Tag Archives: magical creatures

Twelfth Entry: Akhlut

 

akhlut_by_kyoht-d57tn0n

The tracks lead from the snow to the water. The pads of wolf-paws leave their familiar marks right up to the edge of the ice, but neither the pack nor a solitary hunter is waiting by the frozen entrance of the ocean tonight. The boundary of the ice is the transition point, one flesh to another, one hunter to another, teeth of the land becoming the teeth of the deep. 

No one has ever seen them go there. There is no proof; we have come seeking it, out of the warmth of the igloo, into the dark of the night. The stars guide our guide; the tracks are the hidden signal of our quest, but not enough, and there at the water’s edge, I approach the danger myself. This is the sea beyond whale song. Here, nothing lives but hours of silence, even in the blood-red death, even in the movement of the tide, the breaking ice.

Here the arrival of the glacial freeze and the shifting of the spring ice is still quiet, still only natural noises, disturbing nothing, and in the lassitude of the black chill, beneath stars too white to touch the snow with brightness, I stare into the gleaming waves, beyond the frosted facets of their caps. The deep is alive with hunters. I taste their air, the salty exhalation of their steamy breaths. I see the black-and-white shadow of their shapes caressing shallow currents, just below the surface, predatory eyes looking up at me – 

One at a time. Always one at a time. Rising, turning, riding the promise of the swell, they turn away from me then. I will not witness the transition, but the shapes they bear are not truly orca. Fur, in the shifting sleekness, disrupting outlines that should be smooth. An elongated muzzle, tapering in the shape of a wolf, though much, much larger.

And the paw-prints, their elegant remains telling a deeper story. I cannot dare the water. This is as far as we go. The mystery keeps itself a mystery, and I return to the expedition. We go back through heavy snow.

~~~~

Akhlut References
Akhlut Wiki
An Akhlut Legend

Have a suggestion for a creature that belongs in the Bestiary? Leave it in the comments!

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Eleventh Entry: Rakushinpu

 

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The sound of the water rushes overhead. Beside us, the great fall is a roar and in its shadow the gleam of spray and the shadow of leaves overtake the world, together with drowsy promises. 

The spirits of the mountain speak in murmuring voices, a whisper to calm the senses, a low, red sound. Of love, it speaks, with the sound of a lute  and the eager harmony of all night’s darkest passions.

Come to me.

The voice does not belong to the water.

Stay with me.

The words are a plea from which an answer will summon only regret.

Is it not quiet here? Are you not tired now? Stay a while and sleep with me…

The lady of the falls trades on her whispers, and when the sun dips past the high of noon toward the horizon, when the laziness of the afternoon is full upon us – then, at the edge of the water, climbing in silken coils, the threads come one at a time.

Each one attaches to a man. An ankle. A toe. A calf. But we are prepared, as not many before us have been. The threads are not broken, but hooked to trees, to stumps – one rooted life in exchange for each marked man. 

As the sun begins to go down, the threads are pulled, one by one, and one by one pieces of the forest crash over the cliff-side, down the mountain, into the rage of the river and the waterfall’s roar.

A woman cries with it, and the longing has not left her voice. 

Stay with me, won’t you?

There is no laughter, no speech, as we make our way down the night blackened sides of the autumn mountain. We return to our camp – to the nearest village. It is there that we count our number and find that twenty-four has been reduced to twenty-three. 

Stay with me…

