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, December 29, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - A Gift from Xantos

Ok, so I figured I'd continue where I left off last week, mostly 'cause I love this scene. It was fun to write and it turned out pretty well, I think. Not sure how much more on Banshee's Daughter I'll keep posting... especially since we're only at just under 60k and haven't been able to write much in the past few weeks. (Gotta plot and write, plot some more, write, lather - rinse - repeat)

Without further ado:

The host, however, bypassed all the tables and led her towards a hallway or sorts near the back of the restaurant where several doors sat off to each side.  The main door in front of her was a rich dark cherry or oak with the engraving of a raven in flight holding a crown with its right foot stenciled in the center of it.
Opening the door, the man stepped to the side and bowed deeply.  Iliana glanced briefly at him before stepping into the large room.  A circular table about five feet in diameter sat in the middle with chairs surrounding it.  On the opposite end sat Xantos in all his docelfar glory wearing robes of black and blood red.  His silver hair was pulled back and tied at the nape of his neck and Iliana had the foolish desire to purchase a few Celtic hair clips, and offer them to him as a gift.
The desire was short lived however, as she began to fill chilled in the room from the tears in her blouse and skirt.  As the docelfar’s eyes narrowed slightly, she groaned in dismay.  For a few moments, she had actually managed to forget that she probably looked like something the cat dragged in. 
Self-consciously, Iliana quickly ran her fingers through her mussed hair and offered a cheerful smile. 
“Every good weapon needs a test and, well, a few rogues on the way here offered to, ah, help out with that,” she quipped.  “Unfortunately, one was a bit more interested in fashion design than sparring.”
“This self-professed designer does not know how to cut for flattery.”  Xantos observed.  “You have lovely skin, but the dress looks ragged.  Perhaps a change of clothing will help with your appetite.”
“He must have just been starting his ill-fated career,” Iliana chuckled.  “It would be nice to be wearing something not in tatters.  I presume you have a suggestion?  Short of my going shopping prior to our meal?”
Xantos only gestured, and a server came forward, holding a wrapped parcel.  The server, a portly but pale human with short brown hair, smiled and held the parcel towards her.
Taking the package, Iliana glanced at it briefly before turning her gaze back to the warlord.  “Did you arrange that group of annoyances just so you could dress me in something of your choosing?”
“Certainly, I would do that.  But not tonight,” was his smirking reply.
“You are so very reassuring,” Iliana replied sardonically.  “I presume you have a ladies’ room I can use to change?  As much as you might enjoy it, I don’t do strip shows.”
The server came forward again, and gestured past her to the left. 
“If you will follow me, Lady.”
Batting her lashes at Xantos, a smile curving her lips, Iliana replied, “Be delighted.” 
Following the server down a short hallway to a door, she nodded once and stepped inside the room.  There was a trio of stalls, a mirror that stretched almost the entire wall across from the stalls, and a counter beneath the mirror.  A pair of basins and large pitchers sat on the marble counter.  Soap rested beside the basins and several towels hung on rods.  It was all very beautiful and artistically done.
Setting the package on the counter, she neatly and carefully unwrapped the package, to find a gown of dark, yet vibrant purple and black fabric folded carefully. 
Silently bemoaning the loss of her favorite outfit, Iliana quickly stripped out of her tattered clothing.  Relieved to find her satin bra and underwear remained unharmed, she quickly pulled on the gown.  Her lips pursed as the gown remained open in the back and she twisted and turned, trying to reach the cords that were supposed to keep it tied shut.  As she glanced in the mirror, she groaned aloud. 
Though strapless, her bra was revealed due to the criss-crossing string.  Glowering at her reflection, she unsnapped her bra, slid it off, folded it up, and tucked it into her leather pouch. 
The conniving son of a bitch, she grumbled silently.  Not only was the gown practically backless, but strips were cut away elegantly from just below her breasts to her waist in diamond shapes.  To add to it, the bodice was low-cut and if the damned gown was laced snuggly, it would make the Victorian ladies look modest.
As she stalked from the lavatory, the skirt swirled around her and her ire rose that much more due to the slits on both sides that stopped not even a hand’s width from her hips.  The sword belt did nothing to help prevent too much skin from showing.  If anything, it helped to show her legs, from foot to hip.
Plastering a sweet smile on her lips she didn’t bother pausing in the doorway to the dining room.  Instead, she stopped with her back to Xantos and pointed towards the loose strings. 
“Be a dear and tie this for me,” she asked sweetly.  “I must admit, though, that I believe I was wearing more clothing in my tattered attire than in this... gown.  It was certainly less revealing.”
“But far less flattering.”  Xantos corrected her.  She felt his hands confidently tie the strings and his breath on her bare skin as he spoke again.  “This shows your figure, and skin, in the most flattering and honest light.”
Okay, so she was actually enjoying having him tie up the gown and surprising her with the gift of a beautiful, if revealing, gown. 
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sword Fight & Banshee Magic

Well, figured I'd post something a bit different from the novel.  A short fight scene after Iliana's been invited to join Xantos for a meal.



