The trade deal had gone much smoother than I thought it would. From the details I’d been given, I assumed the representatives would’ve been at each other’s throats despite my aura of calm. Instead, once we worked past the half dozen major issues which seemed more cultural than actual problems with what was being offered by each planet, they’d been very reasonable with each other. I was confident that they’d be ready to sign an agreement shortly after the meeting picked up again in the morning.
I was humming softly to myself as I walked between the two Laiokian acting as my guards. While I wouldn’t have minded some meaningless conversation, my guards barely let more than a dozen words pass their lips when it came to saying anything to me. I’d learned from the first day on the planetoid that they wanted nothing to do with me and viewed me with barely concealed disgust and a little fear. I suspected that they’d done something incredibly stupid in their regular post and were being punished by having to guard me. I had no fear that they wouldn’t do their job. They wanted to get out of the detail of guarding me as soon as possible and the only way they could do that was by performing their current duty above reproach.
I’d just stepped into the hotel lobby when I felt a complex roiling of emotions focused on me. I was surprised at the strength of the feelings since my standard shields were up. They were generally more than enough to protect me from stray emotional surges and having something worm under them was highly unusual. I slowed my pace and tried to mentally place where the feelings were coming from.
I turned my head to see the man from my dreams, Tyhlian, moving quickly towards me. I gasped in surprise at seeing the man who had frightened me so badly in my dream. How in the world had he found me? And so fast, too. He was suddenly standing right in front of me and looking at me in what I could only call a possessive, predatory way. I instinctively backed up a step and bumped into one of my guards. The man hissed as if burned and swore in Laiokian. His emotions spiked with revulsion, and he reacted without thinking by shoving me away from him and directly into Tyhlian’s arms.
Tyhlian’s arms closed around me in a tight yet gentle embrace, and a dangerous growl sounded in the back of his throat. Oddly, the low growl didn’t make me fear him, which made no sense as the sound was obviously an aggressive thing. It sounded protective to my ears, and I wanted to roll my eyes at myself. I was being an idiot. Why would Tyhlian want to protect me? Where did that fear I had of him in my dream suddenly disappear to?
Satisfaction almost oozed from Tyhlian, and one of his hands stroked lightly over my back. I could feel a faint vibration against my chest that seemed to be coming from Tyhlian, but I had no idea what that was about. I kind of liked it, and my body relaxed against Tyhlian’s. It felt strangely right to be standing in the circle of his arms. The top of his head was at the level of my mouth, and I had the most insane urge to rub my cheek against his hair. He said the same word, Lor’fei, that he’d uttered in my dream. Whatever language that was, I didn’t know it, and it wasn’t programmed into my implanted translator. Whatever it was he said, there was a world of reverence in the word. He pressed his nose against my neck and inhaled with a tiny groan. My eyes widened when I felt what I was pretty sure was his hard cock against my groin. I’d never, ever been in a situation even remotely similar.
Lust twisted through the emotions I could feel coming from Tyhlian. The hand stroking over my back slipped down a little further and brushed over the top of my ass. Light pressure from his hand pushed our groins together, and I felt more than heard another growl. I’d never been held or touched by a man as Tyhlian was doing and I was at a loss for what I should do. No etiquette lessons I’d had addressed what to do when a man you meet in your dreams was suddenly holding you tight to his aroused body while you were very much awake.
I was shocked down to the tips of my hair that desire was winding through my body, and my cheeks heated when I felt my cock stiffen against Tyhlian’s. A tiny shiver travelled over me when Tyhlian lightly tongued my neck just above the collar of my jacket. Good lord that felt erotic. My hair moved forward to caress Tyhlian’s legs, and I delighted in the fact that his pants were open on the sides and I could feel bare skin. My hair caressed his thighs, and even though I knew it was incredibly rude, completely out of character for me and bordered on sexual assault, a few of the strands tickled over his balls. Tyhlian groaned softly, and I could’ve sworn I felt the scrape of a fang over my neck.
One of my guards cursed loudly, jerking me out of the sensual haze slowly stealing over me. I glanced over my shoulder to see him standing there with an expression that was a cross between annoyance and disgust as he tried to figure out how to get me away from Tyhlian without having to actually touch me. That look along with the feel of revulsion from my guards killed my desire faster than a bucket of ice water dumped over my head, and my cock immediately softened. Irritation flared from Tyhlian, his hold on me tightened, and a warning growl sounded from him again. Tyhlian didn’t want to let me go, and my guards didn’t want to touch me. The absurdity of my situation hit me, and I couldn’t help myself; I started to laugh as I pushed firmly against Tyhlian’s hold.
“Fucking Void,” my blue guard hissed as he gritted his teeth and wrapped my arm in his hair and pulled hard.
My laughter stopped as if a switch was flipped. I was used to the term, but it still hurt to hear it. Tyhlian tightened his hold on me and growled again, this time showing some dangerous looking fang at my guards. A small grunt of pain escaped me from the pull on my arm from the guard and the firm hold Tyhlian had around my waist. His body tensed, and I watched with fascination as his slit pupils widened until there was only a thin rim of green around them. Aggression spiked from Tyhlian, and I knew he was likely only seconds from leaping at my guards.
“Let go, please,” I said in Common in my best negotiator’s voice as I pushed again against Tyhlian’s hold.
He held on to me for a few seconds more before reluctantly opening his arms. I found myself yanked back between my guards and gave an indignant squawk at the rough treatment. As soon as I was away from Tyhlian, my guard’s hair released me so fast it was a wonder I didn’t get friction burns even through my clothes. Menace oozed from Tyhlian, and I knew I wasn’t the only one who noticed sharp looking claws slide out from his fingertips. The fluffy, dark-chocolate coloured tip of his tail puffed up, and his tail twitched from side to side. Everything about him screamed imminent violence, yet I was rock-solid certain none of that was directed at me and that I had nothing to fear from him. I was also absolutely sure the same thing couldn’t be said for my guards.
Without my brain being pleasantly fogged with the sensuality of Tyhlian’s touch, I started to wonder just how he ended up in the hotel lobby and why he’d decided to come find me. I wasn’t a stunning example of Laiokian beauty. I was pretty ordinary, really, and had several things against me in the looks department. My ears were abnormally long, I was easily a head taller than any Laiokian I’d ever met, skinny as a rail, and my delicate facial features would’ve been better suited on a woman. Of course, my midnight black skin was the biggest flaw I had, and any Laiokian that would’ve been willing to overlook the other faults in my physical make-up wouldn’t willingly touch me because of what the colour of my skin indicated. I sighed softly and gave myself a mental shake, focusing back on the puzzle of how Tyhlian came to be on the planetoid.
I had no idea how Tyhlian found me, but if he could appear in my dreams, then I supposed his finding me on the planetoid wasn’t beyond the realm of possibilities. I wasn’t trying to hide my presence or what I was doing there. Anyone with a computer and access to a database could find out that information if they wanted to. The little mystery was how he had found me when I knew for a fact that I’d never given him my name, my location or anything really that would’ve led him to me. Curiosity twisted through me.
“Nigidvo, you need to head to your rooms. The final round of talks starts early tomorrow,” reminded my blue guard in a stern voice.
I heard what he was saying as well as what he wasn’t, and that irritated me to no end. He was telling me not to do anything to screw up those negotiations I was working so hard on. I screwed up, and my planet didn’t get paid. I felt a spurt of annoyance with my guards for putting our planet’s interests first and implying that I was prone to professional misconduct. I was the best negotiator that Laiok had produced in decades. My record could speak for itself, and I didn’t need some fuck-up guard reminding me to be professional.
My anger fizzled out quickly and I sighed after only a few seconds. They were reacting exactly like I could expect any normal Laiokian, too, damn slaves to the good of the planet and never questioning if it was the right thing to do. There were times that I deeply appreciated growing up on the remote space station with my parents and not having to live under the constant pressure to put all personal desires a distant second to the good and advancement of the planet.
“I need your help,” Tyhlian said in Laiokian as he extended his hand to me.
I stared at him in surprise along with my guards. I hadn’t expected to be addressed in my native language by someone who wasn’t Laiokian, most certainly not in utterly flawless Laiokian without even a trace of an accent marking Tyhlian as a non-native speaker. Typically, Laiokian wasn’t spoken off planet as it was considered rude to speak a language others couldn’t understand. Common was the language of choice where possible with Laiokian reserved for conversations held in private between Laiokians. Where and how had Tyhlian learned to speak Laiokian so perfectly when I would’ve sworn his meeting with me in my dream was the first time he’d ever met one of my people?
My guards sucked in startled breaths, and language aside, I wondered why. It was possible that Tyhlian had an implanted translator although that wouldn’t explain his unaccented words, and I wasn’t even sure my guards had picked up on that. It wasn’t all that unusual for someone to ask for my help personally instead of through the proper government channels, and I was fairly certain my guards would’ve been made aware of that fact in the information they’d been given about me when they were assigned to my guard detail. The Laiokian government didn’t care if I free-lanced a little as long as it happened on personal time and didn’t impact any work they contracted me out for. I was trying to figure out what shocked my guards when something shimmered on Tyhlian’s arm and drew my eye. When I saw what it was, I had to fight the urge to start giggling insanely at the absurdity.
Tyhlian was wearing my risdepa. There was no way to deny what it was. The mystery was how he happened to have it. Any Laiokian would see it for what it was immediately, and since a risdepa was something that couldn’t be forced into place, the meaning of it was always crystal clear. I’d never felt desire for a man before, but I couldn’t deny the attraction I felt towards Tyhlian. That still didn’t explain how he came to be wearing my risdepa.
The muted emotions from my guards flowed over me. They were caught between the desire to sneer in disgust and howl with laughter at my predicament even as tiny threads of worry and confusion wound through them. I knew they were bothered by the fact that I must’ve gotten out from under their watchful eyes to give Tyhlian my risdepa, and they couldn’t figure out how that could’ve happened.
I chewed on my bottom lip and thought furiously. That the guards would keep this to themselves even if it implicated them in not doing their job wasn’t an option. Something of this magnitude was far too juicy a piece of gossip to not share. I’d be lucky if the damn story didn’t head up the evening news. I groaned when I thought of what my parents would say about my risdepa ending up not only on an alien but on a male of all people. Deciding that it would be best to have our discussion in private, I stalked towards the elevators with a curt motion of my hand to have them all trail after me. Only Tyhlian seemed happy to follow.
We remained silent in the elevator with only the occasional snicker from my guards. I glared at them, my temper finally snapping, and cracked open the portion of my mind they feared. I sent tendrils of the void into them and let them feel the utter nothingness of the void inside me that could erase everything about them and reduce them to nothing more than empty shells. They snapped their mouths shut after that and refused to look at me. They also moved as far as possible away from me within the confines of the elevator. Tyhlian looked curiously between the three of us and the obvious distance my guards were trying to maintain. We got off the elevator, and I led the way to my rooms.
“I need to talk to you in private,” Tyhlian said when our little group halted just inside my room.
“I’ll bet you do,” sneered one of my guards as he gave me and Tyhlian a disgusted look.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Tyhlian asked in a tone that promised violence. Even I recognized the aggressive stance he took as he positioned himself between me and my guards.
“You’re even more of a freak than I thought, Void,” said my green guard. “You sicken me.”
Tyhlian’s tail tip puffed up again and started to swish back and forth. I barely knew the man but I could clearly feel his irritation. A tiny smile quirked at the corner of my mouth when I thought that the actions of his tail were looking to be as good an indicator for what he was feeling as the colour changes of a Laiokian’s hair. I didn’t think my guards noticed it- although they’d have to be blind idiots to not notice the aggressive stance he had.
“Aside from the fact that he’s the Void, doesn’t it make your skin crawl to have a man touch you like… that?” asked my other guard with revulsion plain in his voice at the very thought of men together.
I barely held back an entirely inappropriate laugh at the way the guard’s distaste wavered between the fact that I was the Void and the appearance that I’d taken a male lover. Tyhlian looked at me and blinked in confusion but kept his protective stance. He had no idea the disgust my people had for me. It didn’t matter how well I did my job or how much money I brought our planet. I would always be a taboo child of taboo people. The thing that should have never been born. My parents were Teichle, and they were hated and feared only half as much as I was, which was still a great deal.