~~~~

Read more in the erotic horror novella Rakushinpu, free on Amazon KDP!

~~~~

Rakushinpu/Jorogumo References
Jorōgumo Wiki
Jorōgumo Legends

Have a suggestion for a creature that belongs in the Bestiary? Leave it in the comments!

Interview, Excerpt, and Giveaway: Wolf of the West at Prism Book Alliance

Something new has arrived, glorious beings – an interview at Prism Book Alliance, including an exclusive excerpt of Wolf of the West and a special giveaway!

wolfofthewest_800 (2)

Enter until July 2nd to win a free  copy of your own through Rafflecopter!

Good luck!

Hunter, Prey

Because context is key to the marvel that is #1lineWed, and because I haven’t shared anything in particular from this monstrosity I know you’re all waiting for…a piece of the upcoming book five of the Eight Kingdoms series! (With which I am currently arguing about its title.)

Saoirse watched the Red King stride up the curve of the snow, down over the crest of frosted dunes and into the darkness that reflected off the surface of the water.

Without ripples, without waves, it still lapped at the motionless shore, and gave away thus that it was water and not frozen. The deep was black and still, but as the Red King approached, the surface of the water was broken by a small, black head – and then by more, and more.

Selkies.

She had playmates and companions among their number. She had been warned in the days just past that this time was coming, but she hadn’t believed. Her own trust in Macsen Cadoc was absolute, and that there was enough worry in any being who owed allegiance to him to bring them here, to the edge of everything, to the last of all shores, hoping to escape some unknown catastrophe…

She hadn’t believed.

Quiet, stepless, without a splash, her special friend among the selkies was out of the water and by her side, and Saoirse watched her lean closer without allowing any expression on her face.

“Hello, Líadan.”

“Saoirse, didn’t I say we were going? You shouldn’t have come. Shouldn’t have come!”

“You did intend to leave without goodbye, then? I thought you were my friend!”

The edges of Líadan’s soft, black body went stiff and salty, licked by the waves, but she was still. “Your friend. Yes, I am that. But this is my family, and all of my kin, and I will not be the one who is left behind. There are stories enough of last stands and hopeless cases, and not for you or our friendship will I become one of them.”

“I didn’t ask for that, did I? Only for goodbye. Which is nothing but polite, if you cared.” Saoirse squinted and peered through one eye, but her friend didn’t seem bothered in the least about her frustrated tone. “The Red King -”

“Will let us go. He’ll see right through excuses, promises, platitudes…and he’ll talk of fear, and how little it should matter to those such as us. But though we are Hunters, we remember. We were of dark Summer first. Midsummer’s midnight moon is our provenance and our place.  Not in this dark, this winter land of blood and violence. Not for a people of mothers, daughters – not though he sheltered us when our place in the world was taken away.”

Saoirse stared back at Líadan, understanding and confused both. She remembered fear from her time in the human world…and from those first hours, alone here, wondering if she would be kept. If she could stay. Not now. The sting of the emotion, the feel of it, was all but lost to her.

“Líadan I don’t understand. You’re Hunters. How could you not belong here? What does anything else matter? How could you have belonged to Summer? This is the Hunter’s kingdom, this is…”

Líadan shook her head, had only black laughter to offer, a sound as dark and deep as the matte shine of her eyes. “You do not understand. But then, you aren’t one thing or another, are you?” Her smile showed pointed teeth. “Not yet.”

“It’s not fair. I learn so many things, but they’re never enough. Not enough to understand even my friends, and the Red King -” She made a despairing sound and shook her head at the selkie’s continued laughter.

“Girl creature. Something will call you, one thing or another, meaning or madness…and you will find your way. I have that faith in you.”

“Hmm… But I’m tired of waiting. Time is different here and still I’m tired of it.”

“The mortal in you is murmuring now. You are so young – so young! I’m still a child in the water, among my people, but I barely remember being young like you. Before I could slip the sea, leave this shape behind… Saoirse, haven’t you felt it? Your soul is slipping away. A little longer, and a little longer…and then the empty space will have to be filled in by something else. What have you chosen?”

Saoirse blinked into Líadan’s eyes, blinked at her own reflection there, and then smiled.

“Blood of course. The Hunt, and its power.”

“Have you.” Líadan blinked, and the smile on her face stretched wide, then wider. Saoirse frowned as her reflection in the black eyes distorted, changing shape, size…something.

“Saoirse, I think you will surprise yourself with how much emptiness will be left behind when you lose your human self for the last time. I think you will surprise yourself with how little blood will fill the space inside you. You are not the Red King. Macsen Cadoc is of his own kind, and it is not yours. You may walk in the shadow, but I do not think it will be this shadow…or his.”

Saoirse crouched, reached forward and pet the flat, smooth space between Líadan’s ears. “What, then? Whose? I’ve been hunting, hunting without knowing – do you know my prey? Tell me!”

The selkie closed her eyes to night-dark slits. “I see a pale shadow behind you. Yes. Not red, but stripped of all color. A pale shadow…in a pale land. White flowers beneath a black moon.”

Saoirse contemplated this, but she had never heard of a place like that. She knew of eight hidden kingdoms outside the mortal world, and none of them sounded like the place Líadan was describing to her.

“When I find it, will I know what I’ve been looking for? What I’ve been missing since – forever?”

Even before I came here. The thought left Saoirse agitated, but without an outlet, just like many other such thoughts. They were becoming more and more frequent as time passed…and didn’t. As it washed over her, and left her unchanged, as the freezing ocean water moved over Líadan’s smooth, seal-black back.

“Saoirse, it is nearly time.”

“Time -”

“For us to go.”

“You…will be safe, won’t you?”

“Perhaps. Perhaps not. These are dangerous times, and there may be no safety for anyone, anywhere. But we will make the attempt. If things change, and what is broken is fixed, perhaps we will even return…and I will find you then, and see what you have become, and be, even as I will be far from you, your friend.”

“As I’ll be yours! I promise, Líadan. Friends, always.”

The wide grin Líadan wore as she slipped into the sea sealed the promise, and Saoirse stepped back from the water. She slipped into a shadow, then over the crackling, frosted dunes, closer to where the Red King was. She could hear his voice, and some other, and she wanted to know if Líadan had been right.

Would he be angry? Or would he let them go? Or both, maybe. She was curious, but not afraid. There was no violence, not even the anticipation of it, in the wind tonight.

Anyway, it was fun. Hunting Macsen, Red King that he was. She would tell Bran about it later, and he would laugh with her. He understood better than the rest, and regardless, she had to stay close to him.

There was an oath that she’d made, and it remained unfulfilled, but she understood oaths better now.

Saoirse took another step, then another, until she could hear clearly. Yes, she would tell Bran…even though Macsen was Bran’s, and therefore not her prey. Again, she faced the frustration of not knowing who, or what, it was that she was meant to be hunting.

Líadan had not answered her, but now, watching, listening, she wondered if the Red King would.

 

Want more? Book five is coming soon, but you can grab the first four books here

Tenth Entry: Gǎ-oh

 

indianwoman5

From the edge of the sea, we come to a new land, the westernmost reach of our journey so far. The coast leads inward to a wide land peopled by many nations, the world growing green and gold around us. At the edge of a lake so wide it might be a sea, the feathered warriors tell their stories, and we listen with interest.

Here, among other tales, the people speak of the wind as a giant, four reins in his hands, holding the Beasts of the Wind back from destroying the world. He is Gǎ-oh, King of Winds, but we do not speak his name in his presence.

His home is in the far north, and we follow the legend, rumor that flows inland and upward, over the water to the lands of ice. When we come to his home there is the blast of the tempest to greet us, and dark haired in the distance we see him shining at the horizon’s edge.

From the north of the world he controls the four winds – Ya-o-gah, bear of the north, breathing cold fire. The fawn in the south, Ne-o-ga, who sits waiting, gentle as morning. The wild panther of the west wind, Da-jo-ji, who bears the whirlwind on his back and raises the waves…  O-yan-do-ne, the moose of the east wind, chills newborn clouds as they drift into heaven.

In silence, contemplating, we watch the reins snap, the wind’s release, howling out of the north and down to the nations of men.

