2/8/2018 Weekly Update

2/7/2018 → Wednesday Skype & Write

This Wednesday was our monthly meeting. We were set to discuss plot points for the next trilogy; however, this devolved into worldbuilding for the next trilogy (as so often happens). That said, the worldbuilding does translate somewhat into plot points, so we sort of did and sort of didn’t talk about the next trilogy. Next week, we will do some discussion of at least the opening points, and then we have scheduled a writing session.

James has published the January blog post, available here or on our Perfect Coven Wattpad.

Sid is 73% through the Cursebreaker’s Dance revisions, and is also hard at work on the February blog post.

Mickie is still wrangling Charlie’s Web into shape, a job made rather more difficult by a certain part of our discussion last night. Oops.

That’s all for now. We may or may not be here next week, due to the holiday. Updates will be posted.

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A FAMILIAR PAGEANT

A FAMILIAR PAGEANT

By  L.M. James

Raymond clapped his hands together gently.  That did nothing to calm down the barely contained chaos of the practice room.  He cleared his throat with an equal lack of results.  He cast a glance at his wife, but she was busy with Gareth and Tucker.  At three years of age, the youngest twins were still too undisciplined to join in with the rest of the family, but Raymond refused to allow any of his children to interrupt the performance of music.

Even if they were only toddlers!

Sadly, he mused, at the moment, the three-year-olds are behaving better than the rest of the family.  He cleared his throat again, a bit more loudly.  Eight-year-old Jasper looked up briefly from his guitar, glancing at his older brothers and sisters; he turned his attention back to the instrument.

Raymond whistled five notes, each pitched higher than the one before it.  At the dying of the fifth note, he sang out the word “QUIET!” Selma, the tiny spider monkey on his shoulder drew back and stared at him reproachfully. With an obscene gesture of biting her thumb, the familiar launched herself into the air, rising upward until she reached the hanging light fixture. All sound in the room instantly ceased as the witchery of a Bard went against its own basic nature, forced to suppress sound. The father smiled at the five children before him. We were insane to have seven, he thought, though a smile tugged at the corners of his mouth as he saw Jasper, the only one of his children to inherit his Bardic Talent, tapping out a rhythm as he tried a working of his own to lift the silence.

Another quick working, one finger gently tapping against another, restored sound to the room. The children, acutely aware of any change in sound – a trait almost mandatory in a family of musicians – looked about and then at their father.

“Thank you,” Raymond Howison said dryly. He pinned each of the five with a gaze that did not allow them to look away. This, he had said many times, had no touch of witchery to it, but was merely the power of a father. “Melissa,” he said, “you volunteered us to play at your Pact Day Pageant.” He stifled the embryonic protests of the older boys with, “And the rest of us agreed to do it.” Silence fell as if brought by witchery. “So, since we have made the commitment to do this concert…we…are…going…to…do…it.” His eyes narrowed. “Is there anyone who has a problem with that?”

“No,” came the reply from four of the children. Only Jasper remained silent, exactly as the father has known he would. Even in a family of musicians, there would be times when someone would not want to perform. So far, that day had yet to come for Jasper; Raymond doubted that it ever would.

Raymond turned to look directly at his eldest daughter – older than her identical twin by a full six minutes – and let all traces of levity and lightness disappear from his voice. “Melissa,” he said firmly, not letting the girl turn her gaze away from him, “we agreed to do this so you wouldn’t be embarrassed, but you should have asked first, and you should have told us about it as soon as it happened instead of not letting us know about it until two weeks before the day.”

The other girl snickered, realized her faux pas immediately and tried to avoid her father’s notice. “You are not clear of blame in this, Melinda,” Raymond said. “You were right there in the room with your sister when she volunteered us for this, and you didn’t say anything to stop her, and you didn’t tell us anything about it. You are just as much in the wrong as she is.” Melinda ducked her head, a fiery blush rising in her cheeks.

Raymond allowed the lightest trace of a smile to come to his face. “But we do appreciate the fact that you want people to hear your family perform,” he said, “so we’re going to make you proud of us and give your pageant the best concert we can.”

