R is for Rhodry

Um, hello. I’m Rhodry Nevalyn. I used to be called Rhodry Mavelyne in a past, interactive writing project called the Keep. Yes, that’s where my creatrix gets the name rhodrymavelyne which she uses on Twitter, tumblr, Archive of Our Own, NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, and this Cauldron. I guess she identifies a lot with that past incarnation of me, his love of books and a sense of being out of step somehow with the world around him.

Not that that me was the first me. There have been other Rhodrys before that. I’m the Rhodry who belongs in the World of Omphalos. Yes, I’m a direct descendant of Nevalyn the Golden Herself. This makes me what many residents of Caerac Keep call serpent spawn. It also makes me heir to some dangerous powers which could awaken the Serpent.

Fortunately, Daeric Nevalyn, Son of the Serpent found me when I was quite young. Yes, he’s the same Daeric Padraig and Magdalene fell in love with in the old songs. I’m not sure if they actually rescued him from his mother. It’s more likely he decided to go. Daeric doesn’t seem like the type whom needs rescuing from anybody. He’s the one usually doing the rescuing. Like he did with me. He found me a place within the Library itself, a traveling palace filled with books that moves between realities. Guarded by gargoyles and wards which prevent any violence within, it’s one of safest places in existence to be.

I’m beginning to wonder if there are any safe places left. I used to go to the Tipsy Hedgehog in Caerac Keep to exchange stories with the various travelers whom stopped by. Only people have started disappearing.

There’s a rumour that vampires are involved. I don’t trust in idle gossip, but Daeric has keeping an eye on me, insisting I stay in his tower.

I’m not sure how safe I was. I began to dream nightly of a vampire visiting me.

No, the dreams weren’t scary. They’ve been ah, quite pleasant. I didn’t think there was any harm in them. After all, they were just dreams.

Only Daeric himself has disappeared without a trace from his tower.

I thought it was his Place of Power. I don’t even like to think of what was capable of stealing him away from it. Unless he was lured away?

Or…my dreams could have something to do with it.

Vampires have to be invited into someone’s home in order to attack them. Were my dreams a way of securing an invitation? Did I unwittingly invite one in by enjoying them?

I don’t know. All I do is that I have to find Daeric before it’s too late.

I’ve joined up with a group of young people with specialized skills. We’ve been asked for Lord William Caerac himself to investigate what’s happening at the Keep.

I’m not entirely sure why he chose us. Skills or not, I’m not sure if we’re right for the job. We’re hardly getting along either.

We’ll have to work together, though. Each of us has lost someone, someone’s who’s disappeared. We’ll have to get to bottom of whatever Trouble at Caerac Keep has taken Daeric and the others.

I just hope we’re a match for it.

Q is for Questioning

Greetings, Questioning here. I suppose you could say my name is my goal, although I prefer to regard it as my calling.

Once I had another name. I called myself Sister Magdalene. I was a Dragon scholar, a teacher for the Order of the Dragon, teaching blance to younglings. I lived a quiet life, playing the part of a celibate female scholar, denying my true self and my past. I tried to disappear from the legends of Padraig and the rescue of the Serpent’s Son, above all from my brush with the Serpent Herself.

Yes, I was that Magdalene. It felt safe to keep my name since many young clerics took it as their own when becoming a Dragon priestess. No, I don’t look my true age, although the russet in my hair has turned to silver and gray. Nevalyn cursed me to live long enough to see the fall of the Order of the Dragon. She promised I myself would have a hand in it.

Once I thought I’d never do such a thing.

I’ve seen the Dragons change over the centuries. They’ve become corrupt, tools in the hands of the Serpent or the Imperatrix. The more militant orders round up and enslave any golden-haired children, accusing them of being serpent spawn.
They’re turned into toys, tools, and weapons for their captor by means of the slave collars placed around their necks.

I had two pupils unfortunate enough to be golden-haired children, Kyra and Stephen. Agents of the Serpent succeeded in taking Stephen from me. They almost took Kyra as well.

I managed to get Kyra back with the help of an old friend. We were forced to go into hiding, but my charge grew to womanhood, the color of her hair hidden.

Only Kyra is wanting to step out of the shadows and reveal herself. She’s found Stephen, living as a prince at the Imperatrix’s side. He appears to be in the grip of the Serpent’s power, drinking in the deaths of any suitor who dares to challenge him in the arena.

Kyra can’t leave him. She blames herself for what happened to him.

In truth, so do I. Not that I like Kyra’s plan of rescue at all. It involves too much peril to her, not to mention trusting some sinister strangers whom are entirely too eager to help her.

I still have a few allies of my own, along with a few favors to call in. Looks like I’ll be doing this in A Suitor’s Challenge. Not that I entirely trust my allies, but this is for Kyra’s sake. Stephen’s as well.

