This was written as a guest blog. I’ll refrain from saying for whom and I received a message back saying they didn’t want to post it and offering to critique it instead. Since I don’t like having my time wasted I’m posting it here. I’d appreciate honest comments about the piece.
I’m Stephen B. Pearl, an author from Ontario Canada who writes mostly Science Fiction, Fantasy and Paranormal. The short form is, if it is a little weird I probably write about it. You can read the first chapters of my books on my website at: www.stephenpearl.com . Please check the rating before you start a story because I write mostly for adults.
At present I’m working on a novel for the Fate of the Norns Ragnarok role playing game. This means I write a book following the rules and settings of the game. It’s like the forgotten realms books are for Dungeons and Dragons. My book is titled Horn of the Kraken and it’s set during the sword age of Ragnarok.
Ragnarok is the Norse, the people the Vikings came from, apocalypse and it had several ages each of which could last years. We know about it from a famous poem where a sear is telling Odin, the king of the gods, about the future. The passage reads
An axe age, a sword age, where shields are cloven.
A wind age, a wolf age, and no one will be spared.
The game, and my book, are set in a world very much like ours was in the 900 CE, but Ragnarok has begun. A group of unlikely heroes must steal the Horn of the Kraken from Hakon, a false pretender to the throne of Norveig, who is using it to force kraken to sink the ships of Jarl, that’s a Norse king, Eric Bloodaxe, in a bid to win the war between them and destroy the Norse way of life towards enslaving all the peoples of Midgard. Midgard is the earth.
In my book I use a creature called a selkie. Selkie are beings of legend drawn from the myths of the people of Scotland, Ireland and the Faroese and Orkney islands. They walk as humans across the land, but at will slip into a seal skin and become seals to play and hunt in the sea.
Most of the legends of the Selkie are variants on the theme of the fairy bride where the fairy wife lives for a span of years with her human husband then because of a circumstance, in the case of the selkie the regaining of her seal skin, returns to life in her other realm. Always in these stories the human partner in the marriage has taken the seal skin and hidden or locked it away. One has to wonder if the spouses that let the selkie keep their skin and enjoy their duel nature never made it into the stories because they never got dumped.
Selkie are always depicted as attractive in their human guise, the men being tall and muscular and the women fit and lovely. What these designations mean has changed over human history but the selkie seemed to have kept up with the fashion.
When codifying selkie for the Fate of the Norns Ragnarok role playing game and Horn of the Kraken I borrowed the game’s framework for the Ulfhednar, wolf warrior. These were warriors who, according to legend, could turn into giant wolves.
I also accommodated the fact that in the myth when the selkie recovers it’s seal skin it vanishes into the sea never to return, although sometimes they come back to check on their children, by putting in a clause regarding level division that I think is unique to the denizens in the Fate of the Norns system. If you are a gamer this will make sense if you aren’t it doesn’t matter anyway.
As the story developed I added an Okra call and worked Okra, killer whales, in as the physical embodiments of the transition to the afterlife. This came about by looking at early human cultures. Often the creature that posed a threat, or prowled the graveyard, was made the guide to the dead. For example, in the Egyptian system Anubis, a jackal headed god, is the guide to the dead and travels of all kinds. In ancient Egypt Jackals prowled around graveyards looking for a quick snack.
The interesting thing about Horn of the Kraken for me was the fact that it takes real history and legend and weaves them together into a fantasy read. Hakon and Eric Blood Axe were real people, they were half brothers who both tried to take the thrown of Norveig, the area we now call Northern Europe. Kraken are mythical giant squid that may actually be real animals living in the deep ocean.
Horn of the Kraken will be available late June early July of 2015; I hope you’ll check it out. Until then keep smiling, it makes them wonder what you’re up to.
Stephen B. Pearl: www.stephenpearl.com
Stephen on Amazon Canada: www.amazon.ca/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_book_1?ie=UTF8&field-author=Stephen+B.+Pearl&search-alias=books-ca
Stephen on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Stephen-B.-Pearl/e/B00FEOLLIC/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1433781729&sr=1-2-ent
Fate of the Norns, Ragnarok: www.fateofthenorns.com/WP/