Title: The Blue Witch
Author: Joni Parker
The lake glowed, and in the air, there was a strong odor of roses. The scent was so intense it brought tears to Alex’s eyes. All at once, a woman leapt out of the water, seating herself in the fog as if she sat on a chair. Her long red hair flowed down her shoulders to her waist like a river of fire, and her silver gown shimmered with a light of its own in a rainbow of colors. Alex gasped when she realized the gown wasn’t a gown at all, and the shimmering didn’t come from sequins or beads, but from iridescent fish scales on her body. The woman had no feet, only the tail of a fish—she was a mermaid.
Then, the man she’d healed rose. “We found the Blue Witch, my lady,” he spoke in Elf and then, rambled on in his native language.
“Excellent. Thank you, my friends.” The woman nodded with a wide smile and waved her hand at them. As they backed away, she leaned towards Alex. “Are you the one they call the Black Elf?”
Alex gasped—her heart pounding in her ears. She hated that nickname. “Yes, but who are you?”
“I’m Rosella, the Sea Sprite of Avalon.”
“A Sea Sprite? But the sea isn’t even close to here.”
“They drained it away years ago, but the King had this lake made for me so I could stay close to him. He loves me.”
“Why do these men think I’m the Blue Witch?”
“How else could I explain that you were a young Water Elf with blue hair in your ears?” Rosella rolled her eyes. “Thank you for freeing my friends from that terrible prison. My good friend, Idwal, said you healed his broken leg. I’m impressed.”
Alex screamed; something jumped into her arms; her heart pounded, but it turned out to be Tap, a Pixie Elf and the nephew of Root, her father’s old friend. She carried him easily; he was no larger than a toddler, even though he was full grown. He was the opportunity she was waiting for. He could help her return to Eledon to search for the Holy Grail.
“Tap, what are you doing here?” Alex asked.
“Lord Ashur sent me to find you, so I asked Rosella for help. She belongs to the Water Elves, like you.” Tap’s smile lit up his face, and he doffed his hat in a salute.
“Why did Lord Ashur send you?” Alex turned her head to the sound of horses. “Soldiers...we have to leave.”
“Black Elf,” Rosella said. “I’ll clear a path for you.”
“Which way?” Alex turned around, disoriented.
“This way.” Tap leapt out of her arms and ran down the only clear path in the fog.
Born in Chicago, Illinois, Joni’s a city-girl, raised in the heart of the city. So, when her first grade class took a field trip to the Museum of Science and Technology, she was fascinated by the chicken farm where there were live chickens and chicks hatching from eggs under a light. Like the other students in class, she wrote a report, but hers was selected to be in the school newspaper. Her first published article! Joni’s writing continued with short stories until the eighth grade in Phoenix, Arizona when she won second prize in a short story contest and an honorable mention for a poem. After that, she developed a writer’s block and couldn’t write another short story or poem for the next 45 years. Talk about a writer’s block! Now, it seems she can’t stop writing and has retired from work to write. “The Blue Witch” is her fifth published novel and the second book in “The Chronicles of Eledon” series.
All three monks wore the same brown robes with a rope for a belt where a wooden cross, dangled from the end. One filled a bowl, while the other tore the bread into large chunks. They stopped when they heard a noise and looked up.
“Soldiers,” Brother Trekant whispered. “Hide here.” He opened a small door behind the bench where they’d been sitting. Alex took off her sword and slid in, curling up in the small space—Tap stepped in and sat cross-legged on the floor. Brother Trekant put his finger to his mouth and closed the door
From inside, Alex heard the outside door creaking as it opened. The Brothers seemed to know the soldiers and greeted them warmly. They invited the men in to have something to eat and sit down.
“Brother Trekant, have you seen anyone around who shouldn’t be here?” one of the soldiers asked.
“Who should we be looking for?”
“The prisoners—all of them—including Lady Alexin.”
“We haven’t seen anyone. Have something to eat.”
“Aye, I could use a good bowl of stew.”
Alex’s arm was going numb. She recognized Sergeant Bartholomew’s voice from her many visits to the Forest Army Commandant’s office in Verity on Seaward Isle. When the door to the little compartment popped open slightly, Alex appreciated the fresh air, but was concerned the sergeant might notice it.
Several minutes later, Sergeant Bartholomew finished eating and stood up, scraping the bench against the stone floor and slamming the small door in Alex’s face. “Well, best be on our way. Good evening to you, my Brothers. Again, if you see anyone, you shouldn’t be seeing, let Colonel, I mean Captain Jeffrey know. Our thanks to you.” With that, he left with the other soldiers.
Once the outside door closed, Alex pushed open the little door and took a deep breath. Tap marched out smartly and climbed onto the bench, while Alex crawled out.
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