Two of a Kind Ch. 03byCia81©
"Rarely have I heard or felt such purity and devotion." A large rumbling voice filled the temple chamber.
Both men's eyes snapped open and they gasped in awe. Cavel's hand tightened on Bashta's fingers, his knuckles turning white. An enormous black jaguar sat in front of the altar, watching them as his tail flicked back and forth. His yellow eyes reflected the orange flames as he looked down on them. Sitting down he was taller than either of them would be standing. It was a truly intimidating sight.
"Do you mean that?" he asked.
"Pardon me." Bashta bowed. "Do you speak to me, Great One?"
The large jaguar's mouth parted, his teeth gleaming in the fire light in an odd parody of a smile. "No, dear heart."
Cavel gulped, that meant the jaguar was addressing him. "I am unsure of what you mean, Great One. If you mean my thoughts of moments ago, yes. More than anything. I want the suffering to end. My people and," he glanced at Bashta, "my mate, deserve to live in health and joy. I would give anything I possess, anything but my soul, to give them that peace."
The great jaguar narrowed his eyes. "You would place limits on what you would offer when you beg a boon for your people?"
"I do not hold back anything that is my own, Great One but my soul is not mine to give," Cavel said softly. He looked down to where Bashta held his hand, their fingers white from the tight grip and then looked up to stare in the jaguar's shining yellow eyes. "That part of me has always belonged to Bashta, even before I knew him, and it always will. The piece of his soul I carry is held in trust only. I cannot betray my mate, not even to save my people who are your people, Great One."
"I would never ask that Cavel face the pain I have felt since my clan died," Bashta objected. "That he would do that, risk his clan for me is... too much." Bashta looked away from the Jaguar and his tears slowly fell from his eyes as he looked at Cavel's soft expression. "He... I have come to care greatly for him these past days. I think I love him." He looked back up at the Jaguar. "I would do whatever required of me to spare him pain."
A curious sound rumbled through the room, emanating from the cat's chest. He rose up, easily towering over the kneeling men. He paced in a circle while they held their breath. "You would give anything. Any price I asked? Both of you?"
Bashta and Cavel looked at each other, an unspoken communication passing between them.
"Yes," Cavel answered simply for both of them.
The Jaguar moved to stand before him, just inches from Cavel's face. Cavel instantly fell into his bright eyes, passing through a great ring of flames just like the ones behind the altar. He felt a presence in his mind, a voice that whispered and spoke to him with the combined forces of all his ancestors. He was suspended in a moment of time, immersed in the essence of his people's origins, lines that led back into history to this one creature.
His defenses stripped back, Cavel was flooded with knowledge and power and a sense of duty made all the stronger by his renewed connection to his clan's ancestors.
He gasped when he was released, weaving on his knees until he could catch his balance against his mate. Bashta held him upright until Cavel blinked a few times and then managed a short bow to the Jaguar.
"You are worthy to be a Protector of our kind. Bashta was chosen as a kitling, brought before me and pledged to be mine. His family has had a Protector in their line as far back as his clan stretched. It is a solemn duty."
Bashta was unable to choke back his sob at the reminder of the solemn ceremony. Held in his father's arms as a small kitling the experience and connection he had felt to his people had been the brightest thing in his soul. When they died, it had felt like that had disappeared. The reminder of that made his chest ache in misery.
Cavel instantly looked away from the Jaguar and wrapped his arms around Bashta to comfort him. The Jaguar purred; a deep rumble that helped soothe and calm them.
"Is this mating something you want as well, dear one?" the jaguar asked Bashta when he lifted his head from Cavel's shoulder.
"Yes." Bashta's voice was firm but soft. Cavel leaned forward and kissed his cheek softly, the tip of his tongue licking the last tear from Bashta's soft skin. Cavel sat back and they both turned toward the Jaguar, their hands once again linked.
"Good. You will have need of that certainty. What I ask will be difficult for you. You will need support to endure the coming hardships." Bashta blanched a little but Cavel tightened his grip. The Jaguar stood up, towering over them.
"The words of the spirits are often hard to understand. You listened when they spoke through the wise woman and made your way here, into the jungle, though you had nothing but faith to guide you, Cavel, newly made Protector. You have done well as a leader of your clan and deserve your reward for your faithfulness."