The Teichle were able, through a genetic twist, to manipulate the emotions of others to be whatever they chose. Teichle were forbidden to reproduce. The parents of Teichle were forbidden to have any further children and were sterilized. The twin of the Teichle, since Laiokians always reproduced in pairs, was forbidden to reproduce and was sterilized as soon as they reached sexual maturity. Often, as soon as a baby began to colour from its pure white birth colour to the purple of a Teichle, it was killed. It was officially frowned upon but nothing was done if the parents decided to kill their Teichle baby. Teichle were not common occurrences, but neither were they rare births. The number of living Teichle was depressingly small due to infanticide, suicide or even “accidental death.”
The government asked the Teichle to be voluntarily sterilized at sexual maturity, but only a small number agreed in the hopes that it would make them more acceptable to Laiokians. In the end, it didn’t make them any more accepted by other Laiokians, and a pissed off Teichle was not somebody any sane person wanted to be around. The chances of finding a Laiokian who’d want to join even a sterile Teichle in bed were abysmal to say nothing of one capable of reproduction. Sometimes Teichle managed to get together, but any budding relationship was quickly squashed by the government that closely monitored the Teichle, and that usually involved sending the people to opposite ends of the galaxy.
For all the hate and fear that the Teichle had because of what they could do, I was even more hated than my parents. Only the fact that they had been far from Laiok on an extended science mission allowed them to meet, fall in love and have me. I was a single birth child. I had no twin which was yet another thing for the average Laiokian to view with horror. Only a handful of times in thousands of years of my people’s recorded history had there been someone like me born.
I was the Void.
I could feel another’s emotions like a Teichle, but I couldn’t manipulate those emotions to make people do what I wanted. I sometimes had a hard time dealing with my own emotions and reacted in unpredictable ways. My curse was to simply make all emotions as well as the personality of others vanish into nothing if I so wished it. I could also spread an unshakable air of calm no matter the situation through manipulation of the void inside me. If I chose, I could have somebody stand perfectly still and accepting with a serene smile on their face while I hacked body parts off them.
There were ancient stories of Voids that wreaked broad paths of destruction by erasing entire villages and towns of people and creating mindless drones that followed the commands of the Void that wiped them even if it went against every self-preservation instinct a person possessed. Some tales talked of a blissed-out population that peacefully starved to death while working like slaves to build monuments of glory to a Void. I couldn’t say how much of those stories was truth and how much was fear mongering by the powers that be, but it was within the scope of power for a Void to do so.
Tyhlian frowned at my guards, “Why would having Dakvir touch me make my skin crawl? Are you both blind? He’s beautiful, interesting, and drop dead sexy.”
I couldn’t help it. I started to laugh again. The look of disbelief on my guards’ faces was priceless, and the irritation on Tyhlian’s face was well worth the start he had given me in the lobby of the hotel. My guards’ hair shifted from pale to dark and coiled around their bodies in agitation. They didn’t know what to make of Tyhlian. I wasn’t sure what to make of Tyhlian, but he had considerably perked up my day from that one statement.
“I’m not seen in a very good light among my own people, Tyhlian. They hate me and fear me on an almost pathological level but don’t want to give up the fat fees I bring our planet. And thank you for the compliment even if it’s not true.”
“Of course it’s true. I don’t make a habit of telling random men that I find them beautiful,” Tyhlian snorted. “Interesting? Sure. Sexy? You bet. Somebody I want to fuck? Most definitely. But there just aren’t that many men I’d take the chance on calling beautiful. You are though.”
My guards looked like they wanted to swallow their tongues. I tried and failed to hold back more laughter. I’d never seen anyone so at a loss for words as my guards, and I thought it was hilarious that my sexual appeal was the cause.
“Then you….” The guard gestured vaguely towards me and flushed a deep blue.
“I what?” Tyhlian asked seemingly genuinely confused at my guard’s reactions.
“You’re wearing his risdepa. That means you’re…” My other guard trailed off as he too flushed, a dark green.
“I’m what? I’m starting to get annoyed here, boys,” Tyhlian growled as he flashed a little fang at my guards.
“By wearing my risdepa, the hair that winds around your arm, it is a sign among my people that I’ve chosen you as my partner. Since it is very painful to cut our hair, it’s a very… serious kind of thing. Like a… marriage or bonding,” I explained.
“So this,” Tyhlian said as he stroked his fingers over the strands, “means I don’t have to fight anyone for you? Not that somebody would win against me, but still. Well that kinda takes all the fun out of battling for the privilege of your gorgeous self, now doesn’t it?”
It was my turn to stare in surprise at Tyhlian. I didn’t think he was teasing as I wasn’t getting that kind of emotion from him, but I barely knew the man and couldn’t accurately judge all the complex emotions he was giving off. He was relieved and amused and eager along with a few other things I couldn’t properly nail down but that felt a whole lot like possession. Catching me completely by surprise, my body decided it liked those emotions a great deal and desire started to pool low in my belly. My cock responded and firmed. My cheeks heated again, and I silently thanked my lucky stars that I was wearing a thigh-length jacket, that my skin was too dark to show any blushing and that my hair didn’t change colour like other Laiokians.
I was confused by my reaction to Tyhlian. I’d been with a few people, but they’d all been women, and joining a man in bed had never crossed my mind although on occasion I had felt the interested emotions of a few. Of the women I had slept with, I think most of them had been a little disappointed that there was no flashing lights or claps of thunder or any of the other weird things I’m sure they were expecting at going to bed with the Void. The sex was satisfying but just like sex with any other man. None of them had been impressed enough to come back for a repeat performance.
“You’re not one of those species that frowns on men fucking men are you?” Tyhlian asked with narrowed eyes.
“Actually, yes. My people do tend to frown on that type of relationship as it produces no children and doesn’t offer further advancement down the genetic path,” I replied.
“Wow, that’s… boring. Sex is supposed to be fun, and as long as everybody has a good time, what’s really so wrong with choosing to sleep with someone the same sex as you?”
“That’s just sick. Sex with another man. I’m leaving and I don’t care if I get assigned to another shit detail. Anything has to be better than this,” said my blue guard with disgust dripping from his voice.
My blue guard turned on his heel and stalked from the room. My green guard followed his partner out the door, closing it without a backward glance. Regardless of how they felt about men sleeping with men and what they assumed Tyhlian wearing my risdepa meant, they really shouldn’t have abandoned their post like they’d just done. I wouldn’t be in any kind of trouble for their actions since deciding to leave was their choice. But if they’d thought the job of making sure I kept my cock in my pants was a shit detail, I didn’t even want to take a guess at what horrible post they’d get assigned to for leaving me to my own devices. There was always the chance that they’d realize that before the night was over and come back to resume their duties, but I wasn’t betting on that outcome.
The feelings of stress and anxiety coming from Tyhlian dropped, and my belly fluttered with a combination of nerves and excitement as I realized that I was suddenly alone with Tyhlian. He stared at me intently. His tail swished back and forth; tension and anticipation hummed in his body. A sudden case of nerves made my hair coil and uncoil around my body. I wasn’t afraid of him like I had been in the dream world and I wasn’t entirely sure why. I knew he was dangerous. I knew he wasn’t really sane. Yet I was positive he wouldn’t hurt me. I actually felt like he’d go to great lengths to keep me safe. I snorted at myself. I was projecting weird things onto Tyhlian. I must have been more tired from the negotiations than I realized. I really did need a vacation. I made a mental note to put in for some of my accumulated time after the trade deal I was working on was finalized.
“What about you? How do you feel about sleeping with men?” Tyhlian asked as he moved closer to me.
My traitorous hair sent out tendrils to touch and caress his legs. A satisfied smile played about his lips at the touch, and he opened his mouth to breathe in my scent, and a low rumble sounded in his chest. I licked my lips and swallowed hard, clamping my teeth together and mentally scrambling how to answer his question without lying. I was a lousy liar, and even total strangers seemed able to tell when I was being less than truthful. I moved back from Tyhlian and sat in a chair against the wall as I tried to figure out what to say. I twisted my rebellious hair into a thick hank and wrapped it around my own arm in an effort to exert some control over it and stall for more time. My normally quick mind was an utter blank except for the phrase that I wouldn’t mind trying it with him. My cock actually twitched at the idea. Tyhlian sniffed the air and gave a soft laugh at my actions before he dropped into a chair across from me.
“You didn’t answer me, Dakvir. Do you do men?”
“No, I’ve never been with a man,” I answered honestly.
This was, by far, the strangest conversation I’d ever had. I never in a million years thought that I’d be having a discussion with the utterly gorgeous creature from my most recent dream about sex, especially about having sex with not only another man but with him specifically.
“That wasn’t a denial, just a statement that you’d never had a male partner. Would you if one caught your attention?” Tyhlian asked as he stared at me intently. My answer seemed extremely important to him.
I refused to squirm in my seat. I didn’t think he’d catch what I said and basically accuse me of being evasive. Tyhlian was obviously a sharp customer even if he was hovering on the verge of insanity. I knew I had poor impulse control at times, but I wasn’t about to admit to a man that I had only met once before, in a dream at that, that I was a little curious about how it would feel to be with a man.
I’d stumbled upon a video once, and curiosity had prodded me into looking for more as well as reading a few stories. It seemed to be something that was pleasurable for both parties, and although I’d probably never admit it to another Laiokian, I had found the images I saw erotic. There was something about the way the one man was dominating his partner in the videos I saw that pushed rather kinky buttons in my head.
Unfortunately, I’d never had the opportunity to actually ask a man who had sex with another man what it was like. I wondered if Tyhlian would answer me if I asked him. I wasn’t sure if I was brave enough to baldly ask him such a question. It was far too personal. But I wanted to know. Tyhlian must’ve seen something in my face because he smiled at me and relaxed in his seat even as anticipation flared strongly through his emotions.
“The Awh’anise are bi-sexual as a species and find nothing wrong with same sex pairings. Actually, we find it strange when a person refuses to mate with a member of the same sex. But we’re a horny race and we’ll fuck whenever and wherever the mood strikes us. I don’t have a preference either way for men or women as they each have exclusive things that I enjoy.”
I knew my eyes were wide. I didn’t expect him to be so open about what he did in his bedroom. Laiokians never discussed sex so openly. It was something private between couples, and I had my suspicions that even then, it wasn’t discussed much between partners. My own parents never discussed sex with me. They had handed me a data disk when I was starting puberty and told me to watch it. That disk had made me decidedly unexcited about sex. I later learned that sex could be fun and pleasurable, but that was due to an alien woman on my first assignment away from Laiok.
My contact with possible sex partners was kept to a bare minimum by my government. I know they would have sterilized me, if they could have gotten away with doing it without my permission. The guards I was assigned weren’t really assigned to me for my safety. They were primarily there to ensure that I didn’t get too friendly with any females regardless of what species they were. The Laiokian government didn’t want to take any possible chance of my reproducing with anyone.
I did manage to play between the sheets from time to time, but it required me to make holes in the memories of my guards’ so they wouldn’t remember my leaving my room for hours at a time or ladies coming to my room for the same period of time. It was a tricky and dangerous thing to do and not something I did often. One wrong step, just a little too much of the void inside me and I’d reduce the guards to babbling idiots at the very best or kill them at worst. While I resented the guards and why I had them, I couldn’t do something to purposely hurt them for only doing their job. That’s not the kind of person I was regardless of what my people thought.
I’d never been approached for sex by a male before. I’d had interested looks, but that was as far as that sort of thing had gone. If my people didn’t feel such disgust with same sex pairings, they probably wouldn’t think twice if I had a male lover. After all, I couldn’t spread my defective genes if I had a lover that made reproduction impossible. I had no real problem with taking a male lover… just a little nervousness at the prospect. Then again, I was strange by all standards of my people. And curious. My parents claimed I got into more trouble as a child as well as an adult because of my curiosity.
“Dakvir? Would you take a male lover? I really need to know,” Tyhlian said as he moved from his seat to stand over me. He braced his hands on the arms of my chair and leaned down into my personal space. I stared into his eyes, and my mind seemed to fly off in dozens of directions at once. For once in my life, I appeared to have been struck speechless, and I scrambled mentally to come up with an answer.
The scent coming from Dakvir was driving me crazy with barely constrained lust. It was affecting me like smelling a first time cycler, triggering all my instincts to dominate and claim what was mine. Frankly, I was amazed that I hadn’t jumped him the second his scent hit my nose because he smelled so damn intoxicating to me. I’d gotten an erection the moment Dakvir was shoved into my arms. He felt so good, so right when I held him; I hadn’t wanted to let him go. I probably wouldn’t have if he hadn’t firmly told me to. Even then, I’d only done so reluctantly.
