Naked Prey

by George Gauthier

The Franconian Waif

Chapter 1. Coro, Venezuela 1540

"Don't move!" a young voice called out.

The soldier realized the shout was addressed to him, so he froze in place, recognizing from long experience the urgency in the youthful voice that had shouted the warning. His eyes darted right and left along the dusty street, seeking the danger he had been warned of, knowing it must be very close. A second later, he flinched at the solid thunk that he both heard and felt through the wooden planks he was standing on. Looking down by his feet, the soldier saw a deadly viper, transfixed just behind its triangular head by a throwing knife, the handle still quivering from the force of the throw. Another step and the serpent would have struck his calf, injecting its venom into his system. A close call indeed.

Turning to locate his benefactor, he observed the approach of a small blond youth, barefoot, deeply tanned, and next thing to naked. The shameless boy's only concession to modesty was a pouch of deerskin cupping his manhood and held in place by a leather thong tied low around his narrow hips. The boy walked up to the porch and bent over to retrieve his knife, slipping it into a scabbard at his right hip. That let the man glimpse the thong down the youth's cleavage that held the pouch in place.

"Best watch where you walk, mein herr. This tropical land of Klein-Venedig is overrun with poisonous serpents. One strike and you are finished. Better to wear boots to protect the lower legs, not those low shoes you have on."

(Klein Venedig means Little Venice in German; in Spanish that translates as Venezuela.)

The boy pulled apart the jaws of the dead snake to show its hollow fangs. The man nodded his understanding.

"Strange advice from a boy going barefoot himself."

"True, but like my Indian friends, I watch my step at all times."

"I see. I owe you my thanks, young sir, and mayhaps my life. May I know with whom I am speaking?"

"My name is Karl-Eike Thyssen but everyone just calls my Eike." the boy replied, a bright smile on his open and honest face.

"And I am Junker Wilhelm Broch," the man declared, holding out his hand to the boy. (A Junker is a kind of knight.)

He was pleased that the lad's grip was firm and manly. Not quite what he had expected from a youth so slight of build and with a face far prettier than any boy's rightly ought to be. With a flawless complexion and fine boned features the boy's face was preternaturally lovely with a broad brow, high cheekbones, straight nose, and chiseled jaw line. Slightly pointed ears and chin gave him an elfin appearance and his face was graced with large green eyes set wide apart under finely arched brows, their lashes too long to have ever have been meant for a male.

Holding up the snake appraisingly, Eike flashed the soldier a mischievous grin and said.

"That's a fat one for the pot, tonight, yum, yum."

"If you are trying to shock me, young man, I have to tell you that I have eaten more than one snake in my time. Don't let this silk shirt and fine leather jacket fool you. I have been to the wars in the Germanies, and only this spring, I returned from an arduous expedition into the interior of this continent."

"Searching for El Dorado, the fabled city of gold?" the boy asked eagerly.

The man's blue eyes twinkled as he smiled benignly at the enthusiasm of youth and gave the lad's bare shoulder an approving squeeze. At twenty-five the handsome red-head had outgrown the illusions of youth though not his taste for adventure and a good challenge. This blond boy reminded him so much of Wolfgang, the best friend of his boyhood. He had fond memories of their torrid affair even though it had ended in discovery and scandal.

"Yes, we searched for gold but found none. It was a long hard sweaty slog across jungle and swamp, clambering up hills and snow covered mountains, fighting weather, disease, and hostile tribes. Don't think exploration is a romantic adventure. A wise man once said that adventures are dangerous and uncomfortable, and they don't always serve meals on time."

His rhetorical sally was rewarded with a tinkling laugh from the boy. Eike, yes that was his name.

"Speaking of which, you look like you could use a little meat on your bones, youngster. It would be my pleasure if you would dine with me in yon tavern."

With an emphatic nod, the boy joined his new friend for a hearty meal at the tavern which included not only roast pork and all the trimmings but also the meat of the snake the boy had killed, coated in corn meal and fried to perfection. The boy went at the food with a will. Broch smiled at him indulgently.

"Looks like you haven't been eating regularly."

The boy responded with a nod of the head to confirm the older male's guess and kept chewing. Will noted that the boy limited himself to a single flagon of ale, refusing a refill. The boy explained:

"I don't have much of a head for strong drink."

"Nor the heft to handle it, either, little Eike." Rubbing his clean-shaven chin, the man went on to say."Your weight would be -- what -- eight stone?" (112 pounds or 51 kg).

"Actually a couple pounds lighter."

"Indeed and you stand no more than five foot three (160 cm). Well lad, once you get your full growth..."

"Already there, I am afraid, sir. I stopped growing five months ago though I am not quite seventeen."

"Hmm, and here I thought you no more than fifteen. You are small then for your age, though obviously well-knit and healthy. You might be one of those statues from classical antiquity, miraculously come to life, except that a scrap of buckskin covers your loins instead of a figleaf. Yours is one of those wiry physiques: all muscle and sinew and bone. That makes for hardiness and endurance. And I have already witnessed how quick and alert you are. You would make a fine explorer, I am thinking."

"If only!" the boy intoned fervently.

"I am serious, young man. Want a job working for me?"

Surprise and delight lit up the boy's face. Bouncing up from his stool, he gave a clumsy imitation of a courtly bow and intoned:

"I am at your service, Herr Broch. Er ... what would you have me do?"

"We are planning another expedition in search of El Dorado. Here in town you would be my body servant, tending my things, serving meals, carrying messages. On the march, you could watch my back. I saw how good you are with a throwing knife. Any other experience with weapons?"

"Just the sling, sir. I carry it in this small pouch on my hip. With it I can bring down anything within thirty yards -- even birds in flight."

"Excellent. I am not one of those soldiers who disdains missile weapons. After all, what is a matchlock but a means to throw a small ball of lead? A sling doesn't run out of black powder either, and it is silent."

"You will need a main weapon though. Given your stature, speed, and agility, I think a light spear with a sharp steel blade would be your best weapon. It will far outmatch anything the natives wield. Its point is sharp and its blade double-edged so you can slash with it as well as thrust. With a little practice you should be able to hold your own against a man with sword, a knife, or a tomahawk. And you can use the shaft as a quarterstaff, either swinging or jabbing."

"As to why I need someone at my back, let me explain. You see Eike, in the heat of battle, the commander has no business getting entangled in close combat, laying about with sword and dagger. To exercise control of his forces, he has to stay aware of the big picture. That is where you will come in."

"Guarding your back, you mean."

"Right!"

The boy's pretty face lit up with fantasies of heroic battles against deadly foes. He pictured himself guarding Broch's back, wielding his spear, parrying, slashing and lunging, holding off hordes of screaming savages. Then, after a hard won victory, Will's sky blue eyes would look deep into Eike's sea green ones with gratitude and perhaps something more. Eike was honest enough with himself to admit he was strongly attracted to the handsome soldier.

For his part, Will Broch was satisfied that he had made a good choice there in offering this fine looking lad the job. He did need an aide, an assistant, but it had to be someone acclimated to the tropics, someone who could endure the hardships of the interior, someone who would be loyal to him personally rather than a soldier in his new command. And surely his choice was entirely practical and had nothing to do with the lad's exquisite looks, regardless of his own adolescent infatuation with Wolfgang.

True Eike was on the small side. He had a fawn-like physique though with well formed limbs and a wiry musculature, showing greater definition than one might expect of a lad a few months short of seventeen. His chest and belly rippled with firm pectorals and abdominals. The boy was toned and taut and incredibly well-defined thanks to near zero body fat. His skin was sleek and smooth, with the deep even tan of someone who must spend much time outdoors in a virtual state of nature.

Telling Eike to accompany him to his quarters, the soldier lead the way to the small residential district in the center of town where the houses were rather larger than usual.

"Behold the governor's palace." the soldier explained in a sardonic tone.

The governor's "palace" was a clapboard house somewhat larger than the others. Even Eike could see they were a product of the slapdash construction typical of the struggling colony. As they went inside, the man continued:

"It is not just the governor who lives here, Eike. As his military deputy I also have rooms here, and you will share my quarters. Don't get too used to the sumptuous appointments."

This last was said with a wry smile as he pointed to the heavy crude furniture and the unglazed windows, though their openings did have mosquito nets over them. With a gesture, Broch indicated that the boy should sit with him on the short bench that stood in front of the small table where they would be taking their meals.

