As Crown Prince to the human nation, I could have anyone I choose but to end the war between the humans and the griffons, I must marry the youngest son of the Griffon King. The night before I’m to be married, I meet a man who captures my attention at first glance but before I can talk to him, he disappears. How am I supposed to marry someone I’ve never met when I’ve finally found someone who’s captured my interest? But I suppose it’s for the best because no matter what, I’m determined to end this war… I just hope my betrothed is someone I can grow fond of…
Photo 1: A tall man with short, dark brown, roman-cut hair, piercing eyes of indeterminate color, and high cheekbones in an oval, masculine face with pouty lips is walking towards the viewer. He wears a tilted gold crown with two red stones visible on front. He has a brown, thigh-length fur coat with a black fur collar, a dark brown scarf, and leopard-patterned gloves. His long black pants partially cover the top of his silver-studded black boots.
Photo 2: A golden-tanned man with black pants hanging hip level and a muscular, shirtless back is facing away from the viewer with a black background. He has short, straight, ginger hair with brown and gold highlights. His left hand grasps a long silver sword at the hilt near the left side of his head, across his broad shoulders, and cut off from the picture to his right with his right arm hanging down.
This story was written as a part of the M/M Romance Group's "Love’s Landscapes" event. Group members were asked to write a story prompt inspired by a photo of their choice. Authors of the group selected a photo and prompt that spoke to them and wrote a short story.
This story may contain sexually explicit content and is intended for adult readers. It may contain content that is disagreeable or distressing to some readers. The M/M Romance Group strongly recommends that each reader review the General Information section before each story for story tags as well as for content warnings.
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 1
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay
Protagonist 1 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 2 Age: 66+
Tropes: Marriage of Convenience, Arranged Pairing, Queer Wedding, First Time
Word Count: 14,151
Setting: Planet Prenides
Languages Available: English
King Varick's Personal Study
Hoomun Nation Castle
366 Sun Cycles after founding (Earth Standard Years 702 years)
“I’m sorry, son. I would have put this off as long as I could but the laws are clear. You have to marry by your 25th sun-cycle day, or the Senate will choose another Crown Prince. Think of this as an…opportunity to--” King Varick of the Hoomun nation started telling his son, Crown Prince Charon, when said son interrupted him.
“No, Father. I cannot have this. The day of my birth is only a Libra moon cycle away and near the Justa half-moon cycle. How am I to choose someone in such a short amount of a time? I thought the Senate was postponing this farce of a marriage because of Mother’s death?”
King Varick thought Charon would snap something in his spine as his son sat up in his favorite chair, taller than his previous bearing of straight as a rod when this conversation started. Not that it was perceptible to most people since Charon usually looked like he had a stick up his ass.
He is a haughty, asinine relic of a long-gone society that is light-years from this planet in a galaxy forgotten over time. One shouldn’t think like that of their only son. Never mind that the Hoomun nation were direct descendants of those “Humans” and their petty differences.
Varick wanted to think that their society was better than it was in those long ago times. Charon did have a point though.
“They were going to when the recent cease-fire with the Gryphuns was suddenly…no longer, after your sister threw her rather pointed shoe at the Gryphun Crown Prince Seneca’s head. He picked it up, threw it back at her angrily and stomped off shouting to be ready at dawn.”
“I bet that stuck in his craw.” Charon smirked with a suspicious twinkle in his eyes.
“Did you have something to do with it?” Varick asked mildly, quirking his eyebrows upwards resigned to knowing the answer.
“Who? Me?” Charon said with feigned innocence in his seat.
Well, mostly feigned. Charon did still have an innocent air about him despite his 24 sun cycles. Something that Varick thought he might inquire about, later. He closed his eyes, a pained expression on his handsome face as we ran his rough hand over his bald head, and grimaced, wishing he still had hair to pull out. His son will be the death of him.
“You do realize, son of my loins, that if this war is not stopped, our nation will be wiped out within a generation?”
Shocked to speechlessness, Charon stood at his father’s bald statement and looked at his father’s countenance. Really looked at the man, not the embodiment of Duty he has come to know and take on like a mantle to shield him from the rest of the planet. The man, and not the King, who helped him throughout the sun cycles and had regret for the first time at his involvement in the squabble between Bethany, the younger sister in question, and Seneca. It was his suggestion that she should do something to make Seneca see her since she liked him. He didn’t realize what she would do to get his attention and it would restart the war with the Gryphuns.
“I…I…I’m sorry. Bethany likes Seneca. She wanted him to notice her. I didn’t realize…I never intended for that to happen,” Charon sat down abruptly into his father's velvet chair, his earlier stiff demeanor gone since they were in Varick's private chambers and not in the Throne room. He distantly wished, upon feeling the Earthen fabric that the technology that made 'Velvet' would work on this planet. It would have made some things easier acclimating to their home.
“I know, son.” Varick took another deep breath and let go of his anger, sighing. “I know. This is why we need to get your marriage arranged so your sister can just go up to him and ask. You know the laws prevent her from marrying until you are married.” Charon growled. “Yes, Yes. I know. They are antiquated laws and I’m working on changing them but they were what we had when we settled on Prenides. You can only go so fast with the Senate. They are like their Roman counterparts in Ancient Rome on Earth in that galaxy…’Milky Way,’ yes that’s it…”
“Stop, Father. I know the little bit of history we have left, too. I KNOW--” Charon stopped before his temper got the best of him and took a couple deep breaths himself. “I understand that they are slow but—“ He sighed, dejectedly. “I wanted to find someone and not have an arranged marriage,” he said more softly, almost pleadingly.
Varick face softened. He walked over to the wing-backed chair his son was sitting in and knelt in front of him. He looked at the short brown hair, almost black, in the aforementioned Earth Roman style with the green-brown eyes and high cheek bones on an oval face so like his mother that it still hurt a little to see him even though it had been several moon cycles since her death.
“I got that, too. Is there anyone you would prefer?”
“No, Father. No one has caught my eye. I am not interested in anyone. The only preference I have is that the person must be male,” Charon replied quietly, temper in check. It is getting worse. I need to work on that more.
“It will be done. I know this is not ideal, but we need to make the most of it. Your mother and I had an arranged marriage and we turned out fine.”
“That is why I wanted to find someone on my own. Someone to…dare I say it, to love like you and Mother had.”
Varick had never seen his son so despondent and hopeful at the same time. He thought that was the most vulnerable he'd had ever seen his child since he was young. Now to find him a man and plan a wedding. He smiled to himself. He had the perfect man in mind.COLLAPSE