Tuesday, January 23, 2018



“Orrin of Zigag! How many times have I told you to stop fucking the Royal Guards!”

Orrin froze with his face between the guard’s delicious glutes, regretfully stopping his degustation. He stretched his neck a little (his eyes a hairbreadth above the muscular ass) and scowled at his father. Yes, his King had told him not to fuck the Royal Guards. He had never expressed any prohibition about bending them over in a line and eating their holes one by one, though.

“Leave that guard’s behind alone and come here!”

The behind in question was the last of the line, and it had been Orrin’s plan to make each guard come on his way back to the first. Nevertheless, he saw a vein protruding on his father’s forehead. He couldn’t have the King having an apoplexy, then be forced to rule the kingdom before he was done having his fun. He was still too young to handle the serious matters of governing his people. That didn’t mean he didn’t know how; he just didn’t want to— yet.

With the back of his hand, Orrin wiped his mouth. As he emerged from his crouch, he affectionately spanked the round prize before him, yanking a growly yip from the guard.

Since neither Orrin nor the King had ordered them to move, the twelve Royal Guards remained in their bent state, along the lengthy banquet table in the dining hall. Orrin lovingly brushed his left hand over each exposed cheek as he walked toward his father. The poor men deserved at least a passing caress since their prince would not be able to make them spurt. 

“Stop that!” yelled King Ouranio. “And you,” that was to the guards, “pull yourselves together! You look like a lineup of whores in a cheap brothel!”

“Please, my King, remember your blood pressure,” Orrin said conciliatorily.

“Orca sperm and narwhal shit! How dare you! You’re doing this! You are the one messing up my blood pressure! Why can you not be like your brother?”

Orrin’s brother Landra was the good one. Even if they were physically identical, their personalities were like day and night; something that puzzled everyone to no end because twins weren’t supposed to be so different.

Orrin was finally facing his father, King Ouranio, Rider of narwhals, Master of orcas, Light of his people, Wise as the stars— and now almost purple and ready to explode.

When facing danger you could either fight or flight. Orrin didn’t have those options; his only option was to fake submission till it seemed real. He knelt. “Forgive me, my King. I don’t deserve the title of Prince of Zigag.”

“You certainly not,” his father put a hand on Orrin’s head with a huff, “but you’re still my son, and I love you. I just wish I didn’t have to do this.”

The last sentence came out softly, and that was way more terrifying than the initial huff. Orrin didn’t want to ask. He pressed his lips together, mustering self-control he rarely used.

His father pushed Orrin’s face up, using a finger to lift his chin. They locked eyes. The purplish hue had disappeared. More like all the blood had drained from King Ouranio’s face in a heartbeat. “I am really sorry, son, but you leave me no choice. I need to do this for your own good.”

Uh-uh. He’s giving the crown to Landra.

 Even if they had been born together, Orrin was the firstborn (three minutes were three minutes!). On second thought, would it really be that bad not becoming King? He wouldn’t have to deal with all the responsibilities heading his way.

Orrin was mentally readying himself for an inner victory dance, seeing how his duties as future King started to fade and a renewed life of debauchery was quickly becoming so real he could almost taste it.

His father shook his head. “Sweet Erin! You’re already finding a silver lining to your punishment and you don’t even know what it is yet.” He ran the hand he had used to lift Orrin’s chin down his face. “Apheilon, give me patience with this child.”

Orrin tried to look contrite, but who was he kidding? If he didn’t have to be King, he was going to have tons of irrevocable fun. Landra would be the perfect, dutiful King. Yes. His twin was amazing; he would make their father and Zigag proud.

“You’re not fooling me. I know you too well,” King Ouranio summarized. “Undo all those hedonistic plans because I am sending you to Doriar to marry King Joran.”


“What did you say?” Orrin’s father asked with a low growl.

“I said, ‘gods,’ my King,” Orrin answered, mentally smacking his forehead.

Shaking his head again, his father said, “Nope. I did not sound like that.”

“Can I ask a question, father?” It was better to ask his father than his King.

An arched eyebrow let Orrin know the subterfuge had been detected. “Go ahead.”

“Why marry me off, and why Joran?”

“Those are two questions.”

Orrin sighed.

“Still, they have the same answer. King Joran asked for Landra’s hand, but since you are incapable of even respect the men entrusted to guard you because in your head everything is a mere toy at your disposal, I am giving your hand to the King of Doriar and my kingdom to your brother.”

“Am I supposed to pretend to be Landra?” That was beyond punishment; that was adding insult to injury.

“Of course not. He asked for Landra because you were the heir apparent. It’s the same body. I don’t think he is going to mind.”

“So, am I just a piece of meat?”

Uncharacteristically, King Ouranio snorted. “That’s so rich coming from you, who just a moment ago had twelve very highly trained men spread like meat at the market.”

It was Orrin turn to shake his head. “I honestly don’t see the point of such an extreme punishment.”

“Well, I do.” The King of Zigag crossed his arms. “If you cannot obey your own King, who happens to be your father, maybe you will obey a different King who happens to be your husband.”

So, at the end, Orrin was still going to be some sort of King any-fucking-way.

Four days later...

“You’ll be fine. Come on. You’re the reason why so many soldiers want to become Royal Guards.” Landra patted Orrin’s hand.

“If you’re trying to cheer me up, that is not helping. You need to shut up,” Orrin admonished his twin halfheartedly. 

“What I’m saying is that you’re going to have King Joran wrapped around your finger in no time.”

“Not seeing how that helps. I love my freedom. Be able to do whatever and whoever I please. Do you think the mighty King of Doriar is going to let me fuck his guards?”

The mid-morning sun shone happily, making Landra’s hair seem a golden veil. It was a silly thing to think since it was the same as thinking his hair looked like a veil. Although in his case, it could be a mourning veil, dark and limp. He couldn’t even appreciate the beauty of this inner garden where they had shared so many wonderful moments. Spring had just started, and everything seemed eager to bloom and unleash its fragrance. But he couldn’t even enjoy the fountain’s song; to Orrin, it sounded like rainwater screaming down a gutter.