Chapter 2. Eike's Story

Gentle questioning soon got the boy's to open up about his past. He had come to the New World in the company of his older brother Franz. They were two of the sons of a cobbler back in Erlangen in the central German province of Franconia. Alas their family had many mouths of feed and no prospects to offer fifth and sixth sons. Though initially successful in Coro, Franz had died of malaria nearly two years earlier. Kicked out of their former quarters for lack of money to pay the rent, Eike found shelter at the local Indian village on the outskirts of town, in a lean-to that they helped him construct from palm leaves. The Indians had taken the boy in when his own people had ignored him.

Eike had no steady job but caged what work he could at the docks or warehouses. He gathered wild fruits and vegetables, speared fish in the shallows of the bay, and hunted small game in the wilds with his sling and snares. He even stole food when he had to. Anything he got he shared with the Indians. In return they skinned, dressed, and cooked his offerings and taught him something of their jungle lore. He had joined several hunts into the interior in search of the big game that had been driven from the immediate area by the white man's noisy and smelly activities.

Will found himself admiring the boy's pluck. His brother's death had effectively orphaned the lad. The boy had been thrown onto his own meager resources and yet had managed to survive, even thrive by the look of him, cheerful and clean and healthy. He had some knowledge of Indian ways too. He could prove useful as a scout.

"So you actually live among the natives, Eike. Is that why you run around in that skimpy thing -- more appropriate for an Indian savage than a good Christian boy?"

"Well at least my loincloth covers everything important. Some natives in the interior go around with only a sheath over the penis! You might as well go around entirely naked. Actually I wouldn't mind that myself, naughty as that is, but the thong around my hips does let me carry my throwing knife on my hip and keep it handy."

Eike explained that, though he now actually preferred going virtually bare, he originally was forced by circumstances into giving up European dress. His only clothes were already worn out and falling apart when Franz died. To pay the priest to say a mass for the dead, Eike had had to sell all their possessions: his brother's sword and pistol, stout leather boots, both linen shirts and his spare hose. So Eike went native so to speak and found it much more practical in the tropics. More fun too.

"I never have to walk around in clothes that are sopping wet after a rain. A shower simply washes me clean and cools me down. I don't get blisters from badly fitted boots, and thick mud cannot yank them off my feet since I am barefoot anyway. Also I never snag my garments or straps on the branches of trees."

"And I never have to do laundry either!" the boy added, chuckling.

"It is not just the oppressive heat and humidity, is it Eike?" Broch guessed shrewdly. "Why from the side and back one would think you you entirely naked and that triangle of deerskin is almost the shade of your tawny hide. Aren't you really you a bit of a show-off too?

"All right, sir. It's some of both, I have to admit. It is frightfully hot here in the tropics. Clothing soon gets all wet and clammy from constant sweating. And yes, it is true. I am proud of this fine body I have so recently grown into, and I like to show it off. And I do have my admirers, if I say so myself. How many times have I heard men speak admiringly of "my tight little body", whether on the streets or especially those who see me at the cove swimming in the nude. I am very well put together, even if I do say so myself."

"You won't get an argument from me, as you know very well, you pretty little scamp. Now, with so much bared already, Eike, why not let me see the rest of you."

Hesitating only a moment, for he was not body shy, the boy shrugged, stood up, and undid the knot at his hips, loosening the thong around his hips. He laid the garment and his knife onto a chair and stepped back to present himself. At the older male's signal he raised his hands to the top of his head, then turned around slowly displaying his back and his bum.

Will drank in the the sight of what was undoubtedly the most beautiful boy he had ever seen. Eike had the face of an angel and the body of a young godling. He might be Ganymede come down from Mount Olympus. The boy was impressively muscled for one so slender. His torso rippled with an incredibly well defined musculature from the rounded deltoids of his shoulders, through the chevrons of his ribs, to the corrugations of his abdominals, and down to the curves of the boy's delectable rump. His manhood was more than in proportion to his diminutive stature.

Broch gave the boy's physique a thorough tactile examination, squeezing his tensed biceps to judge muscle tone, palming the firm pectorals, circling the tiny red nipples with his thumbs, running his hands from shoulder to hips to rump, pressing and poking and prodding. That might have embarrassed another boy, to stand there stark naked with a man's hands everywhere on his bare body, but Eike took it without demur. Broch concluded that Eike was one of those lads who enjoyed having a man's hands explore his body.

Inevitably Broch's hands found their way to Eike's groin, grasping, cupping and weighing. Eike's endowment was nothing to be ashamed of, the cock smooth with the foreskin just covering the glans leaving the slit at the end just visible. The ball sac was hairless, the spheres within the size of large olives. He rolled one of the boy's balls between thumb and fingers.

"Hmmn, Nearly seventeen and yet no taller than a boy of fourteen. Totally smooth too -- no body hair anywhere, not even under your arms or here at the fork of your legs." Giving the testicle an experimental squeeze he added: "Aren't these working?"

Eike flushed.

"I've never had anything down there but fuzzy wisps, sir. When my growth stopped it was like my body stopped maturing. There's no sign of a beard on my cheeks either. Even so I keep myself shaved with my throwing blade. Its edges are very keen. That not only keeps me free of itchy critters, it makes my manhood look larger too. I really like that, even if being bare down there makes me a shameless boy."

"The shame would be in concealing that tight little body of yours, as you called it. A boy your age, with your looks, can be indulged a touch of vanity. Though I suppose with so much bare skin, you must be plagued by insects."

"Not at all. You don't see many bites or stings on my skin, do you sir. In my experience, bugs just don't bother blonds very much."

"Why not? Do blonds smell bad or something?"

"To bugs maybe, not to people. I like to think I smell pretty good. I bathe every day, scrubbing with sand or plant juices, just like the natives. Europeans look down on Indians, but they are a cleanly people with standards of personal hygiene higher than a lot of people I could name. You know what the natives call Europeans? The stinky ones!"

"Ouch!" Will said with a rueful smile. His own men thought him strange for taking a bath once a week. This boy was delightful in his candor.

"So you are blond, sweet smelling, comely, sexy, and perpetually nude or nearly so. That raises one more issue. Tell me the truth, Eike. Have you ever had to, well, sell this tight little body of yours."

The boy hesitated, then nodded, shame and misery marring his lovely features, suddenly afraid he would lose the job he had just been offered. He stammered, trying to explain:

"Well that is partly why I go around next thing to naked. You see sir, some of the sailors, on their long voyages, well, they develop tastes, for, well, for pretty boys, like me. Even ashore, they would rather seek out a clean boy than some poxy tart. And some of the soldiers like an occasional change of pace. So sometimes sir, when I was so hungry that I could faint, I let them use me -- penetrate me -- like a woman. I am so ashamed..."

"Seems to me like you did not have much choice, Eike. It was either that or starve." the soldier said in a kindly tone.

Eike shook his head. Squeezing his eyes shut, he went on in almost a whisper.

"You don't understand, sir. It wasn't just that I took money for selling my body. Some considerable part of me enjoyed what they did to me."

With that he sank back down on the bench quietly sobbing, his head hung low, tears rolling down his cheeks, his dream of a real job and adventure suddenly shattered by the compulsion for total honesty with this thoroughly decent man sitting next to him.

The older man hitched his seat closer till their flanks touched and threw his left arm around the boy's shoulders, using his right hand to stroke his hair and shoulders and chest. Will spoke softly, soothing Eike with gentle words. He assured the stricken boy that those bad old days were over. Eike would never again have to sell himself. Or give himself to any man unwillingly. And that included his new employer, just so there were no misunderstandings on that score. There was no quid pro quo in his offer of honest employment.

He meant it too, despite his intense attraction to this beauteous creature in his arms. Yes he could have taken advantage of the situation. After all, they were closeted in Broch's rooms with the boy already naked and in his arms, though in what he had intended as a chaste embrace. From the way the boy had melted into his arms Will sensed his vulnerability. Eike had pressed himself to Will's broad chest. Broch's right hand had slid down from the boy's shoulder to flank and thigh. It would take only a slight shift for him to grasp the boy's manhood. Broch was sure the boy would surrender himself totally then.

The temptation was very strong. Will was acutely aware of Eike's nudity and his body warmth and very much drawn to Eike's preternatural beauty and boyish sexuality. Yet as much as he wanted the boy, Will wanted to do right by him. He wanted Eike for a friend as well as for a lover. Friends don't start off by taking advantage of another. Besides, Eike was so small and vulnerable, and so very pretty and very young, it made Broch feel protective of the boy much as with a fawn or a kitten.

