Noble, 20

Propaganda Fights Wars Just As Readily As Swords Do

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Geoffrey woke up vaguely sure he’d had a nightmare but unable to remember what it was.

It didn’t really matter, he thought after a second or two of being awake. The nightmare he’d woken to was worse than whatever his imagination had ever conjured for him. Giacomo was still gone. He was still…

Well, Geoffrey wasn’t alone, that wasn’t fair. He was in Giacomo’s bed with Javier and Alfie and Aleksander, who’d joined them because he couldn’t sleep alone. He and Alfie were cuddled up beside Geoffrey, and Javier’s head was on Geoffrey’s shoulder. Dahlia had taken up residence in Geoffrey’s bedroom, so Geoffrey and the others were all sleeping in Giacomo’s, making it impossible not to notice his absence no matter how full the bed was. The sheets smelled like him. His collection of little animal carvings was on the bedside table. His coat was on the back of the door.

“Morning,” Javier said, not opening his eyes.

“Morning,” Geoffrey told him. He ran a finger down Javier’s upper arm. “You’re up early.”

Javier nodded. “You were moving a lot.”

“Sorry.” Geoffrey had never been a sound sleeper, and it was worse since Giacomo had gone missing. “Go back to sleep if you want.”

“No,” Javier said, shifting a little so he was more on top of Geoffrey. “You aren’t going to.”

“That doesn’t mean both of us have to be exhausted.”

“Hm.” Javier’s hand was on Geoffrey’s chest, and he slid it downwards. “Maybe I can convince you to sleep for another hour or so?”


“Shh,” Javier said, hand landing on Geoffrey’s dick. “We don’t have to if you really don’t want it. But you know when Giacomo gets back and finds out that you didn’t have sex the whole time he was gone, he’s going to headbutt you in the balls.”

That…was very true. And Geoffrey was maybe a bit pent up. “Okay,” he said, smiling at Javier. “Thanks.”

Javier kissed Geoffrey’s chest, and got up, crawling over to the bedside table. He came back with some oil and pushed the blankets off Geoffrey, poured the oil right onto his cock, stroking it to get it hard, which didn’t take long. “You could top if you want,” Geoffrey told him, keeping his voice down. Alfie and Aleksander were still asleep.

Javier shook his head, reaching behind himself with his oiled hand. He climbed astride Geoffrey, looking down at him. “I’ll be on top. But your dick is the one getting the workout.”

“Works for me.” Geoffrey put his hands on Javier’s hips, and let Javier lower himself down slowly. Javier shut his eyes as he did, breathing deeply, but he opened them again once he was partway down, and started to move.

He did all the work and Geoffrey just lay there, which Geoffrey would have to pay him back for later. Geoffrey watched Javier’s face as he fucked himself on Geoffrey, the concentration occasionally broken by smiles as he hit good spots inside himself. He was warm and comfortable around Geoffrey, his weight familiar on top of him.

Geoffrey tried not to think about anything else as Javier put his hands on Geoffrey’s shoulders, leaning down to kiss him. They stayed connected like that, soft and tender and loving, as Javier moved, and it went for a good while. Not as long as Geoffrey would have liked, but it was inevitable that soon he started to cum, tensing all over, hands tightening on Javier’s hips as he shot up inside him. Javier let Geoffrey do that, pushing all the way down so he was totally around Geoffrey, and then started to get up when Geoffrey was done.

Geoffrey put a hand on his dick, shaking his head. “You didn’t cum.”


“Shh,” Geoffrey said, stroking Javier now. Javier clenched around him, enjoying it. It was clear he’d done this just for Geoffrey, not himself. He hadn’t even been close, another five, almost ten minutes passing before he was ready to shoot and make a mess on Geoffrey, biting back a whinge as he did.

Then Geoffrey let him go, and Javier lay down on Geoffrey, letting Geoffrey’s cock slide out. “Thank you.”

“You too,” Geoffrey said, holding him in place. “I probably could go back to sleep.”


They lay there quietly, drifting off, but Geoffrey wasn’t allowed to find out if he’d ever get all the way there. The bedroom door opened, and the queen of Kyaine walked in like she owned the place. “Geoffrey.”

“What?” Geoffrey sat up, Javier doing the same. “My queen? What is it?”

“Hans has issued a proclamation.”

Geoffrey blinked, trying to get the half-sleep out of his system. “Is it even dawn? Who issues a proclamation at this time of day?”

