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Timothy M.

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  1. Timothy M.

    Chapter 1

    I'm going to be polite and only say Cyril is an idiot.
  2. Timothy M.


    I think the idea is to pretend the evil guys never turned up at the estate. I hope they remembered to remove any tracks the car might have left.
  3. Timothy M.

    Now or Never

    ”Stay, Terryn, please.” The anguish in his voice tore at my heart, but I closed my ears to the begging spurred by his love and concern. We had discussed the plan endlessly and agreed it was the only way. ”You know I have to. Once the Duke’s delegation arrives, it will be too late. It is now or never.” ”Can you not pretend?” ”No, not even for your sake. In fact, I am doing this for both of us. You will be a much better ruler than I would, and you actually have a chance of loving the Duke’s daughter.” My brother hugged me hard, and I returned his embrace. Being fraternal twins, we were no more alike than any other siblings, but both of us had father’s strong build and dark golden hair, combined with mother’s blue eyes. His face was more familiar than my own, and I loved him dearly. ”If only I had been born first,” he said. In spite of the sad situation, we shared a grin. It was a familiar lament, although I was usually the one to say ”If only you were born first.” ”At least you were given the same lessons, as the spare heir.” The wisdom of that strategy allowed me to leave without too large a breach of duty and honor. ”And unlike me, you may enjoy the official role of Prince-in-Waiting.” ”Including getting married and siring heirs of my own.” We shared another smile before the last hug and softly spoken words of farewell. Then I led my horse away from the copse of trees and mounted as soon as I was beyond the view of the castle. Marron, who had ridden out of the gate on the pretense of taking a quick ride to look for the Duke’s entourage, would sneak back in wearing my cloak, and continue sulking in my room, the way I had done for two days. My lack of attraction to females was a secret known only to us. It was the main reason Marron agreed to help me flee the principality. We both knew the tales of Prince Larrok, who was either killed by or with a male lover two centuries ago. He was an only child, so did his duty by marrying and having a couple of children, but he consorted openly with men. The precise manner of his death was shrouded in mystery, but it had caused unrest and hardship until his son was of an age to take charge. Larrok’s fate meant there was no acceptance of such inclinations in the ruling family, even though ‘rok couples were common amongst peasants, traders, soldiers, and even younger sons of the landed gentry. Everyone thought a ‘rok prince would bring misfortune, and even if I had not been first-born, I might still be shunned. Beginning my journey, I soon left the road and used the forest paths. The mare was sure-footed, calm, and inconspicuous in looks, unlike the normal mounts we used. They were being shod and groomed in preparation for the planned engagement festivities, which thankfully no longer involved me. I grinned at the memory of one of my recent talks with Marron. “Why cross the Waste? What if you encounter a dragon?” “I would rather face one of those than the Duke and his daughter, and crossing the Waste is more fun than being stuck in a stifling room full of boring people who watch everything we do.” “The Duke may have a beastly temper, but Mother told us Liriana is gentle and soft-spoken, as well as being pretty and clever.” “I am glad for your sake, but you still have to face two irate fathers and convince them to let you wed her in my place. I prefer dragons who, as far as we know, rarely concern themselves with humans.” “I guess so, but what about monsters? You know many of the made beasts will kill any human they encounter.” “I will use my bow, my sword, and my wits. I am more worried about being caught by Father’s soldiers and brought back in disgrace than facing a monster. The risk is higher in the mountains, and traders regularly use the path through Dragons Waste as the shortest way to the border.” “Usually with heavily guarded caravans,” Marron had objected. But he knew full well single traders also dared the path, and I needed to reach the border fast…and disappear. To ensure this, we had found the blandest clothes possible, all muted brown, greys and greens. I borrowed a cloak from the castle huntsman, without his knowledge, but Marron would compensate him later. The second part of my disguise, cutting my hair and staining it darker, I achieved by a stream in the forest. “Attaching myself to a caravan as a guard is dangerous, in case someone recognizes me, and the chance of encountering one at random is low. I will camp at the edge of the Waste, rise at dawn, and attempt