Haunt of Stars
Caled stared blankly at the door as he lay on a cold stone floor, shaking from head to toe. He felt slow, like the world around him was moving too fast for him to catch up. His shoulder was still so painfully cold.
Caled, someone said beside him. He blinked slowly, turning his eyes to look at the person who knelt before him. He could not seem to recognize the person, his mind still clouded by images of a little girl with golden curls.
Hes in shock, a man behind him said. Here, let me try. Another figure knelt before him. Hold him from behind. Try to warm him.
Caled, the original voice said. Caled, youre safe. Youre okay. Hands began to run vigorously up and down his arms. Another hand turned his chin. A stinging slap rang across his cheek, making him blink. Another slap and he gasped, jerking away from the hand.
Wh- what? he stuttered, curling up into the arms behind him.
Caled, its Manix, the man before him said. He raised his eyes and, indeed, saw the silver-haired Elder kneeling before him. How do you feel?
C- c- cold, he whispered, continuing to shake. Im s- so c- cold.
He recognized Lio as the thief moved up beside him, running his hands over Caleds legs, trying to warm him. He looked very pale, like something had drained all of the blood from him. Caled could slowly feel himself warming up. He turned his head to see Gam behind him, supporting the mercenarys body. Behind them stood Syellen, looking as pale as Lio and slightly greener, and Borley, who also looked pale.
What happened? Caled asked, trying to still his shivering body.
Manix spoke. It appears we have discovered the reason why no one leaves this island. Caled turned to him. It is haunted.
Haunted? the mercenary asked, remembering again the dark images he saw in the mirrors. Those were ghosts we saw?
What could cause such a thing? Borley asked.
Probably the trauma of their deaths, Syellen whispered.
But why the whole island? Lio questioned. You would think at least one person could get away, but you said none did. He looked at Manix. Why were there no survivors?
I dont know, the Elder sighed. Legend says a terrible force killed everyone, not differentiating between pirate and commoner. I do not know what that force was or where it came from.
Caled looked around, bothered by something. Where is Hades? he asked suddenly. Everyone stilled.
He fell through the floor in the hallway, Gam replied. Caled jerked upright. He barely remembered speaking to the sorcerer after he fell through.
Where are the stairs? he asked, pulling himself to his feet. He still felt shaky, but the shock of what happened was wearing off.
That way, Lio said, pointing off to the right.
Caled started in that direction. Hades said that the room he was in was large and dark. He may not be able to find his way out. We need to go down to the next level and find him. No one argued as they clambered down the stairs.
The next level of the castle was actually underground so there was very little light when they reached the bottom. Caled reached back behind him and, without a word, Borley passed up the still sputtering torch. It seemed the pirate was as shaken as everyone else.
Caled paced down the hall. The stairs had not been far from the hall in which Hadrian fell so it was easy enough to find the door to the room. Caled pulled it open, stepping inside. Hades? he called out.
The room was large, the light of the torch unable to pierce most of the darkness. Caled cautiously stepped inside, holding the torch out before him. Stay here, he said to the others as he slowly crossed the room, searching for the sorcerer. At about what he figured to be halfway across the room, he came across a pile of stone and rubble. He looked up. There was a hole in the ceiling slightly larger than a man. This must have been were Hadrian fell through. Caled quickly made his way to the other end of the room. Frustrated, he went back to the door.
Nothing, he said, ushering everyone into the hallway. I found where he fell through, but he is not in here.
Should we split up? Gam asked.
Caled ran a hand through his hair. Yes. Manix and Syellen, go back the way we came. There was a hallway that ran to the right of where we came down. Gam and Lio, these ghosts seem fond of mirror images so go see if there is another hallway at the other end of the floor. Borley, he turned to the empty spot where the pirate had been standing. Where is Borley? he snapped.
Everyone looked around them. He must have slipped off, Gam said, frowning deeply.
Caled snarled viciously. Find them both! Im tired of playing around with that pirate.
