Real life is not much like a novel. No one lives their life simply as “the villain” or the “trusty best friend” – everyone is the hero of his own story. Nor does a life play out as one tidy arc, with a series of growing crises, a climax, a resolution, and some sort of victory or sense of growth at the end.

Real life is messy and jagged. Real life has ups and downs and boring flat parts. Sometimes people die before their own Act Two. Sometimes “Happily Ever After” begins to fall apart shortly after “I do”.

The story I tell on this site is more like real life than like a novel. It’s not the story of anyone. There’s no real beginning (as fans of the never-​​seen romance of Alred and Matilda will tell you) and there’s no programmed end. It is best described simply as the Chronicle of an imaginary place at an historical time, as told through an intimate view into the lives of its inhabitants.

Like real life, it is a tangle of everyone’s stories: they cross in places, sometimes run together a while before splitting up again, and affect each other in complex ways. Sometimes it is quite difficult to follow.

Sometimes, however, certain threads and certain stories are clearly visible running through, and with this section of the site I hope to tease some of them out and make them easier to read.

If you’re a new reader and aren’t certain whether you want to invest your time in the entire story, this would be a good way to get to know some of the characters, and to have a look at the style of my storytelling. You may end up intrigued and want to read more.

And for long-​​time readers this will be a fun way to revisit some of the best-​​beloved stories-​​within-​​the-​​story.

I do not claim that any of these storylines would stand alone as a novel or short story – none of my characters’ lives are planned with a single arc in mind, and their stories are simply too interwoven for that. Furthermore some of these storylines are still being written. I simply want to offer my readers an opportunity to experience the story in a new way. Enjoy.

“Red Boots”

Preview image for 'Red Boots' Chapters 49
Theme Romance with a twist of absurdity
Rating PG (slight violence, nudity)

This storyline is probably the closest I’ve come to embedding an entire Austen-​esque romance novel in the story.

A little case of mistaken identity is parlayed into a practical joke on a pompous young gentleman, but that’s when the characters’ true characters are exposed.

It’s a classic love story with ups and downs, handkerchiefs and cheering, and it conveniently closes with the “happily ever after”, even though there is tragedy later to come.

“Cat and Her Friend”

Preview image for 'Cat and Her Friend' Chapters 80
Theme Romance troubled by tragedy
Rating R (graphic violence, sex, nudity)

This is one of the great romances of Lothere, though perhaps the most painful. One troubled character must learn to put aside his prejudices, and the other must learn to go beyond her fear.

This storyline takes us as far as their “first time”, but their story is ongoing, and there will surely be a Part Two someday.

“Lady Eadgith Comes Into Her Kingdom”

Preview image for 'Lady Eadgith Comes Into Her Kingdom' Chapters 35
Theme A wife's story
Rating R (nudity, sex, violence)

Born into the lesser Anglo-​Saxon nobility, Lady Eadgith lost nearly everything in the Conquest – her husband, her home, her wealth, and the protection of her lord, Sigefrith Hwala.

Beginning nearly ten years later, this is the ongoing story of how she recovered what she lost; how she gained in wisdom, grace, and dignity; and how she has rejoiced and suffered in her love for one of Lothere’s most charismatic and most despicable men.

“The Story of a Great Lady”

Preview image for 'The Story of a Great Lady' Chapters 93
Theme A fairy-tale romance, and the realities of marriage and motherhood
Rating PG (nudity)

This is the ongoing story of Eadie, a cousin of King Sigefrith who comes to the valley at the age of 12 with her mother and older brother.

She is naturally a shy and self-​effacing person, and we watch her struggle with a difficult family, a forbidden romance that turns into a fairy tale, and then the real-​world difficulties of wifehood, motherhood, and filling a prominent role in society.

Her guide as she meets these challenges is to always try to do as a “great lady” would do, never quite realizing that others see her a great lady herself.

“Sigrid and Brass-Dog”

Preview image for 'Sigrid and Brass-Dog' Chapters 53
Theme A pirate romance
Rating R (graphic violence, nudity)

This ongoing story begins with two misbehaving teens, but Eirik and Sigrid grow up into two of the most remarkable people who have ever passed through Lothere. Theirs is also the first storyline that goes well beyond the borders of the valley, and in recent times has picked up elements of adventure.

Their romance is one of the most beautiful and enduring, perhaps because it began in treachery and has had to weather such difficulties and misunderstandings. As Eirik later reminisced, “I loved her even when she hated me. I loved her even when I hated her.”

