The previous two bonds that Wren made were purely by intuition. Later, seeing how those had turned out, Wren had become leery at making more because they all seem to point at the necessity of sexual intimacy to be made the most of. In one of his mentor sessions with Drafodil, Wren asked her if there were different types and he wasn't surprised to find that there were. The red string stimulated bond between himself and Grimalkin had already shown him that the bonds he had formed himself weren't even the most ideal between lovers.
Drofodil guided him through some relevant information and an imagery exorcise to hone the bond making process. Intuition conformed to the first complex expression of power the maelstrom born accomplished. For Wren, that had been Lustitia, among the second most common group of first expressions. This type of maelstrom born typically formed harems and were looked upon poorly by other ascended. It had to be admitted that though this type of maelstrom born might not end up overly powerful among their peers, they rarely had much difficulty advancing as long as they didn't fall to the Abyssal or Infernal hosts.
As a side note, Drafodil brought up the most common which was a combat expression. These individuals typically formed a 'band of brothers' concept and nurtured each other in the heart of battle. Wren soaked that in and realized that even though the idea of being a harem master honestly sickened him, it was much more preferable to the way he liked to live than being some bloodthirsty mercenary leader. Wren hoped that his mentor would have alternate solutions to these radical lifestyle groups and she did.
Once a maelstrom born reached Tier IV existence, also known among philosophical circles as 'legendary mortal', they universally unlocked manifestations. The types of which were endless and varied as the maelstrom born themselves. The key to becoming a Tier V existence, however, lied in forming an embodiment. It was also the cornerstone of Wren's ability to form specialized bonds. Though Drafodil was quick to inform him that Lustitia's influence couldn't be completely erased regardless of what kind of bond he made, it didn't have to be the predominate factor nor completely control the way Wren and a bonded 'shared'.
Since it was an unspoken taboo to discuss internal existence models that made up one's embodiment beyond superficial inquiry, Drafodil struggled with explaining the finer details of specialized bond formation. She broke down that a fairly universal feature of all models is a concept of the whole and the driving force that makes it that way. Within the concept of the whole was typically a way to make a weak influence of nearly any kind on the bond but the strongest influences, the ones capable of overriding the initial impulse within them, lied in the driving forces.
She went on to explain that the first bonded holds a strong influencing factor on the initial direction a maelstrom born will be drawn and that Wren, being a person whose self-identity did not match the influence of his first bonded, explained much of his difficulties and inconsistencies in development. If he had been initially bonded with someone similar to himself he very well could have had a first embodiment similar to her own first which was golem, perhaps tower or homunculus. This would have made him a primarily creative type and would have had bonds that 'shared' through brainstorming and constructive expressions. This fact may have been a deciding factor in why Wren's father chose her as a mentor being as it would be more difficult for Hiidan to guide his son as he was a battle type.
As an exercise that he could practice during his free time, she explained the carousel of masks. Over the course of a maelstrom born's life they would obviously be drawn to people who were fundamentally different from themselves and would benefit better from bonds that matched the type of relationship that the maelstrom born had with them. In practice, the person would meditate on the nature of a particular relationship archetype and make a mask for it. Over multiple times of doing so, the mask would become a firm and fully defined symbol of that type of bond. When the person was ready to make a new bond they would retreat to the center of the carousel and imagine themselves a neutral, uncolored existence. After pushing away as much of their environment and superficial self as they could away, they would reach for the mask and don it. After they had made the desired bond they would finish by placing the mask back into its place and consciously return to 'themselves'.
Drafodil ended her lecture with a caution not to waste too much time on such an exercise. Though the bonds subtly influence the bonded, the relationship of the bonded with the maelstrom born will influence the bond in return. If ever one side or the other begins rejecting the bond, it will close up and wither away over long periods of time.
