Moments in Magical Modernity: VI


Nighttime in the city has a specific Magic all its own. There is not only the typical nightlife of the city but there are also creatures of magic, myth, and memory who thrive under the night’s cloak. Creatures of shadow and star shine, who weave blue moonlight into lifelike sculptures that glow and shimmer. Who paint scenes full of inherent light, fit for dreams. There are creatures who soar on gigantic wings, gathering up the nightmares that would descend on the back of the darkness, gobbling them up whole. Of course, some slip through, but that’s a matter for another time.

As children, we are often taught to fear the night, and while that is still wise, there is so magical_night_by_tsub_chanmuch beauty to be found in it that must not be discounted. There are stars to be wished on, moonshafts to molded, gossamer to be gathered and woven, dreams to be cast and carried. Candle-golden windows in the deep night shimmer with firefly-gilded sand that none can properly see, full of wishes for sweet fantasy and sweeter sleep.

Derva walks the city streets, starry glimmer splashing from her hair, sprinkling from her galaxial skin, and spreading in her wake. Clouds slough off from the moon in shame when she turns a questioning eye towards them. Away they skitter, leaving the blue moonlight in full force. She smiles at a long-distant howl that filters out against the sky in the cold, clear air. It is a howl of years and knowledge and experience. She will commiserate with its owner over a cup of elderberry tea at the Hollow in the small hours before the sun peaks its bright flaxen head over the line where the sky meets the sea.

But, for now, it is night. Night with all her Magic. Night with all her mystery. Night with all her ritual, tradition, and art. For now, it is Night, and Night belongs to her own creatures.0771e0d9a2df787e564c26022bc206c7


Photo credits:

Magical Night –

Starry body paint —


Moments in Magical Modernity: V


Winter can be hard on beings who draw their power from the warmer aspects of Nature but many have developed coping mechanisms akin to those who deal with SAD. Dryads’ homes are often filled with warm light and UV lamps/bulbs to help warm them through the months. The satyr-run brewery has daily specials on warm, sit-in-your-belly meads and ales throughout the entirety of the winter season. And the Hollow keeps its summer-stoke fireplace going constantly; you’ll even see some dryads start to blossom under its enchanted light.

The world needs Winter, Nature its rest, and, with it, Winter brings its own particular brand of Magic. Frostlings and winterbroods make sure the sidewalks stay safe and those who work at the local DOT make sure roads stay passable and clear with a little charm here and a special mixture there  (not salt, though. We did away with that a long time ago. Too corrosive and harmful.) They do not tamper with the Weather itself but rather merely mitigate its results. Ponds freeze solid for skating. There’s an extra diamine shimmer on the morning and moonlit snowfalls, courtesy of local creative frost fairies. Holiday pictures taken out of doors are always perfect if set up/arranged ahead of time. Snowflakes stay frozen in mittened hands long enough for their myriad shapes to be inspected. Sleds whoosh along only to avoid obstacles and thunk safely into snowbanks. Fairies’ wings sparkle with snowdust, that subtle, delicate shimmer that is all but undetectable without the sun filtering through the sky just so on an icy day.


Jessamin, the frost fairy barista, always perks up immensely and helps Kingsley whip up all kinds of wintry treats and special drinks for the Hollow. A favorite is the Winter Apple—a spiced cider that starts warm and then, at some point between tongue and tummy, gives you the most delicious sweetness of a late fall apple just touched through with frosty cold. You can positively see the bright red of the apple glowing beneath its icy dusting.

In the winter, Sophie always comes around more often and stays for longer despite her always-busy schedule, basking in the hominess of the Hollow and its rejuvenating warmth. Humans like her linger longer over their coffees and pastries, slowing down a bit from the frenzy of life. They seem to take in more, feel like they notice and think more. In Winter, the world grows slower, steadier, for human and magical being alike. But Winter is not without its own brand of Magic, if one will simply slow down with it enough to see its beauty.