“Lena is free”

Preview image for 'Lena is free' Chapters 29
Theme A gentle slave's year of freedom
Rating R (graphic violence, sexual themes, nudity)

This storyline simply documents the tragically short life of the elf Lena. She grew up in a servitude whose horrors are only hinted at in this story, but she enjoyed one year of freedom at the end.

Her story intersects some of Lothere’s larger storylines, such as “Cat and Her Friend”. The storyline ends abruptly, but I suppose this is in keeping with her senseless death.

“Britamund Becomes a Wife”

Preview image for 'Britamund Becomes a Wife' Chapters 53
Theme A young noble couple's betrothal and marriage
Rating R (sex, nudity)

The King’s eldest daughter and the Duke’s eldest son seemed destined for one another since the Princess’s birth. Beginning with a little “prologue” chapter wherein the six-​year-​old Princess wonders whom she will marry, this storyline traces their relationship from their young teenage years, when both struggle against their fate, through to their marriage and wedding night, and their growing affection for one another afterward.

It’s another ongoing storyline, and it will have to be retitled “Britamund Becomes a Wife and Mother” sooner or later.

“Handsome and Wynsome”

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Theme Romance and family
Rating PG (nudity)

Sir Sigefrith is the elder brother of young Queen Eadgith. He was married at fifteen when his sweetheart Hilda, the daughter of his lord at the time, became pregnant. He does his best, but his marriage has not been a happy one.

This is the story of his romance with the daughter of one of his tenants, beginning when he was aged twenty.

“A Girl Called Crow”

Preview image for 'A Girl Called Crow' Chapters 40
Theme A foster girl's story
Rating PG (graphic violence)

This is the story of Kraaia, an unhappy, unruly orphan who is shuttled from home to home until she begins to find a place with the elves who live among the men of Lothere.

This storyline is ongoing.

“The Naughty Bits”

Preview image for 'The Naughty Bits' Chapters 46
Theme Sex, nudity, violence
Rating R (sex, nudity, violence)

This is not a storyline—this is simply a collection of all the chapters featuring something steamy or something sexual. Sometimes it’s only a kiss, and sometimes it’s more horrific than hot, but they are all examples of a subject that is difficult to write well. Those of you who are writers may be interested in studying how I’ve done it and failed to do it over the years. For educational use only. O8)

“A Tangled Braid”

Preview image for 'A Tangled Braid' Chapters 191
Theme Lothere's thorniest love triangle
Rating PG

The tale of the two loves of the elf Iylaine is one of the premier storylines of Lothere: one of the longest-​running, most controversial, most affecting plots so far.

Running to novel-​length already, this storyline is still ongoing.

“Egelric, Part One: The Accursed”

Preview image for 'Egelric, Part One: The Accursed' Chapters 63
Theme Egelric and Elfleda
Rating PG (nudity)

Egelric Wodehead is the closest thing this story has to a “main character.” This storyline follows the first four years of his life in the valley, as he goes from being merely a capable farmer to one of the Duke’s most trusted men, even while his family life is falling apart. His relationship with Gunnilda also begins during this time.

This chapter in Egelric’s life ends with a tragic discovery in the barn.

“Egelric, Part Two: The Half-Tamed Dog”

Preview image for 'Egelric, Part Two: The Half-Tamed Dog' Chapters 122
Theme Egelric and Iylaine
Rating PG (nudity)

This storyline follows the next four years of Egelric’s life, as he tries to be a father to his little girl and defend her from the fear and hatred that the men are beginning to feel for the elves. Gradually he begins to feel that he himself is a negative influence in her life. His unspoken love for Gunnilda remains in the background all the while.

This storyline ends when Egelric walks out onto the ice alone in the dead of winter.

“Egelric, Part Three: The Wolf”

Preview image for 'Egelric, Part Three: The Wolf' Chapters 70
Theme Egelric and Sela
Rating PG (nudity)

The next five years of Egelric’s life are ever more closely bound up with the world of the elves, in ties of friendship, hatred, fear, and love. We also see the first ominous signs of the monster lurking in his depths.

During these five years he drifts away from Gunnilda, and we are left with a sense that what was there is gone forever.

This storyline ends when Egelric enters his house on Christmas Eve in 1080 and finds everything wrong.

“Egelric, Part Four: The Old Devil”

Preview image for 'Egelric, Part Four: The Old Devil' Chapters 92
Theme Egelric and Lili
Rating PG (nudity)

In the course of the next five years, Egelric comes almost accidentally into some of the greatest happiness he has ever known. In addition to his own happy family life, he sees his daughter provided for and meets his first grandchild. At the very end of this period his life’s greatest gift—stolen from him fourteen years before—is returned to him as well.

