Give Me the ManbyAlex De Kok©
"Thank you, doctor." He grinned. "It was fun!"
Gerlan was waiting patiently in the commissary. He grinned when he saw Ardan. "How did it go, son?"
"Very well, father. I'm fit, I'm not blind, I can hear and apparently my seed is so virile I need to be careful how I even look at a woman."
Gerlan laughed. "Well done. Shall we eat here?"
"Why not? Is there anything I need to do while I'm waiting for dusk?"
"We'll get the horses and explore a little, eh?"
"I think I'd rather explore the city. Remember, it's my first time here."
"Very well, the city it is. We'll have something substantial to eat now, and a snack before I take you to the Temple. You do not want a full stomach tonight!"
Ardan laughed. "I suppose I don't. Where can we go that's interesting?"
Gerlan stared through his son for a moment. "There's a museum of Terran artefacts that I've never seen."
"Some of it, yes, I believe. Not all of it."
"I know the doctor said they welcomed the advances in medicine and medical equipment and methods. What got banned?"
"Technology that Ha'arans thought was unnecessary, mostly."
"Energy weapons, anti-gravity transport devices, personal communications. Mostly technology that replaced honest effort, or was destructive. If the planet can't do it with horses or boats, we don't do it. I suspect that a lot of the technology will be re-invented as time goes on, but at the moment we don't need it thrust upon us."
"I think I'd like to see that museum, too," said Ardan. "Here's the waitress coming. What are we having?"
The museum was fascinating to Ardan. He looked at the weapons in the cases and shuddered mentally at the thought of them being used on fellow humans. That the Terrans and the Ha'arans were genetically identical had long since been proved and some people cautiously claimed joint ancestry, but following the technology wars, the Terrans had faded quietly and mysteriously into the Ha'aran civilisation.
"Did they use those weapons in the wars, father?" Ardan was curious, because in the face of such destructive ability, how could the Terrans have lost.
"No, they chose not to use them. There was a lot of goodwill for Ha'arans among the Terrans. They preferred to lose than to cause a massacre."
"Did they lose? Or did they just change tactics and mingle. I've read that we're virtually indistinguishable."
"I believe that's true. I know a few Terrans, but a lot just, as you suggest, mingled."
"Who do you know that's Terran?" asked Ardan, surprised.
"I'm not saying, not yet. I might tell you when we get home. Not before, okay?"
"Yes, sir." Ardan knew from experience that his father was a man of his word. "Father?"
"How many died in the war? The histories don't say. The legends talk of thousands."
"Your grandfather did some research. The Terrans had seventeen killed, the Ha'arans about ten."
"Is that all?" Ardan was surprised at the figure. The gossip talked of hundreds, thousands even.
"Twenty-seven is still too many, son, far too many. Whoever decided on the Terran surrender was a wise man."
"I think you're right. Yet we still have bandits, and pirates."
"Malcontents occur in many civilisations, son. That's why we have the Guard, and the Guides. Talking of the Guides, when do you get your exam results?"
"At the beginning of next month."
"Reasonably, sir. I don't think I missed any of the questions, and I just hope my interpretation of the variables was correct."
"We'll see, soon enough." Gerlan reached for the pouch at his waist. "Your mother and I have a little surprise for you."
Gerlan passed Ardan a purse, a full purse. "There's enough in there for you to spend two eightdays here. It might be the only chance you have to spend some time in the capital. You know the road home. I saw you checking our back trail often enough."
Ardan grinned. "Guide training. Father, thank you. I realised after what little we have seen of the city today that there is a lot more I'd like to see." Leara, too, perhaps.
"Then see it you shall. One other thing."
"Before I leave tomorrow we will visit the armourer near the market. You're going to need a sword of your own when you pass your exams."
"You're so confident in me, father?"
"You are, and that's enough for me."
"Thank you, sir. And thank mother for me. I shall bring her a gift home with me."
"She'd settle for your safe return. You know your mother."
"I do, sir, which is why I'd like to bring her a gift. For Sana, too."
Gerlan nodded. "Your sister would like something from Jalx, I'm sure. But now I think it's time we got something to eat. It will be dusk all too soon."
There were eating-places a-plenty in the streets nearby and they were soon eating delicious yalbird sandwiches, with salad greens and a spicy sauce. Fruit juice to wash it down, because Ardan cheerfully admitted that he did not want his brains befuddled for his Initiation.
"We just have time to get back, get you washed and dressed in your finery, and we'll be right on time," Gerlan said cheerfully. "Hey, cheer up. It's Initiation, not the end of the world."
