Naked Prey

by George Gauthier

Ikaros

Chapter 1. Knossos, Crete in the Late Bronze Age

"Wake up, sleepyhead!" Daedelos called cheerily to the supine figure of his son Ikaros who gave no sign of stirring despite a gentle shake on the shoulder. But then, the father always was a morning person, bouncing out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed, eager to face the day. By contrast, the youthful Ikaros, was your typical sixteen year old going on seventeen and notoriously difficult to rouse in the morning. Well, except for that stiff morning wood cantilevered proudly from a virtually hairless groin over a flat belly, a crusty white patch giving evidence of a nocturnal emission during sleep.

The boy lay entirely unclad and uncovered, his lithe body stretched atop a bottom sheet, the only bedclothes needed in the heat of late spring, though the morning was still comfortably cool. Clinging to sleep, Ikaros rolled over onto his stomach, snorting inarticulately into his pillow, his buttocks clenching once or twice as he rubbed his erection against the sheet. Fond father though he was, Daedelos knew that the two of them had better things to do that to lie slugabed in the morning, so he brought a calloused hand down onto the boy's bare rump with a cheery smack.

No way even a confirmed sleepyhead like pretty little Ikaros could continue to feign sleep. He sat up with an exaggerated yelp, rubbing his rump, trying to guilt trip the older male with a reproachful look, but the father shrugged it off.

"Now you know that I am right son, so no pouting. Morning chores first, then breakfast."

"Yes sir," the boy said, not really put out. Sleepyhead he might be, but never a lazybones. With no live-in servants, the two had to make do for themselves. His chores were an accepted part of the closeted life the two of them lead in their isolation in the Labyrinth.

While the boy yawned and stretched his lithe limbs like a cat, Daedelos claimed first use of the outdoor shower then slipped into a simple loincloth. With a toss of his blond locks, the boy slipped off his pallet and went about his chores still in the rude nude: raising the shutters, stirring the banked fire, and sweeping the slate floor, before preparing their simple breakfast, remaining entirely naked even after his own shower. He would next be off to the exercise fields to join the other ephebes for their regular sessions of bare-ass exercise and weapons drill. And he would remain nude afterwards.

A born exhibitionist, Ikaros never wore clothing these days. He loved to prance around naked, showing off the trim and taut body he had so recently grown into and was so proud of. He had seized on a casual remark from the king, that a body as beautiful as his was a gift of the gods and should never be concealed from view by clothing, taking the passing remark as a royal command. The shameless youth hadn't worn a stitch in the three years since and wasn't planning on doing so any time soon.

For which his appreciative public was supremely thankful. Halfway to seventeen years of age but standing no taller than a boy three years younger, Ikaros was an intensely comely lad with a wiry physique reaching not quite three inches over five feet (160 cm) and weighing only 106 pounds (48 kg). Lithe and gracile, the youth was slender as a fawn though his sculpted musculature argued against calling him skinny. The flawless skin was evenly tanned from perpetual nudity and entirely glabrous, smooth and naturally hairless, a condition related to his failure to reach full height.

From tiny red nipples perched atop quite respectable pectorals to a deeply indented navel, to narrow hips framing a surprisingly generous manhood for one so slight of build, the youth was real beauty. Cock and balls were in proportion. That was just fine when you spent your days stark naked with your dangly bits bouncing about with every movement.

He was as beauteous of face as of form. Ikaros was prettier than any boy rightly ought to be with fine-boned delicate features: a straight nose and high cheekbones over a chiseled jaw line, plus large green eyes with eyelashes so long they could never have been meant for a boy, all topped by a blond thatch. It was obviously no blade had ever scraped his cheeks or had needed to. He was naturally beardless, without even a hint of peach fuzz.

His father Daedelos had no problem with Ikaros' perpetual public nudity. He knew that Ikaros was at that age when Minoan boys were wont to go around naked as often as possible. For boys that age, male hormones raging in their veins, habitual public nudity was a form of courtship display, though obviously not directed toward the female half of the species who kept to their own precincts. (In that society, males and females did not mix much till the age of marriage in their mid-twenties.) No the brazen display of nudity by the youth of the island was all about same-sex lovers.

Some boys sought youths their own age for innocent fun and frolic. Others were after a more serious relationship with an older lover, a grown man, who, as the boy's erastes or mentor, would take a boy under his wing and guide him in his social, intellectual, and sexual development. No taint of effeminacy was attached to the boy for taking the passive role in sex. A pederastic relationship with an older lover was aimed at fostering the boy's sense of masculinity and inculcating in him the martial virtues including courage, loyalty, and constancy.

All that aside, for quite practical reasons, it was common for young males to go around habitually nude, especially those of the lower classes. Boys working the fishing boats just off the coast never bothered with clothing which would only absorb the stink of the fish. In the town, there were always naked boys coursing the streets bearing messages, their nudity a way for his master to show off a cute catamite or body slave. The only thing that distinguished these boys from the 'pornoi' or enslaved male prostitutes was that their foreskins were not infibulated to forestall masturbation.

In their own districts, around potters' kilns, the furnaces of glassmakers, or the ovens of bakers and brick makers, the boys who tended the kilns and ovens habitually worked totally naked as a way to cope with the heat. Sweating furiously, they would step away for water, both to drink and to pour some over their heads and naked bodies. Men and boys toiling in the fields and vineyard, and orchards under the hot sun often worked naked both to stay cool and to keep their clothes clean. It was an age when cloth was expensive and very hard to clean, long before the invention of soap and detergents.

And so Ikaros left his father, hurrying his steps, eager to join the ephebes at their training.

There was only the one gate out of the Labyrinth, its twin leaves made of stout oak reinforced with bronze. Father and son both passed through the gates frequently, though usually only one at at time, unless under guard. King Minos, suspicious soul that he was, was fearful lest a rival ruler snatch from his employ the greatest inventive genius of the age. The guards were there to keep intruders out, not to keep father and son in.

Situated on the western slope of the hill the palace sat upon, the Labyrinth had started as an old property demarcation line, nearly square and surrounded by a hedgerow a half mile on a side. It was nothing like a modern clipped hedge. Two centuries of growth and shaping had made for a living fence twelve feet tall, half of earth and half of dark green hedge. The earthen wall at the base was a dirt parapet from one to four feet in thickness which rose to chest height. Growing atop the wall was a hedge of hawthorn, brambles, vines, and trees, armed with thorns and nettles and clinging vines, planted as a triple row and overlapped so as to grow together into a thicket that was literally impenetrable. A man could not force his body through it even in full armor, which after all protected only select parts of the body. Above that, the springy green tangle defied bronze blades. You could chop at it all day with little result. You couldn't even dig you way through the compacted soil and roots of the dirt parapet. Not easily.

The Labyrinth's reputation as a maze was not due to planned trickery but rather to the asymmetrical addition of secondary lines of hedges in the interior and the haphazard placement over the years of structures like retaining walls, porticos, residences, sheds, and storehouses, forges, arsenals, and weapons ranges. The enclosure even boasted a pool of water, both a reservoir and for testing model ships. The latest addition was a structure with high ceilings and colorful frescoes that housed the Minotaur.

More than the Labyrinth itself, the palace complex was a genuine maze of workrooms, living spaces, and storerooms in wings and outbuildings surrounding a central square. More than just the residence of the king, with its more than a thousand rooms, it was the civic, religious and economic center of a maritime empire. Though built atop a low hill five kilometers from the coast, it was completely unfortified, relying on Minoan naval power to keep hostile forces from Cretan shores.

The training fields were situated just east of town in grassy meadows that flanked the river. The open terrain featured a meandering running track, wrestling pits, and rows of straw targets for practice with javelin and bow. The river was there for swimming. Ikaros could hold his own in running, jumping, and swimming. Sleek and limber, he was at home in the water as an otter. His own physique might be light-boned and wiry rather than muscular, but that made Ikaros quick and nimble.

Ikaros fully appreciated the fact that he and the other boys were there to build their strength and to improve their martial skills. But the main attraction for him was the company of the boys themselves. No audience was better for showing himself off than his fellow ephebes, virtually all of them potential sex partners for a randy youth like him.

On the training grounds, he was surrounded by so many handsome boys, all with strong, healthy bodies. Some were built for strength, all bone and muscle and sinew. Others were made for endurance, with lean builds, long legs, and deep chests. Just the sight of them, entirely nude and with their skins glistening with olive oil and sweat, was a real turn on. None of the boys was body shy, so Ikaros was often greeted with hugs or head rubs or kisses or friendly slaps to his rump.

