Darynn walked through the room again, his robes still flowing behind him. Everything seemed to be in order, just as it had a week ago. He was concerned with every detail of the room's appearance; he wanted to put his young student completely at ease.
Not, he thought grimly, that that could ever be fully achieved. In his head he reviewed the note Bethsany had sent him describing what she had learned this week of the situation amidst Teltirray's "girls." He new now that the original report of Teltirray's behavior was only a weak shadow of a truly abusive nature. And yet, the man could be so convincing in court, so calm in council. At induction services they would sit nearly opposite one another at the horseshoe- shaped council chamber. Perhaps what bothered Darynn most is that more often than not he agreed with the direction Teltirray took his discussions.
He sighed. Teltirray was not by any imagination a friend. In person he was frequently cold to Darynn and his associates, although charming when he needed a vote or two. Darynn knew the chill arose from Teltirray's too-familiar "disgust" at the male-to-male love Darynn was fond of.
Darynn stoked the fireplace one last time; late fall chill soaked through his home, chewing up the warmth of summers, lovers, and the presence of Aimee'. He waited for her to arrive, knowing that it would be soon.
He was glad that she was not permitted to walk right in; the relief on his face would have been inappropriate for her to see, and he wanted to present himself to her as an elder, fully in control. "Enter freely," he said.
Her face peeked out around the door. "Sir?"
"Come in, Aimee'. We are going to learn tonight."
"Sir? After you finish your story?"
Darynn smiled. "Sort of. We are going to start during the story, Aimee'. Come sit, like before." She settled down onto the white rug, her slim hand caressing the material as she did so. "We are going to play the same game as before. You are to remove your clothing as you see fit. You do remember that?"
She nodded. "Yes, sir, I remember."
"Good. Now then, if you will pull back the red sheet of cloth by your side you will find an array of phalli and such. I have noticed that at times you get breathless while I speak and I appreciate that. I want you, Aimee', to enjoy yourself. To touch yourself." He reached beside himself and opened a book to a certain page, examining only the caption in the upper corner. "Now, when you feel your pleasure rising, I want you to examine this picture closely. I want you to try and see it as if it were before you, an object and not a page. Breathe through your pleasure and open yourself. I am not being clear on purpose, Aimee', but I wish you to do this. Can you?"
She nodded. "Yes, sir. I will."
"Good. Now, as I was saying last time..."
I spent many more months with the Hakkana. Ryu and I become bedmates, although that perhaps sounds more physical than it really was. We rarely made love, Aimee', although when we did I found the pleasure greater than any other offered to me in all the city. I think part of the reason for that was that I loved Ryu and not the others, although they were certainly friends and I did not discredit their worth when they lay in bed with me.
My studies continued apace until I realized one day, while examining my journals, just how greatly my skill in spell had grown. I could Heal and cause to Sleep. I could bring suffering to the evil and health to the good. I had learned to control my desires and answer my pains.
Although I was not the strength you see before you, Desa surprised me one day by calling on me and addressing me as "Mage Darynn."
"Yes sir?" I will admit, I nearly fell off my chair to hear myself addressed as such.
"Your learning has slowed." He raised a hand as I opened my mouth to object. "This is nothing of your own doing. We all know this to be true, Darynn, that every mage's learning slows at one point. While there is much to be gained here, you can learn at your current pace anywhere, and I would urge you to find your way back to your own people. I have a gift for you."
I was still completely taken with his address, much less his short speech. He handed me a bone case, one used for scrolls. "It is addressed to me, from the College of Mages in Barraminum. I have decided that you should see it in its entirety."
Maga Desa of the Megassi.
It is with some disbelief that we read the scroll we have received from you. You claim to have had no influence in the creation of the spell base we found within, copied several times with accuracy. After examining the base we found it difficult, but not impossible, to work with; the complexity achieved is truly an act of art, perhaps even passion.
That an apprentice of yours, indeed one not even in his thirtieth year, created this is no small feat. It is not that we doubt you, Desa; your honesty and worthiness are well known, even here in Barraminum.
We wish to meet this apprentice. Although the purpose of base spell "Pleasure" is, in our council, of little use, the skill with which it is executed shows us that this young mage could well and truly be taught to join our college without sponsor or patron. We wish him for ourselves.
