Tag Archives: paranormal fantasy

Rhiannon of Air

One of my favorite topics to write about is mythology, and how it might affect us if the stories were true.  Especially in terms of Elves.  This is a short story I wrote two years ago on a plot idea from S, and it remains one of my favorites. I’m currently working on editing Lover’s Requiem, so it might be a while until a new serial shows up.

RHIANNON OF AIR

He heard the noise from the basement again.  Thinking that it was one of the cats that had gotten trapped down there again—that had been happening a lot lately—he rose from his bed and made his way to the stairs that lead down.  Others in his family were somewhat afraid of the basement.  It was made when the old farmhouse had been constructed, and was little more than a space under the house that was there to hold up said house with a few wood beams here and there and walls made out of field stone.  There was only one light down there, and it hung from its wire at the end of the wooden stairs that were crooked, deep, and threatening to fall apart every time someone went down them.

Grabbing a flashlight from the counter on his way past it, he carefully went down the stairs and into the basement.  He pulled the chain attached to the light bulb when he reached the dirt floor of the basement and waiting for it to flicker to life before venturing further.  It flickered once, twice, and then flared brightly before going completely dark.  With a sigh, he gripped the flashlight and flipped the switch to turn it on.  A yellowish light crept over the basement as he ventured forward, intent on finding the cat and shooing it back upstairs.

He rounded the stairs and immediately had to blink away the tears that had formed in his eyes away.  Something was causing an awful lot of light down here.  What he wasn’t sure of was the source of said light.  Was it a fire?  A light from outside that somehow managed to get past the dirty windows?  Or perhaps a burglar with a flashlight of his own?

His flashlight was heavy enough for a weapon if it was a burglar, he thought as he hefted it in his hands.  He grabbed hold of it with both hands and ran forward into the light, ready to hit anything that he found there.

And he ran straight into a meadow that he was quite sure hadn’t been there earlier in the day.

He wasn’t sure where he was.  On the bright side, he no longer needed his flashlight, as the sun was very nicely lighting up the meadow the sky and the line of trees he could see that were standing there at the horizon.  He flicked the switch with his thumb again and turned off the light that couldn’t be seen in day anyways.  Adjusting his glasses with his left hand, and then running that same hand through his hair, he set off towards the horizon and the trees.

“Who are you?” a voice called out to him as he was walking.  He stopped and turned around in a circle, trying to see where it was coming from.  It sounded female for sure, but there was nothing around him save air.  “Who are you?” he was asked again?  The voice sounded closer this time, though still soft and almost sparkling.  It reminded him of silver bells.

“Um…my family calls me Kev.”

“Kev,” the voice said softly, enunciating every part of it.  It was almost as if she was trying to learn how to say it.  “No,” she continued on.  “That is not who you are.” She sounded very thoughtful.

“Who are you?”  Kev paused.  “Where are you, I think is the better question.”

“I am all around you.  I am called Rhiannon of Air.”

Kev knew that name well from all of his readings.  Rhiannon was one of the Elven ladies of the Seelie, connected most with air, hence her name.  She might as well have been called one of the princesses.  “My lady Rhiannon,” he said, bowing low.”

There was a dainty laugh. “There is no reason to bow here, mortal.  Only those worthy of the Elven blood in their veins are able to even enter the realm of the Fey in this time of disbelief.  You were found worthy and have been welcomed back to the Seelie court, if you would have this position.”

His eyes grew wide. “My lady, I don’t quite know what to say to such a wonderful gift.”

The air around him swirled until it drew up dirt and began to take the form of a woman in a flowing gown.  Her hair was dark brown and her robes were of a light yellow color and moved around her as they would in wind, only there was no more wind once she appeared before him.  Her face was flawless, as all of the Seelie court were.  “Speak from your heart, young one.  What does it desire?”

“To stay here,” he responded immediately.

“Then drop your mortal items and join me in court.”

The flashlight dropped to the ground and he stepped forward with the lady Rhiannon of Air.

“You shall need a better name than Kev for me to introduce you to King Auberon and Queen Titania.”

“Do you have a suggestion, lady?”

“What about…Kell?”

The newest member of the Seelie court, Kell nodded.  “It suits.”

