Written in Stone, Part 8

Business at the symposium pulled Charis away for the entire day, and Kieran didn’t see her until after dinner.

She walked through the garage door and into the den, where Kieran, Cullen, Ilya, and Taber lounged, watching TV.

“Hi boys,” she greeted cheerfully.

“How was it?” Ilya asked.

“It was fine.  Elan could’ve handled it on his own.”

“Why didn’t he?”

“The new vendor didn’t want to talk to him.”

Ilya rolled his eyes.  “Really?”

Charis nodded, setting her purse and keys down.  “We had the same problem with the caterer too, remember?  I just needed to go in and let them know that Elan has the authority to make the necessary decisions.”

“That took all day?”

She chuckled.  “You know how it is.  Once you get there, you see a million things that need to be done.”

Sighing, she sat down beside Kieran on the couch and patted his leg affectionately.  “How was your day?” she asked him.

He blushed, averting his gaze.  “It was good, Domina.”

“Do you still want to service me?”

His eyes shot up to meet hers.  “Yes, Domina,” he answered enthusiastically.

“Good.  You can start by kissing my neck the way you did this morning.”

Kieran didn’t even hesitate, moving closer to her, eager to obey.  He kissed her neck, enjoying the way she reacted to him, enjoying the feel of her hands roaming across his body.

The more he touched her, the more he liked touching her.  He liked the way she moaned, the way she put a firm hand on the back of his neck, urging him to do more.  He loved how expressive she was, how his efforts to please her were immediately rewarded with her gasps and soft appreciative sounds, and the way she pulled him closer.

It made him feel powerful, knowing that he could please her.  For a moment, he started to understand what she meant when she had called him a man.

Was this what that felt like?  He’d felt it with Rowyn, too.  Was this what it meant to be more than someone’s property, more than a pair of holes to fuck?  To be able to please someone, to see them gasp and arch and moan, actually wanting him there, actually enjoying him, enjoying his body?

It was such an amazing feeling.  He loved it.  He wanted more of it.

And it was so odd, actually enjoying the feel of her hands on him.  He didn’t think he’d ever truly enjoyed anyone’s hands on him.  He’d certainly never enjoyed his owner’s hands on him.  But now, he found himself wanting more.

Her hand slid down his back, under his tunic, across his butt, and Kieran found himself arching his back, wanting her finger inside him again.

She chuckled at his reaction, gently pushing him away with a hand around his neck, pinning him against the couch.

He’d seen Ilya do this to Taber, after Taber had helped him learn to read in the library, and his heart had leapt in his chest.  He’d been surprised, then, at the lack of fear in Taber’s eyes.  He hadn’t been able to understand how it was possible not to be afraid.

He understood, now.  Gods, how long ago had that been?  It felt like a lifetime ago.

Had it really only been such a short time?  Less than a week?

How was it possible that his life could change so much in a week?

He looked up at her as she knelt over him, her hand around his throat, the corners of her lips turning up in a mischievous, wolfish grin that sent chills down his spine to settle in his groin.

“You’re such a good boy,” she said quietly.

Once again, his face flamed hot, and he averted his gaze, wanting to be closer to her, to melt into her.

He had stopped trying to understand why her praise had such an effect on him, how those two words could make him glow.

But she held him firm against the couch, capturing his lips with a bold, authoritative kiss.

“Come on,” she said, pulling away and reaching out to help him to his feet.  “Let’s go to my room.”

Excited at the idea of being able to service her again, or having her inside him again, he eagerly took her hand and followed her up the stairs, down the hall, to her room.

But he was surprised when she stopped at Rowyn’s room.  She knocked, waited for him to answer, then opened the door, sticking her head in the room.

“Come with us,” she told him.  “We’re going to play with Kieran.”

Despite the lust that burned and twirled in Kieran’s gut, a stab of fear shot through him.  Rowyn, too?

He tried to remind himself that there was nothing to be afraid of.  By now, he knew that Charis wouldn’t hurt him.  And Rowyn had been nothing but kind and gentle to him.

Rowyn rose to his feet, following Charis out into the hall.  He flashed a charming, warm smile at Kieran, and put a friendly arm around him.

“Sounds like fun,” he commented, as the three of them made their way to Charis’ room.

Kieran’s heart raced as they walked into Charis’ bedroom and Rowyn closed the door.

Just inside the door, Charis stopped and turned, pulling the pin at Kieran’s shoulder.  He gasped as his tunic fell to the floor at his feet.

