Ever since he ascended to the throne of his beloved kingdom of Altyria as its youngest ruler in history, High King Augustus Rennet has led his people into a golden age of peace, abundance, and prosperity. Bad blood between the races and pacts sworn in an age more brutal than this one force him into a collision course with the high elves of the forest of Ymrion, but when he takes his armies to meet his enemies on the field of battle, what befalls him is not at all what he expects as the sun is blotted out by a hail of arrows fletched with pink feathers.
The grey light of the dawn shone through the tent flap as High King Augustus Rennet rose from his fitful slumber. A pall of silence lay across the camp and even the bustling of the servants in the pavilion seemed hushed.
Augustus shucked the blankets off his body. They had done little to ward away the chill of late autumn, and what meager heat the smoldering brazier in the middle of the tent could afford him had faded away in the middle of the witching hour the previous night.
The cold air nipped at Augustus’ bare skin as he strode across the tent to the little washbasin in the corner. He stared at his reflection in the still surface. He looked tired. He felt tired. Though his golden hair was every bit as bright as it used to be, and his green eyes as the emeralds on his late father’s crown, the gauntness of his expression was undeniable, the hollows of his eyes dark and sunken.
Augustus plunged his hands into the basin. The water was icy, though perhaps that was for the best. No doubt, it would serve to chase away the sleepless demons that lingered about him.
A hiss, unbidden, burbled out of Augustus’ throat as he splashed the frigid water on his face. He couldn’t help but wince, though he was glad for the sudden alertness that the bitter cold effected.
As Augustus clutched the edge of the table, water dripping from his face, a small hand towel was proffered to him by his manservant. It would have been strange, as moments ago he had been alone in his tent, but he wasn’t even perturbed, anymore. "Morning, Julius," he said. He’d come to accept that Julius was wont to appear out of thin air whenever he needed anything.
"Good morning, your majesty," said Julius, the corner of his mouth quirking up into a little smirk as Augustus dried himself off.
"Would that it were good, Julius," said Augustus, with a world-weary sigh. He wished that circumstances were different. This was a war that he did not want, but honor demanded otherwise.
Julius chuckled. "I am confident it will be, sire," he said. "Time and again you have led us to victory in our engagements, and each time you have fought harder than any man here to ensure that our people would pay as little of the cost in blood as possible. I am sure that the gods will smile upon you today—as any other day."
Augustus looked at his erstwhile best friend and confidant. "I would rather we not pay the cost in blood at all," he said.
Julius glanced at the earth beneath his feet. "Such is the world we live in, your majesty," he said, looking up to share a meaningful gaze with Augustus. "Sometimes, blood must be spilled so that more is not."
"I know," Augusts sighed. He spun around and walked up to Julius. He reached up and traced his thumb along the curve of Julius’ cheek, brushing a lock of dark hair behind the other’s tapered ear. It was a tender gesture, but one short-lived as Julius pulled away.
"Your majesty," said Julius, a tinge of pink in his cheeks despite his bullish tone.
Augustus scoffed. He’d known Julius for most of his life. They’d grown up together, practically. Born a bastard to a self-important court noble and a salacious summer tryst with the elven ambassador’s daughter who died in childbirth, Julius did not have a home until Augustus’ father offered him one.
Politics being what it was, Augustus’ father never claimed that the boy was his son. It had been scandalous enough when the king took Julius in, but to give a half-elven bastard a legitimate claim to the throne would have turned the kingdom on its head.
All the same, Augustus’ family treated Julius as one of their own. They attended lessons together, learned statecraft, and how to fight together. In all but name, Julius had been his brother, though he liked to think that the bond between them was more than that of siblings.
Augustus knew better than anyone the potential that dwelled inside Julius, but his erstwhile friend, ever the humble and self-deprecating kind, was obstinate and refused promotion. It was, in Julius’ words, "The highest honor to serve at his majesty’s side and see to it that his needs are met."
Given the chance, Augustus would have made Julius the captain of his king’s guard. He’d made the offer, but it had been turned down. "Are you sure you would not reconsider?" he murmured, softly.
"I would not," said Julius, as resolved as always to remain a humble servant.
Augustus had hoped it would not come to this. He had one last card up his sleeve, one last play to hopefully convince Julius to change his mind. He looked up at his erstwhile friend and confidant, eyes wide and pleading. Softly, tenderly, he said, "I should feel better were you to ride with me into battle."
Julius gawked at Augustus for a heartbeat. He looked like he’d choked on the words in his throat. The tinge of pink in his cheeks deepened and he averted his gaze, which Augustus couldn’t help but think was cheating. "I’m sorry, sire, but the battlefield is no place for a servant like me."
Bullshit, Augustus thought to himself, but he bit his tongue.
Julius continued. "It was ever my particular gift to serve and aid his majesty in any way that he required," he said, "but as numerous members of the royal household might attest, it is well known that I am far from his majesty’s equal in the sword."
Augustus knew, better than anyone, that it was all for show. Propaganda at its finest, to show the king in the best light possible. It was a source of endless frustration because while he could never hope to reach the heights that Julius had, Augustus was also a good enough swordsman he could tell Julius was holding back whenever they sparred.
When they were younger, Augustus and Julius had had more of a healthy rivalry. At some point in their early teens, Julius seemed to have gotten it in his head that he had to be careful not to outshine the crown prince and had been holding himself back ever since.
It was infuriating, to say the least, and Augustus could think of a handful of people who might have been responsible—every last one a noble who thought themselves better than the common folk simply by accident of birth.
With a sigh, Augustus relented. By no means was he abandoning his quest to get Julius’ talents recognized properly, but today was not a day that he wanted to begin with a quarrel with someone precious to him. "Very well. It seems there will be no changing your mind," he said.
The corner of Julius’ mouth twitched in a small smile. "No, sire," he said, graciously.
"Not today, anyway," said Augustus, giving a small smile back.
Julius let out a quiet laugh. "This one knows well your propensity for stubbornness, your majesty. May it serve you well on the battlefield today."
Augustus nodded. "May it," he said, solemnly.
Augustus was young, but he was far from the greenhorn that he once was. He stood tall on his horse in front of his men, arrayed in lines that stretched into the distance on either side of him. He felt nervous. Unsettled. Anxious energy crackled just under his skin and at the tips of his fingers. Even the horses nickered nervously.
None but the most veteran members of Augustus’ army seemed to sense anything was amiss. If anything, there was a palpable air of excitement in the ranks. Everyone had heard the tales of the savagery of the Ymrionite elves, and for the younger knights who had never seen a battlefield before, today was a chance to seize valor and glory.
It was quiet. Perhaps too quiet. Apart from the occasional whinny and the jostling of armor, all that could be heard was the snapping of pennants in the wind.
A ripple of disquiet spread through the troops as Augustus was appraising the ranks. He turned his attention back to the field and saw the enemy lining up on a distant hilltop. He could practically feel his younger knights biting at the bit to charge. He ignored them. Now was not the time to get carried away.
Seeing the enemy formation made Augustus uneasy. Something was not right. He could feel it in his gut, but could not quite discern what exactly it was that he found off-putting.
"Your majesty?" said Lord Alberius from Augustus’ right.
Augustus glanced at Lord Alberius. "So, you noticed it too?"
"Yes, your majesty," said the old general as he handed a small brass spyglass over to Augustus. "See for yourself."
With reluctance, Augustus took the spyglass from Lord Alberius and peered through the eyepiece toward the ranks of the enemy arrayed atop the distant hill. The fuzzy, formless feeling of unease that he’d felt earlier instantly took shape and settled in a cold knot at the bottom of his stomach.
"Am I seeing this right, general?" said Augustus. He lowered the spyglass as he turned to face the older man.
"I’m afraid so, your majesty," said Lord Alberius.
Augustus shook his head. "Something’s not right," he said. It was no secret that Ymrion was renowned for its master archers. The destructive power of their enchanted arrows was unparalleled on the battlefield so there was good reason for the Ymrionites’ confidence, but even that didn’t justify fielding only archers.
More obscure but no less effective were the infantry and cavalry units of the Ymrionite army, all of which seemed absent from the present engagement. None of the scout reports had indicated anything out of the ordinary, and the few attempts of scrying had shown that everything was business as usual in the elves’ camp. Augustus was worried.
"Could they be setting up to flank us?" said Augustus. It was a realistic concern, but even the light-footed elves couldn’t very well hide the movement of large units of cavalry.
