Alexander felt split that evening. He was only one week into an especially intense heat, and he had an important guest on the way. Running his yellowed nails over the parchment for the fifth time, his scorching amber eyes scanned the hastily written letter. The cursive was rushed yet refined. He could all but hear the pleading voice through the smudged ink.” Forever in your debt, Daniel.” Such a desperate young man. To both sweeten and sour the deal, the boy wrote of ancient monuments and shattered orbs. Orbs that could unshackle him from this hellish plane. Alas, that key would come at a terrible price. Like a terrified farmhand with a raging bull on his heels, Daniel had rushed for safety, not caring that the raging bull would destroy what he sought to hide behind. That raging bull was none other than the rage and pain of the universe given form. An infinite god of destruction and the guardian of reality. Such a power was beyond even his control. If only the innocent little scholar from Mayfair knew that. If only he knew what this would cost Alexander. Stealing a glance at one of the Grunts, Alexander willed it to relight the fire. The embers ignited once more, bathing the Baron in a hellish light rather befitting a beast such as himself. Daniel would arrive soon enough, orb in tow, and he would have to keep his leaking manhood under control.
A lone carriage arrived at the iron gates of Brennenburg. The last rays of sunlight ignited the turrets with golden rays. Alexander opened the massive carved doors and breathed in the crisp, cold air. Even in the summer, mornings were always chilly. The old baron felt his aching bones creak from the chill.
“Damn rheumatism”, he muttered. The old carriage halted just within the desolate courtyard. Most of the area was decorated with the mighty eagle and gryphon. Alexander couldn't help but admire the powerful beasts that shared an eerily similar likeness to him. That's why he proposed the idea of a black eagle to represent the then newborn council. Alexander's memories of the council were interrupted by a shaky tenor voice.
"Are you the Baron of Brennenburg?"
He startled a moment before turning to face the man who had spoken. He was immediately struck by his lean and timid form. If this was the man fleeing the wrath of the Shadow, then he most certainly looked the part.
"Yes, I am the baron of this castle. You must be Daniel." He exclaimed.
" Um, yes. I am the one that sent you the letter just a week ago. Forgive me for my less than formal attire, I fear things have been rather restless the past week." The young man rambled nervously. He was only dressed in a green vest and thin cotton shirt. His shoulder-length hair was greasy and tangled in places. Hazel eyes shot with veins darted about nervously. The sight caught the baron off guard. Such a handsome young man had stumbled wearily into his remote fortress at the most inopportune moment. Of course, Alexander would have to tidy up his new guest, lest the poor boy caught his death out in the wilds of East Prussia.
"You do look rather poorly... Come, let us leave this cold damp in favour of a warm fire." Alexander placed his hand on the lean shoulder and guided his guest inside, making sure to examine the anatomy with his bony fingers.
They walked shoulder to shoulder down the claustrophobic cobblestone halls. Alexander had made sure to have a fire and a warm cup of tea ready for his weary guest. Daniel glanced around the cosy room before approaching the fire to warm his hands. The room was a stark difference from the rest of the dark and oppressive castle. Alexander eyed the young man with a look of intrigue etched onto his aged face. His loins twitched when Daniel bent down to get closer to the flames. His amber eyes lighting up at the sight of plump, supple skin, the familiar hunger eating at his bosom. Just as he had feared, his lust was trans-species. The act of sleeping with a lesser being was one marred with disdain and disgust by his people. He tried to hide his embarrassment by hastily drinking a glass of red wine nearby.
"I see the fire is to your liking. There is a warm cup of tea on the table. You certainly look as if you need some sustenance"
"Oh, why thank you. I-I suppose I should expect a man of your class to be a good host. Once again I apologize for my poor appearance. Please for-"
"No need for apologies Daniel. Now drink your tea and get some rest. If you wish I can go ahead and show you your room."
“Not now sir. I am rather interested in the castle and would like to look around some more. I hope you don’t mind my curiosity.”
“Nay my friend, it would be my honor to show you around Brennenburg. It is rare that I have guests, let alone ones that are interested in my home. Tell me, what do you wish to see?
The young man looked around in a rather timid fashion. With such a strong brow-line and prominent chin, Alexander was shocked by Daniel's rather feminine nature. Such behavior was rather unsuited for such a masculine form. He could almost envision Daniel curled up vulnerable and naked. His bare skin slick with sweat and his bottom streaked with bloody slashes. Once again he was pulled from his erotic thoughts by Daniel's soft, nervous voice.
