I stared at Dakvir, sure I hadn’t heard him right. It had to be the voices planting words in my head or something. He said he’d never been with another male, so just blurting out that he wanted me in his bed as payment for taking away the rest of the voices seemed bizarre. Then again, he hadn’t protested my kissing him earlier and had, in fact, asked me why I’d stopped. I was positive he’d enjoyed the kiss we shared, and unless I was completely off my game, he’d wanted the kiss to turn into something more intimate even before he’d told me what he wanted in payment for getting rid of the voices in my head.
I hadn’t wanted to stop kissing him. Matter of fact, I wanted to do more than simply kiss him, as arousing as that had been. I wanted to lick his skin and nibble at his throat. I wanted to feel the shivery slide of his hair over my body. I wanted to tongue his hole, making him wet, relaxed and unbearably aroused before sliding my cock slowly into him. My breathing sped up, and the lust I felt for Dakvir, never far from the surface, swirled up through me again. The voices in my head roused along with my interest and started to whisper of the painful pleasures I could do to Dakvir. Things that he could come to enjoy and maybe even beg me to do to him.
<i>“He’d be beautiful bound with white silk rope. Picture it criss-crossing his night dark skin, holding him spread wide for you and tightening as he struggles to get free,”</i> Kalere, the slave trader, said in a sly whisper. <i>“Imagine training him to enjoy the abuse. Can you hear his sobs of pleasure and pain mingling? Can you feel his skin decorated with welts after you’ve whipped him? Wouldn’t you like to take him then as he begs you to violate him?”</i>
I licked my lips even as I tried desperately to ignore what she said. The last thing I ever wanted to do was hurt Dakvir, but a small part of me really did enjoy the mental image she painted for me. That was one of the dangers of sharing head space with sociopaths and amoral beings. They routinely delved into the darkest depths of your soul for the perfect things to torture you with and, more times than not, came up with a winner. It certainly didn’t help anything that another Awh’anise would enjoy what she suggested and I had played that hard on more than one occasion for mutual pleasure.
<i>“He’s a virgin when it comes to men, and he’s handing himself to you on satin sheets with a pre-lubed ass. You’d be a moron to take a pass on his offer, and I know you’re a smart bastard. Don’t you want to be the one to teach him to suck dick? I know you can damn-near perfectly imagine sliding your dick in and out of his mouth. Maybe pushing in a little too far and making him gag a bit just to show him who’s in charge. Think how beautiful he’ll look with your spunk smeared over his cock-swollen lips and dripping off his chin. I bet you could make him like the taste of your come,”</i> Jawhar said in a lustful tone along with some lip-smacking sounds.
A small groan left my throat at the insidious whispers. In the deepest, darkest parts of my mind, I would like to see Dakvir as they described. The deviant, erotic mental images made my half-hard cock swell to a full erection. The Awh’anise were a violent race, and that violence often carried over into our intimate times. Most Awh’anise enjoyed the rougher side of sex play. I couldn’t count the number of times that a fight I’d been involved in turned into a bout of wild, vicious sex that left me and my partner gasping for breath and both of us needing stitches from slashing claws. Hell, it was seen as a sign of extreme arousal and gratification to have your partner rake bloody furrows in your skin with their talons. Awh’anise healed at an accelerated rate, and something like that, no matter how bad it initially looked, was usually healed in a day or two and not seen as a serious injury. It was my experience though that healing like that wasn’t something the majority of species I’d encountered shared. Dakvir’s people could be fast healers, but I wasn’t willing to put that to the test.
I also thought actually clawing Dakvir even lightly would scare the crap out of him and cause him pain in a way I was pretty sure would be a desire killer for him. While I’d love to play rough with him, something about Dakvir made me war with myself and want to be as tender as possible with him. I was pretty sure there was more than just the influence of the Lor’fei at work in that regard. Aside from not wanting to frighten him, there was an almost innocent air to him that I found unbelievably arousing. I wasn’t positive that I could be gentle with the voices chattering at me and urging me to do things that I knew I’d enjoy but would likely terrify him. I wasn’t sure that even without the voices in my head that I’d be able to control my violent nature because I wanted him so badly. I’d also gone without a partner for a very long time while on the run from my Hunter, and Dakvir was my Lor’fei, a man I’d literally confront death to have. The way I saw it, I had three strikes against me being gentle right from the start.
“Dakvir, I really don’t think inviting me into your bed is a wise idea.”
“You’ve changed your mind? You didn’t like kissing me after all?” Dakvir asked with disappointment in his voice.
Didn’t like kissing him? Great gods above and below, I was certain I could’ve come from just kissing him and holding his body to mine. Did he really have no idea just how desirable he was?
“No, I liked kissing you. A lot. But the voices are encouraging me to do… rough things to you,” I tried to explain.
“Like what?” Dakvir asked as he leaned forward in his seat, curiosity making his multi-coloured eyes bright. “Is that why you ran at the wall? To make the voices stop telling you to do rough things to me? Maybe I’d like it, the rough things, I mean. It’s good to experience new things, Tyhlian. How else would I know I didn’t like something if I never tried it?”
Gods save me from sexy, curious men I found damn hard to resist. I didn’t need to hear Dakvir say that he might like it if I tied him down and spanked his ass. The voices in my head laughed manically and fed me rapid images of Dakvir in all manner of sexual positions. My cock throbbed, and I clenched my hands into fists as I struggled for control of not only the voices in my head but my arousal for Dakvir as well. I drew in a deep breath and had traces of the scent I was slowly becoming addicted to tease my nose and make my desire surge even higher. I had no idea where I was dredging up the self-control to keep my ass firmly planted in the chair instead of grabbing Dakvir and taking full advantage of what he so innocently offered.
“They’re telling me you’d look beautiful tied to the bed with white silk rope. They tell me to picture your back and ass covered with welts as I fuck you hard. They’re trying to entice me with thoughts of my come smeared over your lips, swollen from my fucking your mouth. Those are the mildest of the images they shove at me. You don’t even have a clue about what you’re asking for by inviting me to share your bed.”
His eyes had widened at what I was telling him until they were huge in his face. The image of untouched innocence was even stronger, and I was suddenly torn between wanting to preserve it and taking it from him by debauching him thoroughly. His hair wrapped and unwrapped around his arms and legs. He swallowed hard and dropped his gaze to his lap. I let a small sigh slip past my throat. I thought he finally understood that what he suggested was something far too dangerous to have happen. I wasn’t happy about refusing his offer, but his safety was far more important to me than the pleasure I knew I’d find with him.
He was quiet for a few moments and his hair even stopped twisting around him before he looked back up at me with perfect calm and maybe even a little determination on his face. I had the strangest sinking sensation in the pit of my belly when he looked at me like that. I felt like I was about to lose a fight I hadn’t even been aware I was in the middle of.
“And what if I say I’d be okay with that? I’ve never tried any of the things you mentioned, but then again, I’ve never been in a position to try the stuff you said the voices told you to do. You don’t want to hurt me. Not in the sense of causing pain for pain’s sake. I can feel that with one hundred percent surety. Otherwise you wouldn’t have run at the wall to stop yourself from whatever you feared you were going to do, right? I want to share your bed, Tyhlian.”
There was steely resolve in Dakvir’s voice despite the fact that he spoke softly. I also got the feeling that there was no room for negotiation with regards to his last statement, and gods help me, that turned me on even more. I think I’d vastly underestimated Dakvir and his strength of will. I was immensely pleased to find that he had an iron core and wouldn’t be crushed under the often pushy will of a typical Awh’anise, of which I was most definitely one.
“You wouldn’t be okay with it, Dakvir,” I warned in a last ditch attempt to keep from going to him and taking him up on his offer. Stars, I was so doomed if he was this persistent and logical sounding about completely illogical things all the time. I’d never be able to refuse him anything. “The Awh’anise like the rougher side of sex a lot. Injuries are pretty common, and we see that as a point of pride when we’ve excited a partner so much that they lose control. You don’t want that type of thing from me, Dakvir.”
Dakvir rose from his seat and moved in front of my chair. He sank to his knees, and his hair flowed over and around my legs. A little moan of desire left my throat despite my best efforts to keep my arousal to myself. Panic at having him so temptingly close when I was trying so hard to deny taking what I needed surged through me, and I just barely managed to avoid snatching him tight to my body and never letting go.
His hands hesitantly travelled over my thighs, and he leaned in towards me until our noses almost brushed against one another. I swallowed hard and dug my claws into the fabric arms of the chair to keep from touching him. His scent filled my nose and wound through my brain making me want him more than I wanted my next breath. Amusement danced in his eyes, and a smile teased the corners of his mouth when he fully realized the effect he was having on me.
Great gods above and below, Dakvir was a very dangerous man to me all wrapped up in a delicate package, and I think that was starting to dawn on him.
I hadn’t loved him from the second I saw him as some Shal-hazal did when finding their Lor’fei, but I was at least three-quarters of the way there now, and I’d barely spent more than an hour within reality in his presence. It was a little staggering to realize how involved my heart was with Dakvir, but I was also absolutely fine with feeling that way, too. I didn’t have a lot of time left on my life line, but I wanted to spend it with him. I desperately wanted the joyous feeling of belonging that I got from Dakvir and I wanted that for as long as I was allowed to have it.
“I’m not saying I want to be injured, Tyhlian. I’m saying that I wouldn’t be opposed to finding out if getting a spanking or being tied down is as exciting for me to experience first-hand as it seems to be for the people in the videos I’ve watched. There’s only one way to find out whether or not I’ll like the things you’ve mentioned and that’s to simply do it. My people usually aren’t this forward, but I’ve found I need to be if I want to have sex just because of who and what I am. I’m curious and impulsive, and you’ve stirred both those things in me. You want me. I can feel it very strongly. I’m telling you, you can have me. I trust you, Tyhlian. You won’t hurt me like you’re afraid the voices will make you. I know you won’t.”
I had no idea how Dakvir could be so sure of that when <i>I</i> wasn’t sure I’d be able to control myself with him. I was a little shocked at the idea that he’d watched bondage videos because it seemed completely at odds with the innocent way he looked. But if he’d watched them and gotten off on them like he was implying, then he was an even better match for me than I dreamed possible. I tried one last time to mentally resist Dakvir, but he was just too tempting. Frankly, I was amazed I’d held out as long as I did. I tilted my head and closed the little bit of distance between us and kissed him.
He made a pleased sound in his throat and returned the kiss enthusiastically. My hands came up to frame his face as I pushed my tongue gently past his lips to taste his mouth. He spread his hands over my chest and completely relaxed against me, letting me control the kiss. His hair slithered over my legs and tail with the softest of touches that I found unbearably erotic. I knew he could feel my erection pressing against his belly. I started a slow rhythm of gentle thrusts into his mouth with my tongue and gave a satisfied growl when Dakvir pressed his body tightly to me in response, his hair moving around us and binding us together. It was, by far, the most intense and erotic thing I’d ever experienced, and it was only a kiss between two fully-clothed people.
The voices in my head tried to push me into being more aggressive. I shut them out through sheer force of will, stopping short of locking them away. I didn’t know how long I’d be able to keep them that way, but I didn’t want to cut short the absolutely mind-blowing experience of kissing Dakvir. The taste and smell of him was intoxicating. I wanted to feel his skin against mine. I wanted to see him naked. I broke the kiss slowly and waited for Dakvir’s eyes to open. He looked dazed, and the scent of arousal coming from him was headier even than his personal scent which was damn close to irresistible all by itself. I couldn’t help the smirk that graced my lips at seeing him look so pleasured from just a kiss.
“I still don’t think this is a good idea considering what the voices want me to do to you, but I just can’t say no to you. I want,” I said in a husky voice.
Dakvir smiled brilliantly at me and rose gracefully to his feet. He stood for a moment in uncertainty before spreading his arms wide. His hair moved around his body, seeming to caress him.
“I’ve never done this with a man, so you’ll have to tell me what you want me to do.”
I knew what I wanted to do to him. There were things that I could hear the voices telling me to do to him that would’ve been fantastic but were not things to inflict on a virgin. I was hoping that I could avoid the seductive pull of rough sex or at least tone it down somewhat. I still thought it was extremely high on the insane list to have sex with Dakvir considering that he was my Lor’fei. But, I got the feeling that I was in a losing battle against the compulsion of claiming my Lor’fei especially when Dakvir was not helping with his willingness to submit to whatever I wanted to do to him. Just seeing him waiting for me to tell him what to do was making me harder than I could remember being in ages.
It had been an unbelievably long time since I had sex with a partner. My growing madness scared off most potential Awh’anise partners and running for my life from the Shal-hazal Warrior reduced the chance of my getting laid with anyone even further. I couldn’t have even taken the risk of finding someone in the dream world. I was good, but there was no way I could completely hide or erase my sexual presence in whatever random dream I skipped through. That would have been like putting up spotlights for the Warrior to find me.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to keep from doing what the voices want. If I stop, it’s to keep from doing something that will hurt you. Whatever you do, don’t struggle against me. Fighting me in a situation like this will only make me more aggressive. If I do something and you need me to stop, say ‘Tay.’ It’s the only thing that will make me freeze and move away from you. Repeat it, Dakvir.”
Dakvir smiled shyly with excitement. He repeated the word softly, and I shuddered and almost felt a physical pain to hear Dakvir say it to me. Tay was one word that was driven into every Awh’anise as soon as they could talk. To have a partner utter that word and ignore the demand behind it was the ultimate taboo. It would mean you were taking a partner against his will and that was something that was punishable by death. Among the Awh’anise, consent was everything.
“Do you want this, Dakvir? Do you really want to do this?” I pressed. I needed to be absolutely certain.
“I liked kissing you a lot, Tyhlian. I liked the way you made me feel. I want more.”
After a statement like that, how was I supposed to refuse Dakvir? I rose from my seat and approached him slowly. I wanted him desperately. Add to that the fact that I’d been without sexual contact with another person for months, something nearly unheard of among the Awh’anise, and I was thinking that I might actually embarrass myself before we even got started. At the moment, my control was shaky at best in general and almost non-existent where Dakvir was concerned. I could have probably withstood Dakvir by himself—barely—but with the influence of the Lor’fei, I didn’t have a prayer of resisting him. I still feared that I’d lose control of my more violent side and hurt him. That didn’t stop me from moving that final step into Dakvir’s personal space though.
I leaned into him and took his lips in another tender kiss that turned fiery and aggressive far faster than I wanted it to. The voices laughed manically and threw out rapid fire lewd suggestions of what I should do to Dakvir. I somehow managed to tamp down not only the voices but also my need to claim him immediately and gentled my kiss. He gave a little sigh that sounded like submission to me and his hands settled lightly on my hips, his thumbs stroking over the bones in a way that made pleasure zip up my spine.
His hair moved over my body, slipping under the open edges of my pants and over the skin exposed by my vest, caressing me. I growled low in my throat when strands slipped between my legs and pressed over the erection I had, wrapping lightly over my cock and balls and squeezing them gently. Stars, but that felt unbelievably good and intensely erotic and had me thrusting my hips a little.
I pushed my tongue to the seam of his lips and gave a pleased hum when he opened his mouth to me. Only a few thrusts of my tongue into his mouth had him catch on quickly and begin to suck lightly on it. That had me push my hips against his and grind into him. The hair wrapped around my cock slithered and squeezed me, and I thought I could probably come from just that sensation if he did it long enough. I knew he could feel my erection, and I was pleased to find that he had one as well. His hands slid up my sides, roamed over my shoulders and down my arms as he made noises of approval in his throat.
When his fingers glided over the hair band on my arm, I was shocked to find the sensation just as arousing as the feel of his hair caressing my dick. That was something new and caused the already considerable lust running through me to surge even more powerfully. I felt my control start to slip and was helpless to stop it. I wasn’t even sure I wanted to stop it. The pleased but muffled sounds Dakvir was making as he sucked on my tongue and ran his fingers over the armband of hair tipped me over the fine line of non-aggression I was trying to maintain for his sake.
I pushed him backwards towards the bed before I broke the kiss. I shoved hard against his chest when the bed was behind him. He fell back with a startled little cry and looked at me with surprise clear in his eyes. I was relieved to see no fear there, only growing arousal. I quickly moved over him and straddled his hips, pinning his lower body to the bed before he could escape. I caught his wrists, stretched his arms over his head and held them in place with one of my hands tight around his wrists. Our cloth-covered cocks rubbed together, and a quiet purr of delight left my throat. I fumbled for the buttons on his shirt and growled my annoyance when I couldn’t get them undone with one hand. I tucked my free hand into the partially open neck of his shirt and yanked down.
