Warning: This story contains graphic images of male/male sex, and incest. If you are 18 or younger, or below your state or country's legal age of consent, leave now. If you are offended by this material, leave now. These are my original characters and ideas, they are not for use by others. Copyright protection does apply. If you are still here and should be, please enjoy.

Note: This Pairing was inspired by a suggestion from one of my fans :o)

Titos Adventures 21
New Arrivals
By Paladin (July 2002)

Prologue

Feraheon Life in Turmoil

Crakeos picked the thick green flesh from his pointed grey teeth as he tossed the black bone onto the dusty ground at Feraheon's feet.

"You disgust me."

The red demon laughed lowly as he tore another limb from what he called an eight legged demon cow. "Still hate the taste for flesh or perhaps you think you would relish it too much."

The platinum blonde demigod turned away his gold and violet swirling eyes beholding the sky that was never blue in silence. His pointed ears were mortal enough to avoid the occasional shrieks and cries of pains from the other demon kind, near or far from them. "I will not partake of blood."

"So cook it," his companion snarled, the vice grip on his meal tightening, cracking the hefty bone in half. "I disgust you do I? Then leave this wretched place. You can you know. You are the only one that can whenever you like. Not I or even father..."

Feraheon's own deadly gaze turned to the feasting demon. "Sire, nothing more and you know it."

Crakeos snorted, wiping the grime from his solid lips which were as strong as the rest of him. "Ah yes, the rogue child who despises his own blood yet never strays too far from the nest. Perhaps if you had been hatched like the rest of us, you would stop moping and get to the mortal world. Now there is a place to be, real fun and food there."

Feraheon's eyes saddened. "The moon is there. It would only take once and I would banned by my people all over again and hunted by others"

The red demon laughed cruelly, though not at the one he spoke to now. "Hunt them first or at least last."

"You could never understand," he whispered while pulling out the silver locket ever hidden behind his shirt. "Such tiny leaves, delicate engravings. My body is made to do this, but there is no one to show me."

The demon stood and moved slowly over to the demigod, fast for him since his legs were not built to run. "An elven heart from an elven mother. She was beautiful, most delicate. Even our kind, my kind," he corrected, "can appreciate the art of life. I still remember the night he took her, and it was not nearly as unpleasant as some of her kind would like to claim."

Feraheon closed his eyes tightly, a pain growing inside him. "And I remember the day she took her life. She died claiming she loved me dearly but she died clearly because of me." He breathed in slowly, his fist clutching the locket now. "There is a place for me in Shalor's paradise, she promised me when I am ready." He laughed softly, though there was no joy in it. "Where we can be together. She never understood, never could I suppose. I have a heart, but it is black beating red blood, black like my father's."

The demon did not point out that his pale skinned companion used the word father himself. "Our father cannot leave, yet you can. He is bound here by forces far greater than the ones binding the rest of us. You can leave and find a way for the both of us to come with you."

"Use your old dirty means to venture there. In a decade or so, you will find away, and what comes will never be blood on my hands. If you're lucky, this next venture will not get you killed."
Feraheon stood, pulling his shiny black robe around his body as the unnatural winds blew the dust around them, red dust.

"Our father is lord here, even during his forced slumber. You are royalty amongst our kind and to those who are smart enough not wishing a horrid death should they try to harm you."

Feraheon smiled a bit. "He let me live, I will give him that."

Crakeos placed a heavy hand on his younger kin's head. "If you were not my father's child, I would take you myself, as my slave," he offered softly.

The elven demigod laughed softly, happily even. "Thank you." He took a seat nearby waiting for his brother to clean the mess. When Crakeos was done, Feraheon spoke. "Even if he gets this dying king to aid him, that demon is not likely to take you with him. Your father is mighty, but that one is of a higher lineage than your mother."

Crakeos shrugged. "I have helped and amused him. We do not kill our own lineage or close cousins. Lesser ones yes, but not our own. I do not fear him. It is a demon's fate to suffer."

"There are many fates that are harmful beyond death. You cannot simply accept that yours maybe one."

"I exist, that is enough till more can be had." The red demon pulled Feraheon into his strong clean arms which were not leathery as they looked but smooth and pleasant. "You've not rested in a few days if not more. Father has instructed you to do so more often. Rest now, I will watch over you."

Feraheon's multicolored eyes fluttered shut. "Until a stronger creature comes this way."

His demon brother laughed lowly, the rumbling sounding his chest like dark exotic music. "In that case, I will run yet you are lucky still for you are light and an easy burden for me to take.'

Feraheon relaxed easily in his demon kin's arms, his violet and gold eyes swimming with light happiness that mortals would never understand. How could they understand that anyone could be happy with the mere presence of a demon who had wrecked terror in the old days upon the soils of mortals. His gaze returned to the sky, and this time he did not find it ugly. "The mortal world does not have the ever changing colored skies that overlap each other like giant blankets." There was much beauty here that he could accept and relish.

"Yet you miss the blue skies with those awful white clouds." Crakeos did not mock him but merely shared his thoughts in these ways. "At least you are a great deal calmer, even a romantic than his last mortal brood."

Feraheon's eyes turned to the red face sporting yellow eyes. "There have been others?" He felt his heart strain with jealousy and hope at the same time for had it not been suggested since his childhood that their dark father took notice and favored him.

"Only one since my existence, perhaps a few more prior. Our seed is the most potent to mortals and it takes a great deal of magic, some of it foul, or miracles to rid an unborn hybrid child. However, there are many races who slay the children at birth or even the mother before." His grey claw stroked Feraheon's cheek gently. "Children born as you, mortal and demon, are often stillborn and rare, to a point. The rest are simply born as demon spawn, demon stock, pitiful creatures."

