Eoin gave a contented, easy sigh as the lips moved up and down his shaft, Herrard flowing casually between motions he knew Eoin liked, and Eoin barely noticing the technique because while it was indeed quite pleasurable, the pleasure was nothing next to the sheer comfort of the familiarity of this act. He wasn't particularly horny, was in no rush at all to come, he was just having a moment alone with his Herrard, a brief escape from the realities of life at the Sinslar Graduate Academy of Magic. He could even almost forget the pain.
They did this almost every morning. Ass in the evenings, most nights. Occasionally Eoin would even return the favor with his hands, feeling generous or merciful or just impishly indulgent towards Herrard. Eoin stared at the ceiling, head back against the silver brocade of his couch, eyes heavily lidded, and legs spread as lewdly as one spreads when one is enjoying a blowjob. One of hands rested gently on the thick steel band around Herrard's throat, the other loosely gripped what was soon to become his second most prized possession.
A staff. It was longer than he was tall by nearly half a meter and gleamed white. From a distance it looked rough like it might be some sort of bleached knotted wood or even solid treebark, but even from a distance it was too uniform, too lumpy instead of twisty, to quite be wooden. If anyone had been allowed to get close enough to inspect it carefully -- even Herrard had only stolen a close look once or twice -- they would see the roughness belied that the staff was composed entirely of the most delicate shimmering fibers, each distinct and running the entire length. If someone looked even closer they might swear they saw a hint of rust.
It was not wood, but bone. Or rather, bones. Thousands of bones. Bones of dead Magi exhumed for this purpose after long and silent centuries, repeatedly and painstakingly magically stretched into the razor thin fibers, then endlessly looped and twisted together and finally compacted down until the whole thing achieved complete rigidity. If a name had to be put to the material it would be "ossified rope", but that would imply it was ever rope to begin with.
The staff was gaudy and ostentatious in a world where wand casting was the norm and foci as huge and unwieldy as staves were considered obsolete and unbearably quaint. Eoin cultivated an image of impossible eccentricity to go with it; no two scraps of cloth he wore in a week were from the same decade and none had gone out of style less recently than seven decades prior. He had a delicate, carefully magicked, and completely ridiculous handlebar moustache that would have been at home in a three-centuries-old old painting, and his hair seemed to build itself upwards into a surrealist skyline of floppy locks on his head. It was all for show, the sort of show one puts on so constantly and so completely they adopt it entirely.
After all, it was so very necessary for him that the staff be viewed as a foible and not the encompassing liability it was. He was never without it; he ate, slept, and bathed with it in arm's reach, frequently propped up against his shoulder under his arm or awkwardly hooked under his leg. He fastidiously used it for absolutely all his magic: every enchantment, every cantrip, every muffled snap of his fingers to light a candle in the night he channeled directly through that staff.
And because of it, Eoin was alive.
The technical term for the disease changed more often than Eoin bothered to learn it, mostly because it was so rare and ignored that Eoin's family by themselves could afford three quarters of the research funding for it, but most people who had heard of it knew it under the reasonably apt moniker "bone burn." Eoin lacked the ability to mediate his magic; it came through raw and primal but also volatile and spiritually caustic. It made him more powerful than his peers by at least an order of magnitude, for all the good it did him. For when that power was spent and his soul later reached into the Ineffable to replenish with more, the influx wracked his bones. The damage seemed to concentrate on the bones' surface; no one had studied it well enough to understand why. Autopsies revealed cracks, scorch marks, and even melting. Most didn't survive far into their teens, their flesh essentially burning off of their skeleton just from the involuntary fits and starts of someone first coming into their magic in earnest.
Magical healing was useless as it too often reacted violently with whatever latent energy remained on the patient's bones, greatly advancing the disease if not immediately killing them. Acrid herbs could help with the pain, but only so much, and did nothing for the condition itself. The prognosis did improve with early diagnosis, but only for a desperately unattractive reason: the standard treatment was rigorous and demanding meditation, starting in early childhood, with the goal of deliberately avoiding using one's own magic at all. Put another way, the treatment was to learn to live one's entire life with the pure stuff of reality endlessly flowing between their fingers and without ever so much as idly twitching to stir it. The very best at this might live as long as their early thirties.
Then again, wealth offers solutions to many problems, and outrageous wealth can offer outrageous solutions when the problem calls for it. Often such a solution amounts to brute force: effective but exorbitantly inefficient. The principle was simple: Eoin's staff was made of bone and that bone hosted thousands of acres of surface area. With quite different training from the magical abnegation a less privileged child might have received, Eoin was able to use his magic and yet leave nearly all of the backlash to the boundless surface of the bone in the staff, almost completely sparing himself. Almost. What remained left him on good days unable to walk without agony in his every limb and on bad days unable to walk at all. It wasn't going to work forever, but it didn't need to. It just needed to buy him enough time to work around the problem.
Eoin closed his eyes, gave one last sigh, and came with a long breathy gasp. Herrard smirked around the softening cock and carefully licked him clean. "Good morning, Sir."
