The Lady of Porthcawl

My writing buddy Craig over at Entertaining Stories and I decided to write a story together. He took one part and I the other, then we switched and made sure the story fit together. It did, and I have to say it’s pretty awesome. Each story stands alone, but it’s so much better if you read them both. I would prefer you read Craig’s side first Macabre Macaroni, The Hunter then come back and read mine.

The Lady of Porthcawl

I tire of the Old Crusader’s antics, the game of cat and mouse he continues to play. He’ll make a move today or tomorrow, he may have forgotten but I haven’t. I’ve watched as he prepared, I’ve seduced information from those who’ve assisted him.

Glancing into the sky, the sun is closer to the western horizon. I’ve taken his elder into my bed, planting my wishes in his head as I fulfill his desires. He gives me any capricious wants with a flutter of my eye, or a pout of my lips. Poor Old Crusader, the fool can’t understand why they betrayed him. The giggles shake within my bodice.

Bending down I whisper an enchantment to the blooming bush. “You and I are the same,” I coo, “both the most powerful women in Porthcawl.” La Belladonna nods, giving her permission. “He killed Nell, and the babe in her womb.” I whisper taking a thin stem into my hands, “it’s the eve of her death make him pay for his transgressions to the Braddock’s.” The bush shivers, three leaves shimmer in the sunlight, I pluck them from the stem. One leaf is enough to kill a grown man. Three will not only kill the Crusader, they’ll suck the life from him.

“Did you rest well my beautiful, Bleiddian?” His large paws crush the fallen twigs. The massive wolf tips his head to the right. “Yes, we end the Crusader tonight.” His silver eyes sparkle within the darkness of his black fur. I pull my skirts up and tuck the leaves into my garter. Straightening my skirts, I turn my back on the Beast of Porthcawl.

Holding my hands out towards La Bella, I feel the residue from her leaves lift from my hands. I bow, and offer a few words of gratitude. Bleiddian closes the space between us, pressing his large head into my side. Scratching between his ears, I pull him with me as I sit on the bare patch of dirt. He lays his head in my lap. “You’ve been a good boy, striking terror in their hearts. Devouring the ones that refuse to call me Lady of Porthcawl.” He growls, as I laugh. “They fear you, and they disrespect me. Poor fools.”

Sliding my hand over his strong shoulders, I separate clumps of his black fur tipped in silver. My familiar is as beautiful as the full moon on the blackest of nights. It’s only reasonable for the strongest witch to have such a beautiful animal as her assistant.

Bleiddian raises his head from my lap, and looks to the east. “Let us go, there’s much to prepare before tonight. I place my left hand at the back of the large wolf’s head as we walk home in silence. Listening to the trees and air, energy tingles near the lines. Bleiddian stops walking and cocks his head in that direction. “Come, beautiful. I’ll explain at home.”

Our small home rests nestled among the trees. Bleiddian runs from my side, he lopes around the wooden cottage and stops at the door. I reach over the wolf and twist the knob, opening the door. Bleiddian bursts into the kitchen and lies down near the hearth. Pulling up my skirt, I remove the three leaves tucked into my garter. My tools wait in a tidy line taking the mortar and pestle I begin to grind the leaves. “He’s set a trap for me.” I say as I pulverize the leaves. Bleiddian looks up; a growl pulls his lips back exposing his fangs. “At the lines. Yes, where the three elements meet.”

Without looking, I know the black wolf has tipped his head to the right, questioning me. “Old Crusader paid a youngun to do his manly work. Poor male child, digging a hole at the center of the lines. He has a wooden cross there.” I pull the dagger from the garter on my right thigh. “He plans to burn me at the stake, creating the four elements.” Bleiddian moans. I turn in time to see him cover his eyes with his massive paws.

“We still have a trick or two. Are you prepared for this?” I ask knowing he’s always ready for tricks. He sits up alert, waiting for my orders. “Bring me some death roots.” Bleiddian drops to the floor and whines. “What do you suggest?” I ask placing my hands on my hips. He springs to the far cupboard places his paws on the counter and points to the top shelve with his nose.

The Crusader would never expect it. “But first,” I say pulling his attention from the corked bottle. I take a small wooden box down from the second shelf. “We’ll leave Porthcawl without leaders. You and I will be Lord and Lady,” placing my hand on his head, I start laughing.

