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Blood Enthrallment

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Knight-Commander Greagoir was a studious, cautious, and ethical man. He often felt that one had to be all three of these things when dealing with so many mages in such close proximity to one another, as well as his own templars. Between himself and Irving and their shared networks of information, he prided himself on knowing nearly everything that went on within these walls. From the peculiar habits of some of their charges, to the subtle flirtations with blood magic and lyrium abuse, and any number of other issues that cropped up on both sides of the fence.

The apprentice Jowan was slowly rising on his list of potential problems, enough to begin paying special attention to the habits of his friends for signs of spreading trouble. Tannusen Surana was known to be Jowan's closest friend, and he was also -- both conveniently and inconveniently enough -- Irving's favorite pupil among the apprentices who would need to be Harrowed or made Tranquil within the next several years.

As such, the young man was a frequent guest of Greagoir's desk. Or rather... the Knight-Commander's notes on the boy were a frequent guest, right along-side Jowan's. He'd never actually spoken to the elf, as far as he could remember, aside from the usual curt 'thank you,' if a door was held for him, or an 'excuse me,' if he almost ran into an awkward young mage rounding a corner in the hall. The tower was not all that large, for how many people it held.

But if he had ever said more than that to the boy, it was in the numerous times he had addressed whole groups of young mages on various topics, and not on an individual basis. No different than his dealings with almost all of the mages who lived here, apprentice or otherwise. When something required his personal attention, it was normally to oversee a Harrowing, or... something even more grim. He handled interrogations personally only when the matter was of a very serious nature.

And that was how it should have remained. It turned the very act of Greagoir questioning someone into a tool that he could use when it was most needed.

But now Tannusen Surana was acting strangely. Had been acting strangely, in fact, for quite some time. One could even argue that he had always been a bit odd, even for a mage, as he had always stood out from his peers as the only mage Greagoir had ever heard of who was almost as conscious of his physical health as one of Greagoir's own armor-wearing knights. Physical discipline was a tool used to bolster mental discipline in templars, however, and so Greagoir had seen nothing wrong in a mage exercising a little of the former. Maker knew more mages could use help in the latter.

It has almost been admirable, especially considering the lack of open space that a mage could access.

Laps ran around the grounds just before curfew, push-ups and sit-ups beside his bunk in the barracks -- these habits had initially caused quite a stir among the templars stationed near enough to see them, years ago. But these things had long since ceased making their way into confused reports; it had grown... normal. Years and years had gone by, and it was just a part of daily life at the tower to see the peculiar blond elf jog past one's station at a certain hour. Sometimes it was a sport among the veteran templars, to station newer knights outside in the evening, just to see their reaction to the odd young man.

Until he had stopped.

And then, new reports had filtered in. Rather quickly, in fact.

He went missing. A lot. No one knew where Tannusen Surana went now, when he used to go on his runs and do his exercises. The men assigned to track him during these times -- Geagoir's first reaction to these new reports -- always seemed to lose him, somehow. They would get turned around or lost in the tower they knew so well they could traverse it blindfolded, or they would forget entire periods of time. It reeked of blood magic.

And now Jowan was acting even more suspicious, and Geagoir had raised these issues to Irving, only to be asked by his old friend if Greagoir would question Tannusen himself before anything grew... out of control. "And please, don't terrorize the boy too much," Irving had said once he'd whittled the Knight-Commander down to a grudging agreement.

Why Irving didn't just do it himself? He claimed he would be too... soft.

Greagoir allowed himself a disdainful snort, and stood up from his desk as the office door opened. It was more like Irving just didn't want to have to get unpleasant with his favorite apprentice. Just as well, then, that he didn't care if he was seen as a villain, so long as he did his duty to the Church.

- - - - -

Tannusen Surana was... intimidated.

A lot of things didn't phase him that left others quaking in fear. He sometimes remembered little snatches of the fade from when he slept, the whispers of the demons who wanted him... but they didn't worry him. Other apprentices would wake screaming while he smiled in his sleep and toyed with his would-be tormentors and possessors. There was a sense of power, in the fade, a sense of holding his destiny in his own hands for once, and he almost enjoyed the danger it brought.

What bothered him was physical. Hard hands and hard items and hard... well, not in a normal sense, perhaps, but his fear was often highly-sought and highly-rewarded in the physical world. It was enough to make his skin crawl, whenever he had the chance to think clearly, and wish to be in the fade instead where his enemies could be fought off.

