Tempered in Fire
A "Carlovain" Story

By Tommyhawk1@AOL.COM
Artwork (c) 2004 by Inocentius & Pervertida.

Illustration of 'Tempered in Fire'

[This tale of Carlovain is rather out of line with the chronology I have used so far, telling only of some centuries ago. The year of this tale is late Spring 1939, World War II will soon begin in earnest, and Carlovain is at this time in a firm alliance with Hitler's Germany. The relationship up until the date of this story has been beneficial to Carlovain, which had and was still suffering from the worldwide financial disaster we knew as the Great Depression. Still, Carlovain paid dearly for her folly of that alliance...but I will deal with this period in more detail in a future installment of this "polyogy" (that's a trilogy, only more so!) of mine...some day, some day! As for the characters' ages, the Tiresval Youth Corps was for the eldest youths of Carlovain, and they graduated from it directly into military service, which they qualified for at 19 years of age (when Carlovain considered one to be a full adult). So if these two aren't 18 years old, they're close enough to make any difference unimportant; these are not boys, they are young men!]

"Come on, varan, keep up!" Darban called to him. "You're falling behind!"

Temon panted. "I'm trying, sir!"

"Come on, hut, hut, hut!" Darban called. He was a good thirty feet ahead of Temon on the trail; it wasn't really fair, Temon felt, that Darban would be setting the pace, for Temon was the one with the heavy pack on his shoulders!

But Darban wasn't the one trying to get into the Tiresval Youth Corps, Temon was the one who had to prove himself worthy. Darban had the body that Temon aspired to, the firm shoulders, the narrow hips, the muscled legs in those hiking shorts, Darban could have carried this pack without the panting that Temon was suffering, the ragged breaths that made him hoarse and hurt his throat, they had gone on so long, icy despite the warm day of late spring.

And it was worthwhile to join the Tiresval Youth, especially for one like Temon, mostly because a member of the Tiresval Youths could count upon aid to help his family. And his family needed help! His father had died of tuberculosis three years ago, his mother worked when she could, but cabbage soup and day-old bread was the order of the day. But families with members in the Tiresval Youths got a monthly stipend. His family needed that money!

So he had to pass this test of his stamina and endurance. Even though it meant a hike of thirty miles wearing a pack of thirty-five pounds. When he graduated from the Tiresval Youths into the Carlovain Army, the stipend would be increased...enough to care for his family, let his mother stop working. And so would the distance and the weight of the pack, with a rifle added to that....

So he gritted his teeth, although every muscle in his arms and his shoulders and his backs and his legs ached on the edge of pain, they would knot into cramps any moment now!

Don't give out, he begged his body, don't give out! It can't be much further, it can't be that much further. They'd been walking for hours, with only short breaks, so short that he didn't have time to do much more than catch his breath and his heart rate would slow somewhat...and then it was up again, shoulder that pack, that horrible, horrible pack!

And he had to keep up to Darban. This levaran of the Youth was his mentor, he was to be under Darban's wing and taught everything he needed. And a part of him had hoped that his mentor would be more than merely the teacher...the rite of soldiers of ancient Carlovain revived, the warrior-pair fighting side by side! War would be coming soon, anybody could see it, and Carlovain fighting alongside Germany to bring the new order to Europe! Carlovain would be part of that new order, a favored ally borne by an alliance that had endured for centuries and renewed ever since Hitler had come to power....

Darban had stopped and turned around Temon kept walking, his orders were not to stop until ordered. He had his orders, his life, his fate depended upon always obeying his orders....

"Halt!" Darban said and Temon obeyed, went into attention stance. He wasn't yet allowed to rest. He hadn't been given his order.

The order didn't come. Temon held himself as still as he could, but his body was trembling, and he couldn't stop it.

"Tell me, varan," Darban said to Temon. "Why should you be allowed to become a member of the Tiresval Youth?"

Why? Why??? "Because," Temon stammered. "I wish to become a member of the Carlovain Army and become the best soldier I can become, and to do that, the Tiresval Youth is the best course, for the Tiresval Youth is our future!" It was in the book....

"That is the answer in the book, varan!" Darban sneered at him. "I asked for your answer!"

"But...I...I...." Temon said and his trembling grew worse.

"Don't you know why you want to belong to the Youth?" Darban insisted. "Why, varan," and the old term for "private" used by the Youth burned at Temon's soul. "Why do you want to be in the Youth, you, yourself?"

