Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Scotch Broom - More Excerpts
The Book: Scotch Broom - Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim Series
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
Kat expects to have a great time on her graduation trip to Stonehenge. However, from the moment she leaves the witches’ arctic island, Galdorheim, she gets in nothing but trouble. Her younger half-brother tries to horn in on her trip, she gets lost in the magical Otherworld realm, is led astray by a supposed friend, then she has to confront a Scottish goddess who’s fallen on hard times.
While dodging the goddess’s minions and trying to find her way out of the Otherworld, Kat soon learns she shouldn’t underestimate the old has-been for one second; the crone still has a few tricks that can drain a witch’s magic in a flash. To make matters worse, Kat's brother secretly followed her into the Otherworld. Now he’s in danger too. Kat has to go one on one with the goddess to save herself and her brother.
The weather cooperated for a change. Kat used a propel spell to speed up the trip, and they made good time. She looked backward to the open sea only a hundred feet beneath. The water formed a wave behind them as if running a boat on the surface.
Before long, Kat saw land in the distance. She hoped the smudge in the mist turned out to be the Shetland Islands. If so, she would veer left and fly down the eastern coast of the island group.
She strained her eyes looking for the warlock’s signpost. Aunt Thordis said the man’s color was red, like Rune’s. The sight of a wavering red sheet rewarded her search. A witch’s signpost looked very much like the aurora borealis but much smaller. The deeper toned side of the flag-like light showed the direction to go. The trailing edge faded to transparency. Kat saw this signpost’s bottom side was the darkest, which meant the warlock’s home was directly beneath it.
When she reached the signpost, she circled it examining the islands below. She directed Spirit downward, and the red guide descended ahead of her. It halted above one of the tiny islands that made up the Out Skerries part of the Shetlands. Kat looked up information on the island group when preparing for her trip. Otherwise uninhabited, Da Skerries, as the Shetlanders called them, were just about as remote and desolate as one could get and still be connected to civilization. Grunay once had lighthouse keepers living on it, but when the government automated the lighthouse, the keepers departed, and the warlock and his family moved in a few years later. Aunt Thordis told her the residents of the larger islands thought the Angstrom family to be a bit funny in the head, thus left them alone.
However, Nils and Maureen Angstrom liked living on the island. Of course, being a warlock and a witch, they had an advantage over the mundanes in making even the most terrible environment quite pleasant. Galdorheim would be uninhabitable too, if the witches didn’t maintain the bubble shield.
Kat spotted two people below, waving at her. The red flag dropped to the ground around them and disappeared. Spirit took over to make a perfect three-point landing and taxied her to the pair. Stepping off Spirit, she wobbled a moment getting her land legs back; then walked the last few feet and grasped the outstretched hand of Nils Angstrom.
“Happy we aer to have ye!” He pulled Kat toward him, startling her, and gave her a bear hug. “Welcome!” He let her go, and Kat turned to the woman standing nearby.
“You must be Maureen,” Kat said, extending her hand. Maureen grabbed her into another great hug, lifting her off the ground.
“Welcome!” the burly woman shouted in her ear. Kat was beginning to understand why the Angstroms preferred to keep to themselves. She recognized the signs: the big mouth, bulbous nose, and bowed legs. Maureen Angstrom was half troll. Unsure whether it might offend the woman or her husband, Kat decided not to mention it unless they brought it up themselves.
“Come in, come in,” Mrs. Angstrom shouted, heading toward the little house. “Make yerself ta home.” Kat smiled politely and followed the woman. Mr. Angstrom trailed Kat.
The front door led into a small, enclosed porch. “Keeps da winds oot!” Maureen yelled.
“I can imagine that’d be necessary up here. It is very windy,” Kat replied. The woman opened a second door, and they all went into a tidy parlor.
Kat looked around for someplace to put her pack. Nils pointed to another door. “Ye’ll be sleepin’ there.” Kat nodded and went into a little room barely six feet on each side. A short bunk filled one wall. A dresser and small table left just enough space to turn around.
“Seems cozy enough,” Kat said to herself then dropped her pack on the bunk and returned to the parlor.
Mrs. Angstrom disappeared through another door, which Kat assumed was the kitchen since she soon heard the clattering of pans. Mr. Angstrom indicated a chair by the fire for Kat to sit. She leaned toward the fire, rubbing her hands. This far north it rarely got warm, especially on a windswept, barren island like this one. Through the window Kat caught sight of the lighthouse perched on its own rocky island.
“That be Bound Skerry. At the low tide, there’s a rock bridge of sorts to the island, but there’s nae need to go there. A crew comes in for maintenance now and again.”
“I read the Germans bombed the keeper’s house in the war. Is this the same house?”
“Aye. We built this ‘un on the same foundation. The first was nothing but rubble. An old lady died in the bombing.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Nae worries. War does that. Now sit ye down and fill me in on all the gossip.”
Kat told Nils what she could about the residents of Galdorheim. He asked after a few people himself. He knew Sean and Einar back in the day. He said he could tell some stories about their exploits, but it wasn’t decent talk for a young lady’s ears.
When Maureen entered the room carrying dishes, Mr. Angstrom slapped the arms of his chair and rose. “Och, supper is near served. Hae ye e’er had krappin?”
“Not that I recall. What is it?”
“Fish livers stuffed in a fish head and biled ta tender goodness!”
“Uh, it sounds, um, delicious.” Kat hoped she could get the mixture down and keep it there. Although a vegetarian, she ate some fish. She’d never had any luck talking to a fish.
********** TO BE CONTINUED