Castle Roland

The Kandric

by Kyle Aarons

In Progress

Chapter 5

Posted: 5 Jan 15


Kyle Aarons

Wind gusts started battering at the window as Kandric ordered Jamon to wash his back. He had been in warm water springs plenty of times with Glaster and had servants wash him before. He had never been waited on hand and foot by a pair of slaves while he took an indoor bath before, however. It seemed like a pleasant dream to the young Halfelf who was normally only pampered when Glaster decided to give him a break from normal duties.

He still felt quite guilty about taking over as Jamon's trainer, no matter how temporary it would be. Unfortunately, he couldn't risk being nice to the boy. It didn't take a genius to figure out Vondum would turn on him if he showed such weakness. Kandric briefly thought about slacking up when Vondum was not around, but quickly discounted such a notion. His experience with slaves was extremely limited. Glaster, however, had taught him one valuable thing about controlling them. Put simply, slaves will do whatever they can to stretch every centimeter given them as far as they can take it.

It wouldn't take long for Jamon to figure out ways to do less and less. Kandric knew himself well enough to understand Jamon would have no problem playing on his kindness if given even half a chance. The minute Vondum picked up on it; Jamon would be punished, probably severely. Vondum would then lose some confidence in Kandric. He couldn't allow that. Vondum's trust seemed to be the key, especially, if he ever wanted to find out what was going on with the Illorc.

"Is there a problem?" Kandric asked while looking back over his shoulder.

Jamon's lower lip started trembling as tears welled up in his blue eyes, "No master."

"Then get on with it. I think that one spot is clean enough." Kandric hated himself as he felt the boy's hands move further down his back with the soft cotton cloth. Taking a deep breath, he looked around. He could see no one else around. The smell of cooking meat told him Tyfod, the other slave, was busy in the kitchen. This would be the one chance to try talking Jamon into being obedient.

"Just a minute. Go close the door and come here."

Jamon wobbled from exhaustion as he stood and closed the door. Expecting the worst he approached the large half-barrel tub cringing.

"I can tell by the look on your face you know you are not doing what you should. I am going to give you until this water cools to talk with no repercussions. Once I call Tyfod for a warm bucket your time is up, so speak."

"I'm not a slave." Jamon started out.

Kandric shook his head, "What your status was before matters not."

"But I was kidnapped!"

"Lower your voice." Kandric glared as he spoke, "Unless you want your owner putting you back on those hooks."

"He's not my owner, don't you get it?" Jamon forced his inflection to take on less of an angry edge; "My little brother, Conth, his little brother and I were taken, not bought."

"Look around. Do you think anyone within fifty leagues cares? I could take you into any town or city and get papers made up on you without batting an eyelash and I am just a half-breed kid. In many places an outburst like you just had would get you a public flogging. I am betting you are fairly intelligent. You were wearing merchant clothing when I first came in so have seen slavery in some form or another. Use your head."

"I know, but…"

Kandric cut him off, "No buts. Look at yourself. You do not even have any clothing left. Right now you are treading on very thin ice. You have no choice in this. Your owner and now myself control your food, shelter, rest periods, everything. We even control your body."

"No you don't." Jamon retorted in disgust.

"Oh no?" Kandric rubbed his hands together as he spoke a quick arcane word. Crimson light briefly lit the room before he spun his fingers in Jamon's direction. The glow suddenly turned orange as it shot into Jamon.

Jamon took half a step back before the spell took hold. He tried to move off to the side, but nothing happened. Then slowly he began to move. He tried to stop and talk yet his body continued to move, albeit at a slow speed for a few more seconds. It seemed like he couldn't react at all. His body stayed well behind his mental orders. "What… have… you… done… to… me…" Every word dragged out with huge pauses in-between.

"Like I said, we control everything. Your holder can prevent you from sleeping. I can slow you down or make you even more exhausted than you already are. I have other means to control your body as well. Do you wish to see?"

Jamon tried to speak out. When nothing happened he tried again. "Please… no… more… spells…" As his first statement slipped out he tried to stop his second one. The spell prevented it. The words tumbled out, "NO…! NO…! I'll… do… anything…!"

Kandric watched as Jamon's facial features caught up with the chain of events. He snapped his fingers destroying the spell, "Now what were you saying about what we do and do not control?"

"Ok-you-win." This time his words blasted out quick and forced almost like one word. His attempt to out think the spell after the fact caused his cheeks to take on a reddish blush. The pink signs of his flush extended halfway down his fully exposed body, making things even worse for the disconcerted and befuddled child. Jamon hung his head in surrender.

Kandric couldn't help himself. He laughed at the nude blushing boy in front of him. "You want to start this conversation over again?" Getting a slight nod in return Kandric added, "This time do so as the slave you are. You will get further."

Jamon looked over to Kandric; "May I sit?"

"Yes. Sit on the edge of the tub. You can wash my legs while we talk."

Jamon swallowed hard. Slowly he took the cloth and started working in some soap from a pile of crystal tree root before he begrudgingly lifted up Kandric's leg. "I can't do this."

"Do what?"

"Any of this. It makes me sick to my stomach just to wash your back or foot. There is no way I can wash your butt."

Kandric noticed his eyes rolling before he knew he was doing so. With no chance of hiding his thoughts he let them spill out, "You best get over your morals, disgust, or whatever you want to call your tummy queasiness. This is only the beginning."

