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
  ~089 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~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
  ~098 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~099 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~100 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~101 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~102 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~103 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~104 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~105 Epistle Coming Soon
  ~106 Epistle Coming Soon
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Phallic Amulets

Hard Resolution

Lysicles

Though he endeavours often to keep me close to him, there are times when sensitive affairs of state preclude even my own eyes and ears from learning certain things that doubtless press heavily upon Hadrian’s shoulders. When, however, we are later reunited into each others’ arms, I do my best to help him forget – if only for a brief respite – the weight of those responsibilities upon him.

Such is my duty, and it is not one I take lightly. While Hadrian has made it clear that his sights are set on a lustrous future career for me, and that he shall do whatever he can to ensure that I achieve it, I have also made it clear to him that my present concern is only for his immediate comfort. And so, while I shall work hard to learn as much as I can from him concerning the business of administering a civil service, I shall also take pains to unburden him of its stresses when and wherever I see fit to do so.

It goes without saying that I will not knowingly add to his daily burden, nor bother him with the trivialities of others’ requests, petitions, or prayers.

At least, it used to go without saying, for it was always an unspoken understanding in my brain; something I intuitively knew without needing to articulate into private thoughts. Perhaps it was the shock of betrayal at the hands of Mordanticus; the sudden understanding that, simply by virtue of my proximity to Hadrian, I was in constant danger of being exploited by unscrupulous others as a tool to access his ear. That experience had the gradual effect of turning me into an extremely cautious fellow, to the point where I now find my defensive walls grown increasingly fortified when in the company of others – especially if Hadrian is not present.

Thus I was not entirely surprised to find the requests beginning almost immediately, mostly from those whom I know only casually. What is far more disappointing to me, however, is the fact that such petitions have also begun to come from my friends, or, at the very least, those with whom I have a friendly acquaintance.

The most painful event (for that it has caused the most grief in me) is the one that transpired a few days ago, in the company of Cyprias. I had gone to him to replenish my supply of soaps – both for me personally and for Vitalis who had officially replaced me as Keeper of Epeius. But I had also gone simply to visit, for I had not seen Cyprias since my ascension to Favourite and sensed that he was keen to see and congratulate me.

Indeed, he was quite effusive in his praise, and made clear his delight and pride in my new position. “No doubt,” he joked, “a small part of that success is owing to the enjoyment that Hadrian has consistently had from the fragrant cleanliness of his horse!”

I laughed, and was very gracious in agreeing with his somewhat farcical assessment. “May I pleasure you?” he asked me eagerly. His face was warm and sincere, and the desire in his eyes was genuine and loving. I thought of Hadrian, and of his schedule. He was very busy that day: he was at that moment taken on an arduous inspection of the Guard, and then we both shared the promise of a long evening of entertaining ahead. I resolved that, in our time together that night, Hadrian would likely not be in so demanding a sexual mood as on other, less strenuous days. The result was that I felt comfortable in my decision to share some pleasures with Cyprias. “But I will not be entered,” I warned him. “You may have my thighs: not my arse.” (For I was being cautious – just in case!)

This to him was quite amenable, and we fell into our familiar pattern: myself in his mouth to my climax, and then he behind me to his.

I have always enjoyed the warmth and wetness of capable lips around me – and it is all the more astonishing an experience when the mouth into which I am thrusting belongs to a man of stature above me. Gryllus, Cyprias, and Hadrian have all been such for me. (Decentius, however, has never taken me into his mouth, for he, at least, subscribes to the ancient fashion that demands of free men to abhor it.) Yet from these three, I have learned that rules are never so rigid as the cocks they would command, and human desires – expressed in their true and private authenticity – far outshine the dull and traditional edicts that supposedly govern them. That is why, though I am freeborn and a citizen of Rome, I may still have my backside opened and claim in truth to enjoy it. And that is why, though he is the emperor of the world, Hadrian may still take me into his mouth and happily swallow what my pleasure serves up to him. Such are the private exchanges of sensible people together, who share themselves beyond the glare of public scrutiny. And I am grateful for that, for it gives me hope that perhaps with Vitalis I may continue to share pleasures long beyond the end of our youth.

Cyprias bade me onto one of his tables and I knelt backward, allowing him to lean over and accept my pulsing rhythm. He enjoyed simply being for me a receptive hole, and I very much appreciated that generosity which allowed me to do whatever I wished to arrive at my pleasure by my own pace and intensity.


Illustration by Shawn Postoff

And then upon that same table I placed my chest, with my feet planted firmly and close together upon the floor. I felt Cyprias moving between my thighs; felt his hardness sliding back and forth beneath my apricots. I retreated a moment into myself, inhaling the fragrance of the wood that had held so many thousands of bars of soap. Before long it was over, and I was using one of his rags to wipe the slime from between my legs.

