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Thursday's Child [MultiFormat]
eBook by Andrew Grey

eBook Category: Erotica/Erotic Fantasy/Romance
eBook Description: Finding a satyr caged in a carnival sideshow horrifies Travis and Cembran and forces them to make a daring rescue. A captive for decades, the wild, animalistic satyr named Vauk quickly vanishes into the wilderness on Travis and Cembran's property in search of safety and solitude. The next summer, Travis and Cembran invite a new friend, Trent, to attend the Bacchanal. What they don't expect is for Trent to reach out to the abused satyr, much less for the reclusive Vauk to accept his attention. Trent forges a connection between them, and Vauk's human side starts to emerge as he learns about the modern world. Trent teaches Vauk how to communicate, how to cloak his satyr features, and most importantly, how to love. Those skills will be crucial for Vauk's survival... especially when Vauk's captors and his unknown past threaten him and everyone he loves. A story in the Children of Bacchus universe

eBook Publisher: Dreamspinner Press/Dreamspinner Press, Published: 2009, 2009
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2009

40 Reader Ratings:
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Monday's child is fair of face,

Tuesday's child is full of grace,

Wednesday's child is full of woe

Thursday's child has far to go,

Friday's child is loving and giving,

Saturday's child must work for a living,

But the child that's born on the Sabbath day

Is fair and wise and good and gay.

--Mother Goose

* * * *

Part One

* * * *

Chapter One

"Cembran!" Travis rushed inside, slamming the door behind him. "Cembran!" No answer. Travis hurried back outside and down the path to the goat barn, ignoring the calm, pastoral scene that was part of his home. "Cembran!"

"I'm in here!"

Travis heard Cembran call from the far side of the barn. He'd forgotten it was milking time. Travis slowed his pace as he walked through the barn to the milking station. Cembran sat on a stool, a goat in a raised stall. Cembran's head with his ringlet curls rested against the goat while he gently and efficiently milked her as she munched on hay.

"There's a carnival in town, and I was wondering if you'd like to go."

Cembran looked up from his task, smiling broadly as he looked at Travis. "Sometimes, you're just like a little kid." He shook his head but stilled it as Travis leaned forward to kiss him.

Their lips moved together, and Cembran moaned softly as Travis's tongue gently pressed for entrance. Cembran's lips parted, and he felt Travis's fingers card through his hair as the pressure on his lips, and the urgency of the kiss increased. Without breaking their kiss, Travis knelt in front of Cembran, pulling their bodies together, their satyr instincts taking over as the rest of the world faded away.

A stomp and a gentle nuzzle from the goat brought them back to the present, and Cembran snickered against Travis lips. "Guess she wanted a kiss too."

Travis laughed gently as he patted the goat's nose. "He's mine, girl. Sorry."

Cembran returned to his milking. "If you'd like to go to the carnival, we can go. Just don't make me go on any woofy rides."

"Deal! I wonder if the boys would like to go as well?" The "boys" were Dovino, Phillip, and Jeremy--three young satyrs, rather than boys--who helped them work the farm. The three boys had been together for almost two years now and were best friends as well as lovers, and the arrangement seemed to be really working for them.

Cembran finished his milking and released the goat from the pen. "They finished their chores a few minutes ago, and I think they were heading toward the lake." Travis rolled his eyes, and Cembran tittered to himself. During the summer, the boys usually went swimming after work, and quite often their swimming turned into the three of them making love on the beach. "They're satyrs, Travis.... "Cembran's voice had his "what do you expect" tone.

Travis leaned close. "I know, but sometimes I want to take you down to the beach. Remember our first bacchanal?" Travis raised his eyebrows invitingly at Cembran as he saw a shiver ripple through his lover.

"They just went down to the lake a few minutes ago. You're probably safe."

"Thanks, Lamb. Are you almost finished here?"

"Yes, Lemmle. I have one more goat to finish, and I need to put the milk away."

"Good. I'll meet you at the lake in half an hour. Don't bring a bathing suit; you won't need it." Cembran's eyes smoldered as Travis leered at him before turning around, walking out of the barn, and down the path.

Approaching the lake, Travis could hear the sound of the boys playing in the cool water. Travis made plenty of noise as he approached the lake. Travis was not born a satyr, but had been made a satyr by Bacchus himself as a reward, and as with most satyrs, sex was a very important part of his life. But Travis felt very deeply that each expression of Cembran's and his love was private, very special, and wasn't to be shared with others. Consequently, he extended that same belief and courtesy to others.

Fortunately, the three young men were just swimming and hadn't progressed to their usual satyr-like diversion. "Hey, guys!" Travis waved as he called out.

The three young men stopped their frolicking and waved back. Dovino, the oldest and usual spokesman for the three, called back, "Are you and Cembran coming swimming?"

"Well, Cembran and I were planning on coming to the lake.... "Travis kept the rest of this thought to himself.