Feraheon shuddered instantly. The very idea revolted him. "The demons the mortal world knows, the ones not summoned. Yes I have seen them. They are hardly better than animals. Why, why are they born as such things?"

"We do not know for certain. It is said that the gods placed such limits on our race to prevent us from spreading beyond control, from creating an army of creatures that could shift between worlds even if the process is... unpleasant. Either way, it prevents our presence from expanding beyond their own powers."

He shifted a bit, uncomfortable with the idea of being compared to the demon world's version of vermin and the mortals' idea of scourge. "Tell me about the one you know of."

Crakeos shrugged with indifference. "He disappeared after going on a rampage in our world, killing all those he could get his hands on. His mortal lover somehow convinced him it was his duty to rid mortals of the demon's that helped spawn him. We had no choice to kill him when he tried to run again and finished the job. The lover died as well, I assure you both were painless. If you've the notion to, go to father's halls. It is kept by respectable servants that will leave you alone. There are tombs there dedicated to those he has loved, housing the body of the child I speak. Demon's too can house souls... pleasantly if they wish it."

Feraheon shivered at the idea though he had never been harmed by his father. "Go on."

"It broke father's black heart to kill him but they had a child who was taken in by priests of all things." He laughed loudly at the irony. "They raised her well and in fear of her though they never new why they feared her. Anyway, it is her son's son that walks the earth freely now. We call him NightBane, for we once feared he would seek to return and start the carnage again. Now, we know the one the mortals call Titos has no desire to do so. He has his dark point as well as weaknesses."

"You mean good points. Titos..." He stood smoothly, whispering the name. "Does he know of his origins?" Feraheon asked quietly.

The demon snarled. "He will not forgive me if you go chasing after him. Trouble follows Titos everywhere he goes and has left. You could get..."

The almond shaped elven eyes turned to his demon brother, slightly amused. "You care then. Besides it would take a lot to harm me."

The red hand sprang forward like a snakes strike, grasping his neck firmly. "The only pain I wish upon you is any that I deem you ought to have. The enemies and allies this Titos draws to him are lethal, if not now but later, to all but the true gods though their avatars they could take."

Feraheon's lowered his eyes delicately. "But he is like me..."

"Hardly, his powers barely exist. Titos thinks like a mortal and cannot enter our world at will any easier than the sea of mortals below him. The demon blood in his veins gives him strength and longevity, little more." He spoke more gently this time, almost a whisper. "He knows of his origins but hardly the depth of which it goes. Perhaps, if the gods' iron grips on us all were loosened he would know the name of the demon he shares blood with, but that is not so and now our father, your sire, sleeps on." He laughed lowly. "No matter. Their sacrifice to cause this event is now ours for so long as she remains alive, and I see to it she does. The god's are welcome to her soul once we are finished, and I will not be until he walks again. Then he will decide her fate. Until then, she lives with the result of her choice daily. That, my light delicate kin, is the fate the gods of light give their followers. Shalor is no different and would have the same in store for you. You will receive a cozy bed for your eternal soul in his paradise and be left to struggle on your own in life." The red lips graced his pointy ears gently. "And as difficult as it is to destroy those like us, you and I, you can imagine why we decline."

Feraheon shivered. His demon brother was a most monstrous creature with all the seduction his race could afford, a seduction his mortal half had trouble rejecting. It was no wonder the demons were banned here, loose they could rule the mortal world. His small but strong fingers traveled down the crimson chest. "I am feeling... light headed."

Crakeos snarled, releasing his fragile neck. "You are going to speak to him anyway."

"I must, you do not know the loneliness. If he is like me, even remotely, I must seek answers, must know."

Crakeos stood and had his young kin follow him into the rocky cavern he called a lair, littered with bones, treasure, and a few personal items. There, he gave unto Feraheon a set of light leather armor, a sword, and other items including gold for his journey. "Returning is never as easy as going, and coming here is very dangerous. It has been many, many years since you were last there... we demons are not gods. We have not the knowledge of the passing decades to share."

"I will be careful and learn what I must." He hesitated. "I will return. Please, please do not torture her any more if you have Crakeos. She reminds me.."

"Yes, I know. And it is only because of you that she still wears skin and receives pleasure at all.."

Then Feraheon departed, looking at the world he cared for but loathed a bit. Venturing to the mortal world was easy, coming back was painful and frightening, but he left just the same

Crakeos went in search of another meal, his mind a bit troubled though not consumed by his odd kin.

End Prologue

Titos 21 New Arrivals

Titos slammed his large red ax into another sturdy log, lobbing off a small chunk into the already huge pile of firewood. Hal's demands for warmth seemed to grow hourly these days.  It was damn odd for a water spirit, he thought, even if he came from the desert regions. Winter had long since left and the air barely held a chill. The warrior's eyes narrowed a bit as his thoughts continued on its path of darkness for as an elf, Ryn seemed to slip away from all the outdoor chores.

"Titos tired?" Armin's young voice piped in, his bright pink eyes blinking up at him.

He smiled briefly and shook his head, the dark mane tickling his shoulders. Perhaps it was time to get a cut. The large man then adjusted the wood a few times in the eagleman's arms to make the burden easier.  "Thinking, only thinking."

"About what?" came the curious question.

"Ryn, Hal, those I love," Titos replied gruffly.

"Armin?"

This time the smile came more quickly. So enjoyable, this simple creature was to be around. "Yes, Armin too."

Armin laughed delightedly and departed, running into the house with his brown tainted with gold wings tucked neatly behind him.

