Saturday, October 9, 2010

Yaoi fantasy: episode three

Martin's heart is in his mouth, for the scuffling among the rocks has become footsteps. He's in deep, deep trouble, and he knows it -- and not even the lure of the enchanted isles is worth this, even though the old woman's stories are still in his ears, and one word haunts him. Atlantis. What else would bring him into such terrible danger -- and knows he would come here again. Yet the question is, will he live long enough to see the moon rise tonight?

"Hello? Is someone there? Is it -- is it Aelmed? The old woman said you'd be here before sundown," he calls into the misty twilight.

But the man who has just stepped out of the ruins is not Aelmed, though he knows the man's name. Aelmed is an adventurer of sorts ... a ne'er-do-well who makes his living leading fools on quests into the badlands, chasing fables and phantasms told by the gypsies.

Other, better, hunters prowl these lands, looking for other prey. Much more lucrative ways to earn a fortune come to a man's hands, if he has the courage to prowl here -- and if he feels nothing but contempt for the fools who come out here chasing phantasms, and has no qualms about exploiting them.

One thing no one could accuse Yussan of being, is a fool. And he has just spotted tonight's prize ... tender, juicy, probably worth more money in the markets in Arkeshan than a dozen other idiots he has delivered there. And Yussan has delivered many. The tales of the road to Atlantis are priceless to him -- the bait that brings his prey this way.

Look at the idiot! Still wondering if he has stumbled onto the path to the enchanted isles! Still calling for the old guide, who is so late, he should be ashamed of himself. Yussan's lip curls in derision as he steps out into the moonlight...

"Do I look like that gnarl-faced, gap-toothed old imbecile of a guide, Aelmed?" He shows himself in the blue twilight, struts in his arrogance and watches the young man blanch. "I am Yussan -- do you know my name? You should!"

"I ... know your name," Martin stammers. "They talk of you in the city."

"Do they tell you I'm a bandit?" Yussan sneers. He gestures at the more distant rocks and ruins. "There are at least a dozen men out there, with bows aimed at you. Do yourself a favor, boy, and surrender before you get yourself hurt. Let's have a look at you -- let's see what Yussan has caught himself tonight! Let's see if you're worth enough to repay me for my time and trouble."

Martin's eyes widen in the moonlight. "What I'm -- worth?"

"In the market in Arkeshan, where beauty and sweet flesh are prized more highly than gold and jewels," Yussan growls. "Lose the cloak. Lose it all, and show me what I've caught this time."

And Martin is wise enough to do as he's told, all the while chastising himself for the fool he has been. "Do you work with the old gypsy woman, Miranda?" he asks, daring to speak because Yussan is sizing him up, evaluating the goods. Maybe courage and articulate speech are worth more at market. What a thought! "Does Miranda send people out here, to walk right into this trap of yours?"

"No," Yussan sneers. "I've no need of an old gypsy woman. I stalk my own prey ... and when I catch the best, I know what it's worth. You're very beautiful, boy. What's your name? Not that it matters. Where you're going, they'll give you a new name -- if they care to name you at all."

"My name is Martin," he says.

"And is anyone in the city likely to pay ransom for you?" Yussan wants to know. "If I post your plight on the noticeboards in the market square, who'll pay handsomely to get you back?"

But the answer to that is no one, and Martin is too wise to try to deceive the bandit. "I have no one," he admits.

"Yes, you do." Yussan struts before him in the bright moonlight. His arrogance is without measure. "You have me ... and you have a lot to learn, if you're going to fetch the kind of prices I want in Arkeshan. Don't trouble your pretty head about it. I'll be your teacher, and --"

And just as Martin has resigned himself to a future which few would relish, Yussan hears some sound in the night, and he spins. "What's that?"

"One of your men," Martin says miserable. "There's a dozen out there."

But Yussan is wide-eyed in the blue twilight, trying to pick out shapes among the rocks and ruins, and if Martin were less unhappy, he might have seen the glint of dread in Yussan's eyes -- or perhaps the glint of steel out in the moonlight.

Go to Episode Four

********

... and the Full Monty versions of some of these renders will be appearing on the other blog. If you're tuning in later, here is Episode One, and here is Episode Two. And here's the Fully Monty studies of Martin which are already on the other blog ... arms waving, "danger, Will Robinson, there be nudity in them thar pages!"

Jade, 10 October
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