Today I'm sharing a peek inside my newest novel Journey of the Hunted: Werewolves in the Renaissance 2. Thal is on a journey across 16th century Central Europe to reunite with his father, the sorcerer Sarputeen. A rival sorcerer has sent a werewolf to kill Thal before he reaches his father. In this chapter "Bohemian Mice" Thal and his companions have taken refuge in a remote village friendly to those with magic. In this scene Thal speaks with Father Petr, the village priest.
This scene illustrates some of the historical detail I wove into this paranormal fantasy. Through the Middle Ages, Christianity was the religion of the ruling class. The Church had to convert the rulers first. The common people kept mostly to their folk ways. But as the Renaissance and Early Modern periods advanced, the Roman and Protestant churches asserted their supremacy throughout all classes of society. Pagan practices became intolerable. But it was a long process, and, like today, rural people were often evasive of the demands of their big city masters. Bohemia in particular was one of the first regions to rise up against Roman Catholic domination, decades prior to Martin Luther's successful establishment of an alternative church. Bohemia was made a priority during the Counter Reformation that re-imposed Catholicism to the kingdom.
Petr sighed as the drink soaked into his system and indulged in another long silence.
Thal finally asked, “Do you know of any trails toward Pardubice so I can avoid the main road?”
“We can show you one. It’s a very old foot path our ancestors knew. They let the Earth show them the lines of connection. Few use it now but it’s still there,” Petr explained.
“I thought there might be a way,” Thal murmured.
“Did you feel it?” Petr asked.
When Thal nodded, Petr took two narrow L-shaped hazel wood rods off the wall. “I’m a douser when need be. I’ve a sense for things unseen,” he said.
“So you’re not a real priest of the Church,” Thal surmised.
“Oh, I’m a real priest, trained and ordained in all the ways of Rome,” Petr insisted. He pointed a divining rod to his crucifix necklace on the wall. “But I was born of this land and we of little Chironef do not stomp out the old ways just to make way for the new,” he said.
Watching the rods quake faintly in Petr’s light grip, Thal said, “Methinks your Church leaders would condemn you for witchcraft these days.”
“Oh yes! But we don’t mention our private habits and nobody comes by to check on us here. At least not very often. Bohemians tend to be playful mice when their Church cat is away,” the priest said.
“I’ve noticed,” Thal agreed and finished his wine while Petr held his rods toward him. With pursed lips the priest studied the rods and then put them back on the wall.
“What did they tell you?” Thal asked.
“Nothing,” Petr said quickly. He poured them more wine and said, “Have you tried to regain your memories?”
“I sometimes contemplate my past and glimpses come to me. Occasionally a strong vision,” Thal said.
Petr nodded gravely. “Good. I might be able to help you see more of your past,” he said.
“How?” Thal said skeptically.
“Tomorrow is the full moon,” Petr said.
Thal was well aware of the phase of the moon. “It’s hard enough to remember I’m a man if you’re suggesting that I change,” he said.
“You will change,” Petr said.
“Only if it pleases me,” Thal said.
“Really?” Petr cried.
“I have complete control and need no full moon. I could do it right now or even when the moon is dark,” Thal said with pride.
Petr lapsed into another silence. Thal supposed he had given him much to think about.
“Tomorrow night Simona and I have a ritual planned. Only our closest adherents come to it,” he said. “If you participate I believe you will have a chance to explore better the landscape of your mind.”
Curiosity goaded Thal. He wanted to know as much as possible about his former life before reuniting with his father.
“What must I do? Thal said.
Petr glanced at his door and window as if to make sure that no one was close. Apparently not all things in open-minded Chironef were spoken of openly.
He answered, “Take flying potion.”
About Journey of the Hunted
The folklore beliefs of the 16th century Renaissance come wildly to life in the werewolf hero Thal. Created by the infamous sorcerer Sarputeen, Thal now battles the dark servants of Tekax, wizard to the Turks and nemesis of Sarputeen. While escaping the Holy Roman Empire, Thal discovers more about his werewolf powers as he struggles to reach a refuge shrouded in mystery.
I'm designing the Werewolves in the Renaissance series to function as individual books. Journey of the Hunted can be understood and enjoyed on its own.
Ebook available at Brave Luck Books, iBooks, Nook US, Nook UK, Kobo, Kindle, Smashwords, and Google Play.
If you'd like to read the first part Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale, it's currently a free ebook!