The sound of the door opening told Darynn that his student for the evening had arrived. He put down the quill he worked with, moving slowly, and then covered the inkwell with a small stone cap. He turned slowly, anticipating the look of awe in the student's face (they always looked the same). But when he turned, he found himself surprised, because he had never before had a female student. "Well," he said.
He estimated her age between fourteen and fifteen years. That age where children become just perfect for teaching the ways of the advanced magicks he of all the mages, understood best. Her hair hung about her face and down her back in a black frame of soft, tight curls. He saw beautiful, powerful slate blue eyes under that frame, and a tiny, delicate nose hovered above an equally small and expressive mouth. "Come here, child. Sit, over there, on that stool with the blue pillow, yes." She moved as he directed, and although she needed her heels on the bottom rung of the stool, she did manage to get onto it without help. "Now then," he said. "Tell me your name."
"Aimee', sir." She held out an envelope.
"And your master?"
"He purchased you?" He opened the letter, which indeed carried Mage Teltirray's seal on it, as he listened.
The girl shook her head nervously. "No, sir. Well, yes sir. I mean I do not know. He removed me from an orphanage seven months ago, but the arrangement did not have the contract exchange of a slave."
"But coin passed hand nonetheless," Darynn said, nodding. Teltirray's last two students had been girls like Aimee'. They were always girls. Darynn disliked Teltirray, partially for his tastes and partially for his utter lack of social grace and manners. Teltirray's last two "students" had apparently found the stress of living with him unbearable and committed suicide, and he had suspected from the start that Teltirray merely drove them to madness as a simple method of disposal. With Aimee's appearance and the instructions in the letter she held out to him, he felt his suspicions were confirmed.
Darynn examined Aimee' carefully while deep in thought about a personal dilemma that had not existed before she had walked through the door. He switched his vision; decades had passed since he had needed to say anything to effect such change. Under his eyes, she appeared as a conglomeration of green and blue masses, swirling lazily. "By Sphahis!" he whispered to himself, then caught his words. This girl radiated power, power he was very familiar with, and Teltirray's current plan became clear to him. Teltirray sought his skill not so that he might train an apprentice, but an odalisque.
Darynn became convinced, and smiled to himself. Aimee' would get the training Teltirray sought, but he would not get just an odalisque; he would get an houri, as well.
"So, you have come to me to learn my magicks, Aimee'?" he asked.
"Y... yes, sir. He told me you knew best the teachings in the world about the magicks of the Satyrs and the Megass." She fidgeted nervously in her seat, still not daring to make eye contact with him.
He rose from his chair. The sound of his seat rocking startled her slightly, and she looked away. He stood before her and reached out with one hand to touch her under the chin, to reach into her. He wished her a calmness and she received it, turning her head back towards him. "Look at me, Aimee'. Tell me what you see."
Her eyes looked into his and her gaze pierced him. Oh, Teltirray, he thought as he let her in, you do like to play with fire, don't you? "I see a man. Young, but fully grown. Brown, your eyes, the same color as your beard and hair. You have a handsome nose, and a wide mouth, but the lips look thick, but not unhandsomely so. Your body, what I can see of it, shows care, well-shaped and strong. And you possess power."
"The last. Your opinion, or that of rumors given to you?"
"Mine," she said firmly.
He smiled and walked back to his comfortable chair, slowly lowering a spherical shutter over the magically glowing orb that sat on his desk. He wanted the darkness of the room to make it seem smaller and more intimate. He wanted her trust above everything else. "I want to tell you a story, Aimee', that tale I tell all my students, of my first encounter with the Satyrs and of my learning of the ways of love, of power, and of men. That you should hear it intrigues me, because I have never told it to a female before. Your master tests me, and I do not like being tested. But do not relay that message to him. You may tell him everything that occurs... but that. Do you understand?"
"Yes... yes sir."
"Good. Now listen closely."
I began my life as a simple blacksmith's son and the very idea that I might end up a mage never crossed my mind. I knew my place in the world and I knew that the worlds of mages lay far beyond my simple reach. Never did the twain meet.