“Every answer is just waiting for its question to appear,” Landra offered, suspiciously channeling one of their old tutors.

Orrin narrowed his eyes. “You are so stupid.” He hugged his brother. “Still love you, though.”

Landra stood up. “Let’s get you on that ship. I’ll see you in a month for the wedding. See this as a new adventure. You’re the one able to find the silver lining even in the darkest situation.” He tilted his head, his agate eyes sparkling with sudden mischief. “If you think about it, becoming the consort of such a handsome King is a very bright situation.”

“Now you’re just rubbing in the fact that he is a total dreamboat, and I am being whiny for no logical reason,” Orrin grumbled as he moved to his feet too.

“I should be mad,” Landra elbowed Orrin, “you robbed me the opportunity to sleep with that hunky King every night for the rest of my life.”

Orrin grabbed Landra by the shoulders and shook him. “You’re getting a kingdom, you narwhal hole!”

It seemed like history always found a way to repeat itself in their family. Their father had also been the second son, and for some still not clear absurdity his brother, the crowned prince, had been married off to one of the princes of Busar.

Landra grinned triumphantly. “And that’s exactly why I am not mad.”

Orrin released his twin and about-faced. He barked over his shoulder, “Aren’t you getting me on a ship toward my doom?”

“Oh, stop being a wuss and man up. You’re also getting a damn kingdom!” Landra huffed and spanked Orrin’s behind. “You’ll be fine.”

They left the garden and walked to the palace entrance. Each one had an open chariot with its white horse waiting to take them through the city streets in a great procession to give their prince a proper send off to his new home. Their mother and father were already at the port aboard Zigag’s flagship the Treptik√≥ to kiss him goodbye— certainly eager to be done with him.

An escort of the Royal Guards (many of whom Orrin knew in very intimate detail) surrounded them quickly in their dark horses, starting Orrin’s last farewell as Prince of Zigag. 



The Ten Kingdoms were at peace.

And that was the thing; peace had lasted too long. Joran felt something unpleasant getting ready to rise in the horizon, to throw the Ten Kingdoms into turmoil.

After the year of mourning, Joran had waited another two years before thinking about finding a consort. Erindore had been a good woman, and their union had been one of love. This time his marriage would be one of duty, an alliance to make his kingdom strong.

His councilors hadn’t been too happy about Zigag as option for an alliance at first. Zigag was the northernmost island of the Ocean Kingdoms while Doriar sat at the opposite end, being the southernmost of the Land Kingdoms. It seemed like an overreach but considering his need for ironclad ties with one of the Ocean Kingdoms, his options were considerably short. Gikid, Kaskal, Busar, and Munus stood between Zigag and Doriar. Munus, Doriar’s closest ocean neighbor would have been the perfect ally, since its King, Adder, and the King of Lakoneh, Bracken, were married, and any alliance with one would secure it with the other.

Those two already powerful kingdoms had not been united into one because there had always been Ten Kingdoms, five Ocean Kingdoms and five Land Kingdoms, and the creation of such a superkingdom would toss the region into utter chaos. Still, a marriage alliance with Munus would have enhanced Doriar’s position amongst the Ten Kingdoms. Adder’s firstborn was in love with Bracken’s nephew. The real option, his daughter (the one he was raising as his and Bracken’s), was only five years old.

Similar underage-royals situations happened in Gikid, Kaskal, and Busar; the oldest of that group was currently ten years old, and Joran couldn’t wait another six years until that boy was of age. Therefore the only truly plausible alliance by marriage had been with Zigag. The twin princes were intelligent, well-trained warriors, and endowed with masculine beauty.

Joran sniggered; he still remembered the princes’ powerful, sweaty bodies glistening under the summer sun during the previous year Ocean Kingdoms Games in honor of Erin and Apheilon. Just because this was a political move it didn’t mean he could not have a true prize at the end of the bargain. Besides, a man in his bed would be almost a soothing presence since every woman would certainly make him miss or remind him of Erindore. Yes, a male consort was the safe option for his heart as much as he was doing this to secure his people’s future.

Nonetheless, Erin and Apheilon gave their children things to endure before any reward. Joran had requested Landra’s hand, knowing full well that Orrin was the crowned prince. Joran was aware that the mere insinuation of trying to get for himself the future King of Zigag would have put him in a suspicious position with the other kingdoms. Orrin would never do anything to harm his brother; therefore, he would protect Doriar’s interests once he became King.

Besides, the Munus-Lakoneh situation was a deviation from the norm; Kings (or heirs apparent) did not marry other Kings.

The only hiccup in an otherwise relatively perfect plan had come when Ouranio decided to give Orrin instead of Landra to Joran. Polite circles would call Orrin energetic; people who called things by their names would say the pretty prince was a self-centered jerk whose only purpose in life was to fuck anything with a hole in it.

From the moment Joran began to contrive ideas for an alliance with one of the Ocean Kingdoms he sent spies to gather intelligence all over. Soon Orrin’s sexual stunts convinced Joran it had been the best idea to not intend to pursue the heir apparent but his twin brother who was (by all accounts) a gallant prince in high contrast with his rakish twin.

Nonetheless, you couldn’t really value something if you didn’t work hard for it, right? Now the gods had put Orrin in Joran’s path. Ouranio had been clear that part of his decision stemmed from his inability to control his son. “He’s not a bad kid,” the King of Zigag had said. “His dick, on the other hand, has no self-control!”

At least the other King hadn’t tried to be deceitful. He had a problem; Joran wanted an alliance— his option to get the alliance was to deal with Ouranio’s problem.

Oh, I will.

“My King,” Joran’s Right Hand, Yndyre, bowed as he entered the chamber, “we are ready.”

“Where are my children?”

