The Woman in the Wood – Possible ending number three.

A while ago I was challenged by The Britchy One:

https://bitchininthekitchen.org/2018/05/11/three-days-three-quotes-05-11-18/

“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:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-woman-in-the-wood-a-witchy-tale/

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. 

The End.

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 22/May/2018

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/disappear/

 

via Daily Prompt: Disappear

The Woman in the Wood – Possible ending number Two.

Last week I was challenged by The Britchy One:

Three Days, Three Quotes – 05/11/18.

“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:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-woman-in-the-wood-a-witchy-tale/

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.

The End

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

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/awkward/

 

via Daily Prompt: Awkward

The Woman in the Wood – Possible ending number One.

Last week I was challenged by The Britchy One:

Three Days, Three Quotes – 05/11/18.

“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:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-woman-in-the-wood-a-witchy-tale/

I actually have two endings in mind so I thought I would write them both on my Blog and get you to choose which one you liked best. 

This is the first option:

They journeyed through the dense forest. Perseus on his horse and the woman, he called Diana, taking the lead in the form of a white raven. 

Often he thought he was 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 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 forces you into your true form, it is impossible to transform 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. 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.

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.

Ever onwards they travelled, across a wide, river where they paid a ferryman to row them across. Then they climbed across a mountain, though a winding pass where the air howled like a banshee in their faces. 

Finally after a week of travelling they came to a more civilised land. The fields were well-tended, each with neat stone houses and usually a few cows and sheep. The people went about their daily tasks with a quiet efficiency, they occasionally stopped to wave to the Prince on his horse. 

Then on the horizon the woman saw something she had never seen. Nestled in a valley either side of a river was a city with houses all built from stone. Even the streets were paved with stone. When she had last lived amongst people the houses were usually made from woven hazel covered with mud and had straw thatch roofs. On the top of a hill overlooking the city was the biggest marvel of them all. A castle of white stone with huge towers and turrets that seemed to shine golden in the afternoon sun. Flags flew from these towers, a white dragon on a red background. It slightly took her breath away. 

The Prince picked up his pace, encouraged by the sight of his home and the fact the flags still flew above the castle. If his father, the King, had died, the flags would have been taken down. 

As the sight of a white raven had rather startled people, the Prince had bought Diana a lovely white palfrey to ride. She wasn’t very experienced at riding, but she leaned forwards and whispered softly into the horses ears. The horse became calm and she knew she could rely on it not to throw her off. 

They rode through the streets of the city, a throng of people were making they daily rounds of the shops and markets. More people than she had ever seen, more shops and goods than she had ever seen, selling all sorts of wares. Bright fine cloth, linens and lace. Food stalls with all kinds of things to be eaten, fruit, vegetables and meat. She tried not to stare as they continued towards the castle.

At the gates of the castle Perseus pulled up his horse and shouted to the guards to open the gates to let him pass. The guards were wearing clothes made from solid pieces of metal covered in cloth tabards of red with the white dragon, matching the flags flying above. They saluted them and opened the gates.

After they left their horses in the stables, Perseus grabbed her hand in his and he led her through the many rooms of this grand palace. Up stone staircases and through rooms with walls lined with polished oak panels or finely woven tapestries. Finally they entered a room filled with men and women wearing the most fancy clothes, made from velvet and silks with gold and silver thread and ornate embroidery. In the centre of the room was an enormous bed, carved solid oak pillars at each corner held up a rich red canopy over the emaciated figure of the King. He lay there, plumped up with pillows, his sunken eyes were barely open and surely unaware of the crowds of people around him. His white hair and beard hung loose and limp and made his face appear smaller and more sunken. 

She opened up her mind to examine the King’s aura and she could see clearly the problem. He had a severe congestion on the lungs that was badly infected. He was barely breathing and his aura pulsed so weakly that she knew, if left untreated, he would be dead within just a few days. She could already feel Death creeping about the room, waiting patiently to claim his next victim. She was determined to make sure this time Death had come far too premature.

Perseus looked desperately into her face, the unasked question clearly displayed in his eyes. 