"What do you mean?"

"Think about it. You are not just here to be a servant boy. Why do you think you have not been given any clothing? Vondum gave you the same instructions as he did your brother. If I cannot reach out and touch you, punishment is to be handed down." Kandric ran his hand over Jamon's chest. "Come on put the pieces in place."

Jamon's face took on the look of someone who just ate his least favorite food. "You mean I'm a pleasure boy?" His voice trembled as much as his body.

Kandric smiled as he started running his hand up Jamon's leg, "That is one way to look at it. I will give you a small choice in your future. Neither choice is great, but at least you will have some sort of decision regarding your future."

"What?" His voice betrayed his lack of enthusiasm

"You get to decide who will train you, me or your owner. If you decide on me, I will expect instant compliance to my commands and no resisting my training of you." Kandric slid his hand all the way up to Jamon's crotch and started playing with his scrotum.

Jamon instinctively pulled away.

"Either you get back here and learn to enjoy this or you can find out how your master will break you in."

Jamon clenched his jaw, but moved closer.

"Thought so." Kandric chuckled as he put his hand back on Jamon's crotch. "It is actually quite pleasant once you get used to it. Understand, I will not hesitate to turn you over to your possessor if you give me any problems at all."

Jamon nodded, "I'm not stupid. My dad liked an occasional boy or girl. I'll do whatever you want because I don't what that man in me."

"You know he will eventually."

Jamon stifled a whimper, but still had to wipe away a teardrop; "Yea, but it'll be better if you can get me ready. From what my dad and older brother said it's easier to start out small. That's why my brother always had the new kids first." Jamon looked resigned to his new life.

Kandric concurred, "Very true. Is there anything else you wish to say? This will be your last chance. I will not allow this ever again."

Jamon closed his eyes wishing the nightmare would just end, but knew it wouldn't "Could you at least find out about my brother and mom?"

Kandric cringed thinking about the women and girls given to the Orcs. That was a wound he didn't want the boy to think about. His younger brother was another story though. Maybe he could use this to keep Jamon under control. "If I agree to check into your younger brother will you be totally obedient?"

Jamon looked down, after a moment he nodded. "Can you get him?"

"I have no idea Jamon. There is a chance, but if I do he will be a slave just as you are. You understand?"

"Yea. Please get him. I don't want those monsters having him. I'll do anything you want."

"You will from now on, no matter what I find out right?"

"Yes master." Tears started flowing down Jamon's cheeks. "You will try, right?"

"I may not be one of the nicer people you will ever meet, but I have never gone back on my word. If I can find him, I will do what I can to get him. Now settle down, then have Tyfod get two fresh buckets of warm water and you can get down to business and wash me properly." He smacked Jamon's bare butt as the boy stood to open the door again. Kandric couldn't help it, like it or not he did have a little mean streak when it came to rich brats, and this kid clearly fit into such a category. At least until he had been enslaved by the Illorc and its friends.

Vondum entered the bath chambers just as Tyfod started dumping the second lightly steaming bucket of water into the tub. "Do you mind, or would you prefer privacy?"

"Not at all sir, please come in." Kandric motioned toward Tyfod, "That will do fine. Please bring Jamon something to wear when you get my clothing."

Vondum raised an eyebrow; "You want him wearing clothing?"

Kandric pulled Jamon close while motioning for the boy to pick up the cloth and soapy roots, "No sir, just a night shirt. I will give him a chance to earn time to wear it eventually." Kandric put on his most charming smile and purposefully arched his back as he stretched giving Vondum a momentary full frontal view of himself, "That is if you will have me that long."

Vondum's eyes lit up as Kandric stretched. He suddenly wished he was in Jamon's place, getting a chance to wash such a splendid child. "You are welcome to stay as long as you would like Kandric. I'm sure Glaster will want you back the second he gets up here though."

"Yes, he is probably missing me as much as I miss him. This is the longest he has left me since we first worked out our agreement."

"Agreement?" Vondum pointed at a chair and glanced down at Conth.

Conth started to move to get the stool only to get yanked back by his hair. Biting off a yelp of pain he moved back to Vondum's side, "Sorry master. Permission to leave your side."

"Granted, bring me the seat. Do not forget your place again."

"I won't master."

Kandric noticed Vondum's eyes never left his own during the whole performance, which is exactly what Kandric saw it as. Given the circumstances, it was easy to keep a neutral face. If anything the display would make it easier to control Jamon. "Glaster offered to pay for the best training he could if I would serve him. It was more than a fair trade."

Vondum pulled Conth onto his lap as he spoke, " I see. I know he is a Shaman, so he didn't have to pay for much."

"More than you might think. I have been to the best teachers from Eagleonia, to Falcon's Loft, to Red Raven. I have also spent time with Master Shamen throughout two continents. He has spared no expense in training me."

"Very impressive." Vondum pulled out the sword Kandric had captured from beneath his cloak. "Did you look at this?"

"Did not really have a chance." Kandric motioned for Jamon to get the weapon. As soon as he stood, Kandric made an audible sound of clearing his throat.

Jamon stopped, "Permission to get the sword for you master."

"Do not forget again slave." Kandric hissed, "One more mistake and there will be no nap for you. You want a nap, or should we forget letting you sleep?"

"Yes please."

