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|Rapture(Shadowdwellers #2) by Jacquelyn Frank|
“Tiana,” Dae scolded with a little laugh. She didn’t like the idea of keeping purposefully directed secrets from Magnus, but considering all that was happening, she couldn’t ignore any opportunities to get a deeper look below the surface of Sanctuary and the people running it. Maybe she could find a way to help Magnus in the long run. “What will you show me?”
Silently, Tiana hurried her into the corridors. They went back toward the educational and residential wings, and traveled past the tutoring rooms and lecture halls. She led her into a small door after making sure no one was around. It all seemed so covert that Daenaira developed a chill.
When she realized they had been shut into a small storage closet, she laughed with a nervous sort of relief. She didn’t care for small rooms, but it was empty of anything but sheets and other supplies for tending the teaching halls.
That relief lasted all of a minute.
Then Tiana moved to a shelf, inserted her hand into a small crevasse, and with incredible ease was able to move one of the heavy shelves out, taking a good portion of the wall with it. She gestured Daenaira forward, but now a steady sense of warning and dread was beginning to fill Dae’s soul. Secret entrances to secret places in Sanctuary? Had Tiana implied Magnus knew about this?
Of course he had to know about it. Didn’t he? He and Tristan had designed every detail of Sanctuary, K’yan Hera had told her. Cautiously, watching her senses for any danger, Dae moved to follow the other woman. Had she been wrong about Tiana all of this time? Was she being led into some sort of a trap by Cort’s handmaiden? Was it foolhardy to simply keep following her?
Maybe, she thought wryly, but she had to continue. She could end up learning something valuable to Magnus if she did. Besides, she had proven to herself that even chained to a wall, it was impossible to get the better of her. If she just kept believing that and remembering everything she had been learning, she could do this and return to Magnus in one piece.
Tiana closed the entrance tightly behind them, and Dae quickly tried to find the release on the new side of the wall. However, she was unsuccessful by the time Tiana took her hand and started leading her through thin jagged tunnels cut straight from the hardness of the mountain rock. Keeping hold of her sense of direction, Dae realized they were doubling back. Tiana stopped and gestured to the right. There was a little alcove there and, from floor to ceiling at about the height of a man of Magnus’s stature, there was a wall of glass. Daenaira moved up to it and peered through to the other side. It seemed strange her sense of direction should be off, because the only thing that should be on the other side of the glass was…
The tutoring room she and Magnus had spent the evening in.
All of the blood drained from her face and upper body, and Daenaira had to brace her hands against the walls on either side of herself to keep from slumping to her knees in total mortification. She could see inside the room. Every last corner. It had been cleaned, the bed made, all sign of their assignation completely removed, but anyone who had stood in this place could have seen every single detail of the encounter. The wall she stood at was the one that ran alongside the bed and the chairs where Magnus had sat watching and instructing her.
Oh gods! Had Magnus known about this? The glass was certainly not visible from the other side! On the opposite side, it was dark silvered tile. In fact, she knew how cold that tile was because this was the very wall Magnus had taken her against in such a greedy, passionate emulation of their shared visions.
Had he known all along that anyone who knew of these passages could be watching us?
No! She couldn’t believe he would betray her trust in such a way! Not only that, but he had allowed himself to be made vulnerable to her where others might have witnessed it, and she knew he would not have dared to bare himself to his peers like that. Would he? After all, did she really know him that well at all?
Yes! Yes, a fierce inner voice cried out to her. He had been just as raw, broken down, and exposed as she had been, and she knew in her heart that he would only have allowed himself to be so if he had believed himself to be in complete privacy. Magnus was not a man to spread his weaknesses out before others. He had been nearly violent in his resistance as she had taken him across his own tolerances for restraint, but she knew he could have stopped her had he truly wanted to. Instead, he had given himself over to her, humbling himself to the depth of his need for her. He would never have done that if he’d even thought for an instant there was the remotest possibility someone could be watching all of it unfold. And she had to believe he would never have betrayed her trust of the sanctity of that room.
