The Wolf and the Moon
Author: Kayla Bain-Vrba
Categories: Fantasy ● Gay
Length: 22,000 words
Released: Feb. 8, 2017
This story was previously published in the Bad Moon Rising anthology
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Dag’s life is an endless series of battles, as he fights Challenge after Challenge for the amusement of others, his interest in life lost when he killed his own lover. But then, in the middle of his latest Challenge, he encounters a familiar face…
Excerpt: The Wolf and the Moon
Star-crossed lovers, the sole survivors amid the remains of a long bloody battle, holding each other at sword-point. That was what the crowd in the stadium saw as they held their breath, waiting to see who the final victor would be. For the spectators, it was a distant reality, even if they had wagered on the outcome. For Dag, the older of the two lovers, there was nothing distant about it.
He could feel sweat and blood dripping down his face, chest, and back, could feel the burn and tremble in his arms from a full day’s Tournament and the strain of bearing his sword down on his opponent while holding his opponent’s blade at bay. On the opposite side of his blade, mirroring his position inches away, was Myka.
There could only be one winner. He knew that, had known that since they had been sent into this battle. He had known that their three-year romance was about to end as one or both of them lost their lives in the Tournament. How could he have known, though, that both of them would survive to the final round and be forced to fight each other to the death? Maybe he should have guessed. After all, his people’s lives were no more than a tool for the country’s amusement.
His muscles shook visibly; even his sword seemed unsteady as he bore down on Myka but at the same time held back from dealing the final blow. He couldn’t do this. He couldn’t kill… Myka. He wouldn’t allow himself to call Myka by his intimate name, the private name shared between the two of them and understood by no one else. Over their three years, he had done a lot of things to him, killed a lot of people for him, but he couldn’t kill Myka.
Just as he was about to lower his sword and beg Myka to end it quickly, his fingers finally slipped.
He stared—horrified, frozen, watching in crystal-clear slow motion as his sword slid between Myka’s ribs. Myka staggered, dropping to his knees, a pained uncomprehending look in his eyes as he touched the end of the sword buried so deeply that the hilt almost touched his chest.
Dag dropped to his knees beside Myka in an instant, one arm around his shoulders to support him as he choked and gagged. Myka looked at him with barely comprehending eyes, reaching up with trembling fingers to touch Dag’s face one last time.
He never did. Partway there, the life seemed to flood out of him, and he fell limp. Dag clutched his lifeless body, crying his first tears since childhood as the cheering crowd erupted around him.