A Past Rewritten
by Fur and Fantasy
NC-17 for M/M
full contents and notes located at the bottom of the file

Kyrin was awoken by a strange rushing sound, and a tingling feeling in the air. It was like the air just after a lightning bolt passed close by. The door to his bedroom which had been closed, was ajar. It set off every warning flag the seasoned warrior had as he slipped from the bed and quickly grabbed a blaster and short sword to seek the unusual intruder with his senses fully open, even the weak connection he had to the Golden Tapestry itself.

"Are you sure this is the right place?" A strong female voice said in strangely accented Golden.

"Yes, Calla. I'm sure." An equally strong male voice said with respect but no real subservience. "Given the hour, he's probably asleep. We're just in the wrong room."

"What brings you unannounced to my home in such an unusual manner?" Kyrin demanded as he stepped into the room to face them openly.

"A matter of great urgency, Lord Kyrin." The female warrior said respectfully. "And the limitations of the temporal magics involved. I am Calla Redwing of Darshira, and this is my companion Telus Icewind of the same province. We're here on the orders of Regent Maltira Blackmane."

That raised an eyebrow. "She was of some time ago. What need does she have of me?"

"It is complicated, but first we need to be sure of something. Do you know a gray and black tom about your age named Termin BrightClaw?" She asked simply.

Kyrin nodded sharply. "Medium gray, black ears and points? We've been searching for him."

"We know where he is, though he's not where we wanted him. Our last agent erred on the way back and mislaid him, and now things are more complicated than they were. I believe the Regent is hoping you will be able to fix things, because you have influence with him." Calla said quietly.

"Lets start with why did you want him in the first place?"

"A couple reasons." Calla said easily. "We need to stabilize relations with the SunCrest Empire, and the Oracle said that he was our best, perhaps only hope of doing that. The border raiding threatens to erupt into full-scale war at any time, and we can not afford a war with them, not at the present time. Certainly not with the IronFang Alliance engaging us in constant border skirmishes, which cost lives and draw off forces. The Oracle told us he was a skilled diplomat with a rare vision, and that he was already favorably inclined toward us."

"And the reason he is not inclined you help you now?"

"The problem is that somehow the agent mislaid him, and he ended up in the Empire." She shook her head. "Though he did avert a war by stopping an assassination against the Sovereign's son. An assassination that was cleverly set up to frame us for it. He's done quite well for himself since then. Not many make Archduke in fifteen years. It is thought that he is a likely candidate to be the next Sovereign. But he is not on our border, his territory is far from us."

"And what do you want me to convince him of?"

"The Regent needs to meet with him, to discuss a matter of great importance. But the meeting needs to be in Golden territory, because we can not trust the Imperials with her safety. The problem is that because of the border raiding the Imperials, especially ArchDuke BrightClaw are not willing to trust us either. He trusts you though." She said quietly.

"You will return us to this time, if he wishes it." Kyrin said softly before turning to dress properly for traveling. "I will come."

"We never intended to keep him. We just needed a special envoy to keep things stable for awhile." She said quietly as he quickly dressed for travel.

"Where will I be dropped in?"

"We will try for the town of Madera about two days ride from Castore, the Archduke's capital. That's as close as we can get without interference from the palace wizard. You will have to be careful, there are unscrupulous sorts who will take advantage of your status as an unknown Golden in Imperial territory. Some practices I'm sure long since abolished in your modern times are still practiced in our time." She explained. "And we're not what we once were."

"Slavery," he nodded in understanding. "And we are regaining our power again," he paused, a soft smile on his face. "The growing alliance with Haven, where Termin is from, and several other empires, is a great boon to our power."

"No, I mean in my time we're not what we were." She clarified. "We have not had a Queen in fifteen hundred years." She finished very softly.

"How?" Kyrin turned to look at her, a mixture of bewildered and suspicious. "The line is unbroken to this day."

"In your timeline this is true." She said quietly. "But not in the splinter of time we occupy. Fifteen hundred years ago, the Queen and her children were assassinated. Bastet has promised us she will be reborn, but it has not happened yet. Six times it almost happened by was blocked by one disaster or another. We know we are close this time, but if a war with the Empire should break out we may lose one of the two Goldens required; again."

"I will do my best." He said simply as he packed his no-technology travel pack. "I must inform my Queen of this. Will your magic permit my Equs and two hounds to accompany us?"

"I'm afraid the Oracle only gave us one extra talisman." Telus said apologetically.

"I understand," he nodded in acceptance and stepped over to the phone to make a very unusual call.

"Hi, Jays," he said softly. "I've got a cross-time-dimensional lead on Terry. I'm going with two Goldens from there. They expect to send us back."

"Yes, I know."

"Yes," he paused for a while. "Yes, ma'am. I'm going after him."

"I'm sorry, not even Shader can join me."

"Fifteen hundred years back, and a few timeline splinters over."

"Yes, ma'am. I'm bringing him home, or staying."

"Thank you, ma'am." He said softly and hung up before turning to his visitors and lifted his backpack on. "Let's go."

Calla nodded, and handed Kyrin a heavy silver amulet. "Put that on, and do not remove it until it stops glowing." She instructed.

"I understand," he nodded and complied.

A glowing mist rose from the floor as the three amulets glowed brightly. Slowly the room faded to be replaced by swirling multicolored streaks of light in the darkness. There was a feeling of increasing acceleration, not uncomfortable but impossible to ignore. Suddenly, a dragon of shadows arose in the darkness and attacked the field, causing it to shatter, throwing the travelers in three separate directions.

"Look for our kin, and the Queen's emblem." Calla shouted, barely heard over the roar of the dragon.

Kyrin tumbled through the darkness, spiraling faster and faster until the acceleration became too intense and he lost consciousness.

"So they sent another one." A somewhat petulant male voice said, as Kyrin awoke. "They can't stop me, why don't they just accept that." He said. As Kyrin's eyes focused he could see that the voice belonged to another Golden tom. The Golden was seriously unkempt, though his build and movement when he went to examine Kyrin's pack, marked him as warrior-trained. When he turned back to Kyrin, the Golden tom could see a strange, wild fire burning in his captor's eyes. "So you're awake. Who sent you, and why?" The tom demanded.

"I came to retrieve my friend," Kyrin said as he struggled to get up.

"That would explain why you're wearing their symbol." The tom growled and snatched the amulet from the bound Kyrin. The heavy chain broke at the tom's angry touch. "What's Maltira up to now? She sent you to stop me, didn't she? Well it´s not going to work, any more than it did with that last one she brought from the future."

"Far as I know, I'm not here to stop anyone," Kyrin said tiredly as he quietly worked on undoing his bonds. "Just retrieving my friend. Why would I want to stop you?"

"'Cause your one of those who worship that self-perpetuating tyrant. Just like Maltira and her cronies, trying to bring back the great Oppressor. It was hard enough to get rid of her, now I've got to keep it that way. So much wasted potential cause of the damn shekats and their superiority complexes." The tom ranted, not worried about his bound victim, secure that the chains were strong enough. "This time I'm going to put an end to this whole rebirth nonsense once and for all. Leave that whole mythology in the dust bin of history where it belongs."

"I just want to have Ter back, as my mate." Kyrin shook his head. "He's not one of them."

"They don't do people favors without wanting something." The wild haired tom shouted. "What did you agree to do for them?" He roared, as a bolt of energy leapt from his hand to slam Kyrin into what felt like a tree. Though the energy was intensely painful, it didn't seem to do any damage.

"They want me to talk to him," Kyrin murmured. "He doesn't trust them, but he trusts me. She wants a meeting."

"In that case, she's not getting it." The tom growled. "He's not supposed to trust them. The Empire is supposed to declare war on them."

"Whatever. I want my mate."

"Maybe in the next life, shekat wannabe." He growled, as a nimbus of energy built up around him. The crackling energy dissipated as the tom twisted and fell, a long feathered arrow protruding from his back.

"One psychotic we can do without." A deep voice said, as a tall muscular leopard Xanith stepped from the shadows. He was dressed black leather armor and was in the process of strapping a longbow across his shoulders. He knelt down next to Kyrin, and examined the tom closely. "Well, doesn't look like there's any real damage. Good thing too, his Eminence gets really angry about mistreated slaves."

"Thank you. That one was crazy." Kyrin said quietly. "Which Eminence are you referring to?"

"The only one this province has, course. Archduke Termin, and I think he'll pay handsomely for you." The Leopard smiled as he lifted Kyrin to his feet, as a smaller Lynx grabbed the pile that the insane tom had made with Kyrin's gear. "Well, truth is he'll buy most Golden toms away from slavers, but I think he'll like your looks."

Kyrin nodded and complied with relaxed acceptance since they seemed intent to take him where he wanted to go. "I wasn't sure what province I'm in."

"Not a good thing for a Golden to get lost in the Empire. Especially without mark of citizenship or foreign dignitary." He smiled. "Can you walk?"