"Bring the sword. Then finish cleaning my feet with your tongue. As soon as you are done you can go to my room and sleep. Of course that is if your owner is willing to release the spell." Kandric took the sword while staring Jamon down. He had to show Vondum he was worth keeping around.

"Kandric, such decisions are up to you. Do you want me to release the spell?"

"Not until every toe is sucked clean." Kandric smiled and winked at Vondum. He could see the man getting an erection as Jamon started to grimace upon taking the first toe into his mouth. In all actuality, he couldn't understand the boy's distaste. His feet had already been washed.

He had done the same thing to Glaster, and it didn't bother him at all. It was actually kind of fun. This was the kind of thing a spoiled rich kid would never think of having to do. Such thoughts only made the experience more satisfying.

He suddenly understood why Glaster liked him to suck on his toes. The feeling was very relaxing, yet somehow sensually gratifying. No foot massage could ever top the feeling.

It took him a moment to focus on the weapon. When he finally unsheathed the blade, he understood why Vondum was so interested. Small magical runes shimmered red and blue. Closer examination revealed fine crushed rubies and sapphires within each ruin. Kandric searched his memory. It took a moment, but he suddenly realized what he was holding. "By the gods, it is a frozen flame!"

"You can read Shaman?" Vondum nearly knocked Conth off his lap in surprise.

"The runes are not Shaman sir. They are Mage. My other Subfield is a Ruinseeker. I saw this listed in a tome of the Alphars."

"It is your capture Kandric. Do you know how to use it?"

"A sword yes. But this blade's powers, no sir." Suddenly Kandric realized what had just been said, "You mean this is mine?"

"Oh yea. You saved our butts out there today. All the belongings of those you took down are yours. That includes the blade and the fourteen spells from the Mage spell book."

"Their spell caster was alive."

"Was." Vondum confirmed. "He verified what you told us. They followed the trail the slaves I brought in left behind. I got careless. You pulled my ass out of the fire so you deserve it."

"But…" Kandric couldn't figure out what to say so he let the word tail off.

"I put all the belongings of the three you took down into your room along with the pouch of their commander. I took his weapons. Unless you want the hammer and daggers."

"No, that is more than fair." Kandric couldn't believe he really owned a magical weapon. His eyes stayed riveted on the blade. "I thought it parted the chain armor too easily."

Vondum nodded with a smile; "I bet!"

"Do you have a study with books?"

"Yes. But much of it is written in basic Northman. I doubt any of them will do any good as far as getting to the power of the blade. I had my Mystic look at it. He said it was a frozen flame as well, but could tell me nothing more. What do you know about it?"

Kandric lightly ran his hand down the ruins, "Not a great deal. I read a passage a while back in an ancient tome written by the Alphars. Long ago the original Elves, also known as Alphars, fought pitched battles with the Tempest Demoness Senexsia. She summoned fire and ice demons to plague the world and many magical weapons would not affect the more powerful ones. One Alphar, a mage by the name of Starleaf, found a way to combat both types with one weapon. He passed on the knowledge to the best Alphar Metalworkers and Mages. This type of blade was their answer, a frozen flame. It is capable of killing both fire and water based creatures and can even harm powerful undead like vampires when they are in mist form. I do not know how to activate it or what I am supposed to do though. The tome I read did not give any more information than that.How did a Hob get a hold of this?"

Vondum picked up Conth and set him on his feet then started pacing, "Very good question. The Hobs have gotten very powerful lately. They are getting very good quality goods and supplies, have built up a magical arsenal, and have many trained spell casters. This is just one more example."

Kandric saw a way to get involved. "Well, I do not know when Glaster is coming back. I expected him back before now. I would like him to get here so he could take me somewhere to learn about this blade, in the mean time maybe I can go out with some of your patrols. I am a Secondary Echelon caster and can help take out a few more Hobs. My family could use the money and I would like the chance to hone my casting abilities."

Vondum stopped pacing for a moment. Clearly he wanted to say something, but took his time choosing his words. When he did speak, his words came out slowly and guarded. "The only concerns I have are what would Glaster think if you got hurt or worse. And secondly, some of the things we do are quite harsh."

"Harsh?" Kandric tried to look both highly interested and innocent at the same time. He hedged his bets some by again exposing himself as he adjusted in the tub. It took no time at all to see the combination worked perfectly.

Vondum had a hard time pulling his eyes away from Kandric's silky smooth clean body. The boy's look only added to his desire to partake of the boy. Slowly he nodded his head, "Yes. That is why this compound is so far from Black Rapids. I used my own resources to take the fight to the Hobs and to track down their supporters. Once and a while that means we accidentally hit a legitimate merchant caravan. How do you feel about that?"

"They are rich. How do you think I feel about it?" Kandric shot back in an attempt to impress Vondum. As he did so it occurred to him he really didn't care about many of the merchants. Some were OK but most just wanted to get rich and deserve whatever they got.

Glaster was different. He made hoards of money but he also did a great deal to help others. He would fight the biggest monster to prevent a kid from getting hurt and often times spent his own money to take a street urchin to a Healthman. He also supported at least six different orphanages. Of course he occasionally got a kid for a night or two, but they had a good home where they were taught reading and writing while not being forced into labor to support the operators like most homes for orphans.

