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About the author:
Peter Guy Blacklock was born and raised in an unremarkable town in the north-east of England by a remarkably supportive and well adjusted working-class family. After 14 years of ineffective education he found himself in Art College, which led to twenty years employment as an Archaeological Illustrator in which he produced a wide variety of technical illustrations for publication as well as more general illustration, design and copy work on educational and display materials intended for schools and the general public. Eventually the hunt for a half decent salary within that occupation led him to the Museum of London and a move to the capitol where he still lives today in happily married bliss.
He is passionate about genre fiction, film and games, has a fervent interest in history, mythology and folklore and is fascinated by the deeper meanings behind ritual practice, ceremonial magic and occult lore. He is a keen Ripperologist, a devout Lovecraftian and a determined new writer of dark-genre fiction and non-fiction books. A good deal of his spare time is spent online where, under his user-name of choice ‘Harbinger451’, he is creating a website (this one) and writing a blog that explore the alternative worlds that encompass his passions.
Even when pressed, Peter Guy Blacklock will neither confirm nor deny any allegations, past or present, of practising black-magick, of devil worship, Satanism, human sacrifice or of the eating of babies.
What inspired you to write your book?
I decided to right the sort of book I wanted to read. Rose Blood is indeed that book, inspired by my interest in folklore and the occult, and by my passion for horror and fantasy genre fiction, film and games. The market is awash with young adult fantasy and paranormal titles and I was determined to produce an adult Fantasy book that catered to adult readers and didn't treat them like interlopers in a child safe zone.
Here is a short sample from the book:
Rose Blood Prologue: Lilith
The mists of deep slumber slowly faded away. Someone had called his name and disturbed his sleep, cutting through the dreams. He was being summoned into consciousness.
Mikael, wake up. He woke with a start. It had been a woman's voice, but no one was there!
Mikael looked around the room – it was strange to him, he did not recognise the plush new surroundings, it was all very different from his own humble home.
The large four-poster bed, in which he lay, with rich curtains draped about it, was totally alien to the simple bunk he usually slept in. The deep pillows and thick heavy covers, spread tightly over him, were so incredibly comfortable and warm – surely fit for some great Prince or King of Old.
An open fire blazed on his left, casting flickering shadows across the room; and many small candles, arranged around on a variety of holders and candelabra, added to the wild dance of light and shade. The only area of calm was under the steady light of the bright moon that shone in through the many panes of the tall windows opposite the fireplace.
Pulling the covers aside he swung his legs around and sat on the edge of the high bed, facing the huge hearth’s warming glow.
Where am I? He thought. Mikael could not remember how he had got there and he certainly did not recall falling asleep in that bed.
Becoming conscious of his nakedness he stood up and searched for some clothes, but there were none to be seen and the only piece of furniture, apart from the bed, was a giant chest at its foot; looking inside he found it totally empty. The chest, like the posts of the bed, had all manner of wondrous creatures carved into its dark hard wood: dragons and unicorns, as well as many beasts unknown to him, were intricately depicted. After easing the heavy lid back down Mikael turned and, looking about himself, a very strange fact was slowly unveiled.
There are no doors! The thought idly dawned into his still sleepy head – At least, none that can be seen.
The walls were hung with large, faded tapestries illustrating what seemed to be scenes from folklore and old historical tales. He moved to inspect one.
More words, soft and quite, came to him. "You will not find a door hidden behind any of them." They said, spoken just at his shoulder. It was the same beautiful voice that had so suddenly awoken him from sleep.
There IS someone else in this room! He thought with growing rationality and alertness, spinning round though he still saw no one.
Mikael ventured toward one of the windows, intent on looking behind the drapes that were suspended from the ceiling; their deep red, dappled by candle light, providing a dazzling contrast with the pale blue moonbeams shinning steadily in.
Approaching the curtains the full moon caught his gaze and held him in its beguiling glow. Its large orb hung in a cloudless sky that exposed the deepest black of space and an immense scattering of apparently tiny stars; below, from beneath the window to the hazy distance of the horizon, spread a huge dark forest both silent and dreadful.
"Beautiful." Those same pleasant tones, tantalisingly close. "Is it not?” They asked “So… wild and brooding."
Turning, more slowly this time, he glimpsed a figure in one of the darker corners of the chamber.
