Two half-snake men, one a green anaconda and one a brown python, sit coiled together on rocks with their eyes half-lidded. The anaconda is sitting higher than the python. The python man is holding the anaconda man at the waist, and one hand lower on the scaly lower half. He has a tattoo on his upper right arm. The anaconda man is holding the python man’s face, while he looks down with tenderness. He has a tattoo on his left shoulder.
That dark-headed man, who is looking up at his lover, is me. We have been through a lot of heartache and trials, but we have finally made our relationship permanent. As two different types of snake shifters, we had to overcome some major obstacles. Our families put us through a lot of headaches trying to keep us part, but we overcame it all. Can you tell us how we managed to overcome those differences and our families to get us to where we are now, happy and so deeply in love?
Triggers: rape, incest
Tags: snake shifters, shifters non-wolf-cat, angels/demons/gods, mythology, magic, corporate espionage, reunited, soulmates/bonded
Word Count: 25,056
- 3 To Be Read lists
- 2 Read lists
Publisher: Independently Published
Heat Level: 4
Romantic Content: 4
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Gay, Transgender, Genderfluid
Protagonist 1 Age: Varies During Story
Protagonist 2 Age: Varies During Story
Tropes: Fated Mates / Soul Mates, Reunited and it Feels So Good, Forbidden Love
Word Count: 25,056
Setting: Ancient Athens, Modern Day Brazil
Languages Available: English
Ancient Athens, around the height of Sparta’s reign.
“Enough!” Zeus bellowed. Everyone in the room stopped. The angry shouts and accusations ceased instantly. When the ruler of the Olympians commanded, you listened.
He glared at the tableau before him. Petty humans, demigods, and their political, greedy squabbles. He was disgusted with the lot of them. He was as much for the humans killing each other as he was for the young women they provided. However, he mused, the current scene playing out before him took it all to another level. It was enough for him to want to rain lightning down upon the lot of them. If it weren’t his throne room, he would seriously consider it despite the damage he would have to clean up afterward. He sighed. The tribulations of a god.READ MORE
Zeus continued to ponder the two kneeling, prostrated, and bloody men before him, children of a god and a human— demigods in their own right. One was the son of Demeter and a Spartan warrior prince, and the other, the son of Python and a widow of a fairly high-up citizen from the same city-state. One had dark hair, the other more of a sandy blond. Both were muscular, bare chested, and wore only minimal clothing, as befit their warrior status and upbringing.
He wondered if their demigod status contributed to their natural prowess with swords, war, and nearly golden physiques. Potentially all at the same time. It is a harsh life these days. Not uncommon in the occupations of the men before him, considering the whip scars slightly visible under the blood both men bore. Based on their depth and coverage displayed, their demigod status had probably saved their lives up to this point.
Will it continue to save them? Gods were a fickle lot. He would know; he was the son of Cronus, after all.
He continued to contemplate the families of the men brought before him. On one side, their immortal ancestors; Python and his mother Gaia and Zeus’s own sister Demeter, pled to him to save these men. For Gaia to ask, as she never asked him for anything, surprised him— especially with the whole Cronus situation before his reign. Considering her status as the mother of all of Earth, in addition to being the mother of Python, her pleas for mercy astounded him enough that he took notice. Demeter, too, pleaded privately to prevent both men’s deaths from the mortal halves of their families.
The men had done the unthinkable and fallen in love with each other instead of a woman. They were caught in the act, but that wasn’t the worst of it. The Spartan families, in their horror from the men pledging themselves to each other, had captured, tortured, and mangled them right at the foot of his temple. Not his daughter Athena’s temple, where men were whipped as a rite of passage, but his temple. That was unacceptable.
Zeus shook his head and came to a decision.
“Xander and Bathier, rise and come forth.” He was heard everywhere in the spacious room. Silence reigned, for his anger was palpable. Everyone held their breath as they waited for him to pass sentence. Defiling a temple in any way was unheard of for the very reason that you did not want to anger a god who could kill you with only a command of lightning.