I had a talent for the smithy, make no mistake. I knew how to make steel behave in manners never seen before or since, and I can still do the same today. I still smith as a hobby. And as a way of making the tools of my true trade, of course.
Do you know where Daber Wood lies on the map, Aimee? No? Some day I shall pull out my maps and show it to you, once you have learned to read the simpler ones. Yes, I intend on teaching you that as well. Suffice to say it should take many weeks and many forged rivers to reach it walking.
My father had many customers and when I came into my own often he sent me to see to their needs. As I approached my seventeenth birthday it became apparent to both him and me that my talents would someday surpass his. Customers more often requested my presence at their needs then they did his. I must give him credit for his fortitude and his benevolence for never once did he express grief or anger at my inborn skills, only joy and happiness at what we both saw as my future success. He knew that someday I would have the skills to save him in elder years. And now, although in ways neither of us intended, I do. But we could never know what would happen to me that summer.
Father dispatched me one morning to the house of a customer who lived on the other side of Daber Wood. He called himself Thomas Cailleac, and to the knowledge of our town he had come into his estate and his wealth from a combination of family and the lucky spoils of war. He had often called me in the past year, admitting to me once that he enjoyed my natural talents as a worker of iron, lead, and silver.
Even starting out first thing that morn the ride to his home would take me well into the day. It would also carry me through the thickest heart of those Woods. The stories in town often called those woods haunted, or worse, cursed! Men vanished in those woods, and sometimes, late at night, the sounds of pipe and drum carried on the wind. My father often warned me about the Daber, telling me not to ride through them after dark. When visiting Cailleac I often rode through them in the early evening but often managed to break through them before complete nightfall.
I reached Cailleac before high noon. As much as I could tell, Thomas lived alone although his house could easily have hidden a dozen sleeping chambers and staff. He extended his kindness as always, offering me bread and beer before indicating the work he wanted done. Iron frames and lead workings held the glass windows in his home in place but often those frames and working needed mending. He supplied the glass panes and the lead but he needed my skill to shape and work them properly. At least, he always said so. But Thomas had told me once of his life as a warrior and I didn't think him the kind of man to disdain simple physical labor. I offered to teach him the simple things that would make it possible for him to do most of the mending himself.
He laughed heartily. "I like your company, Darynn. Sometimes I think of breaking the windows myself just to have more excuses to invite you out here. But, your words have sense. Show me."
I taught him the basics of lead and the dangers therein. Then he showed me an iron fence that had rotted through and the bolts that had come loose in the last windstorm. Fixing that ruined masonry took quite a while.
I felt his eyes upon me as I work. I make no exaggeration in that. He wore tight pants of tanned cowhide, tall boots, the kind a soldier should own, and a simple tunic with a slit 'v' at his neck that could be drawn closed with a strap of leather. The heat of day sweated the life out of me as I worked and he brought me water, but as he offered it to me I could feel his eyes touch my skin where my shirt did not cover me. And his breath, like the scent of warm horses, carried to my nostrils something that I could not fathom.
For at that age I had known the pleasant company of women but not their intimacies. And the intimacies of men... pfagh! All I knew of that came from legends of evil, sickness, and death. What did my town cleric know? Nothing!
Forgive me, Aimee'. I forget that my cleric now thinks my kinds of knowledge 'corrupt' and evil, and I think he knows absolutely nothing. I must remain focused in my tale.
Have you ever watched a man walk, Aimee'? They all walk in almost the same manner. All except Thomas. His boots should have leant him a strident, powerful gait. Instead, his power seemed elsewhere, in his eyes and his broad, massive chest. His stride came in short, careful gestures, as if he thought about every step before making it. For a man so long a soldier he looked uncomfortable wearing those boots.
"You could stay the night," he offered me as I prepared my horse to leave.
"Father will want me home."
"Night falls already, Darynn. I fear for your safety if you walk through those woods at this hour. It takes you four hours to reach your home from here."
