Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 10 – final day!

Welcome to day 10 – the final day – of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. If you have read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, mail them to editorial(at)Immanion-press(dot)com, with the subject heading Para Kindred competition. You will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store. http://www.cafepress.com/immanionpress The winner can choose any item from this section. The closing date for entries is Friday 27th June.

Today’s featured author is Suzanne Gabriel. http://signsoftheseason.blogspot.ca/2014/06/did-you-expect-to-find-answers.html The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.

If you’ve missed any of the posts, all the links are listed below.

 

Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?

Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.

Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?

Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?

Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?

Fiona’s question: What colour did Kethoak turn when he mused on the fundamentally linear nature of time?

Daniela’s question: What was the name of the first har who arrived after Sapphire and Julee had founded Serenity?

Storm’s question: What does the peacock har liken Ashmael and Fernici to before he walks away from them?

Martina’s question: Where have Satoru and Kiyoshi met again for the first time since they parted at Neo Osaka?

Suzanne’s question: What type of farming does Tobian see evidence of on the island?

 

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html

Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Nerine’s 19th June www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com

Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4

Link to Fiona’s 21st June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Daniela’s 22nd June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 23rd June https://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Martina’s 24th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Suzanne’s 25th June http://signsoftheseason.blogspot.ca/2014/06/did-you-expect-to-find-answers.html

Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 9

Welcome to day 9 of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. Every day until 25th June the PK authors will be posting a blog post about their story in the collection. Read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store.

Authors who don’t have blogs of their own will have their articles posted here. Today’s featured author is Martina Bellovičová. The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.

 

Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?

Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.

Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?

Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?

Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?

Fiona’s question: What colour did Kethoak turn when he mused on the fundamentally linear nature of time?

Daniela’s question: What was the name of the first har who arrived after Sapphire and Julee had founded Serenity?

Storm’s question: What does the peacock har liken Ashmael and Fernici to before he walks away from them?

Martina’s question: Where have Satoru and Kiyoshi met again for the first time since they parted at Neo Osaka?

 

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html

Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Nerine’s 19th June www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com

Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4

Link to Fiona’s 21st June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Daniela’s 22nd June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 23rd June https://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

 

 

Looking at the har, I could immediately tell he was gravely ill. He was pale, with chapped, dry lips and dark rings under his eyes, which had the vacant expression that signified a long lasting fever. His skin was clammy to the touch and unnaturally hot. I held his wrist briefly, in order to determine his pulse, and once I was finished, he let his hand fall limply onto the covers. They had sent for me to Hiroshima when Amiyu, the elder healer of the Nara tribe, failed in his attempts to improve the patient’s condition, hoping my education in the medical field could make a difference.

I wasn’t that certain. Without a lab and the necessary medical equipment, it was impossible for me to figure out what exactly had caused his current state. I could try to use some of the medicine I had brought with me when I left Neo-Osaka, but a trial-and-error approach hardly seemed promising. The har was definitely having difficulties breathing and he broke into a wheezing cough in irregular intervals. Had this happened several years ago, and he had been a human patient, I would have guessed one of the more vicious types of influenza or a similar kind of virus. Except he was har and Wraeththu could never be ill, not in that way.

Becoming one of the ‘mutants’, as I used to call them back then, had given me a one of a kind opportunity to study all our medical particularities first hand. One of the most fascinating things I had learned was that our bodies are immune to nearly all poisons and illnesses known to man. The impossibility to contract even a simple cold is something one could get used to very easily. That, in combination with our unageing, reliable bodies, made us feel almost immortal. I understood why everyhar in the room seemed to be so nervous. They were used to enemies that wielded blades, not the unseen and microscopic kind.

“When did this happen?” I inquired, my voice oddly rough in the strained silence of the infirmary.

“Several days ago,” Kiyoshi said, stepping forward from the circle of onlooking hara. “When his state started to get worse, I sent for you immediately.”

I nodded, applying the stethoscope to the har´s chest. I only had to listen for a short while to discover unmistakeable signs of pneumonia. Perhaps I should use those antibiotics after all.

