Fated

The God Jars Saga Prequel Novella

Fated5

Sometimes dreams come true regardless of what you choose.

Kerac keeps having recurring dreams of a blond boy calling him “Papa.” Yet, he’s on the path to becoming an Aesriphos—a holy warrior priest—and Aesriphos aren’t allowed to have children due to the dangerous nature of their jobs. And Kerac’s severe social anxiety proves too debilitating for him to pursue his passion for the Aesriphos Order’s cause. Because of these issues, Kerac is ready to shirk his training for the Order and become a regular priest. At least they can have a family. It’s the only way to see his dreams come true… until he meets a fellow Aesriphos Aspirant named Darolen.

Darolen’s quiet strength and uncanny ability to calm Kerac down from his panic attacks proves to be just what Kerac needs to help him grow within the Aesriphos Order. This focused attention and Darolen’s unwavering support make Kerac fall hard for the craggy warrior-mage.

But the dreams of having a son still plague Kerac. He must choose between the man who makes his heart race, and the son his god keeps promising him.

Published: February 11, 2019
Publisher: Magelight Press
Cover Artist: Devon Vesper
Genres: FantasyFantasy RomanceM/M Gay Romance

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Part of the God Jars Saga:

No amount of hard work and dedication could ever prepare Valis for becoming the world’s only hope of survival, but after finding love and true family he’s determined to give that destiny his all.

The God Jars Saga by Devon Vesper is a raw epic tale of strength and love in the face of adversity. If you’re looking for sword & sorcery fantasy with rich character development, intensity, uniqueness, and an unforgettable love story, look no further!

Over two-thousand years ago, one of the ten God Jars went missing.

In the wake of that ancient theft, the god attached to that Jar has become evil and wrought havoc and despair across the world. Brave souls of the Aesriphos order that’s comprised of same-sex mated pairs of noble men and women battle the resulting scourge with magic and might while continuing the endless search to bring the missing god jar home and end the devastation.

But soon may not be soon enough.

In this nine-book epic saga of medieval-esque sword and sorcery, the weight of the world rests in the hands of a single man, but only if he can find the strength within himself to overcome his trauma and face the world as he truly is.

Chapter 1

“Papa! I’m home!”

Kerac jerked upright out of a dead sleep with a hoarse gasp. Those words haunted him, echoing in an endless loop as he clutched at his bedclothes and rocked back and forth, shaking uncontrollably. The same dream had plagued him for weeks. Each night was the same. Now he perspired so much that his sheets stuck to him in uncomfortable ways and his waist-length black hair felt more like soaked seaweed stuck to his skin than its usual sheet of silk when it was clean and tamed.

He shivered, and with a glance toward the hearth, he found the fire he had set the evening before now held cold coals. Reaching over, he adjusted the wick in his bedside lamp to cast a soft glow to his sparse room and peeled himself out of his soaked sheets. The shivering wouldn’t stop. Rarely did it ever last shorter than an hour, and not even a fire would warm him, but it felt better to sit next to roaring flames than in a cold room soaked to the bone in cold sweat and tears.

Papa! I’m home!

Kerac bit his lower lip as he hastily stacked wood and tinder, bit it harder as he pushed magic into the pile to ignite it. He almost drew blood as he worked to set the screen in place. If he started crying now, he would be useless for hours, and he couldn’t let himself fall into that trap every morning. He had duties to attend to and having everyone stare at him or stop him in the monastery halls to make him confess his troubles would hinder his chores’ progress.

Not that he cared much for his chores. But duty was duty, be it farm work, war training, or manning the library.

The echo of those three words chased him into his lavatory to bathe, followed him to the mirror where he barely recognized himself for his gaunt features and the dark circles under his eyes, trailed beside him, inside him, as he forced himself to dress. It sat beside him as he curled in front of the fire in a vain attempt to get warm.

No matter what he did, he could not forget. He could not outrun the dream, could not put it out of his mind. The image of a tall, blond young man cresting a hill and calling, “Papa! I’m home!” burned through every waking thought until sleep claimed him at night and chased him awake every morning.

The eerie thing was, the young man had no face, no distinguishing marks other than he wore the armor of Aesriphos—the elite warrior mages whose duty it was to quell uprisings of Qos adherents and find the missing God Jar.

Was it a vision of his future mate? Kerac shuddered and pulled the dry blanket closer about his shoulders. “No. He calls me Papa.” Sighing, he settled back into the rocking chair and tucked his feet under him. “I’m an Aesriphos Aspirant… Phaerith, what does this mean?”

