Warrior Chronicles
by Sophia
O Julius Caesar, thou art mighty yet!
Thy spirit walks abroad and turns our swords
In our own proper entrails.

Brutus, Act 5, Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare

 

He didn't take the bait, at least, not during that first week after our initial trip to Britain. He didn't ignore me completely, in fact, he began a daily ritual of fucking me awake and asleep, as if he could make up in quantity what he denied me in quality. It was almost enough.  As King Casivellanunus' forces marshaled for a battle to decide the fate of his kingdom, Ares practiced his usual restraint, and only fucked me as a mortal would, an impressive mortal, but mortal all the same. I complied and said nothing. Ares would do as he pleased.  I had put the challenge out and would wait to see what he did.

The day of the battle between Caesar's and Casivellanunus' forces came, and Ares did not wake me with his usual fast fuck, but a fairly slow one that almost seemed...affectionate. Was he trying to soften me up? I think he had to know that my resolve to submit to him would ultimately revolve around him giving me a real "god-fuck" as I started calling it in my own mind. That morning, I played with the image of Teutates fucking me while  Ares was busy pumping away, and as I came, I held his face in my mind and wondered if I would finally call him as he had invited me to. And as Ares grunted in the throes of his own orgasm, I let my mind wander to the battle, and the thought that both Teutates and Ares would be there as foes. I knew Ares could read my thoughts, and I let my mind wander shamelessly, almost as if to taunt him.  His stubborn pride kept him from confronting me for such fantasies, irreverent as they were especially as he had his great cock inside of me. But at the same time, I did not want to fight. I did not want to watch Caesar's forces kill the god of the tribe's mortals.  He seemed to care about them  - at least more than Ares cared about any of us.

Ares rolled off me and stretched his muscled arms above his head. He breathed heavily, and I watched the sweat trickle down his hairline to his neck, a flush still mottling the skin on his face, neck and chest. Gods! He was so beautiful, especially during and just after his orgasm, when the veneer of disinterest had not yet replaced naked desire. I rolled over on top of him, ignoring his demand that I let him lead. I couldn't resist and he did not push me away as I kissed him and licked the sweat off his neck. Then I merely lay on top of him and  enjoyed the warmth of his body, and the feel of his skin against me. I  placed my head on his great broad chest and listened to that heart beat, so strong and slow even after his exertions. I loved his body. Teutates' offer was tempting to me - I wanted to feel a man's orgasm so badly, even if it was not Ares'. But I couldn't imagine a more perfect form for a man or god and it was Ares' orgasm I wanted to feel. If only his heart was more giving. Teutates' body - his orgasm -  would have to do.

My thoughts must have become too much for even his recent restraint and he pushed me off and rose from the bed, his clothes covering him in a flash. I lay and watched him move around the room as if he was unsure what he wanted to do. He stopped in front of the hearth and leaned against it, one hand on the mantle, the other on his hip. He was angry with me, but did not want to even show this emotion since its source was my thoughts of fucking Teutates.  Finally he turned to me and his pride won out again. "Get dressed" he commanded.

I sighed. "In what?" I asked, playing the submissive female for him. He dressed me in a suit of woman's leathers, with a breastplate, and split-leather skirt, high leather boots with a knife at my calf, my sword at my back. My hair was braided and coiled on the back of my head so it would not be a means of ripping me off my horse. I looked at myself and took out my sword, moving it from hand to hand and sweeping it through the air, trying to revive the feelings it used to evoke in me, but nothing. My blood remained cold.

I sheathed my sword and looked at Ares. "I don't want this. Not today." I shook my head. "Not against these people."

"These people!" he growled, pacing around the room, "What do you mean, these people? They are our enemy, Sophia. Our sworn enemy." He stopped in front of me and straightened a leather tie at my side. "As a warrior, you would be proud to serve in Caesar's forces, and as a mortal, you should be honored to be fighting at MY side!"

"I saw them, Ares. They are not a threat to us. They are nothing but a means for Caesar to gain some prestige for himself, make himself immortal. He is not worth it."

"What? Are you so jealous of him that you try to demean him? This pettiness doesn't become you, Sophia."

"Everything does NOT revolve around you Ares," I said quietly, knowing that in my own heart, almost everything did. "I could never explain how I feel to you - a god. You could kill anyone at any time and feel nothing. I am a mortal, bound by my codes of moral behavior.  I know that to a god they appear foolish and insignificant. Gods - who have only power and can deny any morality or responsibility - and you especially, Ares."

"Me especially!" He shook his head. "You think too highly of your Teutates. I know this god better than you. I've fought him before. He won't prevail, Sophia. And he's no saintly god, concerned about mortal welfare." He paced the room - a caged lion. "He's as much a brutal killer as I am. Just because he tempts you with his powers does not mean he cares any more or less than I do about you or any other mortal." He stopped in front of me, his accusing finger a mere inch from my nose. "Get that notion out of your silly girl's head," he said, throwing my own words back at me. I turned away. The sound of his voice, the look on his face, his whole bearing was so demeaning to me, it brought the inevitable tears to my eyes and I cursed my weakness.

"All gods are the same, Sophia," he said to me, taking my chin in his hand and forcing me to look in his eyes. "We have power. We do what we have to in order to keep it. He's playing with you in hopes of getting at me. It won't work."

I hated him when he was like this - so certain of himself, which, when I think about it, is most of the time. But I didn't really believe him - Teutates was different. He was the god of the tribe and did care about his mortals. He reserved himself for other gods rather than tormenting mortals with his delicious power to enchant us. This made me think he was somehow more moral than Ares, who used us and threw us away when he lost interest.

Ares grabbed me and shook me. "You are so foolish, Sophia. Do I have to show you your saintly god in action?"

The next thing I knew, I was standing in the middle of the plains surrounding a port city in Greece. Ares stood behind me with his arms around my shoulders. The city was different than I remembered - it seemed smaller, and I realized we were back in time. On the plains two armies clashed, smoke billowed from fires and horses screamed as their riders fought with bright swords, their shields glinting in the sunlight. In front of us, about a half dozen paces away, was Teutates.  He was naked from the waist up - blood and dirt sullied his pale skin, and the muscles in his broad back rippled as he bent over a soldier who was on his knees on the ground. Teutates held his knife at the soldier's throat. He was raping the soldier in the middle of the battlefield, his strokes short and hard. I watched as he threw back his head and screamed out as he came, and I saw the bloodlust on his face, his gray eyes staring off into the sky. Then he pulled out of the man, reached down and slit the soldier's throat, the blood from his wound spurting over the god's hands, covering them in red. He dropped the soldier's body on the bloodstained earth and jumped back up on his horse, then moved on, taking his sword and fighting as he went, hewing off limbs and slicing through bodies without a thought.

Then we were back in Ares' room, and I was sitting on a chair by the hearth, which was merciful of Ares since my legs could not have supported me. I looked up at him and hated him for showing me Teutates like that. Still, I was aroused at the sight of the Celtic god, even with blood on his hands. To have such power and lust and to let me feel even a bit of it in my own body! To give me just a taste of a god's orgasm. It was too tempting.

"A moth to the candle" Ares said, shaking his head sadly.

And then I felt such a desire to see them both in battle, to watch them both hacking mortals to death. What was wrong with me? Have these gods infected me with their corruption and emptiness so that I could actually find excitement in the death and debasement they dish out?

"You may come and watch me, Sophia, but you must also join in, fight on your own, and kill. If you want to watch the glory of gods killing mortals you won't do it as a voyeur, but as a warrior."

I was ready. If Ares had hoped to sour me on Teutates by showing me his depravity, he failed.

-------

We arrived as the battle was just getting underway. Caesar's forces had massed on a hilltop outside the village they had taken as a stronghold, while Casivellanunus' forces were gathering and moving towards Caesar's encampment. The day was sunny - unusual for this time of year in Britain according to Caesar, but I think we were all glad of it - it probably raised the spirits of the soldiers on both sides.

I had a smaller gelding to ride and waited with growing anticipation for Ares to decide we should join the fray. He sat looking around at the scene below, smelling the air, and I could almost see the bloodlust rise in him from where I was seated. He looked quickly at me, and rode over to my side. "I'll give you some of my own strength, Sophia, so you can fight well enough to stay alive. All but the most deadly wounds may be inflicted on you - I can't give you complete protection." I nodded and looked off at the battlefield below. "Are you ready?" he asked, moving closer to me, then right beside me. Ares reached over and pulled me close to him, almost in his lap, and our horses jostle in and attempt to maintain enough distance between them. He kissed me deeply and I felt his power flowing into me, filling me up with some of his bloodlust as well as his strength. In this regard, Ares was generous, and I grabbed him by his vest as he pulled away. "Thank you," I said, then I kissed him before letting go.

We rode off towards the battle and I could barely wait for my first combat. Ares was ahead of me and I watched as he raised his sword to another horseman, their swords clashing before Ares dispatched him with a swift thrust. Then Ares moved forward and met another while I turned quickly to my left and raised my shield to meet the blow from the sword of a Celtic horseman. I looked at him - his garb was different than our own and his coloring fair, but other than that we were both mortal, our blood would run red were we wounded. Yet, here, with my sword in my hand, with Ares' power in me, I felt able, pleased to kill him and I did, after meeting his sword for several strokes. Such pleasure went through me at this kill and I screamed out something incomprehensible. Just screaming for the pure feel of it.

We fought like this for a while and then retreated to the encampment for a break - to take a drink and have my wounds tended. I had several superficial wounds on my thighs and forearms, and a couple more serious slashes. I grabbed Ares by the vest. "Heal me!" I demanded, but he only continued tending me with the hot knife he had placed in the camp's fire. He wanted me scarred. I looked at my new marks and thought about Ares' tongue licking them the next time we fucked. He looked up in my eyes, read my mind and smiled. That look inflamed me and I would have been just as happy to fuck him right then and there as go back into the fray, but we had to return.

When we did return, we became separated and I fought on my own with Ares nowhere in sight. With the god's power coursing though me, I fought with such fervor, slicing Celtic foot soldiers and dueling with enemy horsemen as if I was born to be a warrior. My blood was so hot! All I could think of was fucking Ares when this was over, fucking him, me on top of him, his huge cock inside of me. Then my heart froze. I turned my horse and behind the horseman I was engaging stood Ares, one of our own soldiers standing in front of him, a young soldier, with wavy blonde hair. He had been grounded and Ares moved to save him from an enemy horseman. The young man looked up into the god of war's face and I knew what that look meant. He knelt down in front of the god and his arms went around Ares' hips as Ares clothing disappeared. I had to turn then, to engage a horseman, but my mind was captured by the image of the two, and I no longer felt enjoyment as I slashed away, cutting through muscle and bone as if they were butter.

I turned back to see the god leaning over the young soldier, his hands gripping the blonde waves, guiding the soldier's motions, quick thrusts of his huge cock in that willing mouth. Then his head is thrown back, and a roar of pleasure comes from that ripe mouth as the god comes in the soldier's throat. The soldier drinks Ares' cum with reverence, blessed by it and Ares' willingness to save his young life. The god pulled the young man up for one last kiss and was then dressed and back on his horse in a flash, sated, ready for more blood. He saw me watching him but merely rode into the fray, unconcerned that I had witnessed his battlefield tryst.

I had to focus once again on the battle, but my heart was no longer in this business. When I wanted Ares, he denied me. But he felt quite able to take his own relief when he desired. I hated him, but the vision of that young man pleasuring him was so strong in my memory, I still wanted him. I was busy engaging one enemy horseman, my sword raised high to meet his own when I felt a curious coldness in my side, just under my rib cage. After giving one thrust to my foe, I fell off my horse onto the hard ground. My hand went to my side and found that an arrow had pierced me. The arrow head had gone right through me.  When I pulled my hands away, I saw they were covered with blood. If no horse stepped on me, killing me while I waited for Ares to find me, I might still bleed to death.

My head was woozy from the pain when I felt the sunlight obscured by a figure standing over me. I thought, //Ares! Back to help me,// but it wasn't Ares.  I saw instead the pale eyes and long black hair of the Celtic god of war, Teutates. He lay down on the ground beside me. "I see my arrow has found its mark," he whispered in my ear as his hand pushed under my breastplate to feel one hard nipple. His hand went to the arrow. He sat up and surveyed the wound, broke the shaft of the arrow and slipped it out of my side. Then he leaned down and I felt his mouth on my wounds, his tongue licking them, lapping up my blood. He moved up and kissed me, and I saw the smear of my blood on his face and tasted it on my own tongue. His desire infused me. What was it with these gods of war, I thought to myself.  The taste of my own blood and the idea he tasted it raised my own level of desire to an even higher pitch.

Then he straddled my thighs and began stripping me of my clothes and armor.  He didn't look at me but kept working, taking off one piece of my garb after another. I wondered why he didn't just make my clothes vanish as he had his own, but he seemed to take delight in undressing me. He bent over me and licked my nipples and then between my legs, his mouth burning into me. But this was no more than I would have felt with Ares - this was not what he had shown me before. I felt the head of his cock at the entrance to my cunt and then he slowed the pace of his actions on my body, and lay on top of me, propped on his elbows. He kissed me and I felt that familiar loss of strength from every muscle in my body. "Are you going to fuck me here - in the middle of everything?" I managed to whisper. He smiled. "The only one who can see us is your god, and it's about time he was in the audience."