Borley walked down the hall, a sputtering torch held high above his head. He was sick of watching Caled screech like a fishers wife over poor little helpless Hades. He found it nauseating beyond belief that that raven-haired slip of a tart held such power over the mercenary. Must be a delicious fuck. Either that or Caled needed to grow a dick.
Borley opened one of the doors, peering in growing frustration at the empty room beyond. Rat, a pirate well suited to his name, had mentioned earlier seeing a small gold chest in one of these basement rooms. The runt of a man had been unable to lift the chest, but Borley intended to grab that treasure and make his way back to the Palatine. He was not leaving this island without something to show for the trip. He wanted the Collars, yes, but he wanted time to consider his options. He could admit, if only to himself, that the ghosts had been quite the nasty shock. He didnt look forward to running into them again. Either he and the crew waited for the thief to bring him the Collars from the comfort of his own ship and left his unwanted associates on the island to do their business, or he dropped the idea of the Collars all together, in which case he left his unwanted associates on the island to do their business. Either way, he was glad to be rid of them.
He threw open another door and peered inside. This room was different from the others. It was lit by various candles burning in sconces and holders around the room and was sparsely decorated with a large, white fur rug in the center of the room and a small bed draped in shimmering sheets. A delighted grin curled the pirates lips. As luck would have it, the very person the others were looking for lay bold as brass on top of the bed, fast asleep. How delightful.
Well, Borley thought cheerfully, might as well not make the trip a total waste. He closed the door behind him, a touch harder than was necessary. The figure on the bed jerked, lifting his head groggily. Caled? he murmured, his voice thick with sleep.
His grin grew wider. Not quite, little kitten.
Borley watched, amused, as Hades stilled, looking up at him. Borley, he said. It was not a question. The pirate stepped forward, setting the torch into an empty sconce on the wall.
And what are you doing here, I wonder? Borley purred, stalking slowly towards the bed. Hades rose up off the bed, eying the pirate.
I got lost, he said. I thought to wait here until someone found me. His eyes glanced briefly to the door. Where is everyone else?
Borley tsked at him mockingly. Poor little kitten, lost and alone in the big, dark castle. Whatever will you do?
But Im not alone, Hades said. His eyes ran over the pirate. You are here with me.
Borley hesitated. Something did not seem right about this. Hades seemed quite a bit more confident t than he had on the ship. Do you injure your head in that fall? he asked.
Hades tilted his head, his glossy hair catching the flickering candlelight. I dont believe so, he said thoughtfully as he stepped forward. Why do you ask?
I wonder where is the skittish young man I met on the ship? Borley asked, his eyes boring into the smaller man. He watched Hades carefully. He wasnt sure if he liked the way this encounter was going. He may just change his mind and leave.
Cats are fearful of the water, Hades said, continuing his slow cross to the pirate. But we are no longer on your ship, and I find my confidence returning now that me feet are on the solid earth. He paused, a slight smile gracing his lips. Why do you ask? Am I making you nervous?
Borley narrowed his eyes. I have nothing to fear from you.
Hades took the last step forward. He was so close that Borley could feel the heat of his body in the chill of the dungeon. Hades pouted. Do I not move you at all, then?
Borley reached out a hand to gently caress the younger mans jutting lower lip. Quick as a snake, Hades painfully slapped his hand away. He tutted. Now, now, he gently reprimanded the pirate. Remember what Caled said. No touching.
Borleys cock twitched with interest. So the little whore wanted to seduce him. Borley smiled. Perhaps. But I dont recall Caled saying anything about you touching me.
Silver eyes dark with lust gazed at him through thick black lashes. No, Hades purred. That he did not say. Gloved hands ran slowly over the flat planes of Borleys stomach to his chest, exploring the impressive span of his shoulders. Fingertips found his nipples and stroked them through the cloth of his tunic, agitating them as they tightened under the younger mans touch. Borley hummed in approval as his arousal swelled into hardness. Hades hands continued up to weave into the pirates dark hair, pulling his head down. His lips were soft under Borleys as the tart pressed himself to the larger man. His tongue flicked against Borleys, asking for entrance and the pirate opened his mouth eagerly. Hades tongue slid into his mouth, stroking his own with slow steady thrusts. Borley moaned and thrust his tongue forward to lap at the smaller mans mouth. Suddenly, Hades was gone. Borley had enough time to frown before a stinging slap rocked his head to the side. He turned back, looking angrily at Hades.