"I know, father, I guess I'm just nervous. I'll do something stupid, probably."
"Which countless young men of your age have done over these many years. The Handmaidens are experienced. Ask, and they will guide you. Ask, and you will be rewarded by their guidance. Ask, for if you do not, and fumble, you will both be the poorer for the experience."
Ardan grimaced, then smiled. "I know, father, I know. But I'm still nervous. Come on, I still need to wash and change."
As the sun touched the distant hills and the Watch sounded the twentieth hour, Gerlan and Ardan entered the temple. An acolyte, in green robes, greeted them with a smile and a bow. Gerlan returned the courtesy and Ardan hastily followed suit. The girl was stunning; auburn hair, striking green eyes and a slender but womanly-curved body so far as he could tell. Ardan wondered nervously if she would be the one to take his Initiation, then mentally kicked himself. Fool! The Initiators were masked.
"You bring your son to be Initiated, to be blessed by the Goddess?" she said to Gerlan.
"Ardan, son of Gerlan, House Tearo."
"Thank you, Fro Tearo." She turned to Ardan. He bowed and her mouth curved briefly in a smile. "Do you, Ardan, son of Gerlan, House Tearo, give yourself willingly to the service of the Goddess this night?"
Already coached in his reply, Ardan bowed again. "I do so," he said, "willingly and with an open heart."
She turned again to Gerlan. "Do you, Gerlan, House Tearo, willingly give your son to the service of the Goddess?"
"I do. I give you the boy. Give me back the man."
The girl smiled, and bowed to Gerlan, then to Ardan, then to Gerlan again. "You may leave us, Gerlan of House Tearo. The Goddess accepts your son, the boy, and will return to you your son, the man, in the morning of the new day."
Gerlan bowed again. "Thank you." He smiled at Ardan, turned on his heel and went without another word. Ardan watched him go, suddenly alone. He turned to the girl and found her watching him, face calm, accepting.
"Follow me," she said, and led him from the hallway, along a corridor and into an anteroom, comfortably furnished and warmed by a fire dancing in the hearth. The girl gestured. "Please take a seat, Ardan. Your mentor will be with you directly." She turned and left the room with a swish of robes.
Ardan took a seat near the fire and gazed absently into the flames, wondering just what was about to happen. The soft slap of slippers on the tiled floor of the corridor alerted him and he stared at the doorway, wondering just what his mentor would be like. The door, already ajar, was pushed lightly open and a figure appeared. Like the acolyte, this figure wore a robe, except that now it was red, almost the colour of blood. Unlike the acolyte, the figure was masked and had the hood of her robe pulled up to shield her face.
"You are Ardan, House Tearo?" Her voice was low, musical. Ardan nodded. "Follow me," she said, and led the way along the corridor to another room. She gestured him inside.
The room was larger than the anteroom. Again a fire burned in the hearth, giving both warmth and light. Candles burned in wall sconces. The bed was large, wide, with scattered furs and bright rugs across it, several soft pillows against the wall at its head. A low press served to take clothing, and a table bore a tray with fruit and fruit juices. A doorway in the far wall, ajar, gave onto what Ardan recognised as a bathroom.
"Remove your clothing, please."
"All of it?" he managed to ask.
"It is usual," she replied, and he could hear the smile in her voice.
Ardan undressed quickly, folding his clothes onto the press, his boots against the wall. His prick, which had been well on its way to being hard, was softening again.
"I detect interest," the Handmaiden said. "Fear not, Ardan, we two shall soon have your weapon ready for sheathing."
"Are you undressing?"
"Of course. I thought first to bathe you. It can be a very pleasant pastime." She laughed lightly. "Very pleasant." She gestured towards the doorway. "If you would lie on the mat at the bathside, I will join you in a moment."
He went into the bathroom. The bath was sunken, wide, long, steam rising softly from the water. The room was warm. A soft woven mat was laid alongside the bath and Ardan lay prone upon it, his head resting on his crossed arms. The soft sound of a bare foot caught his ear and he glimpsed movement from the corner of his eye. He made to move, to see her, when she stopped him.
"No! Ardan, please. Do not look. Not yet. I want to ask you something."
"Can you see beyond the surface?"
"Of a person."
"In what way?"
"Can you see beyond an imperfection or a flaw, to the person behind the flaw?"
"I hope I can. One of my best friends at home is lame - from an accident. He cannot run, or even walk fast, but he is ever cheerful, and a true friend. Why do you ask?"
