The Form of Eternity…

1 Nov

Another GSP release from Author of the Week Shiloh Darke.

The Form of Eternity by Shiloh Darke

Copper is a headstrong, fiery redhead with the power to move things with her mind and a distrust of anything male. She’s been hurt before and she doesn’t trust them not to hurt her again. She works hard to keep any man who may try to worm his way into her life at a distance.

When she meets Keltan, a Native American shape-shifting Eternal, she knows instinctively she will have to stay far, far away from him because just being near him makes fire coarse through her veins.

Keltan knows when he first sees Copper, she is the woman he’s meant to spend Eternity with. But he finds her resistance to his attempts to form a connection tormenting. Then, the choice to leave her to her solitude is taken from him as an ancient enemy to his ancestors decides to target the woman he loves.

Can she find a way to trust him? Can he prove to her the love they feel isn’t fleeting? More to the point, can they battle this evil without losing each other?


Spring of 1630

The youth secured his bow and arrows to his back and took off at a slow trot up the side of the mountain. His father had escorted him to the edge of the mountain, as was the tradition of his tribe for becoming a man.

He was a half-breed. His father was a Shaman to their people, but his mother was Scottish. He had two names, Keltan, from his mother, and Elohi-Ayagi, from his father. He had often wondered why his parents had decided upon two names with such similar meanings; both the equivalent of warrior. But he liked both, so he never complained.

He paused, looking again at the remaining distance he had to go to reach the top. Once at the summit, he would make camp and prepare himself for his quest. He would be on the top of the mountain for one week.

During that time, he would search for the meaning of his existence. He was determined to discover his destiny on his quest, and that destiny would be to accomplish something truly important, which would bring him the acceptance of his tribe.

Clenching his jaw, he continued up the mountain with renewed purpose. If his quest proved fruitful, he would be known to them, not as a half-breed, but as a highly respected member of the tribe! He would know their respect, not their scorn. They had never been cruel to him, but he had not fit in as well as he would have wished.

His parents both loved him, and they were accepted, although the tribe looked at Heather as an outsider, a limitation to his father. She was not truly recognized as one of them until she had been among them for many years. Keltan had nothing but admiration and respect for his mother. She was a brave and wonderful woman. He felt pride in having her blood.

When he finally reached the steepest incline, he pulled himself to safety and looked around. He found himself in a cave, and it was perfect. The entrance was huge and dark. He could safely camp here and watch for beasts each night as he waited for the visions that would foretell his destiny.

Standing, he moved to gather some fallen branches from a tree growing on the side of the cliff. He would use them to build his fire for warmth, and eat some of the rations his father had allowed him to take for his first night. Starting tomorrow, he would have to begin fasting for the remainder of his quest. He had spent the previous two evenings within the sweat lodge in preparation of the coming days. His first vision had begun then.

It had been a simple, but strong vision, one of watching an Eagle soar in the early morning sky. The majestic bird looked down upon him with keen interest, and he had felt an overwhelming desire to be one with the creature. Then, suddenly he was the bird. Or he was a part of the bird. Flying with the massive creature and feeling for the first time in his life he had finally become whole.

The vision was just the beginning. When he reported it to his father, the Shaman made arrangements to escort him to the edge of the mountain. Now, the outcome of this vision quest would mark the beginning of the rest of his life.

After he had a decent fire burning, he unrolled his pallet and settled it on the ground. He ate his rations before lying down to take his rest. He would rise before dawn the coming morning. Tomorrow would be the day he began working to prove he was now a man.

Later, as he slept, the Spirits of the animal energy within him gathered around him. Dragon, Wolf, Eagle and Leopard all kept vigil, waiting for him to awaken.

Slowly, he opened his eyes as he lay there, staring blankly at the creatures around him for several seconds. As he blinked the sleep out of his eyes, he realized he was truly awake and no longer dreaming.

Panic assailed him as he rose and looked frantically for his weapons. They lay there beside his makeshift bed. Grabbing the knife, he held it tight as he jumped to his feet, ready to fend off the first predator.

Each animal watched him with a mixture of mirth and tolerance shining on its face. They each regarded him with intelligent eyes, but Dragon spoke to him.