With his slight build, Ikaros wasn't a standout at wrestling, but he loved that sport anyway. Win or lose, wrestling gave him a chance to grapple the sexy bodies of his contemporaries and to be held close by them. He loved the feel of their arms around his body, strong hands grasping and gripping, squeezing his balls, painfully twisting his arms behind him to establish their control. For their part, wrestling with pretty little Ikaros was a form of foreplay, for the boy often bestowed his favors on the winner. Hence they loved to grab and hold on to his sexy little body as he struggled, all slick with sweat and olive oil, tugging, pulling, and squirming in their arms, twisting and straining that tight little body of his. Even more than usual the effort made his veins stood out prominently under the taut skin of his slender limbs.

Sore muscles and all, Ikaros didn't really mind losing most of his bouts. There was no shame in being overpowered and tamed by the larger, stronger, and more aggressive young males. As for giving them a crack at his ass, well that is what submissive boys were obliged to do anyway, to provide the lads with an outlet for their sex drives. They loved to slip their rampant young manhoods into the moist velvet glove of his innards, letting the peristaltic action of his bowels force them deeper into his quim and massage them to climax. Nothing for it but for the lad to shrug his shoulders and slack his limbs in surrender, letting a couple of boys seize him and carry him triumphantly to a secluded spot in the rushes.

Some of the more fastidious boys preferred old-fashioned intercrural intercourse, where the bottom boy squeezed his legs together as the boy on top thrust his cock between the upper thighs just under the buttocks, poking the bottom boy's ball sac as well. It was a faster way to climax because the cock was squeezed along its entire length, not just where it was in contact with the sphincters. That increased the friction between the warm flesh of thighs and cock. But for pleasure it was a poor second to the warm moistness of a boy's quim.

Ikaros was honest enough with himself to admit that this state of affairs was as much his doing as anyone else's. He really was a cock tease, a boy entirely too vain about his sexy little body, going about perpetually in the nude to keep it on display, trolling for custom like the most blatant pornoi. He very much wanted other males, both older men and boys his own age, to see how cute he was and to check out the firmness of his buns as he walked by and to note how fetchingly they dimpled as he pranced about.

Whistling as he walked, Ikaros approached the entrance to the Labyrinth unhindered and found himself the recipient of an overly possessive pat on the rump from sergeant Laodamas, one of the royal guards. This man was forever feeling him up, making advances, or just plain having his way with the boy, both his mouth and his ass.

The blond youth sighed, turning himself resignedly toward the tall figure, a dark haired young man of twenty and with a ruddy face, who loomed head and shoulders over him. His arms and armor and crested helmet emphasized the difference in size and strength and authority between the slightly built youth, entirely nude and unarmed as he was, and the formidable figure of the fighting man. Notably small for his age, mild mannered and unaggressive, Ikaros had long ago learned that he could never prevail in these encounters and could only submit to whatever use was demanded of his young body by stronger males.

That morning sergeant Laodamas stopped him at the gate, ostensibly for a complete body search, one to which Ikaros submitted with ill-grace since he was in a hurry. Couldn't the man understand that Ikaros had important work to do, and that entertaining the guards with his sweet body was not necessarily the top priority of the moment?

It was not that the youth had any objections to male sex or to providing carnal service to older males. As a natural submissive, Ikaros accepted the passive role as entirely right for him. And he knew it was expected that he and his fellow ephebes would serve older males sexually. But his chief duty was to assist his father construct devices and weapons and ship fittings for the king. In his own mind, that didn't leave a lot of time for playing sex games with lusty guards, even young men as handsome as Laodamas. That being so, Ikaros has tried to reason with the man who had demanded that he submit to a full body search.

"Honestly, Laodamas," Ikaros exclaimed with some asperity, green eyes flashing, "I really have to attend to my duties in the workshop. Anyway, how could I smuggle anything into the Labyrinth. I have nowhere to conceal anything, stark naked as I am."

"Tut, tut, little one, don't be naive. An enterprising boy might insert just about anything small and valuable up his quim: jewels, secret messages, maybe keys to the treasure room."

Ikaros rolled his eyes.

Ignoring the boy's look of long suffering forbearance, the guard took advantage of the youth's closeness and nudity, running his hands over the narrow shoulders, down to his pectorals where his thumbs circled tiny red aureoles, fingered the washboard abs and finally cupped and weighed the boy's genitals in his right hand, his thumb toying idly with the flaccid cock, slipping the foreskin back and forth.

"Tsk, tsk. And here I had hoped you would be happy to see me again. You should realize, young Ikaros that in carrying out these searches, I am only doing my duty. I am enjoined by those above me to be thorough. Now, there's a good lad. Bend over and brace your forearms here on the wall, while I probe your delightful bum for possible contraband."

The lusty guard started off with a pair of preliminary slaps to the boy's buttocks to establish his dominance. Too bad there wasn't time for a full spanking to get the butt cheeks properly red. He knew that for the boy, a light spanking was something of a turn on. Slicking the boy's anal whorl with a bit of olive oil, the guard set the head of his cock against the ring of muscle guarding the boy hole. A slow push and slowly the head of his cock and the first couple inches of his cock slipped inside. He lay his chest onto the boy's back and shoved all the way in with a might thrust of his hips. The boy gasped and gurgled at the sudden total penetration.

The rest of the "probe" for contraband went as you would expect and was thorough indeed, thorough to the point of orgasm, the guard's. A fair man, the sergeant made sure of the boy's relief as well.

It was no use complaining to authority. As far as the king was concerned: any boy in bloom who was that sexy and good looking and made such a point of running around starkers full-time flaunting his youthful sexuality really invited such attentions. Everyone else agreed that being compelled to give it up now and again was no more than the pretty little cock tease deserved. Besides, Myles, the captain of the guards was all for anything that kept his men alert on boring sentry duty. He told them that if they were lucky and alert, a complaisant nude youth of surpassing beauty might swim into their ken while they were standing their posts. Someone they could have their fun with.

Captain Myles himself was no more immune to the boy's charms than his men and took sloppy seconds when he was could. The boy had to remain braced, the first man's cum dripping out of his boy hole, while the second addressed his ass. The captain liked a bit of foreplay. He would lay his engorged cock in the crack of the boy's ass or whack the dimpled cheeks with his fleshy club. No need to force himself inside. By now the boy was well trained in the amatory arts. He bore down and smooched his nether orifice wide to accept the captain's over-sized tool into its warm velvety depths. But then, his ass could and did accommodate the Minotaur himself, though thankfully the man-beast did not go into heat very often.

The boy sighed, resigned to such uninvited amatory attentions. Well, maybe not wholly uninvited -- shameless boy that he was -- frequently strutting about toes pointed inward to make his buttocks twitch and clench suggestively. Just the thing to call attention to his pert rump and the way his firm butt cheeks jutted out just the right amount with a sharp cleavage in between. At least the soldiers were young and healthy and clean-shaven and practiced excellent personal hygiene. A couple including the sergeant were actually quite sexy, men to whom he would have willingly given himself, but at a when and where of his own choosing. And, to be fair, there was never any rough stuff, though the hapless youth might have to endure all manner of personal indignities.

So, when all was said and done, the soldiers were fond of the complaisant youth who surrendered himself to them. They just wanted fun sex with what everyone acknowledged to be the most beautiful boy any of them had ever laid eyes on. And woe betide any who tried to hurt their little cutie. They would spring to his defense in an instant. It was the same when wrestling the other ephebes. Ikaros knew he would most likely be overpowered and lose the bout, but he tried his utmost to win and never threw a contest. But given his petite physique, he nearly always came out second best and had to give it up to the winner, often with the other boys watching appreciatively.

Upon his return, Ikaros found his father busy at the small forge he used when prototyping bronze fittings for ships. (Bronze resists the corrosion of salt water.) Ikaros explained his lateness by simply mentioning Laodamas name. The older male nodded in understanding. The youth used the shower and a sponge to scrub off olive oil, sweat, and the smell of males and sex. He bent over a rail while his father examined his anal whorl for tears and fistula. Finding nothing amiss except for a little rawness, he rubbed a soothing cream into the affected area, then let his son stand up again.

He wasn't angry at the carnal use made of his son. That was old news and what ephebes were for anyway. That was especially true for a lad as preternaturally beautiful as little Ikaros.

Ikaros did not mind the large degree of isolation brought on by his secret work with his father in the Labyrinth. As a serious lad with a good head on his shoulders, Ikaros had little patience for the dominance games and macho posturing of so many in his age cohort. He was happy to work with his father. At dusk, palace servitors passed fully cooked meals through a slot in the wall near the gate. Later they took the dirty dishes away. Neither of them had any complaints about the food. Tasty and nutritious, it was basically what the kitchens served the king himself.

