Kenneth groaned as he was jostled hard against the side of the carriage. The plush velvet interior didn’t do much to cushion him.
“Blast it, can’t the driver slow down?!” he shouted. The steady clop of the horse’s hooves didn’t change. They had been in the damn carriage nearly constantly for two days, and he was tired of it. The promise of their journey ending soon didn’t do much to console him.
His lover put a reassuring hand on his shoulder. The brunette was grinning as he looked past Kenneth and out the window. “It’s the roads, is all. Cobblestones look nice but don’t do much to make a smooth ride, and there are probably pits in the road. Besides,” Thorn raised an eyebrow as he met Kenneth’s eyes, “most cabs I rode in were nowhere near this nice, and our roads were a lot worse.”
Kenneth sighed, dropping his gaze to the cushions. “I know. It’s just—damnit!” Another jolt threw him against Thorn.
The inventor grabbed him, placing strong hands around his thigh and shoulder. “I know a way to distract you from the rough ride,” he whispered huskily into the mage’s ear.
A pleasurable heat flashed through Kenneth’s body, and he loosened in Thorn’s arms. “Oh?”
Thorn chuckled, licking Kenneth’s earlobe, and the blond shuddered. “It’s too bad we’re here,” Thorn whispered.
“Here we are, M’lord,” a voice called from outside, and Kenneth sat up quickly, straightening his robes over his burgeoning erection. The door swung open, the driver dipping into a half bow. “Edge of the town of Elesborough.” Gray skies and a flat road waited outside the carriage, a stone building visible in the distance.
Kenneth’s face heated as he flipped the driver more coins than necessary. “Thank you, sir,” the driver said. He didn’t leave the bow until Kenneth left the cab.
Kenneth mumbled a few words, and their luggage floated down from the top of the carriage. “That will be all,” Kenneth said.
The driver tipped his hat to Kenneth, not making eye contact. He took his place in the driver’s seat, snapping the reins as Thorn left the cab. Then he spat at the inventor’s feet.
Thorn’s eyes widened and he turned to the carriage as it lurched away. The driver didn’t look back.
Kenneth’s stomach lurched. He had seen that before from talentless, those who resented him for his status as a mage and his wealth.
But Thorn….he wasn’t used to it. “It’s nothing,” he said, hating the stricken look on his lover’s face. “He didn’t know you’re…” he was about to say “one of them,” but didn’t. “Talentless also,” he finished instead.
“Right.” Thorn’s expression smoothed. “He must have just assumed I’m another mage.” Kenneth didn’t know why that was as relieving as it was, but didn’t question it.
“Well, let’s go,” Kenneth said. “We’re staying with the governor, and he’ll inform us of the situation here.” Kenneth muttered a few words, their luggage floating into place behind them.
It was time to start their first mission. Kenneth hoped it would be as easy as Liliana had seemed to think.
Droplets of rain began to fall from a cloudy sky as they walked down a puddled path. Kenneth licked his lips, the water tasting of dust as if it had been in a cup set out in an old house for far too long.
“Its awfully isolated here,” Thorn said, avoiding a puddle in his path. “Why does he live so far from the actual town? That’s probably not a good sign.”
“I make no judgments on that until we assess the situation,” Kenneth said.
Thorn snorted. “You sound like you’ve been doing this for years, not minutes.” He jumped over another puddle, water splashing the low floating luggage. “Think about things as you go. We are assessing the situation, right now. I don’t see any sign of anyone—no residential talentless houses, no buildings, and only one road. I see a governor that isolates himself from the town he is supposed to be governing. That implies a lot of things.”
Kenneth broke into a smile. “Alright. You’re right.” He loved how smart his lover was. “What does it imply?”
“Well, if I were a talentless living here, I would either be one of two things—fearful of a governor who is so high above me that he lives far away, or I would completely disregard him. That we won’t know until we explore the town.”
“Well, we have to explore the governor’s house first.” The road grew flatter and more well maintained as they approached the house.
“Not as impressive as the Victeni mansion, is it?” Thorn said, craning his neck. Kenneth had to agree.
It was certainly nice, and far better than most dwellings people lived in. But at only two stories and stretching for only about a hundred feet, it was no mansion. Cozy for a family, large for one man, but not what Kenneth had expected.
As they drew near the door Kenneth spoke a quiet word to the aether, one Liliana had taught him before they left.
“What?” Thorn said. “What is it?”
“The wards,” Kenneth said. “they—“
The wooden doors swung open, Thorn jumping in surprise. Cheery light glowed from within.
“Greetings!” A young man stood on the edge of the doorway, waving them inside. “Come in, come in! You are the Enforcers, yes?” He spoke quickly, his bright blue eyes flicking from Kenneth to Thorn and back.
“I am Enforcer Victeni,” Kenneth answered. The man swallowed quickly. Kenneth was used to that reaction when people heard his surname, but he guessed in this case it was due to the title.
“And I am Enforcer Thorn.”
Kenneth waited for the question about Thorn’s last name, but it didn’t come. “I am Marle, a student living here with governor Thralten.”
“Student of what?” Thorn said.