“They await you at the palace entrance to say goodbye, sire.”

It was time for Joran to go to the Port City of Me Diell to receive his betrothed.

The gentle mountains of Munus emerged as the sun rose. Orrin had his chin propped on his elbows, and he had been by the port railings long before the first stars began to disappear, listening to the ocean and the billowing sails. The winds had been favorable since the Treptik√≥ left Na Sever, and he would reach his destination later that day. All Ocean Kingdoms had their capital cities by the sea; Orrin’s future husband would encounter him in a port city and take him in another great parade to Doriar’s capital city, Chryso.

As the morning became brighter, a dark silhouette with large wings appeared, growing bigger as it moved toward the ship.

“Gryphon!” yelled one of the crew members.

A message from Munus.

Orrin moved closer to the prow to receive the communication.

The feathered beast alighted, and the messenger dismounted. “I have a message for Prince Orrin of Zigag from Prince Deron of Munus.”

Guards surrounded Orrin as he approached the messenger. The Ten Kingdoms were at peace, but “peace” was a relative term amongst them, so you could never be too careful. “I am prince Orrin.”

The messenger went to one knee. “Prince Deron request permission to come aboard for a visit.”

“Will Prince Deron come with his escort?” Veldar, head of Orrin’s guards, asked before Orrin could open his mouth.

“You protect your prince. We protect our prince,” the messenger stated matter-of-factly after a nod.

“I don’t like it,” Veldar growled.

Orrin rolled his eyes. “Deron is my best friend. He could have come straight, and I wouldn’t have minded. He’s been a nice boy following protocol. Veldar, do not make this something it isn’t,” he admonished his guardian. He turned to the messenger. “Please tell your prince I’ll happily welcome him.”

The messenger moved to his feet, bowed, turned to climb on his gryphon, and was swiftly in the air.

As Orrin saw the gryphon return to Munus, a series of clicks and whistles starboard made him run athwartship. His orca, Desta, undulated playfully beside the ship. “Hey, boy! Where have you been? We’re getting closer to our new home!”

King Joran had promised to find a way to keep Desta close to Orrin. He wasn’t sure how the King of Doriar would accomplish that, but it would certainly earn him some points. The thought of going for a swim to play with Desta crossed Orrin’s mind, but Deron would be there any moment, and he didn’t like to start things he couldn’t finish properly.

An hour later, Orrin sat with his best friend in the sumptuous deckhouse of Zigag’s flagship.

“I did not see that coming,” Deron said with a snort. “I mean, Joran is not old, but I never thought you’ll end up with a grey-haired man.”

“Well, if my informants are correct you were lucky. Joran just wants an alliance with an Ocean Kingdom. It could have been you.” Orrin waggled a finger at Deron. “Just because you and Fern have been so vocal about your love, you were not contemplated as a sacrificial pawn.”

Deron did a guard-me-from-evil sign, swiping forward his right thumb from under his front teeth. “Blessed Father Apheilon keep darkness away from me!”

“So dramatic,” Orrin cackled.

“First of all, I am not being dramatic. A prince is not dramatic,” Deron recited in his most theatrical voice, making Orrin cackle even more. “And you know what they say about him, right?”

Oh, gossip! Yes!

“Let’s hear it.”

“He eats raunchy boys like you for breakfast!” Deron roared and started tickling Orrin.

“Sweet Erin! Stop it! You’re more brother of Landra than me!” Orrin tried to fend off Deron’s tickling attacks but was failing miserably and ready to pee himself right there. “We are supposed to be princely, remember?”

“Seriously,” Deron stopped, “you, Prince Orrin, Rider of narwhals, Sun of Zigag, and Fucker of Royal Guards, are asking me to be princely?” His face was one of mock disbelief; he even had a hand over his chest in fake outrage.

“I do not,” Orrin straightened himself, “only fuck Royal Guards. I have ample preferences.”

Deron seemed unable to hold it any longer and doubled cackling with a massive snort. He was rolling on the deckhouse floor a heartbeat later.

Orrin moved to his feet. “Honestly, Deron. I’m trying here to pour my heart out, and you’re making fun of me,” he huffed.

Deron heaved as he turned into a sitting position, pulling his knees toward his chest and wrapping his arms around them. They had grown to love each other as brothers from early on, and this was a moment when Orrin needed Deron’s mature approach to things. “It is very difficult to take you seriously when your biggest problem is that you’re not going to be able to fuck everything that moves but are gaining a handsome husband and a kingdom.”

Orrin tilted his head and studied Deron; he didn’t roll his eyes, though. “I heard the same arguments from Landra. I need something different.” He crossed his arms. “I already had a kingdom waiting for me, remember?”

“And sooner or later you would have needed a spouse,” Deron added.

“At least it would have been someone I chose.”

“You don’t know that. It could have been duty, just as Joran’s. He’s doing this out of duty to his people. Can you understand that?”

Yes. Orrin knew that being a ruler wasn’t always about doing what was best for you but what was best for your subjects. “I’m not a total drone, you know. I’m aware of those things.”

“Then what is the real problem here?” Deron perked up, apparently reaching fixer mode finally.

Orrin took a deep breath. He sat again. His eyes settled on a very attentive Deron. “I am afraid. I have lost the ability to decide for myself. I know I put myself in this situation, but it doesn’t make it less scary. I am in the hands of another man now. Am I still my own person? Will I be able to make decisions?”

Deron rested his chin on one knee. Orrin could see the inner workings of his best friend’s brain looking for a soothing answer. The silence extended; it became so complete within the deckhouse Orrin could clearly hear the men outside and below deck, even other orcas, which had probably come to play with Desta. “I think we’re analyzing the problem from the wrong perspective.”

“What do you mean?”

“We have been raised to be kings our whole lives. Think for a moment. You’ve already been King for so many years, had kids, lost the woman you loved, and now for your people, you’ve decided to marry again, and a bratty prince is what’s thrown in your lap as response. What would you do?”

