J.F. Posthumus

J.F. Posthumus

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Virginia, United States
A computer tech and artist that thrives on writing fantasy to escape the harshness of reality.
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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - Into the Lion's Den

Well, here's a little more to Banshee's Daughter.  I skipped ahead, since I didn't want to give out the whole first few chapters. ;)

Previously on Banshee's Daughter: Iliana has acquired a spellbook from Earth and, after being chased by three goons, continued on to Nid Tir where she caught a transport to the Fellhaven.  (Though most believe Fellhaven is pure fiction, it's an actual land on Baradwys.  And everything that goes bump in the night?  It's all true.)  In Fellhaven, she goes to the Bartered Soul.  From there, she's approached by two Thorns (hirelings of Darkflower, a docelfar hated by almost everyone).


Some things never changed.  May it be the service of a business, food, or the slums of a city, which was where the Thorns were escorting Iliana.  The slums of Fellhaven started in the Fifteenth District and continued further down until you encountered the cannibals in the lowest districts, where few people ever ventured. 
Buildings were made of patchwork-materials, scavenged from anywhere possible.  Tents made of shabby and gauze-thin materials littered the roads, alleys, and bazaars where tables and wooden booths were impossible to keep together due to the fact if it wasn’t nailed down or too heavy to move, it would be stolen. 
Merchants barked their wares to anyone passing them.  In the lower districts, they sold nearly rotten meats, stale and partly moldy breads and cheeses as well as fruit that only looked fresh and edible, but one didn’t start encountering that until the Nineteenth District.  If Iliana wanted food, she’d eat at the Bartered Soul, whose reputation outshone all but a few of the others in the district, or eat someone in the higher districts. 
One of the Thorns opened the door to a rundown building, much like the one she’d used originally when Darkflower had first approached her through his minions.  It smelled of mildew, mold, and dust.  It looked even worse.  The sound of squeaking followed by skittering feet told her rats lived in this particular warehouse; which explained the distinct, rancid odor that could only belong to the vermin.  She hoped they were only rats and not the wererats that were said to inhabit the older, more rundown buildings. 
Following the Thorn in front of her down a set of rickety stairs, she felt her own unease growing.  Something about the pair didn’t set right; the last time there had been more Thorns escorting her the closer they neared Darkflower’s domain.  So far, she hadn’t seen any but this pair.  It didn’t help that the one leading was a powerful magic user, a wizard or sorceress, perhaps. 
  Iliana also hated the fact they were in total darkness, which mean the pair escorting her were either pure blood elves, or half-elves.  Yet again she thanked her bean sidhe blood for allowing her to see in total darkness, otherwise, she’d be panicking.
Fortunately, they soon neared a door.  The figure leading them paused and Iliana felt the familiar essence of magic being used.  The hair on the back of her neck stood on end and she forced herself to remain relaxed and unconcerned.  Especially when she noticed the fine edge of silver that defined the outline of a portal. 
Oh, hells, this can’t be good, she groaned inwardly.  She knew the pair wouldn’t answer, but she couldn’t prevent herself from asking, “You aren’t really Thorns, are you?”  Silence.  The “Thorn” didn’t even bother to look at her.  No surprise there.  “Didn’t think so.”
The door opened and she felt herself shoved forward unexpectedly.  Bloody hells, I’m going to… 
She trailed off as she swirled around to face the Thorn only to realize there was carpet under her feet, a dim lighting reminiscent the perfect image of an ancient study, and walls covered with beautiful artwork. 
Turning, she focused her attention on the man sitting behind the desk and couldn’t help but smile her appreciation of the handsome, dark-skinned elf that was studying her as a scientist studies a new specimen.  Beneath a microscope while holding a scalpel.  At least he wasn’t holding anything in his steepled fingers.  Yet.
Iliana knew the elf before her was a docelfar; his power and magical aura was too much like that of Darkflower’s and the rare few other docelfar she had met.  She also knew that the docelfar weren’t the nice, kind, charitable type of elf, either.  Unless you included their charitable acts of stabbing they friends and enemies in the backs when it suited them.  Iliana always thought of the docelfar as being similar to the mafia, with the exception being women ran them and the head honcho was titled “empress” instead of “don”. 
There was also the fact that the docelfar put the Mafia to shame when it came to scheming, backstabbing, treachery, and secrecy.  And that was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.
The man before her, most certainly had the presence and bearing of a Mafia Don.  Including the cold stare and amused Mona Lisa-type smile.  She couldn’t prevent herself from raising her own brows in query as she waited for him to speak.
Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween-themed Art

Right, so, I did these for the contest over at Daz3d in one of the forum's.  I'm sure something else will spring to mind and I'll have yet another entry or two to enter before Halloween. :)  anywhos, figured I'd post some of the ones I've done for the heck of it.. for those who like my art...

