Titos' Adventures: The Dragon's Blood


Warning. Graphic male/male sex ahead. Leave if this offends you.

Titos' Adventures: The Dragon's Blood.
By
Paladin

Titos moved through he darkness as quickly and silently as a panther. The stench of death still glazed the forest battlefield. The tangy taste of blood danced in the air yet he was not detoured. His former allies were very near and that meant so too was the dragon. He crouched low and behind the bushes as he contemplated the campsite. For a moment, he wished he had Trohan, or Ryn, or even Hal with him, but the warrior had left early that morning just days ago in secret. He had never failed completely at anything in his life. His survival would not allow it, but he would not risk the others with the possibility. There were times when a person in the living world felt very alone even amongst the presence of others, and so too was this time. Trohan would be displeased for not being included. Ryn probably steamed angrily at this very moment. But Hal... he could not predict the exact reaction without being near the priest. Perhaps his gentler lover would feel saddened at Titos' lack of trust or confidence in his skills. Then again, it could be as ugly as rejection. Titos was, after all, trying to help Ryn. He'd seen signs that the two may have been together, but what exact relationship they had, was still unknown to him. Sighing heavily, he let his mind return to the task at hand. His approach could have several effects and each one posed its own threat.

"Stand and turn slowly. Drop your weapons." The orc grunted loudly.

Titos nodded and complied. This had always been a possibility and even one he could work with. "Take me to Rath."

The orc eyed him warily and then nodded. Titos wasn't sure, but this one may have been under his command at sometime.

He was taken to the large black tent towards the back of the tent. The dragon-rider's land mount pawed the ground restlessly just outside the cloth dwelling. It was a sure sign someone was home. The camp seemed oddly quiet, and he wagered they had marched at a grueling pace since the war seemed to be turning against them. As he neared the commander's tent, he picked up the faint sounds of sobbing. His back stiffened in anger. The man was probably using one of his victims now. When they had been together, Titos found himself awed at the fear Rath could invoke with just the sound of his voice. He'd seen the dark warrior take slaves regularly, but the terms where clear where Titos was concerned. If Rath wanted him as a lover, he would not brutalize anyone not only in his presence but as long as they served the same unit. Thinking of Ryn, he realized he must have taken up his old habits right away. He felt his loins stir as he thought of one of his deadliest ex-lovers. Their relationship had been odd. One in awe of the terror and the other admiring the lack of response to that terror. If Ryn hadn't become so close to him, Titos might have welcomed seeing Rath again. He pushed through the tent swiftly after nodding to the guard and displaying his unarmed status.

The large, blonde man, with a scar on the right side of his face, looked up slowly when Titos cleared his throat. Rath sat upon his warm fur blankets of white unicorn hide, one of his most treasured possessions, next to a most extraordinary young man... young eagle-man. They were both naked, but the youth glowed with the fine oils that glazed his bruised body. He trembled slightly, his dark green hair falling over his shoulders in waves. His brown wings, tainted with gold strands, were folded neatly against his body. He too looked up, his dusty pink eyes filled with tears and terror. Rath merely smiled and then continued to kiss the pale shoulders of his chosen bed-mate for the night. "Welcome back Titan."

Titos nodded slowly. "It's been sometime." His dark eyes fell to the iron bar resting in the hot coals nearby. Rath also had a couple of small, razor-sharp knives and a whip nearby. He then looked at the eagle man with some interest. The youthful eyes had returned to the ground but not without showing the visible dismay brought upon the realization that Titos knew lord Rath.

"Yes it has been at that. I am a bit surprised to see you..." He pushed aside the glistening green hair and had the young man tilt his neck so he could kiss to his ear. There he played with the lobe and bit it lightly. Titos recognized this as foreplay but said nothing. "How rude of me. Slave, go to my friend. Show him what you have learned."

Titos took deep a breath as the slave stood gracefully and came to him. He pushed himself against Titos' body slowly. The delicate hands danced over the leather of his armor and then fell to his thighs. When they came close to his groin, they hesitated momentarily. Titos quickly grabbed the small wrists, remembering Rath would provide quick punishment for such an action.

Rath's smile broadened. "If he does not please you, Titan, I can send him to the soldiers. You know I pride myself with using only the best. There are a few more we can choose from tonight."

