The Fortress of Sticks and VinesMature

Ziema the Winter Witch had grown bored with the proceedings.  She turned her goat homeward and mused about the various ways in which she might punish the elf-creature for trespassing in her garden of poisonous plants.  She could turn him into a toad, or perhaps curse him and his descendents for all eternity...but those were so conventional.  Maybe she would replace his nose with some sort of large, insect-like proboscis...

Upon reaching her fortress of tangled sticks and vines, she found that the irksome crow-man being, the one that was so fond of pilfering anything shiny that she happened to leave out, had returned and was trying to fly off with her giant crystal ball.  His find, however, was much too heavy for him, and upon seeing her coming, he shot her a look of disgust and flapped away without it.

"And don't you come back!" she shouted after the retreating creature as he vanished into the shadows of the forest.  "Or else I might make a pillow out of you!"

Muttering to herself about scarecrows, she put her cauldron on the fire and was just about to start a spell to give this Lance fellow the nose of a butterfly when she was interrupted by a knock at her door.

This gave her pause.  Who would come to call at such a time?  It was still light, and the warlocks weren't scheduled to stop by until midnight.    "Who dares rap upon the door of the Winter Witch?"

"Heather, the nymph and Engle, the human," replied a female voice.  "We've come to find help."

Ziema opened the door slowly, for maximum creaky effect, and squinted out from the darkness within.  "And what sort of help do you seek?"

The End

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