I. Numadones, the Chancellor
The boat lurched as it hit the pier and I staggered into the rail. Dry land. I climbed over the rail and for a few seconds I just stood, trying to adjust to the stillness of the earth.
I heard a throat clearing and I looked up to see an old Methanian with a long white beard dressed in a robe much like mine.
“Sir, you are the honoured Adenos?”
I bowed. “I greet you. Surely you are the wise Numadones.”
He bowed in return. “Welcome to our island. These men will handle your belongings. The crew will be cared for.” Five bare-chested Methanians in short skirts stepped forward to help the sailors from my boat.
“Thank you, honoured sir.”
Numadones turned up the path towards a cart drawn by a horse. King Emases was showing off his wealth. As we walked past the ship’s captain, I thanked him. “You’ll get some time to relax in the care of the great king,” I said. The captain nodded, smiling.
As the old man and I stepped onto the cart, I looked back at the harbour. It was full of soldiers, sailors, and labourers bustling about, boarding and disembarkng, loading and unloading from half a dozen large warships built in the Samenian style, booty from King Emases’s latest conquest.
“My king has ordered all the comforts for you. If you lack anything, please inform me,” Numadones said.
The cart followed the path as it turned up a small rise and the great palace of King Emases came into view in the distance.
After a while he turned towards me and gave me an odd look. “King Ladros must have great confidence in you to give such a young man a mission like this.”
I didn’t know what to say. I gave a small shrug with my right shoulder.
Our cart approached the grand entrance to the palace. A soldier stepped up to the cart and placed his hand on the vehicle. “Honoured sirs, the great king expects you.”
We stepped down and Numadones gestured to the soldier. “This is Kero, the steward. Kero, this is the honoured Adenos.”
Kero bowed his head. “Welcome, honoured sir.” He then turned toward the palace and started up the massive stairway. Numadones gestured me to follow Kero.
II. Emases, the Great King
Various soldiers came to attention as we passed them on the stairway. At the top was a wide and high entrance, decorated with strips of gold plating. The bright sunlight outdoors left the interior too dark for my eyes to make anything out beyond the arched entry. We stepped inside, where it was much cooler. I saw that our feet fell on soft woven matting, dyed with the purple of kings. The violet path led through a long corridor occupied by dozens of richly dressed courtiers. After walking what seemed like a quarter of a league, we found ourselves in the presence of the Leopard Throne of Methanos, upon which rested the bearlike form of the the warlike Emases of Mon, son of Tymach, Great King of the Methani, Conqueror of the Pynathes, and Master of the Eastern Isles.
When we reached the throne, Kero and Numadones went down to their knees and I followed their example. Kero then stood and moved to the side of the throne chamber, stopping under one of the dozens of hanging tapestries depicting the Leopard of Kria. Numadones rose and addressed his king. “Great King, I present to you the mission of King Ladros. This is the honoured Adenos.”
“Rise, Adenos.” The king spoke impatiently. His voice was gruff. I rose and looked at his face. He was old, with cropped white hair. His brows were thick and drawn into a frown.
“I humbly bring to the great king greetings from his friend, King Ladros of Eriadon.” My voice cracked as I spoke.
“I greet the mission of my friend, the great King Ladros of Eriadon.” There was a tinge of sarcasm in his voice.
“I hope you have a pleasing message for me.”
I was surprised. I had not anticipated that Emases would touch upon business so quickly, nor so publicly.
He must still be riding on the pride of his recent victory against the Sameni, I thought. After a moment’s hesitation, I reached into my robe and drew out the beribboned scroll entrusted to me by my sovereign. I unrolled the parchment from both ends and was about to begin reading when Ladros reached out his hand and gestured for me to deliver it to him. I handed it over with a bow, surprised that Emases know letters, an uncommon skill among warriors in the Eastlands of the Central Sea.
Emases’s eyes quickly scanned the text and then his lips parted his white beard with a smile. “Excellent.” He turned to the courtiers milling about the wide throne hall. “Our friend, the great King Ladros, has agreed to my offer of alliance and the renowned shipbuilders of Eriadon are now making ten ships for the conquering armies of Methani!”
The courtiers applauded and a scattering of cheers echoed through the stone columns.