But she didn’t give him time to really register the fact that he was standing between Rowyn and Charis, naked.  Pulling him close to her, she kissed him again, reaching down and grabbing his butt with both hands.

He gasped as she pulled him up and against her, a thigh between his legs to brace him, keeping him exposed and off-balance.  It was a strange, vulnerable feeling, leaning against her, held up by her, but he decided it felt good.  He liked the feeling of her hands on him, he liked the pressure as she held him against her, as her body, as strong as it was beautiful, held him up.  But then he heard Rowyn move behind him, and his heart raced.

But to his surprise, Rowyn knelt down behind him.  A moment later, he gasped and squirmed as he felt Rowyn’s tongue on his entrance, licking slowly and steadily.  It was such a novel and strange feeling, he wasn’t sure what to make of it.

After a moment, though, he decided he liked that, too.  With Rowyn’s tongue exploring his ass and Charis’ tongue exploring his mouth, all he could do was hold on to Charis, yielding to the both of them.  His head swam as Charis kissed him, his thoughts becoming muddled and fuzzy.

Then, Rowyn pushed a single, wet finger into him, and he moaned softly.  Gods, he had no idea that being penetrated could feel so good without the pain.  He pushed his butt back, wanting Rowyn deeper, bigger.

For a few moments, Rowyn alternated between licking him and fingering him, making sure to keep him wet and well-lubricated.  And the more he touched him, the more Kieran’s head swam.  His legs trembled with the effort of holding up his weight, and he leaned even harder against Charis.

When Rowyn slid a second finger in, Kieran cried out, clinging to Charis and burying his face in her hair as he was filled up.  But Rowyn was slow, and took his time, working to make sure Kieran’s body was able to adjust to him.

It was all Kieran had, just to keep himself upright, as he wrapped his arms around Charis, panting and gasping.  His entire body trembled, and he started to genuinely worry that his legs wouldn’t be able to continue supporting his weight.

Thankfully, just at that moment, Rowyn pulled away.  “I won’t be able to do any more without lube, Domina,” he said.

Nodding, Charis put her hands on Kieran’s shoulders, helping him steady himself as he stood up.  She led him to the bed while Rowyn went to the bedside table and pulled out a small bottle.

“Get on the bed, love,” she commanded softly.  “On your hands and knees.”

His breathing shaky, Kieran obeyed her, crawling onto the bed and waiting for what he knew was coming.

It was time, anyway.  Charis had been more than kind to him in the week he’d been there.  She’d been more than generous.  She’d given him so much time to relax and get comfortable.  It was time for him to start being used in earnest.

His desire fell away, leaving just the fear as he saw Rowyn pull his own tunic off, then get on the bed, kneeling behind him.

Kieran remembered how big Rowyn was.  He knew that this was going to hurt.

You’re a slave, said the bitter voice in his head.  What did you think would happen?  That you’d live here for the rest of your life, not having to service your owners?

But both Rowyn and Charis had been so kind to him.  He was sure they’d do what they could to lessen the pain.  And hopefully Rowyn wouldn’t last long.

He heard the unmistakable click of the lube bottle opening, and lowered his head, waiting to feel Rowyn start fucking him.  But instead, he felt the same two fingers again.

Rowyn fingered him for a moment, then slid a third inside.  Once again, Kieran gasped, his entire body tense, and once again, he was surprised to find that the pain was extremely manageable.  When Rowyn went slow, it hardly hurt at all.

“Kieran,” Rowyn said softly, getting his attention.  “I’m going to enter you now.  I’m going to go very slow.  Take a deep breath, and try to stay relaxed.”

Kieran whimpered, his entire body shaking, fear clutching at his heart.  He wanted, more than anything, to run away, but he stayed rooted to his place.  He cringed as he felt the tip of Rowyn’s cock against him, and the tears began falling when he felt the head ease into him.

He cried out, squirming, his hands balled into fists, panting and gasping, as he felt Rowyn slowly sink all the way into him.

But the pain he was expecting never came.

While the feeling was almost overwhelmingly intense, it wasn’t really all that painful.  He felt exposed, vulnerable, stretched to the limit and completely filled up, but it didn’t hurt.

Rowyn stayed still, giving Kieran time to get used to the size of his cock.  And after a few seconds, what little pain there was disappeared.  After a moment, it even started to feel good, being filled so completely.  Slowly, timidly, Kieran moved back, pushing against Rowyn, encouraging him to begin thrusting.

