The Chronicles of Valana Volume 1: Shadowlands

by AB

Chapter 2

Journey's Start

Elf and speaker from death they must leave, from Valana they must leave.

To Earth they must go, to rise and train they must go.

To return when ready, to face the evil when ready ,

Marco woke up and saw that Lucas was not there, but he saw a letter on his bed. The paper was strange unlike Earth's modern papers and the ink looked different as well.

'Gone to find out where we are. See you later.'

'Back on Earth, he would have woken me up with a blowjob or with his dick in my mouth…I miss those moments…why is he afraid of me? I would never hurt him! He is my best friend!' he thought as he dressed.

He wandered downstairs and went outside. He found Lucas a few roads down from the inn talking to another boy around their age and smiling.

He went to them and smiled at them both. Lucas smiled back, but the other boy looked at him cautiously. Lucas said something to him and the boy smiled at him. Marco smiled again.

Lucas talked some more to the boy until it ran off to whatever he was supposed to be doing.

Now that it was daylight, Marco saw that the villagers were wearing very plain, very poorly stitched clothes. The buildings looked very similar to drawings from his history lessons back in school, from the medieval times of Europe.

"We need to talk…and not just about where we are," he said hesitantly to Lucas.

Lucas looked about to make sure that they wouldn't be overheard.

"Yeah, we do." He gave his friend a serious look. "This place is feudal," he started, "and it's not Earth, or at least not the world we know." He talked in a hushed voice. "The people look human, but there has to be something different about them to us. We're changing, but not them. I look like someone's frikkin' doodle book and you are turning into Spock with evil powers."

He grabbed his friend by both shoulders and looked into his eyes. "If we end up changing beyond recognition and I turn on you or something like that, you swear you will kill me?"

Marco's eyes grew to the size of sauce pans in surprise and he took a step back.

"My…powers…they are not evil...I am not transforming into Spock. I mean my ears are becoming pointier and my skin is becoming…what is the word... fairer…and my senses seem to be enhancing. I always liked archery, but now it seems Ifeel empty without it," he spoke calmly with great effort.

Then it all came to him like a solved puzzle in his mind. He looked Lucas straight in his clear grey eyes and asked him the question he probably already knew the answer to.

"Lucas…what does Nailal mean? That tree in the forest said, "It is what you are young one.'"

Lucas stepped back and looked at his emotional friend. "I know YOU won't attack me, but what if the change we're both going through keeps on changing who we are. You can't tell me you don't feel different, I know you feel different I have known you too long to not recognise the worry on your face."he sighed. "We need to watch each other for changes that change who we are inside. Until we know what it is that we are becoming, we need to be careful. How do you know that the Nailal aren't hunted here and here you are wandering about like its normal. You see the looks people are giving. We do not know this place. We need to be careful."

He looked about the area. It was only a few yards from the inn where they had paid for their meal with a dull looking trinket from their pockets that still had a few surviving pieces of the museum still in there.

"We do have our minds and, at the moment, our knowledge which is so far ahead of what these people have here. We have only so many museum things to trade so we need money and a place to sleep," he said. "The kid I was talking to says he may know someone who takes in travellers. We need to find the blacksmith here."

He brushed his light brown hair back and breathed out deeply. "That way I guess." He pointed down the street where a hand painted sign simply said, 'blacksmith' and an arrow.

"Oh yeah," he remembered to say. "Nailal means Elf, or Elfling, depends on the tone."

When Lucas finished talking, Marco breathed easier as understanding came over him slowly.

"I am turning into an elf? It sounds like a lie…if it wasn't for my ears going pointier and longer each day we are here." He spoke almost disbelievingly, but there was a slight grin forming on his pink lips.

"Yes you are correct. You were always the one to listen to logic. I just…with all that has happened, I got scared. Yes, you are right. We must look out for each other's changes. So what has changed so far on me…in me? My ears are changing and my skin, too. Ifeel…well Ifeel hornier than usual which is almost unbelievable on its own. Last night at the inn, Ifelt like I was away from home…but not only because we are no longer on…Earth, but because I was away from the forest…like I want…need to be there…and Ifeel empty without a bow and quiver in my hand and back. But I still feel you are my best friend…oh and of course the…magic? I can do…let's call it that until we learn what they call it here. Did the boy or anyone else you spoke to tell you if elves are hunted here in this world? Maybe…maybe they were giving me weird looks because they are beings that prefer their isolation and are not usually seen…just an idea…," Marco spoke calmly, less scared.

He took a deep breath.

"What changes have you noticed on and in you except the tattoos which if I may say so are kind of…sexy on you!" Marco asked Lucas poking his tongue out.

Lucas spoke.

"I don't think they we re hunted," he said as they walked. "It was like they aren't often seen mixing with anyone other than Elves, and here you are walking alone and an elf-child too!"

