THE BOY HEROES FROM THE LAND OF ERIK (A Series of Epics)
Epic no. 2 –
Journey to Aranathra
Email ail (Email me your thoughts please. It helps motivate me to keep editing and putting these chapters out.)
Please donate to as well! Without them, you wouldn”t be able to enjoy these fty/donate.html
Authors note: Always appreciate the favs, messages, etc. Thank you for the support and hope you continue enjoying the story! 😊 Now our boys are hiding out in a cave, some more sex, danger, and a new character! As always, greatly appreciate the emails that motivate me to put these out.
Journey to Aranathra
� � � � � � � Upon morning, Toby and Hunter discuss their new trail planned out with Tomas before it”s agreed on. They leave early in the morning and head out into the forests of enlightenment, which are vast and large with its own catalogue of nature unlike any other on the rest of the planet. It will most likely be the safest and quickest part of the trip with little to no danger from violent forces, although that means that since they”re not fighting or defending themselves they must work harder on getting through the trails as fast as possible to make sure the voyage to the shrine takes as short as possible.
� � � � � � � A few days pass quite quickly. With no sense of danger later in the night, they continue walking until it”s too dark. They sleep out in the woods with no huts. A full four days of nonstop walking and tracking weighs heavy on them and they need a good night of rest. Hunter speaks with Tomas about setting up camp early and making huts for the night. The sky is an ominous, steel grey of clouds that seem to drift lower and lower. A storm is brewing in the sky and they will need shelter for it.
� � � � � � � “Reckon that it will hit us in the morning. It”s going to be a brutal one. There”s a possibility that it”ll be too dangerous for us to even travel until the storm is over.” Hunter inhales the scent of the air, feeling his feet into the dirt and picking up on the magnetic waves from the planet and sky. Each of them can also pick up on it as well, even the two that haven”t been able to shapeshift yet. “Luckily, it will only last around twelve to sixteen hours.” He pulls out a flask of whiskey, taking a swig from it and offering it to Tomas. “For special occasions.” He grins while his pig tail slaps from side to side. “Thing is, the storm will muddy down most of the paths, possibly flood some of them too.”
� � � � � � � “Thanks.” Tomas takes the flask and takes a quick drink. The liquid burns on the way down, comforting and warming. He raises his eyebrows and nods approvingly. “That”s not bad. Not bad at all. Make sure River has as warm and dry a hut as possible. Do you think it would be better for us all to share one hut? It feels like it”s going to be fierce.”
� � � � � � � “Hmm. It might be more work to build one massive hut.” He turns to the boys behind them, specifically making sure River is alright. The blue haired boy has been quite rejuvenated since they”ve made it out into the forest and spent much time conversing with the prince.
� � � � � � � Hunter calls out for Ythl. Everyone gathers closer to the two of them. “Ythl, I don”t know if it”s something you can really do since I don”t know much about magic, but I”d recommend making a very strong potion for River to take. We don”t want him getting a cold with this storm coming up. He”s sick enough as it is.”
� � � � � � � River looks down from the house, a book of prayers open and resting on top of his spell book. He seems anxious about the weather as well. Prince Asher pats his leg and looks up at him.” I”ll sleep with him tonight if that”s ok.”
� � � � � � � Tomas nods. “More work, but you have no shortage of willing workers. Just tell the Prince and I what to do, and we”ll help as much as we can.” He looks out at the coming storm. “I worry that if we”re in separate huts, with the wind and rain, one hut could be washed away and the others would never hear their cries for help.”
� � � � � � � Ythl bites his thumbnail, staring at the sky, deep in thought. He climbs atop a large, rocky outcropping. He shields his eyes with both hands, his staff glows faintly. He sighs and hops down, approaching Tomas and Hunter. “It”s a powerful storm. There will be lighting, thunder. Possibly even tornadoes. It”s over the flatlands now. The grounds rougher here, so I can”t say the tornadoes will continue.” He looks back to the storm. “Gods be with the people under it now. They”re getting pounded.”
� � � � � � � “Shit.” Hunter kicks his boots into the grass, looking to his husband. “Any thoughts? Ideas?”
� � � � � � � “Yeah…” He returns to the horse, taking his map out of a bag and looking it over. “There”s a cave that we can use that”s only a mile away, but it”s a little high up. Is there…” He looks at Ythl, laughing for a moment. “Is there a way you can make the horse fly? This is truly the only way we could survive a tornado in a forest like this. Don”t worry. It”s very large and not the dirty kind of cave that you imagine it to be.”
� � � � � � � “We can do that. Can”t we, boy?” River shuts his book and nuzzles the horses neck, then playing with his fur. “I”ve done levitation spells before, but never with a living creature. It might be difficult for us, but we can get it done.”
� � � � � � � Ythl nods. “We should be able to. How high up? Thousands of feet? Hundreds? Dozens?”
� � � � � � � Tomas shoulders his pack. “Let”s not waste time. Toby, lead on to the cave. Hunter, bring up the rear. We”ll go as hard as we can. Hopefully, we”ll be well set up in the cave before the leading edge of the storm reaches us.”
� � � � � � � “Yes sir.” Hunter bows, as custom by him, even though they”re just friends. All of them run in a good pace while the horse follows close behind. Ythl rides with River, assuring that he doesn”t fall since they”re traveling faster than usual. They make it to the cave, which is about thirty feet high above the ground. River and Ythl step off of the horse, taking their goods and handing bags out to everyone else.
� � � � � � � “Okay. I”m sure we”ve all done some rock climbing before, but even if you haven”t it shouldn”t be too difficult. Hunter and I will go first and then we”ll throw down a rope.” Toby pulls out a pair of gloves that he traditionally uses for shooting arrows, handing them to Tomas. “We”re going up first.”
� � � � � � � The husbands waste no time in climbing up the cliff that leads into the limestone cave. They place their bags, pillows and blankets down first, then throw down the rope.
� � � � � � � Ythl looks at River, judging his physical condition. “How are you feeling? I have an idea how we can get the horse up there, if you”re up to casting.”
� � � � � � � RIver nods. “I”m fine.”
� � � � � � � Ythl shakes his head. “You could have your right eye rolling around in you breakfast oatmeal and you”d say you”re fine.” He sighs. “I”ll use a calming chant with the horse, if you can levitate him.” He ties a rope to the horses saddle. “They can pull him into the cave once we have him up. What do you think, River?”
� � � � � � � River reaches behind him and taps the ground two times with his staff, allowing the gem at the tip of it to glow blue. “I”m ready whenever you are.” He walks in circles around the horse, chanting and singing a very ancient levitation spell that isn”t used much anymore, although it”s well known by those that are water and air mages. Once he”s finished, he helps guide the horse towards the walls to the left of them, then looks to Ythl. “I”ve made the connection with him. Now you just need to calm him down.”
� � � � � � � “Excellent. Well done, River.” Ythl smiles at his apprentice. He approaches the horse, leaning up to whisper in its ear. The stone at the tip of his staff glows green. The horse neighs and seems to nod. Ythl steps back, chanting in a clear, melodic voice. The horse”s ears flap and turn as gradually the huge beast visibly calms, it”s neck and head drooping. Ythl nods to River.
� � � � � � � River nods, smirking and looking to his teacher. “Wow… He”s really cute like that. Okay. Here we go.” He moves his arms around, then pretends to run so that he can get his blood pumping and prepared. River twirls with staff from hand to hand in circles, tossed into the air, caught, behind his back, then stops and points it at the horse.
� � � � � � � “Show off.” Ythl jokes.
� � � � � � � “Hmmph.” River raises a brow at him, then begins to chant as he keeps one eye closed and the other. Slowly, the horse rises into the air, lazily looking around himself and down below as he floats into the air. The young mage wants to laugh but knows that doing so would mean having the horse fall and possibly die. Once the horse is leveled with the cave he tilts his staff up and taps it to the ground once more. It levitates into the cave. Toby and Hunter help it in and immediately feed it off to the side.
� � � � � � � Ythl ends his chant, slowly trailing off. He looks carefully at River, judging how much the levitation has taken out of his pupil. “You look well. That didn”t take too much out of you, did it?”
� � � � � � � Toby tosses down a rope and Tomas catches it. He makes a large loop and steps over to River. “Arms up! Unless you can levitate or fly, Toby and Hunter will pull you up.” River raises his arms and Tomas slips the rope over his arms, tightening it under his armpits. “Just keep your hands together, over your belly button.”
� � � � � � � “I”ve done this before, believe it or not.” He tosses his staff up, which also levitates right into the room. Toby catches it and carefully places it down, then begins to lift him up with the help of his husband. Once inside of the cave, the blue-haired boy gasps in awe. Cave walls twinkle and glow with trillions of crystals embedded into the rocks. The lightest sand they”ve ever felt makes a calm sound as he walks in it. He steps to the ledge and yells out. “This place is awesome! You wouldn”t believe it!”
� � � � � � � Hunter tosses down the rope again. They quickly bring both of them up one by one into the cave.
� � � � � � � Tomas is the last to climb up to the cave. He checks the area before he ascends, making sure they”ve not left anything behind. As he ties the rope around himself, he notices a rustling in the tree line. He turns, hand on his sword hilt, but nothing is visible. He watches the trees but sees and hears nothing unusual. He tugs on the rope, letting Hunter and Toby pull him up as he keeps his front towards the trees, watching.
� � � � � � � Once inside the cave, Tomas lets out a low whistle. “This is much nicer than I imagined.” He casts one last suspicious look to the trees.
