The Kings Consort
Cleitus, Cassander, and Ptolemy had many duties preparing the greatest army Macedon had ever seen for the Persian invasion. It wasn't large compared to the Persian army, but the king was confident that it wouldn't need to be. Yet, each of the kings companions found the time to spend one or two hours a day with Hephaestion. Cleitus found to his amazement that the boy was almost as skilled a wrestler as any Macedonian boy his age. He had often wrestled with other boys in Athens. His father encouraging and his mother thinking it was games. With a little training, Hephaestion was fast becoming a feared opponent. Having very few chances to use a sword, it was this craft that Cleitus most worked with Hephaestion. Because of who the boy was, Cleitus took the time to work with Hephaestion personally. Much to the sulky discontent of the other teachers. He would sit in on every wrestling match, often offering advice and wisdom to all the boys, not just Hephaestion. He would stand behind Hephaestion and guide his hand, when holding a sword. They didn't join other groups when learning how to wield the great weapon. Cleitus taught the boy himself. By the end of the first month, Hephaestion was able to spar with considerable skill. Hephaestion confessed that he asked Alexander to help him at nights.
"He makes me show him each day what you have taught me," laughed Hephaestion. "When I told him how you had to stand behind me to show me proper holds, he didn't know what to say. He had forgotten his own training."
"I should think so. Phillip had a sword in the boy's hand by the time he was three."
Cleitus and Hephaestion sat under a shade tree, drinking from water jugs. The young consort had accomplished much this day, and Cleitus was proud. He loved Alexander and had grown to love his consort as well.
"Cleitus, may I ask you something?" Hephaestion's voice was hesitant.
"What is it, boy?"
"Are you always going to call me boy?" Hephaestion asked grievously.
"Probably," Cleitus chuckled. "Is that what you wanted to ask me?"
"What is it, Hephaestion?"
"Olympias told me that Alexander's father betrayed you and she both. I've heard stories about him. He doesn't sound like a nice man."
"It's true, lad. He wasn't nice at times. He was a brilliant king. Alexander comes by his mental ability honestly. His mother is a shrewd woman also."
"Don't I know it," moaned Hephaestion. He had seen Alexander and Olympias match wits often during these last few weeks. "Were you jealous of Olympias, Cleitus. I mean it must have been hard for you."
"I felt sorry for her, Hephaestion. Even as I loved her husband, I pitied her," declared the general. "Are you worried about Alexander taking a wife, lad. You know he must marry a woman. A king needs sons."
"I know. And I guess it bothers me a little. Do you think he'll love her, Cleitus?"
"Hephaestion, you should really ask Alexander these questions," Cleitus uttered, a little taken back by Hephaestion's guileless.
"I try. He tells me not to worry about it."
"He's a hard one to love, that's for sure. Alright, boy. I'll tell you what I think." Cleitus knew he had been manipulated. The boy would be good in diplomacy. "I hope he loves her a little bit, to be honest. For her sake, as well as his. He will need to have some affection for the mother of his sons. You don't wish for the kids to grow up in a house of hatred do you?"
Hephaestion hung his head. He felt guilty. He had not thought of the children. Of course he wanted his lovers sons and daughters to be happy. He also felt saddened. He would lose a big part of Alexander the day he married.
"Hephaestion, there will be a fondness. I hope. But no woman could take the place of what he feels for you. You're everything to him. You will have to be strong to love him, my boy. His is a perilous journey. He'll need you by his side."
"And it's where I'll always be, Cleitus."
"You know, son, Alexander might want you to take a wife as well."
"He mentioned as much. He wants for me to have children, and yet he does not want me to bed anybody else. Which is just as well. Cleitus, the thought of bedding a woman is very scary," Hephaestion shuddered.
"What did I say?" asked an affronted Hephaestion.
Cleitus laughed harder.
Ignoring his friends humor, Hephaestion continued.
"Cleitus, did you ever ask Phillip not to sleep with other boys?"
Ah, Cleitus thought. The crux of the problem. "Yes lad, I asked him."
"He said no too, didn't he?"
Cleitus gave Hephaestion an odd look. "He didn't say no. He agreed to be faithful. It hurt all the more, knowing he lied to me. As I grew older, I learned to control the pain."
