The past several weeks have been an odd tumult of activity for me. I spent two weeks in Lubbock, Texas, visiting my parents and getting repairs finished on my husband’s car. During that time, I worked feverishly on several short stories. I did massive edits of an old story manuscript to rework it into the “Of Kelpie Lullabies” short story, which I introduced to you last week. I also refined several poems for the Musings book and continued writing the rough draft of the story “Elza and Eliza”.
“Elza and Eliza” is a very special piece to me because its events happen in the same world of Sylvaeleth where my books Skinshifter and Dreamdrifter take place. The tale itself actually occurs prior to the events of the Metamorphosis series books. The story deals with two dryad sisters who must undertake their Initiation Quest to prove their courage and right to womanhood. When war breaks out; however, their simple journey becomes a fight for survival. I have been working on “Elza and Eliza” since early April in between my recent graphic design projects of the West of the Pecos Rodeo’s program and Total Nerd Takeover’s logo (shown above). The story’s rough draft is currently about 10,000 words long and still growing. I expect it to be a proper novelette length of about 15,000 words when I finish it.
Thus far, Musings includes seven stories: “Banner Prophesies”, “Chosen Sacrifice”, “Elza and Eliza”, “Of Kelpie Lullabies”, “Song for Naia”, “Star Child and the Golden Seed”, and “Sumari’s Solitude”. I am still debating whether I should include my recently-published “Raven’s Fall” short story or my in-progress “Zoo Trips” story. Other possible stories include “Seedling”, “Orb Song”, and “Space Junkers”. I also have several poems and visual art pieces that I would like to include in the Musings story collection to add theme continuity to the book. Given the long length of some of these stories and the various themes and topics they cover, I may need to release two story collections instead of one. That, of course, is an editorial decision best left for later. For now, I will do what I do best: keep writing.
As a bonus for today’s blog post, I am dredging up a fun feature of the old Ink Blots and Tea Stains blog: the mythical creature profile. Since I mentioned dryads early, I thought I should present a creature profile specifically about them. Enjoy!
Creature Profile: Dryad
Dryads, also known as hamadryads, are a type of nymph or female nature spirit. Found most often in Greek mythology, these shy spirits usually preside over groves of trees or entire forests. Usually a dryad will stand as guardian over a specific tree (usually an oak tree). She either lives in that tree or close to it. The lives of the dryads are directly connected with those of their specific trees. This means that when the tree dies, its guardian dryad also dies. According to lore, dryads usually looked like beautiful young women. Sometimes these spirits are portrayed as having light green skin and bright red, curly hair. Other times their skin appears more wooden with leaf-like hair.
In my stories:
In my fantasy world of Sylvaeleth, a dryad is a female being descended from the Nymph and the Hippocampus. Dryads look similar to humans, but have green skin, oak leaf shaped ears and red or auburn hair which resembles trailing vines. Dryads are excellent warriors and hunters, but generally prefer vegetarian diets and livelihoods built around crop-growing and art. Dryads hate fire due to its damaging effect on plants and have therefore always had an uneasy relationship with fireforger mages. When dryads seek a lifemate, they usually court and marry elves, but can marry males from other races. Any female offspring of a dryad will be dryads themselves and will leave the family unit at the age of 12 to live and work within a clan of the dryad sisterhood until they themselves marry and produce young. Most dryads will outlive their lifemates and will therefore rejoin the sisterhood soon after their lifemate’s death. Dryads are bonded to a specific tree at the time of their births and stand as fierce protectors of their trees. They have the ability to merge into the trunk of their bonded tree to rest or heal an injury. When dryads journey, they always carry a special fagot of twigs, roots, and leaves from their tree with them. This sacred fagot helps them heal from any injuries during the journey. As long as a Sylvaeleth dryad’s tree lives, she will live. If her tree dies, the dryad will die. Dryad mages are usually sproutsingers. Turned dryads are called hags.
In other stories:
One of the more famous depictions of dryads of modern literature, Ce’Nedra (or X’Nedra), comes from the Belgariad and Malloreon book series by David Eddings. Ce’Nedra is a half-dryad, half-human character beloved by fans of the series for her fierce love and loyalty and her adventurous spirit.
The Belgariad series by David Eddings:
The Mallorean series by David Eddings:
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