Vayne pays a visit to the Radiant Order’s Runemaster in order to learn a thing or two about runelore and how to take down the Order’s wards.
Vayne hummed a merry tune as he closed the door to Arthur’s chambers behind him. He was really rather satisfied with all that he had accomplished so far. Events were proceeding apace and barring unexpected externalities, the plan was likely to come to fruition sooner rather than later.
Arthur was firmly in the palm of his hand. Arthur was firmly in the palm of his own hand, for that matter.
Vayne chuckled to himself at the little joke. Considering the state he’d left Arthur in, he very much doubted his fellow Brother would be letting go any time soon.
As long as no one intervened, Vayne wouldn’t even have to lift a finger. He’d started the process but Arthur was going to finish it himself.
The foundations of Arthur’s faith were well and truly cracked. With every stroke of his cock, Arthur was only perpetuating the damage. It wouldn’t take long now before the whole edifice came tumbling down and Vayne would be there to help pick up the pieces.
Vayne had expected to encounter some difficulty in turning Arthur to his side but things truly had turned out far better than his wildest imaginations. Having a pawn as important as the confessor of the Lord Commander would prove invaluable once he went for the kill.
For the time being, however, he had to set his sights elsewhere. He couldn’t afford to overlook even the slightest detail. That way lay frustration and defeat.
As he descended the stairwell, Vayne looked out through an arrow slit in the wall. He could see the grounds of the fort just outside and as luck would have it, he could just about make out his next objective.
Tucked in a corner of the outer bailey was a small building. It was otherwise unremarkable but Vayne knew it held one of the most important Brothers of the Order: the Runemaster.
Beyond the outer walls, Vayne could see a faint shimmer in the air. It formed a veil around the perimeter of Fort Radiant, a barrier that would have been invisible to him if not for his time in Hell.
His time with the demons had changed him, not just on a mental level but on a physiological one as well. Ever since he became Master Azzagg’s pet, he’d become more than a mere mortal man.
Vayne grimaced and turned away from the window. The emptiness inside him ached at the memory of his Master. He vividly remembered every moment of the agony he’d experienced when his Brothers severed his bond with his Master.
The profound link between their souls wasn’t the only thing that the severing stripped away. It also removed some of the abilities Vayne had gained over his time in hell.
The wound inside him was mending, however. He could feel his bond with Master Azzagg growing stronger with every man he corrupted, with every load he swallowed.
As Vayne’s condition improved, so too did the superhuman abilities he’d gained from Master Azzagg’s essence seeping into his body. The timing couldn’t have been better if he’d planned it himself.
The shimmering veil that surrounded the Fort was the Primary Ward. It was a shield of sorts that protected the fort from demons and demonic forces.
The Ward repelled demons, preventing all but the strongest from crossing the boundary. It also prevented the influence of malevolent thoughts from outside the borders—protecting those inside from the whispers of demons in their dreams and waking moments.
Vayne had very much enjoyed the protection of the Ward once upon a time. Now, it was little more than an inconvenience.
Though the Ward did nothing to prevent demons from being summoned within it, it dramatically weakened demons that were within its influence. As long as the Ward stood, Vayne knew there was no chance for his plan to succeed.
If he had the knowledge and the power, he would have taken the damn thing down by himself but the Ward was old magic. It was runelore of the deepest, most complex kind.
The demons had given him a lot but a comprehensive understanding of runelore was not one of those things. To that end, he needed the help of the Runemaster—all the better if he could bring the man over to his side.
Not that Vayne was expecting much resistance. If he could turn Arthur, the Lord Commander’s confessor, he had no doubt he could turn the Runemaster as well.
Brothers of the Order were sheltered. Many would think them naïve to matters of the world, even. If not for the Order’s status and their notorious ruthlessness, Brothers who were sent out into the world would have been easy pickings for unscrupulous characters.
It was all rather pitiful if Vayne was to be truthful. That his Brothers had wasted so many years ignorant to the pleasures of their own bodies was a travesty the Mirellian Church would have to answer for.
Their cousins in other religious orders admired their adherence to Mirellian scripture. It was viewed as a strength, that unshakable conviction and devotion even in the face of insurmountable odds.
Vayne, however, was privy to the truth. It was a weakness. As he’d experienced firsthand, it rendered the Brothers uniquely vulnerable to the influence of demons and their lustful corruption.
