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Fic: Comes a Horseman 6/7

Hehe. Probably nobody believed in it anymore but Horseman goes on. :) And like I announced Part 7 is finished, I just wrestle with a tiny aspect of it so it will come to an LJ near you soon.

Comes a horseman 6/7

Summary: In the Bronze Age young healer-apprentice Jen is living a life of quietness. Though this may change once Jaret, leader of a barbarian horde, comes riding into his village.
Word Count: 7.145
Total word count so far: 37.702
Acknowledgements: Much thanks go to spinfrog and xkatjafx for beta-duties.

Previous chapters and full header to be found here

Chapter 6

While Jaret had kept on snoring blissfully Jen hadn't been able to find even a moment of sleep. Instead he'd stiffly lain next to Jaret, not even daring to move and do something about the sticky, dry mess on his thigh that not only spoke of his weakness the night before but also had begun to feel most unpleasant. Jen reckoned dawn would be breaking soon which hopefully meant the children were long gone by now. Of course that also meant their absence was to be noticed soon enough. So he just lay there, listening to every little noise coming from outside, when at the moment all he did hear was the frantic drumming of his own heart.

Jaret murmured something in his sleep and rolled over slightly, coming to rest on top of Jen again. Obviously unconsciously enjoying the feeling of the warm body beneath him, Jaret scooted closer and smacked his lips together like a content child. Strands of his dark hair tickled Jen's chin and Jen lifted a hand to brush them away but couldn't resist threading his fingers through the soft tresses.

The action seemed to wake Jaret whose eyes blinked open sleepily. "Mmmm," he moaned, burrowing his head into the area where Jen's neck and collarbone met. "Could get used to this."

Jen gave him an uncertain smile, wanting to see how much Jaret remembered and what kind of mood that would put him in. If Jaret either didn't remember or didn't attribute much to his odd sleepiness last night, in the midst of their coupling no less, Jen saw no need to remind him. He figured trouble would find him soon enough. .

Luckily for the moment Jaret appeared to be in a very good mood, nuzzling Jen's neck affectionately. "You taste…like the sweetest berries…better." Jaret's words were intermingled with hot kisses. And Jen felt the same heat rise within he'd felt when Jaret had touched him the night before. Almost unconsciously he moved his head to grant Jaret better access to his neck. Meanwhile Jaret's hands started to wander over Jen's body, encircling his waist before sliding down lower to stroke Jen's thighs through the fabric of his tunic. One of the hands sneaked beneath the hem of the garment and kneaded the bare flesh to be found there.

A moan escaped Jen and he could feel Jaret's soft laughter on his flesh more than he could hear it. Still as Jaret's wandering fingers travelled upwards once more, towards Jen's already hardening flesh, Jen closed his legs, trapping Jaret's hand there.

Jaret gave a low, throaty chuckle at the action. "Still my blushing, little virgin, hm. My bad for not being thorough enough last night. But I think I can do better this morning."

Jen gulped at the implication. While he expected Jaret to be a lot more forthright now that Jen had given in to his advances - or at least that's what Jaret had been lead to believe - he wasn't prepared to face the full consequences so soon. And this time Jen couldn't count on Jaret falling asleep before things would progress towards the point of no return. Jen wasn't even sure if his already overwrought nerves could handle that right now. Any moment someone could storm into the tent and accuse Jen of helping prisoners escape - or worse yet only trying to help. What would Jaret do then? For a brief moment - and not his proudest one, Jen had to admit, he wondered if Jaret were to look upon him more favourably if Jen pleasured him before?

Of course Jaret didn't know of the thoughts racing through Jen's head right then. His hungry mouth moved on till his lips pressed onto Jen's own. Once again Jaret's touch was gentle and teasing, coaxing Jen to open his mouth rather than demanding a forceful entrance. The gentleness had been Jen's undoing before. His own lips parted and Jaret's tongue slipped inside, initiating a slow duel with its counterpart.

Jen could feel Jaret's rock-hard manhood poking his leg and groaned. A man of healthy appetites in all things it seemed. Jen bit his lip, feeling his own member growing yet harder. All too well he remembered the pleasures Jaret's skilful touch had brought him not too long ago and at least one part of him was very eager to repeat the experience.

Just then a coughing could be heard, followed by a low voice calling Jaret's name. Apparently someone sought out Jaret's attention while not wanting to alert the whole camp to it. Jaret raised his mouth from Jen's to frown at the tent's entrance, the movements of his hands faltering. He looked both annoyed and confused at the interruption but Jen lay there frozen, any feelings of arousal instantly forgotten as he knew perfectly well what was to come. Soon enough Jaret's gentle touches would probably be nothing but a nice memory.

"What is it?" Jaret hissed angrily, loud enough to be heard outside.

Another cough followed, and then Tomin entered the tent. By the look on his face he wanted to relay his message as much as Jen wanted to hear it. Even though it would finally the answer the burning question if his plan had succeeded or not. Punishment would be worth it then, it had to be.

Tomin's usually impassive face reddened as his eyes fell on the display in front of him, and he averted his gaze.