"I have had my reward. This is where I met and fell in love with my mate," Cavel smiled, "as badly as I bungled it in the beginning."
The Jaguar huffed, amusement in his voice. "Truly. What you do not know is at the same time you also found your cure."
Cavel looked confused. "I did? I don't understand, what cure?" The Jaguar looked at Bashta which only made Cavel more confused. "Pardon me, Great One, I still don't understand."
"As the only survivor of his clan Bashta is also the only survivor of this plague that has so decimated our kind."
Understanding dawned on Cavel's face. "He had the plague? But... how did he survive?" He turned to Bashta. "Why didn't you tell me?"
Bashta looked confused. "Tell you what? I didn't know I was sick. I certainly never experienced the sickness of my clan. I was here in the Temple as they died. I had an infection in a wound and my mother brought me to the pools for healing."
Understanding dawned over Cavel and he sat back on his heels, nodding. "Of course, don't you see? The plague attacks the brain and causes headaches long before it attacks the body further and causes the more obvious symptoms. You must have had the headache but just didn't realize it with the fever from your infection. When you came to be healed the ritual must have done more than just cure the infection, it cured the plague."
"Then how am I your cure? We don't have time to get your whole clan here and heal them all, do we?"
"No, that wouldn't work, you're right. But we don't have to bring them here for the cure; we can take the cure to them. It's in you, your blood!" Cavel said in excitement. "The doctor can create an antiserum with your blood and give it to my clan. It would attack the toxins created by the bacteria that is making them sick." Bashta's forehead was wrinkled.
Cavel simplified. "We would make a medicine from your blood and because you had the plague but were healed, they would be healed too. Your blood holds the cure inside it."
Bashta's face smoothed out and he smiled, his expression full of joy. "You can do that? Really?"
Cavel was almost dancing though he was still on his knees. "Oh yes!" His excitement faltered. "But... You'll have to leave the jungle, your home."
"I could come back."
"That you could," said the Jaguar. Their heads turned quickly. Cavel swallowed, he'd been so excited he'd completely forgotten about the enormous jaguar sitting just feet away from them.
Bashta blushed. "Our apologies, Great One. In our excitement we did not mean to ignore you."
"I am not slighted, dear one. But there is more you must know," he said kindly. "In order for your blood to work on his clan, you must be his clan. You must be bonded."
"But I have no clan left alive to perform the ceremony. How can I mate if I have no one to sing for me?" Bashta's face fell and tears filled his eyes.
They wouldn't be able to save them. Cavel's clan would die, just as Bashta's had. Cavel's heart turned to stone in his chest.
The Jaguar huffed again, the sound amused as he looked at Bashta. "You are silly, Dear One. Your clan, all clans; are my people. I created you; I succor you in times of trouble, and share with you in times of joy. I will sing for you, for both of you, in your bonding ceremony."
He padded over to stand directly in front of Cavel and Bashta, so close they could feel the heat from his body. "Stand."
Silently, they stood before him.
Both men bent forward, showing their respect for the spirit of their people. As they stood the Jaguar touched his forehead to each of theirs briefly. His warm silky fur felt like a soft caress as he rubbed their faces gently. Cavel felt him enter his mind, encompassing and enveloping them in a presence that felt indescribable as he tested their mate bond. He did the same to Bashta. A purr rumbled in his chest as he moved back a pace.
"Oh yes, this will be a very good mating for our people."
"Thank you, Great One," Cavel said, his voice thick with emotion. Bashta didn't speak, just bowed again.
"Take up the offered rings," he instructed them. They moved past him and each picked up one shining black ring from the flaming eye still shining on the altar. It was so bright they had to block their eyes shining behind its surface. They looked up to the jaguar who was now facing them from across the altar. "Hold the rings in your right hands, palm up."
His deep, rumbling voice began chanting in the ancient language Bashta had used for their cleansing. It was unlike any mating chant Cavel had ever heard, beginning as a single melody. Usually both families sang for the mated pair, the sounds blending together. Somehow the jaguar's song did the same, growing richer and pulling both of them into the song. They were tugged closer together, their free hands joining. Cavel could feel his inner cats rubbing against him, pressing against his skin from the inside.
Bashta whimpered and Cavel knew he must feel it too.
