New and Forthcoming Titles – June 18

New Fiction

Immanion Press is releasing two fiction titles this month. ‘Mythumbra’ is the fifth collection of short stories by Storm Constantine, gathering all of her uncollected works. The previous volumes were ‘Mythophidia’, ‘Mytholumina’, ‘Mythangelus’ and ‘Mythanimus’.  This new book collects stories from various magazines and anthologies published over the last couple of years. It also includes a previously unpublished piece, ‘Master of None’.

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‘Long Indeed Do We Live’ is set upon a desiccated, barren future earth, where life exists only in artificial domes. But the spirit of nature – perhaps vengeful – is persistent and can find its way through the cracks. ‘From the Cold Dark Sea’ is a Lovecraftian story of the peculiar inhabitants of a mansion, next to the ocean in Cornwall. A young woman goes there to restore a mysterious old book that seems to tell a weird history of creatures of the sea. The peculiar inhabitants of the nearby town might well have stepped from the pages. ‘A Winter Bewitchment’ spins an elegant tale of fantasy, exploring the mysteries of feminine allure. A countess, bored of her marriage, wants one last splendid fling, but it’s the witchcraft of her young companion which enables this, and the results are unpredictable. ‘The Saint’s Well’ is a tale of the unseen in the landscape and how ancient beliefs persist in hidden corners of the countryside. An agent of the Vatican investigates the alleged manifestation of a saint in a small Welsh village in the 1950s. Is this down purely to the imagination of a child, or something more – and of much earlier times. These are but tasters for the tales within this collection, which presents Storm Constantine at her story-telling best. Includes black and white illustrations by the author and Danielle Lainton. Cover by Danielle Lainton.

Contents:

The Drake Lords of Kyla, Long Indeed Do We Live, A Winter Bewitchment, The Saint’s Well, At the Sign of the Leering Angel, Master of None, In the Earth, From the Cold Dark Sea, In Exile, The Secret Gallery, The Foretelling.

Para Spectral is the fifth in the ‘Para’ series of anthologies, stories written by various writers within Storm Constantine’s Wraeththu Mythos. Each volume has had a theme for authors to play with, and the most recent book, subtitled ‘Hauntings of Wraeththu’ is essentially a collection of ghost stories – although with unusual twists. The tales have been written by regular contributors to the Mythos and we welcome a new author to the ranks in Zane Marc Gentis.

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Hara are by nature acutely psychic, able to perceive far more beyond physical senses that humans ever could. In a haunted spot – whatever its nature, if only a lingering sense of guilt or terror from a past conflict – hara are more susceptible to witness whatever might have remained hidden to the majority of human eyes.

What ghosts might haunt a Wraeththu har? Phantoms of the dead – whether humans, hara or something else? Perhaps they perceive ‘stone tape’ memories of the past that have soaked into buildings, fields and forests to replay ancient events at certain times? They might face chaotic entities that cause havoc, or manifestations from etheric realms, beings that leak into earthly reality from the otherlanes. They could even experience inner hauntings, where a har harbours secrets of which he’s never spoken that come to plague him. All these and more manifest in Para Spectral. Includes 7 b/w illustrations by Storm Constantine. Cover by Ruby.

Contents:

Introduction – Storm Constantine
The Wraeththu: A Brief Definition of Their Origin
Recalled to Life – Maria J. Leel
A Handful of Sea Coins – Nerine Dorman
The Museum – Amanda Kear
The Kinder Lie – Fiona Lane
The Hardest Hue to Hold – E. S. Wynn
The Ghost of Who I Was – Zane Marc Gentis
Winds of Vengeance – Martina Bellovičová,
The Strangest Ghost of Apaley – Christiane Gertz,
The Emptiness Next Door – Storm Constantine,
Alas, What is Done in Youth – Wendy Darling

Future Fiction Releases

We’ve had inquiries about future Wraeththu Mythos novels. So, to answer readers’ questions: ‘Last Ride to Lyonis’ by Maria J. Leel is currently being written – we aim to bring this book out in early 2019. As for ‘Rosa Mundi’ by Kris Dotto – a book that has become almost legendary among Wraeththu enthusiasts – the author has not been able to complete the book. If we get any further news about this title it will appear on our blog or on our Facebook page. E. S. Wynn’s ‘Voices of the Silicon Beyond’, the concluding volume in his ‘Gold Country’ Wraeththu Mythos series will be published in August.

