The city of Armath spread out in the valley below, astonishing Shadow at its massive size. They had been traveling nonstop for almost two weeks and Shadow was glad that they had finally reached a stopping point, no matter how brief.
Kelas had examined Shadow four days before and pronounced the boy well, much to the relief of both Sunhawk and Shadow. The very next day Shadow had insisted on learning to ride. Sunhawk had grumbled at it a little but secretly had been pleased that Shadow would be riding with him. Sunhawk picked out a beautiful grey gelding for the boy to ride, and after a few days of saddle sores Shadow was now able to ride the full day at Sunhawk’s side, much to the amusement of many of the men at seeing the delicate boy once again quietly shadowing the Captain.
Sunhawk had found that not only did he enjoy the company of the intelligent youth, but he had also found someone to help take some of his hated secretarial duties from him. Shadow’s neat handwriting, much better than the Captain’s own, and his perfect memory allowed him to keep notes and copy out supply forms twice as quickly as what Sunhawk could do, leaving them more time at night to enjoy each other’s company. The downside of the riding was that Shadow was still too sore and tired to do anything but cuddle next to the lusty Captain at the end of every night. Despite that, Sunhawk had come to enjoy the snuggling boy’s warmth, and slightly marvel at the pleasure that could be found in doing nothing more than kissing and holding someone. Until he had met Shadow he had never taken the opportunity to kiss anyone, and had never realized the simple pleasure that could come from such gentle contact with someone. He had come to enjoy each night of quiet exploration of the boy through his clothes, and looked forward to exploring him more thoroughly once his tent was set up for the night.
Looking over at the slender youth on top of his grey mount, wide-eyed at the site of Armath spread out before them, Sunhawk couldn’t help but chuckled slightly.
“Well, we will be staying here for a few days. The men want to play a little and we made good enough time that we can stay a little longer.”
“That is good, but will you have some time to play as well?” Shadow asked, looking over at Sunhawk, hoping that the Captain wouldn’t be busy the entire time.
“I will make a little time, although I will be pretty busy during the day. So will you, for that matter, since you have taken over some of my secretarial duties. It is getting late, so we will just set up camp tonight, and I will let the first wave of men into the city. After camp is set up and the men leave for the city it should be pretty quiet tonight. I think we will just stay in camp tonight and go into the city tomorrow. What do you think?”
“That sounds good, Sunhawk.”
“Good let’s go. The sooner everybody is settled the sooner we will have some time alone, for once.”
Shadow grinned as they took off towards the camp area where the men were already busily setting up camp. The sun had finally sunk out of the sky by the time Sunhawk and Shadow finally made their way to Sunhawk’s tent with relief. Most of the younger men had already headed into the city to spend their hard earned money on woman and booze while the rest waited until morning to head out to spend their money a little more wisely.
Shadow was amazed at the many small details and problems that Sunhawk was able to manage with ease in a day. He was able to keep what seemed to be a hundred things in his mind at once and deal with multiple problems that inevitably cropped with as many men, animals, and supplies as compromised the Hawks. Shadow didn’t know how he was able to do it, especially before when he was doing double duty as his own secretary.
“Finally, there shouldn’t be anything else to disturb us. The children are away and we even get to sleep in tomorrow,” Sunhawk said with a grin, grabbing Shadow up in a tight embrace and lifting him off the ground.
Shadow laughed, wrapping his arms around the giant man mauling him. “So you plan on sleeping?” Shadow asked with big eyes teasing the Captain.
“I will show you what I am planning,” growled Sunhawk, playfully throwing the boy into a humongous pile of blankets and pillows spread out over a large thick mat on the floor.
“What is this?”
“Even though I am a merc, I still hate those camp cots, they are way to small, and I am not hauling around a bed on campaign. This is my compromise; I actually have gotten kind of fond of it. Ariel laughs every time he sees it though.”
“It is comfortable.”
Sunhawk grinned, joining Shadow on the bed, less concerned with his makeshift bed than the beautiful boy sitting on it. Leaning forward he captured Shadow’s lips and drew him in to a deep kiss as he began to untie the boy’s long dark hair from its braid. Shadow meanwhile began to search through the Captain’s shirt, eager to find the skin lurking beneath. Sunhawk gradually began to remove Shadow’s clothing, exposing the smooth white skin beneath. With his rough, calloused hands he began to explore Shadow’s body, enjoying for the first time the pleasure of intimately exploring every hollow of a person’s body, and hearing the low soft moans of appreciation coming from his partner. Sunhawk was amazed at the responsiveness of his lover as the slightest touch in certain places could make the boy tremble and voice his pleasure. Sunhawk felt Shadow’s hands tugging at his shirt. He looked up to see Shadow’s sliver glowing eyes looking down at him.
