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Fantasy Gay Adventure

Cohnal walked through the aisles of bookshelves in the Sylvan Archives, searching for some new reading material. Just to be in the building, Cohnal knew, was an immense privilege. Most Sylvan were lucky if they could stand on the front steps of the Archives and not be killed instantly by its wards.

Cohnal had been granted special permission to access the centuries-old building as he was an official scholar of Gwyn ap Nudd. Cohnal often marvelled at the fact that he’d managed to achieve such an honourable position under the King of the Tylwyth Teg, the Fair Folk. Most Sylvan were simply subjects of the king, never elevated to such high positions of favour, but Cohnal was different.

Cohnal’s hooves clacked on the marble floors of the Archives as he perused the shelves, not looking for any particular title. Cohnal looked like most Sylvans; he wore no shirt, displaying golden skin to the world, had the bottom half of a goat, and two small horns on his head. His curly, chestnut brown hair was streaked with silver, matching the fur on his goat legs. Unusual colours for the satyrs among the Sylvan.

As Cohnal exited the aisle, not finding anything of interest, he saw Taredd Valzeiros, an elf of the Fair Folk and a general in the King’s army.

“Didn’t find what you’re looking for?” Taredd asked, his voice smooth like honey.

“Not yet,” Cohnal responded. When he first began his service to the King, Taredd had unnerved him, scared him, even. However, Taredd was, Cohnal learned, one of the nicer elves in the King’s army. And besides, Taredd had taken a liking to Cohnal. “Did the King send you here to supervise me?”

Taredd smiled as he unfastened his long sword from his back and placed it on the main desk of the Archives, to the annoyance of the treefolk head librarian seated at the desk. “Actually,” Taredd said, approaching Cohnal, “I heard that you were searching for a book. I came here to help you of my own volition.”

A slight blush crept onto Cohnal’s face. Taredd was a whole head taller than Cohnal, his pale skin marking him as a native of Annwn, the realm of Gwyn ap Nudd. Up close, Cohnal could smell Taredd’s beautiful scent of milk and honey.

His face hot, Cohnal forced himself to look away from Taredd and began walking to the staircase that led to the second floor of the Sylvan Archives. He looked over his shoulder at Taredd. “You coming?”

Taredd followed Cohnal as the latter led them to one of the first aisles of bookshelves on the second floor.

“So, what exactly are we looking for?” Taredd asked.

Cohnal shrugged. “Anything that looks fascinating.”

Taredd grinned. “Taking advantage of our unrestricted access to the Archives, are we?”

Cohnal picked a book off the shelf. Its cover was made of brown leather, its spine worn and stained from so many hands holding it over the centuries that it had surely been in the library. “I prefer to consider it ‘creative research.’” After flipping through a couple pages of the book, Cohnal closed its cover and put it back on the shelf.

After a couple hours of searching, a book bound in polished wood caught Cohnal’s attention. It had been millennia since the Tylwyth Teg had used wood as book covers. This book must’ve dated back to before the reign of Gwyn ap Nudd, which was impressive considering that the Faerie King had been in power long enough that there were few among the immortal Fair Folk who remembered a time when he wasn’t king.

Cohnal carefully took the book from its spot on the shelf, cautious not to damage the relic. Cohnal’s heart skipped a beat as he read the title, which had been engraved in the wooden cover in gold. The Escapades of the Wild Hunt. Cohnal looked at the name of the author: Iijin D’amara dos Hås. He didn’t recognize that name, but he was intrigued and mortified in equal measures by the contents of the book.

“Find anything?” Taredd asked as he entered the aisle that Cohnal stood in.

Cohnal faltered. He trusted Taredd, but he didn’t know if he wanted to show him the book. The Wild Hunt was somewhat of a forbidden topic to speak or learn about in Annwn. The Wild Hunt, Cohnal knew, was a legion made up of elite Faerie knights who held allegiance to no one other than their general. 

