One moonlit shadow on the wall
Disrupted in its own creation
Veiled in the darkness of this fall
Is this the end – manifestation
-Opeth, Patterns in the Ivy 2
Having the minstrel pluck at his lute or tap a rhythm on its body seemed to me a good accompaniment for my tales as I told them. I tried my best to ignore the Priest Zihn near the door at his table with his stare. I tried my best as well to ignore Mavia if I saw her moving about the crowd that was listening as I spoke. An hour had become two and as I passed the mark negotiated by Chloe Harver but still kept on I saw her shake her head at me in frustration and then she spoke to the bartender. She gestured around at the crowd there spending their coins freely while she talked to him and I saw him shrug and nod and give his assent. More coins changed hands. Perhaps the next day would see us on new horses after all.
As the second hour drew to an end and my voice grew rough I finished my last story. There was silence for a moment and then soft claps began. They were not raucous like those in Esternesse had been. The men and women of Cantos had seemed to like my more serious tales and verse and as I finished they responded as those who had been affected rather than those entertained. It was a fancy place, fine and rich, and so too then were its customers. I waited a moment for the boisterous cheers that did not come and then nodded and waved and joined my father at the bar. The barkeep thanked me and Chloe admonished me for almost working for free.
Mavia, for her part, seemed to enjoy the spectacle of a room full of people with coin. It was still some more moments before she came to my side and when she did she was breathless and sighed. Her voice was excited and she spoke rather loudly when she leaned to me ear and said, “We did very well tonight, Shen! If there’s one at the stable I wish for my horse to be black like coal!”
“Maybe it is not good to speak of this here,” I said back to her.
“No one knows what I’m talking about,” Mavia scoffed. “It is perfectly fine.”
“Yes, what are you talking about?” Chloe asked her and Mavia stopped then and stared.
“We should go now, to our rooms, and then leave right at dawn,” she said while looking at none of us.
“I thought perhaps we may stay here a day or more,” I replied, nodding to the barkeep whole held up a drink.
“Me too, Shen Marth,” she said while still staring. “Me too, but instead we should go and then leave at dawn.”
Chloe looked confused, my father was drunk, and I looked in the direction of Mavia’s gaze. A man with his friends, rich but not wealthy, was arguing with the girl who’d waited their table. He pointed over and over to a spot on his belt and she told him more than once to pay. The barkeep had noticed and went to assist, and Chloe took Mavia by the shoulder with one hand.
“Is this what you’ve done?” she asked her with force. “To get a new horse? Mavia, you’re a silly girl.”
“We should argue about that upstairs in our rooms,” Mavia said, twirling her dark hair and turning for the stairs.
I followed and asked Chloe that she bring my father along, and once upstairs behind doors Mavia laughed and wrung her hands with glee. “Shen! Look!”
From under her cloak she brought out a fine purse, she had taken the thing belt and all. From this pocket or that she brought out more coins and put them all in her new pouch. She produced twenty or thirty, most of them silver but a few there were gold, and shook it once full so it rattled. I shook my head at her as Chloe came in the room, and the two of us stood there; Chloe looking angered and I somewhat bemused.
“Do you think this enough for a carriage and horse?” Mavia asked us with wide youthful eyes.
“You’re a thief, I should have known when you bought all those clothes,” Chloe Harver said with her hands on her hips and a sneer on her lips and her feet set apart on the floor.
“Where is my father?” I asked her, looking out the door to the hall. “I asked you to bring along my father.”
“He was behind me just now, at the base of the stairs,” she replied, still staring at Mavia intently.
“He is not here now, though,” I said as I left the room and the women within.
My father was half way up the stairs and he leaned on the rail, frail and drunken and looking about blankly. I told him kindly to come and that I would help him and took him by the elbow. He said to me slurred, “The barkeep is looking for you, son. Something about a purse. Did you forget your purse, son? The barkeep, he has it.”
“Come quicker, Father,” I told him and we went back in the room. “We have to leave now, get your things, all of you.”
“I was going to have another bath, Shen,” Mavia protested, “And then we can just leave at dawn.”
“I told you not to get caught,” I said to her as I pulled on my jacket and pushed old clothes in a bag.
