Elf Boy's Friends - II
The North Country
"The line between the tops of these two hills is as far as our trigonometrical survey has reached." Ian Dentzer explained. "From this point all terrain to the north is a virtual terra incognita, so far as rigorous mapping goes. It is up to you guys to fill in the blanks on the map."
"Thanks Ian, for all your help and for your company these last eight days. " Jemsen said. "With the information you have provided on the exact distance between these two high points and their elevations above the level of the Great Inland Freshwater Sea, we can take it from here. Using our directional sense, Karel and I can extend the triangular survey all the way to the border of the Despotate."
"Starting with your baseline with a known length, we can calculate the distance and elevation between the tops of the prominent hills, tors, and mountain peaks we leap frog to on our survey. We will have to do a heck of a lot of climbing to scramble up all of them, but with Drew now able to Lift both himself and us and our gear, it shouldn't be too hard or too
"Also, we will measure distances between towns along the roads with our pace count, and measure spot elevations with a dry barometer." Karel added. "Our customers always tell us that they like to see those details on the commercial or travelers' maps we publish."
"That information could also help the Army plan a forced march along those roads." Dentzer noted.
The twins used their directional sense to determine the azimuth and the angle from the horizontal to the peak of a rocky tor in the distance. They would do the same at the other end of the baseline and thereby triangulate the peak's distance and elevation. And likewise with the next reference point beyond that, and so on.
It was unlikely the travelers would run into serious trouble, but if they did Finn would be in tactical command. The others would take their cue from him. Otherwise, the twins would decide where they would go and which landmarks to triangulate.
Finn would also act as their spokesman, a role for which he was well suited thanks to his diplomatic skills and experience. Finn had been the emissary of the Frost Giants to the Commonwealth capital where he persuaded the Council to send Lord Zaldor for peace talks held at a distant fortress north of the Eastern Plains.
Those talks produced a peace and alliance that lead to the Long March of the Frost Giants and the joint conquest of the land of the centaurs. Oddr Bjarnson, the political chief of the Frost Giants, considered Finn to be his lucky charm. Whenever he traveled to the capital of the Commonwealth in his capacity as governor of New Varangia, he took Finn with him. Their presence in the capital provided Finn with quality time with his friends and comrades in arms, Drew and the twins.
The core team had re-dubbed themselves the Explorers Four. After all, they were supposed to be civilians, just a pair of cartographers, a journalist, and a bodyguard openly going about their lawful business.
"You won't see prosperous villages like those back in Cymru where sturdy yeoman farmers work their own land. The arable land in these parts is parceled out in large estates worked by serfs. Their owners are either members of the traditional landed aristocracy or new men whose wealth derives from state office or from tax farming or official monopolies like the trades in salt or iron." Dentzer explained.
This was Ian Dentzer's last day with the expedition. In the morning he would start back to Caerdydd. Dentzer would not backtrack the route they had all taken, but would head over to the main river in those parts and book passage on a boat headed south with the current. For the last leg of his return journey, he would catch a stage to Commonwealth headquarters.
Drew's and Ian's leave taking was poignant. They had really bonded, the two of them, elf-boy and journalist. A final embrace and kiss and then Ian set off.
"That one is a keeper." Drew affirmed to no one in particular.
In the weeks that followed the four explorers zig-zagged across the Flatlands, from one prominent landmark to the next, triangulating between them and making terrain sketches. As they moved north, temperate broadleaf forest gave way to tropical rainforest and savannas. In those lower latitudes, the weather changed from seasonal warmth to tropical heat.
They all stripped off their shirts, rolled them up, and put them in their packs. Finn went about bared to the waist. The same could not be said of the twins for the trews of their riding silks really hung from their hip bones, showing most of their Adam's girdles. The waistband of Drew's short trews had grown loose with Drew gone all whipcord lean and svelte from his running and climbing. The brief garment threatened to lose its tenuous grip on his pert rump. That was just fine with Drew. He was proud of his trim and taut body. To his way of thinking, maybe his petit physique was lacking in quantity, but it more than made up for it in quality. So why not share it with the world?
The terrain was monotonous with mostly low relief. Here and there were rolling hills and the occasional isolated peak or extinct volcano. Dense forests alternated with cleared areas centered on villages and landed estates. Sometimes Drew had to lift one of the twins into the sky to let them get their bearing on the next objective.
The adventurers mostly kept to what passed for roads in those parts, really just rough unimproved tracks which crossed watercourses at fords instead of bridges. Often they struck out across country to reach their designated high points. Though they preferred to put up at inns and taverns, they frequently had to camp out in the rough.