With slow, careful movements, Rowyn began moving, and Kieran was overwhelmed all over again.  As good as it had felt when Charis had fingered him, this was so much more intense.  He couldn’t control himself, he couldn’t control his body, all he could do was squirm and gasp, his hands balled into fists.  And through it all, he wanted more.

He craved more.

Charis put a gentle hand on the small of his back.  “Kieran, are you alright?” she asked softly.

Words?  She was asking him to say words right now?  Gods, he could barely put a coherent thought together.  How could he possibly manage words?

But his hesitation made Rowyn pause, and for a moment, Kieran was afraid he would pull all the way out.

“Yes,” he breathed hastily, pushing his weight back, wanting Rowyn all the way in him again.

Rowyn chuckled, obliging Kieran’s desire and sinking all the way to the hilt.  “He likes it, Domina,” he murmured.

“It would seem so,” she agreed.  “I don’t want to push it, though.  He’ll likely start getting sore quickly.  Don’t last too long.”

“Yes, Domina,” he replied, immediately speeding up the pace of his thrusting.

Kieran gasped as Rowyn pounded into him, surprised to discover that he actually liked being fucked harder.  It was a more intense feeling, it made him feel fuller, and it put more pressure on his prostate.

Good gods, was this what being fucked was supposed to be?  Was this what it was supposed to feel like?

This was nothing like what Dryas and his friends had done.  This was…  It was…

Gods, it was incredible.

When he felt an unexpected hand on his cock, he cried out in a half moan, half whimper.  On one hand, he wanted Charis’ touch, he wanted her to stroke him like she had when she’d fingered him.  He wanted to cum with Rowyn inside him.

But on the other, it was all just so intense, he didn’t know if he could handle anything else.

Charis was gentle, though, like she always was, and stroked him with long, steady, smooth strokes.

Panting and gasping, Kieran could barely register the fact that she was kneeling there, beside him.  All he was aware of was the hand on him, the cock inside him, and the ball of fire that grew in his belly.

Then, he heard her voice, her lips brushing against his ear.  “You’re going to cum for me, pet,” she whispered.

Unable to speak, all he could do was moan louder.  Gods, he was going to cum.  The pressure inside him mounted, building with each stroke, with each thrust.

“Come on,” Charis urged softly.  “Show me how much you enjoy this.  Show me how much you love being bent over and fucked.”

Her words were enough to send him over the edge, the pressure finally exploding, radiating out through his body, setting every nerve on fire.  He practically screamed, his body spasming as she milked every ounce of pleasure from him, as Rowyn fucked him even harder.

His muscles clenched around Rowyn’s cock, intensifying his orgasm, prolonging it until Kieran, too exhausted and oblivious to move, collapsed on the bed, floating and flying as Rowyn continued pumping into him.

“May I cum, Domina?” he asked breathlessly, his thrusts coming harder and faster.

“Yes, love.”

Mere seconds later, Rowyn sunk all the way into him, as far as he could go, throbbing and trembling as he shot his seed deep into Kieran’s body.

Kieran found himself mildly disappointed when Rowyn pulled out, missing the pressure of his cock in him, but was comforted when the older man collapsed on top of him.  The warmth and weight of him felt amazing, and Kieran never wanted to move again, for the rest of his life.

“Holy fuck,” Rowyn panted, kissing Kieran’s shoulder lightly.

Charis chuckled softly.  “Did it feel good?” she asked.

Rowyn laughed in response, nibbling the back of Kieran’s shoulder, a move that sent chills down Kieran’s spine.

“His ass feels just as amazing as his mouth,” Rowyn said.  He moaned softly as Charis lied down beside them on the bed, moving closer to her and pulling Kieran with him.

Kieran was more than willing to move closer to Charis, wanting to feel the length of her body just as he felt the length of Rowyn’s.  Lying between them, his entire body still throbbing, he felt warm, and safe, and protected.

Cherished.  He felt cherished.

Like he was more than a hole to cum in.  Like…

Like he was a man.

He didn’t even realize he’d fallen asleep until he woke up, confused at the sunlight streaming through the window.  Surprised, he sat up to find himself alone in Charis’ room, in Charis’ bed.  He’d fallen asleep in her bed?

She’d allowed him to sleep in her bed?

“Ah, you’re awake,” she said cheerfully, startling him.  He whirled around to see her walking out of the bathroom, wearing only a robe, pinning her hair up.  “I was just coming in to wake you.  Come here, I want you to bathe me.”

Eagerly, and somewhat stiffly, Kieran rose to his feet.  He was sore, but pleasantly so, and was reminded of the night before.  It was almost as if he could still feel Rowyn inside him and Charis beside him.

