January 31st, 2009
|cassiopeia13||03:14 pm - Dichotomy - Books 1 & 2 FINISHED|
Author: Fading Madness Productions
Rating: Overall NC-17
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Warnings: Throughout - M/M Smut, Het couples (no smut), Violence. CROSS-POSTED!!!
Summary: Two powerful men: one property, one a great lord, and both haunted by specters of the past, are forced together by a society crumbling at the edges. To survive, they must find trust, friendship, and perhaps something more.
Dichotomy: Companion - FINISHED
Dichotomy: Soldier - FINISHED
Dichotomy: Majesty - WIP
The Miltsians came before dawn, ripping the Cildisc boy from his sleep and dragging him to the floor.
Fingernails dug painfully into the boy’s – really a young man, now, though such definitions held little meaning in the context of the Center arms when he struggled against the dark shapes that lifted him into the air. He couldn’t see anything in his tiny, windowless bedroom, but scuffling boots and the useless strikes of his fists against large bodies told him a little of what was happening to him. At first he fought instinctively, lashing out at his captors. They only grunted, apparently little affected by his struggles, and dragged him into the dimly lit hallway. The thin white sheets from his bed tangled around his legs, impeding his struggles so he felt as if he were trying to tread water. The men carrying him were tall, broad, and dark. Ahead of them walked a smaller, pale woman in the hypocritical white gown favored in the Center. “Don’t struggle, Initiate,” she told the young man in the sweetly soothing tone they all mastered. He knew the woman. He also hated her. “It’s time to receive the brand on your new master. This is the honor you’ve been training for.”
“Becoming someone’s pet is no honor!” the captive spat, twisting and glaring into the dark faces of his oppressors. Physical mistreatment at the Center was rare; after all, what Master would want a Companion covered in bruises, who cringed away from the slightest touch? But then, most Companions went with quiet dignity to their fates. The Miltsians looked back at him dispassionately, unmoved as statues. “Let me go!” Instinctively, the young man grasped desperately for his power, begging the fire to unfurl and attack – but the collar around his neck reacted instantly to his rising temperature and contracted, constricting enough to make black stars explode behind his eyes as he lost all concentration.
“Initiate! Calm yourself!” The trainer sounded angry then, though she obviously fought to keep her voice even. “You’re the only initiate who insists on causing such a disturbance! You are about to be honored with the opportunity to serve your country. Stop struggling before you harm yourself and lose the opportunity to meet your master!”
The initiate bared his teeth, half feral in his desperation to be free. “I won’t be anyone’s Companion! No one will own me! Let me ” he jerked in his captors’ hands, chest moving in a sudden gulp for air. If only he could concentrate, but the constriction from the collar made his head spin.
“I asked you to calm down, Initiate,” the trainer all but purred. Sleep tugged at the edge of Adrian’s consciousness and the hands holding him relaxed. “Now they’ve had to put you to sleep. This could have been so much easier.”
Terror curled in the captive’s belly and he continued to fight, but weakly. ::Sleep:: whispered a voice in his mind. He groaned, forced his eyes to stay open, and a second voice joined the first. ::Sleep.:: Pride offered a brief balm to the initiate’s spirit. One of them couldn't command him alone.
“No,” he whimpered, but his fire wouldn’t obey him with the collar making it impossible to focus, and his helpless mind turned and twisted to the Miltsian’s power. Exhaustion flickered at the edges of his consciousness even as his body continued to struggle for freedom. “Please.”
::Sleep.:: More voices, surely every Miltsian in the Center, and no one could withstand so many at once. Light and consciousness fled, and in a moment even the initiate’s body went limp.
He awoke to pain, as a needle punched repeatedly through the skin at the base of his neck. They’d strapped him onto a strange tilted bed. He froze instinctively, staring up into the eyes of the two Miltsians who’d used their quiet power to force him to sleep. A Cildisc, dressed in the familiar white robe, held the needle. He lifted it for a moment to dip it in ink. The initiate tensed, muscles screaming against the straps that held him down – but one of the Miltsians saw the change, and leaned down to speak for the first time.
