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House of the Swallows

By L.E. Bryce


For the island inhabitants of Sombar, the end looms near. As a long-dormant volcano stirs to life, the jewel smith Thissol falls in love with Irdun, a handsome young man employed by a high-class brothel in a town whose residents are rapidly fleeing. Will Thissol persuade Irdun to break the contract which binds him in servitude to the House of the Swallows, or will both perish in the coming cataclysm?



“Irdun, dear, your lover is here.”

Grabbing a pillow from his cot, Irdun flung it at the door. Smirking, Vana ducked away, then stuck out her tongue. “Stop calling him that,” he told her.

Moments later, heavy footfalls trod the stairs outside, and within a heartbeat Thissol stood in the doorway—dark, delectable, and with the most piercing green-gray eyes Irdun had ever seen. “I’m glad you have time,” said the jewel smith.

“Business isn’t so good these days.” Irdun motioned to the cracked plaster along the walls and ceiling. Bits of blue and yellow fresco littered the floor, leaving voids in an image Irdun had liked: irises waving in a field. Constant earth tremors were slowly, inexorably ruining all that was beautiful about the house. “Otherwise you’d never see me at all.”

Thissol crossed the floor in three great strides, seized him around the waist, and pulled him up into a long, deep kiss. He’s already hard, thought Irdun, but so was he. Of all the lovers he had ever had, only the jewel smith with his rough hands could make him instantly erect with just a touch, a look of his eye, or the sound of his voice. Thissol could make him crave sex where he had grown bored with it.

During more practical moments of reflection, he made a correction. Client, you fool. The jewel smith is a client. Lovers don’t pay for a fuck, and only the very foolish fall in love with whores.

I still like him, though.

Breaking off the kiss, Irdun whispered, “You really shouldn’t come every day.”

Lips fastened on the column of his throat, raising marks on his flesh and sending a bolt of pleasure straight to his groin. “I come just thinking about you,” growled Thissol, “whether I’m here or not.”

How many times had Irdun heard that one before? Actually, never, just a hundred variations on the same theme: You make me so hard. You’re the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen—until the men came, spurting into his mouth or shoving their cocks up his ass. Only Thissol continued the charade after his pleasure was done. “Then you should save your money.”

“Too late,” said Thissol, pulling away. “I’ve already paid for an hour.”