Narmar was in his early twenties, tall and muscular. He had already proven himself to be a warrior of some standing. As the eldest son of the Old Bull, the name of honour given to the lead of their Clan, and his first wife it was Narmar’s duty to lead the Clan on the death of his father.
But he was also a Sentinel and he had to find himself a Guide. First he had to see War Lord Warren, a close friend of the Old Bull. The War Lord would see that he got the choice pick of the Guides.
His half brother had tasted a Guide of the Dark Calling for all the good that whore had done him. Now it was his chance to claim a Guide, one of high status, his own Dark Guide one that was connected to the dominate Sentinel Clan. Then it didn’t matter what his half brother did, he wouldn’t be able to challenge his place as the next Bull of the clan. His half brother’s new Guide was connected as the by-blow of the White River Clan’s Senior Guide, but against a high status Guide, he would be out ranked. Only a Dark Guide, one tamed to his hand would be the true consort for the future leader of his clan.
The sun was at its highest now; the first combats had started at dawn for the right of being the next Senior Sentinel and Guide Prime of the Clans. Already it was clear that the Dark pairing of the Panther Clan was the most favoured of the pairings.
Now Blaer and James faced the second pairing that dared to challenge them. Blaer’s mouth twisted into a chilling smile. The guide of the challenging sentinel had taken the coward’s way out in his mind, and nominated a warrior from his clan to fight in his stead.
Blaer took his guard his sword held at shoulder level
It was aimed at his opponent’s eyes. In combat between experienced warriors it was not the movement of the sword, which gave warning of the attack, but the eyes. This opponent was taller and stockier built, not a Guide but the surrogate warrior.
The man shifted round as Blaer slowly circled him, trying to keep the Dark Guide facing him. Blaer appeared in no hurry to start the fight, the Dark Guide, he knew with sickening certainty, was playing with him.
Finally impatiently the man stamped his foot down as he swung his sword, cutting towards Blaer’s left leg, a blow meant to cripple him.
But Blaer was too fast letting his sword blade drop down vertically shielding his leg as he caught the other blade; keeping them in contact he swung them up and over as he pushed forward. Throwing the other man off balance causing him to stumble to he knees unable to avoid the pommel of Blaer’s sword as it was smashed into his face and he dropped to the ground unmoving.
Leaning on the pommel of his sword Blaer turned to watch Jeme, “What’s taking you so long” he yelled. Jeme sidestepped a cutting blow that would have taken his arm off if he hadn’t ducked. “Getting old” Blaer added.
Jeme snarled as the other sentinel swung his sword to cut through his head. Jeme caught his sword blade with his free hand, and using it as a staff took the brunt of the blow. The attack brought the other sentinel closer, and Jeme kicked him in the groin. The man doubled up and for a second Jeme looked down at him then lashed out catching him with a hard punch to the jaw that put the man down. He turned to face his Guide.
“Not bad for an old man, Blaer,
Blaer closed the distance between them, his gloved hand petting the broad chest, “I might have to work on your stamina, but you’re promising I give you that”. His smile was innocent, but his eyes were as old as sin.
As he turned, Jeme clipped him, across the ass, “Brat”.
The dark Guide turned on his heel, snarling at him showing his teeth, in throaty snarl, Jeme’s face changed. It was the same stoic handsome face but his features had a feral look to them that meant only one thing. The Dark Bond was ignited and that could only take one course.
Blaer was huddled close to his Sentinel, his head was resting on a broad chest, he moved his hand over the smooth warm skin, and then turning his face he buried it into the crook of his Sentinel’s neck.
The connection between them was mellow, and Blaer luxuriated
In the feeling of being shielded, the heat of the bond was now just a pleasant warmth, the fire was dying, a smile touching his lips as the strong arms curled round him, and he could feel the Sentinel purring, the vibration rumbling under his head. Blaer made a soft groan as a large hand caressed his hip, the firm fingers stroking up his flank the Sentinel reinforcing through touch the sensor net he had thrown round his Guide. Blaer’s breath stuttered, he allowed his emotions to infuse Jeme’s mind. The Sentinel growled and Blaer gasped as teeth grazed his throat, breath hot on his skin, then his head was tilted back, and the Sentinel bit him, worrying the skin a bruise began to form, marking him, this was only one of many that mapped his body. The feeling of being owned possessed burned through him, a feeling or merging that only the Darkest Bond could bring him.
