compared to raptors. I can easily find out what Bazahra is….Rejon, not so much.” I laughed.
“So, you know what Bazahra is?” He asked.
“No.” I said, laughing even harder.
“Eh, think of it this way. Her poise in flight is like a cross between a goshawk and a falcon. Silver’s poise in flight is very…accipiter-like. These birds have no stereotyped flight characteristics so I can’t identify him by that. Also, her molt patterns are pretty much different from any other raptor. She’s may look like an eagle, but she’s not an eagle. Her molt pattern is very, very similar to falcons though… In fact, she is some strange type of falcon.”         
“Really, a falcon?” He asked surprised.
“Well, caracaras in particular. She’s pretty much a super-sized caracara. That’s why her molt pattern is damn near identical to falcons.” I clarified.
“Caracara?” Richard asked.
“They’re a brother species to typical longwing falcons but have the highest intelligence of any raptoral bird. I read about them years ago but they’re from a very far away land. They’re smart as hell though…”  
“Now that is believable.” He chuckled.
“I still don’t know what to call her though. I would label her an caracara but information for them is hard to come across” I laughed.
“How about,” He began, “plateado caracara?”
“I like it…” I smiled.
“Sounds, like it works. A scientific name?”
“Phalcomegus asimus…”
“This just makes me wonder even more where she comes from.” Richard pondered.
“I believe she comes from a land far to the west…across the vast ocean.”
“My father said he’s been…said it’s a four month sail.”
“Wow…” Richard said in disbelief.
“My father used to be chocked full of stories.” I laughed.
“I mean, it’s plausible.”
“There are reports from various sources of vultures with twenty plus foot wingspans, giant raptors the size of ratites that are the apex land predators and coastal birds, bigger than any other flying bird.”
“So,” Richard began, “Is this our last time seeing each other?”
“I don’t know… It might be. I’m going to need you to take care of Rejon for a little while. I don’t know when and if I’ll be back to the upper ring…” I said, sad to inform him of the news.
He sat there in the moonlight, lit up partially by the lantern. His eyes glistened as impulse filled his body.
“So, this is the last night we spend with each other.” He said.
“It’s so much that’s uncertain after this point…Everything I fought for, believed in, it won’t matter. I’ll be pretty much worthless very soon.”
“You won’t be worthless to me,” He said, “I know that’s the clichéd answer to give, but I mean that! Why are you doing this to yourself?”
“…Because I have to save someone who can’t save their self.” I said, trying to hold back tears.
“And who’s going to save you when you need it?” He asked.
“I can manage on my own.” He began to chuckle.
“That’s your answer for everything. You’re not invincible, Kijus. You’re human…you hurt, you cry, you want to break things, you want your wrath to be felt, you want to feel justified over every little thing, you want freedom and fairness! You’re human!”
“Maybe, if this works out I’ll write you someday. I’ll explain to you everything that’s going on.”
“It’s that hard to talk about, huh?” He said, truly concerned.  I nodded, “Well…” He didn’t know what to say.
“You’re right,” I began, “I’m not as strong as I’d wish to believe.”
“You’ve overcome a lot so far! It’s ok to have a limit, a breaking point! I just wish I knew how to recommend the best choice for you right now.”
“Just make this promise to me.”
“Ok.” He said, curiously.
“Don’t sit on some false fairy tale, thinking your prince will come. It’s all shit, man. Live your life.”  Richard’s curious demeanor dropped. His disenchantment was heart breaking.
“Don’t tell me you’ve given up on faith….”
All I could do was nod and cry. He gasped, unsure what to do next. The silence that set on brought for…tension, tension for one another. What was holding us back though?
“…Just live all your days like each one is your last… Don’t be afraid to gamble, to take risks. Do what your heart yearns for and your mind rebukes!” I nudged.
“Do what my heart yearns for? Okay…” He said, crawling across the bedding to greet my lips with his own. He embraced, me pulling me in tightly by the arc of my back. With his left hand, he lifted my chin as his soft lips came into contact with mine.
We kissed for God knows how long. I just remember being extremely hot despite only wearing jockey tight.  The boy began working his way further forward, grabbing my left leg and splaying it out. He inched closer and closer until our bodies were in contact. His knees went under my thighs as he pressed forward, causing me to lay on my back.
The warmth of his body did something to me. All thoughts of concern, all feelings of repercussions went away. His body was simply enchanting as I rubbed his rock solid back. I found myself slipping my hands under his tunic. The boy reared up, like a majestic stallion, to pull it off.
