Catalyst [Part 9}

By M. Greene -
published August 23, 2017

Selim and Jamal reach Venice

Venice, Serene Republic of Venice: 1575.

Cardinal Abramo Adamoli, Papal Legate to the Serene Republic, moaned softly as he orgasmed into the mouth of the handsome young man kneeling in front of him. “Hmm…” he sighed, shifting his vast buttocks around on the four-poster bed. Pleasure turned to discomfort as the youth began rapaciously licking the sperm from his softening penis, which, now it had spent itself, was hideously over-sensitive. No wonder the French call this moment ‘the little death’, the cardinal thought, reaching out with a flabby hand to push his catamite’s head away. “Enough, Fabio… Enough!” He watched Fabio lick his lips lasciviously. This one was surely a willing disciple of Satan.

On the other side of the room, Livia Bassani pushed open the casement and stared down at the Grand Canal. She was completely naked and the cool air caused her nipples to stiffen. Even though it was nearly midnight, the canal was still alive with gondolas and barges, the shouts of the oarsmen echoing against the facades of the tall and elegant villas that lined the dark water. Closing the slats of the wooden blind lest she be seen exposing herself, she turned back to the chamber and glanced towards the bed. Fabio, her twin brother, was still licking the juices from the cardinal’s corpulent thighs. She smiled; the old man loved both of them equally and they had become totally indispensable to him. Soon they would begin to reap an abundant harvest…

“Wine, Livia! Fetch wine for us all…”

Livia crossed to the carved ebony sideboard and poured out three goblets of the sour red wine that they made up here in the north. Placing them on a silver tray, she moved towards the bed. Fabio and Cardinal Adamoli had been embracing and kissing each other; their limbs and tongues entwined on the silken sheets, but at her approach they sat up and accepted the drinks.

“To the success of our enterprise,” Abramo Adamoli said, striking his goblet against those of his young companions.

Simultaneously, they drank.

“We need more information about these Turks,” Livia said.

Cardinal Adamoli nodded. “Of course, of course…”

“Why must they die in any case?” Fabio asked.

Livia winced. Subtlety brother… Subtlety… It was not for assassins to know the reasons why. If the client required a person to die then you killed them; no questions asked…

Luckily for them, old Abramo was feeling loquacious. “The Alliance Party here in Venice is anxious to strengthen the Doge’s hand against those who favour appeasing the Ottomans. The envoy who has recently arrived in our city is, according to my intelligence, an agent of the Valide Sultan.” He took another sip of wine.

“The Vailide Sultan?” Fabio leaned over and kissed the cardinal’s sweaty forehead.

“The mother of the present Sultan.” Abramo frowned. “She is the sworn enemy of our master the Holy Father and of his ally Filipe of Spain. His ambitions in the Mediterranean and victory at the Battle of Lepanto have outraged her. She will stop at nothing to steer the Doge away from our Hapsburg alliance.”

Livia sat at the foot of the bed and began massaging the old man’s feet. “Tell us something of this envoy we must eliminate.”

The cardinal smiled. “I have only met him once, at a reception at the Palace, but he is almost as handsome as our darling Fabio here… His eyes are emerald green to your olive, my dearest boy, but he has the same athletic build and raven black hair…”

Fabio grinned. “Almost as handsome as me…” He took another mouthful of wine and laughed. “Such a one cannot be tolerated in the same city!”

The cardinal kissed his young lover’s cheek. “That is why you must remove him, my precious child; you and your talented sister here…” He shot a meaningful look towards Livia.

Livia smiled back. She could still feel the cardinal’s seed leaking out from within her from their intercourse two hours before. Although the old man loved to flatter her brother and even indulge in a little sexual play with him, it was women that he really preferred. “I will prepare my most subtle poisons, eminence,” she avowed. “He will not trouble you for much longer…”

Selim and Jamal both agreed that Venice bore a striking resemblance to Istanbul. Or, as all foreigners called it, Constantinople. The Grand Canal was a wide stretch of water much like the Bosporus. The church spires resembled the minaret towers of their home town and the domes of the Cathedral of St Mark were directly inspired by those of old Byzantium. However, whereas crowded streets met Istanbul’s waterfront, here in Venice the water held dominion, with a maze of busy canals leading off from the Grand Canal to form the only means of transportation.

The Turkish legation was housed in a large mansion fairly near St Mark’s Square and the Doge’s Palace. Selim and Jamal spent the first few days recovering from their long sea journey, acquainting themselves with the layout of Venice, as well as purchasing new, more European, clothing.

“You look even more handsome in your native dress, my slave,” Selim said when he first saw Jamal’s new outfit.