‘Could she save him?’ She knew she was going to do all she could to fight off Death. It would take everything she had.

“Please clear the room, Perseus, I can’t do this surrounded by all these people.”

The Prince began chivvying people to the door and reluctantly they went, clucking like a flock of angry chickens. 

Perseus ensured that everything she needed was brought to her. She called for lots of boiling hot water and fresh towels. She mixed concoctions of herbs and spices that she knew would help to clear the Kings ailing lungs. She lit sconces and burned incense to clear the infection from the air. She bathed the king’s body herself with antiseptic herb water and placed hot towels on his chest to get the poisonous phlegm from his body. 

As well as these more medicinal methods she employed her powers, gathering in all her energy and will to drive the spectre of Death away. She could feel that her efforts were slowly working, but not without taking a cost. She felt her own life force diminishing. 

She had to draw on her reserves of power, power that she had used to extend her life and hold back the ageing process. Gradually her appearance changed, the wrinkles that had been unnaturally held at bay, flooded her face. Her limbs became thin and frail and her spine became curved. In those few moments she had gone from a beautiful woman in the prime of life to an old crone.

The King breathed deeply and opened his eyes which no longer were pale and unseeing but clear. The colour returned to his cheeks and he saw his beloved Son standing over the body of an old woman.

“My Son, you’ve come back!”

“I have father and I brought you a Woman who has saved your life. Rest now, father.”

The Prince picked up the body of the old woman and carried her from the room.

Perseus laid her body down on a soft bed and she stirred.

He looked at her with grateful and loving eyes and she gave him a fragile smile. She could see the figure of Death at her side, just beyond Perseus and she knew he had come to claim her at last. 

Perseus spoke to her. 

“You saved my father. I am so grateful. The prophecy was wrong, my Grandfathers prophecy, I mean. He thought that a Witch would come to rule over his kingdom, but you came to save it instead.”

Tenderly he bend down and gave her a gentle kiss. Then she passed into the arms of Death. 

The End

Well that was possible ending number one…You could say it was a premature ending.

Stay tuned for possible ending number two coming soon….

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 18/May/2018

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/premature/

 

via Daily Prompt: Premature

The Woman in the Wood – Part Three, The Journey.

This is the next part of my Fantasy story, The Woman in the Wood.

The first part is here:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-woman-in-the-wood-a-witchy-tale/

The Journey

The woman in the woods appraised the man who sat and talked with her while they drank her favourite Chamomile and Calendula tea. The man had come to find her to seek her help and had brought her a gift. The gift of a smile, something she had not seen in the longest time. The simplest things we often take for granted become a gift of the highest pedigree when we are deprived of them. The gentle aroma of the tea and the scent of the bunches of herbs tied to the eaves drying created a warm and relaxing atmosphere. As the woman admired the mans face, his strong jaw and brow, his brown expressive eyes, he gave a yawn. 

“You must be tired after your long journey. You may rest here. There is a simple bed in the back room, I’m sure not what you are used to, but there are no fleas or bed bugs, of that I can assure you.”

“Then it is surely a finer bed than I have slept in for this past week it has taken me to get here. I doubt there is an Inn in the whole world where one can truly boast a man sleeps alone. He always has the bugs for company.”

They laughed easily together, as if they were old friends instead of people who had only met a few small hours ago. The Man looked into her eyes earnestly and asked.

“Will you help me? Can you give me something to save my Father?”

“If your Father is as far gone as you have described, he is too far along for me to just give you a potion, there would not be much hope that it would work. I think I must see him myself to be sure, I may be able to help, I may not. I may have some powers but Death is master of all. There is nothing I can do once someone is firmly in Deaths grasp.”

“Will you travel with me then? I would be so grateful.”

“I will go with you. Rest here tonight and we will travel tomorrow.”

