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Chapter One: Kazan to Novorossiysk
As soon as he had seen the truck convoy start to pull into the courtyard of the makeshift main building of the Imperial Military Academy, Pyotr dropped the weights he was working with in the exercise yard and loped down the slope and through the grove of trees that bordered one side of the river park on the rise above Kazan’s river port on the Volga. As he broke through the trees, he threw himself to the ground and huddled there, arms encasing his knees, and contemplated the momentous change facing his life. He was a long way from the palaces of St. Petersburg.
He wasn’t afraid; in fact the prospect of being pulled even farther away from the academy’s original home in St. Petersburg, territory now firmly under the control of the Bolsheviks, excited him. Of course he would much prefer joining a regiment that would confront the Reds, but at nineteen, no one on the academy faculty was prepared to certify him as trained. Grigory Orlov, the equestrian professor, had made quite clear to Pyotr that he wasn’t ready for battle.
Of course Pyotr knew that Orlov had ulterior motives for not releasing him to the battle as so many of the academy cadets had already been since they had been evacuated here from St. Petersburg—or, as the Reds now called it, Petrograd—two years earlier.
Pyotr had never attended the academy in its original imposing buildings; he had been sent to the school here in Kazan early in the previous year, 1919, by his concerned family, which had been preparing to flee into the Russian interior themselves when they sent Pyotr to Kazan. They had thought, Pyotr knew, that he would be safer here than with them. He had not heard from his father, Prince Alexi Romanov, in months and could only hope that they were faring well. None of the Russian aristocracy was faring very well at the hands of the Bolsheviks. Orlov, a classmate of Pyotr’s father in an earlier Imperial Military Academy generation had been asked to take special care of Pyotr, and he most certainly had taken that charge seriously—if, perhaps, not quite in the spirit in which Pyotr’s father had made the request.
What had set Pyotr’s excitement and anticipation stirring was that the trucks had arrived in the courtyard to take the cadets farther to the south. This would be a new adventure for Pyotr. He had not fully enjoyed the stay in Kazan. Life had become so unsettled and confusing for him here. He had been sheltered—coddled as the youngest son in a prince’s palace. He had never been expected to take on any great responsibility as was expected of his eldest brother—and also the next eldest in case the older one faltered. Pyotr would normally have been free to play his life away or to dabble in the arts, if it so pleased him. With his facility for learning languages, his mother had foreseen a career as a professor.
The Bolsheviks had changed all of that. The lives of all of the Russian nobility had been tossed up in the air. Pyotr landed in Kazan, to join the evacuated Imperial Military Academy, not because he had been destined to be a warrior but to be in what Prince Alexi Romanov had deemed would be the safest place for his young son, under the wing of Grigory Orlov and surrounded by professional soldiers.
Alexi and Grigory hadn’t been close when they were in the academy together, though, and Alexi knew even less of Orlov’s true nature now than he had then.
Pyotr had learned much of life—and quickly—in his year away from the opulent imperial court life of St. Petersburg and in the more Spartan environment of the exiled military academy in Kazan.
Upon seeing the trucks arrive, he needed to break away and give his future some thought. Until now he had controlled nothing. He had moved directly from a carefree life, where he was indulged in everything, to a discipline-based life, where he had been controlled, dominated, and given no choices.
He had a choice now, though. Tomorrow, the trucks would load up and leave. Departure was inevitable and could not be delayed. If Pyotr didn’t show up for the mustering out, the trucks would have to leave without him. Chances were good he wouldn’t even be missed in the frenetic confusion of the pack out and departure until long after the convoy had been on the road south.
He could stay in Kazan. But Kazan was nowhere, and Pyotr had no skills. How would he survive? And when the Bolsheviks showed up, what then? What good was it to be a count, the son of a prince, distant cousin to the tsar, in a world of communist revolutionaries?
“Count Pyotr, here you are. I saw you run from the exercise yard. What are you doing at the river? Did you not see the trucks arriving. We all must hurry and pack.”
The large-framed Baron Vasily Bestuzhev-Ryumin, an upper-class student at the academy, a solidly built, burly young man who was truly at the academy to become one in a long line of family warriors, plopped down on the grass beside Pyotr. Like Pyotr, he’d been exercising in the yard when Pyotr had run off. Both young men were dressed just in sweat pants.
