Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention part 9

The lecture was boring, and it was even harder to concentrate when Thorn’s gaze kept getting drawn to Kenneth. Kenneth somehow made it look good to sit in a lecture hall, his legs spread and his arms draped over the backs of the chairs next to him. He looked like an arrogant, lazy mage that the talentless always made fun of, but he was Thorn’s to discipline.

When the lecture ended, Thorn shook off his distraction. He had work to do on his project, and he couldn’t let Kenneth take up all his time. Kenneth was supposed to be the one focusing on self control, after all.

“So, what was the duel you mentioned to Saul?” Kenneth asked as he stood up, smoothing his robes. Another student who passed by widened her eyes when she saw Kenneth, and hurried up the steps. Thorn sighed.

“Duel? What…oh. The duels we were going to watch.” Thorn laughed when Kenneth frowned. “It’s not what you think. Not like what you and Alder did.” A chill went through Thorn at the thought of the powers the two men had commanded, and how it had resulted in his fake hand getting crushed when he had shot Alder. He flexed the metal of the replacement, testing it unconsciously. “It’s fencing. With rapiers, for fun, and with plenty of safety measures. It’s just something we talentless do when we’re not working. No one gets hurt, not with the electrical system we set up.”

Kenneth tilted his head, a grin stealing over his face as they left the lecture hall and headed into the narrow hallways that led to Thorn’s workroom. The electric lights they passed began to hum. “Do you duel too? What about with pistols?”

“I don’t duel, no,” Thorn said, holding up his fake hand. “Those of us with prosthetics usually don’t. People think we’re either too handicapped or cheating. And no one duels with pistols unless it’s a real duel, not a practice bout.” He chuckled. “I suppose you mages can find ways to throw lightning at each other safely, but not with our weapons.”

“Makes sense,” Kenneth said. “I’m interested to see what its like.”

“Well, give me a few hours,” Thorn said. “I have some work to do, and we can grab dinner. Then we can check out the duels.”

He hoped Kenneth enjoyed watching them. It was always a good way to relax after a long day of work.

He also hoped no one minded Kenneth being there. Putting away the nerve-wracking thought, Thorn set to work, the presence of his lover heavy in his mind.

Thorn hadn’t been able to get much work done. Between catching the sight of Kenneth out of the corner of his eye, the mage gorgeous no matter what he did, and the intermittent distractions of something mechanical failing when Kenneth’s magic flared, it wasn’t the best environment.

But dinner went well, even if it probably wasn’t up to Kenneth’s standards, and now the two men headed out into the courtyard, the sound of cicadas growing deafening as they left the college doors. The usual crowd had already gathered, and two men stretched in the center of the crowd, their blunted rapiers shining in the electric lights that were strung on the trees. A generator hummed on one side, and wires connected to two boxes lay strewn on the ground.

“What’s all this?” Kenneth whispered.

“You’ll see,” Thorn said. He nodded to Saul. His friend’s gaze hit the ground after he saw Kenneth, but he still made room for them in the crowd. Thankfully, in the dim lighting and with all the milling people, Kenneth didn’t stand out as much as Thorn had feared.

“Take your bets!” a woman shouted. Henrietta, as usual. “Who will win the first bout of the night, Frederickson or my good brother George!”

“Don’t bet,” Thorn said. He never did because he didn’t have the money, but part of him was worried Kenneth would bet far too much. Besides, the last thing they needed was for Kenneth to annoy anyone, even by the small act of favoring one duelist over another.

The people around them shouted out their bets, anywhere from 1 to 2 coppers, most on George. He was a fine duelist, with quick fingers and fine, muscular legs. Before Kenneth, Thorn had thought him quite fetching, which is why he came to the duels at all.

“Alright,” Henrietta said. “No striking the head. When the lights go off, I’ll say so.” Thorn wondered how hard it would be to construct metal masks so the apparatus would work with them, but he thought that every time and never spoke up. “Begin!”

Kenneth leaned forward, clearly curious. Before he could even blink, the long rapiers struck, one two three with the sound of clashing metal, and the light on the right went off.

“Point for George!” Henrietta crowed. The crowd hummed with exclamations of victory or groans of defeat, and more money began to change hands.

“Amazing!” Kenneth said, too loud. “What makes the light go off?”

Titters of laughter bled into the sound of the crowd. “Is he a first year?” someone said.

Kenneth frowned. “I’m just curious.”