Melissa looked up, her long dark blonde hair falling across her shoulders as she did so. “Are you going to do a working in it?” she asked, her eyes almost glowing with eagerness.

“I doubt it,” the father said. “This isn’t really the time for workings. This is a concert.”

“Actually, honey,” said Rebecca, turning away from the younger twins, “this might be the perfect time to do a working of some sort. This is for Pact Day, after all, the day Orthos and witches finally decided to get along with one another. I think doing a working as part of the concert to celebrate it might help the kids realize just how much a part of everyone’s life witchery is.”

“I’m not sure there’s time to craft one.” Raymond looked toward the Christmas tree, amused and impressed that the lights the girls had worked onto the needles still shone. That, he thought, is some seriously good witchery. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to be like when their familiars find them.

“Then revise one you’ve already done. I know for a fact that you did a working about Pact Day when you were in high school; there’s no reason you can’t update that one.”

Raymond smiled wryly and inclined his head toward his wife. “Boys,” he said, “this is why you should never marry a woman smarter than you.” The hoped-for laughter followed his comment. “Now,” he said, “let’s get back to practice.” He nodded at the sheet music before each of the children. “While the five of you play through that,” he glanced at his wife, “I will find my notes on my own Pact Day working and see what we can do for this one. After all, we want to do the fifth grade proud.”

With a unison born of natural talent and long practice, the five children picked up their instruments and began playing. The strains of the classic “Pact of Peace” sounded through the house. Raymond smiled as he left the room. “Jasper,” he said over his shoulder to the eight-year-old Bard, “go ahead and sing while I find what I need. I’ll take over the next one.”

The high, but perfectly pitched, voice of the young boy rang out the first notes of the song. Alone on the stairway, Raymond made no attempt to hide his smile of pride and pleasure. As rare as the Bardic Talent was, even in witch families, the chances of his having sired another Bard had always been slim. And, no, he firmly reminded himself, we did not have another pregnancy after Jasper just so there might be another Bard in the family. He chuckled silently. The girls are stronger witches, anyway, and they’re only ten. Jasper’s voice rang through the house, perfectly clear on the highest note of the song. But that boy is going to be something. He’s already as good as I am.

He pushed open the door to the attic and stepped inside, flipping the switch to turn on the light. The large banker’s box containing his working notes stood where it had been for over a decade, though its smaller companion had joined it only a year earlier. He rifled through the larger box, quickly finding the folder he needed. He sat down on the floor and began to look through his writings. He nodded his head. Yes, he thought, this will be easy enough to modify to include the children. And once he got it into the hands of the fifth grade teacher, it shouldn’t be hard for the students to learn it.

Pleased with the plans rapidly forming in his mind, Raymond left the attic and returned to the family practice room.

#   #   #

Jasper peeked between the curtains to look at the crowd forming in the school auditorium. He turned to look at his parents. “There’s a LOT of people out there!” he said urgently, indicating the room beyond the curtains with an exaggerated wave of his hand.

Raymond chuckled and clasped his son’s arm to pull him away from the curtain. “Don’t worry about the audience, Jasper,” he said. “All you need to worry about is how well you perform.”

Jasper drew himself up to his full height…as much as an eight-year-old could do so…and looked his father directly in the eyes as he said, “A Bard always performs well.” He turned with more solemnity than would fit on his small frame and strode toward his guitar standing by the wall.

Raymond Howison spun to face the wall so his son would not see the tears of laughter rolling down his face. He composed himself and went to join his children. Under his direction, the three boys and twin girls took their places on the stage and readied their instruments. Raymond picked up his own instrument, a guitar similar to the one Jasper held, and placed the strap over his head and onto his shoulder. He looked to the wings of the stage and nodded to the man sitting at a large control panel. Lifting one hand in acknowledgement, the man pressed two buttons on the panel before him.

The curtains opened. The Howison children struck up their instruments immediately, their music a strong but gentle presence in the auditorium. Raymond opened himself to the power the children raised with the music. Focusing through Jasper, the five of them poured the strength of their witchery to their father.

