Prince Hammand was to go out with Chief Bani Manz for most of the day to do some inspections. The first thing he wanted to do was have Asgar meet Miriam. He hoped she had returned from her trip, she was usually back by this time. In fact she seemed to have stayed longer this time, or maybe it was just his eagerness.
“Go and find out if Mother Miriam has returned,” he ordered the slaves who had just finished cleaning out his bath. The frightened look on their faces disappeared when they realized they were only being sent on an errand and had done nothing wrong. They began to scramble off in relief.
“Be sure to come back with the news at once.”
“Yes, my prince,” they muttered in unison, walking backwards and bowing as they retreated.
Asgar chuckled from underneath the bed covers. He had been peeking but had kept out of sight of the slaves. He sat up with a smile, still a little groggy.
“You know you scared them.”
“I didn’t mean to. I’ve never been harsh to them so why would they be afraid of me?” he muttered, sitting on the bed.
“It’s possible they may be treated differently outside of your chambers so may not expect anything different from you.”
“Who’s Mother Miriam?” Asgar asked, sliding to the edge of the luxurious bed and making sure to keep his eyes averted from the prince’s body when he noticed he was getting dressed.
Hammand smiled thoughtfully, “She nursed me from birth and practically raised me.” Asgar nodded, subconsciously knowing that the royals did not nurse their babies themselves. “She is like a mother to me, we’re very close. She has been out of town for a while. I’m hoping she’s back by now.”
Miriam was a quiet, strangely eclectic person and for this reason most people seemed to fear her. Before she was chosen to nurse Prince Hammand, she was the priestess of Akin Ra. It had happened by chance really. The young wet nurse who had been set aside to help the Queen had run off with the servant who had gotten her pregnant and there was no woman around who could produce milk. It was unheard of for a Queen to nurse in these parts but the baby was weakening. Everyone had been terrified of what could happen.
There had been such a long, frantic search for a nurse and it was thought to be strange that there were no women who still had milk anywhere close. By the time Miriam was found walking aimlessly in the forest by chance, the royal family was desperate. She had been weeping for days on end for she had just lost her baby.
“Will you help us?” she had been asked by the head adviser when she arrived at the palace. All the advisers and healers had surrounded her, ready to do anything, give anything to keep her there. The crowd of people should have frightened Miriam; she was usually such a solitary creature. But she had looked around her and felt a calmness that told her she was in the right place.
“Yes” she had said. She had plenty of milk to spare to the one who needed her. The one she was sent here for. She would give all she could. It was her destiny after all.
No one questioned how she had found her way there.
“Where are you from, maiden?” She had been asked amidst whispers of thanks and praise.
“Far away” she had said simply, offering nothing more. And that was all there was to it. There were no more enquiries from that point.
No one knew anything more about the young maiden. No one questioned her pregnancy or her marital status, even though she was alone. No one questioned how she came to know that the Queen needed a nurse for her new baby. At that time, not a lot of people were even aware the Queen had given birth. But it was accepted.
It was never questioned.
The royal house had been so happy and relieved to have a nurse at last. They could not take the chance that she would run off like the first nurse had so Miriam was given all she asked for; in their eyes her requests were meager. All she asked was to keep her duties as a healer and priestess alongside taking care of the prince; to take care of him until he himself decided he no longer had need for her.
She had been whisked off to the Queen who promptly passed her Prince Hammand without even asking her name; so relieved that she would not have to nurse him herself. Miriam had happily taken baby Hammand on and they had been like mother and child ever since. This was mainly because he was the youngest son out of three and no one paid too much attention to him other than ensure he was well taken care of. She loved him like he was her own and she would protect him with her life. Everyone who knew them in the region knew that. The prince knew that. He loved her just as much.
Prince Hammand had grown up hearing tales of her regular haunts in the forests; with spirits and animals. He lived for her intriguing tales when he was younger and always wanted to go with her into the forest but his parents never permitted it. That was one privilege that was never granted her. Prince Hammand suspected she did not wish this. He knew she had a way of getting what she wanted. She must not have wanted him along anyway.
As he got older, his interest in her work in the forests had waned. He looked back on her stories as fairytales told simply to entertain his childish mind. She found the change amusing but never questioned his new view; she just let him go ahead with it. It did not affect her work and he did not challenge it either so she did not take offence.
Prince Hammand really hoped she was back.
* * * *
Miriam knew something new awaited her at the palace. While she had been picking herbs, she had felt a long familiar burning in her shoulder blades. It was a surprise, albeit a frightening one.
It was not possible. How?
The last time she had felt that pain was when she had approached the baby prince. That was a lifetime ago.
At the time she had simply been puzzled at the pain and when she had gotten the courage to look, she found an imprint of the ankh right between her shoulder blades. She had never questioned its appearance, taking it in her stride with her usual acceptance of all things spiritual. It was life. It was Prince Hammand. All these years, she had thought her work was with Prince Hammand alone.
But now that she felt it again, she worried. She was too old to nurse, too old to care for a baby like it should be cared for with a lot of energy and love. She was unsure she could give what was expected of her, but it would be the will of Akin Ra. Not to be disobeyed. Ever.
She was even more afraid when she got a look at her back.
“How can this be?” she had questioned. It was a second ankh, a much larger one this time. It enveloped the older imprint completely whilst keeping it still in view and they shone brightly in gold and black hues. Both, in turn, were wrapped in vines of ivy and numerous tiny flowers; yellow acacia, forget me nots, gladiolus and lily all spotted delicately with dew.
This puzzled her beyond words and she spent nights going over it in her head. She deciphered its possible meaning but was so confused at the strange implications of that idea that her unease and turmoil continued. The confusion also made her uncomfortable, it was such an alien emotion after years of knowing most things with relative ease. Her first instinct had been to rush back to the palace but she forced herself to calm down and make as much sense of it as she could. After all no harm had come to Prince Hammand, she would have known if it had.
She even stayed an extra day out there to pray as hard as she could and put forth offerings to the Gods for the sake of her son. When she eventually made her way back, she was no less confused than she had been when the imprint appeared. Maybe her son would have answers.
* * * *
The slaves brought back news that Miriam had just returned from her quarterly herb hunt and prayer escape in the forest.
“Would that be all my prince?” the taller of the slaves asked with a bowed head.
Prince Hammand made sure to smile at them. “Yes,” he said brightly, “that is all. I am happy you brought me good news. Tell the head cook to give you eggs with your next meal. You are to report to me with the food to confirm he has done this. Tell him that.”
The slaves nodded vigorously and hopped away in delight. Hammand felt very good with himself for playing a part in their joy.
“That was a very nice thing to do.” Asgar’s voice came from behind him. He turned around and blushed. The big man was just out of the bath. He was bare-chested with a towel wrapped around his waist. The towel was one of Hammand’s; it was small and didn’t leave much to the imagination. His toned thighs were partially exposed and rippling.
He was wet all over.
“I’m not a bad person… am I?” his voice had gone hoarse from what he was seeing.
“No my prince. You’re a good person.” Asgar whispered, somehow suddenly in front of him and stroking his cheek. Asgar’s hand was cold from his bath and yet the prince had to fight not to lean into it. He failed, Asgar smelt so good, so fresh, he couldn’t resist. He just wanted to keep breathing him in. “But you are a prince. You are Prince Hammand of Renadi, the largest of the five regions of Goren. The most beautiful prince in the entire country.”