 A group of rogues stepped from another alley several feet in front of her and she suppressed a groan of dismay.  Why did this always happen when she was dressed nicely and wearing a weapon?  Maybe that was the problem, she mused as she slid the sword from its sheath.  Maybe she should just forget about wearing a weapon when she was dressed up?  Or wear a cloak over her clothing so no one would know what she wore.  Either that, or she needed to hire an escort for each time she entered the damn city.
 Slowing her steps, Iliana glanced around and noticed no one else was watching her or the rogues that smelled worse than her mother’s chicken coops when they needed a good mucking out.  
Holding the sword loosely against her right thigh, she tried using a little fear magic on the group.  No need to ruin her clothing if she could keep from it. 
“Something I can do for you boys?”  She asked glibly, her grip tightening slightly on the hilt of her sword. 
Instead of replying, the five before her spread out to close her in.  It wasn’t a comfortable feeling and she sniffed the air, ignoring the stench that wafted off them worse than a dog sprayed by a skunk.  Iliana suspected it would be just as impossible to remove the stench from them as it would be the skunk from a dog’s fur. 
Beneath the stench was the tell-tale smell of herbs and the feel of magic.  Docelfar magic.  Since she doubted Xantos would have set her up, that left only one other docelfar whom she had pissed off.  Darkflower. 
Dropping her shoulders, she sighed and lowered her eyes for a few intense heartbeats.  It was the opening they wanted and she hoped the idiots would see her as easy prey.  No need to let any of them suspect she was a more than capable swordswoman.
Foolishly, they did not attack all at once, preferring to allow each other the privilege of attacking her.  As she brought her sword up to connect with the rogue in front of her, she quickly blocked, twisted, and shoved him backward, taking a chunk out of his weaponless-arm in the process.
Turning, she met the blade of another, repeating the process before turning to a third.  All the while, a midget of a fighter with scruffy hair, patch-work clothing and boots kept together by sheer will, kept bouncing around her taking swipes at her clothing with a sword slightly shorter than hers.
The air against her skin informed her that her favorite skirt, corset, and blouse was being shredded like a kitten sharpening its claws on nylon hosiery.  Not a pleasing fact, she decided it was time to stop playing with this group.
Crouching slightly, she whipped her sword around, quickly disarming her current attacker and letting loose a sharp, ear-piercing keen.  For once, she didn’t give a damn if she killed the group or not.   The hopping rogue, whose spindly limbs reminded her of a frog, fell over backwards, his hands pressed tightly against his slightly-pointed ears. 
Standing, she glanced around at the others, noticing blood pouring from their ears.  None seemed to be conscious and she took her sword and poked the leader in the throat with the tip of her sword.  He didn’t move.
Grinning brightly, she walked across the body and, not worrying with sheathing her sword, sauntered along, trying to ignore the fact her skirt was flipping like fringe with each step she took.
Fortunately, the Raven’s Claw was only two blocks away so she was able to dart inside the building without having to endure a great deal of gawking from the Fellhaven residents.  Not that they were paying much attention to her, anyway.  Apparently women walking along in shredded clothing swinging a sword as though it were a cane was an everyday occurrence.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kids' First Winter

Well, thought I'd upload pics of the kids during the first snow this year. They kept me outside with 'em soaking their shoes, socks, and themselves yet still refused to come inside without a great deal of tugging. Cookies were baked (store-bought tollhouse cookies). They had fun and, truth be told, so did I.  We even made a snowman!  (sorry for not having a pic of it...)

I hate the freezing cold, but there's something about playing in snow that even *I* can't resist!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Back to Banshee's Daughter...

Here's another short snippet from Banshee's Daughter. We've finished plotting out the next bit and now we're back to writing. Highly unlikely it'll be finished before the new year, but oh well. We're currently at around 47k and hoping to have it wrapped up with around 80-90k words. (hopefully... though it might be a bit longer...)

Thanks to everyone who have been reading and commenting. It's greatly appreciated!!!

This happens the day after Iliana's been paid by Saldone, Dante's Father: Iliana has already received several vases of flowers from Dante and a box of chocolates of perfectly designed and proportioned naked male elves from Xantos.