Only when he felt the Sentinel’s mind was right, did he tap into his senses, piggybacking them, a soft smile unlike the more mischievous, cynical smiled of the Dark Guide, touched his lips, the warmth under his fingers increased, and he caught the scent of his Sentinel, he buried his face into Jeme’s neck rubbing against him, and he filled his lungs with the sharp scent. The steady beat of the heart made him relax and he began to drift, only to be pulled back, by the feeling of nails scratching across his stomach he gasped his eyes flying open, and found himself on his back, looking up into the feral eyes of his Sentinel. The soft smile changed as he felt Jeme’s emotions, they were now dark and feral, Blaer’s smile changed to something, which would have inspired fear in anyone but his Sentinel. Who only smiled broader his larger body now looming over Blaer, the smaller Guide groaned as large hands that could cause him pain instead helped his fledging sense come alight one by one.
Now they bonded slowly, at each touch Blaer, the almost exquisite torture made him move without any conscious thought. His breath catching in his throat, he felt as if his body was on fire, and only the touch of his Sentinel could quench the flames before they engulfed him. Blaer teetered on the edge his breath coming faster and faster, then suddenly his body bucked arching him up as his mind spiralled down towards the black void as he overdosed on the multiple sensations that assaulted him. But suddenly his mind was caught and his body cradled against the long powerful body of his Sentinel. Blaer’s eyes cracked open and he looked into the face of his Sentinel. He raised one shaking hand and his finger tips brushes the strong features then his hand dropped down, then with a yawn that made his jaw crack he curled up is body intertwining with his Sentinel’s trying to almost climb into his skin. Then with another yawn his head dropped at his Sentinel’s touch, and the natural healing sleep claimed him. Jeme looked down at him with a bemused look. His wildcat Guide had sharp claws, and teeth, but like this he like almost innocent. Tomorrow they would fight again and they would win; no one would stand in their way.
The next morning, Saemund sat round his central fire, and broke his fast, as he mediated between two of his clansmen. Suddenly they both tensed, and Saemund turned to see the two newcomers emerge from their tent his hand moved towards his own sword hilt, he still didn’t trust them.
The young slender Dark Guide Gamin and his Sentinel Lo-jin. The Sentinel moved forward, as he heard the words of some the Panther Clan, this was not to protect his Guide, but to protect them from Gamin’s wrath, he had a temper as quick as lightening bolt flashing across the sky, and was just as lethal when it struck. But he was aware they could not afford to make more enemies, the Panther Clan might just be their salvation.
Saemund forced himself to smile, and waved them across, he believed in the prophecy about the coming of the Dark Guide and Dark Sentinel and the Shield, so this was just another addition to his clan. No clan had ever had two Dark Guides.
Saemund had already received a message from two of the other clan leaders who wanted to negotiate now before Jeme and Blaer were the Senior Primes of the Clans, then Saemund would be able to call the terms. It would be Saemund's right to negotiate the first breeding rights for both Jeme and Blaer when they became Primes of the Clan. The fruits of their loins would make the clan rich; Jeme would except it as his duty to his clan, and had always enjoyed the women. But with Blaer now at this side the Dark Guide was a spitting demon, which would gut anyone that looked at his Sentinel.
Saemund still felt guilt for the first of the coupling when Jeme and Blaer had joined as Sentinel and Guide, but the breeding had been successful. Jeme had fathered three boys all who might develop the gift, the Dark Guide had fathered one boy and three girls, but the seed might still be true in the boy. He knew that he would fight his wife over putting the Guide to stud, but Blaer would do what his Clan Leader ordered this was larger than his own feelings, but then if the rumours was true. Saemund shook his head, he knew that normally he would not give them credence but at the Gathering the stories flew round and it was hard not to believe in them. Looking towards the new pairing, he nodded, if the legend became true then those denied the Premier Dark Guide, might accept him in the furs, after all the seed of a Dark Guide was still worth gold in the trade. The Panther Clan was the sun rising and none could stop it.
Gamin looked round him, one hand brushing the long hair out of his eyes. As Lo-jin, spoke softly, he reached round and pulled the long hair back and secured it with a leather tie. The intimate nature wasn’t lost on the Panther Clan, they had seen Jeme and Blaer act in the self same way, and this was a pairing connected by the Darkest Bond. They exchanged a smile, clapped each other on the back and carried on with what they were doing; having two Dark Guides was a coup for any Clan.
Just then Jeme appeared from the tent he shared with Blaer, as he stretched his tunic moved enough to show the marks on his neck, two of the clan sentinels tightened their grips round their exhausted guides as they walked past, nodding their greeting, the call of the Dark Guide in the thrones of the dark bond, had certainly added spice to their own bonding last night.
Their need to claim their Guide had burned through them like a fever, and now there was two of the Dark Calling, grinning broadly the sentinels dragged their guides back to their tent, exchanging a bawdy exchange with the Jeme, before vanishing into the tents, the door covering falling into place.