I could now see his gorgeously defined abdominals, his chiseled pectorals and his contouring oblique muscles. He was such a work of art, one whose beauty could mesmerize any and everything.
“I’ve been wanting to tell you this for months…” He said, panting, “I love you Kijus!!!!” Before I could even respond, he dove back down kissing me, this time with tongue. The sensations that shot through my body were unlike anything I felt before. It was like the transferring of consensual energies manifesting, in a jittery, anxiety felt first time.
His kissed went down from my lips to my chin, neck, and chest. His hand slid into my tights feeling the hard bulge there. Our eyes locked as he smiled daringly at me. I didn’t know what he was going to do but I know I didn’t want it to stop. I leaned up, watching him bite his lip as he stroked my manhood within the tights.
“I knew those erotic books I’ve been archiving would have their use.” He smiled. I couldn’t help but smile too. There were no words I could say that could describe these feelings.
He slid down my tights, pulling them all the way off and throwing them to the side. My penis popped to my abdomen, the tip landing just above my navel. Richard gently wrapped his hands around it.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for so long.” He opened his mouth and went down onto it. All I could feel was the tightness of his cheeks, the softness of his tongue and hot moisture as he pumped up and down.
It was starting to make sense now, why sex had such a hold on so many people’s lives. It was utterly life changing, these sensations, this heat, this intimacy. It was an experience I was never going to forget, an experience with an unforgettable person.
My nerves were jarred, trembling under all this intensity. I stared up, looking at the top of the tent, this wonderful sensation seeming to go on for hours. As it continued, there a strange build up. I suddenly leaned up, unsure what this feeling, a feeling even more intense than any I’ve felt before began to erupt.
“WAIT!” I said aloud. Richard pulled away, beating my shaft vigorously. He smiled wide as a massive load of semen shot from me. I jolted from the intensity, left in straight euphoria.
“You my friend, just had your first orgasm.” He said, keeping the bright smile.
“That…was an orgasm?” I asked panting. He nodded, “This is what I’ve been missing out on for years?”
“Yes.” He laughed, “I’m no pro like my brother, but he’s explained to me a few tricks…some I’d love to try.”
“Do whatever you feel.” I said.
“Whatever?” He asked, startled by my response.
“You don’t understand. I need this!” I explained. He bit his lip contemplating his next move. His concern began to set in, the lust dissipating. He leaned in to kiss me, once again. Even though this was all I needed, I wanted more. He rolled off his tights while we kissed, climbing on top of me.
“How memorable do you want this night to be?” He asked, looking on daringly with smoky intent.
“I think it’s already memorable…” I chuckled.
“Well,” he said flipping me onto my belly, “I hope you’re ready for this.” I knew what was going to happen. He was going to shove his manhood up my rectum. I tried to imagine what the sensation was going to be like, but truth be told, I had no preparation. All I knew was that sodomy was something I viewed as extremely taboo. As a result, I wanted it so bad…
He parted my cheeks and I felt his lips and tongue. It was so gentle and tickled just right. I moaned out, as he continued. He went down to the back of my scrotum then back up to my rectum.
“You got a fat ass…” He chuckled before diving back in. I wondered what it looked like. I wondered was the view as good as the feeling.
He then stopped. I figured he was going to stick his shaft in me but again, I was wrong. I felt a bony finger slide up my anus and it burned. I jolted, innately crawling away. With his free hand, Richard seized me before I could get too far away.
“It hurts?” He asked. It was a while before I nodded.
“…Yeah.” I finally responded.
“You can’t run from me…” He teased. I turned, finally to see what he had between his legs. His size was nearly unfathomable. It was semi erect, hanging two thirds the length of his knee.
“And that’s going inside me?” I asked, utterly terrified.
“It’s probably why I’m still a virgin. People flip out when they see this thing.” He said, scratching the back of his head.
“I’m always up for a challenge.” I teased back daringly. He laughed, crawling on top of me. He grabbed me by my lower thighs and pushed my knees up to my chest. We were now face to face.
He grabbed his humungous shaft and placed it on my entry point. He looked down, somewhat unsure what he was doing. He pressed forward, sliding his glans into my anus. It was extremely broad and spread me open swiftly. The severe burning and the unavoidable feeling of separation was so incredibly painful, I screamed out.
“I’m hurting you?” He asked, stopping. I couldn’t even come to words, just held my eyes and jaw clenched. He continued to wait until I gave him a response.
“More…” I managed to say. He continued to slide his shaft into my walls, making sure he was extra gentle. My hands clenched the bedding as I endured the burning, ripping feeling.
