Love blooms in the House of Beauty

Young love in the halls of the House of Beauty.
Young love in the halls of the House of Beauty.

The Oisín family arrived at the Belle estate a few hours after Kieran was discharged from the hospital to finish his recovery from his injuries. Despite his complaints, Cory refused to let Kieran attempt to walk in to the house. He loaded his lover into the wheelchair they’d purchased to keep Kieran from straining the still knitting bones in his legs. As Cory pushed Kieran in through the massive double doors of the log mansion, Billy instantly pushed himself through the family to pad alongside the chair. A mob scene waited for Kieran inside the huge entrance hall, with it’s massive timber support columns reaching up to the roof three stories overhead. The members of the Matriarchs’ Council jostled each other, with the exception of Kieran’s grandmother and his great-aunt, Desdemona who stood waiting to the forefront of the chaos. Around the perimeter of the great hall Kieran caught sight of his young cousins both male and female peeking out around columns for a look at the first male to become a hunter-candidate in living memory. Four young boys stepped forward from the sidelines and stopped when they were directly in front of Kieran’s party. In unison the boys bowed to Kieran.

“Welcome home, Hunter-candidate Kieran. We await your recovery to resume our training so we might aide you as your trackers.”

“Greetings my tracker-candidates. I look forward to continuing your training when you reach the appropriate age to begin the full training. Until such time you will resume your regular duties and return to school. When you enter high school, I will retest each of you as a potential tracker-candidate. Go and be boys for a while longer.”

Beside Kieran’s chair Billy sniffed and whined as the oldest of the candidates approached and knelt at Kieran’s feet. The black wolf edged closer to the kneeling boy and sniffed his scent. A huge pink tongue lashed out and licked the boy’s face. The boy taken completely by surprise fell backwards onto his ass and looked up into the glowing amber eyes of the wolf. Billy nudged the young boy trying to get him to pet him, but the boy cowered in fear, until Kieran spoke up.

“It appears that Billy likes you, cousin. You have nothing to fear from my nephew. Now, I feel bad for not remembering your name cousin but you boys have all sprouted in the year I’ve been gone from this house. Tell me your name.”

“I am probationary tracker-candidate Ian Belle – O’Connell, Hunter-candidate Kieran.”

“And how old are you, cousin Ian?”

“I just turned thirteen last week, Sir.”

“Well Ian, you and Billy are the same age. Perhaps you might even convince my nephew to become a boy again instead of remaining a wolf.”

“He’s a shifter?” came the startled cry from one of the Matriarchs. “You brought a shifter into the House of Beauty?”

“Do not question my actions. I may not look the part right now but I am the salvation of this house. I don’t enjoy it but I am the Silver Hunter. I have already passed the test of the Huntress on my father’s family estate and survived. I lead the House of Beauty as Hunter and my word is law in this house.”

Cory’s hand on Kieran’s shoulder stopped his tirade at his great-aunts. His grandmother, still proud in her heritage came forward from the gaggle of women to meet Kieran.

“Forgive me for not getting up to greet you properly, Huntress-emeritus, but my keepers and the doctors don’t want me putting weight on my legs at the moment.” Kieran said extending his hand to his grandmother.

The old woman took his hand and stiffened for a moment before bowing as best as she could given her bad leg. Rising she spoke.

“Forgive me for not being able to give you the proper courtesy due your rank, Hunter Kieran.” There were gasps from the crowd in the hall. “The matriarchs and I are at your service, honored grandson.”

Kieran was glad he was sitting down. Never had he heard such respect in his grandmother’s voice. The woman was sincere in her new found respect. Before he could reply she turned and stood at his side and addressed the gathered family.

“Know this all members of the House of Beauty, this day I acknowledge a new Hunter and leader of the House of Beauty. I present to you my grandson, a Hunter who in his test has slain a dozen shifters and retains his magic. Kieran Samuel Belle, I acknowledge you this day as Hunter and head of the House of Beauty. We are yours to command.”

