Author: REM
Story Title: Hero's Path
Characters: Ares/Joxer
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Joxer discovers that gifts from a god can be a two edged thing. Second story in the Tribute series.
This rating is for explicit m/m sex.

The tale below was woven for love
not for profit, or money, or gold
and we all know to whom the characters belong
(yea verily, this is the standard disclaimer song)
to avoid landing in the Tartarus of old.

So I pray to the gods of MCA/Universal
strike me not dead with thy might,
for I promise to give the boys right back
at the end of just one more hot night.

This story contains explicit descriptions of male/male sexual relations.

This is the second story in the series, following Tribute.

The series can also be found at The Joxerotica Archives

Feel free to send comments to:


Hero's Path
by REM, the DreamWeaver

Joxer wrung the excess water out of the rag and gingerly placed it against his latest bruise. His forehead was dotted with black and blue marks and he was convinced that Ares was laughing his omnipotent ass off at him. Joxer unfolded the rag looking for a colder spot to ease the ache. It was that accursed staff Ares had given him. He was beginning to think the thing had a life of its own. The past day and a half had been a disaster and he was having second thoughts about the wisdom of accepting gifts from Gods.

He'd left Ares's temple and caught up with a group of tired looking fighters headed north. He'd just started telling them his name, Joxer the Mighty,when he'd stumbled and smacked himself in the head with the staff. The fighters had brushed him off with gales of laughter and left him sitting in the dirt. Further down the road he'd joined a woman and her son and nearly knocked himself out when he started telling them one of his 'how I saved Xena' stories. They'd very solicitously left him sitting on a tree stump counting the bright multi-colored spots swirling in front of his eyes.

Later that afternoon he walked into a small village and gone into the tavern for something to eat. He'd just finished his dinner when a fight had broken out over the attentions of a serving girl. He'd jumped right into the middle of the brawl and nearly gotten killed for the effort. He'd crawled out from under the table he'd been thrown beneath and slunk out of the tavern and into an alley to leave his dinner on one wall and check for broken bones against the other. After that he'd limped to the market stalls, purchased some medicinal herbs and hobbled out of the village.

The next morning hadn't been much better. He'd run across an old man along the narrow forest path he'd taken and managed to plant another lump on his forehead when he'd started his 'how I defeated Callisto' story. He'd tried again with another story and had nearly broken his nose. The old man had suddenly decided he needed to go the other way and had taken off in that direction at high speed. Joxer had turned to say good-bye and had walked into a tree, the staff tangling with his legs and smacking him in the face when he fell. That was the new bruise he was holding the rag against.

Joxer dipped the rag back into the stream and rung it out again. He winced as he applied it to the tender spots on his skull. At the rate he was going his head was going to be beaten to mush within a week. He wondered if it was the way he was carrying the staff or if Ares was punishing him for asking to be a warrior.

Joxer wrung the rag out again and flipped it around his neck hoping the coolness would lessen his headache. He stood up and headed back to the road deciding to sing his song to make himself feel better. "Joxer the mighty, he's very---" The staff smacked him in the face. "Ow!" Joxer grabbed his forehead, fingering the new lump rising on his skull. He looked at the staff wondering if it had done it on purpose. Shrugging off the question as silly he started off again, in full volume.

"Joxer the might---" The staff connected with the side of his head. "Ow, son of a centaur!"

Joxer stopped and held the staff at arms length. He stared at it, then got experimental. He started singing. "Jox---" The staff bopped him in the head twice. "Ow! That does it!" Joxer jammed the staff into the soft ground and took a step back. He sucked a small hurricane into his lungs and belted out his song. He kept a wary eye on the staff growing more confident as he finished verse after verse unscathed.

Joxer let the last notes roll off his tongue and then stuck said object out at the staff. Stepping forward he pulled the staff out of the ground. "Let that be a less---" The top end of the staff played a drum roll against his skull even as he fought to hold the weapon still. Joxer tripped and fell over backwards the staff landing on top of him. He grabbed the offending stick and threw it into the bushes. Joxer sat up rubbing his head and heard a rustling noise. He turned in time to see the staff come flying out of the bushes, the end of the stick slamming dead in the center of his forehead knocking him out cold.