Lord Alberius shook his head. "It is unlikely, your majesty. If that were the case then we would have heard from our scouts already," he said.
"What I would give to have your confidence on the battlefield, Lord Alberius," said Augustus with a light chuckle. "Perhaps it would be prudent to strengthen our flanks all the same."
Lord Alberius nodded. "I see the wisdom in that, your majesty, so long as we do not weaken our center in doing so."
It was a fair point. "I trust that you know what to do, Lord Alberius," said Augustus. "Please, give the c—"
Before Augustus could finish the sentence, the sharp sibilant sound of an elven warhorn pierced the air. It was joined by another. And another. Before long, the battlefield rang with a chorus of warhorns, and the anxious anticipation of Augustus’ army curdled into tension.
The horns were a masterful touch, and if their objective was to unsettle the human army, Augustus was certain that they had managed to accomplish their objective. Even the youngest, greenest soldiers in his ranks surely not knew that something was not right.
Peering once again through the spyglass, Augustus’ eyes widened. The elves were drawing their bows. It was absurd to think that the arrows could make it across the distance between the two armies, but Ymrion was confident in its ranks of archers for a reason and Augustus could not afford to underestimate them.
"Shields up!" Augustus said. Confusion rippled outward as commanders relayed his order but the men were disciplined and sensible enough, at least, that they obeyed without a second thought. The necessity of the command soon became apparent, as the Ymrionite army unleashed its first barrage of arrows.
Augustus did not appreciate the sheer number of Ymrionite archers stationed atop the distant hill until the arrows sailed high into the heavens. There were so many that they near-blotted out the sun.
As far away as the Ymrionite archers were, too far for any human archer to land an arrow on his quarry, the trajectory of the Ymrionite arrows made one thing clear to Augustus: charging across the battlefield unprepared, to take on the Ymrionite archers, would be suicide.
"Stand your ground!" Lord Alberius called out, as the arrows reached the peak of their flight and began their rapid descent.
Until then the arrows had looked like normal arrows but once they began to fall, they took on a different character altogether. It started at the arrowheads, which began to glow cherry-red and then bright pink. One by one the arrows seemed to melt into bolts of bright pink light, suffusing the heavens in a faint pink glow.
There was hardly a moment to react to the sudden transmutation, and certainly not enough time to command the soldiers to scatter—for what good it would have done them. Augustus felt naught but dread as the arrows plummeted, approaching the glimmering domes of magical energy erected by his army magicians for just such a purpose.
The shields, conjured with spells crafted through painstaking research of Ymrionite ways, proved no bar to the arrows’ purpose. Each shaft of pink light passed through the bubbles of protection as if the barriers, which were known to stop even the most powerful wall-splitting enchantments of the dwarves, were not even there.
The army had no chance to panic. Alarm rippled through the ranks but had no opportunity to cause chaos as the arrows fell upon the soldiers.
Augustus held his shield up, eyes widening in surprise as the bright pink bolt of an arrow passed right through and slammed into him. The pain he expected never materialized, and when he opened the eyes he hadn’t realized he’d closed, he saw no sign of injury on his person.
The same scene played out all along the formation of Augustus’ army. The arrows passed harmlessly through the men, embedding themselves in the ground behind the people they ‘hit.’ One by one, the arrows disappeared into puffs of bright pink mist, cloaking the entire army in a bright pink haze.
The fact that there were no deleterious effects immediately apparent seemed to bolster the army’s morale. Ignorant as most were of the finer workings of magic, the soldiers raised their weapons and banged their shields, cheering.
The haze defied natural laws. Though a breeze was blowing across the field, the haze hung in the air unmoving. Even as Augustus waved his hand in front of his face to ward the haze away, it remained still.
"Lord Tiberius, is there anything you can tell me about this haze?" Augustus said, turning to the lead army magician.
Lord Tiberius, an older man in his late forties and the youngest prefect of the Pilum Arcanis in history, looked up with a start. "I-I’m afraid the workings of this mysterious magic are opaque to me at the moment, sire," said Lord Tiberius, "but it does not seem to be directly harmful."
As they were speaking, the elves loosed a second wave of arrows. "Your majesty, what are your orders?" said Lord Alberius.
Augustus had his reservations. Lord Tiberius had been specific in his wording. The arrows and the haze they produced were not directly harmful, but there was every chance that they would be indirectly harmful. All the same, they had come too far to turn back, now.
"Give the order to advance, Lord Alberius, but let us not do so recklessly. Watch for traps," said Augustus, spurring his steed forward as the second wave of arrows fell harmlessly upon the army.
Lord Alberius nodded and did as he was commanded. On either side of Augustus, the front lines of the army formation began their advance.
With every step forward that they took, the unease in Augustus’ stomach grew. The Ymrionites remained still on their distant hilltop, launching volleys of arrows that pelted the human army with a near-constant rain of pink bolts of energy and suffused the battlefield in a hazy pink glow.
Patient as he was, usually, Augustus could not bear the slow approach. On any other day, he might have listened to his training, put more importance on discipline than the feeling that he had in his gut, but he could tell that even Lord Alberius was feeling as antsy as him.
The rest of the army was no different. The lines, usually perfectly straight, were having some difficulty remaining consistent. Sections of the formation would speed up, getting slightly ahead of their neighbors and having to slow down to let the others catch up.
Everyone was anxious, and Augustus could feel it in his bones. He resisted the urge for as long as he could. The thick pink haze in the air, obscuring the Ymrionite position from him, helped for a time but it was not enough.
"Lord Alberius," said Augustus.
"Yes, your majesty?" said the lord, wiping sweat from his brow.
Augustus drew his sword. "Give the order to charge!"
With an almighty cry, the human army surged forward. Augustus was so taken by surprise that it took him a moment to spur his steed into a gallop. By then, the first few rows of the formation had already overtaken him.
A wave of flesh and steel, the human army stormed up the hill that the Ymrionite army had placed its archers. By then, the pink haze was so thick that it was difficult to see further than five feet ahead.
As Augustus was riding through the ranks he noticed the sudden change in energy. Confusion rippled through the ranks as he galloped past soldiers standing still. Finally, he broke through the pink haze into the clear air at the hilltop, expecting a scene of slaughter.
Nary a drop of blood had been spilled.
Augustus looked about, baffled. Hardly a trace of the Ymrionite army remained, and down past the far side of the hill was the Ymrionite camp, likewise abandoned.
As the initial confusion faded away, Augustus heard a cheer swelling from the men behind him. He felt uneasy, but the soldiers seemed to have taken the events of the day as a victory.
Augustus shared a look with Lord Alberius and it seemed they were of one mind. All the same, he did not dispute the soldiers, wanting to preserve morale. He raised his sword above his head and gave a triumphant roar, though deep down he worried that things had been far too easy.
As thoroughly as Augustus and his men combed the Ymrionite camp, there was nothing meaningful to be found. There were traces of habitation, of course, but it seemed as if the elves had up and abandoned the site in a great hurry.
There were still embers in the campfires. Broths and stews in the iron pots suspended over them were still warm. There were still plates with bits of food in the eating areas.
Augustus would not have believed it if he had not seen it with his own eyes. The supply tents and wagons were still full of food and provisions, abandoned, seemingly, without a second thought. There was but a single, inescapable conclusion: the elves had fled with naught but their most precious belongings.
Anyone else would have been thankful for it. In a way, Augustus was relieved that swords had not been crossed. He had hoped that things would not come to blows, that no blood would have to be spilled. He wasn’t chomping at the bit for a fight and yet the singular, indubitable conclusion that the derelict camp presented only made him more suspicious.
"Fuckin’ cravens," said a nearby soldier, a handsome lad that had seen no more than twenty summers, most like. "Shoulda known all those stories my nan kept gabbin’ on about were just tall tales and all," the young man continued, kicking over a small table that had a knife and cutting board atop it.
Augustus gritted his teeth. He was beginning to think there was nothing useful to be found in the camp. He hadn’t expected that the elves would leave behind pertinent documents but he was still a little disappointed that he was no closer to figuring out what had happened than he had been a few hours ago.
With a sigh, Augustus sought Lord Alberius out. The man was standing outside what was ostensibly the command tent, overseeing a couple of soldiers who were combing over every inch for anything worthwhile.
"I believe it is time we headed back to camp, general," said Augustus, sounding perhaps a hint wearier than he had wanted to let on. "Have the men pick up anything they think is worth something. It wouldn’t do to return without spoils."
