Page Turner Editions
The story of Morgaine the sorceress's incarnation in the present, from her childhood encounters with fairies, who promise to make her a sorceress, to the fulfillment of that promise when, as an adult she is called to the otherworld where, with another young witch, Gretchen, she learns all the secrets of magic at The University of Sorcery.
A whole new, deeper chapter unfolds in the spellbinding saga of an immortal sorcerer and a reincarnated witch who are star-crossed lovers struggling against the machinations of the demon Asmodeus. Book four tells the story of Morgaine's incarnation in the present, from her childhood encounters with fairies, who promise to make her a sorceress, to the fulfillment of that promise when, as an adult she is called to the otherworld where, with another young witch, Gretchen, she learns all the secrets of magic at The University of Sorcery. There her teachers expound the spells and philosophy of thaumaturgy, while setting tests of skill and character for Morgaine and Gretchen. While there, Morgaine also meets and falls in love with Michael, a sorcerer from the middle ages who was granted a thousand years of life by the demon Asmodeus. When she leaves the otherworld, Morgaine is heartbroken, believing that she has lost him forever. Then, she encounters Michael again, now a well-known psychic married to Melody. Morgaine and Michael can't resist each other and renew their affair. She wants him more than anything in the universe. All Morgaine has to do is use her magic to win him away from Melody. But, she swore an oath always to use her powers to work white magic, never black. If she breaks her promise, a demon will make her his slave forever. Asmodeus millennia long plan is coming to fruition at last!
It was a hazy, hot day in July. Behind the decaying Victorian farmhouse, the air above the knee-high grass shimmered and wavered in bright sunlight in a way that made the world a dreamy enchanted place and not quite real. Crickets, bees and cicadas droned high-pitched noteless music, ravens scolded loudly, and at the end of the meadow, stirred by an intermittent breeze, mysterious things moved in the shadowy woods. From the safety of an old tire that Papa Joe had tied to the branch of a lone oak, little Denise watched the waving somethings in among the forest gloom. As she swung slowly back and forth, she daydreamed stories about them and hummed low and tunelessly. Suddenly, to her surprise, a tiny man stepped out of the woods. At first she merely stared, not sure whether she should be frightened or not. Mommy warned her many times to be wary of strangers, but the man was shorter than her and dressed in funny clothes like the seven dwarves or Rumplestilskin from her book of fairy tales. From the shade of the trees, the dwarf returned her stare. (Denise had decided that he must be one of the seven dwarfs; he sort of resembled the picture of Grumpy in her book.) After a while he raised his hand and waved. Denise waved back, hopped off the tire and walked toward the funny-looking elf-like man. As she came near the dwarf, he took a step backward and vanished into the gloom. Denise ran toward the place where she had seen him, tripped on a gopher hole and fell, popped back up immediately and continued her waddley run. When she reached the exact spot where the little man had been, he was nowhere in sight. She called out to him, "Grumpy. Grumpy. Where are you?"
There was no reply except the raucous cawing of the ravens that she had heard before.
That night a terrible thunderstorm with loud booms of thunder and flashes of lightning crashed all about the old farmhouse. A hard rain rattled against the roof, the shutters banged and the wind howled when it was caught in odd corners. At bedtime, Denise asked Papa Joe to read a ghost story to her. She was a brave little girl who thought it deliciously shivery to hear tales of mysterious spirits and strange happenings on such a night. Mommy almost spoiled the fun by objecting, saying that she would have nightmares. In actuality it was Denise's mother, Maria Fabiano, who was frightened by storms and crossed herself at the mere mention of ghosts and spirits.
Papa Joe, Denise's grandfather, however, laughed in his deep-voiced way. "Oh c'mon, Maria, Denise ain't scared. Are you kid?"
"No, not all. Honest, Mommy," Denise replied hastily, her eyes going round at the thought of hearing a ghost story on such a night. Suddenly feeling a little chill, she pulled the comforter tight around her chin.
"Besides," Papa Joe said, "the one I have in mind ain't too scary."
Although Maria looked cross, she gave in and left the room, not wanting any part of ghost stories.
Papa Joe told the story of Rip Van Winkle, a favorite in the Hudson Valley of New York where they lived, since Washington Irving was a native son and the action took place locally in the Catskill Mountains. When he got to the part where Rip met the ghosts of Henry Hudson and his men, Denise asked, "Are they bowling now? Is that what's making the thunder?"
"It could be. But I really think its the storm. You can tell that it's Henry Hudson bowling if you hear thunder in the mountains with no lightning and no rain."
Denise's eyes opened wide again. She hesitated before asking her next question. "What do they look like?"
"That Henry guy ... and his men. I mean their ghosts."
Papa Joe rubbed his bristly chin, which made a noise like sandpaper. "Well, uh ... they was kinda short and sorta stout ... chubby like, from drinking too much beer, y'know." He patted his own round tummy.
"Do they wear old-fashioned clothes like in fairy stories?"
"Yeah, wide collars, wide belts with big buckles on them, funny hats with buckles on them too and boots with curled up toes."
Denise grinned, knowing she knew a secret, something that Papa Joe probably didn't know. "I saw him today."
"Henry watchmacallit, the ghost in the story. Or maybe it was one of his men."
Papa Joe gave her that "are you joshing me" look. "Oh yeah. Where?"
"In the woods in back." She described the entire sequence of events and what the little man looked like through her eyes.
Papa Joe became stern and looked directly into her face in that way he had when he suspected her of lying. "Are you making this up, little one?"
"No Papa Joe. I really saw him." Tears welled up. Her grandfather was frightening her with his attitude. She wondered whether she had done something that she might be punished for.
When Papa Joe saw this in her face, he patted her cheek. "Hey, no reason to cry, honey. I believe you. Did he talk to you?"
"No, he dish-disappeared (she had trouble pronouncing the big word) when I went by the woods."
"I see." His expression changed to a worried frown. "One thing kiddo. You ain't been around here long, so I can't put any blame on what you did. But, from now on, don't go near the woods. Never. For no reason. Okay?" Denise nodded convincingly. "Uh, it's getting late, darling. Kiss me goodnight. I'll finish the story tomorrow night." He pecked her on the cheek. "Goodnight, kiddo. Pleasant dreams."
Papa Joe doused the lights except for one plug-in night light and left the room. By this time the storm had abated. Although the rain that rattatated on the roof and the sound of water dripping from the eaves still disturbed the night, the booming was distant, and the flashes of lightning less often and less bright. Denise curled up in her blanket and wondered whether she would meet the little man again. She liked the story Papa Joe had read a lot.
The next day the weather was cooler, and the air crisp and crystal clear so that the mountains appeared green and fuzzy instead of the hazy blue they had the day before. After breakfast Denise hurried out into the backyard in hopes of seeing the little man again. The fact was that she was lonely. She and Mommy had moved in with Papa Joe from the city after Mommy and Daddy had a big fight in which Daddy had hit Mommy. She shivered every time she thought of it. It was awfully scary when adults quarreled, especially when they hit each other and threw things. She was glad Mommy had gotten away from Daddy, although she hoped he would come for a visit sometime, as long as he didn't drink so much that it made him crazy.