Titos' dark gaze went over the land for a few moments, the land of his father and the castle they now lived in that Trohan, his dwarven and closest friend and mentor, was helping him rebuild. It housed an exotic pregnant priest, a elven prince who's soul was anything but royal, and a youthful eagleman who remained a mystery due to the simple communication skills he had for these lands. Still, the warlord felt a bit restless. He longed to hold his sword again in battle, to explore the halls of forbidden ruins and to keep his names in the songs of bards. Now, he could not depart in favor of such adventure, but one day he hoped to go again. Titos shook his head slowly as he walked into their dwelling bearing an armful of wood; that would be an argument not to look forward to. He went to the brick fireplace, which was being mortared and smoothed when Hal had the strength, and set down the wood. Then, he added to the fuel lavishly, wiping his brow from the growing heat. "That ought to burn all night Hal," he commented coolly, more so than he had meant to.

"I am sorry to be so much trouble, " came the soft nearly sobbing reply.

Titos turned his dark gaze to his gentle lover who sat in the warrior's prized chair beneath a warm quilt. The lovely blue eyes, which he adored greatly, were glistening with unwanted tears, the orange fire dancing off the pretty tanned face. The guilt in Armin's face told him that the eagleman must have expressed concern over the larger man's mood. Titos kneeled before his emotional lover, taking the smaller hands in his own  while he spoke. "It is all right. I am merely a bit tired Hal."

Hal bent down and placed his arms around Titos strong neck tightly burying his face into the warmth there. "I feel so cold all the time, so vulnerable."

"Perhaps you need to seek a more natural setting for one of your kind. It may be the part of you that makes such a child possible that is in discomfort," came a whispered suggestion from a nearby window.

Titos drew his serrated sword quickly and whirled to face the intruder whom he beheld to be a young traveler wearing a shiny black cloak, silvery leather armor, and plain boots. His knee was propped up on the windowsill, his chin resting in the long pale hand with the swirling gold and violet elven eyes regarding him cautiously. "If you are a relation of Ryn's, the front door is preferred."

As if on cure, the elven prince, his honey wheat hair and chin graced with specks of white flour, stepped from the kitchen still kneading the morrow's bread. The purple eyes regarded the stranger thoughtfully. "He is no relation of mine Titos, I am sure of it.

The unwelcome guest stepped down from the windowsill hesitantly. "I meant no offense Titos. You seemed distracted outside and when I came to call upon you, I overheard the issue at hand..."

Titos' dangerous glint did not fade nor even soften as he moved between the strange elf and his lovers. "Disarm yourself if you did not come to fight."

The traveler put his light sword gently on the floor and kicked it to the side. "Titos, I only came to talk to you," suddenly the voice seemed uncertain, even frightened.

"What do you know about Hal?" The lord demanded lowly, kicking the sword across the room.

He rubbed his arms slowly, the confidence leaving the youthful face as a reply was made. "Only what I have heard in a few nearby inns. That he is part human and water spirit, ready to birth the child of his lovers." The elf smiled hopefully. "I truly believe he will be most comfortable resting in water. It cannot hurt him as you know."

Hal placed a calm hand on his lover's wrists, the simple gesture disarming the warrior as easily as if the sword were truly taken. "We will try your suggestion traveler. In the meantime, please join us for a meal though I am afraid your weapon will need to remain in Titos' care. We can then take in the pleasure of hearing more about yourself."

Titos knew the stranger was lost in Hal's gentle but stirring blue eyes. "All right," was finally uttered from him.

Ryn shrugged. "This is hardly eventful for our household," he explained with disinterest. "Come, it is nearly ready." The prince then whirled on his heels and returned to work.

The traveler followed the others into the room hesitantly, sitting at the round oak table with the elven art and lettering of trees and past events. The elven stranger sat there and watched the elven prince as if fascinated yet with a longing that seemed odd to Titos. Ryn placed the meat pie with its delicate crust and sweet spices in the center and then added finely mashed potatoes with small cubes of butter gliding down the side along with apple cider in a glass pitcher, the cinnamon sticks dancing in the amber depths. The stranger shifted. "This looks very good, thank you."

Ryn tilted his head to the side, giving him that predator look again as he gazed into the stranger's eyes. "Try it first, and then thank me if you think it warrants it."

Hal spoke as Titos began to serve the others. "Ryn is far too modest. His cooking skills are newly acquired since he was not accustomed to such a simple task as cooking before, but he is most talented."

Titos ate the sweet elven spiced pie, his dark gaze never leaving their unwelcome guest. Hal's culture allowed for such arrivals and hospitality but his hardly did. This elf seemed unusual to him, especially since he ate so slowly and seemed delighted with every bite. It was clear that Ryn was being won over by this display of enjoyment of his cooking. They ate in virtual silence for several minutes, clearing their plates before Titos finally stood and spoke as the others began to clean up. "It will take a lot of water to fill the bathtub for Hal to rest comfortably. Ryn's magic should be sufficient to get the tub to the bedroom, but the water will be left to us. Come, stranger, and aid me." The shock and discomfort in the swirling gold and violet eyes was priceless, but still he came...
**
Feraheon followed Titos down to the river despite being unaccustomed to being told to do anything. With buckets in hand, he began filling them, only now realizing he had no idea on how to begin their conversation. Unfortunately, Titos began it for him.

"Why are you here?" the warrior asked coolly.

He paused and then spoke quietly in turn. "My name is Feraheon. I came seeking your audience Titos."

Titos regarded him solemnly, disbelief evident in his hard features. "And you thought you could simply enter my residence and chat?"

The demigod flinched at the open hostility. Suddenly, not having a sword seemed a very poor idea indeed. "How else...?"

"Most people seek my friends out to gain my attention unless, of course, they are some enemy of one of my lovers."

"I assure you," Feraheon began.

"Assure nothing. You came seeking me. Explain it now or I will take you back to be placed in chains as my prisoner until the elven courts can decide what to do with you."

The arrogance boiled Feraheon's blood rapidly. "How dare you threaten me. Perhaps I did not call upon you as you are accustomed to but you hardly have enough blood in you to begin to proceed with that threat. I..."

