Read The Artifact of Foex Online

Authors: James L. Wolf

Tags: #erotica, #fantasy, #magic, #science fiction, #glbt, #mm, #archeology, #shapeshifting, #gender fluid, #ffp

The Artifact of Foex (8 page)

BOOK: The Artifact of Foex
5.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Chet had pressed into a corner to avoid the
fight. As it seemed to be over, he reluctantly perched at the edge
of the bed. They were going to be here for a while: Wetshul summer
storms usually lasted an hour or two. They had time... which meant
he might be able to find out what was going on.

“What is the Raptus? Is it
” he
asked. Meaning, had a god created it?

Knife glanced toward the front seat of the
van, which was cut off from the back only by a flimsy curtain. Chet
could hear gum popping on the other side. The prostitute was
clearly listening—they must be better than a radio soap opera.
Though the rain on the roof had become a heavier drumming and
thunder grumbled outside, the storm wasn’t covering their words.
Knife switched languages to the tongue of Tache.

“No, it’s not a holy object. The gods never
had anything to do with it. Directly, anyway. It was created by the
Magicians Tene and Zang around 3900, Foex’s millennium. The
Raptus’s purpose is simple and direct: it’s a mind-control device.
The person with full control of the Raptus can control every human
within earshot.”

Chet had books by both Tene and Zang,
respectively, in his bookcase back home. Also, admittedly, a few
condensed volumes by each of them in his suitcase at Clementina’s
house. He loved reading those two. Such different men with wholly
divergent philosophies, yet similar in tone and style. But this was
new information; how could these men have done something Chet had
never heard of?

He scowled. “I don’t believe it. Why did they
create something like a mind-control device? I would have expected
more from the Magicians Tene and Zang than something a
magician would use. In any case, I don’t understand
why it works at all. All the Magicians are gone. Their god is dead.
How did this thing just catch us like bugs on fly paper?”

Knife and Journey looked at one another,
their expressions reserved. “We’re not entirely sure why it still
works, either,” Journey said. “Let alone why it just caught us.
Aureate would know more.”

Who? Chet frowned at them and crossed his
arms. “The Raptus sounds like nothing but a cheap, showy

Knife snorted. “Oh, sure. Imagine being
forced to kill your own parents, or to slaughter thousands of
children, or to launch a nuclear assault, all against your own
will. Some trick.”

Journey put in, as if to console him, “It
does other things, too. I recall there was some sort of shielding
power when it’s mostly unlocked. Don’t know how well it would work,
though, with something like modern bullets.”

Her wording piqued Chet’s interest. He
glanced at the morningstar-shaped object, currently in Fenimore’s
lap. Fenimore’s mouth was closed tight and he cradled the device as
if it were his child. Chet felt a protective twinge, too. The
Raptus was an ancient tool of the Magicians, out of circulation for
three-hundred years. This was his milk and meat as an

“Still, I’ve never heard of this thing," he
said at last.

Journey leaned back and stretched; even in
the dim light of the storm, Chet could see her muscles flex. And,
um, other parts of her body move, too. “I’m not surprised. The
Raptus was lost and forgotten, save by us and the Shadow

“You keep mentioning the Shadow Dancers.”
Chet was trying not to look at her breasts, as he wanted to keep
his mind clear. Clearer. What had the Flame said yesterday about
Rory’s people? And Rory herself had acted affronted by their
presence, which wasn’t in character for her at all.

“Aiena was the goddess in charge of
cataloguing Foex’s things after he drank himself to death. Some of
Foex’s creations she used or taught to other gods, like Pelin’s
barrier that has such prominence in the history of Palister. Other
creations were more difficult. Some she buried, and some she

Chet swallowed as a wave of self
consciousness washed over him. Journey wasn’t including herself in
this litany of historic events—and interactions with Pantheon
members—but surely she had been around for some of it. Knife, too.
Weren’t they among the oldest reincarnating people on Uos? They
. And here they were trapped together in a van,
talking like normal people. Not like historic celebrities, quiet
though they were.

. Chet frowned, trying to
remember. What had Journey said about the Shadow Dancers messing
up? And Fenimore had just said something similar, hadn’t he?
Perhaps that was how the Raptus had ended up in the hands of
ambitious royal cousins, which had caused Knife and Fenimore to be
dispatched by their prince.