“Stay still this time, Companion, or the needle will tear through your throat before we can gentle you to sleep again.”
The initiate did not doubt his sincerity. Like so many before him, the young man gritted his teeth and lay still as a stranger’s mark was forever branded to his skin.
The lord drew his great black stallion to a halt beside his young guide. Tall and silent, he studied the valley with the calculating eyes of a man more suited to the military than the fireside. Before him sprawled the Center: a long, low building of rare white stone that gleamed as sunrise peeked over the surrounding mountains. He and his guide had picked their way carefully down a well hidden mountain pass. From their right came the sound of rushing water, serving as a reminder that the Center enjoyed not only the protection of the towering Macraeftig, but also a rushing fork of the River Gada’s main tributary. No other building in Helmriche enjoyed better protection, including the palace.
“We ford here, my lord,” his guide told him in a typically deferential manner. “Past the river are the Center grounds. We shall part company when we reach the orchards. Even though I am mind blind,” no Miltsian would need his power to sense her bitterness, “I still can’t cross where future Companions might tread.”
The lord nodded, but made no additional comment. Blessed with unusually strong abilities, he wouldn’t pretend to understand the curse of being born a Miltisian with no ability to sense the minds of others.
Silently, he bade the black across the river. The water rushed nearly to the stallion’s broad chest, but the horse proved both his breeding and training and merely gave his head a proud shake as he cautiously navigated the slippery riverbed. The woman’s slight horse would struggle with the fording, so the lord and servant parted ways with the flick of a gold coin that obviously surprised her and revealed a good deal about the lords and ladies who had been so escorted before. The guide offered to return and lead the lord back to her lady’s castle, but the lord deferred, citing his own excellent sense of direction without mentioning his intention of leaving the Center as he had arrived: alone.
The black trotted through the idyllic orchards, eyeing the sweet green grass with obvious interest. The lord gave one sharp tug on the bit and the stallion lifted his head properly. It took a few minutes to circle the Center’s main building and find the entrance; stables, orchards, and vegetable gardens were tucked here in there, with sheep bleating in a field just beyond and dotting the base of one of the mountains. It took a moment to identify what made the lord feel so uneasy: there were no people in sight. He reached out instinctively, and his mind brushed lightly against a number of others. They were here, then, but hidden. They’d known he’d arrive today, then, and taken precautions.
He found the entrance by following the sensation of the closest mind. A heavy door blocked the way, covered in a thick tangle of thorny vines and with odd columns of the same shimmering white stone to either side. In front of the door stood a Clidisc woman who looked to be in her fifties, small, delicate, and pale compared to the Miltsian lord, and dressed in a pale blue dress that only added to the overall coldness of the building in such beautiful surroundings. “My lord,” she greeted as he dismounted. “We’ve been expecting you.” She bowed slightly, and the cool mountain wind tugged at her dark hair. “Your Companion is ready for you. Please follow me.”
“I wish to speak to whomever’s in charge first,” the lord deferred. His tone brooked no argument.
“Of course, my lord. That is to be expected. Come this way, please.”
For a moment, the lord hesitated. His dark blue eyes swept again over the tranquil setting, assessing and suspicious rather than charmed. The words of the king’s letter came back to him: It is time a man of your status and power was given a Companion. It is your duty to serve Helmriche and her Crown, and a Companion’s power, added to your own, would give you the power to keep her safe. I know a man of your loyalty will set aside whatever has kept you from previously accepting this honor, in order to better protect Helmriche.
Face carefully expressionless, the lord nodded, and the Cildisc woman smiled. She touched the door and the vines curled in on themselves with a riot of blossoming red roses. Bemused by this show of power, the lord strode after her into the gleaming central hallway of the Center.
Current Location: Parent's House
Current Mood: anxious
Current Music: HGTV: Color Correction