Rumors Of War
War On Earth
We ate breakfast together with my father, and then helped with the dishes until my father left for work. Marc and I had avoided showing affection in front of him, just because the relationship was still new to us, but as soon as the front door closed I was all over him. We slowly made our way upstairs and engaged in another passionate bout of making out, though we didn't take it any further. As we settled into each other's arms for the second time that morning, I realized that I had managed to put the fear and anxiety of what was going on behind me. I could take the fact that the Angels were trying to kill me as long as I got Marc out of that deal.
With clothes soaked in sweat, we decided to shower before restarting our day. We toyed with the idea of sharing the water, but I knew that my shower stall was far too small to fit us both comfortably, so instead he simply joined me in the bathroom and talked to me as I cleaned up, and I did the same for him. Despite the situation we were involved in, we ended up speaking about video games and music again. It was easy to forget what was really going on. I wasn't sure if it was because Marc was still an adolescent at heart, or if it was because he was trying to take my mind off of it. Either way, I was grateful to have him there, especially when we kissed as we switched places in the shower. That took my mind off of everything but him.
I was brought back to reality not long after though, when he reminded me that we were going to see Keith, and that we didn't have time to continue playing if we were going to make any headway in my training. I knew he was right, so I excused myself from the bathroom as he turned the water off so that I wouldn't be tempted to get into anything with him. I figured that if I avoided being naked with him it wouldn't be as difficult to keep myself under control. I quickly got dressed and waited for my boyfriend.
His clean and fresh scent was almost enough for me to tear my clothes back off and tackle him to my bed, but I managed to keep my libido in check. Barely. His grin told me that he knew exactly what was going through my mind, and he turned his back on me in what I guessed was an attempt to cool me down. Of course shaking his tight butt in my direction did little to that effect. Soon though it was covered by yet another pair of my pants, but my mind could remember his gorgeous flesh well enough that the denim took nothing away from my imagination.
As he pulled another shirt over his sleek torso, I did my best to calm myself the rest of the way. I knew that we had more important things to do than have sex all day, but I certainly wished that life could be that simple. With a sigh, I turned to leave and felt his arms embrace me from behind just before I stepped out the door.
He whispered in my ear, "Don't worry, when we get back we'll have some more fun, unless you end up too tired."
I turned in his arms and kissed him lightly as I replied, "I'm sure that won't be a problem. I'll make sure I save some of myself for you, even if I have to run a marathon today."
He smiled and kissed me back, and then we left my house hand in hand. Marc had sent a text to whoever Keith was, and they had made an agreement to meet at Marc's house, so we walked the short distance through the neighborhood. Several of our neighbors were outside, and though we did get some looks for holding hands, it didn't bother me at all.
There was something bothering me though. I thought back on the interaction with my father that morning, and the tears that Marc had shed when the three of us had embraced. Marc had mentioned several times that things were not great with his own family, and I couldn't help but wonder if his tears were out of happiness at my father's welcome, or disappointment that he would never receive the same welcome from his own kin.
Marc seemed to notice that something was up, and he said, "What's the matter Damien? You seem troubled by something."
"You've spoken about how you and your father don't get along. I was wondering if he's going to have a problem with our relationship when I finally get introduced to him," I replied honestly.
"You mean about me being gay, or about me dating a human? Homosexuality is actually very common among my people, and has never been an issue of cultural conflict. Gay demons do occasionally help propagate the species, but it would be the same principle as going to a sperm bank or acting as a surrogate mother. There is no worry that any children that are born out of this will receive any less love or attention than those born of mated pairs. Children belong to the entire race, and are raised by everyone, even though bloodlines are still recorded and remembered. Yes, King Icarus is my father, but for the most part he left me to be raised by my uncles and other adults in the community. His problems with me have nothing to do with my sexuality."
"It is normally the opposite, but in this case I am the traditionalist in the family. My father is not fond of the legends and history of our people, and our common practice of hiding and subterfuge instead of fighting all out with the Angels. The entire time he has been ruling he has been raising an army with the intent of finally fighting back again. We haven't waged direct war on the angels in over two millennia, though some of us joined forces with groups such as the Druids. Except for those few small points, we have only defended ourselves when attacked, or performed small skirmishes from our hiding holes. While I agree that we should make a stronger offensive, I have always held the belief that we should use our natural talents, rather than focus on trying to be something that we're not. We are not born to be soldiers that form uniform ranks, we are built for assassination and thievery, and we do that quite well."