“Thank you grandmother. The time has come to clean out the forest of the shifter pack and to put an end to the lineage of the Beast. Go about your regular duties and rest tonight. Tomorrow the House of Beauty prepares for war.” Kieran said before turning his chair to face Cory, Billy and Ian. The young boy had his arms wrapped around the wolf’s neck and his face buried in Billy’s fur. Cory stood over them looking proudly at Kieran.

Sensing eyes on him Ian lifted his head from Billy’s fur but kept a tight hold on the wolf as if afraid he would vanish.

“You two seem to have become fast friends, cousin.” Kieran said to the boy.

“He’s wonderful, Sir. We’ve never had animals in the house before. Is he really a shifter?”

Billy gently pulled loose from the young boy and padded over to Kieran and rubbed his collar against Kieran’s hand. Kieran looked down at the wolf and silver eyes met amber ones before the man nodded and unfastened the clasp on the collar. With a howl, Billy the wolf returned to being Billy the boy. Billy the naked boy, whom Kieran quickly wrapped in the blanket, which had been covering the casts on his legs. Billy rose on shaky legs and walked over to Ian, then wrapped the startled boy in a hug. Kieran and Cory glanced at each other with huge grins on their faces as the two boys hugged.

“I think you’re about the same size as cousin Henry. Lets go see if any of his clothes fit you.” Ian said to Billy.

Billy glanced over his shoulder at his uncles, who nodded their approval, before allowing Ian to drag him off to find clothes. For being the same age Ian was smaller than Billy both in height and body mass, Kieran noted. Some time later when dinner for the main family was being called Cory wandered the halls of the cousins’ living quarters looking for Billy so the boy could eat with them. He found Billy and Ian sitting in the strangest position. Billy was on wedged in the narrow hallway with his bare feet pressed to one wall and his shoulders and upper back pressed against the opposite wall. On his legs seated in a lotus position was Ian who was bent over and kissing Billy. Wow, thought Cory these two move fast. Wonder if Billy sensed a potential mate. They look so cute like this. I have to get a picture for Kieran to see.  Cory took out his cell phone and snapped a picture of the two boys before he disturbed them.

“It’s time for dinner, guys. Kieran wants you both at our table tonight.”

Ian looked up with eyes grass green eyes as wide as saucers, Billy merely grinned at his uncle. He’d known Cory was there the entire time and had kept Ian unaware of his approaching uncle. He liked Ian a lot, there was something special between them and he knew that after Uncle Kieran dealt with the evil shifters in the woods, Billy would be asking for his collar back so he could remain in human form.

Character Profile from Tracker – Professor John Mason

John Mason, Professor of Photography U of A at LR
John Mason, Professor of Photography, UALR

Name: John Mason

Age: 35

Sex: Male

Hair: Black

Eyes: Emerald Green

Orientation: Gay

Known Occupation: Professor of Photography at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR)

Hidden Occupation: Emerald Mage

Family: Parents unknown (Presumed Deceased)

Relationship Status: Single – long term partner deceased cause unrevealed. Late partner was a painter and reportedly a Sapphire Mage.

Not much is known at this point about John Mason’s past. He is Kieran Belle’s professor for photography at university. He owns a large Victorian Home in the Historic Quapaw Quarter of Little Rock. He lived there with his partner of many years until the man’s death. Every year since he became a full professor, John has hosted a Thanksgiving Dinner and Art Show/Competition for his fellow professors and their best student. Professor Mason has only ever entered a student twice, the first one a year before his partner died and Kieran Belle in the events shown in Tracker.

Character Profile from Witch – Uncle Brom

Brom Oisín, Kieran's uncle.
Brom Oisín, Kieran’s uncle.

