Promises of Love With a Faith So Blind - The Four Moon Cycles Part Four

Submitted into Contest #59 in response to: Write about a character arriving in a place unlike anywhere they’ve ever been.... view prompt


Fantasy Gay

Rhyvahr crushed the monster’s wings against his chest – they squirmed and fought, but Rhyvahr kept his hold. His own wings beat, frantic and desperate, but they couldn’t carry his and the monster’s weight.

He found himself surprisingly calm at the prospect of his maybe imminent death.

The monster was still for a moment, before sinking its claws into Rhyvahr’s arm. It tore at his flesh mercilessly, burying its teeth into it too. Rhyvahr grimaced, the pain shooting up to his neck. His sleeve was completely torn away, and his arm a raw, bloody mess.

But he kept holding onto it, because Aikirra and Fenndon were still up on that cliff, hurt. And there was not a chance he was going to let the monster return for seconds.

He almost laughed to himself – idiotic, self-sacrificing heroes were the worst, he didn’t know when he even had the thought to become one.

Yet, here he was.

The mist parted – the bottom wasn’t far away.

Rhyvahr wrapped his other arm around the monster’s chest, and forced it into a roll. Wrenching his arm out from between its teeth, he let go and gave it a great push. Its leathery wings beat, but the ground rushed to meet it first.

It gave a shriek as the fall shattered its bones, blood oozing from beneath it, staining the ground black.

Rhyvahr’s landing wasn’t exactly smooth either. He stumbled, knees buckling. Now that the adrenaline drained away, he felt the nauseating pain of his ruined arm. It probably had some kind of poison in its teeth, judging by how blurry Rhyvahr’s vision was becoming.

However, a morbid curiosity drew him to the monster. Rhyvahr crawled to where it lay, vision focusing enough to see the grooves in its scaly skin – the symbols that had shone so fiery and bright were now faded and dull.

No creature would have survived a fall like that.

So, you could imagine the shock that shot through Rhyvahr when the monster moved, all of its bones snapping into place. It reared back up, dragging its crushed head off the ground, flesh reformed.

Its body convulsed. Scaly skin smoothened, its size shrinking.

It screamed, but it sounded different this time – grievous and horrible, but strangely… human.

A retching came from where the monster stood. However, in its place was a girl, dark dress hanging in ribbons across her body. She was pale, covered in dirt and grime. Hair hung stringy, long and matted, covering her stained face.

Dark blood dripped from between her cracked teeth, coating her lips and in a surprisingly red tone. It was Rhyvahr’s blood.

She licked at it hungrily.

Even his pain-filled state, Rhyvahr found that beneath the savageness – he recognised her.

She was the ghost. The ghost he kept dreaming about.

“It is you,” Rhyvahr whispered, cradling his arm. “How?”

Her shoulders twitched as she came closer, as though trying to manoeuvre limbs heavier than the ones she had. Rhyvahr probably should have been running away, but the dizziness was getting worse, and if the poison didn’t get to him, the blood loss probably would.

“You,” she spat, her voice thin. “Your magic did this to me.” She traced a cut down Rhyvahr’s cheek. “But my Mother told me a way I can be cured.” Her pupils were dilated, madness shining in them. “It is your blood, you blood can cure me.”

She reached a hand towards Rhyvahr’s chest, fingers hovering over his heart. Rhyvahr seized it. “You have to promise me,” the words were so heavy. “Promise me you will not hurt him.” His vision was already darkening at the corners. “Promise me, please. I am sorry my magic made you this way. But I know you are good. You saved my life, I have never forgotten.”

Her ghostly form appeared for a moment, but she spat at it in disgust. “She is only the version my Mother preserved. She is not me.”

Coldness seeped through Rhyvahr as she dug her claws into his chest.

Rhyvahr blacked out before he it pierced his heart.


Darkness surrounded him.

Rhyvahr sat up, branches brushing his face, fallen leaves cutting his palm.

The Wither Forest.

Leaves so thick that no light dared to penetrate.

His Father always told Rhyvahr how he missed it. He couldn’t see how anyone could miss this place. Perhaps, he had grown too accustomed to the lit-up streets of Alheria with its privileged and entitled people.