After tucking the candy in a kitchen cabinet, placing an invisibility spell on it before setting a small sachet of herbs that would hamper her mother’s magic if she snooped through the cabinet, Iliana returned to the sofa. 
Not bothering with turning the TV off, or even stopping the DVD, she called, “Mother!  I need your advice!”
A single pop sounded and Ceara stood in the middle of the room wearing a dark green shawl over a white peasant blouse and matching, dark green pants.  Her bright red hair was pulled back into a thick French braid with a hairclip holding it in place at the nape of her neck. 
She must have been on a business trip, Iliana mused.
“My, my, I didn’t realize you enjoyed flowers so much, Lena,” Ceara teased her daughter.  “Or were these sent as a thank you from Saldone?”
“Actually, his son,” Iliana replied.  She offered her mother the card from Xantos, adding, “Xantos also sent a present; a box of chocolates and no, I’m not sharing.”
Ceara chuckled.  “Might I suggest a vacation in the Caribbean?  Perhaps a cruise there?  I’m certain you’d enjoy a long extended vacation.”
“Tempting, but I’d rather not anger our dear docelfar warlord.  I do have to work in his world rather often, Mother,” Iliana retorted pleasantly.  “I was hoping you’d have some suggestions about what to do about my little… umm… problem.”
“That’s simple enough,” Ceara replied cheerfully, “Tell one or the other, or both, that you’ll gladly be his concubine if they keep showering you with flowers, chocolates, and other presents.  Oh, and make sure they also pay you a weekly fee of at least a million dollars.”
“Mother!”  Iliana squawked, feeling her face burning. 
As she was trying to force her tongue and mouth into forming more words, the doorbell rang. 
“Oh, gods, what now?”  She groaned as her mother opened the door.
As her mother raised her head in her typical haughty manor used to intimidate humans and fey alike, Iliana called, “Behave, Mother.”
From the hallway, she could hear a squeaky voice saying, “It’s for the Lady Iliana.  A gift from my lord, Dante Saldone.” 
  As Ceara stepped to the side, a short spindly man wearing a red cap, white shirt, black pants and vest with a breast pocket hurried forward with a small box with holes in the sides.
“For you, mistress,” the little man said before darting from the room, leaving the box on the coffee table. 
No sooner than the midget deliveryman vanished, the box began shaking.  Iliana scooted to the edge of the sofa and carefully unfolded the cardboard handle.  As the box fell open, a small round head that reminded Iliana of an earless raccoon popped up.  Long, silvery whiskers twitched a few seconds before the animal pounced from the box and onto her shoulder.  A long, bushy tail, long enough to wrap around the animal’s body, wagged almost like a puppy’s tail.
The fur, black that lightened to dark brown tips, was surprisingly soft and the feet grasped Iliana’s blouse were like hands.  It purred deeper and longer than a cat, even as it draped itself around Iliana’s neck and began rubbing its earless head against her cheek.
Iliana looked to her mother who stared at the creature with a mixture of shock, amusement, and concern.  She pointed to the creature and said, “Explain?”
“Your… Dante… just gave you a puka.  A banshee’s familiar,” Ceara replied, folding her arms across her chest.
“He’s not my Dante, Mom,” Iliana grumbled.  “Though, if he’s giving me these gifts, he can’t be all bad, can he?”
“Just wait till his horns come out,” Ceara countered with a malicious grin.
“Horns, huh?  Kinky.  Could be fun!”  Iliana commented, trying to not giggle. 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Something Different...

This is what I get for having really weird dreams. I loved the cabin that I dreamed and had to write it down. So, I wrote it differently. In First Person. If it sucks, PLEASE TELL ME!!!!! (You can even say it sucks and I need to stick to 3rd person...)

Anywhos, I have no clue where to go with it or anything, which means it'll probably sit in the "other stories" folder and take up space. :)



I was supposed to meet my father-in-law in Ivy but the way the car was acting, there was no way I’d make it.  Fortune, however, was smiling down on her for the next exit held hope.  Taking the offramp and following the sharp curved road between the dense trees, I veered right and kept following the road through the small subdivision.  Well, it wasn’t even a subdivision, considering there was maybe five houses a four-way stoplight with a service station across from her, a small building to my right, on my left, a house. 
The light turned green and she urged the car forward, thankful it hadn’t, yet, cut out on me.  Following the straight road, I grinned as I saw a family shield with what looked like a flourish of feathers on the top and a bright yellow shield cut into four parts.  A raven sat in the top portion with a pair of crossed swords directly below it.  A helmet to a suit of armor sat smiling at the very bottom.
Turning beside the sign declaring the Hoggenshire Restaurant was straight ahead, I followed the road lined with trees on both sides to the rustic, yet unusual looking building situated on the left.  A parking lot half-full sat on the right and in front of the restaurant.
Coaxing the Chevy Blazer into the first available space on the parking lot, I hopped out of the car, slamming the door shut and clicking the lock twice.  The horn sounded twice as I turned towards the rustic cabin-like building. 
It was a two-story building built like log cabins, except where log cabins used rounded logs, this building had flat light brown, almost tan, flat wood siding.  A wide ramp led up to the restaurant and I couldn’t help but smile at a childhood memory of playing on the restaurant side as it was being built.  My cousin and I would hopscotch and run across the unfinished, open floor.  My aunt and uncle had not even started placing the booths and they were free to run and play. 
Now, the sides were almost solid panes of glass kept spotless on the outside and inside.  Or as much as a restaurant could, that is.  Patrons of the restaurant could watch from the three walls of windows as others strode up the ramp to the restaurant or the birds that flittered amongst the trees and bushes.  In the winter, bird feeders could be seen filled with food for them while large squirrel feeders were filled with corn. 

The fourth side of the restaurant was opened into a more rustic-appearing open room where there was a large wood stove in the dropped floor.  Screens lined each side and a wood box filled in summer and winter both, kept the fire burning.  Never did the restaurant fill with smoke, which was a miracle in itself. 
Running up the ramp, I opened the door, and paused to look around in search of my aunt, uncle, or cousin.  Before I could see any of them, or be offered a table by a waiter or waitress, my phone rang.  Hitting the talk button, I answered.