“Take off your clothes Sunhawk. I want to feel all of you against me, please.”
Sunhawk grinned at the boy’s request and quickly divested himself of his clothes pulling a blanket over the top of them to keep out the cold as he continues to explore Shadow, moving closer to his twitching sex organ. With a slight flick of the tongue on Shadow’s tight skin produced a loud sex cry that sent a tremble throughout the strong captain as he attacked the dripping sex with his mouth. Shadow cried out, grabbing at the Captain’s head, amazed at the feeling the man was producing in him. Sensing that Shadow was close to his peak Sunhawk pulled off and came up to once again kiss the boy, enjoying the feeling of his soft hands exploring his own body, tracing the rippling muscles of the Captain. Unable to hold back any longer, Sunhawk spread Shadow’s legs and got between them, sinking himself into the tight pink opening in one hard thrust, only to feel Shadow’s nails dig deep paths down his back as the boy screamed in pain.
Sunhawk quickly pulled out of Shadow, surprised at the reaction of the boy and confused at what was wrong. Shadow curled up on his side away from Sunhawk, tears in his eyes as he trembled slightly.
“What is wrong Shadow? Talk to me.” Sunhawk said, turning the boy towards him.
“It felt like before when those men…. It hurt Sunhawk, badly. I wanted you to but as soon as you entered it felt like I was being torn apart.” Sunhawk held the boy, confused, wondering if he still wasn’t healed.
“I’m sorry, Shadow. It’s ok,” murmured Sunhawk as he held the trembling boy, stroking his hair as he cried into Sunhawk’s chest.
Once Shadow had calmed down some he got dressed and headed over to the healer’s tent in search of Kelas, hoping the man was still up. He found him sitting in the tent writing by candlelight.
“Captain what are you doing here? I thought you and Shadow would be occupied by now,” Kelas grinned, until Sunhawk drew closer and he saw the grim look on the Captain’s face.
“Are you sure Shadow was healed? He just screamed when I tried to penetrate him.” Sunhawk asked.
Kelas looked confused at the Captain, trying to think of what was wrong, knowing Shadow should be completely well and able to have sex. Suddenly looking at Sunhawk, an idea of the problem began to come to him.
“Umm Sunhawk did you prepare Shadow before you tried having sex?” Kelas asked tentatively, pretty sure of the answer.
“What do you mean? We were both ready.”
“Do you use some kind of oil, and did you go slowly when you entered him?”
“What are you talking about?”
Kelas nodded, realizing that this was the first time other than rape that the Captain had ever had sex with a man, let alone caring about not just his own pleasure but his partner’s as well. Kelas let out a sigh and sat Sunhawk down to explain the finer details of having sex with a man. Sunhawk listened, surprised and a little embarrassed to have things explained to him at his age.
“Captain, it is amazing that Shadow is so willing to have sex with you so soon after being raped, mentally it is a hard thing to get over. I know it might be hard for you, but you might want to hold off a little while, considering what happened tonight, to make things easier on him. It is just a suggestion, but considering what happened he might not be ready to try that again tonight.”
Sunhawk frowned, but nodded, thanking Kelas before heading back to his tent. He found Shadow still sitting in bed, with blankets wrapped around him. Sunhawk’s manhood twitched at the sighe of the vulnerable boy still naked on the bed. Walking over he sat down on the edge of the bed as Shadow came over, opening the blankets and wrapping his naked body around the broad back of the Captain. Sunhawk explained the problem to Shadow and he felt Shadow relax against him.
“I was afraid it was something about me that was wrong.”
“No, it was my fault, I never thought about it before,”
Shadow shook his head, moving to sit on the Captain’s lap and kiss him. Despite Kelas’s words Sunhawk once again began to explore Shadow’s lithe body, unable to keep himself from enjoying the boy’s charms. Shadow, tentatively at first but gradually with more passion, encouraged the golden man. When Sunhawk once again moved between Shadow’s legs, this time with the small vial of oil Kelas had given him, Shadow began to tremble and fear came to his wide silver eyes.