“By Dyaeus, you bring good news, honoured sir.” Emases addressed me. “I understand you have other missions for your king, but you are welcome as long as you wish to stay. canlı bahis My palace is your home. You may mingle now with our courtiers or, if you wish, wise Chancellor Numadones will show you to your rooms. Tomorrow night the City of Mon and the nation of Methanos will host a banquet in your honour.”
I bowed and the king arose and exited the hall through a carved wooden door behind the throne, followed by a score of soldiers and courtiers.
III. Kaliathos, the Hero
“I’m sure you wish to see your rooms and rest, perhaps?” Numadones said, turning to me after the departure of his lord.
“Yes, that would be well, honoured Chancellor.”
He turned and began to pass through the decorated and tapestried columns toward another carved door on the right side of the hall. I began to follow but then felt the weight of a heavy hand clamp down upon my shoulder. I started, but, upon turning, I was not surprised to see who it was behind me. That clap on the shoulder was very familiar.
Before me stood a towering warrior, the victor of Samen; not a Methani, but a dark-skinned Eriad like me. “Well, well, well. If it isn’t little Edeh.” His deep voice boomed through the hall. “You’re all grown up. In the robes of a scholar. You never did lose that belly of yours, did you? In fact, it looks a little bigger.” He jabbed me with his index finger and he dismissed old Numadones with a gesture with his other hand.
I forced a smile. “Kaliathos, my old friend. And you, you are a war hero, just as you always prophesied.”
Kaliathos grinned. “Only I am the hero of the Methani and not of the hero of Eriadon. That’s what you mean, isn’t it? You are still a spiteful rascal.” He thumped me on the shoulder again and threw his head back and roared with mirth. He turned towards the hall and shouted. “Melian! Come here!”
A young woman broke from the chattering crowd. Now that I had calmed down and my eyes had adjusted to the dim flickering torchlight, I noticed a good number of women in attendance. They were all fetching women of all ages, and seemed to come from many lands, part of the great king’s booty of war, no doubt. I also noticed that they were all dressed, from the point of view of an Eriadi, with a marked absence of modesty.
The woman who approached us was tall and athletic with black hair all the way down to her round posterior. An expression of irritation on her sharply chiseled face transformed into a tight smile as she approached us. This was undoubtedly the daughter of the great king and Kaliathos’s wife—his insurance for future advancement.
As she came close, Kaliathos drew her towards me with an arm around her shoulders. She tolerated this push with the same tight smile.
“I want you to meet my old school friend. Edeh will tell you how I frightened all the other boys with my large member!”
Kaliathos was very proud of his “member,” as he called it, which he spoke of loudly and often. As a youth he showed it off at every opportunity, and given his looks and swagger, few complained — men or women — when he indiscriminately shoved it into inconvenient orifices.
Melian ignored the comment and clasped my arm in welcome. “Honoured Edenos, I greet you.” Her grip was very strong and I was sure they left bruises on my arm.
“The daughter of the great king is renowned for her beauty and prowess. I am honoured to meet you,” I replied.
Her tight smile broke into a genuine laugh. “Of course, sir. I hate to leave you in the hands of my husband, the great warrior, but I must attend to the guests of the great king.” She turned away without a word or a look to Kaliathos.
Kaliathos muttered after her. “Yes, you’ll get yours soon, you mate of a jackal.” He turned back to me. “Come let’s get a real drink and then I’ll have the old man show you your rooms.”
We passed into the gap that Numadones had disappeared through and then followed an impossible maze of interior and exterior corridors to what I assumed were Kaliathos’s private chambers. He unlocked a metaled door. We entered a small chamber on the outside wall of the palace, with a veranda overlooking the sea.
“No one bothers me here. Let us sit.”
The chairs were well cushioned and comfortable. Kaliathos unlocked an interior door and called out, “Lazybones! Bring some drink!” He glanced back at me. “And water! We have a guest!”
Kaliathos fell heavily into a chair. “I am right in believing you still shun spirits like a little boy?”
“I am a scholar now, and an agent of our soverign. I must keep my wits about me.”
“No doubt. No doubt.” He fanned his nethers with the edge of his military skirt.
Then a girl entered the chamber carrying a tray of drinks.She was short and shapely wearing a robe tied at the waist. Her dark hair fell in curls to her shoulders.
“There you are, finally!” Kaliathos addressed her without looking at her. “You’re good at nothing but lying around! This is my old friend Edeh. Be polite to him. Edeh, this is my servant, Kiyah. She will bahis siteleri be at your service when you visit me here. You may go, woman.”