He also would give money away to prevent a family from losing a home and expect nothing in return. Traveling with Glaster, He had seen many merchants and how they acted. Yet, Kandric had seen no other merchant do anything similar even when given the opportunity. He wouldn't want to take out a group like Jamon and Conth were a part of, but others? As long as it was for a better good of tracking down the Illorc, yea he figured, I can do it without too much of a problem.

Vondum took a second to really examine Kandric's expression. The young Halfelf clearly didn't like most rich folks, so his outburst could be understood. The really impressive part though began after the challenging question burst out of his lips. He clearly thought over the words and came to a conclusion. "Problem?"

"I do not think so." Kandric replied deciding to give a good portion of his views to the big Warrior Adept, "I just do not want to take out a wagon only to find it was some farmer and his kids trying to make a living."

"We don't do that." Vondum casually replied while thinking: That's what Orcs are for.

"I guess my concern is kind along the lines of how do you know?"

"First off, we only hit multiple wagon caravans. Single wagons are of no real use unless we see the same one over and over. In such a situation we follow. The other thing is they have to be carrying more than grains or other foodstuffs. We stop multiwagon food caravans once and a while to check their loads, but they are very rare up here.

"Secondly, and more important, we don't just see a caravan and attack, we observe, send a group to trade, and see what they have. If they act suspicious or hostile we mark them for attack. If they trade freely and don't seem to have anything of importance to the Hobgoblins, then we let them be." All of which was true. If they had nothing worthy of a Hob then it would be a waste of time attacking them. Such minor caravans were left for the Orcs to beat up on.

Kandric looked at Jamon, "That will do for now. You may go to sleep on my bed until I wake you. Have Tyfod get you one blanket and chain you to the bed by one of your feet and leave the key on an end-table out of your reach."

Jamon cringed but quickly recovered and nodded, "I will master. May I use your chamber pot?"

"No." Kandric shook his head fiercely. "Relieve yourself outside. Have Tyfod go with you. You have to earn the right to do such things inside."

Vondum twirled his fingers and snapped his fingers. Suddenly a bit of black mist poured out of Jamon's nose and mouth. "You may now sleep. Go do as your master instructed."

Jamon could feel his body already drifting into a sleep. It had just been too long. Forcing himself to stay awake and remember what he had been told he stood, "Permission to leave your side master."

"Granted." Kandric smiled then added, "Everything better be done just the way I told you Jamon. I will check shortly."

"I'll do just as you said master." Jamon mumbled as he staggered out of the bath chamber.

Kandric let out a breath watching Jamon fight his exhaustion as he turned the corner, "Should have added to close the door on the way out."

Vondum chuckled, "Yea, there is a bit of a draft coming in from under the front door. The wind is really packing a mean bite. Conth get my guest a couple of towels and close the door on the way out."

"Where are the towels Master?"

"Have Tyfod show you."

Conth stood up, "Permission to leave, Master."

Vondum glared, "You do not need to ask if you were given an order boy!"

Conth gulped, "Sorry master!" He then ran out of the chamber closing the door as he went.

Kandric giggled, "He will learn. He seems pretty devoted, though."

"We shall see. He may be too smart for his own good."

"Glaster likes the smart ones. He says they learn to understand their place faster than the dumb ones."

"Overall he is correct, just have to pay attention to them more carefully until they are completely broken. You have done an outstanding job with Jamon so far."

"It is just a matter of keeping the pressure on."

"Up to a point I agree." Vondum leaned back stretching his well-muscled body, "But you have a knack for dealing with his stubbornness. I would have never thought about having him give another slave instructions to chain himself to a bed and keep the key visible. You give him hope by getting clothing for him, but make sure he knows he has to earn the chance to wear em. There is no question you are in total control without having to physically hurt him. Very impressive."

"You give me too much credit. I threatened him with turning him back over to you."

Vondum let out a roar of laughter; "You are a little devil! No wonder he is obeying you so well!"

"I will take that as a compliment." Kandric grinned, while raising and lowering his eyebrows a few times.

Vondum lowered his head, "I could learn to really like you!"

Kandric stretched again and turned so Vondum could get a good look at his well-shaped crescent moon buns. "I am glad. I do not have many friends. Mind if I ask you a question though?"

Vondum couldn't tear his eyes away from Kandric's body, "Not at all."

"Well, I allowed Jamon to speak his mind for a moment," Kandric started off awkwardly, "And he said he was not a slave. I have seen kids Glaster got say the same thing, but not with the same intensity. Not that it is any of my business, I guess."

"No, no. Don't worry about it. They were given to me. I suppose it is possible they were taken in a raid or something, especially considering whom I got them from. Are you uncomfortable with that?"

"Kinda. I mean them being your slaves I have no problem with. They were given to you and you accepted, so if you are not worried about it or even if you just want them, I have no problem. I would love to have them myself so I do not blame you at all. They are slaves. Jamon said his younger brother was captured too, so I was wondering about what happened to him. That is all."

Vondum scowled. He had no idea Jamon had a brother and wondered if the Illorc was holding out on him. This boy seemed to be getting more valuable by the moment. "Honestly I do not know Kandric. Like I said, they were gifts so it is possible Jamon's brother is under my colleague's control. What else did he say?"

"Not much. Said Conth's brother was also captured along with his mom. Did not really let him get into what happened. It was more important he realize his status as a slave so I concentrated on making sure he understood his place.

