We all need a touch of darkness to set off our light
Born in the northern wastes of Kaleva in the middle of a devastating war between light and darkness, Rikko’ has found his way south to the warm shores of the Circled Sea, the first elver to ever turn pirate.
Forbidden by the rules of the Andalouan court to pursue such an ungentlemanly career, Gael can only dream of ever becoming a doctor, and his medical studies remain unfinished until his aunt the Queen sends him on a covert mission to the pirate city of Beyas’kahl.
And here, after one night with Rikko’, all his loyalties are put to the test.
Queen Amata has reigned for three decades, and she always used her men cunningly. But even the best player can miscalculate, and her blunder places Gael first in slavery, then in a naval battle, and finally, worst of all, face to face with Rikko’s darkest and deadliest side.
COMING January 18th
In the Eye of the Wind (official excerpt)
"Come, Puna, sweetie,” he said, plucking the lemur off Gael’s shoulder with one hand. He placed her on his chest of drawers, on a pile of freshly laundered clothes, her favorite bedding in the world, after himself. She grumbled a little but soon settled down. “And as for you, my boy, you come here to me,” he whispered, drawing Gael to the edge of his bed, where they both tumbled down together, kissing.
Gael was still frantically pecking at him, with those tight-lipped clueless kisses that drove Rikko’ to distraction. He let himself be kissed like that for some minutes—it was so ridiculously lovable.
Ah, it is a pity to teach him anything, he thought. I wish I could keep him like this forever. He knows nothing, except that he has this need…
But you can’t have your cake and eat it, I suppose.
“Wait, sweet, wait,” he whispered finally, and laid Gael on his back, pinning his body down with his folded leg as he lay beside him, and took his cheek in his palm. He put his mouth to Gael’s mouth, and gently, slowly, savoring every minute instant of it, he ran the tip of his tongue along the seam of those tightly closed lips, lightly at first, then harder, until the lips finally parted, like two halves of a plum, and Gael gasped in surprise and then lust. His body arched in desire when Rikko’s tongue met his, and he groaned with hunger, welcoming the new intimacy of that tongue-to-tongue kiss with an adoring fierceness that had Rikko’ near to tears with emotion. He groaned again, hugging Rikko’ closer, sinking his fingers in his hair, touching his face and neck and ears, pursuing his mouth when Rikko’ pulled back to breathe, licking Rikko’s lips.
Rikko’ had never met any grown man (Gael was young, sure, but not a child—Rikko’ despised child lovers, and never, ever went close to the little creatures himself) both so inexperienced, so shy, and yet so wholeheartedly passionate. It was enchanting, and utterly enflaming. He laughed softly and pulled back from the kisses. This was just too much. He could not wait any longer. He needed to touch this boy properly all over; he had to have his cock in his mouth, and maybe, if Gael was so inclined, inside that beautiful, taut little butt.
“Too many clothes,” he said, in Gael’s ear. He kicked off his flip-flops, and realized, with a bit of a shock, that he was still wearing his dagger, stuck in his sash, and his sword belt. He had forgotten all about them. He crossed the room to lay both weapons on his chest of drawers and untied his sash, and felt Gael’s hands on his hips.
“C—can I? Sir? Please?” whispered the boy, and Rikko’ smiled as Gael, with almost religious awe, unwound the length of silk from around his waist and hips and let it fall to the floor around his feet.
Rikko’ stepped out of the puddled folds and murmured, “You too.”
He finished undressing in a few seconds. He never wore a lot. It just got in the way.
Gael took off his clothes, and Rikko’ watched him from the bed, waiting. Under those strangely unattractive breeches and shirt, he was every bit as delicious as Rikko’ had always known he would be, not particularly muscular, but sleek and quick, and just a little awkward, like a young animal, full-grown but still uncertain of his body.
Rikko’ pulled him close, pressing that lithe soft form against his own, and their cocks met halfway, both hard and quite ready, so that they had to be pulled up against their bellies for them to embrace. Rikko’ smiled and palmed Gael’s butt, and kissed him, deep and long, and then put a hand between them and took the boy’s member in his fingers just for a bit of a feel, a bit of foreplay.
He tugged at the lovely taut cock once.
