Part III

PART III

ETIANNA

Fennrick held onto my hand like it would keep him from drowning.  In spite of our current heinous circumstances, it sent a curious warmth shooting to my middle.  I liked the way his hand felt wrapped around mine.  It gave me a fleeting feeling of security along with a wild rush of emotion.  And then there was his smell.  It was mouth-watering.  I knew it was his Alpha pheromones hard at work, but it was nearly enough to make me forget our dire situation.

“Where do we find a unicorn?” Owen asked, the tips of his pointed elf ears going as pale as the rest of his ashen skin.  His question jerked me back to the present.

“What was it the professor said before he disappeared?  ‘Look below?’  What does that mean?” Fenn asked the group.  

Cariss had a crease between her eyebrows.  “Look below,” she repeated.  “Below where?”

“Below, like below a bridge with the trolls?” Owen snorted.

“Below the ground?” Tatianna offered.  She leaned into Owen, her inner fire going down to a simmer as he looped an arm around her shoulder.

“Below ground?  Below ground where?”  Cariss tapped her lip.

“What if he meant below the school?” I offered.  The suggestion sounded ridiculous the moment it left my lips and I felt my cheeks heat in response.  Fenn looked at me.

“No.  What if he did mean below the school.  He tapped his cane right before he disappeared.  Could there be a place below the school?”

Cariss cocked her head to the side.  “Well, the school is, what, a thousand years old?”

“No one has seen a unicorn in a thousand years,” I murmured.  

“Could that be a coincidence?”  Fenn’s fingers squeezed mine.  A faraway look flashed through his eyes.

“Would the library still have original blueprints of the school building?” he asked.

“Let’s go look.  We’re not getting anywhere just standing in Professor’s office,” Tatianna said as she stalked towards the door.

***

The halls were eerily silent as we made our way down the old Gothically arched paths towards the library.  The students racing around earlier were either gone or had moved somewhere they felt was safer.  Even the wraith-like creatures were gone.  Erratically flickering bits of magic were the only noises as they hissed and creaked in the top-most cracks and crevices of the arches.  

The library doors were open, just like they would have been on a normal school day.  The floor to ceiling bookshelves were crammed with everything from ancient scrolls to modern day paperbacks.  

“In the resource room?”  Cariss shrugged.

“Good a place as any to start,” Fenn replied.  My skin tingled as he touched my back to move me in that direction.  I needed to get a grip.

The smell of dust and age-old magic ticked my nose and I clapped a hand over my mouth to catch my sneeze.

“Bless you,” Fenn whispered, still close to my side.

“Thanks,” I sniffled.

“Guys, where do we start?” Tatianna asked as we broached the resource room.  There were tall scrolls and heavy ancient tomes scattered all over the large room.

“Time for the wolves to come out to play.”  Fenn nodded to Cariss and me then wasted no time and jerked his arms backwards and took his shirt off in that way only guys do.  I’d seen him shirtless countless times over the years growing up in the same werewolf pack.  But his abs were a lot nicer now than they were a few years ago.

Cariss elbowed me and I blushed to the roots of my hair.

“Right.  The older the document, the mustier it will smell,” I stammered, fervently hoping Fenn didn’t notice.  Cariss and I quickly ducked behind a heavy-laden bookshelf and shifted to our fur. 

I sneezed again as spangles of magic tickled my wolf’s nose.  Following Fenn’s instructions, we quickly put our noses to work and it wasn’t long before we’d unearthed a stack of ancient scrolls tucked neatly away in a box in the corner.

“Hurry up and shift back, guys,” Tatianna said as she poured over the scroll.

“I think this might be it.  Look!” Owen nearly shouted.

We were all back in skin and taking in the prints within a minute.

“It’s like a labyrinth.”  I shuddered. 

“Roll the prints up.  We’ll take them with us.”  Fenn took charge and Owen carefully rolled the blueprints.

***

Minutes later the five of us stood facing a heavy brass bound door at the end of a seemingly abandoned corridor deep in the belly of the Academy. 

“I don’t like this,” Cariss whispered.  I knew how she felt.  Night had fallen.  It was pitch black but for the occasional spatter of unhealthy magic and the glow of the one torch we’d been able to successfully light with fragmented strings of partially exhausted magic.

Fennrick reached for my hand.  I didn’t object.

“Tatianna, keep your flames close in case that thing goes out,” Owen said.

“No problem with that,” she replied, her throat visibly moving as she swallowed hard.

“I’m going in with fur,” Fenn said.  “Carry my clothes?” he asked me.  I swear a light blush crept into his cheeks.  I hoped the shadows covered my own reddening skin.  

“Sure.”  He didn’t need to explain that his wolf had better night vision and a better chance of defending us should it come to that.  

Cariss opened the door and a long dark cavern opened before us like a giant black mouth.

A smell like wet death filtered up from the black hole before us.  I shivered and Fenn’s tail brushed against me. 

“Let’s go.”  Cariss’ voice wavered.

Tatianna held the torch high and Fenn went in.  We followed.  

The stones were damp and there was the occasional squelching noise that I refused to think too hard about.  Deeper and deeper we went into the ground.  First through bricked arches, then into rough stones.  They’d been cut by a mason, but not finished.  

“How old do you think this is down here?” Cariss whispered.  I’d been wondering the same thing.

Fenn growled low in his throat, his ruff standing on end.

Wind whooshed up the rough corridor and sent my hair flying as a scream built in my throat.

A deep roar boomed up from the depths.  Fenn planted himself in front of the group, his own deep warning echoing back and mixing with the echoes of the thing until it made my ears ache.  

The torch flickered and Tatianna screamed.  Her eyes flashed once in the dark before a white-hot stream of lightening-like fire streaked down and illuminated the entire hallway.  

A black apparition wavered in the dark shadows.  My body froze, terror crawling over my skin like a hundred spiders.

“Light the torch, Tachi,” Owen commanded.  “Don’t char me in the process.”  

Breathlessly, we waited for the thing, listening, straining our senses.  My hands gripped Fenn’s clothes hard enough my knuckles cracked.

Flames engulfed the torch, igniting frayed bits of magic and sending the fire bursting onto the stone ceiling.  

The apparition hadn’t moved.  It wavered there on the outskirts of the torchlight.  

Fenn growled low in his throat and scented the air.  All I smelled was toasted magic and fear.  Possibly my own.

“I don’t think it’s real.” Owen whispered.

“You sure?” Tatianna said.

“If it were alive, I’m pretty sure your flame fest would have fried it.  Look.  I think it’s just a magic illusion,” Owen explained.