Wren contemplated that as he stood before Glaucous. He always felt a little overwhelmed being this close to Glaucous but it was more than just the size. His instinct and intuition recognized this person as a superior being to himself yet Wren also knew that behind the power was a child like mind and fragile heart. Centuries of stagnant isolation without the emotional support of peers and real family had stunted him and made him desperate for connection and new experience even as his pride and Ephyra's manipulations had stopped him from finding what he could among his wards and children. For Wren, this man represented a pillar of support and protection. What Wren needed to know was what he had to offer Glaucous in return. Fortunately the answer was as simple as it was natural and right feeling to give.
As Wren formed the bond between himself and Gaucous he intoned in ritual solemnity, “To me you are a spear against my obstacles and shield against adversity. Even should the day come I can stand before you and be the same in turn, I offer you shelter for your heart when it is weary, balm for your wounds and what these hands or back may do to ease your burdens is yours for the asking.”
Instead of a mask on a carousel, Wren imaged the bond itself as a braid of expectations and true feelings. When it was complete, Wren felt it to be stronger and more mellow in nature, if a bit narrow in flow. The lust portion was still there but it was greatly subdued under a sense of friendship and family. It would definitely be a lot easier to find ways to 'share' with Glaucous than any other bond he'd had to date.
Glaucous, too prideful to let his emotions show strongly among company, just let it flow through their newly formed bond as he said, “A more generous declaration than I had hopes for but welcomed just the same,” as he folded Wren up in a hug before letting him go to Rohn.
Wren stood before Rohn silently for a moment, taking in the complex mix of aggressive desire, hope and fear that his sensitivity could pick up before he said, “My feelings of you are complicated, maybe more than they need be, but it's those very things that led me to stand before you capable of contemplating my willingness to accept your desire and try to meet it. I have been awed by the strength of your love and terrified by the darkness that lies behind it. You wish to be for me what I am for Little Gray. If you knew him better, I wonder if you could ask that of me. I am constantly humbled and filled with a sense of unworthiness before him, Rohn. I know that's not exactly what you meant but I feel that's what you deserve and I don't believe myself capable. After tonight is done you'll be my man as I am Little Gray's but I cannot deny my heart-brother if he is in need... He is no longer my bonded but we are connected. Can you accept that?”
Rohn accepted but he felt the need to say, “I can because I too once had a heart-brother. We were not carnal but if there had ever been a need to break my vows of youth to comfort him I may have been able. This illness in him though, you must see that you are proof that imprinting is not real. He claimed to have imprinted Lilly and you. That flies in the face of its own claim.”
Wren held his temper in check and had to remind himself that this was not intentional, just a prejudice based off of societal lack of understanding, as he said, “The imprinting is real, Rohn. I bear the same marks that Jaden wears on his skin, on a portion of my soul. It even expresses on my embodiment when I turn off void power.”
Wren went into his embodiment and felt how unstable he was in his current condition. If he was to try to actually do anything before he tamed the primal spirit within him he'd likely explode, soma or no. Fortunately all he was doing is showing the filigree '9' that curled around his left pectoral before canceling it out.
This bugged out Rohn way more than Wren thought it would as Rohn said, “No...Then that means...Shades, I'm a fool and this all makes more sense now. Since you awakened this power within me, Wren, I've slowly noticed a change in myself. Since I thought this power was from the batkin bloodline, what you called warlock power, I just naturally assumed that this building pressure to pursue you was batkin breeding aggression but I should have known that wasn't true. I've blinded myself. See my ancestor's mantle, what you call embodiment.”
Rohn began glowing with eerie black light as fulgin whirls materialized onto his skin. They seemed to Wren to be the antithesis of Jaden's own but his intuition was not seeing it that way. It was suggesting sameness but with different focus. It was definitely intriguing and Wren would definitely want to explore it later. At that moment he was starting to get a little panicky at how full he was feeling and cushion time was almost completely gone.
Wren sighed and smiled wearily, “So it was imprinting... Wait, it's imprinting!?” Wren was confused for a second before he realized like a bolt out of the blue that Usuway had never claimed that Little Sprite was the other legacy. Looking back, Wren realized that whatever it was that Little Sprite possessed did not bring Usuway joy but worry. No, the legacy that Usuway loved Wren for was the cleansing fire.
