Monthly Archives: April 2017

The Bloodied Briar – Part 2

“Jim. You missed the turn.”

Jim made a grunting noise to acknowledge his sister in law. They were on their way to see The Mariinsky Ballet from St. Petersburg performing Sleeping Beauty. Jim’s mind was less on the dancing they were headed to and more on the woman in his passenger seat. While his brother had been away in jail the two had grown close.

Jim and Jonathon were brothers but they were not alike in any way. Jim had dark hair and Jonathon light, they had different colour eyes. Jim was a cop, a detective. And Jonathon, well, Jonathon had gotten himself sent to jail for his involvement in a confidence scam. He was being released in three days after serving eighteen months of his sentence.

This was Jim’s last day with Rosanne. She had wanted it to be special and Jim was doing his best to give it to her. They had enjoyed lunch on the harbour, a leisurely two-hour cruise, followed by a walk in the gardens, most of their time spent by the roses. Rosanne loved roses. Dinner had been at a 50’s themed diner that Rosanne loved and now they were headed to the ballet.

Afterwards, they would go back to the hotel for their first and last night together.

Jim was excited and nervous, and more than a little envious of his brother for being married to this astounding woman. Not that it could have been him, he had been married years before Jonathon and Rosanne had met. Still, Jim would never understand what Rosanne saw in his brother beyond his good looks. Rosanne was well travelled, highly educated and stunningly beautiful. She could have had any opportunity she wished to pursue and yet she was married to Jonathon, staying that way, and not planning to pursue any kind of career. It was a mystery that not even a top detective could unravel.

“You’re very quiet, Jim. Is everything okay?”

“So far everything is perfect,” Jim replied. He glanced from the road to Rosanne and gave her a smile. Everything about today was perfect and he hoped it had been for her too. He also hoped what remained of their time together would be just as perfect.

“I agree, it’s been perfect. You’ve spoiled me, Jim.” Rosanne rested her hand on Jim’s thigh and left it there as he navigated his way to the parking building for the theatre. Once they were parked they shared a kiss, Rosanne fixed her lipstick and by the time she had finished, Jim was around the car opening the door for her.

“You look beautiful,” Jim almost stammered as he helped her from the car. Beautiful seemed inadequate and yet, if he waxed lyrical he would most likely come off cheesy. Jim wasn’t really a man of many words, nor a very eloquent one when he tried to be.

“Thank you.” Rosanne blushed and touched her hair. It was a sweet gesture that Jim read to mean that she was just as nervous as he was.

He took her arm and kissed her cheek. “You’re welcome.”

Both smiling, often at each other, they walked arm in arm toward the door to the stairs to head to the theatre and their seats. Sleeping Beauty was Rosanne’s favourite ballet and Jim was so glad they could share it together.

**

“You were conceived that night.”

Briar had not been aware of herself until that moment. She had been watching the scene play out unaware of her own form and consciousness, right up until the female voice spoke and the scene paused around her. Briar turned and found a woman standing next to her wearing a red dress. She looked as Briar imagined she might when she was older.

Was this an older version of Briar come to give her wisdom on her quest?

It took Briar a moment to see the differences in this woman, differences that would not come to Briar with age. This was not herself, no, this woman was more like the one that Jim had been escorting away. This woman looked like Briar’s mother, or how she would have looked had she lived and aged. The woman Briar had been watching had been twenty or twenty-one, twenty-two at most, and Rosanne had died two weeks before her twenty-fifth birthday. She would have been in her fifties now, as this woman in the red dress looked.

“Are you my…?” Briar couldn’t bring herself to say it. She wasn’t sure why, but the word mother stuck in her throat like cotton balls.

“In a way. I was once but now I am something different.”

“And that was you I was watching. That’s what really happened?”

“It is. I knew I would fall pregnant that night, and I knew I wanted Jim to be your father. It was one of the best nights of my life. I loved Jim so much.”

“Loved him? Yeah, I can tell how much you loved him by the fact you never tried to be with him.”

Rosanne, or the spirit that had been Rosanne, looked down and Briar could have sworn that sadness rolled off the woman like mist off the sea.

