Here comes Viktor A Doomsayer, blonde-haired, sunken-eyed, ax in hand, a musician, a teacher, a life-giver, with world-sized woes and unwrapped smiles, to walk the throes of earthly remains under his booted feet.
Know you then, that between the years when the oceans swallowed America and the electrified cities, and the years of the rise of the Tellurian, there was an Undreamt Epoch, when ruined towns lay splain ‘cross the mighty globe like lazy giants beneath the blanketing stars. Rickimound, Kolora, Tazass, Saddle, Alay, with its sun-kissed folks and oases of vision-drenched mystery, Monsee with its cleaved kindness. Yawk that bumped up against the shrunken farmlands of Kanid. Nawlins with its shade-eaten ossuaries. Mayhis, whose horse folk wore sash and plastic and gold. But the supreme town of the world was Agonist, chilling low in the central east.
Though Vik hailed from Rickimound, no Agon knew this. He was just a dude, a hulk with no shirt under black leather, feathers in his hair, dark lining ‘round his eyes, tattered jeans that kept his loin covered but little else.
His constant companion on this walk, Trenton Ashwood, their face painted like the women of Befor, in fine suiting kept well despite rugged travels. A cane with no affectation, sharp on the inside, sure to find, if anyone drew ire or posed threat.
Wherein Vik and Trent stop in for some love and happen upon strange occurrences.
Heartsbath lay three days to the flimsy north of Agonist Prime, a waystation it would have been had there been folks on their way. Instead, it was the manifold mansions of the old Northumberlanders and their Southern Crows, left resplendent in decadent abandon, a thumb in the face of time's cruel executions.
In the depths of one such place, Mirkle dreamed. She dreamt of people, folks other than Darakin and Movastus. Perhaps folk who would hear her sing from time to time, or a person whose hands would feel new to her skin instead of the doldrums of rotund monotony, that callow hawk sound from Move as his toes curled and eyes rolled back. Or the screeching shake from Dara when her breasts were hard and heaving, legs shaking from routine delights. That dream, maybe by chance, maybe by unknowable projectile volition, became real when Vik and Trent arrived.
Friscalating dawn found them each in what the other knew as a representative disposition. Viktor, somewhat downcast and introspective, cast intense eyes over the upcoming landscape, then returned to his interior turmoil whilst Trenton strode with swinging gait, wry smile on the lips, cane locking and flicking out ahead, their mind dizzy with words that poured out like so much coffee, saying, “Viktor, darling, you know the time, oh maybe a moon or two back, when we saw the grim roost on that peak? That peak which was mossy on the northern side but bare-assed to south, what I remarked look something like my dead Uncle Farber’s head? The pointed one. Not the rounded one, which might not properly be called a peak, rather a mound or some such, yet the yokels insisted upon its name as Clutcher Peak? Not that one. Not Clutcher Peak. Or was it Clutcher’s Peak?”
“Clutchers Peak,” Vik said.
“Indeed. Not that one. Rather the otre.”
“Well in this light, what perhaps could be called coruscant rays or something to that effect, on this entirely too early morning and with the dew still nude and new and nipping at my eyes, nose, and nipples under my shirt and vest a-end suit coat, I put to you this scene, complete in replication, that valley just hither from yon peak. That pointed one whose name I cannot recount nor recall and is not Clutchers Peak.” Trenton spread out their hands as though unveiling the land as a gift.
Viktor cocked his head, said, “Oh. Yes. I see it now. I think you're right on, Trenton.”
Trent smiled and gave a quick nod, went a skip in the step, twirled around to face Vik whilst keeping pace, said, “Yet we walk not there, lest we again be pecked by peckish chickens.”
Vik smirked, sniggered at the memory. “You speak true.”
“Aye. And the land, by which I mean this land, does not seem to hate our every step, rather feel I serene an invitational atmosphere? A welcoming wave of wind and needle, albeit above this chilling dew?”
“Doesn't hate us yet,” Viktor said.
“Oh, come now, Viktus. Be you not happy that we may happen upon fresh drink and cleaned water? A place of merriment and wonder? Not the febrile pastures and soured milk maids we've endured for, oh, lo these forty moons?”
“You're exaggerating, my friend.”
