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Samantha Lau



Table of Contents



Copyright

Part One: Meetings

The Summon

What’s Mine is Mine

Stranger in a Strange Land

The Body Knows

Hunger

Closer

So it Begins

Should Have Read the Small Letter

Going to Great Pains to Save Your Ass

So it Ends

The Way Home is Through Hardship

The Forgotten Tower

The Haunted Monastery

The Sorceress

The Ruins

The Heart Knows

Part Two: What Happens After

Old Friends and Old Foes

Who Said I Needed Help?

Family Ties

The Summon (again)

In Your Arms

Thank You

About Samantha Lau

Also by Samantha Lau



Part One: Meetings

The Summon



Though it was against all their traditions, he couldn’t hold back. He wasn’t supposed to see it – the child he’d sired with the priestess – not until the child’s coming of age. But he could not wait that long. A warrior like him, in a time of war… who knew if he’d survive that long? Who knew if his child would survive the training? It was an uncertain life, and he wished to see his child once, just once… so he’d sneaked into the temple after the last bell had clanged, waited patiently until the acolytes had left the nursing room, and had carefully slipped in on the dim-lit room.

Even though there were six bassinets with six different children, he knew at once which was his. It was instinct that drove him to the one with his flesh and blood, that little baby sleeping soundly huddled in a blanket. A boy. A black, hardened nail ran gently over the child’s pointed ear – a sign of affection for their kind, to have something so sharp that could easily take a life touching so gently such sensitive part of the ear. In reward, the baby leaned to the caress, wriggling slightly, but sleeping on.

For the briefest of moments he thought he could steal him away, take him far, spare the child from all this war, but what kind of honor was in that for a warlord? What kind of life awaited this little child, if he ripped him from all they both knew? Could a better fate await them beyond these lands?

He might have had second thoughts about it all, in fact he’d been about to reach in for the child, but something distracted him. Something – a sound, like a chant. Not the priestesses, at this time even the acolytes would be asleep, and the voice sounded almost like a man’s. Men were not allowed in the temple, at least no man over thirteen were, and this was not the voice of children either. He turned his head to the source of the sound and, before he could reconsider his choice, followed it. If someone had breached the temple, he reasoned, someone besides himself, then he had to capture them. But there was something else guiding his feet to the dark, empty room across the hall. There was a sort of compulsion. He couldn’t stop himself from moving that way, even when every fiber of his body was telling him this was wrong. At the doorway, he stopped for a moment – it was about all he managed to do before his feet were carrying him again, but this time, he’d thought better of it. Even if someone else had breached the temple, even if he captured them, how would he explain his own presence? There was no way that would end well for him, and yet… his feet moved.

Mustering up all his will power, he reached up to grasp to the threshold. A warrior, arms ripe with strong muscles, yet his hold held only for a mere second. His feet carried him on, his fingers lost purchase. And then there was a flash of bright light. For a split second, he thought he’d been caught by one of the priestesses, but no one called his name. There was no scream of alarm, no sound of distress. There was only the blinding light that made him cover his face, and then he was sinking. Sinking, sinking deep into something like muddy water, into something like blood. He couldn’t breathe, he felt a strong pressure all over his body, unbearable pain as if he were both being pushed from all angles and at the same time torn to pieces.

With his next heartbeat, the light before him flashed again, and he screamed, the pain too strong.

With the next one, the light flashed once more, the pressure and pain lessening.

With the next, the light flashed again, and he could once more breathe fully.

His feet touched solid ground. He curled up on himself, arms still protecting his form, his face. His eyes blinked, each time blinded by the brightness of the light surrounding him. Each time his eyes adjusted a little more. Each time he felt a little less sore.

First it was blurs, then the forms took clearer shapes until, after blinking a few times, his eyes could focus on the form before him. Young, pale skin, long, almost white hair, and a piercing blue gaze trained on him. He held a staff in one hand; energy still pulsated from the other. His aura flowed around him, blue, strong and full of power.

Still pained, he hissed a threat. He knew not what had happened, though there were stories… stories of their people sometimes disappearing, never to be seen again, except for the occasional one or two. One or two every many years, something rare, something caused only by humans. They called it The Summoning.

In the most ancient of tongues, he said “Human,” and the word came out as if he’d not spoken in centuries, cavernous and rustic, full of pain and bitterness. “Why have you summoned me?”

Yet the wizard before him only smiled. A self-satisfied little smirk. If he’d been a runt from his clan, he would have smacked the smirk right off his face, but this thing, this human, he was unsure on what to do.

Before he could decide if he’d even attempt a hit, a loud sound directed his attention elsewhere. His gaze turned to find a set of double doors bursting open. Older, wiser humans burst in; they yelled and demanded in a language he did not understand. It sounded angry, it felt threatening. The blonde man before him said something to them, in response they split up, some of the men grasping at his arms held him back, while some of the others raised a heavy crystal. The blond man yelled. Was he trying to help him? It looked like it, but he was still in a daze, his mind still a tad foggy, his reaction time slow. He did not know just what they were trying to do, but he knew it wasn’t good. He let a cry of war and lunged, only to have his body hit an invisible barrier. He started feeling once again like he was sinking and cried out in anger, looking down, finally noticing the glowing symbols within the circle.

That sinking, painful feeling swallowed him whole again, but different this time – he felt heavy, tired, he was before those men, and then he was surrounded by darkness, enveloping, cold, in a constant state of mild awareness: never awake enough to escape, but awake enough to feel.

It was torture.





