On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…

Welcome back to the twelve days of Christmas, fantasy style. So far, we’ve had a god with a secret, two changeling cats, three fearless hunters, four lightning birds, five gold rings, six members of the Battalion, seven of the Elite, eight greedy goblins, nine brave soldiers, and ten borrowed shapeshifters. If you’re just joining the story, a small estate within the mortal realm has collapsed. All twelve days relate to the rescue effort.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas my Crazy Muse sent to me…Eleven Noble Shields.

Blade’s eyes narrowed, his cat pushing against his skin as he watched the procession flying across the sky. The Siren Queen was surrounded by her guards, but they couldn’t hide Constance’s power; her shimmering glory. Perhaps it was the wings, so dark they seemed to blot out the landscape, or the blue at the edge of her primaries that blended with the sky. It made her wing span seem endless.

His gaze flickered over the guards. There were thirteen Noble Shields in all. Constance always left two to hold down the fort, and there were ten in the sky, which left one on foot. The one the queen never went anywhere without – her golden boy. So to speak.

Blade tensed the moment he felt him. The vampire was a sneaky son of a bitch, but they had known each other too long, too long to think the cat didn’t smell his arrogant stench.

Smiling, Blade allowed his cheetah to take over; exploding in a blur of movement. Before his friend could react, he spun and barrelled into him. Blade took the favoured Shield down with enough force to knock the wind out of him, or maybe that was because he was sitting on his chest.

Come on, Pan. I thought we were over this? Aaron’s mental voice brimmed with good humour, though Blade didn’t miss the hint of confusion. The fact they were now on the same team had softened Blade’s anger a little. But that was before he was reminded of Aaron’s juvenile prank.

No. I still want to chew on your bones. I just hide it better.

Aaron laughed, bending his neck to look behind him as Constance and her guards came to land. They shifted seamlessly into their half forms; downy feathers covering tall, lean bodies – a natural uniform.

“Panashe Rivera,” Constance said in that lilting tone she had. The one that made him want to obey her every command. “What have I told you about trying to snack on my head Shield?”

Blade reined in the cat, shifting as seamlessly as the sirens had done. His own body suit settling into place. “Connie,” he said, grinning when she arched her brows.

She gave an exasperated little sigh, before waving her hand in permission. Blade moved to her, leaning in briefly to rub his face against her inky hair. “Your majesty,” he said, then. “This is a pleasant surprise.”

“I couldn’t talk her out of it,” Aaron grunted, already on his feet. “One of the soldiers you’re treating is a friend.”

That wasn’t a surprise. Of the squad still recovering, all but two were human. The siren in their group had yet to regain consciousness. She had a nasty head injury, and even with her healing capabilities, the prognosis wasn’t good. Not if she didn’t wake up.

“I’ll take you to her.” Blade stepped aside as Aaron took his position beside Constance. Even inside the secure compound, none of the Shields would take chances.

They followed him to the infirmary, and not for the first time, Blade was grateful for the sense of community that had only grown in strength. The shapeshifters had gone all out to boost morale, and it worked like a dream.

Constance and her guards moved directly to the siren in the first bed. All but Aaron. He hung back, standing beside Blade as the others formed a half circle.

The space was filled with a hushed silence. Those who lay recovering, looked on with matching expressions of awe and curiosity.

Then Constance began to sing, her voice so soft, so beautiful, Blade almost staggered on his feet. His cat was purring in his mind, the compulsion in the queen’s gentle tone relaxing his animal like little else could. When the others joined in, Blade thought he could happily bathe in the glorious sound. The safety in it, the pride they were projecting to their fallen comrade.

As her guards took control, Constance leaned forward and put her lips close to the wounded siren’s ear. No matter how much Blade concentrated, he couldn’t hear the words she spoke – not above the lyrical music still filling his ears.

Whatever it was, the siren’s eyes opened. They were a tawny colour, still clouded with prolonged sleep, but she recognised her queen and her smile was radiant. After a few seconds, her lids drooped again, but the smile remained.

Blade glanced at Aaron. That is the coolest damn thing I’ve ever seen.

You always say that. Aaron grinned. But I must admit, Constance is scary good.

Good? She’s extraordinary. My cat his half in love.

Now Aaron rolled his eyes.  I’ve heard that before, too. And you don’t fool me. Your cat is the reserved one.

Yeah. Consider yourself lucky Constance lulled him into sleep.

It is a treat, isn’t it? Smooth and soft…kind of like honey.

Blade laughed and slapped his friend on the back. He could never stay angry with the son of a bitch for long.

Thanks for stopping by

Mel

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A to Z Blogging Challenge – Day 22: Fantasy Squad – Sirens

SI’ve talked about my father’s love of Greek mythology before, (Melissa was the name of a nymph who nursed an infant Zeus), and my interest in sirens probably stems from his own fascination (I’m lucky he wasn’t a sailor!).