That was not really a hardship, not to such veteran campaigners as these. Balandur had taught the twins how to live off the land, to fish in streams and lakes, to gather eggs from the nests of birds, to dig tubers from the earth, to gather fruits and nuts and berries and how to tell wholesome from noxious varieties. The twins could bring down small game with their bows or Finn with his sling or Drew with one of his small steel spheres, his birdshot. Finn too knew his way around in the woods. Even Drew, city boy though he was, had picked up a few things on his expeditions.
Though none of them had the magical gift of fire starting, they could get a blaze going well enough with mundane methods like using a spark striker to ignite dry tinder, then roast or broil their kill over a fire, or bury fish and tubers wrapped in leaves beneath the coals to bake slowly, or boil their food by rolling heated rocks into a cooking pit dug in the earth.
It was not all work and no play. Every so often they took a couple of days off to relax and enjoy themselves and each other. In private they could dispense with clothing and disport themselves in the nude, as the gods had made them. Drew got to show off the trim and taut body he had so recently grown into and was so inordinately proud of. Not that the others were any slouches in that department. While Drew was the cute one of the bunch, the twins were the pretty ones, and Finn the handsome and muscular exemplar of masculine desirability.
It was not just that the red-head had an exhibitionist streak in him, though that was true enough. Drew had grown up in the Commonwealth where casual public nudity for youthful males was the rule rather than the exception. Thought not natives of the Commonwealth the twins had gone about skin clad since they were fifteen and had been adopted as elf-friends by the elves they had saved from slavers. Only Finn's people had much use for clothing, but then their original homeland had a cool climate, and the winters were cold enough for frost and ice and even snow.
One sojourning spot offered cool spring water, a lazy stream deep and wide enough for swimming and aquatic grab-ass fun, grassy flats for running and tossing the Zinger, and complete seclusion. Just the place for fun and frolic. It wasn't long before the four youths were engaged in sexual congress, their supple bodies bent and twisted in all manner of naughty
Karel paired off with Finn and Jemsen with Drew.
Now Karel was versatile and could top with either Drew or his twin, but with Finn, he was invariably the bottom, a role which he relished, as he would be the first to admit. He didn't feel in any way diminished for taking the subordinate role. After all, as lovers go, Frost Giants were in a category by themselves: huge, strong, muscular, masculine, dominant, and endowed. It was quite an accomplishment just being able to accommodate a lover as big as Finn was.
Finn's prong was the largest the blond boy had taken up his quim since he lay with Balandur. As a human-giant hybrid, Balandur stood a bit over seven and half feet or about half a foot taller than Finn was right then. Since their endowments were in proportion, Karel had to wonder if he would still be able take Finn when he reached his full growth. He would likely top out at eight feet since males in Finn's line were actually on the short side as Frost Giants go.
Karel was counting on his enhanced vitality and healing powers to make it possible. If not, well there were many ways two males could pleasure each other. As one-time rent boys, the twins knew them all, or at least liked to think so.
Jemsen and Drew were closer in size though Jemsen was a head taller than the diminutive red-head. Their young bodies were slender and supple, taut and toned, which made for sex play that was energetic, acrobatic, and enthusiastic. Not to mention intense, sweaty, and noisy.
At one point, Jemsen stretched out onto his back and invited Drew to straddle him and settle himself on Jemsen's erection. No sooner said, than done.
"See," Drew joked, "I can top as well as bottom."
Alas, Drew's brief moment as a "top" was not to last long. Karel knelt behind him while his twin bent Drew's torso forward and held his attention with a kiss. That gave Karel a chance to insert his fingers into Drew's hole, lube him generously, then join his brother up Drew's tight quim.
Any protest the doubly impaled boy might have made was smothered by Jemsen's kiss. And really what was there to protest? Here he was being fucked by the two boys he loved best in all the world.
The twins loved to double-team the little guy like that, to rub their cocks together, making love to each other really, while their members were clutched by the satiny walls of Drew's bottom. Bent over like that Drew presented a bum that just begged to be fucked. Jemsen's shaft repeatedly rubbed his joy knot, making him shudder with passion.
Finn soon presented himself for oral service. Drew opened his mouth to explain that maybe Finn should wait a bit till the twins were done with him, but the young giant took Drew's open mouth as an invitation. He slipped his heavy cock between Drew's pouty lips which filled the red-head's mouth and pressed down on his tongue, cutting off any protest. It wasn't long before Finn had Drew deep throating him, his groin pressed against the red-head's pretty face.