Then he kissed me again and I felt his long hair fall around me. His kiss made me dizzy and then he opened me and he began to fill me up with himself. At once the pain left me and I was filled with such powerful desire. His desire, his bloodlust became my own as I felt his body as my own.  His cock was incredible - at first I didn't understand it. I felt as if I had another appendage, but one that ached as my own flesh ached when I was filled with lust. I felt it more clearly defined as he pushed deep within me and gasped as my own hot wetness enclosed tightly around it, bringing such sweet pleasure to us both.  I could barely breathe and I felt tears in my eyes from the strength of the sensation. My back arched as his mouth once again found a nipple and I saw Ares standing several feet in front of Teutates, a look of pure fury on his face. Teutates sat up, keeping his cock deep inside me and looked at Ares.  I could barely breathe - I couldn't imagine he could carry on a conversation with his opponent.

"Got your attention, Mars?"

"Let her go, Teutates."

I heard Teutates' crystal laugh in my head as if I was speaking and felt him move inside us and the shock of pleasure coursed through us, bringing a moan to my lips. "Sophia," he said to me, withdrawing enough so that I could just barely make myself out from his own being. "Mars wants us to stop, wants you to go back with him. Do you want to stay and let me fuck you as a god should fuck a mortal, or go with Mars?" As he spoke, I felt him reach down to the knife on my calf and pull it out of its sheath. He held it quickly at my throat, not for my benefit, but to dissuade Ares from trying anything.

"Stay" was all I could manage.

"She doesn't know how close to death she is," Ares demanded. "She can't answer you in this state."

"Sophia. Ares is worried about you. He thinks you might die if you stay with me. Do you want to stay with me? Or go with him?"

I could only think of him moving within me - I only wanted him to continue, to keep fucking me this way. "Stay," I whispered again, and it took every ounce of remaining energy to say it. Teutates smiled and kissed me. "I think you better say it louder. I don't think Mars heard you. Say it - louder this time. Tell Mars you want to stay with me and let me fuck you properly, as a god should fuck a mortal."

He moved within me once again, and the pleasure coursed through me, making me moan louder. "I want...to stay...with you and let you...fuck me properly" I groaned out as he stroked inside - and I felt both our pleasure, both our bodies as one. "And, the rest - as a god should fuck a mortal" he continued, stopping his motions, eliciting a gasp of disappointment from me.

"As a god should...fuck...a...mortal" I cried, tears flowing down my cheeks as he resumed his motion. Then he lifted me up, and sat me upright on his cock, and infused me with some strength. I was able to take over the motions from him, gasping with each stroke. I felt my own knife at my back as I fucked him, but didn't fear it. I knew Teutates would not kill me unless Ares made a move, and I believed that Ares would not try anything. Knowing  him, he was probably getting off watching me fucking his enemy.

There we were, the three of us. I was bleeding, the blood from my wounds trickling down my body, staining my hip and thigh. I could care less - I was fucking a god and myself at the same time, feeling both our sensations and was almost overcome by the force of his lust - a god's lust.  I could not get enough of this. The feelings, the knowledge of how it felt to have a cock deep inside another's body, to feel it stroked by hot wet flesh, completely enclosed, the pressure intense and constant, bringing me to orgasm. I barely noticed my own body's sensations they were so familiar, and focused instead on Teutates, his cock, his balls, the muscles in his groin and perineal area. Here lay what I longed to know, to feel - a man's orgasm, his ejaculation. As we neared our mutual orgasms, he lay me back down, so that Ares could watch me while I came, and so I could see him watch me.

I didn't care then, if Ares were there or not, or that the knife was pressed against my neck, a mere hair's breadth away from ending my life. There was only Teutates/myself in the world.  I felt the sudden tightness in my balls, the sweetness in my whole perineal area, the darts of pleasure down my thighs, and the intense sensation on the head as my whole cock seemed to expand in preparation for ejaculation, then the spasms of pleasure coursed though me as my semen was propelled up and out of my body into mine. It was blinding the pleasure was so great, and I screamed and wept at the same time, all the air leaving my lungs. It was too much.  I blacked out.

When I came to, I was alone in my body, and the pain of my side wound returned. I felt weak, not only from the experience of Teutates'/my orgasm, but from my loss of blood. My hearing was dull and my eyesight dim. I felt on the verge of unconsciousness. Ares knelt down beside me, and I felt his fingers probe my wound, then watched in amazement as he licked my blood off his fingers. He kissed me then and lay his hand on my side and I felt his warmth infuse me and the pain recede. I still could not move and my mind seemed in a fog.  I felt the darkness enclose me and when I saw light once more, I was on Ares' bed back in Thessaly.

A healer woman cared for me, washing my body, tending my cuts, applying dressings and poultices to my abrasions and scrapes. Ares had not seen fit to heal all my wounds - perhaps in anger or as punishment for my decision to stay with Teutates. I couldn't blame him. I was unconscious or asleep most of the time during the first few days. When I woke, the healer fed me, and held a pot under me so I could relieve myself and cleaned me off as if I was a child. I was so weak from loss of blood I could barely move and lost consciousness frequently. She fed me leeks, leek soup, lamb broth with leeks and cooked liver with even more leeks in an attempt to strengthen my blood. I was dimly aware of Ares' presence during those first days. I imagine even he worried that I would actually die of my blood loss. After several days of this treatment, I began to improve and my mind seemed to clear of the fog that had gripped it since the day of the battle. Finally, on the tenth day of my recovery, I sat up and moved the spoon to my mouth on my own. The healer smiled at me and told me I didn't need her anymore, but when she went to leave me, I wept in fear of being alone and still so unable to care for myself.

"Don't fret. Thuclides is an old friend. He is a good healer in his own right and will help you if you need anything. Keep eating as you have, and in a month, you should be back to your old self."  I lay back and slept the whole day and night through.

-----

When I woke, Ares was leaning over me, his hands on either side of my waist. He smiled as I opened my eyes. "Back in the land of the living, I hear!" he laughed. I said nothing and turned my face away, closing my eyes. I didn't know how I felt about everything that happened on that day on the battlefield, and the sight of Ares' face, his smile, the mocking sound of his laugh hurt me rather than pleased me.

"Sophia!" he whispered, leaning over to nuzzle my neck. "I'm glad you're alive." I felt the anger, the hurt seep out of me at the feel of his lips on my skin. Of course, he couldn't let me stay like that for too long - happy to feel some emotion from him.

"Really, Sophia!" he said, sitting up and shaking his head. "Was a god-fuck worth your life? You nearly died there, you know. He would have let you, to get at me."

"It was."  I was serious.  "He would have let me die - what a coup, to fuck a god's plaything to death while he watched. You would have done the same." Even I managed a smile at my own words. His arms went around me carefully and he kissed me. I pulled back.

"And don't try to fool me - he wouldn't ‘get at you'. If I meant anything to you, you would have fucked me like that long ago. At least he was willing to make the effort." A flash of darkness passed across his expressive features, but it soon passed, and was replaced by a look of disinterested humor. He sat up and left the bed and brought over my meal tray. Placing it down on my lap, he motioned to the food. "Some leeks for your blood. Braised with lamb, sautéed with greens, boiled, and some leek broth. For a change." I looked in his eyes and smiled with him. I didn't mind more leeks. My appetite had returned.

"I could eat my own sandal boiled with leeks, if that was all Thuclides had prepared."

He laughed and crossed his arms, watching while I ate.

"How goes the battle by the way?" I asked, eagerly spooning the leeks into my mouth. I looked at him. He was watching me eat, but I could tell his mind was somewhere else - the battle, Caesar. I couldn't tell, but it wasn't really with me. He watched my spoon, mesmerized by it, so I moved it up in front of my nose to see if he even noticed. He looked at me, but was looking through me. "Ares?" Then he came back from that place, and I could see his presence as his dark eyes once again focused on me - on my eyes.

"Sorry," he said quietly, "I was thinking of something else." He straightened and adjusted his position on the bed as if he was uncomfortable. "How goes the battle?" He shrugged. "They are outmatched and outnumbered. It won't be long before Casivellanunus is defeated"

"What then? Will Caesar leave troops there?" Ares shook his head. "For a time, yes. But ultimately, we will leave an ally in power so that we can return if the need arises. Call on their resources, their forces to assist us in Gaul."

I nodded. Ares stood up and grabbed his sword off his table and sheathed it in preparation for the day's battle. "This is a decisive day. I can feel it in my bones. Caesar will be triumphant today. I likely won't be back for several days as we celebrate victory. Ask Thuclides for anything you need, and if you get ill, he can send for the healer." I smiled at his thoughtfulness.

"Good luck," I offered, but he only grinned. "Gods don't need luck. Just opportunity." Then he was gone.

I finished my meal of leeks and felt so incredibly lonely.

-------

My appetite sated, and with no company, I fell asleep for the rest of the morning.  When I woke, the only thing I could think of was a hot bath.  I had only been sponged clean since the day of the battle so I called to Thuclides who had one of the slave girls start filling the copper tub. As I walked around the room, my muscles cried out from weakness.  My wounds had all pretty much healed so I took the dressings off and stepped in the tub as it was filled. The hot water felt so good and I ducked under and started lathering my hair. I rinsed off and sank down in the tub until the water was up to my chin. The heat pervaded my body and relieved my muscles.

Steam rose off the surface of the water and make me think of the mists in the forests in Britain. I thought of Teutates on that first day I met him in the woods - such an intriguing contrast with Ares. Dressed in supple suede, earth tones, from a distance, he was as unimpressive as Ares was impressive.  Teutates' strange helmet of bark and his crown of antlers signified his ties with nature, while Ares' leather and metal symbolized its conquest.  Images of weapons - of battle -  were emblazoned on Ares' vest, captured in his earring, his pendant. Ares was such a symbol of war.  The two would have met this day and I wondered how the battle went and if Ares had been correct to predict victory for Caesar's forces.

"Yes, he was correct," a cold clear voice replied to my thoughts. Teutates! I turned and saw him leaning against the hearth, his long green cloak still wrapped around him, his sword at his side.

"Why are you here! Shouldn't you be with your troops, trying to win?"

"Sometimes you must concede a battle to win a war, Sophia. It is thus with Rome. Britain will one day defeat Rome and all others. The future will be ours, for we are young and green, while Rome is old and festering from its own decadence." I turned back and thought about what he said. Rome seemed invincible to me - Caesar had penetrated so many new lands and conquered most if not all. He seemed touched by the gods - then I laughed at the image I had constructed as I remembered Ares fucking him that night before the massacre of the villagers loyal to Casivellanunus. Caesar felt dangerous to me. Teutates moved to my side and watched as I washed my feet.

"Caesar is insane," he said as he walked around the tub, watching me as I tried to act nonchalant in his presence. "He kills for lust's sake and is filled with demons. He will be the start of Rome's decline."

"Caesar kills for lust's sake?" I laughed at  him - so pompous! "You would have let me die on the battlefield while you fucked me." He came and sat on a chair beside the tub. He took one strand of my hair in his hand and examined it. A smile touched his lips. "Ah, but it was worth the risk."

"Tell me, Teutates, god of the tribe, god of fertility, god of war - isn't that what you hoped would happen? To have me die while you were inside me, fucking me, feeling my own death while you came?" The god's gray eyes glittered in the firelight.

"No" he said quietly, "That is Caesar's dream. He hopes the god will comply and allow him this pleasure with you." I choked at this, and looked at him in disbelief. I shook my head.  "Ares would never comply with such a depraved desire!"

"Are you so sure?" he watched me closely, feeling my doubt grow. "Why wait around to find out? Caesar hates you, in case you hadn't noticed. You! No more than a girl. Hates the way Ares is protective of you, affectionate with you. Well, as much as he is able to show affection." He turned away and looked into the fire. "Caesar hates anyone who receives Ares' attention. Caesar hates Ares most of all, for his beauty, his virility, his sexual prowess, but especially for his power, his godhead." He turned back and watched me as I took this information in. "Be warned - I told you before that Ares' character is weak. Perhaps too weak for this demon's spawn. And his love for you, if that is what you could even call it, is not strong enough."

I looked at him, his words creating such doubt in my mind about Ares and Caesar. Could Ares even consider letting me die while I fucked him so he could please Caesar?

"How do you know this is what Caesar wants?"

"He suggested it to Ares after I fucked you on the battlefield - as an act of retribution. I know Caesar is capable of this - he killed one of my best mortals that day we first met - remember? He slit the young man's throat while he was still raping him so he could feel him die while he ejaculated. Ares watched and said nothing, but I'll bet he was curious. Ares is bored with sex, in spite of how often he goes through the motions."

I shuddered, remembering the image Ares had shown me of Teutates himself, raping a young soldier then slitting his throat.

"I waited before I killed him. Caesar did not wait, Sophia. He wanted to feel this man's death as he climaxed, but his ability to experience another's feelings is nothing compared with a god's capacity."