The young men looked at one another knowingly, "We'll be out in a few minutes." There were no snickers or snide looks of any kind. Travis was their boss, and he owned the land, but more importantly they cared for and deeply respected the relationship between Travis and Cembran.

"Say, we're going to the carnival in town after dinner. Would you three like to ride along?"

Heads swiveled, and they arrived at a silent group decision. "Sure. We'll be ready." The three of them started for the shore as Travis headed down the path through the woods that led toward the farm. As Travis crested the small rise at the edge of the farm, he couldn't help looking over the bucolic scene in front of him. The sheep and goat barns surrounded by their pastures and pens, their sturdy, rustic-looking house, the orchard and vegetable gardens, as well as the hay fields and woods beyond. Their land; their home. Cembran had built the original farm himself, and together they'd enlarged it with the addition of pastures, the orchard, and the huge vegetable garden. Travis smiled to himself as he strode down the now well-worn path toward the comfortable house. Cembran had built the original portion of the house, consisting of the kitchen, living room, and a single bedroom and small bath. Together, Travis and Cembran had enlarged the house, adding a master bedroom and bath, as well as an office for Travis. All of the lumber to build the addition had come from trees that they'd felled to enlarge the pastures. Both Travis and Cembran felt very strongly that no materials harvested from their property should be wasted.

Once inside, Travis grabbed their beach blanket as well as towels, a bottle of Champagne, and two glasses and then headed outside and back down the path to the lake.

The clearing around the lake was quiet and utterly peaceful as Travis spread out the blanket on the small beach beneath the shade of a huge oak. Slipping off his shirt, shoes, and socks, Travis settled in the shade, waiting for his mate to make an appearance. He didn't have long to wait.

Cembran stepped from the trees surrounding the lake a few minutes later, looking around. Travis could instantly tell when Cembran saw him: his eyes sparkled, and a bright smile lit his face. Cembran walked to Travis and settled next to him on the blanket, accepting a deep kiss from his lover and mate.

Travis's hand carded through Cembran's ringlets as his lips slid against Cembran's hot mouth. Cembran's lips parted in invitation, and Travis accepted with gusto, settling Cembran back onto the blanket as he continued to pummel the man's mouth with his tongue and lips. "God, Cembran, you are beautiful." Travis's voice was soft, the words whispered reverently as he let the cloak that hid his satyr features fall.

Cembran's eyes met Travis's intense gaze as he allowed his own satyr features to appear. "And you are the sexiest man I've ever seen." His voice was soft, rough, and filled with passion. Like most satyrs who live among humans, Travis and Cembran had the ability to mask their satyr features and did so out of habit. But when making love, they show their true selves to each other as a sign of their trust, love, and their bond as life mates.

Travis smiled as he buried his face in the base of Cembran's neck, sucking gently on the hot skin. Slowly, deliberately, their passion built. Clothes fell from their limbs; lips explored hot skin. Reclining back on the blanket, Travis pulled Cembran on top of him, their chests pressing together, lips opening to each other, tongues exploring, soft murmurs of pleasure escaping. "I love you, Lamb."

Lifting his head, Cembran peered into Travis's eyes, gazing into his mate's heart to glimpse the love that he knew filled it. "And I love you, Lemmle." Their words were special, just for each other, but completely unnecessary. Their hearts were joined, and they could feel their love for each other every day in everything they did. They were part of each other. "You're the best part of me."

"And you me, Lamb." Travis locked his legs around Cembran's waist, pulling their bodies together, while he brought Cembran's lips to his. Slowly, exquisitely, he felt Cembran enter him, joining them physically, as their hearts and souls were bound together emotionally. Their bodies moved together rhythmically, eyes locked together, soft words and the sounds of passion uttered softly for each other's ears and hearts only. Hands stroked soft, smooth skin covering hard, strong muscle; lips pulled on lips, bodies undulating together, desire building slowly and steadily.

Travis felt Cembran's rhythm become irregular, both of them reaching the heights of passion. Throwing his head back, Travis tightened his body around Cembran, triggering his release as Travis experienced his own body-shaking orgasm.

Cembran was still shaking as their bodies separated and Travis pulled him close. "Shhh. Relax, I have you." His hands glided along Cembran's back, soothing him, allowing him to come down slowly. "You were incredible, Lamb..." he said, kissing him softly. "My love ... my heart."

Still breathing heavily, Cembran allowed Travis to take charge and gave himself to his mate's trusted embrace, burying his face against Travis's shoulder, his chest heaving with the release of spent passion.

Travis continued cooing and whispering tender words of love while his hands stroked Cembran's back and his fingers carded through soft ringlets.

Slowly, Cembran lifted himself off Travis, settling onto the blanket next to him.