“I’m sorry Shadow, but I need to be inside of you. I can’t wait any longer, just relax and I promise it will feel better soon,” breathed Sunhawk as he oiled both himself and Shadow, preparing the boy as Kelas had instructed him. He brought his mouth firmly down on Shadow as he slowly pushed his way into his tight sanctum, stopping when Shadow began to whimper in pain. Reigning in his lust he held himself motionless as he reached down to stroke Shadow’s rather flimsy erection, waiting for Shadow’s pain to subside before penetrating deeper into his tight depths. Gradually, Sunhawk was finally totally buried inside Shadow’s hot grip, leaning down he nibbled on the boy’s neck waiting with a patience he didn’t know he had for the boy to accommodate him fully. Shadow’s whimpering turned to a soft sigh as he wrapped his legs around his partner trying, to draw him closer, signaling Sunhawk to begin thrusting into the boy. Slowly at first but with greater speed Sunhawk thrust into Shadow, enjoying the soft moans of pleasure coming from his partner. Feeling Shadow’s legs around him, drawing him closer, and his soft hands caressing his broad chest brought the Captain over the edge in a series of loud groans blending together with Shadow’s soft moans. Looking down at the boy, he kissed him, moving his hand down the white skin to the dripping sex. Stroking Shadow with a firm hand while kissing the boy he felt the hot organ explode in his hand, releasing a large offering into Sunhawk’s warm hand as Shadow bucked beneath him. Rolling over on his side he pulled the boy next to him, kissing him slowly.
“Are you ok?” Sunhawk asked, brushing hair away from Shadow’s face.
“Yes, I wasn’t at first, but I am now. I wouldn’t have believed it could feel that good when you first started, and I was scared, but later it felt good, really good. I am sorry for not being more experienced.”
“I like you just the way you are now Shadow. I don’t think I have ever had a better fuck.”
“It is because there is more than just your body involved,” Shadow said.
“Shadow…” Sunhawk began, but stopped, not knowing what to say and afraid to say the wrong thing.
Shadow laughed, pushing Sunhawk to his back and looking down at the serious man.
“Don’t be so serious. I didn’t declare undying love for you Sunhawk. I care for you, more than just a little. I might even love you, and yes I know there is a good possibility that you could die in a campaign or that you will betray me with another. Still, right now you are here with me and that is that matters. The future is undecided, so worrying about it is not going to help. Let yourself care for me, it isn’t like I am going to be on the front lines, and I am not going to cheat on you. I am a priest after all. Mith would be very angry if I did something like that.”
Sunhawk looked up at the grinning face and reached out to touch it gently. “I don’t want to hurt you,”
“You will hurt me,” Shadow said, growing serious for a moment. “Because I care for you, there will be times when you do hurt me, but there will be times like now when you make me happier than I have ever been. You have avoided relationships all your life Sunhawk, but you are missing out on a lot. I think that is why Mith brought us together.”
“Why is it you don’t sound like a boy right now? How in the hell do you do it. One minute you’re a kid and the next you sound like an old wise man.” Sunhawk said, exasperated.
Shadow laughed, collapsing on Sunhawk’s chest.
“There you go again. I guess that is one of the things I like about you. The mix of adult and boy. You can talk to me like an adult, but can play like a kid; it appeals to me, as strange as it sounds. I am unsure about a lot of things, but my guts tell me to stay with you, so I am going to follow through with those feelings, but I can’t help but worry.”
“Worry all you want, but don’t push me away because of your fear. Try not to think about it so much and enjoy being with me, it will sort itself out in time.” Shadow said, tracing one of Sunhawk’s scars. “Maybe I need to reassure you some.”
“What?”exclaimed Sunhawk in surprise as he felt the boy sliding beneath the covers to enjoy more of his first night of having the Captain alone after being healed.
>It was midmorning the following day when Sunhawk and Shadow emerged from their tent to find Ariel waiting for them. Shadow went in search of breakfast while Sunhawk talked with Ariel, knowing Sunhawk rarely ate in the morning and often forgot that Shadow did. When he returned, he found his horse was being saddled and a group of five soldiers surrounded the hated archer that had shot Sunhawk. Not seeing Sunhawk, he walked over to Marissa, one of the soldiers he had gotten to know in the last two weeks, since she often spent time with Kelas.
