You know the drill -- I'm posting unproofread drivel as I write it...
T H E I N F I N I T Y S E R I E S
* III *
Author: D. Sanders
The Rest of this un-proofread BS can be Found here:
“Tantawood Castle. My Hopa’s private estate. I always loved it here, he left it to me in his will.”
“God that’s gorgeous. It’s a palace. Look at all the people!” Val gaped out the window. There were bright billowing tents all over the vast lawns and hundreds of men waving in welcome from the gates and on the stairs of the vast white alabaster palace.
“I did not expect so many.” Xan said as they flew over the crowd to land near the large staircase leading into the ancient home of Xan’s family on his Hopa’s side.
“Neither did I. This is a good sign.” Eran said as they landed and prepared to walk out to greet the cheering crowd making a joyful noise.
Their hour had come at last; it was at last time to begin.
Eran and Val were the first to emerge from the transport, followed by Cris and Beau. Sanjay joined them from his transport as Manju stepped out looking overwhelmed. Sanjay took his hand and motioned him to step aside with him with a smile. The youth did so trying to fathom what was going on but getting out of the way to make room for Xan who stepped out to a great roar from the crowd. He held up his hand in a wave and a smile then turned to offer his hand to Kivi. Kivi took it with great trepidation and allowed Xan to guide him from the transport and as he stepped into the morning light hundreds of Ountas and Primas alike knelt in a wave that ripped out from the palace stairs and over the lawn.
Kivi was taken aback and Xan just held his hand and laid his arm around Kivi’s shoulders to offer his beloved support. “My New friends. We thank you for such a warm welcome. My home is yours make yourselves welcome. Please rise; while your respect is honorable, my mate feels discomfort at such displays. You would honor him more by treating him as you would any other man. The burdens of Ameretat’s gifts are enough to bear without added ritualistic submission and reverence. However well intentioned such displays are.” Xan said and the crowd rose from the ground and Kivi visibly relaxed.
“Thank you Xan-ki.” Kivi whispered and Xan just squeezed his hand and smiled.
A small child around four or five came walking up the stairs carrying a bouquet of wildflowers and Kivi knelt as the child approached.
“What is your name little one?” Kivi asked with a smile, he adored children and this child was lovely dressed in gauzy summer silks in pastel shades of pink.
“Arunali.” He said as he held the flowers out to Kivi. He was missing his front two teeth and Kivi melted from his winsome grin as he took the flowers and leaned over the embrace the child and kiss both his cheeks.
“Be blessed Arunali. Thank you for such lovely flowers.” Kivi smiled, eye level with the child.
“My Hopa helped me pick flowers.” The child grinned and Kivi smiled.
“Thank your Hopa for me too then. I must put these in water soon so they do not fade in beauty. Thank you Arunali.” Kivi said as Xan looked down on the scene amused and longing. He desperately desired such a scene with his own child standing in Arunali’s place bringing flowers to his beautiful Hopa. Kivi turned his gaze to Xan and smiled.
“One day my Xan it will be yours. I promised you did I not?” Kivi smiled as Arunali ran back down the stairs to his Hopa’s arms and Kivi stood and held up the flowers for Xan to smell.
“You did, I will practice patience if I am able.” Xan smiled into the flowers then turned back to the crowd.
“You are able Xan.” Kivi chuckled his eyes shining with mirth. Xan turned back to the crowd.
“Let us continue this inside. I beg time to get established before we begin. Shall we continue this celebration in the main hall in three hours hence, let us dine at mid-day together and I will take questions and ask a few of my own.” Xan issued his decree to a cheer and then took Kivi’s hand and led the group inside the main doors.
“Okay I’m impressed. What am I here for again? I don’t think you need my help Xan.” Eran mused as he walked alongside Xan and down stately corridors.
“I will. I am flying blind myself. I am overwhelmed, I begged time to collect my composure.”
“You could have fooled me. You command a crowd well.” Eran grinned as he drank in the beautiful palace surroundings, Beau on his arm gaping at the splendor.
“I grew up watching the seven chair counsel sessions. You learn a few things by watching.” Xan said pausing to gaze out a window to a beautiful garden. “Just as I remember. See that fountain? Many times as a child my Hopa would indulge me and I would play in it while we drank tea and ate cookies. Those were happy times.” Xan said almost seeing his Hopa sitting on the edge of the fountain laughing.
Kivi laid his head on Xan’s shoulder and admired the garden. “I can almost see you there. What a wonderful child you must have been.”
