Friday, January 3, 2014

Eye of the Beholder - PART TWO

Link to previous part one.

Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance of characters to actual persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. The author holds exclusive rights to this work. Unauthorized duplication is prohibited.

Warning: Some masturbatory sexual thoughts and minimal action. Homosexual suggestions.

            Repairing the hunting net was not his favorite chore, not so much because of the monotony of the action – weaving the hemp over around and under, his hands used to it, moving quickly and expertly – but, instead because he wasn’t a fan of hunting with nets. An unfair advantage. Like shooting fish in a barrel, the deer had no chance of escape, tangled and exhausted, easy pickings for even the worst archer. He preferred his hunts on equal ground. Yet, when his mother asked him to bring home enough venison to feed her dinner guests, what other option did he have?
            Narcissus smiled at the thought of his mother. He could hear her singing in the upstairs room, her own weaving, no doubt more beautifully crafted and exquiste than his, kept her busy during the heat of the day. He preferred the bright sun and warmth in the courtyard. Squinting up into the sky, he closed his eyes and paused his hands soaking in the moment. Somewhere close by he heard the deep sigh and soft shifting of taut fur over well-toned muscle; one of his dogs was equally comfortable in the noon-day sun. Lowering his face and opening his eyes, he glanced over to see Raven stretched out, his dark fur glistening blue in the light. His smile deepened and he returned to his task at hand.
            When a few hours later, as the sun began to slip behind the high wall of his home, Narcissus heard the shuffle of feet in the dirt of the courtyard and the deep voice of his friend, Ajanthis, he rose easily with the repaired net in hand. Ajanthis strode forward to grasp arms with Narcissus, casting his glance towards the net questioningly.
            “Lirope asked us to bring home enough to feed the town. You up for it?” Narcissus answered Ajanthis’ unasked inquiry.
            Ajanthis hefted his bow and waved a hand toward the courtyard gate. “If you are. I was hoping for a chance to go after some boar, today, but if my horse can spend the evening in one of your stalls, we can go for the boar another day.
            “I’m sure I can arrange that. Mother had that old nag of hers sold about a week ago and we haven’t replaced her yet. Not sure, honestly, we ever will. Lirope isn’t much into riding. As for the boar… tonight is only a reprieve.”
            Thus settled, Narcissus called into the oil-lit interior of his home and hailed his slaves to get the hounds prepped. Raven, who had since moved from the courtyard closer to the kitchen as the evening meal was beginning to be prepared, perked his ears and trotted forward. Narcissus knelt and whispered to him. Though Ajanthis only caught snippets of the one-sided conversation, he felt his face flush and groin tighten at the words of love shared with the simple beast.
            Flashbacks from the other night with Tomo sprang to mind. Ajanthis turned away from Narcissus as he felt his cock swell behind his tunic. His attraction was becoming uncontrollable and embarassing. It would have been better if they were going after boar, after all. A hard ride on horseback would be fit punishment. As it was, a slow walk through the woods, as the hounds tracked the deer, the slaves beat the drums and chimes, and then a short run to catch up to them as they herded the deer into the nets was going to give Ajanthis plenty of time to dwell on Narcissus.
            “In such a hurry, then?” Narcissus chided him, as Ajanthis increased his distance absently. “No worries, the deer will wait.”


            A lone nymph stood on the slight rise of land, as the woods fell away behind her and the open fields of farmland opened before her. Off to her right, on the very edge of her vision, she could see where her rise met the lowlands of the mountain ridge. She loved this view. She loved the emptiness and vastness. She loved being so far from her sisters, their orgies, and that cursed spring.
            Suddenly, from way off her to left, with the sun hovering low on the horizon, she heard the frightened bleating of deer and the barking of hounds, interspersed with the shouting of men. Startled, her immediate response was to hasten to a grove of cherry trees which lined the field. Ducking beneath the low hanging branches, she squeezed into a tiny space between the trunk of one of the older trees and a copse of wild brambles. Her eyes grew wide as she watched five men stand up, having been hidden in the middle growth of the wheat and quickly stretch a net across a natural funnel created by the encroaching forest into that field. Soon after, she caught the smell of burning oil on the evening breeze. Flickering torches next drew her gaze, blinking intermittently within the woods. A hunting party. The nymph stayed down, despite the darkening skies and the men’s focus on the deer, watching, waiting, her heart racing. It could have been the imminent blood and death which would soon assault her senses which kept this child of nature frozen in her hiding place, but when her eyes, adjusted to the approaching night, found Narcissus, she knew instinctively, it was him which made her heart beat so quickly and her body still.
            He was handsome in a way she had never thought of the other men she had seen or the satyrs which tried to seduce her or even Zeus. His pale skin, flawless, seemed to glow supernaturally in the waning light, the hints of sun on his shoulders reflecting the orange glare of the torches. As he strained each muscle in his arm to carefully level his arrow at the heart of each deer, ending its life quickly and as painlessly as possible, she wondered at the strength she witnessed. His loose curls clung to his forehead, slick with sweat from the exertion of the hunt, somewhere between deep brown and dark auburn. He held himself with a steely grace, lean and powerful.
            The nymph’s fingers dropped as she watched, to slide down the cleft between her naked breasts, across her ribcage, trailing down between her legs. She didn’t touch herself, not yet. The warmth of her hand cupped her nether region and warmed it comfortably. She felt her body relax from its fright as she remained hidden and just watched the end of the hunt. Watched Narcissus.
            Narcissus raised his bow to aim the final arrow at the little doe, the only one still standing. It was panting heavily, its sides collapsing erratically with each labored breath. Its eyes were wide, wildly darting everywhere, finally settling on Narcissus. Its tiny cloven hooves pranced about, tangling itself further in the net. He lowered the bow and relaxed his grip on the arrow. Raven, the eager hound that he was,  lunged forward and pulled free of the grip the houndmaster had on him. Narcissus caught the movement from his side and stepped to intercept the hound. Issuing a sharp command, he grabbed the hound by his collar, and leaned down to speak quietly to him. The hound’s ears perked up at his master’s voice, then he sat down calmly.
            “Release the doe.”
            “Narcissus?” Ajanthis turned his head at the command. He had already begun to prepare the fallen deer for the return home, slicing into the still warm flesh to drain the blood before the animals began to bloat.
            “We have enough. She’s too small, anyways. In a year or two, she’ll be a worthy opponent.” A slave approached the doe from the far side and warily began to cut the net, freeing her as instructed. As she felt the net release, her efforts to get free increased and in an instant, Narcissus was there, hand on her head, calming the doe with his voice as he did Raven.
            Ajanthis and the nymph, similar in their appreciation, both drew sharp gasps at the bravery of Narcissus. Both bodies responded similarly to his kindness and gentle strokes. While the doe calmed and let the slave finish his task, Ajanthis and the nymph felt a pull in their chests and a yearning invade their senses. And, when at last the deer was free and she cantered off to the edge of the forest, then stopped and looked back at her savior, all three sets of eyes on Narcissus widened in admiration and love. For his part, his pride was too great to see the reactions he caused, though his heart recognized the signs and his brow furrowed without his knowledge.

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