Hey, it's Kendra!
Now that I've finished telling you my stories - well, mostly - the ones Adam put into the first four novels, at least - it's time to turn the spotlight onto someone else!
As Adam's teased, he's found a couple really talented authors to share their work with you, and this is the space he's given them!
So keep reading and find out more about Micah and Vaela's new feature, Dragon Talk!
Excerpt of a WIP
The wind pulled at the shutters of the window outside. Nomi didn’t pay it any mind. The nightmare still lingered at the back of her thoughts, no matter how bad she wanted to push it away. She shuddered softly at the cool of the air in the room. Immediately after, Calia pulled the blanket a little higher over them. Her body was warm next to Nomi’s. She nuzzled her face to Nomi’s neck, kissing it gently, as her strong and yet gentle fingers brushed over the druid’s arm.
Nomi watched her with both adoration and a nervous flutter in her chest as she nuzzled her nose into Calia’s wavy, brown hair and took in her scent. She smelled nice. Like fresh rain and forests, and cold mountain air. She had washed off the blood and the sharp scent of smoke. I don’t want to hide from her, Nomi realized.
“Calia…?” she whispered. A gentle kiss under her jaw sent a shiver down her spine.
“Mm-hm?” the hummed reply came. Calia’s fingers tingled over her wrist, brushing to her hand.
Nomi wanted to nuzzle more into her warmth. She wanted to hug the big woman beside her more, the one who had swept her off her feet and shown her pleasures she’d never known… and maybe even more. “There’s something I want to…” She faltered with a gentle shudder. “Something I want to tell you.” She left her hand brushing over Calia’s arm instead, just tracing the line of a scar that pulled over huge muscles and marked the dark skin with a white line.
Calia hummed gently, again. Her voice was deep, soft and gentle. “You can tell me anything, darling,” she said, with a purr accompanying her words that once more reminded Nomi that the big woman was anything but human.
Nomi faltered again. What was it Fenn had said? That dragons choose their gender themselves after some time? Surely Calia would understand… But still, revealing the secret was hard. Nomi almost decided against it. She parted her lips, took a breath in to tell Calia that it was nothing, that it could wait—
Calia’s fingers gently slipped into hers, clasping her hand. Her thumb brushed lovingly over Nomi’s knuckles. “Tell me what’s on your mind, Nomi,” she whispered and the kissing stopped. She nuzzled a little closer to the druid’s side, and Nomi could feel the gaze of crimson eyes upon her.
She looked down. “I… I wasn’t born, like this,” she said nervously. Immediately she thought she heard Fenn’s voice at her ear. ‘Yes, you were. You just didn’t know.’ She cleared her throat. “What I mean is…” Her voice was quiet and nervous. “… I didn’t always know that I’m a woman.” She fell quiet for a moment. “I’m trans,” she then said, quickly and in a whisper. She hoped, prayed to the stars that Calia would still want her. Every word she spoke, she waited with bated breath for that moment where her lover would pull away a fraction. The moment that the gentle caress of her skin would cease, a sharp intake of air as Calia realized what was said and moved away.
The moment never came.
Calia was quiet for a brief moment that seemed like an eternity to Nomi. Then the big woman let out a gentle hum. “Alright,” she said. She pressed a gentle kiss to the angle of Nomi’s jaw.
The young druid lay there, stunned. Then she wriggled, moved away a little so she could look in Calia’s ruby eyes incredulously. “‘Alright’?” she repeated. “What do you mean, ‘alright’?” Did she not have anything else to say? Did she not understand…?
But there was no confusion in Calia’s eyes. A momentary discontent about Nomi pulling away was quickly replaced by a surprised expression that melted into a gentle look of apology. “I’m sorry, dear,” she said softly, and Nomi couldn’t help her eyes being drawn to those full lips and the faint scar that ran over the corner of them. “I didn’t mean to be dismissive. I’m just glad you can be who you truly are.”
Nomi blushed gently.“I’m not… No, I mean, what about you?” she asked hastily.
Calia frowned and tilted her head gently. “What about me?” she asked and leaned up to brace her head on her hand. Her powerful shoulder flexed as she moved.
“Do you… still like me…?” Nomi whispered as she asked the question she dreaded.
A gentle, understanding smile spread Calia’s lips. “Oh darling,” she purred and moved her hand from Nomi’s to run and brush it over the druid’s forehead and her white hair. “I exclusively like women. You’re a woman. I don’t care what your body looks like,” she said, and her smile was so kind and loving that it made Nomi’s eyes feel hot with tears, and her heart fluttered with happiness.
