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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Tiernan Cate

«Blood Witch», Cate Tiernan



May 4, 1978

Today for the first time I helped Ma cast a circle for Belwicket. In time I'll be the high priestess. Then I'll be leading the circles as she does now. Already people come to me for charms and potions, and me only seventeen! Ma says it's because I have the Riordan sight, the Riordan power, like my grandma. My own ma is a very powerful witch, stronger than anyone in Belwicket. She says I'll be stronger than that yet.

And then what, I wonder. What will I do? Make our sheep healthy? Make our fields more fertile? Heal out ponies when they go lame?

I have so many questions. Why would I have such power, the power to shake mountains? My granny's Book of Shadows says that our magick is just to be used here, in this village, this place in the country, so far away from other towns and cities. Is that so? Maybe the Goddess has a purpose for me, but I cannot see it.

— Bradhadair


For a moment the name hung in the air before me, wavering like a black insect in front of my eyes. Bradhadair! Also known as my birth mother, Maeve Riordan. I was holding her Book of Shadows, started when she first joined her mother's coven, when she was fourteen. Her Wiccan name, Bradhadair, was Gaelic for "fire starter." And I was reading words she had written in her very own hand—


I glanced up, startled. And then I felt a jolt of alarm.

My boyfriend, Cal Blaire, and his mother, Selene Belltower, stood at the entrance of the secret library. Their bodies were backlit by a shaft of light from the hall. Their faces were blank masks, hidden in shadow.

My breath caught in my throat. I had entered this room without permission. Not only had I kept Cal and our other friends waiting, I had trespassed in a private area of Selene's house. I had no business being in this room, reading these books. This I knew. A hot flush of shame made my face burn.

But I couldn't help myself. I was desperate for more knowledge—about Wicca, about my birth mother. After all, I'd only recently uncovered extraordinary secrets: that I'd been adopted, that my birth mother, a powerful witch, had been murdered, burned to death in a barn. But so many questions still remained unanswered. And now I had found Maeve Riordan's Book of Shadows: her private book of spells, thoughts, and dreams. The key to her innermost life. If the answers I sought were anywhere, they were in this book Subconsciously—in spite of my guilt—my hands tightened around it

"Morgan?" Cal repeated. "What are you doing in here? I've been looking all over for you."

"I'm sorry," I said, the words rushing out I looked around, wondering how I could explain being in this place. "Uh—"

"The others went on to the movie," Cal interrupted. His voice hardened. "I told them we'd try to catch up with them, but it's too late now."

I glanced at my watch. Eight o'clock. The movie theater was at least a twenty-minute drive from here, and the movie started at eight-fifteen. I swallowed. "I'm really sorry," I said. "I just—"

"Morgan," Selene said. She stepped farther into the room. For the first time I saw tense lines on her youthful face, so like Cal's. "This is my private retreat. No one is allowed in here except me."

Now I was nervous. Her voice was calm, but I sensed the leashed anger underneath. Was I in real trouble? I stood up at her desk and closed the book. "I–I know I shouldn't be in here, and I didn't mean to intrude. But I was walking along the hall, and then suddenly I just fell against this door, and it opened. Once I was inside, I couldn't stop looking at everything. It's the most amazing library…." My voice trailed off.

Selene and Cal gazed at me. I couldn't read their eyes, nor could I get any sense of what was going through their minds, and that made me even more nervous. I wasn't lying, but I hadn't told them the whole story, either. I had also been trying to avoid Sky Eventide and Hunter Niall, two English witches who were here tonight to take part in one of Selene's circles. For some reason, these two guests of Selene's filled me with inexplicable dread. When I'd heard them coming along the hall, I had tried to avoid them—and had ended up stumbling into this secret library. It had been an accident

That's right, I thought. It had been an accident. Nothing to be ashamed of. Besides, I wasn't the only one who had some explaining to do. I had a few questions for Selene.

"This is Maeve Riordan's Book of Shadows," I found myself saying. My voice sounded loud, harsh in my ears. "Why do you have it? And why didn't you tell me you had it? You both know I've been trying to find out about her. I mean… don't you think I'd want to see something that belonged to her?"

Cal seemed surprised. He glanced at his mother.

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