"I knew it," Titos hissed, grabbing his pale wrists tightly and yanking him forward. "After all these years, he sends some fledgling. Your scent should have given you away to me quickly, but this time." He laughed lowly. "Well it seems breeding elven spawn does have its awards. Perhaps you were sent to get the king himself.  I will not allow you to use or harm Ryn in such a matter."

Feraheon ignored the discomfort some mortals would call pain. "You know about your ancestors? I was told you did not," he spoke softly, not allowing himself to take heed of the fledgling insult.

Titos regarded him calmly, though a bit more thoughtful. "I know one of them is not of this world, a place you come from. More than that, I simply don't care."

Feraheon yanked his wrists free. "Do not presume you can man handle me at will Titos. Yes, I have kin there as do you but I was not sent by anyone. I simply wish to talk to you."

Titos snorted. "You came all this way to talk? To talk about what?"

"I think you are more like me than anyone I could find before Titos. Surely you know that I am not some demon spawn by sight alone." He pleaded quietly, hoping that Titos truly had an empathic nature even though such a power could be used against him later. "I must know how you are what you are and still have managed to have all of this?" Feraheon waved his hand around smoothly. "You have an elven prince, the son of a mortal we all fear as your lover."

Titos folded his arms and frowned. "The elven king is one I do not care for, but he is not a person who will seek to destroy you for what you are."

Feraheon took a deep breath, his emotions threatening to better him. "I will help you here with your chores, give you use of some of my powers if you will just let me stay and tell me things."

Titos visibly contemplated his words, but the cold feeling did not leave the demigod's veins yet. "And what do we get out of your presence?"

The elven and demon being smiled quickly, his body relaxing again as well as his mind. "Aside from the work I will do for my keep, I will share with you what knowledge I have about your ancestors and demon kin. You must be at least a little curious."

Titos nodded, though not readily. "Very well, I will bite for now. Everyone works here, except Hal if he will mind me on the matter." The warrior then returned to their work at hand.

The violet and gold swirling eyes turned to the river. It seemed so peaceful, so nice. "Very well. As I stated, I will help you build this place back to its former glory and allow you to save your pride before the elven king."

Titos stiffened but his voice did not seem agitated. "My pride?"

"Why else would you not have the elven king finance the restoration or have your dwarven friend do more than simply get the supplies you buy?"

Titos laughed lowly and stood, facing him clearly amused. "Then you have researched me a bit, and know of my friends."

Feraheon hesitated. "Not exactly. Truly I meant no..."

"Save it." Titos managed the four buckets and then waved for Feraheon to take the other two. "As you said before, we will talk but later."

The demigod did as requested realizing the time ahead maybe a bit more confusing and difficult than he had planned.
**
Part 2
(A Few Days Later still in Titos' Lands)
New Arrivals

The heir to the elven throne did not venture back to the castle until late in the night. He wished to avoid Titos for a bit and give Ridik a much needed opportunity to speak with their youngest brother. With Farael in the way, Ryn would likely all but ignore their darker kin. Still,  his older brother had been very hesitant to venture back to this place where so much had happened. Farael was a little unclear about the details of Ridik's plunge from the balcony, but he had little doubt in his mind that Titos did indeed play an important role. It was true, the lord did not care for Ridik, even now, and was not the type to hide this fact. He only hoped that Titos and Ridik would grow on each other with time. Titos was an easy being to dislike. He, himself, found this man to be stubborn, violent and more than a little arrogant, both in his power and his abilities to manipulate people. In some ways, it was a bit reassuring and a tad bit attractive.

So instead, Farael had spent the daylight hours riding over Titos' land.  The rolling hills coupled with an impressive spance of forest was a rather pleasing combination. As of yet, the lord had no tenants, but he could easily see a few small dwellings in some prominent locations. It truly was a pity Titos did not allow the royal family to lend a hand in the restoration. It would take only a few months to clear the area of the dangerous creatures and not long at all to rebuild the main house if his father enlisted the aid of their distant dwarven allies. He chuckled softly. Titos had a great deal of pride it seemed or perhaps it was anger. Either way, he would not hear a word of it.

By the time he ventured back to the dwelling, most of the others were in their assigned rooms save Titos and Hal, who sat in the warrior's large chair near the blazing fireplace. The dark gaze regarded him  a moment when he entered, sending a light shiver up the elf's back before he was able to turn away. It seemed Titos' interests had not waned though Farael would not allow either of them to entertain them. Such a union was no longer appropriate, even if he longed for the arms of a lover.

Farael nodded once and ventured up the stairs, noting he was oddly disappointed that Feraheon was not up. There was a great deal of mystery around Titos' other guest. The elf seemed elusive or shy. It was difficult to decide which was the leading cause of his absence. He entered his room and was a little surprised to see Ridik standing out on the balcony, gazing out over the land wearing a loose shirt and leggings. "Ridik?"

"Why were you gone so long? You know I am not comfortable here, especially not with that man here."

He sighed softly. "I thought it might give you a chance to talk to Ryn. Did you two not speak?"

Ridik shrugged. "We spoke for a little while. There is little we have in common, and you know he is too impatient for long conversations."

Farael placed a hand on the strong sagging shoulders. "He is not so impatient Ridik. It is one of the traits he exhibits when nervous or uncertain. You will learn that in time. Is there... is there something wrong with your room."

He felt the tension build up in the muscles long before they became visible. "No of course not. I will leave you to your space." Ridik turned to leave but Farael would have none of it. His own strength was returning to his body, and he would not be so easy to shrug off. "That is not what I meant and you know it Ridik. Tell me what is wrong."

Ridik hesitated, his voice soft and nearly inaudible. "He gave me a room furthest from the others. It may not have been purposeful. Even though I do not really fear him Farael, I do not trust him. That and..."