Fenn nudged me closer to Cariss with his tail, looked at Owen, then stalked down the dark hallway.  

“Be careful,” I whispered.  So softly I wasn’t sure anyone but me was aware I’d spoken.

I held my breath as Fennrick tracked down the hallway.  His growls echoed off the stone walls.  

About halfway down the hall towards the floating black mass, his posture relaxed, and he turned and trotted back to us.  

He yipped once and I felt my shoulders relax.

“Not real then?” Owen confirmed.  Fenn bobbed his head and met my eyes before jerking his head for us to move forward again.  

He brushed against my side as we went down the corridor, sending flutters into my middle while reassuring my jagged nerves. 

The apparition disappeared the moment we stepped within a few feet of it.  It was nothing but wisps of ancient magic, long forgotten by its users.  

We trudged on.  What felt like hours of wandering and multiple stops to consult the blueprints, we finally came to the deepest point marked on the prints.  A solid door fitted with an iron latch stood between us and whatever waited on the other side.

Fenn nudged me and Cariss behind him again and nodded to Owen.  

Grasping the doors as Tatianna’s eyes flashed with contained flames, Owen pulled the latch.  A loud CLINK echoed down the stone corridors and sent ripples of goosebumps down my skin. 

The ancient door swung open.

“The Academy and the Kiss” Part II

PART II

FENNRICK

We raced ahead of the storm, trying desperately to beat the roiling waves of magic and flashing lightening to get back to the Academy—to warn the others, and find Headmaster Capra.  If anyone would know what to do now, it would be him.  

“Step on it, Owen,” Cariss shouted as gravel spun beneath the tires of his Jeep.  The other two cars followed as we sped far faster than was healthy down the backroads.

“No signal.  Anyone else have a signal?” I asked as I jammed my finger over the home screen on my cell phone.

“Nothing,” Cariss replied, a slight edge of hysteria in her voice.

Breaking all the speed regulations, we got back to school within fifteen minutes.  The magic that normally lay dormant or that zinged through the hallways like little strings of colored light, frizzed and sparked.  Centuries-old magic rose from the stones like a thick cloud of dust.

I leaped from the car before it came to a complete stop.  Screams echoed from inside as a young centaur burst through the double doors and galloped out of the parking lot.

“Go check in with the pack, tell them what happened,” I ordered the rest of the girls as they pulled in.  Without question they peeled back out of the parking lot. 

“Etta!” Cariss shrieked as a honey-blonde head appeared.

My heart slammed in my chest.  She was still here.  Tatianna, Owen’s girlfriend, came rushing out behind her.

“Cariss!  Something’s happened!  The magic, it’s gone unstable!  Everything is changing!” Etianna yelled as we covered the distance between the front doors and the vehicles.  Etta’s wide blue-green eyes were large in her face, her freckles standing out sharply against her pale skin.  My hands twitched to reassure her, though I could offer no such promises.

“I know.  I think it might actually be partly my fault,” Cariss hiccupped.  “Lexie’s encased in Yggdrasil.”

What?” Etta said, dumbfounded.

“Come on.”  I ushered them back towards the building, surprised how the urge to take charge just came out.

“Tatianna, have you seen Professor Capra?” Owen asked, grabbing her hand.  We jogged and were quickly back in the building where several students ran in the halls.  Magic careened and dipped, smashing wildly into the stone walls and sending showers of spangles dashing into the air.

“Let’s try his office.”  Tatianna’s eyes sparked with her inner phoenix fire.  She was on the edge of her control.

Hearts hammering loud enough my heightened senses could pick them out over the melee, we ran through the ancient halls, dodging shards of magic and some disturbing phantom-like shadows that seemed to wail and scrape their ghoulish fingers towards us.

“What are those?” Etta gasped as she bumped into my shoulder to avoid one.

“I don’t know, but I don’t think they’re a natural phenomenon.”  I put my hand on the small of her back, herding her to the center and taking the outside edge of the group.  

“They’ve got to be a product of whatever this insanity is.” Cariss batted a torpedo of neon magic out of the way.

Owen jerked the door to the main office open.

“Duck!” he shouted as a swarm of the wraith like creatures flew over our heads, their shrieks deafening in such close proximity.

Without thinking, I pulled Etta to my chest and curled myself over her like a human shield.  

“Go!”  I pushed her forward into the office.  Owen slammed the door shut behind us.

“Professor!  Professor Capra?” Cariss shouted as we moved towards the back of the office to the stately oak door banded with heavy brass hinges and inlaid gold scrollwork.

We halted in front of the door.  The hairs on the back of my neck stood on end and my werewolf senses tingled.

The door creaked open.  Etta gasped.

“Professor Capra!” Tatianna’s whisper dropped in the silence that descended.

The professor stood in his doorway, his rotund belly stretching at the gold buttons of his velveteen vest, his goat legs planted heavily on the floor.  He gripped his cane.  His whole body flickered.  Like he was desperately hanging on to his corporeal form.

“The magic,” The aged faun halted as his form shuddered in and out of visibility.  “It is…taking us…old ones.  Too much…magic…stored inside.”

“What do we do?”  The words sounded like my voice, though I wasn’t sure I’d spoken them.  Etta put her hand on my shaking forearm.  

“You need…a unicorn.”  His body shivered violently and when it returned, he was completely see-through.

“Look…below…”  He tapped his cane.

POOF!

With a wail that sent the group of us cowering, Professor Capra burst into a cloud of black and went screeching out the door, a phantom ghost himself.

“This is so bad,” Tatianna whispered.  Her eyes were fully enflamed, only just keeping her fire inside. 

“A unicorn?” Cariss said.

I realized Etta’s hand was still on my arm.  I gripped her hand.  

“Nobody has seen a unicorn in a thousand years,” Etta breathed.

We were screwed.

Part I

FENNRICK

I wouldn’t have come if I’d known Etianna would get roped into some after school project.  Who did after school projects on a Friday?  But instead, here I was, hiking up the dirt path with some school friends and a gaggle of female werewolves from my own pack along with Etianna’s cousin, Lexie, who couldn’t keep her hands to herself.  

It wasn’t entirely her fault.  At eighteen and next in line to be Alpha, my body was starting to secrete its own kind of Alpha pheromones and they tended to drive the unpaired females into a sort of frenzy anytime they were around me.

It was exhausting.

Etianna’s sister, Cariss, smiled apologetically.  She’d been the one to invite me after school with promises that Etta would most likely be coming.  But her familiar honey-blonde ponytail was missing.