He walked into the bathroom to see that the tub had already been drawn.  He took her robe and helped her into the bath, then stepped in, himself.

He liked bathing her.  It was quiet, and peaceful, and comfortable.  Such an intimate act, and it gave him the chance to really study the woman who owned him.

As his hands moved across her body, over her curves and her scars, he couldn’t help but admire her.  So strong, so powerful, so graceful.

And he marveled at how relaxed she was.  Of the many differences between her and Dryas, Kieran noticed that the biggest one was the difference in comfort they felt with themselves.

He’d never really noticed it before, but now that he was with Charis, he realized that Dryas was never particularly comfortable with himself.  Like he always had something to prove, he always had to reassert his manhood, his position as a Spartan nobleman, his position as Kieran’s owner.

There had been no quiet, comfortable moments like this because Dryas could never be comfortable with who he was.

Charis, on the other hand, was self-assured and confident, and completely comfortable with herself.  She never had anything to prove, she knew who she was.  She could sit back and relax and enjoy the presence of her slave without having to remind him that she was his owner.  She could enjoy these quiet, peaceful moments because she was at peace with herself.

It was incredible, the difference it made.  Kieran was convinced that, even though Charis was trophimi, she was ten times the Spartan his former owner would ever be.

Perhaps that’s why Dryas had been so rough with Kieran.  Perhaps it was because Dryas knew that he simply didn’t live up to the Spartan standards.  He was nowhere near as physically fit as Charis was, there wasn’t even a fitness room in his house.  He had always been loud and aggressive, but had backed down when others had been loud and aggressive back to him.

Maybe Dryas hated himself, and knew no other way to cope with that, than to hurt the one beneath him.  Maybe that’s what it took for Dryas to feel strong.

And what a sad, lonely way to live.

Kieran found himself pitying his former owner.  No wonder he needed to be cruel.  He needed to deflect the anger and disappointment in himself by channeling it into his rough treatment of Kieran.

He would buy another slave, Kieran was sure of that.  And he’d be just as cruel to him as he’d been to Kieran.  But no matter how hard he beat a slave, no matter how loudly he made the slave scream, no matter how rough he treated him, it would never be enough to give Dryas peace.  It would never be enough to make Dryas comfortable with himself.

Not the way Charis was comfortable with herself.  And she’d purchased him.  She’d saved him from Dryas.  She’d reached down and rescued him from a small, fearful, angry man.

Overcome with gratitude, he leaned into her, wrapping his arms around her and burying his face against her neck.

“Hmm,” she murmured approvingly, her hand on his thigh, kissing him gently on the forehead.

He closed his eyes, simply enjoying being close to her, feeling her body against his.

Suddenly, a loud crash sounded from somewhere downstairs.  A moment later, Ilya’s booming voice could be heard, shouting angrily.

“What the hell?” Charis demanded, quickly rising to her feet.  “Get my robe.  Now.”

The sharpness of her voice brought back the fear that always lingered in the back of Kieran’s mind, but he reminded himself that she wasn’t angry with him.  Something was very obviously wrong, and she needed to figure out what it was.  He reminded himself that he wasn’t the cause of the sudden edge in her voice.

He helped her into her robe just as Rowyn rushed into the room.

“What?” she demanded.

“The symposiarch called, wanting to talk to you,” Rowyn explained quickly as she walked past him.  “Dominus told him that you weren’t coming to the phone, and that you’re not interested.”

“And?”

“He said something to set Dominus off.  I don’t know what.  He threw the phone through the TV.  Taber and Cullen are trying to calm him down.”

“Fucking hell,” she muttered.  “Take Kieran to your room, and stay there until I come get you.”

“Yes, Domina.”

Charis hurried down the hall, to the staircase.  She could hear Ilya shouting, and now she could make out what he was saying.

Back off!” he shouted.  “I’ll beat you both until you can’t move anymore.”

Her heart leapt, and her blood boiled.  Gods damn it, Ilya, she thought, quickening her pace.  Ilya was known to lose all rational thought when he lost his temper, but to say something like that, to Cullen

She heard a softer voice.  Taber.  But she couldn’t make out what he said.  There was another crash and more shouting.

“Don’t fucking touch me!” Ilya yelled at him.  “Do you want me to beat you bloody?  Both of you, back the fuck off, or I swear on every god there is that I’ll make you fucking regret it.”