“What is going on?”
“We’re taking this bastard into the guild. It’s about time, I only wish I could see Jarvek’s face the next time he goes to hire someone.”
“Yeah, where is Sunhawk?”
“Don’t worry he will be back. I think he went to get some papers. I was surprised to see that you weren’t with him. Now I know how to lure you away, food is a greater incentive that ridged muscles, huh?”
Shadow blushed and pretended to hit Marissa as she laughed at the young priest.
Sunhawk came up behind them grinning. “You really want me to run you into the ground when we start training, don’t you, trying to lure my partner away? Just wait till we get back to Wintermoon.”
“I can’t help myself Captain. He is just too cute.”
“I guess I am just going to have to keep him fed so he doesn’t get stolen away by you. Well, come, lets get rid of this trash, I am tired of it stinking up the camp.”
Everyone nodded, and before long they were entering the city of Armath. The city streets were packed full of people busily moving through the city. Shadow sat wide eyed, looking at all of the buildings and people that compromised the huge city. The city seemed well taken care of, and although cramped the streets were well laid out. It took them over an hour to navigate through the dense crowds to make it to the mercenary guild, situated near the center of city, next to the large looming marble temple of the God Argoth, god of war. Everyone dismounted and walked up to the gates to be greeted by the sentry.
“Hey, Sunhawk, you’re pretty late this year getting back. I was beginning to wonder what happened to the Hawks.” said an older grey-haired sentry as Sunhawk approached.
“Yeah, let’s just say that the last job had more problems than it was worth. I need to see Maras, my last employer breached his contract.”
“Damn, what an idiot. Hope you got your money.”
“Yeah, got that and a poisoned arrow too.”
“Just ain’t your year Sunhawk, didn’t you have some rich lass and her father on your tail at the beginning of the season?”
“Yeah, but I got rid of her pretty fast.”
“Well go on in. Maras is in, as usual he works about as hard as you do,”
They all trooped into the large courtyard where slaves rushed to take the horses from them, leading them away to the stable off to the right. The sound of armor’s hammer could be heard, as well as the clash of swords coming from two of the buildings off to the left as the group made its way towards the main building. Sunhawk and his soldiers were greeted by many of the people as they walked through the courtyard to the large wooden two story main complex of the Guild. Once inside they walked over to a large desk, where a bald little man sat writing away. He looked up as Sunhawk approached smiling.
“Well finally, good to see you again Sunhawk.”
“Nice to see you, Sparrow. I need to talk to Maras, I had a breach of contract with my last job. The guy tried to kill me.”
“Oh dear, that isn’t good. Maras is free right now, I assume that is the assassin?” Sparrow said, looking over his large glasses at the archer surrounded by Sunhawk’s men.
“Please take him over to interrogation, would you? Sunhawk, you can go in and see Maras.”
Sunhawk nodded and then looked at the men. “You guys can take off after your deliver him, except for you, Joel. Maras will probably want to question you.”
“Hey Captain, can I talk to you for a minute?” Marissa asked, moving away from the men.
“What is it?” Sunhawk said, raising an eyebrow at the woman as he followed her.
“Let me take Shadow for a couple of hours,”
“Captain, he follows you everywhere, but do you really want him to see the interrogation? That man isn’t going to talk easily, Jarvek has something on him. He has tried to kill himself twice in the last two weeks. ”
“I didn’t think about it. I guess you’re right, but Maras will want to question the boy and he needs to get registered with the guild.”
“We will register him before we leave, and I will bring him back in a couple of hours. Maras can question him then and hopefully you will have finished with the interrogation.”
“Alright, thanks Marissa, sometimes I just don’t think about that sort of thing, it is so common place in this line of work, but Shadow still isn’t ready.”
Marissa nodded, heading over to Shadow along with the Captain.
“Sunhawk is going to be busy for a while, and since you aren’t registered with the guild you can’t go with him, Shadow, so I offered to take you into the city. How about it?”
Shadow looked up at Sunhawk to see the man nod, although Shadow realized instantly that there was something that wasn’t being said. Frowning, he nodded, determined to find out why later on.
“Here,” Sunhawk said, handing Shadow three silver pieces. “This is the guild fee for a healer. Go get registered and then enjoy the city. We’ll go out later, after I am finished here, ok?” Shadow nodded and Sunhawk left through the open doors leading further into the guild.