With their eyes closed they didn't see the Jaguar unsheathe the claws on one paw and slice across both their hands still held palm up, black rings centered on their palms. Their twin gasps filled the air as blood welled from the deep cuts and washed over the rings cradled in their hands. Turning to face each other, they joined their hands, their blood mingling as they clasped their rings between them. Two cries came from each distended throat as their heads fell back and they dropped to their knees in pain and ecstasy flooding their bodies, doubled as their bond grew between them.
Their cats came rushing to the surface as a wave of magic enveloped their bodies.
Starting at the hairline their jaguar clan markings appeared as black rosettes to cover their temples, flowing down their necks and spreading across their bare backs. They gasped as muscles stretched and rippled, shifting and growing. Their claws erupted on hands still clenched tight together, puncturing skin and flesh. The blood dripped onto the floor between them onto the porous black stone before the altar. The flames in the temple flared, filling the room with a living brilliance as their minds met and melded in a fiery clash.
When it faded both men were slumped against each other, still on their knees. The Jaguar sat before them, calmly waiting as their minds began to quiet and separate. It was long minutes as they reveled in each other's emotions through their bond. Truly bonded mates at last; they each explored the other's depth of feeling and found answering deep wells of love and devotion.
"A very good mating," the Jaguar said as they finally pulled apart, both physically and mentally. Only their hands stayed linked around the rings but their minds stayed linked to that deep well hidden within each other. It was enough that they were no longer deaf to the world around them.
"The rings are an outward sign of your connection, to each other and to this place. You are now mated but not yet fully bonded. That will only happen when you share yourselves in the last of the ceremony."
Cavel smiled as Bashta blushed furiously. Cavel knew that the first night as a truly bonded couple was the most treasured memory for all mates. He was ready to go home and bring salvation to his clan but they deserved this moment in time for themselves. He lamented that it would be a bit more hurried than a normal pair's but he would make their first time an erotic and loving time for both of them to remember fondly as they grew older.
"I know what is asked of you is not easy Bashta, to forever leave the home of your people. So that you do not lose your roots here, where our kind began, you shall both return each year to the Temple. You are Protectors of all jaguars, bound to me and to my Temple. Bring your kitlings and your clan. Stay true to our ways and keep the spirits strong in your clan and you will prosper."
Bashta bowed from his knees, his forehead touching the ground before the Jaguar. "It shall be done as you say, Great One. You will always be revered in our clan for saving their lives." He sat up and smiled brilliantly. "I will never be alone again, because of your generosity. In our home especially, your memory shall never be forgotten."
The Jaguar rumbled in pleasure, touching each of their foreheads with his again, his power rolling through them and across their bond in benediction. When they opened their eyes, he was gone and the wounds on their palms were healed. Cavel pounced on Bashta, hugging him as tight as he could.
"None of this would have been possible without you." He leaned over to kiss his mate gently. "I love you."
"I love you more than you can know," Bashta replied. He looked down at his hands nervously and realized he still held the ring in his fist. Etched in orange across the black band there were now flames in a pattern that seemed to move and flicker. He held it out in a silent offer.
Cavel held out his free hand as Bashta held up his. Together, both men slid the warm rings on the first finger of each other's left hands. Cavel brought both hands up to Bashta's face, peppering it with soft kisses across his forehead, eyes, and cheeks. He finally settled his lips over that succulent mouth, gently parting Bashta's lips with his tongue and seeking out the warm inside of his mouth to roll and caress with his tongue.
They were both breathing heavily when Cavel pulled back and buried his face against Bashta's neck. He greedily sucked on the skin, bringing blood and heat to the surface around one of the new round black marks.
"I like these. You look so sexy."
Bashta moaned, raising his chin and baring his neck. "More, please... more!"
Cavel laid him down gently on the stone floor, lying to one side of Bashta. He lightly kissed the red mark he had already made and then began slowly licking and sucking again, this time at the base of Bashta's jaw.
Bashta heard himself begging but he didn't care. The sensations were rolling through his sensitive skin. His sense of touch, hearing, and smell all were much more acute in his newly bonded form. He felt as if Cavel's tongue was bathing the actual nerve endings under his skin as the scent of their arousal mingled and combined into a heady aphrodisiac that filled the chamber.