She hurried into the living room to see Ilya against the wall.  Taber and Cullen were standing back, but had more or less cornered him, keeping him from destroying the rest of the house until Charis could get there to calm him down.

Her gaze went to Cullen, who stood with his head down, his eyes lowered, and his jaw set.  As she got closer, she saw that he was shaking.

Gods, Cullen, she thought, wanting more than anything to comfort him.  But he would be alright for a few more minutes.  She needed to deal with Ilya first.

Seeing Cullen like that infuriated her even more.  Without a word, she walked between Cullen and Taber, fearlessly approaching Ilya, who was still shouting, and slapped him across the face, hard enough to knock him back, hard enough to leave a handprint on the side of his face, and hard enough to shut him the fuck up.

The slap had the effect she’d been going for.  He held his hand to his face, staring silently at her, completely dumbfounded.

She turned abruptly to the slaves.  “Go upstairs,” she ordered.  “To Rowyn’s room.  Stay there until I come get you.”

“Yes, Domina,” Taber said hastily, casting a concerned look to Ilya before turning to obey her command.

Cullen didn’t answer, but turned to do as she said, shrugging away from Taber as the younger man tried to put a reassuring hand on his shoulder.

Cullen, she thought, looking after him.  My Cullen.

Gods, how could Ilya have been so careless?

Once they were alone, she turned back to him with fire in her eyes.

“What the hell was that for?” he demanded angrily, still nursing his cheek.

“Do you recall what you were saying?” she returned quietly.

“Seriously, what the hell, Charis?”

“Do you?”

“That fucking hurt.  Yeah, fine, whatever.”

“What was it?”

“I told them I’d beat them.”

“Until…” she supplied, urging him to repeat the threat he’d given.

“Until what?  I don’t know.”

Think.”

He sighed.  “Until they can’t move anymore.  What’s the fucking point, Char?”

“How did we find Cullen?”

Ilya opened his mouth to answer, then suddenly stopped, his brows shooting up, all the anger immediately gone from his face as he finally realized what he had said, and the effect his words had on Cullen.

“Fucking hell,” he muttered, leaning back against the wall.  He sank down to the floor, his head in his hands.  “Gods, I’m such a fucking asshole.”

“Yeah,” she agreed simply.  She knelt down next to him.  “What happened?”

Ilya hesitated, still consumed by guilt for what he’d said to Cullen.  It took a moment to pull his focus enough to answer her question.  “Coras called,” he answered finally.  “I told him we weren’t interested.  He said he’d only talk to you, not some ‘worthless neodamode.’  Then he said he’d buy me back, and proceeded to explain how he would use me for nightly entertainment in his symposium until I learned how to speak to nobility.”

Charis sighed, shaking her head.  She leaned back against the wall, pulling Ilya to her.  “Fuck him,” she murmured.  “You’re three times the man he could ever be.  You know that.”

“All I’ll ever be is a neodamode,” he groaned.  “I’m no better than a slave to them.  They’ll never see me as anything more.”

“That’s their problem.  Not yours.  You’re my husband, Ilya.  There’s no one I’d rather be married to.  There’s no one I’d rather help me run the symposium.  There’s no one else I would trust with my livelihood and my slaves.”

“Gods, the slaves,” Ilya muttered, lowering his head again.  “That’s even worse.  Have I fallen that far, that I didn’t even realize what I was doing to Cullen?  Have I really forgotten that much?”

“Everyone makes mistakes.”

He shook his head.  “I should’ve known better,” he insisted.  “I should’ve seen it.  I… I failed him.  Gods, I failed all of them.”

“It can be fixed,” she assured him.  “But you need to be calm, first.”

Ilya sighed, raking a hand through his hair, then looked up to meet her gaze.  “I’m calm.”

“Are you sure?”

He pulled her close, kissing her once, then hugged her tightly.  “I’m sure.  Let’s go.  I want to apologize to them.  To Cullen.”

“It’s got to be on his time.”

“I know.”

They rose to their feet and made their way back upstairs.  Ilya went to the master bedroom to wait for Charis, and Charis walked into Rowyn’s room.  She opened the door to find the four men sitting around, waiting.  Cullen sat apart from the rest of them, on the windowsill, looking out the window and refusing to talk or acknowledge any of them.

Next, her eyes went to Rowyn.  He held her gaze, then looked pointedly at Cullen.

He didn’t speak any words, but he didn’t need to.  She could see his thoughts on his face.

He’d never seen Cullen like this, not since they first brought him home.  He was worried that all of the work she’d done, all the trust she’d built, would be shattered.

