Traveled to see or at least feel, the Characters in my story.
The story I am talking about is:
The Unicorn Rider
Virgins, Unicorns & The Dead
I have been working on the telling of this story for about 3 years. I have researched magic/magick, history both in Europe, Asia and the USA involving the mythology I wanted to use as the frame work for the building of the story. A place where the characters would live and have their drama. Mythology and Magic would give them their tools to act and react to the problem (plot) at hand.
OMG, but I did not expect what I would find in the brief trip I could take to where the story originates.
I am not sure how I came to find the beginning of this story in the town of Natchez, Mississippi. As any author you see in your minds eye a place where things take place. There is a taste and a smell to a place. Buildings, lighting, weather, atmosphere all play a part in the formation of a story. The place is the stage where the characters act out their drama, their piece of the story. The location energy provides fuel for the characters.
My shock was how accurate I was between the reality of the location and what I saw in my head, while telling the story.
The roads were picked purposely to match where the principle characters had been. The Natchez Trace Parkway and the road through the Homochitto National Park off US 61. That is where it hit me. I saw the over hanging tree branches where Alastar Whybow drove his 1963 black Porsche Carrera at top speeds after being chased out of a long gravel drive by a necromancer’s familiar, while on an investigation. I could feel him there, communicating live using his iPhone talking with his worried magus counter part in Chicago as he drove away from that danger. I felt the strangeness while I drove under the same mist topped trees in the light rain. Fortunately the car I had rented for the trip drove like a sports car… odd a Jeep would do such a thing, but I took each curve with expert confidence with only one car behind me and a hand full coming along the opposite lane. I also felt the simmering beginning of a possible romance between them, Edita his counter part as she questioned why he would go so far out of his way into rural areas surrounding Natchez as part of his investigation. His answers were concise, but also met the needs of concern expressed by his almost life long companion on the other end of his call. I did not think it would affect me that much, but it did. I was there, I felt the energy, the mystery, that Whybow was peering into to put together the puzzle pieces. To finding the woman, the daughter of these Magi who were now missing. Magi just don’t turn up missing. Where was this woman and did she hold a piece of the puzzle?
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I then looked forward to how well I had ‘channeled’ the town of Natchez, I had never seen or been to before. As I used again my iPhone’s GPS to find the Natchez Grand Hotel where I would be staying in the heart of the town, I felt it very familiar to me. I was on Canal Street, briefly, though I had not known there were such a street in Natchez before my arrival there. Canal Street being the one, Candice Le Wilde would walk down to work in the bar owned by a family friend Toni Cassini. Walking from her inherited Civil War era house, apparently, up on Madison Street. I turned on to Broadway Street prompted by the GPS voice to find not far from Canal Street on Main Street, the bar Candice would lug her backpack of college books to work in the bar and then study for a few hours in the back of that old building. The bar’s counter in that building was dark mahogany and billed in the 1880s as the largest bar west of the Mississippi. That bar and its mirror were the character Toni Cassini’s focus and pride in the story. It would be later with a dinner there in the next early evening I would experience the ‘long’ set of tall ceilinged rooms, which had to my amazement a back room filled with tables and chairs. The same room Candice would sit with her lap top to study and talk with Toni… and yes there was absolutely WiFi there!
I stood there in front of the Grand Hotel, which was indeed grand, staring in amazement at the bar down the street, the tall windows, the old double door, the neon lights with ads flashing… yes it was Toni’s place and the place Candice would meet Alastar Whybow to begin her life as the Unicorn Rider her family had created and animated to guard and guide the dead. Yes, I was at that moment ‘there’, though tired from the long trip on winding roads. I was lost in my writer’s mind’s eye breathing in the air, while staring at the actual place a life turning point happened between two people and witnessed by a third who had been sworn to protect her. I was amazed… but that was not all that would come to me while in Natchez. It would seem the muses wanted to give me tangible proof of character life and magic there.
I had heard of the King’s Tavern and one night I was able to go to dinner there. This place was very old, actually from 1789, making it the oldest functional building in the Mississippi territory. While I and some acquaintances looked over the menu I saw out of the corner of my eye in the dimly lit dining room, a transparent figure draped in white from head to toe. I held my side vision long enough to sense it may have been a young woman. The figure did not touch the floor and was no more than about 5 feet tall as it appeared at the corner of the table to my right across from me, as I sat on the end of this long wooden table on a bench. Others with me did not see it, but were not surprised because they said the place is known for that sort of thing. The dinner was a delight, my company satisfied, especially with the hand made rum from the distillery there. The owner of the establishment a gem and a mystery all at the same time. I also felt safe there, even with the appearance of the unusual. Exactly the atmosphere Whybow and even Candice would have anticipated living within, here in this town right at the shore of the Mississippi River. A port town and having been the capital of New Spain at one time.