Children in various costumes from many nations during the late seventeenth century walked onto the stage from either side. The children took their rehearsed places on stage, none of them looking directly toward the audience, though many of them could not keep their eyes from drifting to the crowd, no doubt searching for their respective parents.

Raymond began to lightly strum his guitar, singing softly in Chinese. A long, curving structure appeared, the image stretching far beyond what could be within the confines of the elementary school auditorium. Images of majestic mountains covered in trees of brilliant green showed behind the now fully-formed illusion of the Great Wall of China. As the music continued, the entire auditorium filled with the illusion, until the audience shared the feeling of sitting along the raised ramparts and crenellations of the wall.

A fifth grade student, a young blonde man dressed in white suit, tie, shirt, shoes, and beret stepped forward. “A wall exists among our people,” he said, almost yelling as he attempted to project his voice beyond the confines of the stage. “Witches and Orthos have long fought one another, each hating the other for the differences between us. For too long we have turned brother against brother and child against parent. The talent of witchery is in all our blood, for we are all human. Today, we have gathered here to forge the Pact of Accord.”

Another student, a thin black-haired girl in a long silk dress stepped forward. “I am Huy Zhao, a Master of Earth witchery.” She stretched forth her hands and a slab of stone rose from the body of the great wall. “Upon this earthen tablet shall the Pact be inscribed.”

Another student, this one a boy with dark skin and dressed in a pair of leather sandals, pants and flowing tunic of blue linen, and a tight-fitting round cap of the same material. “I am Ewelike Okafor, Master of Fire Witchery.” He pointed one index finger upward and then to the stone tablet held by “Huy Zhao”. Fire streamed from his finger and struck the stone. The finger moved, and words appeared, burned into the stone itself.

Raymond changed the fingering on his guitar, altering the illusion working to represent the various workings done on the original Pact Day. He glanced over at his family, proud of their united playing, providing reliable music for the pageant but not drowning out the actors. He scowled mildly at Jasper; the boy took the hint to stop watching his father’s working and return his full attention to the music. The girls looked about the area, their attention to the music no more than rote. While technically perfect through the specific magic of muscle memory, the twin sisters clearly had their minds focused on other matters.

The man frowned briefly turning away from his children, as he felt a sudden surge in the strength of the witchery. Light flared behind him, illuminating the stage far beyond what it should be. With instincts born from decades working Bardic witchery, he strengthened the scenic illusion instantly, hiding the light behind deeper and more opaque images. With a mental promise to find out who had altered the lighting and reprimand that person thoroughly, he turned his attention back to the pageant, though he kept part of his mind aware of the increased strength and power of his children’s witchery.

“I am Constance Whittaker,” said a young girl costumed in a long black dress with a white apron and white bonnet. “I am an Ortho, but I have married a witch of the Iroquois.” She reached one hand toward a boy dressed in leather pants and jacket decorated with colored wooden beads.

The boy walked forward to take his place on the wall. “I am Orenda. I am a witch of the Shaman Talent. As my wife and I have joined witch and Ortho in marriage, so this pact shall join witch and Ortho in peace.”

Huy Zhao handed Orenda the stone tablet, lines of text now carved into it. “By this Pact of Accord,” the young girl playing Huy read in a voice that projected remarkably well for her age, “we agree for all peoples, witch and Ortho, of all nations, that all laws and customs which drive witch and Ortho apart are hereby dispersed and done away. No longer shall the possession or lack of witchery determine one’s place in our societies nor shall witchery be seen as a force of evil. Likewise, no witch may use his workings on another without the other’s knowledge and consent save in circumstances where lives and safety are endangered.”

She looked up from the tablet and handed it to the boy portraying Orenda. “We declare by this Pact that Ortho shall not persecute witch for a gift of birth that was declared by the Divine, in whatever name it may be known,” he read. He handed to tablet then to his “wife” who read in turn, “We likewise declare that witch shall not assume superiority over Ortho for the lack of a gift of birth. For a witch to work an Ortho in an attempt to gain power or influence over that Ortho shall be tried as the use of any other weapon against an unarmed opponent.”

