Titos' Adventure: Winter

Titos' Adventures: Winter
By Paladin

Ryn pulled out a small weed from the vegetable garden in the front yard while humming softly. The winter squash should come in nicely despite its late planting. The other vegetables' performance left much to be desired. The Kaspen berries were looking awfully green when they ought to be a bright yellow, the Black Squash was being overrun by some kind of red beetle. Weeks ago, Ryn vanquished his pride and wrote to his mother, begging her for help. She, intern, consulted the finest royal, elven gardeners who sent him a twenty page reply. Twenty pages of the most boring reading Ryn had ever undertaken and now he was losing the crop to oversized bugs! Sneering slightly in frustration, Ryn stood gracefully and returned to the house, slamming the door loudly. For some reason, the elf found himself walking right up the stairs and into Hal's room.

The priest sat upon his bed seemingly mending an old chair cushion. Surprisingly, the young man wore a soft green robe today instead of his usual blue garments. The dark braided head was bowed in watch of the needlework. Smiling, Ryn leaned against the door frame and spoke. "Did you mend a great deal in the desert?"

Hal looked up slowly, clearly disappointed with whom he saw. The priest the recovered and smiled briefly. "As an apprentice, I sewed more flesh than cloth though the task has proved to be very similar... Have you seen Titos today?"

Ryn nodded, a frown forming on his lips. It was an odd question. "Yes, at least five times this morning and four this afternoon. He and Armin ventured to town to purchase a few badly needed goods."

Hal blinked away his rising tears. "Oh."

The elven prince approached him fluidly and sat upon the bed, stilling the trembling hands that continued to wield the sharp needle. "What is wrong?"

"It's nothing." Hal breathed deeply.

"I request that you would give me more credit than that. Is Titos required to help you, or may I suffice?"

Hal shook his head slowly. "It is not that it's... Oh Ryn, he does not want this child."

Ryn instantly shook his head in denial but Hal continued. "Titos has said so in everything but words. He is constantly stressed and angry. The other day, he yelled at Armin for knocking over the new statue. Armin did the only thing he knows how to appease someone with, and Titos merely became more angry. Armin doesn't understand when someone yells at him like that; Titos knows this. He is so tense... I've tried all the herbs I know but they do not work. Your mother refused..."

Ryn managed to recover from his shook. Was he hearing this correctly? Did the priest wish to rid himself of his own baby? "Hal!" Ryn gripped the tanned hands tightly. "You do not mean to have asked my mother to help you destroy your baby...?"

"She is the only one that...."

"You can not want this?" Ryn questioned softly.

Hal put the pillow aside and drew in a trembling breath. "What I want is not to be a burden to the man I love."

"You are not..."

"He didn't expect this kind of result with me. It's not fair. I don't want to ruin his life with this unpleasant surprise."

"Do you want the..."

"Oh gods. Ryn I am so sorry." Tears glistened down Hal's cheek with renewed intensity. "It is your child too, and I didn't even consider..."

"All right that is it." Ryn moved forward quickly and clamped a hand over the surprised mouth. "I will not have you cut me off again. How can you be sure it is mine as well?" The elf slowly removed his hand, warning Hal with a fiery gaze.

Hal smiled weakly. "The physical form is not there but the essence, the spirit. The form that does not exist in Material Plane and is connected through me. When you are near, I sense a shift... almost a small burning sensation."

Ryn's eyes light up as he looked in the priest' sky-blue gaze. Hal seemed very serious. "May I?" Ryn question lowly.

Hal nodded and the elf proceed to release the tie and part the robes. He touched the taught stomach lightly, and looked up quickly when he felt the warmth described. It was strange, this light energy he felt pulsing from his hand. Strange yet right, very much appealing in the warm sort of way. Without second thought, Ryn leaned down and kissed the stomach lightly.

Hal gasped in surprise, the sudden moisture sending a tremble through his body. "I didn't expect you to do that. Did you..."

