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, February 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday... Banshee's Daughter, again.

Ok, so the kids are happy, Mark's got a toothache, and I've FINALLY gotten over strep.  What a fun time it's been.  On the good side, bills have paid, fun stuff has been bought (mostly required stuff), and a trip to Short Pump has been planned for this weekend.  YAY!!!!  Build-a-bear for the two tiny terrors is a must. (Our little IMP is going to get a sheep... maybe she'll stop wanting the puppet from the library if we can con her into getting one...)  And, of course, Maggiano's, cause it's THE BEST Italian restaurant.  And I'm gonna go searching for a strappy, sexy pair of silver stilettos... time to break away from the plain old black. :)

Anywhos, hopefully we'll remember the camera (hopefully).  If not, we've got our phones. :)

And, on to the teaser!!!

p.s. the novel is done at just under 85,000 words!  YAY!!!!

“If I enjoyed the boredom inherent to mixing up my concoctions, I’d have a wealthy life with little excitement. However, I don’t; which is why I’m a hired retriever of inanimate objects”

Something about that statement made Xantos chuckle.

“Yes... such as we cannot confine ourselves to a single outlet of one’s personality, can we?”

“My mother always chastised me for growing bored too quickly; she always claimed I’d find trouble. I suppose she, and you, are right.” She chuckled and gestured towards the flowers around them. “Most of these are indigenous to your world, aren’t they? Do they have any specific use other than beauty?”

“Most within my private garden are for beauty’s sake.” Xantos agreed. “But as you are aware; many of these flowers and bulbs have a use other than looking beautiful or swooning a heart.”

Iliana slid her fingers away from the petals, startled. “This is your private garden?” That certainly changed things a bit. A very big bit. “What uses do they have? Or is it a trade secret?”

“Look about, and tell me what you would use any of the specimens for,” he challenged. “Surely, you have already noticed a few that you would use.”

“It doesn’t work quite that way,” Iliana replied, blushing. “The lavender and red clovers could be easily used to make a mixture for ‘ensuring’ a prosperous, passionate marriage. I could concoct an unlimited amount of mixtures from the herbs and flowers of my world. Those from your world? I could only follow my instinct and hope something comes out of it other than a pretty flame.”

“How do you know that you didn’t produce something more than a ‘pretty flame?’ You often mix ingredients blindly, ignorant of possible outcomes?”

She plucked the blossom of the yellow rose, the strange hyacinth cactus combo, and the leaves of another unusual bush laden with deep, blood red blooms with black centers that reminded her of tiny daggers.

“I follow my instincts. Most of my combinations come from allowing my sixth sense, if you will, to take control and tell me how much of each to use.” As Iliana spoke, she placed the blossoms and leaves in a pile in her hand and breathed upon them.

The ingredients began to twist into a funnel shape; growing in speed and intensity until a tiny tornado traveled upon the palm of her hand. The tornado twisted faster and faster, until a sextuplet of tiny black points, like black arrowheads or the tips of daggers, flew from the tornado. Wherever these projectiles hit, frost spread rapidly in a radius of six feet. The tornado blew out on her hand.

“That certainly wasn’t expected,” Iliana commented, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. “Perhaps I should not create any other mixtures here.”

She looked at Xantos, who was looking at the frost damaged bushes and flowers with a mixture of anger and shock. Finally, he glanced at her and steadied his expression. He seemed to gather himself before stretching his hands out before him. Magic surged in the very air around her, forcing her eyes shut. When she could open them again, all signs of the damage her little experiment had caused were erased. Xantos was smiling at her.

“Why don’t you explain to me how you did that?” He requested pleasantly.

“I didn’t know what the combination would produce, otherwise I wouldn’t have attempted it,” Iliana quickly stated. She considered the flowers and what she had felt from them. “The rose created the base, the kindling for the tornado. The blossom from the hyacinth-like flower gave it the power and also is the cause for the frost. It was the third that created the projectiles and kept the frost contained until it touched a surface.”

Iliana shrugged helplessly, clasping her hands tightly together. She didn’t trust the pleasantness of his voice; it was far too similar to what he used with the captain. Her mother always said, the first reaction was the true reaction, especially when dealing with ethereal and magical beings. It was often the same with words; what was first spoken was often what the person meant, not what they wanted you to hear.

“I’ll refrain from any other mixtures, I swear,” Iliana promised.

“I would simply prefer such experiments were conducted in a less fragile environment.” Xantos commented. He walked away from her, towards where the projectiles had done their now deleted damage. He inhaled sharply, and smiled back at her. His hands spread wide in a gesture of offering; but she noticed his fingers fluttered slightly as they grew apart.

“It would bring me pleasure to provide a private room to conduct such experiments... that would appeal to you, yes?”

She felt a tingling of unexpected desire; accompanied by an upsurge in some flower’s scent. She had to swallow and gather herself before answering: Her first impulse was to tell him she wanted to please him, and a private room would be perfect!

“I’ve no doubt it would,” she replied uneasily, looking towards the flowers, trying to figure out which one was the culprit. “Perhaps we can discuss that possibility at a later time. After I’m no longer a target for assassins, would be most ideal.”

Xantos tilted his head and pursed his lips.

Damned if he doesn’t look like the late Michael Landon playing the Anti-Christ when he does that. She observed. She was startled when he spoke again in the pleasant tone.

“As you like. Shall we continue the tour?”

As long as you don’t try to seduce me again, she thought as she crossed to him. Aloud, she agreed, “Certainly.” 


  1. I really like the idea that the flowers can be combined to create magical effects. I did feel like the language was a little clunky at times - misused prepositions, occasional punctuation errors, small things that trip me up.

    I get the impression that a lot of these teasers revolve around Xantos in some dominant role. Is that right, or am I going crazy in my old age? It's making me wonder if Xantos is ever threatened or unbalanced - if there are sides of him that we're not seeing because Xantos is always in control of the scene. I often find that the most powerful moments come from upsetting the usual power dynamic of a scene. Just curious! :)

  2. The scenes where Xantos comes in, he's not so much the dominant role, as much as the dominant character. There's very little that would rattle him, mostly because he's the Hannibal Lecter of the novels.

    Most of the teasers I've been posting have been scenes with Xantos (probably 'cause he's my fav character, lol).

    As for other sides, I've posted a few where he shows a compassionate side (and there are others in the novel that show it).

    I'll post something different (something without Xantos) next week. :)