The Fortress of the Duke of Torla

Beraht stared over the battlements of his fortress, feeling almost dizzy that he was a Duke and that this place and the surrounding land for as far as the eye could see, was his. He was a peer of the realm and owned everything he could see. Was responsible for it, for the people who lived there.


The fortress had been built to fend off the long-gone barbarians who had once plagued the coast. No longer necessary, it had been altered into a much more comfortable, accommodating home.

Much of the original fortress remained, however, including the battlements. Set against the sea, his new home had a rough edge, but not wholly unpleasant.

Movement caught his eye and he turned to see Dieter walking toward him, spring cloak billowing in the brisk wind. “Does the fortress meet your barbaric standards?”

Dieter grinned in his wolfish way. “No. Too much silk and satin about the place. Taking this fortress would be far too easy.”

Beraht rolled his eyes. “As no one but you would dare to do such a thing, beyond men long dead, I do not particularly care. Silk and satin are far more comfortable than stone and scratchy wool.”

“Soft Salharan,” Dieter said, drawing closer, nearly looming.

More dizzying than being lord of all he saw was that look in Dieter’s eyes. A fierce hunger that Beraht knew was his to sate. Heady, that knowledge, even as it was still so new and strange.

The rough stones of the battlements dug into his back through his light linen jacket as Dieter pressed him into them, and he kicked the bastard hard to make him ease up even as he moaned into a hard, bruising kiss.

Instead, Dieter only pressed harder, shoving a leg between his thighs, fingers digging into muscles, knowing already where and how to press, and Beraht knew he’d have bruises to match those fingers when they were finished.

“You’re leaving yourself vulnerable to attack, behaving like this out in the open,” he said when Dieter finally let him go.

Dieter smirked. “From what? Illussor with sticks? They have no weapons that can overcome the battlements.”

“I thought you said this fortress was easy to take.”

Another infuriating smirk. “Yes, quite. All I need do is conquer its lord – quite easy indeed, wouldn’t you say, Beraht?”

Beraht kicked him again, pulling at the hair in which one of his hands was still buried, but his scathing retort was lost when Dieter kissed him again.