"But you were never truly happy, were you?"
"No, son. No, I wasn't," Cleitus pondered. "Hephaestion, did you ask for Alexander to be faithful to you?"
"I asked him for that promise. He said no," the boy answered forlornly.
Cleitus sighed. The child was so in love, so unprepared for certain hardships. He still saw life as a wondrous thing to be thrilled with. Cleitus doubted he would ever lose that magical notion.
"Hephaestion, you do know that Alexander will always love you, and be loyal to you."
"I know. I just wish he wouldn't bed anybody else. I hate the thought of anybody else touching him. And I don't want him touching any other boy the way he touches me."
"What do you mean?"
"Hephaestion, do you remember when we met? You were sneaking out even then. Do you remember when you snuck back down to the hall after being told to go to bed?"
"Yes, I remember. Alexander was fucking that servant," Hephaestion said snidely.
"Did you see any love or emotion in the coupling?"
"No. No I didn't. It looked meaningless, almost as if he weren't enjoying it. At that time I felt horrible, but now.....now I feel that it was insensate or coldblooded."
"Exactly! If he ever does tumble another boy, that's how it would be again. I'm positive that he would feel the disgust and the remorse that he did the first time around."
"He felt like that?"
"He did. But, don't tell him I told you. A man needs some secrets," Cleitus smiled. "Hephaestion, give him time. Love is hard for Alexander. He loves us all, but with you, it's all consuming. He doesn't want anybody else, lad. He doesn't even see anybody else except you."
"Then why won't he promise?"
"He might slip. He'll feel terribly afterwards. He won't hurt you with a promise, like his father did to me and to his mother and to Zeus knows how many others. I don't think he will ever want another as much as he wants you," Cleitus said quietly. "So you have to decide what's more important. The promise......or the intent?"
Hephaestion looked at the soldier. Everybody thought Cleitus to be a hardened man. A soldier to be feared. And he was. But he was also kind and wise.
"Thank you, Cleitus. Thank you for everything," Hephaestion whispered, as he hugged the older man.
"So this is what you two do when my back is turned," said a voice from behind them. "How long has this been going on?"
Hephaestion jumped up. Seeing that Alexander had been joking, he ran into his lovers arms. Cleitus had the audacity to lay back and wag his eyebrows at his king.
"You caught us, Alexander," teased the general.
"Cleitus," Hephaestion cried.
Both soldiers laughed.
"How did you do today, beloved?" Alexander asked, looking at the excitement in his boy's beautiful eyes.
"Oh Alexander, I beat all three boys in my matches. And Cleitus has taught me several new holds."
"Yes, I see the holds Cleitus has taught you."
"I'm sorry," Alexander said gravely. "What else did you learn?"
"I learned two new thrusts with my sword."
"Did you now? Two new thrusts with your sword?" Alexander laughed.
Hephaestion looked at his king blankly and then stomped over to his water jug. He was half tempted to throw it at both teasing men. In the end he joined in their laughter.
"Seriously, Alexander," Cleitus said, "Hephaestion did very well today. He'll need more training with his sword. We have two weeks before we leave, and we can help him on the trail But it won't be long before he'll be as good as any other page in our army."
Hephaestion basked from the pride he saw in his lovers eyes.
"Ptolemy and Cassander are waiting for you at the stables, Hephaestion. They say you are going to put on a little exhibition."
"Oh, I almost forgot," the boy cried. "Are you going to watch, Sire?"
"I wouldn't miss it," Alexander said, already walking towards the stables. "Cleitus?"
"Cassander told me last night that the boy was ready to show his archery skills. I would like to see."
"Let's go then," said Hephaestion, running on ahead.
"He's like a ball of energy," Cleitus observed.
"You don't know the half of it," bemoaned Alexander. "It takes a lot to tire him out."
Hephaestion looked back at the laughing men, knowing somehow that they were laughing because of him
Ptolemy, who was in charge of the light cavalry archer unit, felt that Hephaestion needed little guidance. Cassander also a general and excellent horseman in the cavalry was overjoyed with Hephaestion's skills. He already had Hephaestion demonstrate the uses for his saddle and was so enthusiastic, he was ordering as many as he could get from his woodworkers and leather fitters. Hephaestion, who had two, was happy to lend one of his for them to make replicas of.
