Body Armor on #LisaBurtonRadio

Great Lisa Burton (the Robot Girl) radio show interview today. Lisa’s hosting Carmina Orsini, the matriarch of the last descendants of the Medici and finding out that it’s tough being ancient royalty… Catch the full deal on Entertaining Stories! ❤

Entertaining Stories

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you secret society members and sequestered royal families. This is Lisa Burton Radio. The only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re going to peek inside a clandestine operation that protects one of the world’s royal families.

My special guest today is Carmina Orsini. She is the maternal grandmother of the Notaro girls. They are the last living descendants of the Medici family, and someone is trying to kill them. It’s understandable that Carmina is a little bit worried. “Welcome to the show, Carmina.”

“Ciao, Lisa. Thank you for having me here today.”

“My pleasure. The bio I have says you’re particularly worried about Donni Notaro. Can you tell our listeners why?”

“Ah. My granddaughters, all of them, are strong women. Very accomplished, very smart. But they are in over their heads this…

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One day a year ~ lest we forget…

From INKorporated with love…

Jan Hawke INKorporated

The eleventh hour, of the eleventh day, of the eleventh month, is marked by nations around the globe, usually in as part of Remembrance/Armistice/Veterans memorial day, but in particular to mark the end of fighting on the Western Front of The Great War on the time and date that the peace accords were signed in a railway carriage at Compiègne, France. I’m deliberately referring to WW1 as ‘The Great War’ in this context, because its Armistice marked the end of devastating fighting and massive mortality amongst the military and civilians that literally changed the world, politically, socially, economically and, most of all, psychologically.

Although WW2 exceeded the total number of global fatalities in The Great War, in Europe it was rightly seen as ‘the war to end all wars’ because 60 of the 70 million people killed were Europeans. It literally wiped out a generation of young men in continental Europe and Great…

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Befouled 7 ~ the last taster and some praise…

 

Today’s the last day of the paperback launch promo, so it’s time for an excerpt from the Epilogue and a full editorial review. With the latter I’ve been trying all day to fathom out how to get it onto the Amazon.com listing – no success at all! I managed it somehow with Freebooter’s but for the life of me I can’t see how I did it! It’s a strange quirk of Amazon, that only the US site will list an editorial review on the main catalogue page…
Anyhoo – here’s the bit from the Epilogue where a rehabilitated Eiralann has graduated into the care of the Ainghal, Arathorr, the Huntsman and learns more about how she will redeem her soul and honour in future struggles with Drogdurr and Garliath…

 