"I..." How could he answer that? He knew the answer, but to say it?

"Answer me, varan!"

An order was an order. "I joined for my family." Temon said miserably. "My mother and my two sisters and my brother, they suffer so much. The Youth will let me help care for them and still stay in school. If I don't get into the Tiresval Youth, I...I shall have to quit school and try to find a job." There. He'd said it.

To his surprise, Darban's response was a smile and kindly hand on his shoulder. "Why don't you take off that pack and rest? We've hiked enough today, don't you think?" His black hair was shiny and clean despite the long tramp, not a hair out of place. Temon's own hair was in place, for the simple reason that he had been shorn of all his hairs upon his acceptance into the Youth as a prospective member, his first day at their prospect's base which was much like the basic training he'd face when he entered the military.

"I obey my superior." Temon said. He'd been honest enough for a while, time for the "right" answer. But he gratefully removed the pack, made his body set it down in the proper place on the ground. The straps had to be laid just so, to be picked up quickly without tangling.

Only then could he place himself on the ground. Darban was already there, on a soft patch of grass, lounging with a smile on his face. He patted the ground beside him, a place where they could lie near each other, share that soft grass. Temon obeyed gratefully. His muscles hurt so much, but maybe, maybe they wouldn't cramp after all.

"We'll stay here tonight." Darban assured him. "Camp out under the stars, like you must be ready to do in the military."

"Sounds good to me." Temon said. It was a familiarity, but Darban hadn't called him "varan" so maybe this wasn't a private-sergeant situation just now. He hoped not.

"Your family really in that bad shape?" Darban asked him.

"It's pretty bad." Temon agreed. "Mom cleans houses, but that's only twice a week. The money she gets barely pays our rent."

"So how do you eat?"

"Mother...brings home things from the houses where she works. Scraps from their tables or their refrigerators." Temon blushed.

"That can't be enough."

"It isn't." Temon agreed.

"So you steal food." Darban said, understanding.

Temon licked his lips. "I--It is against the principles of the Tiresval Youth to admit anyone who is guilty of criminal acts." he said instead of answering.

"True." Darban said, "but it is also true that we are meant to be a place to aid those who struggle against the degradation that has enveloped our society. It is why we must join with our brothers in Germany to bring a new society based upon the scientific certainties that will permit the best of the human race into leadership roles."

"Yes, sir." Temon was so grateful for Darban's apparent sympathy for his situation, he was in no mood to quibble about the politics involved. He was uncomfortable with Carlovain's alliance with Germany...but there was no doubt that the military contracts Carlovain gained from the alliance was fueling its recovery from the decade-long misery it had been under. "I agree with you completely. Carlovain must be in the front of the new society."

"So why wouldn't we be ready to help out our best and brightest, who are doing nothing worse than trying to survive as best they can? We can only take our best and temper them with the fire of discipline and instruction, and then let them lead us to glory."

"I am grateful for you for understanding." Temon said.

"Not at all." Darban said. "My own beginning in the Tiresval Youth was hardly more edifying."

Temon had to laugh at that. "So we're a couple of reformed petty thieves?"

"Saved from our ignominious fate by the Tiresval Youth Corps." Darban affirmed.

Temon dared to hope, and to voice that hope. "Does that mean, sir, that you will give me a favorable report to the Commander?"

"I am leaning toward doing that." Darban said. "There are still some tests yet to be passed, but if you can make that hike without balling up into cramps, then you can manage the rest of them, I think."

"It was close." Temon said. "I still may have a cramp or two before tomorrow. And that hike back...." he shuddered.

"We'll take it in slower stages." Darban promised. "And if you have a cramp, I will massage it until the pain goes away. If need be, we will stop by a farmhouse and requisition a ride back to base."

"That's good to know." Temon said. He looked at the sky, the sun was a good two hours until sundown.

"So, varan." Darban said and Temon tensed at that word, was Darban about to play levaran again after gaining his confidence? But the term was given lightly. "Did you have any other reasons for joining the Youth Corps than our financial assistance?"

"It was my main reason." Temon admitted. "I guess we all have several reasons for doing anything."

"When you were out stealing food for your family." Darban seemed to change the subject abruptly. "Did you ever have recourse to the other means by which a young man may obtain money easily?"

"I don't know what you mean." Temon frowned, he had a suspicion about the meaning....

"You come from Merlemagne, yes?"

"Yes, sir." Temon said.

