The number of gay men in his fleet simply amazed the Admiral. He had always laughed at the stories of men turning to each other for sexual relief during long sea voyages. Now, James knew that many of the stories were true. Here in the Aquanos bathhouse, a hundred of his men had come out of hiding and were freely expressing their love for each other.
At the moment, James was enjoying it himself as he and Kyle relaxed in one of the hot pools of water. Sex with Kyle during the last several days had been unlike anything he ever experienced. First, Kyle was always eager. Second, James could see exactly how he was affecting him. A woman might groan and moan and fake an orgasm, but with Kyle, James could see his sex as it hardened, leaked, and shot. Finally, there was the feel of a hard body against his. Women felt soft and smelled sweet with perfume. Kyle felt strong, and had a musky odor of sweat and sex that James found much more arousing.
Looking at the blond man soaking next to him, James wondered how much more he needed to learn about the art of lovemaking. He knew that he had a few hang-ups. He worried that, one day, Kyle would ask to penetrate him, so to speak. Kissing, and the general showing of affection were also still difficult. It just seemed wrong or unmanly to kiss one's fellow officer on the lips, but that's what was happening. All around James in the massive chamber, men were hugging, kissing, and slapping each other's asses in a friendly manner.
James didn't know what his problem was...Kyle seemed to mix easily with the other men, giving a hug and kiss to them as he would pass. The only time James seemed to want to kiss was in the middle of sex, when he was at the peak of his passion. Thank the Mother that Kyle seemed to understand that, never trying to kiss him outside the bedroom.
That was what James liked best about Kyle. He seemed to know exactly what his Admiral was ready for...just like now. While he let the hot water relax his body, Kyle had reached over and taken hold of his manhood, pumping at it gently. Very slowly James felt himself harden due to Kyle's light touch. After several minutes of this tender care, James began to wish that Kyle would take a firmer hold of him. To that end he gave the smiling blond man a look of desperation but all Kyle did was wink.
"So, how does it feel to be a conqueror?" Kyle asked as he continued to massage his lover's manhood.
"I think I am falling in love."
"How dare you!" Kyle laughed as he tightened his grip.
"Ouch..." James yelped in pain, glad when Kyle let go. "Well, it's true. No Templars, no Inquisitors, no priests. Right now the Federation War Council seems happy to leave me here as governor."
"And you like that?"
"Yes...I even find the Famulus charming, so polite and courteous."
"And so eager to please." Kyle laughed. "So, have I made you an unrepentant lover of men?"
James took Kyle's head in his hands and pulled him into a kiss. "No...but I do lust after my dear commander."
"Then I will just have to teach you."
"Teach me about love? Do you not know that a sailor's heart belongs to the sea?
"Well, now it belongs to me." Kyle laughed as he swam away.
James just chuckled as he watched the commander swim over to where a few of the other officers were bathing. He found the idea that a man could fall in love with another, in a romantic sense, ridiculous. Men could not love men.
At least that is what he wanted to believe. As he watched three of his other officers circle around Kyle with hungry, lustful looks in their eyes, James could not hold back a sudden surge of jealousy. Until that moment, Kyle had only focused his attention on him, showing no interest in any other man. Now, three men had their arms around the commander and Kyle seemed to be enjoying it.
Filled with anger, James swam over to where the four men were engaged. He tried to pull Kyle away, but soon found himself trapped by all four of them, their limbs entangled with his own. James tried to struggle free, but between the gropes, licks, kisses, and Kyle's ever-present smile, his resistance faded.
"You can have any man you want, but you came for me," Kyle whispered between licks on the Admiral's ear.
"I just thought..."
"That we meant something to each other? You are the one who says there is no such thing as love between men."
"Maybe I was too hasty."
"And maybe you need more experience." Kyle laughed.
"What do you mean?"
"Just as I said, you can have almost any man you want, but the only person you have been with is me."
"I still don't know what you are suggesting."
"I am suggesting you see how other men make you feel. You were not the first officer I've slept with."
Now finding it hard to focus from all the attention the other men were giving him, James struggled to keep his words clear. "You are telling me to sleep with other men."
