Sunday, January 22, 2012

Final Edits Are Done

I just sent in the final round of edits. It was harder to hit send this time than it was with the previous rounds. It's final this time. No more chances to get it right. I couldn't find anything else I wanted to change, but I kept looking almost up until my deadline.

My editor, Olivia, has been wonderful. She has helped me turn a novella into a novel that I love.

Next up... Line edits. I'm not sure what to expect there, but I'm looking forward to it.

Scheduled release date is April 13th.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Greek Lexicon for Alexios' Fate

Cast of Characters
Prince Alexios of Dicaea: A prince of Dicaea
     Αλεξιος, a derivative of Αλεξις, which meant "helper" or "defender", derived from Greek αλεξω (alexo) "to defend, to help."

King Demetrios of Dicaea: Alexios’ father and king of Dicaea
     Δημητριος, derived from the name of the Greek goddess Demeter.

Galen: Alexios’ slave
     Γαληνος means "calm" from Greek γαληνη (galene).

King Lykos of Aenus: Visiting king of Aenus
     Λυκος, means "wolf.”

King Philon of Doriscus: Visiting king of Doriscus
     Φιλων, derived from φιλεω (phileo) "to love.”

King Theocritus of Abdara: Visiting king of Abdara
     Θεοκριτος, means "judge of god.”

King Andronikos of Maroneia: Visiting king of Maroneia
     Ανδρονικος means "victory of a man.”

Cyrus: The prophet known as the Voice of Apollo, traveling with King Lykos to Delphi
     Κυρος (Kyros), the Greek form of the Persian name Kūrush, which may mean "far sighted" or "young."

Phoebus Apollo: The Greek god of the sun, also known as the Lord of Light

Muses: nine goddesses, who embody the arts and inspire the creation of song, theater, writing, traditional music, and dance.
     Calliope: The muse of epic poetry, pictured with a writing tablet.
     Clio: The muse of history, pictured with scrolls.
     Erato: The muse of love poetry, pictured with a cithara (lyre).
     Euterpe: The muse of song and elegiac poetry, pictured with an aulos (flute).
     Melpomene: The muse of tragedy, picture with a tragic mask.
     Polyhymnia: The muse of hymns, pictured veiled.
     Terpsichore: The muse of dance, pictured with a lyre.
     Thalia: The muse of comedy, pictured with a comic mask.
     Urania: The muse of astronomy, pictured with a globe and compass.

Ippos: Means horse, Poseidon’s sacred animal.

Taurus: Means bull, Zeus’ sacred animal.

Halys: a faun/pan, one of Pan's descendants.

Greek Lexicon
Agora, meaning "gathering place" or "assembly", was the central place for athletic, artistic, spiritual, and political life of the Greek city-state. During early times, freemen gathered here for military duty or to hear the decrees of the ruling kings or council. Later, the agora became a market place as well. The Roman equivalent word is forum.

 Amphora (plural: amphorae or amphoras): a vase-shaped ceramic container with two handles on either side of a long narrow neck.  Most taper to a pointed base to allow them to be stored upright by embedding them in sand or soft ground.  In kitchens and shops, racks held the amphorae.

Chiton: a form of clothing worn by men and women in Ancient Greece. Also known as the tunica. The Doric chiton was simple, without sleeves. The cloth was pinned at the shoulders by fibulae for women and only over the left shoulder if the man was doing something strenuous. The fabric was gathered at the waist by a zone or girdle. The women's chiton fell to the floor, the men's to just under their knees. Male slaves wore a much briefer garment.

Greek Warrior Kit: The richer upper-class warriors had a bronze breastplate of the bell or muscled variety, a bronze helmet with cheekplates, a shield, as well as greaves and other armor. Most warriors carried a spear and short sword. Many warriors used javelins, especially when in chariots. Bows were more commonly used to defend the walls of a city, being considered cowardly on the field of battle.

Hiereus (plural: hierei): the word for "priest".

 Hubris means extreme haughtiness, pride or arrogance. Most commonly used to describe the actions of those who challenged the gods or their laws, especially in Greek tragedy, resulting in the protagonist's fall. Hubris was considered the greatest crime of ancient Greek society. The person performs some act of folly due to their overweening pride, usually resulting in their downfall or some fatal retribution (Nemesis).

