Did you ever get a story that stuck inside you and refused to let go of you? This is what happened when I thought of the idea for the Gorok and Wulf story. I'm not even sure how it all fit together. Years ago, I got annoyed at the way fantasy novels always painted the mage as delicate and weak and let the warrior type make fun of the mage for being delicate and weak. In some cases, there was a subtext that the warrior was manly and the mage was not. The implications were that the strong warrior got all the women and the mage was obviously "not interested." But just because you're delicate, that doesn't mean you're less of a man. Just because you're a strong warrior, that doesn't mean you're good, doesn't mean you're good in bed (though all the warriors thought they were), it doesn't even more you're straight. So I tried to work on a story where bragging warrior turned out to be a latent homosexual, and the delicate mage had more sex than the warrior, only he didn't brag about it. I even thought of having the so-called manly warrior rape the mage out of anger and thus prove his true self to all. For obvious reasons, that story never grew beyond a couple of paragraphs. Then, a year or so later, I had an idea for a story where mages were imprisoned in an ancient city and forced to collect artifacts to earn privileges and a chance to earn their freedom -- though the place was so dangerous, none ever left. Who gets thrown into this mix? A tough warrior who was sent there for killing a mage.
Well one day those two stories met for coffee and went home together and spent the night in each other's arms. The warrior became a gay warrior. The mage became gay as well. And this time, though there was a rape, the mage used his magic to force the warrior to share his pain and fear. And for all this, I knew they were meant for each other.