Black Arrow Lord Ch. 01byTaLtos6©
***I almost laughed when I found this - right up until the point where I remembered that I'd never done anything with this one because I could never categorize it to my satisfaction.
What's so tough, you ask?
You see any category here called "Adventure"?
~shrug~ Neither do I.
The first three chapters don't have any sex at all in them. The rest?
I went with Romance, since I was at a loss, though there are spots with group sex in them and even one with heavy male interaction - though when those come up, I'll mention it in the tags.
Romance seemed to win for me by default and on average somehow, though there are really two in it. Group Sex didn't work for me since I had a feeling that the regular fans of that genre might not want to have to read 4 chapters of... You know what I mean.
So I guess I can say that this won't be the standard four-speed corset-ripper. For one thing, if you tried to do that to the female lead in this, she'd about hand ANY man his tackle and walk away just slightly pissed as she re-sheathed her sword.
The rest is swashing buckles and sailing ships to get one of the characters where he needs to be. After that, I gloss over the large scale loss of blood to concentrate on the characters for the last scene.
I would like to make something a little clear however. There are things in this which are a little like life in general. Nothing is clear-cut. There is no good guy or bad guy and nobody's wearing a particularly white hat. The man in this would be the first to tell you that he's had to do a few things that he might not be proud of, though he doesn't think he's a bad man - or any worse than anyone else. The time is set in the 1820s for most of the tale. It obviously begins a bit earlier though ...
Hope you like it.
So 5 chapters total and I'm throwing them up and checking them (twice) all in one day - or two, depending.
Valdemar Reventlow listened to the steady hiss of the teeming rain outside. It had gone on now for hours, as though it would never stop.
God in Heaven, he thought. It was enough to drown a man just for wanting to step outside for a moment to have a piss in this godforsaken country. It was a fucking good thing that they were in a place on a hilltop.
Nobody can sleep and swim at the same time.
All this time, he thought. Years and thousands of miles of traveling and he still felt a little like a half-drowned rat swimming for his life in the rain.
He looked over at Kōichi for a moment as the young man slept a little fitfully.
And why not, the large blonde asked himself, not yet twenty and the things that he'd seen with those eyes -- the things that he'd been forced to watch ... and do...
Valdemar grunted to himself then as a thought came to him. Maybe they weren't so different after all.
Well, other than the way that they looked. They were different in their appearances to be certain and there were other things, little things such as nation of origin, and so forth, thought there were an awful lot of similarities as well.
For one thing, they loved the same women, though not quite equally, it was true.
For another thing, well they were very close and it related to those same women.
And the other two.
He shifted then, slowly and carefully so as not to wake his companion. The way that his friend had been wound so tightly these last few weeks, to wake him suddenly was much the same as asking to have one's head removed -- or shot off, depending on what the boy was holding in his hand at the time as he slept.
Valdemar looked at his own hand, seeing the mosquito there on it and thinking a little as he waited for his moment. To move too soon would only cause it to lift off and continue to annoy him in likely a greater manner such as singing its song into his ear. To move after one felt the bite was too late.
He just wasn't all that generous with his blood.
The moment came and Valdemar crushed the insect, wiping off the remains with the fingers of his other hand.
When he looked up, he saw Kōichi's smile and his quizzical expression. "You were hunting for our dinner? It will take a long time to fill the pot."
Valdemar grunted and shook his head, "Fuck no," he replied, "I was just hunting for the sport of it, that's all. But I wasn't going to cheat this time and use my pistol, if that was your concern. If I'd missed then I'd have hit you and then where would we be? You'd probably get mad at me again. So I just slapped it. Sorry for waking you."
"I was awake anyway," Kōichi replied as he nodded at the slope outside below them, "You see anyone?"
"Nobody worth troubling you over, "Valdemar said, "A couple of the local lord's men came by a few hours ago, what few there must be left of them. They must have seen the barn here as they went by. Anyway, they were back twenty minutes later and coming up the hill. I could hear them talking and from what they said, they were running away, since they hadn't been paid in months.
