Montresor 16 Year 888 (New Imperial Calendar) part 3

Grigori the lying liar said that in order to force a final confrontation with the nightmare hag we had to wait until after midnight – since that’s the most magical time of day as everyone knows.  Or night I guess.  Whatever, you know what I mean.  He also said that he needed to do some “research” and wandered off (probably to get drunk in peace) leaving me with the woman that I rescued.  I thought she said that her name was Blossom but that can’t be right because no one would be named that.  Once the feeling had returned to her limbs she set about clearing away room for a campsite and gathering firewood and other such tasks while I sat against a tree drinking from my Flask and not helping her.  I saved her life, that seems like enough.

“So what’s your deal why did those dwarfs have you trussed up like a goose for the cooking?”

“I got the impression that they were witch hunters of a sort.”

“And?”

She gave me a strange look “I’m a witch.”

I raised an eyebrow “You really are?” I peered at her closely “Normally I’m great at seeing through illusions.  Or is this like a deal where you actually change your flesh like a mimic worm?  Is that why I can’t see what you really look like?    Does Grigori know?  That would be pretty funny if you reverted to your real form when you guys were making sweet, sweet love.” I couldn’t help but chuckle “That would be something to see!”

She stopped and looked at me with hands on hips “What are you talking about?  This is what I really look like.”

“Bullshit.  I’ve run into way too many witches to fall for that.  They’re all twisted and lumbering, the corruption in their souls is reflected by the wickedness of their flesh – a visage to match the growing horror within.  Some awful creatures have forms that are pleasing to the eye, witches ain’t in that group.”

She went back to working “You’re thinking of hags.”

“Witches and hags aren’t the same thing?”

“No.”

“Well?  Don’t keep me in suspense what’s the difference?”

“Hags are fey creatures like nymphs and satyrs, and like all beings of the first world they’re tied to primal forces of the earth.   Hags warped reflections of humanity that characterize nature at its most offensive.”

“Interesting, whereas you on the other hand being a witch are just a lady that sold your soul to the Lord of the Thirteen for magical power.”

She dropped her bundle of kindling in outrage “What?!  NO!  I never did any such thing.”

I gestured with my Flask “Well sure you probably didn’t talk to the Dark Lord Himself but one of his minions, like an imp or a demon or something right?”

She stomped her foot “I never sold my soul!  I’m just someone who can cast spells, souls have nothing to do with it.”

“So you’re a wizard?  Why do you call yourself a witch?”

“No, a wizard is someone who learns magic at a school like learning mathematics or engineering – I can just sort of do magic, I don’t get into magical theory and formulas or wizard stuff like that.”

I nodded “Okay, I see, you’re a sorcerer.  I had a friend who was like that, she was always going on and on about the difference between wizards and sorcerers.  She fell off a cliff and died on impact you know.”

“No, I’m not a sorcerer, they’re born with magic inside of them.”

I waited for her to elaborate, she did not “So then where does your magic come from?”

She didn’t answer for a moment “I made a pact.”

“With?”

“Look, some gain power through study, others through blood, but the people like me gain power from her communion with the unknown.”

“The unknown?  What the fuck is that supposed to mean?  So you’re like a priest who worships some weird God that’s about secrets or something?”

“No, I’m just an arcane spellcaster alright!”

I held my hands up “Hey, don’t get cheesed off at me lady.  I have nothing against soul selling, I don’t know why people get so bent out of shape about it.  Your soul is the one thing that you own yourself and no one can take away from you, you should be able to do whatever you want with it.  Demons should be allowed to set up shops where poor people can sell their souls for whatever they need.  It’s really not a big deal.  I’m not proud of it but I sold my soul once to get myself out of a jam.  I got it back though, which is nice.”

“I did not sell my soul!  I made a pact.”

“With whom?”

“An otherworldly power.”

“Like the Lord of the Thirteen?”

“No!”

“The Archfey?  The Lurker in the Deep?  The Raven Queen?  You’re not one of those people that draws on the power of the Old Ones are you?  Because I tell you right now I have had it up to here with those people.”

“No, I just made a pact okay!”

“How?  Making a pact implies that you agreed to something with someone.  How did it happen?  Were you talking to a cat or something?  I’m starting to feel like you don’t have any idea where your magic comes from, which sounds an awful lot like the kind of scam that the Lord of the Thirteen would pull to me.  Maybe you don’t know that you’re a demon worshipper.  I hear that happens sometimes.”

“I am not a demon worshipper!”

“Hey look, I get your reluctant to come clean, most people are going to react poorly if you say you worship the Dark One Himself but I don’t care.  That’s your business right?  I don’t get involved.  I’m more open minded than most people.  Religious freedom, I’m all about that.  I’ll grant you I have killed demon cultists by the cartload but that’s because they were trying to kill me.  Self-defense you know?  It’s not like I have a thing about killing demoniacs.”

After a long moment she spoke “Actually I am a sorcerer, I was lying before, there’s no such thing as witches.”

“There, was that so hard now?   

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