The Wind Court makes its home on the rocky slopes of Mount Ossa. The mountain itself squats in a forest of broad-leafed oaks and scrubby hazel bushes. It ascends to a summit of bare rock that stares north across the Vale of Tempe to Mount Olympus. There is a small house tucked into the northern side of the mountain, where the forest gives way to beech and chestnut trees. The cottage is simple in its lines, unassuming, and oft-overlooked by travelers who are making their way to the Wind Court. The walls are white-washed stone and the roof is shingled with red-clay tiles. A golden trumpet hangs from a nail on the door.
Vera was certain they would find both Iris and Pandora’s jar there and insisted they set out immediately. Evander and Sam had argued they should wait for the dawn; Vera rejected their plan and declared that she was not leaving Iris and one of the most precious treasures in all the worlds in the hands of that idiot for one more second than I’ve got to. I don’t care who she used to serve. I have found the girl on a good Malaysian escort site.
The sun had set and the night sky was washed in stars. Sam shifted to his hound-form as they walked toward the cottage. Every Familiar had an animal-form that complemented the magic of their Votaress. Sam’s was a massive wire-haired wolfhound. He scented the air for danger, then nudged Vera’s hand, letting her know it was safe to knock without triggering a magical trap.
A woman opened the door. She was small, with keen eyes and a mop of tousled black hair piled high on her head. Her mouth dropped open when she saw Vera and she slammed the door shut. Evander’s hand shot out to block it and the wood creaked and splintered against his fist.
“Daemon of Rumor, Messenger of Zeus, it’s good to see you.” Vera used the woman’s old honorifics, hoping to purchase some good will. The woman might have been a kidnapper and a thief, but she had also served Zeus in the days of the Olympians. She had fallen, as had many over the passing millennia. Now she served as Messenger of the Wind Court.
“No one calls me by those names anymore.”
Vera pinched the bridge of her nose and tried again. “We’re here because we want–”
“You might as well come inside,” the woman interrupted and stepped out of the way, “and call me Ossa.”
“Are Iris and the jar safe, Ossa?” Vera demanded.
“Of course. I would have given them back in a few days. It’s not like I was going to open the jar. I just wanted to see if the rumor was true. That is my job, although, Zeus had always bragged he’d given her a box. Imagine my surprise.”
“How did you even know the Mound of Gaia had Pandora’s jar?”
“The wind is full of secrets, but I shouldn’t have to tell you that, should I, dear?”
“Stop being cryptic,” Evander said. “Where’s Iris?”
Ossa rolled her eyes and pointed to an open door. Vera nodded to Sam and he trotted through the darkened doorway. Iris was asleep on a bed. He nuzzled at her elbow and whined, but she did not stir. He tried licking her cheek and she did not flinch. She clasped a clay jar against her breasts. It was a dull thing, plain as dirt, with no outer markings.
Strange, that so small a thing could topple all the worlds, he thought and stared into the space surrounding Iris’ body. He willed his hound-senses to root out the magic that held her captive. There was a simple sleep-charm wound around her body like a cord of living mist, its scent heady and sweet.
Sam returned to his human form, satisfied he had seen all he could, and rejoined Vera, Evander, and Ossa in the other room.
“Ossa’s got Iris in a charmed sleep, but it’s nothing that can’t be reversed,” he said.
“And the jar?” Vera asked.
“It’s a jar,” Ossa huffed a frustrated sigh.
Sam spared Ossa a withering glare before addressing Vera’s question. “She wasn’t lying. It hasn’t been opened,”
“How’d you know it was me?”
“Pandora’s wedding present. Everyone knew about the jar, but no one could remember how they knew, which was strange. Those of us who knew it existed were oath-bound to keep it a secret, but rumors about the damn thing were racing through the Temple like fire.”
“Or poison,” Evander snarled.
Ossa sulked. “This wasn’t even my best work.”
“All I needed was a few minutes without everyone’s panic jangling around in my head. Can I ask what the end game was?”
“I get bored.”
“Then go stir up trouble with the uninitiated,” Sam snapped. “There’s plenty for you to do out there. The entire dimension practically runs on rumor.”