He pumped a few times, eventually settling his entire rogo deep inside of me. I could feel his pubic hair tickling my scrotum. He was waiting for me to relax. My grip on the bedding slacked, and my balled up face went back to the euphoric and spacey grin. He repositioned himself, leaning very far forward, supporting his mass with his arms. My left leg slowly went down to the bedding as my right leg was pushed as far forward as my softened ligaments could muster.
“Damn…” He said, surprised by my range of motion. He slowly began to pump, the intense burning returning however, this time it was enjoyable…Not just enjoyable, it was ecstasy. I could see his rolling abdominals moving fluidly like a well oiled machine built specifically for this very job. He lowered himself onto me, placing his lips upon mine. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, it did as I felt the pressure of his body against mine.
His speed picked up, as he leaned up to get a view of his rogo sliding in and out of me. My right leg still lay tucked in an upwards position, pressed against my body.
“How are you even able…” He said, continuing to pump.
“It’s not a problem?” I asked a bit concerned.
“No, it’s fucking sexy!” He smiled, reaching for the leg. He pulled it up pressing it against his chest as he continued to pump.
“Oh…my…god…” I said with each pump. He lay against me once again, my right leg jammed between both our bodies. His pace picked up even more.
All I could remember was that this was steady intensifying. I moaned louder and louder, clawing at his back as he drilled me. He was unrelenting. The sound of his humongous testicles slapping against my ass did something to me. I didn’t know what but I didn’t want it to end.
When it did end, when Richard reached his godly climax, I was left feeling empty…like I needed more. He lay next to me staring at me eye to eye. We both couldn’t help but smile.
“You know I love you right?” He teased. I couldn’t help but feel flattered. I didn’t know how I was supposed to respond though.
“If there was a way,” I began, “That we could spend the rest of eternity together…”
“I’d run away with you!” He said. I leaned up, taken by surprise.
“You would?” I responded.
“Yes!” It was then I realized that indeed I could trust him. My eyes welled up as I felt the strongest connection with anyone period.
“Why can’t we run away together? Why can’t we just be one with each other? Why can’t we just love?” He continued.
“Because,” I began, “There is someone in this city that I can’t leave here.”
His jaw dropped, finally piecing it all together. I didn’t want to ponder on this any longer. I just wanted to dwell on this new found connection and the fact that I was able to trust again. I thought a day like this would never come back into my life. I couldn’t help but smile, gracious to have someone like Richard here.
But what did it mean? He had proven himself as someone worth trusting, sure but at what cost? We couldn’t be together and I didn’t want to tell him about how twisted my plans were. On my way out of here I was going to fuck up anything and everything obscuring me. I’ve lost too much to care. Despite the lovely connection Richard and I shared, losing my virginity was the last straw the camel couldn’t bear.


The next day had arrived, and Richard and I were sleeping naked, cuddled against one another. The sun’s rays penetrated through the fabric walls of the tent. He was the first to wake up, quick to shake me awake. I sprung up, fearing something was wrong.
“Bazahra’s outside.” He whispered. I opened the tent, glad to see her. It had been a few hours since we last saw each other and she needed a good rub down. She rushed in, ready for the feather ruffling tickle. She chattered happily, as I tickled her nape and ruffled the feathers on her hackles. She suddenly pulled away.
“I no find girl but crazy princess searches city for you. You no leave any longer…” She responded.
“What?” I responded.
“What’s she saying?” Richard asked.
“Um…” I responded before addressing Bazahra, “Explain that a little bit better, Bazahra.”
“Last evening, stupid child girl and several nobleman searched all over city for you. She told king you commonly venture out to city for days at time… He was very angry.”
“Ok, Richard, you were right….” I said.
“About what?” He asked.
“Your…damn sister.” I said, springing to my feet putting on clothes.
“Wait, what happened?” He asked.
“Last night when I came back, she sent a search party for me…in the city. I thought you were kidding when you told me about her…”  
“No, I was not lying! That girl wants you for whatever reason… But for what?” He pondered.
“I don’t know, don’t want to find out but this is a serious wrench in my plans.” I sighed.
“I know… I’m trying to think. Does my father know?”
“SHIT!” He growled, as he got to his feet.
“Like,” I began, “How…”
“Look,” Richard said caressing my face, “You put yourself on the line last night, told me more than I ever thought you would and I will do everything in my power to help… We’re going through this…together.”
Had last night not happened, I wouldn’t have taken this plunge and trusted him this instance. However, he was my only hope. We dismantled the tent and loaded everything back up on Rejon. We headed back to the stable, not sure what to expect. Waiting in the rafters was Roi. He leapt down, making his way towards us.