Footsteps approached, two cloaked figures appeared. A woman and a child. They held a lantern that only a cast a weak glow, barely able to penetrate the darkness.

“Where are we going, Mother?” the little girl asked.

The woman turned sharply, her features captured by the lantern light. The only thing Rhyvahr needed to see were those unmistakable eyes – purple and blue.

“We are going to see someone special, Denimae,” Ophyla said, fixing her daughter’s hood. “Now be quiet.”

This had to be some twisted vision. He was at the bottom of the cliff a moment ago. But Rhyvahr followed them between the trees. The trunks almost criss-crossed with each other, branches like long, thin fingers. Rhyvahr had never seen anything of the like.

Soldiers came marching from the distance. Ophyla took Denimae’s hand to pull her behind a trunk.

But it was just a second too late.

“Hey! Stop right there!” the soldier at the front bellowed. “Show yourself.” They shone their lanterns on them.

Ophyla stepped in front of her daughter. She tried to appear calm, but Rhyvahr’s could see the franticness in the way her hands trembled. “Hello, Jesnin, what a pleasure.”

Jesnin’s nostrils flared. “Witch,” he said, teeth gritted. “We were told to execute you if you ever showed your face here again.”

“Except you will not,” her voice fell into a smooth, calming tone. The soldiers swayed. “You will let us go, and forget that you ever saw—” Before Ophyla could finish, Denimae, who had been toeing at an exposed root tripped, falling right in front of the soldiers.

Anybody with two eyes would have seen the resemblance.

“The witch has a child,” Jesnin said, eyes widened. “Seize it!” A soldier grabbed Denimae from behind. She let out loud, high-pitched cries like a pig being slaughtered, kicking and thrashing. Another soldier tried putting his hand over her mouth, only for her to chomp hard at his fingers.

He snatched his hands back with a yelp. Black lines snaked up his skin, and he fell, spasming, before he lay completely still – eyes and lips charred.

It was like that man Rhyvahr had killed at the party.

The rest of the soldiers backed away, all except for Jesnin.

Who ran his sword right through Denimae.

An invisible fist punched through Rhyvahr’s chest as Denimae collapsed beside the soldier.

Ophyla screamed. Thin tendrils shot out of her hand, wrapping around each of the soldiers’ throats. Their eyes almost popped out of their heads, but Ophyla kept squeezing and squeezing until the life drained out of them.

Even when they were just limp bodies, she kept squeezing until blood pooled at their necks, and all their heads dropped one by one onto the ground.

However, even then, Denimae still lay unmoving, a sword through her chest.

Ophyla knelt by her daughter’s side, holding her.

“I will bring you back, Deni,” she said, kissing Denimae’s forehead. “No matter what, I will bring you back. You are meant to be by side until the end of time.”


Rhyvahr awoke.

The figure of a woman disappear from the corner of his eye. He touched his throbbing chest, blood trickled onto his hand sluggishly. His mauled arm still hurt, but the skin appeared to be healing.

He turned to find the woman – it wasn’t Ophyla. There was something different about the aura that surrounded her.

But he was alone. The only thing that remained was the dark blood across the ground.

Rhyvahr stood, unaccustomed to the extra weight of his wings. He touched them again. “It is true,” he said. “You are real.”

They commanded the wind and took him all the way to the top. Rhyvahr didn’t even realise until he heard Aikirra’s voice. “Please, Fenndon, stay with me.” His head was on her lap, the gashes across his chest were deep. “Someone is going to come for us. You just… you just have to hold on.” She didn’t even have the energy to sign to him, but Rhyvahr knew that Fenndon understood, because he kept his eyes open. Rhyvahr made his way over. Aikirra looked up – it wasn’t delight that greeted him, just weariness. “He is going to die, is he not?”

Rhyvahr’s jaw tightened. He did not battle with that monster and plead with Denimae not to harm Fenndon, only for him to die. “No.” He would not live, only for Fenndon to die. “He is not going to die.”

Rhyvahr lifted Fenndon. Weak and only half-conscious, Fenndon wrapped his arms around Rhyvahr’s neck – his skin so cold. He hadn’t held Fenndon this close in a long time – his heart was aching.