Moments in Magical Modernity: III


“It’s Waxing Day! We are going to be slammed. Make sure you call an order into the Hollow and coffee up!” Della smiled as she reminded her newly awakened brother.

Shawn ruffled already-messy hair and yawned: his only reply.

“And we are closing at five, receipts and inventory by six. The Running’s at seven!”

“I know!” Shawn growled, “I know the routine. Thorns, you’d think this was my first Cycle.”

His big sister just chuckled and headed downstairs to their shop: Della Luna Furriers.

This was not your typical furriers. They didn’t sell furs; they stored them. Della Luna specifically catered to werewolf furs. During the moon’s cycle, werewolves often shed their pelts like cloaks to avoid any…unpleasantness before the full moon. So they stored them at Della Luna until Waxing Day, the full moon.

On Waxing Day, Della Luna was busier than ever, everyone came to claim their pelts, cleaned and aired, from the vault for the Running. The Running was more than just a gathering of werewolves; it was a celebration of their species and an upholding of their history and culture. Every city’s pack gathered, Turned, ran, hunted, and celebrated together. Children of age had their first Turning in the safe company of their parents and family instead of facing the shock, pain, and elation alone. New mates would often choose Waxing Day to start their family together. Young werewolves often began flirtations in the fur that carried on into the flesh the next day. Older wolves received the respect and support their greying muzzles warranted, as well as first bite of any spoils of the hunt, as was right. The Running was a time of community, family, and friendship, but, sometimes, also of reckoning. Wolves who had issues could choose to fight it out in the fur (though never to the death, that just smacked of old-world barbarity) and the affair would be considered forever settled.

Della threw open the shades, unlocked the doors, and turned on the lights. Della Luna’s was open for Waxing Day business!

She gladly handed over the pelts of the Bondariches, including a glossy black one for their daughter Sienna. Tonight would be her first Turning. Children’s pelts could be separate from them as early as three and kept until their coming of age at thirteen.

The Connors came by. Lovely couple, just married this past Yule. Lilian had a kind of glow about her as she accepted her grey and white pelt, and Della wished them good luck and silver blessings with a knowing smile.

Shawn soon returned with their order from the Hollow. Pearla had thrown in some of her famous breakfast sandwiches as well as scones with saguaro cactus blossom jelly (the blossoms having been picked at the midnight of their single day of bloom) to help them through the undoubtedly busy day.

Della happily accepted her peppermint mocha, skim milk, three sugars, no whipped cream, sipping it with a melting sigh. Thus invigorated, once more unto the breach! The day passed quickly, busily, and soon the sun was threatening along the autumn horizon. The lights of Della Luna’s melded into a warm glow behind the locked door as Della and Shawn quickly and lovingly did their inventory and receipts, setting things up for the return of the pelts on the following day. Quietly, Dell noted the names that had been carefully crossed out in the recording ledger, those wolves who had passed beyond the moon within the past year, as well as smiling softly at the new additions to the ledger.

When the books were balanced and ready-made for tomorrow, Della then headed into the vault, fetching her own brownish red pelt and Shawn’s grey-tipped brown and, together, they shut off the lights, locked up the shop and, arm in arm, headed off to join their family, friends, and neighbors, just as the bright, full Lady Moon raised her domed head above the horizon to greet her Children.


Moments in Magical Modernity: II

He narrowly avoided the frazzled human who barged through the door of The Hollow Bean (affectionately known by regulars as just The Hollow), keeping his chameleon-spiced chai safely out of harm’s way. Bryan Banebridge breathed a sigh of relief as he made his way out the door and into the city streets. He immediately took a deep sip of his chai and its fortifying additive. Being in the city always set his nerves on edge, as it often did for most Earthborn Elementals. His missed his acreage but it was the cost of doing business, and his investors were mostly city-fold sheeple (what he privately called humans, while maintaining that most of his actual sheep were more intelligent) who were wanting to diversify their portfolio with the now-popular “Gaiorganic”. He rolled his eyes nearly into the back of his horned head, a cold, autumn breeze rustling his russet hair as he wrapped the slightly-fraying green scarf with its hand-knitted pattern of fauns cavorting around a lamppost a bit tighter.