A quick mental check of his body and Kyrin nodded. "May I have the amulet he stole back?"

"Amulet?" The Leopard looked over at the Lynx. "Corin, did you find an amulet?"

"There was a pretty scorched silver amulet on the ground, Tydin." The Lynx nodded, as he pulled the amulet out of one pocket. "Chain's broke though." He said as he handed it to the Leopard.

"Looks good against your fur." The Leopard said as he opened Kyrin's shirt and held the amulet there. "We'll have to stop in Duvalle and get it fixed. You can have it when it's fixed. What's left of your clothes seems to lack pockets." He said casually, drawing Kyrin's attention to the shredded state of his clothing.

"He was insane," the Golden said softly, hurting deep inside at such a thing being possible. "That this is all he did was a small miracle."

"I think he was about to do more." The Leopard said quietly. "My name's Tydin Shadowbane, my companion is Corin Telmar. Do you have a name your willing to give?" The Leopard asked politely.

"I think it was only to kill," he said softly, desperately hoping it was true. "I am Kyrin SunChaser."

"I wouldn't make any bets on what that one was thinking." He shook his head. "First time I actually found it necessary to kill a Golden." He said, clearly not pleased. "Did I hear you correctly, that you have a mate somewhere around here?

"We were still courting when he vanished," Kyrin said softly. "I came seeking him. Lord Termin BrightClaw."

"The Archduke?" The Leopard's eyebrow rose in a mixture of surprise and doubt. "You're not just saying that are you? No, I can see you're not." He nodded. "Well, I would be taking you to him anyway. At least this way you don't have to worry about running into trouble with the less scrupulous sorts." He smiled wryly. "You'll have to ride in front of me, until I get a wizard to remove those bonds." He said leading Kyrin to where Tydin and Corin's mounts were tied.

"I don't mind," he managed a slight smile as he followed. "I'm a respectably good rider. How far is it to ... where Terry is?"

"Assuming the Archduke is at court, he's in Castore. That's a two-week ride, since we're near the border. It's fairly easy territory though, since the Imperial Patrol in this province does a very good job of keeping the roads safe for travelers." Tydin explained as he lifted Kyrin on to the horse's back, and mounted up behind him. "The capital of this barony is only a few days ride from here, so we'll head there first. Hopefully we can find a wizard as well as a jeweler there."

"I would think there would be," Kyrin said quietly, before realizing that on this world and time, anything was possible.

"Baron Manx's corruption makes things uncertain." He said simply. "But I am hopeful." He said as the horse began trotting through the relatively thick forest, finding its way with ease. "How long have you known the Archduke?" The Leopard asked conversationally as they rode.

"A couple years, though that was when he was heir to Haven, not here." he said by way of explanation. "Our lives and time is ... complicated."

"I don't doubt it." The Leopard nodded. "Where he comes from has always been something of a mystery. But he has the Sovereign's confidence, so no one pushes the issue. Even after fifteen years, I imagine he'll be glad to see you."

"I hope so," Kyrin said softly, easily relaxing into the horses' gate. "I miss him."

"As strange as this may sound, coming from someone in my profession, feel free to ask me questions. As far from here as you come from, I'm sure you have them." He said casually.

"What is your profession?" He glanced back at the much bigger tom.

"Oh, I figured you guessed by now." He smiled quirkily. "I'm a slaver by trade, though what you'll hear from others varies widely. Some think I'm an agent of the Archduke, keeping an eye on the various subordinate nobles. Others think I work for the Sovereign or as an enforcer for the Wizards' Council. Without bragging too much, I'm one of the best swordskats in the Empire."

Kyrin chuckled softly, shaking his head. "I've never met a slaver before. It's been outlawed in my homeland for generations."

"I wouldn't be surprised to see the same happen here, in the next few decades." Tydin smiled. "Nor would I be particularly upset."

"An unusual attitude, to not mind your profitable job vanishing."

"Oddly enough, the profit is only sort of my motive." He smiled. "And other positions that pay well are available to me."

"So why do you chose slaver?"

"Because it lets me keep potential slaves out of the hands of the less scrupulous slavers." He said simply. "Making up for a less than sterling past, I suppose."

"An interesting choice for redemption," Kyrin said, softly thoughtful. "How well do you know the Archduke?"

"I deal with him on a regular basis, and have since he was one of the border barons on the border with the Golden Clanlands. We've talked occasionally, and I think we're friends though I don't think we've ever discussed that fact. I think I understand him well enough."

"Do you think he is happy with his life here?" He asked seriously.

"He seems to be." Tydin nodded. "Though I think he could really use at least one mate. Given his tastes he'll probably need at least two."

That made Kyrin chuckle softly in fond memories. "Yes, at least two. Are Tigers around here?"

"Not locally, but the Khans of Midrasha are frequent visitors at court." Tydin smiled. "I'm guessing the Sultan of Midrasha is looking to marry his younger son to the Archduke."

"Yes," he abruptly became subdued. "It wouldn't be the first time."

"They seem to get along okay, but I don't see a marriage as likely. I'm not sure the Archduke is comfortable with the age difference."

"The Tiger is that young?" He glanced back, a bit surprised.

"Just turned seventeen. He was sixteen when he was introduced to the Archduke, a perfectly reasonable age for political marriages as far as I know."

"Ter would never accept a political marriage," Kyrin chuckled. "It's not his way. And if he's been here fifteen years, I can definitely see seventeen as far too young. Or he's just being his old self about it." He snickered.

"Of course, it isn't so clear to most people because he actually likes Raji, as a friend." Tydin smiled. "So, the Tiger is in court for extended stays on a semi-regular basis. The Archduke is considered one of the most valuable of the available nobility currently, and one of the most frustrating as well." He chuckled.

"Yeah, that's my Ter," Kyrin smiled fondly. "He's been like that since he became available, back in Haven."

"Yes, I seem to recall he's been playing hard to get since he was one of the border barons." Tydin chuckled. "Had interested parties from both sides of the border, well actually only one Golden, that I recall."

"He's been at it much longer than that," Kyrin chuckled softly.

"I take it he was someone of significance back home?" The Leopard asked curiously. "And equally difficult to marry?"

"Yes," he nodded quietly.

"Given his position he'd be considered a good catch no matter who he was, but that he's a good person as well, makes him much more attractive." Tydin said quietly. "For someone in his position, he's remarkably uncorrupt."

"It's how he was raised to rule," he shrugged slightly.

"Perhaps that's why the Sovereign favors him. He's more like her, than even her own son."

"He's very good, at what he does," Kyrin said softly, thinking of all the things this time would be completely unprepared to counter that the gray tom knew.

"No kidding." Tydin grinned. "His record as a military commander is quite impressive."

"I have no doubt," he nodded. "I'm sure he's made many other marks on the area."

"Quite a few. The nobles aren't always happy with him, but the merchant class loves him." Tydin nodded. "As does the military."

"I'm not surprised," Kyrin nodded slightly. "Though I'd guess it's more likely that the corrupt don't like him, rather than nobles in general."

"Well, some of his ideas aren't popular with the traditionalists." Tydin smiled. "His idea of expanding education was nothing short of revolutionary."

The Leopard could feel the shocked tension in Kyrin's body, though the Golden remained silent.

"I take it you don't approve." Tydin said quietly.

"What kind of ass-backwards society doesn't educate it's kits?" The golden-cinnamon tom almost exploded in a mixture of utter outrage and shock.

"Education has always been something of a prerogative of the nobility." Tydin shrugged. "Made it easier to maintain control. Terry's expanded education to include the middle and lower classes."

"Uneducated masses cripples growth, science, technology, the economy ... everything." He half sputtered before controlling himself. "Educated people are far easier to control in the long run, if you're intelligent."

"That would be Terry's position, but it is, as they say, an idea well ahead of its time. Uneducated people rarely question what they're told, so less principled leaders find it easier to get what they want."

"They're also much, much more likely to rebel with violence." Kyrin said simply.

"Not to date they haven't." Tydin said quietly. "But I happen to agree with the education initiatives Terry's promoted." He smiled.

"Whatever makes the nobles happy to believe," he shrugged. "I'm sure they can find precedence for their beliefs."

"To be honest, the Empire has been stable for over a thousand years. I don't know about precedence, as much as I think its 'just the way it's always been' sort of thinking. People with much to lose and little to gain, tend to be resistant to change." He said simply.

"Whatever," Kyrin said simply. "None of what I'd counter that with is in your history books yet."

"Probably not." Tydin chuckled. "And it may never be in the history books, this time round."

"It wouldn't have been, even without Ter coming," Kyrin shrugged. "Our timelines splintered before the death of the Golden Queen was conceived of."

"That's one thing I've never really understood." Tydin shook his head. "How can the death of one ruler, fifteen centuries ago, still be causing problems today? And why didn't some powerful noble step in and claim the title?" He asked, clearly curious.