“Did anyhar else get ill?”

“Just him.”

Given that I was the only individual in the infirmary thoughtful enough to wear gloves and a surgical mask, this seemed indeed curious.

“I would still prefer if all the hara, who have nothing to do here, left the room. We don´t know if they can contract it, and the patient needs as much peace as he can get anyway.”

Kiyoshi nodded. He made a decisive gesture that included the entire room, and hara began to trail out of the door. One of them stopped at the threshold, reluctant to obey, and proceeded to give me a spiteful and superior glance.

“You too, Amiyu,” Kiyoshi ordered. “He will return into your care later.” The healer granted me one last scowl and walked out without a word. “He doesn’t trust human science.” Kiyoshi shrugged apologetically. “But we have tried the harish way repeatedly and his condition didn’t improve. At this point, I am willing to give a chance to any method.”

“I have acquired some knowledge in magical healing, but I trust that Amiyu had done better work than I could.” I said, careful to put the right amount of respect into my voice. When I first joined the tribe in Hiroshima, I had presented myself as a doctor, so as to show I had useful skills, worth keeping me for, and the leader of the tribe decided that I would be taught to become a healer too, combining the scientific element with the natural one. It requires some understanding of how the physical and subtle energy systems work. As I learned, hand movements and light touches helped me direct the life force, but now I could correct its flow with my mind alone.

“We will start by taking a few blood samples,” I announced, opening the suitcase I had brought with me. “I’ll do my best to analyse them as soon as possible. In the meantime, you should instruct someone to prepare a cold wrap for him. The fever must go down immediately.”

All the time, I felt Kiyoshi´s eyes on me, keeping a close watch on each move I made. He even stepped forward in what seemed to be a protective instinct when I poked the needle into the poor har’s arm. Concentrating on the task at hand was becoming increasingly difficult under his judging stare; one I knew too well from when I first saw him, caged, but never defeated. Finally, I lost my nerves and turned around to face him.

“Kiyoshi, is there a problem I am failing to see?”

He swallowed heavily, moving closer as he fixed me with an intense stare. “You are the scientist. You tell me! Is this… can this be natural? You have studied the virus. You know exactly how it destroys every hostile cell or organism in a harish body, the principles on which it works its magic of immunity. Can this illness be anything else but someone highly intelligent trying to get back at us and evolve a malady we don´t have an antidote for?”

I understood his concerns then. From what I heard, Kiyoshi had become the sole chief of the Nara tribe and all the responsibility rested upon his shoulders. Finding out someone might have been ingenious enough to beat our genetic set-out and unleash a virus that would annihilate large numbers of hara in the same way smallpox had destroyed whole tribes of Native Americans when white men arrived was frightening even to me. How worried Kiyoshi had to be, I could hardly imagine.

“I will definitely keep it in mind as a possibility,” I said carefully, “but we cannot exclude other options as of yet. Viruses are highly adaptable and often mutate, which makes them capable of infecting previously immune species.”

I was sure both of us wanted to hope this illness was nature’s work, not a bioterrorist weapon. He allowed me to work in silence from then on, but sat down on the other side of the bed and kept watching as I administered a drug that I believed could make the har feel somewhat better. So far, it only enabled him to fall into a restless sleep. It was a strange situation, him and me, suddenly the only two conscious hara in the room, yet not really alone. There were so many unanswered questions I had for him, so much to say, but the occasion didn´t allow for that.

I looked at Kiyoshi over the har’s body. The anxiety written in his face wasn’t something I was familiar with; he had never shown even a sign of fear in Neo-Osaka, when his own life was in danger. That made his sudden vulnerability and the sympathy he felt for another all the more precious and heart-breaking.

“You worry about him a lot, don’t you..?”

He sighed, oblivious to the fact that I was attempting to pave a path for him to open up in order for me to comfort him. He looked away from me. I waited through a minute or two of awkward silence before getting up. There were samples for me to analyse. Sensing the motion, Kiyoshi lifted his eyes again and rose too; almost as if he wanted to prevent me from leaving. Something about him changed – it was a subtle shift that I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but the hostility I had sensed from him before was gone.

