A Gretchen Rant – The Scribe of the Realm

Gretchen here. Ever wondered who’s in charge of the history books?

A gretchen rant scribe of the realm image

This guy. The Scribe of the Realm. A snooty nose cretin who, in Mrs. Hughes’ words, has ‘a mouth like a cat’s caboose’ and is a ‘pretentious little quill twirler’. I like Mrs. Hughes, made of stern stuff that broad.

But the scribe. His job is to make the big guys look good. And make folks like us looks like depraved creatures of dim wit and foul stench. What would he know, anyhow? I’ll wager when he has a boil on his backside he’s the first to seek out a reputable witch for a cure.

That whole fiasco with the prince is a case in point. When THAT proclamation was handed out I was ripe to go past and ram that quill of his right in his ear. Lapped it up they did, the townsfolk, whispering about evil witches while I was standing around with them! Not that I’m complaining about the gold, you see, but what he says just ain’t right.

It’s like Nora says…

The stigma that comes with being an outsider among normal folks can only be broken with good ole fashion truth telling. And that state sponsored propaganda fuels those old stereotypes that gets gals like us pushed to the fringes of society. We should go on strike, is what we should do. Let them get by with what those quacks they call doctors can rummage up from their stores of bat guano and rams testicles. That’d learn em.

One of these days I’m going to get square with this guy. Maybe write a memoir, chronicling my encounters with his venomous words and promotion of hate speech. The day it is a comin’. When people won’t stand for it any longer. When they wake up and realize they were allowing all this to happen. It’s already started with the bill passed for the rights of enchanted folks. That there was a dam ready to burst. And if I remember rightly, the Scribe had a piece in the Golden Gazette saying the end times were coming. I’ll bet nobody remembers him saying that, now, do they?

Maybe I should start a hashtag. That’s what folks do when they’re bound by confidentiality agreements, isn’t it? State there is one in place and come up with a term for the general pop to fling around? How about #TheSnotNoseScribe or #ScribeGate or even #FakerNews??

Anyhow, I’ll probably need to speak to Nora, get a GoFundMe happening, organize meetings, do a social media takeover… Who am I kidding? It’d be easier to stick his twill in his ear and be done with it.

Oh dear…

Doesn’t sound impressed, does she? Did you check out the proclamation last week? You can find all the bonus content for The Damsel Gauntlet on the episode page.

Haven’t caught up yet? The Damsel Gauntlet is available with all your favorite book retailers.

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A Royal Proclamation

This royal proclamation is intended for those who have read The Damsel Gauntlet, because, well spoilers. Don’t mind? Scroll down to check out this short story.

Gretchen frowned as she passed the town square and headed toward the group of gawkers milling around. She guessed it was the latest in the series of missives authored by the Scribe of the Realm. After reading the last one, she thought she might have had a heart attack from all the laughing. Fearsome goblins, indeed.

A man in the king’s livery turned from nailing a poster to the wall, and cleared his throat to address the citizens. “A royal proclamation from the Scribe of the Realm, who details Prince Jacob’s exploits as he rescued his fair princess in the wild mountains beyond our borders.”

The crowd exclaimed and milled about to get a better vantage. The man took another poster from his satchel and held it up so he could read it out.

a royal proclamation

Gretchen ground her teeth at the cheers from her neighbors and bunched her fists in her skirts. Vile, eh? She’d show him vile. Her errands forgotten, she turned back toward her cottage and resolved to go see Nora. She could think up a few unpleasant hexes that would suit that little twerp.

Poor Gretchen

Confidentiality agreements can be rough! I hope you enjoyed A Royal Proclamation, a bonus short story for The Damsel Gauntlet. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, check it out with your favorite book retailer here.

And don’t forget to check out the other bonus bits on The Damsel Gauntlet episode page here.

Mulligan in the Pantry… Again

Oh, Mulligan! I love these images from Rod Savely. An image holds a thousand words, or reflects just a couple in the opening chapter of ‘The Damsel Gauntlet’.

What does Gretchen even do with pickled livers, anyhow? Does she use them in her potions or is that the kinda thing she eats on toast? Mulligan doesn’t seem all that fussy for a feline, but perhaps that’s a witches familiar thing.

Mulligan is in the pickled livers again

And in case you missed it…

Gretchen stumbled into The Salt and Bog plucking leaves from her braid while mumbling under her breath. When she turned her attention to the crowd, her eyes widened at the regulars who’d turned to smirk at her.