“Fennrick,” Lexie cooed.  “Tell me more about becoming an Alpha.”  Her fingers fluttered near my arm and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes.

“Well, I’m taking a few classes for it this semester.  Brushing up on diplomacy, leadership, that sort of stuff.”  I rubbed the back of my neck.  Lexie didn’t even go to Magik Prep Academy.  But she was thinking about transferring next semester.  I really hoped my budding Alpha genes weren’t the cause.  

“But what’s it actually like?”

Grueling, I thought.  “Dad and I spend a lot of time together, which is nice.  He’s teaching me everything not covered in the books.”

She smiled and batted her eyelashes.  

“Fenn, did you catch the game last night?”  Owen, an elf friend, attempted to save me.  

“I did,” I replied.  Probably with more enthusiasm than I needed as I broke away from Lexie to walk beside Owen.

We hiked another half hour before we started feeling the pulsating threads of magic that surrounded Yggdrasil—the tree where all the magic in our world originated.  It was a popular destination.  Touching the tree itself was forbidden but basking in its glow was encouraged. 

We rounded the final bend and there it was in all its glory.  It was stunning.  I propped a foot against the low guard railing and took it in.  An array of colors too many to describe flew from its branches, tangling, weaving into the sky to form a multi-colored halo of magic around the tree.  

Every time I visited the awe was fresh.  I closed my eyes and breathed deeply, the scent of pure magic washing over me and filling that aching tiredness inside.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Lexie said as she joined me at the railing.  She’d stayed next to me the whole hike, peppering me with questions, scenting me frequently, though I don’t think she knew I could tell.  

I nodded.

“Fennrick, did you know my grandpa was an Alpha, too?”

I stared at her, confused where this conversation was going.  She stepped closer, her arm brushing mine and sending the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end.

“Lexie,” I started.

“Kiss me, Fenn.  Seal our fate together here, beneath the most magical place in our world.”

Shock dropped my mouth open and had my eyes bulging in their sockets, but she must have taken it as encouragement, because she leaned in.

My brain was frozen.  I did not want Lexie’s lips on mine.  Tradition dictated that I save any kisses for the one who would be the recipient of all my kisses, but my body was sluggish, refusing to move.

“Lexie!”  Cariss grabbed Lexie’s arm.  “What are you doing?”

Lexie shot Cariss a murderous glare and yanked her arm from her grasp.  But as she did, the back of her legs hit the low guard rail.  

In stupefied horror, I reached to grab her before she fell, but I wasn’t fast enough.

Lexie toppled right over the edge of the railing and hit the curling roots of Yggdrasil snaking up out of the ground.  Her scream pierced the air as her back smacked onto the roots and an amber glow immediately encased her.

Lightening cracked across the sky and a violent wind whipped through Yggdrasil’s leaves, sending a rush of them over us.  The colored threads of magic flickered and lost their curving waves, becoming jagged, harsh, and static.  

Thunder boomed.

“Lexie!” Cariss shrieked.

The sky opened and rain, hail and flickering bits of magic sizzled onto the ground.

“We’ve got to get out of here!” someone shouted.

“What about Lexie?” Owen called over the din.

“We have to leave her,” Cariss said.  Terror clouded her face as her eyes met mine.

There was nothing we could do for her.  We couldn’t pull her back.  The amber glow from the roots covered her.  I looked at Lexie’s face.

Her eyes were round in shock, her mouth frozen into a gash of horror.  Her hands were stiff, fingers splayed as if to catch her fall.  Amber light pulsated over her prone form.  

A leaf whacked into my cheek, breaking into my racing thoughts.

“Cariss is right.  We have to go get help.”  The Alpha part of me took charge.  “Go.  Back down the path.  Now.”  My words came out with a punctuating growl.

We’d just unleashed fury like our world had never seen.

Come back next week for Part II!

“A Brownie and Some Advice”

Brownies are members of the lesser fae (fairies) that have a penchant for cleaning. I need a few to move into my house…

***

“No one cares for the brownies anymore,” I grumbled as I swept my broom over the dusty hall.  The stones of Magik Prep Academy had hundreds of years of magic stored in them.  Unfortunately, that did nothing to dislodge the dirt and grime from student traffic during the day.  

I grunted as my lower back twinged again.  I straightened and narrowly missed slinging my long white beard right into the bucket of soapy water.  

“What next,” I muttered.  “Soon they’ll forget to feed me and then I’ll have every reason to back out of this cleaning contract.”  I stomped and then coughed as a cloud of powdery violet magic came loose.  

Rolling my eyes, I swirled my finger in the air and made the magic useful.  The loose bits flung themselves down and scattered the dirt into the air.  

Cupping my hands, I sucked the air through and brought the dust whirling in like a tornado and straight into my waiting bucket.

Nodding in satisfaction I shook my beard out where a stray string of green magic clung like a barnacle. 

“Off, you pesky thing!”  I frowned at the offending string and would have said more to it, but my overly large ears picked up the faintest sniffle.

Odd.  It was far too late for students to still be afoot.  They should all be at the dormitories or off doing whatever teenage creatures did.  Only we brownies and the old ogre that made up the cleaning staff were still here at this time of night.  

Finding the sniffle of more interest than polishing the flagstones, I hobbled off in the direction of the interruption.

I passed half a dozen empty classrooms and finally came to the cloistered courtyard open to the air and bathed in the magenta glow from the fading sunlight.  And there, huddled miserably against an ancient stone wall, was a lump.

A large lump compared to me.

“I say, why be you here?” I called up to the lump when I was in speaking distance.

A head jerked up; tear tracks visible on the pale cheeks.

“Oh, bless my soul, you’re a faun.  What be you doing here?  It’s after hours, laddie.”

The young faun just looked at me, surprise and maybe a dash of fear lingering in the dark brown eyes below the mop of curly hair and little horn buds.  

“I…what are you?”

“Saints preserve us.  What do they teach at this school?  I’m a brownie.  Have ye never heard of us wee folk?”

“Oh.  I’m sorry.  I’m new here.”  He cleared his throat.  “No, I’ve never seen a brownie.”  

I raised a bushy eyebrow.

“But I read about one once?” he offered hopefully.

I rolled my eyes and blew a raspberry through my lips.

“And what be a young laddie like you be doing out here at this time of the evening?”  I didn’t like repeating myself, but the poor thing looked right miserable.

He scrubbed his wet cheeks then wrapped his arms around his knees. 

“It’s my first time here.  I…I was feeling a little homesick.  I didn’t want the other boys to see.”

