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, November 24, 2009

Returning Dante

Well, this is after they escape the crazed docelfar witch and her minions and Iliana calls her mom to come get them. And before you ask, no, this is NOT going to be a romance.

I highly doubt I'll be "winning" NaNo this year, but oh well.  I refuse to push myself in writing when I've been doing that for the past year.  Besides, being sick then having kids that feel icky and visiting family on the weekends is more fun and more important than writing, in my opinion. :)

anywhos, enjoy!


As the pair opened the doors and Ceara led Perry into the rangers' station, Iliana turned in the seat to face Dante.  "Ready to go visit your dad?"
"Not even close to ready," grumbled Dante.  "It's going to be an hour of lecturing me on how careless I was, why he's surprised this hasn't happened before..."
"Poor thing," Iliana cooed.  "I'm sure he'll still give you ice cream and cookies."  Snatching his hand, she gave him a wicked grin and spoke a phrase in Welsh, the language she preferred.  It was so sing-songy and fun to speak.
Reappearing in the front yard of the bauchen's home, Iliana brushed a stray strand of hair from her face, and smiled sweetly at Dante.  "Don't make me drag you in there."
"Perhaps I like a woman who takes charge- as long as she doesn't torture me with spells, later."  Dante said, and the grin on his face was unmistakably sly. 
Was he flirting with her?
"Bah," Iliana scoffed, waving a hand dismissively at him.  "I have no interest in you, Lord Dante.  I want nothing to do with Braesil or the nobles there."
Shoving him towards the door, she stepped around him and strode up the rickety steps.  The sooner this was over, the better.  He was starting to get under her skin, and not in the bad way, either!
Dante started forward, walking towards his father's place.  "You do know that a lack of interest in our money or position makes you more attractive, not less?"
"You just don't give up, do you?"  Iliana snapped over her shoulders as she knocked on the door.  "I am not interested in you!"
Dante tapped the tip of his nose. 
"Never lie about attraction to someone with a hobgoblin's sense of smell, lovely one.  Your scent gives you away.  It's mild, but it is there."
"Oh, fine.  You're handsome and can be charming, but that doesn't mean I'd want to date you," Iliana retorted, rolling her eyes.  "If there were chocolate around, you'd discover I have an unhealthy love for it."
"So I should approach you, nude, covered in melted chocolate?"  Dante chirped as he opened the door.  "That's good to know!"  He smiled at her and then stepped inside.
Face burning, Iliana glowered at the young lord as she followed him inside.  "I would prefer you not approach me after this," she muttered.  "I fear to think what your father would say if he heard you speaking like this to me."
Dante did not reply; he walked quickly down the hallway leading to his father's office.  He called out loudly.
"Father!  I am here!  I love the hunter you sent after me- may I spend a month being her love slave?  Or do we have enough in the coffers to hire her to be mine for a week?"
"For that, the price of returning you just doubled," Iliana grumbled as she folded her arms across her chest, clenching her hands into fists.  She still wore her gun and it was so tempting to reach for it.
She followed him at a calm pace, picturing a round bull's eye in the center of his back.  It would figure he'd wait until he was out of her mother's sight to begin declaring an interest in her.  Or perhaps this was his way of seeking revenge for returning him so soon to his hobgoblin father?
The old man emerged from the office.  He hurried toward Dante, and Iliana thought that father was going to embrace son like something out of a bad cable movie.  There was a blink-and-miss-it hug from the old criminal, and then he began looking Dante over.
"You're not harmed in any permanent manner?"
"Nothing that wasn't already permanently wrong with me, before the witch grabbed me."  Dante replied, and this bit of dry humor also seemed to be lost on the parent.
The mobster parent nodded, patted his son's left bicep, and ambled back into the office.  Dante looked back and smiled at her.
"Please be aware that I'd expect to pay at least a million for that week." He said softly, and Iliana repressed a shudder- not in revulsion, but in response to realizing he was serious; he considered her worthy of such a price, even in jest.
"I don't sell myself out to the highest bidder, your lordship," Iliana murmured, passing by him.  She still had to discuss payment with the hobgoblin, then she needed to leave.  The sooner, the better and before she agreed to a date with this lord's son. 
"I'm not bidding."  Dante's voice rang of sincerity.  "I'm negotiating for a once-in-a thousand-lifetimes experience.  Which I am certain you are, Iliana."
The hobgoblin don re-emerged from the office at that moment, carrying a briefcase.  He passed by Dante and approached her.
The briefcase was turned dexterously in the older hobgoblin's hands and opened so she could see the contents.  There were thick stacks of hundred dollar bills and five hundred dollar bills. 

