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Pelaam October 2007.
Christophe felt the tear that trickled slowly down his cheek, but was unable to wipe it away. Nor could he shout to summon help, even if any would hear or heed his cry. He was cold, alone, terrified and helpless. As evening had fallen on the night of All Hallows’ his elders, led by the itinerant priest, had marched him to be tied to the sacrificial pole outside the village. He wore only a rough shift that covered him from neck to mid-thigh. He had been bound tightly and a gag of the same coarse material as the shift, and which smelt of mould, had been affixed. It dug cruelly into the side of his mouth but, as with his tears, the youth could do nothing to alleviate his suffering.
For the last three years on All Hallows’ Even, a sacrifice had been selected from the village. Like the two girls who had preceded him, Christophe was left as an offering to the unseen and unknown evil so that the rest of the village may live safely for the rest of the year. The young man thought he had known dark, lonely days since the deaths of his parents the previous winter, but this was even beyond the emptiness he had felt at their passing. Cold seemed to have crawled into his very marrow turning it to ice. He whimpered disconsolately. None would come to succour him. They would remain warm in their homes, windows and doors locked securely, and return to mourn over his body after the sun had risen.
The village had not always had such a barbaric act. Strange to say it was only after the arrival of the itinerant priest that they had begun the sacrifices. The grey-haired man had wandered into the small village that lay nestled against the large, dark, forbidding mountains. It was summer and their priest had died the winter before. Christophe had like the old, frail man, but had taken an immediate dislike to the wandering priest. He called himself Michael and was as enigmatic as he was charismatic amongst the elders of the village. He had soon been embraced to their bosoms although Christophe was not the only one of the younger people who felt ill-at-ease in his presence. His dark eyes seemed to look at them…inappropriately. He had heard tales that Michael was to be found carousing in the tavern or in the company of the local bawdyhouse women. It was not the saving of their souls that he seemed to crave.
Within a few short months, Michael had persuaded the elders that to ensure the village prospered and remained safe from the evil rumoured to live in the mountains, a sacrificial lamb was necessary. Christophe had been just sixteen when he found that the ‘lamb’ was to be pretty little fifteen-year-old Mary, one of his few friends. Last year it had been seventeen-year-old Rachael, this year, just one scant week past his eighteenth birthday, it was to be him.
Christophe trembled in a mix of cold, fear, anger and loneliness. He would be found, as the others before him, naked, violated and dead. Taken brutally by the unnamed evil. He would be mourned as he was buried then the village would spend a year going about its normal business, until the next sacrifice was needed. He moved his head to ease the discomfort. His blond hair was now plastered to his head thanks to a light rain that was falling. He closed his normally sparkling sapphire eyes. He knew he would never experience warmth or love again and his body and soul cried out silently for the loss.
Christophe felt a different cold as he remembered the priest’s hands touching his naked body. He shuddered uncontrollably. The touches were meant as a benediction, but when the priest had anointed him with Holy oil, they had felt like a caress. They had lingered over places no one had touched Christophe before and the young man had not liked the wolfish smile when he had blushed crimson at the intimacy his naked form had endured. Just like Mary and Rachael before him, Christophe was as pure in body as he was in spirit. Although, a growing few in the village had challenged the priest, the discovery of the bloodied, broken bodies and subsequent safety of the village inhabitants ensured their voices remained unheeded.
A noise in the oppressive darkness had him whimpering fearfully into his gag. His eyes searched the night for its origin and picked out twin, red pin-pricks of light that glowed eerily and were headed towards him. Christophe screamed around the cloth in his mouth and pulled frantically at the rope that held his arms tightly above his head. He felt the blood trickle down his arms, but continued to struggle, only caring about escaping the beast that came towards him. He used every ounce of his slender frame’s strength, only to finally slump, sobbing, still imprisoned. Terrified and exhausted Christophe summoned the courage to fearfully raise his head and stared at the red-eyed figure. It had remained motionless during his panicked efforts, now it moved forward again.
“I hope you have not used up all your strength, Christophe. I want to feel you struggle as I take illegal bahis you.”
