[Disclaimer] Everything Twilight belongs to Mrs. Stephenie Meyer, I just borrow her characters to distract myself from reality.

**Conquest of Ares**

The air around me was sticky and overcrowded by the repulsing stench of unwashed people and fear. I hated both of it and I hated the curses the crowd kept yelling even more. The poor man, almost still a boy had his head turned down to the dried wood underneath his feet and I was grateful, so unbelievingly grateful that he wasn't looking at me right now. Even if I wished so desperately to see the bright green of his iris for a last time. If I would though it would rip the earth under me open and pull me downwards to the deepest corners of hell. It was the place I deserved to end. The devil had taken hold of my soul and planted the evil seed of a forbidden desire inside of it. Soon I would meet him. Soon we would both meet him. This was the very end and it wasn't a happy one. Stories like ours are not meant to have a happy ending. But I need to begin with the beginning and not the end for you to be able to understand things fully.

Every story is supposed to begin with its beginning but in a way our beginning began with an end as well. Maybe that was meant to be like a warning from the higher powers above but who knows? God is always trying to test our strength with the obstacles he keeps throwing at us during our time here on earth and meeting Edward was most likely his greatest test for me. I failed it in any possible kind of way.

My wife Maria had died in childbirth after suffering screaming and whimpering for three days and nights. The child, a weakly 8 monthly had been given to a wet nurse who was trying her very best to keep the sickish new born alive. Not that it mattered to me anyway. I had barely taken more than a quick look at the little girl and felt only little tenderness when I circled my fingertips over the blonde curls on her tiny head.

If it had at least been the heir my father so desperately expected me to produce for Whitlock Castle, maybe than everything wouldn't seem so terribly pointless to me. But the painful truth was that Maria had died for nothing. A daughter was not of any kind of worth for me. What in heaven's name was I supposed to do with her?

My heart cramped in my chest and during the nights I woke up covered in cold sweat, my hands gliding over the empty place next to me where Maria had slept for the last three years. Three years with nothing but a stillborn son and two miscarriages that occurred so early in her pregnancy that the midwife hadn't even been able to tell us if she had lost a son or a daughter.

I found a delusive comfort in the bitterness of the whisky and the sweetness of the wine, swallowing both of it down my sore throat until every feeling inside of my turned into a peaceful numbness.

Time passed, it always does, no matter how miserable you are. The winter came with the first icy winds and snow and I stayed inside my room for most of the time, only leaving its silence if my father forced me to attend a gathering until he eventually decided that I was no use for him in my constantly drunken state of mind.

On one of those winter mornings I woke up, shivering from head to toe because the fire had burned down almost completely in the fireplace.

Maria had detested the cold so very much. Always complaining that the rough winters we had here were too hard for her southern nature to endure.

I stood up from the bed, grabbing some freshly fallen snow from the window ledge, forming it into a ball between my fingers before letting it fall down on the ground.

The door to my bedchamber was pulled open and at first I could barely see more than a glimpse of coppery brown hair until the pile of dried wood landed all over the floor as the young man lost his balance.

"Forgive me, my Lord." He whispered, quickly kneeling down to pick up the pieces, throwing several of them inside the fireplace and stapling the rest of it next to its side.

His hands were quivering and I assumed that it was because he was afraid of the possible punishment his awkwardness would bring for him. Maria had never had much patience with servants and serfs, using the whip on them for the slightest of a mistake to put them into their place. Maybe somehow under her beautiful surface my late wife had a cruelty underneath the warm smile.

I didn't want people to be afraid of me. This house was my home and not a battle field where you had to kill your enemy in order to survive. There was so much blood on my hands and although most of the men I had killed during my fights were heathens, they were still human beings and some of their faces tortured me during my never ending nightmares.

"Are you well, my Lord?"

The sound of his voice made me look up again and I blinked into a pair of very clear, deep green eyes.

They looked like fresh grass in the spring.

They looked like the gemstone in my mother's favorite brooch.

But above all they looked way too questioning for my personal liking.

"My Lord?"

"Everything is fine. Fetch me some more wine before you go back to your other shores."

No, my Lord,"

I grabbed him roughly around his throat, pushing him back against the stone wall behind him.

"How dare you speak to your Master in that tone? I should make them cut out your tongue for that, you worthless…,"

"Forgive me, my Lord. But if you keep drinking that much you'll be dead before this month is over. The count sent me here himself to make sure that you take a bath and get a decent shave for a delegate of the King is coming here tonight."

I knew what that meant. Another war, he needed capable soldiers for. Maybe I would be blessed enough to die in combat this time. It would hopefully end all my pitiful misery and reunite me with my beloved wife.

The boy coughed and I dropped my hands from him, running them through my own greasy hair, trying to remember the last time I had washed it.

