I sat on the sand with my back to the ocean, watched as the crews finished their tasks. I had my knees drawn up to my chest as a sort of protection against the emotions that assailed me. Tears welled up, pressed forward from behind my eyes, threatened to obscure the view of heavily booted feet and gloved hands crawling over the wreckage of Shardik Castle, wreckage which now lay one-third submerged in the lagoon. The hurried task of putting out the fire had led the crews to trample Aaden's precious garden and destroy much of the surrounding landscape beside. Overhead floated the fire-suppression Magi, a large, gray vessel that looked like a sledge, that had done the initial job of smothering the flames and then ventilating the site, allowing the crews to get in and check for injured. Dave insisted there were none.
I was still numb, it had all happened so fast-- the explosion, the fire, the alarms ringing, the call to evacuate. "Dave, make a note to Castle Rhysh to review replacement and monitoring policies regarding their anamag system, would you?"
"Ken, you're in shock."
"You're right," I sighed. "Do it anyway." I looked up with a tight, painful grin as Aaden approached, a blanket in hand.
He wrapped it around my shoulders and sat down next to me, held me close without saying a word. The tears that had threatened all morning came with violence now, and I buried my face in his shoulder and cried.
"It's a good idea except for two things. One," Aaden said, ticking it off on his finger, "It'll completely screw up the Uncia rituals, which are based not on the Vinyare' ocean, but on you, all your protests to the contrary. Two, it'll wash out the 'other' Shardik Castle."
"The other castle is already washed out," Dave pointed out, "and should be considered closed until the castle is rebuilt. It was evacuated within ten minutes of the real one, and the tourists there at the time received a great view of you in a panic. It is closed down until the castle re-opens." He paused. "If it reopens. Ken seems to have a different idea on the table."
"Let's face it. Shardik Castle was too small a place for us for how long?"
"Since I moved in," P'nyssa said with a smile. "That was over a thousand years ago."
"I think it was too small when I moved in," M'Ress said, returning a grin. "No, that's not true. At the start there were only six of us living there. We've had as many as twenty-four people living there at times, though. And nobody can tell how many guests, friends, and visitors we've had over the years. It was tight."
"But you like it tight, Ken," Paul pointed out to me. "You've always said that places like D'Arctangent or Cutter's make you feel instantly lost."
I looked around the room at The Family-- P'nyssa, M'Ress, M'Bawr, Aaden, N'Nance, Chelsea, Sanla. The people who are and always have been the heart and soul of my home, my Castle, my life. "What we need is room. A place to call our own, each one of us. You all lived at Shardik Castle. Didn't any of you ever get tired of that?" Nobody said a word, which surprised me. "I propose we build a new place within the Marbletop Forest. We let Aaden do the landscaping to his satisfaction, since he'll do it anyway, and let the lagoon go wild. We leave the Sdisk in there, both for us and for the dolphins."
The end result took only a few months to build. They were long months, however. Three months into the new construction, Sanla and I watched, heartbroken, as a clean-up crew picked up the remains of the old Castle itself and flew away. I tried to make light of it. "I hope they don't blow up on the way to the recycling plant."
"They aren't doing what you did with the Castle," Sanla said as he put his hand on my shoulder. "I can't believe that, in over a thousand years, you never put it down."
I shrugged. "Didn't seem to need it. The monitors all said that the anamags were working fine and they went through major evaluation every forty years or so. They're solid state. We never expected this. It was kinda like a myth, you know? That castle that stays in the air, eternally. We were just lucky nobody was seriously hurt."
Two months after the last of the old Castle was hauled away, the construction crews announced that the new place was ready for residents. Some of the outlying buildings weren't done, and the backup water supply was nowhere near ready "so don't use the microSDisks for anything too heavy yet," and none of the vegetation was in place, but at least it was home. Or, at least a house. Whether it would really be home had yet to be determined.
From the outside, it looked like it would have found comfort anywhere in southern Spain in the 18th century. Red brick walls, terracotta roofing, large bay windows with curved upper portions. The main residence was two-floored, and there was a basement. It was built three sides of a square, and in the center of the main part a curved passageway led openly to the back courtyard, around which were arranged the smaller estate houses and the garage.