Name: Brom Oisín
Age: 45
Sex: Male
Hair: Black
Eyes: Silver
Orientation: Gay
Known Occupation: Blacksmith and Silversmith
Secret Occupation: Silver mage and weapon maker
Family: Eldest Son of Aodhfin Oisín, The Silver Witch and Líadáin Oisín, a Sapphire Mage

Brom Oisín is a descendant of the lineage of the Silver Witch, and as the eldest child was originally destined to be his father’s heir. In his teens Brom fell in love with a boy, who later turned out to be a dark shifter attempting to gain access to the Oisín compound in order to bring down the magical barrier that protects the family from shifters. One night the boy got Brom drunk and took sexual advantage of him without protection. The Ebony magic in the shifters sperm invaded Brom’s bloodstream and went to war with his own Silver magic. Brom barely survived the blood poisoning, but his magic was damaged eliminating him from the succession to the power of the Silver Witch. Brom can only work his magic when creating items from silver or iron at his forge. He had become a master artisan and his non-magical work is highly sought after by collectors. His magical creations are sought after by Hunters and mages.
When his younger brother Kellan, married into the House of Beauty, he forged a special wedding present for the bride and groom, a set of silver wedding chalices that when used by the couple transformed into a single cup to represent their love and union.
When Kellan’s son Kieran was born a year after the marriage, Brom crafted Kieran’s baby rattle from silver and magic to help sooth the baby boy when he was upset. For ten years the Oisín family had little to no contact with Kellan, his wife and children. When Kellan’s wife died while hunting a dark shifter, the Oisín opened their home to the grandson/nephew they hardly knew. The distraught boy, welcomed the attention of his Uncle Brom, the first male relative to give the boy any affection aside from his father. Brom has stayed in touch with Kieran and often consults the boy of adapting spells for metalworking.

The Prophecy of the Silver Hunter

When the lines of white* do twist and twine, the first-born of the second son shall of two Houses be.

Child of the White* Witch thy path doth wind, like the goddess a threefold way, Tracker, Witch, and Hunter thee.

A lone journey to the city named for a small stone, leads the Child of Beauty to his souls mate.

From the ever shifting line of the Ebony beast shall a never changing pup’s soul bind to your fate.

When bound are two souls that can not part, ‘ware to those who work the dark art.

The hour draws nigh to confront the heir of the dark beast.

One whose shape shifts shall claw the light in order to bring on the dark feast.

Boundaries of magic and of flesh shall shatter and white* will shift its shape.

Hunter in white* thy time has appeared, call forth thy mate and thy guard, this fate thou can not escape.

Thou art bound by whites* slender chains the mages burden to bear.

Bound or free only the rising gold shall reveal your fate by its rising glare.

*In some of the ancient copies of this prophecy the scribe uses silver instead of white.

What’s new in the World of the Silver Hunter

Tracker was sent to professional editor Judy Serrano to hammer out all the rough spots that happen when you’re friends won’t proofread  or beta-read for you but you go ahead and publish anyways. I’ve spent the past week reviewing all of the things Judy found wrong with the technical aspects of my writing and correcting my crazy capitalizations and filling in words that my brain had in the sentence but my fingers weren’t fast enough to type. I’ve expanded some chapters to answer questions Judy had about backstory and where a few of the characters that suddenly appeared out of nowhere really fit in. I all there’s almost 5000 new words in Tracker. I will be releasing the revised second edition of Tracker on April 11, 2015 on Amazon.

I’m over halfway into writing Witch and I realized that I really hated the direction Kieran’s Uncle Brom sent the story spinning. There’s something about a forty year old man acting like a twelve year old that set my teeth on edge as I was rereading what I’d written to date. So far the editing has cost me 500 words from the story and I haven’t even gotten to the main scene where Brom’s actions sent the story spinning away from where I want it to go. I imagine I’ll loose a good 3000 words for a bit but I have a couple of twisted ideas that the boys have been pushing for running around in my head.

Back Cover Blurb for Witch: Legend of the Silver Hunter

Darkness and jealousy stalk the wilds of coastal Maine.

Kieran Belle is bringing his boyfriend, Cory Cooper, home to meet his father’s side of the family, the secretive Oisín Clan. Descended from the most powerful of the ancient Silver mages, the head of the Oisín is known as the Silver Witch.