Oh, he might’ve worded it like a request, but I hadn’t missed that little bit of “don’t fuck with me” in his voice. I thought that was hot as hell, and I’d debated with myself for several seconds over continuing to hold him tight just to see what he’d do. In the end, I’d let him go like he asked because I didn’t want to piss him off when we’d barely even said a dozen words to each other. Truthfully, I’d have been content to stand there half the night holding him in my arms, inhaling his scent and nuzzling his skin.
Despite my being a little on the crazy side, my memory was excellent. Even so, I was surprised to find that Dakvir looked even more beautiful in person than he had in the dream world. I think he actually downplayed his looks somewhat in his dream. Why, I had no idea. It was possible that he didn’t even realize he did that in his dreams. Or maybe I was just that entranced with the man, and he’d look stunning to me no matter how others saw him.
His skin was very soft, and he smelled so good. I had an almost irresistible urge to lick and nibble whatever skin I could when he’d been pushed into my arms. I knew we were Lor’fei partners and utterly perfect for each other, but Dakvir would have no freaking clue, and I didn’t want to scare him with what he’d probably think was bizarre behaviour. I also figured that having a stranger lick him seconds after seeing him would probably be seen as really bad manners on top of being weird, so I somehow managed to restrain myself. I wasn’t sure if it was the Lor’fei messing with my perceptions or not, but I would’ve sworn that his skin was luminescent, and I just wanted to admire the play of light on it. Stars, but he was gorgeous and I was pretty sure I was already halfway in love with him. And I was absolutely fine with that even if the timing of finding my Lor’fei sucked royal dick.
The guards that had been with him confused me a little. It was interesting to watch their hair shift colour from light to dark, but their reactions to Dakvir were beyond strange. Not only did they seem to hold him in contempt and look at him with barely concealed disgust, but they also seemed to actually fear him. I didn’t think they were afraid of him physically. Despite Dakvir being taller than me and his guards, nothing about his appearance said he’d be any kind of threat using brute force. I’d be willing to bet my last coin that Dakvir had never been in a physical fight in his entire life. One punch would probably lay him out cold even if landing that punch would likely make a person feel like they’d kicked a baby animal or something. Fear of physical violence wasn’t the vibe I got from the guards. Their fear was more… primal - like when you saw a swarm of ana-taw’dect in the sky and knew there was no place to hide from the deadly little predators.
His guards were very afraid of him, and I had no idea why. But I could clearly smell the stink of fear on them.
I was shocked that his guards had walked out on Dakvir leaving me alone with him, fear or not. They had no fucking clue who I was. For all they knew, I was there to kill Dakvir, which, given the way they seemed to view him, might not be a bad idea in their minds. Surely my wearing the armband thing wasn’t enough proof for them of my honourable intentions towards Dakvir. No Awh’anise tasked with protecting someone would dream of doing something so dishonourable as walking out on the person you were supposed to be protecting. Fine, it worked in my favour, but it was still wrong to abandon a post.
I frowned a little and figured it was just as well that his guards had turned tail and run. If Dakvir needed a guard for his safety, there was nobody better qualified than a Shal-hazal and certainly no Shal-hazal better than his Lor’fei. I would die for him without hesitation. At least I had found out a few vital pieces of information from his guards before they walked out.
The pretty armband of Dakvir’s hair was apparently a very big deal to his people. I was thrilled to find out that it symbolized he had chosen me as his partner even if it looked like neither one of us was sure how I happened to get it. I thought it was very interesting that Dakvir hadn’t made any noise about my taking the armband off. There had to be a way to do it, but he hadn’t said a thing about doing that. Maybe he liked the idea of me wearing it, too.
I was a little surprised at the level of disgust his guards had at the idea of men fucking, and that really didn’t bode well for our relationship if Dakvir felt the same way. We were seriously going to have some issues if he wouldn’t have sex with me or even just touch me in quasi-sexual ways. I doubted Dakvir had any experience with the Awh’anise as he seemed genuinely surprised by my appearance. If that was indeed the case, some of the more interesting points about Awh’anise physiology were probably going to be met with a raised eyebrow and a look of utter disbelief. It always ended up sounding like the cheesiest pick up line ever to tell somebody that you needed to be touched and petted often to remain mentally healthy. Fine, I wasn’t exactly the poster boy for mental stability right now, but I still needed to feel contact with another person on a fairly regular basis just like any other Awh’anise, or my case of the crazies would spread even faster.
I could really do without that happening, thank you very much.
On the plus side, Dakvir hadn’t reacted with disgust when I’d held him. Matter of fact, I’d felt his cock harden against me, and the beginning scent of Dakvir’s arousal had dusted the air around us. That gave me more than a grain of hope that the opinion of his guards about men sleeping with men wasn’t shared by him. Dakvir hadn’t answered me yet whether or not he’d take a male lover, and he seemed to be struggling a bit with his answer. That could mean he wouldn’t sleep with a man and was trying to figure out how to politely tell me no. Or possibly that he would fuck a man but that there was some kind of social taboo attached to doing that and he wasn’t sure he wanted to brave that.
I didn’t see how it was anybody’s business who Dakvir slept with, but I was Awh’anise, and that sort of shit didn’t matter to us in general. You fucked whomever you wanted to as long as he or she agreed. End of story. I knew it wasn’t that way in many other cultures and that some even had rigid rules based on class systems or eye colour or other equally stupid things that prevented people from freely choosing their bed partners. I even knew of some cultures that had others choose their mates for them, and personal preference wasn’t something even considered. I really hoped Dakvir’s people weren’t like that.
“Dakvir? Would you take a male lover?” I asked again as I watched him intently.
I wondered briefly if I’d made a miscalculation in moving so close to Dakvir. His personal scent mixed with light threads of his arousal was filling my head and making me want to do things to him that he probably wasn’t ready for- like strip him naked, lick his entire body and then fuck him senseless. The voices in my head started to chatter at me when that lovely, arousing thought zipped through my brain, and I pointedly ignored them. I didn’t need or want them talking me into doing something I knew I’d regret later. The Lor’fei was too important for me to screw up by rushing Dakvir into something simply to ease the ache in my balls.
I also didn’t want to scare Dakvir. I think it would physically hurt something inside me to have him afraid of me. I wanted him to know he was utterly safe with me and that I’d never do something to intentionally harm him. I’d protect him with my life and there was very little that was as fierce a defender as a Shal-hazal protecting his Lor’fei.
Dakvir shifted in his seat a little and bit his lip before looking up at me through his lashes. I thought he looked hot as hell when he did that. His hair writhed around his arm where he’d wrapped it as if trying to get loose, and he glared at it while muttering some rather creative swear words in his native tongue along with a hissed command for it to behave. I had a hard time not snickering at the tiny battle between Dakvir and his hair, but somehow managed to hold it in. I thought it was cute as all get out that he was fighting with his hair, but he didn’t seem to be as amused as I was over it. He cleared his throat softly before he spoke and looked directly at me.
“I… I don’t know. I’ve never been asked.”
My heart thumped heavily in my chest. That wasn’t a no by any stretch of the imagination, and hope surged through me. Jawhar laughed and said it sounded like Dakvir was a virgin, at least when it came to sex with a man. My heart beat even faster at that idea. I loved the idea of being the only man my Lor’fei would ever know, and a pleased rumbling purr that I couldn’t have stopped if I’d tried sounded from my throat. Dakvir’s eyes widened in surprise before a smile lit his face.
“You can purr? That is what that sound is, right? I’ve never heard a person do that. I thought I dreamed that up. It’s really cool.”
I grinned and nodded. If he liked hearing that when we were just talking, he was going to love it when he slept in my arms and could feel the vibrations, too. I could hardly wait for that.
“Awh’anise purr when we’re happy or content. I’m very happy that I found you and that you didn’t say no to taking a male lover.”
“I like trying new things. Not that I think you’re some kind of novelty or something.” Dakvir hurried to clarify. “Just… I’ve never had a man ask me to sleep with him. Certainly never a man as attractive as you.”
Dakvir’s eyes widened again. He clapped a hand over his mouth and looked mortified at what he’d said. I chuckled softly, delighted and relieved to hear him say he found me attractive even if I had assumed that he did by the erection he’d gotten when I first hugged him. Having his hair feel me up at the same time had been a pretty big clue that he thought I was attractive, too. Not that I was complaining about that at all. I’d actually enjoyed it a hell of a lot and was hoping to feel more of the same when we did finally get to fucking.
I was also looking forward to finding out more about Dakvir’s body. His skin had me utterly entranced. I’d never seen anyone with skin the colour of the night sky and I wondered if it was uniform over his entire body. I wondered if his cock would be the same colour or if the head would be lighter or maybe even some other colour entirely. Thinking about his cock had me wondering if the hair around it moved like the hair on his head. That could be a little freaky and a whole lot kinky. I smirked the tiniest bit as the possibilities of moving hair in that particular area flashed through my brain.
I couldn’t tell a whole lot about his body shape at first glance because of the style of clothes he was wearing. He had on a high-collared, loose jacket that reached his knees with sleeves that went all the way to his wrists. A pair of loose fitting pants were under that. He could’ve been muscular, chunky, nicely fit or skinny as a rail under the clothes and I’d have no way of telling which because of the cut of his outfit. Holding him in my arms was a different story though. Lanky was a kind way to describe him. Somebody less generous would’ve said skinny as shit. I wanted to call him delicate because that seemed to fit with his looks, but I’d yet to meet a guy who appreciated being called that.
Dakvir’s personal scent with the mouth-watering addition of his arousal drifted into my nose again. My cock was so hard it was damn near painful, and my breathing sped up as desire twisted through me. I’d been in a state of constant semi-arousal for several days and having the object of my lust and affections sitting right in front of me looking so completely fuckable was damn hard to resist.
Fantasies of what I’d do with Dakvir, the pleasure I could show him, had me wanting to flash a little fang at him in a dominance move that he probably didn’t have a freaking clue about. One thing was crystal clear to me. The more time I spent with him, the more I wanted to strip him naked and explore his body. I wanted to bury my nose against his throat and inhale his subtle fragrance as I slid into his heat. I wanted to bite and claw him to mark him as mine. A tiny growl left my throat as I struggled against that desire. Doing any of that would likely scare the shit out of him.
Dakvir blinked up at me at the sound but didn’t show any of the fear I was almost expecting to see on his face. Either he didn’t realize what the growl meant, or he did and he it didn’t worry him. He stared at me as if waiting to see what I’d do.
“Take him. You’re stronger. His watchdogs have abandoned him,” Dasha, the former ruler of an entire planet, said as if that made perfect sense. “Victory goes to the strong. We take what we want from those weaker than us or we become the weak and get taken.”
I shook my head minutely. There was no way in hell I’d take anything from Dakvir by force. Yes, I wanted to dominate him in bed, but I didn’t want to turn him into some kind of slave. I needed him to enjoy what we’d do together.
“He hasn’t said no. Even if he does, who cares what happens to him as long as you get what you need from him?” Jawhar said in a sly voice.
Another soft growl left my throat, this time directed at Jawhar. I cared a great deal about what happened to Dakvir. His safety, comfort and happiness were now my responsibility, and I took my responsibilities very seriously. I thought about slamming Jawhar into one of the mental cages but decide he wasn’t worth the effort and it would probably wind the others up.
“He’s enticing you. He wants you to take charge. He wants you to make the decision for him,” Kalere, the slaver, said firmly. I ignored that voice, too, highly suspicious of anything that came from somebody who had made her living off the suffering and subjugation of others.
“Make him want ya if it’s so all fired important t’ya. I’m sure ya can do that goin’ by the moon eyes he’s givin’ ya,” Zeki said with a shrug. “Yer git’n’ on my last nerve with the constant thoughts of fuckin’ yer pretty boy, and some of us don’t much like the idea of men fuckin’ each other. I say jess do it and be done wit it so we can all get on wit stayin’ ahead of the nasty bitch huntin’ yer ass down.”
A whimper tried to escape me when I thought of just how much I did want to fuck Dakvir. Aside from him being my Lor’fei, I thought he was the prettiest man I’d ever seen. That air of innocence in the dream world had been the real deal, too. It was almost as intoxicating as his personal scent, which was really starting to push my arousal into dangerously high territory.
Dakvir licked his lips again, and I had to close my eyes against the beguiling vision of him staring up at me with slightly parted, wet lips, arousal stirring to life in his pale rainbow-coloured eyes and the voices egging me on to do things I knew would be a bad idea. A shiver travelled over my skin when I felt some of Dakvir’s hair slither over my hand in a blatant caress.