Jen felt his own cheeks heat in return. He could only imagine how he must have looked right now, the way he was spread out beneath Jaret, lips plump and reddened from voracious kisses and tunic shoved upwards to expose the thigh Jaret's hand was still lying on possessively. For a moment he almost felt like the 'pretty little whore' he'd been called last night.

The only one remaining unperturbed by any feelings of modesty was of course Jaret who didn't even think of leaving his place on the soft cushion Jen's body provided. "What is it?" he asked again.

Clearing his throat uncomfortably Tomin looked anywhere but them. "There…um…has been an incident," he finally forced out.

Jaret's brow rose in curiosity. "Incident?"

Tomin threw a quick glance at Jen before looking away again.

The wheels in Jen's mind turned. 'Incident' could mean a lot of things. Not that he fooled himself into thinking Tomin wasn't here because of the children but so far it was still possible that his plan had failed. He believed to have spotted a look of pity on Tomin's face directed at him but it had been gone so quickly, it was impossible to say for sure.

Meanwhile Jaret clearly had caught on to Tomin's implication that Jen's presence might be better reconsidered for this particular talk, and Jen almost expected him to follow Tomin outside but Jaret surprised him by nodding down at Jen. "You can speak in front of him."

Jen didn't know whether to feel flattered or offended by Jaret's easy announcement. Was it that Jaret considered his presence dismissible or that he wanted to mark Jen as trustworthy and more than a mere slave? In any case Jen would have preferred to be sent away so he could find a hole to hide in.

Tomin scratched his head, clearly not happy with the arrangement but deciding to accept it for now. "Like I said there has been an incident. Last night. Some prisoners escaped."

Jen could feel the muscles in Jaret's body becoming taut even though the man still didn't move.

"Who?" He asked in a low voice.

"The…the children," Tomin answered uncomfortably.

Now Jaret rose off Jen, carefully avoiding looking at the young healer.

It made Jen's skin crawl. Usually Jaret was straightforward and faced his anger - along with those who angered him - head on. Still there was also a sense of triumph and joy that raced through Jen at Tomin's admission. It had worked, the children were free and hopefully safe.

"So you mean to tell me that a couple of babies managed to sneak away from the camp?" Jaret's tone was still low.

"Well, most of them were old eno…" Tomin stammered but upon catching Jaret's heated gaze obviously thought it wiser to not pursue this thought and simply straightened. "Yes." A look, almost of admiration crossed his face. "And they were quite clever about covering their tracks too."

Jaret scoffed. "It's not like their hiding place would be a big secret. Where else would they go but the city?"

It was obvious he didn't expect an answer and Tomin gave none. Jen lowered his head. Of course Jaret would know where the children had fled to, it really was the obvious choice. Now Jen could only pray that knowledge didn't help Jaret to recapture them.

"What about Urso?" Jaret asked.

Jen could only assume he was talking about the guard.

"He was found sleeping. Claims he didn't hear or see a thing," Tomin explained.


Tomin shook his head. "I don't think so. We had a bit of trouble rousing him but he doesn't show any signs of drinking."

Jaret cursed. He still hadn't looked at Jen which was making Jen nervous.

"Who knows of this?" Jaret inquired of Tomin.

Tomin shrugged helplessly. "So far just a couple of the men…loyal ones," he hastened to amend. "But…" he trailed off, not speaking what all three men were thinking: word about this would spread fast. To loyal ears or not.

"Thank you for informing me. Now go back to your post, I'll deal with it soon," Jaret spoke with finality.

Jen was sure that normally Tomin would have turned at the heel and obeyed but the man still lingered. "There is some talk…I mean the men wonder why you changed your plans last night. It's…a bit curious."

"I said I will deal with it soon." This time the dangerous undertone in Jaret's words was impossible to miss.

Tomin looked taken aback. Clearly he had expected Jaret to storm outside the instant he heard what had happened. "As you wish." He nodded and quickly left the tent.

Jen wished he could have done the same. Especially as now Jaret did turn to him, sporting a look of such anger, betrayal and also hurt that Jen longed for being ignored again. He thought of something to say but didn't get the chance before Jaret spoke up, carefully enunciating every word.

"Do you even understand what you have done?"

Jen moistened his lips. "I don't know what--"

"Don't lie to me," Jaret's voice cracked out like a whip.

Drawing a shaky breath Jen wondered if he would feel the real one soon, this time wielded by Jaret himself.

But Jaret wasn't finished. "And don't play me for a fool." He gave a short barking laugh that was devoid of any humour. "At least not any more than you have already done."

Wisely Jen refrained from saying anything to that.

"So what was it, a potion to put me to sleep? I reckon as a healer you would know these things. And somehow you gave it to Urso to, didn't you? Very sneaky, I have to say." Jaret rubbed his temples in a clear sign of frustration. "I knew your sudden curiosity was a ploy but I figured you just wanted to postpone the inevitable a bit. Never figured you had the courage to defy me like this. Thought you'd be too much of a frightened mouse."

Hearing the last part stung Jen's pride. It was always the same with warriors. The men of his tribe had respected him, his future position and knowledge as a healer but he'd always felt that in some way they hadn't regarded him as one of their own, as a real man. Apparently that was something a man had to prove by his profiency with the sword, the spear or the bow. Or even in unarmed combat. And while Jen had wanted to learn all this, the rules had forbidden him from doing so.