Wren smiled sadly as he said, “Then this is my own doing and all this time I had been denying you, I was wronging you. I left a part of my own life within you when I fixed your essence storage, the heart of your power. It's no wonder at all that you became fixated on me. I practically claimed you.”
Wren scratched his original idea for their bond. Instead he imaged a braid centered around wholeness and completion. He couldn't be to Rohn what Grimalkin was to him but he could be to Rohn what Lilly was to Jaden. He had played with a man's dharma and so he had to honor the repercussions or make a mockery of all the 'help' he'd tried to give Rohn.
Rohn looked at Wren Wide eyed as he felt the nature of the bond, a mystical echo of what Rohn instinctually felt being accepted by Wren would mean to him. It was Wren's answer. Something within Rohn rejoiced and that feeling echoed within Wren but there was no question on who was to be the dominant. This did not diminish the feeling of prowess within that part of Wren as it felt it would. Instead it felt a relief of a burden too big for it's shoulders being hefted onto the stronger back of another.
As a light of feral intensity lit up within Rohn's eyes Wren said a little shakily, “Glaucous, you should probably not interfere and become a part of this until Rohn is finished.”
Glaucous, who was already standing to the side of the room said, “I already knew this to be the truth of it. I was only not allowed to share least the ripples distort into ones that carried grief in them.”
Rohn began taking off his armor at a deliberate pace, as if to make an ultimatum of when he was done with it.
Wren said more than a little panicked at the memory of when he was almost raped, “I know I've done quite a few things but this is technically a new body...I haven't had a chance to break it in yet. If you just lay into me I'm gonna be doing a lot more than just a little pillow biting.”
Rohn said intently, “I'm giving you time now. Why are you wasting it? Here, I'll even close my eyes so I won't attack you as soon as that damned suit of yours is off. It looks even more annoyingly difficult to deal with than the one you wore before.”
If my suit then was easy to deal with then we wouldn't be having this conversation now. I'd have been your mate with serious rape trauma to deal with. Don't think that would have ended well for you!
Wren willed the suit back into its storage marks, thumb tack beauty moles on his chest and spine with script so dense it looked solid. Ignoring Rohn's sharp intake of breath that meant he'd been peeking, Wren gave his body a once over. There was definition that wasn't there before but nothing much else had changed, thankfully. When he stood next to Grimalkin naked he didn't have to feel like he lost out in the fitness department anymore but couldn't say much beyond that. He still looked light-weight compared to anyone else in his circle, including Troy.
As he spun around to catch his reflection in the room's standing mirror he realized he'd made an error as he had pretty much presented his ass to Rohn. The man began fumbling with the buckles of his armor growling curse words at it as Wren checked out his face. It had taken on a fragile aristocratic nobility. It was a contradictory thing to have a visage that demanded reverence but inspired protective feelings. His eyes were the same but his hair had turned black cherry red and though it possessed enough stiffness to hold a natural feathery fan to it, that made it no less soft to the touch. All in all he looked like his previous self worked out over summer, got a little tan and paid for a wickedly well done dye job.
Wren's intuition informed him that this was it. The man who had bonded him had died and was eaten by Wren, mostly at any rate. This was the form he was stuck with till he changed it himself and that acknowledgment sent a small reverberation through the astral realm to resonate with the mark of his ancestral will upon his son's chrysalis. That meant this was the last time his body would have to get desensitized to sex again. First time memories might be sweet but having to go through them again and again was not.
Feeling he was running out of time to make himself ready and realizing that his first time with Rohn was likely to be just as to the point as it had been with Jaden, minus the tongue work, Wren pulled out the jar of mineral oil and started working himself open on Glaucous' bed. The sudden brazen act had both men swallowing hard once before Rohn bent a buckle out of shape trying to rip the banded mail thigh covers off. As Rohn started howling obscenities and contemplating if he could just do the deed only half unsuited, Glaucous took pity on him and exercised an act of power to have the armor just fall off.