Along the same lines, why did the Shadow
Dancers need it back? “Did Aiena give the Raptus to her affiliates
because she wanted them to have this mind-control power, too? Did
one of them try to steal it?”

Knife said, "Just the opposite. Aiena was
swamped while dealing with Foex’s things—let alone the Magicians’
things—after their deaths. She had too much to do before dealing
with something so piddly that just impacts humanity. She realized
that not just any human should be put in charge, so she gave it to
her Shadow Dancers for safe keeping, and she took an extra step,
too. You see, the Magicians had explicitly locked the Raptus by
linking it to six of their own kind. It was the ultimate security
measure. Magicians, of course, reincarnated like Flame.”

“They reincarnated
existence of Flame,” Fenimore said.

Knife frowned at him, apparently perturbed at
being interrupted. “Yes, yes. I cannot fault your classical
education, Fen. In any case, Aiena decided it would be prudent to
lock the Raptus for safety’s sake. Being that she is Pelin’s foster
mother and that Flame were the only reincarnating god affiliates
left on the planet, she asked the Council of Six to stand in as
guardians. We’re even the right number.”

“We took on the responsibility knowing full
well what might happen if we did not. We weren’t happy about it,
though.” Journey lay down on her back and tucked her arms behind
her head. Chet was vividly reminded she wore nothing but a fuchsia
bra and satin panties. Oh, Pantheon, those tits were magnificent
lying down, too... Chet wished she’d put on clothes, but they were
still wet and would be for a while.

“Well, this sort of charge isn’t our
specialty, is it? Not even mine.”

Chet frowned. “So why are
to it now? The four of us?”

Journey sat up. The movement didn’t help, and
Chet tried to look elsewhere, failing miserably. Her breasts were
too full and exciting, wrapped in those fuchsia shells. “We don’t
know. It’s a problem.”

“Has it ever done anything like this before?
In your experience.”

Both Flame shook their heads. Their eyes were
round, expressions equally disturbed.

“The Raptus wants masters, I think. It wanted
masters three-hundred years ago, and it doesn’t seem to have
noticed the time gap,” Fenimore said. “My understanding is the
Raptus can still be partially used, locked as it is, but not

Journey frowned. “Yet this seems very odd,
what with you two being unaffiliated. I cannot believe that the
makers of this object would wish to endow it upon random,
unaffiliated people.”

Chet nearly groaned at this attitude. Of
, unaffiliated people were so
, the
un-chosen and all. He turned to Fenimore. “Were the, um, royal
cousins you were pursuing god affiliates?”

they were,” Fenimore
sighed, making the same lemon-eating face.

Chet smiled at him. Fenimore
. He was unaffiliated, too—just another guy.
Just a guy from the 73rd century with an incredible will and sinewy
musculature, but hey, Chet had to take them as he found them.

The rain grew more intense overhead.
Lightning flashed and thunder boomed at the same time, incredibly
loud. The inside of the van had grown even darker, Chet realized.
No one could possibly see anything if they looked in the covered,
steaming windows now, as Fenimore had done—less than an hour ago?
It seemed longer.

Chet glanced around at the others. Knife and
Fenimore were looking at one another with the same intense, hungry
expression. Chet frowned, uncertain what they were thinking. Then
Fenimore slowly stretched. Every movement languid, Fenimore began
removing his shirt. His chest still had dust clinging to it. Chet
noticed curiously that Fenimore’s torso wasn’t like those of
bodybuilders: he was hairy and covered with imperfections, the most
prominent of which were smallpox scars and healed knife wounds.
Nevertheless, when he moved Chet could see his muscles ripple in
the shadows. Then Fenimore
into Knife, his whole
body arching over him like a bridge. Fenimore took hold of Knife’s
shoulders and tried to push him down.

Knife was smiling, his eyes knowing. He
reached up and grabbed Fenimore in turn, tossing Fenimore lightly
to the bed beside him. “If you think you’re to be on top, you are
surely mistaken.”

“I think you should throw yourself upon your
back and stick your feet in the air, Flame, and be grateful about
it,” Fenimore growled, fighting for leverage.