He rubbed the tattoos under his shirt. He was aware of them, but they hurt less now. He should stop calling them tattoos now as they weren't ink markings, but they were actually his skin. They had stopped appearing now and they looked like black lightning bolts pointing from his sides around his hips and seemed to point towards his crotch. No wonder Marco was getting excited, although his new elf blood might have something to do with that. He wondered if elves had a naturally higher libido or if it was something to do with the air here, or the same thing that is causing them to change.

Lucas wasn't sure if he was getting hornier or not. He tended to forget about his boy-parts when his mind got thinking.

"Marco," he said carefully. "Is anything changing down there?" he asked. "I don't mean puberty, but if your ears are going all pointy, has anything else changed shape?"

Marco grabbed the waistband of his shorts and underwear and took a peek in there.

"No third testicle or longer or smaller dick," he said jokingly, "but everything looks…smoother, rounder and…fuck I want to suck my own dick now!" he said giggling. "What do you think we can do to make some…money? What are they using as currency here?"

They reached the blacksmith's building. Marco hugged Lucas and gave him a peck on the lips.

"So what's our next move? Who is this person who helps travellers?"

"Merol Keen," a voice said from behind them.

Marco almost jumped out of his skin as he turned around with much more speed than he knew himself to possess.

Lucas hadn't seen the man approach, but when he turned and saw him, he audibly gasped. He had brilliant white hair, not like old hair, but healthy white and it was long, so long that it flowed right down over the man's back and shoulders and right over a set of bulging pectoral muscles. The man was naked from the waist up.

Marco gasped along with Lucas at seeing the semi naked, very well built man.

What struck Lucas was that the man had the markings on his face that he had on his sides. This was a turn for the books.

"Hello," Lucas managed to say. "We're looking for the local Blacksmith."

"Yeah," the man said. "Merol Keen."

Right, he thought, stupid.

"Sorry, you are the blacksmith. We're uh," he faltered. "We were told you could help us. We're travellers that need to, um, get settled here."

"Horse shit," the man said. Not nastily, but decisively. "You're linked to the spirit world and your friend here is becoming less human each second."

This alarmed Lucas.

"Will he be okay?"

"Yeah, he wasn't supposed to be human anyway. You came from night's forest yes?" Merol grunted as he crossed his hands in front of his chest.

"What do you mean and how do you know where we came from?" Lucas asked raising a brow.

"Sometimes the patrol men can be trusted as sources of information and it seems you scared the shit out of one of them…I'm guessing it was the elf that threw him on the tree?" The man asked.

Lucas and Marco both nodded.

"You better come with me." He beckoned them towards a house and workshop on the outside of town.

"This is the town of the fords of Elandros. Had you come after winter you would not be able to pass the river. It becomes quite deep, deep enough for ships to move about and the lake overflows making the river dangerous to cross as you did. Eri'Adar counts on this for some of its trade although most of the trade comes and goes from and to the port of Raeri." Merol talked as they walked.

"Elandros?" Lucas asked.

"Yes, named so about nine hundred years ago. He was a general of Eri'Adar. He won battles, expanded the realm, gained influence and managed to marry the King's daughter. Today's Kings are partly his descendants. Want more history lessons or shall we go in where it's warm?" Merol answered and entered the hut without waiting for an answer from Lucas.

The blacksmith's hut was pretty Spartan if not cosy. There was only one room, but on the far side of the room was a fireplace and plenty of animal skins scattered around the place to make it look quite snug. On the walls were plenty of weapons to make it look like this guy was not to be messed with. On the other side of the room was a series of benches, one of which had a bundle of animal skins over it turning it into a comfortable looking bed.

He pointed to two other spare benches. "You two can have those." He pointed to the wooden benches, just barely wide enough for a pair of adult shoulders to lie on. "There is more fur and pelts in that chest." He pointed to a chest against the back wall. "Wash up outside, you will find water by the stables."

"But what do you know about us changing?" Lucas asked, but Merol put his hand up.

"Go wash, you have been travelling a long time." He pointed to the door. "When you are done, we shall eat, drink and talk."

Lucas sighed and turned to Marco.

"Come on," he said. "Let's go and clean up."

Marco nodded and removed his filthy t-shirt and shorts and remained in his underwear as he walked out the door and went to the shower location the blacksmith had told them.

It was a semi enclosed place next to the stables with a pump for water.

"This must be cold….Oh well," he said to Lucas as he removed his underwear and stepped in the semi enclosed space. He had never been so horny before in his life and he really hoped that Lucas would want to do some fooling around.

Lucas got a good look outside the small hut that they had been invited to stay the night in. They didn't really know the man, but it was the best offer they were going to get. Besides, the man seemed almost familiar with their predicament as if their arrival was an everyday occurrence. The kid from the town did say that he took in travellers but the strange thing Lucas realised was the man's reaction. People in the town looked at Marco in a worrisome way, but Merol just took it in his stride.