“I did not!” she lamented, looking at the coin belt she had just set on the bed. “We got away…”
“We are still under the same roof,” I went on as Chloe scowled and left for her room. “And it would seem that does not count as ‘getting away’.”
“No!” Mavia said, putting the belt around her waist and grabbing her own saddlebags. “I wanted to have another bath!”
“I wanted…to have another ale,” my father said sloppily and then wobbled and belched.
“Sorry father, you’ll both have to wait,” I said, taking him to his room and getting his things.
They were neatly in order, bags buckled and packed. Ever the soldier my father was ready to leave at a moment’s notice now that the familiar patterns of the road had wormed their way back into his foggy mind. Chloe was already in the hall and the four of us went down the stairs and out the back door. Perhaps somewhat foolishly we went to the stables for our mounts but found there instead the barkeep, the innkeep, and three men.
“That’s the girl!” one man shouted, the one missing his purse, and the proprietors turned then and glared.
He stepped fast for Mavia, grabbed her arm and pulled, and before I could think I was there. I wrenched her arm free, pushed the man back, and stepped between them and held up one fist between our faces in the air. Mavia held her wrist like this man had hurt her and I menaced him with a scowl. The others stayed back and behind, my father cocking his head to the side. With five men before me I knew not what to do, but then Mavia grabbed me and shouted, “Come on, Shen! We should be running!”
Running away with a drunken half blind man is not something I would wish on myself but she was right and there was no other path I could see. We went between buildings with them chasing behind and by the time we lost them we were lost too. One street seemed the same as another in this forest of brick and timber so we wandered instead and discussed our next move.
“We’re criminals,” Chloe Harver said dismally with a frown on her brow. “Criminals on the run because of one silly girl.”
“I’m doing more to help us than you have so far,” Mavia told her, her tone more pride than malice.
“Is that so?” Chloe asked her, her voice climbing the scale. “Then by the stars pray do tell me what harming us would look like?”
“Shush,” my father mumbled. “Both of you be still.”
“What do you hear father?” I asked him, lowering my voice and slowing us down before we went round a bend in the street.
“There’s someone over there,” he pointed to a narrow space between two buildings nearby. “They hold their breath now, thinking to stay hid.”
I stepped to the space and reached into the darkness, feeling cloth and pulling whoever it was free.
“Hello Shen of Zihn,” the priest said in my grasp. “I only wish to help you, the Regia are looking for you.”
“Priest of Zihn,” I spat. “Your stars and scrolls can’t help us with this. Who are these Regia you speak of? A militia?”
“They are the guards of the city,” he went on, “far more than a militia. I can help. You can hide in the temple as long as need be.”
“Fine,” I grumbled, letting him go. “But if this is some priest’s trick we will have words, you and I.”
He nodded agreement and led us away, down this street then that and deeper into the city.
Their temple was in disrepair, as most of Zihn now were. Zahn had gained ascension and that meant something important to the priests and those who kept strictly to the Days and the Scrolls. For most it meant the priests at births and deaths and marriages now wore red robes and not blue. The happy circumstance of it all for us was that it also meant that the Temple of Zihn was all but abandoned. One old woman, also robed in blue like the one who had led us through the streets, was the only other there but for us.
“You will be safe now,” he said to me. “The laws still prevent the Regia from entering temple grounds.”
“Our thanks,” I told him. “Now tell me why you have helped us, and speak the truth. Why are the Priests of Zihn so interested in me?”
“You are Shen of Zihn. You were born under the sign of Chiron. Ascendancy could be at hand again,” the old woman explained as she took my father by the hand and led him to a bench where he could rest his tired legs.
“Ascendancy?” I asked them. “You speak of the stars and the Scrolls, and I do not keep to the Days as others do.”
“You do not have to,” the man said. “The Days keep themselves. You have only to be for one half, to know for the other. To be and to know at once for the third.”
“Only a priest could live in a world where three halves make a whole,” I said, pushing my hair over my ear and shaking my head. “You still have not yet said what it is you want from me.”
“We want what Zihn wants, Shen,” the woman said to me. The women caught their breath as well near my father and left me to my talk with the priests. “And Zihn wishes to ascend once more. You were born under the sign of Chiron, the Wounded Healer. You are one who can help the Priests of Zihn.”