Jeme haled the new pairing his eyes sweeping over the other Dark Guide; the scent of their dark bond was plain to him, as was his and Blaer’s. Gamin cocked his head to one side, “who is that?” he jerked a black leather gloved thumb towards Saemund”.
‘Your clan leader”
Gamin’s eyes swept over Saemund weighing him and finding him wanting.
“And your Guide hasn’t killed him yet!” his smile became broader, as he saw Blaer appear behind the Sentinel. “You’re slipping brother”
Blaer huffed “He won’t let me kill him. Made me swear allegiance to him”.
“Freye” Gamin hissed, whatever he was about to say was forgotten when Lo-jin caught his arm, giving it a tug. His eyes fixed on the children coming towards them.
“sentinels” his hand dropped on his sword, as he moved to block them from Gamin.
The younger, slender Guide turned as Jeme gave a chuckle that made Gamin to look at him. As the taller man pointed at the approaching children Blaer moved ahead of Gamin. The children greeted him warmly. Sophie was the senior of the child sentinels and addressed Blaer formally.
“Good Morning, Dark Guide Blaer, we have come as you commanded”, she nodded her head forward showing respect to his calling.
Blaer’s eyes never left her as he crossed his hand across his chest, at the wrist the flat of his hand touching his shoulder, as he returned the greeting.
Only then did the other children come up, turning slightly he said, “Gamin come and meet the future sentinels of our clan” There was no mistaking the “our”.
Gamin kept his eyes fixed on the youngsters as if he was viewing dangerous animals”
“They’re females!” he sounded scandalised.
“Good eyesight you have brother” Blaer drawled back amused.
“But they’re female” Gamin shook his head.
“I know but they prove themselves loyal to the Clan”
Gamin shrugged and slowly circled them; Sophie’s nose twitched and she knew she was facing another Dark Bonded Sentinel and Guide. And this one was just as wild and dangerous as their teacher. Carefully she saluted him showing the respect due to one of his calling.
“Good morning Dark Guide, Honoured is your Bond” Sophie saluted, but even so kept her eyes on the new Dark Guide, at her side Justin and Kira did the same.
The new Dark Guide was a similar age, but taller and more slender, he reached a gloved hand out and prodded Sophie in the arm, she bit back an ouch. He raised his hand and with the back of his fingers touched the side of her face, all the times his head tilting from side to side as if trying to understand. “Female sentinels” Then he added “your Sentinel had no problem with them coming to you?”
“He understands that they honour the Guide in all its forms”.
Gamin circled them again, this clan was a puzzle, “you have yet to kill the Clan leader to allow your Sentinel to take his place, and you allow this perversion to happen”.
Gamin suddenly smiled and it was brilliant “This is a clan I could take to Brother of the Dark”.
Sophie didn’t know how she knew but she just did that some crisis had past, and they had gained another Dark Guide into the fold.
Caro reached out and held the hand of Sophie’s mother, reassuring as she said “All is as it should be” Then giving her hand another squeeze drew her to the fire to help prepare the meal to break their fast, if the new Sentinel had taken his Guide to the Darkest Bond then they would both be hungry.
Lo-jin smiled as he heard the whispers of some of the women, “and mothers all of them” he drawled.
“Oh you should have heard them talking about Blaer” He clapped Lo-jin on the back and herded him towards the food as he filled him in on what they were saying, Lo-jin burst out laughing, this was a Sentinel he could get to like.
Blaer was sat down and with his students and Gamin was by his side.
The two Dark Guides had joined hands the power of their calling was looping between them, slowly, Sophie put a hand out and she could feel the power move through her like a tingle as if she had caught hold of a stinging nettle, but there was no fear or pain.
She called on Justin and Kira to follow what she did, soon the five of them was linked together. For the first time they could feel the power of the Dark Guides. It hovered at the corner of their minds, and then rolled over them.
Blaer's voice was low, “can you feel the colours of our power, the mingling of them?”
Justin spoke for the first time, “You are blue teacher and orange like the sun in the presence of Sentinel Prime Jeme, and the new Guide” He dropped his eyes unable to meet the black on red eyes, “has a green colour and there is a yellow to it, but also a red.” He paused “how can it be that a Guide can be claimed by two Sentinels?” He looked up and then frightened glanced down as he felt the emotions of the new Guide surge only to fade.
Carefully both the Guides pulled their powers back inside of them, leaving the young sentinels untouched. Both Guides got to their feet, although different in their looks they were both good looking, and she was aware that the other women looked at Blear with longing, and that longing had doubled with the arrival of the new Guide if what she was hearing was anything to go by, she blushed bright red at some of the words.
Kira reached up her small hand taking that of the new Dark Guide.