“As surely as a cow shits, yet be the sentiment true?”
“Aye,” Vik said. “‘tis true.”
Trenton clutched their hands under the chin, said, “I long for the cool retreat of fountains and pools, Vik! I need some respite from this trek of ours, an endless parading shitshow of catastrophe, which while I do not hold you or myself responsible, one must give way to the conclusion that it seems highly improbable such luck should not only locate but collocate and seemingly locute, even, in perpetuity around and about us two …”
“Highly improbable,” Viktor interjected.
“... yet, here we are again. A band of two on the run from no noble pursuers, rather the usual gang of miscreants misfed on cheap crap grain and milk from the witch’s teat …”
“Witches are a friend to Doomsayer.”
Trenton softened, said, “As you like, my lord, yet the superstition of those reared on witchly colostrum cleaves true, does it not, to this lot who now hunts us as quarry?”
“Aye. Cleaves true enough, anyway.”
“So, this gaggle of rubes, these brigands born of foul-mouthed mothers and weak-wristed fathers now clamors for our blood under the aegis of justice due ...”
“Well, we did burn their village to the ground.”
“... another in a distinguished pedigree of persecutors, those rapt bastards made of contempt down to their bone meal, acrid ignorance awash in their veins …”
“I thought they had weak-wristed fathers?”
Trent tried to contain himself but gave a snort, then continued, “... and while we sanitized the Last Great America by flame and sound, a service for which that dead giantess thanks us by the by, I assure you, there is little ground for the claim we conspired with devils and warlocks from the East Hay to degrade their water or livestock, nor that we colluded with rich Phanomin to rob them blind …”
“But we did all those things.”
“Facts of the matter aside, I tire of being tracked, shot at, blades as familiar to my eyes as their own lashes. In short, we need a vacation, Viktruvuius. A leisure stay of no short while in something akin to glory, a rest that gives so deeply that my troubled and aching bones again know rest, and not in the sense of eternal slumber, but like a sailor home to port from the drift of storms. Like a babe to its mother's breast, a lamb next to a lion …”
“I get it, Trent. I have no omens. Which, as you know, is the best we ever do.”
“And thank the shining stars for that! Your prophecies, Lord Doomsayer, are as welcome as a tick in my nipple, and they always spell your name, which as of late includes with it a footnote spelled moi.”
“Lady Lord Ashenwood, you are a true friend,” Viktor said.
“Well, I am until the day I am not.” Trenton skipped once more, dropped back in forward step with Vik, and the two carried on toward Heartsbath.
Inside the Harbor Home within the borders of Heartsbath city limits, what was once probably the Mayoral estate, Movastus smoked a reefer. He studied with casual intensity how the smoke danced through the air, making her languid way to a pool on the ceiling, like the world's turned upside down, gravity checked out, and then turned his eyes to his own bare chest. He massaged his nipples until his penis became erect, then he stroked it until he ejaculated, cigarette dangling from quaking lip. He wiped up with a silk handkerchief, then meandered his way to his dressing wing. Down the maze of hallways littered with variegated rooms of every supposed size and purpose, he sauntered, puffing and humming, enjoying the familiar smells and the sound of his own feet smacking on the marble floors. They were heated, by the sun, he presumed, though he was no wordthinker by any stretch. Not a lorddweller, either, rather a free dude, a man about town, albeit mainly populated with ghosts and needy women. Two, to be exact. Two women, one with a penis and one with a vagina, though both with teats sweet to his lips. And he enjoyed the variety.
Move went into his arcane library, a vestige of his brief tenure as a village magic man in Fomos. They'd literally run him out on a rail after the Pale Chief's daughter gave birth to a coffee-colored baby. Move had tried to play it as prophecy, but they had none of it. He was glad to be rid of them anyways, the hateful and ignorant bunch of fools. He did miss his daughter, though, her beautiful newborn eyes staring up at him, ignorant of the ways of stupid folks, though an innocent ignorance, not the willful sort the Pale Clans subscribed to. Not the bale doctrines of their unforgiving Plowgod. But that imaginary deity had put food in his mouth and pussy in his hand for many a year, so he supposed that old sheepfucking bastard couldn't be but so bad.
