He followed Rien down the corridor. The more enthusiastic of the brothers walked with them, waving his hands emphatically as he asked questions and then didn’t bother waiting for the answers. Rien, however, seemed more amused than annoyed. Had he not known better, he would have taken Rien for the elder of the two. Rutger was now expounding on his own adventures, which seemed to involve having been chased across half the world by an improbable number of angry husbands.
Then again, he was related to Rien. Perhaps pissing people off just ran in the family.
Rien opened a door, then gestured for Bastien to follow. Rutger just went ahead and entered. He hadn’t been sure what to expect, given the city itself and Rien’s own standing. The first chamber was a simple sitting room. It was clean, and a fire had been laid in the fireplace. Furs were spread across the floor to serve as rugs, but rather fine tapestries hung from the walls. Several weapons had also been mounted, and he realized he was looking at trophies.
After the door closed behind them, Rutger gave Bastien an appraising look before glancing at Rien. “And you are absolutely going to have to tell me this story.” He reached out a hand to touch Bastien’s hair.
Bastien caught his hand and twisted it away, stopping just short of the force needed to break the man’s wrist. Rutger grunted, and Rien laughed. “Careful, brother. My dog has teeth.”
Rutger pulled his hand free of Bastien, and narrowed his eyes before chuckling. “I see.”
“Within these chambers you may speak freely, Bast.” Rien nodded to him.
“I think I made my point already.” Bastien shrugged.
“I’d say I want one, but frankly I prefer all my bits remain attached.” Rutger shook his head. “I will let you settle in, brother.” He hugged Rien again before leaving.
“Come.” Rien waved him deeper into the chambers. There were three bedrooms as well as another small chamber with a pallet, clearly intended for a servant. Only one of the bedrooms was furnished. The bed was massive and opulent, piled high with furs. Various treasures, likely all stolen on raids, decorated the room. Somewhat grudgingly he had to admit Rien had good taste in artwork, at least. The view from the balcony made his head swim just a little, much to Rien’s amusement, as did the fact the man had his own library.
“Out of curiosity…” Bastien picked up one of the books. “Have you ever actually opened any of these?”
“I can read.” Rien gave him a mock glare. “And yes, though I’ve not read them all. Many were already present when I claimed these quarters.” He gestured for Bastien to follow him down the hall. “I’ll have to acquire another servant. I don’t even want to consider all the ways you’d come up with to spite me if I ordered you to keep these chambers clean.”
The next room was revealed to be a bath chamber, and even the Duke’s had not been quite so impressive. The bath was a massive pool sunk into the floor. He’d wager at its deepest it would come up to his chest. It took him a moment to realize the water was being drawn up through pipes, and drained away via a similar mechanism. A fire had been laid in some kind of trencher that heated a basin filled with water, creating steam. He was trying to figure out why the steam didn’t flow into the living chambers when he realized it was likely related to how the water was heated in the first place. “Magic?”
“Laid into the stone centuries ago.” Rien nodded. He waved a hand toward a stone bench. “Lose the armor. And the clothes.”
His body tensed, then he made himself nod before going over to obey the order.
As he’d hoped, whoever had prepared his quarters for him had left the bath chamber supplied. A box contained several vials of scented oils and soaps. He selected a vial, then turned to watch Bast strip. A bed slave would have made a production of it, shifting angles and movements to tease and entice. Or trembled, cowered, and removed each article reluctantly to provide a show of a different kind. Bast simply removed armor and garments as though undertaking a routine activity. When he finished, he remained where he was, waiting further orders.
Rien removed his own clothing, laying the items on the stone bench. He would have to get a servant to tend to them. Using Bast in that regard would be a waste of the man on multiple levels. Rien trailed a hand over Bast’s chest, noting that he was tense, as though he was preparing for a fight. In some ways, he was. “I won our duel.” He brushed Bast’s hair off his neck. “I could order you to your knees to service me.”
Bast looked away. “Yes.” His fist clenched. “You could.”