Also, I might add that everything (except for the morphs I used for M3 & V3) are freebie items.  No easy feat to accomplish, I assure you!!!  Especially when you're picky about wanting to have everything PERFECT.

Musical Offering

Cemetery Serenade 

The Flutist
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Another Teaser from Banshee's Daughter

Right, so, I figured I'd post a bit more from the new WiP. It picks up a few paragraphs after the prior Teaser and continues to the end of the chapter. So far, I've only managed to get 4,800 words written, but... oh well. My miniature monsters come first. (Doesn't help that I haven't felt up to writing, nor has Mark.)

Besides, I've got a few contests for digital art to enter before Halloween. Who knows, maybe I might actually win something. If not, at least I'll have tried...

Anywhos, here's the teaser. Enjoy!


It may have been small, but the spells inscribed on the pages gave it a distinct flavor and the smirk faded into a puzzled frown. It was powerful, written by a powerful immortal witch or sorcerer, but it held the distinct tangy mixture of Dark and Light magic. Definitely an oddity for few immortals delved in both types of magic and the rare mortal that could control magic, typically weren’t taught anything other than benign witchcraft that had little power in any world.

Banshees were one type, but it didn't have the usual feel of the bean sidhe. As she turned it in her hands, rubbing her thumb along the locked clasp, she considered the type of magic imbued in the leather. The more she thought on it, the more it felt like the rare few books that had been written by the elves. Though, all the other books she'd held were books of Light magic, not Dark. Except for the one her great-aunt had shown her when she was five.

Dear gods, did one of the damned docelfar magic books get stolen and brought to the mortal realms for 'safe keeping' by some crazed mortal? Or, worse yet, another immortal? If it were another immortal, they would know who had retrieved the spell book and would, undoubtedly, be looking for her. It also explained her employer's interest, as well as the reward he had offered if she succeeded.

No sooner than the thought had come to life than the feel of magic indicating someone materializing washed over her followed by several branches breaking. Glancing over her shoulder, she snickered as she saw three men clad in black jeans, shirts, and jackets plowing their way through a thicket of briers. Whoever had sent them, hadn’t known the terrain, but that didn't mean she was going to be able to simply sit here and wait for the three goons to catch her and steal away her prize.

Leaping over the rocks, she ran her finger across the latch and spat out a single word to open it. Fortunately, between her power as a sidhe and the book being in the mortal realms, it clicked open and the pages unfurled.

Racing through the field and towards the dilapidated and abandoned buildings that had once been houses, Iliana held the book with one hand as her right flipped through the pages, allowing her magic to find the right spell by touch alone. The next time she saw her cousin Colin, she'd thank him for forcing her to learn that talent.

Glancing down as she raced towards the gravel road overgrown by weeds, short saplings, and wild rose bushes, she read the words for teleporting, giving the destination as Nid Tir, more commonly called the Dimension Depot, due to the trains that could take a person anywhere in the mortal realms, space, or immortals lands.

The all-too-familiar feeling of being swept onto a tilt-a-whirl flooded over her, the greenery vanished in a swirl worse than a child's finger-painting and was replaced by the orange-red of the barren land of Nid Tir. Even worse was the fact that Iliana had spoken the words as she was running and, like most teleportation spells, she was still moving as she materialized in Nid Tir. It wouldn't have been so bad had she also not been dropped in the middle of the giant wasteland of soil mounds.

Picking herself up off the ground after tripping over one of the mutant anthills, that fortunately did not house ants or anything else, Iliana dusted the orange-brown sand-like dirt from her clothes and closed the magic book.
That is the absolute last time I read anything from an unknown leather-bound book while running, Iliana fumed silently as she thumped the book against her hip before sliding it into a hip pocket.