There were several men standing outside the large area that Hephaestion was to perform. Word had gotten out of his skills and his enchanting beauty. Some rumors said that the boy was a gift from Zeus to his son, Alexander. Some just wanted to see the boy for themselves.
Hephaestion was a little put out to see Nearchus in the crowd. The sailor had recently returned from Athens. He brought letters from his family. From which he learned that they would be unable to visit, but were happy to hear that he was himself happy in his new life. Hephaestion had come to terms with the fact that he might not ever see his family again and would have to be happy with letters. In fact he meant to talk to Alexander about mail routes while on the trail. He knew many were concerned about their families while on a campaign that might last years.
Nearchus had also brought back Bolon. This time as his lover. The two seemed in love the few times Hephaestion had seen them. Bolon had apologized to both the king and to Hephaestion. Under Nearchus's order, Hephaestion thought. But the other boy stayed away from the kings consort, because of Alexander's order, Hephaestion suspected. He was glad that the older boy wasn't in attendance for Hephaestion's show. He was nervous enough with Alexander there.
The arena in which Hephaestion was to perform was just a field. On all four sides of the field, four targets had been set up at long range, and directly behind each target was another target. A vat a oil with a fire wick had been set up in a heavy stand. The ground around it had been cleared and a page was close by with water. Just in case.
Hephaestion rode bareback. No blanket. Just a headstall with slim reins. He didn't have a bit in his horse's mouth. He used a bosal hackamore. Usually used on young horses or by young riders. Hephaestion used it because he had a light hand. He used pressure points to ride and didn't want his horse getting confused by a steel bit.
On his back hung two quivers with four arrows each. Four of the arrows had been dipped in oil. There were eight targets. If he missed one, he wouldn't try again. Also on his arm was a Scythian short bow. 46inches strung. The Athenians had many meetings with Persians over the years. Either in peace talks or war. At one such meeting Hephaestion's father purchased two bows for his son, who loved to play with his friends.
While Hephaestion walked Aurum around the field, Ptolemy and Cassander went to check on a couple things, leaving Alexander with Cleitus.
Alexander stood watching his lover's every move. He was enamored by his boy's skill and ability. Hephaestion's hair was glistening in the sun, and his bronze skin glowed from his golden tan and youthful vitality. The boy had stripped to his loin cloth and his long toned legs gripped Aurum's sides. It was not only Alexander who was captivated.
"Are you glad we made the trip to Athens, my king?" Cleitus asked mockingly. Alexander just smiled. "I have watched you battle your fears since you were a small boy. You are fighting with yourself. What do you fear, Alexander?"
Alexander looked at Cleitus, the young father that he wished his own father could have been. He could never get anything by Cleitus and he loved him all the more for it.
"I don't know what it is I fear."
"Fear can keep a man alive. It can also hinder him. Your fears hurt you both, Alexander. You're not going to lose the boy's love. He won't take another unless you drive him to it. And everybody dies. You might lose him to death. Or he might lose you. Only the gods know. But I know this. I have never seen a love like yours, and I have lived many years. I know in my heart that the gods grant eternity to those who love like you two. Enjoy what you have, Alexander. Enjoy him. He will always be your greatest treasure. So cherish him. He loves you."
"Thank you, Cleitus. You know, you are getting quite romantic in your old age."
"Shut up, Sire. And watch your boy."
Hephaestion had started a slow gallop around the field. He was like one with his horse. A true partnership. It was like he had a emotional relationship with his horse and used body language to control. His reins lay loosely on Aurum's neck.
The hardest part about using a bow while galloping was putting the arrow in. Hephaestion started galloping after setting the first arrow. In order to shoot the second target, he had to set the next arrow while galloping. And so on for the next several targets.
He hit his first target heads on and reached behind him for a second arrow. Instead of drawing back to his chest like most of the people of the day, Hephaestion drew back towards his cheek, almost touching his lips and chin. He hit all four of the front targets. The whole time he kept Aurum at a steady gait. He smoothly took out an arrow from a different quiver and dipped it into the fire pot, with out missing a beat. For the next target, that couldn't be shot at dead on, Hephaestion pointed his bow almost straight into the air. He had to time it exactly to be able to hit the target at a run and at an upwards angle. He drew back and smoothly let loose. The arrow made a perfect high arch and came down between the two targets, hitting the one in back. He did this for three more, never missing.