Once upon a time, he might have bemoaned the truth but no longer. He reveled in the knowledge, his body thrumming with excitement at the prospect of opening his Brothers’ blinkered eyes.
A smirk tugged at the corner of Vayne’s mouth. He glanced again at the Runemaster’s home. He had few worries. If anything, he imagined the Runemaster might prove even more susceptible than the rest.
Vayne knew precious little about the Runemaster but he didn’t have to know much. The man, much like his predecessors, was a recluse.
The Runemaster was seldom seen. He appeared when summoned but kept to himself otherwise, preferring to dedicate his time to his craft and the thankless task of maintaining the Ward and the Order’s runed arms.
By all accounts, the current Runemaster was a step above his predecessors; a born scholar dedicated to the pursuit of ever-greater runelore. Such a single-minded man would be easy to turn with the right push, but Vayne could ill afford overconfidence.
He turned away from the arrow slit and continued down the stairs. Along the way, he attempted to recall what he knew about the current Runemaster.
The first thing that came to mind was the man’s age. The current Runemaster was a younger man, having succeeded his predecessor some few summers before Vayne’s capture.
Despite his best efforts, Vayne could scarce recall the man’s name. It was on the tip of his tongue but he simply could not put a finger on it.
It was only upon arriving at the base of the stairs that he remembered. He struck his forehead with his palm and barked a quiet laugh. He could scarcely believe he’d forgotten.
A stroll through the outer bailey on a pleasant day proved better than Vayne anticipated. He encountered a few Brothers and a handful of squires going about their business along the way.
Suffice to say, he was pleased by the hungry looks he received in passing and the lumps he saw in some of the men’s breeches. It was good to see his influence at work, his borrowed power slowly poisoning the Order from its roots.
Vayne slowed as he approached the Runemaster’s home. There was a peculiar garden in front, each patch of produce sporting a wooden pole staked through the middle of it.
Each post was etched with runes and crowned by a glowing green orb. The ball was made of pure mana, compressed tightly enough to become visible to mortal eyes.
Even had he not possessed his supernatural sight, Vayne was certain he’d have deduced the purpose of the posts upon consideration. As it was, he needed to make no conjectures as he could see wisps of mana issue from the orbs.
Each wisp drifted to a particular plant and was absorbed upon contact. That the plants were lush and brimming with vitality was surely no mere coincidence.
It did bring to mind a question of why the Runemaster would have any interest in the cultivation of plants but Vayne quickly recalled that he’d seen similar posts in the Fort’s main gardens. The conclusion was therefore obvious: the Runemaster was seeking to improve the posts somehow.
A smile tugged at Vayne’s lips. It seemed what Edric had told him was indeed correct—the current Runemaster was devoted to his craft.
Confirmation wasn’t the only reason he was pleased. He saw value in the posts. If he could somehow corrupt the magic, he could potentially corrupt the produce as well. In that way, the corruption wouldn’t merely be an additive to the food, it would be part of the food.
Vayne could scarcely wait. He walked up the path to the Runemaster’s front door and knocked.
There was no immediate response. Vayne had expected as much. He waited a few minutes before trying again, rapping his knuckles sharply against the wood.
After some shuffling from behind the door. It opened by a crack, a man peeking out from the narrow space. "What?" said the man.
Vayne smiled at the man. "Light bless you, Brother. I am Vayne, Knight-Captain of the Brighthand Regiment. I have come to seek your counsel on a matter in which I believe you possess some expertise."
The door opened further, but not by much. There was just enough space now that Vayne could see the Runemaster’s face.
It was as he’d anticipated. Burn-Bright Cathas, a man some few summers younger than him. That particular cohort had been initiated to the order at around the time Vayne and Arthur were promoted to the rank of acolyte.
The difference in age and rank had meant Vayne had few interactions with Cathas but he knew well enough the reason for the unfortunate epithet.
As a child, Cathas had been rather quiet and meek. His fiery hair had drawn the attention of his peers and once it was discovered he could turn red as the curls on his head, it was over.
For all that he had been relentlessly teased as a child, Cathas had grown into a fine young man.
His emerald eyes were bright in the sunlight. His red hair was striking. His jaw was handsome and strong, freckles faintly dusted along his cheekbones.
Perhaps the only thing to spoil Cathas’ good looks was the subtle tinge of pink across his cheeks, the sheen of sweat that covered his brow and glistened in the sun. He seemed reluctant to open the door any further, pointedly hiding the rest of his body behind it.
