Today's post has some spoiler details in it for my short story "Dis", so be forewarned if you intend to read it.
First of all, I'm deeply indebted to the people who have featured my story "Dis" on their blogs, on Facebook, and in their tweets. Specifically, David Gaughran, L.G. Smith, Sommer Leigh, Claudie A., Hektor Karl, Steph Montano, SB Stewart-Laing, and Hillary Jacques. Many thanks as well to Lynn O'Dell for the exposure at Red Adept Reviews. Did I miss anyone? And yet more thanks to everyone who expressed their support and those who laid down 99 hard-earned pennies to read "Dis".
Along the way, amid all the tweets and shout-outs and blog features, "Dis" was described as a vampire story. I saw that and stopped for a few seconds, then had my head-slapping V-8 moment. It's the method main character Colbie uses to kill. She isn't drinking blood, but she is sucking the life out of her victim. Even I hadn't realized that, technically, that made her a vampire -- of sorts, at least.
The interesting thing is that her killing style was one of the story aspects I taken more liberty with. If you've read the story or the blurbs I have up for it or the novel I'm working on, you know Colbie is a norn, a deceased female who becomes a spirit of fate (related to but separate from valkyries).
The norns are a bit of a tough subject to tackle, as a lot of the information about them is vague. In some stories they are the writers of fate, recording information on staves. In other tales they are the weavers of fate, similar to the Greek fates. My gut instinct tends toward making them the writers or recorders, simply because of the Norse concepts surrounding fate. Norse fate is not a matter of predestination (like otherworldly beings making decisions for people) but of consequence, the sum of one's own choices. That fits the idea of the writers better, in my opinion. The norns in that scenario record choices and actions and enforce consequences rather than determine one's life path. It's hard to argue this point with absolute conviction, however, as the norns as weavers do appear in the Norse sagas. Some stories even have people blaming their deeds on a compulsion from the norns. Was that the influence of Greek myth? I think it might be, but it's hard to say with any degree of certainty.
So we've got the norns maybe recording and maybe determining fate. Stories have lesser norns appearing at births and confronting people before their deaths. But what skill or weapon or method do the norns use to enforce fate (if not the power of compulsion)? I didn't want to make the norns sword-wielding battle-babes -- there's already enough out there confusing valkyries with warriors. Then I ran into one single solitary discussion of the origin of the term 'norn' that traces it back to a word for drinking or sucking. Right or wrong, I seized upon this idea. My norns suck the life out of their victims with a literal kiss of death.
This choice also makes for some interesting problems for my character. Putting one's mouth on someone else's can be quite an intimate act. Plus, there's the matter of getting that close to someone who doesn't know or trust her. I intentionally didn't give my norns a huge number of other powers to assist them (yep, them; there will be more). A few other abilities will become apparent in future stories and novels. I'll save those as a surprise.
So there you have it. I wrote a vampire story. Vampire norn. I like the ring of that -- but probably won't ever use it in a story. There's a limit to the amount of camp even I can get away with.
On a final note, if you've purchased "Dis", please consider writing a brief review for it on Amazon or Goodreads, etc. And happy Friday.