“Asgar, don’t say that. I am not beautiful!”
“Yes you are my prince. You have no idea… how… perfect you are.” Hammand blushed at the sincerity in his voice, hiding his burning face in Asgar’s cool palm. “People will fear you for who you are, whether you are good or not. But it is good to show them mercy and kindness as much as you can.”
“You will remind me of this when I forget. Won’t you?” he asked softly, breath warm against Asgar’s palm.
“I don’t think you will forget…” Asgar’s other hand went to the other side of his face, cupping his cheek and tilting his face up. “But I’ll be here… for anything you need.”
Their eyes held at the promise in his words, for somehow it sounded like it meant a great deal more. Prince Hammand wanted to reply but his throat felt clogged with emotion so he simply swallowed his words. There was something building between them, he could not tell what but he could feel it so strongly. It was a wonderful feeling yet it frightened him so.
The huge man bent over and let their foreheads, then their noses, touch. The tension was crackling in the air as they breathed each other.
“Anything…” Asgar promised tenderly as he lifted his head.
Prince Hammand felt a strong fluttering in his lower belly and took a step back. Asgar’s hands dropped slowly and he made to pull off the towel. The prince’s eyes widened in fright and the big man let out a chuckle but stopped, waiting. Hammand tried not to stare at Asgar’s body but it was difficult considering the man was so entrancing… and half naked. His face was red hot as he turned away, heading towards the door.
“I’m… I…” he took a deep breath to calm his nerves. “I’m going to meet Mother Miriam. I will be back soon.”
“Shall I wait here? Or are you gone for the day?”
“Yes!” Hammand rasped, fighting the urge to turn to face him for he could hear the flapping of the towel as Asgar dried himself. Oh God, he was completely naked right now. If he turned around, he would see all of him. Hammand had no idea why this excited him so much.
“I mean no.” he corrected himself, shaking his head to clear it. “I’ll be back very soon.”
He rushed off before the urge to turn overwhelmed him, the echo of Asgar’s amusement behind him. Hammand could not help but smile.
It had been over two weeks since he had purchased Asgar and he had been itching for her to get back from her haunt. Time dragged on endlessly with no sign of her. It was beginning to seem like she was staying in the haunt longer than normal.
He usually didn’t fuss about her being in the forest any longer as she had done it for so long and had proved that she could take care of herself in every situation. But he was itching for her to meet Asgar so bad that it felt like forever. Not that he would accept anyone’s opposition to his new friend at this point but he wanted to know what she thought of him at least; if she liked him. Her opinion mattered a lot to him.
Now he had word that she had returned, he was excited to hear that at last. He hoped Asgar wouldn’t mind for he was certainly not letting him go off with Shetna or the servants for the day while he was away with his father. He hated doing that for deep inside he did not want Asgar to associate with the other slaves at all if he could help it.
To try and avoid any coercing from the big man, he went off to Miriam’s first and then, on arrival, sent some of his guards to bring Asgar to him when he was ready.
“Mother!” he called out as he entered the secondary royal kitchen. She was nowhere in sight, just four female slaves working at the hearth. They jumped up at the sight up at his appearance, scrambling to stand in line and bow as they straightened their clothes. “Relax…” the prince said with a nod.
“Where is Mother Miriam?” he queried.
“She is down in the cellar my prince. Shall we fetch her?”
“No.” he said, waving them off. “Go back to work. I will go to her myself.”
He walked down into the cellar, his excitement increasing as he went down the long flight of stairs so by the last few he was hopping. “Miriam? Mother?”
She was by the clay pots, dishing out some herbs into a tray. Her eyes lit up at the sound of his voice and she put the tray down on a pot, holding her arms out to her beloved son.
They hugged with a laugh, Miriam wondering at Hammand’s unusual excitement. He was practically dancing on his feet.
“Have you missed me so much?” she teased when they pulled apart, her eyes twinkling like they did when she was happy. She was still a good-looking woman despite being past her prime. Her hair was very long and braided; it reached past her waist and was streaked with gray on the right side as if by design.
“Of course I missed you!” he laughed as her face filled with amused disbelief, rambling on “Okay, I have been waiting for you to get back. Why did you stay so long? Come, let’s go up to the kitchen and sit down. I have so much to tell you, mother. I met someone… well, not really met, more like I bought someone…”
Even as he filled Miriam in on what had happened in her absence, his mind kept going back to Asgar; so much that he did not notice that his mother was not her usual self.
He knew Asgar would be mad that he didn’t return to his chamber like he had assured. He would probably be even more surprised at the guards too. Just waiting for him to arrive was making him more nervous and jittery by the second.
So when he was brought in, the prince subtly hid behind Miriam to escape his stare. Miriam smiled to herself, wondering what was going on. The prince had been excitedly telling her all about the new slave he bought, how huge he was, how perfect he was, how handsome he was, how deep his eyes were… she had never seen her son like this.
The guards left, bowing and only Asgar stood there, trying to catch his eye after nodding respectfully at Miriam. The prince wouldn’t budge from her back. “Asgar, this is Mother Miriam.”
“My greetings…” the huge man hesitated, unsure how to address the woman. She sized him up intently and he waited calmly for her opinion. Prince Hammand seemed to be waiting too for he became quiet. It was like they were both holding their breath.
Miriam took her time to look him over like she did everyone she met who had a connection with her ward. Her immediate thought was that he was no slave, bought or not. No wonder Hammand was hiding from him. He looked like a King, his tall powerful frame imposing yet magnificent. Intense eyes made even darker and more mesmerizing by hooded thick dark brows. He was quite handsome too and very muscular but lean; he must have been a warrior of some sort in his past life. He most certainly was something important.
Most people of such great height tended to stoop to others; he on the other hand held his head up high and proud. You had to look up high to meet his gaze and she was 5”7. She wondered how her son managed with him, little as he was. He was giggling softly behind her so it looked like he was managing just fine. This was interesting.
Even more interesting was the tingling on her back. The imprint was identifying its connection, giving her the answer she needed. Miriam felt her body sag as it relaxed instantly at the revelation. She struggled to keep from closing her eyes in relief as it flooded through her. She knew what it all meant now and it was a wondrous thing.
“Call me Miriam.” Her smile flashed brightly in her wonder.
“Miriam it is. It’s very nice to meet you Miriam.” He looked over her shoulder again. She smiled at him slightly, still appraising.
“And you are?”
Asgar looked over her shoulder, a bit hesitant to speak for himself when his master was there. “Prince Hammand?” He wanted the prince to come out of his hiding and introduce him however he saw fit.
“He’s my com…friend. He is called Asgar.”
“A slave?” Miriam murmured with a smile. “That’s a surprise little prince, you never showed any interest in slaves before. He is very tall and proud. I must say he is very unlike what one would expect a slave to look like. I hear you bought him yourself…”
“Miriamma, don’t tease. He’s standing right there!” Hammand moaned in embarrassment. He had told her all this himself already, she didn’t hear it from anywhere else!
Asgar laughed and walked towards in the chair Miriam’s hand directed him to. It was round the side of the worktable and past two other chairs, which puzzled him. He went anyway and when he sat down he realized what she was doing.
He could see the prince now, looking so incredibly cute as he crouched behind Miriam. He blushed furiously when his eyes met with Asgar and covered his face with his hands. But he was still giggling though, which was good.
