Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Pythia

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the library’s large allegorical figures carved into the walnut overmantel by sculptor Karl Bitter, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Pythia

TARIRO AND I were seated directly across from Delphi library’s spitting walk-in fireplace, the wrought iron sentries guarding its logs regarding us with creepy curiosity.

A movement above tugged my gaze up the two story walnut overmantel to the large, intricately carved figures flanking a timeworn tapestry. The polished pair pulled away from the wall, and in one fluid movement, leapt from their pedestals onto the balcony.

I shifted nervously in my chair, searching for the nearest exit. “That’s…that is not normal.”

“The Pythia,” Tariro whispered, reverently, “are Oracles. They can peer into your soul and see all your incarnations.”

“I’m getting a palm reading from prophetic Pinocchio’s?”

“Shhh,” Tariro warned, elbowing me in the ribs.

The girl with the globe edged closer, her eerie amber eyes studying me. Without so much as a sound, she wrapped her strangely warm, wooden fingers around my hand. The Oracle shifted her gaze to the burnished ball balanced in her palm. A haunting chant spilled from her dusty lips, unleashing the ghost of a language long dead.

The orb slowly shed its wooden skin, revealing a blinding crystal beneath.

“What’s happening?” I muttered from the corner of my mouth, barely suppressing my survival instinct.

Tariro’s eyes were drawn to the glowing glass. “They’re searching your past to foretell your future.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Observatory

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the fourth floor observatory, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Observatory

IT WASN’T the stunning celestial ceiling that drew my eye from the fourth floor balcony of Olympus, nor the breathtaking horizon that soared and sank where the sky met the mountains. It was the sprawling green below, peppered with exceptional people doing extraordinary things.

“Something special lives and breathes in each soul that swims in this sea of colors and cultures, regardless of their cover,” Calliope whispered beside me, her eyes, one gold, the other cerulean, swelled with pride. “There’s nothing average about what they’re capable of creating–their potential for greatness.”

I couldn’t help wonder why I was there. I felt utterly average, and more than a little intimidated. I was surrounded by the incarnations of legends who showed obvious skill. I could make a mean pancake and open sealed lids without assistance.

“The ballet dancer gliding across the lawn, there by the fountain,” the Muse pointed out a graceful girl with choppy chocolate hair. “Terpsichore found her in the Philippines a year ago. She once wore the pointe shoes of Anna Pavlova, yet she doesn’t think herself beautiful.”

Calliope leaned over the stone ledge, a curtain of coal falling across her sun-kissed face. “See the young boy on the steps, the one humming?” I followed her gaze and nodded. “We discovered him in India four years ago. He has the inherent musicality of Tchaikovsky, yet lacks the courage to perform before an audience.”

She gestured towards a ginger-haired boy bringing to life an enchanted forest with each vibrant brush stroke. “He once wielded the hand of Leonardo da Vinci, and though his skill is unrivaled, even in this life, he struggles with acceptance.”

Calliope tilted her head, considering me thoughtfully. “Believing in yourself is never easy. But, trusting who you are–who you’re meant to be–is the only way to truly live. Don’t waste this life on doubt.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Naiads

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the bass pond, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Naiads

THE BREATH of dawn hovered over the water, its swirling smoke drifting up the mossy banks and clinging to the canvas of brushed oranges and vibrant reds.

I would’ve appreciated the view loads more, if it weren’t for the ungodly hour. As a rule, I rolled out of bed long after the sun crested the hills and barely before brunch.

“Tell me again why you dragged me out here?” I huffed, shuffling my feet against the wooden planks in a futile effort to generate warmth.

Tari, clearly a morning person, glared at me. “Do you want the key back or not?”

“Not this badly.”

“You mean not this early,” she puffed at the raven curls dangling in her face.

Especially not this early,” I pointed out, the key in question recently relocated to the bottom of the bass pond, which was more than a little inconvenient.

“They’ll only help us at dawn.”

I seriously doubted the validity of that statement. “Who? The swim team?”

“Not exactly,” a lilting voice chuckled behind us. I spun around, well, more like stumbled, since I was still half asleep. A smug-faced Conrí materialized from the mist. “Lose something?” he asked, emerald eyes twinkling with mild amusement.

She lost something,” I tossed an accusatory glance at Tari.

“Oh, for–” Tari sighed, “it was an accident.”

“Who accidentally drops a priceless artifact into the middle of a lake?” I retorted, waving my hand over the water’s edge.