"And?" Farael encouraged trying to not wince from the obvious shame this was causing his older brother.

"And I do not wish to sleep alone."

Farael nodded with understanding. "I had forgotten that you slept with father. You should have just told me. I understand. Please, I would be honored to have you stay."

He was rewarded with a timid smile as his darker kin returned to the balcony, watching the moon. "Did you speak at length with Feraheon Farael?"

It was strange that Ridik should mention him. "No, not really. We spoke briefly. I wanted to make sure that things were... right." He was of course, referring to the idea that Feraheon may not be here willingly. It seemed Rath had no qualms in sending his slaves here occasionally.

Ridik chuckled though Farael did not find the idea amusing. "I see. Is it possible that he is not elven?"

Farael raised an eyebrow. "Not elven? His traits are rather defined. I do not see where the doubt would be."

"Yes, his appearance is of elven blood but there is something about him that makes me believe otherwise."

Farael took a seat on the bed, removing his burdensome armor and weapons. "I know there is elven blood in his veins, but you maybe right in there being something else. Surely not human, something more..."

"Evil."

"Pronounced," Farael voiced sharply. "Wherever did you come up with evil?"

Ridik turned to him again, hesitant. "You are right. It was a foolish notion."

Farael had half a mind to let it rest at that since he felt for certain he was right. Still, a more responsible side of him realized he needed to encourage his brother to hold firm to what he believed regardless of whom or to whom he spoke. "Not necessarily. I simply do not see what makes you believe he would be of anything dark. That does not mean it is a foolish idea."

Ridik joined Farael on the bed, looking at him intently. "I gazed into his eyes Farael. It felt like I was almost drowning in them, lost in the depths. In there was a place, a strange place of danger. It was odd and he seemed terrified that the whole ordeal happened. Feraheon is hiding something, and I think Titos knows what it is."

Farael frowned as he grabbed a brush. "Let me do your hair," he murmured, untying the leather bands before receiving an answer. He brushed the long dark strands leisurely, lost in his own thought, in the possibilities. "Maybe. Still, I am drawn to him, and I would like to think it is not evil that calls to me."

Ridik laughed quietly. "You Farael, taking a fancy to a strange elf? What is he, half your age?"

Farael's displeasure at the statement would not be evident to his kin except for the light pull he gave the dark mane. "Hardly what I meant."

"I am sorry," came the quiet reply.

His fingers paused and dropped to Ridik's strong neck. "Do not be. It is merely a brother's jest. I fall prey to such things far too easily. Listen to me, I will wind up turning you into Ryn's culprit."

Ridik smiled readily and leaned forward, his lips pressing against Farael's neck. The touch was feathery so light and unexpected that the heir felt frozen, unable to grasp the action. Before he could react, Ridik's hazel eyes disappeared behind the dark lashes as his large body pushed Farael back onto the bed, his fingers traveling down the light chest before him.

"Ridik!" Farael found his voice, and it was loud filled with more panic than he intended to let out. He scrambled away quickly, tearing his shirt though finding no resistance, only to see his half brother look at him with uncertainty and a panic of his own.

"Farael I thought...."

Before either one of them could respond, the door flew open. Standing in the doorway was a half naked warrior, his bronze chest bared though it was the fury in his eyes that sent chills down Farael's back. He pounced Ridik before the elves had a chance to move or even speak. His would be protector struck his kin twice then three times before Farael managed to fling himself between the lord of the castle and Ridik. "Titos!"

Titos stood back his confusion paled only to the quiet sobs of the larger elf trembling behind him.

Farael took no time in explaining himself to the quick tempered warrior. Instead, he examined his frightened brother, his fingers gentle and running through the dark strands of the once proud warrior elf. "Ridik," he whispered. "It is all right. It is over."

Ridik shook his head but did not pull away.

"Titos out!" He regretted being harsh to the warrior, especially since Titos had come in his defense.

When he heard the door close heavily behind them, Farael let out a suppressed sigh and then allowed his fingers to push Ridik hair back to see him more clearly. Ridik was still, deathly pale and tense as if expecting the worst. "Ridik," he whispered. "Look at me."

The hazel eyes slowly opened and regarded him hesitantly, unshed tears glistening brightly.

"Are you all right?"

Ridik took a deep shuddering breath but only nodded.

Not trusting the other's answer, Farael took a few drawn out minutes to examine the body for himself. There would be a couple of minor bruises, but it was clear Titos must have kept his full strength in check. Gently, but with the firmness of a concerned brother, Farael had them both move back to the bed and sit down. "Tell me Ridik, why did you do that?"

It was clear Ridik wished to withdraw, to get away from Farael but he held on, hugging his kin warmly. "I am sorry."

Farael shook his head. "Ridik, please talk to me. Your action merely startled me, surprised me. I did not mean to reject you so cruelly or for Titos to come here. Why did you do it?"

Ridik kept his head down and eyes lowered. "It is a sign of affection. When you love someone, you wish to please them. I know you have no one at home. I thought it would be nice to be.. be together."

Farael breathed in deeply. "A sign of affection? But you and father do not bed."

Ridik smiled sadly. "Father does not care for males."

Farael's eyebrow rose smoothly. "And you think I do?"

The hazel eyes lifted to meet his. "Don't you?"

Farael remained quiet for a few minutes, his grey touched with violet eyes troubled but not nearly displaying the amount of turmoil he felt. It was true, he had found comfort and pleasure in the arms of another man, and not just any man but Titos. Still, he did not know if that meant he would choose a male lover over a female.  The heir to the elven throne found the strength to eye his kin again, his eyes thoughtful though still as uncertain as he felt. "You have no one either do you Ridik?"