“No, you don’t get to go all quiet and sad on me. If he had been known to be my father I would have gone to him when you died. Not your sister and that…man.”

Briar’s anger was quick to rise. It always was but especially on this topic. It was something that had eaten away at her since she had found out that Jim was her father and not Jonathon. Why had her mother denied her a real father? Why had she been sent to her Aunt? Why was she denied a loving home? Even if Jim’s wife had hated Briar it would have been a more loving environment than what she got.

“It was complicated. Jim had obligations to his wife, his children and I…I had complications too.”

“Complications? Don’t you dare give me that BS. Don’t you fucking dare.”

“You had to go to my sister. I made promises and even though I did try to break them, it was already done.”

“That tells me nothing. Why did you damn your own daughter?”

The woman in the red dress paced a few steps away from Briar and then turned and looked back at her. Rosanne looked like she had made a decision and Briar hoped like hell it was one that would allow her to understand.

“I, I wanted a child. I was willing to do anything, anything at all for one. A man came to me. I thought he was an angel. He was beautiful, and he radiated power. He promised me I would have a child. He showed me a potion that I could drink to have a child and it reminded me of an old Sleeping Beauty story I had read, a magical creature promises the queen a baby. He asked me what I would pay for it and I told him anything, I would pay anything, do anything for a child and he told me that was an acceptable payment. I could have kept the potion and drank it when Johnny came home but I drank it the night I was with Jim. I wanted you to be the child of a good man. When I was six weeks pregnant with you I made up my mind to leave Johnny and go to Jim. Even if it was selfish to ask him to leave his family. But the angel returned, he walked in with Johnny and I knew I had been played. They told me the child would be terminated if I tried to leave and if I did not do everything that the angel wanted after the child was born he would return and cut out the child’s beating heart.

He was not an angel. He was a demon and he told me of my heritage, our heritage, that we come from the line of a demon.”

Rosanne fell silent and while Briar knew that at this news she should feel compassion for her mother, she did not. She still felt anger and betrayal.

“So, you agreed to everything they asked and doomed me. Losing my heart might have been a better way to go.”

“They had plans for you and I could not bear to take life away from you. I tried to fight them, I did.”

“By doing everything they wanted? That’s a fantastic fighting technique, Mum.”

“Each birthday they would come for a ritual. By your fifth birthday, you would be completely twisted into a demonic creature. By your sixteenth, you would join them. I couldn’t let it happen. I found a woman, a witch who promised to help me. On your next birthday, they came again to do the ritual. A man appeared that was more powerful than them and he cast them out. He said I only needed to summon him and he would come to save you. He said he protected his family.  I called him one last time the night of the accident and he saved you. By the time he returned to help me I was already dead.”

Briar found herself sinking down onto the concrete ground. She could see the whole thing playing out in her mind, the birthday party, the car accident that was clearly no accident. It was jarring and painful to witness, her head throbbing painfully. Briar closed her eyes until it was done and the pressure left her head.

Rosanne looked around before she moved to Briar’s side and embraced her. The two women clung to each other and Briar was not sure who started crying first.

“I am sorry for everything that happened then and after. I would give my life again to change things for you. I am so proud of you and I wish I could stay.”

“I have so many questions. So many things I’ve always wanted to say to you.”

“And I wish I could stay so we could speak of everything you wish.”

Briar looked up. She had thought Rosanne meant that she wished she could stay for good, not that she could stay no longer. “You’re leaving?”

“I should not be here. Lorelei gave me as much time as she could to join with you. Be strong, my Briar Rose. You are so much better than me. You can survive this. You will wake.”

Rosanne vanished. Briar was left alone as the background faded into shadows. She had been given a glimpse of the love that she had been conceived in and given dozens more questions about herself, her mother and her uncle.

It had answered one question that Briar had always wondered about Jim. It seemed he had really loved Rosanne, and what he said to Briar about wanting to make a life with Rosanne if she’d let him was true. No wonder his wife had left him when she found out. But, it still did not excuse him for not coming for Briar, no matter what promises he made to Rosanne.