to cross in one day.” “That is probably the best plan,” Marron had conceded. “At least it is almost summer, so no need for a campfire.” I missed the comfort of a fire, though, as I lay bundled in my cloak with the saddle under my head, watching the sun set. I dared not cover my legs in case I needed to jump up and defend myself. The mare was hobbled nearby, and the fact she was grazing calmly was a good indication monsters and other predators were not in the vicinity. My back was against a large thicket of hazel and hawthorn for added protection, and I had cast the only magic I knew, a cantrip of vigilance. It would give me a few seconds warning if anything larger than a fox approached my campsite. To my surprise I fell asleep almost at once, and only woke as the first birds began to sing in the predawn. I gave the mare a ration of grain, and then ate a quick meal of bread, cheese, and water. Soon, we were on our way. After a couple of hours I saw the shape of two dragons flying east of me, and my heart soared. I had seen drawings and heard descriptions, but few people were lucky enough to see them, even at a distance. Their food was sun and magic, and both can be found in abundance in the Waste. The part I was traveling through was only a wedge stretching from the huge desert to the mountain range west of me, forming a border between two once-feuding clans. Nobody recalled what the feud had been about, and relations with our neighbors had been cordial for more than four hundred years. I was alternating between riding and walking, and as the sun rose towards noon, I began looking for possible shelter. I wanted to rest during the warmest hours, and there were several large rock formations ahead which might provide shade. Marron had heard trader rumors of caves which stayed cool even in the hottest summer days. His talent for chatting with all kinds of people had come in useful again, and to his credit he was genuinely interested in gaining knowledge and cared about the welfare of the land and its inhabitants. “You will be a wise and kind ruler, brother dear,” I had told him. “I swear to do my best, but I would rather have been at your side.” “If only you had been born first, I would have been happy to serve as your Chief Guardsman and Protector of the Land. Fighting is my only talent.” “I am glad Father saw it too, and let you lead the patrols to safeguard our people.” “He could not deny you were able to take over, if I got killed. Although, the birth of Korram may have helped.” Our ten-year-old brother, born when Marron and I were sixteen, after three girls in a row, already showed promise of becoming a mage, as did our sister Deliah born two years before him. But he would also serve as heir until Marron gave us nephews. “Maybe you can return one day to take up those duties again.” I refused to destroy his impossible dream. “Maybe, but our brother-in-law is more than capable, and it would give Cathryn great joy.” Our oldest sister had braved the initial disapproval of our parents and insisted on marrying the handsome guardsman who won her heart. We supported Cathryn, as we knew Merulian was honorable, brave, kind-hearted, and infatuated with her. Not even Marron knew of my struggles to conquer my own feelings for the man who had been a true friend and patrol companion for five years. It was an added incentive to leave my home, and hopefully bury the last vestiges of regret and envy. I loved my sister, and she deserved to be happy. As I topped a rise, the path turned slightly westward, and I saw a cliff face with several promising gaps at the base. I also saw a large, blue dragon sitting in the middle of the path, staring straight at me. It was at least fifty feet in length, and the large semi-transparent wings were spread out to either side in order to catch the sun. Before I could do anything, the dragon spoke. “Well met, human. I be waiting for ye.” When encountering a dragon, there was only one possible answer according to the legends. I bowed. “Greetings, Elder. How may I serve you?” It stared at me for a long moment. I tried not to fidget, since any nervous behavior might spook my mare. She was still calm, perhaps because the wind was at our backs and the dragon sat unmoving. I doubted she could hear it speak, as it was said dragons only spoke in your mind. “Greetings, Prince Terryn. Ye be remarkably well-versed in dragon lore.” I bowed again. “You honor me, Elder, but I have renounced my title and my name. Please call me Tar.” I did not bother to ask how the dragon knew my true lineage. All legends agreed about the folly of lying to and plotting against mature dragons, since their magic enabled them to read minds. “Ye should seek shelter in this cave.” One blue wing tip indicated the closest opening. “Another human needs assistance.” I wasted no time, riding directly down the incline to the cave. Dismounting, I took