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Part One

"Hail the conquering hero" smiled Henri as Porthos trotted into Musketeer Headquarters adding "So, are you the strongest man in Europe?"

Porthos simply smiled as he dismounted and as he did, flexed his arm for the cadet who he considered a brother. As Henri wrapped his hands around the bulging arm, he nodded and at the same time sighed saying "I know it's pure wishful thinking, but, I hope one day I shall be able to do the same!"

Porthos rubbed the cadet's head with his hand saying "You will, my lad, it just takes time!" and with that Henri led Porthos's horse back to the stables. As Porthos watched his friend, he knew that Henri was a good lad. He's joined the corps as a cadet six months previously, on a secret mission from the Duke of Buckingham, to establish how much of the Duke's dalliances with the Queen were public knowledge in France, but in those six months his honour, his bravery and his swordplay were never in doubt. What was in doubt was Henri's sense that he would never be more than a tiny cog in the wheel that was the corps, and yet on numerous occasions Porthos could see just a glimmer, especially when Henri got angry, of what the lad was capable of. That's why he had entered the competition because he knew that the winner would receive a prize greater than any number of livres, a prize that was whispered by everyone who took part, the fabled Amulet of Athelstan. The amulet, forged in the time of dark magic, was crafted for the ancient King of the Britons in an attempt to prevent the Vikings from constantly invading his nation. Whoever was in possession of it would, on the word of command, drain the strength and power from the most powerful person within fifty yards of the owner. And now, he was in the possession of it. But Porthos wasn't going to use it for himself, no, he was going to be the victim of it, and as he imagined the pain of his strength and power surging out of him, he started to moan. All that was needed was the right recipient of that power and that recipient completely unware of the Titan's designs on him.

"So, Sandy" smiled Henri as he took the saddle of Porthos's horse, "did you have a nice time in Bavaria then?"

The horse, named for it's colour, nodded and neighed as Henri brushed him down. Of all of the cadets, Henri was the most in tune with the horses of the corps and on several occasions, it was almost as if Henri could understand every sound they made. As he continued to brush the horse, the two seemed engaged in a conversation and seemed to be recounting Porthos's triumph in the contest to find the strongest man in Europe. Giving Sandy a final brush down, Henri smiled "There, fit for when the Titan rides again!" and turned around to find Porthos standing next to him with a smile on his face.

"Ah" smiled Henri, picking up the saddle, "are you to ride again?" and was about to place it on Sandy when he knocked out cold by a right hook that seemed to come from nowhere. As Porthos caught the cadet in his arms and picked him up, he started to moan. Moans that became more amplified as he entered the headquarters and started to make his way down into the dungeons and by the time he reached the deepest and darkest dungeons the moans were now easily heard.

"Oh, Henri" Porthos moaned, "you are going to love this!"

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Part Two

"Oooh" moaned Henri as he started to come around, "where am I?"
 
Henri had no idea how long he'd been out for. The last thing he could remember was talking to Porthos and placing the Titan's saddle onto Sandy but everything after that was a blank. As he slowly opened his eyes, he could see he was somewhere very dark and dingy and as he tried to sit up, he felt something preventing him from heaving himself up. What he saw sent him into a cold sweat. He was chained, which was bad enough, but he was chained to a rack. Instantly, Captain Treville's words about the most heinous torture device came flooding back to him.
 
"The rack is a torture device" said the Captain, making sure that Henri understood every word, "consisting of a rectangular, usually wooden frame, slightly raised from the ground, with a roller at one or both ends. The victim's ankles are fastened to one roller and the wrists are chained to the other. As the interrogation progresses, a handle and ratchet mechanism attached to the top roller are used to very gradually increase the tension on the chains, inducing excruciating pain" and he said that he pulled on Henri's arms leaving the cadet in no doubt as to the pain that would be inflicted. "By means of pulleys and levers this roller could be rotated on its own axis, thus straining the ropes until the sufferer's joints were dislocated and eventually separated. Additionally, if muscle fibres are stretched excessively, they lose their ability to contract, rendering them ineffective" he continued and as Henri's recollections of the discussion faded the Captain's last words of "Henri, your mission is of such import to our enemies, that if you were ever captured you would more than likely find yourself in it's terrible embrace" and sure enough Henri was. But, Henri was a Musketeer cadet, a band of brothers just like the Musketeers themselves, and as he heard someone approach, he took a deep breath and roared "DO WHATEVER YOU WISH TO ME, CUR, I WILL NEVER BETRAY MY CONFIDENCES!"
 