Wren, who was on knees and one elbow, obliviously plying himself open with his mind only on expediency versus pain tolerance, didn't realize he had positioned himself on display for the two men. He ignored the sound of multiple pieces of metal falling to the ground but tensed at the sound of ripping fabric. Less than two seconds later there was an ungentle hand removing his fingers and replacing them with something much bigger. Wren barely had time to register the sound of his clay jar of oil being crushed and the sudden cold splash of fluid on his back-side before he was impaled in a sure thrust that had him arching his back to keep the tip of the invading member from rupturing his intestines at the bend but the anticipated pain never came because Rohn had stopped halfway.
“You think I'm the same as my soft skull brother. I've got nearly a decade of rich experience over him and I've not denied myself any curiosity towards the art of love save two. Yes, the beast howls but I am the one who decides when to stalk softly-” Rohn slowly sank himself in till he hit resistance and pulled Wren up by the lower portion of Wren's throat, bracing instead of choking, till he found the angle that would let him in.
Rohn cupped the hollows of Wren's knees before levering him up, around and then back down into Rohn's lap at the corner of the bed, in one fluid motion as he said “And when to strike!”
Rohn contented himself, now buried inside his claimed, to rocking his hips. The steady forward and backward rocking motion had Wren's semi erect member bobbing and rolling around, all for the entertainment of the unapologetic voyeur known as Glaucous.
Glaucous smiled widely as he said, “This is an unexpected treat!”
Rohn forced through gritted teeth, “Enjoy it while you can. I did this to show my inner self who is in control but a welling springs forth from the depths of me that neither I nor the beast within wish to deny.
A sudden intense spike of humiliation burned through Wren's veins even as black flames burned across his mindscape. As he had learned from his inner self, his inner self had learned from him as they moved ever closer to one another in perfect union. That part of Wren that represented his intuition and impulse borrowed his body to grab Rohn's balls and squeeze just hard enough to bring clarity to Rohn's slipping consciousness.
Inner Wren standing up for outer Wren said, “We are in control. We give the permission and we can take it away. Because unlike you, mate, we work together.
Velvet skin half-mate and Rohn mate, We care too much about you to ever harm you but I can whisper many ways to break you both that will make you stronger. Even if we submit do not take our pride as your toy. Half-mate you may watch and when I am done nourishing my mate I will take you to nourish you then I want to taste the waters of your joy. Rohn mate, take me till your sack is empty and your soul is full. I tire of speaking waking words. I now talk with my body and soul.”
When Inner Rohn took control he was cautious at first. He had displeased his mate and his mate was not weak. He gained more confidence as he saw that Wren had submitted. Once he had mounted Wren from behind, as he preferred, Rohn felt Wren open up to receive him fully. As Rohn built up momentum, his still slightly aching balls began slapping against Wren's until they began tightening against him.
Wren's mental pictures where asking for Rohn's mating bite as he moved to meet the strong thrusts, their flesh loudly clapping together. Wren moved his head to the right and presented the crook of his left shoulder and neck to Rohn. Rohn eased himself nearly completely out before one swift and jarring slam locked him in to the root as he collapsed on top of Wren and bit down. Even as Rohn unloaded a month's celibacy into Wren's clenching canal, an overwhelming rush of primal spirit flooded into him harshly causing him to black out.
Wren pushed Rohn off of him, not unkindly, onto his back. He took a moment to nip his unconscious mate's nose affectionately before turning to Glaucous. He could have joined his mate in spilling his joy but he saved it for what was to come.
Glaucous had been more than primed by the show before him so he was ready to do his own bit of claiming as he said, “Will you not share with me as you did Rohn?”
As Wren stalked towards the large man, he recalled the image of taking him and the thrill had him ready to do it again. A being clearly stronger had submitted to him and he wished to taste that sweetness again. He knew how. A flash of mental imagery, that showed more clearly than any mere words could, Wren showed Glaucous the nature of bonds and the differences between the one he had with Rohn.
Taking Glaucous was more efficient and, Wren promised, more pleasurable to the both of them.