“Pond, actually,” Conrí added. “She’s got a point, lass,” he grinned at Tari. “Luckily, I can help you out.”

I raised my eyebrows. “You’re diving in there?”

“Not me, luv,” he replied,  nodding towards the water.

The heads of three girls slipped silently through the glassy surface, their shimmering silver manes framing translucent skin that pulsed with a luminous light.

“Who. Are. They?” I stammered.

Tari sniffed. “His fan club.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Muse of Music

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the Winter Garden where a glass roof illuminates the center fountain sculpture “Boy Stealing Geese” by Karl Bitter, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Muse of Music

GLEAMING CHESTNUT winked in the firelight, its restless strings silent. I could almost feel it trembling, eager to escape my abuse. “No. Really,” I puffed out a sigh, “I can’t play the viol–”

“Tsk, focus!” Euterpe chided, circling me like I was her next meal, her silky crimson sari flying behind her back, struggling to stay in stride.

The Muse of music was nothing if not intimidating. Her piercing eyes, one a gleaming gold, the other an emerald green, could reduce even the most challenging pupil to a quaking pile of flesh.

Euterpe propped a hand on her mahogany corset and cocked her head, studying me. “Your placement. It’s all wrong.” She manipulated my hold on the confounded instrument until I was a hundred percent more uncomfortable than I was five seconds ago.

The elaborate pattern painted on her honeyed skin caught my eye. Burnished henna vines encircled her arms, curling into her palms and winding through her fingers as if it had a life of its own.

“Now. Close your eyes and feel it in here,” she gently touched her hand above my heart.

I humored her and shut my eyes, praying the little bronze boy on the fountain would set loose his geese and disrupt the slow death of my music career.

I’d never played an instrument, unless you counted the xylophone I had when I was five. I was fairly certain my past lives did not include a musical prodigy, if the barely suppressed laughter rippling through the class was any indication.

In lieu of the snickering, I imagined hearing whispers of wonders fill the winter garden, their secrets soaring with abandon to the top of the leaded glass roof.  I fancied the feel of the bow as it glided across the bridge between music and magic, coaxing the voice of the strings to sing.

My eyes flew open, the last of the notes hovering in the humid air, the students shocked into stillness.

Euterpe gently lifted the violin from my grasp, a glint of triumph in her eyes. The intricate leaves and birds that wrapped around her wrists shifted into a symphony of shimmering copper notes. “A soul born of music never forgets how to sing.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Lions of Nemea

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the pair of massive marble lions guarding the main entrance of the house, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Lions of Nemea

I’VE COME no closer to finding answers. With each mystery we unraveled, another took its place.

“We need to move fast,” Seok shouted, his arms raised, shielding his face from the swirling storm, “before we’re buried in ice.”

Slipping down the winding wooded path, we made agonizingly slow progress towards the house, its towers and turrets barely visible through the globe of shaken snow.

The night was swallowed by shimmering powder, our own heavy steps muffled, our breaths snatched by fingers of freezing wind, reminding me how much I hated being cold.

Seok slid to a halt, his head swiveling wildly in every direction.

“What is it?” I asked, my words floating between us in puff of smoke.

And then I heard it–an unearthly growl piercing the blanket of silence. Two pairs of menacing red eyes hovered in the surging shadows, watching us.

Seok grabbed my hand, wrenching me forward. “Run!”

We tore through the deep drifts of the sprawling lawn, billowing clouds of crystals stinging where shards met skin.

Only a few feet away, I could make out the massive pair of stone lions guarding the threshold of Olympus.  The masonry mammals lept from their marble perch, shaking the layers of snow from their impenetrable coats.

Without hesitation, we stumbled up the steps between them, throwing ourselves past the ancient gate. Only then, in the sheltering arms of the alcove, did I dare glance behind me.

The lions stalked towards the creature, their rumbling roars rivaling thunder. The threat, partially hidden behind sheets of ice, was a monstrous blur of fur and claws, its two terrifying heads snapping and snarling.

“Whoa–what the h–what is that thing?” I shrieked, shrinking back against Seok.

We fell backwards into the warm glow of the hall as the doors swung open. Tari glared down at us. “Where have you been?” she scolded, “you could’ve been stuck out there until Spring,” she gestured towards the raging storm.

“We would’ve been eaten well before then,” I grimaced, rubbing my head where it smacked the floor. “Clearly, that,” I jabbed my finger towards the doorway, “is a major violation of the leash law.”