The man, Henri could tell it was a man because of his deep chuckle, seemed to take great delight in Henri's position despite not saying a word. As he came closer, but not close enough for Henri to see who it was, he pulled on the chains holding his victim and the chuckle turned into a powerful laugh before he disappeared into the darkness. Henri was now at breaking point and mustering all the strength he had pulled on the chains in a bid to escape but it was no good and as the man watched him he asked "Do you really think you can break free? Not even the Titan could!"
 
"I may not be a Titan" grunted Henri, "but I am a Musketeer cadet" and with that continued to battle valiantly, but the only thing that seemed to be happening was that man was now breathing deeply and starting to moan. The moans seemed to get deeper the more Henri struggled until the man seemed to gasp suddenly and announce, in a slightly higher voice, "It is time" at which point Henri made out two muscular arms placing a star like pendant on his chest. Henri was about to berate his jailor for stealing a national treasure when the man spoke in his usual deep voice.
 
"Amulet of Athelstan" he declared, "I am your victim!"
 
Suddenly the pendant seemed to glow as bright as the sun, and as the light filled the room Henri was able to see his captor for the first time and as he did he gasped. It was Porthos, completely naked and with his eyes closed
 
"Amulet of Athelstan" he roared "TAKE MY STRENGTH!"
 
Tendrils of energy shot out from the amulet and wrapped themselves around Porthos's naked arms, chest and legs and as they did, the Titan's breathing seemed to change into gasps of agony
 
"Amulet of Athelstan" he gasped, gritting his teeth against the pain, "GIVE IT TO HENRI!" and with that Henri screamed in agony.
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Part Three

Henri gingerly opened an eye, having been expecting to be racked by unimaginable pain which was noticeable by it's absence and as he did, he stared at a sight that seemed impossible to believe. Porthos, the man known to all who knew him as "Titan" was glowing in a purple haze, gritting his teeth and moaning like a man on his wedding night.

"Oh, Henri" he moaned, "This is the moment, but I want you to see what I am able to do first!" and with that he took a deep breath, puffed out his chest and squeezed every part of him into a display of strength that reminded Henri of the first time he met him. It had been literally minutes since he had arrived in Paris and he was doing what he thought any honourable gentleman would do, defend his honour. How was he to know that the person he had bumped into whilst walking down the stairs was Athos, and the person that he had picked up a bag of coins for (for payment with a secret lover) was Aramis? So when he heard inhuman grunting coming from around a corner he instantly thought "A man is in danger" and hared around it to find Porthos, wearing nothing more than a loincloth, lifting a barrel of beer over his head to the delight of a couple of ladies. Of course he didn't know this at the time and thinking that the man was in danger of being crushed by the barrel he quickly formed a sling, made out of a handkerchief, and starting firing stones at it in an attempt to lessen the load. Such was the speed of his firing and his accuracy, that the barrel seemed to explode, dousing Porthos and did the Musketeer thank the young man? No, he challenged him to a duel, half an hour after the duel that Aramis had challenged him to which was half an hour after the duel that Athos had challenged him to, and if matters could be made any worse, they were when Henri discovered that all three of them were the other men's seconds. But it was during that duel with Athos that Henri's sense of honour came to the fore and after being interrupted by a group of Cardinal's guards, his swordplay skills were also revealed and from that moment on Henri could count on the friendship of Athos, Aramis and Porthos, and it was that friendship that led Henri to reveal, if only slowly, that Henri wanted to become stronger.