The rest of their conversation grew dim as they walked into the forest.

~~~

There was grief in the home of Kev the next morning.  It seemed he had gone downstairs during the night to do something.  The flashlight had been turned off somehow, the family decided, and he tripped over something on the ground—likely the cat he had been trying to find—and fell to hit his head on the field stone wall.

Only his younger sister was not completely struck with grief.  She had grabbed the leaf made out of gold and emerald that had lain next to his body before anyone else could see it.  She envied her brother, being taken in by the Seelie court.   Oh, how she hoped that Kev might come for her one day as well.

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Lover’s Requiem: The Epilogue

EPILOGUE: THE MALEDICTION

The boy and the girl had been in love for as long as they could remember. Sometimes, it felt like forever in their minds.  They had gone through more than most could ever think of, changes that ended with core beliefs being shaken, thoughts that the other had been dead for years.

But events had come to pass in such a way that they found each other once again.  The smallest of their group grew in a world that knew compassion, wisdom, and a simple grace that came from doing what was right even if it resulted in and end.

It was a world full of miracles that she had seen, the reemergence of a family she had thought lost.

James was content for the first time he could remember.  Belief, he was told, was what had brought Brigett back to him.  Compassion was what had kept her from leaving him completely.   The angel blood within her made her spirit immortal, though her body was not.  She returned to him a few days later, new body, old soul, and remembering how he had grieved at her loss and how Emaline had kept him from killing himself as well.

For though he had angel blood within him as well, his second chance and his miracle of rescuing Emaline had exhausted what had remained in him. Were he to die now, it would be true death, and all that came with it.

Others came to see them, each with their own tale to tell, though the story of the two lovers was one that seemed to grow with every telling until there was not a spirit nor demon in the world who did not know their name.

He wondered what would happen to him after his death, for he was not one who had lived a good life in his tenure on Earth.  Brigett simply smiled at him when he shared his grief with her, his worries and his pain, she said, were nothing compared to what he had done for good.

Still, she kept a secret from him all through their time together.  Though it ate at her, she knew no good would come of it were he to ever find out the truth about her journey to earth that had brought them together.  He had thought that it had been about rescuing Emaline.  When she had told him that was but a happy happenstance that had occurred during her mission, he had smiled and nodded, thinking he understood.  She knew that he thought it was about redeeming himself.

It never had been.

As an angel, she had done the unthinkable and lied.

She had told Diu that it had never been about him.

Brigett smiled softly.

It was a secret she was glad to keep.

°°°°°

Well, this is it. The End of Lover’s Requiem.  When I had first planned this out, I had planned for there to be two more chapters after Chapter Nine.  But when I tried to write them, nothing would come out. Thus, I realized that I had met the end of it all. This story ended up being more than 6 years in the making due to time off from it and taking breaks before finally pushing through in August to complete it thanks to Camp NaNoWriMo.

I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I have.


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Eight

Time for Chapter Eight.  Just Chapter nine and then the epilogue left of Lover’s Requiem until I start a new project for Fridays.  Hope you enjoy this one!

CHAPTER EIGHT –THE SHIP OF PILLS AND NEEDED THINGS

It took less than a minute for Koios and Anahita to find themselves surrounded by Diu and his court.  They were completely boxed in and only by the slashing of Anahita’s sword were they able to keep enough room around them that they were not completely overrun.

There were moments when Koios found himself face to face with those who he thought he knew as friends.  Some were dressed in normal clothes, jeans and shirts that he had seen them in time and time again.  Others were clothed for this particular night, wearing what one might expect out of a traditional vampire: cloaks, black, and high collars.  They were playing their part well in this dance of demons tonight.

One came at him with a long dagger, expertly wielding it, slashing away at Koios anytime he got too close to the other.  The press of opponents became stronger and began to force Anahita and himself to separate while making him travel closer and closer to the dagger wielder with every step.  He hissed out in pain when he felt it bite into his skin, drawing a line etched in red across his lower back to his hip. With a growl, he spun and began to recklessly attack the one who had injured him, fighting to both kill his opponent and to get back to Anahita.

From the moments that he could spare to look at her, she seemed to be holding her own against the horde. But Diu was still standing to the side, directing the fight with a small smile on his face.  There would be occasional advances towards him by the angel at Koios’ side, but the elder vampire seemed to always know just when they would be, and sent more of his court against her.  It did not take long before she was overwhelmed with attackers.

Time seemed to stop for Koios as he watched, as though he was outside of all of it, peering in through a small window in time on the current fight.  He saw her spinning around, sword flashing in the parking lot lights, dark blood covering the steel.

His attention was pulled to Diu, who was directing members of his Court, those he had named family, those who he created, be sent to their deaths.  The name Anahita had given him—The One Who Takes—suddenly made sense in such a glaring way that he was shocked with himself for not having seen it before.  Diu didn’t just take the lives of the living to create more of his—of their—kind, he also threw it all away when he felt like it.

