Chapter 28: The Assignation

Saheris gave up the chase immediately, as soon as his brother had disappeared into the gloom. There was no moon, and the winter evening had deepened into a pitch black that crowded him back against the threshold of Munduk's house. It was not a night for adventures abroad; and he had concluded, with a growing sense of anger and shame, that he had been followed by some servant at night these past weeks through Maeotis, and that Munduk had full knowledge of all of his whoring in the town. Equally, any of the girls he had attempted to bed may have gone to him, or to the master at arms - for he was known to all. He did not hide his identity, and felt he had no reason to. Another possibility was that the other women he had met, who had homes and husbands, and who had taken him in to their beds, may have repented of their decisions and told the ulu chief. Any, or all, of these things may have happened, and Saheris was abashed.

He did not even know how many women and girls there had been, nor most of their names. There was a fiery girl, an Armenian she had said -- was this Sahelis's Armenian? He had not seen her since the embarrassing night he had tried with her, and she had laughed at him. He would not forgive her for this, orphan or no orphan, she had no right to laugh at him for his size or his shape, and he could not explain why he was incapable with her. It was a mystery to him. But if this was the same that had embarrassed him, that Sahelis was helping, then he would stop him, even if it meant defying Munduk. He retired immediately, treading softly on the stairs so as not to attract the attention of the servants, or of the women, and especially, not of Munduk. It was a night for stealth, and concealment. Once in the privacy of his room, he stripped off all his clothing and looked at himself in the glass. He now stood at nearly Munduk's height, shorter still than the Khan Saher, and considerably smaller in bulk and height than Sahelis. It was not right that the elder should be the smaller of the two. He examined himself critically, wondering if the size of one's manhood were truly of importance. Would it grow? Did that whore know anything of Asian men, or did she compare him against the giant and monstrous Gepidae who also frequented the bordello? He could not say. They must have the phallus of a horse, he thought, comforting himself briefly with the image of his stallion at Maduc rutting with the tiny Arab mares the Khan had bought from the Roman legion. Surely horses were not all that different from men, and an Arab stallion would not have the same size as a Percheron warhorse.

He fell asleep, lying face down and naked across his bed, and the room grew cold. He awoke to a slight sound, a whispering or sliding sound that seemed to be nearby his ear, but he was not covered by a rug, his limbs were numb with chill, and he did not know right away where he was. His knife was not near him, and he was unarmed. Just as he had cleared his vision to peer into the darkness, he heard a voice speak. "Saheris? Saheris El Maduc?"

"Who comes?" he called, but his voice, which he had tried to make sound commanding, came out a hoarse whisper in his dry throat.

"Shh, it is I. My husband is abroad, and I wished to speak with you. He has left me to be with his wretched concubine and I am alone."

Saheris sat up on the bed, shaking his head to clear it. Was this another vision? Who is her husband? Byriac? Bellianus? He did not quite know where he was, or how he had come to be there. But his knife was missing, and his sword was across the room, where he had abandoned his clothes. He was naked and unarmed, and a voice whispered in the darkness. This had happened before.

"Who are you? You should not be here."

"Munduk has left me alone to fend for myself, Khan. I seek your counsel."

"Counsel? Munduk, left? Where did he go? Munduk El Beshan?"

"The same." There was a woman standing before him, the drape of damask that he held her in mystery during the lugubrious meal below was pulled away, to reveal a small, dark woman of neat features, dressed in a loose robe of Greek cut. Her breasts hung full and bare from the open neck of the gown, and in the lamplight, the nipples were brown, and full, and erect in the chill. His arousal was total. How could such a small woman have such voluptuous breasts? He wondered briefly, and she approached within a hand's breath, the perfume of an unknown scent assailed him as the sight of her open gown enflamed him. She placed her hands upon his bare shoulders, and looked down upon his body.

"You are very comely, how is it that a Bithynian prince is so pale? Do you not get enough sun? Or is it an affliction? I can see your skin glow in the darkness, and I can see your flesh is already awakened."

Her speech was mannered, Greek, it seemed. This was Eldana, the eldest wife of Munduk? What was she doing at his bed, reaching for him in this way? His senses were overwhelmed with the scent, and the sight, and the voice that commanded him from within her amused questions.

"I - I am pale, I do not know why, it is my parentage. My mother was an Alan princess, they tend to paleness among Asians."

"And do the Alans take dark women into their beds, or do I displease you with my darkness?"

"No, no, I don't mind dark women." His blood stormed in his ears like a flood tide racing through an aqueduct and crashing against the rocks.

"Then why do you not touch me?" She slid her hand down Saheris's left arm, and took the hand, and placed it within her robe. "Your body desires me, this I can see."

"You are -- you are Munduk's…"

"Yes, I am his. But I take as I will, and I do as I please. Did he not tell you I do as I please? And as he takes his pleasure in his concubines and his fifty wives and his twenty boys, do I not deserve one night of pleasure after the horrors and hazards of the Carpathian mountains? How much is a woman to tolerate?"

"Yes, he did say that. He said you do as you please. And you please to come to me? Why? I am a boy, I am not a Khan, not as yet."

"You are not the Khan of Bithynia?" She paused in her effort of rubbing his hand across her nipple, and pointedly removed it.

"No, No, I am the Khan of Bithynia. I am the heir." He willed his hand back upon that hard protruberance, his mouth longed for it, and she held it firm, unyielding as yet while she waited for his words.

"And do I not please you?" The hand gripped his hand harder, grasping at air, with only the scent in his nostrils and the pounding of his blood. He swooned, exhilarated and at once frustrated with the exquisite frustration of attempting to think with his body in the throes of a passion he could not check.

"Yes, you please me. Curse you, woman, do not speak." At this, she released his hand which sought greedily for the nipple, and pinched it roughly. She gasped.

"Take me," she said urgently, pressing herself bodily against him. "Take me, before he returns, I cannot live another night without a man. Without a Khan." He fumbled against the gown, lost momentarily. Then, it was off, and she was astride him.

He heard nothing but an urgent moaning in his ear as she grasped him between her trim thighs. He felt himself equine, ridden by some expert rider who milked his seed from him in hardly a moment of time before he was spent and empty. But that was not the end. She hardly paused from his climax and pushed him onto his side. "How quickly do you recover?" she whispered as she ran a quick hand along his hip, feeling the shape of him.

"I - I don't know, do you mean, grow hard again?"

"Yes, I mean that. There are other means to make this happen. You were much too quick, you are a youth, but that must mean you recover quickly too." Her hands massaged him rapidly, he was unable to think, or plan, or respond in this seizure that was an unplanned, forbidden assignation. Munduk's wife! His mind raged, and somehow, that renewed his passion. Munduk has had this woman, and she is magnificent. He began to respond.

"Do you know the most rapid way of re-exciting a man who is spent?" she asked casually.

"With the mouth…"

"Yes, but there is a more direct method, more effective, and more satisfying to both," she said, and it was his turn to gasp as she slid two slick fingers between his buttocks. A fiery bolt returned him to rigidity, and she smiled in the darkness. "You like this," she said, and he moaned in reply. He could not reply with words. She worked thus for some moments until the small sounds became an audible groan, and she withdrew her hand, wiping it against the sleeve of her gown. "Now, we are ready. Come to me." And Saheris went to her.

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