A royalty note: 100% will be donated to an LGBT organization in my community.
The Kingdom and Empire: a thousand worlds across the Heart, linked by magic-driven Gates.
Kilthar: A recent “acquisition” where Imperial law is only a veneer. Clan law runs silent now, and deep, and men who love men are abominations. Abominations caught are abominations killed, or gelded and enslaved. Clan Aeris prefers the latter.
Two men meet on Winterdeath Eve in a Kilthari tavern: Karel, a tall young warrior, heir of Clan Aeris, drinking in silent mourning for his best friend, who endured six months of the punishment for being caught with another man, and then hanged himself five days ago. Caaroc, a taller, older warrior, drinking for his own reasons. They introduce themselves in the privy behind the tavern, and take the chance of meeting in secret again a few months later.
Warriors. Abominations. Lovers. And the additional secret of one puts them both at even greater risk.
And then there is the free-standing Wall, in the sere and dead valley where tir-Lothian ruled two thousand years earlier. On the Wall is an impossibly huge painting that wasn’t there until five years ago, appearing to show an Aerisan warrior with bloody blade, defending a blood-dripping Gaarchan Stone Beast. Yet more abominations.
This is a love story, and it is not an easy one for Karel or Caaroc to live, or for you to read. There is explicit male-to-male sex, violence and pain and blood in this dark fantasy, but there is also love. Where there is love, there is hope. There is always hope.
An earlier, and significantly different version, was published for free as part of the Love Has No Boundaries event for 2013, by the M/M Romance Group.
43,816 words of actual story text.