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Witch Blood

Will Shetterly

This book is for Emma Bull, my wife and my love.

Copyright 1986, 2012 Will Shetterly

Published by CatYelling

An earlier version of this story was published by Ace Books.

Smashwords edition.

Chapter One: My Daughter’s Villa

I woke early this morning. The winter sun had yet to rise from the sea, though I heard gulls chiding her to hurry. A bowl of cinnamon and dried bay leaves sat near my pallet, and their scent was thick in the closed sleeping room. I lay beneath the soft cotton quilt that my second wife had made for our wedding bed. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep again, but I could not. I remembered the people and events of my life.

When I was a boy in the western fishing village of Loh, which meant more than two homes in that language, I was chosen by a wandering Priest of the White Mountain School of the Warrior-Saint to master her Art. Only one part of the Art will I claim to have learned well, and that is the art of memory. Sometimes I think it is my curse, and sometimes, my blessing. This morning, it was both. Enemies and friends, some lost to death and some to time, came before me to say, “Rifkin. In our way, we touched. It is important. Never forget.”

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