Chapter Twenty-one continued2

The Winds of Chance part three

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“Will I stop?” Faunos murmured. “A word, and I’ll stop.”

“No -- no.” Soran barely recognized his own voice. He shifted down on the bunk, took a handful of the linen of Faunos’s wrap and heard it tear at his hip. His own wrap slithered onto the deck after it, and he felt the blood-heat of a shaft as hard as his own as he shifted down again, inspired to do something he had never done in his life before.

He had never actually tasted a man on his tongue, never imagined wanting to, though he had been with the most beautiful courtesans in the empire. But Faunos Phinneas Aeson was no courtesan. He was a prince, no less than was Soran, and a freeman. And unexpectedly, Soran’s mind and body caught alight.

Was the blaze inside him some thread of Zehefti magic, breathed into him? Or was it just Faunos himself, who lay gasping under Soran’s hands and mouth, head arched back into the cushions, hands clenching and unclenching as he tried to command the Power, the so-called Curse of Diomedas. He did not have to struggle to control it, not now, but the habits of a young lifetime would be hard to break.

If it were some breath of Zehefti enchantment that made Soran’s nerves and thoughts ignite, so be it, he decided. Faunos was clean and hot and male in his hands, gloriously young. Desire arced between them like the blinding trident of Hurucan, which tore up the sky when the storm was at its darkest. The divine flame of Aphrataya burned with a pure white light.

How many men had Soran known, in how many years? None of them were like this, and if he were bewitched, he was grateful for it. Every courtesan he had ever known was his father’s choice: bathed and perfumed, schooled in the ‘manners’ -- taught to dance, sing, converse, and then give the prince of Vayal whatever he desired for his pleasure, no matter what he wanted, or how.

This was so different, and Soran’s heart beat like a drum. Wild little sounds issued from Faunos’s chest. His legs wrapped around Soran’s shoulders and hugged him close. Every atom in Faunos’s body, every thought in his mind, wanted this as a freeman, as a lover who had never been taught the manners --

And then it began. Out of nowhere, Soran was breathing the scents of the drowned lands, watching the sparkles of light begin to shimmer around the long, tanned limbs, even in broad daylight. This time he made sure his eyes were open, and he marveled.

He stroked, caressed, tickled, for long, delicious minutes, learning to play Faunos with hands and tongue, as if he were a harp. A nimbus surrounded the witchboy, almost but not quite fully visible. The scents of jasmine and bergamot strengthened, and the body in Soran’s hands was pliable, malleable, as if it weighed nothing. He might have picked up Faunos, held him without effort with one hand.

With a soft curse, Soran lifted his head away, set him down and covered him again, hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder. He pinned Faunos against bunk, hands tangled in the mass of copper hair. In moments he had his breath back, and was moving again, humping strongly.

When Faunos’s hands raced down his back and clenched into his buttocks to pull two bodies so close together they might have been one, Soran surged up. It was many years since he had lost control of himself utterly, and he wondered if it were the Zehefti enchantment again. Pleasure streamed through him like a flood of warm oil, and to his astonishment the witchboy spent himself a moment later.

Jasmine and bergamot mingled with the musky scents of men, and Soran breathed deeply of it, wanting to savor it, remember it, as if part of him still fretted that this might be the last time. He forced himself up on both elbows and shook his head to clear it of the mist shrouding his thoughts.

He blinked down into Faunos’s face, saw the tears sparkling on his lashes, and licked them away. Faunos’s eyes remained closed. “Did you enchant me?” Soran whispered. “Was this a taste of the Zehefti enchantment I’ve been taught to dread?”

“Perhaps,” Faunos said, as if speaking at all were a monumental effort. “I can’t control what happens to me, Soran. I never could. I’m sorry, if I frightened you or disgusted you. There’s years of study left ahead of me -- five years, even if I had a teacher. Longer, since all I have is the books.”

Soran summoned the last particle of his vitality to crawl onto the bunk beside him, and laid his head on the cushions. “I can help you. What I know of the Power isn’t much, but I’m not too stupid, and I’m willing to learn. Teach me the ancient alphabets, the old language. And you can practice commanding this Power of yours while I do deliciously unspeakable things to you.” He opened one eye and found himself looking into green Zehefti irises. “There’s many things, sensual things, your old teacher wouldn’t have done to you for all the silver in Vayal … but I’d relish the chance.”

“You said a moment ago, you’d never hurt me,” Faunos said quietly.

“I never will,” Soran agreed. “But I was taught the arts and guiles of the bedchamber by the most skillful courtesans in the empire. You’ve never even imagined most of what I know, what I’ve seen and done.” He splayed his right hand over Faunos’s concave belly, idly painting in the seed of royal Zeheft and royal Vayal which was abandoned there, cold now, and forlorn. “I can show you the place where sweetness is so intense, it feels savage, and savagery is tamed into sweetness … if you’ll let me.”

“I’ll let you,” Faunos whispered. “I know what you want, Soran. I’ve already given it to you -- twice, unless memory plays tricks on me! I don’t mind. I’ve never been half so excited in my life as when you rode me, sundered me, plucked virginity from me ... and it was yours to take. You came of age a while ago. I know what you need. It’s only right for a man.”

“You’re also a man,” Soran scoffed.

“Not for five years,” Faunos said darkly, as if he resented the time. “Your people and mine will call me a boy that long.”

“You won’t want to ride me for five years?” In the same moment, Soran was relieved and disappointed.

