Chapter I

Setting Sail

The salty mist from the Emerald Coast’s crystalline waters splashes onto the deck of the small trading vessel, drenching Lumi and Khimi at the bow. Lumi’s discomfort is evident in the tense grip he has on Khimi’s arm, but the other man remains composed, not wanting to show weakness in front of the sailors. The ship rocks with each passing wave, causing Lumi to tightly clutch onto the wooden rails for stability. Khimi can’t help but smile at his companion’s struggle, a sheepish grin playing across his lips. Another surge of water propels them forward, and Lumi finds himself pushed against Khimi’s sturdy frame. He curses softly under his breath, his stomach churns, and he realizes that his supposed sense of balance is no match for the unpredictable seas. This voyage is proving to be more challenging than he ever could have imagined.

As the small vessel rocks and sways through the choppy waves, Khimi leans in closer to Lumi, offering a suggestion. “You can rest below deck,” he mutters. “No need to stay up here.”

Lumi frowns, feeling queasy from the constant motion of the boat. “Maybe I should spend more time on deck…get used to it,” he says hesitantly. But the vessel dives once more into the surge. Lumi grips onto the railing tightly, his knuckles turning white.

“Above deck, below deck, you’ll get used to it,” Khimi reassures with a laugh, tapping his fingers along Lumi’s shoulder. “Just a few more days until we arrive outside Betset.”

“One day was enough,” Lumi mutters, trying to steady himself against the rocking motion of the ship. “You didn’t have a larger vessel? I heard this…movement isn’t as bad on larger ships,” he adds, hoping to ease his discomfort.

“I promise it’s just as bad on any ship when you first start sailing,” Khimi responds with a subtle smile. “But if you’d like, you can adjust below deck with me.” His implication is not lost on Lumi, who shakes his head quickly. “Khim….I doubt my stomach could handle all that movement,” he says uncomfortably. “You go get some rest without me.” With that, he turns back to face the open water and takes deep breaths, trying to calm his queasy stomach.

“Well, I find time travels quicker sleeping through these kinds of trips. I doubt you’ll conquer your sea legs like this,” Khimi says with a smug grin. He takes a look back at the crew, then reaches along Lumi’s lower back and fondles Lumi’s rear, squeezing his soft ass.

“In front of your crew?” Lumi asks, his face flushes from ghostly pale to crimson.

“They’re not paying us any mind,” Khimi replies and gently moves the loose clothing from Lumi’s loincloth to the side. His fingers gently sliding along the thin thong running between his cheeks, “Your ass is sweaty,” he teases.

“Khimi…the crew,” Lumi begins in defiance, he pops his hips back against Khimi’s fingers. “I’ll come down shortly,” he says, gasping while Khimi’s fingers pressing against his entrance. “F-Fine…put them in.”

“Good,” Khimi whispers into Lumi’s twitching ear, then runs his fingers along Lumi’s tail. He turns to the helm. “Beg for me,” He whispers, holding tight to the tip of his tail.

Lumi’s whines fill the air, he reaches back to tug his tail from Khimi. “I thought you were gonna put them in?!” he exclaims, an impatient edge to his voice. His gaze shifts to Khimi’s noticeable bulge in his trousers, a sly grin creeping onto his lips. “Or did you wanna put that in instead?” he teases, playfully poking at Khimi’s trousers.

Khimi’s eyes trail over Lumi’s form, taking in every curve and angle with hungry admiration.

 “One day without my ass is too much for you?” Lumi taunts with a knowing smirk.

“Well, I thought I’d get a day with you before we left…wasn’t expecting to be so caught up dealing wi–” Khimi starts, his voice trailing off, he can not help but stare at Lumi’s alluring figure. “Well, it doesn’t matter now,” he finally says, his eyes lingering on Lumi’s exposed skin. “Anyway, when you wear that…it’s just too much,” he confesses with a teasing bite at his lip, unable to resist the temptation of Lumi’s seductive appearance.

“Glad you approve of my outfit,” Lumi replies with a laugh.

“My Dolman concubine,” Khimi smirks. “Come and see me when you feel you finally get your sea legs.”

“I-I won’t be much longer,” Lumi says, facing the bow. He reels back to Khimi after weighing his words, “C-Concubine?”

Lumi waits, holding onto the railing along the bow. The sound of Khimi’s footfalls slowly fade across the deck, leaving behind only the sound of the waves crashing against the timbers. I don’t know how much more I can take, Lumi groans, putting his head down on the railing. He squats up and down several times, trying anything within his power to settle the churning in his stomach. Angered by his own weakness, he shouts at the sea at the top of his lungs.

Moments pass before he looks up, falling to his knees. They said looking in our direction of travel would help. Lumi presses his head against the banisters as if to force it through. The wind whips against his face, the salt spray licks his cheeks. The sun dashes from behind the clouds, the heat from the sun kisses his skin. He rolls his head back and forth against the wood, his tail coiling tightly against him. He picks it up, running his fingers through the coarse hair. I almost wish Rashid were here…and Ennui just keeps laughing at me. He picks through the tip of his tail, pulling several hairs out in frustration, while he listens to the deckhands clamoring among themselves and wonders if any of them could offer him any advice. He groans against the banisters again, then stands quickly, attempting to catch his balance. I can run across a fence, but I can’t handle a boat?

He makes his way across the deck, the crewmen gaze at him, and a sudden discomfort comes over him once he reaches the door to Khimi’s quarters. Waiting in silent hesitation, his hand resting on the doorknob. I’m just going to disappoint him. Lumi presses against the wooden door. It hesitates to open, its frame is buckled from the weather. He forces it open wide with a quick nudge from his shoulder. Khimi sits up abruptly from the small alcove situated beneath a circular window, a smile on his face. The ship rocks from side to side, and Lumi pulls the door closed tightly behind him. Leaning back against it, he closes his eyes, waiting for the rocking to cease. The timbers sing with their incessant creaking. Khimi stands from the bed, his Sidian undergarments loosely hanging from his form, a knot of fabric barely holding the weight of his sex. Lumi opens his eyes, heat rushing to his cheeks at the sight of Khimi. The evening light shines through the circular window, highlighting his musculature. Lumi’s tail shakes in eager excitement at Khimi’s approach. Khimi presses his forearms against the door frame, looking down at him with ravenous eyes. Lumi’s ears twitch uncontrollably while Khimi’s chin presses down against the top of his head. The sudden press of Khimi’s musculature against him is inviting, and Lumi can hardly contain his giddiness.