"In my joy of having my son returned in such good condition, I have forgotten our original agreed-upon price."  The old criminal smiled benevolently.  "This is five hundred thousand.  Large bills, yes, but all legit.  Will this do?"
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Discover in the Mountains....

A little longer snippet from Banshee's Daughter, which takes places after Iliana is sent to rescue a hobgoblin's son.  It takes place deep under the mountains in Virginia.  Perry was a spelunker who was attacked by the kobolds and took several spears to his ass and Dante is the hobgoblin's son.

This has a mixture of setting, action, and (hopefully) humor. 



The castle of the docelfar witch wasn’t like any other she’d ever seen.  It was as though the crazy woman wanted a labyrinth of rooms, hallways, and chambers to confuse not only those who slipped in unnoticed, but those who lived there as well. 
You’d have to have a map to keep from getting lost, Iliana decided as she allowed her ethereal form to slither through the walls and ceilings until she found the room she wanted.  The throne room was as chiseled and dark as the rest of the castle.  The only difference was the torches lining the throne like a flickering orange crown of flames. 
The exiled docelfar sat in a throne of gray limestone with shale steps leading up to the dais.  Unlike most other docelfar and elves Iliana had seen, this woman was plump bordering on fat.  Her hair was piled upon her head, making her pudgy face seem that much heavier.  Beside her, held by two kobolds, was a tray laden with candies and pastries with a pitcher and goblet filled with some sort of beverage. 
Despite the woman’s weight, her magical power filled the room and, unlike that of Xantos and Darkflower and the few other powerful magic users she knew, this woman’s magic was imbued with something else.  It tasted dark, sooty, and bitter, as though someone had brought the leaves from above and were burning them instead of dried wood.
“Alzeina, my lovely,” a soft voice, snapping and crackling with fire, whispered, “I grow tired of the paltry banquet of mortals.  I want the bauchen’s son to dine upon.”
Iliana shrank back into the wall, keeping only her head out from the stones so she could hear with ease.  Thick gray tendrils of smoke curled around the throne, growing thicker in substance until it swirled in a tornado beside the throne.   As the twister slowed, a corporeal figure formed until there was only a fog creeping around his feet and the dais. 
Six feet tall, easily, with hair the color of soot and skin the purest white of a flame with a hint of blue, his eyes were flaming red and he wore a tunic of pale blue that drifted in an unseen breeze.  Loose-fitting pants billowed in the breeze and Iliana felt the blood drain from her face despite the chiseled and toned body of the man leaning nonchalantly against the throne.
A djinn.  It was a djinn that had been feasting upon the misery and dying in that building.  No wonder Asmodeus’s minions weren’t daring the docelfar’s lair, the djinn was keeping the souls hidden from everyone.  Worse yet, a single banshee couldn’t banish a djinn alone.  And she wasn’t even a whole banshee!
As she watched, trying to stave off her panic, the djinn straightened slightly and inhaled deeply.  Oh, gods, he’s scented me, she groaned inwardly.
“Ah, Faust, I shall personally bring the bauchen’s son to you and torture him slowly as you dine upon his dying body.  It will be the finest feast,” Alzeina murmured, running her hand along the djinn’s forearm.  “Perhaps then, you will accept my offer of a night in my bed.”
Faust, though Iliana doubted that was the djinn’s true name, ignored the docelfar’s touch as he stared at the column, which Iliana hid behind. 
Come out, come out, little banshee, Faust’s voice echoed within her head.  I know you’re here, though I wonder what brings you to my lair.  Perhaps you’re hoping to save the boy’s soul from being my feast?