"Do you have a library in the castle? I mean, you must be such a learned man with all this rare artwork and anatomical studies."
"Of course I do, in fact there is an entire archive full of books. Alas, many are in bygone languages. As an archaeologist, you might be able to read some of them. If not, I can aid you."
Daniel's eyes lit up as he said that. Such a bookworm, he mused. Mayhaps he would be interested in his extensive collection of pornography. Alexander quickly cursed himself for the improper thought. He couldn’t just toss the boy into his nest and ravage his delicate form.
“Could you please show me? I am in desperate need of something to take my mind off the distressing events of the past month."
"Understand. Come, follow me. Make sure to take your tea with you. I don’t wish to waste such rare leaves and herbs"
They once again walked the dark halls. Only the sound of boots on the stone was exchanged between the two. With little else to take his mind off things, Alexander couldn’t help but focus on Daniel’s strange mannerisms. The young man trembled whenever there wasn’t a candle or torch insight and would startle quite easily.
"Does the dark trouble you, Daniel? If so, I have plenty of oil lanterns and I would be happy to give one to you."
"Oh, forgive me. I'm rather troubled by the dark. I would gladly borrow a lantern if that is alright with you." Daniel almost instinctively approached one of the candles, his thin fingers grazing the wax streaked handle. Daniel turned back to Alexander with a sudden look of desperation.
"My mind is all a blur of memories, some of which are not my own. Please, try to understand this pain that I am in." His voice quivering and on the edge of tears.
Alexander looked at him in both concern and confusion, for Daniel was calm only a moment earlier. The suffocating darkness must be stressing the poor man out.
"Hush now, I will take care of everything. Follow me, and you shall be safe from the darkness." He wrapped his boney arms around the broad shoulders and guided Daniel into the light.
After a long night of discussing ancient tomes and fallen kingdoms, Daniel finally retired to his room. Alexander watched the young man climb up the grand staircase to the guest room. Those trousers of his were none too great at hiding the supple form of his rump. After his delicate guest was safely in his bedroom, Alexander left for his laboratory. He needed to work on the next batch of vitae. The lack of which made him weak and delirious. Without the life-giving fluid, Alexander would most certainly die of old age.
As he walked down the hall and into the elevator, his mind raced between his new charge and the ritual. If he wasn't in heat, things would be far easier. Daniel would just be another means to an end. A desperate man who could aid in his unshackling from this barren plain. Now, Alexander was both fighting the clock and his forbidden desires. Part of him wanted to rend Daniel's slim spine from his back. Another wanted to thrust into him until he screamed his name. By the time he was at the lower laboratory, Alexander felt drunk with sex and rage. Stopping to look in a cracked mirror, he cursed in frustration. His heat was already causing his facade to melt away like wax. The crimson flesh was now painfully visible on his hands, ragged claws replacing his yellowed and thick nails. If Daniel was to see him like this, he would flee, taking Alexander's final hope with him.
His throbbing manhood twitched in his gnarled claws. Alexander contemplated changing into his full form. It would be far more comfortable than pleasuring himself with his rough talons. The glass vile of vitae had long since been emptied by the baron. He wished he could store the precious drink. Unfortunately, the supply of criminals was at an all-time low. It wouldn't be too much longer until he would have to resort to kidnapping again. The thought made him shudder, for it was rather easy to get caught. With the Shadow now most likely on its way, Alexander would have to fight his urges as much as he would have to buy time. Time, something that he had so little of. Cursing once more, Alexander started stroking his pathetically small penis. The sensation was a rather unpleasant one due to his claws. Now was not the time to accidentally tear off his groin, so he took things slow.
The baron moaned into his free hand as if anyone other The The Gatherers would hear him. Eyes fluttering shut, Alexander dreamed of Daniel. That delicate rose of a man had stumbled into his castle, ignorant to the true nature of the man he sought comfort from. If only he knew how Alexander viewed him. His lean arms, those long legs, and that plump rear begging to be ravaged. It was enough to cause Alexander to speed up his strokes despite the pain. Daniel was no doubt a virgin, an unspoiled apple ripe for the plucking. Alexander paused for a moment. Perhaps he could read into the boy's mind. To manipulate him on a deeper level…