“I am sorry, Satoru,” he said silently. “I thought that Hideo had been targeted on purpose. That his illness was someone’s personal revenge against me. But I don´t think so any more.”

What he was saying, or rather what he wasn’t saying, nearly made me smash the syringes in a wave of rightful anger. So this was why I had to come?! I didn’t know what exactly I had hoped for when I learned I would meet him again, but it certainly wasn’t this.

“Seriously?! You thought I had done this?” I snapped, not caring in the slightest if Hideo would wake up or not. “Care to tell me why the fuck would I even bother after all the years living in Hiroshima, during which it became blatantly obvious to me that you were never going to appear?”

He bore my outburst with utmost calm and leaned down to Hideo, making sure the har wasn’t too upset. There was something deeply personal about the way he stroke the har’s tangled hair, comforting him, and deep down I realized I knew the answer; maybe I had even known it all along, but I still wanted to hear it from him. Finally, he looked up, one of his hands protectively placed over Hideo’s limp one.

“Because he has just recently became my chesnari…”

Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 8

Welcome to day 8 of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. Every day until 25th June the PK authors will be posting a blog post about their story in the collection. Read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store.

Authors who don’t have blogs of their own will have their articles posted here. Today’s featured author is Storm Constantine. The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.

Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?

Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.

Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?

Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?

Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?

Fiona’s question: What colour did Kethoak turn when he mused on the fundamentally linear nature of time?

Daniela’s question: What was the name of the first har who arrived after Sapphire and Julee had founded Serenity?

Storm’s question: What does the peacock har liken Ashmael and Fernici to before he walks away from them?

 

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html

Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Nerine’s 19th June www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com

Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4

Link to Fiona’s 21st June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Daniela’s 22nd June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 23rd June https://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 7

Welcome to day 7 of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. Every day until 25th June the PK authors will be posting a blog post about their story in the collection. Read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store.

Authors who don’t have blogs of their own will have their articles posted here. Today’s featured author is Daniela Ritter. The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.

Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?

Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.

Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?

Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?

Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?

Fiona’s question: What colour did Kethoak turn when he mused on the fundamentally linear nature of time?

Daniela’s question: What was the name of the first har who arrived after Sapphire and Julee had founded Serenity?

 

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html

Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Nerine’s 19th June www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com

Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4

Link to Fiona’s 21st June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

 

 

Julee

By Daniela Ritter

 

I am the phylarch of Serenity. I didn’t really chose to become that. It rather happened on its own.

In the beginning, Sapphire and I were alone. We had a lot of work to do. The village we had chosen as our home was lovely, but not in very good condition. Years, if not decades, of negligence due to the absence of the former inhabitants had taken their toll on the houses.

No day passed without Sapphire complaining extensively about what we found inside the dwellings: Heaps of dust, insect nests, rusted cans of what could have served as a good meal, roofs far from being intact and thus a large variety of fungi on the moist walls, or depressing remains of long deceased pets, still in their cages.

Sapphire did not seem to be comfortable. More than once I asked him if he would like to leave the village, which just made him mumble unintelligibly. Soon I figured that his rambling was only his way to deal with the depression the old houses tried to force on us.

The aura of death around them was unnerving. We found a total of six human bodies, all dressed and lying in beds or sitting in armchairs, as if they once had gone to a sleep they had not waken up from any more.

I admit that I threw up the moment we found the first one. The stench was not that bad, but I had never seen a dead body before. I had taken Sapphire for dead when I first saw him, though. But he had been a beautiful corpse. The humans we found were already beyond recognition.

Sapphire insisted on getting them out of the village at once, and of course I agreed. We couldn’t leave them where we found them, could we? The houses were to be occupied again.

So we piled them on an old handcart and brought them beyond the border Sapphire had drawn. There we burned them and gave them what we thought was a proper burial. Without knowing the dead and not being priests we did what we could to appease their spirits, so that they might not haunt us.

