Elf Boy's Friends - IX

by George Gauthier

Chapter 12

Around the Pool

The cute blond boy clambered out of the swimming pool then lay on his back on the grass under a shade tree to rest. Swimming laps was good exercise, but it did tire the body. With a sigh he closed his eyes and dozed, not really asleep but also not attentive to anyone around, including more than a few fellow residents of the residential hotel who gazed with longing in their hearts and loins at this sleeping beauty, a veritable vision of youthful male concupiscence, bronzed and nude. Few of the males who fancied pretty boys would have turned down an assignation with the exquisite youth.

Karl-Eike Thyssen or Eike as he was known was slightly built, slender, and smooth muscled. Though a bit past twenty he looked to be no more than sixteen and would stay that way for centuries thanks to druidical healing magic. Far prettier than any boy rightly ought to be, he had a flawless complexion and fine boned features including a broad brow that hinted at his intellect, high cheekbones, a straight nose, plus subtly pointed ears and chin which gave him an elfin appearance although his heritage was fully human. His large green eyes were set wide apart under finely arched brows, their lashes too long to have ever have been meant for a male.

The youth looked healthy enough though Eike was definitely on the skinny side. Slender and smooth muscled he had the tawny skin of someone who habitually went about in the nude or sky-clad as they were calling it these days. But then he had been naked for nearly all his five years after his clothes had rotted away as a castaway on Blueberry Island in the Scilly Isles. Rescued at the age of fifteen by a young naval officer named Nathan Lathrop the boys had quickly become friends and in time roommates and lovers.

As Eike dozed the twins Jemsen and Karel got back from their run in a city park. The twins ran practically every day not only to build endurance and strength but also to show off the splendid physiques which nature had graced them with. Boyishly handsome, tanned and toned, and with hair the color of cornsilk their slender physiques and coloration were suggestive of a pair of palomino colts.

The twins practically exuded good health and sex appeal. Nude and as evenly tanned as Eike, their skin was just as smooth and glabrous, being totally free of body hair, even at the fork of the legs. Like many habitual runners their bodies were lean and taut, the tracery of veins on arms and legs showing how little body fat they carried on their frames.

Jogging to a halt the twins went into their usual post-run routine starting with stretching their Achilles tendons. Side by side they leaned against a wall, one leg forward with knee bent the other straight and placed farther back, a posture which they held for a slow count to fifteen then switched to the other leg then repeated once more. Next came ham-string stretches. With a foot propped up on a rail, they bent forward bringing their chins almost in contact with their shins as their tanned torsos glistened with sweat highlighting the sensuous curves of their lithe bodies.

After a quick scrub under the outdoor shower heads, the twins slipped into the casual section of the pool and let the cool water support their tired bodies in the weightless aqueous environment. They could not really float but had to scull lazily, keeping their limbs moving since physiques like theirs, all muscle and bone and sinew, made their bodies slightly denser than water. Despite the handicap of negative buoyancy, the twins were strong swimmers and very much enjoyed the water. They also liked to horse around and engage in the grab ass games of which young males were so fond.

"Ah, such is the life of the leisured class," Drew Altair indicated to Corwin Klarendes, his fellow reporter at the Capital Intelligencer. "While we two work and sweat for a living, boys such as these layabouts don't have to trouble themselves about anything so mundane as a job."

"Ah but we do have a job," Karel retorted. "Jemsen and I are professional adventurers, which is quite a strenuous line of work indeed, if only episodically. And just like you two scribblers, we are successful writers, now with a Writers' Prize of our own to prove it."

The twins were still basking in the glow of their recent Writers Prize. Theirs had been one of the rare special prizes for an entire body of work outside the regular categories, in the twins' case their successful line of field guides.

Published under their imprint Gemini Field Guides, each volume described some aspect of the natural world. So far the imprint had published guides on land navigation, tracking, landforms, tree identification, song birds, raptors (eagles, hawks, and owls), social insects, edible wild plants, and the identification and care of ferns, cycads, and bromeliads, decorative plants near and dear to their hearts.

Written and illustrated with maps and drawings by the twins, the field guides were printed on sturdy linen rag paper for durability but with soft covers and in a small format that let readers slip them into a pocket or pack.

It was true that the twins were the only members of their circle without a formal job. Nevertheless and despite their considerable wealth they had no use for idleness. Leisure, fun, and frolic were all part of a good life to be sure, but those needed to be balanced by work, intellectual pursuits, and particularly adventure. They had not exaggerated about being professionals at adventuring, witness their many expeditions, explorations, and military campaigns.

Come to think of it, maybe it was time for the Corps of Discovery to set out on another expedition. But where?

The two young journalists slipped out of the white silk tunics they favored for professional wear and took a quick shower. Riding his bicycle Corwin had worked up a sweat on the tropical heat of the capital. As a fetcher, Drew Altair had propelled his vehicle telekinetically. Still the weather was hot so he showered too.

Drew was an impossibly cute twink with spiky auburn hair and narrow sideburns reaching below the ear lobe plus straight eyebrows with almost no curve to them. They framed a fine-boned face with a high forehead, chiseled jawline, and a perky nose slightly turned up at the end. He was slight in build, standing only five foot zero and weighing but a hundred pounds, yet his tiny frame was easily twice as strong as it looked, enhanced by the same druidical healing magic that had lengthened his life and prolonged his youth.