I failed my precious charges once. I won’t fail them again.

P is for Peter

Greetings, my lovelies! Welcome to Cauldron!

Ahem, you don’t happen to have any extra limbs, do you? Good, good. Can’t be too careful. I’ve gotten into a bit of trouble in Be My Valentine…Snack by not being careful enough. The bugger of it all was Duessa Ashelocke was supposed to be a charming afternoon of rebound. I had no idea she wanted to devour me literally. Plus, Christopher was being so adorable, getting all upset. I thought I’d actually made him jealous for a change. He’s always doing that to me, after all. Ah, well, at least I know he cares. Cares enough to risk his life for me, in fact.

Yes, that’s touching, but also worrisome. Perhaps I do mean almost as much to him as Damian does. This means he’ll be pulling fool stunts to save me from my stupid self like he just did.

What’s even more worrisome is I’m thinking of pulling another fool stunt of my own.
I can’t replace Damian. Part of Christopher and ‘Brie was lost when he left.

I need to go and find that part even if it means returning a hated rival to the Navel and being out of a job.

Of course that’s not what I really want. What I wished for most of all was for Christopher to fall into my arms. To regard me with the same passion he regards Damian.

Only it’s not the same passion. It’s never the same passion. I can’t replace Damian anymore than Christopher could replace Paul for me.

Why do I keep being attracted to people who break my heart or try to eat me? I seem to have a type and it’s nothing but trouble. Ladies with extra arms and appetites which will leave nothing of me behind. Heartbroken boys whom are fixated on someone or something else than me.

It’s the one thing Paul and Christopher have in common. They look nothing alike, but they’re both always looking away. Why is that so alluring? What’s so seductive about someone who isn’t all there?

I’m starting to feel like some doddering idiot chasing after a beautiful, unattainable boy in a classical relationship. This is a pointless waste of energy and charm. It’s enough to drive a man mad.

Or open a Door to the Shadow Forest if you think about it.

 

O is for Ourborous

I am the world serpent, whose scales lay beneath the grass at your feet. Gaze up at the mountains and you may see past the illusion which surrounds you. When you bathe in a river or a stream, you’re immersing yourself in my tears. For the Goddess hurled me from her embrace. When I landed, the oceans and lakes formed from my blood while my body became your land. The land where your stories take place, little denizens of A Suitor’s Challenge and Trouble at Caerac Keep.

Some worshippers see me not as a snake, but a dragon. Thus the Order of the Dragon formed to worship me. Yes, the Dragons, the clerical order whom supposedly fought against the Great Serpent, the Golden Serpent Nevalyn. Don’t be beguiled. Nevalyn only told part of the truth when she said she was me. She is but one aspect of my many facets. I have others. They want different things.

You may wonder what I want. This depends upon which aspect of me is active, that you find yourself facing. It depends on what my worshippers desire. I experience goals through me. Sometimes they conflict and I find myself on different sides. For I am many. The creatures of my world; every vampire and human, every kobold and shapeshifter could not exist without me. I am the earth that grounds them, the rock that supports.

My denizens could not exist without me. Nor could I exist without them. Without their faith, their worship, their adversity, what would I be?

This is the Eternal Riddle which I ponder.

 

N is for Nevalyn

I breathe you in, little mortals. I feel your tiny hearts beating, for I am the Great Serpent. Everyone whom dares to walk upon my flesh inevitably falls into my maw.

This wasn’t always so. I believe I was once a mortal woman, an ambitious mortal woman who hungered for more than she could ever have. At times, I recall being that woman, her desires, her need.

Now I hunger for all living things, but especially for those of my blood. They exist to serve me. Yes, they possess great power individually, but their gifts comes from me. They work my will across Ouroboros, making the earth no longer his, but mine.

Go ahead and struggle. Try to rebel, little ones. It will only make your submission in the end all the sweeter.

Be My Valentine…Snack

Welcome to Rainbow Snippets! Normally, it’s every Saturday I post six sentences of LGBTQ+ fiction, but this April, I’ll be doing it on Sundays.

To check out some samples from the other talented authors offering up samples of their LGBTQ+ fiction, go to …

https://www.facebook.com/groups/RainbowSnippets/?ref=group_header

I’ll be continuing right where I left off on Sunday with Christopher facing Duessa’s challenges within her lair in Be My Valentine…Snack.

This is a little longer than six sentences, but not much…

 

“I don’t believe in true love.” I moved away a little, staying close enough if Peter needed to lean on me. “I’m not sure if I ever have.”

“Too bad, because one of you has to give me a demonstration of true love.” Duessa smirked at me and shrugged, allowing all eight of limbs to writhe with my movement.”It doesn’t have to be you, it could be Peter. You must show it if you wish to get out of here.”

 

M is for Melyssa

Tremble, mortals, for I am Mel!