The whole time she was in the room, the girl gazed fixedly at Kaliathos’s face with a mixture of rapture and despair. She withdrew without a nod and Kaliathos rose to bar the door behind her.
As we drank, Kaliathos spoke randomly, starting with some gory war stories, but quickly settling on rude stories and jokes and boasting about his sexual exploits. According to his accounts, he must have buggered almost all of his own men, as well as the men and women he had taken as captives.
I tried to ignore him, but slowly my anger against him rose. I recalled in my mind all his brutish behaviour through his lifetime, towards our friends, towards the boys and girls in our city, most of whom he’d left heartbroken or ruined. How he betrayed his own king by taking up the sword for the ruthless Emases and helped him conquer half the Eastlands in the Central Sea.
It was because of his bullying strength that my own master, the good Ladros, had been forced to acquiesce to Emases’s demands and turn the talents and resources of our great capital over to the service of the great king’s wars.
Throughout our lives, I had been the only one to resist him. And though he scorned me for my timidity and my paunch, he feared and hated me for failing to show devotion to his perfect face and his “member,” which, unfortunately, was as large as he claimed.
IV. Kero, the Steward
He didn’t talk much more, because there was soon a knock on the door.
“What?” Kaliathos bellowed.
A voice came from behind the door. “My lord Kaliathos, it is I, Kero the Steward. I was sent by Chancellor Numadones to fetch the honored mission of King Emases.”
“You will wait a few minutes.” He turned back towards me. “I see you are, as you always were, pretending to be unimpressed by my conquests. I can see you’re jealous. As a fat scholar, you must not get many more women than you did as a youth.”
I was furious. My thoughts spat unspoken words at him: I mated with your sister, didn’t I? I punished her well. She was screaming my name.
“I’ll do you a favour, Edeh? That servant girl — she’s my favourite to lie with. She’s nice and tight and she wails like a wolf. She sucks my member as if it’s a juicy fruit. I’ll send her to you tonight. I’ve let her go for months without filling her. I wanted to punish her because she said she feared getting with child. Imagine, being afraid of bearing me a child. She should feel proud to think she might give me issue. I keep her locked up in here, so she has contact with no one but me. I’ll send her to you tonight. You shall enjoy her.”
That girl loves you, I thought to myself. Even I, a stranger, could tell. Didn’t he know? Of course he knew. He just enjoyed using her love against her.
Kaliathos opened the door. “Go with Kero. I have business to attend to. Look more cheerful, Edeh. We’re old friends reunited. We’ll make merry. And you shall feel pleasure tonight, for a change.”
“It is good to see you again, Kaliathos. Give my respects to your father-in-law, the great king.” I bowed and stepped into the hall, where Kero was waiting, wearing an expression of annoyance.
Kaliathos laughed. “Your respects! That’s rich. What will he do with that? I’ll give him something more useful.” He grabbed at his crotch.
I turned away to follow Kero.
“So, you knew Kaliathos in Eriadon?” Kero asked me.
“Since we were babes. Our families were both members of the king’s court,” I replied. “Tell me, Kero, how is it among the duties of the captain of the guard to be sent to fetch me?”
“I am currently also serving as palace steward, honoured sir. Lotha, the previous steward, left without notice when he found his wife and their young daughter in the bed of Lord Kaliathos,” he said.
“I see. Kaliathos was no doubt amused.”
“Very much so. Lotha told me that Kaliathos laughed in his face and invited him to join the three of them.” Kero’s face turned red at the thought of such shameful behavior.
But I wasn’t surprised. This story wasn’t new to me. Kaliathos had thus shamed many a lord and lady in our country.
V. Kiyah, the Servant-Girl
By this time, the sun was low over the Western Sea and and the servants of the palace scurried about lighting oil lamps and pitch torches held in sconces lining the walls of the corridors. Suddenly the strains of my journey caught up with me and I felt very tired. I decided I must forget about Kaliathos for the rest of the night.
After another meandering trek through the webworks of the great king’s palace, we arrived at an ornately figured door at the top of a decorated staircase. Giving a small bow, Kero threw open the double doors and waved me into an impressive suite — a sitting room, an office, a dressing room, a private bath, and a bed room, all richly appointed and opening onto a long veranda in the palace garden. There was a bahis şirketleri private toilet off the veranda, kept meticulously clean. It was the palace’s most lavish guest suite. Beyond the garden, the post-sunset glow lit sea the up like a rainbow.