I did the neighborly thing and invited them inside out of the fucking rain," he smiled as the sideways motion of his head told Kōichi where to look.
Valdemar saw Kōichi's eyes flick over toward the two bodies lying face-down on the straw at the far end and the younger man got to his feet and walked to turn them over.
"These are ronin," he said, "How do you know who they worked for? Ronin work only for themselves."
The big man grinned, "I know because I looked in their packs. The armor with the local insignia is there. I guess they were on the run themselves and thought that it might go better to take it off. Anyway, now we have four horses to feed instead of only two."
Kōichi was still trying to wake up fully and he tilted his head, "What neighborly thing?"
Valdemar chuckled as he poked at the small fire with a stick, "What do you think? I sang out in my high girlish voice that I was tied up in here and that I'd do anything to be freed, since I'd been grabbed by six men who were coming back and that two would go better for me than six. I offered my sweet womanly body in exchange for my freedom."
Kōichi grinned, "You said that?"
"Well, perhaps it didn't come out quite that way," the big man chuckled, "You know how awful I am in your language. I tried to sound like a girl in trouble and -- "
He stopped then as Kōichi laughed quietly, "Well it must have worked. They're here, after all."
Valdemar nodded, "Yes. They couldn't get here fast enough. I probably sounded more like a sow they wanted to eat, but of course, when they ran in, they met me."
Kōichi nodded, seeing that one of the men's heads was still facing down, mostly, while his body now lay on its back.
"So we've got our disguises for when we leave." Valdemar said, "Well about half of mine, anyway. One thing that our silent guests over there brought was their rice rations, so at least we won't starve tonight. Maybe you can work some of your cooking magic on it or something.
If the rain starts again tomorrow, I swear I'll kill one of the horses and we can eat that. I haven't tasted something that good in a month.
How you people manage to live on rice is beyond me."
Kōichi began to try to get something together for their meal as well as keep an eye out for their safety while Valdemar found a place to sleep. As was usual for him these days, lying down and trying to get to sleep only restarted the feed of his memories until he dropped off at some point.
Tonight's presentation opened with his memories of coming home at fourteen on the worst day of his life up to that point -- though he would come to see even worse ones later. It was late afternoon and he'd just lost his job. He'd been on his way home to tell his mother, ready to be beaten once again. He knew that she'd shrill at him and hit him with her hands, a cleaning rag or something while she cried, thinking that it must have been his fault.
But he was a little older now and he was far taller than she was already. He even had maybe twenty-five to thirty pounds on her.
He guessed that he could take it. He knew where it came from anyway. She loved him dearly, but she'd be so upset because they needed even the small money that he brought in.
Valdemar had never known his father; never even seen him. From what his mother said, the man was a kind and very handsome gentleman who traveled the world and sent them money when he could. It had taken the boy years to figure that out.
His mother had been seduced or forced -- or bought - and he was the result. He didn't know just how much of a relationship there had been between the man and his mother, but he saw that she always liked to paint him in a good light. Valdemar could never understand that. He and his mother were almost destitute and always had been.
The truth of it was that the only reason that he was alive at all was because of the way that nature tricks the females of the species, making them grow a love for the little lives they carry and even if the progeny grew up to be a cruel, murderous prick -- well his little mother loved him, didn't she?
The best thing that she could have done was to leave him at the church. For both of their sakes.
He always wondered about the few coins that she told him had been sent to them from some far off place or other. Valdemar had hung onto that, since there was nothing else. He was twelve before he figured out that the small money that was shown to him all came from the same place. He'd memorized the names of the lands that she told him his father had been to and sent money from.
One day, his need to know overpowered his shyness and he'd asked one of the monks who handed out a little food at Christmastime. He'd seen the man from outside of the inn as he'd been passing by and risked having his ear pulled off to go in and ask.