Poor Drew, his small body was spitted at both ends on three cocks at once and his mind was in a whirl from the intoxicating scent of male musk. The rush of heat he felt was overwhelming, making him delirious with desire. It wasn't long before he shot his seed, splashing Jemsen's chest and face. The contraction of his anal rings set the twins off too, with Finn soon spitting his gism into Drew's welcoming mouth.
Just as they were all starting to sink into post-coital lassitude, their bodies still joined, a visitor announced himself with a shout.
"Hello the camp!"
The four lovers disentangled themselves, the twins' cocks pulling out of Drew with an audible plop.
At the edge of the clearing stood a pair of hunters. a man full grown and a fine looking boy in his late teens. From the look of them, the pair were father and son. They held their bows loosely at their sides, their right hands empty to show their intentions were benign
The boy had an incredulous look on his face.
"Pa, I didn't even know that was physically possible."
"See what you miss when you focus only on girls?"
"Just funning with you son."
"Sorry gentlemen for intruding like this, but the ruckus you were making drew us. My name is Arden and this is my son Heuw."
"We are following the spoor of a big cat, a man-eating tygre responsible for three deaths. This cat is a wily one. He has a habit of turning back to ambush those who hunt him."
"Thanks for the warning, friend Arden." Finn said. "Now since it is nearly evening, why don't you share the security of our camp for the night."
"Much obliged for the company. No offense, but you boys ought to be more careful. Preoccupied as you were just now, who knows what would have happened if the cat had come upon you unawares, unarmed, and unprepared. He might have slain you all."
"Maybe. Maybe not." Finn observed. "Just months ago I killed a full-grown panther with my bare hands. As it sprang at me I surprised it by taking a step toward it, grabbed it by the throat and the scruff of its neck, then whirled around using its momentum to crash the beast against the trunk of a tree. That broke its spine. I dropped a rock on its head to finish it off."
"Wow!" the younger one breathed. "I'd like to have seen that. Did the panther hurt you much, Sir Giant?"
"He left deep claw marks on my arms and shoulders. My grip kept its fangs away from my throat, and with his body stretched out by our whirling motion, the cat couldn't curl up and disembowel me with his hind claws. A human healer fixed me up just fine. We have welcomed many of them as immigrants to our new homeland of New Varangia."
"I can see where a Frost Giant might survive," the father conceded, "but what could that cute little red-head have done but die under its claws?"
"Who me?" Drew asked disingenuously. "Why I'd have picked kitty up bodily, dunked him in the creek, and held him under till he drowned."
"Drew is a powerful Fetcher." Jemsen explained.
"He can lift a brontothere into the sky." Karel noted with pointed finger.
"You don't say! So what would you twins do?"
"Us? Why, nothing. We'd just leave it up to those two." the twins replied, pointing at Drew and Finn.
Father and son chuckled at the twins' airy insouciance.
The hunters set their gear down and made camp. Heuw looked nervous, wanting to say something but loth to give offense.
"Let me guess." Finn ventured. "Your son would feel more comfortable if we all put on some clothes."
The hunter nodded.
"Heuw is uneasy around male sex these days. You see, Heuw fancies girls and they him, fine looking lad that he is. But a couple of boys in our village fancy him too and continue to make importunate advances. They won't accept that Heuw's early exploration of his sexual feelings in that direction is over. So if you would... "
"No problem. You are our guests, after all."
As it happened the four explorers had caught a mess of fish in the creek and were happy to share their bounty with the newcomers. While Arden and Heuw cleaned the fish and set them to cooking Finn and the others bathed and dressed.
After dinner, as they all sat around the fire talking, Arden explained why they had taken up the hunt for the man-eater. It seems that a local merchant put up a reward for the creature's head. His daughter was one of the victims.
Many predators roamed the Far West since much of it was wilderness. At least half the land wasn't suitable for agriculture. Crops either did not grow at all or did poorly in the red soils of the region. Even where you could grow grain, yields were low. With the roads so bad, most farmers were engaged in subsistence agriculture in contrast to the Commonwealth where commercial farming was the norm.
"This forest may look lush, but once you clear it, the land quickly loses its fertility. In just a few years, the soil is exhausted, and you have to move on. For some reason, manuring doesn't help much. No one knows why."
Karel looked up, ready to answer, but Jemsen shook his head, signaling Karel to keep quiet on the subject.
The next day the hunters pushed westward. The four never did learn whether the hunters caught up with their quarry, but they kept a more careful watch than they had before.
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