Lord Alberius turned to face his king. He seemed concerned, which Augustus found reassuring. "Yes, your majesty," said Lord Alberius, with a hint of reluctance in his voice.
Augustus had not thought the day’s victory, dubious as it was, would be worth much celebration. Not to say that he wasn’t glad for the men’s high spirits. A pall had been hanging over the kingdom since they were forced, by an ancient defensive pact, to join the war against Ymrion and morale had been wavering ever since as a result.
As he sipped from his goblet of mulled wine, nervous energy thrumming at his fingertips, Augustus could not help but wonder whether the festivities had been earned. He had never been one for the politicians’ talks of honor and valor on the battlefield, not since he’d seen how messy war could truly be, but at the same time, there hadn’t been much of a victory.
There had been a cold knot of unease in Augustus’ stomach ever since returning to camp from the battlefield. He’d been able to ignore it thus far, but no longer. He scarcely remembered a time in his life he’d been as anxious or uncertain.
Augustus nearly jumped out of his seat. If Julius hadn’t been serving him food and wine for however long the feast had been going on, he would have thought the man had materialized out of thin air. His stomach fluttered. "W-what is it?"
Julius’ eyebrows furrowed. Concern was writ across the manservant’s face, clear as day. "I was merely wondering if his majesty would like some more wine. Is everything alright, sire?"
"Y-yes," said Augustus. His heart hammered in his chest. For once, he was acutely aware of Julius’ presence. He could feel the heat radiating off him, making his skin tingle. "Just… Just a little tired…"
Julius’ expression softened. "I doubt anyone would raise any objections should your majesty decide to retire to your tent for the evening," he murmured.
Augustus turned his attention away from Julius. It was more difficult than he anticipated. He could scarcely tear his eyes away as he directed his gaze toward the men. Things were getting a little debauched and he supposed now was as good a time as any to take his leave. He didn’t need to stick around for when the more inebriated ones broke into bawdy, rude songs.
When Augustus stood, the others at his table stood as well. He motioned for them to sit back down. "Apologies, friends," he said. His stomach fluttered again as Julius’ fingers brushed lightly against his arm. "I’m afraid I must take my leave for the evening. Today has tired me out more than I anticipated and I should like to seize what rest I can while I am able."
"Of course, your majesty," said Lord Tiberius, bowing deeply before taking his seat and resuming his meal.
Lord Alberius cast a meaningful glance at Augustus. He didn’t seem all too well, either. "May good health find you soon, your majesty," said the old general.
"Thank you, my friend," said Augustus, before slipping away discreetly with Julius’ help.
"Julius, I—" Augustus started, fumbling at his armor.
"Leave it to me, your majesty," said Julius, fingers deftly unbuckling the straps of Augustus’ chest plate before Augustus could even finish his request.
Augustus’ chest was tight. A bead of sweat trickled down the side of his face. He was hot, and he didn’t exactly know why. He tugged at the collar of his gambeson and reached up to wipe the sweat from his brow once Julius managed to strip the plate from his body.
Outside, Augustus could hear the men getting rowdier. Though he could scarcely hear the strains of music from the players from his tent, he could hear the chorus of voices singing along to bawdy, lewd lyrics.
Worse, Augustus could feel the words stirring something inside him. "Julius, wait, I—" he mumbled.
"It won’t be long now, your majesty," said Julius.
Augustus bit back a moan as Julius’ fingers, light and with practiced speed, undid the buckles of his armor one by one. When Julius moved to remove his leg armor, Augustus wanted to stop him but was petrified by the thought. He could only hope that the manservant would not notice the lump in his pants.
If Julius noticed, he neither showed it nor made mention of it. In the relative quiet of the tent, he removed what remained of Augustus’ armor, setting the pieces in the compartments of a nearby padded chest for safekeeping.
Augustus sucked in a sharp breath as Julius helped him out of his gambeson. His cock twitched in his breeches, pulsing against his thigh as heat welled in his groin. He had not been so overcome by lust before, and could not fathom why he was feeling such a thing, now.
Though he would never admit it out loud, Augustus would never deny that Julius was an attractive man. Though the pedigree of his birth was unknown, his mere status as the previous king’s adopted son should have led to many proposals from nobles seeking to elevate their status by wedding their daughters into the royal family, and yet, the fact that he’d elected to remain a manservant for Augustus meant that none of those prospects materialized.
Something ugly reared its head within Augustus at the notion of Julius being wed to some self-important noble’s daughter. It was surprising. He hadn’t expected to feel so jealous at the mere idea of it.
Augustus gritted his teeth and bit back a moan as Julius’ fingers lightly brushed across his shoulders. "Your majesty is tense," he whispered. "I thought today’s victory would have taken a burden off your shoulders, sire," Julius murmured.
Julius’ soft voice made the hairs on the back of Augustus’ neck stand on end. He couldn’t help but shiver as the half-elf’s fingers gently prodded at the knots in his muscles. "I-It wasn’t much of one if you would know," he muttered, eager to divert his attention from the heat throbbing insistently between his legs.
"Would you care to tell this humble servant about it, your majesty?" Julius murmured. He stepped up behind Augustus, arms wrapping loosely around Augustus’ midriff.
Julius’ proximity was distracting. The cool air made Augustus’ skin prickle, his arms breaking into goosebumps. In stark contrast, the heat of Julius’ body seemed to soak into his back, making him tingle.
"W-what are you doing?" Augustus blurted out, cheeks warming as he felt Julius’ fingers plucking at the laces of his breeches.
"Helping you out of your breeches, sire. That you might be comfortable when you retire for the evening," said Julius, murmuring the words in a low, unctuous tone right into Augustus’ ear.
Augustus squeezed his eyes shut, cock throbbing almost painfully between his legs. "I-I see," Augustus stammered, as the coarse linen slid down his legs and pooled around his ankles.
Wordlessly, Augustus stepped out of his breeches as Julius gathered them. He stood there in nothing but his smallclothes, a strange and profound sense of disappointment churning in his stomach as Julius pulled away to set the clothes aside.
"I-if you must know, there wasn’t much of a battle," said Augustus. He took a deep breath and tried to focus. He ignored the need pounding in his veins. He tried to ground himself, to find his center, to calm the tempest swirling around inside of him.
Once he had regained a modicum of composure, Augustus continued. He still felt strange, almost frayed at the edges. The nervous energy was still there, dwelling just underneath the surface, crackling inside of him, but for now, he was calm. "The Ymrionites fielded only archers," he explained. "It was as if their infantry and cavalry had disappeared into the aether."
"Strange," Julius muttered, from nearby. Augustus dared not glance in that direction. He had only just quelled the queer arousal that had bubbled up in his stomach.
Augustus shoved the unwelcome thoughts aside. He did not need to think of how pleasant it would be to re-enact what had transpired only minutes earlier, with Julius’ standing behind him, arms around his waist.
Augustus pointedly ignored the image that sprang to mind.
Instead, Augustus bent all of his willpower to the matter of the earlier engagement. "I am glad that I am not the only one to think so," said Augustus.
"What happened next, your majesty?" said Julius. He made little noise as he moved, as always. Apart from the sound of chests being opened and wood scraping against wood now and then, Augustus could hear nothing that gave him any indication of what the manservant was doing.
"They fired a volley of arrows at us," said Augustus, casting his thoughts back to the events of the day. "I thought it folly. They were so far away. Their enchantments defied all expectations. The arrows pierced our defenses and struck, but did no damage, leaving behind only a haze of pink mist."
There was a pregnant pause, almost as if Julius was trying to figure out what to say. "Was it not poison, sire?" he murmured, something inscrutable in his tone.
Augustus shook his head, though he wasn’t sure if Julius was even looking at him. "No, not as far as we could tell," he said. Even after some hours, Lord Tiberius had been unable to pierce the veil of the enchantment.
After a moment’s consideration, Augustus continued. "In any case, I am perfectly hale, if a little tired. I do not feel at all out of sorts."
"I see. I am glad that you are in good health, your majesty," said Julius. "Do you suppose that today’s battle was a trap of some description?"
Augustus flinched. Julius’s voice sounded much closer than he’d anticipated. The question struck at the heart of his fears. The whole time they’d been making their way to camp, he half-expected to be met by a messenger declaring that the capital had been attacked, sacked, and razed.
Even now, the anxiety was ever-present in the back of Augustus’ mind. The elves of Ymrion were known for their prowess in battle and, at least thus far, nothing had been adding up.
"We cannot discount the possibility," said Augustus, "but for the time being, there is nothing to indicate that such was the case."
