The Storm Shapers

Book 6 in the Wyrdwolf series

Book 6 in the Wyrdwolf series

Things aren't going well for Isolde. The new connection she has formed with Michael is threatening her relationship with both of her mates. Nothing any of them do resolves the problem. Then there is the strange light at the Kymin that leads Isolde to the Veilrippers. She should have known that would be trouble. Who is the nun Izzy saw at the Kymin? Where is the Wicked Witch? And what magic was being woven by the singers in the wood?

But it's the strange theft that takes place at the dark moon that takes everyone by surprise. And that presents a threat to their unborn child.

Michael, Declan and Isolde must find the thief in order to ensure the safety of their whelp. the problem is - where to begin? Declan seems intent on pinning the blame on one of Michael's ex-lovers... if only she were alive.

When the dog barks, she sets in motion events that lead, inevitably, to the destruction of an elf and the judgement of two young magicians. But Declan's shapeshifting, Michael's magic and Isolde's judgements cannot rescue their unborn's lost protection. To retrieve that, Isolde must overcome her fears and place her trust in two creatures that are neither Were nor human.

The sixth book in the Wyrdwolf series mixes Finnish and Sami mythology and magic with Heathen cosmology and psychology, a dash of werewolf foetal physiology, a spoon of modern British history, a touch of Heathen magic; a splash of Sami traditions and a pinch of modern horse breeding. All set in a very picturesque part of the English countryside.

The Storm Shapers - on sale in Kindle or print editions, via Amazon.

  • Author: Alexa Duir
  • Set in: England, 2010
  • series number: Book #6
  • Where to buy: Amazon US
  • Where to buy: Amazon UK
  •    For other countries, click on the UK link and substitute your country's domain for the .co.uk in the url
  • True BitsIf you want to know which of the folklore and history in the books is true

True Bits in the book

Chapter 1
The geography and road systems are as described.

Geoffrey of Monmouth was a 12th century monk whose work Historia Regum Britanniae kicked off the fascination with Merlin.

The Roundhouse on the Kymin exists. It was built by a gentlemen’s luncheon club in the 18th century. It is now owned by the National Trust.

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival takes place every July in Tewkesburty.

Chapter 2
The 2010 volcanic eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland caused enormous disruption to air travel across western and northern Europe. It took place in April/May.

Chapter 3
Kitsune is the Japanese word for a fox. Japanese folklore depicts them as shapeshifters with paranormal abilities and wisdom.

Chapter 4
The story Loki sued about and The Lay of Heron Halfelven are my creations. You can find them by clicking on the links.

What Rikki says about a seita is true.

Suomi is the Finnish word for Finland.

Chapter 6
The National Exhibition Centre is in Solihull, close to Birmingham.

‘Just do it’ and the tick are trademarks of the shoe company Nike.

Chapter 7
Shalwar kameez is a traditional outfit originating in the Indian subcontinent, comprising trousers and a tunic.

Chapter 8
A goði (m) or gyðja (f) was an Old Norse term for a chieftain-priest, mainly in Iceland during the Viking period. ‘Godwife’ is my modernisation. As with ‘saywife’ the ‘-wife’ was a standard Anglo Saxon suffix for a woman carrying out a trade.

Tamworth was the royal capital of the great Anglo Saxon kingdom of Mercia. The first Christian king of Mercia donated land at Lichfield for a monastery. I made up the hof.

The description of the design of the hof is based on Norwegian stave churches, which are thought to have been influenced by the design of Heathen temples. Specifically, I had Heddal stave church in mind.

The swastika is a sign of health and well-being that is used in many non-European cultures. It was used in Anglo Saxon England prior to Christianity, as a primary symbol of the Heathen religion. It is no longer used by Heathens due to its appropriation by white supremacists.

The birth of Ymir, his nourishing by the cosmic cow, Audhumbla and the use of his body to create the world are told in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 5-8.

Idhun is a goddess associated with apples, in Heathen mythology.

Thor had a cart drawn by goats, and Freya’s was drawn by cats. Tiw is associated with oaths and is missing a hand. Heathen mythology includes tales of Loki taking the shapes of a falcon and a seal.

‘Ettinfolk’ is my rendering of a world generally mistranslated as ‘giants’ in Heathen mythology. The Disir are female ancestors and clan protectors.

Tacitus mentions ‘the sticks’ as the form of divination used by the Germanic peoples. Although some modern Heathens argue for them being an early form of runes, insufficient information is given in Germania 10 to know. As of 2018, there is no evidence of runes being used for divination prior to modern times.

Chapter 9
Yggdrasil is the tree that links the worlds in Heathen mythology.

The Kalevala is Finnish mythology. The bit about Lemminkäinen and his mother is true.

I invented ‘the hero’ for Scarlett’s tarot pack and substituted wyrd for the wheel. I also substituted the suite names. Otherwise, the reading is authentic to the meanings normally assigned to the cards. As is anything in the text about the characters on the cards. You can find credits for the artists at the front of the book.

The images (where not explained in the text)
The Hero – this is Siegfried’s slaying of the dragon, from Wagner’s Ring Cycle (19th century opera). The source is the Icelandic Völsunga saga.