Vasily was the meatier of the two—but he was all escort izmit hard muscle. He was heavily tanned, in contrast to Pyotr, because he reveled in showing his physique off and spent most of his free time in the exercise yard, working his body and competing, often roughly, for domination of the field—and he had the scars to evidence it.
He was ambitious, and rank and title conscious—and he had decided that he wanted Pyotr, who, as the son of a prince, not to mention being a beautiful young man, was a trophy worth owning. He had heard rumors that Pyotr was ripe for the plucking.
“Yes, I have seen the trucks,” Pyotr answered. “I was just spending a moment alone, trying to decide whether I would leave with the trucks.”
“You must, of course,” Vasily said, somewhat shocked that this would even be a decision to be contemplated—and perhaps more shocked that the shy, lithe, young, still-soft third son of a prince should consider that he had a choice. “You realize that the Reds are not more than three days’ march away and no one stands in their way? There will be no mercy for imperial cadets when they get here—and much less for royals such as you and me. And what would you do if you did not come with us?”
“I could perhaps learn to farm. Become someone else altogether and be productive. The Bolsheviks may be right about that—perhaps our families have not been productive enough, have not done their share in progressing society.”
Vasily gave a bitter laugh. “The peasants would be nothing without us. And look at these soft hands of yours—and the silky smooth skin. You could not become a peasant before the Reds discovered you for what you are. You are not at the academy because you were cut out to be a military man—you are here to be protected by men like me.”
The more powerful young man had come in close beside Pyotr and had gone from holding the younger man’s hands in his to running a hand over Pyotr’s chest. The hand settled on palming Pyotr’s belly. Pyotr was breathing heavily, but he tried to ignore Vasily’s possessive touch. He had known for some time what Vasily wanted from him. And he had contemplated whether he wanted that as well—and had yet to make up his mind. He was under no illusion that Vasily, as a senior cadet, couldn’t force that issue if he wanted to, though, and Pyotr half expected, half welcomed that.
“You are talking of reasons I should try something else. I think it may be time for us to drop the titles anyway, Vasily. I think it is time to recognize that the future is not for our class anymore.”
“Haven’t you learned anything in the academy, Pyotr? History is with us. The Bolsheviks are rabble. We are the ones trained to fight and to rule. The peasants love us, and the Bosheviks are treating them as brutally as they do us. The serfs will rise to reinstate us. This is just a blip in history.”
“And yet we are the ones who retreated here two years ago, and now are preparing to retreat even further.” Pyotr had meant the statement to be ironic, but irony was wasted on one as thickheaded and medievally entrenched as the Baron Vasily Bestuzhev-Ryumin was.
“We are merely regrouping so that we can go on the counteroffensive. This is just strategic maneuvering. But enough of that. We are alone, and you know what I have intended. It could be days or weeks before we have another chance.”
“Vasily, no. I came here to think. No, oh, please, no.”
Pyotr’s torso was encased in one of Vasily’s arms, and the bigger man’s other hand was stroking Pyotr’s chest and belly.
“You have let me give you relief and you have given me relief, Pyotr. It was a promise that I could have you—fully.”
“It was just a barracks thing. The tensions of our life here. Just something we do in the . . . Ohhh.”
Vasily’s mouth had gone to Pyotr’s nipples and his hand had descended below the waistband of Pyotr’s sweat pants and taken possession of Pyotr’s cock.
“You do want me. You’re hard for me,” Vasily said with a low chuckle.
The two young men froze as the sound of a voice calling up from the riverfront reached their ears.
“He’s calling me,” Pyotr said, as he used the break in the tension of the moment to permit him to struggle out of Vasily’s grasp and rise up on his knees.
“Your minder calls, yes, and you must go.”
The voice was calling Pyotr’s name—insistently.
“We are at the beck and call of any of the faculty, Vasily. You know that.”
“Yes, but Grigory Orlov is especially attentive to you.”
“My father requested that he be.”
“But I’ll bet your father doesn’t know what Orlov has in mind for you. He wants to take you, Pyotr. Everyone knows that. And everyone knows what Orlov wants from the cadets who attract him.”
“Why is that different from what you want?” Pyotr had stood up and waved at Grigory Orlov, who was standing at the entrance of the academy’s boathouse. Orlov spied Pyotr and beckoned to him. Vasily, who was still sitting on the ground, was outside of Orlov’s range of vision.
“I am young and virile. And titled, as you are,” Vasily answered, his voice edged with bitterness izmit escort and scorn. “What is Orlov? He is old and is no better than one of our servants. He trained here, but he is not a general. He is only good enough to teach—and to debauch as many of the cadets as he can. He isn’t worthy of you.”
