The Prisoner's Release and Other Stories
The Prisoner's Release and Other Stories is an anthology of erotic stories by Kyell Gold, published by Sofawolf Press in January 2007. It is set in the fantasy world of Argaea, the setting of Gold's novels Volle and Pendant of Fortune.
The book comprises four separate stories: the novel-length Inside the Cage, the titular "The Prisoner's Release" (originally published in two parts in the first two volumes of Heat), "Home Again", and "For Love or Family". All of the stories involve characters from Volle, and all feature some degree of homoerotic context.
The book's cover was done by Sara Palmer. Interior illustrations were done by Vince Suzukawa, Taurin Fox, Adam Wan, and Arthur Husky.
Inside the Cage was nominated for "Best Anthropomorphic Novel" for the 2007 Ursa Major Awards, and the anthology itself was also nominated for the "Best Anthropomorphic Other Literary Work" category.
- Spoiler warning: Plot and/or ending details follow.
Inside the Cage
The story takes place approximately two years after the events of Volle. Jonas is a cougar who works at the Jackal’s Staff brothel just outside the city of Divalia. He works with other prostitutes, such as Alicar (a bobcat), Richy (a wolf), Pike (a raccoon), and his boss, Tally (a cougar). Another of his coworkers, Sasha (a mouse), contracts an STD and asks Jonas to cover for him until he can get it cured. Jonas agrees to help, but one day finds that Sasha has left and stolen all of Jonas’s saved up money. Feeling betrayed, Jonas begins thinking about leaving his profession. After talking to one of his usual clients, Mani (a bear), however, he realizes he has no qualifications elsewhere. Another one of Jonas' regulars, a red fox named Alexan, playfully offers to take Jonas with him to Ferrenis. This gives Jonas hope to escape his job.
The next week comes and Alexan doesn’t show to say goodbye. After losing focus on his clients, Jonas learns that Pike told Tally about Alexan, so Tally switched clientele around. Jonas chases Pike through the city, but Pike pleads that he was trying to prevent Jonas from making a mistake. Despite this, Jonas heads to the palace to look for Alexan. He manages to find Alexan and convince him to take him along for the ride to Ferrenis. Despite initial reluctance, Alexan agrees. Jonas shares his backstory: that his father signed a 7-year contract for Jonas to work for Tally when he was only 15. They cross the border into Ferrenis in a matter of weeks and eventually make it to Alexan’s house, where he’s given the spare bedroom.
Alexan learns that as a result of an assassination attempt two years ago (See “Book 2: Xiller” from Volle), the king of Ferrenis banned weapons trade, which is Alexan’s job as a merchant. The next day, Jonas meets Alexan’s friends Mikka (red fox), Taypha (bear), and Benton (fox). Jonas learns that Alexan occasionally lies with Mikka. After some time, Alexan asks Jonas to help clean his house in order to save money. Things go well, until Alexan starts prostituting Jonas to garner support to overturn the weapons ban and to save extra money.
Jonas expresses his frustration after being whored out to Mikka, but Alexan argues that it’s difficult to support both of them. To make up for their fighting, Alexan gives Jonas a necklace he borrows from his friend Phineas (rabbit). One night, Alexan gets drunk and tries to force Jonas and Benton into oral sex, making the latter two uncomfortable. Weeks later, Taypha brings the news that Alexan’s attempt to overturn the weapons trade ban failed, costing him a lot of business. Furious, Alexan takes his anger out of Jonas, forcing him to wear a fake crown while having angry sex with him. Jonas fights back, fed up with Alexan’s behavior, but during the scuffle, Jonas kicks Alexan in the chest, accidentally killing him. Jonas runs away with hopes to return to Tephos. However, he’s discovered by Taypha — who’s a guard — and arrests him. Jonas meets the captain of the guards, Jherik (another cougar), who releases Jonas the next morning after Benton (Jherik’s boyfriend) gives a character witness. Benton lets Jonas stay with him and Jherik for the night. During the night, Jonas writes a letter back to Pike stating how much he missed them. The next day, Benton and Jonas return to Alexan’s house to see if any money is left behind, but instead they find the place ransacked. Jonas decides to find his own place and become an independent prostitute.
Jonas asks for help from Mikka, who doesn’t know of Alexan’s death yet. Mikka agrees to help Jonas find customers in exchange for a cut of his profits. Mikka allows Jonas to have sex with him with the latter in control. The next morning, Benton tells Mikka about Alexan’s death. Jonas manages to get a room from a skunk named Hazel, who also wants a cut of Jonas’ profits. Jonas begins to grow feelings for Mikka.