“Let me make you something,” Khimi whispers in his ears. “It might help,” he adds, licking the sensitive pink skin inside of Lumi’s ear.

“Alright,” Lumi whispers, the low rumble of his purrs revealing his excitement. His ear twitches against Khimi’s tongue. “What is it?” He asks, leaning against the door.

“Just a tea. Something to settle your stomach,” Khimi replies, placing a hand on Lumi’s waist. “Another remedy…is moving with the motion of the waves,” he adds, sharp teeth gnawing on the thick rounded ear.

Khimi’s fingers slide beneath the thin string along Lumi’s waist, giving it a playful snap against his hip. He once more buries his face into Lumi’s hair, inhaling deeply. Khimi’s hand wanders to Lumi’s waist, then slides downwards, groping his ass tightly, Lumi’s entire cheek fitting in one hand. Lumi exhales deeply, his purrs growing more audible the more Khimi teases him. Heat rushes through his body. Had it not been for his seasickness, he would already be intertwined with his partner. Khimi pushes his waist against Lumi, his groin grinding against Lumi’s abdomen. Khimi’s scent fills Lumi, the smell of brine, sweat, and smoke. He struggles with his desire to service Khimi’s erection, nodding against him beneath the thin undergarments.

Eh-what about that tea?” Lumi asks suddenly and looks past Khimi to a small table near the bed.

“You seem like you’re feeling better,” Khimi says through pursed lips, letting his other hand slide to Lumi’s rear while he thrusts his pelvis against him.

“No…I can’t hold anything down, even if I wanna,” Lumi mutters. His attention lingers on the impressive bulge pushed against him. “My body feels like it’s turnin’ against me,” he whispers.

Khimi scoffs, “How about you try laying down with me a bit…then if you still feel ill, I’ll make the tea,” Khimi whispers, leaning back to gauge his expression.

Fine,” Lumi resigns, color rushing into his cheeks. 

“Alright,” Khimi grunts, heaving Lumi against his body, his hands squeezing Lumi’s supple cheeks.

“I could have walked,” Lumi mutters against Khimi.

“It’s just a few paces,” Khimi says. With a gentleness, he lays Lumi against the thin mattress.

“It just makes me feel like…I’m incapable or somethin’,” Lumi sighs and looks up at the circular window above them. “When I get my appetite back, I’ll show you how capable I am!”

“Oh, I know you’re plenty capable,” Khimi whispers and leans over him. “And you never seemed to mind any other time I’ve carried you,” he adds softly, his fingertips delving beneath the loincloth.

“Well…once I was drinking. The other time…” Lumi blushes, “you know what we were doing.”

“Yeah, I remember,” Khimi replies with a smug smile, his lips against Lumi’s rounded ears. “I was deep inside of you, and you wouldn’t shut your damn mouth.”

Uhhh,” Lumi begins, his thoughts muddled by Khimi’s lust filled words. “I-I’m not responsible for the sounds I make when your cock is inside of me,” he confesses with a gentle smile.

Desire fills Lumi, he dexterously uses his feet to rip Khimi’s undergarments loose. The cloth hits the wooden planks with a shallow thud. Lumi looks between them, watching Khimi’s massive girth bob up and down eagerly. Khimi’s tip is red and swollen, seemingly ready to burst. Lumi’s own erection stirs in his loincloth at the sight of Khimi before him. Khimi grips Lumi’s thigh tightly in his hand, pushing Lumi’s leg further back while his other moves along his loincloth. He flips the black fabric to the side, revealing the thong beneath, his fingers glide beneath the narrow cloth kissing against Lumi’s entrance. Lumi slides to Khimi slightly, his leg still propped against his chest, held firmly by Khimi’s grip. He readies himself for Khimi to press into him with a heavy inhale.

Pain shoots through Lumi while Khimi presses harder, causing him to suck in another sharp breath and recoil from the touch. His head jolts back against the thin cushions behind him.

“Khimi,” Lumi groans, squirming in discomfort each time Khimi applies pressure. “Oil…please,” he pleads, his voice filled with both pain and desire.

Khimi chuckles, taunting him, “You’re such a wimp. We didn’t bring any.”

“So…no oil?” Lumi asks, his head once again hitting the thin cushions from Khimi’s aggressive fingers.

Their lack of preparation only adds to the intense sensation building within Lumi. He bites his bottom lip, trying to suppress his moans while Khimi’s finger stretches him open. The pressure becomes almost unbearable, but Lumi knows that the pleasure will soon follow.

“Unless you care for my spit,” Khimi whispers before he brings his knees to either side of Lumi’s waist. “There is always my precum,” he adds with an arrogant grin.

“Not yet!” Lumi exclaims while Khimi pulls him closer. “Khimi, no!” He shouts, Khimi’s cock slides over him. “It’s gonna hurt!”

“I wasn’t,” Khimi growls under his breath, blowing air through his lips. “Though this…is a vision.” Khimi’s turgid cock sits atop Lumi’s abdomen, reaching just past his navel. “Look at how deep it goes inside of you,” he teases, moving a hand along Lumi’s soft musculature. 

“Trust me, I know how deep you go,” Lumi affirms while rubbing his abdomen where Khimi’s precum drips from the swollen tip. 

“Let me know if you start to feel unwell,” Khimi says, bringing Lumi’s ankle to his face. The golden anklets clatter together while he nips at Lumi’s toes, positioning himself. His cock slides back across Lumi’s abdomen and presses firmly against his entrance. “I’m just going to shove it in, okay?” Khimi asks with a knowing smile.

No,” Lumi replies firmly. “I’m gonna die,” he adds with nervous laughter.