Travis reached next to him, retrieving the bottle of Champagne and the glasses. Cembran smiled as Travis popped the cork and poured two glasses. "Do you know what today is, Lamb?"

Cembran squinched his eyes, looking confused. "I don't think so. It's not our anniversary or one of our birthdays."

Travis leaned close and smiled softly. "I was sixteen and up here to go swimming. I swam across the lake and, when I reached this side, I saw a small lamb stuck in the mud. Right over there." Travis pointed to where the stream entered the lake. "That was the first time I saw you up close and the first time we ever spoke." Travis clinked against Cembran's glass and they each took a sip. "I thought you were a god, the most handsome man I'd ever seen. When I close my eyes I can still see you wearing only a pair of rough shorts and this." Travis ran his fingers over the chain and the sun-shaped amulet that rested against his chest, while he gently pressed his lips to Cembran's, tasting the Champagne on his lips.

Setting his glass on the sand, Travis rose and took Cembran's hand, helping him to his feet. "Come on, Lamb. I'll race you to the center of the lake and back."

Cembran grinned. "You're on!" He raced into the water without waiting for Travis.

"That's cheating!" Travis took off after him, splashing in the water until it was deep enough for him to dive and swim.

Cembran reached the center of the lake first, but Travis overtook him, turning and getting back to the shore first. Cembran was grinning as he walked out of the water into Travis's waiting arms. "It won't be long and you'll be able to beat me." Travis was a very strong swimmer, and he'd taught Cembran to swim early in their relationship.

Cembran laughed, his body pressed to Travis, his head resting on his shoulder. "Not likely." Cembran gave Travis's bare butt a gentle, playful squeeze. "We should get back and finish the chores so we can be ready to go."

"I know." Travis pulled his mate into a deep kiss. "I just like holding you."

Cembran's fingers squeezed Travis's firm butt cheeks. "I like you holding me."

Travis raised an eyebrow. "Feels like you like holding something else too."

Cembran chuckled lightly and released his grip on Travis, slowly moving away. After drying themselves, they quietly dressed, picked up their glasses and the bottle, as well as their blankets and towels, linked their hands together, and walked contentedly down the path back toward the farm.

At the rise, Cembran kissed Travis lightly before heading to the barn, while Travis, carrying the remains of their interlude, headed toward the house to make dinner.

After a light dinner, Travis called the boys and told them to meet him and Cembran at the house and they'd head into town. The boys were ready and waiting when Cembran and Travis were, and they all piled into Travis's car and headed to town for an evening of fun at the carnival.

Everyone chatted noisily as Travis drove through the countryside, particularly the three boys in the backseat. Travis chuckled to himself as he listened to their chatter.

"So, Travis, which rides are you going to make me go on with you?" Cembran had gone with Travis the last time the carnival had come to town.

"I don't know." Travis gently squeezed Cembran's leg. "I promised I wouldn't take you on any woofy rides and I meant it." The last time, Cembran had turned the tilt-a-whirl into the tilt-a-hurl, and he wasn't eager to repeat that experience. "Just being with you is enough. We can go on anything you want." Cembran leaned closer to Travis, kissing him lightly on the neck, while a collective "Awww" arose from the backseat, followed by good-hearted laughter from all the occupants of the car.

Arriving in town, Travis parked the car and everyone got out. "Have fun, guys. We'll meet back here at ten." They had no need for money on the farm, so Travis always deposited their pay directly into each of their bank accounts. Travis handed each of them some cash. "Find me if you need more. Enjoy yourselves." Travis watched as the three of them headed off. "Let's go have some fun."

The carnival was a cacophony of lights, music, and people. They wandered down the main street of town watching the rides as they twisted and turned, past food stands and game stalls. Cembran played a few games, but was asked to leave because he kept winning, the rigged carnival games no match for his superior eyesight and reflexes.

At each stall or attraction, there was someone out front, trying to draw everyone's attention. One of the attractions advertised the world's biggest rats and had a drawing that showed them as big as large dogs. Cembran snickered softly as Travis shuddered. "I hate regular rats, let alone the world's biggest ones."

"Then I shouldn't ask to go in?"

"Only if you want to go alone." Travis shivered again.

Cembran smiled mischievously. "That's okay. I just wanted to see you squirm ... again."

Travis leaned close, his lips close to Cembran's ears. "You already know what makes me squirm and writhe, and shout, and even beg." Now it was Cembran's turn to shiver.

As they continued through the carnival, an attraction caught Travis's eye and he pointed it out to Cembran. "Does that look familiar to you?"

Cembran looked where Travis was pointing, and stopped. "I ... I.... It can't be."

Travis shook his head slowly. "God, I sure hope not."

The barker out front was yelling that the next show was in five minutes. Without thinking, Travis handed him the money for two admissions and they entered the brightly colored tent.