Joxer woke up and grabbed his forehead. It felt like he had a hole in his brain. He groaned and sat up looking like a botched camouflage attempt with leaves and weeds stuck to his hair and clothes. Glancing around he found the staff lying next to him. Eyeing the thing like it was a snake he picked it up and shook it. When it didn't do anything he dropped it and went back to exploring the newest knot on his forehead. He had a feeling he looked like a unicorn.

Joxer got up, using the staff as a support to help himself off the ground. He stood for a moment looking around until he spotted a fist sized rock. Joxer moved closer to the rock then grabbed the staff with both hands and drove it into the dirt as far as he could. He bent over and scooped up the rock and started pounding on the end of the staff driving it further and further into the ground. He didn't stop until the staff was buried over half it's length and his arm muscles were burning with fatigue.

Joxer dropped the rock and stumbled back, leaning against a tree trying to catch his breath. He watched the staff nervously waiting for something bad to happen. Nothing did. He waited until his breathing was back to normal and the weariness had drained from his arms before pushing himself off the tree. Joxer walked around the staff. It just sat there like a branchless sapling. He turned around and strolled off.

Joxer managed to take six steps before something slammed into his back putting him face first in the dirt. Joxer pushed himself up and spit out a clump of vegetation. He turned to look behind him and found the staff at his feet. Joxer sat up, grabbed the staff and used it to lever himself off the ground. He'd had enough for one day. He staggered off to find a campsite.

Six days later Joxer had what felt like a permanent headache and he'd figured a few things out. He could sing anything but his song. He could tell any story no matter how outrageous, as long as it wasn't about him. And he was going to have to drop the 'Mighty' bit from his name. Otherwise he was going to spend the rest of his life being beaten senseless by his own staff.

Joxer discovered he couldn't get rid of the staff either. He'd tried everything. He'd put an inch high welt across his stomach when he'd wedged one end of the stick between a tree and a boulder and tried to break it. The staff had slipped out of his grip and whiplashed back nearly knocking his bellybutton into his backbone. After a few more fiascoes in which a fire, a ravine, a river and tying the staff to a moving wagon were involved, he'd given up. His body looked like he had a fight with an ink pot, black and blue bruises everywhere.

Joxer glanced up at the late afternoon sun judging how long he had before dark. He needed to scare up something for dinner before he made camp for the night otherwise it was trail bread and water. Joxer increased his pace, heading for a bend in the road. He had almost reached it when the screaming started.

Joxer froze, then took off running. He cleared the bend to see a small donkey and cart in the middle of the narrow road. Next to it was a man lying on the ground bleeding from the head with a small boy wailing over him. On the other side a very pregnant woman struggled against a scruffy man trying to drag her off into the underbrush.

Joxer slid to a stop behind the thug and bopped him on the head with the staff. The brigand let go of the screaming woman and turned around. He gave Joxer a sour look. "That was a bad move stick boy."

"And that's no way to treat a woman."

The man snarled and swung. Joxer moved without thinking, ducking the punch and jerking the staff up between the man's legs. The hard impact doubled the brigand over, Joxer taking him out for the count with a quick upsweep of the staff that connected with the man's jaw.

Joxer stared down at the unconscious man scarcely believing what he'd just done. He didn't have time to think about it as the hysterical woman threw herself at him. "You have to help my sister!"

Joxer looked down at the woman. "Your sister? Where is she?"

"They dragged her in there," the woman pointed frantically at the underbrush. "Please, you have to help her."

"How many?"

"Two of them, please---"

"Stay here," Joxer ordered. He dropped his travel bag to the ground and took off in the direction she'd pointed.

Joxer pushed his way through the tangled undergrowth and started hearing muffled cries. He sped up following the sounds and broke out into a small clearing. He'd found the woman's sister and her assailants. One of them had the woman pinned to the ground with his hand over her mouth while the other was tearing at her clothes. "Let her go," he ordered.

The men looked up at him, the one holding the girl down warning him off. "Get outta here, this don't concern you."

"It does now."

The ruffian holding the girl down let go of her and came to his feet, jerking a knife from his belt. He charged at Joxer with a bull roar. Joxer waited, then pivoted to the side, the staff coming around to slam across the man's lower back. The man stumbled and went down on one knee. Joxer didn't give him a chance to get up. He swung back around, the end of the staff gathering momentum as he turned and nailed the brigand on the side of the head splitting his scalp open and knocking him unconscious.

"You little bastard."