Augustus was glad for the conversation. It was always stimulating to speak with Julius and, on this occasion, it was a useful distraction from the rigidness in his loins.
"That is good to hear, sire," Julius murmured.
Augustus jumped. He’d not registered the half-elf’s movement at all. Julius’ voice came from right behind him, and he scarcely had a moment to recover when he felt a warm, wet cloth pressed against his back.
A moan threatened to spill out of Augustus but he wrested control of himself before it could. "W-what are you doing?" he stammered, the modicum of composure he’d regained slipping through his fingers like water through a sieve.
"Are you certain everything is alright, sire?" said Julius. "I am merely cleansing your body of the grime of the day."
"I-I see," Augustus stammered. He tried to cast his mind elsewhere, but the feeling of Julius’s hands dragging the wet cloth across his skin was distracting. His concentration was shot and he could scarce think of anything other than the sensation of Julius’ strong fingers on his back.
"Do you find this pleasant, your majesty?" said Julius, fingers digging into Augustus’ flesh, working gently over the knots in the muscle.
The sensation was nice, but that was the problem. Julius’ touch was electric, and it sent sparks right to Augustus’ cock. "Y-yes," he stammered, trying his best not to have indecent thoughts of Julius doing other things.
With a light chuckle, Julius continued. He washed Augustus’ back with the same thorough attentiveness with which he attended to his tasks as Augustus’ manservant. "Perhaps his majesty would enjoy a massage?"
At any other time, Augustus would not have batted an eye at the thought of having such an intimate moment with Julius. This time was not like other times. He felt a strange anxiety in the pit of his stomach. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to risk it. His body, however, had other ideas.
"I-I would enjoy that, y-yes," Augustus stammered out before he could think about what he was saying. His muscles did feel awfully tense, and he’d experienced one of Julius’ massages before. It wasn’t like anything inappropriate could happen between them.
Augustus was the king, after all. If anything inappropriate did happen, it couldn’t be inappropriate if he let it happen. It wasn’t like anyone could say a thing to him. The council liked to think it had some modicum of power, some say in the things that Augustus did, but consulting them was just a matter of formality. He didn’t really have to.
It wasn’t as if Augustus wanted something inappropriate to happen. His cock twitched. But it wasn’t like he would complain, either, if Julius decided to, say… take advantage while he was lying prone and vulnerable on his cot.
Augustus bit back a moan as his cock pulsed even more insistently against his thigh. It was difficult to think clearly. He was so fucking aroused. His normally well-ordered thoughts had strayed into an area almost vulgar.
Julius walked around to Augustus’ front, a dripping cloth in his hands. He rubbed the cloth against Augustus’ chest. The water was warm but felt all the hotter for Julius’ touch. The manservant raised his eyes and their gazes met. Augustus averted his, cheeks burning furiously at the merest glimpse of Julius’ eyes.
There was something different about this particular ‘bath.’ Julius was closer, this time. Closer than he would ever have dared on any other occasion, to say nothing of the almost-sensuous way with which his fingers caressed the outlines of Augustus’ muscles.
Augustus shivered despite the warmth of the water and the heat of Julius’ body so close to his. His cock throbbed with every motion, arousal thrumming through his veins as Julius tenderly washed the dirt off his arms.
A single motion was all it would have taken for Augustus to sweep his hands up, grab Julius by the face, and kiss him, but he restrained himself. He knew that his friend would not have objected to it—nor would Julius have had the grounds to reject him as he was king—but he wasn’t certain if he was reading the signals right.
Julius walked back around Augustus. Augustus could hear the sound of water splashing as Julius, ostensibly, wrung out the cloth. Moments later, Julius returned, fingers hooking into the top of Augustus’ loincloth.
Augustus froze, uncertain of what to do. The cool air made his ass tingle as Julius stripped him naked. His cock sprang free of the confines, bobbing up and down between his legs as hard as an iron rod.
For the moment, Augustus was glad that Julius was behind him and not in front. He could hide his shameful erection for at least a short while longer.
The relief was short-lived. As soon as Julius pressed the cloth to his behind, Augustus let out a little moan that he could only hope had been quiet enough for Julius not to hear.
Augustus trembled. The intimacy of the whole thing was almost too much to bear. He was struggling to contain the noises that threatened to spill out of him at the slightest provocation and the sensual touch of Julius’ fingers made it all the more difficult.
Anxiety coiled in the pit of Augustus’ stomach as Julius pulled away, having finished with the back of his legs. His cock twitched, pulsing with anticipation as clear pre-cum dribbled from the tip.
Julius walked back around, cloth in his hands. His eyes flitted down and Augustus’ cheeks felt like they were going to burst into flame. Julius’ gaze lingered for a moment and he seemed to have no intention to look away until Augustus cleared his throat.
Instead of saying anything in response, Julius merely raised his eyes and met Augustus’ gaze, the corner of his mouth curling up into a little smirk.
Augustus flushed. Heat bloomed in his chest, radiating outward with every short, shallow breath that he took while Julius washed the area just above his groin. He managed to remain composed as Julius, wordlessly, continued to his thighs, shins, and feet.
Once Julius had finished with his feet, Augustus thought that it was over. It was not. This time, he failed to hold back a moan as Julius gently cleaned his balls with the warm, wet cloth.
At first, Augustus had thought that he’d managed to moan quietly enough that Julius would not have noticed past the din of the festivities in the camp, but a heartbeat later he realized that the men had gone suspiciously quiet. He scarcely had a moment to process the information when the feeling of Julius’ fingers on his rigid shaft utterly derailed his thoughts.
Augustus moaned again, this time louder, as Julius wrapped the cloth and his fingers loosely around the royal member. "J-Julius w-what—"
Julius smirked as he leaned forward, stroking Augustus’ cock beside his face such that his knuckles brushed against his cheek with every motion. "Why, sire, I’m merely making sure that every last inch of you is clean," he murmured, in a low and utterly luscious voice that sent a chill up Augustus’ spine.
Augustus whined, words failing him as Julius’ grip tightened around his erection. "What sort of manservant would I be if I did not have my lord’s every need in mind?" Julius whispered, lips pressed against the side of Augustus’ cock.
It was a faint and subtle thing as their gazes met, but it was difficult to miss once Augustus noticed it: a tinge of pink in the irises of Julius’ beautiful eyes and a hint of pink mist hanging in the air about them. Some part of him, deep down, realized with dawning horror what the Ymrionite arrows had been meant to do, but as the pleasure swallowed him, and his cock throbbed under Julius’ talented ministrations, the conclusion escaped his conscious mind and all he could do was moan in delirious pleasure.
Julius frowned, even as he moved his hand faster up and down Augustus’ cock. "I’m afraid this cloth is not enough to ensure that your majesty’s royal member is clean," he said, in a low, gravelly voice as he tossed the cloth over his shoulder.
Augustus opened his mouth to protest but could not manage to get even a single word out before the thought of asking Julius to stop perished in his mind. He moaned, long, low, and desperate as Julius’ mouth closed around the head of his cock. He bit his lower lip, breathing heavily while Julius’ tongue swirled around the sensitive glans.
Julius pulled off Augustus’ cock with a wet pop. Holding the shaft tightly in his hand, he examined his handiwork, the head glistening with spit. "Yes," said Julius, cheeks tinged with pink, "that is much better."
The few moments that Julius’ mouth left his cock felt like an eternity for Augustus. His fingers twitched at his sides. Something strange burned in the pit of his stomach, a dull hunger that moved his idle hands toward Julius’ head.
Julius looked up and met Augustus’ gaze. The pink haze in his irises had grown more vivid and seemed to be shedding a soft light of its own. The sight, somehow, made Augustus’ cock even harder.
"Your majesty?" Julius murmured, lips pressed against the head of Augustus cock, kissing the spongy, sensitive tip and furtively lapping at the pre-cum dribbling from the tip.
"Get on with it," Augustus barked, his fingers threading into Julius’ hair. He tightened his grip, applying a gentle pressure on the back of Julius’ head.
"Of course, sire," said Julius, a hungry, predatory gleam in his eyes as he opened his mouth to swallow Augustus’ cock once more.
Augustus hissed. The wet heat of Julius’ mouth was almost too much to bear. The half-elf’s tongue skillfully swept left and right along the underside of his cock as he sank, inch by sensitive inch into Julius’ silky throat.