"Wait a second," I interrupted, not quite understanding his logic, "If that's what your father thinks, I believe he may be right. Einstein said something along the lines of trying the same things and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. You can't win if you try the same strategies."
"You may be right, and such has been argued with me before, but what can we do if it is outside of our nature? Besides, that isn't really the heart of the issue I have with him. His disregard for the history is my main problem. Our history, our legends, they are the things that make us who we are. We won't be strong unless we also pay respect to the greatest of all teachers, our past. It's the reason why I was so intent on becoming your guardian like my uncle's purpose had been. He and I are very like-minded people."
"You do have a point there, but I think it would be better if you met in the middle. You need to use your past as a tool to evaluate how you should act in the future. Dwelling on it will not help you any more than blindly trying to change without a logical basis."
He was sullen for the next few minutes as we reached his house and walked inside. I was sure he was annoyed with me disagreeing with me, but I also knew that he was thinking it over. I knew there had been a great deal of logic in my position, and I hoped he was smart enough to see it. I was not disappointed, and he turned back toward me with a half hearted smile and said, "You know, you may be right about that. I'm not ever going to give up on the legends though. It's what has made me who I am, and what led me to you, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to reevaluate my father's position. Maybe that's what Merlin meant by you bringing an end to the war. Maybe he meant that you'll finally bring logic to us all."
"I don't know about that. I still don't see any way that I will do anything to end the war, but I do want to avoid my own death at the hands of the Angels, and help you out. So what about me being a human? Is that something that your father will have an issue with?"
"Unfortunately, yes. There are a few traditions that my father holds to in their entirety. One of those is that demons and humans should not mate. Of course, the fact that we can't reproduce in our relationship lessens the consequence of breaking that law considerably. Childbearing unions happened every now and then in our far distant past, but it has only been recorded once in the last four thousand years, and that was a matter of politics. Of course, that one union could work in your favor, because that was the union of Merlin's parents. His mother was human, but his father was one of our kin."
Once again I was shocked, and it took me a moment to digest the new information. "Wait, does that mean that I have demon blood in me? Why didn't you tell me that in the first place?"
"Are you really that upset? Your demon blood is so miniscule it is hardly worth mentioning, except for the possibility that it might win points with my father. Of course, it is also fairly likely that you will lose points because of it, but I'll leave it up to you as to whether or not we bring it up, when or if we end up meeting him."
I thought it over and realized he had a point. By his reasoning Merlin was so many generations back in my bloodline that there would hardly be anything left, so I supposed that he couldn't really be blamed for not mentioning it before. However, the revelation was still somewhat exciting that I had something in common with my boyfriend. "Okay, so is your father going to be home tonight? I think we should get meeting him over with."
His eyes widened and he started laughing nervously. I raised a questioning eyebrow and he explained, "I'm sorry, I did forget to mention that I wasn't entirely truthful about my living arrangements. I had to have a convincing cover story to tell you, so I made up the part about my mother being a lawyer and my father being a writer. They don't live here. They live in a nice estate in Germany, secluded from the outside world except the demons who come calling. We keep in touch through the internet, just like most long distant family relationships do. In general though, I only speak to my mother or my uncle; sometimes I speak to my siblings but only rarely my father. I also don't really go to your school, though I suppose I could enroll in order to legitimately spend time there. I have to dodge administration and teachers quite often in order to keep myself from being questioned, but perhaps it would be easier if I simply enrolled."
"Wait, so that means that you live in this house all by yourself? How do you afford something like that? You don't have a job or anything that I am aware of."
He gave me an incredulous look and replied, "Did you miss every time that I said my father was a king? How many kings have you heard of that didn't have resources to throw around. My father has been sitting on demon gold his whole life. His human form is well known in upper business circles as one of the richest investors to have ever played the market. The amount it takes to keep me here is pocket change to him, so even though he doesn't agree with my views, my meager allowance by itself pays for all my expenses that I incur here, and his fortune is only growing."