An enchanting vision evolved as the young woman gracefully approached him. Dark brunette hair, long and rich, framed a pale creamy – almost elfin – face and neck; she wore a white silken robe tied at her slim waist, the swell of her ample breasts stretching the close fitting material. Mikael perceived the curves of her shapely legs as the angelic girl moved in front of the fire place, its burning light shining through the translucent lengths of her garment, and the dance like motion of her limbs hypnotised him to the point of veneration.
As she came nearer he marvelled at her large hazel eyes, they seemed to catch the flickering candle light as if they were ablaze, and her searing, impossibly red lips glistened with delectable moisture. A delicate hand lifted from her side and gently untied the simple knot at her middle, the tenuous gown parted to reveal her delightful naked form and she pushed it from her shoulders allowing it to fall to the floor. An unmistakable charge of attractive tension amassed between their naked bodies. Mikael would swear that the hairs on the back of his neck were standing.
A transformation of living human flesh, with the spirit of fire dancing over it, into an animated statue of an immortal goddess bathed in brilliance took place as she stepped into the moonlight. The sight took his breath away as she came and stood before him, her skin now radiantly white; the only colour was that of her lips. She looked up into his eyes and touched his shoulder with talon like finger nails, her hand spread, she gently but firmly traced the five points down his chest to his stomach muscles which involuntarily flexed at her touch.
Mikael, heart beating fast and hard, leaned in to bring his face toward her’s, his mouth closer to her’s, the heat of her body palpable in its closeness to his. Her lips parted, barely revealing sharp white teeth, as she met his kiss head on.
He woke with that same sudden heart stopping shock that had plagued the ends of dreams when he was a child – like he had fallen from a great height, fearing for his life for a brief but terrifying instant of pure panic. His rapidly beating heart and extremely exited body slowly calmed as he realised that the dream had come again. Mikael, having been haunted almost nightly by the same vision for nearly two weeks now, usually only caught a glimpse of the girl before waking; yesterday she had approached, this morning though she had touched and even kissed him.
Oh, how I had longed for that kiss. He thought with a passion he could hardly contain, the traumatic awakening now entirely forgotten.
He knew not who she was, never seeing her outside of the dream; his only wish was to meet her in life and to make her fair beauty his own.
Mikael Feraiyn, aching and weary, allowed his tall lean body a rest, leaning on his battered axe he looked at the small amount of chopped wood at his feet. His mind wandered, as it often did these days, to his family. All his chores seemed so hard now, each familiar task or tool summoned a multitude of memories, both happy and sad, of his caring parents and loving sister. The tears flooded into his eyes once more as the knowledge of their deaths again wrecked his heart and mind with grief.
Emma had been the first to go, he had loved his sister dearly and their parting had been terrible, growing weaker day by day her strength had been sapped by some strange and uncanny illness, her mind becoming delirious. She died in her sleep, too weak to fight, pale and thin like a withered rose.
His mother was broken-hearted at the loss of her daughter, so young at only seventeen years. While mourning she seemed to lose the will to live and soon Mikael and his father helplessly watched the essence of someone close weirdly ebb away once again.
Mikael’s morose thoughts were suddenly interrupted by a distant voice calling him, hauntingly familiar, more sensed than heard.
"No!" His whisper seemed to shatter the silence that had just fallen like a shroud over the forest where he now stood. "It cannot be!" He dumbly mouthed.
The notion of madness crept into his brain, was he then to suffer as his father had before him, or did fate have an alternative end in view.
There it was again! It was her, he was sure of it, the girl from his dreams. But he still could not be sure if he had heard it for real or whether it was but a figment of his anguished mind.
He remembered his father's last tormented days, falling into madness and raving of beautiful phantoms and hideous demons that plagued him night and day. Would she be the phantom to usher him to the grave – just like his father before him – or … or what!? He dare not think of his desires for her, after all she was just a dream and she did not exist.
He looked into the dark sombre trees surrounding the now shabby cottage, once kept so clean and tidy by his mother and sister. Everyday noises of the forest and of the few animals that Mikael still managed to keep began to replace the eerie silence. The tending of their livestock had been neglected somewhat since his father's death, he guiltily ignored his only living dependents however as he searched for the source of the voice. He peered down the only lane leading from his home but nothing could be seen. He had not really expected to see anyone, the nearest village, almost an hour’s ride away, was full of superstitious peasants convinced, since the deaths, that a disease or curse hung over the Feraiyn family and their stead. For they lived relatively deep into the Great Forest – too deep for supposed civilised people, too close to the Old Forest – at least that’s how they figured it.