Gael gave a sort of astonished yelp, tensed all over, and then moaned wildly against Rikko’s shoulder, oh, oh, ooh, and suddenly Rikko’ found himself awash in hot, splashing, dripping jets of sperm, all down his belly, lap, and leg, a veritable, goddamn, bleeding flood of it.
He let go, dumbfounded, and then burst into laughter.
“Wh—well, I’ll be … what the…” he began, but, really, he could only laugh. I just barely touched him!
“Damn it, doctor, our ship sprung a leak,” he said finally, still laughing. “I’m drowned!”
“Oh gods, oh gods, oh gods,” said Gael, absolutely frantic, “oh gods, sir, I am so sorry!” He jumped out of bed, fumbling around. “I’ll find my handkerchief, sir, I’ll mop it up this minute…”
Rikko’ laughed even harder and stretched out to pull him back in bed.
“Stop that. Leave it. Leave it, damn it! It’s all right. I’m joking. It’s all right! It’s all good! Stuff’s good for the skin, it is known. Leave it.” He couldn’t stop laughing.
And a little taste of action...
“Up sheets a fathom,” he called, to take some of the way off the xebec. The galley was irrelevant at this point. He was totally focused on the narrow, shallow channel, the speed of the ship, the intervals between the waves. It all played in his mind like exact music, but it was not sound, nor yet an image… it was his sense of the sea. He called some small adjustments to the course, and watched the bowsprit point exactly where he wanted it. The Rüven shouldered a wave, then another, and she made straight for the passage between the rocks, her course as true as a line traced with a ruler over a chart. Never was a man like Vasili at the helm. She rose on another wave, descended, and then rose again on the next, just as she passed through the invisible line connecting the two rocks. Then she gently slid in the next through. There was the lightest, slightest scrape, no more, a graze far aft, not even a sound, more of a gentle deep vibration that passed through the keel, to the hull and masts, and finally to the shrouds where he was perching. Just the faintest shiver… Then she was over. Rikko’ took what felt like the first breath in a minute.
“Does she steer?” he called, because the gods forbid that that graze had unsettled the rudder.
“Aye, aye, all’s well,” came Vasili’s bellowed answer.
“Ready about,” he called, urgently now, because they were steering straight for the shoals ahead, but she stayed without a check and steadied on the larboard tack, well into the deeper channel towards the opening of the bay, her rigging sighing as if in relief. Rikko' flew down the shrouds—the mainsail was between him and the galley, and he needed to see now. He ran aft, calling orders as he did, slowing her down a little more again. Wait for me, darling. Wait for me, he thought.
He watched the galley from the taffrail. They dared not go through the Cock and Balls, the channel being so narrow, not sweeping, as they were.
They were going fast, fast, a little to starboard, a little more, yes, for the smooth water between the Cock and the next rock in line to the east.
Oh yes, the water was always smoother there.
It was one of the whims of the sea.
She put her nose through the rocks just as she lifted her head on the crest of a wave. The wave lifted her bows, and then she struck her heel and shivered. She still ground on so fast that Rikko’ thought she might make it after all, that she would just squeeze past, and he had lost his gamble. Then she struck hard. Her sweeps lost all coordination and flailed madly, like the legs of a wounded insect. Her foremast went by the board as suddenly as if it had been shot through. For a minute it looked like her stern might swing towards the western rock, and she might be stove sideways, but then the next wave took her, lifted her, carried her on ten yards and dropped her, and her back broke.
Even at a time like this Rikko’ felt a pang of pain for the ship. Appalling waste of good timbers, he thought, dolefully. There was cheering, and he yelled for silence. It was no time for cheering, not yet.
Rikko’ swept the bay for the galiot. Would she chase?
One day last summer, I was drawing a quick sketch of a pale blond elf. He was coming along very nicely but I completely and utterly messed up his left eye, and no matter how hard I tried I could not fix it. I became so exasperated that I blacked it out with a thick black pencil, and there and then an elf-pirate was born.
I was so fascinated by this mysterious character I had accidentally created that I started writing his story the next day, with no idea where I was going with it. As it turns out, I have never had so much fun writing a book. I offer this as a reminder that sometimes it’s worth embracing your own mistakes, because they can take you to very interesting and unexpected places that you would never have imagined otherwise.
(model: Danila Kovalev)