Gibben Nemesio thought his life was over the day he received a conscription notice demanding he train to be a soldier. When he left his home for Silver City, he never expected he’d thwart a terrible plot to murder the King and become an overnight hero—and he definitely hadn’t expected to find love in the form of a handsome mage trainee named Joel.
Three years later, Gib has fought his way from lowborn farmer to hold the coveted position as understudy to the seneschal. Despite heightening tensions between the King and High Council and the rumors of impending war still terrorizing the people of Arden, Gib finds solace in the company of his wise mentor, loyal friends, and beloved companion.
But with the arrival of an ominous message from a powerful enemy in the north, Gib quickly realizes peace is fleeting in a world where chaos lurks in every shadow, and treacherous forces—from both outside the country and within—threaten to destroy everything he holds dear.
In “Nightfall”, the second chapter of the epic fantasy series “The Chronicles of Arden”, the adventure continues. 150,000 words. Epic fantasy. LGBT fiction.
Gib drifted into consciousness. Bathed in warmth, he was slow to open his eyes, taking a moment to revel in the security of knowing he wasn’t waking up to an aching stomach or drafty farmhouse. No, those days were long past. This morning, he was awakening in the safest, most loving place he could ever imagine. Joel’s prone form beside him was proof enough of that.
Sunlight flooded the room, casting rays of gold across Gib’s pillow and quilted bedspread. Taking a moment to yawn and stretch his limbs, he blinked the sleepiness from his eyes and turned a fond gaze onto his companion.
Joel looked lovely. Flecks of light hit his soft, onyx hair and fair skin, showering him in an aura that seemed almost magical. A telltale curl played at his lips while he slept, causing Gib to want to smile, too. Absently, he brushed a wave of Joel’s hair away from his eyes. It’s still hard to believe he’s home.
One sennight had passed since Joel’s return from Shantar, and Gib found himself spending more time at the Adelwijn estate in the past seven days than he had in the past seven moonturns combined. Tarquin spared no mercy. He’d teased Gib in class on more than one occasion, asking coyly if he ever planned to inform his roommate that Gib had moved out of their shared dormitory room. Gib had huffed and blushed, but he couldn’t exactly defend himself. He had been spending every waking moment—and night—with Joel. But can anyone really fault me for wanting to be with him? We’ve been apart for six moonturns!
Joel rolled onto his side as he began to stir from slumber, and Gib couldn’t resist the urge to lean forward and place a light kiss on his companion’s mouth. Joel’s eyes fluttered open, his crystal orbs impossibly blue and bottomless.
“Good morning,” Gib whispered. Modest heat rose to his cheeks when he realized he’d been caught gaping at the other man.
Joel put a hand to his mouth as he yawned. “I slept in.”
“No, the eighth bell hasn’t even tolled yet.”
A soft chuckle made its way through Joel’s parted lips. “That is sleeping in for me! In Shantar, Cenric demanded I be awake and dressed before the sun rose.”
“It’s Harvest festival,” Gib replied gently, sliding closer to his companion. “We can sleep as long as we want.”
Joel arched an eyebrow. “Sleep? Is that what you had in mind?”
Gib did blush now. He fumbled over his next words. “You know what I meant.”
Slender arms went around Gib’s shoulders, pulling him closer. “I missed you.”
“I missed you, too.”
Silence fell across the room as they shared a prolonged kiss, leaving Gib breathless and lightheaded. Daya, how did I ever get through all those moonturns without him?
He relinquished Joel’s mouth only when they both were sputtering for air. Tracing a finger along the ridge of Joel’s jaw, Gib could feel the slightest trace of stubble where the well-shaven hair had begun to grow back. His hand finally came to rest against Joel’s cheek. “I’m so glad you’re back. Things can return to the way they were. We can pick up right where we left off.”
A twinge of uncertainty flashed behind Joel’s eyes. If Gib hadn’t been looking, he wouldn’t have even caught it. But he did. His pulse quickened. Was something wrong?
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Shiriluna Nott is an (almost) 30-year-old gal from the northeast, currently residing in Texas with her long term boyfriend and four fur babies (three dogs and a cat).
She and fellow author SaJa H. created the world of Arden and its many colorful characters during their teenager years and have been writing short stories about it ever since. Her friends and family have always encouraged the duo to turn their short stories into a series fit for publishing, and so, they are doing just that, starting with Gibben Nemesio’s journey from poor farm boy to… well, you’ll have to read the series to find out! ;-)
Believing that the fantasy genre is overflowing with traditional characters, it is Shiriluna’s goal to feature non-conventional leads in her novels, including quite a few LGBT characters. Some of the authors Shiriluna is most inspired by include Anne Rice and Mercedes Lackey.
If you’d like to receive updates about future projects, including new releases in the Chronicles of Arden series, please sign up for Shiriluna’s mailing list here: http://www.shirilunanott.com/mailinglist.html
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