Looking at the holding where the Blacksmith did his work, he could see they were in a small courtyard on the edge of town. It was arranged in a 'U' shape with the hut being the bottom of the 'U'. On one side were the stables and on the other side was the area Lucas assumed Merol did his blacksmithing. He could also see a number of pipes travelling over a raised gantry and ended up in a tank over where the shower was.

Glancing over to Marco who was in the shower, he grinned when he saw Marco shivering in the cold water. He stepped up to the edge of the shower and looked down.

"Yep, must be really cold," he said, laughing at the boy. "You know over there," he continued, jabbing his thumb over towards the blacksmith area, "there is a water tank over a hot fire and pipes leading all the way over here and ending in this lever." He pointed to a lever on the side of a second shower pipe that fed water into the main pipe.

Lucas stepped away from the shower partition and shed his clothes. Still grinning, he jumped into the shower. There was just enough room in there to shower without too much bumping into each other. He reached over and pulled the lever causing the chilly water to steam with heat as the water became just hot enough to be comfortable in.

"I never see these things… [ bloody hell ] I am freezing over here! Even my erection is down because of it and I am horny as hell!" he said to Lucas as he shuddered in the cold.

Lucas got in the shower and pulled the lever. Moments later, the water was much warmer and Marco's erection was coming back fast.

He looked at Lucas' naked form. It wasn't the first time he saw him naked, not by a long shot but those new "tattoos" of his were very pleasing to him. He stepped closer and caressed the naked chest in front of him bringing his face closer to Lucas.

Lucas smiled as he saw the warm water bring his friend's erection back to life. He thought about the last few days they had spent together. The first day was scary as they realised that each of them had changed. It seemed that the changes were only physical changes as they still managed to still be them despite their bodies changing. There hadn't been any changes recently so his earlier thought that they were going to keep changing until they were unrecognisable was fading. Seeing Merol with the face markings only reinforced that theory. If Marco was now an elf, it hadn't changed his mind and his friend was still his friend, but with pointy ears and awesome new abilities. He also realised that this was the first time he had actually felt relaxed. There was something about this place that soothed him and made him feel like he belonged here.

When Marco rubbed at his chest, he felt the familiar touch of the boy arouse his feelings. He hadn't felt the boy's touch quite like this in a few days. The thought ran away with him and he could feel himself stiffen. A small part of him wondered if he should be doing this in a stranger's shower, but most of him said it was fine and perfectly natural here.

He reached over and grabbed his friend around the waist, pulled him in and kissed him on the lips.

It had felt strange when they first kissed, as if it was something that two boys should not be doing together, forbidden and unexpectedly nice. Since then he had looked forward to the kisses they shared as they both got excited from the sensual pleasure it evoked in them.

He felt Lucas pull him towards him and then he felt his best friend's moist lips. He kissed back and tried to unite his body with his friend's. He needed this so much and not only because he was horny. He pushed his tongue inside Lucas' mouth and explored, bringing Lucas' tongue back to his mouth, his hands roamed lower until he grasped Lucas' healthy rising erection and started jerking him off slowly.

He moaned softly and happily as they kept on kissing. Eventually he broke the kiss, looked his best friend, well only friend in this new place, in the eyes, smiled a warm smile and kissed his neck. He moaned again as he went lower and kissed the very erect nipples well and properly. He kissed Lucas one more time tongue and all and kneeled before him.

He smiled again, ducked his head down and took Lucas' member into his mouth causing Lucas to close his eyes in pleasure. Lucas placed his hands on the boy's head as he worked his 'magic'.

It was a few minutes later that Lucas felt a rising stir in his loins and he had to hold on to the sides of the shower for balance. He felt his insides tighten and he let out a groan as he felt like he was firing out his soul through the tip of his dick as he came for the very first time. It was a moment before he realised what had happened and then he just smiled as the bliss washed over him.

Marco felt his friend hold his head in his hands and a few minutes later Lucas' dick grow in his mouth before cumming for the first time. Lucas exploded in his mouth. He tasted it and thought he was tasting sweet honey.

"You okay there?" Merol asked him.

Lucas looked around and saw Merol a few yards away. He couldn't see Marco below the shower wall.

"Uh yeah, just so comfortable." He blushed.

Merol nodded. "Well, when you are both done, dry yourselves off and grab some soup. It's going to be a chilly tonight. I've brought in extra blankets."

Lucas froze as he wondered if Merol knew exactly what was going on. He had Marco's lips wrapped around his cock and the blacksmith has addressed both of them.

Marco wandered if he knew that he was down there on his knees with his friend's digit deflating in his mouth, having just fired his first of many youthful loads but no time to ponder that though he was harder than ever. He had cum once before, five days ago for the first time and he couldn't wait for Lucas to suck him and tell him if there was a difference of how his cum tasted.

He waited until he couldn't hear Merol's steps even with his heightened hearing…wait could he also smell him going away?