The Magician – Loki eating the witch’s heart comes from the Poetic Edda,  Hyndluljoð.

Death – the image is of Hermoð asking Hel to release Odhin’s son, Baldr. The story is in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 49.

The High Priest – Väinämöinen is one of the three heroes of the Kalevala. He is as old as the world.

Queen of Torches – Gullveig was probably Freyja in disguise. She went to Asgard during the war between the gods and was killed three times, coming back to life each time. The story is in the Poetic Edda Voluspa 21-22.

Strength – the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 34 tells how Tyr (cognate Tiw) placed his right hand into the mouth of Fenris to guarantee good faith when the wolf was bound. Tyr lost his hand.

Youth of Horns – the image is of the Rhinemaidens luring Alberich at the beginning of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. The tale doesn’t appear in that form in Heathen mythology.

The Moon – the story of Loki’s theft of the apples is in the Prose Edda Skaldskaparmal 56.

Five of Ships – Kullervo is a character from the Kalevala. He suffers multiple tragedies that drive him to mass murder.

Judgement – the card shows the Midgard Serpent and Naglfar (ship of nails). The serpent raises the sea against Asgard, while the ship brings the forces of those who will defeat the gods. The imagery is from the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 51.

Chapter 10
The site at Letocetum is owned and run by the National Trust. It’s close to Lichfield in Staffordshire, England.

Chapter 13
Tang and fuller are parts of a blade.

The information about the development of the awareness of pain in the foetus is true, as at the time this book was written.

Chapter 14
Tapio and his wife Mielikki are Finnish gods of the forest and hunting. They have three or four daughters, one of whom is Tellervo.

Regretfully, the ‘hierarchy of specialness’ exists, though not that term. However, I made up the bit about modern Scandinavian fraudsters claiming to be Finnish or Sami. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true.

There are repeated references in the Icelandic Sagas (part of Heathen mythology) to learning magic from the Finnish or Sami peoples.

Chapter 16
The books, TV series and games mentioned all exist.

Chapter 17
The three days of the ‘dark' moon were used to mark the start of a new month in many lunar calendars.

Chapter 19
‘Brand’ in Anglo Saxon means both torch and sword.

Fionntan is a Gaelic name derived from finn (white) + tine (fire).

Chapter 20
Most of what we know about the Heathen concept of fetches comes from the folklore and the Icelandic sagas. They form part of the person and are present from birth. They protect the person and can be sent out by a practitioner to collect information or accomplish a task. They appear in dreams, including the dreams of others. They take the shape of animals or women and have an awareness of future events.

Ça suffit pour l’instant = That’s enough for the moment

The nursery rhyme Bye Baby Bunting exists. It mentions wrapping the baby in a skin.

Chapter 21
The conversion of norther European Heathen lands took place between the 6th and 12th centuries, beginning with Britain and ending in Scandinavia. The Sami people didn’t convert until 18th century.

Chapter 22
The soul bird is a belief from Finnic Paganism: the pre-Christian religion of what is now Finland, Karelia and Estonia.

Chapter 22
Keats wrote La Belle Dame Sans Merci. It’s the tale of a fay seductress who breaks hearts.

Chapter 25
In Finnish mythology, the Milky Way is known as the Linnunrata (bird road) to Lintukoto, the home of the birds. The bear is a sacred animal. There was a taboo on saying the word for a bear. Euphemisms were used instead, one of which is Mead Paw.

Leib-olmai, (Sami: 'Alder Man') is a god of the forest in the Sami religion. He guards wild animals, especially bears. He can give good luck in the hunt.

The SAS use Pen-y-Fan in the Brecon Beacons for their final selection endurance test.

Until recent times, almost all Finnish mothers gave birth in saunas.

Con’s misadventure on Pen-Y-Fan is based on Major Mike Kealy, an SAS veteran. Kealy died of hypothermia in February 1979 when he joined SAS candidates on a selection march in the Brecon Beacons in deteriorating weather conditions. The coroner said he had contributed to his situation by refusing to wear cold weather gear or warm clothing.

Chapter 26
On 7 July 2005 four bombs were detonated in central London by terrorists. Three were detonated in the London Underground and a fourth on a double-decker bus. Fifty-two people were killed and more than 700 injured.

Chapter 28
Our word enchantment comes from the chanting of spells. Galdor is ‘song’ in Anglo Saxon and acquired the meaning ‘enchantment’ through chanting or singing spells. The Anglo Saxon word galdorcræft meant the magical arts, or someone skilled in them.

Glee was a specific form of English part song popular between 1650 and 1900.

Chapter 30
The Finnish language is part of the Uralic language group, which extends across northern Eurasia and includes Estonian.

What is said about the Sami people, Sapmi and joiking is true.

‘Be as you wish to seem’ is a distillation of remarks attributed to Socrates by Xenophon in his works Memoribilia 2.6.39 and Cyropaedia 1.6.22.