� � � � � � � “Yeah. There”s still stuff left here from whoever was here last.” Hunter sniffs, making a pig grunt, which he then gets shy over. “Uhm, I think we”re safe in here. No company. You two should cast a spell at the entrance anyway though.” He looks at Ythl and River. “We still have meat preserved in leaf paper for dinner. My husband and I will set up for dinner. Tomas, do you want to walk the cave and make sure it”s fine?”
� � � � � � � Tomas nods and kneels down. He retrieves a torch and lights it from the fire that Hunter and Toby already have started. Hand on his sword hilt and torch raised high, he ventures deeper into the cave.
� � � � � � � It”s a large cave, delving deeply into the sheer side of the large hill. It narrows, with three separate paths. He takes the left most path, which after a short tunnel opens into a rough, circular chamber. Stalagmites and stalactites reach for each other from floor to ceiling. Along the far wall is small pool of water. The room is cold and damp, with the sound of water dripping echoing through the chamber. Cautiously, he approaches the pool, quickly dipping a hand into the water and tasting it. Fresh. He nods approvingly and moves back to the intersection.
� � � � � � � “Fresh water down here, to the left. To the left.” He emphasizes. Then he takes the central tunnel. It”s very narrow forcing him to turn sideways before the tunnel becomes choked with debris from a collapse ages ago. With a grunt, Tomas returns to the intersection, taking the right most tunnel.
� � � � � � � “Left tunnel?” River grabs his princes hand, taking him along with him to the room. Asher looks behind him, following along, but also seems confused. “The others don”t feel bothered. I bet there”s cave paintings in here too! Probably from demons and anthros from long ago! Which do you place your bet on?” They make their way towards the pool of water. River places his staff down as he kneels, placing both of his palms on the top of his water. It changes into a neon blue color as he begins to pray and chant. A strange, almost mechanical sound echoes through the chamber as he does so.
� � � � � � � “River… What are you doing?” He gasps as he see”s some sort of figure rise from the water, its body made of fog. It”s of a young adult, whom looks down upon them both. The figures body fades out and floods the room with a calming smoke. “Wahh… That magic. What was that about?”
� � � � � � � The blue haired boy washes his face in the pool of water, smiling as he exhales and stands back up. “I was praying. Relixor, one of the Gods of water, is known for bringing good health to those that are faithful to him. I”m more prone to get sicker than anyone else during the storm, so it”s important that I stay healthy.”
� � � � � � � Both of them walk hand in hand out from the room and back into the main hall by the opening. Hunter has finished cooking the deer meat, which rests on clean leaves on the solid floors. “I hope that the herbs we used to season it will be pleasurable enough.” He moves a small pot from out of a fire, scooping bits of it to every leaf positioned around the fire. Meanwhile, Toby fills a cup of water for everyone.
� � � � � � � Tomas can smell the venison. His stomach grumbles and he considers turning back. He presses on a few more steps and his perseverance is rewarded as the narrow tunnel he was in widens into long, irregular chamber. Huge formations have grown from the floor and ceiling to meet, forming areas out Tomas” sight. What he can see nearly takes his breath away.
� � � � � � � On a huge formation, a pillar of stone reaching from ceiling to floor directly in front of him, is a rough painting. He looks at it for a moment, realizing that it”s a dragon staring back at him. Tiny gems or crystals embedded in the stone capture and reflect the light from his torch. The largest crystals form the creatures eyes, glinting the red torchlight back at him. He whistles and starts to approach the drawing. Some sense slows him, though and he lowers the torch, waving it just above the ground.
� � � � � � � A small pile of sticks and stones rests just in front of him. As he waves the torch, he sees that there are perhaps a dozen such piles. Each is maybe four inches high and they are similar enough to each other that Tomas is immediately certain that each was made and placed deliberately. He kneels down, holding the torch out in front of him, his free hand tapping excitedly at his sword hilt. He stands and turns, leaving the chamber and rejoining his friends.
� � � � � � � “That smells good.” He takes a leaf of food and sits. He eats and drinks slowly.
� � � � � � � “Well, what did you find? I haven”t seen that look in years.” Ythl prods Tomas
� � � � � � � Asher nods. “I see it, too. When we play riddle games and he”s stumped. He”s trying to figure something out.”
� � � � � � � Tomas nods, smiling weakly. “You have me there. I did find something. A chamber with an ancient drawing and the oddest little piles.” He describes the chamber, the piles, the drawing. HIs friends grow more and more excited as he reveals his find.
� � � � � � � “Those are wood-signs, it sounds like!” Toby exclaims. “I”d have to see them to be sure, but they sound like a warning.”
� � � � � � � River eats only half of his meal before he”s full. He can”t consume too much meat, as it is hard on his body. Asher shares his grains with him. “You think there”s a dragon in this cave?”
� � � � � � � “In this cave? Pshhh.” He laughs, slapping him on the shoulder. “There”s only sixteen known dragons left on the planet and only eight of them are major ones. Apparently, one of them vanished some ten or eleven years ago. Some say it was killed, but you”d expect a trophy from that.”
� � � � � � � “A trophy? That”s just sick… Disgusting.” He lies back, holding himself up with his hands. Asher can see through his spread out legs and under his robe, spotting his underwear in fundoshi form, like that of a demons.
� � � � � � � Hunter walks to the edge of the window, peaking out as it begins to storm. A torrential downpour of rain hits down loud and hard, lightning blinding them every now and then, following by chaotic cracks of thunder. “We should be safe in here even if there”s a twister of some sort.” He sighs, hand resting on his fathers sword. “I hope that the animals can find shelter fast.”
� � � � � � � Toby looks out at the storm. “Don”t worry, the animals knew this storm was coming before we did. They”re all hunkered down as best they can.” he turns to the others. “So, Tomas, are you going to show us this great find of yours?”
� � � � � � � Tomas stands and stretches, patting his tummy. “That was a very good meal. Thank you for that, Toby, Hunter. Does anyone really want to see the dragon art and all that?”
� � � � � � � Everyone is quiet for a moment. Asher is the first to speak for the rest of them. “Are you FUCKING kidding me? Of course we want to see! Ancient art with dragons on it?”
� � � � � � � Everyone bursts out in laughter, rushing forth to Tomas. Ythl stands side by side with him, with Toby and Hunter in the middle and Asher and River at the back.
� � � � � � � Tomas smiles, teasing them all. “I don”t know. Kids these days don”t really appreciate art.” Everyone looks at him for a moment, then glares at him. Before they can object, he laughs. “Alright, alright. Yth, can you give us some more light with your staff. And you, too, River, it it won”t tire you.”
� � � � � � � Ythl and River tap their staves on the ground and their respective crystals begin to glow. Tomas leads the group down the narrow, twisting tunnel. Upon reaching the chamber, he stops the group, calling Toby forward. The archer hustles forward and he and Tomas examine the small mounds.
� � � � � � � After a few moments, Toby stands, wiping his hands on his pants. “Yep, those are signs from another woodsman. Maybe an elf, but probably another anthro. It”s a warning. Literally, “Take Care”. We usually use these to mark dangerous trails or unsafe ground. Like places with rock-slides, or bogs and quicksands.”
� � � � � � � “I do sense some faint magic in this room.” Ythl states from where he”s watching Tomas and Toby. “It seems to be some sort of stasis or preservative type of enchantment. Perhaps to maintain the drawings? I don”t think it”s a magical trap.”
� � � � � � � River walks up a bit closer, but doesn”t touch the paintings. He takes a few steps back when a certain scent reaches him. “The paintings came tens of thousands of years ago for sure, but whoever visited this place… Those that placed an enchantment onto the walls were last here half of that time. Maybe they moved on due to harsh weather.”
� � � � � � � “So we shouldn”t touch these walls, I”m guessing?” Hunter rubs his chin, walking back and forth to study the paintings. “They were most likely used for worship. Fire dragons are the most common, but this one is a water dragon, I think.”
� � � � � � � Further from the painting of the dragon are others of anthro deities, such as the infamous five wolf Gods and separate first mages. Toby follows with his wizard friend Ythl as he speaks out.” Do you worship Masakin, Tomas? Or any of the other two gray wolf Gods?”
� � � � � � � Asher and River walk the opposite ways. The prince notices other deities, including those from their neighboring kingdoms. There”s even a few gods that the Cruiberg worship on them too. “This place… I feel like it represents the meaning of life. Our life. Our Aiguan cultures.”
� � � � � � � River smiles and holds his hand. “It was a time when all people from different kingdoms of all races, religions, and species gathered and prayed together, learned from one another. This must be some sort of cave temple of unifying the melting pot of our kingdom”s beliefs.” He walks to Tomas. Everyone else gathers beside him.
� � � � � � � Tomas is quiet, staring at the paintings without comment.
� � � � � � � Ythl stands wide-eyed, almost trembling with excitement. The wizard speaks in short rapid bursts. “Do you know what this could represent? Proof that at one time all peoples lived in peace!” He looks at his friends. “Oh, if only we had time to truly study these drawings!” He move to one that depicts the five wolves. “Thank the gods that Crayus and his people haven”t found this place! They would destroy all of it! The loss to knowledge and understanding would be incalculable. . .” His voice trails off.
� � � � � � � “Crayus has a sociopathic madness to him, no doubt. Him and his cult are like the dark mages in that way.” Hunter moves his hand to reach for his husbands. “I wonder… If the intellects of Cruiberg saw this though, do you think they”d still see the need for war?”
� � � � � � � “Yes.” Asher interrupts before anyone etiler escort else can but in. “Like River said, this was ten thousand or more years ago. A lot has changed in that time span.” He squeezes River”s hand. “Do you reckon that the dragon is what brought them together? I do. Dragons typically have that kind of legend to them – they unite and bring peace or they bring absolute destruction.”