If only things had been different. Maybe in another lifetime, Fenndon could still see something to love in Rhyvahr.

Aikirra got up, holding onto Rhyvahr for support. “Hold on tight,” he said. “Whatever you do. Do not let go.” Aikirra nodded, arms firm around his waist.

Rhyvahr spread his wings, and they took off.

Aikirra gave a frightened cry, as Rhyvahr flew, his wings catching onto the air. They had never failed him before. But they were not the ones he had grown up with, learned to trust.

He was flying on blind faith with two lives clinging to him.

Rhyvahr kept his eyes sharp, skating over the fields and villages. They lingered a little longer on the Wither Forest, thinking about Ophyla and her daughter. But his focus was on getting to Alheria because his Father could heal Fenndon.

He had to.

Finally, when it felt like his wounds were going to tear open and they were all going to plummet to their deaths, the palace came into view.

Rhyvahr had never seen it so bright and glistening. However, Rhyvahr couldn’t relax until they had made their landing, which was definitely rockier than he would have liked.

Fenndon was gasping, ragged and… dying.

So, Rhyvahr did something he shouldn’t have.

He kissed Fenndon.

Hard and passionate, desire rearing its ugly head within him. He never thought he would be kissing Fenndon again. Because even if true love’s kiss could save Fenndon from dying. Rhyvahr wasn’t his true love.

But he was selfish. And he wanted Fenndon back. He wanted to not have to spend his nights alone anymore.

Fenndon’s eyes were open when Rhyvahr pulled away – confused and troubled.

I am sorry, Rhyvahr thought. Just please do not die on me.

“Rhyvahr?” his Father rushed out the infirmary door, his hair pulled back and sleeves rolled up. The worry intensified when he saw Fenndon bleeding in his arms, and Aikirra collapsed on the floor – deathly pale, eyes burning feverish and bright.

“You have to help them.”


Haisoka tended to his wounds. She wasn’t usually gentle with Rhyvahr – she thought Casrian coddled him too much. He had heard them fighting about it one night.

She came round to Rhyvahr slowly, and their relationship was amicable.

Rhyvahr hissed as she cleaned away the blood. “I have never seen your Father as worried as he is when you are hurt. It is just a shame he does not have three heads and six arms to tend to each of you at the same time.”

The tip of his wings touched the floor. Haisoka had eyed them with some curiosity, but didn’t say anything.

“All right,” Haisoka said. She winded up the extra bandages, chucking Rhyvahr some clothes. “I am going to help your Father.”

Rhyvahr decided to go to the infirmary the next day. Sure enough, he found his Father asleep on a chair. Rhyvahr shook him awake and lay him down on one of the spare beds.

He kissed his brow. “Sleep well, Father.”

Fenndon’s parents had rushed to Alheria in the middle of the night, but there was someone else beside Fenndon. He was tall and well-built. However, his features were refined – copper skin with a narrow face and eyes the colour of dew-covered moss.

Rhyvahr thought of how he had kissed Fenndon. Goodness, he was so, so selfish. He had completely forgotten that Fenndon loved another. Because Haisoka was right. His Father had coddled him too much, and made him believe that everything was always about him.

He left the infirmary sick to his stomach.


Casrian sat down on the edge of Rhyvahr’s bed, avoiding his wings spread across the sheets. “Rhyvahr, whatever way you are hurting, just please tell me.”

“I am fine, Father,” Rhyvahr said.

“Fenndon and Aikirra are well,” Casrian said. “I am sure they are thankful to you.”

Rhyvahr buried his face in his pillow, because he wanted so desperately for Fenndon’s expression to stop haunting him. “Do not be so sure of that.”

“Rhyvahr, I cannot help you if you keep shutting me out.” It was the closest to frustrated that Casrian could get.

Rhyvahr pushed back his sheets and climbed out of bed, picking up the bloody clothing that he was supposed to send to the laundresses. “Is that not what you have been doing my entire life, helping me? Even when I was a horrible, ungrateful brat, you keep wanting to help me. Why?”

“Because you are my child, and I love you.” Casrian didn’t waver. He never did.

