Elf Boy's Friends - IV
"Good news, Ensign Lathrop." Captan-Lieutenant Dahlgren called out as he approached the Petrel moored at her pier. "I got if from the Port Admiral that your good friend Liam is back in town.
"Fantastic!" Nathan enthused. Liam's role as one of the Pioneers of Flight had kept him away from the fleet for five months.
"It will be good to have him aboard again." the captain continued.
"To a man the crew regard him as the Petrel's lucky charm. Everyone knows what he did during our single ship action against the troll flotilla off the Scilly Isles. Between his war wizardry and Captain Dekker's leadership and seamanship and Sailing Master Crawley's mastery of magnetism we won a battle which by all rights we should have lost, indeed one we might with honor have declined altogether."
"Liam would be the first to point out how much our victory was due to the actions of the sailors in the well of the ship led by our valiant first officer whose name I won't mention lest I be thought a flatterer." Nathan added with a wink.
Dahlgren acknowledged the compliment with a nod.
"Unfortunately although Liam will occasionally sail with us, he is being assigned to the staff of General-at-Sea Sir Deane Chard, commandant of the Naval Infantry."
"Oh why is that sir?"
"I don't know, though I expect we will soon find out. Toward that end, why don't you pop over to the visiting officers quarters where Liam is settling in and chat him up. Find out what you can, without betraying confidences, of course."
"Don't worry Captain. I'll get the latest scuttlebutt from him."
"Good. Why don't you take a bit of shore leave while you are at it? We'll be careening the Petrel this afternoon to scrape her clean of barnacles and mussels so I think we can spare you for three days."
"Thanks Captain. By your leave I'll get right on it."
Nathan made his way down the pier with a jauntiness in his stride, which was saying something given that he walked with a prosthesis. A troll axe had severed his left leg just above the ankle.
The charge of quarters directed Nathan to Liam's room where he found the young war wizard stretched out atop the sheets taking a nap. Liam's nude body looked absolutely scrumptious in the light streaming through the louvers over the windows, highlighting the light sheen of sweat on his slender but muscular body. Nathan latched the door and climbed out of his clothes and lay down next to Liam and woke him with a kiss.
"Am I dreaming or is that really you Nathan?"
"It's me all right, Liam. You looked so tempting lying there in bed, I just had to join you. I've missed you so very much."
"And I missed you Nathan, but let me just lie here for now. I'm exhausted from my long flight from the capital. What I really need is sleep."
"You flew? All the way? It must be a thousand miles!"
"Just about. It took me three and a half days. I flew for an hour at a time four times a day with a half-hour's rest between flights. Long distance flying is exhausting."
"All right then. Go to sleep and when you do wake up, I'll give you a proper welcome."
And early the next morning Nathan did just that. Their couplings we're typically enthusiastic, boisterous, energetic, and acrobatic. Liam liked to redden Nathan's rump with a preliminary spanking, and sometimes left bruises on his buttocks where, in his passion, he squeezed the sailor boy's cheeks too tightly. Nathan was likely to return the favor leaving a hickey on Liam's throat or a bite mark on his shoulder.
Nathan sometimes found himself suspended by Liam's fetching power in otherwise physically impossible positions, like hanging head down in the air and pressed to Liam's body for mutual oral service or raised and lowered onto Liam's cock with no physical support whatsoever. Sex with a fetcher can be a whole lot of fun not to mention emotionally and psychologically vital to Nathan.
The physical reaffirmation of their love renewed the bonds strained from the long separations which were inevitable to those in the military. Liam's absence were hard on the young ensign since he had no one else, no other lovers. He was at sea so much of the time, away even from the fleshpots of the naval town where he might have found companionship or at least sexual relief, had be been so inclined. Back in the capital, Liam had the Drew, Axel, the twins, and even Finn when he was in town.
Sitting down to breakfast, Liam talked about his new assignment.
"I'll be working with the naval infantry again, Nathan. Last time it was to develop tactics combining magic with the naval infantry's standard boarding and amphibious tactics. As you know the naval infantry have always sailed on capital ships to provide protection against boarders or in company or battalion strength as landing forces carried in transports. What we are trying is something new: longships for riverine operations."
'Naval infantry will row capture longships up the many rivers feeding the the Great Inland Freshwater Sea. A vessel that could transport eighty trolls can easily accommodate a hundred humans and elves. Also the Commonwealth has recently raised three regiments of naval infantry composed entirely of Frost Giants who will go into battle aboard modified troll longships."
