New from the Tales of the Wendy series!
The Origin Story of Peter Pan & Tigerlilja
A BRAND NEW TALES OF THE WENDY NOVELLA!
The origin of Peter Pan and Tigerlilja, a stand-alone companion novella to the Tales of the Wendy series.
One, cursed by accident. The other, cursed by destiny. But losing everything isn’t always the end. Sometimes, it’s just the beginning.
Praise for The Wendy, by Erin Michelle Sky & Steven Brown:
“One of This Year’s Hottest New YA Series” — Goodreads
“This is a strong retelling of Peter Pan, with an empowered female protagonist who carves her own path. Wendy’s sharp wit is truly impressive.” — School Library Journal
“All the markings of a classic … captivating and delightful.” — Lydia Sherrer, USA TODAY Bestselling Author of Love, Lies & Hocus Pocus
“From page one right up to the end, The Wendy held me enthralled.” — Readers’ Favorite
It should have been impossible, but his mother was dying. She was tall and beautiful, still in the full health and vigor of her prime despite having lived more than a thousand years near the heart-spring of her magnificent forest.
That, for dryads, was the way of things.
She wore very little because she had no need of clothing, no matter the time of year. She slumbered in winter, when the sap ran slow and her forest lay silent. And she awoke each spring, pale as the moon, lithe and hungry and fertile. She blossomed through the summer, and by autumn she was full-bodied. Curvaceous. With skin of cinnamon gold. Her name was Taiga, and she was the object of every man’s desire.
Every man, including Buri.
Buri was the first-man. The man that the great cow, Audhumla, had licked from the ice. Grandfather to Odin. Great-grandfather to Balder, and Hermod, and Thor. Because he sprang from the ice, he held dominion over it. But the ice was receding from the world. And although men respected him, and even feared him, they did not love him.
Not like they loved Taiga.
She was the dryad of the far north—of pine and spruce and birch—and she protected the clan that lived there. Her trees gave the people warmth, and the animals that sheltered beneath their boughs offered plentiful hunting. Her bountiful forest swelled as the ice receded, seeding the great tundra.
But the tundra belonged to Buri.
Buri had tried, at first, to marry Taiga. If they were married, then it would not matter so much where his land ended and hers began. They would hold dominion over all the lands of the north together. And although Buri wasn’t big on sharing, he would have done almost anything to have her.
Taiga, however, being a dryad, was wise to the ways of life.
“No,” she told him. “You would tire of me. You think you would share, now, because your desire tells you this. But once you were sated, you would no longer feel so generous. If you were the sort of man to share with everyone—if you invited your sons to drink your mead and invited your grandchildren to share the meat of the tundra—I would believe you. But you share with no one, so I do not believe your offer, even if you believe it yourself.”
This made Buri angry, but Taiga had been right not to trust him. Because Buri knew there was another way he could solve his problem.
He could kill her.
In fact, Buri had wanted to kill Taiga ever since. For if she died, her forest would die, and then he could reclaim all the northern lands for his eternal ice and snow. Unfortunately, soon after she refused Buri, Taiga had agreed to marry Pan, who was also one of the gods.
That made things more difficult.
Despite the stories, Pan was not ugly. Nor was he a goat from the waist down. Those are only lies that Buri told later because his jealousy had no bounds. In truth, Pan was exceedingly handsome. He walked the earth on the legs of a man, strong and full of passion, and he flew through the skies on the wings of an eagle.
His magical pipes, inscribed with his name, shared the gift of music with the men and women of the north, but worst of all (as far as Buri was concerned) he added his own magic to Taiga’s, keeping her lands lush and vibrant, so she could stay with him forever.
As for Taiga, she loved Pan with all her heart, and, one fine summer, Pan gave her a son, whose name was Peter.
Peter was blessed with his mother’s beauty and grace, and with his father’s magnificent wings. If his fangs were a surprise to some, they were no surprise to Taiga, for she had felt his heart from the moment it first began to beat—wild, and brave, and free. From his father, he also received the gift of music, and the ability to converse in any language, even if he had never heard it before.
But he did not inherit his father’s immortality.
Instead, he had a touch of his mother’s dryad nature, but he was not tied to any forest in particular. So there was nothing to keep him alive forever. This made Taiga sad, for she seemed destined to remain eternally young while their son would grow up, and grow old, and pass into the next realm without them. So, once Peter had grown into a man, she turned to Pan for help.
“When it comes time,” she told her husband, “you must let the forest fade. Let it wither, and I will fade with it. I will miss you terribly, but at least our son will not die alone.”
Buri would have loved this solution, but Pan had no intention of letting either his wife or his son pass into the next realm, where he could not tread. So he turned to the other gods for advice, seeking a way to make his son immortal.
First, he asked Freya, who was both wise and powerful.
“That’s easy,” said Freya. “Just make sure he dies bravely in battle against an honorable foe, and I will carry him to Valhalla, where he will live forever.”
It was not a terrible plan. But Pan was a god of music, and there were at least as many tragic ballads as there were songs of celebration. There was no guarantee regarding how his son would die, and he did not want to leave things to chance.
So he went to visit Thor, who was both strong and brave.
“You have nothing to fear,” boasted Thor. “I will watch over Peter every day of his life until death comes for him, and, when it does, I will bash its head in with my hammer. Then death itself will be dead. Problem solved.”
“Even if you could—” Pan began to say, but Thor scowled so darkly that Pan started over. “Even if you did, I mean,” Pan said, to which Thor nodded, “then death would never come again for any man or woman. It would not be long before there was nothing left to eat, nothing left to drink, nowhere left to stand, and there would be no relief from that suffering.”
Thor shrugged. “You only asked me to solve one problem,” Thor reminded him. “I solved it. Now, I’m thirsty.”