tagSci-Fi & FantasyThe Clay Man

The Clay Man

byAspernEssling©

This is the first time I've submitted a story for a contest. It's much shorter than my usual lengthy rambles. Hope you'll enjoy it.

Submitted on Friday the 13th ....

***

- "You idiot! You never think!" said my father.

Actually, he shouted it. He was absolutely right. Sleeping with the Duke's niece wasn't very bright, for the son of an innkeeper. Getting her pregnant certainly qualified as idiotic.

"You'll have to run." said my father. "Far away."

- "For how long?" I asked. "When can I come back?"

- "Never, you moron!" he shouted. Then he rubbed a hand over his eyes. "Look, Amyalos - I'll write a letter to your uncle. He'll know where you can go."

Mother wrapped up a cheese and a loaf of bread, while father painstakingly scratched out the letters. I got my sheepskin and a stout walking stick.

I left at dawn. It took three days to reach my uncle, who lived in the Vale of Ifnia - the northernmost corner of the Duchy. He was a bit surprised to see me, but he welcomed me warmly. He read father's letter immediately.

- "You idiot!" he shouted. "You can't stay here."

Uncle looked me over, as if he was inspecting a hog.

"Strong. Stupid ... you wouldn't last a week in the town." he said. "Ha! I know!"

Uncle explained to me where I had to go.

- "Really?" I said.

- "It's the only place they won't come looking for you." he assured me.

- "How long do I have to stay there?" I asked.

- "Until the Day of Souls." said Uncle. "The Duke is in the habit of granting amnesties on the Day of Souls. He might be prepared to forgive your ... transgression."

- "That's the day after tomorrow." I said.

- "Not this year, stupid." he said. "He doesn't even know that she's pregnant yet. Next year. Better yet, wait two years. Then you can come back."

That was how I found myself headed north, into the hills around Mount Pagida. I had heard stories about the mountain: it sounded like a place you wouldn't want to go - but I couldn't remember why.

I walked, and walked. The further north I went, the poorer were the farms. I split wood, repaired a stone wall, or did other simple tasks to earn my bread. It was growing colder, and it wasn't very pleasant sleeping outside.

The work delayed me, so it wasn't until the Day of Souls that I entered the forest on the fringes of Mount Pagida. The route was easy to follow - I certainly wasn't tempted to leave the path. The woods looked dark, and ominous.

It was late in the day when I reached the end of the forest. There was a simple hut next to the path. A man sat on a crude bench, just outside the door. He rubbed at his eyes as he saw me.

- "Are you real?" he asked.

- "Of course I am." I replied. "Are you?"

- "What? Wait - Demas! Come see this!"

A second man came out of the hut. "Don't shout!" he shouted.

Both men looked a little worse for wear. That was to be expected, I suppose, if they had been celebrating the Eve of Souls last night. They were brothers, named Demas and Hurc, and it took them some time to understand what I wanted.

- "It's not all that complicated." I said. "I just want work, and a place to stay."

- "Just a moment." said Hurc - or Demas. I wasn't quite sure which one was which. They stepped away for a moment, to confer. I took the opportunity to look around. Their hut was fairly crude. It could certainly have used a woman's touch.

The forest was daunting, but from here, the view of the mountain was spectacular.

- "There's work." said Demas - or Hurc. "Just follow the path until you reach the inn. It's only two miles. Adrie will help you out. He's our brother."

I thanked them, and hurried on, to reach the inn before dark. It was the first building I came to. I had only seen a few inns before this - but the inn on Mount Pagida was easily the smallest, and the shabbiest. It had no signboard, no trough for watering horses, and only a few windows - all of them shuttered.

There were only two people inside: a big, heavy-set man, and a dark-haired girl.

- "What do you want?" said the man. He was gruff - almost angry.

- "If you are Adrie," I said, "then your brothers suggested that I might find work, and a place to stay here."

- "Did they?" he said. "Well, well ..."

***

Adrie grudgingly let me sleep in the wood shed that night. The next day, he found enough work to keep me busy from dawn to dusk. His brothers arrived, and the three of them ate and drank while I finished chopping wood.

By the time I came in, Adrie's mood seemed to have changed.

- "Amyalos, my boy. Come have a drink." he said. "Elpida! A drink for our friend. And bring more food!"

The girl scurried about, while Adrie treated me to a gap-toothed grin.