There were many Wild Hunts, all ruled by different generals, but the most notorious one and the largest one was led by the Faerie general known as Herne the Hunter. It was common knowledge that Gwyn ap Nudd had previously held connections to the Wild Hunt millennia ago, the official reason for his separation from the legion being a disagreement between him and Herne the Hunter. However, in Annwn, there were always rumours. Some said that there were more sinister reasons for Gwyn’s leaving the Wild Hunt. This book could hold the long, believed to be lost, answers.

Deciding that he could trust Taredd, Cohnal showed him the book. As he read the title, Taredd paled.

“Should we read it?” Cohnal whispered.

“Not here,” Taredd said. He gestured for Cohnal to follow him, and led him out of the Sylvan Archives, down a couple shady sideroads of the city, and into a hovel. Taredd’s home, Cohnal realized. He’d forgotten that Taredd chose to live in his own house, rather than the barracks with the other soldiers.

As Cohnal entered the small hovel and placed the book on the small wooden table in the middle of the room, Taredd shut and locked the door.

“We just have some privacy here,” Taredd said finally. “Now, let’s see that book.”

Taredd sat in the seat next to Cohnal, close enough that their shoulders touched. Forcing himself not to turn his head and gaze into the general’s gold-flecked hazel eyes, Cohnal opened the cover of the book and positioned it so that both of them could read its pages.

Both men were silent as they beheld the tales told on the ancient pages. It was told in the perspective of the author who, he explained in the opening pages, wrote the book in the years following his retirement from being a knight of the Wild Hunt. The author, Iijin, was quite trusted by Herne the Hunter, often referring to him as a friend. Herne had made Iijin his most trusted confidante, often conferring with him before making any major decision. Iijin spoke about Herne’s exploits, his hunts, his legendary battles which, as interesting as they were, was not what caught their attention most.

About halfway into the book, Iijin speaks about Herne taking in a young Faerie knight he calls Macrath, meaning the son of prosperity. A young faerie who would go on to be known as Gwyn ap Nudd. For Iijin to have known Gwyn when he could be considered young, when he was known by a different name, just proved how extremely ancient he and his book were.

Iijin describes Macrath as a promising young male, an innately talented soldier, and a promising diplomat. After just five years since joining the Wild Hunt, Herne had appointed Macrath his lieutenant, and trusted him as much as he trusted Iijin. Herne has treated Macrath like his son. Had honed him into a fine, lethal knight, and a true diplomatic leader.

At one point in the book, Iijin’s tone when speaking of Macrath changed. Specifically, when he began to become known as Gwyn ap Nudd. Seventy years after first joining the Wild Hunt, he took on his now notorious moniker. He was appointed the Light General of the Wild Hunt and began to wear armour with blinding white plating and a circlet of thorns. The very same circlet that he wore to this day. Gwyn became more and more powerful, both in terms of military might and magical power. But as Gwyn grew stronger, his ambition also grew.

Iijin spoke of one particular incident which sparked the beginning of Gwyn’s falling out with the Wild Hunt. During one battle, Herne had ordered his knights to wait until dawn broke to attack an unsuspecting Faerie king whom the Wild Hunt had been paid to kill. The king was sleeping in his war tent just outside his city’s walls, as he had begun to build defenses against the army that he expected to arrive in two days.

In open defiance of Herne’s orders, Gwyn had taken a group of knights and charged the king’s camp during the night. They sacked the camp, killing all those in their path and burning their tents. Gwyn had personally tortured the Faerie king before killing him, mutilating his body, and displaying it in the camp for the city to gaze upon.

“By the ancients,” Taredd muttered in horrified awe as they continued reading.

According to Iijin’s account, Herne was absolutely furious at Gwyn’s act of open disobedience. He had been so livid that he’d executed all of the knights who had aided Gwyn. Slowly, Gwyn began to grow apart from his former mentor and father figure. To replace those he lost, Gwyn had taken to reaping the souls of the dead along their battlefields, bringing them back as Faerie knights and creating what Iijin called the Dead Hunt. 

As his forces grew, Gwyn eventually left the Wild Hunt in favour of his Dead Hunt. Iijin transcribed one conversation that he’d had with Herne following Gwyn’s defection:

“Why has he done this?” the Horned King had asked me.

