Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Zenward's Magic

Zenwald's Magic, by Clare Dargin - now available!

Plagued by a demon his entire life, Marius Zenward will stop at nothing to free himself from this horrible curse. Captivated by his mystery and torn by her desire, Corrigan Heilyn longs to be with him but is held at bay by the horrible secret that follows Marius from town to town.

Will the magic that he possesses set them free?

Sample Chapter!


Eight year old, Marius Zenward had always been the curious one in the family. His curiosity constantly got him into trouble with his parents but never stopped him.

As he lay in his bed, he stared up at the dark ceiling listening to the soft breathing of his sleeping brother. He knew he was supposed to be asleep too, but he just couldn‟t because of the talking. His parents spoke in hushed tones, hoping that neither he nor his brother would hear.

Quietly, he slipped out of his bed and tip-toed to the door. He opened it slowly and peeked out. The soft light from the warm fire inside the hearth comforted him as he looked for his parents.

He kneeled to get a better look as he saw his modir and fadir speak to each other in an anxious manner.

“Jag vet alla skyltarna!” Inguz Zenward said clutching her husband‟s arm in fear. Her golden blonde hair cascaded down her back like rays of sunshine though her expression reflected none of her soft beauty.

Allowing the words to swirl around in his mind, Marius translated the old Norse. “I know the signs,” he said mouthing the words quietly.

“De djavulen handler om.”

“…The devil is about.” His eyes grew wide with fright at his modir‟s words.

“English, Inguz, English,” Gunthar stressed looking towards the barred door. “You are in de Danelaw, English please.”

Even though his fadir spoke the old language as well, it was his modir who kept the old ways, passing them on to him and his older brother.

“You know it Gunthar. You‟ve seen the signs too. The crops that survived were ruined, houses disturbed, people not wanting to look anyone in the eye. The Helreginn is about because someone disturbed its mound. And now the land is cursed! We must do something. We must protect ourselves. The children.”

Marius knew that a mound was a site where the dead lay and guarded the way to the afterlife. If they were not laid to rest properly, they might not find peace in the afterlife. The dead person could then visit the bereaved as a revenant or draugr. Revenants were horrible because sometimes they took the form of ghosts or walking bodies that scared the living. A draugr was simply the undead that lived in graves only to come out when their mound was disturbed. They were the worst.

“We are protected,” his fadir said as he stood up and walked over to the big oak door. He checked the solid door and made sure it was securely fastened. His face was streaked with concern. “Nothing is coming in here tonight,” he said pointing to his large seax over the hearth. It‟s long blade and notched handle was carried by all Viking warriors who had the strength like his father. Clenching his fist, Marius boldly gritted his teeth and growled.

“We will be fine tonight,” his fadir said, pulling his modir close.

Holding him tight, she turned her head allowing it to be cradled in the crook of his arm, “I should have put the rune of protection on the house when I saw the signs.” she said looking away. “What about the animals?” she said glancing behind her in the direction toward the barn.

“I will check.”

Marius shut the door immediately and climbed back into bed and pretended to sleep. He knew his modir had the hearing of a fox and always knew when he was out of bed. Marius hugged the warm covers. He thought about his father out in the night, brave and strong and not afraid of the monster. Vikings were known for the strength and prowess on both land and sea. That is how they came about defeating the Saxons and gaining the Danelaw. His father had told him many great tales of the conquering of York and the taming of its wild lands. He also told him how, during the later times, their people had settled down to become great farmers in the Danelaw and worked the fields to provide food for their families. One day Marius hoped to be as strong and as proud as his father.

He glanced at the door. It remained closed for his modir had not caught him as he had suspected. He slipped from underneath the wool covers and hopped down from the bed, determined to see what his modir had talked about. She said she wished that she had put the rune of protection on the house, he nodded. The rune of protection warded off all evil spirits and would protect all that were nearby.

He wondered if he should draw it for his mother.

No. Modir can do it best, he thought drawing the rune in the air in front of him. He was a good drawer, much better than his brother, but not as good as his modir. He smiled as a thought occurred to him. He pulled a chair over to the window and climbed on top of it and gazed outside.

A streak of lightening flashed through the sky like a white vein briefly lighting up the stormy autumn night. Glued to his spot, Marius stood on a chair and gazed out the bedroom window of his home hoping to catch a glimpse of Helreginn, the Viking God of Hel that his mother had fearfully spoke of earlier.

Suddenly he spotted something in the distance. Marius strained to see. Though he couldn‟t see anything clearly, he instinctively began to shiver.

Being of Norse blood, he knew the importance of honor and bravery in the face of daunting circumstances.

“Viking warriors are strong,” Marius said as he clinched his fist and looked fiercely looked out into the night. “Jeg er ikke redd ham du død!” (I am not afraid of you death!) He squinted and continued staring out the window.

Lightning flashed in the night, lighting up the family yard. It was empty and soaked with water. I don’t see him. He’s probably not even here, Marius thought with a note of disappointment.

Suddenly thunder boomed, causing Marius to flinch. A tiny bit of fear formed in his heart and sat there. It seemed as if the thunder liked it.

“Mar‟us are you in bed?” his mother asked from the main room.

“Yes modir,” he answered hoping she would not come inside and catch him out of bed. Marius looked at the handle of the door. It did not move. Thankfully she was not coming in. “Where‟s fadir?” he asked.

“In the beretun,” she replied. Her voice comforted him.

The barn? Why would it want the animals? Looking out the window once again, he saw an amber light glowing from the open barn door. The thunder boomed and crackled once again causing him to shirk, but he was still unwilling to move. Where was Helreginn? His mother had said that this was the night he was suppose appear because the crops had been ruined and there was no food with which to feed him.

Suddenly, a gust of wind howled outside as the door to his bedroom burst open. His mother swiftly walked toward him.

“Go to bed!” she ordered, picking him up and placing him underneath the blanket next to his sleeping older brother.

Moving the chair away from the window with a scrape, she stood next to the bed and wrote on the wall. Her hand shook as it moved. Marius waited patiently, pretending to sleep as he clutched the woolen blanket.

She shook him gently and knelt down next to him. He opened his eyes and gazed at his mother, feeling her love for him.

“You must not go to the window, do you understand?”

“Yes modir,” he replied with a nod.

She placed a gentle kiss upon his forehead. Standing up she walked out the room, closing the door behind her, leaving Marius in the dark alone with his temptation.

He knew if caught again, he would be spanked, but what a story to tell his friends! They would never believe it. Glancing at his sleeping brother briefly, he pushed the blanket aside and got out of bed. Moving the heavy chair back to its spot near the window, Marius climbed upon it and gazed in the direction of the barn. The rain had stopped, the light was gone and all was dark.

He then turned his gaze towards the darkened meadows and saw two red orbs suspended in mid air. Looking more closely, he saw that they were shaped like a pair of mean red eyes. They stared back at him, causing Marius to catch his breath. Stumbling, he fell out of the chair. As he hit the floor with a thud, he heard a yowl in the distance. At first it was masked by the wind then continued on its own as if making sure that its irritation was heard.

The hair on his neck stood on end as a streak of fear sped throughout his body. Staring up at the wall as a flash of lightening lit up the room, he saw the Norse rune for protection his mother had drawn. It was algis, or Z as it was known in English. The same letter as their last name.

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