With a strong grip, Khimi pulls at the thin cloth between Lumi’s cheeks, tearing it roughly to the side. Lumi’s heart races, looking down at one of the few remaining pieces from his time at the temple being mishandled. As Khimi releases his raised leg, Lumi feels a mix of fear and excitement flood through him. He watches intently, Khimi positions himself against his soft entrance, his cock pressing insistently against it. Unable to hold back any longer, Khimi grabs the base of his swollen member and slowly massages the foreskin back and forth over the tip. Precum drips over Lumi’s slick entrance, which quivers in anticipation. Lumi tentatively lowers his leg to rest on Khimi’s side, desperate for more contact. But Khimi shakes his head in frustration and cannot resist any longer — he grabs Lumi’s ankles and pushes them forcefully back against his chest to gain better access.

Lumi’s knees are drawn up to his chest, pressed tightly against his body, Khimi’s cock presses into him. He lets out a loud groan, reaching for a small cushion and biting down on it to muffle his desperate cries. Feeling every vein and throb, Lumi whines into the pillow. Khimi’s gaze is filled with hunger, watching Lumi squirm beneath him, his hips slowly working to fully enter Lumi. The desire becomes too much, and Khimi pushes Lumi’s ankles even further back, causing Lumi to cry out into the pillow with pleasure. Khimi’s cock slides deeper inside of him. Lumi’s eyes roll back in ecstasy, drooling onto the pillow stuffed in his mouth.

Khimi gently pulls Lumi’s ankles up, resting them on his broad shoulders. His cock remains deep inside, waiting for Lumi to move. Lumi gasps for air, his mind foggy and his body numb. As his tail swishes against Khimi’s thigh, he reaches out a trembling hand to caress Khimi’s cheek. Khimi entwines his fingers in Lumi’s hair, pulling him closer. Their lips meet in a passionate kiss, their tongues battling for dominance, saliva drips between their mouths. Lumi’s senses ignite with the familiar taste of Khimi’s mouth, bringing him back to reality amidst all the pleasure.

Khimi rests his elbows slowly onto the bed before making his first thrust. His cock slides from within, escaping from Lumi’s tight entrance. Khimi grunts and pushes his swollen head back against Lumi, the black thong rubbing softly against his shaft. He forces himself back inside with heated thrusts. The sound of Khimi’s sack slapping against Lumi’s ass fills the small quarters, the lusty sounds bring a primal energy from within Khimi. His hands coil into Lumi’s hair, pulling his head back while he stares into Lumi’s eyes. Lumi tastes Khimi’s breath on his lips, the cerulean eyes devour him with a hunger. With each thrust, a broken whimper passes Lumi’s lips.

After what feels like an eternity, Khimi pulls out and strokes his slickened length, the heavy foreskin sliding back and forth over the tip. Khimi sits up, allowing Lumi’s legs to fall to his side, then lies beside him, pulling Lumi back towards him and pushing his tail to the side. Lumi is helpless against Khimi’s strength and in a swift motion, Khimi guides his cock into him while releasing an impassioned grunt. Lumi wriggles his hips backwards, taking Khimi’s cock deeper inside of him. Khimi grasps Lumi’s thigh, lifting it while he begins thrusting rapidly from behind.

 Lumi’s hand runs to his abdomen, once more, feeling Khimi pressing into his depths. He’s trying to break me. Khimi’s teeth trail across Lumi’s shoulder before he begins to nip at his flesh, placing his lips against Lumi’s shoulders, sucking deeply, leaving small welts. 

“Khimi…” Lumi begins between thrusts. “Wha-What about your crew?” he finally manages.

Khimi silences him with a rough kiss and an even rougher thrust. “Don’t ruin this,” Khimi growls in his ear. “Besides, they already know I shove my cock up your ass.”

And with those possessive words, all of Lumi’s doubts disappear. He lets himself be consumed by Khimi’s dominance. 

    Lumi’s tail slaps against Khimi’s thigh in approval of his affirmations. He whimpers with each of Khimi’s thrusts. Two days…and he’s gone mad! Khimi bites into his shoulder and pushes Lumi onto his stomach. The thin mattress does little to cushion the powerful thrusts from behind. He moans in pleasure while Khimi mounts him and pushes his head down onto the cushion. Khimi’s thighs straddle Lumi’s rear, continuously pounding into him. Lumi holds on for his life, tightly tugging on the sheets in his hands, drawing them violently towards himself. The heaviness of Khimi’s balls slap against Lumi’s backside, clapping in rhythm with Khimi’s movements. Lumi’s toes curl, his body spasms. Cum seeps into the sheets, his orgasm takes him. Lumi’s body clenches down following his climax. Khimi grunts, his arms shaking while he stuffs himself completely inside Lumi.

Moans of elation ring out loud. The thick veins along Khimi’s cock pulsate against his soft, padded inner walls. Khimi grips Lumi’s tiny waist with his calloused hands and curses. He leans over Lumi, his testicles contract and a fierce warmth flows deep into Lumi. Lumi’s toes curl in delight, his legs shaking with Khimi’s orgasm.

Khimi collapses atop of him and brushes his lips through his hair. Khimi cannot resist grinding his hips, his cum pouring out of Lumi’s overflowing hole. With one hand running through Lumi’s hair and the other gripping his waist possessively, Khimi revels in the boy’s body following the intensity of their orgasms.

Lumi grumbles, straining beneath Khimi’s weight, struggling to free himself. The heavy, wet heat of their bodies pressed together, creating an uncomfortable but familiar sensation. “You’re heavier than you think,” Lumi grunts.

Khimi pushes himself up by his elbows, a mischievous glint in his eye. “Oh,” he taunts with a mocking tone, “don’t like it when I am on top of you?” He playfully pushes himself back down onto Lumi, their slick skin slapping together.

Lumi lets out a frustrated grunt. “Normally…I would be fine with it,” he admits, “but my stomach is starting to turn, and I need some air.” He strains against Khimi’s weight, trying to maneuver himself out from underneath him. “And my tail is starting to ache,” he adds, wincing at the discomfort.

“If you’re going on deck, let me go with you,” Khimi says while he rolls on his side.