Iliana remained silent as she allowed her body to slide from the throne room.  She had to get to Dante and Perry before the witch and the djinn made a personal appearance for her benefit.  Descending through the floors was faster and easier then rising, but only because she allowed gravity to assist her.  Since banshees were created from the dead and they were ‘raised’ from death, rising was as easy to a banshee as flying was for a bird.
Dropping to the floor in her corporeal form, Iliana gestured towards the lock and snapped out a command.  The lock drifted softly to the floor even as the door swung open. 
“That was a quick trip,” Dante commented as Iliana moved towards the door.
Iliana shot him a glower.  “Keep quiet, make as little noise as possible and follow me if you want to get out of here alive and in one piece.”
“There’s a difference?”  Perry asked, looking from her to Dante in fearful confusion.
“Yes.  You can be alive and in several pieces as the main course to an evil spirit.  Sound like fun?”  Iliana asked with forced cheerfulness.  “Your choice: follow us or remain as the main course for a hungry monster?”
Tsk, tsk, child, to call me a monster, Faust’s voice floated into her thoughts yet again.  I’m merely a powerful being with a large appetite.  Perhaps you’d enjoy staying and joining me for a meal?
An appetite for pain and suffering, Iliana retorted sharply.  Sorry, but I’m not a masochist.  Now, be a good little annoying djinn and get the hell out of my mind!
A laugh that snapped and crackled like burning embers filled what she thought was just her own mind, until she saw Dante stiffen and heard Perry gasp.  So much for sneaking out.  Maybe he wouldn’t tell the crazy Alzeina what they were up to.  She could handle escaping from the djinn, provided the docelfar didn’t get in their way.
But, just in case, she pulled her gun and moved towards the stairs leading up.  Perry followed close on her heels and Dante followed behind the human spelunker.  No sounds echoed down the stairway towards them, which raised her suspicions.  Somewhere, Iliana knew the djinn was waiting with a platoon of docelfar. 
From the stairwell, she moved narrowed her eyes and peeked down the hallway, but again, it was empty.  So far, so good, she thought as she led the pair towards the doorway that would take them to the city and then freedom.
The sound of maniac laughter echoed from behind them and Iliana closed her eyes in a two-heartbeat groan of dismay.  Opening them, she looked past Dante but saw nothing.  The djinn was playing games with her which meant only one thing.  He wanted them to escape from the castle. 
Sighing, she decided to give into defeat and motioned for the pair to follow her as she headed towards the door. 
“Rather strange, don’t you think, that we were able to break out that easily?”  Dante commented as Iliana led them through the twisting, curving streets of the kobold city.  “Even out here, there isn’t anything to hinder us.”
“It’s a trap.  It’s all a trap,” Perry moaned.  “I’m going to be speared to death by crazy, deformed midgets and their lunatic queen!”
Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In the Lion's Den

Well, here's a bit more of the scene from last week. I'm rather happy with how this played out.... it shows another side of Xantos, but only because Xantos is attracted to power. And if the power happens to be in the form of a pretty female, well....

anywhos, enjoy!


“Perhaps you will tell me why you have been brought here,” the docelfar declared. His voice was melodic, deep, and silken; she could understand how that voice would be feared and still urge the mind to crave the sound of it.

“My guess would be I have something you want. A small spellbook, perhaps?” So it probably wasn’t the most proper answer, but it wasn’t as though she were an invited guest.

“Ah...” the warlord smiled thinly, “Someone who dispenses sarcasm in an attempt to save herself. Even while showing a sense of humor. There may be hope for the humans of your ‘place’ and time.”

Iliana hid the snicker that bubbled up. The man had a sense of humor. Dark and twisted, yes, but it was still a sense of humor. “You’re far too generous. After all, I’m not entirely human, but I’m certain you already knew that.”