Though it seemed that Augustus was in charge, pulling Julius’ head down into his crotch, truth was that the manservant was dictating the pace. It felt so good. Too good. Augustus could do little more than cling to Julius’ hair for dear life as he slid down the back of the half-elf’s throat with surprising ease.
A long, low moan escaped Augustus as he felt Julius’ hands wrap around his backside. He shivered, his legs trembling as Julius’ fingers dug into the meat of his ass, which proved to be surprisingly sensitive.
Augustus’ balls drew up against his body. He was close. So close. He was sure he would spill over the edge at the slightest provocation and the sensation of Julius’ fingers prying apart his thick cheeks was enough to do just that.
Julius pulled off Augustus’ cock with a wet, sucking sound just as the cum surged out of the royal member. Augustus moaned, throwing his head back and squeezing his eyes shut as pleasure pulsed and pounded through his groin.
Spurt after spurt of thick white jism shot out of the end of Augustus’ cock. He’d self-pleasured before, but there was no comparison to be made. His cock bobbed up and down in the air, spurting and spluttering for what felt like an eternity until the rush slowed into a trickle.
As the high of the orgasm faded into a persistent, but dull haze of arousal in the back of his head, Augustus opened his eyes and looked down. Kneeling on the ground in front of him was a sight that made his flagging erection surge back to full hardness.
Julius, mouth open, tongue out, had his face painted white with cum. Thick ropes draped across his eyes, dripping down his cheek. Nearly every inch of his fine elven features was drenched in cum, and he looked all the happier for it.
"Mmm…" Julius murmured. "This servant thanks you for your generous gift, your majesty," he said, sounding more than a little dazed as he swept his tongue around his mouth to slurp at the cum that had dripped into its reach.
Reaching up, Julius scooped cum off his face and delicately sucked the pearlescent fluid off his fingers. Augustus stood there, spellbound, as he watched Julius’ lips glisten and pucker around his slender digits.
With a smirk, Julius pushed himself up off the ground. A grin split his face in the brief moment that the two of them stood face to face.
The next thing Augustus knew, Julius’ arms were around his waist. He moaned as Julius’ hands squeezed his ass, fingers digging into the meat of his posterior. He stumbled, falling into Julius’ chest as the half-elf pulled him close and moaned yet again as Julius’ lips pressed against his own.
Augustus melted into the kiss. His legs had already been wobbling like jelly after Julius’ masterful blowjob. Now, they threatened to give way entirely.
What felt like sparks of lightning crackled in Augustus’ head as he moaned into Julius’ mouth. He’d never experienced anything quite like it, and the sheer pleasure of the sensation eclipsed anything he’d ever felt before.
For once, in a day that had made no sense whatsoever, Augustus felt as if everything was right in the world. He did not want the moment to end, even if it was too much, even if the pleasure did obliterate every thought that strayed into his head before he could even think it.
When Julius pulled away for breath, Augustus couldn’t help but whine in disappointment. He bit his lower lip, pushing his ass back into Julius’ coarse and calloused hands.
"You’ve been a good boy today, haven’t you, your majesty?" said Julius, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth.
This was different. This was novel. Julius had always been confident and self-sure, but he had never been this assertive.
Augustus liked it. He liked it more than he cared to admit. The hunger in Julius’ eyes as they locked gazes stoked an odd heat in the pit of his stomach and gave him a strange itch inside.
"You’ve always been such a good king, haven’t you, sire?" said Julius, his words taking on a sticky, honeyed tone that sent shivers up and down Augustus’ body. "Making life better for your people. Leading your armies to victory. Making sure everyone is cared for and no one has to sacrifice more than is necessary…"
Augustus moaned as Julius’ fingers pried his ass cheeks apart. The cool air made his hole twitch. It was a strange sensation; It made the itch inside him worse, but it wasn’t exactly unpleasant.
Shifting his legs further apart, Augustus arched his back and pushed his ass into Julius’ hands, hoping to entice the half-elf to do more. What, exactly, he wanted Julius to do, he wasn’t sure, but he certainly wanted something more than what Julius was doing right now.
"Eager, aren’t we, sire?" said Julius, with a low laugh.
There was something dark, rich, and dominant in the tone of Julius’ voice. It made something in Augustus’ gut churn. His cock twitched, leaking pre-cum liberally all over the ground as his pucker flexed. He liked it. More than that, he loved it.
"Y-yes," Augustus stammered, ass cheeks flexing under Julius’ touch. It was strange. He wasn’t used to this. He felt like a cheap whore and, for some reason, he liked it. "P-please," he begged, though, for what, he wasn’t sure.
"Mmm… Does his majesty think he deserves a reward for all of his hard work?" said Julius, a patronizing edge to his voice that made Augustus’ cock all the harder. Augustus couldn’t help but moan, feeling belittled despite the praise and strangely finding it tantalizing more than insulting.
Augustus nodded, words failing him as one of Julius’ slender fingers slid up the crack between the globes of his ass and stroked lightly across the quivering muscle of his entrance. He leaned forward, supporting his weight on Julius’ chest as the finger furtively darted back and forth across his hole, each time sending electric shocks up the base of Augustus’ spine.
"Hmm… I think I’m inclined to agree, sire," said Julius. "You’ve been such a good king and friend to me. It is time that I give you the kind of reward that you deserve."
"Y-yes," Augustus stammered. He thought he’d stop there, but the words kept coming. They spilled out of him like a man possessed, only they felt like they had come from the depths of his being, speaking to the desires that he’d thus far refused to acknowledge. "G-give it to me, sir. P-please. D-don’t I deserve it?" he whined.
Julius leaned in and kissed the side of Augustus’ face. The king practically melted into the touch, a quiet whimper falling from his lips. "I don’t know if you’ve been good enough for that, quite yet, your majesty," said Julius, with a mischievous edge to his voice.
"W-what?" said Augustus, eyes wide. He’d been so focused on Julius’ finger stroking his hole that he’d not even considered the possibility of a reply in the negative. He was so used to Julius being so accommodating. He never expected that his request would be declined.
The sheer shock was enough to afford Augustus a moment of clarity. In that half-heartbeat of lucidity, he saw that the air was suffused with a thick pink haze and that the sounds of moaning could be heard from all around the camp. Before he could so much as ponder what it meant, the feeling of Julius’ slender finger, rubbing around his quivering pucker in gentle circles, distracted him.
A moan escaped Augustus. It felt so good. The itch inside him was growing more insistent by the moment. He needed to scratch it. No. He needed it scratched.
Augustus clung tightly to Julius’ shoulders as he turned his head to the side and whined. He pushed his ass back, eager for more, but the teasing never amounted to more. "B-but I’ve been good, I promise!" he murmured.
"Mmm… His majesty has been a good king to his people, that much is indisputable," said Julius.
"However," said Julius, cutting Augustus off. "His majesty hasn’t been a good boy."
"I have been!" Augustus cried out, indignantly. He looked up, meeting Julius’ gaze. He glared. He pouted. "I have been very good," he said.
Julius clicked his tongue. "Would you say a boy that ignores his minder is a good boy?" he said, in the same stern voice that Augustus had heard him using many times while training newer members of the royal household.
"N-no, but I-I don’t see what that has to do with—"
"Oh?" said Julius, a smirk tugging at the corner of his mouth. "Then I suppose his majesty has somehow, without my noticing, begun to sleep at a healthy hour like I told him to. Unless…"
Augustus whined. It was unfair. Extremely unfair. He was the king. Julius was the servant. He was supposed to be the one doing the reprimanding, not the one being reprimanded.
Not to mention the teasing. The infernal teasing. All Augustus wanted was for that itch inside of him, that burning need in his ass, to be scratched and Julius was denying him.
It was unfair. So unfair.
Then again, it wasn’t as though Augustus didn’t like it when Julius was being assertive. He just didn’t see why it had to be with him. Even if it was extremely arousing for reasons that he couldn’t quite comprehend.
"B-but," Augustus protested, weakly.
"If not that, then surely his majesty has begun delegating his work as I told him to so that he doesn’t return to his quarters bone-weary at the end of every day as a result of working far too much," said Julius, with a devilish grin.
Augustus looked down. "N-no, but…"
Julius clicked his tongue again. "Then you know that you don’t deserve a reward, don’t you?" he murmured, whispering the words in a teasing tone right into Augustus’ ear.
Augustus whined. "I am the king!" he said. All this teasing, it was unjust. Julius might have gotten it in his head that he was in charge right now, but that was only because Augustus had let him take the lead thus far. He’d had enough of all the teasing. "I command you to give me my reward!"