No. Magnus did not know this was here. He believed too much in the benefits of his teachings. Such a deception would have destructive ramifications for decades of students whose first awkward moments, thought to be experienced in private with trusted instructors, had been devastatingly exposed instead. They would all feel the way she was feeling now. Sickened. Shocked. Shamed. These were the very things Magnus sought to defeat by providing sexual education to his students; no way in Light would he condone a secret that could destroy that.
“What is so fascinating?” Tiana asked with a giggle. She squeezed in beside her and frowned. “There’s no one in there. Come on, I think I hear someone in the next room.”
Hear? So much for soundproofing, Dae thought numbly as she forced herself to follow the other woman. Again, another small alcove and more glass. This time there were people in the room, and Daenaira’s face burned hot as she realized she was doing the very thing she prayed no one had done to her.
“This is so wrong,” she whispered shakily.
“I know. Cort is the one who first showed this to me. He’s a pig, isn’t he?”
Dae blinked, trying to comprehend what Tiana was saying, but then she realized she knew the student and the priest in the tableau before her. Henry. The clown from Magnus’s relations lecture. He was in private session with Shiloh. That would have been fine, she supposed, except the priest was stripped naked and his huge member was thrusting out toward the boy in full arousal. For all his slimy personality, Shiloh was a magnificent specimen of manhood. The thickness and weight of his impressive cock notwithstanding, he was also tall and broad in the shoulders. Handsome and charming even when he wasn’t trying to be, he oozed ambition and aggression. Even completely naked he struck her as dangerous and deadly.
He was covered in a thick pelt of body hair, giving him an almost savage air as he commanded Henry onto the bed with him.
“Come on, boy,” Shiloh coaxed the nervous young student. “You can only say you don’t like it after you try it. Homoerotic experiences can be a thrilling part of our sex lives.”
Shiloh’s tone was reminiscent of Magnus’s as he had measured himself into the role of an instructor, except it was clear that M’jan Shiloh was using that tone to achieve something for his own gratification. Whatever the priest’s plans, it was against temple law for him to use anyone other than K’yan Nicoya for sexual gratification. It was against Sanctuary rules for instructors to cross sexual lines, with their students especially! Those chairs across from the bed were there for a reason. To create distance. Not to mention trust. What she and Magnus had done was different because they were meant to fulfill those roles for one another. Though he had been her instructor, they had both been all too aware that it could cross into more the moment they both gave permission. At that point, it no longer would be contrary to any of Sanctuary and temple edicts.
This was an aged and experienced instructor taking advantage of a fearful, raw child in an environment meant to create trust and security, not seclusion from all help. Shiloh was destroying the sanctity of his position. How many students had he done this to?
“M’jan,” Henry protested weakly with a swallow of nervousness making his voice skip. “I thought you weren’t allowed…I mean, K’yan Nicoya…”
“Oh, if we’re both in agreement to bring another into our bed, then that is different,” Nicoya spoke up, startling Daenaira into a soundless gasp. Nicoya had been leaned up against the wall next to the tile window! Dae hadn’t even seen her. So this meant there were two against the one child! How old could Henry be? Sixteen? Surely not much more than that. All hormones, no practical experience. He hid his own fear and insecurity under those jokes he made in class, she knew. Now she could see why he was so insecure! Shiloh and Nicoya were messing with his head. Apparently they hadn’t had their way with him yet. Oh gods! She had to stop them.
She watched Nicoya move fluidly away from the wall, walking like pure sex, completely nude, and approaching the boy. He was naked as well, but his fear had kept him relatively unexcited. Now his eyes fixated on Nicoya’s gorgeous figure and generous breasts and his cock sprang to quick life.
“There we are,” Nicoya purred, reaching down to stroke him in her hand with warm, loving caresses. Then she lowered to her knees and took the boy in her mouth.
