Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Fountain of Hippocrene

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 Satyr fountain adorning the wall of the South Terrace, click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Fountain of Hippocrene

THE SATYR’S face was frightful. A wicked set of goat horns curled past large pointed ears that protruded from tufts of hair, twisted and tangled around a wreath of wild grapevines. A strong, flat nose perched above stained lips, his matted beard bubbling beneath a rivulet of glistening gold that pooled at my feet.

“You want me to drink from that?” I asked Tari, my voice tinged with more than a little doubt. “The water doesn’t look very…sanitary,” I added, glancing at the wrinkled patina brow of the fountain’s head, as if he, too, was skeptical.

Tari rolled her sea-green eyes in a tide of irritation. “This is the Fountain of Hippocrene,” she sighed inwardly, “the entire student body drinks from it. As far as I know, there’s never been a casualty,” she smirked, sweeping her hand towards the crowded lawn, a hundred different fingers gripping cups of the liquid in question.

She held a crystal goblet underneath the shimmering patina mouth, droplets spilling onto the brim, and pressed it into my palm. “Is this like, special Greek lemonade, cuz I’m not nearly drinking age,” I quipped, sniffing the swirling liquid.

Tari shot me a disapproving glare. “The waters of Dionysus can taste like lemons, or wine or a million other things, depending upon who drinks it. It imparts a gift of divination in the realm of romantic relations—one only you can experience.”

“So it’s a hallucinogenic aphrodisiac punch?” I clarified, eyebrows raised. I’m not into mind-altering substances, regardless of the perks.

“It lasts all of five seconds,” Tari reasoned, “and, according to the Turtles, it may help you find answers,” she coaxed the cup to my mouth.

I took a tentative sip. It tasted like warm cinnamon and cloves mixed with honey. The edges of my vision blurred. The background noise faded into floating flutes and wispy wind chimes. The silvery pool shimmered, replacing the curly ginger hair and pale skin of my reflection, with that of another.

A boy with striking almond eyes of sparkling slate smiled back at me, a shock of raven hair falling over the flawless sandstone skin of his Asian heritage. The boy who could steal the breath from my lungs without even trying.

Seok

Between heartbeats, the phantom image shifted, the boy’s features crumpled with agony and despair.

A deep voice drummed from the mounted head of the satyr, his iron gaze fixed on mine. Whispers of a warning floated from whiskered lips, humming with urgency.

“Beware the spirit of stone.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Elevator 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 photo of Biltmore Estate’s Otis elevator, one of the oldest operating systems in the world today, click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Elevator Music

IT FELT as if my arms would drop off my body at any moment. I took one look at the massive stone staircase and shook my head. “No. No way am I carrying these up those stairs.” The stack of leather bound books weighed about a thousand pounds, their breath stale with the dust of dead languages.

Tari’s brow wrinkled, her sea-green eyes darting between the daunting trek ahead and a small door hidden in the shadows. She shifted her arms around the half dozen books weighing her down, puffing at the inky ringlets dangling in her face. “We could take the elevator.”

“There’s an elevator?” I looked pointedly at her. “And why haven’t you shared this information before now?” I cocked my head. “Do you know how many times I could’ve been on time for class, had you shared this valuable shortcut?”

Tari bit back a grin. “It’s not exactly a shortcut.”

I blew out an exasperated sigh and trudged towards the door. “I’m willing to embrace the path of least resistance.”

The door beckoned, its frame split between oak paneling and ornate wrought iron swirls embedded in leaded glass. The door slid open on its own, revealing a cozy honeyed floor, gleaming brass lamps and intricate windows of metalwork.

I scooted aside to allow room for Tari, who was shaking her head. “What?” I asked, thinking things were finally looking up.

The door eased shut with the sound of pulleys and gears working to lift the cage. I caught a movement through the glass. Something small was swinging from a tail, like a creepy pendulum. “Is that…a chimp?” I asked, my eyes tracking its swaying limbs.

Tari nodded her head without looking at the upside down face sticking its tongue out. “Yup. That would be Otis. He maintains the cables.”

“A marble monkey maintains the cables?” I looked up at the shaking ceiling. “Oddly, that makes sense. Primates love heights.”

Another sound filled the shaft, akin to the tinkering tones of toy instruments.

“Oh, he’s playing elevator music. Excellent,” I looked over at Tari, her eyes watering with barely suppressed joy at my expense. “This is going to take awhile, isn’t it?”

