Rhicard's attention was on him again. "I'll see you soon, Kinig." Then to Fallil, "Send word if you need me."
"Only then?" Fallil called after him as he closed the door, smiling. That same smile turned to Kinig. "Are you hungry? Thirsty? You've had a long trip."
He knew that he should be, but he was far too excited to think of something like food. "I'm a little thirsty."
"Of course you are." Elegant black hands reached for Kinig's lute. "May I?"
Enchanted by this gorgeous, very polite creature, Kinig handed over his prized possession.
Fallil handled it with appropriate care. "Set your bag down and, please, sit."
Kinig did as he was told, settling on a couch as Fallil laid the lute case on the table and opened it. He drew out the instrument and studied it with a critical eye. Kinig watched closely. The lute had been his grandfather's. It was old but had been lovingly taken care of both by him and his mother's father. Fallil stroked the neck, inspected the belly and frets, and carefully plucked each string to hear its sound.
Finally, he nodded, laying the instrument down atop its case. "It's lovely."
He turned toward a side cabinet that held a tray with a pitcher and matching goblets. "Do you play anything else?"
"I play a little harp, but I'm not much practiced."
Pouring a cup, Fallil glanced at a medium-sized harp in the corner. "Perhaps we can change that." He tossed a blinding smile over his shoulder. "Eh?"
Was he blushing? Kinig wouldn't have thought he was capable anymore, not since losing his innocence to a young guardsman many cycles ago. "I'd like that."
Fallil crossed the room to hold out the small goblet to Kinig. "Now, what has Rhicard told you?"
"That you're to be my sponsor."
"Is that all?"
"He explained that it was necessary because not all of the raedjour agree with my presence."
Fallil nodded, folding gracefully onto the couch beside Kinig. "Yes. But there's more to it than that." He rested his arm on the back of the couch, bent at the elbow to prop his temple on his palm. "How much do you know about our society, in relation to humans?"
Kinig sipped the light, fruity wine rather than drink in the shimmer of candlelight on bare onyx skin. "I know that you welcome human women to join you. That you have a spell you can cast to change them into one of you. I know you're fertile with only one woman ever and that that match is called a truematch. In the past, you kidnapped human women and kept them against their will, but the rhaeja has banned this practice."
"You know much." A heavy cascade of smooth, snowy hair bisected Fallil's chest, a few shining strands hooking around an erect nipple. "Please continue."
Kinig swallowed a large gulp of wine. "It's said that there are no other women among you but the humans you converted, but people don't know whether to believe that or not."
"No." Kinig shifted, all too aware of the bright silver eyes fastened on him.
"What about human men?"
Kinig shifted in his seat, the soft shirt underneath his jacket suddenly chafing the skin of his chest. "In your history, you killed human men for sport. You allowed very few to pass through the Dark Forest ever, and those only if they stayed on the known roads. Even now, it's dangerous for a man to travel the forest, even with a sanctioned caravan."
Through this, Fallil continued to study him, a small smile curving generous lips. Long black fingers toyed with a frayed seam on his trousers. "Yet you asked to come here."
Kinig's cock pulsed in time with his heart. He could rarely contain himself in the presence of handsome human men. Seated in private with this exotically beautiful creature, he had no prayer of controlling himself. "I did."
"May I ask why?"
"I want to learn more about you."
"So you can write songs about us and become famous?"
Kinig smiled, nervous. "Well, that too. But I am curious."
"And you realized coming here might be dangerous."
"I was willing to take that chance."
Fallil lifted his head, freeing his arm to straighten across the back of the couch. His fingertips feathered over Kinig's shoulder, barely felt through the thick wool. "And if we never let you go?"
Kinig blinked, then stared at the empty floor in the center of the room. "I..."
"You hadn't thought of that possibility?"
"No." He'd thought of death, he'd thought of denial, but it had not occurred to him that the elves would keep him. "I ... why?"
Fallil leaned toward him slightly. A lock of white hair dislodged from behind his ear to spill over his smooth cheek. "Let me tell you a truth. We have kept human men in the past. Many, in fact. But only a few survive." Fallil's fingertips traced Kinig's collar, so close to the bare skin of his neck. "Unlike for women, there is no spell to convert a human male. It's been tried, and it has failed, killing the subject."
Distracted by the almost touch, Kinig swallowed again. "What do you do with the men that you keep?" He'd heard of such things in other lands, but only in whispered tales of dubious origin.
Fallil edged a little closer to Kinig's side. "We keep them. We toy with them." A delicate stroke of warm fingers over his rapidly beating pulse. "We have enormous sexual appetites. Our goddess bred us that way." One finger traced the hinge of Kinig's jaw just below his ear. "Since there are so few women, there isn't a man among us who doesn't know the pleasures of another man." Fingertips brushed along his neatly trimmed beard toward his chin, those silver eyes tracking the progress. "Some of us prefer it."
Kinig shuddered, giving up resistance by leaning into the touch. Fallil closed the distance between them, nimbly catching the goblet about to fall from Kinig's slack fingers. "Was Savous right about you, Kinig?" His fingers carded back into Kinig's hair, taking hold and turning the bard's head so they were face to face. Kinig's lips sighed open as the other man's obsidian lips came closer. "Kinig?"
"Are you a lover of men?"
Those gorgeous lips curled into a smile, revealing small teeth of a white to rival his hair, brows, and ridiculously long lashes.
Kinig moaned as the slightly smaller man used his grip on Kinig's neck to brace himself as he gracefully swung one leg over Kinig's thighs to straddle his lap. Keeping control of the bard's head, he leaned to the side to place Kinig's cup on the table beside the couch.
"This isn't something most human men find pleasant," Fallil continued as he settled his firm rump on Kinig's thighs. "Or, rather, allow themselves to enjoy." With his other hand, he parted the front of Kinig's jacket, drawing on the string that kept his undershirt closed. Kinig glanced down, gratified to see a bulge that stood testament to Fallil's arousal. At least they were both sporting erections. "In fact, it drives most men who prefer women to insanity. It bothers them when they feel the attraction toward us, when they can't help but want to suck cock and feel another tunnel deep into their ass."
Kinig couldn't breathe. His heart raced. Unable to help himself, he slid his hands up the firm muscles of Fallil's thighs until he could sink his fingertips into the meat of the other's ass. Firm, tight, demanding to be worshipped.
Fallil smiled, sliding his hand within Kinig's shirt to find the bare skin of his chest. "I can tell that this won't be a problem for you."
Kinig shook his head so hard some of his unruly brown hair fell forward into his face. "Not at all."
Fallil purred, allowing Kinig to gather him closer. He pulled his head back, though, when Kinig would have dived for a kiss. Strong fingers caught in Kinig's hair, arresting his movement, forcing him to focus on the silver eyes hovering before his. "You're mine to command for the length of time that you are here." Fallil's voice had gone from softly seductive to authoritative, brooking no nonsense. "Your very safety depends on that."