Liam explained that naval shipyards had rebuilt more than two hundred captured longships to accommodate Frost Giants. These vessels were open decked and clinker-built, a hundred feet in length but no more than twelve in the beam, with a shallow draft. They are propelled by both oars and a single square sail and had a steering oar to starboard. The normal complement for trolls was eighty but only about thirty for Frost Giants.
The original rowing benches had been torn out and replaced with sturdier benches spaced farther apart. Two trolls used to share a bench each pulling a single oar with both hands. On the modified longships each Frost Giant had a bench to himself and rowed with a pair of oars to port and starboard. The giants were so strong that they could propel a longship faster than trolls could. Their power also let them tow naval long boats carrying supplies.
Their longships were transports, not fighting platforms to engage other ships with boarding tactics. Each longship came with a crew of four human sailors to steer the vessel and operate the new style compact ballista installed at the bow. Six thousand strong, the Frost Giants were a strike force of shock troops who traveled to the battle on the water but fought on land.
"How seaworthy will these longships be with so much weight aboard?" Nathan asked.
"Now that is quite a shrewd observation, my young friend, one missed by almost everyone including the commandant of the naval infantry. Admiral Van Zant suspected as much. Sea trials in shallow waters confirmed that a longship with thirty-two Frost Giants and four humans was less seaworthy than the navy would like for long voyages. Which is why a weather wizard will always go along with the giants while at sea to tame threatening weather systems."
"So what will these regiments of naval infantry be used for?"
Liam explained that the Commonwealth intended to destroy the colony the trolls had established in the basin of the Amazon river. That mighty river and its many tributaries drained a vast area southeast of the the Great Inland Freshwater Sea. The many river channels allowed the longships with their shallow draft to penetrate everywhere in Amazonia. The trolls had annihilated more than a million of the original inhabitants and taken over their ports, towns, villages, and farms. They may have failed to plant a colony in the Barren Lands, but they had succeeded beyond expectation in Amazonia.
The first step was for the Commonwealth to eject the trolls from the Ashokan Archipelago. With its original population wiped out, the Commonwealth intended to annex the islands and use them as a permanent naval base in the southern part of the sea. Besides the garrison, Frost Giants and human colonists would be allowed to settle the abandoned towns and fertile lands of the islands left vacant by the slaughter of the islanders.
Seizing the islands would be the job of the High Seas Fleet and the naval infantry operating with their usual tactics. Then would come construction of the naval base, fortresses, roads, new districts sized for giants, etc. It would likely be two years before the Navy and the Army were ready to strike at Amazonia itself.
Army troops as well as naval infantry would row longships up the many rivers of Amazonia to seek out and engage the trolls, with the aim of wiping them out. The ships of the High Seas Fleet would be useless in such confined waters. Instead the invasion's naval support would be drawn from the three flotillas that patrolled the Long River. Expert in riverine operations, the river flotillas would be in their element in Amazonia. Even now efforts were underway to supplement the flotillas on the river to provide security when the bulk of the forces was withdrawn for the invasion.
The trolls had won their war in their oceanic archipelago against militarily weak and politically disunited foes. On Valentia things were different. Allies all along the shores of the the Great Inland Freshwater Sea had pledged their support to the campaign in Amazonia, doubling the troops that would be committed. When it finally came, the invasion of Amazonia would be the showdown matching the Commonwealth and half the continent of Valentia against their genocidal foes, the alien trolls from across the outer ocean.
The conventional military forces would be aided by magic users of all sorts including a team of druids who were taking a direct hand in the war for the first time. The aim of the trolls was to wipe out all those capable of wielding magic, but they had seriously underestimated their new enemies. The humans and elves they had expelled from their archipelago in the southern ocean had been weak in magic. The magic of the sentient races on Valentia was strong and its magic wielders numerous.
Soon the trolls would reap the whirlwind as mages of all sorts concerted their powers against them. Druids, war wizards, weather wizards, water wizards, fetchers, firecasters, masters of magnetism, lightning casters, air wizards, and earth mages had rallied to the cause, accepting commissions in the reserves, pledging to throw their powers onto the balance when called upon. Healers in great numbers would accompany the allied forces which could expect heavy casualties.
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