Tari squinted at the scene outside, her eyes widening with alarm the moment they landed on the beast, its slick form slinking back into the sea of snow. She sucked in a breath. “There’s not a leash on earth that could hold Orthrus.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Knight of Stone and Steel

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the life-sized limestone figure of St. Louis (King Louis IX of France, patron saint of architects), carved by Viennese sculptor, Karl Bitter, that adorns the exterior grand staircase tower, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Knight of Stone and Steel

Tariro

I GRIPPED the knight’s hand, the kindness in his stormcloud eyes felt familiar. “Are you hurt, Tariro?” he asked, his French-dipped words laced with something more than concern.

It was the first time, in my sixteen years at Olympus, that he’d come near me—this mystery of a man sheathed in stone and secrets.

“No, I’m…I don’t—” my world suddenly tilted, the colors twisting and turning into another time, another place.

***

The same knight stood before me, battered and broken, his armor dented with death and destruction, his sword soaked in spirits.  A suffocating fog surrounded us, the air  heavy with the copper scent of spilt blood. Fire raged all around us, a pool of hungry flames licking the shattered bones that littered the battlefield.

“Go!” he pleaded in French,  “I’ll fend off the witch!” He swiped at the crimson river running from his brow,  an angry gash grinning beneath the rusted metal mesh.

“I won’t leave you!” I heard myself shout, throwing my arms around his waist.

He pressed his torn lips to my head. “They mustn’t capture you, my love,” he whispered in my ear. “If we lose you–we lose everything.” He broke away from my embrace. “Atlas is waiting beyond the boundary.”

His head snapped to the side, where a cloaked figure emerged from the smoke.

“Go. Now!” he shouted, tightening his grip on the blade.

I stumbled towards the tree line, not daring to look back until I reached the shelter of Atlas.

I felt it before my eyes could register the loss.

My heart died the moment he was swallowed by stone.

***

“Tariro,” the knight prodded, gently cupping my shoulders.

I sucked in a breath, as if I’d been drowning. My heart was pounding against its cage, desperate to escape into the arms of a memory. “I know you,” I stammered.

He took a step back, releasing his hold. “Of course. I’ve been here since the day you first arrived, guarding the tower—”

“No,” I shook my head, “not from this life.”

I could see the truth of it in his eyes.

“Tell me who I am, Louis.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Joan of Arc

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the life-sized limestone figure of St. Joan of Arc carved by Viennese sculptor, Karl Bitter, that adorns the exterior grand staircase tower, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Joan of Arc

IT WAS nearing midnight, when nothing but the fingers of moonlight grazed the grand staircase. The staff had long since retired, the students slumbered, but the house, though silent, never slept.

Even now, I sensed a shift in the air that slipped between the seams of Olympus. The scraping of stone against metal drew me to the window. I peered through the spider web of leaded glass to the ground below, where a solitary figure stood watch.

The boy’s head was tilted, his intense gaze trained on something above me. I recognized the wild-eyes and tousled hair of Conrí.

A cloud of limestone dust fell from the ledge overhead, followed by the falling of a body. Someone had jumped from the third floor of the spiraling tower.

I watched, horrified, as the ashen shape dropped. The shattering of rocks echoed off the walls, the moment their feet shattered the concrete.

It wasn’t human.

The impact cracked the statue’s stone skin, which crumbled and fell away from the shining armor and blood red cloak beneath.

The knight removed its shimmering helmet, running a gloved hand across its cropped hair. The moon kissed its flushed face, illuminating the stunning features of a woman.

A grin played upon Conrí’s lips as he reached to embrace her.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Indoor Swimming Cetus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the indoor swimming pool measuring over fifty feet long, with a 17,000 gallon capacity, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Indoor Swimming Cetus

MAN OVERBOARD!” cried a boy from the basement door. Within seconds, every student within earshot was barreling down the stairs.

Tariro’s ebony face paled, alarm gripping her sea-green eyes. “What happened?” I asked.

“Someone’s in the pool,” she stammered.

“Someone’s drowning?” I prodded, pulling her towards the bowels of the house.

Tariro shook her head, lips trembling. “It’s Thursday…no one’s allowed in the pool on Thursdays.”

She wasn’t making any sense. “Why aren’t they allowed?” I tossed over my shoulder, navigating the narrow steps.

“Cetus.”

“What is that…like industrial pool chemicals?” I stumbled through the limestone tunnels, the humid air thick with fear.

