No rights infringement intended.

No infringement of the following characters and situations is intended.
Warning: Rated [MA] Mature Adults only. May contain strong sexual scenes, violence, coarse language, drug use, horror and adult themes.

No infringement of the following characters and situations is intended.
Warning: (MA) Mature Adults only.

Note: this is copyrighted by AZARAD 1998. No reposting of any kind, please, ***without permission.

Comment: Attempts have been made to contact "Azarad", with little success. If anyone knows how to contact the author, or if the author is seeing this comment, please contact Sharpe Tales.


"Where are you taking my nephew?" bellowed old McCandlas reaching between the bars of the prison cell, shaking his fist at the retreating pair of Indian guards who dragged between them, a young British officer.

Neither of the guards took any notice of the senior officer. They bound their struggling prisoner and when he tried to call out to his fellow countrymen, they gagged him.

Another man, a rangy young private captured with the officer, remained silent as he watched them carry off his cell mate. His green eyes narrowed . His high clear brow furrowed beneath ragged locks of ash blond hair. His generous mouth became a straight line. He breathed through flared nostrils. His jaws clenched, teeth almost grinding. He slammed his right fist into the palm of his left hand. His entire frame tensed for a fight.

It has been weeks since their imprisonment-since Captain Lawford and his single escort entered the fortress city in search of the young man's uncle who was gaining information about the local leader. They had nearly succeeded in locating him and getting back to British lines when one of their own, a vicious example of humanity, exposed them.

The local authority, from some spark of imagination or singular initiative, decided that incarceration was quieter than execution. For whatever reason, they ordered the captain, his uncle and the private pushed into their cramped cell in Mysore and abandoned. Within the hellish place, poor food, little of it and bad water had made them ill, no doubt by fiendish design to weaken their resolve. Nevertheless, in spite of all the hardships of the place in which they languished, they dreamed of escape.

To pass the time, the idealistic captain decided to embark upon a useful enterprise much to the dismay of his more practical and proper uncle. With only a single page from the Bible, the younger officer had begun teaching the private to read. And in spite of their conditions, they managed to exchange a measure of respect and keep up their spirits.

Then the healthy bloom in youthful Captain Lawford's cheeks finally died for want of sunlight. He seemed the weakest of the three. And now their captors had taken him away. But for what possible reason? None of them knew any current information concerning the forces that assailed the fortress city. So, if they planned to torture their prisoner, it would be solely for their own amusement.

Without a doubt, the prison itself was daily torment-hot and stuffy during the day and freezing cold at night. A multitude of insects, flying and crawling, attacked at all hours. Lawford's old uncle could barely walk, so swollen were his legs and feet, from their forced inactivity. Yet he bore the pain for his nephew's sake. Once the younger man was out of sight, McCandlas collapsed on their heap of filthy bedding. He hid his face from the other man inhabiting the cell, the private, the common man, was never to enter their society even though his nephew had begun to educate him.

This common man was the sturdiest among them. The only man left standing, as it were. A soldier from the ranks, who seemed impervious to the harsh treatment the prisoners endured since they were captured by the Tippoo's cavalry and marched here, down into the Maharaja's prison. No doubt a childhood spent in similar conditions, amid rats and sewers, deep in the slums of London, had hardened the man-making Private Sharpe the only man among them fit for duty, if there had been any.

A few minutes passed. No sign of other guards. No one else carried off. Sharpe moved to the old man's side and eased him back to rest. There was nothing more to do. They would wait and they would hope for deliverance as they'd done since their capture.

Some time later, an hour or more, the guards did return. They sauntered past the cells. They peered in at other men. They seemed to be observing the prisoners, their actions, discussing their looks.

Sharpe stood up. He paced like a large cat in its cage. He'd seen the Maharaja's tigers. He felt like one. He sensed, rather than saw the guards approaching. He moved closer to the bars. How his fingers itched to be around their throats. He rubbed his hands on his trousers. Then he took up a casual stance, leaning his supple frame against the bars. They walked up to him and stopped.

The pair looked him up and down. One pointed to his arm, the single stripe on his sleeve. So they knew the emblems of rank. They chatted almost casually. They even laughed a little.

Private Sharpe endured it all. If they took him too, he gambled, he would find Captain Lawford. They would be in the upper levels of the fortress where he and the captain had a better chance for escape. Then they'd be back for the old man. Back with an army...

One of the guards produced a key and the other drew out a pair of manacles. Sharpe had been chosen but he froze at the sight of the bonds they planned to used to secure him.

"No need of those," he said smiling, lowering his head, meekly bowing to them. "I'll cooperate. I'll tell yer all my secrets."

The pair exchanged a surprised look. One shrugged. The manacles remained on the guard's belt. So, even in India in the palace of the Maharaja, a kind of human laxity existed, taking the path of least resistance and least effort.

"Yes, I'll make it easy for yer both," Sharpe said soothingly. "Quiet as a lamb, I'll be..."

They took him up the long flight of circular stairs to the ground floor of the palace, then down long corridors and through huge halls, silent except for their echoing footsteps. Across a stone paved courtyard they entered a large bathing complex. There they washed him, dressing him in a new British uniform. He was led along the palatial corridors of the east wing in his bright scarlet coat. To an observer, Sharpe appeared like a cardinal among sparrows as natives passed him--his jacket a splash of blood in the milling crowd.

In a small anteroom, he came face to face with the first Indian who spoke English to him. The man questioned him about his rank, his feelings about his country and about his attitude toward officers. He replied that he was a loyal British soldier but officers were a bloody nuisance. The man laughed and assured him that he would enjoy his next hour. And, if he completed the task they set for him, he would be granted many favors. He nodded and was led into a banquet hall.