"I only spend the first two in the forest, sir. I will have no trouble."
His eyes darted back and forth, and the concern in his face warmed me. But at the same time it made me nervous; did he know something I didn't? His nervousness said he did. Finally, though, he nodded his head. "Take care of yourself, Darynn. I will want to see you again." He reached out a hand and dropped payment in my hand. Seven silver, and more than I had asked.
"And you, Thomas. God bless you." I mounted my horse and rode towards the woods even as the darkness of night fell further.
As I rode, I realized the error of my choice. For the clouds had covered the sky and neither moon shone through to light my way. At first I felt confident, but fear began to push that confidence down, so I lit a lantern.
I saw that I had strayed far from the road. I could not see it from atop my mount. I guessed that I had ridden in a straight line since leaving the path and that if I turned around and road straight back, I had to reach the road again. As my horse walked, I heard thunder in the distance. At first it came as a slow rumble, then it grew louder and sharper and closer. Then a lightning bolt struck nearby; my hair stood on end, my skin burned. Naturally, my horse panicked and threw me off. I landed on the ground, cursing, and then as my horse flailed my pack of tools feel from his back and landed very near my head. A blacksmith's tools weigh many pounds, and I realized that had they fallen on my head I would surely have died.
That thought stayed in my head for a long time. The fall had stunned me and I sat up to collect my wits. And then a young, boyish voice rang out through the woods. "A human, fallen from his horse!"
Another voice sang, "What shall we do with him?"
And the first answered, "Why, take him, of course!" Suddenly a small crowd of young boys appeared out of the woods. The oldest looked no more than sixteen, and the youngest thirteen. I looked around, bewildered, as they threw a net over my shoulders.
I sputtered and cursed as they drew the net tight. "Unhand me!" I demanded.
"Ah, ah!" the eldest chided me. "You dared to walk through our woods at night, and now we have you for our amusement."
"What... what shall you do to me?"
"You'll see. You'll like it." He smiled, and fear gripped my heart. The fall had stunned me so hard that only now did I realized that none of the boys wore any clothing. Hair covered their legs from the waists to their ankles, and those very legs ended not in feet, but in hooves. Satyrs had taken me. I knew the end of my life approached soon.
"I thought... I thought Satyrs only took women."
"We take what we want," the boy replied. "And tonight, our Master wants you."
"You will see." They hoisted my net between two poles and carried me through the woods like a stag trapped in a hunt. Which, in a way, they may have regarded me. We approached an open circle ringed with torches, and as we approached the winds seemed to die away. I knew that they controlled the magics of the woods, and here I saw the evidence.
The circle grew out of the side of a hill, and set into the hill I saw a throne, covered in shadows. A shape sat in that throne but I could not see who-- or what-- owned that shape. "Master," the eldest spoke, "We have brought your prize."
"Good." I expected their master's voice to frighten me, but instead it did the opposite. I felt warmed by it, reassured by it. And it had a familiar sound to it as well, as if I knew this Master. "Remove him from the net."
They lowered the poles and removed the net from about me. The Master spoke again. "Strip him."
The boyish, youthful satyrs tore my clothes from my body. I felt no urge to fight them. Instead, I felt curiosity, wonder, reassurance, and an uncontrollable emergence of lust. "Bring him closer."
They did not have to lead. I walked voluntarily and he noticed this. "You want," their Master said. "I can see it in your eyes and the way you hold your body. Good. You will need that. Now kneel before me."
That I would not do. I resisted him. I wanted to have my curiosity satisfied but not at the cost of my dignity. "Kneel," he repeated, his voice firm and demanding. The boys grabbed at my arms and my shoulders and began pushing me down. And although I felt my need to resist him utterly strong and unquestionable within me, I also felt myself sinking to my knees. But still I looked up, holding my chin high and defying him.