Tariro didn’t answer, just shook her head, eyes wide with unexplained terror.

We tore past the dressing rooms into a hall crowded with bodies, the same expression of horror painted on their faces. Whispers spread like wildfire, the same strange word tumbling from their mouths.

Cetus

I pushed past the mass of students, barely squeezing onto the oak planks. A briny haze choked the room. Frantic splashing echoed off the slick ghostly tiles that swallowed the walls and ceiling. An eerie glow pulsated from the water’s depths, throwing the room into shadows. I seized the wooden railing and peered over the edge.

Two phantom forms flailed in the pool—a boy wrapped around another, his powerful strokes driving them within reach of a ladder. A group of students reached for the drowning boy, pulling him onto the landing. Sighs of relief rippled across the room.

Before the raven-haired boy could hoist himself up the rungs, a deafening rumble shook the room. Shouts rang out as a massive form peeled away from the floor of the pool. The scaled tiles stretched and shifted into the shape of a serpent, its slippery tail slicing a path through the water toward the struggling boy. A pair of glaring green orbs slid open on its broad head.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Hearthstone

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the Banquet Hall’s triple stone fireplace featuring a high relief panel entitled, “The Return from the Chase,” carved by acclaimed Viennese sculptor Karl Bitter, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Hearthstone

TENDRILS OF burning pine pulled me to the glowing mouths, their fiery tongues licked at my skin, consuming the chill that gripped my heart.

A procession of men and beast paraded across the towering triple hearth, their fluid forms spilling from the stone in perpetual pursuit.

“It takes a master to capture the essence of movement,” Seok whispered, his warm honey voice laced with reverence. I watched his gaze caress the intricate carvings as they slipped and shifted along the panel, flames flickering in his silver eyes.

“They say you’re a master,” I said softly, my own gaze tracing the delicate lines of his face.

“Perhaps I was…long ago,” he turned to face me. “I’ve much to learn in this life, if I’m to live up to the legends before me.”

“Is it true? That you’re an incarnation of Daedalus?”

Seok tilted his head, a slip of a smile hiding behind locks of raven hair. “Does it matter?  We may share the same spirit, but I’ve none of his memories.” He stretched his hands out between us, palms facing the soaring ceiling, long fingers flexing into fists. “It’s up to me to shape my destiny in this life. The gifts coursing through my veins mean nothing without the passion to create—to be something greater than I am.”

“At least you know what you’re destined for,” I muttered, “They haven’t a clue who I was…who I’m meant to be. I don’t…I’m not like you,” I turned away from him, pain burning a trail down my cheek. “I don’t belong here.”

“Anise,” he edged towards me. “The past doesn’t control your fate,”  he said, gently brushing back my curls. “There’s greatness in you,” he cupped my chin, his almond eyes searching mine. “Believe that it’s there and anything is possible.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Gargoyles, Grotesques & Bears

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the Gargoyles, Grotesques & even the Bear hugging his honeypot, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Gargoyles, Grotesques & Bears

THE ROOFTOP buzzed with the beat of a hundred hearts. The crisp night air sizzled with the dancing of hands over the taut skins of drums. The pounding pulse of percussion hummed through our veins with infectious energy.

The copper dome winked in the torchlight, reflecting silvery sparks that floated over our island of music into a sea of stars. Whistles rode the wind, while laughter tumbled from lips. Stirring strings plucked our feet from the floor, pulling us into a restless rhythm that stole our breath.

If you were still, you were most likely dead.

“That’s Conrí,” Tari shouted, pointing to a slick and slender boy with wild chestnut hair and even wilder eyes. “That boy knows his way around a djembe,” she grinned, admiration lighting her gaze.

It took me a full minute to make out the drumming figures on either side of him, their sharp ashen features blending seamlessly with the shadows. “Those are gargoyles!” I blurted, slapping Tari out of her lovesick daze.

Tari rubbed her arm, shooting me a withering look. “And those are grotesques,” she casually waved her hand over the crowd of students. I strained my eyes, spotting two tiny gnomes strumming mandolins. “They always awaken on drum nights,” she added, as if the animation of stone statuary were an everyday occurrence.

Perhaps it was.

“And that?” I asked, gesturing past a miniature marble man who was blocking his ears against the assault towering over him.

“That’s a bear,” Tari replied.

“A bear?”

“Don’t let his calm demeanor fool ya. Cedric plays a mean honeypot.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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