Here, Dae realized, was the lure. Henry had a crush on Nicoya, or he was just incredibly hot for her; one or the other. She was now presenting him with the ultimate fantasy, but both Dae and Henry realized there would be a dreadful price to pay for it. They both looked at Shiloh’s intimidating member as he took it in his hand and squeezed some kind of gel along the length of it.
“Oh no,” Dae whispered, shaking her head. She’d seen a man prepare himself in such a way once before. A guest in her uncle’s house had purposely left the door open for anyone to see his activity, probably for the added excitement, as he had done to his slave boy what she feared Shiloh wanted to do to Henry. The slave had had no recourse, and neither had Dae as she had been frozen in place, her paralyzed body forcing her to numbly watch. But in the case of the boy slave, it was clear there had been wild excitement on his part; even a great measure of invitation.
Henry wanted Nicoya.
He did not want Shiloh.
“I know. Shiloh is a pig,” Tiana whispered grimly, biting on her lip nervously as she watched.
“You’ve seen him do this before? To others?”
“Cort used to bring me in here. He would gag me and make me watch while…” Tiana flushed. “He would fuck me within an inch of my life. He was a voyeur, I guess. Maybe I am, too. It was exciting even when I didn’t want it to be. Like now.”
“If it was scenes like this, it wasn’t watching that got Cort off,” Dae said darkly. “It was the victimization. Tiana, we can’t let them do this to poor Henry.”
“Well, we can’t do anything! It’s against rules to interrupt private tutoring. Besides, if Henry was really upset, he would be yelling or something, wouldn’t he? He’d be trying to get away. That’s what Cort used to say.”
“Henry is being controlled by two trusted teachers, Tiana,” she hissed. “He has been taught to obey and trust their wisdom, especially in matters of sex. They are using that for their own selfish ends. Luring him in—and how can he protest when Nicoya is giving him every boy’s fantasy? Look at him! He’s so excited by her he isn’t comprehending what Shiloh’s plans are. Has he even had a homosexual instructive course yet?”
“I…I don’t know. He may have. He’s just old enough to start making those choices…” She bit her lip. “You can’t, Dae. No one is supposed to know about this. These windows. It would destroy Sanctuary if it got out that the children were watched.”
“Watched by whom?” Dae shot back. “You think it was just you and Cort? That you were the only ones doing this? Someone showed this to Cort. Cort probably wasn’t supposed to show it to you, Tiana. Either that or you were being primed for betrayal like Karri was.” Dae’s eyes narrowed on the distressed, guilty look of her friend. “But you’ve figured that out already, haven’t you? I think that’s why you’re showing this to me. I think, in your heart, you really want me to tell Magnus about this and put an end to this.”
“Dae, please,” she breathed, her breathing panicked, “don’t. I will get in so much trouble. Everyone will think they were right about me. I just…I just needed to tell someone. But I’m not ready to go to Magnus. I need time.”
“Henry doesn’t have time!”
Dae pointed into the room where the boy had closed his eyes, his jaw slack with pleasure and both hands buried in Nicoya’s dark tresses. He was on the verge of orgasm already, but she feared that would change as she watched Shiloh stalk around behind him like a panther onto his prey.
“What do we do? Magnus isn’t even here. Shiloh is a penance priest. He’s a warrior. And there’s no one else we can trust!”
Tiana was right. Suddenly she could appreciate the bind the other woman had found herself in. Forced to watch other degradations, she had become an unwitting accomplice. Once that had happened, she’d been terrified of the consequences. It was the thinking of a victim.
Daenaira was no victim.
“I think I know who we can count on for some help. He’s the only priest in this place that Magnus trusts.”
“Brendan? But Brendan can’t fight Shiloh! If Shiloh gets caught like this, he will kill rather than face humiliation and penance!”
“No. Not Brendan. If he implicitly trusted Brendan, he wouldn’t have been jealous of him. I’m talking about Sagan.”
“Sagan! No one in their right mind would trust Sagan,” she hissed.
“Tiana, what’s your third power?”
“Telekinesis! But it isn’t very strong! I’m lucky if I can lift a spoon!”