 

As he had promised, Sapphire had learned to build a magical barrier around the village to keep us from harm. Serenity was guarded by a huge invisible dome of energy. It covered the whole valley. When an outsider reached the border, it appeared to him that there was no valley at all, but an unfriendly looking plane, covered by sharp stone needles, slippery rocks and other obstacles which made it an uncomfortable road to chose. If the stranger wanted to try his luck anyway, he suddenly changed his mind when he touched the barrier and went away, forgetting about what he had seen.

The dome blocked everyhar’s way – as long as he was not expected or in need of help – but animals and rain passed through it as if it didn’t exist.

From the inside you could not see it was there. So it looked rather funny when you found strangers standing outside, gazing worriedly at the illusion of a dangerous plane, but at the same time staring right through you, not being able to perceive your presence. The dome concealed our auras as well as it hid any visual information about Serenity.

Sapphire and I both knew exactly where the energy met the ground because we renewed the magic patterns regularly. The easiest and most powerful way to do this was by performing a grissecon. I’m not as powerful as my chesnari is, but he always leads the ritual and guides me, and I became an efficient supporter.

Before we learnt how to do that however, we had to stand at the borders for hours, holding our hands up against the barrier and channelling agmara. Both methods are effective, but grissecon is more efficient. And more fun, to be honest.

 

Arynn was the first who found us. Sapphire was sleeping off his blood loss at the time, so I was not expecting to meet anyone around the village.

In the afternoon I was collecting firewood. The autumn air was warm and the birds were singing. I was at peace with myself and the world.

Searching for fallen twigs and branches as a first start, I roamed between the trees. That’s where I found him. Huddled beneath a heap of fallen leaves, I discovered a sleeping har. Eyeing him curiously, I ventured towards him.

The rustling sound of my steps woke him. After blinking sleepily for a few times, he finally noticed me and jumped on his feet, alarmed. Scared but decisive, he reached for a small branch on the ground and pointed it into my direction. “Go away! Leave me alone!” he barked.

Looking down at my bundle of branches, I smiled. I had more sticks than he did.

“There’s no need to be afraid, Tiahaar.” I glanced up, and as I had expected, I found him startled. My appearance confused him. “Yes, I’m har, too. And whatever is wrong with you, you are welcome here. This is the village Serenity, a refugee camp for failed inceptions.”

I had been practising that little speech in secret. Now I was proud that I could hold it without stuttering. I was very excited, but I desperately wanted to make a good impression on him.

Thinking back now, I should have been a little more vary of the complete stranger in front of me. After all, if he had wanted to attack me, Sapphire would have been left without protection in the worst case. But back then I was convinced that my chesnari’s magic worked just fine, and that the unknown har could only be needing help.

That indeed was the case. The stranger looked me up and down. “Really..? I mean, you’re… and you’re sure, that you’re…” He slowly lowered the stick, showing the first, careful trust in me.

I smiled. “Well, I did acquire a soume-lam, so…” “I didn’t” he half-whispered.

At first I frowned. Could he be human? No, not if he knew what I was talking about. I opened my arms. “So, make yourself a home here, then. We’re only three now, but I’m sure others will follow. What’s your name?”

The stick dropped onto the ground and he ventured closer. “Arynn.” He bowed, insecure if I might be a har of high rank. “You are… the phylarch, then?”

I thought about that for a moment. I actually had mused that Sapphire would be our leader, but what good is a leader who needs so much time for sleeping and recovering? Someone would need to substitute him in that time. And I guessed he would trust me doing that.

“I think so. My name is Julee har Serenity.” I returned the bow to show him that I did not consider him a lesser person. Arynn smiled.

 

In the evening we were already talking like old friends. It turned out that he was had found the village by following an indistinct feeling, like a pull in his chest. At that time he had been living on his own for a few months already. The subconscious call had appeared all of a sudden, when he had once again parted from a group of travelling hara. He never stayed with others for longer than a few days. Not any longer than it took him to take the occasional aruna in the dark, where nohar could see what was wrong with him.

