Welcome to Tuesday Treat.
Today’s treat is one I offer you from my new book Marked for Magic, to be released in April by Lyrical Press, A Kensington Imprint.
Tuesday Treats are all about firsts, here is Nin’s first meeting with the Mage.
“What do you want, wench?” The deep voice came from the shadows.
She whimpered, gritting her teeth, while she pressed her hand tight under her arm. “I’m from the village.” Her voice came out like the squeak of a mouse.
He remained in the gloom of the doorway.
She squinted to make out a brown boot beneath the hem of a green robe. Her stomach rolled. “They’ve sent me to you.”
“Oh, by all that’s blessed! I don’t want them sending me wenches. Go back to your home. Tell them I won’t want a woman until after Samhain. Tell them to send me bread instead.”
She had no hope to do as he ordered. Though she quailed at the risk of his anger, she glanced up when he stepped forward, his green hood absorbing the light. She could not see into its depths. “I can’t go back. I have the mark. They said I belong here.” Tremors shook her so she couldn’t control the babbling words. “They closed the gate behind me.”
He pushed his hood back to reveal more of his face as he bent his head toward her.
“If you won’t take me, I’ll be lost to the forest…” Her voice drained down to a whisper.
His eyes gleamed like January lake water. Green, with dark flecks, and much colder than the lake ever got. “Show me this witch’s mark. Utter superstitious nonsense, but show me.”
Sickened he should name the horror, she held out her cursed palm.
“I can see nothing. Go home. Tell them they are wrong.” He turned away.
No! He mustn’t go yet.
His fine green robe swirled in his haste. She grabbed at his sleeve. He must hear her out.
From the moment Agnes discovered the mark, terror threatened to swallow her. She’d cowered while the old woman jigged about, screeching her discovery. The revulsion on the faces of those she’d known from childhood, who had applauded as the wise woman dragged her by her hair to the vile wicker cage, still filled her vision. Their contempt would haunt her forever.
With no cloak for warmth, no shoes on her feet, she shivered at what her fate might hold. Held captive in the tiny wicker cage, she’d no choice but to listen to the old wise woman who had not left her side, dripping words like poison. Those wounds festered to consume her.
“I can’t go back! They’ll kill me. You know it.” She squashed the need to run. “Please listen. I’m one who is lost. I’m not like them. I’m a witch. I have the mark. If you don’t keep me here, I’ll die.”
Pre order here. http://amazon.com/author/daisybanks