The Sacred Antinous - Erotically-charged, Explicitly Illustrated, Queer-Themed Historical Fiction about Antinous and Hadrian
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LEGEND TO ILLUSTRATIONS
  CONTAINS X-RATED IMAGES
  CONTAINS R-RATED IMAGES
  CONTAINS G-RATED IMAGES
COMMENTARY
  ~000 Introduction
I - THE YOUNG SCHOOLBOY
  ~001 Arrival at Caelian Hill
  ~002 Life at the Paedagogium
  ~003 Monsters and Heroes
  ~004 The Private Baths
  ~005 The Soaps of Cyprias
  ~006 The Treachery of Gryllus
  ~007 Assurances and Endurances
  ~008 The Demise of Trenus
  ~009 The Surprise Inspection
II - THE COURT PAGE
  ~010 Little Donkey
  ~011 Whispering Hope
  ~012 Epigrams for Antinous
  ~013 Books from Maltinus
  ~014 Little Signals
  ~015 Promotion
  ~016 Juvenalis IX
  ~017 A Frothy Idea
  ~018 Evening on the Riverbank
  ~019 Across the Leagues
  ~020 Unprecedented Access
  ~021 Winged Mercury
  ~022 Dinner Guest
  ~023 Causes of Nausea
  ~024 New Pupil
  ~025 Wax, Soap, and Wool
  ~026 Four Daughters
  ~027 Vitalis Atones
  ~028 Futures and Histories...
  ~029 The Triumph of Desire
  ~030 An Image of Antinous
  ~031 The Ride From Rome
  ~032 The Villa at Tibur
  ~033 The Ride To Rome
  ~034 Praeconina
  ~035 Foolish Carisius
  ~036 The Christian Texts
  ~037 Married Pleasures
  ~038 In Tibur, Alone
  ~039 The End of Corinthus
  ~040 Turning Tables
  ~041 A History & Fantasy...
  ~042 A Sad Collection
  ~043 Rafts in a Raging Sea
  ~044 Rome, Home and History
  ~045 A Caravan of Monologue
  ~046 On Favorinus
  ~047 The Flesh of a Metaphor
  ~048 Disquieting Thoughts
  ~049 Purple Reign
  ~050 The Heart of Numidia
  ~051 Stables of the Palatine
  ~052 Hadrian's Deprivation
  ~053 Transcripts and Categories
  ~054 In the Wake of a Paradox
III - THE IMPERIAL FAVOURITE
  ~055 Father of the Country
  ~056 The First Night with Hadrian
  ~057 A Place in the World
  ~058 Hard Resolution
  ~059 Announcements...
  ~060 Keeping Company
  ~061 The Stallions' Ride
  ~062 The Tour Begins
  ~063 On the Isthmus
  ~064 On Grief
  ~065 The Eleusian Mysteries
  ~066 A Playful Wager
  ~067 The Delights of Athens
  ~068 On Receiving
  ~069 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~070 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~071 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~072 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~073 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~074 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~075 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~076 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~077 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~078 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~079 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~080 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~081 Epistle Coming Soon
IV - THE SEARCHING SOUL
  ~082 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~083 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~084 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~085 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~086 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~087 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~088 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~090 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~091 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~092 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~093 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~094 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~095 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~096 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~097 Epistle Coming Soon
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  ~099 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~100 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~101 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~102 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~103 Epistle Coming Soon
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Phallic Amulets

The First Night with Hadrian

Lysicles

Last night, Hadrian requested me into his bed. Fell down upon a single knee and, with eyes hoisted upward into mine, won by entreaty my assent. Not that he needed to ask, but the fact that he did – and even assumed before me the bearing of a supplicant – was extraordinary.

To be sure, much of the evening’s preliminaries were in good spirits, and there was an air of bemusement in the coyness of our conversation. We spoke of politics for a time, and of my particular role within his grand vision, but soon we drifted toward my particular role within his grand bed. It was then that he sank to his knee and made his request, at once a joke and a very serious optimism.

That he admires me is not a question, and for this alone I would have agreed. That he carries with him into his bedchamber at the end of every day the weight of his office upon his shoulders, and is burdened by the endless responsibility of its demand, and deserves at the very least an evening of brief respite as can only be obtained from the flesh, for this alone I would have agreed. That he is, despite the venomous thoughts of some, a virtuous being not given to random cruelties, for this alone I would have agreed. Yet it was so much more than these that directed my consent: Quite simply, I desired him. And, having waited so very long for this singular moment, I stood in awe of his presence before me. And inwardly I rejoiced, and inwardly I wept, and outwardly I calmly agreed.