Nimue, Viviane and variants of those names are given to the female fay/Lady of the Lake who began appearing in the French chivalric romances by the early 13th century. The 'Prose Merlin' section of the Lancelot-Grail cycle tells of Merlin falling in love with Vivien and of her trapping him in a tree, beneath a stone or in a tower. Breton folklore has Merlin trapped beneath the Fairy Mirror lake in The Valley Without Return in modern Broceliande (Le Forêt de Paimpont).

I made up the bit about ‘Väinämöinen’s children’.

Chapter 31
Stállu comes from Sami folklore.

Háigir is the Northern Sami word for the grey heron.

Haikara Puolihaltija is Finnish. It means Heron Halfelven.

Stones are a common feature of saunas and other types of sweat lodge. The stones are heated and steam is generated by pouring water over them.

Chapter 32
According to Heathen mythology, Heimdall blowing Gjallarhorn (yelling-horn)  is the signal for the start of Ragnarok.  Prose Edda Gylfaginning 51.

Leominster is one of the four largest towns in Herefordshire. It stands at the confluence of the rivers Lugg and Kenwater. The geography is faithfully rendered.

Chapter 34
Izzy quotes half of a couplet from T S Eliot’s poem East Coker: ‘The houses are all gone under the sea./ The dancers are all gone under the hill.’ East Coker is one of the Four Quartets. Each of the four poems examines an aspect of the relationship between humanity and time. East Coker takes the cosmic timescale.

Swallows are found in the UK between March and October. They find it difficult to take off if they land on the ground.

Chapter 35
The Flower Fairies were the creation of English illustrator Cicely Mary Barker. They were published in the first half of the 20th century. My description of Bramble does not match Barker’s illustration.

Chapter 36
Men in Black is a popular 1997 movie about a secret organisation dealing with aliens. The agents carry ‘neuralyzers’ to make people forget meeting them.

Chapter 37
In Finnish mythology, ‘haltija’ covers a range of creatures from nature spirits to brownies.

‘Mens sana in corpore sano’ is a Latin phrase. It means ‘a healthy mind in a healthy body’.

Chapter 38
In Heathen mythology, there are many norns. They determine the fate of people and attend births to give gifts. These lesser norns are mentioned in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 15.

Chapter 40
The Mother and her daughters are great domestic deities in Sami mythology, mainly  respected by women. Sarahkka is one of the Mother’s daughters.

Chapter 41
The tale of Loki taking the shape of a mare is in the Prose Edda Gylfaginning 42. He gave birth to Odhin’s eight-legged steed, Sleipnir.

Icelandic horses are known for their small size. They have two lateral gaits unknown to other breeds of horse. The tölt is a walking gait known for comfort and fast acceleration into a speed similar to a trot. The other is the skeið or flugskeið, which is fast and smooth. They also have normal walking, trotting and canter/gallop gaits.

Chapter 43
The Twilight films were based on Stephenie Meyer's novels. They appeared between 2008 and 2012. The main relationship in them is between Bella Swan (human) and Edward Cullen (vampire).

Gakti is the Northern Sami word for the traditional Sami tunic. The traditional Sami outfit is characterized by intense primary colours.

Dr John Dee’s scrying mirror was made of obsidian though it was not the shape I describe.

‘Akku’ is Northern Sami for grandmother. ‘Mummi’ is Finnish for mother.

Mari Boine and Wimme Saari are two of the most renowned Sami joikers.

Chapter 44
Struwwelpeter is a mid-19th century German book of cautionary tales aimed at children. It was popular into the 20th century.

Chapter 45
In Finnish mythology, väki are different types or races of nature spirits.

Weobley is a black-and-white village in Herefordshire. My description of the village geography is real.

Shadowfax is the steed of Gandalf the Wizard in The Lord of the Rings.

Chapter 47
In the Kalevala Rune 14 (Crawford translation), Mielikki is described as wearing gold, silver and pearls, with a golden girdle, sky-blue clothes and scarlet ribbons.

Chapter 48
Most Anglo Saxon names fused two words. Both ‘hale’ and ‘fast’ are Anglo Saxon words, giving us our modern words ‘healthy’ and ‘fasten’.

Chapter 49
Ostrobothnia is one of the two Finnish regions with a Swedish-speaking majority. The other is Åland. Finlandssvenskar is Swedish for ‘Finnish Swedes’.

Bien fait is French for ‘well done’.

The famous detective fiction writer Agatha Christie created Poirot. Death on the Nile and Murder on the Orient Express were two of her novels.

Chapter 50
Mielikki nurtured the bear into existence in this world, and gave him teeth and claws. See Kalevala Rune 66 (Crawford translation)

Double jeopardy is a procedural defence that prevents an accused person from being tried a second time on the same charges following a valid judgement.

Chapter 52
In European folklore, the seventh son of a seventh son is regarded to possess special powers.

A year and a day existed in British law until 1996 as a restriction. From the late 18th century there has been a belief that it existed in pre-Christian times. It is used in some pagan handfastings and initiations from the mid-20th century.

Chapter 53
In Heathen mythology, the squirrel Ratatosk carries information the length of the world tree.

Chapter 55
The red pill or the blue pill is a reference to the 1999 film The Matrix. The offer represented a life-altering choice to the protagonist, Neo.