The prequel to Lynn D. Dick's Traveler's Joy - Dora's Story
CAN A CURSE LAID OVER 300 YEARS AGO STILL BE ACTIVE?
This is one of the realities Hayley must face, along with time travel, magic and witchcraft.
When she is forced to flee from a stalker, Hayley goes to live with Willow, a distant relative and practising witch.
Willow gives her a silver heart shaped pendant that she claims has strange powers and tells Hayley of the legacy of the pendant. It must only be passed down through the female side of the family and has to go to a girl with amethyst colored eyes.
Hayley starts wearing the pendant and travels through time to meet Alice, who like Hayley, has amethyst colored eyes. Alice is in danger from a witchfinder and it is up to Hayley to try and save her. But can she? And can Hayley save herself?
The past. The year 1681.
Lizbet Thorne was well-concealed in the darkness cast by the shadow of the trees. She stood waiting for the clouds to cover the moon so that she could make her way to her chosen place. She wanted no prying eyes upon her. The t ime, the day, and the moon phase were right for the spell she wanted to cast. It was not just the simple little calling down of blessings that she normally involved herself with. This spell would change the fates of several people, herself included. Lizbet knew that if anyone saw her performing the ritual the consequences could bring about her death by hanging, for such was the punishment meted out to witches.
She knew it was a risk, but her second sight had shown her great danger to her middle daughter Alice and if she didn't act soon, Alice would be the one accused of witch craft and would face the hangman's noose. She had seen the vision too many times for it to be a passing notion, borne on the vague meanderings of sleep. She could feel it in it the rhythms of her daily life. A change was coming, this was a true sight and Alice was in peril. Her unease kept growing .
Lizbet pulled her cloak around her still youthful and curvaceous body, relishing the comfort it momentarily gave her. Her honey brown hair, with just a few sprinklings of gray around the temples, flowed loose and free down her back. Her thirty nine years showed little in her very attractive face.
Lizbet sighed, recalling the shapeless, worn out, village women of around her age and their remarks about witchcraft regarding her looks. They were sometimes openly bitter to her for many men desired her. It was awell known fact that she was the village squire's bedmate. He was a force to be reckoned with and she was under his protection. So the women gossiped and the men folk looked, indulging in some lewd talk about her over their ale, reckoning the squire to be a lucky man.
"For six years now I have delivered their babies and healed their ailments," Lizbet murmured to herself, "and now I must look to the safety of my girls."
She smiled with pride as she thought about her three lovely daughters. So very different from each other and all fathered by different men. Polly and Emma knew the power of their beauty and the lure of their bodies to men, but Lizbet knew Alice was oblivious to the fact that while her sisters were extremely pretty, she was beautiful.
Polly, the oldest, was a brunette, with masses of curls and am ber colored eyes. She had a forthr ight and determined nature. At nineteen she was a mother of a six month old son. Ali ce, not quite seventeen was a silver haired blonde with unusual colored e yes, almost violet. She was a virginal dreamer, mooning about Matthew Wilson who worked alongside hi s father as a blacksmith. and the youngest one, Emma was a russet red head with pea green eyes. She was thirteen, in love with the power of being a newly fledged woman and the delight her nubile young body could give and experience. Emma was happily having sex with two different boys in the village. Li zbet knew that even as she waited in the deep shadows of the trees, Emma was with one of them.
This did not cause any concern for her, it was the way of the Thorne women and she knew Emma would not be fertile until seventeen. She loved her three daughters fiercely and had openly encouraged their free spirits. She had raised them to be comfortable and confident about their bodies. She had also taught them the ways of the craft.
For yes, Lizbet was indeed a witch and it was something that she would never publicly claim. Of those who asked her to make love potions or cast a spell, she quickly turned away saying that she knew nothing of what they wanted. Lizbet was open and forthright about what she used for treatments, telling her patients what she was using and how it worked. She was respectful of the church, aware of the power and influence the clergy wielded. It was a matter of survival. Lizbet was no fool.
She knew there were two things that had kept her and her family safe in this village so far. There had been no run of bad luck with crop failures, plagues, sicknesses, best of all no deformed babies or animals born and the seasons had been good.. It only takes a few accidents of nature for people to be crying 'witchcraft' and Lizbet recognized that if that day were to come, she would be the obvious scapegoat.
The other reason for their safety was that she and her daughters were generally well liked in the village. In fact, most of the villagers were very tolerant of their pretty 'wise woman' and her three eye-catching daughters. Also, most of the villagers still held on to a lot of their old 'pagan' beliefs.