Siren by PinkParasol* Traditional Art / Paintings / Fantasy©2011-2015 PinkParasol
Siren by PinkParasol*
Traditional Art / Paintings / Fantasy©2011-2015 PinkParasol

Sirens are often confused with harpies because they are both hybrids; combining women and birds. I’m sure you’re familiar with the legends about these beautiful creatures luring sailors with their enchanting voices. They were said to be handmaidens of the goddess Persephone (Demeter’s daughter), and when Persephone was abducted by Hades, Demeter gave the sirens wings to aid in the search – or at least that’s one of the tales.

As their appearance in media is limited, I decided to follow a similar format to the Imp post, and share with you a preview from my upcoming fantasy story, The Contract. Sirens will play a big part in the series, and the serialised offshoot of the novels – The Collective. So, here’s a taste:

As a little background, the sirens referred to in this snippet are twins. They form part of Tobias Locke’s Guard (the Hympe King). Tobias is in trouble and has asked Maddison (a freelance hunter) for help. They have agreed to meet on familiar ground.

Sneak Preview – The Contract

Tobias followed his guards through the portal, his senses on full alert. The twins had already scouted the area, a necessary precaution even if the meeting spot did border his land. He accepted their need to protect, yet their obvious concern was starting to grate along his nerves.

“She’s here,” Rheia said, eyes narrowed on a patch of trees.

“Of course she is.” Maddison was always on time. “I think I can take it from here,” he told them.

Obeying the subtle command, the twins changed shape and took to the air, their wings glinting under the afternoon sun.

He watched them for a moment, admiring their exquisite grace, before he walked across the clearing. He stopped when he saw Maddison. She was half-way through a familiar warm-up routine. It shouldn’t have pleased him to discover she was still angry, but it did. He could see the tension in every line of her body, knew she would not welcome such thoughts. Yesterday, when he’d sought her out, he’d expected a fight and had relished the idea. She had accepted the assignment far too easily, even without the punishing lip-lock. Maddison never mixed business with pleasure. But then, right now, everything about her was business – right down to her kick-ass boots.

He was playing with fire, seeking her involvement. She was dangerous, at least to him, because she made him long for the impossible. He was a king, and when he took a bride he would be condemning her to a life of sacrifice. He wouldn’t, couldn’t, do that to Maddison.

“When you’re through with the peep show, how about you come spar with me for a while?” she asked without turning.

The witch has eyes in the back of her head.

He crossed the field, appreciating the fact she came prepared. Her uniform was custom made, though it surprised him to realise she had accessorised with a number of blades. The twin machetes strapped to her back were familiar, but the holstered daggers on her thighs were new to the party. They were overkill, in his opinion. Maddison was tall and lithe, and exuded danger like a carefully applied camouflage.

Her dark, midnight blue hair was pulled back in a long plait that hung down her back. It was adorned with harmless looking jewellery, but Tobias knew that was an illusion.

“I see you brought the man-eaters,” she said, looking up into the sky.

He didn’t need to follow her gaze to the siren twins circling above, he could feel them. As part of his guard they were connected by blood.

“You know they hate it when you call them that.” He also knew she meant no offense. “Besides, the curse was lifted eons ago, now it’s more about the pleasure.”

She laughed, eyes still on the sky as she watched the twins. They resembled large, fierce birds of prey, as beautiful as the eagle and just as deadly. “So I’ve heard.”

Finally, her gaze dropped to his, and he saw her intent swirling in a sea of green. They circled each other, eyes locked, until she made her move.

He felt the jolt of magic like a fist to the side of his jaw. A silken snake wound its way around his neck and squeezed tight, blocking the airway.

By the Gods, she was beautiful, he thought, staring into eyes that became a filter to her power. It shone with a vibrant glow, making her appear almost feral.

“The next time you put your hands on me, I’ll put you in the ground,” Maddison said in a husky, sensual tone, which had his eyes flashing. She was still pissed, all right.

“If you think you can take me, witch, be my guest,” he challenged, manipulating the branches of a nearby tree into doing his bidding.

He had the power to control any living organism, with a few exceptions. Maddison was one of them; her mind was too strong to manipulate.

“Tempting, half-blood, but we have a job to do.”

She used the term half-blood to annoy him, and it would have worked, if she’d put any effort into it. But she didn’t really consider him a lesser being, so he accepted the jibe. Anyone else he would have crushed.

His father was king before he’d renounced his title and married a mortal woman. They had conceived Tobias before the ritual, making him heir to the throne. Now he ruled, and he allowed few to challenge his authority.

“I’m not the one who lost control,” he reminded her, stretching his neck.

With a muted curse, she released him. The silken strand whipped back towards her and coiled into the long braid she wore. It was powerful magic, a fact which made her more than a witch.

***

I hope you enjoyed the snippet. I had so much fun with the sirens, and I think my Dad would have liked them. But now it’s over to you. Do you know of any sirens portrayed in media that you would like to share? I’d love to hear  your thoughts on these beautiful (and sometimes deadly) creatures.

Thanks for stopping by. Until next time.

Mel