"Because it's not a title, not the way it is for your kind. The Golden Queen is the heart and soul of my people. When she died without and heir for her magic to fall to, our unity shattered with it."

"Wow, that's incredible." Tydin said quietly. "So that's why they all talk about this rebirth thing as being important. Sounded like that nutcase back there, preferred the position being empty."

"She could only have been killed by one of her own court, another Golden." He said softly. "No one else could have gotten close enough. Only a Golden can keep the Rebirth from happening as well."

"Good thing he's dead then, cause it sounded like that was what he was trying to do. And he seemed like he knew enough magic to be dangerous."

"Yes," he admitted quietly. "He was."

"I just hope he's really dead." Tydin said quietly. "When magic gets involved you can't always be sure."

"Not magic like that, no."

"Well, I'll ask Namos when we get to Castore, that wizard seems to have the inside track on most things. I imagine he heard the nutcase crashing around dumping magic energy all over."

"He wasn't exactly quiet about it." Kyrin acknowledged.

"Were you serious about the Regent wanting a meeting with Terry?" Tydin asked curiously.

"That's what I was told," he nodded.

"Fascinating." Tydin said quietly. "He's not even on the border with Golden territory. I wonder what's up." He said quietly.

Kyrin just shrugged.

"Okay, we're going to make one stop before we go to the Palace." Tydin said as they walked through the city, the horses having been stabled earlier. "Tethys' baths. I think we can all use a hot bath, fresh clothes and a hot meal before we go see the Archduke. That okay with you, Kyrin?" He asked, though he didn't think the Golden tom would object.

"That sounds fabulous," he purred, very happy at the thought of getting two weeks of mounted travel and field living out of his fur.

The Tethys was clearly an upper-class establishment judging from the clientele and the quality of the construction and upkeep. Tydin walked up to the black and white tom who was apparently the proprietor, and dropped two gold coins on the desk "Your finest private room, a hot meal in three-quarters of an hour, and we'll need these clothes cleaned." He said setting a pouch of their clothes on the desk.

"Would you prefer male or female attendants?" The proprietor asked as he bit the edge of the coin, testing it.

"Neither, we can handle bathing as long as you provide shampoos, towels, and brushes." The Leopard said easily.

"Very good, sir. Lars will show you to your room. Your meal will be along as requested."

"This way, sirs." A young brown and black shekat said, as she showed them to a large room with two overly large tubs built into the floor. The one tub had a silver rim, while the other had a gold one. She stepped out for a moment, and then returned with a basket containing brushes, combs and bottles of shampoo, which she set down next to the silver rimmed tub, and then left again returning with a large pile of fluffy towels. "The silver is for washing, and the gold for rinsing. " She said as the two tubs began filling with water that steamed, promising soothing warmth. "If you require anything, just ring the bell." She said before leaving.

"Excellent, tubs large enough to accommodate the three of us." Tydin smiled, and began to strip down, with Corin and Kyrin following suit without a word.

"I have so missed a hot morning shower," the Golden moaned in soft pleasure as he slipped into the silver rimmed tub up to his neck, letting the heat soak into his fur and skin before drifting all the way under until even his hair, swaying towards the surface, was submerged.

"I do like the luxuries of city life." Tydin admitted as he and Corin joined Kyrin in the very roomy tub. Both of them relaxed though both got their heads under the water only long enough to get them thoroughly wet. "Would you like help scrubbing your back?" Tydin offered to Kyrin, once the tom resurfaced for a deep, relaxed breath.

"Sure," he smiled with lazy amber eyes over his shoulder. "Trade of favors?"

"Sounds fair to me." Tydin smiled, as he looked through the shampoos. "So what's your preference in scents, light on the scent or heavy?" He asked casually.

"Light," he said, stretching abused muscles in a comfortable display of his body.

"Got it." Tydin nodded, and picked one of the lighter scents, as he put a generous glob in his hand and began scrubbing the tom's shoulders with strong, firm motions. "You know, Barak wasn't too far off." He said quietly as he scrubbed. "If you weren't someone important to the Archduke, I'd be tempted to keep you myself."

"For what?" Kyrin's body tensed under the Leopard's hands, but not as much as Tydin had expected.

"Well, if you were just another Golden tom, probably as a companion, to use my term. Assuming you were willing, even if its legal I don't believe in taking slaves against their wishes."

"Oh," he settled, highly unsettled by the idea of being stuck here and without Terry. "You prefer males?"

"I like males more than females. But I've been with a few shekats as well, it's more the person than the external equipment." He grinned.

"A rather modern idea, for choosing companions," Kyrin said softly as the Xanith cleaned his fur.

"A fair number of nobles have interests in both. Though usually there's a mate for show and heirs, with a male consort. It's fairly rare for the main bond to be with the same gender." He said simply. "But I'm not a noble, so I don't have to worry about succession and that stuff."

"That's how it worked back home too, though it's usually a male for heirs, and another warrior for play."

"Oh, that's right. Goldens are a matriarchy." Tydin nodded as he worked lower down. "The Empire has nobles of both genders. Oldest kit inherits the title normally, unless they're obviously not qualified for some reason."

"Oh, there are Warrior Toms, but we're about as common as shekat warriors are in most other areas. Not many have the temperament for it." He relaxed at the confident touch, unconcerned with the intimacy.

Tydin chuckled. "Oh, I know there are. I've beaten a few, tough fights, at least as tough as the shekats." He smiled as he finished the tom's legs.

"Tend to be more stubborn, just to get past the social expectations," Kyrin chuckled softly. "It's so much easier just to accept being a tom."

"That's what the non-warrior Golden toms said." He smiled. "Currently the Empire is actually have a serious upswing in the number of warrior shekats currently, but then we are approaching the fiftieth year of the Sovereigns reign. The presence of strong female monarch encourages them."

"Yes, it does." He nodded slightly, turning to grab the shampoo to return the cleaning. "Examples are frequently helpful."

"We seem to flop back and forth on the Sovereign. I think out of the last ten, six were toms, and four were shekats. Well, not exactly it was actually five toms, four shekats and Maltes."

"Shifter, or herm?" He asked curiously.

"Rather annoying curse actually, one no one ever found a counter for. Had a number of triggers that caused shift from one gender to the other, abruptly. One of the triggers was orgasm."

"That's just mean."

"Agreed. We never did find out its origin. It was on an artifact that was estimated to be at least forty thousand years old."

"Somebody with a warped sense of humor," Kyrin shrugged as he lathered up the shampoo and went to work on Tydin's shoulders.

"Nice touch." Tydin smiled. "And a fairly impressive amount of Talent."

"Talent?" He asked curiously as he worked the thick spotted neck.

"Magical ability, though it tends to refer to a more natural less trained one, than Gift."

"I am a Golden," he said simply.

"You asked." He shrugged. "Though maybe Goldens use the terms differently. I never discussed magic with one though, mostly cause I don't know much."

"I never heard the words used much at all," Kyrin said as he worked down the Leopard's strong back. "It's just what we are."

"Most of the other races aren't that way." Tydin said quietly, leaning into the touch.

"Most aren't crippled by the loss of a leader either," he shrugged without missing a beat with his hands. "Everything is a trade-off sooner or later."

"That's true enough." Tydin nodded. "Can't have anyone being perfect."

"They'd control everything, sooner or later," Kyrin said softly. "Perfect isn't a natural state of affairs, even for gods."

"No it isn't. Everything is flawed in some manner, and I find that reassuring." He chuckled.

"It's how things should be," the small tom said as he worked shampoo into the fur of Tydin's hips and tail.

"And keeps things interesting."

Kyrin sort of nodded and continued worked down the Leopard's body.

Once they were all soaped up, Tydin climbed out and into the gold-rimmed tub, which began swirling in a kind of whirlpool fashion. Corin and Kyrin quickly followed him in. "Nice thing about these, the flowing water gets the soap out." Tydin said as he sank into until his hair was covered, and example that was easily followed by the other toms.

As they were drying, there was a knock on the door, and two shekats came in pushing carts. "Dinner, as you requested." The taller, blonde shekat said with a smile, as she set up folding trays with the prepared meals on them.

Kyrin couldn´t help licking his whiskers eagerly at the smell of the offerings. After two weeks on the road, and weeks of desperate searching in his own time, the scent of roasted meat, baked fish, butter-drenched vegetables, fresh bread and fruit and cold milk was more than enough to make him salivate heavily.

"Eat up, Kyrin." Tydin gestured to one tray as he took one for himself. "After we've eaten we'll go see Terry." He smiled, as Corin took the third tray.

That was more than enough to get him to claim his share and dig in eagerly, but just as in the field, he never completely lost the manners of a court-frequenting noble.

"Well, you'll have no problem fitting in at court." Tydin smiled.

"I was raised in the Queen's Court," he told them with a smile, never missing a bite or slurring his words. "At least where I'm from, almost all Warrior Toms are."