So it was unfair that men like the hunters of his tribe, like Jaret, even like Krisian thought he wasn't as brave or strong just because he didn't know how to handle a sword. Maybe he didn't have bulging muscles like Jaret but he'd done his best to be brave. And seemingly this time he had beaten Jaret, the great leader of barbarians. Proudly he raised his chin, right then not caring if it would further Jaret's anger and cause him to lash out at Jen.

Oddly instead of reacting in anger Jaret seemed to deflate a bit. "And I didn't think you'd play me with such cold measure, using your precious virtue no less." He smiled unpleasantly. "You make a fine whore indeed."

Jen paled. "You said yourself that you believed my…you believed it was all a ploy," he pointed out.

"Yeah but I thought you were an honest whore. Spur of the moment and all that. But it was more than that wasn't it?" Jaret closed his eyes briefly. "You must have been overjoyed to find me such a fool for you," he concluded bitterly.

Now those words hurt, and this time it wasn't Jen's pride that was wounded. He bit back an apology as really, he didn’t have anything to be sorry about. He was a captive, a slave and all he'd done had been using the weapons at his disposal to further a righteous goal. Yet there was something in Jaret's voice, some profound hurt that cut into Jen, made him wanna soothe Jaret.

But Jaret wasn't finished. "And this morning? Were you planning on getting me into a more agreeable mood?"

Seeing as the thought had crossed Jen's mind, a slight blush colored his cheeks at hearing Jaret say it out loud. Of course by Jaret's thinly pressed lips, he probably imagined it to be a lot more insidious on Jen's part.

"No, I didn't…I just," Jen started helplessly, not knowing how to make anything better. He felt blindsided by Jaret's reaction. Jen'd have expected a violent outburst, not this quiet hurt and bitterness. If anything was to be wounded Jen would have bet on Jaret's pride, and yes that was clearly a part of it but not all.

But Jaret didn't even seem to have heard him. He'd turned his back on Jen, muttering. "Stupid, so stupid. Just like…" Jaret trailed off, looking at Jen again. "Tomin is right, you know, the men will wonder why I didn't go through with my plans last night. Why they miraculously escaped just then. And why the guard suddenly fell asleep after your visit to the children's tent. A healer who knows his way around magics."

Jen shrugged. What could he say to that? They both knew Jaret was right. Maybe if he was one of them, an equal, it would make a difference. But as a prisoner, a slave, they didn't need much evidence to accuse him and deal out punishment.

His non-answer seemed to agitate Jaret who closed the distance between them with two large steps before grabbing Jen's shoulders and shaking him. "If Chadan learns of this - and he will very soon - don't you think he will come to the same conclusion, come right here to get you? And I assure you he'd take great pleasure in dragging you outside, tying you to a pole and whipping the skin from your back till it's just a piece of raw flesh. And the men would cheer him on." He gave Jen one last shake and then suddenly released him.

The image Jaret's words created frightened Jen, there was no denying that. He remembered his first and so far only whipping all too well and had no wish to repeat the experience, especially as he felt that this time it would go on for longer, much longer. Still he had accomplished what he'd set out to do, he'd saved the children. That meant whatever happened now was worth it. Of course when he proceeded to tell Jaret just that, it earned him a look halfway between anger and disbelief.

"You might reconsider when you`re choking on your own blood," Jaret said grimly. "Or is that what you want? To be a real martyr?"

Jen looked away. "No," he answered quietly, suppressing a tremble. "I don't." Then he raised his eyes back to Jaret. "But what is it that you want?" He couldn't help the anxious note in his voice. Maybe if Jaret was the one to carry out the punishment there was some mercy to be had there. Jen knew he wouldn't find it elsewhere.

Jaret's features twisted into an angry grimace. "I don't want to watch that ever again."

Now Jen's eyes grew big. He understood perfectly well what or rather whom Jaret was alluding to. The sister whose torment he'd had to watch as a child. Jen shook his head, angry with himself. It was madness to feel guilty for putting this on Jaret, reminding him of his childhood terrors - especially seeing as it was Jen who would bear the real pain - but still he couldn't help it.

Jaret scoffed, obviously reading Jen's expression. "You don't understand me, you little fool. I won't watch that ever again. Not when it's you."

Jen's lips formed a perfect "oh" but no sound escaped them. What Jaret had just said, it was basically an admission that he cared for Jen, really cared for him as more than just a body he desired or a silly little slave whose antics tended to amuse him every now and then. A warmth blossomed in Jen's stomach at the thought. If Jaret was still capable of such feelings then maybe Jen had been wrong, maybe it wasn't too late for him to change his ways.

But maybe he had misunderstood, he needed to be sure. "So you won't…punish me?"

This time Jaret's chuckle while still grim bore a humorous undertone. "I didn't say that."

"But…I thought…omph…" Jen didn't have time to finish his thought before he found himself face down over Jaret's lap, his face pressed into the furs. He sputtered and drew his head to the side. "Wait, I…"

Yet this time Jaret was not to be detoured. He grabbed the hem of Jen's tunic and roughly shoved it over his waist, exposing the vulnerable flesh of Jen's backside. "I will" - smack - "keep" - smack - "the men" - smack - "away from you" - smack - "but you" - smack - "will never" - smack - "play me" - smack - "like that again."