"Yes, better now than when I want a true commitment from you," Kyle explained.
"What sort of commitment?"
"That the only people we will sleep with will be each other."
"Marriage?" James laughed.
"No...more akin to companionship. A contract that you will not leave me for another, and that I will do the same."
"Why not do that now?" James asked.
"Because you are too new to all this, and I am not yet ready to give up all my choices," Kyle explained.
"You mean doing things like we are now?" James chuckled.
"Exactly," Kyle agreed.
"For how long should we keep our options open?"
"For as long as we both feel we need to. But if you are worried I will never be ready, I promise that I will give you my answer in three weeks."
"So I have three weeks to see if my feelings for you change?"
"You admitting you have feelings for me?" Kyle laughed.
"I guess I am. So...where do you think I should get started?" James asked as he searched the bathhouse for other men to pair with.
"May I recommend Captain Harper?" Kyle said, pointing to the narrow-waisted, broad-chested man heading to the steam room.
"Why him?" James asked. The man was known for his gruff manner.
"I think I've been too gentle with you. A rough man might let you experience more."
"If you say so," James replied, unsure.
"Now go, before someone reaches him first." Kyle slapped James on the rear.
James climbed out of the pool and put on his sandals before entering the steam room. There, lying on one of the marble tables, was Harper, his body covered with a sheen of sweat.
Knowing that, this time, he would have to be the aggressor, James let his large hands run down the captain's back until they were cupping his ass.
"I've been waiting for you." Harper grinned as he rolled on his back, showing off his hardened manhood.
"You have?" James said, surprised.
"Well, considering that I have slept with every single fleet captain in the Jadoorian navy, I have been looking forward to the day an Admiral would try to seduce me."
"All the fleet commanders?" James said amazed.
"Nearly all of them."
"They get curious. It is not a great secret that there is some fooling around between men on the ships. Sometimes the captains become curious and want to try for themselves. Then two things happen. One, they try to seduce a young cabin boy, or two, they try for a man like myself."
"Well, do I not look attractive?" Harper winked.
James looked at the man's stretched-out body, firm and strong, and -- James had to admit -- desirable.
Seeing the Admiral was indeed enticed by his body, Harper took his superior off to one of the resting rooms and showed him how aggressive two men could be with each other.
After snowing for almost five days straight, the weather finally cleared. Aidan was eager to return to the capital to start training his new army. He was disappointed, however, when Dorian came back reporting the snow was seven feet deep. There was no way Aidan could ask his small military force to march, let alone ride the horses, the remaining fifty miles to the capital. It seemed he and his men would be trapped here until the snow melted in the spring.
The Centurions did not mind... the monks, or Saints as Amplexor referred to them, spent much of their free time entertaining their Centurion guests.
After the monks had achieved their conquest of the Centurions, they moved on to the greater challenge of seducing Aidan's Jadoorian bodyguards. To accomplish that, it took a team effort. In one example, a Centurion would spar with one of Aidan's guards and beat him badly. In fact, beat him so badly that the Jadoorian would have to go see the healer. There, the monk would insist that the Jadoorian strip so he could be examined while, at the same time, giving the injured man a potion to ease the pain. The potion also had the effect of making the man as drunk as if he had finished off an entire bottle of rum in one sitting, but with the effect only lasting for an hour. During that time the healer would remove the remaining clothing and begin orally pleasuring the soldier.
When the potion wore off, one of three things would happen. The Jadoorian would realize that another man was sucking his cock, and run out as if his life was in danger. The soldier would realize that his cock was being sucked but was too aroused to do anything about it... letting the monk finish his business but never going back to the healer again. Or the Jadoorian would realize his cock was being sucked, really enjoy it and come back later for a second go.
There were many variations on this trick used by the monks and Centurions and, by the third week, they had gotten to all the Jadoorians at least once. Out of the two hundred men, only fifteen ran away; one hundred let a monk finish them off but would not go back; and eighty five of the men came back, and came back often.
Aidan had to hide a chuckle when he would see little circles of three... a monk, a Jadoorian, and a Centurion huddled together. Aidan tried to memorize the names of the men who had shown themselves to be gay or at least bisexual. Those men he planned to promote faster, moving them into high positions of authority, as they would be able to work more easily with the Centurions.
