Myrddin’s Heir is a series for bright children between the ages of 10 and 110. That is by no means everybody. It’s a long story: five books have so far been written, and the children they’re about are still only twelve years old. They have been born with special powers, and are on a mission to make the world a better place.
This blog features three ‘strong’ heroines: Grace, who has an alter ego / guardian spirit entity called Zoë, Miranda, who acquires a guardian spirit entity called Kate (she was burned as a witch in the early seventeenth century) and Scáthach, the Celtic female warrior who trained Cúchulainn.
Myrddin (Merlin) has dubbed Miranda a ‘Handmaiden of Scáthach’. Grace and Miranda travel to Scotland to visit Scáthach’s Dún, and are carried from the mainland to the Isle of Sky one night in ‘Wavesweeper’ – the fabled boat of Manannán Mac Lir (The Celtic God of the sea, after whom the Isle of Man is named). ‘Wavesweeper’ finds its way without the aid of oar or sail. They arrive around midnight, but to get to Scáthach’s Dún, they have to cross the Bridge of Leaps…
“Here the air was murky. A penetrating cold oozed up the slope... A twisting coil of writhing Northern light cast the black bridge in a ghostly glow. It seemed deserted, but the shades at its ends were deep.
“There’s evil magic there,” Grace whispered. “It’s dredged from somewhere else. The rhythm is all wrong. It snarls and bites and tears. It feeds on hate...” It was Miranda’s turn to shiver. Had they come this far to no avail...?
Grace closed her eyes and sent a probing thought into the shadows on their side of the bridge... There was a sound like the sudden slash of a sabred claw, and Grace hissed with pain. Something wet trickled down her forehead. She put her hand up to smear it away, and saw that it was blood. “Whatever it is, it’s wide awake,” she whispered, “…and it’s waiting for us...”
A low growl began in Zoë’s throat, like the warning of a wolf about to strike. Grace poured her power into her guardian angel, lending her strength... and Zoë began to grow in size and fury, ready to avenge the wound. In seconds she surpassed the height and breadth of Manannán Mac Lir... She became the size that Zack had been when he’d tackled Ten Ton Tom in Fairyland, though here was another place entirely, and a far more dangerous foe.
Grace looked up and her heart almost failed her. This wasn’t the Zoë she knew and loved. The creature she’d become was terrible. Hissing snakes the length of ladders coiled around her waist and wrists. Her nails had turned to claws of thickened bone: sharp, like the steely tips of poisoned spears. Her eyes dripped blood. Spreading from her back were the leather wings of a giant bat.
She was beyond Grace’s control now, beyond her own. Some power was flowing through her, like the writhing Northern Lights above their heads. It had turned her into a Fury, intent on dealing death to this thing from Hell. Whatever it was, it had harmed a child who’d never hurt a soul, whose heart was bent on healing...
As Grace and Miranda crouched in readiness, she bent and wrapped her arms round an enormous rock. Raising it above her beating wings, she hurled it across the gap. It thundered into the shadows that shrouded their end of the bridge. The earth shook...
And with a howl that splintered the wind, a monster reared, enraged, out of that dark. Its eyes were like burning coals. Its limits were involved in writhing mist; but its shape within the smoke was hideous. Great horns curved up between enormous ears. The plates of armoured skin on its cratered face were like a crocodile’s. The cavernous, slobbering mouth and yellow teeth were set in the monstrous jaws of a rabid dog. It balanced on haunches the size and strength of a great black bull’s. Five scimitars flashed and slashed at the ends of its cruel limbs.
“GET READY TO CLOAK AND LEAP!” Kate screamed. NOW!!!...”
She hurled herself like an icy spear between the demon’s jaws: piercing the dripping roof of its putrid palate and lodging herself where there should have been a brain...
The transformed Zoë leapt into the air and dropped behind it. Spreading her massive arms to their full extent, she clapped enormous fists against its ears, shattering the drums! Snakes from both her wrists uncoiled to vanish, squirting venom into those encrusted holes. Once in the demon’s skull, they wormed their way towards its dying eyes...
The creature bellowed, thrashed and tottered, slicing the empty air with its razored blades, its balance gone. Enfuried Zoë lifted it by its horns and dropped it off the bridge. It fell like a stone and burst upon the rocks...
With another fierce flap of those night-cooled wings, she raised herself a few feet above the bridge. From there she could watch the creature’s foul remains wash from the cold, grey stone into the sea...”
Grace and Miranda are now standing in Scáthach’s Dún, drained of the power they had poured into their fighting spirits to overcome the demon. Exhausted, they were waiting for their guardian spirits to resume their normal shapes and come back to them, when…
“Scathach stepped out from behind a pinnacle of stone. She was only a little shorter than Manannán Mac Lir, and had the muscles of a practised bodybuilder. Her legs and arms were clasped in iron hoops. Her torso was wrapped in interlocking plates of armour the colour of dried-blood bronze. Her helmet seemed a part of her, so closely did it fit.
Her round shield was of wood: designed to catch and hold the point of a sharp spear or the edge of a slashing sword just long enough to sweep the weapon up, and give her the chance to aim her thrust. The sword she held could slice through flesh and bone and iron all alike. In bygone nights, around the mead-hall fires, tales were often told of its dread deeds...
This warrior, who scared the living daylights out of men, smiled down at Grace, and gazed at Miranda with real affection. “Those who can use the weapons that they have to such effect will always find a welcome in this dún,” she told them. “You have proved yourselves tonight...”
She placed a shielding hand on each girl’s head. “Go back now to your world and rest a while. We’ll talk when you return...”
Book 1 of the Myrddin’s Heir series – A Wizard of Dreams - is free on Amazon this weekend: Saturday and Sunday the 4th and 5th October. The passages quoted above are from Book 4: Gifts from the Gods. All the books are priced at 99p, to put them within easy reach of as many children as possible.
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