The first thing Alyce needed to do was find a spell to break the king’s enchantment over her sister. It would need to be a powerful spell—more powerful than any that had ever been cast before on the Southern Isle.
Alyce sat in the library, her face lit by the flickering lamp, as she thought of all the things she had been taught about magic by her mother. The first thing was that magic was bestowed by the goddess. It was inside all living things and many things that weren’t living as well. The flowers, trees, birds, animals of the forest, all possessed their own kind of magic, just like the wind, water in a stream, clouds in the sky, the rocks and sand.
It took a special person to be able to use that magic, to control it. That was the lesson that Alyce had found the hardest to learn as a child. She remembered how all she wanted to do was make things move, but it was just too hard. It all seemed to come so easily to her sister, Alexandria. Katharine would just stand by and smile but she never helped. Alexandria was so full of excitement that she could control the wind, turn water into ice and create a fireball in her hand. But Alyce could do none of those things. Once again her mother calmed Alyce’s tears and patiently explained that magic came from inside.
Alyce had closed her eyes and eventually conjured up a tiny ball of fire. She never got the hang of wind and water but she later discovered her real talent was as a healer. That wasn’t as satisfying to Alyce as making things move. That is why Alexandria was made the queen when their mother died, because she had control of all her magic and was a true moon witch.
But somehow the prince had been able to overcome that magic with his own darkness and it was now up to Alyce to save the islands—and her sister.
She moved the lamp to the desk. She could already hear voices whispering from the Book of Shadows. It was over a thousand years old and contained the knowledge of all the daughters of the moon that had come before her.
Alyce nervously opened the front cover as she whispered a prayer to the goddess. Rain hammered against the window and the pages of the book fluttered back and forth. Slowly they settled and Alyce leaned forward to see what was written there.
To undo what has been done
By the shadows of darkness
Begotten ruthless silence
To cast your spell takes patience
Alyce stared at the page. She had no idea what it meant. But two words caught her eye—darkness and patience.
If darkness had been used to cast the enchantment it would take all the magic of the three moons to break the spell. Or Alyce could just wait until she had gained enough power to break the spell on her own. And that would require patience.
She closed the book and sat back and thought hard. The castle was well protected against the king. Defense spells were one type of magic Alyce knew she was good at. That bought her enough time to be patient. The other problem was how to build up her magic. She knew of one way. The quickest was to take the magic from a young witch. Their magic was strongest, but also most vulnerable, on the third full moon after a witch’s sixteenth birthday. It was also when a young witch’s magic ran wildly out of control before she learned to harness it and take her place as a fully-fledged witch of the Coven of the moon. But where could Alyce find a witch that was just about to turn sixteen?
There was a slower way. Alyce remembered the fairy tales her mother had told her and her sisters when they were children. The one that sprang into her mind was the story of the evil witch that had feasted on the magic of the village children. The story was meant to be a warning to children to be home and safe inside before darkness fell. But if it were true…
Alyce shuddered to think of where those thoughts might lead her. But she had to rescue her sister. Besides—she convinced herself—the village children didn’t even use their magic. Most of them didn’t even know they had any so they wouldn’t miss it if she took a little from them. A little bit of magic at a time wouldn’t hurt at all.