As Koios saw his standing to the side, hands in pockets, wandering around like he was on a stroll through the city, he finally understood what it meant to see red.  Bastard didn’t fight his own fights, didn’t even care enough about those who he had said were family and he would protect.  With a shout, he rushed back to himself, to the fight, to Brigett.

Ten years ago, he had damned himself to save her, only to find that it had been in vain then.  But now, he was stronger, faster, and understood that he would do anything to save her, even if it once again meant death for him.  He had promised her that he would help to keep her safe.  Now he could finally keep that promise.

Grabbing the vampire closest to him, Koios pulled him close, using him as a human shield against knife and fists.  The bloody furrow across his back seemed to dull in pain until it was gone, though he could still feel it dripping down his back on occasion.  The enemy who had made the wound was near him again, and Koios flung himself at his hand, intent on wrenching the dagger from his hand so he might have a weapon in what seemed an endless onslaught.

Hands caught on hands, grasping at clothes and skin, pulling on hair and kicking to get away from one another as they grappled on the ground for control of the situation.  “I won’t let you take her from me again,” Koios growled out, letting the demon within him take control of his body.  In a moment of pure instinct, he lunged for the neck of the older vampire and began to drain him dry.  Others tried to pull him off, but he held fast until motion beneath him ceased and he rose with dagger in hand, already slashing at those who were near enough to reach.

With his new weapon, he was able to clear a path through the circle surrounding him for long enough to escape its confines.  Free to move once more, he turned and ran towards where he had last seen Anahita.  With demon instinct still in control, he was able to move once again at speeds mortal eyes would not have ever been able to see.  A leap, and he was next to Anahita, wings that he hadn’t remembered creating outstretched behind him, blocking her from more attacks while she recovered.

“Koios,” he heard her whisper behind him, voice weaker than he remembered. “What are you doing?”

“I don’t plan on leaving you again, Brigett.  Never.  I will never give you up again,” he told her, firm, unwavering assurance in his words that shocked even him.  “I will go to hell before I live a life without you,” he finished quietly.

“Touching,” Diu called out from across the parking lot turned battlefield.  “If hell is what you want, hell is what you’ll get, Koios.”  He began to walk towards them, his court stopping what little fighting remained once the two lovers had rejoined.  “Why do you insist on fighting me?  You’re smart.  I wouldn’t have turned you had that not been the case.  You know as well as I do that you can’t possibly win this fight.”

“It’s not about winning,” came Anahita’s response.  Rising with the help of her sword as a cane, she moved to stand beside Koios.  “It was never about winning a fight against you, Diu.”

“Oh?  What was it then, angel?  To try to redeem me?”  Diu let out a laugh that sounded harsh against the quiet midnight air around them.  “And if I repent now, will all be forgiven?” His smile was cruel, though the tone was deadly serious.  “What of my Court? Will they be forgiven of their sins as well if I say they are?  We are vampires, angel.  We do not care of forgiveness and there hereafter.  The here and now is our domain, making the world ripe and ready for change so it does not stagnate and falter.  Were it not for us, humanity would remain in the dark ages, content to spend their lives farming.  Instead, they were forced to find ways to light the night, to build more impressive buildings to keep us away so they might live. We are what they want to be.  Immortal, forever. “

“There are some that still care of the hereafter, Diu,” Koios told him, stepping forward to meet him.  “When I met you, when you said you would save me, I believed in it so strongly that I was willing to go with you in hopes that I might live long enough to see Brigett again.”

The two were mere feet away from one another when Diu raised his hand. Koios stopped in his tracks, watching, waiting.  “Even now, Koios, you obey me.  You long to be with Brigett again.  You still love.  Weaknesses in vampires, perhaps, but a strength in humans to not let go.  I understand. This strength of will is another trait I saw in you when I went to welcome you into the Court.”  Diu reached out to place a hand on his shoulder.  “Come back to me, Koios.  Was I ever unkind?  Did I not give you everything that you asked for?”  He motioned to the left with his next words, “Emaline misses you, Koios.  Would you take away the family she chose so soon after her own family died on her?”

Attention was drawn from Diu to where he pointed with his hand, where a small red-headed child was peering out from behind one of the cars that was parked overnight.  Her face was pale, though it was with fear and not from lack of sunlight.  “Koios!” she called out to him when she saw him looking.

“My name,” he said quietly, “is James.”

Diu shook his head sadly. “It is a pity to see Koios die then.  He was a remarkable vampire.  James is nothing more than a man, and easily killed.”

James never saw the stake that plunged through his heart as he died a second time.

°°°°

TRIVIA: This chapter was the hardest to write.  I had no idea what I wanted to happen in it aside from “giant fight”.  So, I put it off and put it off until a week became a month, a year, and then 4 years.  When August’s Camp NaNo came around, this was the first on my list of projects to complete.  Word Wars really helped me push through it, and it turned out even better than I had hoped.

Also, it’s this chapter when Diu really comes into his own as a character and I start to love him, even though he’s…well…a bastard.


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Seven

Chapter seven is now up for reading.

Also, Monday’s post will likely be delayed until about Tuesday or perhaps later due to family events, a trip to Ohio, a possible lack of internet and Athena (the computer) remaining back at home.