"Bring some hot water and soap then, quickly I don't like it when someone keeps me waiting."

"Yes, my Lord."

He rushed out of the room and I cringed when I saw my own reflection in the small mirror that was hanging next to the fireplace.

The man that looked back at me looked more dead than alive. My eyes puffy and red, my beard smeared with mucus and rests of food. I smelled of old sweat and the scent made my empty stomach heave until I tasted bitter acid in my dry mouth.

I was just about to step out of my filthy clothes when the boy returned again, placing a wooden tub in front of the fireplace, filling it with several mugs of steaming hot water.

"You should get in there before it gets cold, my Lord."

"Hmm," I mumbled, throwing the rest of my clothes carelessly on the ground.

"Burn them later," I instructed the boy, splashing some water on my tired face. There was some flowery scented oil added to the water and I inhaled deeply to absorb more of it.

He kneeled down next to the tub, rubbing up and down my back in small circles before lifting my left arm up to wash it carefully.

"You have so many scars all over you, my Lord." he whispered, rinsing the cloth in the tub to rub some heavenly smelling soap between his palms.

When he started rubbing them over my tensed shoulders a low groan left my throat. I had spent way too much time lying around in my chamber and now my muscles were stiff and sore.

"Keep going, boy. What's your name?"

"It's Edward, my Lord. May I wash your hair for you as well?"

I nodded my head and closed my eyes as he poured some warm water from a jug over my head, massaging a little piece of soap into the messy curls. His touch was gentle and light as a feather, almost like the caresses of a woman. I thought about how long it had been since I had touched the warm, wet flesh of a woman and my manhood twitched under the surface of the hot, oily water.

"I wished you would stop torturing yourself so much over the dead of Lady Maria."

"Watch your tongue, if you wish to keep it…Edward."

"Yes, my Lord. Forgive me, my Lord."

"You are too outspoken for a serf. Hasn't anyone told you that before?"

"It was more like they tried to show me where my place it."

He rolled his sleeves up and exposed several ugly burn marks to me before turning his attention back to my hair, rinsing the soap out of it before attempting to comb through the tangles.

"Your hair looks so much like that of Princess Rosalie's when it's clean. " He mumbled, rinsing the cloth in the water to rub it over my shoulder and down to my chest.

A shiver went down my spine and I inhaled sharply between my teeth, washing my stomach and my manhood with rough movements before I stepped out of the tub a moment later.

The boy, Edward, grabbed a warmed cloth and wrapped it around my hips, touching the jagged scar that was running down my left thigh for a split second.

"That's from your last tournament, isn't it? You fell down your horse."

I turned around, raising one eyebrow in confusion.

"How do you know?"

"I like watching you participate in the Games. It's so fascinating how you like…become one with the horse underneath you. "

There was a strange, longing tone in his voice and I fisted my hands through my hair before leaning forward to shake it in front of the pleasantly warm fireplace.

"I don't wish to be reminded of my failure. I lost control over the stupid horse that night and ended up with a broken leg. "

"I know, my Lord. I didn't mean to remind you about the accident. I'm sorry, my Lord. I really tend to talk way more than it is good for me."

I nodded my head and stepped into some clean clothes, feeling my stomach rumble hungrily. I couldn't even remember the last time I had a proper meal and suddenly I felt famished.

"Go down to the kitchen and bring as much food up here as you can carry—Bread…and some cheese…and chicken…and some vegetables if they have."

When Edward was out of the room I buried my face in my hands, rubbing my eyes and my temples. My head was throbbing and I guessed that it was a consequence of my massive drinking escapades.

I couldn't go on like that. It would be my way to my grave and I realized that the boy, that thinly, copper-haired boy had been the only person on earth who dared to tell me this ugly fact to my face.

Maybe that was what I needed right now; someone who was brave enough to tell me the truth, whether I wanted to hear it or not.

I needed to hear it.

Edward returned, placing a tray with food on the edge of my bed. His breathing came out raggedly, and I saw a tiny droplet of sweat running down his neck. It pleased me to see that he had hurried to bring my food here as quickly as possible.

"Princess Rosalie," I muttered, stuffing some chicken and buttered bread between my lips.

"Is that how they named that child?"

"Yes, my Lord. My aunt Esme is the child's wet nurse and she says the little one is doing great for one that was born before its time."

"Good,"

"Do you wish to see the child? I could ask my aunt to bring…,"

"No, I don't care for seeing the baby. What is she to me than a reminder of what I lost?"

"I know, my Lord. Maybe she would be a comfort to you in a way. She looks very much like you. She has your blond hair…and your blue eyes."

How do you know the color of my eyes, boy, I thought, dipping another piece of bread into a cup of fatty goat milk.

"Have you ever shaved another man, Edward?"

"Yes, my Lord. I helped my father to shave before he passed away from a fever two summers ago."

