A while ago 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 Third and Final option:
They journeyed through the immense dark forest. Perseus on his horse and the woman, he had 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. Doubts came into his mind but he trusted his guide and so he made the doubts disappear.
By day she was the raven and by night she became the beautiful woman again and sat with him by the fire. He admired her dark red hair and piercing green eyes. Growing up people would lower their eyes in his presence, as he was a Prince, but her direct and honest stare was refreshing. They talked about their lives, although she really revealed very little about her past. He could feel the trauma she had been through still apparent in her honest eyes. He told her of his Grandfather, who had so feared to lose his power over the kingdom that he passed harsher and harsher laws to keep people under control. He told her of the burnings, hundreds of women, old and young, all who either possessed some magic gift or who just happened to know a lot about herbs. He had been young when his grandfather had died and his father had put a stop to the purges. His Father had taught his children the importance of helping others and put others above themselves. Although he enjoyed her company and the chance to talk to her, he thought it odd that she transformed every night to sleep on the rough ground, when she could probably be more comfortable as the raven. He actually asked her why and she laughed, a rich throaty laugh.
“It is because of the moon.” She told him. “The moon prevents you from transforming into different forms. At the new moon, when no light shines, or on really cloudy nights when no moonlight touches the earth, only 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. He looked eager to hear her words.
“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.
“Gold is not just precious because it is rare, it also encapsulates the very power of the sun. It enhances and increases the flow of energy. Whereas Silver is the essence of Moonlight and like the moon it limits some powers, like the ability to transform, but it enhances other powers, like insight into the future.”
The prince was taking in every word. There were, of course, many aspects of magic and some like the domination of others, she had turned away from long ago. They were dark and evil and she prided herself on only using her gifts to help others, not to harm them. Only in extreme circumstances would she ever use her powers destructively, only to defend her life.
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.
Eventually they came to the edge of the forest and stayed that first night in an Inn. After she took the precautions of banishing all the fleas, bugs and mice from the room, She lay on the bed, the light of the moon shining on her. Just as she knew it would, there came a gentle tap on the door.
“Yes?” She said, not trusting herself to say more. Her tone was clearly an invitation.
Perseus entered the room with his white shirt unlaced and the hem hanging down to his bare thigh. He looked at her with hunger in his eyes and without saying a word, she took him into her arms and satisfied that hunger. The same hunger that burned within her. She savoured that first touch of a man she’d had for the longest time. In the morning, as the first rays of light shone through the window, she rose and cleansed her body with the water that had been left outside the door. She looked at her prince as he lay there sleeping. The light on his body showed every muscle on his chest and stomach and glinted on the silver chain with its strange medallion that hang around his neck. She smiled as the memory of what they had done together came to the forefront of her mind. Her heart, that she had put away long ago, suddenly beat strongly in her chest again.
They travelled on, across a wide river and through a mountain valley where the wind howled like a banshee in their faces. Onwards towards the east, with the sun warming their faces in the morning and their backs in the afternoon.
Then they arrived in a land she remembered, though it had changed a great deal since she had left it. This was the land of her birth that she had fled from persecution. She realised now who Perseus’s grandfather had been. The Cruel king that had demanded her help to suppress his kingdom and then tried to have her killed when she refused. It was she who had told him that a Witch would one day rule his kingdom, and inadvertently sentenced all her sister witches and herb women to their deaths. Oh how cruel the twists and turns of fate!
They stayed that night in their final Inn. She was more reluctant to accept this man into her bed, knowing who he was and who his grandfather had been. He must have picked up on her reticence because he caressed and kissed her so gently, so enticing. She gave in to her desire and before she knew it, it was dawn.
Strangely the Prince had risen before her. Perseus gazed down at her with a face she could not read. It was an eager look, a slightly desperate look. He had his silver necklace in his hands, with that strange medallion, a symbol that she had never seen. It was a copper disc inlaid with a silver pentacle interwoven with a golden circle and a cross. As she opened her eyes fully, the Prince moved swiftly and wrapped the necklace around her ankle. An agonising pain shot through her, making her muscles spasm and her body writhe. She screamed and looked at Perseus but not a shred of pity glinted in those brown inscrutable eyes.
He spoke in a commanding and cold voice. “Transform Witch, become the Raven.”
The pain increased and she screamed again, gradually the scream became the deep, coarse screech of the Raven. Her body shrank and feathers sprouted from her. Usually the transformation was a gradual and painless process, but this was agonising but over in a matter of minutes. The White Raven stood on the bed with a silver chain tight around its scaly leg, the other end held in Perseus hand along with the medallion.
“Well, Grandfather was right. This medallion does compel a Witch, as he told me it would as he lay on his death-bed. I know your real name, you are Perchta the Queen of the Witches. You refused to help my Grandfather, but now you will have to help me.”
