Elf Boy's Friends - IX
The Corps of Discovery elected not to take a shortcut via a portal from the Hot Lands back to the capital. Instead they flew in their three autogyros the whole way, mostly over the plains paralleling the Eastern Mountains, an area they had largely bypassed on their outward journey.
As the short grass prairie of the Hot Lands gave way to better watered tall grass prairie they passed over the boundary markers which Artor Klarendes had erected several years earlier. Their first real landmark in the Commonwealth was the town of Harben, the terminus of the main line of the newly completed iron road serving the Eastern Plains. It was around Harben that the forest rangers and the elf-boy cum druid Dahlderon had arrested the gang of poachers who had killed brontotheres for their horns.
Flying south they passed the fortified entrance to the strategic tunnel through the mountains and the battlefield on the plains below where the druids Dahl, Merry, and Owain had helped the war wizards Sir Willet Hanford and Sir Rikkard and the Army of the Plains defeat the final invasion of the eastern barbarians. That was the battle where young Corwin Klarendes had won his spurs.
A hawthorn hedge enclosed much of the mountain range from the divide along its crest to the foot of the mountains where they met the plains. That was the boundary of the New Forest which covered an area of nearly one-hundred thousand square miles. No works of man were allowed there in contrast to the western side of the mountain range which had mines and sawmills, and hunting lodges and resorts. The entire area was under the protection of the forest rangers and the three druids in residence at Elysion.
Not just an expanse of trees and the animals and plants which sheltered beneath it canopy, the New Forest was a magically sentient and self-aware entity which encompassed all the life forms within its boundaries, both animals and plants, ranging from the lowliest creepy crawlies scurrying amidst the leaf litter on the forest floor to apex predators like bears, wolves, and tawny panthers. These days it was the new home of the Snow Elves and their protectors the white Kodiak bears. Magical beasts and fully sentient the bears were the ursine equivalent of unicorns.
The Corps stopped at Elsyion to drop off Madden Sexton and the elf-boy Dylan who would resume their duties as forest rangers. The pair got a warm welcome from their fellow rangers the tall raven-haired half-elf Brandon and his human cousins the brothers Garret and Lorn, two sturdily built blond youths. They had been hard pressed to cover their assigned area while so short handed. The three druids Dahl, Merry, and Owain were not always in residence. At least Owain was back from his retreat at the stronghold of the druidical order in the Great Southern Forest, the progenitor of the New Forest.
Also there to welcome the return of the explorers were Lord Taitos Klarendes and his spouse the shape shifter Sir Aodh of Llangollen. Klarendes younger son Eborn was also in Elysion conferring with his father on the family's business investments in the capital which Eborn looked after. Artor the older son was in the capital. Like Finn Ragnarson he was assigned to the headquarters of the Dread Hands of the Commonwealth and worked directly for the Chief Hand Baron Jarmond as one of the government's most reliable troubleshooters.
After a celebratory meal featured sparkling wine and brandy, the visitors stayed overnight to rest from their long journey. The next day they got into their autogyros, hopped the mountains, and flew all the way to the capital.
Drew Altair was ready to get right to work on a book about the expedition. His regular reportorial duties at the news-paper could wait a few more weeks. This would be his second book of travels, the first being his best-seller about the expedition to the Far West years earlier with Finn and the twins. All of Drew's books sold well and had won him no less than five of the coveted Writer's Prizes.
True, his war books sold best of all, but Drew was sure that his new book would do as well. How could the public not be interested in the thrilling adventures of the Corps of Discovery while battling a dragon, raptors, a plague of locusts, and a mosasaur. This book would transport the readers vicariously to exotic landscapes to meet fascinating peoples like the dwarves of the Cave of the Mountain River, or the Guardians of the Stone ring. A book filled with stories about monsters, a landslide, a mine collapse, and a mud volcano would practically sell itself.