In magi honor,
Talen Silisto, President.
Mage Council of the Known World.
My first emotion, Aimee', believe it or not, was one of stark anger. I looked up at Desa and said "Of little use?"
"Easy, Darynn," he said, laughing. "I just wanted to show you this. Remember that pleasure is not greatly thought of in the mages' realm, and even when it is, it is considered a dangerous toy. Although you and I both know that pain can be as addictive as pleasure, it is pleasure they are most afraid of." He shrugged. "I know why as little as you."
"And these are the people you want to send me to?"
"Darynn, they are your people. They know you better than you know yourself; you cannot live here all your life, young mage."
I sighed, wondering what I was going to do with Ryu. Desa understood without my saying a word, but I didn't know it at the time. I started to learn when he said, "I know you have been aching to try your spells on Ryuchia. I encourage you to do so, Darynn, if Ryu is willing. I wish to watch; just me. I do not imagine you wishing an audience upon yourselves."
I shook my head, still absorbing everything I had been told in the past ten minutes. I was being offered a free scholarship at the College of Mages, although they considered my work "of little use." I was also being asked to leave. And to do what I had sworn a year before I would do; save Ryu from his dwarf status amongst his peers.
"Go home, Darynn, to your friend. Discuss it. Let me know in the morning. Take the letter with you." With that, the animated man of silver wandered down into the darkness of his lair.
I flew back to Ryu's house at all speed. I do not fly often now, nor did I then; but this simply could not wait for the rate at which my feet carry me. I flew in from the top and found him sleeping in his bowl, curled up in a ball and snoring peacefully. I landed on the stone silently and approached him. "Ryu," I breathed.
[Darynn?] he asked silently, not coming very far from his slumber to speak to me.
"I... I think I'm going to be going soon."
He came to wakefulness fast then. [What do you mean?]
"I've been offered a full scholarship at Barraminum. Desa has told me that he's done all he can to accelerate my learning. I am to my own devices now. He wants to send me to Barraminum to learn the magics of humans. Like Awrthom, he has reached his limits."
He switched to speech then. "Do you want to go?"
I nodded. "I... I do. But, before I go, I want to do one last thing with you, Ryu. I want to cast the Bodily Keys upon you and see if I can help you grow to the full cast that is your Dragon birthright."
He stared at me, stunned. "You can do that?"
I resolved to sound like a mage, Aimee'. I'm afraid I didn't succeed. I said, "I can try."
He thought for a full minute. "Then try, Ryu. What must I do?"
"It is more, what I must do to cast this spell on another, Ryu. You know from where I draw my strength. We will need that. To have any success we must be loving when I cast the spell."
He tossed his head and chuckled. "Oh, Darynn, you will do anything to get one more moment out of me!"
I threw my arms around his neck and said, "Yes, Ryu. Because I will miss you. I can live without you, but I will not be happy doing so."
His wing slid easily around me, enclosing me against his body. "I have learned from you, Darynn, how to find peace. Let us do this, and whether we succeed or fail, we will never forget one another."
"Let us hope," I said.
I built a great frame, knitting a net with my hands strong enough to hold a Dragon. This alone took two weeks. Sliding it into the center of Ryu's home, I began enscribing the runes necessary to support the spell. They took another day, and when they were done I slept for many hours more. Then I asked Desa and Ryu to attend me at moonrise. They agreed.
Ryu arrived early. "That is for me?"
"It is. You must lie on your back within it. I hope you find it comfortable."
"I will see," he smiled, easing himself into it. Slowly he turned over, struggling. "I feel like a fish in a man's net."
"I hope not. I've not intention of putting a hook in your mouth or clubbing you over the head."
"Or slitting my throat, I hope," he added.
"No, none of that."
"Are we waiting?"
"Yes," I said. "Desa has asked to witness this. Does that trouble you?"
"No," he replied calmly. "Desa is our master in all things, Darynn, and there is no reason we should not invite him to watch this."
Desa arrived shortly thereafter. But not through the front door, oh no. Instead, a wind stirred and then a small gale erupted in Ryu's home as a great Dragon, an ancient beast of full beard and golden eyes dropped through the hole in the roof and landed, with little room to spare, on the ground. [Desa Megassi, at your service,] it said calmly.