Hephaestion put his bow over his arm and signaled his horse to slow down. Aurum was breathing heavily, but not dangerously so. He slowed to a canter. A smooth three beat gait between a trot and a walk, before slowing to a walk. Which he did for several minutes, cooling his horse down. And then to the amusement of Alexander and his companions, he leaned over to tightly hug Aurums neck and spoke softly into his ear.
"Is that what he does to you, Alexander," Cassander teased, just as Hephaestion was nearing them. Upon hearing the men's laughter, he knew that they had made another joke about him. Long used to their teasing humor, Hephaestion smiled at the companions before locking eyes with his lover.
"You did well, soldier," Cleitus said sternly.
Hephaestion shone with pride. A feat indeed. Not 'boy, not 'lad', Cleitus called him a soldier!
"But don't get too cocky, boy. You still need to practice with your sword," added the general, playfully vexing the young man.
Hephaestion moaned, and slipped his hand to Alexander, who now stood at his side.
"I'm proud of you, Hephaestion. You surprise me daily with your skills. If only your mother knew that the games you played with friends would help you as a soldier. I think your father wasn't a fool in your upbringing after all."
Hephaestion smiled down at his lover proudly before sliding down into his arms, handing his horse to a waiting groom.
"Can we eat now. I'm so hungry," Hephaestion lamented, drawing out his words. He smiled when he heard the quiet laughter. He was glad he was in Macedonia. What did these people laugh at, before he came along?
After bathing, Hephaestion went to join his king in the main hall. Few men were at court. It was a busy time, preparing to take an army on a quest for power.
Dinner was a joyous occasion. Hephaestion was greeted fondly and congratulated heartily. As usual, talk soon veered to the invasion of Persia. Hephaestion listened closely, sometimes offering a quiet suggestion. Some of the generals in Alexander's command simply tolerated him, but with a stern look from his three new friends, all listened cordially. He was fast becoming a valued member of Alexander's close knit friends.
After making their way to their rooms, Alexander put away the maps while Hephaestion used the bathroom. It came as a wonderful surprise to Alexander, when he found out that Hephaestion's father had collected maps from many different lands. Maps that he had given to Hephaestion. Alexander and his boy had spent many nights lately, pouring over the scrolls by the remaining sunlight and later by flickering candles. Hephaestion was adept at charting courses and seeing things that weren't written down, simply by the terrain of the topography of the map. The lovers enjoyed the time together. And Alexander's dream was fast becoming a dream of Hephaestion's as well.
Hephaestion left the bathroom and stared a bit at Alexander before he noticed. His lover was always telling him how beautiful he was, but Hephaestion thought that he couldn't compare with Alexander. He positively exuded power and a subtle masculinity, laced with a dangerous hint of potent sexuality. The lean animal grace of the way he walked, failed to cloak that maleness. His arrogance had both infuriated Hephaestion and infatuated him. When his lover turned, sweeping his eyes over the boy, Hephaestion felt dizzy with lust. Like a bird of prey, Alexander was transfixing him.
Alexander turned and was greeted with the sight of his mesmerizing lover. Never, had Alexander dreamed that there was so much beauty in the world. He desired this boy like no other. Hephaestion had come out of the room naked, his body gleaming in the light of the candle. His luminous eyes were filled with love and his lips slightly parted as if waiting to be kissed. They beckoned Alexander closer. Hephaestion's lips were cool and firm and soft against his own, there touch sending darkly chaotic thoughts and desires tumbling through him. Alexander's movement against Hephaestion's mouth was knowing and experienced, subduing the boy and then luring, tantalizing, and tormenting him to give the king the response he wanted.
The hands that had imprisoned Hephaestion were no longer doing so, instead one of them was curled behind his neck, supporting it, while the fingers of the other was entwined in the boy's hair, holding him still in willing enthrallment to the mastery of the kiss.
"Bed," Alexander groaned in a raspy voice, pulling the sensual boy to the thickly furred bed. Hephastion was irresistibly responsive, making Alexander feel that the boy was powerless to control his reactions. It was a dangerously powerful aphrodisiac. The sensuality of Hephaestion's responses were driving Alexander out of his mind.