“And you would obey.” Rien caught his hair and turned his head so that Bast was looking at him again. He pulled Bast in closer, and kissed him. There was no give, no cooperation. Bast simply remained motionless and unresponsive. Rien smiled. “You lost, and thus you’ll learn to enjoy my game.” He ran his free hand down Bast’s arm. “So I’ll let you decide what happens after our bath. Would you rather kneel and put that mouth of yours to pleasuring me…” He brought his hand over to fondle Bast, causing the man to flinch just a little. “Or would you rather I flog you and chain you down for my pleasure?”
“Termagant fishwife.” Bast glared.
“I’ll take it that’s you choosing the latter option.” He held out one of the vials, and Bast simply stared at it. “I’m going to take you in the tub, Bast.” He tilted the vial. “Prepare yourself for me.”
“That’s…” Bast started shaking his head.
“That’s an order, Bast.” When the man simply kept staring at the vial, Rien narrowed his eyes. “Bast, I gave you an —”
“I don’t understand the order.” Bast shook his head as he waved his hand at the vial.
“You don’t…” Rien stared at him for a moment. “What do you mean you don’t understand the order?”
“I mean I…” Bast glared. “I don’t know what you are asking me to do.”
“You…” Rien blinked. He glanced at the vial, then back up at Bast. “It’s oil. You…” Then his eyes widened just a little. “You were a virgin. You really don’t know.” He laughed a little, then shook his head. Bast’s glare only intensified. “Oh, Bast. You remember the difference between when I took you the first time and when I took you in the inn?” From the angry expression on the man’s face, it was clear he did. “I used my fingers the first time to…” He shrugged. “Make it easier for you. To prepare your passage for me.” He held up the vial, then offered it to Bast again. “That’s what I was doing with them. Spreading the oil, stretching you a little. The second time I applied the oil to my cock, and didn’t prepare you. Without the oil, well…” He shrugged. “Well, frankly that wouldn’t have been enjoyable for either of us.”
Slowly, Bast extended a hand to take the vial. “You want me to…” He stared at it.
“I want you…” He ran fingers through Bast’s hair. “To prepare yourself for me.” He caught hold of Bast’s hair when the man started shaking his head, then he used his other hand to catch hold of Bast’s chin. Rien ran his thumb over Bast’s lips. “While I watch.”
“I think I would rather be flogged.”
“That’s for after our bath, Bast.” He let go of Bast’s hair, and took a couple steps back to sit down on the bench. Then he nodded before leaning back and making himself comfortable. “Do as you were told, Bast.”
Bastien stared down at the vial in his hand. Knowing what some of the sensations had been in no way made what he was being told to do any easier. Neither did the smug expression on Rien’s face. Part of him had actually hoped that Rien’s decision not to enforce his victory had meant an end to this, but he’d known even then that hope was foolish. It took effort to prevent his hands from shaking as he opened the vial.
The substance inside was thicker than he’d expected, and there was a scent he didn’t recognize. He poured some of it onto his fingers, then stared a moment before frowning. Finally he shook his head before looking up at Rien. “Is this enough?”
“Probably not.” Rien shook his head.
A string of curses escaped him. He sniffed at the substance before adding more to his fingers. “And you want…” He couldn’t quite bring himself to say it out loud.
“I want you to take your oil coated fingers, insert them deeply in your ass, and wiggle them around a bit.” Rien, however, seemed to have absolutely no trouble.
He growled, then stared down at his oil slicked fingers. It took him three deep breaths before he was able to steel himself enough to begin inserting them. It hurt, and he could feel his skin burning with humiliation. Bastien didn’t look in Rien’s direction. He was afraid that if he did, he wouldn’t be able to stop himself from attacking the man. When Rien had put his fingers inside, he had… Bastien gritted his teeth, then began wiggling his fingers.
The worst part was that after the first couple seconds, it started to feel good. He yanked his hand away. “Done.”
Rien stood and took the couple steps necessary to reach him. “You sure?” He caught Bastien’s chin, forcing his head up so their eyes met. “Are you sure, Bast? If you aren’t coated thoroughly, you run the risk of tearing and bleeding.”
“If you are so concerned, you could just not —” He was cut off by Rien kissing him again.
“Add more oil, Bast.” Rien ran his fingers through Bastien’s hair. “And do it again.”
