A young slave owner is in for a major life change when he is invited to visit his cousin's antebellum plantation in this new series by Chrisus.

Master of River's Bend - Chapter 1
by Chrisus
Series: Master of River's Bend
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Chapter 1: "The Invitation"

Luke Trevannion supposed that every family in "antebellum" Mississippi had a skeleton moldering away and gathering cobwebs in an unused, out of the way closet. And although he didn't know the circumstances of how or why, he did know that his family's skeleton related to his father's cousin, Beauregard St Jean - pronounced within the family as the very English "Sinjin"- of River's Bend Plantation.

Luke knew that Cousin Beauregard was ostracized by his family and he could never remember any family milestone such as a wedding, a birth or a death which he attended. In fact Beauregard's name was never mentioned in his presence and this only served to arouse his curiosity about the reasons for his reclusive cousin's rejection by his family which, in turn, fired his overactive, boyish imagination.

However, there was that one memorable occasion, at a family Christmas gathering, when Beauregard was mentioned - no doubt without thought being given to Luke's youthful presence. Perhaps tongues had been unwisely loosened by the free flowing whiskey and mint juleps when someone - Luke never did remember which relative it was - casually mentioned that Cousin Beauregard had recently been seen with his black plantation manager inspecting slaves at a deceased estate clearance sale.

The mention of his name sent shockwaves through the room. The sedate family matrons - their delicate sensibilities outraged by the mere sound of his name - collapsed backwards into their chairs and, as best as they could, they hid their heaving bosoms behind wildly fluttering fans while calling for their body slaves to fetch smelling salts to calm the palpitations of their hearts. The menfolk turned apoplectic purple and for their part, almost gagged on their Cuban cigars or choked on their fine, malt whiskey.

The air within the room was electric and momentarily, its occupants were shocked into silence. Then Luke's father drew attention to his presence in the room and further conversation about Beauregard ceased but not before Luke heard vague reference to his predilection for "Greek love" and reference to his "dark desires".

This had piqued fifteen year old Luke's curiosity and he'd subsequently researched the vast repository of information contained in the leather-bound volumes stacked on the bookshelves in his father's study. At first his search had been unsuccessful; try as he might he could find no reference to "Greek love". That is until he came across an old book of the history of the ancient Greek-Roman world where Luke discovered the meaning of "Greek love" - which was the emotional and physical love shared between men in the gymnasia and symposia of ancient Greece.

The fact that Cousin Beauregard was considered homosexual certainly came as a surprise - and it did explain the family's ostracism of him - but it didn't outrage him. In fact, Luke was intrigued by the discovery and, inextricably, he felt a bond with his black sheep relative. Perhaps, it went someway to explaining his own mixed feelings and self-doubt.

Since before the onset of puberty, Luke had lusted after the bodies of the male slaves working in the fields around his home. For some time now, he'd enjoyed taking long, solitary walks along country lanes where he could openly admire the strong, near naked torsos of the slaves bent to their labors under their overseers' whips. How he admired the sight of their muscular perfection straining under an oily sheen of labor-induced sweat which turned their magnificent bodies into living sculptures of flexing muscle and taut sinew.

Luke truly admired the raw beauty of the black man but it was the variations of their skin color that appealed the most. He loved the varying hues of the black man's complexion ranging as it does from the burnished copper of the locally-born through to the almost iridescent blue-black color of the recent arrivals from far-off Africa. At one plantation there was a high proportion of lighter skinned slaves and Luke found himself strangely drawn to these almost white slaves.

There were forces at work within him that Luke couldn't quite discern. While one part of him salivated at the erotic play of black muscle and sinew an inner voice told him that black servitude was wrong and that a grave injustice was being done to the black man. To his eyes blacks were in many way superior to the whites who enslaved them. One only needed to compare the perfection of the black man's physique with the puniness of his white captor to see the incongruity of this situation. And witnessing the black man's quiet dignity and forbearance under the harsh treatment of his white oppressors was proof - if Luke needed any - of the black man's inherent nobility of spirit and strength of character.

Over the intervening months and years, Luke became more convinced that the black man is indeed superior to the white man and his solitary walks along the country lanes added to that conviction. As he gazed over the hedgerows at the gangs of toiling, black slaves, Luke came to believe the order should be reversed and that it was the white man who should serve as a slave to the black man.

With each passing day, Luke's sympathies for the black slaves and their sad plight grew ever stronger and became more entrenched. Inevitably, he began making comparisons between the black slaves and their mustee brothers in misery. And while he was affronted by the sight of black slavery, his antipathy to it didn't extend to the lighter colored slave. To his eyes it seemed they could easily pass as pure white - which technically they weren't given the small amount of colored blood that flowed through their veins - but the casual observer wouldn't make that distinction.

Stripped to the waist with their fair complexions, lighter hair and blue eyes they indeed appeared to be white slaves and Luke approved. In fact, he identified with them and often fantasied that he was among their number toiling as a white slave under the control and direction of black overseers. As he gazed upon their sweat-soaked bodies and whipped marked backs he envied them their lot in life.