"I suppose that's reasonable, plus with twice the age I suppose that demons have a lot more time to invest in planning a future than humans do. Well I'll be damned; my boyfriend is sexy, rich, and magical. Looks like I've won in every respect. Your boyfriend is inexperienced, average, and just so happens to be on everyone's kill list. I think you've got the bum end of the deal."
He walked over to me with a look of concern, and then to my surprise he patted my backside and whispered in my ear, "I am perfectly fine having your bum in the deal. I wouldn't have it any other way. Now would you please stop selling yourself short and prepare for your lesson? You're not going to become the powerful psychic you want to become if you don't have confidence."
A knock at the door cancelled our tender moment and we both looked toward the sound. I knew that Marc had locked the door so I was about to ask him if he was going to get it when I saw the door seemingly unlock itself and fly open. A moment later a young man, around his early twenties in appearance, stepped through the doorway. He was wearing a dark gray hoodie, and he pushed back the hood to reveal his short-cropped blonde hair. He removed his sunglasses with his right hand and looked over at where I was still standing with Marc, the corner of his mouth slightly turned upward in a half smile. The door closed just as suddenly as it had opened, and he walked slowly toward me. It wasn't that hard to tell that this was clearly the Keith that Marc had mentioned.
When he reached me he stuck out his left hand for me to shake, which I found strange but followed suit anyway. He spoke, and his voice carried with it the weight of experience, despite his young appearance, "Hello, son of Merlin. I am Keith Morgan, High Druid of the North American Grove. I understand that I am to be your teacher."
"Now, for you first lesson, I'm going to teach you how to avoid projecting your nasty thoughts. I would appreciate it if you weren't broadcasting your fantasies about Dae'Marca to the whole psychic neighborhood. We don't all think of him that way."
With a blush I released his hand and looked away. This was going to be interesting.
"No, you've got to focus inwardly not outwardly. Telepathy begins with you as the focal point, and then extends outward to your targets." Keith had been tutoring me for hours, and though I had grasped his first lesson quite easily, and could now block my thoughts, I couldn't seem to grasp the concept of reading another person's thoughts. I was mentally exhausted and wasn't sure if I could focus at all, but I was determined to persevere.
"I don't understand why it's so difficult! Earlier today it just happened naturally," I replied with a great deal of frustration. I looked over at Marc who was sitting on the couch, engaged in his phone. He looked back at me with a helpless shrug and a smile. He had given me many of those over preceding hours. Marc was completely out of his element.
"Wait, you were able to accomplish telepathy earlier and you're only telling me this now?" Keith asked incredulously. The look faded to one of annoyance as he continued, "We would most likely already be done with this if you would have shared that little tidbit."
"I'm sorry, Marc called it something like an ‘emphatic link', and I didn't realize it was the same thing. I thought that emotions and thoughts were different. Why are you such a prick anyway?" I replied with as much annoyance as he had shown.
The incredulity was back, though he was still clearly annoyed. "I act this way because you have wasted my time up until now, though that isn't the only reason. If you ever prove yourself to me then I will perhaps feel like sharing why I already dislike you. All thoughts are rooted in emotion. An emphatic link is the basis upon which telepathy is built, but you have to understand how to connect to another individual before you can accomplish one. Of course, sometimes you learn these things instinctively, which makes teaching the proper method nearly impossible. So, tell me, what was it like and how did it happen."
"It was the most intense experience I have ever been through. I could feel Marc's emotions as clearly as my own. I just looked into his eyes and it sort of happened," I explained carefully, not wanting to go into all the details.
Keith would have none of it though, and I soon found myself embarrassed as he told me that I would have to tell him everything if we were to find out how I did it. I sighed and then explained our brief love-making session, and tried to keep my blushing down, and my voice steady. The whole time that I related the story, Keith kept his annoyed face and every once in awhile he interrupted with a question, just to clarify exactly what had happened. By the time I was done, I felt completely naked, and wanted nothing more than to hide. Now, instead of just being mentally exhausted, I was emotionally done as well. Marc noticed my discomfort and patted the couch next to him. I took his invitation and moved to where he sat, and he put his arms around me. I suddenly felt a lot stronger, just from his physical contact.
