This story didn't take long to write, but it grew longer and more complex than I'd originally planned even though the original idea is quite simple. Anyway, I like the way it turned out so I hope you do too.
Sarmin’s garden is cool and pleasant in the early autumn sunlight. The sky is brilliant blue with only a few wisps of cloud drifting on the gentle breeze. The air shimmers with magical clarity, making the distant mountains seem close enough to reach out and touch... that is, if I were able to reach out to them.
A gentle breeze caresses my body, making me wish for more substantial caresses, but for now I must be patient. I always miss Sarmin painfully when he is not here, but he has many others to attend to. Still, there are visual delights besides mountains and clouds.
Not far away stand the twins, Ril and Lir, each with an arm about the other’s waist and a leg entwined with his brother’s. They are slightly taller than me, their tan bodies lean and muscular and perfectly proportioned, their erections impressively long and thick. Their faces are turned toward each other as if they are about to kiss, but their eyes are turned toward me. Compared to the twins I always feel stocky and flabby, but whatever they see in my body seems to please them, at least if the throbbing of their erections is any sign.
To their right is tall, slender Arin. He stands with his back to the twins, and I am treated to the sight of his right side. His face in profile appears coolly indifferent to his situation. Russet hair flows over his shoulders and ripples in the breeze, leading my eyes down the length of his pale torso to the taut curve of his right buttock. His erection is impressively long, rising and falling in a slow rhythm that belies his apparent nonchalance.
Then there is Chol, facing me with hands poised provocatively upon his hips. My eyes cannot help dwelling upon his ruggedly handsome face, his broad, athletic chest, his taut abdomen and his powerful limbs, before being drawn inexorably to that astonishing phallus, pointing rigidly toward me like a sword. When I am finally able to tear my gaze away from his penis it comes to rest upon his face. His eyes seem to say, I can take you, boy, and I imagine the places he could take me to.
Tren stands with his back to me, copper hair rippling over his lean shoulders in the soft breeze. He is almost as slender as Arin though not nearly so tall, his pale skin covered from head to foot with golden flecks. As my eyes slowly caress his beautifully-freckled back and bottom I find myself wishing that I could also cover his body.
Further off stands the dark-skinned youth whose name I have not yet learned. His taut, angular body is criss-crossed with fine scars. The scars in no way detract from his masculine beauty, but speak of a harsh, rugged upbringing. There is a cool, fierce look in his eyes that reminds me of a wild animal, and I wonder if he is one of the legendary wild children of the jungle.
And there in the shade of the chan tree stands young Tarl. He is one of the latest additions to Sarmin’s collection, and he still seems a little uncomfortable with his situation. Though my eyes caress his beautiful face and body with genuine affection, his penis hardly responds to my gaze and his eyes stare hauntedly.
I feel a little sorry for Tarl, but I know that before long he will come to accept his condition, as I and the others have come to accept ours.
Not long afterward I hear footsteps approaching and my heart leaps. Sarmin has returned.
“Hello, Edrin,” he says, kissing me on the lips. “I hope you didn’t miss me too much.”
As he speaks he gently fondles my erection, which grows hard as steel beneath his fingers. It feels so good. I want to come. I want to come. I want to come....
“No,” he whispers gently, withdrawing his hand. “Not yet, Edrin. Not for a little while yet.”
And then he walks around the glade, repeating his greeting to Chol and the wild boy and Tarl and Lir and Ril and Arin and Tren.
When he is done Sarmin stands before us and makes an announcement.
“We are to have a distinguished visitor,” he says. “First Minister Gerin himself is making a rare visit to my garden. No doubt he is coming ask me for some favour, and will dislike the price I shall charge for granting it. Nevertheless, in these pleasant surroundings I have no doubt that we shall eventually arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement. And speaking of mutual benefit...”
With those words he begins to fondle and caress Arin’s slim body. Arin’s phallus hardens, and as I watch so does mine. I feel a brief pang of jealousy, but it is short-lived. My turn will come soon, and Sarmin is demonstrating the kind of treatment I can expect when it does. My erection is throbbing so hard I think I may come by myself, but no. That is one of the rules of the garden: only Sarmin has the power to grant orgasms.
When First Minister Gerin arrives a few minutes later, he is greeted by the sight of Sarmin masturbating Arin with one hand and himself with the other. Yet despite his absorption with the task in hand, no pun intended, Sarmin does not forget his manners.