“Where the fuck were you two?” He asked concerned. We looked at each other, unsure who should respond first.
“We had a night out to camp…” Richard responded. Roi eyed us down, arms folded.
“You two fucked.” He smiled, before getting serious, “Lucky yall but um, I wish you two could have picked a different date night. Brija had us all out on the town searching for you. I had to cover for you both!” He explained.
“How bad is it?” Richard asked.
“Dad was fuming. I thought he’d be more mad at you but no he’s furious with Kijus.” Roi said. It was shocking.
“What did I do?” I asked.
“He said you had no business outside these walls, that you were to stay here at all times.” Roi reported. All that could fill me was utter rage. I could feel my head heating up as I tried suppressing it. However it was noticeable.
“Really?” I responded.
“I mean…” Roi said, eyeing me head to toe obviously reading my poorly attempted suppression of my rage.
“Kijus, calm down.” Richard suggested.
“No! I haven’t earned my freedom? I’ll forever be an indentured servant here?” I asked, my voice quivering.
“You want to leave?” Roi asked, surprised.
“That’s beside my point, Roi. It’s that I don’t get this extremely unorthodox sense of self worth present in these lands and the constant need to exert it over others…” I answered, stopping myself short before I said something offensive.
“Yeah, it’s getting a little old…” Richard added. Roi looked at him, further surprised.
“Well you two have become quite…mutual.” Roi noted.
“So, what all happened, Roi?” Richard asked, growing annoyed.
“Well, Kijus’s room was searched late last night, and all your journals were gone through. Brija was the first one to read and there was a journal with like…only a few sentences that pissed her off. She showed it to pa and that is when he got angry and went into his rant. So, then he sent for you, Richard and was even angrier you weren’t anywhere to be found. He talked to your friends and learned that you and Kijus had grown close and he now thinks that Kijus is not a good influence on you. So, then I was asked if I knew anything and truthfully I didn’t. We haven’t talked in about a week so I was left in the dust, but pa chewed me up even then. So, he forced me to accompany him and we searched the city, all the rings…It wasn’t organized or anything, just mindless wandering. We came back around four in the morning and pa was still heated.” Roi explained.
“Well I’m ready to face the king.” I said, boldly. Both Roi and Richard looked at me.
“Don’t do anything stupid.” Richard advised.
“I’m not going to do anything the situation doesn’t call for.” I said bluntly, arms folded.
“Oh god, Kijus, seriously think about this. Think about it!” He hinted.
“What more can I lose, Richard?” I asked. He had no response.
“You may be a match for pa but I wouldn’t advise in going there with him. Just…let him be right, Okay?” Roi advised.
“Hey, I’m in his lands, right?” I sighed. Roi sighed, shaking his head. He left, heading to the aviary. He left Richard and me alone.
“I can count on you to not dig your own grave right? You might be digging two, just saying.” He said.
“I’m not risking anything. I need to see what variables I can play first. Right now, the plan is on hold.” I sighed as I began taking the equipment off of Rejon.
“This is crazy, seeing you so serious about something other than raptors.” He said.
“This is a case of same shit, new toilet. I’m used to fighting for survival; I’m just not used to fighting for survival in an urban environment. I don’t compete with humans, I compete with leopards, smilodon, hyenas, wild dogs. It’s different…it requires a less volatile approach and one where I have to be devious and cunning. I will say this, though. I’m dying to get my hands bloody.” I said.
“Wha…” Richard responded, my statement catching him off guard. I couldn’t help but chuckle.
“You’ve killed actual people before?” He asked. I sighed…
“Sometimes you have to do things to protect others…to protect yourself. After you kill your third person, the regret kind of doesn’t happen.” I explained.
“Oh my god.” Richard said shocked, “You’re kidding right?”
“Do I have a sense of humor?” I responded plainly. He just stared, jaw hanging.
Turning to the exit, I headed to the palace. Richard followed closely.
“You know, this doesn’t change a thing right?” He said.
“That’s good to know.” I said.
“Just don’t even kill me when you get mad.” He teased.
“I mean… They were not just random victims. You know, tribes and nomadic bands have conflicts and there are some wicked people out there…even Illisians. And in the Blessed Lands, there are no laws. It’s a frontier.” I clarified.
“I’ve gotten to know you a little bit, Kijus. I think it’s safe to say that you just don’t randomly kill people, though I don’t want to get to know that side of you.” He said.
“I’m just laying it out on the line. I seriously have nothing to lose.” I said. He had no response.