The hardest blow yet followed and Jen couldn't quite bite back a cry of pain. Jaret's hand felt like being hit by a hammer and Jen was sure he wouldn't be sitting comfortably any time soon. Still the blows kept coming, emphasizing more lecturing from Jaret. Jen gritted his teeth at the words as the pain kept growing and his own mouth spilled a litany of breathy curses. "Ow…ow…damnit…stop…ow… Gods…ow…"

Jen flailed and kicked out with his legs, trying to twist around on Jaret's lap, to escape the heavy hand smacking his buttocks. Yet while Jaret's palm ignited fire on his backside the humiliation of being punished like a naughty child far exceeded the pain. And he was pretty sure that had been Jaret's intention all along. To not add to Jaret's amusement any longer he stopped fighting it and tried to bear the punishment in silence.

Finally, blissfully it stopped and all Jen could do was just to lie there limply, catching his breath and not even bothering to make a move to cover himself.

The tent was quiet now, then Jaret sighed and Jen found himself pushed off of Jaret's lap, leading him to land half on his back and causing a sharp intake of breath. Not a good position. Quickly Jen scrambled back onto his knees, straightening his clothing in the process. He avoided looking at Jaret, cheeks flaming. From his place he could only see Jaret's legs as the man rose and moved to the tent's entrance.

"Now I shall deal with this mess you created," Jaret announced.

Jen remained quiet. Right now he didn't feel much like talking to Jaret even though compared to what he had envisioned this punishment had been the epitome of mildness. Now if only he could believe that had been the worst of it, he would have been overjoyed. Still for some reason his feelings told him he wouldn't be so lucky. And neither would Jaret.

"You had help, didn't you?"

Now this question caused Jen to raise his face toward Jaret's. Still he didn't say anything. He didn't plan to give Krisian up but considering what Jaret has just said about Jen not lying to him - and the way he said it - well, Jen didn't want to push it at the moment.

But Jaret just sighed again. "I thought so. Stay inside and don't show yourself."

Then he left, leaving Jen to contemplate a morning that had proved to be most unexpected as well as a future that might be even more so. It was the latter that wasn't very comforting.

* * *

Without the benefit of clearly following the sun's travel across the sky Jen only had a vague idea how much time had passed when the shouting started. He had heeded Jaret's warning - or maybe it had been an order - and hadn't left the tent. He laid on his stomach, eyeing the jug in the corner in dismay. Considering the situation, and therefore the likelihood that nobody would come to take him out for even a little while, Jen had had to find another manner in which to relieve himself even though it wasn't very pleasant. He'd tried his best to cover the jug but still a certain smell penetrated the tent's interior.

Focus on what you have, not that which you don't have. The little voice in his head sounded like Hashid who'd often called Jen to task for his impatience and looking to the horizon for bigger and better things. So Jen tried to focus on the fact that the children had escaped and miraculously Jen himself might have gotten away with an itching backside.

Only now as the voices penetrated his ears, it became harder to retain a cheerful outlook on things.

Calm…, man. This is..nor…, easy..."

Jen cursed because he couldn't make out half of what was spoken, only that it had been Jaret's voice, calm and dismissive, belying the usual temper of the man.

He crawled to the tent's entrance and cautiously pulled back the tarp a tiny bit, risking a peek outside. Jen had a pretty good idea to whom Jaret had spoken and of course found it confirmed now.

"Calm down? Prisoners escaped, if word gets out how a bunch of snot-nosed brats outwitted us we'll be the laughing stock of everybody. The other camps, the whole city."

Chadan voice was loud enough that Jen had no trouble understanding his words. It also didn't come as a surprise that at the first sign of a weakness on Jaret's part, Chadan fancied himself the one to call Jaret out on it. Jen found himself rolling his eyes.

He also spotted Tomin, Stavus and Krisian, all of whom sported various faces of dismay and anger.

You whine like a woman, Chadan. No one will take much notice of a few slaves missing when they'll be recaptured again by nightfall." Now Jaret was raising his voice too.

"Oh really? And how do you plan to accomplish that? The city is full of dirty little holes where little rats can hide."

"They are children of the desert, Chadan." From Jaret's tone Jen could almost imagine Jaret rolling his eyes now even though the man was too far away to tell for sure. "They've never been to a city like that. They'll have no idea what to do."

The truth of that statement made Jen nervous. A world consisting of big stone buildings and lots of lots of people would be new to the children. But still he had confidence in their ingenuity. The desert bred survivors and survive they would.

But Jaret apparently wasn't finished. "And don't forget we still have their parents and siblings. If the small ones were to see them, especially if their loving families called out to them, they'll come like a lion's cub would follow the cries of its mother."

Jen gasped at the implication. The children were smart yes but he wasn't sure they'd be able to resist the instinctual need to run to their mothers and fathers. And he didn't even want to imagine how Jaret wanted to get those mothers and fathers to actually call their children into a trap. Did he plan on parading them through the city? Hurting them?

"And you're willing to bet your leadership on that?"

