Last week I was challenged by The Britchy One:
“please write me a witch story!” she said.
“Good Witch or Wicked Witch?” I asked
“Both” She replied.
“Challenge Accepted” Said I….
So I started writing a fantasy tale about a witch.
See here to read the first bit:
I actually have a few different endings in mind so I thought I would post them all on my Blog and get you to choose which one you liked best.
This is the second option:
They journeyed through the dense, dark forest. Perseus on his horse and the Woman in the wood, the Witch woman he’d named Diana, taking the lead in the form of a white raven.
Often he thought he was completely lost as each dark path they followed looked the same, but he trusted his guide and continued onwards.
By day she was the raven and by night she became the beautiful woman again and sat with him by the fire. They talked about their lives, although she really revealed very little about her past. He got the impression that there had been a deep trauma in her life that she was still desperately trying to suppress. He felt so sorry for her. His life had been so privileged while hers had been hard. He had grown up in a palace and his father was the crown prince. His Father had been banished from court because he disagreed with his own Father, the King, who had been an evil twisted tyrant. His father had gathered around him men of courage and honour and his separate court had been a cultured one. He had grown up in an atmosphere of learning and music. He was only Eight when his wicked Grandfather had died and he remembered riding in a long procession back to the capital city with his parents bedecked in their finery and all the streets lined with cheering crowds. His parents too, although important and busy had been loving and had spent time with him. His Father educated him in the duties of Kingship, of providing law and order, securing the borders and providing education and support for everyone, including the very poorest. It had occurred to him that possibly his Father had devoted so much time to ensuring he understood the importance of all those things that his own Father had neglected because he worried that his son would take after his Wicked Grandfather. Speaking to her felt so easy. There were none of those awkward moments. He spoke to her of his fears and dreams. His biggest fear was losing his Father and his biggest dream was one day, but not yet, becoming a ruler just as wise as he was. She told him of a time long ago when she had lived amongst people but they had sought to take advantage of her and then persecuted her for not using her powers to help their own evil deeds. She didn’t go into details about time or place, but he felt it was a long time ago.
He enjoyed her company very much, but a thought had occurred to him and so he asked her
“Why do you transform every night to sleep upon the rough ground when you could probably be more comfortable in your raven form?”
She laughed, a rich throaty laugh and told him.
“It is because of the moon. The moon forces you into your true form, it is impossible to change into a different form with the silvery moon shining above. At the new moon, when no light shines, or on really cloudy nights when no moonlight touches the earth, then I can take on other forms. Oh, I shouldn’t really be telling you these secrets of my craft. They probably bore you anyway.”
Perseus leaned closer, the flames from the fire bathing his handsome face with its orange glow.
“Not at all. You are Diana, queen of the wood and I enjoy listening to you. I am fascinated, please go on.”
She smiled at him, it was so long since she had someone to really talk to. The few people who came to her were so full of their own worries, they didn’t want to really hold a conversation. She had grown used to that. She had enjoyed her solitude. Now this man, this Prince, sat doting on her every word and she enjoyed this even more. She told him a few other secrets of her craft, innocuous things that wouldn’t do any particular harm.
They continued on their journey in this fashion, travelling from dawn until dusk then making camp and chatting long into the night. He would always fall asleep before her and she would look at him, gently snoring, and wondered what spell she was falling under.
After three days they had reached the eastern edge of the great forest and they slept that night in an Inn. She realised when she went to bed what Perseus had meant about never sleeping alone in an Inn. They were not very hygienic. Bed bugs and fleas crawled through the blankets, straw mattress and the rug on the floor. She lit one of her incense burners which produced a cleansing smoke of camphor, pine, rosemary and other herbs that would repel the insects. Only then could she sleep. She lay there thinking of Perseus in his room next door.
They crossed a mighty river, then a large mountain, ever Eastwards with the sun in their faces in the morning and warming their backs every afternoon. After a week of travelling, they passed across a border, marked with a stone pillar carved with a name, Albion. The name meant nothing to her, she had long ago lost interest in the lands of men. Lands had come and gone in those intervening years when she had taken sanctuary in her wild wood. She realised, however, that she was becoming interested again. The name, Albion, sent a tingle down her spine as if it held a great deal of importance to her.
At the last Inn, Perseus had bought her a beautiful white palfrey to ride, so as not to startle people with the sight of a large white raven. As they rode along people waved to them in a friendly fashion, then returned to their work with the energy that comes from taking personal pride from their labours. The lands about her were well cared for, as were the people. They laboured in the fields and tended to their animals, but did not have the broken empty look of oppressed slaves. This was a kingdom where the people were cared for. She had almost given up the hope of ever finding a time or a place like this. Tears welled in her eyes.
As they came to the top of a hill, they looked across a verdant valley and saw a great city of stone. She stared in awe at the Castle with its white limestone walls and towers with flags flying proudly above.
They rode up to the city walls which were sealed by a portcullis gate.
Perseus cried out “Open the gates! I am returned.”
A guard came out of a small building and saluted when he saw the Prince.
“Is my Father, the King, still alive.?” Perseus asked the guard.
“He is, My Prince, but still gravely ill, I’m afraid.”
“I have brought with me someone who may help. Open the gates, we must hurry.”
The gates opened and they rode hard for the castle. The sight of the people milling about with their bright coloured clothing made her gape with awe, but she barely had time to take it all in, before she was swept into the Kings bedroom by the eager and desperate Prince.
The King lay in his bed and looked gravely ill. The few people who stood around had genuine concern on their faces. This was a King well-loved by his people. She could see, despite his sickness, there was kindness and good humour clearly marked on the kings lined face. She was determined to save him, not just for the Prince who had captured her heart, but for the fact that this man was clearly someone worth saving.
Perseus cleared the room of its people and she began weaving her magic. She lit candles and incense about the room to clear the evil humours that had gathered about the sick-bed. She mixed an herbal potion and gently held the cup to the Kings lips to help him drink. Then she gathered in her powers and cast her spell. The air crackled and glowed and the king’s body was lifted up bathed in a golden healing light. The figure of Death that had been lurking in the corners of the room suddenly emerged and took flight out through the open window, banished for now by the mighty powers of the Witch from the woods. Death would return someday, but he would not claim his chosen victim, not for now.
Perseus looked at Diana, with her back straight and arms flung out above her head of flowing red hair. He was amazed at the power that swirled around her.
Then his father’s body lowered gently and settled into the soft feather mattress. His face was already looking better, the colour coming back to his rosy cheeks. The Kings eyes opened, and that hazy far off look was gone. He saw his Son and a strange wild woman with red hair and green eyes standing over him.
“My Son, you came back. Who is this lady you have brought with you?”
“This, Father is the most wonderful woman in the world. She has cured you from your illness. She is also the woman I am going to marry.”
The Woman gave a start and turned to look into the face of the Prince who was gazing back at her with the look of pure adoration.
“That is, if you will have me, Diana?” He held out his hand to her, and without thinking she took it.
And they lived, happily ever after.
In time, the Wise king was claimed by Death but not before he saw his beloved Son and the beautiful woman who had saved his life, marry. Not before he saw his grandson and granddaughter born and had time to play with them and dandle them on his knee.
In time his son became King Perseus and his wife Queen Diana. She used her powers to heal the sick and she ensured good harvests for many years. In so doing, the prophesy of Perseus’s evil grandfather had come true, his kingdom was now ruled by a Witch, but she was good and kind and the Kingdom was much better for it.
Well that was possible ending number Two, let me know what you think.
I have one more possible ending, which I will post another day…
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 21/May/2018