Dakvir gasped as the buttons of his shirt popped and scattered, the sound of the material tearing obscenely loud in my ears. His eyes were wide, and the smell of his excitement increased at the aggressive move. That heady fragrance finally shorted out whatever restraint I’d been working under. I flashed some fang at him before nipping the flesh at the join of his neck and shoulder. I tasted a trace of his blood on my tongue and growled low in my throat when it made my protective and possessive instincts flare bright. He shuddered under me, and a soft, shivery sound of pleasure escaped him as he wriggled his hips as much as he could between my thighs. The voices in my head whispered lowly of painful, sexual things that I could do to Dakvir that would give me pleasure. They made no mention of any pleasure that Dakvir would find, but as much as I was aroused by the ideas they threw at me, I wasn’t quite that far gone in my lust for him. I hissed to quiet the voices, somewhat surprised when they actually shut the hell up.
Dakvir strained against my hold but he wasn’t trying to get away. It was more to test how firmly I held him, and judging by the erection he had, he really seemed to enjoy my restraining him. His hair glided over my body, touching me as his hands couldn’t and needy little sounds of pleasure trickled from his throat. A lusty chuckle escaped me as his hair wormed under my sleeveless shirt, tickling across my chest and lightly teasing my nipples.
I gasped in surprise when my shirt was torn from me by Dakvir’s hair in much the same way as I had ripped his shirt open. The two halves slithered down my arms to puddle at my wrists. I looked down at him and saw laughter and desire in his pale multi-coloured eyes. Stars above, he really was enjoying the tiny dominance game we were playing and wasn’t afraid to give back some of what I was doing to him. For all his delicate looks, Dakvir wasn’t about to let me run rough shod over him. He was allowing me to take charge, and that both excited me and made me want to assert my dominance over him. He was seriously tempting me to play with him in a way I didn’t think he was ready for. Considering my lack of control where he was concerned, it wasn’t the smartest thing he could do.
“Don’t challenge me for dominance, Dakvir. Not right now. Not while I have you under me like this and want you so strongly,” I warned as I nipped and kissed his throat. Gods, but I didn’t think I’d ever get enough of him.
“Why not? So far, I like this. I like the feel of you holding me down. I’ve never had a partner do that before. Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever wanted that before. I also like that little bit of impatience and aggressiveness you’re showing. It’s sexy,” Dakvir said as he arched his neck for more kisses, offering me his throat in a classic submissive gesture that I didn’t think he knew he was doing.
I closed my eyes and rubbed my cheek against Dakvir’s, my tongue flicking out to taste his skin again. He felt so very good, and I wanted him so very much. I ground my hips against him and hummed my pleasure when he pushed his back against me. The skin of our chests rubbed together, and I wanted to feel his entire naked body pressed against mine. I wanted to lick him from head to toe until the taste of his skin was imprinted in my mouth. I also wanted my cock in him so badly I thought I might hurt him. Only a selfish asshole rushed a virgin into anal sex, and while I was many things that were less than nice, I wasn’t a selfish asshole. I couldn’t be where he was concerned. I drew on reserves of strength I didn’t know I possessed and somehow managed to calm the lust storming through my veins. I began stroking his ribs and belly lightly with my free hand as I dipped my head back down to kiss him.
“Take it easy, Dakvir,” I whispered against his lips. “Slow down. I don’t want to hurt you. I want to enjoy you for as long as I can before the voices get to be too much for me. I want you to enjoy this experience, and that won’t happen if we rush and I hurt you.”
His hair brushed gently over the skin of my back as he relaxed completely. I was surprised at the gesture of trust. I had told him some of the things that might happen to him if the voices got to be too much for me to bear, and he was still allowing me to touch and pleasure him. Fine, I had told him if I went too far to say <i>tay</i> and that it would stop me cold, which it would, but he only had my word on that, and he barely knew me from a hole in the ground. I was honoured and humbled by his trust in me. I wasn’t about to question what I had been given any further. I had a chance to experience the unique pleasure of my Lor’fei, and I’d be the biggest moron alive if I wasted it. God’s only knew how long I could hold out against the voices and the violent things they urged, but I was going to try my best. As I nuzzled his throat again and spread kisses wherever I could reach, one of the voices decided to rain on my happy little parade.
<i>“Before you go any further, you need to tell him what having sex with him means to you,” </i>said Almon, an Awh’anise Throw-back that just happened to be a narcissistic serial killer, too. It annoyed the hell out of me that he was right.
<i>“It’s not important for him to know,”</i> I said as I tried to ignore Almon and licked the soft skin of Dakvir’s throat, his pulse thudding heavily against my tongue.
<i>“It’s very important, and you know it. Not that having somebody utterly devoted to you isn’t all kinds of cool and something I’d have given my left nut for, but he’ll probably think it’s really creepy weird when after the great sex, you don’t go away. Ever. I’m just saying...”</i>Almon trailed off.
Damn it! Just because Almon was a self-absorbed bastard who killed his lovers when they didn’t love him back in the way he wanted them to didn’t mean he couldn’t be right. I hadn’t answered Dakvir’s earlier question about what a Lor’fei was and what it meant to me. There were things about the Lor’fei that would affect Dakvir, too, and I really had no idea how to try and explain that without sounding seven kinds of crazier than I already was. Most of all, I was apparently selfish enough to want whatever I could get with Dakvir and thought that if I spilled the whole story to him, he’d shove me away.
I had a very determined Hunter on my ass, and Dakvir had no idea how he’d managed to take away some of the voices or if he could do it again. There was a very good possibility that the Hunter would find me before Dakvir figured out what he’d done before so he could do it again. Even if he did manage to get rid of the voices for me, if my Hunter found me before I could haul ass back to the Council and prove that I wasn’t going insane anymore, she’d still kill me on sight. That was her job, and I was her target.
I growled low and shoved all the voices as far as I could into the back of my head. They were not happy about it but their bitching and moaning over unfair treatment was almost down to background noise. Having sex with Dakvir would complete the bond of Lor’fei for me. It needed to happen eventually now that I’d found him, and Dakvir had made it very clear that the price of his help was me in his bed. Personally, I thought I was getting the deal of the century and was only too happy to give Dakvir what he wanted in compensation. I mentally dropped the idea of telling Dakvir about the Lor’fei for the time being. I assumed he’d eventually ask me about it again, and I silently vowed to tell him whatever he wanted to know about the Lor’fei when he did. Until that time came, I was going to enjoy the pleasure of Dakvir and damn the future consequences. Hell, it might even be a moot point if my Hunter caught me before Dakvir asked again. No point in borrowing trouble as I was sure it could find me all on its own without any added help from me. Decision made and voices mostly quieted, I focused my attentions back on seducing my Lor’fei.
I smirked at Dakvir and snaked my tail around his wrists, still holding him captive while freeing both my hands for other activities. He raised an eyebrow at the move but didn’t protest and smiled as he wriggled his hips under me. I palmed his cock and thought the quiet moan he gave was intensely erotic. I leaned down and tongued his nipple, grinning when that simple action made him arch his back for more.
His hair was draped over my body in a subtle caress but wasn’t exploring me like it had been previously. I was surprised to find that I missed that sensation even though it had been testing my restraint. Some of his hair ghosted over the arm band, and my arousal spiked sharply enough that I had to struggle against the surge of lust to keep our encounter gentle and as non-violent as possible. It was strange, but it felt like the touch of his hair over the arm band had a direct link to my cock. I liked it.
I slipped my fingers under the waistband of his pants and lightly teased the head of his cock. The tips of my fingers glided through the pre-come gathered on the head of his cock, and I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by. I withdrew my hand from his pants and stared for a moment at the thin film of black smeared over my fingers. I’d never seen black come before.
Dakvir laughed softly. “I’m going to assume you thought it was going to be some other colour? I get that from every partner I’ve had.”
“Uhhh, yeah,” I said as I watched in fascination as rainbow hues shifted through his come depending on how the light hit it.
“If I were green-skinned, it’d be green. If I were blue-skinned, it’d be blue. Whatever colour a Laiokian’s skin is, that’s the colour of his sperm. I understand that’s something unique among my people.”
I licked the black liquid from my fingertip and moaned softly at the flavour. I had no idea how, but it tasted exactly like the juice in a <i>gesh-ta’ne</i> root. Insanely expensive and both wickedly hard and deadly to harvest, they tasted like what I thought the food of the gods must taste like. I’d only been privileged enough to have some three times in my life, and each time I’d bought some, there’d been a serious dent in my savings to do so. Now it looked like I had my own personal supply of the spicy-salty-creamy goodness. I was certainly going to enjoy sucking on Dakvir’s cock a whole lot more than sucking the juice out of the <i>gesh-ta’ne</i> root, and I loved <i>gesh-ta’ne</i> root. Dakvir stared at me wide-eyed as I cleaned every last drop of his pre-come from my fingers.
“Does that taste good or something?” he asked.
“Oh yeah. Absolutely amazing. I’m going to love getting my lips around your cock and sucking you dry.”
Dakvir’s mouth opened in a little <i>oh</i> of surprise. “You’d do that? Swallow my….”
I grinned at his shocked expression and nodded before leaning in close, my lips brushing along the edge of his elegantly pointed ear. I licked the tip, smirking when he shivered, a breathy moan sliding past his lips. I let my voice fall into a lower, intimate pitch and slipped a hand down his pants to stroke his cock.
“I’m not only going to suck you off. I’ll lick your balls and that sensitive bit of skin between balls and ass, too. And when you think it can’t get any better, I’m going to lick your hole and push my tongue up your ass to really rock your world.”
Dakvir turned his head to look at me and frowned. “I don’t think sticking your tongue up my ass is very sanitary, Tyhlian.”
I stared at him for a few seconds, the utterly serious expression on his face adorable, before I laughed and kissed him. Dakvir was delightfully innocent, and it would be my absolute pleasure to show him how good sex between men could be.
The gods were finally smiling on me.
I’d asked the ship’s captain if he knew of any people like the dreamer I described, and he’d nodded right away. I suspected that a person like that dreamer would tend to stay in somebody’s mind even if they didn’t have any personal experience with him. He was a unique looking person, and I thought that there was a chance that a well-travelled ship’s captain might have heard stories of such a man or species. The captain said he’d done some transport work for a planet a few years ago and had a man who fit my description on his ship. I almost couldn’t believe my luck and said a fast litany of thankful prayers to every deity I could think of for taking pity on me and providing me with a clue to the man’s identity.
The captain couldn’t remember the man’s name but he did remember the name of the planet as they had been prompt with payment and hadn’t tried to barter the price of transport down by a single credit. The captain further added that the man I was after was some kind of top notch negotiator and apparently well known in political circles for his work. The fact that the black-skinned man had travelled in the company of two other men, one red-skinned and one yellow-skinned both with the same floor length hair as my mystery man, helped to stick the man I was after in the captain’s head.
After a quick search through a planetary database, I had the name of the man and the place he was currently working at. He was conducting negotiations between hostile sister planets and was on a moon base not all that far, galactically speaking, from the ship I was currently on. I’d known he was close since he needed to be in my range as a Shal-hazal for me to have entered his dreams, but I hadn’t thought he was practically under my nose.
I studied the horrible government picture of Dakvir Nigidvo and was a little surprised that he looked basically the same in his dream. Yes, he was prettier in the dream than the photo, but true to any piece of government photo ID, there was very little you could do to make yourself look worse unless you got your face smashed by a fifty pound hunk of steel for a few hours. He may have looked delicate and like a stiff breeze could snap him in half even in the god-awful government picture, but I knew that to be a lie. He’d faced down not only me but a void and laughed while he did it with not an ounce of fear. He had a core of iron, and I’d be seven kinds of stupid not to respect that.
He was taller than me and probably twenty pounds heavier, but I’d have bet my last credit that he’d never been in a physical fight in his life. I was rock solid certain that I could whip his ass in less than three moves. Given that, I could probably physically intimidate him into telling me what I needed to know about where Litch Will Tyhlian was, but I’d need to get Nigidvo alone to do that, and that might be a problem. Nigidvo had bodyguards that were constantly with him although they seemed to change with every assignment he was sent on.
My best chance to get to Nigidvo was after his work day was done and he was in his room for the night. I wasn’t sure how vigilant his guards were, but I couldn’t just assume they’d leave him to his own devices once his official day was done. They’d be piss poor bodyguards if they did do that, and going by the information on the page about hiring Nigidvo’s services, somebody making that kind of credit wouldn’t have shitty guards. I didn’t know if the guards shared a room with him or not and there was virtually no way for me to find that out without looking suspicious as hell. I was not a hacker, and hotels of the kind Nigidvo was staying at weren’t in the habit of giving out any personal information on their guests no matter how sweetly you asked or amount of money you waved in front of their faces.
I was damn sure his guards wouldn’t take too kindly to my threatening their client. I could simply ask Nigidvo where Litch Will Tyhlian was, but given my reception in his dream, I highly doubted I’d get a positive or co-operative reaction from him in reality. There wasn’t even the chance that I’d catch Nigidvo alone in a bathroom as his guards were male and could and likely would follow him there, too.
I sighed heavily and realized I wasn’t as lucky as I’d initially thought.
Just getting in front of Nigidvo and questioning him about Litch Will Tyhlian was going to be tough. Once he laid eyes on me, there was a better than decent chance he’d recognize me from the dream and sic his guards on me. Not that they’d give me any problems in a fight, but it would be even more unlikely that Nigidvo would want to answer any of my questions if I beat the fuck out of his guards right in front of him. There was also the fact that I wasn’t supposed to draw attention to what I was doing. The encroaching insanity of the Litches wasn’t something well known outside of Awh’an, and we liked to keep it that way. Kicking the asses of the guards of a respected negotiator would be a little over the top and a sure thing for earning me one hell of a dressing down. It would also tarnish my record, and that wasn’t something I’d tolerate.
This job to hunt down Litch Will Tyhlian was turning into an even bigger pain in my ass than I’d initially thought.
I debated about waiting for the ship to get to the moon base or calling the Council to send a Shal-hazal Spirit class to dream me there. The negotiations were slated to take another week, and the ship could be at the moon base in two to three days. That should be enough time for me to confront Nigidvo before his job was done, but I didn’t want to take the chance on a sudden break through that ended his job sooner than expected. Once he left the moon base, I’d have to trail his ship back to his home world and then try and corner him there. Travel time would be at least an additional week to Laiok, and there was the possibility that Nigidvo wouldn’t be able to tell me anything about where Litch Will Tyhlian was. If that was the case, I’d have wasted a week minimum, and stars only knew where Litch Will Tyhlian would be by then.
In the end, I decided to play it safe and called the Council. They wanted to be kept appraised of my progress in hunting down Tyhlian and had promised me the aid of a Spirit class if I needed it. Despite zero hard evidence to back me up, instinct was telling me Nigidvo would be able to lead me to Tyhlian; I had no idea why. I always listened to my instincts since they’d never led me wrong and had saved me more times than I could count.
I informed the ship’s captain that he was to continue to head for the moon base but not to disturb me in my room. That got me a strange look, but I ignored it as I went to my room and locked the door. I let myself fall into a light sleep as I waited for the Shal-hazal Spirit to arrive. I woke at a gentle touch on my shoulder.
“You know where we need to go?” the Shal-hazal asked without any preamble.
I nodded my head. The Council had sent me one of the older Shal-hazal Spirits that I’d worked with before. Hilel was also one of the Council members, the Spirit Will of his House and an old friend of the Warrior I’d trained under. If I’d had a choice of whom I wanted to work with, he’d have headed the list. I showed him a picture of the hotel on the moon base that I’d copied from the database. He studied the picture intently for several minutes before nodding to himself and sitting beside me on the bunk. For a Spirit class as skilled as he was, that was all he’d need to find not only the right moon base but also the hotel.
“Dream, Phaedra. I’ll take you there.”
I dropped into a comfortable position and began breathing deeply. I entered the dream world in moments and found Hilel beside me seconds later.
“Close your eyes, Phaedra. I don’t want you getting sick on me again,” he warned with gentle humour in his voice.
I scowled at Hilel but did as he told me. He still liked to tweak my tail over the very first time I’d been Dream-Walked. I’d been a brash young thing at the time, overconfident in my abilities and sure I knew myself better than a Shal-hazal with at least two decades of experience on me. I’d ignored his advice to shut my eyes and keep them shut, sure I’d be more than capable of handling a trip through the dream world since I did it every day in training. I’d promptly threw up every last thing I’d eaten in the last twenty-four hours as soon as we arrived at our destination. While my reaction to being Dream-Walked by a Spirit had been unbelievably humiliating to my teenaged self, it had been a valuable lesson I never forgot. When an older, more experienced Shal-hazal told you to do something, there was always a good reason for it, and it was in your best interests to listen. Of course, Hilel and other Spirits thought the entire incident was funny as hell, and I was sure he was never going to let me forget it.