The challenge in Chadan's words was unmistakeable and the murmur that followed sounded approving to Jen's ears even though he couldn't make out the words. Jen nervously bit his lip. With his actions he had placed Jaret into an uncomfortable position again. And this time Jaret wouldn't be able to crush the mounting insurgence with the sheer force of his will, no matter how formidable. The men clearly were getting too angry, too impatient right now. After all, missing slaves meant missing money to be made off them.

Now Stavus cut in. "Jaret said he was going to handle it, Chadan. This should be enough for you."

"Jaret is the one responsible for the camp and under his watch prisoners have escaped. Maybe that just doesn't inspire great confidence in me." Chadan's tone was taunting.

"It was hardly under Jaret's watch." To Jen's surprise Tomin had spoken up. "He appointed a guard to the children. Who was sleeping on duty, I might add."

As soon as he was finished Jen knew the words had been a mistake.

"Oh yes, the mysterious sleep that overtook Urso. Right after that little whore of Jaret's was there. And by the way why didn't you sell the children yesterday like you wanted to, Jaret? The whore kept you busy?"

Even though Chadan couldn't see him, didn't even look in his direction, Jen made himself smaller in his hiding spot behind the tent's tarp.

"I changed my mind. Why is none of your business, Chadan. My slave had nothing to do with it other than being there to serve me. Command was mine."

"Gods, he has you bewitched," Chadan exclaimed. "Give me some time with your little slave. I'll get the truth from him."

Jen grimaced at Chadan's outright glee. He was glad for the comfort of knowing that Jaret wouldn't give him to this man.

"You're talking nonsense, Chadan. No one has bewitched me. I took my pleasure with a slave, something you should understand all too well. And I can tell that last night he was far too busy to plot any escapes."

"He could have snuck away to the children's tent while you were sleeping," Chadan pointed out.

Jaret threw his head back and laughed. "I assure you, he wouldn't have been able to walk to there."

A few men laughed at that. A good sign for Jaret but Jen didn't exactly feel great about the joke having made at his expense.

But Chadan wasn't so easily detoured. "Maybe his half-traitor friend helped him." He nodded disdainfully in Krisian's direction.

Then everything happened all at once. Stavus touched the hilt of his sword, uttering something Jen couldn't understand but then that wasn't necessary to get the meaning. Jaret took a menacing step towards Chadan. And Krisian combined both actions and charged Chadan with his sword drawn, the sharp blade ending up pressed to Chadan's jugular. "Say that again," he bellowed. Once more a murmur started among the spectators.

"Enough." Jaret's voice was loud enough to make Jen's ears ring even from the distance. He could only imagine how it must have felt to anybody close by.

"The children will be recaptured by nightfall. Maybe even sold. So will the adults. And no one will be cheated out of their rightful share. Understood?" He looked around and one by one the men nodded, if hesitantly. Even Chadan joined in. Yet it was clear that Jaret was being given a chance to make good on his promise - but that failure to do so wouldn't just be ignored.

Jaret held all their gazes for a moment longer before speaking to a few men, giving orders, Jen guessed. Then he barked a final announcement that they would be leaving soon and turned in Jen's direction.

Quickly Jen let the tarp drop and scooted backwards into the tent.

When Jaret entered however he gave Jen a look that clearly told him Jaret had known about Jen listening in from the beginning. Jaret pulled a face at the smell but Jen looked at him in defiance. Not his fault he had been forced to go about his business in here.

Rolling his eyes Jaret grabbed the jug and left the tent for a short time before coming back in. Jen raised an eyebrow at him, he hadn't expected Jaret to perform such a lowly task but the other man just shrugged. "I want to sleep in here tonight. And it's still wise for you not to show your face outside."

Jen swallowed. "What are you going to do now?"

"Well, you heard everything, didn't you? You tell me."

"Would you really…torture the adults to draw the children out?" Jen asked tentatively.

Jaret smiled an evil little smile. "Maybe I'll just put them over my lap. Made you scream loud enough to draw out a whole army."

If looks could kill Jaret would have dropped dead right there on the spot. And by the twinkle in his eyes he knew exactly how Jen felt right now. Then Jaret's expression turned serious. "How long do you think they can survive on their own? They'll turn to thieving and whoring soon enough. And let me tell you thieves, lose a hand the first time they're caught, an eye the next." Jaret didn' t give Jen time to reply. "At least with the guy I sell them to I can assure you they will be well cared for."

Jen looked at Jaret as if he had just announced the desert was made of water. "How can you say that? You of all people--"

"Because I don't take children captive often, too much trouble, and when I do, I always sell them to the same man. He is rich as a king but has the mind of a child himself. No malicious bone in his body. He never harms them. They are well-fed, have a nice place to sleep and work less than they did in the villages I take them from."

It was an outrageous tale by all accounts but for some reason Jen believed Jaret. Still. "How can you be so sure? Maybe it's only a face he shows to you?"

Jaret chuckled. "Mikos isn't capable of deceit. Besides, Tomin always spends some time with him when we set up came here in Ylesia. He confirmed it for me."

"Why didn't you tell me that before?" Jen asked in wonderment. He wasn't sure if that would have made him reconsider his plans or not - freedom should be preferable to any kind of slavery - but it might have eased his mind in any case.