my horse inside, and we both gave a small snort of relief at the cooler interior. There was plenty of light from outside, but in addition, the back of the cave was dimly lit by moss glowing on the walls. The cave floor was fine sand with a few rocks scattered about. A whicker greeted us as another horse trotted forward. The poor thing was wearing a bridle, saddle and several packs, and it looked tired. It nuzzled eagerly at the bundle of grass I had cut last night and tied in my bedroll. I undid the sack of grain and spread some on the floor, together with the dry grass. There was a small pool of clear water to one side, fed by moisture trickling down the cave wall. Once I had removed her tack, my mare drank her fill, and I managed to take off the packs, saddle and bridle from the other horse. Grooming them would have to wait till later. I finally turned to the third light source in the cave. The dragon, who had been silently observing from the entrance, spoke as I studied the man lying cocooned in a bluish light. He looked to be my age or a little older. “He fell from his horse and hit his head yesterday. My magic has slowed time and kept him safe, but he needs the care of another human.” “Let me get a place ready for him, and I will do my best to help. Is he badly hurt?” It was difficult to see within the cocoon of light, but apart from a bloody gash on the side of his head, I could not see any obvious injuries. Of course, if his skull was bashed in, he might never wake. “Fear not, Tar. His mind will be intact after some rest, and the wound be superficial. For some reason the sight of me landing on the cliff above the path sent him tumbling from his mount. I placed them in here and waited for another human to arrive.” The compassion of the blue dragon for an insignificant human was surprising. Did it perhaps feel honor bound to help after causing the accident? But what was the man doing in Dragons Waste if he was spooked at the sight of a dragon? His gear looked different from that of a trader, unless there was a missing pack mule. He had a crossbow and a quiver of bolts, and a long dagger at his side, rather than a sword, so he was not a soldier or a caravan guard. The stranger had a bedroll and a blanket among his belongings, and I placed them on top of my own bedroll. After cleaning my hands, a small bowl, and my cooking pot in the pool, I readied the remedies I had for dealing with wounds. Hopefully, I would not have to sew the gash, but it was best to be prepared. Our arms master had taught us well, since both fighting and hunting could cause injures. “If your men know you can care for their wounds, they will be less hesitant to step between you and danger,” had been his reasoning. As soon as I poured clean water from my untouched water bag into the pot, the unconscious body rose slightly from the cave floor and moved to lie on top of the blanket. “Be ye ready?” “Not yet. Is it safe to have a small fire? I would like to heat the water in the pot.” “Set it down on the flat stone.” I obeyed, and moments later steam rose from the pot. I used a riding glove as potholder as I poured some of the hot water over the ground herbs I had placed in the bowl. The infusion would help clean the wound. I dipped a cloth in the water and said “Ready.” The blue light moved away from the man and pooled at the top of his head, helping me to see him clearly. His dark hair and beard were short and well kept, and the skin on his face and hands unmarred by scars. A groan of pain fell from his lips, but his eyes stayed shut. I rinsed the gash and was relieved to see it looked half healed. The dragon must have used a little magic on him to stop the bleeding. “The smell of blood would have attracted dangerous beings. While they will not approach in my presence, I must leave soon.” I finished binding the gash, removed his belt and boots, and loosened the drawstring holding his tunic tight over a firm and delightfully hairy chest. I wiped his temples and neck with cold water and finally wet his lips with a few drops. He moaned again and his eyelids fluttered, but he did not wake. I tried to ignore how this handsome stranger made me feel. I knew nothing about the man, or even if he was safe to be around. But I trusted the dragon would not have asked for my help if he was evil. “True. I know not what manner of man he be, but no taint of evil be in his mind. The rest ye will have to discover anon.” Standing up, I walked over to the entrance and bowed to the dragon. “Thank ye for keeping him safe, Elder. I will take care of him. Wind under thy wings.” “In return for your trust and courtesy, I will confuse those who pursue ye, and they will believe their prince perished. But ye should leave two sunrises from now.” I gasped at the mention of pursuit and the grief my twin would feel, but focused my thoughts and words on gratitude for the help. Even