Inside, they found themselves in an area big enough for twenty people with canvas on three sides and a curtain at the far end that covered what appeared to be the side of a trailer. As they waited, a few other people filed in and, just before the show started, Travis saw Dovino, Phillip, and Jeremy enter the tent. The three of them saw Travis and Cembran and stood quietly next to them, dread and curiosity plain on their faces. The five of them stood together, waiting for the show to begin.

"Before we begin, I caution you ... no loud noises or sudden movements. Ladies and gentlemen, we are pleased to present 'Manimal,' half man and half animal." The curtain in front parted.

Travis was speechless as he stared, while he heard Cembran whisper, "Oh my god ... oh my god...."

* * * *

Chapter Two

Travis could feel Cembran shaking against him as his soft words of disbelief washed over him. Gently, he slipped his arm around Cembran, pulling him close as he stared in disbelief at the scene in front of him.

The curtain retracted fully to reveal a small stage. Standing on the stage were two huge men each holding the end of a heavy chain and carrying tasers. In between the two men was what looked to be a satyr with a collar around his neck, with the chain the two men were holding attached to it. As Travis looked, he realized that this wasn't some faked carnival act; this was a real, live satyr complete with long horns, strong hairy chest, and hair-covered legs. He did, however, appear to have human-like feet, indicating to Travis that while he was probably mostly satyr, he did have some human blood. Travis looked into the eyes of what appeared to be a very strong satyr, but saw only resignation, despair, and confusion. Travis turned to Cembran, whispering into his ear, "He appears almost drugged."

Cembran shook his head slowly. "He's been broken." Moving slowly, Cembran edged closer to the stage and Travis heard him speak very softly: "Trau va aided."

Travis heard Cembran, but he didn't understand what he said. However, he did see the satyr raise his head and look into Cembran's eyes before lowering his gaze back to the floor.

Cembran stepped back to Travis and motioned for Dovino. "Do you speak Old Satyr?" Dovino nodded his head slowly. "Then follow my lead."

Cembran smiled and started to speak to Dovino. Back and forth they talked. Their speech was slow and deliberate, their attention focused on each other.

Travis watched as the gaze of the satyr on stage zeroed in on their conversation and his body went rigid. The two handlers reacted to his change in posture and got their tasers ready. Travis gently put his hand on Cembran's shoulder, their conversation tapered off, and the satyr on stage seemed to relax. The curtain began to close and everyone in the tent began to file toward the exit.

The five of them exited the tent in silence, stunned by what they'd seen. The fun of the carnival was forgotten as their thoughts focused on the captured satyr. Slowly, and without thought, they walked back to the car and headed back to the farm. The ride was silent, the only noise the sound of the engine and the tires on the pavement.

Arriving back at the farm, they walked silently down the path to the farm, each separating as the path diverged toward their homes. At the fork in the path, Travis broke the silence. "Come for breakfast in the morning; we need to talk."

Everyone nodded slowly and without another word stepped down their respective paths.

Near the house, Cembran spoke, his voice unsteady. "I need to make sure the animals are bedded down for the night."

"I'll help you."

Together they checked on the sheep and goats before heading back to the house and getting ready for bed.

Travis got cleaned up and joined Cembran in their bed. "Lamb, are you...?"

Cembran turned toward Travis, a tear streaking his face. "How can they do that to him?"

Travis pulled Cembran to him, hugging him close. "To them he's an animal, not a person with thoughts and feelings."

"They've broken his spirit. No satyr would ever voluntarily allow himself to be collared like that. It goes against everything in our nature. Parts of him should be screaming for release, but he seems so resigned." More tears flowed down Cembran's face as he spoke, his emotions very close to the surface.

"I think he understood at least part of what you were saying." Travis's hand stroked down Cembran's back, trying to soothe his mate.

"I hope so. I tried not to look at him while we were speaking so I wouldn't alert..." Cembran screwed up his face with a look of distaste, "the guards."

Travis could finally feel Cembran starting to relax. "What did you say, Lamb?"

"Initially I asked if he needed help, and that seemed to get a slight reaction, so I thought he might have understood me." Travis nodded and kissed Cembran's forehead, silently urging him to continue. "When I was talking to Dovino, I told him our names and that we were satyrs, and that we could try to help him." Cembran gazed into Travis's eyes, looking for reassurance. "I said we lived nearby, and that was when you touched my shoulder."

Travis hugged Cembran close, nuzzling his neck softly, "He got tense, and the guards looked like they might use their tasers. I'm glad you understood my signal." Travis smiled. "You did good, Lamb, really good. That was quick thinking, conversing with Dovino like that. To the guards, you looked like tourists speaking a foreign language."

Cembran took a deep breath and let it out. "What do we do now?"

"I don't know, but we'll figure it out in the morning." Cembran nodded against Travis's chest as he curled close.

