Here’s the latest in the characters series! My friend Debbie Manber Kupfer wanted to write about her Wild Welsh Warlock for you guys, and she threw in an excerpt from her new novel!
Gromer the Green – Wild Warlock of Wales
(The P.A.W.S. Saga – Argentum, Umbrae, Londinium)
“The world is full of wonders for those who can see it truly.” — Gromer the Green
Many of my characters that populate the pages of P.A.W.S. emerged from people that were close to me. Celia and Max, for example, are based on my own omama and opapa who played a huge part in my early years. Sometimes, however, a character writes himself into my world and this was the case with Gromer the Green.
I met the old warlock in the same way as Quentin did in Argentum, a strange old fellow in a long green robe filled with pockets bulging with all sorts of odd stuff that he picked up in his rambles. Some of the pockets seemed to be moving, and Gromer was muttering to himself. Quentin watched him through his hawk eyes and was drawn to the old magic maker.
He looked harmless, but Quentin knew that sometimes strong magic dwelt in unlikely places. Gromer invited Quentin into his “castle” in a rugged part of Wales. The castle was just a cave, but a more comfortable cave you would never visit. Every corner was covered in books and the air was filled with the smell of the glorious pea soup that was always bubbling on the stove.
From the beginning it is clear that Gromer is lonely. There was once a second wild warlock of Wales, Caradog, but he wandered off into Umbrae (the shadow world) many years before. So Gromer lavishes his attention on his guests. During the course of Argentum and Umbrae Gromer welcomes not just Quentin, but Max and Celia into his humble home. All find a refuge with Gromer and though they eventually leave they will forever hold a place in their heart for the warlock.
And me too. If I was asked where in my world would like to go, I would not say one of the P.A.W.S. Institutes, no my first choice would be to hang out with Gromer the Green in his cave, listen to his stories of the endangered Wizzlewoop, drink tea (from “proper tea leaves, none of those new-fangled tea bag thingies”), and share a bowl of sumptuous pea soup.
Here’s a little snippet from Umbrae. In this section Max Katz (Miri’s grandfather) is meeting Gromer for the first time. He’s in his tabby cat form and has just (mostly) climbed down a mountain.
“Ooph! A puss, from the mountain no less. Pretty puss—but smelly, too? What was you doings up there?”
The man spoke in English, which was a language that Max had been taught. Still he had a strange accent that Max did not recognize. He was oddly dressed in a tattered robe covered in pockets and wore his hair long and straggly.
“I’ve always wanted a puss,” he muttered to himself. “A familiar—a magician should have a familiar, or so I’ve been told. Here puss, puss, come with me. You look hungry. Do you like pea soup? It’s almost ready. I was just gathering some more wizzlewoop.”
Wizzlewoop, thought Max, there’s that strange word again. He wondered what in the world it could be. He decided to follow the odd man. He was hungry, and pea soup sounded good.
“Of course I might have a can of sardines too, Puss! You’d like that, wouldn’t you, sardines? Silly buggers, I’ve always thought. Lock themselves in the can and leave the key outside!”
Puzzled, Max followed the man along a winding path. Every so often he would reach for something on the ground. Sometimes he would pluck a plant or pick up a rock and put it in one of his pockets. At other times he would stare at an item for a moment, and then toss it aside, grumbling. Then he would turn his head and address Max, “Come along, Puss.”
They appeared to be walking towards a solid wall of rock. Max wondered where the old man lived. He thought they would veer from their path, but they didn’t. The man stopped directly in front of the rock and pulled out a small silver wand from one of his pockets.
He didn’t appear to be very powerful for a magician, but sometimes great powers were hidden in unlikely packages.
The man recited a spell in an odd language. “Agored ar gyfer Gromer y Green a’i gath newydd.”
Then he carefully drew a doorway on the rock face. The shape shone silver, and then with a single push, the door opened.
“Welcome to the castle of Gromer the Green,” the magician said with a flourish, and Max followed him inside.
Debbie Manber Kupfer grew up in the London. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and a freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She is the author of the young adult fantasy series, P.A.W.S. which features a secret institute of shapeshifters hidden deep beneath the Jewel Box in Forest Park, St. Louis. In addition she has stories in several anthologies including Fauxpocalypse, Stardust,Always, Winter Wishes, and Sins of The Past. She has also published a book of puzzles, Paws 4 Logic, with her son Joey. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything!
Connect with Debbie on her blogs:
Facebook Author page: https://www.facebook.com/DebbieManberKupferAuthor