Actually the two males were not only father and son but also the best of friends, collaborators, and each other's best company. Both were creative tinkerers, forever turning out both useful inventions for the navy and commerce and agriculture or intricate toys for the delight of the court. There were always new problems and new challenges that taxed the ingenuity of the inventive males in producing say new pumps for the mines and aboard ship. Or a water clock whose gentle chimes sounded the hours outside the king's bedchamber. Or a method of fabricating sword blades of bronze that were less brittle and likely to break in combat.

Chapter 2. The Minotaur

The night air carried the sound of the boy's bare feet slapping away at the stones of the foot path, the led to the reservoir formed by a small dam across the flow of the tiny creek that drained the enclosure. The still waters reflected the crescent of the moon and the wandering star called Zeus after the king of the gods. The boy used the pool as his personal swimming hole. The moon was well above the horizon, throwing enticing silver highlights over the boy's bare skin. He slipped into the water and swam around for a bit, not very energetically for he was very tired this evening. Turning over to float on his back, he sculled idly with arms and legs while gazing up at the stars and feeling very much at peace.

He must have dozed off for he suddenly found himself breathing water into his lungs, body bent at the waist, arms and legs flailing as his head sank beneath the surface. Coughing water, he managed to get a grip on his panic, telling himself that the pool, after all, was no more than chin deep and even then only in the center. All he had to do was put his feet under him and stand up.

That done still but dizzy on his feet he was grateful for the strong arm that suddenly slipped around his back to help him maintain his balance. That arm was long and powerful, all muscle and sinew and bone, the arm of a giant among men, or rather of the boy's lifelong friend Oltos, dubbed the Minotaur, who had heard the boy's distress and lent a hand.

"Thanks, Oltos" The boy sputtered his thanks to his large friend.

"Next time try an inflatable float, say a pair of pigs' bladders affixed to the head and shoulders to keep your face above water while you slumber."

"That's not a bad idea actually, Oltos. You know, maybe chirurgeons could let burn victims float while they heal instead of letting their body weight press painfully down on their wounds."

From his size and fearsome appearance the common folk called the Minotaur a man-beast. It was put about that he was part demon, a cannibal who lived on human flesh, preferably that of young virgins and pretty youths, tearing his victims limb from limb and consuming the meat raw.

Total nonsense. It is true that the Minotaur was a giant of man, nearly seven feet tall and approaching four hundred pounds in weight, very little of it fat. And he was bestially ugly. His head was one of Nature's cruel jokes with a long skull dominated by a prognathous jaw armed with big flat teeth, accented by a wide nose and long ears. What made men call him the Minotaur or "Bull of Minos" was the pair of cutaneous horns about six inches long, growing from the top of his head at his hairline. In shape they did resemble those of a bull though very much shorter.

The Minotaur was one of Nature's sports, a gentle giant of a man with a keen mind and a strong moral sense. Four years older than Ikaros, Oltos, had taken a shine to baby Ikaros, had played with him as infant and toddler and growing boy and given him rides on his broad shoulders or swung him through the air. After the death of the inventor's wife, Oltos had helped Deadelos raise his son to incipient manhood. Growing up with the Minotaur, Ikaros had always seen him as a person of intelligence, warm humor, and great strength. Lately their relationship had turned physical, for few could resist the charms of the lovely youth, who, for his part, was powerfully attracted by the Minotaur's overwhelming masculinity.

Unlike father and son, the Minotaur was confined to the Labyrinth. Peaceful though he might normally be, he did have a temper and did not always know his own strength. He had retaliated against those who had mocked him or thrown stones at the "demon spawn". After several incidents leading to death or maiming, all of which were provoked by the "victims" the King thought it best to keep his illegitimate half-brother confined (or better, assigned) full-time to the Labyrinth under conditions short of house arrest, in an airy pavilion newly constructed for his comfort. It helped that the man-beast had genuine talent as a metal smith and frequently helped Daedelos shape bronze and brass and copper at his forge.

"Do you mind if I sleep with you tonight, Oltos. I feel so protected lying next to that powerful body of yours. No sex, though, not tonight, if you don't mind. I am exhausted."

"Whatever you say, my young friend, I too cherish the warmth of your tight little body lying next to mine, spooned together. I cannot promise that I won't get hard and lay my cock in the crack of your ass or poke it between your thighs, but no penetrations, I promise."

At dawn, Ikaros awoke to find himself painfully erect with morning wood, while the Minotaur's enormous erection pressed into the gully between his ass cheeks, its head reaching past his tail bone. Tall about big ones. In that respect at least, his lover was a monster. The big man's even breathing showed he was still asleep.

Thinking this was too good an opportunity to pass up, Ikaros slid up the bed a good ways, enough to bring his hole even with the head of Oltos's cock. Bearing down, he squeezed himself open back there, engulfed the swollen knob, then clamped down with his ass muscles on its sweet spot. Let's see Oltos try to sleep through that!

For Oltos, it was a delightful way to wake up, the head of his cock engulfed by the wet warmth of the quim of the boy he loved, squeezed and kneaded by his the boy's well-trained ass muscles. Naughty of Ikaros, taking advantage, mounting him in his sleep, reserving all the fun for himself. Well now it was his turn. A boy who started such mischief was obviously no longer too tired for sex play.

"Now you are in for it, little one. A right royal fucking, that is what you need, and since I am a royal prince, that is exactly what you are going to get. Gird yourself for a total impalement. I am going to shove my cock so far up into you that you'll be able to taste it."

"Oooh," Ikaros squealed delightedly and pretended to struggle to escape the clutches of his ravisher who had thrown one leg over the boy to pin him in place. Oltos took the boy's nipples between thumb and forefinger, pinching and twisting, and pulling the tender flesh. As one of Ikaros most sensitive erogenous zones, nothing brought the heat to his belly faster than a lover toying with his nipples. The mild pain in his chest triggered his ass muscles to clutch at any cock penetrating his quim, squeezing and milking it, trying to force it deeper.

Carried away be his hormonal drives, the boy tossed his head side to side and wailed plaintively, but all his squirming accomplished was to let the giant cock slide a couple inches deeper up his ass. He buried his face in his pillow, moaning and gasping from the sharp pain as his sphincters stretched impossibly wide. As the Minotaur's huge tool slipped dipper into him, he threw his his head back in a silent scream. Arms reaching back to his lover, every muscle straining, he presented the very picture of a bum boy with a big one up his butt. But there was much pleasure too, a wave of lust that soon had his small body shuddering helplessly in an internal orgasm.

In due course the boy found himself in a familiar position, braced on his knees, rump up, head down, arms crossed in front as his giant lover thrust into him, controlling the pace by a firm grip on the boy's hips. So firm a grip it would leave characteristic bruises that left no one in doubt how Ikaros had acquired them. More than once, the lusty guard Laodamas had made the boy bend over while he pointed out to the new men, the characteristic bruises on the boy's ass cheeks where the Minotaur's fingers gripped him during a fuck.

Given how randy both young males were, it did not take long for them to climax. As Oltos shot his seed deep into Ikaros's bowels, his finger rubbed the sweet spot on the boy's cock, just behind the knob setting him off and making the boy's ass muscles clutch reflexively at the giant cock that impaled him. The sensation was incredible It was one of those intense orgasms where you see stars and can only slump to the bed in post-coital lassitude. Still Ikaros knew he was late for his chores so after only the briefest of rests, to get his breath back, he kissed his giant lover and left.

Daedelos had awakened promptly at dawn by an alarm clock of is own devising. In this case it was not one of the clever mechanical toys he had created for his patron, King Minos of Crete. Instead it was but a clever alignment of a horizontal window through the stone wall of his room and the pillow on his pallet. To a man of simple tastes like Daedelos, royalty was more than welcome to the abruptness and clamor of the chimes and bells in the inventor's mechanical clocks. He looked over at his son's pallet.

Empty. No way that could mean his sleepyhead offspring was already up and about. He must be with the Minotaur again. No need to guess what those two were up to. Indeed across the enclosure he faintly heard the sounds of lusty sexual congress, though much more the man-beast's triumphal roars than the boy's squeals of delight.

Daedelos started about his daily routine, knowing his son would arrive in due course to do his chores. Indeed, within the hour the boy returned to their quarters, somewhat shamefaced. His father waited for him to make his excuses, the very embodiment of patience, one eyebrow raised interrogatively.