Titos smiled inwardly, this might play out nicely... but this matter would have to be tolerated first. He spoke lowly. "Your name?"

The eagle-man gulped nervously. "Armin."

He pushed against Titos again, this time harder. Their groins met, and even through the leather, he could feel the welcoming heat. Titos nodded slowly. Some of them learned quickly and complied to their lot in life. The rest died painfully.

The youth mistook this for refusal and tears flowed quickly. "I..."

Titos silenced him with his large fingers. "Armin is fine."

Rath laughed. "You can be nearly as cruel as I, my friend."

Friend. Titos stomached the remark. Friends do not rape the other's loved ones. The warrior realized he was a fool to believe this one had any humanity in him at all. Rath was a considerate lover, an intelligent commander, and a wielder of dark secrets. He was also someone who had respected Titos long before he joined the army. But Somehow, during all their encounters, their brief flings at the docks, and mock fights in the forest, he missed his old "friend's" true black core. It shamed and saddened him repeatedly as he stood there. "I believe the iron and the rest of your toys will not be necessary."

Rath sighed heavily. "Very well. Have it your way, but you are missing out." He snapped his fingers and had the orcs remove the offending items. He then considered Titos intently. "I am truly sorry about your elf friend. I trust he is alive and well."

That comment sent Titos for a loop. It was not only uncharacteristic, but it seemed sincere. "Aye. He is fine."

Rath nodded. "Sometimes, even I am driven to excessive behaviors."

The admittance too came as a shock. Titos began to wonder if he was wrong in judging this man as harshly as he had. He pushed the thought aside and decided to get things in motion. He had left his loved ones home alone again and, the last time nearly proved disastrous. Titos pushed Armin an arms length away so he might appraise their subject as he had in the past. He grasped a bit of the green hair, noting it had a few strands of white in it as well, and smelled it slowly. The mountains, and clean, crisp air, it was a pleasant scent. He traced the smooth, hard skin and smiled as the body stilled its trembling under his touch. Rath was rarely gentle and this attention must be a welcome relief from the pawing his old partner used. Armin looked at him hesitantly, his dusty pink eyes a half-closed. This one was younger than he first appeared, bordering on boyhood and manhood. He looked tired and probably had had his lessons begin again at the end of the march. Titos' hands glided over the tense shoulders; he squeezed them firmly and then explored the bared chest. His hands encountered soft downy feathers where hair would rest on humans. The feeling was incredibly arousing. He pinched the rose colored flesh into little nubs hoping to get a reaction since Rath watched them so intently. He did. Armin pressed against his hands and groaned. Rath laughed lightly and leaned against a center pole, amusement clearly defined in his grey eyes. Titos then fingered the similarly downy feathers at the base of the brown and golden wings till he stroked the larger more gallant feathers at the end.

"When I was younger, I knew a boy who used to catch birds and pluck the feathers right out of them." Rath commented casually.

Titos took the cue and ripped one of the feathers loose. Armin gasped in surprise and pain. He backed away, but Titos' other hand held him in place. He turn the feather around as if curious by it and then used the light object to trace neat patterns on the young man's chest. "I think they are better where they are."

Rath grinned. "Maybe so."

Titos dropped the feather and returned to work. His hands explored the tight buttocks, kneading them like bread. He tested the warmth in between briefly, letting one large finger slip in. Armin breathed in deeply but did not pull away. The dusty pink eyes displayed fear and pain making it obvious it was a trained reaction, not to move. Titos began to wonder just how far Rath had gone with this one. He shook the thought away and let his hands travel to the awaiting groin. The warrior closed his eyes briefly as he encountered the same feathery warmth there. Tiny brown feathers graced the sex. They were just long enough to let his fingers run through them and pull at them slightly. He felt the organ slowly arise and become hard as he unknowingly began to stroke harder, never really touching the cock at all.

"Enticing isn't it?" Rath breathed near him. Titos open his eyes and saw that his former commander stood behind Armin, his hands holding the waist still.

Titos' hand wrapped around the growing sex and stroked it lightly. He had always wanted to try an eagle man, but they lived nearly on the other side of the world. His brow creased as he wondered where it is this one came from.