He whimpered, making Cavel chuckle and then bury his hands in his hair to pull his head back into an even more vulnerable position, kissing down the side of his neck. When Bashta remained limp and unresisting Cavel struck, a large sucking bite over his carotid. It stung but Bashta didn't move, waiting for Cavel. Nipping gently and laving the skin with his tongue, Cavel began to purr in pleasure when he remained motionless. His emotions flowed through their bond to Bashta.
Bashta felt a wave of pressure as the vibration pulsed through his neck and the sensation forced his manhood erect in moments. It was like lightning streaked through him until he was unable to remain still any longer. His arms came up to Cavel's shoulders, clutching them as his hips began to move, begging with silent movements for more touching, more caresses.
Cavel opened his mouth, licking his mating mark with his tongue and then kissed it gently. He lifted his head to stare at his mate with shining eyes. "You like this?"
Bashta groaned. "Spirits, yes! Don't stop."
Cavel grinned. "Oh I have no intentions of doing that," he said teasingly. He moved up to straddle Bashta's body, kissing his way from his mark down his neck to his chest, attacking each nipple as his hands roamed, touching and kneading. His claws scraped gently against Bashta's sides and thighs and then dug into his slender hips, holding him still.
Moving down again, Cavel circled Bashta's belly button with his tongue, dipping it inside and chuckling when Bashta moaned and then cursed in agony at the instant pulse of his insistent arousal at the sensation.
Bashta was awash in the feeling of the warm wet tongue tickling and caressing his body. It felt like Cavel was touching him everywhere at once. He shuddered and arched his back, desperately trying to bring his weeping member to Cavel's attention but his larger mate held his hips firmly, not letting him move as he teased. Hot, moist air washed over him and his breath hitched as he waited in anticipation.
Even then he was hopelessly unprepared for the onslaught of sensation when Cavel's mouth engulfed him and began to bob up and down from base to tip, sucking fiercely. He cried out, surprised and pleased.
"Oh spirits, Cavel," he moaned.
He could feel the drawing sensations pulling deep inside him, tugging at their bond. Cavel was unconsciously pumping his hips, brushing his own cock against Bashta's thighs. They were both panting, reveling in the feelings of love and pleasure through their bond. Cavel pulled off with one final strong pull, drawing a groan from Bashta.
"Why did you stop?" Bashta asked anxiously, panting. His hands were stroking Cavel's head and kneading his shoulders as his claws flicked in and out.
"I need you," Cavel said honestly, his own body drawn tight almost to the point of pain. They laid there, Cavel on top of Bashta and stared in each other's eyes. Bashta watched his mate as he struggled for control. "I don't want to hurt you."
Bashta reached up to cup Cavel's cheek with one hand. "You would never do that. I know you now, remember? We're two halves of one whole. I trust you."
Cavel buried his face in Bashta's neck. "Thank you." He kissed him gently. "We need something to ease the way. Maybe there would be something slick we could use near the hot spring pools?"
Bashta blushed and looked at the altar. "I think we provided everything we would need tonight already." Cavel smiled when he looked up and saw the gourd with the tucuma oil. He reached up and brought it down and set it on the floor next to them. Taking a deep breath, he touched slowly, kissing Bashta's face and neck, pulling up to kiss his mouth deeply, tongue thrusting.
Minutes passes as they caressed each other. Cavel's claws began to dig into Bashta's hips, lifting him as they rubbed their cocks together. Their breathing began to pick up as they began to feel their previous urgency take them over. Cavel reached out and dipped a finger in the gourd. Settling himself between Bashta's thighs he kissed his lower stomach before reaching down.
Bashta gasped when he felt the silky wetness against him as Cavel began to gently open him. His gasp turned into a groan at the slow, deliberate penetration. The addition of two and three fingers made him writhe in need as his body easily accommodated his mate's explorations with only a small bit of pain that made the pleasure greater.
Unable to hold the sound back, he mewled in need.
"Roll over," Cavel growled. He urged Bashta up on his hands and knees. One hand caressed the muscular back and shoulders in long soothing strokes as his other coated his straining erection. Bashta watched between his legs, panting as he watched Cavel shudder and close his eyes. His head shot back as Cavel ran a stream of oil across Bashta's ass.