Fairy-run coffee shops were his favorite (perhaps only favorite) thing about the city. The baristas always seemed to get him and know just what he needed at any given time. Since fairies were Talented, they were tethered to any particular Element and so seemed to understand…well…everything a bit better than anyone else. Especially Pearla…

Bryan felt the tips of his ears warm and cursed himself for a foolish kid. Crushing on a fairy, not to mention a city barista fairy, is nothing short of soul-stupid. Especially for a country farmer faun.

Making his way downtown, Bryan rode up to some obscenely high floor in some obscenely tall crystal-plated building (crystal being fifty times stronger than glass and cheaper to manufacture with an in-house alchemist in your R&D). Stepping out of the elevator, he was greeted and ushered in by a pale portly man. Short, squat, and fat he was, with a mop of white hair atop rounded his pate. His eyes were beady, his nose pert, and he really did look entire too much like a sheep for “sheeple” not to float through Bryan’s head. This man wouldn’t last a day’s work on Bryan’s “delightful Gaiorganic operation”.

The meeting was long and arduous, the men attempting to haggle, but fauns are nothing if not built of stronger stuff and with the endurance and patience of growing grass. Eventually, stuffy, sweating with the exertion and pining for their dinners, the men gave in. They congratulated Bryan on his business acumen and the latter, his next three years’ investments secure in writing, made his grateful exit. All he wanted was his beat-up pickup truck and the cold country air.

Maybe one last stop at The Hollow before making his way back upstate in the autumnal night…

Moments in Magical Modernity: I

She barreled into the café, nearly knocking over a gnomish couple on their way out. “Sorry! So sorry!” she bawled as she made her way up to the counter.

“Softly and gently, Sophie, lamb,” said the fairy barista behind it, her words punctuated with a flutter of her sun-sparkly wings, her apron dusted with a sparkle of a different kind: glamourized sugar.

“I’m late and I…my presentation!” panted the aforementioned distraught Sophie.

“Gotcha covered, lovely,” Pearla replied before producing a drink just ready-made with a flourish. “White chocolate caramel latte, skim milk, easy on the foam, with a shot of charisma for that extra boost of confidence and pizzazz. Just what the alchemist ordered!”

“Pearla, you’re my treasure!” Grasping the cup in both hands as if for dear life, Sophie took a sip, careful not to tingle her tongue too much as she drank gratefully.

Pearla, on the other hand, just smiles softly. “I know, darling. Now go kick ass,” she encourages, fluttering herself up to lean over the counter to drop a kiss on her best friend’s forehead for good luck before sending the now-charisma-armed Sophie off into the fray.

The Bride in Blue

Author’s Note: This is all my original work and belongs to me, Melissa Snyder. I do not know if I will continue posting updates after this but, again, I would appreciate first impressions/comments/constructive critiques. Thank you!

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They call her blessed, fortunate, prized among women. They touch her with gentle hands, whisper prayers of blessing, and utter yips of approval. She is set above the salt; she is raised high.

She is to be a bride in blue.

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Flash Fiction: The Bride in Blue

They call her blessed, fortunate, prized among women. They touch her with gentle hands, whisper prayers of blessing, and utter yips of approval. She is set above the salt; she is raised high. She is to be a bride in blue.

She is to be a bride in blue.

A bride in blue is special, set apart, set above. She might not be the first wife, the last wife, or even officially a wife. A bride in blue is something completely different. She is not the lady of the family or the head of the household. She could bear children but, often, precautions were taken to prevent the marring of her form. If she does, they will be placed in the nursery and taken to breast and mother by another, that blessed name never reserved for her. She was the height of the social court. When her lord or duke, warden or councillor will give great feasts or celebrations, bedecked and glittering for their distinguished guests, it is his blue bride who will appear at his side, the shining star on his arm. She will reign supreme, the celestial gem seated enthroned in his court for that night. She is the one about whom the minstrels will sing, the poets will write, and to whom men will swear chivalric fealty and their bravery’s blood.