the best trackers Father could send would be no match for a dragon’s magic. It pinned me with another stare before swiping a silver-clawed foreleg in an arc across the cave entrance. A bluish shimmer rose between us, with a thumbnail-sized dragon scale in the center. “My veil will keep ye safe and undetected for two nights. When ye be ready to leave, remove the anchor. Honor to thy House, Prince Terryn.” “Honor to thy Clan, Elder.” After the dragon left, I set about making the cave comfortable. I lit a short candle, sticking it in the sand at a safe distance from the bedroll, to replace the vanished blue ball of light. I rinsed my bowl and buried the bloody piece of cloth at the back of the cave. We would have to relieve ourselves there, too. Using the rest of the boiling water, I dissolved travel cubes of dried meat, spices and vegetable to make a broth. I soon noticed the stone would heat the pot whenever it was placed on top, but was only warm if touched by hand. Dragon magic was impressive. I groomed both horses and hobbled them next to the water to prevent them from blundering into the veil. The stranger’s belongings I piled to one side, resisting the temptation to go through them. I checked on the man often, wetting his lips, while speaking to him in a low voice. “You are safe. Please wake. My name is Tar, and I am trying to help.” The ninth time I repeated the litany, brown eyes opened to look at me. “I hear you.” The voice was a smooth tenor, sending shivers down my spine. Why was he not hoarse after a whole day without sustenance? “Water?” I held my small tin cup up for him to see. “Yes, please.” With my support he was able to raise his head enough to take several sips. “My head hurts.” “You fell off your horse and hit your head.” “The blue dragon!” His body and voice went tense. “Do not worry, it is gone.” “Are you sure?” “Yes, but dragons are no danger to humans, unless you are stupid enough to meddle with them.” He closed his eyes, perhaps in denial, and I tried to change the topic. “Do you feel pain anywhere else?” He stirred, obviously taking stock of his own body. “No, just a little bruised, but if I fell off…did you see it happen?” “Um, no. The dragon told me.” “What?” His eyes flew open to stare at me. Was it fear or surprise? “Please do not worry. Are you hungry? I have some broth and bread.” He went along with the evasion, and I brought his packs over so he could find his own bowl, spoon, and cup. I was surprised, but pleased, he was able to sit up and seemed to expect me to sit next to him after I shared the broth between us. “Thank you, Tar. This is very good.” “You recall my name?” “Yes, I heard it at least twice. I felt as if I was floating in a deep, blue lake, and your voice was the force pulling me towards the surface.” I had no idea how to reply, so instead focused on my meal. I wanted to ask his name and why he was traveling through the Waste, but it would be unwise since I wanted to avoid the latter topic myself. “My name is Gillian, but my friends call me Gil.” I turned my head, and his smile prompted one of my own. “Well then, Gil, would you care to tell me why dragons disturb you?” To my astonishment, he chuckled. “I fear not dragons, though I can understand why you might think so. All my life I have known a blue dragon would herald my fate. It was foretold at my birth, and two years ago a mage cast a spell for me and confirmed the telling was true. But he knew not what kind of fate. I decided to visit Dragons Waste, hoping to find an answer.” “The dragon mentioned nothing about fate. It seemed confused about your reaction to the encounter.” “I have some affinity to magic. I was looking towards the desert, hoping to see or sense dragons. There was a noise above me… just as I turned my head and saw the blue dragon a blast of its magic must have hit my wide-open mind. The next thing I remember is your voice and touch soothing my pain.” “A shame the dragon left before you woke. Now you may never learn what your fate is supposed to be.” “Mayhap, but how did you encounter the dragon?” “It sat on the path and told me to help you. Perhaps it felt responsible for your accident?” “Very lucky for me you happened to arrive just then.” “I guess you could say so.” “Almost like, we were fated to meet.” The soft words and the intense look in his eyes ignited a slow fire in my guts. Might he feel the same attraction? Could I trust my instincts? I decided this chance was too good to pass by. “Or it was simply a chance encounter. But we could make the best of it.” “Take fate into our own hands?” “Do you have anything better to do, Gil?” “Not right now, Tar.” I will never know how we were suddenly in each other’s arms. And I shall never forget my first kiss from another man, nor what followed. It was more magical than dragons. Gil still calls me his Fate, while I call him my Dragon's Gift.
  4. Timothy M.

