Edward Lane's Argosy Chapter Five: The Hopi Monk In The Beer Hall

by Ian Ironwood
Chapter Five: The Hopi Monk in the Beer Hall

When Chief Jacob Two Star, of the Cherokee Nation, and Chief Everett Mauser of the Chocktaw led their bands of native mercenaries to the frontier of the White Man’s empires to found the Oklahoma Kingdom on the basis of the vast reserves of gasses naturally occurring to the otherwise bland and disinteresting land, they had invited (some said kidnapped) a number of German chemists to assist them in exploiting the resource.

The Germans were fabulous chemists and physicists, and they had happily assisted the Prairie Crown in developing the industry to wrest the gas from the earth, then separate out the precious helium from the less noble elements. The pay was extravagant, compared to what they could command as instructors and professors in the universities of the Rhine, and many worked two and five year contracts with the Crown and retired to Europe rich men. But their presence had had another, unintentional effect, however: the construction of an authentic German beer hall in the middle of a dusty native Kingdom.

Das Jagerhaus had the feel of a Saxon hunting lodge – or, that was what the original design had intended. Made of wattle-and-daub, complete with rune-like exposed beams, Das Jagerhaus had become the unofficial headquarters for both the German scientists who toiled for the Prairie Crown’s Helium monopoly and the airship mercenaries who protected it. The two groups mixed freely, providing one of the few truly cosmopolitan venues in Tillassa, both attracted by the hall’s near-monopoly on the brewing and dispensing of good German beer.

King Steven Two Star, noting his own people’s poor history with strong drink, had thus restricted the production and sale of such spirits to fully licensed purveyors – of which Das Jagerhaus was one of three in Tillassa. While the restriction had not completely protected the Indians from indulging in the wickedness of drunkenness, it had made the frequently violent outbursts a drunken native was reputed to be capable of a rarity. A native could go to Das Jagerhaus and get a drink, but did so under watchful eyes of foreigners and fellow tribesmen, both of which took a dim view of such behavior. Indeed only a few, notably the mercenary marines like Wolf Rider and his men, made a habit of entering the German tavern, and a marine who could not maintain his control with drink there would not be employed long. None of them would have risked their well-paying positions by hazarding a stupor.

But the European, American, and Louisianan airmen mercenaries were more accustomed to liquor, and had no hesitation about the lure of strong drink. They made Das Jagerhaus their unofficial home, place of business, and recreation hall. Each ship had a section of the large hall where they were in the habit of congregating after a flight, concentrating around an Indian-style fetish on the wall above upon which they bestowed ribbons signifying their battles and triumphs.

The usual air of celebration was muted today, however, due to the silence coming from the Hobgoblin’s empty table. No one had yet removed the ship’s trophies, which had been draped in black in mourning while the fallen airmen’s comrades drank to their memory.

The corner where the Star of Baton Rouge’s crew drank was muted, at best. Five of their number had fallen in the Atlan skirmish, but they had only barely escaped the Hobgoblin’s fate when a massive Borealis nearly clipped them in midair. The ship had spun crazily, but Fortune or some unknown native Sky God had favored them, merely leaving them unpowered and battered, not fallen. The bounty on their kill – which Gideon had been only too happy to confirm to the Crown’s representative – would be barely enough to pay for repairs, a process which would keep the ship out of service for at least a fortnight.

The big round table where the Victrix’s crew was stationed, however, was as jubilant as propriety allowed, under the circumstances. By tradition, the large table was reserved for the marines and flight crew, while a rectangular table nearby attracted the engineers from the ship. As captain, Gideon had the pick of the tables but mostly clung to the larger, in deference to his sister’s reign at the latter.

Having successfully nursed his prize ship back to port, as well as his relatively unscathed Victrix, Gideon’s band of “Sky Panthers” (he had relayed the Beanie dame’s sobriquet for the mercenaries to his men, if not the circumstances under which the intelligence was gathered, and they had adopted the moniker with savage pride and humor) had been richly rewarded for their bravery and efforts. The prize ship was already in the process of being converted into an Oklahoman warship – resigned to patrol, due to her primitive nature – by being repaired and outfitted with Helium balloon and good Manchester rockets. When the conversion was complete, she would work the pickets along the southern frontier, along with her relatively weak sister-ships, espying on the land of her birth like a captive Sabine pining from Rome.

Gideon was glad that he had driven such a hard bargain for her, too, commanding a good thirty percent over his last prize. Still, the Crown had been eager to pay it – even with the additional expense of overhauling her to Okie standards, it was less expensive than purchasing such a craft new from Europe or even America or Louisiana, both of which had nascent airship manufactories. Yet while he had haggled with the wily old Baron Amadahy (made easier by his relation as an uncle or something to his sister Tayanita), he had also discovered the incipient arrival of five brand new warships purchased from the French, through the Louisianans, for the purpose of interdiction duty.

Each was half again the size of his Victrix, real three-hundred-meter Emperor Napoleon I-class air frigates armed with the latest French Imperial military-grade accoutrements throughout. They were devastating war machines, as the Indochinese discovered during their recent rebellion, able to over-match all but the largest German-made Atlan ships.

In addition to the nine smaller airships the Kingdom currently used for patrol and interdiction duties (ten, with the addition of Gideon’s prize), the five would essentially replace the mercenaries that had protected the Crown and its lucrative Helium for the last decade. It had been a complex, complicated bargain that Baron Amadahy had personally negotiated, but it seemed as if the tenure of easy money for airship mercenaries was drawing to a close. While the ships would not arrive for another month, and take a month beyond to be fully crewed, the Victrix would be redundant soon enough. Even with Amadahy’s assurance that Gideon would always be welcome in the Okie Kingdom as a friend to the Crown, he could tell that he was being sacked, albeit gently.

That suited Gideon’s own plans nicely – between the bounty for the prize and the likely ransom for Marta the Beanie Dame (who had taken up residence in his Marine barracks, and seemed to be determined to make up for time lost in the convent by making the full acquaintance of the phallus in all of its manifestations ere she was redeemed), he would have easily fifteen fully-loaded cylinders of Helium in a fortnight, with credits payable for up to two more on account with the Crown. That was a titanic fortune, by any account. In truth, he hadn’t been particularly surprised by the knowledge – he had heard the rumors of the French ships for months, now, and had factored them into his plotting. Witnessing the Hobgoblin’s ignoble destruction had further convinced him that remaining in Oklahoma indefinitely was not in his future.