“Don’t be mad…” he giggled, peeking a little at the huge man.
“I’m not mad, my prince. Come here,” Asgar held out his hand, his voice soft.
Miriam raised her eyebrows in surprise at the way the slave spoke to Hammand. She turned away in though, bustling over to the farther side of the kitchen to give them their space. Hammand walked slowly to him and put his small hand in Asgar’s large one, looking at the size difference in fascination. Asgar clamped down and pulled the small man to him until he was practically sitting in his lap.
He whispered in his ear, “You were supposed to come back,” Hammand shivered a little. “I waited for you. Is something wrong?”
“No, nothing’s wrong. I just wanted you to stay with Miriama for a while…I –” He cringed visibly as he spoke, waiting for Asgar to explode. Asgar saw this and strove to control himself even though he was now getting a bit upset.
“So am I her ‘companion’ now?”
“No!” came the shocked gasp. “I have to go with Father today for the inspections and cannot take my own slave,” he didn’t finish that sentence, “but other than outings like that, I will have you with me. Promise.”
Asgar didn’t answer; the words hit him like a bullet. He had let go of Hammand’s hand now and was trying to deal with the prospect of being nothing but a pet, beautiful master or no. This could not be his life; this could not be his existence. He didn’t want to frighten the prince again with his anger so he kept his turmoil to himself.
He simply looked up and stared at Hammand, his anger and despair showing blatantly.
A small hand touched his tentatively but he snatched his away as if it burned. Prince Hammand was mortified, he turned to Miriam with teary eyes and she nodded towards the door, indicating that he go ahead and leave them alone.
“I... I’m sorry,” he choked painfully to the big man and rushed from the room.
Asgar let out a deep breath as the tension dissipated with Prince Hammand’s departure. Miriam put a cool but strange looking drink before him and sat down at the table with her own different drink clasped in her hand.
He drank it with relief, enjoying the somewhat familiar bittersweet taste. It perked him up a bit.
Miriam was smiling at him, “I suspected you would like that… more?”
He nodded and she went off to the cupboard and poured him more. He drank with relish, smacking his lips “I know this drink…I have it every morning…” He shook his head a bit. “I mean I think I did.”
“I hear you lost your memory. So you do remember bits here and there?” A nod. “That’s something at least. Like this drink… mmh. You are definitely not what you seem, proud one.”
Unknown to Asgar, the drink she had given him was from the Chief’s coffers. It was a drink saved only for the royals. It was regarded as the nectar of the Gods and there were not a lot of the berries around. If he remembered taking it each morning, then… there were possibilities. But the reality of that was not good at all. She wondered if she should warn Hammand about this. Shetna had already told her at the gate that he had warned him from the start. From the looks of things now and the effect the man had on the prince, it was obvious it would be even more difficult to convince him to sell Asgar off. She doubted that they could do anything to change the situation now with the ankh on her back. Whether he stayed or not, the die had been cast; it was in the hands of the Gods now.
“He does not mean to offend, proud one. You must know that.” He nodded slowly. “We will find things of interest for you to do, don’t worry. I will help him with that.”
He thanked her and then began to relax as they chatted. His relaxation seemed to help quell most of the tingling in her back. It most definitely was him that it was connected to. Before long she had him helping her with most of the lifting around the royal side-kitchen. She knew that as they got closer and he got totally comfortable around her, the tingling would disappear completely just as Prince Hammand’s had.
She, for one, liked him already.
* * * *
Over the next few weeks Asgar discovered there were actually a good number of things he could help Hammand with.
He had gone with him to the royal library, where Prince Hammand sat at the largest table with documents and ledgers strewn all over it. “This is one of my main responsibilities.” He said at Asgar’s puzzled look, “I found I was very good with numbers when I was younger and my father gave me the duty of doing the taxes when I turned 14 years old.”
He smiled shyly under the big man’s admiration. “I levy taxes and borrow money as and when the royal house needs it.”
“That is impressive. My prince is a genius.” Asgar exclaimed, earning a blush from Hammand. “But your brother, the Crown Prince…?”
“He is not interested in taxes. He finds it too much work for something so boring. The growing costs of administration and military upkeep had forced father to continually assess how to raise funds whilst trying, as much as possible, to avoid increasing the cost of living for the people. Neither him nor Jinor cared about how taxes affected the people so I gladly took it up. I’ve been doing them ever since.”
Asgar sat with him and gave it a try. He soon found he understood taxes pretty well and was able to help Hammand assess how to levy them so the people of the land were not too affected. It turned out to be an interesting, though tedious job, and doing it together took away most of the tenuousness of the duty.
Prince Hammand was also in charge of the military somewhat. This came as a surprise to Asgar as it did to most people considering that the prince was so tiny and obviously not a warrior in any shape or form. He had been shocked when Hammand had mentioned what they would be doing that day.
“Speaking to the soldiers? The warriors who fight for the region? The ones that go to war?” Hammand nodded with a smile for he was not surprised at Asgar’s reaction. He got it all the time. “This is one of your duties as well?” Another nod. Asgar looked a bit unsure of this one. Doing taxes was okay, it was behind closed doors and could be corrected if a mistake was made and Hammand was a genius at it. But talking to warriors was a different thing entirely; one wrong move could earn his prince disrespect for life.
Warriors never forgot. He knew that… after all he had – What had he done, damn it! The thought was gone. Refusing to dwell on the lost thought, he focused on Prince Hammand again.
“If you are sure then…”
“I’m sure Asgar.” Hammand replied patiently, pulling his hand. “I’ve been doing this for a long time. Come, you’ll see.”
Asgar went along, not wanting to be a spoilsport. He had always thought it preferable that a warrior speaks to warriors. How would his prince know the right words to say? He didn’t know how he would react if Hammand was disrespected by the men, warriors or not. Asgar was jittery as they climbed on the podium, wondering if he should leave. He probably would have if Hammand had not held his hand until he was about to step forward and speak. He couldn’t trust himself if Hammand got it wrong and was… Damn.
It was until the prince spoke out loud in all his princely glory that all doubt was gone. He had everyone’s attention and always managed to keep them listening. It was a fascinating gift and magical to watch.
“My prince…” Asgar muttered in awed pride.
If he was not already falling for the prince he would have done so then, falling even harder at the way the little beauty transformed into a different person on that podium. He looked even more beautiful and resplendent as he spoke and gesticulated, so much that Asgar wondered if his overwhelming beauty was not a part of this intoxicating effect he had on the soldiers.
He motivated them with ease and confidence, teaching them how to march with pride and ensuring their spirits were high especially in times of peace, like now when they felt useless.
“You are amazing,” he whispered in Hammand’s ear when he helped him down afterwards. The enormous grin on the prince’s face made all the advisers around them wonder what the slave had just said to him.
Asgar helped him prepare his speeches each time from then on and also helped keep his mind off it until every meeting started. He also helped calm Prince Hammand’s nerves just before he went on the podium. This generally involved standing up there with him throughout the speech. Asgar soon began to wonder how the prince had done them without him, considering how hysterical Hammand went when he had jokingly said one day that he was too ill to come along with him.
With Miriam’s help, once they discovered that Asgar was admirably adept with the sword and the bow and arrow; he was allowed to teach Hammand this so he could perform for the Emperor King at the annual Ciz festival.