She felt a surge of power, then it faded, Gamin looked down at her, and then raised her hand to look at it as he held in his gloved hand. Blaer was pleased with the way that Gamin had taken to the young sentinels; he had begun to accept his place in the Clan.
Jeme came over, his arm wrapping round that of his Guide as he bend his head down and nuzzled at his throat, taking a deep breath of his scent, his actions a public reaffirming of his ownership of his Guide.
Blaer reached up and with his gloved had caressed the face of the older man. Aloud Jeme said “Come Gamin it is time to break your fast” and then to the young sentinels added, “You can join us”.
Sarene and Huon woke together; her body was wrapped round his, as if she had tried to crawl into his very soul. She knew now that her only destiny was with him. She yawed and then snuggled back against the long warm length of his body the outside world could wait little longer.
Finally they had been united, her father, she bit her lip that was a problem that hadn’t gone away. She turned back as she felt Huon stir, her emotions echoing through him, quickly she curled up round him again, and was pulled close, allowing her emotions to mellow. This way her mind pulled him into a deeper sleep.
She ran her hand over his powerful muscles, all that strength now at her bidding, her Sentinel, and only hers. With a contented smile to herself and joined him in sleep.
When the sun was at its highest point the Dark Pairing were challenged, it was to be a hard bloody fight but the result was never in doubt, with the other pairing of sentinel and guide falling under their swords.
Jeme could feel the power running through their connection, it was increasing and there could only be one release, the Darkest Bond.
Fighting side by side was always a catalyst and Jeme had barely gotten into the tent when Blaer jump him. Jeme heard a throatily growl, turned and only just managed to catch the younger man, he was knocked backwards onto the thick covering of furs.
Blaer was on top of him pinning him down, the growl was rumbling deep in his throat. His eyes on fire with the Darkest Bond he reached out with a bloody hand and smeared it across his Sentinel’s face. Only to have it caught and pulled close so that the Sentinel could examine it when Blaer tried to pull it free. Jeme yanked it back, hitting the other one away, as he used his own scarf to wrap round the hand. The wound was not serious, it could wait. They had more important thing to do. Releasing the hand he could not help but smile as his feral Guide looked at the bandage picking at its trailing edge, only to have a strong hand intertwine in his dark thick curls and firmly pulled his Guide down now they could bond. The feral in the Sentinel rose up and rejoiced as the two feral met and the Darkest Bond flared and burned.
They had fought twice that day and each time been successful. Already there had been several partnerships withdrawn from the list of combat. But some still remained. Now they had achieved their destiny, and it was time to celebrate, and for a Sentinel it meant burying himself deep in his Guide mind body and soul.
The Lodge at Dawn
father sent word of your coming, and that you’re looking for a guide”
“You will find many guides on offer”
“ A Dark Guide” Narmar asked.
“What you need is a guide connected to what will be the Premier Clans, the Panthers”.
Narmar shook his head “their clan leader is a slave a...”
“His Sentinel and Guide are to become the next Seniors of the Clan. They are a Dark Pair and no one is going to stand in their way. Take a guide from their clan, one related by blood to Saemund and you bind them to a blood alliance.
younger man reluctantly let go of his dream of a Dark Guide, an alliance like
that would please his father and cement his place as the next Clan Leader. He
Narmar and his followers made their way to the Panther Clan; they carried furs and gold plate the first gifts in the game of ownership of a Panther Guide.
It was then he saw the young woman come out of the tent her fair hair was swirled round her shoulders, she was pretty and had curves a man would die for. It had been along time since he had had a woman to warm his bed, he fingered his purse. He felt the power of a guide in her that would add spice to their coupling, it was known the best Clan prostitutes were those that had the gift of feeling the emotions of their clients and masters, perhaps Saemund would give her to him as part of their negotiations if he asked.
Just then a man came out of the tent and wrapped an arm round her waist and pulled her close, his hand cupping her rump as he pulled her up and tight against him, he nuzzled her throat, pushing her loose dress down to expose the white creamy skin of her shoulder. His head came up fast and he snarled at Narmar bending slightly he threw her over his shoulder and carried her back to the tent.
A voice behind him cause him to turned fast, and he found himself looking at a young man dressed only in a loose fitting robe, his long curly hair cascading over his shoulder. Narmar’s mouth dropped open.
“She is a guide”. The man said.
Narmar’s suddenly shifted; “You dare to talk to me” he moved forward in two strides and struck at the smaller man. In his Narmar’s father’s clan any guide that appeared in public in heat would be punished, and to dare to talk to the Clan leader’s son would mean a public beating.
The smaller man ducked and caught Narmar’s wrist; the next thing he felt was a blinding pain in his arm as he was forced to his knees, the Guide looked down at him his smile was chilling “You would think to hurt me sentinel…’ on that he brought Narmar’s wrist to near breaking point. “Then Sentinel you have to learn”. The Guide released his hold on his wrist and a bare foot kicked into Narmar’s chest he flew backwards and landed on his backside.