'Well if all my other senses are enhancing, why not this one?' he thought as he got up and kissed Lucas, sharing his own cum with him.

He broke the kiss with a cum-trail joining their lips. He stuck his tongue out and swallowed it down before looking at Lucas' eyes and then down on his dick, smiling mischievously at him, biting his lower lip.

Marco wanted pleasuring, Lucas could tell, but the problem was Merol was about and this unnerved him. He was in someone else's home and he was committing the carnal sin. He wasn't religious but many in medieval times were and this might be something that could get them beheaded if they were caught.

He kissed Marco on the lips once again. "Not now, Merol is still here. Wait till it's more private." Before Marco could groan his frustration, he heard Merol's steps and then his voice.


Lucas turned to see a towel being thrown at him by the muscular man. There was no doubt that he had seen their last kiss. His glowing red face hidden by the towel that his face caught.

He turned the water off and wrapped the towel around himself, shivering in the air that seemed so much colder now that his body was wet.

"You too,"

Merol said as he threw a towel at Marco. Marco caught it with his hand and started drying his body. He made an observation that whereas Lucas was showing Goosebumps because of the chilly air, in contrast to the warmer water, his skin seemed not to mind as much. Maybe an additional elf change he thought.

"Both of you get inside before you catch your death. Soup is on the fire, grab some bread and eat," he said, stepping inside the house.

They wore their towels around their waists and went inside the hut.

Lucas looked for his clothes, but they had gone. All he could do was follow the large man inside.

"Where are my clothes?" he asked the man.

"I threw them in the fire. You need new ones that don't make you look like you are from a circus." He pointed to the pile of animal skins and furs. "Sit and eat."

"Naked?" He asked.

"Yes, naked." His voice got a bit more demanding, like a parent scolding a child. "We're all men here and there is no use in dirtying good clothes before the morning. Eat."

Lucas sat down in front of the fire and Merol spooned two bowls of the soup and handed them to the two boys.

Marco walked to the pile of dead animals. Somehow all those pelts and furs aggravated him more than he would have expected. He said nothing as he sat down next to Lucas and ate the soup and bread Merol gave them.

He finished eating and looked over at Merol.

"Can you now please explain to us what is happening? Oh and are we to sleep naked as well in this cold?" he said calmly.

Merol poured himself a bowl of the soup and sat down amongst some of the hides to spoon the mixture into his mouth. "Mmm," he said, enjoying the hot meal.

"Do not fear nakedness for it is how we are all born. Clothes serve only to protect us against the elements and the closed minded. I'm sure you two are no strangers to enjoying your bodies," he said, addressing Marco's second question first.

"I can explain," he said finally. "But first you must realise that wherever you have come from is not your home. This is your home."

"I take it you don't mean the hut?" Lucas said bluntly.

"No," he said swallowing some more of the game soup. "You should know this more than him as you are like me. You are a speaker. What are your names?"

"Lucas Mack," he replied and jabbed a thumb at his friend. "That's Marco Laurence."

"Okay Marco, Lucas. I can only tell you what I know," he said, placing his bowl down. "You are both of this world. You are both returning to your true form. The place you are from is a magic-less place and your bodies would have no doubt adapted to that world. However, for some reason you have entered this world too early and your education was not completed."

"We found a medallion," Lucas said, suddenly realising that he was no longer wearing it. "Where is it? I took it off with my clothes."

Merol nodded towards the fireplace where it hung on a nail. "It's safe," he said. "It's of a rare metal and has the spirit of world travel inside it. A very rare spirit that sacrifices it's life force to send someone to and from before it is spent."

"It sent us two though, so we can use it to get back?" Lucas said in wonder.

Merol shook his head. "The artifact is of this world. Half of its power was spent sending whoever it was to your world, maybe to deliver you, which would explain why it was able to bring you back together. But either way, the spirit has gone from the artifact and it will take nearly a lifetime to procure another spirit."

"Ghosts?" Lucas asked.

"No, spirits are beings that live amongst us. They are the caretakers of magic. Speakers like me and you," he addressed Lucas, "have been given the gift to speak to the spirits and summon their powers."

"I can talk to trees and stuff," Lucas said enthusiastically.

Merol smiled. "The nature spirits, yes. I have the speech of the life spirits. Marco is an elf, a being of nature and magic runs through his blood. No doubt with the keen eye of an archer."

Marco heard what Merol said carefully and didn't speak until he was finished talking. At Merol's comment about the eye of an archer, his hand reached involuntarily if not by instinct behind his shoulder where a bow and a quiver would have been hanging when not used. Of course there was nothing there but naked flesh.

It surprised him, but then his conscious mind analysed the action. He had reached for a bow as an instinct, as a comfort. He certainly didn't feel threatened or was in any kind of danger currently, so he had more likely felt the need to feel the wood in his hands.