"Well, then I hope you won't cut me. Sharpen the knife and try to make a decent job. If I'll be content with your work, I may allow you to become my personal serf. Would you like that?"

He nodded his head and his cheeks turned into a bright crimson color. I wondered how old he was and when I asked him he told me that he was seventeen, almost five years younger than me.

I closed my eyes and felt how he added some slippery soap all over my jaw before shaving me carefully.

"You look a bit like one of those savages we're fighting against or like one of those ancient Greek gods. Ares…you'd definitely could be Ares. He was their God of War."

"How come you know of such things? That's nothing they tell about in church, don't they?"

"No, my Lord, surely they don't. I don't think Father Peter would approve of such kind of literature. My father was a scribe and read all the ancient works from Homer to me when I was a child. I always favored them to those of the bible."

"Do you ever think before you speak, boy?" I asked him, as he wiped the rest of the soap from my now clean shaven chin.

"Not enough, my Lord. It's probably a big mistake about my character. At least that's what my aunt and my uncle both keep telling me all the time."

"It's refreshing. I wish for you to tell me what you think…always, as long as you happen to do it respectfully. Are we clear about that, boy?"

"Yes, my Lord, we are. Are you sure I can eat the rest of your food? You may like to have some of it later."

"If I wish so, I can always order for something new. You need to eat for you are way too thin. Aren't they giving you enough to eat?"

"My uncle kind of hopes it will help to keep my tongue in check if he sends me to sleep without supper every other day."

"Well, it doesn't seem to work that good. So, please, eat before you say something stupid again and I'll feel the need to punish you too."

He munched the entire cheese and the rest of the bread down before taking some greedy bites from the chicken breast. It had probably been a very long time since he had some meat, even if it was just white one and I watched fascinated how he licked the greasy fat from his lower lip.

His mouth was full and red, like that of a woman and my so very long neglected cock throbbed against my trousers no matter how hard I tried to ignore it.

"Anything else you need from me, my Lord?" he asked me, wiping his mouth on the back of his hand. His lips fascinated me. They looked way too soft to belong into the face of a man. I decided it would be better not to waste too many thoughts about that. It was ridiculous. What was a man's mouth to me?

"That's everything for now. I'll send for you in case I need your assistance. Tell my thanks to your aunt for taking care of the child. I'm sure…Rosalie is in good hands under her care."

I fell asleep again and when I woke up a few hours later my hand was wrapped around my hardened shaft. A groan left my throat as I started pumping my closed fist up and down my length.

Touching yourself was a sin but I was sure I was already going to hell anyway, so what did one sin more or less matter? My breathing came out in suppressed moans as I circled my thumb over the creamy wetness that was building at the head of my cock and I lowered my other hand to the heavy sack, fondling it roughly while I squeezed and rubbed my sensitive flesh. I closed my eyes and tried to picture my naked wife on me, her full breast bouncing up and down while she moved above me.

I couldn't endure the very thought of her. It was too painful and so, almost automatically another vision entered my mind. One that shocked me and yet made my cock twitch and throb against the fingers of my hand.

The soft, red mouth of my new serf…his rosy tongue licking his bottom lip…

With another loud groan I came all over my own hand, shaking all over from the intensity of my release.

When I managed to catch my breath again, I wiped my hands on the cold sheets and grabbed the bible from underneath Maria's side of the bed. It had been month since I had read it myself and so it took me a while to find the passage I was looking for.

"If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them."

I re-read the sentence three times before I ripped out the page, crumbling it between my sticky fingers before throwing it into the embers in the fireplace.

I was not a Sodomite, the very thought made me sick to my stomach but still…maybe it would be better not to let that boy get close to me, just to be sure.

XXXX

Keeping my distance from Edward wasn't as easy as I assumed it to be. He showed up to help me get dressed for the meeting with my father and the king's delegate. Every time his fingers touched against my bare skin, I felt my flesh breaking out in goose bumps.

"Have you ever met the King himself?" he asked me, closing the metal plate around my broad chest.

"Once or twice, but I haven't spoken to him. He's very old and practically deaf."

"That sounds like the perfect Master for me. He couldn't complain about me saying something wrong."

"I haven't complained about you too much."

"You threatened to cut out my tongue."

"I wasn't going to have it done. Torture in every kind of way repulses me."

"Good to know, my Lord."

"You will still speak your mind respectfully. I'm going to see my father now. When I return I wish my bed to be warmed by one of the housemaids…Nettie or Lucy…or better both of them."

"Do you need a whore?"

"I don't wish for you to use that word in their presence. Now and then a man needs some female company and as I don't feel the slightest desire to take another wife soon…willing women are the next best substitute."

He pressed his lips against each other, turning them into a tight line and swallowed hard before he nodded his head.