"I think we may be able to make an arrangement." he said. "How long were you thinking of staying, Amyalos?"

- "I don't know." I answered. "For the year, maybe. Or maybe two."

- "Is that so?" said Adrie. He glanced at his brothers. "Well ... I'll tell you what. If I get you anything you want, would you be willing to stay here for a year? Until, say ... next Day of Souls?"

Anything I wanted? By the Gods, these mountain men were simpletons.

- "I want steady work - and a place to stay. I know the business of running of an inn." I said. I got that the impression that Adrie would grant me anything I asked. "And I'll sleep inside - not in the shed."

The brothers accepted my conditions immediately. They were all grinning as we shook hands on it.

***

That night, I was awoken by a sudden sound. It came from inside the inn. I heard a thump, and then another. I got up from my bed, and noticed light under my door. Someone was in the common room.

It was Adrie. He was fucking the girl. He had thrown her skirts up, almost over her head, and was slamming into her roughly, from behind. I couldn't see the girl's face.

It was none of my business, so I went back to bed.

The next night, I heard them at it again. This time, though, I heard the sound of a blow - a slap, really, like when an open hand strikes bare skin. I also heard the girl cry out. That was enough. I climbed out of bed, and went into the common room.

- "Stop that!" I shouted. It was only at that moment that I realized it might have been unwise to confront Adrie while he was fucking. He was my employer, after all; what if he kicked me out? I hadn't planned ahead. I had no idea what to do if he said no.

But Adrie stopped. He didn't look happy about it, but he released the girl, and stepped away from her.

- "If you say so." he said.

There were no more noises that night.

In the morning, I found the girl sleeping on the floor, just outside my door. She woke up the moment I opened it.

- "What are you doing here?" I asked. "That can't be very comfortable."

The girl looked up at me. She had long, dark hair, which needed a wash. Her eyes were pretty. She might have been passably attractive, if it weren't for her square jaw, the bruises, and the badly broken nose.

She was scrawny, too - underfed, probably. There were bruises on upper arms, as well.

- "Did Adrie hurt you?" I asked.

She nodded, looking up at me with those lovely eyes. "He uses me." she said.

- "You don't want him to?"

She shook her head.

That wouldn't do. I went looking for the innkeeper.

- "Adrie," I said, "you shouldn't be forcing that poor girl against her will. That's hardly honourable - it has to stop."

- "Honourable." he repeated. It occurred to me then - again, a bit late - that it might not be wise to address my employer in this manner. He was looking at me oddly, almost as if I had two heads. Or perhaps he had never been spoken to in this way.

But he nodded once. "Alright. If you say so."

And that was that. The girl came to thank me after supper.

- "You're quite welcome." I said. "I'm sorry I didn't arrive sooner."

That remark earned me a shy smile from the girl.

"What's your name?" I asked.

- "Elpida." she said.

- "That's a lovely name." I said.

- "Do you want me?" she asked, out of nowhere.

I gave her a second look. I hadn't been with a woman since ... the Duke's niece. And one never knew when opportunity would knock again. Still, I would have preferred that she be ... a little fresher.

- "When did you last bathe?" I asked her.

- "I will go down to the stream tomorrow, if you want me to." she said. "But just lie back - let me take care of you."

Elpida lifted my tunic, and undid the drawstring of my trousers. She knelt beside my bed, and took hold of my member, which was rapidly swelling and lengthening. She immediately leaned over, and took the head of my cock between her lips. I felt her tongue flick across the crown.

She slobbered over my erection - deliberately, so that I was soon covered in her saliva. The girl grasped my shaft, and slid her hand up and down, while at the same time bobbing her head, trying to take as much of me as she could into her mouth.

It was quite effective. Elpida knew what she was doing. I put my hand on her shoulder, and called her name, to let her know that I was close. She only redoubled her efforts.

I groaned, and filled her mouth with a torrent of seed. To my surprise, she swallowed it all. Elpida then licked her lips, to make sure that she hadn't left any stray drops. She continued to kneel beside the bed. She looked me in the eyes.

- "Come here." I said, moving over to make room for her on the bed. I had to ask her again before she consented to join me. She settled in when I wrapped one arm over her.

Winter was coming, after all - and it would come all the sooner on the slopes of the mountain. Elpida could share my bed, and we could keep each other warm. I fell asleep with that comforting thought.

