The evening thirst drew us from our resting places. I was refilling the wood box beside the hearth when Godrik casually announced that he would like to hunt with Thea that night. She blushed, beyond flattered, and put her arm around Godrik’s waist. He smiled coyly at her and wrapped his arm around her shoulders.
“Tarquin,” Godrik asked, pulling his companion closer and leaning into her side, “Would you be so good as to look after Eirikr tonight? We might return a bit late.” Thea’s eyes lit up at his suggestive words.
“It is an honor to have the company of your progeny,” Tarquin replied. The imposing Roman looked at me hungrily and clapped a paw over my back. “Shall we be off?”
We set out on a northerly dirt path and walked in silence. The crunching of our boots in the snow and the wind moving through the trees were the only sounds to be heard for leagues.
It gave me time to reflect on the intricacies of Godrik’s clever manipulation. It was so simple and seamless and yet achieved many goals at once. This time apart from each other gave me the opportunity to fulfill his command. It gave Godrik the chance to learn more about Thea. He remained distrustful of her. As he had taught me, observing how blood drinkers stalked and chose their victims revealed all kinds of information about them. No doubt, he would keep a keen eye on her and would expect me to watch Tarquin just as carefully.
Tarquin slipped an arm around mine after some distance. “I am glad we finally have a chance to speak alone.”
“As am I,” I said, entirely wary.
“Then you are no longer opposed to my presence here?”
“It is rather ironic that Godrik despises Romans and yet his best friend is the last king of Rome.”
“He is complicated.”
“Tell me about it.”
Tarquin laughed heartily and squeezed me hard, his armor and the sheath of his sword digging into me. “You don’t trust me, do you?”
I looked him dead in the eye. “No.”
He laughed again with his broad shark grin. “Good. Very good. I am an elder and a member of the Consul. You have every reason to distrust me. Godrik is teaching you well.”
“Godrik doesn’t need to teach me common sense.”
His mirth evaporated and his face hardened. He stepped uncomfortably close. “Godrik hasn’t taught you how to kill an ancient either. You’ll not accomplish that task with intuition alone.” He backed away and smiled again. “What are we going to do about that?”
“I’ve considered several options. May I seek your advice, Master Tarquin?”
He appeared intrigued. “Of course.”
“If I could quickly take out the sentries around Kaspar’s court without alerting the guards inside, I could then chain the entrances and burn the building to the ground.”
“Effective, Eirikr. It would indeed likely kill the regent. But every maker of the slaughtered innocents lost in the blaze would be after your head once they discovered that you were the engineer of their progenies’ deaths.”
I cursed foully, recognizing how stupid I sounded. It was the best strategy I had concocted and it was idiotic.
“The trouble with immortality, young one,” Tarquin said, clasping my shoulder, “is that we have to put up with each other for a very long time. We have ages to unleash our wrath upon those who have committed blood offenses against us. You cannot kill others’ children in your pursuit of Kaspar.”
I outlined several other potential plans. Blow by blow, Tarquin picked them apart. I sounded increasingly foolish as he pointed out the gaping flaws in my ideas. But of course, that was the point. I was sacrificing my pride for a higher goal. “I’ll die in all of these scenarios, won’t I?”
Tarquin pursed his lips. “Far worse, Norseman. You would be captured, tortured, and subsequently ransomed to your maker. Godrik would likely die trying to save you. You would be confined and forced to starve for a year as punishment. Afterwards, you would either be sold off as chattel or be tortured further and killed. In your case, you are strong enough to serve as someone’s mercenary and you are pretty enough to end up as someone’s sex slave. Immediate death would actually be the best outcome should you pursue these paths.”
I shook my head and stopped walking. Facing him, I set my hands on the armored pauldrons of his shoulders and searched his face in desperation. “Tell me what to do, Master Tarquin. I need your help.”
He ran his calloused fingers down the length of my cheek. I mustered the sultriest look I could manage. He stepped closer. “I could kill him for you.”
“How?” I said, feigning shock. “You’re younger than Kaspar by many centuries and a beloved companion of my maker. No. No.” I stared at the ground and curled my hand around his neck. “I will not allow you to risk your life on my behalf, certainly not when this is a punishment for deceiving and hurting your progeny.”
