SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.
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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’ 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.
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In Scotch Broom, I present Glaistig as a vampire woman who has entered the Otherworld because she no longer wanted to live from the blood of humans. Within the magical realm, she can safely feed on the various magical creatures without killing them. Once I discovered her, I knew she had to be part of this story. While a vampire, she’s got a soft side that appeals to Rune. In other words, she’s not all bad; she’s just been fabled that way.
I discovered Glaistig at Monstropedia, a must-have link for paranormal and fantasy writers (http://www.monstropedia.org/index.php?title=Glaistig)
According to one legend the glaistig was once a mortal noblewoman, to whom a fairy nature had been given or who was cursed with the goat's legs and immortality, and since has been known as The Green (or Gray) Lady.
In most stories, the creature is described as a beautiful woman with dusky or gray skin and long blonde hair. Her lower half is that of a goat, usually disguised by a long, flowing green robe or dress.
In the diverse and changing traditions of the Highlands, the Glaistig was seen as both benevolent and malevolent towards humans. In one aspect she even takes the role of the Banshee, wailing at the death of important people.
The glaistig may take the form of a beautiful woman, especially one already known to the male victim; after offering sexual favors like a camp follower, she leaves her male victim with his throat cut, every drop of blood sucked from him. Other such tales have her casting stones in the path of travelers or throwing them off course.
In some variant stories the glaistig may be seen as benevolent, fond of children and a protector of old people. Libations of milk were poured for her, especially on selected stones; this veneration may be linked with older fertility customs. The glaistig has been described in some folklore as watching over children while their mothers milked the cows and fathers watched over the herds.
The glaistig frequented the lonely lochs and rivers in the Highlands of Scotland, such as Ardnacaillich, Donolly Castle, Loch Fyne, Crathes Castle and in Wales at Caerphilly.
Rune, Kat’s brother, is searching for his sister while Cailleach is searching for both Rune and Kat by sending one or more of her minions to find them. Glaistig’s job is to find Rune, determine whether or not he’s a vampire, and to bring the boy to the goddess. Rune goes with her and learns a few facts about the Otherworld.
Rune hurried to catch up to Glaistig. “So, do you live around here?” he asked to start a conversation.
“Aye. My abode is to the north by the standing stones.” The Gray Lady sighed. “I’m not so sure I should have moved into the Otherworld. I have no one to talk to here.”
“Hey, I’m sorry to hear that. You seem like a nice person.”
“As I said, I can be nice, or I can be naughty. It all depends on the attitude of those I meet along the way. Unfortunately, there are no humans in the Otherworld, so I don’t even have that sport anymore.”
“Well, why don’t you move back out into the mundane world? I mean, you’re a good-looking girl. You could meet all the guys you wanted.”
Glaistig sighed again. “I would, but it made me sad when I had to drink the blood of the rude men. Yes, I need the blood to live, but it isn’t pleasant to take.”
“Wow. Yeah. Maybe you could, you know, blend in more? Wear different clothes. You’d look great in a mini-skirt, I’ll bet.”
“Be careful, Rune. Even another vampire is not exempt from my need.”
Rune held up his hands. “Sorry. I definitely don’t want to be rude.”
Glaistig stopped and lifted the hem of her long skirt. Rune looked down at her goat’s cloven hoof. “You see the problem with your mini-skirt suggestion,” she said with a wry grin.
“Yeah,” Rune replied. “Hey, blue jeans are great. Maybe that and some cool boots. You’d be totally rad.”
Glaistig offered a soft smile. “Thank you, Rune. It’s nice of you to say, but I’m a prisoner of my nature. That’s why I left the real world. I hated to kill.”
“Oh, I’m with you on that. But what do you, um, live on here in the Otherworld?”
“Trolls, dwarves, gnomes on occasion. Men are men, no matter their species. At least I can take blood from the denizens of the Otherworld without killing.”
Rune frowned. “How can you do that? Just take a little blood?”
“No. Within the Otherworld, the Magic Laws of Conservation take effect. No arcane creature can kill another. Even if I bled a troll dry, he could still get up and walk away.”
“Still, it’s probably not much fun for the troll.”
Glaistig laughed a smoky laugh. “Not fun at all, but at least they do not die.”
“Interesting. I manage to get by without straight blood, but sometimes...well, sometimes I would just like a taste.”
“Do not allow yourself to do that, Rune. Once you sup on blood, there’s no turning back.”
Glaistig looked at the ground and said nothing for a few seconds. In a soft voice, as if speaking only to herself, she repeated, “There is no turning back.”
Rune cleared his throat. “Well, is there anything else about these Laws I should know?”
Glaistig glanced sideways at Rune. “Well, a person from outside can kill an Otherworld creature. Be careful, unless you’re willing to take on that burden.”
Rune kept his gaze on Glaistig until she raised her head. “I’ve never killed anybody, and I don’t think I want to, so I’m pretty safe there. Anything else?”
“Just that nature requires a balance.”
* * * *
Marva Dasef lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and a fat white cat. Retired from thirty-five years in the software industry, she has now turned her energies to writing fiction and finds it a much more satisfying occupation. Marva has published more than forty stories in a number of on-line and print magazines, with several included in Best of anthologies. She has several previously published books. Her latest pride and joy is the Witches of Galdorheim Series from her super duper publisher, MuseItUp.
Where to find her:
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Twitter Handle: @Gurina
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Download a PDF Sampler of all three books in the series and the bonus short story, Spellslinger. http://temp.marvadasefcom.officelive.com/Spellslinger.aspx