415 Raspberry Picket Trilogy
The Seven Sacred Seeds
The Cursed Seed
The Seed of the Wormwood
My character Darach is obviously not as well known and as famous as the boy named Harry. Sadly most people have never heard or read about Darach. In many ways they are the same, both young and inexperienced in the world of witches and magic. But there are major differences between the two characters.
Nearly all my characters, especially the main ones, are based on real life people. Since the books discuss the issues of plant extinction and saving the planet, I have given all my chief characters botany based names. ‘Darach’ is Celtic for oak, ‘strong and mighty as an oak.’ He is a brave little boy who has taken on a mighty, if not the nearly impossible task of saving Earth.
His uncle is named ‘Rubus’ for brambling vines such as raspberries and blackberries. Uncle Rubus’s housekeeper is named ‘Flo’ for ‘flora.’ The strange and mysterious grandmother, ‘Rosemary,’ is named after the well known herb often used in magic and witchcraft. For no particular reason I did not give the main characters a last name.
For many years I have enjoyed reading and researching the folklore and historical use of plants. Of course it was witches that had a vast knowledge of the magical and medical uses of herbs and plants. When I wrote the original version of The Seven Sacred Seeds in 2005 I knew my characters had to be witches so they could use their knowledge of magical herbs to battle against evil. Book two and three followed in 2015 with hopefully more to follow.
Darach is based on a family member and as a little boy he spent a lot of time with my parents and visited me often. Years ago I considered allowing him to live with me permanently. If he had come to live with me his bedroom would have been in the basement for awhile. Thus in my novels Darach’s bedroom is in the basement of his uncle’s home. His uncle has taken him in to protect him from an abusive father and evil step-mother.
Rubus is a retired Botany Professor and is a lover of plant life and gardening, not unlike the author. His underground workroom was used during the Civil War as part of the Underground Railroad helping slaves gain their freedom in the North. The small town I live in has a few houses that were part of the movement. Under the streets of my town were tunnels and rooms, similar to Uncle Rubus’s workroom. The novels take place all around Ohio, from the islands and lighthouses of Lake Erie, to the caves of Southern Ohio.
Flo is loosely based on a good friend who is not known for her tidy home. In the story Flo has several dogs, one being a Norwegian Elkhound named Rikisha. (based on a pet of the same name) She has amazing powers and saves Darach from harm. In the novels readers discover she is much more than a family pet.
The family lives at 415 Raspberry Picket Lane in a small central Ohio town famous for it’s annual Festival of the Gourds, not unlike Circleville and the famous annual Pumpkin Show Festival! Beneath the our town is a huge underground aquifer. In the novels I turned the ‘aquifer’ into an large underground body of water with islands and teaming with monsters and all sorts of evil.
When I was a young teen I fell in love with astronomy and had a simple reflector telescope. I spent many hours in summer and on cold winter nights observing Orion’s Belt, the rings of Saturn, far off fuzzy galaxies, and the moon’s craters. I had a buddy who ground and polished his own lens for his homemade telescope. Astronomy plays an important role in the novels. After observing the Constellation Draco they are visited by a dragon who gives them a riddle and informs Rubus and Darach they have been selected to battle an evil creature and it their task to save the planet.
Soon Darach learns his family and the housekeeper are witches and he too has a strange and unusual gift to ‘feel’ what plants, especially trees are saying. With practice he learns to drown out the constant ‘talking’ of trees. When a neighbor had a huge Maple tree teaming with life was chopped down, I wrote of the agony and the sadness the tree may have felt as it was being killed without a good reason. Two mischievous green tree elves call him, ‘The-boy-who-talks-to trees.’
Darach is loved and cherished by a close knit family. He adores his uncle and grandmother. Darach does not attend a fancy all inclusive school of witchcraft. There are no castles in his town, only old wooden houses with garages that face narrow alleys. He is home taught by day and learns of witchcraft, magical herbs, and how to use a wand during breaks and the summer months. In my novels the witch-world is very loosely connected. Uncle Rubus has several friends that practice different kinds of magic, some are traditional witches, while others are mystics, Voodoo priestess, or African witchdoctors. There is a small self-appointed group of witches who try to force their values and rules on others. In my novels, at least on this side of the pond there is not a structured ruling class or a hierarchy of witches. Another group of witches live in secrecy adhering to ancient customs and way of life, hidden from view in the hills of Chillicothe and other secret locations.
The story involves various species of elves and fairies. They have a rare audience with the aged Queen of all fairies. She realizes helping Darach and Uncle Rubus would also be beneficial in saving her kind. In addition their are a hosts of supernatural characters and monsters, a French teenage vampire who came to settle in southern Ohio around the French Revolution, evil and friendly ghosts, and a dragon hybrid that resides in a barn who Darach teaches it to fly.
As with all good stories there is an evil dilobocical character who wants to destroy all plant life on Earth and take control of the planet. Is he from Earth, or from an evil brought here from the stars eons ago?
Ohio is rich with the remains of a 2000 year old Indian culture that built enormous earthen mounds and geometric shapes. In Newark, Ohio alone a group of mounds and shapes originally covered an area of 3000 acres, four square miles, including an ancient Lunar Observatory. Still today the area is dotted with numerous mounds. The city of Circleville was built with a square/circle mound structure. Although these mounds no longer exist the country side has numerous remaining mounds. This part of Ohio was the center of this mysterious culture. Some call this culture and their earthworks the eighth wonder of the ancient world. Thankfully in recent years there has been a renewed interest and a new vision of exploring, identifying and saving the remains of this long lost culture. Since this wonderful history is so unique to Ohio I incorporated it into all my novels. The publisher even put mounds on the cover of the second novel, The Cursed Seed!
Darach is forced into action, along with his uncle, housekeeper, and grandmother to fight and try to destroy the monster before he can accomplish his goal. Darach uses his gift to communicate with the trees of the forest, gaining the support of the ancient Queen Oak to help fight the battle. I used modern science concerning the makeup of the leaves and root systems and the real communication between trees. It is a story as old as human kind, good verses evil. As it often seems, at the end of the story it appears as if evil might possibly win the battle. He uses a Dragon Claw Willow wand, and they fly but not on brooms. They use magical herbs for a variety of purposes, from protecting themselves to becoming invisible to escape from evil.
In many ways Darach and Harry appear to be the same. They are forced into action and much is at stake and there is much to be lost if they don’t win the battle. They are both young and suffer from the evil they face. Darach is not famous among his kind, and his sacrifice will probably go unnoticed by both witches and humans. Sadly humans will not even be aware of the battle or the importance of it. Harry will live on as a great hero while Darach and his sacrifice will be lost in the obscurity of time …
Wouldn’t it be fun if Darach and Harry had a magical adventure together!!
There is a greater chance California will slide into the Pacific Ocean!
I have enjoyed speaking to Garden Clubs and Herb groups and especially meeting with students at their schools and talking about the real magic of plants and about Darach’s adventures !
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R. L. Patterson