More than twenty guests sat at their ease amid cushions on low couches, each with trays of delicacies at hand. At the end of the hall, facing the great table of the Maharaja, a man was stretched between two posts. He wore an officer's coat. The rest of his clothes, to his boots, had been stripped from him. The muscles of his arms and his ivory thighs quivered from the exertion of being stretched wide. His entire frame was taut, strained by the trials he'd already endured. But his head was not bowed. Not yet.

The man who spoke English, led Private Sharpe forward into the center of the room. Then he addressed the assembly, speaking rapidly in their tongue. The crowd murmured with anticipation and low laughter. Whatever was planned, was to be amusing. Finally, he addressed Sharpe.

"The captive, he is yours," the steward informed Sharpe, in a voice that was low and seductive. "He is for your sport and ours. We chose the young, handsome one of your countrymen, to please the eyes of those who observe. We chose you because you have suffered your imprisonment for following bad orders. Now, you may take your revenge for all the injustice and incompetence of his kind."

Emerald-hard, wide eyes stared into the soft brown gaze of the Indian. Private Sharpe willed his jaw to remain where it was. He forced himself to breathe slowly. What had he gotten himself into? If he refused, they would find some other cruel brute to do their bidding. They might even choose Hakeswell and the thought of his filthy hands on the captain sent fire through Sharpe's veins. Still, if he played along with the Tippoo's idea of dinner entertainment, he would be guilty of assaulting an officer-a crime punishable by death.

"Yer all bloody buggers!" he exclaimed. "If I'm to do your business, then I want yer word that after I'm through, I'm the one who returns him to his uncle. So he'll believe I've done nothing but bring him back. Yer word! I must have it."

The translator spoke to one of the Maharaja's advisors and the message was passed along. Sharpe waited and wondered if he'd be strung up next to the captain. The ruler waved his hand as if chasing a fly.

The steward looked back at Sharpe and said, "An odd request but easily done. Proceed."

Briskly, Sharpe marched forward his boot heels clicking on the polished marble floor. Captain Lawford tilted his head back to see who made the sound approaching him. His restraints made it difficult.

Laying a hand on the captain's shoulder, cupping the man's chin with his other hand, Sharpe turned the strained but still handsome face of the officer toward his own and gave him a brief kiss. The crowd applauded.

"Help me, Sharpe. For the love of God, end this," Lawford pleaded, whispering to the man who appeared to handle him lewdly for the amusement of the crowd.

"I've made a bargain with the Devil, sir, but I'll have us both safe soon," Sharpe confided to his captain, between kissing and fondling and searching for signs of serious injury.

The private spoke softly in Lawford's ear as he nuzzled him, "Sir, you must do what I tell you. Don't struggle, sir. Please."

"Do what you must but be quick, my endurance is at an end."

"They expect me to rape you, sir. If you struggle, if you resist, you will be hurt. You must listen to me. Hear only my voice and do as I say. Sir, you must surrender."


"Shhhh, listen to me. Ignore them, sir. Lean back against me. Don't fight the bonds so, ease yourself against me. "

Sharpe's examination of his captain's body had found no serious wounds, only bruising and welts from a lash. Lawford's lips and mouth were dry. His exposed limbs were icy cold even in the warmth of the room. Cold sweat drenched him. He had reached his limit.

With one hand he eased the captain's head of damp coppery curls back against his wide shoulder, with the other arm he encircled his officer's body, until he pressed his chest tightly to the captain's back. Sharpe realized at that moment that one day he had hoped to offer Lawford a measure of his affection for his kindness toward him, for treating him as a fellow human being rather than as an inferior species, for offering him the means toward advancement. He'd hoped to save him during battle. At the least, he imagined serving him by constant obedience. He never expected running his hands over the smooth satiny skin of his commanding officer's tight buttocks, opening him, preparing him for the anticipated assault. Moreover, he never expected his own organ's response to the sight of this man, bound and helpless.

It seemed a dream, the murmuring of the on-lookers, the smell of their meal, the scent of Captain Lawford's sweat. Sharpe unbuttoned his own breeches hurriedly. It was time to conclude his bargain. Gently as he could, he entered his friend, begging him to relax, to push back against him as Sharpe reached around his captain's slim waist to fondle the man's organ.

For the crowd, the lowly private appeared to thrust brutally into the officer. He shouted gutter talk at them, all the while whispering encouragement and endearments to the captain. At last, Lawford cried out and seemed to faint. Sharpe felt warm liquid spill over his hands. His teeth closed on the nape of Lawford's neck and Sharpe was seized by his own orgasm--the tiger had made its kill. Pressing his face into the soft curve of Lawford's exposed throat, he kissed the frantic pulse and felt it ebb slowly. His own passions calmed but he refused to relinquish his officer until he regained his senses.

True to their word, they cut down Captain Lawford and allowed Sharpe to lift him into his arms. The poor man was a shadow of his former healthy weight. The steward led them out amid polite applause and soft murmuring. Sharpe did not look back. He cradled Lawford, as if he'd found him wounded on the battlefield. On their way back to the prison, Sharpe insisted they stop again at the bath. No evidence must exist of his crime, he stated.

For the next hour, he and Lawford lounged in warm comfort together in the scented water of the great central pool. They did not speak of what had happened. They hardly spoke at all. Even so, it was clear that Lawford bore no grudge, so happily did he surrender to Sharpe's care. For his part, Sharpe accepted his duty to protect his officer, his friend, for life.

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