“Aye.  The sun always shines brighter on the morrow.  There, there.  Haven’t ye got any friends here?”

The brown curls shook, and his lips tugged down.

“No.  I’m the eldest of my clan.  I’m the first since my parent’s generation to board here at Magik Prep.  And it’s not that I’m ungrateful!” he added quickly.  “I’m just…lonely.  I’ve never been away from home.  The other fauns have been here longer.  They all know each other and know all the rules of the school.   I don’t.”

Poor lad was lonesome.  I knew how that was.  My old cantankerous heart stretched a mite as a seed of compassion bloomed.

“I know how that is, laddie.  Ye didn’t know me now, did ye?  Most folks have forgotten us brownies even exist.  And for the most part, so long as we’re fed, we’re happy to go on about our business.  But it does get lonely, being forgotten.”

The faun nodded.

“I tell you what.  You see this stubborn string of green magic here?” I tugged the silly thing free of my beard and coiled it around my finger.  “You take this here to class with you tomorrow.  You put it in your hand and see if it doesn’t point to another lonesome student.  Then the two of you can befriend each other.  There’s no rules saying you have to keep to your own kind.  Magik Prep has more mix breeds and off shoots and oddities than I’ve got whiskers.”  I shook my heavy white beard for emphasis, then placed the coil of magic into his hand.  His eyes lit up like I’d given him a great treasure.  I sprinkled a dash of my own brownie magic on the coil to be sure it behaved itself.

“Thank you,” he said reverently.  

I patted his hoof.  “You go find yourself a friend.  And if no one else in the whole school is lonely, you just come on back here and I’ll keep you company myself.”  I cracked a rare grin.

“I will.  Even if I find a friend.  I mean, if you’d like the company.”

A laugh bubbled right up.  “What be your name, boy?”

“Alek.”

“Pleased to meet you, Alek.  You go on.  You may see me time to time.  And I’ll be around if you need.”

“Thank you, Mr…”

“Milis.  Just plain old Milis.”

“I will remember you, Mr. Milis.”  The brown eyes held a sincerity that I hadn’t seen in a long time and it warmed my old bones right down to the marrow.

“You go on now, before it gets full dark, young Alek.  Go find someone tomorrow that needs a friend worse than you.”

A smile tipped one corner of his mouth.

I found an odd jaunt to my steps the next evening as I cleaned.  I hurried with my regular cleaning, intent on checking for my lump of a friend.

He was not there, but what he left behind brought a smile to my lips and set my belly grumbling.

I picked up the note, which was nearly as large as me.

Mr. Milis,

I haven’t forgotten you.  I used your green magic coil today and I think I’ve made a friend.  I was invited to go bowling tonight, but I didn’t want you to be lonely either.  I did some research, and brownies are supposed to love cream.  I hope this is alright.  

I’ll visit you soon.

Thank you.

-Alek

I inhaled the sweet aroma from the bowl of fresh cream.  Not forgotten indeed.

Unicorns

Unicorns are age old, beautiful creatures just like horses, but with a horn, and magic. This week Lacey Scott has gracious offered her story, “The Unicorn Races” for us to enjoy! Check out the sweet little plump Elmas sculpture, also done by Lacey. Check out her other sculptures on Facebook, Here There Be Sculptures, or on Instagram, @heretherebesculptures. Happy reading!

The Unicorn Races

By Lacey Scott

Unicorns were supposed to be elegant and beautiful creatures. With long willowy legs and graceful arching necks, their mystery and magic captivated the hearts and minds of humans for generations—but the ponies of Sobor were not unicorns. At least, not the kind you read about in fairy tales. 

            My family had lived on the secluded island of Sobor for at least seven generations and every single male, going all the way back to my great-great-great-great-great grandfather, had won the coveted trophy in the annual unicorn races. It was a tradition that was expected to be upheld by my father’s son and it probably would have been—except he didn’t have a son. He had me. Me and my nine sisters.

            There wasn’t a rule that said girls couldn’t enter the race, it just wasn’t done, which was probably why there had been such an uproar when I stepped forward into the group of rowdy boy contestants. Even now, as I waited for the judges to decide my fate, I could hear their taunts and petty jabs as they whispered around me. 

            I didn’t realize my hands were trembling until I felt a tug on one. Looking down my brows rose in surprise.

            “Take this, Phoebe!” My little sister, Josephine said. “It will give you luck!” She opened her tiny hand to reveal a butterscotch candy wrapped in yellow plastic. 

            In a family as large as ours, every penny counted, and candy was a luxury we could seldom afford.

             I smiled shaking my head.  “You keep it, Josie.”

            Her lips pressed into a thin line. Then before I could stop her, she stuffed the candy into my pocket and darted back into the crowd. 

            Thirty minutes later as I searched for a place to stand in the starting line, I began to have second thoughts. The judges may have agreed to let me race, but the boys weren’t going to make it easy. 

            “Phoebe!”

            I looked up and a fresh wave of butterflies fluttered to life in my belly. 

            Tag Jacobson waved me over. “Over here,” he called, shoving the boy standing beside him out of the way. 

            I nervously stepped into the empty space beside him as he grinned down at me. My neighbor, Tag, was older than me by a year, but we’d often played together when we were young. I’d had a crush on him as far back as I could remember, and his time spent in the sun on the fishing boats with his father had only made him even more handsome.

            “Don’t let what they say get to you. You got this.”

            His confidence gave me strength and I nodded getting into the starting position. The unicorns grazed peacefully in the field below, completely oblivious to the chaos about to ensue. 

            The horn of the conch shell echoed in my ears and I pushed myself into a sprint. I was small and fast, but I quickly realized that I wasn’t fast enough. The boys pulled ahead of me, their long legs eating up the ground carrying them faster than I could ever hope to be.

            A high-pitched whinny broke through the early morning air. Someone had reached the herd. I urged my legs to move faster but by the time I reached the field only one unicorn stood untaken. My heart sank.

            Like most island creatures, the unicorns had adapted overtime to a life of limited resources, shrinking them down to the size of a large pony. There were no predators to hunt them and that coupled with all the scraps we tossed out had made them lazy with stumpy little legs and large round bellies. They weren’t afraid of humans and had become so commonplace that they acquired their own names.

            I slowed as I approached the lone unicorn. His sleek black summer coat glistened in the early morning sun and he looked up at me through long wavy bangs. 

            “Hi, Elmas,” I greeted.

            Big blue eyes blinked at me before he returned to his grazing. All the unicorns were easygoing but Elmas wore his laziness like a badge of honor. No one ever wanted to get stuck with him. 