"Actually…this makes sort of sense. We have never talked like Americans do. Our accent, our slangs, most of our vocabulary is not American English…I guess even though we have been living in Earth since we can remember ourselves we have talked as they do here, in Valana." Lucas said shrugging his shoulders.

"Yes, I was always good at archery…at least back…at the other world…haven't tried it here…I…I miss it terribly though. I miss it almost as much as I miss the forest now that we are in a human settlement. Is that part of being an elf? Feeling more at home in the forest, in the trees rather than in a city? Why would anyone take us away from this world if we are from it? Would we change back to humans if we ever went back to Earth? What do you mean we returned before our education was completed? Who was educating us? Both of our parents practically have…had abandoned us. We barely saw them or talked to them. Lucas moved in near me when he was about 4. We did become friends almost instantly, but if elves in this world prefer the isolation of their cities or lands, why would an elf child befriend a human? Why would our real parents from this world accept to give us away? And yet what you say sounds like the truth, the markings on Lucas' ribs, my changing into an elf, my senses are being enhanced with each passing moment and I can do…well I don't know how you call it in this world, but in Earth we call it magic. I can do magic. I have ignited dry wood to make camp fires for the nights we were out in the forest east of here. I pushed back a chain mailed soldier when we first came here, who was about to kill us by just extending my hand and calling out the power of the wind. What you say must be true, but…it's just that I have so many questions…," Marco spoke calmly, but there was some pain in his voice.

"I did not ask you if we were to sleep naked or not because Ifeel ashamed or embarrassed. I have no problem walking to the village square and back naked. I asked only because it looks like to be a cold night and as you said earlier we do not want to catch our death…will the blankets and furs be enough?"

"The fate of your meeting was not by chance," Merol said, leaning back in his chair a bit more. "Your human parents knew of your heritage and sometimes it's best to let the child raise themselves. If you were to be raised the same as everyone else on that world, you would have become too tied to that world and your freedom allowed you to explore your own mind and your own choices. What you are becoming today was directed from a distance by your 'parents' but ultimately decided by you."

Merol stood up and stretched, his huge chest muscles bulging in the flickering light of the fire. "The fire will not go out. It is kept alight by the fire spirit so if you do get cold, you may sleep here by the fire. You may use the skins to keep yourselves warm. I expect my hardy skin is used to the weather, and Elven skin is content in snow as much as it is in the heat."

He stepped over to his own bench where there was a heap of animal furs piled up to form a nice cosy bed. He stripped off his woven trousers to reveal his muscular beneath and a pendulous cock of quite some noteworthy size.

"Wow," Lucas said audibly then clapped a hand over his own mouth.

If Merol heard him, then he acted as if he didn't. "You were taken away as both of you are destined for something that needed you hidden. I do not have the answer to why or even how. Some answers you will have to figure out for yourself on your journey."

"Wait...." Lucas stood up, the towel dropping from his waist. He tried to fumble for it, but failed. He decided to forget the towel. He was dry and their host was naked, and he had said the fear of being naked was only in the person's mind. "What journey?" he asked.

Merol sat on his bed, his cock and balls hanging over the edge and the small neat triangle of pure white hair sitting atop the slab of meat. "We need to find the elves as they will know more. We also need to find out why you are here." Merol paused, speaking as he lay on his bench with furs.

Marco kept looking at the fire until the conversation between Lucas and Merol had finished.

'But what could hide us better than elves? Are they not in all the known Earth myths the masters of elusion and isolation?' he thought to himself as he looked at the fire. 'Will he come with us on this journey he mentioned? He did say we and not you ….'

Merol raised his eyebrows in response to something then he laughed. "My body arouses you?"

Lucas sat down and looked embarrassingly at him. He looked down at his own cock and suddenly realised he had a raging erection all from looking at the man in front of him. He slapped his hands over the front of his crotch and smiled sheepishly, a reddish hue spreading over his face.

"You really are innocent." Merol chuckled. "Many boys, girls, men and women have fallen for my body, both man and elf included. Do not fear what your body tells you, just clean up the mess when you're done."

He felt the markings on his body tingle as if they were a part of his own penis.

"Get some sleep. Tomorrow we equip you for your journey," Merol said, breaking the silence, blew out the candle by his bed and climbed into the folds of material.

Lucas looked blushingly at him and settled on the furs.

Marco smiled, poked his tongue out, gave his very hard dick a couple of strokes and lied next to the fireplace. The elf part of him that was steadily growing in him didn't want him to have to use animal skin if he could avoid it. His skin was becoming elfish and the fire would keep him warm enough. He looked at the fire as he drifted off to oblivion.

He saw many dreams he did not understand, but he did understand one where he was shooting arrows with a bow. He understood the calm he felt with bow and arrow at hand and he felt the need to do so. Then he saw that same dream as the other night. Now, that mysterious figure was speaking to the host of men below.