Alexander spread Hephaestion's legs and reached down to trace the cleft of his buttocks. He wanted foreplay, but was in to much of a hurry. Hephaestion's need was upon him and both needed fulfillment. Dipping his fingers in oil. His finger tip searched, circled, and stroked Hephaestion's pulsating entrance. While still moving his fingers inside the boy, Alexander moved over him, putting pillows under Hephaestion's bottom, he then started to slowly penetrate his lover. He watched how Hephaestion's eyes opened in erotic desire as he felt his body stretching to accommodate Alexander's thick, long cock. Alexander marveled at the tightness, almost overcome with his aching hunger for the boy.
Hephaestion clung to Alexander, overwhelmed by what he was feeling. The thickness inside him, filling him. His lover wasn't taking him hard tonight as he did most nights. He rocked inside Hephaestion's body, thrusting gently, touching that place inside that drove Hephaestion wild.
Alexander took he and Hephaestion someplace different, a place so powerful and achingly sweet that tears almost came to his eyes at the thought of not reaching it. Desperately Hephaestion pressed closer to Alexander, lifting his legs, locking his heels into the kings buttocks, urging him on. He tightened his hole to grip Alexander, as he knew the man liked. Alexander started thrusting with exquisite torture. Hephaestion loved watching the passion on Alexander's face. He saw that his king was watching as his shaft buried itself inside Hephaestion's stretched opening. Hephaestion felt himself ready to climax, his body tightening around Alexander, squeezing him. He bucked his hips, willing Alexander to come with him. He moaned into his lovers mouth as he came over his and Alexander's chest. Feeling Hephaestion's body pulsate around him brought Alexander's own powerful orgasm, Crying out, the older man spilled himself deep inside the trembling boy.
In it's aftermath Hephaestion's body felt as though it were humming with happiness. Drowsily, he looked at Alexander, trying to suppress the small instinctive wince as Alexander withdrew from his body. His eyes opened wide, when he heard Alexander's words.
"I love you, baby," Alexander said as he cleaned both he and Hephaestion of come.
Hephaestion gasped. Alexander never said it first, and usually waited until he thought that Hephaestion was asleep. He was shocked when he realized that he had spoken his thoughts aloud.
Alexander settled back down on the bed, pulling Hephaestion into his arms.
"Even when I met you in the stables, I never intended to join with Hephaestion Amnitor. I wanted the boy I met though. I actually never intended to have a ceremony. I had the invitation to your home. I intended to talk your father into giving up peacefully. Macedonia ruled on all sides. The islands and the sea included. It was a matter of timing. I wanted his army willingly. I would have never consented to a marriage. If he had said no, I would have had an army in Athens faster then he knew what hit him. And the beautiful stable boy would have been a spoil of war. It wasn't until that Persian, Bessos, groped you and I found out who you really were, that I decided to marry you. I wanted you so badly. I didn't realize it was love until you told me that you loved me. It was in the loft after we made love."
"I remember," Hephaestion whispered. "I'll never forget."
"Neither will I. You just have to give me time to come to terms with some things, Hephaestion. I do love you."
"I love you too. And you can have the rest of our lives to figure out how to love me. But, when we get to the afterlife, I'm in charge."
Alexander laughed and held his boy tighter as he did every night before sleep.
"We'll discuss it when it happens, my love. You know I don't like giving promises."
"Oh, I know."
"What do you say we take mother to the caves for a picnic lunch tomorrow." We'll be leaving soon. And I'm going to be too busy to spend much time with her."
"I'd like that very much. She would too." Hephaestion remembered back to his birthday. Alexander had taken both he and Olympias to the caves for a picnic. They had brought Cleitus because it was he that best knew the confusing caverns. With torches, the four had explored and had a grand time in the depths of the ancient caves. Olympias had given him beautiful fabrics, that she was having made into clothes for her favorite boy. He had brought Alexander back to her and she was happy. It still wasn't perfect but Hephaestion would work on his stubborn lover.
Morpheus had claimed his king. Hephaestion was happy to see the smile on the sleeping face. It was true that they would be leaving soon. They might not ever see their home again. That didn't matter to Hephaestion. He was the consort of the king, and home was where Alexander was.