Having learned that lesson already, the last thing I needed or wanted was to be on my knees, heaving, when we got to where we were going. I closed my eyes and felt Hilel’s hand on my arm seconds before my insides wrench sideways. Wind screamed past us, and I lost all sense of direction, something I never experienced in the dream world when I was in command of myself. My stomach churned, and I was supremely grateful that I’d closed my eyes. Colours flashed against my eyelids, and the sounds of hundreds of conversations flooded my ears, but I wasn’t tempted even in the slightest to open my eyes.
Even though it’d happened twenty years ago, I still vividly recalled what the dream world looked like when a Spirit moved you through it. Dreams had flashed past faster than I was used to so that they were just blurs of colour and sound. There was no sense of up or down, and every now and again, a raw dream filled with power would burst over my head in a vicious mental assault before vanishing just as quickly as it appeared. I could completely understand why some Shal-hazal that refused to close their eyes went insane after a trip with a Spirit. It was for that reason that all Shal-hazal trainee first trips with a Spirit were exceedingly brief. While it had seemed to be a very long time in the dream world, in reality, it’d been less than thirty seconds.
I wasn’t sure how long Hilel had us in the dream world but considering the distance he needed to transport us, I figured at least several minutes even if it felt like much longer to me. I stumbled a little when I felt solid ground under my feet and my stomach did a swoopy dive before settling. I opened my eyes to find us in a small alcove screened from casual view by several large potted plants. My stomach rolled once more, and I was thankful I’d closed my eyes for the trip. I had no idea how the Spirit class could handle physical movement through dreams on a regular basis. They had my utmost respect for what they did.
“Be careful on this job, Phaedra. Tyhlian is from a very strong line of The Blood. There’s even been a Vi’deshron in his family tree. One of his sha-ter’bil, Moswen, is a Shal-hazal Spirit like we haven’t seen in centuries. He can Dream-Step,” Hilel said.
I frowned. That information wasn’t in Tyhlian’s file, and I wondered why. I would have remembered something as important as that tid-bit. Dream-Stepping was nearly unheard of, not because it was dangerous or something that required insane amounts of training; it was an ability, like being a Shal-hazal that a person was born being able to do. To Dream-Step, a Shal-hazal didn’t need to fall asleep to enter the dream world. Because they didn’t need to be asleep to enter the dream world, they also couldn’t be tracked by other Shal-hazal through the dream world.
If anyone besides Hilel told me this Moswen character could Dream-Step, I wouldn’t have believed him. A Shal-hazal that could Dream-Step was even rarer than a Vi’deshron, and there were only ever a dozen Vi’deshron at any given time. Catching Litch Will Tyhlian had just taken a huge leap up the difficulty scale in my mind.
“How strong a bloodline are we talking about, Spirit Will Hilel?” I asked with a feeling of dread settling in my guts.
This entire assignment had smelled from the second it was handed to me. Having things purposefully left of the file out only made it smell even worse. Something really hinky was going on with this job and I didn’t like it. It almost felt like it was personal for somebody on the Council, but I didn’t understand how that could be possible. An insane Litch was an insane Litch and they needed to be hunted down for the safety of everybody. No matter how powerful the Council members were, they couldn’t make a Litch insane. I was starting to get a seriously wrong feeling about this Hunt. There was fuck all I could do about that though as questioning the Council’s orders was not an option. Not if I wanted to retain my rank and reputation.
“He has younger, identical twin sho-ter’bil − Chinua and Chike, I believe are their names − that are Shal-hazal in training in his House. They show great promise. Tyhlian’s extended family controls the House of Heyda. His younger sha-ter’bil, Moswen, is the Shal-hazal Spirit Will. Tyhlian’s sho, Huyana is the Shal-hazal Healer Will, and Femi, his sha-nebil, is the Warrior Will of the House. His family is littered with strong Shal-hazal. This information should’ve been in the file you received on Tyhlian, but you’re looking at me like it’s completely new to you.”
I sighed and closed my eyes. I really had no idea why this information wasn’t in the file I’d been given. Even if this was some sort of personal vendetta against Litch Will Tyhlian, what benefit would there be in keeping this kind of vital information from me? The difficulties I was having tracking down Litch Will Tyhlian made perfect sense now. The more Shal-hazal in a bloodline, the stronger a Shal-hazal was likely to be. A horrible thought hit me when everything Hilel told me clicked in my brain.
“Will Shal-hazal Spirit Will Moswen try and help his brother? Is the Council watching him? I know it doesn’t matter if they can’t track his movements through the dream world, but there has to be something they could do to keep an eye on him.”
“I don’t know if Moswen will help Tyhlian. He knows he’s not supposed to, but that family group is very close. From what I understand, Moswen and Tyhlian have a tight relationship, too. The Council is trying to keep an eye on Moswen, but because he can Dream-Step… well, I’m sure you know how that effort would go. And then there’s Moswen himself. He’s….” Hilel sighed.
“He’s what, Spirit Will Hilel?” I asked as that feeling of dread in my belly grew into an icy ball of doom.
“He’s trouble with a capital T,” Hilel said with a quirk of his lips. “I was there for some of his training. The boy is not only gifted as a Spirit class, but he’s a true genius as well. That fact doesn’t seem to stop him from attracting trouble like a magnet. To be fair, he doesn’t seem to actively search out the disasters that cluster around him. They just… happen. These disasters also seem to spread to those Moswen closely interacts with. Generally, things have a way of working out in the end, but the path to get there is difficult. The poor boy has the most bizarre karma I’ve ever seen. Steering clear of Moswen is probably your best course of action if at all possible.”
Oh, that was just fucking beautiful.
Not only was hunting down Litch Will Tyhlian turning into mission impossible, but I might have to deal with an untraceable genius that was a walking cluster-fuck and, going by what Hilel said, who had a vested interest in keeping my target out of my reach. This job sucked so hard it wasn’t even funny, and I started to wonder who I’d pissed off on the Council to be assigned the job.
“What does Spirit Will Moswen look like? I want to make sure I can identify him if I see him,” I said as I mentally added yet another thing to the growing list of difficulties in hunting down Litch Will Tyhlian.
“Moswen is a Throw-back. White blonde hair and tail tip. Brown skin with pale gold stripes. Dark purple eyes.”
My mouth dropped open in shock. Spirit Will Moswen was that Shal-hazal. I groaned softly. No god damned way. He was currently the only Throw-back Shal-hazal there was. At least one thing was easy. Moswen would stand out in a crowd no matter where he went because of the rarity of Throw-backs among the Awh’anise. They didn’t often become Shal-hazal because their highly aggressive and instinctual impulses were so difficult to control in general, never mind what they needed to do in order to be a Shal-hazal. In my mind, that made Spirit Will Moswen one very dangerous individual if you happened to be on his wrong side, and I was pretty sure trying to kill his brother was about as wrong as I could get.
“I don’t understand why the information on Tyhlian’s family wasn’t in the files you received. That sort of gross error needs to be examined so that it doesn’t happen again. I’ll make some enquiries into it; although it obviously won’t help you at this point. If you need assistance again, call for me, and I’ll come.”
I thanked Hilel for bringing me where I needed to be and stepped from the alcove after a quick peek around the potted plants to make sure nobody was around. I knew as soon as I walked away, Hilel would be gone back to Awh’an.
I swiped an envelope, paper and a pen from the concierge and scribbled some meaningless words in Awh’anise across the paper before sealing them in the envelope. I approached the front desk intending to charm Nigidvo’s room number out of the handsome clerk with a claim of needing to deliver the letter personally to Nigidvo’s room. When he still hesitated, I promised I would only slide the vitally important envelope under the door and wouldn’t disturb the man at all. He glanced around before leaning across the desk and told me the number in a low voice.
I thanked the clerk and rubbed the palm of my hand over his fingers in an intimate gesture before I asked casually about the guards. I was surprised to learn that they shared a room across the hall from Nigidvo and seemed to treat him with contempt according to the clerk. While I considered it exceptionally bad form for a bodyguard to be willingly separated from his client, it made my goal of talking to Nigidvo alone a thousand times easier. I wasn’t quite so quick this time to thank the gods for my luck though. I was feeling decidedly cautious about my luck considering what I’d recently learned from Hilel with regards to not only Litch Will Tyhlian’s family of Shal-hazal but also Spirit Will Moswen and his screwy karma.
I rode the elevator up to Nigidvo’s floor and had the amazingly suspicious good fortune of running into one of the cleaning staff who was more than willing to buy my story of forgetting my key card in my room. I thanked her, brushed my tail tip over her fingers and smiled gratefully before slipping into Nigidvo’s room and closing the door quietly. I leaned against the door and sighed softly.
Maybe I’d let my imagination take flight after what Hilel told me. Getting the room number and entry into the room had been far easier than I’d dare hope. That the guards protecting Nigidvo didn’t share his room or even have an inter-connecting one was incredibly lucky. There was no telling what kind of information I’d get out of Nigidvo, if any, but instinct was telling me that speaking with Nigidvo was important in following the near invisible trail of Litch Will Tyhlian.
I started to push off the door to enter the room and possibly find a place to hide until Nigidvo came to his room when I heard soft whimpers and lows growls. I froze in place for the span of several heart beats. I’d made a rookie mistake and hadn’t thought to ask the desk clerk if Nigidvo was in his room or not and could’ve kicked myself for my stupidity. I cautiously sniffed the air and smelled three things I hadn’t expected when I’d come up with my plan to confront Nigidvo about what he knew about Litch Will Tyhlian.
Arousal, the faint trace of blood and the heady scent of a rare incense that was only used on high holy days filled my nose. The sex smell I could easily understand. Nigidvo was pretty and exotic looking with his uniformly black skin and starlight shot black hair. The blood… it wasn’t that unusual to smell, see or taste that during a typical Awh’anise encounter, but I’d learned over the years that precious few other species liked sex as rough as the Awh’anise. The incense smell I had zero explanation for. As far as I knew, the things required to make it only occurred on Awh’an, were wickedly hard and dangerous to get, and the aphrodisiac qualities seemed to only affect Awh’anise making it pretty much useless to other species. The how and why of the holy incense scenting the air puzzled me. I needed to see what was going on in the room and assess the situation before I rushed in.
A healthy mix of caution and curiosity made me slink along the wall and peek around the corner. The first thing I saw was Nigidvo partially naked, stretched out with his hands immobilized over his head. His eyes were closed, and his head pressed hard against the mattress arching his throat in a beautiful, submissive offering. Moans of pleasure trickled past his lips, and his body undulated. His legs were splayed wide, and his loose pants were open and pushed past his hips. His long hair shifted over the person, a man by his scent, crouched between his thighs, mostly hiding his face as he laved Nigidvo’s cock. I licked my lips at the erotic picture, sounds and scents and felt my nipples tighten as arousal started to swirl through me.
I needed to question Nigidvo, but the show I was being treated to was simply too good to interrupt. Yes, I had a job to do. But surely waiting a little while to enjoy the sight of a beautiful man getting his rocks off wouldn’t hurt anything. Another half an hour or so of waiting until they finished fucking wouldn’t affect my goal. There was also the possibility that a sexually satisfied and relaxed man would be more willing to tell me what I wanted to know. I also loved to watch men fuck each other, and I figured that as long as I kept quiet and out of their sight, I’d see some action and maybe even get off, too. I honestly couldn’t see any harm in waiting until they finished. I didn’t think I’d be any further from catching Litch Will Tyhlian if I waited a little extra to watch some hot guy-on-guy fucking.
I was also damn horny.
Chasing after Litch Will Tyhlian hadn’t allowed me the luxury of time to find a partner with any kind of regularity. I did manage to find someone a few times earlier on, but it was still a far cry from the regular sex I’d been having before I was handed my current assignment. The ship I’d recently been travelling on was one I’d chosen for speed and fewest questions asked, not for the sexual appeal of the captain or crew. Even if I’d been feeling desperate, I wouldn’t have taken any of the crew to bed. I had standards, and none of the crew met them on any level.
I watched Nigidvo being pleasured and licked my lips again as desire wound through my body. I pressed my lips together to hold back a moan. The tips of my claws pierce through the wall I hid behind, and my tail swished behind me in excitement. Nigidvo gasped, and his hips bucked upward before a hand settled firmly on a hip and forced them back down. Nigidvo groaned and arched his back as he tugged on his arms. The silver-shot black hair of Nigidvo seemed almost alive as it slithered and slid over the man blowing him. I heard a lusty chuckle from the man and felt a shiver run up my spine at the sound. Damn that sounded sexy, and Nigidvo was one lucky bastard.
I drew in a breath and had the thick scent of male arousal flood my nose along with the desire inducing smell of holy incense and traces of blood. Those three things in combination smelled incredible and triggered memories of power filled Shal-hazal ceremonies that always ended in huge orgies. Another, deeper breath had me catching whiffs of my own rising desire, and my free hand slipped in the open sides of my pants to play over my rapidly moistening sex. My tail shook, and I twisted it around my calf. I fought hard against the need to pant with excitement; something I was fairly sure would alert the men that they had an audience.
Nigidvo hissed sharply, and a low growl sounded from the man between his legs. I drew in a slow breath, smelled the tang of fresh blood on the air and pressed my lips tightly together against the groan that wanted to leave my throat. The gentle aggression of the man servicing Nigidvo along with the scent of blood and incense made me think of Awh’an and the last time I’d had sex with an Awh’anise. A shiver of pleasure raced through me, and I dug my claws a little deeper into the wall to keep from moving to join the men. My tail squeezed my leg tightly in response to my restraint.
Long black hair flowed over the man, still obscuring him from my view, but I didn’t need to see him to know what he was doing. Positively lewd and erotic slurping noises could be heard over Nigidvo’s lush moans. He jerked his hands against whatever was holding them and twisted his upper body, his hips still pinned to the bed by the firm grip of the man blowing him.
“Oh gods, yes,” Nigidvo said breathlessly. “Do that again. Please.”
Nigidvo’s partner chuckled around the cock in his mouth, and whatever he’d originally done, he apparently did again because Nigidvo’s breath stuttered in his throat and he drew his leg up. I saw his leg tremble, and it looked like a full body shiver travelled over him as he gasped.
“Did you… is that…?” Nigidvo sucked in a sharp breath before letting it out on a shaky moan.
“My finger up your ass? Yeah, it is. And if you think that feels good, this’ll blow your mind.”
Nigidvo’s back arched, and he cried out in surprised pleasure. The man pleasuring Nigidvo growled low and moved his free hand up Nigidvo’s body, toying with his nipple. Nigidvo seemed to struggle for breath against the pleasure rushing through his system, his hips canting upwards for more. I licked my lips and grinned. I was pretty sure I knew what the man was doing to Nigidvo, and I probably wasn’t the only one who approved.
“I… ahhh… gods, that feels incredible. I had… oh fuck… no idea. Don’t stop. Whatever you do, don’t stop.”
My eyes widened in surprise, and I barely managed to suppress a groan. Nigidvo had never had his prostate played with? Then… he was a virgin? By the gods above and below, that made the entire scene I was watching even hotter. My fingers moved faster between my legs, and my tail tip fluttered madly against my ankle.
The man sucking Nigidvo looked up, and the hair that’d been hiding him from my view slipped away from his face. The man growled again and flashed a little aggressive fang at his partner. I registered that it was an Awh’anise man I was looking at and thought it a very strange coincidence that the male about to fuck Nigidvo was Awh’anise. I frowned at the oddity, my mind trying to make sense of the chance of that happening while still focusing on the hot foreplay in front of me. My brain finally managed to push through the lust flowing through my veins and processed who I was looking at. I blinked in shock, sure that who I thought I was seeing couldn’t possibly be who I thought he was.
“Tyhlian,” Nigidvo breathed as he wriggled his hips and spread his legs further apart. “I know I said not to stop earlier, but if you keep doing what you’re doing, I’m going to come. I don’t want this to be over yet.”
“You’ll be more relaxed if you come first, Dakvir. And nothing says that I can’t get you hard again,” Tyhlian said with an intimate chuckle.
My eyes went so wide at the verbal confirmation that it was indeed Litch Will Tyhlian I was staring at that I thought they were in danger of bugging out of my head. Of all the scenarios I’d run through my head, actually finding Litch Will Tyhlian with Nigidvo never even occurred to me. I couldn’t believe that I’d actually found him while he was in the middle of getting it on with someone.
