In a haunted forest, exiled witch Wytha seeks the means of her redemption: a gift for the king who banished her for witchcraft gone awry. But when she finds the perfect prize, Wytha and her loyal band of misfits are savaged by spectral barrow wights determined to stop her. Wytha must uncover which of her cherished friends is summoning the spirits, or risk losing the only home she has left: family.
The oars of the koning’s men lay still against the tide, as rhythmic waves ripped Wytha from her home with a terrible gentleness, to deliver her into exile.
Wytha clutched the side of the knorr-boat. Skaldi stood beside her in his coat of patched and faded rags, his storyteller’s stave gripped about the middle as the many pouches and charms at his belt rattled in the wind. Her uncle shared the burnt umber of Wytha’s skin, her red-tinged eyes, and that resting expression Lae so often accused of being suspicious. But where Wytha’s hair still hung proud and brown in thick locks, Skaldi’s was the mosaic of stormcloud—grey and frazzled and as threadbare as his cloak. He had at least forty years to Wytha’s thirty, but Wytha could only wish she were so quick to smile as he. His eyes were impish to her, not suspicious.
She met them, but couldn’t match his humour.
Tell me a story.
Wytha had asked it of her uncle so many times she had but to look at him and he would understand. Her eyes asked it now, as she strove to ignore the bobbing of the knorr upon the ocean’s grey waves, and the ruminations of the even greyer sky as it pressed upon her broken pride like a pestle against its mortar.
Tell me a story.