Even with his planning, Aidan knew he would never have more troops at his disposal than High Priest Niles. The call of sexual freedom did not have the same power as the divine reward of martyrdom that was bringing men into the Mother Church's ranks. What he needed was a team of men...with the skills of a Centurion and bonded in love with each other. Aidan had long suspected that it was the shared love between Centurions that made them such fierce warriors, since they were not only fighting for the empire, but for their lovers as well.
That is why Aidan felt that Dorian was such a perfect match for him. He was the respected leader of the Island of the Eb survivors. All the Centurions looked up to him. That respect also seemed to extend to Aidan himself, which surprised him.
Today, Amplexor had asked Aidan and Dorian to meet him in the chapel as he had something important to show them both. When Aidan entered the chapel, he found that it was empty and the crystal coffin holding Amplexor's lover was gone as well. Walking closer, Aidan was surprised to see that, where the coffin been, there was now a ladder leading down into a pit.
Guessing that this was where Amplexor wanted him to go, Aidan climbed down only to find a tunnel, lit by strange white lights that did not flicker or smoke. Carefully, Aidan let his fingertips touch the glowing globes, afraid of being burned. Instead the globes were actually cool to the touch.
Amazed by the lights, but hearing voices deeper in the tunnel, Aidan continued until he reached a large chamber where Amplexor and Dorian stood waiting. Amplexor turned from Dorian and faced Aidan. "Good for you to come. I have just finished telling Dorian why I asked you to come here."
"What is this place?" Aidan asked, amazed. He could see metal machinery and a giant tank filled with a bubbling, clear fluid.
"This is Genesis. It was here that the Mother established Jadoor, for it was with this machine that she created Gladius and me. It is also the birthplace of both Centurions and Legatio."
"I don't understand," Aidan said, confused.
"I didn't think you would, so let me put it in simpler terms. Centurions and Legatio were once like you, normal men. So was I, once. When the Mother guided her people here she decided she needed people with special gifts to help her; Centurions to defend the people with their great strength and Legatio to govern, living long enough to see her plans implemented.
So the Centurions and Legatio were once Famulus?" Aidan asked using the Centurion term.
"Yes." Amplexor smiled.
"How did she change them?"
"With this machine. With it she was able to grow an anima core inside a person's body... blue anima for a Centurion and red for a Legatio.
"Why not do both and have purple!" Aidan joked but saw that it fell flat.
You can, but the result is different. That is what happened to Gladius and myself, but we were incomplete. What she wanted was a real Demon and a real Angel to lead the people, not the engineered pair that Gladius and I were. Only when a Centurion and Legatio have a special kind of love can they combine their anima, making their anima purple and becoming a true Demon and Angel," Amplexor explained.
"Why have you brought me here?" Aidan asked... almost knowing the answer.
"I have brought you here because I think you and Dorian have the special kind of love needed for a Legatio and Centurion to bond."
"But I'm not a Legatio."
"No, you're not." Amplexor smiled.
"But..." Aidan tried to protest even as he felt Dorian wrap his arms around him.
"Dorian really wants this, Aidan," Amplexor said in an almost begging tone. "I have never seen a Centurion so passionate about a Famulus before. He wants to become closer to you...to bond to you."
"And what do you want?" Aidan asked suspiciously.
"I want to restore Jadoor to what it once was...an open and loving society. Are you not surprised by how many of your men are now engaged in gay sex?"
"I guess it is because they never knew how good it could be with another man." Aidan laughed.
"It is because old Jadoorian society used to be based on a bisexual triangle. The Mother engineered the Famulus men to be open to both sexes. She felt that it would help with the acceptance of the Centurions, as they are exclusively gay. After the Centurions were banished from Jadoor, new bloodlines entered the Jadoorian population and the trait became less prevalent but, in pureblooded Jadoorians, it still exists in the navy and royal family.
"Is that why I am gay?" Aidan asked.
"The royal family is one of the purest bloodlines around. I would not be surprised if every King of Jadoor had a male lover at one time or another," Amplexor chuckled.