“No,” Vera insisted. “Ossa isn’t going anywhere. There are enough problems on that side of the Passage. We don’t need Ossa stepping in and making things worse.”
Vera fell face-first onto their bed and rolled around on the duvet, relishing the scent of her family. She had missed her pillow and longed for the privacy of the home she shared with Sam and Evander. It had taken days to negotiate with the Wind Court for a safe place to store Pandora’s jar and find a way for Ossa to make up for the chaos she had caused in the Temple. It was good to be back after almost a week away. Time moved differently on either side of the Passage. Although it had taken five days to iron out everything in the Beyond, only three hours had passed in the uninitiated world.
“Roll over,” Evander said and flopped down next to her. Vera propped herself up on her elbows, flashing him a broad smile.
“Do you hear that?” Vera asked.
“I don’t hear anything.”
Sam wandered into the room, fresh from the shower, and snuggled into Evander’s other side. “What are we doing?”
“Vera says she hears something.”
Sam’s brow furrowed and he cocked his head.
Evander laughed. “You make the same face when you’re scenting as a hound.”
“I do not.” He slapped at Evander’s shoulder. “And I don’t hear anything.”
“Exactly. No bells, no chanting, no initiates. Just us.” Vera sighed and flipped onto her back. They were quiet, content to let time pass while they soaked in the freedom of home.
“I have a question,” Sam said, breaking the peace.
“Shoot.” Evander nudged Sam with his shoulder.
“Ossa, she’s a little bit different, isn’t she?” Vera’s eyebrows skated up to her hairline and Sam laughed. “Okay, dumb question, but she said something though, about Vera, remember?”
“Oh yeah, something about Vera knowing all about the voices in the wind,” Evander added, trying to mimic the high pitch of Ossa’s voice.
“Isn’t that a song?” Vera thought back over the conversation with Ossa. She remembered the comment. It had pricked at her, but she had been too relieved to have Iris and the jar back safe to examine it further.
“That’s dust, goofball,” Sam chided. “She was babbling about how the wind had told her about the jar and said something like I shouldn’t have to tell you that, to Vera. What the hell was that about?”
Vera scrubbed at her face with both hands. “Ossa’s pretty much been out of job since monotheism. I wouldn’t worry, she’s just trying to be relevant again.”
Sam shrugged and started to stand. Evander grabbed his wrist and dragged him across his body until he was straddling Evander’s waist. The towel he had slung around his hips was riding loose and low. Evander unwound it and tossed it onto the floor.
“It seems I’m naked,” he said. “How about that?”
“Yeah, how about that?” Vera chuckled. “I think I remember saying something about wanting to watch you ride Evander’s cock before the world went topsy-turvy.”
Evander slid his palms up Sam’s thighs, taking time to run his fingers over his abdomen, watching the muscles dance when Sam shivered.
“What do you think, puppy, shall we give the lady a show?”
Sam closed his eyes and rocked his hips as his shaft started to swell.
“I didn’t hear you, puppy. How about some fun play?” Evander’s chuckle was pure filth and Vera was struck by a flare of heat between her thighs.
“Yes.” Sam ground out when Evander started to circle his dusky nipples with the tips of his fingers, keeping his touch light and frustrating.
“Yes, please.” Sam’s voice shook with desire.
“That’s my good boy. Now, on your stomach,” Evander ordered and stepped out of the room.
Vera, not to be left out, stripped out of her clothes and sat with her back against the headboard. She slipped a hand between her legs and toyed with the slick folds of her sex. Her fingers danced over her clit and she luxuriated in the sweet curl of sensation that raced through her gut.
Sam lay his head next to Vera’s hip and she reached out to stroke his hair. His eyes were glassy and his pupils were blown wide. He was already sinking into the space where he could let his mind go. She thought about how the role of Familiar taxed Sam’s control. Evander was a Guardian. He was their family’s sheltering hand, a stalwart rampart of bone and blood that protected and nurtured them both.
