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message 1: by Kevis (last edited Aug 07, 2009 08:58PM) (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (KevisHendrickson) This excerpt is taken from my YA fantasy novel The Legend of Witch Bane. Hope you enjoy it:

The Legend of Witch Bane by Kevis Hendrickson


The next morning, the children resumed their journey through the woods. Anyr’s health was growing worse by the moment, and for a while it seemed that she would not make it to Araventhia alive. But soon they arrived at a house at the edge of a lake that was enshrouded in mist. Laris had told Kòdobos that the house belonged to an old ferryman who could take them where they wanted to go. When they saw the old ferryman, he was outside roasting some fish over a hot fire.

“Will you take us across the water to the castle on the lake?” asked Laris.

“I shall take no one into my boat save those who are willing to pay the ferry price,” said the ferryman.

“We shall pay it,” said Kòdobos, removing a bag of gold coins from the travel pack on Amaxilfré.

“No gold or silver coin do I seek, boy. For the ferryman yearns not the treasures of men. Such a boon I desire that ye cannot give it to me,” said the ferryman.

“We must get across the lake or my sister will die!” cried Kòdobos.

“Pay the ferry price or ye shall never cross the water,” said the ferryman. Laris noticed the necklace that the ferryman was wearing was void of a gem. The size of the hole where the gem should have gone struck her as very similar to that of the magic gem her mother had given her. Thus she removed the magic gem she carried from her pocket and gave it to the ferryman.

“Is this what you want?” asked Laris.

“Aye! Now this is real treasure, girl. And I do claim that it belongs to me,” said the ferryman, whose eyes had grown large at the gem’s sudden appearance after having been lost for so many years (but that is a story for another time).

“Then I give it to you, old man,” said Laris. “Will you take us across the lake now?”

“Yes,” said the ferryman, “but thy horses shall have to stay behind. I shall care for them until if ever you return from the castle on the lake. Bind them in the trees for now and come along quickly.”

The ferryman snapped the gem into place in his necklace before drawing the hood of his cloak over his head. Then he led the children to his boat and set off for Araventhia. Kòdobos observed that the setting was rather quaint. The lake, which because of its foggy appearance was called Misty Lake, was very still and quietly lapped against the side of the boat. The lake itself was too dark to see anything beneath it. They had been on the lake for a while now without reaching land, and no one spoke during the voyage. Soon the light of day failed, and the moon rose above the water. Not much time passed before there were strange voices in the air. It reminded Kòdobos of the music he heard in the woods the night he had saved Anyr from Caldor. But the haunting melody filling the air now seemed as though it came from a dream. In fact, he could not help thinking that it was the sweetest music he had ever heard.

“What is that singing?” he asked.

“It is the song of the water-maidens,” said the ferryman.

“The water-maidens? Who are they?” Kòdobos wanted to know.

“They are the Undines, ancient water spirits who will bewitch you with their voices. Do not listen to them,” said the old ferryman.

“He’s right, Kòdobos. You should cover your ears now,” said Laris. Kòdobos did as he was told, but the singing continued, and he was curious to know why Laris did not cover her ears. The ferryman had not covered his ears, either, but Kòdobos did not notice it until much later after this particular adventure was over.

“What about you? Won’t you be hexed by the song?” Kòdobos asked his sister.

“Don’t worry about me. I’m a girl. The Undines can’t harm me with their singing,” answered Laris. The sky grew darker, and a deep mist, deeper than the fog they had seen earlier, began to form about the boat. It seemed that they could see hardly an inch in front of their noses. Even while the ferryman guided the boat through the lake with his long paddle, the Undines continued to sing.

“Isn’t it beautiful?” asked Kòdobos, revealing to Laris that he had removed his hands from his ears.

“Do not listen to them, Kòdobos! You must cover your ears!” she said.

“Why? It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard!” said Kòdobos.

“It’s a trick! Do not listen to them!” urged Laris. Her words were in vain, for the spell of the Undines had already worked its evil upon the young prince. Kòdobos turned his head to cast his gaze over the lake in the direction of where he heard the singing, for it was very close now. Then he noticed through the mist a trio of women with long black hair sitting on a rock in the lake.

“They are so beautiful,” he said. “I want to go to them.”

“No, Kòdobos!” cried Laris.

But it was too late, for Kòdobos rose up all of a sudden and reached his arm out toward the women. Laris sprang up after him, causing the boat to tip and Kòdobos to fall over the side and into the lake. Laris cried out after Kòdobos and flashed her gaze back at the nearby women on the rock, only to see them all dive into the lake one after the other.

Now bewitched by the Undines, Kòdobos had no clue of the danger he was in. Three black shadows swam toward him with great speed. The Undines were drawing near with dark thoughts in their minds, and they circled about Kòdobos, looking at him with fiendish grins. They took his arms and towed him deep beneath the waves of the lake, deeper and deeper and deeper. Then the women, who at first had appeared so beautiful to Kòdobos, changed all of a sudden into horrible specters with long fangs and sharp talons. They might have torn Kòdobos to pieces had another figure not appeared in the cold darkness of the deep. It was Laris bearing her twin swords. With a wave of her arm here and another wave of her arm there, she slew the Undines before they could harm her brother. Then she held Kòdobos to her and bore him back up to the surface of the lake where he could be heard coughing and panting for breath.

There was no boat to be seen in the darkness about them, and Laris began to fear for the lives of herself and her brother, for the ferryman had not stayed to receive them back into his boat, but had instead gone on ahead toward the castle on the lake without them.
Laris was angry with Kòdobos for not listening to her when she warned him not to listen to the Undines, but she was even angrier with herself for not having known what Kòdobos was going to do. Despite her lack of desire to lead the quest to save Kaldan, she was the eldest of her father’s children and should have done a better job protecting them. Had she done so, Anyr would never have been bitten by the Werewolves, and Kòdobos would never have fallen prey to the Undines’ magical voice.

Now it was all she could do to hold her brother close to her in the piercing cold lake. But the cold was too great and the lake too deep, and she began to fade and drift back under the waves of the lake along with Kòdobos.

If you have enjoyed reading this excerpt, you can get your copy of The Legend of Witch Bane by clicking on one of the following links:

Amazon: (Paperback) (Kindle) (Paperback)

Publisher Website: (Ebook)

message 2: by Kevis (new)

Kevis Hendrickson (KevisHendrickson) As a bonus, if you would like to watch the 30 second teaser book video for The Legend of Witch Bane, please click on the link below:

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