Christophe’s eyes opened wide in shock. He *knew* that voice. It was not the voice of a beast. He watched as the figure lowered a lamp containing two small, red candles and then pushed back the hood of the thick cloak it wore. He shook his head disbelievingly as the priest stood before him, his pudgy face contorted by a lascivious leer. He heard cold, mocking laughter.
“So gullible your elders, plus, of course, corruptible. Some liking to enjoy very…special…sessions with young girls that I was able to arrange for them. Girls that required chastisement for example. They were a little happier that a male youth was the sacrifice this year. I think I will stay just one more year before I vanish as I came. Of course, you will not be here to see that.” Michael reached for Christophe’s cheek and gripped the blond’s chin with painful tightness as the boy tried to turn away. “Mary fought like a hellion for all her tiny size, Rachael laid immobile and prayed. I did have half a mind to have you last year, but Rachael snubbed me in the village, sealing her fate and sparing you…until now. You are quite exquisite for a boy. Very beautiful,” he murmured, his face closing so that Christophe could smell his fetid, brandy-laced breath.
The words of evil spoken from a so-called man of God had numbed Christophe to his very soul. He stared helplessly at the man before him. Michael’s body was corpulent, his face ruddy and pockmarked. Although he had always found the man repugnant, it was the sheer ugliness of the man’s soul that was so repellent to the bound youth. It was as though Christophe could feel the cold aura of evil the man emanated.
“I got hard from touching you before,” the soulless voice hissed sibilantly into his ear. “I almost spilt my seed. Then I had to show restraint, but now I can do with you as I please. As often and as mercilessly as I choose. Nobody sets foot outside their door this night, not when I spend two weeks visiting everyone personally to put fear in their hearts.”
Christophe’s head had begun to shake back and forth in denial once again. He could not believe this was happening. He sent a frantic, silent prayer for succour, from any source. Surely this was a nightmare from which he would soon awake?
“What is that you say?” Michael mocked, touching Christophe’s gag. “But I am a priest? Ah, yes, I was once a priest, ’tis true. However, my more carnal ways and enjoyment of corporeal pleasures brought censure and I was de-frocked. But that was many years and even more miles from here. You would be surprised at just how easy it is to insinuate yourself into a position of power in these small, isolated villages. There are so many men who are gullible, greedy, corrupt or credulous enough. And tonight, an innocent like you pays the price.”
Christophe tried to squirm away as clutching hands groped greedily beneath the short shift. They stoked at his thighs before reaching to fondle at his lax length to his muffled screams of despair. Frantically he kicked out, pleased with the contact he made and the grunt of pain that ensued. He would not simply lie and let himself be ravaged. Even if he must ultimately lose, he would force Michael to fight for what he wanted to take. A short, cruel laugh preceded two hard, brutal blows to his unprotected midriff and Christophe’s breath was expelled forcefully. As he hung limply, slaps to his face had his head ringing and left him dizzied and disorientated. He felt himself be cut from the pole, his hands still bound, to crumple to the ground. Too dazed to resist, he felt the shift sliced from his body, his nude form illuminated by the full moon that suddenly shone bright, making him look like an ethereal being.
“Let’s get you positioned…”
The priest’s voice penetrated his haze as he was roughly pawed before being rolled on his stomach, his legs spread obscenely apart.
“What….who is it?” Michael shouted into the darkness. “Show yourself.” He stood holding his lamp, certain he had heard a sound. He stepped away from his victim, angered his despoilment had been interrupted and anxious to return to it.
Christophe tried to move. He dug his fingers into the damp earth and tried to drag his body away. His arms, aching with having been pulled so tight above his head, were slow to obey his brain’s frantic commands. He gave a sob as he painfully inched forward. There was a shriek of fear, cut short and the sound of a brief struggle before silence once again settled as a thick blanket. A hand to his naked shoulder had Christophe screaming into his gag once again, then he realised these hands were trying to soothe, not violate and the voice was different. He went limp, small hiccupping sobs breaking free.
“I have you now. You are safe.”
The voice was accented, deep, dark and soothing to Christophe’s distraught spirit. He let himself be rolled over and felt the gag be carefully illegal bahis siteleri removed. As the moonlight illuminated him once more, he thought he heard a gasp, but his rescuer was shrouded in darkness. His hands were cut free and he clutched desperately at the body that held him before plunging into an abyss of darkness.