It took all his force of character for Will to restrain his passions, to do the right thing, to think first of the boy and his longer term needs rather than his own surging desires. With sudden resolution Will promised himself that he would never take advantage of the boy much less force himself on lovely little Eike. Let their relationship develop naturally from living and working together. Then, if the boy should ever came to him, it would be of his own free will. With a voice shaking from his own conflicted emotions, the older man said:

"As far as I am concerned those men took unfair advantage of you in a time of need. As for your feelings, that's strictly between you, your conscience, and your confessor. No business of mine at all."

And no business of the Inquisition either. Eike was lucky that Venezuela was no longer a Spanish colony. For the crime and sin of sodomy, boys Eike's age might get off with a flogging; though the whip could leave permanent scars. The older partner might face the death penalty. Even worse was the visceral hatred in puritanical Spanish society toward males who made love to their own gender. When conquistadors and hidalgos encountered native societies where the Indians openly practiced sodomy, the outraged Spanish soldiers often sicced their war dogs on them. The deaths of those unfortunates were horrible to contemplate.

Changing to a safe subject, he added: "One other thing, Eike. If you are working for me, earning honest wages, eating at my table, I have to insist there be no more stealing food. Understand?"

"Yes, sir, I promise." the boy nodded, a shy smile returning to his face, still snuffling as he wiped the tears from his cheeks and disentangled himself from Broch. "Thank you," he added simply.

With a no nonsense nod, Broch closed their conversation. Let the boy compose himself; regain his dignity. As he himself would regain his equanimity. That had been a close call, but Broch had not dishonored himself or the boy.

Eike counted himself very lucky to have encountered such a good man as Will Broch. Most men despised boys of his sort, sexually submissive males who preferred the passive role in sex with others of their gender. Even the horny sailors and soldiers who took advantage of him and paid coin to fuck him had scorned his lack of manliness even as they used him. Selling your ass was one thing, but getting hard and reaching orgasm from being fucked was another. He shook his head and allowed himself a rueful smile at Will's reference to his confessor. That worthy, the priest who had said the mass for his brother, had demanded and gotten full access to his mouth and his ass as part of the bargain.

Eike learned that the two of them would be sharing quarters though not a bed, with him sleeping on a trundle kept out of sight under the big bed during the day. And no, Eike had nothing he really needed to retrieve from the lean-to where he bedded down at night. He already carried or stood in everything he owned in the world. He would go by the village to let this Indian friends know about his change of fortune.

That evening, over a light supper, Will learned that the boy had his letters. He could read, write, and figure too. His language skills would help too. Besides his native German, Eike spoke the local Indian language and some of a widely spoken trade language. He had picked up some Spanish too from the original colonists. Coro had been founded by Spain then transferred to German banking interests.

These were the circumstances that brought about the friendship between the German soldier and the waif from Franconia.

Chapter 3. Soldiers

Over the next two months, the leaders of the expedition made their preparations, stockpiling trade goods, leather, powder, and shot, repairing the tack of the mounts and pack animals, choosing the soldiers, the servants, and the guides. The overall commander would be the governor himself, or captain-general, to give him his official title. That was Philipp von Hutten, another Junker, aged thirty five. The military preparations he left in the capable hands of his deputy Wilhelm Broch.

That officer worked his men hard, getting them into shape with forced marches in the local area and weapons practice, ignoring their grumbling. Better fatigue, sore muscles, and blisters now, while safely at their base, than later, in the wilds. And his men needed toughening up. Garrison life tends to make even the best of soldiers go soft. They lose their stamina and their fighting edge. And these were hardly the best of soldiers, not in this backwater of empire. Oh some were tough enough fellows in a fight, but discipline had been lax under their previous officer. Will insisted they keep their weapons clean and well oiled. Any man whose blades showed rust or who had a fouled bore in his matchlock went on report and drew fatigue duties. Gradually he whipped them into shape.

To their surprise Will insisted that every man in his command learn to swim. They might have to cross rivers too deep to wade. Even if they were in canoes, a man might fall overboard and drown only an arm's length from safety. Will wanted them to paddle well enough to stay afloat till someone threw a rope or brought a boat alongside. He also counted on swimming to improve their stamina and flexibility.

At first the men had grumbled, as soldiers will. Daily bathing seemed downright unnatural or maybe pagan. As for swimming. If God had wanted men to swim, surely he would have given them gills, fins, and a tail.

Will appointed Eike as their instructor. He had seen for himself that the boy could swim like a porpoise. Moreover the boy had an outgoing personality he was sure would win over the soldiers. However, his choice did raise eyebrows. A couple of the men, former clients of Eike's, spread the word that the pretty youth had sold himself for coin. His men had to wonder about Broch's relationship with the comely lad.

Despite some crude jests from the coarser soldiers among them, most of the men were not much bothered by Eike's past. Gruffly tolerant in a way that only the cynical can manage, they allowed that in this hard world, an orphaned youth might well have had to whore himself out to survive. Who were they to judge anyway, certainly no angels themselves. It was no secret that soldiering could bring out the worst in a man, and they knew it. They had mortal sins on their own consciences including rape, looting, arson, and even murder.

Besides, Will and Eike simply did not carry on like lovers, despite their obvious friendship. It wasn't just the lack of public displays of affection. It was all the little things, the way they talked and looked at each other, they way they stood together, even the way they touched and grappled during Eike's training sessions with his new spear.

The soldiers' initial tolerance soon turned into positive support. Eike's enthusiasm and outgoing personality quickly won them over. Slight as he was and looking younger than his years, the pretty youth was everyone's kid brother. For an hour every morning the men stripped off and trained in a sheltered cove. The gentle surf, a white sandy beach and a gently sloping bottom made it ideal for the purpose.

The nude boy went among the men, showing them what to do, encouraging them, and correcting their technique. To start with, Eike lay back in the water, chest high and arms to the side, to demonstrate how to float, proving that if a skinny kid like Eike could do it, a youth all muscle and sinew and bone, their better padded frames certainly could. Next, he showed how sculling with hands and feet not only helps a man stay afloat, but may very well propel him to safety nearby, perhaps a canoe or the bank of the stream. For swimming any real distance, there was the breast stroke.

Once the men had mastered the basics, the boy organized games of water rugby and relay races among teams of swimmers. Or pairs of men would stage mock combat, one man sitting atop another's shoulders trying to knock over their opponents. In short order, despite their earlier misgivings, the men found themselves having fun and actually looking forward to their daily swim. This was play as much as it was work. Some of them even appreciated the benefits of improved personal hygiene.

Also they had their lively playmate in there with them, little Eike, who, like all of them, gamboled about stark naked. Joking, smiling and laughing much of the time, his exuberance was infectious. He was a shameless show-off too with his fast crawl stroke and his imitation of a porpoise. He liked to climbed atop their shoulders and dive into the water. Also Eike could swim underwater for surprising distances too, sometimes sneaking up on the men and slipping between their legs.

The men quickly grew fond of their new mascot. Not surprisingly much energy was devoted to the grab ass games young males are so fond of. There was no shortage of volunteers to help the lad clamber to their shoulders, not so incidentally giving them the chance to touch and feel and grapple Eike's lithe body. In the shallows, a pair of men might grab Eike's arms and legs stretching him between them, then swing him back and forth and let fly. The water where he landed was only chest deep on him, so Eike would push up from the bottom with his feet and surface, shooting halfway out of the water, whooping and pumping his right arm. Inevitably some men took advantage of the nude boy's proximity, running their hands along his body, touching him intimately, but it never went beyond mild petting and even that soon turned into a running joke.

"Honestly, Ralf," Eike complained with feigned exasperation. "You're supposed to stroke the water, not my bare butt."

The big soldier beat his breast with his fist three times in an exaggerated mea culpa, overacting dreadfully as he pleaded:

"Forgive me, little one. I could not help myself with you so very close to hand, not to mention, so very pretty and so very naked."

"Well, I'm not in that line of work any more, you big oaf." Eike retorted, splashing the offender in mock indignation, then swam out of reach.

The wink and the wave he gave the big red head belied his feigned umbrage. Ralf was actually one of his favorites. A former client, he had always been gentle and considerate with Eike -- careful to support the weight of his big frame on elbows and knees even as he thrust into the slightly built rent boy's upturned rump. Afterwards he liked to cuddle with the boy, talking of nothing consequential, sharing some of his adventures in the wars though never in a boastful way. What Eike always appreciated was the Ralf had treated Eike as a person in his own right, not just a convenient outlet for sexual release.

