Come on boys and ghouls! It's time to hop on Route 666 for a spooktacular Paranormal Road Trip.
This week's stop is Kennian and our special guide is E.L. Tettensor. E.L. is the author of the Nicolas Lenoir dark fantasy detective series, and the Bloodbound fantasy series as Erin Lindsey. Kennian is the setting of her new release, Master of Plagues.
E.L.'s Top 5 Spooky Places in Kennian
Inspector Nicolas Lenoir has a troubled relationship with his adoptive hometown of Kennian. In the eyes of a cosmopolitan foreigner such as he, Kennian lacks sophistication – in its food, culture, politics. It lacks anything passing for reasonable entertainment. One thing it doesn’t lack, however, is spooky places.
Kennian is a city of wet cobblestones and steaming sewers, of narrow, twisting alleys and squalid tenements bathed in the sickly glow of gaslamps. Something of a backwater, at least compared to the more refined cities of the continent. It’s also a crossroads, a sort of frontier between the “civilised” nations of Humenor and the savage lands beyond, where nomadic Adali graze their vast herds and practice their unfathomable dark magic.
As an inspector of the Metropolitan Police, Lenoir has seen some of its darkest, most disturbing corners, but it’s these five that haunt his nightmares.
1. Merden’s shop. In the heart of the market district, wedged between a tailor and a butcher, lies the business and residence of the famed Adali soothsayer, Merden. Its anonymous storefront would never draw the eye of anyone who didn’t know what he was looking for. Inside, though, it’s a veritable museum of the macabre, stacked to the rafters with the accoutrements of dark magic. Dimly lit by tapered candles, the shop frightens more by virtue of what is implied than what is actually seen. Horns dangle in spirals and spikes from the rafters. Smooth orbs of glass glint in the dark. Woven twigs and dried bushels of herbs swallow the light; the sharp facets of crystals throw it back. Enter on the wrong day, and you might have to step carefully to avoid a brace of pheasants suspended from the doorframe, blood dripping noisily into a tin pail below.
2. Abandoned cathedral. Centuries old, nobody can quite recall why it was abandoned, but it’s been boarded and chained for as long as anyone can remember. It’s been thoroughly looted – probably more than once – and its old oak doors show signs of violence in their pitted, charred shapes. Built atop the ruins of a pagan temple, its catacombs are lined with hundreds, if not thousands, of skeletons, skulls and femurs packed together like paving stones. Not surprisingly, these catacombs have been used for dark magic, and recently.
3. Merriton’s. Injured Kennians who can’t afford to see a proper physician – meaning about four fifths of the city’s population – are obliged to seek the services of Merriton, the barber. Now and then, Lenoir is called down to the barber’s shop for a case, and he dreads it like nowhere else in the city. It buzzes with flies and smells like a butcher’s on a hot day, but that’s nothing compared to the sights – bloodstained rushes, rasps and bone saws, rusting iron implements whose grim purposes can only be guessed at. It’s enough to make a cosmopolitan man like Lenoir think he’d woken up in the Dark Ages.
4. Fort Hald. Kennian’s main prison is grim enough to give any “hound” pause to reconsider his career in law enforcement. Vermin skitter in the corners of mass cells so packed that it’s hard to tell one pallid figure from another. Madness is common among the cursed denizens of this place, and a blessing too, for it spares the mind from facing head-on the full battery of horrors Fort Hald has to offer.
5. Biller’s Lane. For any other Kennian, the alley behind Biller’s Lane is nothing special – just one more cramped canyon of brick and stone. But to Lenoir, this place is forever tainted, steeped in a supernatural chill that seeps into the very marrow of his bones. It was here that he stumbled across the Darkwalker, an encounter that left him scarred – physically as well as emotionally. To this day, the flesh around his ankle is blackened and numb, a mark of the enchanted scourge wielded by the champion of the dead. Lenoir barely managed to drag himself into the sunlight at the end of the lane, there to watch as the spirit’s flesh melted from its face, only to regenerate the moment it stepped back into shadow. Lenoir will walk as many blocks out of his way as it takes to avoid that alley, now and forever more.
Thank you E.L. for giving us such a haunting tour of Kennian!
To learn more about E.L. Tettensor and her books, please visit her website. You can add her Nicolas Lenoir series here on Goodreads.
What did you think of E.L.'s picks for spooky places?
Last week on Paranormal Road Trip we visited New York City with Susan Wright. Next week we'll be traveling to Kingsholme, Faerie with C.T. Adams.
Join us for another spine-tingling Paranormal Road Trip...
if you dare!
if you dare!