Inside, however, was done more in the spirit of 16th century Italy. Muted wood tones set in geometric precision dominated every hallway. Hand-rolled carpets covered exquisite wooden floors. "I didn't ask for this," I said to P'nyssa as she and Aaden accompanied me down one of the longer hallways in the west wing. Looking down the length of it was an education in perspective.
She put a tentacle around my waist. "Ken, this place was built by people who adore you. Did you notice how many of the people building this place were llerkin or Ritan?"
"I feel like I'm living in a museum," I said.
"If the place were made of marble, then I might feel like I'm living in a museum. This feels like a home that just hasn't been warmed by the sound of little feet yet," Aaden said as he stopped to examine a doorway.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Look," he said. He pointed at the wood with a grin.
"I don't see anything. It's a door."
"Look at it from an angle. Let the light from there catch the grain." He indicated a light that hung from the ceiling.
I stepped to occupy his place and looked as he suggested. The grain of wood seemed to have a different pattern in this lighting, and slowly it resolved itself into a large, slightly yellowish slash running from upper left to lower right of the door. The words "Cryogenic and Vacuum Danger behind this door" stood out. I laughed as Aaden had. "Hello, Dave. This your room?"
"Yes, it is," he chuckled. "Do you like the design?"
"Subtle," I agreed. "This place is big enough to have servants."
"I will be the only one," Dave said firmly and much to my relief. I can understand mostly why Dave would play the role' of my majordomo. I don't think I could stand to have organics, who are limited in how much they can do and pay attention to, place themselves entirely at my beck and call.
"Gods, this place is gorgeous," I sighed as I walked around inside the kitchen. This room was huge, with an island in the middle and all four walls with shelving, counter space, cabinets above and below. Everything was made of maple wood-- the cabinets, the doors, the floor, everything except for the counter-top leading to what had to be the main dining space. That was made of sugar pine, a softer wood that wouldn't make as much noise as dishes were moved around on it. It helped reduce the clatter. It was like the bedrooms, which were done entirely in black walnut. The crossbeams in the ceiling were made of cedar, as were many of the light fixtures which hung from them by leather straps. Everywhere, the Pendorian attention to color, sound, functionality, was on full display. Even the smells had been carefully considered.
We made our way up one of the many staircases set behind doorways and up into the West wing, where our residence had been set aside. A corner bedroom faced out onto the forest, and to the immediate north I found the main room for all of us. Nearly twice as large as what we had had in my original home, it too was decked out in loveliness, from the wood paneling to a carefully carved molding that ran the circumference of the ceiling, to the twin doors of leaded glass that opened up on an outdoor patio. I stepped out onto it. Here, the floor was made of gray granite tiles of various shapes and sizes inset with mortar. The walls were built of handset brick.
I leaned over the wall and looked down onto the inner courtyard. Down below, in the quarter of the courtyard closest to us, sat a large gray stone half-buried into the ground. On top of it stood a strange, sparse bush with wiry stems and gray leaves. It looked as if someone had pruned it into the shape of squat, little man with thick arms raised high to the sky. "The halcyon beast!" I turned back to Aaden. "You managed to keep it alive!"
He grinned. "It wasn't easy. It was badly burned by the fire when it tried to escape after the Castle crashed. It's hasn't got much of a nervous system but it knows when its in trouble."
P'nyssa joined us on the patio. "Aaden, when you told me you were bringing a carnivorous, poisonous, telepathic, mobile plant into my home... "
"But you like it now, don't you?"
"The wind blowing through its brittle leaves makes such an interesting sound sometimes, and I can feel it in my mind when it's hungry. I just worry about having children near it. It's probably the most dangerous thing in the whole... what do we call this, Ken?"
"Given the size, I might prefer to call it a 'villa' myself."
"Shardik Villa? I guess. Shardik Estate sounds more..."
"Testosterone-poisoned?" P'nyssa asked with a grin.
"I agree," Aaden added. "'Villa.'"
"Villa it is, then, " Dave said.
I sighed and turned around to head back inside. A large and decorative rug took up most of the floor. Only near the walls was hardwood exposed. "Something is wrong. Don't you feel it?"