Huy took the tablet again, though this time, Orenda laid one hand on it as well. The two of them together returned it to its place in the wall, the stone seamlessly joining with the rock mortar of the great landmark. Orenda sounded out a beat over the site with a wooden rattle he drew from his belt. Letters of bright blue light in multiple languages appeared on the stones of the wall. Each of the actors faced the section written in his or her character’s language as they all read in unison, repeating once more the words of the Pact.

“Each time the moon in full on the anniversary of this day,” Orenda said, “these words shall appear on this wall again. In this way, let no one ever forget that for this one moment, for this one cause, all mankind was united. If this small peace can be created here today, perhaps in some tomorrow, our grandchildren shall create a greater one to cover all the world.”

The actors bowed as the audience stood to applaud and the curtains slowly drew closed. Raymond allow the illusion to fade.

The music ended, and Raymond spun to see who had turned on the light that still shone too brightly. Words of reprimand and anger died on Raymond’s lips as he saw the source of the light. A hummingbird sat perched on Melinda’s shoulder, the light of noon-day sun pouring from it, lighting the area.

Raymond turned to look at his other daughter, wondering how she would react to her twin getting her familiar. His eyes widened as he saw Melissa holding a stroking a large orange tabby cat. “Adult familiars,” he whispered. “This is going to be interesting.”

Two more members of the family. He smiled and looked at his own familiar. Already he wondered how these two new additions could be added to musical performances.

Pact Day = January 5, 1697

Sid says:  This is the first time we get to see Jasper’s family as a unit, performing the music that is in all their souls. The relationships that are spelled out here are going to be crazy fun to explore in later books and short stories. Plus, we finally get to see what Pact Day means to witches and orthos alike. All in all, this is a fantastic addition to the Perfect Coven world.

Mickie says:  Lots of information packed into one short story. Pact Day is arguably the most important holiday of our created world, as it celebrates an end to decades of war between Witches and Orthos. It’s nice to see, even in a microcosm, how it came about.  Also, a nice look into the family of one of our anchor characters, which gives us a peek at influences on the man he is now. Fun story, James!

1/4/2018 Weekly Update

1/3/2018 → Wednesday Skype & Write → MONTHLY MEETING

The January monthly meeting was very productive. We had quite a lively discussion which, as always, led to some worldbuilding. We delved into familiars, their origins, and bonding habits with witches. We also discussed a prominent political family of PCEarth, and their occasionally shady practices, which will impact the story later on, so that’s all I’m saying for now.

The other important thing we accomplished involved our plans for the coming year. We laid out a map of where we we want to go this year with Perfect Coven. We discussed goals and deadlines, and pledged each other some non-Skype writing time in order to meet our stated deadlines. 2018 is the year we need to be serious about pitching this series and getting it out for the world to see!

The Limitations of Witchery

Witchery is a powerful force in the world, and witches have always been able to achieve deeds that seem nearly miraculous.  Yet, despite millennia of practice, there are some goals that witchery seems unable to reach.  Perhaps appropriate workings have yet to be designed, or it may be that witchery – like most other human endeavors – has some firmly established limits that cannot be exceeded.

Following are five of the most classic goals that no witch has yet been able to achieve, though classic studies of witchery insist that they should be possible.

Living human flight

Air witches have long sought the secret of flight.  Some witches of a particularly strong Air Talent have been known to levitate or slow their rate of descent in a fall, but flight itself has not been achieved.  No fewer than thousands of witches have crafted workings designed to bestow the power of flight upon themselves or other humans.  The closest to living flight yet developed was the Air witch Pierre Duplaise in the early 1900s who created a working that would allow him or any other person to rise into the air and hover for an indefinite period of time.  Duplaise could move himself about in the air by pushing off objects and drifting in his chosen direction, but if there were no sufficiently large objects for him, he was limited to mere levitation and hovering.

Some witches have even managed to control their fall from great heights.  Not merely controlling the rate of descent, but even allowing themselves to move about in the air.  Though close to flight, their movement continued toward the ground, albeit much more slowly than were they purely at the mercy of gravity.

When asked why witches could not fly under their own power, renowned Air witch Orville Wright (who learned to use machines to do what witchery could not since his own Talent was so minimal as to be almost non-existent) replied, “It might be because people aren’t birds!”