“I am not even yours,” Rhyvahr said. “I just got thrust into your arms, and you were not given a choice.” Despite all those years of knowing he didn’t have Casrian’s blood, they had never talked about it.

“You are right, I did not have a choice,” Casrian replied. “Because the moment I held you, I loved you instantly. Because I loved your Father. And I loved your Mother. I promised them I would take care of you.”

Rhyvahr could barely hold back the tears. “I did something terrible, Father. To Fenndon. I kissed him.” Casrian furrowed his brows. “He has someone else, and I just did that to him like his feelings did not matter. He cared about me too, he wanted to help me too. But all I did was ruin him.”

“You saved his life,” Casrian said. “Is that not worth something?”

“He got hurt because of me.” Those words felt like knives in his chest, tearing open his wounds. And he told his Father everything.

Your magic did this to me.

He had willingly surrendered his magic to Ophyla.

He saw her and Denimae in the Wither Woods again. The forest of eternal darkness. Where she lay clutching her daughter’s dead body, the heads of soldiers littered around them.

I will bring you back.

She had given Rhyvahr his wings back.

They wrapped around him now, trying to offer some comfort, but nothing could ever mend that loss. The grief was always going to haunt him.

Even if his blood had cured Denimae, whatever consolation Ophyla got from that would never erase the memory of her daughter’s lifeless body against hers.

Casrian’s face was completely white. “She… She has a daughter?”

“Yeah, she tried to use my magic to bring her back…”

The woman that had been there when he woke. Who was she?

Casrian stood up, rigid and abrupt. “I have to… I have to sort something out.” Rhyvahr had never seen such fear in his Father’s eyes. He tried to chase after him, but he had vanished.

Rhyvahr spent the rest of the day in bed, which dredged up horrible memories, but he had his wings this time. He kept stroking them to remind himself they were real.

He had almost drifted off to sleep when…

“Fire!” someone yelled. “Fire in the infirmary!”

Rhyvahr raced down the hallway, half-running, half-flying.

The infirmary was a squat building situated at the back of the palace. Rhyvahr hoped that it was just a false alarm. But the screams echoed from miles away, and the flames engulfing it shot to the sky.

“Rhyvahr!” Two people were screaming his name. He turned to one side, and it was Aikirra, using crutches to support herself. “Do you know where—”

“Aikirra!” someone else called. It was him. Fenndon’s lover, who carried him the same way Rhyvahr had. His sleeves were scorched, revealing the burnt flesh beneath. He is good to me, he makes me happy. “Fen is all right.”

No, Fen was what Rhyvahr called him. It was just a name, but Rhyvahr felt jealously strike his heart. Painful and without mercy.

“Rhyvahr!” He turned to the other side. There were tears trailing down Haisoka’s soot-covered cheeks, carving away the dirt, leaving two tracks of fresh skin. “Your Father, he… he is still inside.”

Rhyvahr stared at the burning building, and found himself with no other choice, but to rush into the flames.       

September 18, 2020 02:59

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02:16 Sep 19, 2020

I love the detail!


Yolanda Wu
02:23 Sep 19, 2020

Thank you!


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Judith Buskohl
18:48 Sep 18, 2020

This is not the usual type of books I read ,but I did find yours very interesting. I couldn't wait to the end to see what happens. I love the way your writing weave everything together and then to end in a cliffhanger. I love your story and your writing. Good going.


Yolanda Wu
23:32 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Judith!


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Kristin Neubauer
17:53 Sep 18, 2020

Intense! I love how you have developed the relationship between Rhyvahr and Casrian....and that mystery you have foreshadowed with Casrian. Also, how you have brought Fenndon's partner into Rhyvahr's space. I am interested to see how he will manage it. Wishing the best for someone you love, when their best is being with another person is one of the hardest things ever. As always, there is so much going on in this tale....but you weave it all together so skillfully, that I am completely caught up in Rhyvahr's world and can't hardly wait fo...