Staring across the barren landscape of small hills and knolls, Iliana shrugged and started trudging across the dunes that ranged from waist-high anthills to small rounded knolls. She would have preferred using her usual spell to whisk her to one of the small, hidden colonies tucked safely in the mountains between Swoope, Virginia and Sugar Grove, West Virginia, and catching a train from there. Unfortunately, whoever had hidden the book, or someone else who knew of its location, had sent those three goons after her and, well, desperate times called for desperate measures.

After what seemed like hours, though she suspected it was more like minutes since time was different in Nid Tir, she finally found the train tracks that led to and from one of the stations. Unfortunately, each train was labeled for her home realm.

Iliana didn't want to return to Staunton, Waynesboro, or even Richmond. She had to go to Fellhaven and hand the book over to her employer before the goons figured out where she had went; especially since whoever had sent them to get the book probably also knew about the Dimension Depot.

Why hadn't she listened to her mother and become an accountant?
Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Banshee's Daughter

My shiny new WiP.  It's coming along very nicely and I'm editing as I go... except I didn't get to edit last night.  Too much to do and not enough time to do it in.  ah, well, c'est la vie!

Here's the first snippet of it, and this time I'm not posting that much.



Arms bent slightly and crossed at the wrists, Iliana bent backwards a few inches, her left leg posed as though she were going to take a step forward, her auburn hair swaying in the light breeze.  A classic pose of a belly dancer, Iliana could have appeared to be practicing the sensual dance her petite form would have been perfect for.  Except for the three-headed hydra in front of her that was rearing backwards preparing to unleash it's breath attack. 
Despite the fear coiling like serpents in her stomach, Iliana instead kept her blue eyes fixed upon the hydra as she began chanting the soft, melodic words to a spell.  Elvish, a distant cousin to Welsh, was a sing-song language dead to all but the sidhe and was the only language magic could be worked in.  The fire and ice feel of magic flowed through Iliana's veins and burst from her palms, streaking across the short distance to the hydra.  Before the monster could release an attack, it vanished, revealing a very irritated dragon.
Clenching her teeth, Iliana slid backwards a few steps, flexing her fingers, but not lowering her arms.  Instead of an attack, the dragon peered closely at Iliana before streaking upwards and vanishing.  Dropping her arms, not sensing anything else, Iliana strode forward to the pile of rocks at the base of the large oak tree.  She had no clue what had just happened, but questioning it wasn't in her nature.  Some questions, she had learned the hard way, were best not answered.  Especially when they involved the fey, magic, and mythical beasts long believed imaginary. 
Iliana knew better, but only because her mother was a banshee banished from Braesil, an island off Ireland where the sidhe and other fairy folk live.  During her youth, she'd had the annoying problem of screaming and then having the dead rising from their graves.  It would've been a delightful Halloween trick, or even a fun prank to pull at a funeral, but not in the front yard of a friend's house or at a high school football game.
Having a legion of undead pets and farm animals, not to mention the roadkill, suddenly walking around isn't a very good thing.  Especially when you end up being forbidden to even consider uttering a screech or be sent to some unknown island where one day island-time equals one-year in the mortal world.  At least it only happened twice and neither time no one noticed except for her mother. 
Mortals were not supposed to know of the magical creatures that walked amongst them.  It had already occurred once and being the cause for another round of witch hunts would not end prettily, especially when the witches hadn't, yet, recovered from it. 
             Everyone knew the government had a lousy retirement plan and even worse health insurance.  The pay wasn't that great, either.  Besides, who wanted to end up as a science experiment for the government?
Iliana was her mother's daughter, except for being a professional thief.  Her mother and a fairy tutor who called herself a baba yaga, who was far prettier than the Slavic myths claimed, trained her in magic from early childhood.  Though Iliana had asked her mother how she had managed to get another fey to train her, she'd never received an answer.  Banshees could keep secrets better than any one else, mortal or immortal. 
Crouching at the edge of the rocks, Iliana wrinkled her nose at the sooty smell and heat that radiated from the departed dragon.  She suspected that someone had placed the dragon here, cast an illusion on it to make it appear to be a hydra to further frighten people away, and it had been released by her spell.  She suspected whoever chained the dragon to this pile of rocks and tree was going to be a quick snack.  Angry dragons were not fun playmates.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

More from Heiress

Since it's still in editing, kinda, I figured I'd post another fav scene here. :)  It's after Xandra meets Segav's father and she asks Segav what his family name is... They're in one of the hidden rooms at the Guild talking and asking questions they'd rather not have their classmates know.  Enjoy!!!


