Prologue: Voyeur

Alan waited in the linen closet and watched as the Elder positioned a gagged Derek on his lap. They couldn’t see him, of course. If Derek knew he were here he would be killed for sure. But this was his reward for his good behavior from the Elder: he got to watch the Elder discipline Derek.

Derek was gagged partially to intensify his experience, but also because what the Elder was about to do would leave temporary marks on his body and the overzealous guards that were still stationed outside might consider them enough cause to separate the two of them if they heard any noise. And there was bound to be noise. Derek wouldn’t protest – he was about to thoroughly enjoy what was about to happen to him – and they couldn’t remove the Elder for temporary marks, but they could still wreak havoc on a developing relationship.

When Derek was sprawled across the Elder’s lap, Alan let his pants drop to the floor and his hand wander down to his cock. This was why he was here. The first spank was all pain and Derek’s body shuddered. But it was quickly followed up by pleasure, as the Elder was wont to do, his fingers curling as he spanked so that he struck the boy’s balls in the motion and caused a ripple of pleasure throughout Derek’s body. The stifled cry of the first blow transformed into a moan, luckily both barely audible thanks to the gag.

The Elder began alternating painful and pleasurable strikes with skill, testing Derek’s endurance for pain and then relieving him with pleasure at the last possible minute. Derek’s body shuddered and released and Alan could see that his cock was hard as a rock with all of the stimulation. So he was turned on by pain. Good. He would need that if he was with the Elder. Pain and pleasure were the yin and yang and both were requirements. Alan had spent enough time in the Elder’s bed these past few months to taste the Elder’s true punishments and he knew that this was not punishment, this was reward.

He knew that Scott and the new student were arriving on campus soon and that was related to this session, because Derek had a crush on Scott, but he had thought that it was worked out between Derek and the Elder. Or perhaps, he thought as he stroked himself and listened to Derek’s stifled moans, this was a reminder to Derek that Derek truly belonged to the Elder even if he were allowed to go after Scott. Derek quivered under the Elder’s skillful hands and Alan stifled a moan of his own, knowing that discovery would be far worse than death.

If he were discovered, he would be killed, yes. But moments before his execution, his beloved dragon would have his neck torn out by the Elder’s dragon, who was off in the forest with his dragon even as he watched the scene unfold before him as a precaution. A safeguard to ensure his silence even as he enjoyed his reward. The Elder gave, but took as well, and everything with him was a double-edged sword. It had been similar with Ashton, but never so cruel. Ashton had a measure of kindness and knew when to stop. The Elder was a monster with no notion of human compassion.

He still remembered what the Elder looked like when Alan had first encountered him. A corpse. A decaying corpse. There was flesh on the bones, just enough to cover him, but the skin was rotting and nearly black with decay. The voice had been harsh with misuse and the death of much of the voice box. After the man had killed a single dragon, though, he had been transformed from a wandering zombie into an elderly man, with flexible skin and a full covering of flesh. A few more kills and he became younger and stronger, and quite attractive. After his third kill the Elder had taken him into his bed and Alan hadn’t minded. Though the image of the corpse was still real, it seemed so distant from the handsome man seducing him.

Now, after eight kills, the Elder appeared a handsome man in his mid-thirties who could seduce any man he set his heart on. And he had fixed on Derek. Alan knew it was primarily for political reasons, but he also knew the Elder had a soft spot for the boy due to his relationship to Ashton.

Ashton. There was a real man, Alan thought. He missed Ashton more than he could express. Ashton had trusted him without requiring a hostage. Ashton had given his responsibility. Ashton had trusted him with his son, no less, and ensuring that his son face death in order to gain a stronger bond with his dragon. Alan was the only one who could be trusted to kill Ashton’s son. No one else would have done it, he knew, but Alan could be trusted to do anything for his Ashton.

As he watched Derek gagged and moaning, he realized that this was part of the allure of the scene before him. Derek looked remarkably like Ashton in many ways, so watching Derek make love was like watching Ashton. And watching Ashton, who had always been in control in the bedroom, be mastered like this was an incredible turn on. Alan’s hand stroked harder and faster as he imagined Ashton being spanked into a frenzy and he imagined himself doing the spanking. He had always wanted to master Ashton, even while Ashton was mastering him. Seeing Derek like this was almost like a dream come true.

He began breathing heavily and knew it wouldn’t be long for him, or for Derek. Would the Elder make Derek come from the spanking or would they make love? He wasn’t sure. Either would be in character for the two of them and Derek was so desperate he would take either: he looked like he just wanted release. Which was exactly where the Elder wanted him.

The Elder stopped abruptly and there was a muffled denial, a muffled plea for more. The Elder whispered something in Derek’s ear and pulled him onto the bed. So they were going to make love in addition to the spanking. Alan tried to slow down his strokes so he wouldn’t come too soon. Derek lay on his back and the Elder stroked down his body with light fingers, then spread his legs. Derek tried to push down on him and the Elder chided him. Derek, still gagged, made a muffled whine. Alan was still hard and watched their play as he tried to keep from coming. The Elder had so much control, and seeing the Ashton lookalike submitting like this was making him hotter than usual.

Finally, the Elder penetrated Derek and Derek tossed his head back in pleasure. The Elder began thrusting, expertly controlling Derek’s body. Alan bit his lip and felt himself release just as Derek’s body convulsed. Alan’s come sprayed against the door of the closet, joining a collection from previous visits, and he let out a breath as silently as he could, a staggered, long sigh as the pleasure drained from his body and left him exhausted. The closet was locked and Derek would never find it, but Alan always felt a little awkward leaving traces of himself here even if the Elder insisted on it.