Over the next few months, Jonas settles into his routine as an independent prostitute. When business slows down for a month, Hazel sleeps with him to help him along. Jonas overhears a conversation between Mikka and Hazel and suspects that Mikka reciprocates his feelings. Months later, Mikka's business begins to falter. Jonas learns from Benton that Alexan's brother, Dixan, is sabotaging Mikka's business, suspecting that he stole his pendant, which would give him access to Alexan's house. Jonas confronts Dixan, and after the fox calls him derogatory names, threatens action if he doesn't turn over the pendant. Hazel and Mikka get Jonas’ papers in case Dixan threatens to sue.
Soon after, the city guards begin cracking down on unlicensed prostitutes. Jonas meets a mouse named Selia, who’s also a prostitute. She asks him for help since she has nowhere to go, and Jonas agrees to help her. Hazel agrees to take Selia and her son Selish into her house with the same arrangements as Jonas; Mikka adds Selia onto his license. Knowing Dixan encouraged the guards to seek out the prostitutes, Hazel gets back at him by starting a rumor that he has an STD. Dixan retaliates by sending a thief to set fire to Mikka’s shop with Mikka still inside. Jonas rushes into the fire to save him, but the store and all of Mikka’s possessions are lost.
Jonas decides to bargain with Dixan for the pendant so he’ll leave his friends alone. At first Dixan brings 25 gold, but Jonas threatens to throw the pendant over the river if he doesn’t hand over 50 gold. They manage to negotiate it down to 46; a cougar passerby helps with the exchange. Jonas gives the money to Mikka to help him get back on his feet, but Mikka turns it down, not wanting to be a burden. Jonas and Mikka admit their feelings for each other, becoming unofficial mates, and Hazel agrees to let Mikka stay with her.
The Prisoner’s Release
Five years after the events of Volle and a year before Pendant of Fortune, Volle is locked in a cell for trying to steal information. Two months after his incarceration, a new wolf guard is sent to rape him, but he finds himself unable to do it. Volle gets the wolf to slowly open up, giving him the nickname Streak. Streak tells Volle his background: that he was a farmer who ran away as a cub when his mom got a new partner.
Streak continues to visit Volle and they slowly become acquainted. Streak helps Volle with his sexual frustration, and even begins sneaking food to him. Volle realizes that Dereath -- his arch nemesis who caught him supposedly stealing war plans -- is using Streak to make Volle fall in love so that he can use Streak as leverage. Streak refuses to see himself as a pawn in Dereath’s games and proceeds to make love with Volle.
Soon after, Volle is nearly starved to death. Right before he can hang himself, Streak breaks Volle out of his cell, revealing that he stole the guard’s master keys. Streak brings Volle to the palace, where they take shelter with Volle’s old friend Helfer. When Streak leaves, Volle tells Helfer his situation, leaving out the part that he’s a Ferrenian spy. Helfer urges Volle to pursue a relationship with Streak and to stay out of politics. Volle writes a letter to his former valet, Welcis, and an unknown person, giving the latter to a random passerby to deliver. Volle enjoys a meal and bath, and when he wakes up the next morning, Helfer and his valet are gone.
Streak returns and he and Volle proceed to have sex. They’re caught at the end of their act by Dereath. Streak reveals that he planned to get the stolen plans from Volle in exchange that the two can safely leave the city. Volle tells Dereath the hiding plans for the plans. When he leaves, Volle leads Streak through a secret passageway in Helfer’s bedroom that leads to the wine cellar. There, they meet up with Seir, one of Volle’s old companions, who received Volle’s earlier note. Seir helps them out of the city to take them back to Ferrenis. Volle decides to take up farming with Streak as his companion.
Seir, Streak, and Volle manage to reach the capital of Ferrenis, Caril, without being caught. The three rest for the night, with the latter two getting a bath. Volle wonders if bringing Streak with him was a mistake. Seir tells Volle the next morning to get some new clothes because they’re going to see their advisor, Captain Avery. Volle and Streak are accompanied to the High Market alongside a fox named Kevar. Volle gets new clothes (including a shirt sold by Mikka from “Inside the Cage”).
Volle meets with Captain Avery, who has the stolen plans from Tephos. Avery reveals that he believes the plans were fake in order to bait out a spy in the palace. Volle advises Avery not to go to war over the Reysfields since none of the Tephosian troops were making a move on them. For doing his duty, Volle is given a piece of farm land where he can retire peacefully. Volle asks Streak to stay with him on the farm. The two have sex, and at the end, they reaffirm their love for each other.