Ridik looked pained by the statement but did not deny it. It was a bit comforting considering the last few lover's this elf took.

Farael took the larger hand in his, still surprised at just how strong Ridik was. He always knew this elf warrior had a solidarity to him. As he watched Ridik guard his sister, Farael had felt a bit threatened by him. Ridik was large, for an elf, his muscles oddly pronounced like that of a human and his height rivaling their father's. His skills with a blade were cold, violent, and lethal. His half-brother was not taught the code of elven combat or the finesse of elven swordplay, everything about him seemed and was primal. From afar, one would think that this elven warrior was a deadly if cold killer for you could not see with the naked eye the battered, shattered soul with in. This, Farael thought, was a survivor, raised in a violent world that differed from his own war driven world. "Father," he began quietly, "would not approve of many, if anyone, you took an interest in, but he would not stop you. I doubt he would even openly dissuade such an occurrence."

Ridik nodded, sighing a bit with a half smile. "I know, but no one will have me Farael. Not after what has happened. Father tried to keep most of it a secret, but the nobles are resourceful and the common folk... I lied to them all. They do not trust me. To regain trust from an elf, it takes decades if not a century."

"Are we so different from others Ridik?" Farael asked softly, his fingers lightly tracing the curves of the other's pointed ears.

The taller elf chuckled a bit, the light returning to the hazel eyes that regarded him with amusement. "Sometimes, I forget that you have not been abroad as I have. You seem so learned in the ways of the world."

"The ways of books and legends, advisors and reports mask my ignorance," the blonde prince admitted.

The dark haired elf nodded. "The elven world is slow. Everything passes, the seasons, the years, even the stars as if it were just one page at a time. It was hard to get used to at first, but then I realized it was where I was meant to be. Before, when I was amongst the humans, it was a struggle to keep up."

"Let there be no mistake Ridik. You are elven, in soul and in blood. Anyone would be lucky to have you."

Ridik shook his head, the shiny black hair gliding across his muscular shoulders. "I am not like you Farael or Ryn, even father. I am not..." He seemed sad suddenly, even ashamed as the hazel eyes dropped and looked away. "I am dark and big."

Farael could not hide his surprise. "You think, you think that you are unattractive?" Ridik's response was a shrug. The very idea never occurred to the heir. Before and even after Ridik's parentage had been revealed, Ridik carried himself with a sense of pride and grace in the public, a real show of confidence. It was this trait that dissuaded all but  the nobles from displaying such inappropriate behaviors towards the new prince. "You are just different, no less."

Ridik stood suddenly and pulled away, abandoning their close proximity. "It is easy for you to say Farael. You have the light hair, the smaller stature, even your eyes are as others. If anyone takes an interest in me, it is as an oddity. You do not need a scholar to see that I am not from the same mother, that I do not belong to the house of royals."

The words were bitter even angry with a self loathing that was painful for Farael to hear. "Ridik, that is not so. I may have traveled to many foreign lands only to battle, yet even I have been in many elven courts. There is a kingdom of elves in the desert region who's hair and eyes are dark, and one across the sea that has such features. Even not far from here, there is a kingdom of elf and man rulership that has elves from many ancient lines." He stood then, and approached the tense body, his fingers lightly gracing the dark mane. "And I," he paused. "I like your hair very much. It is dark and shiny, heavy."

Ridik turned to him then, his pain still evident though there was a minute willingness to hear what radiated from his person. "You like my hair?"

"The shine, it seems as if you put oil on it but I know you do not for it is silky and soft, not moist at all. It is wondrous," he murmured more to himself than to the other though the words were aloud. "If you loathe it so much, why do you take such time to braid it, to let it grow?"

The confusion surfaced quickly to the hazel eyes, even before Ridik turned from him again though this time, his kin did not pull away. "He liked it."

"He?" Farael frowned. Who could he mean. Surely not their father for Ridik's devotion to their sire was anything but confusing. Then, it occurred to him. The other one he called father, the monster, the one banished from the ancient lands. "I see." He forced a smile. Though it would not be seen, Farael knew it could be heard. "It seems he has good taste then. Come Ridik, sit with me and we will talk."

There were a few moments of silence before they returned to the bed, to sit with their knees propped up and bodies relaxed. He wanted to get to know his brother better, to allow the darker memories to be replaced by new ones. "Tell me Ridik, were you in the capitol when the orc forces invaded?"

Ridik nodded. "Yes, for the last two I was."

"How did you fare in those battles? How did you escape. I only heard small inklings of what occurred when I returned, but the word was most of the guards were lost."

The dark elf frowned. "I did not see the battle. He had me guarding his tower."

That was surprising. "But why would father have you guard that. There are numerous magical traps and tricks that would make it impossible to enter. Anything that could would not be defeated by one lone elf."

Ridik shrugged. "It was horribly boring. I assumed it was to keep me out of sight."

Farael shook his head. "That doesn't make any sense. If he wanted you out of sight, there are many more places to send you like the dungeon or the scouting towers, several locations requiring guards. The tower is just so odd because its so..." The heir to the elven throne's eyes widened a moment as he took in the information even as he stated it. "Safe." Ridik's lack of reaction told him that his kin did not follow his line of thinking. Could it be that their father did not have Ridik as far from his mind and heart as they had thought. First, he assigned the guard to his sister, who was notorious for loosing them long before she ever left the palace and found trouble and then to the tower where he kept his spellbooks and magical items, the only tower in the palace that could remain safe even if everything outside of it was dead. He clasped Ridik's hand then, strongly, firmly as he spoke with more assurance. "Ridik, don't you see? It was to keep you safe."

The hazel elven eyes regarded him with uncertainty and then a slow understanding. "All this time, I did not think he even... Had I known I would never have done what I did to Ryn..." His voice trailed off, leaving the room in an uncomfortable silence.