But Egelric has always feared letting the gods see him too happy, and just when he thinks he has everything he ever wanted, what he loves the most is taken away.

This storyline ends with Leofric bringing bad news to the Duchess of Nothelm.

“Egelric, Part Five: The Monster”

Preview image for 'Egelric, Part Five: The Monster' Chapters 24
Theme Egelric and Maire
Rating R (sex, violence)

Each tragedy in Egelric’s life always seems to peel away some of his compassion and decency—even some of his humanity—revealing more of the beast that he has long known dwelt within him.

But this time Egelric goes too far.

This ugly episode in his life does not merely hurt the people he loves—it may even affect the fates of kingdoms. This storyline ends when Egelric’s fate catches up to him on the shores of Man.

“Egelric Part Six: Rebirth”

Preview image for 'Egelric Part Six: Rebirth' Chapters 13
Theme Egelric and Finn
Rating PG (violence)

Tentative title, tentative theme. This storyline is just getting underway.

“The Shadow of a Star”

Preview image for 'The Shadow of a Star' Chapters 138
Theme Gunnilda, with and without Egelric
Rating PG (nudity)

Housewifely little Gunnilda has never been the sort to believe in fairy tales. At fifteen she picked out and won her own husband for practical reasons – simple-​minded, hard-​working Alwy Hogge – and set straight to work raising a family. But soon she was swept up into another man’s fairy tale life of elves, magic, curses, and tragedy. No matter how far onward and upward his life has carried him, she has never quite let go.

Her storyline closely parallels Egelric’s at the beginning, but in later years we see her soldiering on without him. Her story is still being written, so it remains to be seen whether their destinies will cross again someday.

“A Love Story”

Preview image for 'A Love Story' Chapters 49
Theme Romance
Rating PG (nudity, some violence)

A graying, jaded, Scottish lothario and a spoiled, haughty elf maiden: Two unpleasantly passionate characters are briefly brought together and make something magical in spite of themselves.

“Leofric meets his match”

Preview image for 'Leofric meets his match' Chapters 48
Theme Adulterous love and a precarious marriage
Rating PG (violence)

Leofric, the King’s father-​in-​law and oldest friend, is a notorious womanizer. As told in “Leofric and His Doves,” the one true love of his life was Matilda, the late wife of his friend Alred, who died while giving birth to their illegitimate daughter.

No lady could be less like Matilda than shy, sensitive Hetty, Alred’s second wife, but something about her stirs Leofric’s heart again—perhaps more than ever before. And once again Leofric’s forbidden love has tragic consequences.

This storyline is ongoing. It has its moments of poignant beauty, but we wait to see whether any happiness can come out of it for any of the characters.

“Sophie and the Silver-White Knight”

Preview image for 'Sophie and the Silver-White Knight' Chapters 35
Theme Life after tragedy
Rating R (violence, sexual assault, nudity)

Sophie is a racy, red-​headed Saxon, and Stein a mild-​hearted, silver-​haired knight from Norway. Both came to Lothere under unpleasant circumstances – Sophie because she was caught alone with a young man from Lothere and forced to marry him, and Stein because his cousin took pity on his family’s poverty and brought him home as his squire.

Dissimilar as they seem, they develop a certain friendship as young adults, but it takes a terrible tragedy in each of their lives to bring them together – and then they must help one another heal.

Theirs is not a storybook romance of rescued princesses and love at first sight, but Sophie and Stein – with a nudge from a feisty little fairy godmother – make it a real-​life fairy tale.

“Flann enters into the valley”

Preview image for 'Flann enters into the valley' Chapters 87
Theme An unwed mother torn between two loves
Rating R (sex, nudity, violence)

Flann is the younger sister of Catan, whose story is told in “Cat and Her Friend”. Her trials are less horrific than her sister’s, but she suffers tragedies of her own.

Flann is a brave, independent girl – her father called her his “favorite son” – but she is caught in a tug-​of-​war between two supernatural suitors. She must also face the world as an unwed mother.

“Cian and Eithne”

Preview image for 'Cian and Eithne' Chapters 49
Theme Romance with an immortal: not so romantic, actually
Rating R (sexual assault, abusive relationship)

Eithne is the little sister of Catan and Flann, gentler and dreamier than they. The adventures of her sisters and cousins in Lothere have attracted the attention of powerful beings – some of them malevolent. Eithne becomes a victim to their curiosity about what makes her family so special.

Eithne’s story takes on the popular theme of an immortal falling in love with a mortal, but it shows the tragic consequences that can befall a girl whose relationship involves such an imbalance of power.