Slowly, the two men in question rose and walked— mostly stumbled— to the foot of the dais that held Zeus’s throne. Their lives rested on what Zeus would say. The Fates were also behind Zeus’s throne, awaiting the judgment, as they were the ones that would manifest the sentence. With their heads bowed and arms wrapped around each other, supporting each other through the punishment they would receive, it struck Zeus that, on the verge of punishment, and possible death, they still touched each other lovingly. He was curious— he had never been attracted to anyone but the fair sex— what had brought about their willingness to be with each other. Demeter was one of his favorite sisters, and he was curious about her son, Bathier.
When they were well away from both sides of their families, Zeus threw a soft white ball of magical energy around them, pulling Demeter and Python in at the same time. No one else could see or hear what was to happen until he let it. His gaze lingered on Bathier lightly and then looked at them both.
“Why?” Zeus asked the mortal demigods, curiosity forefront. “I am baffled as to why you would wish to live this half-life of hatred, accepting the harsh treatment you have received without a fight? You are warriors!”
Bathier and Xander looked at each other and communicated on a level that displayed intimate knowledge of the other, like a husband and a wife. Zeus nearly raised an eyebrow but didn’t want to give away his wonder. He waited.
“Because love is worth it,” Xander answered, low and gravelly, his throat bruised and raw from someone holding him at the neck. Looking at the way Bathier was attempting to comfort the slightly smaller man with only the use of one arm confounded Zeus, despite his jaded nature.
“Python and Demeter, I need you to heal them the quickest way possible. With both of you having affinities for snakes, they need to be well enough to survive the next part, and have help, learning to live anew.”
Python and Demeter looked at each other and then looked back to Zeus suspiciously, but acquiesced to his command. Both called forth their talismans. Python became a rather large and long brown, black, and yellow-spotted snake, and coiled around the two men, flicking his tongue out at them. Demeter pulled two green snakes out of the ether, and they wrapped around her arms as she prepared the magic. The gods looked at each other, and a pale-yellow glow emanated from Demeter to Python, gained a white component, and wrapped around the men, enclosing them all. The white and yellow blended into a blanket of protection and change.
Outside the magical glow surrounding the four, Zeus heard the Fates— or Moirai— intone in one voice their part in this magical deed. Using his own incredible powers, he bound the souls of the snakes to the men. Xander was bound to the python, after his father, and Bathier was bound to the snake that would be known as the green anaconda, from his mother. Both carried the colors of their respective parents and were soul bound to their respective snake sides for all of eternity. Of course, they would have their quirks. What new species didn’t?
With all parts in play, he released his magic, the Fates released theirs, and Demeter and Python finalized the healing itself. After the intense glow faded, Zeus beheld the two men now shifted into snake form. Bathier and Xander were wrapped around each other, as they had been in human form.
Xander was a beautiful giant python, with dark-brown mottled skin and various light-brown to tan, irregular— almost paisley-like— spots. The spots had dark-brown centers and a slight white border surrounding the tan color. He had a large diamond-shaped head, and his big eyes looked out everywhere with obvious confusion.
Bathier was thicker than Xander, a dark green graduating to a lighter sage green underneath. On top, he had solid dark-brown irregular spots. On the bottom of his snake body, he had regularly spaced, light-yellow-green circular spots surrounded by irregular dark-brown rings. His head was similar to a diamond shape, but more rounded and slightly shorter than Xander’s. Brown, yellow, white, and green— all the colors of protection, health, sacrifice, and redemption.
Satisfied that the transformation was complete, Zeus pinned the snakes’ eyes with his own.
A collective gasp sounded as Zeus dropped the white shielding that had prevented the rest of the room from seeing— and stopping— what had been done.
A cacophony of sound erupted from the families of Xander and Bathier, shock, surprise, and disgust among the many mutterings.