“Yes, yes... such interesting blood and magic on your mother’s side of the family.” Xantos observed ryly. “Your inherited abilities are the source of your confidence. Perhaps you even believe you could leave here without my consent.”

A smile slid across Iliana’s lips and, out of pure impudence, she strode to one of the incredibly plush chairs in front of his desk and dropped down into the one to her right. She asked innocently, “Why would I want to do that, when I was extended such a delightful invitation?”

“Do your lovely manners come from your mother or father?” Xantos retorted in a pleasant, casual manner.
“A lady, good sir, does not conduct business while standing,” Iliana retorted with a thick Southern accent. She winked, dropping the false accent. “Besides, if you’re going to kill me, I might as well be comfortable when you do.”

“A well thought observation.” Xantos might have had approval in his voice, but she was a banshee, not a psychic. After sitting back, he surprised with his next statement. “We shall get upon the business, then. I shall pay you double what you were offered to retrieve the book. Also, I shall extend my protection over you for a period of no less than two months.”

Iliana shrugged. In this realm, it wasn’t unusual to have someone ‘outbid’ another on a job by way of force or cajoling. Darkflower might have hired her, but she had to admit, she much preferred the man before her. There was only one other renowned docelfar and this elf met every rumor and tale spoken, sung, and written.

“An extremely generous offer, Lord Xantos,” she replied easily, leaning back against the soft cushion. “I don’t doubt Darkflower will be very... upset... that you waylaid me and outbid him yet again. You have not, however, asked what I was offered. Forgive me for finding it odd that you are willing to pay twice an unknown amount.” She tilted her head to the side and gave a sly grin. “Or has Darkflower been bragging again?”

By way of answer, the elf leaned forward, steepled his fingers and declared, “The one-hundred-thousand gold pieces will be given to you in whatever denominations you desire.”

A soft laugh finally escaped Iliana’s lips. Not resisting the urge, she twisted her wrist before holding her hand out, palm up. The book sat in her palm and she handed it to Xantos. “I will trust your judgment in what you deem an easy and appropriate mode of transportation between the realms.” She paused and gave him another easy grin. “The book has a rather interesting teleportation spell.”

“Indeed? I may have to skip some pages in the book to get to that spell more quickly,” he answered. “I had intended to go through the book systematically.”

She studied Xantos for several moments before speaking again, choosing her words carefully. “I found it rather useful, though I believe one has to be more specific about what their desired destination would be.” She paused, biting her upper lip before mentally shrugging and forging ahead. “How many are aware of that books existence? Other than you and Darkflower, that is.”

“The few that have mentioned their knowledge near my influence are dead.” He might have been speaking about his latest meal, for all the emotion Xantos was exuding about his declaration. “You need not worry.”

“I was more concerned about the reception I’d receive upon my return home.” Though’ she had to admit, she was definitely going to need a good strong drink from the Bartered Soul before departing Fellhaven. “I’ll presume that your comment means I won’t need to worry about unexpected nighttime visitors.”

“Unwelcome visitors, no. Unexpected...” -the warlord smiled- “... if one of my minions must make themselves known, I do not expect them to have been noticed by you before.”

Batting her lashes, Iliana retorted with a playful smile, "If you desire for me to return, all you would have to do is call, Xantos. I do have a mirror you could use. I'd hate for anything to happen to any of your... minions if they surprised me in an poor fashion." She paused before adding, "It's such bad manners to return the bodies when host is so gracious... and handsome."

Unexpectedly, Xantos chuckled. Iliana tried to control her features, but she knew the skin on her face was blushing. The warlord did not seem to heed her reaction, but continued on in the same silken, even tone.
"I am sure many of my minions would, if given a choice, die with you as the last vision in their lives." He waved his right hand dismissively. "If you wish to be summoned by my family's methods; so be it. I shall grant your request, as long as you do not keep me waiting when summoned."

Iliana bowed her head, even as her cheeks grew warmer. Eventually, her mother's warnings would come true and her tongue would be the death of her.