Gideon’s sister seemed more enthusiastic than even he was about winning the day and capturing the prize. Despite her allegedly noble upbringing and gentle appearance, Lady Tayanita made a regular practice of joining the rougher elements of the Victrix’s crew with her own Engineers, and tonight she wore a proper lady’s dress in defiance of her usual custom of boyish trousers, braces, shirt and cap. She sat amid her German and Dutch mechanics, sipping brandy and talking with some of the scientists from the Gas Works about some exciting ideas she’d had.

The scientists, lonely, far from home, and drunk, were captivated with the physically ravishing and intellectually brilliant half-native beauty and hung on her every word. Gideon liked to pretend that they were more enthralled with her impressive brain as much as her shapely bubbies, but the gentleman in him knew better. Still, Tayanita could handle herself in nearly any situation, and here she was surrounded by shipmates. Indeed, Das Jagerhaus seemed almost like a home – a shabby, smelly home where he needn’t worry about appearances or his family or anything but buying the next round and shagging the next girl. To proceed with his plan meant abandoning this comfortable lifestyle and going back to stuffy Europe, where this kind of frontier camaraderie was rare.

“So where to now, Cap’n?” Bonney suddenly asked Gideon, breaking him from his reverie.

“What do you mean, Bonney?”

“Cap, I know good ‘n’ well that look in your eye – seen it in the lookin’ glass myself a time or two. I’d swear on a stack of Bibles that you was lookin’ about, sayin’ farewell to this place.”

Gideon laughed despite himself. “Well struck, Bill! You are not far wrong. Pray, don’t speak of it to the rest of the crew yet, but yes, we are not long for Oklahoma.” No sense in keeping the information too close to his vest — the arrival of the ships was hardly a state secret now. “The Crown has procured a real aerofleet, now, and will be using mercenaries less and less,” he explained quietly.

“So, bringin’ me back to my earlier point, where to now?” The man didn’t seem shaken by the idea of abandoning Oklahoma. That was one reason he liked Bonney — always on the lookout for adventure.

“Well, I’ve given it some thought,” Gideon admitted. “And much of my plans revolve around my sister.”

“Beg pardon?” Bill asked, surprised. He gave the Engineer and his occasional lover her due as an officer and a woman – but Gideon alone of the Victrix’s non-engineering crew saw Tayanita’s potential as a visionary in airship design. He had seen her portfolios, crammed with sketches and designs and hundreds of pages of technical notes she had put together over her years of casual conversations with engineers, scientists, and airmen. While he doubted the utility of all of her work – likely because he lacked the intellectual foundation to comprehend it – he had seen his dusky sibling work miracles in the air. The improvements she had made on the Victrix’s archaic design had made her a model of graceful efficiency compared to other ships in her class – and as a result many of the modifications had been adopted by the other mercenary crews.

“She has an idea to build a new kind of airship,” Gideon explained. “I’m going to see her vision come to life. And I will command it,” he added, as if there might be some doubt.

“Huh? Little Tayanita?” Bonney asked, mystified.

“Indeed,” Gideon nodded. “When we quit here, likely we will travel to Europe to find a proper yard. With the loot I’ve gathered, we should be able to fund most of the construction.”

“Most?” Bonney inquired again.

“Most,” agreed Gideon. “The rest we can steal. Or earn, if we have to. With a bag full of Helium, we would be in high demand in some places. But there remain plenty of opportunities for a crafty and adventurous airman out there, Bonney, and I dare say we’ll find a few on our travels.”

“You mean to include me in y’all’s excursions?” he asked, again surprised.

“Where we travel, we are likely to need someone with your skills. Wolf Rider and his men, too. Unless you would prefer to terminate your service . . .”

“Oh, hell no, Cap’n!” Bonney swore. “Do you jest? The Victrix’s crew is the first place I felt a part o’ somethin’ akin to a family. Worked my share of ranches and such, might have lifted a horse or two that weren’t mine, technically speakin’, but I never felt a man until I was aloft,” he said, sincerely. “If you’ll have me, I’ll stay hitched to your star as long as I can!”

“Good to hear!” Gideon agreed, happy that the itinerant gunman was willing to accompany him. He could trust the man, he knew, and that was worth more than a pile of German degrees. “Persuading your native colleagues might be more problematic – Wolf Rider himself was mentioning settling down to ranch, when he put down his guns. But I imagine I’ll be able to find a dozen or so healthy rascals who don’t mind a fight.”

“They’re a scrappin’ people, assured,” Billy agreed, admiringly. “Your sis amongst them. Buit she’s sore as hell at me right now. She found out I dipped my wick in that Atlan cunt, she ‘bout threw me outta her engine room. Ain’t let me near her yet. I know she’s your sis an’ all, but I confess I’m sweet on her.”

“She’s likely to forgive, eventually,” Gideon said, kindly. “She has a temper, no doubt about it, but she checks it at need and forgets trespasses quickly. Thank Jupiter – else she would have ended me months ago!”

“Sure is a hoot knowin’ you’re a real English Lord, and she’s your daddy’s bastard,” Bonney chuckled, finishing his beer. “I think it’s noble as hell o’ you runnin’ away from your family castle and bein’ with her. Family’s important,” the orphan assured him.

“It’s the only important thing, really,” Gideon sighed. “I might hate my father, pity my brother, and despise my sisters and mother for their many shallow faults, but I shall love them all until the day I die. I confess that it is only their intractability in the matter of Sissy’s legitimacy that estranges me yet from them.”

“Well, hope you and your kin come to accord,” Bonney said, raising his mug after receiving a refill from the buxom Saxon daughter of the tavernkeeper.

“Hope springs eternal,” Gideon grumbled, raising his own glass.

“Gid!” his sister called suddenly from her table. “GID! Get o’er here!” She had the sparkling quality in her voice that told her brother that she was already half-drunk and giddy over something. Gideon also knew that she was stubborn enough not to let him at peace until he saw what excited her so. With a nod to his gunman, he rose and came dutifully over to the Engineer’s table, where Tayanita held court.

“Gid, this fella here is Herr Doctor Planck. Maxie!” she said, correcting herself. “Maxie works o’er at th’ Gas Works, an’ I, we been talkin’,” she slurred, conspiratorially. Gideon glanced at the young German scientist, who seemed more than a little intimidated by his sister. That was a common reaction in the Germans, who saw most natives as mere laborers or servants, not potentially brilliant scientists and technicians. Or his awkwardness might have been inspired by the way Sissy was pushing her vivacious breasts around. While they were slight, compared to some women, she seemed determined to make up for their lack of size by increasing their visibility. The dress she wore, of colorful native fabrics, was cut low enough to incite scandal in polite society in London.