Put that way, there was not much to say but “Fuck.”

“Exactly,” agreed Deron.



The eyes of the massive Treptik√≥ had not been painted black as usual but green like the eyes of Erin and Apheilon. Perhaps, it had been a further trick to intimidate if its sheer bulk wasn’t enough. The gods did not intervene in men’s wars directly; they simply gave them strength and wisdom to do their best. If you failed, it was your turn to fail; no one was immune to that part of life. Nonetheless, those huge green eyes seemed a scheme to avoid attacks out of respect for their deities.

Joran turned his memory to a different eye color. The naughty prince of Zigag had eyes colored like honey. He shouldn’t be thinking about his future husband with too much desire. Still, there was nothing wrong with appreciating beautiful things. However, the beautiful thing approaching port wasn’t the handsome prince he had settled his mind on.

Landra wasn’t the one on the ship.

Landra would have been a pleasant companion.

Yes, it might be the same body, same eyes, same voice, but Orrin was a dissolute wastrel. Hard work would be the keyword in their union. True, all heirs apparent had a rebellious phase— most would go incognito to a brothel, take their father’s favorite mount for a ride without permission, or have an orgy to see what was what. And yet, Orrin of Zigag had been debauching everything in his path regardless of gender or status without a second thought longer than most rebellious phases should last.

How do you tame a sex fiend?

Joran had never shied away from any obstacle, no matter how insurmountable they seemed. Orrin would not be the thing to rob him of his sleep. Perhaps Joran’s more dominant side, which he had never let fully surface around Erindore, could come handy with the blond prince. Maybe the prince didn’t need a firm hand but a rough one.

An idea started forming in Joran’s mind, and his body pleasantly responded to it.

Crewmen lowered the ramp. Guards and the usual dignitaries started to disembark. Joran searched through the raucous mass emerging from the ship: standard bearers, musicians, and people looking lost like they were being unceremoniously kicked out at the wrong port. What had started as a diplomatic procession turned into a street carnival. There were even jugglers!

Leave it to Orrin to turn his arrival into a convoluted affair just to show that he wasn’t pleased with the arrangement.

Joran shook his head. Orrin would certainly be a handful, but this little nonsense was nothing compared to Joran’s own stunts when he was that age. He would have to appear disapproving or completely unconcerned by the unruly display as if it was a common event in his presence.

When everyone seemed to have descended from the ship and Joran was seriously contemplating to send his guards to retrieve his future husband, Orrin appeared at the top of the ramp surrounded by his escort.

With a flick of the reins, Joran urged the horse. His chariot and the guards surrounding him moved forward. He didn’t bring a retinue because there would be public and formal receptions for Orrin at Chryso, so a great fuss was unnecessary at the port. He thought about bringing a chariot or a carriage for Orrin, but then considered it from the perspective of their need to get used to each other as soon as possible. What could be closer than standing side by side during a sixty mileh ride on a one horse chariot?

Joran and his men stopped near the foot of the ramp. Orrin was still atop as if waiting for something. Clouds dispersed. The afternoon sun came out in full force behind Orrin’s head giving him a halo and protecting Joran’s eyes. His chiton was a bluish green that gave his tanned skin a healthy glow, and his chlamys a creamy yellow like that of a baby chick. The leather thongs of his sandals hugged his well-formed calves lovingly. His hair was loose and slowly waving with the breeze. The damn prince seemed to glow as if he were an otherworldly vision.

Of course, they had seen each other before, but Joran had never see Orrin like this— static, as if waiting for a painter or sculptor to immortalize him, his masculine beauty flagrant and absurd.

Courtesy demanded Orrin addressed Joran first, but Joran jumped from his chariot and trotted to the end of the ramp, extending his hand. “Orrin, Rider of narwhals, Sun of Zigag, Golden Prince, welcome to Doriar.”


Did Joran just call Orrin Golden Prince?

What the King names the King owns.


There were no Kept left in the Ten Kingdoms, but that was something all Kings did with the members of the male harems, change their names to let them know their previous life was over. Was that what Joran was doing even before Orrin truly set foot in Doriar?

Orrin needed to open his mouth. Breaking protocol, his future husband had just addressed him first (never mind the ominous purpose for it), and he stood there, at the beginning of the ramp, probably looking like a flabbergasted, starstruck newbie. He almost tripped as he tried to descend the ramp as quickly as possible. The damned thing hadn’t seemed this long when he used it to get on the ship. He went to one knee before Joran. His guards did the same.  “Joran, Diamond King of Doriar, Dagger of Andar, Defender of Chryso, thank you for choosing me.”

Fake it till you make it.

Something between a chuckle and a huff reached Orrin before Joran’s hands touched his shoulders.

“Did I?” Joran asked with dry amusement. “Rise, Sun of Zigag.”

Orrin bit off the retort ready to rise with him. Joran still held him when they became face-to-face. His eyes were a strange color, like the violet of a sunset or perhaps a sunrise; one was an ending— the other a beginning. Orrin couldn’t be sure yet which one he faced.

Nevertheless, you could always ask a question if you knew the right way to do it. Orrin lowered his eyes in apparent submission, but also because Joran’s big hands holding him by the shoulders felt strangely right, and that was confusing. “Am I still the Sun of Zigag?”

“Look at me.” Joran didn’t sound angry or offended. Their eyes met, but Orrin got distracted by Joran’s lips this time. “Doesn’t the sun come up every morning?” Those inviting lips twisted in a minute smirk. “You are not losing your birthplace. You’re gaining a kingdom,” Joran said.

“Thank you.”

“Stop thanking me.”

“Why?” There went Orrin’s mouth.

Joran tilted his head, seeming to study Orrin for several heartbeats. He squeezed Orrin’s shoulders. “You’re right. It’s good to be thankful.” He released Orrin.

Did I offend him?