After the daily swim, while the men rested and dried off in the sun, Will Broch came along to train the boy in fighting with his light spear. To the delight of the soldiers, Eike remained naked for his lessons, giving them another chance to ogle his pretty body in action. He was in almost constant motion, raising or lowering his arms to parry or to thrust, bending his torso, advancing or retreating, leg muscles and buttocks bunching erotically with his footwork.

The boy started with just a wooden stick, one end with round point, as he learned proper grip, footwork, guard position, feints, and so forth. He soon graduated to the real thing though the spear tip was wrapped in leather to blunt it for safety. Ralf was one of Eike's sparring partners. Will wanted him to learn to face all kinds of opponents, including those who were taller and had a longer reach. As Will had suspected, his protege was a natural for this weapon, given his agility and speed. True, he would be over-matched by a man in armor, but his best tactic then would be to run away. Anyway, if they faced enemies, it would be the natives. The training was hard work and Eike's growing skills came at the price of bruises and sore muscles, but the youngster quickly became proficient with his weapon.

Eike earned the respect of the soldiers too by scouting for Will and his men on their long training marches. The boy's role was to roam ahead or to the flanks, to climb trees in order to spy out the land, and to orient the line of march on prominent landmarks. He had more strength in his upper storey than you might guess from his slight build; the boy could pull his weight up a vine using only his arms and shoulders. Closer to ground level, Eike blazed trees and marked problem areas like quicksand pits and infestations of fire ants. He probably covered half again as much ground as the men did on their straightforward march. Of course he did not have their burden of steel armor, padding, boots, firearms, or a back pack.

The boy proved his worth in all sorts of ways. No one was better for removing splinters, what with his keen youthful eyesight and small nimble fingers. The boy knew the plants whose oils, rubbed on the skin, repelled insects or soothed rashes. He had learned something of native medicine, like how to treat a nasty blister on the bottom of a foot to prevent corruption, what later generations would call infection and blood poisoning. Once, when a soldier got stuck in thick mud, Eike stopped Ralf from just yanking the man out with a rope tossed to him.

"No no, Ralf, Lothar is stuck too deep, halfway up his shins. Strong as you are, if you pull hard, that will only hurt him, tearing his muscles and joints. Don't start pulling till Lothar works his lower legs back and forth to loosen the grip of the mud."

Eike's technique worked just as he said it would.

Of course, most of Eike's time was spent with other duties: taking care of Will's things, carrying messages, recording the growing inventory of supplies, etc. The two young men grew close from all the time they spent in each other's company. When Will was not training Eike or drilling the men, they organized and inventoried and maintained the records that military administration of an independent command required. They took all their meals together and worked all the hours of daylight and a bit into the evening.

The governor shared the large house with the two young men but generally kept out of their way. Naturally he had his suspicions about a sexual relationship between the handsome, virile captain and the comely Franconian waif who went about virtually naked, but the older man kept his peace. On pragmatic grounds he ignored such relationships. He himself had no leanings in that direction, but anyone with eyes could see that the stunning blond youth was far lovelier than any of the native women, preternaturally beautiful in fact. Anyway, the colony at Coro was at the tenuous end of the imperial line of communications; decent soldiers were hard to come by and competent officers even more so.

Much to Will's delight, the boy had turned down offers of regular clothing from his employer. He preferred to prance around in just the skimpiest of G-strings or in nothing at all during swimming period, weapons training, and, of course, at night in bed.

In those days everyone slept naked. The boy folded or hung up Will's garments as the man stripped for bed. That gave the boy a chance to steal sidelong glances at the man's powerful physique and prodigious manhood. Will was nearly a foot taller, lean, and well muscled, with a vivid sword scar on his left hip. The red-haired soldier's body was nearly hairless, just tufts in the usual places, plus a light dusting on lower arms and legs.

For his part, Will, though he thought he saw longing in Eike's gaze, he kept to his resolve to let the boy make the first move, if that is what he wanted. He did not want to spook the boy. Still he could not deny his own feelings forever. He could never get enough of Eike, wanting to keep him in sight as much as he could. How many nights had Will looked over at the boy's nude body lying nearly within reach, stretched out on his trundle bed, without even a sheet to cover his nakedness. His fond gaze took in the boy's corrugated chest and belly, the narrow hips, his handsome cock either flaccid or delightfully rampant with morning wood. His longing for the boy was palpable.

One night, about a month after they had met, just as he was falling asleep, Will felt the boy's weight settle onto his mattress. Moonlight streamed through the windows painting Eike's lovely body silver. Looking through his eyelashes he found the boy studying him intently. The boy's face descended and he laid a soft kiss on the man's lips. Will's eyes popped open, startling the boy who sat back up and started to get off the bed. Will sat up, grabbed the boy's wrist and pulled him into an embrace. The boy squirmed in his grasp and stammered an explanation.

"I am sorry, sir. I don't know what came over me. I know I shouldn't have done that, but I couldn't help myself. You are so handsome and so manly. My feelings overwhelmed me from being near you every day. It won't happen again!"

"And why should it not happen again, Eike. Don't you think I welcomed your sweet kiss just now?"

"You did? But you never made any advances, so I thought, well, that is... I..."

"The truth is, Eike, that I was smitten with you at first sight, that day with the snake, but I had to let you make the first move. It had to be your free choice, don't you see. After what those other men did to you, I wouldn't want you thinking I was like them, taking advantage of you. And I wanted to give you time to fall as much in love with me as I am with you. You have won my heart without even trying, just by being yourself. I am in love with you, Eike, and I want express that love physically, to make love to you. Is that all right with you?"

The boy was too choked up with emotion to speak so he just gave a nod.

"Good. Now let's try that kiss again, Eike."

With that he returned Eike's tentative kiss with a passionate one of his own, his tongue probing the boy's mouth. Somewhat clumsily Eike tried to smile and kiss back at the same, suddenly deliriously happy. Soon the two lovers were engrossed in each other, lying side by side on the big bed, legs intertwined, bodies pressed together, their engorged manhoods trapped between. Hands roamed, stroked, and petted.

Having explored each other's bodies, Will rolled the boy onto his back so they could make love face to face. He pulled the boy's slender legs apart and hiked them over his hips. Eike smiled in anticipation as Will bent over to kiss the boy. Their lips met and their tongues dueled, though the lovers soon Will broke off as Eike started giggling.

"What?"

"I couldn't help but notice, with us as close as we are, that you actually smell rather nice these days, Will. Thanks to daily bathing, you are no longer a stinker!"

"Why you little scamp!" he exclaimed, giving the boy's bare butt a good spank.

They both laughed merrily, holding each other tight. Will shook his head. He had never had any idea that making love with this boy would be such a delight. Eike was a treasure.

Their lovemaking that night was energetic and acrobatic. Will was the older, true, but with far less experience of male sex than young Eike. There had been only Wolfgang years earlier, plus an occasional boy from the streets. Eike had more sexual experience with males, but this was his first tryst with a true lover. So they were both nervous and eager.

Will's first kisses were soft even tentative, the ones that followed were urgent and demanding. He was all over Eike, his red hair framing his handsome face as he drank in the youth pressed to him. Eike responded, kissing, murmuring words of passion as his arousal consumed him. Will's hand slid to the lad's cleavage; two fingers coated with oil poked into the boy's hole, preparing the lad for their first joining. Eike moaned as Will lubricated his rampant cock.

Eike's eyes widened at the size of Will's engorged member, not that much smaller than his own forearm. The youth trembled at the thought of that truncheon battering its way inside him, past his sphincters, filling his guts. It would hurt for sure. His poor little hole! Yet he knew that soon the pain would turn to pleasure, to sexual delirium as his hyper-sexed body responded as was its nature. Eike shivered with subservient lust at the thought of his small body impaled on the pole sprouting from Will's loins.

His face flushed with ardor, lips trembling, Eike urged: "Fuck me Will. I want to feel you inside me. Take me! Make me your boy."

With a wink to acknowledge Eike's plea, Will placed the head of his cock to the boy's crinkly whorl. Will's cockhead slipped into Eike's ass, eliciting a gasp of pain from the boy. Will paused, letting his small lover adjust to his large girth. Then he pushed forward, slipping into him little by little, pausing in between. The big man supported his weight on knees and arms so that little Eike could breathe. When Will was a deep as he could go, he was rewarded with a blissful sigh from his lover. The pain was passing, replaced by pleasure. Eike rubbed his ass against Will's groin to assure the cock inside him was seated as far as it could go. He felt impaled, possessed, fulfilled. It was wonderful.