“Greetings... ahhh... Master First... ohhh... Minister,” he gasps. “We are... oh... ohhh... ohhhh... hon... honoured by your... ohhh, gods... presence.”
Gerin appears almost apoplectic with shock. I cannot help but feel sorry for him. Sarmin has always mocked his pomposity and said that he needed to be taken down a peg or three.
“Master Sarmin,” he finally manages to say with all the official dignity he can muster, “There is an urgent matter that I wish to discuss with you, and I hardly think this is the appropriate venue for such a discussion.”
Sarmin sighs and reluctantly withdraws his hands. “You may be right,” he admits. “I have had little contact with the outside world of late. It has made me forget the niceties. Perhaps you will find this more appropriate.”
Sarmin gestures and the garden swirls disorientingly around us. Gerin staggers and seems about to lose his balance, but after only a moment the swirling stops and he finds himself on firm ground once more.
We are in an open meadow in a different part of the garden. Sarmin is seated in a tall wooden chair, not nearly ornate enough to be called a throne but nonetheless grand enough to assert its occupant’s authority. A smaller chair stands before Sarmin’s, and after reorienting himself the First Minister seats himself upon it.
The seating arrangement may be more formal, but only by comparison. Sarmin is still naked, and Ril and Lir now stand naked at his left and right hands - quite literally, for even as Gerin watches, Sarmin commences to caress the twins’ buttocks lovingly. Arin, Tarl, Chol, Tren, Wild and I stand, together with four or five others, in a naked circle about the two chairs.
First Minister Gerin sighs, realising that this is as formal as his meeting with Sarmin is likely to get.
And so, doing his best to ignore Sarmin’s erotic activities, Gerin begins to speak.
“Master Sarmin,” he says, “our nation faces a grave agricultural crisis, and my advisors have convinced me that you may be our only hope.”
Without removing his hands from the twins’ thighs, Sarmin replies, “Please continue, First Minister. What is the nature of this crisis?”
With his powers of sorcery I am certain that Sarmin already knows the nature of the crisis. I am equally certain that he will not act upon his knowledge until the First Minister confirms it and asks for his assistance.
“A disease has begun to afflict our food crops,” Gerin tells Sarmin. “So far it has only affected the eastern Peninsula, and we have been able to make up for lost production from our reserves. But the blight is spreading rapidly. We estimate that within three years the entire country may face famine as our crops wither and our livestock starves from lack of fodder.”
“Most unfortunate,” says Sarmin, absently stroking Ril’s leg. “I imagine you will have requested assistance from your neighbouring countries.”
Gerin nods. “Those with whom we have friendly relations have made sympathetic noises, but are too poor to offer much aid. They have also expressed concern that the blight may spread to their territory, and we can offer no guarantee that it will not. And of course our enemies would be happy to see us starve. Some of my fellow Ministers have even suggested that the blight was sown by enemy agents.”
“Yes, it was,” says Sarmin.
First Minister Gerin starts. With this simple statement Sarmin has abandoned pretence and admitted that he knows all about the blight.
“Truly?” says Gerin. “I may say that some of the other Ministers thought you might have started the blight, in order to extort -”
“I did not start the blight,” says Sarmin quietly. If the suggestion offends him, he shows no sign. “The blight was created by the sorcerers of Vatra in order to starve you into submission, just as you have suggested.”
“Well, then,” says Gerin, “if the blight was created by sorcery -”
“Yes, First Minister,” Sarmin replies, his hands still languidly caressing the twins’ bodies. “If sorcery created the blight then sorcery can cure it. And, without indulging in false modesty, I am the world’s greatest sorcerer.”
So now we have reached the crux of the matter. Gerin coughs nervously and glances around our circle of naked youth, and all we can do is return his glances. Gerin is a good man, but he does not understand, and so he regards us with misplaced horror and pity.
“Come, First Minister,” says Sarmin softly. “We both know what you must ask of me. All that needs to be discussed is the price.”
“The price,” mutters Gerin. “I often think the price is too high already.”
Again, a lesser man would have taken offence at Gerin’s words, but Sarmin remains placid.
“First Minister,” he begins, “I am aware that you disapprove -”
“Disapprove?” cries Gerin. His composure, never as stable as Sarmin’s at the best of times, is wholly lost. “What you’ve done to these people... it’s appalling! It’s inhuman!”
I have no doubt that a Vatran sorcerer would have vaporised Gerin, or worse, for such an outburst. Sarmin, though, retains his equanimity.