Was this going to be their life, Orrin constantly worrying if he had done something wrong, and Joran being unnecessarily enigmatic? Deron had told Orrin to stop being afraid and trying to solve problems that hadn’t arisen yet. To act like a King would. Yes, one thing was to fake it, and another to get so caught up in the role to believe it real.

Joran pointed to a gold-gilded one-horse chariot. “You’re riding with me.”
Orrin had expected a parade. Joran was taking him to Chryso as if he were something to keep under wraps— hidden because you weren’t completely proud of it.

You need to stop questioning everything!

See this as a battle— be a warrior, not a worrier!

Orrin took a deep breath. “King Joran, if I may.”

They hadn’t moved toward the chariot, and Joran turned to him. “You may.”

“The crew should be unloading our horses at the other end of the ship. If we could wait for that, so my guards have their mounts?”

Joran nodded with a half-smile. It seemed he had forgotten Orrin’s guards couldn’t jog all the way to Chryso, never mind Orrin’s belongings. “Did you bring your own horse too?”

“Yes, but I am riding with you, my King.”

“That’s a good prince.”



Ample and well-paved, the thoroughfare to Chryso had low hills flanking it, their green almost too bright to be real. Spring seemed to have unleashed its beauty on this area with a vengeance.

They’d driven in silence for a ridiculous amount of time. Orrin remembered something. “I need to apologize, my King.”

Joran didn’t look at Orrin. “Did you do something?” He tilted his head toward Orrin but kept his eyes on the road. “You haven’t been here long enough to do something.”

Snapping wasn’t a good beginning for an apology. Orrin closed his eyes, taking a deep breath. 
Luckily Joran had his eyes somewhere else. “I did something without your blessing on my way here.”

That made Joran look at Orrin sideways. He had that face King Ouranio sported every time he was about to yell at Orrin. “Do I really need to know?” He didn’t yell but the voice wasn’t friendly either.

“A Doriar vessel had been attacked by a sea monster, and there were about forty people stranded on several boats. They were wailing and screaming thinking the monster will come back to finish them, so we took them aboard and brought them to Me Diell.”


“At first we thought it might be a ruse to gain our ship because we couldn’t find any debris around, and there were nobles amongst the people, and their servants still had their standards, and the carnival folk had their implements. They didn’t seem like they had truly jumped ship to save their lives. They were too put together.”

Joran pulled the reins to stop their chariot and raised his hand to halt the convoy too. He turned to face Orrin with his whole body and gave him his full attention.  “I see.”

“We thoroughly searched them of course. They had everything, and I seriously mean everything but weapons.” Orrin chuckled a little. “It was as if they had actually started their voyage in those dinghies.”

“An absolute possibility.”

Orrin knew his expression must have been one of true confusion because Joran added, “Sometimes land people do stuff like that to avoid paying full fare.”

“Are you serious?”

“These are things they don’t teach you at King School.”

“There is no such thing as King School!”

“I think you’re missing the point,” Joran said and pressed his lips into a hard line.
Orrin stood there agape for a heartbeat, then huffed, “You are making fun of me!” He almost raised an accusatory finger but thought better of it.

“Just the King School part.” Joran grinned and his violet eyes sparkled. He was an obnoxiously handsome man.

And he was all Orrin’s.

Silver lining much?

“You went cold really fast there.” Joran’s features changed too quickly into paternal concern, something that wasn’t really in tune with Orrin’s current thoughts. “Are you all right? Do you want us to take a break?”

Orrin lowered his eyes; he wasn’t faking it this time. He shook his head. “I am fine. Thank you.”

“Your outrage should have been longer.”

“You’re very distracting,” Orrin murmured before his tongue connected with his brain.

“Hmmm. Then you’re very easy to distract.” Joran elbowed Orrin before turning his body forward again and flicking the reins. “Let’s go!”

The convoy advanced at a brisk pace, but Orrin couldn’t pay attention to the rolling hills and the blooming trees and shrubs anymore. With furtive glances, he noticed the many hues of grey, mixed with black and white in Joran’s long hair, the wide shoulders and tall frame encased in the colors of Doriar, red and brown. He admired the way the muscles of the King’s forearms flexed graciously as he controlled the chariot, the big hands with their wide fingers (adorned with thick, bejeweled rings), and fleetingly imagined how those hands would feel over his skin.

The man smelled like a bow Orrin had once, made with precious rosewood. It was ridiculous that the King of Doriar had reminded him of a weapon he’d lost long ago. The first weapon he had learned to handle. There must be some kind of message in that memory, but, by Apheilon, Orrin couldn’t focus enough to decipher it.

This time the silence between them didn’t feel like a slight but an opportunity for reflection. Orrin had been around Joran in several summits, had heard the man laugh while talking to others, but he had never had the attention of this King so concentrated on him like now.

Soon they would be sharing a bed. What would that even be like? Should he simply submit because Joran was the one with the power, the one who had chosen him? Would it have been different if there had been a spontaneous attraction between them during one of those previous encounters?

Deron and Landra (arms crossed and with You. Need. To. Stop. miens) appeared in Orrin’s mind’s eye.

Orrin snorted.

“What’s that about?” Joran asked.

“Just me being silly,” Orrin said, trying hard not to sound too silly.

“I rather have you being silly than sad,” Joran said.

“Why would I be sad?”

“Some could say it is unwise to talk of these things, especially here in the middle of the road, but I want us to be sincere with each other. I’m not going to wait until we are married to start. There is no point in that.” Joran did that thing when he only tilted his head toward Orrin without truly looking at him. “I know you didn’t want this. You had your own life, your own prospects. Your own kingdom to rule in the future.” He sighed. “You did something good on your way here, and that showed me a little bit of you.” His eyes left the road and settled on Orrin. “I want us to be good together. To create something good together. Duty doesn’t have to be a burden, and I wouldn’t want you sad about it.”

The tone (more than the words) soothed some of Orrin’s inner turmoil. He moved closer to Joran and pulled the King toward him by the hard leather belt. He let his head rest on Joran’s shoulder. “Thank you.”