Therefore, he loved it on her.

“Go on,” he encouraged, when he felt prompted.

“Anyway, me an’ Maxie worked out . . . it’s right here,” she said, holding up a big sheet of foolscap covered with penciled equations, “we worked out a way to build a new kinda gun.

“A gun?” Gideon asked, his interest piqued. “What kind of gun? Like the infamous French gas cannon?”

“No, no, nothing so element-ry,” she dismissed, haughtily, with a hiccough. “But I had this idea come from watching the water hose on th’ ship, wonderin’ if light acts like water an’ what would happen if—”

“It’s really a matter uv coherency,” the German managed to get in, finally. “Ven you push light tru un tuben, tru a reactif matrix of transluscent matter und bounce it off a series of mirrors—”

“The upshot is, you should be able to knock light around with mirrors to get it to act like a cannon!” Tayanita explained, impatiently. “Under the proper conditions, it should be able to tear through a balloon and bring down a Hydrogen ship at over five times the range of a Manchester, afore dispersion sets in! Theoretically-ly, that is,” she added with another hiccough.

“That’s a fascinating theory,” Gideon said, smiling indulgently. “And one of many you’ve explained to me that I’ll have to take on faith, lacking the education or numbers to do otherwise. Tell me, Sissy, is Dr. Planck as convinced as you?” He hated to publicly doubt his sister’s abilities, but she was drunk, he reasoned, and a little gracious investigation might help keep her enthusiasm properly channeled.

“He says so,” she admitted, as if that hardly mattered. “But think of the implications!” she said, wide-eyed. “Think about shootin’ down Beanies wi’ a spray o’ light, not Manchesters! No weight penalty, no chance o’ fire, no missin’ the fuckin’ target . . .”

“It sounds magnificent, Sissy,” Gideon agreed. “We’ll have to install it aboard our new ship.”

“New ship?” Planck asked confused. “Ze one you captured?”

“Nah, that shitbag?” Tayanita swore. “I wouldn’t wipe my cunt with that flyin’ turkey! No, me an’ my dear brother, here, are going to build the most advanced airship in the world. One of the biggest, too!” she added, hugging her knees through her dress like a little girl. “It’s gonna be called—”

“That’s enough, Sissy,” Gideon said, gently interrupting her. “I know you’re enthusiastic, but we have yet to even lay the keel of the thing, much less fly it. If it flies,” he added.

“It will fly!” she insisted, ardently. “It will! It’s built on sound principals, just—”

“If you say it will fly,” Gideon said, stopping her, “I will trust my life that it will do so. But let’s not be casually mentioning our ultimate goal, shall we? Too many ears around.” While the tavern was half-filled, and he recognized almost everyone there, he was also fully aware of the sensitivity of the situation. Since Das Jagerhaus was the nexus of the foreign mercenary and the foreign technician class in Oklahoma, naturally all of the major empires had observers here.

The French, of course, were intently interested in the goings on in Tillassa, as were the British and Germans. Add the American, Louisianan, and even Atlan spies that were no doubt prowling around trying to overhear valuable intelligence about the wildcat kingdom, and the beer hall, while quaint, was hardly a secure venue for sensitive matters.

“Oh, no one’s gonna listen to li’l ol’ me,” Tayanita dismissed. “I’m just a girl.

“You are also the chief engineer of the most successful mercenary airship in the kingdom,” he reminded her. “That gives you standing your sex does not.”

“My sex ain’t gettin’ any standin’ no how,” Tayanita complained. “That fool Billy went and put his pecker in that Beanie cunt, an’ I ain’t ready to forgive him that . . . yet!” Gideon made note not to reveal his own sexual indiscretion with the captive, lest he incite his sister’s wrath at him as well. “That was tant’mount to consortin’ with th’ enemy! So my poor li’l pussy goes to bed all alone tonight . . .” she pouted.

“I’m sure your genitalia will recover—hullo, what’s this?” Gideon asked, interrupting himself as a commotion from the front of the tavern attracted his attention.

It wasn’t completely out of the ordinary for the tavern to play scene to an altercation or disturbance, either due to distraught airmen, wild mercenaries, homesick Germans, or drunken natives or a mixture of any or all of them. Hans, the barrel-chested barkeep, had two husky native lads on hand to keep the peace, and the Royal Watch station was on Tacumsah Street, a mere dusty block away. But the tumult that had attracted Gideon’s attention bore none of the hallmarks of a typical rowdy evening at the pub – the shouts weren’t angry or fearful.

“What is it?” his sister asked, only to see the focus of the commotion at the same time as Gideon – although the expression she affected was quite different.

“It’s . . . a monk!” Gideon whispered. “A real Hopi monk!”

“So?” scoffed Tayanita. “Those . . . fucking Hopi have been begging at my people’s door for generations. Their preaching hurts the ears of our spirits. And they’re pacifists,” she said, openly scornful. The art of warfare was a well-developed cultural aspect of Cherokee, Chocktaw, and many other clans who had settled in the Okie Kingdom – the saffron-clad Hopi missionaries’ reluctance to participate, and indeed their practice of condemning the practice of warfare, were looked upon with open scorn. “They don’t fuck, neither,” she added with contempt. “How can you trust a man o’ god what don’t fuck?” she asked, as if that was a crime against nature.

“Catholic priests do not marry,” Gideon pointed out, gently. “Surely you’ve met some Atlan or Louisianan Catholics, haven’t you?”

“Yes, but they only say they don’t fuck,” she pointed out, crudely. “If my friend Atoya’s experience at the convent school in Baton Rouge is any guide, their attention to their vows is at best nominal. The fucking Hopi monks,” she said, nodding in the direction of the old man who had caused such a ruckus, “they tend to really not fuck. Or fight. Or eat meat. Or drink,” she added, finishing her brandy.

“And that offends you?” He was always amused at the surprising prejudices his sister demonstrated. The inter-clan rivalries of the Red Indians were almost as amusing to him as the similar rivalries between the Empires of Europe and their fetid aristocracies.

“I have no argument with their religion,” she said, carefully, “but their society is foreign to my people. They were in too close a proximity to Near Cathay, and took up their religion without looking to their other cultural gifts. That’s fine, such as it is – but they can’t keep it to themselves. They have sent out missionaries for hundreds of years – everywhere. As far as the Saltless Seas, and the Ocean of Grass. To my people’s original home in the Appalachians, even.”