“I have given them immortality,” he says. “I have ensured that their beauty will never fade.”
Gerin shakes his head. “Ten of our finest young men, every year....”
“In other countries,” Sarmin reminds him, “thousands of fine young men each year are required to take military service, and given the warlike nature of the neighbouring lands many of those young men will be killed or maimed in battle. I have spared the young men of this country from such a fate. In return for just ten a year I ensure that no enemy can set foot upon this land.”
“And yet,” Gerin points out, “an enemy somehow managed to enter this land and blight our crops. Are you certain that you did not allow him to do so deliberately, just so you could increase the tithe in return for curing the blight?”
Sarmin considers Gerin’s words for a long moment. Finally he says quietly, “Nothing in this world is certain, First Minister. Is it possible that I was aware of the intrusion and deliberately overlooked it so that I could exploit the situation? I tell you that I was not and did not, but whether you believe me is entirely up to you.”
Gerin is also silent for a long moment. Then he stands and walks around the circle, looking at each of us in turn.
“So, then,” he murmurs, not daring to look at Sarmin. “How many more will you ask in return for curing the blight?”
Sarmin replies without hesitation. “Let us say ten more per year, for the next... ten years. On the Midsummer Day following their eighteenth birth days, as always. That will suffice. In return I will eradicate the blight, completely and permanently.”
“So,” says First Minister Gerin. “In addition to those you would have taken anyway, a hundred more of our finest young men will be subjected to this living death of your making.”
Sarmin replied calmly. “You knew what currency I would charge, First Minister. Only the amount was undecided. In any case, this is not death, but merely a different form of life.”
“Life?” laughs Gerin grimly. “How can you call it that? They can’t speak. They can’t move. They can’t do anything except stand there in arousal like so many fertility dolls and wait for you to rape them.”
“Rape?” says Sarmin. “Oh, no, First Minister. Not that. Never that. It would only be rape if they found my touch objectionable, but I tell you that each and every one of them welcomes my embraces eagerly.”
“Only because you’ve altered their minds so they think they welcome your embraces. All these young men...”
First Minister Gerin turns to me and stares me in the face.
“Even my own son...”
Then Gerin embraces me fiercely. I wish I could return his embrace, but of course my arms remain stiffly at my sides.
Gerin’s embrace awakens memories of my childhood, when my parents first told me of Sarmin’s tithe.
“Why doesn’t cousin Revin come to visit anymore?” I asked them.
“Cousin Revin is no longer with us,” they told me. “He was taken by Sarmin this Midsummer past.”
Of course I had heard of Sarmin, the powerful sorcerer who had saved the land from invasion and kept it safe from its enemies for a hundred years or more. But this was the first I had heard of him taking anybody, and I pestered my father to tell me more.
“In return for keeping our country secure,” he told me, “Sarmin demands an annual payment, not in money but in boys. Every Midsummer Day he takes ten boys who have passed their eighteenth birth days.”
I was naturally puzzled. “But what does he do with them?” I demanded. “Does he kill them? Is Revin... dead?”
“No, Edrin,” he replied gravely. “He does not kill them. Revin is alive. But maybe it would have been better...”
For a long time that was all that I could get out of him, but as my own eighteenth birth day approached I began to hear all manner of conflicting rumours about what might have happened to the Taken, as they were often called.
“I’ll be eighteen soon,” I reminded my father. “Just suppose I’m Taken next Midsummer? What will happen? What will Sarmin do to me?”
“Ours is a big country,” he said. “Many thousands of boys will turn eighteen next year, so the chance of your being one of the ten who are Taken is remotely small.”
Still I persisted. “Father... why won’t you tell me what really happens to the Taken? If there is even a remote chance that I might be Taken as well, shouldn’t I know what to expect?”
The question clearly made him uncomfortable, but he gritted his teeth and replied.
“It is said... that Sarmin puts them under a spell,” he said, “so that they can never again move or make a sound. He keeps them in a huge garden, like hundreds of nude statues, and he... he uses them for sex. They can do nothing, nothing at all, while he uses their bodies for his own perverted pleasure. You see? He not only insists on having sex with boys, but makes sure they’re helpless while he’s having it with them. Over a thousand so far and still he wants more.”
His jaw was set. “Well, I’ll tell you this, Edrin. When next Midsummer comes, sorcerer or no sorcerer, there’s no way I’m letting Sarmin take you!