What’s Mine is Mine



Yuval woke with a gasp, body covered in sweat. It was that dream again. For years now the face of that beautiful demon had haunted him. The elongated ears ending in points and decorated with earrings; the dark skin and the long, long, pitch black hair; the black, claw-like nails ready to torn down his enemies… and those eyes. Those gorgeous gold eyes with pupils slit like a cat’s, that shone with a light of their own, eyes that promised pain… and pleasure beyond his most unimaginable thoughts…

The face had haunted his dreams and his nightmares in more ways than one, proof of which was the hard on he now sported. With a heavy sigh, he reached down to touch himself. It still amazed him the response his own body had to the memory of that demon; a demon that by all means should have been frightening to anyone, but whom managed to wake in him only interest. Well, interest, and lust.

Closing his eyes he recalled that face, the strong angles of that jaw, the depth of his stare, the fangs hiding behind full lips. What would those fangs feel like on his skin? He shuddered at the thought, and his hand slid faster on his member, following the hastening pace of his dream-demon, as he imagined himself taking that mouth until, unable to hold back anymore, he spilled hard down that throat... and in reality, all over his hands.

He panted, eyes fluttering open, staring at the ceiling for a good, long moment. In all likelihood the demon would have torn him apart limb by limb before he did anything else. At least that was what the older wizards had said, that he’d been crazy to do such a summon three years before he should even be able to control such potent magic. His excuse – that the other boys had dared him try – had not been enough. His plead to have his demon returned had been denied. To add insult to injury, Yuval had been officially kicked out of Aelion, the one and only academy for wizardry in the whole world, at least if you were serious about learning magic and not just trying to be a third rate town-witch.

But that had been years ago. They had sealed his demon away in a crystal, claiming he was a danger and Yuval would not be able to control him. They had cried foul and called him names. They had banished him from the academy and forbid him to further practice… as if he’d listen to them. They had even tried to bind his magic. Yuval had traveled far and wide to unbind his magic, and then again to work under every witch and wizard; had stolen books and magical artifacts, had traded and bought them, had done everything possible to become the strongest wizard in all the lands. Now, after all those years, he was certain that he was the strongest, and to prove it he had set himself the hardest task yet: he would steal the crystal back from Aelion and he would free his demon. He would have him no matter the cost.

***

Bidding goodbye to his home was not the hardest thing he had done, nor was preparing for what was to come. He had prepared for that day, he’d done his research, and with each step closer to Aelion he revised every part of his plan carefully. He’d learned the maps by heart, knew every nook and cranny the castle offered – and every real and alleged passageway into it. He knew the types of traps he might find, how to detect them, how to overcome them, how not to trip them… he’d planned for everything, failure was not an option.

And so as planned, he arrived via carriage to the vast lake that surrounded the castle – and the village at its shore – just as the sun began to set. There he rented a room for a couple nights and had a warm meal. It’d been long since the villagers had seen him, and it had only been twice then, both when he was far younger. Yuval had grown since, no longer a mere child, now he had the face of a man, the mass of a man, tall and strong – he looked more like a warrior mage than a simple wizard. He did not fear recognition, but he had still decided to lay low and act like he was just passing by. He was, after all, just passing by.

Once done with his dinner he retired to his room. He waited awake until the night grew silent and the lights had gone off, and then, like a common thief, he left not through the door, but through the window of his room, climbing down with care to make as little noise as possible, and securing the cloak and hood around himself. Sneaking through the streets at the time was not difficult, he found no one but a few drunkards and harlots on the way to the docks, but once there it was another matter. Yuval followed the shadows from building to crate and past, trying to avoid sight of the sentries stationed before ships. He could not pick a boat that was close to the larger fishing ships, he would have to pick one on the farther corners of the docks. In passing, he startled a homeless man. With a signal for him to be silent, Yuval dropped a few coins in his hand and the man, with a nod of gratitude, let him go without raising the alarm.

The boat he found at the edge of the docks was in poor conditions. Yuval cursed his bad luck under his breath, but it was still within his calculations. With a few words and a hand gesture, the spell that would make the boat temporarily impervious to water was set in place. He pushed the boat off the bank and into it he hopped, using his own strength to row it ahead, should he need to save his energy for harder spells.

He had reached three quarters of the way there before the first protection spell was to be found. It was a simple confounding spell, meant to make him lose his way and instead make him sail back to shore, but Yuval knew better; he’d encountered many before on his trips, and knew to recognize them when he felt one take hold of his psyche. Another chant and another symbol drawn in the air granted him clarity of mind and eyes, and he reached the rocky shores of Aelion’s island with no further hindrance. Around he rowed to reach the side, find the cave that had been in some maps – there, further ahead, the crack in the rock was barely visible, and it barely fit his boat. Unguarded, long unused, but not entirely forgotten. He rowed within this cave until he reached the old passages, a spell got him through a few locked doors, yet another disarmed a trap, deeper in, and up the stairs, he stopped short of triggering an alarm. Some old style thieving skills took care of that one, and a spell or five removed the rest. But he was barely out of the underground passageways by then, and he knew the sun would soon come up. He had to make a choice. He could wait the day out in the passageways, but feared being missed in the city… he could risk it in the daytime and try to recover the crystal then, or he could try to rush through it now, and hope to be back in the passageways before anyone would see him.

Yuval pondered his choices quickly, but with care. Keeping up a spell to shield his appearance so he could move during the day would take a lot of energy and it might not fool higher wizards fully, so he would leave it as a last resort. He could not risk waiting until the next night. He would have to try and rush through.

