The Water Wolves

The Water Wolves

Author’s Note: This story, while still in the realm of “fantasy,” is a bit different than what I usually do, like in the “Junk Collectors,” stories, or otherwise. This story (or rather, short story– which I typically dislike writing, as I have the brain of a novelist and usually can’t just “stop”) is more in the category of “traditional fantasy,” but meets the modern world. I do hope you guys like it. It kind of formulated itself into my brain over the past few days out of sheer boredom, until it was practically begging to be written. So, here we are. Again. 

While not related to the “Junk Collector” realm in any way, shape, or form, I did not enjoy writing this any less than my second “baby” (my first trilogy, which is in the works, in my first baby. “Junk Collector,” is second.). It actually has a very, very old daydream idea of mine interwoven into it, as you’ll soon see…But really, I hope you guys enjoy it.

******

Kierra Callot stared at the edge of her resort house bed, trying to figure out what to do. It had all started a few days ago, shortly after she and her family had gone to the beach for vacay. After all her duties, more than what her parents were even aware of, the vacay had been much needed, and extremely deserved.

She’d been lying under their umbrella, reading in the shade after nearly getting scorched alive trying to tan– it was, after all, the middle of July– she heard a soft, “Hey.” Looking up, peering over her shades, she saw before her probably the hottest surfer dude on the whole beach. His short, strawberry blonde locks were spiked upwards, somehow oddly complementing deep sapphire eyes. He was shirtless, as most men are when swimming, but had the six pack to flaunt, which many men did not. He wore black and white swim trunks, and had some kind of tooth necklace around his throat– she knew it wasn’t a shark tooth, it was longer and the point was not as accented, but…

He’d interrupted her thoughts with a little chuckle. “I know, I know… I’m a fine specimen, aren’t I?” Those sapphire eyes seemed to dance. Her heart almost leapt, before her common sense dragged it back down to planet earth. “How do you even know that was what I was even thinking?”

“You’re ogling.” A sunny little smile lit those eyes up again. “People usually do when they think those thoughts.”

“What? Like you’re some kind of museum artifact, begging to be looked at?” She tried to roll her eyes, and draw her focus downward, back to her book. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have much needed vacation time to catch up o–”

“Even more important,” he said softly, suddenly right behind her, “than taking care of… Area 61 matters?” She’d jumped out of her beach chair in fright and shock– partly due to his unexpected proximity, but also due to his unquestionable knowledge of–

“What did you say?” she stammered, trying to force herself to stay calm, “I don’t know what you’re… what you’re talking about.”

He studied her for a few moments, eyes grazing on her whole being, then halting and hovering at her own. He leaned against their umbrella stand casually, arms folded. “Well, then, I suppose it WOULDN’T interest you in the least that some… rogues… are attempting to portal jump?”

She didn’t have to say anything this time; her eyes widened, and that seemed to be good enough for him. “Tell you what,” he said, voice again like silk, “Why don’t we have ourselves a nice little chat about it over dinner? I can easily provide you with all the details. The Seafood Ship, 113 Main Avenue. My treat. Oh, and they prefer it if you’d wear the nicest clothes you have with you. See you then.” Completely ignoring her sputtering protests, he’d calmly sauntered off, but not without the gazes of at least two dozen giggling or jealous females watching. Kierra had sunk down to her chair again, feeling flustered, confused, suspicious and concerned all at once.

Just as she was feeling now.

She sighed, twirling in her teal ombre sundress, gazing at herself in the mirror. Her family, especially her younger brother, wanted to know why she was getting all dolled up, but she didn’t disclose any of the real details. She didn’t know what had moved her to even THINK about doing this. Maybe it was duty, an actively subconscious response to aid someone during a GENUINE “Area 61” call. But, in this case, she had no clue as to if this call was a genuine one, or a trap. How did he know, anyways?

She would, one way or the other, learn that in a hour’s time.

She set off to the Seafood house with a disconcerted feeling that she would in no way be eating during their conversation.

*****

He’d picked out a booth before meeting her at the door; apparently, this guy was a real regular here. Every other server they passed seemed to greet him with a smile and a nod, or, in male servers’ cases with Kierra, a sly little wink. Kierra felt like she’d swallowed a stone, and that stone had punched a hole through her gut; she wasn’t here to go on a date. She was here for answers.