Liam and Axel Wilde were eager to return to their duties at the Institute for Wizardry and Magic. War Mage though he was in his own right, Axel had no intention of giving up his day job as assistant to his mentor Sir Willet Hanford. The war wizard was also Liam's mentor (and Drew's as well) which made them colleagues. With two tours of duty to the war zone under their belts, none of them would be rotating back to the war front. The campaign against the trolls was in its final phase and would be finished without their further direct participation.
The twins were the only ones who held no regular job, nor did they need one, not with their wealth and lucrative investments in the burgeoning new industries like iron roads, refrigeration, bicycles, and aviation. Not that they were idlers. Far from it. They kept busy with their writing: revising and updating their maps and guides for commercial travelers and writing and illustrating their popular field guides.
Published under their imprint Gemini Field Guides, each volume described some aspect of the natural world. So far the imprint had issued field guides on land navigation, tracking, landforms, tree identification, song birds, raptors (i.e. avian raptors like eagles, hawks, and owls), social insects, and edible wild plants and most recently the identification and care of ferns, cycads, and bromeliads, decorative plants near and dear to their hearts.
All the boys agreed to hold off a few weeks on wearing the new style shorts until the chain of shops which the twins owned could stock up on a garment they hoped would set a fashion trend and draw a well-off clientele into the shops not only for the shorts but for a whole spring collection which would include a line of tight-fitting bicycle shorts like those worn by the messenger boys in the League of Independent Towns.
The day after their arrival Finn reported to Baron Jarmond to give him an oral briefing on the results of their expedition. Needless to say the Chief Hand was pleased.
"Outstanding! Finn, you have done better than I dared hope for. Thanks to what you and your friends have set in motion, the Commonwealth has every prospect of realizing its grand strategy for the Northlands, the Greater North Valentia Co-prosperity Sphere. I am eager to tell the High Council, but I would like to have a written report to present to them. Do you think you and Drew Altair can write it up and have it printed in three days?"
"No problem. Drew is working on it right now with Axel Wilde's help, and I am sure Drew's uncle Poul will give it top priority in the print queue."
"Fine, fine. You do realize that there is a knighthood in this for you, don't you? Sir Finn Ragnarson: how does that sound? And yes, I know you Frost Giants don't care much for titles, but think of the knighthood as a way for the state to burnish your credentials as one of a Dread Hands of the Commonwealth. It will also make it easier for you to circulate among the upper crust and to represent me when necessary."
"Well if you put it that way… "
"I do. You and Artor Klarendes are the most effective young Hands to come along in more years than I care to admit. There are not many persons like you two, those with the strength of character to be trusted with plenipotentiary authority. You two have proven that you can be. Now what's this I hear about you finally moving in with your friends?"
Finn nodded, knowing that Jarmond was just being polite. No doubt the spymaster was already fully informed on the matter. The fact is that with the termination of his assignment to Flensborg the capital of New Varangia, the second homeland of the Frost Giants, Finn was finally taking up residence in the capital with his friends at their residential hotel.
Even before the expedition left the hotel management had agreed to take down a non-load bearing wall to incorporate yet a fourth suite of rooms to those previously joined together to accommodate all nine friends and lovers — six of whom were members of the Corps of Discovery: Finn himself, the twins Jemsen and Karel, Drew Altair, the War Wizard Sir Liam, and the War Mage Sir Axel Wilde.
The three other residents were the naval officer Lieutenant Sir Nathan Lathrop, the naval architect and inventor Karl-Eike Thyssen, and the up-and-coming journalist Corwin Klarendes, like Drew a reporter for the Capital Intelligencer. Indeed with the exception of Corwin Klarendes all were now in residence. Nathan Lathrop had just recently been assigned to the Navy's Bureau of Ships to work with Eike under its chief Admiral Van Zant.
Their rooms were on the top floor of a three storey residential hotel and looked out over a leafy square in front and spacious grounds out back. The builders had taken advantage of the flat terrain of the city and the prevailing south wind to cool the building. Wind catchers directed the airflow downward and through the city's underground aqueducts where the warm air gave up its heat to the cool earth and subterranean water. Natural air pressure then forced the air back up into and through the building. All done without machinery. Awnings blocked direct sunlight from wide window openings which were not glassed in but set with wood lattices that afforded privacy without blocking ventilation.