"Shot down a few weeks ago. His wings were broken and he was entangled in a tree, nearly starved to death." Rath murmured as he breathed in the welcoming fragrance Armin had to offer. "He was fortunate that we were near. Spending the winter in that state would have killed him."

Armin took Titos' still hands and brought them to his cool lips. He sucked and kissed his knuckles before bringing his fingers into his mouth. His tongue explored the harsh skin lightly as he sucked.

Titos watched him entranced. Rath was training this one for more then a torture toy. The hesitations, the compliance and now this, the signs were clear.

"He learns quickly. My "toys," as you put it, were only reminders. He is not as inexperienced as you would think. Let him pleasure you Titan." Rath offered silkily.

Titos looked up and saw a mixture of pride and hope in the deep grey eyes. Rath wanted to showoff his new pet but not to just anyone. His commander sent hints of wanting him back too. The situation was incredibly hot and even confusing. He wanted little more than to succumb to the warmth offered here. In fact, he might have to in order to reach his intended goal. The warrior had come here wanting to slay his former lover but had been prevented beforehand. Now, he wasn't even sure if he wanted Rath's death. The feelings were mixed. Had he not known Rath, he would slay him for his crimes against his elven prince. But he did, and nothing could change that.

Rath made a motioned to Titos with his hand. Armin slowly began to unclasp the links of his armor, his body much closer than necessary. "You see I've been trained in many other arts than fighting." His former commander backed away and poured red wine into two glasses. He sipped his mildly and then handed the other to Titos. Titos accepted the offer and drank the meager glass with one gulp. Rath laughed. "That was about 25 gold pieces worth. You really ought to allow yourself the finer pleasures in life. Everything need not be bland and strong. Now where was I?"

Armin slipped his arm bands off. Titos merely shrugged. "I believe you were about to tell me about your other skills." He rolled his eyes in emphasis of his disinterest. "Going a little young these days aren't you?"

"Now, now my friend, hear me out. You might find this interesting." The large blonde sipped from his wine and smiled slightly. "Slavery if a very fine tool and art. For many, it begins in childhood. Born of a slave into slavery as they say, but there is very little art involved with that and a lot of risk. You can easily damage a young mind and you must take on the role of parent to teach them of life." Rath moved closer and kissed an exposed pale shoulder. Armin instantly tilted his head the other way to provide greater access. The dark warrior chuckled. "At this age, the perfect age, you need only teach your desires. Demonstrate your powers through harsh swift punishments. They all ready know the basics in life and are young enough to accept what you offer, young and old enough to be taught promptly." Rath let his thumb travel over the partially opened lips lightly. Armin leaned forward and brought it into this mouth, his tongue visibly bathing it. Rath's smiled broadened. "In but two weeks. I would say the results are astounding, but I've done better."

Titos raised an eyebrow as he heard his old commander speak of his past. An action never done before. He started to remove the rest of his clothing on his own, not willing to let this situation come to an end just yet.

"I am going to touch a subject that might be sore with you, but bear lightly."

Again it was an uncharacteristic warning. Titos began to wonder where things might be going.

"Your prince Ryn is young for his race. At that special time where most of the population runs off to death in search of adventure or glory or some silly notion of divine aid. At his age, things are more clearly defined. They still have that fire and will feel slavery to be something not due to them. This is the first stage when you must break a slave. Before it is merely teaching, one more harshly than the other. Now you have to unteach them, so to speak. It takes more effort and must be carefully done. The end result is rarely perfect but close." Rath touched the tip of the brown wings and squeezed a bit. Armin spread them to their lengthy glory. Titos watched with renewed appreciation of this species. It was more than just a stunning sight, and knew he wanted to take the slave then and there, but retrained from doing so. Rath continued softly. "I could have done much with our prince, but I was impatient and still angry from a recent defeat..." He sighed sadly. "But if he remains with you, then I am happy for the Titan."

Titos eyed his friend warily. He felt a bit uneasy with the way this conversation was going, but he couldn't help but wonder how much truth was in it.

"And then." The dragon-rider continued, his large hand stroking the tops of the fanned wings while his tongue played at the base of the slender neck. "And then you have those like us. The full grown men and not just any men either. There is always a mentality factor. It is said anyone can be broken if you find that key to their being. But for warriors such as ourselves, those that can not be broken, there is often death. Granted our strength and our skills could be of use to many. Perhaps a yoke could be used but there is always that possibility of the slave turning on the master every time a back is turned or a weapon is near. It takes more cunning and courage for the master than the slave in that case."

