In Bad Spelling, Ardyth and Thordis are Kat's and Rune's only relatives on Galdorheim Island. Ardyth is their mother, and Thordis their aunt.
The sister witches are the most powerful on Galdorheim. Both are tall, Nordic blonds, but they couldn't be more unalike in personality. I'll talk more about Thordis in another post.
Ardyth acts a bit silly sometimes. She was a girly-girl in her younger days, a flirt, and aggressive in her pursuit of male companions. Kat's father was a wandering Siberian hunter named Boris who had the bad (or was it good?) luck to be marooned on the icy shores of Galdorheim. Ardyth immediately liked his looks, and proceeded to save him from the elements outside of the protective bubble over the witches' village. The pair hand-fasted and Ardyth was soon pregnant with Katrina. Before Kat was born, however, Boris was buried in the collapse of an ice cave in the glacier that covers most of Galdorheim.
I wanted a beautiful blonde to portray Ardyth and think she might look a bit like Candace Bergen. That's why the actress you most likely know from the Murphy Brown series was my model. Another reason for the choice is that Murphy had a child without bothering to marry the father. This made for the somewhat dense attack by Dan Quayle, then running as the VP with George H.W. Bush. Even back then, conservative family values went askew. Attacking a fictional TV character? Wow. Just wow.
Excerpt from Bad Spelling
Kat slowed to a walk as she drew near home and wiped the tears from her cheeks with her shirtsleeve. The daffodils and tulips growing along the white picket fences twisted their blossoms away from her as she passed. She glared at a staring patch of black-eyed Susans and snapped, “What are you looking at?” The flowers trembled and turned away. Then she felt bad she’d scared the poor things.
Going into her house, she tried to slam the door behind her, but the door obediently slowed the swing and quietly clicked shut. Her mother, Ardyth, stood by the kitchen table, hands on hips. Her familiar, a plump Siamese cat, grinned up at his mistress from her chair. The light spilling through the window turned his brilliant blue eyes red.
“Not funny, Cornelius.” The witch shook her finger at the cat.
Kat could hear the familiar purring from across the room. The cat decided in the last month or so it was a fine joke to jump up on any chair her mother was about to sit in. When Ardyth’s bottom approached the chair, Cornelius would slither into the seat then yowl like he was being squashed. Ardyth never failed to reverse direction then turn to the cat with a scowl and a shaking finger.
Kat forgot her tears for a moment and couldn’t help but smile. “Mother, why don’t you look before you sit?”
Her mother turned to Kat with eyebrows raised. “That would ruin Cornelius’ joke.” She gently squeezed into the small space left by the purring feline. Cornelius seemed satisfied he’d pulled it off again and jumped to the floor. With his tail raised high in triumph, he headed for the hearth and his own cushioned bed.
Kat dropped her book bag on the floor, took Teddy out of his sling, and put the rabbit on the floor. He hunch-hopped to his food bowl and sniffed around the edges.
“Hungry, little guy?” She took out a bag of rabbit food from the cupboard, filled the bowl, and then slumped down in the chair across from her mother. “Mom, what am I supposed to do? Everyone thinks I’m not trying hard enough, but I am. I feel all the power just swirling around in my head, but when I let it loose it always goes haywire!”
Ardyth pursed her lips. “I don’t know, dear. Perhaps I should never have taken up with Boris. I’m afraid that side of your parentage might be hindering your spellcasting. He was just a regular human after all.”
“But if you hadn’t, uh, gotten together with Boris, I wouldn’t have been born. Are you saying—?” Kat couldn’t finish. If her mother believed she shouldn’t be alive, what hope was there?
Ardyth rushed to her daughter’s side, putting her arms around her. “No, no. Of course not; I don’t mean anything of the sort. The days you and your brother were born were the happiest of my life.” She held Kat’s shoulders at arms’ length. “I just wish you took after my side of the family and not your father’s. Just for the magic, of course.”