...Ah, but the Commander of the templars, and all that he potentially represented? Here was an intimidating man, despite never having laid a finger on Tannusen. This was someone who could have him made Tranquil, locked away in a cell for the rest of his life, or out-right executed on a whim, and he hardly knew the man well enough to guess at what he could want out of requesting Tannusen's presence. Worries and suspicions plagued him on the way to the fourth floor of the tower.

Had he been framed, as often threatened? It would be so easy for... for him to do. One comment to the right people, and...

Tannusen stepped into the room and hesitated a little as the door was firmly shut behind him by the templar stationed outside. Trying to leave was futile, even if there had been anywhere to run. So he kept his eyes down and kept himself very still, murmuring a quiet, "Ser, you wished to see me?" in something that barely even resembled his usual purr. The sound of the door closing echoed oddly in his ears. He was alone in a room with a dangerous, unpredictable, frightening man.

He heard, more than saw, the large human approach, armor sounding off his every crisp, self-assured step. His knees felt weak. Perhaps the threat to frame him as a blood mage had been realized? It would be so easy... had Tannusen not performed well enough? Had his uses run out? "Look at me," the Commander ordered quietly, and Tannusen lifted his gaze obediently. The man even looked intimating just standing so nearby, the tall human so much broader than he was, in all that armor, severe, strong...

Like someone who could hold him down and beat him until he cried. And wouldn't that please him?

The thought hit him out of nowhere like a physical blow, and now his knees were weak, and he backed up a step, leaning back against the closed door, wetting suddenly-dry lips with the tip of his tongue. That wasn't a normal reaction, he knew, it wasn't normal but he couldn't help it, couldn't help but hear that voice inside of him... could almost feel the cold steel of a knife--

Cold metal touched his chin, tipping his head up again. It wasn't a knife. It was the templar's gauntlet.

"Your eyes are glazed," the Commander mused aloud, "Are you taking something?"

Tannusen wasn't sure how to respond other than to lower his eyes and whisper a soft, "No, Ser." This wasn't how he acted on an every-day basis, but being alone in this room with such a person... it was like a lever was pulled inside his brain, slowly switching him over bit by bit, taking him from capable and confident mage apprentice to... to that. He couldn't help it.

"Why don't I believe you?" Knight-Commander Greagoir sounded annoyed. Stern. Ready to be pushed. Perhaps this was a test from him?

...If he crawled out of this a bruised and bloody mess, would his master approve? Would he tell him that he'd done well while he slicked his fingers in Tannusen's blood, and--

A blanket of red mist slipped over his mind. It wasn't right. It wasn't right at all, but he suddenly no longer cared. He was compelled, so strongly, to push the dangerous older man, to dare Greagoir to clean up the mess that was himself in one final moment of violence. And wouldn't that be convenient? Convenient for the man in the dark robes with the insidious voice who could make him do anything?

Fitting, even? Tannusen licked his lips again, and raised his eyes to meet the templar's boldly. "Maybe I'm lying," he purred, the compulsion so strong that the words came without thought. "Maybe I'm toying with you."

"That, would be a very foolish thing for you to do, apprentice," the human's voice was as cold and hard as the gauntlet under Tannusen's chin. His expression was cold and neutral, flat gaze boring into Tannusen with that peculiar intensity of a templar 'listening' for magic, 'listening' for corruption. Well, he had plenty of that, didn't he?

The elf smiled. Beautifully, he knew, like something out of a Chantry painting. "Perhaps," his purr deepened, challenging, "it's just the drugs?"

He offered no resistance as he was shoved back, hard, against the door; made no attempts to fend the large, angry, armored, strong human off as a gauntlet pressed against his throat. Not enough to keep him from speaking, but just enough to be a threat. A real, tangible threat that said as plain as day, 'Don't push me.'

Tannu's soft gasp wasn't made in surprise, although the much older man didn't seem to notice. "Would you like to re-think that answer?" the Commander's voice was pitched low, menacing. It sent a chill down the mage's spine, coiled like poison around his mind.

"I think it was a perfectly good answer," Tannusen laughed softly, even though he didn't mean it, his hands at his sides. What could he hope to do even if he was compelled to? A mage -- especially a young apprentice -- was all but helpless in such close proximity to a seasoned templar. Greagoir in particular could dispel any magic he tried before he'd even finish a gesture, perhaps without even having to think about it first. He'd been controlling mages since before Tannusen had even been born. "It is hardly my fault if you are too lyrium-addled to--"

The slap, coming from a steel gauntlet, was enough to make him taste blood. Blood, just like he tasted whenever he was taken by his... by his... blood, just like... just like...