Calia’s hand brushed down over her cheek, warm, a little rough and calloused, and yet so gentle and featherlight in their touch, as she cupped Nomi’s cheek. “I like you,” the dragon purred, her eyes sparkling like glowing rubies full of adoration as she leaned close to Nomi. “Why would you even question that?” She rested their foreheads together, and Nomi felt loved.
The significance of Dragon Talk
You might be wondering what you just read. Well, long story short, this was one of the first scenes I wrote together with my partner. I had no idea I was gay. I had no idea that trans people exist.
This scene still exists as the result of a moment in our private RP from a Dungeons & Dragons game. I didn’t understand myself. I didn’t need to understand to be kind and decent and put love first. That just happened naturally.
But this moment was the one that woke something in me. Looking back, I should have always known I’m gay. Daydreams about big buff dragon women aren’t that common starting from age 9. But there were… outside factors that didn’t want me to be myself. I won’t name them here. They have no place in a world of love.
And that’s what this is all about.
Love, in one way or another.
To go a bit more into detail, again, I didn’t know I was gay. I didn’t even really know queer people existed. Imagine my surprise when, after DMing a DnD game for a couple of weeks, I am told that it’s very fucking gay. I had no idea the big buff lesbian dragon flirting with every woman was gay. Or the small cute dragon who had a crush on her. Or that it’s not heterosexual for every rugged mercenary guy from this war band to have a husband that helps them maintain their armor.
I was honestly quite surprised. And then, when looking at all these characters I had created and never told anyone about, I realized, somewhere deep down I’d always known I wasn’t cis or straigth.
Micah: I knew Vaela was gay from the moment I met them, pretty much. I didn’t really think about it in terms of ‘oh, this person is gay and trans’. It was just like ‘Yep, they’re pretty great, and I love that there’s so much queer shit here.’ It was just a feeling. When we talked about her possibly being trans, when she was questioning herself, I just felt like… it kinda fit. I dunno.
Vaela: Coming out to myself was honestly the best thing that ever happened to me. Like, sure, life since then hasn’t been all sunshine and butterflies, but at least I felt alive.
As I undertook my own journey of finding myself, Micah, my adorable partner who I suggested to that we fake date, and who immediately shot back we should actually date, was a great help.
I’m not joking. Paraphrasing our conversation about it, we literally both went “Hey, what if we dated? Haha jk. Unless…?” (Micah just went “I can’t believe we’re real” as I type this.)
What does that have to do with dragons? Well, as I learned about being queer and the many many aspects of the many many orientations and identities, Micah and I delved deeper into the story of their current DnD character, and we built a whole world from the ashes of my mind that was slowly becoming green and fertile with life. Forgive the metaphor. I… I’m a writer now. I gotta.
Dragons played a big role in that world we built, and we very quickly came to a conclusion about them: All our dragons are queer, and all dragons respect people. Like, yeah, they might burn down your house, but they won’t misgender you or be homophobic.
The dragons in our world just wanted to love and be loved. They just wanted to be kind. They wanted to be respectful and be respected. Talking about these dragons and spinning stories around their identities helped me figure myself out. And it helped me become a better, smarter, more compassionate person.
I learned more about trans people and gender identities. I learned that I’m polyamorous, which was fun. I learned about what it’s like to be aromantic or asexual, and even when I couldn’t directly relate, I learned to cherish and appreciate everyone who was different from me and just wanted to live a happy life filled with whatever kind of love or comfort they desire.
This first, hugely emotional talk between Calia and Nomi, a dragon and a druid, was the starting point of my real life. It opened the door to a world of possibilities.
The reason why this document, this small account of my first moments being myself, is called ‘Dragon Talk’ is because I always want to strive to be like Calia in this moment. Gentle, loving, and kind.
That is what we want to replicate in our books. No matter what gender or sexuality or ethnicity, everyone has a place in the world. Everyone deserves to be happy.
ANYWAY, if you like books with lots of queer, GNC, gay, lesbian, bi and pan characters, as well as ace and aro characters and people of colour and people with mental illnesses and disabilities as well as very buff fucking women with swords, and polyamory, then… I guess stick around?
We’re in for a loooong ride.
Micah Iannandera (They/Them) & Vaela Denarr (She/They)
Practicing Dragon Talk since 2019