Of course, his god had no answer for him, or none that Kerac could interpret. Instead of waiting for such an answer, he glanced at the clock over his door and huddled under the blankets. He had an hour before breakfast. It always seemed that the dreams woke him earlier and earlier each day. But, he went to bed earlier and earlier each night, so he supposed that was fitting.

Instead of sitting around, Kerac got up and donned his training armor. He had surpassed chain training long ago, and now his plate armor felt almost like a second skin. The heavy mass weighed him down, but as he adjusted the straps, it gave him an inner strength he never knew he could possess. With his armor on, he felt like he could take on the world… until he reached the indoor training arena and found other men and women training where he thought he might have the space to himself.

The high white walls, domed ceiling, and rough-hewn, scuffed, dirty white-stone floor echoed with the jibes and jeers of those sparring inside, some in groups of two, some with more opponents. Kerac’s eyes strayed, though, to a particular man who trained against a dummy made of wood, burlap and straw stuffing. He made no sound other than a few grunts with each swing. His silence, his intense focus held Kerac captive so he was helpless to do anything but watch in rapt fascination.

Sweat poured down into the man’s eyes, down his neck. His shaggy brown hair lay plastered in soaked waves around his face. His brown, intense eyes stayed on his target, but seemed to miss nothing of the chaos that ensued around him. Each swing of his wooden practice sword whistled through the air to hit the dummy with precision so tuned that Kerac wondered if he was Aesriphos training without his mate, or a very advanced Aspirant.

Something about the silent, confident way he fought called to Kerac so much he could not look away. He stayed rooted there in the entry, staring until someone knocked on the back of his left pauldron. “You moving, or you going to stare at the pretty man all day?”

Kerac relaxed and turned toward his friend. “You’re never an early riser, Rylas. What are you doing here this early, and in your armor?”

Rylas chuckled and nodded his head toward the back of the arena. “Same as you, my friend. Same as you.”

Following his gaze, Kerac saw a young aspirant battling away with one of the elder mentors for their war class in a rather fierce spar. The man bore a striking resemblance to a sprinter dog with a long nose, lean features, and sleek auburn hair that he kept tied back in a brutal braid. “You fancy him, Rylas?”

Rylas nudged Kerac’s shoulder with his own, almost sending him into the wall. “His voice is gorgeous. Have you heard him sing?”

Well, no. Kerac grimaced. Rylas knew Kerac didn’t get out and mingle. It took much in the mornings to even visit the breakfast hall to eat without crippling anxiety. So no, he’d never heard the young man sing, and he wondered if Rylas meant the question to be as mean as it felt.

“His name is Naril,” Rylas went on. He took Kerac by the elbow and led him to a spare bit of ground within the arena, so they would stop blocking the entry, but could still see their fascinations. “He asked me to come spar with him, so I’m waiting for him to finish with his mentor.”

Kerac blanched. “He asked you?”

His friend laughed, the sound echoing above the sounds of Aesriphos Aspirants having fun, their wooden practice swords clashing against armor. “That’s how social interactions work, Kerac. You must try it sometime.”

He motioned back to the one with brown hair who had earlier captivated Kerac’s entire attention. “Go on. Go up to him.” He gave Kerac a push, but instead of being propelled forward, Kerac almost went on his face because his feet refused to move.

“I can’t!” he whispered, his voice hoarse. “I just—I—I c—can’t!”

“You can,” Rylas murmured into Kerac’s ear. “Shit, boy. Just go up to him. You may not even need to talk. You’re rather gorgeous, you know.”

Him? Gorgeous? Had someone knocked Rylas over the head with one too many practice swords? Kerac stared at his friend, his mouth agape and eyes wide. “You can’t be serious…”

Rylas rolled his eyes and gave another shove so hard that Kerac stumbled forward a few steps, but he scrambled back, and if it hadn’t been for Rylas catching him about the waist, he would have fled the training hall altogether. “L—let me go!”

“Not until you go up to him.”

“I can’t!”

“You can!”

He hadn’t realized he was crying until Rylas shucked off his gauntlet and wiped a tear track from his face with a heavy sigh. “Kerac…” He sighed again, more heavily this time. “Go on. Go calm down.”

Panic fueled his run, and before he knew it, Kerac slammed his door closed and leaned against it, fighting for each breath as his throat squeezed closed. His tongue felt too big for his mouth. Each breath came in squeaky, raspy gasps until something broke and he began sobbing.

And all throughout his breakdown, as he slid down the door to collapse onto the floor in a heap of armor and tears, he wondered why his soul kept calling him to service in the Aesriphos Order. Why did he want it so badly when he couldn’t even bear the thought of going up to a stranger for a spar? How could he get past his fear and do the duty that everyone expected of him? It made little sense, but his heart ached when he thought of quitting.

Phaerith, help me.

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