Legends of SkornWe begin the celebration of fantasy worlds with a creation myth that sets the foundation for world-building and zeitgeist; recounting the most ancient of the Legends of Skorn from when it was formed in the deep heavens. Aril, the eldest scribe of the ancient city of Saracoma is our guide through the traditional tellings of the beginning of Skorn, from before there were words or anyone to say them. We hear tell of the Mother Goddess Ellanna, and of her daughter Iranor, the Lady of the West Wind, and her troubled children who were set to watch over the lands of Skorn and all who dwelt there.
RedcapFantasy is sometimes not too far removed from reality ~ certainly you can find echoes of folklore and myth in everyday circumstances that resonate with the ‘civilised’ social veneers that suppress the ancient desires and instincts we all carry within us.
Gory tales of Redcaps have long lurked in the folklore of the borders between Scotland and England ~ and always end in violence for the Redcap is a warrior creature, born of, and perpetuated by, violence and death, no matter how far the human race has progressed in learning and mastery of the world about them.
ChronodendronSometimes fantasy is only a mere breath away from our everyday lives. As sentient beings we sometimes forget that we are still creatures of flesh and blood, emotions and sensations, that evoke deep reactions and memories.
Tree-loving Clare O’Beara subtly reminds us of the pleasure of simple things and how they stay with us throughout our lives for us to treasure as our days begin to fade away.
Dreamless RoadsIn this story we examine the human need to create fantasy realms that support our inner well-being. These excursions often spring upon us in times of crisis, sourcing from any kind of dream, or aspiration ~ even if that can take on the form of dreamless roads leading out of nightmares. Based in and springing out of raw realities and twisting, ever-changing dreamed desires, follows a woman's path back to sanity and well-being by pursuing an almost forgotten, half-remembered identity and goals.
The Breakfast RushStill on vaguely familiar territory, this time in the dusty desertlands of the United States, this quirky contemporary tale offers insights on being very careful about how hard you pursue your dreams and how far you can take others for granted.
EclipseThis bittersweet tale deals with shadowy beginnings, darkness, fear and the madness of the many ~ but also of hope and new dawns, inspired by the most vulnerable and innocent of loves.
Dark Magic in the Root CellarLife and death are fair game in fantasy, as is dark and light, good and evil and, of course, heroes and villains. Often a main character embodies all of these states where you never quite decide how the cookie is going to crumble. Hidden depths always intrigue, especially where magic is at the root of things.
The Rogue's OdysseyHeroes with an edge are always fascinating and when the metier is poetic, the romance tends to rise exponentially because, after all, everyone loves a rascal who’s only a heartbeat away from being on the wrong side of the tracks, but who somehow always battles on to win the day, whether that's fleeing from dastardly henchmen, or fighting a terrifying dragon.
Heroes don’t have to be people, or even technically alive. In this tale we travel to a future place far out in the galaxy where old values and fears still hold sway. The ethics of the greater good often come with a price tag, such is the balance by which many people have to weigh their fate. But who says artificial intelligence can’t be a better arbiter of good, old-fashioned principles, - even on a frontier world with dodgy border controls . . .
Onwards and Upwards
Life lessons often feature in fantasy and we see time and again, the value of true friendship between unlikely fellows in strange situations. This simple fable concerns a rhino and a dik-dik (a tiny antelope) and is set in antiquity when tales were always told around fires because there were no books, or pens, or paper to write on. The sort of story that has many facets, not least in knowing how to stay safe and never to take anything for granted.
The Stealing of the Signal Cross
More epic fantasy again, with a nod to tradition and a whisper of archaic technologies. Here we have a beautiful queen seeking alliance with noble barbarians in common cause against invaders. The notion of civilised behaviour skates on very thin ice at times, as does political expediency when disparate cultures must collide to counter a mutual enemy.
Jack Who Had Two Faces
Stories of long ago that still speak to us today are heaven sent to the modern bard. Here’s a tale that has long roots in the past of the British Isles, when giants and woses still roamed the land, and heroes had yet to become legendary champions of the People
Cona the Barbarian
There are legends that are complete fantasy but catch our imaginations so well that they spawn new ones, cut from the same cloth. Or are respun in clever and ironic ways. Here we are treated to a spot of gender vengeance in this next tall tale of mighty warriors righting wrongs.
Folklore and myth have always provided writers with fertile ground on which to build foundations for new stories. Many an Arthurian fantasy sources from the post-medieval iterations of the original legends, while others attempt to place their weavings in a setting where chivalry isn’t a realistic option, but allegiances are still firmly rooted in feudal societies. Fantasy can be gritty and grubby beneath the romance and glamour of knightly tourneys where bitter rivalries and deadly avengers do battle with no sword-holds barred.
The Dead Path
Our final story centres around a fabulous gem, an acquisitive dwarf and his tight-fisted master of a Godsmith that ventures into twisted fusion territory where two apparently disparate mythologies are plundered and shows that really, mystic creatures can transplant quite happily without disturbing their usual niches too much.