"Yes, my Lord. As you wish, my Lord. If a whore is what you need…I'll bring them into your chamber."

Entering the big hall, the laughter and growling echoed painfully in my ears. My father placed his hand on my shoulder, giving me an encouraging smile before he introduced me to Demitri who instantly reminded me of a snake.

"Have you already informed your son about the plans we have agreed on concerning his daughter's future? It must fill him with pride to know that the king has chosen…,"

"The king has chosen what?" I snarled at him, taking a gulp from the bitter beer in the precious silver mug in front of me.

"The king has asked for Rosalie's hand in marriage for his second born son and I'm highly pleased about this great honor."

I forced my lips into a grimace that was supposed to resemble a polite smile. In my opinion it was wrong to engage little kids. My parents had done the same to me and although my late wife and I had developed a deep liking in each other it had been tough at the beginning of our marriage. She didn't find much enjoyment in our marriage bed and as my urges for physical needs were strong, I very often searched the company of her handmaid Lucy who was desperate to please me in any way possible.

Still, whenever I left her small chamber, I felt empty deep within me. Emptiness I couldn't even put a name to.

"Jasper, aren't you going to say anything to the good news?" my father asked me impatiently.

"I feel honored and give my consent."

"My King will be delighted to hear that you agree to give your daughters hand to Prince Emmett in marriage."

"You actually know that the child could still die? Little children are so fragile."

"It's more likely that Prince Emmett will break his neck by climbing up a tree. The boy is a little bit too wild for a royal."

"Nothing wrong with that," I mumbled, taking another sip from the beer.

The rest of the evening passed in a bliss and I ended up in an almost frenzy-like state of mind, drinking myself into a delirium with tons of beer and some expensive liquor Demitri had brought with him as a gift from the king.

Stumbling back to my personal rooms, I ran into Edward who was just about to leave.

"What are you still doing here? I don't want to see anyone right now!"

"I'm sorry, my Lord. I brought the women, just like you told me to do. I made sure they washed before…,"

"Send the away! My mood is foul and I don't wish for someone to witness my misery. Bring me some wine and leave me alone."

"All the wine in the world is not going to bring Lady Maria back, my Lord and if you die what is going to become of all of us? Your father is old and will not have many more years to come."

I sank down against the wall and was barely aware of Edward wrapping his arms around my chest from behind, dragging me inside my bedchamber where he snarled at the two chattering girls in the bed. The sweetly scent of their perfume repulsive to me.

"Leave!"

"But Jasper…,"

"Can't you stupid gooses see that the Lord is sick? Get out of this room now before he loses his temper on you."

"Oh he could lose his temper on me anytime. Such a handsome piece of a man…"

"LEAVE!"

They giggled and grabbed their clothes from the ground while Edward helped me out of my boots.

"I need something more to drink. Go and get me some wine!"

"I could slice your throat. It would be a quicker death and surely less painful."

"Stupid boy, have you ever killed another man before with your own hands, Edward?"

He blushed and stuttered something I couldn't understand properly.

"Edward?"

"Well, I killed some chicken on my uncle's farm when I was a child."

"I assure you that taking a man's life is a bit different from cutting off some animals head before you stick it in your soup."

"Have you killed many people during your time in the holy land?"

I nodded my head and took the jug with chilled water from his trembling hands. He seemed nervous. Sure as hell he couldn't be brave enough to harm anyone.

"My Lord? Shouldn't I have asked you about that?"

"I don't mind. The answer is yes. I killed a lot of people. I saw men bleed to death under the metal of my sword. I witnessed the scent of burned flesh from the villages we burned down on our way south. There was a boy…not much older than twelve or thirteen who tried to steal my horse. I choked him to death with my own bare hands."

"He shouldn't have touched your horse. I know how much you care about it."

"The boy was someone's son and a horse is just a horse...no matter how much time you spend with it."

"They have trouble keeping Phobos at bay. No one dares to get close to the horse. He won't let anyone ride him apart from you."

"I will go and see him tomorrow morning. Do you wish to accompany me?"

"On that horse?"

"If you are capable of keeping up with us by foot feel free to run. You aren't fearful of that poor animal, are you?"

"More like fearful to break my neck. I've never ridden on one before."

"But you told me you liked watching me do it."

"I like watching you, because you are brave."

"I'm not half as brave as you think me to be. Riding is easy though, you don't have to be scared."

The tortured expression on Edward's face when we entered the stables on the next day made me laugh the very first laugh after all these dark months since Maria's dead.

"A horse is much like a woman, you have to earn their trust before they allow you to touch them."

"I don't get along that well with women. Maybe that's a sign; I shouldn't push my luck with the second one. The horse doesn't seem like it likes me being here."

"None sense. Give me your hand. "

"Will he bite it off?"

