Wednesday, August 11, 2010
But why shape shifting elves…
Hi and welcome to your Wednesday fix of Shapeshifter Seductions! I am going to deviate from my planned blog because Savanna had a great idea. Where on Earth did I come up with the idea for shape shifting elves? The short answer? Ancient lit.
If you can get past all the conjunctions and run-on sentences, The Mabinogion is a very interesting glimpse into to beliefs of people 1,500+ years ago. The main series of stories, called books of the Mabinogi, tells a story about two groups of people who inhabited the British Isles some time in the very distant past. This was my first brush with shape shifters and heroic tales with less than noble heroes. It's what inspired my “Wild Lords” series.
But why shape shifting elves…
Two summers ago, I picked up my trusty copy of The Mabinogion and reread it. This wasn’t random- a scholar from Ireland found what turned out to be the fifth book of the Mabinogi on a dusty shelf in a library in England. Egg-head that I am, I wanted to brush up on the four books that had previously been known before reading that one. My muse must have been reading over my shoulder, because she asked what would happen if those stories had been true. What if those people, or there descendants, were still alive? If they were still around why didn't we know about them anymore?
Over past couple of years, the plot has been bubbling. Where Math had turned his obnoxious nephews into animals as punishment, my goddess turned heroes into animals to protect obnoxious elf lords from their own follies. Where Arawn had found a companion of unbelievable loyalty and integrity in Pwll, my elf lords found the same in the animal/companions created for them. An so the idea grew until I had a whole world, a whole existence, based not only on the Mabinogion but on tales of all sorts of creatures from ancient Celtic lore.
Lucan Hawk, the hero in “The Hawk’s Bride,” is an elf because the shifter lords are elves. He’s a bird shifter because Lleu Llaw Gaffys from the Mabinogion turned into an eagle after being betrayed by his wife and her lover. He’s a hawk because I thought “Lucan Hawk” made a cool sounding character name. And he’s a mountain elf because it seemed only natural for a hawk shifter to be born in the mountains where he can fly. All of my hawk shifters are mountain elves. Lucan, though, is the only one born to a royal family.
The elfin shifters:
Black elf shifters are usually cats or dragons.
Forest elf shifters are either stags or bores.
Water elf shifters are either dolphins, seals or carp.
Mountain elf shifters are flyers: hawks, eagles, or owls.
* The ability to shift usually runs in families. The ability can happen spontaneously in one individual or disappear from a lineage with no warning.
Shifters from Annwn:
Companions: capable of taking two animal forms, elfin form, and the form of one other sentient species, usually the one they were before they ‘died’ and were reincarnated by the Goddess Badh. They all have a spectral hound form. They usually also have a wolf form, though there are some with other totem animals. Companions are classified as black elves because black elves are the warrior class and companions are all warriors.
Druids of Annwn:
These are the cu of legend; giant, pure white wolfhounds. They usually look human when not in animal form. Certain druid families can also take bird form, usually an owl.
Shifter Lords: any shifter who is strong enough to call the Wild Hunt. They are properly called “Wild Lords of the Hunt.” One does not need to be male to be a hunt lord. There is one hunt lord strong enough to call all shifters, even the other hunt lords. He is Faolchu Ruadh, High Lord of the Hunt and one of the feared Black Lords of Argental.
The Wild Hunt: when a hunt lord needs an army or hunting party to chase down criminals, they can compel lesser shifters to join them. This whole group is known as the hunt. It got the name “Wild Hunt” because you never knew what mix of shifters was going to be compelled to follow a hunt lord. And most of the shifters who need to be compelled are not entirely tame.
The Black Lords of Argental: nobles of the high elfin house of Argental. They are the warlords of elfin society and over-see every aspect of protecting the cosmic balance of power.
So there you have it- where I came up with elfin shape shifters and a brief glossary of the “good guys” in the world of the Wild Lords. The next story of the series is “Equal Partners.” It’ll be a full length novel (about 300 pages). I’ve got it more or less finished, just trying to figure out how to fix a flow problem with it then it’s off to the publisher.
In the mean time, I’m also writing a second, but interconnected, series about the humans the wild lords come in contact with while chasing Lady Donnella and her cronies down. They will all be short stories and I’m doing them as erotica rather than mainstream romance. I have three in that series so far. I will be submitting the first of that series to Siren-BookStrand on Friday, assuming my proof reader gets it back to me by then. That series is going to be called “The Mortal Guardians.” Each individual book is going to be titled after the hero or heroine who is connected to the elves in some way.
With that, I will leave off. Have a great week!
Posted by Rebecca Gillan