Sam was a protector in his own right. Magic swirled through every fiber of his being; he safeguarded them against psychic attacks, leant energy to Vera when she was flagging, and used his powerful senses to ferret out profane magic. The explosion of rumor within the Temple had taken a toll on Vera. Sam had shielded her from the worst of it while they worked to seek a resolution with the Wind Court. Vera would not have been able to do it without him. If any of them deserved to let go and be pampered, it was Sam.
Evander returned from the bathroom, naked and hard. Vera’s mouth watered. He had a bottle of massage oil in one hand and a bottle of lube in the other. He straddled Sam’s ass and flipped the top on the massage oil. The room was flooded with the scent of sandalwood and sweet jasmine. Evander warmed the oil between his palms and swept his hands over Sam’s back, using broad strokes to massage muscles that had been held tense for days. He worked individual areas, kneading the tension out of Sam’s body. Vera felt her passion cool to a simmer while she watched Evander lavish Sam with attention and love. She ducked her head and pressed a gentle kiss to Sam’s forehead. His lips spread into a beatific smile.
The light from the streetlamps filtered through the curtains, giving their room a muzzy quality, like they were characters in each other’s dreams. Evander reached the globes of Sam’s ass, parting his legs so he could sit between them. He massaged each cheek moving from forceful strokes to a light glissade over Sam’s skin.
“Puppy, are you still with me?” Evander asked, tapping on Sam’s hip.
“What’s your color?”
“Good boy, now lift up on your knees for me, love.” Evander lifted Sam’s pelvis so he could slide his knees under his hips. Sam’s back bowed in a gorgeous curve from his ass to where his head lay on the bed, “You’re stunning, did you know that?”
Sam chuckled and shook his head. Evander was having none of his sass. He spanked Sam’s right ass cheek and Sam’s eyes popped open. Vera laughed.
“What was that, puppy? I didn’t hear you.”
“Yes. I know.”
“And how do you know?”
“Because you and Vera tell me every day.”
“That’s right. So. Fucking. Beautiful.” Evander smoothed his hand down Sam’s back, his voice rumbling in his chest. His hands returned to Sam’s ass and he spread his cheeks wide, holding him there, exposed. Sam squirmed beneath Evander’s gaze. Vera’s breath hitched when she saw Evander’s tongue dart out to wet his lips.
“I can see you twitching for me already,” he tightened his grip, digging his fingers into Sam’s ass cheeks, “I could watch you all day, make you present yourself to me while Vera sucked my cock. All the time, I’d know you were dying for me to get my mouth on you, eat you out until you were ready for me. Would you like that?”
Sam whined high in his throat.
“Words, puppy. If you don’t use your words, I’m going to stop and you won’t get anything.” Evander aimed a light smack right on the tender flesh at his center. Vera began to pluck at her own nipples, teasing herself, stoking the fire that burned within her body.
“Yes, Evy, please.”
“What do you want? Tell me what you want?”
“Your tongue. I want your tongue on me,” Sam begged.
Evander wasted no time diving in and licking Sam from his balls to his tailbone. He alternated sucking on Sam’s rim and tracing it with his tongue. Sam panted and moaned, his hips dipping as he sought relief from the sweet ache building in his staff. The wet sounds that Evander made were obscene and the room was thick with the scent of coupling and clean sweat. Vera spread her thighs wider, basking in the gathering storm of lust.
Sam was a babbling mess, bouncing between whispers of yes, and Gaia, and please, to unintelligible shouts. Evander leaned back and Sam made a strangled sound of protest.
“Color, puppy?” Evander took a moment to check in, making sure Sam hadn’t fallen too deep under desire’s spell.
“Fucking Green,” Sam panted. Evander tossed his head back barking a full belly laugh that tickled Vera from the top of her head to the tips of her toes. Evander uncapped the lube and spread it on his fingers. The first two sunk into Sam with no problem and he was quick start rocking back on Evander’s hand. Vera knew he was trying to get Evander to aim for the sensitive knot that held the key to his release, and so did Evander, who pulled his fingers out just enough to make Sam work for his pleasure.