They call her blessed, fortunate, prized among women. They touch her with gentle hands, whisper prayers of blessing, and utter yips of approval as they brush her locks until they gleam, paint her lips an ember red, and drape the sapphire gossamer over her head. Today, she will be a bride. She will be no wife. She will be no mother. Forever, she will be a bride in blue.

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This piece was inspired by my daughter running around, my dancing veil of filmy blue sari chiffon draped over her head. I’d really like feedback on this one. Please, feel free to leave me your thoughts in the comments. ^_^

NaBloPoMo 2014 Day 4: Character Play

Here is a little character play that I did with some vampires, to see if they could capture me into telling their stories. They just might have.

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“Please, Val. Please!” The honeyed female voice skirted the border of whining as a pale young thing leaned her head on the knee of a man engaged in smoking a clove.

“I said no, Seph. You’re not ready,” was his taut reply as he exhaled a wreath of smoke about her silver-streaked head.

The sweetly whine came again. “But I’m hungry.”

A smooth ivory wrist was extended to her silently but, in a childlike tantrum, she pushed it away. “I don’t want to drink from you! I want to go out on my own!” The young woman leapt to her feet, standing over the reposed man, obviously her senior and steward. Her pretty face held a childish rage but suddenly softened as she spoke her thoughts.

“I want to walk through the night, feel the moonlight on my skin, and find some pretty young boy – one that can’t resist me – get him alone and have some fun. I want to feel what you feel, Valarn. I want to feel it warm and smooth in my mouth and sliding down my throat. Will you deny me that? I want to go.” She sank to her knees before him again, her eyes pleading.

Valarn looked down at her for a moment, having just taken a long drag from the clove. The cigarette was balanced perfectly between two long slender fingers, his elbow resting on the high arm of the Victorian sofa. His eyes were still, unemotional, unmoved as he looked at Sephira; then, without a word, he exhaled another plume of smoke, right into that cute little face of hers.


The rage returned to Seph’s eyes and she raised her hand to slap that annoyingly-calm face but Valarn’s left hand gripped her wrist tightly, vise-like. She gave a little yelp and pulled, trying to get away and baring her fangs in anger.

“Let me go, Valarn! You can’t keep me in here forever!” she fumed.

Valarn simply rolled his eyes, strands of his golden hair falling before the sharp grey orbs. “Stop acting like a child, Sephie.”

But she just struggled all the more.

Finally, he did let her go, allowing her to stumble back and fall on her backside, crying angrily, the dark of her mascara making little black trails down her pallid cheeks. Then her eyes lit on a face beyond Valarn’s and he smiled, knowing exactly who was behind him.

“Jacob, you just missed a fabulous show. Seph was just telling me how eager and ready she is to be out and about,” Valarn’s tone was mocking and then grew cold. “Go to your room, Sephie-dear. I’ll deal with you later.”

She didn’t move.


Scrambling to her feet, Sephira stalked off down the corridor, the click of her spike heeled boots echoing off the walls.

“Why do you tease her, Val? I think she’s ready.” Jacob leaned on the back of the sofa.

Valarn put the clove out in his palm, watching it smolder and smoke. He then flicked that slender hand, tossing the ashes into the air. “That’s nice, Jacob But, unfortunately, you’re not her sire.” He stood. “I am. And I decide when she’s ready.” He walked slowly around the couch, his bare feet silent on the marble floor.

Jacob cast a glance back down the corridor where Seph had disappeared. Yes, she was Valarn’s “child” and Jacob must do his best to stay away until Valarn decided that she was “of age”. Until then, she would drink from him and stay indoors at night.