The final volume of the new editions of Tanith Lee’s ‘Blood Opera Sequence’ – ‘Darkness I’ – will be published in July with cover art by John Kaiine, 7 interior illustrations by Freda Warrington and an introduction by Sarah Singleton. John Kaiine has also asked us to bring out a new edition of Tanith’s novel ‘Vivia’, which we aim to publish in the last quarter of 2018.

Non-Fiction News

The Heart of the Elders: Good Elders and Their Influences’, by Lillith ThreeFeathers and Joy Marie Wedmedyk, will be published early this summer. The authors share astounding real-life experiences, magical blessings, and spiritual connections that prove the importance of Elders in Paganism. They provide essential advice to students and Elders on dedication, patience, accountability, being present for the experience, and using personal failure as a stepping stone. Building upon decades of unique personal experiences, they offer a practical guide to navigating respectful relationships across spiritual traditions. They include insights from interviews with more than thirty active Pagans/Neopagans, including noted teachers, writers, and Elders. No other book deals with the particular challenges of identifying Elders, their roles in our culture, and their impact on those they guide. The information gathered by the authors offers an adventure that will support your own personal path.

We’ve recently begun to work with author Simon Court on ‘The Inner Ways of Magic’ a four-volume series of books on path-working and visualisation. The series presents a complete manual of magic in the Western Esoteric Tradition, but focusing entirely with “inner” work, exercises using the imagination – also known as pathworking, the term used within the Tradition for vivid fantasy journeys. The first volume in the series ‘Paths of Earth and Moon’ will be released in the autumn and the subsequent titles will be published every 6 months.

Cornelia Benavidez’s new book ‘Transpiration: Poetry and Storytelling’ will also be published later this year. The first part of the book covers the author’s extremely interesting life growing up, and how her spiritual path developed. This is followed by her visionary and magical poetry. In the author’s own words from the introduction:

“All people wish and endeavour to be understood and to test boundaries for themselves. We desire to test and affirm what is true, for life is full of theories, possibilities and mysteries.  Storytellers, poets, scientists and adventurers all mine for their own kind of gold and, when they find it, their triumph is in not just the eureka of the find but the joy of sharing the journey as well as the discovery. In sharing with others, we are not just entertaining one another but teaching others of the joys and perils of the quest, be they internal or external. Perhaps one reason we have the drive to quest so bravely is to satisfy our hope of the other realities and possibilities available to us in life and beyond.  In this work are some of the highlights of my journey, what I have experienced and learned that has shaped my creativity and spiritual leanings. I hope that my journey from child to now makes you smile and encourages you to love in the face of our complex human existence and, most of all, teases your heart to write and speak of your own journey of experience and discovery.”

An as yet untitled book on dark goddesses, including pathworkings to visit these intriguing and sometimes almost forgotten deities, is still being written. It will include contributions from Caroline Wise, Andrew Collins and Storm Constantine, among others. More news when the project is further under way.

 

 

 

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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 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.”

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

Para Kindred Blog Hop – Day 4

We’ve made it to Day 4* of the Immanion Press “Blog Hop” for the new Wraeththu anthology, Para Kindred.

How does it work? Every day through June 24th, a different Para Kindred author will update their blog with something related to their story — whether background or explanation or additional scenes or whatever they like. Now interactive part for fans is that if you read all the contributions and then answer all the “secret questions” about the posts (look to the end of each post), and you will be entered into a prize draw to win an item from the New section of the IP Café Press store.

Today’s featured author is Wendy Darling, author of the “Sea and Shore” and “Dysphoria.” The new “secret question” is at the bottom of this post, along with details of previous contributors’ questions. Wendy’s post is over on her Goodreads author blog.

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?
Wendy’s question: What was Wendy’s alter-ego’s name?

Posts so Far

Link to E. S. Wynn’s Post – June 16th
Link to Maria’s Post – June 17th
Link to Storm’s Post – June 18th 
Link to Wendy’s 19th June

 

* Day 4 being June 19th. Which it is in England, although not in the U.S., where this post was made. So ignore the date stamp. It’s the 19th!