His choice made, he peered out the passageway and into the dark storage chamber, and then quickly but carefully made his way out into the academy itself. The place was large, but having come through the lower levels, he was already much closer to where the crystal was likely to be stored – along with all the other magical artifacts. Reaching the vault was not difficult, stripping spell after spell of predictable wards, Yuval could not help but think the old wizards had gotten comfortable in their ways. When the large double doors of the vault finally opened for him, Yuval was left speechless. He’d often heard of the many treasures to be found there, but he had somehow not expected… this.

Wall to wall, floor to ceiling, the vault was filled with books and items that reverberated with magic. Some looked mundane, like the books and the knife, a ladle or a simple chair; some downright horrific, like the severed human hand burnt to a crisp, or the head with the sewn in mouth, with eyes that tracked every move; others yet were clearly magical, glowing with energy. Like his crystal.

There, further ahead, almost to the middle of the vault, was his crystal. Blood red, it glowed beautifully. Yuval no longer had eyes for the rest of the treasures when he saw it, and unable to stop himself, hurried at once to it. He knew something was wrong the moment his hand hovered over it. This was a magical crystal, yes, but it was not his crystal.

“You took long to come,” the voice came from behind him, old and crimped.

Yuval swerved to look at his old instructor, the one who had captured his demon, the same one who had kicked him out of the academy.

Did we not forbid you to return here? Ah, but I knew you would – for this.” Old boney fingers wrapped around a chain at his neck, and pulled from within the layers of his robes a crystal much like the one he’d just seen: Oval, multi-faceted, a bright blood red, but tainted with the ghost of some sort of black smoke. It moved within it, alive.

This was the right crystal. This was his demon, he could feel it.

“That is rightfully mine, old man.” Yuval said, licking his lips, eyes fixed on the crystal.

The old wizard let it rest against his chest, his other hand rested on a staff which seemed to hold most of his weight. “You still don’t understand the danger… ”

“He’s but a demon, I could tame him.” Yuval argued.

“Not any demon!” the high wizard argued, looking at him like he would any spoiled child. “Did you not see those eyes? The claws. The marking on his forehead-”

“I saw.” Yuval cut off, impatient.

It all spells death. It’s too strong a demon for a mere human to tame, let alone a child like you. It is amazing you could even summon it.” The wizard shook his head, tapping the crystal. “It feeds on us. Even now, trapped away, it is sapping my energy constantly. Every day it brings me closer to death, not even the best of us has been able to banish him back to whence he came.”

“Then give him to me. What do you care if he eats me to death? You know he’s mine by right, old man. Summons are bound, and I summoned him.”

And once he eats you alive, he’ll be free to destroy this world. No, my child,” the high wizard said. He raised the hand with his staff, mumbling the words of a spell, in the blink of an eye a ball of green energy exploded Yuval’s way. “I cannot allow it!”

Yuval barely had time to react, dodging sideways and rolling out of the way, he sprung to his feet. He did not bother with a staff, they were meant to focus your energy and make magic easier, but Yuval had long since learned to channel his power not through elements of power, but through his own hands. Fingers crackled with something akin to electricity, and he shot back. The high wizard blinked out of view and back into view again, just a bit away. It looked like he’d disappeared, but it was only magically-heightened speed. Two could play that game.

Green energy clashed against blue electricity, creating sparks, fighting for dominance. Magic blow for magic blow, they were matched.

“You’ve grown so much stronger,” the high wizard said. “Such a pity your talents are thus wasted.”

“Not wasted,” Yuval said as he dodged another green orb of power, this time skidding to the left, to where a sword was encased in glass. With an elbow he broke it, with the other hand he took the sword.

“No!”

Yuval leapt, the sword making an arch on the air as it came down and hit hard against the staff, raised just in the nick of time to prevent the blow from slicing the wizard clean in two, but Yuval could feel most the wizard’s magic was focused on not having the sword slice through the staff, and therefore himself.

You have no idea what you’re doing.” The old man rasped.

Oh, but I do,” Yuval called. He spared a hand from the sword to instead clasp his fingers around the necklace, catching the man off guard.

“No!”

Come forth –!”

The crystal cracked.

No!!” The high wizard suddenly stopped the spell. The sword, imbued with magic – both its own and Yuval’s – cut through the staff like butter… and through the old man’s shoulder, at an angle, reaching deep towards his chest. The man gurgled.

Yuval hadn’t expected the sword to cut so cleanly and easily through the old man. Surprised by this, Yuval’s spell had been interrupted, and though he ripped the necklace from the old man’s neck, the demon was not yet freed.

No… ” The old wizard’s voice came weakly one last time. “… Doom us… Fool… ”

Yuval stumbled back, carrying the sword with him. He had not really meant to kill the old man, and yet there he lay now, dying. He’d been willing to risk his own life to prevent him from recovering his demon.

“You’re the fool one, old man,” Yuval whispered, taking a few steps back. “You didn’t need to die for this.”

He turned on his heels and ran, crystal still held firm in his grasp.

Although Yuval expected the way back to be met with plenty a wizard ready to kill them, it seemed the old man had not bothered to raise an alarm, and the vault had likely served to hide the bouts of magic dispelled in the room – as it was designed to do. Holding tight to the crystal and the sword, Yuval ran all the way back to the passageway, knowing he was working against the clock as he could already hear the first stirrings of life. The boat came next, this time using magic to speed it back to the docks before he’d be noticed.

The sun was rising by the time he approached the docks, it meant people would be around already, the market likely setting up and the fishermen already setting out, so he took his boat further away from the docks, to the shore, and chose to walk from there. He hadn’t really left anything behind that he might need – some herbs and nothing else. He’d traveled light on purpose.