Briar was not one for tears, she had trained herself not to cry at an early age. But she was crying now. For her father, for her mother, but mostly for herself and the life she could have lived if she had been allowed to grow up in the love that had created her. It seemed that the universe had been against her right from the beginning, so was it any wonder that Briar kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and destroy her current happiness. If the universe was so set on taking love and happiness from her from the beginning why should it allow her to have it now?

“Are you ready to move on now, Briar Rose? You have much more to see.”

A man was suddenly standing in front of her with his hand extended to help her to her feet. He seemed familiar but Briar had never seen his face before.

“Who are you?”

“We met before when I helped you with a tricky situation. I wore someone else’s face then, someone I knew you would trust.”

“Greece. You, you called yourself Hermes.”

“A slight lie on my part but given you believed the others were also Greek Gods it seemed a logical lie.”

“Who are you then?”

“You can call me Nathaniel.”

“I can call you that, or that is your name?”

“It’s one of them.”

Briar hesitated for a moment and then took his hand. If this was the same man or being, that had rescued her then it stood to reason she could trust him. He helped her to her feet, tucked her hand into his bent elbow and started walking.

“Where are we going?”

“Back to Greece, well, we shall begin there. You were right to worry that it was more than it appeared to be and that your attackers were not done with you.”

**

Back in the room, they could all see Briar’s body twitch and move as she dreamed. They could all see the tears that ran down her cheeks, into her hair and wet the mattress beneath her. Lorelei moved and placed a hand on Alistair’s shoulder as he sat on the floor at the edge of the circle. “Those tears are ones of healing, do not fear, she has not passed into any danger, yet.”

“It’s the yet that worries me.”

“I know, but she is protected and guarded. She would not want you upset.” Lorelei knew that all present worried; Briar’s tears upset them. Lorelei knew that there was much worse yet to come. This was only the beginning.

 

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Books, lists and school holidays.

It’s been a busy week, school is on a two-week break here at the moment which means less time for writing and crafting and more time for being a fun Mum and trying not to feel motion sick as K shows me the new Minecraft world he’s built.

He’s been off with his Nana and Aunty the last couple of nights and because of it, I got 2,000 words written on one of the Faeted Tales projects. Faeted Tales is currently winning the poll for Which Book Should Be Released Next, which you can still vote on. I think I’ll make my decision final decision this weekend, so if you want your opinion heard, get in now.

This week has been more productive as I embrace lists. I was having horrid nights of sleep and dreams, dealing with issues and just generally feeling on the crap side of the fence. So I devoted a half an hour after I got up to making a list of how I was going to use and prioritise my time. It’s been very effective. (Though terrifyingly my list was two pages of my A4 size notebook long….obviously a few things will be on next week’s list.)

One of the exciting things to come out of this week is starting my new weekly series The Bloodied Briar, which is also now on Wattpad so all those cool kids who read there can follow it.

The other cool thing I achieved this week is learning new tricks for hat decoration.

This was one of my original creations:

Designed and decorated hat

Now thanks to online tutorials I will be attempting far more epic concepts for fantasy and steampunk themed hats. I even have one I’m designing with a Doctor Who theme, there will be pictures once it’s done. In fact, I’m thinking once a week there might be a post around my creations as I move towards opening my own Etsy store.

So yes, a lot to come on the blog and elsewhere across social media. Remember if you want to keep up to date you can subscribe by email to the blog up there on the right-hand side menu.

Until next time, be stellar, be faebulous, be Wiccad.

*blows kisses*

 