Valarn had many talents that his brood did not know about and so smiled to himself, his back to Jacob. He knew every thought that raced through the young vampire’s mind.

“Tell me, Jacob. I haven’t seen you on the hunt lately. Have you a blood doll that we don’t know about?” Val turned, leaning his hips against the elegant oak sideboard, a glass of white wine in his hand. His thin lips were half turned up in a curious, intruding smile. “Are you avoiding the streets, Jacob, my dear boy?”

Jacob’s eyes flitted away off to the side, dark green circles of truth. He never was a very good liar. He didn’t like to hunt that much and had found a pretty girl who suited his taste. He now kept her in his home, feeding from her when he needed to. Until she died, that’s what he would do.

Valarn tsk’ed. “My, my, my. Whatever would Sephira think if she knew you kept a blood doll? I think she looks up to you as the knightliest of vampires; it would be a shame to dash her fantasies like that.”

“Stop it, Valarn!” Jacob’s voice was far sharper than he had intended it to be.

Valarn turned from his prowl around the sofa that he had begun, staring back at Jacob. Emotion never flickered in his grey eyes, always stony, always calm. He sipped from his crystal flute and leaned a knee on the sofa.

“You see, Jacob? This is why she isn’t ready. Until Seph finds a better role model than you, I shan’t let her out. She is far too impressionable. She needs a stronger mentor. Like, oh say, Victoria.”

Come get the bait, little one.

“Victoria?!” Jacob snapped around at Valarn.


Valarn nodded, sipping from the flute again. “Victoria.”

Jacob’s face looked just a shade paler, almost transparent.

Victoria, or Lathspell as some of them called her, was by far the most vicious of all their “family”. In fact, she had sired Jacob himself and he had come to hate her for her brutality in all aspects of life. Though Valarn was the strongest and, no doubt, the most dangerous of their little cohort, Lathspell was a force in and of herself. She had a pension for bloodlust that left no room for argument. She killed for pleasure, not just because she was hungry. Jacob had watched her torture cats and rats when pickings on the street were slim, or just to amuse herself. She loved to make her victims suffer. She had played around a good deal with Jacob himself before she’d embraced him. Only fear of Valarn’s wrath had kept him from killing her at the first chance presented to him.

Lathspell was the very epitome of sadistic malevolence. She was always thinking of new techniques to torture, pinning humans to hard board cards like so many insect specimens as she contemplated their fate. She had actually created a specimen case once, collecting quite a few different “species of kine” as she called them. It had been “great fun” in her mind and then she’d tossed them to Val’s dogs when she was done with them. “Doggy bags” she called them.

Yes, Jacob hated her and he hated that Val sought Victoria as a role model for little Sephie. But just what could he do about it?

Nothing, that was what.

The Wonder of Story

Have you ever held a new book in your hands, fresh and clean and so ripe with possibilities? You want to start reading, immediately, leap into its pages, but you don’t know where to start, as silly as that may sound. This is one of those books.  For those of you who may not know, I am in love with Mercedes Lackey’s Elemental Masters books. So when her first anthology of fellow-author-written stories based in the world of Edwardian England under the veil of the White Lodge (Elemental Magic) was published, I was ecstatic. I bought a hard copy, as well as an e-copy on my Kindle. I read it to my infant daughter to put her down for  naps and thrilled at it in the quiet of my private time.

And, then, this morning – Christmas morning – I unwrap a gift from my husband to find this particular beauty waiting for me. I was wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and absolutely thrilled. I jumped up, ran to the bookshelf, and picked up the previous anthology to make sure that they were indeed different, and then I did a little happy dance in the living room and told my husband that he is simply amazing (which is very true). But I cannot describe the butterflies in my stomach as sit here with this book next to me. It’s like I want to rip into it but, at the same time, I want it to be the right time. The right time when I can have a substantial amount of time to myself to dive into these stories properly. I just can’t wait!