True shapeshifting of humans

Witches have long known that a species of shapeshifting supernaturals exists, or at the very least once existed.  This has caused many witches of various Talents, primarily Earth, Shaman, and Druid, to seek to create workings that would allow humans to change into other creatures.

An innumerable list of workings and even worked objects have been created with the intention of turning human beings into other animals.  None have been truly successful.  Some of given the human in question certain animalistic features:  cat eyes, donkey ears, kangaroo legs, scaly skin, etc.  Bestowing animal abilities onto humans has long been a standard working for many witches, but those have never been more than short-term modifications to a person’s abilities.  Even this, however, is limited to enhancing what humans can do rather than bestowing completely new capabilities.  For example, a person can be given the agility of a cat, but that is only an enhancement of a human’s natural abilities.  A person who is paralyzed, for instance, will still not be able to move, no matter how many “Agility of a Cat” workings might be placed on him.

Immortality

Witches are far, far from the only people who have sought a way to bypass death and live forever; no one group can put an exclusive claim to that particular ambition.  Witches, however, have resources for the work that are not available to Orthos.  Given their connection to healing workings, it is not surprise that Earth witches have been very involved in attempts to achieve immortality.  Less expected is the fact that many Shamans have also put effort into immortality; their rationale is that there are creatures that are effectively immortal, so the potential to become so is inherent in nature.  However, they have not yet found a way to make this potential open up to any except those few creatures for whom it is already a reality.

Witchery is certainly able to increase a lifespan and to heal a broken or diseased body.  But the increase to a lifespan seems to be limited to what has already been known to occur naturally in humans.  Witchery can extend a life past the century mark, but to date no witch has ever managed to live or make another live past roughly one-hundred-twenty years.  Even this degree of life extension has required repetitions of the original working; when the working is not done on a regular schedule, the passage of time seems to catch up with the person in question a very short order.

Creation of life

Folklore, religion, and literature are filled with persons who create living beings either from pure nothingness or by bestowing life upon previously lifeless matter.  In the world of the Perfect Coven, this endeavor has been attempted by witches, as well.  As might be expected given their affinity for material results and healing, Earth witches have been among the involved in attempts to create life.  Equally engaged in pursuing this creation have been a number of Augers.  This Talent with its ease of ability to deal with spirits has long given a drive to bring those spirits into a more purely physical existence.

Many Earth witches have physically crafted a variety of objects, duplicates or imitations of living beings, and sought to bring these things to life with their witchery.  While the Earth Talent gift for healing is able to mend and repair a living body, it has always fallen short in the attempts to create one.  The bodies crafted by these witches have gained a measure of animation, able to move and act, but no Earth witch has yet succeeded in doing more than creating a moving object.  There has been no actual life, awareness, nor volition in these creations.

Augers have taken a similar, but slightly altered approach to the goal.  They begin with the same creating of a form, but then call a spirit to inhabit it, rather than attempting to animate it with their own witchery.  This has resulted in some amazing imitations of life, but the “creatures” brought forth have had no biological functions, the bodies do not develop nor do any of the normal things that living bodies do.  These, too, are nothing but witchery-created automatons.

Some scholars have theorized that if an Earth witch were to craft a body and an Auger were then to summon a spirit to inhabit it, the resulting combination might be closer to alive than any other witchery has yet achieved.  The difficulty in this has always been the odd quirk in the Auger Talent that makes an Auger working with any other witch so challenging for any save the most skilled witches.

Create lasting emotion

This goal has been the ambition of many Psi-witches and more than a few Bards.  Both Talents are well-suited to working the emotions of humans.  The creation of a new emotional state in human beings is second nature to Psi-witches.  With the power of music as their primary tool, Bards are almost as skilled in evoking emotions.  Both of these working can create very strong, but temporary emotions.  While in effect, the emotions created by witchery are very real, and the person experiencing them responds as if the feelings were his own, created through normal means.