Orrin felt Joran’s body relax beside him.



The people of Chryso made Joran proud. The city looked amazing decorated in sky blue and white, the colors of Zigag. Orrin’s utter surprise was priceless. Children wore narwhal and orca costumes and ran along the convoy cheering and giggling or waved from men’s shoulders. Women had made flowers for their hair with blue fabrics since real blue flowers were not easily available. Although, Doriar’s alchemists had brought the end of spring to one of the greenhouses, producing thousands of myosotis for the wedding day.

Orrin waved at the people, drinking in their welcoming joy, and they waved back with bright smiles. White petals fell from balconies as they moved across the streets toward the palace. Everywhere the flags of Zigag and Doriar flew together.

Joran was happy. He let himself forget about the sexual exploits preceding the arrival of his husband-to-be. He simply wanted to soak in the sweetness of the man beside him. Being so focused on the things Orrin had done before coming to Doriar would not help him to start the trusting relationship he hadn’t know he wanted until they were on the road to Chryso.

Orrin resting his head on Joran’s shoulder had been an unexpected surprise. He hadn’t acted like the pervert Joran had imagined; perhaps he was too overwhelmed by the change of scenery for his more licentious traits to emerge.

Perhaps Joran should stop thinking that kind of nonsense while he waved to his people on his way to the palace.

It’s hard to give him a chance when even his father has attested to his rampant lechery.

Luckily, salpinges called as they approached the palace entrance, yanking him away from those gloomy, displeasing thoughts. Soon they stopped and alighted to climb the twenty-seven marble steps to the palace doors, opened wide and with the Court filing out of them to receive Orrin; Advisers, Ministers, Ambassadors of the other kingdoms, and Joran’s daughters, accompanied by Yndyre and their nurses, gathered amid the swirling columns of the front portico.

His three girls looked pristine in their white little chitons and sandals. Their hairs were up, held by crisscrossing sky blue ribbons in a very mature style Joran had rarely seen them in. Each had a bouquet of myosotis in their hands. They had probably pestered Yndyre since Joran left so they could get those from the accelerated greenhouse. They occupied the frontal place amongst those waiting to greet the Prince of Zigag.

As soon as Orrin and Joran stood side by side before the girls, they pushed the bouquets forward. “Welcome, Prince Orrin!”

Joran chuckled a little. “Orrin, Rider of narwhals, Sun of Zigag, Golden Prince,” he waved his hand to encompass his children, “these are my daughters. The Obsidian Princess, Eione. She’s ten. The Sapphire Princess, Cymo, is eight. And the Coral Princess, Actaea, is six.”

Orrin took the flowers with a bright “Thank you!” He turned to Joran and (not totally under his breath) said, “I thought only the heir or heiress apparent had a gemstone added to their name.”

“Each member of the royal family receives one of the twelve gemstones as part of their legacy, according to the signs and oracles of their birth,” Joran explained proudly.

“What a lovely tradition.”

Actaea had her brow furrowed; she was displeased with something. Joran knew that sulking style very well.

Orrin crouched in front of the Cranky Coral Princess. “You’re not smiling like your sisters. I hope we could be friends,” he said softly. His smile could have disarmed the most jaded warrior, but apparently not Joran’s youngest.

“I wanted an orca costume,” Actaea poutily summarized.

Orrin looked up at Joran. “We need to get her an orca costume.”

In return, Joran gave Yndyre a stern look, and his Right Hand quickly explained, “We thought it more appropriate to have them dressed like princesses and not city children.”

“If she gets an orca costume, I want a narwhal one!” Cymo rarely asked for anything, so deny her a silly costume would be just cruel.

“You’ll get your costumes. Let’s just finish the Prince’s reception in the proper way,” Joran offered conciliatorily. “Agreed?”

Cymo and Actaea nodded with huge grins, and some of the Court members around them applauded.

Orrin moved to his feet and turned to Eione. “Do you want a costume too?”

Eione tilted his head.

Joran caught Orrin’s almost imperceptible flinch. He knew everybody said she was a miniature version of him, and Orrin’s reaction spoke of him noticing the similarity.

“I do not want a costume, Prince Orrin. What I want is to ride an orca.”

A collective gasp surged around them. But before Joran could say anything, Orrin asked, “Why ride an orca and not a narwhal? I think narwhals are more interesting.”

“I know the narwhal horn is the symbol of Zigag,” she turned her eyes to the standard with the crossed horns beside the doors, “but they don’t have dorsal fins. It has to be harder to ride them. It makes sense to start with the less complicated, and then ease into the other.”

Orrin nodded and said, “Wise words. I see you’re on the right path to queenhood.”

Eione smiled graciously and put her hand out for him. He took it, and she said, “Let’s give you the welcoming my father’s husband-to-be deserves, Prince Orrin.” She walked forward, and those blocking the doors moved aside to let them pass.

That’s my girl.

She was not going to be riding sea creatures, though.



The reception progressed splendidly. Orrin had been introduced to more than fifty people, including the current ambassadors in Doriar of several of the Ten Kingdoms. Zaros of Nemed, the Zigag Ambassador, had been one of his tutors when he was a child; it was always nice to be able to chat with him as an adult, and they were discussing the merits of this alliance so similar to the one between Munus and Lakoneh, albeit arising from different circumstances.

Joran had gone to tuck in the princesses for the night. Orrin searched for him around the spacious hall since he should have been back already. He didn’t try to analyze the sudden twist in his chest when he found his husband-to-be in animated conversation with a very handsome, swarthy, curly-haired man, seemingly a soldier by his ankle-high boots, leather skirt, and cuirass-covered torso. The (let’s call him) soldier was only a finger or two shorter than Joran, who was almost a head taller than Orrin.

