Monday, March 11, 2013

Witches of Galdorheim - Thordis the Head Witch

Aunt Thordis - Galdorheim's Head Witch

Katrina's aunt, Thordis, is both harsh on her niece for her failings as a witch, and her biggest booster -- but never to Kat's face.

Thordis is the most powerful witch on Galdorheim, and the administrator for the practical day to day operations of an island that runs on magic. The witch population combine a share of their personal magic for the common good. Maintenance of the protective shield around the village, lighting, food production all make use of a touch of magic from every resident.

When Kat and Rune run off to find Kat's Siberian family, Thordis takes charge of what the witches will do. She has to make an alliance with a very unfriendly witch, Mordita. Possibly, Thordis isn't the most powerful witch on the island after all.

Thordis is both regal and officious. She demands respect and brooks no nonsense. While the governance of the island falls on a council of witches, just about anything Thordis says is what gets done.

I picture Aunt Thordis as Dame Judi Dench the head of M6 in the James Bond films. Thordis is a bit younger, and her hair long but always done in an elaborate style. In that way, I'm reminded of Endora in the Bewitched series, except with blond hair, not red.

Excerpt from Bad Spelling - Chapter Four: Bell, Book, and Candle

Hands on her hips, Kat’s Aunt Thordis stood in the glacier cave regarding the icebound figure of Boris, the wandering Siberian. She tsked and shook her head.

“You poor, dumb—” She stopped, thinking better of it. Speaking ill to the dead was rarely a good idea. You never knew if they’d come back to get even.

“Boris,” she said, trying a different tack, “we need to talk. Despite the fact you couldn’t navigate your way around a bathtub and were so foolish you tried to dig out an ice cave, my sister did fancy you, and you’re still my niece’s father.”

She held her hand up with the palm facing Boris. Thordis frowned. This might be harder than she thought. Even though Thordis was the strongest witch in Galdorheim, she felt a counter spell pushing at her, like a wall she couldn’t see but only sense. Something around Boris repelled magic.

Thordis squared her shoulders and put real effort into her second sight. Yes, she felt a slight tingle. As she suspected, the icy grip of the glacier suspended the man between life and death. If the witches thawed him out, he’d be d-e-a-d, dead. As it was, he had frozen solid in the instant before he died—the process of death incomplete.

Ah, you’re still alive. Good.” If Boris were truly dead, she’d not be able to have a conversation with him. No matter what the circumstances, she wouldn’t delve into the black arts. Necromancy—raising the dead—was near the top of the black list.

Thordis removed Ferro, her ferret familiar, from the top of her carryall and set him aside. He chittered at her then hunched down on the ice shivering. She opened the bag and rummaged through its contents. She drew out a little silver bell, a black candle, and a copy of the Magical Book of Runic Spelling.
The fifteenth century Church, Thordis chuckled at the thought, believed they originated the rite of bell, book, and candle. Equally humorous, they thought the items were for an excommunication ceremony. Little did they know the monk who created the ritual was one of her own—a warlock gone deep undercover to keep a close eye on the Church. The very fact it took twelve priests and a bishop to perform the rite didn’t ring any bells with those silly men. Obviously, thirteen people gathered to perform magic made a coven. The long-dead monk probably got a good laugh at that.
Never mind what the Church thought, the true purpose of the ceremony was to communicate with, not excommunicate, the dead. Although Boris was pre-dead, it would serve the same purpose. At least Thordis hoped so. Boris knew things Thordis wanted to know, and she was determined to pry them from his icy-cold brain.
Thordis lit the candle, rang the bell, and prepared herself to chant the spell to wake Boris. She’d never talked to him when he was alive, since he was a mundane, and any non-magical person was simply not worth her time. Now, she had to find out a few things. Specifically, why was her niece so powerful, yet so incompetent as a witch? If her spells just fizzled, she could believe the girl just wasn’t trying. Instead, they failed spectacularly, and often messily, like her recent attempt to transform the rabbit. Perhaps she could get some answers out of Boris, even though she doubted he was intelligent enough to even realize he had them.

When she felt her magic to be at its peak, Thordis opened the book to the chapter titled Speaking to the Dead. The incantation woke the dead, so waking Boris should be a piece of cake. It also provided translation services. After all, why try to speak to the dead if they can’t understand what you’re saying?

Rune for spell
"Þat kann ec iþ tolpta,
ef ec se a tre vppi
vafa virgilná:
sva ec rist oc i rvnom fác,
at sa gengr gvmi
oc melir viþ mic."

But nothing happened. She slowed down and spoke the spell with precision, putting as much magical force as she could into it. Finally, she felt the spell break through the barrier.

“Boris, do you hear me?”


“Good. Your daughter is having…trouble becoming a proper witch. Of course, I believe it’s your fault; well, maybe fault is too strong a word. I suspect her poor performance has to do with having a mundane father, but now I feel…something more.”


  1. I'm trying again with the captcha letters.

    Thordis is a great character in your story. I like her. But I have to say, all your characters are great. Such an imagination you have. Keep it going.

  2. Very fun excerpt! I love Judy Dench and she brings this character to mind instantly!