She decided before they were seated not to order anything, even under pressure, in case anything was spiked. Probably paranoia, but in her profession, it never hurt to be too careful. After they sat, she said, “OK, talk. Who are you, and how do you know about…”
“Area 61?” He leaned back, almost as casual as before, only in nice jeans, a white shirt, black leather jacket. Only the tooth necklace remained the same, out in plain view. “Dear, I’ve known for quite some time that you’re a Portal Hunter. But you’re right,” he added, seeing her jaw drop and eyes narrow at his audacity, “It’s not very fair that I know all of that about you, and you not to know a a whale’s tail swish about me…. Fair game. My name, dearest, is Micah. Micah Greenwater. And I happen to be one of the administrators for MARINO.” He paused to thank the server for his lemon-water, and to take a sip.

“Wait a minute… MARINO…. Why does that sound–”

“Familiar?” he finished, after a long gulp. “Stands for “Merish Aquatic Rescue International Networking Organization”. Surely you’ve heard of us?”

“MERISH?” Her eyebrows had never shot up so fast. “You’re MERISH? On human land? I don’t believe you. You don’t even have a tail, or gills, and there’s a severe penalty for any Mermian to go out wandering on human–”

“I see you’re under the influence of several very prominent misconceptions about my people,” he cut her off again, coolly eyeing her once more. “I suppose you also believe the little myth that we are half human, half fish, do you?”

“Well…”

“Tut, tut… such prejudices…” He downed the last of his water faster than she could bat an eye. “If you were to know our actual past, you would be fully aware that my people were originally Atlanteans, some of whom survived the Great Flood by breeding with the likes of porpoises, whales, manatees, dolphins, and sharks. Do fish, after all, have such beautiful song voices? I think not. And not every Mermian does, either. Usually only about two-thirds of us, actually.”

“What?” She stare at him, trying to digest all this information, thrust at her all at once. “You’re saying… that you’re a product of… Bestiality?” His lobster platter had arrived, and though it had grill marks, it did not look very well done. She was beginning to feel ill. “You’re not going to be ordering anything, dear? What’s the matter? You look a little… green around the gills.” He chuckled quietly at his own joke, sawing into his meat like an ordinary gentleman. “Don’t worry, mine’s lightly grilled. Only lightly. Living in the human world for so long causes you to adapt to some of their ways, after all. Most Mermians would eat theirs completely raw.” He closed his eyes and chewed, savoring the flavor,as a million questions flooded Kierra’s mind. Then at last she blurted,

“You’re… you’re not planning on… on seducing me and taking me into the ocean to drown then eat me, are you?”

His eyes instantly flitted open, and he started coughing. She almost felt worried that he was choking because he was angry and surprised, but suddenly a laugh barked out past his lips. “Seduce you… drown, then eat… good Neptune, what movies have you been watching, dearest?” He wiped his mouth, settling down again. “If you’re referring to our methods of mate selection, mesmerism and conversion, then let me assure you, they’re very different from those… rumors. The stories you’ve been told have been obviously exaggerated. But it’s alright that you asked, because that will bring us to the point of our little meeting, anyway.” He set his utensils down, steepled his fingers together, gazing at her for the longest time over them. Then spoke,

“You see, after my people were officially born into existence, we were quite numerous. For several hundred years, we flourished, built homes underwater, had cities similar to your own– ones with technology and architecture that you wouldn’t believe. Then multiple plagues struck. First the elderly, then the young. Soon, we were perishing in great numbers. It became vital to preserve our numbers, so young mermen and mermaids began a special kind of adaptive training. They could spend days on land, spending time with, and, as you call it, “seducing,” many humans. Usually by means of persuasion and mesmerism. We often have had harems, to help increase our numbers with them. But we could only do so after they themselves had been converted, had become Merish. Which brings me to my main point,” he said quickly, noticing her agitated expression, “Some of those things, I admit, were a little… desperate and barbaric. You must understand, we did what we had to, to save our society and keep it from dying out. It was not exactly… a proud past that we had.” He broke his gaze at her to stare down at his nearly-empty plate. “But times have changed, and we, with them. Conversions must follow specific regulations, such as age limit– no younger than sixteen– and certain, specialized circumstances, such as if the human was in an abusive household, or the like. Very specific situations… And we never, ever condone forced, nonconsensual conversions, least of all child conversions. The unfortunate news is, sometimes these conversions still occur. These… These Merish rogues, as we call them, mostly mermen… They are not like the rest of us. Our understanding is that most of them are half the most predatory aquatic mammals– sharks. Understandable, given their ways.” His tone turned angry, vicious. “They are very old-fashioned, some of them, and believe we ought to return to the old ways, of kidnapping, having harems of pretty young human girls, not caring about age… Others, they are worse. They call themselves, “The Water Wolves,” they’re much like your mafia, only specific in their dealings. You know about human trafficking in your own world, I take it?”

