Tag Archives: magical murder

A Modern Bestiary – R is for Rosmer

1126931186_imefairy32 The Rosmer is a peculiar creature, often described as having the head of either a horse, a whale, or a dog with its tongue hanging out.  Sailors have also reported seeing a mane of coarse hair on its pate and lots of whiskers on its face.  Supposedly, it has a human’s arms and torso, though those “hands” are heavily clawed, and its body ends with the tail of a fish.

rosmarine_27681_lg  This version sports four feet while others depict only two.  And that tusky head looks more like that of a boar than a dog or a whale.

Sometimes called a Ruszor by the Vikings, or a Rosmarine by the British, it normally prefers the icy waters of the north, and is far better known from the shores of Norway, or the Orkneys and the Shetlands, than it is from the rest of Great Britain.

The Rosmer, however, is not a Hippocampus or true sea-horse, like the one shown below.

seahorse-by-oz-best  Nor is it half as friendly as the Hippocampus tends to be.  The Rosmer will certainly not offer a ride and rescue to sailors who have been washed overboard.  Alas, the Rosmers are lascivious creatures and highly inclined to disport themselves with any hapless humans they run across in their domain.

Rampant by nature, they are apt to assault passersby with the relevant body parts and such encounters are commonly lethal.  That is because the typical Rosmer has an organ that is stiffened and reinforced with a sturdy os penis, or baculum, such that it resembles a battering ram and lacks only a forged iron ram’s head.

battering-ram  The Romans were highly dependent on symbolism, and considered rams to be admirable for their overt “masculinity” if not their aroma.  Literal-minded, the lot of them.

In times of old, the Rosmer was inclined to ignore humans, whether it encountered them in the water, aboard a boat, or ashore on either land or ice.  They could come ashore themselves and take off their “skins” in the same way as selkies, but seldom did so.  In any case, humans were fewer in number and boats were far smaller back then.  Humans who were inclined to slaughter living creatures purely for the sake of those ivory tusks were not armed with rifles, like those who kill elephants now, and so were more evenly matched with their prey.

walrus-ivory     For some reason, humans often feel compelled to carve pieces of ivory, as has been done here.

walrus-scrimshaw-2          In other cases, they seem to think that scrimshaw, somehow, is more needful and beautiful than the living creature itself.

Try to take a Rosmer’s tusks, however, and the outcome will be anything but artistic.  Instead of a walrus, which they greatly resemble, the ivory hunter may find himself confronting an irate fae creature massing as much as 22 times the weight of the man.  The Rosmer will not hesitate to express his opinion on the matter, using either his bulk, his tusks, or his penis which, as noted above, is even more impressive than that of the average walrus.


And the walrus is rather amazing.  Here, for example, is a link to video showing a walrus engaging in autoerotica.  Warning:  you may wish to view it in privacy.


The walrus’ baculum often reaches two feet in length, and is hefty enough that the Inuit, who call them oosiks, once used them as war clubs.

walrus-baculum1Imagine, then, the Rosmer whose baculum is displayed below:

rosmer-the-largest-ever-penis-bone-2    And  imagine what that bone might do to a disrespectful human!

Worse yet, the Rosmer feeds in much the same way as a walrus.  It uses vibrissae (whiskers) on its face to search the sediments on the sea bottom for shellfish.

walrus-vibrissae                  On sensing clams and the like, it will either root for its supper or use its tongue to shoot hydraulic jets at the muck.  Upon catching the clam, it will then use that tongue in reverse to suck its prey right out of its shell, a process which requires no more than six seconds regardless of the clam’s size (which may rival that baculum).

walrus-food    An irate Rosmer may do the same to those parts of a man that are cylindrical and therefore vaguely clam-shaped. Thus the hapless hunter may find himself catching it fore AND aft.

Since the Fall, Rosmers are finding life difficult in this world.  Like the walrus, they depend on pack ice overlaying the continental shelf where the seas are shallow.  There, they can most easily reach their own happy hunting grounds 150 feet below and then rest or reproduce in relative safety on the ice floes.


The north polar ice cap, however, is shrinking, and retreating from the continental shelves with astonishing speed as a result of global warming.  Here’s a look at what is happening in the Chukchi Sea:


This leaves the walrus and the Rosmer with fewer places to even exist, let alone prosper.  Should the Rosmer realize what is happening, I would expect them to act in self-defense, or perhaps to seek vengeance.  What form that might take, I cannot say, but must assume it will be proportionate to the crime, which is a form of genocide.


A Modern Bestiary – Q is for the Questing Beast

1126931186_imefairy32The Questing Beast is a curious creature.  Some say it’s compounded of several others .  It has the head of a snake, the body of a leopard, the backside of a lion and the hooves of a deer.

questing_beast_by_navarose-d6y907x  Which sounds something like this, does it not?  Or even this:

questingbeast-2  The latter version looks less like a Frankenstein’s monster, I think.  The color scheme is far more functional for a beast well known to spend most of its time in the woods.

