Gamer Elijah Burrows has rather seamlessly taken over the life of his game character, Elian Surgis, in the world of Timiria. Alongside his lover, the lupine mage Sarin Eckhert, Elijah leads survivors of Sarin's mystical order through the wilds of the province of Tasmorum. They manage to stay just one step ahead of Timiria's monarch, King Mirov, who seeks to destroy every magic-wielding soul connected to the Labyrinthine Order.
From encounters with a mysterious group of traders on the road, to a revelation of epic proportions, it's a miracle Elijah has any time to explore his relationship with Sarin. Then Fate throws a wrench into the mix: the appearance of another "traveler" -- another gamer stuck in the game world Elijah now calls home. But this particular gamer has ulterior motives that have nothing to do with the Order's survival.
Praise for Patch Day
"If you’re into gaming and want to know what happens when a gamer suddenly comes to life inside his game, if you’d like to see a gay hero battle seemingly overpowering odds, and if you’re looking for a read that is a cute combination of action and a blossoming love story, then you will probably enjoy this short story."
-- Serena Yates, Rainbow Book Reviews
atch Day (DungeonCrawl 2)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2014 Mychael Black
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To say Timiria was unlike Earth would be the understatement of the century. While Timiria had vast swaths of forests, lakes that could swallow a small Earth city, and more mountains than Elijah Burrows had ever seen in his life; it also boasted races such as elves and orcs, and probably dwarves. Elijah had already encountered more giant eight-legged wildlife than he ever cared to see, and he had the feeling things only got bigger elsewhere.
When he'd first found himself stuck in this dangerous yet beautiful game world, his initial thought had been to find a way back home. Now, the more time he spent in Timiria, the less he wanted to return to his little hell on Earth.
He sat near the fire and nibbled on a piece of perfectly-cooked rabbit. Food was another thing he'd had to get used to here. Timiria's larger towns and cities had shops that sold food, not to mention a plethora of taverns, but out here in the wild, Elijah had to put his old archery skills to good, practical use. Though, he had to admit, fresh, fire-roasted rabbit tasted a hell of a lot better than boxed macaroni and cheese.
Across the campsite, a group of men talked in hushed tones. Elijah couldn't make out what they said, but he really didn't care. He watched the forest around and beyond them, more alert than he ever had been. One of those men was his -- well, his game character's -- lover.
Elijah still hadn't quite wrapped his head around the notion that this world and the people in it actually existed outside the game itself. From what he'd gathered, he had essentially taken over the life of Elian Surgis, the thief he'd created to play the game DungeonCrawl. He certainly never got to the point in Elian's story line that involved a lover.
The group broke up and a tall figure walked around the fire, toward Elijah. Sarin Eckhert -- and his fellow mages of the Labyrinthine Order -- were lupine creatures. They looked human until they undressed. Even now, beneath the parted front of Sarin's white shirt, Elijah spotted swirls of blue fur.
The mage lay on the ground, head on Elijah's thighs. Unnaturally blue eyes gazed up at Elijah. "You look pensive," Sarin said.
Elijah fed his lover a piece of rabbit. "Just reflecting on everything, I guess. I still haven't quite gotten used to being here, in this world. To me, it was nothing but a game -- a good escape from a lonely life -- but still a game."
Sarin chewed for a moment, his expression thoughtful. "Do you still want to find a way back home?" he asked finally.
Elijah glanced up at the people he'd helped escort out of a ruined fort when soldiers had come to kill every last soul on the king's orders. He didn't know many of them, save for Sarin, Sarin's father Rue, and Rue's lover Raig; but he'd come to think of them as his personal responsibility. As his family.
"I don't think so," he admitted. "The longer I'm here, the more it feels like home."
A tug on his shirt drew him down to meet Sarin's lips. The mage sighed and scrambled Elijah's brain without even trying. No wonder Elian Surgis had fallen in love with Sarin. Even though Elijah hadn't known Sarin long at all -- just a few days -- he found himself slowly following in Elian's footsteps. Elijah knew Sarin loved him -- well, Elian -- but he also knew Sarin understood the weird circumstances behind why Elijah had yet to return the sentiment whenever Sarin mentioned love.
Motion nearby broke the spell between them. Elijah looked up to find the campers settling in for the night.
"I'll take first watch," Elijah said when Raig, the unofficial leader of their merry little group, approached.
"Are you certain?"
Elijah nodded. "Yeah." He waited until Sarin sat up and then he grabbed his bow and quiver. "I'll yell if there's trouble."
"I'll sit with you," Sarin said.
"I'll come relieve you both in four hours." Raig ducked into the makeshift tent he shared with Rue.
Elijah led the way to a small outcropping of rocks that marked the outer boundary of the clearing in which they'd camped. The sides were surrounded by a small expanse of trees, but then the canyon walls towered over everything else. A waterfall tumbled from an opening high up and spilled into a pool where he and the others had bathed and relaxed earlier. The only opening was a narrow pass about the width of four men. The little valley provided a bit of shelter from the chilly night winds and the possibility of bandits. The rock walls were too jagged and steep for anyone to climb.
Elijah sat down, and Sarin settled behind him. The mage pulled Elijah back against a solid, muscular body. Sarin wasn't like any mage Elijah had ever imagined. The man was physically strong and incredibly agile. He, along with his fellow mages, preferred chainmail armor as opposed to cloth. Elijah relaxed, bow within easy reach.
"I promised to tell you how Elian and I became lovers."
Elijah nodded. "Something tells me it had to do with Elian's profession as a thief."
Sarin chuckled. "You could say that. The first time we met, I'd been the one to capture him. He hadn't been a thief very long -- only a few months -- and his skills had yet to grow. At the time, I wasn't the Captain. I was just a guard tasked with leading a group to apprehend him. But..." Elijah felt Sarin shake his head. "When I first saw Elian, all I wanted was to kiss him. I didn't get that kiss until two days after we put him in jail."
"What happened then?"
"I made excuses to look in on him," Sarin said. "When I finally realized I couldn't deny the desire, I freed him. He kissed me before slipping into the tunnel we used for prisoners."
Elijah smiled. "How did you become lovers?"
"He returned," Sarin said.