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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

Drums of War - 5. Sun Camp

A lot of eyes followed us as we were led to the north side of Equis Camp. Everyone seemed to understand – now, at least – we were invited to stay until the Tribunal. I could feel every one of them was curious but cautious. I could totally understand their caution. Not only did they lose some people to strangers, strangers had kicked their guards' asses.

You are welcome to join us for meals, join your family for their meals, or make your own,” Rhava was saying even while Rhisi was stomping over in a huff. His sneer was epic, but he had nothing on Heather when she was upset with me.

Rhisi was gesticulating before he even stopped his stomping. “You invited them as guests!” I couldn't tell if he was stating or questioning. Either way, he was upset.

I did,” said Rhava calmly as he held up his hand to still Rhisi's tirade. “If you have any questions, come find me, and I will answer what I can.” His smile was genuine, but I could tell Rhava could shift his emotions faster than a wind could shift its direction. He turned slowly to his brother, his smile falling away. “Yes, I invited them. They came in peace, have showed they are not here to cause trouble, and you violated the peace of Equis Camp after I invited them as my personal guests.” His voice was smooth even as it spiked on a few words. “If I hear my guests are troubled by you or under your orders, you shall see why I outrank you, dear brother.”

And there was rub. The younger brother was higher rank. Probably stronger magically as well. Ego driven men like Rhisi would...act like he was now. Like a man with an inferiority complex.

Had you bothered to send out notice more than ten seconds before my men were carrying out my orders to detain your guests, I could have pulled them back.” Rhisi's voice was tight, controlled. Before he had been a bit crazed, but now he seemed just...pouty. Was he throwing a tantrum?

You're right, the message did come just before they arrived but with enough time for them to pull back as I sent the message to the entire camp. So, while they chose to continue with your orders, and shall be brought to task, give me time to assess a threat before you issue the order.” Rhava's tone was firm but understanding. “I know you're worried for our people; I am too. Let me help you determine the threat.”

Rhisi's stance changed. “You are young, Rhava, and I often forget you're not just my little brother anymore. Next time, if such a thing happens, just let me know of your assistance.”

Huh. So, he was your typical older brother, not the power hungry asshole I thought. Or maybe both.

Of course. Now, I have given them permission to visit our other guests, provided they tell one of us they will visit and they must accept a guard should you appoint one.” Rhava was back to calm, and I could see Rhisi was almost there himself. It was a testament to their brotherly bond – fight and make up.

Wise and kind of you,” the enforcer said and turned to me. Why me? “As you seem to be the spokesman for your group, you will inform me directly if you or any of yours wish to visit our...other guests. I ask that you understand our situation and act accordingly.”

So keep our heads down, our noses clean, and remember we're on your land and only because we haven't proven to be a hostile force.” My normal blunt ways were in full swing. Phuong winced a bit as my next words came out. “We've already proved a threat.”

Ever just love getting under someone's skin for no other reason than you can? Yeah, so do I. Rhisi's jaw clenched once and he shook his head. “Lions. Even when they're calm, they are always trying to prove who is king of the pride.” His face split into a grin. “You and I shall get on each others nerves. You're too much like him,” he said and thumbed at his brother.

I get on everyone's nerves. You're not special.” It only made him laugh, but there was an edge to it. Yup, we were going to butt heads, but we knew that and I knew I could overlook things unless he was being an obvious asshole. Rhisi walked away shaking his head.

You handled him very well,” said Rhava, a bit impressed.

Compared to my bride-to-be, his glare needs work. He's ego-driven and a bit narcissistic...so a lot like my dad when he's feeling pissy.” I shrugged and set about to make camp.

Bride...I would have sworn you were mated to these three,” Rhava said, a bit confused.

Yeah, you're not the only one. We're very close, two pairs with synergy and a bridge with the actual mates means our auras mesh tightly. The fact that we are best buds helps a lot.” I may not like magic, like at all, but I understood it and its applications to me and my boys. Ancient bonds that crop up in our species, Solaris Lions and Lunar Lynxes, meaning me and Quint, and the coyotes and bears, meaning Colton and Zeke. Add a dash of Quint and Zeke's mating bond and you got us: four guys who have very few boundaries and no shame in front of each other. “My sweetheart says she'll be marrying them as well.” I grinned to myself. “I might have to hire guards for our honeymoon to keep these three pervs away.”