All right, I suppose that isn’t very impressive. Do I have to mention my actual name? Fine. It’s Melyssa. That name feels soiled with disappointment, a disappointment which could reach into my soul and melt me. This is why I’ve dropped the ‘Lyssa, tried to forgot about her and all the expectations associated with her.

Only I can’t. She keeps whispering to me about her own goals which at times make me blush. Enough about her. I’m here to talk about me, not her.

Huh, I’m in a Cauldron? Have my mother finally decided to cook me in a pot? I sometimes wonder if she might not do so. I’m acutely aware that I’m not the daughter she desires.

No? It’s my creatrix who brought me here? Wants me to talk about my goals, does she? How can she expect such a thing when I’m not even comfortable admitting them to myself?

Fine. All right, one thing I want to do is recover my lost memories. I was at the Temple of Seraphix, but much of my time there was lost. I’m not sure how I ended up in Omphalos in A Godling for Your Thoughts? I remember bits and pieces of the temple. I recall being happy there, studying with the other Sisters of Seraphix. Something happened. I’m not sure what. I sometimes think I recognize the former Sisters among the villagers in Omphalos, but I’m not sure. There was a monster at the temple. I’m afraid of monster. Yes, that’s quite amusing, isn’t it, since I may very well be from a family of monsters. I’m not sure if that family is mine. If only I could remember!

I think I had a cousin with rose colored eyes. I sometimes think I catch his scent in the village, but it belongs to a stranger. I see the faces of my former Sisters, but they no longer recall me. The only thing I’ve been able to hang onto is the God Seraphix.

Seraphix is my salvation. She will show me what my true self is, what she’s supposed to be. I just need to put my trust in Her. Only I keep seeing my cousin in my dreams, shaking his head in warning. I see my former master as well, reminding me that promises that seem too good to be true always are.

Perhaps they’re right. Seraphix offers me hope, hope for a future better than my mother offers. Both the mother I live with and the mother whom haunts my nightmares. If I can escape their influence, their plans of shaping me into a form of their design, I’m willing to accept the god’s aid. I’ve just got to muster enough courage to accept Her hand and change.

L is for ‘Lyssa

Why, hello there. I’m Melyssa Ashelocke’s secret desire, the woman she always wanted to be.

Poor Mel. Poor, cowardly Mel. Running away to join the Sisterhood, telling herself she really didn’t want to an arachnocrat or an Ashelocke.

My sweet, little liar. Neither of these things were what bothered you, were they? You just didn’t want to take some terrified boy as bridegroom to feast upon.

No, what you want are the other arachnocratic ladies, don’t you? One lady in particular. I can almost taste her imperious attitude and hunger for power on your tongue.

You once almost let it slip how much you wanted her, didn’t you? Only she’s got her sights set upon Damian, your cousin, doesn’t she? Everyone seems to prefer Damian to you from your mother to Vanessa. Van has no idea how badly she hurt you, precious. You buried your dreams down in the soil of your mother’s garden and left it.

You found the Temple of Seraphix almost as if it was waiting for you. You let Map enthrall you with her teachings. You gave into the companionship of the Sisters of Seraphix.

Friends are nice, aren’t they? They can be downright tasty if you learn to savour them instead of letting them crawl into your heart and betray you. Poor Sister Mel, you were all but destroyed by that halfling master of yours.

Fortunately for you, I was there. I waited in the darkness of your heart, ready to help you, even if all I was at the time was a manifestation of your strength.

I only take on life of my own when Seraphix’s essence fuses with yours. Yes, we’ll have to wait a while for that to happen. We don’t even appear until the third Tale of the Navel/The Shadow Forest novel, A Godling for Your Thoughts? All three books are under revision. Hmm, hopefully that creatrix of ours has a delicious plan for us. I grow tired of waiting.

I want to live. I want to breathe life into your dreams, making everything you wish for a reality. If only you could be brave enough to accept me. To become me.

 

K is for Kyra

Once more, I’m here in the Cauldron. I’m aware of my name. Kyra Nevalyn. Only it’s not just mine. Nevalyn isn’t simply a family name, it belongs to the Serpent. It gives Her power. It could summon Her, awakening the part of Her that’s alive and my mind.

No, it’s my name as well. I must make the name Nevalyn my own as much as Hers.

Especially if I’m to save Stephen.

Long ago, he and I were wards of the Dragon temple. He disappeared after facing down an aspect of the Serpent in Her lair to save me. I thought she swallowed him. For years, I lived with the lonely guilt of having gotten him killed and the fear it might happen to anyone else whom got too close to me.

Stephen didn’t die, though. He’s now Prince Stephen Jasior, adopted brother and heir to the Imperatrix.

