Beauty and the Beast

by  Christian A. Brown  |  August 30, 2015  |     No Comments

Last night was a supermoon, or “perigee moon”: a lunar event that happens a few times each year when the moon drifts rather close (in space-terms and perspective) to Earth. Sadly, I missed the event as Toronto’s skies were clouded for most of the night. Which isn’t to say that the lunar pull didn’t affect myself or others. While I didn’t act particularly strange—at least not by my standards—I did sleep heavier than I usually do, and I had the oddest dreams. They might have been nightmares, since I was fitful and sweating at points. Still, I can’t recall any details. I woke up famished, and thinking about three things: werewolves, magic and love. Now, that’s hardly an implausible line of thinking for yours truly. On any given day, it’s difficult to not think about magic, romance and the supernatural seeing as I’ve immersed myself in that kind of material. Heck, my new iPhone lock screen is this:

Breathless

Beautiful. (Leo is actually doing a series of “bloodmate images”—more on that as it develops!) After tending to my ravenous—wolfish—appetite, I sat and stared at my screen, then at other images of the bloodmates. I pondered whence these characters had sprung. I mean, writers are consciously or unconsciously inspired by people, places and events. Morigan and the Wolf are a reaction, a product, of something my mind wanted to express. As I sipped my tea, I ambled through memories both recent and faded. I remembered a monarch butterfly perched on tombstone, and set against a gray sky—I believe this was at my grandmother’s funeral. I smiled at the image of a creek I’d seen in my youth. Willows and rafts of clutter had formed a deep, green gorge that looked like a portal to a fairy realm. I don’t know that memory’s origins. Finally, I recalled the flash of blue sky, the sizzling heat, the pounding drums and throaty songs from the Pow Wow I was able to attend a few weeks back.

You have to be present at an event like that to realize how primal and existent our connection to each other and the land remains. In a sense, the Wolf was created out of my respect, fear and love of nature. The Wolf represents a conduit to all those wild and untamed miracles that humans believe themselves above, and often neglect, while disdainfully peering from their concrete towers. The Wolf has a more than understandable rage toward mankind’s progress. A progress that has come at the expense of eradicating the natural kingdom to which he’s so intimately connected—part man, part beast. Thus his battle is one for his very existence as well for the conservation of the natural order.

Enter Morigan, who, like her soon-to-be-bloodmate has a defined sense of self. She, too, demands respect from the world. However, she exerts this influence through reason, compassion, and empathy. It helps, as well, that she’s an actual empath. Over the course of the tale, Morigan realizes that she can experience the full spectrum of another’s past, pains and dreams. And it’s that humanity—our good side, our want to build, heal and conquer adversity—that makes her the perfect foil and partner to the Wolf, with his vengefulness and justifiable aggression. Nature can be as cruel as it can be majestic. Without temperance, humans can be the most destructive force in their environment. Thus, the bloodmates represent an ideal: a dream of harmony between us and our land.

Of course, that’s only one of the many themes to their tale. I also wanted to tell a real love story. The kind that makes hearts pump, toes curl, and cheeks warm—a story sexy, sweeping and grand. I know that some folks don’t believe in love at first sight. I don’t either. For me, it’s always been more than just sight involved. I need to know and spend time with a person to fall in love. However—and only once in my life—did my heart seize and my breath hitch upon seeing someone. A connection like that is rare, and it takes more than that spark to make a relationship, or to qualify that relationship as “true love”. It takes a lot of work. Nonetheless, Morigan and the Wolf have that chemistry from the get-go, and added to that gravitas: a weight of supernatural chemistry, of being two unique and sensitive children of the Earth.

Now I said I wanted to tell a “real love story”, and while star-crossed lovers make for a steamy, weekend read, they’re not all that practical. In real life, most romances barely weather a scandalous secret, let alone incidents of kidnapping, assault, and war. Morigan and the Wolf endure all three of those aforementioned trials, and more, in a single chronicle of their lives. Although, I don’t think that you can call a character an epic hero without him or her first braving a gauntlet of fire and pain. Bad things have to happen to epic heroes: that’s what reveals their determination and virtue. So I’m not at all regretful, or pitying, of the challenges—horrific challenges—Morigan and the Wolf must face immediately after their “spark” ignites. Because you don’t know how much you love or are loved until life gives you an unpleasant surprise or threatens to take that love away. We are defined and strengthened (or ruined) by our pain. Having a partner against adversity, a person who never gives up even if you do, is one of the testaments of true, real love.

I hope that you enjoy reading these characters as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. And I also hope that your lives are filled with the kind of love, respect and humanity that these characters have taught me.

—C

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