Lumi gasps, Khimi’s cock slides from within him, leaving him longing for the warmth to remain. After a moment he continues, “I just…a moment,” he replies and straightens the loincloth. The heavy black cloth is stained with fluids. He frowns and turns to Khimi. “Do you have something to wash this?” He asks, holding the loincloth flap in his hand.

“I can have a deckh—”

“It’s fine, I’ll do it myself!” Lumi cuts in, his cheeks burning red. “I’d rather not have someone else wash your cum from my clothes.”

“Why not?” Khimi asks with a flat look before he smiles, “I’ll fetch a bucket and see if Ennui has anything to get those stains out,” he says, standing suddenly. He wraps the loose material of his undergarment back around him before walking to the door. “You know…you could have just taken it off,” he grumbles while he opens the door.

“You didn’t give me time!” Lumi calls back.

A cool breeze from the night air rushes into the room. Lumi shivers a moment from the chill. He looks about the small room, unsure how much time had passed since he first entered. It couldn’t have been that long. He glances out the circular window, noting the sudden arrival of the stars in the sky. How long were we at it…? He removes the loincloth, chestwrap, and stockings, tossing them onto the bed and paces about the room, the rocking of the ship seemingly lessened during their nighttime travels. His fingers brush against the small ledger on Khimi’s desk. He glances over the vellum pages, gently turning each one. He attempts to make sense of the confusing letters and numbers. Silks, gold, spices, jewelry, livestock, and more. He sits on the small stool, continuing his study of the ledger. A curious mark catches his eye. A sigil?  The mark is foreign and unknown, its strange patterns and symbols standing out against the familiar sigil of the Cerulean Star. Lumi’s fingers glide over the marking with caution, trying to decipher its meaning. He turns the vellum pages, finding the sigil drawn once more in the corner, as if taunting him. Its intricate lines and curves spark a sense of unease in his chest. Maybe I should ask him. The vessel’s timbers creak loudly, the ledger and inkwell sliding across the desk. The feeling of discomfort returns, then Lumi lays his head across the desk, praying for the feeling to pass.


The rhythmic tapping of rain against the side of the vessel echoes through Lumi’s mind, slowing time and heightening his senses. The voices of deckhands shouting to one another pierce through the tranquil background noise, jolting him back to reality. Startled, he stands up from the desk where he was lost in thought, wondering how long he had been sitting there. As he steadies himself against the wooden table, his eyes dart around the room in search of something to cover himself with. Spotting one of Khimi’s linen shirts hanging from a chest beneath the bed, Lumi hastily grabs at the sleeve and pulls it over his head. It drapes loosely over his body, the bottom hem almost touching his knees.

As he rips open the door in a fit of frustration at Khimi’s absence, Lumi is greeted by a scene of chaos. The sound of shouting grows deafening. He steps into the hallway, and his heart races at the sight before him. Several members of the crew stand at the front of the hall, brandishing swords and daggers in an attempt to fend off a towering creature. The dark figure looms over them, water dripping from its scaly skin and onto the floor. Lumi cannot help but shiver at its intimidating presence. As he joins the fray, he catches a glimpse of its gaping mouth filled with sharp and broken teeth. A set of gills on its neck rhythmically opens and closes, revealing bright red filaments underneath. In its clawed hand, it holds a mighty trident that strikes out at the crew members with relentless ferocity. They stumble backwards in fear and desperation.

Amidst the chaos and danger, Lumi frantically tries to catch Khimi’s attention. He rushes towards the monstrous being, and it lets out a guttural snarl that sounds like a mixture of gurgles and screeches, its language incomprehensible to Lumi. But the message is clear —  this creature will give him no quarter.

Undeterred, Lumi reaches for his golden choker and whispers a prayer to the Gods, pleading for their help and guidance in this dire situation. A sudden warmth fills him, coursing through his body and sparking little bolts of light along his fingertips.

The creature swings its deadly weapon at Lumi with ferocious strength, causing the trident to smash into the wooden wall with a thunderous crash. Splinters fly across the floor,  Lumi crouches low to avoid the blow, channeling the glowing energy within him towards his enemy. With a fierce burst of light, it strikes the creature’s chest and leaves behind a searing wound. Thin tendrils of light then wrap around its body, illuminating its features and revealing more of its terrifying nature.

Lumi had never seen this manner of beast, yet he heard the tales of ships being attacked by men who resemble fish. Maneaters. He had heard a sailor call them that before. He scours the deck, spotting Ennui and Khimi engaged with several more of the fearsome creatures. His thoughts are brought back to his current situation. A crewmate runs his scimitar into the creature’s chest. It snarls, gripping the man’s hand holding the sword. With a fierce shout, Lumi projects words that seem to carry a power beyond his understanding. Words which flow into his mind, spoken in a whisper by his mysterious Gods, then again in a roar.

The incantation ignites the creature in a brilliant explosion of cobalt flames, casting the entire area in an otherworldly glow. The heat from the flames washes over Lumi, leaving him breathless and exhilarated. The once-ferocious beast catches fire before his eyes. Every color imaginable dances within the flames, creating a mesmerizing spectacle unlike anything Lumi has ever witnessed before.

    The creature reels back in pain, its head turns abruptly to the railing. Horror fills the deckhand’s eyes, the creature dashes at the railing, still holding fast to his arm. Within seconds, the creature, and the crewman, vanish from Lumi’s sight, the sound of the wooden rail shattering in his ears. Shock and hopelessness fill Lumi, but he forces his attention back to Khimi. The sound of thunder rumbles over the water, lightning fills the clouds. A stray bolt strikes near the vessel, its light illuminating the deck. Six of them. Lumi runs past the hallway, nearly sliding once his bare feet touch the smooth, wet deck. The thought of his attire never crosses his mind while he runs to Khimi and Ennui.

“What happened?!” Lumi shouts, picking up a broken broom from the deck.

“What…?” Ennui replies in confusion. “Are you dense!? We were attacked!” She shouts, swinging at one of the fishy creatures.

“Go back to the room!” Khimi roars, his scimitars locked against one of the creature’s spear.

“To me!” Ennui interrupts. “Help me out over here!”