Will couldn't believe how good it felt to be planted deep in the velvety smoothness of Eike's ass. The walls clutched his member in a warm, slick grip, squeezing and milking it as he pumped slowly in and out. Both males sweated profusely from their exertions and their sexual excitement, the moonlight making their bodies gleam.

Eike moaned when his lover's cock rubbed his joy spot. As the invading shaft stimulated his prostate, his whole body shivered and shuddered in an internal orgasm. Eike's green eyes lost focus and rolled up sightlessly, he blood pounding at his temples, as he surrendered himself to the good feelings coursing through him. The sensations became overwhelming, his body tempest tossed on a sea of sensation.

For his part Will could not believe how good it felt to hold his lover's trim little body, to grapple with it, to embrace and hold on to his sexy torso, to take control of his limbs, as the excited boy struggled, all slick with sweat, tugging, pulling, and squirming in his arms. This boy was meant to be grabbed and held and grappled in the arms of strong men who knew what to do with over-sexed bottom boys like him.

It went on and on, the thrusting and the plunging, their bodies twisting and straining. Will's masculinity pushed into the boy deeper than he had ever felt, till, in the fullness of time, the boy felt a wet warmth flooding his bowels as the soldier, his new lord and master, spewed his seed deep within him, setting off Eike's own passionate ejaculation onto his belly. Will straightened up but kept himself lodged inside the boy's incomparably sweet ass, teasing the lad by fondling his supersensitive cock head, making him moan with pleasuring pain.

Eike sighed in the afterglow of their lovemaking. It had been everything he had wished for. Will was the best he had ever had. He was a consummate lover, conscientious enough to give pleasure as well as take it. Will too was satisfied that this was no violation of a hapless dependent lad but a fulfillment of the boy's deepest wishes and needs. Their passionate lovemaking confirmed that Eike was a boy who needed to be fucked hard and often and by a man who knew how. Will felt privileged to be that man.

Spent from their athletic lovemaking, the two lovers lay back to rest and recoup their strength. Eike's face and chest were illuminated by a beam of moonlight shining through the window its silvery light accentuating the boy's ethereal beauty. It made Will catch his breath. Fortune had indeed smiled on him. Eike took Will's hand, raised it to his lips and kissed it as a pledge of his enduring love. Now that Fate had brought them together, it was up to the two of them to build a life together.

There was no hiding the change in their relationship from Will's men. Oh the lovers were discreet enough. They did not kiss in public or hold hands or look moon eyes at each other, but there were plenty of clues -- starting with a hickey on Eike's neck. Then there was body language, the way they started finishing each other's sentences, even the way they grappled and parried in their weapons training.

The first day after their initial tryst, Ralf caught Eike's eye and gave him a theatrical wink and big smile. Eike looked to the ground and blushed, then mouthed a thank you to the big soldier. A couple of soldiers whistled. Several frowned but mostly the men took it in stride.

After all, they respected both young men. Eike had proved himself as a scout. They knew they had a decent officer in Will Broch. True, he worked them hard, but they knew it was necessary to get them ready for their perilous expedition into the unknown, scheduled to set out in only a matter of weeks.

Chapter 4. In Search of El Dorado

After months of preparation, the expedition finally marched out of Coro with Phillip von Hutten himself in direct command of the expedition, somewhat to his military deputy's consternation. To Broch's mind, a colonial governor, especially one appointed so recently, really had no business leaving his post to go chasing after El Dorado, but he kept his opinion to himself, not even sharing it with Eike. The boy was such a chatterbox, he might inadvertently let something slip.

This was an overland expedition, pushing into the interior of the still largely unexplored continent. Coro lay at the base of the eastern peninsula that enclosed the Gulf of Venezuela, an arm of the Caribbean Sea which connects southward to brackish Lake Maracaibo. Originally founded by the Spanish, the colony at Coro had been turned over to German banking interests, namely the Welser bank of Augsburg. Northwards, out to sea, were the islands of Aruba and Curacao, not yet in Dutch hands but also controlled by the Welser banking family.

Why would a Spanish king would turn a colony over to German bankers? First of all Carlos I of Spain was no Spaniard nor of any one nationality, but a true European. A scion of the Habsburg dynasty in Austria, born in Ghent in the Netherlands, he spoke French as his mother tongue, yet he always hated France. He learned Spanish as a condition for inheriting his Iberian kingdoms. He famously said: "I speak Spanish to God, Italian to women, French to men, and German to my horse."

The greatest monarch of the day, Karl V or Charles Quint as he is usually called in English, was simultaneously Holy Roman Emperor, Archduke of Austria, King of Hungary, King of Castille and of Aragon, Duke of Milan and of Burgandy, etc. He was also Lord of the Netherlands, meaning all the low countries including modern Belgium, in a personal union of its Seventeen Provinces. His possessions in Central Europe stretched from the head of the Adriatic to the Carpathian Mountains and the Elbe River. He ruled an empire upon which the sun never set in Europe, the Americas, and even the Far East. In the New World Spanish conquistadors had conquered both the Aztec empire in Mexico and he Inca Empire in Peru, both populous and fabulously wealthy and Central America in between. His son Philip II would send the Spanish Armada against England half a century later.

As one might expect of a boy just turned seventeen, Eike was caught up in the excitement. Here was the adventure of a lifetime: an intrepid band of soldiers and explorers marching forth to extend the frontiers of civilization, to fill in the blank spaces on the map, and to conquer a fabled kingdom of gold, the realm of El Dorado, the Golden One. Legend had it that once a year a native king covered his body with gold dust and dove off a ceremonial raft made of rushes into a deep circular lake. After centuries of such sacrifices, the bottom of the lake was thought to hold a fabulous treasure, not only in gold dust washed off the king's body but also in objects made of precious metals and jewelry thrown in by worshipers.

To Eike's young mind, that was a terrible waste. Jewels and gold ornaments should adorn the living not get tossed into some hole in the ground to appease false gods. If Eike ever discovered a golden treasure he would pick out for himself a nice choker or maybe a bracelet to match the small golden rings that now pierced his earlobes. Those were a gift from Will.

The general direction of march was due south. Indian scouts and Eike marched with the column for the first week which traversed familiar territory. Later, they ranged ahead, looking for the best routes, likely camping spots, river fords, etc. The line of march led across coastal lowlands and then a mountain range, the Cordillera de Merida, a northeastern extension of the Andes Mountains. Its northern slopes drain toward Lake Maracaibo. The southern streams are tributaries of the Orinoco. The lower slopes of the mountains were forested while the upper slopes were cool and dry and bare of trees, with ground cover reduced to alpine bunch grasses. At the highest elevations, Eike donned a cloak usually carried on their pack mule, but quickly shed it once they reached the warm lands on the other side.

Their march south took them across the grain of the country where most rivers flowed east or southeast to finally join the mighty Orinoco River. The lands south of the mountain range were mostly woodsy grasslands called llanos and were very sparsely populated. Will shook his head in wonderment.

"These woods and grasslands extend beyond the horizon, yet almost no one lives here, just occasional tiny villages along the streams and rivers. Why did the Incas work so hard to terrace their mountain slopes when all this flat land lies east of their mountains and highlands?"

Eike shrugged. He was a cobbler's son. What did he know about raising crops? It was discovered in modern times that the llanos lacked essential minerals, which is why those lands are now cattle country rather than devoted to crops.

"Where will we get food when our supplies run out, Will, if we cannot trade for it with native villages?"

"We shall see, my young friend. We are not yet short of rations. Indeed, you are clearly eating well. I dare say you have never looked healthier. I love having you walk beside me like this, your lissome body totally on display. If you could see yourself as I do riding behind you as you walk in front, with your buttocks twitching when you shift your weight. Did you know that they dimple fetchingly with each stride as your weight comes down on that leg? It looks very inviting. With you so close to hand and virtually nude, I am sorely tempted to just throw you to the ground and ravish you."

The boy backed off and danced out of reach, a look of mock alarm on his pretty face as he raised his hands defensively. The clean limbed boy was a visual delight to anyone who appreciates a comely young male. It brought a big smile to Will's face.

"Just wait till I get you tonight, my young friend," he warned.

