4. Lara Lucia Veii

Now that Valentine’s legal troubles are drawing to a close, and his notoriety has faded from immediate public memory, his cousin Sieia resumes her efforts to find him a suitable wife. Because Valentine is young by elvish standards — a mere 78 — at first she focused her efforts on exposing him to a variety […]

2. Old Selves

Though Virginia could raise many excellent objections to the proposed trip, she refrains. When Inglorion finds her in her sitting room and airily informs her that he plans to relieve a stubborn inflammation of the lungs with a week-long, high-altitude camping trip, she knits her brow, considers, and gives a quick nod. “You’ll be glad […]

3. Kissing a Masterful and Handsome Boy

Though Tereus often breaks off to sample a new vice or carry out an elaborate practical joke, he and Claudius quickly become inseparable. They take long, rambling hikes through the mountains that ring the village, and talk with adolescent enthusiasm about philosophy and literature. They fall asleep holding hands and gazing into each others’ eyes. Tereus lures […]

2. Sound Advice from Agamemnon

In the profoundly epistolary age in which our story takes place, it was usual for parents to send their boys to school with letters that mingled advice, admonishment and logistics. Over dinner that first night, some of the older boys read their parents’ letters aloud to ribald laughter. This one’s mother hopes he’ll guard against […]

1. Tereus Shelawn’s First Love

Claudius is bent over a tiny desk studying Latin verb declensions. The semester at the elite Continental university won’t start for another week, but he already fears he’s behind. The door to the tiny double room opens. Claudius looks up, irritated to hear the shouting and banging in the crowded hallway. The boy standing in […]

29. A Thoroughly Bad Man and a Reprobate

Tereus is lying in the hayloft smoking and drinking. It’s the end of a cold day in late October, a day or two after he and Valeria last exchanged private words. He’s not drunk — not by his standard. Several genteel phrases exist to describe his condition: Half-disguised, well to live, foxed. He’s not drunk, […]

28. One Last Thing to Break

Soundtrack and Video: Frank Turner, “Recovery (Live)” Six weeks later, Tereus presses a note into Valeria’s palm. It says, “Meet me in the hayloft tonight, if you can.” Of course she makes her way to the barn, climbs the ladder into the hayloft. It doesn’t much matter what she does. It feels like her conduct […]

23. Reckless Greed

Tereus’s passion is fierce, painful. He’s always enjoyed sex, but for him it’s a casual pleasure, well below drinking and battle and smoking, and good food, for that matter. Now that he is deprived of other vices, his constant, punishing rounds of craving and satisfaction center on Valeria and the need to possess her. Valeria […]

22. Forgive Me, Love Me, Let Me Love You

9/1/17— His beauty has gradually impressed itself upon me. I feel his intellect, the force of his will, but more than anything, I feel his masculine vigor. We lay there talking. Because he asked, I told him what I thought of him back then. He listened thoughtfully and said, “I always found you witty, intriguing. […]