Heather already hired us to be your guards,” said Zeke with his big grin. “Still trying to convince her to let us film it. For the wedding video, you understand,” the big bear said to Rhava, who laughed when I blushed.

You really are one of the horniest guys I have ever met, Zeke.”

Always will be, Lady Bird, when these hotties are around me.” He grabbed Quint and pulled him off his feet. “Especially this one.”

Colton stuck out his lower lip. “Feel left out. Can't a coyote get some love?” Then he squeaked when Zeke pulled him into his other arm and nuzzled his neck.

Quick, while he has no more arms. Save yourself, Rhava!” I joked and shook out our tent to set it up.

Thankfully he just laughed along with us. “Wind Sister, I leave you to keep these three on task. I need to make sure Dylan and Marcus get their chance to talk.”

Of course.” Phuong's evil grin made the guys stop dead in their tracks. “Guess who's in charge, boys?” All three blanched a bit.

Rhava and I headed a bit northwest, away from the camp. The area was gently rolling and a bit more arid than I thought it would be so close to the falls and the waters around it. When we crested a small ridge, I was struck by a wall of wind. Nothing magical, just Mother Nature gusting across the flatlands.

With just us here, Dylan, please tell me how close our camp is to war with your people.” Rhava was worried, and I knew that some of his free spirit was an act.

Since they are alive, and treated well enough, I would say not very close. My dad trusts me to negotiate enough to keep us out of a war, and Phuong would tell me if I'm being unreasonable.” He seemed to relax a bit. “Honestly, if it were just you I was dealing with, we could be done and on our way by now. I could even give you the aid of those here from Homestead to help track down your people. It's not just us though.”

Too true. I wish it were. I...I'm scared for my people. If the worst happens at the Tribunal, would it lead to war? I would not want to trust our magic against the forces of even one of the large packs from the south.” I raised a brow. “We're not deaf or blind to your pack, Dylan. I've heard the name Davenport spoken with both respect and reverence. Assuming you're related to Alan Davenport.”

I wonder if Grandpa knew he was famous for more than singing? “I'm his grandson, biological. My dad was adopted by Grandpa, and I was adopted by Dad.”

Then you are the son of Alpha Jonathan Davenport.” I nodded. “I worry. My people are not allied with any one pack or flock or group. We are autonomous and like it so, but we also try not to anger the Council or their packs. To do so...”

Would be suicide,” I finished. “I speak now as the delegate from Homestead and the allied packs in this cause: if the Tribunal finds our family guilty, and as long as there is enough evidence to convince me of their guilt, no harm will come to your people. If I feel they are being wrongfully found guilty or railroaded, it will not end well for your people. Not a threat. A statement of fact.” I hated being so damn black and white about this, but I wanted to let Rhava know that I wasn't going to simply go after him and Equis Camp because they held my friends and family.

The scariest part is you,” the shaman said with a slightly paler face.

Why?”

I watched four spells cast by my brother's men just...fizzle out around you. You didn't even know it either. Some of it is your Solaris blood, giving you some resistance to magicks, but I have never seen the like.” Rhava placed a hand on my shoulder. “You could wipe many of us out before we could raise any defense. Your friends would follow you without question. The four of you could wipe out all of us here and walk home.”

Again, I hate magic. “But you're not scared I would do it, just potential...right?” I know I sounded a bit scared myself, but one thing I wanted this man to know was I'm not one to hide my thoughts or emotions.

His smile was reassuring. “I don't fear you, Dylan, just the potential you have. Your heart is kind, your soul bright, and your mind keen enough to stop your temper if needed.” I nodded, feeling a bit better. I'm glad I didn't come off as an asshole or someone to be feared. Maybe the fear was I had a cause and would fight for it. That type of person was dangerous, almost as dangerous as someone who had nothing to lose.

So, I hope that helps you, because I have a few more questions and there are no idiots around save you and me.” I gave him my biggest grin ever. “So...Marcus, huh?”

Rhava's face turned all sorts of red. “He's...well...he's Marcus. I don't know how to sum him up in so few words. He is my other half.”

Now, this was familiar. I had a bitch of a time trying to tell people why me, a straight guy, would strongly consider sleeping with my friend. I couldn't, because no words could ever describe my connection to Quint, and thus to Zeke and Colton. It defied simple words.

Soulmate is the closest I can come, and even it falls short.”

I get it. It's that way with me and Quint. He is always in my head, in my heart, knows me better than anyone, and I him. It's just...”

When I faltered, he nodded. “Too much for words. Which is odd, since I'm not interested in any other guy.”