Not the kind to be intimidated by the beauty of others since he was usually hunting his prey amongst the beautiful, Orrin wondered if that was the kind of men who could catch Joran’s attention. Were they lovers? Would they still be lovers after the wedding?

Jealousy was an alien emotion for Orrin. There had never been a reason for him to be jealous of anyone. He had been born to be King, and his only logical competition looked exactly like him. He had seen other siblings squabbling about who was better looking, but that would have been ridiculous between Landra and him. And he loved his twin too much; he often thought of Landra as a better version of him, a sensible version— the nice version.

Joran put his hand on the soldier’s shoulder with a nod, and the man departed, exiting the hall like one with a very specific purpose. Their eyes met, and Joran smiled. Orrin only twisted his lips faintly, unable to erase all the disturbing ideas his mind had conjured with violent speed.

Unhurriedly, Joran walked toward Orrin through the crowded space. His eyes sparkled as if he was reading Orrin’s mind. It seemed as if he could see Orrin’s childish inner agitation, and that amused him to no end.

Knowing that people usually saw him as petulant and loose, Orrin would not cause a scene during his first day in Doriar; nevertheless, that didn’t mean he was going to simply lie there and roll over when commanded.

“Are you having a good time?” Joran asked as he reached Orrin, taking his hand. He gave a kiss to the back of Orrin’s hand. The gesture so fluidly natural anyone could think they have been a couple for eons.

“You said you wanted us to be sincere with each other, right?” Orrin asked, not completely sure where he was going but powerless to curb his tongue.

“I did.” Joran nodded, now holding Orrin’s hand with both of his.

“Is that soldier your lover?”

“Will it be a problem if he was?”

“No,” Orrin said hastily, absolutely aware that whatever expression he had at the moment screamed the exact opposite.

“I’ve barely known another’s touch in almost four years,” Joran offered calmly, not a hint of bitterness in his voice.

Orrin was surprised and concerned. “How could you live like that?”

“Sex is but a part of life, Orrin.” Joran kissed Orrin’s hand again. Those violet eyes always focused on him. “One can go without having it every day.”

“Tell me you at least masturbated.”

When am I going to connect tongue and brain?

“I did.” Joran chuckled. “This conversation has taken a very weird turn.”

“Forgive me, my King. I am not used to be in this situation.”

“I understand that. You were raised thinking you will be the one doing the choosing.” Then Joran’s expression changed from understanding to challenging. “Although, I am aware of your knack for sampling everything available, I’m trying my best not to hold it against you.”

Orrin removed his hand from Joran’s hold and bowed. “And I appreciate that effort, my King.”

“Why do I have the feeling that every time you say ‘my King’ you’re actually insulting me under your breath?” There was a hint of amusement in Joran’s tone.

“Nothing could be further from the truth. I use those words out of respect.”

“I wish you could respect me because I am the man with whom you’re about to spend the rest of your life and not just because I am the King ruling over you now.”

“So you’re not intent on making me love you.” The statement had sounded like an accusation, and Orrin was immediately slapping himself mentally.

Once again Joran said something unexpected. “Right now, my only intention is to have you happy and not feeling like you got the short end of this bargain. How much you grow to care for me is all in your heart. I cannot force that.” He moved closer and pulled Orrin toward him by the waist. “It would be nice if you at least liked me a little, though.”

Orrin snickered. “I like you all right. You’re very nice to look at.”

“Good. Because I really like you.” Joran kissed Orrin on the cheek.

They were staring at each other when a sudden shift in the general atmosphere made them look toward the entrance of the hall. All heads were turned in the same direction.

As soon as he was sure he had everybody’s attention, Ferion Tereii said with gusto, “Sorry I’m late, but,” he did a grand gesture with his hands to encompass himself, “you know...” He was wrapped in a himation pinker than a freshly gutted sacrifice and trimmed with feathers. Did he sew the feathers one by one himself?

The man was loud and obnoxious. Orrin had shoved his cock into that pretty mouth (and ass) to quiet him more than once. “What is Ferion doing here?” He asked with a tired sigh.

“He’s the recently promoted Nivoril Ambassador,” Joran answered, pulling Orrin possessively toward him.

Ferion made a beeline for them and bowed, saying in his most acidic tone. “My. My. King Joran. Prince Orrin. How wonderful is to see two of the most handsome men of the Ten Kingdoms together.” He eyed their united bodies, not trying (even a little) to disguise he would gladly be on all fours between them. Still, there was something in the way he had looked at Joran and then at Orrin as if he knew something Orrin didn’t.

“Ambassador,” Joran said with dry politeness.

Orrin only nodded. Any word would encourage Ferion to remain there talking their ears off. And he didn’t like the alarms going off in the back of his head.

“Ambassador Ferion,” Joran released Orrin’s waist just to grab his hand, “we were leaving. Please enjoy the reception with the rest of the guests.”

“But I just got here...”

Orrin was tempted to snarl, “Not our problem,” but he simply let Joran tow him away from the hall.
Guards appeared as they crossed the threshold, escorting them through the well-lit corridors of the palace. The lamps’ burning oil had a sweet fruity fragrance. It distracted Orrin for a moment, but then he asked, “What was that about?” He tried to slow Joran down without making it seem like they were fighting. He whispered, “Do you know how rude it is to leave your own party?”

“What’s the point of being King if you cannot do whatever you want?”

“That sounds like something I would say not you,” Orrin countered.

“I saw how he looked at you,” Joran growled. “I did not like it,” he added, huffing.

“You fucked him, didn’t you?”

“I’m pretty sure you fucked him too.” Joran’s voice had grown darker and deeper.
Orrin wanted to throw Joran’s words about the soldier back at him, but it seemed unwise at the moment.

Better live to fight another day.

They stopped in front of tall wooden doors, profusely carved and with metal trimmings. The two guards posted there stood straighter than before and then opened them. Orrin heard their escort march away as the doors closed behind them.