How could he even accomplish this? I remembered the threesome with Flavius so long ago and knew such a thing was possible. I shivered in spite of the bath's heat. "Oh, gods. What can I do?"

"Leave him, Sophia. Come with me to Britain. Bring your paints." He smiled when I recognized my own words from the day I lay on the wet grass in the midst of the forest. "Why should I trust you any more than Ares? It was you who shot an arrow through me, almost caused my death when you could have easily healed me. Then fucked me while my blood drained out of me." His smile died on his lips and he turned his face away from me. He stroked that full bottom lip in thought.

"A calculated risk. I knew you had the god's protection and thought you were not harmed as severely as you were. I had to leave you injured so Ares would take me seriously - feel the threat to your life. I also didn't think we would take as long, but you were loving it so much, the feeling of my cock inside you, I was distracted. Sometimes even a god's control slips." He looked back at me to see if he had convinced me.

"Teutates," I said, laying my hand on his arm, "I have to say that your timing wasn't the best - this would have been better experienced somewhere other than on the battlefield."  I looked at those cold gray eyes. While his actions were warm, giving, there was a distance there I felt could never be breached. A coldness that matched that of those eyes, as if he really couldn't care what I felt. I thanked him, nonetheless.  "It was the most incredible experience of my life - almost good enough to risk death. But you have to know that I want this from Ares." He nodded his head. "I know that. Still, you may not get it - he hasn't yet complied. And if he does, how could you ever trust him now that he has become Caesar's conquest?"

I shook my head. He turned my face towards his own and looked at me, his eyes shining in the dim light.

"If my other words haven't convinced you, here is a little truth for you to accept if you are strong enough. Ares has god-fucked Caesar, as you put it. Shared his power with the demon. But not you, Sophia. You who only love Ares in spite of his weakness." I pulled away and felt my insides turn to ice as my eyes filled with tears.

"I don't believe you!" I cried, but felt in my heart that he was probably telling the truth. I covered my face with my hands and wept - such an idiot for holding out hope! Teutates said nothing but I felt his gaze on me, and turned away, embarrassed that he saw me this way - as I really was, nothing more than a weak foolish girl. I bit my cheek hoping that the pain would stop the tears, and tasted my own blood. It worked. I splashed water on my face to wash away my tears, and stood up unceremoniously and left the tub, not caring about my nakedness, and grabbed a sheet to dry myself.

Teutates came to me and crushed me in his embrace. He kissed me deeply, tasting me, my blood. "You think you are weak, Sophia, but you are very strong," he whispered into my neck. He pulled back and looked down into my eyes. "You are a product of war.  The foundation of your character was reformed on that day in the woods. This is what draws Mars to you. He respects your strength, but his nature is to subvert it, to deny any challenge to his own."

"And you? Why are you drawn to me?" He said nothing, but took my hand in his and I was dried and dressed in a plain gown the color of earth. Then the darkness surrounded us and I closed my eyes and wondered where I would materialize with the Celtic god. We stood beside a tree the size of which I could never have imagined in my wildest dreams. Its width must have been three times my own size and it was so tall I swear it almost touched the clouds. Moss grew on the thick craggy bark, and large fungi formed shelves on the side. I moved closer to the tree and looked at it. It was home to myriad small insects and I watched entranced as ants climbed up in columns, carrying bits of leaves with them. At the base, small white flowers bloomed. Teutates took my hand and pulled me with him as he walked around the great tree, stepping over huge roots that branched out from its base.

"This is me," he said, his voice soft, reverent.  He left my side to stand alone beside the tree, looking up at its top, shading his eyes from the brightness of the sky above.  Then he looked back at me. "My tree. It was planted the day I took form in this current incarnation and has existed ever since. Each year, new growth is added and together, the tree and I mark the passage of time on this earth." He lay his hand on the tree, and stroked it lovingly. "If I was to cut this tree down, I could tell you my own history and that of my tribe from each ring. I could name off every child conceived with my blessing, each warrior to die in my service, the years when the winter killed off too many of the deer and our tribe suffered while children died, and the summers when rain was plentiful and the harvest was more than ample and they flourished." He turned to me, but remained by the tree, his hand still touching it.

"There is now a ring forming that I could point to that holds the story of our meeting, Sophia. I feel caught up in your fate and wonder after your welfare and what the future holds for you." He came to stand before me, and his hand reached out to me, his fingers stroked my lips. "There are now 1576 rings on this tree. I feel sad that there might be only one ring that bears your name."

How could I not reach out to him? Put my arms around him and stroke that luxurious hair, kiss those lips?

His arms went around me, and when I next opened my eyes, I was lying naked in Teutates' embrace, on a huge bed, with four posts formed from living trees, their branches made the canopy above us. After my initial surge of desire for him in response to the feel of his naked skin against me, I calmed and waited for him to make some move. Teutates seemed content to just stay with me like this, lying beside each other. After a while, I moved against him and was going to protest, but he stopped my, his fingers against my lips.

I gave in and let my mind wander. How different I felt with Teutates! With Ares, I always felt he was just a super-human man, even when he did godly acts. There was something vulnerable in Ares' selfishness and anger. But in Teutates I felt only cool control, rational self-reflection. He seemed more like a god to me, perhaps because he let me into his own body to feel his power. When we were on the battlefield, for a brief moment as our selves were joined, and again while he showed me his tree and spoke of his reasons for being with me, I sensed his comfort with his own being. He felt such pride - almost arrogance - for his godhead. He relished his responsibilities as a god, and his core seemed to be his strength of intelligence. Despite Ares' physical strength and power of his beauty, it seemed to me that every ounce of emotion other than lust, humor and anger was such an effort for him - a pain.

The god moved away from me so he could look at me, at my face. His propped his head on his hand. "Ares is merely the god of war, Sophia. He has perfected himself for this one purpose, concentrating most of his energy and power to that end. Emotions that do not serve this purpose are a strain on his carefully constructed being. He feels them as a drain and a threat to the solidity of that being." He reached out and ran a finger over my lips. "You, Iphicles - and the others he has favored over time have all challenged this construction. Yet, without this challenge, his being becomes only death and destruction."

He pulled me on top of him and I felt an immediate rush of desire through me. I lay on top of him and looked down into that beauty, the pale skin, the light eyes, the silky hair all long and flowing underneath him.

"You remind him of life, Sophia. When you lay on the grass in my forest, and the green filled you, it touched him. He can not feel these things without you, without Iphicles. Gods cannot feel these things  without some connection to a mortal. There is something in him that still wants these ordinary feelings, to keep them part of his existence. Yet, he struggles against the connection he must forge with you to do so. He is so weak."

"Why aren't you? You are also a god of war."

He smiled and looked past me. I wondered where he was - off on the battlefield, watching his mortals die, watching Caesar's army slaughtering them. "No, I am not there, Sophia. I know what happens now in the course of war - in defeat. Submission, debasement. Death.  It is the forever the same." He leaned up and kissed me. "No, I am not there," he said as he lay his head back and closed his eyes. "I have just watched the birth of another child to Cliodhea. A boy, strong, a lusty cry." He smiled. "He will be a fighter, this one! He will join my army and serve me well." Teutates' eyes opened and looked into mine, and I saw his pride. "You see, as I have told you, I am also the god of fertility. I ensure my mortals are fertile and bring forth new life to keep their tribe strong and growing. It gives me a different perspective on war and battle."

"It seems odd - god of war and fertility. Aren't the two opposites, one death and one life?"

"They belong together, each gains its meaning in relation to the other. War makes life more valuable, fertility more necessary. The tribe's fecundity makes war inevitable."

I rolled off his body and lay on my back. Teutates was so different from Ares, and I felt different with him. Perhaps it was his other godheads that made him so.  He could be violent and ruthless - Ares had shown me Teutates' ability to be depraved and murderous.  He did not feel any hesitance to shoot me with his arrow and fuck me while I almost bled to death so he could torment his enemy. Yet, now, here we were and I felt such comfort in his embrace, such a feeling of concern for me - a mere mortal. I didn't know who to trust, or if  a mortal could ever trust a god.

"Stay with me, Sophia. I have nothing more to gain from our relationship except pleasure. You are in danger with Ares.  As long as Caesar lives, he is a threat to you." I didn't want to believe him.

"Give me time. I need to see this in him on my own, or I won't believe it. If I see it, I will come with you willingly."

He moved on top of me and I felt a surge of desire in my body at his touch, at the feel of his weight on me. I felt his erection hard on my thigh, and his warm lips on my neck. He didn't drain me of my self, but just lay against me so I could feel his body as separate from my own.

"I could keep you with me - against your will," he whispered, his lips touching my nipple,  licking and sucking it to a hard point. I felt his mouth hot on my belly as he moved lower, and offered no resistance as his hands spread my thighs. He lapped at the folds of my wet skin and his tongue found my hard clit and stroked it lazily.

"I'll join you willingly when I know." I writhed in pleasure as he continued to lick me in this way. The he rose up and lay on top of me again, but I pushed him on his back, wanting to explore his body with my own mouth. I kissed his shapely lips, licked their fullness, sucked on the bottom lip, so full, the skin red and smooth. Then down his neck, to his throat and collar bones, his own nipples, pink and already puckered from the movement of my breasts against them as I kissed him. Down that washboard of a stomach to his navel, his hip bones and the curve down to his fur, the scent of his musk making me even more aroused.

Then to that cock - almost as impressive as Ares! Why couldn't I just accept it as it was? Why must I compare everything to Ares?

He pulled me up, almost angrily, and looked me in the eyes. "If you want to compare me to Ares, go ahead. Ares has not done this with you." He kissed me and then I felt that familiar weakness as he opened my being and infused me with his own. Then he pushed me down to his cock once again, only now it was my own, and I felt lips on me, wet and tight around the head, suction pulling on it, the soft warmth of a tongue stroking the head, then a whole mouth moving on its length, feeling the light scrape of teeth against the tender skin, the firmness of the back of a throat as I filled me completely.  My hand went around the shaft, its firmness adding to my pleasure as I moved on it. This was perfection. This was heaven. There was no match for it, this feeling of mouth and cock and tongue.  The salty taste of semen, the slippery wetness of saliva, the friction as I moved down and up on his cock - my cock - all inflamed me. And then the buildup of tension, the tightness, the sweet sensation in the head, the tug of my lips on it, my tongue, spasms, semen spurting in my own mouth, moving as I came inside my own mouth,  swallowing my own cum, shuddering as I sucked myself dry.

As I fell away, I wanted more, I wanted to feel my still-hard cock inside me. I rose up and sat on our cock, and moaned as I felt our cunt/cock moving together, sweetness against sweetness, gripping and pulsing flesh, thrusting against each other, straining thighs, squeezing cunt, hard clit rubbed by our thumb, the force of two orgasms coursing through us both. Him holding the pleasure for as long as possible before letting it fade and allowing us to separate slowly, our beings solidifying into selves once again.

My arms went around his neck and I wept against his cheek. This was too much, there was too much in this experience, it was too much of a joining of selves, too much a communion of bodies. And all I could think was that I wished it was Ares with me now, not Teutates. Ares' cock still hard in me, Ares' shoulders I rest my head against, Ares' arms around my waist, stroking my back tenderly. He knew I felt this way and shook his head.

"Return then, see for yourself. Take the risk if you feel you could not be satisfied with me. When he breaks your heart, call my name."

He pushed me away, firmly but with no anger, only resolution, and left the bed and me behind. His clothes appeared on him and he turned to me once more.

"Remember, Sophia. I was able to make you reject Ares on the battlefield, to make you stay with me and be fucked by me as he stood and watched and the pleasure was so intense, you did not care. If Ares chooses to fuck you properly, and if he complies with Caesar's desires, you will not have the strength to refuse him when he asks you if Caesar can join you, to make a threesome." He sat beside me on the bed and stroked my cheek. "That is what I fear, Sophia. Your life is worth more than to end as a depraved sexual experience for Caesar."

I nodded. What could I say? He was right. And I am such a foolish, foolish girl.

______________________________________________________________________________
Warrior Chronicles Part 4

Disclaimer: Explicit Het, Rape, Violence, Blood.

Why, now, blow wind, swell billow and swim bark!
The storm is up, and all is on the hazard.

Cassius, Act 5 Scene 4, Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
______________________________________________________________________________

Ares returned several days later, waking me in the middle of the night.  He demanded that I leave his bed and return to my own small one in the back of the Halls of War. Caesar was with him. "I hope you don't mind too much, Sophia," Caesar laughed.  He watched me pull a sheet around my nakedness as I sat up in the bed, trying to understand what was being asked of me. I was still half asleep and wasn't sure I knew what to do.

"You mean, you want me to sleep somewhere else?" I turned to Ares, an angry look on my face as I realized I was being supplanted by the Roman  leader. "You can't allow yourself to be too upset, Sophia," Ares said with a cold smile on his face.  "Caesar does pull rank on a lowly warrior-trainee, especially now that he's the conqueror of Britain. Of  course," he said, sitting down beside me on the bed and stroking my hair, "maybe you should stay and join us."

