White mist enveloped the small town in the midst of an obscure forest full of mystery and well-kept secrets. This was a safe haven from predators and natural occurrences; its dead silence was a comfort for its inhabitants. Into this town walked in a young woman, who was scarred from nature and life. She stumbled across this small town by accident, this changed her life completely.
Escaping from the living hell she had been born into, afraid of turning herself into the monster she was destined to be, she sought refuge in the cold night. It was a clear night when she walked into this particular town, the waning moon hung low in the sky, her walk was heavy and her shoulders were slumped down. Her breath was heavy and in each exhaled a sliver of hope left her frail body.
She gave herself to the darkness surrounding her and collapsed to the ground. The next morning she woke up, laden with quilts and blankets, chamomile filled the air and the sun was etched high in the sky. A soft smooth hand stroke her damped forehead, then a soft voice spoke to her.
“How are you feeling?” the gentle voice came from a woman with neat white hair tied into a bun.
The young woman’s dim blue eyes were recovering its brightness as she nodded.
“Good, I was worried about your health,” she wrung a towel free of mint-smelling water and dabbed it in the young woman’s face. “What is your name, my child? You are so young; you must not be more than nineteen.”
She smiled, “My name is Leila and you are right.” Her voice was distant, “why did you helped me? In other villages and towns I’ve been nobody would deign to help me.”
“Principle of hospitality and solidarity,” she said, “My name is Astra and I strongly believe your soul has fallen into my hands for me to help you.”
“I am afraid I have nothing to offer to you in return,” Leila whispered, moving her eyes around the room.
“You have,” Astra smiled. Since then, both of them witnessed sixty full moons together.
“Tomorrow is going to be full moon,” I say conversationally as we made our way through the witches’ village. It is a settlement made of small and simple houses design only to provide shelter from the natural elements such as the sun, wind, and rain. It is strategically positioned in the middle of a forest that reaches the outskirts of three adjacent towns. The forest that surrounds the village consists of evergreen trees and the ones nearest to the towns are deciduous trees, this is arranged by the witches to offer extra protection and to ensure their secrecy.
The settlement has less than twenty witches living in it and each year they grew older and frail after many battles exterminating the demons. They have to remain pure through their entire life, just as Light did, but that didn’t ensure their youth. They aren’t able to pass down their magic to anyone which was an increasing problem because the number of young witches is decreasing. We have to find Drey soon.
Adryan walks beside me, turning his head all around watching the busy morning. Women are emerging from their houses to sweep their front doors or prepare something in the black cauldron set in the middle. He shudders and wonders what is that they are boiling. Steam comes out of the cauldron and carries an inviting smell. He then realizes he hadn’t eaten since three days.
“The demons attack only by night, we can scry the towns with the use of the cauldron’s crystal liquid,” I notice his hungered face now contorted with disgust. “I will show you your weapons.”
“I get to have weapons?”
“How else are you going to hunt down the demon, with bare hands?” I snap at his wonder. I guide him pass the houses heading south of the settlement and into a small cabin standing desolated and perilous. “We’ve always hope to find a hunter capable of killing and hunting like you do, but we were unsuccessful in the past. Either they proved to be cowards or they wouldn’t cooperate, their fate was sealed anyways.”
“They died,” Adryan concludes crossing his arms in his chest “is that what is going to happen to me?”
“Don’t be silly;” I smirk at his pale and uncertain face, “you’re already dead. Can’t you remember that?”
Adryan’s face was aloof, mind processes are taking place in his head as I wonder which side he would take. Although I didn’t agree on having a third-party into the witches’ community, we needed him.
I unlock the door and pull them open, inside the small cabin there are shelves lining the walls with various types of weapons. Their metal surface glints under the sunrays, showing their sharpness and danger. I watch Adryan’s surprised face as he walks toward the shelves examining each weapon with delight.
“This is a great collection you have here,” Adryan said, “any qualify warrior would yearn to have these on their hands.” He touches the blade of an axe, lifting it to try its weight.
“I’m glad you appreciate them,” I say coming up to him, “these weapons are no ordinary weapons use during battles, they’ve been enchanted with extra strength to pierce the demon´s tough and rough hide.”
“You fabricated them?”
“No, we found them, so to speak. We brought them here and enchanted them,” I reply, walking around him and getting a pair of daggers, “we’ve been waiting for the right man to use them.” I lift my eyes to meet his black ones, hoping that he would take more responsibility in the destiny that was chosen for him. I watch his uncertain face, “many innocent women have died due to those demons, leaving behind unprotected children and families.”
He shifts his glance to the other side of the wall, silently walking and pondering. His face is unreadable and his heart is hardened. He walks back to me and takes the dagger from my hands, pocketing them in his trousers. “I’ll see what I can do,” he says quietly, a grim smile settles on his face and he turns toward the door.
“Where are you going?” I ask surprised by his actions. “You have training to do with me!”
“I will have a stroll in the town,” he waves without turning around.
I stood rooted in my spot, unable or unwilling to stop him. His grim smile crosses my mind. I walk out of the cabin and close the door, looking up at the clear sky I wish for him to come back before night and be that light we’ve been waiting for.