The Black Witch is the first novel published in The Black Witch Chronicles series by Laurie Forest.

Contents

Synopsis[edit | edit source]

A new Black Witch will rise…her powers vast beyond imagining.

Elloren Gardner is the granddaughter of the last prophesied Black Witch, Carnissa Gardner, who drove back the enemy forces and saved the Gardnerian people during the Realm War. But while she is the absolute spitting image of her famous grandmother, Elloren is utterly devoid of power in a society that prizes magical ability above all else.

When she is granted the opportunity to pursue her lifelong dream of becoming an apothecary, Elloren joins her brothers at the prestigious Verpax University to embrace a destiny of her own, free from the shadow of her grandmother’s legacy. But she soon realizes that the university, which admits all manner of people—including the fire-wielding, winged Icarals, the sworn enemies of all Gardnerians—is a treacherous place for the granddaughter of the Black Witch.

As evil looms on the horizon and the pressure to live up to her heritage builds, everything Elloren thought she knew will be challenged and torn away. Her best hope of survival may be among the most unlikely band of rebels… if only she can find the courage to trust those she’s been taught to fear.

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Part One[edit | edit source]

Prologue[edit | edit source]

Fourteen years before the start of our story, a three-year old Elloren Gardner, who has a special affinity for trees and wood, is wand tested by her Uncle Edwin. The trees catch on fire. The memory of this incident eventually fades, and Uncle Edwin later tells her that it was a bad dream.

Chapter One: Halfix[edit | edit source]

Elloren talks to her neighbors, the six-year-old Gaffney twins, Emmet and Brennan. While talking the Gaffney twins, Elloren notices her aunt's carriage parked in their stables. Vyvian Damon has arrived for a surprise visit. Elloren is eavesdropping below a window, attempting to discover the reason for her aunt's sudden visit.

Her brothers Rafe and Trystan arrive, along with Gareth Keeler, a family friend. While listening to the conversation between their aunt Vyvian and uncle Edwin, they learn that Vyvian has come to pressure Edwin to make a decision about Elloren's future.

Vyvian wants Elloren to wandfast, and to apprentice to the Mage Council (the governing body of Gardneria). Edwin tells Vyvian that Elloren is too young to wandfast, and that he does not want her to apprentice to the Mage Council. Edwin decides to send Elloren to Verpax University instead, where she will learn the Apothecary trade.

Vyvian is upset by Edwin's decision, and she refuses to help pay for Elloren's university tithe. Edwin informs her that he has made arrangements for Elloren to pay her tithe by working in the university's kitchens. Vyvian is appalled, stating that this work is beneath a person of Elloren's background.

The teens are discovered eavesdropping below the window, and they go inside to greet Vyvian.

Chapter Two: Aunt Vyvian[edit | edit source]

Vyvian comments to Elloren that she looks exactly like her grandmother (Vyvian's mother), Carnissa Gardner. Vyvian offers to bring Elloren to Valgard on the way to school, so that she can spend some time seeing the city. There is tension between Vyvian and Gareth, and Gareth ends up leaving the cottage. The family has dinner, and then Elloren goes to feed the pigs. While she is outside, Elloren sees the large white birds for the first time.

Chapter Three: Goodbye[edit | edit source]

Later that night, Elloren packs her belongings and says goodybye to her Uncle Edwin. He makes her promise not to apprentice to the Mage Council, and not to wandfast until after she has completed her education. He also tells her that he wantested her when she was very young, and that she has no magic. Elloren confesses that she does not remember being wandtested.

Chapter Four: The White Wand[edit | edit source]

Elloren wakes early the next morning to the sound of one of the white birds she saw the night before, tapping on her window. She follows the white birds outside and into the woods, where she sees the neighbor's daughter, Sage Gaffney, who has been missing for a year. Sage is on the run, having broken her wandfasting to have an affair with a Kelt. Sage reveals that she has given birth to a son, and that her son's father is not her fastmate, Tobias. She tells Elloren that the Mage Council is trying to steal her child.

Sage gives Elloren a white wand, which she claims is the legendary White Wand of Power. Elloren doesn't believe that the wand is what Sage says, but she takes it anyway. After Elloren takes the wand, Sage disappears into the woods before Elloren can stop her. Elloren reflects that Sage seems hurt and upset, and their meeting leaves Elloren feeling shaken and unsettled.