I rose up quickly and made to leave, as he knew I would. "Yes - Ares,  you are brilliant!" Caesar said, all too quickly. "Sophia could join us.  A little femininity between two big men. Sounds delightful." The two  exchanged glances and turned to me. I shook my head and crept off the bed, cursing my decision to stay.

"I'm not well enough for the two of you yet," I said, trying to sound light, but feeling dread seep through me.

"Well, just one of us then," Caesar replied. He blocked my exit from the end of the bed. "Ares. Why don't I watch the two of you? You do like an audience. And I do like to watch. Besides," he smiled at me so sweetly as he said the next words, "you could show Sophia that new technique you taught me." Caesar reached out and touched Ares hand. "It would please me tremendously." Ares looked at Caesar's hand on his and then up to the
Roman's face. He turned to me and I looked away quickly, not wanting him to see the fear in my features, although I was certain he could feel it in me. He hesitated. Considered.

"No," he said finally.  I watched as Caesar's face fell for just an instant and then the smiling facade reappeared. Ares turned back to Caesar. "I think Sophia still needs her rest. She fought bravely, was seriously wounded and is still recovering." Ares touched Caesar's cheek. "Some other time."

He turned to me. "et some rest. I'll...talk to you later."

-----

Much later. He came into my room before dawn. The room was pitch-black and I was in a deep sleep when I felt a hand on my chest, fingers tracing across my collarbones. I woke in fear and gasped.

"Don't kill me!" I barely managed to whisper.

"Sophia!"

Two strong hands gripped my shoulders and pulled me up. "No! Don't kill me!" I cried, struggling out of his grip and shielding my face with my arms. I could see Caesar's angry face in front of mine, feel his hands around my throat. Ares raised the light in the room and shook me fully awake.

"Sophia! It's only me."

"Oh, gods." I cried, resting my forehead against his chest, "I thought you were Caesar come to kill me." Ares pulled me to him and I buried my face in his neck, in his curls.

"Why would Caesar want to kill you? You are nothing, a trifle, no one." As he said this, his actions betrayed his words, and he held me so tightly and so near it was as if he couldn't get close enough to me. We sat like this for a few moments and I felt his warmth pervade my being. Then he whispered in my ear, his hot breath exciting me before a word even left his lips.

"How are you? Are you strong enough for me?"

"I don't know... I am still very weak at times..." I replied, hoping that Teutates had once again blocked Ares from my memories of his visit.

"That's fine. I'll do everything."

He pulled me down onto his lap and began kissing me: my lips, my eyes, my chin, my neck; licking behind my ear, while his hands stroked my breasts and pulled my nipples to points. I responded to his attentions, but in the back of my mind there was just the slightest kernel of doubt about him -  his motives.

"What?" he asked, pulling back.  He looked at me as if he sensed that doubt.  I pulled him down to me and kissed him, squelching that doubt and trying to make him forget it. He soon did, and his arms went around me and crushed me against him, his tongue exploring my mouth hungrily. Then my poor heart almost stopped as I felt him opening me, preparing me  for him. My strength left me, drained out of me, every last drop of self
being joined by his own being.

As he opened me to himself, he opened himself to me, and there behind the almost overwhelming lust and desire, I felt his battle to stay alive in the face of the burden of his existence. My heart broke for him then before we had even really felt each other's bodies as our own. I knew why he had denied this of me. It was too much for him.  Too much for him to open himself this way to another - especially to me - his little Sophia who saw him as strong and confident and powerful and so capable of slaying the dragons and demons in my nightmare memories. Ares was afraid of losing our love when we realized how empty he was inside. He was not afraid of receiving it.  That is why he kept us around, Iphicles and I, so he could feel our love for him, our adulation, wafting off us like expensive perfume. He would be able to receive our love when he felt the need but not  having to give it himself.

I had nothing to give Ares but love, but I demanded he love me back. Iphicles didn't demand Ares' love, but his very being did, if his own words did not. Caesar did not love Ares. Instead, Caesar offered him forbidden delights, sacrileges, follies, respite from his unending emptiness, and asked for nothing in return except partnership in their games. Caesar did not give Ares love or any meaningful emotion - just and end to boredom. Boredom is such an unbearable a state of being for a god with nothing to fill himself up but the knowledge of his own emptiness, his vacuity. I knew then that Ares had god-fucked Caesar and that it had been so much easier for him to do because Caesar did not care if Ares was empty inside. He accepted Ares as he was - an empty vessel for him to fill with his own puerile desires. Ares did not care if Caesar saw him as he was, for Ares did not love Caesar. He was intrigued by him, he wanted his acceptance for he saw Caesar as having such amazing control, such cold rationality and a penetrating  intelligence Ares knew he lacked.

I also knew he had not yet god-fucked Iphicles, for he loved Iphicles the most and feared losing his love when Iphicles realized how incomplete Ares was. I knew in my heart that when they did finally consummate their relationship in this way that Caesar and I would both be forgotten. I could have told Ares to run to Iphicles, to god-fuck him now, and not to wait in fear.  I knew this would make the King love him even more, this incompleteness, but I didn't want to acknowledge this myself.  It hurt too much.

As much as it hurt, I learned something very important in those first revealing moments as our selves merged for the first time. For all his power, for all his prowess as a warrior and commander of armies, there was nothing much else to Ares. There was nothing inside of him that made him unique. He had a great beauty and sensuality, and knew everything there was to know about war and battle and death. He was expert in sex and destruction.  I -  small insignificant Sophia - whose life would be but a brief flicker of light in Ares' unending existence, had more inside me than he did. I had a lust for life, a capacity to recognize and respond to beauty expressed in my art, strength built out of adversity and a keen mind from having to fight every minute of my day, every day of my life since that day to keep those memories asleep and to get what I needed, so I could stay alive.

All these thoughts passed through my mind as I felt his being enter me and join my own. Did he sense all my thoughts as well? I lost heart for this joining then and tried to pull away from him.  It was too painful to feel these feelings, to feel his emptiness, his incredible loneliness. I felt repulsed by the void in him, but he pulled me back and his hands gripped my arms so hard they made me cry out in pain.

"This is what you want isn't it?" he said, shaking me roughly, "My black heart?" I tried to look away because I could barely stand to see his face filled with such unvarnished doubt, his dark eyes shining. He forced me to look at him, holding my chin in place so I could not avoid his eyes.

"Well, then, take it," he rasped, shaking me, "every bit of it or take nothing." He held me there and waited. I looked at him, and knew that I still wanted him -  wanted all of him, every bit. I leaned forward to kiss him and he met me half-way and our kiss was filled with such desperation on both our parts. As was the sex - desperation for the pleasure of the other's body - its mystery defeated by knowledge.

Ares' body felt better than I could have imagined, for he worked so hard to maintain its beauty as if to conquer the blackness inside.  Being inside his body, feeling its flawlessness, his strength, the taut smooth skin over perfectly formed muscles and strong bones, the godly proportioned cock! And his lust - incomparable. His response to sexual stimuli immediate, his capacity for pleasure unending. His orgasm - its power such a zealous motivator, making him insatiable, needing always more to fill the void. Sex and beauty and war: sensuality, desire and destruction. This was Ares.

-----

I lay shattered but completely fulfilled on the bed. Ares was sprawled on his stomach beside me, his head turned the other way and my eyes roved down his body. The luxurious black curls, the golden skin now damp with sweat from our exertions. The broad shoulder and bulging biceps, the sculpted back sloping gently to the small of his back, rising sharply to the curve of his firm hard buttock, the long sinewed thigh, soft skin behind the knee, calf sloping to a strong ankle and foot. Gods! My hands almost ached to get out my charcoals and catch that perfection on paper as my senses had experienced it short moments ago.

"Ares, I'm moving to Athens." I said, quite out of the blue, surprising myself and him.

He turned to face me, a look of confusion evident in his brows. "What?!"

"I need to do my art. I need a studio. And I need to continue with my studies." He turned to lay on his side, his head propped up on the bended arm allowing me to review his frontal gifts in all their glory as I had his profile.

"One god-fuck and you can hardly wait to get out my door?" I reached out and traced the curve of his lip. "Your beauty has made me crave my paints."

"What about your training?"

"Can't you just zip me here when you have time? With Caesar around so much, its pretty crowded, and I find my room at the back is just not good enough for a studio."

"So its Caesar is it? You don't like him, our Roman leader. Why?"

"I was told by a ... reliable source that he was a danger to me." He sniffed and lay on his back, running his hands lazily over his chest, enjoying his own perfection.

"By whom? Your god of defeat?"

I said nothing. Ares was so honest when angered.

"Sophia, I've always been honest with you. Well ... almost always." I looked at him and saw his smile. "So you want to move to Athens. I think I might have to say no. I might find it too...inconvenient. When I want you, I want you now, not at your leave."

"I don't see that it would be too much of a problem. You don't want me all that often - you have enough other diversions to keep you busy. For the frequency with which you require my presence, I could live in Athens and get quite a lot of work done." He shook his head as if unconvinced. He turned his face to me.

"What if you're in the market, talking to the shopkeeper you have grown to know, and you just - disappear? What would you tell him the next time you went to buy your fruit?"

I smiled and noted the humor in his eyes. "I'd tell him the truth - that I had a god's favor and never knew when I'd be whisked away. He'd be so impressed, he'd give me only the best fruit, saving it for me, hoping to gain some of your favor as well. So please, whisk me away when I am there!" He laughed.

"What if," he began, obviously enjoying this game, imagining me in Athens going about my business, being zapped away to his side. "You are in an art class, drawing a nude male, just getting to the interesting part, doing a very good job, your instructor praising your skill with that particular part of the male anatomy, and ... flash! You disappear."

I crawled on top of him and kissed him, smiling all the while, feeling his smile beneath my lips.  "Then, I suppose my drawing would have to wait for another day."

"You went to so much trouble to get a place in my temple, Sophia. Why leave me now?"

"I need to paint. Ever since I felt the wetness of the air in Britain, saw its green, I have felt a need to paint again. I still need to study. I am very talented - I am not modest about my skill. But I need to learn more. Life is so short." I didn't want to add that feeling Ares' emptiness made me want to fill myself up with life, to make every moment valuable, filled with beauty and love and laughter. I would not find that here. But he knew it anyway, and rolled off the bed, dressing in his leathers and vanishing without a word.

-----

Later, I wandered around the room, wondering what to do, feeling certain that Ares thought I rejected him because of my desire to move to Athens. It was mid-afternoon and I went to the throne room to see if Ares had returned, but found instead Caesar seated on Ares' huge throne.

"I didn't realized you had already reached godhead, Julius" I said, walking along the perimeter of the room to keep out of his way. Just being close to him gave me shivers, and I remembered what Teutates had said about his threat to me. He smiled broadly when he saw me, and held out his hand.

"Sophia! Just the person I wanted to see. Come, sit with me on Ares' throne. Isn't it thrilling to feel a god inside you? You and I have so much in common. Come and talk with me."

 I pulled up a chair and sat off to the side of him.

"Now don't be shy, my dear. Ares would want us to be close. Lovers, in fact. Well, Ares would like to see all of us in one big bed, you and I, Iphicles, and of course, the god himself to oversee the festivities. Just imagine - you, small girl that you are, with a god, an emperor, and a king. What a fantasy come true!"

He smiled such an evil smile it looked like a demonÆs smile to me. A crocodile. That is what I saw in his face - teeth exposed, jaws poised to strike. Since I wouldn't come to him, he came to me and placed his hands on my shoulders, rubbing them, giving me a massage. I didn't know how to react - to push him away or see what he would do, how far he would go.

"You seem all tense, Sophia. I would have thought that your daily morning god-fuck would have softened you up a bit." His hands slipped down under my tunic and grasped my breasts, his expert fingers finding my nipples and pinching hard. I pushed his hands away, but held my tongue. I merely got up and excused myself, not wanting to antagonize him. He followed me to my room and I closed the door against him, but he caught it before I was able to lock it and pushed in. He leaned against the door and locked it himself.

"I don't feel like this, Julius."

"I do."

"Ares won't like it" I protested, moving to the window, wondering if I could fit through it and if I could climb up there fast enough to escape.

"Ares has given me permission" he laughed, taking my knife from off the table and pointing it at me.

"I don't believe you." I grabbed my sword and held it out, its point towards him. He smiled.

"I could have you killed for that!" He kept walking to me, and I knew that I would have to either submit or strike him down. I knew if I struck him, I would be dead. If I submitted? Only humiliated. I had been humiliated before - by Ares himself. I put my sword down and sat on the bed, waiting for him to do what he would.

"That's better, Sophia. Don't want to have you executed for threatening  the person of the Emperor." He came beside me and took my hand. "Ares is in Corinth right now fucking the King. I want to fuck you in his bed."

He led me there.

How can I explain what happened next? Had Ares told him of my past? Or had he tapped into Ares' own knowledge of my past, grabbing on to the one act I had only now come to accept as possible? How ever he came by this knowledge, he used it against me. He pushed me down on the bed and cut off my clothes with the knife he still held in his hand. The blade nicked my skin and a trickle of blood ran down my breast. I closed my eyes as he licked it off me. It did not arouse me as it had when Ares or Teutates had done the very same act, but it certainly seemed to inflame him.  He attacked my nipples and then my cunt with his mouth, but it was almost perfunctory, not done out of desire but expectation.