"The only reason I ask is if his brother is half as cute as he is, I would like to find out if the kid is for sale. I do not know if I could ever hope to earn enough to buy the kid, but maybe I could convince Glaster to buy him for me. If he is not for sale, it is possible Conth's brother is. Cause I bet Conth's brother is good looking too!"

Vondum couldn't help but agree, "Most likely at least one of the two is cute. My only question is would Glaster buy you a slave?"

Kandric again showed his bottom and this time he wiggled it enticingly; "I would have to make him very happy for many many days, but yea, I think I could convince him. Actually it would be a lot of fun seeing how much it would take before he said yes."

Vondum couldn't stand it any longer. The beautiful boy in front of him was driving him wild with hints and flashes of skin. "If nothing else you could sell the spell pages to buy one or maybe even both. Spell pages go for a hundred silver per Echelon of the spell in Dark Rapids. I have a question for you though. How would Glaster feel about you having some fun with me?"

Kandric had to hide his delight at having seduced the man in front of him. If he played this correctly he could have the man wrapped around his fingertip. "I do not think he would care. Do you really think I am that cute?"

Vondum could have sworn the temperature in the chamber suddenly had shot up. He swallowed hard, "Cute? No! Gorgeous? Yes!"

Conth came into the room just in time to see his owner with a very flushed face.

Kandric saw Vondum was embarrassed by his outburst of truthful emotion so he took over, "Leave the towels and go feed Jamon a good meal."

Conth looked to Vondum.

Vondum regained some composure and glared, "Slave do as you are told!"

Conth placed the towels next to the tub and ran out of the room leaving the door open.

Vondum shook his head and moved to leave, "I'll let you dry yourself."

Kandric put on a pleading innocent face and laid out his trap; "I would kind of like you to dry me sir. That is if you would like."

Vondum felt his heart flutter at the look Kandric gave him. Without thinking he shut the door and moved to grab the towels, "You sure about this?"

Kandric switched to a puppy dog eyes look, "Yea, but only if you want to."

Vondum lost his last bit of hesitancy looking into those beautiful hazel green eyes. He opened one of the towels and wrapped it around Kandric as he stood and stepped out of the water. Seeing the lad's whole body at last, left his hands trembling slightly. Not one of his many slaves could come close to the perfection he now was drying off. Starting with the boy's hair he gently worked his hands within the fabric of the towel. It took almost five minutes before he was down removing the water from the boy's toes.

Kandric had found very early on with Glaster he loved to have his body touched and admired. It might have been the fact swamp slum kids were looked at so badly, or maybe it was just the boy wanted attention. The fact remained, however, Kandric was happiest when people touched, admired, and or turned their head to watch him. He also loved to return other's affections.

He started slowly rubbing Vondum's chest through his dark black cotton shirt. Feeling no resistance Kandric pulled the man's shirt up and started gently rubbing a thick coating of chest hair. Gently twirling the hairs, he dug deeper until he finally made contact with the chest skin.

Vondum put his arms around the nude dry Halfelf and pulled the boy into his chest in a warm hug. Not once in recent memory had he wanted a willing boy, but Kandric had changed this in an instant. He made no attempt to stop the child when he felt his leather britches coming loose. Instead, he kissed Kandric on top of his head and slid his hand down each bump of the lad's backbone, lingering slightly at the base of the spine before exploring soft smooth butt cheeks that also held a hint of the boy's fitness.

Kandric finally managed to loosen Vondum's leather britches and loincloth. Making sure to move slowly, he slid his hand down until he made contact with the man's tool. It took him by surprise. It was rock hard like all of the man's muscles, but not very long, only about twelve cm. What it lacked in length, it made up for in width. It was massive feeling more like a limb than a cock. He couldn't even make contact with his thumb when he wrapped his fingers around it.

Sliding down further he found gigantic balls which when not held up by the loincloth would hang well. Everything felt clean and well cared for even the man's foreskin felt clean. No real smell could be detected as Kandric lowered his head to take a look. Everything in Vondum's crotch had a thick soft matting of hair making it difficult to see which disappointed him slightly.

Vondum could wait no longer. Giving pleasure was normally not his thing, but again Kandric had a strange effect on him. He lowered himself to his knees and took all of Kandric's boyhood into his mouth, balls and all and began playing with Kandric's cut slender nine cm cock with his tongue. The very fact the boy had a circumcised dick was rare thus more enticing to the huge man. As he did this his hand slid into Kandric's crack. Finding the hole, he carefully inserted a finger. He stopped and looked hoping he hadn't gone too far. All he got was a moan and Kandric thrusting his hips forward. Taking the hint he continued to lick and tickle the boy's dick and balls with his tongue until the boy shuddered.

It slightly disappointed Vondum there was no reward for himself, but knew Kandric couldn't help having a dry orgasm. He would eventually get old enough to have feelings of cum blasting out his little cock. Until then he would be happy playing with Kandric's hard, happy, little boy tool and giving him as many dry orgasms as he could handle!

Kandric felt a little childish being cradled naked in Vondum's arms like a baby, but at the same time couldn't have felt more secure. Part of him knew this was the same man that had Jamon hung up on a wall with a branch, but another part couldn't help but to wonder how he could really be evil. The only thing better right then would have been having Glaster do the exact same thing. Maybe Glaster had found a way to get his other arm back. Then he could. Kandric thought as he closed his eyes and allowed Vondum to dress him.