"Er, sorry I am late father. I stayed over with Oltos last night, and, well er, one thing led to another …"

"Yes … I can see that for myself," Daedelos remarked evenly. "what with the bruises left by Oltos's big hands on your ass. And there is nothing wrong with my hearing either, son."

The boy colored with a full body blush. A subdued pink hue, which an artist would have loved to paint, suffused him from his hairline down to his ankles. It didn't help any that the boy's much abused ass lips chose that particular moment to smack and sputter wetly, discharging much of the semen the Minotaur had deposited earlier up his quim. Some ran down his left leg. The rest dribbled directly and audibly to the stone floor.

"Plip … plip… plip."

Poor Ikaros squeezed his eyes shut, utterly mortified.

"Er… Maybe I should take a shower, first thing, father." he ventured.

"Good idea!" his father agreed. As the boy made his way to the shower, the father doubled over with barely suppressed laughter. Poor Ikaros had been so embarrassed it would have been thoughtless to laugh in his face. In time this incident would become a joke between them. Shared laughter was so much better than laughter at someone's expense.

Still as a father Daedelos was worried that the Minotaur might hurt his son. Never deliberately of course, but Oltos was so huge -- almost four times the mass of the petite Ikaros. On occasion the father had accidentally come upon his son in the Minotaur's "embrace" and had been forcibly struck by the disparity in the size of the lovers. With the boy on all fours, Oltos covered his lover like a stallion does a filly, rutting away at him with a giant cock that really could scare the horses. Just his weight pressing down on Ikaros might smother him.

Despite the very real affection between the two lovers, feelings that went beyond the admittedly strong physical attraction they felt for each other, Daedelos felt it was his fatherly duty to see that his son formed a normal attachment with an older male, someone who could introduce Ikaros into polite society. He couldn't stay in a workshop forever. What Ikaros needed, or at least what his father wanted for him, was an older lover, an erastes to his eromenos. That is the social ideal of how an adolescent boy should be brought up. This was a role the Minotaur, deformed and shut in as he was, was unfortunately unable to play.

For the Greeks, including their Minoan predecessors, adolescence was the time in the life of a boy when he was "in season" or "in bloom", say from age fourteen or fifteen to nineteen or twenty. The age when a boy's burgeoning sexual desires should be turned toward those of his own gender. Females and marriage were for much later and mainly for procreation. Far different from today, no boy then who loved men and enjoyed lying with men and being embraced by them was considered effeminate. Just the opposite.

The Greek love of boys was the keystone of their social system, synergistically linked with the social seclusion of women, delayed marriage (for upper-class males at least), the practice of nude athletics, the gymnasium itself -- from Greek roots meaning 'naked exercise'-- and symposia or drinking parties reserved exclusively for males. The male nude was publicly celebrated in sculpture and painting, and love poetry.

Male social and sexual relationships were integral to military training. A principal function of these relationships was to cultivate the courage and fighting skills of the younger member of the pair. Under the tutelage of the erastoi, the eromenoi practiced swordplay and archery and wrestling though with a sexual frisson absent from other cultures. The training grounds were excellent places for a lonely boy to find his erastes, a relationship they would cement with sex.

So far Ikaros had taken any number of sex partners, though mostly boys his own age. Not for lack of opportunity. Older males also used the exercise fields or congregated to ogle the nude youths working. At times he paired off with an older male, inviting a man to oil up his body, submitting his sweet body to their willing ministrations. These adults were delighted at the chance to caress and pet the boy everywhere, as they ostensibly prepared him for exercise, rubbing olive oil into his unblemished skin. And if the boy got an erection during the process, so much the better.

Shameless show-off that he was, Ikaros got a thrill out of that, standing within a circle of admirers, with his arms held away from his body for better viewing, skin kissed golden by the sun glistening with a sheen of sweat and oil, his manhood tumescent, thrusting straight out from his groin, its purpled glans shaped like an arrowhead, with a droplet of pre-cum oozing from its tip. How terrific that made him feel, displaying himself shamelessly, a pretty boy in heat, cock proud and strutting his stuff, whirling so everyone could see his exquisite teenage body in a state of full arousal, just bursting with youthful male assertiveness.

Which just made it all the easier for a dominant older male to grab the boy by his cock and lead him off for an impromptu shag. Such men knew from long experience that sometimes, to get the attention of a young male, a stiff prick made a good handle.

Chapter 3. Golden Youth

In early summer Father and son were summoned to the palace for a meeting with King Minos. Their escort trooped past the lacquered doors that opened onto the throne room and into a much smaller room, one with less ostentatious appointments than the formal rooms of state in Knossos. The king was seated on a wooden arm chair, dressed in a simple linen tunic. Only the diadem around his brow (and the guards at attention inside the doorway) indicated his rank. A practical man, the king did not have much use for fancy dress-up and formal court etiquette except for occasions of state and diplomatic receptions.

"Ah, there you are, Daedelos and Ikaros. How long has it been since we last met in private just the three of us? Too long really. I hope you realize how very much satisfied I have been these last years with all the inventions and advances in techniques that you have developed. The kingdom is the better for it. And I don't just mean better weapons for the guards and the navy. You increased the flow of water from the aqueduct with an improved design for its terra cotta pipes. And both town and palace smell much better now that we have built separate systems for sewage and for managing the run-off from our torrential rains. That design for plowshares has raised agricultural yields tremendously, generating prosperity for all, which builds support for the monarchy. My throne stands secure from any internal threat."

"That brings me to potential threats from our northern neighbors. Unruly and warlike, the lot of them are barbarians with a veneer of civilization. Their kings seek riches by endless wars, either by looting their weaker neighbors or forcing them to pay tribute. Here in Crete our wealth derives from rationale organization applied to agriculture and from trade. Our sea borne empire or thalassocracy rests on the superiority of our warships against pirates who would prey on the cargo ships that carry our olive oil, wine, and timber across the sea.

As you may have heard, the King of Argos will visit Crete soon. I need him and his army as a counter to other mainland states. We have a strong navy, true, but we would be hard pressed to muster an army to fight a land battle if ever a hostile force managed a lodgment on our coasts. And our palaces and towns are unfortified. That is why I need an alliance with Argos. The possibility of a counterattack by their army, supported by our navy, would deter any aggressor, and vice-versa. We will also be extending trade privileges to them. It's a fair deal for both kingdoms: greater security without the need for an expensive military buildup. As every wise king knows, even loyal citizens complain if taxes go up too high."

[This was long before the invention of coinage, so in the temple economy of Crete taxes were levied in kind.]

"Where do we come in then, your majesty? Do you want us to prepare some wondrous device to amaze your visitor, a clockwork automaton perhaps?"

"No, nothing like that at all. The thing is that Kodros, the king of the Argolid fancies pretty boys. Now is there any boy in the realm as beautiful as Ikaros here? I think not. Why if great Zeus didn't already have Ganymede for his paramour, I daresay he would swoop down from Olympus in the form of an eagle and carry Ikaros off to ravish him."

Daedelos frowned, not liking where this was going.

"Now, now, Daedelos, my friend. It is not that at all. I won't be making Kodros a gift of your boy as his sex slave. Kings can afford to have few friends, but I consider you one of mine. Rest assured I would never do such a thing. Besides my warm personal feelings for the both of you, considerations of statecraft would argue against it. The last thing I need is to alienate an inventive genius like yourself or provide a potential rival with the technical expertise that your son, as your assistant, carries in that pretty head of his."

"But I do expect the boy to attend the king during his stay here. And I mean attend in every sense of that word."

Daedelos and Ikaros turned to each other and shrugged. So yet one more male would get to play with pretty little Ikaros.

"No problem," they recited in unison.

"There is one more thing. We need a way for your boy to leave an indelible impression on the king. We want him to bring back to Argos the memory of a dalliance with the most beautiful youth he has ever seen and bedded. The question is how do we improve on just trotting him out in the nude as he is now or maybe having him dance lasciviously. What more can we do to highlight your boy's extraordinary beauty and desirability? Naturally we don't want to dress Ikaros in exotic clothing. I would very much prefer the boy remain in the nude, as always.

"And suddenly the idea came to me. Well, it came to my steward, to give credit where it is due. We will present little Ikaros here to the king as a veritable demigod: the legendary golden youth of concupiscence whose charms none can resist. The story goes that the youth was the offspring of Aphrodite and a lover who was himself a demigod, the son a mortal woman and no less than Golden Apollo himself. The blood of Olympians on both sides of his parentage conferred on him immortality, perpetual youth, and preternatural comeliness."

"Preternatural comeliness would also describe Ikaros, would it not? No offense my friend, but I cannot help wondering whether Apollo might not have had a hand in your son's conception."