Ryn cut him off with a passionate kiss, his tongue demanding a response from the sweet mouth and receiving one. Hal trembled delightfully under the assault, arching into Ryn's roaming hands. He nipped at the priest's luscious lips and then maneuvered to the reddening ear. The elf broke away whispering the simple word, "Feel it, Yes." Hal sighed lightly as Ryn gripped the black braids and gently, but with demanding force pulled the head back to suckle at the exposed neck. Everything about Hal tasted exotically sweet. The arid, fresh winds still clung to the darker skin and the tantalizing waters of the oasis swam through the priest's vein and was grand on Ryn's eager tongue as he lapped at the sweat droplets. The elf continue down and licked at the dark little nubs that were hard and shouted for attention. His first impulse would have been to bite the tempting morsels in order to hear his lover scream in response, however; he remembered how Titos emphasized being slow with Hal first. Grinning, Ryn was content with flicking at them with his dart like tongue. Hal grabbed his honey-wheat hair and groaned his name. The prince laughed lightly as he reached the dark forest down below. The priest's hips lifted slightly in anticipation. This was just too much fun. Ryn licked at the pulsing head momentarily, just long enough to achieve a loud moan. He then played with the heavy sacs momentarily, his long fingers squeezing in just the right places for his lover through his head back and exclaimed lowly. One when he had the dark little desire panting with want and wiggling with desire did Ryn reach and apply the lubricant. He undressed and then covered Hal's body with is own and sighing from the heat they radiated.

"Ryn, please. Don't..."

Ryn cut him off with a swift kiss. "I shall not..." He kissed the watery eyes closed. "Hurt you."

Hal's eyes fluttered open despite the encouraging. His sky-blue eyes waging with emotion, fear not absent, gazed into Ryn's deep purple ones. The elf stroked his cheek lightly before speaking softly. "I promise."

Hal closed his eyes again, nodding and seemingly satisfied.

Ryn entered the tight little opening with only brief difficulty. Hal grabbed his shoulder tightly as the priest's muscles involuntarily contracted. "Relax..." Ryn cautioned as he stilled and waited to move on.

Hal nodded, frustration clearly outlined in his pursed lips. Once the priest relaxed, Ryn moved in again until he filled his lover completely. The heat was seemed like true bliss and was touched by the small warming feeling he had felt just moments ago. Ryn groaned as he began to move inside the little haven, his lips seeking and finding Hal's quiet open mouth. Hal yielded to both gentle assaults. The priest's hand stroked his spine, sending shivers of pleasure up his back and directly to his head. He broke the prolonged kiss and groaned loudly, thrusting into Hal deeply.

Hal gasped and shuddered. "Love me..." he pleaded in a small voice.

Ryn left his desire filled haven and looked down to see tears falling out of the corner of his lovers eyes. The elf continued to move inside the warm bliss as he sucked at the priest's ear. "Hal, honey. I do love you. I love you very much. We all do." He assured with voice that ended in a purr. Hal lifted his hips violently to meet him. They both came, panting in the end
Ryn looked down at him, kissing the tears away. The smaller body trembled beneath him, and clutched him tightly. Understanding suddenly struck him. "Has he not come to you?"

After a few moments, Hal finally stilled and replied. "Not since we left your homeland."

Ryn rolled to the side and frowned, his hand absent mindly stroking the dark nipples before him. "I will speak with him for you..."

"There is no..."

"I wish you would stop interrupting me." Ryn stood up fluidly and tucked Hal in with a few quick movements. He kissed his forehead briefly. "Yes there is. I am sure he does not understand how he is making you feel. I will hint towards it and if that does not work, I will hit him head on. You know me."

That last part drew a smile from the priest. "Thank you Ryn."

Ryn laughed lightly. "The cushion can wait. Get some rest. Besides, you'll need it for next time for I intend to make you squeal." With that, the elf left the room and closed the door in search of his the man who had become his first male lover. At the moment, he felt full of energy and so did not think twice about what kind of reaction was to be expected.

Titos entered the house with a foul mood written all over his face. He sneered slightly in Ryn's direction and then sat in his chair.

Ryn hesitated momentarily, not exactly sure what to do. Then he smiled and slid gracefully behind the black leather chair. His long fingers worked at the tense shoulders until a relaxed sigh exhaled from the warrior. "Your day?" the elf questioned lowly.

Titos shrugged. "Just another day. There is a delay in the wood shipment. Goblins seem to be on the raid again further north."

Ryn nodded. "Let it not worry you. Time is on our side and their is plenty of support to be had."

Titos grumbled lowly to himself for a moment and then spoke up. "Time is not on our side. Winter is coming and the roof is not nearly complete. Armin and Hal are not ready to face a cold front, and I will be damned to have your family come here and see you huddled in some damn corner for warmth. We need more food and blankets. The water pump is not properly cared for and..."