Tarquin smiled. “Perhaps you underestimate me, child. I will go in under the auspices of a diplomatic mission. Such meetings are always private. It would isolate Kasper from his followers and his guardsmen. Thea will slit his throat ear to ear as we talk. That fiend has committed numerous acts which justify capital punishment from the Consul. Should any of his subjects somehow actually turn out to be loyal and demand an explanation, there are many charges we might offer to explain his execution. He has had this coming for a long time.”
I squeezed his shoulders. “It sounds like a brilliant plan, Tarquin! I had no idea your position of power could do such things. Sibyl should go too, don’t you think? Another beautiful woman in the room would be an excellent distraction. Kaspar loves lean thighs, so I’ve heard, and – no offence at all to your progeny, sir – but Sibyl does have exquisite legs.” I hummed, appearing distracted. “Amleth, though.” I sucked at a cheek. “Another male might be perceived as a threat. Better to have him protect the home base.”
Tarquin fingered one of the ends of my braids, contemplating my words and seemingly fascinated by my North Country fashions. He was far too old and far, far too close to me. It took all of my composure to remain calm.
“Will Godrik allow it, do you think?” I asked. “Is this cheating his command?”
He shrugged. “Who knows what that wildling Celt will do. No one can predict him. There’s not much he can do once Kaspar is a pile of goop. We will kill him easily. If Godrik punishes you too severely, I will intervene.”
“Thank you,” I sighed in relief. I took his arm by the elbow. “So.” He looked slightly surprised that I would grasp his forearm in the Roman way. “What do you expect in return?” I asked.
Tarquin huffed a laugh. “Clever boy.” He squeezed my arm. “I expect your respect and your fealty to my bloodline henceforth.”
I stared him down for an uncomfortably long time. “Agreed.” We shook on it and he pulled me forward in an embrace, scenting me at a terrifyingly close range. Tarquin paused to run his nose over the crook of my neck. I heard the snick of his teeth and for a split second I thought for certain he was going to bite me. I was ready to scream out for my maker in the bond.
“It is a shame Godrik would kill me if I drank from you unwillingly,” he whispered into my ear.
“Yes. A shame.” I pulled back to meet his gaze. “A shame, too, that I am so very, very unwilling,” I warned.
He laughed and clapped me on the back and suggested a nearby hamlet where we might find our meals.
When we returned to the sentry tower, Godrik was already there. Thea did not get the exciting evening Godrik had implied. She was sulking on the settee and gave me a nasty look.
“Ah, Eirikr,” my maker said, coming up the stairs from the basement. “Shall we do a quick patrol?” He led me up to the third floor landing. “Were you successful?” he whispered. I gave him a patronizing look. He smirked. “I see. Very good. What else did you learn this evening?”
We spoke in low, nearly inaudible voices. “Tarquin is fast. Very fast. Not nearly as quick as you and he hunts differently too. He takes unsuspecting women and they never see who has snatched them. They never even feel his bite. He drinks briefly, then glamours them away. To make up for his short feeds, he takes several to slake his thirst.”
“What of the women he chooses?” Godrik pressed.
“They are comely and well-proportioned like his progeny.”
A hint of smile curled at the edge of his mouth. “You have done well, child. What do you make of Tarquin’s character from this knowledge?”
“He is far more merciful than he lets on. His countenance, his bearing, and manners – everything is rough and brusque and seemingly cruel, but I now suspect he is quite fair and even-handed with his subjects. He does, however, have a dangerous love of power and he expects to be the one to adjudicate all things around him.” I paused. “Am I close?”
“Oh, you are spot-on. It does, however, sound suspiciously like someone else I know.” Godrik glared at me for a painfully long time.
I understood his meaning perfectly well. I didn’t have the patience for it that evening, however. “You’ve asked me to risk our friends’ lives sending them into Kaspar’s court. Weren’t you trying to teach me not to jeopardize our allies?”
“Three against one offers excellent odds, regardless of age differences. Kaspar will be alarmed to have the High Counselor and two of his most fearsome lieutenants march into his court.”
“Wait, Sibyl? Fearsome?”