It didn’t really dawn on Yuval that he was still carrying the sword as well until he hit the shore and had to drag himself out of the boat, and the weight of the bloodied sword along with him. He looked back at it. He’d carried it as if in a trance, aware only of the crystal on his hand, and not what the other still held. He pocketed the crystal briefly, and ripped a piece of his under-robe to clean the metal of the sword. It was two-sided; silver, no doubt, with ancient runes carved in it. The hilt was thick and long, with a silver dragon winding over the wrapped leather, its wings spread to the sides to guard the hands, the dragon mouth open at the center, its tongue the blade. It was a two-handed sword. The pommel a beautiful engraved design on the outside, the bottom of it a ruby. Yuval was certain he could feel the dull hum of magic from it, and surely, if it was kept in the vault it was likely to have been important, powerful, or even dangerous. And now…

Now it was his.

Yuval took off his cloak to wrap the sword in it. He had nowhere else to carry it, had no sheath for it, and did not want to carry it in the open. He stuck his free hand back in his pocket and let his fingers play over the facets of the cracked crystal.

“Soon,” he promised in a whisper, starting to walk once again.

Shore gave way to forest, and Yuval kept off the main paths for a while, afraid of being pursued. Eventually they would find the old man, the missing crystal, the missing sword. It was a matter of time. He probably had nothing to fear yet, but he didn’t want to tempt fate.

As he walked through the forest to the next city, his fingers played with the crystal. He was half tempted to free the demon already, but he could not do it. Not yet, not so close to the wizards’ academy. He had to be patient and wait.

Soon, when they were safe.

Soon.

“Just a little more… ” he whispered to his demon.



Stranger in a Strange Land



On the next village, Yuval convinced a farmer who was heading to the capital to take him there, in exchange for help loading and unloading his goods and helping watch them on the road. His patience grew shorter as the miles separating him from the academy grew longer, but he knew he had to wait. Wait until they were at a safe distance. Wait until they were closer to home. How the road back felt longer than the road to the academy! Yuval saw pass city after city, an endless stream of roads. And every night, in every inn, he would pull out the crystal and caress it, watch every crack, watch the smoke within it swirl faster, more desperately.

“Soon,” he would promise every night. “Soon.”

It was in the city of Veel that his resolve broke. A small city, he had exchanged his services as healer for a room at the inn and some food and wine at the tavern. He’d gone to his room with a full belly and feeling quite exhausted, but still his fingers had found the crystal he always carried in his pocket.

Sitting on his bed by candlelight, he held out the crystal in his palm, and hovered the other over it. Eyes closed, he chanted words in the ancient language.

The cracks in the crystal grew larger and larger and at length the crystal shattered, the unexpected wave of energy that burst from it threw him back against the wall, taking his breath away for a moment and having him knock his head quite hard. The candles flickered with the force of the energy wave, but did not go out.

Yuval gasped in pain, hand coming up to rub the back of his head, eyes blinking away the momentary blurriness of his vision to instead focus slowly on the shape forming before his eyes. There, kneeling right before him, was his demon.

Curled on himself, the strong muscles rippled as the humanoid creature straightened… and cried with a bone-chilling roar. Yuval watched in amazement as the demon took in his surroundings; warily, slowly, the gold eyes stopped on Yuval, cat-eyes narrowing, recognition clear in them.

A knock came to his door, the hesitant voice of the innkeeper followed. “I-is everything alright in there…?”

The demon’s head snapped back to the sound and he hissed. Yuval acted fast. Loud and clear he called a “Just fine!” as he lunged for the demon, trying to cover its mouth with a hand. “Be quiet!” he called softly to the demon.

Obviously caught by surprise, the demon bit the hand and swiftly pulled Yuval off him, sending him flying across the room again, though not with as much force as one would expect such a beast to have.

Yuval gasped again, not bothering to get up at all this time. Instead, he raised his hands to draw some runes in the air. They lit up and disappeared as the spell took effect: no one outside the room would hear anything happening within it. A dangerous move for sure, for if he lost control of the demon no one would hear his cries of help… but it wasn’t in Yuval’s plans to be crying for help – nor to lose control.

When his gaze focused back on the demon, this one was stalking towards him, hand reaching out readily to rip out his heart.

Stop!” Yuval called in the ancient tongue.

The demon stopped, gaze considering him.

“I summoned you,” he said, “You are to obey me.”

I obey no one,” the demon hissed, his fangs showing, again stalking closer.

Yuval’s eyes widened a bit. “I command you to stop.”

“Why should I?” the demon didn’t stop.

Despite a sudden surge of fear, Yuval thought this was… “Interesting… ”

The demon was night right in front of him. He grabbed Yuval by his robes and lifted him up as if he weighed nothing.

Stop-” Yuval called in a gasp, now slightly panicked. Would this really be his end? Could he really not control his summon…?

The claw came down on him…

“STOP!!” Yuval did what he never thought he would have in the face of death: he closed his eyes.

The claw stopped at his chest, nails barely ripping the skin, enough to draw a bit of blood, but not to wound seriously. Yuval’s eyes slowly opened, breath coming hard. Blue eyes met gold.

Both stared at each other in silence. Yuval in surprise. The demon in astonishment.

Gold eyes went from those blue eyes to his claw and back again, and Yuval’s gaze couldn’t help but follow. The demon gritted his teeth and seemed to be making an effort to do… something… but nothing was happening.

Yuval let a shuddering breath, followed by a soft chuckle, which turned into a slightly hysterical laughter. Oh, that had been close! Thank the gods, some part of the summoning spell seemed to have taken hold – his demon would not be able to harm him even if he’d wanted to.

Of course, the laughter only angered the demon more, who gripped at his robe with both hands now and shook Yuval hard.

“Why are you laughing?!”