“Alright.”  Segav seemed relieved.  “What… is… your sponsor?  I mean, he’s obviously a docelfar and a pretty terrifying wizard, but how did he come to partially own an assassin’s guild?  What does he do?  Well, I mean, what does he do for a living?”
“Oh.”  Xandra had worried that the questions would be all about Great-Father.  He dominated so much of her life, and one of the benefits of keeping her relatives secret was that she wouldn’t have to lie about him.  With Segav, it was somehow disappointing for him to not ask for her secrets.
“Great-Father has done many things, and still does.  He’s been alive for over a millennia, I’m told.  I don’t know everything he’s done to gain all that he has…”  Xandra trailed off, not wanting to say aloud that she never wanted to know.
            “That’s okay, Ali,” Segav said, his voice soothing.  When Xandra giggled, he forgot his next long, drawn-out question in favor of a simple “What?”
Xandra found she couldn’t look at Segav, but spoke regardless.  “That’s what Father calls Mother… ‘Aly.’   I’ve never been called that before.” 
“Oh.”  Segav blushed deeply.  Xandra could not remember ever seeing him blush that much.
“What is it?”  She asked, trying not to giggle.
“I just… didn’t mean to…” Segav stammered.  “Your mother’s name is Alixandra, too?”
“No, her name is Alyssiana.”  Xandra explained.  “A-L-Y-S-S-I-A-N-A.  So, she’s called ‘Aly’- A-L-Y.  At least, she is by my father, and sometimes by her siblings and Great-Father, of course.”
Segav did not outwardly respond to this.  Instead, he asked another short question.  “Why do you call your sponsor ‘Great-Father’?”
Xandra, still felling a little giddy from Segav calling her the same affectionate name her mother had, even if it was spelled differently, giggled again at his lack of understanding.
“Because he’s my great-grandfather, of course!”  She said, still smiling. 