Farael smiled weakly. "Ryn forgives you Ridik. He did so long before the rest of us, and the only one that knows outside our strange family is that Lord Chaeril." Ridik's shudder at that name was hard to miss and it arose a quick sense anger in his bowels. He almost hoped that human would return to the elven lands to face him for what he had done to his brothers. "How did he hurt you Ridik?"

Ridik smiled briefly as if to shrug of the experience. "Nothing I could not handle. Besides, he gave me a chance to leave the kingdom for awhile. It was getting... hard in the end to be around the palace." He took a deep breath. "It doesn't matter now. Farael, you lost your wives in those invasions right?"

Farael nodded. "Yes, they will be mourned forever in my heart though I hardly knew them." He felt a sadness drift into his being, one that he did not expect nor welcome. Gods, how had he become so alone.

Ridik suddenly grabbed his hand, tightly, his hazel eyes peering at him as he spoke lowly. "I am sorry that Titos does not share your feelings."

"Titos?" He voiced absentmindedly. Then he smiled. "Titos and I would never live together in harmony. The comfort he gave me, the warmth we shared was welcomed, but I can never be apart of something so large. What I need is something simpler, something smaller..." His voice trailed off as he frowned. That event had been kept secret. "Ridik, is it so obvious?"

Ridik laughed. "No, not unless someone knows you. We may not know a great deal about each other, but I watched you a lot when you were home."

"Did you hate me as well Ridik?" Did his voice sound as small as it did to him, he wondered.

Strong fingers moved to his cheek, an unexpected and heated motion from his kin. "Ryn held the spotlight and was flashy. You were always so quiet, so modest, much like our father."

Farael could not tear his eyes away from the hazel eyes that regarded him now. "Is that why you wish to be with me Ridik because I am so much like Haavel?"

"No," came the quiet murmur as his thumb gently moved against the fine lines of the blonde elf's cheek. It felt so warm, so promising. "I wish to please you Farael. I can you know; I can please you."

The dark yellow haired elf felt the breath catch in his throat, his eyes wide and his body still. It was not from fear or anxiety that he froze, but a rather unfamiliar feeling that he had felt a few times before, desire. He felt it stir in his soul long before it rushed through his veins to his covered groin, drawing a soft sigh from his lips. "Ridik..." His voice was hollow, frightened, frightened not of the person who was near him but the implications of such actions.

Ridik leaned forward then brushing his sure lips against the elven heir's. The strong fingers glided over his light pointed ears, the feathery sensation causing repressed moans to rise from his chest and escape from his barely parted lips. "It's all right to let go," the dark haired prince voiced softly. "You have taught me so much about myself Farael, let me show you what I have learned, about the beauty of passion."

Farael felt a small lump form in his throat, he found the hazel eyes bewitching in their intensity, grasping onto his own grey and violet globes like two practiced hands holding a soft fruit with efforts not to bruise the delicate skin. "We can't," he finally whispered. "For we are kin."

"You speak of human laws and ways. The elven line is far purer in its form." Ridik voiced quietly, tracing the path of his fingers with a warm dancing tongue.

The younger elf gasped, his body reacting to the small yet intimate touch as if it were fire to his heart, to his body. "It is not elven to lie with other males," he murmured again, his objections hanging in the air like ice stalactite in a cavern of lava.

Ridik's fingers roamed through his straight yellow hair, relieving him of the tight tie he used daily. "It is elven to love and be with those we love. The rest was created by our father and those before in an effort to blend with the human kingdom to combine forces and battle our enemies."

Farael closed his eyes as he allowed himself to be pushed back on the bed, the heavy body of the larger elf pressing against him creating a welcoming warmth. The heir did not realize the release of his own tears until he felt the large thumb run across his sharp features to brush away the pain.

"Allow me to be by your side, in all ways Farael, as one that will always love and show you what decades of war has denied you."

Ridik's voice was low, a whispered seduction that Farael felt himself falling prey to as if his years of court intrigue, elven lore and cultural training were for not. Was it true, had he spent so many years learning of elves and how they must battle their enemies, how they must keep the world free only to loose that identity himself. Was he, in fact, on the same path that had turned his father so cold, so unyielding against evil that he blurred the definition? His eyes opened then, still uncertain, still glistening with unshed pain and hope as his fingers tangled themselves in the beautiful lengths of the dark strands of his would be lover. "Show me," he whispered.

Their lips met again, this time with strength and passion, a desperation for both to find love, and comfort, passion in another that would never leave their hearts bleeding, torn in ruin.

Farael gasped into the hot mouth plundering his own, arching beneath the roaming strong hands of his half brother, fingers that should have been hard with battle, with the work of a hard life but were powerful and soft with the tenderness  of one half his size.

The two elven princes shed their clothes swiftly, never parting from each other's warm attentions for more than a breath. There was something utterly primal in the need he felt for Ridik, for the acceptance, desire, and admiration the hazel eyes bore into him as he was gazed upon. The moments of fear, the brief moment of time of panic from earlier had vanished as if it never were. His thoughts focused only on the warm lips that tantalized his exposed nipples, flickering against the sensitive nubs as if they were toys of delight while the firm body pressed against him between his legs, the muscular abdomen pressed against his hardness. He gasped and lifted from the bed as the tormenting tongue moved over the light ripples of his ribcage and down to his growing desire.
The intense heat of the mouth surrounding his twitching member sent a startled cry from the his throat. He felt the large body move with amusement, an unseen chuckle, though the delicious tongue never paused in its task.

The elven heir squeezed his eyes shut, his hips lifting with liberated desire. The harsh yet gentle moisture gliding down the length of his shaft and pausing at his sensitive tip sent him into a spiraling realm of pleasure. When Ridik took him into the close confines of his experienced throat, swallowing partially, it sent the elven heir over the edge. His release was powerful, emotional, and physical, his body arching with the intensity of his release.