He did not care one bit for my own response.  What he did to my body he did  for appearanceÆ sake, as if he needed to confirm that he was doing this out of lust and not hate. I knew better. He grabbed my legs and hauled them apart, shoving his cock into me, ramming into me, holding one leg up by his ear. I lay limp, unresponsive, and turned my face away, hoping he would get it over with so I could leave and never come back. Then he withdrew and flipped me over on my stomach and tried to ram it into my ass, but I was dry and unprepared and it hurt him as much as me. Now I refused to submit, and I fought him and tried to get away, but he grabbed the knife once again and held it to my back.

"Sophia," he hissed, "submit, as Ares has told you. I could have you killed for raising your sword to me. I could kill you myself right now and no one would care - you are nothing, no one."

He was able to enter me, but with no preparation for my own body -  no lubrication for myself and no probing fingers to open me, his penetration caused me considerable pain. He seemed to enjoy my pain and my tears. And my blood. He rammed inside me mercilessly, moving the knife from my back to my cheek then to the side of my neck. I felt that he was getting very close to killing me, and thought that if I survived this, I was going to Teutates, I would call out his name as he had said, and would live in the green wet place where he resided and paint the trees. For I knew if I could not have Ares, and Caesar was doing his best to convince me I couldn't, I would never be satisfied with any other lover than a god.

"Give me the knife."

It was Ares. I turned my head to the sound of his voice and felt relief flood though me. Ares would stop this madness now. Caesar continued to batter me, refusing to turn the knife over. "I'M teaching her a lesson, Ares. She is insolent, drew her sword on me. I could by rights, kill her now."

"I know. Give me the knife, Julius."

"Fucking bitch" Caesar said, as he turned the weapon over to Ares. Ares took it and placed it on the table and stood silently, watching Caesar as he rammed into me, saying nothing, doing nothing. I turned my face away and sobbed into the sheets, my heart broken that Ares was doing nothing to stop this. Finally, perhaps because he was turned on by Ares' presence, Ares watching him rape me, Caesar came, and as he did, he pulled out of me and shot his semen all over my buttocks and back. "Anointed by the emperor. Lucky Sophia." He grunted, ramming his cock in me one last time for emphasis.

Then he stepped away and left me crumpled on the bed. I fell on my side and curled up, watching them in amazement. They talked as if nothing unusual had happened. They walked to the hearth and Ares handed Caesar his tunic and undergarment, which he used to wipe the blood off his cock. "It was like fucking a virgin," he commented. "Well worth the affront to my dignity." Ares nodded, and made some grunting noise. It sounded like affirmation, whatever it was.

"Come, Julius. Lets go to my throne room and have some food and drink.  We can discuss Gaul...or not."

"You know, I'm really very angry at her - I've a mind to have her properly punished, Ares. Pulling a sword on me like that. I certainly can't be safe with her around here. She'll have to go."

"She'll have to go," Ares mirrored back. Ares pushed Caesar out the door and left me alone.
**********
I lay face down on the bed, weeping in the sheets, my heart broken that Ares had been unwilling to intervene and stop Caesar's rape of me. He was so intent on placating Caesar - of having Caesar's favor -  my own pain and needs were insignificant. If Ares would not protect me, not stop Caesar from harming me, how could I ever trust him? It was at that moment that I realized that fucking Ares was not worth my life.

Then I felt a soft hand on my naked flesh, stroking down my back to my buttocks, and between my thighs. I turned, hoping to find Ares there, returned to console me, but it was Teutates' hand that caressed me, that healed me, taking my pain away with his touch.

"Why are you here?" I demanded, my anger at Ares now directed at Teutates, who had also caused me pain. "I didn't call you," I insisted as he lay down beside me and his arms went around me. "I should have kept  you with me, but I knew that if I did, you would never believe me." He pulled me on top of him and kissed me. "What more do you need to convince you of the danger you are in with these two? Come with me!" he whispered, touching my lips with his fingers while one hand stroked my back. His gray eyes had always seemed so cold to me, but now, they were filled with concern and tenderness - more than I had seen in Ares' own eyes. Why wasn't that enough?

"I'm leaving anyway," I began, resting my head on his chest, "I'M moving to Athens to continue my studies."

"And fill yourself full of life." He knew my thoughts, my experience with Ares and the response I felt to our joining. "Caesar's reach is long, Sophia. It extends all the way to Britain. What makes you think you are safe in Athens?"

Ares entered the room and came to an abrupt halt when he saw me lying naked on Teutates. He stood still and looked at us, saying nothing.

"Ares, I..." I began, wanting to explain, needing him to know that I had not asked Teutates to come. I don't know why I cared - or thought he cared - but there was some part of me, some small corner of my heart that held out hope for Ares, that some day, he might find it in himself to love me. Teutates rubbed his temple as if in pain, and I rolled off him and sat up.

"I came to see how you were, to tend your wounds..." Ares said quietly. "But I see that you have made your choice." He turned to go, and the silly girl that I am, I ran to him and put my arms around him from behind.

"Wait," I whispered, not wanting it to end this way. He kept moving but I shook him, "Wait!" I cried, moving around to face him, my arms going around his neck. "I didn't make a choice, and I didn't ask him to come here - he came on his own." Ares did not move or say anything. His face was hard and cold. "You were nowhere in sight and I was in pain." What a sight we must have made for Teutates - me, small, naked and fair, no more than a girl hanging on the neck of the god of war, dressed in black leather studded with metal.

"Get away from me," he said through clenched teeth. He ripped my arms from around his neck and I fell to the floor at this feet."And YOU!" Ares shouted as he almost flew to the bed where Teutates sat watching us. "Get out of my temple. How dare you sully the sanctity of my refuge?" The two gods of war stared at each other, their fury radiating off them.  Teutates spoke to me but his eyes never left Ares' face.

"Sophia," He said, his voice low, "Remember my warning. Athens is not safe. You would be safe with me in Britain."  He turned to face me. "Call me - I will come to you." Then he was gone. I was alone with Ares and felt such anxiety inside, wondering what he would do, what he would say to me. He stood with his back to me, his fists clenched, and I could almost feel the anger flowing off him in waves.

"He has been here before with you. How could you even consider meeting your lover here, in my temple?"

"He came to me. I never once called for him." Then he almost hurled himself at me, his dark eyes flashing and grabbed me, forcing me up against the wall, almost choking me in his anger. "But you fucked him willingly," he said, reading my mind, my memories of my time with Teutates somehow available to him. I watched him take them in, consider the.  He closed his eyes closed and bowed his head. Then he let me fall from his punishing grip. I could hear him struggle to control his breathing, his anger almost overcoming him. "Get out of my temple."

"Ares! I love only you!" I cried, my lips on his leather boot. "I only wanted you, even when I was with him. You have to know that." I put my arms around his legs, then came to my knees and my arms went around his thighs; my face pressed into his groin, my lips on his erection which strained against the leather of his pants.  "If you've read my thoughts, then you know I turned him down each time we have been together. Even though he has been more open with me, even though he has given himself to me while you denied me." I felt my heart breaking at the thought that he would throw me out, cast me aside. I would rather that he killed me now, in his anger, than ignore me, cease to even think of me. My hands went to untie his pants, and I pulled them down slowly, over his hips, down his thighs, exposing his flesh. I buried my face in him, crying against him, my mouth pressing against him.

He let me continue. I took him in my mouth, one hand went around his thick shaft, stroking him as my mouth caressed the head. His hands went to my hair and he began to move me on his cock and thrust deep in my mouth. He was so aroused by his anger that he reached his orgasm very quickly. He gasped and I felt him harden and then shudder as his hot semen shot down my willing throat.  Then he stood over me, his pulsing cock still hard in my mouth, his fingers still tangled in my hair. I waited for him to act -- to do what he would.

Lifting me up as if I had no substance to me, he carried me to the bed and forced me down on my knees.  His knee spread my thighs and I felt him rubbing some oil on my slit.  That great cock rammed inside me and he began to pump, rough, unforgiving, with no attention to my own pleasure. Then he shouted as he came once again and leaned over me, gasping as he recovered. He pushed me down on the bed and stood up. I lay on my side and watched him as he dressed in a thought and went to stand by the hearth, his back to me. I still felt aroused from sucking him, from feeling his body shake from his orgasms, from hearing his sounds of pleasure.

"I have a studio for you in Athens if you still want it. I chose it for you today - that's where I was." My heart skipped a beat at this, and I turned gingerly, still sore from his size.

"Before he raped me, Caesar told me you were in Corinth fucking the King."

"I was. I am able to get more than one thing done in an afternoon."

"Oh, I see!" I laughed, my heart breaking once again at his confession, ‘you can fuck Iphicles any time you want and expect me to say nothing, but if I fuck Teutates I am cast out?"

"Yes."

"Why?" I demanded, shaking my head. My body still ached for his touch, and I wanted his mouth on me, licking me, bringing me relief as I had given him. He turned to me and came to the side of the bed. He sat down and pushed me onto my back. "Because I am the god, Sophia. That is a fact you seem unable to comprehend, no matter how many times I tell you." Leaning down, he kissed my belly and I felt such a shock of desire through me at the thought he might comply with my wishes. Then his hands pushed my thighs apart, and he moved down and buried his mouth in my flesh and I knew nothing except his expert tongue on me, stroking me, his mouth sucking me, bringing relief to my body, if not my heart.

-----

The studio was perfect - large, bright and airy, with more than enough room for living and working. A door led out to a covered patio overlooking the busy Athens street below. A large cupboard and table held every manner of art supply I could imagine, even ones I had never used. It was as if Ares had told the shop keeper to give him one of everything he had in the store. There was ample provision in the small kitchen and a fine large bed with posts and a canopy of fine gauze to keep the insects out at night.

Ares leaned against the wall beside the hearth, one leg bent, his hands folded behind his back.  He watched me as I walked around the room, examining everything carefully, murmuring my appreciation. I looked at him, leaning against the wall and felt my heart ache for this show of care for me -  this effort on his part that spoke more to me than any words could have. I went to him and put my arms around his waist. "Thank you," I whispered, my voice choking with emotion, tears welling up in my eyes.

"Now don't snivel," he said, his arms going around me. "I hate sniveling." I pushed away from him and went to the patio and stood trying to stop my tears and get hold of myself. He followed me and stood behind me, his arms around my shoulders. "There is a place for you in Melenos' art class, and a position as his apprentice."

"Melenos?" I asked, incredulous. "He is one of the greatest painters in Athens! How did you..." I was going to ask how he got me into Melenos' art class, but then I realized what a foolish question it was. He was the god of war. He got what he wanted. "I would have preferred to have been accepted on the basis of my talent."

"I told him how talented you are. He accepted my word." I turned in his embrace and looked up at him. "But you have never even seen my work!" He laughed at this. "Of course I have." He smiled. "I am a god, Sophia. I can be anywhere I want, at any time. I have seen your work. I told him I had and he took my word, as an intelligent mortal should. Besides," he said, easing out of my arms, "you'll have ample time to prove yourself when you help him in his commissions as a fresco painter."

This must have become too much for him - all my gratitude, my emotions, perhaps even his own response - for he left me and seemed to shut himself off. "I have to go now, but I will whisk you away soon for your ...training." Then he was gone before I could say another word or kiss him as I wanted to.

-----

The first two weeks of my art class, I was so busy I hardly noticed Ares' absence and thought that he was likely busy with Caesar's forces pacifying Gaul. During the day, I attended Melenos' art class and studied the human form, starting out with basic drawing, quick studies of a male model followed by a longer more detailed study. I had already done all this in my other art classes but relished the chance to do it all over again, this time with a real artist. Each day we learned the principles of color, techniques of shading and perspective, and mixing of pigments for our paintings. Melenos was an excellent teacher as well as a superb technician. I knew I would learn a great deal from him. He never treated me any differently than the other students, and I was thankful. I wanted to do well on my own merits, not because I was Ares' trifle.

That weekend I went with Melenos to our first commission - a fresco in the home of a wealthy merchant featuring Apollo lounging on a large bed surrounded by musical instruments. Melenos surveyed the site of the fresco and talked with the merchant about the colors and composition of the piece while I listened and learned. I mixed paints for him all weekend while he did sketches in his studio in an attempt to determine the best composition.

At night I worked on my own piece - a tall canvas depicting Teutates' tree, the thick bark cracked with age and green with moss, shelves of fungi growing up the side, white flowers at the roots. It was a crazy painting - no one would consider it real art - it had no human figure in it, nor did it depicted any god, but I knew that it was a god I was painting - the god of the tribe. I was tempted to paint him in the picture, to legitimate it -  Teutates, dressed in his bark helmet and antlers.  The tree would be enough of a test of my memory. I had never seen such a tree before and knew I would likely not again. I wanted to capture my memories of it before they grew dim.