The mundane words made Yuval laugh all the more, despite not wanting to upset his demon.

“I am- sorry,” he gasped softly, trying to calm himself, hands slowly coming to rest tentatively over the demon’s. “Please, put me down.”

There was hesitation on the demon’s gaze, anger flaring still, also confusion… but he placed Yuval back down on his feet, slowly and reluctantly releasing him.

My name,” Yuval began as the demon released him, reaching down to straighten his robe, trying to regain some of his composure, “My name is Yuval, and I am your summoner.”

Means nothing to me,” The demon snarled.

“It means, for one, you will not be able to hurt me, as you’ve well just seen.”

Again those fangs showed briefly. Yuval shivered despite himself.

Perhaps we’ve started this ah… relationship with the wrong foot.”

“Why did you bring me here?”

Why?” Yuval blinked at the unexpected question. “Well, to aid me.”

“Send me back.” The demon hissed. Though he did not bother to reach for Yuval again, he did stand right before him, chest to chest, hovering slightly, just a head taller than him.

Yuval opened his mouth to say he wouldn’t, thought better of it despite the certainty that he could not be harmed, and said the next best truth. “I-I can’t.”

Another snarl and this time the claws ripped through his clothes once more as they grabbed for him. “Can’t?”

It’s a one-way spell I’m afraid,” Yuval said, “Even if I could use a spell to send you elsewhere – and they are incredibly hard to come by and perform, mind you – then there’d be no telling if I could even send you back to your own world.”

“Try!” the demon roared, shaking him a bit again.

Yuval licked his lips. “I can’t. I am sorry, but you’re stuck with me.”

Another roar followed, this one carrying no words. The demon released him harshly and turned away.

Yuval stumbled but kept to his feet. He gave the demon a good long moment to come to terms with all this, watching his heaving back with interest. Who knew demons had this kind of… feelings? His interest grew once again. So, not the beasts they thought them to be. Certainly they could talk, obviously more than basic words. Clearly had a violent streak… could anyone blame him for it though? Yuval figured he’d be fairly pissed too if he were to be ripped from his world and thrown into another. But this… this made things much more interesting. He’d summoned the demon expecting no more than an obedient pet to do his bidding. Could it be he’d gotten more than he’d expected?

At length, he said. “What is your name?”

“… Amath,” he answered, turning back to him.

“Amath,” the wizard repeated, thoughtful. “Are you hungry? Thirsty perhaps?”

The demon turned fully to him again, squinted. Yuval felt the piercing gaze as if it were reading right through him. Slowly, the gold eyes looked him up from head to toe.

“Yes,” the word came slow, almost thoughtful. “Yes,” he repeated with more certainty.

“What do you eat?” Yuval asked.

“Meat,” came the answer.

“Raw, or cooked?”

The demon cocked his head, he looked at him with some anger still, but clearly the hunger was winning over.

“Don’t care,” the demon turned away again, this time surveying the room carefully.

Yuval nodded. “Let me fetch something,” he slowly moved towards the door. “Do not leave, you’re… different,” he waved a hand at his own ears and face “You will scare people, there’s no need to cause unnecessary ruckus, do we agree?”

The demon didn’t answer. He merely watched Yuval as the man slipped through the door. Once outside, and just in case, he placed a locking spell on the room; though he had little doubt the demon could easily go through the wooden door if he wanted. He hurried downstairs to request a couple plates of food to be brought up and, not wanting to leave the demon alone for long, hurried back up.

The only difference he found when returning to his room was the position the demon was in. He’d moved to the bed and sat there, watching the door, and thus now Yuval, intently.

It’ll be brought up shortly,” he promised.

A bit unsure on what to say, he fell silent, and the demon made no effort to make conversation. Since the demon was watching him up and down with such shameless intensity, Yuval gave himself permission to do likewise. His eyes stopped again at those pointed ears, went down the strong body. The demon’s clothes were not much different from their own – perhaps a little more… rough, the sewing less delicate, more functional. Yes, functional, that was the word. The trousers were tight but comfortable for fighting; the top had no sleeves, the front open to his mid chest. The color was dark enough to hide blood. The arm braces were made of leather, a rust color and worn, having seen some action already. Were those claw marks he saw? The arms were resting on strong thighs. His eyes went back to the demon’s tight trousers out of their own accord, trying to get an impression of what could be hiding beneath.

When his gaze drifted back up to the demons, his breath caught. A small smirk spread on those lips, enough to show sharp fangs. Clearly he’d been caught looking a bit too much. The demon’s gaze traveled briefly down to his own groin, further hidden than his by the long robes, then rose again, a brow cocking.

So, Yuval thought, at least in that they spoke the same language… He wondered if he should be thanking the gods again that the demon did not seem inclined to rip his head off for watching him like that.

Thus they waited, having a slight staring contest, until a knock on the door and a call signaled the food was finally there.

Yuval went to the door, blocking the way in and grabbing the tray from the man, thanking him plenty and closing the door with his foot. He had barely turned around that the demon was on him, taking the first out of two plates of meat from him and quickly taking it away.

Like an animal, Yuval thought as he set the tray with the other plate and the drink aside. But animals did not speak, did not behave quite like this demon did. He watched the other devour a piece of meat, enthralled by the sight. One couldn’t quite call it gruesome, but it was certainly slightly discomforting to watch. He tore at the larger pieces like a starving beast, and yet at the same time, some form of manners seemed to be present… It was an odd mix of barbaric and civilized.

“Is meat all you eat?” he asked.

Amath looked back over his shoulder. “Is it all you eat?”