Upon returning to her cottage, Elloren finds her aunt Vyvian standing outside, watching her. Vyvian already knows that Sage is in Halfix, which makes Elloren wonder if the things Sage said could be true. Vyvian asks Elloren what Sage told her, and Elloren decides not to tell Vyvian about the White Wand, for fear of getting Sage in further trouble.

Vyvian revelas that the baby Sage gave birth to is actually a male Icaral, with its wings intact. The Gardnerians consider the Icarals to be evil demons, and they have a prophecy that says that a male Icaral will rise and battle the next Black Witch for control of Erthia. This puts news of Sage's baby in a much different light for Elloren. Vyvian confirms that the Mage Council is trying to take Sage's baby, but she claims the Council only wants to help Sage and the Icaral baby.

Chapter Five: The Selkie[edit | edit source]

Elloren and Vyvian leave Halfix and start their journey to Valgard. Elloren takes in the sights out the carriage window while Vyvian does Mage Council work and talks to Elloren about the people she will meet in Valgard. Vyvian tells Elloren about wandfasting, and tells her about several young men that she wants Elloren to meet. She is excited about the possibility of Elloren fasting to one young man in particular, a young soldier named Lukas Grey.

In addition to being a Level Five Mage, Lukas comes from a well-respected and powerful family. His father is High Commander of the Mage Guard. Although Lukas is only three years out of university, he has already had an impressive military career, and has very promising prospects for the future.

As their carriage finally enters the city of Valgard, Elloren is entranced by the glorious city. Her eye catches sight of one of the large white birds - the watchers - outside the carriage. Her attention is then drawn to a nearby woman in a cage, screaming. Elloren cannot decipher any of her words, but the woman is clearly terrified and screaming for help.

Elloren is shocked that the people standing nearby on the street do nothing to help the screaming woman. She mentions the woman to her aunt Vyvian, who tells her that she is not actually a human woman, but a seal in human form, known as a selkie. Vyvian tells Elloren that the selkie came to land from the sea, and that some people keep them as pets. Elloren is deeply disturbed by this information.

Chapter Six: Valgard[edit | edit source]

The carriage finally arrives at Vyvian's home, and Elloren is awed by its grandeur. She immediately notices that her aunt employs several Urisk serving women, who come from the lowest class of the Urisk race. One of these serving women guides Elloren to the large, luxurious room where she will be staying. Elloren is touched to see that her aunt has prepared for her visit by having the room outfitted with several things to make her feel more at home, including two white kittens and a wealth of apothecary books.

After settling into her rooms, Elloren joins her aunt Vyvian for a late dinner on the balcony. As they enjoy an elaborate and impressive meal, Vyvian informs Elloren that she will be sending her to see the most sought-after dressmaker in Valgard, to have a new wardrobe made. While running this errand, Vyvian has also arranged for Elloren to meet and spend time with three young women who will be her peers at university.

Vyvian believes Elloren will like two of these young women, Echo Flood and Paige Snowden, but she expects that Elloren will not like the third young woman, Fallon Bane. Elloren questions why Vyvian would arrange a social outing with someone she will not like, and Vyvian confesses that Fallon is pursuing Lukas Grey.

Vyvian informs Elloren that Fallon Bane is the daughter of Malkyn Bane, a powerful Level Five Mage and a commander in the military. Fallon and her two brothers are also Level Five Mages. Elloren is shocked by this news, because it is extremely rare for females to have that much magical power. It occurs to Elloren that with this much power, it is likely that Fallon Bane is the next Black Witch. Vyvian stridently denies this, stating that the Black Witch legacy belongs to the Gardner family.

Vyvian tells Elloren that despite Fallon's advances, Lukas Grey doesn't appear to be interested in her. Vyvian wants Elloren to use this social visit as an opportunity to size up her competition. Elloren recognizes that her aunt is an extremely calculating person.

Chapter Seven: Fallon Bane[edit | edit source]

The next day, Elloren finds herself in her aunt's carriage, on her way to the dressmaker's with Echo Flood, Paige Snowden, and Fallon Bane. Fallon immediately questions Elloren's relationship with Gareth Keeler, which puts Elloren on her guard. Fallon asks if Elloren has ever kissed Gareth, and Elloren is shocked at how different her upbringing in rural, remote Halfix has been from these young women, who grew up in the city.

