As a semi-famous witch, I’m qualified to talk about real magick. As a paranormal romance author, I’m qualified to talk about fantasy magic. This excerpt from The Witch’s Dream is a bit of both.

The room was round. The architect had initially grumbled about wasted space, but she had persuaded Simon by pointing out that maximum results require maximum equipment. The east wall featured a small window, placed high up, with wind chimes hung from the ceiling so as to hang in front of the window’s perfect center. Another wall featured a fine stone fireplace that looked considerably older than the building in which it was housed, as if it had been transported from elsewhere and reassembled. Another wall featured a fountain flowing from the mouth of a dragon-faced gargoyle into a wide pedestal bowl. The last wall featured an indoor garden of herbs and flowering plants that were thriving with a combination of magick and semi-fluorescent lights.

The walls and ceiling were painted the same pale gray as the polished, flagstone floor. Litha went immediately to the fireplace where she lit seven candles of various colors. The small window provided some light, but not so much that the reflection of the candle flames couldn’t be seen on the smooth stones.

Other than the features representing the four ancient elements, there was nothing else in the room except for the large globe in the center of the room nestled in the cradle of a priceless dragon’s wings. The centuries-old dragon statue, beautiful, powerful, and magnificent in its own right, had been taken from a pagan temple in Teutonia two millennia past for safekeeping else it be destroyed by misguided Christians like so many other thousands of priceless artifacts.

Objects of power were not created deliberately nor did they spontaneously spring into being. They came from humble beginnings, being no more extraordinary than a typical river rock or knife or fork. Objects became infused with power when energetic residue was repeatedly transferred from beings with accumulated magickal power. The exact number of contacts that equaled critical mass was non-calculable.

Sometimes objects of power are identified by those who are either talented or proficient in the occult. When not discovered as such, their energy sometimes went awry, their very presence wreaking havoc without intent, direction, or cause. The Order had been collecting these artifacts for centuries, rescuing them from destruction by zealots and protecting the human population from the effects of wayward magicks. The location of the treasury had moved around from time to time, often dependent on wars and the dangers they posed.

At present the artifacts not in use were stored in what many agreed was the best location to date: the western boundary of Idaho Springs, Colorado. The vaults were located deep under the Rocky Mountains – which would withstand any destructive device available to date. It was cool, dry, near the Interstate, and only an hour away from a major airport. In short, a perfect storage facility. The excavation currently underway in Brazil was rendering frequent additions to the cache. Only an institution with The Order’s connections could remove articles of antiquity from the locations of their discovery with impunity.

It was Litha’s great honor to have the dragon temporarily in her keeping, as he had been recognized as a potent object of power and in service to magick for millennia. The proud Teuton dragon currently served as The Order’s own version of Prometheus, silently holding the world on its shoulders while also protecting its treasure: a precious crystal ball held lovingly in its curved claws. The multifaceted crystal ball picked up every color in the room and reflected it back onto walls and ceiling as rainbow prisms. The effect was a space that was magical as well as magickal.  Litha’s dragon, and she thought of him that way as she was his temporary caretaker, was charged with several tasks and he performed each admirably.

The globe, rendered in shades of green and brown, was perhaps a foot and a half in diameter and hinged, very much like one of those liquor cabinet parlor tricks. It would separate at the equator and become two parts of a sphere, one half stationary, one half lid. When opened, it revealed one of Litha’s two most prized treasures, a concave, black glass scrying plate the same diameter as the globe’s equator. The dragon stand had been built so that, when standing barefoot, the scrying plate was at exactly the same height as Litha’s navel.

She reached out and lovingly ran her hand over the dragon’s head as if he was a living pet. Sometime during the past two thousand years, his eyes, had been replaced with black glass. The candle flames and rainbow prism danced together in his eyes, making them seem so intelligent and lifelike that it was easy to imagine him as a familiar.

Litha pulled her red robe closer as she paid homage to the Spirits of the Four Winds, whom she would be summoning to assist with Locating Magicks. Real witches were risk takers, came with the territory. Even so, few witches would have dared wear red when practicing the magickal arts because the color red possessed powerful attraction properties. That meant red can be a shortcut in summoning, but that it also attracted the bad as well the good. Litha came from a rich history of witch ancestors who tended to act according to a philosophy of “great gambles bring great rewards” and at some point, it had become part of the family’s genetic legacy. It was partly natural to her and partly logical since Litha knew she was powerful, or practiced, enough to hold a sufficient protection barrier while admitting friendlier Powers of Assistance and accepting their help.