He took down the Principia Vim, thumbed through a few pages, stopped at random, blinked the cannabis smoke from his eyes and read aloud:
“When there comes a reckoning, the wizard will take flight. From a brighter perch, a hawk descends upon her prey and carries away that meal to the safety of good sleep.”
Move pondered the passage, his mind walking through its own corridors of time and place, not firmly footed in the present, per se, but neither totally removed. One thread led to revenge. The rapture of his dealings turned back, his daughter coming to live with him in Heartsbath. Maybe Gonewin. And maybe Hawkella, too, her mother, the chief’s daughter, who, yes, he took advantage of, but whom he believed truly loved him. Another thread wove Move into a kingly air, a place of peace and prosperity measured out by his golden tongue. That tongue on paper but on vulva, too, for sure. And another thread whereby he pulls down the wretched Agonist Theocracy, personally duels and dispatches the Lorddweller Prime, and successfully revolutionizes contemporary society. But he would need a bath, in any case, and some clothes. And some head. So, he set back to searching the halls for his thirty-four, or perhaps it was thirty-fifth, clothing chamber.
Trenton saw it first. “Look yon, ye prophet of doom! ‘Tis my very love made real. A bath! And a true and proper house from the look of it, edging on one of those magic-like palazzi like the ones we saw in Chevramain two winters ago.”
“It was Fordish, was it not?”
“I care not, right though I think you may be, because here we come upon a bath!”
“Don't let your senses leave, my friend. We'll be skewered and dead in no time that way.”
“You forecast doom? Please, I pray, tell me it is not so.”
“It is not. No prophecy, only habits scar. A reminder, if you will, of the virtues of prudence and discretion …”
Trenton broke into a flat run for the bathhouse.
Vik sighed, lumbered on, though double-time.
Dara did not run the bathhouse. Not explicitly or as a matter of fact, though it was true she enjoyed the being of it, the tending of it. These came most effortlessly to her. She loved the smells and sights of the place. Its majesty in splendid simplicity. The erotic pleasures and the banal relaxation, deeply stirring in every sense she had known, each fiber soothing and excited in equal measure.
So, it was Darakin who was there when Doomsayer and Ashenwood arrived.
Trenton dusted their shoulders and went lighter of step, touching up their mascara and powdering their face, then gave a hearty, “Hail and hello, fair beauty! Is this bath under your aegis?”
“Yay-ah,” Darakin said in her pastoral way and straight off felt self-conscious. It had been many a moon's rising since she'd spoken to someone not Move or Mirkle, each of whom she knew loved her beyond judgement and had even professed to be charmed by her farmish manners. Yet Darakin knew this was not the way of most folks, particularly not the Agonists, whom she regarded as hoity-toity and full of themselves. She dared not, though, begrudge a stranger, in not ironic occurrence with these very mores she wished to conceal.
So, she tried again, said in a neutral Midurth gab, “Aye, Madame-sir. Whilst I am neither its owner or proprietor, and truth to speak, we really have nothing but shared common properties here, I am a gardener in a fashion.”
“A radiant caretaker,” Trent suggested and gave a bow.
Dara blushed and recited proper demure response, then said, “You honor me too kindly, Madam-sir. I am but a homebody, a serf bumpkin in a lost city of complexity.”
Trenton closed the gap and offered up their hand. “Are not we all, my dear? Plucked from the bodacious fluid of our mother's belly and turned loosed under the billion-eyed sky?”
“I like that.” She took their hand gently, kissed the back of it, then switched position and hand, feigned a sigh in the designated way as Trenton put their bristly painted lips to her hand. It did arouse her, though. That was not affected but true from the warmth of it in her cheeks and breasts and between her legs. “Oh my, she said.”
Trenton peered at her from over her hand, said, “My my my.”
They laughed together, the two of them, knowing there would be new romance tonight.
Movastus braided his hair and robed himself, towel slung over his shoulder. The instincts that saved him as a child in the alleyways of Agonist once again signaled pause as he saw a beautiful beast of a man, a golden wise ape in black leather, handsome chest shining like a beacon, shredded pants suggesting travel or warfare or fashion. Maybe all these things as Move knew they could be found in one human, rare though such a find may be. Move’s eyes took to the ax on the man's back, slung somewhat loosely and draped with a kind of elegant leisure that Movastus himself sometimes pined after for hours at a time, long sand grains falling in front of a mirror.