“Do you really think if we wanted your flesh to feast upon a mere blade would deter us?” He chuckled, shaking his head at the humorous situation. The other animals seemed to join in his laughter, which only served to infuriate and confuse Keltan more.

“What is it you want of me?” he demanded in a voice still in the process of making the change from child to adult. He tried to seem intimidating. Instead his voice cracked.

Leopard answered in a soft, almost seductive voice, “You have sent up your prayers to discover your destiny, young Keltan.” She blinked once. “We have answered.”

Perplexed and intrigued, Keltan slowly lowered his meager weapon. “Are you my Spirit guides?” Perhaps this was what he’d come searching for.

Eagle ruffled his feathers. “Well, of course, we are. We are also a part of your destiny.”

The boy sank back onto his pallet and looked around at each of the majestic animals surrounding him. They each looked at him with intelligent, friendly eyes. He felt somewhat embarrassed that he flew into defense without even waiting to see if any of them was planning to attack him.

Lowering his head, he offered softly, “I am sorry for not knowing why you were here.”

Dragon spoke again at that moment, “Child, you have no reason to apologize. If I had been sleeping and had awakened to find such an array of dangerous creatures surrounding me, I would have felt threatened and intimidated as well.”

The beautiful Wolf, who sat closest to him, spoke next. “Your reaction is understandable and forgiven, young one.”

Keltan turned to stare at her and was entranced by her eyes, the color of the sky when the sun was high. He was completely amazed. Never had he seen a Wolf with such eyes. Their beauty was stunning.

She seemed to smile at him then. “We shall be close as we each guide you through your journey to manhood.”

Dragon spoke again, drawing Keltan’s attention to him. “We are here with you because you are special, my young friend. Where most of your people may have one or two Spirit guides, you have all four of us. We are the representatives of the energy within you.”

Keltan found himself drawn into Dragon’s words. He listened as the Spirit told him of what he was to be, and the powers he would have. The longer Dragon spoke, the bigger the young man’s eyes became.

When at last they fell silent, he questioned them. “Me, a shape-shifter? But how? The stories of our tribe tell there hasn’t been one of those born to us in many years. My father said the last one was his great, great-grandfather. Why me? Why after all this time?”

Dragon smiled and leaned down, breathing his essence into the boy. Each Spirit animal followed as they became one with the youth who had been sitting among them as a boy, but would leave the mountain a man.

Keltan looked around, realizing he was alone now on the mountain. But he knew he wasn’t truly alone. As the truth of it became evident, he heard the whisper of Dragon in his very soul. “Because it is your destiny . . .”


Summer of 2011

The Spirit flew through the night, traveling with ease over the valley, unseen by the human eye. It moved as a dark cloud would over the land, building in size as it pressed ever closer to its goal.

When it neared the ancient Cherokee burial ground, it assumed a more tangible form, becoming shadow and continuing toward a specific grave, belonging to one particular Shaman. Many wards and warnings protected his resting place. However, the magic of mortals was no threat to the Spirit, which moved past them with no difficulty at all.

The Shaman was a thing of legend. He was a kind soul in his youth. His people believed he would be a great man; a leader among his tribe. He was a truly powerful figure among his people.

He’d fulfilled the hopes of his tribe in many ways, until a certain event changed his entire outlook on life. No record was kept of what changed him, so it was no longer remembered after so many years. Desolate and inconsolable, he turned to dark Spirits, taboo and forbidden among his tribe.

They answered his calls, and the powers those Spirits gifted him with appealed to his darker nature, making him power-hungry and sick with an ever-growing evil within his soul. He began to have a taste for evil. He enjoyed torturing creatures weaker than himself. Many women of the tribe learned he could not be trusted if they were alone.

But still, the tribe was blind to his evil habits and appetites, until he attempted to sacrifice a newborn to dark gods not among the ones they worshiped. They were unable to exact justice on him for his crimes, for they feared his insanity. If they had only known the depths of his crimes, they would have burned his ashes to dust, making his return impossible.

Instead, he was always guarded and treated with the reverence of the insane, for in those days, they were always treated with respect. Such people were believed to be touched by the gods.  



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