“My Lord? I am curious…” her question faded away as his silvery eyes looked keenly at her. For a moment, her own dull red gaze dropped away.
“Ask whatever you wish, Eiralann – I am here to help you as much as I can.” Again, he restrained himself from examining her thoughts. Instead, he smiled at her in encouragement.
“Before – when I was with the Lady Melisande and afterwards with the Great Lady and you also, when you came to us…” She faltered a little once more, worried that the question was too intrusive, but took heart from his warm silence and went on more strongly, “your speech my Lord. It is different now? Your words are now as spoken amongst the Shiânfolk?”
He laughed and answered her softly, “We are different creatures, for we Anghali are an ancient race and, amongst ourselves, we do not speak like you or the other Shiânfolk…”
In turn, he tailed off, taking time to choose his next words.
“I know, my Lord – you all spoke to me, and to Faenelloth when we were dreaming and being cleansed. A kind of… thought speech?”
As she spoke, he gave her a slow smile, for he often wondered since she had been passed into his care, whether he should speak to her on this matter. With a wry nod, he began to explain a little of what was in store for the Creedhor.
“There will come a time, and soon now when the Tíréadan and the Berladan will pass into the West and into the full care of my kindred in Arbhalla. I and the Ladies Nardia and Melisande will remain here for a while longer. The People of the Wood and Waters will abide here on this Eastern Shore for many years to come, and some will not pass over the ocean at all. At that point, the Lady Nardia and I will no longer roam here in Ferandreath, and only the Lady Melisande will remain with the Cráinnadan who choose not to sail Westwards. This is when you will be reunited with Lady Melisande, as we told you.”
“But meanwhile, I am to stay with you and learn how to fight the Demon Lord and his troichann?”
“Yes. There will always be enmity between him and the Creedhor, and, because of your knowledge and need to atone, we will be together for many years, studying the Enemy and learning his ways together. When I must leave you, the Lady Melisande will need your help to defend the Cráinnadan, for there will be war, and the Creedhor must be ready for it. So, the answer to your question is that I – and Lady Melisande – now must speak as the Shiânfolk do on this side of the ocean. She, because she must be your people’s guide and guardian. You will be one of her chief instruments of defence against the Enemy, in terms of understanding and purpose in the trials to come. While I am with you, I must be your true companion in arms and brother in battle. Together, we are going to learn how best to fight them, both physically and mentally and so, as you cannot become as an Ainghal, I must become as like a man in all respects. Think like the Shiânfolk, talk like you and act like you.”
“And that is why you will not speak to me in thoughts now?”
Again, he laughed softly then nodded. “Nor will I attempt to bend your will, nor force you to act in a way you do not wish to.”
“Like HE did!” Her eyes flamed now, hot as translucent rubies and her voice was a snarl at the thought of all she had been subjected within the Iron Tower.
“Now you are restored and no longer being fed poisons, your will and your mind will never be overcome by those means again. Nor will I, nor my kind, try to dominate you in such a way without your consent.
“While you were in Lady Melisande’s care, we learned from you, during your own healing. When you were first taken, the loss of your spouse and your infant weakened you considerably – in your grief and innocence, you had no defence against the Lords of Darkness. Through what we have now learned, and will learn together here, over these coming years, we will teach the other Creedhor how to resist and reject the Enemy. They are strong, but so are we – elves and Anghali together. They may wound and kill us, but they will never again manipulate or crush the will, or the wit of the Creedhor on these shores! This is my promise, and for the others of my kind, to you and to all the Creedhor – never again shall one of you be desecrated or demeaned as you, and the other lost ones were.”
Her eyes were feral, and hot with anger and rue now. She nodded curtly at Arathorr, and her voice was low but hard as granite. “As long as it takes – I will fight them. That is my Oath.”

The future Eiralann in the Forest Kingdom? Image by Wayne Reynolds on Pinterest.

Someone asked today if we’ll hear more of Eiralann. I’m not entirely sure yet, but I have written her into several roleplay games that might be adapted at some stage. Her character archetype is one that I like however, and so there’ll be plenty of vengeful female warrior action in other tales I’m writing right now! 😀

Here’s that editorial review of Befouled now – Sue’s a Tolkien lore expert, so I’m tickled pink with this!

Siân Glírdan has managed to terrify and enthrall me with this book. Her depictions of the beings of Evil at their cruel work are chilling, and the story fills me with pity and sorrow at the suffering of the captives and thralls.

They say love will always find a way, but this story takes its protagonists to hell – and not necessarily back again, at least not completely. What if the only way to show your love is an act of evil?

A devastating tale, that made me cry out in shock at times. Produced from imaginative depths that I envy.

Sue Bridgwater ~ editor and fellow elven roleplaying companion of Janowyn, the High Bard (Siân Glírdan)

And just because – here’s that trailer again! 😉

One last link to Amazon…

Befouled 6 ~ another not so tasty excerpt…

Here we observe Eiralann’s first, catastrophic experience of culture-shock on her reunion with the Shiânfolk after her escape from the Dark God’s clutches. She discovers that, having eaten raw meat for so long during her captivity, she can no longer tolerate civilised food, even though she is starving…

They had offered her bread first, but she shook her head, dark, bloody eyes huge with hunger and fixed manically on the coneys, cooling from the fire. Sûlranna had handed one over to her, face worriedly regarding the strange red-eyed woman who seemed to be in appalled fascination with her hot supper. Her hands had been shaking almost uncontrollably as she took the skewer in both hands lest she drop it. But her control disintegrated as, insensible to the heat she had pulled the coney apart and stuffed its rump into her mouth, biting into flesh and bone like a wolf, slavering with the hunger… and then…

sorrow`sHowling at the memory, she hugged herself into a cringing, knotted ball of humiliated self-recrimination. She had literally spat the meat out back into the fire, gagging in disgust at the hot fat and dried-up taste. She ejected the bones as well and again she wailed as she recalled how she had attacked the fire, ignoring the burns to her hands. Trying desperately to pull the scrawny pelvis away from those ruinous flames. It had taken both Dughal and Aerghal to pull her away and stop her doing herself any more harm.
And what had she done? Spat at them too. Cursed them with words, they could not understand but discerned the meaning of well enough from her blazing eyes, glowing like red-hot coals. Her mouth and face had contorted into a snarling mask of frustration and hunger as she hit out at them, scratching and punching like some demented animal.