Vondum found himself thinking along the same sort of lines as he selected the best of the clothing he had available to dress Kandric in. He gazed over the youngster, thinking to himself. How could this child be so fragile, loving, and wonderful; yet have physically out battled a Hobgoblin, with the skill of a hardened soldier? Glaster is one lucky man!

Aster looked out over the city from his inn's room's balcony. Over a meter of snow carpeted everything, while the eastern sides of most buildings had drifts of over two meters, yet snow continued to fall. Almost nothing moved below him.

His thoughts, not for the first time, turned toward Pocet. Never before in his young life had a man simply accepted him as a friend before. Part of Aster expected Pocet to start treating him as a kid or a nice looking pleasure tool. The man was obviously highly interested in his body, yet had not even attempted take conversations in that direction.

Is it really possible he really wants to be just a friend? If so, would I ruin things by offering myself to him? I guess I should just talk to him and ask, but I don't want to put him in an awkward position of feeling he has to say yes when he doesn't want to. Frustration showed on the young Elf's face as he continued to dwell on Pocet. I want to sleep with him, feel the love he keeps showing me. "What should I do?" The confused lad cried out loud in the empty room.

Shade responded to his troubled state by hopping over the bed and barking loudly, tail wagging. The massive wolf-like animal gently nuzzled its master and licked Aster's hand.

Aster wrapped his arms around Shade, gaining strength from his beloved animal. Another thought came to him as he stroked the soft fur. Maybe he is leaving everything up to me. If he does not want me to feel pressured, he wouldn't ask. Just like I do with Dart. I let him come and go allowing him to decide whether or not to be my pet. Could anyone really care about me that much?

Taking a deep breath Aster made up his mind. He would just have to ask Pocet what he wanted. The truth would be in the eyes and tone of voice, even if the words were false.

Another bark by Shade disrupted Aster's chain of thought. The huge animal pushed past him and leapt forward with a growl. It seemed to stare then barked down into the whitewashed gloom of the early evening darkness.

Aster moved to the rail of the balcony and looked down. At first he saw only swirling snow but as he continued to scan the area, a gust of wind separated the snowflakes long enough to see a tiny shape struggling through the deep drifting snow. Once he found the figure he was able to follow it even as the snow did it's best to hide everything below in a white veil.

The tiny being staggered, fell, then stood again. Slowly, putting one foot in front of another, it pushed forward again, only to fall into a drift and roll down out into the middle of the street.

Aster had seen enough, "Good boy Shade! Get Pocet. I'm going down there!"

Shade bolted up to the closed door then looked back.

"Go boy! Get Pocet!"

Had anyone really watched, they would have seen Shade momentarily shift into a dark black form and literally slide through the solid wooden door. On the other side, the black misty wolf shaped shadow reformed into a solid wolf-like beast and bolted down the hall to Pocet's door and started scratching and barking.

Aster, on the other hand, thought about running down the steps then realized he could simply jump into the deep snow two and a half stories below. The deep drifts would prevent injury. Heights were never something Aster liked, but seeing a person in trouble overrode his fear. He grabbed his winter cloak and weapons then stepped over the rail. Grabbing the edge of the balcony, he lowered himself to a hanging position until he was certain he would indeed fall into the deepest part of the snow below all the while getting as close to it as he could. With a gritting of his teeth he let go.

For an instant Aster felt the sick sensation of falling before his feet pushed deep into the drift. He allowed momentum to take him forward to further break the fall. Snow enveloped him as he came to a halt. With a shudder he jumped to his feet doing the best he could to shake out all the icy flakes that had found a way into his clothing through the shirt collar, shirtsleeves, and pant legs. Crouching with dagger ready, he allowed his training to search out dangers hidden in the rapidly falling darkness and snow.

Sensing nothing to endanger himself, he looked in the direction he had last seen the being moving. Spotting disturbed snow, Aster allowed his eyes to follow the twin trails marking the passage of legs through snow too deep to walk over. It didn't take long to see something forcing its way forward. At first he thought it was a large dog because it moved on four legs but as he carefully closed in he realized it was a person struggling forward on hands and knees. So small the form and so deep the snow, the only thing visible was an occasional bobbing up and down of a head within the drifts.

Aster moved forward, but couldn't help but to remember the attack only a pair of days before. Anyone knowing anything about him would certainly use this kind of ploy to try another such ambush, yet everything remained still. Slowly he crept forward keeping a throwing dagger at the ready. As he got closer to the shape forcing its way through the snow he heard light sobs coming from it. Another step revealed a small person with a torn light cloak, ice coated brown hair, ripped britches that were far too light for such cold weather, and low, soft, moccasin-like shoes with more than a few holes in them. A nasty gash of clotted blood could barely be made out through the torn right pant leg.

Aster checked out a side alley briefly before rushing forward. As he got to the figure he pulled his cloak off and wrapped the person in it as best he could.

A startled cry broke the sobs as the person fought to get out of Aster's grasp. After a couple of kicks and a weak bit of thrashing, the movement stopped. The person seemingly having nothing left to fight with, surrendered. More weeping broke out.

Aster held the cloak tight, feeling ice cold skin beneath his hands. "Relax", he spoke firmly yet with a great amount of compassion, "I am a Healthman."

The person didn't respond, choosing instead to curl up into a tight ball. Seconds later whimpering sounds could be heard escaping from within the cloak.