All this greatly helped to dissipate his feelings of wrongful idleness. Hammand didn’t do a lot but what he did was interesting enough and time consuming so Asgar was fine with it. He would not be completely useless after all.
Over the next few months, they became extremely close. Closer than Hammand could have ever hoped for or imagined. Asgar began to shorten the prince’s name to Ham and it delighted Prince Hammand beyond reason for it sounded like an endearment. Asgar had steadily managed to erase the price’s fear of him almost entirely. The prince was no longer nervous around him and it was like they were joined at the hip.
They were always together and never seemed to get enough of each other’s presence. Eventually Prince Hammand built up the courage to introduce Asgar to his siblings, Jinor the Crown prince and the eldest child, Prince Moran the next eldest and Princesses Kitina and Arina his immediate elder sisters who were twins.
Prince Hammand was the youngest royal and tended to get left to his own devices most of the time, especially with having not one, but two, brothers before him. They were also much older than him, with Moran being 4 years older than Hammand whilst he and Jinor had just a year between them. They didn’t see as much of each other as they used to once they reached puberty for each child had a different form of tutoring for their position in the royal lineage.
Even then, he had always been closer to his sisters but now they were fast approaching marriageable age and soon to be past the healer’s checks, they had spent the better part of the year going from region to region to make themselves known to all the royal houses in the hope of snagging a good husband. Other than that they met mostly at occasional visits or at parties such as this. Hence the fact that he had such a close companion whom none of his family had ever met up until now.
It was the day the Crown prince was to have his betrothed over to visit and was hosting her with his brothers and sisters in the palace. Hammand felt it was the best time to introduce Asgar, as there wouldn’t be too much scrutiny especially as the bride-to-be would be there to occupy everyone’s mind. It would be perfect.
Asgar didn’t really want to meet any of them but he knew it was inevitable. He hated the attention such things brought, the eyes assessing and judging, like he needed all that. He had had enough of that already with the palace staff and he certainly was not looking forward to the attention of the royals.
They were to join Princesses Kitina and Arina as well as Prince Moran in the mini banquet hall and await Princess Memm’s arrival. Once she was ushered in, Crown Prince Jinor would enter. Prince Hammand entered the hall with Asgar walking behind him. He had no idea what to expect from his brothers and sisters but he just wanted to get this over with
His sisters were huddled in a corner chattering but their eyes lit up when they saw him and they excitedly rushed over.
“Hammand! How are you? It has been too long! What have you been up to? You have forgotten all about your sisters, haven’t you?”
“No I haven’t! You’ve been away remember?” he laughed in their embrace.
They bombarded him with questions, not even allowing him to answer before asking more. His brother Moran came into their midst and ruffled his hair, laughing as Hammand raised his eyebrows in frustration.
Asgar watched the whole exchange quietly, stepping back to allow them their space. They rambled on for ages, talking about trips and potential princes of the surrounding land. It seemed that was all the girls would talk about. Seeing how they acted, you would wonder that they did not see each other on a daily basis. They were sharing everything it seemed and it warmed Asgar’s heart that his prince had this.
The two Princesses were exactly alike and he could see that they shared Hammand’s beauty though their hair was much longer and luxurious. His brother Moran was slightly taller than Hammand and a bit on the plump side. He shared the same pale skin as his prince but that was where it ended. He seemed very quiet too, choosing to listen in and smile or laugh when the others spoke.
It took a while before they noticed him, and even then that was because Hammand had peeled himself away and hollered that he wanted to introduce someone. They watched in amusement as he went over and shyly pulled Asgar forward.
“This is Asgar,” he said with a smile. “I bought him some months ago. He is my companion now. This is Princess Arina and Princess Kitina.”
“Ohhh,” both girls giggled excitedly, “he is sooo handsome…”
They fell back into the catching up, telling Hammand about all the places they had been to and all the handsome and not so handsome men they had met. Asgar was thankful for that.
It was not long before Princess Memm was announced and they welcomed her heartily as was expected. She was a beautiful young woman, if a little haughty looking. She was introduced to each of them by the royal head adviser even though they had all already met her at different times in the past. She presented gifts to each of them as was the custom too and Hammand passed his to Asgar.
When the formalities were done and everyone was settling, the betrothed stepped around Hammand and watched as Asgar helped him open her gift. Asgar nodded respectfully, unable to do more than that with Hammand practically in his lap.
“And who might this be?”
Hammand looked up but didn’t budge from his position. He didn’t like her gaze; she looked like she wanted Asgar for herself. “He is Asgar.”
“A slave?” Her eyes seemed to be roaming all over Asgar’s muscled ripped body. Prince Hammand felt his blood boiling with jealousy.
But he nodded, clarifying clearly, “My slave.”
She smiled widely at Asgar, seeming to reach out to touch his cheek then realizing the utter inappropriateness of that action and pulling her hand back. “My, he is a very fine specimen of a slave. Has he always been here? I must say I have never noticed him before. He definitely is one to remember don’t you think?”
“He has not always been here. Just a few months.”
“He looks more like a warrior than a personal slave?” It was a question.
Hammand smiled tightly, getting tired of the attention she was focusing on Asgar. “He is not exactly my personal slave, more my companion really…” With that he settled fully on Asgar’s lap for good measure, leaning back into the huge man’s welcoming body. Asgar in turn moved the parcel around so they continued unwrapping it on Hammand’s lap instead.
That shut her up quick.
Asgar smiled to himself, Hammand was even more beautiful in his jealousy. He decided he liked it. He noticed his prince was still tense and looked up from the parcel to find Princess Memm still staring at him lustfully from where she had sat down on the heavily gilded chair had been set specially for her. It would be her designated chair when she married the crown prince. So much for the virgin bride, she sure seemed very wanton for a supposed innocent. He looked away, hiding his reaction with subtlety.
The Crown Prince was going to have a lot of work with that one, he thought. Then again, Prince Hammand had told him the union had nothing to do with love so not much could be expected. It was all for the good of the land, to cement relations with another region. He shook off the thought that the same would be asked of Hammand in due time. He could not face that just yet.
Prince Hammand’s sisters watched the drama unfold, trying with difficulty to hide their amusement. When Princess Memm realized they were watching her, she went red in embarrassment and looked away with a scowl.
Prince Hammand and Asgar finished opening the elaborately wrapped present and it was a vase with a gilded dagger hidden within. They were both amused at it, both knowing what it was; one of the ways the royals protected themselves by hiding weapons in unlikely places. Neither Prince Hammand nor Asgar questioned how Asgar could know that.
The prince thanked Princess Memm for the gift but ignored her question whether Asgar liked it too. Hammand simply showed the gift to Moran who whispered that maybe he should have waited until he got to his private chambers to open the gift like the rest of them were doing. They analyzed the dagger intricately in order to avoid her persistent questions, both smiling to themselves as they shared looks and raised eyebrows.
Goodness, she was relentless, Asgar thought, feeling more and more uncomfortable under her scrutiny. She did not even seem to care about the impression she was giving her future in laws. Not a good sign at all. At moments like this he hated being a slave. It was demeaning for him to feel so helpless.
“Is no one going to answer me?” she called out. The four siblings and Asgar looked over at her directly. She raised her eyebrows haughtily, but then so did the twins, meeting her glare for glare.