The two of us continued our way out of the stables. As we turned to the palace, we stood in shock at the sight of a courier handing Brija a large box. Standing on the balcony was the king looking at us, scowling. I felt rattled, but what did I have to lose. I looked over to Richard who obviously never had been in trouble before. The boy was incredibly nervous.
“We’re in this together right?” He asked.
“I should be asking you this.” I responded, walking forward.
As I made my way up the Balcony, all eyes were on me, ignoring Richard.
“I,” The king said, sitting down balancing his chin on his knuckles, “I’m terribly confused, Kijus. I invite you to my home and make you a part of my family, yet you leave without a word. Explain yourself!”
“It was my doing.” Richard chimed in. All eyes fell upon him, all skeptical.
“His room was searched. I saw the things he wrote, the things he conspired! I gave him trust and this is what he does…” The king responded, obviously struggling to keep his composure.
“And these things he conspired were against our home, our well being?” Richard continued.
“It….”The King began, stopping short as he realized that Richard was one who could see through his ploy, “It doesn’t matter! He was supposed to hold true to the terms of our agreement. They said nothing about leaving the upper walls!”
“And they said nothing about not leaving the upper walls.” Richard continued.
“Well, as long as he’s going to be a servant here, he’ll have to abide by my rules. You’re no longer allowed to leave this perimeter.” He said.
“But he’s mostly with me!” Richard said in my defense.
“I don’t care!” The king yelled, getting back to his feet. At this point I couldn’t help but chuckle. All eyes fell on me, all expressing the feelings of grave concern, “Is something funny?”
“Yes. I just have so little luck you, know. I’m here thousands of miles away from home, being held against my will under terms that are extremely illogical and am expected to…”
“You look famished! Let’s fill you up!” The queen interrupted, making a ton of ruckus as she got to her feet to fix me a plate.
“Let him finish…” The king said. The queen gave him an eye-burning gaze that the king failed to understand. She sat back down, nostrils flared.
“I’m expected to conform to your impartial rules when they themselves violate the terms of our agreement? Since when was I a servant?” I said eager to finish my statement.
“You’re no longer in Illisia. You’re in my lands. In my lands you abide by all I say. You’re a servant because I say you are and that’s final.”
“And what about the freedom you promised me?” I asked, staring him down. The king chuckled.
“If you keep this up you can kiss the idea of being free again away.” He said. We held our intense gaze for a long time. His eyes expressed his arrogance and sense of supremacy. Mine… Little did he know but I was going to take him out… People with his way of thinking are what this world needs less of and the fact that he happily runs a society built around the sex slave industry made my stomach crawl. He raked in so much money from his brothels around the lower rings that it was sickening.
“…Now down to business. Come on, sit and eat.” The king said as he took his seat. The queen pulled out the chair near her, inviting me to sit. I did so reluctantly not bothering to hide my cringing expression. All I wanted to do was behead this terrible excuse for a ruler. Being near this man made my appetite disappear.
Richard took his seat, quickly flexing his brow ridge as he stared at the table. He obviously wanted this to end, unsure how this event could turn. It was clear that he was worried about how I was handling this. Indeed, I was doing so poorly. His mother watched us, realizing something wasn’t right, something was not being said. However, she was not one to tell.
“My baby girl wants to get into falconry and I want the best of the best to teach her everything.” The king said, hinting at me. He proudly smiled at his youngest, Brija. The girl looked at me with the box lying across the table.
“Soooo?” I asked, hoping to speed things along.
“I got a kestrel.” She said. Both my and Richard’s jaw fell.
“A kestrel?” I asked.
“We have tons of other raptors, Brija…less rowdy and less temperamental raptors to start with.” Richard said.
“I wanted something cute that I could call me own…” Brija said, staring me down. Her words were double edged… However, she didn’t know what she was getting involved with.
“How old is the bird?” I asked.
“I don’t know.” She responded. Her response truly made me angry.
“Does it have a pedigree?” I continued.
“It came with these certificates and doctrines.” She said handing it to me.
“I’m just going to state it plainly,” I said, flipping through the paperwork, “Kestrels are terrible starting birds. They are aggressive and extremely fragile.”
“My baby girl is up for the challenge.” The king said proudly.
“I surely am…” She said, continuing to eye me down. I couldn’t believe this girl was serious.
“Pa, you agreed to let her get a kestrel? That’s an advanced bird… What if it fly’s away or even worse, rakes her? What is she going to do then? Send the bird back? Is she prepared to treat this bird as a life time investment and understand how big of a responsibility it is? Is she prepared to spend hours a day flying it, training it, teaching it to fly the lure? There are several sparrow hawks and buzzards that don’t need to be flown daily and are easy to train and won’t be temperamental. I mean, you know she goes through phases of fascination. I don’t want this to be something temporary for her!”