~~~~

Gǎ-oh References
Gǎ-oh Wiki
Iroquois Legends

Have a suggestion for a creature that belongs in the Bestiary? Leave it in the comments!

It’s Coming!

Hello, glorious beings! It’s been a while since I’ve ranted!

With roughly ten days left in October, (Hallowe’en doesn’t count as a day, it’s a magnificent entity which has its own tender, juicy post coming) a glorious beast is approaching. And no, I’m not talking about Hallowe’en there either. What I’m talking about is…wait for it…

NANOWRIMO! Or, to the uninitiated, National Novel Writing Month. It’s an exciting bit of exasperation, for those of any type of writerly persuasion. You can be straight-laced, follow all the (exceedingly lax) rules, and produce 50,000 words of one novel project. Or you can be a rebel, and write a first draft, an erotica short, something involving a Zoroastrian deity and…oh, no. I’m informed that’s just me. But you CAN be a rebel, and write whatever you like.

The point is just to write 50,000 words in a month. It’s quite a few, but comes down to the crunchy total of 1667 words per day, and it’s lovely watching those words add up as you go along! Not, of course, that this removes the agony of editing from the equation, but hey – can’t win all the time, right?

If you’re in the mood for a bit of masochistic malarkey, visit www.nanowrimo.org and add your name (and novel) to the roster of insane wordsmiths!