Enjoy what is the longest chapter of this novella!

 

CHAPTER SEVEN- WE ARE ALWAYS SEARCHING

He awoke not long before the sun sunk beneath the horizon.  From his spot in the shadows of the church’s loft, he sat and watched the last rays hit Anahita from the opening that was left in absence of the stained glass.  Her wings weren’t pulled back for once, but rather open and soaking in the warmth before the cold of the dark night.

Koios turned his attention to his other senses.  There was no one else in the sanctuary aside from them.  There were no other heartbeats that he could discern with his ears.  Smelling the air only showed him that some places needed to be dusted more than others, and the corner where he was sitting was one of them.  There was no taste of blood in his mouth.  He left the rest of that thought alone.  There was no time to go hunting tonight.  Perhaps if he ignored hunger long enough, it would go away and he would not need to.  Touch only showed him that he was sitting on stone and it was beginning to become painful.

Darkness became a shroud around him and the angel as the sun finally disappeared, taking warmth with it, but leaving safety behind.  He stood and walked to the edge of the window, looking down at the ground below.  The glass shards had been cleaned up, leaving nothing but this hole as a sign of his passing.  He could see and hear children below, running around.  Their faces were obscured with paint or masks and bodies hidden beneath layers of clothes in order to ward off the chill of the night as they moved from house to house, ringing bells and knocking on doors.  Parents with flashlights stood at the ends of the driveways, lending more light to the already bright night.

Before this year, he had loved All Hallows’ Eve more than anything.  It was a shifting in the natural order of things, when dark became more active than day.  When night was not feared.  And it was so very easy to eat his fill on this night.  Now, staring down on them, with an angel next to him, it felt different.  He couldn’t say how, it was so subtle.  Something about being able to protect them.

Shaking it, Koios tried to clear his head.  Where were these thoughts coming from?  He was still a vampire.  That was prey down there, and easy pickings at that.  He should be down there with the rest of his court, engaging in the fun they had every year.  He should be there with Diu…

Diu.  That name again.  Latin for day.  He was anything but.  It also meant for a long time.  That fit better.

He snorted and stopped thinking altogether.  There was nothing to be worried about now.  One goal and one goal only: stop Diu from killing others.

“Are you ready?” Anahita asked him quietly, still looking out at the world.

“Yes.”

She looked at him.  “Truly?”

“Yes.”

“Is this the last of our hauntings then?”

There was a smirk on his face as he looked over at her.  “I haven’t heard your word for our dates in a long time.”

“I hope that you’ll be able to hear it many more times in the future.”

“That will only happen if we both survive and manage to see each other again.  And, as I am a demon in a man’s body,” the grim face and voice was back, “I doubt that will happen.”

Anahita only nodded, not knowing what to say.  Anything that she said at that point would only sound like a lie to him.  “Where will he be?”

“Diu?”  She nodded again.  “Out in the city.  He and the court will be together on this night.  It’s the one time we can all travel as a group and not be noticed.”  He looked back out of the window and down at the children wandering around once more.  “I never thought I would say this, but for once I’m praying again.”

“Oh?”

“I pray that we find Diu in time so that we don’t have even more carnage to deal with tonight.  There is enough done in his name already.”

“I have said it before.  You are a good man, Koios.”

“Good demon, perhaps.  But no man.”

“Be that as it may.  You are none the less.”  She turned from the window and began to walk towards the stairs that lead down from the choir loft and out into the church.  “Shall we go then?”

“Yes.  I will need to eat tonight though.  If I’m going to have strength to face Diu and the entire court, I will need blood.”  He paused in his words as he saw the look of horror on her face.  “I’m sorry.  But I need to.”

“On who?  There are only children out tonight!” Anahita yelled at him

“You have not seen me feed before, angel,” he growled out at her.  “I do not take from children and I do not kill them.  I never let my demon out to reign over me completely until two nights ago.  I might have killed that, but that was it.”

“You’re telling me that you did no lasting harm to anyone?” Her voice was tinged with astonishment.  She didn’t believe him.

“I fed, but I tried to keep them alive when I was finished.  I took the memory of my time there from their mind and then left them.”  Koios resumed walking and went past her where she was on the stairs.  His black clothes were almost swirling around him as he descended down.  “I understand if you don’t want to come with.  I will meet you back here once I have finished.”  She said something then, but it was too soft for even his ears to pick up.  He turned back, one foot still on the stairs and one on the stone floor of the church.  “What was that?”

“Would my blood work?”

He gave a short and cynical laugh.  “I asked once if you would let me take from you.  You said no.”  Then, he spun back around and shot out of the door of the church at a brisk walk.  He stalked through the night, some children scattering out of his way, others commenting on what an amazing and cool and neat costume he had and were those fangs real, mister, ‘cause they sure looked real and other such inane comments until the parents of the children came and collected their young in order to move them through the night to the next house that was full of blood and sugar.