The monk recognized Valdemar and said that he thought he might try to help. The monk and his companion, a seafaring man himself listened as the boy did his best to pronounce the names of the places that his mother had told him.
Neither one had ever heard of them. Not one of them.
The monk apologized for not being able to help and the other man said something then that caught the boy's ear.
"You're going to be a big strapping lad, by the look of you," he said, "I'm here quite a lot for a few weeks or months at a time, looking for men who want work on the ships. Look me up in a little time if you think you want to see real places in the world instead of what sounds like it came out of a fool's mouth while he was chewing gravel."
Valdemar knew then.
In another two years, he'd know enough about the way that things were to be able to guess that his mother had been either fooled and seduced, or taken advantage of in another way, but the result had been the same. His mother had been only a girl in her teens who'd gotten fucked in one way or another and left behind.
When Valdemar got to be about nineteen himself, he understood that between the long wait for her belly to grow and the anguish that she must have gone through, well, his mother must have come up with the nonsense to explain it to herself and later to him once he'd gotten old enough to listen and believe her.
On that particular day when he'd lost his job, there seemed to be nothing that the boy could have done right, trying to learn the best ways to place goods into the shelves where he worked. The work was hard for a boy and even though Valdemar was large for his age and always had been, he was still a boy. He knew little of working sums since no one had ever shown him and that day he'd gotten a lot of things wrong.
After having his eardrums assaulted and having to put up with the slaps that the master thought were a beating, he'd been shown the door.
But as undernourished and poor as he was -- and he was only fourteen -- Valdemar had likely only one thing to thank the bastard who'd gotten his poor mother's knees pried apart for. He was already almost six feet tall and he'd always been a strong boy. When the master had tried to throw him out, Valdemar caught the fool's arm and twisted it at full length.
They stood looking at each other for a moment then, the walking, braying ass who'd made his days into misery and the boy of fourteen who now looked the shorter man straight in the eye. It only lasted a few seconds, but it was an important few seconds for Valdemar.
He might have lost his job, and things were going to be worse than awful until he found another one. But for that one long moment, Valdemar had looked into the eyes of a man much older than him and much used to abusing his position to make all of the warehouseboys miserable.
Valdemar had looked into those narrow, rodent-like eyes and seen the fear that he'd put there.
"My job is gone," he'd said quietly to the man who looked to be doing his best not to cry out in pain at how his arm was being twisted, "and I am leaving. I even know how to walk out of a door by myself.
Where is my pay? I want what is owed to me. If I do not work for you anymore and I am leaving, then you have no right to push or kick me anymore, do you?"
"Do you?" Valdemar hissed as he twisted a little more and the man cried out in pain.
"I want my pay."
The man said nothing, his beady little eyes flicking around the large work area, seeing the way that the work was stopping as the other men and boys saw what was going on. The longer that this lasted, the more he felt his position of power being eroded.
The boy heard a man call out who the master had always left alone. He'd actually never heard him speak before, but he did then as he called out in laughter, "Hey! Feed the rat his own teeth, Boy!
Go on! We'll lie to cover you. He needs to be taught too."
The owner of the warehouse came over then and asked what was going on. The master began to speak, but Valdemar twisted again and then there was almost silence and only the sound of the man's tortured breathing to be heard.
"I've just been sent off," Valdemar said, "I understand sir, but I have not been paid out for what I am owed for the week so far, and then I had to listen to the names and curses. Him trying to throw me out with no pay was too much."
The owner looked at the two of them and nodded, reaching into his pocket and handing the boy coins which would have been his pay for a month easily. "Please let him go boy, and be on your way. I think that I'm doing the wrong thing -- letting the wrong man walk away and having to keep on the worthless nephew of my wife instead."
Valdemar released the master and thanked the older man, bowing a little in gratitude. The man turned then and called out and the large, quiet man walked over. In the blink of an eye, the man had the master's job and the rat was just a warehouseman once again.