The traditional view is taken from the legends of King Arthur.

questing-beast-and-arthur According to the highly unreliable Mallory, the Questing Beast confronted Arthur after his affair with Morgause, his half-sister.

Somehow Mallory overlooked the fact that Arthur waylaid both his half-sisters, and was not in the least confused about who they truly were.  Morgause, after all, was the wife of King Lot of the Orkneys, and therefore a personage in her own right.  As for Morgaine… ah, that is a long said tale for another day.

morgan_le_fay-sandys_frederick_  Morgaine le Fey was a good friend of mine, and of many other elves, which is why I named my only daughter in her honor.  I did not know Morgause well at all but you may rest assured that both sisters had good cause for the enmity they held toward their brother.  As did Mordred, the bastard son born to Morgause and Arthur who would later destroy his father’s kingdom.

Supposedly, Arthur was taking a nap and woke from a dreadful dream about the lad and that catastrophe to come.  And that is when he saw the Questing Beast drinking from a nearby pool. 

questing-beast-w-arthur  Here is a far more accurate depiction of the Beast, which is closer kin to a giraffe than a leopard, snake, or lion.  One wonders if earlier artworks were based upon third or fourth-hand accounts of the African wonder, as is the camelopardis.

The man most famous for hunting the Questing Beast was King Pellinore, whose whole family was dedicated to the task.

sir-palomedes-2   It was Sir Palamedes, the Saracen Knight of the Round Table, though, who finally succeeded in killing the creature.

Pellinore claimed the Questing Beast had been born of a human woman, a princess who lusted after her brother, the prince (reverse the genders involved and it sounds familiar, doesn’t it? )  She proceeded to sleep with a demon who promised he would make the boy love her.  When she turned up pregnant as a result, the princess promptly accused her brother of rape.

Interesting how both of the brothers involved in Mallory’s incestuous situations with their sisters end up being “falsely accused” in one way or another.


artus2-by-durer  Here is the “heroic” King Arthur as Albrecht Dürer portrayed him.  Literally a knight in shining armor.

As for Pellinore’s “innocent” prince, his father had him torn apart by dogs as punishment for his crime. Before the prince died, however, he predicted his sister would give birth to an abomination, and that the monster would make the same sounds as the pack of dogs waiting to kill him.

This is supposed to be the origin of the sound the Questing Beast makes, which originates from its stomach and has been described as resembling that made by a pack of thirty or forty dogs on the hunt.  Because of this, the Questing Beast is also known at the Beast Glatisant, which means the Barking Beast.

dog-pack  Personally, I find a large pack of dogs in full cry to be quite disturbing.  Especially if they are hunting me and mine.

Tales of the Quest for the Holy Grail, however, describe the Beast in very different terms.  In one case, it  is pure white in color.  It is still a chimera, but smaller than a fox and quite beautiful.  The noise from its belly, however, is that made by its unborn offspring, who achieve birth by tearing their mother apart from within.

The truth is worse than this.  The youngsters consume their mother, and then set off as a group to pursue and pull down other prey.  In Faerie, they would have been schooled by older males even as older bull elephants train young rogues.

marauding-elephants  Here, a young bull elephant is about to learn a lesson in manners.

In this world, however, few adult males survived the Fall.  The Barking Beasts do not truly mature here.  They do not part ways with the pack either, and their savagery is remarkable.  Their handiwork is now commonly mistaken for the work of werewolves despite the striking differences in the wounds made by their fangs.

If you would defend yourself from even one of them, however, you would be well-advised to rely on cold iron rather than silver bullets.

werewolf-full-moon  And do not think you are only at risk when the moon is full.



A Modern Bestiary – N is for Nuckelavee

1126931186_imefairy32The Nuckelavee is horrid in pretty much every way, from its appearance to its manners to what I can only describe with any honesty as halitosis from Hell.

In general, the creature is a bit like a centaur in that a man’s torso is joined to a horse.  But the man is legless and the horse is rotting.  Neither have any skin to speak of, so white tendons, red muscles, and yellow blood vessels are all plainly visible.

nuckelavee___custom_action_figure_by_creaturesh-d567hbw  This version depicts the traditional form of the Nuckelavee, where the manlike half features a head with a single over-sized blood-red eye and elongated arms that can easily reach the ground and snatch up a hapless human.

Its overall red coloring is inaccurate, however, as the blood of the Nuckelavee is black, and the muscles therefore darker than what is shown here.  Nor does this image convey the pulsations of those blood vessels, which are sickening in their own right.  The nuckelavee is more a fae zombie than anything else.