Later I learned that nearly everyhar who arrived in Serenity told that very story. It’s a shame that the first Wraeththu, who had undergone a massive change in their physical bodies, nevertheless cast  out those who had changed differently. I often shook my head at how fast hara had set up rules of how a proper har has to look like.

Well, those unlucky ones were welcome in our little family. I did my best to welcome everyhar without being biased in any way, but I have to admit that it was not always as easy as I had imagined.

For instance, Jennah’s body fought the change fiercly during althaia. In the end the human flesh had to submit, of course, but his face remained somewhat askew. He has the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen, and the rest of his body is perfectly normal. But I admit I had to learn looking at him without wincing.

I openly admire him. He wore a mask at first, but as time went by, he learned not to be ashamed. He even lets his chesnari call him “Picasso”, as a reference to these old paintings. I like to imagine that I have been a kind of role model for hara who are ugly but happy and that I helped him with that, but I don’t want to ask.

 

After we had become a considerable group, I took up my training again. I have always been a good fighter, and despite of my looks I am quick, and having to carry my own weight every day makes me probably even strong than the average har.

Sapphire got to know me when I was depressed and mistook me for a weak coward. Living in Serenity and doing good work for other hara quickly returned my self confidence. I had become a leader, and as a har in charge for others I had to be able to defend myself and my family.

 

Those who were interested got lessons in how to disarm or hold down somehar – or, in the last resort, how to kill. In my early days as a har I have taken lives, as have most of those from the first generation. But the times in which I was proud of that have long gone. Luckily, as Sapphire’s barrier hides us well, we have never been attacked.

 

It is early in the evening. The sun already touches the mountains that surround the valley. Nightfall comes quickly in Serenity. Everyhar knows that. Yet a certain someone usually denies that once month.

As I expected I find Sapphire hunched in our garden, digging frantically in the earth. Although the full moon will soon rise, he does anything but prepare for his ritual. I sigh and step up to him.

“What do you think you’re doing?” I do my best to look stern, but he does not even lift his face.

“Planting flowers. Don’t you see?” he mumbles. Shaking my head, I remark: “You’re ruining them, actually.” Sapphire snorts. “Ah, screw the daisies. I got seeds for moon flowers. Lunil’s going to like them.”

My voice becomes louder now. “Sapphire, you have an appointment! Don’t make me drag you up to that pool!”

Now I have his attention. He looks up at me, then turns his head to the flag pole we have built in the middle of the village. Most hara get their water from the stream which flows down from the mountain pool that Sapphire bleeds in, so on the day before full moon we fly a large, red banner. From dusk to dawn nobody will touch the water, then. That’s enough time to allow my chesnari’s ritual and afterwards rinse out all the blood.

Today Sapphire sticks out his tongue to the banner, that dutifully announces his inner moon cycle. “Lunil can bite me. I have not finished, yet,” he decides.

Thank Lunil, he’s not always like that. But when he is, he even manages to annoy a patient har like me. At least I know he doesn’t mean to. His hormones are driving him crazy right now.

Sapphire is the kind of har who hates losing control. So although he has accepted his regular bleeding, he tends to procrastinate the inevitable. I guess he wants to prove to himself that he  makes his own rules by that.

And so I realise that I won’t get to him with words. Well, I know other methods, too. Proudly I strike a fighting pose, threatening to kick him if he doesn’t move.

Sapphire blinks. “Oh no, you wouldn’t.” “If I have to, I will” I answer calmly. He just snorts and keeps on digging, until he suddenly hangs upside down. I have grabbed him by the ankle and hold him in the air, while I patiently wait for his loud rambling to end.

A minute later, Sapphire folds his arms and pouts, trying to look superior despite of his embarrassing situation. “Fine” he finally agrees. “Okay, I’ll go. Let me down!”

I know that trick, so I insist: “You will go now. Right now.”

“Right now” he repeats somewhat quiet. Smiling, I lay him softly on the ground. Sapphire chuckles. Mood swing at its best.