Point taken… ” Yuval said with a sigh, though it hadn’t really answered his question. “I understand this is a… difficult time for you, but I’m trying to be polite here. I’d appreciate if you were as well. Or should I really think you are a demon?”

The other turned fully to him this time. He slowly went back to the bed and sat, resting the plate on his lap and taking another piece of meat. “Demon? Where I come from demons have blue eyes. Demons kidnap people. Who fits that description here?”

Yuval sighed again. He was silent while the demon finished his first plate of food, then reached for the tankard on the tray, extending it out to him.

“Here, something to drink.”

Amath took it from him with one of those wary glances, sniffed at the contents distrustfully, gold gaze still on Yuval.

“What is it?”

Ale,”

The demon sniffed again. Took a sip. Took a drag. Downed it all in one go.

Yuval brought the other plate of meat closer. “Would you like some mo-” the demon snatched it from his hand “…-re…? I guess you do.”

Yuval watched the demon – no, the man – eat in silence.

Amath ate his entire share of food without a word, gaze pinning Yuval down the entire while. When he was done, he licked his fingers clean.

“What did you need my help with?”

Pulled out of his trance, Yuval asked, “What?”

“You said you called me for my aid. What did you need help with?”

“Oh… well… p-protection, I suppose… ” he said vaguely.

Amath got to his feet, slowly walking up to him, setting the plates and empty tankard back on the tray.

You suppose?”

Yuval swallowed and, as Amath gained on him, took a few steps back until his back met the door and he could go no further.

“Well, you see… it’s a funny story… ”

“Make me laugh,” Amath drawled.

Well… I uh- when we wizards reach a certain age, you see, we do a summoning ritual.” Yuval licked his lips slowly, trying hard to hold the demon’s gaze, not to seem as intimidated as he felt. It was hard to remind himself this demon – man – couldn’t really hurt him. Somehow he wasn’t quite as sure and cocky about his magic being strong enough to hold him back if he needed to. “We don’t know who or what we summon or from where. The spell isn’t really specific… You can’t pick and choose; you get something, or ah- someone, according to your own strength. It’s really quite random. The creature or umh- person… is supposed to be bound to us to do our bidding… ”

Amath hissed in response, but did not interrupt otherwise.

Usually, this umh… ‘friend’, helps us in all we need. Protection, spell casting, whatever their forte is… ”

“So, you called me… because you’re useless.”

Yuval twitched. He opened his mouth to protest, but the other was not done talking. He raised a hand to bring it to Yuval’s neck, and though the grip was slightly painful, it was not really going to be deadly.

You called me forth because you’re a weakling. You rip me from my family. My people. My duties… ” He hissed again. “All because of some whim?”

Yuval had to take comfort in the demon being unable to hurt him, because he knew that what he’d said simply sounded just… wrong. Like something they should definitely not be doing. It had never really occurred to him after all that whatever they summoned might actually come from a different world, have had a life before being ripped from them.

Sighing, Yuval brought his hands up, one to rest on the hand at his throat, the other to tentatively touch Amath’s cheek.

“I am sorry,” he said with honesty, thinking it was best he left out the fact that this had been a dare, and he’d still been too young when he’d done the summoning. “I did what I was supposed to, I didn’t know best. Most creatures that are summoned, you see, are not like you. They’re beasts, don’t speak, are only intelligent enough to be controlled. I will try and find a way to help you back – I can’t promise I will find it, but I will try, if you will stay with me.”

Amath scoffed and slowly released him. “Have I a choice?”

“You do,” Yuval said, “But you will find few people who speak your language here, and who will not want to kill you on sight.”

“I could kill them first,” Amath said, almost sounding proud about it.

Yuval patted his hand “I have no doubt,” he agreed “And then more would come. You would be forever at war with the world, and then what chances would you have of getting back?”

Amath watched him carefully, and Yuval held his gaze until it lowered to their hands. Realizing he was still holding the demon’s hand, he pulled back.

“What do you say?”

“Until I find something better,” Amath reluctantly agreed.

Yuval smiled, feeling slightly triumphant at this. “Excellent. Then, for now, let us rest. It’s late, and tomorrow we must figure out what our next step will be.”

Amath merely nodded. Yuval watched him retreat again, back to the bed, to take place there without even asking. Once more he opened his mouth to protest, thought better of it, and instead said, in a slightly demanding tone, “Make room for me.”

The demon glared his way.

“Fine,” Yuval said, “Don’t, and I’ll sleep badly and be unable to help you in the morning.”

He waited while the demon pinned him with his gaze, but he scooted aside at last. Yuval blew the candles as he passed them and slowly slipped in bed next to him, wondering if sharing a bed had really been a good idea after all. Despite his misgivings about it, he found himself tired enough, physically and emotionally, to fall asleep within minutes of closing his eyes.





The Body Knows



Amath turned the wizard’s way when he heard his breathing settle not too long after laying down; despite the darkness of the room he had no troubles making out his features, his eyes easily adapting.

How long had he been sealed away? Amath was no idiot, though he had only seen Yuval briefly upon his summoning, he could clearly tell he was not the same, that time had passed – and apparently plenty of it. The wizard had grown; grown in height, grown in muscles, even his blond hair had grown longer, had grown paler. Did time pass differently here? How to measure how long it’d been away? It had felt like an eternity. It still felt just… wrong.