Lucky you. Those idiots are all connected, and so I'm connected with them. They all happen to be gay, so overflow thoughts get into my brain...”

Rhava just laughed at me. “I don't envy you. Marcus is...heteroflexible. No other man for him. Just me.” His smile became slightly risque. “So...you top or bottom?”

I was actually ready for that question. “Still a virgin. Until my wedding night that is. Then I have to put on a chastity belt because those three will be after my man parts like it's open season.” My return grin was just as evil. “Top or bottom?”

Rhava went a bit pink, but he answered. “Bottom. He's too scared to bottom for me.”

Horse dick?” When he raised his fist, I roared a laugh and bumped it. “I honestly hope everything turns out for the best. I can see us being pretty good friends.”

Same here. I...is Phuong available?”

Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match... Quint sang in my head.

I slammed my walls up...not that it did any good. Fucker was still there. Always. “She's single. Just met her today and you're thinking of asking her out?”

I...we are.” That got a brow raise. “Marcus and I come as a pair. She's not his type, but neither of us can deny her scent and her magic.”

That might be a problem for her, but I don't know her dating type. I know her brother, and I have met her father. You have your work cut out for you. Both of you.” And that was all I was going to say on the matter. It was not my place to encourage or discourage him. Them. Whatever. “He's willing to be with someone he ain't attracted to?”

He's not attracted to me, physically.” That was a damn good point.

Marcus's place was inside a dry gully and sheltered from the winds, and as soon as I smelled the place, I got the scent of a few other Solaris. Two lions and an eagle, though how I knew the eagle was a bit curious even to me. The four of them were waiting with hands folded in front of them and smiles on their faces.

Marcus stepped forward and placed a kiss on Rhava's lips. Not a Hollywood face suck. One of affection. He then turned to me and I stooped to exchange a “European” style kiss. Cheek pecks were traditional Solaris greeting. Inviting closeness and learning personal scents at the same time. “Welcome to the Sun Camp, our Solar cousin. Your family name is known to us.”

The greeting is like the sun's kiss. Warm and welcome.” Formalities done, I grinned. “I'm sorry you know my family name. I'm not my Grandpa.”

One of the other lions smiled. She was like Aunt Bea from Andy Griffith. White hair, a little plump, kind face. Unlike Aunt Bea, this woman was very tall. “I know your grandfather. You're more like him than you know.”

It was there. That small sub-scent I knew so well. “You're Minerva Davenport. My great aunt.” With her nod, I stood stunned. “Huh.” I looked to Rhava, who looked a bit shocked himself. She held out her arms, and I stepped in for a big hug from my Grandpa's eldest sister. I had heard stories, most of them rather sad.

She and her parents hadn't got along once it was found she had active magic. Magic in a Solaris was as taboo as an interracial baby in the 50's and 60's. No “good family” would allow it. Grandpa had been a toddler when she was kicked out of the house and family. He grew up without her in his life, having one other sister between them, and didn't meet her again until the birth of my mother. They were strangers to each other, but they were still family. I was told she was alive and well, but it would be very unlikely I would ever meet her since she never left her lands.

And here I was, getting a hug from her. “You look so much like your mother. Except your build. That is all your grandfather.” I noticed she didn't call him by his name or even called him “brother.” It was a bit sad, but I understood.

This...may be a good thing,” Rhava said with a dawning grin. “Minerva is on the Tribunal. It may have cause for conflict of interest, but unless I am mistaken, you have two votes needed to clear your friends and family.”

You are not mistaken, child,” Aunt Minerva said to Rhava fondly. Don't ask me how I knew, I'm creepy even to myself, but I knew she was his teacher in magic. Theirs was a kinship that had nothing to do with blood. “I have spoken to the guests myself. None came here to cause harm, only to seek answers to those missing.” When she pulled back, her smile looked like just like Grandpa's...just like mine.

Thanks again to Timothy for his amazing help as my editor.
Copyright © 2018 Fantasyboy69; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

I’m confused. If Marcus isn’t physically attracted to Rhava, why do they have sex? Do they have sex with other people? If Rhava and Phuong are attracted to each other, isn’t Marcus the odd man out? 

 

(He’s gonna die, isn’t he?)

Edited by Geemeedee
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4 hours ago, Fantasyboy69 said:

If you haven't read the other books of this series, I can totally see where this is confusing. Straight guys having sex? Jon, straight, is now mated to Patrick. A straight guy and a pansexual/bisexual guy. Dean, straight, mated to Kao. A straight man and a gay man. Both are humans who were turned and "imprinted" or became mated to each other.