The witch took up a large purple candle and began circling the globe in the center of the room in a clockwise direction. She carefully counted nine revolutions as she sang an old medieval melody with lyrics written and substituted by the witch herself. Her singing voice was quite pleasant although the quality of performance would have no bearing on outcome. The melody was not more magickal because it was medieval. It was simply a useful hook on which to hang the quatrains she had quickly, but specifically composed for chanting, which would be crucial to outcome. She wrote the four-line rhymes in her head while she was bathing and now repeated them in magickal form while she raised energy by stirring the atmosphere into the equivalent of a small whirlwind.

After completing nine circles and chants, Litha used the flame of the purple candle to light a large white candle with three wicks. She then sprinkled a mixture of Dragon’s Blood resin, Solomon’s Seal, white sage, and crystalline salt directly onto the candle’s flames. When the herbs caught fire, she invited into the circle those who could be of service whether spirits, guides, or elementals, with the caveat that they were welcome so long as they wished her well and would not prove to be a lot of trouble later on.

When she was satisfied that conditions were optimum, she opened the globe. She always felt a rush of satisfaction upon viewing the gleaming surface with alphabetical, numerical, alchemical, and Theban script symbols etched on its surface in circular patterns. Taking hold of the pendant necklace that she always wore, she pulled downward to remove the outer cover, which was a crystal with planed edges forming a heptagon. No one would guess that the crystal was a cover disguising a pendulum of black opal, perfectly weighted for scrying, encased in a Celtic knot filigree of white gold matching the necklace chain.

The pointed stone was the rarest black opal, alive with deep red flecks called “fire” by jewelers. Litha’s pendulum had been hand crafted for her by the monks of Cairdeas Deo and given to her on her sixteenth birthday. Or, rather, the day that had been arbitrarily established as the day they would celebrate her birth.

That birthday was a milestone because it was the day she had been given the freedom to legally drive by herself. In the process of celebrating by doing exactly that she came across a scene that would forever be etched in her heart: a pink Italianate villa sitting high above the Sonoma Coast with vineyards terracing toward the sea, neighboring hills covered with flowering yellow mustard so that it looked like something from a fantasy. She had pulled the car over, taken a mental snapshot, and knew that someday she would drive through the gate and it would be hers.

She ran her finger over the pointed end just to reestablish the connection – which was never really broken.

When she held the pendulum over the glass, it immediately dropped into place and stilled, awaiting instructions from its mistress. She began to trace Katrina’s name, one letter at a time, while picturing Katrina – replaying the snapshot moments of their brief time together – and “hearing” the sound of her voice. Then she began to add details about Katrina’s current situation and state of mind that had been gained from Aelsong’s visions.

By the time she reached the “i”, the pendulum was moving on its own to complete the specification ritual. Out of the corner of her eye, she could see candle flames dance and flicker as if a draft had blown through the room. For Litha spontaneous movement of air was a more or less commonplace occurrence, at least when she was scrying. If others preferred to think of the phenomenon as invisible, or discarnate entities, it made no difference to her.

She closed the globe and moved so that she was facing Scotia, then held the pendulum above it simply saying, “Where?”

The pendulum did not move. Which was a first. Frowning, Litha repeated her command a little more firmly, “Where?”

No response.

She lowered the pendulum, took it in her hand, and rolled it around in her palm a few times while deliberately focusing on an image of Katrina.

Again, she held the pendulum above the globe. “Where?”

No response.

Remembering that Aelsong had said Katrina was no longer in the same reality, she decided to alter the question. She held the pendulum above the globe and asked, “Near where?”

Almost instantly it began to pull toward the east like it was magnetized. Allowing enough slack so that it could go where it wanted, Litha allowed the point to slide over the map of Europe. Across France. Past Genoa. It came to rest just south of Florence. Siena.

“Got it.”

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Sunday, April 21st will mark the anniversay of the publication of the first Black Swan installment. Since then the series has won multiple awards and hit the top of best seller charts in mu…ltiple categories. To thank everybody for the success of this series, The Witch’s Dream will be FREE on Amazon for one day.  Tell your friends that they can get both Books 1 and 2 for FREE this Sunday only.

My Familiar Stranger, The Order of the Black Swan, Book One FREE everywhere!

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