I continued to research and travel around town. I did not have the opportunities given me to chance upon long visits with local people as I had in Foley, Alabama. I had been there in Foley too, to experience the gulf and the areas outside of New Orleans on this trip. But again this would not be the focus apparently of this visit to Natchez. The focus was again on the ‘dead’. That would be a right puzzle piece for me the author, when most my characters were dealing with the dead and some were even accomplished necromancers as a specialty as mages. The mixing of light and dark. The mixing of present with the past. I and my group being on a budget could not indulge in antebellum mansion tour hopping. The price was a bit steep. But we all agreed upon one mansion, not too far off Canal Street and South of the Natchez Grand Hotel. I would place the name here, but I am sensitive to the religious views of others in the area and of the particular place… they may not want or like to be associated with paranormal sightings. But toward the end of the tour, which had been excellent, very eye opening as to the suffering these people had, just from simply living life and the loss of loved ones that occurred (especially children). In the bedroom of the lady of the house the group was taken in and the guide opened the velvet rope to have himself enter the larger area of the room. I had entered to the left to take a place beside the door, when I was hit with an odor, a smell, though not too unpleasant impressed me as a warning for me to back out. I did. The room was set up with a silk black mourning gown in two pieces draped over the bed. The story told of a loss of a child and the mistress having made her own gown for such occasions. The guide went on to say how the lady and her daughter decided to take meals in the room, while the mansion had been occupied by Union troupes for 3 years. How the mansion had remained intact with the furniture locked by the occupying Union general in the attic with the lady having the only key. It was then I felt that the ‘lady’ did not wish for anyone to be there, that she was done and wanted the group to leave. It was not a ‘sad’ feeling, only a feeling that she was finished with the intrusion. I backed out. My acquaintances had not smelt the strong odor, nor did apparently the rest of the small tour group. The odor was not in the hallway. Once I was in the hallway the feeling of being asked to leave disappeared. I felt too that talking about her sorrow and about the small slippers near the bed had been the last straw for ‘what’ or ‘who’ lived in the room. Once outside, due to my experiences with both the living and the ‘dead’ whether in body or spirit. I dislike leaving anyone ‘locked’ in a place, I offer in a whisper or as a thought a ‘permission’ to be able too leave an area and proceed to where the affected spirit needs or wishes to go. As I looked at the house I felt a woman say I am happy here, I can come and go as I wish. Thank you. So she is willing to live with the daily tours of the living intruding upon her home… though there is evidently a limit to her tolerance.
I have never had this much contact with paranormal situations as I did in my visit to Natchez, this is definitely not a usual for me, but it is not unknown to me either. So maybe… there is more to the story pouring through me than meets the eye. Like I have said before there is always a ‘kernel’ of truth within a myth of any kind. Myth being in the past a lesson about something to do or avoid in life. Natchez being the kernel in the story I am creating.
I will leave at the bottom of this blog post some links to the places mentioned here, so if you are interested in a visit to Natchez, you too can find these wonderful places. In the future on Patreon, I will have this story posted for Supporting Patrons to read, so if you want to read along as the 1st draft is written you can support me, my writing and research to make it a really great tale. For those sensitive to sexuality, the story is of course having within it the full expression of human emotions, so there will be the sensual shared within these pages. I will share the Patreon link soon, once it is set up with materials worthy of support.
It is truly wonderful that I myself can travel to my ‘story’. That I can experience my characters. That I can even feel what it is they felt, without much use of imagination on my part there. That there is present an incredible life and supportive energies that these characters can feed off of and live upon. I am amazed. I am hoping in the future as others read the story they would want to take the journey as well in person and be amazed too. Maybe get a little rest and find their heart, spirit and mind with their stay in Natchez, Mississippi.
As a parting thought, remember the kernel of truth, the story is there for you.
“The Prologue” (here is the actual 1st draft prologue to “The Unicorn Rider”)
Tickets for the antebellum mansion tour at the Natchez Visitor Center
The Bar with the 1880’s mahogany bar counter extraordinaire (Toni Cassini’s place)
Steampunk Coffee Roasters (a place I had an espresso, telling a ghost story)