The Guide was nearly at the tent when Narmar lunged for him, the Guide spun round and the young sentinel managed to grab his robe ripping it almost off his body as he pinned him to the ground he found it easier to hold a wild cat than the other man.
The roar was like the sound from no human throat, Narmar was dragged off the Guide and up into the air, a hard fist hammered into his stomach and face and he was thrown into the mud. Blood dripped from his mouth as his friends pulled him to his feet; he pulled his sword, and then froze as he saw the two newcomers in front of him. One was only around five nine, and held a broadsword, his companion wore the all black of the Dark Guide with a scarlet braid. His own sword was held at the ready.
Looking past he saw his attacker helping up the Guide, trying to hold the robe closed but he could see the red marks on the smaller man’s throat, and shoulder. His attacker was a big powerfully built man, his clothing was all black, except for purple braid lacing up the sleeves, and for the first time Narmar began to feel fear.
“The Guide is in heat, he had no right to be flaunting himself”.
“The Guide” the dark Guide drawled, allowing a smile to twist his lips, “is in the honour of state of his calling, and for that unbonded” he spat the word as if unclean, “is the reason you will die, no one touches one of the Dark Calling”.
Jeme was all over Blaer. He had woken too late to stop the first attack and had launched into Blessed Protector. The only reason he hadn’t torn the younger sentinel apart was because he had a need to check on his Guide first.
Gamin looked him up and down “You have a name dead man”
“Narmar of the Bull Clan”, For a moment Gamin seemed to start and then his lips thinned into a chilling smile, then for the sake of your father I shall make your death memorable” His eyes never leaving Narmar he added. “Let me kill him brother”
“No” Saemund had arrived and heard the tail end of the conversation, he knew who the Bull Clan was, and if the young man had made a mistake then he would try and not see he paid with his life. Blaer snarled at Saemund, “His is unbonded and laid hands on me; you would protect him at the sake of your own Dark Guide’s honour”.
Saemund swore. This was going to be more difficult than he had imagined. He would have to resolve this with some tact”.
Gamin was grinning broadly as he bounced on the balls of his feet, ready to pull his sword. Only the touch of Lo-jin’s hand was stopping him from striking this man down.
“Blaer, your bond is honoured by this Clan and by this gathering, I am sure he will apologies to you for this mistake, and then we can get on with the business of the clan. Senior Guide Prime Blaer.
For a moment Saemund allowed his eyes to fix to those of Blaer if he blinked now he was lost.
Blaer looked to Jeme. “He will live at my pleasure and until such time as I call in his life”. Blaer lapsed into one of the guilds dead languages. Saemund say saw Gamin repeat the words under his breath.
“So be it done,” the two Dark Guides said together.
He turned and walked back to his tent; reaching back to snag Jeme's sleeve and pulled him with him.
Narmar released the breath he didn’t know he was holding. Gamin had started to turn and then snapped back, his knife held under the unbonded Sentinel’s throat, his eyes flashing his smile chilling.
“When Blaer calls your life as done, I will be waiting” Gamin removed the knife and patted Narmar’s cheek as if he was a child, a smile touching his lips that sent Narmer cold, the insanity in this Dark Guide was near the surface, and he made no effort to hide it. Then Gamin was gone heading back to his Sentinel, all but bouncing with barely suppressed energy.
Then he looked his Sentinel in the eyes his body language changing to the sensual slink of the Dark Guide. Then with the slightest nod of the head he led Lo-jin away leaving only Saemund pick up the pieces.
The combats for Senior Sentinel and Guide Prime of the Clans grew more intense with every fight, but it became clear that only one pairing would become dominate, as they others fell by the way. Remarkably there were no deaths but many injuries. Each combat drew more sentinels and guides to watch.
The tension between the Dark Sentinel and Guide was being felt by all of the other pairings, it was as if some one was strumming a harp, the strings radiating from Jeme and Blaer connecting them to all the other sentinels and guides, losing them into the primal beat, as the Dark Pair faced the last pairing that stood between them and supremacy of the Clans, the touch of the swords seemed to clash like thunder and the swords cut through the air like lightening.
There was nothing the other pairing could do. The Dark Pairing moved as one, knowing where each other was without having to look. The feral power of the Sentinel was matched by the ruthless aggression of the Dark Guide. Only the blocking of his Sentinel’s blade stopped him at the last moment from taking the head of the man he fought. Finally they were victorious. Blaer was breathing hard, but it wasn’t now from combat. His hair was plastered to his face, his eyes flashed with fire, and his lips parted in a throaty hiss. He swung his sword up and over pushing Jeme's blade down as he body checked him. Only the total surprise of the move allowed him to get away from it. He lunged at Jeme and the Sentinel stepped back parrying the blade down. The look on his face changed and his lips pulled back in a predatory smile.