“I shall buy you lunch,” announced Cyprias as he packed up my soaps while I dressed. I was suddenly quite hungry, and we left the shop together into the blinding daylight. To Trajan’s market we trundled, where he bought for us some skewers of beef, a half-loaf of bread and a jug of wine. Then we sat by a fountain and ate. I enjoyed the warmth of the summer sun on my face and the sensation of ultimate freedom I felt, even in the midst of my ostensible binds as Favourite to the Emperor of Rome.

“My life is good,” I said to Cyprias – and to him I’m sure it must have come from out of nothing. He smiled at me appreciatively. And then he spoke: “Antinous. Such a fine and generous friend you are to me.” I answered him with a mouth full of food: “And you to me.” He gazed at me for a long while, as if thinking for his next words. At last they fell from his mouth: “Do you enjoy the effects of my soaps upon your skin?” I nodded eagerly, but added, “Although there are times when I prefer a more traditional clean as can only be had by the invigorating scrape of a strigil. But your soaps are lovely, Cyprias, and certainly have their uses.” He nodded and thought some more. And then he said, “Do you think there are others at the palace who might benefit from them?” I tore at another bite of beef and chomped into it. And then I shrugged. Cyprias smiled, and continued, “I believe there are. Have you told them of my shop?” I shook my head, but then qualified, “I have told my friend, Vitalis, who has taken over my duties in the stables. I have told him where you are located, and am quite confident he will be by eventually to replenish the supply.” Cyprias thought some more, and finally said what was on his mind: “Long have I believed, Antinous, that it would be a most remarkable and selfless thing for you to do, if that you would whisper into Hadrian’s ear of the benefits to him and his court, should he order for it a continuous supply of my soaps.”

I swallowed the food in my mouth and remained silent. Though the sun continued to shine, I felt as if a sinster, grey cloud had suddenly moved in to cover it. The light in my head was dimmed considerably, and a coldness swept through. It took me some moments to formulate my words: “I cannot do that, Cyprias.”

“Why not?” he asked, and there was a hint of desperation in his voice. I answered him, “To exploit my position is to simultaneously erode it. For I feel in the very depths of my being, that were I to approach Hadrian with any request – be it ordained of my own desire or one that is merely transmitted through me– he would, despite very likely approving it, nevertheless look on me then as somehow diminished in his eye. And I am resolved that I will never, so long as I live, wilfully put myself in a place or position whereat my lover could find himself thinking less of me.”

His face had darkened while I spoke, and when I was done he stood. “Idealistic fool!” he spat, and then he stormed away, leaving me alone at my meal. I sat for a long time in my solitude as the oblivious people passed by. Was I indeed being idealistic? Perhaps. But it was an idealism that made immeasurable sense to me, and one I felt unable to betray. I departed from the square feeling saddened by the loss of Cyprias, but also fortified in my determination to protect Hadrian from all such future accosts. In fact, I immediately went to the temple of Minerva and made an offering before her idol. I prayed for her strength and assistance in helping me to maintain my steadfastness in that regard.

Then I marched directly up the Caelian, swept into the paedagogium, and deliberately interrupted Maltinus at his lessons. He was overjoyed to see me, and showed me off to his several pupils who were, I suspect, quite awed by my sudden presence in their school. I looked Maltinus directly in the eye and said, “Do not ever ask from me anything that I cannot procure for you without the help of Hadrian. I have just taken an oath before Minerva herself that I shall never use my position as Favourite to effect from the hand of Hadrian the desires of those around me. I am telling you this so that you do not in future jeopardize our friendship by asking me to break my promise to the goddess.” Maltinus considered my words carefully and then nodded in understanding. I kissed him upon the cheek and then departed.

The same announcement was shortly thereafter made to Decentius at his post and then, not long after that, in the stables to both Anaxamenos and Vitalis. And they all agreed without question. Upon speaking to my contemporaries, I instantly felt better, and allowed myself to smile. “You are good and noble friends,” I said. Then I handed Vitalis his supply of soaps and recounted to them the tale of Cyprias that had led me to such an uncompromising position.

“It is not idealism,” said Anaxamenos after a thoughtful moment. “It is, on the contrary, a very shrewd practicality. You have been chosen because of the pleasures you bring to the Emperor – not the petitions. Your strategy is a wise one, Antinous, and I fully support you in it.”

Vitalis nodded firmly: “Me too.”

What a pair of radiant beauties they were, and how my heart for them swelled! A.

 
Optimythic
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