Dianne Hartsock, author of Nathaniel, M/M fantasy romance, talks about heroism, specifically, the hero of her story, Taden.
The first Hero was a character in Greek mythology, a priestess of Aphrodite, goddess of love, at Sestos, a town on the Hellespont (now Dardanelles). Hero was loved by Leander, a youth who lived at Abydos, a town on the Asian side of the channel. They could not marry because Hero was bound by a vow of chastity, and so every night Leander swam from Asia to Europe, guided by a lamp in Hero’s tower. One stormy night a high wind extinguished the beacon, and Leander was drowned. His body was washed ashore beneath Hero’s tower; in her grief, she threw herself into the sea.
- from Wikipedia
In this legend, Leander was the true hero, risking his life to be with the person he loves. In my m/m erotic fantasy Nathaniel,Taden has met his dream man, the enchanting Nathaniel, who wields powers far beyond anything Taden has seen before.
He rubbed the back of his neck, feeling out of his depth with Nathaniel. He’d never felt so drawn to anyone before. Maybe the young man had bewitched him. He certainly wasn’t acting rationally. And it frightened him that he didn’t care. Not so long as Nathaniel needed him.
Taden’s life has left him ill-prepared for the wonder that is Nathaniel. He’s a titled landowner, master of the family home and lands, and although he hasn’t seen war in his lifetime, uneasiness is growing between his country and the Sutherlin’s pushing at their border. He’s heard of magic users, but they belong to the far past when the witches had been driven from his continent.
And there was Nathaniel, beautiful and ethereal and broken, needing his aid. What was a man to do?
Nathaniel at last raised his eyes from buttoning his tunic. “Corin told you why I’m here, didn’t he?”
Taden steadied his features, cautious not to say the wrong thing. “Yes.”
Agony crossed Nathaniel’s face and he threw out his hands in a hopeless gesture. “I hadn’t meant it! I can’t always control…” He put a trembling hand over his eyes. “You must hate me. I’ll find my boat in the morning and leave you in peace.”
Taden ached to pull him into his arms. Nathaniel’s pain tore at his heart. But the man didn’t need his pity. He needed Taden to take control—now.
“Nattie, look at me,” he demanded.
Startled eyes met his, then Nathaniel drew a hard breath. “My lord?”
“We’re both tired and in need of dinner. Will you gather wood for a fire while I fetch my saddlebags? We can talk while we eat.”
Nathaniel looked baffled. He opened his mouth as if to speak, then surprised Taden by flushing dark red. Not from anger, Taden noted. Something else…
How could Taden leave him after that? He couldn’t, but as the author of this story, I needed to be careful here. How do I show Taden’s acceptance and love for Nathaniel without him appearing a weak man? Nor did I want him to sound too needy. Who wants a whiny hero with no back bone? I had to show the strength beneath his surrender.
Nathaniel lowered his eyes as he stirred the fire with a charred stick. “I’m not a witch. Not in the sense your people hold for that word.”
“Then what are you?”
Pain crossed the averted face. “I’m a man, same as you. Only I have certain abilities I was born with that other men don’t. There’s no magic or enchantment, no curses. I have only to want something, and it happens.”
“You wanted to kill those soldiers?”
“No!” Nathaniel’s gaze clashed with his, and Taden winced at the panic in his darling’s face. “I had to defend myself. Don’t I have that right?”
Taden wrapped his arms around his knees, fighting his heart. “You never should have come to our continent.”
Nathaniel gave him a stricken, heartbroken look. “Do you mean that?”
Taden stared back, searching his beautiful face. A single tear hung on a dark eyelash. Taden’s heart lurched, and he knew he would protect Nathaniel with his life, if need be. He’d fallen in love, perhaps from the moment of their first meeting when Nathaniel, as a prisoner, had raised his eyes so bravely to him, not knowing if Taden was a friend or another tormenter.
“Are you bewitching me?” he asked softly, not caring if he were. Nathaniel shook his head, then closed the short distance separating them.
“I’ve never influenced you, Taden. I felt no desire to do so at first, and now…” A shy smile touched his lips and he darted Taden a fond glance from under his lashes. “As sensitive as you are to me, you would know the moment I tried.”
“Is that so?” Taden caressed the inviting mouth with his thumb, moving closer until their lips almost touched.
As you can see, the hero of Nathaniel is not the all powerful magic user, but the courageous, honorable man who loves him. Taden risks everything, even his life, to keep Nathaniel safe. What more can anyone want in a hero?
Thanks, Susan, for having me as your guest today. You can find me here:
Available from Etopia Press: http://etopiapressblog.wordpress.com/
From the moment Taden rescues Nathaniel from the Sutherlin soldiers’ torture, he finds himself caught in the gaze of the most beautiful eyes he’s ever seen; amazing eyes that hold him thrilled and confused. The Sutherlins are planning to invade the beautiful Tahon Valley, but as Taden secrets Nathaniel from their reach, he finds himself drawn to the young man. Not only does he feel the urge to protect him, but he feels an ache he hasn’t felt in many long years.
Nathaniel claims to be a traveler from a distant continent, saying he comes in peace. True or not, the youth has powers beyond anything Taden has seen—control over men and animals and the very weather. Taden falls hard for the strange traveler, protecting him not only from the Sutherlins but from his own mistrustful people, who don’t understand Nathaniel’s powers and accuse him of being a witch…