“You want to play Guide”.
“Only when you’re on your knees on the fur Sentinel,” Blaer hissed back.
“That is your place Guide” Jeme stepped in quickly his sword crossing Blaer’s in a flurry of blows. “You do it so well, so submissive Guide”. He taunted.
Blaer hurled curses at him, his language worse than any mercenary soldier. Even as he ducked under Jeme's blade he made his own slashing strike towards the Sentinel’s knee, only to have it blocked.
Jeme waved a finger at him, as if scolding a child “You’ll have to do better than that Brat”.
Saemund demanded, “This has to stop”. His arm was caught by Huon, a tolerant smile on his face, his other arm wrapped round the waist of his Guide. “Did you really think that for a Dark Pairing that it would stop at equality, one has to be dominate, one submissive? Blaer is a Dark Guide, pray that he doesn’t win, if he does, your life will be forfeit, and he will not take half a prize.
“Jeme had him swore allegiance to me.”
Huon looked at him as if he was a child, “if Blaer wins then all the wagers are off my friend”.
Saemund looked back at the fight, then around him, the sentinels and guides were watching, a loud growling was coming from the sentinels throats, the guides held onto their arms, their bodies rubbing up against their larger sentinels as to be taken to the bond was ripping through them, the feeling ignited by Blaer, the Dark Guide broadcasting his emotions.
Finally Blaer over extended and Jeme dashed Blaer’s sword out of his hand, and his own was pointed at his Guide’s throat, the broad tip pushing his head up so that he was looking into his Guide’s eyes, the emotions swirling round them like water over a stone. “Kneel”.
“Never” Blaer never broke eye contact.
Jeme moved fast his blade moved from Blaer’s throat, and he reversed his hold, the hilt thudded into Blaer’s leg and his crumbled down onto his knee. The sword point returned to his throat forcing his head up.
Jeme nodded to the fallen sword, “Pick it up and hand it to me”.
Blaer reached out for the sword he moved his head, and gave a small cry quickly bitten back as Jeme’s blade nicked under of his chin.
He understood he was not to look away from his Sentinel.
The Dark Guide reached out blindly, and he caught the sword hilt, and then offered it to his Sentinel. Jeme took the sword and planted it blade first in the ground in front of Blaer, so that he was looking at the engraved Panther and Wolf.
The sword point at this throat moved, allowing him to press his lips to the engraved panther and lower his head in submission. The Sentinel thrust his sword into the air, and roared his victory over his Guide, dominance was his.
Then Jeme leaned down caught Blaer by the front of his robes and pulled him to his feet. Looming over him he slid his sword into Blaer’s sheath and then aggressively scented at his throat.
“My Guide, honoured above all other”. All sentinels present heard the words and knew what he was saying, Blaer was his Guide Prime.
He pulled the bonding sword from the ground holding it aloft.
The need to bond was running through him, and Blaer now curled round him, pushing him to the Darkest Bond, with every seductive move of his body and breathed word.
sentinels began to break away from the group, dragging their guides to the bond, the Dark Guide’s emotions sending them cascading into their own needs of coming one with their destined partner. It was a call as old as time.
Morlock was watching from the shadows. He was a professional killer and had kept his own council and waited until the time was right. Now was the best time when the Dark Guide was lost in the heated emotions of the Darkest Bond. He had been paid in the tavern to kill the Dark Guide. Now he would do it. He moved fast and only the fact the Sentinel was still on alert saved the smaller younger man.
Lo-jin turned fast pulling his Dark Guide out of the way, even as the sword cut into his robe. The wound was more bloody than serious.
Morlock lunged again, cutting Lo-jin’s side. Then he was hit by a spitting snarling fury. He didn’t have time to block Gamin, and the Dark Guide was all over him. They hit the ground together, Gamin on top, his knife going into his chest, blood came from Morlock’s mouth.
“Who hired you” Gamin snarled the words as he straddled the assassin.
When the man refused to answer, Gamin stabbed him in the shoulder, his weight on the knife, as Morlock screamed.
“A name” snarled Gamin
“Gamin” Lo-jin called his name, as he pushed past Saemund to get to his Guide.
“Who hired you” Gamin screamed the words into Morlock’s face.
“The man that owned you, whore” Morlock said as the blood bubbled from his mouth.
Lo-jin reached for his Guide, Gamin had lost it; his barely stable Guide was lost to the demons that tortured his mind.