� � � � � � � Tomas clears his throat. “Um, I know this is important and valuable. But getting River and Asher to the shrine is more important. Ythl, River . . . take a half hour to make notes or cast spells or whatever it is you can do. Hunter, stay with them. Then head back to main chamber.” He looks at Toby and Asher. “We”ll go back and see to the camp. We have to try and get as much rest tonight as possible. Hopefully, the storm passes. If it does, who knows what conditions will be like. It could slow us down.” He shakes his head. “Gods forbid that the storm stalls over us for days, trapping us here.” He looks at River and Asher. Sighing, he takes his torch and heads for the tunnel. “C”mon. No time to waste, my friends.”
� � � � � � � Toby and Asher follow along with Tomas while the wizards make it back to the front. They cast a protection spell over the entrance, sealing anyone from entering or leaving for the next day until they decide to leave. After they”re done, River feeds the horse, laughing as he does so, remembering how they used magic to levitate him up.
� � � � � � � Toby stretches out and placing blankets and pillows down by the entrance. “Hunter and I will sleep here tonight. We”ll be the first to know if the twister comes through.” He yawns, stretching out his arms and placing his bow and arrows down beside his pillow. “Ohhhh honey!!!! Where are you? We need to rest!”
� � � � � � � “Let”s get that medicine for you ready. I want you in the best strength possible in case anything happens. We might not have to fight off zombies or corrupted guards, but storms can be just as bad.” Ythl opens his bag, mixing in some tea with warm water over the fire. He opens his own prayer book and begins to chant as a kaleidoscope of foggy colors form from the pot of tea.
� � � � � � � Toby leans on one side, watching Ythl brew his healing tea. Hunter slides in front of him, snuggling backwards against his husband. The archer wraps an arm around his boar-friend, kissing him on the back of his neck. Baltus lies down on the edge of the blanket, facing the cave entrance, sniffing the wind. Toby”s erection is only half-formed but pokes Hunter in his butt. Toby whispers to his lover. “I think Ythl and all wizards make their spells all colorful and poofy just to impress people.”
� � � � � � � At Asher”s suggestion, he and Tomas pound iron spikes into the cave walls, running rope between them, just above eye level. They hang extra blankets and tarps from them, forming small private areas and blocking the wind somewhat. Tomas looks at Asher as they hang the last tarp, eyeing the prince suspiciously. “I take you”ll be sleeping with River again. And I hope you will be sleeping. Not, um, exerting too much energy with other. . . um, pursuits.”
� � � � � � � “What? I don”t know what you”re talking about.” Asher pouts, rolling his eyes.
� � � � � � � Ythl hands off his tea cup to his student and kisses him on the forehead. “If you need me, I”ll be just over these blankets. I”m serious – if anything happens, you feel even an inch on your arm, you let me know.” River nods, sitting down by Asher on a blanket beside the fire. Ythl follows Tomas to the further private area. Just in case, he uses a unique spell that separates them from hearing what him and Tomas say or do, while being able to hear them as well. He sits down beside Tomas, pulling off his robe and setting it aside.
� � � � � � � Tomas sighs and pulls off his boots and socks. He takes warm water and washes his feet. “What was that spell you just cast? It seems familiar.” As Ythl explains, Tomas nods, blushing slightly. “Oh. You used to cast that sometimes when we were together during the war. You”re sure they can”t hear us and we can hear them?” He leans back on his elbows, wiggling and flexing his toes.
� � � � � � � “Only if River is using the spell at the same time. I think he has other things on his mind.” Ythl grins, listening closely. “They”re being bad tonight, for sure. Not yet, but they will be.” He reaches over to rub his fingers through Tomas”s blonde hair, which is seeming to grow a bit longer. “I”ll have to give you a haircut sometime soon. I know you like your hair short.”
� � � � � � � “I know.” He looks worriedly towards the blanket. “Is River healthy enough to be bad? We can”t afford to be slowed down tomorrow because they were fucking tonight.” He lays back, locking his fingers together behind his head. Looking at Ythl, Tomas unbuttons his shirt, letting it fall open when he folds his hands together behind his head again. His chest is as smooth as it was years ago.
� � � � � � � “Who knows. Maybe it will give him even better health with the tea. Maybe he will care more about his own health if he realizes that the prince has a thing for him.” Ythl winces a brow, rubbing his hand along Tomas”s stomach, then teasing his nipples. “You notice it, right? That they”re more than just friends? They”re falling in love.”
� � � � � � � Tomas sighs. “Asher is wonderful. He”s going to be a good king, when his time comes. But he falls in love a lot. He drifts from boy to boy almost as quickly as he sees them.” He reaches down and begins rubbing Ythl”s back. “It”s not a negative thing, though. He”s just young and he hasn”t felt true love yet. Still…” Tomas looks up at the ceiling for a few moments. “River”s older than his normal playmates and he”s more attentive to River. Worried, actually.” Tomas grins. “Holy shit, you”re right!” Tomas laughs. “His first love is a wizard! Just like mine.” He looks at Ythl, blushing.
� � � � � � � “There must be something specifically charming about us wizards, huh?” His hand reaches down lower into his undergarments, feeling the warm erection hidden inside of it. He cups the sack with the other hand and gives it a nice tug. “Why didn”t you tell me you were hard?”
� � � � � � � “I don”t know.” Tomas shrugs. “I didn”t want you to think I expected anything from you. I don”t know. Maybe I wanted to see how it would go if I didn”t say anything.” Sitting up on his elbows, he reaches down, feeling Ythl”s groin. “You”re still huge! Almost like the King.” Tomas pulls off his shirt, then his pants. He leans back again, letting Ythl get a good look at his naked body.
� � � � � � � Tomas looks younger and smaller than his 15 years. His body is mostly hairless, except a small, dark patch directly above his dick. His armpits and chest are silky smooth. His dick, hard now and fully erect, is smaller than Ythl”s. His head is already glistening with a hint of precum. “Don”t say it. I”ve gotten old and hairy, I know.”
� � � � � � � “Yes, you”re as hairy as me when I”ve shapeshifted.” He jokes, stroking him slowly, but with a strong and hard grip. The thirteen-year-old brown haired wizard as hairless like him with just his once shaven pubes starting to grow back again, but slowly, as they do for a boy his age. Without asking, he moves down lower, sitting on his legs as he kneels down with his mouth and licks up from the sack in one hand to the tip of Tomas”s cock. Ythl looks him in the eyes, smiling widely. “Human forms tonight? So it is.” His tongue swirls around the head, playing with the pee slit and drooling spit down on the shaft. He sucks on just the head while one hand rubs along his chest and the other continues to roll his testicles around in the warm sack.
� � � � � � � Tomas moans loudly. “Fuck…that”s good, Yth.” His hands roam over his own stomach and chest. He pinches his own nipples, licking his thumbs and forefingers, as he fingers his nipples. One hand slides over Ythl”s back and neck. His fingers comb through Ythl”s hair. He looks down at the wizard. “Take off your unders, Ythl…I want you, too.” He tugs at Ythl”s undergarments
� � � � � � � Ythl opens his mouth, lowering it and begins to suck from the shaft and up. He tugs off his underwear with one hand, throwing it at the cave wall as he returns back to the cock in front of him. “Moan as loud as you want. They won”t hear.” Loud slurping and popping sounds echo loudly in the cave as Ythl sucks harder and faster with more difficult methods. His tongue hits every spot that causes Tomas”s back to arc and his skin to grow goosebumps. When he feels him coming closer to an orgasm he stops, kissing his way back up to Tomas. Ythl nibbles and licks at the birthmark on the blonde”s neck, then kisses hip sloppily.
� � � � � � � Tomas kisses Ythl hungrily, eagerly. He rolls the wizard over onto his back, following to lay on top of him. They kiss and the warrior grinds his hard cock against Ythl”s groin. Tomas grabs Ythl”s wrists, raising his arms above his head. Tomas dives into Ythl”s armpits, licking and sucking loudly. He moves between Ythl”s left and right armpit, kissing the boy”s chest and neck as he switches. Raising his hips, Tomas lays his cock on Ythl”s and slowly begins frotting. After several minutes, sucking pits and frotting with kisses in between, Tomas stops.
� � � � � � � Looking down on Ythl, he runs his thumbs over the wizard”s eyebrows. A tenderness crosses his face and his eyes worship the boy beneath him. “Let me make it up to you, Yth. My leaving. I was wrong…so wrong. Without waiting for a response,” Tomas kisses his way down Ythl”s chest and stomach. He kisses the tip of Ythl”s cock, using his tongue on his pee slit before sucking gently on the head.
� � � � � � � “Tomas…” He plays with Tomas”s hair as if it were a crystal ball, then playfully rubbing his ears and the back of his neck. “I want you to fuck me tonight.” As his friend sucks him off, the wizard wraps his legs around the blonde boys back.
� � � � � � � Tomas nods, Ythl”s dick filling his mouth, the head tickling the back of his throat. It doesn”t phase him. He”s sucked the King many a time and the King is even more well endowed than Ythl. He sucks passionately, sliding his face up and down over the wizard-wand. Spit leaks from his lips, down over Ythl”s balls. Tomas takes a finger, trailing it through the spit, and begins fingering the wizard. “I will.”
� � � � � � � “Ahh.. That”s real nice. I haven”t been fucked since… Since we were last together.” His six and half inches twitches inside of his friends mouth as he moans louder, cries of glee and bliss. For a moment, he imagines how big the prince will get and imagines him with a cock just as hard as his. The thought seizes when he opens his eyes and see”s the beauty in front of him. Sure, there any many others just as beautiful as Tomas and he”s definitely not the norm for what he looks for, but that”s what makes his love for him so special, so unique and true.