“I’ve always heard the Hopi monks were fortune tellers of great repute,” Gideon observed, chuckling at his sister’s annoyance. “Aged mystics in their bleak mountain caves, doling out wisdom and mystical offal to everyone who can reach their peaks, that sort of thing.”

“If only that was th’ extent,” his sister snorted, curling her lip derisively. “Don’t need to go all the way to Hopiland t’ get your fortune. Plenty o’ holy men around Tillassi and Guthrie, sick on peyote and spouting mystical nonsense. Everywhere, I expect. I’ve seen their likes, the wild men from the Open Plains, and the medicine men of the swamps of Louisiana. Mostly a bunch of charlatans and harmless fanatics. Love spells and speaking to your ancestors and the like.

“But the Hopi monks come and they preach and they preach and they preach – more than a body can stand! I have no more desire to take refuge than I do to be saved from Perdition,” she said, defiantly. “Reincarnation or resurrection, neither hold my attention as sufficient as ascension.”

“Do you think I could get him to tell me my fortune?” Gideon asked, impetuously, not taking his eyes off of the wizened old man. “I’ve always loved that sort of thing. A Roma witch once read my palm in Cheapside, then offered to get her daughter to suck me off for half a crown,” he mused. “Cheeky wench said I’d challenge the titans of the earth and become a force to topple empires. She did not believe so much that she would reduce the price for the fellatio, however. One would assume a toppler of empires would be due a discount.”

“You can ask,” she admitted. “’Bout the fortune tellin’, that is, not the bargain cocksucking. Almost all of them bald-headed johnnies got some magic beads or sticks or such. They throw lots, some pretend to prophesy, and some will examine your head. But it’s their damn begging bowl that’s in your face before you can take a breath.”

“I’m going to ask,” Gideon decided, sliding out of his chair. “And do be good to Bonney, won’t you Sissy? If you are going to fuck a wild creature, you cannot expect it to become tame overnight.”

“I know, I know,” she replied, glumly. “He ain’t my intended or anything. We’re just good friends who rut occasionally. Still, hurts my feelin’s. We get back to the hanger by the skin o’ our teeth, and finally see your ship in the sky, and the bastard has the nerve to be all fucked out when I want him!”

“Well, in his defense, we were staring death in the face,” Gideon offered. “Any moment we could have been consigned to doom.”

“Like that ain’t his life every other day?” she asked, scornfully. “He’s gonna find a grave afore he finds a cane, that ‘un. Still, he shoulda known better! He does! He knows I get worked up in a sky-fight an’ need to . . . blow off some pressure!”

“Just don’t make him suffer overmuch. I have need of men such as he. And, apparently, so do you.”

“I’ll make up with him,” she agreed, sullenly. “But that don’t mean we’re pickin’ out wedding blankets!”

“I’m certain he’ll be relieved to hear you say that,” Gideon agreed. “Off to hear my oracle!”

“Superstitious idiot,” he heard his sister whisper under her breath. Gideon didn’t mind – he had a minor fascination with the occult, and having his fortune told by an authentic Hopi Buddhist Monk in an authentic German beer-hall on the dusty plains of Oklahoma was just the thing to tickle his fancy. He made his way through the crowd, mostly curious Germans and a few guilty-looking natives who were apparently back-slid Buddhists, to where the man was standing.

Hans, the burly barkeep, was standing imposingly in front of the Indian, arms akimbo, a hard expression on his classically Teutonic face.
“Ve vill haf no trouble from your kind!” he said, adamantly. “If you don’t like beer, don’t preach against it unter mein roof!”

“Peace,” the wizened monk said, bowing submissively – yet with great dignity. “I wish only to beg—”

“He is a holy man,” one of the stoic Choctaw mercenaries said, quietly but sternly. “He should not be harmed.”

“Oh, let him stay, Hans!” a German chemist insisted, drunkenly. “It vill be good sport!”

“If efan one uv mein patronz complainz . . . “ Hans said, warningly, raising a fat finger at the man.

“I say,” Gideon said, interrupting the rotund Saxon before he could complete the threat, “old man, I’ve heard it said that your sect can see the future and tell a man’s fortune. I’ll see you well paid if you would do me that service.” For emphasis Gideon jingled his wallet.

“Do not insult the holy brother,” the Choctaw infantryman said, looking at Gideon menacingly. While he had to admit the potency of such a gaze, the truth was that Gideon had long learned to ignore such stares from natives – if nothing else, enduring his sister’s glares had hardened him. “He is not here to do tricks for White men. He speaks the path of the Awakened.”

“Nor would I ask him to do tricks,” Gideon soothed. “I have the same respect for all holy orders. But a man likes to have a glimpse of what Destiny has in store for him, and his sect has a reputation for oracles. Helps in planning your afternoons.”

The big Choctaw started to respond angrily, but the monk held up a wrinkled hand wrapped in his turquoise rosary and the man desisted in an instant. Then he turned gracefully to Gideon and bowed. “I would be pleased to relate this man’s dharma to him,” he said quietly, in strangely-accented English. “All walk the path towards Nirvana, even the Whites.” Gideon shot the mercenary a triumphant look as he led the monk through the crowd and towards a small, unoccupied table.

“Can I buy you a drink, Brother . . . ?”

“I am called Sumki,” the old man said as he sat gingerly in the rough wooden chair. “For I seek.”

Gideon was certain that there was a long and complicated story behind the name and the old monk’s mysterious manner, but he was anxious to hear his oracle. But there was the matter of hospitality to attend to. “Of course you do, old man. But do you seek a drink, is what I’m asking.”

“I will have water,” the monk conceded with a nod of his brown, bald head.

“Well then,” Gideon said, excitedly as he clapped his hands together, after ordering for them both from a passing barmaid, “I’m Captain Gideon Becker, Brother Sumki. I’m curious – where did you learn your English? It’s passing good.”

“I was a guide for the monastery when I was a boy,” he explained. “I traveled with many English and learned their tongue. French, Spanish, and Dutch, as well. ”

“Brilliant!” Gideon nodded, sliding several silver coins – enough to pay for a month’s worth of meals – across the rough wooden table until they rested near to the monk’s elbow. “Pray, what do the Fates have in store for me?”

With a quiet sigh of patience the old man opened a simple cloth bag at his side, long faded from dust and sun – much like the man himself, Gideon noted – and withdrew a number of items. First was a small doeskin bag which proved to contain a multitude of odd trinkets, the second was a colorful native doll, like a child’s toy, and the third was a handsomely decorated scroll case. “Every man has his dharma,” the monk intoned as he opened the bag of lots. “And every man may know his dharma if he but ask the intercession of the spirits. When the great Muna Lama set me upon my path many years ago at the great monastery at Orayvi, he gave into my hand powerful medicine: the Kachina of Taatayi Kokyang Wuti, the Awakened Spider Woman.”