“You caught me.” he admits. “I know,” I whisper softly. I kneel beside him and bent down to share breath. I taste a dark velvet night sky over a wide, nightly meadow speckled with white bonfires.

With a satisfied smile, Sapphire looks up to me. “You know, sometimes I don’t know how you can stand me.” I kiss him on the forehead. “Because I love you, silly. And besides on werewolf-days, you are wonderful.”

He really is.

Para Kindred Blog Hop Day 6

Welcome to day 6 of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. Every day until 25th June the PK authors will be posting a blog post about their story in the collection. Read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store.

Authors who don’t have blogs of their own will have their articles posted here. Today’s featured author is Fiona Lane. The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.
Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?
Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.
Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?
Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?
Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?
Fiona’s question: What colour did Kethoak turn when he mused on the fundamentally linear nature of time?

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html
Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/
Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/
Link to Nerine’s 19th June http://www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com
Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4

The Unspeakable Sliminess Of Being
Fiona Lane
It was the legs that gave it away. Six was not a quantity usually to be found on any har, and Kethoak had trouble co-ordinating them to begin with until he divided them into two sets of three, each in a sort of tripod arrangement. The problem of locomotion solved, he set his mind to the task of discovering why he was scuttling across a stone-slabbed floor while far above him a giant har shrieked his dismay at the presence of a cockroach in his kitchen and brandished a giant broom.

Kethoak was on the point of making a vital connection between these two seemingly unrelated happenings when the giant broom came down with an almighty whack on his exoskeleton, crushing him to an unsightly smear on the otherwise pristine kitchen floor and ending his deliberations.

*******

The wings were an improvement the next time. There were only two, which proved a lot simpler to operate, and the power of flight gave the world an altogether more three-dimensional aspect. His view of this three-dimensional world was multi-faceted, intricate and, ironically, insufficient to warn him of the incoming swatter which knocked him out of the air and left him lying on his back on the ground, all six legs waving helplessly.

At this point, he thought, wings would definitely have come in handy, but it was too late because the curious harling picked him up and pulled each fragile, translucent membrane from his thorax. The legs followed, one by one, and then the head.

******

The presence of fur and a tail alerted him to the fact that he had been upgraded to something more mammalian this time, and a quick leg-count confirmed his suspicions. The presence of sharp little teeth in his mouth filled him with the desire to gnaw something tasty, and the presence of a pungent, lactic aroma drew him like a magnet toward the wood and metal contraption on the floor. He did not see the coiled spring, nor the delicately-balanced wire that kept it in place – all he saw was the tempting, creamy bait, and as his tiny incisors bit into it, the second-last thing that went through his mind was that he had never realised how delicious cheese was. The last thing that went through his mind was the short metal bar attached to the spring as it snapped close.

******

Being a slug was all about the slime. That unspeakable slime. And the unspeakable sliminess of being. About which he could not speak. So he didn’t.

******

After that there was nothing. Or at least there was no legs or wings or tail or teeth. (And, mercifully, no slime.). There was, however, a Dehar. Kethoak felt pleased with himself for recognising the entity as such, but the Dehar failed to return the compliment and looked right through Kethoak as if he wasn’t there. Which – having no body – he wasn’t. Kethoak coughed irritably to try to attract the Dehar’s attention, but again the lack of corporeal form was a hindrance to this activity, so he concentrated his non-corporeal self into a thought which he projected into the Dehar’s mind.

“I wish to complain.”

The Dehar looked up, as if being addressed by a disembodied consciousness was nothing out of the ordinary. Which, for a Dehar, it probably wasn’t.

“What do you want to complain about?” the Dehar asked.

“Reincarnation.”

“Really? That’s unusual. Most souls find it an improvement on existential annihilation. Do you want to apply for that instead?”

“No I do not!”

“Then what exactly is your problem?” The Dehar looked around himself rather distractedly, as if he had lost something but couldn’t quite remember what it was.

“My problem is that I keep getting reincarnated as… creatures unsuited to my spiritual development.”

“I see. What sort of creatures?”

“Cockroaches. Flies. Mice.” There was a ripple in the aether. “Slugs.”