"Titos." Ryn interrupted. "Do not be so stressed. We will be okay."

"It is my responsibility to..."

"To hurt confuse and hurt Armin, or are you talking about making Hal feel he is nothing to you anymore?" Ryn sighed. He did not wish to approach the matter this directly, but it may be the only way.

Titos eyed him carefully. "What are you talking about?"

"The yelling. The short tempers. Titos, I am in the garden most of the day and I can hear you shouting at Armin."

Titos groaned lowly, rubbing his forehead slowly. "I'll talk to him. I just need some space."

Ryn nodded. "I can understand that, but perhaps Hal thinks that you have given us too much space. Have you even looked at him since we left my birth-land."

Titos sighed. "You know what Ryn, this interrogation is not on my list of things to do tonight. If you have nothing else to do than lecture me, then I am sure I have more chores than necessary to occupy your time."

Ryn narrowed his eyes angrily. "I will not be dismissed so easily. Hal and Armin need you..."

"Then let them talk to me!" Titos' voice rose.

The prince felt himself losing his own patience fairly quickly. "Do you want the baby?" the elf voiced loudly?

"NO! I don't want anything to do with it! I like my life just the way it is!" Titos stood and moved towards Ryn, his eyes dark and blazing. "Is that what you want to here my prince? Have you been hovering around waiting for the great Titos to finally come across something he can't handle?"

Instinctively, Ryn backed up. "Not at all. I only wished to discuss something with you. Good night." Ryn moved away quickly, not looking back. He felt his anger and his heartache overtake his senses. In such a state, he could not talk to Hal. Gods, in any state. How could he tell the priest this horrid news? Ryn slammed his door close. Everything was just too complex. With time, his emotional struggles subsided long enough for him to find some sleep.

Sometime during the middle of the night, Ryn heard the door open and the heavy patting of familiar, leather boots. Titos' large hand stroked his honey-wheat hair for several minutes before the warrior spoke lowly. "I did not mean it. You are right. I am stressed and easily angered more so than usual.

Ryn sat up and nodded, letting himself be drawn into a warm embarrass. "It is understandable. You truly need to speak to Hal. Assure him he is loved and wanted. Let Armin know he has a place here despite his lack of understanding and general inability to aid in the rebuilding as the rest of us. Words. All it will take are a couple of heartfelt words."

Titos chuckled softly. "Who are you? Where did my flighty, delightful little elf go? This insightful being can't be the same lusty prince."

Ryn sighed and leaned on Titos' shoulder. "I have many graces and just as many fallings..."

They rested in silence, both lost in their own thoughts and foretelling of the future. Just before sleep came upon them, Ryn made a comment. "It is a cold night."

Titos drew the blankets closer and warmed the pale figure with his own warmth. "A heavy snow storm comes this night. It shall be cold for many days. It is a good thing that at least the majority of the structure is fit and no one has to bear even a portion of this weather."

Ryn nodded. Neither one of them had heard the small horse race off in the middle of their argument.

Titos awoke with an overwhelming since of dread. He kissed Ryn lightly and smiled when the elf muttered something in elven. Then he ventured off to check on Armin. As usual, the young eagleman, an early riser, in the leather chair near the blazing. Titos through him a quick smile which was eagerly returned. Armin must have tried very hard to get that fire going for he had only seen Titos do it a few times. That left Hal. Titos sighed heavily. The warrior had no idea what to tell the young priest. It was true he had no wish for a child, but he loved Hal enough to withstand everything, up to and including rebuilding the whole house as quickly as possible. Just in case. He pushed the door open and began. "Hal..." his voice trailed off as he noticed the was empty. Titos searched the rest of the room and noticed that Hal's personal belongings, not including the ones the warrior had purchased him, were also missing. Titos' heart sank. Gods no. Not now. Off all times not now. He bound down the stairs, past the still sleepy elf who was nearly knocked off his feet, and to the front door where he was stopped by an unexpected guest.

The tall blonde with the scar over his eye on one side of his face smiled slightly. The winds blew heavily, and the snow swirled around in like a cold, thick blanket. "I ventured this direction and thought to pay you a visit. Your gift is quite..."

"Not now!" Titos shoved past him and went straight for the barn. The white horse's stall was indeed empty, complete with a set of riding gear.

Rath gripped his shoulder. "Something ails you? This weather is not fit to ride in. If you need to go, Greggorous is calm enough to take us."