Fortunately, the gong sounded to announce Crown Prince Jinor’s entry so nothing more was said of it. The Crown Prince walked in with his head held up proudly but once the ceremony was of that was over he visibly relaxed and joined in the chatting. He was the tallest of them all, which was fitting for him. He was slightly darker in coloring and muscular.
Hammand was pulled playfully to Jinor’s side as soon as he saw him; the older brother saying he had missed him and was sorry for not finding things for them to do together. Hammand once again introduced Asgar. Jinor’s reaction was a surprise.
Asgar had expected indifference, disdain even. But the Crown Prince looked somewhat surprised, then puzzled. He stared up at him for Asgar towered over him too.
“Do I know you from somewhere?” he asked, looking Asgar over and over with heightening interest. The princesses looked on with interest going quiet for a second.
“No Prince Jinor,” Asgar replied, “but I have no memories of my past life so cannot tell for sure.”
“Why do I feel like I know you?” Jinor asked again, rhetorically. He was unable to shake that strong feeling that this slave’s face was familiar. He was sure that if and when he had met him, it wasn’t as a slave. He never remembered slaves faces, so he couldn’t have been one. Certainly not this one. His face was eerily familiar but he couldn’t place why. Jinor was greatly unsettled by this for some reason and made a mental note to check this out further.
A look of fright covered Hammand’s face as he watched his brother try to decipher who Asgar was. He felt so afraid and at the same time remorseful that he did not want Asgar or anyone else to remember and have Asgar possibly be separated from him.
Relief surged through him when Jinor’s attention was diverted from Asgar with a question from Princess Memm. Asgar settled back behind Hammand and tried to be invisible, not very easy with Hammand leaning back into him time and again to make him know he was not forgotten. If Hammand’s siblings thought this was strange they sure didn’t act like it. Asgar felt good that they accepted their brother’s actions so wholeheartedly. It was nice to see such love.
They all chatted merrily, focusing most of their attention on their brother’s betrothed after a while, the banquet was announced. Prince Jinor gallantly helped his betrothed up and they made their way to the dining area where the array of delicacies was laid out.
When the other siblings stood up to follow suit, Asgar thought it best to take his leave. He was the only slave there after all and it was a bit awkward for him. Much as Prince Hammand wished he were one of them, the reality was he was not and he needed to know his place.
Besides, Ham needed to catch up with them. He would give them their space.
Hammand knew from Asgar’s expression that he wanted to leave. He pleaded silently with his eyes but his big man looked a bit resigned so he let him go reluctantly, leaning up to make a request. “Wait up for me?” he asked on tiptoe as quietly as he could.
“Of course I will.” Hammand blushed prettily and fought the urge to press into the large welcoming chest in front of him.
* * * *
Hammand stepped into his chambers, feeling very happy at the way the day had gone. He could not have hoped for better. His brothers and sisters had taken to Asgar just as he had hoped and he was so pleased. He couldn’t wait to talk to Asgar about it, and also ask why he had decided to leave early. That had bothered him a bit but he didn’t want to question Asgar in front of his siblings so he had let him take his leave.
He was not in the front room where he usually liked to relax. This worried Hammand some more. He stepped into the bedchamber itself and saw the huge man immediately at the desk on the far end of the room. Asgar was hunched over it, a strange position. Like…like he was unhappy or something.
All his euphoria about the day disappeared in an instant and he went closer to his friend. He was unsure what to do; he had never seen Asgar this way before.
“Asgar…” he began tentatively “Are you okay?”
Asgar looked up slowly in surprise, his eyes dark and extremely sad. “You’re back. I thought you wouldn’t be in for a while…”
“You’re sad… what happened? Did something happen… did I do something wrong? I had thought today went so well but…”
“Asgar, tell me… please.”
“I’m sorry Ham, its just… being with your family made me feel like I’m missing something,” he said sadly looking at his hands. “It hit me hard… I mean if I at least had my memories I would have that, you know. But to not even have a little, to have nothing to hold on to, nothing to remember. All I keep getting are little flashes, nothing tangible. I have nothing Ham… nothing at all,” he choked, bending over and pressing his face into his hands.
Hammand moved at once, standing in front of him and pulling his head up so it rested on his chest. Thankfully as Asgar was seated this was not difficult to do. The big man crumbled into tears as he breathed in Ham’s scent, gripping the small man tight for comfort.
The prince rubbed Asgar’s back and hair gently as he was racked with sobs, soothing him as best he could and whispering that he had him, he could be his family, he was here for him. His small hands felt so inadequate on the broad back, he didn’t feel like he could do enough despite that he was rubbing as hard as he could. He rubbed his cheek against Asgar’s hair, wishing he could absorb some of the sorrow.
He had no idea how much he soothed Asgar, just having him to lean on, to hold him, to listen to him, to help him let go and cry it all out. He had held on to the ache for so long and each day it had gotten worse and worse. Today was just the height and he was thankful Hammand was here for him. He knew he was not alone; Ham was right, he had him.
“I’ve got all of the advisers researching you, Asgar. Soon we will have something. I’m sure of it, it might take sometime without any leads but I’m sure they will be able to trace something in time… Please be patient. Don’t be sad. I’ll try and make you happy here, I promise… I promise.”
Asgar looked up with so much love in his eyes. “Thank you,” and crumbled all over again, the tears making his whole body shake. His head went back to Hammand’s chest, burrowing back in.
“Oh Asgar,” Hammand whispered as tears stung his eyes too at the sorrow he was witnessing. He tightened his hold on the big frame and tried to still the trembling. “You need to let it out whenever it bothers you. Just tell me about it, anything you think of, anytime. I’m always here. Don’t bottle it up or it’ll be an even bigger burden. Promise me you’ll talk to me whenever that happens. Asgar…”
The large hands around him tightened as well and he was lifted off the ground swiftly onto Asgar’s lap. He was straddling Asgar now, and the big man’s head shifted into his shoulder, seemingly melting into him as the tears continued to flow, taking away his fright at the way he was now seated.
“I promise…” He heard as he tried to ignore how he was feeling inside, how it felt like Asgar was sucking him in, how their bodies against each other felt like they had molded into one, how it felt so right, fit so right. He was so happy that Asgar had turned to him. He knew by now that the proud man was not one to show any form of weakness and that he could allow himself to break down in his arms confirmed their connection.
His legs went up to the chair at Asgar’s back, wrapping round Asgar’s waist of their own accord it seemed and then he was rocking the big man back and forth. He had to use all his strength to do this and even then only managed to move the man just a little bit. It however had some effect because slowly and much to Hammand’s relief the crying ceased its course, the heaving body calming down until it only moved from his hiccups. He continued to stroke Asgar’s hair and let his fingers run through the strands tenderly.
Asgar then took over the rocking, loving that the small man was wrapped around him, moving him until he was settled more comfortably, and tighter around him. He vaguely heard the small man gasp as he was pulled closer but he continued to do this until he felt they were as close as they could possibly be.
Hammand nuzzled into his own neck too and Asgar let his face burrow deeper into the soft neck, now calm enough to breath in deep and register the delicious smell of the prince’s soft skin. He smelled so good that Asgar could not resist running his nose gently across the length of the slender neck, not stopping even when the gasps began and the small body tensed and shuddered, limbs tightening around his body.
“As… gar…” Hammand gasped weakly, unsure what was happening.
Asgar’s mind cleared when he heard his name and wondered what the hell he thought he was stirring up. Neither of them was ready for anything more, not that they even understood what more was anyway. He needed to stop. He managed to, much to Hammand’s relief. He feared his body was getting out of control.