I watched him stand and approach me. As his face came into the light I recognized it and I knew his name. "Thomas." But the same hair that covered the boys covered him, and instead of feet I saw hooves. "You... "
"They call me the Lord of Satyrs of Daber Wood." He smiled, his hand reaching out to stroke my hair. His fingers touched me and I felt the first touches of his power within me. "And they name me Awrthom. You may call me that, my beloved Darynn."
I cannot tell you what confusion lived in my heart, Aimee'. For I knew they should kill me that night; few whom the Satyrs took lived to talk and those that did keep their secrets close. But at the same time I knew that I trusted Thomas. He had always treated me well. And the lust, Oh, Aimee', the lust I felt I cannot describe. It took me over, it fed me and it burned me.
His legs looked like the trunks of trees under their sheaths of thick, curly hair. As I looked up I saw his sex, and I will tell you shamelessly that horses are not so blessed with such enormity, nor angels with such beauty. To measure it, I saw three hands of length to it and a thickness that rivaled my wrists. Behind it his sac hung, full and large. Above that a thick tangle of reddish brown hair protected his beauty from the cold, and above that I saw his lean, broad chest and belly. He smiled, his face calm and handsome; no woman could refuse him, as man or as beast.
His hands stroked his sex and it grew harder under his touch, although I will not say it grew any longer. "You will take this tonight," he said, looking down at me. "You know how a woodsman splits wood with a wedge, Darynn? Look at this engine, Darynn. My boys, they call this the Boysplitter." He caressed his manhood with a closed fist, running his hands along the length of that unbelievable shaft, reaching the end and seemingly twisting as he stroked. "Kiss it, Darynn. Bless this body. Worship properly and you may learn the secret of living through the night."
"Thomas..." I gasped, my tongue thick. All I knew instructed me that what he asked was evil, but I knew that I wanted it. I wanted him. I wanted him to take me as he wanted to take me.
"Kiss me, Darynn. Kiss my sex. Open your mouth and receive the first of me."
I knelt, my face upraised, and opened my mouth. He stepped forward, one small step, and the head of his manhood pressed against my lips. For the first time I knew the taste of a man and I knew I would again never find satisfaction in the arms of women only. Hear these words, Aimee', that our lessons forbid the taste of our own sex with good reason, for once we have learned it we will never find satisfaction in half of mankind alone.
His very largeness prevented me from taking all of him. I could not fit more than the head of his sex into my mouth, but he seemed to take pleasure from that alone. I had my eyes closed and I did learn worship at his maleness, tasting him and sucking him. I felt the slick mass of his sex against my tongue and the power of his maleness there. I smelled him, his warm, loamy scent, rich and heady, washing over me with every breath.
"Good little man," Awrthom said as his hands caressed my face. He took his sex away from my mouth, but I wanted him back, I wanted more. I cried out with need.
He smiled and directed his boys, "Hold him down," and they did as they were told. They pulled me forward and laid me across a stump that I didn't remember seeing when we entered the clearing. The very roots came to life as they pressed my palms to the darkened soil and very soon those roots fixed me into place, a part of the still-living but soon-dying stump they had brought me to.
Awrthom covered my body with his, the enormity of his sex pressing against my back. My fear rose and threatened to become blind, unreasoning terror. I had not anticipated his desire to enter me, to take me. I had thought about it only in esoteric, indistinct terms. I had not come to grips with his wish to press his sex to my anus, to push it into me, to fill me and to ruin me. "Thomas..."
"Hush," he whispered into my ear. "You can take this, Darynn, I believe you can. If you do, if you learn to take my sex and to open your body and your heart to me at the same time... if you let me become a part of you and share your part with me, then you will survive. You have strength within you that no one understands. You have magic, Darynn. Believe in it."
I did not know what to say. I trusted Awrthom but only as I knew him, as the human Thomas Cailleac. I felt fingers playing with my buttocks and between them, caressing my anus with a warm cream. "Butter," Awrthom told me. "It will make loving you easier."