“He’s a faculty member, and he’s seen me. I must answer his call and go down to him.”
“Of course you must. But beware of him. He wants only one thing from you. And you are too good to be deflowered by the likes of him.”
Pyotr could find no answer to that, so he turned and worked his way down the slope to the harbor walk and then to the door to the boathouse. Orlov had already entered the boathouse. He turned in the dim light of the interior, with the reflection of the waves lapping at the side of the academy yacht sending a dancing pattern on the ceiling of the chamber.
“We leave by truck in the morning,” Orlov declared.
“Do you know where we go now?” Pyotr asked.
“Yes, to the Black Sea, to Novorossiysk, to join the army of Admiral Kothak. But do not tell the other cadets. Kothak intends to impress them into service. We need every solider now, no matter how young or ill trained, to enlist in keeping the Bolsheviks from taking our Black Sea ports.”
“It sounds rather hopeless,” Pyotr said.
“It’s never hopeless. We are the ruling class. The communists cannot sustain this for very long. The people will come to the aid of Mother Russia.”
“Soon, I hope.”
“That is not why I sought you out,” Orlov said. He had pulled Pyotr toward him, and turned the young man so that his back was pressed into the side of the yacht that was pulled into the boathouse and that was slowly bobbing in the water next to the boathouse walkway. “We will be traveling for days, and I don’t know how soon we will be able to couple again. I must help supervise the pack out and you will be busy too. Lay on your back on the decking of the vessel. I want to have you again now, while I can.”
Pyotr obediently laid on the deck of the boat and lifted his legs, while Orlov took hold of the waistband of the young man’s sweat pants on either side and pulled them off his legs. The heel of one of Pyotr’s feet pressed into the wet decking of the boathouse walkway and his other leg raised up Orlov’s torso, the young Russian count moaned softly as Orlov’s mouth went to the cock that was still half hard from the recent attentions of Vasily’s fist.
In short order Orlov was holding both of Pyotr’s legs spread and raised, as he pressed his thighs between them and expertly fucked Pyotr’s channel—as he had been doing for two months.
Late in the night, exhausted from packing up his gear, Pyotr lay awake on his barracks cot, still conflicted on whether he would be there to mount the transports in the morning. There was nothing holding him to Kazan. It was a dreary backwater city. But he castigated himself—as he had done repeatedly for months—on having let Grigory Orlov make a woman out of him. The change in his life had been just too much for him, and Orlov was too dominant. And now Vasily was after him too. Vasily was stronger and younger and better built than Orlov was—but that wasn’t necessarily a good thing. Pyotr was ambivalent about what his preferences were. If only he’d been raised with some purpose in life—not to just bend with the wind.
Perhaps it would be best to take his chances away from the academy—to make a total break and to strike out on his own, no matter where it would lead him.
He heard the sounds of stifled sobbing, just a few cots down from him. He lifted his head and looked down the row of beds. Most of the young men were asleep, but not all. Vasily, almost on the opposite end of the chamber was fucking one of the cadets. Pyotr couldn’t tell who it was in the dimness of the moonlight coming through the unglazed windows of the old barracks building. But it could be almost any of the cadets. Vasily took whomever he wanted—even though he hadn’t completed his conquest of Pyotr yet. And Vasily was someone who needed release every night, sometimes twice a day. Pyotr assumed Vasily hadn’t come for him only because he was tired and didn’t want to bother with the struggle. Most of the cadets had come to accept his advances, some even to seek him out for his prowess and the size of him.
A blanket was stirring on one of the other cots and was raised enough to accommodate two of the cadets under it. There was the sound of sex, but the cadets had learned to ignore those sounds in the night. They almost always went to their cots exhausted, but they were particularly so tonight.
But the sound of soft sobbing was unusual for the barracks. The first rule and lesson of the barracks was to never show weakness.
The sound was coming from the cot of the recently matriculated Mikhail Shevemetev, a slight eighteen-year-old who had appeared on the academy’s doorstep almost as an orphan. In contrast to most of the other cadets who could not be sure of the plight of their families trapped behind Bolshevik lines, Mikhail had seen his immediate izmit kendi evi olan escort family slaughtered to a person from a hiding place in the family mansion on the Murmansk waterfront by a crazed mob early in the revolution.
