Elf Boy's Friends - VII
The Family Gwillam
Madden Sexton introduced Aodh to the rancher Franklin Gwillam and his four oldest sons, all born a year apart. The oldest was Thrwan who was twenty-one. All of them wore silk riding trews and leather boots. All except the father were bare to the waist. The father was bare headed while the sons wore straw hats against the sun. Unlike Lukas, the rest of the family were tall though with the characteristic slenderness of elves.
The senior Gwillam nodded at his youngest son and said:
"Lukas, no doubt you will want to share your quarters with your new friend while the rangers are staying with us. Ranger Sexton can have the guest room to himself."
Lukas' brothers smiled and winked and gave him a thumbs up. Thrawn remarked: "You've caught yourself a live one there, kiddo. The little guy is as cute as a kitten."
"A kitten. Yes, that brings up something I need to mention in all candor." Sexton began. "Some folks don't much care for shape shifters, which both of us are."
"Not a problem in this household, Ranger Sexton, but out of curiosity, what forms do you two take on?"
"Aodh transforms into a sleek black panther, which is why your son's description of him as cute as a kitten was so apt. As for me, I turn into a wolverine."
The rancher whistled. "They're tough customers, wolverines, as I have heard."
"Could you show us?" Lukas asked. "Where we are standing now the horses and cattle can't see you and take fright."
Sexton shrugged out of his clothes and transformed. Now in his human form Madden Sexton was a ruggedly handsome human looking to be no more than thirty and with a solid physique like Finn Ragnarson's only scaled down to six feet. His powerful build and two hundred fifty pounds of muscle and bone and sinew made him a tough customer even in his human form.
As for his animal form, a wolverine is a stocky muscular carnivore with short legs, a broad and rounded head, small eyes and short rounded ears all of which made it resemble a bear more than its relatives in the weasel family. Armed with powerful jaws, sharp claws, and a thick hide the wolverine was a solitary hunter with a reputation for ferocity and strength all out of proportion to its size, capable of killing prey many times larger than itself such as deer and even moose. Only instead of a body of fifty pounds, this particular wolverine massed five times as much.
"Whoa!" the others exclaimed.
Aodh was already naked, so without more ado his form blurred, the young shape shifter's innate magic taking only seconds to transform the pretty boy-toy into a sleek black panther. Aodh ran around for a bit then reared up on his hind legs and slashed the air with his claws, snarling to look fierce. Then he morphed back into his human form. He didn't bother getting dressed, preferring to remain nude like his new boyfriend Lukas who always went about skin-clad himself.
Lukas was mightily impressed.
"Wow! I had no idea you could transform so fast, Aodh, or that the change was like you were melting from human to cat and back again. And that was quite a horizontal leap you made a moment ago."
"Indeed, Lukas. The legs of a panther are proportionally the longest of the big cats. Even your normal tawny panther can jump say forty feet (12 m) horizontally and nearly half that vertically. With my magically enhanced strength I can do much better than that."
"Both of us are about three time stronger than you might expect from our size." Madden explained. "Which makes me as strong as a Frost Giant and Aodh stronger than a human my own size."
That drew another wow from Lukas.
"No wonder he was so strong when we grappled and wrestled and, er… that is…"
"Had fun?" Thrawn suggested.
Lukas grinned sheepishly.
"My Lukas fancies other boys, just as his brothers fancy him." the rancher explained.
"No doubt the admixture of elven blood in your family explains the same gender orientation of your sons." Sexton observed.
"Ranger Sexton your fellow shape shifter is about the most scrumptious thing I have ever laid eyes on. Not that my own tastes run that way, you understand. I consort exclusively with the female half of the species."
"He means our ma" Thrawn confided. "Except she herself might not describe their relationship as entirely exclusive!" he added with a mischievous grin.
"Such impertinence! Young man, you are not yet too old to bend over my knee for a spanking!" his father warned with feigned menace then explained to his visitor:
"Everyone knows that what happens at the end of a cattle drives stays there. You don't bring it home — or bring it up at home either," he added pointedly.
"Nor should I have just now." Thrawn intoned, head hung low, the obviously contrived expression of contrition on his face belied by the merriment dancing in his eyes.
Sexton grinned. This was a likable family with an easy relationship between the father and his sons.
As they went inside Franklin Gwillam introduced his wife Megan. Her looks proclaimed the preponderance of human blood in her heritage, just the opposite of his husband who was more elf than human.
Franklin Gwillam told her that their visitors who would be staying over for the next several days. She shrugged, used to putting out extra plates on the dinner table for unexpected visitors. Ranch folk tend to be hospitable, always willing to put up travelera and hear the latest news. News-papers didn't circulate much outside the larger towns.
"I suppose I should climb back into my uniform." Aodh offered
"Suit yourself, but I happen to know that wirs have as little use for clothing as my youngest son who runs around in the nude all the time and even sits at the table that way."
"And staying skin clad will let all of us ogle you shamelessly." Thrawn added.
