Beneath the Veil
THE VALOR of VALHALLA (teaser)
An eerie feeling of solitude wrapped around Mark at the small campsite he had set up earlier in the week for some solace with his fiancé, Lindsay.
She hadn't come back to the campsite after full dark despite having them both done so for the last week and a half camping in the Catskill mountains. Being back before dark was more an act of instinct, though there had been a few other outdoor adventurers, fewer and fewer dotted their days as the chill set in and the morning frost lingered well beyond its welcome.
He called into the tree line for her, with no response. Lindsay had taken to heading down to a small waterfall around sunset each night after they'd chanced upon it during one of their exploratory hikes. She had said the lightly cascading water helped her to collect her thoughts as she watched daylight disappear behind the rocky outcrops of Sage's Ravine. However, tonight was first time she'd been this late to return.
Mark moved a pot of boiling water to a stone and pulled a jacket on over his windbreaker. The hike to the little falls, as they'd come to call them, was only a few minutes, but being without the right gear in the wilderness stretches time. Headlamp in pocket while the twilight still served as an ally, he set out on the path to find her. Mark found himself slowly descending a small, steep incline and his mind conjured a few horrible occurrences which may have befallen her. Eyes on his feet for most of the descent, he was then jarred by a peculiar sight as his eyelids flicked up. There were four or five headlamps of varying colors ahead, which wasn't unique in that his own lamp could emit three, but the movements seemed off. Too smooth in their fluidity. The lights appeared as a dance.
Mark walked a few more paces and made out Lindsay's outline. She moved along with the lights weaving her arms and twirling her body with abandon.
"Linds?" Mark asked. The lights halted their waltz and Lindsay's arms fell to her sides at the pace of deciduous leaves meeting the ground around them.
"Come. Come and hold me," Lindsay said.
Marks eyes were keen enough to see the headlamps did not hold human outlines of their own.
"Let's get back to the site," he said, but found his feet moving him closer to her. Lindsay wasn't wearing her coat despite the autumn chill. Her feet and shoulders bare, she slowly swayed her hips and held her arms out to draw him.
Mark spied the arc of mushrooms between them and carefully stepped over the toadstool barrier to take her hands. The orbs of light sprang into motion and Mark's eyes followed. A hypnotic daze rose through his pragmatic defenses and soon his body swayed along with Lindsay's. The faeries of fall delighted about the young lovers as night's curtain fell on the day. Their bodies, naked and sapped, would not be found until the evanescence of spring revoked the snows of a coming winter.
The Valor of Valhalla
Beneath the Veil
OCTOBER 11, 2021
In a battle between two ancient evils, can one naïve young man become the last hope against powerful creatures of legend?
David Dolan thinks he’s already got the world figured out. But when a collapsed bridge plunges him into the icy Hudson, he’s pulled deep into the deadly realm that exists between life and death. And with his earthly form trapped in a coma, he’s vulnerable to the horde of demons hell-bent on his utter destruction.
Traversing the road to the afterlife, David seeks the wisdom and skills he needs to fight the demonic forces reigning havoc on his allies above ground. But as one hellish threat closes in on his defenseless body, David must defeat another terrifying fiend waiting in the shadows to use him…
Can David escape the world beneath the veil in time to stop the bloodshed?
Beneath the Veil is the gripping first book in The Valor of Valhalla dark urban fantasy series. If you like reluctant heroes, infernal myths, and bloody epic clashes, then you’ll love Martin Kearns’s formidable foray into the unknown.
The Mythology of VoV
The Valor of Valhalla series is bustling with figures from myth, lore, and legend. Many readers have expressed an interest in learning more about the obscure figures appearing within the series and I've decided to oblige them. Feel free to peruse the brief descriptions. Perhaps it'll take you down rabbit holes or inspire your own stories.
The bunyip hails from Australia. Aboriginal peoples believed the bunyip to be wardens of rivers and lakes. These creatures would emerge to punish those who disrespected the waters by taking too much or by polluting the beautiful habitat. Once enraged, a bunyip could drag away unwitting victims or emit a deluge of water to submerge entire villages-should the circumstances warrant it.
Nirah of Ishtaran
The small snakelike demon, Nirah was once the right hand to the Sumerian deity Ishtaran. It is not clear when Nirah was born, but his service to Ishtaran was no doubt a dictate by Lilith for surveillance of the area or its inhabitants-for what reason is still not known. Nirah traveled with his mother's host to the Hudson Valley region to aid in the destruction of David.
Rooted in Akkadian mythology, the rabisu is also believed to be cited in Hebrew lore under the name "the croucher". This demon comes in many forms and each behaves in a manner slightly deviating from one another, but one constant remains. They ambush at entryways. The rabisu is not to be trifled with and if one suspects a rabisu to be around, avoid venturing through portals, such as doorways, lest you find yourself crouched upon by these opportunistic demons.
Known to most of us as Lord of the Flies, Beelzebub is an antiquated god referenced in the bible and said to have been worshiped by the Philistines. Most of us know the name from the popular Golding novel, Lord of the Flies, which may be popped on the shelf next to Gulliver's Travels as one of the most stark unmaskings of humanity and its true nature.
Beelzebub himself was far less controversial, though. Likely a derivative of Ba'al, Beelzebub was a known adversary of the Israelite's God and had been fashioned in the usual ways. Time warped the image of the prince of demons and he was associated as being Lucifer on a few occasions. Modern christian belief is that Beelzebub is just one of the many names of Satan, but scholars, like Milton, present him as a different entity altogether and that's likely due to the long standing tradition civilizations cannibalizing the deities of others into their own religious texts after conquering.
Beelzebub is associated with the sin of gluttony and is the overseer of over indulgence, which may lend a nod to our friend Bacchus if we're wondering about other associations. Though gluttony is what Beelzebub oversees, he's shaped as the archetypal demon with his humanoid appearance, horns, long tail, and, of course, leathery wings. What better image for a demon prince named "The One Who Flies".
Fallen Cherub, to be weak is miserable
Doing or suffering: but of this be sure,
To do ought good never will be our task
— PARADISE LOST, BOOK I
& SPECULATIVE FICTION
I have been enamored with horror writing since I first picked up Winter Moon by Dean Koontz at the age of ten—quite the upgrade from Goosebumps, back then. The horror genre has transformed since I was a boy through the works of many authors who have blended horror into fantasy and science fiction, which makes me connect to newer works even more than all but a few of the classics.
Stories were my first love and during rare moments of quiet my mind turns toward those I've watched, read, and lived. They bring to mind possibilities, which are really where the seeds of a story begin. I truly hope to bring creative tales to readers who, like me, enjoy finding themselves lost somewhere in a world of endless possibilities.
Currently reading: Sabrine Elouali and Todd Keisling