Title: The Viper’s Scheme
Length: 162k so far
Warnings: slavery, rape, abuse
Summary: Sylves Tevenra is a powerful mage, said to have been born with the ability to subdue humanity’s mortal enemies once and for all. Esares is the demon who was sent to kill him and has been paying the price ever since. And then there is Anereth Laverien, who Esares knows is unkind and treacherous, but who is the only person his master would trust with his treasured slave.
Esares holds the key to his master’s destruction, but he will have to decide whether using it would bring him and his people closer to freedom, or merely turn him into another dangerous man’s pawn.
Review: Came for the power imbalance, stayed for the characters and worldbuilding. Could be your thing if you like hurt/comfort, fantasy and slow paced stories and have an interest in slavefics. You’ll find a lot of focus on the two main characters and the gradual progression of their relationship as well as on the power dynamics, with the main plot (the planned murder of the “Chosen One” Sylves) moving along much more slowly.
Chapters 2&3 where Esares is with Sylves are the darkest (at least of yet) and where the rape warning is especially important. One thing that got me is that at a glance Sylves has many more traits of a good person than Anereth, but his dehumanisation of slaves is where that all falls apart and he reveals himself a villain. Whereas we know Anereth has an ulterior motive for being nice to Esares yet it’s clear he at least approaches him like a person and not (only) a possession. Esares himself has been pushed nearly to breaking point but remains beautifully angry at his predicament and the oppression of his people, and continually struggles with being grateful to Anereth for things he knows shouldn’t elicit gratitude.
An engaging story with nuanced characters and a very slow burn! Be aware it’s a WIP.