Just A Kiss (Frog Prince)
Freya is a witch, able to transport by kissing her Familiar – a frog. But when Arnon de Bar wins her hand in marriage, she gets more than expected. He’s been cursed in more ways than one!
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Excerpt from Just A Kiss
The frogs in Freya’s swamp were singing, warning her trouble was on its way.
Quickly and carefully Freya collected the swamp water into a small glass jar and held it up in the air, letting the rays of the full moon light up the contents within. She took a deep breath and touched the crystal orb hanging around her neck from a cord made of braided horse-tail combined with her own jet black hair. Closing her eyes, she silently recited her spell that would let her see the trouble on the horizon before it happened.
She usually recited her spells aloud to keep from being distracted by her own thoughts. Even then, Freya’s forte was transporting – not dabbling in this kind of magick. Marni had told her she needed to be more discreet and learn to do it silently, and that her progression with spells would come in time. Marni was the most powerful witch of the swamps, so Freya listened to her advice. Sometimes.
“Show me what comes my way,” she whispered, trying her best, but still not able to say it all in her head. Didn’t Marni as well as the rest of the swamp witches know that she didn’t like the silence? Freya was an only child and liked to talk to people and have others around her. Even at her young age of twenty summers she often felt lonely. She talked to herself or the trees or even the frogs just to pretend that someone was listening to what she had to say.
She was the youngest witch of the coven. Her mother, Lady Almeta of Slapton in Devon, was also a witch, but very ill and on her deathbed. Her late father, on the other hand, was naught more than a simple knight. Or so she’d been told. Her mother had beckoned to him when the moon was full one night. She’d mated with him in order to conceive, since her own husband was old and unable to father a child. Freya’s real father had died in battle before she was born, so Freya never even knew him.
Her mother’s husband, the old baron, Lord George Fane, could not father children since he was so old when he married Almeta. He’d been desperately marrying one lady after another trying to have an heir – but never did. He blamed it on the women of course, but silent gossip suspected the fault fell upon him alone, but no one would say it aloud.
Lord George didn’t know that Freya was not from his seed, but then again, he didn’t need to know. Freya’s mother had done the deed with purpose. To give hope to an old, barren man, as well as bring him respect from his people. If he had known what she’d done, Almeta would have been banished from Slapton, and Freya along with her. He could never find out that she and her mother were witches, or she was sure he’d tie them to stakes and burn them himself as he hated witches.
A loud croaking sound from the ground by her feet gained her attention. She looked down to see Boregard – her Familiar who was a frog. She could understand him for some reason and he was telling her that she needed to go back to the woods and join the rest of her coven.
“Hush, Gar,” she told him, using the shortened version of his name. “I need to learn to do this on my own without your help.” Instantly she felt a surge go through her and she almost dropped the jar as she bent over in pain from the feeling of pressure crushing her chest.
“Show me the trouble that comes to the swamp,” she commanded. Then in the beams of moonlight, the water in the jar turned blood red and she saw flames burning higher and higher.
“Warriors,” she said aloud, figuring this must mean a village was about to be pillaged and burned, or perhaps there’d be an attack on the castle. She made a quick sweep with her eyes at the trees around her, and she strained her ears to listen for movement. Then she heard it. The sound of thundering hoofbeats shook the earth beneath her feet as the enemy approached the swamp. She tasted the irony tang of blood on her tongue, and realized she’d actually managed to have a premonition of some sort. Whatever it was, it meant that someone was about to die.
Freya could barely concentrate on her spell because the frogs kept croaking louder and louder. She hunkered down by the shore trying to collect enough swamp water in a second jar to be able to add it to her potion back at the castle. That is, the potion that she’d been concocting and hoped would be able to break the barrier around the castle that kept any magic from working within the high stone walls.
This was the third time this week she’d been to the swamp, trying everything from spells to potions to figure out what it would take to break through the curse that made her magic useless within the stones of the fortress. Her mother was very ill, and the baron refused to let the woman leave the castle. There was no way Freya, nor the other witches of the coven could help her now. This was all the fault of an old witch that her mother had a confrontation with years ago. Hecuba had put a spell on the castle, making magic nonexistent within it.
Freya looked over her shoulder as she collected the rest of the ingredients she needed. The swamp weeds were just about in bloom and at the perfect time for harvest. She had to work fast since the sound of hoofbeats was getting louder. She was alone in the swamp tonight, as the rest of the coven was having a meeting in the woods inside the ring of standing stones in the clearing. No one would be able to help her should she run into trouble now.
She pushed the jars into her travel bag and closed it up quickly. The warning of Boregard and the other frogs was loud in her head, drowning out any other sounds around her. She stood, ready to make her way back to Castle Fane, but stopped in her tracks as she saw men on horseback riding right toward her – being followed by a large black wolf!