Tag Archive: witches

Field Trip! Visit my Guest Post on Nancy Badger’s Blog

Sorchia’s Universe goes on the road this week to Nancy Badger’g blog-Where Happily Ever After Takes the Road Less Traveled. Join me for a little discussion of escapism and a look ahead at Zoraida Grey.

Where Happily Ever After Takes the Road Less Traveled

Next Week:

Novel Magic with Laura Strickland–a very special guest with a fantastic new steam punk book.

Midnight Magic–my regular Friday night post smack dab on the witching hour . Learn how Columbian emeralds figure into Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen. (and I may have a little Zoraida news to share.”

 

 

A Cold Spring–Episode 26: Zed

This is IT!!! The last post for the fabulous 2017 A to Z Blog Challenge and the LAST DAY TO VOTE FOR Zoraida Grey in the first round of the Rone Awards. 

She’s in the Long Paranormal category at  InDtale Magazine . You will need to register but it’s a free and easy process. Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones.

Thanks so much for sticking with me through the challenge. Here’s the last episode, but if you are just discovering the story or if you’ve been hanging on for this final pdf–just scroll past Episode 26–no peeking–to find the link to the pdf.

Episode 26: Zed

The day is nearly spent yet we’ve reached no agreement. The time crystals are safe in Maddock’s pocket and both Darkmores and La Croixs seem satisfied to let them remain there. Lucia sleeps, cocooned in a soft, blue hex, but her fate is the subject of much discussion.

 

“My wife and my grandchildren died at that woman’s hands. In the old days, we would have beheaded Lucia strait away.” Magnus La Croix rages at the combined council of Darkmore and La Croix elders. “I’ve waited a thousand years for this.”

 

Maddock shakes his head. “Until we can offer life as a reward, death as punishment is little more than revenge.”

 

“You dishonor those who died. You dishonor those who remained scarred by what Lucia did.” Magnus points toward Mayebelle who glares back with her good eye. “How can we allow Lucia to live? She shows no sign of remorse and would visit the same tragedy on us again if she could.”

 

Aurora La Croix, sitting between Maddock and Clarissa on a mound of cloaks and leaves near the bubbling stream, tips a goblet of clear white wine to her ruby-tinted lips. She’s had time to reapply the beauty glamour, I see. I pat my own unruly hair and pinch my cheeks to heighten the color. Appearance isn’t my primary concern, but I’d hoped my first event with my new in-laws would be more glamorous. I’m comforted in that the entire group of Darkmore and La Croix relatives bears traces of the long night and disturbing morning.

 

Aurora, her palate clean and her throat clear, levels a squelching gaze at her third cousin on her father’s side. “Sit down and be quiet, Magnus. We all lost family but what’s done is done. The old ways didn’t work. Aren’t the signs clear enough for you?”

Magnus eyes Aurora with a cold blue eye but clamps his teeth together, unwilling to challenge Aurora further.

 

Maddock pours Magnus another drink and hands the goblet to the still fuming man. “I understand your anger. We all share it. But I’m not willing to mar my daughter’s first day of life with murder. How can we teach our children mercy if we don’t practice it ourselves? Is her first lesson to be that murder begets murder? We must find an alternative.”

 

My child dozes in a sunbeam, her surprising thatch of reddish hair catching the shimmer of the first day of spring. Whatever effect the time crystals have had on the outside world, the past day rocketed my life from despair to hope and I am grateful. The memory of exile seems only the shadow of a dream—soon forgotten.

 

I hand the baby to Mayebelle and stand so everyone can hear me.

 

“I have an idea.”

 

****

 

Our new house rises on a prominence overlooking the lake which now fills Highmoor Valley.  On calm days, Maddock and I take our ginger-haired, indigo-eyed daughter boating, skimming on the crystal surface. At a certain point, midway across the lake, she loves to peek over the rails, peering into the blue depths. If the day is clear and calm and the sky a particular shade of blue, the murky outline of Old Castle Highmoor flickers into view far below.

 

It is a mirage, a strange side effect produced by a single time crystal spinning inside a black witch stone. Inside the mirage, Lucia wanders in the Time Before—a time of joy and hope for her––an eddy far from the rushing stream of Time, cut off and inaccessible.  She won’t be alone, as I was in my exile. Her memories of the Time Before populate her world.

 

Outside Highmoor Province, times have changed, but witches adapt. Our guests ventured forth, scattered again to the four winds, but a celebration for the  coming Vernal Equinox promises Darkmores and La Croixs will soon fill the valley with magical chatter and off-color jokes and reminiscences of old times.

 

Our families have no room for ancient fears and so Maddock and I name our indigo-eyed daughter Lucia. The Time Before is real only in the mirage at the bottom of the lake. The Time After and The Time to Come are stored in a clear quartz vial. In this Time That Is, Maddock and I are content to remain at home in Highmoor province.

 

A new life stirs inside me and soon little Lucia will have a brother––time enough later to introduce them to the outside world. Today, Lucia and I will play in the garden where thirteen cherry tomato plants stretch prickly, aromatic leaves to the sun.