Farael lay there a few moments, breathless and warm, more than a little embarrassed at reacting so strongly to something he had only experienced a few times in his life.

At first, he did not hear the soft panting near him, but as his head cleared so too did his sense. The prince sat up, suddenly feeling the absence of the warm body he was near. His grey with a touch of violet eyes widened as he watched Ridik, who remained seated on the bed, stroke himself rhythmically.

Farael took a deep calming breath and spoke. "What are you doing Ridik?"

Ridik paused, his uncertain hazel eyes lifting to meet Farael's. "Achieving release. Is that... that not okay?"

Farael moved over to the dark haired elf, a little worried that Ridik would ask him for permission. His reply was to cover Ridik's strong fingers with his own, and resume the stroking, his lips lifting to meet his lover's heatedly. He felt the pulsing organ come alive beneath their fingers, the others hips move to their caressing and the light damp heat of Ridik's breath against his face. The perfume of sex intoxicated the air, heightening the closeness he felt with the larger elf. Farael was in a sense of awe, watching the raw passion dance across the dark features of his kin, feeling the male buck beneath their attentions, a light trickle of moisture escaping the smooth tip. After a few moments of deep breathing and trembling, Ridik released his seed with a low moan which Farael captured with a pleasurable sound of his own.

They remained close for a few moments, saying nothing. Ridik moved first, using a damp towel from the wash basin to clean their bodies and cool their heated skin.

The darker elf, with his arms around Farael, kissed his brow and spoke softly as he pulled the sheets over their bodies. "I will show you what it means to be alive."

"And I," Farael began quietly, " will show you how to live."
**
Feraheon watched the two elven princes from the branches of a nearby tree. They seemed remarkably different though he supposed elves were just as diverse as other creatures. Still, there was a lot more emotion in these princes than one would imagine such aloft beings would possess. Three elven princes in one place. It was unsettling, especially if their father or even mother were to come and discover him. Perhaps Titos was shielded from their latent magical abilities but he was many times removed from the demon creature of his line where as Feraheon was only one generation away.

He slipped down from the tree and silently ventured to the river to think. He found, that of all the places, the gentle roar of the glistening water offered the greatest sanctuary. It was a steady reminder of his place here in the mortal world.

The young demi-demon paused, his swirling gold and violet eyes gazing at the other form near his favorite spot. This one was dark haired and skin with alluring sky blue eyes and an amazing  parentage himself. Feraheon paused, noting Hal was did not move, standing knee high in the dark water with only the breeze moving his dark braids adorned in silver. There was something about the air or perhaps its was the aura of the other that made him pause and realize this was more than just a strange occurrence. Even as he gazed upon the unmoving figure of the priest, the water about the desert born being began to swirl slowly and arise, a whirling form of silken water strands wrapping about the quiet humanoid.

Feraheon moved forward, his eyes widening as the water lifted the other several feet in the air turning the priest around and around slowly until the water and Hal became nothing but a blur of blue and silver. Out of fear and curiosity, he moved forward then as the water descended and pulled away, leaving not the form of Hal that he had come to know and recognize but another being who's body was that of moving water leaving only the silvery strands that marked this new being to be the priest at all.

His heart raced quickly at this new sight, in wonderment, in fear though he did not focus on this new form long for there was a light in the center of this water-spirit form, a small sphere of white light that caught his attention. By now he was but an arm's length away, moving closer still as is some unseen force willed him to do so. Without knowing why or the consequences of his actions, he reached out, his fingers moving through Hal's new form, the water surrounding his fingers like cool silk as he grasped the pulsing sphere and pulled it free.

There was a violent reaction, an explosion of sorts, one that consisted of light and water that blinded him as he was flung back a few feet, hitting the ground heavily though he felt no pain and still cradled the warm object to his chest.

Feraheon was not certain how long he laid there, unable to move as if the air itself willed this immobility. The object in his hand suddenly moved, drawing a startled gasp from his lips, one of fear for he was not certain what he had done, if he had somehow destroyed this strange half human priest. If he had, he knew Titos would slay him and there would be only one force in this world willing and strong enough to stop him, his father who was now bound in enchanted sleep.

"Do not fear," came a quiet voice followed by gentle fingers that moved to his cheek and forehead lightly before they gripped his form and helped him stand.

Feraheon gazed into the intensely kind blue eyes of the very person he had been watching, whom he had interfered.

Hal smiled then, his hands still gentle, amazingly warm and in the form that those of this world knew him best. "Thank you."

"Thank you?" He voiced instantly, confused, uncertain. It was then a light cry sounded and his eyes dropped down, beholding not a sphere of light in his hand but the moving body of a child, wrapped in blue and silver blanket starrng up at him with very bright and wide purple and blue eyes.

Hal took the babe from his arms carefully, his eyes thoughtful and calm. "There is more light in you Feraheon, than dark or you would not have heard my summons."

Feraheon shook his head quickly. "I heard nothing." He backed away then. "I came here by chance. And I do not know the darkness you speak of."

Hal smiled slowly as he gathered his robes about his body. The child made possible by water-spirit genes watched him quietly, the priest seemingly unconcerned about the quiet baby in his arms. Hal then walked towards the house. "Come, the night grows chill."

Feraheon watched him disappear in the darkness and turned to the river again, unable to comprehend the event that just took place and the calm demeanor of its main contestant.

The river's surface was eerily placid, the currents seemingly stopped. It remained so for several moments before it began to move again.

He fled then, back to the household, the chill reaching his own senses to the point that he did not realize the two glistening droplets that remained on his own hands which did not fall or shake loose but faded with a sparkling light.

-Please let me Know what you think-  Paladin

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