Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Snippets PAGAN QUEEN by Vijaya Schartz

Curse of the Lost Isle Book 2
by Vijaya Schartz
806 AD - Alba (Ancient Scotland) - As the Vikings raid the coast of Alba, Pressine of Bretagne sets out to seduce King Elinas of Dumfries, chosen by the Goddess to unite the tribes against the foreign invader. Elinas, still mourning his departed queen, has no intention to remarry. Head-strong and independent, Pressine does not expect to fall for the very attractive, wise and noble ruler... Furthermore, her Pagan nature clashes with the religious fanaticism of the king’s Christian heir, who suspects her unholy ancestry and will stop at nothing to get rid of her.

"Schartz paints a realistic picture of life in a medieval castle, with all its smells, tastes, visuals, and feelings, and as always, all the primary, as well as the secondary characters are well-developed and interesting. I’m looking forward to the others in this series." - Manic Readers 4.5 stars

He shrugged. "Daughters cannot rule the land. They are only good to marry off to seal alliances."

Insulted by the remark, Pressine decided to fight back. Leaning for support against a heavy oak chest, she molded her palms around the smooth carvings of the lid. "Women could rule in the old days. Women went to battle. When did we become weak and unable to decide for ourselves? I was not raised to do the bidding of a man. I serve the Goddess and obey the laws that govern the Otherworld."

 "What a perfect excuse!" The sarcastic tone cut into the stifling air like a sharp dagger. "What else?"

 Wondering how Elinas would react to more forbidden knowledge in his present state, Pressine hesitated.

 He lifted a heavy chair and slammed it down on the flagstone in his rage. "Speak now, woman! Afore I run out of patience and banish you from my sight."

 Taking a deep breath, Pressine let out a reluctant whisper. "Longevity."

 Elinas' eyebrows shot up questioningly. "What about it? Pray tell."

 "When Aunt Morgane came to our wedding, you thought you recognized her." Ignoring the lump in her throat, Pressine paused to watch understanding dawn on her king's face. "You were right. It was her you met as a lad. She has not aged a day since."

 "Morgane?" Doubt crept into the angry voice. "That was thirty years ago and she barely looks thirty now. How old can she be?"

 Elinas no longer seemed angry, but Pressine refrained from smiling at her small victory. "I do not know exactly, but she knew King Arthur, the bear of Britannia. She remembers former lives as well. She claims to have witnessed the Trojan Wars, and she speaks about Hercules and Achilles as if she knew them well."

 "Ridiculous!" Elinas turned away as if to dismiss the idea, then looked out the window. "These are only legends."

 Pressine swallowed hard. "All legends are rooted in reality."

 "Do not mock me, woman." A calm, threatening tone returned to the king's voice as he faced her again.

 It crossed Pressine's mind to use her powers of persuasion to influence him, but such coercion would not be fair to the man she loved, or even to herself. She needed to be understood and accepted for what she really was. Harnessing her courage, she pushed herself away from the oak chest and walked toward the table that separated them, keeping her chin up.

 "This may sound unbelievable to you now," she explained softly, "but in the ancient world, immortality was not unheard of."

 "Oh? Go on." Dangerous challenge filled his voice.

 "My mother grew up on ambrosia, the food of the gods. It is an extraordinary bread made with a white powder of elemental gold. This special nourishment, combined with my mother's heritage, makes her immortal."

 "Really?" A glint of interest lit the king's eyes despite a few traces of impatience. "What heritage?"
 Encouraged by the positive change in the king's attitude, Pressine relaxed a little. "Long before the time of antiquity, the ruler of the heavens came with a great army of angels." She took care to speak slowly, soothingly, so as not to provoke his anger. "At some point, a mutiny broke out among the celestial beings. The revolt failed, and to punish the rebels the ruler of the heavens decided to abandon them on Earth."

 Elinas emitted a sarcastic snort.

 "Let me finish," Pressine commanded, delighted to see Elinas somewhat mollified. "When the master of the heavens ordered to close the gates of his palace in the sky, other heavenly beings remained trapped on Earth as well."

 Still as a statue, holding the back of a chair with a white knuckle grip, Elinas stared at Pressine, his expression unreadable.

 "Over time, the heavenly beings had children with Earthlings." Pressine kept her voice even. "The dissident angels and their progeny rallied under their leader and have been doing mischief ever since. The good angels and their children gathered around the Great Goddess. Ever since, they have helped simple humans in their fight against the dark angels."

 Elinas's brow shot up. "You are descended from angels?"

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1 comment:

  1. Your posts are always fascinating. Clearly you are a great author and this Snippet makes me want to read your work. I'm strictly a conteporary or western fan, but I'm thinking I may have to venture out of my comfort zone.