Too many people turned, and so did George, stepping away from the duelist’s strip, the wire still attached to his clothing. “So who’s asking…”

Then he saw Kenneth, and Thorn groaned inwardly.

“Mage!” he said, his mouth dropping open. People immediately backed away from them, the anonymity of the crowd dropping away. Thorn’s stomach flipped.

George stared at Kenneth, his gaze fixed. “What are you doing here?” he asked, his voice tremulous. Thorn wished he knew more about George. So many here had bad experiences with the magi, and he didn’t know if that was fear or anger on George’s face.

“I’m…just here to learn,” Kenneth said carefully. “I’m curious about this dueling game.” Thorn winced.

“Learn the game, huh?” George said. His eyes narrowed. “Why not step up and play, then?” He motioned with his rapier to the duel’s strip. “C’mon mage,” George taunted, his eyes wide but jaw set. “You can’t win if you don’t play the game.”

Thorn’s stomach fell. The expression there was definitely anger.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention part 8

Thorn woke before his lover did, and he extricated himself from the too-small bed, careful not to wake up the sleeping mage.

The absurdity of it all hit him again as he took in the sight of the sleeping blond. His lover was a noble mage. Never in a thousand years did Thorn think such a thing would ever happen. Sure, he had fantasized about it. Plenty of talentless fooled around with non-noble mages. But a noble? And to have him here, spending an entire week with him?

It was crazy. And incredibly exciting.

Now was his chance to show Kenneth what talentless were like.

As he stood there, his clockwork alarm began banging out the hour. Thorn jumped, leaping across the room to turn it off.

“Urgh…” He turned the metal key too late, the room going silent, but Kenneth shifted under the covers. “What…” Kenneth blinked, and Thorn had to smile as his lover slowly realized where he was.

“What was that?” Kenneth said with a yawn. The covers revealed his toned chest and slim hips as he sat up. “It sounded like two bars banging against each other.”

“You’ve never stayed over on days I have seminar before,” Thorn said. “This is my alarm.” He held out the contraption, a clock outfitted with a piece of metal that would hold tension until the clock hit the correct hour. “And I—or more accurately, we—have to get ready for class. And then I have to work afterward. It’s going to be a long day.”

“Class?” Kenneth said, perking up.  “What sort of class?” He hurried out of bed, grabbing his bags and pulling out a silk set of robes. He also put on his noble’s armlet with a click, the gold shimmering. A twinge of anxiety went through Thorn.

“You’ll see,” Thorn said, swallowing down nerves.  He had wanted to show Kenneth what talentless were like.

But all his peers were going to meet Kenneth too.

Thorn was very grateful that he had met Kenneth when he was so close to graduating. Being in a small workroom full of dozens of other students with a well dressed, noble mage at his side would have been awkward. The unease that had hit him this morning didn’t fully abate, though.

It was strange enough walking down the hall to his seminar with Professor Flint. Some of his fellow students and professors had seen Kenneth, or had at least heard the rumors that Thorn was dating a mage. But more than a few people they passed stared at Kenneth with wide eyes, or muttered darkly to themselves.

Thorn kept his head high. He loved Kenneth. This wasn’t a betrayal of his people. Kenneth wasn’t like other mages.

He kept telling himself that when they entered the lecture hall. Kenneth had stayed quiet during the walk there, trailing along after Thorn like a puppy. Thorn wanted to be more open, to hold his hand or joke and talk with him like they always did when they were alone. But he couldn’t quite bring himself to do it, not when they were out in the open, among his peers.

Guilt twisted in his stomach, and it alleviated only a little when they chose seats in the back of the hall, thankfully early. In the privacy of the dim electric lights, he reached over and squeezed Kenneth’s hand.

“This is a lecture on mechanics,” he said. “Let me know if you have any questions.” Ahead of them, a woman took a seat, either not noticing Kenneth’s gold noble’s armlet or not caring. Thank goodness for that.

“Thorn!” Thorn looked up, grinning when he saw his friend Saul. His grin faded when he saw Saul’s wide, frightened eyes.

“Saul, you…you met Kenneth,” Thorn said, wishing he sounded more confident. “In the library. He’s my, uh…”

“So it’s true,” Saul said. “You really are dating a mage.”

Thorn froze. He knew exactly how afraid of mages Saul was. His artificial leg, hidden beneath his pants, was there because of the war. And he was an orphan, like Thorn.

Magi had killed so many.