Joxer turned to face the other man in time to see him draw his sword. Joxer slid sideways putting the late afternoon sun at his back letting the man come to him. His opponent's cautious advance gave Joxer time to wonder just what in Tartarus he thought he was doing. This thug was going to cut him to ribbons. The fear in his guts woke up and started screaming giving him the urge to run. He rejected the impulse before it was fully formed, seeing it as a betrayal of Ares if he did. The thought of the dark God sent a rush of heat through his veins and he found himself moving.

Joxer feinted to the left and attacked from the right cracking the man across the side of his left kneecap with the staff. He jumped back out of the way of the sword, shifting his grip further down the staff swinging the other end around and down across his opponent's wrist. The sword fell to the ground from nerveless fingers accompanied by a bellow from its former owner. The man used his other hand to snatch a knife from his belt as he renewed his charge.

Joxer ducked down and jammed the staff between the man's legs tripping him. His opponent hit the dirt and rolled coming up on one knee, an underhand throw sending the dagger speeding towards Joxer. Joxer kissed dirt, the knife passing over him, another roar from the thug alerting him to the man's new charge and squish tactic. Joxer rolled onto his back jamming one end of the staff into the dirt the other catching the thug in the stomach. Joxer turned the staff into a fulcrum, using the man's own momentum and weight to toss him across the clearing. The man landed in the underbrush, twitched once, then lay still.

Joxer climbed to his feet and leaned on the staff sucking in much needed air. His heart was pounding and he became aware of a tightness across his groin. He looked down and found himself hard and ready for an entirely different kind of battle, a glorious vision of Ares forming in his mind. Joxer abruptly leaned back and thrust his fists skyward a triumphant howl bursting from his lungs. A rumble of thunder echoed in the distance as if in answer to his exultant scream. Joxer looked down at his fallen opponents and grinned. A soft whimper reminded him of the victim.

Joxer turned and started walking towards the girl. "Are you all right?" The girl clutched the remains of her clothes to her and shrank back into the weeds. "I'm not going to hurt you." Joxer stopped and held out his hand. "Let me take you back to your family. Your sister is worried about you." The girl stared up at him with terrified blue eyes. She glanced around at her unconscious attackers then looked back up at Joxer and reached for his hand.


Joxer tossed the last of the chicken bones into the campfire and used the wet rag to clean his hands. He burped, scrubbed his face clean then dropped the rag on a nearby rock. He finished his dinner with a long drink from his water bag, then settled back on the boulder he was sitting on, using the large tree that had grown up against it as a back rest.

Joxer looked up at the stars. He leaned his head against the tree and wondered if one of them was Olympus and if that's where Ares was at the moment. Then maybe the entire night sky was Olympus and each star a god or goddess or demigod. He scanned the heavens trying to decided which star would be Ares. It would have to be the brightest, the most beautiful. Joxer sighed wanting to see him, wishing he was near one of his temples. He wanted to share the wonder of his day.

A silly grin wreathed Joxer's face as he reran the events of the afternoon through his head. He still couldn't believe it. He fought and moved like a seasoned fighter, using techniques that he'd practiced for years but had somehow never quite mastered. He reached to his left and touched the staff propped against the tree. His brain jumped back on the concept that Ares had granted his request and examined it like a rare jewel.

Joxer sighed, still amazed at the chain of events, not quite believing them. He glanced over at his stuffed travel bag. It was filled with parcels of dried fish, fruit and jerky given to him by the grateful family. Joxer thought about the afternoon again. He closed his eyes reliving the action. The thrill of the fights vicariously running through him heating his blood, stirring the half aroused state he'd been in since the end of the battle. His hands slid across his thighs into his crotch rubbing against the straining leather.

Joxer opened his eyes and sat listening to the night sounds and decided there probably wasn't anyone around for miles. He leaned back and unlaced the front of his pants, his left hand undoing the laces as his right slid under the soft black leather freeing himself. A sudden breeze stirred around him cooling the heavy warmth in his right hand. Joxer's eyes drifted shut. He settled into a favorite pattern of light finger touches, his hand becoming slick with the moisture leaking from the tip of his shaft, then a full fist pull as he brought to mind that night in the temple. That moment in time when Ares had thrown him onto his back on the altar. The feel of those powerful hands digging into his hips holding him in place. That special spot inside him that Ares hit with every hard thrust sending lighting through his veins. Joxer moaned, his hand tightening on himself as he remembered the expressions on the handsome bearded face. The inferno burning in the dark eyes as Ares used him, taught him, transformed him. Joxer's teeth clamped together as a series of tremors ran though him, the name of his God slipping from his lips in the form of a hiss as he got lost in the pulsing pleasure.