"… A wind that my brethren have sacrificed for, have bled for, have died for…." Marco woke up from the smell of rain and the moisture of the ground. It was dawn, but the sun was hidden by the thick clouds.

He got up and saw that Lucas was still asleep, breathing rhythmically, but Merol was not on his bed. He went near the window and looked outside. It was raining cats and dogs.

"Great! Just great! It is pouring hell out there and we are supposed to start a journey! But where are we going?" he whispered to himself as he tried to find something that could pass as clothing.

Inside the hut, Lucas' eyes popped open suddenly as the desperate need to pee overcame him. He climbed out of the pile of animal hides and ran out of the door, past Marco and into the rain. He headed for the nearest tree and let himself go. "Ooooooh" he said in relief as rain matted his hair.

When he finished his peeing, he suddenly realised how chilly the morning air was. He grabbed his shoulders rubbing them before scrambling back inside the warm hut. "Cold, cold, cold."

Marco saw his friend wake up and run outside fast before he could warn him about the pouring rain. He laughed as Lucas ran back inside even faster and covered himself with as many animal hides as possible as close to the fire as he could to warm up.

He turned around to see Merol come with three horses in tow, carrying a large package. He was wearing great waterproof animal skins as he rode on the back of his horse. Attached to the horse were two smaller horses in tow. He was also carrying a large packet as he jumped off the horse and splashed in the mud before carrying the package past Marco into the house.

Merol had seen Marco, but Lucas' bed was empty. It took a moment to realise that the lump of animal hides by the fire was Lucas struggling to get warm again. He chuckled.

"Come on," he said loudly so Marco could hear from outside. "Get dressed in these." He chuckled. "If too many people see two pretty boys wandering naked about my house, you'll get my house branded a harem." He joked. Boy harems never had boys of this caliber.

"There are boy harems in this world?" Marco asked, amazed and horny again from the idea of a place full of beautiful boys, all naked, all pleasuring each other and their clients.

Lucas peeked out of his cocoon of animal skins and saw that Merol has obtained some warm looking animal skins. He stepped out and sifted through the clothes. They all looked a varying shade of brown and grey. It looked like there wasn't a great array of colour dyes in this world. Something that Lucas could fix for them as soon as they found a source of colouring.

"No underpants?" He asked Merol as he held up a pair of the trousers.

Merol laughed. "No, why on Valana do you wear them anyway?" he said. "Why have such a pitifully small piece of cloth to keep your areas warm when your arms and legs need the warmth just as much."

Lucas shrugged. He had a point.

"Put the soft layer on first. Your softer skin might chaff if you wear the harder ones, until you get used to it," Merol instructed.

A gong went off outside.

"Right, the forge is ready. Marco, Lucas," he instructed, "gather some eggs from the chickens and you will find some bacon in the larder back there." He pointed to a small door in the hut. "Make us some breakfast. I have a lot of work to do." He tossed a bag of coins and a parchment on the table. "Leave me some bacon and eggs in the pan, then go and fetch us these items. We'll have to get the rest from Eri'Adar."

He heard Merol's instructions and held the clothes.

"Animal skins…yuck!" he muttered.

"So you are coming with us?" Marco asked, still naked.

"Yes," Merol said simply and left for his shop.

Marco looked at Lucas, smiling and hoping that his friend realised what he had just realised. They were alone for a few hours.

Lucas climbed into some of the animal skins and looked down at himself. He felt pretty silly, but probably no sillier than everyone else.

"Right," Lucas said, finally warmed up. "Let's find those chickens. You grab the bacon."

Marco remained there for a second feeling frustrated that Lucas wasn't in a mood, but he got up, wore his clothes and searched for the bacon. He put it on the fire as Lucas stepped outside and searched for the coops. They weren't hard to find. He grabbed all the eggs that was there, about 6 in total and came back into the house.

He grabbed a pan and placed it over the fire and poured some of the animal fat into it. "This is the life." He grinned to Marco. "Cooking bacon and eggs over an open fireplace while dressed in animal furs and...."

Marco kissed Lucas' cheek more out of affection than sexual desire. He felt his friend pause for a moment and looked at him with a quizzical look.

He paused as he felt something woosh over the house. It was strangely familiar, like the feeling he got when he spoke to the trees. He could sense it streaming for.... It was going towards the forge. He was worried for the briefest of moments until he sensed the satisfaction of the entity as it settled into its home. It wasn't a harmful feeling. Instead, it was one of protection and love.

"Well that was strange. Bacon Marco?" Lucas asked him.

"Sure…what happened?" Marco asked as he threw some bacon into the pan.

"Something flew over us, something pure and protective," he said as he smiled remembering the feeling. It might have been the smells of the bacon cooking though.

"I didn't see anything fly over us!" Marco said as he ate his eggs. He tried the bacon. He ate some, but not all of it.

A few moments later, he was dishing up two plates of bacon and eggs, leaving the third helping still in the pan. Lucas was wolfing down his breakfast like it was the first one in ages.