It was almost a minute before Keith spoke again. "Well, that was a lot of stuff I didn't really want to hear, but I do think I know how to fix you now. This is going to get very awkward, but I suppose we'll have to do it in order to get the job done. I will have you know Marc that what we're about to do cancels one of the favors that I owe you."
Marc shrugged and smiled at him, which Keith took as permission to continue. "Alright, we are going to have to duplicate the emphatic link. I need the two of you to get into whatever position you need in order to make that happen. I really don't want to do this at all, but that means upstairs to Marc's room."
"Wait, what?" I replied with surprise, and a little bit of outrage. "There is no way that I am going to let you watch Marc and me have sex!"
"Who said I was going to watch?" He asked with obvious disgust, "That would cancel two favors that I owe Marc, if not all three that I still owe him. I have absolutely no interest in watching two males have sex in any way whatsoever. I find the idea revolting. That being said, unless you do want me to watch, you should probably stop blocking your thoughts so that I can monitor you from outside the room, and know when you have successfully established the link so that I can guide you from there."
"So you're just going to listen in instead? I don't think I could even get in the mood knowing that you were still in the neighborhood, much less next door. I've only done something like this once! Who do you think I am? A porn star?" I replied indignantly, only Marc's arms holding on to me kept me from getting up and yelling in his face. Either way, I was looking directly in his eyes to make sure I was getting my point across.
"Well, from a telepathic point of view, you kind of are. Considering how you were broadcasting your emotions for him to anyone that can listen. It's a good thing that there weren't any druids around that like gay bashing, or they would have come here to crush your pansy ass a few hours ago, and considering you can't even move a Math book without passing out, I seriously doubt that you could hold off even the weakest of my brethren." He replied with a bemused tone.
"Maybe if you were a half decent teacher you could figure out how to do this without resorting to being a pervert. If you really find it that disgusting, why are you currently entertaining thoughts of watching us?"
"And how exactly do you know what I am thinking sissy boy?" His tone matched his emotions perfectly. He was completely satisfied. I realized then that his last question hadn't even been vocalized, but had instead been thought toward me. I was reading his thoughts as clearly as I was reading my own, but I could tell that they were definitely his. It was almost as if his condescending smile was inside my head rather than on his face. He was enjoying my turmoil. I thought back to the last couple exchanges and realized that I had read his thoughts multiple times. He had said one thing while thinking another, and I had received both. He really had been thinking about Marc and me in bed together.
"Wait, did you just do that to get me angry? You really are a prick!" I said with my own disgust hanging heavily in my voice.
"Start thinking to me and stop speaking. I swear that your boyfriend won't mind," Keith replied in my head.
"So what now? You've got me in here, are you going to explain how I get here again? And please stop thinking about me and my boyfriend naked, it really is very uncomfortable."
Keith chuckled inwardly, and his awkward thoughts dissipated, "Believe me, just entertaining those thoughts for a second was quite enough for me. I wasn't lying about it canceling out a favor. I really do find the idea of gay sex disgusting. Not because I have anything against gay people mind you, just that I am as straight as humanly possible. I had to have something that would piss you off on my surface thoughts though, or you might have never latched on to it. At the moment your telepathy is entirely rooted in emotional connection. You were pissed off, so I had to be pissed off. You were thinking about making passionate love to your boyfriend, so I was thinking about the two of you making passionate love. It was the same thing when you and Marc shared your link yesterday. You were both feeling the seriousness of how you felt about the other, and because it was mutual, your instinct took over and created the link for you. Emphatic links with a non-psychic are as close as someone can get to a telepathic link. Two way telepathy can only occur between two psychics, such as you and me. You will be able to read Marc's thoughts someday soon, but he will never be able to read yours."
I had to digest the information before I could respond. It was strange to have another person in my head, especially since it was someone who I had been ready to fight only moments earlier, but I was actually beginning to find it comfortable. It was clear that Keith knew what he was doing, and I had to admit that his strategy had worked.
With much more reserved emotions I replied, "That's unfortunate. I guess I'll have to communicate how I feel in other ways." I then filled my head with a plethora of images of Marc and me making love, and watched with satisfaction as Keith's face contorted in revulsion. I suddenly knew that those thoughts were being blocked somehow, even though he maintained our link.
