Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens
by Melanie Karsak
Series: The Saga of Lady Macbeth #1
Publication date: December 3rd 2014
Something wicked this way comes . . .
Gruoch is born to rule, but long before she becomes Macbeth’s queen, ancient forces claim her soul.
Marked from birth by the old gods, Gruoch is initiated into the ancient religion of her ancestors and begins learning the mysteries of the Goddess Cerridwen. But not everything is as it seems. Soon the Battle Goddess Morrigu imposes her will, and Gruoch finds herself at the mercy of the Wyrd Sisters.
With King Malcolm plotting, the Wyrd Sisters schooling her in arcane craft, and haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she’s never met, Gruoch feels her fate is not her own. That is, until she meets a druid named Banquo. Gruoch’s heart is swept away when Banquo awakens something in her more powerful than duty, magic, or destiny: love.
This retelling of Shakespeare’s classic work leads readers through an unforgettable saga of one woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.
Begin the Lady Mabeth Saga with Lady Macbeth: Daughter of Ravens.
The ribbon finally wound to the bottom of the pole, I crashed breathless onto the ground, the others laughing and giggling. Aridmis took Epona’s arm and swung her in a circle as the bards played on. Even Druanne smiled, and she relaxed, breathless, onto grass. Calean, Banquo’s druid companion, was twisting Sid in wide pirouettes, dancing to the music. Sid was laughing and flirting shamelessly. Banquo flopped down into the grass beside me. He put his arms behind his back and was breathing hard from dancing. After a few moments I stood up and extended my hand to him.
“Come on,” I said.
He took my hand, and we headed into the woods. “Well, my lovely priestess, where are you leading me?”
“I want you to see something. I want to see if you…well, I just want you to see something,” I said.
I retraced the path of nine oaks to the mound where Sid had taken me, to Boudicca’s mound. The new, green leaves were shimmering overhead. Sweet young ferns, their chartreuse fingers uncurling, dotted the forest floor. The air smelled loamy under the rays of the warm spring sun. We entered the moss-covered valley where the mound sat at its center. Banquo slowed to a stop and stared at the mound. When I looked back at him, he’d gone absolutely pale.
“What…what is this place?” he asked.
I didn’t say anything.
Banquo took a few steps toward the mound, staring at it, and looked back at me. He looked shocked. “Cerridwen?” he said, his voice sounding hollow. He took a step toward me and reached out and took my hand. With his other hand, he reached out and stroked a stay hair away from my face. “Your hair was red,” he whispered.
I smiled up at him. “So was yours,” I replied.
I cast a glance toward the burial mound. Prasutagus, Boudicca’s husband, died many years before his wife. He would not have seen her burial mound. He would not have been buried nearby. But the energy of the place, the power emanating from the great queen’s very bones, charged the place with memory. I wanted to see if it would affect Banquo as it had me. I wanted to see if the name whispered on the wind—Prasutagus—was more than just a fantasy. My soul knew this man, loved him, but I didn’t want to fall prey to passion. I didn’t want to give in to the energy of Beltane. I wanted to be sure. Did our souls know one another as Boite’s and Emer’s had?
Banquo leaned in, took my face in both of his hands, and kissed me. First he kissed me gently, putting soft, sweet kisses on my lips. Then he grabbed me and pulled me hard against him. His tongue roved inside my mouth. I soaked up the softness of his lips, feeling the brush of the sharp stubble of hair on his face. He smelled so sweet, but even more, he felt so familiar. My heart was racing, my knees weak.
Banquo whispered in my ear. “I never felt this before. Nothing, nothing like this. I have seen lovely girls, danced, kissed, and felt magic before. But not until I stepped foot in this place have I felt anything like this. I know you,” he whispered in my ear. “This place whispered your name. Am I right? All that red hair,” he said, running his hand down my smooth, blue-black tresses, wound for the day with colorful ribbons, “Boudicca. My wife. My wife of old. I found you again.”
I pulled back and looked at him, sucking my bottom lip in, entwining my fingers in his. “It’s true. I felt it as well. That’s why I brought you here. I wanted to see if you remembered too.”
“But what is this place?” he asked again as he stepped toward the mound.
“The tomb of Boudicca.”
Banquo froze and stood staring at the mound. I didn’t know what he was seeing, what he was experiencing, but I could see from the expression on his face that it had moved him deeply. After a few moments, he turned and smiled at me.
“Let’s go and dance and make merry. We are lucky. Let’s revel in our luck. We found each other once again. I have you now, and I won’t let you go,” I told him.
“Promise it,” he said, pulling me close, “Cerridwen, with the violet eyes, promise it with your soul.”
I kissed him deeply then whispered in his ear. “I promise.”
Banquo bent and plucked a small purple violet from the forest floor. Smiling, he stuck it behind my ear. I took his hand and lead him back to the coven. My visions were not fancy. I’d found my love once again.
~About the Author~
Melanie Karsak is the author of the Amazon best-selling steampunk series The Airship Racing Chronicles (Chasing the Star Garden and Chasing the Green Fairy) and the award-wining horror/dark fantasy Harvesting Series. She grew up in rural northwestern Pennsylvania and earned a Master’s degree in English from Gannon University. A steampunk connoisseur, white elephant collector, and zombie whisperer, the author currently lives in Florida with her husband and two children. She is an Instructor of English at Eastern Florida State College.
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