Pumps driven by vertical axis windmills raised water to a water tower and a set of tanks on the roof. The tower served the water closets in each suite and provided cold water for taps and showers in the apartments below. Tanks painted black provided solar-heated hot water. In short it had all the modern conveniences close to hand: hot and cold running water, flush toilets, and hot meals prepared downstairs in the restaurant.
Like the rest of the common space the new rooms were comfortably but simply furnished with extra sturdy furniture to accommodate a giant who stood eight feet tall and weight six hundred pounds. The walls were hung with watercolors or prints of the best illustrations from the many books the residents had published. Shade tolerant house plants like ferns, cycads, and bromeliads were everywhere.
The staff at the hotel watered and pruned the plants as necessary. Indeed they took care of all housework. Chamber boys made the beds, cleaned the rooms, did the laundry, and ran errands. Meals in the restaurant on the ground floor were also included under the terms of their lease.
Now the twins and Drew were Finn's oldest companions and lovers so it only fitting that over the next few days they helped the lusty giant inaugurate, as it were, the bed chamber in his part of the common suite of rooms.
Drew went first, happily throwing himself into Finn's arms. The young giant picked the boy up and hugged him close while Drew's slender legs circled Finn's waist as the giant cupped Drew's shapely bum in his massive paws. Finn loved to hold Drew's small body in his arms as he kissed him and stroked and petted his arms, chest, and back and squeezed his butt cheeks. Drew just loved Finn's body. Finn was so huge and strong and manly, just what a bottom boy like him craved.
Drew was a young male totally oriented to his own gender as a bottom boy. The human youth was a natural submissive, one who long ago realized that he was a boy born to be fucked hard and often and by males who knew how. He couldn't wait for Finn to really get down to business and impale him on his prodigious member. His quim needed to be filled, and Finn's prodigious member was more than up to the job. True Drew was too small back there to accept the whole shaft, but that was more Finn's problem that Drew's, wasn't it?
With Drew's legs bent upward, Finn lifted the boy high enough for Drew to throw his ankles over Finn's shoulders while the back of his thighs were pressed to Finn's chest and belly. The giant supported Drew's slight weight on his arms -- at least till he got the boy settled on his cock. Slipping it inside was awkward since Drew couldn't easily reach back there to guide him in. They took it slowly and carefully.
For such a big guy Finn was a gentle lover. He did not batter his way inside but let Drew set the pace and the degree of penetration. Drew also did some of the work himself, lifting his body, letting it fall back onto the cock inside him, basically fucking himself, though Finn helped with his arms raising and lowering Drew bodily. It wasn't long before Finn climaxed in Drew's ass, his big frame shuddering with the force of his release. While he did go a little weak in the knees, he didn't let go of his young lover or drop him to the floor.
With the twins Finn preferred to get them down on all fours and cover them the way a stallion does a filly, all the while keeping his massive weight on his own arms and knees rather than pressing down on the back and rump of a boy less than a quarter his size.
Regardless of who went first with Finn, all six young males were glad to be back in the capital with what in effect was their family. Sexual attraction aside, you could not have better companions than those who shared those rooms — good people one and all.
Four days later, with the report of the expedition in hand the High Council commended all of the members of the Corps of Discovery including the forest rangers whom Axel had Jumped to the capital for the occasion.
In a simple ceremony, Finn was presented with letters patent that confirmed him as Sir Finn Ragnarson, Dread Hand of the Commonwealth, Peacemaker, Pioneer of Flight, Dwarf-friend, and Avatar of Thor. Finn had come a long way since that day a decade earlier when he had arrived at Elysion as a teenage peace envoy from the contingent of Frost Giants stuck in their fortress in the highlands north of the Eastern Plains, having barely won a desperate war with an army of centaurs.
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