Lumi dashes to Ennui, but keeps his eyes fixed on Khimi. He watches, Khimi’s scimitars erupt in a ruby flame, the creature’s wet, rough skin shines against the brilliant flames. Lumi turns back to Ennui, noting the two fallen creatures on the planks nearby, daggers jut out from across their bodies, a reminder of Ennui’s talents with a blade. Lumi strikes quickly at the creature in front of Ennui, the broomstick breaking over the tough scaly skin. It pays him little mind, continuing its assault on Ennui. It slashes several times with razor sharp claws from its webbed hand. Ennui evades its claws just as a tall wave shakes the vessel, sending her sliding towards the beast. It seizes the opportunity to strike. Blood spatters across the deck, the creature’s claws stick firmly in her side. Its eyes glow with a red film, the strong scent of blood fills the air from the fresh wound. Ennui reels back, her hand pressed to her side, keeping pressure on the wound. She slumps, the dagger in her free hand ready to strike.

Lumi grabs hold of the creature’s arm, the rough, wet skin feels alien and unlike anything he’s ever touched. It pulls against his grasp, lurching Lumi towards it. Words flow into his mind, shouting in ancient tongues.  He closes his eyes, offering a quick incantation. An uneasy sensation comes across him, only to quickly leave him. The eyes of the creature grow wide. Old wounds across the creature’s body sprout open anew, years of healing undone in a brief moment. It falls to the floor with an audible thud, its wet eyes withering, the body desiccating within a moment. Ennui shakes her head, her eyes aglow with confusion. Lumi stares at the withered body on the floor before him, only to be brought back by Ennui’s voice.

Lumi! LUMI!” Ennui shouts aggressively. “Come on!”

Lumi leaps over the body and places his hand upon her side. A warm glow flows from his hands, blue tendrils of light twirl and dart across Ennui’s side as if probing her injury. Just as quickly as they begin, they end. Ennui eyes Lumi suspiciously before grabbing her gladius from the deck. She looks at Khimi while the rain licks her skin, then dashes into the fray. Lumi kneels, watching as several of the creatures dive back into the water below. His vision blurs. I’m so tired, he thinks as he closes his eyes, listening to the sounds of combat over the deck. The sound of combat brings his eyes open, he watches Khimi’s blade cut deep into a creature’s chest, the fires searing its wet skin. It stumbles backwards, falling from the vessel with a loud splash.

DAMMIT!” Khimi shouts, looking over the railing.

The vessel’s sails torn and tattered from the storm billow loudly, flapping against the rough winds. The occasional groan from a wounded deckhand and the rumbling thunder are the only remaining sounds as the last of the creatures vanishes beneath the waves. Ennui dashes up the stairs to the helm, her eyebrows furrowed in concern. Khimi gives the deck one final once over before trotting to Lumi. He places a hand on Lumi’s shoulder before exhaling deeply.

“Why didn’t you go back to the room?” Khimi growls, “Did you want to get hurt?”

“I’m s-sorry, Khimi…?” Lumi questions, looking across the bloodied deck.

“Can you see to the wounded?” Khimi asks, ignoring his concern. “Some of them are in a bad way.”

“I don’t know how much I can do,” Lumi confesses meekly, noting the displeasure in Khimi’s tone. “I’m barely able to keep myself awake.”

“Lumi,” Khimi pleads, placing his hands on Lumi’s shoulders. The shirt Lumi wears, now soaked through by the rain. “Do something.”

“I’ll do what I can,” Lumi mutters, his tail shivering in protest as his ears droop in defeat.

KHIMI!” Ennui shouts from the helm.

“Do it, Lumi,” Khimi says before turning his attention to the source of the shouts. He trots towards the helm, giving Lumi a nod of approval.

Lumi looks to the helm, his eyes able to discern his surroundings in various shades of gray. Several of the crew rush to the helm, looking around Khimi and Ennui. Their expressions reveal some form of woe. It must be really bad. He sighs as he moves to the first of the crew he can find. Superficial wounds, he should be alright. He quickly finds another, a brunette woman holding her hands tightly to her abdomen. Lumi kneels beside her, listening to her labored breathing. He gives her a nod of reassurance before moving her hands aside. The claw marks had raked across her abdomen, the flesh badly torn. The sight of a portion of her bowel nearly causes Lumi to become sick. He holds his breath and once more offers a soft prayer into the brunette’s ear. The blue tendrils of light form just above Lumi’s hand and caress the wound, mending the flesh as if stitching the wound together. Afterward, only a slight discoloration remains.

“You’ll be okay,” Lumi whispers to her. He feels relieved as a soft smile spreads across her face.

“Thank you,” she whispers, gripping Lumi’s hand softly.

“Rest,” he whispers, gently stroking her hair. “You’ll be okay, I promise.”

He quickly renders what aid he can to the remaining crew members, pausing each time he comes across one beyond help, closing their eyes before searching for the next victim. As he finishes offering prayers over another fallen member of the crew, Ennui places a hand on Lumi’s shoulder.

“You need to rest. You look unwell,” Ennui says bluntly and squeezes his shoulder tightly. “You did the best you could. I’ll get rid of the bodies,” she finishes, crouching beside him.

“There were a few beyond my help, and there was another who was pulled over,” Lumi replies in an exhausted tone.

“We still have enough crew to operate the ship,” Ennui says, attempting to sound optimistic. “The real issue is, the ship suffered some damage…the trip might be a bit longer now.”

“How long…?” Lumi whispers, looking across the deck. “What are the chances that those things will come back?” He asks, his ears flat with worry. “We could probably take them if we’re prepared…”

“The sahuagin?” Ennui asks, following Lumi’s gaze. “I think they know we’re capable now, I don’t think they’ll be coming back anytime soon.”

“That’s a relief,” Lumi replies, his tail shaking at the good news. “I suppose I should get back inside.”

“Sleep well,” Ennui smirks, helping Lumi to his feet. “Cute shirt,” she adds, glancing over his attire.

“Thanks,” Lumi replies bashfully, his ears wiggling at the compliment. “It’s Khimi’s,” he adds, color rushes to his cheeks. “Goodnight, Ennui,” he says, stumbling back to the cabin.