Titos nodded though he wasn't sure he agreed completely. He would certainly not take to slavery well and would damn well let someone know it.

"Nice." Rath commented lowly as he looked the naked form of Titos up and down. "I might be mistaken but you seem stronger."

He grinned. Maybe he was.

Rath backed away slowly and pulled forward a small wooden chair. He waved at it smoothly. Armin went to it, his wings refolding as he walked. Titos watched the luscious butt until the eagle man was seated. Rath then took his bottle of wine and kneeled next to his pet. He poured a small amount of the wine on his large hand and grinned at Titos. He then grasped and spread Armin's thighs slowly, letting his hand slip up until it brushed the fluffy warmth. Armin groaned lowly. He took the bottle and poured its content over the brown feathers, using his strong hands to work the red moisture in until the feathers took on a crimson color. The red liquid dripped lightly onto the rugged floor as Armin moaned even louder and lifted his hips of the polished wood.

"Enjoy the finer pleasures of life," Rath whispered.

Titos smiled slightly. He could play this game; in fact he wanted to even. He moved forward and knelt between the soft thighs. Foreplay was forgone, and he went straight for sweet down. Armin gasped loudly as his lips pulled and sucked at the juicy feathers. His tongue lapped at the bittersweet wine. He half expected to feel hands grabbing at his air but did not. Titos looked up and noticed Armin gripped the arm's of the chair tightly. Rath stood next to the side, watching with a cool expression on his face though a smile played at his lips. Titos took the weeping cock in his mouth slowly, let his tongue glaze around on the tip. The skin was smooth and soft and the liquid tainted with sweetness, drops of wine collected here and there. He took the hard flesh into his mouth and down into his throat. Armin gasped loudly, his hips almost thrusting forward. The action was controlled and Rath ginned madly at this. It seemed his training must have been intense. Titos continued to deep throat the eagle-man until his belly was filled with the sweet nectar. He let the cock go limp and withdrew, kissing the top lightly. The warrior stood and smiled at the surprised expression on Armin's face.

"Slaves are yours for pleasure, Titan, not to pleasure." The comment was light, but Rath had tensed slightly. "Take him."

Titos eyed the dragon-rider carefully. The exact problem could not be read from those cold grey-eyes. He wondered if this was as meek as jealousy or if he had overstepped his bounds in the master/slave relationship. Perhaps if he had not been weaponless, he would contest something as direct as this order, but he was and so he complied. He extended a hand of which Armin quickly accepted. He led them over to the makeshift bed of soft furs and propped with sturdy boards. Titos pushed the young man down somewhat roughly for display but used his other hand to guide him down gently. He leaned over the pale body and pressed against the exposed groin with his own; he grinned when Armin arched his back unconsciously. The rose nipples looked scrumptious, and so he captured them again, his lips biting at them harshly. "Grease?" Titos requested in between breaths.

"He can take it dry." Rath stated lowly. He too had moved closer.

Titos glanced at Armin and noted his expression had not changed. He had seen too many hesitations in his skills as a bed slave to think this meant anything more than what he had suspected in the beginning: their young friend did not speak the language. Armin had probably picked up only a few simple commands. The warrior let his steady gaze go to the large blonde behind him. "Perhaps you did not hear me. I said grease, oil... whatever you have."

Rath frowned and they watched each other for several moments before the commander sneered and retrieved the oil. He threw the bottle at Titos and looked furious when he caught it. Titos nodded slowly and coated his fingers and cock with more than necessary to emphasize his point. He then eased one finger into the warm opening. Armin seemed incredibly tight for someone who should have been "worked" by now. He inserted another finger and then another, waiting for the body to accommodate for the intruders. The heat was like a most inferno and Titos found himself fighting for control of his own response and primal needs. Armin spread his legs a bit more as Titos continued to stretch him the best way he knew how. He then positioned himself and slowly began to enter, grimacing when Armin gasped in pain. Gods, the space was so narrow and fiery. The clenching of the muscles from Armin didn't help his struggle either. He pushed in a bit and stopped when Armin began to sob loudly.