    Feeling Blue

    In a magical world, heavy with expectations for the ruling family, Prince Terryn is reluctant to accept a role he was born for, but not made for. If he wants to escape the throne, the time is now, but what does Fate have in store for him?
  5. I'm currently reading the story and enjoying it a lot. Thank you for recommending it, Cia.
  6. Timothy M.

    The Proxigean Spring Tide

    There's always hope, right ? And perhaps some enthusiastic feedback will inspire Brian to revisit this couple.
  7. Timothy M.

    Paying the Bills

    It's gotten to the point where Jeff's children would almost be better off if he died. Seeing him slide deeper into the pit of alcoholism and slowly loosing their father must be devastating. They'll end up hating him, so it would be better to mourn him. A shame he lived and his wife died. Everyone would have been better off the other way around. I'm glad to see I wasn't the only reader who wondered if Todd is gay. If he is, I wonder if he's told David. I'm hoping Todd will find David, rather than his father. Jeff is despicable, mostly because he refuses to face facts. Not just about his alcohol problems, but also about his prejudice and irrational thinking. Every time Todd called him on his stupid behavior, Jeff evaded the issue. Yet he knows he's lying to himself.
  8. Timothy M.

    Chapter 5

    See, I told you Kyle should have outed his sister as a total evil bitch.
  9. Timothy M.

    Into the Wilderness

    Well, so far Frankie hasn't taken any real harm from spending time in the wilderness. And now he has a chance to tell the Ranger he was kidnapped. The other possibility is to shove the grannies off the cliff when he gets fed up.
  10. Timothy M.

    The Proxigean Spring Tide

    Those are very good points, and I agree. Another reason not to tell the truth would be to avoid any suspicion that Carey was trying to do away with his black-mailer or knocked him over during a fight for the camera and then left him helpless. However, if Jamie does recover, his parents should know he's a thief, a blackmailer and a bigot. Although, based on his father's behavior the latter might not be considered a problem. But having him steal from the guests in the cottage is something they need to know and address.
  11. Timothy M.

    The Proxigean Spring Tide

    Calling his son 'this young man' was a naughty bit of misdirection, lol. But at least Carey's mum will probably be grateful and kindly disposed to Archer, even when he's introduced as the boyfriend. I hope Carey will come out to his mother straight away and tell her the truth about Archer (without going into intimate details). Because otherwise he'll not be able to tell the police about the theft and the blackmail attempt. Of course the noble thing to do is keep quiet for the sake of Jamie's parents who'll have enough grief to deal with, if he dies or is permanently brain damaged. Perhaps Carey can tell the police he won't reveal any details unless Jamie makes a full recovery ?
  12. Timothy M.

    The Proxigean Spring Tide

    It's always nice when evil deeds and minds receive their just awards. And I liked the analogy of swimming for what he was also worried about. Carey will have a lot of motivation to do well at his exams, so he can go to Brighton. I hope he'll talk to Archer about his mother's symptoms, because I think she needs some medical attention.
  13. Timothy M.