“I was spoiled rotten.” Xan chuckled as he shook off his memories and carried on down the corridor. Up several flights of stairs and down another long corridor they came to a pair of ornate doors at the end of the hall. First Xan however paused at the side doors along the corridor. He opened the one to the right; it was a stateroom for important guests. “Eran, Beau these you will occupy, I want you close to me. Val, Cris the door opposite is an identical room. This was my bedroom when I lived here; the other was empty as my brother’s rarely came here. The large doors here were my Hopa’s rooms, I would have Kivi live in that room, my Hopa would have wanted him too.” Xan said as the group splintered to get settled and refresh after a long trip in a cramped transport.
Xan pushed open the doors and Kivi’s breath stilled as he took in the beauty. Large marble pillars and floors of variegated white were the main sitting room. Bright silks in rainbow hues hung from the large French doors that lead out to a balcony swayed in the breeze. The floor was piled in lounging pillows in a mirror to the draperies in one corner, a large marble desk was in the other and several chaise chairs and large urns with potted tree roses decorated the main room.
“Xan, this is beautiful.” Kivi was in awe as Xan shut the door behind them.
“It is. My Hopa liked color. There is more. Come.” Xan took Kivi’s hand and led him through a side door; it was a guest room of sorts. Small and decorated with a crib and several small children’s toys “This was mine once. Until I grew big enough to have my own room.” Xan chuckled and Kivi smiled and leaned against the door.
“I can take a hint Xan.” Kivi teased and Xan turned an innocent smile at him that didn’t fool Kivi for a moment.
“Good. This is our home. I have a feeling my student days are over and I must admit I had feared coming back here once. Afraid of my memories of this place, but not with you at my side Ki, I am filled with hope for our future. My Hopa is smiling at seeing his home filled with happiness I am sure. I am happy for the first time since he passed.” Xan said and Kivi walked in and into Xan’s arms.
“I am too. You are my happiness Xan. I pray I can live up to your expectations of me.”
“I have no expectations. I just need your love Ki.”
“That you have.” Kivi said tilting his head back to receive a kiss from Xan.
Xan then led Kivi to another room that led off the large main space. It was a private Office and conference room where a party of ten could sit and discuss important matters privately. The next room was the bathroom. More marble from floor to ceiling, a large sunken pool that one could almost swim in was in the floor and down a pair of marble stairs. Mirrors were all along one wall with a pair of sinks, a private room held the toilet facility and another room was filled with shower taps that would mimic rainfall. It was an extravagant bathroom indeed. The next room was another guest room. “Tanvir lived in here.” Xan said, he hadn’t thought of Devapa’s personal Ounta in years.
“Who was that?” Kivi asked looking at a heart shaped locket on the small bureau table. Kivi opened it to reveal two faded images inside. One of whom he recognized as Devapa the other of a small child with golden eyes. Kivi smiled, it was Xan as a small boy probably no more than six years old. Xan looked over Kivi’s shoulder and ran his fingers over the locket.
“I always wondered what was inside this locket. Tan always wore it.” Xan said taking it sitting on the edge of the bed. “He was more of a Sipa to me than my own. It is because of him my distaste of Ounta slavery grew into hatred. I was never allowed to look at his face, but I remember his voice. Late at night when I was scared of the dark, he’d come in and light a candle and tell me stories until I fell asleep. His eyes were always sad.” Xan sighed as Kivi knelt before Xan.
“He loved you and your Hopa. I can feel the love lingering on that locket. What happened to him?”
“I don’t know Kivi. When my Hopa died it was chaos, when I finally came out of shock long enough to ask, no one knew and I was told not to worry about an Ounta. I think that was when I became against slavery. I didn’t even get to tell him good-bye.”
A gentle knock came to the door and Xan quirked an eyebrow and went to answer it wondering whom it could be. He opened it and stood there in shock, a man who looked eerily like his Sipa stood there. It obviously was not Xartova, the clothes were poor in quality, but the face was too much like Xartova’s and it wasn’t until Xan made eye contact he knew the truth.
“Xan, you have grown so much.” There was a tear in the man’s voice and Xan hauled him inside in a hard embrace, which was returned, and the older man wept as he held Xan close.
“We were just talking about you.” Xan said through tears of his own as he stood back to look at the man’s face he’d so longed to look at in his youth. Kivi joined them and held out the locket.
“I believe this is yours.” Kivi said and the man nodded and took the locket and slid it around his neck holding it as if it were a long lost treasure returned at last.
“It is. Xan, may we talk in private. I have spent many years dreaming of this day to come.”
“I am seeing things with adult eyes and there is a question I suddenly am wishing to ask you myself.” Xan said motioning that they should all sit on the low sofa in the sitting room.
“Xan, there was much we wanted to tell you as a child but could not.” Tan began and Xan nodded.
“I have a feeling my Sipa is not my Sipa.” Xan said getting to the point and Tan nodded.
“I am your Sipa. I am also Half-Brother to Xartova. We share a Sipa. My Hopa was Ounta therefore I was not acknowledged as a true Indivar. But your bloodline is still true.” Tan began and Xan nodded.
“I care not about my bloodline. I do care to get to know my true Sipa better and how you and my Hopa managed to pull my pearl passing off as Xartova’s.”
Tan chuckled. “Xan. You suffer the madness as I do, as any Indivar does, you know as well as I your father cannot remember mating when he suffers. Devapa and I were together long before he was forced to marry my brother. All three of you are my Children and not Xartova’s. The union to Xartova went unconsummated for twenty-five years. The man was that clueless and far too pleased to take Ounta’s to his bed rather than his own mate. Devapa was more than willing to let Xartova think what he would and we carried on. As you can see my Brother and I look alike, it was not hard for him to think my children were his own.” Tan said and Xan laughed, his whole world was upside-down and topsy-turvy.
“It explains why you never let me see your face.”
“Precisely. It was hard, but I loved you enough to make that small sacrifice. Your brothers however, Devapa and I had no contact with, sadly Xartova’s influence on them is too strong. But with you, your Hopa and I moved heaven and earth to allow us to raise you, as we wanted to. You make me proud, so very proud.”
“I am going to cry.” Kivi said holding his sleeve to his eyes fighting tears.
Xan just smiled and pulled Kivi close to use his own robe to wipe Kivi’s eyes. “You’re romantic.”
“It’s beautifully heartwarming. It gives me hope.” Kivi sniffled and Tan reached forward to take Kivi’s hand and kissed the back of it.
“As you give us hope. Devapa would have been overjoyed with your choice of life mate Xan. As am I. He is exactly as Devapa had foreseen. He knew Ameretat would come back to us, to you specifically Xan. Devapa’s gifts always amazed me, he was always right. From Ounta Slave to a Sansui Lord, you Kivi are the reason behind the Sansui Society. Devapa knew you would come and began the society to prepare for your coming.” Tan said and Kivi shivered.
“I told you Ki, you will heal our world not I.” Xan said and Kivi sighed and buried his face in his hands.
“I am no great deity. I am just Kivi, I understand so little. I feel overwhelmed and terrified.” Kivi said and Tan reached out a hand and touched Kivi’s hair in a gentle fatherly gesture.
“We know. That is why we are here, to aid you. Xan will lead by knowledge and power; you will lead us by instinct and kindness. Devapa left you many notes Xan. They are in your desk in the top drawer. It has a false bottom. He foresaw his death, and left you many things to guide you. I will leave you for now to settle and prepare for the meal. We will have much time to talk later. We will move fast, but not so fast as to forsake your health. You had a long journey and many shocking revelations in a few days. Peace be with you both.” Tan said standing and Kivi was up and embracing him.
“Sipa-ka I promise to try. Be welcome always here in our hearts and home.” Kivi said as Xan stood by his side and smiled fondly at his true Sipa.
“I echo Kivi’s words. I have ever wanted a Sipa other than Xartova. I am pleased to know I always had that. Be well my Sipa. We will have supper together in private tonight, I would have you bring a counsel of those you trust most to meet those of my counsel.”
“I will bring them. Until tonight my beloved Pearl.” Tan held his locket as he bowed and left the room.
Xan smiled as the door shut and sank back to the couch. “The world is changing fast. What more surprises I wonder will come to pass.”
“Many I fear. You and I are dancing to a tune that fate I believe is dictating. I shant try to resist the dance, it is far too hard. I must swallow my own fears and face tomorrow with you. Whether my sensibilities like it or not.” Kivi said and Xan looked up and smiled.
“I believe I have been telling you that from the beginning. Shall we finish the tour before I go mad from want of you and your scent.”
“Xan, tour later I am much in need of purging myself first. We have two hours, we have time.” Kivi said grinning taking Xan’s hand to help him off the sofa.
Xan chose to carry Kivi into the far double doors that lead to the bedroom and to the very bed Xan had been conceived in, it was almost ironic if he had lingered on the thought. As it was he was far too busy loving his mate to pay attention to anything else.
Xan lay propped up on an elbow looking down at Kivi who still laid splayed out in pillows and silken sheets looking content and not inclined to move.
“I would have you painted looking as you do right now. You are far too beautiful not to capture forever.”
“Xan you are one of a kind.” Kivi chuckled groaning as he sat up. “If I do not take a hot bath I will nary be able to sit through a long luncheon. Once again you have proven too talented in knowing exactly where to love me. Perhaps once we may make love without you finding my chamber. I do not think a body is designed to be that stimulated that often, you will kill me.” Kivi said throwing his legs out of bed Xan chuckled and sat up beside him to plant a kiss on a graceful bend of shoulder.
“But what a way to go eh?” Xan smirked and Kivi leveled him a look that nigh on defied description. Xan just laughed and stood to help Kivi stagger into the bathroom.
They bathed together in the large tub and the steam did wonders to revive protesting muscles. Both wrapped in towels they wandered back into the bedroom and Xan opened up a large closet filled with beautiful robes of the finest materials. “These were my Hopa’s, I would gift you all of these my Kivi-ki. They have long sat unused and I am sure my Hopa would have you wear them again.”
“So beautiful.” Kivi said reaching out to a midnight blue form fitting robe, with an under robe of white with billowing silk sleeves. Silver accents dotted the over robe in a starry pattern that caught the light and sparkled. “He must have looked radiant in this.” Kivi gasped at the finery.
“As will you.” Xan said taking it off the hanger and urging Kivi to dress in it.
Xan chose something that he had brought with him, he would have to get his own garments, he’d soon run out. He chose something that complimented the midnight blue Kivi was dressing in. A Black over robe with silver buttons, and a dark blue under robe with the same large sleeved style.
Xan hardly paid attention to his own garments as he watched Kivi’s form fill out the robe. It fitted him perfectly and he was stunning. Xan sat him down at a vanity in the corner and he once more fastened the star hair jewels into Kivi’s hair. “If we did not have to go downstairs. I would see you out of this again. I cannot believe how beautiful you are and keep getting more so. I daresay your very skin is shining today.”
“You re biased. I hope I don’t tear this, it’s the most beautiful thing I have ever worn.”
“Just don’t try to serve everyone at the table and I think you will manage.” Xan laughed leaning over to tie his hair back with a silver clasp.
“Allow me Xan. I would like to see you with it free for once.” Kivi said making Xan switch places with him and rather than letting Xan just tie it all back from his face. Kivi took his hair from his temples only and twisted it back to expose Xan’s pointed ears. Kivi took the silver clasp and braided it into a knot that would hold Xan’s hair back from his face, but allow the long strands to fall down his back.
“Your hair is so beautiful Xan. Might I request you humor me occasionally and wear it where I may admire it?”
“If it pleases you, absolutely.” Xan smiled at Kivi in the mirror as Kivi placed a silver circlet on Xan’s brow with a large sapphire in it that matched the necklace that Kivi wore.
They looked the picture of a regal mated couple, Xan was more than pleased as he stood and offered his arm to Kivi. The others were waiting in the hall ready to escort Kivi and Xan downstairs. They too were dressed in traditional Sansui robes and Cris was admiring the embroidery on his sleeves.
“I could get used to these clothes. Talk about comfort.” Cris said his hair also loose and bejeweled.
Beau looked lovely in the soft pastel blue and his own curls were tamed with jewels. “We figured when in Rome do as the Romans do. Not to mention I totally love the jewels. I love sparkly things. Even if Eran refuses to wear them.”
“My bonding ring is enough jewelry for me, you however can wear them all you like, you look edible.”
“He looks like a Hopa. Hopa partners wear hair jewels traditionally.” Xan grinned wondering if the humans knew the significance.
“Well considering if I had a chamber I would be the Hopa partner all is well I suppose.” Beau grinned; he knew the difference and the significance.
“That goes for me too I suppose. What we bottom boys go through huh Beau? We better get sparkly things out of it right?” Cris winked and Beau laughed.
“Like you complain about it? Not that I can recall.” Val grinned looking smug. Xan laughed.
“Just making sure you knew before you inadvertently advertised sexual preferences to an entire crowd. Being a single gendered race, we have to advertise so we don’t choose someone incompatible to our own tastes.” Xan said as Eran smirked.
“Why do you think I wouldn’t let you tart me up? Shall we go greet the masses?” Eran said offering his arm to Beau who took it smiling. Val followed suit and Cris took his arm with a smile of his own. As they led the way in procession Xan and Kivi arm in arm behind them.