Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A to Z Challenge - Day 2

B is for Balkan

The body of a Clydesdale
(image captured via Google search)
Balkan is a strong character within the realm named after the god Pontus, in Going off Dreams. Where we first meet Balkan is on the seashell castled island fortress of his brothers, Euclid. He has the black body of a mighty Clydesdale and the muscular body that would lead nations into battle. Plainly stated, he's a hot-headed brute. Balkan butts heads with Nyx and her crew and while they were able to put him in his place, I feel that this wasn't the last of Balkan, he will return for vengeance. 

Upper torso hotness
(image captured via Google search)
When I imagine Balkan, I see a very muscular male (for the torso portion of the creature) that can be very expressive. He's only in the story shortly, but his desire for his people and their ways is an intricate and woven within him. As a mighty General, he has led those he loves and respects into battle and have lost. This pain haunts him and it's not easy for him to trust newcomers into their safe haven. Meanwhile, in his attempt to keep his species going (after the loss they have encountered) he has sought allies (unbeknownst to his King, his brother) within the darker perspective; that darkness is rooting within, what use to be a proud, good soldier will develop into a darker character.

Excerpt - Going off Dreams

Chapter 12 Bionic Brothers

(Image captured via Google search)
We were all enjoying the feast when Euclid introduced us to his brother, Balkan. He slammed down his drink, looking at us in an irritated manner, before announcing, “I’ve come to deliver a message, to deliver our premonition.” He was looking at each of us, as if he could read us with his blue eyes. Until he stopped upon me; I suddenly had a horrible feeling in my stomach. Nervous, but a little scared, too.
“Nyx, I presume.” His eyes were striking and intense. I nodded, unsure of what exactly he wanted. I knew he had a message for me, though. He continued, “You and your friends must leave this realm past the last sun setting, beyond the sea. You must travel west of here where you may return to your realms.”
Aella was the first to interrupt him, which he was definitely offended about. “Excuse me, but what exactly are we to do? I mean, we were brought here for protection, all this for that old bog. He’s hardly worth my breath,” she asked. She wasn’t happy about this preamble. I think she was getting anxious for a fight, too.
Zhou seemed to agree and interjected, “I say we strike, and strike now. Chernobog won’t see us coming!” He slammed his fist down on the table.
Balkan just glared. “Don’t you realize he might have friends, too?” He grinned, a satisfied smile that was eerie, and sent chills down my spine. I didn’t have a good feeling about this Balkan centaur. I hadn’t even realized I had said something until everyone was just looking at me.
I repeated myself, “Are you friends with him, Balkan?”
His grin slowly turned into a grimace, and he put both of his husky hands on the table before him. Everyone was looking from Balkan to me, me back to Balkan, before he spoke, “I should have known, Aether. Everyone else has high expectations for you, woman … but to me, it just makes you weak!” He was pronouncing his words slowly, and was grumbling in parts … almost snarling.
I suddenly felt just fine and said in a calm manner, “You didn’t answer my question.” I gave him a sweet smile, like smothering with honey; that was a saying in my family: when facing your enemies or opponents, smother them with kindness.


(Image captured via Google search)
Before the troupe is carried out on the backs of the Centaurs, Banshees attack within Tartarus. The Centaurs arrive just in time for the group to jump on and ride them into their realm 'named after Pontos'. The Banshees in Mythology are revered as messengers of the underworld. When writing about the Banshees and doing research, I wrote them to look more like Harpies. When searching on-line for a picture to best represent the Banshees, I liked the one attached; minus the tail, it would be pretty awesome.

"There was a swift wind that picked up; everyone looked at Aella who wasn’t doing anything just admiring her steed. Then we heard the yell; it was women screaming, piercing the ears, and very high pitched. It was getting louder and closer; my head immediately began to hurt, like a migraine. The centaur I was atop jumped through some sort of threshold and a blinding bright light made me close my eyes. I could see my eye lids, pink, and flashes of light made weird designs. Suddenly, it all went black." Going off Dreams