Tag Archives: merman

K is for Kel

k

Raise your hand if you were waiting for this one.

Don’t be ashamed. He’s one of my favourites, too. As someone said in a comment on my Facebook page, “The struggle is real! Between he and Aren, I’m thinking polyamory is the perfect choice.”

That commenter is not alone.

For anyone late to the party, Kel is a mer man who befriended Aren when they were both children (though Kel may be a little older). Kel’s band of merfolk are secretive about the exact extent of their territory, but it definitely covers a portion of the sea in the north of Tyrea and several lakes in its interior, which they access via a magical system of caves. It was in the caves near Glass Lake that a young and adventurous Kel met Aren, who was almost old enough to be developing a chip on his shoulder. Kel was never one to pass up a challenge, though, and found the young human interesting enough that he decided to befriend him.

Aren resisted at first, but few people have ever been able to resist Kel’s charms–certainly not a kid with no friends or family willing to show him the kind of affection that Kel tends to.

I mean yeah, Kel’s physically attractive. Like… super hot. But that’s not what makes him appealing. You see, many merfolk have some level of ability to see beneath the surface of people. Not to read their minds as Aren does, but to see into what lies beneath the teeming, confusing, contradictory swirl of thoughts. He may not know what you’re worried about, but he’ll see the depth of your concerns. You may have built up layers of emotional armour, but Kel might see the fear beneath that, and see that it’s an act that you’ve been putting on for so long that you believe it, yourself.

Not all of the merfolk are as perceptive as Kel, and even those who are don’t always care what they see. Some believe that a person’s actions are what matter, not what lies beneath. Maybe they’re right. Seeking out the bright spots in a person’s soul is a dark and sometimes dangerous journey, and not one that even Kel chooses to undertake with many people.

But once in a while, he finds someone he connects with on that deep level, as though they were destined to meet. Sometimes he meets two of them in the same family, though with slightly different outcomes. And when Kel finds that connection, his loyalty goes beyond anything most of us have ever had the pleasure of experiencing.

He might not be the flashy hero, bold and brave, rushing into battle–at least, not when we’ve seen him. But Kel has saved lives.

And he will affect the course of Tyrean history.

Fun Fact: Kel’s name was originally Kai, which means “ocean.” I changed it when I realized how many YA/NA books coming out right now have characters with that name. I think this one suits him a lot better, and I apologize to him for getting it wrong.

Tell me: What character have you fallen in love with for reasons other than a hot body and a cocky smile?


Bound A-Z: C is for Cave Fairies & Creatures

Here comes a post that makes me wish I were a better artist.

Cave fairies were introduced in Bound when Rowan met Jasper. Actually, I’ll just let her describe him for you:

The moth thing buzzed closer, and I saw that it wasn’t an insect at all, but a tiny man with a round belly and long, thin limbs. The wings that fluttered on his back were the color of dust, and a thin layer of fuzz in the same shade covered his body. His disproportionately large, black eyes studied me, and then he grunted and buzzed back to sit on Cassia’s shoulder.

Not exactly Tinkerbell or a dainty little garden fairy.

This is one of my favourite things about world-building: the creatures. It’s fun trying to find a balance between the familiar and the new. And balance is a good thing. It’s not all that exciting to read about species that are just as they’ve always been portrayed, with nothing new added. On the other hand, when every creature is new and novel, I find it’s incredibly difficult as a reader to keep them all straight.

“Was the fanglorious dobblewowser the one that has six legs and two teeth, or the thing that looks like an elf, talks like an elf, and acts like an elf, but TOTALLY ISN’T AN ELF BECAUSE IT GLOWS IN THE DARK AND IS NOT CALLED AN ELF?”

Next week we’ll take a look at the dragons of Serath (the larger land where the bound Trilogy takes place, though dragons exist in other places in that world, as well*), but today I thought we’d look at some of the creatures that may seem familiar in some respects, but hold a few surprises, as well.

CAVE FAIRIES: See above. These guys are frequently grouchy, as they hibernate much of the year. Or they just really like their naps, we’re not entirely sure. They’re reclusive and well-camoflaged, and rarely leave their caves. They’re not attractive creatures, but useful if you can get on their good side. There are other types of fairies around, but these are the only ones we’ve met so far.

HORSES: There are a few types of horses in Serath. The first would be nearly indistinguishable from the horses of our world. These horses have little to no magic in their blood, just as the Darmish people like things. At the other end of the spectrum we have the Tusker, an apparently demonic creature with hoofsteps that shake the earth, an ear-piercing scream, and a thirst for blood. In the middle are the “regular” horses of Tyrea and Belleisle: horses that look much like those in Darmid, but with heavier jaws and teeth designed for consuming meat as much as vegetation. Highly adaptable, intelligent, and hardy, they’re perfect travel companions–if you can earn their trust.

Then we have the flying horses, fine-boned creatures of the sky, blessed with the ability to speak. And there are rumors of unicorns, though few are so lucky as to see one.

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MERFOLK: The merfolk of this world are not half-fish, as they’re generally depicted in our world. They’re warm-blooded, but able to breathe underwater as well as on land. They appear entirely human when in that form, and nearly human from the waist up when in true mer form, if you can get past the greyish skin tone. Their tails are covered in smooth skin and end in thick flukes. Picture them as half dolphin if that helps, though they’d prefer not to be thought of as half-anything. The merfolk are a proud species all their own, and existed in that world long before the arrival of the first humans.

GRYPHONS: Half lion, half eagle, the gryphons of Serath are actually pretty typical of what we’re used to… so far. But then, the characters we’re visiting with don’t have a lot of experience with them. Who knows what secrets they’re hiding?