            I squinted down the field. The race itself was only a mile, but getting a stubborn lazy unicorn there was the real challenge. Some of the more relaxed unicorns meandered towards the finish line, stopping occasionally to nibble at the grass—much to their rider’s chagrin. Others were feistier, spinning circles and tossing their riders into the dirt. A lot of the boys wanted to try their luck with those, but it was a gamble, just because they were faster didn’t mean you could steer them to the finish line any quicker. 

            I sighed looking back and Elmas. Not once in all the years I could remember had anyone ever gotten him to move an inch—but I wasn’t about to give up.

            Backing up a few steps I took a running jump, throwing myself across his back, but I overshot and toppled off the other side, landing in the grass on my back. 

            Elmas cast me an uninterested glance.

            With a huff I tried again, this time grabbing a handful of his mane and pulling myself up. Once I was situated on his back, I lightly dug my heels into his flank. When he didn’t move, I repeated the motion a little harder, clicking my tongue. 

            His sides expanded as he took in a deep breath but other than that he ignored me completely. 

            I groaned sliding off his back. “Come on, Elmas!” I leaned my shoulder into his rump, urging him forward. “This is important,” I ground out between clenched teeth. 

            He stomped a golden hoof into the ground, tail swishing, but he didn’t budge. 

            Undeterred, I moved to his head, careful to avoid his shiny gold horn and tugged on his mane. You didn’t actually have to ride your unicorn all the way there, you just had to ride it across the finish line. The only rule being that you couldn’t do anything that might harm them. 

            “Emlas, please!” I begged, putting all my weight into it. My foot slipped in the grass and I fell back landing on the ground for the second time in as many minutes. I closed my eyes, struggling to keep the tears of frustration at bay. 

            After a moment a shadow fell across my face and I opened my eyes to find Elmas hovering above me. 

            “Come to mock me, too?” I grumbled.

            His nostrils flared, hot air rushing out as he sniffed around me, his snout eventually coming to stop at my hip. He snorted, nipping at my pants. 

            I frowned, sitting up. I dug my hand into my pocket “What are you—” my fingers brushed against something, the crinkling sound making his perk up with interest. I pulled out the butterscotch my sister had given me, and he whinnied, nearly snatching it from my hand. My eyes widened. I had an idea. 

            “Come on, boy.” I urged crinkling the wrapper. “You want the candy, don’t you?” 

            Elmas slowly began to follow me as I walked backwards down the field. Casting a quick glance over my shoulder I saw that my fellow racers had also been struggling. Most of them still fought with their ponies, with only a few still moving steadily towards the finish line at a snail’s pace. I grinned, picking up speed, and before long I was jogging backwards down the field, with Elmas trotting along after me.

            We gained ground, quickly passing each of the other contestants one by one until there was only one left. My heart leapt up a notch as we passed Tag, moving steadily forward, on a dappled unicorn. Our eyes met and a wide grin spread across his face.

            I could still hear his laughter ringing out across the field when we reached the finish line and I brought a panting Elmas to a stop. He whined as I climbed back onto his back, swinging his head around to try and grab the candy. I removed it from the wrapper, making sure to wave in front of his nose. 

            His teeth snapped together as he tried to swipe it from my hand, but I pulled back and chucked it forward. His eyes followed it as it soared over his head and landed on the other side of the finish line. With more speed than I thought possible for such a lazy beast, he lurched forward, nearly unseating me as he raced forward, carrying us to victory. 

            The roar of the crowd was deafening as I slid from his back, catching sight of my dad as they handed me the well-worn trophy. Even at a distance I could see the pride in his eyes. 

            “That was amazing!” Tag laughed, coming up behind me and clapping me on the shoulder. “Candy, huh? Who knew?”          

            “Yeah.” I averted my gaze feeing my face warm under his praise. I watched as Elmas munched happily on the butterscotch. “I guess he’s got a sweet tooth.”

            He cleared his throat and I looked back up meeting his warm brown eyes. “You know, it’s not that I’m not happy that you won,” he began. It’s just that I was hoping to earn some cool points before I asked.” His cheeks turned pink and he rubbed the back of his neck. 

            My brows pulled together. “Asked what?” 

            “Asked you out on a date.”

            My mouth fell open, eyes widening in surprise.

            “What you say, Pheebs? Do you wanna go on a date with me?”

            My blush reignited as I matched his hopeful smile. “Definitely.”

Basilisks

The Basilisk is a mythological creatures, sometimes described as a serpent, a lizard, a dragon, and occasionally as a giant snake with wings and the head of a chicken. What makes this odd combination more fearful is the reported poisonous breath and glare–both of which can kill. Such a charming creature!

“A Hiss and a Fire”

by AJ Skelly

I smelled like basilisk poop.

And Tatianna Everblaze was coming towards me with her gaggle of friends.  She was the most beautiful girl at Magik Prep Academy.  Her golden hair was tied back with a red ribbon that matched the occasional flames that rose in her eyes as her inner phoenix flashed.  We were seniors this year, but I’d watched her from afar since I was a freshman. 

I’d been entranced the first time I saw her eyes flicker with her inner fire.  Her eyes were gorgeous when they kindled.

I groaned.  My eyes were still covered by stupid protective goggles.  One peek from basilisk eyes and you’d be seeing a whole other type of flames.  As in, a poof of smoke and you left nothing but ashes behind.  While the goggles protected me from any accidental basilisk glaring, they did nothing for my facial features.  The strap of the unwieldy glasses went around my head and made my pointed ears stick out nearly parallel to the floor.  I looked more like a devil than an elf. 

I leaned my shovel against the pen where I’d been cleaning out the basilisk stalls.  Scholarship students had to earn their keep.  And if I wanted to graduate with the credentials to go on and study mythological biology at university, I had to pay my dues and scoop the poop. 

But why did I have to do it in front of Tatianna?

“Owen?”  Her voice sent shivers down my spine and mortification rushing to my face.  I was the only one on duty at the stables this afternoon.  I sighed.  There was no hiding.

“Owen, are you back there?”

“Coming!”

I squared my shoulders and took a breath and ignored the acrid smell of the scat on my boots.

“Hi, Tatianna, Savannah, Sloane.  What can I do for you ladies?”

Savannah tittered.  “Owen, your eyeballs are bigger than a cyclops’ in those goggles.”

Because I wasn’t self-conscious enough already.

Tatianna elbowed her friend and glared.  A flash of flames flicked in her irises.