Yolanda Wu
23:29 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Kristin! Once again, you have made my day with your wonderful words. :)


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Rayhan Hidayat
09:53 Sep 18, 2020

Awesome! This felt like a “climax” in your series because of the big monster brawl (couldn’t help imagining Gandalf vs the Balrog) but you ended it in another cliffhanger! I thought this might be the fial entry becaus it’s called the “Four” moon cycles, but hey, can’t complain, I get to see more of Rhyvahr’s antics 😉 I’m in awe at your creativity, as usual. The high-octane action, the blood being the cure, the monster being the witch’s daughter, there were so many fantasy tropes here that were done right. I like how Rhyvahr isn’t satisfie...


Yolanda Wu
09:59 Sep 18, 2020

Yeah, I must have been just thinking about something else when I wrote that middle because you're the second person to point that out to me. But yes, it is a vision, I probably need to edit that part a bit. Oh my god yes, Gandalf and the Balrog! Honestly, the plot kind of just multiplied. But thank you for remaining interested, Rayhan!


Rayhan Hidayat
10:19 Sep 18, 2020

Of course I’m interested, I’m such a sucker for fantasy stories with plenty of gay. The novel/series I’m writing features two princesses that try to get their rival families to form an alliance through the power of love! 😆


Yolanda Wu
10:25 Sep 18, 2020

Oh my god, yes. The series I'm writing at the moment is about a bunch of gay human disasters and gay mermaids/mermen who are also disasters. I mean gay as an umbrella term, there are many sexualities included. But your novel sounds so interesting! Would love to read about some princesses!


Rayhan Hidayat
10:38 Sep 18, 2020

omg the way you phrased that made it sound like you were joking, but that is awesome! Mermaids are surprisingly rare in fantasy (at least compared to other races like elves and dragons and the undead) so I'd be down for that! And thank you! ;) I'm kinda taking a break from writing that at the moment because of Reedsy, just trying to build my reputation here before I try to get published.


Yolanda Wu
10:45 Sep 18, 2020

Totally not joking, they are all disasters. My main couple in the story consists of the literal definition of a gay disaster, and his lovely, albeit sometimes (most of the time) grumpy boyfriend who is half selkie and they have their first time on a beach surrounded by pirates - they're friendly though. Don't have any plans of publishing it, but it was so fun to write that scene - the scene itself was very awkward, as it should have been.


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Elle Clark
08:49 Sep 18, 2020

Hey! Awesome next part to the story! I’m so intrigued by the little girl monster and the image of her reforming a broken body was really well done. There are a couple of plot holes or questions that I think you might need to edit in to make this flow a bit better. Firstly, I think it’s important to explain how his magic has cursed her - her death was nothing to do with him - or have him wonder the same thing. (Rhyvair’s head was spinning; what did she mean it was his fault? He’d never seen her before she’d shown up as a ghost). Secondly,...


Yolanda Wu
09:36 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Laura! Your questions are totally valid. I think a lot of the time it makes sense in my head, but when I actually write it out, readers don't know what's happening. About the how is he strong enough to fly has something to do with the mysterious woman, you will find out who she is in the next part. But yes, I'll definitely make it a little more explicit. Oh yeah, I almost intended for Fenndon and Rhyvahr to fully get together in this part, but thought I would bring up Fenndon's beau again. Thank you again for reading!


Elle Clark
15:28 Sep 18, 2020

You’re welcome! It goes back to what I’ve said before about novels vs short stories. In a novel you could flesh these things out. Which is why you should 100% turn this into a novel. Y’know. When you’re not busy studying for y12 Chinese exams in y10!


Yolanda Wu
23:28 Sep 18, 2020

Yeah, I'm definitely going to be turning this into a novel. Thank you so much, Laura!


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Yolanda Wu
03:08 Sep 18, 2020

So, I have a speaking exam coming up in about a month, and I wrote this on the weekend that I had two mock exams. I have another one today. I'm on holidays, but things have been so stressful with homework and practice exams and whatnot, all the fun stuff. Writing this kind of took my mind off that, hopefully it doesn't disappoint, if there are any mistakes, please let me know. But yeah, enjoy! Oh also, just an insignificant side note, Haisoka's reference to 'three heads and six arms' actually comes from Nezha, a character in Chinese mytho...


Rayhan Hidayat
09:40 Sep 18, 2020

I’m down to read any story you crank out from now on, so you do you! 😙


Yolanda Wu
09:44 Sep 18, 2020

Thank you so much, Rayhan!


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