"He's ready for it all."

Titos grunted lowly, trying to control his temper. "I am bit larger than you."

Rath laughed. "Aye, so you remind me more often than not."

"I believe you took notice first."

"Too true."

Titos then pushed forward a bit more, wanting nothing more than to have himself embedded in the warm body. Armin gasped louder, his sobbing escalating. He murmured lowly in a language he could not decipher. Titos leaned forward, till their chest touched, letting their warmth intertwine. He covered the moving mouth with his large hand quickly to prevent anymore sound. He knew Rath would not tolerate a language being spoken that he did not know, especially by a slave. "Relax," he cautioned and removed his hand. Armin trembled and took in deep breaths. Titos dove for a passionate kiss as he filled the body with a quick thrust. Armin's cry was concealed as his tongue plundered the warm, yielding mouth. He stroked the dark green hair gently as the other hand went to the other's lower back and pushed him up. The warrior waited a long time before he began to move into and out of the warm opening. The pleasure boiled his blood, but he kept a clear head. He broke their kiss and went for the arched neck, biting the fair skin lightly. Armin groaned lowly as the bliss finally overcame the agony. He felt the lithe body try to quicken the pace, but Titos held back. He was still tight and Titos knew he could enter even deeper, but Armin was not ready for that. His back tense slightly as he felt a large hand begin to glide over the bronze skin. Rath, Titos had forgotten him for a moment. His body ignited as the blonde pressed against him harshly, his light hairs tickling skin briefly. He felt the hard slick flesh probe his ass and then thrust in him deep. He gritted his teeth at the sudden intrusion but was careful not to let his body surge forward as well. The cock slide into him nicely, the length and width the perfect size to fill him, as it always had been. Rath nipped at his ears and thrust forward again. Titos growled deep within his chest and clenched his ass muscles eagerly. He brought Armin against him roughly with his powerful arms, his mouth reclaiming the slave's. Titos entered deeper, deriving a drawn-out moan from the young eagle-man. The dusty pink eyes opened a bit wider as the body tensed and he felt the warm liquid spray his abdomen. Titos smiled but then hissed as Rath began humping him rapidly and quickly. Rath's next hard ram sent him over the edge, and he cried out loudly. Rath followed the suit in the next few moments.

They pulled away after resting a few minutes. The night's chilly air hit them mercilessly. Titos blinked a couple of times, shaking his head and smiling. Life was certainly peculiar at times. He moved to the warm furs on the floors, knowing the bed would need cleaning. He felt the large strong arms of his former commander wrap around him as he too bedded on the warm floor behind him. Titos took those few minutes to think about the dragon again. Tonight would be too soon to mention the beast, but perhaps in the morning. His line of thought was interrupted as he noticed Armin walk quietly over to the corner and lay on a mat... with no blankets. He watched the small body shiver for a moment and then wrap his wings around his body to take the edge off. The flexibility of the wings was amazing, but he would be damned if he was going to lie here and let the slave sleep in the cold alone. "Armin," Titos spoke loudly.

Armin jumped to his feet, wincing for his body was still sore. He looked to them slowly. Titos motioned him forward with his loose arm. Armin closed his eyes briefly, trying to hide his rising tears, but it didn't work. He moved to Titos and lay beside him when the warrior lifted the blankets. Armin's cool lips went to his chest where he began to kiss him lightly. His hands reached for his groin again, and again, Titos stopped him. Armin took the hand and began to kiss the knuckles, letting the warm, moist, tongue lap up the remaining sweat. Normally, this would get Titos hot and ready again, but not this time. He recognized this for what it was and knew Armin was too sore for anything more. When the youth backed a way and went for his neck, he stopped him with his large, gentle, fingers. Confusion arose in the dusty pink eyes. Titos drew him into his warm embrace and made sure the covers were shared amply. He then kissed the teary eyes closed and whispered, "Sleep." It took a few moments for Armin to finally relax, letting his cool check rest against Titos broad chest, and drift off into sleep.

"You are one of a kind, Titos. One of a kind." Rath chuckled...

