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What stalks the land cannot be but is.
Where magic is outlawed a troll Shaman calls from her deathbed to her heiress, Mirandra Var, daughter of the storm. Mirandra vows to find her missing kin, sort friend from foe, and claim the dangerous secrets guarded by unthinkable creatures. If she succeeds she will become the leader of her tribe. If she fails, there will be no tribe to lead.
© A. L. Butcher
“So, you are the Heart of the Mountain. What can you show me, I wonder?” Kherak muttered, pulling her thoughts back to the task in hand. She settled back in her armchair with the crimson embroidered and beaded Shamanic Shawl across her shoulders. The item was old, far older than the Shaman herself, and imbued with magic, for it had passed down from Shaman to Shaman, and each woman had added to it. To all appearances it was simply the shawl of an old woman, but there was nothing simple about the garment. It was a symbol of status, an heirloom with much Power and, of course, it kept her warm.
A pearlescent glow rose in the Opal, which hovered above the Circle adorning the table. Colours shifted and, as she placed the Heart of the Mountain over the large stone, the red and black pattern began to move, swirling like a whirlpool. “I am Kherak Var, Shaman, as my kin have been before me. Show me your secrets; guide me in seeking my kin.”
This was strong and wild magic, flowing in a torrent which was close to sweeping the ailing woman away with its force. Suddenly a voice rumbled around, timbre low like thunder, drawing her in and making the old Shaman tingle in ways she had not experienced for many years. The language was strange, ancient and arcane, the very language of the earth. Such words Kherak had seldom heard; the sound held Power, the very essence of magic and rose like a song. She had not expected this, even with all her foretelling. Peering into the depths of the Opal, the images swirled like mist on the mountain and the shifting vision would not yield further. “You will reveal, my eyesight fades but my Sight is clear. You will reveal to me, as is my right and my Power.”
The humming Opal whined with a painful shrill, and tired Kherak fought the errant vision to do her bidding. The Shaman’s Focus shifted— partly in the Realm of Dreams and partly remaining in the mundane world. In Astral Sight the Opal loomed large and bright, a globe of dancing images woven in mist; before her rose a peak of reddish stone, run through with black veins arising from a lake of greenish water, and high in the peak an arch looked out across the lake, weathered but dark and foreboding. As she watched, the lake filled with blood, and screams echoed in her head. As quickly as it had appeared Kherak saw the half-dream flicker away to be replaced by a high-roofed chamber of rock, lit with crystal, and in the centre a red and black stone statue, circled by molten rock, runes glowing like fire about it. The strange words roared as the rolling of waves against stone, echoing in the Realm of Dreams as it did in her parlour, rattling the shelves from which items tumbled. Then the vision was gone.
British-born Alexandra Butcher (a/k/a A. L. Butcher) is an avid reader and creator of worlds, a poet, and a dreamer, a lover of science, natural history, history, and monkeys. Her prose has been described as ‘dark and gritty’ and her poetry as evocative. She writes with a sure and sometimes erotic sensibility of things that might have been, never were, but could be.
Alex is the author of the Light Beyond the Storm Chronicles and the Tales of Erana lyrical fantasy series. She also has several short stories in the fantasy, fantasy romance genres with occasional forays into gothic style horror. With a background in politics, classical studies, ancient history and myth, her affinities bring an eclectic and unique flavour in her work, mixing reality and dream in alchemical proportions that bring her characters and worlds to life.
Her short novella Outside the Walls, co-written with Diana L. Wicker received a Chill with a Book Reader’s Award in 2017.
Links to A.L.’s website, blog, books, etc.
Amazon UK http://amzn.to/2hKF4Ns
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2hKOZTv
Social Media links
Amazon Author Page http://amzn.to/2hK33OM
Smashwords Author Page
Facebook Author Page
Library of Erana Blog http://bit.ly/Blog2iAWL3o
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