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Microcosmsfic Flash Fiction – The Daughters of Nereus

 

This was my entry to last Friday’s microcosmsfic. Hope you enjoy.


299 words
Nymph / Underworld / Myth
Special Challenge: Death

Within the depths of the great ocean lay a vessel of stone and wood and metal. As ancient as time. A primordial husk borne of demise. Upon the splintered furrows etched into the wood, emblazoned in gold aged and weathered, remained a single word that spoke of times past: Nereus.
From the hollows of the great sunken ark, worn trembling fingers wound gleaming gears onto the bosom of coral shaped as one of human descent.
“Ne’er shall ye taste the bitter elixir of death.” The voice rumbled. Creatures of the sea squiggled away from the words. Fearing entrapment. The old fingers slid the final piece into place, a soft caress and an ancient chant of a forgotten tongue sealing the alabaster skin of the slumbering creation.
She gasped to life with a flurry of froth and foam and the quiet tick of clockwork. Spiralling lashes fluttered open to reveal dark orbs reminiscent of Hade’s realm.
“Bring me souls dear one. Forty-nine more. The surface shall know our woe. This domain shall be Sheol to them.”
The young creature of the sea swam from within the dark abyss to the bright cerulean waters above. To the passing ships and echoing shouts of passing sailors. One of which gazed upon the waters to see a creature of immense beauty. Long dark tresses flowing down bare shoulders. Pink pouting lips whispering promises of love and pleasure.

Unperturbed, he dove to the waters and let the creature drag him into the watery depths. Death clawing at his lungs and throat until it seeped into him and faded into darkness.

She brought the sailor to her father Nereus. The ark thrumming with life as yet another coral-created form waited for the sailor’s soul.

“My daughters… no my Nereids. Long shall ye live with me.”


Shout out to Carin Marais who shared the Community Pick win with me. Read her microcosms entry: The Sisters Oath.


I built this story from the mythology of the Nereids:

THE NEREIDES (Nereids) were fifty sea-nymphe daughters of Nereus the old man of the sea.  They were goddesses of the sea’s rich bounty and protectors of sailors and fishermen, coming to the aid of those in distress. Individually they represented various facets of the sea from the salty brine, to the sea foam, sand, rocks, waves and currents, as well as the various skills possessed by seamen.

The Nereides dwelt with their elderly father in a silvery grotto at the bottom of the Aegean Sea. The Nereid Thetis was their unofficial leader and Amphitrite was Poseidon’s queen.

The Nereides were depicted in ancient art as beautiful, young maidens, sometimes running with small dolphins or fish in their hands, or else riding on the backs of dolphins, hippokampoi (hippocamps) and other sea creatures.

The name Nereides means “Daughters of Nereus” but also “the Wet Ones” from nêros the Greek word for “wet”.

~ theoi.com/Pontios/Nereides

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Dominae Mortem – Tengu Mythology

In one of my Patreon posts I spoke about exploring the origin of folklore and mythology for my Dominae Mortem novel. The idea is to look at existing spiritual creatures and monsters, and create my own version of how they came to be. Today we look at the Tengu from Japanese mythology:

Tengu are legendary creatures found in Japanese folk religion.  They are also considered a type of god (kami) or yōkai (supernatural being). Although they take their name from a dog-like Chinese demon (Tiangou), the tengu were originally thought to take the forms of birds of prey, and they are traditionally depicted with both human and avian characteristics.

Tengu are most frequently depicted in the yamabushi’s (yamahoshi’) distinctive costume, which includes a tokin and yuigesa – a pom-pommed sash.

The arc I am working on for Dominae Mortem this Camp NaNo was not planned. I knew the character but not the setting and not what’s supposed to happen. This rolled into a week long research/writing where Google Maps/Images was my best friend.

Creating a realistic location is so much work. Without a plan, I kept writing myself into a couple of impossible situations. And I did what any normal Dark Fantasy author would do… I hurt the protagonist. No one escapes the wrath of dark fantasy. So nothing at all was working according to plan.

However, one thing I knew for certain was that I had to create a Tengu. I had no idea how or who or when. Thankfully, the setting I spent so much time researching told the story I needed. As I pantsed my way through, I created a character who had a specific role and they in-turn decided to alter their destiny.

Here’s an excerpt of the transformation:

*Touma-san. Takeda-san. Naoharu-san. Do not rejoice. Your sacrifice bears many consequences. Until the Shinigami accepts her fate, the curses will remain.

Naoharu the yamahoshi is suddenly thrown into the air. A large brown bird descends from the heavens. A tobi – the Black Kite. Its claws grip Naoharu’s scalp and the bird thrusts its head into the yamahoshi’s open skull. He screeches in fear and pain. Still he lifts into the air, caught in the birds’ claws. The tobi continues to dig its head into Naoharu, pushing through the rotted brain. We watch aghast as its beak pushes out of Naoharu’s nose, stretching the skin until it seems to break. His face begins to simmer in black tendrils, melting the skin as it takes on the shape of the bird. His features transform until he is an amalgamated bird man. The tobi’s body completely sinks into the screaming yamahoshi. The residing maggots skitter out in droves. They dribble down the yamahoshi’s yuigesa as the man crumples forward in the air. We hear the popping crunch of bone. It is like the crack of thunder. Naoharu’s arches his spine as the back of his robes rip. Large black-brown wings sprout from his back. They continue to grow and grow and grow, until they are as tall as the yamahoshi.

This tori-no-otoko, Tengu as we name him, shall be the guardian and prosecutor of the Ōyashiro. The voice rumbles – As for you, Touma-san, the darkness within shall lead you to the Shinigami. Find her. She must accept her destiny.

A single breeze blows through us and Naoharu drops from the air. His enormous wings beat once with a gale of wind and he remains hovering above us. His beady eyes flit about. A bird-like screech claws from his beak as he beats his wings again. He ascends into the heavens and flutters off towards the grand shrine.

*

And off goes Naoharu to become the great myth known as the Tengu. You probably have a lot of questions about the who, what, where etc that lead to this. All shall be revealed in the final novel. Until then, it’s back to the writing. Thanks for dropping by.

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