March 12, 2012

The Fifth Son by Blaine D. Arden

The Fifth Son.
Imagine, if you will, a place where almost everything is operated by magic: doors, windows, lights, ovens. Magic is an every day occurrence and everyone around you knows how to operate it. Imagine what it would be like for us non-magical creatures, to visit a place like that. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it?
But what if doors won't open for you? What if you can't make a simple cup of tea, because you don't have the ability to boil water? What if you have to ask someone else to turn on the lights when it gets dark? Doesn't seem as much fun, then, does it?
That is pretty much what life has been like for Llyskel. He was born magicless in a world where everyone possesses magic to some degree. Where every other child would come into their powers at the age of six, nothing happened to Llyskel, not even the slightest spark. Doors remained shut, lights remained off – or on in many cases. No running off to scour the castle on his own, like his older brothers often did. No playing at being soldiers, and worse, no playing with his brothers at all. Not with a set of over-protective parents (read: mother) who couldn't bear anything to happen to her precious youngest. All Llyskel could do was watch, watch and draw...

The Fifth Son is about Llyskel, the fifth son of a King, who, unlike his brothers, doesn't have a career in politics or the military to look forward to. In a world where everyone possesses magic to some degree or other, Llyskel is powerless, unable to perform even the smallest magic-based tasks. All his life, he's been under constant guard for his own protection from the magical world around him, much to his annoyance. The only time Llyskel feels free is when he paints, where the only spells he needs are the ones he weaves with brush and paint, capturing moments of beauty and giving them immortality on canvas.
 Llyskel harbors a secret wish, though, a dark desire that haunts his nights. Only Ariv, a captain in the King's army, seems to sense the truth of Llyskel's needs. The pull he feels to Llyskel is unavoidable, and the passion between them undeniable.  But Ariv isn't the only one interested in Llyskel. The Queen of a neighboring country expresses her interest in the boy's talents, but her true intent goes far beyond a love of art. And what she asks may be too high a price for any of them.
Nearing the outer walls, I could barely even see the battlements of the castle. I could see the four towers, though, their roofs as green as the vines covering the dark gray stone walls.
Despite telling me otherwise, I expected Captain Ariv to march me straight through the gate to my father. Instead he left me standing in the shadows as he chatted amiably with the guards, distracting them so I could pass by unseen, and did the same at the inner walls. Apparently, he was a man of his word. 
Out of habit, I stopped halfway into the gardens, looking up at the castle. If anyone saw me out here now, they would think I had just arrived back from town, provided Captain Ariv didn't tell on me.
I watched the flickering lanterns lighting up the high, dark walls in an eerie mix of greens and grays, broken only by wavering hues of yellow from the lamps burning in the windows. I painted the castle like this once. Mother hung it in the dining room, the private one.
There was no light in my tower, not counting the lamp I always put on the hall table in the morning. The rest were hidden away in cupboards. I used to leave them out, but their artificial glow ruined the wonderful shapes daylight created on my walls. I hated those lamps, hated having to ask others to turn them off, but mother did not trust me with candles, not when I couldn't douse them with magic. Her refusal to acknowledge that candles didn't need magic always baffled me.
I sauntered towards my tower, the only magicless rooms in the castle, if I didn't count the lamps. They hadn't always been, but when I kept bumping into the doors, got my fingers caught, and even got stuck in the bathroom once, they were rebuilt without magic. Now others bumped into my doors... when they forgot.
Neia's room at the bottom of the stairs was empty. Relieved not to have to explain myself to her, I climbed the stairs and let myself in, taking the lamp with me. My walls lit up as I placed more lamps around the room. I smiled, remembering the tantrums I had thrown when my parents refused to repaint my walls. Even at six, I was very picky about my colors. In the end they had backed down, though it had taken three tries to get a green that would look like a hint of fresh moss in daylight, but wouldn't turn budgie green at night. I reached for my bags, only to realize Captain Ariv still had them. I cursed. Now I'd have to go all the way to the northern walls, to the captains' quarters, to get them back. But when I opened my door, Captain Ariv stood in the hall, holding out my bags, with that wide smile on his face.
"You forgot these, Your Highness."
"Yes, thank you, Captain." I reached for the bags.
"May I see the paintings?"
I opened my mouth and closed it. It wasn't as if I hadn't entertained anyone in my rooms before, but never one of father's men, and certainly never someone as formidable, as desirable, as Captain Ariv. I looked behind me. My desk, a chunky dark brown piece of wood, was strewn with brushes, pencils and drawing pads, both new and filled with sketches, but the rest seemed presentable. I moved aside to let him in.
Ariv looked around as I closed the door, before walking over to my desk and putting the bag of paints down on the floor next to it. I followed him and reached for the other bag, but he ignored me and started unpacking it. He took his time, too, studying both paintings as he unwrapped them, putting the one with the water nymphs on the easel, and the one with the waterfall on my desk. "You make them come alive."
I shook my head. "They are alive. I just paint them."
His smile widened and a shiver crawled up my spine.
"Let me see your work."
I frowned. "My work can be seen all around the castle."
"The ones you don't show."
I stared at him, my heart thumping, hoping I had misunderstood.
I was tall, but I still had to look up to him, and he was much broader compared to my wiry frame. Then again, everyone was broader than I would ever be. They said I looked like my mother, with my gray eyes and long hair as red as the kozal roses, but even she was more muscular than I was. Bloody magic.
Ariv's eyes were darker than any I'd ever seen. They had to be brown, but they were so dark, they looked black, as black as his spiky hair. Black, but not cold, even though they seemed to stare straight through me, thoughtful, intent. I had to fight not to lick my lips. His presence stirred me, almost like it had when he pointed his shooter at me. I closed my eyes at the memory and swallowed, willing myself not to get hard.
He touched my cheek. It would be so easy to lean into his touch. His hand stilled and disappeared. I opened my eyes to find him standing at the door, watching me, shaking his head.
"Go to sleep, your Highness. And do not go off grounds without Neia again," he said before he slipped out of my room.
I took a shaky breath and leaned against my desk, watching the closed door. What had just happened? How had he known about those paintings?
Unsteady on my feet, my steps heavy and clunky, I finally ascended the stairs and walked through my bedroom into my private gallery, closing the door behind me. I sank down on the bench in the middle of the room and stared at the painting in front of me. I hadn't known his name when I first painted him, but I recognized the hand now that I'd seen it up close. It was beautiful. He was beautiful, his expression serious, hair sticking out on all sides, eyes half closed in the bright sunlight, squinting at something to my left.
I had never seen him smile on the training field, yet he was not a cruel man. He fought fair, fought clever, was never excessively hurtful, even though he was probably one of the strongest men out there, and wielded the shooter with skill. I looked away from his face to what made me paint him that day. The copper of his shooter reflected rays of sun. The hand looked less tanned and the position was not quite the same, but my pulse raced nonetheless.
My eyes glued to the shooter, I laid back and freed my cock, running my fingers up and down as I imagined my body yielding to the stunning spell. I imagined another's hand, Ariv's hand, jacking me off hard and fast, and bit my lip to keep from crying out as I came.
About the Author
Blaine is a purple haired, forty-something, writer of gay romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies (the pointy eared ones), platform shoes and the colours black, purple and red, who sings her way through life.
You can find Blaine on her website:


  1. Welcome back to Romance Lives Forever, Blaine. Good to see you again! This looks really good.

  2. Thank you for hosting me again :)
    and thank you for the compliment. I hope readers will enjoy it.


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