Monday, September 28, 2015

Autumn Reruns - Ceto the Sea Serpent

Ceto the Sea Serpent

In my series about a teen witch who can't spell worth a damn, our erstwhile heroine gets a little help from an unusual source. Did you ever wonder why there are so few sightings of the Loch Ness monster? Well, Nessie vacations on Ultima Thule, which may be the remnants of Atlantis.

She's not fond of the name Nessie or Loch Ness Monster and prefers to go by Ceto. From
In Greek mythology, Ceto or Keto (Greek: English translation: "sea monster") was a hideous aquatic monster, a daughter of Gaia and Pontus. The asteroid (65489) Ceto was named after her, and its satellite (65489) Ceto I Phorcys after her husband. She was the personification of the dangers of the sea, unknown terrors and bizarre creatures. Eventually, the word "ceto" became simple shorthand for any sea monster. The term cetacean represents a case in point. Her husband was Phorcys and they had many children, collectively known as the Phorcydes or Phorcydides. In Greek art, Ceto was drawn as a serpentine fish. Ceto also gave name to the constellation Cetus.
In Midnight Oil (Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim) Ceto and Nessie become one. She's not a bad, um, person, but much misunderstood. She finds my heroine, Kat, adrift in the northern seas sitting on a block of ice. Oh, yeah, the block contains the body of her father. Ceto finds this all fascinating and helps my heroine dock the ice block at Ultima Thule and find a messenger to send for help from the Witches' Island of Galdorheim in the Barents Sea.


Kat edged herself up on her knees, keeping a tight hold on the ropes. She scanned the water closely, and to her right, she saw a dark shape under the water. A whale, perhaps. Maybe her calls finally got results.

The shape turned and came back toward the ice block. It stayed several feet below, so Kat could only make out a dark shadow as it glided beneath her. The ice block lifted and dropped again. She looked to her left to see a long neck stretched out, followed by a bulky, black body. A short tail emerged from under the block and slapped down on the water. It sprayed Kat’s face with icy droplets but didn’t drench her.

The dark shape rose slowly upward. First, a small head appeared, and Kat thought it might be a seal, and then the long neck emerged. Her mouth dropped open, and her eyes followed the head upward until she had her neck bent back as far as she could. The creature regarded her with huge, dark eyes, seeming too big for the little nob of a head. Its skin was dark gray, almost black. Kat noticed how smooth it appeared. She wanted to reach out to touch it. She thought better of that notion when the creature’s mouth opened and revealed rows of sharp teeth.

A voice spoke inside her mind. “Who are you, little girl?”

“Little girl? Why, I’m almost…” Then, thinking it’d be rude to argue with her only potential rescuer, she finished, “I mean, I’m a witch, from an island…” Kat looked around and waved her hand, “somewhere out there.”

You wear the skin of a seal, and you can speak to creatures of the sea. Are you, perhaps, a selkie in human form?”

“Selkie? No, I’m just a witch from Galdorheim.”

Hmm. How came you to be on that block of ice?”

“I’ve answered your questions,” Kat said, peeved at being grilled by a sea monster. “Now you answer one for me. What are you? And where did you come from?”

That’s two questions.”

“Well, you asked two, so answer up!” Kat sensed she need not be afraid. The sea monster, as she now thought it to be, did not send any warning signals. It was simply curious.

I am me.”

Kat frowned. While harmless, the creature seemed to have an evasive streak. Why did it show itself to her if it didn’t want to talk?

As if it heard Kat’s thoughts, the creature said, “Very well. The world has called me many names. Sometimes Nessie from where I once lived.”

“You’re the Loch Ness monster? I thought that was just a legend.” Kat stared in wide-eyed wonder at the mythical creature who might, if she could work it out, be her rescuer.

No legend, but I left the loch years ago. Too many curious people.”

“That is so cool!” Kat wondered if the serpent was one of a kind. The monstrous beast bent its tiny head down to Kat’s level.

Cool? Why, yes, this sea is very cool.”

“I mean neat, keen, wonderful!”

Ah, wonderful I am. I might say awful, too.”

“You don’t seem awful. Why would you say that?”

Full of awe, I am.”

“Oh, you mean awesome, not awful.”

A deep, resonant chuckle rattled around in Kat’s head. “Why are you clear out here? Wherever here is.”

This is the ocean of Atlantis.”

“The Atlantic! My great-uncle Freddy! I floated all the way from the Barents Sea.”

You might call this part the Arctic Ocean. How did you get here?”

“A storm. The wind and rain came up suddenly. I fell off the boat with my father.”

Did he drown?”

“Oh, no. He’s right here.” Kat pointed down. Nessie bent even lower and looked down into the ice.

My condolences. Yet it is strange he would freeze in the summer seas.”
“No. He froze years ago. We, my grandfather and brother and me, were taking his body back to Siberia for burial.”

You are far off course.”

“I guess I am. Look, can you help me out? I need to get to land so I can contact my mother.”

The beast turned its head to look across the sea. “The nearest land is that way.”

Kat strained her eyes but couldn’t see anything on the horizon.

“Which way is that way?”

The beast turned back to her. “West, to an island where I make my home these days.”

“Does it have a telephone?” Kat asked. The rumbling chuckle wafted through her brain.

I do not know what that is, but if you mean a way to communicate, I believe there is.”

“Any land will do for now. By the way, do I call you Nessie?”

I am Ceto of Thule.”

“I’m Katrina of Galdorheim.”

Nice to meet you, Katrina.”

The beast ducked below, and Kat saw the shadowy form circle the ice raft, then she felt a jerk. Ceto had taken hold of the trailing ropes, and Kat and her frozen father moved across the water.

* * *

Midnight Oil (Book 2 of the Witches of Galdorheim)
Shipwrecked on a legendary island, how can a witch rescue her boyfriend if she can’t even phone home?
Kindle Ebook
Smashwords (all formats) 

Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend's first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn't show up, so she's sure he’s given her the brushoff.

When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.

Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.

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