That night, man and the boy slept under the stars, atop a blanket, a little bit away from the main camp, though careful to remain within the circle of sentries. A brief tug at the knot and the thong fell away from Eike's hips, his knife scabbard clattering to the ground. Eike was ready, his slender nude body highlighted by a gibbous moon, looking like nothing more than a silvery faun with a golden mane. Will stripped off and lay down full length. He liked the boy to straddle him and sit down to ride his upright manhood. Eike sank onto the big man's cock, letting it slide deep into his eager hole, inch by inch, finally impaling himself totally. Will smiled at the boy's facial contortions as he struggled to accommodate Will's truncheon-like cock.

Once he was all the way down, the sexy boy sat up straight -- as tall as his slight build permitted. Eike loved the way Will's manhood pressed into him and filled him. This is what a bottom boy like him was born for. Technically Eike was on top that way, but his heart was that of an abject bottom, and he knew it. So his ride was an act of submission, of surrendering his ass and himself to the man who made him go weak in the knees just by the sight of his powerfully built body. No doubt about it, Will aroused the boy's lusts.

With the boy astraddle that way, the pair of lovers could make love face to face, to kiss, to touch, to fondle, to manipulate. Will liked to tweak the boy's tiny red nipples. Eike got a warm fluttery feeling in his belly when Will ran his fingers from his pectorals down his ribs to his belly then grasped his rigid cock. The boy was quite respectable in that department, his arousal looking all the larger on his slight frame, sprouting right out from the hairless fork of his legs. The shaft throbbed with the beat of his heart, the helmet swollen and purple.

Will did not let Eike touch himself down there. As the dominant partner, he took control of the boy's manhood himself, stroking it, rubbing it, bending it, even squeezing the boy's ball sack, which was pulled tightly up to his groin. Will knew the boy's libido responded to a bit of pain and humiliation. The boy's task was to ride the man till the stimulation of the big cock up his ass set him off, his ass muscles in turn clamping down on Will's own deep seated cock, bringing Will off too. They knew each other's bodies so well that most of the time they could achieve simultaneous orgasms.

Afterwards, they relaxed in the afterglow, with the boy leaning forward, his body laid atop his lover, the two still joined by the man's fleshy column. A light rain fell for a while later that night. Its waters were welcome, serving to cool and cleanse them.

The journey south was long and tiring since the expedition moved against the lay of the land where every stream drained to the east. So it was up one swale and down the other side, trudging up one side of low ridge and down the other. Then there were the many stream crossings. Sometimes across a ford, but more often the soldiers simply stripped and swam across, pushing their clothes, weapons, and armor on crude floats.

One day, Eike was on a lone scout far ahead of the column and heard cries of alarm from a nearby ravine. He ran forward to see what was what and found himself on the edge of a cliff maybe twenty meters high (67 feet). At the bottom was a young native woman, bare breasted and in a short skirt along with a young boy, stark naked and no more than eight years old. Both were perched on a small tree, hardly more than a bush, which grew from an islet in the middle of the stream. Below them, floating in the water, a large caiman waited, its jaws snapping menacingly at the hapless pair as the branches of their perch bent lower under their combined weight. At any moment, the wood might break, plunging the mother and child to a horrible death by dismemberment and drowning.

Eike grabbed the withies of a willow tree, using them like a sling to lower himself almost halfway down the cliff. Even his slight weight was enough to bend its branches, letting the boy set his feet on some rocks below. Not hesitating an instant, he grasped his spear with both hands and jumped out over the water, yelling his challenge. Eike's eye for distance served him well. The boy kept the spear pointed straight down between his feet as his weight and momentum drove the spear clear through the back of the caiman just behind the neck, severing the spinal cord. The beast let out one huge bellow of agony, then slumped dead into the water. The nimble boy dragged his spear out, then dove off its back and swam ashore, where the relived mother and child soon joined him.

The mother had enough of the trade speech to tell Eike of her village just a little downstream of that spot. They were a graceful people, slender and good looking, taller than the stocky Indians of the jungle regions of the Amazon and Orinoco, but like them, the men wore their hair in a bowl cut. It seems the woman was named Lani and was the wife of the young chief of the settlement, Maiadono. Like all the adult males, the young chief wore only a penis sheath decorated with several bright feathers.

There was no great wealth on display in the village. True, nearly all the males of the village wore small ornaments of gold, usually a pair of earrings much like Eike's. When asked about the gold they wore, the Indians remarked candidly that it was prized because it was very rare in those parts. They traded for it when they could, which was not often. No one really knew the source of the gold -- though it was reputed to be in high mountains far to the south and west. The streams in this region that fed the Orinoco has only trace amounts of the yellow metal in their sandy beds.

Several young males, all of them rather effeminate in appearance and bearing, had a piercing in one nipple or the other, always a simple gold gold ring large enough to thrust a finger through. Same sex relationships were well known to the natives, after all. Most did not incline that way, but no one looked down on those who did.

In gratitude for the lives of his wife and son, the young chief helped the explorers set up camp a little downstream of the village. That evening, they held a big feast. The natives provided fish and boiled vegetables from their garden while the explorers roasted one of the pigs they had driven all the way from Coro. All of this was washed down with some kind of native brew which left everyone in a good mood. Von Hutten presented Maiadono with a fine steel knife in token of his appreciation for the warm welcome. They agreed to pause a few days to rest.

Eike's exploit had made him a hero. With everyone so friendly, he drank more than he should so he was in a mellow mood when the young men of the tribe dragged him into a hut and stripped him of his loincloth leaving him stark naked in preparation for the ceremony that would welcome him into the tribe. The Franconian waif sighed as their sharp blades cut his blond locks into the bowl cut the natives favored. Oh well, it was a small sacrifice. His hair would always grow back if Eike decided he did not like it after all.

They also outfitted the boy with a penis sheath woven from some plant fiber and dyed red. It fit snug around the glans with no overhang and was open at both ends so he could even take a piss without removing it. A cord tied around behind the root of his cock and then looped around his scrotum held it in place. At the upper end it bared a good inch of the root of his cock.

Eike was embarrassed when the young men led him back into the circle around the fire and started dancing and singing. Perforce he had to join in. Soon enough the game lad got into the swing of things, dancing and whooping, actually enjoying himself. He chortled at the realization of how he must look to civilized eyes. His family back in Franconia could never have dreamed that their little Eike would one day be dancing around a fire with a bunch of virtually naked savages. Here he was, as good as naked himself, entirely bare assed, his hairless ball sac dangling in the wind, his cock unrestrained as it bounced around with his energetic movements. The sheath was more decoration than garment and did absolutely nothing at all for modesty. This was certainly not a picture of a good Christian boy.

Tired and sweaty and thirsty, he walked out of the dance circle and sank down onto his butt between Will's legs, leaning back against his lover's broad chest. Van Hutten reached over and patted his shoulder reassuringly.

"I think you look quite fetching this evening, Eike. That new hair style is actually rather practical, I am thinking. Torrential tropical rains will just drain off the top of you head in all directions!"

"Ha, ha. How droll. You know, sir, I don't mind the haircut, but I feel absolutely ridiculous running around with just this silly sheath over my cock. I'd rather go about honestly naked."

"Excellent notion, young Eike," Van Hutten observed, chuckling. "From now on Captain Brock, reserve the boy's new finery for formal occasions such when we meet a new tribe. Otherwise he shall carry out his duties buck naked, just as Mother Nature has shaped him. Consider that an order. I know Eike will not object, not a lively lad like him. Between the two of us Will, the lad is a bit of a show-off."

Eike smiled at the exchange between his superiors, accepting the new disposition which meant total nudity for as long as the expedition lasted -- probably for several years. Van Hutten was right. The idea did sit well with him. It appealed to the exhibitionist streak that had led him to discard European clothing for that skimpy loincloth in the first place. If he were being honest with himself, Eike would admit that he had always wanted an excuse to go about totally nude -- not just briefly but for days and weeks and months at a time.

Oh well, he had always travelled light. This was just the logical conclusion. Still he had one problem -- the young men had not given him back the leather thong to hold his knife scabbard at his hip. Will came up with the solution

"Oh, we can just strap the scabbard to your upper arm or maybe to the haft of your spear."

"I really approve of your going totally naked Eike. Now there is nothing to interrupt the clean lines of your physique from shoulders to rump to legs. You remind me so much of a fawn, all gracile and brown and lovely."

Van Hutten smiled indulgently at the young couple. A man ahead of his time, he shrugged and muttered under his breath:

"As a wise man once said, love is where you find it."

After three days of rest, the expedition pushed south through the grasslands.