Love spells exist in plentitude in legend and literature, but true witchery has never been able to make one person truly love another.  Creating infatuation is simple for Psi-witches and Bards (a simple working for one, and an empowered love song for the other), but any witch can do a working to raise amorous feelings in a human being.  This “love” is powerful, all-consuming, and intense.  It is also temporary.

The same applies to any emotions created through witchery.  Fear is an easy emotion to create, but it fades and loses its power over the subject.

Real emotions have not just a cause, but they grow, evolve, and adapt.  Falling in love is one event, but living in love with someone requires adapting to new experiences with that person, learning more about him/her, and sharing time together.  Emotions created by witchery of any form are incapable of this growth, and will thus fade away in time when they prove unable to adapt.

Given that witches are human, for all of their extraordinary abilities, it is a given that attempts to bypass the limitations of witchery will continue.  No human endeavor is likely to ever be allowed to rest on only what has already been done.

Perhaps there are some hard and fast limits to what witchery can achieve, perhaps not.  Most serious students of witchery believe that Orville Wright his upon a serious truth in his sarcastic response, and that witchery can never change the true nature of anything, only make slight and temporary alterations.

Others disagree.

No matter what the truth may be, witches will continue their workings, and someone may someday find a way to live forever or to soar through the air under his own power.

Mickie says:    I love this.  It gives a nice dose of reality that even magic can’t do everything.  It also provides us story tellers with some limitations to follow in the future.  There will be no immortal wizards coming forward to answer all our questions.  It also shows the balance in our shared world between magic and technology.  And when one falters, the other steps forward.

Sid says:  Humans, Witch or Ortho, will always attempt to reach past their actual grasp. In this, as in many other endeavors, people will always ask “could we”, but rarely (if ever) ask “should we”.  It has been speculated that perhaps limiting that grasp is one of the functions of a familiar – steering a witch away from what they should not attempt. However, witches will never know the truth of this, as familiars do not give away their secrets.

Looking at this from another perspective – as one of the writers involved in this series – having defined limitations on witchery makes for a more complex, interesting world. If all problems were easily solved with a bit of witchery, what reason would we have to write? James has given us some of the big limitations; it’s up to us (and our characters) to determine their individual limitations within these parameters, and others we will discover as we work in and continue to build PCEarth.

 

9/6/2017 → Wednesday Skype & Write – MONTHLY MEETING

Last night was our September monthly meeting. Much was discussed, updates were given, and even a bit more worldbuilding was accomplished! So – quite a productive evening.

Worldbuilding…um, I would love to go into deep detail here, but that would spoil future books! Suffice to say that we discussed how witchery is taught in schools (basic curriculum, basic workings and techniques, especially in elementary and high school) and how other skills are learned, especially things like oh, cursebreaking, which isn’t a witchery talent but a learned skill set.We also talked rather more about talents vs. learned skills and how certain witches/deva/orthos would select their paths of study.

Limitations on witchery were also discussed. Obviously, we don’t want superpowered witches that can do anything and everything with their magic, because that would make for really boring stories. Discussing how witchery can and should be limited took us into a discussion of physics, which means James unpacked his physics learnings to help us decide how certain natural laws applied and/or could be bent to accommodate witchery. And people say you never use your degree once you graduate! Between James and our other scientific expert, we are working very seriously to ground our magic in actual scientific principles, and yes, that’s exactly as difficult as it sounds.

There was also some talk of the Deva, and that’s all  I’m saying because spoilers!

In update news: James got Cursebreaker’s Dance back to Sid. She’s beginning the next (hopefully final) revision/draft!

Sid has also nearly completed the framework for the Shaman, Water, Bard Trilogy synopsis. Once that’s done, she’ll pass it off to Mickie and James to put some flesh on the bones.

Now that James has finished his edit pass on Cursebreaker’s Dance, he’s sketching out scenes and making outline notes for his next book in the series, Cat’s Cradle. This will be Perfect Coven Book 6 a/k/a Book 3 of the Ortho, Siren, Were Trilogy.

Mickie is still hard at work on wrapping up Charlie’s Web. Then there will be revisions, then synopses, and then…pitching. Very scary. We’re getting so close.