"Hey, I'm not sharing him!" Lukas complained.
"We just want a good look at your new boyfriend, Lukas." Thrawn soothed. "You two sure make a cute couple."
At dinner the matriarch served a tasty beef chili that had been bubbling in the pot over the charcoal-fired iron stove in the kitchen. Corn on the cob, fresh bread made that morning, a tangy bean salad, and soft cider rounded out the menu. Dessert was blueberry pie.
"We eat as well as we do thanks to Lukas's garden and orchard which provides us with a wide variety of foodstuffs. Sad to say the diets in most households around here are monotonous and unimaginative."
Sexton nodded and said. "Speaking as a world traveler, I can tell you that this was one of the tastiest home-cooked meals I have ever eaten."
"My Megan is a treasure." Franklin Gwillam said, smiling at his wife.
"Oh bosh." she said though she clearly appreciated the compliments.
"The real treasure in this household is our five sons. All save Lukas will eventually marry and carry on the line but with their extended youth and life span that can afford to wait a decade or two. I think it is better that way, for sons anyway. It gives young men a chance to see something of the world, to sample what life has to offer, and enough time to acquire the stake each will need to strike out on his own."
"And as a mother, it gives me a chance to live with my sons as adults before some pretty young thing catches their fancy and snatches them away from me." Megan Gwillam added.
That evening, they all watched as the sun set behind the mountains to the west, painting the sky in broad brushes with orange, and red, and purple. With everyone feeling mellow after a couple of rounds of peach schnapps the rangers shared a little more information about their mission and asked the new friends whether they could shed any light on the recent poaching.
"I take it then, Ranger Sexton that you do not consider me and my family to be suspects."
"No. After three centuries of life experience I dare say that I am a good judge of character. You and your sons just are not the sort to kill brontotheres slowly and painfully using ground glass to cut their guts open from the inside."
Franklin Gwillam shook his head in disgust.
"Horrible! We would never do anything harm to brontotheres, but I cannot but wonder if that technique should not be the punishment for the miscreants. Force ground glass into their stomachs and see how they like it."
Sexton shook his head and explained that dolorous exile was the punishment the druids had reserved for the poachers.
"Aye. That would be a just punishment for their crimes. I am afraid I let my detestation of their methods override my moral sense just now."
"Lukas told me that he was gifted with a Green Thumb. What of the rest of you Gwillams?" Aodh asked.
"All Gwillam males have the gift of Unerring Direction, which is a big help in managing herds on the trackless plains. In addition we each have second gifts like electrum sparks, lightning bolts, or Calling Light. Thrawn's globes of light persist so we light the house with them in the evening. Our powers are modest but still useful to defend against predators like the occasional tawny panther or dire wolf on the prowl for an easy meal."
"A lightning bolt or an electric globe around his head will kill any predator.
Sparks alone might not kill a panther or a wolf but they could blind it or distract it long enough to put an arrow into it off or just chase it away. You see we don't carry our weapons at the ready. So it takes a moment to string the bows we carry in scabbards on our mounts. As for enemies, we don't get raided any more by the eastern barbarians. They have finally learned not to mess with the Commonwealth."
"Are there any fetchers among your neighbors?"
"Not any more, not since a recruitment drive swept up local youths with that gift. They joined the Army to fight trolls in Amazonia. Is that significant?"
Sexton explained that the poachers were either fetchers themselves or were working with men who took to the air to avoid leaving a spoor.
The next few nights Aodh slept with Lukas in his room at the end of the house farthest removed from his parents. In between were the two rooms where his four brothers slept, two to a room. Room of his own or not, Lukas never had privacy since his brothers slept with him in rotation, sometimes two at once. That was why his room was furnished with a sturdy marital bed not just the cots his brothers had in their own rooms.
Thanks to the solid adobe walls, the sounds of lusty sexual congress did not carry from Lukas' room to his folks at the other end of the house thought the brothers were close enough to get an earful. At first the four brothers just listened to the goings on in the next room, but after two days they asked if they could watch.
Lukas shrugged. Why not? An exhibitionist from puberty, Lukas was long past shame or prudishness about his nudity or his role as the sex toy for his older brothers. His sibling often watched each other pumping away at his butt or sliding down his throat, not only in his room at night but during the day whenever they found the boy between chores and took him right out in the open in broad daylight with Lukas down on hands and knees in the top soil of his garden or laid belly down over a fence rail, his delectable rump offered for whatever use randy males would make of it with maybe a second brother on the other side of the fence presenting himself for oral service.
Lukas wasn't being forced, just responding to entirely natural urges, much as with the couplings of the livestock, as when a stallion covered a mare or a bull mounted a cow. The difference was that couplings between males could never engender new life, no matter how often his brothers used Lukas to slake their lusts.
Aodh demurred, not at all caring for an audience. Lukas might be his brothers' boy toy but he Aodh was not. The four graciously conceded Aodh exclusive sexual access to Lukas. During his stay the four older brothers did not insist on their privileges with their younger brother.
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