� � � � � � � Tomas looks up, surprised. “Really? You haven”t been fucked by anyone?” Tomas grins. “Wow. I don”t know what to say.” He goes down on Ythl again, sucking him slowly, deliberately. Slow on the way down, slow on the way up. His tongue slowly circles Ythl”s cock-head. He pauses.
� � � � � � � With his thumbs, he spreads Ythl”s butt cheeks. His crack is clean, his hole tight and quivering as the cold air hits it. Arching his eyebrows, Tomas grins and licks his lips. Without a word, he dives down, plunging his tongue into Ythl”s hole. He licks and sucks and probes Ythl”s hole, holding onto the wizard”s cock tightly in one hand. “Fuck, you taste good.”
� � � � � � � “Really? Let me have a taste then.” He laughs, still playing with his hair with one hand and playing with his left nipple with the other. Ythl lies back with his head on the pillow, calmly relaxing as his asshole reacts to Tomas”s touch by letting his tongue loosen him up. When a finger is slipped in, he moans a bit louder, even squeezes some hair, but never pulls on it. “I typically did most of the fucking when we were together, but not anymore with others, since I”m a bit too big for the kind I”m interested in.”
� � � � � � � “How considerate of you.” Tomas teases. He continues licking and tonguing Ythl”s ass, loosening him as he strokes him at the same time. He slides upward, taking some of Ythl”s precum into his mouth. As he continues upward, he mixes the cum with the spit from eating Ythl”s ass. Kissing Ythl, he drives his tongue into the wizard”s mouth, giving him a taste of his ass and his cum, mixed and improved by the addition of Tomas” saliva.
� � � � � � � As they kiss, Tomas eases his cock against Ythl”s hole. He pushes in, slowly and gently, sliding his cock past Ythl”s first ring of muscle. “Fuucckk! You”re tight…let me know if I start to hurt you.” With that, he pushes himself fully into his lover. Bracing himself so that he”s not crushing his friend, using his elbows, he continues to kiss Ythl as his cock begins pumping in and out of the wizard”s tight, hot hole.
� � � � � � � It burns as Tomas enters him, even though there”s enough spit and lubricant being used to refrain him from getting any tearing. The pain begins to dissipate as he calms himself and relaxes his breath. “It hurts a bit, but don”t stop.” When he starts to move, the muscles in his sphincter adjust as if they”d been waiting for Tomas”s presence since they last fucked. His hands reach down and squeeze his friends soft hairless cheeks as he moans. “Ahhh, yeah. Fuck me, Tomas. Harder.”
� � � � � � � Tomas nods and grunts. “Ungghh…yeah. Fuck, Ythl… You feel incredible.” He kisses him deeply, their spit spilling out over their cheeks. Tomas” presses deeply into Ythl. his balls slapping against his lover”s ass cheeks. He breaks off of their kiss, his lungs pumping air as if he were running a race. Sweat begins to drip from his nose and chin. He bites his lip as he tries not to scream, his head arching back and his eyes tightly closed. “Ytthhlllll. . . Oh, fuck. . . I”m close. . .”
� � � � � � � “Inside of me, babe.” His voice cracks, a sign of puberty. The wizards smile is ecstatic and the most beautiful thing that Tomas has ever seen. He reaches to pull on his erection, stroking as fast as he can as he”s fucked harder and harder. It comes easy for him with his prostate being massaged. “Fuck! Gonna cum!” As he warns, he sprays his seed across his neck and chest in nine epic loads. He”s been saving it for the past few days for this moment.
� � � � � � � “Unngghh…” Tomas looks down at Ythl”s chest, a smile exploding across his face. He ducks his head down, licking up some of the cum on Ythl”s chest and neck. Content with a mouthful of his lover”s jizm, he accelerates his pace, fucking Ythl faster, harder, deeper. His balls slap loudly, almost painfully against Ythl”s ass. The jizz is sweet and when Ythl reaches up, pinching Tomas” nipples, the warrior cries out. “Yesssss….Oh, fuck….Ythhhllll!” He cock spasms and swells, his balls tightening to expel their content inside of the wizard. Tomas gasps for air, his head arched forward, his chin against his chest. His eyes close tightly. After a half-dozen strokes which eject a half-dozen ropes of cum into Ythl, Tomas falls on top of the smaller boy. He twists to the side, pulling Ythl with him, as they roll over. On his back, Tomas” arms fall to the ground spread out away from his body. A sheen of sweat covers his chest and pits, his neck and face. With tired eyes and a weak smile, he pulls Ythl down for a deep, slow kiss.
� � � � � � � They lie together, quietly kissing, cuddling, and holding each other close, which is particularly the opposite of what they were before – loud, carnal, and passionately aggressive. Ythl is just as tired, as it has been a long time coming since he”d been fucked. “Next time, I”m on top. But don”t worry, I”ll rim you for as long as needed so you”re ready for this behemoth.” He grabs his half-erect dick, slapping it against his belly and sticking his tongue out. “I… I love you, Tomas.” He kisses him, one arm entwined under the other and snuggles his head to his chest. The smell of sweat, semen, and spit is raunchy and perfect.
� � � � � � � Tomas snuggles Ythl. “I”ve missed you. You”re sure your spell let”s hear anything from the front of the cave? I don”t want to have Hunter trying to warn us of something and we can”t hear it.” As he holds Ythl, Tomas moves his sword so that it”s in easy reach of his free hand.
� � � � � � � “We”ll hear them loud and clear. They”re probably sleeping right now.” He yawns as he thinks about rest. In a way, he”s somewhat jealous that they”re married and wonders if there ever will come a time when he could marry Tomas. Unfortunately, he knows well that his friend will at some point have to marry and have at least one child. He ignores the thought, focusing on the present and calms to the touch of his love. “We should sleep too, hun. Have more faith in the village boys. They came with us for a reason.”
� � � � � � � “I trust every one of them with my life. More importantly, I trust them with the Prince”s life, too.” He sighs and smiles. “But you”re right. I need to relax.” He pulls Ythl close, letting the wizard nuzzle into hie neck. “Sweet dreams, Ythl.”
� � � � � � � As they fall asleep, two younger boys and students of theirs in the middle “room” separated by sheets and blankets rise up from out of their sheets. Asher tugs on River”s shoulder. “Everyone is asleep now. You can put your prayer book away.”
� � � � � � � “But, but…” As he tries to come up with an excuse, he notices that the prince is naked and already sporting a boner. River blushes and marks his book before putting it down beside their shared pillow. “Tomas says that I should get a good night of rest.”
� � � � � � � Asher wiggles his hips from side to side, his hard dick fwapping against himself. He smiles broadly, very proud of his swinging dong. “I always sleep better after messing around, don”t you? Think of it like a special form of meditation.”
� � � � � � � “Oh, I guess I do too when Ythl and I play around.” He takes off his robe, revealing himself in his fundoshi. The sparkling and glittery cave walls shine on his pale skinny body, making him all the more majestic and beautiful. One of his hands glides down Asher”s arm and holds his hand, which he then guides to his underwear.
� � � � � � � “Wow…” Asher stares. “You”re beautiful. It”s like you”re glowing.” He unties River”s fundoshi with surprising ease. With River nude, he grabs River”s dick, scooting forward and rubbing their dicks together. He gives River a quick kiss and then looks down. HIs dick looks so big next to River”s and the River”s is so small and cute. He rubs both dicks against each other, watching in between kisses. Soon, both boys are hard.
� � � � � � � “So you won”t mind if I don”t grow once I start puberty in a few years?” River moans, kissing his neck. He sucks and accidentally leaves a hickey mark. The blue haired boy moves his hair out of his eyes, which is starting to get a bit long now. Asher”s hair is just as long. He imagines what he”d look like with a ponytail. “Who knows. Maybe I”ll gain an extra inch and a half and be as big as the rest of the men in my family were.”
� � � � � � � “Why would I mind?” Asher seems genuinely confused. “I think you”re beautiful just the way you are. I like little dicks, I like big dicks. Tomas has a pretty big one and we play sometimes.” He kisses River deeply. “What do you want to do? Fuck? Suck?”
� � � � � � � “Suck and… Wait, you”d do me?” He insists on not cursing, but sometimes it slips out when he gets overly excited. It makes him just as cute and innocent. He spits into his hand and begins to stroke Asher, rubbing his thumb over the pee slit and making long motions. The sound of the spit as lubricant is loud as he jacks him off. “I think I”d like that a lot. Oh, this is embarrassing. What kind of leopard does your father shapeshift into? I”m imagining what you”ll look like after we get to the shrine and you can change. I think you”d look nice with the bright colors and dots or if your fur is all black as well.”
� � � � � � � “Dad? He used to be jet black. Dark as night and just as silent. He could sneak up on a dream and have it”s neck in his jaws before anyone would even know he was there!” Asher”s eyes are bright and excited. He rubs and pulls River”s dick with his thumb and forefinger. “But he”s got more gray these days. And he”s not as silent. But he”s still deadly when he wants to be!”
� � � � � � � River maneuvers his body over the prince”s, putting his legs lower down as his face is to Asher”s cock. He sticks out his tongue, licking around the head, then takes it all in his mouth along with the balls. Carefully, he licks around the shaft, then lets the balls slide out, wetting his chin, and then he begins to move his mouth in motion. It still has a slight taste of pee from when they both went to pee ten or so minutes ago.