Aster pulled back his cloak from over the head of the person. Ice crunched as his fingers moved the filthy matting of hair. Panicky gray eyes looked back at him from a boy of no more than nine. Icy lips continued to make a pitiful sound, as bluish colored hands clutched the rest of the cloak as tightly as their frozen state would allow. Almost no warmth could be felt coming out of the child's shredded clothing.

Pocet bolted around the corner, sword drawn, following Shade. "Aster, what are you doing out here?"

"Help me get this kid inside!" Aster responded without even looking up, "He is almost frozen to death!"

Pocet took one more look around before stepping forward, "By the gods!" He shouted as he saw the child for the first time, "Who has done this to him?"

"I don't know!" Aster stood looking around nervously; "Shade saw him outside and sensed his pain. He is terrified of something though."

Pocet scooped up the ball of clothing and child. "Aster, take my sword. It isn't iron. I don't like this at all. We need to get off the streets."

Aster grabbed the dropped weapon and moved glancing behind them as he went. Nothing else moved in the snow. "Shade guard our rear."

A pair of barks told Aster Shade understood and would warn them if anything so much as thought of getting close.

Pocet entered the inn, but didn't stop. He continued up the steps before anyone noticed his package was alive. He looked back only to make sure Aster and Shade had made it safely in as well, "What now?"

"Your room!" Aster commanded after a second of thought, "You have a fireplace in your room."

Pocet nodded understanding and didn't stop until he used his foot to kick open the door to his room at the far end of the hall. Without waiting, he deposited the boy on his bed and went down to purchase another armload of firewood.

Aster wasted no time. He laid the sword down carefully on the desk before throwing two more logs onto the flickering fire. Before kneeling next to the bed he turned to his pet "Shade I need my pouch!"

Instantly the animal launched itself out of the room.

Aster gently tugged at his cloak. Having no success he spoke softly "I know you are very cold, but you must let go. Your clothing is frozen stiff. And until we get you dry, you will not start to warm up."

The boy refused to let go so Aster took hold of the child's hands and forced them to release the warm thick fabric finger by finger. Finally he pulled his cloak away only to see the boy try desperately to grab it again. "No!" Aster stated forcefully while tossing the garment out of the child's reach.

The word caused the youngster to tightly close his eyes and pull himself into a tighter ball. A new round of sobbing escaped cracked lips and tears poured out of already red bloodshot eyes.

Aster cursed himself for his impatience. The words of his Healthman teacher scolded him from somewhere deep inside his head; "There is more than mending broken bones and stopping bleeding to being a healer Aster. You must also sooth the spirit so the body wants to mend."

Aster grabbed his cloak again, sat on the bed and draped it around the boy. As he did so he pulled the child close knowing he could at least allow some of his own body heat to warm him. "I am very sorry. I didn't mean it like that. Please let me help you."

Shade came back with Aster's Healthman's pouch firmly clenched in its jaws. Seeing Aster it jumped onto the bed and curled up close to both boys adding its soft fur and warmth to the mix.

For a few moments ice turned into water. The now drenched child didn't move, but then, ever so slowly he reached out his hand and began to pet Shade.

Pocet came up with a huge arm full of wood and looked at the touching site. He turned briefly to wipe a tear away before moving over to the fireplace, "What do you need me to do?"

Aster replied softly so as not to startle the weeping boy in his arms, "Take the pouch from Shade. Inside there is a bunch of smaller pouches. Pull them out."

Pocet moved over to the desk and sheathed his sword before doing as instructed. He took his time making sure to not disturb some of the strange shaped tools inside. "OK, now what?"

"One of the smallest ones contains a brownish-orange powder. Take a pinch and put it into a large cup. Inside that pouch is another one with a white power. I want just a few grains of it added, like five or six at most. Then heat some water and fill the cup, but do not lick your fingers. Make sure you wash your hands and throw the water out the window after they are clean."

Pocet looked through several pouches then found one that smelled quite strong. "Is it the one that reeks like rotten cherries?"

"That's it." Aster kind of grinned while trying using his shirt to dry the boy's hair."

Pocet saw what was happening and pulled out a cotton shirt from his travel bags, "Use this. It is softer."

"Thanks. Make sure the water is not very hot. He will have to drink it."


Aster chewed on his lip for a moment, "I hope you don't mind me telling you what to do."

"Not at all. You are the Healthman, not me."

"You sure?"

"Positive." Pocet turned to look at Aster, "That boy's only shot is with you right at the moment. Actually I am glad you are telling me to do something or I'd feel useless right at the moment."

Aster pulled the boy in tighter and motioned for Shade to push closer as well. The boy tightened up for a moment until Shade started nuzzling him in the belly. Again with agonizing slowness the child began petting the huge animal again.

Pocet watched this until the water started to steam over the fire. Quickly he mixed it with the powder in the mug. He was surprised to find the water turn a deep red and all the nasty smell gone. All that remained was a sweet cherry smell. It made his mouth water.

Aster nodded, "Yea, that smells right. He needs to drink all of it."

Pocet brought it over and held it to the boy's lips. At first he refused to open up but the smell finally got the better of him and he tasted it. Once he found the sweet taste equaled the fragrance he hungrily slurped the rest of it down.

Aster smiled, "Good. Now take some deep breaths. You will start feeling like it is hard to breathe but that is ok."