“Well, well,” Movastus said to himself aloud, “today has taken on a new interest. Keen, though. Capital and keen, indeed.”
Vik saw Move and thought here comes a magic man, braided-hair, slinky eyes, reefer wand in hand, a cajoler, a dealer, a life-bender, with earth-sized ideas and cunning smiles, to skulk over such streets in his golden-slippered feet.
“Hail, magic man,” Viktor said. “Your words will not work on me, nor shall your savage grace twist my ear or turn my heart. Know this, then: I am Viktor Doomsayer, son of the North, child of prophecies a million years old. The stars are my diction and the wind my tutor. Leaves and entrails sing for me, tell me what's next. And no foul hex or chicanery shall match their canny truths.”
Movastus smiled, puffed the joint, then said, “Well met, Viktor Doomsayer. And your leaves tell you true. I am a magic man. Or was, to be more accurate. I am, as of late, in retirement.”
Vik arched an eye. “The leaves did not tell me. I read it by the look of you.”
“Well then touché, baby.” Move laughed. “One can only aspire to originality, I suppose, in this wasted yet decadent post-labor world in which we toil so.” He narrowed his eyes as he widened his smile, smoked reefer.
“Aye,” Vik said. “I surmise you live not here alone.”
“Again, you observe correctly, Doomsayer. I am one of three known residents, inhabitants of the grim walls of splendid Heartsbath, here in the north country of Agonist.” Movastus motioned toward the south, said, “Which is thataway.”
Viktor nodded, said. “It is our destination, indeed.”
“I surmised as much.” Movastus chuckled. “We don't get a lot of long-term visitors. Not these days, anyhow.”
“Might I call you by name, retired man of magic, as you say?”
“Of course. And please. Pardon my faltering manners. As I said, we don't get many folks through here.
“Know me then, Viktor Doomsayer, son of the North, child of prophecies a million years old, as Movastus, mover between worlds and emissary of who-mans to that bliss beyond. But as I said before, mostly I'm retired. So just … chillin’. And friend-folk call me Move.”
They shook hands and Vik felt the attraction between them become electric. He denied it inside, as was his habit, his way at times. But his deeper self knew.
Movastus felt it too, though he'd felt it when he laid eyes upon beautiful Viktor. He winced through the smoke and sized up the beautiful prophet once more, his heart speeding up with anticipation as kissing that chest, sucking on those nipples plain and in the air.
It made his penis hard, so he adjusted his stance slightly, put his off hand in a robe pocket, and fondled his penis from there, slowly, discreetly.
Viktor might have noticed had he not been preoccupied by his own interiorizations. His nipples felt ripe and exposed, like a wave of modesty rolling over his chest. He felt this way sometimes in the early morning and again in the midafternoon but never knew why. His penis was somewhat engorged and ready for intercourse. It had been a long since the last time, and he was ready to make love.
Movastus said with an easy gesture of the reefer cigarette, “I was just on my way to our town's delicious bath. Would you care to come?”
Vik wanted that very much, but did not want to give away his eagerness. He nodded, said, “Aye. I could use such. I am road weary and dirty from walking.”
“Accompany me, then. We'll getcha all fixed up, sir. Then you and your companion can stay awhile, if you like, or carry on to Agonist.”
Again, Viktor nodded, and the two men walked toward the bath, together.
Inside the bath, Trenton had disrobed and put their tongue in Darakin’s vagina. They liked the taste of it, a little salty and sweaty, and the smell, too, pungent and gamy.
Dara cradled Trent’s head between her legs, savoring their tongue licking her labia and the lips that would suck on her clitoris. She moaned and cried out in ecstatic gasps, then said, “I want you inside me, madam-sir.”
Trent was hard already and so stood and put their erect penis into her vagina, easing it in slowly, listening to her gasps, looking into her eyes, feeling her skin and hands on their arms for reception. When she bit her lip and closed her eyes, Trenton went all the way inside, started rocking back and forth.
As they approached the bath, Viktor asked of Movastus, “Who are the other two?”
“Other two what, sir?”
“The other two residents of which you spoke.”
