"Your Path is muddy, Kelnaht, but don't think avoiding the puddles will make it easier to travel."
Kelnaht, a cloud elf, is a truth seeker caught between love and faith when a murder committed ten days before Solstice reveals an illicit affair between two tree elves he desires more than he can admit. Kelnaht's former lover Ianys once betrayed him, and the shunned forester Taruif is not allowed to talk to anyone but the guide, their spiritual pathfinder.
When Taruif turns out to be the only witness to the crime, Kelnaht must suppress his forbidden feelings or face the ire of the elders. Ianys is terrified the tribe will blame Taruif for the crime, and despite their painful history, Kelnaht tries to keep his impulsive ex-lover from sacrificing his freedom for an impossible love. If Taruif and Ianys' affair becomes known, Ianys will lose his daughter.
Kelnaht finds himself yearning to claim both Taruif and Ianys at the coming Solstice and turns to the guide, who gives him only cryptic advice. It is up to Kelnaht to prove Taruif's innocence and find a path free of puddles and mud for all three of them.
wordcount: 18,600 words
TALES OF THE FOREST is an ongoing series of standalone stories linked by a forest world.
Content warnings are available in the book's front matter and on the author's website.