Friday, 29 October 2010

The Grief of the Bond-Maid - excerpt

New anthology Cast the Cards is out this weekend from Storm Moon Press! Themed around individual cards of the Tarot Deck, each of the six long stories within tells of a LGBT or polyamorous erotic romance. Three have contemporary settings and three are paranormal fantasies. My story, The Grief of the Bond-Maid, is set in the Viking age:

Sjofn is a seidr-witch and a slave to the cruel rune-wizard Vegtamr. He hangs himself as a sacrifice to the god Odin, a ritual that will bring him back in nine days more powerful than ever. Sjofn siezes that chance to escape from the Hanged Man's control once and for all, and enlits the help of a pair of warriors to journey into the magical world and destroy him before he returns to life. But they have secrets of their own, and the journey is deadly dangerous, and time is running out ...

The Grief of the Bond-Maid is a story full of magic, mythology and F/M/M. Here's a little excerpt (and in case you're wondering, Kot is Sjofn's spirit power-animal):

"What was that?" she cried.

"That was the Ginnungagap." Kot shuddered all over. "The void that was, before the creation of the world. It is reaching into him even as he reaches into it."

Sjofn stamped her feet, chilled by the journey and by what she’d seen. Casting about, she looked for the spirits of her two companions, but they were nowhere near the fire. The circle of her footfalls widened to a spiral.

"Where are you going, Sjofn?"

"I’ll just check they're safe," she muttered, walking away uphill, toward the trees, and letting Kot follow at a distance. She found them not far into the dense shadow of the firs, standing face-to-face - and in a moment, the curiosity to which she’d not dared admit met with all the answers it had been seeking. Bjarni had his back to one of the trunks. Both men had loosened their clothes, and each was holding the other’s erect cock in his hand, caressing it from root to crown.

Sjofn felt the blood flare up to burn in her cheeks.

They were almost the same height, Thorkell perhaps a fingerbreadth taller. It meant they met easily mouth-to-mouth, sharing breath that was coming shorter and shallower to both of them, sometimes kissing, but then drawing apart, only to kiss and bite softly once more. Red and dark stubbles rasped together. Scarred lips touched with both hunger and tenderness. Their eyes were hooded, unfocused, as if there was no world beyond their embrace, as if there was nothing but the other man in all the night, known by touch and taste as much as by sight. Sjofn stared. Their hands moved with familiar sureness, and with a firmness that—to her—looked punishing. Two cock-heads nudged together. Two thick shafts were enfolded together by weapon-hardened fingers. There was no speech, just a mutual urging of the flesh that became increasingly fervent, hands blurring as they stoked the flames.

Recalling Vegtamr’s cold and perfunctory impositions upon her, something in Sjofn rose up in rebellion. Was this how it should be - this melting confusion of skin and breath and intent?

Then, Bjarni’s head thunked back against the tree’s bark, his hips shifting as his legs grew taut with strain, his eyes watching Thorkell’s face from under half-lowered lids. His throat worked, but he grunted only once as his sea-spume burst between the other man’s fingers. His own tugging grew ragged, and then suddenly imperious.

Thorkell’s brow knotted into a frown, and his eyes screwed shut. He jerked his head as if in immense effort, and his own seed gushed out in response and overflowed Bjarni’s grasp.

"Yes," he whispered.

For a while they clung together, gasping a little. Their hands mingled the semen, lazy now, rubbing that spend into their hot and swollen flesh.

Sjofn walked away, her legs shaking and her heart pounding hard. She returned to the fire and sat down, brooding into the darkness. When Kot came up and nuzzled under her hand, she pushed him away.

"Why are you angry?" he asked.

"I’m not."

"Oh no, of course you aren’t," he huffed. "You’re just...?"

"Unsettled," she complained. "I know that a witch must be all things: tree and stone, bird and beast, male and female. We’re shapeshifters. But those two are warriors. It’s unmanly."

"From what I saw, they were both very much male," Kot said with the nearest approximation a reindeer might make to a smirk. "Didn’t you think so?"

"I don’t want to think about it."

"Sjofn... you’re jealous."

Cast the Cards can be ordered from Storm-Moon Press as an e-book or very pretty paperback.
It can also be bought from Amazon US  and Amazon UK!


Jo said...

Wow. Roughage!

The only thing is... and I feel a little guilty... I couldn't help picturing it all in Oglaf cartoon mode... :)

Craig Sorensen said...

Wow! That's smoldering.

I love the way you craft the language to consolidate the Viking age feel. Lovely phrases like:

caressing it from root to crown (that's smoking)


The circle of her footfalls widened to a spiral.


Janine Ashbless said...

Thanks guys!

You know what my fantasy publication would be? "Dark Enchantment: the graphic novel - illustrated by the artist of Oglaf."

Jo said...

Welll... write to the lady - I think you two would collaborate beautifully!

Charlotte Stein aka The Mighty Viper said...

You are amazing, Janine. Just amazing. I stand in awe of your work.

And I get very excited thinking about you writing big full length fantasy works for Ellora's Cave. Illustrated by Oglaf.

Janine Ashbless said...

Thanks Charlotte!

At the moment I'm getting excited by a huge extendable stiff thing with a big wet head ...
Yes, I'm painting the ceiling.

Jo said...

You're painting the ceiling with mr Ashbless's cock??

Janine Ashbless said...

He complains, but I don't listen.

Jo said...

Heh. Now hide it somewhere in the castle...