The equine portion shown here is also poorly done as to musculature, though the fin-like extensions at the horse’s leg joints are fairly true to form.  There are some, in fact, who consider the creature a hybrid of the Scottish water-horse or kelpie and a demonic rider who may well hail from the Wild Hunt.


This more modern version, though, is clearly wrong, deriving more from ancient Greek mythology than the traditional lore of the Orkneys.

Known for its hatred of humankind, there are those to this day who will not even speak its name for fear of summoning one of them.  The nuckelavee is particularly offended by those who burn seaweed on the beach in order to produce mounds of what was called kelp in the 1700s.  It is actually soda ash, an alkaline material used to ‘sweeten’ acidic soil, and to manufacture soap and glass.


Here, a kelpwife tends a fiery kelp pit at the Ness o’ Brough in Sanday.

The pungent smoke smells nearly as bad as the nuckelavee‘s own toxic breath, and the creature is apt to respond by using its bad breath to set off epidemics and/or droughts, killing horses and cattle and crops in addition to humans.  One disease in particular is blamed on the angry fae – mortasheen, also known as glanders.  It kills horses by infecting the respiratory tract and causing ulcers that will not heal, and it can spread to men as well as other domesticated animals.


This depiction renders the horse half far too hound-like, in my opinion, but the attitude shown is true to life.

Once found only among the Orkney Islands, an archipelago off the northern tip of Scotland, the nuckelavee have been displaced by war, by industrial development, by the spread of cold iron and human machines, and now, by the Fall itself.  Having largely retreated from this world into Faerie, some of them were then flung back through the doors between the worlds and landed in places where they’ve never been seen before.  That would include the coast of California, which is now in it’s 5th year of drought and where a peculiar wasting disease is afflicting the starfish in coastal waters.

A coincidence?  I think not!

There is, however, a way to escape the nuckelavee, should it attack.  For reasons I’ve always assumed are related to its lack of skin, the creature is repulsed by fresh water.  If you can splash it with the contents of your water bottle, it will flee.  If you can skip across to the other side of a freshwater stream, or jump into a lake, it will not continue its pursuit.

nuckalavee-with-hellboy  I do not recommend using this approach unless you too have a Fist From Hell.  Nor does gunfire seem to have much effect on the beast, perhaps because the creature is already dead and therefore cannot be killed.

In the Orkneys, it was the Mither o’ the Sea who kept a leash on the nuckelavee, confining him during the summer months while she worked to undo the harm wrought by Teran, the Orcadian spirit of winter.  Likewise, during the coldest parts of the year, the beast is kept in check by rainfall, which it abhors in equal measure.


The Mither has much in common with the Greek deity Circe.  However, She has not been seen since the Fall, and may have been trapped in Faerie, or lost to us altogether.

One thing is certain.  Global warming is rapidly increasing the severity and frequency of droughts in many parts of the world.  Reduced freshwater flow is shutting down municipal wells along the California seashore in places like Monterey.  In the San Francisco Bay and Delta, it is resulting in ever more salt water intrusion upriver from the bay.  This is exactly opposite what is needed to keep the nuckelavee at bay.


Invisible Creatures

bloody knife               1126931186_imefairy32 Cold iron…Ick!

To see what’s present but invisible – that is the hardest part of any branch of forensics.  And mostly it applies to the very small.  After all, ‘most anyone can spot a hunting knife or a rifle or a bloody rock.  But fingerprints and fibers and microscopic bits of DNA?  Not so obvious, are they?  But it can happen with much larger items as well.  For instance, what if you can’t see the body?

The sad truth is, in human courts, if there is no body, it’s damnably hard to convict anyone of a killing.  The reason?  Humans won’t accept testimony from ghosts or banshees.

ghost on staircase  Why not?  Why would I lie?

Well, yes, as it turns out, a ghost might very well prevaricate about certain things – the same things as most of the living, in fact.  But not about its own existence or its identity, if it remembers who it was.  And banshees – all right, so some of them do get confused about time frames.  They are, after all, best known for announcing a death ahead of time and scaring the hell out of people.  And the banshees have suffered the same hard knocks as the rest of the Fae, so some of them are a bit…um, tetched is the old word for that.  Unreliable.  Crazed, even.

Best mind what you say to a banshee.    thX72KQBMN

Okay, maybe it’s not that unreasonable, but the end result is, it’s damned hard to prove anybody is dead without some sort of corpus delicti.  So if one has any magical talents, the easiest way to deal with a corpse is simply to render those inconvenient remains invisible.

It’s not as hard as you might think.

Your first care should be making sure that no one is going to trip over the newly deceased.  A dead give-away, that is, and no – that was not a pun.  Go to Waller for that sort of foolishness. Since one of the things the killer is trying to avoid is hard work, that rules out many of the things humans do with a corpse – burial, dismemberment and the like.  Burning the body is also a bad choice, since fires of sufficient size tend to attract far too much attention.  But placing a body in a tree, or on a roof, or a telephone pole is quite effective, once it’s been rendered invisible.