I struggled against the urge to press my mouth to his and knew I was doomed to utterly fail. I wanted him too much, and he was my Lor’fei. Now that I’d found him, I needed to have him against all my better judgement. The voices in my head whispered dark, needy and even painful things that I should do to Dakvir. They said he’d eventually like it and would even beg me to hurt him in the name of pleasure. I just needed to teach him to like the violence us Awh’anise were so fond of.
It plain scared the crap out of me at how reasonable those voices were starting to sound.
As much as I wanted him, I didn’t think he’d be safe with me, at least not until I got some sort of control over myself, and I had no idea if that was even possible. The voices laughed and stepped up the volume in my head. Somebody went digging through my brain and started feeding me snapshots of my last breeding cycle when I’d taken on a wiry, feisty Awh’anise with a thing for pain. The appearance of that partner morphed into Dakvir as we traded blows before I managed to finally pin her down and mount her. My breathing quickened with remembered pleasure, and Dakvir’s intoxicating scent curled through my brain.
“Tyhlian? Are you okay?” Dakvir’s voice was soft and concerned as his hand touched my arm lightly.
My eyes opened, and I knew I didn’t stand a prayer at resisting Dakvir. I gave a quiet groan of defeat as I captured his lips with hard-won gentleness. The voices in my head loudly urged aggression and violence. The soft, almost innocent feel of Dakvir’s lips against mine pulled all my dominant instincts to the surface. I wanted to lay a claim on him in a way that nobody would ever be able to mistake for anything other than what it was.
That was the overriding thought in my head, swamping everything else, even the increasingly loud voices. He was mine. He might not know it yet, but he was. Just as I was his. The voices slowly faded away to a low-level buzz in the back of my head. I focused on kissing him and enjoying his surprise, delight and hesitant participation in the kiss.
I wanted to touch him. I wanted to stroke my hands over his skin and bury them in the mass of his hair. Instead, I gripped the arms of the chair tightly, my claws piercing deep into the fabric in a bid to keep from touching Dakvir like I wanted to. I was sure that if I touched him, I’d do something that neither one of us would be able to live with.
He tasted… addicting. It was more than the scent of his skin or the slight sweetness of some type of fruit that lingered on his mouth. It was the taste of the man himself that pushed my desire higher. I wanted more than just the flavour of his lips on my tongue. I wanted to lick his cock and lap up the pre-come that would bead there. I wanted to bite his throat just hard enough to lightly pierce his skin and taste a few drops of his blood. I needed to bathe his entire body with my tongue, pulling the flavour of him into my mouth and imprinting how he tasted deep in my brain. I’d probably never feel like I had enough of him and wanted to rub my whole body over his to get his scent onto my skin just as I would leave mine on his.
I wanted to feel his tongue lave my nipples and his mouth on my cock. I needed his hands running over my body and playing with my tail. I felt a bead of pre-come gather at the tip of my cock at the idea of Dakvir’s fingers or, stars help me, his tongue teasing over the base of my tail. My throat vibrated with a deep purr of pleasure at those thoughts as I urged his lips open. My tail snuck around his ankle, wrapping it in a firm hold. I slipped my tongue into his mouth and ran it over his teeth before gently pushing past them to play with his tongue. His little sigh of acceptance, the further softening of his lips under mine, the tentative slide of his tongue against mine and the light touch of his hand sliding up my bare arm made me shiver with need.
The tones of the voices in my head started to shift into something I could only call group lust as my desire bled over into them. The things they urged me to do to Dakvir didn’t change, but the way they said it did. Their voices were coloured with arousal and want, mirroring my needs and making them even harder to resist. They were starting to sound more and more reasonable by the second, and I was having a hard time fighting them when what they were slyly coaxing me to do was what I wanted to do in the first place.
“He wants you,” Jawhar said in a lust-soaked voice. “Feel it in the way his body responds to you. You don’t need to try and hold yourself back from the temptation.”
Temptation was an excellent word for Dakvir and the way he was making me feel.
“He’s submitting to you,” Almon, a narcissistic Awh’anise murderer, purred. “He wants you to dominate him. The sex pheromones coming off him are strong enough to taste on your tongue.”
I could nearly taste the desire coming from Dakvir. Every breath I drew into my nose was filled with increasing doses of pheromones from both of us nearly making me dizzy at the heady scent. I groaned into Dakvir’s mouth as I deepened the kiss; his tiny sounds of pleasure were the best damn thing I’d ever heard in my entire life. I knew I’d never get tired of hearing him make those noises.
“Pin him down and mount him. It’s what you both want, and there’s no point denying that need when it’ll eventually happen anyway.” Makadisa, another Awh’anise murderer of the mass variety, said sounding utterly reasonable.
Pictures of Dakvir, naked and writhing under me, flashed through my brain. Visions of me holding him down and thrusting into him while he moaned and begged me to pleasure him filled my mind. Images of him spread and bound for me, fear in his eyes, as I drove into his body flipped through my mind’s eye, and as much as I never wanted to hurt him, the images pushed erotic buttons in my head, hard. A low growl wound from my throat, and I changed the angle of the kiss. My fangs scraped over Dakvir’s lips and pulled a tiny moan from him. Fast snapshots of him bound or firmly held down while I drove hard into his body blinked past my vision, disturbing and arousing me at the same time. It was the mental image of Dakvir pleading with me to stop, his body scored by my talons and my seed decorating his belly and thighs as I took him again over his protests that snapped me out of the powerful lust I was in the grip of.
I jerked back from him with a tortured groan and hurried to put the length of the room between us, panting raggedly and so hard I hurt. I was also shaking a little from the realization of how close I’d been to actually acting on some of the things the voices had shown me. A whine of distress escaped me, and I pressed my back tightly to the wall, shocked and disgusted at what I’d almost let the voices convince me to do. Dakvir was not safe with me, and I should’ve stayed away while I’d still been able to.
The voices in my head howled at being thwarted. I gulped air into my lungs and tried to calm myself down, but I could still smell Dakvir on my skin and taste him on my lips. As much as I didn’t want to, I couldn’t seem to stop thinking of the things the voices showed me and how enticing I’d found them. I knew I was probably looking a little wild-eyed, but I couldn’t help it. Even with a good twelve feet of space between us, I could still smell Dakvir’s arousal and personal scent mixing together into something I found intensely erotic. It was like he was giving off waves of a powerful aphrodisiac tailored specifically to shove me into an animalistic lust. I was really starting to feel afraid of how much I wanted him. Thank all the gods above and below, he remained in his chair even if he stared at me with an intoxicating mix of surprise, desire and confusion.
“Wow. That was… wow. Tyhlian? Why’d you stop? You didn’t like kissing me?”
Didn’t like kissing him? Was he nuts? Unless he was blind, it would be impossible to miss the erection tenting my loose pants. Great gods of above and below, he couldn’t really be that innocent, could he? I groaned softly and dragged a hand over my face as I struggled to force my lust down to an acceptable level and tried to convince my dick that it wasn’t going to be getting any action in the near future. The voices laughed at me, and the Awh’anise ones started tossing visions of past breeding cycle encounters at me, nullifying the few seconds of progress I’d made towards quashing my desire.
Gods damn it! They might’ve finally found the key to drive me completely crazy so they could wrestle control of my body away from me.
“Tyhlian? I’m getting a lot of confusing things from you. If kissing me was disappointing, you can just tell me. I won’t be… offended or anything,” Dakvir said in a low voice as he dropped his gaze to his lap.
Disappointing? Was he serious? If I was any more happy with how it felt to kiss him, I’d end up coming in my pants from only that. What kind of lovers had he had previously to make him doubt his appeal so deeply?
“Hardly disappointing, Dakvir. I liked kissing you. A lot. More than is safe for you. Don’t tempt me to start kissing you again. You have absolutely no idea how hard I’m trying not to go to you again and finish kissing your brains out.”
“Really? But what if I wouldn’t mind if you did that?” Dakvir asked with a shy smile as he looked up at me.
Gods save me from sexy, innocent men who pushed every erotic button I had without even trying or realizing what they were doing.
“No. I’m…. Where my head is at right now, I’d hurt you, and I never want to do that. I didn’t think they’d be this strong. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I apologise. I just wanted….” I sighed heavily and tried to ignore the voices and the enticing look Dakvir was probably unknowingly giving me.
“They? They who, Tyhlian? There’s nobody here but us,” Dakvir said as he rose from his seat and moved towards me. “And don’t you dare apologise for such a toe-curling kiss. That was the best kiss I’ve ever gotten, and I absolutely refuse to accept an apology for something that felt so good.”
I held up a hand to try to stop Dakvir from getting any closer to me even though I was pretty sure it was a useless gesture. The tone of voice Dakvir used was the same velvet-covered steel he’d used before, and I still thought it was hot as hell to hear him use it. I was so utterly screwed. Everything about the man made lust stir to life in me. I licked my lips at the sudden thought that he was probably going to turn out to be a bossy bottom. Stars, but I loved that in a man.
The chatter of the voices rose in volume. They urged me to take Dakvir, telling me that I was only doing what came naturally with my Lor’fei partner and that Dakvir was almost demanding that I continue with my foreplay. I moaned in distress because part of me agreed with the voices and part of me didn’t, and I was starting to think that the part that didn’t was losing the fight big time.
Yes, he was my Lor’fei and he had called to me to come for him. Every second I spent with him had me wanting him more and more and made me utterly certain that he was the perfect partner for me. More than anything, I wanted him to see that I was the perfect partner for him. Finally seeing and touching him made me want Dakvir with an intensity that almost frightened me, and the voices knew that now. I was sure they’d use that against me to try and either beat me into submission or make me insane faster so I’d lose control of my body and they could use it to do whatever they wanted. It had been utter stupidity on my part to give in to temptation and kiss Dakvir.
“He won’t stop you. Look at him. He’s practically begging you to strip him, bend him over and fuck him hard. Oh, he might protest in the beginning. All virgins do the first time their asses get fucked, but he’ll get into it. They always do once you start nailing that little pleasure button in their ass. I know I sure did.” Jawhar laughed.
I swallowed hard at the reminder that Dakvir was likely a virgin when it came to sex between men. The primitive animal part of my brain damn near danced in joy with that piece of information.
“The voices in my head,” I said as I tried to ignore the increasing volume in my mind. “They were targets I eliminated while doing my job as a Shal-hazal Litch. Their bodies are dead, but their minds live on in mine, and they’re not really happy about being non-corporal and want to change that if they can.”
“Voices in your head? Those were real? Good lord! No wonder you feel like such a jumble of emotions,” Dakvir said with surprise in his voice as he moved to within arm’s length of me.
“Take him and let’s get this show on the road. As much as I hate to say it, I agree with the pirate. The longer we stay here and piss around playing do I or don’t I fuck this man, the better the chances are that the woman hunting us will zero in on our location and drop a tactical strike on our collective heads. We need to blow this vapour trail ASAP. I say you hustle him onto the space ship, plot a course for anywhere that’s not here and then if you still really have to, fuck him where the chance of discovery by the Hunter is negligible,” said Balin, a half humanoid, half snake-like former military general.
Oh god. The voices were really starting to make sense now. An image of Dakvir tied securely to the bed on the space ship, his legs spread wide and inviting as I left teeth marks on the night dark skin of his inner thighs flashed through my mind. Dakvir reached out his hand to me, and I slid down the wall and crouched in an effort to avoid him touching me. I licked my lips, and his taste flooded my mouth anew. Need twisted through me. I whimpered as I tried to tamp down on the desire I had unintentionally fanned back to life from the simple action.
“TAKE HIM!” The voices screamed at me as one.
My talons pierced the skin of my thighs as I tried to distract myself with the small pain. It had the opposite effect, and my need surged as I imagined my claws piercing Dakvir’s skin instead. Dakvir’s arousal was almost overpowering with him standing so close to me. My cock and balls ached, and lust was a painful spike in my belly. The voices bellowed in my head for me to take what I wanted. The need to dominate and force Dakvir to submit to me speared through my brain. Violence rose up in me and the desire to hurt twisted with sexual need and the compulsion of the Lor’fei. I looked up at Dakvir bent over me, concern in his eyes, and panicked. In that instant, I knew that if he touched me, the voices would win because they’d make me lose control and hurt him. I didn’t have enough strength to fight the voices, my desire, the pull of the Lor’fei and the pleasure I knew I’d find in Dakvir’s touch.
I had to stop him from touching me and myself from doing what seemed like such a damn fine idea even thought I knew it wasn’t. There was only one course of action that I could think of that would make it safe for me to be around Dakvir at the moment. I howled and propelled myself away from the wall in a blur of speed. I felt the soft brush of Dakvir’s fingers over the bare skin of my ribs and down my hip and cried out at the exquisite feel. I ran full tilt into the wall on the opposite side of the room. Stars exploded behind my eyes from the blow to my head. I heard Dakvir’s startled cry and the enraged screaming of the voices as blackness sucked me under.