"Good luck to you, son," the owner smiled," and my thanks for showing me what was wrong here."
Valdemar walked home a little slowly, trying to put everything that had happened in its place in his young mind. At least with the owner's gift to him, they didn't need to really begin to worry for maybe a week. But as he rounded the last corner, he suddenly knew that his life was going to change somehow.
He could hear his mother screaming all the way from where he stood at the top of the street.
Valdemar ran then, all the way down the street to push his way past the people near to his door. "What's happening?" he asked no one in particular and a man shrugged, "I'd guess that the poor whore's getting more than she bargained for."
The statement cranked Valdemar's head around, "Whore? What are you talking about?"
The woman next to the man shushed him then and Valdemar blinked once or twice before he ran up the steps. What he found inside would stay with him all of his life.
His mother was naked on the bed and beaten to a pulp. There were two men in the room who turned to look at him in surprise, but then one of them sneered and began to step over. Valdemar saw the old fireplace poker and in less than two minutes, there were two dead men on the floor.
He almost ran the three or four steps to the bed to get to his mother and she only barely managed to tell him that she was sorry in between the moments where she was coughing up blood. It was all that she said and then she was gone too. He covered her with the sheet.
In the next insane moment, Valdemar understood the reason for the lies that she'd told him about entertaining a man friend of hers now and then. He'd never thought of it before, but he'd never seen any of the few men that he'd gotten a look at come back.
Valdemar pushed everything that he felt rising in him down and he looked around frantically. He wanted to cry then, but he knew that he didn't have the time to let his feelings wash over him for even a minute.
He grabbed a small bag and a few of his clothes. As he turned, he saw that one of the men had a pistol. He'd never seen wood finished so well in his life. He went through the pockets and purses of the men and he had a comparative fortune inside of another minute. Then he was out of the back window and running, thankful that they lived only one floor up.
He didn't know where he was going or what he'd do; he was just running, trying to make sense of things as he went.
It was a hard thing to consider, but he thought that he knew what his mother had been doing in light of what the stranger had said to him. He guessed that on top of working herself to death doing someone's washing and the cleaning that she also did for two families blocks away who were a little better off and could afford it, his mother must have always done what she had to in order to keep her and her growing boy alive.
He found himself not far from the church and he ran in then, trying to find the one person that he knew at least a little. They almost collided as Valdemar was walking quickly around a corner in one of the passageways. Valdemar began to cry then.
The monk took him to a room and sat him down, asking what had happened.
Valdemar hung his head and said that he'd heard that a man who had committed a crime might go to a church and ask for sanctuary.
The monk bolted the door then and asked him to calm down.
It was long after dark when the monk led the boy to a place down by the docks. They entered a small office and the man was there who had told him two years earlier to look him up if he wanted work.
The day after that, a ship pulled into port belonging to the firm that the man worked for and after six days of staying hidden, Valdemar sailed off on that ship; a large boy who now had to work, but found that he liked that part of it. He never returned.
What he didn't particularly like was having to sleep with one eye open and to defend himself from some of the men's advances every now and then.
He did that successfully for the most part, though it led to a few incidents were he'd beaten grown men fairly hard so that they'd leave him alone.
He'd have liked to be able to tell himself that he'd been everywhere only a couple of years later, but he knew that the truth of it was that he'd been to a few fairly far-flung places in his time.
But his strange luck still threw things into his face now and then.
One night, he'd been at an inn that he'd heard about. He'd been listening to a couple of the others tell of one place where the girls were lovely and very friendly to sailors from other lands. Valdemar had never been with a woman and he thought that it was about time. And he had saved a lot of his pay, after all.
The next time that they sailed around Jutland and hugged the coast with the Frisian Islands off to their left before crossing the North Sea to call in at the English port of Southend-on-Sea, Valdemar found a carriage to hire and it brought him to the place on the outskirts. Things had gone well, and at least then Valdemar could tell himself that he was a man at last, but then things went into the pit not long after that.