Daedelus snorted.

"Not very likely, sire. My son's looks came from his human mother. His brains he definitely got from me, which is why there can be no question of divine paternity, quite aside from the obvious difficulty of proving that any of our gods are real in the first place and not just figments of the imagination."

"Indeed."

"To prepare the boy, our court painter Orontes will coat his entire skin with gold dust. Orontes is already working on how to do it. Get together with him and find some clear enamel or something of the sort that you can mix with gold dust. It must stick to the skin well enough that it does not come off for a few days or get rubbed off during vigorous sex play. Above all, make sure it doesn't cause skin irritation either to the boy or to the king!"

"That could work, your majesty."

In no time, Ikaros was turned over to the ministrations of the court painter.

"Hmm, your boy is naturally glabrous, Daedelos, virtually without body hair, just a hint of fuzz in armpits and groin. Nevertheless, I will need to use one of those unusually sharp blades you recently hammered from sky metal [meteoric iron] to shave him absolutely clean, as smooth as a marble statue."

Ikaros lay down nervously on a wooden table and spread his legs as the artist ordered, clasping his hands behind his head, making the front of his body available to the artist and his blades. Daedelos stood next to him, squeezing his shoulder in reassurance. Ignoring the boy's whimpers, Orontes' deft hands denuded him of the wispy tokens of incipient manhood under his arms and at the fork of his legs. Then he had the boy roll onto his shoulders, but there was nothing in his cleavage that needed his attentions. The sparse dusting on lower legs and arms, was practically invisible to the eye and so fine as to be virtually intangible. Nevertheless he passed the blades over them too.

With the loss of all body hair, scant though it had been, Ikaros was now as naked as it was possible for a boy to be. To his surprise, he found that he rather liked the notion. It made him feel terribly sexy. He clutched himself down there and shivered with the frisson of his own naughtiness.

Still, teenager that he was, he did find something to complain about, grumbling that the over-all effect was to make him look like he was fourteen years old.

"Really Ikaros," Orontes rejoined. "Small as you are, with your fawn-like build and elven features you already looked more like fourteen than a youth going on seventeen. There is no sign of fuzzy down on your cheeks much less a genuine beard and you had no body hair to speak of. Not surprising, I suppose, for the runt of the litter, though otherwise your body is well-formed.

Rolling the boy's testicles between his fingers and shaking his head, the artist added:

"All of which makes me wonder if these things are working properly" he asked giving the boy's left ball an extra squeeze, which was only the first of many humiliations he could look forward to during the preparations.

It took a few days longer than expected, but they soon had perfected a body paint that would do the job. It went on easily, clung tenaciously for a week, then sloughed off naturally or washed off with distilled spirits. Best of all, it let the skin sweat since only the sticky solution in actual contact with a speck of gold dust remained stuck to the skin after the body paint dried. The rest flaked off. Came the day before the king's arrival and Ikaros showed up at the Orontes studio for his transformation into an avatar of golden Apollo.

After a quick touch up with the iron blades, the artist's assistant, an effeminate looking kid named Arion sporting grey eyes rimmed with kohl, had Ikaros step into a shaded forecourt, securing his wrists into cuffs dangling from the ceiling.

"I feel like a prisoner in the dungeon." Ikaros said, feet shifting uneasily.

"It's for your own good, sir. No way you could hold your arms up, out, and apart long enough to apply even the base coat, much less to let it dry between coats. Now stand with your feet a little more than shoulder width apart so we can get at you properly," running his hands over Ikaros' smooth groin, his hands lingering rather longer than strictly necessary.

On a wooden table along the wall were marshaled the tools and materials they would use on him: brushes of various sizes, body paint, extra gold dust, and short tubes for blowing the dust into those hard-to-get-at nooks and crannies of the human body.

"This is just the first coat. Oh, and the brush might tickle a little" the assistant explained, as he let out a mischievous giggle, the turned to applying the gold body paint liberally to Ikaros' chest and back and arms and legs.

As Ikaros was indeed quite ticklish, he couldn't help twisting in his bondage as Arion applied to brush to his armpits and along the chevron of his ribs and elsewhere. Setting the brush aside, he used a sponge and his hands to rub the concoction into the boy's skin. Arion was delighted to have this lovely body under his control, to be able to touch it everywhere, to tickle it and make it pull and twist and turn as if he were a hapless prisoner under the lash. No wonder his own loincloth tented out.

"I think your assistant is enjoying his work rather more than he should."

"True, Daedelos, but can you really blame the lad? By now you must be aware of the effect your son has on any male who appreciates a beautiful boy. Though I admit that Arion can be naughty, he is essentially a good kid and means well. Though perhaps you shouldn't stay and see just how we gild the boy's rump and genitals. I promised Arion that he could do the first coat and the first step is to get your boy, er aroused. He needs to be fully erect with his ball sac drawn up to his groin. That is so we don't miss any crannies and crevices in that area. As I can attest, my assistant is very good with his hands and his mouth. He'll have Ikaros rampant in no time."

"All right, I'll leave my son in your hands trusting that you won't take advantage of him in bondage. We have to save him for the King of Argos, after all."

With a nod of reassurance to his son, the father walked out.

Flashing a mischievous smile to his master, Arion stripped off his loincloth, dropped to his knees, and kissed the head of Ikaros' cock.

"You have the most fabulous of cocks, Ikaros, one that might grace a demigod. With most boys, their members are all gnarly with veins standing out of the fleshy column or the skin is wrinkly and shriveled up. Yours is a column of smooth pale flesh, the bulbous head encased in a tight foreskin, with only the slit peeking out."

"The fact is that I have had a terrific crush on you for several years, but have been unable to get close to you -- much less to touch you. As a royal slave I cannot take part in the field exercises and weapons training, or work out in the gymnasium with you and the sons of nobles and freeborn. If you submit willingly to my ministrations today, that would make me the happiest boy in Knossos!"

Then returning to his labors, Arion worked his tongue around the rim of the glans and poked the tip of his tongue into the slit. Arions hands touched the boy all over his as yet ungilded belly and rump, sliding the blade of his hand into Ikaros' cleavage, toying with the rosebud hidden between his cheeks, rolling and gently squeezing his ball sac. In no time, the boy's virile member filled with blood and lifted up flat against his belly, the head empurpled and the shaft throbbing rhythmically with the beat of his heart. Arion lapped up the droplets of pre-cum which oozed their way out of his slit.

"And now I have brought you to a full state of arousal. If only I could suck you off all the way and taste your sweet gism."

"It is difficult to resist such a heartfelt expression of admiration, Arion, but remember, I have to save myself for our guest. We'll see what happens after he leaves."

Deliriously happy from Ikaros's promise, Arion hugged his idol's legs and looked up at him adoringly, then went to work with his paints. Regretting that he could not bring Ikaros to climax right then and there, Arion quickly gilded the rampant cock, a silly grin on his face as his hands stroked and pumped Ikaros' erection. Squeezing the slit open with his finger, he wielded a tiny brush to coat the inside. The corrugations of the boy's scrotum got equally careful attention. He carefully gilded every centimeter of skin from the hairline to the soles of his feet, with careful attention to the shell of his ears, eyelids, etc. Nor did he overlook the inside of the foreskin. It was essential that when Ikaros erected for the king that he display a helmet and a sheath as golden as the rest of his youthful male anatomy.

As for Ikaros's butt, Arion undid the wrist cuffs and had Ikaros brace himself on the table, bent over like he was submitting to a fuck. But Arion knew better than to exceed his brief. Attentive to duty, he applied the body paint with both brush and blow tube aimed right at his model's ass crack and anus, telling him to pooch out and dilate his ring just a bit please to flatten it so the gold dust would get into the tiniest interstices of the convolutions of his little brown pucker. Finally Arion stuck two fingers in and swirled the paint around -- just to be thorough, of course.

That was the end of the fun and games. Within the hour, the body paint dried completely. Gilded all over, Ikaros had been transformed into the legendary golden boy of concupiscence, desired by all.

Chapter 4. The King of Argos

Kodros, the king of Argos, cut an impressive figure as he entered the throne room at Knossos. Still a few years short of forty, tall and muscular, he had a touch of gray at the temples and in his close trimmed beard. With his height and bearing and magnificent bronze ceremonial armor he quite put his host in the shade.

Despite his rich robes of state, Minos came off poorly by comparison. He was ever a thin man, lean and sinewy rather than muscular. Grizzled and with skin turned leathery from years at sea as a younger man, before the loss at sea of his older brother made him crown prince, Minos looked more like some ship's captain than a monarch. It didn't help that when he stepped down from his throne to greet his guest as an equal, he had to use a stick to assist his walking, wincing as he put his weight on the leg he had injured in a recent fall from his chariot.

