Faeries. Angels. Gods. Demons.
All of these figure into the mythology of the Faery Chronicles and its sister series, the Soul Forge. This is supposed to be a post about that mythology—and it is. But I have a particular relationship with mythology, so I’m going to come at this topic a little sideways.
Most of the time, an author chooses one kind of supernatural being to inhabit the world of a novel or series. They build—or borrow—the mythology of their world from there, creating elaborate kingdoms, hierarchies, and relationships among supernatural beings, and between the supernatural and the human.
That’s how things began with the first book in the Faery Chronicles, too. Faery Novice started out as a story about what happens when Kevin Landon, our human teenager who wants nothing more than to escape his alcoholic father. He wants a full ride scholarship to a college of his choice. A new life. A normal life. What happens when he discovers he’s anything but? When he realizes he has a magical power that makes him the target of the Faery King?
Unpleasant shenanigans ensue.
Faeries in popular stories in Western culture are often conceived of as tiny, wish-granting beings with wings. These beings bear little resemblance to the real deal.
Yes, I did just call faeries “real.”
Many cultures all over the world have stories about the beings we call faeries. It seems foolish to wave away hundreds (or thousands) of years of tradition as superstition—as if Western peoples don’t have our own stories and myths.
So, who am I talking about when I talk about the fae? While some may be small in stature and may, under certain circumstances, appear to grant wishes, they have their own purposes in these cultural stories. Some like humans, and some don’t. Some are helpful, and some are hostile. Humans have maintained friendly relations with the fae—or appeased them—by observing and following culturally-mandated rules around appropriate behavior and offerings.
Don’t cut down that hawthorn tree. Don’t build your house on top of that ley line or fairy track. Don’t eat blackberries after Samhain. Do offer cream or butter.
In some cultures, the fae are the primordial forces deep within the land. The guardians of forests, lakes, and rivers. The keepers of mountains. The shapers of fate, fertility, and prosperity, among many other things. The fae are not and have never been human. They don’t think like humans or have the same morality, motivations, or goals. We forget this at our peril.
That is who the fae are in Faery Novice. And Kevin Landon, normal human teenager turned instant freak, has no choice but to deal with them as exactly who and what they are.
Faery Prophet, the second Faery Chronicles book, brings demons and gods into the mix. After all, all three types of beings, or stories about them, are found or told in our world. Why shouldn’t they co-exist in the world of the Faery Chronicles, too?
So, demons: Are they individual beings bent on tempting and damning humans, or are they metaphors for the impulses and psychological complexes that cause us fear and shame?
In Faery Prophet, Rude Davies battles both. As the city’s only magical law enforcement, it’s his job. He’s afraid he’s not enough to take on an apocalypse—and he might be right. But people without the kind of power he wields—without any magic at all—battle their own demons every day. Who is he to give up when the odds stack against him?
Rude must contend not just with demons, but with the local god as well. Malek, the serpent from the Garden of Eden, holds the kind of power that changes the course of entire worlds. What do you do when someone like that gives you an order you don’t want to follow? What if, to do what you know in your heart is right, you have to break a promise to a god like him?
Rude must decide whether and how to stand up to power greater than his own. That’s a lot of trouble wrapped inside a tall order.
The question of angels—what they are and what purposes they serve—rises in the sister series to the Faery Chronicles, the Soul Forge books.
In the Soul Forge, angels are keepers of universal natural law. Some are better than others at following the rules. Some are friends to humans, and others are downright dangerous to life and limb, not to mention souls.
Book One of the Soul Forge, Angel Hunts, introduces heroine Night Sanchez. A former magical assassin on the run, Night faces a perfect storm. The Order she ran from tracks her down, magical law enforcement wants her dead, and the Angel of Death just wants her. Every action she takes to protect the people she loves draws her deeper into the machinations of angels looking to thwart or set off the capital-A Apocalypse.
That problem requires serious out-of-the-box thinking to solve, and a willingness to risk everything. As is often said, freedom isn’t free. What kind of price is Night willing to pay for hers? What price would you pay?
Can humans and angels—and faeries and gods and demons—come together to defeat a common enemy, solve life-and-death problems, and come to value each other for the unique gifts each brings to the table?
These are the kinds of questions I’m interested in asking.
There are so many ways to answer, and the characters in the Faery Chronicles and the Soul Forge try over and over again to do that in the novels, and in the many novelettes and short stories set in the same universe.
So, what about the mythology in these books and stories, and my particular relationship with mythology in general? How does all of this tie together?
I see the world as steeped in myth. For me, a shift in vision or a step sideways, a change in light or a heartfelt understanding can bring about a deep feeling of connection with the natural world and with others. Sometimes, I read myths as helpful instructions of what to do—or what not to do. Sometimes, I read them as allegories or metaphors. And, sometimes, I read them as if they are absolutely true.
I believe humans are at our best when we recognize all of our qualities, not just the ones we might feel proud of, but the ones we want to hide. I believe each one of us is enough.
I believe that humans are at our best when we’re in a state of connection with ourselves, each other, the natural world around us, those that have gone before us, and those who will come after. I believe we’re all interconnected, and the sooner we see our own reflection in a stranger’s eyes, the sooner we’ll realize there’s no such thing as a stranger.
We’re all here to help each other. Kindness goes a long way. Hope is everything.
So, faeries, demons, gods, and angels aside, that is the mythology in the Faery Chronicles and the Soul Forge. Except it’s not mythology at all. It’s the characters’ truth. And it’s mine.
Since the age of seven, Leslie Claire Walker has wanted to be Princess Leia—wise and brave and never afraid of a fight, no matter the odds.
Leslie hails from the concrete and steel canyons and lush bayous of southeast Texas—a long way from Alderaan. Now, she lives in the rain-drenched Pacific Northwest with a cast of spectacular characters, including cats, harps, fantastic pieces of art that may or may not be doorways to other realms, and too many fantasy novels to count.
She is the author of the Awakened Magic Saga, a collected series of urban fantasy novels, novellas, and stories filled with magical assassins, fallen angels, faeries, demons, and complex, heroic humans. The primary series in the saga are the Soul Forge, set in Portland, Oregon, and the Faery Chronicles, set in Houston Texas. She has also authored stories for The Uncollected Anthology on a mission to redefine the boundaries of contemporary and urban fantasy.
Leslie takes her inspiration from the dark beauty of the city, the power of myth, strong coffee, whisky, and music ranging from Celtic harp to jazz to heavy metal. Rock on!
Faerie Novice and Faery Prophet are available for a limited time in The Realm of Faerie bundle. Bundle buyers have a chance to donate a portion of the purchase price to the charities Mighty Writers and Girls Write Now.
Enter the Realm of Faerie, a world of beauty, danger, and enchantment. But remember the legends if you want to make it back home again…