She nodded, speechless.

“Well, they are avid partakers in it. Sometimes, they are so lazy that they let humans do the kidnapping for them, without disclosing that they are Merish, and when they get their victims… Well, I’m sure you can easily fill in the rest.”

“But… That’s awful! Can’t we do anything to stop them?”

“That’s why MARINO was founded, dear. We work side-by-side with multiple anti-trafficking organizations, including that human one that helps to locate and return missing and exploited children. Our job is to rescue as many human children, and yes, even teenagers like yourself, before it is too late. We’ve had enough negative dealings with things like this in the past. That’s why I would like you to help us.”He leaned forward, looking eager.

“What can I do? I’m just a Portal Hunter, like you said. I only monitor the portals open to other worlds, and help shut down illegal portals that others try to open. I’m not law enforcement, by any means.”
“Perhaps, but I know you’re legally REQUIRED to ACT as law enforcement, particularly in Area 61 matters like this, until proper authority arrives, if you see and find something suspicious. You have a right to investigate, arrest, and to protect the innocent.”

“You DO do your research well, don’t you,” murmured Kierra. “All right, then. No promises, but I’ll do what I can to ensure no new portals get activated in specific locations. Just tell me where to keep my eyes peeled. Oh, and two more, unrelated, questions…”

A smile curved those perfect lips. “Yes?”

“You said your people bred with… certain marine animals, right? And you seemed to imply that your people were long lived–”

“Oh, you’re wondering what I’M part of, and how old I am?” Amusement was in his tone. “My great-great grandmother was an Orca whale. I’m actually wearing one of her teeth.” He stroked the tooth affectionately. “That way, I know part of her’s with me, wherever I go. As for how old I am…” He stood to leave, “Well… Let’s just say I look a lot younger than I actually am. A lot, by far.” He took her hand, delicately kissing her fingertips, one by one. “It was wonderful meeting with you today, my dear. Can I expect a follow-up report in, say, the next week or so?”

“I’ll do my best,” said a flustered and crimson faced Kierra.

___________________________

Image Credit: 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/120860115/paperd-antique-orca-whale-tooth-necklace

Jesus Loves… Me?

Jesus Loves… Me?

Broken

Beyond repair

Shattered

Without a care–

E

m

o

t

i

o

n

a

l

l

y

Volatile

And selfish; who

Or what

Could ever love

A beast?

*****

Jesus loves me;

This I know,

For His Abba’s

Holy Word

Tells me so,

Through His Son’s

Sacrifice

I remain

Strong,

And to Him,

Him only–

I do belong.

Yes, Jesus loves me.

 

__________________________

Image Credit:

https://art-soulworks.com/pages/jesus-pictures

God Heal America

God Heal America

God, heal America

Land that I love,

Stand beside her,

Guide her,

So that she may no

Longer sin,

Fight the temptation

Within

And then finally

Finish

The work our Founders

Hath started

To begin.

Be her light from above,

Cherish her with

Your everlasting, perfect

Love

But, do not

Bless her;

Instead, heal her

Light her ways and err

On the side

Of caution, and

Cleanse all

Unrighteousness

From her wounds; open

Her eyes

That she might yet

See Your Face

Staring lovingly into

Hers.

 

Christ awaits the American part

Of His Holy Bride

To have a change of heart

Deep,

Deep

Down inside.

 

Amen.

Amen.

 

___________________________________

Image Credit: http://religionnews.com/2015/07/07/flying-christian-flag-above-u-s-flag-isnt-a-federal-crime/

 

Genre Friction: What is Tsarpunk? by Leigh Bardugo

Amazing interview with Leigh Bardugo. Had to share! 🙂

STEAMED!

Today we welcome Leigh Barduo who’s going to tell us all about Tsarpunk, because Tsarpunk is awesome.

Leigh Bardugo was born in Jerusalem, grew up in Los Angeles, and graduated from Yale University. She indulges her fondness for glamour, ghouls, and costuming in her other life as a makeup artist. She lives in Hollywood and can occasionally be heard singing with her band, Captain Automatic.Her debut novel, Shadow & Bone, is the first book in the Grisha Trilogy and will be published by Holt Children’s/Macmillan in June 2012.