"I don't think so. Horses don't eat meat but maybe you'd taste good to him."

I laughed when I watched Edward getting chalk white around his nose. Grabbing my hand around his wrist I let the horse sniff his fingers before I started petting the huge head.

"Good boy, I'm sorry I haven't been here in so long."

"You talk to the horse?"

"I'm talking to you too and I'm not even sure you are capable of understanding everything I'm telling you."

"Yes, my Lord. Are you going to ride him today? It looks as if a thunderstorm coming."

"Don't tell me you are scared of those too? Are you a man or a wench?"

"I hope to be a man…some soon day. I just thought it wouldn't be a good idea to ride when we could get into the storm."

"A little rain has never done any harm. Give me the saddle and watch me adjust it. You need to learn how to do that yourself." I instructed strictly.

"Yes, my Lord." He whispered hoarsely.

I helped him up the horse and felt my skin starting to tingle when he wrapped his arms tightly around my waist, holding on to me for his dear life.

"Relax. You are making the horse nervous." And me too, I added silently in my head. His breathe was warm against my neck and when he realized after a few minutes that he wasn't going to fall down any time soon, he started talking cheerfully.

He had come to my father's court after his father's dead and I learned that his uncle was an assistant to the medicus, skilled in healing with all kinds of herbs. Their own child had lived shortly over a month and so his aunt had taken over the role as my daughter's wet nurse.

"Have you ever fought with a sword yourself?"

"Where would I have a sword from? I know how to fight with sticks."

"Let me guess. You tried to fight off the other chicken before you killed their sisters."

"Not really. I had a friend back home who showed me how to defend myself. He taught me a lot of…things."

"He should have come with you. We need good workers here on Whitlock Castle."

"His father was a free man. He married him off to some rich moron's daughter from the next village. Guess, he's happy now, but who cares?"

"You don't seem too pleased about that. Did you like that girl yourself?"

"I never liked a girl and sure as hell not that chubby cow with her wobbly breasts and wide hips."

"Have you ever coupled with a woman?"

"That's none of your concern, my Lord."

"I assume that means the answer is no, Edward."

"Please, my Lord. This is embarrassing for me."

A roaring thunder echoed through the woods and a moment later the first droplets of rain poured down on our heads, quickly turning into a heavy rain that soaked through the fabric of our clothes.

I guided the horse to a nearby cave and rubbed the sweat off of it with my tunic after pulling it over my head.

"Get out of the wet clothes and try to get some fire burning. You know how to make fire, do you?"

"Of course, my Lord."

He started piling some wood together and eventually after a few clumsy attempts he managed to get the fire burning, sitting down next to it with chattering teeth.

"Do you have some hidden desire to catch a fever? Get out of those clothes before you get sick."

"It's alright, my Lord. I…don't…mind."

"You are stupid, boy."

I loosened the strings of his tunic and pulled it over his shoulder in a swift movement, gasping for air as soon as I saw the jagged scars that covered his entire back. The wounds were completely healed and so I assumed it had been a very long time he had been punished so severely.

Automatically I reached out my fingers and touched one of the angry-red marks with my thumb, feeling him instantly tense under the touch.

"Are they still hurting?"

"Sometimes…most of all they are just very ugly. Please, don't keep looking at them. That's humiliating for me, my Lord."

"You are too stubborn for a serf. That's why you got punished so hard in the past."

"Believe me, my Lord. I have tried very hard to be…not so stubborn. It didn't work out that well for me."

I sat down next to him, wrapping my arms around my knees until the fire warmed my cold joints again. The boy was stupid, stupid for speaking up his mind when it was so very wrong to do so in his position. Yet, I could not think anything other of him than being incredibly brave for continuing to do so.

The thunder roared through the cave and I knew it would take a good while until we could attempt to ride back to the castle. Unable to sit down for long, I stood up again, grabbing my sword from the saddle, turning it around between my hands before I turned my attention back to the shy boy next to the fire.

"Get up." I instructed, pointing the blade of my sword towards him. "I'll show you how to fight while we're waiting for the thunderstorm to stop."

The green of his eyes widened as he hesitantly reached out his palm.

"Never try to grab a sword by the blade. It could slice through the muscles in your palm and cripple you for a very long time, if not forever. Do you understand that, Edward?"

"Yes, my Lord. I'm just a bit excited. I've never touched a sword before."

"It's just some metal. You need to remember that you are the one who holds the sword. The sword isn't holding you."

"I don't think I understand, my Lord."

"Maybe you will…one day. Give me your hand now. Yes, like that. Close your fingers around the shaft and now try if you can hold it upright."

"Gosh, that's heavy. It always looked so easy when I watched you using it in the Games."

"You've been watching the torments instead of attending your shores."

"No, my Lord…,"

"Don't lie to me, if you can't do it well."