“I am no savior. I am just a man who travels here and there. You want nothing of me that I care to offer you.”
“You can take the word of Zihn with you when you leave,” the man said. “You can tell people of Zihn’s coming ascendancy.”
“Your tales are not my tales, friends,” I said to them both. “I am no priest. I want but to leave this city safely.”
“And you shall, Shen,” the woman explained like she spoke to a child. “You shall. First though must come the ritual of Long Nights.”
“Long nights?” I asked incredulously. “I have not seen a priest’s ritual do anything more than satisfy the priests.”
“Shen,” Mavia said, waving me over to them at the bench.
“We will leave you to rest while we prepare for the ritual,” the old woman in blue robes said to me, and then she and the man left the small chamber.
“We have no times for the games of priests,” I said to the others; Mavia and Chloe and my father. “We must get horses and leave the city at once.”
“If these priests can help us, would it hurt to play along?” Mavia asked.
“No one would have to make that choice if you kept your hands to your own purse,” Chloe admonished her.
“The time for that is well past,” Mavia said to her, smiling coy and proud. “What is done is done. But don’t you think, Shen, that we might be able to use these priests?”
“It is a bad idea to use priests,” my father said. The jog through the cold night in the streets of Cantos had cleared his head somewhat; from the dirk if not from his usual fog. “Nothing good comes of using priests.”
“We just have to go along with what they’re doing,” Mavia went on. “If we let them have their little game and then they help us leave the city no one is harmed.”
My father was shrugging through an expression of deep thought and I could tell he would agree if she pressed the point further. I looked to Chloe to see what face she wore; a frown and a twist to her lips that was impossible for me to read.
“If it means nothing to you, Shen,” she said when she saw me studying her face, “know that it most certainly does to them. “I told you that my brother and I studied the Scrolls and kept the Days. I don’t know this ritual of Long Nights that they speak of, but what you three call games these priests take dead serious.”
“In your reading of the scrolls did you see other rituals? Will I be asked to open a vein, or shear my hair, or do some other foolish thing to please Zihn?”
“Some rituals of the temples of Zihn and Zahn are just words,” Chloe told us. “Others are more…involved. They have blood rituals, and sweat, and rituals of tears. Fertility rites for example, they are a public joining of man and woman to gain a communities blessing on what child may come.”
“Oh!” Mavia exclaimed, her eyes wide and a smile spreading across her young face. “I hope it’s one of those!”
“‘Long Nights’ does not sound to me like a rite of spring,” Chloe said as she rolled her eyes at Mavia and then looked back to me. “It is on you Shen Marth. Will we let these priests have their way with you as it were, and then accept their help?”
“I am not opening my veins to pour blood on some altar,” I protested. I looked at the three of them, still tired from running and in this because of me. “But I will consent to their ritual if it is not too absurd. Then we can be gone from this place and the priests will leave me alone.”
“Ascension is not something they take lightly, Shen,” Chloe continued. “For the Priests of Zihn and Zahn it is the most important thing in their world. You may take this as nonsense, but I assure you they do not.”
“They may take it for whatever they please,” I said. “As long as it gets us clear of the walls.”
Before long the man and woman in blue had reappeared and were overjoyed that I would take part in their ritual. They had prepared and were ready in the chamber beyond and led the four of us in to the candle lit gloom. The room was deep and round, small but with high ceilings. In the center was an altar of simple flat stone. A metal bowl and a knife and a white linen towel lay with a scroll and a book and small crystal lens.
“If this is a blood ritual…” I started, but the man cut me off.
“It is not your blood we require, Shen of Zihn.”
“Keep your blade away from these others,” I said gruffly, stopping in place. “We are through here. We are leaving.”
“We need only a few drops,” the woman said, stepping closer to me. She looked at Mavia with a warm smile. “From one such as her.”
“Me?” Mavia asked, a look of disgust on her face. “Why would you need blood from ‘one such as me’?”
“It must be the blood of a pure maiden,” the man said, standing by the altar and lifting the knife. “Zihn will respond to no less.”