Turquoise eyes opened slowly. Christophe’s body ached everywhere and he gave a soft moan. Then he sat up and stared in disbelief. He lay in an opulent four-poster bed. The cream sheets were silk, the thick woollen coverlet a deep indigo with blue and gold stitching. The curtains of the bed and at the window opposite were the same indigo. He could see an over-stuffed armchair in blue and gold brocade which sat by a roaring fire to the left. The lower half of the room’s walls were in dark wood wainscoting, the upper half painted a creamy colour and decorated with tapestries which helped retain heat. Across from the fire was a large wooden chest of drawers and on each side of the bed, a matching bedside locker. Glancing at himself he saw he wore a cream silk nightshirt. From the way it hung off one shoulder then the other, it was clear the shirt’s owner was of a broader build. He let his hand slide over the silk and then the wool. The weave was very fine. Whoever owned this home was of wealth that Christophe could scarce imagine. He knew there were castles dotted all around the mountains where he lived, but none were particularly close to his village, yet the room reminded him of a castle, not a house. He wondered just how long he had remained unconscious.
He jumped at a noise to the left and a door opened after a perfunctory knock. Christophe could do nothing other than stare at the man who entered. Straight hair, as black as a raven’s wing, hung like a glossy curtain to broad shoulders. Silvery grey eyes were warm and intelligent. A patrician nose and almost chiselled features denoted nobility and breeding. His height and breadth told Christophe it was this man’s shirt he wore and which covered his nudity. The thought made his body tremble with an unknown sensation. The black velvet jacket and pants seemed to have been sewn onto his frame as they caressed the strong muscular body and a pristine, white frilled shirt completed the ensemble. The clothes seemed to emphasise the man’s beauty, elegance and masculinity. Christophe’s eyes ran back up to the man’s face and a crimson blush stole across his cheeks as he met the amused look from his benefactor.
“I…I am sorry if I was staring. It was very rude of me,” Christophe tried to halt the flow of words before it became an incoherent babble.
“There is no need for shame, young one,” the stranger replied. His accented speech was strangely reassuring as he approached the bed. “I have no doubt you are as curious about me as I am about you. Of course, I had the benefit of seeing you as I tended you. It is only natural you would wish to study me.”
Christophe was certain he could sit and listen to the man speak all day, the beautiful, lilting voice soothing him. Then, just as his initial flush had faded, it surged once again at the man’s words.
“Relax, young one,” the voice now held at trace of amusement that matched the man’s eyes. “I am Lucien and this, such as it is,” he said waving his hand in a sweeping gesture “is my home. You are safe here and welcome to remain for as long as you wish.”
“Christophe…my name is Christophe.” Big blue eyes locked on grey that glittered enthrallingly.
“A beautiful name that befits its owner,” Lucien said with a slight bow. “But how did one so lovely come to be beaten and naked? Were you attacked by bandits?” He sat at Christophe’s side. “Will you tell me?”
Christophe had the strangest feeling Lucien knew it was not bandits and was testing him to see if he would trust him with the truth. He gazed levelly into the entrancing eyes. He would gift this man with the truth, he deserved nothing less. Hesitantly, but with mounting anger and fervour, Christophe recounted how he came to be where Lucien found him. As he spoke, Lucien sat, a silent sentinel, as the tale was told.
“I cannot be sure, but I…I think some of the elders knew it was him. They… they let him… two innocent girls…he hurt them, killed them …would have hurt me…I thought perhaps…perhaps one brave soul from the village…”
A strong hand clasped his shoulder as Christophe’s anger threatened to become tears once more. He looked at Lucien, the bigger man’s tight visage and clenched jaw testimony to the restrained anger. It was also apparent in the cold clipped tones, so at odds with the warm voice Christophe had previously heard.
“I am sorry for the loss of those who fell to his hands before but I am glad that you were spared. You were alone when I came across your body.”
“In truth I have been alone since the death of my parents, my lord. They died last year.” Christophe’s voice was soft canlı bahis siteleri and sad. “I have almost forgotten what it is like to love and be loved.” He blushed once more at the direction his words had taken. He glanced shyly at Lucien, hoping he had not caused offence. He received an affectionate smile that encouraged a timid one of his own. Then the spell was broken as Christophe’s stomach protested loudly that it had been empty for too long.