It didn’t take long for Koios to find a bar that was packed full of drunks and had several more tumbling outside every so often for either a smoke break or to head home for more drinks.  It was easy for him to convince one such drunkard to follow him into the alley.  It also didn’t take much time to subdue her as she was already more than halfway there, though it did take him an hour or so to sober up after feeding from her.  He didn’t need as much as he used to, however.  Perhaps is had something to do with Anahita’s blood.  In that time, he wandered through the city, enjoying not having to care about anything.  It was nice, and not something he had done since before he had been turned.

It was soon after he sobered up that he walked into another subdivision.  Thoughts were on nothing, cares were not even existent any more.  It was then that he noticed  someone who looked very familiar to him.  “Lupus?” he called out, sure that he was right.

The being turned, showing his face and indeed, it was the member of Diu’s Court who he knew.  “Koios?  But I thought you were dead.  Diu said…”

“Diu lied.  He’s the reason that I’m even here to begin with.  It was he who killed both me and…and Brigett.”

“I knew that, you idiot.  I was the one who killed your precious girlfriend eleven years ago.”  Lupus’ voice was cold, yet matter-of-fact.    It held no remorse in it, however.

“You killed her?” he replied softly.  His voice was barely above a whispers, but it carried easily to the elder vampire’s ears.

“On Diu’s orders.  It’s a great honor to be asked to participate in one of his hunts.  And even better if one of the hunts turns into a night of turning.  It’s something that you should have thought of before you declined his offer to turn one of your own and to have your own Court.  It’s an honor to have one.  I’ve wanted one for years, yet some little prick is going to get it instead of me, just because Diu likes him better?  I don’t think so,” Lupus yelled at him.  He launched himself towards Koios, who dropped to the ground immediately. There were advantages to vampire speed.

As Koios raised his head, he saw who Lupus had been feeding on.  It was a child.  One of the ones who was dressed up as some type of goblin or witch or what not.  As soon as that was seen, he felt anger rise completely to the fore until he saw red.  He rose, just as Lupus came at him again.  “You bastard!” Koios screamed at him.  “You go after kids!  You’re just a poor little kid yourself, being the good son, in hopes that daddy Diu would finally like you.”  He let a punch fly as soon as his adversary was in range.  The punch did little to deter the great hulking vampire from coming at him again.  Koios found himself on the receiving end of a like punch that sent him reeling to the ground once again, small pieces of brick falling from the building that he was pushed into.    He fought back the fog that threatened to envelop him when his head hit the wall.  It took him too long to clear it, however, and the much smaller vampire found himself being picked up and tossed once more, this time towards a wooden fence that he hadn’t seen before.  As he went flying towards it, he thought about the fact that he wouldn’t be able to help Anahita take out Diu, or stop Diu from hurting anyone else

He landed and closed his eyes, ready for the flames that came to eat at his body and turn it to ash as the wooden slats of the old fence pierced his chest and heart.  He was certainly flying at a high enough speed that there would be enough power to drive one of the splinters into his heart.  There was no all consuming pain, however.  Koios opened his eyes and found that he was more or less in one piece and that one a few wooden splinters had entered his body, and all were far away from his heart.  He had lived.  What was more, was that he was now sitting in a pile of weapons deadly to his opponent.   Snatching a few up, he moved to a crouch, holding the makeshift stakes like daggers had been held in medieval times.  He didn’t think to throw them.  There was something inherently bad about a strategy of fighting the included throwing away your only weapon.  He waited there, patient, waiting for his enemy to come to him.  His advantage laid in his speed, not in brute force.  It didn’t take long nor much goading before Lupus charged at him again.  Koios felt most of the impact in his shoulder, followed by his upper back when he slammed into the very same wall yet again.  “I’m getting tired of this,” he growled out, right before, bringing up one of the stakes and jerking it towards Lupus.

Batting it away, Lupus laughed. “You’ll need to be a lot faster than that, boy, if you want to win.”

“I already am,” Koios said quietly.

Lupus looked down and saw one of the splinters from the broken fence jammed into his chest.  He hadn’t even seen the attack happen, nor where the stake had come from.  “Where the hell did you get that from?  Pull it out of your a–.”

He never had time to finish his sentence before bursting into flames and then fading to ash.  The body was still burning slightly as Koios left the alley.  “I have been accused of having one there before, yes.”

The streets that had been so full before were now near empty.  It had to be close to ten, if the previous year’s Halloween was anything to go off of.  It was around then that the parents brought their children in from outside, deciding that they had braved the dangers of the night long enough.  There were things that he needed to do, however, and it was best if they were done in the dark of the night.  For one, he needed to find Diu.  In order to complete that task, he also needed to find Anahita.

It didn’t take him long to get back to the church that had served as both meeting place and sanctuary before.  She was no longer present there, which meant that he had to search for her on his own.  He closed his eyes and focused on the energy around him, meaning to draw in power to create his wings as he used to do.  Almost without thought, he felt his black wings burst from his body, only without any of the disappearance of energy that usually occurred when he manipulated it.  Another side effect of the angel blood in him, no doubt.  It made perfect sense that he would gain the ability to fly, after all. As he rose into the air, he found that there was almost a pull telling him which way to go.  He wondered if this was what angels felt, being told what to do and where to go.  He needed to get rid of this blood and soon.  He hated feeling like he was out of control.