“Would you like to sit with us?” Kenneth broke in. “I won’t understand much, but it’s nice to meet you.” He looked to Thorn, his gaze piercing.

Right. Fires, he was being rude. “Kenneth, this is Saul. He’s a friend of mine, who also studies prosthetics.”

Saul lingered, looking down the rows and then to Thorn and Kenneth. Mostly at Kenneth. “I think I’ll sit closer today,” he said with a shake of his head. Thorn nodded, throat tight.

“Will you be around later? We can watch the duels tonight,” Thorn said. Saul just nodded, already walking away.

“He’s afraid of me,” Kenneth said. “And you’re…ashamed? You’ve been so quiet.”

Fires. “It’s…it’s not like that,” Thorn said, keeping his voice low. “I’m not ashamed of you. I just…” He threw up his hands. “To some talentless, a mage like you is a guaranteed ticking time bomb.”

 “It’s more than that,” Kenneth said. “This is the first time I’ve been around when classes are in session, when you interact with your friends,” Kenneth said. “You worry what others will think, of both me and you for being with me.”

Thorn’s stomach sank. “I’m excited to have you here.” That was true, and he desperately hoped Kenneth believed it. “I want you to see what we do.” But he couldn’t lie. “And yes, I’m a little…overwhelmed.”

“It’s alright, Thorn,” Kenneth said. “I understand.”

“You do?”

Kenneth sighed, settling back into the uncomfortable wooden lecture chair. “I do. I just wish we magi hadn’t done so much that so many are resentful of us to the point they would judge another for being with one.”

Thorn frowned, and reached out to hold Kenneth’s hand again. “It will get better,” he said.

“It will,” Kenneth said, whispering when the lecturer entered the room, heading toward the podium. “It will start today. I’ll be on my best behavior.” He met Thorn’s eyes and smiled. “I’ll show people they have no reason to fear us, and no reason to be angry.”

Thorn smiled back, some of the weight lifting off his shoulders. “Every little step counts.”

Sunday, September 7, 2014

More neat news!

Freshmen Blues passed the first round in the contest! I'm now moving on to the second round!


Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Wednesday Briefs: Aesthetics of Invention part 7

Kenneth ached to return the favor Thorn had given him in the forest outside the inventor’s college. He could barely focus as he walked past the familiar talentless man who watched the entrance at night, thought of nothing but Thorn as he stabled Jade and took his bags, and wasn’t bothered at all by the dusty scent of the dingy hallways as they walked down to Thorn’s room.

“Home sweet home for the next week,” Thorn said, swinging his door open. The hinges creaked, and Thorn winced. “I’ll have to oil that.”

The interior was just as Kenneth remembered from his many visits, save for the faint scent of lemon. The bed was immaculately made, the sheets pin straight, and the books that usually lay askew on his desk had been stacked into neat piles. A drawing of something that looked like a human hand rested on the desk, a quill and inkpot next to it.

Kenneth broke into a grin. “You cleaned,” he said.

“Of course I did. It’s not every day I have a mage staying with me for a week.” Thorn motioned with a toss of his head to the corner. “I wouldn’t want to get your belongings all dusty.”

Kenneth muttered a command word, and his bags floated to the corner. “Thorn, there’s no need to worry on my account. I’m glad to be here.” His stomach fluttered with anxiety. “This is fine with you, isn’t it?”

“Of course. I wouldn’t have agreed if it wasn’t.” Thorn sat down on the bed, and Kenneth waited for Thorn’s look before he sat next to him. The wood creaked beneath their combined weight. “I’m trying to impress you here, is all.”

“You don’t need to impress me,” Kenneth said. He leaned closer and kissed Thorn’s shoulder, moving up to his neck and finally his lips when Thorn gave a shuddering sigh. Thorn’s lips, as always, were soft and warm, by now a familiar feeling, and their tongues twined together. Thorn pulled at Kenneth’s robes, breaking the kiss and staring at the buttons.

“These always look like they should slip right off,” he said.

Kenneth chuckled, and with another word to the aether popped the buttons on the front and at the neck where the robes were clasped. “Now try.”

“Ah.” Cold air rushed in over Kenneth’s chest, and then Thorn’s good hand brushed his nipples. “There we go. Much easier.”

“Mmm,” Kenneth said. Thorn’s callused fingers sent goosebumps trailing up his chest and neck. “Thorn, don’t you…ah…want me to please you? You’ve already given me—”

“I want to go inside you,” Thorn said, his words hotter than alchemical fire. “There’s no better way to get you used to staying here for a week. So I want you ready for me.”