Tannusen groaned, suddenly completely disoriented, his knees trying to give out from under him. They were suddenly weak enough that the templar tightened his grip on his throat just to keep him upright. But Tannusen couldn't help it, it was like a fist was clenched in his gut, pulling at his spine, pulling him towards the cold stone floor at the man's feet where he belonged. But for now, he remained upright, trying to hold himself together, even if it was like clenching his fingers around flowing grains of sand...

"What is wrong with you?" the Knight-Commander demanded, staring at him, his brow slightly puzzled. That 'listening' intensity was still there, despite his annoyance. He didn't look angry, now. Tannusen shuddered.

"Everything," the elf whispered shakily, and pressed forward. Clearly disturbed by something he saw in Tannusen's eyes, the templar dropped his hands, only to have the young mage press himself boldly against his armor. The metal felt cool against his too-warm cheek. "Are you going to kill me, Ser?" he breathed.

"Are you asking me to?" A cold threat again, and the mage shuddered, winding his arms around the man's armored waist, sliding his lips across the heavy breastplate. What did he care, where it had been? He shouldn't even be up this far, he should be on his knees at the most, and he began to rectify that before he was stopped. "Maker's breath, what was done to you?" Armored hands on his upper arms pushed Tannusen away, kept him upright, gripping a little too tightly over old bruises, and the mage didn't bother to suppress his shiver at the pain.

"Too much. Not enough," Tannusen whispered. It was the truth, even if it only made sense to a mad-man. He tongued the blood at the corner of his mouth. Metallic, like biting down on a doorknob. Warm, like... like...

The templar shook him by his arms, roughly, saying something, demanding something, and this time his knees did give out. He slid right out of the startled Commander's grasp, crumpling to the floor at his feet, pressing his cheek to the stone, sliding his lips along the man's steel boot beneath the edge of chainmail and cloth skirts until it was jerked away. He closed his eyes and waited, waiting for a kick, desiring a kick, but it never came.

Instead, he heard metal and cloth shifting, and the Knight-Commander knelt down beside his head, brushing his hair from his face with cool metal fingers. "Dear Maker," the man sounded... worried? Horrified? Tannusen trembled a little beneath his hand. "Your mind has been tampered with by full-blown blood magic. Here, under my watch. Open your eyes."

Tannusen obeyed automatically, opening his eyes to stare at the nearby cloth-over-steel of the older man's knee. "Roll onto your back if you must stay on the floor," the knight added, not sounding angry anymore, even if his voice was hardly gentle, "I wish to speak to your face, not to your cheek."

Obedient, the elf did as ordered, staring up at the older man. He was aware that his robes did little to hide the effect this encounter was having on his body, laying on his back as he was, and he could hardly blame the Templar-Commander for glancing in the direction of his obvious hardness through the cloth. He didn't wear trousers under the long garment. Had, in fact, been forbidden to. Tannusen's breath came in shaky gasps, and he let his lips stay parted, wetting them again with his tongue.

"You don't normally act like this," the human noted, looking him straight in the eye again. "Why now?"

"You frighten me," Tannusen whispered, all but caressing the words. Being made to admit it, vulnerable on his back on the floor while the templar loomed over him only made him harder yet. Visibly, judging by the glance that was shot down his body again.

"So it is fear you have been bound to?" the older man leaned back on his heels, as though suddenly aware that he was looming.

"And pain," Tannu murmured, before tonguing his split lip again, "and blood." A soft shudder went through him. "Are you going to kill me?" he asked again, not sure which answer he hoped for more.

"Hardly," the templar snorted derisively, "I am no monster, to slay a victim."

"Are you going to fuck me?" the words came out without thought, without hesitation, and he hardly had the presence of mind to regret them. The silence that filled the room was deafening, and he stared at up the older man from the floor, watching him open his mouth to say something, glance down at what was straining against apprentice robes now, and then closed it.

The Commander looked... uncomfortable. Tannusen felt sympathetic. "...Will you beat me?"

"No!" Greagoir actually sounded offended. "Dear Maker. How long has this gone on for?"

"Please?" Tannu slid the back of his hand along the floor, curling his fingers under the chainmail between the man's legs... it would be so easy for him to plant a knee on that delicate palm, to grind bones between steel and stone, to...

"No," even more firmly, now, though still not as harsh as before, and a gauntlet around Tannusen's wrist kept him from venturing further. The Knight-Commander rose to his feet, and paced away, leaving Tannusen supine on the floor, wetting his yet-again dry lips with his tongue. He watched as the human went to his desk, his back to Tannusen's display, looking down thoughtfully at his papers.