As Wren glided his fingertips down across the broad plane of Glaucous' abdomen he sent a generous portion of LE skittering across the man's nerves like a wave of lightning strikes. While Glaucous was lost in the sensation, Wren gathered the mingled oil and Rohn's seed running down his thighs to liberally coat Glaucous' crack. Glaucous gave a small protest before Wren sent another wisp of LE shooting up the man's chakra line as he sunk a digit into Glaucous' entrance. As strong as the big man was, he was weak to pleasure.
Wren's conscious mind partially wakened to the scene and sent a request for his primal self to be gentle to the man. Glaucous had been hurt by those he trusted and even a small betrayal would be too much. Primal self agreed.
Wren wrapped himself around the big man as best he could and stroked the man's back as he waited for Glaucous to recover from the stimulation.
Glaucous came to, the feeling of warmth on his body and the rhythmic hand strokes on his back was not what he expected as he said, “I thought you would have already... that we would be joined by now.”
In soothing tones, Wren said, “You did not give me permission. I want you to feel good, half-mate and I don't want that mixed with shame.”
Glaucous picked Wren up slightly to better pull him into an embrace and kissed him passionately as he moved them to another portion of his large bed. He sat down, relishing the feeling of his manhood rising between Wren's slick thighs as he released his embrace and lay back onto the bed.
Glaucous said, “Then I give it but you must let me take you at least once this night.”
Wren replied, “I will but after tonight, when we share, I will take you and taste your waters of joy only. Either that or we will simply hold one another and share in the dream place.”
“I understand... and I'm grateful to you for waiting on my permission. I may now enjoy it fully where I might not have before,” Glaucous said.
Wren worked more oil and his own leaking fluid onto his member before easing himself into the big man, infusing every slow thrust with a faint wisp of LE until Glaucous' ring of muscles finally relaxed and accepted him in. Since he knew Glaucous enjoyed the natural sounds of union he used traces of power to produce copious amounts of pre-cum into him and swayed his hips as he pumped the big man's hole. The sounds of sticky squelching mixed with the meeting and parting of slick flesh filled the room as Glaucous let out a contented sigh while the symbol of his might raised stiffly into the air.
As Wren continued his slow lovemaking, he lowered Glaucous' right leg down to straddle it, as he turned Glaucous partially on to his side. Wren worked his left hand over the large tool as he bent to take the head into his mouth, quickening his thrusts and releasing large waves of primal spirit onto Glaucous. Unlike his still fully mortal mate, his half-mate could take a great deal more in one go. The relief of pressure was more gratifying than the hard release of his joy into the large man or the vastly nourishing release of Glaucous' life-spirit rich fluids into his waiting mouth.
Wren allowed Glaucous a small time to relish the embers of their union before he withdrew from the man and said, “Now I go to claim a return from my mate. I will lose reason but I will be presenting myself for you. You may claim me then.”
Wren walked around to the other side of the bed and pulled Rohn's butt to the edge. Wren braced Rohn's thighs on his shoulders as he bent down, legs planted wide and straight before taking Rohn's soft manhood into his mouth as he started suckling it. The coiling threads of condensed spirit began unspooling towards Wren as Rohn began stirring, still confused, he was hit with the first tendrils of condensed spirit in turn. Wren felt large hands pulling his cheeks apart as a thick digit plunged into him, exploring and stretching him wider. As Rohn reached for his head to push himself deeper into Wren's throat, Glaucous pressed the head of his monstrous member to Wren's entrance. Assaulted on both sides by thick strands of condensed spirit, Wren gratefully surrendered himself to the intoxication.
Their 'night' lasted nearly two full days. Haunted and traumatized but utterly fulfilled, all three took an oath of forgetting past the part where spirit intoxication took hold of them. For Glaucous, it was to preserve his dignity. For Rohn, it was to preserve his pride and self-esteem. For Wren, it was to preserve his sanity. There are some things it is just better not to know about yourself, your lover and your friends.
After breaking their two day fast, each man went about different tasks. Wren, for his part, stepped into his void realm to inspect it, himself and to reflect on all that had happened. There were a few changes to note and some back logs to catch up on.