***

Adrie's inn was a most unusual place. For one thing, he had almost no customers. There were no travellers passing through, and no one staying overnight - except me. He had no near neighbours, and the locals didn't seem to come by for a drink or a meal. I asked him about it.

- "We don't get many travellers." he said. "And I've no cook, so I don't serve meals. As for the locals, they're waiting until I've replenished my stock of ale and spirits."

- "Are they delivered, or do you make your own?"

- "I make 'em." he said.

Adrie showed me his brewing operation. It was amateurish, at best, and his output was too small. His still was crude, and the alcohol he produced brought tears to my eyes.

- "I can help you with the brewing." I told him, and he allowed me to set about it right away.

I also asked him why the inn didn't have a name.

- "Never needed one."

- "Why don't you call it 'the Bell'?" I asked. I had noticed that there was a sizeable bell hanging just inside the door. "What's it for, anyway?"

Adrie had to think about his answer. "Emergencies and such, I suppose."

I began to enjoy my stay in the mountains. There was plenty of work, but I'd never shied away from that. It was a pleasure to improve the quality of the beer. And in the evenings, Elpida kept me company.

Once she had bathed, and as the bruises faded, she was even more presentable. Elpida was short, skinny and small-breasted, but she had shapely legs and a remarkable little ass. She was quiet, in bed, but seemed more than willing to accommodate me. In fact, she was often able to anticipate what I wanted.

I never had to ask for a blowjob - if I untied my trousers, she was on me instantly. After her second bath, I returned the favour. Going down on women back home had gained me something of a reputation; Elpida didn't seem to be all that impressed, though. She reached orgasm, but she didn't make much of a fuss about it.

I was always gentle when I rode her - she seemed so fragile. Both of us, I think, preferred it when I took her from behind.

A week after the Day of Souls, Adrie's brothers came by. Elpida shrank from them, too, but when I put a protective arm around her, Hurc and Demas stayed away.

- "We'll be gone for a little while." said Adrie. "Back later."

- "Do you need help?" I asked.

- "No, no." he said, quickly. "We won't be long."

I watched them go, and consoled myself by taking Elpida to bed early. I gave her a vigorous bout, kneeling behind her and fondling her backside while I thrust in and out.

It was only later, while lying on my back, that the brothers' behaviour struck me as odd.

- "Where could they have gone?" I wondered aloud.

- "Do you want to know?" said Elpida, softly.

- "You know where they went?" I said. When she nodded, I made up my mind. "Show me."

Elpida led me outside. It was growing dark already, but she wouldn't let me take a lantern. She seemed to know exactly where she was going. It was over a mile - closer to two, perhaps - and mostly uphill, through the forest.

There was a path, though, and Elpida had no trouble following it. Once my eyes became more accustomed to the dark, we made better time. She stopped on the path, and raised a hand. She touched my lips with the tips of her fingers.

- "You must be absolutely silent." she said. "It would be very bad for us - for both of us - if they knew we were here. Promise me that you won't say a word."

I didn't understand why she was so concerned, but she wouldn't lead me any further until I promised to keep silent. Only then did she take me near the edge of a clearing on the mountainside.

There were quite a few people there, with torches and lanterns. I counted eleven men, including the brothers, and sixteen women. Adrie seemed to be at the very centre.

- "Are we all agreed?' he asked.

- "We are." answered the others, in chorus.

Adrie poured a cup of liquid onto the ground. I turned to Elpida, and was about to ask 'What is he doing?', but she put her hand on my mouth, and glared at me. I kept silent.

- "Thank you, Pagida, for your gift. It will be repaid." said Adrie.

- "So it shall be." chorused the others.

Elpida tugged at my tunic. She jerked her head, and pointed downhill. I wanted to see more, but she was most insistent. Once we were a few hundred yards away, she whispered: "They'll be leaving soon. We must be back before them."

It was rougher going, downhill, than it had been on the way up. More dangerous, too. I had many more questions, but Elpida wouldn't stop to talk.

We reached the inn before anyone else, but the girl was still not willing to answer me. She put her hand on my chest.

- "Listen, Amyalos." she said. "You mustn't ask too many questions. It's dangerous - do you understand? Be patient. And be quiet."

She distracted me by taking off my clothes, and taking my cock in her mouth. That kept me quiet - for a while. But I still had questions. I asked Elpida again. She was reluctant to answer.