I light a black candle and chant. Taking a scrape of cloth with dried blood, I touch its tip to the flame, “As this blood burns to ash so you shall turn to ash. As I will it shall be.” I remove the piece of cloth I’ve kept from the Magistrate and burn it, another from the Elder, the Abbot, other members of the brotherhood, the blacksmith. I continue cursing until the box is empty.

Removing a tiny vial from a drawer I fill it with the crushed Belladonna leaves, I tuck it into the garter on my left thigh. Bleiddian watches, as I replaced the poisoned dagger to its place at my right thigh. Raising my skirts, I stretch my left leg towards the large wolf. “Mix this into the water pitcher, after one sip the Crusader won’t see the sunrise.” I twist my right thigh just enough for Bleiddian to see the dagger, “In case of an emergency. Aim for the heart.”

I know he understands, reaching for the corked bottle I spill some of the contents on him making him growl. I rub the ointment into the fur on his head and down his spine. Pouring some on my palm I mix it into my hair, rub the excess down my neck and over my cleavage. I pour more into my hand and pat it down my skirts. “Witch and familiar. Familiar and witch. One or the other. Which is which.” I begin to chant.

The air around us heats and cools. Wind blows tiny twisters around us. My voice gets deeper as Bleiddian enters my body. Go, I’ll finish the Crusader, I speak into Bleiddian’s mind.

Naualii

The ancient Aztec civilization of Mexico believe in vampire sorcerers called Nanahualtin (plural) or magicians.

The Naualii (New-wa-lee) was a human who could cause people to go insane and practiced vampire activities by smothering children then drinking their blood.

navalii

Nanahualtin could shape-shift into an array of animals, their favorites were Were-coyotes and Werewolves.

Two October Pagan Holidays

Today we have an awesome post from Valkyrie Human Services.
Thank you so much for being a part of witch month.

It’s October and that means Winter Nights and Samhain are on their way! I felt writing a post on what Winter Nights and Samhain are truly about would be a good idea. Today we still have a large amount of people who are very misinformed as to what these two holidays are about. This in turn, leads to not only discrimination and oppression, but hatred and violence. Even without the bad information that Hollywood and other sources continue about Pagan holidays, it still isn’t right for other groups to be the way they are. Sadly though, it still happens. I am hoping that this information will not only warm the hearts of Pagans, but inform any non-Pagans who read it.

Winter Nights, or Vetrnaetr, is one of the three most significant times of the year to Norse Pagans, or people on the Asatru path. It usually takes place in mid to late October; however, October 31st is a very popular day to celebrate. This festival took place in pre-Christian Scandinavia and still is alive today. Winter Nights is about thanking the Norse deities for the year thus far and asking for protection and health during the coming winter season. It marks the end of long days in the sun and welcomes the cold, lingering nights.

A Blot (bloat) is held to honor the Gods and Goddesses as well as the land spirits and a sacrifice of mead or ale is made. There is usually a focus on Freyja and the Disir. Freyja, the Goddess of love and beauty is also the Queen of the Valkyries and has a strong connection with the dead. The Disir are our female ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. Winternights is a time where the veil between the physical world and the world of the dead is extremely thin, because of this, it is easier to make contact with our loved ones who are no longer alive on this plane. This is a very happy time. This is a time to remember, tell stories, eat drink and honor those who are no longer with us physically…but very much still with us spiritually.

Samhain is another ancient holiday celebrated most often on October 31st and originates with the Celts about 2,000 years ago. Samhain is centered around celebrating and honoring your relatives and loved ones who have passed away, much like Winter Nights. A large feast is customary for many people who celebrate Samhain, even today. When the table is set plates and silverware are put out for the loved ones being honored.

No matter if you celebrate Winter Nights, Samhain, Halloween or nothing; this is a wonderful time to reconnect with someone you love who is no longer on this plane of existence. During this time, as well as Beltane the veil between planes is extremely thin. This makes contact between worlds much easier.