“Oh, ho, ho, my boy. You must learn not to judge by appearances. She’s as dangerous as they come. But she’s deeply loyal to her maker and doesn’t act outside of his orders, which is why she shows promise.”
“Kitten with claws. I like it.”
“In any case, as you’ve gleaned from your spying, that useless regent is a peacock and he will want to demonstrate his importance by magnanimously receiving them before all of his followers, likely with ostentatious gifts. Then he will be cornered in an official Consul meeting, alone, and whatever Tarquin will say will get his immediate attention. He does not know that I have long been allied with Tarquin, nor that it was the Consul’s decision to send me a few centuries ago to broker a deal with him that, as I’m sure you’ve by now garnered, went horribly wrong. Sibyl will flirt with Kaspar subtlety and I imagine Tarquin will have Thea decapitate him while he isn’t paying attention.”
“That…that is almost precisely the plan Tarquin proposed. How could you -”
“Know my friend so well?” Godric laughed. “Using the authority of the Consul is one of the best ways to handle problems like Kaspar. Meditate on this in the coming days. When the deed is done, I want you to tell me what lesson you have learned.”
I bowed my head at him. Godrik tousled my hair and took my hand and we rejoined the others downstairs.
Weeks later, raucous laughter filled the tower. Tarquin, Thea, and Sibyl were stripping out of blood-soaked clothes in front of the hearth. They were giddy with victory.
“I am going to wager that you paid Lord Kaspar a visit,” Godrik remarked calmly, looking up from his book at the crimson-splattered war party in his living room. “That job was my child’s to complete.”
“Kaspar is no more, my friend. Consider this a baptismal gift for you and your progeny,” Tarquin boasted. He shook out his destroyed clothing, splattering blood all over the carpet. I clenched my jaw at the mess.
“Did you encounter resistance?” Godrik asked.
“Only two of the older children. The rest of his offspring appeared to be relieved and his subjects even more so. Many thanked us. We found there were scores of others he had enslaved in the dungeons. We freed everyone with instructions to return to their makers or head south where they might be given employ by the Consul. You are still going to have some makerless wanderers that may need guidance or cause trouble in the area.”
Tarquin set a large, blood-soaked velvet pouch next to me. “Your crown, my sovereign of the Rhinelands. As promised.”
I remembered the strange compulsion Godrik had placed on me. I smiled broadly and looked up at Tarquin with hooded eyes. “Thank you, High Counselor. Like my maker before me, I shall always endeavor to protect your bloodline as you protect ours.”
The flattery set an enormous grin on Tarquin’s face. He was all too pleased. The girls and he descended down into the catacombs to bathe in the fresh aqueduct water.
Godrik opened the pouch and held up the bloodied crown. He gave me a piercing look. “What have you learned from this, Eirikr?” He snapped sharply at Amleth. “You pay attention too.” Amleth was spread out on the settee with his long legs hanging over the armrest. He laid his manuscript down, shocked by the harsh summons from the ancient.
“I was never going to accomplish killing an older enemy alone,” I said. “I couldn’t have accomplished it with a band of paid militiamen. They would have run away the second they saw the certain death they faced. With my lowly station, I could not have managed to get him cornered and alone either. What I needed was an elder ally with power and influence who was willing to do the job for me.”
“Friends in high places, Eirikr.” He clanked the crown on a side table to emphasize his point. “Unless absolutely unavoidable, never be the hand holding the sword. Be the man behind a veil of unknown friends who would do anything to protect you. Be the shadow of those who wield high political positions. Cultivate your influence with them. Use your gifts without revealing them. Never be the fool wearing the crown. It is nothing but a golden target on your head.” He tossed it unceremoniously in a chest. “Why do you think I’ve forbidden Amleth from becoming an official Consul lieutenant?”
I turned to Amleth in surprise. I wondered whether Godrik’s order conflicted with his own maker’s desires. Maybe that is why they seemed to clash constantly. I couldn’t fathom Godrik’s rage if I were to follow someone else’s demands and defy his own. I’d finally learned the full extent of that lesson tonight. Five years. I had spent five long years atoning for disobeying him and tricking Amleth into going to Mainz with me.
“Amleth’s sisters are already at great risk as public figures in our world. Their movements are under constant scrutiny. Tarquin only needs to anger the wrong person and they will be targeted for his failures. By contrast, Amla appears no more than an errand boy. He slips through the empire and does as he pleases, which makes him far more deadly.”
“Will all your teachings be so fucking roundabout?” I inquired.
“There was nothing ‘roundabout’ in this. As you’ve struggled to resolve the puzzle I set before you, you have learned many valuable hunting and tracking skills in the belief that you could actually best a 2200 year old blood drinker in a court full of his subjects. Tarquin risks his children today by making an enemy. You are already at great risk from the many enemies I made long before you were born.”
I nodded vigorously, accepting his explanation.
“Very well. Amleth?” he said quietly, turning to him. “Get three fresh sheets and several fibula brooches from my wardrobe.” Amleth was quick to his feet and out the door.
Godrik touched my shoulder to get me to lean my ear down to his mouth. “You still need to work on that rude mouth of yours, but I am very proud of what you have accomplished. A promise is a promise, child. Our other guests are bloodlusted from the fight and they shall be occupied in the pools for some time.” He looked up at me with sin and total mischief in his eyes. I swallowed hard in anticipation.
Amleth returned with the items. Godrik pulled his tunic off with one arm and slipped out of his leggings. Amleth responded immediately and wreathed his body with the fabric, creating defined pleats as he went. “Tsk! A himation, not a toga,” Godrik corrected. He wanted a Greek garment, not a Roman one. Amleth unwound the sheet and began again, folding it around him reverently, as though he were dressing a god. He wrapped Godrik’s narrow waist loosely with the cloth, flipping one corner outwards so that it hung down in a draped triangle just above his navel.
“Do you wish to wear the amethyst or the ruby fibulas?”
“Keep the amethyst for yourself, Amla. Violet flatters you far better.”
Amleth pinned the garment at his hip and pulled the remaining edge under his left armpit and slung it over his shoulder. I looked on in fascination. My maker was stunning in this foreign fashion. It left his biceps and chest bare, highlighting his striking tattoos. Amleth stepped back to examine his handiwork. He fussed with a few of the folds at his stomach and on his shoulder. “There. You look every bit the philosopher. Or perhaps Zeus himself. Shall we dress Ganymede next?” he asked with a sly smile.
Godrik raised an eyebrow at his cheekiness. “I don’t recall that Ganymede wore much. I’m sure Eirikr can manage getting stark naked all by himself when the time comes. I believe it is your turn.”
Amleth stripped down to his loincloth. Godrik took one of the other sheets and quickly doubled it across itself, shortening it by half. He repeated the process with the other and pinned the folded edges at Amleth’s shoulders, letting the collar of his chiton hang very low across his chest.
“Arms up.” Godrik grabbed his own thin corded rope belt from his pile of clothes on the floor and tied it around Amleth’s waist. When Amleth lowered his arms, it left his hem so short it barely covered the tops of his thighs. Looking down at his costume, Amla furrowed his brow. “You’ve dressed me like a youth!”
“And indeed you are. What were you reading just now?”
“Herodotus. But if we are to stage a play I should perhaps get my copy of Aeschylus. I also brought some pieces of Euripides if you think those are more suitable.”
“We are not staging a play. Your text will serve its purpose. This evening we shall instruct Eirikr in Greek customs.” Godrik looked at me and sent me a silent message. “Do not be jealous. You will have your turn. Enjoy watching.”
Amleth brought the manuscript and stood before Godrik, confused. “Which passage shall I narrate, sir?”
Godrik dragged a chair to the center of the den. “I believe we made a deal in Roskilde, Amleth. Tonight I shall make good on my promise.” Amleth froze in shock. Godrik patted his leg. “Sit down, boy. Demonstrate your excellent pronunciation to Eirikr. His Greek remains rudimentary at best.” Amla sat slowly, unsure whether such a transgression was truly allowed. He turned to Godrik as if to confirm that this was acceptable, stunned to be sitting in his lap. “Read,” Godrik ordered.
Amleth began reciting an entry in the history text. I was puzzled as to why this was supposed to be interesting. My Greek still sucked as Godrik so kindly pointed out and I could not really follow. When Godrik’s hands began to roam down Amleth’s arms, I sat forward. Amleth stuttered.
“You mispronounced several words, child,” Godrik chastised. “Keep going.” He tried his best, but Godrik was slowly, tantalizingly, pulling up the edge of his short chiton and running his fingertips across Amleth’s half-bare chest. He gasped when Godrik pinched a nipple and stroked the inside of his thigh. “So many errors, my young scholar.” Amleth tried to focus on the passage. No sooner had he redoubled his efforts than he felt Godrik’s hand slip underneath his loincloth. He arched his back and moaned. “Another mistake and I will have to punish you,” his ‘tutor’ warned.
Amleth tried to enunciate the lines of the text as accurately as possible, but he had an obscene tent in his clothes and could barely focus. Godrik began nibbling at his earlobe and neck and Amleth dropped the sheaves of parchment to the ground. “But this will not do, young one.”
“Forgive me, Master.”
Godrik stopped him before he could pick up the text. “Bend over the settee. You are a disobedient pupil and do not take your studies seriously.” Amleth did as he ordered. Godrik flipped up his tunic and slowly pulled off his loincloth, exposing his bare bottom to the cool night air. He gave it a soothing, promising rub. Gooseflesh prickled across Amleth’s skin. If he could have blushed, he would have.
Godrik looked at me and smiled. The sound of the smack reverberated off the walls. He spanked Amleth with a tiny fraction of his strength. It was plenty enough to sting and turn Amleth’s round ivory cheeks pink. The reprimand made him even harder and he bounced rudely with every strike. Godrik pulled him upright by a hank of his hair. He took Amla’s unsteady hand and placed it over his own rock-hard erection. “See what you have done?” Amleth lost whatever last bit of composure he possessed. “I will have to remedy your misbehavior and fix how your lusty, wanton ways have gotten the better of you.”
Amleth sunk to his knees. Godrik pulled him up and snapped at the stairwell. “Go to my bedchamber and wait.”
I stood once we were alone, I was as painfully aroused as I was baffled. “What the-”
“It is merely a game – one he likes very much. There are many things you do not yet know about the world. In Greece, mentors were extremely important. They taught young men everything they needed to know. It was accepted and expected that they would seduce their pupils slowly and induct them into the world of pleasures too, though the youths were always supposed to be a bit coy and reluctant about such attentions. It is simply about the interplay between an elder dominant and a younger submissive partner – the erastes and the eromenos, as they were called. If he could have his way, he’d rather I took the role of the submissive because of my appearance. It is what he has always wanted.”
“You don’t like submitting.”
“I am a millennium older than him. I will always be the erastes. But I’m feeling generous tonight.”
“You wish me to watch, then?”
Godrik grinned conspiratorially. “Oh no. I rather thought we would ravage him together.”
Godrik pulled the gauzy material of the sleeping berth aside. I stood behind him at his shoulder. Amleth was splayed out on the mattress and looked exquisite in the candlelight. His hair was a pool of ink and his frame was long and lean. “You’re still dressed,” Godrik said, acting annoyed. He took off the fibula pins holding Amla’s pupil’s tunic together and tossed them to the floor, uncaring that they were made of gold and encrusted with jewels. He hopped to the far side of the bed and I sat at the edge to Amla’s left.
“You taught my child to read and write a few basic scripts in a single night,” Godrik said. “Though I do seem to recall that you made some interesting edits to Ovid.” Amleth grinned. “I appreciated your help and now you both shall have your reward.” He grasped the edges of Amleth’s tunic and pulled it down slowly to his waist. He undid the knotted belt with his teeth while Amla looked on in disbelief. Then Godrik ripped the entire thing off and threw it out of the sleeping nook.
I laid down next to Amleth, the scent of his hair in my nose. “I had my first dream as a nightwalker not long ago.”
I placed a hand on his chest and kissed his delicate collarbone and put my mouth to his ear to whisper softly. “It was of you. And me. Together.” Again he broke out into goosebumps.
“Were you any good?” Amleth asked with a wry smile.
I snorted. “You’ll have to tell me.”
When Amleth felt the sudden soft wetness of my mouth swallowing down his length, he cried out and gripped the furs on the bed. I held his hands down. “Look at me,” I paused to say. I wanted to see those dark glittering eyes watch me as I pleasured him.
Godrik studied Amleth’s face in fascination. “It’s true. He is good.”
“Oh…yes…good,” he said breathlessly.
Godrik smiled, caressing his cheek. “But not as good as me,” he said with a secretive smile and slithered his way down Amla’s body, pasting a trail of kisses from his neck to the fine downy trail leading to his sex. He nudged me to the side. Godrik knelt between his legs and stroked his thighs, sliding his hands under his knees. Without warning, he gave them a sharp pull, dragging Amleth down the bed and splaying him wide. Amleth laughed in surprise. Godrik adjusted his own position, spreading his legs wider and crooking his ankles over his shins to lock him in place. Amleth was wide-eyed and looked like he might faint. My maker tilted his head to the side and his eyes unfixed, the way did when he was considering something.
When he attacked, Amleth shouted, unprepared. Godrik licked long stripes up the insides of his thighs, nipping them. He lavished the creases of his groin. His hands were everywhere but the one place Amla needed them to be the most. His tongue wandered south over the heavy hills of his sac and even further south to that most sensitive place between his cheeks. Amleth clutched at me desperately then, digging his nails into my skin. When he saw Godrik’s absurdly beautiful mouth descend on his sensitive head – a scene he had fantasized about for centuries – he really did almost lose consciousness. Godrik was relentless, taking him to the hilt, slipping a finger, then two, into him, and growling hungrily to send vibrations through his whole body. Amleth had no control over the sounds that came from him then.
“He’s being loud, Eirikr. Give him something to keep him quiet.” I raised an eyebrow. It was always a bit shocking when Godrik was raunchy. I pulled myself out of my leggings and Amleth latched onto my girth immediately. As it happened, I had long harbored a similar fantasy. Amla took as much of my length as he could manage and he sucked me in the same rhythm Godrik was using to quickly destroy him. I couldn’t help but grab the back of his head and thrust deeper. Amleth pulled off of me abruptly. “Ah, no!” he hissed and his fangs snapped down. Godrik stopped just before his orgasm, gripping him firmly at the base.
“Please. Please, Godrik!”
“I think it’s Eirikr’s turn. Perhaps you would like to show him what you dreamed, child?”
My jaw literally dropped. I glanced at Amleth, then at my maker. “No, Godrik. He’s so much stronger than me. He won’t let me…”
“He’ll allow it. He will like it.”
“What will I like?” Amleth looked up at me expectantly. I kissed him tenderly, then rolled him over onto his belly. Taking a cue from my maker, I slapped his immaculate ass hard. He moaned something incoherent, then startled when he felt the drizzle of oil down his backside. I slicked myself as well and knelt on my knees. I grabbed a chunk of his beautiful silken hair and pulled him against my chest, where I dragged my fangs over his throat. “You are going to sit on my cock.” I held him close by the neck and waist. “Right now,” I demanded. “Tell me you want it.”
“I…I do. I always have.” He was already grinding on me involuntarily.
“What have you wanted, raven-haired lover?’
“To feel you. All of you.”
“You want Godrik to watch me take you? Do you think he’ll touch himself seeing how well I wreck you with pleasure?” He groaned helplessly. “I’m going to give you every inch of my attention and then some. Now sit down.” He eased himself down, gasping at the huge stretch, then without any prompting, began riding me with abandon. Once I was certain he could take it, I pushed him on all fours hard. Still holding a handful of his hair and a hip, I began pounding into him roughly. His slim svelte body under my control was glorious. I threw my head back in ecstasy. “Say my name,” I ordered.
“No, my name.”
“Eric. Eric!” he cried. He kept crying it out and I was nearly about to lose it. So was he.
Godrik placed a hand on my bicep, halting me.
“No, No! Don’t stop,” he begged.
“But it’s been hours!” Amleth complained.
“Yes, it has. I thought you liked to be edged, Amla? Perhaps you don’t want what comes next.”
Godrik handed him his favorite oil. He unwrapped himself out of his himation in the most seductive way possible, showing off his muscles and form through each slow twist of fabric. Once he was nude, he sprawled out and ran his hands over his body suggestively, displaying his powerful thighs. “I will play this part for you tonight, just this once.”
Amleth swore in incredulity. “You mean…?”
I had never seen Godrik do it purposefully, but he morphed his features into the sweetest, doe-eyed boy possibly in existence. Gods above, he wasn’t joking about knowing the erotic arts.
Amleth spent nearly half an hour just rubbing fragrant oil into his thighs, massaging them, running his lips over them. Not once did he touch him elsewhere. “An ideal made flesh – the very image of male beauty,” he wept.
Godrik looked away shyly. Amleth raised him to his knees. “Like this. From the front. So I can see you,” Godrik suggested. He looked over Amla’s shoulder to me. “Another Mediterranean specialty,” he explained. I was still not sure what they meant to do.
Amleth embraced him and slid himself between Godrik’s thighs. “Oh gods,” he breathed. He thrust again and let his head fall on Godrik’s shoulder. He was panting and moaning while Godrik whispered sweet words into his ear, praising him and caressing his hair and back. Godrik looked over his shoulder and crooked a finger at me. Amla took me easily once more and was pinned between us, getting pleasured from both sides. When we were all frenzied and nearly about to explode, Godrik quickly bit his wrist and offered it to me before pressing Amleth to his neck and biting into him as well.
The effect was earth shattering.
Godrik was the first to collapse back onto the bed, followed by Amleth and me. Godrik threaded his arms around both of us. “This is nice,” he said quietly. I snuggled into him and Amleth turned to look at my maker. The ancient stared at him for the longest time with soft eyes and a slight ribbon of a smile. His fingers ran up and down the length of Amleth’s arm as he pondered something.
“After tonight, you are mine,” he finally said. Amleth sucked in a ragged breath and I looked up in equal astonishment. “You are mine, Amleth of Cumbria. I claim you as a child of my house and line. I wish for you to be at my side and that of my progeny’s. He needs your guidance and we both would like your companionship. I will ask Tarquin to allow you to stay with us, if you should find such an arrangement acceptable.”
Amleth blinked back crimson tears. He nodded vigorously. Words were trapped in his throat.
“There is not a single piece of news that I hear from Constantinople that assuages my concerns. I do not want you anywhere near the Consul right now,” Godrik said. “War is in the air. You belong at my side and that of your brother. Your maker may not easily be swayed, but you know I usually get my way.”
Amleth bit his lip.
“I had my part in your turning and I have raised you and loved you for nearly three centuries. To see you and my progeny so happy together and helping one another…” Godrik lost the words to describe what such a thing meant. He had only recently begun relearning how to express emotions.
For Amleth to hear Godrik say that he loved him- it was a life-altering moment. He could not hold back the dam of tears. He began to sob against Godrik’s chest.
“Sshh, min bror Amlóði,” I said. “It is true. We love you. You are family,” I told him, rubbing his cheek. “I missed you every night that you were away these five years.”
Godrik wiped away the tears pooling between his pecs and licked them from his fingers.
“If war breaks out, what of my other kin?” Amleth asked, his voice cracking.
“I can only promise to shelter Sibyl and your brother Arun.”
“Tell me. What do you think of your eldest sister Thea?”
He furrowed his brow. “She’s a very capable fighter. Cunning. Intelligent. She shadows Master often to learn the ways of politics.”
“Can she be difficult?” I looked at my maker, wondering just what precisely he had observed when out hunting. I could feel his deep apprehension in our bond.
“She sometimes fights Master’s orders when none of us dare to do so. She resents Arun for being the eldest and does things to undermine him. She picks on Sibyl and me. Just little cruel things behind Master’s back though. It’s nothing serious.”
“And the youngest of your brood?”
“Calla and Sonia? She sees them as no threat. She doesn’t bother them.”
Godrik rapidly shifted away from his interrogation. “Food is hard to procure in the north country. We simply cannot all be in this territory. If it truly grows ugly in the capitol, I will find safe houses for everyone else in your bloodline and the rest of those I protect. Have I ever failed you?”
“No, of course not,” he said. He clasped Godrik, nuzzling the garland of indigo spikes trailing across his neck. As daybreak began to pull us under, Amleth pressed his lips to Godrik’s temple and sighed. “Thank you. I love you, Goði. I swear I will always bring honor to your bloodline.”
Godrik pulled us both closer. “Our bloodline,” he corrected.