And that was where the conversation ended because father could see that it was making me uncomfortable.
What he did not realise, of course, was the reason for my discomfort. My breeches were constricting my erection. It was a huge relief to be able to retire to my room and liberate it.
My father was very much the traditionalist. For his benefit I had befriended a number of girls, but the truth was that I felt no physical attraction for the opposite sex at all. Boys, though, were another matter. Suffice it to say that at seventeen there was very little I did not know about the ways a man can pleasure another.
So while my father had been describing Sarmin’s exploitation of his frozen victims, I had been imagining myself as one of those victims, helplessly anticipating whatever perversion Sarmin might choose to inflict upon me.
I was astonished to discover how much the idea had excited me. Once I was safely ensconced in my room I stripped and pleasured myself furiously for an hour, imagining myself as one of Sarmin’s living sex statues, until I had two of the longest and most powerful orgasms of my life.
Over the course of the next few months the same fantasy fuelled countless more orgasms, some of them even better.
My eighteenth birth day came and went. Though my parents continued to act normally I could feel a growing tension in the air as Midsummer approached. My father continued to make what he thought were reassuring speeches about the unlikelihood of my being Taken and his determination to prevent it from happening if I was chosen. At the same time I prayed that I would be chosen, offering up my orgasms as sacrifices to Sarmin. My fear of not being Taken was only slightly greater than my fear that the reality of being Taken would not live up to my fantasies.
When Midsummer Day finally arrived I was disappointed to wake up in my own (sticky) bed and find myself still able to move. It was a holiday, of course, and my parents and I visited the Midsummer Fair in the town market. We did our best to be entertained by all the performers and games, but we were all distracted, though for different reasons.
The morning passed uneventfully and I began to believe nothing would happen. My parents had been right. Of all the thousands of eighteen-year-olds, what were the chances that I of all people would be Taken? And even if I had, how could the reality ever hope to live up to the fantasy? No, I told myself, it was better to be content with the fantasy. It had served me well enough so far. Yet without the possibility of coming true the fantasy would never be the same again.
And then, just as the Guildhall clock struck midday, a voice rang out clear and strong. It seemed to be coming from all around us yet its source was nowhere to be seen.
“I am Sarmin,” it said.
It was the first time I had heard Sarmin’s voice. It was a rich, warm baritone, and its timbre was compelling. I wanted to go on listening to it for hours. I imagine that Sarmin’s voice was also being heard at that moment in nine other towns and villages besides our own, the homes of all those who had been chosen.
“For one hundred and seven years,” the voice continued, “my sorcery has protected this land from its enemies and brought about an era of peace and prosperity unprecedented in human history.”
The whole crowd was standing as if transfixed by Sarmin’s voice. I was also standing still, but not necessarily for the same reason. Something seemed to be happening to me.
The voice went on: “Thanks to me you are healthier and happier than any other land in the world. Thanks to me you need never fear the threat of war or invasion.”
Something was happening to me. At first I noticed that the crowd around me was thinning, as if some aura around me was slowly pushing them aside. When I tried to turn to see what was causing it I discovered that I couldn’t move. Try as I might, I could not take a step or raise my arms from my side. A sudden surge of excitement rushed through me and I became fully aroused.
“And all I ask in return for these gifts,” Sarmin’s voice intoned, “is ten of your most beautiful youths each year, who have passed their eighteenth birth days by Midsummer. This is the day on which I collect my payment.”
My arousal was getting stronger even as the space around me grew bigger. I began to feel as if invisible hands were caressing me all over, and then I began to feel as if invisible lips and tongue were kneading my steely erection, bringing me rapidly to the point of climax...
“Please be assured,” said Sarmin, “that those whom I have chosen will remain forever young, beautiful and happy forever in my garden.”
Frozen where I stood, I could feel warm summer air on my skin. What had happened to my clothes? The invisible hands and mouth were bringing me closer and closer to orgasm. I couldn’t hold back for much longer.
“The waiting is over,” Sarmin’s voice announced. ”The moment of choosing is here!”
Suddenly my body, now standing in a broad clearing within the crowd, was illuminated by a brilliant shaft of light. I was transfixed in ecstasy from head to foot.
All eyes fell upon my naked body, and at that moment I helplessly came and came and came, my seed splashing upon the cobblestones.
“No,” cried my father. “No, Sarmin, you shan’t have him! You took my nephew, but you shan’t take my son from me!”
