Since it’s the season for witches and warlocks, mischief and spooks, I thought this would be a good time to introduce you to Ombrine the witch in this, the last of my excerpts from The Weave. In this extract Oskar, Comte de Treville has come to seek Ombrine’s help.
“He wound through trees of pine, oak and larch following an ancient path and as he penetrated deeper into the forest all was silent. His horse’s hooves trod soft on a thick bed of pine needles and leaf mould stirring up a cooling, earthy scent around him. The light grew dimmer as the path narrowed and the trees thickened. The air felt damp and chilly. He shivered. After a while he could hear the sound of rushing water and he knew he was near the waterfall and cave where the witch dwelt.
…He urged his horse forward until he reached a small grassy clearing in the heart of the wood. To one side lay a pool of limpid water into which a cascade tumbled and splashed. At the side of the cascade he saw the cave, its entrance cushioned with bright emerald moss and overhung by a tangle of brambles and scrub.
A figure appeared in the cave entrance – a woman, small in stature and thin. She wore her black hair loose and flowing down to the waist. Oskar noticed her unusually round head and a face tanned by the sun, yet smooth and unblemished. Her eyes, the colour of autumn chestnuts, glowed as he dismounted and walked forward…
…The witch laughed. ‘I know why you have come, my lord. You seek my help. Your son is sick and like to die. You want my help, as do so many.’
Oskar nodded. ‘I do. I have heard you have potions to clear away the sickness. I have come to ask you the truth of this, and if it be true, to beg you to save my son. I will pay what you demand.’
The witch studied his face. Her eyes shone bright with malice.
‘It is a wonder, is it not, how the high and mighty will turn to me, so despised and abused as I am, when they need something that all the physicking of wise men cannot provide. I have no truck with such folk. But you, my lord, you are somewhat different, a little better than most. You have never harassed me nor set your hounds on me and I remember once how you stopped one of your village mobs from stoning me. You did warn me away from your people, it is true, and now I live out here in my cave. All the same, perhaps I owe you something. Enter, my lord, come in to my castle.’ She stood to one side and mockingly bowed him to enter.”
And so it begins… The Weave is out on 16 November on Amazon.