Sunday, May 3, 2020

Pankration (written by Harry)

This is the first part of a wonderful, epic story written by our reader Harry (author of Captain's cradle and its sequels Captain's crew (part 1 and part 2) and Captain's challenge). This part is mainly introduction. The next part (which has a lot more action) will be published tomorrow. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did!


Set in ancient Greece, this story features a group of young men in their late teens who are wards of the king of Thebes. Called the ‘Lost Princes,’ they are sons of aristocrats or military leaders from all corners of the Mediterranean world; they reside at the palace at Thebes as guarantees of alliances or loyalty. Some of the Princes are honored guests, and others are virtually prisoners, but in Thebes they have no family or peers except each other. They form loyal friendships and fierce rivalries, since each young man is proud and eager to demonstrate his strength and bravery to the others.

The Greeks love to compete with each other in everything from athletics to games of chance, but their favorite competitions are combats. For the Lost Princes, the pinnacle of competition is called the Pankration — a tournament-style series of one-on-one combats. Participating in Pankration offers the winner glory in combat, but the loser risks shame and sexual humiliation.  Many boys enter the competition trusting their strength or their speed or even secret tricks to bring them victory. A few young men are also intrigued by the sexual condition of victory — the opponent is not defeated until he submits his seed. The risks and rewards of erotic combat ensure that each Pankration match is a main event for the young men of Thebes.

A New Game

Two young men are bent over, panting heavily with their hands on their knees. Their bare chests shine with sweat, and their curly hair is plastered to their foreheads. It’s early summer, but a mild breeze still caresses the hills above Thebes. The young men gulp deep, grateful breaths as they look back at the craggy path they had raced up over the last thirty minutes. The path began at the shore of a deep blue lake, and somewhere on the other side of that lake, the boys’ clothes had been hastily shed at the beginning of their race. The young men are in their late teens and are in peak physical condition. They could not imagine any more pleasurable way to spend the morning than racing above the Greek coastline.

“I’m boooooored,” Nicomachus whined. He pushed his unruly blonde curls off his forehead and disappeared around the corner of the ruined temple that they had found. “Let’s find something fun to do!” His voice echoed off the stone walls, equally exuberant and petulant.

Theaetetus looked after his companion in exasperation. Nicomachus (Nico for short) was constantly proposing outrageous games and competitions to stave off boredom. Conveniently, Nico won those games almost every time.

“Wasn’t this race your idea? It was fun!” Theaetetus protested.

Nico popped out from behind a mossy column and flashed a dimpled smile. “Exactly! It was. But it’s over, so now let’s do something new! Maybe the other princes will want to join us?” He laid down on a sunny spot on the stone steps and stretched out with his eyes closed. Theaetetus’s eyes lingered on his blonde companion for the briefest of moments. Nico’s bronzed, muscular chest rose and fell gently, and his well-defined abs glinted in the sun. Like most young Greeks, Nico was not shy about his body, and his simple loin cloth was not up to the job of preserving his ‘modesty.’

The brunette sighed and pulled his eyes away from the splendid sight. “We’re not all princes,” he reminded his friend pointedly. In fact, Theaetetus—who preferred to go by Theo—was a free citizen of Athens, where there were no royal families at all. He had traveled to Thebes the previous year at the prompting of his tutor, who instructed him to seek the “wisdom of the wider Greek world." Now, a year later, he was still seeking and did not feel much wiser.

A shy and studious boy who had never left home, Theaetetus had initially been overwhelmed by the strange customs of Thebes… until he had found Nico exercising in the gymnasium one afternoon. Or more accurately, Nico found him. Within two minutes, the cheerful blond stranger had shook his hand, invited Theo to wrestle, pinned him decisively, and invited him back to his home for dinner. The quiet Athenian teen was bowled over by his new friend’s energy, but the surprises did not stop there. Theo learned only after arriving at the palace that “Nico” from the gymnasium was actually Nicomachus, the popular second son of the King of Thebes.

Though he never would have guessed him to be a prince based on his simple white toga and approachable demeanor, Theo came to understand why Nico was adored by the city’s people. He was a generous host, a sincere friend, and an enthusiastic athlete. And he was roguishly handsome, damn him. Freckles surrounded his wide hazel eyes and made him appear always to be smiling (which he basically always was anyway). After dinner that evening, Nico announced that they would be friends for their whole lives;  Theo hoped it would be true. He cherished that memory, and he thought about it any time he felt homesick.