Iamos was the son of Evadne and Apollo. Evadne, one of Poseidon's daughters, was raised by a local king. Ashamed to be with child, Evadne exposed the child at birth in a patch of violets. Her stepfather discovered the child was the son of a god and made her go reclaim the baby. The boy was named Iamos (from ίον, "violet"). When Iamos grew up, he invoked Poseidon and Apollo, asking them to reveal his destiny. Apollo gave him the gift of prophecy and sent him to Olympia to found the Iamidae line of priests.

Laws of xenia, a specific code of guest-friendship, dictated how to care for a guest. Zeus was the guardian of strangers and the enforcer of xenia.

Ienai means go, start or begin.

 Mentoring or Pederasty in ancient Greece was a social custom likely originating as a rite of passage associated with entering military training and the religion of Zeus at a boy's coming of age. As such, it was likely a rite of passage. The practice was central to the homosocial Greek culture, which included athletic and artistic nudity, delayed marriage for aristocrats, symposia, and the social seclusion/exclusion of women.

The practice almost certainly involved sexual activity between the mentor and the young man, usually in his teens or early twenties. The extent would vary with local custom and individual inclination. The mentor, being older and socially superior, was the "penetrative" partner. In the case of mentoring, this almost exclusively referred to intercrural sex, where the penis penetrates between the thighs of the youth.

The erômenos, or "beloved", is the passive or subordinate partner. The youth would be of an age when an aristocrat began his formal military training, around fifteen to seventeen and extending up until the youth was in his twenties, or in some cases even thirty.

The mentor, or erastes, courted the young man with gifts. He was expected to show that his interest wasn't merely sexual. The youth was not to submit too easily. If more than one man courted him, he was expected to show discretion and pick the nobler man.

Nereus was a minor sea god associated with the Aegean Sea. He had fifty daughters, the Nereids, and a son, Nerites. His daughter Thetis is Achilles' mother. Another daughter, Amphitrite, was Poseidon's queen. Nerites was the charioteer and beloved of Poseidon. (Poseidon's wife and lover were siblings.) Nerites was turned into a shellfish for his hubris after challenging Helios to a chariot race and losing.

Omphalos, also known as the Navel of the World, is a carved stone erected at Delphi as part of the temple complex to Apollo. The stone was placed where the two eagles sent by Zeus to fly from the ends of the world to find the center, or the navel, met.

The Navel was guarded by Python for his mother Gaia. Apollo slew Python, the serpent, and took Delphi, making the oracular site his own. This is an example of the earlier earth deities, frequently female, being overthrown by the new sky deities, usually male. The place name Pytho was given to site where Python was slain.

Polis: city/city-state

Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi, was a mantic priestess at the Temple of Apollo. The title derived from the place name Pytho.  The post was often shared amongst a triad of priestesses. The women varied from learned aristocrats to unlettered peasants. The Pythia gave her prophecies while perched atop a tripod.

The oracle only functioned during the nine warmest months of the year while Apollo resided in Delphi. He returned each year during the spring on the 7th day of Vysios, his birthday. The Pythia was required to undergo monthly purification rites on the 7th day of each month thereafter.

Stoas were covered walkways or porticos open to the public. They often had small stores down one side of the building with an open portico lining the other side, offering shelter to shoppers and anyone else who was in the agora.

 Theos: the Greek word for "deity, god"

 A trireme (from Latin triremis, literally "three-oarer") was a type of galley, a warship that was used on the Mediterranean. The vessel was named for the three rows of oars on each side, manned with one man per oar. The three tiers of oars required careful coordination and much practice so as not to tangle in one another. The Greek ships were manned by freemen/warriors unlike the galleys of the Romans. As a ship it was fast and agile, and became the dominant warship in the Mediterranean. They also had one large square sail, a bronze clad prow with a pair of eyes painted on both sides. The eyes were intended to see that the ship stayed on course and to ward off any evil.

Greek Days of the Week:
The Greeks adopted the Babylonian seven-day planetary week. They substituted the names of their own gods: Ares, Hermes, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Chronos. Sunday is quite literally sun-day. Monday is moon-day.

hemera heli(o)u
hemera selenes
hemera Areos
hemera Hermu
hemera Dios
hemera Aphrodites
hemera Khronu

Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite vied for a golden apple inscribed with "For the fairest." Zeus refused to be drawn into the contest and sent the goddesses to Paris to judge. After each goddess attempted to bribe him, the foolish prince chose Aphrodite in exchange for the most beautiful woman in the world as his wife.

The fall of Troy was orchestrated by Hera and Athena as retribution for Paris' choice of Aphrodite as "the fairest." Aphrodite's gift, Helen of Troy, couldn't have been more suited to the task of bringing Troy down if she had been chosen for that purpose.