Supernaturals 4: Elemental Supernaturals — Water

~Elemental Supernaturals continued

As discussed previously, the Deva are the supernaturals with the closest ties to witches and orthos, and are an accepted part of society, though often secretive about their status. Deva have their own cultures and religions, though they appear to have evolved somewhat in tandem with humans, so there are similarities and overlaps, especially in terms of witchery. There is a theory of dual evolution from a common ancestral core which cites as evidence the ability of the Deva to interbreed with witches and orthos to produce viable children.

Deva are often tied to the physical manifestations of their element, i.e., Dryads to forests, Naiads and Nereids to water, and all Deva can feel their Element wherever they are.  Of all the Deva, naiads and nereids are probably the closest related to each other.

Water Deva – Naiads and Nereids

Naiads are the basis for the freshwater nymphs of Greek myth. Naiads live in clans, which are matriarchal, ruled by Elders, all women, all witches. Most often, the office of clan elder is hereditary, passed from mother to daughter. Each Elder has her own advisors from within her extended family group. Advisors are both witch and ortho-Naiad, male and female, and are selected by family ballot. The advisors attend council meetings with their Elder and are considered an adjunct to the council itself.

Clans consist of several enclaves and take part of their names from the bodies of water they inhabit. All Naiads inhabiting a body of water belong to the same clan, but not to the same enclave or even the same family.

Naiads don’t have family names, per se; they use a matronymic system, meaning that a child will take their mother’s name as their last name. Therefore, they also differentiate themselves by naming both their clan and enclave; i.e., Jarvi’s full name is Jarvi Vada of the Saginaw Bay Huron Clan. For simplicity, most Naiads prefer to use their clanwater as their surname when mingling in human society.  

As clans can be extensive, Naiads prefer larger lakes or a large series of lakes, inland seas, and the great rivers as habitats, though some enclaves will live by smaller lakes. These enclaves are almost always allied with or a cadet branch of a larger clan. They don’t live entirely in the water. Their homes are constructed so as to be partially submerged, partially above the waterline.

Naiad passive metaskills include the ability an ability to tell another Naiad’s homewater, enhanced stamina, and a greater ability to endure water pressure and temperatures. Naiad active metas include the physical manipulation of their element, including changing the molecular makeup of the water once inhaled to allow them to breathe it for a period of time; the time varies according to the naiad’s innate abilities, of course. Some naiads can even tell what water a Water witch prefers, though this ability is stronger in the males. Naiad witches tend to lose the ability to manipulate water on the molecular level (i.e., they can’t break down water in order to extract oxygen to breathe underwater) for their witchery.

Naiads are physically very human-looking. They are disposed to be broad in the chest to accommodate their expanded lung capacity, which allows them to hold their breath for extended underwater stays. There may be a blue or green sheen to the hair and perhaps the nails, but they are the second most human-looking of the Deva, the Ailur being first.  Naiads, like all the Deva, can interbreed with humans, both witch and ortho, and produce viable children with either witch or naiad characteristics. Unlike the mythology, there are male naiads. They don’t appear in the mythology because the clans are matriarchal, and  the naiads most often encountered were the Elders in power and their advisors, thus giving rise to the myth that male Naiads do not exist.

Naiads do travel from their clanwater for various reasons, including going to college, diplomacy, or just for adventure. If the naiad opts to stay somewhere for a period of time (attending college, for example) they will form a temporary Bind, much as Dryads do. The process is much the same; the naiad will bring a worked bottle of homewater to mix into a small body of water that is easily accessible. A standing body of water is preferred, such as a small pond, as then the bind won’t need to be renewed as often. Again, the naiad will also need to periodically return to their homewater to renew themselves and to retrieve fresh water for the Bind. The length of time between home visits are determined by the naiad’s individual abilities and strengths, and, of course, whether or not the naiad is a witch. A witch will not need to bind as deeply – they can often make do with “water feature”, for example, small desk fountain or an aquarium, where they can combine a portion of their homewater with water from a source native to their location. A naiad – witch or ortho – whose bind fails will suffer a Withering, much as a Dryad will.