"What matter is it that you could not have simply sent a missive?" said Cathas. It seemed he took after his predecessors, being solitary to a fault.
It took Vayne only a moment to register the predicament that had Cathas acting so strangely. He had thought it the typical prickliness of a hermit disturbed from his solitude but it was more than that.
He could smell Cathas’ arousal. It was a faint hint, drifting out from the room behind the door, but the scent was unmistakable.
Vayne fought down the urge to smirk. He played innocent instead, knowing that Cathas was likely squirming behind the door.
"I had a few questions about runelore, Brother. I had thought it more prudent to seek answers in person, where clarification can be provided promptly, should such be necessary."
Cathas quirked an eyebrow. "For what reason do you seek these answers?" he said.
Vayne scratched his cheek, pretending at bashfulness. "I had wondered if I might learn to use runelore," he said.
Cathas scoffed. "Everyone can learn runelore to some extent," he said. "But not everyone has the potential to make such instruction worthwhile."
He looked Vayne up and down, seemingly rather torn about whether to ask him to leave or take him seriously. "Is this a mere academic sort of interest or have you a genuine desire to pursue runelore?"
Vayne pretended to take a moment to think about it. "I should very much like to learn all that I can about runelore," he said.
"It may be problematic," said Cathas. The scent of his arousal was duller in the air as he frowned thoughtfully. "I haven’t the most time for leisure and my duties occupy most of my days."
"Is there perhaps anything I can do to change your mind, Brother?"
Cathas opened his mouth to say something but hesitated. He looked Vayne up and down again, his eyes lingering on Vayne’s crotch perhaps a moment longer than was truly appropriate. "You will have to take a test to prove your aptitude."
Vayne nodded. "That sounds reasonable, Brother," he said.
Cathas stood aside and opened the door. "Come in," he said as he motioned for Vayne to enter. "If you fail to demonstrate an affinity for runelore, then I am sorry to say but I must refuse."
"You would be well within your rights," said Vayne as he closed the door behind him. If all else failed, he had little doubt he’d have trouble seducing Cathas. This way, however, was far more convenient and less suspicious, for that matter.
As expected, the Runemaster’s living space was rather small. The furnishings were Spartan at best and barebones at worst. The front room doubled as a dining room.
There was a single round table and a single matching chair in the corner. The rest of the chairs were scattered about, buried under scrolls, tomes, and all manner of other research materials.
On the right was a quaint fireplace. A cushioned chair was in front, with a small reading table beside it.
A small kitchen was nearby but seemed largely neglected. Beyond was a pantry, though the angle made it difficult to see into.
In the back was a study. It was about the only well-furnished part of the home, with sturdy shelves housing volumes of all sorts and various artifacts.
Above the study was a loft. A ladder built into the side of the wall led up and Vayne could only assume it was the bedroom.
Cathas cleared off a chair and dragged it over to the table. He awkwardly waddled as he did so, no doubt in an attempt to hide the lump in a futile attempt to hide his erection. "Please sit," he said as he shuffled over to the kitchen.
Vayne had no reason to reject Cathas’ hospitality so he did as he was told. He sat at the table. As he did so, he noticed a tray of food. He could smell the traces of cum in the bowl of slop and knew then—for certain—that Cathas had been touched by his corruption already.
"Tea?" said Cathas.
"That would be lovely." Vayne smiled as Cathas made his way over to the kitchen. "Brother Cathas, right?"
"That’s right," said Cathas as he retrieved a kettle. He ladled water from a bucket into the kettle. "I did not think you would have remembered me, Brother Vayne. You are some seasons older, are you not?"
Vayne chuckled. "Indeed I am," he said.
Cathas fiddled with the kettle. After a moment, there was a quick rushing sound followed by the burbling of boiling water. Runelore, Vayne suspected.
A minute or so later, Cathas returned with a tray. It seemed his erection had calmed down—or at the very least he’d adjusted in such a way that it wouldn’t be too prominent.
"Have you demonstrated any aptitude for runelore, Brother Vayne?" said Cathas. He sat down and sipped from his own cup.
Vayne shook his head. "I am afraid not, Brother Cathas. The closest I have come is wielding a rune arm, I suppose" he said. "Though I admit I haven’t the faintest idea how I would be able to discern such a thing."
Cathas nodded. "This is true. Perhaps I should have asked a different question: have you ever experienced anything strange and inexplicable while writing?"