He had not told this young, stupid wizard about it, but his body was still hurting, was still sore, his energy felt drained. He was exhausted. He was exhausted but he couldn’t sleep. He loathed admitting it, but he was a little afraid to close his eyes, to find this all was a dream and he was actually still sealed away. Though it would have been nice to find all of it was a dream, and he was still at the temple…

He let a soft, heavy sigh. But that, he knew, would not happen. This was very real. He had really been taken from all he knew for… nothing? Amath wanted to blame this human, but he really couldn’t, not if the randomness of the summoning was true, and the other hadn’t struck him as a liar. At least, his words hadn’t seemed like a lie. His heart beat had not spiked, his pupils had not dilated, he’d not started to sweat profusely; he’d seemed honest in saying that he’d not purposefully called him forth, and that he could not guarantee a return.

The soreness on his body reminded him once again of that time spent in limbo. His body still thrummed with the ghost pain. Amath closed his eyes briefly and wished it would just stop hurting. He took a deeper breath to try and calm himself, and was rewarded instead with the human’s soft scent, fresh like a summer rain. It wasn’t unpleasant, and that angered him again. Why should this human smell so well? Why should he be reminded of the hunger that still ate away at him? The meat helped restore his body, but what restored his soul was something else… and while he wasn’t inclined to think he’d be denied, certainly not after the look Yuval had given him earlier, he was still upset at the thought of having to do anything such with him, if only because he was the one to blame for this whole mess.

But he would have to do it. And he would have to come to terms with it, likely before another night passed.

Tomorrow, he decided. Tomorrow, he would tell him.

Amath closed his eyes and tried to let the human’s steady breathing lull him into sleep. He opened them again what felt like seconds later, but had clearly been longer: sunlight was now streaming through the cracks on the window blinds, and yet he felt no more rested than when he’d gone to bed… and much hungrier.



Hunger



I’m hungry… ”

In his dream, Yuval sighed contently. His lovely demon sneaked a hand under his robes, pushed the light trousers lower, wrapped fingers around his need, exploring it.

Will you feed me?”

The sharp nails, careful too in their exploration, added an extra sensation of danger at each thrust and made him shudder. A soft moan escaped his lips, and his hips lifted with each new move.

His dream-demon looked up, smiled, his fangs tempting him. What would they feel like? What would they feel…?

Do you want my mouth?” his dream-demon asked, always knowing just what he wanted, and all he could gasp out was a ‘yes’.

Yes, he wanted it. He needed it. He was so hard already…

Obedient like only his dream-demon was, he took him in his mouth. The fangs graced the skin, made him shiver in utter pleasure. Oh! That felt so good… so much better… so much better that he’d ever imagined… It was an effort not to lose control right then and there. Instead, he grasped at his dream-demon’s hair and moaned, thrusting tentatively to that mouth.

He felt a hand pull the trousers further down, and then caress up his thigh, higher, higher – and then lower, dipping down around his hips and under his buttocks, squeezing one in encouragement for him to thrust, and then lower still to press to his-

Yuval’s eyes snapped open with a gasp, and a loud call of “Whoa!!”

He really had to be thankful for the demon’s quick reflexes, for he pulled back enough not to hurt him at the same time Yuval, not thinking straight, had pulled away. Pulled back from very sharp fangs and very sharp nails far too close to all-important nether regions…

J-just what…?” Yuval gasped.

Amath rose a brow, sitting back on his haunches. “Feeding.” He said. “You said you wanted it.”

Feeding? He’d said…? Yuval blinked. So that hadn’t been a dream?

Oh,” Amath smirked, and Yuval’s cock, which was still standing proud, seemed to twitch in response. “I see. Were you having a good dream?”

Yuval’s face turned bright red, easy to tell when the man was already rather pale.

“O-Okay, start over-”

Amath tilted his head, then reached in to touch him.

Though tempted, Yuval held out both hands to stop him. “No, no, I mean- start over with what you were saying. With the feeding.”

“Oh. I said I was hungry and you were to feed me. After all, you summoned me here, so it should be your responsibility.”

Just how were you feeding?”

“Energy. Exchanged through intimacy.” Amath said calmly, “Can we carry on now? You’re hard and I’m hungry.”

Though he had a thousand more questions about it all, Yuval could not help but agree with a small nod. He watched Amath lean back in, and added quickly “But ah- don’t go touching back there.”

Despite a brow rising, the demon did not complain, taking him back in his mouth without another word. Yuval moaned again and leaned back in bed, letting himself enjoy this – after all Amath said he needed it. He could only oblige… He moaned one more time and threw his head back as the demon’s lips slid lower on his member, taking him deep, skilled tongue pressing to all the right places. The fangs made him shudder in ecstasy whenever they brushed his skin. His hands, in response, tightened on the bed sheets. He was so lost in his pleasure he did not think to warn him about how close he was; instead he thrust, again and again, following Amath as he bobbed his head, until he was spilling hard in that warm mouth, a loud cry of pleasure escaping his parted lips.

He panted, and suddenly realizing what he’d done, gasped, looking back down just in time to see the demon pull back, licking his lips. “Sorry, I was too… ”

“I need more.”

“What?”

“I want to take you.”

Yuval stared for a moment. Amath didn’t repeat himself; instead he reached for Yuval’s hand to bring it down to his own groin, making him feel his cock, already hard beneath those trousers. Yuval gulped. The man felt… big. He was not really used to being on the receiving end of relationships, not that he’d had relationships as much as one night stands… but certainly what he was feeling was both frightening and enticing all at the same time.

His hand closed over the hardness he felt and he stroked, eliciting a moan from his demon.

What if I don’t let you?” Yuval asked, taunting, gaze glued to the demon’s. “What if I take you instead?”

Amath gasped and, in a sudden motion, pushed Yuval back down against the pillows, pinning him under his weight, face inches from his own.

“Tradition,” Amath called, hips rubbing wantonly to that hand. “Have to earn the right.”