"And that is why" grunted Porthos, having held the pose for the last five minutes, causing his entire body to sweat, "I went to Bavaria, to win that contest and to enable me to give you my strength and power" and with that he closed his eyes and said "Henri, do you consent?"

Henri was in turmoil. Yes, he wanted to be strong, but to be strong at the cost of his friend's strength? That was asking too much, but to be as strong as the Titan. Henri swallowed hard and announced "I consent, but only until sunset tomorrow, then your strength will be your own again!" and with that Henri closed his eyes and announced "Amulet of Athelstan, I accept the Titan's strength!"

No sooner had he said the words than both men screamed in agony as the tendrils of energy leapt from the Titan's body into Henri's body and as they did, anyone watching the scene would have gasped. Porthos began to shrink, his muscular body turning into almost a duplicate of Henri's just as Henri's body started to grow and as Henri grew, so the screams of agony got louder and deeper as Porthos's remained loud but increased in pitch. As if to demonstrate the new found strength surging through Henri, the chains restraining him snapped, and the clothes that he had dressed in that morning ripped asunder to reveal a man that was as tall as the Titan had been, as heavy as the Titan had been and as the tendrils started to fade covered in sweat. The first thing that the newly empowered Titan said as he recovered from the experience was a moaned "Titan!" before Henri blacked out.

 

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Part Four

As Henri stirred his eyes opened to find himself not, as he had expected to be, lying on the rack in the dungeons of Musketeer Headquarters, but in another part of the building. It was a part he had visited before but knew that he would be never be able to call to call his own for at least another give years, the officer's quarters. He was just about to try and leave as quietly as possible, when the door opened and there stood Captain Treville. Henri, fearing the worst, started to apologise so when the Captain interrupted with "After what you have been through, Porthos, I think you deserve a lie in" and with that left with a humble nod of the head leaving Henri very confused.

The confusion continued when he found a set of clothes he would never have expected to wear at all, the uniform of a fully commissioned Musketeer officer and not only that but the uniform of the only Musketeer it could fit, Porthos. As he picked up a hat, a note fell out of it saying "As per your wish, today you are the Titan with all the benefits that entails. Remember this day well, Henri, for one day you shall be an officer. Yours, the Titan!" and so as Henri accepted his charge, he took a deep breath and looked at himself in the mirror and whispered "An officer!" and with that left the quarters and reported to the Captain.

Having received his orders for the day, he acted upon them and the first of those orders was to drill some of the cadets in the fine art of swordplay and as he walked out of the headquarters he put on a face he had often seen Porthos put on before which he dubbed his "I'm in charge" face and with that addressed the cadets in front of him with a bellowed "Remember, eyes to the front and head held high as if you had swallowed a stick!" which put the fear of God into them, bar one and as soon as Henri saw him he knew why. It was himself, or rather what Porthos had become and as he approached the former Titan he winked before bellowing "You, Henri, step forward!" and as Porthos followed the instruction, Henri picked him up held him high above his head and bellowed "Cadets, what would you do in this situation?". His response came in the form of a mass of fainting cadets and as he lowered Porthos to the ground he chuckled "Cadets don't have the stamina these days, do they?"

For the rest of that day, Henri and Porthos played each other's roles to perfection and as the sun started to set they both returned to the dungeons where Porthos asked Henri to chain him to the rack so that he may experience what Henri had the day before. As Henri did with a "Now can I refuse the request of a friend?" he began to feel the effects of the amulet wear off and as he grunted feeling his strength drain he added "Show me who the true Titan is!" as Henri's body and Porthos's body exploded into a purple glow and as they shrank and grew respectively, Porthos's roars were put to good use as the chains restraining him shattered and as he jumped up in front of the now over clothed Henri, he squeezed his naked body around the cadet and said "Shall we see if that amulet can transfer skills as well as strength?" and between the two of them planned how to lure Aramis, the famed swordsman and Athos, the man who could drink and never become drunk, into the dungeons.

 

 

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