In the end, the two males had managed to subdue her, and she wept once more as she saw the scratches and bruises on their faces that she had inflicted on them. Sûlranna’s children were crying as well, across the scattered fire where their mother rocked them, stroking them tenderly into calm again. The sight of the woman and her children wounded Eiralann as nothing else could, so she had turned her face away from Dughal as he asked what she had been thinking of. And still, he was not angry with her, only worried and confused. Aerghal, understandably, was not quite so conciliatory and had addressed her more sternly.

“Why are you behaving so Eiralann? We invited you to break bread with us and share our meal, and this is your thanks? Answer me!”
“So sorry! I am so sorry!” She shuddered with self-loathing and faintness now as her empty stomach growled in protest and yearning at the food it no longer tolerated yet still ravened for. Her voice was virtually incoherent as she struggled to command herself once more. Aerghal’s look of outrage had begun to soften and echo Dughal’s worried concern as they both realised the depth of her contrition and fear.
“What is it, my sister? What has been done to you by these… wild beasts you lived with?” Again, he laid his hands on her, more gently this time, but still strong enough to keep her from trying to evade his touch. Holding one of her arms tightly he reached out for her chin with his other hand and made her turn her head to face him.
“Eiralann. Look at me. Open your eyes.” The years of enforced obedience took over, though he spoke far more kindly than her old oppressors had ever done. Gradually her eyelids opened, and Aerghal looked deep into the now dulled garnet eyes and saw her fear, the humiliation and despair and profound sorrow. And the terror.

“Please do not send me away…” She could barely speak now, and her voice was cracked with rue. He held her gaze, though she wished she could look away, for she knew he was beginning to understand. His grip on her arm and jaw relaxed a little though he held her still. With his tone hushed, so only she and perhaps Dughal could hear him, he spoke the words she had been dreading…
“I remember you now… you were Shiânford’s mate were you not?” She had no knowledge, no memory of him from before, but she knew he was right. He had known her. Known Shiânford better. She could not speak, but she did not need to. He saw his answer in her eyes, no matter how much they had been changed. His gaze was compassionate now, and his hand on her arm was gentle as his fingers stroked her too pale skin. He let go of her face so she could bow her head and cry silently now with exhaustion and shame.

“He was my good friend once, but he left the Lake. Said it was not safe anymore. Not safe for you and your unborn child… Oh, my dear! What happened? What happened to him and to your child?” Aerghal stopped as Eiralann began to utter great quivering sobs. He pulled her deeper into his arms, despite her weakened struggling to get away, rocking her back and forth until her weeping began to ease a little.
“But you were not Eiralann then… You were Fae… something…” He spoke softly to her now and loosened his hold, letting her move away from him a little. He dipped his head trying to look at her again, but this time she would not meet his grey-eyed gaze.
“She is dead now… long ago… like Shiân… I cannot be her… not anymore.”

He stared at her as though she was mad.

With Aerghal finally recognising her, Eiralann flees from the family who have tried to welcome her back into her old clan. Aerghal, determined to find out what happened to his close kinsman, Shiânford and his mate, follows her to get to the heart of her woes. Nothing can prepare him for the savage and tragic tale that Eiralann reluctantly has to tell…

And just because – here’s that trailer again! 😉

How horrific do you like your horror genres to get?

 

Befouled 5 ~ the first incarnation of Eiralann…

This is not an excerpt from Befouled, but it does have a link to it, because my first ever piece of writing for Aeglos, formerly Faenelloth, was in an online roleplay game set in the Third Age of Arda, not long before the events of the War of the Ring…

My gameplaying avatar for Aeglos/Eiralann in her latter days in Rivendell as a guardian ranger.

