Those who have heard the mystical tales...

Saturday, May 4, 2013

VII: The Witch

"What does the witch want with the woman?" asked Scott.
"And why does she want US dead?" said Badger. "I mean, she's not after just anyone. She wants the Bards. US."
"The sorcerer who kidnapped the princess. He was a worshipper of Chadde," said Gizmo.
"Wait... what?" asked Dumon.
"Yeah, he did. I knew I had seen those marks before," said Paddy.
"It doesn't answer any of those questions, though," remarked Scott.
"Paddy, let me see that stone," said Gizmo. Paddy gave it to him. "Scheaun, look!"
"It's a talisman! Like the one we used to kill Le'heigh!" Scheaun gasped. "Maybe it's the witch's?"
"Maybe she just wants it back," said Schaff. "She thinks we stole it from her."
"But what does this have to do with the woman?" demanded Badger.
"We'll just trade the stone for the woman," said Holden. "Easy enough, right?" The group assented, and began to follow the was the witch left. To himself, Gizmo said, "But it's never easy enough."

The trail led them through the woods. Scheaun, at the front of the group, found himself at the edge of the forest. To either side a road ran, and it was between them and a large field. Across that field lay another forest.
"It's... the highway," remarked Holden.
"Yeah, I know," replied Scheaun.
"So which way did she go?"
"Not left... nor right... there! C'mon!"
A shadow on the horizon dove into the trees across from them. The group rode like they never had before; the horses' legs were like strong tides of the ocean, waves churning to and fro. They flew across the plain, into the trees. Among the woods, the Bards continued to glide. No tree got in their way; no branch hindered them. They dashed into a clearing, and found themselves at the mouth of a cave.
"She's in there," said Scheaun.
"And... are we waiting for a signal?" laughed Holden. Scheaun shrugged. Badger, bringing up the rear on Scott's horse, flew through screaming.
"YAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!" (It's a scream. What did you expect?)
The Bards all followed her lead. The cave led them down, into the darkness. They stopped when a single torch glowed at the end of the hall. Gizmo dismounted and approached the wall on which it hung. He pulled the torch; it did not come down, but out. The wall swung open so that they could pass.
"That was easy," joked Scheaun.
"Yeah, never saw that coming," said Holden.
"How did you do that?" asked Schaff.
"We've seen it before," said Gizmo with a smile.
The group entered through the make-shift door, into a throne room. In one corner sat an empty cage, whose door swung wide open. It creaked with the sudden draft, but never closed. The Bards looked inside, but there was only a blanket and pillow there.
"I guess this is where she kept the old lady," said Badger. "But where are they now?"
"What does the old lady have to do with this anyway?" asked Dumon.
"Maybe they're the SAME PERSON, you guys," said Scott.
"Why would she have the giant chase her around?"
"I dunno--he got loose?"
"But he couldn't, until he was in the ring of fire," said Badger.
"I--maybe, I don't know," replied Scott.
"Did anyone actually KNOW the woman?" asked Paddy.
"No one. Like at all." replied Schaff.
"Guys, where's Gizmo?" noticed Scheaun. He was gone. Paddy looked at the cage. On its door was a new note that read:


And on the back:


"I suggest obeying whatever advice he gave you," bellowed a deep female voice. The witch appeared among them. "Now."
Schaff swung at the witch, but she stopped his blade with her bare hand; with her other hand she sent him flying across the room. Badger and Dumon pulled out their bows and launched several arrows at her. The arrows all stopped a foot from the witch. She looked at Dumon and Badger as the now-harmless arrows fell to the ground. At the same time, Scott and Scheaun drew their swords and ran at her. Holden followed suit but the witch defended every blow and knocked them all over. She looked around at the startled Bards and snapped her fingers dramatically. Glowing green chains appeared around their wrists and ankles, and the witch smiled. She held up her forefingers, then brought them together. The Bards flew into a row, suspended in the air. The witch pointed down, and the Bards dropped to their knees.
"Where is it?" she roared.
"Where is what?" returned Scott.
"Don't patronize me. I sent my giant to kill you, while I have my sorcerer searching for it. Turns out you somehow double-cross me and end up alive and in possession of my talisman! Where is it?"
"I don't have it," said Paddy.
"That doesn't answer the question."
"Gizmo has it."
"Oh. Then I DO have it. Never mind," she said as she began to walk away.
"Wait," said Badger. "Who was the woman?"
"I was," said the witch, and she closed the door behind her.

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