Plots are not reserved for the bad guys alone. Unknown to Kieran and Cory, Grandpa Oisín the current Silver Witch, and even Kieran’s own father are plotting to use them to fulfill an ancient prophecy, and bring forth the Silver Hunter.

Outside the seeming safety of the Oisín compound, the dark forces lead by the mysterious Ebony mage known only as Master and a dark Alpha shifter plot to destroy the House of Beauty and break the ancient spell binding shifters to one animal form.

Kieran and Cory’s love is threatened from with in as more secrets of both their families come to light and jealousy rears its ugly head.

Will prophecy or jealousy rip these two star-crossed lovers apart, or will their enemies rip them to shreds first? What tales will the Spinners tell about the newest Beauty and his Beast?

A sneak peek at the opening of “Witch: Legend of the Silver Hunter”

Beauty’s Tale

All at once the merchant lost his whole fortune, excepting a small country house at a great distance from town, and told his children with tears in his eyes, they must go there and work for their living… Poor Beauty at first was sadly grieved at the loss of her fortune; “but,” said she to herself, “were I to cry ever so much, that would not make things better, I must try to make myself happy without a fortune.”
When they came to their country house, the merchant and his three sons applied themselves to husbandry and tillage; and Beauty rose at four in the morning, and made haste to have the house clean, and dinner ready for the family. In the beginning, she found it very difficult, for she had not been used to work as a servant, but in less than two months, she grew stronger and healthier than ever. After she had done her work, she read, played on the harpsichord, or else sung whilst she spun.
On the contrary, her two sisters did not know how to spend their time; they got up at ten, and did nothing but saunter about the whole day, lamenting the loss of their fine clothes and acquaintance. “Do but see our youngest sister,” said they, one to the other, “what a poor, stupid, mean-spirited creature she is, to be contented with such an unhappy dismal situation.”
Beauty and the Beast by Jeanne-Marie LePrince de Beaumont, 1757 English translation.”
Those of you who follow me as chronicler of the House of Beauty must continue the tradition of keeping the truth in these records secret from all but the Huntress of the House. In some cases, it will be best if even the Huntress is kept in the dark about some events.
Mother was a bitter woman when she founded our House. I know how the stories portray her as bright and cheerful, know she resented her life and her sisters most of all. She never expected to marry into royalty at best she figured she’d marry a farmer. Shortly after mother convinced father it was in his best interests to marry her, she lost touch with her youngest brother. No trace of my uncle was ever found, all though rumors have been heard of his marriage to the daughter of a count in a distant land.
The first entry from the First Chronicles of the House of Beauty, translated in the nineteenth century from the original French.

Chapter One: Three Months Before Prologue

The brown station wagon pulled into Bangor, Maine after a week and a half on the road from Little Rock, Arkansas. The trip shouldn’t have taken so long, but the young men driving the car had stopped to see the sights and to work a couple of jobs. Pulling into a gas station, the car came to a stop at the pumps. From the driver’s side emerged a tall young man in his early twenties. He was dressed in blue jeans, a black t-shirt, and sneakers his black hair flowing loosely down his back to the top of his firm ass. Out of the passenger, side-stepped a young man in his mid-twenties, his blonde hair, and beard trimmed short, he too was dressed in jeans, t-shirt, and sneakers. The second young man opened the rear passenger door and a huge black dog leapt from the back seat. A silver collar with a wolf’s head clasp hung around the dog’s neck. The two young men glanced at each other across the roof of the station wagon with a knowing nod the dark-haired youth turned to the pump putting gas in the car. His companion signaled the dog, crossed the parking lot to an open grassy area where the dog could take care of his business. Once the dog was done, they returned to the car and the blonde put the dog back in the car before heading to the gas station’s store for supplies and the restroom.

The blond returned and put the supplies into the car as his companion finished pumping gas. His dark-haired companion crossed the lot to the store for his own turn in the restroom when he returned they continued on their way.

As they left the gas station the blonde wondered how much longer, they would be on the road. Almost as if his mind was being read, his companion spoke.