"The Goddess leaves it to her Handmaidens as to whether or not they unveil. Without my hood I can offer my lips for our pleasure, but you may not care for what you see."
"Do you fear me seeing you?"
"I fear your revulsion."
"That you will not get. Your voice is sweet, your carriage poetry. Mere physical blemishes cannot change an inner beauty."
There was a soft chuckle behind him. "Very well, Ardan Tearo. You may turn."
"Arla! Oh, your poor face."
"It will heal, Ardan. Without your intervention it might never have had the chance."
The girl smiling at him was the very one he had rescued the night before. Her face was indeed rendered unlovely, but it would be a transient ugliness. The left side of her face was a massive bruise, her eye blackened, a cut at the corner of her mouth, but her eyes were bright and there was a smile on her lips. She was still wearing her robe but her fingers went to the fastenings and she turned to the door. "Lie back down, I will be with you in a moment."
He did so, and in a moment he heard the slap of bare feet again and a bag clinked beside his head. A slender arm took from the bag a bottle of oil and in a moment he felt a pool of it in the small of his back. Her strong hands went to work, kneading him, working the oil into his muscles. After a few moments, she took a strigil and began to scrape gently, removing the oil and dead skin from him. She worked down his body, down his legs.
"Time to turn over, Ardan."
He took a deep breath and turned, easing his burgeoning erection as he did. There was a gasp from Arla. "Ooh, pretty! Save it for a moment or two, until I have cleansed you."
She reached out with a slender hand and ran a finger from root to crown. Ardan hissed in his breath, unable to take his eyes from her. Arla was naked, the ugly bruising on her face merely showing how lovely she really was. Slender arms and legs, a slim waist, trim hips and pointed breasts, full and round, rosy nipples erect in goose-bumped areolae. Her pubic hair was the same rich brown as the hair on her head, which she had tied back now to keep it out of her eyes.
"You are lovely," he croaked, his prick seeming to get even harder as Arla rubbed oil into his chest and shoulders, her bare breasts mere finger widths from his chest. She flashed a smile at him and took the strigil to his chest, her tongue in the corner of her mouth as she concentrated.
"Arla, may I ask a question?"
"Of course," she replied, never pausing in her scraping. She had almost reached his prick now and it jumped as her elbow caught it. "Sorry," she murmured. "What did you wish to ask?"
"My Initiation? Were you due to take it?"
She shook her head. "No, I asked one of the other girls to exchange partners with me. We do that sometimes if it's someone we know and want to take. I swapped because I thought this might be the very best way to thank you properly. Normally, because of my injury, I would have been excused, but I wanted to take your Initiation." She looked up at him and grinned. "You might have preferred Jena. Her breasts are bigger."
He laughed. "I doubt they could be lovelier." He paused. "You actually asked, wanted, to take me?"
"I did. I do. Do you mind?"
"Never!" He was vehement.
Arla's smile was radiant. "Thank you, Ardan. You're sweet." She sat back on her heels, pushing a wisp of hair away from her face with the back of her hand. He watched the lift of her breast, fascinated. "All done, Ardan. Into the water with you."
He eased himself into the bath and she knelt in the water behind him, soap and sponge in her hand, washing the oil from his body. "Can I ask you a question?" Arla said.
"Of course. What?"
"Were you at the institute this morning?"
"Yes. With Doctor Chela."
"Did you give a seed sample?"
"Was it good?"
"Very good; apparently I need to be very careful or I risk making every female I touch pregnant."
Arla laughed. "I should be safe. I have my implant, freshly renewed only last Fifthday."
Ardan laughed. "Perhaps just as well. Are you finished?"
"Yes, time to get dried." She smiled. "And time to make love."
"Not quite yet. First I wash you."
"You don't need to do that."
"I want to."
Arla smiled and handed him the sponge. She turned her back to him, lifting her hair away from her neck so that he could wash her neck and back. He did, enjoying the feel of her skin under the sponge. He worked his way down her back and legs, kneeling behind her, then stood, turning her to face him. He held her eyes with his as he reached out gently and soaped her breasts. Her eyes closed as she abandoned herself to the pleasure. He moved down her body with the sponge, soaping her, cleaning her, washing carefully between her legs, the scent of her clear to his nose.
"Rinse," he said and she moved to kneel so that he could wash the soap from her. Finished, he stood and drew her to her feet. Standing, she was a head shorter than he and she looked up at him, a gentle smile curving her lips. He reached out and caressed her bruise with his fingertips, butterfly-light. Her smile broadened.