    Darker Themes

    To me a chapter warning isn't there to stop me reading the story, but to be prepared for unusually bad stuff. But I think further discussion on this is moot. Each of us will have to decide what we want to do with the stories we read and write.
  14. Timothy M.


    LOL, no problem. I wrote chair instead of car in my comment, so fixing is familiar to me. You can always get my attention by using the @mention technique. @VampireMystic
  15. Timothy M.

    Darker Themes

    Story tags are there for a reason. Apart from guiding readers about content, the main one is to protect authors from the outcry of offended readers. If you tagged your story using any of the tags below, no one can say readers weren't warned. Number of stories tagged with: abuse 232 dark 325 depression 163 hate 71 rape 58 suicide 58 violent 63 Assuming tags don't overlap, the total number of such stories are 970. Number of Fiction stories with rating Mature is 3675. Ration of Tagged as above to Mature: 26%, ratio of Dark tag to Mature: 9%. Staying away from Mature stories, some of which are the best on GA, simply to avoid dark or violent content, does not seem a viable strategy to me. Warnings in story and chapter notes are up to authors, but why not provide the service ? Unless the author delights in the shock effect of readers not knowing ? You don't have to be specific, a simple Warning, violent content, will suffice. As for the argument of books not having such warnings, I thought a point of reading online is to have an advantage over books. Interacting with authors and other readers are the main ones, but tags etc. are useful too.
  16. Timothy M.

    Chapter 3

    That was a great talk, and I'm in awe of Peter. His integrity and honesty is admirable. And he's a little psychic, right ? The episode with the waitress was revealing and sad, too. But they managed to deal with it quite well. I hope she achieves her goal of getting the manager fired.
  17. Timothy M.


    OK, confusion is starting to abate. Is Aiden in a wheelchair on bad days ? The way they left the House and the comments in the car seems to imply it. And I'm guessing Peter came out to Aiden in January, and they're trying to rebuild their close friendship. The one thing I'm not sure about is whether Aiden is gay, stright or bi. Or perhaps he's mostly confused right now ? But at least he's able to make funny sexual jokes, which make me laugh.
  18. Timothy M.

    Chapter 1

    Reading the chapter again after having read chapter 2 and 3, it's slowly starting to make more sense. I can appreciate the way you're letting us guess what is going on.
  19. Timothy M.

    Happy Birthday, Myr!

    Tillykke med fødselsdagen fra Danmark and thank you for all the GA miracles you and the other admin wizards pull of.
  20. Timothy M.

    A Second Chance?

    I'm not sure my life would be much different, if I lived it all over again, apart from avoiding a few embarrassing moments. Don't ask What I like about your story is the main character gets a second chance for himself as well as for the jerk whose body he has taken over.
  21. Timothy M.

    Never Too Late by northie

    Since the news are mostly filled with sad or annoying stuff, I don't mind having the media focus on something happy. And celebrating love is good.
  22. Timothy M.

    Darker Themes

    I'd like to add a fourth point: 4) Remember to use the correct story tags and please put relevant warnings in the chapter notes at the top of particularly violent chapters. It is one of the great things about the GA story system that the author can warn readers, so we are prepared or can stay away.
  23. Timothy M.

    Never Too Late by northie

    I've managed to avoid it so far, but I'm sure there will be plenty of highlights in the news tonight.
  24. Timothy M.


    I think Flora will harbor a small secret love for Frankie for the rest of her life, and I'm glad he made sure she was OK. After all, it's nor her fault he wasn't attracted to her. I'll look forward to following Frankie's adventures.
  25. Timothy M.

    Food For Thought

    A tablet (iPad) might be the best option, as this is what the older generation in my family are using. But I think right now the physical comfort is just as important. Feeling clean and warm, eating hot delicious food, and having someone to talk with, are things Eric has been missing for far too long. A heart-warming chapter, and Andy is doing well on being respectful and considerate. I'm proud of him.

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