“Ignore her, Owen,” Tatianna said.  I nodded, unsure.  “I heard the baby basilisks were starting to hatch.  I was hoping to take a peek.”

She was speaking to me.  My tongue froze.

“I’m writing a paper on the life cycle of the basilisk, when they develop their venomous glare and stuff.  Is it okay if we go back to the nesting area?  I promise we’ll stay far away.  I just want to observe a while.”

“I,” I cleared my throat.  “That should be fine.”

Awesomely brilliant thing to say.

“Come on, I’ll take you back.”  I reached under the counter by the entrance and pulled out several pairs of goggles.

“Ugh.  Really?” Savannah grumbled.  “The babies aren’t even dangerous.”

“Rules are rules,” Sloane chimed in.  “And who knows when the mother will make an appearance.”

The girls followed me down the hay strewn aisle to the back corner where the nest of eggs was kept.  There’d been a few hatchlings today and they weren’t much bigger than large earth worms.

“Wow.  Why did you choose to do your report on these little squirmy things?” Savannah asked as Tatianna crouched to get a better look.

“They’re interesting!  How many other creatures can destroy you with one look?” Tatianna shot back.

“Uh, anything spawned by Medusa?” Savannah shot back. 

Tatianna rolled her eyes.  “Owen, do you know how many hatched this morning?”

I swallowed as her red-brown eyes tracked to mine behind the hideous goggles.  Even with the eyewear, she was stunning.  The goggles magnified her eyes, their natural glimmer enhanced.  It made my knees weak.

“I think three this morning.  A few more this afternoon,” I stammered.

She nodded and we fell silent as we watched the baby basilisks.

Savannah grabbed the shovel I’d been using earlier and used the wooden end to prod a clump of hay out by itself in the nest area.   “Is that a pile of…?”

“Stop!” I shouted.

Suddenly a loud hiss broke through the quiet of the barn and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end.

“What is…” Savannah broke off with a scream as the mother basilisk launched herself straight at Savannah.

She flailed, catching me just under the goggles.

“No!” I gasped as the momentum of her arm took the edge of the goggles off.  I could smell the venom emanating from the creature.  Scales appeared in front of my naked eyes as the creature catapulted towards me.

Sloane screamed.

“Oh, no you don’t!”  Tatianna’s voice sounded far off.

She whipped off her goggles and a stream of white-hot flame jumped from her eyes and startled the mother basilisk. 

It was the hottest thing I’d ever seen in my life.

The basilisk slithered off, hissing and spitting.

Without words we legged it back to the barn entrance, quickly leaving the goggles on the desk and moving into the open air of the meadow beside the barn. 

“Are you alright, Owen?” Tatianna asked, her flickering eyes full of concern that sent heat straight to my toes and had nothing to do with the inferno hiding inside her.

“I am, thanks to you,” I admitted.  I attempted a smile that she returned. 

“You girls go on back.  I’ll catch up,” Tatianna nodded to her friends.  Savannah still looked significantly shaken while Sloane looked smug as she glanced at us.  She took Savannah’s arm and led her back towards the dormitories.

“That was an impressive display of flames back there,” I said.  “Thank you.  You probably saved my life.”  The gravity of the situation was not lost on me.

Tatianna shrugged and tucked the corner of her bottom lip between her teeth. 

“I feel kind of guilty.  You wouldn’t have been in that position at all if I hadn’t wanted to see the baby basilisks.”

“It’s fine.  They’re not off limits.  Besides, didn’t you want to research them?”

“Well, yes.  But that’s not the real reason I wanted to come see them.”

“It’s not?”  My eyebrows hitched up my forehead.  She looked up at me shyly under her long lashes.

“I actually just wanted to come hang out with you.  The basilisks were an excuse.”

My mouth fell open like a drop-jaw ready to consume its prey.  

“Say something, Owen.”

“You don’t need the basilisks as an excuse.”

Tentatively I reached out and brushed her fingers.  Hers tightened around mine and her eyes lit with an entirely different kind of fire as her mouth tipped up.

“Although maybe I could wash off the basilisk poop before we hang out?”

 

 

 

The Krakken

The Krakken (also kraken and cracken) is a mythological beast said to terrorize sailors and destroy ships.  While this giant cephalopod may be mythological, there’s a decent amount of evidence to suggest it could be a giant squid.  We’ve only just started finding these massive beasts in the deep oceans in the past decades.  What if the Krakken is actually a real monster and not just myth?

Beautiful Krakken depiction by @_art_enthusiast–check out their other artwork on Instagram!

“A Simulation and a Proposition”

By AJ Skelly

I hated Krakken class.

But my mom made me take it anyway.  We came from a long line of Krakken Hunters, she said.  I had to learn what I was meant to do, she said.

The trouble was, I didn’t want to be in the family business.  I didn’t want to grow up and become a Krakken Slayer.  

Honestly, I was kind of taken with the little beasties.

I sighed down at the tiny pool at my feet.  Magik Prep Academy had one of the best Krakken courses available.  We learned everything there was to know about them.  I swished my finger in the pool and a baby tentacle wrapped around my finger.

I pried it loose with a gentle tug.

I thought maybe they could be useful.  They had hidden talents.  Possibly.  Maybe they weren’t just mindless killing machines once they reached adulthood.

I sighed again as I went to the simulation studio.  It was my turn in the sim today.  Everyone in the class had to take turns in the simulations.  It was a major part of our training.  Today I was bait and Kyle “Krakken Killer” (because everyone needs an alliterated nick name) was the slayer.  We nodded to each other.

It didn’t matter that it was all a simulation.  My heart pounded every time.  The locations and entrapment situations changed with each sim.  The magic flicked and I found myself wedged underneath the fallen beams of a ship.  My legs were stuck.  I couldn’t even wiggle my toes.  

“And START!” someone shouted.  Magic shimmered again and I was suddenly surrounded by seawater, smoke, and there was a rubbery tentacle flying towards me.  I bit back a scream and ducked my head under the fallen mast as the Krakken tentacle missed me by inches, shattering the deck and sending splinters shooting into my hair and embedding a few in my arm.  

Gritting my teeth, I looked through the haze, my heart in my throat.  Where was Kyle?  The wood groaned beneath me and water flooded over my feet.  Panic seized me and I desperately tried to kick my feet loose.  Even though it was all a magic-induced sim, I would still feel the pain of drowning, or being eaten, or any other number of horrible Krakken-related disasters the sims produced.  

The water rode up over my hips.

“Kyle!” I hollered.  

A yelp pierced through the smoke and the Krakken shrieked.