The man’s face lit up with his smile. It had a bewitching charm of its own. She thought about how old he must be. He wasn’t a young man, just emerged from his boyhood. He had short brown stubble that clearly indicated a man used to shaving regularly but having gone without for a few days. He had a few fine lines on his forehead and around his eyes. She guessed that he was in his early thirties. She knew, however, how difficult guessing someone’s age could be. No one would be able to guess hers. She had taken steps long ago to disrupt the aging process. She would appear to many as a woman in her late thirties or early forties. She had however lived many, many years longer than that. 

She showed the man to his bed and bade him good night. The sun had only just set, but he must have been tired because he was gently snoring in a very short time. 

The woman made plans for her long journey. She only needed a few hours sleep and so, while the man slept, she weaved a spell by candlelight. The air around her crackled as she flung her arms wide. Her head fell back as she spoke her words of power into the sky. A dome of pale light surrounded the cottage and its surrounding garden and the forest glade looked like it was bathed in the light of a full moon. Yet there was no moon that night. The spell cast, the woman finished her tea and climbed up the wooden ladder to her bedroom to get the rest she now needed. 

She was content that her home and her animals will remain preserved in time until she returned to break the spell, be that weeks or even years ahead. 

The next day, the man awoke to the smell of eggs and mushrooms being cooked. He felt refreshed and full of energy. He saw that a bowl of steaming hot water and a clean towel had been placed on the table for him to wash. He pulled out his shaving knife and soap from his bag and began lathering up his face to shave before the water got too cold. 

The woman looked up as the Man entered, clean-shaven and wearing a clean white shirt. They smiled at each other. 

“I hope you like eggs and mushrooms, my Lord. I also have some bread with goat butter. I’m afraid I have no meat.”

“That sounds wonderful. It is definitely the best Inn I have stayed in. I have been surviving on a breakfast of porridge, although that did have the added flavour of weevils. This is a dish fit for a king. By the way. please call me Perseus. What is your name, may I ask?”

“Oh, I have been called many names over the years. Hecate, Selene, Phoebe, once I was even Nemesis, but more recently I have been Panacea. Call me what you will, I will answer, as there is no one here but me to do so.”

“Very well, I shall call you Diana, because you are queen of the wood.”

This made her smile deepen. He had chosen a name close to her heart.

They ate breakfast together and discussed the journey ahead of them. 

It was only when Perseus was replacing his saddle on to his horse that an important question came to him.

“How will we travel? I have only one horse and I don’t think he can carry our combined weight all the way. I suppose you can ride while I walk, but I fear my father will not live long enough for us to return. It would take us so much longer.”

“You ride, I will travel another way.” Her green eyes held much amusement as she said.

“I will introduce you to another name I have been called. The Morrigan.”

She left him to finish preparing his horse and went upstairs to her bedroom.

Just as Perseus was ready to ride, he heard the loud call of a bird and out from the upstairs window of the cottage flew a large pure white raven. He didn’t have to be told that it was her. The Raven landed on his horse’s neck and gave him a hard stare. Her voice emerged from its open beak, soft and mellifluous, not the harsh cries of a Raven.

“Well, are we going then?” She opened her white wings and flew off towards the rising sun.

He smiled to himself and gave a flick of his reins and galloped to catch up with her. 

The journey had begun. 

 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 15/May/2018

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/pedigree/

 

via Daily Prompt: Pedigree

The Woman in the Wood – Part Two, The Gift.

The other day I was challenged by The Britchy One:

Three Days, Three Quotes – 05/11/18.

“please write me a witch story!” she said.

“Good Witch or Wicked Witch?” I asked

“Both” She replied.

“Challenge Accepted” Said I….

So I wrote a story called The Woman in the Wood – See here:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/11/the-woman-in-the-wood-a-witchy-tale/

Here is the next part.

The Gift.

Early one morning, the woman in the wood rose to tend to her chickens and collect their eggs. 

 

The sun was only just reaching the treetops bathing the forest glade with just a slight amount of its dawn rays. 

She was dressed in her plain brown dress and apron over a faded red blouse. She covered her red hair with a brown scarf to protect it from dust and dirt.

The weather had been dry of late and so the ground was particularly dusty. 