“Gamin” his Sentinel tried again. He touched his shoulder, Gamin’s head snapped round “leave him to Clan justice, you are no longer alone”.
Their eyes met, and Gamin started to straighten up. Then suddenly he swung back and down and slashed the dagger across Morlock’s throat, his hand drenched in blood. He reached out for his Sentinel, his smile bright too bright.
“Had to protect you”.
“ I know” Lo-jin spoke gently needing to calm his Guide and then he drew Gamin close, feeling the smaller slender body pressing against him.
He spoke for only Gamin’s ears, and felt his Guide wrap himself round his body and knowing that he was protected took him to their tent. His eyes met those of the now feral Jeme. Allowing it to ignite his own Primal feelings, they would treat their wounds and then he would take Gamin to the bond, and through it heal his mind, allowing him to return to what for him was normality. Then tomorrow they would learn what their new clan wanted of them, and they would find out who hired the assassin to kill Gamin. But already he suspected Bull Clan. Gamin was a blot on their honour.
He heard Jeme’s voice say, “You are no longer alone, and your fight is ours”.
Then Jeme took Blaer into their tent.
The Next Morning
The Camp was up and about early, this was the day they would feast and celebrate the new Senior Sentinel and Guide Pairing, and it would be a day of dance, song, stories, and ceremonies.
Although very early Warren and William were already up. They had business to conduct and the quicker they started the sooner an agreement could be made before anyone else could interfere.
Saemund was the next person they called on, the sun was beginning its climb high in the sky when the deal had been done, only then did Saemund as Clan Leader escort them to the tent of the new Senior Sentinel and Guide Primes tent.
Saemund pulled open the leather door covering and entered before stopping dead in his tracks a bemused look on his face. What he was seeing wasn’t exactly new but for Warren and Jeme’s father… he shook his head it was going to be a shock for them, few people understood the dynamics between Sentinel and Guide, and Blaer and Jeme were at the extreme end of that behaviour few people having seen a Dark pairing.
Blaer was dressed in a loose robe and the Sentinel still asleep under the furs. Blaer’s eyes swept over them seeing them as a threat, his feral side still in charge, a low growl rumbling from his throat as his hand caught up the bonding sword, his knees brought under him ready to lunge up and attack. Death hung in the air when Caro, Saemund's wife entered with a platter of food for the Dark Pair, she had seen her husband and those fools enter and had hurried over. She had a place of trust, which the feral Dark Guide respected but even so she had to be careful to keep her eyes cast down, and cast no looks at Jeme that the Dark Guide could misinterpret as a challenge to his ownership.
Slowly she placed the platter of food onto the ground, and then backed out her arms held out marshalling the men behind her.
William was not about to let a mere woman push him out of the tent, looking at Blaer then his oldest son, who in moving in his sleep has dislodged the fur allowing him to see the bite marks and bruising of the Darkest Bond. William pushed past her his face red with anger, “Unnatural bastard”. He backhanded Blaer across the face, his anger ignoring the danger he was in.
Blaer launched himself, only to be caught and pulled down on top of his Sentinel. Jeme’s arm wrapped round him as a hand caught into his long hair. With his greater strength he flipped his Guide onto his back, pinning the now spitting snarling Guide to the furs. His lips pulled back into an unholy smile as he looked up at the men. “Go” one word, growled then he lowered his head, his teeth worrying at the flesh of his Guide throat, the smaller man stilled his anger for the moment controlled by his Sentinel.
But Blaer would want revenge for that insult, Jeme knew, and that would be counted in dead bodies.
Caro saw William being dragged out by her husband, and gave a soft sigh; everything was back to what it should be. The Dark Pair would bond and Jeme would claim his Guide, but her face burned red, it looked like it was going to be intense. The fact that no other guide or sentinel in the Clan has surfaced yet indicated the power that these two generate between them when they bonded. Suddenly pinned by Blaer and Jeme eyes, burning animal bright, she cast her eyes down and backed slowly out.
Only then did she fan her face, there was women from the clans that would have paid good money to see Jeme and Blaer naked like that.
No wonder the stories of sentinels and guides especially Dark Guides were so bawdy, but the true nature of the bond was one the un-sensed could only guess at. She found herself privileged that her adopted sons trusted her with the knowledge of that bond.
William outside of the tent was arguing with Warren a finger pointing back the way they had come as he demanded something be done about that creature in there who had emasculated his son. Saemund unsuccessfully suppressed his laugh and an enraged William turned on him.
“What do you find so funny” he demanded.
“Jeme is far from emasculated, just ask the women he’s covered” Saemund shrugged. It’s the way of the Dark Bond live with it”.
“Warren” William appealed to the War Lord.
“I am a Warrior not a shaman, but be warned interfere with a Dark Bond at your peril”.