Jaret gave him an incredulous look. "And then what? You would have started in on me about the adults, how it wouldn't be right to separate them from their children, how I should just set everybody free. Or better yet how I should disband the men and devote my life to a noble cause. It never ends, Jen."

Jen sighed. Because that's exactly what he would have done. What he wanted to do. Just because it was the right thing to do. Why didn't Jaret see that?

"Of course it might end after all," Jaret mused thoughtfully.

"What do you mean?" Jen looked at him anxiously. Had Jaret come to the decision that his apparent weakness for Jen was one he couldn't allow himself to have?

"I'm starting to realize it will be impossible to keep the men and you," Jaret answered.

The admission stunned Jen. Did it mean what he hoped for it to mean? Would Jaret be willing to walk a different path now, one Jen could even…walk with him? It seemed so unreal after everything, so sudden and almost too good to be true. "So where does that leave us?" he asked.

Jaret sighed. "I don't know. First I have to deal with this. Otherwise I might not be in a position any longer to protect you any longer. And then…we'll see."

"So in exchange for myself I have to accept you going off now to sell my fellow tribesmen into slavery?" Of course it had been too good to be true to hope Jaret would try and find a way to let the captives go.

"Yes, that's exactly what you have to do. And I know you are not ready yet, so this time I'll have to protect you from your sacrificial little self." Jaret nodded for emphasis.

Jen didn't know what Jaret meant by that and thus squawked in surprise when big hands grabbed him and in remembrance of his early days of captivity tied him to a pole. It happened so fast Jen didn't even have time to put up a real struggle. He tugged at the bonds but to no avail.


Jaret had had the audacity to lean down and press a surprisingly gentle kiss to Jen's mouth, effectively cutting off his speech nevertheless. He rose back up. "I might not be back for a while. I'll leave someone here for you protection."

There wasn't much Jen could do but to throw him angry looks as Jaret left the tent.

* * *

Jen must have dozed off because he didn't notice the danger until it was too late. A dirty hand shoved a piece of cloth into his mouth before a thick blanket was thrown over his head, effectively cutting off his senses and nearly suffocating him in the process. He tried to scream but the gag muted the sounds. At least his hands had been cut loose from the pole already, probably to better wrap him in the constricting blanket. Still he struggled with all his might, feeling victorious as he heard his captor's sharp intake of breath when Jen's elbow rammed into his stomach.

The man cursed and released Jen momentarily but only to deliver a few hard kicks into Jen's stomach in retaliation. Instinctively Jen curled into himself, trying to shield his vulnerable midsection with his hands. He tasted blood in his mouth from where he must have accidentally bitten down on his tongue.

Finally the onslaught stopped and Jen's arms uncurled from his body to reach up and yank the blanket off so his calls would be heard. Surely Jaret had left someone to protect him - or guard him - right now it didn't matter if only Jen could get someone to help him.

But his attacker didn't give him the chance and a heavy blow to Jen' s head brought a white-hot pain that was quickly followed by utter darkness.

When he came to again, a strange, heavy smell reached his nose. It was unlike everything Jen had ever encountered in the village or even the barbarian camp. At the same time he also noticed that the foul-tasting rag was still in his mouth but now additionally his arms were bound painfully behind his back. So tied and gagged it was then, a very unwelcome reminder of the early days of his captivity with Jaret. At least he wasn't blindfolded so slowly he blinked his eyes open, grimacing at the ache in his head.

His surroundings were unfamiliar, instead of the heavy tarp or leather that marked a tent, stone walls enclosed him. Jen gasped, this wasn't the camp anymore, he was in the city. Furthermore while he was lying atop soft furs, he wasn't on the ground but on some construction he'd never seen before. It seemed a place intended for sleeping nevertheless.

"Ah, the slave has woken. Sit up, boy," an oily voice ordered and Jen's head shot around, gaping at a grinning Chadan. "Surprised to see me, boy? Felt safe hiding behind your big protector, eh?"

Jen tried to clear his head. He didn't understand how he had come to be here.

Chadan must have read the question in his face because he smiled. "Well, your little ploy cost that idiot Jaret some loyalties, making it easy for one of my friends to spirit you away while Jaret was searching for those brats"

That explained why the protection Jaret had mentioned to Jen hadn't actually protected him. Either the man had been bribed or overpowered. Jen straightened his shoulders and raised his chin in defiance. He would not give Chadan the satisfaction of seeing him afraid.

And while Jaret might have smiled at such an action, a man like Chadan who thrived on fear didn't like being challenged. He closed the distance between them and grabbed a fistful of Jen's hair, lifting him up so their faces were almost touching. "You little insolent whore, I knew Jaret hasn't done a good job at teaching you manners."

Jen winced but the gag muted his pained sound.

This seemed to further displease Chadan and roughly he pulled the cloth out of Jen's mouth.

Jen breathed deeply a few times to get rid of the foul taste the gag had left. "Jaret will make you pay for this," he promised darkly. He was aware how silly that sounded, a slave proclaiming his captor would come and rescue him but in his heart he knew that for Jaret and him, it was true.