"I get the impression that it's a little different in the Clanlands. Seems like their raised wherever they happen to be born." He said trying to remember what he'd learned over decades. "I know the various villages are very competitive to get them."

"Kits of two warriors are likely to be unusually strong and skilled," he said softly as they ate. "Without a Queen for so long, I doubt there is much in common between Golden culture, and what managed to survive here. The lack of unity would create the same kind of deterioration most societies face over the generations."

"I think they've tried to hold things stable." He said quietly. "And from the sound of it, they've had some success. I'm just going by what I've gotten from various conversations over the years, of course."

"It is our culture, has been for longer than we've been Kats," Kyrin said softly. "Even without the unity and stability, people do try to hold on to what they've known for so long."

"Exactly, and you Goldens do tend to more stubborn than average." Tydin said with a fond smile. "I expect they've stayed truer than most cultures would've managed."

"We're probably more aware than any others just how far we've fallen, too." He murmured. "Such a memory has its down side, when things are going poorly."

"So assuming this Golden Queen actually is reborn, like I've heard talked about, can she reverse the decline?" He asked curiously.

"Given what local tech looks like, internally, things will be normal within a decade." He nodded.

"So probably about the time Terry succeeds the Sovereign, if people's guesses are right." Tydin nodded quietly.

Kyrin looked kind of startled, then thought about it. "I guess so. Depends on how long the Sovereign lives."

"No longer than anyone else particularly." Tydin shrugged. "And she has been Sovereign for fifty years, and she wasn't young when she assumed the throne."

"Might not be that early then," he said quietly. "Depends on how she comes by her new body."

"I suppose it happens when it happens." Tydin said acceptingly.

"That's usually how it works," Kyrin agreed.

As they finished their meal, there was another knock on the door, and a pile of neatly folded clothes was handed through to Corin when he answered the door. Having finished first, he started getting dressed after separating out the clothes. Tydin finished off the last of his milk and began toweling dry before dressing. Kyrin's shorter fur made for quick drying, and despite taking longer to eat, he was dressed before the Leopard.

"Okay." Tydin said looking over Kyrin carefully once he was dressed. "Lets go see Terry." He smiled, picking up his pack from the corner of the room.

"Well, back so soon, Tydin?" The dark gray tom in the expensive robes of the Archduke's Castellan said with smile. "Though I'm sure the Archduke will be pleased to see you as always."

"Yeah, I'm sure he will Mavis. What's the waiting time to see him like now?"

"Only one ahead of you." He said as gestured to the three to be seated in the expensively appointed waiting room, done mostly in red and gold, with dark reddish wood trim. "Though she may take awhile. I can only assume that a Golden warrior of her rank must have a very good reason to venture this far into the Empire."

"No kidding," Kyrin sat politely and relaxed, letting his mind focus on the connection the Golden nearby had to the Tapestry to see what he could of her.

Chief Merissa D'keneth. Mother, mated, seeking.

About an hour later, the Castellan opened the door. "The Archduke will see you now."

"Come on, Kyrin." Tydin said as he led the way into the ornate throne room. The room was brightly lit by ornate glass sconces that glowed with out smoke or flame. Sitting on the throne was a medium build gray tom with black ears, wearing expensive royal robes, and a golden crown. He was leaning to one side of the throne, petting and talking softly to the fully grown adult female tiger, who was lying next to the throne.

"Your Eminence, Tydin Shadowbane to see you." The Castellan announced, and then stepped out of the room.

"Tydin, old friend, you're back sooner than expected." The gray tom said as he turned to look at the party approaching him. "No trouble I hope."

"Not all your Eminence." Tydin bowed politely. "Good fortune really, I found a Golden warrior tom in the Darkshire Forest. He'd run into trouble with an insane wizard."

"A warrior tom?" The Archduke asked surprised. "Strange that he should get all the way to Darkshire. Marked then?"

"No, sire. Unmarked."

"You brought him with you, didn't you?" The gray tom smiled. "His name?"

"Kyrin SunChaser, sire." The Leopard said easily, with Kyrin still behind him.

"Tydin you have a most perverse sense of humor." Terry shook his head. "Kyrin won't be born for fifteen centuries. Of course, I'm not sure how you knew his name."

"I told him, Ter." Kyrin said softly, taking in the changes time had wrought on his friend. "You aren't the only one that can get lost in a time trip."

"Kyrin?" Terry said in quiet disbelief as he got up, and walked toward them. "Is that really you?" He asked softly. As he walked forward, Kyrin could see that Terry hadn't aged noticeably in fifteen years, but that wasn't surprising, since his mother's family was noted for longevity. His eyes were the most noticeable change, showing both the weight of leadership and of necessary compromises to very different times.

"Yes," he nodded, taking the couple steps forward and offered an open hand. "Touch if you want." He offered softly.

Terry nodded. "Thank you." He said quietly, as he took the hand and let his mind reach out and then suddenly swept the tom into his arms. "Gods, I've missed you Kyrin." He said with heartfelt emotion as he was hugged back tightly.

"We've been going crazy looking for you, but time is a big place." He shivered and pulled his lover closer, burying his muzzle against Terry's neck. "I can't imagine fifteen years."

"It's been strange. I miss home and everyone, but at the same time there's so much good I can do here." Terry said quietly, holding Kyrin close. "Still don't know why or how I ended up here, but I'm doing okay for myself. I see you met my oldest friend in these times." He smiled over Kyrin's shoulder at Tydin. "He's the one who got me into the Baron's guard detail, which is kind of how all this." He swept his arm around. "Came to be."

"I'm not surprised you've done well," he purred softly, nuzzling the gray tom. "You were bred and raised for this."

"Well not exactly this." Terry chuckled, and then looked at Tydin. "Tydin, old friend, this is twice I owe you a debt I can't pay." He smiled.

"No debt at all, Terry." The Leopard smiled. "Friends look out for each other, that's all. Corin and I will leave the two of you to catch up." He smiled.

"But you'll come for dinner tomorrow." Terry said, though it wasn't really an order.

"Yes, Eminence." The Leopard winked. "It was good meeting you, Kyrin." He said as he turned to leave with the Lynx in tow.

"Thank you, Tydin," he shifted his muzzle from it's place against Terry's neck long enough to look at the Leopard and smile.

"My pleasure, I'm sure we'll meet again." He said just before they left.

"So do you have any idea how you got back here?" Terry asked curiously, as he held the lean tom close, once the others had left.

"Two Golden Warriors from this place teleported to my home, and told me you were here. They transported me, though it didn't go quite as planned." He said softly and pressed close to his mate in the memory-fear of seeing the insane one. "Your Leopard killed one of the possessed ones, and evil Golden, and saved me, but not our way back."

"Silver amulet, intricate design?" Terry asked quietly. "Evil Golden? That's something I haven't encountered in fifteen years. What did this Evil Golden want with you?"

"Yes," Kyrin nodded. "I was separated from them on the trip." He explained quietly and shivered. "He ... he wanted to stop the Queen's Rebirth. To stop you from talking with the Golden Regent, and making peace. The Empire is supposed to declare war. I was just a threat to that."

"Seems like there's a lot going on." Terry nodded. "Why don't we go somewhere more comfortable?" He suggested with a smile, as two servants came in and took the crown and fancy robes. Under the robes Terry was wearing fairly simple gray pants and tunic reminiscent of military fatigues. "Oh, this is Rissa." Terry reached down and scritched the tiger. "Rissa, this is Kyrin." He smiled at which the Tiger stood, walked over to Kyrin and nuzzled his side politely.

"Hello, Rissa," Kyrin smiled politely at her and extended a hand to be sniffed before he scritched her ears. "You have beautiful stripes."

Rissa rumbled happily as she sniffed Kyrin's hand, before looking up at Terry and woofing approvingly.

Terry chuckled lightly. "Well, flattery will get you everywhere. She likes you, which is saying something. Great Tigers are fussy on who they like."

"That's good, because I intend to stay with you."

Terry smiled warmly. "I'm glad to hear that. You were one of two people I've wanted to see more than anything. Let's move this to my quarters, they're more comfortable than the audience hall." He said quietly, though he didn't move from holding his lover until Kyrin urged him to.

"I like that idea a lot," he purred softly. "I'm sorry Azra couldn't be here, though I understand his ancestors are already in power."

"This way." He said leading the way. "Yes, I knew his family had been in power a long time, but I had no idea how long." He added as they walked. "But I'm glad one of you made it, both of you would be too much to hope for." He said pausing to claim a passionate kiss.

"Not if one of you is willing to relocate," he purred softly as they parted fractionally. "I'll explain in private."

"Here we are." Terry said opening the door into quarters that the word 'luxurious' was an understatement for. "This is just the outer room." He smiled as he guided Kyrin to a plush couch. "A bit overdone for my taste, but I have to maintain the appearance of my station."