Heavily suctioned and swinging with vengeance, a tentacle wrapped around my waist and hauled me skyward, far above the ship.

I cried out as my legs were wrenched from underneath the heavy beams and grunted as one boot came off and nearly took a toe with it.  

“Hang on, Eiryn!  I’m coming!” Kyle’s call was far below and lost in the frothing sea and columns of smoke. 

The Krakken screeched and the rubbery mass around my waist tightened painfully.  Barely able to reach my foot, I gripped the little dagger still sheathed in my remaining boot.  Yanking it out, I plunged the tiny weapon into the flesh surrounding my middle as it began cutting off my air supply.  The blade didn’t do much damage, but the creature loosened its hold enough that I could draw a full breath.

“Kyle!” I shouted again.

“Almost there!” 

I hated being the bait.  

But I hated killing the sim Krakkens, too.  I wondered if the beasts were inherently evil because all we ever saw them do was take down ships and eat sailors—or did they do that because we blundered into their territory and sailors were tasty?

A scream tore from my lips as the tentacle suddenly released me and I went plummeting.  

“Kill it before I hit the water, will you?”  I screamed as I plunged through the air.  The water raced to meet me, and it was going to hurt like nobody’s business if I smacked into the surface.  It might even kill me in the sim, which would mean Kyle would lose his points, too.  It would be bad for both of us.

The water was inches from my face, and I covered my head with my arms.

Just as I should have been obliterated on the surface of the sea, I fell heavily onto the rubber mats covering the sim room floor.  

My chest was heaving and the stench of burning ash still clung to me.  

Kyle was bent over, his hands braced on his knees, breathing hard.

“Sorry, Eiryn.  I was right in his beak when the sim opened.”  He swiped a hand through his black hair.

“It’s alright.”  My voice was weary.  

He glanced at me, his eyes blue like deep water.

“You hate the sims, don’t you?” he whispered.

It wasn’t a secret that I didn’t like them, but it wasn’t something I broadcast around.  Didn’t want the family name to be sullied with my dislike.  

I nodded.

He looked at me, really looked at me.

“Have lunch with me today.  I want to talk to you.”

“Alright,” I agreed, curiosity piqued.

I slid my tray next to Kyle’s and swished the purple threads of magic off my chair before sitting.

“So.  What did you want to talk to me about?”  I asked him as I cracked the seal on my Ambrosia juice.  

He finished his bite of kelp salad sandwich and pierced me with a look.

“I want to recruit you.”

My eyebrows shot up my forehead.  “Recruit me for what?”

“It’s an experimental thing.  There are several of us here on campus and a few professors who have been doing more research into the Krakken as a species.  We want to set up a breeding program and breed Krakkens that exhibit certain traits.”

“To what end?”

“To see if we can’t train them to help in rescue missions—retrieve sailors and ships that are in trouble instead of causing the catastrophes.  Train them to retrieve artifacts, to go places we can’t with our limitations.”

I was hooked.

“Why do you want me?”

“I’ve seen the way you look in sims when you’re the slayer, the way you handle the baby ones.  I think you’re sympathetic, even though your grandfather was the most famous slayer ever to graduate the Academy.” 

I smiled.  

“Count me in.”

Thank you so much for reading! If you enjoyed this, please consider sharing this with your friends or telling someone about it this week. Let me know in the comments if you want to read more mythologically inspired short stories!

Creative Writing Prompt:

Do you think the Krakken is a real creature, or purely a mythological creature?

Book Recommendations:

Seaweed by Lee Strauss

Everblue by Brenda Pandos

Fathom by Merrie Destefano

Magical Curses

Magical Curses.

Is it even possible to have a fairy tale without one?

Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White…

Gorgeous rendition of Snow White by artist Krishnakhi Hazarika. Check out more of her art on Instagram @krishnakhi_h14

It seems that nearly every fairy tale has at least one cursed person (usually a princess) and that there’s always another person (usually a prince) that must come, break the curse, save the princess, then rule the kingdom with justice and wisdom.  But where did the idea of the curse come from?

The Cambridge dictionary defines cursing (paraphrased) either as saying rather naughty things to someone else, or, “to say magic words intended to bring bad luck to someone.”  The idea of the malevolent curse is ancient.  Egyptian tombs had curses chiseled into their entryways and on tablets scattered throughout their winding passageways (www.ancient-origins.net).  When Howard Carter found the tomb of King Tut, of all the original excavators, Carter was the only survivor.  Everyone else bit the dust.  Even Lord Caernarvon, the benefactor of the dig, perished at the hands of mysterious ailments after visiting Tut’s resting place.  Many chalked it up to the Curse of the Mummy.

Many cultures world-wide have beliefs in magic—both good and bad.  Sometimes it’s the same magic and it’s the wielder who causes the good or the bad, other times it’s the magic itself.  Even the Bible mentions curses.  In Exodus (chapter 20), it talks about generational curses—that the LORD will visit the sins of the fathers upon the children for multiple generations.  But the next verse also offers the way to “break the curse.”  Repentance and turning to the same LORD breaks the curse and brings restoration (www.bible.net).

On an excavated 1,600-year-old Italian lead tablet, an inscribed curse was found wishing for the destruction of a man and his wife.  The curse specifically asked for their hearts, livers, and buttocks to be destroyed.  Yes, please destroy the rear ends of my enemies.  That will show them (www.ancient-origins.net). 

Curses seem to have changed over time (and really, don’t most things?). They’ve gone through the changes of the medieval-type fairy tale, enacted by vengeful stepmothers or nasty witches.  Today they’re still most closely associated with witchcraft or superstition.

What do you think?  Are curses real then and/or now?  Pop up to the grey “comments” button and let me know what you think.  Also, make sure no one gives you the evil eye!

Book Recommendations

Midnight for a Curse by E. J. Kitchens

Anwen of Primewood (Book 2 of a series—can be read alone, but better if you read Book 1 first) by Shari L. Tapscott 

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer (awesome protagonist with cerebral palsy)

Creative Writing Prompts

The curse fell upon me, heavy, stifling, suffocating.  I was going to die before the enchantress finished her work.

Are you kidding me?  It’s the twenty-first century.  People don’t get cursed.  Do they?

Unicorn poop.  I had been cursed to shovel unicorn poop until I found a way to break this horrid spell.

The Quintessential Curse…
Such a great, under appreciated song! From the movie, RIgoletto
One of my very favorite fairy tales.