I’ll be there, plugging along toward my own crazy goal of 100,000 words – I’ll get there with a few erotic shorts, and the first draft of Eight Kingdoms, book five! (It’s tentatively titled “In A Land Of Fire” but dear monkeys above, don’t quote me on that.)

Come join the fun! This year. Is the year. Of conquest!

Week Ten – Earthbound

This bit  of erotica comes from Earthbound, the enormous epic novel that will probably be the death of me.  A certain individual, Codename: Twin, is responsible for me actually working on it as I should – so celebrate the joys of editing with me as I share this smutty bit of fun!

(And of course, remember, this sort of Friday Fun is NSFW!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Yun has wanted to love her this way from the first moment he saw her, dancing in the dangerous night. He cannot decide if he wants her so terribly because of that moment…or because his need is for someone like her, someone full of innocence and desire in tension.

He is yao-guai, after all. Lust is half his nature…but only half. The other part of him is violence, darkness and barely-leashed destruction. The two sides of his nature are one thing in this moment, pulsing and furious within him.

~ ~ * * ~ ~

The moment does not remain frozen. The pain passes from Liuxing’s face and in its place grows a hungry, lustful curiosity. She can feel the weight of him and the hard, solid thickness of his erection pressed deep into her body.

She tastes blood, scents sex and sweat and the wild musk of her lover, feels heat where his skin is pressed against her and coolness where the night air sneaks against her nerves. The muscles of her pelvis tighten reflexively and she hears Yun suck in a breath; she does it again, purposefully, and then lets out a long moan of her own.

Yun is unyielding, his arousal rigid and still within her, almost uncomfortable – but when she squeezes those muscles the discomfort is overwhelmed by new feelings. When he begins to thrust, a slow rocking of his hips, it sends a glissando of sensation across all the awakened nerves within her, thrilling and terrible and lovely.

She wants more; it is is who she is, the core of her secret self. She is a seeker after sensations, an eager connoisseur of the roughest and richest of melodies, of exquisite tastes and complex rhythms.

Yun’s hands on her skin are finer and more caressing by far than the smoothest of silks. The pleasures he has already given her have set her desires burning higher. She wants more, anything more as long as it feeds that fire.

This is love, this must be love.

The thought comes to her wild, on the edge of wordlessness. What else can it be? It is more than lust, more than the heat; it is something so great and tender growing in her that she is afraid to touch it, can only wonder at it even as it burns into every new place Yun’s hands are touching her.

~ ~ * * ~ ~

Her hips hum in his hands, responding to his thrusts, quickening them, deepening them. The thrumming of her nerves is almost visible when he pauses. He pulls on her taut nipples and waits.  Her enjoyment is pleasing to him, but he needs more from her than sounds and gasps.

He needs words. He needs submission. He needs her active participation in her own defilement; he needs her to give what he so badly wants to take.

He watches the almost invisible trembling of her eyelashes beneath the blindfold, the twitching of muscles beneath the surface of her skin, a drop of red blood rolling to her chin from where she has bitten her lip – anything that might distract him from her body’s wet heat.

He can feel the bending of her will. He tastes her need in her breath, feels it in the curve of her feet, their pointed toes – in the taut muscles of her legs, and in the quivering, clenching, tightness that begs him to give in.

He steels himself, swallows dryly. Her face is dark in the shadow of her hair as she twists beneath him, but when the moment comes that he thinks he cannot restrain himself any longer he hears her voice, soft, pleading…

So much more than he had hoped for, but for reasons he cannot possibly dream

“Yun – Yun, please, I want – please, please, I need you, you can’t stop – you – you can’t-”

Like fire on oil, his hands climb her body, find her most sensitive nerves and stroke them with dexterous fingers. He gives in to the urge that has been taunting him, even as he makes her submit.

He thrusts into her again and again, closes his eyes and drinks in the sound of her heavy, squealing breaths, the begging below her moans. Her legs tighten around his hips and pull him deep, deep, deep. Yun feels the squeezing of her body become sharp, rhythmic pulses and smiles a smile of victory for no one to see.

He no longer even needs to move. Her hips lift to him; the wet depths of her body engulf the whole of his erection and he tightens his hands on her thighs, lets the pleasure wash over him, lets the bond between them complete itself at her instigation. He lets her damn herself with her words, and her not-words, and her writhing.