The night went by fairly slowly for Armin would shift and whimper continuously in his sleep, often speaking in his native tongue. Rath awoke once as well, when the cry became a low cal. scream. The dragon-rider was more than a little annoyed and mentioned having Armin moved to the slave pens. Titos merely ignored his grouchy lover and shushed the slave as best he could. He knew Rath would not get out of the warm bed to do the deed himself nor would he even arise to call the orcs, so the matter laid to rest. The gods be willing, Titos managed to get Armin comfortable in his embrace again and too sleep the rest of the night through.

***

Titos awoke to find himself sleeping alone. He really needed to get out of that habit of sleeping deeply. It would get him killed eventually. He stood and stretched, popping his back repeatedly. The position had been comfortable for Armin, but certainly not him. Then he found a note sitting next to the bedding.

* Went with scouting party. Enjoy the "entire" bath. *

R

Titos raised an eyebrow and let his eyes dart around the tent. He wondered how he had missed the white porcelain tub. He strolled over to it and smiled when the warm steam hit his face. Rath certainly knew how to live luxuriously. The warrior jumped in and let the warm moisture ease his body and relax his muscles. These were a couple of moments of enteral bliss. His eyes darted open as he heard someone enter. Titos turned and smiled when he noted it was Armin. The slave carried buckets of water that looked way too heavy for him. He was dressed in some tattered brown rags, and his green hair looked somewhat brushed. Mud was dried his knees and other parts of his body, but the bruises were no longer there; he suspected magic at work. Titos jumped up and helped him, ignoring the splashing water. Armin's dusty pink eyes darted about the tent as if to check and make sure they weren't being watched. He suddenly looked very frightened. Titos sighed and dumped most of the water into the tub. He then slid back into welcoming warmth. Armin kneeled by the tub with towel and soap. He lathered the cloth down and started with Titos chest. Titos let him do his work for a few minutes before he stilled him. With one smooth motion, he had Armin naked and sitting in the tub with him. The small body froze even when he had him settled between his legs. Titos merely shrugged. He wrapped his arms around the downy chest and rubbed gently. "Easy." Armin relaxed after a moment and brought Titos' hands to his mouth. He sucked the large fingers two or three at a time. Titos grinned and sighed. He gripped the slender waist and hoisted him up and just over his large cock. He let the head rest between the smooth butt-cheeks. Armin began to breathe heavily as Titos impaled him slowly on the hard flesh. As Titos expected, the opening was all ready stretched so he watched for any visible signs of pain. When there was none, he pressed on until he was imbedded in the warmth again. Armin groaned lowly as Titos' now free hands, sought and found the smooth feathers by his groin. The warrior decided that he really liked the feel of his hands drifting through the downy softness to the hard cock resting down below. This time, Titos let his hands be gentle and nothing else. He had no one watching or pressuring him to do otherwise. His other hand drifted to the similarly soft chest and pushed Armin till his back was resting on his heaving chest.

His fingers played with the nubs until they hardened into little pebbles. His lips dropped to the pale shoulders Rath seemed to treasure so much and kiss them lightly. His tongue traced delicate patterns up the neck and to the mouth parted in pleasure. Only when their tongues grazed each other, did he grasp the hips and begin to move him up and down, with slow precise thrusts. Armin gasped and shuddered as his inner depths were touched with a gentleness he had probably yet to experience. Titos heaved forward with controlled force. He felt a bit dismayed that Armin kept his hands to himself, but he knew better to press. Armin had undergone some intense training and it was still too soon to find out exactly what that had entailed. He waited till the exact moment Armin inhaled deeply to thrust in powerfully. The youth cried out softly as he came and was filled with liquid warmth. Titos pulled his limp member from the body and helped Armin stand. He looked around and spotted an extra bucket of water and smiled. He went stepped out and stopped Armin from following. He used that water and the other gear to soap the youth down and clean him up thoroughly, smiling in satisfaction only when he had the green, touched with white, hair glistening again. He searched through the trunks until he found some breeches and a tunic that should fit properly. The warrior had the slave looking presentable in a few moments. Armin looked a bit apprehensive at his new attire, and his dusty pink eyes continued to fly over to the tent flap in fear. Titos smiled warmly at him as he simply toweled himself off and dressed in his old clothes that were waiting for him. His sword, of course, was included. Then they both waited in silence.