"Even my father?!" Aidan laughed...his father had been one of the most conservative rulers in recent history.
"I said I would not be surprised. I did not mean that some of the kings of Jadoor did not suppress their feelings and obey the church doctrine forbidding male sex."
"Male sex...I like that term! Sounds better than gay sex," Aidan laughed.
"Well, that is what gay sex is... it is an act that purely involves only men and follows purely male emotions and acts. There are certain things that only a man can do to another man, just as it is with a woman."
"But why do I need to become a Legatio to feel love for Dorian? I already love him."
"Yes...and he loves you. But I want to make you into an Angel, which will allow the two of you to reach levels of love you never have felt before. You will not just feel in love...you will FEEL the love. A Legatio and Centurion who can love each other are very rare. Usually it is the Legatio who does not share the Centurion's feelings. You, though, are already in love with Dorian, and he...more amazingly...is in love with you. If I make you an Angel and Dorian a Demon, nothing will stop the two of you from bonding. Then, and only then, will you feel the most extreme force that love can have."
"Alright...I'll do it," Aidan said after having a chance to think about it.
"Good." Amplexor nodded before telling Dorian Aidan's response.
Dorian grinned and gave Aidan a final squeeze before starting to undress the smaller man. After Aidan had been stripped of everything, Amplexor pushed a button on the machine, which triggered the giant tank to drain, a door opening in its crystal frame. Dorian lifted Aidan into it and joined him, closing the glass panel and trapping them both inside. The tank then began to fill with a purple fluid, soon drowning the two of them in it.
At first Aidan tried to hold his breath, hoping that the fluid level would drop off quickly but, as the seconds passed and that did not happen, Aidan began to thrash about, desperate to escape. The crystal tank surrounding him was as hard as stone. Finally, his lungs could not take it any longer, forcing him to breathe in the fluid. At once Aidan went into spasms, trying to force the liquid out of his lungs. Instead, the coughing had the effect of forcing out the remaining air. Only when all the air was gone did his coughing subside, and he found himself taking slow deep breaths of the sweet fluid. Aidan could see the blurred image of Dorian, his arms wrapped around him, a wide grin on his face. A wave of tiredness taking over, both soon fell into a deep sleep, Aidan resting his head on Dorian's chest.
As Amplexor finished adjusting the controls, he took out a carved stone case. Opening it he removed one of the two daggers inside. "Soon Gladius ... soon you will be back with me."
The Corruption of Addiction
As soon as word reached him of the fall of Aquanos, Xavier took Alex back with him to the capital. When he arrived, he ordered half the Home Guard to surround Aquanos to prevent the Jadoorians from expanding north, deeper into Domus. He even recalled the support troops he had sent to help Field Marshal Lukas in his losing battle with the Federation. Once he had given his orders, Xavier moved on to more important things...mainly Alex.
To get rid of the young man's shame and sadness over killing his sword master, Xavier gorged Alex with anima. Xavier did not know if Alex was a Demon, but he was surely a fiend when it came to consuming the life energy of his fellow Centurions. If Alex was not in a state of out-of-control physical lust, he was exercising and, when he was not exercising, he was practicing with his blades. When he became tired or hungry, Xavier would just give him more anima, starting the cycle all over again. Within a matter of weeks Alex had consumed an entire legion's worth of anima, more than the Field Marshal had taken in his entire life, and it was showing.
Besides the massive musculature and extraordinary height, Alex's eyes and skin were changing. His irises were still gray, but the whites had picked up a blue tint. The skin around Alex's abdomen had also taken on a bluish color, as the anima core inside him had grown in order to accommodate to the anima he was consuming.
Xavier did not feel any love for his creation, even though they had exchanged bonds and did make love several times a day. He was molding Alex into a combination of killing machine and lust-driven creature. Instead of being a lover, Alex was the closest thing he would ever have to a son...a son Xavier was sure would lay down his life to protect his father when he was done with his training.
Tonight was part of all those plans for Alex. Tonight he was going to show the young man something that would remove the last taboo Alex still held close...the act of killing a Legatio.