Often, he watched as a black slave paused in his labors to unconsciously and without embarrassment urinate. He was amazed at the prodigious size of black genitalia and he compared the puniness of his own and other white cocks, illicitly known to him, unfavorably with them. Luke saw this difference in size as further evidence of the black man's superiority over the white man.

Certainly, Luke lusted after black cock and he imagined willingly surrendering his mouth and his body to that of a powerful, black man. Oh, how he needed to be used sexually by one of the black slaves working on the other side of the hedgerows bordering the country lanes which had become pathways to his erotic fantasies and lust filled thoughts.

But such a thing could never be and Luke understood - and feared - the family's rejection and the public aprobopium that would befall him should his secrets ever become common knowledge. Therefore, Luke went to great pains to ensure that no one suspected that he might be homosexual or that he lusted after black, male flesh.

Eventually, Luke was in no doubt that he shared Cousin Beauregard's predilection for "Greek love" - a condition he longed to experience with a black man - and he sometimes wondered about his relative's "dark desires". Were these the same as Luke's "dark desires"? Did he and his black sheep kinsman, Beauregard St Jean share a common need to be owned and used by a black man?

Somehow, Luke suspected they did and, for that reason, he longed to meet Cousin Beauregard one day.

For three years Luke kept his "unnatural" secrets from everyone and confined his sexual relief to the frequent masturbatory sessions in the hedgerows as he watched the light-skinned slaves at work. As he masturbated, he became one of their number and whenever an overseer's whip was laid across pale shoulders, he felt the pain and quivered with masochistic desire. Only, in his imagination, the whip was applied not by an overweight, pot-bellied, white man but by a strapping, young, black overseer with a strong arm.

And even within the family home, Luke struggled with his "unnatural" urges. His mother used several handsome, young slaves around the house both as footmen and gardeners and Luke's attitude towards them secretly bordered on the deferential. There was one, young slave in particular who attracted Luke's attention. Older than Luke by about two years, this slave worked in the gardens and was named Nestor - a name chosen for him by Luke's father who randomly named his slaves after characters from ancient Greece and Rome. How Luke would have loved to submit to Nestor and allow himself to be used by him as his slave. But under the watchful eye of his parents even that was impossible.

Always, Luke had before him the example of Cousin Beauregard's rejection by polite society as a salutary lesson of what to expect should he ever be foolish enough to reveal his true sexual inclinations. As a seventeen year old without any independent income, he really had no other choice but to frustratingly acquiesce to his family's strict code of morality.

But all that unexpectedly changed several weeks after his eighteenth birthday in the form of a very formal letter from Mason, Winterbourne and Williams, attorneys-at-law acting on behalf of their client, Beauregard St Jean.

The letter was to profoundly change Luke's life more that he could ever have hoped for.

Luke was aware of the letter's arrival although not of its contents which were kept from him while his parents considered its implications. Of course, Luke wasn't aware that the letter concerned him personally and he simply thought perhaps Cousin Beauregard was seeking some reconciliation with his family. And Luke privately hoped that perhaps he would finally have the chance of meeting his mysterious second cousin face to face.

One evening, after dinner, his parents, Robert and Martha Trevannion dismissed the servants from the dining-room and Luke knew instinctively that some important issue was to be raised by his parents. Usually, on such occasions, he too was dismissed with the servants leaving his parents alone to talk in private. That he wasn't dismissed on this occasion obviously meant that the talks would be centered on him. Had his parents made a decision about his future? Was he to be sent away to an academy of higher learning - perhaps out of state or even in Europe? Apprehensively, Luke waited for his father to speak.

"Luke, there is a matter of some importance that your mother and I must discuss with you."

"What is it Father?" Luke asked fearful that his parents had somehow guessed his secrets. "Have I done something to displease you and Mother?"

"Not at all, Luke," his father answered not unkindly, "but it could possibly concern your future."

"What is it Dad? Please tell me?"

"You're aware of my cousin Beauregard St Jean, are you not?"

"You mean the black sheep who lives on a plantation on the Mississippi River?"

"Yes, that's correct, Luke."

"Dad, why have I never met Cousin Beauregard?"

This opportunity to question his father about Beauregard is too good to miss.

"It's a long story son and one which you needn't concern yourself with."

"Why not, Dad? Why can't you tell me the reasons why the family shun him?"

Luke is quick to see the anxious exchange of glances between his parents. Momentarily, there is a telling silence and then, with a sigh, his father answers.

"You're right, Luke. We do owe you an explanation. Suffice to say Cousin Beauregard lives an eccentric life not in keeping with the wider family's expectations."

"In what way is he eccentric, Dad?"

"Luke to put it frankly, Cousin Beauregard lives a dissolute lifestyle and prefers sex with men rather than women as God intended."