Titos merely stood staring at the empty stall in disbelief. That his Hal was out in a blizzard, it was beyond belief. Gods, when had he left? How much of a head start did the priest have, and why did he go? Did his gentle lover have the slightest notion about traveling in such weather.

"Your alive..." Ryn whispered lowly as Rath turned to him.

"Indeed. You are quite clever amongst other things. You are looking well elven prince."

"Lord Rath, what in the name of the..."

"Enough of this chatter. We have got to find Hal before he freezes to death." If he has not all ready. Titos did not add the last part.

Rath frowned. "My soul-mate will take no part in a sure and rescue mission. Fortunately, I have my horse as well. I'll go south."

Ryn's deep purple eyes widened at the news. "I shall go west if it suits you."

As the elf turned to leave, Titos grabbed his arm. "Not in this life." He cutoff the prince's next statement quickly. "You horse is not as hardy as mine, and I serious doubt you have had much experience in searching for someone in this weather."

"You can not possibly expect me to stay here while the priest is out there in this... this disastrous weather."

"Let him come with me." Rath spoke lowly as he mounted. "My horse is nearly as fit as yours to such a task and can easily stand this harsh treatment. The elf's eyes are considerably better than mine as well."

Titos shook his head. "I don't think that..."

Ryn pulled away from Titos' grip, and mounted in front of Rath. "Hal needs all the help he can get." The prince smiled slowly. "There is not much more he can do to me that he has not all ready."

Titos' eyes narrowed. "Mind yourself old 'friend.'"

Rath nodded. "Of course. I shall be on my best behavior." All though the dragon-rider's voice dripped with sarcasm, Titos let the emergency take precedence over the smirk. He mounted Nightmare and drove him hard towards the north, just after he check one more time to make sure Ryn would be okay. The dragon-lord's grey eyes were calm, and warm. The elf would be fine.

After nearly 5 hours of searching, and with dusk falling upon him. He wore heavy furs and spurred Nightmare own, thankful that the horse was of a mountain bread. The thick legs with hooves pushed through the rising snow with great strength. Even so, he began to wonder if he was even traveling in the correct direction. Titos beheld something ahead. Titos tried to still the

panic that clouded his reason and turned his blood cold. Up ahead, something lie under the powdery snow. Even with the howling winds and the biting needles of snowflakes found in such a horrid blizzard, Titos could tell it was too large to be a small animal. He could not pick up any emotion either. The warrior dismounted and grabbed his black stallion's reins. His hand clenched tightly as he approached closer. Only by sheer will did he release such a death grip and began to dig with his large, bare hands. The former warlord blinked away tears as he beheld the whitish body of Hal's desert filly. The priest had grown fond of the animal that had begun to show signs of being true to her breed with a fiery spirit. Luckily, at that moment, he caught glimpse of blue cloth to his right. With great strength, Titos trudge through the snow at an amazing speed to his fallen lover. Titos' trembling hands lightly brushed the wet, icy hair aside and caressed the cold forehead. Swallowing hard, he moved to the neck and sought for signs of life. A painful breath caught in his suddenly dry throat. Hal lived. Titos gathered the smaller form into his arms and cradled the priest to his body. By now, the storm had worsened and visibility became nearly impossible. Titos whistled loudly to Nightmare, hoping to overcome the roaring winds. Once the horse responded, Titos sough and found shelter in the form of a small cave complete with a small shield of shrubbery. he had his loyal steed lie near the gapping mouth of the cave while he moved to the back with his bundle. Titos took a few moments to gather his wits an control the rise of emotion. Hal was alive yet barely. His body temperature seemed incredibly low. Frowning, Titos whispered a short apology as he removed the wet robes. Getting blanket from his saddle bags, the warrior drew Hal's naked form to him. He covered them both and waited.

A few hours past, and it was well into the night when Hal finally stirred. "Help.... me..."

Titos nearly jumped in joy but stilled himself quickly. "Easy my love. I am hear."

"Titos..." Hal sobbed, his body trembling from the cold he finally felt.

Titos rubbed his small limbs quickly and kissed his brow. "Of course."

"Oh, gods." The small voice whispered softly. "The horse. She fell. We have to get her before..."

Titos shook his head. "It is all ready too late my love ."

Hal buried his face as best he could against Titos' chest. "What is it?" he whispered.

"What is..." Titos suddenly smiled despite himself. "Snow. My little fool, this is snow."

"Oh," his lover breathed.

