Destiny Governed their LivesIn the short story Destiny Governed their Lives, Catriona Wheatcroft, an apprentice, has snatched a scroll from her teacher’s dwelling and is attempting to cast the Sight Visitation Spell. The recipe might sound easy, but if done incorrectly by an inexperienced hand, it could cause irreparable damage.

The Basic Recipe

  • Water
  • Oil of the green olive
  • Whole seed from yellow rattle grass (gives strength to the eyes and allows the caster to see the image clearly)
  • Eyebright (gives the eyes power to see)
  • Fennel (Aids in opening things)

A Snippet

The following is the passage detailing Catriona mixing the ingredients.

She paused and looked at the many dishes in front of her. If she mixed them correctly, she’d work her first worthy spell. Steadying her hand, she carefully picked up the oil of green olive and poured it into the wooden bowl. As the recipe instructed, she stirred three times with a wooden spurtle. This is like baking a cake.

mortar and pestleNext, she picked up the fennel. “Fennel ground to a rough powder using a white agate pestle in a clay mortar. Huh? What’s so special about crushing it with a stone? I’ll use the back of a spoon. That’ll do.”

She held the small dish in her hand and crushed the fennel root with the utensil. Once prepared, she admired her work. “Looks great.” She added this to the oil in the bowl.

For almost half an hour, she added, stirred and crushed the ingredients together in the proper order. She stared at the finished concoction. I hope this works. If it doesn’t, what a mess to clean up for nothing.

Today and tomorrow, the eBook is free to download at Amazon. Find it here:

Enjoy.

February is Fantasy Month

This is part of a series of posts I’m writing to introduce characters from the Castle Keepers fantasy series. This week, it’s Alaura of Niamh.

Alaura of Niamh

In short: hauflin/human; female; long dark-blonde hair; brown eyes; born in North Ridge, Petra, and currently living in Maskil; sorceress/healer; at the start of Shadows in the Stone, she was Catriona Wheatcroft’s apprentice.

Family and Teen Years

The Pledge short storyAlaura is the youngest child and only daughter of Niamh M’Egan (human) and Rasnil Egan (hauflin). She has five brothers, including Pym and Benjamin M’Egan. She grew up in the mountainous region of Petra and loved to explore nature with her brother Pym, who is only three seasons older than her.

We first meet Alaura, age 18, in The Pledge where her life changed forever. With Pym’s help, she fled North Ridge and safely reached Maskil where she began a new life.

In the opening scene of Shadows in the Stone, she helps Catriona as she assists Maura of Ealasaid to give birth to Isla of Maura. Before Maura passes into the Plane of Peace, Alaura gives Her Word to protect Isla. This bounds her forever to the child.

Where I Found Her Name

Shadows in the Stone - Diane Lynn McGyverThe original name for this character was Anna of Niamh (pronounced ‘neev’). Niamh is an ancient Celtic name that was originally a term used for a goddess. It means bright or radiant. In Irish Mythology, she is the daughter of the sea god Manannan, and she was known as “Niamh of the Golden Hair”, a beautiful princess riding on a white horse. In Shadows in the Stone, Alaura rides Clover, a Haflinger pony with a red-chestnut coat and a flaxen mane and tail.

Wanting a more interesting name to go with Niamh, I searched for months. When I saw Alaura, I knew that was the name of this magical being.

History in Real Life

Alaura was not part of the original cast from the novel written in the mid-80s. She was discovered in the rewrites that took place in the late 1990s. I needed a female lead to challenge Bronwyn Darrow, and she proved herself worthy.

Role in Novels

Alaura played a major part in Shadows in the Stone as well as in Scattered Stones. Since Revelation Stones focusses on Isla, Alaura will have a much smaller role.

From Pixabay

She’s a confident woman who possesses unique magical abilities she won’t fully understand until they mature. She is faithful to those she loves and calls friend. Bronwyn thinks she’s the most beautiful woman who ever walked the Land of Ath-o’Lea, but his brother Joris thinks she’s “pretty by hauflin standards, but her human features dulled her beauty. She appeared too delicate for his liking, and her reserve manner told him she’d be a boring date.”