YEAR OF THE RAM
Only after Morgan Diego is
exiled from Galaxy Corps as the result of a political blunder
does he begin to realize the depth of the feelings he has for
his second in command - the mysterious Lucien who is as much
elfen as human. Alone and broken, Morgan must fight his
way back to the life he lived and the man he loved.
"A superbly-crafted love story
exploring the depths of the human and alien heart."
-Jackson Porter, Independent Reviewer
Morgan felt himself crash to the ground as Lucien’s powerful
body wrestled him into the colorful carpet of fallen leaves and
fresh black soil. He was peripherally aware of Vanya shouting
something from a distance, but as he rolled and squirmed with
Lucien on top of him, he caught only a glimpse of the
Starling’s resident shrink being held in check by two
powerful Alfarian guards. Other voices were shouting, or maybe
it was singing. With Alfarians, it was sometimes difficult to
know the difference.
knew in that moment was Lucien’s lean and unrelenting hands
around his neck, strangling the life out of him as if they were
long-time enemies instead of confidants and friends. His senses
dimmed. And suddenly the world was going dark, the arms of
Mother Forest reaching out to welcome him even though he was a
stranger there. In death, he would exist forever within the
Spirit of the trees, the rain, the earth… all the things which
comprised the totality of the forest itself.
It was almost
But just as
his eyes were about to close, something he could not explain
gave him one final burst of strength with which to fight. And
yet, as he looked up into the mad whirlpools of Lucien’s black
eyes, he knew he didn’t want to fight this man. He certainly
didn’t want to harm him, even to save his own life. And so
Morgan did the only thing that felt right in that moment –
though it was quite probably the most insane and unpredictable
thing he had ever done in the course of his career. Indeed, in
the course of his entire life.
With the last
shred of strength, he simply commanded his body to go slack,
unresisting, in total surrender. The immediate result was not
unlike what happens when one man lets go of his end of the rope
in a tug-of-war. Lucien fell forward on top of him, their
bodies chest to chest, abdomen to abdomen, cheek to cheek… man
went out of him.
And that was
when, without any predetermination, Morgan took the tormented
face between his hands and pressed his lips to the trembling
mouth in a kiss as intimate as any he had ever shared with a
stopped. The forest itself did not move or breathe.
It was a kiss
to break a spell, Morgan heard some distant voice within himself
explain. It was the kiss of the prince to cast off the dark
magick of the evil princess who had bewitched Lucien.
And he felt
no shame in that kiss despite the even more distant sounds of
gasps, a little shriek which might have been a sound of delight
coming from Lucien’s mother, and finally a heartfelt burst of
cheers and applause from the primarily Alfarian audience of
onlookers. Maybe it even made sense. The Alfarians loved their
traditions and their myths and their mysticism, so maybe it
stood to reason that they would approve of a strange foreigner
who had the power to break such an evil spell with such a
profound and forbidden kiss...
Morgan Diego did not exist. At least not as he had perceived
himself to be.
Lucien continued to haunt his memory. In his mind's eye, he saw
the two of them wrestling on the lush floor of Mother Forest,
playing poker long into the night, taking leisurely walks
together on the shores of far-flung worlds on shared leaves. And
then there was the kiss. That kiss. At the time, Morgan
had patted himself on the back as a reward for his own
cleverness. All in a day’s work. Just a quirky aspect of
command training. When all else fails, do the last thing
anybody anywhere would expect. Only this time, he
realized he was the one caught with his pants down.
He was the one who had fallen under the spell. Not some bit
of Alfarian magick, but a very human kind of spell.
A love spell
that burst open like some nasty nova the moment he touched his
lips to Lucien’s in the presence of so many self-important
witnesses. And now there was no going back. Not just
metaphorically but literally. No going home. No picking up
where things left off.
So much was
left unfinished, Morgan thought morosely. And now, unless he
could learn to shield against the Mizarians every second of
every hour of every day, those unfinished things would remain
forever a mystery.
tired, he turned onto his side, burying his face into the hard
pillow and trying to ignore the ache which had settled in the
vicinity of his heart. Who am I? he wondered.
There was no
answer, for whoever he had been pretending to be had died
that very afternoon in the training arena. What was left, he
realized, was the raw matter of whatever he might be
And even as
he reached toward sleep, Lucien's face haunted him, and
half-forgotten phrases and never-spoken words of love were
shared. Promises were sworn, allegiances formed. The word
'forever' was mentioned more than once.
Morgan knew, forever was little more than a dream. He wanted to
believe it would happen; yet some dark, undisciplined,
unfaithful corner of his mind knew it wouldn't. And
there he was again, face to face with the stark, cold,
relentless difference between belief and knowledge. For another
thing was also painfully clear: for as long as he believed
he could never go back, that was the dominant reality,
the quantum manifestation of every thought he would think, every
action he would take. Another thing he had learned and learned
well from Myrddin: “Each of us creates
our own reality, which we either inhabit or abandon, depending
entirely on our intent.”
Intent. He tumbled the word through his
mind, trying to define it in relation to himself. Intent. What
was it? Where was it located in the confines of the
mind, body or spirit?
Sleep moved a
step closer, and he longed for the dark forgetfulness which
would accompany his rest. He was peripherally aware of a weight
settling on the edge of his bunk, but explained it away as the
preamble to a now-common dream wherein he shared bed and body
with a friend he would never see again.
time, the dream continued with surprising realism. Morgan felt
himself turned, taken into powerful arms, felt powerful Alfarian
fingers caressing his cheeks, running lightly through his hair.
He was cradled in a protective embrace, his head resting on a
cooler-than-human shoulder, his face buried in the other's neck.
the long void-night, he was held. He was loved – gently,
carefully, reverently. His mind seemed to have flown away,
scattered in a thousand different directions and, abandoning
pride and male attitudes he'd clung to fiercely in the past, he
accepted the fact that he wanted the anonymity which came
with this peculiar incubus' loving. He wanted to be sheltered
and protected, caressed and worshipped. He even wanted to be
taken – to have the burden of conscious choice removed by one
more physically powerful than himself...
YEAR OF THE RAM
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