“There is nothing pure about that one,” Chloe said with a shake of her head. She was descending the steps to the center, rolling her sleeve. “I will give my own blood to your altar.”
I moved to stop her but a hollow voice to my left stopped me when it called out, “Shen!”
I looked over and saw Audin with his arms crossed and scowling. He shook his head slowly back and forth and so I stood my ground. My father had sat in the bottom ring around them as the man lit a brazier and the woman held the linen towel underneath Chloe’s arm.
“Come,” she beckoned to me, and Mavia and I went down as well. “Stand here to my side, Shen.”
I took the place she indicated and as the man started to hum or drone a note in his chest the woman drew the knife smoothly across Chloe’s arm. The wound was not deep, nor long, nor ragged; but it bled more than I expected. The drops fell in the bowl and she hummed then as well. She wrapped the linen around the wound and dipped her fingers in blood from the bowl, gesturing me nearer and holding her wet fingers to my brow. I winced as the warmth of Chloe’s blood anointed my forehead and the woman, this blue robed Priest of Zihn, drew a line from my hair down the length of my nose. She dipped them fresh wet then put a line on each of my cheeks. She rang the bowl like a bell with the ridge of the knife and all at once the candles lost light and the room fell full black.
I heard Mavia take in a quick breath of surprise and Chloe sighed out long and deep beside me. For my part I only stood still, waiting for it to be over so we could resume some normal life. Priests. Always riddles with priests. The man kept his note while the woman mumbled in an old tongue I had not heard before. Slowly the one candle on their altar came back to life, a flicker and sputter and then a flame bright and tall. Her mumbled chant stopped, so did the man, and in silence we stood there.
“Is it done?” I asked softly, awed somewhat by the spectacle despite myself.
“It is done,” the woman said, a smile stretching her mouth.
I looked at Chloe to be sure she was unharmed and I saw on her face a look of concern, her bottom lip out somewhat more than the top, and tear in her eye about to break free and fall.
“You may stay here tonight to complete the ritual,” the man said. “And in the morning I’ll see you away safely. Thank you Shen of Zihn; you have done a great thing here today.”
I had done nothing, but at least the priests were pleased and would help us. They were gathering their things from the altar, simmering with scarcely concealed joy, and yet at my side Chloe Harver tried not to cry.
“What is it?” I asked her. “Is the wound painful?”
“It is not that,” she said quietly, barely more than a whisper. “It is not that at all.”
She went with the woman, who showed her the way. I helped Mavia with my father and the man showed us where to take him to sleep. The man took Mavia to another room still and I stayed with my father a moment to see he was well. When I was sure he would be fine and not panic in the night I went to the hall and the man in his blue robe waited there for me.
“Truly a great night for those of the Temples of Zihn!” he beamed at me.
“Yes, fine,” I said. “My room?”
He gestured to a door and I went through into the darkness beyond. He closed it behind me and in the dark I heard a sob. I fumbled around in the windowless room and found a lamp but no taper to light it from those in the hall. I shrugged and accepted darkness.
“Why do you weep?” I asked Mavia. “You seemed amused at their game.”
“It was no game,” Chloe’s voice replied in the dark of the room.
“Chloe, forgive me,” I started. “The priest has made a mistake. I will go at once.”
“It was no mistake,” her voice said, saddened and torn with some kind of loss.
“I do not understand,” I said, backing to the door and feeling behind me for the latch.
“The language she spoke, it is known to me,” her sorrowed voice said. “This ritual Shen, I did not know when I said yes.”
“What is it, woman?” I asked roughly. “You riddle like a priest after one little ritual. Out with it.”
“It was not little at all, Shen,” Chloe explained, her voice getting heavier still. “It may have been short and simple in your eyes, but to one who keeps the Days…”
“Just tell me!” I snapped, patience full fled.
“It was a symbolic slaying of Zahn through the blood of one of his daughters. I was born in a temple of Zahn, Shen. Mavia too I now guess, though she wouldn’t have done for this rite. Were that she had I could sleep tonight.”
I heaved a heavy sigh and clenched my fists, invisible in the darkness of the tiny room. “Please, I beg you to speak clear.”
“They gave me to you,” she said simply, her tone going flat. “They anointed your brown with the blood of Zahn and gave you his daughter to take as your own. In the eyes of the gods I am yours now, Shen Marth.”