The Dehar’s attention finally focused on the space where Kethoak’s consciousness located itself. “I don’t consider that to be a problem.” he said. “These are all beautiful and worthy animals in their own right, which play an important role in the ecosystem of your realm. Particularly the slugs. You could learn a lot from them. You do know, don’t you,” he said, a slight edge creeping into his voice, “that the purpose of reincarnation is to learn from the experience?”

“And what am I supposed to learn from being a cockroach or a slug?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Something about the nature of power and powerlessness, perhaps?”

Kethoak rippled angrily. “I know about that. I was a powerful har. I don’t need to spend several lifetimes oozing slime and eating cheese to learn such basic things.”

“Obviously not. Well, if you don’t enjoy being reincarnated as any of these fascinating and gentle creatures, what would you like to be reincarnated as?”

“A har, of course!”

“I see.” The Dehar thought for a moment, then materialised what appeared to be a well-thumbed copy of a small book and flicked through it efficiently until he reached the desired page, which he studied carefully, a slight frown upon his unearthly features.

“A har?” he said, running his finger down the page and back up again. He sighed. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I’m not authorised to do that.”

“What?”

“It’s the rules, you see.”

“What rules?”

“The ones that we have to obey.”

Kethoak rippled in agitation. “That’s ridiculous. Why do we have to obey rules?”

The Dehar nodded approvingly. “Excellent question.” he said. “Now, I can’t reincarnate you as a har, not directly anyway, but I can sort of, well, bend the rules a bit, and reincarnate you as a human.”

“A human?” Kethoak’s ripple became an indignant vibration. “I have no desire to be a human! Vile things, humans.”

“Ah, but once you achieve sexual maturity you can then be incepted and become a har. Ingenious, no?” The Dehar smiled happily at him, pleased by his own resourcefulness.

“How can I be reincarnated as a human?” Kethoak demanded, pulsating agitatedly in a shade of pale green. “Humans are almost extinct. None have been born since the early days of Wraeththu.”

The Dehar’s smile became slightly forced.

“Then I will reincarnate you as a human in the early days of Wraeththu.”

“Doesn’t that conflict with the fundamentally linear nature of time?” Kethoak mused, turning a thoughtful shade of violet.

“Can we assume,” said the Dehar through gritted teeth, “that I know better than you about the nature of the space-time continuum and how best to sabotage it?”

“Fine, have it your way!”

The Dehar regained his composure. “You will, of course, have to be a male.” he said.

“How tiresome.”

“It’s either that or a tapeworm.”

Kethoak found his resonant frequency and oscillated there for several seconds. “Very well,” he said. “Do it.”

******

The crowd of human bodies packed tightly together in the basement of the crumbling and abandoned building shifted uneasily. Muttered curses or whispered predictions of horrors to come rippled through the dark, but Kethoak felt neither fear nor apprehension. Instead, a fierce exhilaration coursed through his veins. He had waited sixteen years for this moment. Outside, the Wraeththu tribe circled like hungry wolves. Soon they would storm the basement and Kethoak would throw himself on their mercy; offer himself up as a willing sacrifice to Inception, and be reborn and reincarnated as what he truly was – a har. Soon the years of living as a disgusting, degraded human would be over, and the time spent as those pitiful lower creatures not even a memory.

One of the men close to Kethoak gripped his weapon tightly and coughed nervously.

“I have heard that this group are led by a most ferocious and bloodthirsty leader,” he said, the tremor in his voice betraying his fear.

“Don’t worry.” His companion gave him a comradely slap on the back in an effort to encourage him. “Nothing is going to happen to us. We outnumber them several times over. There are only a few of them, and there are seventy of us. Seventy! We cannot possibly lose. What did you say this leader’s name was again?”

“Manticker. His name is Manticker.”