Due to her beauty, Helen had been courted by all the eligible rulers of the Greek city-states. She was abducted by Theseus and rescued by the remainder of her suitors. The kings all then swore to protect her and the husband she chose from further abductions. She wed Menelaus, Agamemnon's brother. When Paris abducted her from her husband, the Greeks had a holy reason for war. Paris had broken Zeus' laws of hospitality. Plus by her abduction, all the kings of the Greek city-states were held by their oath to retrieve her.

Agamemnon need only remind everyone of their oath and Paris' impious behavior. A huge armada was launched, but the winds were unfavorable. Informed he would have to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia to receive favorable winds, Agamemnon sent word that his wife Clytemnestra should bring their daughter to be wed to Achilles.

Iphigenia is portrayed as a girl who went to her death bravely once she knew what her fate was. Clytemnestra was not as accepting. When Agamemnon returned from Troy, triumphant, she slew him in his bath for his hubris and the murder of their daughter. The Fates did not punish her because she was not blood related to her husband.
Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, was abducted by Hades and taken into the Underworld to be his queen. Demeter petitioned Zeus for the return of their daughter. Even though Persephone was Zeus' daughter, marriage by abduction was common, even for the gods. When Zeus did not demand his brother return Persephone, Demeter used her attributes to coerce him.

Demeter, the goddess of grains, fertility, and harvest, refused to let any plants grow. Soon animals and people were dying. The humans petitioned the gods to succor them. Zeus was forced to go to his brother Hades and ask for Persephone's return.

Persephone had been pining for her mother and the open air. She wouldn't eat and had become pale.
Hades didn't want to give up his queen. Before he returned Persephone, Hades pressed her to eat something. She ate six pomegranate seeds. When Zeus discovered that she had accepted Hades' hospitality, he had no choice but to decree she remain with her husband for six months out of the year.

Demeter was not pleased, but could do nothing further. So for six months out of the year, the earth is fruitful and green, but for the other six months Demeter mourns her daughter and the earth does likewise.
Ganymede was a beautiful young man who caught Zeus' eye. Zeus took the form of an eagle and abducted the boy, taking him back to Mount Olympus. Ganymede was given immortality, unfading youth, and was made Zeus' cupbearer.

Zeus gave the boy's father the gift of horses "such as carry the immortals." His father was pleased by the gift as well as the boy's new station as Zeus' cupbearer and erômenos. Hera was jealous of her rival for Zeus' affections; the only one Zeus ever showed any attachment to. However, even the queen of the gods had to respect the relationship. She never tried to punish Ganymede like she did with all of Zeus' other lovers.

The story of Ganymede and Zeus illustrates the institution of pederasty and gives it divine validation.
Cassiopeia, the queen of Ethiopia, bragged that her daughter Andromeda was more beautiful than all the Nereids, the sea nymph daughters of the minor sea god Nereus. Poseidon's queen was one of the Nereids, Amphitrite. Poseidon became angry and sent a sea monster to destroy the kingdom. In an effort to save their kingdom, they consulted an oracle who told them they must sacrifice their daughter to the sea monster.

Andromeda was chained to a rock near the sea and left to her fate. Perseus was traveling through Ethiopia at the time. He saw Andromeda's plight and slew the sea monster. He carried her off and married her.

Poseidon was not pleased that Cassiopeia had not been punished. He could do nothing about Perseus who was one of Zeus' sons, so instead he tied Cassiopeia to a chair that was frequently used for torture and placed her in the sky as a constellation that spends half its time upside down.
The queen of Thebes, Niobe, had fourteen children, seven boys and seven girls. She boasted unwisely that she had more children than Leto, who only had Apollo and Artemis. Before she could repent of her hubris, Apollo and Artemis slew her children with arrows. In her grief, she turned to stone and the rock still weeps for her lost children.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Inspiration for Secondary Characters

I take a lot of inspiration for my stories and characters from photographs. And Halys, a secondary character in Alexios' Fate, is no different. Halys is a demigod, a pan. He is dusky hued with darker zebra-like markings and horn buds hidden in his curls. A classic faun with a twist.

He is one of Apollo's slaves who knows what he wants and pursues the god himself. He gives Apollo an insight into Alexios' and Galen's relationship that he would have otherwise not understood.

Here's an unedited excerpt from Alexios' Fate featuring Halys.

