Rhoan 01

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Rhoan Estate covered the majority of Oarn,a small island in the Sol Archipelago where-by either a series of stone bridges, skipper, or ship-one could find their way to the larger islands where a series of merchant’s centers were located. The largest island of Iona dealt with imports and exports. Auren, the next largest, offered a shipyard with skilled shipwrights. Sol Archipelago’s crescent coral reefs circled and flared like the very star at the center of the Incandesa galaxy. This merchant stronghold of the Rhoan family was an independent district under control of the Havlan Island Treatise.

Thorin’s brow crinkled as he contemplated where exactly his journey would take him. His elder brother, Faulk, had briefed him prior to the trip and yet the brief talk explained next-to-nothing about the island that would be his home for anywhere from a few months to a few years. Faulk neglected to mention the exact time frame in which the Rhoan family would be able to plan the wedding. The wedding. An awful arrangement Thorin had expected to never come. After all, he was the fifth son of the King of Genrad and Faulk, as the third son, was allowed a say in his choice of bride. The same courtesy was not given to Thorin. Though, for Thorin, there were few courtesies of the court. An insignificant child, fifth in line for a throne behind four brothers who were stronger and more competent than Thorin. Bitterness overwhelmed any hope he had for the stranger he would spend his life with; the third child of Rhoan behind her brothers Tyven and Kavlan.

Still two days away from Ourn, Thorin paced his quarters between reading the history of the Sol Archipelago and the Rhoan family; what little there was to read. He knew one day that he would be married. The path was set before his birth with debates being held over the estates and responsibilities toward Genrad. Thorin was to be a pawn to strengthen trade with the Rhoan family. An emissary was sent upon his birth to Gerrik Rhoan proposing a union. The details of the exchange were never explained, just that he was to go where he was told when it was time.

The grandeur and size of the Rhoan Estate surprised Thorin. A stone castle of round, wide arches circled a huge inner courtyard that included several buildings as well as a pond and garden interspersed with a garden path and small footbridges across a brook that rolled over smooth stones to the pond. It was an open design with wide windows, balconies, and doors made of local wood carved with mythical sea creatures. Billowing curtains flowed in each room where the walls were filled with collections of paintings, maps, tapestries, and antiques easily collected by the most powerful merchant family Thorin had yet to meet.

Thorin’s arrival was met with a feast as the sun was nearly setting upon leaving the port. Gerrik Rhoan was a middle-aged man a decade younger than Thorin’s father. His deep black hair was speckled with gray along his temples and heavier on the left side. His tan skin crinkled as he smiled, but the smile didn’t reach his deep brown eyes. He was dressed well in a light suit fit for the hot environment. His sons stood behind him, off to the side. They watched and judged as Gerrick ushered Thorin into the estate. A housekeeper showed him to his room in the east wing where guests stayed. He wasn’t considered family. Not yet.

Refreshed and changed into some of the lighter clothes the Rhoan housekeeper had kindly prepared for him, he waited for supper. Kavlan was the one who knocked at his door. He was tall with a solid, muscular build. His warm brown coloring was the same as his fathers, except his hair was braided into a single plait that hung down his neck except a few shaggy locks that framed his face. His presence was imposing and his eyes seemed to harden as he watched Thorin. Thorin was short with a slight frame and pallid skin dotted with freckles. Light hazel eyes, wide with long lashes, with a curly mess of shoulder-length auburn hair-Thorin was far from what Kavlan expected of the fifth prince of Genrad.

Kavlan had been able to glean only a sliver of information between his father and brother’s talks of the marriage arrangements. He was younger than his sister by a year and a half. Thorin had studied at one of Genrad’s prime universities and was adept in science, civil studies, and art. Kavlan felt it was hardly enough to judge a man on, but had found himself standing against the marriage as his sister was against it no matter the man. Now, looking at him, he found the marriage even more distasteful.

“Good evening, Prince Thorin. Supper is soon to be served. I have been sent to escort you.” Kavlan wasn’t good at socializing. His voice came out in a curt clip before he stepped from the door, waiting for Thorin to follow.

“Thank you-” Thorin paused, unsure if there was a title he should use for Kavlan.

“Kavlan”. He said, annoyed at the silence.

“Thank you, Kavlan.” Thorin smiled uneasily at the older man who, in turn, glanced down at him.

“Why ankara travesti are you here?” Kavlan’s gruff voice sounded harsher than he intended.