He couldn’t help but feel as thougt he was meant to follow the pulling and pushing though.  So follow it he did, searching beneath him for any sign of Anahita or her passing. It was near the middle of the city, in an empty parking lot, that he felt the push again, only this time, it was pulling him downwards.  He landed, wings folded behind him, yet letting them remain in an attempt to show the others who were there that he too had power.

Looking around, he saw that he had landed almost three feet away from Anahita, who had a sword in one of her hands.  Across from the two of them was aligned with Diu’s Court, with Diu himself in the middle.  “I see you found me,” Anahita told him softly.

“Your blood called me to you.”

“No more searching for one another then.”

“Never.”

“As touching as this is,” Diu called out, “I need to ask the two of you to move.  We have done nothing wrong, Angel.  Indeed, it is you who has done wrong, by consorting with one of our own.  That is against the laws of the magical beings.”

She brought her sword up to rest in a guarded stance.  “I reject your laws when necessary to ensure that no more innocent blood is spilt.”

“Koios,” Diu turned to speak to him now.  “Listen to me.  I made you.  I welcomed you and treated you as my son.  Did you ever lack for anything while within my care?  Did I ever force you to do something that you did not wish to do?”  His voice was like silk, but Koios knew all too well the poison fangs that were hidden with that velvet tongue.

“No.  You tried to end me, however.  And for that I can not forgive you.”

“So then we fight,” Diu sighed out.  “So it must be.  This ends here and now.”  He stepped back, and his court surged around him, closing in on the only two that stood against him:  an angel with a sword and a young vampire with no weapons but his fists.

°°°°

Trivia: This chapter was the hardest one to write.  I wasn’t completely sure where I wanted to go during it, all that I knew was that they needed to get to the parking lot where Diu was. The fight between Koios and Lupus was not one that I had planned, but as soon as I placed the two in a street together, I knew that was what needed to happen.  This was the last chapter I wrote in my run of writing in 2006.  The last few chapters I finished this August with Camp NaNo after struggling with how I wanted “The Ship Of Pills” to begin and end.


Lover’s Requiem: Chapter Five

Another Friday, another chapter.  Please feel free to give feedback on what you think of it!

CHAPTER FIVE- OF MASQUES AND MARTYRS

When Koios made it make to his home, he found that the sun was near rising.  If he had been out even ten minutes more, he never would have made it back in time to reach the safety of his room before passing out.  As it was though, he barely managed to tumble into his bed before he lost consciousness when the sun broke over the horizon.  His dreams that morning were unlike those that he had been having for the past ten years.  He did not dream of Bridgett and of that night.  Nor did he dream that he was at the carnival and seeing the freak show again.

In this dream, he was surrounded by light and warmth and clouds.  He had an idea of what he was dreaming of, naturally.  When he saw a pair of golden gates in the distance though, he knew for sure that his dreams had taken him to Heaven.  Almost under their own violation, he felt himself begin to walk towards the gates, where there was a figure waiting for him.  It ended up being Anahita.

“Hello, angel,” he told her.

“Hello vampire,” came her reply.

“Might I come in?”

“Here?  No.  But I can come out to you.”  And she proceeded to do just that.  There was peace in Koios for a moment as he watched her come towards him.  However, as soon as Anahita had walked past the gates, the scene transformed and the two of them were in the alleyway that the killings had occurred in.  Anahita transformed to Diu before his eyes and leered at him.  He seemed to be taller than Koios remembered him being and was defiantly darker looking.  Clouds rolled over the full moon above them as Diu looked down at him.  With a snarl, he turned away, disappearing in the night as he became one with it.

“Where are you going?” Koios called after him.

“To hunt.  To kill.  To turn.”  The reply seemed to come from the dark that was threatening to close in on him.  Just as the darkness reached his body and was beginning to enter into him, the scene shifted again and he was standing in the graveyard that he had talked with Anahita in.  He walked through it, not really thinking of anything.  At one point, he passed by a highly polished tombstone and caught sight of something that troubled him to no end: his reflection.

There was the hint of the creature that the strong man in the carnival had possessed completely.  It was closer to being a true part of him, unlike the demon that he had seen in Emaline.  He bit his lip and turned away; this was not something that he wanted to see.  No matter where he turned though, he found himself looking at his visage in the tombstones again.   As he moved onward though, eyes straight ahead, he found that the images he saw from the corner of his eye were changing.  No longer did they show a man and a demon melded together.  Instead, they showed what looked like a human body that was rotting away before him. Koios stopped before one of them to looked closer at it and felt his body seize up.  It was his body.

He awoke with a start as the sun went down.  He had forgotten that he had no need of breath and was currently breathing heavily like he had done when human after a nightmare.  At least the nightmare had been helpful, he found himself thinking with a wry smile.  He had been banned from entering Heaven and Anahita had disappeared to be replaced with Diu.  It was obvious what was being told to him: there was no way he could be with an angel, even if she did look like Brigett.  Diu was his creator and it was Diu who he would stay with.

It was time to tell Diu what was happening to him.

Koios rose late that night, long after the other members of the court had departed for their hunts.  He felt that Diu was still at home though, which helped him to finally come out of his room.  “Diu?” he called out softly.  He knew that the older vampire would be able to hear his voice with no problem.  It was all down to whether or not he cared to answer Koios that night.