“She looks . . . formidable,” Gideon acknowledged, as he admired the strangely dressed wooden doll. “Does she . . . talk?”

Kokyang Wuti brings the whispers of the Spirits and the Buddhas to my ears,” Brother Sumki explained patiently in halting English. “She is the middle between Man and the Spirits. It was to her that Pahana brought the sacred scrolls first, so that she could bring them before all of the spirits and convert them to the path of the Awakened One.” The old monk rattled off the folk tale as if it was the History of the Roman Empire, not a lot of native superstition. “But she says no words with breath.”

“Well, as long as you can hear her, then, I suppose,” Gideon chuckled. “So, what does she say?”

“She answers your questions,” Sumki explained patiently. “Hold her gently in your hand and whisper your words into her ears. Then I will divine with the stones and hear her answer.”

Gideon beamed indulgently, picking up the gnarled little wooden doll with exaggerated care, whilst imagining the proper way to phrase what he most wanted to know. He closed his eyes, imagining himself at some ancient Hellenic oracle, the gods themselves standing by to answer him. Finally, he leaned forward and whispered, “What course will lead me to love, riches, and fame?” into the doll’s tiny ear.

Satisfied, he placed the poppet in front of the monk and waited. He had kept his whisper low enough that it was unlikely that Brother Sumki had heard a word of his barely-voiced inquiry, so he had little expectation that the alleged holy man would be forthcoming with any but the vaguest generalities.

With eager curiosity he watched the monk spill a little cornmeal on the table in front of him, wave a hummingbird feather through the meal until it was swept into a surprisingly complete circle – no doubt the old wizard had done this ritual many, many times in the past. “The sacred hoop is dharma’s wheel,” he said, reverently, then chanted something in Hopi or Chinese – Gideon didn’t know enough about either culture to tell the difference. “We pour down our questions like the rain,” he recited, and followed it with another long string of native gibberish. “Come unto us and speak the path of this man’s dharma!” he intoned in a dramatic voice as he rattled the stones and bones within their pouch, throwing them the moment he spoke the last bit of the incantation.

Gideon eagerly bent forward to see what the tiny objects had divined for him – and was at a loss. There were five small stones of various hues, a translucent crystal, a tiny wagon wheel, a grain of maize, a clay feather, a copper coin and a twig. If there was special significance to any of it, it escaped him – it looked like the contents of the pocket of any eight-year-old boy in Brighton.

Brother Sumki noted the placement of each of the elements, and then drew forth the scrolls secreted within the case at his elbow, nodding significantly when he found whatever passage the oracle called for. Three more times he repeated the rite, before he replaced the tools of divination in their pouch and brushed away the cornmeal with some prayer or other.

“Well?” Gideon asked, impatiently, at the conclusion of the ritual.
“The spirits have much to say about you, Gideon Becker” the man said sagely as he eyed Gideon as if he was seeing him for the first time. “Let he who has ears and the sense to listen attend me: you are to be a great man, if you follow the dharma the spirits have laid before you. “

“Is that all?” Gideon demanded.

“The spirits say a great journey lies before you,” the monk replied, serenely. “A journey of great importance, in many distant lands.”.

“Well, since I’m an airship captain, that’s hardly a novel horoscope,” he sniffed. “Do you have anything more . . . specific? Fame and glory, for instance,” he offered.

“You will make the cloud that destroys the dreams of kings,” the monk said, as if in a trance. “You will capture the sun within a mighty spear of light. You will slay your enemies with your command. No man will be able to assail you. The kings of the nations of the earth will cry out against you, but you will not bend. Your name will be on the tongue of the multitude that will see in you a savior. You will strike at empires and they will bend to your command. Nations will serve you.”

Gideon chuckled in surprise. “Oh, I find I quite like that fortune! Well, I can’t imagine such a fate, but far be it for me to argue with the almighty spirits! Fortune? Am I destined for the workhouse in my dotage?”

“Great wealth of material things will be yours, and you will play with the jewels of the earth like they were toys. Gold and grain will be in great supply and you will want not. Yet you will care not for your treasure, for you will find greater riches than can be kept by a man.”

“Fame, then wealth,” Gideon smiled. “If I didn’t know better, Brother Sumki, I might think you were gilding this oracular lily with every breath just to flatter me! What of love, then? Shall I die a bachelor?”

“Many will you sample before you discover your fate. You find your heart under a stone. You will see beauty in the eyes of one who does not. Your spirit will clash with your woman until the skies themselves ache. You will marry,” he said, slowly – almost reluctantly, Gideon decided. “But the one you will wed is already long a bride, and carries three sisters on her brow. You shall know her for her skill at arms, for you shall not best her in contest. Blood will be spilt before your heart finds the mate to your spirit. Great misfortune, death, war follow in the footsteps of your union. And in finding your heart, you shall restore the broken sacred hoop of your blood by binding it with your friendship,” he pronounced, and then grew silent.

“That is quite a fortune, then!” Gideon sighed, more than a little disappointed. It had been colorful enough, but he had really been hoping for something like: Go to France and build your airship, where you will meet an attractive noblewoman who is heir to some imperial throne willing to extend your exile in the most pleasant of ways.

Unfortunately, the Hopi monk was no more efficient in his pronouncements than the Roma sorceress had been. Or any of the other fortune tellers, medicine men, shaman and fakirs he had visited over the years. They all seemed to promise the same thing: riches, fame, and love, all in generous portions. Yet it never seemed to materialize. True, he’d been lucky at his trade of sellsword, and had acquired a small fortune in that trade, but it was dwarfed by his father’s holdings, for example. It must be an occupational mandate of the soothsayers guild, he mused, to trade only in heady superlatives when fleecing their flock.

“It is as I have said,” Brother Sumki bowed. “I spare you nothing of my visions.”

“You didn’t mention a violent death, I noticed,” Gideon observed.

“Such is beyond the knowing,” the man shrugged.

“Nor a reconciliation with my father,” he added.

“I speak what I hear from the Spider Woman. The spirits show us our dharma only as much as they desire, and only what we truly need know. I say what I see, nothing more,” the monk said, serenely. “Those words were for your ears, not mine. Only you can give them meaning.”

