Beneath the Mask of Merriment

Darron's voice rang out clear as a bell in the frosty air. Even amidst the crackle of the bonfires and the din of joyous Wood Elves, Darron's commanding presence drew the attention of everyone gathered, and it made King Terfel's lips curl up as he sipped his hot ale. The Solstice celebration was always wild and rowdy in Beithe, and Terfel hadn't realized just how merry it was with Darron leading the music and revelry until Darron had left over a century ago to wander through the other Houses. The musicians in the House of Wood were talented, but Darron was one of the greatest bards in all of Tridéa. It seemed every musician performed above and beyond their limits just by being on the same stage as the tall Cloud Elf. To have him back in the House of Wood was truly a treat.

He watched Darron sing the first verse in a carol and accompany himself on his flutes for a few bars. By the time the third verse came around, nearly all the Wood Elves had joined in, and a loud cheer rang out when Darron sustained the last high note. The note echoed in the trees surrounding the clearing, even when Darron cut off dramatically, and the applause gained momentum. Someone in the crowd held out a cup of ale to Darron, and Terfel laughed when Darron downed it seemingly in a single swallow before turning and kissing the man full on the lips.

The Wood Elves might have feared and hated outsiders, but Darron was an Elf they accepted as one of their own. Darron had aided them in the Guild Wars, breaking the House of Clouds' strict policy of non-involvement in order to protect Terfel and help teach him diplomacy when he ascended the throne. Terfel knew Darron was still a pacifist at heart, but unlike the other Cloud Elves, Darron didn't live in moderation. He could dance, drink, and rut like a Wood Elf, and from where Terfel sat, it seemed all three were decidedly on Darron's schedule for the night.

The other musicians took over on the stage, and Darron practically danced his way over to Terfel. He raised an eyebrow as Darron snatched up another mug of alcohol and sensually slid into his lap, straddling his waist.

"Don't you think you've had enough for tonight?" Terfel chuckled, his broad hands rubbing up and down Darron's bare sides and back.

"Not for tonight," Darron insisted before taking a long draw and setting the mug on the table behind him. Darron's lithe, pale body swayed with the drumbeat, and Terfel knew the shifting of their groins against one another was nothing if not deliberate.

The knowledge that the joy and merriment were a mask Darron wore for the occasion didn't stop his cock from filling, but he trailed up the lightly golden skin and twisted both of Darron's nipples to get his attention. Violet eyes met his as a musical moan lilted to his ears, and he grinned. "What are you running from tonight, lover?"

Darron smiled down at him, but the expression didn't reach the icy depths of those knowing eyes. "The same thing you're running from, Wolf-king." Darron dipped down and teased his lips with the lightest of caresses before continuing in a whisper. "The same thing that will lead us to your chambers to fuck until we can't move."

A low growl vibrated up from Terfel's chest, and he wrapped his hand around the length of Darron's blue-tinted, silvery hair. The Cloud Elf's hair was like the moonlit snow burdening the nearby trees, and he gave it a harsh yank, forcing Darron's head back to expose his neck. He ignored Darron's needy gasp and the way Darron's hands tangled in his golden mane while he leaned forward to possessively nip Darron's throat. "Rutting will not fill the emptiness left by the dead."

Darron's nimble, calloused fingertips found Terfel's ears and trailed up and down the pierced lobes, pulling a low moan from him. "No," Darron admitted. "The wounds of lost loves will remain, but the chill can be chased away for a night... with the help of a trusted friend."

There was such sadness in Darron, and it matched the lingering despair that had remained in Terfel's heart after his wife had died. Through their losses, though, they had grown even closer as friends, and that Darron trusted him with the vulnerable Elf beneath the mask made his spirit warm. "A trusted friend, hmm?" Terfel asked, nuzzling Darron's throat as he pressed the hardness in his trousers up against Darron's groin. "How about a feral Wolf-king?"

"To chase away the chill? Even better," Darron purred, nosing him back for a passionate kiss. When they parted for breath, he could see the gratitude in Darron's eyes, and neither of them needed to whisper words of love to know the emotion was there. Instead, they shared eager, understanding smiles and quickly retreated up to his chambers, shamelessly groping one another along the way.

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