A deep chuckle left my throat as I placed my own hand above his, moving the sword very slowly from one side to the other.

"When I was a young boy, I used to do the very same thing. It made my father furious that I preferred spending time watching them train the horses instead of paying attention to my studies."

"I bet you never had trouble holding a sword up."

"Don't be so sure about that, boy. Now, try it with both of your hands. Yes, that's better. See the moss at the left side of the cave?"

He lifted the sword and managed to hit the green moss, dropping the sword to the ground with a low moan.

"Again,"

Taking a deep breathe, he took the sword, taking several strikes against the thick moss until I grabbed his shoulder blades, forcing him to stand more upright.

"One leg in front of the other, Edward, it will give you a better stand."

"I will fall over."

"No, you won't. Now, try it again and try on focusing to hit the same place twice."

"I'd be a very bad soldier."

"Anyone can learn how to kill someone—in theory."

"And in reality, my Lord?"

"In reality most men tend to chicken out when they are forced to take another man's life."

"But you don't."

"That doesn't make me braver than others. I wished…well, I wished I had chickened out now or than. I would most likely sleep way better at night if I had."

He nodded his head and handed me the sword back. I adjusted it to the saddle again, rubbing my hand over the neck of the horse before grabbing the small bottle of wine from the other side.

"Have you ever tried wine, boy?" I asked him, handing the bottle to him. He shook his head and took a small sip.

"You drink like a maiden. Gulp it down like a man, if that's what you want to be."

He obeyed, lifting the bottle to his lips again but ended up coughing half of the content all over his chest. A fine reddish droplet trickled down his flat abdomen and once again an unfamiliar tightening made me feel sore deep down in my groins.

"So, you like watching me fight, don't you?"

"Yes, my Lord, very much to tell the truth,"

"It's flattering somehow to get admired like that. Most people don't really pay attention to the Games. My father thinks it to be a useless waste of time and Maria shared his opinion."

"She should have been proud of you, my Lord."

I sat down again and when he handed me the bottle of wine back, his fingertips brushed against mine.

"You keep looking at me, as if you'd know my very soul." I stated, cupping his jaw roughly in the palm of my left hand.

"And I don't even know if I still have one. I've sinned too much for one man." he whispering, leaning forward so that his breathe warmed my mouth even more than the flames of the fire.

"What does a boy like you know about sinning?" I muttered, holding my breath as he softly, oh-so softly pressed his lips directly against mine. This was bad, worse than killing innocent children and women, worse than lying to my priest during shrift, worse than…I could barely think of something comparably.

For a moment I was frozen, completely unable to pull back or do anything and so I remained perfectly still as his tongue glide into my mouth, teasing its insides in such a temptingly skilled way that my cock throbbed against my trousers.

"We can't do this, boy. It's a sin."

"But you want me, I can feel it." he moaned, licking the sweat from my bobbing Adam's apple while his hand moved over the bulge in my trousers.

"You are playing with the fires of hell. Do you know that?"

"I've seen places worse than hell could ever be. Let me pleasure you, my Lord. I'd pleasure you better than any whore ever could do."

I closed my eyes and leaned back against the cold stone walls behind me, feeling how his tongue circled over my broad chest, down to one of the tiny nipples that he suckled into his mouth. No woman had ever paid much attention to this part of my body and the sensations that spread through me were so overwhelming that I groaned out loudly, fisting my hands into the copper of his hair.

Fumbling my trousers open, I heard him inhale sharply between his teeth before kissing the head of my aching manhood with his soft lips. Inch by inch he sucked me into the wet heat of his mouth and I lost it.

"Your mouth is so…oh god damn it…don't stop."

He hummed around me and the vibrations increased the lust I felt from the roots of my hair down to my toes.

Then he pulled back, licking the drops of pearly liquid from the now purplish head, while his watery green eyes searched contact with mine.

"You can have me any way you want to have me. If you wish to take me…I'm all yours."

Take him? Like a sodomite? I couldn't do that to him. Could I? Christ, it was so difficult to think properly while his tongue rolled over my throbbing shaft, from the head down to my balls, fondling them with lean fingers.

"Your mouth is amazing….keep sucking me…oh yes…like that, boy…oh fuck…,"

I grabbed his hair in order to keep his head down. My eyes rolled back in my head and when I released with several spurts down his throat, he swallowed greedily around me, still holding me inside his warm mouth until my shaft finally softened completely again.

XXXX

How can I put into earthly words what Edward became to me, what I become to him and what the two of us become to each other? Whatever it was, it was too much, just too much. Being with him was like drinking too much wine, maybe even better.

In a way it was like suddenly having the son my late wife and I had so unsuccessfully prayed for, only that a father surely never felt this physical draw to his own flesh.