“I am here to marry the daughter of the Rhoan household as was decided by the King of Genrad and the head of the Rhoan family. I will do my duty to my country.” His voice strong, back straight, Thorin stopped walking and looked into Kavlan’s eyes. “I am here to be wed and to strengthen the bond between our families. I will do my best to provide a good life for your sister.”

Thorin’s directness irritated Kavlan. He seemed to be showing him strength, but there was a slight tremor in his voice as if he were scared. Kavlan advanced on Thorin. A few slow steps was all it took before Kavlan had him backed against the wall. Despite the intimidation, Thorin tried to stand tall.

“Very well then. Thank you, brother.” Kavlan grinned and ruffled Thorin’s hair before turning and again heading toward the formal dining room. Shaken and unsure, Thorin collected himself and followed Kavlan.

The grand formal dining hall held nearly enough room to be used for a ball. Currently, it was filled with various merchant’s, Rhoan family members, and management from the larger islands’ merchant centers. There was, however, one other person who stood out. Sitting to the left of her father was his bride-to-be. The dress she wore was of red silk and white lace that was belted round the middle to accentuate her feminine physique. Her long wavy black hair was pulled back from her face with several ornate hairpins and combs while the rest fell down her back in an inky river.

**

Kavlan laughed as he watched Thorin moodily walk towards the back halls of the mansion.

Thorin held back tears as he slowly meandered through the central gardens of Rhoan Estate. He had been in residence for just under a fortnight but felt his confidence draining day by day. Despite engagement, Thorin had not seen Djara since his arrival in the Sol Archipelago. The fourth son of Genrad’s King, it was unsurprising when his twenty second birthday was spent on the sea to meet the woman whose marriage to him was but one of many political moves made by his father. One prince sold to the most wealthy merchant family of the Southern sea was hardly noticeable for the King of Genrad. After all, only the Queen Mother saw him off.

Fingers gently passing over the petals of a vibrant red lily, Thorin felt bitter but mostly hurt. Djara was beautiful, with long sleek black hair and dark eyes that glittered with wit as she spoke to her uncles about the trade routes and finer points of shipping. Most responses from her had been cold and distant, usually coming from her servants or brother. Today, he’d let himself find hope in the promised picnic. The full woven basket at his side felt heavier as he approached the large covered porch that wrapped the back walls of the huge estate’s main house. At this rate, Thorin expected the next time he’d see Djara would be at the wedding. ‘Whenever that will be.’ Thorin thought sourly.

The main building of Rhoan Estate stretched from east to west with a wide central body for entertaining and business. The wooden porch that stretched around the central garden provided a safe and quiet place for a moonlit drink or stroll through a garden that came alive with white blooms at night. Erected from red clay and a fragrant strong wood unique to the Sol Archipelago, the building was made so that the sea winds could sweep through the building and ease the oppressive heat. It was exotic and beautiful but mostly lonely for Thorin.

“Have a fun stroll?” Kavlan chuckled from his leisurely lean against a column. Thorin shot him a glare before composing his face into a placid mask.

“The weather was lovely, thanks for asking.” Dropping his head, he changed directions to approach the East Wing.

“Come now, brother, don’t walk away. Did you enjoy your picnic?” Kavlan moved with Thorin, his long legs taking the wooden boards rapidly even as Thorin picked his way across stone paths to miss flower beds. He hated the emphasis Kavlan put on the word brother, as if he were mocking him.

“I did, thank you. The kitchen staff would be happy to pack you one.” Thorin bit back a swear as Kavlan turned the corner just as he reached the stairs up to the deck.

“Hold up.” Kavlan’s fingers curled around the handle of the basket and pulled it away for inspection. “You really should eat more.”

“Kavlan, please. I just want to retire to my suite.” Shifting from foot to foot, Thorin waited for Kavlan to move out of the doorway where he grinned maliciously.

“I’ll walk with you.” Throwing his arm around Thorin’s shoulders, Kavlan slid open the door to the eastern hall. “Odd that you wanted to come in this door when your suite is in the Western Wing. Good thing I’m here for you. I’ll even take the basket off your hands so you won’t hurt the cook’s feelings.”

Thorin’s jaw clenched. Kavlan had been the one to confirm the picnic ankara travestileri date with Djara-had insisted she would be there. He dared not mention it, though. He was a guest here and despite the clear difference in rank, it was obvious that he was barely tolerated by the large Rhoan family. Kavlan was a perfect example. Each time Thorin left his rooms, he seemed to run into Kavlan who would then proceed to bully him back into his suite. More frustrating than being treated as if he were on house arrest, Thorin hated Kavlan’s ability to expertly dodge any and all questions about Djara.

