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 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.


  1. Are you having fun with this one? I like "fear coiling like serpents in her stomach." :)

  2. There's some fun stuff in here, like the last line. You need to watch some of the repetitions, like in this first line:

    "Arms bent slightly and crossed at the wrists, Iliana bent backwards a few inches"

    "Bent" twice and really close together. Takes the reader right out of the scene.

    Also, I feel like the pace could be a lot faster for what's happening here. You're getting caught up dropping bits of info (like explaining what Braesil is - a bog ole Tell) and it's detracting from the narrative scene.

  3. Thanks, Gretchen!

    Drats... foiled again by that darned info-dump/show not tell demon. There SHALL be a day where I slay that demon and not have to worry about it again!

  4. I liked this scene. I woould love to see more. Dragons are my fave!!!

  5. Jy - you already got my comments in e-mail last week. I really like the story so far. Have you gotten any more written?

  6. Yup, Gretchen nailed my thoughts about the info-dumpiness getting in the way, but you've got some clever worldbuilding in here - as usual! It sounds like you're off to a good start, should be a fun story. I love Baba Yaga so I'm totally curious about your spin on her!

  7. Thanks!!! I went through and edited out the info-dumpiness. I should be able to add a lot of it in later. :D (at least I know what my strong-suit is: world-building! lol)

    And yeah, I've gotten more written, but it's in the same style as this (just not as info-dumpy, I hope). I'll post more next week... if anyone wants to read as I go, just Rep me @ AW.

    There's gonna be a lot of new spins on old fey, not just the Baba Yaga and banshee/bean sidhe. And the science buffs are soooo gonna hate my explanation about WHY the Smokeys are called the Smokeys. :D

  8. I was captivated by this teaser. One of your best so far, in my humble opinion.