"Towels," she said, her voice hoarse. "If I don't get you inside me soon I'm going to burst!"
Ardan laughed. "Is a Handmaiden of the Goddess supposed to say things like that when giving an Initiation?" He took a big, soft towel and began drying Arla's breasts.
"No, and you aren't going to tell anyone, either. Ardan, you have no idea how rare and wonderful it is to have someone like you to Initiate, compared to some of your contemporaries who charge in, pilak their way into my pussy and twenty seconds later roll over and fall asleep!" Arla shook her head. "If they only realised that if they took their time and tried to make us feel good, they would have all night instead of being led out, still horny, a bare half-hour after they get here, to spend the remainder of the night in meditation. Alone."
"It would seem my sex has a lot to learn."
"Some learn, some even manage to teach us. Most, I'm afraid, most are just rutting animals." She gave him a rueful look and reached for the towel. "My turn. I think that lovely prick of yours needs careful drying."
"I think the heat you have generated in me has made it self-drying."
"Oh. So it has! In that case, put a bed under me. Eek! Ardan! Put me down!"
"No way. Is the bed soft?"
"Soft enough," Arla said, kissing his ear. "Just drop me on it."
He did, and she sat up laughing at him. She sobered, eyeing his erection as he stood beside the bed, smiling at her. She looked up. "You gave your seed for testing this morning, didn't you?"
He sat on the edge of the bed beside her. "Yes. As I told you, with Doctor Chela."
"What's your recovery like? I mean, how quickly can you get hard again after you come?"
Ardan leaned across and kissed Arla lightly on the lips. "It depends on the company."
"Have you had sex before? With a woman, I mean, not your hand!"
He flushed. "Once. I spent the night with a woman and her daughter. I had them both." He frowned. "I guess it was about a half-hour after I had Mayla that I had her mother."
"With - Mayla? - did you come quickly?"
"Almost too quickly." He looked away for a moment, remembering.
"I think it's time we found out how well we fit," Arla whispered, easing herself onto her back and tugging gently at him. Ardan stretched out and slipped his left arm under her neck, raising her head to his, kissing her tenderly. He brought his right hand up to stroke her cheek and she moved slightly, so that his hand made a firmer contact than planned with her battered face.
Arla winced and jerked her head away.
"Arla! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to hurt you. You moved and - " She put her finger on his lips.
"Hush, dear. I know it was an accident." She made a face. "It hurt."
"I'm sorry," he said helplessly.
"It's all right, dear. Just be careful." She giggled. "Perhaps you should be concentrating elsewhere."
Relieved, Ardan laughed. "Perhaps I should. Here, perhaps?" Licking her nipple. "Or here?" His tongue in her navel. "Or should it be here?" Tugging gently at the curls on her mound with his teeth. He could smell her, the rich, complicated smell of a sexually aroused woman, primal, stimulating. If possible, his prick felt even harder than before. He moved up her body again, kissing, licking, moving his tongue up the sensuous valley between her breasts, kissing her throat.
He moved down again and took a nipple between his teeth, lightly, then pursed his mouth and sucked on it for a moment. He felt Arla's hands against him and suddenly her fingers were around his erection, stroking, squeezing. She moaned softly.
"Put it in me, Ardan. Please! Put it in me."
He moved over her, and for a moment they played the age-old game, she moving her legs apart, he moving to kneel between them, until he was poised to enter her. Their eyes locked and he pushed gently forwards. A brief obstruction, a wriggle of her hips, a quick, deft movement of his hardness with her hand and suddenly he felt himself move into her, an inch, two, three, easing back out of her to spread her juices and ease his passage into her softness, then forward again, then back, then forward, his balls suddenly against the soft globes of her ass.
"I think you're in," she whispered.
He smiled down at her, flexing his prick within her, grins spreading on both of their face. She squeezed down on him. "Now I know I'm in," he said.
She pouted. "So shaft me. That's what I'm here for."
Ardan laughed. "Anything to oblige a devoted Handmaiden of the Goddess." He began to move, pulling back so that he almost left her, then pressing back into her, hard, deep, her juices flowing, his passage easing, her excitement manifest in the increasingly audible passage of his prick within her heated depths. The swish of his movements was counterpoint to the yips and moans she began to make, excitement building in them, higher, higher, higher, until, suddenly she clamped down on him in involuntary contraction as her climax took her, a wordless half-sob, half-moan squeezing between her clenched teeth as her stomach rippled.