The Bloodied Briar – Part 1

“Have you explained to the others all the risks of this ritual, Briar?”
Briar shook her head. For a moment, she considered lying but she had a feeling that an immortal demon could detect bullshit a mile away. Briar also had a feeling Lorelei was asking because she already knew the answer.
“Do you not think it would have been wise to prepare them?”
Briar shrugged. “Why? They can’t do anything to ease the risk, they can’t talk me out of doing it, either. So why worry them needlessly?”
“What about goodbyes?”
“There are letters if something happens. They’re in my suitcase. I just, I don’t do goodbyes. I never have.” Briar knew that with letters she had probably chosen the selfish path but she really did not want anyone to worry. And what would just in case goodbyes achieve? They would just upset everyone and give people a chance to try to talk Briar out of this. It wasn’t going to happen. Briar had made up her mind what she needed to do and she was doing it come hell or high water. She was stubborn like that. She was after all part demon.
Part demon, part angel, part human and part…whatever else had mated with her ancestors. And it was all part of why she was doing this. Finding out who she truly was, what made her what she was. To find out her true heritage and awaken it. Well, wake or activate any powers that were hidden in her ancestry.
It could kill her or destroy her mind, but Briar had to know. No matter the risk; she would go mad if she did not do it.

Lorelei nodded to Briar’s reply and did not push her to change her mind. Briar appreciated that and she guessed if anyone would understand this, it would be Lorelei.
Lorelei was a demon. An old one. A demon who fell in love with an Angelic man. A man who changed her so she was more than simply her love of chaos and destruction.
She was also Briar’s ancestor. Katie’s too. Katie was Briar’s best friend, her Galmance, basically her soul sister. And it made so much sense they had a common ancestor. Well, to Briar anyway.
Lorelei had offered to do a ritual with Briar when it became apparent how much Briar needed to know more about herself, her life and the past. Briar wanted so much to move forward with her life with Alistair but she felt lost and unsettled at the same time. The ritual could offer her a way to find peace and be able to create the future she wanted.
The ritual was similar to a guided meditation but with a potentially harmful sleeping potion to put Briar in a trance. In this state, Briar would face her own past, her true self, she would see memories of her ancestors and any past lives her soul had lived. She would face trials under the influence of the potion that would determine her worthiness for the second part of the ritual.
A second potion would be consumed when her first journey was finished and this would complete her transformation. It remained to be seen if her mind was strong enough to survive the first trials, or if her body was strong enough to survive the second.
It was possible the others would not forgive her if she did not survive. In fact, Katie was likely to kill her. And Alistair her fiancé, well, Alistair would be devastated to lose her again.
Again.
That was something Briar would face. The first time she had fled from Alistair and she would face why she had left him. Briar had done well to move on from some things in her past and now she would have to face them again. Lorelei had warned her that in doing so she would learn more about the events and the people involved, as well as more about herself.
Briar rarely let fear control her but right now as Lorelei worked on her potion, she was metaphorically crapping her pants. Though outwardly she showed nothing.

They were in a home of Lorelei’s in the Scottish countryside south of Inverness and not far from Loch Ness. The house had been extended, refitted, rebuilt and modernised many times but elements of the original cottage remained. The cottage had been where Lorelei had lived while she was pregnant with her daughter centuries ago. Now it was a large residence that was roomy enough to house all the guests.
Briar had not come alone, many of her new-found family had insisted on coming along.
Alistair, Katie and Henry, Alistair’s brother Chris and his wife Arianna, Arianna’s sister Belle and her boyfriend Matty, and they had also been joined by Rowena and Joseph. Rowena was a doctor and Joseph, her husband, a nurse. They ran a clinic together that Briar and Katie helped finance, and both women had been patients at the clinic many times since. While no one knew the potentially fatal outcome of the ritual, it was known that Briar’s body might face some hardships. Rowena and Joseph were on hand to help with that, even if it only came down to giving her fluids while she was unconscious.
So, Lorelei’s house was a full house.
Everyone had been talking about going to find Nessie tomorrow while Briar continued trying to find herself. Chris had already said he would return with Nessie. Briar was expecting when, or if, she woke, she would be handed a cute stuffed toy version by him. It was totally her future brother-in-law’s style.