� � � � � � � Asher relaxes, enjoying River”s attentions on his cock. He wraps his arms around River”s hips and ass, hugging the boy”s pelvis closer to him. He takes the small dick and neighboring balls into his mouth, sucking hard on both. Somehow, River tastes clean but also of sweat and urine. It”s a taste Asher finds irresistible. “I love your smell. . . and your taste and your dickie.” Asher sucks some more, before releasing the tiny weenie and licking all around River”s balls and pubis.
� � � � � � � River pulls him out of his mouth to respond. “Yours is neat too. I could do this all night.” He returns to sucking him off, but uses less of his tongue, wanting to make sure he etimesgut escort will have enough energy pent up to fuck him and good and hard later. When his mouth gets tired he spends his time licking, sucking, and groping the balls and sack, using some of the sweat on his crack to smell at times and get him even more roused up. It sends him into a sexual hyperdrive. The young wizard has never considered himself too concerned of sex and masturbation, but being around the prince has changed his mind and made him think about the princes dick nonstop. “Ahh… You wanna do me, right?” He scoots forward a bit, pushing his ass out and in front of Asher”s face.
� � � � � � � Asher moans, pausing for a moment. “I want to fuck you, heck yeah. But it might be too exhausting for you…I think Tomas and Ythl would tell us to save it for after the shrine and we”re both healed.” He kisses River”s cockhead. “I don”t know. They might be right.” He takes the tiny dick back into his mouth, sucking feverishly.
� � � � � � � “Please, Asher? I can”t wait that long. It might be another week before we make it. A week and a half with the weather.” He leans down, kissing all around his dick before popping it back into his mouth.
� � � � � � � Asher shifts uncomfortably. For the first time, he feels the burden of being Prince. He wants River. In the past, when he wanted a boy, it was easy enough to get them into bed and have his way with them. But the words from Tomas and his father weigh on his mind. River is very sick. Asher has seen it. His face grows serious and he forgets to bob his head as he thinks, instead holding the stiff two inches in his mouth. He shrugs. “I don”t know, River…”
� � � � � � � “It”s ok. I”ll make you cum and then we can stop.” He spits into his hand and beings to stroke him faster. The tightening of his fist around the three-inch dick makes the prince gasp with a loud, aggressive moan. River spits again, rubbing under the head slowly, then jacking him off again. “Tell me when you”re about to cum.”
� � � � � � � Asher moans. “Mmhhmm. Yeah…I will.” He takes River back into his mouth. He sucks and licks with doubled efforts, trying to give the young wizard as much pleasure as possible. Gently, lightly he plays with River”s asshole as he sucks him. He doesn”t penetrate him, but rubs and tickles his hole. It doesn”t take long before he can feel himself on the verge of cumming. “River! I”m gonna cum! Oohh!”
� � � � � � � As soon as he speaks River puts his mouth to the head, still jacking him off with two fingers, then licks at the tip as cum dribbles out of it. As usual, his loads are quite small, but always worth it. He swallows it before realizing that Asher might want some as well. Once he”s done, he falls back and onto his side, breathing heavily. He tilts his head to the right and kisses the princes feet. After a few minutes of recuperating he lays back down beside Asher, both of them naked and not using the sheets as they begin to grow tired. “I love you, Asher.”
� � � � � � � Asher lays back, his arms and legs stretched out as he cools down and recovers. When River lies next to him, he rolls over to face him, pulling him closer and holding him. He plays with River”s blue hair. “Are you sure? We”ve only really just met? Is that long enough to be in love?” His voice is soft and curious, giving speech to feelings he”s never had before. “I”ve never felt this way before, River. About anyone. Not even Tomas and he”s my best friend.”
� � � � � � � “Then maybe you are too. I think that”s the feeling you have… I”m scared too. If anything, I”m more scared than anyone.” River snugs up closer, placing a hand over his chest. “B-but… Maybe I”m just being overly emotional since I know I”m probably going to die soon?”
� � � � � � � “Don”t say that!” Asher”s eyes flash. They almost seem to glow orange for a moment, like a great cat”s eyes in the darkest night. Or is it just a reflection? “Don”t ever say that! You”re not going to die. We”re getting you to the shrine and getting you healed. I swear it!” He edges forward, kissing River gently. “Seriously, don”t say things like that. Giving voice to thoughts gives them power, right? That”s part of how magic works, isn”t it?”
� � � � � � � “Yes… I guess you”re right. I”ll live and then I”ll go back to normal routine of life. Praying and learning magic ever day. Maybe I should devote myself to one of the shrines as well at some point.” He nudges his head forward and kisses Asher”s neck. “I”m sorry about what I said. Good night, Asher…” His lips make a slapping sound after he yawns. In a few minutes he drifts off to sleep. The prince stares blankly at the ceiling of the cave for another half hour before falling asleep with him.
� � � � � � � It storms madly throughout the night. A dying tornado rips pass and above them, diminishing not too far from it. By morning, it continues to rain heavily. Toby is the first to wake up after hearing strange sounds from above. He squeezes Hunter”s shoulder to wake him up. “Hey, sweetie. I think I can hear something other than the storm… Can you be an extra set of ears for me?”
� � � � � � � Hunter rubs the gunk out of his eyes and wipes his nose off on his shoulder as he stands up to put on his clothes with Toby. The boar rubs his fuzzy chin as he listens closely. “Hmmm. Sounds like, thin legs? Spears falling? Wait…” His eyes bulge as he suddenly realizes what is. “Fuck! EVERYONE WAKE UP! GET UP GET UP!” He tears down the blankets and sheets in front of them, tossing it to his boyfriend. Even though Toby doesn”t completely understand he immediately helps him put the sheets into the bags and sprints to the horse, getting everyone”s stuff gathered. Hunter runs to Tomas, throwing his clothes right at his chest. “We have two minutes at best, everyone! Those are monstrous spiders about to swarm from the holes of the cave. If you thought the zombies were bad… We don”t want to be here when they arrive!”
� � � � � � � Baltus runs yipping and barking around the entrance. He barks grow louder and more alarmed. The horse is skittish, pulling on its tether as the boys try to calm it and load it at the same time.
� � � � � � � Tomas” eyes explode open at the first shouts of trouble, his hand is on his sword before his mind even recognizes who it is that”s warning him. He throws back the blanket and is on his feet in less than an instant. “Asher!” His mind catches up to his body and he begins donning his armour and battle-gear. “What is it? Toby? Hunter?”
� � � � � � � Ythl wakes quickly as well. His first thought is to protect Tomas. His staff flares in his hand but he is cognizant enough to let his spell remain uncast. He scans the cave for threats and for River. He sees his apprentice dressing quickly and does likewise, dressing in his robes quickly. He moves to Tomas, helping him with his armor. “Just like old times, eh?”
� � � � � � � River dresses quickly since he has only the fundoshi and robe to attend to. Afterwards, he helps with getting Asher”s gear on, then runs to his teacher. “We have to get the horse back down.” He whistles to the dog, helping it to sit on the horse. The dog is confused and remains frozen, afraid to jump down. He chants as fast as he can and runs to the ledge with the horse, speedily working his magic to levitate the horse back down. Jokes aside, there”s no room to laugh about it when they”re on the verge of being eaten alive by gigantic spiders. Hunter and Toby prepare two different ropes so that everyone can climb down as fast as possible.
� � � � � � � “One minute! Let”s get going!” The ginger disregards the princes nobility and forcefully grabs his arm, taking him to the ledge. “You two must go first in case there”s not enough time for all of us.” He turns to Ythl. “Is there anything you can cast to hold them off a bit longer?” Hunter looks down, seeing that the two are already halfway to the bottom.
� � � � � � � “Yes!” Ythl turns, scanning the interior of the cave. As he watches, he sees a long, clawed leg emerge from a concealed hole high in the ceiling. The chitinous leg is shiny, even in the dull fire light, alternating orange and brown circles run its entire length. A second leg appears, then more as a huge spider emerges from an impossibly small hole. The monstrosity is huge, its body the size of Tomas” chest. It clings to the ceiling, slowly turning, searching for prey and venom drips from its mandibles. Ythl”s blood chills in his veins as he hisses. “Tomas!” He points with his staff. Beginning to weave and enchantment. As Tomas sees the same spider, he notices legs appearing through three, no five, other holes. Ythl chants and waves his staff.
� � � � � � � A foot in front of Ythl, the air shimmers and seems to coalesce into something solid. The spiders are still visible, but only as blobs dropping onto the floor. The first one drops and scuttles to the barrier, directly in front of Tomas. The horror rears and lunges forward, striking the barrier and being repulsed. Its high-pitched squeal hurts their ears as the cry is picked up by the other creatures. Ythl takes Tomas by the shoulder. Wrapping his arms around Tomas” neck and shoulders. “RUN!!! JUST RUN!!!”
� � � � � � � Both Hunter and Tomas are already halfway down from to the bottom. Prince Asher holds onto the hilt of his weapon, ready for anything, while River points his staff at the tip of the entrance. The gem at the end of it glows and makes a loud ambient sound, almost as if it”s charging for a heavy blast. It would take much energy out of him to cast something strong, but if it means saving his teacher and Tomas, then he”s willing to risk it.
� � � � � � � A horrified look protrudes Tomas”s face as he runs to the ledge. Tears well up in his eyes in fear that the boy he just got close with once again is ready to take his own life to save their own. “You better live or I”ll kick your fucking ass!” Dozens of spiders crawl from out of the halls of the cave, seeking to devour the wizard that their teeth seek and wet over.
� � � � � � � Ythl runs with Tomas, taking hold of his him, launching himself onto Tomas” back. He wraps his legs and arms around Tomas” neck and waist as Tomas leaps into the air. He panics momentarily as he starts to fall.