Genre Friction: What is Tsarpunk?

by Leigh Bardugo

We can be frank with one another, yes? We’ve known each other, lo, these many seconds, shared a few vowels. All right then, I’ll give it to you straight: The term “Tsarpunk” started off as a bit of a joke. When I wrote my debut novel, Shadow and Bone, people kept asking me…

View original post 1,428 more words

I.D. Crisis

I.D. Crisis

Broken

Shattered

Smashed

And torn to ribbons

Millions of tiny, little

Puzzle pieces

And among them is missing

The one piece of

My soul that

Used to ring

When played.

Why?

Why is it

Deflated, so

Underestimated,

Un-

Func-

Tion-

Ing;

I used

To be able to

Do it for hours

And stretch it

On for days

And my folks would think

Me

Crazy;

But now

… ….

Silence.

A bell tower

Without its most

Important

Component.

 

I am empty.

 

__________________________

Image Credit: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/12/writing-on-paper_n_5797506.html

Are YOU Ready to Become a Wife?

I know that many of you desire to be a wife someday. Some of you may even be wondering “Lord, when will I be married? I’m so tired of waiting!” A question I don’t hear a lot of singles ask is “God, am I ready to be a wife?” The truth is a lot goes into…

via Are You Ready to Be a Wife? — Project Inspired

I can really, really relate to this post– it seriously makes me question my marriageability. Lol.

“Halayda”– Fae a la YEAH!

“Halayda”– Fae a la YEAH!

 

Hey, y’all!

Sorry that it’s been AGES; work and stuff’s been driving me up the ROOF. But anyways, enough excuses– time to get down to the nitty-gritty.

Today I’m going to be reviewing a new fave book of mine, a book called, “Halayda,” the first in a series called the “Star-Fae Trilogy,” by Ms. Sarah D. White. (Who I would love to interview on here for you guys, but we’ll see what happens! 😉 She is really nice; we’re FB pals, and I’ve already asked her a good bit about the characters!) Long story short, I won the chance to get a free book from Uncommon Universes Press, an indie publishing company, and, after much contemplation, settled on this book (it was between that, the “World Building” book, and “Coiled”. Which I still may buy and review later.). This series is going to be my very clean sub for the “a lot less than clean,” Sarah J. Maas series, “A Court of Thorns and Roses,” which I have no to little desire to read namely because of aforementioned reason. But “Halayda’s” pretty clean– some cursing, here and there, but nothing super vile. For the most part, I was pretty satisfied and overall really liked the plot, the characters. But it distresses me, however, that, since it’s published by an indie publishing company, the hype is considerably less… so I’m going to be giving her a little boost in the marketing department… 😉

It was so good, but so under-hyped, that I was genuinely shocked that there was NO REAL ART OF HER CHARACTERS!!! (This is a book that’s good enough to be made into a movie that we’re talking about here.) I mean, aside from two portraits from Julia Busko of Taylan and Sylvie respectively (which were NOT how certainly pictured either of them– she forgot Sylvie’s waviness in her hair, and Taylan looks like a red-haired Legolas…), there was nothing, zip, nada. Which is why I’m eventually going to dedicate an entire post on here, my blog, to nothing BUT “Star Fae Trilogy” characters. I may not be as experienced an artist as Busko, and my phone may take extremely shoddy pictures, but it’s worth a shot at doing them justice! (Already did Casimir, since no one else did. I wanted him done the MOST, and man alive, did he turn out great! Sarah herself was very pleased 🙂 So that made my day! Taylan and Sylvie are up next– debating on whether to draw Syl with or without her wings– then Diza, then Zad.)

It also helped that a lot of the characters would often say, “Stars,” in amazement, reminding me immensely of The Lunar Chronicles.

(early apologies for formatting; my “insert,” tab is NOT favoring me today…)

Anyways, here’s my take on her, “Halayda” (I’ll do my best to limit major spoilers!):

Story Summary:

A mortal alchemist and a faerie king align and join forces to protect both their realms, but specifically the cruel, manipulative Star-Fae Casimir, who purposely endangers Faerie in order to draw out the Faerie Savior, known as the Dragonfly. Along the way, the protags are aided by sass masters, as well as hubby and wife, Zad and Diza, two other faeries (Pooka and Dulahna, respectively), some members of the Faerie Royal Court, and also– eventually– the Wild Hunt (consisting of pookas, kellishes, and cuanns 😉 Look ’em up!) in the task of stopping Casimir and restoring the realm.