“Mine, xiaofan – you are mine.”

And in her lustful madness, utterly mindless, she can say only –

“Yes, yours – yes.”

The bond between them is sealed in that moment by her words and her willingness, her intentions voiced and unvoiced.

~ ~ * * ~ ~

Liuxing runs her tongue over her lips, tightens her legs around Yun’s body and presses herself up to him, arches her back.

He gives her no warning but increases his pace. It is more than enough to send her careening wildly across the wave tied to his snarl of pleasure and release, tied to the heat inside her. The ball of furious pleasure wound up tight beneath his touch breaks and bursts.

This is all that is sacred, the unspeakable truth. This is pleasure, its most principle form. It is unlocked within her, a howling beast never again to be silent, never again to be secret.

All that is sacred.

The sacred beast within me.

Werewolves of Dublin

To begin, may I say that the title of this post and the entirety of its contents are entirely the fault of two things?

1. I’ve been listening to “Werewolves of London” on repeat. You know, THIS lovely piece of pajama party dance track:

2. Ireland is awesome and voted gay marriage into a thing. A thing that people can do. WOO.

Because of these two things, Marcas, the faoladh who stars in Wolf of the West, decided it was time for me to write his and Connor’s wedding.  (And this blog post.) I have enough books in the works without a sequel for that one too, but I can’ t help myself. I’m under the command of numerous imaginary figments, and Marcas can howl loudly when he wants to!

So, the actual point of this post is…faoladh! Marcas is one, which is why he’s such a pain – and the rest of the wolves of the west are, too, which is why they are such a pain. The faoladh are the werewolves of Ireland (technically of the Ossory area and not really Dublin, but could YOU pass up that pun? Didn’t think so.) and unlike most werewolves, the faoladh are heroic, instead of monstrous.

Are you a child alone at night, all by yourself on your way home and afraid of the dark?  A faoladh would guide you home, protect you from predators and the the danger of the dark.  A wounded warrior, perhaps the last survivor of some honorable battle? The same goes for you, because the faoladh are the protectors of the lost, and the wounded.

Rather than being cursed lycanthropes with a lust for flesh (though we’ll see about that ‘cursed’ bit in a minute), the faoladh are people, generally associated with Ossory and the nearby regions of Ireland, who choose to take on the shape of a wolf for seven years, protecting the land.

This was of course a dangerous occupation, as nothing separated one of the faoladh in wolf-shape from a normal wolf. In some of the folklore, the faoladh had the ability to speak human language , and this could protect them – if they weren’t thought to be sidhe or stray spirits. Still, there is more than one story about faoladh being hunted down, all unknowing, by those they had sacrificed so much to protect.

Remember up there I mentioned curses? Well, part of the legend of the faoladh that was changed under the influence of Christianity relates to their origin. Rather than servants of an ancient god, or chosen protectors of man, the faoladh were men and women who had made fun of a Christian saint. (Some stories say St. Natalis of Ulster…some say St. Patrick.) Because they had howled like wolves at the saint’s sermon, they were cursed to stay in the shape of wolves for seven years.

Personally, I like the older version, which made the faoladh volunteers performing a sacred duty. Considering that in all versions, they’re good creatures, helping and protecting human beings, I like to think they came into being with some dignity!

If you want to read more about the foaladh, and ancient Irish mythology in general,  try Wolf of the West! The main character Marcas is faoladh, and I had fun exploring the folklore to come up with a consistent portrayal of my favorite kind of werewolf. After all, how often do werewolves get to do anything but eat people or kill vampires? (Not that that isn’t fun too!)

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Last Stop On The Undone Blog Tour With Belinda Burke

And I present for you the last stop on the Undone Blog Tour, at Crystal’s Many Reviewers! Read and enjoy! (And keep an eye out, because today is Friday, and that means it’s time for more…fun!)

Final Stop on the Undone Blog Tour

“If I Said I Loved You…” Stop Three of The Undone Blog Tour At Lovebytes Reviews With Belinda Burke

Day three, and another pause on the endless road of words! Yesterday brought me to Lovebytes reviews for Stop Three on the Undone blog tour – and don’t forget, that giveaway bit means free books!

Guest Post and Giveaway: The Undone Blog Tour With Belinda Burke.