"Are we going to try to help him?" For Cembran the question was more a matter of form than anything else. He knew without a doubt that Travis was going to try to help. When Travis was made a satyr by Bacchus himself, he was charged with taking care of Bacchus's children, and that was a charge Travis took very seriously.

"Of course we are." Travis voice was firm, without any doubt. "Try to sleep, Lamb." Travis lifted Cembran's chin, kissing him softly. "I love you."

"I love you too." Cembran held Travis tight as he tried to fall asleep.

Travis woke early to something that had become very unusual: an empty bed. Both Travis and Cembran woke early to complete their farm chores, usually together, having a few quiet moments together before starting their day. Travis slipped out of bed and padded into the kitchen. The room smelled of fresh coffee, but the house appeared otherwise empty and quiet. Pouring himself a cup, he sipped the hot liquid as he padded back into the bedroom to get dressed.

Travis had just finished dressing when he heard the door open and close. "Travis, are you up yet?" Gathod's voice boomed through the house.

Stepping out of the bedroom, Travis smiled as he met Gathod around the table, "Hell yes, I'm up, and I've even had my first cup of coffee."

Gathod returned the smile and then got serious. "Cembran called me this morning and told me about the carnival last night."

Travis sat at the table and sighed. "Yeah. It was definitely a shock to see a satyr in a collar and chains being paraded around like some sort of freak."

Cembran called from the kitchen as he made breakfast. "You know, I think he understood what Dovino and I were saying, or at least part of what we were saying in Old Satyr."

Gathod shifted in his chair, looking at Cembran. "Do you think he could be a wild satyr?"

Cembran shrugged. "I suppose it's possible. But where could he have come from? There haven't been any wild satyrs since before I was born."

Travis sipped his coffee. "What's a wild satyr?"

Gathod returned his gaze back to the table, staring into his coffee mug before looking at Travis. "A wild satyr is one whose animal characteristics rule his personality. They may be wild all their lives or..." Gathod thought for a second, "some event may have triggered the animal portion of his personality to take over."

Travis set down his coffee. "You mean, some traumatic event, like being held captive with a collar around his neck and controlled by men with chains and tasers?"

"Yeah, that's exactly what I mean. I don't know for sure, but it's a good possibility that, as a survival mechanism, his animal nature has taken over in order to help him cope with being a captive." Gathod shuddered involuntarily. "So what are we going to do?"

"I don't really know yet. But I do know that we need more information and we need it fast. The carnival is only in town for two more days and then they pack up and head for god knows where." Cembran had just finished making breakfast when the door opened and Dovino, Phillip, and Jeremy strode inside, their noses leading the way. Travis grinned. "I knew they wouldn't miss breakfast."

A chorus of good-mornings and hugs followed as greetings were exchanged and the newcomers took places around the table. Dovino sipped his coffee. "Were we interrupting anything?"

Travis smiled. "No, actually, you're right on time. We were just saying that we need more information."

The three young satyrs looked at one another, silent messages traveling between them. "After our chores, the three of us will head back into town and scope out the carnival. We'll try to find out what we can. Hopefully we can figure out where they're keeping him," Dovino again spoke for the group.

All three of the young satyrs nodded, but it was Jeremy who spoke this time. "I can't imagine being caged up like that. Did you see the look in his eyes? He looked so sad and defeated. Like he'd been broken."

"He must have been broken." The anger was plain in Phillip's voice, which startled Travis a little. "No satyr would ever voluntarily allow himself to be collared like that ... not even as part of sex."

All five heads in the room nodded in agreement. They all knew that being collared was a sign of slavery and that no satyr would ever allow it. No way, no how ... it went against every satyr instinct. Even light bondage during sex was only done under conditions of strict trust, and even then it was quite rare. Travis and Cembran, while they trusted each other implicitly, had tried it only a very few times and found that it wasn't something they could add to their regular sex life. While they found it pleasurable, their instincts kept rebelling against the captivity.

Breakfast was ready, and Cembran put steaming plates of pancakes with homemade maple syrup, bacon, and sausage in front of each of them before taking his own chair next to Travis. "I think Travis and I need to see the Manimal show again."

"Are you sure, Lamb?" Travis set down his fork, looking into his lover's eyes.

"Yes. I think we need to try to get a message to him. I think we need to find out for sure if he truly wants to be rescued." Forks clinked against plates as utensils were dropped. Cembran looked around the table at expressions that ranged from shock to disbelief. Cembran continued eating, ignoring their shock. "What if it's just a show and he's really happy with the carnival?" His words were still met with expressions of disbelief. Cembran shook his head. "I'm just saying, we need to be sure."

Travis slipped an arm around Cembran's back. "You're right. We do need to be certain. We'll go into town this afternoon and see the show again. You'll have to think of a way that he'll be able to answer you without letting anyone know."

Cembran nodded slowly. "I'll have to give that some thought." Cembran looked around the table, scolding the other men lightly. "Eat up before it gets cold."