Vayne quirked an eyebrow. "Strange in what sense, Brother?"
"Glowing ink. Pulsing letters. Shifting words. Drawings coming to life."
Vayne shook his head.
"As I expected," said Cathas. He pursed his lips and looked at Vayne. "I will still conduct the test just in case, but I recommend you temper your expectations, Brother Vayne."
Cathas stood from his seat. "Affinity for runelore manifests in childhood. Though it is not unheard of for adults to possess affinity without knowledge of it, this is exceedingly rare."
Vayne nodded. "I understand," he said. "Regardless, I should like to try."
Cathas shrugged. "Wait here, Brother." He went to the study in the back of the room and returned with a small wood-paneled box. It seemed as if it were charred black but the surface was polished to a gleam.
Vayne watched closely as Cathas placed the box on the table and popped the brass clasp open. He lifted the lid, revealing smooth black river stones within.
Each palm-sized pebble was etched with a peculiar character. Vayne did not recognize any of the letters. In all likelihood, they belonged to a script he was unfamiliar with.
Cathas must have noticed his investigation as the Runemaster chuckled. "I would not waste time attempting to decipher the meaning of the symbols, Brother," said Cathas.
Vayne raised an eyebrow in askance.
Cathas took his seat opposite Vayne. "They are but gibberish. Random etchings made to vaguely resemble proper script."
Vayne frowned. "I’m afraid I don’t understand, Brother. This seems rather counterproductive."
Cathas chuckled. "I had thought the same when once I was in the same position as you," he said.
He picked up a stone and rubbed his thumb over the etching. "Although none of these are proper runes and would thus be of no utility whatsoever, some were inscribed using the principles of runelore."
Vayne’s eyes widened in sudden comprehension. "And a trace of the magic used would have been left behind."
The corner of Cathas’ mouth quirked into a little smile. He seemed impressed. "Just so, Brother Vayne," he said. "These stones are meant to test your compatibility with runelore by discerning your level of sensitivity to it."
Vayne nodded. "I believe I understand the principles, Brother Cathas. What must I do? Shall I find all the stones thusly made, or…?"
Cathas laughed and shook his head. "Hardly, Brother. Two or three will suffice. None in living history have found all thirteen—I myself found only seven."
Vayne nodded and pursed his lips. He reached out and pulled the box toward him when Cathas spun it around to face him.
He looked inside, at first uncertain as to how he might carry out the test. As he focused on the box, faint glimmering gossamer strands of mana appeared before his eyes.
He had to suppress a laugh. The test was going to be easier than he expected. It was also an opportunity.
Vayne looked up at Cathas. The Runemaster was watching him intently, a faint pink tinge spreading across freckled cheeks when their gazes met.
Oh, it was going to be quite the opportunity indeed. Cathas was already physically attracted to him. A scholar of Cathas’ caliber, dedicated wholeheartedly to the advancement of his craft, would be putty in his hands as long as he demonstrated astounding talent.
Vayne turned his attention back to the box. He pretended to think deeply about the task at hand, picking up random stones and examining them closely before shaking his head and placing them back in the box.
After a few such attempts, he instead picked up one of the stones wrapped in faintly shimmering strands of mana. He pretended to hesitate, moving to place it back in the box before taking his hand back at the last moment and placing it on the table in front of him.
"Is this one of the stones?" said Vayne.
Surprise flickered across Cathas’ eyes for but a moment but he quickly schooled his expression into something inscrutable. "I will not evaluate the results until the test is finished. Please, select as many stones as you feel confident about."
Vayne nodded. "That seems to be a reasonable proposition, Brother," he said.
He took his time, examining one stone after the other. He placed down a second stone—Cathas’ surprise was more palpable with that one—and a third soon after.
Cathas managed to maintain his professional demeanor all the way until Vayne’s sixth stone. And with each one after that, he only seemed to grow more and more incredulous.
It took the better part of an hour but Vayne finally had thirteen stones in front of him. "Finished?" said Cathas.
"Brother… Is there perhaps more to the test than you are telling me?" said Vayne.
Cathas’ eyes widened. He fumbled for words for a moment. "There is not. Why do you ask?" he said, in a voice far too faltering for the categorical denial he was clearly attempting to make.
"It was just… There is this one stone that has been puzzling me ever since I began," said Vayne. He reached into the box and pulled out a stone.
The tension in Cathas’ shoulders eased at that point, but it was all part of Vayne’s ploy. He’d picked up a dud on purpose, only to look at it, frown, and say, "Apologies, Brother. Not this one. This one."
The stone had truly perplexed Vayne at first. He’d taken Cathas at face value and counted the stones with traces of mana. And yet, however much he counted, he always came up with fourteen instead—with one far, far fainter than the rest.
Cathas jumped to his feet in utter disbelief as Vayne placed the fourteenth stone on the table.
Vayne played innocent. He tilted his head and looked up at Cathas. "Is everything alright, Brother?" he said.
"More than alright, Brother," said Cathas breathlessly. "Not only did you prevail against the test and make history, but you also found the hidden rune."
Vayne quirked an eyebrow. "The hidden rune?" he said.
Cathas nodded. He rested a fist on his hip and held his other hand to his forehead as he took a breath. "The fourteenth stone. While the others are a test of sensitivity, the fourteenth is a test of control."
Vayne blinked. "Control?" He had done little more than look for mana in the box. He was concerned he might have missed something in the process.
"The first thing a prospective runemage learns to do, whether consciously or not, is how to explore the world with their mana," said Cathas.
"I see," said Vayne. He had not known this but made a note to remember. Neither did he know how to accomplish such a thing, but he could imagine the applications.
"In all likelihood, you felt a resonance of some description when you examined these stones," said Cathas, gesturing at the thirteen pebbles arranged in a line in front of Vayne.
"I did," said Vayne, lying through his teeth.
"The more mana a runemage can use to explore his environment, the more stones resonate with him. The fourteenth, however, is different."
"Most prospects flood the box with their mana and pick out the stones that resonate with them," said Cathas. "The fourteenth stone, however, was made to be exceptionally weak."
Vayne nodded. He understood. "Its voice would be drowned out by the chorus of the other stones," he said. "In a manner of speaking."
Cathas cracked a smile and nodded. "Indeed so, Brother," he said. "Runelore requires precision and attention to detail. The fourteenth will respond only to the thinnest thread of mana."
"I had wondered why it was much weaker than the others," said Vayne.
"A prospect with the patience, care, and control to carefully examine each stone has the potential to become a Runemaster," said Cathas. "I stand before you today because I found the fourteenth stone, Brother Vayne."
Vayne blinked. He hadn’t anticipated such meaning behind the stone. "Is it truly so remarkable a feat, Brother?" he said.
Cathas strode forward. He leaned down and grabbed Vayne by the shoulders. "It is, Brother. What you have done is nothing short of historic. It is truly remarkable."
Having realized what he was doing, Cathas released Vayne’s shoulders. Vayne just about caught the faint pink in Cathas’ cheeks before the other turned away.
Vayne stood and approached Cathas. "I shall take your word for it, Brother," he murmured in a low voice. "Though I have difficulty believing I have accomplished of any great consequence."
Cathas met Vayne’s gaze. Despite his frown, his green eyes twinkled in the light streaming through the nearby window. "You have, Brother," he said softly. "I swear it on the Light. If you would not trust your own ability then trust my word, at least."
Vayne gave Cathas a small smile. He stepped forward, well into Cathas’ personal space. He was willing to bet the reclusive Runemaster would normally have pushed him away or otherwise turned aside but Cathas didn’t. Not this time.
"I shall trust your word, Brother," said Vayne. He suppressed a shiver as the scent of Cathas’ arousal sharpened.
"Your potential, Brother…" Cathas’ whispered, the awe palpable in his voice. "I can scarce comprehend it. Should you receive a proper education in runelore, you will doubtless be the greatest Runemaster our Order has ever seen."
Cathas nodded. "Yes," he said almost breathlessly. "You are remarkable."
He gulped audibly. "Incredible…"
Vayne made his move. He grabbed the sides of Cathas’ head and pushed their lips together.
Cathas froze. The scent of his arousal filled the air. It was thick and heady. Vayne could almost feel it against his skin, hot and tingling.
They broke apart for breath. Cathas placed his hands on Vayne’s chest. "B-Brother Vayne, what are you d—!"
Whatever else Cathas might have had to say was cut off as Vayne kissed him again. Like before, Cathas stiffened the moment their lips locked together. Unlike before, it didn’t take long for him to kiss back.
"B-Brother, t-this is not r-right," Cathas stammered. "I-it is wrong for man to lie with man as with woman. T-the scriptures say so!"