He was so thirstily for any possible kind of knowledge and it pleased me greatly to show him how to ride on a horse or the usage of the sword. After a few months his lean boyish figure turned into that of a man.

Oh and what a man, he became. He was brave and kind, always so kind. His green eyes were glowing at me in a never ending admiration and unconditional love.

No one had ever looked at me like that before and I felt a constant warm tightening around my heart whenever I met his gaze for a split second too long.

I cared too much for him. But how can you not care for the one person who sets a light in your soul like a candle in the darkness?

My life had been shallow and pointless until this green-eyed youngling had entered it so unexpectedly. We were both sinners and for I was the older one of us, I should have been the one strong enough to put an end to things.

But the truth was that I was weak, weak underneath my so strong and invulnerable appearing façade. I didn't want to lose the comforting joy his company provided me with. The physical pleasure the touch of his fingers and lips managed to ignite in my body. Every time I released inside the heat of his mouth earthshattering spasms rocked through me; turning every drop of blood in my veins into sparkling fire.

For a long time I hesitated to touch him intimately. It seemed so wrong to me but one early morning when his hardened shaft pressing against my thigh woke me up before sunrise, I reached out my hand and closed it around his twitching length.

He moaned and blinked into my face, his cheeks turning into a bright crimson color when he realized where my hand was touching him.

"You don't have to do this, my Lord."

"Jasper…I told you to call me by my given name when we are alone. Have you forgotten about that?"

"No…oh…oh…yes…I don't know."

"Such a bad memory at this young age," I teased him, rubbing my fingers down his thick shaft in a slow movement. The skin was warm and reminded me of precious silk when I moved my palm up and down his length.

"Oh God, you don't know how long I waited for you to touch me. Harder…oh please, touch me harder. "

I tightened the grip around his length and lowered my head, swirling the tip of my tongue around the moist head.

"Yes, oh yes." He groaned between his teeth, fisting his long fingers into the curls of my hair.

"What a glorious sight you are, my Lord. Can you try to take me deeper inside your mouth? Oh, just like this, more…please more."

I should have felt immense guilt for sucking another man's cock in my mouth but the truth was that the desires that rippled through me while I licked and nibbled his manhood caused my own length to twitch and wet the fabric of my trousers with warm pre cum. When he came, the salty taste of his release made me gag around him for a moment. I held the warm liquid on my tongue, savoring the unfamiliar tartness in my mouth before I swallowed all of it in one big gulp.

"Let me pleasure you, Jasper. I want to please you. Oh how much I want to please you, my Lord."

I closed my eyes and leaned back against the blankets but when he tried to roll me over to my side instead of taking me into the heat of his mouth his hands pulled down my trousers before cupping the cheeks of my backside between his fingers.

"No…not that. We can't."

"Has anyone ever touched you here before?" he whispered, circling his forefinger down the crack of my ass. A curse left my throat. Being touched here was wrong, dirty and so sinful. Yet it felt so arousing, making my skin tingle pleasantly.

"Edward…oh my God…what are you doing to me?" I moaned as I felt his tongue drawing down lines until he reached the tiny puckered rosette. He teased and licked it, sending sparks of ember through me and when he eventually pushed through the tensed ring of muscles my climax made my entire body tremble. Yes, I thought, oh yes, this pleasure is worth that you go to hell for experiencing it.

My father called me to his bed after not having been able to leave it for several days for another gout attack made his muscles too sore to get up without horrible pains.

"Sit down my son." He told me, petting the place next to him with his swollen fingers.

"It pleases me to see that your mood has increased during the last weeks. That boy, you are training as your pageant seems to have a good influence on you."

Oh father, if you knew. If anyone knew, it would be our death sentence.

"Edward would be a good soldier, I guess. Is there a specific reason why you wished to speak to me, father?"

"I am dying."

"The first time you told me that, I was still young enough to rock on your knee."

"This time, I'm serious. The pain…all this pain is so unendurable. If it wouldn't be a sin, I'd put an end to this misery myself."

"I won't help you ending your life."

"That's not what I wanted to ask you, son. Look, Maria has been dead for almost a year now and it's time for you to remarry. Whitlock Castle needs an heir. A man is nothing without an heir and I don't feel like I can die in peace without knowing you in the safe harbors of matrimony again."

"I don't wish to take another wife."

"What you wish is of none importance for the continuity of this house. You will take a wife as I see fit. My scripter has already sent a note to the Earl of Brandon, asking for the hand of his eldest daughter. She comes from a fruitful stock and will hopefully be able to provide you with many healthy sons."

I nodded my head and rushed out of the room, slamming my fists against the walls of my bedchamber until I felt Edward's arms around my waist, trying to pull me away.

"Stop this. You are hurting yourself."

"Maybe that's what I want to do. Maybe it will help me to forget how very little power I'm holding over my own life."