Kodros appreciated the gesture and gave a short bow with his head to acknowledge a fellow ruler. (Kings do not kneel to each other except as an expression of fealty from a subordinate king to his suzerain.) After greetings and speeches, the assembly adjourned for a formal luncheon. Fish from the nearby sea for a first course, then roasted lamb and grilled goat along with flatbread and a vegetable medley with fruits and cheeses for dessert.

After the meal, Minos made a point of giving his royal guest a tour of his sculpture garden. Formal plantings of shrubs and flowers formed a backdrop for a dozen choice pieces. From one wall hung a relief of the nine muses done in hammered silver. On another, the twelve Olympians were embodied in bronze from a design intricately detailed in clay then cast with the lost-wax process. Stand alone statues of nude youths out of legend, like Leander, Narcissus, and Hyacinth were chiseled out of marble then painted over in colors rather too bright to be lifelike, the pupils of their eyes depicted by inlays of abalone and agate.

The centerpiece of the collection was a golden statue on a waist high plinth of a sleeping beauty, a youth of surpassing loveliness, supine but with one leg bent at the knee and drawn to the side. His eyes were closed but the slight smile on his face, erect nipples, and a shapely cock just starting to swell indicated a boy engrossed in an erotic dream.

"A true masterpiece, my good friend, King Minos. Would this be a depiction of golden Ganymede, the paramour of Zeus, or perhaps of the legendary golden youth of concupiscence, whose charms none could resist. It must be the latter, for I find myself unable to resist him myself. Ah, if only he were a flesh and blood boy whom I could embrace!"

"Then, as your host, I am pleased to grant your wish, my dear friend Kodros. Behold, this is not a youth formed of dead metal but of living flesh. Embrace him as you will, for my ward Ikaros here will be attending you day and night during your entire stay here in Knossos. If you please, he will never be out of your sight and will remain, as he is now, golden and naked and available."

Hearing his cue, Ikaros abandoned the pose he had been holding, got to his feet, and bowed low to the foreign king. The man stared at him with delight and undisguised lust. Head shaking in disbelief he ran his fingers lightly over the boy's shoulders and arms and chest and belly, marveling at the smoothness of his skin. His big hands cradled the boy's narrow hips, then cupped the gilded genitals, weighing and fondling. Next he turned the boy's face up toward him and kissed him full on the lips, letting his strong arms slip around the slender body of the nude youth in a tight embrace. As they broke the kiss, the boy smiled up at him boldly, green eyes locked to his, a promise of the fun they would soon share in bed. The king smiled down at the studly erection standing proudly against the boy's belly, utterly gratified to see that even the head too, as it emerged from its sheath, was as golden as the rest of the lad.

"The golden youth of concupiscence indeed! King Minos, I find it beyond my poor powers of speech to express my gratitude for such unlooked for hospitality. Such an auspicious start to my visit augurs well for the outcome of our diplomatic talks."

Minos smiled, satisfied with the success of his coup. The besotted king of Argos was sure now to sign an alliance. As indeed he soon did, though only after shrewd bargaining over trading privileges. There was no need to belabor the military basis of their alliance which was obvious to all: mutual defense and deterrence.

From that moment and for the remainder of his stay the king kept the youth close at hand. In bed he found the boy to be energetic, versatile, and well-trained in the art of pleasing men. And wondrous to behold, even his gism was golden instead of silver, colored by special tubers recently added to his diet.

Ikaros gave the king a tour of the palace and even brought him to their workshop in the Labyrinth where Daedelos showed off their latest gadgets. Kodros asked after the Minotaur but was told he never received visitors. At Minos' suggestion, the boy guided the king around the agricultural belt that surrounded Knossos with the grazing lands beyond them, letting the foreign king see for himself the property and wealth of the kingdom.

Though the locals greeted the foreigner cordially they reserved their real enthusiasm for his guide, the golden boy of concupiscence whom everyone desires, as indeed they all did. With gilded skin and hair like spun gold the boy might be an avatar of Apollo. And there he was in their very midst, magnificently nude, a veritable demigod, displaying himself in all his glory. Even granting that he was actually the mortal boy Ikaros, he was still the most stunning example of youthful male pulchritude anyone had ever seen.

The two of them, king and golden boy, seemed to get along quite well, at least at first. Ikaros proved to be an engaging conversationalist, an incessant chatterbox really, with an insatiable curiosity about the wider world. He plied the king with questions. With the boy, the king relaxed and opened up, happy to talk freely to a bed companion who was not empty-headed.

Unfortunately Kodros' initially cordial relationship with Minos soured when Kodros spoke carelessly, asking after the Minotaur.

"So, Minos, when are you going to show me this fabulous man-beast of yours, the fearsome Minotaur. Is it true he has horns? They say you keep him penned up in a Labyrinth so complex there is no escape, unless you know the secret of it. Shall we look in on him in his cage, or perhaps you can have his keepers drag him before us in chains."

Minos was furious, but kept a civil tongue in his head.

"I will thank you not to refer to the so-called Minotaur as a beast. His name is Oltos and he is no wild animal, not bull of Minos, as his nickname implies. He is a man, my half-brother in fact, which makes him a royal prince. Oltos is intelligent and brave and loyal. He once saved my life from an enraged boar during a hunt. Blame the gods for his deformed appearance, not him. For what offense could he have committed in the womb that the gods cursed him to be born so?"

"And yes, he keeps to the Labyrinth, but not confined to some filthy pen. He dwells in an airy pavilion and is supplied with every comfort. It is true he has a quick temper, which is why he dwells apart from the fools who would mock him to their peril. But he has a kindly side too. He helped raised sweet Ikaros from a toddler. He and his father also live in the Labyrinth which is why the boy has always seen my brother as a person, not as a monster."

"Speak not disparagingly of my brother then, Kodros of Argos. I simply won't stand for it."

Taken aback, Kodros regretted his faux pas but did not consider it really his fault. He had only said out loud what the world thought of the situation on Crete. If it was so sensitive an issue to him, then Minos should have said something early on, or at least let his attitude be known through an intermediary. Kodros made his apologies for the sake of the alliance, but a keen resentment was born. A king like Kodros does not take kindly to being put down in public."

"So Ikaros, Prince Ottos is something of an uncle to you, is he?"

"Orginally, but more recently we have become lovers."

Kodros was taken aback, utterly appalled at the thought that his bed mate, pretty little Ikaros, had let himself be embraced, befouled, and defiled by a deformed monster. Kodros was disgusted at the thought that the Minotaur had preceded him up Ikaros' quim. It made him feel dirty. Which was why he didn't take the boy to his bed that night.

Later Minos conferred with the Minotaur who had been listening from behind a screen.

"I have a bad feeling about your royal guest, brother, and not just from his unkindness to me just now. Did you see the way he looked daggers at Ikaros, his aristocratic face etched with disgust? Perhaps the boy should no longer attend the king or at least steer clear of his bed."

"I am afraid such an action would cost us our alliance. No Oltos, I cannot do that without a better reason than your fears and suspicions, though I myself share them. But I can ask you to keep any eye on the boy. They are going boar hunting tomorrow. I charge you to follow at a distance. I will instruct sergeant Laodamas to bring word to you if anything untoward occurs."

So it was agreed.

The next day the hunting party formed up. It consisted of Kodros and six of his guardsmen accoutered in practical clothes in sober colors and leather armor. With them went two giant Molossian hounds, vicious sheep dogs, the ancestors of modern mastiffs and a dog handler. Minos's palace guard provided an escort of six including its captain and sergeant Laodamas. Due to his injury, Minos was unable to join them. Several servants trudged along at the tail of the column.

Ikaros felt out of place in the group: a slight nude boy surrounded by a band of warriors, all of them big men, armored and armed for boar. He had no experience of blood sports. He was an artisan, not a hunter. Someone had handed him a boar spear with a cross brace fixed a handspan behind the spear point. He held it out at arms length, looking at it dubiously, wondering how they expected a boy of 7 and 1/2 stone to fend off a boar weighing maybe thirty stone (over 400 lbs or close to 200 kg.). Just brace yourself and hold on to the shaft. Don't let go and keep the point between yourself and the beast. The cross brace would prevent the enraged animal from getting at him. Right.

