I never set out to write a triad when I started writing The Forester, way back when. Ianys was supposed to be Kelnaht's ex, pure and simple, even though Kelnaht wasn't quite over him. Less simple was Kelnaht's attraction to Taruif, the shunned Forester, since any contact between them would result in punishment. Being shunned is taken very seriously by the elves, and by Truth Seeker Kelnaht. So Kelnaht stuck to an admiring-from-a-distance approach.
But then Ianys came to him to speak on Taruif's behalf, and Kelnaht had to listen to the man he still loved confessing he had been sleeping with Taruif. So, in the course of one scene, my story had changed from a Truth Seeker desiring a shunned Forester, to both Kelnaht and his ex desiring a shunned Forester. Adding the remaining feelings between Kelnaht and Ianys to that, and it was like mission impossible cubed, or something to that effect.
It was never going to work, was it? I could never write that happy ever after with the shunning or Ianys' promise to his deceased vowed, Naia, in place. Yet, something about three of them together clicked in my head. Their dynamic made sense.
Of course, for it to work, I needed to understand the men themselves better. I had a picture of them in my head, but I'd been thinking two dimensionally, not three dimensionally... or was it four?
Ianys was the easiest to suss out. He already had room for more than one lover in his heart, after all, he'd wanted both Kelnaht and Naia—even though his promise to Naia kept him away from Kelnaht for years after Naia's death. It was only logical to assume there was room for Taruif as well. Ianys didn't mind sharing, either. He wasn't the type to sleep around for the sake of it, especially not while trying to raise his daughter. He might not even have sought out Taruif, if he hadn't caught someone else sneaking into Taruif's dwelling one night.
With Taruif, I knew there was a painful past that made him a bit wary of love—the assisted suicide that had led to his shunning—not to mention the isolation caused by his shunning. Yet, that twenty year sentence of isolation got to him, and he started needing the contact, however fleeting. Talking to the Guide, even doing that every day, just wasn't enough. Taruif didn't go looking for it, but a small number of elves managed to catch his eye for illicit encounters before he met Ianys. In fact, their meeting was supposed to be of the same nature, but Ianys kept coming back and was interested in more than just fucking... and Taruif let him in.
As for Kelnaht... Cheated on and left by Ianys (for Naia—are you keeping up?), Kelnaht understandably felt betrayed and angry for a long time. But he wasn't looking for a 'replacement', and he still went to the Solstice Circle in the hope of changing Ianys' mind—not knowing about Ianys' promise to Naia, obviously. When he managed to fall for Taruif without speaking a single word to him, he wasn't planning to act on it because of the shunning. He'd resigned himself to being alone. Of course, he had no idea Taruif was aware of Kelnaht watching him, and after a while, Taruif started watching back, even if Kelnaht didn't notice.
So there you have it, three completely different men all drawn to each other despite having plenty of reasons not to. Forming a triad is hard enough without all the extra baggage. There is trust involved, communication. And what about the dynamics? Would they all sleep together all the time? Or would they form separate relationship within the triad? Or a mix? These questions, and many more, floated through my mind as I wrote the story. And all these questions somehow answered themselves while I was writing. These men just made it easy for me.
I started out with a nearly impossible situation, one I wasn't sure I could solve or they could solve. But the more I wrote, the more I became convinced they could and would work. I knew it would be anything but easy for them, and there wouldn't be a complete solution—of course, that was before I decided to turn The Forester into a trilogy—but...
"Your path is muddy, Kelnaht, but don't think avoiding the puddles will make it easier to travel," the Guide told Kelnaht in The Forester. He also said, "There is always a way."
Wise words from a wise man. Kelnaht, Ianys, and Taruif made it through part one reasonably happy, and I'm more convinced than ever that they'll find their happy ever after as a triad... someday.
The Forester II: Lost and Found – Now Available for just $3.99!
"The Guide mentioned puddles, but I envisioned lakes, deep treacherous lakes, and I was drowning."
One turn has passed, another Solstice is just around the corner, and having an illicit affair with not one but two lovers—smith Ianys and shunned Forester Taruif—is taking its toll on Truth Seeker Kelnaht.
If it isn't sneaking around to find some quality time with his lovers, it's heavy rainfall hiding traces of a missing stripling, or waiting for the elders to decide whether or not to set Taruif free.
And if that's not enough, Kelnaht fears that in gaining one lover, he might be losing another, as Ianys seems to be pulling away from them, and it looks like someone is, once again, trying to frame Taruif.
Blaine D. Arden is a purple haired, forty-something writer of gay and trans* romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies, platform shoes, and the colours black, purple and red, who sings her way through life.
You can find Blaine at blainedarden.com, twitter,facebook, and goodreads.