Pyotr had felt particularly concerned for Mikhail, because he was the least of what anyone would expect to be military material. He was small and willowy and almost effeminate in demeanor. He probably only had been taken in when he appeared at the academy door because the fencing professor fancied him. And when the fencing professor grew tired of him, Vasily took him over.
Not being able to close his ears to the crying, Pyotr rose quietly from his bed and went over and sat by the prone body of Mikhail on his cot.
“What is it, Mikhail? You should sleep. You have a long journey ahead of you.”
“I’m scared, Count Pyotr,” Mikhail whimpered between his tears. “I cannot be brave about it as the rest of you are. The communists are going to push us into the Black Sea. I have seen what they can do. I don’t think I can endure more.”
“There, there, all will be well, little one,” Pyotr whispered. “What will be will be. And I think we need not be using titles anymore. I think such distinctions are long past needing to be dropped. I think they are much to blame for the circumstances we now are in. Transport has arrived. The academy will relocate just as it has done before. You will be fine.”
“I’m scared, Pyotr. Can you hold me? You are always so good to me. One of the few.”
With a sigh, Pyotr stretched out behind the small Mikhail and encased him in his arms. Almost immediately, Mikhail began moving his body against Pyotr’s, who couldn’t help but become aroused.
“Just go to sleep, little one. You don’t need to . . .”
“It is all that keeps me sane here. Am I not nice enough for you?”
“It’s not that. It’s . . . ahhhh.”
Mikhail had reached around and taken Pyotr’s cock in his hand through the fly in his sleeping shorts. There was no denying that Pyotr was aroused. Pyotr didn’t stop the smaller man when he lifted a leg over Pyotr’s hip and guided Pyotr’s cock to his channel opening. Pyotr slow fucked him, trying to make as little sound as possible. Mikhail’s sobs had turned to sighs and quiet pants.
“Tomorrow . . . tomorrow you will be there with me, won’t you, Pyotr?” The voice was thick, half clouded in the onset of an exhausted sleep.
“Yes, I will be there with you, Mikhail,” Pyotr murmured, the decision once again having been taken out of his hands, giving in to the manipulation of others from all sides.
* * * *
“How do you know we are looking at an 800-mile journey in these trucks?” Vasily demanded of Pyotr.
Vasily hadn’t let Pyotr out of his sight since they had all been rousted from their cots in the darkest hour of the morning. The barracks lieutenant had told them all to shower, and Vasily had given him lip. Daily showering was not the regimen at the academy. Pyotr had made the mistake of saying then that it would be 800 miles packed together in the trucks—two days at least, maybe three—before they would have any chance at personal hygiene again. Vasily had let that pass at the time, but now, as they were milling around the trucks and the faculty members were belatedly trying to bring some order to who would be riding in which truck, he challenged Pyotr.
“Who told you that ours was to be an 800-mile journey? Was it Orlov? Is that what he pulled you into the boathouse yesterday to tell you?”
“Yes, he wanted me to check the academy vessel to make sure we weren’t leaving anything behind that we would need. And he let slip that we are headed to the Black Sea—to Novorossiysk—to come under the command of Admiral Kothak. But he then told me not to tell any of the cadets, so please don’t spread that around.”
This wasn’t even close to what Pyotr was pulled into the boathouse to do, but it was the best lie he could think of at the moment.
“I thought so. I didn’t ask earlier, because Orlov has been stuck to you like a second skin all morning, and his being called away to help set up the passenger schedule provided the first opportunity to ask.”
No more stuck to me than you have been, Pyotr thought. And Mikhail Shevemetev as well. But Pyotr knew why. Each of the three was afraid that Pyotr may slip away, and each of the three wanted to control Pyotr in his own way. This left Pyotr angry and on edge—and once again disappointed in himself that he let himself be trapped and manipulated like this. His only hope was if they were all separated in the truck assignments. Pyotr still didn’t know if he would try to fade away from the journey given the opportunity. But he was angry that he may not have the opportunity to consider other options.
As it turned out, he was trapped into climbing up into the back of one of the trucks. Mikhail was assigned to another truck, drawn off by the fencing instructor who apparently hadn’t lost interest in Mikhail to the extent that everyone had supposed. And Orlov, as a faculty member, had to ride in the cab of a truck. He did arrange, however, for Pyotr to be in the back of that truck. And Vasily was in Pyotr’s truck as well, having been assigned elsewhere but having made his own decision not to leave Pyotr’s side for an instant until they were all on board and on the move.
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