Chapter 37: Bound

“Be still, mon cœur.” Valois’s soft voice broke through the fog of panic that was enveloping Gunther. “Match my breathing. Slowly now…”

Struggling to find his way out, Gunther rested his cheek against Valois’s chest, listening to his steady breaths and trying to settle his own breathing into the same pattern. Slowly, slowly, his pounding heart calmed down and the world righted itself, leaving him shivering and slightly woozy.

“What–?” he began, as he looked up at Valois.

“You had a panic attack,” Valois said gently. “The stress of the meeting took a bigger toll on you than I thought it would, but you’re out of it now, hm?”

Read the chapter here, then please return to this post if you have feedback.

14 responses

  1. There it is. Their ceremony. Bound forever. No going back now! I could not stop staring at that height difference at the beginning. I love that they actually talk about it too. What are their heights? I feel like I’ve asked before but Valois seems like he could be 6ft while Gunther is 5ft 6or7in maybe. But now I see he just makes himself taller sometimes. Like, you could blink and he’ll be 7ft tall or something. Will we see Valois spanking Gunther very soon? Is there even a pose for that?! If so, that’s amazing.

    • Yes, bound forever in the earthly realm, although they have yet to seal the contract in the Veil. That will come soon enough ;)

      The height difference: Valois is about 6ft 1in and Gunther is about 5ft 10in to 5ft 11in. But yes, Valois can make himself appear taller whenever he wishes (specifically when he wants Gunther to feel small and loved and safe and, yes, submissive). I was so happy to have come up with that explanation for the height difference in some poses, because it really did bug me how sometimes they were the same height and sometimes Valois loomed over Gunther.

      Hell, I know there’s a spanking pose out there somewhere, because I saw it on someone’s Tumblr the other day. I’ll track it down, don’t you worry ;)

  2. Love the subtle way Valois made Gunther focus by touching his face where he knew it was irritated. It’s like a little ‘pay attention’ slap or pinch.

    A whole week without Mort at home, hmm? Nothing to prevent Gunther from giving Valois his full attention, which was Valois’s intention, of course.

    Gunther isn’t really aware of the significance of his contract with Valois at this point, is he? Does he know the meaning of the Latin words and their implication, or does he still think ‘forever’ with Valois is like the ’till death do us part’ of wedding vows (or more aptly, I suppose, a collaring ceremony)?

    I love the pose of Gunther looking up to Valois with his hands on his hips and Valois’s hand on his cheek, as well as the final pose. And you’re so clever how you explained the height difference! Thanks for all the great reading in 2014, and I’m looking forward to more in 2015. Happy New Year!

    • Indeed. Valois isn’t the kind to slap (he might not be averse to a small pinch now and then, though) but yes; it was the perfect way to get Gunther to pull himself out of his panicking and focus on the moment again. And yes, a week without Mort, now that the earthly contract has been exchanged = a week where Valois can keep Gunther naked and at his feet for a long period, just to let him sink even deeper into headspace to the point where he’ll soon be ready to make the Veil contract as well.

      No, Gunther isn’t fully aware of the connotations of what he’s vowing. He understands quite a bit of Latin, so he knows what the words mean. In this arc he had a classical upbringing (prep school etc) so he learned Latin there, plus he’s had to further his studies in order to read the arcane books he’s been collecting over the years. But you’re right in that he thinks that “My love. My life. Eternal.” means something similar to “‘Til death do us part” in a wedding ceremony. The ‘aeternus’ part of the vow, and the “for all eternity and beyond” part kind of went over his head, but if he thinks back on it he’s just going to assume that’s Valois being old-fashioned; some kind of sweet ‘soulmates’ theory.

      I had to think of something to explain that height difference, because it was SO pronounced in a couple of poses in this chapter. It was really bugging me! When I thought of it, it was a real, “Ooh… OOH!” *typetypetype* moment! XD

  3. Sometimes, usually when I’m reading something you’ve written, I get this warm tingly feeling in my lady bits…lol

    I was going to tell a big fat lie but I caught myself just in time. I LOVE this story. I love how every scene evokes just the right emotion from the reader. I was so tense during this, afraid that I would say something wrong…then I realized I wasn’t the one speaking!!

    Gunther has so much to learn, I’m worried he doesn’t really get what’s happening. He trusts Valois so completely that he’s not asking the right questions. And I don’t know whether Valois is afraid of revealing the truth or he just doesn’t think it’s a problem. But he’s doing himself a disservice by not telling Gunther everything.

    I am concerned.

    • TMI! TMI! XD Haha! Thank you! (I think! *g*)

      On a more serious note: thank you (again). It’s a huge compliment to know that someone got pulled so deeply into something I’ve written that they were right there with my characters.