How, then, is the forensic tech or detective to locate the carcass? The same way one locates invisible creatures.  What cannot be seen can still be heard, or smelt, or felt.

boggart  A  boggart has a distinctive vinegar reek, and a habit of snorting and snuffling when it’s upset.

Another approach is to make use of natural elements.  Summon a cloud of blue bottle or blow flies, and trust me, they’ll show you what you’re looking for by landing upon it, in their hundreds and thousands.  They’re drawn to death anyway, and are likely to show up on their own, whereupon the buzzing will be your first clue to the body’s location.

th5ILPBXGM  Greedy little buggers!

If you have a sylph handy, you can ask for help in the form of an atmospheric effect – a cloud formation that shapes itself to that of the corpse.

sylph  An air elemental can also be fairly destructive to your crime scene, however, so ask very nicely, and offer fair payment.

If all else fails, you can try smudging likely locations with smoldering sage, and hope the smoke will find and enfold the form of what you seek. Once you’ve located the corpse, however, you will still need to pierce the glamour, or else undo that invisibility spell.  If you’re pressed for time, by the circumstances, bad weather, whatever, then do what you can to visualize the carcass in situ, and record it on film.  You might try using Luminol first.

luminol  Defensive wounds often render the victim’s hands just as bloody as the killer’s, so you may be able to ‘light up’ relevant parts of the body even if you can’t visualize the entire corpse.

Luminol won’t work on ichor nor sap from a wood nymph, of course, but it will work on most kinds of red blood because of the iron content.  Oh hell – this damned machine is shooting sparks out the back.  What did I do this time?

Seeing the Unseen

thFXWR15WZ    1126931186_imefairy32

Now then, where were we?  Oh, yes.  Seeing what is really there…in your crime scene, your victim, your suspects, or your witnesses.

When magic is involved in a crime, you really do have to be careful.  In some cases, this simply means paying attention.  In others, it means piercing a glamour, or the undoing of an invisibility potion or spell.  In still others, it means risking that which, once it has been seen, cannot be unseen!

For instance, your victim may appear thusly:

b27356  Human, right?  Cutish, even, though seriously in need of a fashion consultant.

But what if reality looks like this?

fay vic  Then you’d better know it!

Identification of the fae can be difficult at the best of times, but surely more so when you don’t even know someone’s fae to begin with.  Likewise, the circs of the crime.  Who was murdered usually has much to do with why and how, not to mention who did it.

For me, not a problem.  For Waller and his junior partner, Ivory Jackson, it can be a stumbling block of mountainous proportions.  Neither one has the Sight, you see, and so I am forever wasting my time on the basics.  I have to pierce the glamour, get them to focus on real objects and persons, and then do either some squats or jumping jacks and get the blood flowing through their hobbled human brains.

As you might imagine, both men are resistant to doing such things at a crime scene, especially if it’s in front of the general public or, worse yet, fellow officers.

Then, as often as not, they will see through the glamour and find it does them no good at all.  If the subject is human and female, well, then the glamour is mostly focused on one thing, and one thing only:

Boobs.        Mariah Carey

The reality, for the dicks, is always disappointing, and not all that helpful in crime-solving, either.  The magical mud used by most to create the enhancing illusion is also apt to interfere with other aspects of forensics, like any trace evidence left on the corpse by the killer(s).

But we’ll talk about that another day.

Right now, we need to focus on dangerous glamours.  Those are the kind that hide booby traps (and I don’t mean the type described earlier, which are mostly matrimonial in nature).  No, I mean the kind that can kill an incautious detective, whether human or fae.

booby trap  Punji stakes of the metal type.

Those hiding a suspect’s appearance are also a serious problem, and frequently the most dangerous of all to confront.

For example, the human-looking ‘person of interest’ might actually be:


a goblin of some sort.

Or even

vampire  a blood sucker.

Worst of all (well, from MY point of view), it could be

fae killer  one of my kind.

More than a few have gone mad in this iron-bound world, and gone unfae as well.  One cannot count on these fae to ever obey the Unwritten Laws.  They are apt to adopt the appetites of those first two examples, or to invent something newer and deadlier yet.

If you yourself lack the Sight, then make sure that someone among you does have it, and mind what they tell you.  If you’re on your own, then I’d recommend the new Falsify RayBans.  Sporting a thin film of silver as well as the usual glare-blocking features and tints, they have proven quite useful to the ungifted human.

thOD4VPH0N  But even the Falsify’s won’t help you if you encounter the truly horrific.  For as I’ve told you, some things, once seen, cannot be unseen.

you know  And don’t go blaming the Fae for this fellow.  He’s one of yours!