As she stood there throwing grain to her hungry hens who clucked and pecked around her feet, she heard the sounds of a horse’s hooves on the dry compacted earth. It was some way off in the distance, but coming closer. 

Her senses told her that whoever it was, was searching for her, with purpose. It was not just a traveller taking a short cut through the forest. She had ways and means to prevent being found if she wanted to. She could make people lose their way in the forest, so they end up going back the way they came. She could make them pass on by seeing only a ruin, instead of the neat little cottage in its well-tended garden. Her inner voice told her not to do this. It told her to let this person come. She always listened to that voice, her instinct. She remembered a time, when she had been young and foolish, she had gone against that inner voice and lived to rue the day. Many had perished because her voice that time had told her to hide and she had not. They had come to take her and burn her and she had defended herself against those poor fools. Had she hidden herself, as her voice had told her then, they would not have had to die and she would not have their blood on her hands or the weight of guilt on her heart. 

Having finished feeding her hens, she grabbed her broom, made of hazel wood and birch twigs and began sweeping the yard. Her ear kept listening to the approach of the stranger on their horse. Closer and closer they came until the horse came trotting into the forest glade. Atop the horse sat a man in a travel-stained cloak. It was a deep green colour and edged with gold braid. The Man pulled up on the reins to make the horse come to a halt and then leapt down from it. He strode over to the woman and he gave her a smile. 

The woman was taken aback slightly; in all the years she had lived in this lonely forest, no one had smiled at her. Occasionally people came for her herbs and healing but only worry and fear showed on their faces. This man had given her a gift, the gift of his smile. She stopped her sweeping and smiled pleasantly back at him.

“Excuse me, fair lady. I am looking for an old woman people say dwells within this wood, A witch, I have been told. Can you tell me where to find her?”

“There is no one who dwells in this forest but me, my Lord. What can you want with such a woman? Are you a Witch-hunter then?”

“No I do not wish her any harm, I assure you. I have come a long way, because I was told there was a woman in the forest with great powers who can help me. My father is dying and I seek some potion or magic that will make him well again. He is a good man and so many people rely on his wisdom and guidance.”

“Are there no Wise-women or healers where you are from who can help you?”

“There are none left. I’m afraid that any such women were all burned at the stake a long time ago in the purges. My Grandfather was a superstitious man and he had been told that his Kingdom would be ruled by a Witch and so he had every lonely woman who worked with herbs taken and burned. He was a terrible tyrant and many people rejoiced the day he died from a fever. It had been justice, in a way, because there was no one left who could cure him, he’d burned them all.”

“Your Grandfather ruled a kingdom? So you are a Prince are you? Please forgive me for taking your time. You must be on your way. I am afraid that no old woman dwells near here. You could try heading north, I am more unfamiliar with that part of the forest.”

The Woman turned her back on the stranger and returned to her sweeping. 

“No please don’t turn from me because I am a Prince. Think of me only as a son seeking help for his sick father. I have a strong feeling you know something. Please help me.”

“If there are no wise-women where you are from, who told you to seek for an old woman in this forest? It is a long way to come and surely rumours do not travel that far?”

The man looked down at his feet and coloured slightly in embarrassment.

“Well If you promise not to think me foolish, I had a dream. It was such a vivid dream, I just knew it was true. The dream told me to go west and search beyond a mountain, over a river and within a great forest. There I will find someone with the power who can save my father. I followed these strange instructions and indeed have climbed over a mountain and crossed a river.”

“A true dream was it? Yes, true dreams do come to those in the greatest need, but did it tell you to find an old woman then?”

“No actually, it was the people in the villages around this area who told me about an old witch who lived in the woods. In my dream she wasn’t old. She had red hair that shone in the sun.”

The woman then tore off her brown head scarf. At that moment the sun shone through the clouds and the wind blew her red hair back from her strikingly beautiful face. 

The man looked shocked and took a gasp of air. It was the woman from his dream. He knew he had found what he was looking for. 

The Woman looked into the eyes of this handsome man. She felt that he would teach her something important. Softly she spoke to him.