Later, as the boys became closer friends, Theo met many members of the royal household, including the rag-tag collection of young men that Nico called the “Lost Princes.” The Princes were—with a couple exceptions—not lost, and many of them were not technically princes, but Nico liked it, so the name stuck. The Lost Princes had come from all over the known world to be wards of the powerful King of Thebes. Some were sons of royal families from allied kingdoms, and their presence signaled loyalty and political stability. Others were sons of vanquished enemies, and their bondage was a reminder of Theban military strength. Yet others were mysteries as far as Theo was concerned. But like Theo himself, each of the Princes was a visitor in a strange land, far from his friends and family. Their common experience, combined with Nico’s unreserved hospitality, became a fruitful ground for friendship.

The Princes’ friendships—like those of most young men who have yet to prove themselves in the wide world—were streaked with boasts and rivalries. They were fiercely competitive, and since they were often bored hanging around the palace, every game, sport, and wager seemed to be loaded with high stakes. Daily diversions were transformed into battles for glory. The Princes liked and respected one another, but they were also brazen in their pride and gleeful when their rivals were taken down a peg. To head off potential animosity, Nico established one rule early on: After every competition, winners and losers would share a cup of wine and feast together. And so even the most competitive Princes remained fast friends.


Theo stretched himself on sunny ledge outside the colonnade. His sweaty brown curls clung to his forehead and around his ears, framing his wide set, intelligent brown eyes. “Now that I think about it, we do have one game in Athens that I bet the Princes have never played before.” He closed his eyes and waited for Nico to take the bait. 

He didn’t have to wait long. Nico jumped out from behind a column with immediate interest. “Really? That’s fantastic! What is it? Why haven’t you mentioned it before?” he demanded. Theo squinted at him through the sunshine. Just the prospect of a new competition made Nicomachus’ smile beam, and his hazel eyes sparkle in anticipation. He was putty in Theo’s hands, for better or worse.

“Umm, it’s kind of intense. Our teachers in Athens didn’t let us play it because some boys got hurt. So we played in secret outside the city. After dark.” Theo trailed off, suddenly bashful and lost in a memory.

By now Nico stood next to him. nearly skipping with excitement. The blonde prince seized his friend by the shoulder. “So what kind of game it is it? What are the rules?”

“It’s a competition called Pankration. It’s similar to wrestling, but striking is allowed, kicks, punches, stuff like that. No weapons, no biting, no gouging eyes, everything else goes.” Theo paused, waiting for a response.

Nico did not hide his disappointment. “But that sounds just like the wrestling we already do!” he whined.  “What’s so intense about that?” He looked sternly at the Athenian boy. Theaetetus shifted in his seat. “I’ve pinned you in wrestling a hundred times,” Nico continued, exaggerating the number only a little. 

Theo furrowed his brow at his buddy’s bragging. “You don’t win by pins in Pankration,” he said sullenly. He sat up straight and glared at Nico, who sulked with his arms crossed over his muscular chest. Nico’s quizzical look turned to shock when—without breaking eye contact—his friend Theo’s bare foot flashed upward and crashed into his unguarded nut sack. Time stopped as the two friends stared at each other aggressively. Nico’s throat was suddenly dry, and his hazel eyes twitched as pain radiated from his crotch. The bronze-skinned prince stumbled to one knee. Not wanting to give up the element of surprise, Theo tackled the bigger athlete onto his back. They rolled over a couple times, and Theo halted their tumble by reaching between his friend’s legs and grabbing a handful of his plump, unguarded testicles. Nico’s pretty eyes widened and his breath caught in his throat.

“You don’t win by pins in Pankration,” the olive-skinned Athenian continued in a flat tone. “Only by submission. Or also by submission.” He emphasized his point by mashing Nico’s heavy balls together.

“Huh?!?” Nico protested, trying unsuccessfully to wriggle out of the lock that his buddy had on his nads. “That…doesn’t make…any sense,” he grunted. He had bigger problems than trying to sort out the sense of Theo’s weird rules.

Theo dug his thumb into the blonde prince’s soft left testicle, relishing the unfamiliar feeling of power. Nico yodeled mournfully. Theo affected a bored voice and continued the lesson. “Victory in Pankration comes when your opponent submits the match,” Theo said pointedly. He paused as if it was a question.

Nico grimaced but clenched his jaw against the pain and shook his head no. “Or,” Theo continued in a low voice, “when he submits his seed.” With that Theo brought up his other hand and grasped the studly price’s cock. Nico sputtered in protest as his penis was tugged in his friend’s rough grip.

Theo looked into Nico’s pain-filled hazel eyes and watched them widen with realization. Nico’s mouth fell open as his meaty cock was worked over, and he stared back at the brunette with a pleading look. Then his gaze cleared and without hesitating, he drove his head forward into Theo’s in a tremendous crash. Both boys were knocked silly and took a few moments to gather their wits.