After breakfast, the three youngsters headed down to the barns to complete their chores, followed shortly by Cembran, while Travis cleaned up the breakfast dishes, and Gathod lingered over another cup of coffee. "So, what do you want me to do?"

"I need you to research wild satyrs. Call whoever you need. Brock, Steven.... "Travis let his voice trail off as a thought took hold. "Say, you might contact Dovino's father back in Switzerland. I bet there are people in the satyr village who'll know and can tell us something about wild satyrs."

"Okay, I can do that. When should we meet to compare notes?"

"Let's meet here for dinner and to decide on a plan, if we need one, depending on what information Cembran and I can gather."

Gathod finished his coffee. "Good deal. Do you want me to tell Doug what's going on? He may have some information."

"Okay, but be careful. We can't put him in a difficult position."

"Yeah, I know, and I wouldn't want to." Gathod and Doug had been together for almost three years and Travis knew that they had few secrets from each other. "But I really hate keeping secrets from him."

"I know. Tell him what you need to tell him. I trust that you and he will know what to do."

* * * *

Chapter Three

"Travis, everyone will be here in a little while." Cembran slipped his arms over Travis's shoulders as he sat quietly staring at the fireplace mantel in their living room.

"Thank you, Lamb." Travis's attention didn't waver from the delicate carvings that graced the mantel. Most of them had been carved over the years by Cembran, and they depicted their family of a sort. One side of the mantel housed a grouping of gentle animals that Cembran had carved during the years that he was alone on the farm. The other side of the mantel had groupings of the people who made up Travis and Cembran's family. Whenever Travis needed to think, he'd sit and stare at the figures that Cembran had carved with such love. "I'm just thinking how to best keep your promise."

Cembran rested his chin on Travis's shoulder while his cheek gently caressed Travis's. "I know and I'm sorry I put you in this situation."

Startled, Travis turned toward his mate, meeting his loving, caring eyes. "Don't be sorry at all. I'm not. I probably would have done the same thing." Travis raised his arms around Cembran, shifting him for better access to his lips. "You did the right thing ... we have to help. I'm just not certain exactly how ... yet." Travis kissed Cembran gently; Cembran returned the gesture, adding a touch of heat and passion.

Their lips pressed together, tongues exploring mouths they knew intimately and yet found new with each kiss. Slowly, Cembran shifted in front of Travis, their mouths and tongues caressing, nibbling, definitely signaling more.... Cembran moaned softly as Travis pulled him onto his lap, an arm circling around his waist while fingers carded through soft ringlet curls. Cembran gasped softly, "Lemmle, I don't know if we...."

His thought was cut off by a soft knock and a laughing call. "Are you decent?"

Travis gave Cembran another kiss before answering. "Yes. Come in, Gathod. As usual, your timing is perfect."

Travis's familiar sarcasm made Gathod smile. "You never know with you two lovebirds."

Cembran smiled and started to get up, but Travis pulled him gently back onto his lap, holding him close, not ready to give up the closeness and warmth of Cembran's body next to his.

Gathod smiled to himself and made himself at home, pouring a cup of coffee while Travis and Cembran talked quietly to each other. Travis and Cembran were very demonstrative in their love and they weren't shy or slight with their affection for each other when they were in the company of trusted friends. Their simple displays of true affection and the love for each other those acts demonstrated were an inspiration to many of the people in their lives. "Lemmle, I need to start dinner."

Travis reluctantly released Cembran with a kiss and offered Gathod a chair. "Did you find out anything from Dovino's father?"

"Yes. Darifo was as helpful as he could be, but he only had limited information." Gathod looked around. "Are the boys joining us?"

"Yes, they should be here in a few minutes. You might as well wait and tell everyone at the same time." No sooner had the words escaped his lips than he heard a knock on the door. "Come in, boys." The three young satyrs strode into the room, talking animatedly between themselves. "Sit down. Cembran is fixing dinner, and Gathod was just about to tell us what he learned from Darifo."

Dovino leaned forward. "What did my father say, Gathod?"

Gathod settled in his chair. "He didn't know a great deal about 'wild satyrs.' But he did tell me that true wild satyrs were very rare and probably wouldn't have understood what Cembran was saying." Gathod had everyone's undivided attention.

"So what's the deal with him?" Cembran asked from the kitchen. "He clearly understood me."

"Darifo said it was very possible that the satyr in the carnival was probably a regular satyr who had been captured." Travis furrowed his brow but remained silent, not wanting to interrupt Gathod. "Darifo told me that if a satyr had been captured some time ago, and if he'd been caged and treated like an animal, then the animalistic side of his nature might take hold of his personality. In short, he could almost revert to being an animal."

Travis leaned forward. "That makes sense. From what we've seen, he was being treated like an animal with the chains, collar, and tasers. But if we rescue him, will his animalistic nature remain in control or will his human-like tendencies come to the front?"