Ana-taw’dect: Literal translation is tiny rainbow with vicious teeth. Tiny, brightly coloured bird that seems harmless and friendly enough to land on an outstretched finger. They are carnivorous and have razored beaks. They travel in large swarms, and when one finds prey, it will call the others to eat. An average sized swarm numbers approximately 100 birds and it can completely devour a full-grown male in slightly less than ten minutes. Nothing will be left of whatever they eat, not even bones.
Tyhlian was full of surprises. Not the least of them was the speed at which he could move. I’d never seen anything move that fast outside of something mechanical or something from a movie with special effects out the wazoo. One minute he was pressed against the wall like he was trying to force his body through it, and the next had him zip past me so quickly he was almost a blur. My fingers had barely brushed his skin, yet he’d cried out like I’d gouged the ultra-sharp blade of my fikdeas down his spine. I ended up on my hands and knees when I overbalanced as I tried to stop him when he streaked past me.
The emotions rushing through Tyhlian had spiked wildly when I’d touched him and made me gasp softly in a combination of surprise, mild pain and sudden lust. Heat flared through my veins, and my cock hardened immediately. The hair wrapped around my arm in an effort to control it tightened, and loose strands stroked over my skin, adding to the arousal surging through me. I was thoroughly confused and intrigued by my response. People as unusual and exciting as Tyhlian rarely crossed my path and never gave me more than one curious look.
He was behaving beyond strangely though and that said a lot coming from me. At first, he was aggressive with sexual feelings mixed in. Then he was companionable, and the sexual emotions were low-level but still there. Then he was highly aroused and felt violent enough to scare me a little but also arouse me, which made absolutely no sense to me that I could figure out. His emotions were bouncing around like a demented ball, and I was actually having a hard time keeping up with them. I’d never had that happen before and it was fascinating.
Just as I thought I was getting a handle on his rapidly shifting emotions, he zoomed into regret and intense guilt, which I didn’t understand at all. Even through that sudden switch, he still had very sexual feelings towards me, twisted up with the emotions I didn’t understand him having. Tyhlian was a complex man, and with every second that I was around him, the urge to untangle his feelings grew.
Despite what I knew were highly inappropriate leanings on my part, I was ridiculously flattered with the level of attraction Tyhlian felt towards me as well as a little wary of all the arousal and lust he was unconsciously directing at me. I’d never had anyone have such focused interest in me. Some perverse part of me that I never thought existed piped up and I wondered just how high I could drive his sexual need if I actually made some sort of advance on him and at what point he’d snap and pin me down for another of his toe-curling kisses. I wouldn’t do that because it would be incredibly dangerous when he was already dealing with rampaging emotions and skirting the fine line between rational and insane. It would also be unbelievably cruel considering that I knew what he was feeling, and I was not a cruel man.
On top of all those wildly swinging emotions, I kept getting a complex jumble of all kinds of other feelings from Tyhlian that really hadn’t made much sense until he said that the voices I’d heard and felt in my dream were actually real people in his head. I didn’t understand how that could be, but if he could enter my dreams and then find me in reality only a few days after that… I supposed anything was possible. I’d have to grill him about it later. I’d also need to ask him how he consistently managed to get under my mental shields.
I had excellent mental shields in place to protect me from the casual emotional bombardment of people, but Tyhlian wildly see-sawing emotions clawed under those shields somehow and even stranger still, I wasn’t as bothered as I normally would’ve been by such a thing. Yes, the erratic swings of his emotions were troublesome, but on some level, I was almost enjoying the roller coaster ride and that made no sense at all.
One thing was certain. I’d never felt so much rage and violence and lust jumbled together in one person. It was staggering and I wasn’t even getting the full effect of what was going on in his head due to my shields. If what was happening in Tyhlian’s head was as strong as I was beginning to believe it was, I’d only ever felt levels of emotion like that from a crowd of people. One individual, never. Then again, if he really did have all those people in his head, and it certainly felt like he did, then Tyhlian wasn’t really an individual emotionally, but a mob occupying one body. Frankly, I was amazed he wasn’t a raving lunatic and incredibly impressed at his mental strength. I actually found his mental fortitude arousing, and that surprised me as I never would’ve guessed something like that would be a sexual trigger for me. I found intelligence attractive in a partner, but the strength of will that Tyhlian had was something completely different and like nothing I’d encountered before.
I turned my head just in time to see him run headfirst at the opposite wall, and I winced at the solid sounding thunk when his skull made contact. He dropped like a stone to the floor and didn’t move. The emotions coming from Tyhlian cut off abruptly and I frowned at the sudden vacuum. Generally, I didn’t like the rush of emotions from others attacking me from all sides, and it was more often a relief to not feel anything but my own emotions. But now that I wasn’t getting anything from Tyhlian, I had a weird sense of loss instead of relief, which I didn’t understand at all.
Curiosity for why that was twisted hard through me.
I didn’t understand why he’d done what he had and I hoped that he hadn’t injured himself too badly. I pushed myself up off the floor and moved to Tyhlian’s side intent on checking him over. I wasn’t a doctor by any stretch of the imagination, but I did have basic first aid training and would at least be able to tell if he needed immediate medical help or could simply wake up on his own.
A thin trickle of blood wormed down from his temple, and a bruise was already forming above his eye where I assumed he’d hit his head. I checked his neck carefully and couldn’t feel any broken bones, so I felt reasonably safe in moving him. I rolled him gently to his back, supporting his neck, and ran my hands over him.
A little shiver of pleasure worked over my body at feeling his warm skin under my hands. My hair squeezed my arm and started to unwind, reaching strands out to caress Tyhlian before I caught the movement and firmly twisted it back around my arm. Tyhlian was unconscious, and it would be incredibly bad form to feel up the poor man while he couldn’t do anything to stop me. I licked my lips at the sudden image of Tyhlian naked and bound in my hair, writhing in pleasure from the touch of my hands and hair over his skin and begging for more.
My eyes went wide at the incredibly vivid mental picture, and I jerked my hands away from him. I had no idea where that thought came from, but it was incredibly arousing. I’d never even dreamed of holding someone captive in my hair during sex, but now that the thought was there, it wouldn’t leave my head, and I found that I liked it. For whatever reason, I was also rock solid certain that Tyhlian would like that scenario a whole lot, too. Why I was so positive of that… I didn’t have a clue. I was an empath not a telepath. I didn’t think I was reading Tyhlian’s mind, but thoughts like I’d just had never happened to me before I met him, and sudden telepathy made as much sense as anything else since Tyhlian jumped into my sterile little life.
Tyhlian was seriously pushing every curiosity button I had and he technically wasn’t even doing anything but lying on the floor out cold. I think I was about to stagger into deep, deep trouble and was surprisingly eager for the opportunity. I wondered if I’d get any more erotic ideas by touching Tyhlian and chewed my bottom lip in indecision briefly. Curiosity won over caution as it usually did with me, and I cautiously placed my hands on his chest.
I let out a nervous little laugh when nothing more earth shattering than feeling his chest rise and fall gently happened. His breathing was regular, and when I thumbed back his eyelid, the pupil of his eye reacted to light by contracting and looked like what I assumed was normal for him. He had very pretty light green eyes, and I could’ve sworn there was a touch of glitter to them that had to be a trick of the light. Then again, I knew basically nothing about the Awh’anise so maybe his eyes did have what looked like glitter in them.
I brushed back his hair from his face and hummed in pleasure. He had very soft hair and strands of it clung to my fingers as if in a caress. I hesitated in doubt for a few seconds, my eyes flicking over his face to check if he was reacting to my touch. He remained still and I licked my lips in uncertainty before carding my fingers through his hair under the guise of checking for more bumps, which I was sure wouldn’t be there.
Caressing another Laiokian’s hair as I was doing to Tyhlian’s was seen as a sexual come-on among my people. I consoled myself with the fact that Tyhlian wasn’t Laiokian, so he wouldn’t see it that way, and because he was unconscious, he’d have no idea of what I’d done. It was a dishonest thing to do even if I was the only one who’d know it’d happened, but I couldn’t seem to stop myself. I’d feel mortified and even a little violated if somebody did the same thing to me, but that didn’t make me halt what I was doing. On the one hand, I was appalled at my behaviour, yet I was again rock-solid sure that if Tyhlian were awake and I asked to touch his hair, he’d be more than willing to let me.
I enjoyed the feel of his hair sliding through my fingers for a few more minutes before regretfully pulling them back from the soft mass. Nothing else seemed to be wrong with Tyhlian aside from the small cut and bruise to his head. I studied him briefly and bit my lip as an insidious desire twisted through my head. I was finding Tyhlian vastly fascinating, and the urge to know more about him was poking at me hard. I was a curious person, and for some reason, Tyhlian made that curiosity even stronger. I’d also never felt so attracted to someone regardless of gender. I wanted to know more about the intriguing creature that’d dropped into my world.
I carefully lifted my shields and let Tyhlian’s emotions slide through me.
After the riot of things I’d felt from him through my shields, I expected to be trampled when I purposefully let them wash through me. Instead, Tyhlian’s emotional state was surprisingly steady and focused. Lust was a low hum through him and made me think that was actually a constant for him. Possession was incredibly strong in him as was protection. Those dominant feelings were directed at me and that unique sensation gave me a warm glow inside.
I sat beside him for several minutes without moving, simply enjoying the muted ebb and flow of the things he felt towards me. My eye was caught by the risdepa around his arm, and I picked up his hand. The design was undeniably mine, and a small smile quirked up my lips when I thought that it was simply another instance of my hair doing something that I wanted to yet wouldn’t for a variety of reasons. I’d always wondered what my risdepa would look like on someone, but I’d never dared to dream that it would actually happen given what I was and how my people viewed me. Oddly enough, it’d never occurred to me to think about gifting a non-Laiokian with my risdepa, and I’m not sure why considering the amount of contact I had with alien species.
On the surface of it, Tyhlian was a very good choice to wear my risdepa even if he was male. He wasn’t Laiokian so didn’t have the same fear and revulsion that somebody of my own species would have for me. On the contrary, he had a very strong and focused sexual interest in me tangled with highly protective and possessive feelings. He was certainly attractive and exotic, and so many little things about him intrigued me, made me curious and aroused me. Even better still was the fact that he actually seemed happy to hear what the risdepa meant and hadn’t even hinted that he wanted me to remove it. In this one instance, I was willing to concede that just possibly my hair had made the right decision for me.
I stroked my fingers around the woven band circling his wrist before tracing the pattern up his arm to the point high on his bicep where the risdepa stopped. I was fairly certain what I’d find but I wanted to see it with my own eyes. I was positive my guards wouldn’t have been able to see what type of risdepa Tyhlian wore as they hadn’t looked that closely and it was considered rude in the extreme to ask even if the person wearing my risdepa was of the wrong sex according to my culture.
Since the hair had actually been pulled from my scalp instead of cut with my fikdeas, Tyhlian had ended up with a very special risdepa, something that was considered very old fashioned and hardly ever done anymore. Over the course of the few days he took to find me, the roots of the strands had burrowed under his skin and tapped into his veins and nervous system, becoming part of him. Unlike most risdepa that lived only long enough for the hairs to tie themselves into the unique, intricate pattern before dying, what Tyhlian had was a living one.
It would always carry my scent and would respond not to my emotions but to his. It could squeeze lightly in comfort or tightly in warning or fright. I couldn’t feel any sensations from the hairs as once they were removed from my head, the connection had broken, and for the briefest of moments, I felt a little sad about that. Tyhlian would likely get vague sensations through the hairs since they were now connected to him. I was intensely curious to see how he’d handle that. I also wondered if the rumours I’d heard about that particular type of risdepa enhancing sensations between partners during sex were true.
I had no idea how Tyhlian had dealt with the sharp sting of the roots attaching themselves to him. I’d heard it was like getting a paper cut over and over again in the same spot and then having the cut doused in antiseptic. I was surprised to see that it looked like his skin had completely healed where the roots entered his body when it was my understanding that it would take at least a week for the site to heal. I wondered if Tyhlian had noticed what my hair had done and if he was going to be upset over it. There was a way to remove the hairs, but that wouldn’t be pleasant for Tyhlian. The perverse part of me that I’d had no clue even existed and was starting to pipe up quite loudly since Tyhlian dropped into my life didn’t want to remove them either.