"People see your sleeping rooms that often?" He asked uncertainly, though there was nothing uncertain about how he snuggled against his mate.

"No, but that was the explanation I got when I asked why my predecessor had gone so overboard." Terry chuckled. "I've learned to let some traditions slide, so it makes more of an impression with the ones I chose to challenge." He added quietly, kissing Kyrin gently. "Generally speaking the people who see them, aren't really here for the decor." He smirked playfully.

"I would hope not," he chuckled and relaxed against the gray tom. "Do you want to go back, to where we're from?"

"Yes and no." Terry said quietly. "Like I said, I do miss family and friends but I can make a real difference here. More than I´d ever do at home." Terry said quietly. "And there's something more, something hard to explain. I just have this very strong feeling, that right now this is where I'm supposed to be."

"It has something to do with the Rebirth. You're needed here, to facilitate it. The way I know, will require the Queen's assistance."

"Will require the Queen's assistance? I thought the Queen was the one being reborn." Terry asked a bit confused.

"Yes," he nodded. "The way back I know, won't be available until she's come fully into her power. Probably not for a decade or more."

"Well, Cressus may have figured out the magic before then. He's only been studying it for over a decade. To be honest if the magic works, I can hold off returning until I'm needed at home. Though I would like to let grandfather know what I'm doing, he'd understand."

"Going back through the Tapestry, will put us down within a few days of when I left, within three weeks of when you disappeared."

"That'll work with me? I thought the Tapestry was a Golden only thing." Terry asked curiously.

"You'll have to go with me, with the Queen's help, but it can be made to work, with enough power."

"Well, let's see what things are like what that's an option." Terry smiled. "Ten years is a long time, a lot can happen. After all, ten years ago I was only a Baron."

"And ten years from now, some would not be surprised to see you Sovereign."

"Perhaps, though the Sovereign may live longer than people expect." He smiled. "And given that there are only twelve candidates, that some thing me likely is not surprising." He grinned.

"And Tydin is a bit biased." Kyrin chuckled softly and snuggled close. "At least you've done well here."

"Tydin is very biased." Terry smiled fondly. "And as you pointed out, this is what I was born and bred for, basically. Having the Sovereign's good opinion doesn't hurt either."

"It rarely hurts to be favored by the ruler," Kyrin chuckled softly. "I've missed you a lot."

"And I you. I am glad that Tydin found you, instead one of the others." He smiled gently. "It simplifies things."

"They'd take advantage of what I mean to you," he said softly.

"If they figured it out they'd try, though it's a risky game." Terry said quietly. "Just having you registered as a slave would've complicated things."

"Legal garbage?" He guessed.

"Yeah, some of the ones even I can't ignore." Terry shook his head. "Like not being able to change your status for a year. As it is, you don't have a status so I can certify you as a foreign emissary, which is even true."

"Yes, I suppose it is, in a roundabout way," he chuckled softly. "A foreign emissary who intends to stay close."

"Very close." Terry purred, nuzzling Kyrin affectionately. "'Sides, the Golden Regent did arrange for your being here, I seem to recall you mentioning."

"Yes, she did," Kyrin laughed playfully and cupped Terry's cheek for another kiss. "And if Tydin said correctly, you've been playing your usual hard to get, too."

"I just haven't found anybody I really wanted to be with." Terry murmured after their lips parted. "Well, there was one but he's kind of insistent on not being first Mate, insists that the position is already taken." He smiled softly.

"He wouldn't happen to be a very pretty Tiger from Midrasha?"

"Raji? No, he's a just a good friend." Terry chuckled. "'Sides he's got his eye on someone else. Mine's a feisty Golden warrior tom." He smiled.

"That's a lofty goal," he purred. "Two Golden Warrior toms."

"Well, hopefully the two of you can get along." Terry smiled. "Though I imagine that'll just increase the number of visiting warrior shekats." He chuckled softly.

"So when can I meet him?"

"I'm expecting him back tomorrow. Every so often he goes looking for something, it's very important but also very private. He always comes back, so I don't push on just what he's looking for." Terry said quietly.

"Speaking of warrior shekats, what did the one ahead of me want?"

"Oh, the same thing she wanted ten years ago." Terry chuckled. "She's trying to figure out what my sire price is. That's still a very strange concept for me."

"That makes sense," he nodded, relaxing against his mate. "Do you have an objection to it?"

"Hard to put my finger on." Terry said quietly. "I was raised with a very strong sense of family, and no real separation between the concept 'father' and the concept 'sire'. Barring tragic circumstances, they were always the same thing." He said trying to explain something that was as much instinct as conscious thought.

"You know you can put those kinds of terms in the price," Kyrin said quietly. "It's a contract, and like most, terms are determined by those involved."

"So I've been told, not that its terribly feasible, given the responsibilities and locations of the two parties." Terry said quietly. "I am thinking about it all the same. Figure it can't hurt future relations."'

"You can always split the kits," he suggested. "You get the boys, and she raises the girls."

"That's an idea." Terry nodded. "One I suppose she might even go for."

"Unless she's unusual, she will," he murmured. "It's a common enough arrangement. A lot of warrior toms like to raise their sons as warriors if there is any promise in them."

"Be interesting to see how the points hold." Terry chuckled softly.

"Poorly, I expect," Kyrin said gently. "It takes a lot of diluting for a Golden-blooded to not be a solid shade of brown."

"That's why I'm saying it's interesting." Terry smiled. "These points are from a Panther Xanith ancestor centuries ago. Standard genetics says they should have held for more than a generation or two at most." He chuckled. "Two unnaturally strong genetic traits, running into each other."

"Yes, it will," he chuckled and shook his head. "Has she said why she's interested in you?"

"Someone got wind of my psi-abilities." Terry chuckled. "Or as they call them currently, Seer talents. That combined with my leadership ability strikes her as a good combination with her own traits. I guess she thinks the talent potential in my genetics will somehow enhance the Golden natural gifts." He smiled. "I also discovered that I've got a real knack for swordplay, something I never would've discovered back home."

"She's right," he chuckled and nuzzled his mate. "You have incredible potential as a sire."

"So what do you think about this? After all, this could leave us with a kit or two to raise." He smiled gently.

"Remember what I said about introducing you to shekats who would be interested in you, not your money or rank?"

"I might have said something like that fifteen years ago or so." Terry chuckled playfully.

"Golden fems were most of the list," he smiled. "When warriors court warriors, it's about genetic advancement and compatibility."

"That makes sense." Terry nodded. "Funny thing is, if our territories were adjacent there might be something long-term workable. We do get along well, when we actually manage to be in the same area."

"Your territory is likely to overlap hers, soon enough," he pointed out. "When you're Starlight's Sovereign and she's a Golden Noble."

"In ten or twenty years, that's possible. Now is Golden Noble, a title different from her current position as Chieftain of a village." Terry asked curiously.

"Nobles only exist when a Queen does. They are her court, military leaders ... all the positions that cover large territories."

"Well, it's certainly an interesting idea." Terry nodded. "And something completely in keeping with my reputation." He chuckled broadly.

"Oh?" He glanced up uncertainly.

"I've got something of a rep for being fond of Goldens." He chuckled. "And for having the largest population of them in any Imperial territory."

"Why am I so not surprised," Kyrin snickered. "Though I wouldn't be surprised if that is true of every slave race around here."

"Well, the Golden's war with the IronFang Alliance has led to an increase in the number of Golden slaves on the market." Terry explained softly. "But you're mostly right, I don't keep slaves any longer than necessary for them to meet the requirements for freeing them. And I encourage my subordinate nobles to do the same. It's part of the reasons I have one of the better armies in the Empire. I'm a few centuries early for the professional army."

"Among a lot of other concepts," Kyrin chuckled softly. "There are advantages to being from the future, once you get used to the lack of technology."

"Yeah, like adapting magic to fill in some useful gaps." Terry chuckled. "Like refrigeration."

"Worth a major fortune to traders."

"It will be once we get it so the spell is stable when you move it around, so far it only works well in fixed positions. Makes a good refrigerator, but not a cooler to throw in the back of a wagon."

"It's still several millennia ahead of its time." Kyrin chuckled. "It's easy to forget how much change an idea can make, with the power to put it into effect."

"Fourteen centuries give or take." Terry chuckled. "But who's counting?"

"I don't know," he said quietly, leaning against his mate. "I don't really want to."

"Don't worry about it then." Terry said gently. "I figure Ayren will be in with a tray of hot chocolate anytime now. He's discovered it works wonders for calming me down in the evening." He chuckled softly.

"Sounds very good," he purred and leaned against his mate. "But anything that involves being warm and with you sounds good."

"Speaking of warm, I forgot to turn on the fireplace." He smiled and turned to look at the large brick enclosure. "Let's see how many tries it takes this time." He muttered staring at the brick. "Ignem." He said firmly, which resulted a brief surge from the fireplace and a flicker of flame. "Oh, going to be difficult today are we? Ignem." He repeated firmly, with much the same effect. "Stupid bloody command word." Terry muttered.