I just led my group in a Winternights blot last weekend and it was very moving. Two of us had incorporated the fire letter into the ritual. A fire letter is one of my personal favorite ways to contact loved ones. We wrote letters to someone who was very dear to our hearts, and is no longer with us in body. After reading the letter over a chalice full of apple juice (we had minors present, so I felt wine, ale or mead was not the correct choice) we laid our letters in the fire and watched the flames turn them to ashes. As our words burn away they travel across the veil to the people they are meant to reach. It is truly beautiful, meaningful and therapeutic.

I wish all of you a lovely Winternights and/or Samhain and blessed be! If you’d like to learn more about me, my group or Valkyrie Human Services please check us out at http://www.valkyriehumanservices.com

Our website is http://www.valkyriehumanservices.com, our Etsy is http://www.etsy.com/shop/ValkyrieHumanService our Instagram is Valkyrie_Human_Services And our Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Valkyrie-Human-Services-Inc/282630955274202. Oh yeah! We do have a Twitter now. It’s Verdandi_Sif.

WAR’S HARVEST

mari wells:

Another must read by Dylan J. Morgan.

Originally posted on DYLAN J. MORGAN:

Early morning mist drifted through the Mekong Delta like thin tendrils of transparent phantoms. Writhing and curling through the jungle, it obscured things further. Exhausted, nervous, and desperate for the toilet, Rivers stared at a wall of foliage, trying to stay awake.

They’d dug their foxholes within sight of the trail, and it’d taken Rivers the best part of the night to complete his. He loathed digging the damn things, never got them deep enough, and they made him feel trapped, enclosed; a sitting target. Standing for hours, they watched the trail for Viet Cong guerillas heading to the skirmishes further south.

The jungle’s monotony evaporated with the snap of a branch.

Leaning forward in his hole, Rivers glanced towards the track. He risked a fleeting look to his right, almost unable to see the foxhole’s of his platoon stretching into the undergrowth. Voices drifted on the morning air; the…

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Season of the WItch by Brian Moreland

Today we have Brian Moreland here telling us about his witches. You might remember him from Vampire Month. The cannibal story… “Dead of Winter”  (that I had to sit a side because it was way too scary) I’ve got these witch novels on my TBR list, but to tell you the honest truth….. I’m scared to read them. :D That’s how scary “Dead of Winter” is. Before I scare you all, I’ll let Brian take it from here.

Thank you Brian for being a part of witch month.

 

“Season of the Witch”

 

by Brian Moreland

They come from mythology, folklore and fairytales and go by names such as crone, conjurer, necromancer and witch. Male witches are called warlocks and wizards, although the archetypal figure is predominately depicted as an ugly old woman―the hag. Some live as hermits in hovels in dark forests. Others gather in secret places and form covens. They operate in the realms of magic and have the power to cast spells and charm us. They can tell our fortunes or curse us with the evil eye. Old, wicked, beautiful, seductive―witches of all forms have enchanted our stories since the dawn of storytelling.

I love a good witch story, especially when it’s scary, so I wrote three witch stories: The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House and The Jack-o’-lantern Man. As a horror fiction writer, I like to combine history and legends with scary supernatural stories. The Jack-o’-lantern Man plays on childhood fears of the bogeyman during Halloween, while the second two stories allowed me to have fun creating my own legend about a coven witches living in the backwoods of East Texas.

Jack O Lantern Man cover 2

My most recent witch story takes place on the night of Halloween. After trick-or-treating, Corey and his kid sister, Paige, listen to their father tell a ghost story about the legendary Jack-o’-lantern Man, a serial killer who stalks their town during Halloween. After going to sleep, Corey’s night turns to terror as he fears the bogeyman is inside his house. The Jack-o’-lantern Man is available through Amazon and all eBook sellers October 20, 2014.

Girl From the Blood Coven150

 

The Girl from the Blood Coven is a short story prelude to The Witching House. It’s the year 1972. Sheriff Travis Keagan is enjoying a beer at the local roadhouse, when a blood-soaked girl enters the bar. Terrified and trembling, Abigail Blackwood claims her entire family was massacred at the hippy commune in the woods. Sheriff Keagan knows that Abigail’s “family” is a coven of witches that inhabit the Blevins house. They’ve been rumored to be practicing blood sacrifices and black magic. When the sheriff and his deputies investigate the alleged murders, they discover what happened at the Blevins house is more horrific than they ever imagined. You can read an excerpt at the end of this article and download the story for free wherever eBooks are sold.