Vayne gave Cathas a small smile. He brushed his thumb over the Runemaster’s cheek. "Does it feel wrong, Brother?" he whispered.
Cathas hesitated. He glanced at Vayne’s lips, licking his own. "No…" he breathed as he shook his head. "N-not in the slightest."
Vayne kissed Cathas again. As a low moan spilled into his mouth, he slowly pushed Cathas back until they were pressed up against the wall.
They broke apart, chests heaving. Vayne ground his cock against Cathas’. They were both hard, straining in their breeches.
Cathas reciprocated. "I-I…" he mumbled, his body moving on its own as his hands moved from Vayne’s chest down to the man’s hips. "Light help me…"
Vayne bit back a moan as Cathas responded to his grinding. Heat pooled in his stomach as their cocks rubbed together through their breeches. "The Light would not want you to enjoy this," Vayne murmured.
"Y-you’re right, Brother. T-this should be anathema to us. W-we should stop," Cathas stammered. Instead of releasing Vayne, however, his grip on Vayne’s hips only tightened.
"Is that what your body is telling you?" Vayne whispered as he pressed his lips to the side of Cathas’ neck.
There was a quiet thud as Cathas bumped the back of his head against the wall. "N-no," Cathas groaned, tilting his chin up to expose his neck for Vayne. "L-light, No!"
"So would you like to keep going?" said Vayne. He cupped Cathas’ chin and brushed the pad of his thumb over the Runemaster’s lips.
Cathas licked his lips and nodded.
Vayne smiled. "Good." He released Cathas’ chin, moving his hand down the front of the Runemaster’s body. "There is more to life than following the strictures of dogma, Brother. The men outside these walls know this."
"Incredible." A low moan spilled from Cathas’ lips as Vayne’s hand slipped past the waistband of his breeches. "You are truly incredible, Brother Vayne."
Vayne chuckled. "Flatterer," he said.
Cathas’ eyes widened. He shook his head, hesitating only briefly as Vayne’s fingers wrapped around his hardness. "I mean every word, Brother," he said.
He licked his lips. "You are skilled with the sword. You have learned the wisdom of the outside world." His breath hitched when Vayne pulled his cock out of his breeches.
"I am limited to the confines of these walls. A cage of my own creation. I have dedicated my life to the furtherance of my craft and yet I can only dream of the heights I know you will one day reach," said Cathas.
"Are you envious, Brother?" Vayne whispered against Cathas’ neck.
Cathas stammered. "I-I… Y-yes. Shameful as it is to admit." He gulped audibly. "But please, let this not dissuade you from your course."
"Hardly," said Vayne, relishing in the moan he managed to elicit as he rubbed his thumb in slow circles over the tip of Cathas’ cock. "But tell me more."
Cathas whined. "I-I envy the power within you. I had thought the well of mine to be deep but yours must be like a fathomless abyss."
"Go on," Vayne whispered as he pumped his hand up and down Cathas’ length. He could feel the heat of it against his palm, every pulse of the Runemaster’s heartbeat pounding through his cock.
"I-I envy your potential. That you would reach to the heavens and pluck the stars from the night when I have spent years straining to but graze them with my fingertips."
Vayne did not doubt Cathas’ envy. The man’s voice was laden with it. His fingers dug almost painfully into Vayne’s hips but Vayne did not mind in the slightest. "And?" he said.
"And I envy the discoveries you will one day make. I have but scratched the surface of runelore’s mysteries but somehow I know you have the ability to peer deeper and further than any of us who have come before. I worry I will not have the ability to follow in your wake."
Vayne released Cathas’ cock. The soft, disappointed whine was music to his ears. But he had not done such a thing to be capricious. He reached into his own breeches and pulled out his own arousal.
Cathas’ eyes widened as Vayne took both of their cocks in his hand. "B-brother!" Cathas exclaimed breathlessly. "Y-your…"
"My cock," Vayne murmured.
"Y-your cock!" Cathas struggled for words. Vayne could see it. "A-and mine. T-together…"
Vayne smirked. He squeezed around both cocks, reveling in the pleasure and the soft, desperate mewling that spilled from Cathas as he moved his fingers up and down.
"How does it feel?" said Vayne.
"L-Light!" Cathas moaned, tossing his head back. "U-unlike anything I have ever felt before. I-is this… W-what is this?"
Vayne bit back a laugh. Of course, he should have expected Cathas to be just as sheltered as Arthur, if not more so.