The blossom of gratitude upon his face held a sweet radiance. He stood up and backed away, the better to silently watch as I undressed for him and stood nude amid the drifting lamplight of his chamber. He gestured to the bed, and bade me lie with my face to heaven; my back upon the dearskins and the down. Although it was warm in the room (for the fire had been burning since well before noon and the air was by now sweet and smoky), the furs were nonetheless slippery and cool beneath my skin. I felt their sensual softness welcome my buttocks, my palms, my feet, my elbows, my calves, and at last my shoulderblades. Only then did my spine descend into the plushness and I commanded myself to exhale. I was becoming hard, and he quietly observed me do so over the brief span of five strident heartbeats. He smiled then and laughed. “How marvelous you are!” he breathed. “How marvelous...”

Roman HomosexualityHe gazed down at my body for a very long time, roving with his eyes up and down the flesh as though attempting the memorize the intricate configuration of line and shape and shadow that was the home of my very being. So lengthily did he stand there at the threshold of his own bed that I felt myself losing firmness. I worried for it, thinking he would assume I thought him unattractive, and thus moved to rally myself again. But he smiled and shook his head to reassure me: “There is no need, Antinous, for you to perform as like a concubine, forever conspiring to satisfy. ‘Tis not the vision of your flesh that pleases but the knowledge of its inclination to be naked before my eyes. Let it be, and be not by its wilful mind embarrassed.” And so I relaxed, and allowed myself to become soft again. This pleased him even more, for he deemed it a very heroic state; the meditative calm of a warrior before a great battle in which there was good assurance of death. Why should he think such a thing? I chewed on it deliberately, for it afforded some brief distraction from his unusually protracted gaze.

At last he came onto the bed and lay down upon his side. He placed his ear in his palm so as to maintain an elevated eye above my face, and then alighted his free hand upon my chest. He felt for my heartbeat, as though intending to synchronize his own to its cadence. When he had succeeded, the hand drifted down to my stomach, and he watched it rise and fall with my breathing. His skin on mine was very pleasant, for his fingers were not so rough as a mason’s, yet not so soft as a girl’s. There was a power and a purpose in them, and they transmitted not a spark of surprise, for they felt to me exactly as I had expected they should. What they did convey, however, was a signal for my sprig to reawaken, and it did so with swiftness and ease. Again he watched its progression with an aspect of childish wonder that few, I suspect, have ever witnessed in the entire history of his rule.

His fingers then crept downward into my modest grass of hair and he lingered there, as if allowing his fingernails to drink from an unseen water hidden in the reeds while his knuckles brushed thoughtlessly up against the turgidity that hovered just above them. ‘Twas as though he refused to touch it; disdained to take it, and I marvelled, after all these pining months, at his ongoing restraint. How often had others lunged for it without so much as a thought to the propriety of its owner? Yet here beside me was the highest magistrate of Rome – one for whom want was a phantom and desire was easily sated – who, with a most majestic self-discipline, willed himself not to engage it.

“How shall I please you?” His question was sincere and attentive, acknowledging that to take me in his hand could be more a fulfilment to himself than I, and so he sought for affirmation before committing to a course of action. But how should I answer him? In my limited years, I have experienced a small number of practices that I may claim to have enjoyed; others, however, I’ve reviled for their sheer brutality upon my sensibilities. Yet of those cherished few from which I’ve derived a warm pleasure, my partner was compelled to arrange himself into a position of such considerable supplication that it seemed downright perverse to request it of Hadrian. And while we both had long understood that I was always to look on him as though stripped of all his glittering Roman titles, I confess to have found myself at that moment seized with a fearful hesitation, one which shows how deeply are planted the seeds of social construct. Thus I responded in such a way as to return the choice of activity to him: “You may do with me as you wish.”

“Have you no preferences?” he asked, and there was a hint of incredulous confusion in it. I thought for a small time before speaking, “I have some. Yet if that we are ordained to spend a great many nights together, there shall be ample occasion for you to discover them. Given as it was you this night who requested for me; you that voiced a wish for this inaugural union between us, let it be you that fittingly leads us toward its conclusion, for I am resolved this evening to follow, and to agree, and to submit.” Thusly I answered him, and he nodded in comprehension, thinking no doubt to perceive in me a reticence to direct in such a common act a one so rarefied as he. And so he took me then into his hand, and stroked with a deliberate pressure my flesh, and instantly I submitted to that singular delight.

Not many moments passed before he slowed and stopped. “I’ve decided,” he said. And with that, he climbed further down the bed and brought his face to my navel. He closed his lips about it and allowed his tongue to explore. I could feel the brush of his beard upon my belly – it tickled me modestly and I held my breath so as not to laugh, though I knew that my laughter would likely have pleased him. But then his face descended further toward my groin, and to my astonishment the man took me into his mouth. I gasped – more for the utter surprise of his action than at the pleasure it instantly afforded. Yet I quickly thereafter sank into the exquisiteness of the moment; to feel his lips about me – the hair of his face upon and attacking me; the manly beard of Rome scratching upon my scrotum and asserting itself up my spine and into my delirious mind. I felt an unassailable power wash over me. Yet it was not a benevolent force, Lysicles. Nay, it was a terrible selfishness. A feeling of the utmost desire and – more dangerously – the easy ability to destroy.