Chadan didn't seem to share in Jen's confidence. "You flatter yourself, boy. Sure, you are nice to look at but now that he had you, Jaret would have tired of you soon enough. He always does."Upon Jen's questioning look, Chadan laughed. "What? You thought you were the first? Special? Jaret takes pleasure slaves to his tent all the time. Men, women, doesn't matter. He can find himself another whore."

The words hurt - there was no denying that but it wasn't like Jen had imagined Jaret to have led a chaste life before they met. And he was pretty sure Jaret hadn't risked everything for any of these people he'd shared his furs with. "He will come for me," Jen spoke with firmness.

With a snort Chadan released him. "We'll see. Might not be leader for much longer anyway. And besides, even if he came looking for you, I wonder if he'd take you back…after." Chadan smiled evilly.

Jen swallowed. He didn't really want to ask. "After what?"

"Well boy, you cost us so I thought it only fair that you were to make up for it."

Inadvertently Jen scooted back.

"Oh no, not to me. You might be quite tempting, even for me, but there was money to be made of you still. So greet your new owner."

He nodded to a spot behind Jen and Jen twisted his body awkwardly to follow his gaze. A fat, balding man grinned at him, showing off rotten teeth while he did so. Guards flanked him on either side. Jen shuddered at the thought of being touched by him. And he entertained no false hope that he'd been sold for any other purpose, not with the way the man leered at him. Or the fact that he had been placed in a space obviously intended for rest.

Chadan put a hand on his shoulder, a deceptively friendly gesture. "This is Danus, he was graceful enough to accept you even though you are used property already."

Jen gritted his teeth and tried to shrug off Chadan's hand but the man only clamped down harder. He leaned down to whisper his next words in Jen's ear. "I'll leave you two to get acquainted." With a cheerful nod to the fat man he left. Jen's eyes were fixed on the fat man now and again he tried to loosen the bonds, ignoring the pressure sitting like this put on his aching backside. Not his best day, he could freely admit.

"Release him."

Startled at the words, Jen's mind at first didn't even register that the fat man, his new owner if you asked Chadan, had finally spoken, but not to Jen. One of the guards stepped forward, drawing a knife as he went.

Jen scooted backwards. But the guard just reached behind him and swiftly cut Jen's bonds before he stepped back again respectfully. His hands free, Jen rubbed at his abraded wrists.

"Now take off your clothes."

Again it took a moment for Jen to realize that this time the man had spoken to him.

"No." He shook his head defiantly.

The fat man nodded. He turned to one of the guards. "Ten lashes - afterwards." The guard simply nodded.

Jen gaped at the display. The man had just ordered Jen to be whipped, though apparently that was to wait until after the rape, with the same bored tone one would ask for a glass of water.

"Now do as I say or it will be twenty lashes." The fat man threatened.

The prospect should have frightened him more than it did but Jen couldn't imagine anything worse right now than being touched by this disgusting creature. Again he shook his head.

A nod to the guards alarmed Jen but it was too late. He was quickly wrestled onto his stomach and held down in this position, head pressed into the furs while he could hear the nearing footsteps of the fat man. "Cowards," he spat.

"Now let’s see if you're worth the money I paid for you." With that Jen felt a sweaty hand on the back of his calf travelling upwards. It held nothing of the allure of Jaret's touch.

He renewed his struggles but realized with desperation that there was no getting free for him. His mind called out Jaret's name, by some miracle willing the other man to hear him.

A hissing sound reached his ears, followed by a gurgling and some heavy weight landed square on Jen's back, a body he realized. One that oozed warm wetness onto Jen's skin and he struggled to turn his head and see.

* * *

Chapter 7


( 100 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )
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Jan. 20th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
you can not imagine how loud and long i screamed when I saw this! This story is the BEST story I have ever read which is why i wait so patiently for updates XD except not, because i've read 1-5 about a million times now HAHA!
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:21 pm (UTC)
ou can not imagine how loud and long i screamed when I saw this! This story is the BEST story I have ever read

My ego has just doubled in size. :) Thank you so very much, this is a great compliment. Am glad you liked Chapter 6 as well and I`ll try not to make the wait so long this time.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:53 pm (UTC)
Ooooh ... Jaret to the rescue?

My lips are sealed. :) But thank you muchly for reading and commenting.
Jan. 20th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
great chapter
so happy to see this updated
can not wait for more
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
Woohoo, glad you liked it. Thank you greatly.
Jan. 20th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
Shitake mushrooms! Chaden is a dead man walking if he's not already a dead man laying. Can't wait for more.

Jen has spirit you have to give him that.
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:51 pm (UTC)
Shitake mushrooms! Chaden is a dead man walking if he's not already a dead man laying. Can't wait for more.

Hee. Somehow I love that exclamation, shitake mushrooms. Teehee.
I kinda even feel a bit bad that I made Chad(an) such an archvillain. :)

Jen has spirit you have to give him that.

*nod nod* I`m glad that comes through. Thank you so much.
Jan. 20th, 2008 05:03 pm (UTC)
I was waiting for this update and it was totally excellent.
Fugglebuckets, I can't believe you left it there. I'm in a state of panic.
Did Jaret get there in time to save hime?
Looking forward to the next part,hopefully it will be soon.
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:40 pm (UTC)
Fugglebuckets, I can't believe you left it there. I'm in a state of panic.