“Yup.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

Open Internationally!

Create an original Superhero story and/or artwork for a chance to WIN amazing prizes, including PUBLICATION in the first ever audiomachine companion ebook!

Click HERE for more details.

 

Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Diana, Goddess of the Hunt

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 PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate’s marble statue of the Goddess, Diana, click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Diana, Goddess of the Hunt

I STOOD on a serene hill, watching the sun dip behind majestic mountains, the last of its rays kissing copper flashing that ran along the slated crown of Olympus. It was peaceful, this secret place surrounded by silent hemlocks, the air heavy with the promise of rain.

“I never tire of the view,” a voice whispered. I tilted my head to glance at the woman stepping in beside me. From her golden halo of hair that curled into elaborate knots, to the silky sage chiton hugging her powerful frame, she oozed with power.

“What’s your name, child?” she asked, her emerald gaze oddly protective.

“Anise.”

She studied me with the keen eye of a hunter. “Your path is fraught with danger, Anise. Be wary of whom you align yourself with. Not everyone is what they seem.”

“My…path? I don’t–” I stammered, my mind wrapping around the unexpected warning.

“You must look beyond who you are to who you must become. Only then, will you be free,” she cautioned. She snapped her head towards the horizon where the day was slowly swallowed by the stars. Turning her back, she moved swiftly towards a small temple at the top of the slope, a quiver of arrows swaying across her back.

“I don’t understand. Please,” I called out, running after her. “Wait!”

A guttural growl sunk into my spine, rooting me to the spot. A foot away, a dwarf of a dog stood between me and answers, his tiny snout sprouting a wicked grin, baring the razor sharp teeth of a puppy. Its coffee coat was cropped close to the skin, delicate ears pulled back against its narrow skull, daring me to move.

“Venator! Come!” the woman commanded.

The eager pup tore back to its master, hopping onto a pedestal the woman had balanced upon. She reached a hand to nuzzle its nose moments before their skin slipped into stone.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

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Create an original Superhero story and/or artwork for a chance to WIN amazing prizes, including PUBLICATION in the first ever audiomachine companion ebook!

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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Chariot of Aurora

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 Pellegrini ceiling painting, The Chariot of Aurora (where there is, in fact, a rooster) click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Chariot of Aurora

TARIRO EDGED closer, transfixed by the swirling ball of magic dangling from my neck. “Your teleo…it’s beautiful. I’ve never seen one like it.” She reached for the crystal, twirling it between her fingers. The storm clouds pitched and rolled within, igniting tiny silver sparks. Tariro’s sea-glass eyes lit up, her lips curving with delight. “You must have been someone quite special.”

It’s a surreal notion, referring casually to one’s previous lives when I’ve yet to find purchase in my current one.

Before I could reply, an ethereal figure threw open the library doors in a flock of doves, her trailing gossamer gown unfurled like feathery wings. “I am Calliope, your headmaster. Welcome to my domain,” she announced, her arms outstretched to encompass Delphi’s mountain of words in ancient bindings, their stale breaths bound between the pages.

A red bantam rooster, who apparently lost sight of his proper place, hopped onto the edge of a large ceramic bowl depicting a five-fingered Chinese dragon, scaring me half to death.

My attention snapped back to the Muse of epic literature moving fluidly about the room. Like a Native American princess, her radiant caramel skin and startling violet eyes glowed with wisdom. A feather-adorned raven river cascaded down her back, pooling at bare feet. She gestured towards the soaring ceiling, reverently. “Here, you shall discover who you once were, who you are, and who you shall become!”

I followed her gaze to the painted scene above.

Beyond the intricate Grecian columns, the light of learning penetrated the billowing clouds of an open sky where angels welcomed the dawn, flowing robes and feathers dancing in the wind.

I felt a sharp prick on the tender flesh of my wrist. The chicken, enamored with my shiny silver-plated band, pecked away with abandon, determined to draw blood. I shooed him away with a flap of my highly irritated hand. In a not-so-subtle batting of wings and squawks, the rooster flew up to the pictorial balcony and landed, astonishingly, atop one of its pillars, its plumage transformed into painted canvas. My mouth hung open as oil-glazed women leaned over and waved, their laughter trickling down in the space between myths and magic.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

Open Internationally!

Create an original Superhero story and/or artwork for a chance to WIN amazing prizes, including PUBLICATION in the first ever audiomachine companion ebook!