“Thank you,” Gideon sighed, placing a thick golden Louisianan Dollar in the monk’s bowl on top of the silver already there. That was far more than a month’s wages, even by the prosperous standards of Oklahoma, but Gideon didn’t mind the expense. The reading had been highly entertaining if nothing else and the man seemed sincere, if a little addled. Well worth the cost – and some of his men had Buddhist inclinations, so the open display of largesse to the monk would be popular with them. Of course that meant he would have to be just as generous with the next Catholic priest or Protestant preacher they chanced upon to please the Christians among his men, but he had no trouble with that. Like his sister, he ascribed to no specific faith, Christian or Heathen, save his own code of honor and a sense of filial piety. Perhaps he might regret not cultivating a religion, he mused, in this most dangerous of trades, but Gideon cared not where he spent eternity, provided the company was good.

As he rose and glanced toward his ship’s corner, he saw that most of his folk had already retired for the evening. A few mercenaries were deep in their cups, and three engineers were playing cards, but of Tayanita and Bonney, Wolf Rider and Black Joe and the others with whom he fancied sharing the result of his augury, there was no sign. With a sigh he left the beer hall and into the gas-lit evening.

The road between the city center and the airship fields was brightly lit, like all of Oklahoma’s cities. The amazing profits from the Helium trade made the raw natural gas it was extracted from nearly a waste product – nearly all of the native homes were fitted for gas pipes for heating and cooking, and the King had invested lavishly in iron streetlamps, more than he had seen in any moldy European city. They provided him ample lamination to cross town on foot without fear of molestation by the occasional footpad, had his sword and pistol been inadequate protection. At this late hour, the rickshaws that carried the well-to-do were long gone from the cobbled track . . . but the whores, he saw, were quite awake.

The road to the airship yard was positively studded with whorehouses and pleasure palaces where an airman or an engineer could spend his time and money in this lonely place. Unlike some other cities he’d seen, they seemed prosperous and happy at their trade, not tired and desperate. While a majority were native girls or half-breeds, there were plenty of delicate French and robust Negro whores from Louisiana, some Celtic and Norse ladies from the Northern countries, and even a few American lasses from Philadelphia and New York, who had come west to seek their fortune with their twats.

But the house he favored was Madame Lei’s Orchid House, which was stocked with only the finest Celestial whores from Near Cathay. There was something about the diminutive, fair-skinned women he found alluring, from the way they sucked his cock to the noises they made when he fucked them.

Perhaps it was the novelty of the sallow beauties he found so enchanting, but upon the occasions where he had indulged in such pleasures in the last eight months, the Orchid House had received the majority of his trade. And a clear night tonight, today’s violent maelstrom already soaked into the prairie soil, combined with the brush with danger had made him randy despite his earlier tryst with the unhandsome Marta. He resolved to pay a call on the distinguished house before he retired – but was distracted by a familiar moan from the shrubberies adorning the house next to his destination.

Fearing one of his men had been set upon and lay wounded, Gideon parted the shrubbery with one hand, the other on the butt of his revolver. He abandoned the weapon when he saw the author of the moan, however, for Bill Bonney was standing with his back against the brothel wall being serviced enthusiastically by some native whore below him in the shadows. The young man opened his eyes at the noise of the foliage being disturbed, but his hand stayed his lover’s head in its place.

Gideon clucked. “Billy!”

“Howdy, Cap’n!” the man grunted. “Did’t figure on seein’ you again tonight. How did your fortune tellin’ go?”

“The monk happened to mention how unpleasant your life might be if my sister catches your cock in the mouth of a whore,” Gideon said, cheerfully.

“Ain’t that a relief?” Billy said, his head tilted back in pleasure as his companion continued her work.

“You desire an unpleasant life?” Gideon asked, surprised. “Or a short one? My sister is an excellent shot, I must warn you. And the Cherokee are adept at torture with nothing but a knife and a fire. And that might be preferable to what she would do to you should she deign to let you live.”

“Nah,” Billy said, dismissing the issue with a casual wave of his hand. “Don’t need to worry none ‘bout ‘Nita ‘cause it’s ‘Nita who’s asuckin’ on my pecker!”

“Oh,” Gideon commented, blankly, staring suddenly at the native woman he’d presumed was a whore. “Oh! Hera’s bouncing paps, Sissy! Not quite where I expected to find you this evening!”

Tayanita slowly turned her head around to glance at her brother, allowing Bonney’s proud weapon to dangle obscenely in front of her face.

“What’s the matter, Gid?” she asked, sweetly. “Have you never seen a lady give her sweetheart a suckin’ afore she gets rightly fucked?” Gideon could tell by the way her accent had degraded from her usual very proper English that his sister was far into her cups – enough so that she would consent to some fellatio al fresco before retiring to her quarters for more intimate fare, apparently.

“Well,” Gideon sighed, “I am gratified that you two have made up, then. Carry on,” he added with a half-salute, before he beat a hasty retreat to the sound of their giggles.

He really had not planned upon, nor had the slightest desire, to witness his sister’s sexual hunger, which was legendary around the Tillassa airyards. While he appreciated her lusty disregard for proper European decorum, he hadn’t planned on participating even as an observer. No matter how casual the natives were about such things (the Beanies married first cousins rather often, he reflected) Gideon was squeamish about them when it came to his half-sister.

If nothing else, however, the sight, while disturbing, had enflamed his lust even further, and his feet led him to the threshold of the Orchid House without command. He inhaled the sweet smell of incense, opium and sex as he parted the beaded curtain that served as entranceway, once you passed the stout wooden door. That exotic smell always transported him to a state of relaxation and happiness.

Madame Lei was waiting for him in the parlor, a middle-aged Celestial woman in a dark red silk robe, her face painted in what Gideon could only assume was the fashion way out west in Near Cathay. Madame Lei spoke several languages, many Gideon had never heard of. But her English was impeccable – it was rumored that she had served in her youth in a whorehouse in Wilmington, North Carolina, in the United States, which made sense, considering her accent. She greeted Gideon formally with a deep and respectful bow, and two young girls came forward to take his coat and hat and provide him with tea. There was a certain ritual in visiting the Orchid House, and drinking a cup of tea and chatting with Madame Lei was part of it.

“And what pleasures can our humble house provide the dashing Captain Becker this evening?” she asked, after the formal pleasantries were complete. “A bath, perhaps? A massage?” The Orchid House alone of the houses in this district had a large bath tub, which Gideon had used more than he had used the whores. The Oklahomans, while fierce warriors and cunning businessmen, were only beginning to adopt European standards of cleanliness, washing sporadically if at all, whereas the Celestials from Near Cathay saw bathing as a ritual which should be indulged in weekly. While Gideon had yet to progress to that zealous state of cleanliness, nonetheless he found himself in the massive chin-high tub of fragarent, hot water at least once a fortnight.