� � � � � � � Suddenly, the air is wrenched from his lungs as his body not only stops falling, it ascends a couple of feet. But then he”s falling again. Confused he twists his neck the look at Ythl for some sort of explanation.
� � � � � � � Toby and Hunter drop the last dozen feet, drawing their weapons and looking back to the cave mouth. They, and Asher and River see Tomas” leap, with Ythl on his back. But Ythl shifts, shrinking until he cannot be seen past Tomas” body. Without warning, a huge pair of wings appear. Toby recognizes them as the wings of an impossibly large goshawk. The wings flap once, arresting the speed of Tomas” fall.
� � � � � � � Talons take the place of legs and feet, holding tightly onto Tomas. Arms transform into wings, a dozen feet from left wing-tip to right. Flapping furiously, they slow their fall, allowing Tomas and Ythl, now a huge hawk, to land safely on the ground. Just as quickly, the hawk”s form shifts, returning Ythl to his more familiar form.
� � � � � � � Ythl falls to his knees. He points back up at the cave. “We can”t cause a cave in! The drawings, we can”t damage them!”
� � � � � � � “Then we have to hurry and run! Come on!” Toby begins to fire arrows at the spiders as they emerge from out of the cave. Everyone in unison begins to run, the dog and horse up front. Massive trees have collapsed and make it difficult to get pass. Hunter tries to navigate the best he can, but doesn”t truly know if he can trust his judgment with the set of adrenaline coursing through his veins. With a moments notice, he uses it to his advantage and remembers that he”s a boar, which gives him the needed strength to push and pull nature out of their way and make things a bit easier.
� � � � � � � Asher looks to his left, feeling as his there”s something out there in the distance coming towards them. “Must be animals fleeing” he thinks to himself. Tomas can hear them too. The oldest of the group pulls out his sword while they”re still running and speaks out. “Weapons! Something is coming right towards us!”
� � � � � � � “Dammit.” Hunter pulls out his sword, which makes a loud sound as it also tears through vines and tall grass. The horse comes to a stop, bucking and kicking at the dirt. It spins around while River clenches onto his staff. The young wizard ducks low while still on the horse, looking around to see pairs of eyes emerging from the nature.
� � � � � � � Ten, no, twenty men and women emerge and surround them in a circle, almost as if they were waiting for them. Perhaps they knew that they were staying in the cave and somehow used the cave to their advantage. Most likely they were lucky. One of the warriors shows himself. Upon his armor is a symbol that marks him and he rest of the strangers as part of the cult of Crayus. All of them unveil their weapons – daggers, swords, axes, maces, and move closer. “Look at what we have here! Is that the prince himself? Prince Asher of Aigua? Oh, what a delight! Crayus will be rolling over in laughter when I bring him your flayed skin!”
� � � � � � � A luminescent blue circle springs out and throws all of them to the ground, sending a tense electric jolt through their bodies. Only a few of them are affected badly, while the others seem to shake it off. River bites his lip and is disappointed that the spell didn”t work as he expected it to.
� � � � � � � “Kill them!” They run forth. The party of young warriors clash their weapons, using their feet, armor, their elbows, even the nature itself to their disposal in order to clench onto their own survival. Toby”s arrows glow a bright color after River casts a spell on them. They”ll slow down and paralyze those that they hit.
� � � � � � � Toby drops to one knee, firing three arrows as he kneels. He targets a knot of enemy warriors moving in from his left. His shots strike true, striking the two men and one woman who were closing on their flank. As they arrows hit home, they pulse with blue light. The three attackers slow and stumble, falling to the ground, immobilized by River”s enchantment. Toby grins as he prepares three more arrows.
� � � � � � � Tomas draws his sword and his small shield. He shifts partly into his anthro form, his hearing and sense of smell heightened by his wolf blood. A tall, thin warrior charges him, swinging a heavy, spiked mace. Tomas dodges aside easily, sliding his blade deep into the man”s ribs, angled slightly. The man”s momentum carries him past Tomas, helping the boy slide the blade back out easily. A gout of blood, bright red and steaming in the cold morning air, erupts from the man”s side as he falls to the ground, clutching desperately at the mortal wound. “Protect the Prince! “
� � � � � � � Ythl looks behind them, the spiders are closing fast, leaping from tree to tree or scuttling along the ground. The Cruiberg who have surrounded he and his friends seem unaware of the danger. He watches as the closest spider leap, landing on a smallish woman wielding an axe. She screams as the spider”s stinger pierces her leather armor. The spider”s bulbous body seems to pulse as it injects its venom into her. The warriors near her turn. They forget about the boys as the spiders leap among them.
� � � � � � � The wizard grins. “Never thought I”d be glad to see a spider the size of my gardening shed!” He turns back the men of Crayus, intoning a spell. He finishes with a flourish throwing his arms wide and pointing to his friends. Tomas, Toby, Hunter, Asher, and River feel themselves energized. Their blows fly faster, landing harder. They dodge more quickly, as if the marauders are moving at half their speed. Ythl smiles, despite the pain in his side. His friends will be faster for a few minutes, but at a terrible cost.
� � � � � � � With the rush of energy, Hunter sprints out and swings his sword with extreme might, cutting men twice his size right in half. The prince jumps on top of one man, pressing his sword into his back, then jumping high up into a tree. Hidden in the darkness, he leaps out again, this time cutting through spiders before he down to the mud on both knees. An older man swings down towards Asher as he begins to stand, but Hunter lops his head right off and kicks him aside. “Thanks. How many are left?”
� � � � � � � Thirteen. Out of nowhere, someone”s sword clashes right into his and sends him falling into the mud. Asher tries to help but is forced to deal with men of his own. When River see”s things getting worse, he prepares to cast another spell, but someone spots him as he leaps from the horse. He fends himself with his staff while the dog rips apart at the mans leg. River whistles in a certain way that signals for the horse to use its leg and kick the man right in the face, instantly killing him.
� � � � � � � Ythl surveys the scene, clutching his side. The spiders are dragging away the men and women that they sting. The logical part of his mind knows that the people are still alive, still aware and that the spiders will dissolve their victim”s internal organs and bones before drinking their innards. He”s seen what Crayus” people do. He does not mourn for those being dragged away. He does worry for his friends.
� � � � � � � As Prince Asher is being pressed by a man and a woman, their attacks driving the young prince backwards as he fends off their blows, he spies a man outside of the melee. He aims a crossbow at the Prince! Ythl begins casting, waving the tip of his staff in a larger circle, shrinking the circle as he moves his staff faster and faster. The marksman shouts and the man and woman in front of Asher step to one side, allowing a clear shot. Ythl releases his spell and a bolt of green energy flies from his staff at the same time as the man lets fly with his weapon. The bolt of energy coalesces and changes shape as it travels, becoming a fist the size of large egg. It smashes through the crossbow bolt, shattering it with its splinters falling harmlessly to the ground. His fist continues on, impacting the archer”s chest, piercing the his leather armor. Blood spurts as the fist penetrates his skin, more blood flying when the fist withdraws and punches in again and against. Each time, it pulls out some flesh, some piece of something that belongs inside a man, not steaming on the ground.
� � � � � � � The humungous spiders crawl and begin to feast on the corpses, which makes it all the while easier to kill them. Although, that doesn”t mean the boys completely have the advantage. Weighed down by the mud and heavy rain, their adrenaline seems useless now. Hunter seem to fight at full willpower, almost steaming with rage when he kills, cutting away at limbs and being just as violent as the others when he attacks. Toby is surprised to see him like this, but focuses on their own survival over his own fear of the violence he”s inflicting.
� � � � � � � A man around seven foot eight faces off against River, which is as disturbingly unfair and horrifying as it sounds. His swings are slow, but extremely brutal. The boy is using all of his energy to cast immediate shields to protect himself, which is causing great physical pain in his side. Ythl uses his powers to use the vines below to hold him down, but he cuts them apart seconds later. Suddenly, the man knocks River down, grabbing him by one arm, holding him up and pressing a knife under his throat. “Put down your weapons or else I kill this boy! You hear me?” River tries to fight back but has no chance.
� � � � � � � Ythl and Asher look on, their faces going pale. Hunter continues to battle, his temper clouding his senses. Toby look to Tomas for some indication of what to do, even as he notches another arrow.
� � � � � � � Tomas looks at River, then to Ythl. His heart stops as he barely hesitates in his decision. “Protect the Prince!!!”
� � � � � � � Asher screams, as does Ythl. Toby swings his bow around. Maybe he can get off a shot and save River. It”s then that he notices a dark figure descending rapidly from the clouds. Some sort of bird, a very large bird, with something in its talons. It”s diving straight towards the giant holding River. It”s not making a cry, which strikes Toby as odd. He watches the falling figures as the giant man holding River repeats his threat. “Put them down or he dies!”
� � � � � � � The bird isn”t a hawk or falcon but a very larger raven, maybe the size of a small child. It releases whatever it”s carrying, a gray furred rodent? As the gray figure falls, it begins to grow! It”s headed straight for the man holding River. It becomes apparent that it isn”t a rodent, as it grows far too large. Before impacting the man, Toby recognizes it as a wolf, a large wolf. It lands on the man as if it were completing an attacking leap, heedless that it”s been dropped from fifty feet into the sky.
� � � � � � � The warrior looks up at the last moment as the falling wolf blots out the weak sun, its weak shadow the first hint to him at the creatures approach. The man tries to twist River in front of him but is too slow. The wolf snarls as it lands, bowling the man over, locking it”s jaws around the warrior”s throat and ripping. River is dropped in the chaos, landing heavily and rolling away as best he can. His shoulder aches where he landed on it and his hand goes numb. He doesn”t stand, just stares at the wolf ripping the throat out of the giant warrior who was poised to kill him.