After a few minutes, Titos speaks again. "Love, don't fall asleep on me here. You must stay awake."

"It is so could," came the weak reply.

"I know." Titos apologized even though he realized there was nothing he could do. "If you suddenly feel very warm... let know."

Hal nodded and sighed.

Titos frowned and pondered a few moments. They both needed to stay awake. Perhaps it wasn't the worst time to address the priest's sudden departure. "Why did you go?"

Hal shifted. "You don't want it, and I did not wish to force myself on you."

"Force!? Hal that is not true..."

"I heard you."

Titos sighed. "But you didn't hear the rest did you? I am good at a lot of things, unfortunately, words are not one of them. It is true; I am not ready for family life. I never even perceived at having loved ones and living with them in a household. I love you Hal as I do Ryn. My heart is big enough for you two and still have room for the other beings you have met." He reached over and stroked an exposed cheek gently. "It is a hard thing to take on a 1600 year old idiot of a father, but I am more than willing to take on the gods themselves than loose you or Ryn or Armin... Fareal." He left out Rath's name though the thought came. "I need time to adjust. Time to calm my nerves and settle my temper, and this time includes having you with me."

Hal sobbed quietly, his tearful sky-blue eyes finally gazing into Titos' dark ones. "I love you Titos, with all my heart and soul."

Titos kissed Hal slowly, with gentle pressure. They then rested in silence; perhaps his lover was as lost in thoughts as he was. Then the priest spoke. "Titos."


"It is almost hot now." His gentle lover began to sob again. "I am freezing to death, aren't I?"

Titos began to rub the tanned limbs rapidly. His own skin felt the pain of the cold but little else. "You aren't freezing to death. Do you know why?"

Hal's eyes, which were only partially opened, brightened slightly with curiosity. "Why?"

Titos kissed his ear, his warm breath coloring the tanned skin. He whispered lowly, "I won't let you die."

His love laughed lightly, hissing as feeling returned to his body. "Tell me a story for I fear I can not stay awake on my own."

Titos chuckled. He had just the perfect one in mind. "I'll tell you about the time Trohan became so drunk that he traded a fortune to a con-man for a weak black horse. That very same animal wound up burning down the dwarf's first tavern one night. He was later named Nightmare..."

"This is all your fault!" Ryn paced in the pit, his deep purple eyes blazing with anger and glowing with thought.

Rath leaned against the dirt wall and smiled slightly. "It was in your haste that you fell for this meager trap and in your folly to have grabbed me in the process." He felt more amused than anything else.

"We may be trapped here for days and you smile! Why not call your accursed beast to the rescue or your horse even?"

Rath laughed loudly. "My horse is not a well trained companion as Titos' is. And believe me, the last thing you want is to have Greggorous come here and see the likes of you running around down here like a cornered mouse. My soul-mate is one hell of a cat. Sit down and relax. Titos is bound to find the horse running loose up there or at least use his *abilities* to locate us when he is down with his other lover."

Ryn watched him for a moment and then complied. His luscious lips formed a delightful pout. They remained silent for sometime, a few hours at the least, when Rath looked over and noticed the elf shivering almost uncontrollably, despite his warming clothing. Odd, Rath thought. Elves normally held a greater resistance to natural elements. Then again, even if Ryn was at an adult age of 98, his natural resistance may not have reach their full strength just yet. The one things elves were good at was keeping such information away from others.

"Come here young prince. Let my cloak warm you." Rath kept his voice gentle and generally genuine.

Ryn eyed him warily yet remained silent for some time. Then he spoke. "Are you serious?"

Rath nodded but once. "Feel free to freeze alone if that is your wish." The elf still seemed hesitant so you spoke on. "I shall not harm you, I swear it."

"Your word has no value. You have said this yourself."

Rath sighed. "I swear on my dragon bond and my mother long since dead. That, and facing Titos' anger is not the reason for my visit."

The prince complied and huddled against his warm body. With uncertainty, Rath began to stroke the sweet, honey-wheat hair. Fortunately, he had enough control over his body at the moment not to go further and stick with his current vow. Power and dominance was his to crave and control though pleasure had its place. "This is not so bad now is it?" He mused aloud.
Ryn pulled the cloak closer. "That remains to be seen." He then leaned against the large chest and began to fall asleep.

"This is why I favor elves to that of others."

Ryn sighed. "hmmm?"