The Baen Sidhe

“Quit screaming like a banshee!”  Anyone else’s parents ever say that to them?  No?  Just me?  Apparently, I had quite the lungs.  I could holler with the best of the banshees.  But I hope my similarities with the banshee ends there. 

There are actually three different types of Baen Sidhe, as it’s spelled in the Gaelic.  They’re part of the extensive fae family (we’ve talked about the fae—fairies—before.  That post is still in the archives).

The Banshee always wails by water

The Baen Sidhe is the traditional Irish or Scottish spirit who moves around, singing a lament and crying tears of blood, grieving the death of one to come.  A foreshadower of imminent death.  Sometimes she’s old and haggard, other times she’s young, beautiful, but always horribly grieved.

There are several old clans in both Scotland and Ireland that claim to have family members who became part of the Baen Sidhe.  These relatives then come back among the living to herald the coming death of family members—a warning to prepare for the inevitable (www.differenttypes.net).

The second banshee is the Baen-Nighe—a gnarled old woman who sits by the side of a body of water (usually a lake or a river), doing her washing.  But the clothes she’s washing are full of blood.  Of the doomed.  She’s a precursor of death that shows up when somebody is about to die.  She wails as she washes.  What a charming job.  It’s also said that if one can get between a Baen-Nighe and the water before she sees you, she’ll grant you second sight (knowing the future before it happens).

Original Artwork by @_art_enthusiast_ Check out other pieces on Instagram!

The third banshee is the Baen Chaointe.  This banshee remains hidden among the banks of running waters.  There she mourns.  Frequently these banshees are associated with soldiers coming home from war—they mourn the fallen.  It’s also said that Baen Chaointe showed up to warn Clan McDonald before the Massacre of Glen Coe (www.differenttypes.net) in 1692 (www.britanica.com).

It’s said that the common barn owl may be cause for belief in the banshee’s wails.  Perhaps the cry of a Highland cat may be a culprit? Perhaps the scream of a dying animal?  But it does stand to question—where did the links between the wails and the deaths come from?

Highland Wildcat

What do you think?  Pop up to the top of the article, click the grey “Comments” button and tell me—do you think the Baen Sidhe still wails her warnings? 

Book Recommendations

Creepy Hollow Series by Rachel Morgan (the first three are this week’s giveaway!)

There are lots of books on myths and legends of Irish lore, and there are quite a few paranormal featuring the Banshee, I just haven’t read them. ;). If you have a good one to recommend, let me know!

Creative Writing Prompts

There.  The hag sat by the river.  Her hands and her washing red with blood.  I needed the second sight she could grant.  Now was my chance.

I heard the wail of the banshee.  My blood ran cold.  Did she wail for me?

“It’s true.  I heard it last night.  The cries of the Baen Sidhe.”  We looked together down on our dead friend.

Sea Witches

Seaweed tangles as the winds thrash.  Waves decimate the shoreline dragging sand, shells, driftwood—anything its dark fingers can reach, dragging it to the bottom of the ocean, never to see daylight again.  Rain pelts the sea grasses, tearing roots from the earth, pummeling the ground.

Tropical storm?  Maybe.  But it could be the doing of a sea witch.  

There are many stories of sea witches, particularly in old Norse mythology.  They are malevolent spirits of the water, sometimes shown as mermaids or selkies (see the archives for posts on these creatures!) that can control the waves, the tides, and often times, the weather (www.ancient-origins.net).

Original Artwork by DreadD @Drea.D.Art on Instagram

Many legends of sea witches focus on the lunar cycle and the tides.  This is especially true in British mythology.  Many a tale has been brought back by a sea-fairing sailor about dangerous sea witches out in the open water or storms and damage they caused (www.themystica.com).

There’s not a ton of information out there about sea witches in particular.  Their legends often blur with other similar sea myths.  Most frequently, tales of these wicked mystical creatures have their roots in siren lore, oftentimes mistaken for a mermaid (more on sirens on a future post…did you know sirens originally had feathers and wings, not tails and fins?).

Sea witches may have gotten a nasty rep simply because they’re very forgetful (I mean, I forget things all the time, and I don’t have all that water pressure sitting on my brain).  In desiring a hunky sailor, the sea witch may take him down to the depths of her ocean city, but drown him in the process because either they forgot he needed oxygen, or didn’t realize he didn’t have gills (although I’d think a quick scan of the neck for gill activity would suffice?).  What a way to go, poor sailor.  Other tales claim that men jumped overboard to save what they presumed was a drowning woman, only to drown themselves as the mermaids/sirens/sea witches swam away to safety (www.gods-and-monsters.com).

Original Artwork by Julia Ruprecht @julruprecht on Instagram

The story of Thessalonike may be the best go between for the siren/mermaid and sea witch stories. Thessalonike was the sister of Alexander the Great, and as I’m sure any caring older brother would do, when he obtained a jar of water from the Fountain of Immortality, he washed his sister’s hair with it.  Because, isn’t that what we would all do with water from the Fountain of Immortality?  Sign me up for some of that hair care.

Alexander the Great, brother of Thessolonike

At any rate, when Alexander died, Thessalonike was so beset with grief, that she flung herself into the sea, wishing to join him in death.  But because of her immortally-washed tresses, she transformed into a mermaid.  It’s said she roamed the Aegean Sea for ages.  When sailors passed her, she’d ask them if Alexander was still among the living.  If they answered yes, then she let them pass.  But if they told her he was dead she transformed into a hideous monster and drowned the lot of them.

The sea witch seems to have some pretty murky origins, mixed and matched with different mermaid and siren stories from different places in the world.  But as a rather murky dangerous sea creature, I imagine that’s just the way most sea witches would prefer things.

Original Artwork by Rilee Belnap @Bella_ran_art on Instagram

What would you do if you found a flask of water from the Fountain of Immortality?  Pop up to the top of the article, click the grey “Comments” button, and let me know!

Book Recommendations

Fury by Merrie Destefano (read Fathom first—it was recommended on Selkie week!)

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen

Of Song and Sea by Chanda Hahn (also this week’s giveaway!!!)

Creative Writing Prompts

I clasped my hands and wailed.  Where was my brother?  Where was Alexander?  The seaweed tangled about my tail, mocking my grief.

Anger burned through my veins.  How dare the humans disobey me.  I’d show them who had the power.  With a twirl of my fingers, I set the clouds to gathering and darkening with my brewing anger.

Oh.  Oh dear.  The man.  The beautiful man.  He wasn’t breathing.  I brushed his skin with my tail, but nothing happened.

Because you can’t talk about sea witches without mentioning the most famous of them all: