Now usually I give you excerpts or drabbles in this blog but I thought why not expand a bit.  See as a fantasy writer I have been exploring a lot of different takes on the races in my tales.  In general fantasy fiction you have the basic races of human, elf, dwarf and orc.  Now I have written plenty of things in my past that do involve those races of course.  With my Saga of Loralil Greyfox books in fact we have three of those four races all ready showing up in the first duology of books.

In The Traveler I had Elves and Dwarves but I delved into a different type of elf and of course other races.  Classic fantasy has the tall, etheral elves who are masters of whatever craft they decide to be.  They tend to be detracted from the everyday world, thinking in the long term of centuries and in my opinion they quite often are portrayed as racists.  It is in faery tales that we get more of the lessor known elven races and realize that like any species there are more than one type.  So in The Traveler I had a Pooka, an elven race that transforms into a horse.  Commonly they are portrayed as more of a dark race, hunting down beings to drown them but I switched it up.

In the Loralil books my main character is small.  At 4’11” she is tiny but strong and I made sure to add in the other races of Elf to give a richer feel to the world.

But in modern takes on fantsy, namely the subgenre of Paranormal romance there has been a large influx of Angels or angel like races.  They are shown as good, fighting against demons or devils or firblog in one series.  Now while this can be interesting I wanted to delve into the other winged races that a basis in folk lore and legends.

In the first of my Flights in Fantasy novella series, Where Angels No Longer Tread I introduced a race called the Ariels.  They look like angels but they really aren’t.  If there had been a race of winged human like creatures in humanity’s distant past the humans would have of course called them everything from gods to angels, depending on their belief systems.  In Angels I put together a long forgotten race of winged humanoids, Ariels.  Here is how Zephyr started to explain things.

***

I closed my eyes and sighed.   “I said I am not an angel, and I am not.  I am not from that pantheon, not from that world.”  My voice sank down in the sorrow as I remembered the being I once was.  “Before mankind turned to the religions it follows now so faithfully, there were beings who flew, who floated, who lived at one with the air. They lived on laughter and sunshine, on light and love.”

Hunter’s eyes widened as what I said sunk in.  He whispered, almost in awe as I winced.  “You’re an Ariel?”

Shuddering as that word, so softly spoken raked across my soul, I nodded, and then shook my head.  “I WAS an Ariel.  I have not been one for longer than man has lived on this land.”

***

As she believes she is the last of her kind, a cursed being who has been abused and used throughout centuries she is a tragic character.  I let the story evolve and tell bits and pieces of a culture came into being.  That is what we, as storytellers, need to do.  To start a tale and then build it to a richness that hopefully enthralls the reader.

I have other tales in the works right now.  Tales in both fantasy and the science fantasy genres.  Where the first book was a paranormal romance, with all the sex you could want the next stories may or may not have some.

In the tale with the working title, Angels and Music (yes that will change) I have two beings who are fleeing through a destroyed cityscape.  Being chased by demonlike beings they again look like what we think of as angels in the modern world of the 21st century.  They are in fact a form of Valkyrie.  Winged beings who are warriors and more.  Here is a snippet from the opening of the tale.

***

The Music swelled in the darkness chasing behind them like a flock of valkerie intent on sending their souls down to hell.  Nothing made sense in this place.  Each emotion, each motion was accompanied by music straight from a mad Broadway play.  The heavy guitar runs sped up, forcing them to move faster across the broken cement streets, two dark forms flashing of silver and gold.

The glowing red figures behind them were followed by the sounds of tortured strings and voices cursing in ancient Latin, the creatures threw fire and lightening at them.  Both were singed from glancing blows but they knew they were being herded somewhere.  They ducked and dodged  but they just couldn’t shake the hounds following them.

The taller, golden figure paused for a moment, bracing the smaller, silver haloed form.  Eyes darting about, she spotted a lighter section in the unrelenting gloom.  Turning, she guided her burden toward what she hoped was a doorway.  Whether to a room or another realm it would be safer than the haunted streets.

***

The next tale in the works has a working title of Angels from the Sky.  This tale deals with interworld travel and warfare.  Set in a world much like our own but with gate ways that dump sometimes unexpecting visitors into our world.  They are mostly living in the shadows, only know to a few small organizations that try to monitor and protect or arrest those unexpected guests in our reality.  While i have written many a tale with gates in them, usually those gates are between universe, not between worlds.  Here is the opening paragraph for this tale of science fantasy

***

A figure crouched on the rooftop, eyes darting about, watching the crowds below.  It was nearly midnight but on this night it didn’t matter.  The new year would break soon and the people below were partying to fit the occasion. Is they knew just what was wandering the crowds the tone of anticipation would turn to panic in an instant.  Among the cheers and babbling, a single cry caused the shadowy form to spin about and start running.  Just as it reached the edge it leapt and fell.  A sharp snap filled the air as white wings opened and the figure flew away from the crowds, unnoticed

***

A shadowy figure who could be good or bad, they story will tell.  I have introduced into that tale a special police unit that deals with the drop ins and protects them from the gangbangers who also live in the neighborhoods where they have settled.

There are two other tales I have in the works that will be a part of this series.  The first has the working title of Wings and will be the tale of a winged elf.  I started that tale way back when I was in my twenties and I will not force upon you gentle readers the truly awful badness of the file.  It has the bones of an interesting tale waiting to be plucked from the corps of a truly bad bit of early writing.  As authors we should never toss away or delete our old work for there is always a gem waiting to be polished, it just takes time for use to realize the ability to polish it up.

The forth tale is much more polished than Wings but it is really an erotic fantasy tale.  A man without wings but made of magic, wind and rain.  This tale is erotic from the very first bit and will probably only get more so.  While the man does not have wings as of yet, it is still a take on the angel as lover that is so popular.  This man is quicksilver and magic, made out of a wish and desire.  Rain and mist swirled with air to make a man but is that all he is?  No of course not.  For magic and desire are not all that is needed for a good tale.

As I have said exploring new and different takes on the genre tropes is what a good author does.  Writing fantasy we have the privilege of being able to take and build on what has come before.  We are not stuck to the same old same old.  While the other genres explore man’s inhumanity to man, we get to show a much bigger cast of characters while hopefully still keeping to what makes fantasy the oldest of the story telling genres.  We have had tales of magic from the days of living in caves till now.  We introduce beings from outside the human condition and make them believable in todays’ world of science and technology.

While the genre itself is evolving there is of course one truth we must remember.  That our stories are in fact fantasies no matter what genre we write in.  Fiction is of course a lie wrapped up in a bow and made interesting but lies that hold more truth than the real life news we read, hear and see every day.  Many of us wish that the races in fantasy existed.  Who says they don’t?

Over the next few blog posts i hope to go more in depth into the different races we expect to read.  From the popular stories of teen fiction to those much lessor known new faery tales being told, there is a huge field of new tropes being built and we should do our best to bring something different and good to the table.

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