AEYER: The winged people of the northern mountains in Tyrea. I still have a lot to learn about these guys, who are most decidedly not angelic types. A fact-finding safari may be in order. Wish me luck.

SEA MONSTERS: We’ve only seen one (called “Fangface” by Kel, though I doubt that’s what the natural history books would say), but the seas are full of dangerous, beautiful, and fascinating creatures. Between the fresh-water dragons and the threats below the surface of the sea, life on land can seem tame in comparison.

CENTAURS, ELVES, GOBLINS, TREE FAIRIES, AND OTHERS: The world is so large, and one story so little time to experience all of it. Perhaps some day…

TELL ME: Did I miss anything you were curious about? What creatures do you love to read about, and what twists on traditional favourites have been your favourites in your reading adventures?

 

 

*You didn’t think these stories covered everything, did you? There’s a big, wide, wondrous world out there we’ve yet to explore, friends…


Oh, the Wednesdayness

SO much Wednesday.

I didn’t link my WIPpet Wednesday offering back to the linkie-poo last week, because I knew I wouldn’t have time to visit everyone, and it seemed unfair to link and run. I’m going to make time this week, though, even if it kills me.

Okay, maybe not if it kills me. But even if it kills my productivity. 😉

ROW80

Hey, speaking of productivity… I worked out a tentative schedule for next year, involving the release of two books, participating in two writing events (NaNoWriMo and JuNoWriMo), and drafting a third novel. I even colour-coded this plan so I could see what I’d be working on each month, and I scheduled in “read over edits, cry, regroup” at the end of February, just to be safe. I AM SO ORGANIZED.

It’s doable. It’s insane, but it’s possible. It’s also subject to change. If my TMJ is caused by stress, the next year won’t help, but what the heck. I said I was going to do this. I’m going to do it.

*hyperventilates*

I got nothing done this past weekend. I think December is going to be a month of rest, once I finish this draft of Torn (one scene to go!). There’s just too much else going on. And that’s okay. January is going to be nuts, what with revising and pre-editorial edits for Bound HOLY CRAP WHAT AM I DOING.

*breathes into paper bag*

I may have gone into the wrong business.

WIPpet Wednesday

Moving on…

Remember the character I (sort of) introduced a few weeks back? This week’s snippet is from her again. Nox has just gone for a sunset walk in the woods with a man she hardly knows, against her better judgement. She got a little weirded out when he said he wanted to go swimming…

…and got quite a surprise when he resurfaced and revealed that he’s not human. In his defense, this is not an easy thing to tell a woman you’re growing fond of.

I know it needs work yet, but I kind of love this moment. Nox is usually such a hard-ass.

11 paragraphs for the 11th, and two bonus paragraphs because… um… I like them?

Suddenly I felt shy. “Can I see it?”

Kel grinned, then pulled himself out of the water and onto the rock. He rested his chin on his crossed arms and flicked his tail. “Go ahead.”

He was unlike anything I had ever imagined when people spoke of the mer-folk. There was no clear place where man ended and mer began. My gaze moved over the greyish skin that stretched over sleek shoulder muscles, then along the valley of his spine to that incredible tail. It was longer than his legs had been, ending in a thick, notched fluke that he moved slowly, rippling the surface of the water where it touched.

“Can I-”

“Mm-hmm,” he said, and closed his eyes. I reached out, hesitant, and placed my hand flat against his hip. His skin was as smooth as it looked, as flawless as his face and the rest of his body, except for a scar that curved diagonally around the side half-way down his tail. I traced the scar with my finger, and found it just barely raised over the rest of the skin.

“That was a net,” he said. “I was young and didn’t know any better. I got tangled, and the rope dug in. It only scarred because I was stuck for so long. We’re quite hardy, usually.”

“That must have been frightening,” I whispered, not wanting to disturb the near perfect silence of the forest. I shifted myself toward the end of Kel’s tail and he lifted it out of the water. I ran my hand over the fluke, then back up the centre of the tail toward his back. I could feel the bones there, just under the skin. He shivered, and I pulled my hand away.

“No, don’t stop,” he said. “It’s nice. Odd to have a human touching me when I’m like this, but good.”

I put my hand back where it had been and continued up. Strange how his body became more human as it got closer to the middle. I’d seen pictures of something called a dolfin, and its tail looked like his, but it didn’t have the narrowing at the waist, above what would have been his-

I jerked my hand away. I just touched his butt.

Kel rolled onto his side, propped himself up on one arm and gave me a lazy grin. “Time to get back? You must be getting cold.”

“Um, yes.” I was actually feeling fairly warm, but he didn’t need to know that. “I’ll wait for you to get dressed.”

I sneaked one more look before I left. His front was more impressive than the back. Stomach muscles strong from swimming drew my gaze toward his tail, which was flat and a lighter grey on the underside.

I wonder how–

I cut that thought off before it could start, and walked back into the woods far enough to give him privacy to change and dress. I’d have to be careful with this one.

I know how. I don’t think that’s appropriate to discuss here and now, though. Jeez, think of the children, guys.

So, WIPpet Wednesday. Swing by to see our host, K.L. Schwengel here, and find the other WIPpeteers here, adding their lovely goodies as the day progresses. Check early, and check often. If you want to join in… well, most of you know the rules. I really need a post to link to every week. Post a snippet of your work in progress on your own blog, make sure it relates to today’s date (somehow… heh), and link back. Make sure you like and/or comment on other WIPpeteers’ posts, too! What goes around comes around and all of that. 🙂

In other news: Snow. Yay.

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