 

Witching House 150

The Witching House is a novella that unravels the mystery of what happened to the Blevins Coven. It’s forty years after the massacre at the hippy commune. My main character is Sarah Donovan, a young woman recovering from a bad divorce and boring life. She recently started dating an exciting, adventurous man named Dean Stratton. Dean and his friends, Meg and Casey, are fearless thrill-seekers. They like to jump out of airplanes, go rock-climbing, white-water rafting, caving and do anything that offers an adrenaline rush.

Sarah, on the other hand, is scared of just about everything–heights, tight places, the dark–but today she must confront all her fears, as she joins Dean, Meg and Casey on an urban exploring adventure. There’s an abandoned house set far back in the woods, they say. The Old Blevins House has been boarded-up for forty years. And it’s rumored to be haunted. The two couples are going to break in and explore the mysterious house. Little do they know the Old Blevins House is cursed from black magic, and something in the cellar has been craving fresh prey to cross the house’s threshold.

Writing these two stories allowed me to research the long history of witches, from Biblical times, to Norse and Greek mythology, Celtic Paganism, the Christian witch hunts, as well as the modern-day practice of Wicca. In fact, Sarah Donovan’s grandmother is a Wiccan who practices light magic and becomes Sarah’s voice of reason as she is confronted by dark forces. I also studied the differences between White Magic and Black Magic, even combed through a 17th Century spell book for conjuring evil spirits. As with my other books, I have interwoven much of the historical facts that I learned into my stories to offer readers a richer reading experience.

 

Below is an excerpt from The Girl from the Blood Coven:

 

June 21, 1972

As Sheriff Travis Keagan drove through the pine country of East Texas, he had two things on his mind: drinking a cold beer and watching the second half of the Rangers baseball game. On the radio, the announcer said it was top of the fifth and the Yankees were winning five to three.

“Come on, Rangers.” Sheriff Keagan felt absolutely beat and needed his team to lift his spirits. It was the end of another long, hot and balmy summer day of dealing with traffic accidents, drunken domestic disputes and escorting a wife beater to the county jail. Now the shadows of dusk were gathering in the forest, and judging by the flickering clouds, a stormy night was fast approaching.

A woman’s voice squawked on the CB radio. “Dispatch to Sheriff. Over.”

Sheriff Keagan sighed and picked up the microphone. “Yes, Connie. Over.”

“Earl Potter called and claims he saw the ghost of a girl cross through his pasture. Says she spooked his horses.”

“Ghost…” Keagan chuckled, shaking his head. “Last week it was flying saucers. Did he sound drunk?”

Connie laughed. “Like he always does. Over.”

“Tell Earl he needs to lay off the moonshine and go to bed. I’m calling it a night. Have a wonderful evening, Connie. I’ll be at the Armadillo if you need me. Over and out.” Keagan parked his police car in the gravel lot of the Lazy Armadillo. The roadhouse and connecting gas station were isolated on a wooded road just outside of the small town of Buck Horn. Inside the restaurant, the jukebox was playing a Willie Nelson song. A half-dozen townspeople acknowledged the sheriff as he entered the bar. He knew everyone here by name, where they lived, where they worked and their nighttime habits. He knew that Dale and Judy in the corner booth were cheating on their spouses. At another table, Tommy Green was studying to be a lawyer so he didn’t have to end up selling cars his whole life like his pops. And the sheriff knew that the Kincaid brothers, who were casually playing pool, would later get drunk and start throwing fists at one another. Just a typical night at the Armadillo.

Taking off his cowboy hat, Keagan sat at his favorite bar stool, where he had a perfect view of the Rangers game on the TV. “Damn, Yanks scored again?”

Sheila, the sexiest redheaded bartender in the county, put a frosty mug in front of Keagan. “Rangers’ pitching is terrible tonight.”

“Their bats aren’t hitting squat either,” Keagan said.

She pulled out her order pad. “Your usual tonight, Sheriff?”

“Nah, I’m in the mood for a steak. Tell Jorge to burn it.”

Sheila leaned against the bar. “You know all that red meat isn’t good for your colon.” The student nurse was always looking after his health. “How about the grilled catfish with some stir-fried veggies? You’ll thank me twenty years from now.”