 

Download the pdf or read the story in the file below.

A Cold Spring_4302017

 

A Cold Spring–Episode 23: Witches, Witches Everywhere

Have you voted? My book baby–ZORAIDA GREY AND THE FAMILY STONES–is in the running for a Rone Award. This is a big deal and I could use your help getting past this first round. Go to InDtale Magazine to vote. You will need to register but it’s a free and easy process.

 

Stay tuned for the big finale of “A Cold Spring.”  If you are following along, let me know what you think of it so far with a comment or a Like.

 

Episode 23: Witches, Witches Everwhere

Older relatives, slightly singed, rest on tussocks near the river, enjoying quiet conversation. Their breaths puff into white vapor. All in all, the scene is one of a pleasant outdoor celebration in full swing despite the occasional crash from the burning castle. The one common trait all witches share—no matter their politics––is adaptability.

 

Even the musicians, looking a bit the worse for wear, play a lively tune nonetheless.  Several couples of younger cousins dance and cavort on the fresh grass, the smoldering remains of New Castle Highmoor in the background.  A Darkmore cousin—one of the Dutch Darkmores, I believe––hands me a goblet of wine.

 

“What a bash!” He shouts, green eyes blazing, blond hair positively standing on end, and more than a little buzzed. “They’ll never believe it when I tell them about it at home. So happy to be here for the party of the millennia.”

 

He chucks Maddock’s shoulder, nearly knocking the two of us into a nearby shrub and scurries away. Nearby, he merges with a group of scamps practicing their incantations by knocking down the few remaining walls of New Castle Highmoor.

 

“Good Lord,” Maddock groans. “I shudder to think what we’ll have to do for our anniversary party to top this.”

 

“More pressing problems approach,” murmurs Mayebelle, nodding toward two figures making steady progress in our direction.

 

Aunt Clarissa and Aurora La Croix exchange pleasantries with those in their path, but their course is most definitely toward us.

 

Maddock groans again. “If those two women have joined forces, we can expect the Apocalypse to follow in short order.”

 

“They’ll have words to say about the time crystal you used.” Mayebelle winks her good eye knowingly.

 

“And none of those words will be pleasant, I wager.” He watches the two matriarchs with a tight jaw.

 

“You better put me down. You may need to use me as a human shield.” I feel my strength returning though I can’t help but think a large serving of that roast beef might be in order.

 

He sets me gently on my own two feet, but supports me with a strong arm. He squares his shoulders. Dark eyebrows knit over glacial blue eyes in the same defiant expression I remember from a thousand years ago when Aunt Clarissa caught him practicing fire magic without permission. “I don’t care what they say. You’re alive and that is all that matters. I wouldn’t alter a thing as long as this is the result.”

 

“Their barks are worse than their bites,” Mayebelle says, moving closer in a show of solidarity. “Never fear.”

 

Mayebelle adjusts the blanket around the baby, but her face twists into a configuration I’ve seldom witnessed in the past eight months. She’s smiling.

 

Without so much as a “Nice to see you, Allium” Aunt Clarissa, her gown stained and her hair less than perfect, levels a green-eyed glower at Maddock.

 

“It’s a miracle you didn’t blast us all centuries out of our own time. I told you to be careful with those time crystals.”

 

Aurora La Croix’s purple velvet gown is dusted with ash and silver strands streak her long black hair. She folds Mayebelle in a bear-like embrace. “Mayebelle, darling. It’s been too long.”

 

Before Aunt Clarissa can continue, Aurora pats Maddock’s arm, winking a bright blue eye. “You gave us a start, for sure and certain, but all’s well now. Clarissa, you mustn’t blame him too much. Look what he’s brought us.”

 

Mayebelle strategically displays the baby, now wide awake and staring. The glitter in Aunt Clarissa’s eyes softens.  She caresses the baby’s face with a pale finger. “What’s done is done. I must admit the distraction probably saved lives. Not one casualty despite Lucia’s best efforts.”

 

Aurora digs scarlet fingernails into my arm, excitement in her blue La Croix eyes. “I didn’t have an opportunity to welcome you to the family, Allium, and there is no time now.”

 

She cocks her head, listening to the air. “Can’t you feel it?”

Tomorrow–Episode 24: Exogenesis (Gimme a Break. Xes are Hard.)

A Cold Spring-Episode 22: A Vial of Time

Have you voted for Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones? My book baby is in the running for a RONE award and your vote could make a huge difference. Voting ends April 30.

To vote, go HERE or go to www.indtale.com and from the menu bar select InD’Scribe/Rones >2017 Rone Awards > 2017 Rone Awards Week 2. You will be prompted to register if you have not already done so. It’s free and easy.

In addition to voting for Zoraida Grey in the Long Paranormal category, consider a vote for a fellow Wild Rose author– Abigail Owen’s Home for the Holidays is up for the Anthology category.

Episode 22: A Vial of Time

Mayebelle finishes her midwifery duties with precision and skill. A few minutes later, I am warm and dry and contented though I can barely raise my hand above the coverlet.

 

“What a lot of noise and bother for such a little thing.” Maddock holds the baby in both arms, careful to support her head, careful to keep the blanket snug around her.

