Holiday Romance Special Part 1: Kane & Archer

_Steel Magic-Jacket.inddI’ve been happily married for a few years, and while I could wax poetic about my amazing husband, when it comes to real life, we’re not the most romantic couple. He doesn’t work on Mondays, so our Valentine’s Day plan is to get some take-out Indian food and catch up on the DVR tonight. Honestly, we can’t be bothered to do anything tomorrow since he gets home late.

I am more than happy, however, to gush about the fictional couples in my life. Today, I’ll be discussing Kane Nalamas and Archer Sophin, who meet in Steel Empires #2, Steel Magic (now available in ebook or hardcopy). Tomorrow, in preparation for Steel Empires #2, Steel Blood (available July 2017), I’ll highlight Victory and Mikelos, whom you met in Steel Victory.

Some of the information below will be familiar from Steel Magic, though I’ll avoid overt spoilers. I hope you enjoy the rest as a mixture of delightful background information and a glimpse into their future within the series!

How and why did they meet?

With his warrior-mage partner, Kane was on a mercenary job to investigate the disappearance of mages in the world. Though the head of New Angouleme’s mage school assures them otherwise, Archer reaches out to reveal that not all is well. He has been functionally imprisoned, exchanging his physical safety for access to his magical power. Archer throws in his lot with Kane and Toria, following them to the other side of the world to save magic.

What were their first impressions of each other?

Kane: “Damn, this guy is hot. Too bad we have much, much bigger things to worry about right now.”

Archer: “Damn, this guy is hot. Too bad he’s already in love with my old friend Toria.”

How would they prove their love for each other?

Initially, Toria manipulates the two idiot men in her life into revealing their feelings for each other. Now, it boils down to steadfast dedication and trust. They’ve built a life together, while also giving each other the freedom to pursue their own passions. Archer chases after students as the new headmaster of Limani’s mage school, while Kane always has a home to return to between mercenary jobs.

What would be an ideal date?

Away from the mage school. Like, on the other side of Limani, far away from the intrusion of random students and bored warrior-mage partners. They’ll burn off steam dancing, then finish off the night where forest meets river, the place where earth and water magic mingle.

Is there something they emphatically disagree on?

Archer: “Let’s take this bottle of wine on a romantic rowboat ride!”
Kane: “Boats are evil. Look, here’s a nice blanket beneath a sprawling oak.”

Ten minutes later…

Archer: “What the hell is crawling on me?!”
Kane: “It’s a ladybug. Calm down.”

List 5 “food quirks” they know about each other. (Ex: how they take their coffee, if they’re allergic to something…)

  1. Kane will drink heavy stouts or refreshing ciders. Nothing exists in between.
  2. Archer takes his coffee black, and doesn’t understand how Toria’s frou-frou creamers keep ending up in their fridge.
  3. Archer prefers sweet wines, and will indulge in a glass of tawny port once he’s done with students for the day.
  4. For an earth mage, Kane’s revulsion to mushrooms is astounding.
  5. Steaks should be cooked rare. Total agreement. No discussion necessary.

(+1. Sometimes Kane likes the frou-frou creamer in his coffee.)

What’s one thing they know about each other that no one else does?

Kane knows Archer sometimes still has screaming night terrors from having his power drained in New Angouleme. The silencing wards on their rooms were not set just so they could have loud sex.

Archer knows Kane’s #1 priority will always be Toria, even though Kane doesn’t know it himself.

What’s one thing that they keep a secret from each other?

Archer will never tell Kane that sometimes he regrets the path not taken. In another life, he could be a man of leisure, supported by his nobleman lover, known for his skill with illusions and charming party banter. He mostly regrets this when the apprentices have gotten on his last nerve; when Kane is on another continent and not due home for months.

Kane will never tell Archer that sometimes he prefers the illusion Archer, the clean-shaved man with short hair, rather than the scruffy goatee and long, dyed hair.

How would their lives be different without each other?

Every path I try to take with this answer ends up with them both dead. They met by chance in Steel Magic, but even if I hadn’t had them end up together romantically, the entire world would be a very, very different place right now.

Where do they each see this relationship going?

Mercenaries don’t really plan for retirement, and neither of them knows how the world’s magic will affect them personally in the coming years. Right now, they’re both relatively young, they’ve created a home together, and that’s the important part. We’ll see where the road takes them to the end of Steel Empires.

Blog concept originated by Paper Fury’s Beautiful People Meme, Couples Edition.

Published by J.L. Gribble

Author, Editor, Worldbuilder

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