“Ah, but of course. Two ladies, I am fortunate to say. One born with a root and one a bed of soil, if you take my meaning.”
“I do, sir.”
“We bring each other pleasure, the three of us.”
Viktor wanted to ask a question but did not.
Move intuited it, and responded by adding, “And often to our guests, if such a thing tickles their fancy.”
“So Mirkle is how we call the woman of root. Darakin or Dara, the woman of soil.”
“And you all share one another?”
“Not as such, no. We all share with one another, if you'll indulge my pedantry.”
“Aye,” Vik said. “I see the distinction now that you cast it.”
“Yes. And we live in separate manors. As you can plainly see, there is nothing but abundance here. Lots of room.” Movastus made a breaststroke gesture, said, “To spread out.”
The two men reached the bath and opened it to find Trenton nude, wet, sweating deep inside of Dara.
Viktor smiled and blushed, cast eyes down, then coyly up once more.
Movastus took pleasure in the sight of it, smoked his reefer with one hand, massaged his own nipples with the other.
“You pleasure yourself?” Viktor asked.
“Do not all who-mans?” Move said with a smile.
“Alas, no,” Vik said. “It is a vow, a constriction of my faith, I am afraid.”
“Do you have leave to watch someone else in kind?”
Viktor swallowed hard, said. “Aye. Yes, I do.”
With that, Movastus set down his towel and peeled off his robe, showing his entire brown-skinned body and excited penis.
Viktor own penis stirred beneath his jeans, but he remained clothed as he had been, watching as Movastus stroked his own penis, tiny reefer cigarette between his lips, other hand stimulating his own nipples.
“And does your oath leave you free to give and receive pleasure? With others?” Move gasped as soon as he spoke, wanting to orgasm and ejaculate but also wanting to prolong the feelings.
“Aye,” Vik said. “It does.”
Movastus stopped pleasuring himself then, flicked away his roach, which died in a hiss of water, and then moved to Vik. He gently dragged his fingertips over Viktor’s chest, then traced his nipples.
Vik moaned a small sound, batted his eyes.
Move put his lips to Viktor’s, and they kissed passionately, pressed their bodies together. Movastus’ penis finding Viktor’s through the jeans, rubbing together through them, both getting harder from it.
“Will you make love with me, sir?” Viktor asked.
“Baby, you know it,” Movastus said, then licked Vik’s nipples.
Trenton carried on inside of Darakin, even as they whispered to each other about the who of who regarding Viktor Doomsayer and Movastus.
Trent also asked, “Do ever you make love?”
“Me and Move?” she asked.
“Yes. All the time.”
“Oh, goddesses!” Trent cried as their penis swoll at the hearing of it, the visualization filling their mind. And at such swelling, Dara gasped in pleasure, being filled up more by it.
Trent asked, “And when you make love, do you bare, as we do now?”
“Of course, madam-sir. Always bare.”
“Oh, goddesses! And does he at the moment of climax release his seed into your vagina?”
“Yes, of course, madam-sir. Or into my mouth or anus or onto my breasts.”
“Goddesses!” Trenton cried as they, too, loosed their seed into Darakin’s wet vagina, filling her with semen and make her nipples harder, her mouth wider, and her vagina wetter still.
She came, too, then, orgasming almost purely from the novelty of their excitement over what to her was not so different from bathing or eating or walking. The ease of its description to the yield of its reward was pleasantly disproportionate to her. Thoroughly exciting, pleasing and more than a little amusing. Never had she fantasized that the simple recitation of her drab sexual maintenance with Movastus would move a beautiful stranger so.
After everyone had finished, they four lay around panting in the sweaty air, laughing and talking some about idle things, then they set about washing. Movastus and Viktor bathed each other, as did Trenton and Darakin.
When all were satisfied and clean, they played a bit in the pools, splashing and hiding and smoking reefers, the three but Viktor, who was prohibited by solemn vow.
They then left the bath and went to what once was a tailor’s vend and set about mending their clothes. Move was quite deft with a needle and thread, and chit-chatted about growing up the son of a cobbler and tailor. He omitted the parts about their gruesome demise at the hands of Agonist forces, as well as the multiple times he was sexually assaulted by his male relatives.