“Thank you, Kavlan.” Thorin ground out through gritted teeth as they approached the distant suite of rooms set far from the family wing. Kavlan dropped his arm from around Thorin and immediately sauntered into the sitting room where he plopped down on one of the large floor pillows. Thorin groaned. “Kavlan.”

“What? Can’t I sit and visit?” He pulled a large citrus fruit from the basket and began to peel it.

“I’d appreciate it if you’d allow me to retire before supper.” Thorin tried and failed to keep his voice even but sounded irritated.

“Bah. You spend to much time alone.” Kavlan split the fruit and peeled a segment of ruby flesh away to pop into his mouth. He, like his sister, had long black hair that hung down his back in a single thick braid. His eyes, too, glittered but with a more mischievous glint. Four years older than Thorin and his brother-in-law-to-be, Kavlan’s confident demeanor demanded respect even from the prince. There is, however, always a limit.

“Get up, Kavlan. I’m done playing with you today.” Thorin grasped Kavlan’s forearm and pulled him up and toward the door. In an instant, Thorin found himself pinned against a column and Kavlan was staring intensely at him. Bravado lost, Thorin dropped his gaze. He was not only younger, but also shorter and smaller than Kavlan; as he delighted in pointing out to Thorin. He was well aware he was more like a porcelain doll or gently raised house rabbit than the fighter Kavlan had been born and raised to be. Kavlan’s hands squeezed Thorin’s wrists and leaned in close.

“Oh, are we playing? I wasn’t aware. It seemed to me like you were kicking me out of a room in my own home.” His voice was low and seemed to rumble through the sitting room like distant thunder.

“I’m sorry.” Thorin’s dry voice cracked.

“I don’t think you are.” Kavlan leaned back to watch the younger man as his light hazel eyes danced over the vibrant red tiles for something to say. Thorin’s eyelashes were long and dark, casting a faint shadow over the moody purple that stained his lids and made him look woefully tired and helpless. His lips were a dusky pink arched in a defined cupid’s bow. Kavlan cursed the day that he came to Rhoan Estate.

“Please, Kavlan. I apologize for being short with you. I won’t touch you again. You can stay as long as you wish.” He kept his eyes downcast as he spoke, not wanting to look up at the brutally handsome man who intimidated him from their first meeting. His dark eyes were always focused on Thorin, keeping watch and contemplating things beyond his imagination. Kavlan’s hand released Thorin’s wrists but Thorin felt the pressure beneath his chin as Kavlan tilted his face to meet his own. Kavlan’s deeply sun-toasted skin was warm as his thumb stroked Thorin’s chin.

“That’s a good boy. No need to be bitter about your failed date with Djara.” Kavlan grinned as indignant fire stirred in Thorin’s eyes.

“Is it a failure if we are still to-be wed? I look forward to the day we will move to my estate and start a happy new family.” The message was clear; a happy new family without Kavlan or any of the Rhoans.

“We’ll see.” Smiling haughtily, Kavlan patted the side of Thorin’s face before stepping back and retrieving his abandoned fruit.

“You can’t keep us apart forever, Kavlan.” Exasperated, Thorin moved around the central seating area to face Kavlan. “I know you’re trying to protect Djara, but I am telling you here and now that I can love and protect her if only you let me.”

Thorin hadn’t realized he’d stepped on a nerve until Kavlan’s eyes burned into him and he began stalking toward him. Grabbing his jaw with one hand, Kavlan used the other to push a segment of citrus into Thorin’s mouth. Two of his thick fingers remained in his mouth as Thorin gagged around the fruit as it squelched bittersweet juice into his mouth. “How about you shut up and enjoy the picnic now since there was never any chance of you sharing it with Djara. Try focusing on what’s in front of you, Thorin.”

Managing to swallow the fruit segment, Thorin pulled his head back and found Kavlan’s fingers following and sliding farther down over his tongue. The intensity in Kavlan’s eyes kept Thorin’s attention. Kavlan hadn’t expected to push him this far, to touch him like this, but he was and it was driving him mad. Djara had been gone for a week, had somehow found passage on a ship and was currently being hunted travesti ankara by Kavlan’s older brother and uncle. He’d been left behind to keep an eye on Thorin so the lovesick prince wouldn’t catch on and risk the talks between the royal family and the Rhoan merchants. Kavlan’s hand moved from his jaw to tangle in the shaggy auburn locks that brushed Thorin’s collar. Today, like most, it had been pulled back by a ribbon that now slipped from his curls and to the floor.