At that, I can hear you asking: “Destroy what?” To which I respond, “Lives.” For it dawned on me that this was the feeling of power by which kings became tyrants. This was the elixir with which every despised despot must surely fortify himself in order to command. And here it was within me, bubbling toward the surface of my leaping heart as the ecstasy inexorably intensified. To be sure, men’s lips have been about me before – and in the midst of all such previous experiences, never have I known such a dreadful feeling to manifest itself. And so it both thrilled and terrified me at once: this strange and unwieldy knowledge that the very mouth by which the lives of millions were ruled was presently muted and rendered senseless by the insertion of my most delicate tissue.

“‘Tis approaching…” It was a breathless whisper; a warning; a wail of wonder. I needed for him to know, to rise up and extract himself from that dangerous, embarrassing zone. But he refused, and carried ever on with his mission until indeed that terrible power punctured the surface of my soul and passed through me into him. He swallowed me complete and hungrily, and then, with a breathless satisfaction, raised his head back into the world of composure. There was saliva on his beard, frothy and white. His eyes were heavy and unfocused. I watched him patiently, awaiting for the man I knew to return. Finally he looked at me and smiled. Then he turned to gaze down to my shrinking flesh, still wet and shiny and filmed with my pleasurer’s cooling slime.

Some moments passed until finally, and still without any words between us, he reached up to his shoulder and unfastened his fibula. He dropped it onto the floor and shed from his body the Purple. His manhood was erect and jutted straight from his body. And I instantly understood what was next; could see its intention filling his face. He had drunk from my power, and now it was within him, firing him into that very malevolent tendency that only moments before had been I. He looked directly into my eyes and spoke: “Give me your legs.”

No longer was he requesting or entreating. The time of his supplication was ended. I did as he commanded and placed my ankles into his awaiting hands. He raised them high and set my feet upon his shoulders. He reached for a nearby flask of oil, emptied it onto his flesh and massaged at it briefly. And then with hands still slick he pulled my thighs toward him, and in but moments was within me, thrusting slow and steadily into some unfathomable future. There was a profound silence between us: only his breathing was audible. His eyes were shut, and I stole the opportunity to stare up at him, to study the face of this lone man who had so utterly altered the course of my life since that rending earthquake long ago. I felt him inside me; felt his slippery hands upon my legs. I watched his belly as it moved forward and back. I gazed up at my very own feet that hovered about his head: they became for him the ears of a goat and turned his face into a satyr’s. This is my lover, I told myself as I watched him. At long last, this is my lover.

Antinous and Hadrian making love on their first night together
Illustration by Shawn Postoff

His rhythm intensified and quickened, and finally he exhaled a single word, “Antinous…” and pulled me desperately close into his hips for an extended time. I could feel his essence filling me; discovered to my authentic joy that I welcomed it. This indeed is my lover. He is my lover and I do love him. Hadrian.

When the deed was done and he had extracted himself, he lay down beside me with a purring smile. “You are to me as like a god,” he sighed, and drifted then into a languid semi-sleep, flitting fretfully between my profiled face and the face of a snow-capped Olympus. I wondered at his utterance. Was it an authentic sentiment, or but the dismissible musings of an itinerant mind far too contented and cozy to brook such a swift return to its accustomed rigour? Why should he say such a thing? If that I am beauteous, then tell me so. If that I am one to inspire lustful thoughts, then admit it. But call me not, in the scheming earshot of the Gods, a god, for it shall doubtless make them jealous of me. And though many in this day and age must surely scoff at the notion that the Gods do yet listen to the cordial prayers of urbane men, I must for my own sake believe that they are better disposed to listen to the mind of Hadrian. And so I was perturbed to hear him say such words, no matter how inconsequential he may have thought them to be.

I am not a god, Lysicles, and, tho' the fantasy always remains that I should become one, methinks 'tis best it remains as it is - a fantasy. Such was my mind as I lay there on that bed, awash in the rhythmic breeze of an Emperor’s softly wheezing nostrils. I surmised that to leave his side at that time in order to rinse myself would likely awaken him, and such was not my place nor my intent. Thus I resolved to join him in his slumber through the night, and let his liquid seep out of me onto the furs, if that was indeed its tendency. I resolved to dream of the hunt, and dream still more of my rejoicing the fact there was no shortage of game beyond the hills that harboured Rome.

And so it ends, I thought to myself as the sleep crept from its shadows to nibble at my mind. The long and perilous road to Hadrian’s bed ends here.

Now, of course, does the truest adventure begin. A.

 
Optimythic
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