"Master Desa," I said, bowing.
Ryu was attempting to climb out of the sling when Desa said [Stay, Ryu. You were preparing. Continue.]
I picked up my newly earned staff of silver and began chanting slowly. The power that I wielded now would have frightened the Darynn of three years previous; now it was familiar, if still awesome in its capacity. I raised the staff over my head as the chanting took on a life of it's own, pouring from my lips without my even thinking it. I walked forward, concentrating only lightly, letting the spell progress in its natural course. Ryuchia was already erect, his head lolled back against the knitted net and his eyes staring at me, waiting. Pleasure was still a spell that I could use to prepare my partner rightly for the acts ahead.
I climbed up onto the net, staring into his face. Our eyes peered into one another's, locked. Our breathing began to come at the same speed and the same time, our chests rising and falling together. I knelt over his great shaft and with one hand picked it up, aiming it. My greased anus waited for his welcome cock, and as I eased down I felt it again slide into me. I almost lost myself then in the intense pleasure of our joining, but without falter I kept singing my spell. I leaned forward slightly as he reached up with his inner claws and seized the staff. We held it together as his wings folded over us. I began my motions, pulling myself almost off his cock, and then back down onto it.
We rocked slowly as I chanted. The walls of his home began to glow. They began to get closer, and suddenly they swirled with colors. I watched as Ryu's keys glowed before my eyes. I began to sing my companion spells, never once losing track of the great mass of his penis imbedded behind my belly. As we fucked, I began to explore the changes I could make, the locales I could find.
The spell went on for what seemed forever. I had never had so much within me for so long. I would not let him climax and I could not find what I was seeking. I flew over the beauty of his keys, watching them flash before my eyes before one of the companions rang out with recognition. It had found his keys of growth.
As I manipulated them, dreamed what they would do if I changed them, I realized that in a few years Ryu would start his growth. The changing of the body and the growth were not related, and it was only coincidence that they happened to most Dragons at the same time. It was only a matter of time.
[Ryu,] I dreamed to him, [There is something I have to tell you.] I told him what I saw, and what I had learned. [I could start it now.]
There was a long, quiet pause. Ryu was thinking, and when he finally spoke my heart lifted. [If I started now, I would quickly grow so large we could not do this.] He was silent again, and I started to fear. Finally, he dreamed, [I want to enjoy my winter with you, Darynn, since you cannot leave until the coming Spring. Change nothing, human I love. Finish the spell.]
I could have stopped the spell simply by ceasing chanting. But I did not. I simply shifted my magics, delving deep into pleasure. I cast the greatest of the Pleasures I knew. Ryu and I shared.
Everything he felt, I felt. I became aware of how small I felt and yet how much he loved me. I felt both our hearts beating, becoming one. I became aware of his surprise when he felt how large he was to me, how beautiful. We made love, Aimee', as only two males can with this sharing. It was the most beautiful moment of our lives. As his climax grew, so did mine. The staff held over our heads still, my hands and his claws, we grew closer together as our loving reached its pinnacle. We were both screaming as we came, shouting out our hearts with pleasure as he came within me and I came all over his broad, white belly. My eyes screwed shut in pleasure as it seemed to go on and on.
It ended. I collapsed, losing my grip on the staff and falling against his chest. He held my staff above us still, then slowly eased it down into the netting.
His shaft shrank within me and then, easily, it slid out my hole, a small rivulet of fluid following down my leg as we lay together, awaiting the return of our strengths. "Oh, Ryu," I sighed.
"Darynn," he breathed. "I love you."
I nodded, pulling myself up and kissing him under the chin.
Our tender moment was broken, partially, by our teacher. [Tell me what you have done.]
"Nothing," I replied, and again repeated what I had learned about Dragons and how they grow.
He listened closely, attentively, his monstrous head turned in an attitude of careful thought. When I was done with my report, he looked at Ryuchia. I know not what exchanged between them, but when it was over Desa looked to the ceiling. [Darynn, Ryuchia, you have made an old Dragon pleased. It is good. I shall see you both in the morning.] With that, he took to the sky, leaving me and my beloved Ryu to our soft cradle and familiar caress.