My hair unwound from my arm without my direction and slithered under Tyhlian, lifting him gently. I stood and strained a little to move him to the bed. I sighed in relief once he was on the bed and sat next to him to catch my breath. While I could lift my own body weight with my hair, Tyhlian was heavier than I was. He was a lot easier to move with my hair when fright was boosting my adrenalin, to be sure. My hair glided over him, stroking him, and I pushed some stray hair away from his face, lightly touching his lips as I did so.
The short kiss I shared with him earlier had been the best I’d ever had. Not that I had a massive amount of hot kisses to compare it to. Actually, the amount of sexual kissing I’d experienced was woefully small, but I knew hot mouth sex when it happened to me, and what Tyhlian had done with lips and tongue had definitely been very hot mouth fucking. The heat, want and lust in just that brief touch of his lips to mine had been staggering, and I wanted to experience it again. It made me wonder what I’d feel from him if we did more than just kiss, and a giddy sensation filled my belly at the thought.
I didn’t know why he’d suddenly stopped kissing me when he seemed to enjoy it so much or what happened in his mind to make him charge a wall head first. I’d felt dark emotions twist through his desire, trying to warp it, but I was willing to bet every last cent of the substantial savings I had that those feelings weren’t his. I didn’t understand him saying he’d hurt me when I was sure that causing me any kind of harm was the very last thing he’d do, and I wanted him to explain that.
I sighed and stared at the man taking up a good portion of my bed. I had so many questions for Tyhlian; I almost didn’t know where to start. My hair continued to gently trace over Tyhlian, and another soft sigh, this time in pleasure, left my throat. I thought about pulling my hair away from him but realized that wasn’t what I really wanted to happen. I gave up trying to control my hair and simply let it caress him to my little heart’s content, tiny pleased sounds slipping past my lips. I jumped guiltily when something soft tickled the back of my hand. The tip of Tyhlian’s tail twitched back and forth lazily, brushing my hand. I smiled and captured the end of his tail.
The tip waved frantically back and forth, and that poor impulse control of mine made me bring it to my lips. The hair was downy soft and tickled. I laughed quietly and ran my fingertips over his tail. Short, velvet-rough hair covered his tail, and when I let the end go, it curled around my arm with surprising strength. I liked the way it felt wrapped around my arm, sort of proprietary and protective at the same time. I propped my chin up on my bent knees as I watched Tyhlian sleep, the feel of his tail around my arm comforting and the gentle waves of his emotions soothing something inside of me.
Tyhlian said he needed my help. I was going to help him if I could. I didn’t know why but it felt right to help him, and he was the most interesting, fascinating and arousing man I’d ever met. I could hardly wait to see what would happen next.
I’d lost him… again.
I ground my teeth in frustration and clenched my fists. His trail was faint but readable, and I’d still lost it. I was slowly unravelling his path but it was painfully hard. He’d been doing an excellent job of hiding his tracks and I was certain that if I hadn’t been trained by Litch Hunter Sunki, I wouldn’t have been able to find him period. I’d since revised my original idea that sending a newbie Litch Hunter after Litch Will Tyhlian would be a good training mission. A new Hunter wouldn’t have been able to find even the barest traces of Litch Will Tyhlian; he was that good.
I’d never hunted a Litch as skilled as Litch Will Tyhlian. He was also the first Will I’d been sent after, and I had no intention of failing in my task. I found hunting him both frustrating and exhilarating at the same time. He was forcing me to stretch my skills to the fullest to catch him. I’d thought I was closing in on him when his trail just ended. That worried me as the only thing that would make a Shal-hazal disappear that abruptly from the dream world was if he stopped going to it all together. It was very hard not to as entering the dream world was like breathing for us. We simply fell asleep and stepped into the dream world. Even if he wasn’t Dream Walking, I should’ve been able to find some small trace of him as he slept. Everybody, regardless of being a regular person or a Shal-hazal, left some impression on the dream world. To not find anything at all meant only one thing that I could think of.
He wasn’t sleeping, period.
People needed sleep or they started to act irrationally. That applied to regular people as well as Shal-hazal and Litch Will Tyhlian was already on his way to insanity. He didn’t need any extra nudges along the way. I guessed he wasn’t sleeping in an effort to stay ahead of me and to throw me off his trail, and it was working. He probably thought the risk was worth the gain, and at the moment, I had to agree with him. Space was a huge place to look for one person, especially when that person didn’t want to be found. I sighed and decided to try my luck one more time. While he could avoid sleep longer than a normal person, even a Shal-hazal had to sleep sometime whether he wanted to or not.
I closed my eyes, dropping into the dream world effortlessly. I back-tracked to where I last caught traces of him and cast around for the dream he’d jumped to. There had to be one somewhere as the best place to hide was in the dreams of someone else. The trail led off onto a tiny dream pocket that radiated a soothing calm at odds with the vast, chaotic ocean of a void that surrounded it.
The void made me nervous as hell, and Litch Will Tyhlian had to be four kinds of insane to have made the jump to the pocket in the middle of all that nothingness. A void in the dream world was a very dangerous thing that even a highly skilled Shal-hazal avoided, and we were damn near gods of the dream world. To be pulled into a void was to disappear forever regardless of how god-like or skilled we were. No Shal-hazal had ever come back from a void and it was theorized that whatever got sucked into one ceased to exist. What made them even more treacherous was that they seemed to have an almost gravitational pull to them that was exceptionally hard to fight against even for a Shal-hazal who had years of experience. The strength of the void gravity increased with the size of the void and the one surrounding the dream pocket Litch Will Tyhlian had jumped to was huge. He was even more desperate than I’d thought if he made the leap for the pocket in an attempt to throw me off his trail. But if he could do it, then I had to follow.
The icy cold of the void speared me and stole the breath from my body as I made the leap to the dream pocket. I pulled viciously on the dream world, barely skimming over the void, until I suddenly stumbled onto the island of calm. Only my excellent reflexes kept me from eating a mouthful of dirt, but I still fell to my knees upon landing, panting hard from the effort of getting to the dream pocket and staying out of the pull of the surrounding void.
Tyhlian’s presence was very strong in the dream. It was like he hadn’t bothered to hide the fact that he’d not only been there, but had spent a fair bit of time in the dream as well. I wondered why he’d left such a visible trail when he’d worked so hard to erase himself from everywhere else he’d gone.
I felt the air ripple behind me with tendrils of the void slithering around. I whirled, my claws extended and my lips pulled back in a snarl, ready for anything. A man stood in front of me, his star-shot hair writhing around him and a look I can only call a mix of annoyance and curiosity on his face. He folded his arms across his chest and pinned me with a hard look that would’ve done any disapproving Awh’anise mother proud. I retracted my claws immediately, and my lips covered my fangs quickly, my aggression disappearing as fast as it had appeared. An apology for stars only knows what was suddenly on my lips, and I almost dropped my eyes to the ground guiltily for... I had no idea what.
“Just how many of you people are there jumping in and out of people’s dreams? I’m starting to think it’s pretty damn rude to just pop into someone’s dreams like this. What do you want?”
I was taken aback by the hostile attitude until I realized that this man had asked how many of “you people” there were. He was an aware dreamer. I didn’t encounter them often but they made working and twisting the dream more difficult - difficult but not impossible. I stiffened my spine and adopted a relaxed stance. The only Shal-hazal I could feel connected to this dreamer was Litch Will Tyhlian. I smiled in what I hoped was a non-threatening way and started to subtly manipulate the dream to get the dreamer to tell me what I needed to know.
“I’m looking for one of my brothers. Have you seen him? Six feet tall, brown hair, green eyes. He’s ill, and I need to find him. I have to take him home. So he can get well.”
The dreamer narrowed his eyes and snorted rudely at me. “You’re lying. I can feel it. Try again and give me the truth this time. I hate it when people lie to me, and it makes me rather angry. You really don’t want to know what happens when I get upset with someone. I’m not a nice man then.”
I was shocked. I hadn’t thought he’d know I was lying. He didn’t know me from a hole in the wall, so how could he possibly know I wasn’t telling him the truth? I certainly hadn’t expected him to call me on lying. Polite people didn’t do that sort of thing. And who did this man think he was to threaten <i>me</i> in the dream world? What the hell did he mean when he said he could feel me lying to him? That made no sense at all. I was subtly twisting the dream to suit my purposes. The dreamer shouldn’t have been able to tell that I wasn’t being truthful even if he was an aware dreamer. Shal-hazal were nearly gods in the dream world, and whatever we wanted to happen, did. Yet that obviously wasn’t happening with this dreamer, and I couldn’t figure out why.
“I’m looking for Shal-hazal Litch Will Tyhlian. He’s dangerously unstable. He’s going insane. I was sent to stop him before he killed someone.” I found myself answering almost against my will. I certainly didn’t mean to tell the dreamer any of that, and I pressed my lips together tightly to keep back the urge to add anything else.
The man stared at me for several minutes before he nodded his head in agreement. He gave me a hard stare that made me feel like a disobedient six-year-old kit that had been caught doing something I’d been told not to. I had no idea how he managed to do that without saying a word. I got the distinct impression that he didn’t like me, and I was at a complete loss as to why. Aside from initially lying about why I was in the dream, I hadn’t done anything to the man to make him dislike me. I hadn’t said a dozen sentences to him.
“He was here, but he didn’t stay long. I don’t want you here. Leave. Now.”
The command in the dreamer’s voice and utter surety that I’d do what he ordered pissed me off. With the exception of a Fire Snake, nobody dared to order a Shal-hazal around in the dream world. It simply wasn’t done. Between one eye blink and the next, I was standing toe to toe with the dreamer before he had the chance to move. I gripped his arms tightly, intending to scare him into telling me exactly when he’d last seen Litch Will Tyhlian, what they’d discussed and just what his connection to Litch Will Tyhlian was that would prompt a Shal-hazal to brave the vast void surrounding the dream pocket. The dreamer’s hair tangled around my arms and easily pulled them away from where I’d held onto him. I was trying to wrap my brain around that bit of strangeness when his next words made me pause and wonder what kind of person I was dealing with and whether he was as insane as my quarry or if, gods forbid, Litch Will Tyhlian had somehow infected a dreamer with craziness. Transferring his insanity to a dreamer was too horrifying to even think about and just because I’d never heard of it happening didn’t mean it couldn’t.
“Touching somebody like that is really very rude, and I don’t appreciate it one bit. I’m collapsing the calm and opening the void. I’d suggest you leave now, or you’ll never escape. Not that it makes any difference to me what you do, but you have been warned, and I refuse to be held responsible for your actions if you ignore my advice.”
I looked into the dreamer’s strange, pale rainbow eyes and watched them swirl hypnotically for several seconds before I managed to jerk my gaze away and looked around the dreamscape. The little island of calm was indeed crumbling at the edges, and the nothingness of the void was creeping over the ground around us. The island of calm actually seemed to be breaking apart faster as I watched it, and a queasy feeling settled in the pit of my stomach. This was bad- very bad.
I looked back at the man standing serenely in front of me as if the world wasn’t crumbling away at our feet. I tried to manipulate the dream world into re-forming, but the cold emptiness of the void simply flowed over whatever I touched, thwarting my efforts. I knew when to cut my losses and run, and this was a prime example of doing exactly that. I glanced up at the dreamer again. The man would be devoured by the void if he stayed, just as I would. I couldn’t simply leave him there to his fate with the void. While he seemed to have some problem with me, my honour as a Shal-hazal wouldn’t allow me to leave an innocent to be swallowed by a void if I could prevent it.
“Give me your hand, and I’ll take you from here,” I demanded as I eyed the shrinking ground and encroaching darkness of the void with growing nervousness.
“Why? The void can’t hurt me. I <i>am</i> the Void,” he said with a joyous laugh as he spread his arms wide to embrace the infringing nothingness.
I danced backwards as thick tendrils of the void flowed over him. I was sure a shocked expression covered my face, and I could’ve sworn on the life of a Vi’deshron that I heard him giggle in delight as the blackness washed over him, which really creeped me the hell out. Eventually, all I could see or hear was the pale, swirling rainbows of his eyes and soft laughter that was somehow unsettling despite how amused it sounded.
I wasted no further time and jumped from the dream straight into the waking world, the cold and utter nothingness of the void nipping at my heels. My eyes flew open, and a shiver wracked my body. My heart pounded in my chest, and my tail tip was puffed up bigger than I’d ever seen it in my life. I’d never had such a close encounter with a void in the dream world, and it damn near scared me spitless while it made a delicate looking man laugh with joy.