With no definite answer for my beloved friend, I told him, “He is no longer the boy we once knew. The friend we once loved. He has traded in his old name for a new one, one that carries with it a new reputation, with no ties to you, nor to the Wild Hunt. He is no longer Macrath, he is Gwyn ap Nudd, the general of the Dead Hunt. But without your firm guidance, he will fall.”

My words did not seem to comfort the Master of Winter. He sank into his chair, exhausted and pained by the abhorrent betrayal of our once loyal friend.

“Mark my words, Iijin,” said Herne the Hunter, “as long as I live, Gwyn ap Nudd will know no peace. I will be the death of him. I, who taught him how to hunt. I, who honed him into a worthy knight. I, who gave him a life, will take his new one away.”

Iijin’s writing changed once again in the last stretch of the book. It became more hurried, more worried, as if he was expecting something awful to happen. He spoke of Gwyn’s change in attitude. He’d traded in his bright white armour for crimson armour. His Dead Hunt had expanded to match the numbers of the Wild Hunt.

While Gwyn’s notoriety increased, so did Herne’s hatred for him. The former mentor and student had become mortal enemies, constantly at each other’s throat. The two had clashed in a conflict that Iijin labelled the War of the Hunts. Cohnal was absolutely speechless at the fact that such a long, bloody war had apparently been forgotten, hoping to find the answer as to why in the final pages of the book.

Cohnal and Taredd now sat huddled over the book, clinging to every word as they read. Iijin described the final battle of the War of the Hunts in precise, brutal detail. He called it the Battle of Misthollow. Gwyn had had the upper hand in the war by then. He’d employed every bloody, nasty military technique he’d known in the war, dwindling Herne’s Wild Hunt down to a quarter of its original size. Cohnal balked at the possibility. Exhausted and suffering, Herne had fled with his Wild Hunt to the city of Misthollow, where Gwyn had already known they would go. 

Iijin had been sent by Herne to speak to Gwyn, the Wild Hunt general, hoping that Iijin’s diplomacy would convince Gwyn to back off. Despite Iijin’s expert diplomatic skills, Gwyn would not be deterred from his original plan to attack. Left with no other choice, Iijin had employed a last ditch plan: he convinced several of Gwyn’s knights to betray him, bribing them with promises of high-ranking positions among the Wild Hunt.

The next day, as the Hunts got into formation across from each other on the battlefield, Iijin’s agents fulfilled their part of the plan. They fired at Gwyn and his knights with elf-shot – arrows that were lethal to Faeries. One of the elf-shot arrows had grazed one of Gwyn’s ribs, enraging the general.

However, Iijin had failed to spot Gwyn’s hidden reserve force, which closed in, killing his agents and charging at the Wild Hunt on Gwyn’s orders. After two hours of bloody carnage, and heavy Wild Hunt losses, Herne had halted the fighting and proposed a deal with Gwyn: He would duel him to decide the winner of the war.

Gwyn had accepted the proposal. The epic duel between Herne the Hunter and Gwyn ap Nudd had lasted three days and three nights. Iijin remarked that he could hear the sounds of ringing iron and their grunts of pain in the centuries that followed that day. Eventually, after Gwyn had fought Herne into an inch within death, Herne had surrendered.

The two had agreed on a deal: Gwyn would leave the Wild Hunt alone, but in return Herne and his Hunt would be exiled from these lands, forced to retire to a Faerie land far away. And as for Iijin, Gwyn wanted him executed, but Herne refused to allow it. Instead, Gwyn forced Iijin into exile, where he’d written his book, awaiting the day that Gwyn would come to finally kill him.

As the two finished reading, the door to Taredd’s hovel was burst open. The two froze in fear.

Standing in the doorway was Gwyn ap Nudd, King of the Tylwyth Teg. And he was angry.

May 25, 2024 03:58

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1 comment

Melissa Hardin
21:27 May 29, 2024

I enjoyed your story about the faerie. I like the cliffhanger. I have a feeling this is part of a larger story. Please keep writing. It is very good!


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