“Kavlan?” Thorin’s tongue rubbed against his fingers as he spoke his name. Wet fingers slipped from Thorin’s mouth and Kavlan’s palm pushed hard against his chest, pushing him back against a door. Hearing his name coming from Thorin like that had broken down Kavlan’s resistance. He thrust his lips against the prince’s open mouth and pulled his hair till his head tipped back ready to be plundered by Kavlan.

Thorin’s mind spun as his entire body was enveloped by Kavlan’s embrace. He had been convinced the man hated him and that the feeling was mutual. Now he was melting into the kiss, the pressure at the back of his skull heightening the sensation of Kavlan’s tongue thrusting into his mouth and stroking his palette and tongue. A soft throaty moan escaped his throat and slipped into Kavlan’s mouth as they kissed. Thorin’s hands, once frozen in surprise, raised and pressed against Kavlan’s chest. Unsure if he should push Kavlan away or pull him closer, Thorin gripped the gauzy blue open tunic Kavlan wore.

Growling softly, Kavlan pulled Thorin to him and savored the way he melted against his chest. Kavlan had tried to resist touching Thorin in the beginning. His mind would linger on the soft pallid skin that seemed luminous at night when he would stare longingly at the sky in the direction of Genrad. When Djara had left, he found himself reaching out more. Kavlan would look for any excuse to ruffle the prince’s hair or rest his hand on his back. With each brush of his fingers against Thorin, Kavlan’s control slipped further and now he couldn’t find the strength to pull back. Thorin still clasped Kavlan’s shirt, not yet pushing him away.

Kavlan’s long fingers brushed over Thorin’s slim hip and pulled the creamy orange shirt up to expose hot skin that twitched beneath his palm as he spread his hand over Thorin’s waist. Breath catching in his throat, Thorin felt his already half erect cock jump with interest. Hips jerking away, Thorin felt his back bump against the door again reminding him he was trapped. Awareness of the situation jolted him from the kiss and Thorin gasped as he turned his head away. Holding his hands in front of himself, Thorin held back a whimper as Kavlan simply moved his hot kisses across Thorin’s jaw then neck. He knew that being like this with anyone was off-limits for an engaged man such as himself, but his senses were being overwhelmed.

“Are you embarrassed?” Kavlan rested his hands on either side of Thorin’s head and looked down at him. Thorin’s face was flushed as he hid his erection and focused on a section of the wall to keep from looking up at Kavlan’s passionate gaze. When he didn’t answer, Kavlan cradled Thorin’s face in his hands and kissed him tenderly then with depth that took Thorin’s breath away. “Answer me, Thorin.”

“Yes.” The meek whispered admission brought a grin to Kavlan’s face. Once again capturing Thorin’s hands, Kavlan moved them above his head as he gave him soft short kisses.

“Good boy.” Kavlan growled as he pressed his body against Thorin, letting the prince feel his own erection as it strained against his trousers and against Thorin’s belly. “Is this the bedroom?”

It took a moment for Thorin to gather his wits enough to understand what Kavlan was asking. The demure look Thorin gave Kavlan pulled at his heart. “The bathroom, but I’ve never…”

Kavlan had already strode to the doors of the suite and locked them before crossing the room rapidly and pulling Thorin into his arms and pushing the bathroom door open. “Good enough.”

Thorin pushed against Kavlan as he was pushed into the bathroom and into the inset shower. Cold water rained down and soaked him as Kavlan’s hot hands roamed over his body, pushing the cream and gold brocade vest off along with Thorin’s now translucent orange shirt. The water heated as Kavlan pushed Thorin against the cold tile wall of the shower and slid his tongue against Thorin’s lower lip. Thorin’s voice was husky and shaky. “Kavlan, what are we doing?”

Pushing his leg between Thorin’s thighs, Kavlan stripped off his own soaked shirt and tossed it out of the recessed pool near the other discarded clothes. His fingers worked the buttons of Thorin’s trousers as he kissed over the prince’s neck. “I thought it was obvious.” He chuckled. “I’m about to fuck you.”

Even as Thorin’s hands pressed against Kavlan’s forearms he didn’t push him away, his cock jumping against Kavlans rough knuckles as it was freed from his pants. The swollen pink head dripped precum and Thorin stared on in shock as Kavlan’s fingers stroked the underside of his cock from base to tip. He knew he should reject him, that things had gone too far already, but Kavlan was looking at him hungrily and Thorin’s cock twitched again. “I don’t know how to.”

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