"Your race is susceptible to kindness and touch, an almost animalistic response." His large hands drifted under the elf's tunic where he played with his nipples, waiting for Ryn to arch to his touch. After several minutes, Ryn did just that. "Your race has always been too gentle and intellectual for warfare. While your enemies grow at a rate nearly ten times of your own, it is no wonder the elves are dying off. You need to be protected and your true strengths nurtured. It is almost instinctual for you to seek and deliver pleasure from others."

Ryn stiffened and pulled away. "You swore not to harm me."

Rath chuckled. "And, in this case, I will stay true to my word. I only wished to share my view with such a young accepting prince such as yourself."

Ryn frowned but did not move. "I am not interested in any of your views."

"Even if the truth rings very clear in my words?" The tall blonde pulled the elf back to him as the shivers began to return. "Your breathing is shallow. even now you wait with baited breath for my advances. Elves love attention." His hands returned to the hard nubs where his nails scrapped them lightly. Ryn hissed lowly. "And you like receiving power as much as I enjoy giving it. It is not your fault nor is it a fault. It is in your breed. Elves are meant to serve. Only through carefully selected words, drawn out laws and dry parenting has it lead you and others to believe otherwise."

Ryn, succeeding remarkably in controlling his desires spoke. "Why are you telling me this?"

Rath grinned. "Because you are Titos' love. All of you are, and I too have place in his life. Consider this an offer to let you know more about me."

The prince's deep purple eyes flared with anger. "I do not wish to know the fiend that came so close in destroying my brother. You crushed his spirit, placed fear in his strong heart and sent him into the dark realm of despair. I have never seen him in such a state that you so carelessly placed him in. If it were not for that fact that Hal's life was and still maybe in danger, you and I would not be sharing the same air."

Rath released his grip and loosened his cloak. "Take this then and move to a more comfortable location for you."

Ryn glared at the dragon-rider angrily, ignoring the offered garment. "This is all you have to say?"

Rath studied him, smiling inwardly. He couldn't quite place the reasons behind all of Titos' choices. For instance, what he saw in the priest was beyond him. Armin's exotic nature held obvious appeal. Titos liked elves almost as much as he did though Rath new them better. However, Ryn held a certain appeal he had missed when he hastily took him before. The fire burned brightly in this young creature. His mere appearance was enough to boil his blood. In all the times he had seen this prince, he had missed this delightful spirit that held such promise. But the issue of the eldest prince would have to be addressed before he could even think about pursuing some form of contact with this one. "What I did to your brother is grievous. Had you not submitted to me as you did, your fate may have been similar. I had often wondered what reaction I would have to the warrior that cut my face with a sword so powerful that any wound from it can never heal completely. When the time came, I felt no hatred. My dragon, however, hates elves to the abyss ever since a group destroyed his mate and clutch. His influence brought out the worst results of both our venom. I will not deny that I would not have taken your brother even without such an influence. I found him pleasing to look at and enjoy elves. Passing him amongst my troops may or may not have occurred." Rath reached into his shirt and pulled out the new amulet. "Your mother was generous to give this to me, so I am no longer darkened by Greggorous mood. I do not expect you to believe me, nor to I offer excuses... merely reasons. If I could take back those two days, I would. There are limits that even I would not push."

Ryn watched him, digesting this information he was being told. Slowly he spoke. "You have fought Fareal before?"

Rath nodded, this time visibly smiling. "I have just said as much." The large blonde leaned closer, his lips mere millimeters from the pointed ears. "The curse placed upon you did not create something that was not there. It intensified the existing."

Ryn pulled the cloak around him. All he said was, "Let us not speak anymore this night."

Rath smiled. The prince had a lot to think about...

The blizzard died down in the morning. With Nightmare's help, Titos was able to get Hal back to the house and into the warmth and safety of the warrior's bed. Once he was sure that Hal would be all right alone for at least a little while, his mind went else where. Where was Rath and Ryn? Titos looked at his mount and shook his head, Nightmare needed time to warm himself. Despite his mountain origin, the weather still had to be hard on him. Sneering slightly at the idea of taking Ryn's light tan horse, Titos had little choice. He mounted the beast and headed south, the direction they were to have gone.