But not tonight. “Madame, I would be much obliged if you would provide me two fetching young lasses to tend to me for an hour or so,” he declared. “In a private room, of course. And a pipe of opium immediately afterwards will see me slumber the sleep of the gods – and see you well paid for the effort.”

“But of course,” Madame Lei said, gracefully. “Does the Captain prefer one of the ladies he’s seen previously? For not two days ago three new girls arrived, fresh from beyond the Ocean of Grass. Young, pretty . . . although not virgins anymore,” she said, biting her lip regretfully.

“It is no matter,” Gideon dismissed. “In truth, I prefer a more experienced whore, and with a brace of them virgins I fear I’d spend more time in teaching than fucking. But if they are young and pretty, that should be a sufficiency. I trust your judgment implicitly.”

“One of each, then. As you will,” she said, bowing again, then chattered away in the sing-song language of New Cathay to the two attending girls. From Gideon’s experience, the pretty hostesses in the parlor would only service a client if he was insistent and generous – the duty was considered light, and given to those girls who had already worked several days as a respite from tending Aphrodite’s gardens. But they did not spare him any flirtation, sitting in his lap and cooing strange words in his ear, rubbing his bulge in his pants and feeling the muscles on his arms and giggling to prepare him for his coming exploits. The fair dames of the Orchid House knew how to make a gentleman feel manly.

At last Madame Lei returned to him, and the hostesses scattered. “All is prepared,” she assured him, leading him through another beaded curtain and back to the rooms of the house. “Two fine young maidens, recently plucked. Ripe and enthusiastic. Spare them nothing, Captain,” she added with a tight smile, knowing he had the purse to pay for any perversion.

He thanked her and entered the room, which was lit by a trio of gas lamps and decorated with paper lanterns and red tassels and beautiful but indecipherable scrolls, a delicately stitched cover of silk on the bed, as if it was in the real Near Cathay. Adding to the effect were the two young whores, who wore their traditional costume. They bowed deeply and respectfully to him before they converged, undressing him gaily while chatting to each other in their native language.

Gideon allowed his clothes to be doffed by the giggling girls before he took a position in the center of the lavish bed. The soft silks from the Far West provided a lavish sense of comfort that he had often lacked while on campaign, but he relished them now. And while the girls did not seem to know any English, French, or Atlan Dutch, they seemed to know their business quite well, as each one took a position at the foot of the bed and began rubbing the soles of his feet with professional confidence.

The feeling was exquisite. His boots were well-made, but he spent an inordinate amount of time in them, and his feet often felt abused by his busy life. Having two pretty Celestial maidens (figuratively, at least) use their surprisingly strong hands to rub away the tension within was a sensual delight. Indeed, the pleasure they gave his feet was such that he forgot all about his erection, which started to flag as he lost himself in reverie. The girls knew better than to let that happen, however, and with a small cry of distress the one on his right foot abandoned her effort to rectify the matter.

Stooping beside the bed, she used a deft and delicate hand to stroke his cock, cooing to it as if it were some animal. While that halted his erection’s decline, she was not satisfied with the progress, and so popped the head of his pego between her lips, running her busy tongue rapidly over the glans, much to his enjoyment. Gideon uttered a blissful sigh, relaxing into the bed even as his whores stimulated them.

He barely knew two words of Mandarin to rub together himself, and those he’d learned in this very “school”, but when he gestured for the girl sucking his prick to continue, she did so eagerly. The girl on his feet began changing sides frequently, forcing Gideon to issue the most beatific moans from the pressure. He contented himself to lie there for nearly a half-hour, soaking in the simple pleasures of life.

“Remove your garments,” he commanded, hesitantly. “Take off your clothes,” he repeated, pantomiming to his young fellatrix what he desired. She bowed quickly and doffed her simple silk gown, revealing a slender form almost bereft of the womanly attributes he was accustomed to seeing on members of his own race. Her breasts were small but well formed, and her hips were narrow, with only the most graceful of curves at her waist. He had slowly gotten used to the nature of the Celestial whores, but it always occurred to him that a naked specimen, such as he had before him, sucking his cock at the moment, could have been anywhere from fifteen to twenty-five years old and bear such a shape.

What delighted him the most, however, was the nature of this whore’s mound of Venus: it was entirely bereft of the hair normally accustomed to grow there. At first he began to panick when her bare pussy came into sight, thinking for a moment that his hostess, Madame Lei, had somehow foisted off a child on him; but upon closer examination, this sweetly sucking tart was clearly passed into maturity, and had but shaved her crotch in the manner of the ancient Roman gladiators or the odalisques of the Turks. Once he became accustomed to the look, he was infatuated by it: a completely naked pussy on a grown woman was quite a novelty.

His right hand stole out and buried itself between her slender thighs, and his fingers sought to measure the full extent of the barren mound. It was complete; if there was a hair worthy of mention on this girl’s cunt, it was not one he could feel. He contented himself then with plying his finger within her hot, clasping depths, fucking her gently while she sucked attentively on his tool.

Meanwhile the girl on his feet had not ceased her toil from the moment she began, though she did move from one foot to the other while her sister whore sucked him. The combined feelings of the two strong sensations made him drunk on bliss, and the added favor of a tight pussy clasping around his finger added greatly to the already sublime experience.

Yet while he was willing to allow his doxy to ply her trade to completion, he craved something more substantial to sate his lusts. Pulling gently on his fellatrix’s bum, he encouraged her to mount the bed and sit astride his face, where her slick, bare folds descended upon his lips with the inevitability of a sunset. Her lips barely moved around his cock as she settled, but soon she was sucking just as enthusiastically as before – more so, now that Gideon was licking her sweet juices from her cunny like a mad long-starved. The little whore responded immediately, moaning delightfully around his prick and gasping with each sweep of his tongue.

The girl massaging his feet began to call instruction to the cocksucker in front of her, apparently finding fault with her technique. Gideon could find none – as far as he was concerned, she was doing an admirable job on his dick, and would soon reap the reward of such activity in the traditional manner. Yet still the lass at the foot of the bed chided the newcomer girl, admonishing her to do… something, although Gideon had not the slightest idea what.