The winter passed with little excitement; days of study and nights of sleeping. Ryu and I slept together in happy contentment, and by day we both studied. Now my studies were calm, orderly, less hectic and demanding. I knew what I needed to do commit my magic. I was destined, I felt, to be an Archmage, but I knew that I would only get there at my own pace and any forcing of it would be pointless.
I enjoyed my time with friends more and more, knowing that it would all end soon and I would begin the journey that would lead here, to the city of Barraminum, a city of great power and evil. As well you know, Aimee'.
Darynn leaned back against the pillows he had arranged and stoked the fire to greater warmth. Aimee' sat across from him. "You haven't removed anything," he observed.
"Every time I did at our last meeting, you would pause. I did not want to interrupt you." Aimee' smiled and began unlacing her boots, tossing them aside. Then her pants and her headcloth. "I am as I was last time." Her smile faltered slightly and then she said, "Sir, would you remove my tunic?"
Confused, Darynn said, "You wish me to...?"
"I am ready to take it off. I want you to do it." She paused for a moment, then said, "Only to you will I say 'please.'"
Darynn sat up straight and reached for her. "Come here then, if you wish it."
She crawled and sat before him. He closed his fingers on the cloth of her tunic and pulled the tunic off, placing it down where she could reach it easily. "If you need it, it is there."
"I will not need it," she replied. "I know of your love for the love of men only, Master Darynn."
Darynn picked up the shirt again and handed it to her. She took it, confusion and concern in her eyes. Darynn knew she was wondering if she had done something wrong. "Hold that, Aimee', while I tell you something. My reputation as a lover of men and boys may be well and established, but I am preparing to make an exception. For you. I do not take as students people I cannot love. I am prepared to take you as a student, Aimee', and I have searched my heart and I can say that I am prepared to love you."
She started, pulling the shirt across her chest as she did so. Then, with an angry growl she crumpled it into a ball and tossed it away. Her emotions shifted again, this time into a smile. "You are kind and concerned, Master Darynn, and I would be honored."
Darynn was still concerned that she was simply responding to him as another adult in authority, a view of him he would like to discourage in her. He smiled softly, sighing as he did so. "What did you think of my tale?"
"It was beautiful, Master Darynn."
"No 'Master' is necessary, Aimee'."
"You truly loved him, Darynn. It was in your eyes, in the way you held you head and your body as you spoke. Your voice. Oh, you must have missed him so when you left!"
"Very much," Darynn agreed. "I wonder, did you feel excitement? Did my describing the love of men affect you in any strong way?"
"Yes, sir! It made me feel warm and a little wet."
"Would you like to show me more, Aimee'? I would like to see you pleasure yourself before me freely."
"Sir, I... I don't know. Master Teltirray has never asked for anything like that."
"I just want to watch you, Aimee'. Nothing more than that. Please, indulge this old man, would you?"
She nodded. "Yes, sir!"
"And remember, when your pleasure begins rising, the image on the page."
"I did not forget," she said. She leaned back against the small mound of pillows she had arranged for herself, spreading her legs apart slightly. Darynn examined her closely now, naked.
Her skin, pale and soft, reflected the light of the fireplace in soft redding glows. Her hair fell down, framing her face and lying over the pillows like a net. Darryn's breath caught gently as he stared at her. He had almost never seen a woman this close, and certainly not with all of her clothing missing, and for all the ruggedness he usually enjoyed, he wondered at how he could miss the simply beauty that was her flawless skin. Her breasts pushed upwards, and he found himself able to disregard them; they neither held nor rejected his interest.
But what captivated his attention the most was her sex. He had never seen one for real before; he wondered at his own ignorance that had allowed him to nearly reach his century year without ever seeing the genitals possessed by half his own race. He knew that fear was an inappropriate response, and anything that could arise from fear was as well. That included disgust, a common emotion amongst his own kind. Once that was settled, he had nothing to do but watch.
Her hands caressed the full, rounded lips of flesh that made up the outside of her sex, scratching with her fingernails gently and pulling them apart. Her breathing grew stronger as she touched herself, encouraging her passion to greater heights. He watched as she caressed herself, sliding one finger slowly within her hole and then coating the rest of her sex with the liquid. One tiny pearl near the top of her sex grew slowly and after a while she paid it particular attention. "Darynn, sir, the page... show it to me!"