“I didn’t say that.” Faunos sat up, reached for the linen wrap Soran had torn, and used it to mop sketchily at them both. “But I wouldn’t presume on your affections. Not while lords and ladies have already drunk to your health at your coming of age banquet, and any kingdom I ever aspired to lies at the bottom of the bay. I’ve no teacher, no guardian, yet you won’t drink to my coming of age for years yet, and I’m mindful of that.”

Soran tugged the pillow to comfort under his head and watched him with lazy admiration. “Rank and title are no matter. Vayal will follow Zeheft soon enough.” He stroked a line around Faunos’s shoulders, across his breast and belly. “If this is the Zehefti enchantment … I’ll have more of it. Much more.”

For a moment Faunos struggled to understand. “You want to travel with me? Because travel I must. There’s no way back, if you want to stay with me.”

“Or will you be staying with me?” Soran countered.

Fauos dragged his fingers though the mass of his hair, deliberately working the snarls out of it. “You don’t know where I’m going.”

But Soran only shook his head, slowly and emphatically. “There are only two places you could be going. I’m prepared to bet those beautiful eyes of yours are focused on both, and you’ll reach your destinations eventually. Your teacher had a dream. I think you want to live it for him.” Faunos was waiting, and Soran gestured vaguely into the east. “Find the two missing foci, the Eyes of Mayat and Hados. You’ll spend your life hunting for the temple and the tomb. Tell me I’m wrong.”

Turn page to Chapter Twenty-one continued...

Return to Chapter Twenty...

About Legends...

This story has its roots in the 1980s. About the time I signed with GMP, I was kicking around the idea for a massive novel -- the problem being, I had no time to develop it. At the time, one of my "literary friends" was Lane Ingram, who passed away some years ago. When Lane volunteered to develop the narrative from my storyline, I was surprised and very agreeable; and a version of it was circulated on a small scale, to a very appreciative audience!

Lane had no aspirations to be a professional novelist, which meant writing was fun, and remained fun, while I did battle with "style" and "technique." And then one day Lane was gone, without leaving much of anything to mark the place in the world which had once bee occupied by an individual who was large in every sense of the word.

Let's change that. I'm bringing LEGENDS "to the screen" in a form which preserves as much of Lane's input as I possibly can, while at the same time properly developing it, bringing it up to full professional standard ... cutting and trimming, correcting the errant, though enthusiastic, amateur ... polishing it to the professional sparkle you've come to expect from Mel Keegan.

LEGENDS will be Lane's memorial. Here's to you, kiddo, wherever you are: enjoy.

Ebook screenreaders:

Downloading LEGENDS and reading from the computer screen? Join the club! Most people are stuck in the same situation ... and it's a right-royal pain. At this time, MK also is still trying to make the transition to one of the ebook screenreaders. The price of most of them is still high, but in the course of shopping around, Mel has found two that are coming under extremely close scrutiny. The Bebook and the Sony look like being the best deals at this time. In due course, we'll be reviewing them right here. Mel Keegan has decided it's going to be one of these two -- but they're very comparable, so ... take your pick. Either one would be perfect for reading LEGENDS, or other digital novels.

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The art appearing on this site, illustrating elements of this novel, is by Jade, my cover artist from DreamCraft.

Soon you'll be able to order prints, treeshirts, mugs, mousepads and a lot more, featuring this artwork and manufactured in the US by

The portfolio is still growing, and a gallery is online. Return to this page now and then to see new addition...

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Research Tales

A great deal of research for this novel was done, and subjects Atlantean most often begun with a study of the Trojan wars.

Why? Because the iLiad is one of the very oldest bodies of writing which is also extensive enough to be useful. The problem with the iLiad is -- unless you're fluent in Ancient Green (and who is?) you'll be working from the translations ... and the "disagreement" between them is counfounding for one who's not a Homerian scholar!

The solution? Track down a book that translates the translations -- gets them out of the rich, ripe, flowery language of poetry and into a solid historical context. And in this, MK lucked out. Such a book exists: The Trojan War by Barry Strauss. It reads like a novel, and if you wanted something to get your teeth into ... perhaps after watching the movie, Troy, or after reading Legends -- this is the book you've been looking for.

There's another very scholarly work, The Flood From Heaven by Eberhard Zanger, which "deciphers the evidence" and places Atlantis at Troy! Now, Legends is about five thousand miles from Zanger's work (literally -- due west!) but having said that, Zanger is to Plato what Strauss is to Homer, and the work was extremely helpful.

Now, working even further back through time, you want a "scholar" (and note the quotation marks on that word) who spent a lifetime researching (ouch!) Atlantis. And again, MK lucked out, because there is such a man. A very brilliant man by the name of Ignatius Donnelly, whose "pop-science" book, dating from 1882, is still in print today, in several editions! It's thorough, it's astonishing, and it makes ... quite a case for Atlantis. Not that anyone believes in such things. Right?

There are also some good documentaries on DVD, if this is altogether far too much reading!

And of course, if you want to get into the spirit of the thing (!) you can always put on Troy and let Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom, Eric Bana and company provide the inspiration! Speaking of which, have you seen the director's cut? Highly recommended.

COPYRIGHT INFORMATION: Legends is copyright 2009 by Mel Keegan. Please do download the whole novel, which is in HTML format, compatible with your screenreader, PC or Mac. However ... please don't gift it to your friends. Instead, give them the url of this page and recommend that they download it for themselves. The reason is simple: author's income is earned via the adverting on these pages. If they're not loaded, nothing is earned. MK has bills to pay too, and for your cooperation ... thank you kindly!

Note that Legends is NOT covered by the "Creative Commons." This work is the intellectual property of Mel Keegan. If you would like to use parts of it elsewhere, please contact MK via this blog.

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