Gathod shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know, and neither did Darifo. I think the best we can do is hope."

Phillip had remained quiet through the conversation. Now he spoke. "Regardless, I think we have to help him." Dovino and Jeremy nodded vehemently in agreement.

"This afternoon when Cembran and I attended the show, Cembran was able to ask him if he wanted help. According to Cembran, he indicated that he did. And Cembran promised that we'd help him. So, the question is not if we'll help, but what are we going to do? We don't have much time. The carnival packs up in two days."

Cembran brought the food to the table. "Then it looks like we have some planning to do, which will be easier on full stomachs." Everyone took that as their cue that dinner was ready and headed to the table. As they ate, everyone threw out ideas and suggestions, while relating the information they'd been able to gather at the carnival that afternoon. By the end of the evening, they'd developed a basic plan.

After everyone had left and the house was quiet, Cembran took a thoughtful Travis by the hand and, after turning out the lights, quietly led him into their bedroom and closed the door with a hushed click.

Travis sat on the edge of their bed, deep in thought. Cembran sat next to him. "Lemmle, what's bothering you?"

"I don't really know, Lamb. I think I'm nervous about bringing a wild satyr into our home."

Cembran shifted his weight on top of Travis, gently pressing him back onto the bed. "Trav ... remember, he is a satyr and he won't do anything to harm us."

"How do you know? How can you be so sure?" The doubt in Travis's voice was unsettling for Cembran. He was used to a confident, assured Travis, not someone who doubted what he had to do, what he knew was right.

"I just know, Lemmle. I don't think he's particularly violent, just lost and confused. Besides, he's a satyr, we're satyrs, and we're probably the only ones who can help him."

Travis pulled Cembran close, the weight on top of him familiar, reassuring. "I know, and I know we're doing the right thing. It's just hard.... "Travis smiled as he looked into Cembran's loving eyes. "I know, Lamb ... who said doing the right thing was easy?" Travis took a deep breath. "I just don't want anything or anyone to threaten the ones I love."

"That's part of why I love you so much." Cembran kissed Travis hard, his passion rising along with his almost instinctive need to comfort his mate. "You take care of everyone." Cembran scooted Travis back onto the bed until his head rested against the pillows before turning off the light. He whispered softly in the nearly dark room, his words wrapping around Travis like a blanket., "Tonight, let me take care of you."

Travis smiled against Cembran's lips as he nodded slowly to avoid breaking contact, while Cembran's fingers carded through his hair, adding pressure to their kiss. After a few seconds, Cembran's lips pulled back from his, only to reappear at the nape of his neck, nibbling and sucking against his skin, while long fingers opened his shirt before peeling it away from his body. Travis felt rather than saw Cembran lift his body just before his hot lips and tongue attached to a now-hard nipple. "Lamb..." Travis half-moaned, half-whined. Cembran smiled as he nibbled gently against the hard bud, listening to Travis's short, panting breath. Cembran released Travis's nipple only to repeat the same treatment on the other. His fingers unfastened Travis's belt before opening his pants and slipping a hand inside, sliding his palm along Travis's hard length. "Fuck ... Lamb...."

Cembran brought his lips to Travis's ear. "Not yet. That comes later."

"Oh ... god.... "Travis was panting deeply as Cembran cupped his balls in the palm of his hot hand. "I'm getting close...."

"Not yet." Cembran's tongue flicked along Travis's ear as his hand slowly withdrew from Travis's pants. Travis then felt Cembran's weight lift off the bed and he watched as Cembran stepped into the soft moonlight from the window. Slowly, deliberately, Cembran slipped off his shirt before opening his pants and letting them rustle to the floor.

Travis watched with rapt attention as Cembran climbed back onto the bed, straddling his legs. Deft fingers slipped Travis's shirt off his shoulders. Then his pants were slipped off his hips and down his legs. "Lamb.... "Travis was throbbing with anticipation and need.

A finger settled against Travis's lips, quieting him. "Just relax, Lemmle."

"I'm trying, Lamb, honest."

Cembran again straddled Travis's hips, his cock rubbing against Travis's stomach as he leaned forward, kissing Travis hard. Reaching to the bedside table, Cembran lubed his fingers and stroked along Travis's length.

Travis hissed softly as Cembran's fingers glided along his length. Then he felt Cembran shift and he hissed again as Cembran sank onto him, taking him inside his hot, tight body.

"Don't move, Lemmle. This is for you." Slowly Cembran rose off Travis and then dropped back down. Travis thrust his hips forward, but Cembran stilled him by placing his hands on Travis's lower stomach. "Let me.... "Cembran set a steady pace, raising and lowering himself onto Travis.

