The roots shuddered and then became more flexible, bunching together and taking the rough form of a woman who stood just a little taller than Sarah and had a pronounced hunch. The treelike creature swayed from side to side but didn’t seem to have any feet with which to move. The two faeries darted to her side and landed on her wooden shoulders. The roots around the makeshift face twisted once more, leaving deep, empty sockets where the figure should have had eyes. In another moment, a pair of pale white lights in the shape of two crescent moons emerged from the sockets and looked at Sarah. The tree-formed face scrunched up and formed into a toothy smile as it saw her.
“Lovely little Linda. You look as young as the day we first met.”
“I’m not Linda,” Sarah said. She raised her wand defensively with her left hand and pointed toward her fallen mother with her right. “She is.”
The tree-creature shambled forward, leaving a raised trench in the earth where the roots pulled away from the ground. Bending her head, she smiled in a matronly way. “Of course it is. Well, this is truly, tantalizingly terrific. I didn’t know I had another grandchild.”
“Not literally, of course. Great-grandchild, at least. Or maybe even great-great. It’s so hard to keep track, especially since I’m a spirit now instead of a person with a real body.”
There are a thousand stories about the wizard who created Greystone Valley, all of them referring to him as a man who disappeared into the mists of history ages ago. There are an equal number of tales about the witch Sabrina, who taught the Wizard his power, but those stories don’t describe somebody distant and gone. Instead, they speak of a spirit who haunts the valley still, stalking the nights for her own mysterious motives.
Most people know Sabrina as the ghost-witch of the valley, capable of taking any form she pleases or even of possessing other people. They say she has a fey army at her disposal, that she enchants young men and women to follow her deep into the wilderness where they disappear for years, and that she drinks the blood of innocents. Less than half of these tales are true, but it’s hard to guess what is real and what is fiction, since some of the wildest stories are the most accurate.
The only way that most people have to find some degree of truth about Sabrina is to filter through the many different legends and seek out the recurring details that always seem to make it into the stories. In the old world, the one she left behind to come to Greystone Valley, Sabrina was a powerful witch who fell in love with the man that would eventually become the Wizard. It was she who taught him the ways of magic and mystery. She is the one who showed him the hidden wonders of other worlds, ultimately inspiring him to create Greystone Valley as a place where they could be hidden away. Unfortunately for her, it was also she who wound up facing the Wizard’s greatest wrath.
As the Wizard became more obsessed with his creation, Sabrina’s heart started to drift away from his. Ultimately, she left him. The Wizard, although painted as kind and wise in most stories, had a terrible wrath that only Sabrina seemed to awaken. For what he saw as a betrayal, he cursed his former teacher, making sure that her spirit would never know true peace. When Sabrina died, she remained in Greystone Valley as a spirit.
Despite her death, Sabrina’s legacy lives on. Not only is she still able to use magic as a ghost, but she can inhabit certain objects, animating them and giving herself a temporary body. Her bloodline also runs strong, and the most powerful enchantresses who have walked Greystone Valley are her descendants. Most of the time, she is willing to let those descendants protect the valley when it needs saving. Sometimes, though, she decides to take matters into her own hands…
Sabrina is one of the most mysterious friends and foes that Sarah meets on her second journey into Greystone Valley. Is she truly Sarah’s great-great-grandmother, or is this just a ruse? Whatever the reality behind the situation, Sabrina and Sarah are destined to clash as the meet at last in Conquest of Greystone Valley.