My breathing came faster and my head grew light. I knew fear, Aimee'. And then his legs were between mine, pushing mine apart. He gave me no preparation, no time to relax. I felt the head of his sex slide between my greased buttocks, finding my anus and pushing in gently. My legs trembled and I began crying. Tears squeezed from behind my shut eyelids. I knew I would die.
He pressed, his strength becoming greater. As his greased rod penetrated me, ripped into me, I screamed. I knew he had split me. I knew my life even then drained into him. I felt the head of his sex penetrate deeper. He plunged further into my guts, Aimee', and I felt every inch as he did.
I heard his voice at my ear again. "You will not die, Darynn, my sweetest boy, if you open your heart to me. Come, beloved, feel the loving strength of my sex within you, joining us. Feel the pleasure of our joining. Feel the heat of my body."
I did. I felt his chest against my back and his legs against my buttocks. I felt the throbbing of his manhood deep within my body. I cried. I wept for all the things I had lost in his ravishment. But then I felt something else come from deep within me. Maybe it came from the tip of his sex; they seemed in the same place. That thing reached my throat and I felt joy within me. I began to laugh. I felt mirth and freedom, and I heard Awrthom laugh along with me. And then he pulled his sex from deep within me. I whimpered.
"You want it back?" Awrthom asked me.
"Yes!" I said. "I want it within me."
"Then have it you shall!" he said as he pushed back into me. Then out again. Then in. His sex rubbed at the opening of my anus and the head rippled within my guts.
The pleasure took me then. I cannot describe the feelings as he raped my restrained body, Aimee'. My body trembled at the obscene invasion of man into man, my legs shook with shock and my eyes filled with tears, but I laughed and I blessed and I loved Awrthom as he took me with the force only men can muster. My own sex was hard and rubbed painfully against the wooden table he took me on. He knew he didn't have to take care with me and I didn't wish him to.
His body pressed against mine like a force of nature destroying a mountain. I fought my restraints not to get away but to get at him, to drag him deeper into me. As he pressed his sex deeper into me and his chest to my back, I felt us being to merge, to breathe together. I cannot describe it any other way. We began to fall into each other, and I felt the meeting place of our bodies in my heart... in our hearts. It was more than a joining, more than a mating.
He grabbed my hips and began thrusting madly. I wanted more and I tried to tell him so but my voice would only make the sounds of animals. His sex ravished me and my hole burned at his pounding. My chest rubbed against the wood of the stump. My legs burned and my wrists ached from my wish for release. I felt possessed by his enormous manhood and his unquestionable force. He grunted with every pushing, jabbing thrust that sent a ripple of pain and pleasure along my back, between and through our bodies. Small gasps escaped his lips, a chant of "aye, aye, aye," with every thrust and when he screamed his pleasure I did too. For I felt it. In my heart I felt the coil of his climax explode and in my body I felt the shooting sperm of his jutting sex bathing my insides with their magical warmth.
I lifted my hands. Free! They had released me! I turned, but I did not see him. No one stood in the clearing but me, and I felt I possessed so much strength, so much fire. The fuel of his sex burned inside my guts and I needed to get it out. I took to my feet and I began running, chasing something, but what I don't know. I ran faster, harder, and then the voices began to surround me, boy's voices. They appeared on my left and on my right, running with me. My feet sprouted hooves, and the hair on my legs grew thick and entangled. They led me now and I followed them. We passed through the woods as so much wind and reached another clearing, this one holding a large pool of still water. They all leapt into the water and I leapt with them.
We laughed and we splashed and we joked in a language that I had not known until that day. We touched and I caressed them and they me. On the banks of that pool our play dissolved into a long night of play, of men and of boys and of hands and tongues and shafts and holes. I never wanted the sun to rise, although I knew it must, and I knew that I would return to the world of the living.
With this play that lasted for a night's worth of forever I fell asleep before the crow of the cock. In my belly and in my backside I held the eruptions of several satyrs, and in several satyrs they held mine. As I curled up to lay my head on another's leg and sleep claimed me, I knew...