"So, while Merol is working we need to grab some stuff." He picked up Merol's parchment and read the list. "Unleavened Bread, sheepskin and cats...."

"Cats?" He looked at the parchment. "What would he need cats for?"

Marco looked at the list and shrugged his shoulders.

"Dunno…maybe he just likes them…although I don't think so. So we have to go to town and purchase these things? Maybe we can roam some…explore now that we are rested and well fed. I honestly feel like I need a bow. How about we go ask Merol about the cats? I am intrigued!"

He jumped up and wore the upper part of the clothes which left quite a lot naked actually.

"Right, let's go!" he declared and ran outside.

"What do you want with cats?" he asked Merol playfully.

Four days ago.

Olan was enjoying the boy beneath him. He was raping the ten year old boy hard and rough, but what elated him was what he was doing with his hands and it wasn't caressing his smooth torso. No he was being…creative with him…very creative indeed.

The boy was screaming and not because he was losing his cherry. He had lost that hours ago and he was now a drooling mess.

"THEY EXILED ME!! THEN THEY DECLARED WAR ON ME BECAUSE I WAS HAVING FUN! Well it was having fun with some spirits…BUT STILL THEY DECLARED WAR ON ME!" He was, as every night, reliving those past early years as he tortured the boy. Then he felt it, a huge pull on his very soul. He jumped off the boy and wore his clothes. He never took off his mask.

"GUARDS!" He yelled at the top of his lungs.

Two heavily armoured men opened the doors and stormed in.

"Yes sir!"

"Take this shit away. I don't care what you do with him!" He never cared. "And call Naire, NOW!"

"Yes sir!" The two men dragged away the young boy. Ten minutes later, the doors opened again and Naire Oira, one of his seven Generals, came in.

"Naire…Ifelt it!? How can it be true? Isn't it too early? We couldn't get this lucky?!"

"Yes sir, but the disturbance on the crystal was clear. They are here."

"We have spies all over Eri'Adar, do we not? Valana for that matter?"

"Yes sir, many!"

"Well then it should not be a problem to find an elf boy and a speaker boy! Find them, send as many assassins as you can spare. KILL THEM BEFORE THEY ARE READY TO FULFILL THE DAMN PROPHECY! GO NOW!"

Naire turned to leave.

"Naire, speed up everything! Every plan and prepare the armies. We attack Varania by the end of the month. Have Nikorn attack Riadbar and Vordun and have the Grand City of Iaor attack every nation they can!"

"Why not attack the elves directly while they are not expecting it? Why have all these nations attack each other sir?"

"Do as I command thee. I will not repeat the mistakes of the past. My plans will be revealed to you as they are."

He turned around and went to his dark room as Naire left. He closed the door behind him.

"Hello my lovelies! I need you from now on. Find me the minds of those two boys so that I can work my magic on them! I also need you to gain me the dragons of Vaser as allies."

"Yeeeessssss Mmmaaaaasssstttttteeeeerrrr!" The voices of thousands of enslaved spirits echoed in the dark room.

"We have much work to do my lovelies! Grant me your powers! I WILL DRAIN YOU!" He touched the black metal blade and rubbed the precious stones embedded on it.

Present day.

"A hundred new spirits to the fold and the blade goes blacker, darker! HAHAHHAHA! How are the battle preparations going General Atrik?"

"Very well, my Lord! In less than a week, we move against Varania and they don't know what's going to hit them."

"You will personally take charge of the siege. Naire, have you located the boys?"

"Yes sir, almo…." His voice was cut off as he screamed from excruciating pain.

Olan closed his fist a bit tighter and whispered forbidden words of long forgotten magic.

"I don't want ALMOST Naire! Find them and KILL THEM! You don't want me to get out of my Citadel to do your job for you? Do you!?"

He released his fist and Naire stumbled as he tried to steady himself on the war table.

"N…no sir! They will be found and killed in your name, sir!"

"Good!" He gripped his sword. "Nature spirits of mine…scour the land, enslave animals and help him find and kill them!"

"Yyyyyyeeeessssss mmmmmaaaaassssstttteeerrrr!" There was a glow on the precious stones for an instant then all was silent.

The citizens of Zah Dah saw what they thought were black shadows leaving the Citadel.

"It has begun! The elves think me dead and my vengeance has begun!" Olan said with a wicked smile no one could see because of his mask and hood and a gleeful tone in his voice full of malice and contempt.


Merol raised an eyebrow, then suddenly it dawned on him and he shook his head in wonder. "Oats you fools, oats for the horses."

"Ohhh," Lucas mouthed.

"Ohhh, that actually makes far more sense!" Marco said and grinned. "And I am not a fool if you can't write properly!" he added and left, shaking his butt.

"Take the horses," Merol said as he struck steel with a hammer. "Get used to them. I don't want to have to put healing salve all over your asses when you get saddle sore."