“We’ve still got about an hour’s drive, Wolf. Granddad’s family built the place on a secluded section of the coast so no one would bother them.”

The idea of meeting his lover’s grandparents was a scary thought running around in the blonde’s mind. Fear of the unknown mage family and their opinions about their grandson’s taste in boyfriends made relaxing difficult knowing they were close to their destination.

“I hope we’ll have time to relax and check out the ocean while we’re here. Billy and I have never seen the ocean.”

Kieran wondered what his boyfriend was really thinking. There was a bit of nervous tension in Cory’s voice. His own mind was on the coming tests he’d have to undergo in order to follow the path fate seemed to have set him on.

“I’m sure we’ll find time to play in the ocean. Granddad’s estate has about two miles of private beach. We can camp out on the beach one night and make love under the stars.”

Unless of course, dad’s chasing me around the estate and I’m dodging the spells he’s hurling in my general direction. I can imagine all the fun of trying to make out with my boyfriend while ducking fireballs and other dangerous spells.

“Camping on the beach sounds like fun. Have you ever done it before?”

“Not since I was a kid, Dad and Uncle Brom took about a dozen guys from school and me out camping on the beach one weekend. It didn’t go very well. Turned out a couple of the guys were allergic to shellfish.”

I wonder when dad will start the test. With my luck, it’s already started. I just hope I can keep Cory and Billy safe until I can go on the offensive.

Character Profile – Tracker: Legend of the Silver Hunter, book one: Corwin “Cory” Cooper

Cory Cooper

Character Full Name: Corwin Samuel Cooper

Also Known As: Cory Cooper or Wolf

Age: 25

Sex: Male

Hair: Blonde

Eyes: Amber

Orientation: Gay

Known Profession: Farm hand, College student majoring in Painting and Business

Hidden Profession: None

Family:

Descendant of the Legendary Beast (Mother); Descendant of a minor Sapphire mage line (Father).

Mother: Tamara Cooper (nea. Hollister) a distant descendant of the Legendary Beast.

Father: Jonathan Cooper a Sapphire mage from a minor mage line.

Corwin or Cory to his friends, is a member of the shifter clan of Hollister on his mother’s side and a distant descendant of the Beast from the story of Beauty and the Beast. Cory is unaware of the connection to the Beast in his ancestry. At the time of his birth his father cast a binding spell to block his ability to shift in an attempt to give one of his children a chance at a normal life. Cory recently decided to go to college to study art and business.

Conflict resolution: Cory vs Kieran because Uncle Brom interfered.

So I was sitting down with my trusty pen and notebook last night because my laptop is still defragmenting and trying to figure out what to do about the problem Kieran’s Uncle Brom tossed into the middle of “Witch” the other day. Brom has created a major kink in Kieran and Cory’s relationship, which at first I didn’t think I’d be able to correct. I was taught ages ago that wolves mate for life and deep down inside Cory’s shifter form is a wolf. So, when Brom did what I’ve had Kieran very hesitant to do and bred Cory, he activated the wolf mating bond and linking Cory’s love to him instead of Kieran. Major problem here if Kieran and Cory are suppose to live “Happily Ever After.”

Research time required after a quick prayer to the internet gods, (please tell me there’s a way out of this mess. I really don’t want to toss 2,000+ words) and hurray for modern science pages on the mating rituals of wolves. It turns out that wolves don’t really mate for life. The mating bond can be broken by mating with another wolf. Cool, possible solution to problem of uncle’s interference.

Now I face the dilemma of do I have Kieran break the bond with magic and then let Cory decide where his heart truly lies or do I have Kieran take Cory by force breaking the bond to Brom and refocusing it on Kieran instead? As I was writing last night the guys argued about the situation and it’s lead to the start of a physical fight between the two. Not sure how that will turn out yet. While Kieran is a trained fighter, he’s promised no magic and no weapons other than his body against Cory, who is a brawler due to growing up with five brothers.

So feel free to comment. I’d love to hear from you.

Kethric Wilcox