Click HERE for more details.

 

Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Bowling Night

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 House, including a great image of the double lane bowling alley installed in 1895 (one of the oldest in the nation), click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Bowling Night

I WAS navigating the bowels of the stone behemoth, losing faith in my inner compass, when I heard it. Echoes of rumbling thunder and rolling claps bounced off my skull.

Curiosity pulled me down the dusky limestone tunnels into the mouth of a cavern. The soaring brick walls were alive with a vibrant gypsy parade of characters captured in a kaleidoscope of colors. For a moment, I was lost in the swirling sea of dancing dyes.

A deafening crash jarred my bones. Against my better judgement, I followed the source into an adjoining hallway teeming with students. Stretching to the tips of my toes, I craned my neck over the swarm of patchwork heads buzzing with energy and the occasional expletive.

Nudging the nearest boy, I asked, “Are we under attack?”

He glanced down at me, his liquid green eyes working to place my foreign face. “Depends on who you’re rooting for,” he quipped, a pleasing lilt to his voice. He nodded his head towards the back wall. “My team’s gett’n slaughtered. Have a look for yourself,” he added, moving aside.

I climbed onto the piano bench, gaining an outstanding view of the chaos. The air, thick with a hundred breaths, split with a sharp crack. A spray of ivory pins scattered across the double lane alley, followed by a wave of cheers and the fluttering of tiny wings.

My head spun with images of the impossible. 

“Whoa! Wha-what? Why—” I stumbled, earning a glare from the girl whose head met with my hip.  

“We don’t have an automated system,” the boy offered, misunderstanding my confusion. “Someone’s gotta reset the pins,” he shrugged apologetically.

“Are those…an-angels?” I stutter, my gaze glued to the chubby cherubs darting across the lanes, pins grasped between alabaster fingers. One flitted past, catching my eye. His tiny stone lips puckered in a kiss, alabaster dimples flashing.

“Angels? Those mischievous buggers?” he let out a raucous laugh.  “There’s not an angelic ounce carved into their bums.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

Open Internationally!

Create an original Superhero story and/or artwork for a chance to WIN amazing prizes, including PUBLICATION in the first ever audiomachine companion ebook!

Click HERE for more details.

 

Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Appalachian Mountains

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 lovely Belgian draft horses, Chester & Bert, click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Appalachian Mountains

IT WASN’T a Pegasus that stole me away in the dead of night, like the twins had hoped. Nor was it a grand golden chariot. It was, in fact, an unremarkable pair of tawny Belgian draft horses that stomped impatiently on our dusty farmhouse drive. Wild eyes peeked beneath drapes of milky manes that poured down the length of their necks. Their heads were enormous, leaving ample room for an exceptional sense of direction, as noted by the empty driver’s seat.

I climbed reluctantly into the covered carriage of polished mahogany and gleaming brass, barely finding purchase on the velvet cushions before the clinking of chains and screeching of wheels announced our sudden departure.

Looking back, I could still see the silhouettes of my siblings. Their tiny hands pressed against the second story window, the sticky breath of their disappointment fogging the glass. I tugged my coat tighter, the collar still damp with my mother’s goodbye. I breathed in the whispers of woodsmoke lingering from my father’s embrace.

The steeds’ swift descent drove me through the verdant veins of the Southern Appalachians, deep into the heart of the mountains. My gut twisted in knots with every road that unraveled before me.

A brick archway materialized in a hidden grove, its slate tiles glinting in the starlight. My frantic pulse tripped and fell through the gates marking the boundary between my world and the birthplace of legends.

The spiraling path stretched for an eternity. A wave of shifting shadows in an endless sea of trees swam past, until abruptly breaking into a clearing shrouded in mist and mystery.

Olympus

It was beyond anything I could have imagined.

I stumbled from the carriage, marveling at the beauty of my new home. My gaze traveled over the massive miracle of stone and steel, drawn by the winking of a hundred glass eyes and the towering spires spinning secrets from silken moonlight.

I barely registered the movement near my feet, where my luggage sat, neatly stacked. I turned to toss a word of thanks, only to catch a flash of the carriage being pulled into the night by two bare-chested men with long, fair locks falling over flesh that faded into the familiar hindquarters of horses.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

Open Internationally!

Create an original Superhero story and/or artwork for a chance to WIN amazing prizes, including PUBLICATION in the first ever audiomachine companion ebook!

Click HERE for more details.