Sometimes I’m not entirely sure I don’t believe them – he thought, maybe he was cursed or maledicted in some way! But he refused to let such thoughts jeopardise his sanity and fog his mind now. From nowhere the memory of his father’s last, inexplicable words came to him, rose blood he had said as he drew his last breath, but Mikael still could not fathom their meaning.
The day was drawing to a close and, convincing himself the voice was imagination and that there was no one about, he collected the fire-wood together and carried it into the little family cottage that had seen much better days.
It will be enough to keep me warm tonight – he thought as he crossed the main room and piled it near the fire place.
The hurried knocks on the hefty wooden door that he had just closed behind him sent Mikael's heart leaping. He stared at the entrance incredulously, nobody could have covered that distance, from the invisibility that the forest afforded, all the way to the door, in such a short time – his family had cleared the forest back a good two hundred yards from their stead generations ago – and he was sure that there could not have been anyone in the more immediate vicinity. Quietly he approached the door, listening for any sounds outside. He knew before even touching it that a young woman waited beyond. It all seemed so inevitable – though he refused to believe in such things as Destiny or Fate.
Slowly opening the door he was met by a dark figure tightly wrapped in a large black cowl, silhouetted in a burning haze as the sun buried itself in the distant tree line behind. Mikael watched as the spreading twilight shade of woodland crept towards the cottage, reaching the door and slowly rising up the mysterious hooded figure before him.
With the disappearance of the sun she raised her hands and lowered her hood revealing the lovely face that he had longed to see, a half smile playing on her familiar blood red lips.
Hello, Mikael. She said simply. It was the witch voice he now knew so well, not physically spoken but heard within his mind.
Unable to speak himself, he could only watch as she entered and passed him, with her cloak trailing the floor it was almost as if she glided into his home. She turned to face him and removed the garment in a way reminiscent of his dream, as it fell to the floor he noticed that it was faded and worn with great age.
She stood in his modest home glorious in her beauty, porcelain skin clothed in an emerald dress of rich velvet brocade. Clasped in her hands, held against her tight low cut bodice, was a single rose mirroring the colour of her lips exactly. Holding it out, she offered him the rufescent flower.
His head was full of questions; he looked into her dark, non blinking eyes, they seemed to penetrate deep into his soul as she gave the answer he sought most.
Lilith. Her name echoed through his mind.
Mikael stepped forward, impulsively reaching out to take her gift, and a long, wide thorn pierced his skin, sinking into the pad of his finger tip. He quickly pulled his injured hand back.
The wound was deep and dark crimson blood soon filled it to overflowing. His finger throbbed with an increasing dull pain as she raised the offending stem to her mouth and eagerly lapped at the thorn with a single stroke of her delicate tongue, a drop of his precious blood quickly spreading onto its moist surface. She placed the barbed, bloodied rose on the table by her side and then took Mikael's wounded but unresisting hand in hers, first kissing and then licking at the deep cut on his finger.
The warm healing touch of her lips and tongue thrilled him greatly but he wondered at the tears appearing in her eyes. Her grip grew incredibly strong as her teeth pressed either side of the small laceration, forcing more blood into her mouth. He knew she was drawing his blood – drinking it! But he did not care. With his free hand Mikael caressed the soft lengths of her rich, dark hair and then brushed the salty tears from her cheek. Sucking now she drew his finger full into her warm mouth and began to milk the wound with gentle persistence, easing the pain and slowly rendering it numb. They stood in that same position for what seemed an eternity but could only have been minutes. Eventually she let his hand go, his finger stiff but devoid of hurt, a weakness in his hand and arm.
He believed he knew her true nature now; she was not human but vampire and witch, heralding only death. Mikael's love and desire for her eliminated any hate or fear he might feel as he realised all he had to live for was her and the enchantments she commanded. From that moment he knew he would do anything, even die, to satisfy her needs and fill her hunger.
Lilith smiled knowingly but not without compassion, "I want your love Mikael, not your life.” She said. “I am still human, a sapien like you. Different – yes… better – yes. You would not believe some of the things that I am capable of… and some of the things I can do for you." It was the first time he had actually heard her spoken voice. "I am not a demon or a witch." She added.
"But…" He was confused. "But you can hear my thoughts … and my dreams – how is it possible for you to be in my dreams?"
"Join me Mikael, become like me and you will see how. You will be able to do these things and more, much more." Her eyes now pleading, "I need you… please… let me change you – make you as I am. Together we would be – almost invincible!"