"Little good that will do me, if Mistress Agatha has her way," Lizbet said to herself in a bitter tone, "she hates me and she is the source of danger to my Alice."
Squire Pierson's sister, fat, ugly, with a nasty temperament had been lately widowed. There were no other living relatives who could (or would) give her a roof over her head and it had been left to her brother to take her in.
Agatha's marriage had been a dismal failure, her spendthrift husband managed to get through all the money she had bought with her dowry before his untimely death. He had also been a boy lover. Agatha was a bitterwoman.
"Why must she poke her nose into everything?" Lizbet asked herself as she thought about her adversary, frowning momentarily. For she, like everyone else in the village, had been watching Squire Pierson's sister.
Agatha had arrived four months ago and had taken over the household of her widowed brother. She had routed the incumbent housekeeper in record time and taken on her duties. Now she was on a mission to get rid of Lizbet for she had taken one look at her brother's paramour and it was instant loathing. Agatha's hatewas fueled by jealousy, masked as piety.
Lizbet had summed up Edgar's sister exactly. She knew Agatha held herself to be a god-fearing Christian woman. She knew the woman saw her as one of the wicked who flourished while a 'good' respectable woman, namely herself, suffered.
Every thing about Lizbet rankled with Squire Pierson's sister. She could almost look inside Agatha's head and hear her thoughts of, "How dare a woman who lived outside the rules of proper behaviour be happy and contented while I'm no t?" Lizbet was fully aware that to A gatha she was anathema! And she had to go!
At last the clouds gathered and the moon goddess drew her silver lined veil over her face. Checking again to see that no one was around, Lizbet sped to her special glade. It was her outdoor altar and a place of power. Tonight she would summon that power to work her magical spell. Taking a small bag out from under her cloak, Lizbet laid out the tools she would need on a stone she had long ago consecrated to her beliefs.
Throwing back her cloak to reveal her naked body, Lizbet began the ritual of casting a circle of protection and calling down the powers of the gods and spirits of the woods to aid her in her spell.
Lizbet was going to make a love potion. A powder to put in the squire's drink.. It would be unnoticeable but it would make him fall in love with Alice, so much so, that he would go against his social codes and marry her daughter. Women who were married to men of prestige and power were seldom, if ever accused of witchcraft and it was Alice's safety Lizbet was trying to guarantee. She also intended to cast a binding spell against Agatha, to deflect her malevolence. The thought of putting a curse on the wretched woman had entered her mind, but she had heard so many times about how curses can often come home to roost. For now, the binding spell would have to be enough.
"I must give Alice over to my Edgar," Lizbet murmured to herself, "although she is sweet on Matthew, he could not protect her as well." She had a look of sad resignation on her face. She knew what she was giving up. However, a lover was replaceable, Alice wasn't.
Lizbet ground the herbs she needed in her pestle, she added the seminal fluid she had got from Edgar the last time they had made love, She had ground down one of his fingernail clippings as well. Now to add in what she had been able to get off Alice, only one single hair off her head. Lizbet had trained her daughters too well about their bodies and how to make sure there was never anything that could be used to work a charm against them.. Ideally she should have got some bodily fluid from Alice, but there was no way she could do that. Alice was canny to the ways of the craft and would know her mother was casting a spell involving her, but was that single hair powerful enough? Alice was still untouched by a man so that made the spell stronger.
She concentrated on making her powder, speaking incantations in a low voice and focusing on the properties of the spell. However, there was one important thing Lizbet didn't know of and the direction of her magic might have been completely different otherwise.
It wasn't only Emma who was indulging in sexual passion that night. After a few months of courting, Alice and Matthew had declared their love for each other. That very night as Lizbet wove her spell, Alice was experiencing for the first time the sensation of having a man inside her as they moved together in the rhythm of
their love making. She was feeling and doing the things her sisters both quite frankly talked about. Alice was joyously giving up her virginity.
Lizbet never heard Alice's cries as the first waves of an orgasm overcame her daughter. The cry was borne on the night air to be heard by the creatures that walk and hunt in the darkness. It was at that moment Lizbet felt a shifting in the elements, there was a strange and different force now in her world. Lizbet paused for a moment to get a sense of what it was. It was unknown to her but she felt no threat from it. She had no inkling of what it could be, so she would think about it later. Her love powder was almost complete and she still had the binding spell to weave before her night's work was done.
So as Alice and Matthew loved, Emma cavorted and Polly rocked her baby back to sleep, Lizbet continuedwith her magic ritual.
The spells were finally cast. It was now up to the powers Lizbet had called on to do their work.