His voice had lost those soft caressing tones. All of those warm smiles and soft looks had gone, replaced with cold arrogance. How could she have fallen for his trap? How could have her instincts have deserted her? She felt her will diminish and disappear as she became his slave.
Prince Perseus rode up to the gates of his city with the White Raven held onto his wrist.
There were no banners or flags flying from the castles turrets. The gate guards wore black bands around their arms. He knew then, that his pious Father had died. He was now the King.
The crowds were all subdued, mourning the loss of their King, but they bowed to him, their new Lord and Master as he rode his horse hard for the castle, with his tamed Witch on his arm, his head held high.
Still reeling from the shock of her enslavement and betrayal, the Witch took in her surroundings and then she received yet another shock. There, standing on the Castle steps was a lady dressed in regal robes of dark velvets trimmed with gold, and a little girl also dressed in finery. They rushed up to Perseus as he dismounted his horse, and she heard the lady call him husband and the little girl, father.
Her heart turned to stone as the full extent of his betrayal hit home. Bitterness turned to hatred as the emotions burned and seethed within her. The man had not only enslaved her, but had seduced her and enticed her knowing that he already had a wife and child waiting for him. The power of the medallion was great, because if it hadn’t held her completely enslaved, her own magic would have been unleashed and the world around her would have burned in fire and brimstone.
Perseus kept her caged in an ornate silver cage at the top of the highest tower in the Castle and there he forced her to aid his armies as he sent them out to conquer the surrounding lands. He came and taunted her daily. His wife too came and taunted her, he must have told her some of what happened and she came to torment her and laugh at her.
The days went by, then weeks and then months. Only one person did not torment her, the little princess. She had inherited her mothers dark hair, but her fathers brown eyes are red cheeks. She was a pretty little thing. The little girl talked to her.
“You poor Raven, I do hate to see a bird caged when it should be free.”
“Please, let me out, please let me free.” Cawed the Raven, but just as the medallion held her magic enslaved it prevented her from speaking in her normal voice and it also meant that even though the kind-hearted girl had opened the door of her cage, she couldn’t fly free.
“The medallion, bring me the medallion. Please.” Begged the Raven.
The little princess was reluctant, although she hated to see this animal in a cage, she knew the medallion what her father’s prize possession. He never took it off. He even slept with it.
Whenever the little princess came to visit, the Raven called out to her.
“Help, me, please. Bring me the Medallion”.
After weeks of this torment, the Princess could bear it no longer. She sneaked into her Father’s bedroom whilst he was asleep and carefully removed the medallion from around his neck. Then she ran up to the top most tower.
“I have it! I have it Raven, you can go free now.” The little princess opened the door of the silver cage and held out the medallion, which the Raven quickly grabbed in its powerful beak. Then it spread its wings and flew out of the window and off to the far west to towards the great forest.
Back in her wood, the Witch plotted her revenge. Sometimes her anger was instantaneous but this time she pondered long and hard. Her anger was a cold and dark insidious thing. She had gone through so much trauma in her life but nothing had burned in her heart like the betrayal and enslavement that Prince, now King Perseus had exacted on her. Her heart had now burned away to nothing. The ashes blown to the four winds.
After a few years the Witch learned that King’s Perseus’s wife was pregnant and they had high hopes it would be a boy. The Witch transformed her appearance into a beautiful fair-haired maiden and offered herself as midwife to the Queen.
They did not recognise her, her appearance had been totally altered. King Perseus too had changed, his face was hard and he had grown fat from his indulgencies.
The little Princess was now about seven years old and was not really cared for by her parents. The King suspected her of freeing his tamed Witch. After that his armies had been defeated. He blamed his daughter and now he wanted a son to inherit, instead of this weak-hearted girl. The Witch pitied the princess but not enough to turn from her plan.
As midwife, the Witch ensured the Queen did not have her baby. Both the unborn child and its mother died. The King was distraught, more from losing an heir than his wife.
The Witch then used her powers to seduce the King. She found this the most difficult thing to have to do. She remembered how he had seduced her. How they had laid together and how his body had been strong and beautiful. Now his body was fat and flabby and so repulsive, like a maggot, but still she kept to her plan.
Just weeks after the Queen’s death the King married the Witch. The scandal caused a riot to break out in the streets, but the King mercilessly called out the soldiers and suppressed it.
During the wedding ceremony the Witch was crowned Queen. As they were being wed and she clasped the hand of the King something must have shown in her eyes, a sense of triumph, because Perseus seemed to recognise her in that moment. If he did, it was too late. He died that very night.
Thus, the old prophecy came true and the Kingdom became ruled by a Witch. She was a cold-hearted witch and ruled harshly, but no more harshly than the King before her had. After all, it was he who had turned her this way.
Only the little Princess seemed to know the truth. She too has a story, one that you may have already heard. She was called Snow White.
Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 22/May/2018