 

“Impressive how well you do that right out of the gate.”

 

“I’ve held babies before.” He plants a soft kiss on our child’s forehead. “Never one as beautiful as this one, of course.”

 

“Where have you been, Maddock. I’ll go mad if you don’t tell me what happened.”

 

Stirred from his reverie, he scans the valley, the forest, the sky. He hands the baby to Mayebelle.  “First, we must be on our way back to the others. No one should be alone. Can you walk?”

 

As it turns out, I can’t. The long journey, not to mention eight months of fear and longing have taken their toll. “I’m afraid I can’t even stand up.”

 

“Never mind, then. “Maddock lifts me into his arms. My head fits perfectly into the spot just below his collar bone and I decide this is infinitely preferable to walking.

 

“Don’t bother gathering these thing, Mayebelle. We’ve already lingered too long on our own.” Maddock strides surely down the slope. Mayebelle brings up the rear with the baby and our hastily gathered kit.

 

The sun, well above the mountains by now, beams between still-bare branches of oak and sycamore but beneath the pines dappled shadows play across our path. A fresh cool breeze ruffles my hair. Not a cloud darkens the cobalt blue sky, but a dark foreboding gnaws.

 

“If you don’t tell me what happened, I’m going to explode. Where have you been? Where is Lucia?” A rumble in my stomach reminds me I haven’t eaten anything in uncounted hours. A delicious odor wafts up the hill. I lift my head from its resting place on Maddock’s chest.  “And what is that delectable smell?”

 

Spirals of smoke rise from the ruined castle in the center of Highmoor Valley.  Smaller fires kindled by Darkmore and La Croix wedding guests burn along the river bank. The smell of food lifts on the spring breeze along with the murmur of conversation and the occasional shrill laugh.

 

“It seems our wedding guests are making the best of a difficult situation.” I sniff the air again. Roast beef. I definitely smell roast beef. After days of eating nothing but oatmeal scones, my mouth waters and my stomach gurgles.

 

“They’re a hardy lot. Never let attempted murder and a burned castle ruin a good party. That’s the La Croix motto.” He slows his pace a fraction. “Before we join the throng, I’d best tell you the entire story. It’s brief. I used a time crystal.”

 

Mayebelle walks close behind us. I peek at her over Maddock’s shoulder. Her scarred face pales and she gasps at Maddock’s revelation. “No one understands how those crystals work. They are infinitely more dangerous than Lucia.”

 

Maddock grunts in agreement. “I know but when Lucia set the castle alight, I didn’t know what else to do. No time to measure, you see, to say the proper words. Allium pulled all that energy for her bloody death spell and I had to be quick before she scourged the entire valley.”

 

“I was cornered. Don’t try to blame all this on me.”

 

“Do all Darkmores have such a penchant for drama?” He squeezes me fondly.

 

“How did you get your grimy La Croix paws on the Darkmore’s treasured time crystals?”

 

“I wonder the same thing.” Mayebelle limps more quickly and Maddock slows so she can walk beside us. “The Darkmores and the La Croixs have fought wars over those tiny crystals.”

 

“Aunt Clarissa gave me a vial of the stuff when we announced our marriage. She said if I was foolish enough to marry a Darkmore, I’d better share the responsibility of guarding the past and the future. She takes it quite seriously.”

 

“And you wondered if she likes you.” I snuggle against his chest.

 

“So you see, time warped around us. To those of us in the castle, only a few minutes passed. The time crystal shimmered above the table like a star.  Lucia knew what it was at once and she skewered me with the nastiest scowl you’ve ever seen. She disappeared in a puff of what looked suspiciously like sulphuric smoke. You Darkmores do love your little embellishments. Once the others realized what had happened, they streamed out the doors. The castle was lost, but they saved what they could.”

 

“So Lucia is on the loose after all. I’d hoped  . . .”

 

“Never fear. It seems each and every one of our refined and sophisticated guests came to our wedding armed to the teeth. You’ve never seen the like of such handily draw spells. Such conveniently available amulets and charms. Such accessible hexes and potions. It’s a miracle no one was vaporized accidentally.”

 

“What did you expect?” Maybelle sniffs. “You two were the only ones who believed in peace and harmony.”

 

“When Lucia vanished, I expected to find you just beyond the castle walls. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when I heard you cry out.”  He tightens his arms around me. “I’ve told you mine, now tell me yours.”

 

The terror of the night Maddock disappeared, the long months of hopeless waiting as our baby grew inside, the cold forbidding winter, and the despair I felt when I looked down on this valley only last night fade with the morning mist.

 

“It doesn’t bear repeating.” A little tremble along my spine is all that remains. “Someone is cooking roast beef. I can smell it.”

 

I’ve dreamt of returning to this valley many times in the past months––imagined a thousand ways the reunion might go. War and death and fear seemed likely results of Lucia’s most recent atrocity.

 

It becomes clear as we approach the group of Darkmores and La Croixs none of my imaginings came close to reality.

Tomorrow–Episode 23: Witches, Witches Everywhere