Chapter 5. Anaconda

Their track skirted the Serrania Macarena, an isolated range of mountains running north and south forty miles east of the Andes. Geologically it is not related to that great chain at all, having been formed during the same orogenic uplift that created the Brazilian Highlands. The region is a transition zone where the flora and fauna of the Amazon and Orinoco regions intermingle.

The hungry explorers paused for a few days to let hunters seek the local game. Will, Eike, and Ralf headed west into the mountains on foot. Like Will, Ralf carried a matchlock, hoping to bring down deer or even bear though Ralf, as always, had his wicked looking war axe strapped to his back. They were happy to explore an exotic country quite different from the monotonous llanos: dramatic rock formations, waterfalls, and thick forests. In one spot, a flume carried a river between huge rocks to debouch into a quiet pool at the bottom. It was irresistible to an adventurous lad like Eike. Setting his spear aside, the boy jumped in while the others hastened to shed their clothes to join him. The trio spent a couple of hours riding the short stretch of white water to the pool at the bottom where they swam for a bit before clambering back up the rocks to the top for another turn. Naturally Ralf did not miss a chance during their swimming to stroke Eike's bare ass instead of the water, all in good clean fun of course.

Finished with their joy riding, the trio made camp on the spot. Neither of the men bothered to dress as they lay back on the grass, smiling indulgently while the boy chattered away excitedly. This was more like it, fun in a natural paradise instead of endless trudging across the llanos. Eike felt close to nature and to his lover Will and their big friend Ralf. At one point, Will squeezed Eike's shoulder and pointed with his chin to the big soldier.

"The way Ralf keeps looking at you, I can tell he still wants you, Eike, wants you badly. No wonder, with you running around starkers all the time right under his nose. Yet we both know that he would never take you against your will. Tough as he is as a soldier, he a decent man, even a gentle one."

"I know Will, and I like him a lot. He was always so considerate with me back when I had to sell myself for coin. He didn't just fuck me, he made sure we both enjoyed it. Er ... Will ... would you mind if I ... that is, if Ralf and me, that is, if we ... er ... went off together for a bit."

"No Eike, not at all. Go make him happy. As for me, I am not the jealous type. I give thanks every day that I found you. But my love for you is not selfish. I know you have needs that probably no one man could satisfy, not a sexy teenager like you. I love you enough that I wouldn't mind sharing you, especially not with a good man like Ralf there. Truth to tell, it is what I was hinting at myself. I think you should take him as a lover. Also, being realistic about the dangers of the expedition, Ralf would be a strong protector should something happen to me in these wilds."

Giving his generous lover a kiss, the boy went over to the big soldier, took his hand and led him behind some bushes which screened the cavorting couple but did nothing to block the sounds of their lusty sexual congress. Both the boy's high pitched squeals and the older man's deeper grunts and moans carried easily through the shrubbery.

After an hour the big soldier and the small youth returned to Will with big grins on their faces. Eike sat down gingerly, his fundament obviously a bit sore from his impalement, and leaned against Will, who put his arm over the boy's shoulders. Nothing more needed to be said. From then on they were a trio, the two big red headed men, one lean, the other built like a bear, and the small lithe blond boy.

At nights Eike found himself sandwiched between Will and Ralf as they sported with him together, one lover addressing his sweet ass, the other his mouth. Eike craved being spitted on cock at both ends. It made him feel incredibly slutty. For their part, the men loved to grapple the youth's small body, to feel him struggle, his hairless nude body all slick with sweat, tugging, pulling, and squirming, twisting and straining. That tight little body might be small, but it was firm and hard and muscular too -- just what made sex with a boy so much better than the conventional alternative. Eike's whimpers and moans and groans were signs of the irrepressible vitality of an impossibly sexy youngster, the best boy sex they had ever had.

The men helped things along with trash talk mocking the diminutive bottom boy, calling him a shameless bare ass boy, going around full time without a stitch on, letting everyone get a good look at his bare booty, the one they were impaling at that moment. They told him that he belonged on all fours, with his dangly bits hanging down between his thighs just like an animal such as a dog or a calf, which is what he was really, though admittedly more like a pretty fawn so tawny and gracile -- they had to give him that much.

Seeing how well these tactics revved up the boy's libido, Ralf and Will decided to really put him on public display. The next evening Ralf had the boy brace himself with this arms against a tree. Stepping up behind him and bending at the knees to get his hips low enough to hit the target, Ralf impaled the boy with one sudden thrust that drove his cock into the boy to its root. As Eike let out a startled yelp the big man put an arm around Eike's chest and straightened his knees lifting the boy right off the ground. Eike's slender arms flailed ineffectually, unable to find purchase, unable to lift himself off the invader.

There in the light of a campfire, Ralf paraded the boy across the camp site. Everyone could see the boy writhing wordlessly, moaning inarticulately, suspended on the big man's huge cock, his legs splayed and kicking feebly as his shame was put on public display. His stiff and dripping boy cock was evidence of how turned on the boy was by it all.

Now it was Will's turn to join the fun. Ralf lumbered out of the circle of camp fires. What would happen next was for just the three of them. The big man halted by a tree, leaning back to brace himself. Will lifted the boy's legs up and apart, opening him like a wishbone. Ralf held Eike's legs behind his knees as Will pressed himself against Eike, his cock seeking the boy's tiny hole, already distended by the turgid member that held him up off the ground. Carefully and slowly, mindful of damaging the youth they both loved, Will eased his cock into Eike's ass, sliding it in alongside Ralf's huge truncheon. Will could feel Eike's rigid cock trapped between their bellies. As he took up a rhythm, pumping in and out of the boy's incomparable ass, Will kissed him passionately. Eike had nearly swooned from the the excitement of this vertical double impalement, but he returned Will's kisses ardently.

This was the fuck of a lifetime. Their audience thought so too, cheering them on, whistling, and shouting lewd advice.

Eventually their excitement carried them over the edge. In rapid succession Will and Ralf reached their climax, shooting their jism into the boy's innards, which set him off too. Groaning and grunting they came virtually simultaneously. Then, as post coital lassitude came over them, the trio collapsed to the ground in a tangle of limbs and bodies. In the afterglow, they kissed but now more tenderly, wishing this sweet moment could last forever.

For days afterwards, Eike went about even more cheery than usual, a half smile on his face as he reminisced about their big night. He gamely endured the ribald jokes and comments which anyway were lighthearted and never delivered with a sting. The soldiers had always liked the over-sexed little scamp, bare bum and all.

The expedition continued south till it reached a substantial river flowing east. Its nearer bank sloped gently toward the muddy waters, but the farther bank was steep, rising sharply behind muddy banks with higher land beyond. They marched paralleling the river looking for a crossing with a firm bottom. Van Hutten wanted to ford the river if possible. They saw no sign of caiman so Van Hutten had Eike swim the river to scout a likely crossing spot. Would the silt of the far bank really support their horses and tramping feet? Eike set his spear aside and waded out into the water. As the bottom fell away he struck out swimming for the far bank.

He was more than halfway across he heard a cry of alarm from the expeditionary corps. The boy looked back to see a huge snake swimming after him, a green anaconda, its flat head parting the water. The boy scrambled ashore and got his feet under him as shots rang out from the other bank, splashing the water around the anaconda, but to no avail. Even a snake as huge as this, at least four times the boy's own body length, was a narrow and fast moving target, totally beyond the ability of anyone to hit at that distance with the primitive matchlocks of the day.

The boy was on his own. He faced an implacable foe with nowhere to run and nowhere to hide and no tree to climb. There he stood, a small nude youth, tawny and lovely as a faun, facing a constrictor with a body thicker than his own and five times his mass. It seemed hopeless. Eike after all was but a lithe slip of a lad armed only with a throwing knife. This monster reptile could easily swallow him whole after crushing him to death in its great coils.

Nevertheless Eike stood his ground, his heart in his throat, screwing his courage up but inwardly recognizing that he was no more than the naked prey of the great serpent. His scrotum pulled up to the fork of his legs as he faced what he was sure was his doom, but he never wavered, never gave in to the temptation to turn and flee in panic. That would surely put him beyond reach of any rescue.

Will and Rolf watched in horror as snake slithered up the far bank of the river, stalking the courageous boy. The two soldiers were sick with the thought that the warm and welcoming body of their young lover might be crushed then swallowed bodily before their very eyes.

Eike had heard his lovers' shouts but knew the issue might be decided before they could intervene. The range was too great for matchlocks, which were notoriously inaccurate anyway. The boy's nether pucker spasmed. It was all he could do to control his sphincters. He felt chagrined that he might die disgracing himself in front of the men he loved. He hoped they would avenge him and kill the giant snake for everything he was taking from the boy, all the years he would forfeit, all the experiences he would never have.