“Come into my cottage, I feel we have a lot we need to discuss.”

Together they disappeared into the quiet little house. They talked for hours, about the land the man had come from. About his father and his illness. They talked too about dreams, for dreams can be very important. They can show you your deepest desires and also make you face your greatest terrors. 

There is more to this story, but it will have to wait for another time. 

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 14/May/2018

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/slight/

 

via Daily Prompt: Slight

The Woman in the Wood – A Witchy tale.

Yesterday I was challenged by The Britchy One:

Three Days, Three Quotes – 05/11/18.

“please write me a witch story!” she said.

“Good Witch or Wicked Witch?” I asked

“Both” She replied.

“Challenge Accepted” Said I….

Well here we go.

 

Deep in the forest, in a verdant forest glade, lived a woman all on her own.

It was difficult to determine her age. She was clearly not in the first flush of youth, but her face didn’t have many wrinkles and there wasn’t a grey hair amongst her lush reddish-brown locks. 

Her clothes were simple but immaculately clean. Her hands were rough from working in her garden plot, which produced everything she needed to keep herself alive and healthy.

She kept a flock of hens and two goats. The goats helped to keep the grass short and provided milk to drink and make into butter and cheese. 

Not many people came to visit the woman. She was left pretty much to her own thoughts, which is what she’d wanted and why she had chosen to live in the middle of a large and lonely forest. She’d had enough of people long ago. The scars from that time were still deeply etched on her heart. 

She hadn’t been born in that woodland cottage. She had been born far, far away in another land. A land of mountains and castles, Knights and damsels, dragons and dreams. Another land, another time. 

She had come to this lonely place for sanctuary and that it had provided in spades.

The people hereabout were simple folk. They suspected her of being a witch and so kept out of her way, unless they had need of her. When they had need of her, they came. Folk who could not afford the administering’s of the doctors. They were better off attending her. She knew the ways of natural remedies. She kept a stock of many a healing herb in her garden. The Doctors could only resort to bloodletting and using leeches to suck bad blood from the wound. Often the patient died of it. Her methods were much more effective.

People came to her for tonics to relieve the pain of childbirth or arthritic bones and she provided them. Occasionally young women came to her to relieve a different pain of childbearing, that of bringing one into the world who they could not afford to feed. She did not like it, but she felt it was a lesser evil to deal with it than to leave the poor girls to deal with it their own way, possibly ending up in killing themselves. She encouraged them to come to her early and she tried to give them wise counsel. Prevention was better than cure. She taught them ways and means to avoid repeating their unfortunate situation. Sometimes wealthier ladies came to her who just wished to rid themselves of a nuisance. She would have no part of that and often received a curse or two in return from women who called her a witch! 

Truth be known, she was a witch. She had knowledge and power at her disposal that were available to many had they but the wit or imagination to believe in themselves. 

It was actually the jealousy that those powers had provoked and her refusal to put those powers to use in the ways that others wished her to, that had led to her self-imposed exile. She refused to lend her aid to support armies sent to conquer and repress others. She refused to help rich and powerful men and women force their will on innocent souls. They had sent their armies to take her. They found her not so easily dealt with. Loathe though she may be to use her will to make war and enslave the innocent, she was not so loathe to wreak her vengeance on her enemies. And so they burned and she escaped to live a simpler life. 

Was she a good witch or a wicked witch? Many people had wondered, including the woman herself. She was human, and therefore had plenty of both in her nature. She knew her dark side but also knew that she had the control to keep it inside, unless others insisted on bringing her to release it. Let those fools reap what they sow. 

She was good and kind to the needy and kept very much to herself. What more could we ask of someone?

One day a visitor came that was different. He was not from one of the villages that surrounded the forest. He didn’t come with a need but a gift. 

But that is another story, for another day….

 

Part Two is here:

https://talesfromthemindofkristian.wordpress.com/2018/05/14/the-woman-in-the-wood-part-two-the-gift/

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 11/May/2018

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/forest/

 

via Daily Prompt: Forest