"Have you heard of Nusgrav Street, and of the Obten Park there?"

Temon gulped. Now the meaning was very clear. "Yes, sir."

"Did you ever have reason to ply the trade available there to attractive young men?"

"I...no, sir." Temon said.

"Come now, varan." Darban said firmly. "There is no shame when you are driven to extremes, to sell the only thing you have, your body is yours, and if a price can be had....."

"No, sir." Temon said firmly. "I would not do such a thing. If I make love to someone, it must be because I choose him and he chooses me, not for money."

"I beg your pardon." Darban said. "I meant no offense."

"I have taken none." Temon said, hesitated. "If...if I do not make it into the Youth Corps, then I may find a visit to Obten Park to be necessary."

Darban's hand went to Temon's waist, and rested lightly there. "You need not fear, young varan." he said. "You will gain your first stripe, I feel sure." The stripe of rank in the Youth Corps, it glowed in Temon's own mind.

"I hope so." Temon said. Darban's hand hadn't moved from his waist and he felt it there, warm and solid. "I hope that I will be worthy of your instruction for the next year." After his admittance, he and Darban would be paired, the ritual of the Winter Solstice would bind them, though they would by then have been together as mentor and student for over six months. Still, he looked forward to that most ancient and honorable ritual of the warrior bond, for that was a badge that he could wear even when he left the Youth Corps at age nineteen to enter the military. It was well-known that he could request to join Darban's unit when he did, and such unions were favored. Such warrior pairs had made Carlovain soldiers a fearsome foe that all of Europe trembled before, even though their public face was that of ribald songs they jeered in their pubs. Nobody in Carlovain would dare sing those songs, even the foreigners, but they were known just the same. Another reason for Carlovain to be ready to teach those tainted neighbors a little respect for the warriors.

"I feel sure you will be." Darban said. "And that brings me of course to your next test."

His muscles hurt him still, and begged him not to move, but he must obey. "I am ready, sir." he said. "Command me and I obey."

Darban's hand at his waist now moved back and forth in small strokes, up over his ribcage and then down to his hips. "I shouldn't make it an order, and there is no chance of failure." Darban said softly. "Only the question of willingness."

Temon licked his lips. "A soldier should be willing at all times." he said. "Especially when his superior officer needs his assistance."

"Again." Darban's smile was positively charming now, the hint of clean teeth gleaming at him in the light of the sun, the eyes dancing with sparkles of captured light that he tossed at Temon as if they were jewels from the beneficient hand of a sultan going among his subjects. "Again you are not compelled." he said. "But there is the bond that soldiers have that need nothing of discipline and command to bring about, a bond that is older than orders, that date back as old as time."

Temon dared to reach and touch that face, the way he'd dreamed of doing ever since he had stood in line, Darban walking down the rows with the other older members of the Youth Corps, and his heart had melted at that face, their eyes had caught each other and he had dared to smile at Darban, who had smiled so briefly, then turned the stern taskmaster Temon had endured for so many weeks. But now the worst of that was over, and Temon could touch that face at last, the touch made more powerful for being so long denied, the feeling of this face, so warm and soft, that had plied a frown at him so long and still he had desired it, now it was not hard at all, it was warm, warm!

He touched the face and it was warm and he dared to reach for it, and the lips reached for his in return. The kiss was almost orgasmic all by itself for Temon, he shuddered and wondered for a moment if he would cream his shorts so abruptly. Longing can burn a man as easily as the most frenetic thrusting of the groin, and the slightest end to that longing is a knife of delight that poets have waxed upon for ages...and never truly captured save in pale shades of puerile prose.

Darban's hand and arm reached behind Temon and pulled him up against him, and Temon felt that firm body pressing against his...at last, at last!...and he groaned and his kiss became an inferno on Darban's, he wanted to do everything at once, everything, and since all he was doing was kissing, that was all he could do to express it, and he was working his lips like a man possessed...for wasn't he?...and Darban had to fend him off to catch his breath.

Temon's face, pressed beyond those succulent lips, could only kiss now that cheek, so clean and soft and unadorned by hair (a member of the Tiresval Youth Corps was to shave twice a week at a minimum, more if needed), and Temon's lips felt the angle of Darban's jawbone like a miniature square corner, and he ran his tongue over it ardently, his nose tickled the lobe of Darban's ear and it beckoned him upwards, on and up, and he sent his tongue into Darban's ear and tasted the sweet, odd flavor there, in a place where soap and water had trouble traveling, and the body was left more to its own devices, and which dealt with it by a layer of soft waxy essence, and Temon's tongue tasted that and it wasn't at all unpleasant, only a secret part of Darban that he now explored.