Apollo awoke before the dawn. He needed to be at his personal shrine to receive the prayers of his devotes as they performed their monthly purification rites.

He reached through the sumptuous blankets and furs for Halys only to find the slave missing from his bed. He sat up and ran a hand through his hair. A rapid sweep of the dimly lit chamber failed to yield the demigod. Bronze lamps on either side of the bed did little to banish the stygian shadows in the corners.

Just as he considered summoning another slave, Halys entered the room. The aroma of porridge laced with nuts and honey filled the air. Apricots and figs filled a small bowel and a kylix of ambrosia balanced beside them on the tray.

Halys nudged the door closed with his hip and Apollo recalled all the skills those supple hips demonstrated the night before.

"I hoped to return before you rose."

"I just now awoke. What do you have for me?"

Halys broke into a pleased smile as he crossed the room. He placed the tray on a small table near the bed and offered Apollo the ambrosia.

When Apollo finished breaking his fast, Halys brought a woolen robe trimmed in red and gold scrollwork. The slave draped the folds over Apollo's shoulders and settled the sacred laurel wreath like a halo on his head. Halys knelt at his feet and laced his golden sandals, dark fingers straying over his calves and ankles.

With an indulgent smile, Apollo lightly cuffed his slave. The creature grew more and more forward. Unless something changed, Halys was dangerously close to becoming a spoiled pet.

"I will return in a while."

"Yes, master. Do you wish anything upon your return?" That mischievous smile again.

"Do you think of nothing else?"

"Not while I'm in your presence."

Shaking his head at the daring demigod, Apollo strode from the room.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Free Read - Infinite Infatuation

Chapter Three: Returning Ronin

Jin gently shook the pouch of coins before securing the small bundle inside his sleeve alongside a special vial he had purchased earlier in the day. His payment for escorting the farmers to market and back would get him a few much needed supplies, but he would require another job soon.

Barely more than a group of extended families clustered around a cross-road, this village didn’t boast much in the way of amenities. Their entire surplus already sold at market. If he wanted more than a bit of rice, Jin would have to return to the larger town where he had found Mugen.

Mugen... Just what was he going to do about Mugen? The man was trouble, with a capitol T, looking for a place to happen. They had settled into an uneasy truce while traveling together that later morphed into a hesitant friendship. Probably the only friendship either of them had ever had. When they had parted ways, Jin had never expected to see the rebellious man again.

He found himself inexplicably pleased—more pleased than he would have admitted if anyone had asked him—to find his old comrade. Jin shook his head. Now if he could just quit thinking of the rogue as his lover...

Jin strode down the main road, really more of a dirt track, glad to be once more on his way. The few cramped houses dropped behind him in his rush to be quit of this place.

He had more than enough of these peasants laughing and talking behind their hands when they thought he wasn't listening. He was glad that they had obviously not realized who had given him that mark, and even more pleased that they did not know about the other one hidden under his kimono.

All the resentment toward Mugen that he had pushed down came smoldering back to life. The high collar of his kimono didn’t hide the rascal’s brand, making him a laughing stock.  He would find some way of repaying Mugen.

Even without the livestock to slow the return, the farmers had taken two days to arrive back at their village. However, without that hindrance Jin might retrace his route to the inn in one, admittedly long, day. He wanted to avoid another night in the open, if he could.

A band of bandits roamed this area unchecked. In fact, the villagers’ fear of the outlaws had offered him employment for the past few days. The villains took what they wanted and weren’t above harming the peddlers and other travelers they waylaid. He did not relish the thought of coming into contact with them on his own. His weapons alone were enough to draw their unwanted attention.

The now empty fields surrounding the handful of dwellings dwindled rapidly. The pathway cut through the man-made clearing that kept the forest at bay. Anything that might have given cover to outlaws or oni had been painstakingly removed.

Jin set a brisk pace, determined to be clear of the nearby stretch of woodlands before the sun set. Lingering along the way only encouraged trouble. He steadfastly refused to admit to any other reason that might prompt a speedy return to Mugen’s inn.

He crossed the farmland rapidly. Pausing to admire the trees, like gaily clad geisha in all their autumn splendor, Jin adjusted his daishō. With nothing to interfere with drawing his sword, he stepped from the bright sunlight into the cool shade of the forest.

Sunlight dappled the trail, scuffed and marred by the recent passage of a dozen men and their livestock. Hoof prints lined with a thin film of water pocked the dark moist loam. The green scent of gently decaying plants rose up with every stride Jin took. On the previous trek, the odor of the animals had masked this soothing smell.