The tongue of the great reptile flicked out scenting his prey, and he rushed at the boy standing there so still and small and vulnerable. Eike glowered as the beast coiled itself for the strike. When the anaconda struck, Eike stabbed at its snout, startling it and wounding it slightly, causing it to pull its head back for a moment. It struck again, ramming the boy in the chest, knocking him to the ground, then seizing its naked prey by one leg. Eike kicked ineffectually with the other as the snake threw its coils around the helpless boy, pinning his arms, leaving him unable to wield his knife

"Eike!" Will cried, anguish in his voice as his horse plunged into the river with Ralf holding on to a stirrup. As his mount carried the two soliders up the far bank to within striking distance of their foe, Will discharged both horse pistols into the thick body of the snake, their heavy balls opening deep wounds in its flesh. He then slid from his saddle, unlimbering his sword, though it was only a rapier, a thin, light, sharp pointed sword more suited to thrusting than slashing.

Regardless, Will stabbed the reptile again and again with his rapier trying to hit a vital organ, but it was Ralf's action that decided the issue. With a mighty roar the big man swung his broad-headed war axe and cleaved the serpent's spine in twain causing the constricting coils to lose their strength and fall away from the sorely beset boy. Ralf chopped once more to separate the snake's head from its body -- though its muscles kept twitching and bunching for the longest time, even in death.

Satisfied with their work, the two men knelt by the injured boy.

"Am I alive then?" Eike asked, battered, shaken, and confused.

"Very much so, my brave little Eike. We got to you just in time, but only because you stood your ground." Will replied, relief and pride choking his voice. Their lover might be a boy still, not yet eighteen, but one with the courage of a soldier.

Will and Ralf had tears in their eyes, tears of joy, even as they examined the boy's injuries. The worst of it was where the snake's jaws had left a nasty laceration on the calf of his leg. The danger there was infection. Eike's other leg had a clean break. Other than those injuries, he had only bruises and wrenched muscles.

At least Eike could confirm that this was indeed a good spot to cross the river. Once established on the other side, Van Hutten sent scouts up and down river to forage, whether by bargaining for it or even seizing it from native villages. Meanwhile the cook and his helpers fell upon the slain anaconda, harvesting the meat for their use.

By the following morning it was clear that Eike could not be moved. His wound was inflamed, and he was running a fever. Not only could he not proceed on his own power, he could not ride a horse. Van Hutten was in a quandary. Even with the fresh meat, they would start running out of food in less than a week. The expedition had to push on to new foraging grounds.

What to do about Eike? It was clear that neither of the boy's protectors would consider leaving him behind. Van Hutten came to a decision. Will and Ralf were the first he communicated it to.

"We cannot wait here till the boy regains his health or maybe dies from corruption of his wound. As I see it, if I ordered you to abandon the boy, you would refuse, and quite rightly from your point of view. Nor would your soldiers tolerate it. Eike has become their beloved mascot and that was before his display of courage against the anaconda. A wise leader knows not to force the situation to the point of mutiny."

"Here is my solution. I am giving you two written orders to stay behind and to nurse the boy back to health or till he dies. Whatever happens, whether he lives or dies, you cannot count on catching up with us, not without mounts and we will need all of them with us. I can provide you with a canoe found abandoned at a village upstream. Follow the river downstream. I am sure it must flow into the Orinoco which will carry you to the coast. There you may be able to signal a European ship, most likely a Spaniard. A small party like yours should have no trouble catching enough fish to keep you going."

"Officially you will be on detached duty surveying the river. Sooner or later you will reach country already surveyed by Spanish vessels sailing up the Orinoco. Combine your information with theirs, draw a map and deliver it to Coro. After that, you can consider yourself discharged of your obligations."

The two soldiers nodded. Van Hutten's sage soluton headed off not only a potential mutiny but also charges of desertion. If they got back to civilization, all three of them would be in the clear. On that basis the men agreed and shook Van Hutten's hand. Despite his fever, Eike was still clear headed enough to understand the terms. He appreciated the governor-general's dilemma and approved of his ingenious solution.

It took two weeks, but careful tending and Eike's strong constitution helped the boy overcome the infection and regain his health. His wound healed with only minor scarring. His other leg had not yet fully knitted, but that did not handicap him in the canoe. He could paddle just fine. So the trio of lovers set off downstream.

It turned out that their encounter with the anaconda had happened on the upper reaches of the Guaviare River, at over nine hundred miles (1500 km) the longest tributary of the Orinoco. All they had to do was paddle with the current and eventually they would reach the Caribbean Sea. As they went, they found the countryside more varied than what they had passed through before. Traditionally the Guaviare marks the border between the Llanos and the Amazon Rainforest.

Surprisingly their long voyage downriver was largely uneventful. They never encountered hostility from the tribes. Eike's knowledge of the trade language aided in mutual comprehension. The villages they passed by offered hospitality to the exotic travelers. The shamans of the tribes did not quite know what to make of the three strangers, but they were mindful of angering the gods whose emissaries these three seemed to be. How could it be otherwise with two men whose hair was the red of fire and a beautiful nude youth whose hair was the color of corn, their staff of life, or of the sun itself?

The two men themselves were strange enough, both much taller than tribesmen, one lean, the other simply huge and armed with fearsome weaponry, but no one had ever seen so beauteous a creature as the sexy nude yellow-haired lad who traveled with them. Since the emissaries were clearly bent on traveling downstream for reasons known only to themselves and to the gods, best the tribes should shelter them for a few days, then load their canoe with provender to continue their journey.

Eike couldn't help chuckling at the situation and the changes in his life this last year. Once a forlorn waif from Franconia, then a bare ass boy chasing all over South America, and now a sacrosanct emissary of heathen gods!

After proceeding by easy stages thanks to the support of the villagers, the intrepid trio reached the vast delta of the Orinoco and settled on one of its low outer islands where they built a beacon to attract passing ships. That took more than two months. Spotting a sail, they lit three fires hoping the smoke would bring the vessel closer to shore. Sure enough, the ship altered course, though standing a bit out to sea, mindful of shoals. A keen eyed watcher in the rigging reported to her captain that the three strangers on shore included two red heads and a naked blond boy. They must be stranded Europeans. In short order, the ship launched a boat and brought them aboard.

It turned out to be the very ship that conveyed the survivors of the Orellana expedition back to civilization. That company of Spanish conquistadors were the first Europeans to navigate the full length of that mightiest of rivers, the Amazon, from its headwaters in the Andes to a delta even larger than that of the Orinoco.

The trio of Germans quickly became good friends with two members of the Orellana expedition, Diego Arias Navarro and Alejandro Vargas (an alias of the immortal Daphne Boy), who themselves were a couple. In time the five of them traveled to Mexico where the Germans took jobs on the ranch the Spanish couple established to raise horses for colonists. Will worked with the horses, Eike cut and sewed leather making tack like bridles, girths, and saddles and tended the garden, by preference in the nude. Ralf worked as a carpenter, his trade before turning soldier. In the fullness of time, when Diego and his immortal lover returned to Europe, they turned the ranch over to Will and Ralf, and Eike who prospered there for many years.

[For the tale of the Daphne Boy's descent of the Amazon, see my story "El Dorado" in the "Daphne Boy" series.]

Epilogue

The legend of El Dorado is based on fact. There really is a circular lake, Laguna Guatavita in Colombia, into which Indian kings dove to wash gold dust from their bodies. After centuries of unsuccessful effort to dive or drag for the gold, the lake was finally drained in 1898. Alas that made things worse. The process left four feet of mud and slime at the bottom of the lake basin, which quickly set hard as concrete, frustrating and ultimately bankrupting the investors in the scheme. The lake was later allowed to fill up again. Today it is a tourist attraction.

The colony of Coro quickly reverted to the Spanish Crown. Upon his return to Coro after wandering the continent fruitlessly for five years, Van Hutten ran afoul of his successor, the Spaniard Juan de Carvajal who arrested him in 1546 on trumped up charges and put to death.

German colonization of the Americas never amounted to much: a series of aborted attempts to settle Venezuela and the islands of St.Thomas, Crab Island (Guyana) and Tortola in the 16th and 17th centuries. Also the settlers transplanted by the German rulers of the tiny principality of Courland on the Baltic Sea were driven out of their toehold on Tobago in the mid-seventeenth century by the British and then the French.

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