Trumpeter Swans and the Development of Swan’s Lake (Primal Magic)
I love Trumpeter Swans. And this is prime wintering season for Trumpeter Swans here in the Pacific Northwest. Shallow wetlands being prime nesting grounds, they should feel right at home in this area of Washington.
Research and foundation are prime requisites in creating story and there must be time devoted to discover and relate elements and symbology to create an engaging and fully-realized three-dimensional story that is able to draw a reader into my world, as I see it.
“She is very beautiful.”
Reynaldo couldn’t look away from the view of the serene lake surrounded by the lush forests. So different from the barren fields and fallow grounds on the other side of the estate.
At one time, the lake had been just as stagnant as the dried up land. Before she came. But only the lake and the surrounding woodlands seemed to have been affected by her magical appearance.
He felt Satrius’s presence behind him, but Reynaldo was focused on the beauty of the swan who was about to take flight. He watched as her powerful wings extended and she glided across the lake, her mirror image reflected in the shimmering, clear blue water, and finally soared into the air. His gaze was glued to the arc of her neck as she stretched out, and he could almost feel the wind against his own face, the freedom of the sky as he followed the perfect symmetry of her form. He felt his soul reach out to her, yearning to soar with her.
Swan pairs mate for life and usually form pair bonds on the winter grounds, often where the pen (female) was hatched. The pen will choose the nesting site, the cob (male) will defend it. A Trumpeter Swan’s life expectancy can span as much as 20 years. If one mate dies, the other with find another mate.
“He will destroy you, Martine. If you do not act soon, it will be too late and Satrius will find a way to be rid of you. Of all of us.”
She turned swiftly to face one of the elder shifters, Arwen. He was a gruff old man, but beneath that she had come to determine he had a heart of gold and he meant well. He led the northern flock, those who had arrived in the first week. Yet all seemed to look to him for guidance. News traveled quickly in this magical world, and when word reached them of a strange swan maiden from the other land, they had begun arriving daily from throughout Valliana. Usually a bird or two at a time, but within Arwen’s flock there were at least eleven.
“I cannot act too quickly, Arwen. I know the urgency—you have all more than made that clear.”
“You are the chosen one. We all knew it when we heard of your arrival from the other world. What we attempt here has never been done before. For a swanshifter to mate with one outside our species—we do not know if it can even be done. Not even in Valliana.”
Martine Cullen, the swan maiden, is of of Celtic descent; Reynaldo Donata, lord of Terragatto, is a shapeshifting predator, who is lord of the castle in this realm. A dark magic has settled over Valliana, and only Martine can break the spell of Satrius, a very powerful warlock, who has cast a spell over Reynaldo.
When I’m researching, I usually start with symbology, and in this story, I wanted to know what the swan symbol represented. What I found is this: Swan is a symbol of gracefulness and intuition. In alchemy, it is a symbol of hermaphroditism, being either male or female, It is a marriage of opposites – perfect for my story. But, of course, as any writer will, we take great liberties with the what-ifs, at least jumping one step farther. What if this, what if that? I’ve never been good at taking just one step…
She again turned toward the water and gazed out at the shifters resting there. It was then she came up with a dangerous alternative. Would any of them agree? Could she accept it, herself?
She whirled back toward Arvin. “What if we could give him what he seems to desire? It would be taking a chance, but if we can break the darkling magic it might be worth a try.” Suddenly, it all became clear. “That’s it.”
“What are you saying?”
She laughed and a weight lifted from her shoulders. There was a way to beat Satrius and possibly to break his hold over Reynaldo. “It has never been done before—not among the swanshifters.” Would it be such a sacrifice for her to accept another into the pairing? She felt a tingling begin between her thighs at the idea she was considering. It was a desperate chance, but one she was willing to take if the others could agree.
“You can’t be considering what I think you are.”
“Would it be so wrong? Help me, Arwen. You have told me how dangerous it would be for a child of Reynaldo and Belinda to be brought into this world. If it was not so, this gathering would not be taking place.”
“It is dangerous. If you have not found a cob to your liking thus far, what makes you think you will find one acceptable for the relationship you are considering?”
“I was not thinking of a cob instead of Reynaldo, but someone who would enhance our pairing. Help me find the right one. One to tempt him from Satrius—one he could not deny. Please.”
“You ask a great deal, Martine.”
“I know. I know he wants me, but he holds back. If we present him with something more, something he cannot deny, strong enough to turn him away from the evil. Offer him so much pleasure he is blinded by it. If Belinda is allowed to bear his child, the chasm of evil will rip wide open. Is that what you want?”
“No, of course not.”
“You know the flocks better than I. Help me find the right cob who could bond with two others for a lifetime. One who is strong enough to help me woo Reynaldo away from his sinister lovers. Yes, he seems to want me, but it isn’t enough.” She again turned to scan the waters. “There must be one among the many—one who would welcome this strange pairing.”
“You are asking that he submit to another. It will not be easy to find one that will accept the sharing of a pen. This is far beyond anything that has been attempted before. For you to share yourself between two—is this really what you want?”
She turned to look up at him. “I must pair with Reynaldo. To lose this chance, could mean all of our deaths.” She touched her abdomen. “In here, I know this is right. What we plan is the path I must follow. That we must follow.”
One step farther. Our Martine is a very clever woman. And it will take an adventurous, determined shapeshifter to save Reynaldo and this world, one who isn’t afraid to break boundaries, to bend mating rituals long followed in the past.
Thus, we have the story of Martine and Reynaldo, shifters who will break all the laws of their respective kinds in order to save their world.
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