"Magic not working quite right?" He asked curiously and came over to look, more than a little fascinated.

"Magic works fine, but I just have a damn hard time with even the basics. My wizard says it's because of my Seer gift." Terry chuckled wryly. "Which makes some sense. Theorists in modern times, were often of the opinion that the two were incompatible."

"You were actually trying to use magic?" He blinked, a little surprised.

"Not even as complicated as a cantrip really." Terry smiled. "Very basic command word invocation, most nobles have a few items around that require them."

"Is it something anyone should be able to do?"

"Pretty much, and I can with a few tries. I just have to stop reaching out my mind, 'cause it creates interference." He chuckled softly.

"So how do you, I mean, is it just the command word, like voice activation?"

"Basically, you just 'touch' the magic grid in the room and issue the command word." Terry explained. "My problem is that I keep trying to 'send' the command word to the fireplace, and it generates interference."

Kyrin looked at him, blatantly out of his depth as he tried to translate that into anything he could relate to.

"Yeah, lousy explanation." Terry shook his head. "They tell me it works like any other command word does with magic. The only difference being that it works from across the room, unlike say smaller objects which require you hold or touch them."

"I think I should have paid more attention in theory," he shook his head with a weak chuckle. "Hard to get interest in something I'd never use."

"At least you had theory." Terry chuckled wryly. "Magic's only barely beginning to be taken seriously on my side of the ocean."

"I should probably not try it though, until I get a little more of a clue," he murmured. "I could set off the entire room, if what I understand is correct."

"I'll grant that might be possible." Terry said uncertainly. "Though I hope the fireplace is a little better designed." He said, and then glared at it. "Oh, Ignem already." He said in exasperation, at which it ignited and began burning warmly. "Oh, for Bastet's sake." He shook his head and dropped back on to the couch.

"I think it enjoys frustrating you," Kyrin snickered and settled down on Terry's lap. "Though I was referring to what my heritage could do if I tried magic without training. I don't know what my abilities are."

"Oh, that's right. Not much opportunity for practice in modern times. Especially not at home." Terry nodded. "I'm sure we can find someone to help you figure it out, if you want to."

"It'll show in time," he purred and nuzzled against the gray tom. "But it would be interesting to find out."

"Well, time you've got." Terry smiled, and then grinned as there was a polite knock at the door. "That will be Ayren." He smiled as the door opened and a small grays and white tom came in pushing a cart with a large silver serving set.

"Good evening, sire." He said politely, as he set the serving set down on the wooden coffee table. His motions were efficient and graceful as he filled two handsomely decorated mugs with what smelled like rich hot chocolate. He put them on silver coasters, and set one in front of each tom, along with a small silver pitcher. "The shortbread is fresh, sire." He sat as he set out a plate of golden brown cookies, as a final touch. "I'll clean up later." He smiled as he backed out, a fond smile for Terry on his face.

"Thank you, Ayren." Terry smiled back warmly, as he watched the tom go.

"Smells good," Kyrin purred as he wrapped his hands around one mug, gratefully soaking in the warmth before he brought it to his lips for a cautious sip for temperature.

"There's cream, if you need to cool it down a little." Terry smiled, as he took the other mug, and poured a little cream into his mug from the smaller silver pitcher.

"It's good," he shivered slightly as the rich, hot liquid slid down his throat to warm him from the inside. "It's so cold this far north."

"Yeah, that took some getting used to." Terry nodded. "I've lived in tropical climes since I graduated from high school. I'd forgotten how cold it gets north of where the city will be." He said while sipping his hot chocolate, Kyrin slowly warming and relaxing against him as over two weeks worth of being cold and uncomfortable was melted away.

There was a knock on the door, as Terry and Kyrin were relaxing after breakfast.

"Come in." Terry said casually.

"Good morning, Eminence." The white tom in purple robes trimmed in gold said politely. He was a little taller than Terry, but of a thin, wiry build. "I hope I'm not disturbing you."

"Not at all. Soros, I like you to meet Kyrin SunChaser, my mate. Kyrin, this Soros Stormwalker, Master Wizard and one of my most trusted advisors."

"From your time, Eminence?" The wizard asked curiously, as he extended a friendly hand that was easily accepted by the Golden without disturbing the snuggling embrace he had with Terry.

"Yes, Soros. A very pleasant surprise brought to me yesterday evening by Tydin." Terry smiled warmly.

"Good to meet you, Soros," Kyrin smiled at him.

"I was curious, Kyrin, about your magical ability. I can see that like all Goldens you have some, but yours is definitely more wizard-like, even if untrained." Soros said politely, sitting as Terry gestured to one of the chairs.

"I never heard about it before, but I don't know what my abilities focused on either." He nodded, the wizard having nearly his full attention. "What kind of magic?"

"Well, the aura reads most strongly around divination and enchantment." Soros said easily. "Though strong enough that I imagine you could learn other areas as well if you wanted to."

"Cool," he smiled and snuggled against Terry. "I'm afraid I don't remember much of what little theory I had."

"That may be for the best." Soros smiled. "I expect they teach a different theory in the future. But I'm willing to teach you, if you're interested in learning."

"I'm always interested in learning," he grinned. "Especially where I have ability."

"Much like Terry." Soros smiled. "We can work out a lesson schedule, once you've had a chance to settle in. Time travel leaves some residual energy that takes a few days to dissipate, which will give me time to create an appropriate lesson plan."

"That works fine for me," Kyrin smiled and nodded. "There's plenty to get used to."

"Good, then I'll get back to you when I've got a plan ready." Soros smiled, and stood. "But if you get bored at some point, feel free to stop by my tower, I can always give you a book on basic theory to read in the interim."

"Mmm, hopefully I can read whatever it's in," he said quietly. "I haven't actually tried to read locally yet."

"Well, ask Terry to teach you if you can't." Soros smiled. "He's quite gifted when it comes to languages."

"Among other things," Kyrin purred, nuzzling the gray tom. "Brilliant minds tends to have a few specialties like that."

"Just to keep it busy." Soros chuckled. "And Terry does keep busy. Good day, Kyrin. Good day, your Eminence." He smiled as he left, closing the door behind him.

"This should be interesting," he snuggled against the gray tom. "I never figured I'd actually get trained in anything like that."

"Almost a given here, when you've got the potential." Terry smiled. "Should've figured Soros would notice."

"You did?" He looked up curiously.

"Hard to explain, but magic potential creates a ripple I can 'see'. Second sight is what Soros calls it, a function of my limited precognitive ability." Terry explained. "Though I can't analyze it the way he can."

"You must see an interesting version of reality," he chuckled softly and stretched up to claim a long, slowly passionate kiss.

"Sometimes." Terry said when their lips parted after the intense kiss. "But I try not to, too much. And it isn't hard; most of the time what I get is flashes. Precognition is almost self-defeating, since by seeing what the future may be, it gives you fair warning to change your actions, there by eliminating it. Kind of an early collision system for events."

"If you interpret correctly at least," Kyrin claimed another kiss. "By The Phoenix I have missed you."

"That's the tricky part." Terry murmured, once they came up for air from another long kiss. "It has been too long, love. I'm very glad you're willing to stay." Terry purred deeply.

"I want to go home, but not without you," he murmured softly and sank off the bench to nuzzle his mate's groin. "It's not worth it."

"We will, eventually." Terry murmured quietly, followed by a soft rumble at his mate's increasingly insistent attentions. "Just not yet."

"I can wait, with you," he promised as he got Terry's pants open and slipped his fingers in to fondle dark gray balls.

"Oh yeah, and are we going to have some interesting stories when we get home." Terry rumbled, as his arousal built.

"Hopefully not too many we can actually tell the kits," he chuckled as his folded tongue slipped inside his mate's sheath to tease at the head.

"I don't know." Terry rumbled and arched his back in pleasure. "This era tends to generate stories. Especially for the folks back where we're from."

"True," he murmured, his hot breath flowing over the cockhead he was circling his tongue around.

Terry didn't say anything, just purred and moaned as his sheath thickened and his cock slid out to its full length. He reached his hands down to massage his mate's thin, triangular ears while his shaft was caressed by the pricking pleasure of a skilled tongue and the wet heat of a willing mouth.

"Oh gods, yes." Terry moaned softly, and shivered as he enjoyed the pleasurable sensations. "Oh gods, that's good."

The reply came in a silent increase in focus. Kyrin's tongue playing over the particular pleasure spots for his mate as his other hand slipped further in to cup and roll Terry's balls, and trace one finger lightly around the gray tom's tight pucker.

The only warning Kyrin got was a slight arching of Terry's back as he began spurting into his mate's mouth with spasms as he came with a cry of pleasure. He easily swallowed the offering, licking and suckling until his mate could give no more and slowly raised his head from the twitching length.