After a few moments, only Nico had managed to stagger back to his feet. “Oh man, you are SO right!” the curly haired stud exclaimed, groggy but happy again. “The Lost Princes are going to go nuts for this game!” Theo remained mute and lay on his back looking up at the clear sky. He took several deep breaths. Then with one accord, the two friends threw themselves at each other once more, grappling for the joy of competition, for the pride of victory, and perhaps for an indisputable submission. As the warm afternoon wore on, the empty hillside temple echoed with their pants, squawks, and grunts.

In the “Princes’ Palace”

“That’s what I thought, too, at first!” Nicomachus exclaimed. “But there are a couple special rules that make Pankration different from regular wrestling.” Nicomachus stood in a courtyard of the Theban palace. Known unofficially as the “Princes’ Palace,” this courtyard in a forgotten corner of the palace was surrounded by a gallery and colonnade; the top was open to the sky, and the sun shone warmly on a soft, sandy floor.

Standing next to the excited blonde prince, Theatetus surveyed the motley looking group of young men commonly known as the ‘Lost Princes.’ The Princes hailed from all corners of the Greek Mediterranean world. Their clothes, accents, and skin tones were various, but they all appeared to be in their late teens, more or less. They were fit, virile males just entering into adulthood. Naturally they were competitive, so their ears had pricked up as soon as Nico mentioned a new game. He now held their undivided attention.  

In the center of the group, the Spartan boy Lysander was practically skipping with excitement at the prospect of combat by wrestling. The son of a phalanx commander, Lysander put high value on prowess in battle. But as one of the youngest of the Princes, he had struggled to establish himself in competition against his older and more mature peers, until now. Lysander trained ceaselessly in combat drills and wrestling, and his youthful body was striped with impressive musculature. His skin was baked a deep golden brown from exercising outdoors, and like all warriors of Sparta his black hair was cropped short. Ever observant, Theo watched the young Spartan measure his potential opponents with serious, clear grey eyes. Lysander was fairly well-liked among the Princes, but he was sometimes reckless or aggressive in his efforts to prove himself.

Next to Lysander stood two young men who looked like they had nothing to prove whatsoever. At first glance the twins Castor and Pollux might have been mistaken for statues. Their creamy alabaster skin was flawless and bulged with smooth muscles. Their deep blue eyes were framed by straight, platinum hair and strong jaws. The twins were visitors from nearby Arcadia, and it was rumored that their sister was Helen of Troy. Even with a famously beautiful sister, no one would imagine that the brothers got the short end of the genetic stick. They were almost irresistibly attractive to females and males alike.

Theo blushed a bit when Pollux caught him staring and glanced quickly away. Castor’s eyes flashed toward the Athenian moments later—an unspoken dare. After spending much of their lives hunting in the Arcadian wilderness, the brothers shared an understanding and could communicate without speaking; their reticence made them seem stand-offish and a little intimidating. Theo gulped and shuffled his feet, but he did not look back toward the twins.  

Meanwhile, Nico was explaining one of the distinctive rules of Pankration, whereby a competitor wins victory by forcing the other to “submit his seed.” From somewhere in the crowd, a taunt rang out: “You mean if you don’t give up, I just have to make you bust a nut?” Nico snorted dismissively as chuckles rippled through the gathered teens, some awkward, some boastful, and some simply excited. In their midst, one young man looked particularly uneasy. From the corner of his eye, Theo watched the Egyptian boy’s eyes flicker around  uncertainly as Nico outlined the rules.

While many of the Lost Princes were not remotely royal, Amun was the genuine article. An illegitimate son of the divine Pharaoh, Amun had been dedicated as an infant to the sun god. He was raised by the devotees of the god, and like them, he had sworn a vow of chastity. Amun cringed at the raucous laughter of the ribald Greek teens and blushed at the prospect of a competition with a potentially sexual edge. The Egyptian was tall, haughty, and regal—conscious of being descended from the world’s oldest line of kings. His dark eyes were almost black, and he looked around at his peers with disdain. As he fidgeted, the sun glinted off the gold rings that circled his long, lean arms.

To the right of Amun, two other teens were in hushed but animated conversation. Tallus and Ali were a study in contrasts. The muscular Gaul warrior Tallus had been a ward of the palace ever since his tribe had been defeated by the Thebans. He was treated as a guest, but in reality, he was a captive to guarantee peace. His wild red hair, pale skin, and distaste for wearing clothing made Tallus an easily recognizable figure in the palace. On this afternoon Tallus was clad in a traditional Greek toga, which he fidgeted with absentmindedly. His undomesticated appearance his impatient, clipped Greek were a source of amusement for the other Princes, even though they knew well that the “barbarian” Gaul was not only civilized, but also intelligent and resourceful. Theo couldn’t tell how much of Nico’s explanation Tallus was understanding, but he looked excited.