Wren's triple layered void space had grown immensely. The middle realm had grown to nearly three miles in spherical diameter, his oasis grown to nearly a quarter of that. The desolate portions were rich in deposits and the nearly lake-like pond had faint traces of essence springs within it. The white orb had taken on a yellowish hue and was producing a vague sense of skin tingling warmth reminiscent of UV radiation.
The void portion's violent entropy had destroyed his brewery. He realized he'd have to set it up much further away. He also noticed a depression of deep gravity and a small distortion of time towards the center. As he moved closer he was instantly drawn in and shunted out into his essence space.
Looking around at the filled reserves that were far larger than what he actually held in himself, he realized his days as a Tier IV existence were numbered. The merge of AE with EE was a bit disturbing until he realized that as eldritch essence condensed into liquid form, naturally the arcane essence would be drawn back to its origin and the same with LE to condensed spirit. Unlike other Tier V existences, when it became necessary, he could easily extract LE and AE from their origin essence sources as he wished due to his personal enlightenment towards their formation. What he didn't know how to make heads or tails of was a miniature nodule of combined essence sitting firmly in the center of it all. The nest where his son had previously rested was now twisted into a naturally formed vortex sculpture of precious metal and gems, as if to cup the nodule. Wren thought it likely that when this thing formed the nest had just been to close to the action. His intuition saw it as virility.
If I'm not completely off base, that nodule would be the forming of a maelstrom dud but why? This is something I don't think I should even mention to Drafodil. It'll just have to wait till I can contact my pops... Now let's check the logs.
SYSTEM notice: After review and intense debate, all related rewards, demerits and accrued AP balances have been nullified aside from those already drawn. Considering the amount of innocent souls lost to this tragedy the outcome could have been, and according to some, should have been far worse. Your reputation with the Balance Keepers has been neutralized and due to pressure within their organization, they have barred you from seeking opportunities related to them.
SYSTEM notice: The Guardians offer their condolences over the trial you were forced to face without their aid. Despite advice from the Balance Keeper Alliance to treat you with caution, after receiving eye witness accounts from Celestial Host representatives we have opted to keep our minds and doors open to you. You currently possess a +5 reputation with the Guardian Alliance and that qualifies you to sign up as a member, if you so choose, as soon as you reach Tier V.
To: Wren Tidren
From: Troy Rockgarden
What happened!? I got my friend and tried to return but the obelisk was closed. I know it's open now but everything's good!? How the hell did you go from the End of Days to all clear in less than five minutes?
...several messages later... Alright. I showed up to get the story myself and found out you were 'busy' so just get in touch when you can.
...several thank you messages from other participants...
...a few messages from world leaders that have access to SYSTEM message boards...
From: Jaden and Lilly Riverson
We have found ourselves on a previously undiscovered world filled with untapped resources. We're going to take some time to explore and recover until Lilly is safe to travel. Liita is stable but recovery is slow. We're sure she'll make a full recovery with help from a native fae with healing art. We ache from the absence of your bond but have been assured you are fine and it may take time but we'll meet again. We were given instructions to destroy this obelisk as soon as we were done sending this message.
Discovered: Inner and outer mind synergy- dual element augmentation now possible with the exception of the specific combination of Light and Void. A variety of more complex power usage possible. Other hidden benefits also exist.
Discovered: Greater Regenerate- Unless brain and heart are simultaneously injured, fatal injuries and severed limbs recover passively
After taking some time to reply to everyone who could be replied to he was faced with one glowering problem. He didn't know where his lover and son were. Since Silent Mind possessed the ark, they likely picked the destination but there was no telling where that might be.
If you are reading this then best outcome has been achieved. Let legacies lie with silence to grow far from the dangers their parents know. Send love and spiritual support through the line from time to time to keep it strong and wait for your future to come find you as you explore and survive your present.
Wait... I can do that?
Wren gathered some SE and imaged it flowing through the line to Grimalkin. Though he felt some of it dissipate, he felt the majority would reach its goal. With some peace of mind and observations out of the way, Wren desperately needed to train himself. He had barely gotten used to being Tier IV. If he suddenly found himself a Tier V he'd be in serious trouble and for more than one reason. Unfortunately, many things were in need of being addressed and he'd have to learn on the go.