“How?” Yuval asked, feeling his body stir anew with interest, stroking the man fast through the clothes, then eagerly trying to move both hands to remove those annoying trousers.

As soon as Amath’s need was freed, and before Yuval could even catch a glimpse of it, the demon pulled away and quickly flipped Yuval on his stomach as if he weighed nothing.

Yuval gasped. “Ah- wait!” he called, not ready, but a finger was already pushing in, and Yuval had to conjure up some lubrication with a quick spell, lest he regret it terribly shortly… What Yuval had feared most ended up being quite a surprise: though the demon’s nails could be sharp and deadly, they were not long enough to cause discomfort or hurt him, so long as Amath was careful and gentle. And Amath was surprisingly gentle, guiding one, then two fingers in, focusing on stretching him rather than pleasing him, yet still managing to make Yuval gasp in pleasure.

As soon as the demon judged him ready, the fingers were replaced by the demon’s hard member; he pushed in, slow but deep. Yuval groaned. The tinge of pain at being stretched further in this way somehow made him even more aroused.

“Should I stop?” Amath’s soft breath came right by his ear and sent shivers down his spine.

Don’t you dare,” he gasped, pushing back against him. He felt those lips pull back, a sharp fang graze his ear in what was almost a loving nip. Yuval was sure the other was grinning again. Had he not been otherwise distracted, he would have been inclined to wipe that smirk off his face. Instead, he moaned again. “Ah, Amath… ”

Amath thrust hard and slow in him, angling his hips just so, hands gripping his hips to steady them.

In response to this new angle Yuval gasped and groaned, his lover hitting that spot inside him that drove him wild with pleasure. His need, hard once more, hardly found enough release as it rubbed to the bed. When one of Amath’s hands finally reached around him to stroke, he rewarded him with another call of his name.

The demon’s pace fastened, the thrusts became shorter. He neither warned nor asked, hips moving back and forth until he reached his peak, until he was releasing deep inside Yuval. “Ah!”

Yuval in turn cried in abandon, meeting each thrust, not taking long to follow with a second orgasm.

Each busy with their own high, neither consciously realized the power that was surging between them, the link that formed, the tie that now bound their fates together.

Later, lying panting in bed, now starting to feel a bit sore, Yuval asked, “Did you get your fill?”

Amath only smirked and squeezed a buttock in response.

***

Yuval felt nice and clean after a relatively long bath – and a small healing spell to get rid of any soreness. He’d foregone his travel robes for a simpler shirt and trousers set he’d purchased in the capital city, and which were currently the cleaner set of clothes he owned. He re-entered the room, feeling surprisingly energized after their joining. Amath was just where he’d left him: in bed, sleeping soundly. It didn’t seem like the demon had gotten much sleep the night before and so he didn’t dare rouse him, yet the fact remained they needed to make plans, whether to try and find a way back home for him or not.

For now, though, he decided to let him sleep. Rummaging on the small bag of belongings he now carried, he made quick note of what they’d need.

Clothes. The demon would need at least one change of clothes, if nothing else than for the sake of being practical. A cloak for the colder nights wouldn’t hurt. He would also need to find some sort of item the demon could carry close to his head, and to which he could attach a simple spell. Something to hide away those demon features from prying eyes. Yuval glanced back to the bed briefly, assessing the man. Perhaps one of the earrings he was already wearing would do. He’d have to ask him when he woke.

Looking back to his few belongings, his eyes stopped on the bundled sword. He looked around. There wasn’t much in the room, the bed, a trunk he had not used and an old, worn out desk. He brought the sword on top of it and carefully un-wrapped his cloak from around it, sitting down so he could observe the runes inscribed on it with more detail. The sword still looked new, the blade in perfect state, glistening. A finger ran over one of the edges, and he quickly pulled it back, a line of blood now on his skin. He brought the finger to his mouth briefly. Slowly, with enough care not to let the edge cut him again, he let his fingers feel every inch of the sword, every crevice and bump, and try to feel the magic within it… for given the place he’d found it on, it had to be magical, and probably dangerous. And yet he couldn’t really feel anything.

Hey!” It wasn’t so much the call that startled him, but the demon’s hand on his shoulder, pulling him back in a harsh motion. His hands left the detailing on the sword and Yuval blinked up at him. He hadn’t heard him wake up.

“Yes?”

The demon’s eyes narrowed.

“What is it?” Yuval asked, frowning. “What’s with the look?”

“You were in a trance.”

Yuval’s brows rose, he scoffed in mild amusement. “Nonsense, I was just too focused.” Wrapping the cloak around the sword once again with the utmost care, he added, “Since you’re awake, let’s deal first with how to get you to not be killed on sight.”

Amath was still looking at him funny, but Yuval ignored him. He held out his hand. “Give me a couple of your earrings.”

“What for?” he asked in clear distrust, arms folding on his chest.

“As it should be obvious, you look somewhat different from us. If you go out looking like this, people will be all kinds of troublesome, so I’ll cloak your looks with a simple spell.” He explained, watching as Amath reluctantly reached up to remove two of his earrings. “It won’t be too strong. It will fool average humans for sure, probably even lesser magical attuned people and town-witches too, but any half-decent wizard will see through it, so we’ll have to try not to cross paths with many of those, hm?”

Amath dropped the little loops on the wizard’s hand.

Gold, as I thought. This will work just fine. Spells take to gold a lot easier, and for longer periods of time.” Yuval set them on the desk a distance apart and brought his hand to hover on one, mumbling an incantation under his breath. He felt the magic surge from his palm to the item, then did likewise with the other, mumbling a different incantation for that one. When he was done, he held them back.


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