"Gods, you're good at that." Terry rumbled as he came down, and pulled his mate up for a long passionate kiss. His hands explored Kyrin's body through clothing, slowly working down to undo his pants.

"You were just a little wound up," he chuckled softly, nuzzling his way up to his mate's ear. "Let me mount you, love." He whispered in a soft rumble.

"You sure, love?" Terry asked, a bit surprised but not in a bad way. He was just very well aware that Golden warrior toms didn't like that role, in fact some of them found it humiliating to be in such a culturally subservient position.

"Yes," he nodded against soft gray fur, his voice a tumult of emotions as he pressed close to his mate. "Something I should have offered you months ago."

"As long as it's something you want as well." Terry rumbled, as he gently fondled his mate's balls to a soft moaning purr. "I'm certainly willing." He rumbled and slid his pants completely off with caressing assistance, Kyrin intent on getting him completely naked and in their bed.

Despite his nervousness, Kyrin's touch was firm and sure as he guided his mate to his back without breaking the intimacy of a kiss as he covered the gray kat with his body.

Terry purred with deep arousal, as he lay on his back in the big bed looking up at Kyrin with deep love in his eyes as the golden-cinnamon Golden Caracal slowly kissed his way down his body, pausing to swirl his tongue around one hard nipple.

"Oh yeah." Terry rumbled, as his hands reached to stroke and massage his mate's large, velvety ears as the loving mouth licked and nipped down his abs to take his hardening cock in his mouth again.

"Oh gods." Terry moaned in pleasure as he continued caressing the sensitive ears. The attention and voice gave real encouragement to Kyrin as he mentally worked his way up to mounting his lover for the first time with familiar pleasures of his mouth working Terry's sensitive skin.

Before the gray tom could cum though, Kyrin let the pulsing, hard flesh slip from his mouth and guided his mate to roll over with his ass in the air. Before reaching for the lube though, he blew gently over the bare pucker and darted his tongue out to wet it.

Terry moaned eagerly as he flipped his tail out of the way invitingly. It earned him a rather lavish rimming, Kyrin's tongue pressing into his body several times. It caused the gray tom to moan and shudder eagerly, as his pucker fluttered excitedly under Kyrin's loving attentions.

The cinnamon-golden tom slowly shifted away, kissing up Terry's spine as he reached for the lube used on him the evening before. He focused on doing what Terry did to him, taking it slow and gently, while keeping his own mind on other things with his mate's body.

Terry continued purring and moaning, while he was opened by gentle fingers that knew from receiving more than giving. He knew it wasn't easy for Kyrin to take this role, so he tried to be as verbally encouraging as possible as the Golden slid up along his back and slowly pressed into him. He concentrated on relaxing the muscles to make his lover's passage as easy as possible. He purred encouragingly, as he felt the familiar and yet always different sensations of being mounted by a new male.

A soft whimper of a moan escaped Kyrin's throat as he sank fully into his mate with his head against Terry's shoulder blade. He held there for a long moment, his body still as he fought down the mental rebellion at what he was doing. Then he began to thrust, his breath shuddering at the new sensations flooding his body.

Terry gently squeezed down as his mate pulled out, and relaxed as he thrust in, slowly building up a rhythm with his lover's motion. They had barely found their pattern when Kyrin reached down to stroke his mate's hard cock, using every trick he knew to bring this off.

Despite having come once already, Terry was already close to the brink and began breathing heavily at his mate's touch. He tried to hold himself back momentarily, and then considered that maybe Kyrin was expecting him to come first. It didn't take many strokes before Terry's ass clamped down on Kyrin as he roared his orgasm. The additional spurts were accompanied by a pulsing flutter of the muscles in Terry's passage that each drew a whimper that finalized into a roaring cry when Kyrin's body arched down to flood his mate with his seed.

As Terry came down, he slowly lowered himself to the bed with Kyrin still on top of him, though the cinnamon tom had pulled out almost as soon as he'd finished coming. "Certainly worth the wait." He murmured, still catching his breath as Kyrin held him in silence, just holding him close as his mind and body settled down over it.

The door to the bedroom opened and a Golden tom a couple shades darker than Kyrin walked in. He was slightly broader in build, and a bit more muscular. He stopped just inside the room, and looked over the new presence in his lover's bed. Not that he was surprised, since finding a Golden tom in the Archduke's bed was hardly a new thing, but this one was a bit different. Not only a warrior tom like himself, but one not from this reality. It was a moment later that the Tapestry came back with the new warrior's name and linage.

"Hello, Rayvin," Kyrin said softly from the other side of their mate.

"Greetings, Kyrin." The other tom smiled as he realized who he was looking at. "Welcome to the past." He said as he walked silently toward the bed, knowing that Terry was awakened by little, especially with his Tiger on guard.

"Was your search successful?" He asked politely.

"Not yet." Ravyin replied with a voice both patient and completely confident.

"Come rest with us?" Kyrin smiled softly and lifted the blankets on Terry's far side a bit in invitation.

"Thank you." Rayvin smiled as he stripped and climbed in. "He's missed you terribly, you know." He said softly, snuggling in.

"I know," he murmured softly and pressed close to the sleeping tom. "I've missed him a lot too."

"I'm glad you're here." Rayvin smiled softly. "I was fairly sure you would be, eventually."

"That's what Terry said," he smiled and relaxed. "That you wouldn't take first mate, because it was already taken."

"It would've been wrong to take advantage of his missing you, that way." He said quietly. "Especially when I knew you'd be here in time. I just couldn't explain how I knew."

"Fortunately, he's good at accepting things like that," Kyrin smiled.

"He understands seeing the future." Rayvin smiled softly. "I should send word to the Regent that her agents got you here after all."

"With help from his," he nodded and closed his eyes, relaxing against his mate.

"Oh, which one?" Rayvin asked curiously.

"Tydin and Corin."

"I'm not surprised." Rayvin smiled softly, as he relaxed sleepily against Terry. "Those two are a good example of every group having its exceptions."

"Anyone Ter would hold close is a good exception to the rule."

"True." Rayvin smiled. "Though they have to be to keep up with him."

"A given," Kyrin chuckled softly.

"So, did he have any female companion at home?" Rayvin asked curiously.

"No, just Azra and me."

"No kits then?"

"Nope. No expectation of any either."

"Something he kind of needs to work on." Rayvin said softly. "His not having an heir, makes people nervous."

"Nothing new there," he shrugged. "He gets off on it too, being difficult to pin down on his relationships."

"And yet there is really no doubt about them, if one is observant." Rayvin smiled quietly.

"No, just refuses to admit it so there can be paperwork done," he chuckled softly. "Though his preference for toms makes that easier."

"Well, he did try." Rayvin chuckled quietly. "I just wouldn't let him."

"So he said," Kyrin nodded. "I expect there are going to be some serious partying here now that we're both here."

"I expect so." Rayvin grinned. "Especially once he actually gets the Sovereign's permission to marry."

"There isn't any real doubt of that, is there?"

"I don't think so." Rayvin said quietly. "But it really comes down to what she thinks of you."

"That'll come when it comes," Kyrin said softly. "If I passed his grandfather's muster, I can pass hers."

"Probably." Rayvin grinned. "Though the Sovereign is not at all what one might expect. More like what the Tapestry tells us the Queen was like. Different, but there's a similarity."

"Maybe that's why the empire is so strong."

"Could be." Rayvin nodded. "That and a willingness to promote nobility from the commoners, something a lot of kingdoms don't do."

"Stupid not to recognize ability," Kyrin muttered softly.

"Well, that's a given." Rayvin smiled in agreement. "There's a reason a lot of these little kingdoms don't last more than a couple centuries."

"And why many of those that survive, so." He said softly with a yawn.

"You know we can always talk later, if you're that tired." Rayvin smiled. "I expect we'll be spending a fair bit of time together." He added quietly, as he settled in next to Terry to sleep.

"At dinner, probably," he chuckled softly and settled in.

Terry woke first, but didn't actually move, enjoying where he was far too much to move. He'd fantasized in the past about having both Rayvin and Kyrin in bed at the same time, and it was still a very pleasant novelty to have it real.

"Hi, love," Kyrin nuzzled him from the left.

"Hello, love." Terry turned, and kissed his mate affectionately. "So, did the two of you have a chance to talk at all, or were you asleep when he came in?" He asked softly.

"We talked a little," he said softly.

"But we were both more interested in sleep at the time, love." Rayvin murmured from behind Terry, nuzzling him softly.

"Welcome home, love." Terry smiled as he turned to kiss the darker tom. "Same results as last time?"

"Yes, though I think something is about to change." Rayvin replied easily.

"You mean aside from the Regent arranging for Kyrin to be here." Terry smiled playfully.

"That was a pleasant surprise." Rayvin chuckled, as Terry rolled to his back leaving a clear line of sight between the two toms. "'Morning, Kyrin. Though I think it´s more likely late afternoon by now." He grinned.