- "What do they do, in your land, for the Day of Souls?" she asked me.

- "There's a feast, on the eve, and dancing. There's a big bonfire. And there are some rituals, performed by the elders, in private. Something about placating the spirits of the dead, so they won't go wandering. The young people mostly drink and shag in the woods." I said, with a grin. I've always had fond memories of the Eve of Souls.

- "They do something similar here." said Elpida. "But ... different." That sounded odd, to me, but she wouldn't explain.

In the morning, I couldn't resist asking Adrie where he had been.

- "Uh ... I was helping my brothers with their traps." he said.

- "In the middle of the night?"

- "They're special traps."

***

A few weeks later, Adrie decided that his ale was ready. I had made a few improvements, but my own batch, which would take longer, was sure to be noticeably better.

I'm not sure how the word spread, but there were a dozen people in the common room that night, including Adrie's brothers. Most of them declared his beer the best he ever served them. Adrie was quick to introduce me, and give me the credit.

It might have been just my imagination, but they all seemed very pleased to meet me. Perhaps they just didn't get many strangers passing through. A new face must have been quite a novelty for them.

But that didn't explain the looks I got from the women. I'd seen it before, and I knew what it meant. A few of tonight's guests seemed to be interested in getting to know yours truly a little better. Or a lot better.

I'm not sure why. Maybe it was because their own men folk weren't much to look at. I was introduced to Odis, Timo, and Bemus, who looked like brothers - but weren't. Andonios had a harelip, and Jur was just plain ugly.

The women weren't raving beauties - except for one, named Perifania. She was downright delectable, with light brown hair and startlingly blue eyes.

Some of the others weren't bad, though. Laimargia was a voluptuous redhead, and Nothrotita had pale blonde hair and an impish expression. Thymos wasn't ugly, either, but she just glared at me angrily before I'd even spoken a word to her.

In fact, none of them seemed particularly keen to speak to me. It was decidedly odd, because I could feel their eyes on me, and unless I was seriously mistaken, more than one was sending me unmistakeable signals.

I tried to decipher who was married or attached to whom, without simply asking outright. Laimargia caught me looking, and licked her lips.

- "Well, I have to be first, and that's all there is to it." said Perifania, on the other side of the room. I could have sworn that she glanced my way, but she didn't smile, or make eye contact.

She and Andonios - who turned out to be her husband, were among the last to leave.

- "You must give Amyalos some time off, Adrie." she said. "I'd like to have him come for a visit." Then she turned to me. "Would next week suit you? I'll bake something nice."

- "I would be honoured." I said. The promise in her eyes was unmistakeable. Perifania wanted to do much more than bake for me.

I was little more aroused than usual, that night, after everyone had left. I pinned poor Elpida to the bed, and rode her harder than usual.

***

Elpida took me to Perifania's house. She didn't comment on what I might be doing there. I assured her that I knew the way back, and she left me at the door.

Perifania invited me inside. There was no sign of her husband. She had dressed up a bit: she had a necklace of turquoise stones, and her tunic featured some very fine needlework. But I wasn't there to admire her embroidery, or her baking.

She made that abundantly clear when she stepped close, and put her little hands on my forearms. She looked up at me, with those astonishingly bright blue eyes.

- "You're a big one, aren't you? Strong, too, I'll wager."

- "And you're very beautiful." I said, returning the compliment.

- "Of course I am." she said. "What are you going to do about it?"

Now, that was not quite the reply I had anticipated. But her head was tilted upwards, and she was obviously waiting for me to kiss her. So I did. Perifania returned the kiss, but relatively chastely.

My hands dropped to her ass, and I pulled her closer, but when my tongue ventured between her lips, she turned her head away.

That was odd. But she didn't object to my hands groping her buttocks. Nor did she protest when I lifted her skirts, and my fingers traveled up her thighs, and then around to her naked ass.

I picked her up, and Perifania directed me over to her bed. She let me lift off her tunic, to reveal her very small, but very pointed tits, with shockingly large nipples. I feasted on them for a few moments, with lips and hands. Then I continued to strip off her clothes, revealing her very slender frame.

Perifania let me do this, and shifted occasionally to make it easier. She did nothing, though, to help me with my clothing. She merely glanced at my erection, when it was uncovered, and then lay down on the bed, on her back.

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