� � � � � � � “That looked a nasty fall. Don”t use that arm, boy.” The raven lands near him, etlik escort speaking as it, too, grows. It becomes a man, older and thin, with close cut gray and black hair. His dark eyes are cold as he moves his own staff, a dark, gnarled piece of wood, and casts a spell. A woman who was charging Prince Asher from behind is lifted from her feet, flying a dozen yards to land prone amidst a clutch of feeding spiders. She screams horribly as she is stung a dozen times. Crayus” servants all deserve such deaths. The man, somehow clad in dark leather, moves to fight more of Crayus” men, heading straight for their leader. The wolf bounds along with him. The giant who had been threatening River lies on the ground, weakly trying to hold his shredded throat together, crying as his life flows out between his fingers.
� � � � � � � With River seeming to be mostly safe, the boys direct their attention towards the spiders and rest of the Crayus warriors. It seems that the enemies have sided to question if they underestimated the kids true strength, proven by the fact that they”re on the verge of being outnumbered now. Toby climbs up to a branch quickly and leads the attack from a distance, while the others take charge. Meanwhile, River manages to hold himself up with his staff, walking over to the dying man. With a disgusted look on his face, he spits on him and smashes his staff through the mangled throat, instantly killing him.
� � � � � � � “Who are you?” Asher yells while blocking an attack.
� � � � � � � His master screams back through the loudness of the rain. “It doesn”t matter! He probably saw the Prince and thought he had to do something!”
� � � � � � � They”re down to the last two with all of the spiders done for. All of the boys surround them with Garallen in the front.
� � � � � � � Crayus” raiders, their leader among them, stand back-to-back. Their eyes dart around, seeking an opportunity to break away and escape. The commander, who was so confident minutes earlier, wipes sweat from face as he holds his blade in front of him. The tip trembles.
� � � � � � � “The Raven Assassin! A clever trap, anthro-scum. But it won”t save you from Crayus.” The commander spits bile at Tomas who is closet. The warrior with him takes the opportunity of his leader”s distraction to make a break for the tree line. He dodges Hunter”s blow, darting for the safety of the thick forest. The twang of Toby”s bow sings out, an arrow embedding itself in the man”s leg. The magic from River”s spell earlier spreads from the arrow through the man, paralyzing him. He falls to the ground with a whimper.
� � � � � � � “You said you were going to gift Crayus with Prince Asher”s flayed skin.” Tomas uses his own blade to slap the commander”s sword away. He does it again as the man brings his sword back into position. “We”re not going to kill you. We”re going to cripple you and leave for the spiders when they come back.”
� � � � � � � The officer”s eyes grow wide and he stammers incoherently. “You can”t do that….that”s, that”s, that”s inhuman.”
� � � � � � � Tomas slaps the sword out of his hand and slashes the man”s left knee. He falls to the ground, backing away from Tomas. “No, but we”re not human, are we. We”re scum. Anthro-scum, isn”t it?”
� � � � � � � While the man scurries on his backside away from Tomas, the man in black moves behind him, clocking him on the back of his skull, knocking him unconscious.
� � � � � � � The boys look around. The battle is over, the clearing littered with the bodies of Crayus” men and dead spiders. River is battered and bruised a bit, Hunter has small cuts and bruises, Tomas also. But they”re all alive.
� � � � � � � River rides on his horse towards the rest of the tired group. Baltus and the wolf have seem to already make friends. He asks his master, “Why didn”t you tell me you knew two forms of shapeshifting?”
� � � � � � � “Yeah!” Hunter spits away from them. “And who are you, raven-assassin? Not that I”m complaining. That was fucking badass!”
� � � � � � � Grinning, the man in black, bows to the boys. “Raven Assassin. I hadn”t heard that before. Quite a compliment, I think.” He kneels before Asher. “Prince Asher, Garallen at your service. I hope you forgive such a clumsy entrance and introduction.”
� � � � � � � Ythl walks over the River, patting the horse”s neck. “There are many secrets that I still have, River.”
� � � � � � � “Your entrance couldn”t have come at a better time. You saved River!” He walks over to Tomas and checks out his wounds, which aren”t to major. Hunter kisses his boyfriend, hugging him tightly while tears well up in his eyes. “We… Don”t really know where we are and need to get out of this rain before any of us get sick. Specifically that blue haired boy on the horse. Do you know a place close by where we can go?”
� � � � � � � Garallen nods. “Yes, yes. Introductions when we”re safe.” He looks around, gathering his bearings. “Your Highness, there”s an overhang a mile or so that way he points that should shield us from the rain and allow your friends time to rest. If you”d all be so good as to follow me?” He takes a few steps, continuing on when he sees the boys following. “Alphonse, scout!” The wolf bounds of ahead of the group.
� � � � � � � Ythl pats River”s leg. “Are you alright? How badly are you hurt?”
� � � � � � � “Not too bad. When we get back, we should use that one tea that I”ve kept saved in case something like this were to happen to me.” He reaches down into one of his bags, feeling for the jar to make sure it”s still there. “Yeah. Soak a cloth with the warm tea and rub it in my arm with the typical magic you use. It should help.”
� � � � � � � Hunter and Toby stand at the back for once, which is much needed as Hunter seems to need a rest. The boar mentions to him. “I felt like a monster back there. All I wanted was to assure that all of us would survive. Then I started thinking about what those men did to our princes mother and imagined what they would have done to mine. It made me lose my mind. Am I a freak, Toby?”
� � � � � � � Toby takes Hunter”s hand in his own, squeezing tightly. “Not for that, no. You we were worried about our Prince, about me, too. I feel that, too. I shudder to think of what I would do to protect you and Asher. No, babe, you”re not a freak.” He kisses Hunter on the cheek.
� � � � � � � Ythl nods. “No more casting for you today. Period. I want you to rest. Do you understand?”
� � � � � � � Garallen sets a brisk pace, leading the group through the thick forestlands. They spy a rising group of hills erupting through the forest. The raven-man leads them closer, until they find a sheer rise with an overhang. Scrub brush and stunted trees grow from the hills. Along the cliff-face and on the bottom of the overhang, the roots of trees can be seen hanging in the air.
� � � � � � � The flat rocky area beneath the overhang is large enough for them all and the animals. Along the base, scattered bits of wood provide enough fuel for a fire. Garallen speaks, “They look like debris, don”t they? Took some doing. I use this spot sometimes, the wood is staged. Ready for use, but designed to blend in.” He looks at the others. “Did it work?”
� � � � � � � The rain slowly dies out, turning into a simple mist as they follow along with the older man. River seems to take a curious liking to him and his wolf, but it”s Tomas who has the true affection for the wolf that he”s somewhat related to. “Judging by the staff, you must be a wizard or mage, right? I”m River! My teacher over there is Ythl. We”re wizards.” He flaunts his staff to him.
� � � � � � � Baltus runs off for a moment, then returns with two rabbits in his mouth. He uses his mouth to trade one to the wolf, whom licks his face and neck in return. Asher rushes forward to the animals and pets them every once in a while, as they walk.
� � � � � � � Reaching the overhang, the begin setting up camp. A fire is started, water heated. Ythl begins brewing tea for River and a calming tea for Hunter. He insists the River bundle up and rest. Baltus and Alphonse are set to guard the approaches.
� � � � � � � “I”m somewhat an accomplished healer. May I examine your wounds?” He speaks to the whole group. I can answer your questions as I work. He hands his staff to River, something wizards don”t often do. “Yes, I”m more a mage than a wizard. I pick up spells and skills where I may, but I have very little formal training.”
� � � � � � � “That”s so cool!” Asher moves his hands in excitement as he speaks. He sits next to the older man. “So, you”re a shapeshifting raven? We”re on our way to a temple! Aranathra. River and I need to be healed so that we can shapeshift as well before we get really sick. Well, River”s already gotten the sickness really bad, which is why time is urgent at the moment.”
� � � � � � � Ythl soaks Rivers arm and leg while Tomas walks over to the older man and sits down. He shows his wounds and thanks him again.
� � � � � � � Meanwhile, Toby takes the bucket that was hanging from the horse to fill with water and cleans the blood and sweat off of himself with a towel. Once he”s done he does the same for Hunter, then they pass it to the next person.
� � � � � � � “I am a shape shifting raven. Alphonse there is a wolf. No shape shifting for him, but he manages alright. He”s very comfortable around most magic, so don”t worry about spooking him.” He leans closer to River and Asher, whispering. “I am pretty sure that he understands us, and he can be a bit sensitive sometimes.” He smiles and resumes talking normally as he examines Tomas” wounds. “Though I was born in Aigua, I live wherever the winds take me nowadays. Still, I have fondness for the King and his people. Aigua is still special to me. I try to keep watch outside the borders. For Crayus” men mostly, and for Cruiberg raiders as well. I”m just one man and his wolf, so there”s not much I can do to stop them, but I can warn villages when danger approaches and I can monitor their movements.” He finishes bandaging Tomas. “There you are, captain. Almost as good as new. Now, you all can call me Garallen. Prince Asher I know now. River the Blue Wizard and his Master, Ythl. The rest of you?”
� � � � � � � “I”m Toby. Archer and can shapeshift into a bear, more like a cub though. This is Hunter, a boar obviously.” Both of them smile and wave. The redhead sits up and comments on what his husband said. “I can shapeshift too, but my father wants me to stay in this form for as long as I can right now.”
� � � � � � � “I”m Tomas. Leader of the party.” He bows his head and sits beside Ythl, rubbing one hand along his kneecap without realizing what he”s doing.