The expedition took off in four-man chariots that carried them beyond the surrounding belt of vegetable gardens and grain fields that fed the town. After that, they proceeded on foot. The terrain was rough -- all hills and woods and meadows and the ground often rocky, which made for hard going. The men had stout sandals to protect their feet while Ikaros went bare foot, thick calluses his only protection. The leathers the men wore fended off thorns and sharp edged grasses. Ikaros had to ignore the punctures and cuts they inflicted on chest and legs. When the party reached a belt of nettles about chest high, sergeant Laodamas jokingly offered to carry the boy across on his shoulders,

"How about clambering onto my shoulders, golden one. Think of it as a change of pace: you mounting me for once."

Ignoring the chuckles that sally brought from the soldiers, Ikaros ran straight at the line of nettles and planted the foot of his boar spear in the ground. Gripping the cross bar on either side, he sprang upward and twisted his body acrobatically, using his momentum to vault right over the obstacle. Landing lightly on his feet, a big smile on his pretty face, he bowed at the hurrah his feat drew from the soldiers. It seemed this lad was something more than just a naked bum boy with a gilded skin.

Not long afterwards, the dogs caught the scent of a good sized boar and took after it. The beast sought refuge in a thicket it would be foolhardy to penetrate on foot. In that tangle, it could get close enough for its tusks to slash at legs and bellies. At Kodros direction, one of the soldiers set the thicket on fire. The party then spread out across the boar's likely avenue of escape, spears held low, braced to receive the beast's charge. All except Ikaros, who had privately resolved to climb a tree if the beast came at him. He had nothing against the boar and wasn't particularly fond of pork.

As luck would have it, the boar went for Kodros himself who had advanced a little in front of the rest of the party. Say what you will about him, the man had nerve, cooly planting the tip of his spear in the beast's shoulder and hanging on, feet scrabbling for purchase as the boar's fury drove him backwards across the clearing. At the king's nod, Laodamas thrust his spear into the beast's flank, the flat of its blade aligned with the ribs to better penetrate its vitals. The animal gave a last squeal then collapsed into death. Kodros graciously awarded the ears to Laodamas as trophies, keeping the more prestigious tusks for himself.

It was only mid-morning so they dispatched the servants to carry the gutted carcass to the nearest road or track to be carted to the palace kitchens, then resumed the hunt

The second boar was even more formidable than the first, a grizzled giant, wily to the ways of hunters and dogs. For their part, the normally fearsome dogs were intimidated by the giant's size and aggressiveness. More than once it turned to charge them from ambush. The beast made things miserable for the human hunters as well, driving through the worst thickets of brambles and thorns, forcing them to follow, wearying them from the sheer effort of pushing their way through. Ikaros marched at the tail end of the column, letting the bigger males break trail for him. That protected his tender skin from the worst of it, but by no means did he come through unscathed.

At long last they trapped the beast in a narrow canyon, with only one way out -- a stretch of open parkland, trees and grass but no understory of brush. To block his escape across its wide entrance the hunters had to spread themselves apart. Whomever the boar charged would have to deal with it alone for a moment till those on either side could run up to help. For his part, Ikaros was tired beyond telling, footsore, and bleeding a bit from a dozen minor cuts. Filled with irresolution, Ikaros had never felt more out of place. It didn't make any sense for him to take on the porcine monster. He was no hunter, just a naked bum boy with a pointed stick in his hands.

The wily beast chose that moment to charge their line, choosing the easiest spot to break through the cordon, the one blocked by the smallest of the hunters, a strange looking two-legs with a shiny golden skin. As the beast charged directly at him, Ikaros let out a yelp and let go of his spear. Spinning around, the frightened boy ran right up the bole of aged olive tree somehow finding footholds on its twisted and gnarled trunk. He climb all the way up to a secure perch, well out of reach of the angry beast. The boar ran past, grunting in triumph as it left the humans behind, all of them too weary to continue the pursuit.

Chapter 5. Naked Prey

Furious at the escape of their quarry King Kodros stalked over to Ikaros who was still perched up in his arboreal refuge, feeling nervous and more than a little ashamed of himself. The king shook his fist and vented his anger on the hapless youth.

"Idiot! Coward! Craven! You ruined everything. We will never catch that animal now. What did you think you were doing? You were supposed to stand your ground, not climb a tree like a frightened squirrel. Now get down from there while I consider your punishment."

Ikaros did not like the sound of that. All right, he had chickened out and let the beast escape. But if anyone were to punish him, surely it would be his own king, not the king of Argos. Abruptly the king looked over at Ikaros, a predatory smile on his face.

"This is my judgment. Since you let our prey escape, it is only fair that you take its place. To make it a sporting proposition, I will give you a head start before I set my hounds on you. "

"What! No way that is going to happen. All right, maybe I was wrong just now, but I am not some animal you can set your dogs on. I am a human being, a free boy, not a slave.

Captain Myles added his protest: "Hunting dogs chasing down a helpless boy! I cannot let you do this to Ikaros. Whatever the lad's fault in the hunt, he is the ward of the king."

"Your king"

"And this is His kingdom and I, the captain of His guard."

"So? How do you propose to stop me. Would you take up arms against the sworn ally of your king? Make war upon me and my men? I don't think so."

Myles was in a quandary, shifting irresolutely from one foot to another. What should he do? His men would back him, whatever his course of action, both for his sake and to protect the pretty youth they had all befriended. But it was only too true that taking up arms against the king of Argos could cost the captain his head and his men their heads, from the foreign king or their own. Myles would have to let things proceed as the foreign king desired, at least for the moment. Best to pretend to acquiesce while giving his sergeant a surreptitious signal to hang back and slip away to carry word to the Minotaur. They were confident he was following reasonably close behind. Seeing that captain raised no further objections, the king spoke to Ikaros.

"In Argos, I often hunt boys for sport. Oh it's rough on the boys, I'll grant, but no one gets killed or even hurt too bad: just scrapes, scratches, bruises, and sometimes broken bones. The boys set off just as you are now, barefoot, naked, and unarmed. It makes for the best sort of hunting. The prey wears only his pelt, running around as naked as any wild beast. Yet this naked prey is endowed with human intelligence. It is a fair contest; I give them a half hour head start and let them run over familiar ground. You would be surprised how often the boy manages to outfox the hunt and reach safe ground to claim his reward. I really don't mind losing occasionally. That just makes it just that much more interesting. These hunts would soon grow tedious if the quarry had no chance to win free. That won't happen to you of course. Since this is a punishment, your head start will be much less.

I will enjoy watching you try escape. I haven't seen that golden body of yours in a flat run, when you are putting everything into it, legs scissoring, arms pumping, chest heaving. You have the physique of a runner so you should give my hounds good sport. Don't think you can just get up a tree like with the boar. That would just throw away your head start. Once they reached you, my soldiers will sling stones at you to drive you back to the ground."

"Now these hounds have been trained to hunt boys without inflicting permanent damage. They don't go for the throat of their human quarry nor do they try for the hamstrings. Instead, they knock the boys down then mount them, breeding them and knotting them, squirting their canine juices up the boy's quim. It is painful and humiliating, of course, but it gives the boy the incentive to try harder the next time. If the dogs use their teeth at all, it is to nip at the heels of their naked prey to bring the boy to a halt. And once they mount him, they might give him a love bite on the shoulder to fix him in place."

"By Heracles' pizzle, I can hardly wait for the dogs to catch you, to knock you onto all fours, and rear up on your back, their dewclaws scratching marks on ribs and shoulders. What a sight it will be: the golden boy of concupiscence transformed into a boy bitch, trembling in fear and shame as he is bred by a pair of brindled hounds. Actually that should familiar territory to you, little Ikaros: sexual congress with animals, the way you defile that priceless body of yours with the man-beast of the Labyrinth. After your ordeal today, you can return to the Minotaur's embrace and good riddance to you."

One of Kodros soldiers twisted Ikaros' arm behind him forcing him to bend over. The dog trainer came forward, a waxed leather cylinder in his hand. He undid the strap holding the cap closed and withdrew a probe made of a short stick with a tiny sponge at the end.

"Ass juices from bitches in heat," he explained as he coated Ikaros cleavage and hole inside and out. "Now you are one proper boy bitch," he added, slapping the boy's ass for emphasis.

Kodros ignored Myles's renewed pleas that he spare the boy this ordeal, ordering the proceedings to continue.

The soldier let Ikaros straighten up then lead him off a ways in front of the rest of them, maybe two hundred paces. Not much of a head start. The king pointed his spear at the boy and gave the order to unleash his hounds. They took off baying. With one last look of despair at Minos' soldiers, Ikaros took off too, running for all he was worth. He knew the dogs would eventually run him into the ground. His only chance was to scramble up a cliff or boulder and get out of their reach.

