With the launch of Shaman’s Drum on Friday 11th January, I’m pleased to offer an extract to whet your appetite. Riga, the Black Shaman captain is going to spy on the Temple of the Dianics, a group of renegade cultists. Her lover, Iamo, the ex-monk, is unaware of what she is doing and will go crazy when he finds out.
A cat’s mind is a great place to be because it’s completely
self-centred. It revolves around my comfort, my needs and my
pleasure. I meditated around to that attitude and started to
move my body like a cat. Stretch the front legs one after the
other, lean forward and stick out each hind leg completely, turn
the head almost around, practice a little walking softly. e
shape-shift was nearly complete.
Demand, me, me, me, arrogant, demand, me, me, me, my
right, give me! My mouth opened and a petulant meow came
I stalked out of the bushes and over to the big doors which
were slightly ajar. Meow. Meow, meow, meow. Some women
were complete suckers for cats and I prayed I’d find one of
them straight off.
“Hello, Beloved of Bastet, what are you after, then?”
Bingo! Curl around the legs, pretend to be friendly, get what
you want through dissimulating. Rub the chin against the offered
hand. I love you, human lady; I love you so much you must give
me something to eat. Meow, meow, meow.
“Ah, what a sweetie you are. Come on then, let’s see what
we can “nd you.”
The unfortunate thing about shape-shifting is that you
sense a lot of things as the animal would, as you’re using its
body. Distinguishing human faces is beyond a cat, despite
their fantastic eyesight. they go by smell and movement. I
didn’t know this woman by her smell so I just saw her as an
unimportant human blob, which is how most cats usually see
people. Fortunately a cat’s hearing is brilliant and I could
understand her speech, being as my human brain was
controlling the cat-mind.
I trotted behind her sandaled feet, hearing her long robe
swishing with every step. She led me through the Temple to
the back rooms, reserved for more mundane tasks like
preparing food and storing wine. She gave me a dish of milk
and a few scraps of raw meat which were delicious (for a cat).
Someone called to her and she left me in there, probably
hoping I’d lie down by the fireplace, which I had to fight very
hard to resist as the cat-nature was starting to win.
I positioned my cat-self by the door and listened. A male
voice was speaking.
What the…A man in the Dianics’ holy-of holies?
I risked a peep around the door, flattening my black cat
body to the shadows. Concentration on using my own
eyesight was a nightmare but I managed it for a second or two.
A bespectacled monk in the brown robes of the
brotherhood was talking.
“So we are agreed, then, Sisters? Four days from now, when
the moon is set to wane.”
“Yes, yes, it should be done at the dark of the moon but
our guest is becoming impatient. I have persuaded him that it
cannot be done in the full moon but he will wait no longer
than the waning. He wants his promised gift. He will have the
fornicator monk for his revenge or he will withdraw his aid. If
he turns on us, we will not be able to control things. Iamo is
his, the Prince has sworn it.” The voice was harsh, female and
used to command.
“Then he will have to be delivered within the next four
days if he is to be correctly prepared for the ceremony.” The
man spoke again. There was a whiff of pure evil in that last
word and it was said with such relish that I made the sign of
protection in my head.
“That is your part of the bargain, Brother. Have you
decided how you will do it?”
The male voice took up again. “I have seen him. That is
why I asked for your indulgence tonight, Lady. He is here in
the capital with his whore. It will not be difficult. He will
probably be using the same apartment he did as a student.
Even if it is neccessary to bring him here a little earlier, you
will only have to keep him under lock and key until the time
“What about the woman?” Another female voice joined in.
“That is your province, Lady.”
“Very well, we will take care of her when the time comes. I
will have watchers out for her. The black bitch should not be
hard to find, if we can’t see her, we will just follow the smell.”
Nobody noticed the black cat, strolling quietly, hugging
the wall to reach the doors then slipping out, back into the
I shape-changed back to myself and dressed quickly,
needing to get back to the flat urgently, but promising myself
that the next cat who crossed my path would get a whole fish
as a thanks-offering.
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