� � � � � � � Hunter finally stretches and gets over his emotions. He cleans the meat and cooks it well, dishing out plates to everyone with the help of his husband. While he cooks he mentions. “We”re from Cantos, a small village near Aigua. I don”t know if you”ve heard of it. Not trying to brag, but my father is one of the legendary warriors that lives there. Then there”s Toby”s parents and the leader, Stefano.” Everyone begins to eat, already over the battle and dangers they faced not too long ago and managing to deal with their wounds.
� � � � � � � “Ah, Cantos! I know it. I”ve spent a night or two there.” Garallen sits and eats, enjoying the warm food. “This is very good, thank you. So, you”re headed for one of the healing shrines? Dare I ask which one?”
� � � � � � � Ythl looks over to Tomas. “We”re travelling to the Shrine of Aranathra. We felt that it was remote enough to escape Crayus” attention and River”s aunt is the Protector. He looks at River. Time is limited. River, though he won”t admit it and is a willfull, disobedient patient, is very ill.”
� � � � � � � Tomas interjects, “And Prince Asher will become very ill if we don”t heal him soon and allow him to shift.”
� � � � � � � Once they finish eating, Toby and Hunter clean their dishes and being setting up blankets and such for all of them. They listen closely in the background.
� � � � � � � “Right now, I probably only have two to three more weeks to live.” River gulps, looking down at his tea. Asher wraps an arm around him and hugs tightly. “Luckily, I”ve been taken care of and seem to be doing quite well so far, but I know that”s only temporary. At some point the teas won”t be enough, no matter how strong. But I”ll survive. All of us will.”
� � � � � � � “I see.” Garallen looks very serious. He thinks for a moment. Removing a packet from his pouch, he begin brewing his own tea. “May I ask what the nature of your illness is exactly?” He looks at Tomas. “And the route you plan to take to the shrine?”
� � � � � � � Toby nods in response to the last request. He searches through his backpack to find the maps that he and Hunter have been using to plan their travels. “I can show our planned route on our maps. Keep in mind, sir, that we haven”t firmly decided our path.”
� � � � � � � “Well, you know how some shapeshifting anthros get sick and slowly die if they can”t naturally shapeshift or find a shrine to heal them? That”s what”s going in with River, except it”s happening at a younger age for him and it”s much more painful than it is for most people that suffer with the issue.” Ythl explains as he massages Tomas”s shoulders.
� � � � � � � Hunter points out several areas that he has planned for them, stating that he would like to have the trip take from here on to take no longer than days due to the urgencies they face.
� � � � � � � “Ah, I see.” I”ve heard of that condition, though I”ve never encountered it personally. He kneels down in front of River, placing his hand against River”s forehead. “Tell, River, what forms did your mother and father favor?”
� � � � � � � Tomas and the others listen closely, hopeful that Garallen can help their friend.
� � � � � � � River smiles to him in a daze, seemingly high with euphoria coursing through him. “Mother was a lynx. I don”t know what my father was. He kept it secret for some reason, sort of like you, Ythl.” He looks to him, raising one brow and sticking out his tongue.
� � � � � � � “I tell you what you need to know.” No one needed to know that I can transform into a hawk and a fox. Ythl says seriously. “No one needs to know in the future, either. That goes for everyone, not just River.” The others nod and mumble their agreement.
� � � � � � � “Your father has never told you his form?” Garallen asks, whistling is surprise. “And you have no clues?”
� � � � � � � “No, not at all. Nobody knows anything about my father, except that the king was close with him and served him well.” River leans to the left and lets Asher caress him, playing with his hair.
� � � � � � � “Interesting.” The older man strokes the stubble on his chin. “Very interesting.” Suddenly, he stands. “You should sleep, young man. In the arms of your friend, too, to stay warm. I”ll check on you in an hour.”
� � � � � � � He moves over to Toby and Hunter, squatting down to go over their map. “Hmmm. Well, we”ll want to avoid this area. Crayus” men are thick as fleas there. I think they”re building some sort of black shrine. Whatever it is, it”s designed to be permanent. They”re using slaves for the construction and the guards are very vigilant.” he points and motions along the map. “This way would be safer and we”d only lose a day.”
� � � � � � � Tomas wanders over. “We? We”ll want to? Your plan, then, is to join us?”
� � � � � � � Garallen looks up at him. “If you allow it, yes, I would like to help. As I say, I still hold Aigua in high regard and helping the Prince and his boyfriend is something of a duty for me, I think.”
� � � � � � � “What do you say, Prince?” Tomas looks at him with a curious smile.
� � � � � � � “I don”t see why not.” The prince helps get River on his feet. “We can use a new set of hands or wings.” The two of them find a clear spot under a tree. Asher helps River back down, finding a stack of large canopy leafs to rest his head on. “There we go. He kisses his forehead, then kneels down before cuddling beside him.”
� � � � � � � “Do you have a home at all or do you just travel wherever the wind takes you?” Hunter holds his husbands hand, rocking back and forth with him as they lean against a tree and grow exhausted and tired from before.
� � � � � � � “I am as I am. A raven. I have homes scattered over my territories. Nests, of a sort.” He looks at the boys, studying each of them in turn. “Depending on our route, I have one that we may spend a night in before we reach the shrine. It will be cramped with us all and I”m not sure how we”d get the horse inside.” He looks at the horse, then laughs. “One of you will be responsible if he leaves a steaming gift on my floors!”
� � � � � � � Tomas grins. “Eewww. Let”s hope it doesn”t come to that. Yes, I think we”d like to have you join us. If Crayus is as active as you say, another mage will be most welcome.”
� � � � � � � The other boys nod and mumble their agreement, welcoming Garallen into their fellowship.
� � � � � � � After the new member to the party is introduced, all of the boys sleep close to each other with their weapons in close distance. The wolf, dog and horse seem to take turns playing guard, showing off their intelligence as more than mere animals. They too are part of the group and of family. All of the boys have vibrant, intense dreams when they fall asleep, which keep them in a daze when they wake up. River is the first to mention and question it in the morning. “This area must have some sort of magic accustomed to it. I”ve never had a dream like that in my life.”
� � � � � � � “Really?” Asher nudges him on the shoulder, holding his own plate of oats and veggies to him. All of the boys share small portions of food, as they don”t have much left. Luckily, they have another animal which will help them with finding meat later on. “There”s some areas of Aigua, like the town of Vistini, which has the fifty-foot-tall glowing mushrooms swarming it. Apparently, everyone over there is an artist – they”re inspired by the dreams that the nature gives them. Possibly, this place is something like that.”
� � � � � � � “Then we should leave as soon as possible.” Hunter groans, finishing his food and fixing his husbands hair with a comb. “I didn”t care one bit for my dream. More of a nightmare if you ask me. Crayus and his men had cornered me and ate me. I could…” He shivers as he remembers. “I could feel it as they roasted me and ate me. I”ve never felt so uncomfortable and afraid in my entire life.”
� � � � � � � Toby”s face grows dark as Hunter describes his dream. He wraps his arms around his husband, kissing his neck. “My baby. I”m sorry you had a nightmare. We should move on. If not because of the dreams and nightmares, then because River and Asher still need to be healed.”
� � � � � � � Tomas nods. “My dreams were pleasant. For Hunter”s sake, I pray they weren”t prophetic, though. I”d rather mine not come to pass if that would mean suffering for my friends.”
� � � � � � � The other boys nod, packing their gear and preparing to travel. Garallen steps away from the group, transforming into a large raven. As they pack, he flies high and fast. He returns and resumes his form as a man. “There”s nothing dangerous nearby. We should be able to make good time. This place sometimes gives people dreams. Their fears, their hopes all made manifest as they sleep. They don”t always come to pass.” He claps a hand to Hunter”s shoulder. “I don”t think we”ll let anyone eat you, friend boar. Don”t worry.”
� � � � � � � With that, the group moves out. Garallen and Toby in the lead with their hounds. Hunter and Tomas taking up the rear. River rides behind Ythl, with Asher walking alongside, his hand resting on River”s thigh.
� � � � � � � The death of the storm has brought about the clearing of turmoil clouds, sprouting out rainbows and clear sky through the sunrise. Even the three moons can be faintly seen among the sunrise. They travel into the forests again, which are wet as if it were still raining, but provide a light, perennial ambience to them. Birds and owls hoot and sing while other beasts stumble by, taking note of the boys, but ignore them. Much of the nature is in disarray, but some sort of leftover magic is already beginning to let the destruction become an order of creation. Through the natural chaos of storms comes the blossoming of new species and animals that would typically devour each other coming together to reestablish their species.
� � � � � � � They ride quietly, joking at times, but keep it all mostly in the range that fits their age, seeing Garallen as an adult that could tattle on them to their father. Toby and Hunter divulge their marriage to the older man. The others speak of their own childhood and lives, what their specialties are, religious aspects of their lives, even their favorite kind of meal. His presence is warm and invites them all to feel safer and less on edge then before.
� � � � � � � For most of the day River rests or gathers his strength, working on his spell books for study and being challenged by Ythl with plenty questions to test what he”s learned. In return, Garallen does the same to Ythl, proving to him that he also has much to experience and be educated on. The older man assures him that by the time they reach the shrine he will make him an even better wizard than he already is. Once sunrise comes closing in, Toby has the dogs hunt for their dinner. They return, carrying a deer with both of their mouths. Hunter carries it on his back as they walk closer to where Garallen lives. Whatever medicine that the raven anthro had given him has done wonders combined with Ythl”s medicine and has him at full strength again. He finishes all of his homework that his teacher gives them while they”re riding. Finally, they reach the destination in mind.