They all knew her well enough, though she kept herself pretty much apart and seldom spoke to others beyond the necessary, not even to those Guardians whom she rode with or shared patrol duty. Her diligence and energy in tracking and especially killing orcs was legendary in Imladris, even equal to Nurbor’s. Most thought he was her friend, though when they thought a little more, it would be readily conceded that they were more like old comrades-in-arms. They certainly went back a long, long way but only Nurbor knew how long and the Lords Elrond and Glorfindel might have hazarded an informed guess too. So although she did not join in the quiet conversations or cameraderie that some of the others indulged in as they made their own preparations, nobody was surprised that she had answered the summons as she silently made her horse ready for the ride north.

She was ready and waited patiently for Glorfindel to come and brief them, standing by her mount and stroking its nose continuously, learning its name and nature in the way of the Eldar. Aeglos loved horses but she had none of her own and generally never used the same animal twice to ride to battle although she sometimes rode the same horse for patrolling the Valley. She did not look at the others, they were no concern of hers not unless they got in her way. They called her Aeglos, the Snow Thorn to her face at least, but she knew the other names they had for her when they thought she did not hear – the Ghost, or worse, the Lady of the Skulls. Not that she cared much, for they were right in a way. Even Aeglos was not her real name. Or not her original name. That elleth was long dead to everyone.
She tied her long bone-white warrior braids behind her head away from her pallid white face and finally her dark-eyed gaze swept around the stables looking at others just arriving, wanting the Lord to hurry so they could get on the road. Some of the younger Guardians looked back at her, but not for long. She was still beautiful but her appearance, bereft of the glowing light that all the rest of their race possessed, repulsed most other Elves. Repulsed herself too sometimes when she caught sight of her reflection. It had not always been that way, but that too was long ago. So long. 
Where was Glorfindel? She wanted to be gone from here. Aeglos was hungry for battle now. Ready to kill. Ready to die. She was always ready for that, but it never came. Not yet. Maybe this time it would come, if she prayed hard enough.

 

Aeglos is the future for Eiralann as she appears in the epilogue of Befouled. She had survived  in her rehabilitated form on Ordha for over 6000 years (and boy does immortality suck for her by then!). This roleplay game ultimately saw her die quite horribly, defending a human woman and the twins she had just birthed. Thus Aeglos made her definitive act of atonement and her immortal soul was freed to join her beloved husband’s, to be re-incarnated for eternity in the West. 😀
Nurbor is the original identity for Dughal, modelled on a good friend’s ‘in character’ warrior persona, whose unrelenting war against Morgoth’s creatures ran parallel and complementary with Aeglos’ own, though with a different, less ancient back story. I learned loads about playing warriors from Nurbor and Bran, his real life player, for which I am eternally grateful!

And just because – here’s that trailer again! 😉

How do you like to develop your characters?

 

Befouled 4 ~ Transforming a classic tale that was never told…

Dyed-in-the-wool Tolkien fans do not only worship The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. No, they appreciate ALL his work, whether it’s set in Middle Earth or not (and on the planet Arda of which ME/Endor is but a continent). Now, I’m not about to start in on academic endeavours such as Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics, or more ethereal, posthumous renditions of classic Nordic or Arthurian myth such as The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún or The Fall of Arthur. No, the real nitty-gritty core of Tolkien geekdom resides firmly in The Silmarillion.  This is, in fact, a collection of books – the creation myth, Ainulindalë; lists of the spirit races, the Valaquenta; the tale of the First Age of Arda, the Quenta Silmarillion; and finally, the Akallabêth which deals with the downfall of Aragorn’s ancestors, the Men of Númenor. 

Melkor/Morgoth (wearing the 3 Silmarils in his Iron Crown) and Sauron – courtesy of DeviantArt.