Darynn quickly scooped up the book and held it before her eyes. "I can see it," she said as her eyes locked with it. Her breathing deepened. "I can see it. It's right..." Her left hand began tracing a visible pattern in the air as she sighed,"... there."
Darynn felt the magic of the spell she stared at penetrating her. She was summoning the spell sexually, the way it was supposed to be read. He felt her body next to his own. She was learning, sucking the knowledge off the page. Sex magic was something that could only be learned by those willing to do so, and despite the claims of nearly everyone, very few were open and willing enough.
Aimee' was. In her nigh-ecstacy, she was literally pulling the first lessons into her lungs with every breath. She twisted and rubbed at her clitoris until the spell itself began to subside. And then her body jolted, sending the power of the spell away from herself, into the air. She gasped, returning to herself, returning to the pillows.
She picked her head up with a jerk and suddenly her hands were clutching for his sleeve, pulling him towards her with her eyes cast wide. "What... what was that?"
"Magic," he said with slow and deliberate calm. "That's the spell of awareness. It's the start of learning."
"It felt so... different. Like nothing else."
"Magic is like that," he said. "Like nothing else." He patted her thigh softly. "You were beautiful to watch, Aimee'."
"Thank you, sir. Oh thank you!" She lunged forward, her arms about his neck, hugging him tightly. "Thank you."
A little taken aback, it took him a moment to find words. "You're blessedly welcome." He held her close, feeling her lithe, warm body through the cloth of his robes. He felt blood surging into his own sex, and although he wasn't quite hard he knew his cock would feel heavy. "Aimee', I need to fetch something. Would you allow me?"
"What?" she asked. "Oh... yes. I'm sorry, sir."
"No apology. Just wait here for a moment." He stood slowly and walked over to his desk, returning a moment later. He handed her a folded envelope sealed with blue wax. "This is for your master. It is an understanding that you be able to reach me at any time you feel the need to discuss your magical training with me. And this," he said, handing her a thin brown book, "is for you. It is the first ten spells you will learn. And you will learn them all by next week. Is that understood?"
"This is a spell book?" Her eyes went wide with wonder.
"A spell guiding book. It does not have spells, merely instructions on how to make them. Do you understand the difference?"
"Yes, sir. I do."
"Good. Because that's what you need to know. One more thing." He handed her a second, smaller book. "This is empty. Fill it. Pages for your spells, others for your thoughts. You are learning to be a mage, Aimee'; you must keep track of where you are going and where you have been. Here is a pen, and here is ink. Here is a bag for everything."
She collected everything together in the bag, not sure what to say. "Stand, Aimee', for an old man, please."
She stood slowly. "You are not old sir. I can see the signs; your body is youthful and strong and I know the attentions you seek. Do you want to...?"
He understood her meaning and shook his head. "Not until I am ready, beloved apprentice. I have much learning to do as well."
"Yes sir. Oh, thank you, Darynn, thank you so very much!" She literally bounced on her heels and Darynn understood her beauty. She was truly woman and child, powerless and on the verge of magehood all in one person. The more he stared at her the stronger he swore that she would reach that magehood someday. And Teltirray would be gone.
"Aimee', I must ask that you dress. It is time for you to return home."
"Yes, sir," she sighed. "Thank you."
"I am merely doing what I have been asked," he replied, winking. "That I enjoy it is another matter." He watched as he dressed, drinking in the sight of her buttocks and her legs, watching her shoulders as she pulled her clothing on. She turned to him when she had finished dressing, her bag over her shoulder. "Aimee', come here, please."
She nearly hopped over to him. He pulled her close and hugged her. "You have done something nobody has done for me in many a year, Aimee'; you have taught me new things about myself. I want you to continue."
"As do I, sir. As do I." She wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him back. "Thank you so much."
"You've said that so many times, Aimee'! I thank you for what you give me as well. Now, go, before Teltirray begins to suspect what might actually be the truth."
She nodded. "Goodbye, sir." She leaned over and kissed the back of his hand swiftly, then disappeared through the door and was gone.
Darynn watched her departure sadly. He hoped, probably unreasonably, that he was doing the right thing. For the both of them, and for all they came in touch with. "Good luck, beloved Aimee'," he whispered. "We both need it."