Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Welcome Guest Author Allison Pang & Win A Brush of Darkness!
I can't recommend this book enough if you are looking for a new Urban Fantasy world to get lost in. Now, check out Allison's post and comment with an answer to Allison's question below or a ask Allison a question to enter to win a copy of A Brush of Darkness!
Mystic groves, haunted houses, magic wells – even in the real world there are places of sacredness that cause people to pause and wonder. (Or give them that lovely prickle down their spine.) For whatever reason , these locations pick up a reputation for having some sort of power or otherworldly presence. In A Brush of Darkness, this concept becomes the basis of something called a KeyStone.
As part of the overall world building, many of these beings (Fae, angels, etc.) like to come and go between their worlds and ours. However, I wanted to limit this a bit, so for the sake of keeping these beings under control, I set it up so that they can only cross over at the four hours – midnight, noon, twilight and dawn – unless they have a TouchStone…or access to a KeyStone.
TouchStones are mortals who enter a Contract with one of these beings, and part of that bargain allows the OtherFolk to travel whenever/wherever they want. If the OtherFolk doesn’t have one, they are usually limited to hanging out at one of these mystical places known as KeyStones. The Hallows, for example, is an OtherFolk bar that’s actually built on top of a more ancient place, but the power still holds true and the OtherFolk take advantage of that.
In some cases, humans can be living KeyStones – with the rare power of being able to TouchStone any OtherFolk person they come in contact with…without the need for a written Contract. I’d been thinking on the idea that so many talented people tend to die so young (i.e. Mozart, for example). In much of Faery lore, the Fae are drawn to that sort of thing – musicians, poets, writers, etc. I began to wonder what might happen if a particularly talented person captured the Fae’s attention and attempted to Contract to too many OtherFolk at once? Undoubtedly the effort would eventually drain them and thereby quite possibly cause their death.
In the book, the Fae actually police these Contracts through the position of a Protectorate, who oversees the written Contracts so that this doesn’t happen (since they don’t actually want that sort of attention drawn to themselves.) On the other hand, a living KeyStone would be a very precious commodity among the OtherFolk, since it would allow them to potentially abuse the system. With no written Contracts needed, a human KeyStone could find him or herself passed around between OtherFolk with very little say in the matter.
In A Brush of Darkness, Abby Sinclair eventually discovers that she is a KeyStone, although being already TouchStoned to the Faery Protectorate lends a certain amount of protection, since very few OtherFolk would want to cross the Protectorate in such a way. Of course, her situation does lend itself to a few humorous moments, particularly when Abby finds out she’s accidentally TouchStoned to a small unicorn who likes to nest in her underwear drawer.
I’d love to hear if anyone has ever run into a KeyStone of their own – a place that felt “haunted” or magical or seemed to have a presence that wasn’t particularly tangible. :)