“Fine. But you’re not talking me out of the pecan pie.”

“Maybe I’ll have a slice with you.” She winked.

Keagan’s cheeks flushed and he felt warm all over. Since his wife left him a few years back, moving to Houston with their daughter, he missed having a woman care about him. He admired Sheila as she delivered his order to the kitchen. If the college girl wasn’t half his age, he’d ask her out in a heartbeat.

On the TV, the Rangers hit a homer with two men on base, tying the game.

Keagan cheered and waved the runners around the bases. He raised his beer in celebration and was about to drink when he heard a commotion behind him.

A man shouted, “Holy shit!”

Keagan spun around in his seat.

Standing in the front doorway was a young woman covered head to toe in blood. Her soaked nightgown clung to her body. She walked into the restaurant, stiff and grimacing, as if her bare feet were walking on glass. The girl’s face was a mask of solid red and her eyes were wide with terror. She stretched out an arm. “Help me…”

Keagan reached her first and she collapsed in his arms. She was trembling.

So much blood. It covered his hands and stained his uniform.

A crowd of onlookers gathered around, and the sheriff shouted, “Everyone stay back. Sheila, call for an ambulance. And somebody get her some water.” Keagan walked the girl to a booth and sat her down. He examined her exposed skin for bleeding wounds, but found none. It looked as if someone had dumped buckets of dark red paint over her head. Her long hair was littered with leaves and pine needles. Her gown was slashed across the chest and he could see part of one of her breasts. “Are you hurt anywhere?”

The girl looked at him, her lips quivering, and made a croaking sound.

The waitress gave her a glass of water.

As the girl drank, Keagan said, “You’re going to be okay. You’re safe now. An ambulance will be here soon. My name is Sheriff Keagan. Can you tell me what happened?”

“Dead…” she managed. “They’re all dead.”

 

Download The Girl from the Blood Coven for free wherever eBooks are sold.

Witching House Split Audio Cover by Brian Moreland

The Girl from the Blood Coven and The Witching House are also available in an audio book through The Audio Book Shop.

 

Brian Moreland at Killer Con 2013

 

 

Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His novels are Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, and The Devil’s Woods. His novellas are The Witching House and The Vagrants. New stories coming soon: The Jack-o’-lantern Man, The Dealer of Needs, Chasing the Dragon, and The Darkness Inside. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is joyfully writing his next horror books.

 

Follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Visit: http://www.brianmoreland.com/

Visit Brian’s blog Dark Lucidity: http://www.BrianMoreland.blogspot.com

 

CAN YOU REMEMBER?

mari wells:

Wonderful vampire story!

Originally posted on DYLAN J. MORGAN:

Sitting on a cushioned bench just below the castle window, Augustine cradled his lover’s head in his lap and stared out onto an expansive forest cloaked in the depths of night. A spattering of thin cloud barely covered the partially full moon, whose luminescence shielded stars from view. In the distance, at the edge of woodland, the torches of a hamlet burned, and the heat of the villager’s blood rode night’s breeze to invigorate Augustine’s senses.

He wondered if his lover could detect the sweet scent.

“Can you remember,” he whispered, “when our hearts were beating in rhythm with the others in that village? Can you remember how happy we were then, how fortunate we were to have each other? Viorica, my darling, can you remember how you cast my love aside as if it were a worthless piece of garbage?”

He recalled it all as though it’d happened only…

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ONE BULLET

mari wells:

This is a great story from Dylan you have to read.

Originally posted on DYLAN J. MORGAN:

Traffic was backed up on Broadway but this time for good reason. Half the occupants of the vehicles in this jam were already dead. The other half stumbled through the streets of Manhattan with their flesh decomposing and hunger in their eyes.

The zombie apocalypse . . . David Jackson didn’t even believe in such a thing.

They hadn’t taken much with them: a few cans of food, some clothes, and his Glock 42. David had discharged the handgun inside the car; stupid in itself, but panic had dictated his actions. The windshield hadn’t shattered, but the passenger window had. He’d managed to headshot three zombies before they’d grabbed his wife. He could just imagine her final thought being I bet he did that on purpose.

They’d dragged her through the shattered glass to feast on her flesh, but now her wide hips were wedged into the opening. Ironic…

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