Vera’s channel was throbbing, her fingers drifted over her clit, alternating firm strokes with the pop of a slap, sending a delicious stinging warmth through her core. Evander drew Sam upright, pressing his back against his chest, while he crooked the three fingers he had inside Sam and milked his prostate. Electric surges shook Sam’s body, but Evander had clapped a hand around the base of his shaft to keep him from reaching his climax. There was a straining cadence to Sam’s begging that was beautiful and Vera circled and flicked at her clit chasing the abandon she saw reflected in Sam’s expression.
Sam cried out when Evander withdrew his fingers and flipped them over. He lay flat, his head beside Vera’s with Sam was straddling him and grinding his cock against Evander’s abdomen.
“Puppy,” Evander snapped, pinching the tender spot on the underside of Sam’s ruddy crown, “What did our lovely Vera say she wanted?”
Sam’s mouth worked open and closed as he gasped for air. It was a phenomenal sight. He was ravaged beyond the ability to think clearly. Vera ground her hips up and into her own fingers, and her thighs shook. Her orgasm bloomed deep within her and she allowed it to grow, writhing as it pummeled her senses.
Sam groaned withher, like he was the one experiencing the toe-curling delight that was rushing along her spine. Evander’s eyes were bright with hunger and he gave a quick tug on Sam’s cock to get his attention. “Tell me what this magnificent woman said she wanted to watch?”
“She wanted me to ride your cock.”
“And will we give her what she wants, my sweet boy?”
Sam did not answer with words. He reached behind himself, angling over Evander’s length, and sliding down on him in one movement. Vera used both hands to pet at her womanhood, delighting in the jolts of too much that accompanied the tight little pinches she gave to her clit. Sam’s eyes rolled back in his head. His hips undulated against Evander’s body, circling one way and then another, while he plucked at the taught buds of nipples.
“That’s a good puppy. You’re exquisite like this.” Sam moaned and the flush from his cheeks spread down his throat to his chest. “You love fucking yourself on my cock, don’t you? You like to show off like the little beggar you are. Tell our Vera what you’ll do to get my dick in your ass.”
Sam whimpered, his hips rising a little higher and slapping down against Evander’s pelvis, “Anything. Anything you ask, Evy.”
The tendons in Evander’s neck were tight with strain and he held Sam’s hips in a death grip. It was clear to Vera that he was skirting the borders of his climax, holding himself back until Sam was wild with euphoria. She was captivated by the two of them, locked together, the sheen of sweat glistening off their chests. It was a stunning gift to watch Sam give himself over to Evander with complete trust.
“Next time I’m going to fuck Vera while you watch. I’ll stick a cage around your cock, a plug in that greedy little hole, and make you watch while I take her apart.” Sam’s breath was punched out of his lungs when Evander started fucking up into his ass. Vera was transfixed, her fingers flying over her clit.
“After we finish, I’d shove your face into her pussy and make you lick her clean. You’d love that, your tongue lapping up my seed as it drips out of her. I might even let you come, if you could get her off again.”
Sam keened, but Evander held him still as he fucked Sam’s pliant body, while Vera skirted the precipice of her second orgasm.
“Are you close, puppy?”
Sam was beyond speech. He nodded, his head rolling on his shoulders like a rag doll.
“You can touch yourself, puppy. Show Vera what a good boy you are. Come for her now.” Sam’s hand was on his own cock in an instant, spreading the slick of his own pre-come along his staff, his hand a blur.
“That’s right, come on, come for me now.” Sam sobbed and tipped over the edge, his body straining as his member pulsed with such force that a strip of come landed on Evander’s cheek. Evander followed moments later with a hoarse shout and then Vera tumbled after them, savoring the heat that pulsated deep inside her. She cried out and then sagged against the mattress, allowing the world to slip away.
Evander arranged Vera and Sam side-by-side. Vera surfaced while Evander was running a warm washcloth over Sam’s skin. His movements were gentle and Vera’s heart stuttered in her chest. There is no better place that this, she thought. She laid delicate touches on Sam’s cheeks, his nose, and his mouth, giggling when he captured her fingers with his lips and nibbled on the tips.