Next to the muscular Gaul, his best friend Ali looked positively scrawny. The Persian boy’s shaggy black hair, sleeveless vest, and ballooning pants did not suggest a favorable comparison. Nevertheless the strapping red headed warrior listened respectfully as his smaller companion used pantomime to translate the rules of Pankration. Tallus gave a hearty guffaw at one point in the explanation and beat his chest with bravado.

Theo had always been curious about the Persian boy. The official story was that Ali was sent to Thebes as a tribute from the Sultan. But the Athenian had also heard sly rumors that Ali was just a street trickster who dressed in royal garb to keep a roof over his head. At first Theo dismissed the rumors as idle palace talk, but when he looked into the Persian boy’s bewitching purple-blue eyes, he felt uneasy and did not know whom to believe. Regardless of which backstory was true, Ali was undeniably humble and patient, not just to Tallus but to any of the palace boys who needed a friend. His constantly calm demeanor belied his youthful appearance.

Nico finished his explanation of the new game called Pankration and looked around the quiet, sun-drenched courtyard. Theo, Lysander, Castor, Pollux, Amun, Ali, and Tallus—and other Lost Princes not yet mentioned—turned toward one another with enthusiasm but also with trepidation. They cherished combat games, but they didn’t know what to make of the sexual component.

Finally a storm of applause, cheers, and chest-pounding broke the silence. A new competition was on! Humiliating defeats might follow, but for now the Lost Princes were united in the adrenaline rush of sport and the pride of victories yet to be won!

The Rules

As crowd settled down, Theo stepped forward to spell out the rules more explicitly:
  1. One Pankration match will be held per day. Each match will begin at noon and be open to public viewing. All matches will be held in the “Princes’ Palace” unless otherwise specified.
  2. Each contestant will enter the Pankration by scratching his name (or symbol) on a stone and casting that stone into a large urn. Each morning two stones will be drawn, setting the match for the day.
  3. During the match all blows and combat techniques are legal except for biting and eye-gouging. Weapons are never permitted in Pankration, hand to hand combat only.
  4. A match is won only by submission. Submission may be verbal or by “submission of seed.” If a contestant submits his seed by ejaculating during the match, either voluntarily or against his will, he is declared the loser.
  5. After each match, the victor will host a feast. Both contestants from the day’s match will give a toast to ensure that no animosity carries over from the match.

After Theo finished explaining the details, many of assembled teens rushed to find a stone by which to enter the contest. The twins Castor and Pollux returned almost immediately.  Their identical stones made them the first official entrants. The young Spartan Lysander was right behind them and dropped in the third stone with a confident plunk. He rounded on the Arcadian hunters boldly, “We should just draw the contests now, so it will include only the strongest warriors!” He smiled and puffed his chest. The brothers looked at the younger teen blankly for a moment as if measuring their prey, then they moved on without a word. Lysander gulped awkwardly. “Okay, well, let me know if you want to train later…” His raspy voice broke a tiny bit, and he blushed and fell silent.

Gradually, other young men came forward and entered their names. Some, like the Gaul Tallus smiled eagerly when entering, while others were more timid. Theo was surprised to see that even the Egyptian priest Amun come forward. The shy, secretive teen did not appear keen on the prospect of combat, but maybe he was just too proud to decline participation. When Nico came forward with an entire handful of stones, each one bearing his name, Theo hastily proclaimed another rule:
6. Each contestant may enter Pankration only once!
Nico was inconsolable when he learned that he would not be able to compete against all of the other boys. But he stopped pouting when Theo agreed that all the names would be returned to the urn after each match, so he may indeed have multiple opportunities to fight. 

Finally all the names were entered, the great urn was sealed, and evening settled over sunny Greece. Ready or not, Pankration would begin tomorrow.


Felix said...

I LOVED THIS! SO HOT! Would you mind if I was inspired enough to write an ancient greek story myself?

Anonymous said...

Wow that’s a great setup,

Can’t wait to read tomorrow’s story!



Gino and Jayden Author

Harry said...

Felix, thanks so much man! I'm glad you are into the ancient setting, and I would definitely want to read your story if you decide to write it.

Jimmy, thanks for commenting! I am a major fanboy of your series. I hope you will enjoy the fights that follow this setup.

Alex, props again to you for keeping new content on this blog every day. You are amazing!

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful start to the series, and i am so excites to read more. The character development is wonderful; such a rarity in this frivolous genre haha. These intro stories rarely get the praise they deserve but this is an awesome set uo for the matches to come. Outstanding job!