"You're being too kind, Robert." Luke's mother interjects. Beauregard St Jean is an abomination in the eyes of the Lord!"

"What did he do that makes him an abomination?"

Luke is eager to find out more and to confirm his suspicions.

"Well Luke ..... hmm.... I'm not sure how to put this to you delicately in front of your mother, but...."

"Oh don't worry about sparing my feelings, Robert." Luke's mother retorts tartly. "I'm well aware of the very worst of your wayward cousin's disgusting habits. If you are determined to go through with this then you must tell Luke so that he is at least prepared for when he visits River's End Plantation.

The suggestion that he might visit River's End comes as a complete surprise to Luke. It is so unexpected and he wonders about the reasons why. But there is still THAT question to be answered and Luke can tell by his father's hesitation that he is embarrassed. Nevertheless, goaded by his wife's comments, he tells Luke the terrible family secret about Beauregard.

"Luke, this happened many years ago when Beauregard St Jean was just a young man and had recently inherited River's Bend from his father; he was caught 'in flagrante delicto' having sex with a black man. Of course, this scandalized the whole family and from that day no member of the family has had any contact with him. That is, until I received this letter from his attorneys which directly relates to your future."

At last! Luke has confirmation that one other member of his family, at least, shares his own "dark desires". This only heightens his interest in Cousin Beauregard and, more than ever, he wants to meet him. And it would seem from his father's comments that this is now a real possibility.

"How does it concern me, Dad?"

"Well son, because of his chosen lifestyle Beauregard St Jean never married and therefore he is without issue. In other words he has no heir. For some reason - perhaps he's become aware of his mortality - he is now eager to find a suitable young heir to his fortune and he has you in mind. He has asked that you be allowed to visit him at River's Bend Plantation so that he can assess if you would be a suitable candidate.

Luke is overwhelmed by this unexpected turn of events. The news that Beauregard wants to meet with him is a complete surprise but the reason for such a meeting is more so.

Luke has never seen River's Bend Plantation but on several occasions he has listened as different family members enviously talked about it. It would seem from those conversations that Beauregard St Jean is an extremely wealthy landholder and slave-owner and now he is considering making Luke his heir.

"And am I allowed to visit River's Bend, Dad?"

"Luke, your mother and I are in disagreement about this. She is categorically opposed to you visiting Beauregard because she considers he could be a corrupting influence on you. While I don't disagree with her overall low opinion of my cousin, I have trust in your good judgment not to be swayed by his dissolute ways. I know the values that your mother and I have instilled into you will guide you and stand you in good stead and protect you from temptation. My view is that I don't have the right to deny you this chance to become Beauregard's heir. The stakes are too high to do that."

Luke has a momentary sense of regret in hearing of his parents trust in him. Given his own latent homosexuality and his "dark desires", he knows all too well that he will be easy prey for temptation if and when it is placed before him. But those things are for the future.

"Dad, what do you know about River's Bend Plantation? Have you ever been there?

"Yes Luke, I visited there both as a boy and a young man when my uncle -Beauregard's father who was my mother's brother - was alive. But sadly it's many years since I was last there. From what I recall it encompasses some two thousand acres of the richest, alluvial land in the country which makes it most productive. In those days it also had a labor force of some eighty slaves. And I recall it as a place of great natural beauty with a long river frontage and a not immodest mansion. Should you inherit River's Bend Plantation you will be a fortunate young man indeed."

Luke's mind is a confusion of tangled thoughts. Visions of River's Bend swirl through his mind and add to that confusion. But uppermost in his mind is the knowledge that he is to meet with his estranged cousin and perhaps to be introduced to a lifestyle which, to date, has been forbidden to him. He finds this prospect more exciting than the eventual ownership of River's Bend and he is anxious to visit River's Bend as soon as possible.

"Dad, when will I visit River's Bend Plantation?"

"It's best to strike while the iron is hot, Luke. For that reason you will leave for River's Bend next Monday."

Luke senses his mother's strong disapproval of the visit but dutifully she remains silent and acquiesces to her husband's better judgment. However, she does have something more to contribute to the arrangements.

"Robert, if our son is to visit River's Bend then he must be properly equipped to do so. He'll need suitable clothing - I won't have your cousin think we are the poor relatives who he favors with his condescension - and he must have a body-servant to take with him."

"Martha, of course you are right. I will leave that in your capable hands. I'm sure that between now and his departure you'll ensure that Luke has everything he needs to impress Beauregard. And yes, Luke just be accompanied by a body-servant. Do you have anyone in mind, my dear?"

Before his mother can reply, Luke blurts out.

"What about Nestor? Can I take Nestor with me?"

"What do you think Martha? Is Nestor suited to the task?"

"Well, Nestor isn't my first choice. I'd have chosen Aries. Nestor works in the grounds but he does possess a sweet disposition and he's polite, respectful and obedient and if Luke favors him I have no objections.

"Then so be it! Nestor will accompany Luke to River's Bend as his personal body-slave."


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