"From the sun, I think so," Kyrin chuckled softly. "At least I'm still a few weeks light on good rest."

"I spent the last month in the field, so I haven't exactly been getting quality sleep either." Rayvin nodded understandingly. "Especially since sleep is never as good alone." He grinned playfully.

"Well, I won't argue with that." Terry smiled. "I'm sure we can work on getting you both caught up on good sleep."

"I don't doubt it," Kyrin chuckled, nuzzling the gray tom's neck and then looked up at Rayvin. "What did your gift turn out to be?"

"Borderline precognition." Rayvin chuckled. "Of course, it's also combat precog so it works out nicely. My gift reinforces my warrior training on a subconscious level, especially when I get worked up. Improved strength, reflexes, and a higher pain threshold."

"Especially useful in this time, I expect," he smiled. "Apparently I'm a mage of some kind."

"I'm sure Terry's wizard was most pleased." Rayvin chuckled. "Having a second mage in noble house, is always a plus."

"He was." Terry chuckled. "I half expected him to translocate a stack of books down the moment he found out."

"I expect he'll be claiming a lot of my time for a while," Kyrin smiled in resigned amusement.

"A fair bit of it." Terry nodded. "Kind of like going to college in modern times. Only with more field exercises."

Kyrin paused to place the reference, then nodded. "As long as I get to sleep normally, I don't mind."

"I don't think that'll be a problem. Lack of sleep doesn't combine well with magical studies, it leads to interesting mistakes." Terry said quietly. "And there is more to life than study, or work."

"Like I've been reminding him for years." Rayvin chuckled.

"Has it sunk in yet?" Kyrin teased.

"Not often enough." Rayvin grinned. "He's worst when I'm out searching."

"There's a lot to do." Terry protested, in mock indignation.

"You don't have to do it all yourself." Rayvin nuzzled Terry playfully. "But at least you didn't sleep alone while I was gone."

"You can tell?" Terry looked around innocently.

"Of course." Rayvin grinned. "Apart from Kyrin, I mean." He said rolling his eyes.

"It's not hard," Kyrin snickered. "And you never were the one-mate kind."

"Just not the way I was raised." Terry smiled. "Good thing for me I usually fall for those who aren't one-mate sorts either."

"I never did get monogamy, to be honest." Rayvin shook his head. "Seems like a strange idea, limiting yourself to just one person."

"Didn't make much sense for breeding either," Kyrin shrugged. "Until I saw just how little many cultures care for kits, and I kind of got it. It's a way to make people be a little responsible when they wouldn't willingly. Why they let them breed in the first place, that I still don't get."

"Because most cultures don't control who breeds." Terry said quietly. "For most cultures that's a strictly hands-off subject for government. And actually, it does make sense for breeding, if you're tracing lineage through the fathers, as many cultures do."

"Which is the most idiotic concept I've run across out there." Kyrin snorted. "You can never prove who the sire is without serious magic, or technology."

"Can we refrain from culture bashing?" Terry asked quietly.

"Sure," Kyrin shrugged and settled into a rather dark mood.

"Thanks, I prefer not be lumped in with the idiots." Terry said quietly. "Even if there are days when I think I've got a territory full of them, with some notable exceptions."

"You claim their culture as your own?" Kyrin looked at him a little funny.

"The Pellatiers have traced lineage through fathers for almost eight hundred years." Terry said quietly. "No, I don't claim it really. I just have to run it." He shook his head.

"Then you aren't a Pellatier." Kyrin stared at the gray tom.

"Of course, I am. I don't claim the local culture, which is different from home." Terry explained. "Not like I'd be anything but a Pellatier."

"Your only tie to the Pellatier family is through your mother, so you can't be a Pellatier if they trace through fathers. Your father isn't one."

"It's complex." Terry said. "I guess we trace through both, now that I think about it. It can get confusing, cause for one thing the head of household is always a Pellatier, even if he or she had another name before taking the position."

"You might want to remember that, before you disown your family next time, claiming only your father's line."

"I knew what I meant." Terry said quietly, not sure why Kyrin was making such a big deal out of a trivial misspeak. "Honestly, we never think about it at home. But we don't just claim one side, either side."

"Maybe we should get washed up for dinner." Rayvin suggested. "I think we could all use a nice hot bath. And the whirlpool tub is something else, Kyrin."

"That does sound good," the grumpy Golden tom nodded and stretched before rolling out of bed.

"This way." Terry smiled and rolled out after him. He led the way to the huge bathroom, with the tub that could probably fit three Xanith comfortably. "The first thing I did, was remodel the bathroom." Terry chuckled as he began filling the tub.

"You mean once you got the running water installed." Rayvin teased. "You, your wizard and those twin Panthers."

"No running water?" Kyrin made a face. "That really is a long way back."

"We are fifteen hundred years in the past." Terry chuckled. "Though I can't actually claim to have introduce it. Somebody else already had, but it was recent and the Palace simply hadn't been converted yet."

"Still," Kyrin grumbled, though the smell of steam and hot water was relaxing him somewhat.

"Now for a little touch of home." Terry smiled and added several drops of a silvery liquid to the water, giving rise to smells that Kyrin recognized as what Terry called 'Nana's special bath oil'.

"Oh, this stuff," Kyrin grinned slightly and sank into the water with a splash, completely immersing himself and staying there for a long moment before coming up for air.

By the time he came up, both Terry and Rayvin were also in the tub soaking. Both of them were up to their necks in the warm, fragrant water.

"Nothing like it to relax you." Terry smiled, and claimed a playful kiss from Kyrin that was eagerly returned with exploring hands.

"It does do a good job." He purred softly.

"I was really glad, when an herbalist friend of mine was able to help me work out the formula." Terry rumbled, as he began to run his hands across Kyrin's body, through the wet fur.

"It is nice." Rayvin agreed as he watched his mate's increasingly heated interactions with Kyrin. He slid next to Terry and playfully nuzzled his neck while Terry's hands played sensually across Kyrin's body, working down to fondle the tom's swelling sheath.

It was an action that clearly won approval from the lighter Golden, who unabashedly humped the pleasuring hand while he held his kiss with both arms around Terry's neck.

Rayvin intensified his caresses, working down Terry's sides and back, while Terry pulled Kyrin close to rub their hardening cocks between them, and against each other.

"Sweet Mother, I've missed you love." Kyrin whispered as his breath sharpened.

"And I you." Terry rumbled in response, as one hand ran down Kyrin's back to caress his ass and teasingly stroke at the furless pucker under his tail. The response was as eager and hungry as the night before as the tawny-golden tom pressed back against that exploring finger, then shifted to lift himself up enough to slide down on his mate.

Terry purred and moaned deeply as his cock was engulfed by the warm tightness of his mate's body. He shifted some to put Kyrin's back against the tub so he had some leverage as he began a slow gentle thrusting, as Rayvin continued sensually caressing Terry as the mates indulged themselves with slow, hot passion.

Terry continued his slow thrusts as he shifted a little to hit the sensitive spot inside Kyrin, as his breathing quickened and his mate moaned softly.

"Don't spend yourself, love." Kyrin moaned deeply, reaching down to stroke himself to the very edge. "You have another hungry for you."

"So I do." Terry rumbled breathlessly, as he turned his head to kiss Rayvin just before Kyrin roared, his cum splashing up between them.

Instead of letting himself come as he would normally, Terry held back and withdrew from Kyrin. Giving his mate a quick but passionate kiss he turned to embrace Rayvin, claiming a deeply passionate kiss, as he ran his hand down his lover's back to sensually caress his ass, and received a response nearly as hungry as the one he'd gotten from Kyrin while Kyrin regained his breath.

"Mmm, I could definitely get used to this," Kyrin rumbled as he watched the mates intimacy and desire spike from their own absence. With a lick laying his whiskers flat, he moved over to nuzzle his way in for a kiss from Rayvin and added his hands to Terry's gray ones on the darker furred Golden.

A Past Rewritten

NC-17 for M/M
Het Level is None
Slash Level is Slash Smut Level is Low
Femslash Level is None
Herm Level is None

85 KB, Story is Closed-Unfinished, Series is Closed-Unfinished
Written January 29, 2004 by Rauhnee Ranshanka and Todd McCall

Setting: Galactic Alliance, Golden Kingdom

Primary Races: Felsin, Kat

Contents: Furry. Slash (M/M). Fraternization, Slavery (Legal), Time Travel

Pairings: Terry BrightClaw/Kyrin SunChaser/Rayvin

Blurb: Terry BrightClaw of Haven has been missing for three weeks when his fiancÚe receives a visit from ancient kin that need his help and offer to reunite him with Terry in exchange.

Disclaimer: All things taken directly from the sources listed under 'Fandoms' belong to the owners of those shows. No harm is intended and we're definitely not making any money. Now, the things we created are ours, and if you see 'Non-FanFic' up there, it's probably all ours.

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