Staring at her he declared, "You must already know that I would do anything for you." His look was akin to worship.
"Yes – yes I know it." She spoke quietly, and still with a strange melancholic air. "Come, we must leave this place."
Taking his hand she led him out of the cottage into the forest, a garden of delight that was her own. His love carried him obediently after her, their flight from his past lit by the waxing moon and a multitude of bright stars.
They were deep into the forest, closer to its more ancient heart, and had been walking half the night before finally coming to a stop, enabling Mikael to rest. He was amazed at how Lilith's deft and graceful movement had propelled her so easily through the dense undergrowth. She seemed to have been able to find trails and openings where he could see only darkness and the speed of her travel had him thoroughly exhausted while appearing not to affect her at all.
She now stood before a large stone monolith, covered with moss and lichen it was laid on its side and at a slight angle, the massive roots of a giant oak gripping its base and holding it forever in the earth. Her body was deathly still as he approached, gradually getting his breath back. He stopped at her shoulder and looked at the ancient stone, he was just able to make out the primitive markings of simple cup like indents, patterns of lines and spiralling rings cut into its surface.
"Can you feel the power Mikael? This is Natures realm and here her forces are collected; here we begin your transformation.” As she spoke Lilith cast her cloak aside and, walking up to the stone, she gently, almost lovingly, stroked its weathered surface.
Mikael noticed the rose in her hand for the first time since leaving the cottage, if she had not now been laying it on that imposing, altar like slab before him he would have sworn it was still on the table back at his home.
He could imagine her the vision of a faerie queen, an archaic divinity tending her woodland shrine, preparing it for a mysterious sacrificial rite. She gestured for him to come forward. He obeyed with head bowed, for the first time feeling fear, not of her but of the unknown, of what this transformation might bring. Hand in hand they knelt facing each other, her emanating warmth reassuring him in the cold night air.
Lilith kissed his hands and released them, he watched her deliberately raise a delicate pale forearm over the stone and bring it down hard on to the stem of the rose, a thorn burying itself deep into her flesh. Mikael flinched but was silenced from protest by her subtle remonstration voiced in his mind. The small hole in her upper wrist bled freely, spattering the flower, and the stone on which it lay, as she lifted her pierced limb. Standing, she hurriedly pushed her arm to his mouth.
"Drink," she exclaimed. "You must drink my life's blood to gain the power and strength you need!"
He knew he should feel only revulsion but passionate desire and thirst overwhelmed him at the first taste. Holding her arm to his lips he eagerly consumed her sap as it pumped into him; hot and sweet, it was nectar he could now never forsake.
"I instilled the thirst when feeding off you," she whispered while stroking the back of his neck with her free hand, her lips close to his ear. "Do not gorge yourself, drink slowly and only enough to invigorate your mind and body. You will not need to feed this way often – but the more you do the less you will need to eat and drink as was normal."
She released her arm from his grip. "Enough!" She said. "Too much may cause delirium and sickness, especially before succumbing to the vampirism fully."
Lilith smiled at the look of shock that had appeared on his face; she wondered what erroneous tales he had heard concerning her kind and tried to reassure him. "I did not lie when I said I was human Mikael, I am mortal like any other woman, but I will live longer and I do possess some so called supernatural powers – though once you understand them, you too will see that they are just as natural as breathing. You must forget all those superstitious myths made up by fools to hide their ignorance. Many people grow to hate what they do not understand – they hate it so much that it must be destroyed by any means possible – by violence, by treachery, but especially by lies.
"You must dispel all those deceitful legends from your memory… wipe your heart clean and let me teach you the truth anew."
As he got to his feet she embraced him. "Love me," she pleaded, her hot breath stroking his cheek. Her entreaty was impossible to refuse as she kissed him with a passion none could ignore.
That night, beneath the canopy of early autumn leaves, they vowed eternal love and fidelity, swearing to shield and succour each other till after even death had claimed its prize. Naked they consummated their secret marriage of blood on a bed of stone and moss. Oblivious to the cold and discomfort, their lovemaking – at first intense – became a playful game and then a joyous exploration of shared sensual pleasure.
Lilith’s chosen minions, her lilim, watched and waited in the shadows of the night. They watched and waited for their Dark Mistress to summon them… for summon them she inevitably would. Each almost as ancient as their mistress they had learnt the sweet art of patience a long, long time ago. The time would come when her archaic eldritch progenitor would call to her – then, she would cast aside her plaything… and it would be time for the lilim to have their fill.