“My uncle,” Dahlia said. She was barely dressed herself, in a nightgown with her hair undone. She swept around Giacomo’s bed to hand Geoffrey an ornate paper. “Messengers are nailing these to everyone’s doors.”

Geoffrey squinted at it as Javier lit the lamp. Alfie and Aleksander were awake now too, sitting up. Andre had come in the room behind Dahlia in just a loincloth. Clearly this had just happened. “To the people of Hawk’s Roost, blah blah, despite the hardships facing us in this time of whatever whatever, there is good news, for…oh, fuck, him,” Geoffrey said. “Fuck him, why didn’t we think to say that first?”

“Nobody’d have believed it coming from us,” Dahlia said, while Geoffrey handed the proclamation to Javier and got out of bed. Whatever, he was naked in front of the queen. He’d been naked in front of the last king. It was apparently a habit of his.

“What’s going on?” Alfie demanded, rubbing his eye. “Did something happen?”

“Hans is claiming that he’s found Prince Felix’s baby,” Javier said quietly, reading the proclamation. “And that he had her snuck into the city last night for safety. ‘And her name is Francesca, after her illustrious grandmother,’ apparently.”

“She doesn’t exist,” Geoffrey muttered, going to a clothes chest for a loincloth. “Or well, I’m sure there’s a real baby, but it’s not the second coming of Francesca DiGorre.”

“Nobody’s going to believe this,” Alfie said, reading the thing himself now. “He’s obviously full of shit. Nobody’s going to believe it.” He broke into a yawn at the end there.

“They don’t have to,” Dahlia said. “He’s just creating confusion so that anyone who was thinking of siding with us won’t. And it’ll work, because legally my niece is my mother’s heir, not me.”

“Which is the stupidest thing in the world,” Andre muttered, sitting on the bed beside Aleksander and Alfie. “Just saying.”

“It is,” Geoffrey agreed, looking down at his loincloth as he tied it. “But it also doesn’t matter. Because I’m not so sure that people won’t believe him. Nobody believed him when he said he was bringing you back, my queen.” And all Hans needed was that doubt, so people would hesitate in backing Dahlia, just for a bit.

Dahlia nodded as he spoke. “Right. People will wonder if it’s a second miracle DiGorre recovery.”

“There’s no chance he’s telling the truth?” Javier asked, also looking for clothes now.

“No.” Dahlia dismissed that with a wave of her hand. “Isabella DeThane has the baby with her. If she were going to come out of hiding, she’d have done it before now. She’s most likely in hiding on the coast somewhere until the winter’s over. Bright Harbor’s been turned upside down twice, first by Stephan’s troops and then by Hans’s, but she’d never have stayed unseen moving inland unless she’s got a wizard or five with her. That aside, there’s no way Hans just conveniently found the baby out of nowhere like that. He’s lying.”

“That doesn’t matter,” Geoffrey said, heart hammering. He’d gotten his clothes on and was having trouble focusing on getting his buttons done up. He knew what the answer was here, and he hated it. “The truth isn’t important. Hans’s story fits what people want to hear, and even if it doesn’t, it’s loud enough to drown out anything else for a few days, which are all he’s going to need.”

“You think he’s going to move against us?”

“Of course he is.” Geoffrey finished dressing, or rather gave up on his ties looking perfect. “I need to write a letter.”

“To whom?” Dahlia asked.

“Janus DiCrawe.”

Dahlia frowned, but both Alfie and Javier looked resigned. “Why?” she asked. “He ignored you last time, didn’t he? He’s not going to suddenly change his allegiance, especially not now that there’s even more reason to side with Hans.”

“He will,” Geoffrey said, building up to the grand reveal. “Because this time I’m going to tell him what he wants to hear.”

“Spare me the unnecessary drama, if you could,” Dahlia snapped.

Geoffrey’s smile finally reached his eyes at that. Fair enough. “The only way to stop Hans uniting all the nobility under this imposter baby is to bring the southern contingent to our side. And the only way to do that is for me to accept Janus’s marriage proposal.”

“You’re going to marry him?”

“As soon as humanly possible,” Geoffrey said. Javier put his hand on Geoffrey’s elbow, just being there for him. “We need a priest and some scribes to do a proclamation of our own. We need everyone in Hawk’s Roost to know about our joyous union by the end of the day. Let’s go,” he said, swallowing what he really thought heading for the door with Javier. “We have a wedding to plan.”

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