“Come on, let’s get you registered with the guild, that way you can follow Sunhawk from now on.”
Shadow nodded, and before long both of them were walking through the busy streets of the city. Marissa skillfully directed them through the streets to a wide boulevard with an outdoor market brimming with people. Shadow and Marissa slowly walked through the market, looking at the wide variety of goods offered for sale. Time passed quickly for the two as they laughed at some of the more outrageous goods and looked over the books, herbs and armor offered up for sale. As it grew closer to the time for the two to go back they found themselves at the end of the street in a quiet corner stall that sold some of the most amazing jewelry Shadow had ever seen. Marissa haggled over the price for a sapphire ring as Shadow looked through the other pieces. Suddenly, a soft glow of amber caught his eye and he looked down at a beautifully sculpted golden hawk with amber jeweled eyes, suspended by its wings on a golden chain. Picking up the necklace he admired its beauty.
Suddenly, his attention was caught by a high pitched whimpering coming from the side of the stall. Putting the necklace down he looked over to see a large black dog whimpering in pain. Bending down, he put his hands on the dog and sent his sense into it, to see it riddled with cancer. He felt the dog’s pain sharply, and the memories of childhood came rushing into him. The first time he had healed had been his own dog, suffering not unlike the one sitting before him. Without thinking he drew on his powers, sending the red glowing power out of him and into the dog, carefully removing the cancer that was slowly infecting him. He vaguely heard someone speaking and a hand on him, but he ignored it, concentrating fully on the sick dog. The red light wavered slightly as Shadow felt the pull of exhaustion hit him, but he continued until all traces of the cancer were gone. He withdrew from the dog and sat down rather hard on his ass, momentarily dizzy. The large black dog got up and, putting two legs on Shadow’s chest reached over to enthusiastically lick Shadow.
“By Argoth’s sword, boy, what did you do? She had been sick for so long but I just couldn’t’ bear to part with her. It’s as though she was young again.” the old stall keeper said, grabbing up the exuberant dog in a mighty hug.
“Please don’t say anything. I just couldn’t stand to see her pain, she reminded me of my own dog I had as a child.”
“What can I ever do to thank you?”
“Next time you visit a temple to Mith bring her flowers. She loves flowers even more than money. ”
“I am her priest,” Shadow smiled, tiredly up at the man.
“Of course, of course, but here take this as well. I noticed you admiring it,” the old man said, dropping the hawk necklace into Shadow’s hand.
“But I didn’t…”
“Go ahead boy. Shadow here is worth more to me than all my jewelry put together.”
Suddenly both of Marissa and Shadow began to laugh, much to the puzzlement of the man. When they had stopped Shadow told the man his name as Marissa helped him to stand. Marissa led Shadow over to a large fountain and sat he down, then went to retrieve some much needed food. After a good scolding and a large meat pie Shadow was ready to return to the guild.
When they returned, Shadow was taken into a large room with a table and four chairs, two already occupied by Sunhawk and a tall wiry man with silver hair and a patch over one eye. Sunhawk smiled at seeing Shadow and beckoned the boy over. Without thinking, he went over and wrapped his arms around Sunhawk’s shoulders, resting against the strong captain, still extremely tired.
“I see what you mean Sunhawk,” Maras said, chuckling at the boy’s affection. “He is adorable, and suits you very well, I think. That he is a healer is even better, although I never thought I would see the day when you would finally take a lover, even one as cute as Shadow.”
Sunhawk grunted, pulling Shadow into the chair next to him. For the next twenty minutes Maras questioned Shadow about the events surrounding the assassination attempt. Finally, Maras ran out of questions and looked at the boy.
“I need to see you heal something,”
“Wait, you didn’t tell me that, Maras. It isn’t an easy thing for the boy.”
“I know, but you don’t have a wound Sunhawk, and it has only been two weeks. It puts me in a difficult position.”
“Damn, then we will just have.”
“No Sunhawk, it is ok.” Shadow looked over at Maras. “Could you cut yourself a little, I can’t do a major healing right now, but just a small cut.”
“Of course, that will be fine,” Maras said, drawing a knife and making a shallow cut along his tan arm.
Shadow reached out and put his hand over the cut, once again sending the red power flowing out of him, quickly knitting the skin back together, only to faint, crumpling to the ground once he was finished.