The sensations and pleasure washed over Travis in waves. Giving control to Cembran was driving him out of his mind with desire. Cembran's hot passage gripped Travis tightly as he watched as Cembran stroked himself. Every time he tried to move, Cembran stilled him, so now his fists clawed at the bedding as he watched Cembran descend into bliss. "Lamb ... sweet Lamb.... "Travis felt Cembran's love reach out to him, and his love for his mate responded. Their hearts joined together, their love adding to their passion. Since giving each other their Triuwes years before, their mate bond had grown stronger, and sometimes when they made love, particularly when one of them needed to feel the other most, their hearts would reach out to each other--and tonight Travis needed to feel that special connection with Cembran. "Lamb, I can't last ... much ... longer."

"Neither ... can ... I." Cembran was panting loudly as he brought their bodies together, and their climaxes crashed over them. Travis felt Cembran's release on his stomach as he emptied himself deep inside his beloved.

Travis pulled a trembling Cembran to him, wrapping his arms around his back as he brought their lips together. "You're incredible, Lamb."

Cembran smiled as he took another kiss before letting Travis slip from his body, and settled on the bed next to his mate. Reluctant to break contact with Travis, Cembran grudgingly got up from the bed and fetched a warm cloth from the bathroom. After cleaning them both, he put the cloth away and rejoined Travis in their bed. "We need to sleep, Lemmle. We have a long day ahead of us." Cembran settled next to Travis, his head resting on his shoulder, an arm around his waist.

"And an even longer night." Travis cradled Cembran in his arms as they fell asleep.

Travis woke first, the worry and concern from the night before a thing of the past, washed away with his mate's loving. Cembran was still asleep as the morning sun peeked through their bedroom window. Reluctantly, Travis carefully got out of bed, kissed Cembran gently on the forehead, and padded off to the bathroom. When he returned, Cembran was stretching, his long, lean body laid out for Travis's delight. "Damn ... you make me want to go back to bed, Lamb."

Cembran's eyes sparkled as they raked over Travis's nakedness. "I could say the same about you, Lemmle, but we have chores to do." Cembran climbed out of bed, stepping to where Travis stood. "But maybe this afternoon we can go swimming and nap in the shade." The wicked twinkle in Cembran's eye was enough to get Travis moving.

The sun was just over the trees and they were both outside. Travis kissed Cembran softly as he headed to the vegetable garden while Cembran took the path to the goat barn. As he started working, Travis saw Dovino, Phillip, and Jeremy heading down to the barns to start their chores. All three of them waved to Travis as they walked, and Travis settled into his normal daily routine. There was work to be done and it wasn't going to get done on its own.

The rest of the day passed quietly, and at dinner, Travis and Cembran reviewed the plan for the evening, making sure they hadn't forgotten anything. In an unusual turn of events, it was Cembran who seemed nervous. "When do we need to leave?"

Travis ran his hand along Cembran's back. "The carnival closes at midnight, so we'll leave then. We need to give them time to close up and settle for the night. I've already got the tools we think we'll need in the car. We both need to wear dark clothes--jeans and a black T-shirt should work. We don't want to look suspicious, and that's how I saw a lot of the carnival workers dressed." Cembran nodded. He knew all this, but it was good to hear it again. "With any luck we'll look like the other workers and we can get close enough to the trailer to open it and get him out."

"What I don't understand is how are we going to disguise him once he's outside?"

"I'm counting on darkness and a quick trip to the car." Cembran looked worried. "I know it's not the best plan, but it's all we can do on short notice and I'm not exactly an expert on breaking satyrs out of cages."

"I know, and I think if we're quiet, we can get away with it. After all, the carnival is in a public place, so they can't really stop us from being there."

"That's the one thing in our favor. By putting the carnival on the main street of town, it means that there will be people on the street most of the night--not many, granted, but that should help distract from us." Travis could tell Cembran was nervous; heck, he was nervous too. "Let's finish dinner so we can get a nap before we need to leave. We'll need to be alert. Gathod, Dovino, Jeremy, and Phillip should be here in a few hours."

"Yeah, I think I could use one." After finishing the dishes, Travis led Cembran to their bedroom, where they held each other and dozed until they heard a knock on the door and a familiar "Are you decent?" called from the living room.

Getting out of bed, Cembran changed while Travis met Gathod in the living room and went to start a pot of coffee. Cembran joined them as the other members of their group arrived. After a final discussion and review of the plans, the six of them walked to Travis's car and Gathod's truck for the ride into town. The three occupants of Travis's car were quiet as they rode along the country roads. Arriving in town, they parked in a public lot and waited for Gathod's truck, which pulled into the spot a few minutes later. Once everyone was out, Travis motioned for the group to gather between the vehicles. "Okay, this is your last chance. Is everybody ready? If you want to back out, say so now." Travis held his hand over his heart. "There's no shame in it." The other five met Travis's eyes and said nothing. "Okay. Let's rescue a satyr."

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