I awoke in the early morning with a start. Although startled and long dreaming, I felt fully rested and refreshed. I didn't want to look under the blanket, but I knew I had to throw it aside and I did. I still had my feet and the hair on my legs looked the same as ever. I felt fit, although within my belly I felt warm as well.
I looked at the room and I recognized the windows. Lead, and so I realized I had spent the night at Thomas's house. As I rubbed my head in confusion my fingers found a bump, probably from when I had fallen from my horse.
The door opened and Thomas entered the room. "Darynn? I heard you shout."
"I had a dream," I said.
He sat on the bed and smiled. "Part of a dream," he assured me, laying his hand on my thigh. He wore no boots this morning and I could see his hooves clearly. "You did not dream last night."
"But I still live."
"You learned the secret to living," Awrthom replied. "I need to tell you something, Darynn. You have inside more power than I have seen in four centuries. You have a beauty that some of the gods cannot match. You have a will that you can train to take advantage of both. If I needed to describe my feelings about you, Darynn, I would say 'smitten.'"
"Last night we committed such evil. Your very existence belies that evil." I lied to him, Aimee'. Although my upbringing had ground those words into my head, I did not feel them. I felt only trust and a growing sense of love for Awrthom, the Lord of the Satyrs of Daber Wood.
"You know no such thing," he replied. "I only think of action as evil, not mere existence. Now I have committed what you would call evil in the past in my search for a boy like yourself. But we Satyrs have different rules and live by the laws of magic."
"If I told the townspeople they would come here and they would burn you out and they would try to kill you, Awrthom."
He leaned back, his hands clasped about one knee. "Yes, I suppose they would. Will you tell them, my beautiful Darynn? Or will you keep this secret, and return to me as we both will it, and let me teach you of magic? You have the born skill but no training. You have discipline, but not in the right talents. Let me teach you, let me show you."
"And the cost?"
"You lived the cost last night. You gave me everything. I would not dare ask anything more of you but your attention, Darynn." He looked into my eyes and that presence of lust returned and lived again between us. "But if you want to share my bed and my pleasure, Darynn, I will whore for you as no woman could ever give." He smiled as he spoke.
"Give me privacy, Thomas Callieac."
"Certainly." He rose and left. Now alone I felt comfortable enough to dress. I gathered my pack and left the room, walking towards the stables, hoping to avoid Thomas. But he had anticipated my needs and he brought my horse to me across the stable's open field.
Without a word I took the reins from him and I mounted the saddle. "Darynn," he said as I turned around to leave. His voice tugged at me, the pain and the hope so readily near. "Will you tell them?"
I looked back on him and shook me head. "I need time to think, Awrthom. I... so much has happened."
"You cannot go back unchanged. I cannot undo what I have done."
"I know. I will not tell them."
"Darynn," he said. "I will summon you again, if only to fix my broken windows and mend my gates and shoe my horses. But I will not mention the teaching of magic or the loving of men until you do. You must choose your path, as blacksmith or as mage." He smiled crookedly. "Goodbye, handsome Darynn."
I did not speak another word to him as I kicked my horse, encouraging her out of the gates of Cailleac and now, through the Daber Wood by the safe light of day.
Archmage Darynn leaned back in his chair. Aimee' seemed to almost squirm in her stool and the effect he thought quite attractive. "Aimee'?"
"That ends your first lesson. Sometimes a student's life means sitting and listening to your teacher rattle off a boring tale."
"Your tale did anything but bore me, sir! I thought at points I might cry in fear or sadness or even desire in the telling!"
Darynn nodded, a smile crossing his face. "In any event, Teltirray has heard it before. Or at least read it in the records of the Guild. I bid you, Aimee', take my story with you and think on it tonight."
"I will sir. Do you dismiss me, then?"
"I bid you goodnight, Aimee', but my students I never merely 'dismiss.'" He grinned.
"Yes sir, I understand." She hopped off the stool and made her way to the door. Darynn gestured and the lock opened.
"Goodnight, Sir Archmage Darynn."