“Is that what you think?” Despite his
satisfied purr, Knife didn’t quite have Fenimore pinned. Fenimore
was smaller, but his reach was sufficient, his will just as

Chet froze as he watched them play, not sure
what he was seeing. Their movements were like a wrestling match in
secondary school—only the guys in secondary school didn’t fight
nearly so dirty. Maybe it was more like watching mating animals,
except there was no male or female here, no obvious conclusions
based on anatomy. They were writhing intently, each trying to gain
ascendency over the other. Sometimes a moan emerged, sometimes a
growl. Knife lost ground by getting Fenimore’s pants off; he
immediately went under. Fenimore’s uncircumcised dick was hard,
ready to go, his hips already bucking. Yet Knife wasn’t giving up
without a fight.

Chet wanted to shield Journey from this, then
realized she was no lady, she was Flame. Her eyes were shining as
she stared, and her right hand... Chet’s inhaled in shallow bursts.
Her right hand was inside her panties, touching herself with slow,
circular movements. Her left hand, in turn, was stroking her satiny
bra. The smell he’d noticed in Journey and Knife’s presence before
had filled the van full force. Again, he was reminded of his former
roommate Steve, though the connection felt inappropriate.
Especially because Chet’s cock responded readily, rising to full

“Hah!” Fenimore had Knife’s boxers down, but
an instant later he lost leverage as Knife grabbed him from
beneath, flipping him onto his back. Chet gulped at the sight of a
naked Flame. There was nothing obviously wrong with him, though.
Knife’s penis was long and unusually thin—on purpose?

Knife threw himself on Fenimore and crooned
in his ear, “That’s right, boy. You’re mine.”

“You can’t perforate me dry!” Fenimore
snarled. He seemed genuinely outraged, and they both paused, as if
the game were in timeout. Then they turned to look at the curtain
separating the driver’s seat.

“Excuse me, miss?” Knife called out. “Do you
happen to have any oil-based lotion or cream on hand?”

The prostitute stuck her head though the
curtain. Chet, who hadn’t seen her before, blinked in surprise.
Flaxen skinned, she was chubby cheeked and amazingly young; she
actually looked like one of his sisters. She didn’t seem at all
shocked at the position Fenimore and Knife were in. The idea of two
men—or a man and a Flame, rather—in such a compromised position
didn’t seem to faze her. Did she often harbor homophiles in her

The prostitute pointed helpfully. “Look in
the second wire rack from the top, behind the magazines. See

“Thank you,” Knife said.

Chet craned his head. He hadn’t noticed the
organization racks screwed into the back of the seat. They held all
sorts of items, the bulkiest of which were clean towels. He was
vaguely reminded of the tools table at the dig site in that
everything necessary was at hand, carefully prepared and

Knife squirted a generous dollop into his
hand. Chet held his breath until he realized that oil-based
anything won’t hurt the Flame. Then he frowned. What about spit? Or
semen? Or whatever fluid women had?

He glanced at Journey. “Won’t he be burned
by, um, bodily fluids?”

“Hardly.” She grinned up at him. Her hand
rested outside her panties, to his relief. “We wouldn’t be very
well designed if that happened. No, by Pelin’s grace, we can
interact with bodily fluids without burning.”

“But that... makes very little sense, when
you think about it.”

“Pelin is a
. She doesn’t
have to bow to the laws of nature nearly as often as you and

Fenimore waited patiently on his back, legs
upright and spread. The timeout was apparently in full effect.
Knife massaged the thick liquid into Fenimore’s ass without further

Feeling like an anthropologist in the field,
Chet whispered to Journey, “Won’t Knife need some, too?” Or was it
now assumed by everyone that Knife was going to, er, penetrate
Fenimore? Was the ritual mating fight over?

Journey rolled her eyes, as if she wished
he’d just let her watch the live show, but she said, “As I’ve
mentioned before, Pelin is thoughtful in many ways.
asses never require lubrication, or even stretching in advance,
since we’re fully capable of shaping ourselves to match whatever
comes our way.”

“Oh.” Chet hunched, feeling vulnerable.

Journey smiled up at him, her expression more
hungry than friendly, her body turned his way. Chet felt himself
straighten automatically at her attention. It was funny how she
seemed no less feminine with a bald head. Really, one got used to
that feature quickly. Especially because Journey was otherwise
physically breathtaking. The smell in the van now filled him
completely, making him feel heady with longing. With, with

BOOK: The Artifact of Foex
5.31Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

Other books

A Blessed Child by Linn Ullmann
The Queen's Consort by Brown, Eliza
Songs of the Earth by Lexi Ander
The Italian Matchmaker by Santa Montefiore
Rich Man's Coffin by K Martin Gardner
The Blood-stained Belt by Brian H Jones