      Poor Gunther. He has a great deal to learn, and it’s not going to be a smooth road, either (where would be the fun and drama in reading a nice smooth journey, anyway?). As to Valois, I’ll let you in on a secret: he’s holding back that vital information because he is, quite frankly, terrified of losing Gunther. It’s happened to him countless times in the past: lovers have left him when he’s offered to make them immortal, and now that he’s realised Gunther was practically made for him, he’s scared of losing him. He knows he’ll never find anyone else that he feels the same way about, and he can’t bear the prospect of an eternity without the man he loves so much. Basically, he’s waiting for the right moment to tell Gunther, and we all know that – when it comes to shocking news like that – there is no ‘right moment’.

      You’re right to be concerned :/

  4. I haven’t commented here before since I started reading like two days ago, but now I feel like I need to ask something. This story is really enchanting, but it also kind of scares the crap out of me. If Valois really loves Gunther, why can’t they be equals? The dominance thing in bed I get, since that’s not unusual, but why in life in general? To me, Valois i like a psychopath, but I guess that’s the point. I’m sorry, I’m rambling. It’s just that you write so good it feels real and it makes me want to hide under my bed, even though I’m 23 years old. Also, are we ever going to find out exactly what kind of being Valois is?

    • It sounds a bit wrong to say that I’m glad it’s scaring the crap out of you, but it’s meant to! My hope for this story was to have the reader treading a fine line between wondering if Valois is good or evil, while all the time worrying for Gunther’s sanity and safety, so the fact that you’re scared means I’m doing it right! XD

      You’ve commented on the most recent blog post, so I’m not sure how far along in the story you are. My following comments are made under the assumption that you’ve not reached certain chapters yet, so that I don’t potentially spoil upcoming events for you :)

      As to the dominance thing, Valois has a predilection for D/s, and a slightly warped way of using it. Not only is it a tool for him to control Gunther (as you’ll see when you read the ‘bookseller’ chapter) but it’s also a genuine thing for him. He wants a submissive boy, yes, but he also wants to be able to care for that boy’s every need. For him, it’s about tying his boy to him so tightly with an invisible net of need and love that he’ll never want to escape, but also – deep down – he desperately wants someone to lavish love and care and attention on (he just has a very twisted-by-his-own-life-experiences way of doing it). As you continue reading, you’ll begin to get a sense of just why Valois is this way and of just how far he’s prepared to go in order to get what he wants (also, why he’s prepared to go that far).

      Yes, you’ll find out what kind of being he is (chapter 13!) and in later chapters you’ll discover just what he’s capable of. The story does get pretty dark at times, hence the disclaimer, but all I ask is that readers don’t give up on Valois completely. He has his reasons for being the way he is, and those will slowly be revealed as the chapters progress.

      Thank you so much for the wonderful compliment about hiding under your bed! All I can hope for when I’m writing is that I’m pulling the reader into the story as deeply as Gunther is getting pulled into things. If the reader falls as helplessly as he does, then I’m (perversely!) happy about that! XD

      • I actually already have read everything, I got deep into the story and stayed up a whole night Reading (I sort of regret Reading it during the night, it seriously scares me). I read the part about him being a witch, but I was thinking more about how and why he is immortal. Mabye I missed it? Also, could you tell Valois I’m sorry about calling him a psychopath, I’m sort of terryfied he is going to come after me now… Well, I suppose it’s good I’m scared then? At least I don’t have to be embarrassed about it :-)

        • He’s been called a lot worse, so he assures me he won’t come after you ;)

          The immortality thing won’t be explained fully for some time yet, but there’s a hint that it’s not any of Valois’s doing in Chapter 11 when he negotiates with Death:

          Your own decision.

          “Not mine!” Valois countered, his tone heated. “My father’s decision. Not mine. He chose this life for me when he took my mother.”

          Yours was a monstrous birth. We should have taken you then.

          So it’s linked to something his father did, and that thing happened before Valois was born. He’s actually an innocent in that respect, and it’s a terrible fate for anyone: to wander the earth alone until the end of time. Don’t be scared of him, though. While what he does can be frightening, underneath it all he’s very very lonely.

  5. Aww, that was a very nice wedding-like ceremony. It was a nice parallel in Gunther’s office when he realized him feeling comfort from the cuffs, and then Valois putting the actual cuffs on him later that day.

    • I had a tear in my eye when I was writing this one. It means so much to Gunther, to know that he has someone who can care for him and give him what he’s needed all his life. *pats his head*

  6. A part of me feels sad for Gunther, and a little bit afraid for him. He wants and needs to be be wanted, cared for, and loved and Valois is there offering him all that he yearns for, yet I can’t help but think “At what cost?” I suppose I’ll soon learn as I catch up and the story progresses, but it’s something that I keep thinking about as I read.

    Love this story. It’s so disturbingly entrancing. The more I read, the more I want to continue to read. So eager to find out how everything turns out…

    • Gunther needs those things so desperately, and he’s just plunged headlong into this relationship, sinking deeper and deeper into it because it’s everything he’s wanted for so long. There will, indeed, be one hell of a cost for him to pay, the poor man :(

      Thank you so much! We’re entering a more stable and happy few chapters soon, which will give everyone time to take a breath before I go up-ending everything again – hehe!

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