Joxer let go of himself and slumped against the tree relaxing in the afterglow of sensation. He smiled, still seeing his dark God in his mind. Something hot and wet brushed across his lips. Joxer's eyes snapped open his left hand reaching for the staff. He blinked and looked around the campsite to find nothing that hadn't been there earlier.

The wet satin touch brushed across his mouth again. Joxer's tongue automatically flicking out testing the moisture on his lips. A soft moan escaped him at the familiar taste of honey coated steel. His hands reached out and found well muscled leather clad thighs then slid up to narrow hips. The heat settled against his lips and he opened his mouth sucking the hard probe into his throat as he pulled the invisible hips towards him.

Joxer closed his eyes finding it disconcerting to feel what he couldn't see. Then the thought occurred to him to wonder how long Ares had been watching him. His face went scarlet. His tongue went exploring, charting the memorized territory of Ares's erection, delighting in the nectar leaking from the tip. Joxer felt the body in front of him shift pushing the invader deeper into his mouth. Then the movement stopped, Ares's rich voice rumbling above him.

"Show me how much you love me."

Joxer felt his recently satisfied cock wake up at the seductive words. He found himself nearly breathless at the feel of Ares under his hands. His tongue engaging in the delightful exercise of flicking from side to side as he pumped his mouth up and down the immortal shaft he held captive between his lips. Little shivers started running through him every time he felt the head hitting the back of his throat. An inferno lit up inside him at the low sound of a moan coming from above him.

Joxer felt a hand brush the left side of his face. He changed tactics wrapping his right hand around Ares's cock, pumping and squeezing the length of it while his mouth sucked on the head. His tongue creating a symphony of sensation against the sensitive underside pulling a shiver from the body standing over him. He felt the firm head twitch between his lips and plunged his mouth down the length of the shaft, sucking on it like he was trying to pull a plum through a blowgun. He pulled Ares into his reality. The War God flashing into view with a guttural roar as he spurted liquid desire down Joxer's throat.

Joxer tightened his hands on the leather clad hips as Ares started to pull away. He ran his tongue over the half erect member in his mouth stirring it to new lengths, then pulled back letting the lightest touch of his teeth rake down the top.

"Oh, you are good." Ares rocked forward pushing back into that delicious haven. "Do that again. Harder."

Joxer did, and more. He expressed physically what he was feeling inside. Pulling and sucking and nipping and teasing and stopping at all the right moments until he had Ares snarling above him. Joxer pulled back, his tongue flicking out collecting nectar served on the tip of hot steel.

"Touch yourself."

Joxer shivered at the raw lust he heard in the deep voice and switched hands. His left pumping Ares's shaft, his right curling around himself, his senses starting to overload from the dual sensations. He heard a low growl from Ares and tightened his hands around both of them. The pressure made Ares's hips buck forward, filling his mouth with the gift of a god, Joxer sucking and swallowing wanting to drown in the taste and essence of Ares. Then he caught the tail of the comet and fell into his own pleasure, a verbal encouragement from Ares making it all the sweeter.

Ares pulled out of Joxer's mouth, Joxer letting him go with a lick and a kiss. Joxer sighed then tried to catch up on his breathing. "Oh, gods."


"You came."


Joxer blushed at the inflection Ares used on the word. "No, I mean you're here."

"What was your first clue?"

Joxer looked up at Ares. "Thank you."

Ares flashed him a wicked smile. "Later hero."

"Don't go yet." Joxer found himself clutching at air. He slumped back against the tree biting back the disappointment. A moment later he shrugged the feeling off finding the sweet taste in his mouth and the fact that Ares had been there much more interesting to dwell on. A yawn caught him by surprise, his ears popping from the force of it.

Joxer smiled and stood up, snagging the wet rag off the rock for a quick clean up. He tucked himself back into his pants, stretched, then spread his blanket in front of the fire. He wrapped himself in his blanket and tucked his staff against his body, then reached up and pulled his travel bag into pillow position. Another yawn overtook him showing him just how worn out he was. A smile tickled his lips as he adjusted his head on his makeshift pillow. He needed to start making offerings to Morpheus. Then maybe he'd see Ares in his dreams.

Continue on to the sequel Consort

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