Befouled began as a fan-fiction novella called The Last Vanya, from a small snippet of ‘lore’ from the prehistory of the Elves prior to the First Age. It amounts to a few sentences on how Melkor/Morgoth and his chief servant, Sauron, stole many individuals and families of elves from their birthlands in the far east of Middle Earth. Once in captivity, these lost elves were taken to Melkor’s fortress of Utumno where they were tortured and experimented upon, to eventually become a vicious warrior slave race – the Orcs. Meanwhile, back in east, the three great clans of the Elves, the Vanyar, Noldor and Teleri have been found by Oromë, the Huntsman who persuades them to accept the protection and mentorship of the good angelic spirits far off in the west of the world, on the continent of Valinor, where they will all be safe from the predations of Melkor and Sauron. To do this, the three clans undertake a massive migration from the east of Middle Earth to the western shores where they will be transported into the peaceful lands in the far West.

My fan-fiction was inspired by this very sketchy account of the captive elves and their even less detailed metamorphosis into the reviled race of Orcs, to put flesh on the bare bones of the concept. The other part of this early legendarium that fascinated me was how the migrating elf clans found out about their lost kin and why they were so implacably rabid in their hatred of the Orcs. So, the she-elf, Faenelloth, was formed and I put her and her mate, Giliathmen right at the beginning of the tale, leaving their birthplace with a small group of their kinsfolk to find ‘safer’ lands, but instead running into Sauron and becoming enslaved as ‘blood-stock’. Because Tolkien had written nothing about the process used to create Orcs, I more or less had a free rein with how that was achieved, although I wanted to make it as plausible and true to the canon of Arda as possible. Sauron is described as a necromancer – a raiser of the dead, so the idea of my protagonists becoming ‘zombie elves’ was inevitable.
Also, the idea of Melkor and Sauron messing about with genetic manipulation was more than attractive, so my backstory on the early days of experimentation with minor ‘spirits’ and cross-breeding them with elves was also a shoo-in. This latter aspect also fed into some received wisdom about Tolkien’s elves, as the females were known to embrace death rather than be raped, or bear children if they were not mated. That little factoid also gave me an idea on Faenelloth’s incessant self-torture for the ‘sin’ of bearing debased children, or in the case of her first-born, to put the baby beyond Sauron’s power by murdering her and then suiciding herself. Of course, this was a mere inconvenience for a necromancer…

The Two Trees that took it in turns to light the day and night of flat Arda.

When I decided to adapt The Last Vanya, I needed to unpluck all the threads of reference back to The Silmarillion, as I had no desire to fall foul of the Tolkien Estate! Names and places were therefore swiftly changed from the Elven languages derivatives and put into ‘dog-gaelic’ alternatives. I also played fast and loose with the Ainulindalë, for the prologue, turning the Song of Creation into a Great Dance instead, and putting my version of the Ordha cosmos into a more acceptable stellar environment, circling ‘star-clouds’, instead of having the Two Lamps or Two Trees lighting the world, instead of a very tardy sun and moon for a flat earth.

That’s the beauty of epic fantasy! There are certain must-have, prerequisite formulas that were established long before Tolkien, Lovecraft, Morris and Blake and even Shakespeare put pen to parchment. There has to be ultimate evil, superpowers, heroes, god-like beings and legends in existence that key into our own timeless cultural and spiritual mythologies. I don’t have dragons or unicorns though. But I do have the undead, dark gods and fire-demons!

And, yes – here’s the trailer again! 😉

Which world mythology do you think makes for a good fantasy world yarn?

 

Befouled ~ 3: a small taster…

Busy day today involving some flat-pack assembly DIY, which is flowing into tomorrow now, as I made a BIG mistake in buying from an ‘artisan’ mail order firm, so the materials are flippin’ heavy and using the allen key is tricksy for an unmitigated left-handed bod…

Which all means that I’m left more than a little knackered and not up to much for blogging! Anyhoo – here’s a bit from the Prologue where I set up my own creation myth and introduce the chief antagonist, Lysandhor, the fallen Ainghal who becomes the Dreadful Lord of Lords, Droghdurr…

The Great Dance had ended for a time, and the Creator called out to his Anghali and Serafali to attend him in the deep heavens.
“I am pleased with thee, my children, for we have wrought wondrous materials and stars to fill the universe. Worlds without measure, and beauty everywhere. Rest now and contemplate our making, for there is more work yet to come.”
And the Ainghal named Lysandhor, to whom the Creator had given his greatest gifts, went with his brethren to dream and meditate on their labours. His mind, however, was always quick and needing to be active, and so it came to pass that he grew eager to start the Great Dance anew, and left the other Anghali and Serifali to their resting.