"No," said Julius.
A single word, spoken in the space of a single heartbeat, sent Augustus’ brain to a grinding halt. He’d not expected the refusal.
Augustus was used to getting his way. His advisors would advise him. The council would try to dissuade him. At times they succeeded and he changed his mind. But none of them ever told him "no," outright. Least of all Julius.
"B-but… I’m the king!" Augustus spluttered. He was unprepared for it. Unaccustomed. He had not even conceived that Julius would deny his command.
"You might be the king, but you clearly can’t be trusted to make good decisions for yourself," said Julius, letting go of one of Augustus’ asscheeks to stroke the side of the king’s face. "If you could be, you would be listening to the things I tell you for your own good."
Augustus whined. "B-but I need it," he whimpered.
"How about this, sire. Let me give you that massage we talked about earlier. Let me help you relax a little and work out the knots in those tight muscles of yours. If you’re a good boy and let me take care of you, maybe I’ll think about giving you your reward," said Julius.
Augustus hesitated. The promise of a reward was too good to pass up. But Julius didn’t promise that he’d give him his reward, just that he’d think about giving it to him. Still, the opportunity was there. He wanted it. Needed it. Craved it.
"Okay. Okay. Fine!" Augustus said, bucking his hips back into Julius’ hand.
Julius chuckled. "If I had known it would be this easy to get you to listen, sire, I would have done this with you long ago," he said.
Augustus’ cheeks warmed. "S-shut up," he mumbled, as Julius took him by the hand and led him over to the cot at the side of the tent.
"Oh, and one more thing, your majesty," said Julius, coyly, as Augustus laid down on top of the sheets.
"W-what?" said Augustus, a sudden feeling of dread settling into his chest at the expression on Julius’ face.
Julius smirked. "I will need you to promise that, from now on, you will listen to what I say and take better care of yourself."
Augustus’ eyes widened. "I—"
Julius crossed his arms as he grabbed the hem of his tunic. He slowly worked the garment up his torso while Augustus gawked. Augustus stared, cock getting harder with every inch of hardened muscle that was revealed. By the time that Julius tossed the fabric aside, he was leaking again.
Wresting himself free of the trance he’d inadvertently entered, Augustus shook his head and continued. "I can’t do that. I have duties to the kingdom. To the people!"
"Oh," said Julius, "Is that so?"
Augustus licked his lips as Julius undid the ties of his breeches and slid them down his smooth, muscular legs. His cock pulsed, a glob of pre-cum sliding down along the underside. "Y-yes. I-it is so. I-I can’t just promise that I’ll go to sleep at a healthy hour… S-sometimes I can’t afford it."
"Ah. I understand," said Julius, stepping out of his breeches as he reached over to the side for a small bottle of oil. "Of course his majesty can’t just ignore his kingdom. My mistake, sire. I should have realized that the kingdom is more important than my king."
"Y-yes," said Augustus, feeling suddenly uneasy. "T-that is so. I-I am the king s-so I cannot just think o-of myself." He couldn’t meet Julius’ gaze. A cold knot had settled into the pit of his stomach.
"I understand, your majesty," said Julius, a devilish glint in his eye as he hooked his thumb into the waist of his undergarment. "Though I must say that I cannot help but be disappointed."
"I-I am sorry, sir, but I simply cannot—" Augustus gulped. Drool trickled out the side of his mouth as he gawked at Julius’ cock. It was glorious. Long. Thick. Juicy. He felt a sudden urge to lunge forward and take it in his mouth, slurping up the globs of clear fluid beading at the tip. He barely managed to contain himself.
"It is alright, sire. You are the king, after all. A lowly servant such as myself should not expect to sway your mind on such matters," said Julius, climbing onto the bed on top of Augustus.
"I-I value your opinion, sir…" Augustus whispered.
"That’s good to hear," said Julius, smiling down at Augustus with a strange coldness in his gaze.
The cold knot in Augustus’ stomach got colder but he couldn’t help the moan that escaped him as Julius leaned over him and their cocks rubbed against one another.
"Though it does not change that I am disappointed that you would not be taking better care of yourself, sire," said Julius, pulling the cork off the bottle of oil in his hand. He poured the fragrant, scented oil onto Augustus’ chest. It was strangely warm, spilling from the vessel in a single, glistening stream.
Julius leaned in as he pressed his hands to Augustus’ chest and rubbed the oil into the supple skin. "I cannot say that my disappointment would influence whether I decide to give you your reward or not."
Augustus’ eyes widened. "W-what?" he said, leaning up.
Julius gently pushed Augustus’ bed back down onto the cot. As he lowered his hand, his thumb brushed Augustus’ lips. "Never you mind that now, your majesty," said Julius. "You want to be a good boy for me, don’t you?"
Augustus chewed on his lower lip. He wasn’t used to Julius being so domineering, but a part of him quite liked it. "Y-yes… sir…" he said.
"Good," said Julius. "If that’s what you really want, then you’ll relax for me, won’t you?"
Augustus didn’t answer for a few long moments. Julius’ touch was heavenly, his light fingers seemingly capable of accurately pinpointing the tensest parts of Augustus’ muscles.
"Y-yes…" Augustus mumbled, after a little while, when he realized that Julius probably wanted to hear a reply. It was difficult not to drift off. It felt so good, and not just in the sexual way.
Augustus leaned his head back and closed his eyes. He took a deep breath, letting out a soft moan as Julius’ movements made their cocks slide one against the other. Though the cot was far from luxurious, he still felt like he was floating on a sea of clouds with Julius’ weight and heat on top of him, slender fingers prying his knotted muscles apart.
As he sank deeper into the profound pleasure of it all, Augustus moved his hips. He did so slowly, ass cheeks flexing and unflexing as he pushed his cock up and against Julius’. He moaned. It felt good. So good. To say nothing of the utter rapture that he felt under Julius’ hands as they rubbed and kneaded across his body.
Augustus shivered, eyes rolling back in his head as Julius worked his fingers down his arm. He couldn’t help but moan as Julius rubbed both thumbs along the back of his hand, easing a tightness that he hadn’t even known was there.
For this moment, and just this moment, Augustus was satisfied to lie back and do nothing. He was too lost in the pleasure to worry about what he was risking by being idle. Besides, it simply felt too damn good to give up.
"Mmm… Really eager for a reward, are we, sire?" said Julius, in a low, salacious tone.
Augustus could only grunt in response as he bucked his hips up into Julius’. Though his endowment was not something to be ashamed of, Julius’ thick meat seemed to dwarf his. Despite his own pride as a man, a part of Augustus was excited at the fact that his manservant was substantially better-endowed than him.
Julius leaned down as he rubbed his palms over Augustus’ tight shoulders. "Do you like this, your majesty?" he whispered, right into Augustus’ ear.
"Mhm…" Augustus hummed.
"Would it not be so wonderfully pleasant if you could feel this way every day?" Julius continued, words dripping with exquisite honey.
Augustus moaned. Yes, indeed. It would be wonderful. Right now, he wanted nothing more. If he wasn’t king, he would have happily spent the rest of his life like this, but he had duties.
"Wouldn’t it be so nice if you could spend every waking moment like this, sire?" Julius whispered, nibbling at the lobe of Augustus’ ear.
Augustus could only moan again. He shivered as he felt Julius’ hand slip down along his side. It was slick with oil, and the light touch of Julius’ fingers left tingling trails of lingering heat on his skin. Down and down it went, brushing over the cobbles of his abdomen before dipping past his navel and over his crotch.
"Surely, if his majesty had a choice, his majesty would choose to be cared for and pampered like this each and every moment of every day," Julius murmured, pressing his lips against the back of Augustus’ ear.
The vibrations of Julius’ voice seemed to resonate and amplify in Augustus’ skull. Each and every day. Each and every day. The words echoed, bouncing around in his mind until he could deny their truth no longer.
"Y-yes," Augustus stammered. If he had the choice, if he wasn’t king, if he could drop all of his duties and live the life that he wanted, he would choose this.
Julius’ teasing bordered on torment but Augustus had never felt so good in his life. Deep down, he craved it—wished that the moment would never end. He wanted this. Needed this. And so much more. There was still that itch inside of him that he longed to scratch and he knew just what would serve to do so.
"Why does his majesty take so much work on himself? This lowly servant has always wondered," murmured Julius. He pressed light kisses, which would have been chaste on any occasion but for this one, along the line of Augustus’ jaw.