“Broom problems?” Jurgen snickered from behind the bar as he poured ale from a barrel.

Gretchen clicked her teeth shut and cleared her throat. “Need to get that darn thing back to the shop. Can’t get good service these days. And I’ll hear no guff from you lot, or I swear I’ll curse your trousers to itch for months.”

The crowd broke out in laughter, only too aware of Gretchen’s lack of prowess in the curse department. She spotted Nora sitting at their usual table. Heaving a deep breath, she trod over and sank to the stool beside her.

“Tough day?” Nora had the decency to hide her smirk behind her hand, and Gretchen closed her eyes with a sigh.

“That alchemist stiffed me on most of the supplies I ordered, a customer changed her mind on the vermin poison, and Mulligan got into the pickled livers again.” She curled her lip. “Filthy feline has been farting all afternoon.”

Looking forward to sharing more of these with you next month

If you haven’t read this title, you can check it out with your favorite book retailer here. Not ready to splash any cash? Check out Episode 0.5 which you can get free for signing up to my newsletter here.

An Interview With Gretchen

So just days out from the launch of episode one, The Damsel Gauntlet, we’re bringing you an interview with the witch herself. As the star of the series, I’m sure you’re curious about Gretchen, and Mike Wallace, trusted first reader and writer of urban fantasy, asked her all the burning questions.

Hope you enjoy the insight, and are looking forward to launch day on May 5th!

When did you first start your career in witchcraft?

Us Murkwood’s are an old witchy family. My mother was a witch, her mother was a witch, my mother’s mother’s mother, well she was a goat herder. But I’m pretty sure that was only because her mother was a witch and a right battle-axe, too. So I suppose what I’m saying is I fell into witching rather than chose it.

Do witches date? What would a witch prefer in a husband? Or wife?

Well I mean, they do, but partners are probably more hassle than they’re worth. Can’t keep a husband in the academy if that’s your sorta thing, the council wouldn’t stand for it. But you know, it’s that age old quandary of caring for snot faced brats and whose work is more important. I guess the perfect partner would be one who could tolerate the smell of entrails in the morning. You never get a good reading out of them later in the day.

What kind of people are your best customers? Your worst?

The best are ones that don’t ask too many questions. I’ll let you surmise what that means for the worst.

What’s the difference between a witch and a wizard?

Is this guy serious? Wizards would have you believe that they work with a superior brand of magic, but in fact are almost useless at fixing things and are inclined to blow stuff up. You may as well ask what the difference is between men and women.

Is the cat your familiar? What does that mean?

Mulligan is my familiar, yes. Smarter creatures than most, they’re bound to their magical mate to look out for their wellbeing and let them know when danger is afoot. The trouble is deciphering those messages. Mulligan isn’t exactly the best communicator, and I’m not about to go hiding under my bed because he’s been acting weird. Cats are weird to begin with.

Have you ever faced a problem that magic couldn’t fix?

Pah, all the time. If I could solve all my problems with magic, I’d be sipping cocktails by the beach for the rest of my years. Seriously though, Magic is pretty much useless for cheating at cards.

Do you think magic provides a vital service to the people?

Unless you consider those quacks that call themselves physicians capable of curing anything more serious than a sniffle, yes. And that’s just healing. Imagine a world where you couldn’t order a hex on someone? That would be crazy.

What would you say is your most successful potion?

Depends how you define success. My best seller is cure-all for common respiratory afflictions. I’m pretty sure I could brew that in my sleep. But my most epic potion was that time I put together a little brew that covered our headmaster in purple spots. That thing went off almost exactly to plan. Do you know how hard it is to get the color purple right in a potion?

Why broomsticks?

No axles to snap, no wheels to get bogged in the mud, no nasty horse crap or broken equine legs to deal with. Don’t get me wrong, I’d prefer armchairs to broomsticks, but it’s part tradition and part having an enchantment strong enough to carry the weight.

Are there any stereotypes about witches you want to disprove?

You’re asking the wrong witch. Now Nora would get on her high horse, but I reckon a lot of those stereotypes have served us well over the years. I don’t even have to lock my front door when I go out. We might not be held in the highest esteem, but regular folks are at least a little wary of us. If it were any different, I’d have to go making excuses about why I couldn’t go to that stupid book club or why I missed the baby shower.

And there you have it!

Ten top questions from Mike, and as to be expected responses from Gretchen. Let me know in the comments if you have any more, and we can cover them over in future posts.

Have you picked up your copy of The Damsel Gauntlet yet?

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