“It feels strange wearing hose again,” Jamal remarked, looking down at the brown moleskin cloth which clung tightly around his legs. “I had forgotten how very revealing it is…” The codpiece containing his penis seemed to stick out obscenely in front of him and the short brown doublet he was wearing on top came nowhere near to concealing it.

Selim, as befitted his superior station, was dressed much more gorgeously than Jamal, in a black velvet outfit decorated with seed pearls and tiny emeralds to match his eyes. A small lace ruff encircled his neck and he wore a rather fetching soft black hat over his new, much shorter, hairstyle. Like Jamal, he felt somewhat exposed in the area of his manhood, so used was he to the flowing robes of his Muslim heritage. He glanced down at the significant bulge of his own codpiece and grinned. “Wearing this, at least if I happen to find a young man particularly attractive, my erection cannot possibly look any more obvious than it does already…”

On arrival in the city, they had attended a reception at the Doge’s Palace. Osman Hikmet, the Ottoman Ambassador, a weary middle-aged man with a wispy beard and an untidy turban, introduced Selim to the Doge himself. The Doge was in his late forties and appeared very bored by the whole business of this audience with foreigners. According to palace gossip, he spent most of his time surrounded by and talking to children.

“This has been the case for many months now,” Osman said when questioned by Selim about the Doge’s abstracted and eccentric manner. “It is said that he has somehow entered a second childhood and can now only communicate with little girls and boys.” He sighed. “Whenever we wish to press him about Venetian policy in the Mediterranean, he says very little and goes back to playing tag in the garden with his infantile friends…” He sighed. “If we are to secure our claim on the island of Cyprus, we need the Doge to sign the alliance document we have prepared. So far he shows no inclination to do so…”

“At least the Doge is also refusing to ally the Republic with the Papacy and the Hapsburgs,” Selim remarked. “He does not appear to be singling us out with his disinterest.”

Osman grinned and nodded towards a cardinal on the other side of the room. “You are correct, Bey,” Osman said. “Old Abramo Adamoli over there is said to be most angry and frustrated by the way the Doge sits on the fence and refuses to commit either way.” Much to alarm of a passing waiter, he spat a wad of phlegm onto the rush-strewn floor. “That man represents the Pope here in Venice and is known to be in the pay of the Hapsburg King of Spain.”

Selim followed Osman’s gaze and thought that he had never seen a more obese man in his entire life. The cardinal’s flesh wobbled and quivered as he moved and his massive bulk was definitely accentuated by the bright crimson robes he was wearing. Such a figure should wear white rather than red, Selim decided; it might do something to disguise his obscenely fat figure…

Back in their own accommodation, Selim and Jamal spent an hour or so being intimate with each other. So far, they were not missing Nazir too much, but they still both felt a strange sense of longing for their ‘brother in the stone’ as Selim had taken to calling him.

“I love you, my Lord,” Jamal whispered as he saw the unmistakable sign in his Master’s emerald eyes that he had climaxed.

“I love you too, my Angle slave,” Selim said, covering Jamal’s face with kisses. “More than you will ever know…”

Eventually, once they had finished their lovemaking, Selim retrieved the parcel of secret orders from their luggage and broke open the seal. Inside were several separate packets, each labelled on the outside with instructions concerning when and where they should be read. Only one of them was to be perused in Venice. Hurriedly, Selim ripped open the envelope and carefully read the coded message within. Towards the end he took a deep breath and whistled.

“What does it say, my Master?”

“It says that we have to assassinate his eminence Cardinal Abramo Adamoli…”

Fabio and Livia Bassani came from a small village a few miles from Rome. Their father had been a mere blacksmith, but, despite their low origins, their precocious intelligence had led to the interest of a local priest who educated them in Latin, Greek and basic Humanities. When they were in their late teens, the old priest had presented them to Cardinal Adamoli who, on seeing their undoubted beauty, accommodated them as servants in his luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Rome.

With no fixed duties other than pleasuring their master by night in his bedchamber, the twins roamed the eternal city during the daytime and rapidly met all the wrong kinds of people. Due to their youth, wit and charm, they became companions to thieves, murderers and prostitutes. The males taught Fabio acrobatics, housebreaking and how to fight with daggers, whilst the females instructed Livia in not only the arts of lovemaking, but how to engineer abortions and poison rivals.

Three years later, by now twenty years of age, the twins accompanied the cardinal to Venice when he was appointed Papal Legate to the Republic. Their employer’s brief was to ensure that Venice stayed loyal to Christendom and resisted the siren call of the Muslim Turks to enter into an unholy alliance and carve up the Eastern Mediterranean between them. So far, Cardinal Adamoli had not met with success.