Rhava and Marcus are not bonded through the body, but they are, quite literally, soul mates. Their souls are intertwined, connected, and if one feels emotion, the other does. If one feels, the other feels. This includes the physical. It can get very descriptive, but it boils down to they have no filters, no boundaries, no reservations. They share everything. If you need a more thorough clarification, message me and I will explain further.

And no, neither Rhava nor Marcus dies.

I have read the other books in the series. I would like to counter your response (and this has been a long time coming from me) by saying that even though all these characters are mates of the soul, those souls reside in earthly bodies. Soulmates means loving and accepting and APPRECIATING everything about your mate. These are hypersexual beings. Making love is something they enjoy even more because they are soulmates. To say that a soulmate is not attracted to their “other’s” physical form is to reject a crucial part of who they are. In today’s culture, loving someone’s “essence,” but not their body is a cruel and dangerous rejection. Yes, they are more than their body, but their body is how they show and accept the intimacy of touch and physical pleasure. Love me, love ALL me. 

 

Bottom line: Marcus wasn’t attracted to men before. But he met his soulmate ... in the body of a fine-ass horse shifter who gets his dick hard. He’s attracted to the physical as well as the spiritual. And there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. I think the line “he’s not attracted to me physically” should be removed, is what I’m suggesting.  🙂

Edited by Geemeedee
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It's always nice to catch up with Dylan and company! I read with interest the comment by Geemeedee and your response. I am curious to know if you consulted a shifter/magic guidebook, or did you "make up" how the rules work in your shifter world? Thanks for more of this good story!

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Another excellent chapter, the writing just flowed as did the emotions behind it.  Love how this is progressing; although I have to admit that I see trouble ahead; but can't quite decide for who...  Keep up the great work.

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Phuong is in charge of the boys.  That is just evil on Rhava’s part.  Good chapter. Thanks. 

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9 hours ago, JeffreyL said:

It's always nice to catch up with Dylan and company! I read with interest the comment by Geemeedee and your response. I am curious to know if you consulted a shifter/magic guidebook, or did you "make up" how the rules work in your shifter world? Thanks for more of this good story!

I am a huge fan of fantasy/sci-fi/sci-fan stories. I didn't consult any one source as much as I took many popular ideas, threw them into the blender, hit liquify, and poured it out. In regards to the magic aspects, again it is my spin on it, but that is based a bit more on the reading of older religious beliefs. while I do not claim to know even a fraction of the beliefs, many peoples from across the world, Celtic Druids and Native shamanism to name two, believe in the connection between man and nature, even so far as some believe Man can assume aspects of animals, maybe even their shapes. The Skin Shifters (Skifters in this book) are a nod to those beliefs. For other magic, well, most of it is just too many hours of D&D.

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38 minutes ago, Fantasyboy69 said:

I am a huge fan of fantasy/sci-fi/sci-fan stories. I didn't consult any one source as much as I took many popular ideas, threw them into the blender, hit liquify, and poured it out. In regards to the magic aspects, again it is my spin on it, but that is based a bit more on the reading of older religious beliefs. while I do not claim to know even a fraction of the beliefs, many peoples from across the world, Celtic Druids and Native shamanism to name two, believe in the connection between man and nature, even so far as some believe Man can assume aspects of animals, maybe even their shapes. The Skin Shifters (Skifters in this book) are a nod to those beliefs. For other magic, well, most of it is just too many hours of D&D.

Thanks for the explanation. I think the author's thoughts, reasoning, and background add another layer of interest for the reader. 

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I can't say it enough, I love this story and the previous books too. Always looking forward for the next chapter.

 

By the way, awesome choice of name for aunt Davenport. Love it. 😉

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2 hours ago, chonga said:

I can't say it enough, I love this story and the previous books too. Always looking forward for the next chapter.

 

By the way, awesome choice of name for aunt Davenport. Love it. 😉

Older woman, turns into a cat, casts spells... ;)

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The tribunal really should come up with a verdict of joining forces to deal with what is actually behind the disappearing people.

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I am hoping that Aunt Minerva can help Dylan deal with the upcoming eclipse.  Also, that the village and Dylan's team can protect him during the eclipse when his power can be stolen.  I am sure that Angus has made sure Dylan is where Angus can find him when the eclipse happens.

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