Good thing Orrin was not a fragile man because Joran was grabbing his wrist in a way that would have damaged a weaker person. Since they were alone now he could stand his ground and pulled back, jerking his wrist from Joran’s grip.

Joran was clearly pissed off as he swirled to face Orrin, and the wavering flames of the lamps distributed about the chamber made his visage a lot more sinister.

Orrin crossed his arms; he was sure he hadn’t done anything wrong. If this tantrum had anything to do with Ferion, it was a total waste of time. There was no point in having an argument about something that happened way before Joran even considered him as an option for a consort. “I’m supposed to be the childish one in this relationship,” he grumbled.

“What does that mean?”

“If something is bothering you, the normal reaction would be to have a conversation about it, not drag me through the whole palace like a Kept you’re going to punish in your chamber.”

“So you don’t think you deserve to be punished?”

Orrin narrowed his eyes. “I was raised to be a King. I might be conflicted and out of sorts by the situation and your handsomeness with that hair like ashes and those arms like trees and your eyes like a damned sunset, but you’re not going to treat me like a child.”

Yes. The part about the hair and the arms and the eyes. No reason for that.

Joran was nose-to-nose with Orrin in two long strides. “So you demand to be treated like a man, Golden Prince?”

Joran loomed over Orrin; he should have been intimidated (this man was meant to rule him as his King and husband), but something snapped inside him. He grabbed Joran by the shoulders and pivoted their bodies together, slamming Joran against the nearest wall. “Not like a man. I am a man.” He kissed Joran angrily.

For several heartbeats, the King of Doriar remained frozen, letting Orrin move his hands from shoulders to neck, thumbs caressing his throat as the others held him in place. Then, when Orrin thought he had gone too far, Joran reacted, answering the kiss with equal anger, with a force that soon turned into something more.

Orrin didn’t know how long their lips and tongues and teeth battled, but he suddenly felt his feet leave the marble floor. Joran had grabbed him by the legs, pulling him upward and carrying him to the bed, where the King flung Orrin.

Orrin bounced on the immense bed.

Joran unbuckled his belt and almost tore his chiton apart as he removed it with a brutal yank.

Even amid the abruptness of the moment, Orrin couldn’t help but admire Joran’s form— his body heaving in frustration, all muscles bunching as if ready to pounce, his cock hard and proud and ready for attention.

And yet, one more time, Joran did the unexpected.

The Diamond King of Doriar turned around and spread his muscular cheeks, growling, “No one has been inside me, Golden Prince. You think you’re man enough to conquer this?”

A rumble emerged from Orrin as every inch of his body hardened to answer the challenge.

Conquer was not the best verb to describe what was about to happen to Orrin’s husband-to-be.



Joran had enjoyed the hardness and strength of other male bodies, even if he had always been the one in control of the situation— the dominant, the one commanding pace and rhythm. Then again, being their King, those men had gladly offered themselves, rejoicing the touch of their ruler.

What Orrin had done and was doing to his body not only opened Joran’s eyes but inflamed every inch of him in new and unfathomable ways. Orrin was taking (possessively and masterfully) but with such a giving method it was impossible to hold anything back; the only option was to capitulate to his disarming skills.

Every part of Joran had been caressed, nibbled, licked and kneaded, leaving him breathless and intoxicated. He couldn’t grasp how Orrin’s tongue tasting the back of his knees had sent jolts of abandon and pleasure; how those pearly teeth biting his inner thigh could make his eyes roll back in his head; how the artful pressure of a thumb between ball-sac and hole could make him yearn to be destroyed in the most abject manner; how the annoyingly perfect bliss of Orrin mischievously blowing over his hole before lapping on it had been surprise and curse.

Sweet Apheilon, Blessed Erin, thank you for letting this young man know about pleasure so thoroughly, so deeply.

Now Joran had his back against a wall, Orrin handling Joran’s weight as if he were nothing but an idea of a grown man. The ecstasy of the brutal penetration sent his eager hole ablaze as Orrin slammed against it mercilessly, his honeyed eyes bright and intent, stealing kisses and biting Joran’s neck.   

A war cry (something that should have started a ruthless battle) rose from Joran before his body shook, broken and free. He spurted with such force jets and jets of sweet completion spattered their chests, leaving them drenched but never breaking Orrin’s intention.

Some drops landed on Joran’s lips. Orrin swept in, mastering Joran’s mouth, tasting his reward. Perhaps that was the trigger because he groaned (their mouths still attached) and lost his rhythm, the spasms of completion seizing him, flooding Joran, taking both to a blinding summit where climax could only be measured in the stutters of their screaming hearts.

Frozen in time, amid faltering heartbeats that seemed millennia, breath slowly returned. Orrin slowly lowered them, still connected, still hard, until Joran’s feet touched the floor— his body wedged between the wall and his lover, perfectly seated on Orrin’s lap, impaled, sated.

Orrin let his head fall onto Joran’s shoulder. “Thank you,” he murmured.

“Whatever for?”

“For letting me have you like this. For giving me a gift I wasn’t expecting.”

Joran moved Orrin’s head, taking his face with both hands, making the Prince of Zigag look into his eyes. “You’re the unexpected gift.”

“Why do you call me Golden Prince?”

“Because that’s what I saw when I met you this afternoon. The sun firing your hair, wrapping you in its golden light, perfect and mesmerizing,” Joran explained with a catch in his voice.

A soft smile emerged on that handsome face. Orrin’s eyes lowered, and Joran released his face. Honeyed eyes moved downward, perhaps studying the outcome of his efforts. Joran was sweaty and sticky and stupidly happy.

The searching eyes stopped on Joran’s cock. Orrin wrapped a hand around it, stroking it languidly. It hadn’t truly softened, and in no time it was fully erected again. “Would you make me yours, my Diamond King,” he whispered.

Orrin had melted, forged and reshaped Joran’s body in the last hours. If their minds could bond as their bodies had, this could be the greatest adventure for both.

“With heart and soul, my Golden Prince.”