I love "fugglebuckets". :D Glad you enjoyed it and it was worth the wait. I`ll try my best to have more up soonish. Thanks muchly.
Jan. 20th, 2008 05:14 pm (UTC)
WHOOP! update!!!

Me so happy!! *hug* :P

Hehe as you might have gathered Im glad you have updated this!

Aww I like how Jaret reacted to Jen's betrayal.

Cant wait for the final chapter!
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
Hehe as you might have gathered Im glad you have updated this!

I got a feeling. :)

Aww I like how Jaret reacted to Jen's betrayal.

Woohoo. That makes me happy since I was a bit nervous Jaret`s reaction would be met with a "huh?"
Thank you muchly.

Jan. 20th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
I LOVE this story :D can't wait for the update *purrrs*
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much. That makes me so happy to read. I`ll try to do my best on the update-front. :)
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:07 pm (UTC)
I need more now.
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:35 pm (UTC)
Hehe, always leave them wanting... :)

But seriously thank you muchly. Glad you enjoyed it.
(no subject) - deathbymutation - Jan. 20th, 2008 07:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - astri13 - Jan. 20th, 2008 09:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - deathbymutation - Jan. 20th, 2008 09:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 20th, 2008 06:34 pm (UTC)
Great chapter. Love that Jaret gave Jen a spanking for his part in the escape of the children. Hope Jaret manages to find the children and deliver them to somewhere where they'll be relatively safe. Pity he didn't let Jen know he wouldn't sell the children to the same fate that his sister had.

Without Chad in his band I'm sure Jaret could continue as leader with Jen by his side!!! I'm sure you've got something planned for them though.

Chad should never have defied Jaret and taken Jen. If he isn't dead then maybe he should be sold as a slave!!!

So the fat bald man thinks he can rape our Jen? No-one gets to do that! Jen has friends who will look out for him. So who's his mystery rescuer? Jaret? Tomin? Kristian? Or maybe Stavos?

Looking forward to more.
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:24 pm (UTC)
Love that Jaret gave Jen a spanking for his part in the escape of the children.

Hehe. I kinda indulged in one of my kinks there. :)

Without Chad in his band I'm sure Jaret could continue as leader with Jen by his side!!!

But I`m sure Jen would nag at Jaret all day long about how they can`t attack this village or take these people prisoner. *g*

So who's his mystery rescuer? Jaret? Tomin? Kristian? Or maybe Stavos?

My lips are sealed for now. :) But the big Finale to come soon.

Thank you muchly.
(Deleted comment)
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Awww, glad you liked it. And I`ll do my very best to make the wait for the big finish not too long. Thanks for hanging in there. :)
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
Wow! I am so tensed when I read your fic! There is so many things happening and so many ways this story could go! I just love that most of the time, you manage to surprise me. I loved Jaret's reaction to Jen's action, it really shows how much he cares for him. Oh, and the spanking made me happy...*giggles*

God, I hate Chadan! And this is an evil evil cliffhanger...Can't wait for the last chapter!
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:27 pm (UTC)
I just love that most of the time, you manage to surprise me.

Woohoo, that`s nice to read.

I loved Jaret's reaction to Jen's action, it really shows how much he cares for him. Oh, and the spanking made me happy...*giggles*

Hehe. I kinda, maybe have a thing for spanking. *whistles*

Thank you muchly.
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:15 pm (UTC)
oooh. you are evil evil evil evil.
and where have you been? it's been forever! *pout*
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:28 pm (UTC)
oooh. you are evil evil evil evil.
and where have you been? it's been forever! *pout*

*hangs head in shame* I know this was supposed to be finished last year. I need to stop having a real life. It intrudes. *nods*

Thank you muchly for hanging in there though. :)
Jan. 20th, 2008 07:55 pm (UTC)
I don't like the idea of Jen being with that man he was sold to. I hope that Jaret will be back in time to rescue Jen
Jan. 20th, 2008 08:09 pm (UTC)
Well, I can say this much: I`m a happy-endings-fanatic. ;-) Thank you muchly.
Jan. 20th, 2008 08:39 pm (UTC)
come onnn, you're too cruel! You can't leave it here! I was so excited when I saw you posted this part...and now, I'm even more excited about the final one :) *hugs*
Jan. 20th, 2008 08:49 pm (UTC)
come onnn, you're too cruel!

Hehe, I know. :) Thank you so much. Am glad you liked this chapter and it was worth the wait.
Jan. 20th, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
I was so pleased to see an update on this story, it really is one of the best I have read. Poor Jensen, I just hope that is Jaret coming to his rescue and that once he has saved Jen, Jaret will take care of Chadan. The men will flock back to Jaret once Chadan is out of the picture. I am looking forward to the next chapter, although sad it is the last one.
Jan. 20th, 2008 09:24 pm (UTC)
Poor Jensen, I just hope that is Jaret coming to his rescue and that once he has saved Jen, Jaret will take care of Chadan.

He certainly will be pissed. ;-)

I was so pleased to see an update on this story, it really is one of the best I have read.

Aww, thank you so much. I will try my best to make it a shorter waiting time to the finish line. :)
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( 100 have dazzled me — Dazzle me )



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