"Hah," Lucas harrumphed and stuck his tongue out.

"Well…you know…salve ain't such a bad thing…," Marco said as he walked to the stables.

He stepped into the stable and saw the two small horses there already saddled and ready. That was one thing he wasn't sure about. "Okay gee-gee," he said to the grey steed. "Please don't throw me off."

The horse whinnied. "Since you asked so nicely, I'll try to keep you safe."

'Oh yeah,' Lucas thought, 'I can speak to animals.'

"You're a nice horse. You have a name?" he inquired.

The horse whinnied again.

"Not yet. Old master never thought it a good idea."

"Oh," Lucas said, successfully climbing onto the horse. "Then I name you Hotrod!" he said, punching the air at the last moment.

"Oh I like that name, very stallion!" the horse said cheerily and trotted out of the stable.

Marco saw a black horse with a brown spot between its eyes. He allowed his new instincts to guide him as he raised his hand so that the animal would smell him, and then spoke to it.

"Hello my lady! I shall call you Riala…although I have no idea what it means. I think it is something noble." He went around and got on the saddle. Once again, he surprised himself by the increase of his agility. How easy it was to jump up to the saddle.

"Race you there Marco!" he said and then gave a loud, "Yah!"

The horse galloped off outside the compound. Lucas, being quite unaware that a galloping horse is not an easy thing to ride, was bouncing about all over the place. "Okay Hotrod, not ready for Gallop, maybe a canter for now as I think I just sat on a bollock!" He rubbed at his crotch where he felt pain. Horse riding wasn't as easy as it was in the movies.

He kicked on the horses sides and it started a canter. He had no intention on starting a gallop when he had never ridden a horse before in his life. Even his acrobatics and agility would not save him from a full gallop fall. "Okay…maybe they would." He grinned.

The settlement was quite close as he pulled up the nearest store. He caught up with Lucas and poked his tongue at his friend. It was easier than he thought, riding a horse, but he was still accommodating himself with it and did not take any risks.

They reached the center of town and he got off. He patted his mare on the sides of his head and heard her whine of pleasure.

"Which store to first, Lucas?"

"Well the Oats and Bread can be got from the same store. The Sheepskin will have to be from the farmers," Lucas responded.

They both went shopping, having to scout about the farms looking for a decent sheep's fleece, but eventually they got what they needed.

The rain had stopped by the time they got back to Merol's hut. The blacksmith sat on a chair next to his anvil, waiting for them to arrive. They handed him the shopping and the change.

"Follow me," he said, beckoning them into a doorway just to the side of his little forging area.

As they went in, they were greeted with an array of weaponry that glinted in the light from the small barred windows.

"Lucas." Merol steered the boy to a table where two sheathed swords were lying.

"Talisman Swords. They are imbued with the spirits of Sword Mastery and Penetration."

"Hehe, penetration." Lucas giggled.

"Pay attention," Merol said sternly.

"The mastery means they will perform for you, but will make any other wielder fumble and fall. Only you can use these swords. The Spirit of Penetration means they can cut through anything apart from the sword sheathe. Be very careful where you stick these!"

He handed the swords to Lucas who was speechless.

"Marco, this bow has a Binding Spirit. Only you can ever hold the bow," he said, pointing at the bow on the table. "You pick your safe word if you need to give it to someone else, and it will temporarily bind it to them."

Merol held out a dagger. "This has a neutral spirit inside it. This is a Siphon Dagger. It can heal you by taking away the life force of whoever it pierces. This can be very dangerous. Do not cut another elf or the elf spirit inside will leave."

He barely even heard what Merol said about the dagger. He practically ran to the table. He caressed the bow and the curvatures and carvings of the bow.

He picked it up and held it in his hands. It felt like finding a long lost friend or a…parent. Something very dear to him. A single tear of happiness made its way down his cheek.

"Finally…a bow!" he muttered.

He wore the quiver on his shoulders and ran outside. As he passed from Merol's side, he took the dagger from Merol's hand.

He stood outside the door and picked a tree far in the distance. It must have been a few hundred meters away. In an instant, his hand went to the quiver, picked an arrow and placed it on the bow.

He took aim, breathed out and fired. Seconds after, he heard a "stomp" in the distance. The arrow had hit the tree.

"I still got it!" he announced to himself, smiled happily and felt satisfied.

Merol then pointed to a shield and greatsword. "Those," he said, "are mine." The sword was taller than either of the boys and the shield was big enough for them both to sit on and slide down a grassy bank. Needless to say, this was what Lucas was thinking of.

"There is a storm coming and the floods in the flat lands will block off our route so we need to head out now if we want to get to the city," Merol added, putting the items they purchased from the shops into a large pack to go on his horse.

They packed up and left. Marco could smell the humidity in the air. Merol was right about a storm coming. A powerful, unnatural one.

They left the town, probably never to return.

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