In the tent
The tables had been turned and Blaer straddled his Sentinel leaning forward so that his face was only inches from that of his Sentinel’s. Blaer laughed as Jeme told him what they were saying, the stupidity of these people amused him, and when it ceased to amuse him he would kill them.
Blaer nipped his throat to bring him back to the more important business at hand.
“Ouch” Jeme came back to the present, feeling Blaer’s tongue swipe across the bite. He closed his arm round his Guide, and groaned softly as Blaer’s mind bushed his, and then closed round it and rolling their emotions, blending and merging them as he did it, opening up each of the Sentinel’s sense, pushing them to their highest senses, using all his skill to hold them at that peak, knowing that he could send them tumbling into the void if he wanted the sense of power was like the strongest ale, and the Dark Guide in him gloried in that knowledge.
For the Sentinel he could feel every part of his Guide, his heart, the heat of his body, the scratch of each individual hair on his Guide’s body a sweet torture he had never felt this depth of connection before as his senses fired and engulfed his Guide. Then he heard the rustle of air through Blaer’s lungs, the beat of Blaer’s heart faster than normal, his excitement a heady mixture, the scent changing becoming richer as came off his Guide in dark coloured waves, it seemed to assault his senses, leaving him wanting more as addictive as any drug or him time stood still.
When Jeme surfaced it was with a feeling of peace and balance. As he suddenly realised that Blaer was talking to him.
“You know Jeme; perhaps it’s time that you replace Saemund as clan Leader”.
“Humm” Jeme tried to understand what Blaer was saying.
“You’re a Dark Sentinel, Master…” Blaer let his voice drop slightly, “…of a Dark Guide” He paused “Master” he caressed a broad shoulder as he lowered his head to nuzzle at this Sentinel’s throat, pushing back down into the Sentinel’s touch.
“Saemund is my friend”
“A true friend would step down, allow you to take your place” Blaer said.
The Sentinel’s hand caught in Blaer’s long hair and pulled his head up, so that they where nose-to-nose. He tightened his grip so that Blaer’s neck was arched back bringing his throat close to his Sentinel’s teeth. He yanked the hair so that Blaer winced “No Brat you do not even think of it”. Jeme’s voice was cold and hard, the bond between them was like frost on a winter’s morning and Blaer shuddered. “I know it’s your nature Blaer, but you swore an oath, and you will keep to it understand.”
“Yessss” Blaer hissed his reply as Jeme pulled his head back further.
“Now show me you understand”
kept his head down, and felt for the bond between them, feeling along the
threads, the ice at his touch began to fall free, and was replaced by the hot
lava of the Darkest Bond and his hands moved over the powerful muscular body of
his Sentinel. With an evil smile has
asked “If I can’t kill him, what about
“No” Jeme managed to spit the word out, as the last of his rational self left him.
Blaer eased free of the grip to his hair, and back onto his hands and knees, looking down he slowly lifted his eyes to meet those of his feral Sentinel.
He reached a hand out trailing it down from Jeme’s body in a sensual sweep feeling the powerful muscles ripping under his light touch. Then Blaer lifted his head back and howled as the feral wolf answered the Panther.
Caro exchanged a look with one of the un-sensed guards as they heard the cries from the tent, it looked like it was going to be anther interesting day, and the sun was already not at its peak. She looked at her husband his head bent in talks with William and Warren; she worried about him, and then glanced back at the tent. Jeme would never hurt him, but Blaer was on a tight leash, and if he ever slipped it, she shuddered.
Across the camp.
Narmar was taken to one side by his clan Steward, “Your brother needs to speak with you. We have a problem. As long as that bitch Gamin is alive your brother is unable to complete his bond with his guide, and that bastard of whore Guide Prime is unlikely to give his blessing to that union. The Old Bull has ordered that you put this right. You have until four nights have passed, to kill him.
“Gamin first to ensure your brother’s bond, then befriend Jeme and become a powerful ally the Old Bull wants our clan to rise with the Panthers”.
“He hates my guts”.
“He doesn’t know you, and it was that Whore of a Guide that caused the problem, flaunting his sent, a Bull Clan Sentinel would have taken the whip to his guide for doing that. Jeme must see the light, see that the power is with him not that creature who is only there to serve him.”
“Why doesn’t he just ask that I stop the sun from rising”? Narmar said the sarcasm was biting.
“Then you had better learn or your fortune in this clan is no more”.
“You threaten me?” he paused “you’re nothing, a steward, a slave”
“The Stewart of the Old Bull, I am his voice in this matter”.
But even as he said the words Narmar knew he was unable to escape the command, if he ignored it he would be divorced from his Clan, if he failed he would be dead, his future lay with the death of the Dark Guide.
To be continued.