The Vanguard

The Vanguard copyright (c) 2007 T.A. Chase

Part Twenty-Five:

Stakel stopped, reluctant to knock on Antioc’s door. For the first time he could remember, he was worried someone might be angry with him. It was a strange feeling since he’d never cared before. His fellow Consorts loathed him and the feeling had been mutual.

“What are you waiting for?” Darius grumbled from where the page stood beside him. “This tray isn’t getting lighter.”

Stakel glared down at the page. “How do you know they’d even let me in? I’m the reason Antioc received his whipping in the first place.”

Darius rolled his eyes and sighed. The boy kicked the door twice. “You’re feeling guilty for something that wasn’t your fault at all. Odd because you don’t strike me as a martyr.”

Martin opened the door. A bright smile erupted on his troubled face.

“Who is it?” Antioc’s strained voice spoke of pain.

“Stakel and Darius.” Martin stepped back, waving them in. “Come in. What did you bring us?”

“Food.” Darius set the tray down on the table by the window.

“I came to heal you, Antioc. You shouldn’t have been disciplined. You didn’t do anything.” Stakel went to the bed where the auburn-haired soldier lay on his stomach.

The curtains had been opened to allow the afternoon sun in. He closed his eyes, blocking the wounds from his sight.

“Can you really heal Antioc’s back?” Martin brushed past him to sit beside Antioc.

You’ve seen worse. The voice reminded him.

I know, but it’s never been someone I liked before this.

So you’ve said. Could it be you’re learning what having friends is like?

Stakel wasn’t sure if that was the issue or not. He just knew that he didn’t like seeing Antioc hurt.

“Sir, can you heal the sub-commander?” Darius poked him.

“Yes, I can. The other men have received tonics’ and lotions that I’ve infused with heal properties. You get it straight from me.” He went around the bed to sit opposite Martin.

He placed his right hand on the nape of Antioc’s neck, his little finger touching the first lash mark. “Usually it works best for me to place my hand directly on the wound. Yours are such that as long as I’m touching one, they’ll all heal.”

“What would you like us to do,” Martin asked in a low murmur, not wanting to disturb him.

“Do you have a god you pray to?” Stakel wasn’t sure about Launioc gods.

“The Vanguard have always asked for guidance from Xasel, our High God. He’s the father of the new gods and has fallen out of favor with our temples now.” Antioc informed Stakel. “The men of the Vanguard know the miracles the High God preformed and we’ll always worship him.”

“Pray to Xasel then and hope he’ll answer.”

Stakel closed his eyes, steadied his breathing and imagined the wounds marring Antioc’s back. He sank deep into Antioc’s body, finding the paths through which blood traveled. He knitted those together. With pulses of energy, he encouraged the growth of new muscle and mending of the sliced skin.

He didn’t loosen his control on the healing until he was sure he’d found and treated every injury. When he felt the last one close, he opened his eyes and allowed the energy to slip away. Antioc’s back was marked with several faint pink lines. Stakel ran a finger over one and Antioc shivered.

“Your back will still be sore, but that’ll disappear over the next several days.” He stood up and his knees buckled.

Darius was there to lend support as he made his way to a low couch close to the bed. Stakel settled down with a sigh. He’d need to rest soon.

A knock sounded and then Rathian came in. Martin and Darius saluted. Antioc struggled to sit up.

“Stay still, sub-commander,” Rathian ordered.

Stakel met the prince’s gaze and saw more peace than pain in them. He gestured to the cushion beside him. “I’d show you some form of respect, but I’m afraid I’m too tired to do so.”

“Too tired?” Rathian joined him. “Why? I see you’ve healed Antioc. Were his wounds so bad you had to use all your energy?”

He knew that thought upset the prince. He patted Rathian’s hand. “No. I made other medicines and sent them to the others. Any type of magic like that draws energy from me.”

“Here’s some wine and food, Sir.” Darius handed him a plate, setting his wine glass beside him. “Would you like something, your highness?”

Rathian shook his head and the page served the others. Stakel knew the prince hadn’t eaten at all since they’d missed breakfast. He broke off some crust from his bread and held it up to Rathian.