I was almost obsessed with the painting of this tree, and had to purchase extra lamps and candles to generate enough light to continue after the sun set. I was so busy with Melenos and worked hard to complete the assignments, doing well enough to earn my place at his side, I scarcely noticed how much time had passed since I last saw Ares. The art seemed to satisfy me, filling up some hole inside me. At the end of the school week, I was working away late in the night, candles nearly burnt down to their wick ends, wax flowing over their holders onto the table tops and floor. I felt my legs shake from fatigue and my head swim from weakness and realized I had eaten nothing since breakfast.

I fell on the small divan against the wall and felt too weak to even go to the kitchen to get some food. Of course it was at this moment that Ares chose to whisk me away and I found myself in his throne room at the Halls of War, my paintbrush held firmly in my hand, the other reaching out to the wall for support as my legs shook, unable to bear my weight. I fell to my knees, my hearing dulled and my vision narrowed to a dark tunnel as I fainted.

My next memory was of Ares holding me, stanching  a cut on my forehead with a cloth. He showed me the blood and shook his head before laying his hand on me, healing the cut and taking the pain away. "Sophia! What a foolish girl you are. You look like ... like...a mad woman." I looked down at myself and had to agree with him. I was dressed in a large shapeless sack apron with nothing on underneath. The apron had great pockets in it, one filled with a half-dozen brushes, their bristles still loaded with pigment, another filled with cloths, while still another held my charcoals and other paraphernalia. Paint stained my shift and my hands and arms. I had not washed my hair for a week and it was falling out of a long braid, strands flying in every direction. Paint stained it as well. I smiled at him and closed my eyes, so weak from hunger I felt delirious. "I am mad." Then I cackled a mad woman's cackle, unable to restrain myself at my own image.

"It's too soon for you to be on your own. You haven't recovered and you're not caring for yourself."

"Yes mother," I replied, giggling at the sound of his nagging voice. I opened my eyes just a crack and saw his smile. "Feed me." I demanded. He carried me to the table and propped me in a chair. A meal of leeks and lamb appeared before me and I barely had enough strength to lift the spoon to my mouth, but managed and soon felt better with my stomach full. I drank a cup of wine down and closed my eyes. "Oh, gods. I have to sleep." I could barely keep my eyes open. I felt him carry me to his bed and then my shift was gone and I was naked. He lay me down, throwing a cover over me as I snuggled into the bed's softness. "Well, you're useless. I guess I'll just have to go to Corinth." I didn't reply so he repeated it, "I said, I will have to go to Corinth."

"Say hi to the King for me." I heard him laugh as the light dimmed and I was alone. I fell asleep in an instant.

I woke to his kiss, soft on my cheek and saw that the sun was fully up. He pulled back from me, and sniffed loudly in disgust. "You smell of ... linseed and leeks." I pulled the covers over my head and laughed. "You smell of the King." I pulled the covers down for a moment and saw that he was smirking at me, his arms crossed, displaying his wonderful arms. "It doesn't bother you that I spent the night fucking him instead of you?" I pulled the covers fully down. "No," I lied, "he is the most beautiful mortal man I have ever seen. I can't blame you. If I was a goddess, I'd be pestering him as well." He made some snorting noise and looked at me through narrow eyes.

"Come and have a bath," he said as he motioned to the copper tub by the hearth. I stood up and went to the tub, feeling shy to have his eyes on me. "You've lost weight," he noted, pointing to my body accusingly. "How can you tell?" I looked down at myself, but didn't notice anything. "Your hip bones are sticking out. You don't look...ripe, anymore. Your breasts are smaller as well." I stepped in the tub and sighed at the heat. I undid my braid and ducked under the water before washing my hair.

"Really, Sophia. Do I have to send Thuclides to care for you? You must not be eating well enough or getting enough sleep. I won't tolerate it. I liked you the way you were, more flesh on you, softer, rounder." I said nothing and paid attention to my bath, scrubbing myself clean. "I'm fine. I've just been very busy, working for Melenos, painting, doing my assignments. I'm happy the way things are. I'll make sure I eat more."

I stepped out of the tub and took a sheet from a small table and started to dry myself off, but he came to me and took the sheet out of my hands and put his arms around me. He kissed me and I responded immediately, my heart racing at the thought of fucking him. I felt that familiar dizzy feeling but couldn't be certain it was him or my weakness causing it. Then I felt his lust fill me up, and soon I was so full of his desire that I could scarcely breathe. I began kissing him back with such force, my tongue searching his out hungrily, my hands stroking his chest underneath the vest. "Take your clothes off," I demanded, and started removing them myself, unwilling to wait for his compliance. Once he was naked, I pushed him towards the fucking chair positioned by the hearth
and he sat down hard on it and looked up at me.

His desire was enough for us both and he fought my dominance. He wanted to lick me but I wanted to feel his cock inside me.  His strength won out and he carried me to the bed and threw me down, his mouth finding my cunt and soon I was transfixed as I felt his mouth as my own, felt my flesh as he felt it, the slick softness, the small hard kernel enclosed in velvety skin. Then I felt him respond to my pleasure - when his tongue stroked my clit, he felt it as if it was stroking his own flesh and he moaned as he licked me, gasping as his breath caught in his throat. Our two bodies fused as I lost track of myself and him, so that there was only blind pleasure, the softness of a tongue on a hard clit, fingers penetrating and stroking the fullness of a fleshy passage, its whole length aching from desire. Then the sweet agony as the pleasure built to its peak and muscles spasmed, tissue engorged and full, pleasure welling up inside and spreading outward. Still, there was more desire - his hard cock aching for relief, and I am pushing him up off the bed, over to the chair where he goes willingly, and I sit on him, feeling him inside me, feeling my flesh enclose him. And finally, finally, I am where I have always wanted to be, since that first day on
the battlefield when I saw him on his horse and everyday since. I am on him, on his cock, in control, moving on him, and he is me, I feel his cock as my own, and he feels my own pleasure in his body.

As I ride him, feeling my flesh and his flesh as one, as I near our orgasm, crying out in pleasure with each stroke, there is something, something I can just barely perceive, some memory that he can no longer suppress.  It surfaces against his will, and as I come, gasping against his mouth, I can see a beach, and a boat moored off shore, and there is a smaller boat at the waterline, and there are nearly a dozen soldiers, enemy soldiers, running over the sand, their weapons brandished. And as I shudder, my cunt convulsing around him, my tears falling on his face,
I see three young girls hiding in the tall grasses that grow on the dune faces, the older one, perhaps 10, blonde hair long and flowing, blue eyes wide with fear, young ripe body budding with the promise of womanhood, pushing the small twins ahead of her back to an old woman and older servant.

Ares tries to separate from me, to stop the memory from resurfacing completely. "No!" he whispers, withdrawing himself even as he is almost ready to ejaculate, "No, Sophia, no..." I pull him back, unwilling to stop and move on him, and he can not stop as he comes, and I continue to see his memory even as he cries out. I am looking in his eyes as his face contorts in pain from his pleasure, but at the same time I am in his memory. The soldiers converge on the small group and two step forward, and the leader comes close to the old woman, sword extended, and motions to the young girl, and she is grabbed by the other and dragged into the trees, kicking and screaming as her clothes are ripped off her and she is covered by one huge body after another. Ares' eyes close.  He can't stand to see my horror-stricken face, but I shake him and make him watch with me.

Then I relive his feelings of indifference to the scene that played out below. He watched with only mild arousal, never being one to enjoy defiling children, although this one is close enough to womanhood that there is a small response on his part, his cock stiffening slightly. He could intervene but this would invoke the wrath of the competing god and this trifle is not worth the effort so he does nothing and as they leave her, he sees she is still alive and he moves on, unconcerned since she has survived and is, therefore, luckier than most. His cold black heart is unmoved.

My own heart is dead. He is gasping beneath me, his body still shuddering from his orgasm. "Sophia!" he whispers in my neck.

"How long have you known?" I ask, my teeth clenched, my body stiffening against him. His arms close around me tightly. "Since the day your memory came back."

"Why didn't you do something?"

"Sophia," he said, his voice so quiet I could barely hear it. "I have seen so many horrors in my time. Such horrors they numb the mind, my mind. You were still alive. I had to think of the larger picture - engaging their god over a small girl. Not wise."

"But you stayed to watch." He said nothing, his head resting in the crook of my neck, his lips pressed against me. There was nothing he could say, nothing that could ever be said. I was shaking and I could feel the anguish welling up inside but I bit my cheek as I had learned to do on that day, hoping that the taste of my blood would calm me, and it did. I was able to speak.

"Send me back to Athens. Now."

"Sophia!"

"Now, Ares."

"Sophia, I don't want you to leave me, not now."  I hit him. Hard. My fist closed. Of course, as a god he did not feel any physical pain, but I saw that it aroused anger in him for just a brief moment.  He could not suppress his godhead to understand that he deserved to be hit by me and worse. "This is not about what you want." I cried, hitting him now again and again, venting  my anger against his beautiful face. He did nothing, just sat there with his eyes closed, taking my blows. This he understood, my anger was something he could comprehend and he allowed it
on that basis. He let some pain seep through the armor, and I saw a trickle of blood from a wound at his brow. He looked in my eyes. He wanted me to know he had allowed himself to feel some pain, to bleed. It wasn't nearly enough.

I felt his cock grow hard in me, his arousal due to my anger, to the blows I had administered. I knew what he wanted, how he wanted this little melodrama to play itself out. For me to lick his blood, then kiss him and fuck him once again, my anger and pain disappearing as our bodies joined and our selves merged. For once, for once in this relationship, he was not going to get what he wanted.

"Send me back to Athens. Now." His eyes closed and he complied. I found myself back in my little studio, alone with my paints.

************************
Warrior Chronicles - Part 5

I tried hard over the next weeks to avoid any thought of Ares - as much to prevent my feelings of loneliness from surfacing as Ares' memory of my rape as a young girl. Indecision now plagued me, but it obviously didn't trouble Ares. He hadn't come to me and I had no way of going to him except on my hands and knees and I just couldn't do it anymore. I'd like to say I was firm in my resolve to stay away from him, to stop this foolish self-abuse, but I can't. If he had come to me, and put his big arms around me, kissed me, I would have taken him back in a moment. I hated myself for such stupidity, but I had been inside of him, not only his body, but somewhere beyond that and it was almost too much. I could barely get through the lonely days.

Immersing myself in my work, I kept so busy I could scarcely find the time to think of anything outside of my art. At the end of the second week, Melenes came to me and told me of his latest commission - a fresco for the temple to Ares under construction at the Palace in Corinth. He was to paint a huge fresco depicting the god of war on the wall inside the new temple, and I, of course, would help him in my function as his apprentice.

"Can you find someone else for this?" I asked him, knowing that Ares had arranged it so I would be forced to go to the King's palace with Melenes and help Melenes paint Ares' picture. Just to be there would be hard - knowing that Ares had spent many days and nights there in the King's embrace. I didn't have the heart for it.

"Sophia!" Melenes said, his voice angered, "I obviously got this commission because of you - the god met with me before I met with the King and suggested that you should be the one who does his likeness. He even said you would likely try to avoid this, but this is part of your apprenticeship. You have my requirements down and have mastered the mixing of pigments as I prefer them. There is no one else." He saw my disappointment and tilted his head. "Have you some reason for avoiding this?" What could I tell him? Certainly not that I was no longer fucking the god of war and didn't want to have to be in the King's home, knowing that Ares would likely spend all his spare time there in my absence.

"It's personal."

"Well, your work is not. I require your presence. The god wants you to try your hand at this. Who are we to deny a god?"

"I no longer ... have the favor of the god." I began, hoping to dissuade him, "He's doing this to hurt me."

"Well, I have need of this commission and the money."

Of course I had no option but to travel with him to Corinth and venture with him to the Palace. The new temple was almost complete, and we went to examine the structure to see the dimensions of the fresco. "Can you meet with the King on your own?" I asked, not wanting to even set my eyes on that beautiful face. Melenes shook his head in amazement. "Don't tell me you have a relationship with the King as well as the god of war!"

"No," I replied. "I don't want to talk about it, Melenes. Don't worry, I won't let it affect my performance as your apprentice. I would just prefer to avoid the King, if you don't mind." He nodded and pointed to the garden outside. "Then you had better be going, because I see the King and his advisor coming this way just now. I suggest you go to the garden. I will call you when he leaves."

I left as quickly as I could, but turned and watched as the King entered the temple and met with Melenes and the advisor. His mere presence set my heart fluttering like the silly girl that I was. I walked along the path that led between the perennial beds lush with flowering plants and shrubs. A small pond was surrounded by pebbles and there was a stone bench under the shelter of an arbor. As I waited for the King to leave, I sat there and looked at the well-tended greenery planted and nurtured by human hands and thought about the wild beauty of Teutates' forest.

After a quarter of an hour, Melenes whistled to me and waved his arm, indicating I could safely return and I did - wondering what I would hear. "Well, I have all I need to get started tomorrow. The god is very shrewd and cruel, I would say, to make you do this."

"What god isn't?" I replied. I would have to paint the god of war, remembering every detail of that beautiful face and body for this fresco.

"Still, it is money in my pocket and acclaim for my skills as an artist. I'll willingly take both."