It took him nearly four hours to find the dragon-riders horse which had managed to tangle its reins up in a tree. He freed the animal and used his other senses to locate the two familiar beings. Yes, just a bit to the west. Titos peered down in to the pit, smiling. Now wasn't this a cute site. Rath and Ryn huddled for warmth. He eyed the elf carefully, looking for any signs of bruising

or other maltreatment. He smiled again when he found none. Taking out a rope, he dropped it soundly on Rath's head. The large blonde stood up quickly drawing his sword, knocking Ryn over in the process. Titos laughed, ignoring Rath's narrowed eyes.

"Rise and shine."

Rath sheathed his sword. "The sun is not out. Judging the beam all over your face, I assume your lover was found."

Titos nodded. "Hal is safe at home. You two did not need to go to such lengths to get my attention..." His voice trailed off as Ryn's sorrowful eyes looked in his direction.

"Titos, can you get us out of here please?"

Titos frowned. "Of course love. Just grab the rope. Rath help him up if he needs it."

Ryn scaled the rope easily by himself and then they helped Rath up. Rath rode his own horse and they ventured onward in silence. Titos found himself more than a little worried about Ryn's silence.

They arrived home safely and without event. Rath excused himself almost immediately, telling Titos that he had returned to his castle and lands. He was in the process of cleaning them up and has mixed feelings about his house warming gift. Apparently, Ridik had succeeded in escaping at least ten times and broke his master's arm twice. Titos saw determination in his old friend's eyes and smiled. All though he had more pressing business to attend to, he had a great desire to see that elven guard put in his place. Wishing Rath well, Titos went upstairs to see his lover. He opened the door and found Hal to be not alone. In Hal's large bed, and his arms was Armin. Titos cursed himself silently. He had forgotten all about the eagleman during this whole mess. Sighing, he approached them both, checking Hal's brow when he sat down. Hal's sky-blue eyes turned to him. "I am feeling a little better. Why did you not tell Armin you were leaving? He was frightened when he entered the house and no one was there. We are lucky he did not try to find us in this weather."

Titos nodded, keeping the fact that the reason why they left was Hal's fault, to himself. He drew Armin into a big hug, stroking the emerald green hair gently. "I am sorry Armin. I was very worried about this little fool here being out in the cold."

Armin looked at him slowly, his dusty-pink eyes glistening with tears. "Sorry."

"Sorry? Honey, you didn't do anything wrong here. I wasn't thinking. Did you find any of those berries you were looking for?"

Smiling, Armin nodded and pulled out his pouch. He opened the brown container to display the several small, red berries.

Titos grinned. "You dressed warm when you went? And didn't go past the creek right?"

Armin nodded quickly. "Water frozen."

Titos smiled. "Yes it is. I bet you haven't had a pie before. You should show Ryn those berries. He'll cook one for you."

"Titos, I think that should wait. Armin why don't you stay with me tonight while Titos goes to Ryn." Armin's smile broadened as he climbed under the blankets.

Titos saw concern in Hal's eyes as he smiled weakly at the enthusiasm. "All right. Sounds fine to me. He needs the warmth anyway, and Armin... don't let him leave this room till I come back." With that, Titos went to the elf's room. He pushed the door open slowly and was surprised to find no candles lit and Ryn in bed. His eyes scanned the room as best he could. The room looked very much like an elven room, filled with greens and browns. In fact, this bedroom was the only one completely done so far. Titos knew the elf would find more comfort in that fact than anyone else, so he had relinquished the master room. Odd, how it looked nothing like it had before. Even some engravings were beginning to find themselves on wall in not only in this room but various parts of the house. Frowning, Titos lay next to the prince and massaged the small shoulder lightly. He waited for Ryn to speak first.

"Titos, have you ever thought of me as an animal?"

The unexpected questioned troubled him a great deal. "No."

Ryn turned to him, the elf honey-wheat hair flowing over his bare shoulders and his deep purple eyes dark with sadness. "Not even once."

Titos frowned. "Well not exactly."

"Then you have."

"Ryn, what is wrong?"

"If Hal were to express his desires openly in a tavern, would you get angry. How about with Armin?"

Titos' frown deepened. "Well Armin would be doing that only because he thinks that is what is expected of him. When Hal does something like that, it usual indicates something is wrong."

"And me?"

Titos smiled slightly. "Is that what this is sex?"

Ryn hugged himself unconsciously. "Is it strange that I like it so much? I mean even when I was forced, if the pain wasn't too bad... Did Fareal talk to you? Did he say how it was?"

Titos straightened up. Fareal probably didn't want him talking about his experiences, but if it helped his brother, why not? "He didn't experience much pleasure during his captivity. But, I suppose, he did mention that when Rath touched him nicely, he welcomed that."