“Yes?” The response came almost instantly as Diu seemed to appear out of the shadows that were behind Koios.  “What’s wrong?”

“I have something to tell you.”

There was silence after Koios had finished his story of what had happened to him in the past few nights.  “An angel, you say?” Diu finally asked him.  There was a nod from the younger vampire.  Diu sighed, looking more human than he ever had in the past.  He rose from his place on the couch and began to pace back and forth as he talked.  “I have not needed to deal with things such as this in the past.  You are a strange one, Koios.  You are sure that you have not imagined this entire thing?”

“Yes.  It’s hard to say how I know, but I just…”

“You know.  I understand perfectly.  It’s how I knew that you were going to be in the alley ten years ago.”  There was a pause.  “No, eleven years ago tonight.  Damn, has it really been that long…”  There was silence once again as Diu stopped to think.  He shook his head after a moment and resumed pacing.  “I think that perhaps the best thing to do is to bring you out on a hunt with me.  Reclaim your title as a creature of the night and forget about this angel.  Heaven is a place of purity, yes?  If you are covered in blood once again, the blood that you need to survive, then this angel should leave you be.”

“A hunt?  With you?”

Diu smiled at him.  “Why not.  The night is still young enough.”

Koios nodded and stood.  “Let’s go hunt then.”  He didn’t bother to voice his next thought, of how perhaps hunting with his sire would finally let him be rid of this love that was holding him to earth, allowing him to decay, after all these years without it.

The two vampires left the building with hardly any noise.  The moon was almost dark, but the sliver that was left was more than enough for them to see by where the street lights had gone out or where there weren’t any.  Their search for the perfect prey that night hardly took any time at all.  Not even five minutes after they left did Diu hold out his hand and point to a couple. “It’s time you learn how to make your own childe, Koios.”

“That’s your job.  This is your Court.”

“You’re strong enough now to form a Court of your own.”  Diu looked around and then smiled.  “I’ll provide the distraction to get them parted from one another.  Who do you want?”

“The girl,” Koios said at once.

The elder vampire nodded and then was gone in a flutter of wings and duster.  Koios stood and watched from his place in the shadow of the building he was next to for the right moment to come and strike.  He glanced up a moment as he waited and saw the stars above once again.  Was Anahita up there watching him now?  No, best not to dwell on such ideas.  With a start, he came back to himself and focused on the hunt once more.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a street person appeared before the couple.  A human would not have been able to hear the words that were being exchanged, and Koios barely could.  There were some words and sentences here and there that stuck him, though he couldn’t place his finger on it.  It was only when he saw the street person pull a gun and the man shout out “Run!” that Koios froze.

This was how his own death would have played out had he been an observer in it.

“Are you planning on going after her at any point in the future?” asked a voice from behind him.  Koios spun around, seeing Diu standing there.  “She’s getting away.”

“What the hell did you do.”

“A thrall on a person that dead inside isn’t that hard to pull off.  I simply suggested to him that he might go and see if those two had any money on them.”

“You bastard. They’re both going to end up dead.”

“I didn’t hear you complaining before,” Diu spat at him.

“That was before I knew that you were the one responsible for killing me and Brigett.”  Koios’ eyes were ice cold as the bore into Diu’s.

“Ah yes.  Your precious Brigett.  You know Koios, most vampires give up on their human lives and forget about them after a year.  Those that don’t are considered weak and are taken to Greet the Mane.  I kept you safe from the Elders of the vampires because you amused me.  It was interesting to see how long a vampire could hold onto his humanity.  Your times of amusement have come to an end, however.”  Diu reached into the pocket of his duster and pulled out a piece of carved wood.  It was ornate, the end whittled to look like a fang and the handle of it carved with different pictures that, on a closer look, showed human bodies twined around the vampires, either dead in their arms or just about dead.  “It’s time for you to meet with death one last time.  And I will not save you this time.”

Diu brought up the stake and started it on its downward descent in lightening fast speed. Koios somehow responded with speed that was near equal to Diu’s and dodged out of the way.  The stake still came into contact with his body, but it was no where near his heart and was more of a graze that anything.  Blood oozed out of the wound a bit, slow as the pressure was nowhere near what it would have been had he fed that night.  “I would not ask you to,” he told his sire.  Before the stake could come up and threaten his life again, he took off down the streets.

With a bit of the energy he had swimming around in him, he formed wings and rapidly took to air, flying until he was back near the cemetery that he had meet Anahita at last night.  Landing, he fell to earth, energy depleted.  He could barely walk, let alone attempt to go feed.

“Bridgett,” he called out.  “Anahita, whoever you are…I need you.   I believe you.”

He passed out soon afterwards, not knowing if his plea for help had been heard nor if he would be Greeting the Mane in a few hours time.

°°°°

TRIVIA: It was this chapter here that I realized I had a rather awesome villain in Diu, and I really began to enjoy writing his scenes.  Diu nearly killing Koios here was not something I had originally planned for, but the more I read it, the more it fits and drives the story in a way the original scene I had planned never would.


Book Review Four: Storm Front by Jim Butcher