Segav felt the blood drain from his face.  Oh, I didn’t want to hear that.
He tried to swallow the panic which that fact had lodged in his throat, and when he noticed how Xandra’s eyes were now sparkling as she looked at him, he found it much easier to do.
Thinking carefully, forming another, intelligent question, he was alarmed to hear his voice speak the words, in a numbed, dreary tone, “Oh, well that explains a great deal.”
He had known that was a terrible thing to say, he could not believe his traitorous mouth had uttered the words.  He waited for the terrible reaction; Xandra’s face suddenly looking as though he had slapped it, the hurt in her beautiful eyes…
Xandra threw her head back and laughed.  When she looked at him, and spoke words that filled him with relief, she was still smiling in the way that lit her whole face.
“It does, doesn’t it?  He’s always been so protective of me, at least as long as I can remember!  It gets to be irritating, and hard to deal with.”
“Well, yes, of course it would!” was all that Segav could think to say. 
He tried to fathom what kind of a childhood he would have had if his life included such a terrifying, dangerous being in it:  Worse still, if it had been a blood relative.  
Xandra had never struck him as really evil; she was mischievous, certainly, but docelfar blood meant that the ability for unbelievable cruelty lay in the blood. 
No wonder she is studying to be an assassin, and has so much ability at our age, Segav thought, and how could someone so beautiful be like the man that terrorized our classroom, and then my dorm quarters?
“This is just a guess,” Segav ventured, “but your great-grandfather taught you some things before making sure you got into this Guild, didn’t he?”
“I had to pass my examination test, same as everyone does.”  Xandra said, and there was a little resentment in her voice. 
Wonderful, Segav chastised himself, if I keep going on foolishly, perhaps I should spare us both and have the alchemy tutor poison me!
“But, yes,” she continued, “Great-Father had already tutored me in some unusual weapons, as well as some alchemy, spell-casting, chess, strategy, how to properly kill someone from behind with a dagger, and picking locks.  My mother taught me to move silently- Father couldn’t, really, he’s part human – and how to climb just about anything.  Father mostly taught me how to hunt, and hand-to-hand combat, how to fight with every weapon we had around the house, he also encouraged my brother and me to learn music-”
            “Wait,” Segav pleaded with Xandra, his head still dizzy from the over-abundance of information.  His mind grasped at the first skills she had mentioned that had startled him. 
“You know how to mix chemicals and cast spells?” he asked, making a mental note to try and get her to teach him about the weapons she was fluent with, as well as how to back-stab:  They weren’t supposed to learn that at the Guild for another two years!
“Sure, I just said Great-Father taught me that; didn’t I?” Xandra giggled again.
“Could you… could you show me something?”  Segav was already feeling like a small child next to her.
Gods, she knows so much!  He thought. 
The urge to see proof, and simple curiosity, won out over his other feelings.
“Of course!”  Xandra exclaimed gleefully.  She looked around for something.  “Let me see what I can… ah!”
Leaning to her left, she pointed at the side of the bookshelf that was close to them.  Segav did not understand, and then his keen eyes noticed a small spider crawling along the outer plank of the bookshelf.  Xandra hurried over to it and swatted the spider with her bare hand.  She cupped her hand and walked over to him; the cupped hand held up in front of him.  When she was only two feet away from him, he could see the corpse of the spider.  It lay, curled up and belly exposed, on her soft palm.
Bringing her other hand above the one holding the spider, Xandra winked at Segav.  Then, she looked down and whispered something towards her hands.  The empty hand began to glow a sickening green in the center of her palm, and she cupped this hand over the one with the spider, making a shape like a ball.  There was a brilliant flash of the same sickening green light between the fingers, and then nothing.
Moving the top hand away, Xandra revealed the spider, now looking whole and standing upright on its eight tiny legs.  It did not move, however, until Xandra’s free hand gestured.  The spider moved in the direction her hand moved:  Up her arm, back down her arm, and then, when she knelt down and placed the hand holding the spider against the floor, across the floorboards until she stopped gesturing. 
The look on his face must have shown some of the awe and horror he felt; when Xandra looked at him expectedly, she almost immediately frowned in disappointment.
“What’s the matter?  That wasn’t impressive enough?”  She asked him, a twinge of hurt in her voice.
“That’s… that’s necromancy!”  He blurted, unable to stop himself.
“Oh, just a little bit… not even that much.  It’s a fairly common spell used by wizards and priests to raise a familiar,” Xandra said, sounding like she was trying to make light of it all.  “Really, Segav, it’s not used on humans, or elves, or anything like that.  I’m not that good at it, either.  I can’t raise so much as a bird; only insects.”
“Right… of course,” Segav said, trying to will himself to believe that what she had done was as innocent as the tone in her voice, and the look in her eyes.  He was starting to believe it.  He was.
“Well, how about this?”  Xandra asked, and then she turned back to the spider and pointed.  A cone of blue magic shot from her fingertip, flew towards the spider, and engulfed it.  Nothing remained when the glow faded from the floorboard.
“Brilliant!”  Segav cheered. 

Monday, October 5, 2009

State Fair Announcement

Ok, so I should've posted this last week or even over the weekend... but the weekend was wickedly busy.  I think I was online for a total of three, maybe four hours tops.  If you include checking my email on my cellphone. 

Anywhos, I figured I'd at least post the results of the state fair.  I won second place with my cherub!  WEEEE!!!  I now have a total of THREE ribbons from the state fair!  Third Place from the first year I entered, 1st place from last year, and 2nd place from this year.  I got my wish!  I placed again this year.  Now, all I need is the Rosette from Best in Show/Section.  I've got an idea for next year, so maybe if I'm lucky it'll turn out all pretty and I'll get my rosette.  Or, maybe I can somehow improve my artistic non-computer-generated-art-side and do something really spectacular and win it that way.  (Yes, yes, I know... not likely, but one can wish, yes?)

I know I posted my cutesy cherub once, but I figured I'd post it again for those who haven't seen it yet. :)

Seeing this, yet again, I can easily see why it didn't take first place, but... second place isn't too bad, in my opinion.  Not at the VA STATE FAIR!