“What?” I snapped, my hands growing sweaty and cold. “They…they wed us?”
“It is more than that,” she went on, flat tone turning to dread. “They gave me to you Shen. You own me now.”
“This is absurd,” I blustered. “One cannot own another, Chloe.”
“I thought this might please you, in fact,” she said, dread turning back to sorrow as her tears came again.
“You do not know me as you think you know me, and you assume much.” I felt my way along the wall and sat on the small bed near her. “It is not binding, Chloe. It is just the words of some priests.”
“Maybe to you!” she snapped then loudly. “Maybe to you, but not to me! I have told you that Audin and I kept the Days with faith, Shen! I cannot ignore what I hold to be true!”
I let out another long sigh. I closed my eyes and licked my lips and tried to decide what to say. When I finally knew I wasn’t sure it would do any good but I said it anyway. “I will not hold you to this.”
“I know that you will not,” she said, sniffling. “But you must understand that I have no choice. I am yours now, and they expect certain things.”
“What things?” I asked. My heart raced but I knew it was wrong.
“Do not be stupid, Shen.”
“These priests will not know that I slept on the floor and tomorrow we will be gone from this place.” I moved off the bed and lay on the cold stone of the floor.
Chloe made a nosie, half growl and half breathe, and continued to try to make me understand. “They may not know, Shen. But I will know. You’ve taken everything from me, and now you would take this? My faith, too?”
“What would you have me do then?” I asked her with a tense voice. I knew what she expected, and I had long wanted it too, but this was not the way. And Mavia, who I was now certain I felt strongly for too, was across the hall in our room.
“I’m yours now,” Chloe said, defeated. “It is not for me to say, except to say that it must be done. Just try not to hurt me, Shen. And if you can…make it quick.”
“This is absurd,” I repeated, my back on hard stone. “This is not how things like this are done.”
“It’s your job to show me then,” she whispered still sad. “Show me how it is to be done.”
“You will sleep on the cot, and I on the floor. I am done talking about this with you Chloe.”
“All I have left is my faith in the Scrolls,” she whispered, and I heard her lay down. “And Shen Marth has taken that now too.”
“Be still and rest,” I said as I rolled on my side and struggled in vain to find comfort then sleep.
A man has no control of his dreams, and in mine Chloe Harver was naked and laying beside me. I felt her hand on my chest and her hair on my neck and her breath against my ear as she spoke.
“Shen,” she whispered. Then again, “Shen!”
My eyes drifted open and I was still on the floor. A woman lay against me but she was soft and not lean. She kissed my cheek and whispered my name again and she moved as I pushed myself up to sit.
“Shen,” Mavia said softly. “What’s going on?”
“It is a long story, Mavia. It is not what you think.”
“Why have they made you share a room with Chloe Harver?” she asked me in the pitch black of the room.
“That is the part that is a long story,” I replied. She had her hand on my face and the other on my knee and she leaned in and kissed me again.
“I thought I might creep in here to find you in Chloe’s bed, Shen,” Mavia teased me.
“It is not what you think,” I said again. “Though too close for my liking. These priests have convinced Chloe that she is now my property and that I can do with her what I wish when I wish it.”
“And yet you sleep on the floor?” Mavia asked, surprised. “What was the problem?”
“Yes, the problem Shen. Was she too hard and bony?” she asked me. I could tell by her tone she was deadly serious and that vexed me and excited me the same.
“She does not wish to…she only does it because…” I struggled.
“What matters that?” Mavia asked, and I shushed her as she grew louder. “You had your chance to bed Chloe Harver and here I find you on the floor?”
“You are an odd sort of girl,” I said to my woman and I heard her giggle into her hand.
“I am only saying, if our places were reversed Shen, you’d have come in and caught me between her skinny legs.”
My mouth dropped in shock. Women, even those barely more than girls, did not say such things. I had grown somewhat accustomed to Mavia’s whorish mouth but this was perhaps just too far.
“You are far from proper, Mavia Hiven,” I said to her. Her hands were sliding up my thighs to the laces at the front of my breeches and I took her wrists and stopped her. “What are you doing?”