Storm Front is the first of the Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher and remains one of my favorites.  It starts off with a quick introduction of Harry Dresden via the eyes of a new mailman.  Dresden is the only openly practicing wizard in the country and often does work for the Chicago Police when they have a crime they can’t solve.

Part wizard, part detective, Harry is called on by the Special Investigations Unit of the Chicago PD when they come across two bodies who have had their hearts torn out of their chests and no one is sure what could have done it. 

Though, for Harry, black magic comes to mind.

Meanwhile, Dresden gets a job to look for a woman’s missing husband.  as he follows the clues that get him closer and closer to where Victor Sells might be, Harry finds himself tangling with vampires, the Fae, demons, even the local Mob boss, Gentleman Johnny Marcone.

Not to mention the other wizards who just don’t seem to trust Harry for one mistake he made in killing someone with magic when he was a kid.

As it turns out though, Victor Sells’ disappearance, the newest “hip” drug called Three-Eye and hearts being torn out of chests are all interconnected and the tangled web they each weave around Harry ends with him face to face with giant deadly scorpions, an insane warlock using black magic and a spell that will end his life if he can’t stop it in time.

The first book in the Dresden Files series, Storm Front is the work of a first time author.  Some of the dialogue seems stilted or forced and the attempt at humorous dialogue is sometimes contrived.  It takes the basic plot of a “urban fantasy” novel and flips it around enough so that it is doesn’t look like anything else.  With the 13th book coming out next week though, Butcher’s writing style has clearly improved and been perfected.  Plots are more original, and even off-hand comments in the earlier books begin to hold great significance in Dresden’s life.

The characters, on the other hand, are well fleshed out from day one.  They are lovable, hate-able, and there are times you just want to scream at them to stop being morons and run before the monsters get them. 

While the other books do improve, this first book isn’t the best in the series, something even Butcher admits to.  I give it four of five stars for character creation and the fact that the books get a lot better as the series rolls on.

If urban fantasy with non-stereotypical vampires, shape-shifting werewolves, faeries, magic and even zombies is your thing, then I highly suggest buying it here.

Cover photo from:  http://www.jim-butcher.com/store?cat=1


Post Potter Depression Reading List

Now, if you’re like me, you probably went to the midnight release of Harry Potter last night/this morning for the final movie.  And, when you walked out, you were on the “that was BRILLIANT” high.  But then you woke up.  And the Post-Potter Depression hit you.

“Now what do I read?” you’re asking yourself.  Well, here is my list of recommendations of books to help with PPD.

The first is So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane.  It was originally published in 1983 (Long before Potter Mania) and currently consists of nine books in the series.  This first book follows the tale of Nita Callahan as she discovers a book in the library while hiding from bullies tormenting her.  Called “So you want to be a wizard”, she takes the wizard’s oath in it that night, and awakens the next morning to find her name in the back of it as a wizard.  She meets Christopher “Kit” Rodriguez, a new wizard like herself, and together, the two of them find themselves caught in a plot that ends with them taking on the Lone Power in an alternate Manhattan to regain a book that has contained in it all that was and shall be before the Power can destroy Nita and Kit’s Manhattan for good.  Find a copy here

Now, if epic Fantasy is more your thing, and you have already gone through Tolkien, I suggest Elizabeth Haydon’s Symphony of Ages Trilogy, the first of which is called Rhapsody.  Published in 1999, there are now three other books besides, all detailing the lives of Rhapsody, Achmed the Snake and Grunthor.  The first tells the story of how the three meet, and, in an attempt to escape that which is chasing them, find themselves in the root system of the oldest tree in their world: one that mythology says goes all the way through the earth.  And it does.  They climb through it for what seems to be years for them, and when they finally make their way out of the other side, they find that 1000 years have passed and the country they left from is now gone, sunk beneath the seas.  In a new world, they need to find their own place while dealing with mistrust around them because they are of races that are not normally welcome.  Rhapsody can be found here.

Now, if vampires are more your thing, Jeanne C. Stein has a wonderful series called the “Anna Strong Series”.  They are shorter than Potter (around 300 pages) and the blurb on the back of the first book, The Becoming, compares them to “a cross between Mary Janice Davidson’s Undead series…and Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series”.  A bounty hunter, Anna Strong finds herself attacked one night, and when she wakes up, she’s…changed.  Vampires to her are a thing of myth, and as she struggles to come to terms with what she is, she must also decide if she will walk in the Mortal world, the darker world of vampires, or both, and who she’ll trust in this new society she finds herself in.  There are six books out now, and all are very, very well written.  See it for yourself here.

Finally, there is Eragon by Christopher Paolini. This series of 4 has been in creation since 2003 and the fourth and final book is coming out November of this year.  This book tells the story of a young boy named Eragon when he finds a strange blue stone is a forest when he is out hunting.  Unable to sell it, he keeps it, and is surprised when, a few days later, a dragon hatches from it.  From here on out, Eragon is forced into a role as a Dragonrider, a role which he does not understand, as he searches for the Rebellion, known as the Varden, to help in their fight against the dark Emperor Galbatorix.  The similarities between Star Wars, Tolkien, and Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders of Pern series are there, but it is still worth a read.  Check it out here.

Well, hopefully that’s enough to ward of PPD for now!