Shade increased his nuzzling as the boy began getting frightened. Each breath seemed more and more labored.

"Aster," Pocet looked on concerned, "is this normal?"

"Don't worry. Let the poison work."

"Poison!" Pocet shouted.

"Calm down! You're scaring him." Aster hissed feeling the boy tighten up again.


"No. Listen. The poison was not strong enough to kill him. What you gave him, gives people bad fevers. His body is nearly frozen. Unless we can get him to warm up on the inside he will die!"

"But what about his breathing?"

"I don't understand what makes it work, but the more he breathes the higher his temperature will go so I had you add a dusting of a plant that makes breathing seem hard, along with crushed and dried hardened sap that mimics cherries so it tastes good. As soon as he falls asleep his breathing will return to normal, but he has to stop fighting the poison so he will go to sleep."

Aster put his arms around the boy and gave him a gentle but firm hug, "Breathe deeply and let your eyes grow heavy."

Slowly the lad nodded off to sleep in Aster's arms as he continued to speak softly to him. As he did so, his chest fell into normal patterns of rising and falling.

Aster disengaged slowly while pointing at Shade to stay put. If anything, the animal tucked itself up closer to replace the void Aster had created by getting up.

"Sorry. I should have known better." Pocet spoke softly while giving Aster a shoulder rub.

"No need to apologize." Aster said seriously, "It shows me how much you care. Can you help me get his wet clothing off?"

"Won't he wake up?"

"No he will sleep all night and most of tomorrow. We will have to give him water and broth so he will not dehydrate."

"OK." Pocet moved the slumbering child to remove his shirt.

Aster handed him a dagger, "Just cut it off. I'll buy him new clothing tomorrow and have them waiting here by the time he wakes up.

"You sure?"

"Look at those rags. Besides there is no way I can let him wear summer clothing with the weather the way it is. If he has a mom and dad, maybe they'll pay me, but if they don't so be it."

Pocet nodded, "Good point. I'll pitch in as well."

"You don't have to."

"I know." Pocet patted Aster's shoulders before taking the offered dagger, "But I want to."


Pocet cringed as he cut the shirt off, "Aster you better look at this."

Aster stopped putting things back into his Healthman's pouch and came over. He felt his eyes grow wide upon seeing the ugly open welts covering the child's back.

Pocet's face was deathly pale; "He has been whipped repeatedly."

"More than once." Aster replied after looking over the crisscrossing marks, "He must be a slave."

"He isn't wearing a collar and doesn't have wrist brands or tattoos."

"Then his parents rent him out as an indentured servant, which means he isn't from the city." Aster snarled in disgust. "Finish getting him undressed while I get to work. I'm astonished he lived through all this."

Pocet finished stripping the child. Each piece of clothing removed showed more signs of abuse and gave Aster more to do. Quickly it became evident Aster would not be able to do everything on his own. "Do you want me to go hire another Healthman?"

"No, we can't. If someone is staking claims to this boy and has paid for him, they will be able to take him back if they find him. I can handle this. What I do need is some more herbs and we will need broth and fresh water. I don't want to use up so much of my traveling supplies."

"Get me a list and I'll go get what you need, if there is a shop open, that is."

"My teacher's shop is open all the time; it's right next to the South Gate, only about three blocks from here."

"Where we bought your pouch?"

"Yea. I have on open ended tab there, because I work for herbs as needed, but I'll be ordering a great deal so you might want to go to my room and get twenty silver or so."

"The stuff you use is that expensive?"

"Some of it." Aster nodded, "But you'll also be picking me up two extra traveling kits."

Pocet shook his head, "That is for Handri to buy. I'll get the money from him."

"As long as you're sure he won't mind. Oh and we will need a spoon to feed him the broth with."

"OK, I'll go down and order some broth and food for us while you get the list together." Pocet stated while heading out the door.

Six hours later Aster applied a special herbal salve to the last injury on the boy's leg. With a sigh of relief he stood and stretched.

Pocet looked over; "You look exhausted."

"I am, but he is not out from under the dragon's claw yet. His body is so messed up with frostbite, cuts, bruises and hypothermia, I would not be surprised if he had problems before he wakes up."

"Then you better stay here. I'll use your room."

Aster looked up; "How about we both stay here tonight?"

Pocet stopped short; "There are only two small beds in here Aster."

"I know." Aster desperately hoped he had not overstepped this new friendship but was kind of committed now. "He and Shade can have that one and we can use the other. I'd love to sleep with you if it's ok for you, that is."

Pocet felt his heart hammering in his chest, "Aster I have dreamt of this, but if this is because you think it is the only way to keep my friendship, then don't."

"We both feel the same way!" Aster next to cheered after seeing the sincerity in Pocet's eyes; "I was worried you wouldn't like me if I asked!"

Pocet engulfed Aster in a hug as he kissed his forehead, "Not even maybe. I have wanted to ask the same, but didn't want you to hate me."

Aster cried tears of joy, "No! I want to love you!" For the first time in his life Aster didn't feel like he was being used or using someone else. He had found a real lover on equal terms.

Carefully, they covered their young guest with warm blankets, while Shade curled up close so it could alert Aster if there was a problem. Aster had no doubt the animal would stay up all night just to make sure the beaten boy continued to breath normally.

Once Aster was sure Shade understood, he again hugged Pocet and the two got down to moving a friendship into real love.

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