Augustus grunted. There were many reasons, but all of them defied explanation, not in the least because the words were failing him. The feeling of Julius’ hips rolling against his, their cocks sliding back and forth against one another, made it near impossible to think, much less string together words into something coherent.
Julius, it seemed, had no intention of letting Augustus answer on his own, anyway.
Augustus gasped as Julius took both of their cocks in his oil-slicked hand. He whimpered, bucking his hips with greater insistency as Julius’ fist pumped up and down. It was almost too much. He felt as if he could explode at the slightest provocation. Perhaps he would have if Julius had not whispered cursed words in his ear.
"Is his majesty close?" Julius murmured. "His majesty can spill at any time he so chooses. He is the king, after all."
A quiet sigh bubbled up out of Augustus’ throat, but the relief he felt was short-lived.
"Of course, if his majesty wants to be a good boy, he won’t come until I say it’s time," said Julius. Augustus could practically feel the devilish grin against his ear. "I promise it will feel so much better, sire."
Augustus whined. He wanted to come so badly, but at the same time, he wanted to be a good boy for Julius. He fought the urge, as much as he craved it, and sighed as Julius reached up to stroke the side of his face. "Good. That’s good, sire. Just like that. See? It’s not so difficult to listen, is it?"
Augustus felt like he was walking a tight rope. It was the strangest sensation. His whole body buzzed with energy, with arousal. The fact that Julius didn’t want him to come until he was told was frustrating but, at the same time, the fact that he was obeying without question made him even harder.
For a short while, the only sound that filled the tent was the wet squelching of Julius’ hand stroking up and down their mutual erections. Every stroke was exquisite torture, tight enough to feel good, but just slow enough that it didn’t bring Augustus too close to the edge.
"See?" said Julius, pressing a kiss to the side of Augustus’ face, "It isn’t so difficult to listen, is it, your majesty?"
"N-no," Augustus murmured, moaning under his breath as Julius squeezed tighter. He hadn’t really considered it before, but it was nice to not have to be the one in charge. He was always the one giving commands, always the one the people looked to for answers. It was strangely cathartic not having to make any decisions.
"I am willing to hazard a guess that his majesty enjoys letting someone else be in control," said Julius, his words cool and slick like oil as they wormed their way into Augustus’ head.
Augustus liked it more than he thought he should. It was a dangerous path to tread, but even he had to admit that there was something tempting about having someone else in charge. He nodded and, despite his better judgement, he looked into Julius’ eyes. He could scarcely remember their original color, the irises completely consumed by a softly glowing pink hue that belied the predatory gleam behind them.
"It begs the question… Why does his majesty take so much work upon his shoulders?" said Julius. "Surely you do not enjoy having so many responsibilities, sire."
"N-no, I-I don’t…" Augustus mumbled. He felt so good. He was so damn horny. His cock was so hard. He could scarcely think. He didn’t know how to answer.
"Ah, but his majesty might not enjoy it, but he does it out of a sense of duty and obligation to his kingdom, does he not?" said Julius, with a wolfish grin.
Augustus gulped audibly and nodded. Julius knew him so well.
"His majesty is aware that he is within his rights to delegate many of these duties to members of his court, is he not?" whispered Julius.
Augustus nodded again, though he wasn’t certain. Was he aware of such a thing? He didn’t know. His head was stuffed with cotton. His thoughts were slow like snails. He couldn’t think. Could barely speak.
"Could it be that his majesty does not trust the court with these vital responsibilities?" said Julius, biting at the lobe of Augustus’ ear as he whispered.
"I-I…" Augustus trailed off. He didn’t know if that was his rationale, but it sounded reasonable enough.
"Perhaps his majesty would be more at ease, allowing someone whom he trusts to take most of the burden off of his shoulders? That way, his majesty would have more opportunity to spend experiencing pleasures such as this," murmured Julius.
Augustus moaned. He humped his hips into Julius’ hands. If there was someone he could trust to take on his responsibilities, especially so he could feel this way more often, he would.
"Does his majesty trust me?" said Julius.
A pregnant silence hung in the air between them. "Y-yes…" mumbled Augustus. He was close. So close. He couldn’t think straight, but he didn’t have to. Julius was his closest and oldest friend. There was no one in the world he trusted more.
"Then perhaps I could help ease the burden on your shoulders, sire," said Julius.
Augustus’ eyes widened. "Y-yes, I-I could!" he said.
"Tell me honestly, sire. How much would you entrust to me? The castle? The city? The kingdom? Or perhaps…"
Augustus moaned as Julius’ pumping picked up the pace. He bucked his hips to match the rhythm. He couldn’t think. Didn’t want to think. "T-the world," Augustus said, the words spilling from his lips, the truth of his heart. "I-I would trust you w-with the world!"
"Oh?" said Julius, with a devilish glint in his eye. Just as Augustus felt he was about to spill, Julius pulled his hand away with a smirk.
"Turn over, sire," said Julius.
Meekly, and without so much as a second thought, Augustus did as he was told. He moaned as his weight pressed his cock into the coarse linen of the bedding. He bucked his hips, rubbing his cock against the fabric beneath, and the smooth, slick muscles of his stomach above. It felt good. So good.
"Then perhaps his majesty might be inclined to hand the reins of the kingdom over to me," said Julius.
A small part of Augustus, a part that had managed to remain sane through the onslaught of unearthly pleasure, was immediately alarmed. "I… I don’t…" he mumbled.
"Does his majesty not want to feel unburdened?" said Julius, rubbing his preternaturally warm hands over the corded muscles of Augustus’ back.
"I-I do, I just…" Augustus didn’t even know why he was hesitating. He wanted this, or at least he was pretty sure. He couldn’t remember. Not properly, anyway.
"Does his majesty not want to feel this way more often?" whispered Julius.
More than anything, Augustus wanted to say, but he bit his tongue for reasons that he couldn’t quite understand.
"If his majesty continues to take all the burdens of the kingdom, all the duties of the crown on his shoulders, moments like this would be few and far in between…"
Augustus whined. He did not want that.
"Does his majesty not think it would be reassuring to leave the kingdom in the hands of the person he trusts most?" said Julius.
It would be. It would be. Augustus found himself nodding before he even realized it. He could leave the kingdom in Julius’ hands and be at ease. He didn’t have to think about it. He had no doubt. Julius would take care of his kingdom if he asked it.
"Does his majesty not think it would be wonderful not to have to make so many tough decisions every day?" Julius murmured, the words worming their way into Augustus’ ear.
Augustus groaned as his muscles relaxed under Julius’ touch. It would be wonderful. He could only faintly remember through the thick haze of lust and arousal in his head, but he could recall days spent agonizing over a difficult choice.
"Does his majesty not think it would feel so good not having to think so much?" said Julius, his delicate fingers rubbing over Augustus’ shoulders in a way that made the king want to melt into his touch.
It was hard enough trying to think at the moment. He didn’t want to do more of it. It made his head hurt. Though it was difficult, he could, just barely remember that he had to do a lot more of it on a regular day.
Augustus whined. No. He did not want to do any more thinking. It would feel so good if he didn’t have to think as much. He didn’t want to have to think at all if it was going to be this difficult.
"Would his majesty not feel better if he did not have to worry anymore?" murmured Julius, his hands following the curve of Augustus’ sides to settle in the king’s lower back. Augustus let out a soft groan as Julius’ fingers kneaded his muscles, loosening the knots, sending waves of pleasure, pain, and relaxation through his body.
If the kingdom was in Julius’ hands, Augustus certainly wouldn’t have to worry. It was as he said earlier. He trusted Julius with the world. He had every confidence that Julius would run his kingdom well.
"Would it not feel so good, sire, if you could just leave all the thinking to someone you trust? If you didn’t have to do any thinking of your own, just letting someone you trust do all the thinking for you?"
Augustus moaned. Julius’ cock had settled in the cleft of his ass. It was thick and hot, sliding up and down his crack, slicked with oil and pre-cum. It would feel good. Great, even. It was hard to think. He didn’t want to think. If someone else, someone he trusted could take over for him, he wasn’t going to complain.
"Would you like that, your majesty?" said Julius. "Would you like this lowly servant to do all the thinking for you from now on?"
Augustus’ hole twitched as the head of Julius’ cock brushed against his entrance. It felt good. it sent a frisson of pleasure right up his spine, shooting into the base of his skull and erupting in his head like countless shimmering sparks. "Y-yes," he panted.
"Does his majesty want to feel this way all the time?" Julius murmured, his voice low and dangerous as he spoke the words into Augustus’ ear.