Derek and the Elder finished their lovemaking and talking afterwards, and finally – what seemed like a century – Derek left. The Elder came to his closet and let him out. He had his pants back up and desperately had to pee, which he did promptly before returning to the Elder.

“Are you satisfied?” the Elder said. “You will tell the others?”

“Of course, Elder,” Alan said, remembering the other reason he was here aside from his reward. “I’ll speak to them immediately.”

“All of them, Alan. Councilmembers, too. I don’t just want the rabble in the mountains.”

“All of them, Elder.”

“Then hurry up.”

The Elder took him to the side door and practically shoved him out. He stumbled slightly and the Elder did not offer him a hand, instead the man shut the door in his face. The Elder was not a kind man, he thought again. He could be sweet as sugar to the people he wanted to lull, but to his own men, he was ruthless. But because his dragon’s life was at stake, Alan would do what he wanted. He would pretend that the Elder was not the man that Alan knew him to be. He would pretend that the man’s sweetness was his reality. He would pretend anything to save his dragon’s life, even if it meant dragging eight other men’s dragons to their deaths. But luckily no one knew of his involvement in that, or they would kill him for sure.

He scurried through campus, his dragon’s gift protecting him from prying eyes. It wasn’t that his dragon could make people not notice him, but it confused the dragons and when the dragons couldn’t sense a person, their human partners rarely noticed them as well. So he managed to get through campus without notice and he reached the forest and the mist that surrounded it. After walking for a ways, he finally reaching the clearing where his dragon was. The Elder’s dragon was no longer there, but his dragon was still frightened and looking around for the larger one. He reassured the dragon, then summoned the other people who had been waiting for his signal.

They arrived within thirty minutes. All of them, even the council members as the Elder had been worried about, men and women. The council members arrived last, as they had been having a private meeting following the meeting with Derek. He knew Derek and the council had been discussing the new student and his shocking actions in bonding with a dragon outside of the first year exam, something no one had thought possible. The new student (and Scott) were heading to Spokane and would be here tomorrow, and there was a lot to discuss. And after Derek had left for his private ‘discussion’ with the Elder, the council had met for longer to discuss their own matters in this regard. Now the members loyal to Ashton were coming to talk to him, meaning they were coming from almost five straight hours of meetings and would be exhausted and not apt to cooperate.

The other members of the meeting were the people loyal to Ashton who had fled from both campuses when Ashton was killed. They had lived outside Portland until the new campus was formed, when they had relocated there to be closer to Ashton’s son. They were loyal to Derek, but couldn’t express their loyalty because Jamie, the Queen in Portland, was still technically in control of both campuses. Until Derek took full control of his campus, they were relegated to the mountains and had to hide their existence. The dragons knew where they were, but since the dragons didn’t want a war, the dragons refused to disclose their location.

Alan stood at the front of the clearing and called everyone to attention. He barely got everyone’s attention, however, when a council member demanded his attention.

“When is Derek going to take control of the campus as he should? This Elder seems to be in control now, not Ashton’s son.”

Alan smiled and spread his hands. “The Elder is teaching Derek the old ways, just as Ashton was taught.”

“He’s teaching him to kill dragons?” someone asked, the horror evident in his voice.

“No,” Alan said emphatically. “He’s only teaching Derek what Derek wants to know. But Derek wants to know how to lead the way that Ashton led, and the Elder is teaching him. The Elder is an ally in this mission and understands that Derek’s position as Ashton’s son is unique and valuable.”

There was some silence and talking.

“Does the Elder know Ashton?” a voice full of skepticism asked.

Alan took a breath. This was his one bargaining piece, his information that had to win them over to his side. He hoped he was using it properly. Speaking to crowds and convincing them had never been his strong suit.

“Ashton learned everything he knew from the Elder,” he said.

Silence. Then interested murmuring as people turned to each other.

“The Elder was Ashton’s teacher?” someone asked.

“Yes,” Alan said, “and he will be Derek’s as well.”

The talking continued for quite a long time and he wasn’t able to understand most of it, but it sounded positive. Finally, one of the council members yelled for silence and to Alan’s surprise, everyone obeyed.

“We will accept the Elder being here, teaching Derek, but only if he teaches Derek what we approve of and only with the knowledge that we follow Derek, not the Elder.”

“The Elder is only teaching him in accordance with Tarragon law,” Alan said. “There is nothing to object to.”

The council member looked like he was about to object again, then shrugged. He had probably been arguing all day and didn’t feel like asserting the council’s power over every little thing for any longer.

“But he must understand,” the council member said. “We serve Derek, not the Elder. That goes for all of us here.”

“I will make sure he knows,” Alan said, hoping the Elder would take the news well. He didn’t want to withstand another punishment.

“Well then, I think this meeting is over. Let’s go, everyone.”

Alan watched everyone disperse. Luckily he didn’t have anything else to say but he was a little pissed that he wasn’t the one to dismiss the meeting. Clearly they viewed him as someone with very little power, and to be honest that was a fairly accurate description. He served the Elder and that was it. He was nothing else, not anymore. When he served Ashton he had status: he was one of Ashton’s hitmen and people were wary of him. But now he couldn’t admit to being the Elder’s hitman or else he would be killed, and so would his dragon. He sighed. It was a humbling demotion, but it was one he would get used to. He had to get used to it. Death was his only other option.

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