Arcmael froze as hot breath flowed onto his neck from the air above. On the edge of his sight slipped a dark horn, slender and curved like a cruel knife. Entwined in the beech leaves, it moved with airy swiftness, drifting in and out of solidity, the head of a goat and the gaunt, wiry shoulders of a man. – From Outpost, Book One in The Fylking
Phooka. Malevolent, shapeshifting fiends, or so it is told. The name has many variations which show up in Celtic cultures throughout Northwestern Europe. In Irish, púca means “spirit” or “ghost.” The Old Norse term pook or puki refers to a “nature spirit.” This creature is a shape changer, part human at times, or part or all animal such as a goat or a horse, always with dark fur. Bleak, uncanny and generally wicked, the phooka is best to be avoided; yet can also be beneficial depending on mood or circumstance. Traditional accounts are vague and leave much to the imagination. This adds a creepy air to the thing, a hallmark of Celtic fairy tales.
In the realm where Outpost takes place, the veil between the worlds is thin. It is an interesting place to be a seer, depending on what side of things one is on. As it turns out, our protagonist, a seer named Arcmael, lands on the bad side. When a sorcerer summons a phooka for a personal task, the beast roams around creating trouble not only for Arcmael but also for Othin, a seasoned warrior who has no idea what he’s dealing with.
The phooka has its own agenda, of course; and no one, including the one who summoned it from the mists of the Otherworld, knows what that is. All the better. Heh.
A race of immortal warriors who live by the sword.
A gate between the worlds.
Warriors, royals, seers and warlocks living in uneasy peace on one side of the Veil.
© F.T. McKinstry 2016. All Rights Reserved.