I saw him years later in the magical arena, bearing that title. Challenging anyone willing to face him in battle, offering his hand in marriage to the victor. Destroying with his scorching golden flame all of the losers, feasting on their life energies as they burned.

Its Her power he’s wielding. How Stephen learned to channel that, I have no more idea than how he managed to become a prince. Especially since the golden haired are hunted as serpent spawn and enslaved by the Imperatrix and the dragon clergy alike.

I just know I have to free him from Her madness gleaming within his eyes. Even if this means I have to step into the arena as another of Prince Stephen Jasior’s doomed suitors.

Happily I have a wealthy patron even if I cannot trust her. I also have a loyal friend who remembers Stephen who isn’t without connections of her own.

It’s still a challenge, trying to save Stephen. This is why my story (currently a Work in Progress) is called A Suitor’s Challenge. It’s set in the World of Omphalos, centuries before Trouble at Caerac Keep. I wait in anticipation for my creatrix to finish it and release it into your world.

Please let her know if you’re interested in my tale. It may affect its priority. She may mean to self publish both A Suitor’s Challenge and Trouble at Caerac Keep, along with Stealing Myself From Shadows, The Hand and the Eye of the Tower, A Godling for Your Thoughts? and the rest of the Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest novels. It could be she means to connect the World of Omphalos with that vaporous dream realm known as the Shadow Forest. I’ve yet to fathom my creatrix’s mind on some of the plans she has for us. (shakes head)

 

J is for Juno

Dearie me, how nice to be back here in the Cauldron!

Well, I must admit, I was here not too long ago. I’m a semi-regular character in Stealing Myself From Shadows and the other Tales of the Navel/The Shadow Forest, plus I appear in all of the preludes, tee hee!

Yes, I’m sure you’re wondering, dears. Am I actually *the* Juno, loveliest of all Olympians (even if I didn’t actually get the official Golden Apple of approval due to corruption and treachery) and Queen of the Heavens?

Alas, I haven’t been that Juno for quite some time. Cast out of my former home, doomed to wander many a world, only to become the servant of creature whom once would have bowed down before me. Yes, I have fallen from my once lofty position, but I shall rise again. If I could only draw on my former source of power, I might regain it.

I’m not certain if I want to return to my previous state. I was queen, but I was bored, miserable, and jealous. Completely wrapped up in a husband whom was once my twin until we reinvented the universe. I didn’t care much for what we created. Jupitre ended up becoming lord and master over everything, not that he did much of a job, chasing every pretty face which struck his fancy, siring a legion of bastards which could overthrow us.

Is it any surprise one of them did?

No matter. The universe can be reinvented again. Only this time my daughter and I will rule the universe. My husband can serve us on bended knee, if he behaves himself. All we need is a power stronger than his.

I sensed this power in the Navel. It radiates from dear ‘Brie for all she tries to seem ridiculous and harmless. In fact, it feels a little bit like the light which blasted us out of Olympus, casting us out.

Once I would have been resentful, enraged. I would have concocted the most terrible torture for Gabrielle just for reminding me of that light. Now I can only smirk at her attempts to play the fool with her silly shop and ridiculous hats. Just whom does she think she’s fooling?

Indeed, dear ‘Brie may be a teensy bit too powerful for our purposes. Not quite malleable enough.

On the other hand, that exquisite son of hers and her charming assistants present delicious possibilities. Yes, they do, hee, hee!

Fortunately, those possibilities haven’t been at cross purposes with my current mistress’s. Keeping an eye on Damian Ashelocke while finding out as much about Christopher and his relationship with Damian mesh perfectly with my own plans.

As long as the Lady Duessa Ashelocke and I don’t actually work at cross purposes, she shouldn’t catch a whiff of my plans in that arachnocratic web of hers, tee hee! Not that I’m crass enough to plan to outright treachery, oh no! Right now, the Spider, her Avatar and Ladies are much stronger than I am. It’s in my best interest to be a loyal servant than to scheme too much against her. Right now, I need power, delicious power, and Duessa possesses that.

It’s just a matter of building my own power so I can locate my husband again, oh yes. To make sure his own power is contained and caged. I’m building my own strength, bit by bit. My desire to find my husband is fuelling that power, tempered by a rage which has been building since we first took each other. Given time, my desire should open one of these Doors everyone is so keen to find.

My Door should open on a path which leads my husband and his delicious subjugation, oh yes! I want this far too much to the Door to refuse to open for me. All I need is the right key.

Christopher, Gabrielle’s son, may very well be that key. I hardly dare to hope, but hope lead me this far. To Omphalos and my daughter. To the Navel.

Hope and desire were the weapons of a hated rival of mine. It’s delicious irony to use them to regain my power. Perhaps one day I will be their mistress rather than Venus. After all she became a mother and a matriarch which were supposed to my aspects. It’s only right I should take hers.

Everything is going according to my will, just you wait and see!