Ryn frowned. "And with you... did he.. I mean..."

"Yes, he responded. Ryn what is this about?"

"When you first saw me, what were you thinking."

Titos sighed. "The truth? I thought I was going to have fun with a stray soldier?"

"And when you realized what I was... who?"

Titos hesitated. "It made you more alluring, I guess. Much better than I expected." Hmm, he wondered if that was a poor choice of wording.

"Better as in my appearance or my race?"

Titos' eyes narrowed. Damn that son-of-a-bitch, he should have known Rath couldn't keep his mouth shut about his accursed views. "Ryn, whatever he said it is not..."

"Not what? True? You have been around. What do others think of us? Please, Titos, don't lie to me. Tell me the truth."

Titos rubbed his forehead roughly. This was not a good time to lack a verbal skills. "Elves do have a reputation of being... ah."

"Easy. Oh gods."

"Ryn it is not that simple. There is nothing wrong with liking to be touched. When you have a natural life-span that doesn't end unless forced, then you get bored. You become more patient and even a little submissive. Rath is full of shit with his garble about only being able to survive as slaves. Born to be bred and used. He is a slaver Ryn. His whole family was and those before him. It is slaver talk, not much different from the scum we escaped from not long ago."

"But he is your friend and he thinks elves are whorish by nature. Ageless whores with grace and beauty, every master's dream come true. Show a little kindness and we might even be considered willing slaves." The bitterness rang in the soft voice loudly. "Fareal submitted to you did he not?"

"Ryn..." Titos was cut off by a swift kiss that seemed to last an eternity and left him breathless.

They stripped quickly, their naked bodies being seen only by the faint moon up above, peeking from the nearly closed satin drapes. Titos hand explored the sweet body briefly before pining Ryn beneath him. He descended upon the open mouth, ravaging the luscious warmth. Their mouths were but an inch apart when Titos found the will and voice to speak. "Are you consenting?"

Ryn smiled slowly. "For you Titos, always. Make me yours for I am a slave to my heart and thus you."

Titos nodded and grasped the heavenly hair, pulling it back to claim an exposed throat. "You like this don't you."

"Yes," Ryn breathed, drawing his knees up and spreading his thighs.

Titos' large hands roamed over the taught abdomen and past the muscular thighs to the hardening flesh within the golden forest. He rubbed the pulsing organ roughly, demanding a gasp from the body beneath him. Titos claimed the elf's mouth as he plunged into the warm, wanting body. Ryn tensed and grasped his shoulders tightly, his body arching into the assault. Their tongues battled for control, the prince finally surrendering to the greater power. Titos lowered his head nipped at the hardening nipples, his teeth lightly grazing the small pebbles. Ryn gasped loudly, writhing beneath him. Titos pumped into him faster, the hot haven boiling his blood. He stopped just short of ecstasy. "Now listen to me."

"Gods Titos!"

He covered the small mouth quickly. "I said listen to me." After a moment he released the quivering lips. "Are you listening."

"Yes, yes. Anything..."

Titos threw him a warning glare. "You are mine. Now and forever. I will never let you go. I love you. We love you and that is all that really matters. Your birthright, your race, it is all minute to the rest. If being an elf makes you more responsive, then praise the gods for it is the most delightful." He kissed him briefly. "Enlightening trait you possess. Don't ever change on me Ryn. Don't loose that spark or that flame. It is a blessing."

Ryn smiled slowly. "Really?'

Titos entered him deeply in answer. His seed filling the warmth as his lover too came. After cleaning up, they settled in the overgrown bed. Ryn leaned on Titos chest and sighed. "There is so much left for me to learn. I think I will start by asking you how you are going to break the news of Rath living to Hal and Armin, and how you expect me to tell my brother?"

Titos sighed. "The rule, outside of royalty, is deal with it when it comes."

Ryn laughed lightly. "I assure you, we royal members wait to the last minute to even consider a decision."

Titos stroked his hair slowly. "Are you all right with it. Me letting him live?"

Ryn nodded. "I was not afraid when we were alone. It is nice to know that we will not have a dragon hunting us down after all.."

Titos smiled. Gods Ryn, you have no idea, he thought. Greggorous would do more than flay them all alive. Wizards, dragons, slavers, and blizzards, what will the gods throw at them next?

-Please let me Know what you think-  Paladin

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