Kat is a nervous wreck waiting for her boyfriend’s first visit to her Arctic island home. He doesn’t show up, so she’s sure he’s given her the brushoff.
When she learns he’s disappeared, she sets out on a mission to find him. Things go wrong from the start. Kat is thrown overboard during a violent storm, while her brother and his girlfriend are captured by a mutant island tribe. The mutants hold the girlfriend hostage, demanding the teens recover the only thing that can make the mutants human again–the magical Midnight Oil.
Mustering every bit of her Wiccan magic, Kat rises to the challenge. She invokes her magical skills, learns to fly an ultralight, meets a legendary sea serpent, rescues her boyfriend, and helps a friendly air spirit win the battle against her spiteful sibling. On top of it all, she’s able to recover the Midnight Oil and help the hapless mutants in the nick of time.
Kat sprinted up the cobbled pathway to Mordita’s door. She remembered the first time she’d come to the old witch’s home, she’d gotten zapped by the spike and horseshoe doorknocker. She learned fast—don’t use the knocker. She rapped on the wood instead.
The door swung open. Kat walked into the dimly-lit living room, and the door closed behind her. Glancing around, she waited for her eyes to adjust. She didn’t see Mordita, but her familiar, a fat orange tiger cat, curled on one of the damask-covered chairs by the fireplace.
“Kudzu, where’s your mistress?” The cat opened one eye a squinch and nodded toward the door leading to the kitchen.
“Thanks.” Kat hurried over to the kitchen door. “Anyone home?” One never walked through a closed door without an invitation from the home’s occupant. The door swung inward, and Kat stepped into the tiny kitchen. Mordita leaned over the stove and pulled a tray from the oven.
“Ah, Katrina, I’m glad you stopped by. I made cookies for your trip.”
“So, you heard already?”
The old woman chuckled. “You know I hear everything.”
Kat smiled. No doubt Mordita kept track of current events. “Thanks for the cookies, but I have to hurry. We’re just about ready to leave.”
The sorceress tossed the cookie sheet into the air. The cookies flew off, circling the kitchen twice. Kat ducked to avoid the flying disks, which grouped into a neat pile and dropped into a waiting basket. The lid slammed shut, and the basket jetted over to Kat, who caught it on the fly.
“Quick enough for you?” The old woman cackled. Kat knew Mordita’s patented cackle was worse than her bite, so she just grinned. She stepped in front of the witch and threw her free arm around her shoulders.
Mordita raised one hand and patted Kat on the shoulder. “Now, now. We’ll see each other again soon.”
“You promise?” Kat asked, hoping she might know for certain.
“Just an educated guess,” Mordita replied, slipping out of Kat’s hug. “But I have something else for you.” The crone reached into an apron pocket and withdrew an amulet hanging on a silver chain. She slipped it over the young witch’s head.
Plucking it up from her chest, Kat looked down at it. It, too, was silver, but tarnished so heavily it seemed almost black. “What is it?” She squinted at the dim shapes and symbols etched into the silver disk.
“It’s a good luck coin. I know it’s hard to see, but that’s Medusa. I got it from her…um, that is, my family passed it down to me. Medusa personally handed it to a great, great, great something-or-other relative of mine.”
“Wasn’t Medusa evil?” Kat asked, a frown tugging at her mouth.
“Not all the time, dear. Mostly, people just misunderstood her. Don’t you worry. The amulet protects against snakes.”
“Snakes?” Kat’s voice rose an octave. “Why will I need protection against snakes? Will I run into snakes?”
Mordita frowned and then made shooing motions with her hands. “Now, now. I don’t see anything like that. It’s just a gift.”
“Thanks.” Kat gave the witch another hug. The old lady squirmed from Kat’s grasp.
“Enough, girl. Run along and find the boy.”
“I’ll try. See you later.” Kat sprinted to the front door, and it opened just in time for her to pass through. Pausing, she looked back, wishing she’d said something more, but she had no idea what.
Bolting down the walk, Kat was glad she’d cleaned the slime off the stones, even if Mordita didn’t appreciate it. I still owe her a three-fold favor.
A little bit about the series from the author:
MENTORS IN YA FANTASY
The older, wise person is common character in YA fantasy. The stories of apprentices to wizards, squires to knights, experienced gamers to the new players, a wise dragon to a young magician, Dumbledor to Harry Potter. The elder provides not only a character who is not green behind the ears, but also a contrast of the adult to the protagonist, who’s generally a teenager.
In the first book of the Witches of Galdorheim series, we meet a reclusive old sorceress who decides to help Kat leave her island home in search of her father’s family. Mordita is not friendly with the other witches, and has a particular dislike (mutual) of Thordis, the head witch of the island. The elder witch at first decides to assist Kat in her runaway plans to tweak Thordis. She thinks it’d be hilarious to see Thordis freak out when Kat and her brother, Rune, disappear. Along the way, Mordita uncomfortably finds herself liking the teen witch, and her mission changes from making Thordis mad to actually helping Kat in her journey.
In this latest book, Mordita becomes more prominent in the story when Kat is lost at sea. She actively aids Thordis and Ardyth in searching for not one, but three, lost kids. Later in the story we find out that Mordita has a secret, but I can’t say what since I hope it will be a surprise.
Aunt Thordis also mentors Kat and Rune, but in a more distant manner. She frets about their safety and takes measures to find the lost kids. But, emotionally, she stays aloof. Thordis feels the entire village of witches are under her care and uses that argument when she asks the witch community for help in locating Kat and Rune. The witches’ council isn’t too eager to use their resources on the girl they view as always getting into trouble (from the first book) and in constant need of bailing out. However the others might argue against taking drastic measures, Thordis is a formidable witch and a bossy one at that. Thordis will have her way.
A third mentor appears in Midnight Oil. Kat’s grandfather, Ivansi, guides Rune in his own perilous journey. The old man, a Sami warrior, amazes Rune more than once with his abilities. He negotiates with the mutant Nenets tribe, leads Rune to the island of the Nenets gods to gather information and across the arctic seas to find the healing Midnight Oil.
I believe having adult mentors in YA fantasy is not only common, but an almost necessary part of the story. The young protagonists may have magical power or other supernatural abilities, but nearly always they need a little guidance from those who’ve gone through the same things before.
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.
Marva Dasef Website: http://tinyurl.com/DasefAuthor
MuseItUp Buy Page: http://tinyurl.com/6wswbsf
Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006UTL54A
MuseItUp Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/MIU-MarvaDasef
Twitter Handle: @Gurina
Midnight Oil Trailer: http://youtu.be/xFPHLZexo3U