What was that for? he growled.
No touching, Hades said firmly. He leaned back in, running his tongue in a wet line over Borleys throat. His hand slid down the taut body before him. He followed the strong column of Borleys neck down to the sharp collarbone. Borley sighed, closing his eyes at the feel of the slick muscle lapping at the sensitive junction of his neck and shoulder. He gasped, his eyes shooting open as Hades suddenly simultaneously cupped his groin and swooped down to mouth a single pert nipple through the rough cloth of his tunic. He groaned, his head falling back as the little tart firmly kneaded his hard cock, his teeth gently worrying his sensitive flesh. Borley reached up, weaving his fingers into the inky hair.
Again, Hades disappeared and, again, Borley was slapped hard enough to rock his head on his neck. His cheek ached. He glared daggers at the little whore.
No touching, Hades said again. If we are going to play, then we are going to play by my rules.
Borley narrowed his eyes. I dont think I like your rules. He grabbed Hades and threw him onto the bed. The smaller man tumbled into the wall and immediately righted himself, leaning his back against the wall. His _expression was cool, like he was completely unconcerned by this sudden change. Borley sneered. Excuse me while I make some rules of my own, he said as he stepped up by the bed.
Borley was unsurprised when Hades kicked out at him, having anticipated the attack. What surprised him was the force of the attack. Hades lashed out at him with inhuman strength, knocking the air from his lungs. If the pirate hadnt tried to dodge, the kick might have broke his ribs. He fell to the floor in an ungainly heap, desperately trying to breathe.
Hades stood up from the bed, looking down at Borley with a small smile on his face. Borley turned on his hip and kicked out with his leg, sweeping the smaller man off his feet. Hades fell down beside him but immediately rolled away. Borley climbed to his feet, his ribs aching where Hades had kicked him. He pulled a dagger in time to see the tart roll gracefully to his feet. He had obviously underestimated the smaller man. So, he said, squaring off against Hades, the kitten has decided to bear his claws.
Hades favored him with a dark smile, full of promise. You could follow my rules.
The day I call mercy against a tart like you is the day I join the restless dead, Borley snarled.
Hades shrugged. As you wish.
Borley lunged forward, twisting toward the side with his dagger. Hades sidestepped him. Borley didnt miss a beat. He twisted his weight around, lashing out with his dagger, aiming for the smaller mans unprotect throat. To his surprise, Hades casually caught his arm and, with a sharp twist, snapped his wrist. Borley dropped his dagger but before he had a chance to get away, Hades grabbed him by the throat and lifted him up off of the floor, throwing him against the wall like Borley had thrown him before. The pirate hit hard, his head slamming into the wall. Darkness fell over his eyes as he felt himself crumple onto the bed. When his vision cleared, Hades was straddling him with the same dark smile. Borley moved to punch him, but again he caught the hand. Hades twisted Borleys arm and thrust his elbow into the larger mans. Borley shrieked as the joint made a thick, wet pop, breaking cleanly.
Caled told you not to touch me, Hades purred. He chuckled, the sound low and sensual. Borley shuddered. Funny how he wasnt turned on. You thought he was protecting me from you, did you not? You never once thought that you might be the one he was protecting.
Hades, Borley gasped in pain. Please, dont. He did not know what game the younger man was playing, nor did he want to know. He just wanted to leave the room alive. Slender hands slid around his throat, squeezing slightly. Borley rolled his eyes in terror, gazing up at Hades face. Black, glossy hair framed eyes that glowed bright as stars, ringed in blue fire.
You thought us weak, helpless, Hades said, his voice light and echoing as he gazed musingly at the pirate beneath him. He raised his burning eyes, his _expression turning into one of cold fury. The hand around Borleys throat began to burn. As you can see, pirate, we are helpless no more.
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