The dreamer was, by far, the strangest being I’d ever encountered in my years of dream walking. I had no proof and everything I’d ever been taught about the voids in the dream world pointed me in the opposite direction, but I was almost dead-certain he hadn’t been harmed one bit by the void though I had no idea how that was even possible. Regardless of that interesting puzzle, he was a clue in finding the man I hunted. I just had to figure out what the dreamer was and where to find him. Then I could question him in person about Litch Will Tyhlian, and there’d be no escaping me in the real world once I did get my hands on him.
I hadn’t realized that I’d dozed off, but I didn’t think I’d been asleep very long. Tyhlian was still out like a light and hadn’t moved a muscle as far as I could tell. I had no idea how long he’d sleep but figured he’d wake up when he was ready to. The woman who invaded my dream was interesting and troubling at the same time. She looked like the same species as Tyhlian, and he had mentioned that there were other Shal-hazal like him in the world. I simply hadn’t counted on meeting any of them or meeting one so soon after Tyhlian had shown up.
She’d appeared out of nowhere and lied to me about why she dropped into my dream. I was pretty sure she wasn’t Tyhlian’s sister and she most certainly wasn’t trying to bring him home to get better. There was no feeling of compassion from her. It was more like… like she had a job to do, and nothing or nobody was going to stand in her way to do that job. I was positive she was chasing Tyhlian for some reason and I highly doubted anything good would come to him if she found him. She was very focused on Tyhlian, and I was, for some reason, just as intent on her <i>not</i> finding him. Despite only knowing him for a very brief period of time, I wanted to keep him out of harm’s way, and that woman screamed harm at me. I wasn’t sure where that impulse came from, but it felt right.
I turned my attention to Tyhlian and watched him sleep as I played the tip of his tail over my lips. Tyhlian fascinated me just as much in the flesh as he had in my dream. He was very handsome, and as ridiculous as it probably sounded, I thought his delicately pointed ears were the cutest things ever. There was even the chance that I found him more eye-catching now that I’d shared that very hot kiss with him and felt all that lust and arousal directed at me. That made as much sense as anything when trying to figure out why I was so attracted to him when I’d never before really felt a pull towards another man. Sure, I’d noticed good-looking men before but never in an ‘I-want-to-see-you-naked-and-hard’ way like I did with Tyhlian.
The soft hair of his tail tip against my lips made me wonder what it would feel like over different parts of my body. My cheeks heated when I thought of how it might feel brushing over the head of my cock. My hand tightened briefly on his tail in reaction to the unexpected erotic idea, causing his tail to quiver and the soft hairs to tickle my lips before I loosened my grip.
Tyhlian’s tail tip waved back and forth slowly, the sensuous feel making my eyes half close in pleasure as it played over my lips and cheeks. I eventually dragged the tip down my throat and sighed even as I felt arousal start to gently wind through my body. The stray thought that if I thought Tyhlian’s tail tip felt very nice against my skin, I’d love to feel other parts of him against me as well flashed through my head. I let go of his tail with a guilty start, my cheeks warming further at the direction my brain seemed to want to go.
His tail, freed from my grip, slithered over my leg and twisted around my thigh, the tip resting against my growing bulge. I barely managed to hold back a groan at the gentle pressure against my cock that felt unbelievably good. I looked at Tyhlian’s face, and he appeared to still be sleeping. I bit my lip in indecision over touching him more as I wanted to. It was highly inappropriate to… molest the poor man while he slept. I also knew he was incredibly aroused by me and that in all probability, if he were awake and I asked to feel him up, he’d say “Yes, please.” My hair slithered over his body as I tried to decide whether to continue touching him or not, exploring him far more intimately than I would’ve with my hands and sending pleasure shivers through me. My hair knew what I wanted and took the appropriate action. I sighed softly in defeat and reached out to Tyhlian.
I traced my fingers over his arms, enjoying the firm feel and the suggestion of latent power he had even in sleep. I picked up his hand, another pleasure shiver travelling over me at the startlingly vivid ideas of the sensual things he could do with them. I examined his fingers and raised an eyebrow at the longer than normal nails he had. I blinked in surprise when a little gentle pressure on the pads of his fingers made long talons slide smoothly from the tips like the claws of a cat. They looked wickedly sharp and made me nervous and excited at the same time, which made absolutely no sense.
The palms of his hands were calloused and there were fine scars over his knuckles. There were faint scars on his arms as well. He was obviously a man used to violence. I spotted the dull gleam of black metal in the open neck of his sleeveless shirt and pulled the edge of it back. A fist-sized disk with four small hooked rays radiating from the edge hung from a sturdy chain around his neck. I pulled it from his shirt and turned it over.
The disk was surprisingly light and could be unhooked from the chain, so I freed it. There was a hole through the middle of the disk that was only a little bigger than the diameter of a finger, but aside from that, it had no other marks on it. The disk had the softly worn appearance of something that got regular use. I started to turn it back over to hook it onto the chain again, and it slipped from my fingers. I made a grab for it and swore under my breath when curved blades the length of the rays popped out of the ends of the rays and nicked two of my fingers. Stark white blood beaded up immediately and started to slide down my fingers. The disk fell to the bed between me and Tyhlian narrowly missing my leg as I stuck my bleeding fingers in my mouth.
I heard a low growl and looked down at Tyhlian. His eyes were open, and he was staring at me intently. His mouth opened a little, and I watched him take in a few deep breaths almost as if he was tasting the air. His elliptical pupils widened and narrowed quickly, reacting, I was sure, to whatever he scented. Tyhlian made a soft chuffing noise deep in his throat and licked his lips as he stared at me.
Tyhlian’s feelings of possession and protection with underlying threads of arousal wriggled under my shields, and an answering heat curled through me in reaction. He pushed himself up and noticed the disk lying beside him. Tyhlian picked it up and did something, and the blades disappeared. He hooked it back on the chain around his neck and dropped it down his shirt before he pulled my fingers from my mouth and examined the small cuts still bleeding sluggishly.
A sliver of remorse that I didn’t understand the reason for zipped from Tyhlian to me. He brought my injured fingers to his mouth and licked the cuts gently until the bleeding stopped, his eyes half closing as if in pleasure. My breathing sped up at the erotic feel of his tongue working over my fingers, and my cock started to firm. Tyhlian made a low purring noise that I thought was hot as hell, and I wondered if he’d make the same sound during sex. He abruptly dropped my hand as if burned and muttered softly under his breath. I felt his emotions spike and swing sharply between desire and guilt. He physically pulled a little away from me and seemed to be trying to cram his desire down. I didn’t understand why he was pulling back when I hadn’t protested his closeness. He obviously had very strong sexual feelings towards me but wasn’t going to follow through on his desires for some reason. I didn’t understand why but decided to follow his lead.
“What is that?” I asked as I touched the disk hidden under his shirt.
“A <i>Neksha</i>, the symbol of my office as a Shal-hazal. It also happens to be a pretty deadly weapon. You’re lucky you didn’t lose a finger,” he answered.
I raised an eyebrow at that. Sure, the blades had been very sharp, but I didn’t think they were sharp enough to slice off a finger. Then again, I’d only seen it briefly, so I was hardly an expert on the weapon. I wouldn’t want something that dangerous hanging around my neck. Good lord, the possibilities of something going wrong and the blades popping out and stabbing into my chest were scary. But, I already knew Tyhlian was a dangerous man, and it suited him to have such a dangerous piece of hardware so close.
I didn’t normally like dangerous men because they made me twitchy as hell with all the violent emotions sliding around them. It just seemed like the danger I could feel from Tyhlian added another layer of attraction and arousal to him, and I didn’t understand that at all when I’d never felt that way before. Then again, I’d never felt attracted to a man like I did to Tyhlian.
“It’s a weapon? How do you use it? I would think that it’d be hard if not impossible to stab somebody with it.”
“It’s a thrown weapon. I pop the blades out and whip it at my target. If it doesn’t embed into whomever I throw it at, it comes back to me and I can throw it again.”
“It comes back to you? How in the world do you catch it without slicing off a finger or two?” I asked in fascination.
“Do you see that hole in the center? I hook a claw into that as it comes at me. It takes years of practice to learn how to use one, and only the Shal-hazal are allowed them.”
The feelings of arousal coming from Tyhlian were slowly ebbing to a background level, and he was even physically relaxing. The jumble of emotions that I’d felt before Tyhlian knocked himself out were still there but muted, and it triggered my curiosity once again about Tyhlian and what he’d told me before he head-butted the wall.
“Why did you run straight at the wall? Why did you say you’d hurt me? How did you end up with my Risdepa on your arm? What exactly is a Shal-hazal? Why did that woman in my dream say you were dangerously unstable and going insane? What’s a Shal-hazal Litch? What’s a Lor’fei?” I asked in rapid fire succession.
Tyhlian paled and gripped my upper arms tightly. “What woman in your dream?” Tyhlian demanded, the calm he’d had moments ago vanishing as if it’d never been.
Worry rolled through him along with shards of panic and fear. Oddly, the fear wasn’t for himself but directed at me. He wasn’t suddenly afraid <i>of</i> me but afraid <i>for</i> me, and I had no idea why. Where the woman grabbing my arms had annoyed me greatly, having Tyhlian grab me the same way made my belly flutter in a manner that had nothing to do with fear and everything to do with arousal. I was surprised at that. I never would have thought that I’d like the feeling of having somebody take control of me, but I’d also never been in that kind of situation before. Maybe it was only Tyhlian that could make me feel that way.
My hair reacted to the sudden surge of arousal through my veins from Tyhlian’s hands on me and tightened briefly around his arms and legs before starting a sensuous slide over his skin. Arousal washed over me from Tyhlian at the caress, and he growled softly. His fingers momentarily gripped my arms almost hard enough to bruise before he gentled his hold.
“I can’t believe I’m going to ask this, but could you pull your hair away from me? It’s erotically distracting, and I really need to focus on this woman from your dream and who I think she might be. I need you to describe her to me as best as you can remember and tell me what she said to you. This is really important, Dakvir.”
My face heated in embarrassment at the same time that I felt all manner of pleased with myself that Tyhlian liked the feel of my hair moving over his body. I coiled my hair around my body and mostly succeeded if one didn’t count the stray hairs that were determined to continue slithering over Tyhlian’s skin because that was obviously something I wanted to continue doing because I liked the feel of his skin. I muttered under my breath when those last few strands simply refused to behave and ended up gathering my hair up with my hands and once again twisting it into a large hank that I wrapped around my arm. Tyhlian smirked at me, and I had to resist the surprisingly strong urge to flip him off. Once I had my rebellious hair somewhat under control, I organized my thoughts and spoke.
“The woman looked to be the same species as you. A bit shorter. Light brown eyes and dark blonde, shoulder-length hair. She might’ve been in her thirties or forties, but I don’t really know how well your people age, so I can’t say for sure. She wasn’t some teenager, and she wasn’t old either. She also had a scar that went from under her left ear diagonally across her throat to her right collarbone. It looked long-healed. She first said you were her brother- that you were sick and that she was only trying to find you to bring you home to get better. I knew that was a lie though. She called you a Litch and said that you were going insane and she was sent to stop you before you killed somebody. Does that help? Who is she?”
Tyhlian swore softly and closed his eyes. I could feel anger starting to leak from him and didn’t know why. It wasn’t directed at me but seemed to be focused towards himself. His grip on my arms loosened further, and he dropped his head as he inhaled deeply several times. When he looked back up at me, I could see rigid control and determination in his eyes. He carefully let go of my arms and rested his hands on his thighs. He looked relaxed, but I could feel a strong, roiling mix of emotions coming from him. I wanted to soothe him, but I was at a complete loss as to how.
He wasn’t responding to the calming aura I gave off, and I’d never had that happen before. Every species I’d ever encountered responded to my calming aura. I could’ve opened the void a little and pulled the negative emotions from him, but that was a huge breach of etiquette to me, and I wouldn’t do that without asking first. I saw draining away emotions from somebody without asking first, even if those feelings were harmful to the person, a bigger invasion than groping a person with my hair.
“You said you needed my help. Did you mean about the people in your head or does that woman have something to do with it? She seemed very intent on finding you, and I don’t think she wants you to get better. How can I help you?”
Tyhlian remained quiet for so long, I thought he wasn’t going to answer me. I couldn’t help him if I didn’t know what I was supposed to help him with. Not that I was even sure <i>how</i> I was supposed to help him, but I wanted to. I waited for him to speak, somehow knowing that prodding him further would get me no response. I could wait. I had an amazing amount of patience. Almost ten minutes passed without either of us saying a word although I did feel all manner of tangled emotions coming from him. He seemed to finally come to a decision and raised his eyes to mine. There was determination in his gaze as well as a sudden distance. I thought I could understand the determination, but I was puzzled over the distance when all his actions towards me so far had been about getting closer to me.
