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10th Century Boys – part 1: Beloved by Ravens
978 A.D. Charles never uses his power, Erik never hesitates. Can a man be both the void and what fills it?
10th Century Boys – part 2: A Western Shore
979 A.D. Charles and Erik sail away to find Raven….and Sebastian of Sammelsberg learns that there are some people you just shouldn’t fuck with.
Sequel to ‘Beloved of Ravens’ and it would be essential to read that first.
Khaleesian’s X-Men First Class historical AU two-part series 10th Century Boys, that starts with Beloved by Ravens and finishes with A Western Shore, was written before the Vikings TV show came out. I’m throwing that out there because there’s definitely a similarity in story—Viking raiders pillage a village, and one young man is taken along with the plunder, and is made a slave to one of the warriors.
In this version, the warrior is Erik, who takes a liking to young 19-year old Saxon Charles during a raid, and takes him back with him. Charles, who has always had a gift of sensing others’ thoughts, sees that the Viking chief wants to sacrifice him, but “Erik the Untouchable” has claimed him as his reward, and he is saved. But what fate is it being a slave to his captor? And what happens when Charles, with his strange gifts, finds out that Erik has strange gifts as well?
I’m not a fan of “slave fics”, but this is a wonderful historical story. The first novella is told via Charles’ point of view as he is forced to adapt to his new life, learn a new language, strengthen his telepathic gifts, and juggle his confusion over Erik’s strong affections for him, feelings that he doesn’t fully understand their meaning of, especially when things become more physical.
There is some non-con, although it’s not lingered on, and it builds into Charles’ confusion—of becoming accustomed to and desiring Erik, but then also battling with him about their power inequality (even as Charles’ power grows much stronger.)
The first story is just a wonder—beautifully but succinctly written—at less than 20,000 words. I loved the development of the story, how Charles grows, and how he and Erik become very willingly entwined.
The second, longer novella A Western Shore, is far more action-packed, and shifts between Charles and Erik’s POVs (a shift that greatly heightens tension as our young telepath is stolen away by a powerful villain, and Erik races after to bring him back.) There are a lot more characters in the sequel. If you’re familiar with the X-Men universe, you can play “spot the mutant” here, but even without that knowledge, you should be okay as long as you’re fine with meeting new characters that have special powers.
The series itself is thrilling, and the first time I read it, I stopped to go to bed in the middle of A Western Shore, and then woke up at 4am, and then went back to reading it. (I just had to know what happened!) The author wonderfully balances the perspectives, while even sliding in some very meaningful flashbacks that add some light (and romance) even as you’re biting your nails waiting for the climactic battle. Quick, fabulous flashes that show why Erik and Charles are so fiercely fighting to return to each other.
This was one of those fanfics where if I met the author, I would have to restrain myself from shaking them—“You’re so talented!! Why are you only writing fanfic?? You could write original too! I WOULD BUY THEM ALL!”
I don’t know why this wonderful author doesn’t try their hand at original stories, but I’m happy they’re writing at all. At the very least, I got to enjoy this excellent AU story about Viking Erik and his Saxon slave Charles and their passionate, soul-searching love for each other. It is by far one of my favorites in the X-Men First Class fandom.
A great read for fans of either X-Men, or of historical romances (and you’re okay with some special powers going on.) Both parts can be read and downloaded for free from Ao3.
Series Title: 10th Century Boys
Fandom: Xmen First Class
Publication Date: October, 2011 – April, 2012
Word Count: 62,017 words total for parts 1 & 2
Buy Online: Free at Archive of Our Own