I sucked in a startled breath when my lust-addled brain made the connection of the scents I’d initially smelled when I spotted the men. Blood, sex and holy incense was a powerful combination for any Shal-hazal. Those three things in the hands of an insane Litch were very dangerous. Putting all that into the hands of an insane Litch Will was asking for trouble of monumental proportions. I wasn’t sure exactly what he would gain, but the man was too smart and cagey not to have something planned. I now feared for the safety and possibly even the life of Nigidvo. Just because Litch Will Tyhlian hadn’t taken a random life up until now didn’t mean he wouldn’t if the right opportunity presented itself. Litches were intimately connected to the dead because of the job they did, and they gained incredible bursts of power for short periods of time when they took a life. To take a life during sex with the aid of the holy incense I could smell in the room…. I didn’t even want to guess at what that could mean on a power scale. I had to stop Litch Will Tyhlian not only to save a life but also to keep him from gaining power I’d have zero defences against.
As much as I would’ve loved to watch the erotic scene unfold in front of me before I showed myself, my best time to spring would be while Litch Will Tyhlian was distracted by sex. I thought it would also be a good idea to interrupt whatever ceremony he was in the middle of performing. He’d already been wickedly hard to track down, and I really didn’t need him doing anything else to make it even harder for me to catch him or to give him enough power to squash me like a bug before I even knew what hit me.
With an inner sigh of regret, I slipped my hand out of my pants and eased my claws out from where they’d pierced the wall. I unwrapped my tail from my leg and readied myself to spring at the pair. I knew it was only dumb luck and probably massive sexual distraction that had kept Litch Will Tyhlian from either hearing me enter the room or scenting me. I watched and waited until he lowered his head and began gently biting Nigidvo’s throat and chest, soft little growls and even an ultra-low purr winding from his chest.
I breathed in slow and deep before I leapt at the men, a growl on my lips and my claws fully extended and aimed at Litch Will Tyhlian’s exposed back.
Sho-ter’bil: sibling through a shared mother (half brother/sister)
Sha-ter’bil: sibling through a shared father (half brother/sister)
Sha-nebil: shared father’s other mate’s siblings (aunt/uncle)
Vi’deshron: Literal translation is singer of dreams that have been, are and will be.
Awh’anise marked with the Neksha on the back of their neck in white, very rare occurrence with only a dozen alive at any given time. All Vi’deshron are female. They are able to sing stories and have the actions/scenes viewed by any that are within the range of their voices. They may sing of past events, events of the present or events that have yet to happen. The Vi’deshron enters an almost trance-like state and re-tells the events exactly as they happened and not as the victors/defeated say they did.
They also have prophetic visions of the future. They can make minor changes to the future shown, but the effort is exhausting. Sometimes, a Vi’deshron can make greater changes to the future but runs the risk of death/insanity.
While the Vi’deshron are marked by the Neksha, they cannot enter the dreams of others as the Shal-hazal can. They are aware dreamers, however.
Vi’deshron are protected with nearly mindless devotion by the Shal-hazal. A Shal-hazal that comes into close contact with a Vi’deshron will be compelled to offer themselves as the Vi’deshron’s protector. This is a bond broken only by death. A Shal-hazal may pledge to only one Vi’deshron (but will protect others if they are endangered); however, a Vi’deshron can have a virtually unlimited number of Shal-hazal as her personal guardians.
Neksha: Symbol on the back of the neck of a Shal-hazal or Vi’deshron. Awh’anise born with this mark are one of the two. Shal-hazal have a black symbol while Vi’deshron have a white symbol.
I heard the growl and smelled aroused female Awh’anise seconds before I looked up to see the woman who could only be my Hunter flying at me, a snarl on her lips. I cursed lowly for allowing myself to get so caught up in the pleasure of my Lor’fei that I hadn’t noticed what was dead obvious now. I barely had time to release Dakvir’s wrists from the grip of my tail before I pushed up and away from him, angling myself to absorb the weight of the Warrior about to crash into me.
Dakvir’s hair whipped across my skin in a burning caress as momentum carried the Warrior and I over the edge of the bed and onto the floor. We both grunted from the awkward landing and elbows and knees aimed for whatever was within striking distance. I heard Dakvir’s startled cry and an angry growl sounded from my chest. He probably couldn’t tell what the hell was happening as both of us were moving as quickly as we could in an effort to gain the advantage and an Awh’anise moving at speed was pretty damn fast by anyone’s standards.
Her fist grazed my cheek before I managed to shove the Warrior from me and away from the bed where Dakvir lay. I was incredibly pissed off at myself for missing the scent of another Awh’anise in the room and being caught basically with my pants down, or close enough to not matter. I was still hard, aroused and possessive and getting into a fight wasn’t helping any of those conditions. The fight would probably just arouse me more. At the same time that I was mentally beating myself up for being so damn sloppy, I had to concede that Dakvir was a highly distracting man and the smell of his arousal as well as his personal scent had flooded my brain and cancelled out everything else around me.
“Xi,” I snarled as took up an aggressive position between the Warrior and Dakvir.
I knew I shouldn’t have said that but my mouth was in motion before I could stop myself. The Awh’anise voices in my head groaned and one or three of them might’ve called me an idiot for basically telling my Hunter that Dakvir was possessively mine. I quietly agreed that it was stupid to say but mentally told the assorted voices to fuck off anyway. I hated admitting when egomaniacal sociopaths were right.
The Warrior hissed at me and flicked her eyes to Dakvir. I could almost see her calculating how to use Dakvir against me since I’d opened my big mouth and clued her in to his importance to me. He scrambled to drag his pants over his hips before sitting up and watching us with wide eyes, a trace smell of fear floating from him and making me growl lowly. The need to protect and defend what was mine rose in me. I gave her a dangerous smile that showed way more teeth than was even remotely friendly. That I was facing a female didn’t make me back down or think of going easy on her. It did make me just a little nervous though. Awh’anise females were more vicious than males in a fight and had the added advantage of higher pain thresholds in a species that already had stupidly high limits.
This was not going to be an easy fight.
One on one without the distraction of Dakvir, I’d have had no problem going all out and not worrying about any collateral damage. Two Awh’anise duking it out with the intention of killing each other could easily demolish a close space like the hotel room. Having Dakvir in the room changed all that though. I needed to protect him from injury from the Hunter and possibly even myself as we fought. I also didn’t want to kill the Warrior in front of Dakvir. I was pretty sure that wouldn’t go over very well with him no matter the situation. I was also hoping like hell that Dakvir’s guards were long gone and wouldn’t rush into the room in some misguided attempt of stopping the fight between me and my Hunter; or worse yet, taking Dakvir away from me in an effort to save him from the destruction I was sure would shortly follow.
The Warrior flashed unfriendly fang back at me and took up a classic Lau H’te stance. She was deadly serious about finishing the fight between us as quickly as possible if she was using military combat arts right from the get go. There would be no fighting for fun before the serious business of trying to kill me started. Fuck. This could go bad in so many ways I didn’t even want to think about it. My eyes flicked to Dakvir and the Warrior used my split second inattention to pounce, her claws just barely missing my eye when I jerked my head to the side.
Punches and kicks flew between the two of us and our tails tangled together when we got within grabbing distance of each other, pulling and yanking in an effort to throw the other off balance. Growls and hisses filled the air as we traded blows. Blood decorated our skin from claw slashes. Surprisingly enough, the few pieces of furniture in the room remained intact although upended despite us both throwing each other into various things.
I was taking more blows than I should’ve been but I was hampered by the need to stay in front of Dakvir as much as possible and protect him. I risked a glance at him again out of the corner of my eye and saw him trembling slightly, his hair curled tightly around him. Knowing that the fight was scaring Dakvir I growled low in frustration that I couldn’t bring it to a swift end and sooth him.
The Warrior caught my distraction and charged me. I grunted at the feel of her knee catching me in the ribs and her talons scoring my chest before I twisted to the side to avoid the follow up kick to the nuts. The kick caught me a glancing blow to the thigh instead, the toe of her sandal brushing against my balls and making me very thankful I’d managed to turn. The Warrior continued past me before I could stop her, my talons just barely scratching superficial furrows down her bicep and forearm. She hit the bed on her side, rolled and pulled Dakvir into her arms.
Dakvir squeaked as the Warrior’s full weight crashed into him and the smell of his fear spiked. A scream of pure rage left my throat. Dakvir was mine. He was my Lor’fei. I called him mine using the most possessive word there was in the Awh’anise language save calling him my Lor’fei when I placed myself between the Warrior and Dakvir. Lust, possessiveness and violence mixed in me and I narrowed my eyes. This was one fight I was going to win at all costs. Fuck having Dakvir be all shocked at my killing my Hunter in front of him. I could fix that later with gentle touches and kisses and reassurances. Nobody was allowed to touch Dakvir without my say so and most certainly nobody was allowed to terrify him.
The Warrior rolled, taking him with her to the other side of the bed. She held my almost lover around the chest and flashed triumphant fang at me. I snarled at her, spit flying as I tried to figure out what to do to get Dakvir safely out of her grip without putting him in danger from a slash, kick or punch aimed at the Warrior. Her cheek brushed against Dakvir’s arm and I saw the surprise come and go quickly in her eyes when she finally got a real nosefull of Dakvir’s scent. Her eyes closed to slits and her hold tightened on him, making him gasp a protest, as she buried her nose in his hair and inhaled. I heard her sub-sonic purr and saw Dakvir’s eyes widen in surprise when she pressed herself firmly against his back. When her hand subtly caressed his chest and brushed over his nipple, fury burned through me and I wanted to tear her limb from limb. Thoughts of eating her once I’d killed her as a dominance show zipped through my head and I struggled against the impulse.
“Tyhlian?” Dakvir’s voice was high and confused.
I didn’t doubt that he could feel the subtle rumble of my Hunter’s purr against his back even if he couldn’t hear it. Given that I’d told him earlier that an Awh’anise only did that when they were very happy to be with somebody or highly aroused, he was probably utterly bewildered at the Warrior’s reaction. I was also dead certain that he noticed the shift in the Warrior from ultra aggressive to sexual in the blink of an eye. He said he was an empath so it was probably written in giant flashing letters for him. His personal scent was likely playing havoc with my Hunter’s senses, triggering arousal and distracting her from her goal of killing me. I could practically feel things going from bad to worse. A mating fight fuelled by Dakvir’s scent could end up with my Hunter and me dead from injuries and one very traumatized Dakvir left to deal with the aftermath.
I started a cautious, slow advance around the bed, hoping to get close enough to them to snatch Dakvir away before clawing out Phaedra’s throat. She inhaled softly again, her tail curling around his calf and the hand that’d brushed over his nipple earlier slid down his chest, aiming for his crotch. Dakvir made a shocked sound of protest at her wandering hands and I couldn’t have stopped the enraged snarl that burst from my throat if I’d tried. Dakvir was mine. Mine.
“Xi,” I said in a low, dangerous voice as I pointed at Dakvir.
The Warrior’s eyes snapped open and for a split second, she looked confused as to what she was doing. I watched her mentally shake herself out of the scent induced lust and pull her professionalism together. I actually relaxed slightly as the lust disappeared from her face and the intent to kill me took over. Her lip curled in a look of disgust aimed at me. She flicked her eyes to the small puncture wounds from my teeth on Dakvir’s neck and shoulders. Her free hand plucked at the edge of Dakvir’s torn shirt and she sneered at me.
“Kesh,” she snapped in denial, her grip on Dakvir tightening again.
“Bei,” I growled back and took a step closer to her. Dakvir remained motionless in the Warrior’s arms as if waiting to see what I’d do. His eyes were huge in his face and even his hair was still. The fear smell from Dakvir was slowly ebbing as the Warrior did nothing more threatening than hold him tightly in her arms. She gave a snort of disbelief at my claim and sneered at me again.
“Shal-hazal Litch Will Leu, Tyhlian. I am Shal-hazal Warrior Dii-Nal’ger, Phaedra. I am your Hunter. You are ordered terminated,” she announced formally before changing the tone of her voice and adding, “I’m only glad I got here in time to prevent you from taking this man against his will and likely killing him afterwards for whatever power grab you were trying for. You are sick, twisted and a danger to yourself and others, Litch Will Tyhlian. I have no idea how you managed to get some of the holy incense or why you doused this man with it, but I will not let you complete whatever ritual you started.”
I swore lowly in surprise. I’d heard of Phaedra. She was the best of the Warriors who hunted Litches. Her success rate was one hundred percent with every Litch she’d been sent after falling under her claws. She’d never backed down or resigned from an assignment and she was faster than most Hunters in tracking and killing her target. I was torn between being pleased that the Council thought I warranted a Hunter of her skills and really worried that I had her hunting me. I was intimately aware of my level of insanity and I knew for a fact that I didn’t rate somebody of her talents chasing my ass yet. A newly graduated Hunter should’ve been sent to track me down with an older, experienced Hunter shadowing them just in case I managed to get the drop on the rookie. Only a completely insane Litch deserved someone of Phaedra’s calibre. I wasn’t even close to that point yet.
Something really weird was going on with my termination order and I wished that I had the luxury of time and resources to find out what.
“Against my will? The hell it was. It was my damn idea in the first place and it was just getting to the good part when you interrupted,” Dakvir complained as his hair moved over Phaedra like snakes.
Phaedra had a few seconds to look startled as Dakvir’s hair twisted around her body. Her eyes widened and she batted ineffectively with one hand at the hair snaring her and drawing her away from him. I stopped my shuffling advance and stared in equal parts surprise and fascination as Dakvir’s hair held Phaedra away from him and twisted up her torso to wrap around her neck. She released him and her hands pulled frantically at the hair around her throat, her claws scratching bloody lines in her skin to no avail.
Dakvir’s brows drew down and his jaw set as Phaedra struggled but he made no sound and seemed utterly calm. She struggled harder and except for a pained wince from Dakvir at one point, her efforts to get free appeared to be useless. Her face turned red as she struggled to breathe against the choking grip of Dakvir’s hair. Her eyes slowly rolled back in her head before she sagged into unconsciousness in the hold of his hair. Dakvir released Phaedra gently and the Warrior folded into a graceless heap on the floor.
The way Dakvir had used his hair to move Phaedra off him had been both amazing and very effective and gave me new respect for it. I was impressed and thankful for what he’d done as I’d had no solid plan on how I was going to deal with Phaedra and keep Dakvir unharmed once I had him away from her and we started trying to kill each other again.
“Damn it, I suppose that kinda ruins the mood doesn’t it?” Dakvir asked with a frown, his hands on his hips. “It really was just getting to the good part, too. I swear to god, I was almost right there. I suppose we can’t even pick back up where she interrupted even if we toss her ass out the door because she’s that determined to get you. Gods, I’ve never been so pissed off.”
Ruined the mood? Was he the insane one or was I? I didn’t know if Dakvir could feel murderous intent, but there had to be some kind of emotional investment to that kind of thing that he could get a sense of. He’d watched me be attacked by someone he had to realize was trying to kill me. I thought he would know that I probably would’ve killed Phaedra if I’d had to. He’d even been attacked by the same person that was trying to kill me and yet all he was talking about was the mood being ruined? I seriously considered the fact that my Lor’fei had some big time messed up priorities or that he didn’t realize just how fatally bad it was that Phaedra had found me. Either that or I was way better at seduction and foreplay than I’d been led to believe over the years.
I stepped over Phaedra and moved to him. I quickly ran my hands over his body checking for injuries, massively relieved to find none. He hummed in approval and pressed himself to me. His hair swirled around us and bound me to him. He didn’t appear physically hurt and I hugged him tight to me, burying my nose against his neck and inhaling his scent. Aside from the initial fear I’d smelled from him that’d long since dissipated, he was surprisingly calm about being attacked while in the middle of foreplay. I wondered briefly if he was in shock. I also wondered how Phaedra had managed to find me so fast. I didn’t think I was getting that sloppy… yet.
“Kill her. Now’s your perfect chance,” said Narilla, a spy with large fox-like ears, a black mask etched across her eyes and a fluffy red tail tipped black.
I hated to admit when any of the voices were right, but what Narilla said did make a lot of sense. The opportunity to take out my Hunter now was probably the best I’d ever get. It’d take a little while for local authorities to figure out who the hell she was and once they did pin down her identity, they’d want to move with care. All Shal-hazal had ambassador status when off-planet and letting a country or planet know about the murder of a diplomat was bound to cause some tension. Especially when the murderer was not only still free but unknown. Of course, the Council would know immediately that I was responsible, but that was besides the point and the hunk of rock we were currently on wouldn’t know that either.
With the news of Phaedra’s death, the Council would be in the difficult position of trying to quickly find a replacement for Phaedra and send them out after me. Whoever they did pick would be working with a trail long cold by that point no matter how fast the Council got its shit together. With Phaedra being the top Hunter, the most likely person to send after me if I killed her would be the Warrior who trained Phaedra. That made a shiver of dread race down my spine. Litch Hunter Sunki was legendary and retired from active duty or not, I absolutely did not want her on my tail. Phaedra was very, very good. Sunki made her look the most wet-behind-the-ears new recruit ever.
“Take her mind. Think of the benefits of having not only a Shal-hazal Warrior in your mind but one of the Litch Hunters to boot. The power and control available to you then would be staggering,” Dasha said with several clicking sounds between her words.
Dasha knew all about wielding control and power since she’d been the tyrannical ruler of an entire planet of insectoids before her ministers revolted against her and hired me to take her out. It was completely true that the knowledge I’d gain from taking Phaedra’s mind into mine would be phenomenal and would surely help me stay ahead of whatever Litch Hunter the Council threw my way next even if it was Litch Hunter Sunki.
“Kill her now and you can take your time with Dakvir. You’ll have time to teach him the pleasure of pain,” Jawhar said with slyness and lust tingeing his voice.
That was more or less true, too, and as much as I might not want to admit it, I liked the idea of introducing Dakvir to some of the rougher play the Awh’anise. I wouldn’t do it, but the fantasy of having him in ways that the voices showed me was wickedly arousing. The voices started to chatter louder in my head once they keyed into the fact that I really would like what they showed me. More highly detailed images flashed across my eyes of Dakvir naked in a variety of sexual positions, some mild and a few that would even make some Awh’anise pause before saying sure to them. I forcefully shut down the erotic slide show, aghast with myself at how arousing I found what I was shown. Dakvir would never agree to try anything like the depraved things the voices showed me and I’d never ask him to do them either. I was sure he’d be disgusted and horrified that I’d even had thoughts like that about him, regardless of whether or not the voices had been the ones to bring the ideas from the dark depths my head.
I squeezed my eyes shut and held Dakvir tight to me. In all honesty, I would be deliriously happy just to share his bed even if we didn’t have sex. Yeah, the sex would be mind blowing, but as long as I could hold and touch him every night, I would be thrilled. He pressed his hips to mine and kissed my temple, a sexy little hum of pleasure sounding from him. His hands stroked down my back and played at the base of my tail. I gasped and nipped the skin of his throat instinctively from the pleasure of having one of my most erogenous zones teased. He gave a tiny breathy moan and his hair caressed my body in a way that I found erotic as hell.
Great gods of above and below, he was a dangerously enticing man.
He was also something that I couldn’t have. Phaedra finding me while I was with him and the way the situation could’ve gone so very badly hammered home the fact that while he was my Lor’fei, being with him would only lead to fear and probable harm for him. I couldn’t put him in that kind of danger again. My heart squeezed in my chest at what I knew I needed to do for his safety. Any pain I felt as a result of being separated from him was unimportant as long as he remained safe.
I had no fear that Phaedra would hurt Dakvir. I was the one she was after and Shal-hazal Hunters had a strict code of honour that they followed. That didn’t mean she wouldn’t or couldn’t take Dakvir with her to use as a hostage when she left to continue chasing me. My saying ‘Xi’ with regards to Dakvir told the Warrior that Dakvir was very important to me. That word was a highly possessive form of ‘mine’ in the Awh’anise language and was never used in connection with a casual sex partner. My only saving grace was that I hadn’t told Phaedra that Dakvir was my Lor’fei. The Warrior would have the ultimate leverage over me if she knew that. Even regular Awh’anise knew that a Lor’fei Shal-hazal would do anything to ensure the safety of their Lor’fei even if it meant their own death.
Phaedra definitely wouldn’t hurt Dakvir if I left a crystal clear trail even a total fuck up trainee could follow. I’d likely be dead in a matter of weeks anyway. I could endure a little soul-crushing grief for that long. I’d already tasted some of the pleasure of my Lor’fei. It was more than I thought I’d get and it’d have to be enough until Phaedra caught up with me again. I forced myself to let go of Dakvir and pushed him as far away from me as his hair would allow, which wasn’t more than a scant six inches.
“I have to leave. I’m not going to kill her because that would probably make all kinds of trouble for you and me, but I’m not about to wait around here for her to wake up and kill me either.”
“I guess the sex will have to wait then,” Dakvir said with a sigh. “I was almost there, too. Damn it all, but I have the worst luck at times. Give me a few minutes and I’ll be ready to go. I know how to travel light.”
“Go? Go where?” I asked as I tried unsuccessfully to untangle myself from Dakvir’ hair.
The silky stuff definitely had a mind of its own and refused to let me go. I was trying to be as gentle as possible as he said he could feel things like pain through his hair and the absolute last thing I wanted to do was hurt him. Just when it seemed like I had an arm or leg free from the strands, his hair would slither back around the newly freed limb, snaring me to him again. It was both frustrating and arousing as hell.
“With you. I obviously can’t stay here. She’ll be asking me where you’ve gone when she wakes up and I don’t think she’s the type to take no for an answer. I could likely have her tossed not only from my room but the hotel as well, but she seems like the persistent type and I can’t really see a little thing like a ban stopping her. What were you guys arguing about? At least I assumed it was an argument. It sounded like one.”
I ignored Dakvir’s question and continued to wrestle with his hair. An amused little smile played on his lips as I swore under my breath. The leg I’d just freed from his hair was caught again as soon as I turned my attention to get my other leg free.
“You can’t come. It’s not safe for you to be with me. Don’t you have a negotiation to finish working out, too?” I asked as I grabbed a fistful of his hair in one hand to keep it from wrapping around the leg I’d just freed.
I muttered in frustration when the hank abandoned my legs and twisted around my arm instead. It glided over the hair band on my arm and a rush of pleasure fizzed through my veins at the erotic touch. I had to bite my lip to keep from growling possessively, yanking Dakvir to me, ripping off his pants and fucking him hard.
“My work here was pretty much done,” Dakvir said with a shrug and soft smile. “The people I was negotiating with have been rather accommodating once they got past a few critical issues and they can sign an agreement without me. I was going to take a vacation after this trade deal anyway. It’s just going to start earlier than I thought.”
“You really can’t come with me, Dakvir. I’m running for my life. Having my Hunter find me and attack me while you were in the room…. I’m dangerous. I’m not going to put your life at risk,” I said as I finally managed to work myself mostly free from his hair.
It was almost causing me physical pain to tell him he couldn’t come with me. I didn’t expect to feel so strongly about leaving him when I hadn’t even completed the bond with him. Everything in me screamed that I needed to be with him whether it was in his hotel room or on my ship or living in a cave in the back of butt-fuck beyond. It felt horribly wrong to even be thinking of leaving him. No wonder Shal-hazal under the influence of the Lor’fei were thought to be crazy obsessed.
“What about my helping you to get rid of those voices? How am I supposed to do that if I’m not with you? You’re not changing your mind are you? I realize that the first time I did it was in a dream and I’m not sure how it happened in the first place, but if I did it once I could probably do it again. It makes much more sense for me to be with you so we can figure how to get rid of the voices together. I’m your best chance of becoming sane again. You’re not being terribly logical, Tyhlian.”
“It was a dumb, desperate idea to even ask you. Look, I don’t have time to discuss this right now. Awh’anise have fantastic healing and recuperation powers. She probably won’t be out for too much longer. I really have to go. I’ll take her with me and dump her in the lobby. I’ll leave her a trail she can’t miss and she won’t even bother with you.”
“Are we having our first lover’s argument? I hear make-up sex is great,” Dakvir said with laughter shining in his eyes.
I just stared at Dakvir. He was treating this as if it was some big adventure and not the serious thing it was. Phaedra would try and quite possibly succeed in killing me when she found me again. There was a very good chance that I’d hurt Dakvir because of what the voices urged me to do. Although I was planning on leaving a trail a child could follow, I wasn’t going to make it too easy for Phaedra to find me. When she did, it was almost a certainty that I’d be completely insane by the time she caught up to me again. I didn’t want Dakvir around me then.
“This isn’t a game, Dakvir. This is life or death for me.”
“I know that, Tyhlian,” Dakvir said with a seriousness that surprised me. “I want to help you. I don’t want to see you die. You attract me and arouse me and seem to want to be with me, not ‘The Void’. I can feel how attracted and eager you are to be with me. You have no idea how precious a gift that is to me. I know I seem excited to just take off with you, someone I’ve only just met, for parts unknown. I am excited, but it’s not only because this would be an adventure for me in a life that has decidedly lacked anything even vaguely interesting. Only my parents have ever wanted to just be with me. Everybody else either tolerates me because they have to or treats me like some kind of circus freak. Even the infrequent partners I’ve had only shared my bed because I am a curiosity. I knew that at the time and it did hurt my feelings, but when you’re as alone as I am, you really can’t be all that picky when you want a little intimate contact. But you’re different, Tyhlian. You want me. Me. I have no idea why but I’m not going to question something so amazing dropping into my lap.”
Dakvir sighed and his shoulders slumped. He sat on the edge of the bed and looked down at the floor. His hair coiled protectively around him, hiding him. He looked so very lost and alone in that instant that my first impulse was to gather him up into my arms, hold him and tell him I was sorry for making him upset. I wanted to touch him and lick his skin. I wanted to make him happy and show him that I thought he was the most absolutely perfect individual in the entire world.
“I don’t understand why you’re telling me you need to leave when I can feel very clearly that you don’t want to be separated from me. But if that’s truly what you want, for whatever reason, I’ll still try and help you if I can. If you really don’t want me to go with you, I won’t force myself on you. I won’t have yet another person just tolerate my presence. The choice is yours, Tyhlian,” he said softly.
The loneliness in his voice and the dejected air around him made my insides clench. He hunched over and seemed to be trying to draw himself in to guard against rejection. I looked up at the ceiling and told myself it was an incredibly stupid, dangerous idea to let Dakvir come with me and that I was being a totally selfish prick for even thinking about it. I was sure I could be strong enough to ignore the pull of the Lor’fei and keep him safe from my growing madness.
The Lor’fei didn’t affect him the same way that it did me. At least not initially it wouldn’t. He had no idea that he had been calling to me. His driving compulsion to be with me as part of the Lor’fei would only come after time spent with me. Given enough time, the Lor’fei would show him that we were perfectly suited to each other. He would come to love me because he wouldn’t be able to do anything else. A selfish part of my soul wanted that despite the danger being with me would put him in. I desperately wanted him to love me as I knew I was going to love him. Hell, I’d even be willing to settle for him simply liking me a great deal before Phaedra caught up to me again.
I looked at Dakvir and knew it was the right thing to get as far away from him as possible to keep him safe when keeping him safe was the biggest thing in my mind. Bigger even than enjoying what would probably be the best sex of my life with him. I mentally squared my shoulders to do the right thing. I could put Dakvir’s well-being above my own desires and the compulsion of the Lor’fei. I opened my mouth to tell him no, he couldn’t come with me in the firmest voice I could muster. I looked at him just waiting for me to reject him and I couldn’t do it. One of the voices made the sound of a whip being cracked, but I ignored it.
“Get your shit together. I have a ship waiting and I’d like to be gone before she wakes up,” I sighed in defeat.
Dakvir looked up at me in surprise and the smile he gave me was stunning. The kiss was toe curling and fired up the lust that was never far from the surface where Dakvir was concerned. He moved quickly and packed up his things far faster than I thought he would. He shrugged out of the remnants of the shirt I’d torn earlier, threw a new shirt on, buttoned it up and grabbed my hand. His excitement and happiness made me smile as if his feelings of delight were contagious. I hoped like hell that he didn’t regret what he was about to do.
“Everything will be fine, Tyhlian. You’ll see. Let’s get out of here before she wakes up. I didn’t like choking her out. I could feel her emotions pretty clearly from the close contact and it wasn’t pleasant. I also don’t want the two of you to start fighting again. Frankly, I’m amazed that hotel security wasn’t called. Or even that my guards didn’t come back when they heard the noise, assuming that they were in their rooms. Ummm… we may want to be careful leaving the hotel. Even though my guards basically shoved me into your arms and took off for parts unknown, if they saw us leaving, they’d still try and stop me since the negotiations I’ve been working on haven’t been formally signed yet. They may not have acted like it, but they actually do know what they’re doing and I don’t want you getting into a fight with them.”
I raised an eyebrow and glanced at Phaedra, bloodied and bruised, and still out cold on the floor.
“Fighting is fun and sometimes even foreplay for the Awh’anise. I was holding back a little with Phaedra because I didn’t want you getting caught in our cross-fire. Besides, I think between the two of us we’ve got the fighting angle covered, Dakvir. But yeah, we’ll keep an eye out. A little caution never hurt anything.”
Dakvir kissed me again and let me take the lead as we left his room. We encountered only hotel staff and a few guests on our way to the ship docks. Nobody stopped us and my tension only eased once we were safely inside my ship with the hatch sealed and locked behind us. After stowing his bag safely, I slid into the pilot chair and waved Dakvir to the co-pilot seat. He grinned at me and his hair slipped over my ankle, caressing it and making me relax even further. I’d found my Lor’fei, escaped my Hunter and quite possibly was about to start the most rewarding part of my life. I was equal parts excited and scared out of my wits.
Lau H’te: Graceful Death – Series of martial moves used in unarmed combat by the military so named for the beauty and almost dance-like quality that hides a lethal capacity.
Xi’: My/mine. Possessive form. Not used for a casual sex partner.
The ship that Tyhlian led me to was compact and had definitely seen better days if the exterior was anything to go by. Then again, I knew absolutely nothing about space ships aside from the fact that they were a transportation method and some were more comfortable and faster than others. I was a little worried about the ability of the ship to get us where ever Tyhlian had in mind as well as how fast we’d be able to put some distance between us the woman hunting Tyhlian. When I cautiously commented on the… lack of sleekness of his ship, Tyhlian smiled at me and said not to worry and to leave the flying to him. He claimed there was more to the ship than it appeared and a reckless sort of look had entered his eyes for a brief moment. Given that I couldn’t fly my way out of a paper bag, I took him at his word and settled into the co-pilot chair he directed.
I watched as he ran through his pre-flight check with ease and was surprised and amazed at the level of proficiency he showed. Not that I was an expert in pilots and what they did to fly a ship, but there was zero hesitation in his movements as if flying was something he’d been doing for decades and could do it in his sleep. It was my understanding that learning to fly a ship was a years long process and something that needed to be practiced every day to become anywhere decent at it and I couldn’t figure out when Tyhlian would’ve found the time to do that while still training and doing his job as a Shal-hazal since he didn’t look to be any older than I was. My curiosity was piqued and I made a mental note to ask him how he became so good at piloting later.
We got clearance and were off in under twenty minutes. Once we cleared the bay and were out in the blackness of space heading wherever he had in mind, I felt some of the tension ease from Tyhlian. He typed something into the console in front of him before turning to face me, a serious expression on his face.
“I’m keeping my course erratic to stay ahead of Phaedra and make it harder for her to find me. I don’t know where we’ll be in the next twelve hours never mind the next week. With that in mind, are you absolutely sure that you want to come with me to literally parts unknown? You saw Phaedra and the fight we had. That wasn’t a major fight by Awh’anise standards and there is the possibility that despite my best efforts, you could end up hurt in a fight between me and her. I’m also getting crazier by the day and might hurt you before Phaedra ever finds us or you figure out how to get rid of the voices in my head to stop my insanity.”
I could feel Tyhlian’s concern for me and it made warmth spread through me. I also felt a strange sense of certainty settle over me. I felt like I was supposed to be with him. Yes, I was very much attracted to him and the little bit of sex we’d had before we were interrupted by his Hunter had made my body sing and ache for more, but there was more to my feeling like I needed to be with Tyhlian than that.
There was a very, very slim possibility that his emotions were colouring my reasoning and feelings, but I discarded that almost immediately as the reason behind my need to be with him. I had excellent shields and despite some of Tyhlian’s emotions wriggling under them, long practice made it easy for me to distinguish the difference between mine and his. My compulsion to be with him was entirely separate from what the emotions he felt towards me were. The puzzle of my need to be with him was one of the things that made me decide to throw in with him. The biggest factor though was that we were strongly attracted to each other and after that tiny taste of pleasure he’d given me, I wanted the full course because I was a greedy bastard.
“Dakvir? Have you changed your mind? I can drop you off at the closest base or station if you have. I can’t take you back to the moon base as Phaedra should be awake and pissed as hell by now and I really don’t want to run into her again if it could be avoided.”
There was resignation in Tyhlian’s voice. Disappointment and sadness trickled from him although very little of that showed on his face. I was a little startled that I’d been lost in my thoughts for so long that he thought I’d changed my mind about going with him.
“Sorry, I was thinking about something else and got lost in my head for a bit. No, I haven’t changed my mind. I’m aware that going with you has some danger. I can accept that. I also know that you’re very worried about my personal safety not only from your Hunter but from you as you slide deeper into madness. I can protect myself from you, Tyhlian. I am not as defenceless as you seem to think. It was me that knocked out Phaedra and I’d have no problems doing the same to you if I thought I had to. If I truly feared for my life from you, I would open my void and suck the person you are into it. You, as Shal-hazal Litch Will Tyhlian, would cease to exist and while I’d be wracked with guilt for doing that, I’m confident enough in what I know about you and how you seem to set my safety above your own to realize that you would find my doing that preferable to you hurting me. I’m not wrong in that line of thought, am I?”
“No, you’re not wrong. Your safety is more important to me than mine,” Tyhlian said with intensity in his voice. Before I could question why he felt that way, he spoke again. “You can actually do that? Absorb someone into your… void? It sort of sounds like what I do as a Litch. Is it the same? I’ve never come across another species that can do what we Shal-hazal can.”
“I don’t think so. You said when you take a mind into yours, they remain aware of who they are and even what you’ve done to them. You also said the body dies shortly after you do your thing. In my case, it’s only the personality and memories of the person that is wiped. It’s like… starting over from the moment you’re born. You’d know nothing of who you are, who you’re related to, who your friends are, what skills you had. You’d basically be a blank slate for me to shape into whatever I want. Sort of like an android fresh off the assembly line waiting for programming. There are stories among my people of Voids that have converted a population into mindless drones that do the bidding of the Void regardless of the personal danger that may put them in. If I wanted to, I could take away the pain, fear and self-preservation centers of your brain so those things don’t exist for you anymore. You’d be little more than the walking dead obeying my commands. That is why my people hate and fear Voids and kill us as soon as we’re discovered.”
“Wow. That’s kinda cool and scary at the same time, Dakvir. But that’s not a reason for your people to hate you. You can’t help being born the way you are and I don’t think you’ll go around randomly wiping out individuals. So are there a lot of people like you?”
“No. Much to the relief of my people, I’m one-of-a-kind. A Void is only born from two Teichle and even then, it’s not a guarantee that any child they have will be a Void. I think it’s something like a one percent chance that the baby will be a Void. Teichle breed true with each other and produce more Teichle and not normal Laiokians. Our genetic scientists have discovered that while being a Teichle is because of a recessive gene that both parents must carry, if you breed two Teichle together, the children born from them will always be Teichle regardless and have it as a dominant gene. If you breed a dominant gene Teichle with a Laiokian that has the recessive gene, there is a fifty percent chance that they will produce a Teichle child and that child will have a fifty percent chance of being a dominant gene Teichle. Being born a Void is the result of two Teichle that also both carry the recessive gene of a Void, which isn’t all that common apparently. Laiokian scientists say that I’m quite literally one in a billion. They actually offered my parents a truly staggering amount of money to study me in a lab. Thankfully, they refused.”
Tyhlian growled and violence and anger snapped from him before he seemed to get himself under control. He suddenly frowned and pursed his lips while shaking his head a little. I could’ve sworn I heard him mutter something in a low voice that sounded both annoyed and resigned at the same time. He sighed, said something in what I assumed was his native tongue under his breath and spoke in a normal voice.
“One of the people in my head was an Awh’anise xeno-biologist and she’s bugging the shit out of me to grill you with questions. She won’t shut the fuck up until I ask, so I’m only going to ask to get her to shut her trap. You don’t need to answer and she’ll just have to be fucking happy with that. Your parents are both Teichle with this recessive gene for a Void, correct? How often is a Teichle born?”
I nodded and stifled the urge to giggle. Tyhlian looked so annoyed and embarrassed. He was actually pretty darn cute when he was torn. Talking about the Teichle wouldn’t hurt anything on my part and if it helped quiet one of the voices in his head for a little while, I was all for it. It wasn’t like the Teichle or anything about them was a secret.
“They are. About one in every thousand births results in a Teichle baby. Only about one in four of those babies will actually make it to adulthood though. While it is illegal to kill your Teichle baby, if a parent does it nothing happens to them except maybe a fine or a stern talking to from a judge. Some parents donate their Teichle baby to the medical branch of the government. That’s actually seen as a very positive thing to do and is a way of gaining some insight into what is typically seen as a birth defect. It’s generally assumed that those children don’t make it into adulthood. As far as I know, no baby that has been donated has ever been released from the confines of a government medical facility.”
Tyhlian’s face took on an expression of mixed disgust and horror. “I’m sorry, Dakvir, but I’m really not liking your people very much. Children are a gift and are to be loved not thrown away because something is perceived to be wrong with them. I can’t imagine an Awh’anise parent doing that unless they were unbalanced to begin with.”
“Laiokians, in general, have some rather rigid thinking and certain ideas haven’t changed in centuries or even longer. Ancient beliefs put the Teichle as bad omens and the result of evil entering the mother during pregnancy. Some stories call them spawns of restless spirits that only seek harm and revenge. For a society as advanced as mine is, it’s actually really astounding that many still believe that crap. Whatever the case, until only a few hundred years ago, it was considered not only acceptable to kill a Teichle as soon as it was discovered, but a citizen’s duty to do so.”
“As soon as it was discovered? There’s some special way to tell who is or isn’t a Teichle just by looking at them? It’s not something stupid like having a birthmark or mismatched eyes or something, is it?” Tyhlian asked curiously.
I laughed. “No. All Laiokian babies are born pure white in colour and over about a month or so, they slowly change to have whatever their permanent colour will be. Any baby that turns purple is a Teichle and any baby that turns black is a Void. Just so you know, a Laiokian is uniform in colour from skin to hair to eyes.”
“Wait a minute. Parents love their baby for an entire month and when it turns out they have a Teichle on their hands, they just… kill it or give it away? How can they do that? That’s… wow and not in a good way. If that’s the case, how did you manage to make it to adulthood?” Tyhlian asked as his tail curled around my ankle, the warm, soft weight comforting.
“My parents were accidentally contracted out to the same research station for another planet far away from Laiok and it took the government almost a year to realize the mistake. By that time, they’d fallen for each other and my mother was pregnant with me. Because they are Teichle, they were able to manipulate the emotions and through those, the perceptions of the people sent to investigate their relationship for several years. They managed to keep my existence hidden until I was almost ten. At that point, it was too late for the government to try and take me from them by force or try to do anything to me without my consent. I was aware of what I was, the power I had and how to use it by then.”
Feelings of shock and dismay and even a little fear came from Tyhlian. I could grasp the first two emotions but I didn’t quite understand the fear he felt. His hand reached for mine and he laced our fingers together. As soon as he had my hand securely in his, his low-level upset eased. That made a shy smile appear on my lips and a warm glow move through me since it seemed that the simple act of holding my hand settled him. I’d never had anything like that happen to me unless I was projecting my calm and I already knew it didn’t seem to work on Tyhlian. I felt a little giddy to know that Tyhlian was comforted just by being in my company.
My running off at the mouth about Teichle and, in a roundabout way, my parents, brought them to the front of my mind. I was sure they would be notified of my disappearance shortly by our government and possibly even questioned to see if they knew why I left my job before it was technically complete. While I couldn’t tell them where I was going since Tyhlian admitted to not having a plan or set destination, I didn’t want them to fear that I’d been kidnapped or taken against my will. A lone, determined Teichle could cause all manner of problems for a rather large number of people in an effort to reach their goal. A pair of distraught Teichle parents wanting to find their stolen away child would be breath-taking in a very bad way.
“Tyhlian, could I put a call in to my parents? I’ll keep it brief and since I’ve no idea where we’re going, I won’t be giving away our destination. But, I’ve never done anything even remotely like this before-leaving a job before it’s officially done-and I don’t want them to worry. They’re a little over-protective of me and I’m sure the news that I’ve simply disappeared will upset them. Having them frantically looking for me and using all their talents to do so could inadvertently help Phaedra find us.”
I could see that Tyhlian wanted to ask how that would work; or more precisely, the scientist in his head wanted to ask me how that would work. He muttered something under his breath again and squeezed my hand warmly before he let go and gestured to the console without asking anything. He told me to go ahead and talk for as long as I wanted since I probably wouldn’t be able to talk to them for quite some time. When I just stared at the array of buttons and switches on the console in confusion, he showed me what to do to make my call. He trailed his fingers over my shoulder in a gesture that made warmth curl through my groin before he moved away from the view screen to give me at least the illusion of privacy for my call.
I was a little nervous as I waited for one of my parents to respond. The idea that I had up and left a job before it was done with a man I’d just met was beyond impulsive even for me. I had no idea how I was going to explain what I’d done and hoped my parents didn’t grill me too hard on my reasons. I really didn’t have any that they’d be able to understand. I didn’t really know why either, only that I needed to be with Tyhlian. While my parents were spooky sharp at zeroing in on emotions and able to tell the difference and categorize the slightest nuances of all the complex things people felt, they utterly failed at simply going with those gut feelings or understanding why people did that.
“Dakvir?” asked my mother as she appeared on the screen. “We weren’t expecting you to call until later. That doesn’t look like your hotel room behind you. Where are you? Did the negotiations finish early? Is that why you feel so excited? Are you on a ship coming home already?”
I couldn’t help the little spurt of annoyance directed at my mom. I knew my parents loved me and only wanted what was best for me and for me to be happy, but I still felt like it was a breach of my privacy that they checked out my emotional state every time they saw me. I’d given up asking them not to do that as they never listened and seemed to think it was their duty to do so, but I usually managed to have shields in place to hide whatever was going on emotionally with me. My excitement of the almost sex with Tyhlian, the fight between him and his Hunter and taking off with him for who knows where had distracted me big time. To the point that I actually forgot to get those oh so important privacy shields in place before making the call. Damn. My best course of action was to avoid pointed questions as much as possible and deflect like mad.
“Hi, Mom. I just wanted to let you and Dad know I was okay and hadn’t been abducted or anything. I’m done with the negotiations and I’m travelling now with Tyhlian, a friend I recently met. He needs my help,” I said as I tried to subtly drag some minor shields into place without my mom noticing.
“Done with the negotiations? That doesn’t sound like you helped them reach a satisfactory conclusion, Dakvir. Did you finish your job or not? You know Laiok doesn’t get paid until both sides sign the peace treaty. I hope you haven’t put that in jeopardy. How did you meet this friend? Were they there for the peace talks, too?” my mother asked.
“I was mostly done. They’d ironed out the majority of problems between each other. There were just a few minor things they needed to agree upon but it was basically a done deal. They can sign the accord without me needing to be there,” I hedged.
“Dakvir, what are you hiding?” my father asked as he appeared on the screen next to my mother and gave me a hard, searching look.
My father was always the one who picked up on what I was feeling before my mother even when I had my personal shields in place. If I had no shields up, it was beyond child’s play for him to know what I was feeling. He was also the more persistent of the two and would drill me with questions until I broke down and answered to his satisfaction. I resisted the urge to squirm in my seat. I had no doubts that he’d heard what I’d already said to my mom and I knew he wouldn’t let the matter alone until I answered him. My mom was better than my father at telling when I was actively shielding stuff from them and as soon as I saw her frown, a tiny bit of panic shot through my system. Seconds after she frowned, my father narrowed his eyes at me.
Crap. She’d caught me pulling my shields into place and my father likely picked that up from her reaction. I was so damn busted.
A pair of Teichle working in tandem was dangerous as hell if you were trying to hide anything. They were treacherous as fuck if you happened to be their only child and they thought that nosing into your personal business to protect you from what they perceived as harm was their parental duty. It was my personal opinion that a team of Teichle would make scarily efficient interrogators who could get anybody to confess to anything. Just because I was the Void and their son didn’t exempt me from their very pointed probing.
I could have cut the transmission but that would have been rude in the extreme and would’ve probably worried them greatly when they couldn’t contact me. I also never would’ve heard the end of my rude behaviour and would’ve had to deal with the guilt and hurt they’d have projected at me the next time I spoke with them. I resisted the urge to sigh and stare at the floor. My father was only asking because he loved me and was concerned.
“I’m not hiding anything, Dad, really. I met Tyhlian recently and he has a problem that I’m uniquely able to help him solve. I just wanted to let you and Mom know that I was okay and that I’ll probably be out of contact for a while. Tyhlian is very nice and I’m perfectly fine and safe with him.” My talent for calm could work on my parents but I had to be physically in their presence for it to work so I didn’t even bother trying to project it at them.
My father sighed and just looked at me, tendrils of guilt wound through me that I had no business feeling and that I knew were not mine. My emotions were laid just as bare to them and were as easy to manipulate as any other person they encountered despite my void if I didn’t have shield in place. Distance didn’t matter either. Like me, as long as they could see a person, they could feel what that person felt. Even over a distance as vast as the one that currently separated us, they could still twist emotions however they chose. If I’d been able to get my shields in place before they corrupted what I really felt, I’d have been fine. But once they started to do their thing, it was a done deal until they decided to stop messing with me.
“Dakvir, there’s some very strange emotions I’m getting from you. I’d like to meet this man you’ve taken off with. You’re far too trusting,” my father said in a tone that told me he’d make the feelings of guilt worse until I did what he wanted or cut the call.
“That’s real low, Dad. I know what you’re doing. I only called to let you and Mom know I was fine and hadn’t been kidnapped or something. I didn’t have to, you know,” I said with a scowl. “I’m thirty-two years old for god’s sake. You don’t need to hover over me like I’m a baby in constant need of protection. I can take care of myself quite well.”
I knew I kinda sounded like a petulant child with that last bit, but I couldn’t help it. My mother added maternal guilt and worry to what my father was already projecting at me when it became apparent that I wasn’t going to tell them what they wanted to hear. They hadn’t done that combo to me in years and I was horrified to feel tears prick my eyes. A little sob escaped me and my hair wrapped tightly around me in reaction to what my parents were doing to me.
My dad was not subtle and preferred to hammer an individual with the feelings he chose but I could usually handle him and whatever he threw at me. My mom was the undisputed champion of subtly mixing the most devastating things together to project at someone to get them to cave to her will, but I was usually strong enough to stand firm against her. When they tag-teamed me I was done before I could even start to form a defence against them.
I heard a low growl and felt a spike of combined anger and protection seconds before Tyhlian pulled me from my seat and into his arms. He turned so that my back was to the screen and his hands travelled in soothing strokes up and down my spine. He made soft shushing sounds and I could feel gentle vibration from his chest to mine. His tail coiled around my leg and all that added up to my immediately being comforted and my level of upset eased a little. The guilt forced on me by my parents abruptly stopped and I heard their shocked gasp but I didn’t care. My hair flowed over Tyhlian and held him close to me as I revelled in the sensation of security being held by him gave me.
My back was to the screen so I couldn’t see my parent’s faces, but I was sure they had expressions of stunned surprise. I was startled that Tyhlian had come to my rescue like he had. I certainly hadn’t expected him too. I knew my parents would be even more astonished over not only the fact that it was some random person hugging me of their own free will, but that it was a man since the position we were in spoke of intimate familiarity. Tyhlian’s body was tense with anger although none of that was directed at me. I didn’t understand why he was angry.
“Dakvir?” came my mother’s hesitant voice. “Who is that man holding you and why is there such a riot of emotions coming from him?”
I had been hoping to avoid having my parents meet Tyhlian. I wasn’t embarrassed that I was about to take a male lover or that my doing so would scandalize not only my parents but any Laiokian who saw us together. I wanted to keep my parents and their habit of screwing with other people’s emotions away from Tyhlian as he had enough going on in his head without my parents doing their thing to him.
“Son, why is this man wearing your Risdepa and why can I feel so much… desire from him directed at you? Why am I getting the sensation that you have those feelings for him, too? What’s going on here, Dakvir?” asked my father in a soft voice filled with confusion.
Well, damn. I’d forgotten about that tiny detail. Leave it to my father to immediately see and question the Risdepa. I wasn’t even sure how Tyhlian came to be wearing it. It had to have happened during our first meeting in my dream. I had woken from that dream with a searing pain at my temple and blood had been smeared on my fingertips when I’d touched the spot that ached. I meant to ask Tyhlian about how he ended up with my Risdepa, but got side tracked with other things, not the least of which had been the exceptional almost sex in my hotel room.
I didn’t mind that that Tyhlian was wearing my Risdepa. There wasn’t much possibility of anyone else ever wearing it. With my Risdepa on his arm, I was bound to him since it signalled that I had chosen to give it to him and that generally wasn’t a decision taken lightly. It would also keep any other Laiokian from approaching him for a relationship and I found that idea particularly appealing.
“What’s wrong? Are you okay, shal-demsho?” Tyhlian asked softly as he continued to stroke my back and hold me pressed close to his body.
“Yeah, I’m fine. My parents sometimes get a little carried away with laying on the guilt trip. They’ve stopped though. What’s a shal-demsho?” I asked as I rubbed my cheek against his hair and my lips brushed against the cute little point of his ear.
“It’s Awh’anise and means dream-lover,” Tyhlian said in a low voice as he pressed me closer to his body.
A little thrill shot through me and my body responded in kind when his half-hard cock pressed into me. Memories of just how good he’d made me feel before we were so cruelly interrupted wound through my brain and had my cock stiffening further. A small growl rumbled through Tyhlian and the hands that’d been moving in a soothing manner over my back became arousing. Tyhlian delicately nipped my throat and quiet words in his native tongue flowed like music from him making me wish I knew what he was saying. Because of the lustful pleasure flooding me, I needed an almost embarrassing amount of concentration to remember what he’d said to me less than two minutes ago.
“I suppose I am something of that, aren’t I, since that’s where we met. It sounds pretty. I need to find a data disk for your language so that I’ll be able to understand you the next time you speak Awh’anise. It’s a very beautiful, melodic language,” I said just as quietly.
The wonderful, low-level sound of his purring grew louder at my words and I could feel the soft vibration of it in his chest against mine. A giddy bubble of anticipation burst through me at the idea of enjoying a post sex glow listening to that soothing sound, my ear pressed to his chest. I liked being held by Tyhlian. A lot. His body was warm and firm and he made me feel not only protected and cherished but intensely desirable as well. I could get very used to feeling that way in an incredibly short period of time. My eyes closed and I gave myself over to his embrace, enjoying the way our bodies fit together and the sensation of his dick firming and pressing against me. My hair was moving over his body, caressing him, the touch of his skin through my hair so very pleasurable. A smile started when my hair brushed over the Risdepa and his body surged into full arousal. The sharp spike of his lust washed through me pushing mine higher.
“Dakvir Nigidvo, what in the name of all the stars are you doing with this man and why are you both feeling such… lust?” my mother demanded in her sternest ‘Mom Voice’ coloured heavily with shock.
I gave a guilty start and had heat that had nothing to do with arousal and everything to do with acute embarrassment flood my face. The pleasure of being held by Tyhlian made me completely forget that I had my parents watching us on the view screen. I somehow resisted the temptation to kiss Tyhlian and pushed gently against his hold. Tyhlian let go easily enough, if with obvious reluctance. My hair was another matter entirely. I fought with the strands as Tyhlian patiently stood still and waited for me to get them under control. I was seriously going to have to consider tying them up if I continued to have such a problem controlling them around Tyhlian. As cool as I thought it was on several levels, I couldn’t be feeling him up every time he got within a few feet of me. Not that he seemed to mind, but it really was the height of rudeness to grope him in public like my hair seemed inclined to do. Tyhlian remained standing next to me as I turned to face my parents and the censure I could feel coming from them.
Shal-demsho: dream-lover—very formal usage by Shal-hazal only, signifies life-long permanence. Usually used for Lor’fei partners.
I wasn’t sure what happened. One minute, Dakvir was fine, and the next, he was suddenly upset to the point of tears. An overwhelming need to protect and comfort Dakvir led me to pull him from his seat and wrap him in my arms. I’d heard about the overpowering compulsion of the Lor’fei but hadn’t really understood the driving need to protect and soothe that the Lor’fei would drown me in. I wanted to snarl and snap at whoever got too close to him at the same time that I wanted to hold him tight to me and reassure him that he was safe and deeply treasured. When Phaedra had held Dakvir against her chest, I couldn’t believe the depth of rage I’d felt at someone else touching him.
Dakvir calmed as I’d held him, and in far shorter time than I thought he would, he started to become aroused. I could feel his body responding to mine and smell his desire. I’d wanted to nuzzle his skin, strip him naked and sex him up within an inch of his life. The need to make him mine was almost a painful sensation in my balls.
He’d startled when his parents called his name sharply, and he pushed gently against my hold. Even though I was facing the view screen, I still somehow managed to forget we had Dakvir’s parents as an audience. I sincerely hoped that once the bond of the Lor’fei was set, I’d be less distracted by Dakvir. Being so enraptured with him could literally get us killed. I hadn’t wanted to let him out of my arms, but I did it anyway. I stayed at his side and faced his parents with him, my tail wrapping around his ankle and my fingers lacing with his in comfort and support.
I stared at the people on the view screen. They had purple skin, eyes and hair and I could see some of Dakvir’s features in them. The couple had to be in their fifties but looked very good for their age. The woman was pretty and the man quite handsome. I could see where Dakvir had gotten his good looks although he was actually more delicate looking than his mother. His ears were bigger, too, and I thought he looked enchanting because of them. The way his parents colouring shifted from dark to light purple was interesting, but I preferred Dakvir’s opalescent black colouring.
“Dakvir, why is this man wearing your Risdepa, and why are we getting feelings of… arousal from you?” Dakvir’s father asked again.
“I don’t know exactly how Tyhlian came to be wearing my Risdepa. How we first met is complicated, and it had to have happened then.”
“Well, take it off him. One of these days, Dakvir, your impulsive behaviour is going to get you in a world of trouble,” the woman said as she folded her arms across her chest and fixed Dakvir with a look I recognized my own mother using on me when I was a child.
“Ummm… I sort of can’t,” Dakvir said.
“Don’t be silly, Dakvir. Of course you can. You have your fikdeas. Just cut it off him,” Dakvir’s father said with a little impatience in his voice.
“It’s a Ceitai Risdepa,” Dakvir said softly, earning a gasp from both his parents.
I had no idea what that was, but it seemed to be something shocking going by the reaction of his parents. I thought it was just a pretty armband that meant I belonged to Dakvir, which I was more than fine with. I was his and would be his until the day I died regardless of how close that day probably was. There was no way in hell that I would allow anyone to take the armband off me. Except for Dakvir. It would damn near crush me to have him remove the Risdepa because of what it meant to his people, but if that’s what he wanted, I’d do it. Thank all the gods above and below, he didn’t seem inclined to take it off me. It certainly wouldn’t hurt anything for me to back Dakvir up about keeping the Risdepa.
“I know what it means to your people, and it stays,” I said firmly.
Two pairs of eyes swung to me, and I suddenly felt dizzy as a wave of revulsion swamped me. I growled low in my throat and barred my fangs at the people on the view screen even as my mouth watered in a precursor to heaving my guts. Despite the strong urge to puke, I shook my hand loose from Dakvir’s, stepped in front of him and assumed an aggressive fighting stance. I had to swallow several times to keep from throwing up, and cold sweat broke out over my body. My stomach cramped, and I could taste acid in the back of my throat. I was starting to feel lightheaded and like I had a ball of hot lead in my belly. I swallowed hard and growled, showing a lot of unfriendly fang at his parents.
“Mom, Dad, stop it,” Dakvir said in a voice filled with steel. “There’s no harm in Tyhlian wearing it. You know there isn’t another Laiokian who would wear my Risdepa. You know my hair tends to do what I subconsciously want yet can’t for whatever reason. It seems I wanted to give my Risdepa to Tyhlian. Granted, I hadn’t planned on ever giving a Ceitai Risdepa to anyone, but Tyhlian hasn’t protested having it and is actually thrilled to wear it.”
The colour of Dakvir’s parents hair shifted from light to dark and the dizziness and nausea battering me disappeared as if it had never been. The urge to protect and defend what was mine still rolled though me though. When I felt the soft touch of Dakvir’s hair brushing against my legs, I relaxed a fraction and stared with narrowed eyes at Dakvir’s parents.
“But, Dakvir… he’s a man,” his mom said in a confused tone.
“I did kind of notice that, Mom,” Dakvir said with a laugh. “When you think about it, having a man as my lover should make our government very happy as there is no way I could spread my defective genes to any offspring since that is physically impossible. That Tyhlian is also a different species should make the deal even sweeter because I wouldn’t be corrupting a normal Laiokian with my undesirableness.”
There was a lot of bitterness in Dakvir’s voice, and a tiny growl vibrated from my throat at the knowledge that Dakvir had suffered such unwarranted rejection. My tail squeezed his leg in comfort and his hair tightened briefly where it was wrapped around me in return.
“The Awh’anise are bi-sexual as a species, and we see it as perfectly natural for males to be lovers. Dakvir is a beautiful, special man, and nothing would thrill me more than to have him as my partner, but nothing has happened between us,” I said, hoping that a little background on the Awh’anise might ease whatever concerns his parents had about Dakvir being in a relationship with me.
“Not for lack of trying on my part,” grumbled Dakvir as he rested his hands on my hips.
“Dakvir!” gasped his father.
“Well, it’s true,” Dakvir defended. “I made a deal with Tyhlian to help him in exchange for sharing my bed, but we were interrupted when it was starting to get good. You both know that there isn’t a Laiokian alive who’d be willing to bed me. Not even another Teichle would take me to their bed. But Tyhlian does. You haven’t felt the way he wants me. Not like I have. It’s like… I’m the only person in the entire universe he wants. I know you can both understand how heady and thrilling that is and how it’s the most euphoric emotion you’ve ever tasted.”
Dakvir moved from behind me and faced the people on the screen. Even though I barely knew him, I could tell he was still upset. I also sensed that he didn’t want my hands on him at the moment and I found it difficult not to grab his hand anyway. I wanted to touch him, hold him and let him know that if he needed me, I was right there. I settled for giving his ankle a squeeze again with my tail. He shot me a grateful look over his shoulder before looking back at his parents.
“I’ve been to bed with several alien women but it was always because I was ‘The Void.’ It was never because I was Dakvir, and they found me personally exciting. I was simply some sort of exotic creature that they could go home and brag to their friends about sleeping with. When they discovered that bedding me was no different than any other man… let’s just say they didn’t care to stick around for a repeat performance. Tyhlian finds me arousing. Me. Dakvir. Not ‘The Void.’ Just me. I know you both understand what it is to feel desired despite what you are,” Dakvir said softly.
I did move to Dakvir then, wrapping my arms around him and hugging him tightly to my chest. His hair flowed around me, caressing and hugging me back. I still didn’t fully understand why he was hated by his own people. An accident of birth that gave him abilities that could be used for evil didn’t seem like enough of a reason. How could they judge him and find him guilty based on what sounded like old stories used to frighten little kits into behaving? That his people used his skills as a negotiator yet reviled him on a personal level to such an extent was confusing to me.
The Awh’anise loved a good story and held story tellers in high regard, but we wouldn’t condemn a person based on stories that had nothing to do with an individual. True, a lot of the fear of Throw-backs came from stories of their wild, savage behaviour. But that was also based on current documentation of Throw-back behaviour, and a Throw-back was the first person who would tell you he was extremely dangerous. I loved Moswen dearly, and he had saved my ass by helping me escape Awh’an at great personal risk to his own neck, but he was still an exceptionally violent, dangerous individual if you nudged the right buttons because he was a Throw-back. I’d once watched him literally rip a person apart with his bare hands and feast on the guy’s innards.
Dakvir’s father stared at us for several long seconds before he sighed and his skin and hair paled. He pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes for several minutes. Dakvir’s mother rested her hand on his father’s arm and had a look of worry on her face as her hair and skin also paled. Dakvir appeared unconcerned by his parent’s reaction and seemed to be waiting for something from them, so I remained quiet next to him.
“I really don’t think this is a wise course of action, Dakvir, and I highly recommend against it. No offence is meant to you, Tyhlian, but entering into a relationship with a male will make things even more difficult for Dakvir than they already are.”
“Tyhlian isn’t insisting on my staying with him, Dad. Quite the opposite actually. I’m the one who insisted on going with him when he was getting ready to leave the moon base. He tried to talk me out of coming with him, but you know how persuasive I can be when I want something.”
His mother laughed softly, and I could see the affection and love she had for Dakvir. “You can be very convincing when you have a goal.”
“You are a grown man, Dakvir, and capable of making your own decisions, right or wrong. Your mother and I will support you because we want to see you happy. We can feel how excited and happy you are right now. You aren’t choosing an easy path, son,” his father said as he rested his hand on top of where his wife had placed hers on his arm.
“My life has never been easy. I’ll deal with it. I want this. I want to see what happens next.”
“If you need anything, Dakvir, be sure to let us know,” said his mother.
“I will. I just didn’t want you to worry. I don’t know where we’re going so hearing from me will probably be a little sketchy. There’s a woman chasing Tyhlian. She’s a little shorter than him, maybe around thirty-five or forty years old, honey blonde hair and light brown eyes with a scar that goes from under her ear, across her throat and down to her collarbone. She’s Awh’anise like Tyhlian. If she contacts you, don’t tell her anything. Matter of fact, do whatever you feel is necessary to redirect her attention away from me and Tyhlian. Her name is Phaedra, by the way and if she catches Tyhlian, she’ll kill him.”
“Oh, Dakvir. What have you gotten involved in?” the woman whispered as she eyed me fearfully.
“I haven’t done anything wrong, and Phaedra is only doing her job. Phaedra won’t hurt Dakvir because her code of conduct won’t let her. His safety is my number one priority, and I’ll do everything in my power to keep him from harm.”
The woman opened her mouth, then closed it and gave me a considering look. She nodded briefly, and I think her hair stroked over Dakvir’s father’s cheek. He stared hard at me before he inclined his head in a nod that felt like he was giving me permission to stay with Dakvir as long as I kept him safe. He said good-bye to Dakvir before the view screen went dark when the call was terminated.
“Your parents are… interesting,” I said as I leaned into Dakvir and inhaled his scent.
“They mean well. They’ve never gotten over the need to protect me from others or, sometimes, myself. If I had been discovered when I was a baby, I would have been killed despite the considerable protection my parents are capable of. It was my good fortune that my government didn’t find me until I was almost in my teens. Even so, they tried to convince me to be sterilized ‘for the good of the planet’ if you can believe that,” Dakvir said with a soft snort.
“I think it’s really wrong for your people to hate you so much, Dak. You’re an amazing person, and they’d know that if they just talked to you a little. Their loss, my gain,” I said as I rubbed a hand over his back in slow circles. The shortening of his name just slipped out.
He turned his head and looked startled for a few seconds at my shortening his name before a smile bloomed over his face. The pleasure such a simple thing gave him was beautiful to see, and I wanted to do more things to keep that look on his face.
“I like when you call me Dak. I’ve never had a nickname. Well, not one that was supposed to be nice. I like when you touch me, too. It feels good and comforting. Did you know that only my parents touch me voluntarily?” he asked as he leaned into the caress, hungry for the simple contact.
“The Awh’anise are a tactile people. We’re always touching each other from light touches and brushes to tight hugs and fierce kisses. We try and restrain ourselves around non-Awh’anise because not every species likes to be touched as much as we do. But, if we find someone we really like and want to stay with, we end up constantly touching them. Sometimes that makes the other species shy away from us, but I’m pretty damn happy that you seem to like my touching you,” I said as my hands wandered down his back and over his ass.
A sub-sonic, contented purring started in my chest as I basically petted Dak. His hair did to me what my hands were doing to him, and I damn near wanted to wriggle in pleasure. Dak looked at me and cocked his head to the side.
“Are you… is that purring I hear?”
I felt the heat of a blush burn across my nose and slowly nodded. He could hear at that low of a frequency? I hadn’t encountered that many species that could. I thought it was kinda cool that he could, but I was a touch embarrassed, too, as he’d be hearing that an awful lot from me when I was around him. I couldn’t seem to help myself, and as an adult, I was supposed to have better control over myself than a toddling kit that hadn’t learned anything yet and purred at the slightest touch.
“That is seriously cool. Do you always make that sound? Because I’ve noticed you doing it a lot in different frequencies. Mostly when you’re touching me or really close to me. Is there some kind of special meaning to it? Like, do the different pitches mean different things?”
My blush burned hotter until I could feel it to the tips of my ears.
Dakvir frowned. “You’re embarrassed. Why? Was I not supposed to ask? Ummm… I’m sorry?”
Fuck. Getting used to having a partner who could tell what I was feeling as easy as he breathed was going to take some getting used to. I got the idea that lying to Dak, not that I intended to do that, was going to be next to impossible.
“It’s a happy, contented sub-vocal purr you’re hearing. It… I… it’s usually the level of purring you’d hear after sex when I’m relaxed and feel good. Aside from another Awh’anise, you’re the first humanoid I’ve met who’s been able to hear it. Just for curiosities sake, can you hear this?” I asked as I changed the pitch of the purr into the higher register that most other species I’d encountered couldn’t hear.
Dakvir tilted his head and nodded. I pushed the purr into a frequency as high as I could, and he still nodded.
“Laiokians can hear exceptionally well in both very high and low frequencies. Our eye sight isn’t the best and generally everybody gets their eyes surgically corrected when they’re small children to have somewhat decent vision. Some with exceptionally bad eyesight use echolocation to get around and are so good at it; you’d never know they were virtually blind. I’m not sure if you’d be able to hear some of the sounds we can make as there’s only a few species I’ve met that can and they were very much alien.”
Dak looked at me and while his lips didn’t move, I heard a short, sharp burst of high-pitched sound. I nodded and a smile twitched his lips up. Several more sounds up and down the ultra-and sub-sonic scale came from Dak, and I nodded at each one. There was a moment of silence when I didn’t hear anything. He pursed his lips, and I heard a sound again and nodded.
“That is really awesome cool. You can hear everything but the really high and low registers. Given that Phaedra is chasing us, I think I’m going to teach you the danger signals Laiokian children use so that you’ll know if something happens to me and I’m out of your sight but not hearing range. The sounds we can make actually travel pretty far with the lowest frequencies traveling the furthest. Laiokians have a very basic language that only uses the low and high frequencies. I’ll have to teach you that as well. It’ll give us an edge against Phaedra.”
I was impressed with Dak all over again. It didn’t matter that Phaedra would be able to hear the sounds, too. She’d have no idea what they meant. I hugged Dakvir tight, my low-level purr starting back up again. He laughed and hugged me back.
“So where are we going in general, Tyh? I can call you Tyh if you call me Dak, right?”
“Sure, I don’t mind. My family calls me that. We’re on a completely random course. All I’m trying for right now is to keep a few steps ahead of Phaedra.”
“Do you have a big family? They must be worried to death about you. I’m an only child. I don’t have a twin,” Dakvir said wistfully.
“I’ve got two brothers in my brood, three sisters and three brothers in one younger brood as well as two sisters in yet another younger brood,” I answered as I found myself pulling Dakvir with me as I sat down in the captain’s chair. “Out of all of them, one of my younger brothers is a Shal-hazal and my two youngest sisters are Shal-hazal-in-training. My mother and an aunt are also Shal-hazal. That many Shal-hazal in an immediate family is highly unusual, but the Blood has always been really strong in my family.”
Even though Dak was four inches taller than me, he curled up into my lap like a child and played with the gold tipped ends of my hair. I continued to rub his back in small circles and just sat with him as a feeling of peace slowly seeped into me. The voices in my head had been strangely silent and I was supremely grateful. I was sure it was because of Dakvir but had no idea why. I sighed and closed my eyes as I inhaled his exotic scent, a little relieved that it just spread peace through me instead of lust.
“What’s a brood?” Dakvir asked as he captured the end of my tail and brushed the long hairs at the tip against his lips.
Peace deserted me and arousal surged like a wave. There was no way that Dakvir could know that an Awh’anise’s tail was one of our prime erogenous zones. He couldn’t possibly get that much information from his empathic ability. Could he? I was so incredibly doomed if he could.
The most innocent of touches along our tails would send us from normal to lust-crazed in seconds. To have Dakvir sitting in my lap, smelling so enticing and playing with my tail was wreaking havoc on my suddenly awakened libido and whatever I had left that passed for good intentions. I tried to focus on what Dakvir had asked me instead of the pleasure he was giving me by playing with my tail.
“The Awh’anise have multiple births. Typically four to six children at a time. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I share the same father with one younger brood and the same mother with the one with the younger sisters,” I explained as I tried to ignore the desire snaking through me. I was half-way hard, and it would only be a matter of moments before Dakvir noticed considering that his very fuckable ass was planted right where he could best feel his effect on me.
“Laiokians are always twin births. One of the other reasons I’m considered a freak is because I was the only child my parents had,” Dakvir said as he began to play the tip of my tail over his throat, a tiny pleased smile appearing on his face.
I had to stop Dakvir from playing with my tail. As much as certain body parts were all for it, I still didn’t think it was a good idea for us to jump into bed together. I was all for fucking him senseless, but I wanted the voices out of my head before I did that. The voices wanted me to do violent, hurtful things to him. Those thoughts excited me and disgusted me at the same time and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to resist what the voices suggested.
I flicked my tail from his loose hold and unwound it from where it had somehow wrapped itself around his arm. Dakvir chuckled and made a grab for my tail again. I pressed my tail against my leg, the tip he seemed to like playing with, well out of his reach near my ankle. At least I thought it was out of his reach. His hair slithered around my tail and brought the tip back up to stroke his cheek. My breathing was coming a little faster, and I was amazed that Dakvir hadn’t noticed my erection pressing against his hip.
“Tyh? Are you going to show me the bedroom?” Dakvir asked as he wriggled his ass in my lap and gave my cock all kinds of perverted ideas from the motion.
“Are you tired? You did have a bit of a trying day,” I said as I tried to ignore the smell of aroused man now mixing with Dakvir enticing personal scent.
“Not really, but parts of you seem to want to show me the bedroom. Or we could do it here in the chair if you want. I’ve never done it in a chair but I saw this movie once…” Dakvir trailed off as he threaded his fingers through my hair and lowered his head, his lips pressing lightly against mine.
Whatever good intentions I’d been holding onto went flying when Dakvir kissed me. His lips were soft and gentle on mine. His scent filled my nose and sent lust rushing through my veins. When he teased the seam of my lips with his tongue asking for entrance, I groaned and brought my hands up to hold his head still as I took over the kiss. I heard him make those sub-sonic noises again that sounded very much like approval and permission. My cock jerked in anticipation.
The voices started whispering things I couldn’t quite make out and I wanted to keep it that way. I tamped down on them as ruthlessly as I could, fully prepared to have to deal with the fallout from that later for a few moments of bliss with Dak. I just wanted a little taste, a little pleasure before I had to let him go for his own safety. I sucked lightly as his tongue dipped into my mouth, pulling a moan from him. His hair danced over my skin, heightening my arousal and he pressed himself tightly to me. He wriggled in my lap and made those sub-sonic thrumming noises in his throat again as his hand travelled over my bare chest. My fingers tightened against his skull at the brush of his hand over my nipple. Dakvir reacted immediately by palming the tight bud, forcing a needy growl from me.
I dropped my hand to his lap and the erection he now had. Dakvir pushed his hips up into my palm and that sub-sonic sound he made went up several frequencies before dropping back into the lower registers as he hummed his approval. He was hard and the scent of arousal coming from him was getting stronger with every breath I took. Both his hands explored my chest, and I was never so glad for the open vest I wore as I was right that very second. His touch was heaven and hell. His fingers tracing over my chest, the soft, pliant feel of his lips under mine, and the undeniable feel of his arousal in my hand were pushing my control to its limits. I growled low in my throat and nipped his bottom lip. He squeaked in surprise and pulled back slightly even as his hair tightened around me. Desire flared in his eyes, and he leaned in to kiss me again, the gentle hesitancy gone, replaced by demanding force.
Oh yes, Dak was going to be a bossy bottom, and I was so utterly doomed.
“He wants you. Take him,” Jawhar said in a lust heavy voice. I growled at him to fuck off even if I thought he was right.
“He’s resisting you. Subdue him,” Kalere commanded. I hissed at her even as I struggled against instincts that insisted that doing what she said was the right thing to do.
“Show him you are dominant. It’s what he needs,” Makadisa demanded as she threw images at me of the last time I’d asserted my dominance during a breeding cycle. If possible, my cock got even harder before I could ignore the visuals.
“Make him say the words. It’s what you both want,” growled Almon as he took over from where Makadisa left off.
I snarled mentally at the voices, and they retreated just enough to be a drone of heavily tinged lust in the back of my head. Their desire was both feeding off of and feeding into mine creating an expanding loop of need. The voices urged me to pin Dakvir to the floor and use him to relieve some of the sexual tension and frustration running through me. They said he wanted it because no one could be as hard as he was from only a little kissing and not want the sex his body was telling me it did. I knew I was in serious trouble when what they suggested started to sound like a damn fine idea and perfectly reasonable.
I stood abruptly, almost dumping Dakvir to the floor. He clung to me with his arms wrapped around my neck and his hair tangled around my body, stroking me lightly. I froze for several seconds, wallowing in the exquisite feel of him pressed so tightly to me and his hair caressing my skin. I snapped out of my desire-fogged daze when one of the Awh’anise voices suggested that I claw his back to stamp my claim to him and my claws actually started to slide out to do just that.
“Go. To. Bed. Dakvir,” I ground out as I tried to unwind him from me.
“Come with me, Tyhlian,” he countered as he kissed my temple and ran a hand through my hair. Oh god, that felt so damn good.
“No, Dak. I can’t… the voices… please just… Just get away from me,” I said through clenched teeth as I finally managed to push him a little away from me.
Like a switch had been thrown, Dakvir stilled, and his hair fell away from me. I wanted to protest the sudden loss of that delicate touch, but I also didn’t want to encourage him for more when I was trying to protect him from myself. He stepped back, and I watched in surprise as a blank mask of polite disinterest descended over his face. He folded his hands in front of himself and gave me a small formal nod of his head. His wild hair was perfectly still around his body and the look he gave me spoke of hard won pride.
“I apologise, Shal-hazal Litch Will Tyhlian. I have obviously misunderstood you and your intentions right now. If you would direct me to the sleeping quarters, I’ll leave you in peace,” Dakvir said in a coldly polite voice.
The change in Dakvir was startling. Gone was the impulsive air and zest for life. In its place was a formal, emotionless aura that seemed completely at odds with the Dakvir I had seen to date. I would have thought a completely different person stood in front of me if I didn’t know better. Dakvir was obviously much more complex than I first thought. I started to open my mouth to tell him how to find the crew quarters, more than a little relieved that I hadn’t hurt him. Then I noticed his eyes.
While his face was an expressionless mask, his eyes held a hurt that took my breath away. His beautiful, multi-coloured eyes were wounded, and there might’ve even been a sheen of tears there, too. I knew I’d done something to put that look there, and my guts twisted painfully at the thought. The voices fell silent as one and retreated, surprising me further. Even when I was trying not to hurt him, I did anyway. Gods fucking damn it!
“Dak?” I asked as I reached out a hand to him.
“Please tell me where the sleeping quarters are, and I’ll go and leave you alone,” Dakvir said stiffly as he stepped back out of my reach.
My temper sparked. Something was wrong, and I had upset Dakvir. He was refusing to permit me to touch him to soothe him. Dakvir was mine, and he wasn’t going to be allowed to hold himself apart from me. I moved into his personal space, gripped his upper arms firmly and gave him a little shake. That got a reaction out of him. His eyes widened, his hair wrapped around my legs and arms, and he looked utterly confused.
“T—T— Tyhlian?” he stuttered.
“What in gods name is wrong, Dak? What did I do that hurt you?”
Shock and confusion chased through his eyes. I hated seeing him so upset and hated it even more because it was something I’d done that made him feel that way.
“You said to get away from you and you pushed me away. I could feel your annoyance and need for me to go away. I thought… Why are you touching me now if you wanted me to leave? I don’t understand.” Bewilderment was in his voice and written all over his face.
That was it? I’d upset him that badly by trying for a little distance before I did something really stupid and quite possibly harmful to him? Wow. Maybe he was feeling the effects of the Lor’fei stronger than I’d been lead to believe someone would. Then again, he wasn’t Awh’anise, so what I’d read and been taught about how a Lor’fei partner reacted to their Shal-hazal could very well be completely off the mark where he was concerned.
“Dak, I want you. Never, ever doubt that. I want you so badly I can barely think straight and the voices are trying to use that to get me to do painful things to you. I’d like nothing better than to strip you naked and shove my cock inside you, fucking until both of us are a tired, sweaty, satisfied mess. I want to bite you and drag my talons down your back to mark you as mine. I want to hear you panting and moaning and gasping for breath as you come, my name falling from your lips.”
His mouth opened in a surprised little “Oh” at those words.
“But if I do that, I’ll hurt you. I won’t mean to, and I certainly don’t want to, but I know I’ll hurt you. Until the voices in my head are gone, I’m afraid of what I’ll do to you. What they’ll make me do to you.”
He gave me a considering look at that. I could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he thought. He came to some sort of decision and smiled at me in a way that made me nervous for some reason. Not even the voices had anything to say, and I felt them scurry even further into the back of my head. They recognized danger when they saw it just like I did. Right at that very moment I would’ve cheerfully sacrificed my left nut to have his empathic ability for five minutes to be able to figure out what was going through that gorgeous head of his.
“So if I understand things correctly, you won’t do anything with me beyond kisses and some touching until the voices are gone because you’re afraid they’ll make you hurt me? What if it wasn’t real?”
“Not real?” I parroted. I wasn’t sure what he meant and felt the sudden need to move with caution. What I wanted to do with him and what could happen were very real.
“We met in my dream. I woke myself up when it got too intense. I could do that again. Wake myself up I mean. You can come into my dreams and we can…” Dakvir made a vague hand gesture.
I closed my eyes as I tried to tell myself why it was a bad idea to fuck Dakvir anywhere, but most especially in the dream world where I was damn near a god. Phaedra would be able to find us. Dakvir might not be able to wake himself up. I might not let him wake himself up. But I wanted it. His solution sounded far too reasonable for it to be anywhere close to a good idea. I let go of him like he’d burned me before I could yank him into my arms and give him an enthusiastic yes.
“This isn’t a good idea, Dak. You have no idea the things I can do in the dream world,” I started.
Dak fixed me with a stony look. I got the sensation on the back of my neck of Dak’s will becoming an immense immovable object meeting my newborn-kit-weak attempts to say no to something I wanted so very bad. I knew I was in real trouble when his determined look made my cock leak pre-come and my balls tighten in anticipation.
“You want those voices gone from your head, don’t you?” That velvet covered steel was back in his voice and stars help me, but I thought it was hotter than hell and so not helping me resist him.
“Definitely but—” I began cautiously, still struggling to do what I thought was the right thing.
“My price to help you get rid of the voices is you in my bed, and you agreed to that in good faith. We have a verbal contract, Shal-hazal Litch Will Leu Tyhlian Huyana-Dukker of the House of Heyda, and I intend to hold you to that. I never specified whether the bed had to be real or something in dreams. I’m doing my best to fairly negotiate with you, but I can be a prick if I think the situation warrants it. I could demand that it be an actual bed since it is unheard of to enter another’s dream.” Dakvir folded his arms across his chest and gave me another steely look.
Well fuck me.
I’d never seen Dak in negotiator mode, but by all the gods above and below, it was smoking hot and four times as arousing to me. The problem wasn’t that I didn’t want Dakvir. The problem was that I wanted him too much. While I had found my Lor’fei, I hadn’t actually staked my claim on him. I knew I needed to do that soon and the only way to complete the bond was to fuck, something we both wanted. The voices in my head cackled as I sighed in defeat and pulled him to me for a kiss filled with heat.
“You win. A deal is a deal. The dream world it is, Dak. I won’t take the chance of hurting you for real. Just remember that I tried to talk you out of this,” I warned as I took his hand and led him towards the sleeping quarters.
Dakvir dropped the negotiator persona and laughed in delight as he let me pull him along. I stopped in front of the only other bedroom on the ship aside from mine and ushered him inside. He looked around the bare room with a bit of confusion before turning to me.
“This isn’t your room. Why are we here?”
“You’ll sleep here and I’ll sleep in my room in case you have to wake yourself up to get away from me. It’s best for both of us that you’re actually physically away from me, too. Just for your own safety.”
Dakvir looked at me suspiciously before shrugging, “If you say so. So, what do I do? Just go to sleep?”
“Get undressed and go to sleep, Dak. I’ll find you in the dream world. We’ll take it from there.”
“I want this, Tyh,” Dak said with a firm hand on my arm and a serious tone in his voice. “I know I’m impulsive, but I like the way you make me feel when you kiss me and I was enjoying what we were doing before Phaedra came and interrupted our fun. Stop worrying so much about what might happen and let yourself enjoy what we can together. I certainly intend to do that.”
I smiled at Dakvir before kissing him briefly. I’d been enjoying myself before Phaedra burst in on us, too. I left Dakvir and headed for my own room. I could be asleep in seconds. I had no idea how long it would take him to fall asleep. I picked up a book and started to read figuring he’d need a little time to drop off. After nearly an hour had gone by, I stripped and lay on my bed, dropping into the dream world effortlessly between one breath and the next.
A Ceitai Risdepa is made with the stands of hairs actually pulled from the scalp instead of cut with a fikdeas and is a very old method rarely used. This is a much more permanent armband as the roots of the strands burrow into the flesh of the recipient, linking with their blood and nervous system. The process generally takes several weeks to complete and is said to be uncomfortable with stinging pain similar to a paper cut at the site of the root attachment. Because the armband attaches to the host, it remains alive as long as the host is. Once attached, the Ceitai Risdepa will be able to transmit some sensations of touch to the owner of the armband and it is said to heighten the emotional connection during sex when the donor of the hair brushes their hair over the armband. A Ceitai Risdepa can be removed but it is not a pleasant process and requires several hours of fairly intense discomfort to do so.