“I’m going insane because I’m a Shal-hazal Litch. Every Litch eventually goes crazy because of what we do, but being a Shal-hazal isn’t something you choose to do. You’re born into it. The only way to refuse to be a Shal-hazal is suicide. When my Shal-hazal class was revealed to me, I had the option of offing myself, but I made the choice to live and make the most of the limited time I knew I’d have. Until I met you in the dream world, I didn’t think there was anything I could do about my growing madness and ultimate death at the hands of the Hunter sent after me,” Tyhlian said with a sigh.
Loneliness swirled through Tyhlian, and the expression in his face made me want to comfort him even more. I wanted to wrap him in my hair, pull him close and just hug him until the sadness left him. That was highly unusual for me and a little shocking. Not that I was a compassionless bastard, but I tried very hard not to let myself get twisted up in other people’s feelings because their reactions to me were almost universal and never pleasant for me. I could usually sort out other’s emotions without too much problem, but my own often left me floundering. My hair started to slide off my arm to touch Tyhlian, and I shoved it back into place before resting my hand on his arm in the small gesture I hoped would keep my wandering hair semi-content.
He looked at my hand on his arm in surprise. Pleasure flared bright through his emotions and was quickly followed by lust. He licked his lips, and a soft purring growl that I found oddly erotic sounded from his throat. He inhaled, and the feeling of arousal coming from him spiked before levelling off. He scrubbed a hand over his face and looked at me with banked heat in his eyes.
“Would you mind if we moved this discussion off the bed? I’m doing my best here, but your scent is very erotic to me, and when that’s mixed with the whiffs of arousal I keep getting from you… it’s taking a hell of a lot of my rather shaky control to keep from jumping you.”
As inappropriate as it was, I laughed in delight at the news that he was having a hard time resisting me. I didn’t get that compliment very often. Actually, I’d never had anyone tell me that. A few tendrils of hair escaped and wound around Tyhlian’s fingers. He growled very softly and his tail tip still pressed against my crotch twitched over my semi-hard cock making me suck in a sharp, pleasure-filled breath. The look he shot me was filled with heat and want. I suddenly got the sense that I was playing with something far more dangerous that I should be and hurriedly pulled my hair away from him. He moved off the bed as soon as he was free of my hair and towards the chairs we’d been sitting in earlier. I followed and sat in the chair opposite him and waited.
“My people are the Awh’anise. Shal-hazal are a branch of the Awh’anise military. Although Shal-hazal are born with the ability to move through and manipulate the dreams of others, we do require intense training from the time we’re six years old to learn how to maximize our potential. Shal-hazal are divided into four classes. I’m of the Litch class. The woman in your dream is of the Warrior class, and she has specialized to become a Litch Hunter. She’s chasing me, and when she finds me, she’ll kill me. It’s nothing personal. It’s just a job to her. We’ve never even met. Despite Shal-hazal Healers researching and trying everything they can think of, ultimately, death is the only way to deal with an insane Litch.”
“She’s been sent to kill you? I knew there was something I didn’t like about her. I’m glad I kicked her out of my dream. So why exactly are you going insane?”
Tyhlian looked at me in surprise. “You kicked her out of your dream! Seriously? How?”
“I asked her to leave, and when she didn’t, I collapsed the dream, and the void washed through. She seemed afraid of the void, so I thought she’d leave if I let the void swallow everything.” I got the feeling from Tyhlian’s reaction that getting a Shal-hazal to leave your dream if they didn’t want to leave wasn’t something that happened very often. I was suddenly very pleased with myself.
“Every Shal-hazal knows to steer clear of the voids in the dream world. No Shal-hazal has ever come back from one, so I don’t doubt that a void crawling over the ground would freak her out. Hell, it would freak out any Shal-hazal even one not quite in his right mind.”
“So I freaked you out?” Disappointment was strong in me, and I barely managed to stifle a depressed sigh.
“No, but there’re special circumstances where you’re involved, but I’ll get to that in a bit,” Tyhlian said with a smile.
I felt amusement flow from Tyhlian to me along with strong sensations of possession and arousal. As easily as that the beginnings of my disillusionment lifted from me at Tyhlian’s words. I started to open my mouth to ask more questions, but Tyhlian held up his hand, so I pressed my lips together.
“Shal-hazal Litches are assassins and information retrieval specialists. We eliminate our contracts by taking their mind into our own, leaving the body as nothing more than a husk. Once we absorb the mind, the body dies in a matter of minutes. As you can imagine, the people we purge are not very happy at their change in circumstances and continually let us know. After a while, those individuals start whispering things—things they enjoyed doing when they were alive and would like to continue doing using my body as their new vehicle. Over time, the whispers get louder and louder until eventually, they’re screaming at me. After they’re in a Litch’s mind long enough, they learn to co-operate with the other voices also trapped there and will try and take control of the Litch’s body. The things they urge the Litch host to do are never nice. The people we remove are not good people. We can’t hold out forever. No matter how strong your strength of will is, eventually you falter. After that, it’s only a matter of time before we start doing what all those voices are urging us to do.”
“So these… people remain aware? They know they’re dead?” I asked as I tried to wrap my brain around that.
Tyhlian nodded and dragged a hand through his hair. He leaned his head back and stared at the ceiling as he spoke.
“I have forty-three contracts on my record. Forty-three of the most vile, morally repulsive people you’d ever want to meet. And that’s only the official number. There are more than that living in my head. Sometimes I’ve needed to eliminate others to reach my target. I don’t take a life lightly, but I have a job to do, and trust me when I say getting rid of the people I have has made the universe a much safer place. I’ve been a Litch for ten years. That’s several years longer than any other Litch in the past couple of centuries. Even so, I know I’m sliding into insanity, and I’ve been taken off active duty and put on the hunted list.”
“But that’s not fair. Why don’t they help you instead of trying to kill you? There must be something that can be done,” I protested.
“A Litch gets temporary energy from each kill. It makes us very powerful, even for a Shal-hazal, for a brief period of time. The voices eventually come to realize that little bonus and will try and get their Litch host to kill random people for the boost in power. Knowing that, would you want an insane individual running amok around the galaxy gaining extraordinary abilities even if that’s for a short period of time? A determined individual can accomplish a lot in just a few days with vast amounts of power at his disposal. Some of the contracts living in my head ruled countries. I have one that controlled an entire planet with an iron fist. Just because he’s dead doesn’t mean he’s given up on ruling a planet.”
Oh. Well that certainly put a different slant on things. Not that I was overly concerned about what Tyhlian had done in his past. I’d dealt with all kinds of people in my job as a negotiator. Quite a few of them had been less than stellar examples of humanity. What Tyhlian did for a living wasn’t really any concern of mine. Based on what he’d told me, I had a million questions I wanted to ask Tyhlian. Things like… How had he managed to remain a Litch longer than any other? Just how many people were living in his head? What kind of abilities or power did he mean he got from a kill? As curious as I was about those things, there was a larger question I had and wanted answered.
“So how am I supposed to help you? I’m not a doctor or psychologist. While I am a respected negotiator, I can’t offer you asylum or anything like that. And with this Hunter of yours moving through dreams to track you down, even if I could offer you asylum, it probably wouldn’t help at all.”
Tyhlian leaned forward in his seat and clasped his hands together. He stared at me intently and took a deep breath as if steeling himself against my reaction to whatever he was going to say.
“When we first met in your dream, you somehow took away three of the voices. They’re gone, completely not just scared into silence. Believe me, I know the difference. Whatever you did that time, I need you to do it again. If all the voices are gone, I won’t go insane, and the Hunter chasing me won’t have reason to kill me. I don’t want to die, Dakvir,” Tyhlian said intently. “If you can do that for me, there’s also hope for other Litches. Not that I expect you to save all of us, but maybe if we knew what you did, we could train Shal-hazal or somebody else to do the same thing. Or maybe it would even help the Shal-hazal Healers to explore a new line of thought in the way to treat insane Litches.”
I’d taken away some of the voices for Tyhlian? <i>Huh</i>. I had no idea how I’d done that. I’d instinctually opened the void inside me when the voices rushed me. It hadn’t been any kind of planned thing. I had just done it. I wasn’t even sure that I could repeat what happened in the dream, but I was willing to try. I didn’t think, however, I could teach anyone else to do whatever it was that I’d done. That would require a person to have a void inside him, and as far as I knew, I was the only individual in existence with a void.
“Okay. I can try to do that again, but I’m not really sure how I did it the first time. The voices… I suppose the best description is that they startled me, when they rushed me and that made me open my void,” I said as I tried to think about how I could get rid of those voices for Tyhlian.
“Your void? I’m not sure I follow. You can’t own a void. It’s not something you can hold in your hand or put in your pocket. It just… is.”
“No, no, I am The Void. As far as I know, I’m the only one like this among my people. There have been other Voids through Laiokian history, but we’re exceedingly rare and even then, very few of us manage to make it to adulthood before we’re killed out of fear. I was born with a void inside me, and it is a very real thing. I can manipulate it to remove emotions or memories from people. If I really had to, I could completely wipe someone’s personality from them so they were a blank slate for me to shape into whatever I choose. I wouldn’t do that though as I think that’s wrong. I also don’t remove emotions or memories very much as it’s dangerous for the person I’m taking things away from. One screw up on my part, a little too much exposure to my void, and I could turn them into nothing but a mindless husk or even kill them. I’m also an empath and that tends to make some people uncomfortable. They say they don’t like knowing that I can feel what they feel. A person can be a consummate liar, but their emotions will always speak the truth.”
Tyhlian’s mouth dropped open in a surprised <i>oh</i>, and I think I rendered him speechless.
That was a reaction I was well used to getting from people when they found out just what I was. I didn’t typically go around telling everybody I met, but there were occasions where I explained why other Laiokians hated me. Tyhlian may have been temporarily speechless, but there was no fear or disgust coming from him. He watched me intently, and I could still feel tendrils of desire coming from him despite what I’d just told him about myself. That’d never happened before and it was making me nearly giddy to know that he was still aroused by me. Genuine desire for me once a person knew what I was wasn’t something I was familiar with at all, and it was damn heady stuff.
There were tiny threads of wariness coming from Tyhlian, but I assumed that was because he’d told me he killed for a living, that he was going crazy and there was nothing he could do about it and that there was a death warrant on his head. Most people would probably back away very slowly from him and quite possibly call the local authorities on him as soon as they could. Lucky for Tyhlian, I wasn’t most people. I was intrigued not repulsed. There was also the crazy strong desire he seemed to stir in me, and I wanted to see where that would take me.
The more I was around him and felt the flow of his arousal for me, the more curious I became to experience Tyhlian in my bed. My mind simply refused to let go of the idea of what it’d be like to be the focus of and reap the benefits of all that lust Tyhlian was working so hard to repress. I’d been curious for a while about sex between men but never had the opportunity to try it. Opportunity was now practically waving a rock hard dick in my face, and I’d be a moron to ignore that.
I had to work to suppress a giggle as the perfect payment for the services Tyhlian needed from me burst into life in my head. As far as I could tell, it would be a win/win situation for both of us. My people were never as forward as I was about to be, but I’d learned that if I didn’t take matters into my own hands, I’d never experience anything.
“I have a price for whatever work I do. Even though I really like you, Tyhlian, I don’t work for free,” I said with a little smile.
“Name your price, Dakvir. This means my life, and I’ll give you whatever you want as long as it’s within my power,” Tyhlian said as he leaned forward in his seat eagerly, his emotions flaring brightly with hope.
I smiled and schooled my features to hide my excitement. Tyhlian fascinated me. He was a handsome man. He exuded sensuality. He was already wearing my Risdepa. There was just something about him that made me want to be with him. What could it hurt for me to see what it would be like to sleep with him? I already knew he was an utterly fantastic kisser. I wanted to know what else he was good at. I got the feeling that with somebody as intense as Tyhlian, he’d be very good at a number of things, and many of those would involve sex.
“Dakvir? What’s your price?”
I licked my lips in sudden nervousness at what I was about to say. I was pretty sure he’d jump at the chance based on the arousal he was radiating, but there was always the chance he’d say no for some reason. I didn’t do terribly well with rejection, often taking it far more personally than was intended, but if I didn’t throw the idea out there, I’d never know.
“You, in my bed.”