What was Done Well:

  1. The Characterization. The characters were played off beautifully, so realistically. The sass could’ve been upped a tad for my taste, but I did enjoy the playful banter she had between Zad and Taylan, Sylvie sassing Casimir, and Diza sassing Velene. There’s no better verbal play against villainy than sassiness! 🙂 The romance was also subtle at times, not too mushy. That aside, I did like how she didn’t try to make her characters too perfect; Taylan had a HUGE skeleton in his closet and was very secretive, whereas Sylvie not only had the burden of saving the whole world shoved onto her shoulders all of a sudden, but she also was very insecure about herself, about her abilities. Her wanting to hide under her blankets and snuggle up when things got bad reminded me heavily of, well, me (Yes, I have a comfort pillow that I hug. A lot. Sue me.). She also reminded me greatly of Alina Starkov, in that aspect– both are very down about themselves and their abilities, and both have villains who kinda sorta take credit for giving said female protags power, and shame them when they don’t use it.insecuritygif
  2. The Detail. Some of it was more detailed than others, but I loved how she described the Wellspring, her characters’ appearances, the shifting mountain where all the past, present, and futures are connected and can be seen. AND THE FATE THREADS!!! She did herself very well in the world-building department. wellspring3. Suspense-Building. The tension was already there at the equinox party thingy, but it exploded into immediate chaos after Caylus and Cronies Co. decided to crash the party with tons of alchemical poisons, dousing Taylan’s realm and affecting everyone in it. Needlesstosay, some (OK, probably most) members of his Court were NOT too happy about it, and this builds up until we eventually reach… TREACHERY!!! (And the “lesser of two evils” kind of logic. Go figure.)treasongif4. The Faerie Groups. If you know me, I like categorization. I’d say order too, but then I’d be at risk of some nutjob like Casimir trying to butter up to me. But annnyyyywwwhhhoooo… I love categorization, like the factions in Divergent, like the Grisha orders in The Grisha Trilogy, etc. So naturally, I liked all the orders of Faerie put into the book for your convenience, so you weren’t totally lost.
  3. 5. Finally, I LOVED how she blended alchemy with magic– two worlds collide!! Literally. Enough said.

What Needed a Bit of Work:

  1. Plot talky– more tell than show. This was one of the few things that someone else pointed out that made me think, “They have a good point…” As much as I loved the book, the story, the characters, something was a little off. Something that was preventing it from FULLY achieving ULTIMATE GREATNESS, and being up there with the rest of the fabulous, really great books. That something was, primarily, not so much showing as telling. If it’s any consolation to Sarah, though, I’m probably equally guilty of this vice, and struggle with it quite often. I like to talk, to explain, when I NEED to learn to IMPLY. You can say just as much, if not more, than the average explanation by just implying or even STRONGLY implying something. She does sometimes, just not most of the time. And that’s OK– just something to remember and work on, in the future.
  2. The glossary at the front of the book. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVED the glossary, it was really, really helpful. BUT I feel like when you put it at the FRONT, right in FRONT OF the story you’ve written, it’s like you expect readers to memorize every little thing– and I know that’s not true, that it’s there to help clarify, and for their benefit. As a reader, I’d much rather look BACK, towards a glossary that’s in the same place as an index. Keep-Calm-and-Write-On
  3. Lastly, the cursing. Granted, I know, it’s a part of everyday speech. This comment is probably more of a personal preference, more than anything. I was a little surprised to find it in a believer-authored book, and although SUPER strong language isn’t used, it was still frequent enough to bother me a hair (I think it was actually more frequent in this book than in, “Shadow and Bone” O.O). For me, when I write, I’d much rather say, “So-and-so swore…” and get on with the rest of the sentence; I noticed Ted Dekker does that a good bit, as well. But maybe that’s just me. 🙂

Overall, great book from a great author. Am looking forward to reading book two of the trilogy when it hits the market early 2018, seeing the Diza-Casimir confrontation, and stopping whatever Casi’s up to next!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (like I said– I’m a hard rater, but anything 3 and up is really good, by my standards!).

___________________________________

Image Credits:

http://jmhackman.com/2017/04/04/guest-post-by-sarah-delena-white-author-of-halayda/

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34210549-halayda

https://tenor.com/view/palpatine-treason-star-wars-emperor-gif-8547403

http://www.hippoquotes.com/davina-joy-quotes-tumblr