"This is what it means for a man to lie with a man as with a woman," said Vayne with a little smirk. "Part of it, at least."
Cathas locked eyes with Vayne. His forehead glistened with sweat. His cheeks were flushed, the tinge of pink stretching all the way down his neck and to the tips of his ears. "L-light…" he whispered. "A-and the men outside… T-they experience this… O-often?"
Vayne chuckled. He smirked at Cathas and nodded. "Oh, yes. Often. Whenever the urge takes them."
"T-the urge?" whispered Cathas.
Vayne smirked and nodded. "Yes, Brother. Whenever there is a stirring in their loins and their cocks begin to harden."
"I-I had always thought…"
Vayne chuckled. "That it was a distraction? A temptation to overcome?"
"How does it feel to succumb at last?" Vayne whispered.
Cathas averted his eyes, his flush taking on a deeper scarlet. "I-it is not the first time, Brother," he muttered under his breath. "I-I have taken myself into my own hand before."
The corner of Vayne’s mouth curled in a little smirk. "Is that so?" said Vayne.
"I-it is shameful, I know…" Cathas whispered, voice somehow even smaller than before even as he strained to stifle the little noises of pleasure that spilled from him while Vayne stroked their cocks together. "I-I have betrayed the tenets of my faith. B-but it feels so…"
"So good," said Vayne, thrusting his hips in time with the motion of his hands.
"Y-yes," said Cathas, cheeks turning even redder. "D-do the men outside not worry for their immortal souls?"
Vayne chuckled. "Why should they, Brother?" he said.
"Scripture says a great many things, Brother Cathas," said Vayne as he pressed his body up against Cathas’. "But could something that feels so good be wrong?"
Cathas gulped. "I-I don’t know, Brother…" he said, trailing off into a whine as his hips moved to mimic Vayne.
"Why did you take yourself into your hand when you felt the arousal in your flesh?" said Vayne.
Vayne smirked. "It felt natural, no?" he said. "It was instinct."
Cathas squeezed his eyes shut, a high-pitched whine issuing from him as he nodded and bucked his hips. "B-brother Vayne, I—"
"Close?" said Vayne.
Cathas chewed on his lower lip and nodded.
Vayne loosened his grip and stilled his hand. He thrust his hips still, rubbing his length against Cathas’, but did little else. "Tell me first, Brother. You knew not how to pleasure yourself, yes?"
Cathas shook his head. "N-no, Brother," he whispered. "O-only that it was forbidden!"
"And yet somehow you knew how."
Cathas’ eyes widened.
"Your body knew, purely on instinct, how you might release the arousal that stirred in your loins…" Vayne smirked. "How can such a thing be wrong?"
Cathas shook his head. "I-it cannot. Brother, I-I—Oh, Light!"
Vayne smirked. "Indeed it cannot." He squeezed his fingers, around their cocks, pumping his hand up and down faster and faster as he felt Cathas’ body tense for his imminent release.
He moaned, himself, his voice melding into beautiful harmony with Cathas as they both teetered on the cliff’s edge.
"B-Brother!" Cathas cried out.
"Come," Vayne hissed as he thrust his cock into his hand and against Cathas’. "Spill your seed for me, Brother. Bring your pleasure to its fruition!"
Cathas threw his head back and moaned. His fingers dug into the meat of Vayne’s ass as his cock pulsed and throbbed against Vayne’s.
With a low whine, he came. Spurt after spurt of thick, hot jism shot out of the tip of his cock and triggered Vayne’s own release.
They covered each other in their juices, each man pumping a heavy, viscous load that soaked into their tunics. They leaned against each other, chests heaving in the afterglow of their mutual orgasm.
After some time, Vayne spoke to break the silence. "You said you envied what I would discover," he said as he placed a hand on Cathas’ chest.
Cathas gulped. "I-I did, Brother," he croaked.
"You said you were afraid of being left behind."
Cathas nodded. "I did," he said.
"Teach me," said Vayne. "Teach me runelore. Everything you know. Perhaps I might find a way to help you reach the same heights."
Cathas laughed bitterly. "I would say it was impossible," he said, looking into Vayne’s eyes. "But I had also thought that it would be impossible for someone to find all fourteen stones."
"Will you do it?" said Vayne. He knew the answer well enough but he wanted to hear it in Cathas’ own words.
Cathas nodded. "I will," he said.