Kenneth moaned as Thorn bent down and ran his tongue over Kenneth’s chest, and he let it happen when Thorn’s strong metal hand pushed him onto his back. “You’re not always the only one who gets “amorous”, you know,” Thorn said with a grin. He leaned down and picked up something from under the bed—a vial of oil, which he poured on his fingers. Some of dripped onto Kenneth’s stomach, slick and cold. “I just don’t have your magic excuse.”

“It’s not an excuse, it’s…ooh.” Thorn interrupted his sentence with a thrust of his fingers, and Kenneth spread his legs wide. Heat tightened in his cock, and he gasped when Thorn touched the head with his metal hand, smearing precum. The vial hit the floor with a thud, forgotten.

“I’ve been waiting for this,” Thorn said. “Are you ready?”

“Yes,” Kenneth gasped, and Thorn didn’t wait any longer. His hot length filled Kenneth, sending a rush of heat pulsing throughout his body, and with it, a deep desire to cum. Thorn moved inside him, Kenneth sensing every inch of his lover, and the friction was like sliding on hot ice.

“Yes,” he moaned. “Thorn, yes!”

“So good, Kenneth,” Thorn said, his hands fisting in the sheets next to Kenneth’s face. The bed creaked, banging against the wall. “I’ve wanted you all day, Kenneth.”

He loved it when Thorn talked like that, and Kenneth closed his eyes, relishing the sensation of his lover inside him, of the pressure and friction, the explosion that threatened every time Thorn moved against his prostate. He spread his legs wider, putting his hands on Thorn’s thighs and moving with him, driving him in deeper. “Yes, Thorn, yes, yes, yes!”

“Come for me, Kenneth,” Thorn gasped, his body shuddering and his voice low. “Ngh…” He put his good hand on Kenneth’s erection, rubbing it and grabbing his head while he thrust his hips. His body shuddered again, and he gasped, nearly breathless. “Fires, Kenneth, you’re so hot!”

Thorn was close, and the knowledge sent Kenneth over the edge first, his cock pulsing and releasing the blissful pressure in hot spurts across his chest. He clenched down on Thorn deep inside him, who moaned through gritted teeth, and Kenneth felt the deep throbs inside him.

The bed stopped creaking as they both panted, Kenneth’s heart beating so hard he felt it in his neck. “Thorn, you’re so good,” Kenneth said.

Cum dripped when Thorn pulled out, and he lay down next to Kenneth, a smug grin on his face. “I’m sure everyone else in the dorm knows that too now,” he said.

Kenneth’s face heated, but there was no shame. “I’ll be staying here for a week,” he said. “They’ll get used to it.”

“They’d better,” Thorn said. “I don’t claim to understand if it will help your little magic malady, but I’m glad you’re here, Kenneth.”

“I am too,” he said. “It will be nice to be with you more.”

“And you can learn a lot from us,” Thorn said. “I’ll be an Enforcer with you one day.” He snuggled closer. “But for now, you can see what our lives are like, at least a little." 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Some neat news

Freshmen Blues is in a contest!

The contest is called "Pitch Plus 5," where the first five pages are posted and judged by some helpful authors. If it gets to the final round, agents will take a look at it!

You can check out the entry and comment on it here!

No matter what happens, thanks to all who read the first few chapters on the blog, and look forward to more news about it soon!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I'm back! Wednesday Briefs--Aesthetics of Invention part 6!

 A faint glow emanated from the windows of those students who were still awake in the magi collegium. The night air was chill, and Kenneth muttered a warmth spell, Jade huffing as the horse’s muscles relaxed. As he watched, a snowflake fell through the night air and melted as it entered the bubble of heat.

“Hold steady,” he told Jade, patting the horse’s ears and adjusting the pack of clothes that lay across her back. “It won’t be long. We’re going to stay with Thorn.” He hoped the stables at the inventor’s college were as comfortable for horses as Thorn claimed.

He pushed the thought away. Of course they were. He should know by now that talentless treated their animals just the same as mages. Talentless were just like mages, just without magic.

And he loved one, and was going to stay with him for a week.

Jangling reins made him turn. “Victeni? What are you doing out here with all that stuff? You look like an accident waiting to happen.”