“Relax, Ricky. I can handle this.”
“Oh please,” Richard said, obviously pestered, “You never have been interested in birds a day of your life…”
“And another thing… I don’t have privacy here? My stuff was searched through with no regards to my privacy all for a…tiny little falcon?” I asked.
“Pretty much.” The king responded, not seeing anything wrong with it. I sighed, wondering why I was expecting so much from this place.
“Let me see the bird.” I said, the lack of enthusiasm very noticeable. Brija pulled off the top of the box revealing an immature steppe kestrel that was fully fledged. It was a female, about fifteen inches long, weighing probably nine ounces. It was a shock. I was expecting a hatchling.
“Isn’t he adorable?” She asked.
“It’s a girl…” I said.
“Girl? I asked for a boy!” She said angrily.
“Too late to get another one. You’re in it now.” I said, giving her a cold stare. She looked at me shocked.
“Dad…” She said. He looked at her, conflicted.
“Well it hasn’t imprinted yet. Let’s trade it.” He said.
“How serious are you people taking this? These raptors are my life and you just trade them like they are worthless rats with wings! No, these are incredibly intelligent beings that live a very long time and should be more respected than they are…”
“Kijus…” The queen said.
“Well if it’s that big of a deal, I’ll keep the damn bird.” Brija pouted.
I had to console myself. I didn’t want to get any angrier than I was. I stared off, wishing for this day to end. The family carried on normally while I sat, boiling in my own skin. The breakfast eventually ended, leaving Brija alone with me.
“So you’re ready.” I asked her.
“Sure.” She responded, truly oblivious to just how difficult training a raptor could be. I also wished that Richard wouldn’t have left. I knew Brija’s intentions plainly.
“Well come on…” I said, walking down the balcony.
“Well aren’t you going to get her?” She asked. I stopped at the bottom of the stairs, looking at her.
“It’s your bird.” I told her. She reluctantly picked up the box as we walked to the aviary.
Upon arriving I outfitted myself with a falconer’s mitt. I handed her one. She looked at it in disgust.
“I’m not putting that thing on.” She frowned.
“Well do you want to get raked by the bird?” I asked.
“No, but she’s small. Her talons can’t hurt that bad.”
“Her feet can grip harder than you can bite. It’d be a pretty nasty wound, Brija. Do yourself a favor and put on the glove.” I said, growing ill of patience. She did so, cringing the entire way.
I rolled my eyes, opening the box. The tiny kestrel fledgling held its mouth open, eager to be fed. It was then I knew this bird had just got its full immature plume and had probably hadn’t taken its first flight.
“Oh good, she’s nice and hungry.” I said to myself before turning to address Brija, “Rule number one. Raptors can do no wrong. Raptors can’t be corrected. They only can be rewarded.”
“What?” She asked confused.
“When she does something you don’t like, you ignore it and try to make her do something you like. They are smart birds. They learn quickly.” I explained, going to grab a table perch. I sat the table perch on the far end of the bench before reaching to scoop the tiny bird out of its box. She sat with her wings held loose, standing on her ankle joints rather than her feet. She made reedy coos as she watched me move back and forth.
“Yep, she’s super young. She isn’t even standing all the way.”
“So what are you going to do?” Brija asked. I looked at her.
“Tell you what to do. This bird is not going to imprint on me. She’s your responsibility.”
“So you’re not even going to help me?’
“I didn’t say that. I’m making it clear that I’m not going to take care of your raptor, when it was your decision to get it. I’m not going to invest into this bird any more than training it. You’re going to clean its enclosure, give it clay to bathe, fly it every day and bond with it!” I said. She looked on in horror.
“Every day?” She asked.
“She is not a pet, she is lifelong commitment. She’ll be here for the next thirty years.” I told her.
“Is it too late, to get one of those birds that don’t have to be flow every day?” She asked laughing.
“Poor girl.” I sighed, as I placed a small mouse-like lure on the bench.
“You have no work ethic. I hope something gives you a rude wakeup call the way I had gotten.” I laughed.
“What? You mean that little stent from earlier? No, um…I get my way, with everything.” She said defensively.