Lorelei and Briar had excused themselves after dinner to prepare. Briar had bathed as instructed and put on the freshly cleaned clothes Lorelei laid out. They smelled so strongly of sage. Briar’s hair was loose and since it was barely dried it had left a damp spot on the back of her top.
Now, Briar sat on a mattress on a camping bed in the middle of the circle that Lorelei had painted. Contained within the circle were symbols that Lorelei had drawn in the same white paint. Briar thought they looked old. Lorelei had explained that they were a mixture of demonic and angelic sigils. Each played a part in the ritual and trying to help Briar survive it. Given how little Briar knew about magic and the occult she trusted her forbearer to know what she was doing.
Briar had learned a lot already since meeting Lorelei. Most importantly that demons and angels were real and they were not what the Good Book taught. Similar, and yet wildly different. Briar would surely discover more about them on her journey of transformation.
“How far away are we?” Briar asked while she tapped her fingertips against each other.
“About four feet,” Lorelei deadpanned.
“You sure I can’t call you, Gramma? Because that was a grandparent joke if ever I heard one.”
“You can call me anything you wish, but I cannot guarantee your ongoing health if you do.”
“Fine, Gramma. How much longer now?”
“The potion is nearly ready. We shall do your markings and then I shall add the blood drops of your family and friends to the mix and you will drink it. After that, the others will be allowed in.”
Briar wasn’t worried about the blood she would be consuming. After all, there had been a while there where she thought she would become a vampire one day. A few drops of blood was nothing. Admittedly, Briar was not sure she understood how the blood drops of the others would offer extra protection through the quest but Lorelei said they would, so….
“And then they can all come in here and be creepy watching me sleep.”
“They will be able to see that you are alive and well. You might not have told them the complete truth of the ritual but do not think them so naïve as to not be worried. The two wolves have most likely instinctively picked up on it, though they may not understand the feeling of unease they are experiencing. You are chosen pack to them, and they know to fear for you.”
“Alistair is already worried?” Briar asked before letting out a colourful and physically impossible curse. “The whole point was not to worry him, that’s why I kept my mouth shut. Now you tell me he’s upset regardless and will probably stress himself out the whole time.”
“They all worry, no things in life are without risk.” Lorelei moved to the bed, carefully stepping between the painted symbols. “Now, lie back so I can mark you.”
“With blood?”
“I suppose I could but I find the right colour of lip pencil is just as effective and also, less permanent than marker pens.”
“Oh, I assumed you had to use your blood.”
“Mine is in the two potions, you need no more than that. The sigils also mean that no further sacrifice is required.”
Briar nodded and shifted down the mattress so she could lie back without her head hanging off the end. “I could have handled being painted in blood if needed. But even with my love of blades, I would not have been up for you carving marks into my skin.”
“I would have assumed as much. Luckily it is not that type of magic that we are performing. If this was one of my darker times then I would have happily included it for my own enjoyment.”
“Right. You sure you’re not feeling any inclination to turn into some kind of chaotic, violent psychopath, now are you?” Briar joked, well mostly. Lorelei had told them some stories about when her true demonic nature took hold of her and Briar could believe she’d quite happily carve up Briar’s body. At times like that, no one in the house would be safe.
“No,” Lorelei replied. She knelt beside the bed, a thick, deep red, lip pencil in her hand. “I would easily guess it will be decades before the magic will wane and I shall descend into chaos.”
“Good to know.”
Briar settled down on the mattress and took a deep breath, she closed her eyes to let Lorelei get to work. There would be a symbol on each eyelid, one on her forehead, several on her cheeks and then they would be drawn on her chest, stomach, arms and legs. It was a lot of skin that had to be marked, which was why Briar was wearing short shorts and had tucked her tank top into her bra. She had considered just wearing a bra and briefs but decided she would feel a little exposed doing the ritual like that. Plus, she was not sure how comfortable others might be with her on display in her underwear like Sleeping Beauty doing a lingerie photo shoot. Even with her being Briar Rose.
Briar Rose Gordon. Soon to be Rosenthorn. Well, hopefully soon if this ritual helped and didn’t kill her.
Briar let her mind wander to Alistair as she felt the pencil move over her skin. She wondered what he was doing right now, what he was thinking. Most likely thinking about her if he was worried like Lorelei said. Perhaps he was worrying how changed she might be after the ritual finished.
Briar had wondered that herself.
Many things could change but one thing that Briar was certain would not change would be her feelings for Alistair. She loved him, that was one of those forever deals. As for the other changes, she hoped that whatever they might be they would not force a change in Alistair’s feelings. Briar would not fault him if they did though, she was still surprised he loved her for who she was now.
Briar had a dark past, both what she had endured and what she had done. Knowing all of that, Alistair accepted her and loved her. It proved that miracles were real, at least in Briar’s books.
Once Lorelei was finished with her markings she left Briar lying there and went to add the final ingredients to the potion.
The lip pencil felt like it was dry so Briar let herself slowly open her eyes, she watched as Lorelei added a series of red drops into the blue painted pottery cup. Lorelei stirred it three times and then came back into the circle, Briar was sure she could hear the contents of the cup fizzing.
Lorelei put her hand on the back of Briar’s head and raised it up so she could drink from the cup without wearing it all.
Briar had expected something that tasted like mouldy socks, bird poop and petrol. Instead, it tasted like cinnamon and sugar. Given what had gone into the potion, Briar was sure that it was some other kind of magic that made it taste this good. She drank it all down only spilling a tiny bit down her chin. When she was done, Lorelei lowered her head back onto the mattress and then went to open the door.
“She is ready to begin.”
When she stepped back out of the doorway Alistair hurried into the room. He all but ran to the edge of the circle and nearly fell into it. He looked at Briar and let out a sigh. “I wish I could hold your hand.”
“You might smudge some of my pretty makeup and Lorelei might smack you and not in the fun way,” Briar joked. She was already starting to feel a bit dizzy and sleepy. The sleepy was fine, the dizzy was nauseating. She had to close her eyes, even though she wanted to keep looking at Alistair. This could be her last chance to ever look at him if the ritual went badly.
Briar forced her eyes open, intent on memorising every aspect of his face. Even if that wouldn’t do her any good if she was crazy or dead.
“Whatever happens, Babe, know that I love you,” Briar murmured. He looked a bit out of focus now, and the rest of the room seemed to be getting darker.
Alistair looked at someone behind him that she could not make out and then looked back at her.
“I know, and soon you’ll be walking down that aisle to show everyone how much you love me.”
Alistair spoke so forcefully that it made Briar smile. She liked it when he got like that, it happened more often now he was a werewolf. Still, it hadn’t hidden the way his voice hitched at the end there. He was worried.
Briar wanted to reassure him but all she could do was close her eyes. She had to close them now.
She heard a murmur of many voices and knew she was not alone. She liked knowing that, she had been alone for so much of her life.
She was not alone now. That was nice. Even if she didn’t make it through the ritual, she wouldn’t leave this life alone and unloved.