Fallon also mentions the silver highlights in Gareth's hair, which makes Elloren defensive on his behalf. Fallon is clearly implying that Gareth must have mixed blood, because his hair is not completely black, like other Gardnerians. Elloren internally admits that she has noticed the silver highlights in Gareth's hair, but she refuses to believe that her childhood friend has mixed blood. She is also shocked by how openly Fallon discusses these things.

Elloren marvels at the twelve military guards that accompany Fallon, and she notes that to warrant that kind of guard must mean that she's not the only one who believes that Fallon is the next Black Witch. Fallon demonstrates her magic for Elloren by summoning a ball of ice that freezes the inside of the carriage. Elloren is awed by this display, and she confirms to a questioning Fallon that she posses no magic herself.

The conversation makes its way to Lukas Grey, and Elloren is not surprised to learn that Fallon is very possessive of him. Elloren is highly dubious of her ability to win Lukas's affection from Fallon, and she secretly hopes that Vyvian will give up her grand plans of Elloren fasting to Lukas. Elloren attempts to placate Fallon by commenting that she and Lukas seem well suited for each other.

As they continue to discuss men, Fallon reveals to Elloren that there are Lupines attending the university, much to Elloren's shock. While she has never met a Lupine herself, Elloren has been taught that Lupines are dangerous, as they posses great physical strength and speed, and are immune to magic. The girls discuss the Lupines, the Kelts, the Elves, and the Urisk, and Fallon again implies that Gareth has mixed blood.

Chapter Eight: Textured Silk[edit | edit source]

Having finally arrived at the dressmaker's shop, Elloren is measured and fitted for new clothes. The dressmaker, Mage Florel, has two young Urisk girls working in her shop. While the younger Urisk girl is out of the room, Fallon makes a disparaging remark about her appearance. Everyone seems surprised that Fallon would be so brazen in her comments.

Fallon then yells at the younger Urisk girl, and Elloren is upset and uncomfortable with her overt disdain for the young servant. Becoming combative, Fallon attempts to bully Elloren and the dressmaker into making Elloren's new wardrobe out of an ugly, scratchy wool fabric. Much to everyone's surprise, Elloren stands her ground and insists that Mage Florel make her a party dress from the finest silk available. Fallon is outraged at Elloren's audacity in standing up to her, and she storms out of the shop, Echo and Paige trailing in her wake.

Chapter Nine: The Black Witch[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Ten: The Prophecy[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Eleven: Aislinn Greer[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twelve: Lukas Grey[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Thirteen: Wandfasting[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Fourteen: Icarals[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Fifteen: Verpacia[edit | edit source]

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Part Two[edit | edit source]

Prologue[edit | edit source]

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Chapter One: Verpax University[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Two: Wandtesting[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Three: Orientation[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Four: Vice Chancellor Quillen[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Five: The North Tower[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Six: Ariel[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Seven: Tournaments & Tests[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Eight: Weapons[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Nine: Balance of Power[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Ten: Confrontation[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Eleven: The Gardnerian[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twelve: Metallurgie & Mathematics[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Thirteen: Gardnerian History[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Fourteen: The Lupines[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Fifteen: Tierney Calix[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Sixteen: Shards of Ice[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Seventeen: Of Violins[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Eighteen: Unforgiving[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Nineteen: Spiraling Down[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty: Revenge[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-One: Kindred[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Two: Poetry[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Three: Stick Magic[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Four: Diana Ulrich[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Five: Trystan[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Six: History[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Seven: Damion Bane[edit | edit source]

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Part Three[edit | edit source]

Prologue[edit | edit source]

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Chapter One: Mage Council Papers[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Two: Randall Greyson[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Three: Elfin Art[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Four: Lupine Eyes[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Five: Howl[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Six: Jarod[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Seven: Trapped[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Eight: Rescue[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Nine: Refuge[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Ten: Andras Volya[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Eleven: Safety[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twelve: Allies[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Thirteen: Camouflage[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Fourteen: Tightening Noose[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Fifteen: Military Dragon[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Sixteen: Elfin Steel[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Seventeen: Naga[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Eighteen: Yvan[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Nineteen: Fae[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty: Asrai Fae[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-One: Ice[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Two: Breaking Cages[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Three: Aftermath[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Four: Revolutionary[edit | edit source]

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Chapter Twenty-Five: Two Hundred and Fifty-Six[edit | edit source]

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Gallery[edit | edit source]

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