“I don’t get it,” I say, after much pondering. “That sounds like a dark love story, what does it have to do with the demons you said were lurking around the village?”
“You fool!” Leila curse, “I am not done! That was the story of one sister.”
I hold up my hands to tranquilize her from further ranting. “Okay, sorry for getting over-excited!” I say defensively. She was not answering my questions; she was adding more kindling to my confusion toward the recent events that had changed my life, which were somewhat unbelievable to say the least. The sun submerges the shabby wooden house with its rays; the scanty hand-made furniture becomes clearly visible.
She puffs and retakes where she left, “Drey captured Darkness in the pearl and used her power to bring his wife back…”
“How did he capture a woman inside a pearl?” I interrupt once again, curiosity and irregularities in the tale struck me. My eyes are set intensely on her eyes that look like some extravagant azure gem.
“Magic,” she replies, smiling satisfactorily at my surprised face. “A single word answered your question but behind that word lies ancient history and great complexity.”
I look down on my bare arms; no signs of burned flesh were visible, only the scars from my many brawls and hunts. Did I dreamed being burned and called a witch? Unlikely, how come I remember her. Besides, she confessed that she saved me because I was the chosen one to exterminate some demons. Her voice brings me back from my thoughts.
“…Drey used the ring to create portals to the underworld but was unsuccessful. He could only get back his wife’s spirit not her body; her body was already ashes and belonged to the earth. Driven by madness and copious love for his wife, he tried to duplicate her. At first, he tried turning an animal into a human and making it into a scepter to hold his wife’s spirit, but the physical appearance of the animal disgusted him and he quickly killed the creature he created and took back the spirit. He repeated his experiment several times with different animals but they all failed, none proved perfect for his expectations.”
“You know how twisted this all sounds?” I raise my eyebrows in surprise and disgust, “what man would want the spirit of his wife to live in a poorly transformed animal? The idea of waking up next to it it’s sickening.”
Leila scowls, “can you please concentrate and listen quietly? It’s very important for you to know our history if you are going to help us out.”
“Whoever said I was going to help you? I don’t help witches.” I snort. Her bossiness and precociousness are getting on my nerves and the fact that my eyes cannot leave hers made the matter worse. I notice her silky blonde hair is cascading luxuriously down her back, a stray lock of hair hung carefree on her shoulder. I blush at the attention I was giving to her physical appearance.
Leila arcs her eyebrows amusingly, “I don’t think you have a choice, hunter.” She smiles, “what are you planning to do if you do not help us? Go back to your life in the village, perhaps?”
“Yeah, what’s wrong with that?” I dispute, “I’m not dead.”
She laughs coldly, “Not dead for us, I can’t vouch for everybody else.”
“What do you mean?” I gave her a menacing glance, “what did you do to me, witch?!” That last word escapes involuntarily from my mouth and as soon as I saw her expression I wish to take it back. There is anger and frustration in her livid face, I recoil in fear of what might she do to me.
A smile twitches in her face as she brushes away any uncomfortable thoughts, “you are not the first one who calls me a witch with a negative connotation. We are witches, we perform magic and incantations, and once in a while we brew some potions but it’s not to hurt human beings.” She restrains her voice from faltering or quavering. “We were made that way by Light.” She sighs, her eyes never leaving mine, “you are not dead, but the villagers won’t be able to see you. When you were burning in the stake, the fire was charmed. The fire itself was supposed to char your body to satiate the villager’s morbidity but the magic kept your safe from harm and death.”
I am baffled as I hear this revelation; I lean against the wall to support my degenerating sense. Words come in slowly and with difficulty, “so basically, I am a living ghost –meaning, flesh and bones. You can see me but the villagers can’t.”
“Yes, you have the same magic the demons have to conceal themselves from the naked eye,” Leila says, a softness invading her recently cold eyes. Her skin seems to glimmer when the sunlight touched her. “Drey gave up on the animals and he tried with earthen materials. He began erecting creatures from the dirt, rocks, and such but his wife was never satisfied. Angered by the rejection of the scepters he opened up the door to the underworld and summoned demonic spirits out to dwell in his creation. His wife spirit seem distant to him and no longer provided company, instead she was insufferable. And thus, he sent her back to the underworld and kept creating creatures from the ground, hoping that one of them would be like his wife in appearance and spirit.”
“The villagers can’t see the demons,” I say, my mind was slowly beginning to grasp the path I was set forth to accomplish. “But you can, all of you.”
“For generations we’ve been trying to eradicate them from the face of earth and finding Drey has been of utmost importance. We have succeeded many times before but he is creating the creatures nonstop. When Light became aware of what Drey was doing with her sister’s power, she sacrificed herself and shared her power to a selected few women who vowed to bring peace to Earth. These women, who collectively called themselves witches, wander around the world in search of Drey. Soon enough, they discovered Drey had settled in the kingdom of Anglier, therefore they settled in that zone too. We are in charge of our village and the ones nearby too. It’s a pity and misfortune that the community grew wary of women who could perform magic, that rumor was started by Drey, with no doubt.”
“You seem to have everything under control, why do you need me?” I ask after some minutes of painful silence between both of us. Laughter is produce on the outside and the walking of feet grows slightly, the witches are coming out of their houses to face the new day.
“We’ve seen what you can do with a weapon,” she mutters, “We believe you would be a great asset and irony considering your past.”
“So, this Drey, is hiding somewhere in the kingdom and creating demonic creatures with female appearances. Why does he choose the Kingdom of Anglier?”
“She lived here,” Leila answers simply.
“Witches of Light,” I whisper, everything seems surreal but I had to start believing at some point. “When did you become a witch?”
She smiles secretively, reluctant in giving me the answer. “I don’t think it’s relevant.” She stands up and pace the small room, “are you going to be in bed all day or do you want to have a walk?”
I grin, she was a tough woman and I like it. I place my feet on the ground and sway a bit; I didn’t realize my legs are numb from the inactivity. When I lift my head, Leila is already making her way out of the house. The sun that penetrates inside the house is intense and blinding, but I feel alive.