Alas, as fast as the boy was on two legs, the dogs were even faster on four. They quickly caught up with him growling and baring their teeth, herding him back the way he had come. One of the Molossians circled the frightened boy, sniffing his ass and genitals and nipping at his calves. Poor Ikaros felt terribly small and vulnerable, confronted by beasts that easily outweighed him. On their hind legs they would overtop him considerably.

Suddenly one dog jumped at his back and knocked him down to the ground, his hands and knees folded under him. He stayed there in a huddle trying to shield himself, head to the ground. One dog began licking his behind, slurping its tongue over his ass and into his crack then down to his balls and shriveled cock. Please don't let it bite me, he thought, not there. The lad whimpered softly, trembling, absolutely terrified. Here he was a small naked boy on all fours circled by two huge canines.

The dog licking him over suddenly climbed up onto his back, its forepaws scrabbling for purchase and its dewclaws scratching his back. Its powerful muzzle dripped drool onto the back of his neck. The fetid smell almost made the boy puke. Ikaros rose to hands and knees and tried crawling out from under but a low growl warned him to freeze in place.

Now dogs have little use for foreplay aside from a little sniffing. With the boy in the perfect position to be fucked doggy style, the hound poked clumsily at his ass with its hairy cock, trying to find the hole. It finally pressed the head of his cock on the sphincter only to find it squeezed shut against him, barring entry. The dog growled in frustration and lunged forward at the obstacle, its cock a veritable battering ram at the gate. Ikaros knew he was lost as the huge head forced its way into him.

Ikaros didn't know which was worse, the pain itself or the terrible sense of degradation.

"This cannot be happening", he told himself in his agony. "I'm being raped by a hound."

But it was happening. With mounting excitement, the dog drove even more of its penis into the boy's hole, forcing it in till the erectile swelling of the canid penis known as its knot pressed against the boy's hole. It felt like the dog was trying to push a navel orange through his ass ring. Ikaros screamed and shook his head in denial, but the horny animal would not be denied.

Suffering more pain in those moments than at any time in his young life, the boy felt the knot force its way past his battered sphincters till it slipped entirely inside him. That made it official. He was now a boy bitch tied to his mate. As was the way with canines, the Molossian hound dribbled his seed into him steadily in a seemingly never ending stream rather than in a few spurts. Bad as the situation was, it got worse after the dog turned around and faced back the other direction while still tied to the boy. The dog simply lifted its right rear leg over the boy's backside, swung around and planted that leg next to the boy's left leg. The two young male animals were now on all fours ass to ass but still tied by the dog's knot. Ikaros knew that dogs may stay tied like that for a quarter hour or more.

The dog handler patted his thigh as a signal for the dog to run over to him. The big dog took off dragging the wailing boy behind. Ikaros scrabbled at the dirt, fingers digging furrows in the loose earth, feet kicking ineffectually, but he got no purchase on the bare ground. Dragged before the king, the boy collapsed, sobbing and totally broken. What a mess he must be, he realized, a naked youth all sweaty and dusty, sprawled in the dirt, having been dragged across the field by a dog's knot stuck up his ass, his own blood and doggy cum seeping out of his quim.

Finally done breeding, the first dog pulled out of the boy who slumped to the ground in relief. That proved short lived as the second dog mounted him. Ikaros' knees and elbows were scraped against the ground as this hound took him even more roughly than the first. His ass on fire, totally humiliated, the boy sobbed uncontrollably, but his tears brought only laughter, as he found himself taunted as a crybaby.

An angry roar announced the arrival of the Minotaur. His huge torso covered in leather armor with a buckler strapped to his left arm for protection against blades and projectiles alike. In his right hand he brandished a huge double-headed axe of bronze, the labrys from which the Labyrinth took its name. Playing the role of man-beast, he had deliberately left off his helmet, the better to intimidate the visitors from Argos with his bestial appearance. Indeed his horns made him seem a veritable demon from the underworld. Though his outrage was real enough.

In three strides the Minotaur reached the dog that was raping Ikaros. His axe rose and fell, the blade cleaving the neck of the hound, decapitating it at one blow. The other hound came to the defense of its sibling, growling and launching itself at the interloper. The Minotaur whirled and struck again. The blade of his axe split the skull of the hound, spraying blood and brain matter everywhere. A backswing with the axe took the head off the dog handler which rolled over to Kodros' feet.

Still furious, the Minotaur stalked up to Kodros and shook the bloody axe at his enemy.

"Know this, Kodros King of Argos. Your life would be forfeit this day save only that the pledge of safe-conduct from my brother stays my hand from delivering justice. Leave this land before the sun sets or you will answer for your crimes nonetheless. This I swear!"

In support of the Minotaur, Captain Myles, sergeant Laodamas, and the Minoan guards stationed themselves on the man-beast's flanks. Appalled at the mistreatment of their friend Ikaros, the guards would gladly have carved up Kodros servitors, awaiting only the signal from their prince to attack.

Kodros knew he had overplayed his hand. He had not come to Crete to start a war, especially not with only a handful of guards. He signaled his men to stand down and let the Minoans collect their spears though not their hunting knives, something the Minoan guards did with rather more roughness than required, angry as they still were about Ikaros.

Meanwhile, Oltos knelt down next to the boy he loved and cradled him in his arms.

"Rest easy, Ikaros. You are safe now."

"Thanks to you Oltos. I saw what you did just now. You were magnificent. Now, could you carry me over to the stream. I don't think my legs will support me, but I need to wash off the stench of the dogs."

Oltos nodded and carried the boy in his arms, as gently as a mother would her child, and laid him in the shallow waters of the stream. He helped the boy scrub himself clean with sand scooped from the stream bed. It was a tribute to Orontes cleverness that none of the gilding came off. Ikaros was still the golden youth of concupiscence.

Helping the boy to his feet, Oltos asked. "Are you ready, Ikaros?"

"Yes my love. I am ready, because I know that whatever the future has in store for us, we will face it together, you and I, eromenos and erastos, boy and mentor, lovers and each other's best friend."

Nodding the big man added,

"But not your only friend, Ikaros. Exclusivity simply would not be healthy for a growing boy like you. Now, what of your father?"

"My father has always wanted what is best for me. He must realize, without quite knowing it yet, that that means you."

With tears of joy welling up in their eyes, the happy pair marched off arm in arm, back to Knossos and toward the bright future which beckoned.

Epilogue

The future of the young lovers turned out be far less bright than they had hoped for. The alliance broken, Kodros went back to Argos, licking his wounds and biding his time. His chance came when a tsunami, triggered by a massive earthquake, swept the north coast of Crete, destroying most of its navy and merchant marine. On land there was much damage and heavy loss of life from collapsed buildings. Argos allied itself with other barbarian kingdoms and swept down on Crete, killing and looting, thoughtlessly destroying the aqueduct that fed Knossos. They even set fire to the palace. Other raiders seized territory, setting themselves up a local kinglets.

Minos and Oltos retreated with a small army of guards and stranded sailors to the fortress of Phaistos on the southwest coast where they made a gallant last stand, neither asking for nor giving quarter, intent solely on killing as many of the invaders as possible. It didn't stop the invasion, but their final sacrifice greatly reduced the number of such locusts swarming the stricken countryside. Their final service to the kingdom saved many innocent lives.

Daedelos and Ikaros escaped to Libya in a small boat equipped with an experimental fore-and-aft rig with a jib that made it much faster and more maneuverable than anything else afloat. Their sloop was centuries ahead of its time. It could tack and sail close-hauled to the wind. By contrast, the galleys of the invaders relied on rowers who tired quickly or a single square sail hung from a horizontal spar. It could sail only before the wind, not into it like the boat the father and son were on.

Tall tales to the contrary notwithstanding, Daedelos and Ikaros did not fly away on man-made wings. That is a myth based on blurry memories of their sailing rig, unique for that day and age. No set of wings, no matter how cleverly designed, could permit man-powered flight. Human beings have heavy skeletons, and do not have flight muscles or places to attach them. As depicted in religious art angels would need breastbones projecting five feet or more and much longer wings. Not to mention hollow bones.

Part of the standard myth is true. Ikaros did fall into the sea -- from the top of the mast he had climbed to untangle a block and tackle, but he had only to grab the safety line which the boat was trailing to haul himself to safety. In the gathering gloom witnesses to their escape must have seen the fall but not the rescue.

Father and son reached Libya safely and prospered with their skills and inventiveness. From Libya the pair traveled to the kingdoms of the East: to Egypt and Phoenicia and Mesopotamia, to what would one day become Persia, and to the civilization that had arisen along the Indus River. But that is another story.

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