He paused at the foot of the flight of stone steps. Removing his crown he passed it to his companion. "Keep this safe," he told the man.
"Your majesty." the man started, accepting it with obvious reluctance.
"No," the king stopped him before he could say anything more. "I'm just another worshipper." His dark eyes were steady on his companion's, reinforcing his command.
The man bowed deeply as his king slowly climbed the stone steps. Large metal-studded wooden doors opened easily at his touch. He stepped inside the temple, and they clanged shut behind him with a finality that cut him off from the outside world with all its light, heat, noise and life.
Here was only stillness, silence, the muskiness of burning incense, and flickering light from torches.
He moved silently forward and knelt before the altar. Slowly the preoccupations of the day dropped from him, the clamour that called for his attention stilled. There was only one focus necessary here; only one focus possible. Iphicles bent his head and worshipped his god.
He didn't look up, but he knew when the god appeared. Magnificent in his godhood, glorious in his nakedness, the immortal stood there and was worshipped. Kneeling before his lord, Iphicles offered him his very being. His eyes closed in silent adoration as his god responded, signifying his acceptance of Iphicles' reverent oblation by moving forward and slowly filling his ardent mouth. The warm cock pushed deeper and deeper into Iphicles' mouth in an undeniable rhythm until the god's blessing was filling his mouth, his throat, running scalding to his empty yearning centre.
Iphicles knew the next stage of the ritual. He knew it more intimately than did the most devoted acolyte. It was the purest form of offering to his lord - to immolate himself on the god's altar. He stood and began slowly to divest himself of his clothing, each garment removed in the prescribed order and laid on the floor of the temple to a deliberate pattern as the god watched. Boots first, stood together, then gauntlets and belt joined them. The slow unfastening of his loose shirt, before it was slipped off over hard curved muscle. It was briefly folded, then laid with care beside the boots. His pants and breech clout followed, with the same slow ceremonial movements, until Iphicles stood naked in the temple, the heavy scent of incense and of his god caressing his skin.
The god stepped back, mutely permitting his approach. In silence, Iphicles moved to the altar. Roughened stone greeted his body, obsidian rock which breathed with the essence of countless such sacrifices. The cold chains which suddenly held him to the altar kept his body still, but could do nothing to slow the surging of blood through his veins.
He lay with his cheek pressed to the black stone. The god slowly moved into position on the altar, a knee on either side of Iphicles' bound body, a strong hand in red-gold hair pulling his head sharply back to expose his smooth throat. Heat against his back, a cold blade on his neck. Sudden pain, then the god's tongue licking at the warmth running down his neck before his mouth sought the wound and the god took his blood offering.
Too soon, the mouth left him. The tension pulling his head back relaxed. The warmth against his back disappeared. Iphicles laid his face to the stone again, and waited.
The god moved silently, yet Iphicles was aware of every motion as his lord circled the altar. A brief glimpse of dark godly beauty was his, and then the god was out of his sight. He could only feel as the body returned to its rightful position above him. He felt the warmth of the god slowly entering him, his size stretching Iphicles further than he could bear, the pain sharp counterpoint to the dull throbbing in his neck. But this was his god; there was nothing he could ask of Iphicles that the man wouldn't freely give.
The god was all the way inside Iphicles now and the pain slowly started to subside, replaced by pleasure as the god's slow measured thrusts began to accustom Iphicles to his size. A wordless litany spilled from Iphicles as his god moved in and out of him, filling him, caressing him deep inside. The god's movements pushed Iphicles' ready body against the altar, rough stone against his body in almost unbearable friction, stroking and tearing at smooth skin, catching at sensitised nipples, and his cock, caught between agony and ecstasy, responded in the only way it knew how, swelling beneath him as his god's thrusts rubbed him against the stone of the altar.
Iphicles could hear the god's breath coming faster as he pushed deeper and deeper into him, until he pulled right back, to slam all the way inside. Iphicles cried out in pain as he was ground mercilessly into the stone beneath him. The god did it again and again, harder and unbelievably deeper each time, his powerful weight thrusting Iphicles rhythmically against the rough stone. And Iphicles bled on his god's altar, a willing sacrifice of flesh and blood. Eventually the god's thrusts became one last continuous movement, his orgasm spilling from him into his worshipper.
Stillness for an instant, then the god withdrew from him. Iphicles was alone until a dark figure filled his vision. The god now stood in front of him. A hand in his hair again, pulling his head back, and the god's lips met Iphicles', devouring godly lips on yielding mortal ones, demanding the surrender that was already his. The god's hot needful tongue pushed into Iphicles' warm willing mouth, bestowing a benison even as he accepted the strength that Iphicles offered. Questing tongues entwined in their own desperate ceremony, taking, giving, seeking, and finding.
A lifetime later, the god's mouth left Iphicles'. Iphicles felt the movement above him, and then felt himself slowly entered and filled again. The god pushed deep inside him, to his very core, calling forth one last act of devotion. Iphicles' cock obediently began to react to the feeling of his god stroking slow and deep inside him. The movements gradually quickened, the god's breath coming in gasps before he groaned in pleasure as he finally came. At the sound, the feel of the god still filling him, completing him, with a warm flooding against his stomach, Iphicles poured out his very essence, his final offering to his god, on the altar.
The silence and stillness of this place surrounded him again. The god too remained silent, covering Iphicles' body with his own, sweat mingling, warm skin to warm skin as they breathed together.
Finally, inevitably, the god moved. He left Iphicles, pausing only to pick up the knife he'd left on the altar. Iphicles lay waiting. He could deny his lord nothing. Should it be the god's will that Iphicles' lifeblood should mix with his semen on that dark altar, he was content.
A deep voice in his ear. "Your sacrifice was pleasing to me."
He was suddenly released from his chains. The god had gone.
Slowly, he got to his feet, dressed, then moved towards the temple doors. They opened at his approach. He stood for an instant, almost blinded by the bright sunlight, seeing the bustle of the street before him, his companion's anxious face as he waited, the fear turning to joyous relief at the sight of his king. Iphicles turned back one last time to the dark temple.
The lightest of touches on his cheek, a low voice. "Come to me tomorrow."
With a smile, Iphicles descended the steps. He never left until he had heard those words.
"As you wish, my Lord."