They stayed in companionable silence for a while and Asgar continued to rock them slowly, happy that his mind was full of Hammand rather than of his memory deprivation. It was a tremendous relief for him; the weight of that loss was too much. He knew the relief was temporary but he decided he would do as Hammand had said and talk about his feelings rather than bottle them up.
Hammand was good to him, good for him.
He did not know how long they stayed like that but he heard the slow steady breathing against his neck and knew Hammand had fallen asleep in his arms. He chuckled to himself. He had definitely worn the little beauty out with his crying that was for sure. Goodness, he must have been crying for hours. That was what you got from holding things in too much and too long.
Standing up gently so as not to wake the prince up, he gently laid him on the bed and undressed him with eyes averted as best he could until he had him in his sleepwear and tucked into bed. As soon as his head hit the pillow beside Hammand’s, he was asleep as well.
It had been a long and emotional night.
* * * *
Three months later.
That afternoon, Asgar was in the private royal kitchen with Miriam. Her official name now that Hammand was grown was the Queen’s handmaiden even though her attentions were still mainly on Prince Hammand. Prince Hammand has been on his usual checkup at the healer’s with his brothers and sisters. No one was allowed to go with them for this so, once every two weeks, Asgar was left without anything to do.
Today, the prince was to be seen afterwards by the head healer since Hammand was next to come of age after his sisters. The head healer, as was tradition, was to confirm that he was truly as the healer said. It would take a whole day to get through after the checks and all its formalities. This would be the first time in ages that he had spent an entire day without Asgar since he had joined their household. He had promised to stop by when the entourage dropped off his brothers and sisters and after the meal they had privately with the King and Queen.
Asgar was chatting with Miriam, not realizing how much he was missing the prince until he heard the horn announcing their arrival. It took all his control not to run out to find him or try to catch a glimpse at least. He knew he had to wait for Hammand to find him for he would be going straight in for the royal meal.
Miriam smiled to herself at his visible stiffening at the horn but she said nothing.
The hour he spent waiting felt like forever and his heart sank when he heard what sounded like the royal carriage moving. He now regretted not going out to the balcony to wave at Ham at least; that would definitely have been better than not seeing him at all for the entire day. He immediately lost his appetite for the food Miriam had just put before him and his shoulders slumped as he pushed the plate away.
He went over to the water drum to get out water and wash his face. He needed to get a hold of himself. He was beginning to feel just how much the prince had gotten under his skin.
“Are you not going to eat, proud one?” Miriam asked quietly, handing him a small cloth to wipe his face. She always called him that and never would say why. He started to shake his head as he took the cloth from her and dried the excess water off.
She still said nothing and he was grateful for it. She did not take away the food though, but simply put a cover on it and placed a jug of water beside it as if he was coming back to it.
“Asgar!” that delicious voice rang in the air like music. His heart leapt and he whipped round, a beatific smile spreading across his face as the small prince flew into his arms. He laughed softly in relieved joy and hoisted him up. Small legs wrapped round his waist at once and he whirled the giggling beauty around.
They forgot the presence of Miriam in the room and were breathless in their joy in each other when Asgar finally stopped turning, their foreheads touching as they catch their breath. “I thought you weren’t coming…”
“I had to tell the carriage man I needed to go to the toilet just as we were leaving… he almost didn’t agree to stop. I almost died,” he giggled breathlessly. “Are you okay… what have you been doing?” He looked around, seeing Miriam for the first time and nodding in greeting.
“Missing you…” Asgar said, pretending to pout but really meaning what he was saying. Prince Hammand giggled shyly at his words and held up his closed hand between them.
“I saved you something,” he whispered conspiratorially, “Remember those fruits I told you about, the special ones I told you mother hoards and we only eat once in a month if at all…” Asgar nodded, more mesmerized by the pouty lips before him than any fruits. The prince opened his palm and in it lay two chunky red glistening fruits shaped like hearts. Two hearts.
How apt Asgar thought, opening his mouth slowly, eyes trained on the prince’s face and not the fruit.
Hammand was a bit surprised at this, shy at having to feed the big man. He could see that was what Asgar wanted. His eyes flickered nervously for a split second and then he was drawn to that open mouth, dazedly slipping the soft squishy fruit into it. He gasped as Asgar’s mouth grasped his fingers along with the fruit and sucked them in, a jolt of pleasure dancing down his spine.
He was red with embarrassment but Asgar set him on the worktop and took the other fruit out of his still open palm, holding it to his lips. He shook his head, “It’s for you. I’ve already had some…”
“No my prince, I’m sharing it with you… open up. No no no, say ah.” He nudged the fruit against Prince Ham’s lips, crushing the soft fruit against the sulking mouth so the small man was forced to open up when the juice started to dribble down his chin. Asgar squeezed the fruit into the prince’s mouth. Ham was gasping and trying to catch it all when Asgar, just as he was removing his fingers from Ham’s mouth, bent over and licked at the dribbling liquid on his prince’s chin.
More gasps with a full mouth led to more dribbling and more licking. When Prince Hammand had finally managed to eat the fruit, he was spluttering and glaring at Asgar who was smiling mischievously at him.
“It was for you!” he groaned, bubbling with an intense, but unknown, excitement.
“I know my prince,” Asgar tilted his head to the side slightly, hooded eyes twinkling, “I think I have tasted it before. It’s as delicious as you said it would be. But is it bad that I wanted to share it with you, just like you wanted to share yours with me?”
Prince Hammand relented, “I guess…” Asgar kept staring at him in that hypnotic way he had so he looked away shyly, playfully punching the broad powerful chest. “Okay, okay. It’s not bad!” The big man laughed and grabbed the prince’s upper arms, wrapping them round his neck. He swung him off the worktop and onto him again.
The prince loved being with the huge man, he made him feel so much. He was always such a bundle of nerves because he never knew what Asgar would do next.
“You have to go my prince.” Asgar murmured into the ear of the man he held snugly in his arms. “The carriage is waiting.”
“I know…” came the sulky murmur. “I hate these stupid tests! They are horrible!”
“Don’t worry, it’ll stop soon remember? Then you won’t ever have to do them any longer. Just a few more to go…” Asgar set him down slowly, still coaxing, “I’ll see you in a few hours, okay.”
Prince Hammand nodded in resignation.
Then unexpectedly, he leaned up on tiptoe and kissed Asgar’s cheek. Leaving the huge man wide eyed in surprise and God knows what else, he started to rush off. He was caught from behind before he could get far by large arms that went round his waist and pressed him back and up against that powerful chest. Asgar returned the kiss in his own way, burying his face in the small man’s neck and grating his teeth over the tender skin. Prince Hammand’s toes curled in the air and he moaned in dazed shock at the fiery sensations that swept through him.
He was trembling so much that when Asgar set him back down he had to hold him steady for a while. He turned the little man to face him to see if he was okay; he knew he had gotten a bit carried away there. The prince nodded shyly to say he was okay and Asgar kissed his forehead and let him go. His eyes remained on Hammand as the small beauty rushed out, a tad shakily, to the waiting carriage.
Running a hand over his face, he walked back to the table and sat down heavily. Things were getting more heated between them with each passing day, he knew that. He also knew he would have to control himself more, Hammand was a prince; not just anyone to be toyed with. A voice broke through his thoughts. Miriam.