This time Rien didn’t move away. The man caressed his chest as Bast obeyed the order. It didn’t hurt as much this time, and to his shame he felt his body respond a little. Whether it was to what he was doing or to Rien’s caresses he couldn’t tell, but he wanted it to stop. As soon as he took his hand away the second time, Rien pulled him into the tub.
The water in the tub was hot, and he smiled at the luxury. He hadn’t had a truly hot bath since he’d left home. Rien pulled Bast to him, and ran the back of his fingers down the man’s throat. Then he spun Bast into the side of the tub before taking hold of his collar. Bast’s body was tense despite the water. “Relax, Bast.”
“Mmmm…” Rien released the collar and instead began running his hands over Bast’s body. Then he shrugged, and pulled Bast over to the stone bench set into the tub. Seated on it, the hot water came up nearly to Bast’s chin. Slowly, Rien began kneading his thumbs into the man’s shoulders, working at the travel worn muscles. Despite his denial, he could feel Bast starting to relax under the ministration. “Have you experienced a tub like this before.”
“No.” Bast’s voice was just slightly curt, as though reluctant to admit to that fact.
“Darodelf is the only place in the Wildlands you can find them. This city is unique, built long ago if you hadn’t already noticed that fact. Truth is, we aren’t sure who built it initially, though we’ve added to it over the years.” He shifted his motions, going from a massage to a caress. Gently and slowly, he began to tease Bast’s body as he expounded on various aspects of the city. His hand worked over Bast’s shaft as he told the man of the wonders of the marketplace. By the time he described the arena, Bast’s body had shifted from resisting to squirming. He lowered his head a little to speak softly into Bast’s ear. “Are you ready for me now, Bast?”
“Damn you.” Bast’s voice held a strange note of heat.
“Are you ready —”
“Yes.” The word was more gasped than spoken.
Rien smiled with satisfaction as he shoved Bast against the side of the tub and drove himself inside the other man. Bast growled in response to the motion. This time, when he thrust, he could feel Bast’s body began to move in matching rhythm. He caught hold of Bast’s collar, using it to pull the man back toward him. Bast arched his back in response, letting Rien drive even deeper.
This time, they came within moments of each other. Slowly, Rien withdrew, then ran his hand down Bast’s shoulder. “So does this mean you’re going to use your mouth?”
“I’d rather…” Bast panted. “Be flogged.”
It was near dawn when he woke to find Rien unfastening the chains. Welts stung from his shoulders to his knees. And yet despite that, Rien had managed to bring him to orgasm again, just as he’d done in the bath. Bastien really, really wanted to punch something. “Alright.” Rien offered him a vial of healing potion. “Things have had some time to settle in. What’s your impression?” When Bastien started to open his mouth, Rien rolled his eyes. “And I’m not talking about my sexual prowess.”
“And I had an excellent remark about flailing worms all prepared.” Bastien exhaled. Then he shrugged before downing the potion. “To start with the obvious, Lammert is not happy you returned successfully.”
“A hundred naked Manisarian whores in their prime couldn’t make Lammert happy.” Rien nodded.
“Rutger is happy you returned…” Bastien considered his words carefully. “But not that you succeeded.” He felt the welts starting to fade. “Based on the number of people who have offered to purchase me after I’ve engaged in violence, I am left with the impression your people place a high value on battle prowess.”
“Aye. The fact that you came closer to killing me than any had in years is why I took you in the first place.” Rien nodded.
“A prince of a warrior people that is not a warrior…” Bastien exhaled. “With two elder brothers and a younger who could defeat him with one hand tied behind his back. And yet, if I am not mistaken, Rutger still believes he has a chance for the throne. I know little of your customs, but that makes me wonder.”
“Lammert is the threat.” Rien shook his head.
“Lammert is the visible threat. He makes no secret of it, and doesn’t seem to care that you are aware of it. You can prepare for a fight you see coming, thus if he was your concern you would not bother to ask me for my impression.”
“Fair point.” Rien nodded. “You knelt to my mother.”
“I am a knight and she is a queen. There are protocols.” Bastien slowly stood. His legs held him. He began dressing.
“Also true.” Rien chuckled, then reached for his own clothing. “Now, about my sexual prowess…”