“We know she is a sound sleeper, from our nights on the road.” Her hands had twisted free and she was unlacing me. She giggled again, louder this time, and she slid one hand down inside. “Won’t the priests expect to hear some kind of sounds?”
We both jumped with shock as a voice came from the bed above where we lay on the floor. “I do not sleep soundly. I never have.”
“Chloe!” I said startled. “I thought you slept. Mavia came in and we were merely talking.”
“I have heard every word, Shen Marth. Like I said, I do not sleep soundly.”
Mavia was still giggling and I could picture her in my mind, her free hand covering her mouth and her eyes full of wicked glee. “I would not…we were not going to…”
“Yes you were,” Chloe said resignedly. “Just leave me be and stay on the floor.”
“Chloe Harver,” Mavia whispered directly. “Do you still wish to cleave to the articles of your faith?”
“Ungh,” Chloe grunted as Mavia laughed more. “You disgust me, Mavia Hiven. In so many ways.”
“Still,” Mavia went on in her high breathy whisper. She had freed my cock from my pants and was stroking it softly up and down with her hand. “You make such a big deal out of keeping your faith. And you’re awake now anyways…”
“Mavia,” I scolded her. “Do not tease Chloe.”
She bent her head down and licked at my shaft before lifting her face and saying, “I am not teasing her Shen. I am not teasing you, Chloe. Shen is my man, you know this yes? And if you are his that makes you part mine too…I care only that you care for your precious Days and Scrolls. I wouldn’t want you to try to sleep knowing you’d wronged the gods.”
“Stop this,” I hissed to her, taking her wrist in my hand once again.
“You’re a twisted and wicked little girl, Mavia,” Chloe said, something else replacing her earlier tone of sadness. “And you speak almost as well as Shen.”
“Well then?” Mavia asked. My grip had slackened on her arm and she went back to stroking me up and down slowly. “Well Chloe Harver?”
“I will not have this,” I protested, moving to stand.
“I was asking Chloe, not you,” Mavia said.
I stood now in the dark with her on her knees before me, and I realized my error as she took my cock into her mouth and moaned. She popped it back out, pulling it against the inside of her cheek as she did, and she laughed a throaty little laugh. I heard Chloe on the cot sigh and the sound of her moving under the blankets.
“This is not how the Days are kept,” Chloe said, her voice seemed now closer. “I’ve been put in bondage tonight and you jest and laugh at me.”
“It doesn’t have to be bad,” Mavia whispered to her, then she slid her mouth down my length and back up once more. “I only want you to be happy. Chloe Harver. I’m trying to help you.”
“You are malicious and vain is what you are,” Chloe said in frustration. “You are making this difficult beyond measure for me right now.”
For my part, I simply stood in stunned silence. Mavia had her lips around the head of my cock again and was moaning while she sucked at it and worked it with her tongue. I knew that if I spoke it would be stupid and simple and though part of me wished I could flee and then hide the rest of me leaned against the stone wall behind me to see what would happen.
Taking me from between her full and wet lips again Mavia told Chloe, “Then just be still and know.”
She lunged her head forward and made no effort at silence as she took my whole length to the top of her throat. The wet sounds were lurid and her moans were lewd and lusty. My mind was frozen on the instant this had started but my body was in pace with Mavia’s attentions. She must have knelt low with her ass on her calves because when I put my hands on the sides of her head it was tilted up at an angle from her neck. Slow and with measured intention Mavia moved her head forward an inch at a time as my cock pushed into the back of her throat and beyond. As she wiggled her face this way and that I felt her nose bump my skin, and I gasped in desire as she took me all the way in.
A gagging sound then came from young Mavia’s throat and she drew back so she could swallow the wet mess of her own spit in her mouth . She laughed her high laugh with her lips still parted wide. I heard sounds of heavy breathing to my right, where Chloe would be, and then a shuffle and the sound of feet on the floor. Mavia’s one hand was still wrapped around the shaft of my cock, her other maybe wiping her mouth or her chin. It came back upon me then, tentative and cold. As the fingers of one hand crossed those of the other I heard Mavia giggle.
“Chloe Harver,” she whispered in her high breathy voice. “I thought that you were staying in bed?”