As soon as he had it under control, he laughed inwardly again, and responded with images of the female anatomy in an attempt to get me back. He raised an eyebrow when I laughed in return and then I explained, "I'm bisexual, not gay. Thanks for the material."
"You're alright kid, maybe I misjudged you," he replied as he stopped his image flow, "I am actually impressed. I honestly didn't think you would be this good so quickly. It's true that telepathy is the easiest psychic art to master, or at least the one that takes the least energy, but it still normally takes awhile to get to where you are already. You seem quite comfortable with this. I'm going to give you a few more pointers that should make you capable of using this gift on your own, and then we should start speaking out loud again, both to give you a rest and to put Marc's mind at ease that we aren't sharing all of his secrets. Agreed?"
I nodded, though before the physical action was completed, he had read my emotional agreement from my mind and had already continued, "You are handicapped right now into needing a direct emotional connection in order to establish a link. Currently, In order for you to be able to establish a link with anyone, you either have to guess what emotion they are feeling or get lucky and happen to be feeling the same way when you try and make the link. If you continue in this manner, you might get very good at guessing, but it will be better for you if you can pull it off without having to guess. Think about how we started our link today. I got you as angry as I could, and then I made sure that I had a great deal of anger as well, and then we made eye contact so that I could give you a physical connection as well. I am sure that when you were actually touching Marc earlier it was even easier for you to enter the link with him. All of these factors help with telepathy, but none of them are necessary, and in some situations in which you would want to use your gifts, it would even be a hindrance if you had to rely on them. Imagine how tough it will be if you have to be touching an angel or looking into his eyes in order to read his thoughts while you are trying to sneak past him? It won't do you much good."
"Instead, we need to focus on what I was trying to tell you before I baited you into the link. Telepathy starts with you, and then it reaches out to your target. You need to maintain control of your own mind in order to become any good at it. Be consciously aware of what you want to send toward a target and then slowly let that thought move away from you toward them, almost like you are the epicenter of ripples in water, the stone that dropped into the still pond. When ripples in water collide with an object, there is a noticeable change in the ripple. The same is true when your thoughts ripple into your target, and it's when those ripples hit your target that you establish the link. Let's try it. I'm going to break the link now, and then you try to create the ripples, but this time using no eye contact, and not trying to seek an emotional connection. Use a thought that is important to you, but is not one that I would know yet. Okay, here goes."
All of a sudden the link ended, and I felt the loss of it more profoundly than I had expected. I hadn't realized how exhilarating it had actually been to experience that part of myself so fully. With a renewed determination, I set about to bring the feeling back. I drew into myself, trying to become the stone that Keith had mentioned, and brought to mind my feeling of my mother watching out for me from the afterlife. In the last day I hadn't thought much about her, so I knew that it would be a new thought that I could use. Using the imagery of the ripples as an added focus, I sent the thought outward from me toward Keith. The thought collided with him and I could tell the difference as soon as it occurred.
I reached into Keith's mind then and tried to access his thoughts, and felt his satisfaction just as he responded vocally. "I'm sure your mother is watching you Damien, and I'm sure she's very proud of what you've accomplished."
We shared a smile, the first time I had seen one that was not condescending, and I knew that Keith and I were finally going to get along, even if he did still have something against me that I couldn't quite place. In my attempts to find out what it was from reading his thoughts, the only things that jumped out were two names, Merlin and Morgana. I of course knew the first name, and the second seemed familiar, though I couldn't place who it was. I resigned myself that Keith would explain it to me later, especially since I had met his requirement. He had said that he was impressed with me after all.
Marc, his arms still around me but looking very confused, suddenly joined our conversation. "So does this mean we're not having sex?"
I laughed as I turned around and kissed him passionately while Keith said loudly, "Ew! God dammit guys, take that upstairs, I don't want to see that!"
"Well there's more where that came from. If you don't want to see more, perhaps you should go upstairs. You've stolen my boyfriend for three hours now, I think it's about time I got a piece of him," Marc said playfully and then reached for my belt buckle.
The last thing we heard as we started in on our second session that day was Keith asking Marc to text him when we were done. We were both too busy to take any notice of the door slamming shut, or the angry mutterings of the druid walking away.
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