 

A story for Briar

I’ve been thinking about doing an ongoing story on here for a while. I was leaning towards continuing No Captain Will Save Our Souls, and I might do that one next. But I am missing my girl Briar and I want to write for her. Some of you might know her from when I had the ETM site, some might know her from the world of RP on twitter and Tumblr. She is a pushy madame, and she wants words and a big storyline.

And what Briar wants, she often gets.

Everything always played out in black and white or the vibrancy of red in her soul. Blood, passion, darkness and light. This was who she was and who she would ever be. She had learned to own it instead of letting it own her.

Briar Gordon is her name, and this new chapter of her life will involve visiting the past. So if you don’t know Briar yet, don’t worry. You won’t be at a loss.

I’m going to try and post for her weekly, so this week you will get the first instalment of the story. I’m not sure how many weeks it will play out over, we’ll see how the muse goes. But I hope you enjoy her story when it begins.

Are you excited?

An Easter Message From The Princess Bard

Whatever you celebrate this weekend, or whatever you don’t, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend with as much chocolate and as many Hot Cross buns as you like.

We attempted making our own Hot Cross Buns yesterday and they were delicious and look quite awesome if I do say so myself. We used the recipe by Chelsea Winter.

Homemade Hot Cross Buns

So be safe if you’re travelling, and remember, Easter food is all guilt-free food, so enjoy yourself.

Don’t forget to vote for which book you want to be released next. And if you’re at a loose end, I can think of a couple of books you could download and read *Insert cheeky grin here*

*Blows kisses*

Be Faebulous. Be Stellar. I shall return.