“Are you ready to eat now, proud one?” He nodded sheepishly, realizing she had probably seen their antics. His food was put before him again. “Thank you.” He said as he began to eat quietly.
“You know you cannot do more than touch him right?” Miriam said, amused as Asgar spluttered in surprised embarrassment and came very close to choking on his food. “I see a lot of things, proud one. I can see you are drawn to him.”
Asgar frowned “I am, very much…” he stared at his food as acceptance dawned on him.
“I know… but you can’t do more than touch him… not yet anyway.”
“Touch him? Why would I want to–” Her raised hand cut him off in mid-sentence.
“There’s no need to deny it to me. I see both of you together and I can see what is growing. I have no issues with two men being together… just not yet.”
“What do you mean?” Asgar had given up the denial stance.
“Don’t you know what these checks are? I used to take Prince Hammand for them myself before he got old enough to go by himself.”
“Not really, the prince says they are to make sure all the royal children remain in perfect health at all times…”
“Yes, partly. But that is all the children are told. The checks are to make sure they remain virgins until they come of age or are married off, whichever comes first and depending on what position the child is in hierarchy. If they are found deflowered, the closest to them would be slaughtered immediately, no questions asked, in the presumption that it is that person who did the deflowering. In the Prince Hammand’s case, that would obviously be you.”
Asgar was shocked at this information and was about to ask if Hammand knew of this when Miriam stopped him. “The royals do not and are not to know about this. You can never tell Prince Hammand and you can never have sexual relations with him. Not until after he officially comes of age. For the prince that will be when he turns 24.”
* * * *
They were silent for a while as Asgar ate. He was deep in thought, wondering if he could broach the deeply personal subject with her. He hoped he was right and braced himself for whatever reaction was to come. He just needed to know.
Clearing his throat, he began tentatively. “About that… what you just told me.” Miriam inclined her head in his direction. “I was wondering if you knew any other people like… us.”
“Yes, I do know a few. Why do you ask?”
“I think I might need help… direction… in that. I know for sure I have been with a woman before or at least I have a good idea what it entails. But with a man… I have no idea… at all.”
“I’m sorry to bring this up and I’m not asking so that I’ll act on it now. I just want an idea so that when the time comes. If it ever comes that is… I’ll know… you know, with the prince. He is so innocent, I cannot expect–”
Miriam smiled at his rambling, watching as his face reddened. That was a first. “You know this is an extremely sensitive issue.” Asgar nodded slowly, gulping in embarrassment but willing her to continue. “So even though I do know a few people that might be able in a position to show you how such ‘relations’ is done, we cannot take that chance. Tongues wag a lot and if it concerns the prince I reckon it would spread like wildfire.”
“So there’s no chance then?” She watched as his shoulders slumped.
“There is one…”
Asgar sat up straight with interest. “We can ask the spirits.” His eyes widened in disbelief. Miriam nodded at his unasked question.
“Yes, the spirits. Has the prince not told you what I do? I am not only his second mother or handmaiden to the Queen, you know. Before all this I was first the and foremost, the priestess of Akin Ra.”
“Akin Ra? Bringer and protector of life.” Asgar whispered instinctively, tensing in surprise as he spoke the words he had no idea he knew. Where did that come from?
“You know of Akin Ra?”
“I am surprised at myself,” the big man muttered to himself. He shook his head as if to clear it. “It just came out of nowhere. My memory is all over the place… as usual.”
“Don’t apologize Asgar. I am happy that you at least know of Akin Ra even if it is at a subconscious level. That, in itself, is a good sign. You might be able to draw out some sight since you acknowledge the existence.” Asgar nodded silently, though still at a loss.
She watched his reaction as she cleared away his dishes. “Do you think you’re up for it?”
“Yes. Yes, I am,” Asgar took a deep but shaky breath. “How does it work? Is that sight like a vision?”
Miriam nodded. “You are spending tomorrow with me aren’t you?”
“Yes, Ham is going to see the Ciz advisers with the Crown Prince.”
“Okay, we will do it tomorrow then. Be sure not to mention it to Prince Hammand.”
Asgar nodded but frowned a bit, uncomfortable with this idea. “Why?” he asked, “I don’t exactly keep anything from him Miriam.”
“I am sorry to ask this of you. But you cannot tell him because it may lead to him wanting to try it out too soon and that could lead to questions as to why you can’t bond with him now…”
“I see what you mean.” She was right about that even though he could not really see his innocent prince questioning him like that.
Asgar nodded, hoping that keeping this secret from Prince Hammand wouldn’t be difficult.
By the next morning, after seeing the reluctant prince off, Asgar and Miriam left for the temple itself. They went by foot and it was a long way indeed. It was a good thing the prince was to be gone the whole day for the temple appeared to be deep in the forest.
Miriam’s countenance changed as they reached the shrine. She had warned him of this but it was still quite fascinating to him. It was as if she had developed some kind of golden halo round her body. Her voice had taken on a higher quality as well.
The shrine was high up on a hill overlooking the city. It was large gray building, made entirely of stone and held up by heavy pillars. It was also very quiet and peaceful. All you could hear was the wind and the resultant swishing of the tall blades of grass and shrubs of the magnificent trees that surrounded the temple, effectively hiding it from sight. If there was any other person there, there was no way to tell.
The magnificent golden statue of Akin Ra stood at the far end of the hall, so it faced you directly upon entry into the cella. It gave off a calming aura and Asgar felt lighter just by looking at it. There was an altar covered with a shiny white fabric and candles. Asgar followed Miriam further into the sanctuary and they entered another room through a heavily curtained door.
“You will need to undress and put this on,” she instructed calmly, holding out a loincloth.
He took it quietly and did as he was told. He felt very nervous all of a sudden, completely out of his depth. He did not think he had ever dabbled in spiritual things. Not like this anyway. However, Miriam was the priestess so he wanted to believe he was safe.
This room was basically bare and it was lit in over a hundred large gold colored candles causing the room to feel like a steam bath. Now he understood why Miriam had asked him to strip. The room calmed him down though; there were scents of flowers in the air that somehow reminded him of Prince Hammand. He wondered again if they were the only ones here. Considering that the room was all ready when they arrived, how was that possible?
“That is where you will sit,” she pointed at the centre of the small room where a large golden cushion was placed strategically. “When I leave you will sit there and wait for it to come to you. It will come when the time is right and only then. Remember, you must be patient. You must wait it out. You stay until the candles burn out completely. Okay?”
Asgar nodded and walked further into the room, feeling beads of sweat already building as his heart pounded in his chest. “Okay. Thanks Miriam.”
Miriam smiled soothingly and pulled apart the curtain, stepping out of the room. He was about to sit when he heard her again and turned round. Her hand was sticking in through the curtain with the palm wide open in askance.
“Loincloth.” she said from behind the curtain. He guessed she had only given it to him initially to maintain his dignity. He pulled it off, completely naked now. He heard her walk away and settled down on the cushion as instructed, crossing his legs.
Sweat began to literally roll down his face, chest and even down his back. He was naked and hot, strangely enough. He was beginning to feel stupid sitting there and the heavy burden of doubt began to plague him.
