Witches is the story of Splinter, a shy, young witch with a rich, magical heritage. Only beginning advanced sorcery class, Splinter is not destined to come into her natural ability easily. Most of her classmates mercilessly tormented poor Splinter. But she, and they, soon realize just what, and who she is.
Excerpt from Chapter One
Tall oak classroom doors with heavy beaten iron hinges swung open with a vulgar creak as witchcraft headmistress Euphenia entered. She wore a long ceremonial black robe with orange trim and a tall, pointed black hat. She clapped loudly and chairs began to vanish, including the one under poor Splinter, who fell to the cold brick floor with a painful thump. The other young witches waggled and laughed rudely.
“You know why they call her Splinter, don’t you?” young witch Wankney said with a wicked giggle. She pressed the back of one hand to her face, hugged herself with the other and began to rock. “Well, as I heard it, her parents were making love on this old wooden broom. . .”
“Stop that,” Splinter yelped. “Why must you always be so mean?”
“Because you don’t belong. I know, your mother is a Counsel Hedge witch, but your father is no more than a common sea troll. And you’re only half-blood, at best.” Caulder, another second year witch, stood next to her classmate and glared at Splinter. Witch Ravynne, a tall third year Green Witch, looked down and smiled.
“Don’t worry about those two,” Ravynne told Splinter. “Things have a way of working out.”
“Silence,” Headmistress Euphenia howled, holding a finger in front of her. “Line up, ladies. I trust that you are prepared for winter mid-finals?”
“Of course,” Wankney said, as she rushed to be first in line. She glared at Splinter, and then motioned Caulder to hurry into line behind her.
“Yes, well then,” Headmistress Euphenia said. She raised a hand, patted into the air, nodded toward Splinter, then pointed toward the tank room.
“Be a dear, young Splinter, and feed the Hippocamps while I test these two impatient second year witches.”
“Certainly Headmistress,” Splinter answered. “Of all the creatures in the ocean, sea horses are my favorite,” she said.
With a foul grunt, Wankney turned hateful eyes toward Splinter. “And you can feed the dragon-fish while you’re at it. I’m certain they will find you a tasty treat.”
“She has the manners of a Dark Minotaur,” Ravynne commented in a voice loud enough for all to hear, “and looks to match,” she added. Wankney fired a quick squinted glare, then returned a pasted smile toward the Headmistress.
“Wait,” Ravynne said as Splinter reached for her wand. “Here, let me show you another way. There are two parts to this charm, and you won’t need your wand.” Ravynne flicked her right hand, and then stabbed a finger toward the floor. “Ruglan, tallap il-feedera,” she chanted. Clouds churned in front of them, and then a large clear vessel appeared, filled with small crustaceans and shrimp.
“That’s wonderful,” Splinter squealed.
“Okay, you remember the first half of the spell, right Splinter?”
“Good. Now, pay very particular attention to this second part.”
Ravynne made fists, held close to her chest, then swept down and out, opening her palms into a shoveling motion. “Fregella, postos atami,” she chanted. The contents of the vessel are suddenly transported into the tank for the seahorses to feed upon. With a wide grin Ravynne leaned toward Splinter and whispered into her ear.
Splinter listened carefully, and then looked up with a shy grin.
“It is now your turn to be tested, First Year Witch Splinter. Are you ready?” The headmistress said.
“Yes ma’am, I certainly am,” Splinter said.
Headmistress Euphenia cast a hurried glance at Ravynne, lowered her head and then cut curious eyes toward Splinter. She smiled, and nodded.
“Tell me, Witch Splinter, do you have an elective spell you would like to cast?”
“Yes ma’am, I do,” she said.
“Well then, get on with it.”
Splinter glanced at Ravynne, then turned to face Wankney and Caulder, who stood rigid with stern eyes and tight lips. Splinter pulled clenched fists near her chest, and then shoveled outward with open palms. “Preta-sea, fregella, postos atami!” She chanted the spell just as Ravynne told her.
The Headmistress smiled as Wankney and Caulder press frightened faces against the inside of the sea tank, looking out at them.
“Did you provide them with gills?” Headmistress Euphenia asked.
“Yes ma’am,” Splinter replied.
The Headmistress laughed as she walked briskly away. “Good,” she said without turning. “You pass.”