Nebulas are where stars are birthed…

Lysandhor began to explore the sprawling cosmos, wanting to begin work once more. Many wonders he saw, and many sights and worlds that seemed most beautiful and fascinating. Ever he looked deeper and further until, finally, his gaze fell upon a small blue-green world that circled a vast nebula of light, containing stars waiting to be born. This was the most beautiful of all he had seen, and he cried out in ecstasy to behold it.
“My son? Why hast thou risen from thy meditation so early? The Great Dance is not yet ready to begin again,” the Creator asked the brightest and most gifted of his servants.
“Oh, my Father! I was too excited to wait and only wanted to look more closely at what we have wrought.”
Again he looked on the little world, marvelling at its beauteous oceans, forests and mountains. “This world pleases me so much, Father. I would give much to make it even more lovely and fertile…”
“And so thou shalt, my son. But not until thy brethren hath risen, and the Dance begins anew.”
This was not the answer that Lysandhor wished to hear, though he smiled at his Creator in acquiescence. “I shall return then, but before I do, may I know what this magnificent world is to be called.”
“It will be named Ordha, my son. It is on this world that my mortal children shall dwell and prosper. This will be done when the Great Dance resumes.”
Lysandhor thought long on his Father’s words when he returned to the deep heavens. He wondered why these mortals should be given such a beautiful world to live in when he and his fellow Anghali and Serafhali must roam the universe without a home. But he trusted in the wisdom of his father and waited patiently for the time to dance again.

* * *

When the Creator summoned all his immortal children to return to the Great Dance, he saw that Lysandhor stayed near to Ordha and the star clouds it circled. On they all danced, creating more marvels to form living beings, plants and animals on many of their worlds, including Ordha. The Creator, though aware that Lysandhor had concentrated most of his own comely gestures and movements on lovely Ordha, at last bade all his heavenly children to rest again. Once more, they looked upon all they had created in every far-flung corner of the universe.
The Anghali and Serafhali were all curious to explore the whole of Creation, and long they spent in gazing on all the wonders spun across the full span of the heavens. After a time, however, the Creator saw, once again, Lysandhor lingering close to Ordha, and indeed, encouraging his fellow Anghali to join him in admiring the work begun there.
For a time, the Creator merely hung back and only listened to his most gifted children’s words of admiration, as Lysandhor showed them how very beautiful the world was. Lysandhor ventured closer to Ordha and the sacred lands that the Creator had prepared for his still-slumbering mortal children. All the time he boasted of his own part in bestowing the rarest, most superlative gifts upon the landscapes and the beasts that dwelt there and in the deep blue-green oceans. At this, the Creator gave a mighty shout of indignation, that rang out as far as the far-off clouds of light that tiny Ordha circled. So strong was the percussion of the Creator’s ire, the Anghali were tumbled about in confusion and flung away from the beautiful world. All except Lysandhor, for he was diminished in his falling and fell down from the heavens and into Ordha itself.
“Thou hast coveted this world and neglected to honour our Dance properly, that should have been spread across all the cosmos, Lysandhor. Therefore, thou shalt dwell here, serving my mortal children who slumber yet. Make Ordha a paradise for them, though they shall dwell here only a short time before they pass through death to join thy brethren and me in the Heavens. Do this, and I shall release thee at the time when Ordha must wither away, and thou shalt rejoice with us once more in the universe.”
Lysandhor, forlorn and afraid, could only feel his misfortune most keenly as he walked on Ordha, though he still marvelled at the wonders of his new home. “Forgive me, my Father!” he called out in anguish, “Tell me how I must make amends for my folly, for how can I make this world a paradise if I no longer have thy favour or thy gifts.”
“Thou hast paid a bitter price, but I am not without mercy! However, thou hast still many gifts of creativity left to thee, my son. Use them well. And take good care of my dearest mortal children when they awaken.”
“It will be done as thou hast decreed, my Father!”

* * *

And just because – here’s the trailer again! 😉

Do you like to ‘play God’ when creating a fantasy world?