Aaden looked puzzled for a moment. "Wrong how?"
"I don't know. It's like, this isn't our home."
"It isn't yet," he said. "It's our house at this point. We haven't been here long enough make it our home. There are no bookshelves here yet, Ken."
"There's no furniture in the personal rooms yet at all," P'nyssa pointed out.
"I... I just feel weird. You understand, right?"
Aaden and P'nyssa both nodded. They understood all too well. I should have realized that that would make their next move somewhat predictable. "Well," Aaden said as he closed in on me, "I could help make you feel at home." Even through we're the same height, the shape of a Mephit's head is such that his eyes were just a little higher set than mine, and I had to look up to look into them. He smiled down at me as his hands undid the clasp at my waist that held the twofold shirt closed. He reached in with both hands and opened it up.
"Hey," I said. "I'm not ready."
"Of course you are," P'nyssa purred in my ear as her lips kissed it gently.
Aaden slowly backed my shirt down off my shoulders and arms. "This place gives me the weirds as much as it does you, Ken," he admitted. "I'm not afraid to admit that. I'm just not going to let that stop me from enjoying the people I love." He grinned as he dropped to his knees and started on the buckle of my pants. Despite my earlier misgivings, I already had an erection. It sprang to life as he pulled down the zipper of my fly and exposed my cock to the world. I started to breathe faster as he opened his muzzle and took the length of it into his mouth in one swallow. "Aaden!" I gasped.
"Shhh... " P'nyssa whispered. "Do you want the whole household to know what we're up to?"
"They already know what we're up to," I gasped. "Oh, gods, Aaden, that's good." His mouth was moist and his tongue talented. He caressed my cock along its length slowly, teased every square cent of it, scraped along the underside with his teeth so delicately that it sent shivers of pleasure up into my hair. P'nyssa's mittens reached into my trousers and slowly dropped them to the ground. They had me pinned as she caressed my asscheeks with her mittens to warm them, to touch me between them. I felt the soft globes of her breasts pressed against my back.
I shivered suddenly from Aaden's precise touch and nearly fell over. "Whoops!" I giggled as I took a controlled fall to the floor and landed on my butt. "That's what I get for letting you wrap my pants around my ankles!"
"You look like you're in a fine position to me," he said as he resumed his work. He butted my legs apart with his big, furry head and took the length of my cock back into his muzzle.
"Ohh..." I sighed. "Hey, you," I said to P'nyssa, "Are you gonna get naked with us?"
"You're the only one half-stripped," she pointed out. "He's still dressed."
"You can change that, too," I said as I leaned back on the palms of my hands to watch and feel Aaden's mouth sucking my cock. Another shiver ran through me, stronger this time, and part of the shiver stayed afterward. "I'm getting closer, Aaden."
"Good," he said.
P'nyssa walked behind me and carefully pulled my arms out from under me to lay me onto my back until she stood over me, naked. I could see the lovely white triangle of fur that highlighted her cunt, a diamond that was mostly natural, although the sharp lines that defined it were partly bleached. I stretched my legs out on either side of Aaden as she knelt over me and positioned her cunt over my mouth. "Lick me," she sighed.
I didn't have to be asked twice. I reached around her to place my hands around her thighs and lifted my head until I buried my face in her cunt to lick at her clitoris and taste her juices. Her cunt opened almost immediately for me like a flower, and I nuzzled my lips around her clit. Her short, soft fur tickled against my slightly unshaven face, and the warmth of her thighs made the air immediately around my head hot and humid. I could feel the muscles in her thighs tense and release in a steady rhythm as I licked and sucked and was distracted from Aaden's hard work.
He didn't let me forget him, though. His mouth and one free hand worked on my cock like it was his first time, his last time, or some combination of both. He was determined to keep me hard and make me come, just as I was determined to make P'nyssa do the same. She was the only one without a task, I reflected as I ate her cunt and let her sweet fluids drip down my chin and around my neck, where the droplets collected with my sweat at the back. My body tensed of its own accord at Aaden's insistence, and I doubled my efforts on her clitoris, my tongue flickering against it. She pressed down, encouraging me to go harder, to lick her more.