Charis nodded to him and glanced to Taber and Kieran, who sat together on the bed, talking quietly.  They stopped as she crossed the room, watching her.

But her focus was on Cullen.  Every muscle in his body was tense as he looked out the window.  She could see the anger and bitterness in his eyes, and it broke her heart.  It had been years since she’d seen that look on his face.  She’d hoped never to see it again.

She stopped just short of him, putting a tentative hand on his arm.  “Cullen,” she murmured.

It took a long moment, but he finally looked to her, and her heart broke all over again when she saw the tears in his eyes.  She extended her arms to hug him and waited, letting him decide if and when to hug her.

He hesitated, then retreated into her arms, holding her tight against him, resting his head on her shoulder, and taking a deep, trembling breath.

For a moment, they were quiet.  Then, she kissed his cheek.  “Are you ready?” she asked.

In answer to her question, Cullen pulled away and resumed his seat, looking back out the window.  Charis watched him for a moment, then sighed.  She reached out to touch his knee.  “I love you, Cullen.”

He didn’t answer, but Charis didn’t expect him to.  She turned to the others.  “Come on,” she told them.  “Give him some space.  Rowyn, you don’t mind, do you?”

“Of course not, Domina,” Rowyn answered quickly.

They started to rise to their feet, but were stilled by the sound of Cullen’s voice.  “Wait,” he said.

Charis turned to him, watching him.  Slowly, he turned to face her.  “I’ll go with you.”

“Cullen, are you sure?” she asked.  “You don’t have to.”

“I’m sure.”

Charis hesitated.  He was still so tense, the anger and bitterness still boiling under the surface.  She walked up to him and reached for him, holding his face with both hands, studying him.  After a moment, and with a lot of effort, he let go of some of the bitterness, and his eyes softened just a little as he looked at her.

“Alright,” she said.  “Come with me.”

She turned to the others.  “You three stay here.”

“Yes, Domina,” they replied, more or less in unison.

They were all silent as they watched Charis and Cullen leave the room.  Once the door was closed, Rowyn let out a deep breath.

“Gods, what happened?” he asked Taber.

“Dominus was angry,” Taber replied.  “He threatened to beat us bloody.  Until we couldn’t move.”

Rowyn shook his head angrily.  “Fucking hell,” he muttered.  “It’s going to take more than one conversation to get over that.”

“What was so bad about it?” Kieran asked.

“You remember when I told you how we found Cullen,” Taber explained.  “How he was being tortured.  That’s something he still struggles with, and if anything brings it back up or puts him back in that headspace, he can shut down for days.”

“Which Dominus should’ve fucking known,” Rowyn growled.  “For someone who likes to talk about how compassionate he is, because he’s a helot, not much fucking occurs to him.”

“He was angry,” Taber repeated.  “You know he’d never act on that.  You know he’d never hurt Cullen.  Or any of us.  Cullen knows it, too.”

Rowyn waved his hand dismissively, pacing the room.  His reaction, his anger at their Dominus, struck Kieran as strange.  He remembered that the two of them had served Domina together before Ilya had been freed.

He couldn’t help but wonder if there was some history there.

“Come on, Rowyn,” Taber pressed.  “Regardless of what he says when he’s angry, do you honestly think he’d actually hurt us?  I mean, truly.”

“It’s not the point,” Rowyn snapped.

“It is the point.  Dominus says things when he’s angry.  We all know that he doesn’t mean them.”

“He shouldn’t have fucking said it.”

“No, he shouldn’t have.  But at the same time, you know, just as I know, just as Cullen knows, that he would never dream of acting on that threat.  He loves us.  He protects us.  You know he does.”

Rowyn sighed, reluctantly accepting the truth in Taber’s words.

Kieran watched them silently, stunned by the interaction.  Taber seemed to have an uncanny ability to calm everyone around him.

He remembered his first day there, when Charis had showed him the training room.  When he had begun to panic, it wasn’t her slave she had called, but Taber.  And Taber had calmed him in the library, too.

But when he saw Rowyn rake his hand through his hair and slump down on the foot of the bed, it pulled his attention from Taber.

The older man was obviously agitated.  And it seemed like there was more to it than just what Ilya had said to Cullen.  There had to be some history there.  Some cause for that agitation.

He wondered what it could be.

One thought on “Written in Stone, Part 8

  1. Nandani says:

    Another enticing chapter. Alas for the emotional see-saw, though.

    I’m regrettably certain you drew more than a small amount of this from experience.

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