Rushing forward he tried to embrace me, to prevent Sarmin’s sorcery from taking me, but he might as well have tried to prevent the tide from coming in. His arms simply slid away from my body as if it was greased, and I began to rise slowly into the air. My parents and their fellow townsfolk made repeated grabs for my body, but always with the same result. Soon I was beyond their reach, floating high above the square.
“Edrin!” my parents cried. “Edrin, we love you!”
Their voices were already becoming faint with distance. In my state of post-orgasmic euphoria, I wanted to reassure them, to let them know that I would be happy with Sarmin, but I could not speak. My body was no longer mine to command.
“Rejoice,” boomed Sarmin’s disembodied voice. “This year’s chosen ten will join those already chosen in eternal ecstasy in my garden.”
I heard no more of my parents’ voices, nor of Sarmin’s projected voice, and soon my parents were out of site.
The invisible hands and tongue continued to caress me, but more slowly and gently, as I drifted over the town. Soon the square was left far behind, and before long I was floating over farms and fields. Some people shouted and pointed at me as I hovered overhead. What’s the matter? I thought. Haven’t you ever seen a naked person in the sky before?
From time to time the invisible caresses would bring me to yet another strong and sustained climax, and my semen would drift gently down to the ground. My arousal was permanent and I was always ready for more, and the invisible touches were always happy to oblige.
Now and then a flock of birds would fly past me, so close that I could feel the breeze from their wings. At other times small birds chose to treat my head or shoulders as a perch and I would be briefly entertained by their singing.
As the day wore on the terrain grew more elevated as I approached the mountains. The air was becoming cooler as I rose, but though I was aware of the cold I was not troubled by it.
For many hours I was treated to spectacular views of rugged, snow-capped peaks as I drifted languidly over and between them. I was still coming regularly, and my semen would fall away from me, no doubt to freeze in the icy air and shatter like glass on the jagged rocks below.
Eventually the mountains were left behind and I found myself passing over a dense forest. In the distance I fancied I could see other floating figures, and as they drew closer my suspicion was confirmed: they were some of my fellow Taken. The next time I came I kept my eyes on one of the other floating youths. No sooner had my penis begun expelling semen than his did the same. That amused and delighted me. We might not be together yet, but we were all having simultaneous orgasms.
Finally as the sun approached the horizon the mass of trees ended as if cut off by a giant razor and we floated over a landscape of lush green meadows dotted with exotic trees and flowering plants, lakes, fountains and marble temples. This could only be Sarmin’s garden.
In leafy glades and on grass-covered hillsides stood hundreds of life-size figures, all naked, all male, all young and all heavily aroused. They were statues, but statues of flesh and blood rather than marble or bronze. Soon, very soon I would be joining them, a thought that excited me so much I came even before the invisible hands had finished with me.
Finally each of the other nine floating youths converged with me. Our bodies stopped moving forward and took up a circular formation, each of us facing (and erectly pointing to) the centre. Then as one our little circle floated vertically downward into a small woodland clearing that was just big enough for it. The centre of the circle was already occupied by a handsome naked man - not a statue, but very much animate flesh and blood. Who else but Sarmin himself, come to welcome us?
“Greetings, my beloved friends,” smiled Sarmin, looking around the circle. “As you know full well, each year I choose ten young men to join my collection, and this year the honour is yours.”
With that Sarmin walked slowly around the circle, kissing and caressing each of us, replacing the invisible hands with his own, and greeting each of us by name.
“Vard... Syldis... Ileem... Edrin... Naryu... Tren... Talis... Ondren... Frayy... Nentu... I greet you all, and I rejoice in your presence. Each of you has been chosen because of your outstanding masculine beauty... no pun intended. But there is more.”
Sarmin continues his circuit, gently caressing an arm here, a nipple there, an abdomen here, a scrotum there....
“You have been chosen,” he whispers, “because you share my love of statues. You have been chosen because the idea of timelessness, of permanence, of solidity, arouses you. Because the idea of being caressed, sucked, manipulated, penetrated, while you are helplessly inanimate, incapable of lifting a finger to resist... oh, my, that’s done it, now, hasn’t it?!”
Sarmin laughed, and I knew that we were all laughing with him in thought.
“Because, as I was saying,” he went on, “just the thought of those things is enough to make each and every one of you come long and hard... as all of you just demonstrated, all over me.”
Sarmin scooped some of our semen off of his body and tasted it delicately as if it were a fine wine.