“A little faster, please, my dear,” Abramo ordered.

Dutifully, Livia increased the speed that she lowered her body up and down on the cardinal’s stiff cock.

Abramo sighed. “That feels much better. I think I may… Soon… Oh yes…” He grunted with pleasure as his seed erupted inside Livia’s tight little cunt. Hmm… Immediately, the feelings of guilt and remorse took over and he squirmed his thick bulk out from underneath the girl so quickly that Livia was almost thrown off the bed. “Fabio! Bring me some of that cold chicken and wine!”

Once Livia had thoroughly washed, she doused her vagina with a preparation of vinegar and certain crushed herbs that would nullify the possibility of conception. Returning to the bedroom, she found her brother and the cardinal deep in conference over their food and drink.

“It is said that the Turk prefers congress with men rather than women, so I feel that it is expedient that you take the lead in this enterprise, my boy.”

Fabio nodded. Like his sister, he was bisexual and did not really care about trivial things such as gender.

“He has a constant companion; a servant who is also reputed to be his lover,” the cardinal continued. “This young man is said to be very adept in the martial arts. He is also reckoned to be from England, although this seems far-fetched indeed given that he has been seen prostrating himself in the disgusting prayer positions these Turks choose to worship the Devil by.” He dipped his fat, ring-encrusted fingers again into the bowl of cold chicken and brought another handful of greasy flesh up to his mouth. “You will need to be wary of this servant and, indeed, you will need to incarcerate, incapacitate or even eliminate him before we can vouchsafe our prize…”

Fabio nodded dutifully.

“Am I not to be included in this enterprise?” Livia asked, sitting down next to them and helping herself to a goblet of wine. She was rather peeved that they had begun this discussion while she was bathing. Despite her normally cool head, she could not prevent a slightly sulky tone entering her voice.

Abramo chuckled. “You, my dear, are of vital importance to our scheme,” he said, patting her hand. “While your brother here distracts them with his alluring charms, you will administer a dose of poison that will send the Turkish envoy to the pits of Hell before he knows what has happened to him.”

“Why poison?” Fabio asked, taking out his stiletto dagger and brandishing it. “The blade is swifter and surer.”

Abramo patted his head. “Diplomacy, my child, diplomacy. The envoy must seem to have died from natural causes. We do not wish the Doge to have to answer for the brutal murder of his guests, do we?”

Istanbul, Ottoman Empire: 1575.

The nagging sense of hollowness was now becoming serious. Selim and Jamal had been gone for over three months. Nazir felt listless and depressed. The pain of separation was gradually increasing. He hoped that, for his friends’ sakes, this feeling would not get any worse; it was almost intolerable now. While he remained at home, with only the familiar routines of everyday life to deal with, Selim’s mission was of vital importance to the Caliphate and would not stand any interference.

As usual, Nazir was serving customers in Master Isaac’s shop. It had been very busy lately due to an outbreak of measles in the city and the ingredients for the medicine prescribed for that disease were already running very low. As soon as the shop was empty, he walked through to the laboratory to make up another batch of the measles medication.


Nazir started. The faint word sounded as though it was uttered by his master, but the old man was nowhere to be seen. Then he walked behind the workbench and saw, to his dismay, that Master Isaac was lying prostrate on the hard flagstone floor. Bending down, he felt for a pulse and detected the merest weak fluttering.

Isaac opened his watery hazel eyes. “Good boy… The strong-room…” He took a deep breath. “Take this…” He touched the heavy iron key that hung around his neck. “All… Yours…” He sighed deeply and then lay still.

With trembling fingers, Nazir gently closed the old man’s eyes. His own were blinded by tears. Isaac had been very old and they had both known that the end could not be all that far away, but now the fateful moment had finally come it was still a terrible shock. Isaac had been his parent for almost his whole life and had cared for him and educated him. Carefully, he eased the key-chain carefully over the old man’s head. His master’s words had been clear; everything in the strong-room was his. The shop and business had to go to the Jewish community; such was the way of things among them, but what was in those chests belonged to him. He knew what was in there; Venetian ducats and Florentine currency as well as promissory notes from the Medici and Fugger banks of Europe. He would be rich; wealthier even than Selim!

After straightening out the old man’s limbs and folding his hands across his chest, Nazir walked to the strong-room and unlocked the door. He needed to take his inheritance away to Selim’s house before the Jewish community knew of Isaac’s death and descended upon the place like vultures. Nazir knew what he had to do first with his new-found money; the aching pain in his heart told him that. He would take ship to Venice to be reunited with his two soul brothers.

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