Aaden won the battle, however. I couldn't hold it back anymore; I arched my spine and tilted my head to get air as I came with a shout. My cock felt like a cannon and I could feel his throat working to catch it all. His gasps reached my ears. The shaking slowly ceased until I just laid there, on the rug, catching my breath.
But only for a two or three seconds. Then I opened my eyes and they resolved into a shape of blue loveliness as I looked up the length of P'nyssa's torso. She smiled down at me, and I winked, then pulled down with my hands and clamped her cunt over my mouth. "Ken! You don't..."
"Mmm-hmmm!" I managed to say as I gave her what strength I had left. She moaned softly, about the only sound she ever gives out, but I could tell in the steel of her thighs that she was close. She pitched over suddenly, caught herself only just with her tentacles as her belly tensed inwards and then released. "Ohhhh!" was all she said as she bucked slightly against my mouth. She wanted to fuck my tongue with her clit. I gave her what she wanted, a few more hard licks, and then stopped, laying my head back again to the rug. "Oh, gods," I gasped. "That was good."
What about him? P'nyssa managed to send to me as she recovered.
Get him!, I said back. She smiled and eased herself off me before turning and tackling Aaden with speed that surprised me. I rolled over as well and crawled over to where she now had him splayed out on the floor. His cock, semi-hard between his thighs, flopped up and twitched against his belly before I took it in my hands and brought the head to my mouth.
"P'nyssa," I heard him say, "Don't... I've got Ken's come..."
"You don't like the taste!" Aaden objected.
"I'll make exceptions." There was a muffled protest from Aaden and I wondered if she had done anything more complicated than kissing him. Meanwhile, I had my hands and mouth full with the shaft of his lovely, large cock. It is a mouthful-- sometimes more than a mouthful, there are days when I can just barely get it down my throat. He wasn't completely hard, and for that I was thankful. I was also thankful that it bent downwards when he was erect-- it made it easier to suck him when he was standing or sitting, positions he often likes.
He groaned as I returned the favor. I took the furred prepuce of his cock in my hand and slowly stroked downwards as I sucked him into my mouth. He groaned loudly at the increased sensations. I love sucking cock. It's so intimate and profound, all right there in my face. Even though I had come already I was getting hard again just from this little bit. I suddenly knew I wanted it all, every last cent of him inside my mouth, my throat.
I reached down between his thighs and slid a finger up against his asshole. He jumped just a tiny bit. I gathered some of the spit that slid down his cock and used it as lube to press inwards and invade him. He opened up for me and my finger slid into his asshole until the rest of my fist was pressed against his opening. My head bobbed up and down on his beautiful, pale dick and I slid a second finger into his hole and pressed up very gently against his prostate, caressed it so slightly. I pressed his cock against the back of my throat, felt the tension come and go in waves as my body tried to reject the choking monstrosity it had known so many times before. The waves eased as I concentrated on his cock alone, the pulsing, living shaft of my beloved, and then I pounced, pressed downwards to feel the head of his cock pass into my throat and downwards. I buried my nose in his crotch as I worked a third finger into his hole. I held him there for as long as I had breath-- which was not long as my excitedly beating heart ate up the oxygen in my body.
He gasped and tensed and I knew he wasn't about to last long as I went back to a more steady state, three fingers of my right hand in his asshole while my left hand worked the base of his cock and my tongue slathered over the head to caress the length of the shaft I could reach comfortably with my lips. I glanced up to see P'nyssa biting softly on one of his nipples, and I could hear him whimper little protests at the pain, little gasps of pleasure. His paws clenched and opened in time with my actions, and his tail thumped the ground underneath me where I knelt over him. He felt so close, and my jaw was just beginning to burn and I wanted to give up, but I couldn't yet. Not until he...
Came! With a roar as loud as my own had been he came. The inside of my mouth was bathed in warm, salty slime and I swallowed it down like a blessing. His asshole clenched so much I worried about breaking fingers but it didn't matter much, as long as he was coming I was happy. The orgasm itself lasted all of four, maybe five seconds, but those are glorious seconds in love.
I licked at a little of the white stuff that had collected on my lips and looked up at the two of them. "Have we broken in the house yet?" I asked.