“Leofric and His Doves”

Preview image for 'Leofric and His Doves' Chapters 83
Theme Leofric's women
Rating PG (nudity, domestic violence)

Leofric is King Sigefrith’s dearest friend, but for years it was believed he died at the Battle of Hastings. This storyline begins when he arrives in Lothere and meets Sigefrith and his old friends, among them Matilda, Duchess of Nothelm, the wife of his friend Alred.

This storyline follows his first ten years in Lothere, and the complex relationships he has with the women in his life: wives, lovers, daughters, and friends.

This storyline is followed by “Leofric meets his match.”

“Synne and Murchad”

Preview image for 'Synne and Murchad' Chapters 50
Theme Arranged marriage
Rating G

Synne is the King’s lively teenaged cousin, and shy Murchad is the son of his closest ally, Lord Aed of Galloway. Their future is decided for them as matters of politics, but the two wise young creatures manage to make the best of it, and develop a touching affection and loyalty to one another in spite of their trials.

Their storyline is a nice change of pace from the family dramas going on around them.

“How Insufficient a Reason”

Preview image for 'How Insufficient a Reason' Chapters 76
Theme A teen romance and a troubled marriage
Rating R (sex, nudity, abusive relationship)

Brede is the King’s cousin from Denmark. His father, a knight, was a violent alcoholic who reduced his family to poverty before getting himself killed in a brawl. Estrid is a young noble lady from Norway who came to Lothere as a teen.

Though their romance is forbidden by their relatives, the two take advantage of circumstances and marry. However, they learn that making it to the altar does not guarantee a happily-​ever-​after.

“The Seen and the Unseen”

Preview image for 'The Seen and the Unseen' Chapters 111
Theme Priest and Abbot of Lothere
Rating R (violence, horror, self-harm)

The King’s cousin Aelfden was a priest and monk in Denmark before he came to Lothere—in part to escape a haunting past. His arrival marked the end of easy-​going Father Brandt’s dominion, which disappointed many who were accustomed to the old Saxon priest’s winking indulgence of their little sins.

Aelfden is a troubling character: half-​orthodox, half heretical, and a miracle-​worker in spite of himself. But he is the spiritual leader the residents of the “accursed valley” need—and not only the humans.

“Storm on the Irish Sea”

Preview image for 'Storm on the Irish Sea' Chapters 88
Theme Diplomacy, treachery, war, and politics
Rating R (graphic violence, sexual assault, nudity)

In 1079, the Norse-​Gael Godred Whitehand claimed the Kingdom of Man and the Isles. Accompanying him at the Battle of Sky Hill were Sir Brede, King Sigefrith’s cousin, and his brother-​in-​law, the young Norseman Eirik. Eirik had lived in Lothere in his teens, but just before the battle had inherited his father’s ships and gone abroad.

Whitehand spared the lives of the native Gaelic chieftains, and settled in to a stern but unchallenged reign. His ships had total dominion of the Irish Sea, so terrorizing the Irish, Scots, English, and Welsh that none dared even put a warship on the water.

Eirik stayed on Man rather than returning to Norway. By the time this storyline begins, he has grown in power until he is second only to Whitehand himself.

This is the first major storyline to reach outside of Lothere.

“Lothere: The Next Generation”

Preview image for 'Lothere: The Next Generation' Chapters 174
Theme A generation comes of age
Rating R (sexual assault, domestic violence)

Most of the founding families of this story were childless when they first came to Lothere. Thus we have been able to witness the births of their children and watch them grow up.

Sixteen years after the start of the story, many of these children are entering into their teen years, and are beginning to inhabit a drama-​filled world of their own.

This storyline follows Princess Emma, Lady Gwynn and Lady Margaret, Cedric, Cubby, Finn, and their peers as they grow up the “middle children” of the first generation born in Lothere in over a century.

“The Young Alexander”

Preview image for 'The Young Alexander' Chapters 27
Theme Imperial ambition and forbidden love
Rating R (sex, graphic violence, self-harm)

Aed, son of Aengus, is an eighteen-​year-​old lord of a corner of Galloway. Called “Young Aed” to distinguish him from “Old Aed,” ruler of Galloway, he has already established a reputation for military efficiency and diplomatic cunning.

Nevertheless he lives under the tall shadow of his father, the late lord, as well as of his older brother, also named Aed, who died before he was born. And he has only recently freed himself from the guardianship of his mother and his detested stepfather.

Now having reached his majority, he has surrounded himself with uncouth young men, including wolfskin-​clad wild man Congal, and the enigmatic former monk Gaethine.

Noteworthy because it is the first in this story to overtly cover a homosexual relationship, this storyline follows Aed as he begins his rule.