I nodded, and we discussed the composition. It would depict the god standing on the battlefield, sword in hand, a corpse at his feet, a battle raging in the distance. The image of the god I loved best, as I'm sure Iphicles did as well. I remembered the two on the battlefield the first time I fought beside Ares and my stomach clenched. Their lovemaking in the midst of the fray had been so erotic and so... heartbreaking for me.  I hated Ares for this.

Hate did not stop me from capturing the beauty in that face, which Melenes allowed me to paint, complementing me as I worked. How could I not apply all my skill to such a task? I had painted Ares from memory long before I fucked him and since then I had watched that face in every stage of desire, up close and from afar. I knew every curve and angle of his face, the color and detail of his eyes, the shapely, full lips framed by the darkness of his beard. I was standing on a chair late one afternoon as the light was fading. My face was but a few inches from Ares' image as I painted those lips, capturing the fullness with highlights and shading.  I felt my grief, unbidden, rise up and overtake me, and tears fell down my cheeks as I painted. I stopped and covered my eyes.

"I paid for the master and its the apprentice who is painting the most important part!" I heard a deep voice say behind me. It was Iphicles. I hadn't noticed his entrance in my concentration on the fresco. //Oh, gods. Now I have to face the King - almost as beautiful as the god// I thought as I tried to squelch the tears, and wiped my face. I didn't want to turn to face him, so I kept moving my brush in one spot. I said nothing, knowing that if I did, my voice would surely break.

"Well, are you going to insult me by not even acknowledging my presence? I am the King after all."

I had to say something. I took a deep breath in and bit my cheek. Finally, I spoke. "I am sorry, King Iphicles, your Highness."

"Melenes must have faith in your capacities. Come down, I want to see what your talent has created."

I stepped down from the stool and stood off to the side, my head turned away to hide my red eyes. He went right to the painting and examined it closely, shaking his head. "I was told to hire Melenes. A ... friend said his skills would be a match for the god's beauty. When I saw it was some young girl painting the god instead of the artist himself, I couldn't believe my eyes. But you have captured him perfectly. Those eyes are ... so perfect. Those lips. I'm speechless." He turned to look at me.

"You're crying!"

He came over to me and peered at my face.  I turned away from him, but he pulled me back and took my chin in his hand, forcing me to face him. I kept my eyes closed. I did not want to look at him. "Why on earth are you crying? I have complimented you highly. You should be pleased." Then there was silence for a moment.

"You're the girl on the battlefield! Ares'... student." I opened my eyes, and felt new tears well up. //Foolish girl!//

"I thought your face was familiar. The other day when you left the room as my advisor and I entered - I thought I recognized you." I wiped my eyes and looked down. His face was too beautiful. The sharp high cheekbones beneath dark eyes, the full lips - lips that were meant for kissing and more. The long chestnut waves. "No wonder you know his face so well. So, Ares was lying when he said you were nothing to him. You obviously have been his lover, or you wouldn't be weeping as you paint such a remarkable likeness."

"I was his lover but he wasn't lying. I am, I was nothing. He only bothered with me because of an old debt he owed me."

"Since when is a god indebted to a mortal? It's usually the other way around." I didn't want to answer, to speak. The sun was fast sinking and the good light was gone. It was time to clean up and return to the inn. I was famished and feeling weak.

"Ask Ares to tell you about me - his debt to me. See if he tells you the truth."

"How will I know it's the truth?"

"You'll know."

He looked back up at the fresco. "Well, the tears are worth it. I couldn't imagine a better likeness. Will you be doing the entire fresco? I feel that since I paid for Melenes, I would like some part of the work to be his, considering his price."

"No," I replied, amused at the turn in Melenes' and my positions in the work. "I'll do Ares, and Melenes will do the background. It's usually the other way around."

"As long as I get what I want. As long as it pleases the god."

"Oh, it will please him, the bastard."  Iphicles turned to look at me again. "You didn't part on good terms." I nodded, wiping my eyes. "I finally had enough of his abuse.  I love him. But I just couldn't take another heartbreak. He is such a bastard."

"I'd watch it, if I were you. He appears here quite frequently with no notice. I never know when he'll show up."

"He knows how I feel. He knows everything." The king watched me in silence for a few moments as I cleaned up the paint containers and brushes, sniffing and wiping my eyes.

 "Yes, he knows," he replied, following me around the room as I picked up our materials and packed them up for the night.  "I find it...difficult, his ability to read my thoughts. That he...knows my feelings.  There's no privacy, no place to retreat with him. I feel so...exposed."

"He loves you." I said, wiping my hands on a cloth. "He wants you to be exposed, so he can feel your heart." He shook his head and turned to look at the painting.

"He doesn't love me," he replied. "He barely says two words to me when we're together. I sometimes doubt that he loves anyone - that he even can love."

"He loves you." I repeated. "I knew that the day I saw you together." I  looked up at him as he surveyed Ares' image.  I remembered the expression on Ares' face as the King sucked his cock, as he embraced the King while he fucked him. The King actually flushed bright red at this reference to their battlefield encounter. "He only hides it from you because he is afraid of his feelings. Afraid of feeling. But he loves you, even if he treats you badly. That is the only thing I know with certainty." He turned and watched me clean some brushes.

"You seem very... I don't know, honest. Able to admit this to me, to yourself.  I don't know if I want to even think about it." He watched me for another moment as I put the brushes away. "What was it that made you leave him - assuming that it was you who did the leaving."

"What was it? Which thing should I pick?" I put down the vessel of paint and looked away. "Caesar raped me. I think he was going to kill me. Ares watched and did nothing except to prevent the demon from killing me." I shook my head in amazement when the words came out of my mouth. It was as if saying them to him, to Iphicles, I finally realized how horrifying the whole thing was. He looked at me and shook his head. "But you know,"
I added, and this is what really hurt, "I would go back today if he came to me." Iphicles sat on a chair and held on to the chair's seat, his hands between his thighs. He looked at me, amazement evident on his face.

"You're very honest. I have to admit it shocks me, how blunt you are, but it's a welcome change. As King, I'M used to people who screen their every word - as if I can't take the truth, as if Kings are so weak, they can't bear it. Most only say what they think I want to hear or say nothing, in awe of my position." He turned back to the fresco.

"When you've fucked the god of war, nothing else can impress." I replied. He actually smiled at this.

"So he watched while Caesar raped you. I wish you hadn't told me that. Or that you thought Ares loved me. It's all so... confusing. When I am with him, I feel nothing from him except lust. He's so damn desirable, it's almost enough." He sighed heavily and I could tell he didn't really want to hear what I said, but like me couldn't stop thinking of the god, not matter what the thought was or how much pain it caused.

I picked up my case and turned to him.  "I have to go now, back to the Inn. I haven't eaten all day and I think I'll faint if I don't eat."

He stood up. "By all means, stay. Have a meal here - with me. I'M so pleased with the painting, with your rendition of the god, I feel obliged." I shook my head, as much as I would have liked to sit across from him and watch that face, hear that voice. The prospect of Ares popping in was not appealing. "No," I replied quickly, turning to leave. "Thank you, your highness. I...don't want to be here, just in case..."

"Oh, you don't have to worry about tonight. He's already been here, just before... I joined you..." He stopped speaking, embarrassed to admit to me that the god had just fucked him. I looked at him, and felt my heart sink at the thought that Ares had been here with the King, fucking him while I painted his portrait. What a bastard! Iphicles flushed and could not suppress a very embarrassed smile. That smile was so incongruent with his size and importance. It was very charming. He clasped his hands in front of him and looked at me from under his brows. "So, you see, you have nothing to worry about. If he returns, it won't be until much later." I sighed. How could I resist? The chance to talk with the King of Corinth. Well, to look at the King of Corinth, to be honest. There was no match for his beauty among mortals, although Dimitris was pretty close.

I put my bag down. "How could I refuse the King of Corinth?" He smiled a shy smile. What modesty he had! Did he not know how beautiful he was? He led me to a small room with a table and chairs next to a large hearth. It was very rustic - certainly not what I expected for the King's meal.

"I don't like to eat in the dining room - too cold and formal. I hope you don't mind. I find this far more to my tastes." He gestured to a several comfortable lounge chairs at the side of the room and went to the door. "I'll have a servant bring you some wine. I have a few matters to attend before we can eat. Please, make yourself comfortable."

He came back later and had changed from his more formal attire to a plain tunic and leggings. Their simplicity only highlighted his own stunning looks. He had washed his face, for I could see that his hair was wet around his hairline. The damp hair curled around the nape of his neck, and several strands formed into ringlets around his ears. He didn't know his own beauty - I could tell by his bearing - completely unaware of his own appeal, perhaps feeling as if he did not deserve notice. I also knew that this was part of his appeal - his beauty, his innocence. He sat on the chair facing the hearth and leaned back, taking
a long drink from his cup of wine. His eyes closed and he sighed, tired from a long day of kingly duties, and of course, there was Ares.

"So, Sophia. Artist and warrior! And the god's...lover. How did these three get mixed in one person?"

"Foolishness. And fate."

"Foolishness and fate," he laughed. "Explain, the fate part first. The foolishness depends on what fate dishes out, don't you think? What we do with what fate gives us?" I smiled. He was right of course.

Where to begin? And did I really feel like telling him? "Fate?" I paused. "Fate put me on a beach, on a day when it was not the place to be. And that pretty much set the course of the rest of my life up to and including this day. Fate also gave me a keen eye and sense of proportion and color."

"Well, that explains the artist part. But what about this day at the beach. Sounds like it wasn't a good experience." I hesitated. How much should I reveal?

"I was raped when I was 10 years old.  A group of soldiers. While I was vacationing in Crete with my grandparents."

"Oh, gods," Iphicles whispered, looking over at me in shock and then down into his cup. He didn't know what more to say. What could anyone possibly say? I knew I shouldn't have told him but he liked honesty. I'd be honest.

"That takes care of the fate part. The foolishness? The day I was so bored with my art classes I decided to join my lover on the battlefield to watch him work as a healer, tending the wounded and dying." I sighed, remembering that day so well. It was probably the second most pivotal day in my life, after that day on the beach. "I saw the god ride up on his stallion." I looked up at Iphicles. He was staring at me, listening closely to my words.  Gods, he was so beautiful. He was leaning back in the chair, his legs crossed at the feet, chin resting on one hand, the cup of wine in the other. There was such a brooding quality to the man, as if life was truly burdensome for him.

"I was smitten." I took a long drink from my cup. "I practically threw myself at his feet in the hopes that I could be one of his lovers. I signed up as a temple slave - can you believe that? Me? Daughter of Pelenes."

He looked up at this in shock. " Pelenes? Do you mean *the* Pelenes of Thessaly? Gods, girl. You come from the best blood in Greece. What must your parents, your whole family have thought?"

"They weren't the least shocked. They expected such idiocy from me. I was one of those *bad* girls, the kind that give their parents such pain, ignoring rules, flouting authority. I was just so talented and smart I managed to get through the rebellion phase without complete disaster falling on my head. And of course, there was the rape - which no one ever mentioned, too shamed by me. I thought it was just some bad dream I'd had. I felt I was just bad, out of control. Unable to be normal. Just a lot of trouble for everyone." I felt the tears in my eyes. Such a foolish girl! "I couldn't stop myself, no matter how many times I prayed to Zeus to stop me from being so impulsive and headstrong. As soon as anyone said no to me, I'd fight tooth and nail to have my way. Any barrier and I'd jump it even if I hurt myself in the attempt. Going to the Halls of War is a perfect example of this impetuous nature." I shook my head at my own foolishness. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be boring you with my personal tale of woe."

"I asked. And you're not boring me."

There was a knock at the door and the king called out, "Come." A servant entered and brought in a large tray with our meal - fruits, breads, cold meats and some sweets. Iphicles stood up and motioned to me to join him at the table. He pulled out a chair for me, and then sat himself. I waited for him to be seated before I sat, but he waved his hand at me. "Please. No need for formalities between us," He looked up at me. "Considering everything."

He poured more wine in our cups and helped himself to the food and motioned for me to as well. We ate in silence for a while. I was ravenous and downed quite a lot in a short time. I think even he was amazed at my appetite. "So," he continued, "you went to the Halls of War. And?"

"And Ares treated me like I was less than a slave. He was disgusted that I had volunteered to be a slave to get into his bed, seeing some potential in me as a warrior." I saw his smile. "The opportunity to have sex with the god is a powerful motivator," he replied.

He put his bread down and looked at me, considering me for a moment. "You know, you are the very first person I have talked to about Ares, about my relationship with him. It is so strange, to have a god as a lover. Almost as if it is some dream, something unreal." I had two gods going at once. No wonder I felt so out of sorts.

"You and I have a lot in common," he continued, eating some grapes. "We're both possessed." I looked up at this and saw his sad smile. "I don't know why I keep seeing him, except for the fact that he is a god and I have no idea how to send him away. Or if I really want to. I don't know what to think. He certainly isn't an attentive lover. I wouldn't put up with his behavior from anyone else. They'd be gone in an instant. But not the god."

"Well, I'm sure you couldn't come close to the debasement to which I've submitted myself over Ares."

