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How to make a monster


The sun shines down on Pierus, King of the Muses, standing before a tall, black, red and white striped archway. He wears a black three piece suit with white sleeves, and a black top hat. Red and yellow killer roses crowd around on every side, baring their teeth. A lone crow sailed through a cloudy blue sky.

Let's talk about monsters. Because like, Halloween is the perfect time to talk about those, right?


There are a few monsters in the Shadow series. Some nicer than others - but the ultimate monster (at least for now) is Pierus, King of the Muses. I mean, he's old, he's grumpy, he talks (at least in my head) in a ridiculously inappropriate posh English accent, sure. But it's more than that: he single-minded and driven by a purpose that nobody even Shadow could even guess at, because nobody else is old enough to remember things that happened at the beginning of Shadow time. (And given that muses are immortal unless they get killed, you think about why that might be.)


So let me tell you a secret about Pierus, and why he is the way he is.


I'll set the scene for you: It's about 3,000 years ago, in a place called Thebes, Greece. He's a doctor, living in a dark and closed up room with his brother, who is so ill he cannot even look at the sun. It's a miserable and hopeless time, until two things happen: One, Pierus meets a woman and falls in love. Pity she's already married, sister to a demigod, and totally out of his league. Two - and this is the critical moment - he goes to see an oracle who is famed for her 100% accurate predictions, but not so much for her integrity when she's busy.


That little interview went something like this:


~~

Pierus strode through the curtains. His short, belted tunic was crisp and clean, but his hair was awry and his face turbulent. He knelt before the table and fixed his eyes on the oracle. “Great Melissa, tell my future.”


She raised her eyebrows. His manner was definitely not normal. There was no trace of his usual disdain, but neither did he plead like she might have expected from a man looking like he did right now. It was a demand. She couldn’t even be bothered with him. She laid a hand on the gourd and said the first thing that came into her head. “Your future, son? You’ll be a king, and gain immortality. Now bog off.”


Pierus stared at her, open-mouthed. He rose slowly to his feet, backed away and disappeared through the curtain without a word.


A long moment of silence followed, then a burst of high pitched giggling in the outer room from both Ianthe and Oinone.


“Melissae!” Melissa spoke the word sharply enough for them both to hurry in, still giggling.

“What’s so funny?”


“We heard what you told him,” Ianthe said.


“And he believed you,” Oinone added.


“You should have seen his face! You know you’re awful sometimes.”


Melissa snickered. “That ought to keep him occupied for a while. Now if anybody else wants me, they can bog off too."


~~


What kind of a person could Pierus have been, if that had not happened? Well to be honest, probably still of a sour old grape. But perhaps he might have lived and died like anyone else, instead of spending millennia raising havoc in a world created to be his prison...a world where he called himself king, and nobody knew how to argue.


So how does a monster convince a fairy to help him obtain a ridiculously powerful chaos weapon? Check out Shadow Book 1: Bloody Fairies >>




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