Winterâ€™s Requiem, Book 3, Dark Goddess Trilogy, Celtic historical/fantasy
Enter Dark Age Scotlandâ€”a mysterious, dangerous & exciting placeâ€¦
Three different women, one ancient curseâ€¦
An ancient curse is revealed, leading Domelch, Brigit and Cailleach into certain danger amid a web of deceit. Can they break the curse and put the shattered pieces of their lives back together?
She turned her attention to the small church that rose darkly from the bright green landscape, the timber building filled with those who wished to pray to the Lord for courage and protection in battle. Warriors spilled out into the surrounding area, the small building unable to hold them all. The foreign God filled Brigit with uncertainty. He seemed no threat to her, and she lacked the hatred that her sister had for him. He was Cailleachâ€™s greatest motivation for destroying Gartnait and his clan before all of Alba came under the reign of the Christ God. Brigit still sensed the old gods alive and well, staying hidden in springs, groves and mounds.
Domelch stood away from the church, gazing at the small burial ground with raised cairns housing the dead. The warrior queen looked fearsome in her quilted green tunic edged with raven feathers, her eyes encircled with black paintâ€”a battle mask. Glistening raven feathers braided into her long black tresses gave her the courage and shrewdness of the raven. She looked like a fierce bird goddess with her mighty bow and quiver of arrows.
Brigit stepped to her side, following the queenâ€™s gaze. Gartnait kneeled before one cairn, his dark head bent in prayer. She noticed with glee in her heart that Naia was not with him. She reveled in satisfaction, knowing he had been too busy with battle strategy to spend time with Naia and saw him retire alone each night since that night when the bold female warrior had appeared in his bed. Brigit clung to the hope that Gartnait had not enjoyed carnal delights with Naia at all, that he had kicked her out of his bedchamber that night.
â€œHe asks Lugaid to be at his side to give him courage in battle,â€ Brigit whispered, breaking the silence.
Domelch looked at Brigit through shrewd eyes. â€œYou know my son well.â€
Mordag stood on the other side of Domelch, her expression fierce, guarded, the black painted mask around her eyes giving her the ferocious appearance of a predatory bird. She shook her head in displeasure, realizing that the queen hadn’t spoken to her, but instead spoke to the invisible being on the other side where Domelchâ€™s gaze was directed. â€œI would appreciate some warning when yer invisible friend appears,â€ she grumbled and moved away to give the queen some discreet privacy.
Domelch glanced at Mordag, smiling with mirth, and remained with Brigit.
After Mordag left, Brigit continued with her answer. â€œYes, perhaps I know him too well.â€ An ache tightened her chest.
The queen eyed her with speculation. â€œYou love him.â€
Sighing, Brigit turned to her. â€œSo much so it hurts to take a breath, but he will never be able to love me as I am.â€
â€œJust how long have you known my son?â€
A warm feeling caressed her at the memory. â€œThe first time I saw him was on Iona as a young boy. His quick learning of his lessons intrigued me.â€
Domelchâ€™s eyes swam with speculation. â€œYou did him no harm then, even knowing…?â€
She finished Domelchâ€™s question. â€œEven knowing that Cailleach warned he would be the one to destroy us? That his sons and their sons onward would be kings, eventually ruling all of Alba, spreading their Christ God further? Yes, even knowing that, I could not harm him.â€ A part of her didnâ€™t believe the warning, knowing the answers remained hidden in the mysterious past she could not remember.
The queen watched her with thoughtful eyes.
A battle horn let out one long terrible blast, calling the warriors to assembly.
Brigit shuddered at the terrible sound. â€œIt always strikes me an odd blow that with my coming each spring the battle horn sounds when it is my sister who is death and darkness.â€
Domelch thought a moment, her eyes solemn. â€œPerhaps you are closer to it than you think. I must go now. We will speak later.â€
The queenâ€™s confidence in surviving the battle struck Brigit with wonder and admiration. Domelchâ€™s veiled words rang inside her head and Brigit recalled her dreams of ancient battles.
Undressing and hiding her clothes under a thick bush, she called on the power to change her shape. Her naked body vibrated and sprouted feathers, releasing her tiny bird body into the air on fluttering wings. With a song in her throat, she followed the mighty armies to the battlefield.
‘Ms. Heckart draws the reader into the pages and enchants them with her words.’
Karen McGill, Coffee Time Romance
Kelley Heckart, Historical fantasy romance author
http://kelleysrealm.blogspot.com/ Check out my long hair hotties!
A Greek vampire, Celtic kings, vengeful goddesses, an ancient faery curseâ€¦
All three books of my Dark Goddess trilogy are available in Print and Ebook. Set in dark age Scotland, I mixed history with a Samhain/Beltaine myth that revolves around an Irish clan and the goddesses Brigit and Cailleach.
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