Finally the more experience girl, who did not have the handicap of a deft and worrisome tongue invading her most private space while she worked – yet – finally gave up verbal instruction and instead grabbed the newer girl’s raven-black hair between her hands and began pushing it further and further down his cock, until the whore nearly gagged with her nose buried in his pubic hairs. Only then did the other girl relent and allow her protégé to breathe. Then she once again forced her head down on his prick, which inspired Gideon to redouble his efforts against the young girl’s clitoris. That in turn forced the cock sucking whore to lose her concentration, which while it vexed her mentor, sent Gideon into spasms of joy as he felt her mouth struggle.

Licking a bare cunny was delicious, he decided, for it not only allowed him to suck the juices from this exotic peach unencumbered by hair, it made the whole region surrounding her clitoris terribly sensitive, a state which he exploited with enthusiasm. Indeed, the quivering arse above his head was trembling with joy and confusion as the poor girl attempted to focus enough on his blowjob to complete it, yet also enough on the rapid-fire tongue that was eliciting from her such moans. He vowed to extend her pleasurable suffering yet further by the simple expedient of moistening his largest finger in the tight slit above his face, then repositioning the digit in proximity to the girl’s tight bumhole.

He felt her tense, of course – only a seasoned sodomite would face such an intrusion without trepidation, and were he to wager a sum, he’d do so on the chance that her arse remained inviolate. So much the better, he thought wickedly, suddenly pushing his thick finger deep into her fundament until it was wholly buried within her most intimate opening.

The move caught his massager off guard, but the older girl recovered quickly enough to ensure that the younger girl’s face never wavered from its duty. That produced a stifled scream from her which in ordinary circumstances would be erotic enough . . . but when the mouth that produced such a scream did so with one’s cock ensconced within was divine!

He chuckled into her cunt and began fucking her bunghole with long, strong strokes that mimicked coitus well enough to cause the girl’s hips to begin rocking back to meet his finger in response. He resolved at once to bugger the girl before morning, no matter the cost.

Yet the excitement of the moment was too much for a man already aroused and recovering from an exhausting battle. Once his finger was truly buried in her arse, their companion again forced the girl to suck by moving the other girl’s head with her hands, faster and faster. The result was a quick increase in the joy that was exploding through his body from his prick, and the inevitable conclusion of such erotic dalliance.

With a moan into the young girl’s weeping twat above him, he shoved his cock as deeply into the young whore’s mouth that she would have yelped, had her mouth not been otherwise occupied, and issued a mighty torrent of sticky sperm into the cavern of her lips. The assistant fucker, as Gideon called the other girl in his mind, ensured that the cocksucker did not lose a drop. Indeed, once completed, the diminutive pixy whose cunt he was feasting upon struggled to swallow everything that he contributed, while simultaneously encountering a sudden and powerful orgasm inspired by Gideon’s skilful lips on her lit.

The girl screamed and moaned around his spurting cock, and only then did the older girl seem satisfied. She climbed down from her saddle on his face a little gingerly, slanted eyes wide with wonder as she contemplated such a powerful climax, such a thick jet of sperm, and such a large penis.

“That was very well done,” he praised them, as he recovered. “Fetch me more tea,” he ordered the older one, making a tell-tale sipping motion with his fingers. Apparently the whore had known enough English to understand “tea” – indeed, the folk of Near Cathay were rumored to be distant relatives of the people of the Chinese Empire, where tea was consumed in massive quantities, so knowledge of the word in foreign tongues was not unheard of. His enthusiastic fellatrix, however, was busy attempting to recover her wits after her climax, and lay in a heap on the bed, panting.

When the older girl returned, Gideon made a great show of taking it, bowing, and then tipping her lavishly with a silver penny. She smiled and graciously took it, then asked him what else he desired, in heavily broken English.

“Just undress yourself,” he commanded, feeling like some Turk in his seraglio, surrounded by doting minions. “It will take a moment or two before I am fit for duty again, I’m afraid. But you could improve that process if you . . .” he said, trailing off. The older whore was naked in an instant, and possessed all the womanly curves the younger girl did not. Nodding happily, Gideon sat up enough to avoid spilling his tea, so that he could make his orders clearer. The girls acted confused by his words, however, and just kept shaking their heads in bewilderment – until he finished pulling the older whore’s robe off entirely, arraying her on the bed in the spot he had just vacated, and then pushed down the new whore’s face between the thighs of her colleague.

That inspired a whole new round of confusion, this time on the part of the younger whore, who seemed unready to perform such a service. The older whore did her best to comfort the girl, no doubt explaining that such forbidden delights were long-practiced by the Europeans while touring their imperial conquests – or, Gideon mused, more likely threatening her with a beating if she did not comply, and do so with enthusiasm befitting her profession.

Eventually the older girl tired of her charge’s arguments and simply pulled her face into her groin, holding it there until the younger girl obediently began to suckle her clit.

Gideon had always enjoyed watching the Sapphic arts, ever since he had discovered his sister Gwendolyn practicing such perversions with her Welsh maid when he was seventeen. He had insisted they stay entwined until they had finished their course, then he had roughly taken the maid from behind, quite against his sister’s objections (though not, he recalled, the maid’s).

The feeling of fucking a freshly sucked cunt had been one of the finest he’d enjoyed, and he had encouraged the girl (whom he had fucked a few times before, though that hardly mattered during this tryst) to continue licking Gwendolyn. His sister had stormed out, embarrassed and threatening to inform their father, which meant Gideon had to content himself with slaking his lust between the maid’s thighs – though he gained a certain excitement knowing he was doing it to his sister’s secret lover.

Of course Gwendolyn had made no such confession to her father, for fear of the truth of her own bestial lusts emerging in public, so Gideon had proceeded to fuck the maid whenever the occasion permitted, and more, encouraged her to find another girl with whom they both could play.

But tonight he needed the stimulation provided by seeing such wonderful exploits should he care to take full advantage of his hostess’ hospitality and bugger the young whore. Watching two nearly identical whores sup between each others’ thighs was a glorious sight to behold, and as the two Celestial girls approached a mutual and monumental crisis of lust, Gideon found his cock quite hard and perfectly ready to resume his fun.

He had a sudden pang of regret, when he remembered that in as little as a fortnight he might be departing Tillassa and her wild, unsophisticated fleshpots for the more staid and civilized ports in Europe. So he resolved that moment to indulge himself to the fullest in his few remaining days, amusing himself the way only a noble in exile could: with lusty native girls and a bit of opium.

“I think I’m ready, Ladies,” he said, as the last moans and cries receded from throats and their spent twats recovered from their mutual licking. The two looked up at him, their juices thick on each others’ chins. “A little more sucking, a pipe, a little fucking, and a bit of buggery or two, and I think we can safely call it a well-spent evening.”