“That’s not at all what I’m talking about. I’m talking about when I was nine years old and my father was killed before me, when my mother and eldest sister were taken and sold as slaves in this very city. The day when I went hungry for weeks and had to step up and be a man before I even hit puberty. I just find it so funny how your family doesn’t get along and take each other for granted when my family was ripped apart. It’s so hilarious how you think that your family may be here tomorrow, like tomorrow’s guaranteed. For all you know, a berserker can come here in the night and burn us all to the ground. And what’s funniest…this. This stunt, your attempt to get closer to me by any means necessary. I bet your daddy never tells you no.” I smiled, giving her sincere honesty. My words hit her hard.
“You don’t know me!” She responded.
“You don’t know me.” I said, “But guess what. I’m the one who had to put my entire life on halt so I can hope to be free again. I bet you think I’m being so inconsiderate to you, but really…look at what you’re doing. In your attempt to get closer to me, you did one of the most offensive things a person can do to an Illisian…get a raptor and take it for granted. You know just how unforgivable an act that is? In my country, tribes war over disrespecting raptors. People have died! Yet, I got to put my feelings aside, keep it completely objective and show you the ropes of caring for a raptor.”
Her eyes began to well up. Completely in over her head, she pondered on words to say. I hope that everything I said got under her skin and honestly made her think. I wanted her to know just how spoiled and ungrateful she was. With a smile, I handed her the lure. She took it cautiously, expecting more brutal words from me.
“What am I supposed to do with this?” She asked.
“She’s super hungry. She may be a few weeks old but she instinctively knows that anything small and fury means food. You’re going to use that lure to build up her confidence. She doesn’t even want to walk.” I said, still smiling.
“Just listen to everything I say.” I recommended.
“Put the lure, just in front of her.” I said. Brija did so, unsure what the result would be. The kestrel looked at the lure, unsure what to do. It was used to food being dropped right into its mouth. It stood there waiting, not quite able to make the correlation to prey being near it means to get up and pounce.
“What now?” Brija asked.
“Just wait. Have that line ready. When the kestrel gets up and goes for the lure, pull it just out of reach.” I said.
“And what will that do?”
“It will make the kestrel think the prey is alive and it will either react two ways: it will be cautious and back away, or it will chase it and pounce.”
“I’m guessing that it being cautious and backing away is not the objective behavior.”
“If your food ran away from you , you would be cautious and back away or would you chase it and kill it?”
“I’d have the normal human reaction of what the fuck and then stand the hell back.”
“Exactly… It could very well be her personality trait to be cautious of what she’s unsure of, just like it could be a personality trait of hers to chase it out of curiosity. Ultimately, the objective behavior is to simply get a reaction. We need to know what personality type your bird is.”
“Ooooooooh.” Brija said, her fascination growing.
We waited for several more minutes before the bird finally stood up fully. It took several cautious steps over to the lure. As told, Brija pulled the lure just out of reach. The bird stood there, not cautious but not too fond of the movement either. She pondered what her next move should be, confused by what she perceived as food moving by itself.
Finally, the adorable little raptor took another step. Building confidence, it continued to walk towards the lure, its talons clacking on the wood work bench. She then grabbed the lure in her tiny little talons, lifting it up to her beak. I tossed her a piece of red meat, catching her attention. Her youthful little mind quickly made the correlation that the red meat was food. She dropped the lure, spread her wings and ran across the table. She quickly gobbled it down.
“Get the lure.” I said to Brija. She reeled in the short line, hiding the lure in her hand. The tiny kestrel faced me, running back across the table with its mouth opened wide.
“See,” I began, “This would be considered a wrong behavior. However, there is no correcting only, ignoring and persuading. Hand me the lure.” Brija gave me the lure and I sat it atop the glove. I then placed a little chunk of red meat on the glove.
The bird’s head began to bob wildly as she began calculating the distance between my right hand and her current position. Granted, it was less than two feet but considering she had very underdeveloped flight muscles, it was the equivalent of humans leaping four times their vertical height.
Nonetheless, the tiny bird did the extended jump, a trait common in avians. They’d increase the distance of their leap by intense wing beats. She landed, gobbling down the meat.
“She’s a very well-motivated bird. After a while, she’ll stop doing this because she’s hungry and start doing it because she enjoys it.” I said, lowering her back to the table. She hopped off, looking back at me confused.
“And when will that be?” Brija asked.
“It depends on her. It could be within the next few days or could be within the next few weeks. This is the start though. We must let her get used to being handled in this way. We must let her feel this is something natural, something she’d do in the wild.” I explained. Brija stared for a while.
“Can I try?” She asked, startling me.
“Sure…” I said back, my shock obvious.