“Silence!” Zeus roared.
The room went quiet.
Zeus soothed the snakes when they became agitated by the sound of their families, speaking to them directly within their minds.
You are safe, and harm will not befall you. I understand you are confused and uncertain, but hear me out before you depart.
They settled down.
Zeus turned to the families. “Behold! You see that Xander and Bathier are now snakes, soul bound with two of the largest snake species that will be known to man. However, they will not be permanently bound to their snake form; they will henceforth be known as snake shifters and will join the ranks of other shifters on this planet, Earth.”
There were mutterings among the people as the families tried to understand what was happening. “Shifters? Will be known? Earth?”
“Their only crime is love. Love for each other. While I do not understand it, I respect that it is there. They will live their full lives, longer than mortal or even demigod, but not as long as a god. However, their minds, and yours” —Zeus pointed to each family member in turn— “will have the memory of your deeds and their lives removed, and your familial ties cut. Perhaps in their new life, or another life, they will have their mating without interference from their families. It is now up to their bond, their destiny” —he nodded to the Moirai— “and the Fates whether they will survive.”
The Moirai nodded back to Zeus in unison and chanted their own magic for the future these new beings held. Like butterfly wings, a ripple now would have far-reaching consequences.
Before the final word was said from the magic spell the Moirai chanted around them, Zeus turned to the snakes and their immortal parents. Speaking to everyone’s mind, Zeus directed his words to the two men and gave them hope.
As I said, you will not be harmed. I will send you to your own compounds— nests, if you will— but you will be separated. Your fate is now in your hands. Learn well, love often, and good luck. Know this: You have a bond. It will transcend time and space. You will be able to find each other again. I have bequeathed parting gifts to you, but you will have to discover them on your own.
With a nod to Demeter and Python, they each held their sons one last time, for their sons would soon forget. Since they were gods themselves, they were not affected by the spell, and hoped one day to see them again.
The snakes looked toward each other one last time, looked at their respective parent, and then looked to Zeus. They nodded once in acknowledgment of their fate and touched heads, seeking contact one last time.
Zeus nodded back, and the Moirai finished their chant.
The moment their voices died, the snakes were gone.
So were the mortal families, with their memories removed and new ones replaced. All who were left in the room were Zeus, Gaia, Demeter, Python, and the Moirai.
Python spoke for the first time since this incident came to pass. “Zeus, may I watch over Xander? Directly?”
Zeus raised an eyebrow, thought for a moment, then turned toward the Moirai.
“It can be done, as time is but a web. Heed our warning, Python. Do not directly interfere with their journey. There will be consequences across the ages should you not follow this warning.” The Moirai intoned the answer for Zeus.
Zeus returned his gaze back to Demeter and Python, silently contemplating them.
Demeter immediately answered his unasked question. “I will be in the background, but I, too, will probably watch over Bathier.”
Python acknowledged the Moirai’s warning with a bow toward them. “I will not give away the secrets, but there will be a time where I will reveal myself. I see that he will need me physically there.”
Zeus thought of Python’s relationship with the Oracle and nodded his consent. Demeter and Python bowed to him and were gone as well.
Zeus turned back to the Moirai.
“Do I even want to know how you sent everyone away? I am a god, but even that was a very large feat for the Fates.”
“Love has its own power, my Zeus; you should know this,” the Maiden aspect chided.
“When they accepted their fate, they provided the will,” the Mother aspect continued.
The Crone aspect ended, “And it’s up to Xander and Bathier’s new lives as Lysander and Basil to discover each other again in a time more accepting of their love.”
Zeus shook his head, still not understanding this love thing.
“Because love is worth it, Zeus. Your uncle knows this, and that is why he wanted to be involved.”
Zeus turned toward his grandmother Gaia, who provided that tidbit of wisdom.
“I still—” Zeus started to say.
“Watch, and learn,” Gaia replied.COLLAPSE