 Lumi pauses once more to glance at the broken railing where he had heard the man taken overboard. I wonder what his name was. Grim thoughts fill him, and he finds himself contemplating the fate of the crewmate. I could have done more, he thinks while he walks into Khimi’s small cabin. Though he feels glad to be alive, he feels a heavy sense of loss. Moreover, he worries he failed Khimi. They were part of the Cerulean Star. He unbuttons his shirt, letting the heavy, damp cloth fall to the floor with an audible wet slap. His exhaustion weighs heavily on him, the soft blanket coaxes him to slumber. The moment his eyelids grow too heavy to stay open, he feels Khimi’s heavy hand running along his side.

“You did well tonight,” Khimi whispers into Lumi’s ears. Gently, he slides behind him on the small cabin bed.

 Lumi holds his response, curling against Khimi’s warm body. Muscular arms engulf him. With the sense of comfort and security offered by Khimi, he finally allows himself to sleep.

Tall Tales

The fog lifts after two days of ill winds and arduous repairs to the vessel. A melancholy hangs thick over the crew during the days following the attack. Paranoia and fear plagues those that had survived, of those that seem unaffected by the mood are Ennui, Khimi, and the cook. It is discovered by Ennui that the navigator had taken it upon himself to redirect the ship towards land, spurring a small confrontation. The sound of Ennui shouting “There’s no time for mutiny!” had echoed loudly across the ship, as did the sound of her open palm striking the navigator’s fleshy cheek. Afterward, many of the crew had done everything in their power to avoid her.

Lumi does his best to maintain a positive outlook, but a strange sense of dread looms over him after the attack. Meanwhile, Khimi somehow manages to carry himself with a chipper disposition. Maybe Khimi lives for battle, Lumi finds himself considering.

Many of the crew seem thankful of Lumi’s aid, and the doe-eyed brunette will not stop singing his praises. He still feels guilty of those that had been lost. Though, his guilt lessens with Khimi’s constant admiration and praise.

The ship’s freshly patched sails catch the wind, sending the ship sailing smoothly to its destination. Only a few more days. We’re back on track now, all the bad is behind us. Lumi leans his back against the wooden walls of the vessel and listens to the quiet lull of the sea, the soft lapping of the waves against the sides of the ship. After days on the open water, the seasickness no longer haunts him. Perhaps he had become adapted to the constant movement of the ocean. The sound of the door swinging open and creaking sends him to his feet, his ears stand up on point, the hair of his tail on end. The sight of Khimi eases his tensions. He sits back on the thin mattress and lays across the bed.

“Ennui has everything under control?” Lumi asks with a hint of sarcasm. His tail swats at the air playfully, then thumps against the bed.

“If you want to call it that,” Khimi replies, placing his scimitars beside the desk. He sits on the edge of the bed, placing a hand on Lumi’s abdomen. “The ship will be fine if I rest.”

“You deserve some rest,” Lumi insists, sitting up. He moves his back to the wall while Khimi places his head in his lap. “Khimi…” Lumi begins, gently running his fingers through the short cropped hair.

Mmm?” Khimi sounds, his eyes closed.”What is it?”

“I wanted to ask you about those symbols in the ledger,” Lumi says, looking carefully at Khimi’s expression. “I’ve never seen ‘em.”

“That’s a story…” Khimi says, his brow line furrowing. “Maybe for another time.”

“We’re on a boat…it’s not like we have anywhere to go,” Lumi replies, discomfort showing in his tone. “If like…you’re uhm, a devil worshiper or something, you can tell me.”

“Devil worshiper?” Khimi snorts, a perplexed look on his face. His eyes shoot open, looking back into Lumi’s. A comforting smile on his lips. “You can’t believe all the dark things you hear about me.”

“Oh, then you’ll tell me about it? Originally I thought it was a celestial[1] marking. That maybe you were gifted by the Gods,” Lumi says, then continues to stroke Khimi’s hair. He leans back against the wall again. “But that’s foolish…you would have told me, right?”

“It’s the old tongue,” Khimi replies simply. “As to what the sigil means…it’s the seal of the efreet known as Enan,” he pauses once Lumi’s fingers stop.

“Wait, an efreet? That’s a jinn!” Lumi says in excitement. “You know they say a jinn’s wish always comes with a price…wait…you know a jinn?” Lumi babbles, growing even more thrilled with each passing word.

“They aren’t all they are made out to be. As is the case with most powerful beings,” Khimi says with a smile that does not touch his eyes.

“You’re toying with me, right?” Lumi asks in defiance, his ears rising in interest. “You didn’t really meet a jinn. You’re jokin’!?”

“It was during a time when I left my family,” Khimi says, closing his eyes before starting his tale. “In my youth, I decided that I no longer wanted any part of my lineage. Duty, honor, nobility…all of it felt too much. So I left, I fled in the middle of the night. The thought of how my family felt roiled inside of me” He pauses, grabbing Lumi’s hand in his own. “Then, I found myself in dire need of coin…my spending habits made sure I would need to seek some sort of employme—“

“Is this when you met the jinn? You wished for coin?” Lumi asks, with a baffled expression. “You can’t ask for coin when you already have so mu–”

No! Just listen,” Khimi interrupts with a laugh. “Anyway, I traveled from desert town to desert town. Constantly aware that Rashid was hunting me down. Ennui helped me disguise myself and I used an alias. Eventually, I took a few small jobs escorting caravans through the desert, always making sure to avoid those that would travel to Sidi,” he pauses once more, giving Lumi’s hand a tight squeeze.”Well, Ennui put in a good word for me to a group of mercenaries who often employed her. For…ages, I traveled the desert with them, fighting off all manner of monsters and bandits,” he says, a smile crossing his lips as he reminisces over his past.

“Did you ever lose any friends?”

“I wouldn’t call any of them my friend. They’d stab me in the back if there was enough coin in it for them. Or if they found out who I was,” Khimi replies, stroking Lumi’s hand. “I think that was why I tried to never learn their names if it could be helped. It was an unspoken rule and the work was dangerous,” He sighs loudly. “But anyway, there was a scholar, a woman named Isbeth. She hired our mercenary company to take her to a very specific location north of Rhaz. She never mentioned what we would be doing other than protecting her while she studied the ruins.”