"He told you about the baroness of Brandon. As far as I know there are rumors about her that she has been cursed with the second face. She's a witch and had surely been burned if her father hadn't been of noble blood."

"I don't care for that wench. In fact I don't care for any womenfolk at all since you put your sodomite spell on me. I hate you! I can't even put into words how much I detest you!"

His mouth against mine was hard, suffocating my acid words midsentence while his hands cupped my manhood through the linen of my trousers.

"You are already hard again for me. Admit that you want me, that you want me more than anything on earth."

"Yes,"

My voice was nothing but a suppressed moan when I pressed him face forward onto the furs on my bed.

Tearing his trousers down his narrow hips, my fingers found the crack of his ass, rubbing it carefully with quivering fingertips.

"Do you really wish for me to take you here?"

"Oh yes, my Lord. So very much…,"

I searched for the small carafe with oil, dipping one finger into it before circling it over his sensitive hole. As I slowly pushed about an inch inside, he whimpered slightly.

"More…use more of the oil…oh God…deeper, use a second finger. Oh…oh…fuck…right there…right there."

It seemed difficult for me to continue breathing. His muscles were so incredibly tight around my fingers and I could only imagine how amazingly they would feel around my throbbing cock.

I couldn't wait any longer. I needed to be inside of him, buried in his hot tightness until both of us would reach completion.

Grabbing his hips with my left hand, I let some more of the scented oil drizzle all over my shaft and his puckered hole before pushing slowly forward.

Had he been tight around my slippery fingers, it was nothing compared to the way he milked my cock as I started thrusting back and forth, going deeper and deeper with every movement.

He swallowed me whole, melting my soul into a boneless nothing and when I spilled my seed deep within him, I knew that I was irrevocably his until the end of all times.

XXXX

The name of the traitor never made it to me and I assumed that like many bearer of bad news he had been killed for spreading them. I lied to my father and the priests, insisting that there had never been any sort of sinful relations between me and the young man who had spent so many nights in my company.

"He's like a brother to me." I told them, my face remaining a hardened mask while I felt the sweat pouring out of each of my pores.

"Well than you should pray for the salvation of his eternal soul."

"Edward's soul shouldn't be of anyone's concern. Can I see him now? The boy is the only one who is able to handle my horse appropriately."

"I'm afraid we can't do that, my Lord." Father Peter stated, pressing his bible against his chest.

"We have found him guilty for worshipping Satan the Lord of Darkness. He has confessed under torture that he's—a perverted sodomite and a warlock, both unforgiveable sins that call for the punishment of the fire."

"What kind of worth does his confession hold when it's given under torture?" I asked him, trying very hard to keep my voice calm. If I showed any sign of agitation, it would only endanger both of us even more.

"You are not to doubt the powers of the holy church, son. The boy will be burned by tomorrow night and you will stand and watch him go to hell like all sinners are destined too."

The scents of burning brushwood brought me abruptly back to the presence and my hand cramped tightly around the shaft of my sword. My plan was to take my own life the moment he lost his. I couldn't endure the thought to remain in a world without him in it. Hell would be an endurable place with him by my side. I always wanted to have him by my side.

Thunder roared angrily above our heads and a moment later the rain poured down on our heads, dousing the flames around the stake before they could reach my copper-haired soul-mate.

I didn't think, I acted, raising my sword and taking the life of the guard next to me and that one of the one to my other side. The entire ground around me was soaked in crimson colored blood before I eventually cut the ropes around Edward's wrists open, dragging the lifeless body over my shoulders.

How I managed to find the way to the cave again without my horse was beyond me but after searching for several hours I finally managed to find the path to it again. Laying him carefully down on some soft furs, I checked his breathing that rattled in my ears as I pressed my ear against his chest.

"Edward? Please say something. You have to continue breathing. Breathe for me, boy, just do it."

He didn't answer for a very long time but eventually he started coughing some black mucus.

"I thought you were Ares, Ares who had been sent to safe me."

"If I were a God, they wouldn't have tortured you this much. The thought of what they did to you makes me sick."

I tried to clean the wounds on his arms, unsure if my unskilled treatment wouldn't worsen the ulcerous cuts in his pale skin.

"You can't go back to your father's court now."

"Oh I sure could, if I felt a desire to be put to death by the hangman's sword. I'd rather die as an old man in my bed."

"That's nothing Ares would ever wish for."

"Probably because he's an immortal and doesn't have to think about the different options of dying."

"Most likely,"

I kissed his dry lips, lifting some water to his mouth to make him drink some of it, before I showered his face with feather light caresses.

"Sleep," I whispered, putting a damp wisp of his hair behind his ear, turning the coppery curl between my fingers. In the flames of the fire it reflected like precious bronze and deep within me was another flame, one that would never leave my soul again.