Advice for Convention Organizers on how to take care of their Presenters

 

Last week I shared tips for authors on how to get into conventions. This week I thought I’d share some tips for festival and convention organizers when it comes to taking care of authors. While authors aren’t the only reason a person goes to a festival or convention, they are a big reason and they do help with the marketing of the event (or at least they should). As such its important to take care of your authors and be clear on how you will take care of them. While authors shouldn’t be prima donnas, expecting to be waited on hand and foot, it’s important to remember that an author is taking time to appear at your event and offer workshops. When s/he is doing that, they are taking time away from their families, their jobs or businesses (most authors I know need to hold down a job to pay the bills) and from their writing. Attending a convention can be expensive for an author (unless the convention is footing the bill), and likely they won’t make their expenses back with the books they sell. So with that said, the following tips are offered as suggestions for how convention organizers can take care of their presenters.

1. If a person is presenting workshops, s/he should either get into the event for free or be offered a discount on the event registration. At some events, I’ve noticed that presenters are charged registration to present workshops. The presenters are helping to market the event and while they aren’t the only draw, without presenters you wouldn’t have an event. I don’t think its a good practice to charge presenters to present. I think a discount should be offered to the presenters, based on how many workshops they present. For example, if I present only one workshop, I get so much off the registration price. If I present two workshops I get more off, and if I present three workshops, then I get comped for free. This should apply whether the presenter is an author or not.

2. If your presenter is traveling from far away, don’t make the presenter pay a taxi to and from the convention site. Pick them up! If a presenter is traveling across the country, they are likely already paying for air fare, which is expensive. If your convention site isn’t near the airport and a courtesy shuttle isn’t available, then make sure you have volunteers ready to pick up presenters who are traveling from far away. It also shouldn’t matter if the presenter is a guest of honor, featured speaker, or just a presenter. If they are traveling from far away, pick them up. Save them some money, as they are already likely paying a lot just to come and present at your event.

3. Have clear distinctions in terms of guests of honor, featured presenters, etc. Having clear distinctions about who is a guest of honor or featured presenter is important for several reasons. It helps market those people to the attendees, and it also explains why they are getting comped for travel, hotel, and food.

4. If you can comp the presenter, please do.  It costs a lot to attend events, especially if you are presenting at multiple events. Its nice when even part of those costs can be covered. If you can cover hotel or airfare, please do, as it makes easier for presenters to be at your event. And if you can afford to pay a stipend that’s certainly welcomed as well.

5. Help your presenters market your event and market them at your event. Your presenters are part of your marketing team. Tell them what you need from them to help your event be successful and give them flyers, and other marketing material they can use to promote your event. And when they are at the event, set up book signings for them and promote them. Make sure people know when the book signings are and what rooms or spaces they are in.

Both presenters and convention organizers need to work together to make the event great. While presenters should be appreciative of the opportunity they’ve been given, organizers should also appreciate the commitment in time and resources the presenter is making to be at the event.

 

Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 5

Welcome to day 5 of the Immanion Press blog hop for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred. Every day until 25th June the PK authors will be posting a blog post about their story in the collection. Read every contribution to the blog hop, answer all the secret questions about the posts, and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of our Café Press store.

Authors who don’t have blogs of their own will have their articles posted here. Today’s featured author is Wendy Darling. We know it says ‘day 4’ on Wendy’s blog, but this because she got mixed up about where she was in the roster! The secret question is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions.

 

Maria’s question: Where was Chenga’s servant Dolah planning to escape to?

Earl’s question: Who do the spirit wolves watch over, according to legend.

Storm’s question: What can Cherrah do in the mountains that ordinary hara cannot?

Nerine’s question: What birds fly past Taym’s window as he’s staying in the garret?

Wendy’s question: What is the name of her alter-ego?

 

Link to E. S. Wynn’s 16th June http://www.eswynn.com/2014/06/ghost-wolf.html

Link to Maria’s 17th June https://ipmbblog.wordpress.com/category/articles/

Link to Storm’s 18th June http://dreamsofdarkangels.wordpress.com/

Link to Nerine’s 19th June www.nerinedorman.blogspot.com

Link to Wendy’s 20th June https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/6490018-para-kindred-blog-hop-day-4