Once Toby made it inside, she pulled the door closed and sat him on a spindly wooden chair, painted white. As he breathed in the musk ever-present inside her van, his head cleared. Just a bit. Madame Zerga glided around the tight space, shuffling through crystals, oils, and half-melted candles. He'd seen her hundreds of times, thousands, but he still marveled at her. She stood well over six feet, her body soft and rotund. Draped in black and white scarves, studded with rhinestones, no one missed her. Yet she seemed ethereal at times, just holding onto substance, like some fleeting spirit passing through. Like now.
She sat down opposite him. Her eyes, a cloudy, light blue, almost violet, pierced him. He couldn't even look into them, had to trace the lines of the tattoo that ran across her face and neck. Those eyes and that pop of red were the only color on her person.
She sighed. "How many times have you worked yourself to exhaustion this week, Tobias?"
I played with history a little bit, too, in the King Jester books. Hence, the Oracle of Delphi, now a carnival fortune teller living in the back of a VW Bus. Well, one of the Oracles of Delphi The Pythia, the name for any of the priestesses in residence at the Temple of Apollo at Dephi, was said to have received prophecies from Apollo himself. Of course, the most common scientific theory as to how this actually worked is that the 'prophecies' came from gases released from a chasm in the temple… which basically sent the Pythia on a major trip. But who can really say?
When I made Madame Zerga, I admit I wasn't initially planning to have her be anything other than just Madame Zerga. But, while explaining her whole history, I couldn't resist the opportunity to play around a little more. Thus, we touch on her stint as the Oracle of Delphi. I don't say how long she was there, but I can imagine that she made some decent predictions during her tenure.
Want to see more of Madame Zerga? Check out The Jester Prince, Book Two of the King Jester Trilogy.
With the destruction of Zirkua Fantastic, King Jester, the spirit of discord, has been unleashed once more upon the Earth. Only Toby, a fresh, untrained immortal, and the other former members of Zirkua Fantastic dare to stand against his chaos. But their hold is tenuous, and they are only truly safe from his power within the bounds of their camp. King Jester grows more powerful and more dangerous with each passing day. But he's made one mistake. That mistake could be his undoing. He's stolen Toby's soul mate, Marley. When he discovers Marley's location, Toby knows what he has to do. He will rescue Marley, even if it means he has to face King Jester alone.
But the others don't let him go at it alone. Marley has information about the resistance. They can't afford to let him stay in King Jester's control. In desperation, the immortals raise an army to storm the compound. But will it be enough to challenge the embodiment of chaos himself? All they can do is hope. Hope and put their faith in love.
Available through Prizm Books.
"This is pointless!" Zerga jumped over her table and separated Han and Yvette from Toby's side. "You're not going to fight."
Yvette reached out, grabbing Toby's stump. "I say we are. Or we're leaving."
Toby cleared his throat and stepped forward. He grabbed Zerga by the wrist. "Can we talk?"
"Not now, Toby."
"No. Now is exactly when we need to talk." He flooded power into the strength of his grip. Not enough to hurt her. Probably not even if he wanted to hurt her. But she tore her eyes away. Toby stared back at her. "Now."
"Fine." She followed him out of the van, past the fire, to the same dark corner where he and Lou had met, where he, Han, and Yvette came up with the plan to begin with. As soon as he stopped, she started. "What is this about, Toby?"
"Why are you reacting like this?"
"Because this is the fastest way to get yourself killed. You and anyone else that you include in this damn fool of a plan."
"No. That's not it. I know you better than that. What's really going on?"
She paused, eyes thin knives of violet light. "You don't know what you're talking about, Tobias."
"I do. Be honest with me."
"You would have died," she whispered. "You would have died, because I couldn't train you."
"That's not it."
"Yes it is. If we had never found about this, and you'd just gone, you'd be dead. Coyote would have killed you."
"That's what this is about?"
She nodded. "I couldn't live with myself if I got someone else killed."
Someone else? He pushed that to the side. Another time, when he didn't need to keep her on his side, he would ask. "It would have been me getting me killed, for starters." He wrapped his arm around her, squeezing her. "Besides, don't you think I would have run, first?"
She pulled away. "No, I don't. Not if Lou's right. If you even got close to Marley, if he really is your Other, you wouldn't have left him behind." She turned her head and looked at the van. "If you think you could have left, you're just lying to yourself."
Wednesday, August 13th: Voss Foster: Demon Hunting and Tenth Dimensional Physics (http://vossfoster.blogspot.com)
Thursday, August 14th: Siana Wineland: Siana's Place (http://www.sianawineland.com/)
Friday, August 15th: S.Evan Townsend: Writer’s Thoughts (http://blog.sevantownsend.com/)
Saturday, August 16th: Iyana Jenna: Iyana Jenna (http://iyanajenna.com/)
Sunday, August 17th: TR Goodman: trgoodman.net (http://www.trgoodman.net)
Monday, August 18th: T. Strange: T.Strange (http://tqstrange.blogspot.com/)
Tuesday, August 19th: Frances Pauli: Speculative Friction (http;//francespauli.blogspot.com)
Wednesday, August 20th: Jennifer Willis: Jennifer Willis (http://jennifer-willis.com/)
Thursday, August 21st: Cathy Hird: Open One More (http://openonemore.com/)
Friday, August 22nd: J.J. DiBenedetto: Writing Dreams (http://writingdreams.net/)