"...When I was a young man, a freshly-graduated templar," the Commander spoke slowly, clearly not used to telling stories, "I remember that we encountered a victim very much like you, clearing out a warehouse full of blood mages. I remember..." he trailed off for a moment, sounding distant, as though to recall details, "I remember that he crawled out of the cage we found him in. I remember very clearly that our Commander eventually lifted the young man and carried him into one of the rooms, alone."

Tannusen waited, motionless.

"I can clearly remember the sounds of what he did to that young man. I was so repulsed. Here was a victim of blood magic, and it seemed as though my Commander took advantage. I nearly left the order, my faith was so shaken, although I never would have left the Church," Tannu watched as the older man toyed with something on his desk, obviously uncomfortable in his own understated way.

"It was only years later that I found out why my Commander did as he did, when I encountered that young man again -- as a Brother," Greagoir continued slowly, "I was shocked. He explained to me that my Commander did the only thing that could be done to break through his brainwashing, and assured me that if he had been handed to the Church first, he would have died a mad-man, locked in a cell. No Brother or Sister would have done what needed to be done."

"Are you going to do things to me?" Tannusen whispered, because that seemed to be the direction this was going in. He tried not to shift on the floor, and managed to hold very still, even as the red mist in his mind receded and returned in tides and he was torn between wanting to cover himself better and wanting to expose himself more.

"No," the templar sighed, and sat down heavily in his chair behind his desk, looking at Tannusen again from over it. He was far enough away from the furniture to allow it. "I don't think that I can help you, apprentice. But I promise to find someone who... who can. You have..." he looked uncomfortable again, "you have my sincerest apologies that this has happened to begin with. When you are capable, I want all of the information you can give me on who did this to you so that I can stop them from doing it to anyone else."

"Why won't you do it?" the elf questioned, tonguing the split in his lip until it bled again. "Am I not appealing? I--"

"It isn't about that," the Knight-Commander interrupted, rubbing the bridge of his nose between his eyes as though his head hurt. "It would be utterly inappropriate for me to--"

"I want it to be you," Tannusen interrupted him back, arching his spine a little on the floor, invitingly, when that sharp gaze suddenly focused on him again.

"Why? Don't be absurd," the knight frowned. "You are only saying that because I frighten you."

"That too," Tannu breathed, shuddering a little under the man's piercing stare, "but... you're the only one who cares what happens to me, aren't you? I don't even care what happens to me. Fuck me, Ser. Please. If anyone is going to... if anyone is going to do that, shouldn't I choose who it is? You..." he took a deep breath, sharp mind working strangely well beneath the fog, compelled as he felt to have Greagoir take him, "you want to take responsibility for this happening in your tower, don't you? Then you owe me at least that much choice."

The knight sucked in a breath at that. Tannusen waited, knowing that he'd scored a point, if not several, and held his breath as the Knight-Commander slowly stood up. "...Very well," he still sounded a touch uncomfortable, "stand up and follow me. We will not do this in my office, of all places."

Obedient, Tannusen rolled onto his stomach and got his feet under him, standing up after a few false starts. His knees hardly wanted to take his weight, something in the back of his mind unused to the idea of standing freely while...

Distracted, he almost didn't notice the templar's approach. And then he swayed and stumbled forward, but there was immediately a gauntlet on his back, and he leaned against the man's cool metal breastplate and trembled, his mind fogging over a little more. "Collect yourself," the human was obviously trying to gentle his voice, with limited success, but it pierced the haze. "You are to stand and to walk under your own power. Do you understand?"

Something in his spine unclenched. His knees felt far more... normal, now. He was not expected to be on the floor, wasn't going to be punished for standing in the presence of his betters. The insidious voice he could never fully remember was over-ridden by the calm tone of the man who was here now. Tannusen nodded against the metal of the templar's breastplate, and didn't so much as sway when the man released him and stepped away. "Good," the Commander sounded genuinely pleased, in his own mild, understated way. "Now, come with me."

"Yes, Ser," Tannusen murmured, following the man to another door than the one that led out into the hall. A storage closet, perhaps?

"And call me Greagoir, appren-- Tannusen," Greagoir corrected himself, glancing back over his shoulder and pausing with his hand on the doorknob, "I won't be reminded more than necessary that I should be the very last man to do this."

"Not the very last," Tannusen whispered, "Greagoir."

"No," Greagoir turned back to the door, opening it and stepping inside, "I suppose not."

It was not a storage closet at all. Tannu felt his eyes widen a little as he stepped in after the armored man. Greagoir was actually going to take him in his bedroom? He didn't know what to think of that, and he turned back to look at the man as he closed the door behind them, noticing with a twinge of nervousness that he threw the lock.

"Only so that we are not interrupted by the latest 'crisis' amongst the templars," Greagoir stated, "it is unusual for me to remain undisturbed for very long."

"I... I see," Tannusen swallowed. He had no idea what he was supposed to do, so he held very still, watching Greagoir with nervousness that was apparently visible, because the older man sighed, and took off one gauntlet before touching bare fingertips to the bruises forming on Tannusen's throat. The elf tipped his head up, automatically exposing the damage, like holding his hand to a flame.

But this touch was nothing like a flame. The templar's fingers were warm, calloused, and... surprisingly gentle. Tannusen stared up at his face while Greagoir examined the damage he had done, trying to remember the last time anyone had touched him with such strange... care. "Are you absolutely certain you wish me to be the one to do this?" he asked quietly, "The point is for you to enjoy the act, without relying on fear, or pain, or... blood, as you said. It will loosen the conditioning on your mind enough for some of it to be safely dispelled."

Tannusen swallowed, his throat moving gently against Greagoir's fingertips. "Please," he whispered.

"There are more... recently-experienced, younger men in this tower who would be glad to do this for you," Greagoir continued, sounding a touch awkward, "I will not be offended if you--"

"Please," he couldn't help the desperation in his quiet tone, his hands flexing at his sides, unable to lift, to touch, "please." Tannusen's throat closed up. He physically could not keep asking for his conditioning to be broken, and his knees felt weak again.

Perhaps Greagoir sensed as much, because he bent, his fingers still on the elf's bruised throat, and touched his lips to Tannusen's. The elf gasped softly, leaning into this new touch, marveling at how soft the knight's lips felt against his own, his hands finally lifting to settle on the cloth sash around Greagoir's armored waist.

The human pulled back after a moment of this, searching Tannusen's face with that look again, the one all templars seemed to have when they were looking for something in a mage. "That was my first kiss," Tannusen heard himself confess softly, and was both surprised and pleased to have the knight close the distance again, this time a little less hesitantly, the tip of Greagoir's tongue slipping between his easily-parted lips.

This was so unlike anything he'd ever felt before. He felt oddly lightheaded, and when Greagoir's hand dropped to his chest and gave a light push, he obediently took a step back. And another, and another, moving only when prompted, the templar matching him step for step as their tongues brushed teasingly together in a hot slide, like the steps to a dance.

Eventually, the backs of his knees hit the edge of the narrow bed -- obviously not meant for two, but what bed in the tower was? -- and Tannusen collapsed backwards, breaking their kiss.

Greagoir did not immediately follow. He turned partially away to strip out of his armor, setting the pieces on a simple wooden stand. The movements were quick and effortless after decades of practice, and Tannusen sat up on the bed to watch as the human seemed to shrink, just a little, becoming a little less... frightening. The clothing he wore under the armor and padding was simple, unadorned, and he watched as the templar picked up a vial of what had to be sword-oil from beside the armor stand, toying with it thoughtfully for a moment. Tannu licked his lips absently, tasting Greagoir on them, and felt the man's stare before he saw it, fixed on the motion of his tongue.

And then Greagoir was back, tongue brushing against his own, hands on the bed to either side of Tannusen's thighs to brace him as he leaned in. The mage shuddered, lifting a hand halfway to Greagoir's head before pausing, hesitating.

"Touch," the older man broke away long enough to say it, "touch as you like, Tannusen."

So Tannusen did, sliding his fingers into dark grey hair, surprised at how soft it was against his skin. He allowed himself to be gently pushed onto his back, sinking down under Greagoir as he climbed onto the narrow bed with him.

He was startled to realize that he didn't have a trace of fear now, even though he was essentially pinned beneath the intimidating man. The red mist in his mind had retreated, at least for the moment, and he tightened his grip in the older man's hair as Greagoir's hands began to roam over simple apprentice robes and the surprising amount of muscle beneath. Tannusen would never be able to wear heavy armor, for example, but he was certainly in far better shape than a life of studying dusty old tomes and practicing magic often allowed.

Taking his cues from the templar, Tannusen slid his free hand over Greagoir's chest, marveling at how firm he was beneath his clothing. By contrast, Greagoir had been in peak physical condition for longer than the mage had been alive, and Tannu felt his heart beat faster. He slid his fingers back out of Greagoir's hair, suddenly too curious to be more cautious, and reached with both of his hands to remove the older man's tunic. The templar assisted, and went back to puzzling out how to open Tannusen's robes as the young blond smoothed his hands over exposed skin.

"I've never seen someone like you," Tannusen breathed, experimentally sliding his hands around to the man's back, exploring flesh so rarely viewed by anyone. Greagoir's response was to find the hidden ties to the apprentice robes and part the whole in a few short tugs, sucking in a breath when the mage was suddenly bare beneath him.

"I thought you mages at least wore pants?" Greagoir's tone was a little surprised, a little curt, but also just a little... heated, and he ran his fingers over Tannusen's ribs as the young mage arched his back for him, letting go of the human long enough to shrug the robes the rest of the way off of his shoulders and arms. He kicked his boots off while he was at it, his legs still mostly over the edge of the bed.

"I haven't been allowed to in months," Tannusen pressed up instinctively against Greagoir's touch as a sword-callused hand brushed over sensitive flesh, sucking in a breath as the older man wrapped his fingers around him and stroked, slowly. "He likes it... he likes having me always... vulnerable," the blond continued, gripping Greagoir's shoulders for support. Being stroked and touched by other hands wasn't a new sensation in itself, but the care with which the templar did it was strange. Not unwelcome, but strange.

"I see," Greagoir caught his gaze, brow furrowed a little, though the templar's fingers didn't stop. "It has been... decades since I last did this. I could all-too-easily hurt you."

"I'm not worried," Tannusen gasped, hips shifting fitfully under the human's strokes. "I'm not scared!"

"Maker forgive me," Greagoir groaned into the elven mage's neck as Tannu pulled him close, nimble fingers working on the human's trousers until he could push them over his hips, slide his hand between them and touch.

Neither of them wanted to delay for long, each for their own reasons, and it wasn't long before Tannusen found himself on his belly to give the other man open access to his entrance, the knight's oil-slicked fingers working their way into Tannusen, making him writhe slowly beneath Greagoir's body.

His own fingers stroked and squeezed the older man behind him, spreading the fluid he found at his tip, working him up to the point of forgetting entirely about the vows and rules he was technically breaking. When Greagoir finally replaced his fingers with something much more intimate, he slid home inside of Tannusen in one long, slow thrust.

It had never been like this before.

Tannusen bowed his head. He raised his ass beneath Greagoir's weight; felt the older man slide even more deeply into him, pressing in, hot, slippery... the human's soft groan was almost lost in his own sharp gasp. He heard himself make a strange, quiet noise at the feel of Greagoir's lips against the back of his neck, and realized he was shaking.

"How do you feel?" Greagoir was clearly trying to keep his voice steady, and failing, the breathless catch to his tone making him burn all the hotter. "Am I... hurting you?"

"N-no," Tannu shifted beneath him; he couldn't hold completely still. "I feel... w-warm... Greagoir, please don't stop, please don't--" he cut himself off as the older man flexed his hips, sliding a little out of him and then back in. Tannusen arched a little more, spreading his thighs as he raised his ass. "Greagoir..."

The human moved.

Slow, methodical, controlled, and so good inside of the mage. So good, so right, so unlike anything he'd ever felt before. Greagoir paused between each thrust, exercising incredible discipline on himself to draw them both out, even when Tannusen clawed at the bed and begged him for more, trying to shove himself back onto him. A strong hand on his hip kept him from accomplishing much.

Eventually, tears he couldn't explain streaming down his cheeks, Tannusen threw his head back and felt himself clench, muscles spasming around the templar. He cried out sweetly, jerking within Greagoir's hold, spilling against the bed beneath them.

And in one slow, controlled slide, Greagoir withdrew from him.

Tannusen felt a spike of anxiety, quickly soothed by the sound of fingers working over slippery flesh. He struggled to turn onto his back beneath the templar, "I want to watch," he whispered, and was released to move as he wished, turning over quickly in place. He ran his hands over Greagoir's arms and shoulders, watching his face, the other man's eyes clenched shut.

New warmth joined what was already smeared across Tannusen's stomach as the knight jerked, gasped, and finally came, and Tannu watched it all, heard it all, stroking his shaking fingers over Greagoir's stern face until he relaxed, and then insistently pulling him down onto him to rest.

The red mist in his mind had retreated.

And somewhere in the tower, a blood mage snarled and threw a glass phylactery at a nearby wall.