This has become rather lengthy, so Nereids will be discussed in a later post. However, as an FYI, note that nereids are the ocean-dwelling water Deva. While some may look similar to naiads, and share an Element, they are not the same species.

~to be continued~

James says:  Our world – PCEarth – is getting crowded.  We are starting to see not just witches (which already have us fascinated with the new things we keep “discovering” about them) but the many supernatural peoples that also populate the world.  We’ve already looked at some historical figures who were witches in PCE, and we could very well see some historical supernatural figures in the not-too-distant future.  (You can take that as a hint of an upcoming blog post if you want….if you want to be right, that is.)

Mickie says:  Nice job Sid!  Now we have to write about some of these supernaturals. Or are we already doing that?   One of the most fun things about this series is incorporating real history and mythology into the world we’ve created.  We’ve really put a lot of thought and work into the details…as you can see.

ALCHEMY – A WITCHERY SCIENCE

In medieval Europe and Asia, in the world we know, many scholars and learned men pursued the art of alchemy.  This forerunner of chemistry has been discredited on this Earth, but on PCEarth, that is far from the case.

While all witches are able to use physical items as a focus for their workings, those with the Earth Talent are most likely to do so.  The solid nature of their element makes working with tangible objects a reasonable and easy channel for their witchery.

Before the Pact and its spread to most of the world, many witches felt the need to hide their workings from their Ortho neighbors; this required secrecy that was not easy in most cases and not possible in others.  Earth witches took to working plants and creating potions with their workings embedded within the liquid.  A plant known to cleanse the body would be worked by an Earth witch and become a potion that purified wounds and enhanced healing.  The witchery would be used to bring out the inner properties of the plant and to enhance them, then the worked plant would be changed into a form that would make it useable by anyone, witch or Ortho.

This spread to include all manner of materials.

Before long, Earth witches had developed the science of alchemy.  Careful studies of natural objects and the inherent properties of each became treatises of how to use each in a plethora of potions, powders, unguents, and material transformations.  Each of the elements of earth, air, fire, and water was represented in the alchemical art, and witches of each Talent began to practice it.  However, alchemy remained the especial province of Earth witches, as their Talent has the greatest strength in drawing power from and granting power to materials found in and grown from the earth itself.  Other Talents, dealing as they do with elements that are less solid than Earth, are not as adept at this sort of working.

For a time, alchemy was the science for medical treatments and the improvement of people and things through witchery.  As other sciences grew, however, and became more widely known, alchemy fell out of favor.  While a witch skilled in the art of alchemy could produce a potion to counteract a poison, so could any pharmacist or physician – Ortho or witch – who had learned the medical sciences.

Alchemy could only be practiced by a select few, and the number of those few doing so began to dwindle rapidly.  Before many generations had passed, alchemy was nothing more than a brief aberration in the practice of witchery, no longer a subject of anyone’s concern.

Now, in the 21st century, that is changing.  A new generation of Earth witches is finding promise and potential in alchemy again.  A new witchery practice is being developed.  This new practice is known as Thaumaceuticals; it is a new attempt to embed witchery workings into medicines, allowing healing witches to expand their work beyond the few people they can personal attend.

The inspirations for this field of study come almost purely from ancient alchemical practices.  Other than updated materials and equipment, most of the workings done in thaumaceutical work is identical that what was done by alchemists.

Will this new form of alchemy become a viable and respected part of witchery or will it fade away as it did once before?

 

 

Sid says:   The world of the Perfect Coven grows yet again! I have to confess that alchemy has always fascinated me, from the accounts of John Dee to the mysterious St. Germain to its inclusion in the Harry Potter books. James has dropped a few hints about what’s to come next, and now to know that there will be an alchemy element makes me even more eager to get the first trilogy wrapped and move on to the next books!

 

 

Mickie says:   One of the most fun things about writing is that you can invent stuff and then make it work in your world.  Thaumaceuticals – such a nifty concept.  I love the connection to alchemy.  I enjoy the esoteric mystery of it all.  And again, it gives us another opportunity to incorporate real world history into our story world, as there are some very famous (Isaac Newton) and infamous (Faust) Alchemists whose secrets may have major impact in our timeline!