What if the Gods had nothing to show him? What if bonding was not possible between them? Would their love be enough? Would Prince Hammand push him away? What was he doing here anyway? He should not even be doing this when the prince was yet untouchable. What was the point of pushing his luck? Wasn’t this being a little presumptuous assuming that Hammand would want to go that far with him? He was a prince, after all, and what was he? A proud slave yes; but still, a slave.
No matter how much a prince loved him. Even that couldn’t change what he was.
Some things were just impossible.
His spirits plummeted significantly and he began to feel somewhat like one whose love was unrequited. He knew for a fact that this was not the case. But the fears remained as his doubt at the possibility of bonding persisted.
After about an hour of sitting still, he began to feel a little stiff. He stretched out his hands to relieve his tense muscles and closed his eyes for a few minutes, wondering what Ham was doing right this minute. He wondered if doing this had been such a good idea after all; he knew he would feel even worse if nothing came out of it.
When he opened his eyes however, it was as if he was in another world. He blinked profusely and yet it remained. It was surreal. He could tell and feel he was still seated in the temple, but what he saw was no longer the temple with the candles surrounding him. He seemed to be outdoors, somewhere in the forest, looking at a massive waterfall.
His eyes widened and he gaped in shock as two forms came into view under the waterfall; one small and lithe, the other was like him, very tall, lean and muscular. They were naked and meshed together with the cascading water dripping over them. The vision became clearer until it was as if he was right there with them. What he saw made him even more shocked. It looked like… it looked like it was…
He and the prince.
Oh Dear God.
Asgar was shaking as he watched, feeling himself thickening rapidly. He felt like he was right there behind Prince Hammand, almost like he could touch him. He drank in the sight of his small graceful back and curved bottom, feeling a strange misplaced jealousy at his other self’s hands all over his prince’s body.
He seemed to be washing Hammand with some sweet smelling soap, much like the scents that filled the room in the temple. Asgar watched as his lips and large hands (well his other self’s hands) roved endlessly over the pale flesh, the cascading water washing the soap away almost immediately it touched the skin.
My god, his hands were going everywhere!
Asgar felt like he was going to burst as the hands teased Prince Hammand’s buttocks and then dipped into the cleft repeatedly. His other self was washing Hammand in the most intimate of places! Even with women that entrance was extremely personal, taboo almost.
But the prince did not seem to mind at all; he was holding onto Asgar and arching his back with his hands running all over Asgar’s frame in turn. Fascination covered Asgar’s face as a long thick finger slid slowly into the tight entrance. The prince clutched at him and practically climbed up the bigger man’s body as the entire length filled him.
A second finger joined in and Asgar choked. It went in deep, along with the first finger and he could see Hammand’s legs begin to shake. The sounds Hammand was making were wondrous; muffled every now and then by his other self’s kisses. Asgar wished it were his actual fingers doing that to his prince and not some vision.
He squeezed his quivering fingers into fists at the thought and questioned why this didn’t repulse him. His mind would not even process the thought; all he could do was feel. He could feel himself getting impossibly harder and bouncing hungrily against his belly. He kept watching as if in a trance, the increasing sounds coming from the men before him adding to further mesmerize him.
“Asgar… As… gar… please…”
His other self pulled away from Hammand and ran off playfully with a laugh. He watched his prince stare at the retreating figure in shock before recovering and running off after him. His other self didn’t go far though and allowed himself to be caught towards the back of the waterfall where there was a cozy cave. Both men tumbled to the ground with Prince Hammand on top.
Asgar’s other self grabbed for a small canister of oil, which Asgar recognized vaguely. He poured copious amounts in his hand and Hammand’s. They began to oil each other all over as they whispered endlessly in voices so low he could hardly catch much.
“Yes, like that…”
“Want you… now.”
They snatched deep kisses as this oiling went on, painstakingly slow and deliberate; bodies slick and rolling sensuously, hands only stopping when they reached each other’s cocks. It was an intoxicating sight.
Asgar saw the prince could not keep pace with his strokes; his grip was weakening tremendously especially as one large hand snuck over his buttocks and flicked repeatedly over his entrance. With a loud moan, he slapped the other Asgar’s roving hands away and braced himself on the broad shoulders.
The two men stared at each other for a while, all games over. Now it was complete silence, except for their breathing and the heat from their gaze. Hammand lifted his bum off and moved into position, hovering over the other Asgar’s awaiting flesh. His prince seemed so comfortable, so free with his other self, so sure of his movements atop him. A shudder went through Asgar’s body as he watched his prince sink slowly onto the hardened cock.
Oh God. Oh God. His little innocent… his innocent prince was doing this.
Asgar couldn’t believe it; his insides were churning with longing at the idea that what he was seeing would happen. He would actually be able to bond with his prince. It was too overwhelming to comprehend. It looked so beautiful, so right.
Asgar knew he was going to explode soon; this vision was the most intense experience he had ever had and it was still escalating. God help him… he could actually hear the squish of the oil as their flesh joined.
By the time he was halfway down, it was clear Prince Hammand was beginning to lose his mind. His hands were shaking and he was gasping weakly and staring at the huge man he was impaling himself on. The other Asgar’s hands gently grasped Hammand’s hips, whispered something to the prince that Asgar couldn’t decipher and then gently but firmly lowered the small body down.
“My love…” Asgar heard his other self whisper.
“Yes… God yes!”
Prince Hammand arched as the length of the other Asgar’s cock disappeared entirely into him. For a second there when his small body stiffened Asgar feared that his Hammand might be hurt. His other self must surely be hurting his prince with that big cock. There was no way Hammand could take all of him like that in there, no way. But his view swiveled as if to clear that misconception and his balls began to tighten when he saw Hammand’s rapt face.
In that instant the prince was coming, spasming violently and only held up by Asgar’s strong hands that had started a steady rhythm, continuously lifting the quaking man up and down through his release. God, his prince had reached his zenith just with him entering his body.
Imagine the possibilities.
Imagine what else he could do to his little beauty.
Hammand looked like he was in the highest point of heaven. His sounds of ecstasy enveloped Asgar like a warm breeze as his other self moved upright and wrapped himself round the prince, pulling Hammand’s knees up so they were under his armpits. Asgar watched as his Hammand threw his head back and cried out, his eyes beginning to roll as the big man was clearly going deeper into the prince’s body.
Somehow his large hands were not just impaling Hammand on his cock but doing so many different things at once, stroking his shuddering back; teasing his taut nipples; going into his hair and keeping his head in place so he could ravage the whimpering mouth as he filled him again and again.
The small beauty was moving with him, arms wrapped tightly around his neck with his slim hips undulating enticingly amidst the deep kissing and stroking. It was just like making love to a woman. He wondered why he had thought it would be different.
Tears sprang to Asgar’s eyes as he felt all his fears and doubts wash away. This was the best direction Miriam could ever have given him. Their lovemaking was not only possible; it was heaven. Beyond heaven.
That alone was enough to take Asgar’s breath away.
His orgasm caught him by surprise; fire churning in his lower belly all of a sudden and sending sparks to his extremities as his come shot out onto his neck and chest. His hands flew behind him to the floor to hold himself up as he rode it out, hips lifting off the cushion of their own accord as thick liquid burst out of him. The intensity of his orgasm threw his head back and his eyes rolled back in his head, desperate choked gasps escaping his open mouth.
By the time he came back to his senses and opened his eyes, the vision was gone. He was back in the temple and sprawled on the floor, the candles all burnt out.
TO BE CONTINUED…