Rath entered a few hours later, his eyes appraising them mutely. He was dressed in the black-skull uniform all commanders of the dark army wore. There was only a bit of blood on his sword which indicated only a light scuffle had taken place. His grey eyes revealed nothing of his mood, and so Titos had to proceed on a whim. "Is the dragon here?"

The blonde man eyed him warily with some curiosity tainted in the narrowed eyes. "Of course. Why would you ask?"

Titos straightened his shoulder. "I just need a word with the lizard."

The commander frowned. "Very well, but I would not call him that to his face."

Rath said nothing to Armin and simply led Titos to the back of the camp and deep into the forest where the giant red dragon would be sleeping. The mood seemed uneasy, and Titos doubted it had anything to do with him or Armin. But still, it was best to proceed with caution. "Are you angry?"

Rath tapped his fingers on his sheath. "No, merely troubled. I rarely allow anyone to see my spirit-mate. You would be wise to heed my words when I tell you that he will only consider our relationship lightly. Do not press."

Titos nodded. "I will not take your warning lightly."

They pressed onward through the thick forest of dark green pine trees until they came upon a clearing... and the sleeping dragon. The air here was warm and thick from the deep breathings of the monstrous being before them. Greggorous had shiny red scales bordered with black ripples. Its mouth was closed, but large white teeth poked out from the sides. His enormous nostrils flared occasionally, emitting angry flames that scorched the nearby vegetation. Deep black claws embedded themselves in the moist earth, twitching every moment. His large, leathery wings were fanned slightly and swayed with the gentle breeze. Titos had seen the creature from a far, but the real thingswas incredible and immensely terrifying. All about the beast were the half-eaten carcasses of a couple of cows and an animal he couldn't even identify. Its silver eyes opened slowly as they came closer. It scanned them carefully, eons hidden behind the half-closed eyes. It snorted once. "Leave us." The command was directed at Rath. If it was unwelcome or if he was surprised, the rider did not let on. He nodded and soon disappeared back into the thick woods.

The dragon shifted slightly and scratched its belly. The claws scrapping the scales created a sound that was too close to a screaming cat for Titos' comfort. "You have come for my blood."

Titos eyed the beast warily. His powers would draw nothing from this one. He could not get the mood of the thing if his life depended on it, and it just might. "You know?"

A deep, guttural, ugly laugh coursed through the large body and finally burst from its gaping jaw. "Why else would you come? No."

Titos set his jaw. He did not ask for permission and was not leaving with out it. "What you did..."

"What I did was touch the core of a being who is likely to become my next arch enemy. Keep the whorish elf. Consider his life a gift to you from myself. He would have been slain if it were not for our interference." The voice was dark and low.

Titos clutched his sword. Things could get very ugly from here. "I did not come asking; I came seeking."

"Force?" The beast laughed again only this time louder. "You think you can take me by force?" Its wings flapped as its toothy mouth formed a smile. "Warrior, next time stick with your original plan and take me by night. I am lazy and fat after I feed. Now leave me."

Titos felt cold fury emanate from his deep being. The monster would not dismiss him so easily. He drew his blade, letting the silvery glaze glint off the sun. "I think not."

The dragon tilted its head and narrowed its eyes. "Do not press my patience any further mortal, or you will die."

Titos shrugged. "Your warning is dully noted." He then leapt forward. As he expected, the creature was indeed lazy and slow now. He moved just next to the underbelly forcing the dragon to stand in order to fight. As its powerful legs crushed the ground with its massive weight, Titos sliced its belly with a quick hard upward motion. The dragon growled angrily and swiped at him, but the motion was awkward and missed. Titos let the blood gather in the secret compartment of his sword and then moved swiftly towards the thing's tail. If it saw his movement too early, he would be crushed under a tremendous amount of force. His legs pumped as his lungs were forced to draw in deep breaths. The tail swished dangerously but the movements were not controlled. Then he heard the thing draw air and the tail was coming at him with amazing speed. Was it too late? Only the next few moments would tell. He rolled to the side as the tail crashed just hairs to the right of his head. He could not win a true fight with this beast, and so, for the first time in his life, he fled. Titos ran into the forest blindly, hoping to find a bit of cover to be concealed in. He was rewarded by the gods once again, with a small den in the ground. He used his cloak to cover his face as the flames filled the air and covered the forest. The dragon howled in anger and frustration for hours. As night claimed the land again, Titos finally peered out from under his cloak. It was quiet and cold. He moved out of the den, thanking every god and even the animal which bore the hole. His arms were mildly burned, but everything else seemed fine. The pain was welcomed for it meant he was alive, but his true joy came from one thing. He had the blood and thus the cure.