"Don't be so sure." He said, and a flush spread across his face and down his neck at the thought. He took a long drink from his cup and then put it down. He looked at his plate as if he was debating whether to tell me something. Discretion got the better of him, and he merely resumed eating.

"So, you stopped being his lover. When did this all transpire? How long ago?"

"Almost two weeks." He snorted, and I saw a momentary smile cross his face as he fought to suppress an expression of pain. He put his bread down and leaned back in his chair, then looked off at the fireplace. "Gods, I'm such a fool," he said, closing his eyes for a moment. Then he turned to look at me. "I actually thought he was beginning to warm up. He started spending so much more time here. Curiously enough, about two weeks ago."

I felt bad for him. "He has a hole inside that needs to be filled. With me out of the picture, that leaves only you."

"And Caesar."

"No, Caesar doesn't fill that void. He fills another."

He drank his cup down and went to pour another, but the jug was empty. Standing up almost angrily, he went and opened the door to call for his servant. "More wine." He sat back down at the table and looked in the fire. "I'M the fucking King but he treats me as if I'm nothing.

"He does it only to protect himself. If you only knew..." I said, hoping to convey to him some of what I knew Ares felt for him. Why was I doing this? If Ares couldn't love me, I was certain he did love Iphicles. Part of  me, a very small part, wanted Ares to love someone - or his own good.

"Knew what? That he loves me even though he treats me like shit?" He shook his head and didn't even look up when the servant came in with the wine. His hands pounded the table, impatient for the wine. The servant poured and I watched as Iphicles drank the entire cup down. He looked up at me.  "I find I'M particularly thirsty tonight. Would you care for another cup? Let's get drunk and curse the bastard."

"I can't. I ... have to go after I eat. I don't want to be here when..."

"Fuck him." Iphicles growled. I laughed at this, and then he smiled as well. "That's precisely what he wants." I said, raising my cup to him.

"No, you've got it backward. Fuck us, that's what he wants. No one fucks Ares."

"I did," I ventured, looking at him over my cup. "Twice." The wine was making my legs feel like there were lead weights attached to them. He looked up at me and shook his head. "Well, a woman can't actually...fuck a man. Not in the same way. You just take over the motions. It's not the same thing."

"You're right. But I took control and Ares doesn't like it. He likes to be the aggressor when fucking, to be the one doing, not being done to. So, twice, out of all those times, I won out."

"Well, that's twice more than I have. Count yourself lucky." He poured another cup and took a long drink. "You know, he is such a bastard," he said with such anger. I laughed. "We've both said that now."

"Yes, but, I'd let you fuck me as often as you liked. I think it's great, when a woman takes control. My wife used to ..." He looked down and shook his head, realizing what he was doing. He stopped, unwilling to debase her memory, and looked away for a moment in silence. "I'm sorry. It's the wine speaking." He took another sip. "Everything is such a game of power with Ares. Why can't fucking just be about pleasure?" My own words, so long ago.

"So, have you found a replacement for Ares?" His voice was beginning to sound thick from the wine.

"No one can replace Ares." I replied. This didn't seem to please him and he sighed. "Oh, gods, Sophia. Don't say that. Someone has to, sooner or later." He waited.  "Well, have you found anyone else then, to...I don't know, numb the pain?" I laughed, but it hurt.

"There is someone, but I don't know if I wouldn't just be getting back into the same situation."

"How so? Another abusive man?"

"Another god. Of war." He looked at me, his cup raised half way to his lips and frowned. "Another god of war?" He put his cup down.

"Teutates, the Celts worship him as the god of war and fertility. He's the god of the tribe. We've...been lovers." What could I say? We made love twice? Once on the battlefield as I lay near death from a wound he inflicted, and once on his own bed. "Well, I should really say that We've made love. Twice. And I could live with him in Britain if I wanted."

"But you don't want to?"

"I don't know. He's a god. Gods see us as playthings. But there are benefits. That is something I did want to say to you." I took a big drink of wine. Should I tell Iphicles about the god-fuck? If anyone deserved it from Ares, besides me, it was the King. But how to broach such a subject?

"Let me give you some advice, if you plan on remaining Ares' lover." He turned to me, all ears. "Tell him to fuck you the way a god should fuck a mortal."

"What?" I could see the confusion on his face. He actually flushed at the bluntness of my words.

"He'll know what you mean. Gods have this capacity...to enter into us, so that we become one being. Feeling each other's feelings. It makes sex..." I looked away, my throat choking on my words. "...unbelievable. Nothing can compare to it. This is why only another god could replace Ares for me." I saw the wonder on his face, but it was soon replaced by such a expression of pain. He looked away from me and I could see him struggle to control his breathing, his emotions.

"You mean...the bastard hasn't bothered to...do this with me? But he has with you?"

"And Caesar." His breathing was very rapid and I saw that his knuckles were white against the gold of his cup.

"Fucking bastard." He turned to look at me and I saw the tears in his eyes. "Fucking bastard." His voice was so low I could barely hear it. He stood and left the room. And I couldn't suppress a smile as he left me. Gods! How could I be so cruel? I wanted to hurt Ares, and was so small, I was willing to do it by hurting this beautiful, loving king. I'd like to say it was only the wine affecting me, but that would be a lie. Inside, I was jealous of Ares' love for this king.

I got up quickly and followed him, and watched as he rounded the corner and marched out the door to the garden. It was dark, and the first stars were starting to peek out of the night sky. A crescent moon hung above the horizon, and I could see bright Venus close to a conjunction. The moon cast an eerie light on the landscape. Iphicles went and stood beside the pond and looked up at the moon, his hands on his hips. I stood beside him. "Why did you tell me this? I think I would have preferred not to know."

"I wanted to add that he hasn't done this with you for fear you would reject him."

"What?! Why would I reject him for giving me this -- god-fuck?"

I laid my hand on his arm, and felt the strength of him through his tunic sleeve. "I'm sorry," I began, "it was unkind of me to do this, to tell you. But don't  feel too bad. He god-fucked Caesar first. He only did it with me because I shamed him into it." He shook his head again. "I don't understand. Why doesn't he do this all the time? If it's as good as you say."

"Iphicles. It's better."

We sat on the stone bench under the arbor in the darkness. I heard his huge sigh. "When you join the two...bodies and beings, you also get to feel the other's feelings, their thoughts. Ares feels...incomplete,  inadequate. Empty except for death and violence. He wants love and peace for himself, but fears losing it once he has found it."

"No one is perfect, or complete," this warm loving king replied, "I imagine even a god feels need for love and happiness. I just thought Ares didn't love me. That I was just a good fuck. That's the way he made me feel - just a good fuck. Can you imagine that? The King of Corinth? Nothing more than a good fuck!" He laughed out loud then but his laugh was filled with pain. He leaned his head back and closed his eyes, his arms stretched out on the back of the bench. He was so beautiful, so desirable. I meant what I said to Ares that night in Thessaly. If we both weren't in love with the god of war, I would be in love with Iphicles, even if he couldn't god-fuck me. "It's a damn good thing I'm half drunk or I'd hate myself for being so ... revealing. Especially to a woman I don't even know."

"you know me. I'm just like you. I love Ares, and have been willing to prostitute myself for his attention, so I can look in that beautiful face, in those eyes, and kiss those lips -- be fucked by him. What else is there to know?" He smiled at me, and I could see the glint of moonlight in his eyes.

"Gods, you're brutal."

"It's the truth." I closed my eyes and felt so empty inside, so lonely for this god I was so busy denigrating.

"you see, Ares can take it, but it hurts too much to give it. He is afraid and is so weak that he doesn't want to feel pain. So he feels nothing. That's where Caesar comes in. Caesar makes him feel acceptable emotions. Lust, hate, anger, jealousy, but not love. That was for you and I. We love him and he feels that love from us, but doesn't have to give it back - we're both of us so ... I don't know how to describe us,  willing to be debased, so we can have a taste of him." I felt the tears well up in my eyes. Saying this out loud hurt so much. I just wanted to die.

"Well, I finally had enough. And I'll tell you why. Because when Ares god-fucked me the night I left him, I found out that on that day on the beach, my god watched as I was raped and didn't move a muscle to protect me. He even was a bit aroused, got a bit of an erection watching me - a ten year old girl -  get raped. And was too cold-hearted to care. He thought, she's still alive, so the story's over. Well, it wasn't over. It still isn't over."

I turned to Iphicles and even though the tears were flowing now quite liberally, I didn't care. "he could have saved me almost half my life! Prevented all this pain, all this self-hate. All this debasement." I covered my eyes with my hands and wept out loud. My sense of betrayal was so strong. Iphicles put his arms around me to comfort me - he is such a caring man. And what happened next could only be expected of two mortals in such a position.

Our mouths somehow connected. Perhaps the wine loosened us both up, perhaps our shared misery about Ares and our explicit discussion. I'd like to say that it was fantastic sex, that the heavens lit up, or something silly like that, but of course, it didn't. It was good enough, but both of us were so used to the feeling of being with a god that now, in the arms of another mere mortal, we were only slightly desperate for the relief offered by each other's embrace. And he let me fuck him, was positively happy for me to, actually, in part because he liked women who led and in part because his legs were quite rubbery from the wine.

"You don't mind?" I whispered into his neck as I pushed him down on the bench facing us - it had no back and was the perfect height, although he had to brace himself with his arms at first and was afraid they would give out as well.  "Please do," he replied as he straddled the bench, pulling me down for a kiss, equally breathless.  I pulled his pants open and exposed his magnificent cock. My mouth found him in the darkness and I remembered his own mouth on Ares' cock that day on the battlefield. His breathing was very rapid. The sound of his breathing and his taste aroused me so that I would have liked to have sucked until he came in my mouth, but he pulled me up and kissed me.

"Stand up," he whispered and I did. He pulled my skirt up and I held it for him, as he pulled my undergarment down. I gasped as his thumbs parted my flesh and his tongue found me, sucking me and licking me so well that I felt my legs would buckle under me. If I had more strength, I could have let him lick me like that all night. The position felt so good - so powerful, to have a man at me like that, but we were taking enough of a risk out in the open, considering the brightness of the moonlight. I pushed him away and mounted him, moaning as his hard and very impressive cock slipped into me, filling me up more than adequately. And the rest was pretty predictable - I moved on him and he kissed my neck, and opened my tunic so he could stroke my breasts. He licked his fingers and stroked my clit, and that was all I needed to have a very strong and relief-filled orgasm. I had barely enough energy to quicken the pace of my motions so he could also reach his orgasm, and it was powerful for him as well, "Oh, gods that's so sweet," he cried as he came, shuddering against me. The sex was good, but it seemed more comfortable than desperate. But then, we were both used to thunder and lightning. Even good ardent sex seemed tame in comparison.

"What do you think - do you think Ares would enjoy the idea that we fucked each other? His two playthings?" I laughed in response and kissed his throat. He squeezed me and I felt his cheeks rise as he smiled against my neck.

"We had better get up. I don't want your advisor or your staff to come out here and find you fucking the artist's apprentice."

"They can go to Tartarus, for all I care. I'm the king."

I stood up and rearranged my clothing, brushing my hair out of my eyes. I watched as he stood up awkwardly and tied his pants. What a beautiful man! Ares was such a fool - to deny this man his love! I wouldn't, especially if I had Ares' power.

"i don't know what I'll do if Ares decides to come back again tonight. I don't think I have it in me to go another round."

"You'll find it. Ares will give it to you. Just one look at that body, that face, and it will come, and you will as well." I laughed at myself. "Well, if I do, it will be the fourth time today." He smiled. I could see his face quite well in the moonlight. "Gods, he is such a beautiful bastard," he whispered. I turned away. His pleasure at the thought that the god might come by again and fuck him - so soon after our own encounter - reminded me of how lonely I had been. The small bit of well-being that had briefly filled me from fucking Iphicles fled and I felt only emptiness inside.

Later, after another cup of wine, I went with him to his bearers who would take me back to the inn. He stood at the door with me and both of us felt awkward despite our earlier intimacy. "Sophia!" he smiled and tilted his head to the side as he looked at me. "You and I - what a match. The god's toys, playing with each other." I smiled back, although it hurt, since I wasn't even the god's toy anymore. "Thank you, Iphicles. For your kindness." He reached out to me and brushed my hair from my face. "If you ever feel lonely, send me a message. I feel...a common bond with you. Like we share a disease or disorder, and can commiserate over our troubles. And other such things." I grabbed his palm and kissed it, and then left.
-----

Fucking the beautiful king -  Ares' other mortal plaything -  made me realize how far from any semblance of a normal existence I had come.  Sex with Iphicles was nice, enjoyable, but it was mortal and could not satisfy me or this need I felt for intense feeling. I was almost desperate to feel something, anything with the fire I felt when Ares god-fucked me.  I don't know why I needed thunder and lightning, why I tried so hard to feel as much as possible, as deeply as possible, even when that meant that threat, pain and fear were involved.

As I lay on my bed back in Athens, once I had finished my portion of the fresco and life returned to its normal pace, I knew only that I had to feel something, anything, close to that I felt with Ares or die.

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