I stood back, watching the smart girl emulate my every move. She practiced handling the bird for over an hour, the tiny bird continuing to eat like it was a bottomless pit. But that is what kestrels do. Of all falcons, kestrels have the lowest wing to mass ratio and are very kite-like. Where they differ from kites is in being able to consume their entire body weight in one sitting.
“What should I name her?” Brija asked.
“It’s your bird.” I smiled, this time with no sarcasm.
“Well, about her personality? What would you describe her?”  Brija continued.
“She doesn’t fall under the two main stereotypes. She’s not timid or aggressive. She’s rather inquisitive, rare for the smaller falcons. Call her Qali.” I said. Brija looked at me.
“What does that mean?” She asked.
“It means defier.” Brija’s face lit up as though a yearlong conundrum had been solved.
“So she’s Qali the defier?” She asked smiling.
“I guess.” I responded.


Our time training had come to an end. Though I made Brija have a change of heart, I was not dealing with her any longer. This would be my last night here. However, I wasn’t going to leave the girl hanging. She did after all have a gorgeous steppe kestrel that she’d be with for years. I also knew how Richard was so he too would help.
The reality then hit me. This would be the last night we’d spend together. I mean, it hit me extremely hard. As I stood at the top of the stairwell, tears rolled down my cheeks. Considering all I had planned, and that he and I had a long and depressing conversation about my intentions last night, it was heart breaking. We’d be so close but out of each other’s reach. Then another thought rammed my chest. What if this plan backfires? Who would bail me out if it fails?
Making my way towards my room, I saw Richard’s door open. He left out, surprised to see me. He rushed over to me, full of worry.
“You’re finished already? How’d it go? She didn’t try anything did she?” Richard asked.
“It went well. Of course, I shut it down before it even got to that level. I gave her something to chew on and absorb…” I answered.
“So she didn’t try to advance on you?” Richard asked, mouth held in surprise.
“I knew it was coming but I knew if I allowed it to happen and resisted her, the results would probably be terrible. I have too much at stake to go down that way.” I said.
“Well, what are you going to do now?”
“That’s what I needed to talk to you about.” I said, leading him back into his room. We sat down, getting ready for the seriousness that was about to unfold.
“…Ok.” Richard said.
“You know I’ve been using Mercury to learn about the brothel rings right?”
“Well the boy ain’t stupid. He obviously knows I’m up to something and I’m afraid that if he “learns too much he might rat me out.” I responded.  
“I’m…dead…ass…” I said. Richard sighed, as he mustered up the courage to ask me an intense question. It was one he had to put his feelings aside to even be objective enough to consider.
“How willing are you to make sure it doesn’t happen?” He asked.
“I don’t want to go all the way with him.” I said plainly.
“Well how involved do you want him?”
“I don’t even know yet. These angles are so tricky. It depends on how events fall when we meet later tonight.”
“Tonight?” Richard asked shocked.  I hid my face, not wanting him to see these tears.
“Yeah, I’m going to need you to take care of Bazahra and Rejon for a while.” I sobbed. We sat in silence, sulking in our feelings.
“I’ll write you as often as I can…if I can.” I said. Ricahrd leaned in to hug me. He gave me a firm kiss, before letting me go.
“I just want to be stupid and hop on Rejon’s back with you and ride off across the steppe, through the canyons, through the desert and to Illisia. What am I supposed to do without you?” He asked.
“...I wish we could too but…” I said, going back to the subject, “Tomorrow, I might be a slave. In a month, I want you to rent me.”
“How will I know if you’re gone?”
“Everyone will know when I’m gone. You think I’m letting any of those lords and mistresses in the brothel survive? You think I’m going to stop and hold restraint on any nobleman that gets in my way? No, everyone is dead to me….” Richard looked at me. It pained him to hear me speak this way.
“Please don’t kill who you don’t have too, alright…” He sighed.
“No promises…”
“Like…how far did you think this out?”
“I’ve thought of every scenario imaginable. Bazahra and I have scoped this entire town out. We know every nook and cranny, every secret tunnel. I’ve also, did my research on the surrounding countryside and…I think I know my way back to Illisia.”
“You’re doing so much by yourself. There must be something I can do to help…I mean there must be. Are you sure they said their top skoges aren’t for sell?”
“I’ve tried, even showed them the extreme amount of money. They denied me. So I guess I got to do things the hard way, and I’m going to kill…them all.”
“Well shit then.” Richard said, frustrated for me, “All of this…you’re doing it by…your…self.”
“I know… But it’s not the worst thing I’ve been involved in. Try escaping the Illisan cannibal circuit then single-handedly killing the tribe responsible. This…nah, man. It’s not at all the worst thing…”        


Popular Posts