Titos' first impulse was to go to his hidden mount, now probably angry at being abandoned for a night, and get the hell out of here. But his mind drifted to one person who might take the brunt of his betrayal... Armin. He secured his sword in his sheath and pulled out his dagger. The warrior was not about to risk breaking his sword carrying the precious essence. He took a deep breath and headed back to the camp.

The place was as he had left it, except the forest around it was now ruined black. The orcs moved about slowly eating large quantities off undercooked meats and drinking strong ale. He was about to go to Rath's tent when he heard the cries. Changing direction, he walked out into the forest and towards the sound. He saw Rath holding the naked form of Armin by his wrists with one hand and repeatedly striking him with the other. Tears poured from the dusty pink eyes as the youth was beat for a crime he didn't commit. Cold fury blazed in those grey eyes. The blonde's rage shadowed everything Titos knew about the man. The hate, the fury, it seemed so strange... even unnatural. The rider threw the young eagle-man to the ground and drew his sword. Titos moved forward instantly. His old lover looked to him angrily. "You used me! Die for your crimes traitor." Rath moved towards him angrily, but the motions seemed a bit unsteady. Titos dodged the first and second blow easily. The third sliced into his thigh deeply, but he used his dagger in a counterattack that pierced the man's sword-arm.

They backed away. Titos standing between Rath and Armin. Rath glared at him angrily, his chest heaving.

"You insolent mortal! No one treats me like that and lives. Your trickery is your undoing."

"Stand still." Titos stated calmly, ignoring the pain coursing through his body.

Rath blinked and seemed to heed the warning.

Titos grabbed the clothing on the ground and the dropped sword. He then snatched Armin by the wrist and pulled him through the forest quickly. He did not stop until he could no longer hear the crackling of the fires. Only then did he turn and look at the terrified slave he was pulling along. He had Armin dress quickly as his eyes scanned the area. He then looked at Armin and took a deep breath to settle his nerves and whirling mind. The youth shook from fear still and looked around clearly confused. Titos held out the sword. Armin looked at him blankly for a moment and then opened his mouth in surprise. He took the sword hesitantly.

"Go south" Titos pointed. "Do you know where your home is?"

Armin looked around for a moment and then pointed west.

Titos nodded and then pointed south and then west. "Go home." He pointed in the two directions again. "Go home this way."

Armin nodded slowly. "Home."

Titos smiled, and drew him into a bear hug. "Go quickly. Fly."

Armin pulled away and headed south. He paused and turned around. "Thank You." He then spread his wings and took flight.

Titos watched him for several minutes, making sure no shouts were sounded as he fled. He then turned to return to his own home when he heard a noise call his name. He crouched low into the forest.

"Titos?" Rath repeated. "Titos, it was not me, not my words. Damn it. Listen to me. The dragon, and I are one. We met at the docks. That is me, not what just happened. Not with Ryn, not with Armin... not during those ugly moments. You know me. Titos are you there? I am not a monster... do you hear me!" These were a few moments in Rath's life in which he did not mask himself completely.

Titos narrowed his eyes. He had loved ones waiting for him. The warrior snuck away stealthily. He started to depart once more but hesitated when remembering something Rath had said. "You insolent mortal!" Titos frowned, not something most people would say but maybe a dragon would... Perhaps there was some truth to his old lover's claim. Titos sighed heavily, he could not rest until he helped Ryn. This would have to wait, but... He drew out his dagger and dropped it. And then moved away to hide behind some trees. Titos waited there until Rath picked up his earlier tracks and found the dagger. The blonde scanned the area slowly and then sighed. Rath clutched the dagger tightly and then withdrew his own dropping it. He put Titos' in his sheath. Titos smiled the message had been delivered, but the situation would be dealt with later, gods willing. The warrior then bound for home after binding his wound.

-Please let me Know what you think-  Paladin

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