“You have to eat. With us, you may show weakness, but in front of the others, you have to stay strong.”

Rathian nibbled on the bread in Stakel’s hands, using his tongue to clean the crumbs from Stakel’s fingers. A moan threatened to slip out. His cock filled as desire flooded him. He was thankful for clothes. Rathian winked and sat back.

“Who was supposed to inform me about the attack on Stakel?” The prince’s gaze swept between Martin and Antioc.

Both men dropped their eyes. An obvious reluctance stiffened their bodies.

“General Excelsie, sir.” Antioc finally answered Rathian’s question.

The prince frowned, accepting another bite of food from Stakel.

“Maybe it slipped his mind,” Stakel suggested.

“Maybe, but Excelsie isn’t know for forgetting things.”

“He could have been on his way to tell you when you found out this morning.”

Why are you working so hard to erase the doubt from his mind?

He’s hurt that his friend would undermine him in such a way. Stakel gave a mental shrug. I don’t like it when he hurts.

One night together and already you want to ease his pain. Maybe you don’t need my help after all.

“He should have been waiting for me when I returned home last night.” Rathian shifted closer. “I stopped by my room before I came to find you. There wasn’t even a note.”

“We should have made sure someone was waiting for you.” Antioc scowled.

“No. Your commander told you he would take care of it. You trusted him and he let you down.” Rathian rested his hand on Stakel’s thigh. “I’ll deal with him. He seems to deserve more punishment than just a whipping.”

Stakel leaned over and curled into Rathian’s side. The warmth of the prince’s body combined with his deep voice lulled Stakel into a light doze.

9 Responses “The Vanguard”

  1. loopdlu says:

    oh, and another thing…lol…i love the way stakel’s emotions are evolving; that he feels anxious that antioc and martin might be angry with him, that rathian might be upset about his healing antioc…the emotional development is wonderful to see (and one of the things you do well) 🙂

  2. T.A.Chase says:


    You’re right. Stakel’s magic could be a huge advantage to them. 🙂


  3. Gina, Book Dragon says:

    that no infections thing can be a huge benefit 🙂 I wonder if anyone else will see it.

    I’m waiting for them to realize the door opened for Stakel….

    It’s not that I don’t want to read what you post on the other days, but…is it Thursday yet?

  4. T.A.Chase says:

    Thanks, everyone. I realized that I didn’t make it clear enough. The medicines and tonic Stakel sent to the other sub-commanders and Excelsie (because our Stakel is a nice guy) doesn’t heal them like he healed Antioc. It helps them healing normally…without infections that sort of thing.

    The only one he was willing to heal completely and quickly was Antioc. 🙂 it’ll take several days (or a week) for the others’ wounds to heal.

    Rathian doesn’t have a problem with Stakel healing Antioc especially because he doesn’t want his men to suffer and he knows that though he made an example of them, they weren’t the ones to disobey him.

  5. Yvonne says:

    Love that healing power! But I too am surprised at Stakel being allowed to heal the subcommanders. The question is did he heal Excelsie as well? Only Thurs will tell-;)

  6. loopdlu says:

    i’m with the others; i wondered if rathian was going to be annoyed that stakel healed everyone…maybe not so much antioc, but the rest of them. i’m curious as to excelsie’s fate…and the voice! WHO is the voice??? only 48 hours til Thursday 🙂

  7. Gina, Book Dragon says:

    Good Morning, so glad I stopped in on my way to bed!

    I’m surprised about the sub commanders too, I was thinking Stakel was there on his own.

    Love the voice.

    Lovely, and as always, can hardly wait for the next installment.

    Have a wonderful day.

    (it’s 7:30 am here, I’ll have to start checking early more often)

  8. Lisa C. says:

    Oh that mysterious voice again!

    I’m surprised Rathian allowed Stakel to aid/heal the sub commanders.

    As always; love it and thanks!

  9. sylvie says:

    Hello T.A.,

    Here’s another good part.
    This healing capability sounds good, can’t you send some in my direction to avoid my future knee surgery ???
    Now back to waiting for thursday to be able to read the next part…

    Have a great day

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