Last snippet from Book Two of The Academy of the Accord. I wish I had more weeks in a month so I could introduce all of the characters, but since Kordelm took so much time I’m only going to get to Wellhym. You’ll have to read the whole thing next year (or volunteer to beta read) to meet the others.
Wellhym shrugged his backpack into a more comfortable position and turned, taking a last look at the collection of buildings that was the town of Ruva, a small farming community.
He closed his eyes, trying not to think of the night before, but the images – and shame – came flooding back.
The community had come together to raise the walls for a new auction house, and afterwards there had been – as usual – a party with food and music and dance.
The dance where his secret had come out, where everyone had found out that he simply wasn’t interested in girls, that it was other boys – and men – that he preferred being with, that he wanted to be with.
And he didn’t understand why it was so wrong; the men usually stood together at these things, drinking, and discussing crops and herds, and arranging deals for breeding to one another’s studs, but when he had said that he would rather stay with them than go dance with the girls, jokes about his being shy had progressed to cruder jokes until he had been forced to go and join the dancing.
And then one of the girls had loudly announced that she would not dance with him because he would rather dance with boys and then everything had gone downhill even faster until he had been forced to admit his secret.
And then his father – his own father, the man he loved more than any other — had called him an embarrassment and a disgrace, and his older brothers had had even harsher words to speak, and his mother had refused to speak to him at all.
When they had returned to the farm, his father had told him to get his things and leave, and to not darken the doorstep again, and so, here he was, in the quiet of early dawn, standing on a hill overlooking the only home he had ever known, not sure where to go now or what to do, only knowing that there was no place for him here – possibly no place for him anywhere.
“Where are you heading son?” a warm voice asked and he jumped, turning to face the speaker, a powerfully built man with short hair and a stance that spoke of an easy confidence in his ability to take care of himself. He also had a kind face and understanding eyes.
“I don’t know, sir. Just… away.”
“My name’s Marsden,” the man said, studying him. The boy was blond, with pale blue eyes, and his ten-year-old body held the promise of a powerful build.
“Wellhym, sir,” the boy replied.
“Running away without a plan isn’t very smart, Wellhym.”
“I’m not running away.” Wellhym’s voice was calm and he glanced back at the village again, a haunted wistful look in his eyes. “I – I’m leaving.”
Marsden, sensing something more, wisely let it drop; the boy would tell him when he felt ready – or not.
“Well, since you’ve no plans,” Marsden said, “and since I’m currently traveling alone, would you care for a traveling companion?”
Wellhym nodded, feeling comfortable and at ease in this man’s presence, relaxing as Marsden placed a hand on his back and guided him away from his past and into a new future.
A future that he never would have expected.
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