Remember how much I adored Viper by Bex Hogan, the Slytherin pirate book of my dreams? Well, refresh yourself on my review here, and then come back, because today I’m on the blog tour for the amazing sequel, Venom!
I’ll be reviewing Venom itself next week, because today the spotlight is on the amazing world Bex has created. One of the things I absolutely adore about this series is the intricate way the cultures of the islands are depicted – each one has its own flavour, from the natural resources it possesses to the way the people live, and they’re all tied together in a way that feels very realistic to how a world would work. And of course, they have their own stories, which is what I have for you today: a sneak peek at one of the myths behind the Eleventh Isle! Read on to find out more…
THE CREATION STORIES
The Eleventh Isle
Long ago, there were three towers on the isle. The two at each end were home to powerful mages, the sun mage and the star mage. Destined to be awake while the other slept, still the two women thought often of their counterparts and one night, the star mage determined they should meet. She transformed herself into a bird and flew across the island to perch upon the windowsill of the sun mage’s room.
It was love at first sight for the star mage, as she gazed upon the sun mage, a tangle of golden curls as she slept. And the star mage began to sing, a sound as light as the stars themselves. The sun mage awoke and gazed in wonder at the beautiful bird, its song stealing her heart in an instant. The star mage turned herself back into her human form, and the mages embraced, talking through the long dark hours and sharing their stories with one another. As dawn broke, the star mage took her avian form once more and returned to her tower, leaving the sun mage with a kiss and a promise. That she would be back.
For many years the star mage flew to her lover, her sweet song of joy dancing on the night air. They would steal what time they could together, and when exhaustion claimed the sun mage, the star mage would watch over her as she slept, filling her dreams with music.
But someone else had heard her song. The middle tower was home to a nobleman, who was awoken every night by the bird’s beautiful sound, and became haunted by it. He wished to hear it always and so one night as the star mage flew past, he trapped the bird in a net and placed her in a jewelled cage.
Unable to shift back into human form in such a small space, the star mage couldn’t escape. The nobleman stared in wonder at the small silver bird and called her his starlark. Now he could enjoy her song day and night. But to his disappointment, the bird slept through the day, no matter how he poked and prodded her, and at night her song turned melancholy, a tune so sad he thought his own heart might break.
The sun mage would stand at her window and listen to the sorrowful song her lover sang. A song of lost love. She wept, not knowing if they would ever be reunited again.
For years the nobleman kept his starlark, though she grew thin and weak, and though the song was so tortured he could no longer sleep. In the end, half driven to madness, he released her, desperate to be free from the sound of suffering, and the star mage flew to the sun mage.
But too much time had passed since she was human, and she no longer had the strength to turn back. She never left the sun mage again though, not until there was no choice. For a bird does not live as long as a mage. Broken with grief, the sun mage could not bear for the star mage to ever be forgotten, and so she used her magic to imbue the island with the same sweet song that the star mage had once sung for her. And from that day on, through the valleys, through the hills, carried on the wind, there was always music and it lived in the hearts of all those who came to dwell there.
Wow. If Bex’s gorgeous writing has tempted you, both Viper and Venom are out now and I highly recommend reading them as soon as possible! Viper was one of my top ten reads in 2019, and I can’t wait to show you my review of Venom next week!