My assistant, Essia, and my servant and six guards — none of whom I had seen since landing at the port of Mon — were scattered around the suite. After Kero left, Essia and I conferred briefly and I sent them all to their assigned quarters nearby. There was now an alliance between our kings and I was under the protection of the Methani King. It would be a grave insult against my host should I post a guard against him. In any case, if Emases wanted me dead, six guards would be no protection in such an open suite. Such are the risks of a king’s emissary.
I kicked off my leather-strapped footwear and then, trying to remove my robe too quickly, got it all bunched up around my head and had to struggle with it for a moment before it came off. I left all where they lay on the floor and staggered into the bath, which my servant had already filled with hot water.
I lay in the bath up to my neck. My eyes fixed upon a lamp glowing near the ceiling. I expected to see a cloud of insects buzzing around the light, but there were none. Odd in such a warm country.
My mind wandered from thoughts of the brutish king in whose bath I lounged to the many beautiful women I had seen that day — Kaliathos’s wife and his servant, the women and girls in the great hall, young Varessa, whose face panting with the exercise of rutting had come to mind during my meeting with her brother Kaliathos. My fingers lazily caressed my cock until I began drowsing.
I forced myself to rise from the bath and I dried myself with the soft cloths left nearby. I made sure I was dry — I hated sleeping in damp sheets — put out all the lamps and tramped across to the bedchamber and fell onto the magnificent bed. A light sea breeze tickled the hairs on my stomach and legs and I covered myself with a sheet before nodding off.
I woke to the sound of a quiet voice. I heard it speak a couple of times before I was awake enough to make out the words “My lord” coming from the direction of the opening between my bedroom and the veranda. I must have been sleeping for sometime, for the night was full.
“What? Who? Who is it?”
“My lord.” It was a woman’s voice. I tugged at the sheet to cover myself completely. “It is Kiyah. I am the servant of Lord Kaliathos.”
Then I remembered the girl who had served our drinks.
“What? What do you want?”
“My lord sent me to you … to submit to your will.”
What? What is she talking about? Then I remembered my old friend’s promise of coital pleasure. I had thought it was just a cruel joke at my expense and had put it out of mind.
I rose from the bed. Well. This joke is even more cruel. He mocked me by suggesting I was hard up and he mocked me more by actually sending me his mistress. I lost my temper.
“You!” I walked toward her and placed my hands on her shoulders and shoved her backwards until I could see her in the moonlight. She was still looking down at the floor. I put my hand under my chin and forced her head up until I could see her face. “Kiyah, is it?” My voice trembled with rage. I looked into her eyes. They were dull, not glowing as when she gazed at her master’s face. Her expression was one of complete disinterest. This was just another onerous chore for her beloved master.
I stared at her as my mind raged against the brute who had sent her here. I know what he expected. That I would be embarrassed by his joke and send her away. And then the next day he would start the teasing again, for proving my failures in the bedchamber. I decided to teach him a lesson.
I set my jaw. I grabbed the back of Kiyah’s head with my two hands. She gasped in surprise as I jerked her head towards mine and pressed her mouth with a rough kiss. I drew back sharply and saw now that her eyes were wide and her mouth hanging open.
I grabbed the collar of her gown with both my hands and I rent the flimsy linen from gorge to pubis. I stepped back to look at her. She moved at first to cover herself but then changed her mind, letting her arms hang limp at her sides.
My cock was so hard it almost hurt and the tip tapped my belly.
“On the bed!” I barked.
“Yes, my l…”
She scuttled over to the bed and sat, with her knees together. I stood and looked in her direction. Now that she was out of the moonlight I could only see her form. I remained still for several seconds. The servant girl looked at me and then, hesitatingly, brought her legs up and then she was lying flat, with her dark hair spread across the pillow that my head had rested on not long before.
My mind was blank with rage as I went over to the bed and lay on my side next her. My prick jabbed the side of her belly, which was rising and falling quickly with her almost silent breath.
I leaned over and found her left nipple with my teeth. I bit slightly harder than would be gentle. Her breast swelled. and she gasped and her left hand went to my right shoulder as if to push me away, but she applied no force.