Wait,” Lumi says, his tail flicking in excitement. “This sounds like some sort of fable,” he laughs, leaning over Khimi to watch his expression. “Are you lying?”

“I wish it were a fable,” Khimi replies, a coy smile crossing his lips. “Do you want me to continue?” he asks, a grin on his lips.

“Yes, please. I’d like to know how my lov– how you met a jinn,” Lumi says, cracking a smile.

“She was an efreet, but same thing I guess,” Khimi insists.”Anyway,” he laughs, then continues his tale. “Isbeth knew what was down there, but kept the truth hidden from us. She spoke the old tongue, and each and every time we asked if there was something important, she would insist there wasn’t. I should have known, I should have paid more. When we first arrived at the ruins, we should have known…Isbeth immediately knew how to gain access to the vault beneath the ruins. Solving a riddle in the old tongue quicker than any of us. After we entered the vault, it was as if horror awaited us around each turn,” he pauses to peeks an eye open at Lumi hovering above him. “I insisted we leave. I could tell the place was dangerous, but Isbeth insisted that we continue. It wasn’t until only a handful of us remained that our captain suggested we turn back, and just then a horrific draconic lizard appeared. It spat flames in every direction and Isbeth ran to a stairwell. In my anger, I followed while the mercenaries were dealing with the creature. I was certain they could handle it.”

“You should have just left,” Lumi says bluntly. His tail coils around Khimi’s forearm. “It sounds like she knew what she was lookin’ for.”

“There was a part of me that wanted to see what was in store for us at the bottom of that vault. And I did manage to make it there, as did Isbeth,” Khimi says, closing his eyes once again. “And when I arrived at the bottom of the stairwell, Isbeth took off down this…ancient hallway. Without a torch or anything, she ran. Yet, I followed the sound of her footsteps until I could no longer hear her. I paused, lighting a torch and as soon as my flint struck – magick. The walls came alive. My small spark illuminated the darkness, creating a tunnel of fire. Fire leapt and danced across the walls with its own mind. I followed the direction that the flames led me, and each time I would cross to go down another passage, they barred my path. It was sentient, that much I was sure. I rounded a corner, the ceilings grew taller and taller still, rising until I couldn’t see any further.”

“Where was Isbeth?” Lumi asks curiously. “Did you ever find her?”

“I’m getting there,” Khimi insists. “Patience,” he adds, stretching his feet to points. “So, I noticed a massive door before me, braziers ahead lined the path, pale red flames burning with no visible source. I walked onwards, determined to bring Isbeth back.”

“You’re super great at telling stories,” Lumi chuckles, his ears twitching. “Did you tell this to all your drinking pals?”

“No,” Khimi replies, blowing air through his lips. “So anyway, I walked through this massive door, but when I approached, I noticed whatever contraption that kept it locked was already undone. A strange thing, unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. My closest thought was that it was some sort of dwarven device. Then I stepped inside, only to see the figure of Isbeth wreathed in flames. I heard her howl in agony, her body rising, searing heat stripping her clothes, then flesh. It wasn’t for a moment until she was naught but ash. I stared in silence. Confused at what I just witnessed. That was when I saw her, the efreet. Eyes of smoldering embers, pointed ears, and horns which poured black smoke. She had this large crack across her face, like a wound that wouldn’t heal, it glowed burning red. Like when you forge metal…I initially placed my hand on my scimitar, but I realized I was no match for whatever this creature was. She gave me a cruel smile from her metallic throne. And that’s it, that’s the story.”

What!” Lumi exclaims, slapping Khimi’s cheek jokingly. “What happened!?

“Do you still think I am lying?” Khimi asks with a playful grin.

“It is a really…interesting tale, I’ll definitely have to talk to Rashid about it…” Lumi replies softly. “I believe you, it’s just…an efreet?!”

Khimi scoffs, “And you serve the Gods…that’s quite a tale itself,” he says in amusement.

“Everyone is a servant of the Gods in one way or another,” Lumi responds plainly, blinking slowly.

“You know what I mean,” Khimi says with a roll of his eyes. “Not everyone who serves the Gods gets to use their power.”

“I suppose,” Lumi ponders as he once more begins to stroke Khimi’s hair. “Now, finish the story!”

“So, she gave me a cruel smile,” Khimi begins with renewed excitement. “She asked me something in that strange language, and when I couldn’t grasp what she said, she stood from her throne. Her words suddenly entered my mind, and it was like our thoughts were connected. It was a feeling which I had never experienced…or imagined I would experience. She asked me if I came for riches, if I was seeking power, or if I was just a lost fool. So I told her why I came, I entered her chambers to bring the woman Isbeth back to justice. She asked me if I knew who she was. I admitted I didn’t, so she revealed her name to me, Enan. The words echoed in my ears, it felt familiar yet distant. She beckoned me to her throne, I followed her request. And as I approached her throne, we stared deeply into each other’s eyes for what felt like an eternity. I don’t know what my thoughts were, but I had a sense she was gorging herself on my being, on who I was. She finally spoke again, asking me how I would free her. I asked her what her intentions were if she was released, to which she replied that she would leave Talmus and return to where she belonged. I contemplated her words heavily before I asked what she was waiting for. I asked her, “What’s in it for me?” She smirked, I felt uneasy, then she told me. “You’ll have the stamina of a bull from the burning planes, scorching fire at your fingertips, and should you free me; a life free of mortal woes.”

“A life without mortal woes…death?” Lumi asks, baffled.”Wait, did you do it? Did you free her?” He asks, in excitement.

“I don’t think I ever trusted her words, but she has given me gifts,” Khimi replies and closes his eyes again, his brow pinched. “I haven’t thought much about her and she hasn’t bothered me. She’s been there a long time, I am sure my lifetime will pass before she knows it.”

“I guess…the stamina part makes sense,” Lumi laughs softly, a wide smile spreading across his cheeks. His ears wiggle, “and you can make your swords catch on fire.”

Ha,” Khimi laughs, nearly choking. “I don’t think I need an efreet’s blessing for my stamina” he admits while he itches at his cheek.