Befouled ~ has arrived! 2

You guessed it! I’m making this Befouled week, so today I’m focussing on my main protagonists, one of whom I mentioned in passing yesterday.

So – Eiralann is my primary protagonist and narrates most of the story to her dead husband’s kinsman, Aerghal. She’s the first of the female elven Shiânfolk to be captured by super-baddy, Garliath, in the final stages of pregnancy. This is of superlative importance to Garliath and his thoroughly evil master, the fallen Ainghal, Lysandhor/Drogdurr, as they have been having considerable difficulty in breeding their undead soldier race to retain intelligence as well as aggression and physical prowess.
The taking of Eiralann and her husband, Shiânford and their almost full-term baby girl turns the whole direction of their breeding programme, so the need for powerful, debilitating drugs and potions are no longer as important and the two demons instead resort to necromancy and genetic manipulation to achieve their perfect killer soldiers.
I found this undead elf avatar (above left) online, which also had a purer elven version, but I’ve unfortunately lost that in the depths of my computer! Using the magic of Photoshop I combined the two images to make a ‘before and after’ image, albeit a much cleaner version of Eiralann as she appears in the bulk of the book. This is her in the epilogue, after the Anghali have put her sanity back together so she’s  able to function in society again.

This is how Eiralann’s mate, Shiânford, appears after his capture and transformation (above right). He gets killed outright trying to defend Eiralann from Garliath’s hunting party. This leaves Eiralann isolated and traumatised once they reach their new prison home and leads to the first of her sinful crimes that sends her into an insane nightmare. The demons go on to work their evil magic on her, Shiânford and their baby girl, whom Garliath takes as his protégé, perverting and brainwashing her into becoming the dynastic brood queen of the Troichann.

Now, for Shiânford, I had a very firm idea of how he looked in his original form… Yes, that’s a very young and slimline Sean Bean in his Sharpe identity! He’s a soldier in that too, although he’s an expert with a rifle, but he also got a lot of experience in sword-fighting in the series, which of course came in very useful later in his career for the Fellowship of the Ring and as Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones.

When I was writing the original fan-fiction version of Befouled, I was an admin on a fan forum and creating avatars and banner headers was one of my more enjoyable duties so I thought I’d share the early origins of the inspiration for my two central characters!

Here’s the transition image that formed the banner image for that earliest version, combining all the above images! Note the red eyes in the debased undead half – very important! 😛

And just because – here’s the trailer again! 😉

How do you visualise your characters when you first read (or write) them?

Befouled ~ the paperback has arrived!

 

Yep! It officially came out yesterday for Hallowe’en, but my launch party invitees couldn’t make it, so we opted to go for All Hallows Day instead of the Eve! I did, however, stick to my guns and came in costume as a zombie as a tribute to my main protagonist, Eiralann, who, to be exact, is a zombie elf!

I’ve said that Befouled is the 50 Shades of Grey for the Tolkien universe – except it’s full-on horror instead of a raunchy rendition of ‘how the Orcs were bred’. This is hinted at in canon lore from The Silmarillion, but, in classic Tolkienesque minimalism, not at all fleshed out in anything else he wrote about. This means that all bets are off when it comes to fan fiction, and I’m not breaching any copyright, as I’ve taken the story right out of Middle Earth/Arda and moved it all into a Celtic myth environment, with names and places to match and only loosely using the bare plotline that Tolkien set up for his ‘Lost Ones’ in his world myth.

So, Befouled is a dark adult fantasy that ventures into territory seldom trodden, where the nature of creation is challenged and remoulded in a travesty of mutilation and degradation. In the world of Ordha, the Anghali and Serifali watch over the Creator’s stolen children, the immortal-souled Shiânfolk. The renegade Ainghal, Droghdurr and his chief servant, the demonic Serifal, Garliath, have other plans; abducting and torturing the bodies, minds and souls of any Shiânfolk who stray from their birthplace. Their aim, to breed an evil army of undead Troichann, so they may subjugate all the mortal souls yet to be born into the world.

If you skimmed all the above tripe, here’s the book trailer to set the mood for you. It’s devilishly good!

Available NOW @ Amazon in paperback & on Kindle