“Well, now you don’t have to imagine it any more. This is real. You are all statues and statues you will remain; forever young, forever beautiful, forever naked, forever erect and forever helpless. No matter what I do to you, you can’t resist, and tonight I will do a great many things to each and every one of you.”
Closing his eyes Sarmin span around several times. Stopping, he opened his eyes to see which of us was in front of him.
“Talis,” he said, kissing his chest. “Congratulations. You are to be the first. But the rest of you need not feel jealous. I’m not only going to let you watch me make love to Talis, I am also going to let you feel everything that he feels while I’m doing it.”
With a gesture Sarmin transported us to another part of the garden. As the day faded to twilight disembodied spheres of coloured light began to appear in mid-air, casting a gentle glow over the scene. Talis lay face-up upon a comfortable-looking bed of moss while the rest of us stood on either side. Sarmin lowered himself onto Talis’s body, slipping his erection into Talis’s mouth while taking Talis’s erection in his own.
True to Sarmin’s word, we could all feel what Talis was feeling. Not only that, but we could feel his excitement and anticipation as well as each other’s.
That was a magical night. I often suspect Sarmin used his sorcery to make it last longer. I came ten times ten times in ten different bodies simultaneously, and every one of my bodies was beautiful and sensual, and each and every one of them was as helplessly inanimate as a doll, and I rejoiced in their helplessness.
How could my parents have ever objected to this? How could anybody? It was better, so much better than I had ever imagined. I wanted to stay with Sarmin forever, and he was happy to grant my wish.
With that, my reverie ends and I am back in the present. First Minister Gerin is standing before Sarmin, still looking decidedly uncomfortable.
“Perhaps I should not have come,” he mutters. “Some of my fellow Ministers would prefer that the tithe be kept at it present level and that we should take our chances with the blight.”
“In that case they are fools,” says Sarmin. “The country would face ruin. In any case, it is already done. I have cured the blight.”
Gerin is astonished. “So... so soon?”
“Even as we were speaking,” Sarmin replies, absently sliding a finger along the underside of Lir’s erection. “The blight is gone and will not return, and in recompense I will take twenty youths next Midsummer and for the nine Midsummers following.”
“But... but we hadn’t even concluded negotiations! This is extortion!”
“I named my price and agreed the terms. Just remember, First Minister, I am the world’s most powerful sorcerer. If I chose to I could shatter the mountains, boil the oceans and pull down the sky about your ears.”
Gerin’s jaw drops.
Then Sarmin smiles and leans forward to kiss Gerin on the lips and laughs, “It’s fortunate that I am a tolerant man, is it not?”
Gerin’s face reddens so much that I fear for his health. “Why... why...” he splutters. “If I were a younger man...”
“If you were a younger man you would be a part of my collection,” says Sarmin. “You were quite beautiful when you were eighteen as I recall.”
Though it hardly seems possible, Gerin’s face turns even redder, and I become seriously concerned that he may be about to die of apoplexy.
Sarmin sighs and shakes his head. Then he gestures toward Gerin and a look of concentration crosses his face. After a few moments the First Minister’s face regains its normal colour and his breathing becomes steady.
“There. Now do try to stay calm, my good First Minister. I hate to see you so agitated. Go back and tell your fellow Ministers that the blight is cured and the tithe raised. Tell them I would brook no argument, for in truth I will not.”
Gerin sighs and nods. As he turns to leave he turns toward me once more.
“Gerin,” says Sarmin.
Gerin starts. It is the first time Sarmin has addressed him by name rather than by his title.
“Gerin, if you believe nothing else of me, believe this. I do love them. Each and every one of them, your son no less. Not just as sex objects, but as people. I love them, Gerin. I love them.”
Before Gerin can reply Sarmin gestures and he is gone. No doubt Sarmin has transported him back to the Capital to report to his Cabinet.
Sarmin breathes a long, slow sigh.
“And that, my dear friends,” he tells us, “ is why I hate dealing with politicians.”
Once he has finished with Lir and Ril, Sarmin walks over and begins stroking my back. Brushing aside a strand of my hair he whispers in my ear, “It’s true, you know. What I told Gerin.”
If I could have replied, if I could have been granted the gift of speech for just six more words, I would have said, “Of course it’s true, my beloved.”
1: You might notice that the name Sarmin sounds quite similar to Sharman. Is there a connection, I hear you ask? This question and many others may be answered in the not-too-foreseeable future.