"God, varan, you are eager." Darban said in wonder. "I think I can recommend you for the Corps most highly if you keep this up."

"Even were you to say that I was to return to my family tomorrow." Temon panted. "I would not do less."

"And that is why I would recommend you so highly." Darban assured him. "It is time for you to be inducted into the secrets of the Tiresval Youth, and why we use our mentoring program to bring new recruits into our upper echelon."

"I had guessed that." Temon said. "That is, I had hoped." And he kissed now the neck.

Darban's cock was pressing against Temon's thigh and Temon slid his hand between them so he could squeeze that firm interloper, the thin shorts did nothing to impede it for Darban was not wearing any underclothes. Ah, yes, the summer clothing of choice, as few clothes as you could, enough to cover you, but not more, no, never more, than that minimum.

Darban's hands lifted Temon's shirt over his head, the light material came off like a second skin, for Temon had sweated onto it most profusely, and who would not with such a load to be borne, such a distance to be trod, and yet the sweat that remained upon him was something that Darban seemed to crave, for he began to lick at Temon's young body most eagerly, tasting the shining sheen that youthful exertion had laid upon his chest, and Temon ran his hand up and down Darban's cock still inside its shorts, the material between them, and yet he managed still to bring some measure of pleasure to his levaran, his mentor, his angel and his partner!

"Yes, you'll make a fine addition to the Youth." Darban said as he lifted himself out of Temon's embrace and was above the prone young man, kneeling like a god above him, and Darban's biceps flexed and gleamed as he stripped off his own shirt with one smooth motion, and then Darban's hands...

"Oh, God!" Temon gasped out. "Yes, sir, yes!" Darban's hands were at his shorts, and the buttons were happy to part company with their holes to let him enter. Darban opened Temon's trousers and then his hand.

"Oh, oh, ohhhhh!" Temon groaned. Darban's hand had hold of his cock, Darban was holding onto his manhood and his life, and that hand, that wonderful hand that had moved to teach him the many skills a Youth Corps volunteer had to know, now that hand was pulling at his prick, each motion a symphony of unfettered joy such that angels in heaven would be hard-pressed to render into proper song!

Darban was kind enough to shift around and Temon's hand dove for Darban's crotch and his fingers danced madly over the buttons, those damnable, stubborn buttons, they held for only a brief time, but it was an eternity for his lust-driven brain! He finally got them apart and his reward sprang out at him, Darban's dong ready for his worship!

Temon scooted, his muscles screamed at him as he did but he ignored them happily, and let their renewed pain only drive him the more as he sank his mouth onto Darban's cock and his lips milked at it happily, the nectar gained was salty and hot and marvelously dabbed upon his tongue, a generous portion of precome.

"Oh, ah, oh!" Darban panted huskily. "Easy, varan, we have the rest of this day and all of this night. Ooh, oh, oh!"

Temon's eager tongue and lips were not to be denied so easily, and when Darban scooted down onto the ground once again and wrapped his mouth around Temon's prod, it was only an added spur to his thrusts. His muscles had been fired in the kiln of the weeks of intensive training, the calisthenics, the obstacle courses, the practice runs that could mean a few minutes of exertion or several hours. Today had been the worst so far, but that was nothing to Temon just now, he was able to sustain himself as long as need be!

Yet he could not sustain himself in another way, his body had been deprived for too long, ever since he had joined the Tiresval Youth Corps, he had neglected his prick, the organ of his pleasure through both lonesome nights and nights of joy with other lads from school, he had been so exhausted from his labors that he had quite frequently fallen asleep mere moments after getting into his monastic bed...and waking up was a matter of jumping to his feet and standing at attention...no, his cock hadn't been properly chastened for its rigid insistence by the beating that tamed it for only a few hours, it hadn't received this for several weeks, and now, now that it had everything it had wanted, it was not to wait overlong just for the privilege of prolonging its master's joy!

His cock surged with its need and his climax climbed into his brain. Temon fought it off as well as he could, he didn't want to make this moment, this joining, a time of shame at being unable to control himself! He had to sustain himself, he had to endure...he had to last!

But Darban's mouth was an insistent tender of his pleasure, he was being wrung by his mentor's lips into a joy that had transported him far above anything his own hand could have wrought, he could only fight it off for so long, for so long....no longer!