“I mean, you’re certainly as big as a bull,” Lumi says, his cheeks growing flush. “So” he pauses, glancing out the window. “What happened next?”

“So, I told her as long as she promised to keep her word, that I would free her,” Khimi replies quietly, his voice growing softer. “Afterward, she told me that we would have to form a pact to honor our bond. I thought we would just…I don’t know…spit in our hands and shake on it, but that wasn’t quite the case. Enan, with her huge nails, gripped the top of my head. I thought she meant to pull my skull off. Then with her thumbnail, she left this mark upon my face. It burned like someone was shoving a white-hot poker across it. And when she was done, she said that now I would be sure to remember her when I look at my reflection. Just like that, she vanished in a plume of black smoke, and ever since I’ve had dreams of that sigil. The same sigil I saw marking the walls of the vault where she was kept. When I finally returned topside, I realized no one was left waiting for me. I suppose they figured I had died or something horrible had happened to me. I fetched the water skins that remained on the dead, and stumbled my way through the desert to Rhaz.”

“So you returned to Sidi after?”

“Not quite, when I arrived in Rhaz I was only there for a couple of nights before Rashid showed up.” Khimi says with a grimace. “I still remember his face,” he adds with a laugh. “I thought we were going to brawl right there in that inn. Instead, he simply embraced me and told me that my place was with the Cerulean Star, and it was time to come home. I of course never mentioned anything about Enan, and I didn’t share much about my time as a mercenary. I didn’t want Aleyna to see me either…I figured if she saw the scars.”

“I-I see,” Lumi says with a small nod, a smile on his cheeks. “I can help with those…remember I offered before,” he adds, his fingers instinctively touching the rigid lines on Khimi’s face.

“I really don’t mind my scars. Though if they are a bother to yo—”

“I love them!” Lumi interrupts. “I’ve always thought they were pretty…I just thought it would be something you’d want,” he adds, his voice trailing, his focus on Khimi. “Most people would be bothered by their scars…but they make you special.”

“I’m glad they don’t bother you,” Khimi says, his fingers crossing over the scar across his nose.

“So this was made by the efreet, huh?” Lumi asks, placing his hand over Khimi’s

The two lay in silence for nearly an hour, Khimi’s hand joined with Lumi’s. Lumi rests his back against the wall, listening to Khimi’s gentle snores. He looks up at the window. I bet he’s just embellishing things…unless he’s just lying. Though I don’t really think he’s the type…he hasn’t lied to me yet…at least I don’t think. A knock on the door brings Lumi back from his thoughts. Ennui peaks her head slowly into the room, glaring at them with an amused grin.

“Don’t mean to bother,” Ennui whispers, a smirk crossing her face. “But there is a bit of a situation.”

“Can’t you handle it?” Lumi grumbles in a whisper. “Khimi needs his rest.”

Well then,” Ennui mocks a bit louder. She leans back against the door frame, fanning herself with the door. “Actually, he may need to handle this.”

“What happened?” Lumi asks, his brow pinching with concern.

“It’s the navigator” Ennui begins in a whisper. “I had to…handle him,” she adds, while she places her palm against her cheek.

“You didn’t kill him…did you?” Lumi asks with a suspicious glance.

Nah, but he’ll be in a lot of pain when he wakes up,” she says, frowning suddenly. “Did you really think I would just kill him?” She asks with a pained expression. “I’m not so cruel.”

“Khimi told me some of the things you used to be into…so I don’t think it would surprise me if you had,” Lumi replies with a pensive look. “Do you want me to handle it?” He asks.

CAN you?” Ennui asks, narrowing her eyes. “I’d love to see how you handle it,” she adds, her finger tapping against her soft lips playfully.

“What do I need to do?” Lumi asks in reply.

“Discipline the navigator…put us back on the right path…either of those options are good,” she responds, holding the door open. “Come on, kitty,” she says mockingly, swinging the door back and forth.

 Lumi gently pushes Khimi’s head to the side and watches his lover’s chest rise and fall with his sound breaths. He moves Khimi’s hair out of his face, looking admiringly at him once more before slipping from the bed. As he crosses the room he tightens the waistband on his sarouel. The curious look in Ennui’s crimson eyes brings Lumi to a halt.

“Is something wrong?” Lumi asks in annoyance, looking up at the muscular devilkin.

“You might be more convincing to the crew with a shirt on,” Ennui smiles with a mocking grin. “Otherwise, you just look like a little boy.”

“You’re so irritating,” Lumi growls in response, grabbing the shirt draped over Khimi’s desk.

“Listen,” Ennui whispers. Lumi pushes past her with a nudge. “Had I known Khimi was into…this,” she gestures to Lumi. “I wouldn’t have tried to get with him all those years ago,” she adds, suddenly pausing in the hallway.

What?!” Lumi turns to look at Ennui. “You tried to get with Khimi?” He asks with a fierceness in his tone. His ears flick in anger. “Y-You’re trying to upset me,” He stammers.

“I just wanted to see your reaction,” Ennui replies flatly, shrugging. “Plus, seeing Khimi’s little pet in distress is…amusing.”

“I’m not his pet…” Lumi whispers under his breath while he follows Ennui.

“Pet or not,” Ennui begins, lowering herself to face Lumi. “Khimi may fuck you…but just know that he may never love you. Everyone thirsts over Khimi. And whatev–”

Lumi scoffs and pushes her aside, “Khimi loves me. Besides, I don’t care what you think.”

Ennui taps Lumi’s cheek. “You should care what I think about you…I’ve saved your life, little lion,” she says with a wry smile. “I’m possibly the only real friend Khimi has ever had…so get used to me.”

Lumi growls quietly, “I…am thankful,” he says between grit teeth. “I just hate how you push me constantly. It’s like you…want him for yourself?”

Ennui’s face screws up, her lips twist into a smile. “I just adore your reactions, but no…I have no interest in Khimi. I just like to see you squirm,” she says, placing her fingers under his chin. “Now…go set this ship back on course!” She says, tapping him once on the cheek.

“You’re the worst,” Lumi whines, yet he can not help but smile.

[1] A script and tongue used by the angels and their kin, the heavensent.