Resisting the temptation to linger, Jin struck out for Mugen’s inn. He didn’t intend to end his day still within the forest’s grasp. One man, even armed, would draw more interest than the same man had while traveling with a group of peasants.

Loping and walking by turns, he made good time traversing the wooded path. He had begun to think that the worst of the journey was over, when he heard a slight rustle in the surrounding undergrowth. Pretending to be unaware, Jin continued on his way, listening intently for the unknown to give himself away again.

The man must have realized his mistake, because no further sounds interrupted the drowsy chirping of the haru-dori as they settled in for the evening. Had the man given up on ambushing him or did he just place his feet with more care?

Jin followed a bend in the trail and found his answer awaiting him.

Ahead, three ruffians blocked his way. They were armed with cudgels and a motley array of padded and leather protective garments. He could tell by the way the men held themselves they were merely a rag tag collection of bullies and indigent ne’er-do-wells. Jin put his hand to his daishō, loosening it in its sheath.

"None of that," the central figure warned. "There's no need for violence. Just give us those swords, and whatever is in your sleeves."

No violence, indeed. Standing there doing his best to look all intimidating. Did the man actually expect anyone to believe him?

Reserving part of his attention on the man hiding behind him, Jin drew his daishō and charged the three in front of him. He did not have time for this.

The men had obviously only dealt with farmers or the occasional lone traveler so far. They stood too close to one another to fight effectively, hampering each other’s movements. The looks of surprise on their faces as he bore down on them were an amusing mix of stunned disbelief and horrified comprehension. The ruffians didn’t even have the sense to flee.

Jin didn’t worry about finesse, merely cut them down as they attempted various defensive stances. He grunted as one of their staves connected with his hip. That last desperate attempt did not check his forward motion and his daishō came to rest in the third man. Jin allowed himself to stumble as the man fell, dragging his blade with him.

There was a sudden loud thrashing from behind him. Jin whirled ready to defend himself, but the unseen man was bolting for safety.

One of the downed men chuckled hoarsely before spitting blood. "He's gone for the rest. You will follow me soon."

Surrounded by the lifeless proof of his encounter, Jin took stock of his situation. The unseen man had gotten away and even now no doubt alerted the other members of his band to Jin’s presence. He didn’t have long before they would be hunting him.

Jin hurried with all the speed that his hip would allow. He could manage a stiff jog for short stretches before he had to drop into a limping walk. Maybe he could still escape the bandits. Even though he had nearly reached the end of the forest the road seemed to stretch on forever.

Sharp pain seared through him with every step, overwhelming the throbbing ache in his hip. He had to walk longer and longer each time before he could manage to pick up the pace again. Jin began to fear that he might not make it back to the town after all.

Even though exhausted, he must not stop until he was safely at the inn. If those outlaws caught him, there would be nothing for Mugen to do but avenge him. A thought that he did not relish for several reasons.

Up ahead, Jin saw the bright golden glow of sunlight not filtered through layers of leaves. Nearly free of the forest, Jin broke into a lope. He wanted out, and he wanted out now.

Jin cleared the woodlands while the sun was still in the sky, although not by much. Soon it would be dark, and he couldn’t continue to jog at that point. He could see the rising smoke from the cooking fires in the distance. A quick glance over his shoulder showed that the pursuit was either delayed or not forthcoming. He rather hoped it was the later, but feared it was the former.

Hastening over the open road, his footfalls stuttered in staccato bursts.  Jin forced himself to cover as much ground as he could. Only dropping into a walk when he could no longer bear the pain and picking up the pace again as soon as possible.

Darkness fell and he still had a ways to go. Jin slowed to a walk. He couldn’t risk quickening his pace until the rising of the moon could afford him enough light to see the terrain by.

He felt like he had walked forever. In fact, he had walked most of the night. When he saw the welcoming glow of the inn in the near distance, without sign of pursuit, he dared hope.

Jin finally stumbled, disheveled and limping, through the front door of the inn. The few remaining patrons gave him a less than warm welcome. All conversation stilled and he was the object of every hostile stare in the common room.

Mugen turned from the man he had been talking to and looked at him with some surprise. "You look like shit."

Jin sank onto a bench with a pained grunt. "They look worse," he muttered darkly.

Mugen barked out a laugh. "Of course, they do..."

After eating what Mugen could scrape up at this late hour, Jin wobbled back to Mugen's room. He pointedly ignored any offers of help that might have been forthcoming. His muscles had tightened up in the short time he had sat to eat.