“Stop talking succubus, before I change my mind,” Chloe’s voice came from low right in front of me.
Something touched my cock then, lips or a tongue, and my head spun. The touch came again, longer this time, and I realized someone was kissing from tip to base gentle and timid. I hear Mavia’s high wide mouthed laugh again and felt her lips close once more around my cock’s head. She bobbed her head slightly with me just inside her mouth, then smacked her lips as she released me then spoke.
“Try this,” she whispered and I felt her angling my cock to the right.
Another hand closed around me and Chloe’s voice said, “I am three years your senior and here you are schooling me like some small girl.”
I heard a slap and a gasp and another of Mavia’s laughs. She spoke to Chloe gently, with a large dose of mirth. “Your ass is that of a small girl, and I have been with Shen many times. Just listen and do what I say. Now put this in your mouth or I’ll spank you again.…”
Nervous lips touched the tip of my cock, slowly opened, and Chloe Harver started moving her head slightly up and down. Four hands from two girls and Chloe Harver’s mouth; I took a deep breath and tried to remember how this had come to pass. I had one hand on the top of Chloe’s head, the other on Mavia’s, and I tried to think about how I had never imagined such a thing happening to man in the absence of whores.
All thought fled when Mavia whispered “Deeper, Chloe” and I felt her place her hand over mine on Chloe’s blonde hair and push her head forward. There was a choked grunt of surprise and Mavia’s laugh and I decided for now that priests were not all bad and I could take one night off from deep thought.
Mavia’s lust and her wanton abandon were not traits Chloe Harver seemed to have in great lot; she struggled to please me, perhaps overmuch, and her teeth drug along with her lips. Mavia’s hands were with Chloe’s wrapped on my shaft and she must have had them near the blonde girl’s mouth and felt this. She pulled me away from Chloe.
“You should do it like this,” Mavia said, putting me back into her mouth, slurping and sucking wetly.
“I have never…” Chloe said softly, her voice tinged with shame.
“Mmmm,” Mavia moaned, opening her mouth to speak with my head against her wet lips. “Nor had I, but you will learn fast.”
The two girls took turns, one shameless one shy, until I knew I could stand no more. I was about to unleash myself inside Mavia’s mouth when she pulled back and pushed my cock past Chloe’s lips. With her small mouth around me my hips jerked and thrust and she let out a loud moan of surprise as the fluid from inside me rushed onto her tongue. Chloe’s lips sprang open and she pulled back away as I came. Mavia laughed some more and licked at my head, catching it and swallowing.
“You’re supposed to swallow it, silly,” she gently chided Chloe.
“You can if you want,” Chloe said, her voice maybe guilt maybe shame maybe sadness. “But not for me, not yet.”
She let go of my cock and moved away. I heard rustling and the soft sound of sobs. Mavia was shushing Chloe and I went to my knees. With my hands in the pitch black room I found both girls together on the floor. Mavia was holding Chloe and rocking her slow and I didn’t know what to do so I put my arms about them both.
“I am sorry, Chloe,” I said quietly. “We should not have done this. The shame is all mine…”
“Please shut up, Shen Marth,” Chloe said through her tears. “No one put a blade to my throat, so do not speak of shame.”
Mavia was letting her go and pulling free from my arms. I asked her, “Where are you going?”
“Back to my room,” she said chipper. “In the morning the priests will find all they expect and we can get out of this town.”
She slipped out the door and I heard it click closed. Chloe was still in my arms on the floor and I did not know whether to hold her or let go. I made move to stand and she stood with me, she moved to the bed and as I sat there beside her thinking to hold her as she slept she put her hand and my chest and stopped me.
“No,” she said. “I still do not know how I feel on this, Shen. So for now go and sleep on the floor.”
Wordless I lay on the stones once again and I listened to Chloe’s breath grow deeper as she drifted into the embrace of sleep. Faith; I had never had much, and what I had I put on when there were priests about. That it could move people thus, to do things they could not dream, it seemed to me a dangerous thing.
“If you hurt my sister, Shen Marth,” I heard Audin’s ghost say, “I promise you I will make you pay.”
As I fell asleep I could not help but smile as I wondered if ghosts could see in the dark.