"You said that already, before you started using your mouth for other things," Eoin grinned.
"Well, isn't it though? The sun is in the sky, your come is in me, and today, Sir, today is the day!"
A darkness came over Eoin's face for just a moment, followed by joy and pride and then just incredulous regard. "Yes Herrard, today is the day. Stand two steps back from the center of the room. Do not speak. No not like that, do not put your hands behind your back, not today. I want them at your sides or in front of you. Pretend you still know how to do something natural with your hands despite all the times I've beaten it out of you, it's probably going to be the last chance you get."
Herrard was visibly unsettled at this deviation from their norm but quickly caught himself. Caught himself, that is, until his eyes opened wide in outright alarm as Eoin glided forward and balanced his weight between his knee, on the floor, on one side and the ever-present staff on the other, his free hand tucked foppishly behind his back. Even with his head down Eoin sensed Herrard was opening his mouth to object and smoothly cut him off. "I do not wish to interrupt myself to punish you for speaking out of turn, Herrard." Eoin let several more moments pass with his head down. "I need to do this and I need to do it like this. If you don't like seeing me on my knee you can suck my cock."
Herrard obeyed instructions.
Finally Eoin looked upwards. His friend, his confidante, his crutch, his oasis, his pet, his adorable little cocksleeve. His crutch. "Been through a lot together haven't we? You may speak."
Herrard's posture loosened considerably. He fidgeted with his hands for the first time in Eoin's presence that either of them could remember. "I owe you everything. And yeah. A bit."
"Couple of very decent kisses in there, I'd say. Couple of sunny mornings like you said. Couple of thrown duels. Some of them hurt."
"Hurt you, Sir?"
"Hurt me in the pride, you know what I mean. And man, I still laugh when I think about what you did to Professor Sorna's socks."
Herrard almost choked bursting out laughing. "I can't believe I completely forgot about that! Oh, wow. I know he sure hasn't though. How many toes do you think he wound up with in the end?"
"No, he has not. But no I don't even want to know. I just do not want to know. Oh he had it coming, he really did, but Herrard I had no idea what he had coming or that it was coming from you, that was just magnificent." Eoin replied, grinning wide.
The mirth faded from the room. It was going to be awkward. Deliberately awkward, that's what made it a moment. Eoin wouldn't be on his knee otherwise.
"Herrard. Today is the morning of the first day of our third year at the academy. This is the year in which we duel for our fate as Magus or familiar. We are both terrified. No one has seen us yet and that door is warded strong enough to stop an avalanche, because I want to be alone with you right now and no one is getting in the way of that. We've been planning this for years. This wasn't either of our volition to begin with but that was before we came to understand each other."
Herrard noticed a particular depth in his Sir's voice, and the lines on Herrard's face deepened slightly at the realization Eoin was using magic to enhance the moment.
Eoin continued, "I know some of why you've chosen this, and I really do believe you all the times you've told me it really is what you want. It's more than you know, or I know, more than either of us are able to know, and I think we agree it will change me just as deeply as it will you, if not to the same degree. And without it I will die. The staff does a lot and you know I'm made of solid brass and steel but if I'm going to beat this shit I need magic that's not my own, that's not going to immolate me inside out. I need yours, Herrard." Eoin stopped, grimaced, and spat out, "Herrard, I don't want to die."
Another pause. A deep sigh. "If we decide not to do this, and walk outside that door, almost anyone could challenge one of us to a duel. A few of them would, thinking us easy pickings. If they challenged me it would be ugly for both me and them whether I threw the duel or not. If they challenged you and you didn't win, then boneburn be damned, I would make it ugly for them. But none of that has happened yet. It's just us, in here, right now, together, just like any other sunny morning. And on that morning you are an independent human being and a formidable magic user with your own soul, your own magic, and your own form. You are exactly the sum of what you were born as, what you have experienced, and what you work to become. You asked me if I would accept for you to give all of that away to me by willfully entering the dueling ring with me, submitting without contest in that ring, and becoming my familiar. Over the years you have shown me that you do mean and long for that sacrifice. You've said you want to become mine forever, far more deeply than any other possible way, and give your power for me to be what I am and not die."
"Our alternatives are shit, really. We're both of us up against a wall. I'm not pretending there's a future for either of us where we don't do this. But Herrard, I need to hear it from you one last time."
Herrard, in potentially the last act of disobedience he would ever commit, sunk prostrate to the floor before Eoin could blink. Suddenly Herrard's head was below his. "Sir. Master. I will step into the ring, and I will submit willingly, to become your familiar."
Suddenly the world felt very large to Eoin and he very small, and at that scale he realized it didn't matter to him if he was on his knee or his feet. But he did know it would matter to Herrard. So he stood. There were no particular words. The Ritual of the Familiar was deep sympathetic magic: authentic intention was all that mattered. Nonetheless Eoin had rehearsed, repeatedly, compulsively, in every in-between moment he could call to mind. "Herrard. I challenge you to a duel of magic, and in so doing commence with you the Ritual of the Familiar, so that I may fight to take you bound as part of me, mind, magic, and body. Do you accept?"