He led Alex to an alley that led to the grand plaza, near the entrance to the Tomb of Warriors where the Centurion skulls were kept. Xavier did not tell Alex what was going to happen...wanting the young Centurion to find out on his own. He did not have to wait long for his protégé to find out.
A wagon came rolling to the entrance of the tomb. As soon as it stopped, five or six Legatio came out, carrying sacks that they loaded onto the cart.
Having shown Alex this, Xavier took him to the warehouse district, on top of one of the roofs looking down at one of the many buildings Perils owned there. They made it almost ten minutes before the wagon, as it had to take the larger but longer main streets to reach the warehouse. As soon as the wagon arrived, several people came out and began unloading the wagon while two other men talked.
One of these two men wore the red robes of a Legatio senator and the other wore the black robes of a Famulus.
"Only six bags!" the voice of senator Perils cursed.
"I am sure it will be enough, sir," the high-pitched voice of Horace, master of the baths, insisted fawningly.
"I told the caretakers that I needed twenty bags. I need to buy the governorship of Qul Tos. I will not stay here when the empire falls to the Federation.
"I would like to remind you, master, that it was you who started this war." Horace giggled like a girl.
"Say that again, Horace, and I will make sure you will drown in one of your own pools."
"Forgive me, master."
"The war was to kill off the other Field Marshals, leaving the Senate the only remaining power. I never thought that our armies would fare so badly, or be taken so off guard like this. The Eastern Army is still strong, though. From Qul Tos I can build a new empire where Legatio will be supreme. But to do that I need to be able to bribe the other senators, and money no longer holds the power it once had. Centurion bones, on the other hand, are commanding a princely price. All the Legatio think they will need a small stockpile to survive this war," Perils said as he took out one of the skulls from a sack.
"But the skulls, sir...what will the Centurions do if they find out you have been replacing their skulls with fakes?" Horace asked nervously.
"How will they find out? And why should it matter? The fakes are exact copies, with their precious marks. So what if it is not the original bone? If they were not so selfish in giving their anima to their Field Marshals, I would not have to resort to robbing their graves. With a few hundred vials of anima I can buy the loyalty of a thousand senators," Perils grumbled as he tossed the skull to Horace.
Horace examined the skull under the torchlight and was amazed by the marking. "A sword master!"
"Yes...a recently killed one in fact."
"Where? Aquanos or on the western border?"
"Neither...this skull belonged to a teacher at the Academy...killed by one of his own students, believe it or not."
"A student killed his teacher!"
"Yes... one of Xavier's little pets. The student was, of course, expelled. I believe our dear Field Marshal has him locked up in one of his bedrooms...nothing more than a sex slave now."
Alex, his face red with anger did not hear that last remark...not after he realized whose skull the Senator had stolen, the skull of sword master Lorin. As his face turned red with anger, he felt Xavier hand him a double-bladed sword, one that the Field Marshal had hidden on the roof just for this moment.
With the instrument of revenge in his hands, Alex jumped off the roof and attacked the surprised senator and Famulus, both of whom were decapitated within seconds of each other. Alex did not stop there. He ran inside the warehouse where he chased down and killed every single one of the Famulus workers who had been powdering the skulls and storing them in barrels.
Only when all were dead did Alex come out of the warehouse, his once white robe now red with blood. Waiting for him, as proud as a father could be, was Xavier, holding up a warm vial of red anima, freshly taken from Peril's body. Xavier lifted up the vial in a toast and drank half of it down, a purple glow growing around his body. He then handed the remaining half to Alex. "Drink."
"But..." Alex said, still held back by the law banning the taking of a Legatio's anima.
"You will need it... trust me.
Nodding his head, Alex agreed, drinking the fluid down.
After Xavier took the empty vial away from Alex, he took a deep breath before speaking. "Alex...you are under arrest for the killing of a Legatio Senator."
"But..." Alex tried to protest as a dozen white armored Centurions ran towards him.
"Don't worry. I will make sure the truth will come out and the courts will be lenient with you. You might have to be imprisoned for a long while, Alex, but I promise I will not abandon you. We will have our revenge."