Kenneth waved to Brenson as the man rode up, the sound of clopping hooves echoing across the courtyard. Brenson was in many of his alchemy courses, and would notice Kenneth’s absence. Kenneth toyed with what to say.

“I’m going away for a bit,” he began. “A short vacation.”

“Ah, lucky you,” Brenson said as he trotted past toward the stables. “Careful on your travels. We’re getting a bit of spring snow.”

Kenneth waved, and at the same moment a strange heaviness tightened his throat.

Why hadn’t he been forthright about where he was going? He was going to stay with his lifemate. His lifemate, a talentless.

His breath clouded in the cold air. Brenson wouldn’t believe him. Or worse, judge him.

Fires, he couldn’t let himself think that way. He loved Thorn. Kenneth gripped the reins tight in his fist as he mounted his horse, clucking his tongue as resolve formed in his mind. He and Thorn were going to be Enforcers.

“Off we go, Jade,” he said, shifting his weight as the horse started forward. “To the inventor’s college, to stay with my lifemate.” His face heated at the silliness of talking to his horse, but saying the words aloud chased away some of the guilt. There was no way he was ashamed of Thorn, and he wasn’t going to let himself act like he was in the future.

Besides, if what Doctor Maibell said was true, he was the one who was most likely going to be at a disadvantage for most of the next week with Thorn. He had to master control of himself, and control of his magic, all over again.

That became more obvious as he rode through the forest, past the magi town and finally into the talentless slums and toward the collegium. Yellow light from one of the talentless lanters bobbed in the distance just as his magic unfolded like a flower, washing him in the sense of the world around him and the very hot, close sense of Thorn.

Fires, he already wanted him.

He urged Jade into a trot, and a smile stole over his face as the light of the lantern illuminated his lover. Thorn wore his usual heavy coat and a wide-brimmed hat, which was dusted with snowflakes.

“Thought I’d find you frozen again,” he said with a wry grin. “But I see you’re keeping warm.”

“Always, with you around,” Kenneth said, his face growing hot. Thorn just laughed and turned, becking with the lantern. Kenneth dismounted, leading Jade by the reins and moving close to the brunette.

“Wow, I forgot about that spell,” Thorn said. His scent entered Kenneth’s nostrils, a familiar musk that made Kenneth begin to harden. “No wonder you aren’t wearing heavy clothes.” His gaze roved up and down, and Kenneth tugged Jade’s reins. He wanted to get into Thorn’s room, their room, and his mind filled with lust, images of Thorn pressing him down, of the feeling of Thorn’s cock in his mouth—

“Kenneth?” Thorn said, the lantern suddenly blinding. “Fires!” he dropped it, the fire hissing into darkness when it struck the snow-dusted ground.

“Sorry,” Kenneth said, gritting his teeth. Focus. That was what he was here for. He took a deep breath, calming himself before he muttered a spell to cast a glowing orb of light.

Thorn shook his head. “How many things are you going to break, exactly?” he said, wiping his hand on his coat. “I’m going to owe for that lantern.”

“I’ll take care of it,” Kenneth said. “It was my fault.”

“Don’t sound so down,” Thorn said, stopping in his tracks. “Let me guess. You want me?”

The orb of light grew brighter, and Thorn laughed. “I’ll take that a yes. Hold on, Kenneth. I’ll take care of you.”

“Thorn, what…” The light winked out, cold air rushing in, as Kenneth’s control vanished. Thorn dropped to his knees, his hands going to the buttons that clasped Kenneth’s robes. Then before he could breath, Kenneth was engulfed in a hot, warm mouth.

He shuddered where he stood, dropping Jade’s reins. “Fires, Thorn…” he managed, before thought fled. Thorn was so fucking good, so fucking tight with his lips and skilled with his tongue. His hands caressed Kenneth’s balls with soft, light strokes, and Thorn hummed, heat kindling all over Kenneth’s body.

Part of him wanted to grab Thorn’s head, to steady himself and thrust, but another part of him didn’t want to move, wanted to stay at the mercy of the man who had his cock in his mouth. He wanted whatever Thorn gave him.

Thorn sucked harder, and even through the dark Kenneth saw his beautiful brown eyes, staring up at him. He gasped, his body a live wire from one of the talentless’s machines, and then erupted into the hot mouth around him.

He gasped, shuddering, even when Thorn let him go.

“There,” Thorn said, licking his lips with a grin. “Now I can take you home and you won’t go destroying all my lamps, right?”