“It would seem you need to feed, young one,” Lucien laughed.
Although the sound was pleasant to Christophe’s ears, the young man had a strange feeling it had been a long time since the older man had laughed.
“Lie here and relax. I will have some food prepared and bring it to you.”
“Surely your servants, my lord …?” Christophe began, but stopped at the elegantly raised eyebrow.
“I have a few loyal to me that dwell here,’ Lucien replied. “But I choose to serve you… and my name is Lucien.”
“Yes, my lord…I mean, Lucien.” The look from the silvery eyes seemed to bore into Christophe’s very soul. It took an act of will not to fling the shirt from his body and bare his breast to the penetrating gaze to let Lucien see into his heart. As though reading his thoughts, Lucien smiled once more and then was gone.
Christophe sat and thought in the other man’s absence. He believed he could feel an air of melancholy from the older man. He had mentioned servants, but not family. For all of Lucien’s wealth he might be as lonely as Christophe. Loneliness. At the thought, Christophe brought the loving faces of his parents to mind. They may have been poor, but they had love and if they lacked some material goods, they had each other. Sometimes it was the warmth of their love that had kept the cold at bay. Their loss still weighed heavily on his heart.
“You are crying.” Lucien’s concerned voice broke into his reverie and he dashed at the tears with the knuckle of his hands. Then he was in a strong embrace. Unthinkingly, he clutched desperately at the broad shoulders and luxuriated in simply being held by one who cared and grieved once more for his loss. As he began to recover control of his emotions, he was eased back from the strong body of his comforter. He mourned the loss of warmth and security and gave a watery smile as Lucien’s thumbs wiped away his tears.
“If I were given the opportunity, Christophe, I would ensure you never cried again, nor felt cold or lonely.”
Christophe felt the sincerity behind the words and his smile became a little stronger.
“You have already shown me such kindness, I can never repay you, Lucien,” he said.
“The pleasure of your company for however long you would grant it to me, that is payment enough,” Lucien said. “Now you must eat and drink and recover your strength.” He brought over a tray for Christophe to peruse. “What was it that caused you such sorrow?” he asked as Christophe stared at the food before him.
“The memory of my parents. We might have been poor, but I knew I was loved, that there were those who cared.”
“For what you deem it worth, Christophe,” Lucien said. “I care. You have shown courage and fortitude and I am glad it was I that found you.”
“It means a great deal,” Christophe said sincerely and met the soul-searching stare evenly. It was the truth and he was pleased at the smile he received. His eyes slid to the tray. It contained fresh bread, various meats and cheeses as well as a large glass of water. There were also two glasses of a rich, ruby-red wine.
“I thought you might drink with me once you had some food inside you,” Lucien offered. “If it pleases you.”
“It would please me greatly,” Christophe said sincerely.
His hesitant picking at the food rapidly became a ravenous attack. He cleared the tray, sighing with satisfaction. He accepted the goblet of wine as Lucien removed the tray. He took a small sip. It was strong, robust and warming and it made the younger man more loquacious.
“Tell me of your dreams, Christophe,” Lucien encouraged.
“I really only hoped to emulate my father,” Christophe murmured. The wine made him feel warm and relaxed. He looked down at the coverlet, gripping it tightly. “I hoped to find myself a wife to share my life the way my father said mother was his soul-mate.” Concentrating on the pattern of silk thread, Christophe failed to see the disappointment in Lucien’s eyes. “I thought it would be what I wanted…but now…”
“Now, Christophe?” Lucien asked, leaning closer.
“I am not…I do not…” he sighed his frustration.
“Would it help you to hear that although I have long searched for one to be at my side, I have never sought a wife?” Lucien asked.
“Never…” Christophe repeated. Uncertain cerulean met steady silver. “I do not think it is a wife I now seek,” he said, plunging forward bravely.
A cool hand stroked his cheek and he leant into the caress.
“Tell me what you want. I have to hear it from your own lips,” Lucien encouraged. “Tell me whether you could want me.”
“Yes,” Christophe croaked. “I want you. I have never thought to want a man and I do not understand what I feel, but it is as though your soul calls to me.”
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