Jin slumped down on the futon with his hand pressed to his hip. Pealing his kimono and hakama off revealed a nasty purple bruise covering much of his side, hip, and continuing down his flank. Mugen let out a low whistle of admiration.

"Get me some sake and salve," he gritted out between clenched teeth.

Mugen just nodded and left the room.

When Mugen returned, he offered Jin the sake and set about applying the salve.

Jin gulped several cups in quick succession, trying hard not to betray how badly every touch hurt. Finally, it was done and he was numb. He didn't know if that was due to the salve or the sake. And just then he felt too wrung out to think about it.

He leaned against Mugen, and with a heartfelt sigh, allowed himself to relax. He’d returned, safe and alive, something that he hadn't been sure of earlier in the day.

Now that he didn’t need to drive himself, reaction set in. He was thankful the sake blunted it, but that only made another part of his reaction more pronounced. He had heard that surviving a life or death situation was often one of the best aphrodisiacs. Now he found that in his case it was true.

Mugen chuckled warmly and looked pointedly down at his lap. Jin followed the direction of his gaze, mildly surprised to see just how aroused he was. His cock strained, dripping precum from its swollen tip.

"Well… What do you want to do about that?" Mugen waved in the general direction of Jin's groin.

Jin blushed furiously. Don't ask such questions!

Mugen's hands wandered down Jin’s naked body, brushing places that affected him in ways he would never have suspected. The way he reacted to having his nipples stroked was no real surprise any more, but his navel and flanks were uncharted territory. Mugen’s gentle touches had him trembling and sighing in no time.

By the time those talented hands reached the destination Jin had in mind the whole time, the other man's name had slipped through his fervent lips more than once.

Mugen leaned forward and sealed those lips with his. His kiss was surprisingly gentle, not the usual battle that they engaged in. Light butterfly touches on the roof of his mouth and tongue.

Jin moaned and increased both the depth and heat of the kiss, his turn to explore the other's mouth. Mugen chuckled at his new found ardor.

"You really want this. I'll try to do it without hurting you."

"Just do it!"

Chuckling once more, Mugen eased Jin back onto the futon. Mugen began to remove his own clothing. He was somewhat hampered by Jin's awkward attempts to help. But Jin soon gave up, instead stroking any exposed skin he could reach. That also slowed things down a bit, but Mugen didn’t complain.

Once the last of Mugen’s clothing was gone, it was abundantly clear that he was in no better state than Jin.

Taking care that the bruised hip was uppermost, Mugen maneuvered Jin onto his side. Then he moved in close and took both of their cocks in his hand.

Jin clutched him close, murmuring his name. He attempted to move his hips, but with a small cry of pain stopped abruptly.

"Shhh… I've got it." Mugen stroked Jin's back until he relaxed once again, and then went back to pleasuring them both.

His hand slid easily up and down their shafts. The gleaming drops seeping from their cocks smoothing the movement. Jin tried to help, but the pain of reaching down was too much. So he wrapped his arm around Mugen and burrowed tightly into his warm body.

Jin’s mouth sought the rogue's neck. He nibbled on Mugen’s collar bone, and sucked on the pulse point before moving higher up. Jin licked the edge of the other man’s ear, dipping his tongue in to explore before nipping the lobe. He amused himself by playing with the dangling blue stone earring. When he tugged on the hoop holding the stone, Mugen arched against him and gave out such a groan that Jin gave it another tug to see if he could get the same reaction again. If anything, Mugen’s groan was deeper and ragged, filled with more longing than any one sound should be able to convey.

Mugen's hand moved faster and began a twisting motion over their crowns, wringing a deep moan from Jin. Mugen pumped his hips, pushing the head of his cock over Jin's and dragging the edge back down the length of him.

Jin’s body shuddered and shook with desire. He could feel the hunger building in him, looking for an outlet. He held off as long as he could, just letting the fierce heat burn him until he had to find release or burn up with his need.

Pressing his face firmly into his lover's neck, Jin bit down to keep from screaming Mugen's name as he came. The semen pumping out of him with every stroke of Mugen's hand made it impossible for him to release his grip upon the other man. In fact, he found his jaw tensing more with every pulse.

"Oh… Fuck yeah!" Mugen yelled raggedly as he came.

Dimly Jin realized that a little pain seemed to have a positive effect on his lover. He would have to explore that in more depth later when he was capable of logical thought once again.