It's getting horribly cold where I live, and there are ice and snow storms everywhere. I wanted to post something from a novel I've been working on, in a world where things like that are less common.
You can enjoy the excerpt as it is, but for context you might want to check this piece out first: First Chapter from StormLords . One thing to note--The MC here, Rowen, is mute.
The book is 28k words and counting for now! It's one of my longer projects.
“C’mon,” Volkes said, the cool air making Rayen shiver as they stepped outside the mess. The sky had gone from pink to deep purple. “No Kristoff this evening?”
Rowen shook his head, his face heating slightly. He didn’t want to think about Kristoff, or Kristoff visiting his village, at all. Not when he was supposed to be celebrating.
“Hmm.” Volkes’s gaze sharpened, but he left it alone. “Fine then. We’ll get an early start.” He broke into a wide grin, his teeth visible. “I’ll make it worth your while. C’mon.”
Rowen followed Volkes, tracing the now familiar path back to their shared house. Rowen wished he could ask about Volkes’ training, maybe get some information about what to expect for his own. Elise was talkative, but had never sensed her own magic yet, and Sharon was usually away. Rowen didn’t know where.
Volkes didn't offer anything as they walked, and the first few stars began to appear in the sky. Rowen shivered again as another cool breeze blew, bringing with it the still strange scents of deep forest and the salty edge of what Rowen knew must be the ocean. He wished he could see it again. Maybe tomorrow, with no need to study, he could explore the island itself some more.
“Enjoying yourself?” Volkes dug into his pocket for his key, pulling out a keyring. Rowen wondered what the others were for. “Not used to it all yet?”
Rowen gave a sheepish smile and shook his head as they walked up to the front door. No lights shone from the windows of their shared house.
“It took me a while too when I first came here. I was ten.” Rowen hadn’t expected that. “In the north, where I’m from, we didn’t have quite this much forest and greenery. Certainly not the varieties you’re seeing here.” He lit the torches inside, skipping every other in the main hall and not bothering with the sitting room. “It was mostly snow and cold. Heat spells were different--when the snow started melting, we knew the storm would come.”
Rowen raised his eyebrows, hoping Volkes would keep talking. He wanted to know what snow was.
Instead Volkes headed up the stairs, keeping the lamp lighter in his hand. “C’mon, Rowen.” His blond hair gleamed in the dim light. “Come up to my room. I want to give you something to help you celebrate.” He grinned. “Ever had Darsean beer?”
Rowen paused on the first step. He was beginning to realize what kind of celebration Volkes may have in mind, espeically since there was no one else in the house with them. The blond northerner waved the lamp lighter, the small flame on the end dancing. “C’mon, Rowen.”
Sking prickling with unease and no small amount of anticipation, Rowen headed up the stairs and into Volke’s room, waiting in the doorway while Volkes lit one sconce in the corner. Volkes had a window, the untied curtains fluttering in the breeze. The covers on his bed were rumpled, and clothes and books lay strewn on the floor. Rowen carefully stepped inside. Volkes had more things on his floor than Rowen had ever owned in his life.
Elise’s words from his first meeting with her came back to his mind as Volkes opened his dresser drawer and pulled out two glass bottles, holding them aloft. The light from the sconce shone through the clear liquid. “I got this from the Darsean traders. Best stuff there is.” No one had ever mentioned Darseans to him, and Rowen tilted his head.
“The traders.” Volkes shook his head with a snort. “How do you think our island gets supplies? The Darseans are seagoers. Live and die on ships. Apparently heat spells destroyed their home country way back. Undispellable ones.” He waved a hand. “They’re the only ones who can come to the Storm Lord’s island, and Storm Lords are respected in their culture. They ship food and supplies to the island from around the world.” Rowen nodded. Suddenly the plethora of foods in the mess hall made sense. “You can ask Sharon more about them if you’re curious. She’s Darsean.”
Rowen gave a weak smile. As soon as he could write, he would. He also wanted to know more about undispellable heat spells, but Volkes tossed him the glass bottle before he could figure out a way to ask.
“Well? You know where it comes from now. Try it.” Volkes grinned, popping his bottle open with his thumb.
Rowen followed suit, the strange wooden top falling off onto the floor. He almost moved to pick it up, but Volkes waved a hand. “Forget it. Just try it.”
His tongue curled at the taste, and he tilted his head back, letting the fiery liquid fall down his throat. It burned immediately, and he swallowed it down fast, coughing a few times. The aftertaste was smooth and cloying, with a root-like flavor Rowen could not identify.
Volkes whistled. “Wow. You didn’t gag or anything. I’m impressed.” Volkes tilted his head back and downed a portion of his own bottle, then stood up and set it down on the dresser. Rowen’s skin buzzed as the blond came so close Rowen could smell the Darsean beer on his breath.
“So, Rowen. You want to celebrate or what?”
It suddenly occurred to him what Volkes meant, his words about men and men who liked men flashing through his mind.
A chill breeze blew through the window, but it wasn’t the cold that sent goosebumps down Rowen’s neck. He had never been with any man, with anyone at all. Was Volkes the one he wanted as his first?
Kristoff came to his mind then, and with him the anxieties of the coming few days. No. He didn't want that, not now.
“Rowen? Do you want to celebrate with me or not?” Volkes asked again, his tone more demanding this time. He reached out and took Rowen’s wrist, his grip firm. “Yes or no?”
He looked so much like Lucas, and yet not. Rowen’s mouth went dry, his heart speeding up at the thought of finally doing something about the desires that had plagued him since he had first seen the blacksmith’s son. His desires for men, the ones his father had told him to be careful about.
But that didn’t matter here. This was Rowen’s new life. It was normal. Even Kristoff liked men.
Rowen gave into his feelings, his eyes leaving Volkes’ face and roving over his body. Warmth began to suffuse Rowen, curling up his spine and quickening his breath. Volkes smirked.
“Yes, right?” He reached up to Rowen’s chin. “Either you are the lightest weight in history, or just really easy.” Rowen wasn't sure he liked his words, but they ceased to matter when Volkes’ lips met his.
He had heard girls in the village giggling about such things, and boys and young men describing how soft girls’ lips were. Volkes’ were soft, but Rowen felt the tiny pinpricks of stubble, and Volkes moved his lips in such a way that Rowen was guided to copy it, molding his mouth against the other man’s. Volkes pulled with his kiss, as if nibbling on Rowen’s lips, and the sensation sent the curling heat into a burning flame.
“Do you want any more beer?” Volkes asked, breaking apart and leaving Rowen breathless. He shook his head, letting Volkes take the bottle from his hand and place it on the floor. The blond smirked.
“Have you ever been with anyone?” When Rowen didn’t respond immediately, he clarified. “Have you ever fucked anyone?” Rowen blushed hot.
“Well?” He moved forward, so fast that Rowen stepped back, bumping against the wall. Volkes put a hand on his chest, then trailed it lower, his lips turning up further as Rowen squirmed. He was hard now, his erection uncomortably confined, and he knew it was obvious.
“Answer me. Am I going to be your first?” He didn’t move, his hand motionless an inch above the bulge in Rowen’s pants.
For a moment, Kristoff flashed through Rowen’s mind, and he pushed the thought away. He nodded.
Volkes broke into a victorious smile. “I am going to make you feel good.”