Temon's throat formed a few brief grunts of warning, and then he was beyond any ability to do anything but throw himself into the fire of his ecstasy. His body hit climax, he groaned one last syllable of lust, and then he exploded, ejaculated fiercely, frantically, filling his friend with a flood of fluid delight, the steaming salty semen that spurted out of him and with it went his soul, went his life, went his energy and his strength and his stamina, he was jetting it out every bit and every drop that gushed from him went into Darban's mouth and throat, which drank it down with every seeming of grateful revelry, if that was not enough, Darban's own mouth, now choked with Temon's seed, managed a few desultory grunts and then Darban's cock burst into Temon.

Temon found himself with a load that matched his own in fury and volume, his mouth filled up instantly and when he gulped at it, all he did was end up with a larger amount, now partly in his mouth and partly in his throat, and he gulped again, and that ended his breath and he when he tried to breathe in, sperm hit his windpipe and he snorted, and when he did that, the salty sting of sperm sniped at his sinuses and slid down his nostrils and mocked him as a rank amateur of the art of drinking down a man's come-load. He felt insulted at this and renewed his effort, and managed now to gulp it down as it unloaded into him, and even to wring more from Darban's prick by moving up and down and Darban's moans of orgasm were all the reward he could ever want or need.

And when they were done, two young men in the first bloom of life, lying in the grass of a wooded hillside, panting life back into their bodies, the warm sun kissing them with its enormous mouth that could touch you everywhere at once, the wind a timid set of fingertips that gently stroked those young masculine forms, the blush of youthful vigor, the promise of masculine form, and Temon opened his eyes again and then sought out Darban's face once more, crawling as if he were a mouse upon the grass, and when he found Darban's face waiting for him, he kissed that face and tasted the hot saltiness upon his own lips and upon Darban's, and he could not decide which of them was the better. Both were wonderful, just wonderful, to taste and be tasted and he rewarded Darban with as many kisses as he could manage.

He rested his head on Darban's arm, the way he had dreamed of doing so long, and said, "I hope we can stay together. Would we be allowed to sleep in one bed when we get back? Or maybe I could sneak in to join you?"

"I shall move you in with me." Darban promised him. "And you will see that nobody will say a word, except perhaps your fellow trainees, who wonder what they have to do to get to do the same with their own levarans."

"Should I tell them?"

"No." Darban said. "As you know, too many are too eager to join us, they would do this as part of the price, not from the joy that you and I know." he said. "The true test to be passed was whether you had joined only for the money, or if you had joined to be a member of the Youth Corps."

"It was both." Temon said again. "I am glad it was both, for I would have hated to have been turned away, yet how could I have chosen to stay when my family needs me."

"Do not worry any longer." Darban said. "The Tiresval Youth Corps takes care of its own. There will be the stipend, and we can find a better employment for your mother. We need workers in the munitions plant run by one of our elder sponsors, he needs to make many more bombs for shipment to Germany. Hitler will soon move to create his Greater German Reich, and you know as well as I that Poland will be the first, as it will let him rejoin Prussia to the rest of Germany. Carlovan will have a place with Hitler and the Europe he is building, and we can only gain by his friendship."

Temon again felt no need to argue this. There were things about Hitler's speeches that bothered him (would he truly treat Carlovain as an equal in his new world order?) but still...if Darban said that Hitler was good, then he must be good. "You and I shall help him, then." he said. "Perhaps we should go to Germany and enlist in Hitler's army instead?"

"We might do that." Darban said. "But maybe we should start in our own Army, after all, if England and France get involved in the war, Carlovain will march with Germany against them."

"Of course." Temon agreed. "So there will be...Uh! UH, UH, UH!"

"What is it?" Darban asked him.

"Leg cramp!" Temon said. "Leg cramp!"

Maybe he wasn't as tough as he'd hoped he was!

Darban's hands began their promised massage. Temon determined again to work on building his strength and stamina so that such cramps and pains would be a thing of the past, to be "tempered in fire" as Darban had said, become the perfect man, the best possible warrior.

He felt certain he would need all his strength in the days to come.

[Postscript: I hope these characters' political leanings aren't too worrisome to my readers, please remember that we enjoy the benefit of hindsight, which was denied them...and if that all by itself doesn't convince you, I suggest you read carefully our own newspapers today and ask yourself how we ourselves will be judged by posterity, say, fifty years from now.]


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