“Alchemy.” He said after a pause. Thorn caught Kenneth’s gaze. A student at the new school. Interesting. “I also serve as the governor’s secretary and assistant.”
“Greetings, Marle.” Kenneth spoke without meeting the man’s eyes. He was an Enforcer and would not defer to an assistant. “I will speak with you at a later date, but where is Thralten? I assume he would have been expecting us.” There was no one else in the foyer at all, and no sign of either the governor or of any servants. Interesting.
“Oh…” Marle stepped out of the way as the last of their luggage floated through the door. “He is away. In the town, I presume.”
“Doing what?” Thorn asked.
Marle stared at Thorn’s clockwork hand without answering, his brows knit together. “Well?” Kenneth pressed.
“He left me here to greet you!” Marle burst, his voice wavering. “He does routine checks of the town—hearing grievances, meting out punishments, that sort of thing. He may be at the local alchemy school, where he serves as headmaster. That is where I attend when I am not here, and I take extra lessons with him in my free time. He’s a fantastic alchemist.” He paused again, and when neither Kenneth nor Thorn responded he waved a hand. “I…if you want I can take you there, but would you like to see your room first?” He looked back and forth once again. “You are lifemates, yes? One room is enough?”
Thorn smirked. “Yes. One room will do just fine.”
“Right this way.” Marle spoke the aetherword for light, and a glowing orb winked above his head. There were no wires or outlets for electric lights. No talentless servants then.
Had he figured out Thorn was talentless? Probably not. Kenneth kept quiet, merely observing as Marle led them through the house.
“Your room is through this hall here, on the ground floor. Thralten’s room is right above yours. Mine is in the basement.” The orb over his head grew brighter, sweeping up onto the ceiling as they walked. The interior was painted blue, the carpet plush. Kenneth looked back over his shoulder, a table and chairs still visible from a room on the other side of the entranceway.
“Does Thralten hold council here?” Kenneth asked.
“No, never. Can you imagine? This house is for his personal use—and for guests, of course.” Marle pushed open a door, revealing a spacious room with two well-made beds. Kenneth wrinkled his nose at the smell of dust.
“I know it may not be the accommodations Enforcers are used to,” he said sheepishly, “but if you’d like you can elect to stay at the council house in town. You’d be near talentless though.”
Thorn laughed aloud. Marle raised both eyebrows.
“This will be fine. Although I do look forward to exploring the town tomorrow,” Kenneth said, smiling as Thorn’s stifled chuckles started to become infectious.
“Excellent. I will….ah…”
“Leave us for now. But please do let us know when Thralten returns.”
“Of course!” Marle bowed, then let himself out.
Thorn waited for a few seconds after the door clicked shut before flopping onto the bed nearest the door and guffawing. “Oh, wow. ‘You’d be near talentless’?” He sat up, kicking off his boots and fingering the cuffs of his silk shirt. He looked like a rich talentless merchant. “I know I’m wearing these awful fancy clothes, but I thought the hand would clue him in.”
Kenneth chuckled. “I can’t really blame him. Who ever heard of a talentless lifemate?” Thorn grinned back at him, brown eyes twinkling.
Kenneth’s grin faded as he considered the flighty assistant. If he really thought that way… “We’re supposed to look for any problems from the governor or the town, and especially problems with the new school. An assistant who thinks like that…” he sat down on the bed next to Thorn, letting out a tired sigh. “It’s not good.”
“It’s not good, no,” Thorn said. He put his hand over Kenneth’s. “But I’m used to magi like that. It’s awful, but… it’s not breaking any laws, either.” His mouth twisted.
“Liliana said to look for signs of tension. We’ve found several already.”
“And perhaps when we report it the council will replace him. Odd that she said that Thralten was the only mage governing here, though. Who’s this Marle? Must be new.”
Kenneth frowned, resting his chin in his hands. “He’s only an assistant, but it’s a good point. Assistants are usually groomed to succeed, and Liliana didn’t mention Thralten being an alchemist, either.” Kenneth’s mind buzzed. Their first assignment, and already there were a lot of things to keep track of. He couldn’t mess this up.
“Hey. Look at me.” Thorn’s commanding tone chased away the weight of the mission, and he met the inventor’s eyes.
“This is an easy assignment. We just have to report what we see back to Liliana. Just relax, explore, and write down our observances. There’s no need to be tense, because so far nothing is really wrong, right?” Thorn snaked an arm around Kenneth’s shoulders, pulling him closer. “Let’s have you relax.” Thorn’s eyes grew darker. “I didn’t like being interrupted in the cab.”
Oh. A slow burning tightness began in Kenneth’s loins as he stiffened. “You didn’t?”
“No. I didn’t.” Thorn broke into a wicked grin. “It frustrated me. So you’re going to suck me off.”
Oh, by the aether did Kenneth love it when Thorn talked to him like that. “Yes. Yes I will.”
“Forget about that little jerk Marle and about Thralten.” Thorn’s hands moved to his pants as he spoke, quickly undoing the buttons of his fly. Kenneth kept his eyes riveted on the growing bulge there. “Right now, your only job is this.” He freed his cock, the organ already thickening. A shudder went through Kenneth as Thorn stroked himself, pulling back the loose foreskin and revealing the glistening head. “Do you want it?”