Corwin Klarendes stood four inches taller. Short, slight of build, and clean limbed and with close cropped blond hair, he was blessed with fine-boned features that suggested a considerable admixture of elfin blood in his ancestry like all those in the Klarendes clan including his uncle Count Taitos Klarendes, Count of the Eastern March.

"Anyway, Eike, how is it you're home already?" Corwin asked. "Did you take off early?"

"Actually I did do just that and rode my bike home. In these days of peace things are slow at our naval shipyards though the yards are working steadily to refit many of our larger ships with my magnetic cannon installing them on a compact mount which I developed for naval use. Oh and our smaller craft are being armed with swivel guns, some of which can be operated by fetchers instead of masters of magnetism, of whom there are far fewer than fetchers."

"What about catapults and ballistas?" Jemsen asked.

"The catapults stay. They can lob incendiary kegs at enemy vessels whereas magnetic cannon are direct fire weapons employed in the anti-personnel role."

Jemsen nodded. "In plain language catapults set ships on fire whereas cannon blast their crews to ribbons. And ballistas?"

"The Navy is keeping about half of them. Ballistas have the advantages that anyone can operate them, and they are cheap to build, using just wood, cordage, nails, and glue, raw materials which are a lot cheaper than bronze, and their crews don't need to be someone with a magical gift."

"Talking shop at home?" A new voice interjected.

"Nathan, you're back!" Eike exclaimed. "And Liam too. I know it's been only two weeks, but it seems longer."

"We were lucky to wind up the inspection faster than the admiral thought we would." the young naval officer replied.

Lieutenant Sir Nathan "Sparky" Lathrop and the War Wizard Sir Liam were still in their blue naval silks. A little shorter than his colleague, Nathan had the willowy build of an elf though he was fully human. Nathan was boyishly cute, a freckle-faced carrot-topped youngster who looked much too young to be an officer in the Navy of the Commonwealth.

The young war wizard was a well-set up lad just under medium height and on the slender side but with a strong upper storey. He had wide shoulders and muscled arms from his former job as a teamster. Liam was blessed with good looks too, a real raven-haired beauty though more of a pretty boy rather than handsome young man.

His fine-boned features were accented by a light sprinkling of freckles. Liam had the mismatched eyes of a war wizard; his left eye was blue and the right brown. Thanks to moon-glow of his wizard's eyes, his sight was keener than normal and he could see in the dark or rather very dim light like a cat.

Thanks to the enhanced vitality and perpetual youth conferred by druidic healing magic the youths of fully human stock, namely Liam, the twins, Drew, Nathan, and Axel Wilde had stopped getting any older while still in their teens. For all intents and purposes other than birthday celebrations they were still teens and would stay that way for half a millennium or longer. Their enhanced vitality came double or triple normal strength, greater speed, faster reflexes, shaper senses, immunity to most diseases, and greater recuperative powers. Corwin's elven heritage combined with his magical Healing powers promised to prolong his youth even more.

With the arrival of the naval contingent, of the nine roommates only Axel Wilde and Finn Ragnarson were not around the swimming pool on the grounds of their residential hotel. But then Sir Finn Ragnarson was one of the Dread Hands of the Commonwealth, the government's chief troubleshooters. These days he worked closely with Baron Jarmond, the Chief Hand. The end of the war against the trolls might have lightened the workload of the armed forces, but not that of law enforcement agencies like the Hands, the city watch, and the rural constabularies.

Though Sir Axel Wilde was now a full fledged war mage able to teleport himself and things he touched, he still worked as aide to his mentor the war wizard Sir Willet Hanford at the Institute of Wizardry and Magic, which lay not far from the headquarters of the Hands. The missing pair were likely to show up together and certainly by dinner time.

The cost of meals at the restaurant on the ground floor were included in the boys' leases, so that is where they usually ate if they were not dining out at one of their favorite restaurants in Twinkle Town or as a guest at the Klarendes townhouse, when the family was all in town. Only the younger son Eborn lived and worked in the capital full-time managing the family's extensive investments in everything from street cars to refrigeration to passive investments in companies that built bicycles and autogyros.

Sure enough, a little before supper time the missing duo turned up. Axel was another redhead though his hair was the color of copper. Except for Corwin and Eike, Axel was the youngest of them and more than a hand shorter than the twins. Slightly built and boyishly cute, with fair skin, his face was dominated by large green eyes set over heart-melting dimples.

Finn was a Frost Giant who stood eight feet tall and weighed six hundred pounds of bone and muscle. Thanks to his innate magic and a constitution strengthened by the New Forest, Finn had thrice his natural strength. He was by no means the largest of the Frost Giants but far and away the strongest, which was only fitting for the avatar of Thor, thunder god of the ancient Norse, the remote ancestors of the giants.

Despite all that Finn was boyishly handsome with a face which featured a straight nose and firm chin, graced by grey eyes, all framed by a tousled thatch of dark hair.

They all dressed for dinner, even if only minimally, in the square-cut low-rise short-shorts of woven silk which the twins and their circle had made fashionable. While most of the boys wore white the identical twins' own brief garments were color-coded, as always green for Jemsen and blue for Karel. Finn dressed in shirt and trews silk.

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