"M-more than anything," Augustus moaned as he felt Julius’ cock pressing at his entrance with increasing insistence.
"Does his majesty want this lowly servant to do all of the worrying and make all the decisions so that he can focus on being the desperate little slattern he was always meant to be?" Julius growled.
Augustus couldn’t help but grunt. The pressure on his asshole was increasing. He could feel Julius’ cock slowly prying him open. It was painful, but it felt good, too. So profoundly good. "Y-yes," he moaned again.
"Will you listen to everything I say and do everything I say, sire?" said Julius.
Augustus nodded, chewing on his lower lip as he rolled his hips backward. Julius was starting to press into him. His hole burned at the intrusion, but he didn’t care. It felt good. So good. It was the only thing he could think of. He would do anything to have Julius’ cock inside of him. However demeaning. However humiliating.
"Will you be a good little whore king for me, sire?" said Julius, pressing his lips to the back of Augustus’ neck. "Will you be my obedient little pet?"
Augustus moaned, arching his back as Julius’ cock prised him open. There was nothing quite like it. He would be anything Julius wanted him to be if only he could have more of it.
"That’s a good slut," Julius murmured. "Tell me what you are, sire,"
"I-I’m your obedient little whore king, sir," Augustus moaned. The words spilled from him, unbidden. Gods knew he couldn’t string them together himself. They bubbled up from deep inside him, the part of him that had accepted his new role with enthusiasm.
"Oh yeah?" said Julius, letting his teeth graze over the sensitive skin of the nape of Augustus’ neck. "Tell me what that means."
"I-It means I’ll think whatever you tell me to think, sir," Augustus moaned. He hiked his legs further apart. He pushed his ass back into Julius’ hips. He was stretching open, getting split in half. It was a pain unlike anything he’d experienced before, but a pleasure all the same. "I-It means I’ll do whatever you tell me to do, sir,"
"Good. Good. That’s a good little slut. Tell me who you belong to," said Julius.
"You, sir!" Augustus whined, sucking in a sharp breath as the head of Julius’ cock popped into his asshole.
"Ah, fuck, sire, you’re a tight little whore king, aren’t you?" Julius groaned as Augustus’ hole clenched around the unfamiliar but not-unwelcome invader. "Tell me what you want, slut."
"I-I want your cock, sir!" Augustus moaned.
"Oh, yeah? You want me to stick my fat half-breed cock up your virgin fuckhole, sire?" said Julius, practically growling as he bit down on Augustus’ shoulder.
"O-oh gods, y-yes! Fuck me, sir!" Augustus whined, bucking his hips.
"Yeah? You want me to fuck you, sire? How hard do you want me to fuck your whore-king cunt, sire?" said Julius, chest rumbling with the ferocity in his low, gravelly voice.
"A-as hard as you can, sir!" Augustus moaned, as another inch of Julius’ cock slipped into him.
"As hard as I can?" said Julius. "Hard enough to fuck all the useless thoughts and intelligence in that pretty little head of yours, sire?"
"G-gods, yes!" Augustus moaned, back arching, toes curling as the head of Julius’ cock brushed against his prostate and sent a tsunami of pleasure crashing through his body. "F-fuck me dumb, sir! I-I don’t want to think anymore!"
"Oh yeah," said Julius, panting. "That’s a good little slut king. Let’s empty that hard head of yours." He grunted as he slammed his cock home, eliciting a yelp from Augustus underneath him.
"Let’s make sure the only thing in that thick skull is cock," growled Julius.
"Y-yes, p-please!" Augustus whined.
"Alright," said Julius. "You’ve been a good enough little whore king for me. I’ve decided to give you your reward. Take it. Take it like the slut you are!"
Augustus could only open his mouth in a wordless, delirious howl as Julius’ cock jackhammered into his hole. It was a furious, ferocious rut that left no space for thought or mercy. Augustus could practically feel his brain bouncing around in his skull, getting flattened by Julius’ vicious pounding.
In and out. In and out. Harder and harder with every stroke until the entire bedframe was creaking and threatening to give underneath them.
Augustus could only moan, fingers tightening in the coarse sheets, toes curling as his virgin hole was plowed into a sloppy, loose cunt. He came. Julius’ cock slammed into his prostate and he came. He lost track of how many times. He lost track of time itself.
One moment blurred into the next like the thick haze of pleasure in Augustus’ head that suffocated his thoughts and his rapidly declining intelligence. With every throb of his cock, with every thrust in his hole, he felt himself getting dumber and emptier and he had never felt so good in his life.
Augustus was a drooling, blubbering mess by the time that Julius gave one last shaking thrust and spilled inside of him. The hot jism spilling into him, flooding his pummelled guts, sent another wave of quivering pleasure through Augustus’ body and elicited yet another weak orgasm from his half-hard cock.
Augustus grunted as Julius collapsed on top of him, cock still buried in his ass. He yawned, exhausted, eyes sliding shut. The last thing he saw before the darkness took him was the tent flap being brushed aside as a tall elven man walked in.
The elf seemed taken aback, but his lips quickly curled into a lopsided grin. "Well, now isn’t that interesting?" he murmured, moments before Augustus succumbed to his fatigue and fell asleep.
The throne room stank of sex. Many things had changed since the army returned victorious from their battle with the elves of Ymrion. For one thing, a thin pink haze hung over the entire kingdom and public sex between the men was common, if not outright encouraged.
The women and children seemed to have disappeared as well, but hardly anyone seemed to mind. Despite their absence, the towns and cities continued to grow with every passing month, and the kingdom had never been more prosperous.
Things had changed in the castle, too. Council meetings were no longer dry, dreary occasions. The old nobles, revitalized by the strange enchantment that hung over the kingdom, engaged in debauched acts of utmost indecency with all who participated.
The king himself had taken more of a secondary role in the running of the kingdom. Augustus spent most of his days at the foot of his throne, nursing on the regent’s, Julius’, cock or bouncing on it like the empty-headed little slattern he was.
If anyone found it strange that the once soft-spoken half-elf manservant of the king, whom hardly anyone thought anything of, was now the regent, they did not say it. If anything, most of the men seemed to envy the king for monopolizing the half-elf’s fat cock. Then again, it was only to be expected. Augustus was the king. It was only right that the most magnificent cock in the kingdom was served and worshiped by him alone.
A bright golden circlet sat on Julius’ brow as he reclined on the throne. One elbow rested on the armrest, propping up his head, while his other hand was threaded through Augustus’ thick locks as he pumped his cock into the eager whore king’s throat. He looked up at his distinguished guest, eyes shining brightly pink.
"Greetings, regent," said the tall elven man, bowing deeply before the throne.
"Greetings, your majesty," said Julius. "To what do we owe the pleasure?"
The elf grinned. "I am given to understand that you used to be your king’s head servant?"
Julius raised an eyebrow, rubbing the back of Augustus’ head. "And if I were, would it be consequential?"
The elf shook his head. "Forgive me. It is merely a matter of personal curiosity. You see, your excellency, the enchantment was supposed to engender, in human men, an all-consuming sexual subservience to elven men."
Julius tilted his head. "You stand before me today, sire, a full-blooded elf, and yet I feel no subservience."
"Pray, your excellency, observe the state of your court," said the elven king with a smirk.
Julius decided to humor the elven king and looked around. Nearly all the men were staring at the elf, practically drooling. "Point taken. Perhaps you would be able to enlighten me as to why the enchantment seems to have had a different effect on me," said Julius.
"I should like to investigate the matter, myself," said the elven king, with a grin. "Perhaps over a nice supper, and some wine."
Julius’ eyes gleamed. "Perhaps," he said. "But surely you must have some theory."
The elven king nodded. "I imagine it has to do with your being a half-breed. The enchantment is supposed to have no effect on those of elven blood. I imagine that it was too powerful for your human half to resist, but because of your elven blood, the enchantment was twisted to engender, instead, a more domineering attitude."
"An interesting hypothesis," said Julius. "But you must not have come all this way merely to sate your personal curiosity about a lowly servant such as myself."
"I have come to propose a deal that should benefit our two kingdoms," said the elven king.
Julius raised an eyebrow.
"Elven cock for goods and gold," said the elven king.
Julius laughed as every pair of eyes in the throne room swung toward him. "I shall have to consult his majesty," he said, pulling Augustus off his cock. The king’s eyes were glassy. A trickle of drool dribbled from the corner of his mouth. "Though I imagine he’ll be as eager for this deal as I am."