“Yes.” Kenneth’s mouth filled with saliva, and he swiped his tongue over his lips. “Yes please.”
“Then suck me. Now.” Thorn’s words pulled like hot lips on Kenneth’s cock, and he leaned down as his lover commanded.
Kenneth knew he was strange. He was a noble mage. It was odd to be so turned on by someone else controlling him, someone else commanding him.
But as knelt between Thorn’s legs, relishing the other man’s hand shoving his head down, he didn’t care.
Thorn’s cock was thick in his mouth, Kenneth taking him as far as he could. He whined, tilting his head underneath Thorn’s hand, and more pleasure flashed through him when the man got the message and pinned Kenneth’s head in place with both hands, lightly shoving him further down on his cock. Kenneth moaned around Thorn’s erection, his lips tickled by the hairs on Thorn’s balls. He writhed his tongue around the base and bobbed his head, sucking hard with his lips.
Thorn was a quiet lover, but Kenneth wrung a gasp out of him when he swallowed around the cock in his mouth. He pulled his head back just slightly against the resistance of Thorn’s hands and explored the other man’s foreskin with his tongue. Thorn shoved him back down, thrusting his hips and forcing himself down Kenneth’s throat.
It was so much, too much. Kenneth’s hips bucked, and he began to stroke himself through his robes.
“Hands on me,” Thorn growled, and Kenneth moaned again, his erection dribbling precum as he stroked his lover’s balls with both hands. His hips thrust against air, and he whined his frustration and desire around Thorn’s cock. Thorn’s brown eyes met his searching gaze, and the inventor blinked slowly, his soft lips open. His tongue flicked out of his mouth, another gasp leaving his lips.
“Enough,” he commanded, and Kenneth released him immediately. He waited to see if Thorn would start spurting, but instead the other man took a few quick breaths, his hands making fists on the bedcovers.
“On the bed.” He stood and pointed, Kenneth tearing his eyes away from the vision of Thorn’s thick erection with effort. “On your back.”
The bed was not as soft as the plush featherbeds Kenneth was used to, but the discomfort only added to his excitement. He wondered what it would be like if Thorn restrained him, with more than just his hands. The thought made him even harder, and he moaned again.
“So loud.” Thorn was grinning now. “You wanted to stroke yourself, right? Do it now. For me.” He reached down and grabbed the front of Kenneth’s robes, yanking hard. Buttons scattered onto the bed as the fabric ripped and Thorn revealed what he wanted. “Get rid of these clothes. Then touch yourself.”
Kenneth obeyed immediately, shucking the clothing and lying down naked on the bed. Thorn followed suit, standing over him.
Kenneth would never get tired of the view of his lover. Sparse brown hair trailed down a flat abdomen to his proud erection, his cock thick and balls full. His thighs were well muscled, and Kenneth let himself fantasize about all the times Thorn had pounded into him as he began to stroke himself. He never closed his eyes, watching his lover’s reactions carefully. He stroked himself faster, beats of pleasure building and building. He wanted…he wanted…something. He needed it. Thorn had to figure it out.
His lover knelt over him, his gaze traveling up and down Kenneth’s body, lingering on the motion of the mage’s hand. The inventor’s quick breaths washed over the mage, a rejuvenating wash of heat, and Kenneth stroked faster.
Then Thorn moved away, kneeling on the bed next to Kenneth’s head. His thick erection hovered over Kenneth’s face.
“Please,” Kenneth moaned.
“Please what?” Thorn began to stroke himself too, the sight sending Kenneth’s hand moving faster. He couldn’t have stopped if he had wanted too. He was so close, so painfully close. Sweat dripped onto the bed.
“Please!” Kenneth moaned and gasped, not caring how loud he was. He needed to come. He wanted Thorn to touch him, to grab him, anything! He needed to know Thorn wanted him, he needed to know Thorn was enjoying himself too. He needed to please him. He gasped again, stroking his balls with his other hand while he watched Thorn jack himself off.
“I’m coming, Kenneth.” Realization and shock hit Kenneth all at once, and he opened his mouth almost too late as Thorn’s first ribbon of cum caught him on the chin. It was hot and sudden and wonderful, and Kenneth had to shut his eyes as his own orgasm blasted through him, his body shuddering as he pulsed. More of Thorn’s cum hit his face, getting in his mouth and on his cheeks even as Kenneth climaxed on his own stomach, and he nearly cried in his pleasure and relief.
Then Thorn’s hands were on him, soft lips against his. “Kenneth,” Thorn whispered. “Was that alright?”
“Yes.” Kenneth shuddered as Thorn’s hand dipped lower, stroking the mage’s penis and still-sensitive balls. “That was wonderful.”
“You need to get cleaned up,” Thorn said with a chuckle, laying his head down Kenneth’s shoulder. “You’re covered.”
The word sent a residual pulse of desire through Kenneth. “Not yet. I…I liked that.” He touched his chin lightly, Thorn’s cum having cooled on his face. He licked his fingers. “I really like it.”
“I’m glad,” Thorn said, snuggling closer against him. “I’ll have to find more things you might like.”