For Love or Family
Taking place a couple years after “Inside the Cage”, Cef is a young wolf who’s the son of the Minister of Defense, Lord Fardew. On his 15th birthday, Cef visits the Jackal’s Staff after being tricked by his older brothers, Kigi and Rashi. He decides to pay for one of the prostitutes there, Richy. Richy coaches Cef through oral sex, and Cef immediately becomes infatuated with him. One of Rashi’s lovers, Dasha, offers to have sex with Cef, but Rashi warns him not to do it. Cef tries to ask his dad for a bigger allowance to see Richy more often, but he doesn’t allow it. His father’s assistant, Dereath, gives Cef enough money to see Richy.
Cef and Richy continue their liaisons where Cef loses his virginity. Cef expresses his desire to go exploring the world, if not for his family’s obligating him to marry a noble female. Cef’s father sets up a dinner where he meets Jelilah, a self-infatuated noble wolfess. His sister, Kira, notices a change in Cef’s behavior. Cef takes Dasha up on her offer for sex, but when he confesses his love for Richy, she berates him for falling in love with a prostitute. Cef tricks Rashi into paying for sex at the Jackal’s Staff. As a result, rumors begin to spread that Rashi is gay, and so his father begins to push harder for Cef to find a noble woman to marry. Cef tries to run into Richy outside work to see if he returns his feelings, but both Pike and a local tavern owner — Cori — tell him that romance with prostitutes always ends badly.
Dereath approaches Cef with an offer: he’ll give the wolf enough gold to buy Richy’s contract if Cef steals one of his father’s keys for a chest supposedly containing letters from a foreign lover Dereath took up in the palace. Cef steals the key, but Dereath sends his rabbit assistant, Terril, to make the exchange.
The next day, Cef is given his gold. He buys Ricky’s contract off of Tally, and Richy tells him that he returns his feelings. The next day, Cef’s father runs into the men at a pub they spent the night at. He confronts Cef about the missing gold, revealing that Terril framed Cef for the theft and that Dereath left town, giving him an alibi. Richy sticks up for Cef, giving his father his life savings from the Jackal’s Staff. Although it’s enough to make up for the missing gold, Cef’s father disowns his son for lying and breaking his trust.
Cef and Richy flee Divalia. Days later, they sail on the ocean towards the south, looking for a new life together.
Inside the Cage
- Jonas - Cougar; a prostitute from the Jackal’s Staff who wishes to escape and find a new life.
- Mikka - Fox; a clothing merchant who befriends Jonas.
- Alexan - Fox; a weapons merchant who befriends Jonas.
- Benton - Fox; Alexan’s friend who helps Jonas get back on his feet.
- Dixan - Fox; Alexan’s brother.
- Pike - Raccon; worker at Jackal’s Staff who tries to help Jonas.
- Hazel - Skunk; a homeowner who takes Jonas in.
- Jherik - Cougar; captain of the guards in Caril and Benton’s boyfriend.
- Taypha - Bear; a guard who befriends Jonas.
The Prisoner’s Release / Home Again
- Volle - Fox; imprisoned for stealing war plans, Ferrenian spy.
- Streak - Wolf; a guard sent to abuse Volle.
- Helfer - Weasel; Volle’s best friend in the palace.
- Dereath Talison - Rat; has Volle imprisoned, suspecting him of being a spy.
- Seir - Mouse; one of Volle’s old companions from Ferrenis.
- Captain Avery - Wolf; Volle’s boss in Ferrenis.
For Love or Family
- Cef - Wolf; son of the Minister of Defense who falls in love.
- Richy - Wolf; Jackal’s Staff prostitute, who becomes infatuated with Cef.
- Dereath Talison - Rat; assistant to the Minister of Defense, who seemingly wants to help Cef.
- Rashi - Wolf; Cef’s older brother, who regularly engages in the night life.
- Cef’s Father - Wolf; Cef, Rashi, Kigi, and Kira’s father, Minister of Defense. First name unknown.
- Dasha - Wolf; one of Rashi’s lovers who also takes a liking to Cef.
- Terril - Rabbit; Dereath’s assistant in the palace.
- The Prisoner's Release and Other Stories in the Sofawolf Press catalog
Waterways · Out of Position · Isolation Play · Divisions · Uncovered · Over Time · Titles · Tales of the Firebirds · Ty Game · Bridges · Science Friction · Winter Games · Dude, Where's My Fox? · Dude, Where's My Pack? · Losing My Religion · The Time He Desires · Camouflage · Love Match: Book 1 · Love Match: Book 2 · Love Match: Book 3
Anthrolations · Best in Show · Dog's Days of Summer · Game of Kings · Heat · HistoriMorphs · Hot Dish · New Fables · Nordguard · Why Coyotes Howl