“Mondeval’s Heart” by Rose Mambert from from Queer Fish: An Eclectic Anthology of Gay Fiction (Volume One), Pink Narcissus Press (2011). Edited by Margarita Bezdomnya and Rose Mambert.
I’ll confess I made three runs at this story and I’m still confused about a lot of the backstory. Why are some humans and some ferliks “Cursed” (burdened with magic that exacts a physical toll each time one wields it)? What is the source of the magic? What, exactly, is a “ferlik”? How did the human Ash and the ferlik Tamaril come to be banished from their homes? What spurred the war they are now waging, and what do they hope to gain by it?
I liked the relationship that has developed between Ash and Tamaril, born out of their mutual dependence on one another. Ash saved Tamaril’s life and now Ash’s life is dependent on Tamaril’s magic. I like how that relationship changes in the eleventh hour, when both are convinced they will die at dawn and so at last start speaking their feelings.
Overall, I was intrigued. This considerable short story must be a fragment of a much longer work, and it would be interesting to read more of it.