It’s that time of year again—when shadows flit behind the curtains and footsteps clatter down an empty staircase. It’s easy to believe in ghosts and goblins when the days lengthen and nights seem to last forever. Now’s the time to revisit legends around the fire and imagine you hear voices in the howling wind.
The legends of Scotland are more than stories to the characters of Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones. Strange creatures roam the moors and craggy mountains of the Scottish Highlands and Zoraida discovers more than a few could be her blood relations.
Scotland’s version of a female vampire, the Baobhan Sith (pronounced Baa’-van shee), makes Transylvanian vampires look like sweet fluffy rabbits. The Baobhan Sith appears to her victims as a beautiful woman wearing a gown of green or white. Scotsmen, being the opportunistic and practical types they are, don’t find it the least bit odd that a beautiful woman should show up in the most secluded spots.
Nope. He’ll drop whatever awful thing he’s eating and follow her like a goose follows corn.
This is a bad idea.
The Baobhan Sith prefers tasty morsels of Scottish descent, kilted, muscular, and none too bright. She invites him to dance and gets him boiling over for something a bit more. Just as he, er, relaxes, she jabs him with her long nails, sucks the blood (some say other bodily fluids as well, which is probably A-Ok with the Scotsman—up to a point), and then she tears him into little plaid bits.
Her only weaknesses are iron (bad ju-ju for all fairies), horses, and dawn. Like all vampires, she hastens back to her crypt before sunrise.
But even Baobhan Sith fall in love.
In this excerpt from Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones, Zoraida has followed mysterious Shea Logan to the top of the forbidding East Tower. Shea is quite the storyteller and he regales Zoraida with a bit of family legend.
Shea sits on one of the repaired merlons, his legs stretched in front of him and his arms crossed. His eyes are distant, already lost in the story he is about to tell.
“Long ago, Clan Logan fled to Scotland from Ireland, seeking a place to rebuild. They crossed the North Channel and made their way through the western Isles to Loch Linnhe. They traveled north through the Great Glen Way and struck out through Easter Ross.
“When they found Loch an Drochaiddubh, they saw a tall, grey broch perched on the edge of a precipice. Lorne Logan wanted it, but the only clear path to the summit led between two granite boulders with barely room for two abreast. There was no way an army could assault the tower. His people were tired and ill-nourished after a long journey, so Lorne Logan went alone.
“He wrapped himself in spells and crept through the cleft in the boulders in the dead of night. Sword drawn, he advanced to the tower. It was empty. No living thing had dwelt in the broch for centuries. By the light of a waxing moon, he explored the ancient round tower. On the floor lay crystals of every imaginable size and hue. In the center of the broch, a chasm opened into darkness. He caught moonlight in a crystal and by its light dropped down through the chasm.
“The light of the crystal revealed runes and symbols on the passage walls. He could not decipher them but he followed them deeper and deeper into the caverns. They led him through winding passageways to a crystal-encrusted cave where blind fish swam in a black lake.
“From the dark, something watched Lorne Logan and his moonbeam crystal. The Baobhan Sith, a vampire, had seen no living thing in centuries. She fell in love with the tall, strong sorcerer at once.
“She had ensorcelled many men in ages past, luring them to their deaths in the black lake. She planned a different kind of spell for Lorne. She wanted him for herself, to keep in her musty cavern. To make love to him, to ease her loneliness. She appeared to him as a beautiful woman in green.
“Lorne, a canny witch, recognized her for what she was. He didnae intend to be ensorcelled on any account though he cast his eyes over her fair form more than once as they circled each other. He would not be bewitched and she would not be put off. They joined battle deep in the caverns.
“Their spells and glamours ricocheted among the crystals. The heat of their fury boiled the black waters of the lake. Smoke and sparks from their sorcery rose through the tunnels and shone in the windows of the dead broch. Lorne’s people feared him dead or worse.
“The story goes that she got the best of him at last. She held the killing sorcery wrapped in a glowing green ball, but she stayed her hand. She couldnae destroy him. He had awakened her heart, asleep for millennia, and she loved him.
“When Lorne saw the truth in her beautiful eyes, saw she could not destroy him, he relented. He made love to her in the crystal cavern, and they boiled the lake and sent sparks flying for an entirely different reason. She remained his lover and his confidante for the long years of his life. He sealed the crystal cavern with magic runes, keeping her safe, keeping her secret.
“She helped Lorne Logan construct the East Tower and she went to battle when enemies assaulted the clan. Many a Logan enemy charged up the hill to find a beautiful green-eyed woman waiting. She was the last thing the man saw before she gutted him and drank his lifeblood.”
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Zoraida Grey and the Family Stones is the first book in the three book series. Book Two, Zoraida Grey and the Voodoo Queen will be available Winter 2017-18. In the meantime, check out my website www.SorchiaDuBois.com for Witchling: An Anthology of Zoraida Grey Short Stories. This will be free for a limited time—available as soon as I can get it finished—hopefully by the end of October. The final book in the trilogy, Zoraida Grey and the Pictish Runes, is well underway. I’m aiming for a spring 2018 release. Sign up for my newsletter to get the latest news on releases, freebies, and sales.
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Award-winning author Sorchia Dubois lives in the piney forest of the Missouri Ozarks with seven cats, two fish, one dog, and one husband. She enjoys a wee splash of single-malt Scotch from time to time and she spends a number of hours each day tapping out paranormal romance, Gothic murder, and Scottish thrillers.
A proud member of the Ross clan, Sorchia incorporates all things Celtic (especially Scottish) into her works. She can often be found at Scottish festivals watching kilted men toss large objects for no apparent reason.
Her stories blend legends, magic, mystery, romance, and adventure into enchanted Celtic knots. Halloween is her favorite time of year (she starts decorating in August and doesn’t take it down until February) and her characters tend to be mouthy, stubborn, and a bit foolhardy. Nothing makes her happier than long conversations in the evening, trips to interesting places, and writing until the wee hours of the morning. Well, chocolate cake makes her pretty happy, too.